The Edge

Dems Muzzle Unendorsed Mouths

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Drowning Mona
Shut up! Not to be outdone by state Republicans who kept John McCain from speaking at a recent fund-raiser, local Democrats are putting the censorship squeeze on their ward leaders. In a letter from Chairman Jimmy Dimora, party minions were asked to allow only officially endorsed candidates to speak at ward club meetings. Letting the executive committee do your thinking for you is, according to the letter, a good way to "strengthen the party" and "show discipline." The reaction from the unwashed masses? "I threw the letter out," says one ward leader, "because I thought it was silly."

The silly season swung into high gear with McCain's appearance at the West Side Market Saturday, which was not nearly as spontaneous as press reports suggested. Though longer than expected, his stroll through the market was entirely scripted, with vendors notified in advance which stands he would stop at. Meanwhile, aides spent an hour and a half setting the stage for his "impromptu" speech outside, instructing vendors on the most photogenic arrangements of produce in their stalls. "What's taking so long in there?" one impatient fan demanded during the wait. "He's trying to find a Republican," cracked another. The crush of people made it impossible to shop for a while, though wily market veterans found a way to turn the crowd to their advantage. Dennis Barbo of Angie's Bakery let cameramen and photographers behind his counter to take shots of McCain buying chocolate doughnuts -- as long as they agreed to buy something. Barbo liked McCain, too. "He tipped our girl 60 cents."

The parade of expert witnesses in the Sheppard trial began last Friday with Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a forensic psychiatrist who opined that Marilyn's murder was the work of a sexual sadist -- but was more interesting for what he didn't say. Tanay was prepared to match the killer's profile with Richard Eberling. But after arguments that lasted the entire morning, Judge Ronald Suster ruled he couldn't, since the Sheppard team has yet to establish a direct link between Eberling and the murder. "I told you this was a conspiracy," Sam Reese Sheppard half-joked afterward, voicing the frustration felt by his lawyers, who have been upbeat but clearly unhappy about the restrictions placed on their Eberling evidence. "They tied my hands," complained Tanay, whose experience includes lengthy interviews with serial killer Ted Bundy. How did he find the deceptively charming mass murderer? "You'd trust him with your sister," declared Tanay.

That red carpet rolled out on Old River Road last Thursday was not, despite all the hype and pretension, for the opening of another strip club. It was the Coventry Road Shopper music awards, creaking with age. Among the award presenters struggling to be heard above the audience, which spent most of the night huddled around the bar, were rock dinosaur Michael Stanley and local promoter Michael Miller, last seen in the Shopper's "Hall of Shame" last November. The crowd didn't react well to other presenters using the stage to pitch their own projects and shows, nor to the same old tired names. The announcement that blues hero Robert Lockwood Jr. had won yet again was greeted with a series of boos. When Rosavelt was named "best rock act," the cry went up: "Fuck Rosavelt!" As the band launched into its set, the crowd headed for the exits, wondering if the heart of rock and roll is still beating.

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