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The [Wednesday] Papers

With the mayor continuing to stand behind a man convicted of orchestrating a massively fradulent City Hall hiring operation, will the outrage directed at Todd Stroger now be directed at Richard M. Daley? Will the editorial boards and civic titans and smug North Siders decide that being governed by a criminal enterprise is too high a price to pay for pretty flowers and Olympic bids?

Because Richard M. Daley deserves the ire far more than Todd Stroger. Todd Stroger doesn't know any better; Richard M. Daley does. Todd Stroger is a pawn in other men's games. Richard M. Daley runs the game.

When Daley calls Robert Sorich a man of fine character - a man convicted on a mountain of evidence of criminal wrongdoing (on the mayor's behalf) - well, it gives away the lie of all those impassioned promises of ethics reform Daley issues whenever things get too hot around him.

And everyone who supports this mayor is complicit. You can't separate his achievements from the basic fact of his administration: Corrupt to the core. With a capital 'C.'

You can't bitch and moan about Todd Stroger without being outraged at Daley's hand behind the curtain. You can't scream bloody murder about Bobbie Steele's shenanigans without understanding that Daley gives the blessing. It's a sick, sick culture, oozing from here to Springfield. With Saint Obama uninterested and gallavanting around Iowa and New Hampshire, Daley is the one man who could stop it. That would make him a truly great mayor. What a legacy that could be. Instead, he condones what amounts to treason - the coup d'etat of Sorich & Co.; Stroger, Steele and Beavers; Reyes and HDO.

And while we're directing anger this morning, why has there been such silence at the way Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez froze the field of potential Daley opponents until it was too late for anyone else to put together a campaign? While the extent of the nationwide Democratic victory - meaning the U.S. Senate and what happend in statehouses nationwide - hadn't been anticipated, there had been little doubt for a long time that the Dems would win the House. And yet, both Jackson and Gutierrez used their new majority power as an excuse to pull the plug on their mayoral candidacies. Thanks, guys.

The only one talking sense these days is Forrest Claypool.

Is it too late?

Run, Forrest. Run.

Five Style
Channel 5's Allison Rosati beamed while delivering the news yesterday that the mayor will "likely" run for re-election. The station then cut to Daley honoring CHA residents: "We will never give up on anyone who doesn't give up on themselves," he said - on the same day he defended a man who gamed the city's hiring system, preventing honest citizens from helping themselves.

Mary Ann Ahern then stuck a microphone in the face of Daley sycophant Desiree Rogers, who proclaimed that "I don't believe this election is a racial election," despite the fact that the mayor does.

Regarding Sorich, Ahern said of the mayor: "He clearly did not want to dwell on that scandal."

Back to you, Allison!

Of course, the station failed to mention, much less show, Daley cutting off questions at a press conference when the subject turned to Sorich and ending his "media availability" for the day.

What Would Jesus Ask?
Mr. Mayor, do you think the jury erred in finding Sorich guilty? Why?

Mr. Mayor, did you not find the evidence compelling? Would you have prosecuted this case when you were Cook County State's Attorney?

Mr. Mayor, do you feel bad that Robert Sorich is going to prison for activities he undertook on your behalf?

Mr. Mayor, do you think the judge was wrong to describe City Hall hiring under Sorich as "corruption with a capital 'C'"?

Mr. Mayor, do you think Patrick Fitzgerald was wrong to bring this case?

Mr. Mayor, do you tolerate corruption in your administration? No? Then why is there so much of it?

Tunnel Vision
Fran Spielman's account credits the mayor with being consistent in his defense of Sorich - ignoring how inconsistent that stand is with his numerous pledges to clean up his administration.

Daley Dose
"Do you think when someone makes one mistake that you would kick 'em all the way down the street?"

No. You kick 'em to prison.

Daley Dosed
Mr. Mayor, do you think Sorich really made just one mistake, then, and not the massive fraud jurors found him guilty of?

"To a large extent, how do you blame President Steele for doing this?" Mike Quigley asked.

Would you teach your children to do this, Mike? Or would you teach them that doing the right thing is more important than ill-gotten gains?

Bobbie Steele could do the right thing. She's making a choice.

Steele Foundation
Maybe she should take the money - and donate it to the county.

Miguel del Sellout
The truth is that Miguel del Valle wanted a desk job. The tragedy is that he could've just gone into the private sector to get one instead of making an ass of himself.

Like Father
"Reagan's Son Elected to Eureka College Board."

A) The bombing of Southern Illinois begins in five minutes.
B) Tear down that mall!
C) No more scholarships to welfare queens.

When the Sun-Times advertises "Another" Sneed exclusive on its front page, it means in addition to what, the one she reported in the 70s?

I guess her exlusives are so rare they are front page news.

Plane Truth
"Once on the plane, the imams reportedly took seats to which they were not assigned, pairing off to sit near the exits," Kathleen Parker wrote on the Tribune's Op-Ed page today. "The two seated in first class requested seat-belt extensions, which they placed on the cabin floor. One needn't be Islamophobic to go, 'Hmmmmmm.'"

One needn't be a journalist to go "Hmmmmmm."

If Parker is getting her information from reports like this one, she ought to be more diligent in her research. If you read this report from the ground, you'll see how the right-wing message machine has cherry-picked this one. If the imams were terrorists, the last thing they would do would be to draw attention to themselves by shouting about Allah as they boarded the plane. That's a plane I want to fly, because the real terrorists will be wearing American flag lapels and carrying a Bible the next time.

It's also sadly amusing that US Airways removed the imams from the flight, but offered a customer service number so they could fly on another airline.

Patriot Act
Cathy Messino of North Center has apparently been reading right-wing blogs (fifth letter). "The more I read about the events that transpired, the more I intend to make US Airways my airline of choice, going forward," she writes.

Me? I'll be wary of flying US Airways going forward. Not because they have offended me, but because their security savvy seems awfully lacking.

Number Bummer
"Since the CHA launched its $1.6 billion Plan for Transformation in 1999, more than 8,000 CHA residents have been placed in jobs, with a 50 percent three-month retention rate," the Sun-Times "reports." "The employment rate among CHA residents also has increased from 25 to 39 percent. Annual incomes has incrased by 50 percent - to $15,000."

So . . . after three months half (4,000!) of CHA residents placed in jobs had already washed out?

The bigger problem is one that, again, is taught in the first year of any halfway decent journalism school: Statistics mean nothing when presented in a vacuum. They have to be compared to something. We have no idea whether these numbers are good or bad, nor where they came from. Did annual incomes increase by 50 percent, for example, because the lowest earners were kicked out of CHA altogether?

I guess the press release doesn't say, and so neither does the reporter.

Shoe In
Ad in the Sun-Times:

"You're Invited to A Shoe Party At Your House.

"How can you get the hottest new footwear to come to your own home?


"A Special Report with Kim Vatis.

"Tonight at 10 p.m. 5 NEWS."

So Michael Cooke is editing the Channel 5 news now, too?

Chicago Character
"Sorich told a courtroom packed with family, friends and neighbors that he 'tried to do my best and . . . tried to be fair.'"

As long as you were on the list.

Job Fair
"He meant these 'fine young men' are going to prison because they served him, personally," John Kass writes. "They built massive illegal patronage armies in violation of federal court orders and rigged thousands of job tests to beneift those with clout, so the mayor could use these patronage armies to control Cook County."

Blue Line
"There's a big police scandal, and you'll get these big pronouncements,'internal investigation,' 'no stone unturned,' and 'we're going to do all these great things.' And then the dust settles, and it ends up being business as usual."

Sounds like a familiar formula.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Leaving the station.


Posted on November 29, 2006

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike An Old Story.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Kanye, Chili, Jimmy, Tarik.

BOOKS - Conway Barbour & The Black Middle Class.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Malone's Pork Head Cheese.

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