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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2008 / 21 Kislev 5769

What makes some cities or states more corrupt than others? Obama vs. machine politics

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ah, what a gift the media give us to see ourselves as others see us. With President-elect Barack Obama's victory, Chicago was portrayed as a world-class model of political enlightenment. Then our governor got arrested.


Among other outrages, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested for allegedly putting Obama's Senate seat up for auction and a new debate was launched: Is the Land of Lincoln the country's most corrupt state? Or is it merely more colorfully corrupt than, say, New Jersey or Louisiana?


Using newly released Justice Department figures, USA Today determined that Illinois is not, in fact, the nation's most corrupt place by a long shot. Who is? The newspaper awards that distinction to — wait for it! — North Dakota.


North Dakota? As we might say in my old Chicago neighborhood, hey, c'mon! That hardly seems fair. Look at the size of that state. Five Twin Buttes school board members were convicted of abusing travel money two years ago, for example, and you'd think they had a crime wave.


Using Justice Department data, USA Today compared federal corruption convictions since 1998 to state population. North Dakota had 8.3 per 100,000. Illinois had a mere 3.9. But Illinois has a much larger population (12.9 million) than North Dakota (639,715). By their count, Illinois slides down or, depending on how you look at it, rises up to 18th place.


The New York Times differs. It counted the number of guilty public officials over the past decade and found Florida beat everyone else with 824. Illinois came in seventh with a mere — a mere! — 502.


As a proud Illinoisan, I demand a recount. As a political journalist who has spent most of my career in the Land of Lincoln, I suppose that a part of me takes perverse pride in Illinois corruption in the way that a big game hunter supports wildlife preservation. If you're trying to ferret out big stories of bribes, favoritism and other skullduggery, it's nice to think that you are going after the worst of the lot, not the 18th worst.


"We certainly have a right to the title of most corrupt state," says political science Prof. Dick Simpson of the University of Illinois in Chicago — and my former alderman in Chicago's 44th Ward. "Certainly more than North Dakota, which has more cows than people."


Since 1971, by his count, Illinois has had 1,000 elected officials, city workers, lawyers or businesspeople convicted of serious public corruption charges.


Is Illinois only a hotbed of crooks? Hardly. The "Land of Lincoln" has had notable statesmen, including Abraham Lincoln himself. Others include Sen. Paul Douglas, Gov. Adlai Stevenson and Sen. Paul Simon. However, unlike New York and similar industrial cities, Chicago hasn't had many reform-minded mayors over the past century. Harold Washington was a notable exception, but died in office before he could enact much of his reform agenda.


Some national media reporters and commentators have raised questions or dropped hints that Obama might be a product of corrupt "Chicago politics." Political life in Chicago is more complicated and interesting than that. "Obama basically comes out of the reform wing," says Simpson, who comes from that same wing. "He passed the most stringent ethics law in Illinois history in the state Senate." Obama fought the machine in his early days, later made alliances with people like Mayor Daley. Yet Obama has carefully maintained his distance from the more questionable avenues of Illinois' political power.


What makes some cities or states more corrupt than others? Simpson answered with two words: machine politics. "Whenever you have people trading jobs and money for votes, you build up a pattern" until "the average precinct captain can't tell difference between the questionable ethics that George Washington Plunkett (of New York's old Tammany Hall machine) called 'honest graft' and the illegal 'dishonest' kind."


Most other cities got rid of their big political "machine" organizations with their armies of loyal precinct captains in public jobs. Some cities built modern versions of the old machine politics, fueled by big donations from wealthy contractors who, in turn, create jobs through their businesses.


Blagojevich is alleged to have run into trouble in those gray areas of favoritism and abuses of power. Judging by the wiretapped conversations that U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald quoted, the governor viewed his public trust, including the ability to name Obama's successor, as a pot of gold to be turned into personal or political profit.


At its heart, the culture of corruption begins when you treat politics not as a public interest, as we are taught in civics classes, but as just a job, just a business or just a cynical cat-and-mouse game of winners and losers, more fun for us to watch than to clean up.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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