Hillary Clinton and a 9/11 Con’s “Case of the Mondays”


It’s Monday: most everyone is groggy from the weekend and having a hard time starting the day. As the long work week looms ahead, today’s papers remind us that baseball starts in earnest today and that we the people have been scammed by either a presidential candidate (Post) or a fame-seeking 9/11 con artist (Daily News). Add in some tabloid back-and-forth sniping, and you’ve got yet another manic Monday.

Let’s start with today’s Post. The main story on page one is the exclusive interview with Emina Bicakcic, the Bosnian girl who read Hillary Clinton a poem about peace after Clinton landed in Bosnia for a 1996 trip. This is the same excursion in which Clinton claimed she dodged sniper fire upon landing. The Senator later said she “misspoke.” Bicakicic, 20, is now studying to be a doctor and says she was “surprised” when she heard Clinton’s claims that she was under attack. The twist in this article is that despite the word “INSULT” in all caps on the front page, Bicakcic never says she was insulted. The attribution for that is from other Bosnians who did not like seeing their struggles cheapened. Bicakcic also told the Post that she is “staying neutral” in the election, supporting neither Clinton nor Obama. (Never mind the fact that she’s a Bosnian citizen so her support is theoretical at best. And I do understand that this election affects more than just our country. I’m just saying that the support of “random photo op girl from 1996” isn’t that much of a concern.) Kudos to the Post for its internal headline, “FROM BAD TO VERSE FOR HILL.”

The Daily News, on the other hand, ignores the Democratic candidates today. It is a slow time in the election; we have three weeks until the next big primary, Pennsylvania. The front page instead concentrates on an exclusive about Fred Parisi, a con man who claims to have been a rescue worker at Ground Zero in the wake of 9/11 and who was busted Saturday night in New Jersey. Parisi started a nonprofit, the 9/11 Rescue Workers Foundation, but according to the News, it’s unclear that any money from the group ever made it to injured workers. Parisi has a history of running scams, which the News details in a sidebar on page 5. Parisi’s greatest crime, if you read between the lines, is that he wanted to spend time with celebrities. He wanted nothing more than to get onto Oprah, and the News has pictures of Parisi with Derek Jeter, Rudy Giuliani and Sopranos cast members Tony Sirico and Michael Imperioli. Being a scammer will make you reviled. Try to hang with the A-list, and you’ll be pilloried.

One story that makes the front of both papers is today’s Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. It’s the last one in the old park, and therefore we need to see Babe Ruth on front page of the Post, as it’s time to show off the ghosts. It’s “the beginning of the end” according to the Post, and that means it’s time to walk down memory lane. In the News, Mike Lupica declares that the Yanks have to win today. (The Mets kick off their season too, but on the road in Florida.) Expect a lot of “this is the end” articles for both teams this year, as they both are moving into new digs for 2009. This is one theme that is not going to let up.

In other news, the Post takes the Daily News to task for the News‘ coverage of the latest call-girl scandal. The attorney for Wicked Models madam Kristin Davis says that Davis denies a Daily News report that New York Ranger Sean Avery was one of her clients. The Post also razzes the News on their exclusive on Davis’ “little black book,” which Davis’ lawyers says may not be authentic. A related story on page 15 notes that many high-priced escorts are lying low as law enforcement seems to be cracking down on the business.

Crazy Cabbie The Post tells the tale of cab driver Abubakarr Jalloh, who twice has lashed out at TLC inspectors in most unproductive ways. Jalloh lost his license after he sped off when TLC officers got in his cab, flinging one of the doors open. Jalloh eventually ran into a car. And we thought the only crazy cab stories involved not taking credit cards!