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The [Tuesday] Papers

Today, millions of Americans will do the wrong thing.

1. A heartwarming Election Day tale.

2. If you do anything today, do something about these judges.

3. The Sun-Times implores you on its front page today to vote, saying "Don't be a cynic - what you do today really does matter." It then directs readers to its endorsements of virtually every incumbent on the ballot - including 12 of 12 in U.S. congressional races and four of four in statewide offices. The paper is also endorsing Todd Stroger for Cook County Board president without telling you the real reason why, and editorial page editor Steve Huntley has acknowledged that its endorsement of Gov. Rod Blagojevich does not reflect the views of the editorial board but, rather, the perceived interests of Sun-Times readers. But don't be a cynic!

4. Readers are voting their pocketbooks - and newspapers are losing.

5. Get Nieuked.

6. I couldn't disagree more with Eric Zorn's column today arguing that a vote for Rich Whitney is a wasted vote.

First of all, something important is at stake: If Whitney gets 5 percent of the vote, the Green Party will be established as a major party in Illinois and receive ballot privileges that only Democrats and Republicans currently enjoy.

Second, Zorn can complain all he wants about what happened In Florida in 2000, but why blame Nader voters whom Al Gore failed to win over when there are so many others to be more justifiably angy at - Palm Beach elections officials and their butterfly ballot, for example, or the state voter rolls purged by secretary of state Katherine Harris as part of the Jeb Bush operation that suppressed the black vote in the Northern part of the state. There is absolutely no question that more voters intended to vote for Gore in Florida, yet there was no mainstream media call for George W. Bush to be a statesman and do the right thing - instead the pressure was on Gore to concede. And then there's Antonin Scalia and his pals on the U.S. Supreme Court - I mean, you really want to keep laying this on folks who voted their conscience? Further, Gore won the popular vote. Why in the world is the Electoral College still in existence? Blaming Nader is a cop-out, and raising the specter of 2000 whenever a third-party candidate attracts support is facile and anti-democratic. (You also might as well blame Pat Buchanan and his 17,356 votes for not giving Bush a clear victory in Florida.)

Third, Ross Perot did not hand the 1992 presidential election to Bill Clinton, as Zorn contends. Exit polls showed that without Perot on the ballot, about a third of his supporters would not have voted and the rest would have split about evenly between Clinton and Bush.

Fourth, the idea that third-party candidates have no lasting effect is bunk. Ever since Perot, each party has tried to figure out how to attract the type of voters who supported him. In some states, the impact has been more profound - there would have been no Gov. Jesse Ventura in Minnesota if not for Perot, and to this day the Independence Party (descendant of the state's Reform Party) candidate participates in gubernatorial debates there. Sure, Whitney couldn't even get into the Tribune editorial board for their private little debate affair, even though he's polled as high as 18 percent, but progress comes slowly to Illinois. Maybe it's time the Tribune followed its own advice instead of begging voters to express outrage at the ballot box and then endorsing 14 of 14 congressional incumbents, nearly every incumbent in state legislative races, and, come spring, nearly every aldermanic incumbent.

Finally, no one should have their right to vote for the candidate of their choice taken away from them. By Zorn's reasoning, those who believe in Green, Libertarian, or independent candidates would never be afforded the opportunity to vote for their candidate of choice - except in elections when their support was so miniscule no one else's candidacy was threatened. They would be forced to always vote Democrat or Republican. What kind of system is that? In dictatorships, there is one name on the ballot. In America, there is two. What good is it to have the right to vote if you never get to use it?

Zorn has identified the problem - the two major parties are not offering the public the choices we deserve. His answer, though - to therefore go on voting for the dim and corrupt candidates presented to us - is perverse.

7. The Beachwood Election Guide. Clip 'n Carry.

8. Sneed makes sure her pal Judy Baar Topinka gets a final boldface mention on Election Day. Does Topinka have to declare Sneed's column as a campaign contribution?

Other Sneed items today include news from "last week," and "last Wednesday,' and an opening item on Barack Obama that could hardly be less brilliant as she purports.

But watch for her expert election analysis on Channel 5 tonight!

9. The 40th Country Music Association Awards were held last night and not a single winner can hold a candle to the worst recording Bloodshot has ever put out. Bloodied, but unbowed.

10. Product Placement of the Day: Bark Busters.

11. Evan Brown, early supporter and legal counsel to The Beachwood Media Company, makes the front page of the Tribune business section today.

12. If you walk by a newsbox today and you see the Sun-Times teaser about the injured Brian Urlacher, "The News On Chicago's Most Important Foot," you might be tempted to buy the paper. Or, you could glance at the adjacent Tribune front page and see "Relax, Bears Fans: Urlacher Only sprains big toe, hopes to play Sunday," and be on your way.

Chances are, though, that you've already heard the news on the radio, seen it on TV, or read it on the Internet. It is fascinating, though, to watch the Sun-Times on its journey back through time, devolving before our very eyes.

The Beachwood Tip Line: You know what to do.


Posted on November 7, 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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