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The [Wednesday] Papers

1. "Meanwhile, an Obama staffer, sent to watch us, nimbly Blackberried our movements to someone inside," Carol Marin writes today. "Suddenly, bodyguards pulled the SUV down into a parking garage, grabbed Obama, and with wheels squealing, sped out and away."

Maybe he was just fleeing from cynicism.

2. What's fascinating about Marin's account about her and Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak seeking answers from Obama about dilapidated low-income housing built in his state senate district by his self-described political godfather Tony Rezko is how patient they were - how many opportunities Obama had to explain - and how he still hasn't done so to any degree of adequacy.

Maybe he's campaigning on the hope that the whole thing will just go away.

3. Marin points out that Michelle Obama just got done telling the Tribune how scrupulous the man is about the details of his life. And yet, he seems to have a problem remembering the details of his stock portfolio, the purchase of his own house, the events of his childhood and young adult life, and the existence of government-financed ghetto buildings in his district that were built with help from his law firm and were the target of several city lawsuits.

Maybe he really did learn everything he needed to know about America in Springfield.

4. With a memory like that, he should be running for Attorney General.

5. Obama told reporters that the Sun-Times's story "left a series of false impressions."

If only the paper had called him ahead of time to clear up any confusion.

6. Obama said he did five hours of legal work on the Rezko housing deals in six years. Actually, he probably did five hours of legal work on the Rezko deals in two days, but saying so doesn't deflect the issue quite as cleverly.

7. Watch Obama show Tim Novak what an imperfect vessel he is for a new kind of politics.

8. Lynn Sweet reports that on Tuesday Obama was asked at an appearance about the affordable housing crisis in this country. "I have experience in this area, having worked at the community level," he said.

See, first you have the developer write the checks to your campaign committee . . .

9. He also said the "old models" of public housing don't work, and that community groups and others need to build affordable housing that is "integrated economically, by the way, not just racially."

You know, just like he keeps telling the mayor about his CHA Plan for Transformation.

10. Oops! In 2002, just to pick one example, the Obamas reported income of $259,394, placing them in the top 2 percent of U.S. households, the Tribune reports. That year they gave $1,050 in charity. $1,050!

He donated plenty of hope, though.

11. It wasn't just a one-year fluke. The Tribune report shows that the Obamas have typically given less to charity than the national average - you know, you and I.

But then, they were saving their money for the day they could buy a $1.65 million home with the help of Uncle Tony.

12. "Both Obama and his wife, Michelle, declined to respond to questions about their charitable donations."

Well, maybe they were too busy working their shifts at the soup kitchen.

13. "I've said to Rev. Sharpton and I'll say it today, if there is somebody - I don't care whether they are white or black or they are male or female - if there is somebody who has been more on the forefront on behalf of the issues you care about and has more concrete accomplishments on behalf of the things you're concerned about, I'm happy to see you endorse them. But I am absolutely confident you will not find that," Obama said.

14. Let me reintroduce you to Obama's other political godfather, to whom he once approached as a state legislator and said "You have the power to make a United States senator."

Torture Whitewash
"A four-year, $6.5 million investigation into police torture in the 1970s and '80s was a whitewash that left crooked cops unindicted and soft-pedaled mistakes by top law enforcement officials, including then Cook County State's Atty. Richard M. Daley, a coalition of civil rights groups argued in a report released Tuesday," the Tribune reports today.

And they're right and we all know it.

While the statute of limitations prevents some charges from being filed - nice way to run out the clock! - it is still possible, as I understand the coverage, to prosecute for conspiracy. After all, the torture was systematic - as has been the silence, which some might even dare call a cover-up.

Another compelling argument made by lawyer Locke Bowman, of the MacArthur Justice Center is this: The special prosecutors said in their report issued in July that they found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Jon Burge and four other former officers tortured suspects. Burge denied under oath in 2003 that he had witnessed or taking part in torture. Why not prosecute Burge for perjury?

A host of organizations have signed on to the civil rights group's report, including Amnesty International and The Innocence Project, as well as Rev. Jesse Jackson, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, and Barack Obama.

Oh, wait. Obama hasn't had anything to say about police torture. He endorsed Daley for mayor.

I wonder if any of the victims lived in his state senate district? Maybe even in a Rezko building.

The Beachwood Tip Line: 24/7/365.


Posted on April 25, 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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