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The [Tuesday] Papers

News reports continue to refer to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's characterization of allegations against him and his administration that political favors were exchanged for campaign contributions as "triple hearsay."

Indeed, that's exactly the line a Blagojevich spokesperson fed me last fall when I wrote this Chicago magazine story about disgraced Democratic domo Joe Cari:

"This whole thing is speculation based on what Joe Cari says he heard from Stuart Levine about whoever these officials and associates are, so it's already third- and fourth-person by the time it's reported in the plea agreement," says Abby Ottenhoff. Blagojevich himself issued a flat-out denial in September, saying, "This is not how we operate."

What I wrote next doesn't seem to have registered, perhaps because it was lawyered - improperly in my view - to death.

"But Chicago has learned that Cari has told federal investigators that Stuart Levine was not his only source of information on the purported campaign fundraising scheme - that others in or close to the Blagojevich administration also spoke of using state boards to raise money. Cari himself is said to have claimed that he was offered a board seat in exchange for campaign contributions."

All I can say is that the combination of Stuart Levine's cooperation and what Cari has told federal investigators does not add up to a very good situation for Blagojevich.

Pay The Man, Shirley
Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th) is a real piece of work. Even after learning that her real estate consultant friend Tracy Williams is being investigated by federal authorities in connection with multiple fraud allegations, Coleman says she would still do business with Williams.

"I don't research everyone who comes in my office," Coleman said, according to a Sun-Times report. "And I would still be willing to do business with Flawless Financial, Blythe Holdings and anyhone else who has a good project for the 16th Ward."

Funny how aldermen consistently have so little interest in researching the folks who come to their offices - except doing a quick check to see if they are campaign contributors, I'm sure.

But the best part of this story is about the Christmas tree and the piano.

What Would Coleman Do?
Shirley Coleman is a reverend.

Internal Conflict
"U.S. In 'Struggle For Civilization.'"
- Tribune headline

Yes. With ourselves.

This Just In
The White Sox won last night. Of course, if you read the paper version of the Sun-Times you wouldn't know that, because they still can't accommodate scores from the West Coast in their home editions. Or maybe they were participating in a Throwback Journalism promotion.

The Burt and Bernie Show
The City Council vote to ban foie gras passed 48-1 last spring. In the new aldermanic tradition of deciding where they stand after voting on issues (see The [Big-Box Veto] Papers), a couple aldermen are pushing for a repeal of the ban.

"Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) and Burton Natarus (42nd) originally voted in favor of the measure when it was approved by the City Council in April. But both have since had second thoughts," the Tribune reports.

"Stone contended that Chicago has become a national laughingstock since outlawing the delicacy, which is made from the livers of geese and ducks.

"He acknowledged that inserting long tubes down the bird's neck and force-feeding it to produce the foie gras is torture to the animal. And 'in principle [the ordinance] is probably correct,' he said.

"But 'anybody who has traveled anywhere in this country knows that people are laughing their heads of at us now,' Stone said."

So let me get this straight: Stone has decided he'd rather vote in favor of animal torture than be laughed at?

Stone was the point person on aldermanic pay raises, by the way. Perfect.

Meanwhile, the basis of Natarus's change of heart is this bit of intellectual reasoning: "We do an awful lot of things to animals and to fish. I think fly fishermen who catch fish for sport and take the hook out and put the fish back are just as irresponsible as is this foie gras situation," Natarus said.

Except for that part where the duck is killed and the fish is set free.

Kitchen Crap
"My throat is not like a duck's throat," says local chef Allen Sternweiler. "If you have some tragedy like an oil spill or a fire around a wetland, they would be using an exact same feeding tube to feed those injured ducks."

Except the part where emergency workers use the feeding tubes to save ducks instead of kill them.

God Winning
"Study: Americans Not Losing Religion."


Fuller Brush Man I
Former Tribune editor Jack Fuller uses the revelation in a new book that Richard Armitage leaked the name of Valerie Plame to Robert Novak to state that "The premise that the administration was willing to give up a spy for narrow, vindictive political ends fell apart."

But the authors of that book - Michael Isikoff and David Corn - strenuously said this weekend on a television appearance that their revelation does no such thing, and in fact argue that the administration was indeed willing to do just that.

Further, Corn writes this as part of a larger Huffington Post article:

"The outing of Armitage does change the contours of the leak case. The initial leaker was not plotting vengeance. He and Powell had not been gung-ho supporters of the war. Yet Bush backers cannot claim the leak was merely an innocent slip. Rove confirmed the classified information to Novak and then leaked it himself as part of an effort to undermine a White House critic. Afterward, the White House falsely insisted that neither Rove nor Libby had been involved in the leak and vowed that anyone who had participated in it would be bounced from the administration. Yet when Isikoff and Newsweek in July 2005 revealed a Matt Cooper email showing that Rove had leaked to Cooper, the White House refused to acknowledge this damning evidence, declined to comment on the case, and did not dismiss Rove. To date, the president has not addressed Rove's role in the leak. It remains a story of ugly and unethical politics, stonewalling, and lies."

You'd think a former editor of the Tribune - and former president of its publishing division - would know better. Or maybe not.

Fuller Brush Man II
Fuller also advocates reporters outing the anonymous sources of competing reporters under a "greater good" argument. But isn't the "greater good" found in the confidence of sources to come forward to any media outlet without fear of being outed? Fuller doesn't like reporters keeping information from the public. Why, then, doesn't he take his argument to its logical extension and advocate reporters at the same paper investigate and out the sources of their colleagues?

Chefs Called On Crockery
"Here are people whose greatest passions in life are pastries and pate, and they're going to lecture the rest of us on the big and 'meaningful' things in life. Please, someone tell the chefs to hold the sanctimony."

- Gene Bauston, president Farm Sanctuary, in a letter to the Sun-Times

The Beachwood Tip Line: Stuffed to the gills.


Posted on September 12, 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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