... comb through the audiotapes. Wow, we're seeing people we actually KNOW. And can Jesse Jackson Jr. really talk his way out of being "Candidate Number 5"? Maybe he'll do some soft shoe with Client Number 9 Spitzer. Expect more players to emerge. And soooooo ironic that the Trib (aka "Thorn in Blago's Side") declares bankruptcy even as Chi-town politics go vaudevillian.
Speaking of which, other depressing newspaper news include the slashing of Gannett's team, the closing of Cox's DC office and NPR's across-the-board budget cuts (including elimination of programs "News & Notes" and "Day to Day"). This must be why over the last few months we've had nearly a dozen name-brand journalists in our tiny little agency asking for jobs ... (Oh, and one more giant X-mas-sales-can't-save-us sad face: KB Toys is going out of business, too.)
O's Afghani policy is going to shake up wonks for a while. Will the escalation bog O down as it did Gorbechev? This may become the big story of 2009 as our newly minted security team gears up for a truly defining challenge. (Which may remain an untold story, of course, as the news industry implodes. Go, go, citizen journalists!)
And, of course, our new energy team has its big rollout next week, accompanied by media tutorials of what it all means. Every time the President-Elect's appointments are announced, his approval ratings shoot up, and we expect that winning formula to continue.
Three cheers for the internetz!!! The Pulitzer Prize will now accept submissions from online-only publications. Thanks for finally taking progress seriously, guys! Now, don't the words "The Pulitzer-Prize-winning Turner Report" sound golden to you?
Expect the continued onslaught of holiday-shopping-on-budget stories. Lean times mean lean coverage.
The Week That Was
We've already said enough about Blago. EXCEPT, in our two favorite blogosphere stories, buddy Colin Delaney awards him a brand spankin' new "balls of steel" statuette, and Matt Cooper offers advice (from personal experience) on how to cut a deal with Fitzy.
Wednesday's valiant "Call in Gay" effort didn't keep many people home. Guess when you're financially shaky you just don't feel up to playing that protest card. After this and the Prop 8 musical, we've just got to ask: When will there be a hardcore grassroots fight, instead of well-meaning but empty gestures?
All hail Tina Fey, new queen of YouTube (and Vanity Fair). Her Palin impression set the online world on fire. Now if only that could translate to solid ratings to keep 30 Rock on the air! Yes, we know about Hulu, and you're missing the point. Stupid 21st century... even the slackers are too lazy to watch TV.
Now for some entertaining (and disheartening) garbage with which to end your week: The Most Outrageous Comments of 2008. From Obama as a "crap sandwich" to "autistic kids are frauds" to ... well, let's just say it gets worse. Kind of like nasty road kill -- you kinda hafta look.
Just 'cuz the Tribune is deep in the red doesn't mean they can't bring Kris Kringle down with them. The newspaper's call-out for photos of children terrified by department store Santas got an avalanche of responses. Horrifying and utterly fascinating. Odds are one of our readers will identify one of these pictures and respond with an angry e-mail. We'll risk it! Enjoy.
Finally, a special message from the culture minister who just can't help herself: Dear Oprah, I know we mentioned you a lot last week, and usually I have nothing but good things to say. But for the love of carbs: STOP APOLOGIZING ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT. You and your celeb-royalty status set an example for millions of women worldwide. ACT LIKE IT. Please?
They reached a bailout agreement, but not for Detroit. And nothing on North Korea. So we'll call it a wash. We LOVED ya at the holiday party! (Especially all those divine people who told us how great the TR is, natch!) Good luck with the rest of the party-hopping season, and we'll see you in the trenches.