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The [Thursday] Papers

1. The biggest story in the country is a congressional sex scandal that is closing in on U.S. Speaker of the House and Illinois Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Yorkville), and the Sun-Times is MIA. What in the world is going on over there?

2. "When asked about a groundswell of discontent among the GOP's conservative base over his handling of the issue, Hastert said: "I think the base has to realize after awhile, who knew about it? Who knew what, when? When the base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by George Soros," the Tribune reports.

"He went on to suggest that operatives aligned with former President Bill Clinton knew about the allegations and were perhaps behind the disclosures in the closing weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, but he offered no hard proof."

3. Rick Kaempfer offers more audio and video of conservatives blaming the creepy masturbatory habits of one of their colleagues on the Democrats, as well as Matt Drudge saying it was the kids' fault.

4. "Political sex scandals come in all varieties," writes the Tribune's Steve Chapman. "Some involve Democrats, and some implicate Republicans. Though most feature consenting adults, the exploitation of minors is not unknown. Neither heterosexuals nor homosexuals are immune. Virtually all these episodes, however, have one thing in common: The politician is a man."

5. "There's a list going around," writes David Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation, contributor to the Fox News Channel, and co-author with Newsweek's Michael Isikoff of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War. "Those disseminating it call it 'The List.' It's a roster of top-level Republican congressional aides who are gay.

"What's interesting about The List - which includes nine chiefs of staffs, two press secretaries, and two directors of communications - is that (if it's acucurate) it shows that some of the religious right's favorite representatives and senators have gay staffers helping them advance their political careers and agendas. These include Representatives Katherine Harris and Henry Hyde and Senators Bill Frist, George Allen, Mitch McConnell and Rick Santorum. Should we salute these legislators for being open-minded enough to have such tolerant hiring practices? After all, Santorum in a 2003 AP interview compared homosexuality to bestiality, incest and polygamy. It would be rather big of Santorum to employ a fellow who engages in activity akin to such horrors. That is, if Santorum knows about his orientation."

Memo to Sun-Times editors: Henry Hyde is from Illinois.

6. "Obviously, Democrats will take advantage and cry hypocrite, though they kept silent about their own sex scandals," the Tribune's John Kass writes, without naming exactly which sex scandals the Democrats kept silent about.

"The Democrats will point fingers, piously forgetting to mention Studds and Clinton and the Kennedys and so on," Kass adds.

So every time there is a scandal you are obliged to mention every past scandal in the interests of fairness? Does that mean, just to be fair, we should mention all of these, too?

7. Worst Presidency Ever.

8. Starbucks Gossip had this first. We had this first.

9. Find out why the Chicago International Film Festival will only get better once Dustin Hoffman leaves town.

10. Debra Pickett and R. have had a healthy baby boy. Columns coming soon: Who gets up to quiet the baby? When did babysitters become so expensive? The competitiveness of getting into a good pre-school these days. My son has discovered girls. Why does my teenager hate me? The competitiveness of getting into a good college these days. My baby boy is leaving home . . . at which point Pickett's columns become indistinguishable from Jennifer Hunter's.

11. "Daley To Give Ex-Offenders Shot At City Work."

Because why limit city jobs to just current offenders?

12. "Daley threw his support behind a two-step increase in the state's minimum wage - from $6.50 an hour to $7 on July 1, 2007, and to $7.50 an hour on July 1, 2008," the Sun-Times's Fran Spielman reports.

Not mentioned: In July Daley supported automatic pay raises tied to the rate of inflation for the next four years for aldermen already making $98,125. For political cover, that provision was tied to the big-box living wage ordinance that Daley has now vetoed. See how that works?

Previous Daley-approved council raises: 37 percent in 1991; 36 percent in 1995; and 13 percent in 1998.

The mayor didn't take the extra pay in July - it's an election year and he's vulnerable - but he's given himself raises in the past. As recently as 1998, his salary was $170,000 a year; now he makes $216,210.

13. Tony Peraica and Todd Stroger will debate live in the studio on The Cliff Kelley Show at 5 p.m. today, on WVON-AM (1690).

14. Reader Mail: "CPD Cameras. Why hasn't someone asked where all those crimes went?" asks Tracy Siska. " They haven't stopped, they have just been displaced. Congrats to the city for spending all this money to alter who ends up being victimized rather than stopping the victimization from occurring. What a noble goal to strive for! I would also like to thank the stenographers in the Chicago media for not questioning the numbers produced by the city."

15. The National Laughingstock Sweepstakes is a dead heat between the Cubs, the Chicago City Council, and the Sun-Times.

16. Looking at houses in Georgetown?

The Beachwood Tip Line: Ghetto hot.


Posted on October 5, 2006

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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