Chicago Sun-Times

October 2008 Archives

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Watch us on Channel 11 @ 7...my guests will talk about whether the GOP is dying away in Illinois and nationally....And then on NBC5 @10 as we take a hard look at County Board President Todd Stroger's use of Homeland Security money.

October 29, 2008

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

It was Rahm Emanuel's suggestion, actually. "Why," asked the Chicago congressman, "don't you look at this presidential election through a different lens?"

Exactly what lens would that be?

"Paul Simon," he replied.

No, not the guy who used to sing with Art Garfunkel.

Jon Burge arrived just after 7AM this morning for his 9AM arraignment before US District Court Judge Joan Lefkow. Walking with a cane, Burge in a strong voice said, "Good morning, your honor." His attorneys entered a plea of not guilty with regard to perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The city of Chicago continues to pay his legal fees in civil lawsuits against him. The Fraternal Order of Police is rumored to be paying his criminal defense attorneys. Is that true? "No comment," said Burge lawyer Bill Gamboney.

I'll have more on all of this on NBC5 News at 6:00PM and on WTTW's 'Chicago Tonight" at 7PM.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/marin/1241754,CST-EDT-carol26.article

It's the least we can do.


October 25, 2008

CAROL MARIN cmarin@suntimes.com

On Monday morning, Jon Burge will walk the long lobby of the federal courthouse in Chicago to the elevators that will take him to his arraignment.

A media horde will greet him.


BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Justice for Melvin Jones is coming late.

Jones is dying. In and out of consciousness, according to his lawyers, it's possible he doesn't yet know the big news that broke Tuesday. That former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, the man he met in an interrogation room years ago, heard a loud federal knock on the door of his lovely home nestled beside a boat dock in Florida early Tuesday morning.

Oberweis v. Foster

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They will debate on Chicago Tonight on Channel 11 at 7PM Monday night.
Join us!

I'll moderate the debate on Channel 11 at 7:00PM on Chicago Tonight....right after my colleague, Phil Ponce, gives us the headlines of the day. Join us if you can!

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

HARBERT, Mich. -- It was Ibrahim Parlak's day off but he was at work anyway, sitting in his restaurant in Harbert, Mich., doing paperwork and paying bills when I interrupted him Tuesday.

Like all of us, he's glued to the economy, watching the Dow drop like a rock, rise like a rocket, then drop again.


"How's business?" I asked.

"It's OK," he answered.

No complaints. Ibrahim doesn't complain much. He knows there is more to worry about than the economy if we would only pay attention.

Have you noticed we don't talk about Iraq or Afghanistan much? Or peace in the Middle East? Or immigration, homeland security or the continued erosion of our civil liberties in the name of more FBI surveillance powers?

On Sunday, yet another prosecutor from our gulag at Guantanamo Bay resigned, becoming "at least the fourth prosecutor to quit in protest" according to a front-page report in the Los Angeles Times. Air Force Maj. David Frakt's charges were "explosive" in that they detailed how the U.S. government was perverting justice and denying due process in order to keep prisoners locked up rather than admit there were no grounds to hold them or compelling evidence to convict them.

The story, though picked up by respected news outlets, was hardly a blip on our radar.

After reading it this weekend, I decided it was time to write again about Ibrahim. His story may not have the global reach of the economy or the consequence of the current presidential contest, but it's worth recalling because Ibrahim Parlak is an example of what happens when we are swept up in events that overwhelm us. And how we justify the unjustifiable when we're feeling threatened and afraid.

Until the terror attacks of Sept. 11, Ibrahim was just another law-abiding immigrant with a green card. A Kurd from Turkey, he had been imprisoned and tortured for his work in the Kurdish independence movement. In 1992 he was granted asylum in the United States.

Moving to the summer resort area of Michigan just over the border from Indiana, he opened Cafe Gulistan, became active in local civic groups and began to make a decent living for himself and his young daughter.

After 9/11, we redefined everything. Turkey, whose human rights abuses we once condemned, became a crucial ally. The Kurdish independence movement had a few years earlier been reclassified as a terrorist operation. And all of a sudden, Ibrahim was considered a terrorist though the government cannot attribute to him a single act of terrorism.

Homeland Security locked him up anyway. It was only with the ferocious effort of many friends -- a former U.S. attorney, a former assistant general counsel for the FBI, a Republican congressman named Fred Upton and a Democratic U.S. senator, Carl Levin -- that Ibrahim Parlak is not only out of jail but also still in this country.

His fate hangs on a ruling that will someday come from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. It is taking a very long time. Though the average turnaround between oral arguments and a decision is reportedly 2½ months, it will be a year next week that the court has been considering Ibrahim's fate.

Maybe that's a good thing.

Another of his lawyers, Jay Marhoefer, believes the complexity of the case may account for the judges taking so long to write their briefs or make their decision.

Maybe they'll wait until after the election.

Whoever becomes the next president of this country will have a huge burden. The economy will still be an enormous challenge. But all those other things we no longer spend a lot of time talking about will be with us, too.

And the story of Ibrahim Parlak should be a cautionary tale for the next administration about how, in our fear, we can sometimes go too far.

October 11, 2008

CAROL MARIN cmarin@suntimes.com

Congratulations, Governor. You too, Speaker Madigan.

Ditto, Senate President Jones.

Con Con Can Can

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There is a pitched battle...more than predicted..over whether there should be a Constitutional Convention to reopen the state constitution.
Strange bedfellows have alligned on each side of this.
Tonight on NBC5 News at 6PM, I'll have a special report on the battle.

Con Con Can Can

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There is a pitched battle...more than predicted..over whether there should be a Constitutional Convention to reopen the state constitution.
Strange bedfellows have alligned on each side of this.
Tonight on NBC5 News at 6PM, I'll have a special report on the battle.

October 7, 2008

CAROL MARIN cmarin@suntimes.com

HAMMOND, Ind. -- The economic view from Northwest Indiana isn't pretty.

And if Indiana goes to Barack Obama on Nov. 4, get ready for an Election Day avalanche.

On Chicago Tonight (which airs on Channel 11 from 7-8PM), Senator Dick Durbin will go head to head with challenger Dr. Steve Sauerberg for half hour. I'll moderate. Hope you can join us!

Can Sarah Palin now be called the Comeback Kid?

Almost.

The Alaska governor's performance in St. Louis in the vice presidential debate with Joe Biden showed a lot of grit. From the git-go, Palin proved she was a gal ready to go toe-to-toe with Joe.

("Hey, can I call you Joe?")

Palin/Biden/NBC5

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Tonight at 10P on NBC5, I'll be reporting on the Palin/Biden matchup...tune in if you can!

Carol will interview CBS correspondent and Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, Channel 11, at 7:00. Topics include Sarah Palin and the state of news today.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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