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The [Monday] Papers

Is it possible to already be hopelessly behind on the second day of the year?

Yes. Because evil doesn't take a vacation.

1. Please send your correspondence to Richard M. Daley at Katten Muchin.


And don't forget:

"The full council approves the deal 40-5, with the nays coming from Toni Preckwinkle, Leslie Hairston, Rey Colon, Waguespack, and Ocasio. Five aldermen - Shiller, Carothers, George Cardenas, Ariel Reboyras, and Sandi Jackson - manage to miss the vote."

2. Powerball tickets will cost more this year, too.

3. Other things that will be more expensive in 2012.

4. Buying Drano just got ridiculously aggravating.

5. So did riding in the backseat and getting rid of your old TV.

6. Duh.

7. Robbie Fulks Kills 2011.

8. Iowa Caucus Pundit Summary:

If Mitt Romney wins, he doesn't really win because that's what was expected. So the second-place finisher wins. Unless that's Ron Paul. Ron Paul never wins. Even if he wins.

If Rick Santorum wins, he doesn't really win because he'll be next in line for media scrutiny and opponents' attack ads that will see him sink faster than Newt, Herman and Michelle. So Santorum is better off finishing second - or even a strong third.

If Michelle Bachmann wins, she doesn't really win because no one will take it seriously. Finishing third would seem like less of a fluke.

Jon Huntsman either wins by not competing in Iowa or loses by not competing in Iowa. But you don't really win if you don't compete in Iowa.

If Newt Gingrich wins, he doesn't really win because he's been so damaged. And if Newt Gingrich doesn't win, he also loses because he's so damaged.

If Rick Perry wins, he doesn't really win because nobody takes him seriously anymore. He's really vying for the Santorum-Bachmann second- or third-place finish.

In other words, no one wins Iowa - though some survive. It's really a pundit primary.

9. Obama acts like he's trying to win the Republican nomination.

"Asked to describe the circumstances under which the Constitution permits a president to order the targeted killing of a citizen who has not been sentenced to death by a court, Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Huntsman, Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney all said that a president could order the killing of a citizen who joins an enemy force that is at war with the United States, at least under certain conditions," the New York Times reports.

"My preference would be to capture, interrogate, and prosecute any U.S. citizen who has engaged in acts of war against the United States," Mr. Romney wrote. "But if necessary to defend the country, I would be willing to authorize the use of lethal force."

The Obama administration embraced similar reasoning as the basis for a drone strike in Yemen this year that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen whom executive branch officials accused of being a terrorist operative.

Mr. Paul, by contrast, described the circumstances in which a president could order the extrajudicial killing of a citizen in one word: "None."

One reason to hope Ron Paul gets the nomination: To see him debate these kinds of issues with constitutional law lecturer Barack Obama.

Two other Republican candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, did not answer the questions. Mr. Obama did not either; his re-election campaign said he had "pursued policies that strengthen our security" while "upholding our laws and values" and suggested that he would debate such matters in greater detail after Republicans chose his opponent.

Mr. Obama - along with Mr. Romney and Mr. Paul - participated in a similar project by The Boston Globe during the 2008 presidential primary campaign. His record in office shows how circumstances and the assumption of power can alter views expressed in a campaign.

Asked if a president could bomb Iran without Congressional permission, Mr. Obama, then a senator, said, "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

In 2011, after the United Nations approved an air campaign in Libya to protect civilians, Mr. Obama - without Congressional permission - deployed the American military to join NATO allies in airborne attacks on Libyan government forces. In asserting the legality of that step, the Justice Department issued a memorandum saying that Mr. Obama had inherent constitutional power to do so because he could "reasonably determine that such use of force was in the national interest."

Later, Mr. Obama also adopted the view - overruling Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers - that he could lawfully continue the bombing and drone strikes beyond a 60-day clock imposed by the War Powers Resolution because they did not constitute the sort of "hostilities" regulated by that law.

And you thought John McCain would be Bush's third term.

10. Obama better not be pinning his re-election hopes on a campaign theme of defending the middle class; that constituency is now way too small to qualify as a base. We've got some better ideas.

11. Chicagoetry: Black and Blue.

Programming Note
I'm back behind the bar tonight to start the year right with discount Old Style, tasty Schlitz, a fine collection of beers from the Bell's brewery of Kalamazoo, and free pizza and a great jukebox. Stop in and share your regrets and resolutions. 5p - 2a.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Ask for Black Horseshoe.


Posted on January 2, 2012

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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