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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Coach, this team, the '85 Bears, that's a team. These men have never quit giving to this town. They're responsible for 389 restaurant bars, 219 sports-talk shows and 741 DUIs."

- From a Superfans script written by Robert Smigel last year that never made it on air, as reported by Greg Couch of the Sun-Times.

* Super Bowl halftime performer Prince is going to be 50 next year. Shouldn't he be a Duke or Baron by now? Rick Kaempfer and Dave Stern suggest some other age-appropriate name changes, including Iron Butterfly to Iron Lung, Journey to Cruise, and The Who to Who's Left?

* Colts president Jim Irsay's political donations.

* Dos and Donts for Super Bowl Sunday, in Eric Emery's Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

* The Sun-Times wants photos of other Chicagoans named Lovie, and other stories the media will use to fill the remaining days until the big game.

The Obama Messiah Watch
Slate introduces "a periodic feature considering evidence that Obama is the son of God."

House Cleaning
What the House Democrats did in their first 100 hours, including ridding the chamber of "Hastert smell"and closing the underground tunnel to Dick Cheney's office.

School Tools
The Tribune today published the second in a series of editorials on school funding supporting a tax swap that would increase state income taxes and lessen the dependence of education funding on local property taxes.

While the Tribune editorial page has long supported this type of plan, it brought me back to its 1994 endorsement of Jim Edgar over Dawn Clark Netsch.

"Nothing has been so certain in this campaign for governor as death and taxes," the Trib said. "Recognizing that voters fear crime, Gov. Jim Edgar made Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch's opposition to the death penalty a prominent campaign issue. Recognizing that no one likes to pay more for government, he jumped on her proposal to raise the state income tax.

"Edgar hit Netsch with both barrels and - Poof! - for all intents and purposes, the campaign was over."

And the Tribune has never gone back to say Netsch was right on the issues all along.

Local Geography
"There are plenty of reasons for Effingham taxpayers to care about Hinsdale schoolchildren, for Hinsdale taxpayers to care about Harvey schoolchildren, for Harvey taxpayers to care about Effingham students, " the Trib said in its editorial on Sunday.

But apparently, given the newspaper's paltry aldermanic election coverage and Tribune Company's cuts in foreign reporting, there aren't very many reasons for taxpayers in the 2nd Ward to care about taxpayers in the 25th Ward, nor for citizens in Dolton to care about citizens in Darfur.

Foreign Notion
Remember after 9/11 when the media was going to re-commit to foreign reporting? Well, the promises of the media are as valid as the promises of politicians. But here's the thing: Fewer foreign reporters makes our country less safe. And in an Internet world where your brand can be extended internationally and your reports can gain a worldwide readership, it's just bad business sense. In fact, a paper with a fleet of foreign reporters would be smart to repackage its journalism from such a staff in a number of ways, from a foreign reports blog to a weekly or monthly print publication to a subscription newsletter. Newspapers' attempts to innovate are still amazingly weak. They ought to keep asking themselves three questions: What Would Google Do? What Would Apple Do? And What Would A Great News Organization Do? Presto.

The 51st Ward
"The U.S. government wasted tens of millions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction aid, including scores of unaccounted-for weapons and a never-used Baghdad training camp with an Olympic-size swimming pool, investigators say," the AP reports.

Ad Libby
"Reporter Judith Miller testified Tuesday that former vice presidential aide Lewis 'Scooter' Libby identified a CIA operative to her on two occasions on dates earlier than he has told investigators he first heard the information from another reporter," the AP reports.

Daley Doses
* The mayor says it would be wrong to fire Christopher Kozicki. Does the mayor's new pal Barack Obama agree? I mean, he said things were getting better . . .

* The mayor, dismissing shakedown allegations in a federal lawsuit filed by a developer as election-year politics, says "At election time, people say a lot of things and do a lot of things," according to a Fran Spielman report.

Sort of like the "series of moves aimed at courting black and Hispanic voters" that Spielman wrote about so approvingly last month.

The Education of Hillary Clinton
A flawed but nonetheless highly informative Atlantic piece about Hillary Clinton - and the value of certain kinds of experience.

This Is Our Country
"Until he was deposed in 2002 as majority leader, Trent Lott favored a lipstick-and-skirt dress code," the Atlantic story reports. "Women still must cover their blouses with jackets in order to set foot on the Sentate floor. (There was a big fuss this summer about whether they could wear open-toed shoes.)"

Why not just put them in burkas?

"Far from being just quaint notions, these outsdated standards of decorum are neforced by 'bench ladies,' who are stationed on the floor. Staffers call them the 'SS guards' behind their backs."

This is the United States Senate.

* Lynn Sweet doesn't get the joke.

* Reporters can spread any bullshit they want once they start quoting the "man in the street."

Teen Dream
"Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teenagers, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration."

How many teens die from heart attacks or Alzheimer's Disease?

CDC leading causes of death, all Americans:

Heart disease: 654,092

Cancer: 550,270

Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 150,147

Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 123,884

Accidents (unintentional injuries): 108,694

- Tim Willette

Cover Story
The Top 50 Cover Songs Of All Time.

Beachwood Goodness
The Papers archive. Includes The Weekend Desk Reports by Natasha Julius.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Granting immunity daily.


Posted on January 31, 2007

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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