The [Monday] Papers
1. "Very reluctantly, the Bears clinched home-field advantage Sunday throughout the NFC playoffs, which will proceed as schedule whether anyone shows up or not."
- Don Pierson, "Bears Lack A Sense Of Urgency"
3. The self-proclaimed most accessible public official in the nation will once again refuse to engage his campaign opponents. There will be no debates
4. "Illinois is a low-spending (42nd) and low-tax (48th) state, despite being fifth most populous. The ongoing state deficits are caused primarily by revenue shortcomings, not wasteful or profligate spending," says Ralph Martire, of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. "Illinois also has one of the most unfair, regressive tax systems in the nation."
5. We can't win in Iraq if we repeat the mistakes of Vietnam. Er, wait . . .
6. "Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagon's detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual," The New York Times reports this morning.
"The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.
"But when American soldiers raided the company at his urging, Mr. Vance and another American who worked there were detained as suspects by the military, which was unaware that Mr. Vance was an informer, according to officials and military documents.
"At Camp Cropper, he took notes on his imprisonment and smuggled them out in a Bible."
7. "In the brig, Mr. Padilla was denied access to counsel for 21 months. Andrew Patel, one of his lawyers, said his isolation was not only severe but compounded by material and sensory deprivations. In an affidavit filed Friday, he alleged that Mr. Padilla was held alone in a 10-cell wing of the brig; that he had little human contact other than with his interrogators; that his cell was electronically monitored and his meals were passed to him through a slot in the door; that windows were blackened, and there was no clock or calendar; and that he slept on a steel platform after a foam mattress was taken from him, along with his copy of the Koran, 'as part of an interrogation plan,'" The New York Times reported recently of another detainee with Chicago ties.
"Mr. Padilla's situation, as an American declared an enemy combatant and held without charges by his own government, was extraordinary and the conditions of his detention appear to have been unprecedented in the military justice system.
"Philip D. Cave, a former judge advocate general for the Navy and now a lawyer specializing in military law, said, 'There's nothing comparable in terms of severity of confinement, in terms of how Padilla was held, especially considering that this was pretrial confinement.'"
8. America was tested by 9/11, and it's hard to conclude that we passed the test. Can we really say we showed character in the face of adversity? Or did we show how vulnerable we are to destroying ourselves from within?
9. In other papers:
Venezuela president says Castro not dying (AP, 12/16)
AAA sees higher holiday travel numbers (AP, 12/14)
N.M. gov optimistic about N. Korea talks (AP, 12/15)
Consumer inflation stays docile in Nov. (AP, 12/15)
Luxuries of past become necessities (USA Today, 12/14)
American Airlines spruces up first-class (AP, 12/13)
- Tim Willette
10. "Complaints about cell phone service are near the top of every list of consumer gripes," MSNBC reports. "The Illinois attorney general's office, for example, last year ranked cell phone complaints as the fourth-most-common complaint, trailing only gas prices, credit card firms and home improvement scams."
11. You mean Obama actually has a record to evaluate? I was under the impression he was so pristine he had yet to cast a vote.
12. "On Election Day after Election Day, not enough Illinoisans do demand honest government in Illinois," the Tribune editorial board kvetches.
Just what, exactly, are Illinois voters to do? Even in those instances when there are competitive races, the choice is almost always between two candidates of ill repute. Illinois voters have virtually no opportunity to express their disgust at the ballot box - that's the genius of the Machine. And that's where the blame ought to be directed. But as long as the Tribune continues to endorse putting Richard M. Daley and his pals back in office, nothing will change. This is the same editorial board, by the way, that refused to allow the Green Party's Rich Whitney - who was on the ballot - into its private little gubernatorial candidates debate. Are you part of the problem, Tribune, or part of the solution? Until the paper mobilizes itself behind a movement for clean government, it has very little standing to complain.
13. "I want to make clear that each and every employee of the City of Chicago should cooperate fully and honestly with federal prosecutors, as I have done," the mayor said as he kicked off his re-election campaign. "We need to clean out the rot of the old Chicago way and restore people's confidence in government. I will answer each and every question the media has and turn over every document to the last phone message and meeting calendar in order to show not only that I personally have nothing to hide, but that I believe in the transparent democratic government of America that so many have lost their lives defending."
Oh, wait, that's just something I imagined.
No correction will be forthcoming.
Wasn't Daley the Cook County State's Attroney when this happened?
15. "I never understand why so many people want to challenge us for our jobs," Ald. Arenda Troutman told the Tribune's Rick Kogan. "I think there are a lot of peole who simply don't understand that the longer aldermen are in their jobs the more effective they can be."
Take Troutman, for example. She's only getting better at her job.
She was appointed by Daley - not that he's the root of the problem - in 1990. In 2004 we learned of her relationship with Donnell "Scandalous" Jehan. You know Donnell - the reputed leader of the Black Disciples who "skipped town after being indicted on charges of running a multimillion-dollar drug operation in her ward. Before that he was observed driving the alderman's car."
And, of course, her family's trucking firm "profited from the Hired Truck Program."
So her experience is paying off.
16. Daley stands by Troutman.
17. So does the Tribune editorial board, which gave her a rave endorsement in in her last campaign and is likely to again this year, as it endorses almost every incumbent while blaming voters for not better expressing their outrage.
18. Revisit the odds on who will beat the Bears in their playoff opener.
19. "Jason Marquis was the worst pitcher in the National League last year, a feat even I could have achieved," writes William Choslovsky.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Electronic voting.
Posted on December 18, 2006
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