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The [Wednesday] Papers

Barack Obama took the cynicism out of politics in Hollywood on Tuesday with a million-dollar haul and a series of private fundraisers on a schedule not being publicly disclosed.

For more, see "Barack Hollywood."

Tortured Settlement
"[Attorney Flint] Taylor said U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Aspen had been mediating the [Jon Burge police torture] dispute behind closed doors when the City of Chicago agreed to pay $14.8 million in November," the Sun-Times reported on Tuesday.

Then the city, Taylor said, reneged.

"Aspen was 'livid,' Taylor said, and called the city's conduct 'unprecedented in his 27 years on the bench," the paper's account said.

Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, denied a settlement had been reached.

Now Aspen has spoken and Taylor's account is no longer second-hand. Aspen "criticized the Daley administration" for delaying the settlement and accused it of operating in bad faith.

As noted by the lawyers in the case, the Daley administration wouldn't be thrilled to see the settlement signed before next week's election.

Perhaps even more disturbing, though, is that the settlement reportedly includes provisions that "Daley wouldn't be named as a defendant in the cases, that the plaintiffs wouldn't seek to depose him and that they wouldn't criticize the mayor publicly."

Sounds like someone has something to hide - and will get away with it again.

Defendant Daley
It's not the first time Daley has given the finger to a federal judge. And the last time cost us millions, too.

Too bad there's not a campaign going on where the lawlessness of this administration could be discussed.

Defendant Huntley
"In his closing argument, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the chief prosecutor, said that disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity was used by the White House to discredit her husband's assertions that the Bush administration had distorted intelligence to justify invading Iraq," The New York Times reports.

Steve Huntley, editorial page editor of the Sun-Times, last August: "Federal special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has some explaining to do . . . The probe has turned up no conspiracy to out Plame. In fact, long ago Fitzgerald could have concluded it was a casual disclosure, resulting from the daily give and take between government officials and journalists that is as common in Washington as the capital's steamy summers."

Huntley's description of the findings in the book Hubris were also directly contradicted by the authors themselves, but no correction has been forthcoming.

Defendant Novak
Newsweek is now reporting: "On July 11, 2003, three days before the [Valerie Plame outing] column was published, Novak gave [lobbyist Richard Hohlt] a preview copy. (Unknown to Hohlt, Rove had already confirmed to Novak that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.) That same day, Hohlt e-mailed details about the column to Rove, and later faxed him the entire unpublished article. (Rove's lawyer confirms this account.) 'I was just trying to be helpful,' Hohlt says. His role as a go-between later earned him a visit from the FBI, but it stayed secret until now."

Still-Employed Novak
In combination with his business affiliation with official sources, does that make two significant violations of the paper's ethics policy? I mean, I heard they had one in a drawer somewhere.

Blogging Novak
If Novak is going to be so careless and irresponsible, maybe he ought to start blogging instead.

Speedwagon Rules
Saw a Chicagoland Speedway commercial last night using "Roll With the Changes" in the background.

The Obama Exception
Cindy Richards is miffed that corruption isn't enough "to get voters off the couch and into the polling place to throw out the bums."

She's mad at voters, but not at Barack Obama, whom she has endorsed despite his support of Richard M. Daley and Todd Stroger.

Trib Trip
Not only did the tiny Lakefront Outlook win the prestigious George Polk Award for local reporting for its investigation of the $19.5-million Harold Washington Cultural Center, a Dorothy Tillman special exposed as a miserable, money-losing joke staffed by the alderman's friends and family, but three newspapers the Tribune Company bought from Times-Mirror - the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, and The Hartford Courant, won awards despite TribCo downsizing their staffs, forcing out editors and publishers, rebuffing purchase attempts by local civic leaders, and otherwise maligning and belittling their operations.

The Chicago Tribune did not pick up any Polk awards this year.

Daley's Cash Machine
From the Latino Nework Newsletter:

The Daley Campaign is paying college students $100 to help Get Out The Vote on Election Day.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Details on the program are as follows:
* Students will receive $100 to go door to door on Election Day
* Transportation and lunch will be provided
* Students should respond by Tuesday, February 20, 2007
If you plan on attending, contact Justine Miele at (312) 739-2007 or If you respond by email, please include your phone number.

Shirley Coleman, chump.

This Is Our Country
"Esther's Haircutting Studio, where Spears shaved her head, set up a Web site to auction off her hair and other items for a minimum price of $1 million, J.T. Tognozzi, who owns the salon with his wife, told the AP.

"'This is it, the opportunity of a lifetime,' according to The winning bidder gets Spears' dark, knotty hair extensions, the clipper she used to cut them off, the Red Bull she drank at the salon and her cigarette lighter."

Judging George
"Sending former Gov. George Ryan to prison would be 'one of the great injustices in the history of the American legal system," the lawyer handling his appeal said in court Tuesday.

Yeah, more injust than . . . nah, too easy.

More interesting: Paul Simon thought one of the appellate judges hearing the case wasn't fit for the federal bench based on his mere experience as an Indiana state senator and deputy attorney general.

Obama supporters reacted by . . . nah, too easy.

Reforming Rod
Compare and contrast.

Cheney, More or Less
Tribune, Feb. 17: "Cheney's Clout Still Unmatched."

Washington Post, Feb. 19: "Cheney's Influence Lessens In Second Term."

Rep Rap
You can hold as many Olympics as you want, Chicago's global reputation as a crooked, cynical, corrupt city will always prevail.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Busy bidding on that lighter.


Posted on February 21, 2007

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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