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The [Wednesday] Papers

1. If the NFL can't honor those who have bought tickets to one of their games and made plans, they may as well take the next logical step and play their games in TV studios or hire crowds to appear at their televised events, instead of screwing fans who have made the commitment to show up in winter on their own dime.

2. This is both necessary and bad news for those still planning to go to the Bears game.

3. My guess is the mayor is privately livid at the NFL, given the near-certainty that tragedy will result from a Bears game on New Year's Eve.

4. "Spike Lee To Direct James Brown Movie."

5. James Brown will lie in state at the Apollo.

6. "Mr. Brown's innovations reverberated through the soul and rhythm-and-blues of the 1970s and the hip-hop of the next three decades," Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times. "The beat of a 1970 instrumental 'Funky Drummer' may well be the most widely sampled rhythm in hip-hop."

Public Enemy shows how.

7. How great is YouTube?

8. "Depression is a deep, nasty disease."

9. Dock Walls says the mayor will not survive a challenge to his nominating petitions. In the incredibly infinitesimal chance that Walls is right, Daley campaign manager Terry Peterson's punishment will be:

A) Sent to Guantanamo as enemy combatant.
B) Named Tony Snow's replacement.
C) Re-assigned as Todd Stroger's chief of staff.
D) Returned to his old job as head of the CHA.

10. Cook County Public Guardian Robert F. Harris is right. Asking for deep, across-the-board cuts is typically lazy of Todd Stroger. In effect, he's asking everyone else to balance his budget for him. The real answer to the county mess requires the vision to not only cut, but to reconfigure and re-prioritize county government. You know, the kind of thing that won't happen for at least another four years.

11. I mean, we all know that if there was any justice in the world, and any sense in our political system, the public guardian as well as the public defender, among others, would get more funding, not face cuts. But then how would we afford such higher priorities as the pensions for Bobbie Steele and Bill Beavers?

12. Neil Steinberg is probably worth listening to on WCKG-FM (105.9) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, seeing as how one of his prior radio appearances resulted in a newsroom confrontation with Jay Mariotti a few weeks ago that had to be broken up in part by editor-in-chief Michael Cooke. Apparently Steinberg had his glasses off and his dukes up.

13. Mary Laney is the last person on the planet outside of Laura Bush who believes the real problem in Iraq is a media that isn't telling the "good news" that is happening there.

"We are shown images of carnage in the streets of Baghdad daily, but coverage of the good that is taking place is curiously missing," Laney opines. "Hospitals are being built, new schools are opened, and Iraq's economy is doing surprisingly well since American soldiers landed there. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that, three years ago, there were 8,000 Iraqi businesses - and today there are 34,000 registered companies."

Jesus H. Christ. Even David Brooks was moved to admit recently, "[T]he idea that this is some media concoction, you - I said that a year ago, two years ago. But at some point, face reality!"

I mean, are you going to believe Mary Laney or these people's own eyes?

14. It's a good thing we still have wise traditional media pundits like Mary Laney who deal in facts to combat of all that lazy and reckless blogging on the Internet.

15. No one in the Sun-Times business department was willing to put their name on this warmed-over press release. Who's the business editor over there, Mary Laney?

16. Dear Beachwood:

To say I was astounded by the Chicago Tribune's December 26, 2006, editorial ("Do We Need A Bigger Army?") would be a substantial understatement.

First, it tacitly complimented the Clinton administration when it referred to our pre-Iraq Army as being "prepared to handle with ease any challenge that could possibly arise" with its top personnel and "state-of-the-art weapons and equipment" and "vast resources." This refutes the oft-heard claim from the right that our current military shortfall can be traced to the prior president.

Second, it tacitly acknowledges that the miscalculation by the current president has led to the intense strain on our forces today. Interestingly, it ignores its own role as a cheerleader for this misadventure. In fact, even earlier this year the paper re-examined that role and determined that the initial choice to invade Iraq and our continued involvement was not a mistake.

But these tacit statements are really only peripheral to the amazing statement it makes about whether we could even get a bigger Army. It notes that it would take five years to increase our current force from 507,000 to 540,000 troops, and that there is no assurance that we could do this at all.

What makes this so astonishing is that the Tribune regularly asserts that it is some deficiency within the Iraq government that has kept that nation from replacing our 140,000 troops with trained Iraqi forces over the last three-plus years. We can't be expected to find, train and equip 33,000 American troops here in less than five years, but they expect a war-ravaged and much smaller Iraq to find, train and equip more than four times that many soldiers in just over half the time?

This fundamental failure to recognize and acknowledge facts and reality lies at the heart of the failure of the Bush administration and its enabling media outlets like the Tribune.

- Tim Howe

17. The small moves of Kenny Williams will prove far more effective than the big moves of Jim Hendry. One of them understands the game; the game has passed the other by.

The Beachwood Tip Line: The good news people.


Posted on December 27, 2006

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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