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The [Wednesday] Papers

Is the foie gras ban really the silliest law the Chicago City Council has ever passed?

No. And I'm here to stick up for it.

Plus, Mayor Daley defends the Sorich fundraiser. Would he defend a fundraiser for Jon Burge?

Read about both, in The [Foie Gras & Fundraising] Papers in our Politics section.

And if you haven't already, check out Chicago-opoly: The City That Cheats.

Now, on to the rest of today's papers.

Mancow Mess
I finally saw a Mancow commentary on Chicago Tonight last night.

My favorite moment was when he chided CBS, the network of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, for bringing Katie Couric on board as its next anchor. That's rich. He's Mancow!

I mean, even I would have to say Katie Couric has more journalistic credibility than the guy who has admitted to fabricating parts of his memoir and lying about his age to the media for years, not to mention claiming that his radio morning show persona is just a character he plays, meaning he's either a phony or being disingenuous. And this is the guy Chicago Tonight hires for public affairs commentary?

Mancow's topic last night was Mike Wallace's recent interview of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for 60 Minutes. Personally, I thought the interview was fascinating.

Mancow, calling the 88-year-old Wallace "leatherface," accused Wallace of sucking up to Ahmadinejad because he exchanged the kind of pleasantries that are typical in an interview. I'm not sure Mancow really watched the whole thing; maybe his attention span waned.

Mancow then served up the doozy that Ahmadinejad had been "well-coached on how to talk to the blue states."

Yes, Mancow, Democrats are now talking about an Ahmadinejad-Clinton ticket in 2008. The blue states are quite fond of Iran. When the nuclear blast comes, they'll die with smiles on their faces.

Mancow managed to blast Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial while attacking those who "destroyed" Mel Gibson for his drunken anti-Semitic ravings, and then for good measure wondered by Jesse Jackson was given "time for forgiveness and healing" after, I can only assume, his Hymietown remark of yore. Jesse Jackson gets all the breaks.

How all this tied in to Wallace's interview was beyond my ability to track. I do know that Mancow claimed America has become "too tolerant - tolerant of intolerance!"

But just who are the intolerant - the blue states? Or are they the too tolerant?

In a city with its share of interesting, reasonable people, why in the world would WTTW choose Mancow as a commentator, other than cynically and wrongly thinking that somehow he would bring young people to a show who otherwise wouldn't be interested in panel discussions about patronage and city council ordinances? Because it was working so well for Q101.

Just off the top of my head I can think of several others I would rather see in a commentary role for Chicago Tonight: Jon Langford, Roland Martin, Laura Kipnis, Lester Munson, Thomas Geoghegan, Dan Bernstein, So-Called Austin Mayor, Mary Mitchell . . . and I'm sure you can think of some too.

Maybe we need to send WTTW some suggestions, just to help out. They seem to need them.

Segregated City
Neighborhoods where the National Fair Housing Alliance found that Coldwell Banker discriminated against African American homebuyers: Lincoln Park, Lake View, the Gold Coast, and the Loop. The organization's investigation sent undercover blacks and whites to the same office to look at homes. The people of color had better financial profiles but were shown fewer homes and more often told they were fiscally unqualified. Coldwell Banker denies the allegations.

Thank you, Greg Couch of the Sun-Times, for writing about the creepy ESPN telecasts of the Little League World Series. What's next, Fantasy Little League?

What's Your New Sign?
The Tribune raises a provocative question today on the front page of Tempo by asking what the implications of newly discovered planets will be on astrology. Then they blow it by actually playing it straight and actually giving credence to the notion that the new planets will give readings "more depth and richness," instead of moving in for the kill by demonstrating that astrologers have been peddling nonsense for years.

Maybe deeper, richer pockets for scam artists. But my reading of the new night sky tells me that the discovery of new planets will only impact the lives of a select group: Homework will get harder for grade-school kids.

Night Sky
Oh Lord.

Q-Ray I
I just hope the government received a nice pot of sales tax revenue from Q-Ray bracelet sales, as kind of a stupid tax.

Q-Ray II
By the way, there is a Premiere Edition. $249.95.

Consumer complaints about Q-Ray.

Hunter on Target
I actually enjoyed a Jennifer Hunter column. I mean, the line "I recognized you by your fat ass" is priceless.

Giuliani Time
Chairman Thomas Kean of the 9/11 Commission, and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, have recently stated their regrets at soft-pedaling their questioning of Rudy Giuliani while compiling their report. Garrison Keillor notes today on the Tribune's Op-Ed page that Giuliani "does not appear in a leadership capacity in the reliable accounts of that morning," and that while Giuliani is "flying around giving speeches on leadership, knocking down a hundred grand a shot . . . he has not faced up to his failure to prepare for the attack, even after the 1993 bomb explosion at the [World Trade Center], when it was shown clearly that police and fire couldn't communicate with each other by radio."

Better Letters
A banner day on the letters page of the Sun-Times.

* Kevin Jackson, executive director of the Chicago Rehab Network, writes:

"For nearly a decade, however, the city's direct commitment to affordable housing has hovered at $11 million to $15 million . . . While the city's contribution has not changed, the affordable housing crisis has changed in significant ways, with the loss of rental housing stock, demolition of Chicago Housing Authority developments, increased condo conversions and the expiration of agreements between building owners and the federal government to keep apartments at affordable rates."

* Richard Slosarski of Irving Park writes about Daley's recent comments about mayors from other cities speaking hear about the big-box ordinance:

"When the mayor says he has more work going on in one block than in other cities combined, is he talking about drug trafficking and the highest crime in the country, or is he talking about the jobs in restaurants, hotels, poultry companies and construction being filled by cheap illegal labor?"

[COMMENT: If the Chicago has so much more business being done in one block than other cities, wouldn't those other cities be hurt far more than Chicago by a higher minimum wage? Daley's observation makes no sense, or in the least, actually argues in favor of the big-box ordinance, not against it.]

* Victor Crivello, co-chairman of the New Calumet Study Committee, writes:

"Chicago's new garbage contract does nothing to improve Chicago's waste recycling effort. Chicago is the only major city in North America that does not have a meaningful recycling program. If New York and Los Angeles can do it, why can't Chicago? For some reason, the mayor's green agenda stops at the doors of the antiquated Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation."

* Carol Kraines of Deerfield writes about the foie gras furor:

"It's not about 'what to have for dinner'; it's about torturing animals in order to produce a nonessential product."

Trib Too
Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education, lambastes Civic Committee President Eden Martin for "[the committee's] wrongheaded campaign to impose marketplace values on public education,"namely, supporting charter schools in order to provide Chicago Public Schools with competition. Woestehoff suggests instead that equitable school funding is the better route to improving city schools.

It's funny, affluent suburban schools don't seem to need competition in order to be excellent.

Notable Quotables
The Tribune picks three quotes to appear today on its Op-Ed page under the heading, "Quotables." I can only surmise they approve of the sentiments in each quote. But each is blatantly misleading.

1. "If al-Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they're calling."

- President Bush, on why his administration will appeal a federal judge's decision that the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program is unconstitutional.

COMMENT: If al-Qaeda is calling into the United States, we all want to know why they're calling. There's no reason why provisions for domestic surveillance that require warrants - which can not only be arranged for in a split second, but retroactively - don't suffice. The president's argument is also, obviously, not a constitutional one. The Constitution doesn't respond to what the president simply wants.

2. "There isn't a voter in Chicago who elected his alderman to tell him what he can or can't eat."

- Ivan Matsunaga, executive vice president of Connie's Pizza and chairman of the Illinois Restaurant Association, on Chicago's foie gras ban.

COMMENT: Actually, there is. The city's health department regulates what restaurants serve, as well as how food is produced. School cafeterias aren't allowed to serve raw meat, and I'm not allowed to legally eat psychedelic mushrooms. The issue is whether animals are being tortured to produce a luxury product, not the jobs of aldermen. Although, I'm guessing there isn't a voter in the city who elects aldermen to raise their own pay while looking the other way at the corruption coming out of the mayor's office. But Matsunaga, an important civic leader, hasn't spoken out on that.

3. "They should get back and help their own cities. I will compare my record to Santa Fe anytime and San Francisco. You manage your city, we manage here."

- Mayor Richard Daley, criticizing the mayors of Santa Fe and San Francisco, who spoke in favor of minimum wage ordinances at a Chicago City Council hearing.

COMMENT: Because you'd never want to learn from the experiences of others. What happened to the mayor so lionized by the media for stealing ideas from other cities?

Mural Mystery
"Zell Mum On What Happened To Old Daily News Mural."

Cruise Blues
I suspect Paramount dropping Tom Cruise has more to do with diminishing returns and his lucrative contract which loads the back-end with a healthy share of profits, but is his behavior really all that weird? I mean, what was really the big deal about him jumping up and down on Oprah's couch? That passes for weird? Hell, I would've liked to have seen him set fire to Oprah's couch. That would've been cool. Tom Cruise is not weird, Scientology notwithstanding. He's just a really short guy who makes tons of movies, and about every fourth one is actually not that bad.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Talk to me, Goose.


Posted on August 23, 2006

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
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POLITICS - The Political Odds UPDATED.
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BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man.

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