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The [Wednesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

Sometimes people make mistakes. And they deserve second-chances.

Even lifelong criminals can be rehabilitated.

But for the most part, I've concluded, people are who they are. Their essential character doesn't change.

Richard M. Daley isn't going to change, and neither is Todd Stroger.

Therefore, they must be contained.

People are what they do, not what they say.

That was my point about Obama, which is proving out nicely.

And that's what today's papers teach us.

Take Sammy Sosa. Forget the performance-enhancing drugs, does anyone really believe that Sammy Sosa only used a corked bat that one time? I wonder if corked bats had more to do with his home runs than drugs.

Sammy Sosa was a cheater. We knew it then, and we know it now.

Richard M. Daley runs a Friends & Family administration. Whether "he knew" about any given arrangement isn't even the right question anymore.

Todd Stroger will never learn how to be a competent administrator. it's not a part of his skill set.

And don't get me started about Obama.

But those guys certainly aren't the only ones I've been thinking about this morning. It's these guys, too.

* "For many employees, the SEC lawsuit revealed details about Hernandez that they never knew. He pleaded guilty in 1998 to embezzling more than $600,000 from families that had deposited savings at the former Columbia National Bank on the Northwest Side, where he had served as a vice president," the Tribune reports in "Web Sports Site Backer Vanishes."

"The SEC complaint also said that Hernandez and his wife had filed for bankruptcy in 2004, 2005 and 2006, which court records confirm, and that he lied about having degrees from the University of Wisconsin and John Marshall Law School in Chicago."

Doesn't it always turn out that these folks have a history?

* "A foreign director of a Chicago-based hedge fund forced into receivership by government regulators faces federal fraud charges for allegedly using false information to solicit more than $300 million from investors worldwide," the Sun-Times reports.

"Philip J. Baker, who controlled Lake Shore Asset Management Ltd., which purportedly traded clients' funds in several commodity futures pools, was charged in a 27-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in February and unsealed Monday, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office."

I don't know much yet about Baker's background yet, but just wait.

* "A defunct Chicago escrow company violated state consumer fraud laws when it failed to pay property taxes for customers and went out of business in March without making refunds, Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan alleged in a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"The action is one of two steps state officials took Tuesday to pursue restitution from American Escrow LLC and its owners, Derek Lurie and his father, Steven Lurie. The privately held company failed to reimburse about $1 million to consumers nationwide, including $154,000 to 69 Illinois homeowners who had outstanding balances, the suit said."


* Even the mentoring powers of Todd Stroger couldn't change Tony Cole, who is and always has been a troublemaker. Both of their characters are on display in this fiasco.

* Do you really believe that Jeremiah Wright had never before uttered a statement about "the Jews"?

* Of course, it runs in families, too. Like the Degnans.

* And the Vaneckos.

"Royko was talking about the hiring of Robert Vanecko's grandfather, Dr. Michael Vanecko, whose son married the late mayor's daughter," Carol Marin writes (and for now I'll forget her misguided assessment of Fran Spielman's latest work). "Shortly before the wedding, that Vanecko went to work for the Chicago Board of Health. And later, his son, Dr. Robert Vanecko, was hired as the physician for the city's municipal pension fund. And now today we have the third generation, as his son, another Robert Vanecko, lands a $68 million deal with - what else - city pension funds. He severed all business ties with the deal only after the feds began subpoenaing records."

* And, of course, Roland Burris, who has always been a chump (and whom - no kidding - I just learned insisted on being called General Burris when he was state attorney general).

* Even Chicago cops haven't learned their lesson.

"The only thing that stood between Marxist street thugs and public order was a thin blue line of dedicated, tough Chicago police officers," a website about a reunion of copswho beat the shit out of protesters at the 1968 Democratic convention here says. "Chicago police officers who participated in the riots continue to endure unending criticism - all of which is unwarranted, inaccurate and wrong."

"Former Police Supt. Philip Cline is scheduled to be a keynote speaker," the Tribune reports .

It's kind of like how Karl Rove was reportedly played dirty politics as far back as high school.

People's patterns rarely change. Those who are late to your first meeting are likely to be late to every meeting. Those who never fulfill their first promise will likely never fulfill any promise. People who suck will always suck.

And so on.

People are who they are; we just need to protect ourselves from those whose patterns are dangerous to the rest of us.

Olymp Icks
* The way I read it, this means Chicago taxpayers are now on an open-ended hook for the 2016 Games, should we get them. Nothing Daley said ever mattered; what he did was everything. And now he's suckered us beyond the point of no return.

* Guess what? It was never in doubt. "Chicago 2016 Chairman Patrick Ryan says his team received a letter from the IOC stating that all host cities must sign the standard contract," the Tribune reports, "which requires them to take full financial responsibility for the Games."

Like no one knew what the standard contract was going in.

* "President Obama bolstered Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid, creating a new White House office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport on Tuesday," the Sun-Times reports.

Valerie Jarrett has already been given the Olympic portfolio in the White House. She will coordinate with Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Desiree Rogers, Susan Sher, Ray LaHood, Pat Ryan and the Daleys as necessary.

* The anticipation of Olympic corruption already has one Chicago lawyer/pundit calling for an inspector general "with broad investigative powers" to monitor the shenanigans.

The Daley administration is perhaps unique in the annals of American history in simultaneously placing its citizens under the control of both a police state and an organized criminal enterprise.

Trib Fights Illini
It doesn't take a Ph.D to see what's happening here.

Interleague Impact
Strange parks and platoons.

At Your Service
More tales from the front lines of a Chicago pizzeria.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Same as it ever was.


Posted on June 17, 2009

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - Another Week Of Trubisky Analysis.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.

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