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The [Wednesday] Papers

Let's see, what's in the news today . . .

"Quinn's Latest Plan for State's Lousy Finances: iTax. Gov proposes sales tax on every downloaded song, movie."

How 'bout this instead: a tax on every story downloaded about a horrible idea from our governor? The QTax.

That idea would work for Rod Blagojevich too - we could tax every television appearance he makes. Yesterday he called the media to his home for a 5:03 p.m. performance of Celebrity Suspect and lashed out at U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, calling him a coward.

"I'll be in court tomorrow, I hope you're man enough to be there tomorrow, too," Blago said.

Then he hightailed it out of there without taking questions from the media. Talk about cowardice. I mean, the one question that you could hear on the video being shouted to the governor as he ran back inside was "What about your language on the tapes?"

The government's proffer offers new details on Patti Blagojevich's alleged phony real estate commissions and Rod's alleged scheming to sell a U.S. Senate seat and a reporter wants an explanation for why our ex-governor swears - just like we do?

And as I tweeted yesterday, Fitzy did have a response: "I've got this evidence, and it's frickin' golden."

Meanwhile, the nation's political nimrods are buzzing about Rahm Emanuel's recent declaration that he wants to be our mayor someday. I put the chances of that happening at one in hundred in today's Political Odds: Checking alleys for tipped over garbage bins and deploying Graffiti Blasters crews all over the city not his idea of a good time. (I put the chances of David Axelrod running for mayor at five in a hundred but the chances of Blago running for mayor at 50/50, depending on whether he can play all the tapes.)

Curiously, I didn't see Ron Huberman's name on the Sun-Times's useless compilation of potential mayoral candidates that wasted a reporter's time and energy. (Oh my lord, there's a photo gallery too.)

Daley has reportedly spoken privately about Huberman as a potential successor, but Ron is busy right now trying to change the media's focus on the CPS clout list and its ridiculous budget hijinks to all the good he is doing for the children. For example, Huberman's media team sold a feel-good story of questionable news value yesterday and both the Tribune and Sun-Times bought it.

"As soon as Arthesia Cartlidge learned how to do her own taxes, she offered to be her mother's accountant," the Tribune reports today.

"Although the 18-year-old learned how to fill and file the tax form in her high school's personal finance class, her mom laughed but turned her down, preferring to stick with the professionals.

"'I wanted to make sure [her accountants] were doing it right,' said Cartlidge, a Dunbar Career Academy senior.

"Learning how to prepare taxes, open checking accounts and invest in bonds and stocks are just some of the lessons taught in Dunbar's financial literacy class. The course began in February and is taught in 11 other Chicago public high schools as a pilot program and aims to teach students about everyday personal finance issues."

Cartlidge must have been the star student - or one of the few willing to act as a CPS prop.

"Dunbar senior Arthesia Cartlidge, 18, said she has opened a checking account since she started the class and even felt confident enough that she offered to double-check her mom's tax returns," the Sun-Times reports.

Both papers also bit on police chief Jody Weis's vow to take back the city's streets this summer in one-source stories. The online Trib version went like this: "Chicago cops unveil plan for controlling summer violence."

What, they've developed a weather machine?

But it's a field day for press release journalism. For example, did you know that "Chick-fil-A is painting the town red - and white"? It's true!

According to the Sun-Times, the Chick-fil-A folks invented the chicken sandwich. And they're "marching through metro Chicago. Forty strong."

The real news was buried in the middle of the story, but the paper didn't recognize it when it saw it.

"Food is a driver, but the chain also has won admiration for religious tie-ins. The company includes religious-themed toys in its kids meals, promotes religious programs and does no business on Sunday."


Somehow I doubt the religious-themed toys include dreidels or the Muslim equivalent. Alternate lead: "A religious fast-food chain that claims it invented the chicken sandwich is bringing it's toy crosses and Jesus dolls to Chicago in the hopes that it can convert the masses with tasty tenders and a side of waffle fries."

Just remember the media hype about El Pollo Loco coming to our fair burg - and then how quietly the news passed when all that crazy chicken stuff failed to materialize.

You know what would make me happier than a new chicken chain? Painting all our trees blue.

That would be very Flaming Lips.

Which leads me to the best thing in the papers today - a quote from Jim DeRogatis:

"If I have a failing, it's that I have this chronic belief that rock 'n' roll is not just mere entertainment."

And neither is journalism.

Record Store Day in Chicago
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The Beachwood Tip Line: Both rock and roll.


Posted on April 21, 2010

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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