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The [Thursday] Papers

Is the Chicago area unprepared for a mass disaster or terrorist attack? I have no idea. I do know that Cook County can't successfully transmit election results via cell phones and the CTA can't keep its trains on their tracks, but then again the U.S. Department of Homeland Security isn't exactly doing a bang-up job either. I'm not sure they get the benefit of the doubt on this one.

My sense is that when the mayor says "We have done a tremendous job [but] if they are talking about the region outside of Chicago, about some issue, that is different," he means that the city has its shit together but it's the county and outlying areas that have their problems, and I can believe that as long as Robert Sorich had nothing to do with hiring anyone involved in protecting us.

The Richard
Is the mayor sounding more like Donald Trump with each passing day? Seems these days no other city has ever done as tremendous a job at any possible task than Richie Daley's Chicago.

Contract Scandal
"An Orland Park firefighter is alleged to have tried a new twist on double dipping: getting paid leave from his fire department because he was supposedly serving in the military in Iraq when instead he was working for private contractors," the Tribune reports.

Daley said the firefighter was a man of fine character.

Bad Apple
Truly, how does the alleged misdeed of the Orland Park firefighter, Lawrence Masa, compare to Robert Sorich? Masa is, if the allegation is true, an individual who perpetrated a one-time fraud. Sorich - and his co-workers, likely at the direction of the mayor's brain trust - orchestrated a massive fraud that perverted the employment practices of the entire city, putting our lives in the hands, for example, of teenage building inspectors.

Cynics Derby
Masa's allegedly fraudulent take: $193,000.
Bobbie Steele's presidential pension: $136,000.

General Daley
The mayor says the Iraq Study Group was too Washington-centric, the Sun-Times reports.

"You don't stay in Washington to solve the issue," Daley says. "You have to go out and talk to people in America . . . If you come out here and talk to people [in the heartland], they'll give you some common sense about an issue like that."

For example, Daley compared the Iraq war to the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. "No one was for the Revolutionary War," he said.

Yes, I have no idea how they fought that war without any revolutionaries.

"Maybe today they would doubt the Civil War."

Yes, I'm sure James Baker and Lee Hamilton would advise the North to cut-and-run.

As for World War II, Fran Spielman didn't capture the mayor's thoughts. But if the Washington insiders would just come out here to the heartland for some common sense, we could wrap this thing up.

Poor Execution
"We bungled yet another thing in Iraq, and there's no excuse for it."

- Joe Scarborough, Scarborough Country

Market Politics
The New York Times published an editorial on Wednesday in favor of net neutrality under the headline "Protecting Internet Democracy," but you can't read it unless you have a TimesSelect subscription.

The Scandal of Forgiveness.

White Lies
The Sun-Times editorial on polar bears today could hardly be more disingenuous in citing statistics from The Wall Street Journal to argue that polar bears aren't really endangered - and by extension that concerns about global warming are overblown.

The Sun-Times conveniently leaves out the fact that the statistics (and argument) it cites comes from the Journal's editorial page, while the Journal's own news reporting says something quite different.

Beyond that, the logic of the Journal and Sun-Times editorial pages simply doesn't hold up. Just because there are more polar bears now than in the 1950s doesn't mean they aren't now threatened by a disappearing Arctic ice shelf. (Also overlooked is the fact that the polar bear population, according to the Journal editorial's own figures, has not grown since 1984.)

Last Rites
"The theory that Ford was trying to 'heal the nation' with the Nixon pardon was improbable at the time," David Rutter writes in the Lake County News-Sun.

"First, I don't recall anyone asking to be healed, and I probably would have remembered. I was peeved at Nixon and certainly didn't need a soothing balm applied to my political soul.

"I didn't know anyone else who thought they needed to be healed.

This Is Our Country
Nixon was pardoned, but Genarlow Wilson is in prison.

Hell's Company
"To Jeffrey Johnson and Dean Baquet, the former publisher and former editor of the Los Angeles Times, Tribune must have sounded like the motorcycle thugs in Hunter Thompson's first book, Hell's Angels," the Columbia Journalism Review says in a remarkable editorial calling for Tribune Company to get the hell out of the newspaper business. "In Thompson's telling, the Angels come up to you in a bar and say, Give me a cigarette. Then: Give me another cigarette. Then: Give me the pack. Give me your shirt. At some point you realize you might as well fight."

This and other items in Rick Kaempfer's Media Notebook.

Will Power
"Labor is a commodity," George Will writes today arguing that the minimum wage should be $0.

That's funny, I thought labor was human.

"Iraq reported Tuesday that more than 12,000 civilians were killed last year - the third full year since the U.S.-led invasion - with a dramatic rise in the last three months, when 5,000 died," AP reports.


Next Year's Resolution
"Because what's the point of New Year's Eve, anyway?" Paige Wiser asks. "To mark the passage of time? Well, woo-hoo! Let's stay up late, binge drinking and getting glitter in our hair because the Earth managed to turn on its axis right on schedule. It's time to boycott New Year's Eve. Don't worry; I think you'll find the boycott to be your favorite form of protest (as opposed to, say, 'hunger strike' or 'self-immolation'). Just sit there. Yes, that's it. You're doing it!"

The Beachwood Tip Line: Glittering.


Posted on January 4, 2007

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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