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The [Wednesday] Papers

The deadly drip-drip-drip of the federal investigation into the Blagojevich Administration has begun.

"A criminal investigation into whether lucrative state pension business was being traded for campaign contributions to Gov. Blagojevich has developed a Hollywood storyline:

"Federal authorities want to know if an investment firm then co-owned by the Oscar-winning producer of "Million Dollar Baby" was pushed to donate money to Blagojevich as it vied for a $220 million state deal, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

"The producer, Tom Rosenberg, and Capri/Capital Advisors were approached in 2004 about contributing to the governor and were told it was a condition for securing investment funds from the state Teachers' Retirement System, sources familiar with the investigation said."

You can expect to read successive versions of this story in the coming weeks with different players trapped in the same scheme. You can also expect this investigation to reach the governor's door.

That's why the federales call him Public Official A.

Drug Dealing
"Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration spent nearly $1 million to develop and market a plan to illegally import low-cost drugs that ended up serving fewer than 3,700 Illinois residents, Auditor General William Holland said Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"Holland also said top Blagojevich aides pushed a plan to illegally import millions of dollars worth of flu vaccine in 2004 even after they realized the vaccine would never arrive and after state health officials told the governor's office that federal officials had found vaccine for Illinois."

Nicely done, guv.

Quote of the Day
The drug importation plan is called the I-SaveRx program.

"It's also a nationwide 'Look-at-me-aren't-I-wonderful program," state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan (R-Des Plaines) told the Tribune. "And it's the taxpayers of Illinois paying for that."

Permanent Campaign
The difference between campaigning and governing: Anticipating the audit's release, the Blagojevich Administration announced it would expand I-SaveRx.

Public Official D for Dunce
Ald. Danny Solis (25th) invited federal investigators to his door this morning.

"Because of all the investigations, you can't do things the way you used to do them. You can't have a quid pro quo attitude, 'If you help me, I'll get you a job or promotion.' You can't even talk about that."

Unless compelled to do so by subpoeana.

High-Wire Act
The wheels on this guy's "sky cycle" were grooved to fit over the wire. Just sayin'.

Papal Pundit Patrol
* Kathleen Parker on the Tribune Op-Ed page: "In non-news today, Muslims are outraged. Also, the sun rose at its usual time, and the Earth continued to turn on its axis in the customary fashion. And I'm a lazy-thinking, ahistorical, reactionary propagandist."

I made up that last line.

But it's still true.

* Parker ought to read Martin Marty's piece in the Tribune on Monday.

"[I]t also must be said that Christians, from the 4th Century to the 18th Century, can match the Muslims one-for-one when it comes to having spread the faith with the sword," Marty wrote. "Read the history of the Christianization of Europe, and you have to go hunting for that minority of the faithful who spread the faith without the sword, merely by witness and works."

* Paul Cobb adds in his own piece next to Marty's: "If the Crusades aren't to blame for Muslim distrust of Western comments on Islam, then surely three centuries of direct and indirect imperialism cannot have helped."

Obviously I don't endorse violence. But maybe it's the common root of religion's ineluctably fascist nature of the devout belief in a particular truth which no one could possibly know that is the problem. Right now it's a fundamentalist Muslim brand spreading violence, but very few religions have been immune, so let's can the (counterproductive) smug superiority.

* "Show me just what Jesus brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

I just wanted to see what it sounded like.

* What could be more violent than a God who would condemn non-believers to an eternity in Hell?

* Steinberg lauds the civilizing efforts of Turkey founder Kemal Ataturk, noting approvingly that "Turks who insisted on clinging to their fezzes were hanged."

* Do Jack Higgins and his editors still have their jobs? Higgins's cartoon in the Sun-Times this morning depicts a stereotypically maniacal, sword-wielding Muslim in front of a mountain of skulls screaming "Islam violent? How dare you!"

The pope, in Higgins's drawing, responds: "Well . . . the mountain came with Muhammad."

(You can see it for yourself here; upper-right above "Top Stories.")

Tickle Me Newspaper
In a city of a thousand untold stories staring us all in the face, this was the one the Sun-Times deployed a reporter to yesterday and gave a full page to.

Daley Dose
"Daley, who in the past has announced his candidacy in the December before the election, has refused to say whether he will run," the Tribune reports. "But he is widely expected to seek a sixth term, particularly by Terry Peterson, whom, as this newspaper has reported, was transferred from his job as head of the Chicago Housing Authority to run the mayor's re-election campaign which we nevertheless refuse to acknowledge exists."

I added the Peterson part. But it's still true.

Oh Henry
Like the Tribune, I have a few Henry Hyde memories. I found myself awfully moved - because that's the kind of corny guy I am, I mean, I really believe in this democracy stuff - by Hyde's classic speech in which he urged Congress to "catch the falling flag." Then I remembered he was speaking so eloquently because he thought Bill Clinton's fudging in the Paula Jones lawsuit would cause an otherwise sterling criminal justice system to crumble if not adequately dealt with by impeaching and removing the president.

I must have missed his reprise over the Bush Administration's illegal wiretaps, secret torture prisons, and lies that got us into a miserable war that has put our nation at risk.

Big Brew Ordinance?
Starbucks plans to double the number of stores it has in the United States, including an additional 250 or so locations in Chicago. Oh, gotta go, they're building one in my kitchen right now.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Available in small.


Posted on September 20, 2006

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - Harold vs. the Haters.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!

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