Ever since Barack Obama brought his friends from Chicago to Washington, we’ve been hearing quite a bit about the myth of the corruption in Chicago. But according to the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City’s leading hometown newspaper, it’s not a myth at all.
A study completed by the University of Illinois reported that between 1976 and 2010 there were 1,531 convictions for public corruption in Chicago and its surrounding area. That makes this the most crooked place in the United States. Right now, as you are reading this, elected officials are marching down State Street chanting “We’re number one! We’re number one!”
Aye, aye, aye! Such an honor.
Digging a bit deeper in the report, we learn that the central region of California, Los Angeles plus the area around it, is number two with 1,275 convictions. So who would you guess is number three? If you said New York City, you could pick whatever is behind door number two or come back next week for the opportunity to answer a harder question with a more valuable prize.
The so-called southern district of New York, home of New York City came in third with 1,202 convictions. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the folks at home are more honest. It could mean that many of the gonavim (plural of goniff) were not yet caught.
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Illinois boasts several nicknames. The best known on the list are “The Prairie State” and “The Land of Lincoln,” but the one that we find most interesting is “The Sucker State.” No. I’m not kidding. You can look it up.
Here’s another distinctive quality of Illinois: disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich is heading for the slammer. That makes four of the last seven governors to serve time. Aye! Another honor. You and I refer to the dishonesty and fraudulence as sleaze and corruption. Politicians use words that tone it way down. State Sen. Annazette Collins refers to the most corrupt place in America as having “our fair share of ethical challenges.”
Huh? She makes it sound like they cheated in a game of Monopoly.
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Last week Leon Panetta flew to Afghanistan to discuss several things, including the withdrawal of our troops. President Karzai said that he and Panetta had agreed to work toward a handover of security to Afghan forces in 2013, a year earlier than the 2014 deadline for the NATO pullout. 2014? 2013? Many Americans have a better idea. How about 2012?
“Should we just declare victory and get out of Afghanistan?” That’s the poll question asked by the left-leaning Sun-Sentinel to the readers of Broward County, the strongest Democrat County in Florida, which outvoted the Republicans in the 2008 presidential election by more than two to one. Here are the voting options for those who participated in the current survey:
• (Yes) Our troops are in grave danger after the weekend attack. Get them home in a hurry. Also — 10 years is more than long enough. Let the Afghans take care of themselves.
• (No) If we leave Afghanistan now, the Taliban will take over, and all our work is for naught. Our troops have performed too heroically to just pull up stakes when the job isn’t finished.
And the results are — drum roll please — a great big 77 percent are singing “Bring ’em home.”
Now the question is, if you bring them home and there are no jobs, what’ll we do with them? I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net answering that question: we can solve several problems by putting them on our borders.
Read Stanley Gershbein's column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.