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The [Thursday] Papers

Barack Obama's relationship with Tony Rezko is the subject of a front page New York Times story this morning.

"There is no sign that Mr. Obama, who declined to be interviewed for this article, did anything improper," the Times reports.

At least until you read the rest of the article. Then there are plenty of signs.

"Mr. Obama has portrayed Mr. Rezko as a one-time fund-raiser whom he had occasionally seen socially," the Times reports. "But interviews with more than a dozen political and business associates suggest that the two men were closer than the senator has indicated.

"Mr. Obama turned to Mr. Rezko for help at several important junctures."

This story won't be the last of it either; there is still more to the Obama-Rezko relationship to be unearthed.

Our updated Political Odds, posted earlier this morning, can hardly keep up.

Declining Value
Did Obama simply "decline" to respond to the Times? Or did he make a calculated, strategic decision to avoid answering questions because the truth could hurt him politically?

I'm not a fan of the Times's soft-pedaling.

The AP's highly respected political reporter Ron Fournier just wrote a memo urging his colleagues to toughen up and tell the truth.

When a public official lies, write it, he says. You are not obliged to print spin. Write with authority.

What's depressing is that professional journalists have to be reminded of the lessons they were supposed to have learned in Journalism 101. Or maybe those aren't the kind of things they teach at Medill and taught at City News.

Piss Water
"The Republican hunger for [Fred] Thompson reminds me of how popular Coors beer was in Chicago long ago, when it wasn't sold here, and so it became somewhat precious," John Kass writes this morning. "Beer drinkers lusted after Coors and lugged cases of it back from Colorado in the trunks of their cars, handing out the cans as if they were special treats, driving up the desire, until Coors appeared in stores and beer drinkers figured out it was just another beer."

Rug Burn
Kass persuasively compares Thompson to Obama, then ends his column with a bit of media criticism.

"Which candidate will have the media rug pulled out from under him first? Guess. Obama's a Democrat. Thompson's a Republican."

So, judging by the 2004 and 2000 presidential campaigns, Obama.

Separation Anxiety
The special prosecutors who examined the Jon Burge torture cases, Edward Egan and Robert Boyle, have refused to appear before Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins' criminal justice committee.

Egan and Boyle cited the separation of powers between legislative and executive branches of government. The mayor is the executive, see, and he has to keep the legislative branches separated from power.

Power Grab
"Mayor Daley's proposal to overhaul the police Office of Professional Standards hit a snag Wednesday when four aldermen who contended the plan doesn't go far enough delayed a City Council vote," the Tribune reports.

"There have been concerns about police misconduct for years, and there really never was an attempt to form a more independent OPS," Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said. "All of a sudden, the mayor proposes something and in a couple weeks it is considered a done deal. I thought it was important to take a deep breath and look at it more closely."

Egan and Boyle refused to comment, citing a conflict of interest with reality.

Family Dining Front
"Ihop Corp., the biggest U.S. pancake-house chain, offered to buy Applebee's International Inc., people familiar with the matter said."

Egan and Boyle issued a statement saying the deal would violate the separation of pancake powers - but they'd be willing to overlook it as long as the Denny's grand slam breakfast was left alone.

Bayless Clueless
Famed Chicago restrauteur Rick Bayless said Wednesday that the city council should repeal its ban on foie gras because "if it stays on the books, I am afraid it gives us a strange and provincial reputation."

Bayless added that he preferred Chicago be known for torture of both animals and black men.

A Separate Piece
The city council voted Wednesday to separate the public from public art. The mayor assured critics of the new measure that "I'm not choosing the artists. [Cultural Affairs Commissioner] Lois Weisberg is," he said.

So that's one degree of separation.

Mission Unaccomplished
Walt Zlotow of Glen Ellen congratulations the Tribune on its 160th birthday. Or does he?

Schools Screwed
"Effectively, Daley and Duncan are manipulating the state's goofy education-funding system to divert money intended for schoolchildren to TIF deals - like the $58 million handout they're ready to give developers to build an 18-story tower on top of Union Station," Ben Joravsky reports.

Time Wasters
Why are the mayor, the city council, and civic leaders spending so much time on foie gras when there are so many more important things to worry about?

Gov. Baloneyvich
"The antipathy toward Blagojevich's budget efforts was expressed in the House by one of his toughest critics, Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), who said the governor spent more time jogging in Chicago than working in Springfield," the Tribune reports.

"In a scathing broadside, Franks lashed out at Blagojevich for refusing to explain why his campaign fund has been subpoenaed by federal authorities, an issue brought to light by the Tribune, and why the governor has failed to push for ethics reforms, including his own dormant plan that he vowed would 'rock the system.'

"'The reason the governor is not pounding his bully pulpit is because he can't,' Franks said.

"Deputy Gov. Sheila Nix disputed Franks' assertions, saying the governor and his aides work every day on budget matters."

Sometimes even from home.

Catching Flak
"The value of Michael Barrett, a lousy defensive catcher having a career year at the plate, will never be higher. Trade him."

- Me, July 26, 2006

The Beachwood Tip Line: Take a power trip.


Posted on June 14, 2007

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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