Saturday, December 13, 2008

Second City Slapdown

For the more historically minded, it’s a time for nostalgia. The past comes alive as Chicago’s grand tradition of corruption is sustained for another generation. As the Chicago Tribune once wrote, “corruption has been as much a part of the landscape as corn, soybeans and skyscrapers.” According to the Chicago Sun-Times, as of 2006 — when Blago’s predecessor, George Ryan, was sent to prison for racketeering — 79 elected officials had been convicted of corruption in the past 30 years. Among the perps: 27 aldermen, 19 judges, 15 state legislators, three governors, two congressmen, one mayor, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a stolen pear tree. Especially in this holiday season, it’s so very important to keep traditions alive for the kids. In a sense, Blago did it for the children.
And you can’t leave out the supporting cast. Mrs. Blago curses like the inmate working the cafeteria at a women’s prison who replies with an f-bomb to anyone objecting to a leaden ladle-thwack of unidentifiable green mush on their lunch tray.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. — himself the son of a shakedown artist — is alleged to have offered (through a minion) a half-million bucks for Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. Jackson replaced former Rep. Mel Reynolds, who went to jail for getting jiggy with a 16-year-old campaign staffer and stayed in jail because of various fraud convictions. Reynolds, in turn, was the “reformer” who had replaced Rep. Gus Savage, the thug-congressman who groped a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire while on a “fact-finding” trip. Savage held off Reynolds’ attempts to replace him for several years by claiming Reynolds was financed by “racist Jews.”
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