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The [Friday] Papers

"Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown accused Mayor Daley on Thursday of seeing no evil while his former Bridgeport neighbors harassed convicted felon-turned-government witness Dan Katalinic," the Sun-Times reports.

"One day after a federal judge condemned threatening phone calls and vandalism targeting Katalinic, Brown pointed the finger of blame directly at Daley."

Just two days after the mayor reiterated his contention that he is the nation's most accessible public official, a spokeswoman for his campaign as well as chief political consultant David Axelrod refused to comment.

Signature Move
"For the first time in years, the mayor relied upon ward organizations to circulate his re-election petitions, not the Hispanic Democratic Organization, a powerful group of city workers now under federal investigation over allegations they got jobs, raises and promotions for their work on political campaigns," the Sun-Times reports.

"Four years ago, Daley collected 40,000 signatures; a Sun-Times analysis linked 18,950 of them to HDO. This time, Daley got 24,100 signatures."

Think about those numbers. Four years ago the mayor got roughly three-quarters as many signatures from HDO alone as he got in all this year. From an organization under federal investigation for trading on that political work for city jobs and promotions - the ones tied to the massive hiring fraud perpetrated by Daley's former patronage chief Robert Sorich.

Get the picture?

"Four years ago, about one-third of the 2,799 people who passed Daley's petitions had city jobs," the Sun-Times says. This year, with HDO decimated by the investigation, it was closer to 150.

Getting clearer?

Earlier this week, WLS radio reporter Bill Cameron told the Tribune that Daley "wouldn't even concede that he has benefited politically by the work of those who have been prosecuted. He not only said to me that he's not worried about what may be coming to him from the feds, because he did nothing wrong, but that he didn't know what was going on and he didn't benefit from any of it. But of course he did."

Meanwhile, Daley's campaign "did not respond to questions about the petitions," the Sun-Times says.

You know, most accessible public official in the nation and all.

Wink and Nod
"[North Side Ald. Tom] Tunney said he signed a sworn statement that he voluntarily circulated the petitions without being offered a job, raise or promotion for his help," the Sun-Times notes.

But boy will the streets be smoothly paved in the 44th next year.

"Obama met with Mayor Daley on Thursday," Lynn Sweet reports. "Obama suggested he brought up the scandals that have plagued Daley's City Hall.

"I think he is trying to fix those problems," Obama told Sweet and the Sun-Times editorial board.

Gee, Barack, do share.

"Obama would start a presidential campaign second to only chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton," Sweet writes.


- The latest Marist poll shows Obama trailing Clinton, John Edwards, and Al Gore.

- The latest L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll shows Clinton, Gore, Edwards, and John Kerry (!) have higher favorabilty ratings than Obama.

- And the latest poll of Iowa caucusgoers, where an Obama campaign would "start," shows him behind Edwards and Clinton.
Just sayin'.

"I am the first one to acknowledge that it was a boneheaded move for me to purchase this 10-foot strip from Rezko, given that he was already under a cloud of concern," Obama told the Tribune editorial board.

But it wasn't the purchase of the 10-foot strip that was the problem per se, it was that Rezko owned the adjacent property in the first place. How did that come to be?

"To the best of my recollection, I told him about the property," Obama told the Sun-Times last month.

It was Obama who asked Rezko for a favor, not the other way around.

Pundit Patrol
- Jonah Goldberg, who supported the Iraq war, now says a strongman like Augusto Pinochet ought to be installed. You know, as the replacement for Saddam Hussein.

- Sun-Times Editorial Page Editor Steve Huntley has this to say this morning:

"[P]hilosophically, liberals think government's default position should be to intervene on behalf of people, in this case seniors with drug bills. If the Democrats were to be successful with this program, why stop there? If price negotiation is desirable for seniors, wouldn't it also be vital to the universal health plan that liberals envision?"

In a column against this position.

- Debra Pickett returns from childbirth to write a head-spinning column so meta-meta that I can't even get my head around the ever-deepening levels of irony. She has truly outdone herself by so writing the Ultimate Debra Pickett Column that I can only tip my cap to her in wonder and move on. Nothing beats satire like the real thing.

- Entomologist George Manning explains why he doesn't think the city's estimate of the rat population adds up.

(Last month, we ran this item: In "City Sees Progress In War On Rodents," the Sun-Times ballyhooed Chicago's efforts to decrease the rat population from 6 to 7 million 20 years ago to 500,000 today.

"If the reporter had bothered to check his own paper's clips, the headline could have (and should have) been: "No Progress On Rats In Six Years."

"Because in 2000, the paper ran a story headlined "Chicago Winning Battle Against Rats" that noted the rodent population was down to . . . 500,000.")

- John Andrews of Ingleside writes (second letter) that "While the city is not the least bit hesitant to displace hundreds of homeowners and businesses in suburban Bensenville and Elk Grove Village, down to moving a cemetery, there has never been any movement to move homeowners in the Midway area to lengthen runways and provide the extra margin of safety experienced at O'Hare."

State of State
"Chicago Police arrested the daughter of Secretary of State Jesse White Thursday on drug charges after a sting on the South Side," the Sun-Times reports.

The Cook County Democratic Party announced it would slate her to replace her father in 2010.

Oh Cicero
Cicero is suing its former police chief for violating terms of his severance package, which apparently required him to say "No comment" if asked about his tenure there. (second item)

Pretty Flowers
"Twenty-one percent of Chicago residents live in poverty, a 3.9 percent jump since 2000, according to the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights."

That's one in five.

Arm Alarm
Longest Arm In World.

Longest Arm Hair In the World.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Set the record straight.


Posted on December 15, 2006

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike An Old Story.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Kanye, Chili, Jimmy, Tarik.

BOOKS - Conway Barbour & The Black Middle Class.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Malone's Pork Head Cheese.

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