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The [Wednesday] Papers

The relatively long deliberations by the jury in the Scooter Libby case - and the question they sent to the judge about the definition of reasonable doubt - led some observers (myself included) to suspect they were really struggling with this one, despite the overwhelming evidence in the prosecution's favor.

They weren't. The remarks made by juror Denis Collins make clear the case was a slam dunk.

Juror #9
"After all the Ivy Leaguers, here comes a guy who looks like he was spawned in the era of sawdust and cigarette butts on newsroom floors. Might still write with a stubby pencil," Collins writes in "Inside the Jury Room" of Robert Novak's courtroom appearance.

Novak, by the way, will write about the verdict in tomorrow's Sun-Times. Wonder if he'll address how Karl Rove came to vet his Valerie Plame column - and how he still has a job despite that.

Winning Percentage
In an examination of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the Tribune recounts his monstrously successful record as U.S. Attorney here. He appears to have stumbled only a couple times - ironically, given his track record, in terrorism cases.

"In the high-profile cases of Enaam Arnaout and Muhammad Salah, prsecutors failed to convict either man of terrorism, though they were found guilty of lesser crimes."

(For all the build-up the last couple of years, the Salah case certainly dropped off the media's radar screen in a hurry after the verdict - which the Sun-Times covered with a wire report.)

My question is this: Just how many cases has Fitzgerald's office lost in his tenure here? Not many, I bet. I'd be curious to know who beat him and how.

Political Prosecutions
It's not Fitzgerald who is criminalizing politics. It's the politicians.

Oh Zealousy
Fitzgerald is a creative and aggressive prosecutor. Good for him. If he's overzealous, it's the court's job to rein him in. Blame the judges - and the high-priced defense attorneys, in the case of pols - if you don't like it.

Undermining Lies
The complaint that Libby was charged in a case in which Fitzgerald found "no underlying crime" is poppycock. We don't know if there was an underlying crime, though the outing of a CIA agent certainly indicates there was one. But it was Libby's lies to the grand jury that prevented Fitzgerald from getting to the heart of the case. That's why Libby lied.

Now, in the case of the acquitted Bill Clinton, the underlying crime was a few blowjobs. Just sayin'.

Chicagolympics Sun-Times
One thing the Olympic evaluation committee has learned on its visit to our fair city: At least one paper in town is so committed to bringing the Olympics here that it has suspended actual reporting on the effort in favor of the press-release journalism it is so good at.

Flagging Effort
The Sun-Times editorial page finds the qualities represented by the city flag to well express why the Olympics should be held here, but the metaphors they reach for are just a tad strained.

"Then there's the white bars representing the North, West and South Sides," the paper explains. "White is supposed to symbolize the fact that our population is a composite of all nations - what could be more in the spirit of the Olympics than that?"

Uh, white represents all nations? And the North, West and South Sides? Hello?

"Next we come to the stars. One stands for the Fort Dearborn massacre, which is not particularly applicable to the case we're making unless you argue that it was the first of many setbacks that Chicago overcame," the paper says gamely. "The next stands for the Great Fire, not just the biggest setback, but the event that spurred our architectural greatness and helped our lakefront."

So the first star stands for a massacre and the second for a fire. Go on. I'm listening.

"The third and fourth represent the great fairs of 1893 and 1933. If the Olympics wants cities to retain a legacy from the games, we understand legacies."

Not since 1933 have we hosted an event worth a star!

More to the point: Did the Sun-Times just promise the USOC the city would add a fifth star to the flag if we land the Olympics? Did they clear that with the mayor?

Apparently the points on the stars also represent things the Olympic folks might find interesting.

One point on the second star, for example, stands for justice, the editorial board reminds us.

Is that the Robert Sorich point or the Don Tomczak point?

"Points on the third stand for various entities that have ruled this area" - like the Tribune Company, Oprah, and the Cook County Democratic Party? - "but we could also argue they represent Chicago's international flavor."

Or you could argue they stand for a variety of track and field events. Really, you could argue anything you want.

Does the Sun-Times really think the USOC will be swayed by a grade-school essay on the city flag? Or will the paper's lack of sophistication work against the bid? This is an international media event. The IOC might not want to hold it in Rubetown, USA.

Mouthy Mayor
"I could spend hours and hours talking about our great city," Daley told committee members.

"I mean, if I was ever deposed, heh-heh!" he added.

Weather Watch
The Sun-Times sought assurance - from another reporter - that the committee wouldn't hold the cold weather against Chicago.

"They know it's not going to be freezing in Chicago in July," Robert Livingston of told the paper.

"After all, the committee members are not only not idiots, but they live in America and are pretty familiar with the seasons here, you putzes!" he added.

Olympic Outfit
"This is not the city that Al Capone ran," a local booster told the paper.

"After all, Capone never landed a hundred million dollars in city contracts, heh-heh!" he added.

Gold Line
"In the evening, the USOC group was feted at the Art Institute," the Sun-Times's account says. "They arrived in a hybrid CTA bus."

It was a mix of one of their regular buses with one that makes its stops on time.

Festival Seating
With "Color Me Kubrick," Ferdy on Films continues its excellent coverage of the 10th annual European Union Film Festival, now showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Please check out the fine work of the Beachwood's very own Marilyn Ferdinand and Kathryn Ware.

In Today's Reporter

* The physics of Chicago parking.

* The Irish Sopranos. Sort of.

* Why people have big families, according to Cab #1490.

* In honor of the Olympic committee visit, The Beachwood Reporter is offering discounted Gold, Silver, and Bronze memberships. They are called Aluminum, Tin, and Bauxite. Dirt and Enriched Uranium also still available.

* The [Olympic Visit] Papers.

The Beachwood Tip Line: 2,016 reasons why.


Posted on March 7, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Bad News About Human Nature.

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