Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

We are dancing in the streets of New Jersey. Okay, maybe not dancing but surely residents of the “Soprano State” are rejoicing over the comments of FBI special agent Robert Grant, who commented at a Tuesday morning press conference, “If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s one hell of a competitor.” He was talking about Illinois, folks, not New Jersey.  Illinois, home of Abe Lincoln, Elliot Ness,  the writer Studds Terkel and our next President, Barack Obama (or maybe North Dakota – see end of this post).

Actually, Special Agent Grant was talking about the last two governors of that once-proud state, George Ryan and now Rod Blagojevich, not to mention a veritable parade of visible and less visible politicians whose behavior makes Jersey look like the garden-fresh state. Be honest: had you even been thinking about Blagojevich? Could you spell or pronounce his name? Did you even know who he was? Well,  you do now. The details of Governor Blagojevich’s escapades are all over the news; he apparently tried to use the seat vacated by the President-elect as leverage to (depending on what you read): get a better public sector job, get a better private sector job, get his wife a better job, get the Senate job himself, get more editorial support from the hometown paper, get people fired at the hometown paper, and/or get cash. Nothing was off the table, except perhaps trading the Senate seat for a new hairstylist (I’m sorry to hit a man when he’s down but what’s up with that hair?) I’m surprised he didn’t put the Senate seat up for bid on e-Bay. Maybe that was set for tomorrow.

The only thing he appears to have been definitively offered was the one thing he didn’t want – the appreciation of the Obama transition team, which didn’t seem inclined to participate in the auction. Gratitude – give me a break. Nothing says “thank you”  like cash or its equivalent in power.

Chutzpa, hubris, or cluelessness – it’s been hard to figure out why in this day and age politicians continue to believe themselves immune from discovery and prosecution, never mind ethics. Maybe it’s because for too long they have been, in part because we haven’t been privy to what’s going on and in part because we haven’t been keeping an eye on them. Still, this guy takes the cake, doesn’t he? His calculations were wide-ranging, not to mention grandiose. Makes the stuff we’ve been dealing with in New Jersey look like penny-ante stuff. Still, we’ll be happy to surrender the spotlight for the moment while pointing out once again that while absolute power may corrupt absolutely, it can happen anywhere from Alaska to Rhode Island to Louisiana to Florida to Illinois. I’m just sayin’.

UPDATE: It can also apparently happen in North Dakota, which wins the title of most corrupt state, according to a report  based on analysis of convictions prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Now North Dakota recently made news for being a state uniquely untouched by the recession so either they’re good at prosecuting corruption or they’re too comfortable to be much bothered by it.

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