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The [Wednesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

"When he took office in January, there were 32,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan," Lynn Sweet notes. "He raised that to 63,000; then he boosted that by 30,000 in Tuesday night's speech at West Point."

A bunch of old Russians are laughing their heads off today.

*

Also from Sweet:

1. "I've never really known Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 man in the Senate, to be at a loss for words. He's one of the most informed and articulate senators, but his terse statement showed how he was wrestling with the new policy. 'President Obama asked for time to make his decision on a new policy in Afghanistan,' he said. 'I am going to take some time to think through the proposal he presented tonight'."

2. "Obama's friends on the left and independents are having a hard time with Obama sending in reinforcements, even with the built-in end game. This may mean it will be harder for Obama to keep his base mobilized at a time he is trying to rally support for his most significant domestic initiative, revamping the health-care system.

"Take the statement from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.): 'I consider myself one of the president's men. But, I'm deeply skeptical about his plan. I hope and want to be convinced that it will work . . . I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my mind open'."

Deja School Violence
"Schools close, violence spikes."

From 2006.

Worst Social Secretary Ever?
What did you expect from a patronage hire!

Travel Trick
"Information for this article was gathered on a research trip sponsored by Rosewood San Miguel de Allende and Artesana Rosewood Residences."

So the Sun-Times lets the subjects of its stories pay for the reporting.

Artesana also provided two photos for a sidebar about . . . its new hotel.

Police Board Reforms Stall
Ike Carothers not yet convinced; Emma Mitts an idiot.

Bad Sign
Is it true that on a tour of the SouthtownStar yesterday, new Sun-Times Media owner Jim Tyree mistook the newsroom for accounts payable and asked a reporter how much money he'd made for the company that day?

I'm told it is!

Cookie Monster
Former Sun-Times editor Michael Cooke has sold his Wilmette house.

Stroger's Swan Song
Best part of the sales tax repeal is that it's over.

Gorby Rocks
"The U.S. arm of an international environmental organization founded by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has joined the chorus of advocacy groups supporting Gibson Guitar Corp."

*

Where is Chicago's Gorbachev? Chicago's Yeltsin? It's like waiting for Godot.

CTA FYI
Five stations the city could do without.

Tubular
"While YouTube looks for an answer to monetizing video, it stumbled on something else: how to cash in on its home page," Ad Age reports.

"Google's behemoth video site started selling its rich-media 'masthead' ads back in April. Since then, the ads have become commonplace on the site and a showcase for some of the best online display ads emerging from agencies today."

Tiger In The Weeds
Eric Zorn replied to my item yesterday about reporting on whether Tiger Woods was required to talk to the police and in his response to my response he writes: "Far easier to list the circumstances in which he DOES have to talk to police which is, I believe, never. Except to give his name and address. Never. Not in any state in the union. Anything that implies otherwise is misleading."

Well, my point in part is that the media is implying otherwise by repeatedly stating that Woods doesn't have to speak to police because this is a traffic investigation not a criminal matter. The reporting also relies on Florida law. If you don't have to talk anywhere in the nation, why cite Florida law?

Like I wrote yesterday, I've never heard anyone say that in a traffic investigation you don't have to talk to police. Why distinguish between a traffic investigation and a criminal matter?

*

"In the case of a single vehicle accident, Florida law requires the driver to submit his license, registration and proof of insurance," the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Forgive me for thinking that means the circumstances are different in multi-vehicle accidents and in other states.

"But David Brill, a retired FHP traffic homicide investigator who trains law enforcement how to investigate crashes, said that more than likely the troopers are trying to find a way to place Woods behind the wheel of the car for the purpose of any citations or criminal charges.

"The information they did receive from him - driver's license, insurance and registration - serves only an administrative purpose and can't be used as proof he was driving. A statement to troopers could help establish that, though it isn't necessary in a single car crash, according to Florida law."

Still sounds murky to me. But my point was that reporters keep repeating this without explaining why this is the case. And when they distinguish between a traffic investigation and a criminal investigation, they imply Woods would be required to speak in the latter. I'm not arguing that that is so; I'm arguing that if it's not so reporters shouldn't be implying otherwise.

*

"Asked if the media is going too far demanding answers to what happened at the Woods' mansion last week, media ethicist Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, said that journalists have an obligation to inquire."

Also my point.

*

And when Rick Morrissey writes today that "I have no constitutional right to know what happened in the early hours Friday, when Woods ended up running his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and tree . . . " he's not exactly right.

Morrissey has a legal right - like all of us - to see the police report as well as the citation issued to Woods.

*

"Florida law states that Woods isn't obligated to talk with police because the accident was minor," USA Today reports.

Forgive me, again, for thinking the implication here is that Woods would be obligated to meet with police if the accident was more serious. And if that's not the case, then the paper's reporting is wrong.

"All Woods had to do was provide his driver's license, proof of insurance and registration of the car to police, which his attorney did Sunday."

*

From the Florida Highway Patrol: "Mr. Woods has satisfied the requirements of Florida law by providing his driver license, registration and proof of insurance to us."

*

But what about, say, Illinois law? I had a hard time finding an answer. Here's one tidbit:

"Many states have laws requiring that people involved in a vehicle accident report that accident in writing to the state's department of motor vehicles. This usually only applies to accidents resulting in physical injury or a certain amount of property damage. Check with your insurance agent or your local department of motor vehicles to find out the time limits for filing this report; you often have just a few days.

"If you must file a report, and the report asks for a statement about how the accident occurred, give only a very brief statement - and admit no responsibility for the accident."

So one might surmise that in some states Woods would be required to file an accident report including a statement explaining what happened. Now, it's true he could probably just write "I drove into a fire hydrant." But maybe not.

Fascinating. Not.
The Obama-as-Spock meme is back. Oy.

*

Um, how can you be "cool" and Spock at the same time?

*

What's next, a return of the Obama-as-Lincoln meme?

Or maybe Obama as Lyndon Johnson.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Eastbound and down.



Permalink

Posted on December 2, 2009


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Trump's Disastrous FCC Chair.
POLITICS - Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year.
SPORTS - Canada Cuts Youth Hockey Injuries In Half.

BOOKS - America, We Need To Talk.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.


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