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The [Wednesday] Papers

I'll be tending to business today, so no Papers.

We do, however, have a new Mystery Debate Theater from last night's AFL-CIO Democratic forum, as well as a report from our man at Soldier Field.

Plus, send us your submissions for Existential Rock.

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Congress is concerned that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is not telling the truth. The best way to get the truth from Gonzales is to subject him to waterboarding or another equally forceful means of getting people to talk," James K. Gendon of Evanston writes to the Sun-Times this morning (last item).

"While squeamish civil libertarians and bleeding-heart liberals might object to this, claiming that such practices are methods of torture, Gonzales himself would not agree. As the president's legal adviser, he argued that such tactics are perfectly permissible in interrogation."

Rip Van TribCo
Maybe the Tribune editorial page shouldn't feel so bad about just discovering Daily Kos last week. The Trib's sister paper in Los Angeles just discovered the influence of the Drudge Report.

Perhaps we should mandate a cultural literacy test for all journalists before bestowing upon them the privilege of explaining the world to those who actually live there.

I Feel Goodish
"DNA tests on a dozen people who say James Brown was their father has found that at least two are telling the truth," according to wire service reports.

Please be me! Please be me!

READER COMMENT 12:13 P.M.: A quick note, Steve. Re: James Brown, it should have been "Please, please, please, please be me."

Of course. I am ashamed. My apologies.

In Today's Beachwood
* A whole lotta surging going on. In the latest episode of Mystery Debate Theater.

* Led Zep at the Stadium, Easter Sunday, 1977. In Chicagoetry

* Asking life's most important questions. In Existential Rock. Submit your own!

Plus, Rod Heath takes another look at Ingmar Bergman's Persona at Ferdy On Films.

Jottings
* Baseball USA. (via Chicagoist)

* Study: Parents watch more media than kids.

* "Dodd has seen the Tribune Company gobble up news outlets in Connecticut and is unsettled by the monopolization of the industry."

Porno Perry
"The alternative-rock icon [Perry Farrell] favored oldies by his earlier bands, Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros, over his new material, an odd move for a former groundbreaker. But even more curious was a comment he made to the crowd of about 20,000," Jim DeRogatis writes.

"'You guys want me [Lollapalooza] to come back next year, don't you?' Farrell asked to muted applause. 'The Sun-Times doesn't want me back! They don't think we have good manners!'

"Farrell was referring to an interview I'd conducted earlier in the day, asking about Lolla's policy prohibiting bands on its stage from performing elsewhere in Chicago for 60 days before and 30 days after the fest - which has had a negative impact on the rest of the city's summer concert calendar - and the fest's creation of an exclusive VIP area where wealthier concertgoers pay more than $1,000 a ticket to enjoy catered food, shaded lounge chairs and massages."

In a separate entry on his Lolla blog, DeRogatis recounted:

"During our brief chat following the non-press conference, I also asked Farrell about the two-tiered, VIPs vs. regular concertgoers dichotomy at Lolla.

"'Are you saying that you don't like rich people because they happen to be rich? Farrell replied. 'Well, that's screwed!'

"I told Farrell I was just asking if the VIP sections aren't a bit un-democractic and anti-rock 'n' roll, a la Lennon's famous comment about clapping vs. rattling one's jewelry.

"'What are you talking about?' Farrell said. 'Democracy is based on capitalism, and if you don't have capitalism, you have communism. And capitalism is going to help the world beat these assholes, because you have the right to take the money out of your pocket and say, 'I don't agree with you, I don't like foreign oil and I'm not going to use it. I'm going to take my money my capitalistic dollar, and put it down here.'

"'All the people that come here are putting their money down here and saying, I like it here, so I don't know what you're on about, Jim.'"

The gentrified commodification of alt-rock is complete; now it's just capitalism with a "cool" face.

Zell's World
An insight into the mind of Sam Zell through his year-end gifts. Click on the images. (via Dan Mitchell's What's Online at the New York Times)

Tribocrisy
From Michael Miner's Hot Type:

"Here's some of the boilerplate a former Tribune employee had to agree to in order to collect a buyout:

"Non-Disparagement. You will not in any manner whatsoever denigrate, disparage, or otherwise convey or cause to be conveyed an unfavorable impression of the Company to a third party or parties."

So the Trib is now issuing gag orders.

Complicated Conspiracy
Paul Kuntzler, the president of Miller Reporting Company, a court reporters services firm, took out two full-page facing ads in the New York Times recently in the guise of a letter to Washington Post Co. CEO Don Graham for not returning to Kuntzler some apparently valuable materials. Here is my favorite paragraph:

"President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered by Vice President London [sic] Baines Johnson in a widespread, incredibly complex and brilliantly planned conspiracy that involved the Federal Bureau of Investigations directed by J. Edgar Hoover, the CIA directed by David Atlee Phillips, The Secret Service, elements of the United States Air Force, including General Curtis LeMay of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States Army, the United States Navy, Henry R. Luce's LIFE Magazine, The Ford Motor Company, the Dallas Police, including Dallas Mayor Earle Cabel, big Oil of Midland, Texas, the Texas political establishment, the mafia, the anti-Castro Cubans, Southern racists, including retired General Edwin Walker, and others. President Richard M. Nixon was also involved."

Wow!

Setting up the conference calls must've been a bitch!

You know what? Many - if not most - Americans are already skeptical of the official explanation of JFK's assassination. There's really no need to throw the Ford Motor Co. into the mix.

Buyout Briefing
Catching up with Bob Reed's take on what new ownership will mean for the Reader.

Union Label
"You are going to have a friend in the White House who believes that workers can organize," Mr. Obama shouted to the workers. "Who believes in union."

Except when it comes to endorsing pro-Wal-Mart Dorothy Tillman over union-backed Pat Dowell.

Slow-Motion Suicide
Russell Baker writes:

"The Times-Mirror Company had itself been collecting newspapers (Newsday on Long Island, The Baltimore Sun, and The Hartford Courant, among others), and these all tumbled into Tribune's basket in Chicago. Tribune was obviously a mammoth financial organization and hence extremely vulnerable when the market bubble broke and stocks, especially newspaper stocks, began declining. [Editor John] Carroll had the Times cruising successfully and was amenable to economizing when his Chicago bosses began asking him to cut editorial costs in 2003. Then he was asked to cut again. And again. He began objecting that the cutting was seriously damaging the paper, but Chicago insisted on more cuts. Eventually, in 2005, he resigned. The editor succeeding him was soon told that still more cuts would have to be made, and he resigned too.

"Journalism was being whittled away by a Wall Street theory that profits can be maximized by minimizing the product. Papers everywhere felt relentless demands for improved stock performance. The resulting policy of slash-and-burn cost-cutting has left the landscape littered with frail, failing, or gravely wounded newspapers which are increasingly useless to any reader who cares about what is happening in the world, the country, and the local community. Cost-cutting has reduced the number of correspondents stationed abroad, shriveled or closed news bureaus in Washington, and crippled local reporting staffs which once kept an eye on governors, mayors, state legislatures, small-town rascals, crooks, and jury suborners. It has also shrunk the size of the typical newspaper page, cutting the cost of newsprint by cutting news content.

"Newspapers report their own erosion in the business columns, doggedly recording inch-by-inch shrinkage of page sizes and job-by-job shrinkage of news coverage, but statistics alone cannot convey the true loss to the country. Besides the Los Angeles Times, the papers showing the ravages of extensive cost-cutting include many once ranked among the country's finest: The Baltimore Sun, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Des Moines Register, The Hartford Courant, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the San Jose Mercury News, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch."

The Beachwood Tip Line: 10 percent is fine.



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Posted on August 8, 2007


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - 24 Hours With WYCC.
POLITICS - Wolfpack vs. Obama.
SPORTS - Joe Maddon's Magical Mystery Tour.

BOOKS - Why Al-Qaeda Is Still Strong.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mural Man.


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