Paul Simon, who represented Illinois in the Senate back in from 1985 until 1997, died today. With our usual attention to substance, we in the media remember he wore a bow tie, had big ears, big glasses and a deep voice. He started as a crusading newspaperman, spent nearly two decades in the state Legislature and won recognition for his independence from the Daley machine, then lost a run for a governor to a Democratic primary opponent who not only turned out to be a charlatan but eventually was sent to prison. Anyway, he eventually made it to the House, then the Senate and onto the presidential campaign trail. He was a practical liberal who wanted to do something about schools and jobs and health care and open government (and budget deficits and violence in the media, too). And he seemed like a decent and honest guy, too — almost too decent and honest to have thrived in his chosen profession. A sad passing.