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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 Jan. 24, 2014/ 23 Shevat, 5774

Where have the big-time grifters gone?

By Wesley Pruden




JewishWorldReview.com | Corruption in the governor's mansions just ain't what it used to be. A crooked governor of the old school, even an honors graduate in the not so long ago, would never have settled for a pair of FootJoy golf shoes, a Rolex, an Oscar de la Renta dress for the missus or airline tickets to a bachelorette party in Savannah and midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. With or without a Louis Vuitton suitcase.

Grifters today think small and some of the greediest crooks among us have neither vision nor imagination. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen took advantage of a willing mark and merely raided the Christmas catalog. Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, where they think bigger than "aqua Fairway Green Tech golf shirt," was caught on audiotape trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat after he left for Washington, where the new senator set out to give the Constitution to the Goodwill. Illinois boys think alike and think big. They've got the right stuff.

Mr. McDonnell not so long ago could imagine himself in Washington with real prospects. But he was clearly a small-town guy with small-bore ambitions. All he wanted was stuff. Richmond seemed bigger than that. Who knew?

Even in the Arkansas of the long ago, when it was content to be a quiet backwater of the magic huckleberry and the wife of the manager of the J.C. Penney could be the doyenne of high society, the governor thought bigger than a few shares in a patent-medicine empire, up and coming though it thought itself to be.

One former governor of Arkansas, who governed (so to speak) many years before the innocent Bubba was set loose on unsuspecting virgins, paid off a generous campaign donor by enabling him to sell the state a fire-and-theft insurance policy on all the concrete-and-steel bridges in the state highway system. To be fair, if anyone had stolen the bridge across the Mississippi River the insurance company would no doubt have paid off, and no one has yet set fire to so much as a concrete culvert.

The Long dynasty in Louisiana, with a little help from Franklin D. Roosevelt, stole millions but the poor folks the politicians swindled got a carnival midway for their money. The men Huey P. Long left in charge when he left for Washington, unlike Huey, only knew how to steal. This gave them little time to continue Huey's good works. Hundreds of Long followers were implicated in chicanery and skulduggery, many were indicted, and seven of them, including the governor and the president of LSU, went to prison. So many politicians partook of the federal largesse that FDR shipped into Louisiana they called it "the Second Louisiana Purchase." They took literally the slogan of the Kingfish, "Share Our Wealth."



The McDonnells are more in the tradition of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, who with her husband Ferdinand, took most of what was not nailed down, accumulated among other things 4,000 pairs of shoes. (Many thoughtful women of my acquaintance, outraged by the rest of the Marcos profligacy, nevertheless give her a pass on the shoes.)

The 43 pages of the indictments of the McDonnells, observes New Yorker magazine, suggest "the same feeling as when hearing about a particularly low-grade political sex scandal - the kind marked by petty desperation and lacking in romance." But Virginia, the land of more cavaliers than actual cotton, is neither Louisiana nor Arkansas, and certainly not Illinois. Gentility is bred and honored, particularly in the breach. The expectation of probity - Virginia is the land of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Robert E. Lee - is so great that until now it never occurred to the legislature to make laws against the kind of mischief the feds say the McDonnells took to Richmond.

It's on that lack of the law that the McDonnells are now pinning their hopes of avoiding prison. Maureen McDonnell, like Zsa Zsa Gabor when she was jailed on a traffic rap, cannot imagine herself in a place where Oscar de la Renta does not design the stripes. The prosecutors must prove the governor took the gifts and the money from Jonnie Williams, the manufacturer of diet pills, and gave him something beyond a smile and a wink in return. Maybe Mr. Williams was so enraptured by his friendship with the dynamic duo that all he wanted for his $165,000 in cash and gifts was their magical presence.

Maybe. But the grifters with their honest graft were a lot more fun.

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

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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