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The [Thursday] Papers

Wait a minute, I'm confused. Did Abe Lincoln die or Jerry Ford?

Let's review. "Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws, not men."

And then he pardoned Richard Nixon.


Ford was not a great president, he was a caretaker. And not even a very good one.


He wasn't even a very good ex-president.


The conventional wisdom has quickly congealed that Ford did the nation a great favor by granting Nixon a pardon. You know, he helped "heal" a nation.

Please. What the nation needed was a full accounting of the crimes committed by its president - down the last detail. Not out of vengeance, though a little vengeance isn't a bad thing, but out of our right to know and our duty to confront truth in order to prevent a tyrant president and his band of merry men from ever hijacking our government again. Even as a congressman, Ford was aghast at the expansion of presidential powers. He blew a historic chance to be a giant and re-orient the country after Nixon. We might not be in Iraq today if he had done so and we had learned our lessons.


How many of those now pontificating about how wise Ford was to pardon Nixon were braying about how Bill Clinton and his blowjobs weren't above the law?


"Jerry Ford never would have been considered for the White House had it not been for successive forced resignations of a vice president and president," Robert Novak writes. "He was not in the front line of Republican notables, and Nixon's choice of him surprised even Ford's closest House associates."


And contrary to pundit assertion, Ford was not an "accidental president." He was president because Nixon made him vice president for his own Machiavellian reasons.


Ford's approval rating fell 21 points after pardoning Nixon, according to a CNN report last night (Bob Dole said 40 points, but whatever). Silly Americans. They wanted justice, but the punditry wanted them to "heal."


And by the way, nobody at the time thought Ford brought "dignity" back to the White House. He was a bumbler.

But journalists aren't very good at thinking for themselves. Or dealing with facts.


Let's review:

* The pardon.
* Mayaguez.
* WIN buttons.
* East Timor.
* "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration. I don't believe . . . that the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Romanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of these countries is independent, autonomous, it has its own territorial integrity, and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union."

War Torn
For God's sake, hasn't this man done his duty already?

Swallow your pride, America. You were wrong. Bring the troops home.

Man vs. Child
"A meeting scheduled for Wednesday between [Todd] Stroger and State's Atty. Richard Devine was canceled because Stroger was ill," the Tribune reports.

Talk about a mismatch. Can you imagine that meeting? Stroger's aides will never let him be in that room alone.

Els Bells
Jane Kaihatsu of Edgewater wants the mayor to take responsibility for the CTA. Somebody ought to. Frank Kruesi appeared on Chicago Tonight last week in an utter state of denial. I've got news for you, Frank: You shouldn't keep blaming the system's widespread problems on a couple suicide track jumpers. Not good form.

Unasked and Unanswered
Maybe I missed it, but has the local media reported just how much money is at stake for the NFL in switching the Bears-Packers game from the afternoon to New Year's Eve? I though advertising rates were already set. Or are those based on game-by-game ratings?

And did the NFL consult with the Bears? Were the Bears in favor? And did either of them consult with the city? Was Mayor Daley involved in the decision-making?

A little reporting might be nice.

S-T Stands For . . .
A naughty word slips into the Sun-Times.

Name Game
This Tribune letter-writer has more than one interesting aspect to his name. Read the letter and take a look.

"Columnist Clarence Page's "What's in a middle name?" (Commentary, Dec. 17) was a relief. Now that I know I share a middle name with a U.S. senator (albeit with an alternative spelling), maybe I don't have to worry if I am on a terrorist watch list.

"I remember cringing when Johnny Carson once joked on The Tonight Show, during the Gulf War, about forming a 'Hussein asylum.'

"I wish I could have told him that my 6th grade classmates had already thought that one up, nearly 20 years earlier.

"Incidentally, I am not African-American, Muslim or Arab. I am German-Scottish-Irish.

"Go figure.

"Obama and I can't be the only non-Arab, non-Muslim 'Husseins' out there.

"The way I see it, to remove the so-called stigma during the next two years, the rest of us must come out of the closet.

"Or asylum.


- Hunter Husayn Thompson, Cabery, Ill.

Rings True
"As Google transformed itself during the past year into an online media behemoth, its chief of research began pondering a new topic of interest," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. " 'Reporters and Parrots: Can you tell the difference?' is the title of a blog entry on Peter Norvig's personal blog,

"Norvig, who is co-author of a best-selling textbook on artificial intelligence, said he once aspired to be a reporter himself but has lately been "appalled" by the shoddiness of the craft.

"He identifies four problems:

"1. Reporters don't do their own research; they simply "parrot back" what is told to them.

"2. Reporters lie either to advance their own careers or to serve the interests of their corporate sponsors.

"3. Reporters repeatedly show they are not capable of simple multiplication and division.

"4. Reporters are too easily manipulated by people who are wrong about an issue."

Parrots and Pirates
The Sun-Times has been running ads from both Macy's and coin/commemmorative money dealers that look just like news stories. Then again, that's what their news stories look like anyway, so what's the dif.

Sex Machine
* The New Yorker's 2002 profile of James Brown.
* James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party. (- via Rick Kaempfer)
* James Brown vs. Gerald Ford.

Christmas Columns
I do not believe you will find better Christmas columns anywhere in America than our Home for the Holidays series and Barista! The Gift Card That Saved Christmas.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Slouching toward 2007.


Posted on December 28, 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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