The [Tuesday] Papers
1. From the just-released 2006 Crime and Justice Index by Chicago Metropolis 2020:
* Whites make up 70 percent of drug users in Illinois; blacks make up 80 percent of those imprisoned on drug charges.
* An African-American in Illinois is as likely to serve a prison sentence as go to college.
* Illinois was singled out by Human Rights Watch in 2000 for having the highest incarceration rate of black male drug offenders than any other state.
* People convicted of drug offenses now make up 40 percent of all prison admissions in Illinois. In 1985, it was 8 percent.
* 42 percent of adult inmates tested below the sixth-grade level in 2005.
* Youths who have been exposed to gun violence are twice as likely as others to be violent. One in four children studied in Chicago South Side neighborhoods had witnessed a shooting. One in three had witnessed a stabbing.
* Schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress are two to four times more prevalent in jail and prison populations than in the general population.
2. "There is no unanimity of opinion on the reason crime rates have fallen here and nationally, but experts usually point to the aging population, longer prison sentences, improved economic conditions, or a combination of all three," said Paula Wolff, senior executive at Chicago Metropolis 2020, in a news release.
3. Doonesbury's War.
4. The Pentagon is spending your tax dollars to improve the way it lies to you.
5. Cardinal George responds to Neil Steinberg.
6. The Pentagon's new rapid response team is still working on a rebuttal to George. So is Steinberg.
8. A new Tribune/WGN-Ch.9 poll shows Rod Blagojevich and Todd Stroger both holding 15-point leads in their respective races, despite - or because - both are running fundamentally dishonest campaigns. The Tribune editorial page and Eric Zorn do some fact-checking.
[UPDATE 8:25 a.m.: As Rich Miller reports, a Daily Herald/ABC7 poll has Peraica ahead by 9 points. Miller suspects a small sample size and old data are to blame, but that's a 24-point spread from the Trib poll.]
9. Blagojevich responded Monday to reports that his wife received real estate commissions "through a woman who holds a long-standing no-bid state contract and whose banker husband has business pending before state regulators," the Tribune reports.
"The governor told reporters his wife has every right to run her business as she sees fit. 'You know, there's a sexist quality to that story - somehow moms who have their own businesses, who are women, can't do things that way.'"
Wrong. The spouse of any governor - male or female - loses the right to do business as they see fit. It's called ethics. Beyond that, what's offensive is the governor suggesting that it is perfectly appropriate for a woman to trade on her husband's political connections - and for him to speak for her when she can speak for herself.
10. "[T]he governor's office says there is no conflict of interest, noting the Mahajans and Blagojeviches are longtime friends," the Tribune report says.
Previously reported: "When questioned by a Tribune reporter, Anita Mahajan denied her friendship with the Blagojeviches and said didn't know who Patricia Blagojevich was until someone brought it up at the first closing. 'I didn't hire her,' Mahajan said in a brief interview from the balcony of her Chicago townhouse. 'I didn't even know who she was until closing. That's when I heard she was the governor's wife.'"
So somebody's lying. We have a right to know why.
11. "Whatever his foreign policy positions, Kirk quickly realized after his first term win that a 2-point plurality was not a lock on re-election," says The Week Behind. "He courted the Daley administration and became, in the House Republican caucus, the leading spokesman for Daley's ambitious plan to expand O'Hare airport and get earmarked federal funds to help Chicago rebuild a number of CTA platforms. In the last year, Kirk has been observed at least a half a dozen times visiting Daley's 5th floor office in City Hall for appointments that weren't on the mayor's public schedule, the implication being that Kirk is Daley's Republican in Congress."
12. The Tribune Company is about to implode but the Sun-Times business section thinks its more important to re-publish a Harris bank press release about the promotions of four district managers as its big story today.
13. The best TribCo coverage has been in the Los Angeles Times, but the local media might want to start contemplating the impact upon the city's civic life if Tribune Company is broken up.
14. Product Placement of the Day: Sears.
15. Today's big Lifestyles story in the Sun-Times: "Fat Cats: The Sun-Times Puts Two of Chicago's Tubby Tabbies On a Diet."
I'm not even going to provide a link, though I heard Todd Stroger enjoyed the story.
16. "Baseball people can turn into corporate guys when they wind up with the big-market Cubs. It's a place where a big name (Dusty Baker) means more in hiring a manager than whether he can run a bullpen."
18. The Sun-Times editorial page spent months excoriating Todd Stroger. Then it endorsed him. I chart the folly here.
19. The governor says the Stuart Levine plea deal puts him in the clear. Here's why he's wrong.
20. Isn't it about time we gave more than lip service to caring about our architectural legacy and unique look and feel of our city?
The Beachwood Tip Line: Back at ya'.
Posted on October 31, 2006
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