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The [Monday] Papers

A lot to catch up on today.

Mayoral Mystery
Why does the mayor behave like a profoundly unhappy man with a guilty conscience?

Paper Tiger
The Sun-Times editorial page tills familiar ground today excoriating the public for a supposed collective yawn at the latest in Chicago corruption without explaining its endorsements of Richard Daley and Todd Stroger, nor lambasting Barack Obama for his endorsements of both men even as he tries to run a presidential campaign based on an uncynical politics, nor directing its ire at the paper's management for publishing City Hall press release after City Hall press release under Fran Spielman's byline or its candy-coated Olympics coverage and severely understaffed newsroom.

With each finger the media points at the public for political apathy and ignorance, there are four fingers pointing back.

Breaking Civic News!
Man's Best Friend May Also Be Man's Best Therapist. A report by Nesita Kwan. Tonight on NBC5.

Missed Connections
"The $208,000 in contributions the CBOT and the Merc gave to Daley's re-election campaign in January and February are more than four times the $47,000 the two exchanges had donated to his campaign in the previous eight years," the Sun-Times reports.

"Spokesmen for the mayor and the merging futures trading center said there was no connection between the campaign cash and Daley's promise earlier this week to provide unspecified financial subsidies to assist the Merc's $12 billion buyout of the CBOT."

Okay, first, why even ask that question?

"Why yes, there is a connection," a spokesperson for the exchange said. "In exchange for the campaign contribution, the mayor agreed to provide even more money in return in tax increment financing. It's a win-win."

Instead, the question you ask is this: Why did the your organization donate significantly more money to the mayor this year than in previous years?

Follow-up: But someone must know. There had to be a meeting or two before the check was written. What was talked about in that meeting?

Follow-up: But this was a year in which the mayor had no real competition. He didn't need your money to win.

Follow-up: If there is no connection, then are you saying you just threw that money away? You got nothing for it? If you aren't getting anything for your money, why give it?

"The $107,000 from the Merc and $101,000 from the CBOT were Daley's largest donations during the reporting period."

Proposed policy: We will not report any comments from spokespeople on stories that demand the elected official be heard from. So unless Daley and the exchange bosses tell us in their own words that there was never any intent for this money to infliuence the mayor's actions, we will not print a rote denial. We want their denial on the record, so if there are people who know this not to be true, they will know who is lying.


Meanwhile, the governor is playing games too.

"A campaign official would not say whether any of the money the governor is spending on lawyers is related to the federal investigations of his administration.

"Beyond reporting it as required, we don't detail it," said Doug Scofield, campaign spokesman. "We just haven't broken that down. We haven't commented beyond that."

Why? Are you embarrassed?

Follow-up: Just to be clear, you're saying that the campaign has no internal records breaking down where its legal fees have been spent? How is that even possible? Isn't that lousy accounting?

Headline: Guv's Campaign Hiding/Unaware of Legal Bills.

Rod Travolta
"Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois General Assembly are poised to set a record for frustration this week in an ongoing budget impasse that is on the verge of having a direct impact on the lives of ordinary citizens," the Tribune reports.

But you can't stop his hair.

Cub Scrub
Jim Hendry says Jason Kendall is a "high-character guy." Like his habit of antagonizing Internet chat rooms users? ("The main reason I got my computer is to tear people apart," he once blogged.) Or was it his reference to "joke-book fans" and "Rotisserie-league geeks"? Maybe it's his history of brawls. ("I guess [one pitcher he charged] caught Jason at the wrong moment, which is not hard to do," a former teammate once said.

Welcome to Chicago, Jason! Glad to have your .221 average and awesome attitude here!

Cleavage Call
Neil Steinberg, who apparently will halt his Obama adulation now that he is declaring a moratorium on following a presidential campaign for probably the first time in his life, decries the recent focus on Hillary Clinton's cleavage. With a photo of said cleavage and a caption promising "More photos on Lynn Sweet's blog at"

Bat Grrrls
Go Pioneers! Learn more about our new favorite team.

Sneed Screed
Apparently it never occurred to Patrick Spilotro as he fumed to Michael Sneed about the "chemosynthetic parasites" who killed his brothers Tony and Michael that they were administered a rough justice by their peers. Or was it not Tony Spilotro who once put a man's head in a vice and squeezed until an eyeball popped out?

Then again, Pat is the father of one of Sneed's son's best friend, and once helped clean up her North Shore backyard after a prom photo shoot, and that's good enough for Sneed.

Beyond Durbin
"I was one of the people to say, 'This is a different kind of oil company,'" Durbin said at a news conference at Foster Beach, part of the weekend petition drive (against BP's plan to dump more waste in Lake Michigan).

I sure hope he's just saying that for effect.

Race War
Adult Prison Population For Drug Offenses, Illinois:
Black - 65.8 percent.
White - 23.8 percent.

Drug Abusers, Illinois:
Black - 14 percent.
White - 72 percent.

Reported by the Tribune.

Chicago Way University
"The audit showed that among other expenses, [Chicago State University President Elnora] Daniel spent more than $15,000 on a nine-day 'leadership seminar' aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean in August 2006, where she was accompanied by five family members," the Tribune reports. "A year earlier, five family members accompanied her to the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando."

Torn Asunder
"As city gentrifies, black professionals squeezed in middle."

Political Hymn Book
Another story about whether a Mormon can be elected president. Haven't new scripts been handed out yet? I found this Ask Dog Lady column to be much more informative.

Presidential Pick 'Em
Let me get this straight.

Obama is JFK.
Edwards is RFK.
Thompson is Reagan.
Bush is Nixon.
Or is Cheney Nixon?
Hillary is Bill.
Or is Obama Lincoln and Hillary Eleanor?

READER COMMENT: re Obama is JFK, etc: Instead, how about: They're all McKinley.

Foreign Affairs
The MSM loves courageous bloggers fighting for democracy overseas a lot more than they like them here at home.

Transparent Agenda
The media loves transparency - except for itself.

Editor Ann Marie Lipinski, for example, may want to spell out exactly why she doesn't think front page ads serve readers well, what she did to stop them, and the financials she is privy to that are being used to justify them. Just for starters.

In fact, in light of what's going on in the corporate suite, a full-scale investigation into the Trib's financials seems in order.

Ad Alternatives
What's keeping the Tribune from selling off all its non-Chicago properties and using the cash to build a great hometown paper? Could it be executive greed and ego?

Public Editor
A smug Timothy McNulty weighs in.

Memo to Jennifer Hunter
If a trial lawyer says he's a staunch Republican, check it out.

War Against Teens
The kid are the smartest ones in this story.

"DeAndre Monroe, 17, a student at Chicago's ACE Tech Charter High School said he friends who have dropped out would not be swayed by the law. Monroe said he expects they will probably drive illegally until they can get a license at 18."

Says Riley Ertel, 17, of Payton High School: "If they passed the test and everything to get the licenses, then they're probably not a terribly reckless driver. I think a truant should have the same rights to drive as I do."

Rogue Editorials
"Mayor Richard M. Daley is about to appoint a new chief for a tarnished Chicago Police Department," the Tribune editorial board says - as if the tarnish is something new, just a little smudge, and doesn't involve the mayor. How 'bout demanding he sit for that police torture deposition?

Color Lines
Jesse Jackson responds to Rick Morrissey.

Kass's Cop
John Kass has been writing about a Chicago cop he says is the victim of an unjust court ruling in Iowa that has resulted in a five-year prison sentence for nearly killing a college student.

"[The cop] told me his story. But these facts are also in court documents and Judge Ackley's written ruling," Kass wrote in "This Officer's Sentence is Hogwash."

"It's unfair to lump Mette in with those other brutality cases, as another newspaper in town did a few days ago," he wrote in "Finally, Wronged Cop Gets Some Support."

But is Kass telling you the whole story?

From the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald:

"[Prosecutor Tim] Gallagher argues that Kass and Mette's defenders skip some key facts.

"The prosecution argues that Mette and his friends helped fuel the problem.

"Mette, his younger brother Marc Mette, a former UD student, and some of their friends showed up at Gothard's residence at 1130 Race St. after hearing about a party there, court documents say.

"When Mette and friends opted to leave the downstairs party after a short time (without paying the $5 cover charge) Gothard, the 'kegger host,' became enraged and started calling them 'ignorant and offensive names,' the judge wrote in her ruling.

"Gothard reportedly said he was going to call the police, and someone in Mette's party took the cell phone from the college student. Gothard and Boyd pursued the group, and Gothard ran up to Mette and pushed him at least twice, according to court documents.

"That's when Mette punched Gothard, knocking him unconscious. Kass and others argue Mette is the real victim.

"Gallagher says the evidence overwhelmingly disputes that notion, most critically the claim that Mette only punched Gothard once.

"'He suffered numerous injuries to the face and head,' the prosecutor said. 'Additionally, (Gothard) had defensive wounds to his arms and torso, as if he were being kicked and attempting to cover up.'

"Gothard suffered a broken nose, broken jaw, a laceration on the back of his head and a hematoma on his brain, according to court documents. He was first transported to The Finley Hospital and then airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

"Gallagher said it was difficult to get the real story from the beginning. He said the off-duty Chicago cop told three separate stories to Dubuque police.

"At first, Mette, who had blood on his shirt and hands, said Gothard fell down and bumped his head, according to the criminal complaint. He then told officers that Gothard had pushed his brother, Marc, and he was defending him, Gallagher said. Mette admitted to 'striking Gothard and that he had intent to do so,' a police report stated.

"'Here you have a sworn police officer who has lied to police on the scene regarding how this individual was injured. Perhaps that flies in Chicago but that doesn't fly before a judge here in Dubuque,' Gallagher said.

"The prosecutor said court information included testimony indicating Mette ripped off his shirt after knocking out Gothard and stormed after Boyd. He said Marc Mette told Boyd to leave because he couldn't control his brother when he gets angry.

"Kass, who did not return a TH request for an interview, also seems to suggest Gothard's father, Curt Gothard has some kind of pull in Dubuque County District Court.

"'Mette has no clout in Dubuque. But Dubuque is a small town, and the intoxicated man's daddy is a boss in a giant Iowa trucking company,' Kass wrote.

"Curt Gothard, an information technology director at Dubuque's Truck Country is no trucking baron, Gallagher said. Gothard also lives in Bellevue, Iowa, in Jackson County.

"'That has no bearing whatsoever that Mr. Mette committed a criminal act on that evening,' the prosecutor said.

"What the defense, prosecution and the judge all seem to agree on is that the penalty does not fit the crime."


According to the judge's findings of fact, Mette and his pals decided at first to tell the police that the victim - whose brain was bleeding - was drunk and fell to the ground. The investigating officer did not buy it; there was blood on Meete's hand and shirt.

The victim, by the way, had a blood alcohol level of .270. By the looks of a video at, Mette looks pretty beefy. And he had his buddies with him for backup.

And as the judge's findings showed, just because he was not the aggressor when the "fight" actually occurred, Mette and his friends certainly provoked the situation.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Show your hand.


Posted on July 23, 2007

MUSIC - At Home Chicago Blues.
TV - How America Doesn't Teach History.
POLITICS - The Remote Learning Divide.
SPORTS - Cancel Culture.

BOOKS - Go Ahead, Eat Those Cheetos.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Suffering With Stoics & Cynics.

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