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The [Monday] Papers

There are three big stories this morning that belong on any Chicago newspaper's front page: The sentencing of Saddam Hussein and the reaction thereof in the streets of Iraq; the latest campaign developments before tomorrow's election, and; the Bears embarrassing first loss of the season to the lowly Miami Dolphins.

Endorsing one side in a dispute over a child abuse case does not make the list.

The Tribune played the Hussein story at the top of its front page - as did virtually every newspaper in the country - and in the free world. The Sun-Times put it on page 8.

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty
Tribune editorial: "Saddam Hussein: Guilty." Indeed - of crimes against humanity carried out in 1982. Curiously, the editorial page then didn't support invading Iraq, nor for the next 20 years. In fact, here is Don Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam in 1983. Here is Ronald Reagan with Tariq Azziz in 1984.

"The administration had U.S. intelligence reports indicating that Iraq was using chemical weapons, both against Iran and against Iraqi Kurdish insurgents, in the early 1980s, at the same time that it decided to support Iraq in the war," National Security Archive Senior Fellow Joyce Battle told the Washington Post. "So U.S. awareness of Iraq's chemical warfare did not deter it from initiating the policy of providing intelligence and military assistance to Iraq. There were shipments of chemical weapons precursors from several U.S. companies to Iraq during the 1980s, but the U.S. government would deny that it was aware that these exports were intended to be used in the production of chemical weapons."

So . . . when are we going to try Saddam's accomplices?

Battle Redux
"The U.S., for many years, held the view that promoting Islamist beliefs would effectively counter the spread of communist ideology in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, and was not at all opposed to Saudi support for conservative Islamist movements. In return, the U.S. presence in various military facilities in Saudi Arabia is widely viewed as the ultimate guarantor of the Saudi royal family's continuing rule."

Trail Mix
My favorite snapshots from the local campaign trail as culled from various news reports -

1. Gov. Rod Blagojevich was to be the "chief guest" Saturday night at a party sponsored by Mutual Bank (mutual indeed!) and its president, Amrish Mahajan - a longtime no-bid state contractor with bank business pending before state regulatory boards. Mahajan and his wife are friends of Patti Blagojevich, who earned $113,000 in real estate commissions from them this year. The Mahajans denied knowing who Patti's husband was though their lawyer said Patti was an old friend of the First Family. Blagojevich ended up skipping the event, saying he was nursing a cold. No candidate stays home the final weekend of a campaign because of a cold - especially not a robo-candidate like Blago. Further, the governor said he didn't know Mahajan was sponsoring the event. Right. See the "Following the Bouncing Blago" item at the end of The [Blago] Papers for a refresher.

2. Illinois Republicans warn that 14 years ago Rich Whitney was a Socialist - and the Sun-Times transcribes.

Whitneys' response was typically open and candid - showing far more honesty and preparedness than either of his opponents.

"He said his positions in the governor's race - funding education by raising the income tax and lowering local property taxes, universal heatlh care and cleaning up corruption - are 'mainstream' positions," the Sun-Times reported.

"I'm the one that's running on the mainstream," Whitney said. "Putting a casino in Chicago? Now that's a kooky idea."

Whitney could have added: "At least the Socialists never put Alan Keyes up for election. And that was just two years ago!"

3. Republicans are trying to get Whitney voters to move into Topinka's column. But aren't most Whitney voters either lefties and Greenies or Democrats disgusted with Blagojevich who would never think of casting a vote for a Republican? Seems to me Topinka needs to turn out the conservative wing of her party that isn't thrilled with her and maybe snag some independents rather than look to Whitney voters for a protest vote.

4. "Maybe he ought to run for manager of the Cubs," Topinka said of the gov. "They're a bunch of losers too and need some help." True enough, but man does she have a big, obnoxious mouth.

Plus, it looks like she'll be the one looking for a job soon.

5. "Why are churches important? Really, the base of my candidacy is the South Side," Todd Stroger said. "And you will find a large audience at the churches . . . they want to hear something."

6. Stroger was appearing "at the same microphone [where] just before the March primary [he] promised parishioners 'President Stroger will be back' from a stroke that hospitalized him just days before the primary." Which we now know was, um, less than truthful.

7. Bishop Arthur Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God in Woodlawn, "urged his huge congregation not to put much stock in newspaper articles about federal corruption probes of those close to the governor."

Because God's not really interested much in cheats, liars, and crooks. He's a regular Democrat.

8."The Illinois Republican Party is paying for scary direct-mail pieces going into the 6th District with a picture of bin Laden and a blast against Democrats," Lynn Sweet reported over the weekend.

You remember bin Laden, right? He's the guy the Republicans haven't captured.

9. "As chairwoman of the Illinois Republican Party a few years ago, Topinka refused to endorse the re-election of former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, the maverick Republican who took on corruption and the Combine," John Kass reminds us. "That Topinka, as GOP chairwoman, would refuse to endorse the incumbent senator of her own party who fought corruption is astonishing.

"Fitzgerald defied the Combine by bringing independent federal prosecutors to Illinois, including U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation), who has been digging at the fat roots of political corruption in Illinois.

"So the Combine showed Sen. Fitzgerald the door. And Judy helped walk him out."

10. The Beachwood Election Guide sorts it all out for you.

Rich Daley
The mayor speaking about moral values is rich. Let's review.

Only In An Alternate Universe That One Of Our Newspapers Seems to Exist In
"Could CTA tie and key chains become as popular as those "I (Heart) NY" T-shirts?"

Um, no. Never. Not even close.

Foreseen CTA sock recall: holes along the Brown Line and failure to cover much of the South Side of the foot.

Olympic Dream
Maybe local reporters should vet the economics and feasability and politics of Chicago's Olympic bid rather than cheerleading. You know, be reporters - which means doing more than calling people and writing down what they say.

Sheriff Don't Like It
I didn't weigh in on the Cook County sheriff's race, but Rev. Jesse Jackson just endorsed Republican Peter Garza, as has the Chicago Defender, which said: "We cannot forget the way in which Dart was chosen to serve as the successor to Michael Sheahan, completely shutting out African Americans from the process and only allowing us a place at the table after the fact. Forget the fact that Garza is a Republican. There is a need for African Americans in the city and county to full embrace a coalition between African Americans and Hispanics, and aligning with Garza is a good start."

Spot Sneed's Sources
Her pal Judy Baar Topinka plants a Brenda Edgar item; the Daley team plants a Jesse Jackson Jr. item, and; a friend of the Biedermeir furniture and art exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum plants an item.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Build a better garden.


Posted on November 6, 2006

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig.
POLITICS - The Political Odds UPDATED.
SPORTS - NHL: CTE Not Our Fault.

BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man.

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