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The [Monday] Papers

Inexplicably, the Sun-Times has endorsed Todd Stroger for Cook County board president. I'll deal with that and the rest of the locals' endorsements in The [Endorsement] Papers later today.

Viet Baghdad
"Academics and critics of the White House compare Iraq to Vietnam, but the violence today in Iraq is more splintered and complicated, with sects, ethnic groups, Baathists and foreign terrorists set against each other and the government and coalition forces in a conflict that defies sound-bite answers," the Tribune editorial page says today.

The Trib editorial board is exactly right without meaning to be - in Vietnam, U.S. forces were clearly aligned with one side of the war fighting against another side. In Iraq, we are on nobody's side but our own, fighting against everyone. That's what happens when you go to war with a president who didn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia (and many in our government still don't) until days before the invasion.

The edit page also forwards figures from the Defense Department on the number of trained Iraqi troops that have never been right and no one believes anymore, except editorial boards who can't face the truth of how wrong they were about this war.

Dem Districts
What's most interesting about the Trib poll of the 6th and 8th congressional districts isn't so much that they are trending Democratic, but that the top concern of Republicans in those districts is immigration, while the top concern of Democrats and independents there is the war in Iraq. (The war is not even the second highest concern to those Republicans: In the 6th, that would be the terrorism threat to the United States; in the 8th, the economy and jobs.)

Washington 's World
"If you have been following Ald. Todd Stroger's 'campaign' for the Cook County presidency, you know that the moniker 'clod' is too complimentary," says Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington, in a must-read rundown of the state of this year's campaigns.

So does that make the Sun-Times editorial board clodettes?

Washington also discovers that Dorothy Brown's mayoral campaign is non-existent, and possibly a stalking horse for the Richard M. Daley.

Cold Steele
"Many expect board President Bobbie Steele to retire after the election, handing her district seat to someone else - likely one of her children," the Sun-Times reports.

New reform proposal: Require Illinois politicians to be childless.

Vested Interests
"Wal-Mart employees' familiar blue vests emblazoned with 'May I help you?' and the smiley face logo may become a thing of the past as the world's largest retailer makes another visible change as part of its efforts to upgrade stores and attract more shoppers.

"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday it will adopt a new dress code of blue polo shirts and khakis in about 1,400 stores in the Northeast and South. Nationally, it has more than 3,600 discount stores and Supercenters, which combine a discount store with a full grocery section."

In addition, members of the Chicago City Council will be fitted for the new look on Wednesday, sources said.

Cop Flop
"[20th Ward Ald. Arenda] Troutman demanded to know 'how many hidden Burges are out there' - a reference to former Lt. Jon Burge, the retired Area 2 commander accused in a special prosecutor's report of torturing criminal suspects for two decades while police brass looked the other way," reported the Sun-Times, in a story emanating from city budget hearings.

"And then, there was downtown Ald. Burton F. Natarus (42nd), who wants Cline to order police officers who walk around writing parking tickets to issue another ticket - to dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets."

Two Chicagos.

Burke's Law
"Rather than meet with reporters in recent weeks, Burke's staff asked for a list of written questions, which the Sun-Times submitted Sept. 18. Burke's staff has yet to respond.

"As part of those written questions, the Sun-Times asked Burke's staff to discuss any investigations they conducted to determine if the employees were really hurt, why employees remain on paid disability leave for years while their cases languish, and to identify the law firms Burke has hired to defend the city."

I'm starting to see the wisdom of term limits.

Dirty Jesus
If I call in with a water formation in my sink resembling Lucifer will the Sun-Times make a news story out of that too? Ditka? A Bears mini-football featuring Brian Urlacher and the mother of his child? The illusion of a real newspaper in a puddle on my front stoop?

Ad Hoc
Product Placement of the Day (from Saturday): Sara Lee.

Not that Pancakes & Sausage On a Stick doesn't kick a ton of ass. It's just that calling a Sara Lee propagandist for comment is stretching it. A review of the product and a list of where it's available might have been a better call, not to mention that the online version of the story doesn't include an image of the product.

Comment of the Day
"I can't believe something like this is legal."

- ChristianZ

Todd's Tune
"We don't need George Bush politics in Cook County," Todd Stroger says in a new campaign ad. You mean electing the unqualified son of a president to his dad's old job?

Steinberg Watch
Self-appointed constitutional law expert Neil Steinberg has determined that a public park is somehow exempt from free speech protections, and that a young woman in a white spandex jumpsuit does not therefore have the right to stand under the Bean and demand that we all drink Coca-Cola.

The city's law department begs to differ, and Steinberg's formulation that begging is commercial speech doesn't take into account how charities such as the Salvation Army would therefore be reclassified, but I'm sure Steinberg researched the issue and gave it an adequate amount of thought instead of just reacting to a newspaper story and dashing off a knee-jerk response in under five minutes.

I'm also not sure what he's getting at when he asks what the obvious difference between the Lake County and Cook County Forest Preserves is - but is it the race of those in charge? Or does he just mean money? How many minutes a week do you suppose Steinberg does put into his columns?

Buck Stops Where?
Mark Brown nicely sums up "Clout's Sick List," writing on Sunday that "[I]t's another problem long known to insiders at City Hall that for some reason never seems to get straightened out, making one question whether it's just a matter of bureaucratic intransigence or whether the dysfunction serves a hidden purpose."

Does anyone seriously think this is out of Richard M. Daley's control? Had enough?

(By the way, memo to Steinberg: the Cook County board has long been under Daley's thumb, so blame him for the forest preserves.)

Gov. Baloneyvich
The governor wants to shield his financial support for Todd Stroger as part of a broader party effort.

Meeks' Inheritance
Hate to say I told you so, but . . .

All You Need to Know
Last movie Todd Stroger felt like walking out of: Leaving Las Vegas.
Last movie Tony Peraica felt like walking out of: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Hate to pile on, but . . . the Sun-Times ran this correction today:

"Capitol Hill in Black and White is the name of the book Cook County Board president candidate Todd Stroger recommended all people should read. Stroger provided the incorrect title for the book in a Sunday story."

Did I mention the Sun-Times has endorsed Stroger?

Monroe's Mistake
Sun-Times Op-Ed columnist Monroe Anderson is the latest to argue that keeping political offices in the family is a "great American tradition," instead of seeing it as a pathetic American tradition that ought to be eradicated. Is democracy really that tough a concept? [Clarification 10-25: It's come to my attention that I misread this column by Monroe Anderson as endorsing Todd Stroger's bid for the Cook County board presidency as well as the practice of keeping public offices in the family. The column, in fact, was meant to convey just the opposite.]

The Beachwood Tip Line: Don't leave work without it.


Posted on October 23, 2006

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Bad News About Human Nature.

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