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The [Wednesday] Papers

It's hard to believe that U.S. congressman Bobby Rush is so dense as to not understand why accepting a million-dollar grant from AT&T's charitable arm for his Englewood community center while sitting on a committee that helps set the nation's telecommunications policy could be fairly construed as a conflict-of-interest, so we can reasonably conclude that he's simply being disingenuous in his attack on Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet, who broke the Rush story last week.

Appearing on Chicago Tonight last night, Rush called Sweet's story "shoddy journalism" and called Sweet "lazy" for apparently not calling the House ethics committee for a determination of whether Rush had a conflict-of-interest.

If she had called, Rush insisted, she would have learned that there was no conflict. Hence, no story.

Rush can't really believe this. But instead of explaining why the confluence of events looks bad - particularly because he is the only Democrat to sponsor a controversial phone industry-backed bill - but is in reality an entirely up-and-up matter, Rush won't even concede that it looks bad.

"No, it doesn't look bad!" he exclaimed. "As a matter of fact, it looks pretty good!"

Any remaining benefit of the doubt one might have extended to Rush disappeared with that statement.

I would never accuse Rush of being lazy. But he is, in the least, practicing shoddy politics, with a side order of stupid for the way he has now opened himself up to further scrutiny. It sure sounds like he deserves it, because, after all, what else is he up to that "looks pretty good" despite the facts on the ground?

Note: Rush, who routed a challenger named Barack Obama in 2000, is expected to slaughter Republican opponent Jason Tabour in the fall. So the system works.

City Council Cash Crunch
Speaking of conflicts-of-interest, city council finance committee chairman Eddie Burke once again led all aldermen in trading on their elected positions for extra cash through outside employment.

The Sun-Times's report on the latest financial disclosure forms focuses on the curious case of Burke's Wal-Mart stock, while reminding readers again that it once disclosed "that Burke used a rare parliamentary maneuver to change the record of four past Council votes involving his airline clients dating back as far as seven years."

The Tribune notes that "although there is no legal prohibition against outside employment, most [aldermen] in recent years have opted against second jobs. Of those who receive other pay, most are lawyers."

(Aldermen make $98,125 a year and are trolling for another pay raise.)

Both papers noted that Burke did work for 37 clients that do business with the city or other units of local government.

Surprisingly, Burke was unavailable for comment.

Note: Burke isn't likely to face a serious challenge when he runs for re-election next year. So the system works.

The Other White Meat
Today's familiar headlines about the state budget negotiations - "Pork Back On Budget Menu" - calls out for another installment of Tim Willette's "DOG BITES MAN: News You Already Know."

1. "Violence Hurts Effort To End Sri Lanka War" (AP, 5/1)

2. "Stroger Campaign Official Gets County Job" (Sun-Times, 5/2)

3. "Program To Rebuild Iraq Troubled" (USA Today, 5/2)

4. "Crying Babies Linked To Depressed Moms" (LiveScience.com, 5/2)

5. "Lobbying Bill Quite Different From First Draft (USA Today 5/1)

Drowning The Evidence
City officials joked about throwing their laptops in Lake Michigan to destroy evidence of "massive fraud" in city hiring, prosecutors allege.

Wily Webb
Federal prosecutor Patrick Collins has some harsh words for defense attorney Dan Webb in the latest unsealed transcripts of private sessions between lawyers and the judge in the George Ryan trial.

"Collins said he had heard before trial that Webb 'is the greatest lawyer in America . . . and that his word is his bond,'" the Tribune reports.

"I have to tell you, that is not the way this trial has transpired," Collins told Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in February, after a sealed matter had been leaked to the press. "We have been lied to."

The Tribune doesn't say what the matter was, but the Sun-Times reports that in late February Pallmeyer "appeared furious with Webb because she seemed to believe that his client, Ryan, or one of his family members, was the source of a Sun-Times story saying [Cynthia] McFadden was dismissed because of a 'personality conflict' with other jurors.

"Pallmeyer rejected the contention that someone from the prosecution side could have been the unnamed source of the story."

Also, Ryan's lawyers filed new papers Tuesday asking to question juror foreperson Sonja Chambers about her alleged discussions of the case with a coffee stand owner at the Lisle Metra station.

Adult Deficit Disorder
All my life I've read stories like this one today about how stupid young people are. At some point, those people grow up to be stupid adults, too. Some of them even work in newsrooms. So let's not confine our outrage to the kids.

Pickett Pablum
Sun-Times Smart Girls' Book Club columnist Debra Pickett made her regular Tuesday night appearance on Chicago Tonight last night, delivering her usual yuppie-inflected long windup on an important issue of the day before falling flat with absolutely nothing insightful to say.

Last night, the subject was "curbing dependence on foreign oil."

Pickett's solution? Leave your car at home on Saturday mornings when you run errands like going to the bank, the grocery store, and the dry cleaners.

At least she didn't say "try to use just American oil."

Baffling Burns
Channel 2 news anchor and multimillionaire Diann Burns once again had no comment last night on her allegations filed in court that a contractor did shoddy work rehabbing her home because she and her husband are African-American.

So Chicago Tonight filled in the blanks by noting a current exhibit at Bucktown's Metalworks Gallery entitled "Playing the Race Card."

Burns, for her part, has said she doesn't wish to litigate personal matters in the media. She prefers to litigate other people's matters in the media.

Rocking the System
Carol Marin on Gov. Baloneyvich.

The Tribune Company on "cost containment" and other matters taken up at this year's shadowy annual meeting.

Hollinger International, parent company of the Sun-Times, on changing its name to the Sun-Times Media Group.

Memo to Neil Steinberg: Some of us even buy clothes at thrift stores. (Third dumb item.)

Memo to Jennifer Hunter: All my life I've been reading about the disappearing art of political conversation. I didn't believe it until I started reading your column.

Immigration Updates
Late posts from yesterday, repeated fresh this morning for your reading pleasure:

Deport Don: Does Don Wade still have a job?

A Day Without Taste: UPDATE - The headline in The Naperville Sun yesterday was "The Day The Lawn Wasn't Mowed." All other evidence of this story's existence seems to have been destroyed.

Not That Illegal: ArchPundit writes the Reporter to say that "being in the country illegally is generally a civil violation of the law and not a misdemeanor. The Sensenbrenner bill would have made it a criminal felony and then an amendment was introduced to make it a misdemeanor because Sensenbrenner figured out how much it would cost to provide defense lawyers for all of those defendants.

"All the more irony that, because Democrats voted against making it a misdemeanor because they thought it shouldn't be a criminal matter, the GOP then claimed Dems wanted to keep it a felony as the bill originally called for."

ArchPundit's own post on the matter is here.

And, this morning, Richard Roeper digs up a 1998 short film titled "A Day Without A Mexican."

The Beachwood Tip Line: A day without it is like a day without sunshine. Or rain.



Permalink

Posted on May 3, 2006


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Time For Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.
POLITICS - More College Aid Going To The Rich.
SPORTS - Bears At Peak McCaskey.

BOOKS - Before Breitbart.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: New Fucking Frying Pan.


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