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The [Friday] Papers

1. Tribune public editor Timothy McNulty responds today to Bill Moyers' Buying the War program, which aired Wednesday night, by examining his paper's performance in cheerleading the Iraq War instead of questioning the basic presumptions that were so obviously false even to many at the time. McNulty also talks to the Trib's editors and reporters about what went wrong and why; the Trib staff was remarkably cooperative in the interest of the transparency, honesty, and truth they say their paper is built on - and which they demand of the subjects they write about.

Oh, wait. That didn't happen. Instead, McNulty served up a bunch of mush.

2. John Records Landecker was forced by 104.3 management when he was on the air there to stop playing a version of the National Anthem sung by the Dixie Chicks. See comment No. 2 in yesterday's column.

3. The best analysis of last night's debate in South Carolina between the Democratic presidential candidates happens to be ours.

4. "Clinton and Obama avoided any direct criticism from rivals," Tribune national correspondent Mark Silva reports.

I guess Silva was in the bathroom when Dennis Kucinich challenged Obama directly - by name - about his hawkish stance on Iran. Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel - true, crazy, but he was on stage and part of the debate - also directly challenged Obama by name on Iran. And maybe Silva was fetching another beer when John Edwards said about Obama's vague health care position that "Rhetoric's not enough. High-falutin' language is not enough."

5. "Obama, who had already answered a question about handling terrorism, returned to the issue later without prompting," Silva writes.

Not really. Obama was prompted by the realization that he flubbed his answer the first time.

6. As Silva notes, Hillary was asked if Wal-Mart was good or bad for America. Neither Silva nor moderator Brian Williams mentioned that she served on Wal-Mart's board of directors from 1986 to 1992.

7. Of course, it will be interesting to see how Obama answers questions about Wal-Mart too, seeing as how he endorsed pro-Wal-Mart alderman Dorothy Tillman over her successful, union-backed challenger Pat Dowell.

8. "Not long after Barack Obama entered the U.S. Senate, for instance, his wife was offered a position on the board of TreeHouse Foods, a Westchester-based maker of specialty foods," the Tribune has reported.

"In 2006, the company paid her $51,200 for her board activities, according to the Obamas' just-filed federal income tax return. Factoring in stock options and other payments, the value of her compensation package for serving on the TreeHouse board last year was $101,083, a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows.

"TreeHouse packages pickles and other private-label foods for retailers. By far its largest customer is Wal-Mart. Barack Obama has been sharply critical of Wal-Mart's business and labor practices - criticizing the giant retailer last fall for paying low wages and poor benefits while making big profits."

In other words, Wal-Mart has been very good to the Obamas.

9. Sneed on Thursday:

"Dining dames: The luncheon drew power femmes including Terry Savage, Leslie Hindman, Deputy Gov. Sheila Nix, WTTW's Elizabeth Brackett and Judy Gold, who helped organize the event and whose baby is due in weeks."

A source tells the Beachwood Judy Gold had her baby two weeks ago.

Editor-in-Chief Michael Cooke and Managing Editor Don Hayner stand by her misreporting.

10. "It's the suburban Spire."

Yes. Nothing like the real thing.

11. "Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign was designed and built to be a dreadnought, an all-big-gun battleship that would rule the waves without being dented, slowed or thrown off course," Time reports. "But it has been caught off guard by a submarine named Barack Obama, running silent, running deep - until he surfaced with a spectacular showing in the first round of fund-raising numbers.

Yes, Obama has been running silent and deep. You'd barely have known he was campaigning given the dearth of attention he's gotten.

12. The Time article is interesting though in its revelations of just how aggressively Obama the Grass-Roots Reformer is working the phones for campaign cash from the nation's ruling class.

13. From a New York Times story this week on the jinxed Block 37: "Mayor Richard M. Daley, in an e-mail message, said the development "helps strengthen downtown Chicago. And a strong downtown is what holds a city together; it's the focal point, and it gives the city its identity."

Aside from the highly disputable but revealing point made by the mayor, I wonder what the NYT's policy is about putting elected officials' names on comments written by staff - as well as accepting an e-mail response in lieu of an actual interview or the joy of writing that the mayor refused to comment.

14. The funny thing about the Chicago Tonight commentaries by Debra Pickett and Mancow Muller is that neither one has their day job anymore.

15. Baseball Terminology That Sounds Just the Slightest Bit Kinky To Me.

From James Finn Garner, who is also featured in today's Beachwood Reporter explaining the why our skyline perfectly illustrates a lesson you learned in your 8th-grade science class.

16. JFG also has a new book coming out.

17. From an e-mail solicitation for donations sent by the Obama campaign this week:

"Corruption and incompetence paralyze our government, America's ability to lead the world is diminished, and the fundamental fairness of our society diminishes to benefit the privileged few."

Obama's endorsements of Richard M. Daley and Todd Stroger did not appear.

18. From the same solicitation:

"We need a movement of ordinary people to elect our next president because, for so many of us, what our president does is personal.

"Only by electing a president accountable to no one but the people will we restore America's global moral leadership.

"People like you will have more power over the process than ever before.

"And, if we succeed, we're going to elect a president who answers to the American people for a change."

The names of the extra-ordinary folks bankrolling Obama did not appear.

19. Does Hip Hop Hate Women? Find out on Saturday.

20. "Mr. Ryan's exploratory committee includes more members of the Pritzker clan - three: J. B., M. K. and Penny - than heads of local community groups: two. No West Side community group has been named to the exploratory committee, and despite the possibility of labor unrest, a panel that includes dozens and dozens of big-business types has only one union leader in its membership," Greg Hinz deftly notes in exhorting the mayor to open up the Olympic bid process.

I agree, and it sounds good, but I think it's a mistake to think the IOC gives a flying fuck about transparency and community participation. Hello, the next Games are in Beijing!

The Beachwood Tip Line: An uplifting experience.


Posted on April 27, 2007

MUSIC - Riding Illinois' Storm Out.
TV - How White Republicans See BLM.
POLITICS - Car Wash Workers Finally Win.
SPORTS - Cubs Screwing FO - And Themselves.

BOOKS - How Comics Make Sounds.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Illinois Caverns Reopening After 10 Years.

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