* Late entry for lead of the year just in, page 2 of Chi Trib, AP story from Alaska by Rachel d’Oro about animal researcher checking out reindeer meat as tasty and good for you, with view to steaks and chops:
FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- He has a long beard, wears a red parka and hangs out with reindeer just a short sleigh ride from an interior Alaska town called North Pole.
That's where the resemblance ends.
* Ditto for positive-news story out of Iraq, at least for Trib, on page one, by Aamer Madhani, “Among Iraqi army units, 1 really earns its stripes: Tiger Battalion has grown from shabby militia to role model for building the fledgling force,” with this lead:
MUQDADIYAH, Iraq -- As Iraqi army Capt. Saddam Ismail Abid commanded a vehicle checkpoint in this northeastern city one recent day, he was more like the sheriff of Mayberry than a member of Iraq's most hunted fraternity.
Drivers shook his hand, acquaintances peeked out of their cars to offer him kisses on the cheek and a few neighbors even pulled over to chat with him about his recent wedding. Abid was so relaxed that he said he didn't believe it was necessary to wear his body armor.
"There is nothing to be afraid of," Abid explained. "Muqdadiyah's people love the Tiger Battalion."
* But yesterday Sun-Times Controversy section ran a Salon-dot-calm counterstrike vs. “Neocon” pre-emptive strike on Spielberg’s “Munich” without running the pre-emptive strike. We heard the rebuttal but not the original, which had not been reported by S-T. Why not both together?
* Robin Williams “mostly tries to keep politics out of the show after he did a few jokes about Bush's brainpower at a base in 2003 and got a chilly reception,” says a UK Guardian story out of Washington about stars’ unwillingness to perform for troops in Iraq. Once there were Bob Hope, Duke Ellington, The Marx Brothers, Judy Garland, and the like. Now there are Williams, 50 Cent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and their like.
Note the antiwar Williams as a regular. Ditto Al Franken. But it’s dangerous to be there and unpopular as a cause among Hollywood-ites. Some or many don’t want to seem to seem to be endorsing the war, says Wayne Newton, who took over from Bob Hope as chief USO recruiter.