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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 June 28, 2010 / 16 Tamuz 5770

Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no

By John Kass

John Kass


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's not every day that President Barack Obama and the Congress are handed an easy campaign issue by the Supreme Court on the touchy subject of political corruption.

And who isn't against political corruption?

On Thursday the Supreme Court gutted a key tool used by federal prosecutors to fight white-collar political corruption. It's known as the "honest services" clause. It deals with the tangible right of Americans to expect honest service from their elected officials.

Even in Illinois.

The court decided that the law was too vague. And since it was also used to convict business crooks like Enron CEO Jeffery Skilling and Chicago media baron Conrad Black, their lawyers are overjoyed.

But the ruling will have its biggest impact on political prosecution cases, because the justices limited theft of honest services to direct bribery and extortion.

Such thinking is simplistic. Big-time political corruption isn't about greasy envelopes stuffed with cash, passed in some alley behind a tavern.

Rather, high-level corruption is circular, buffered and layered. Elected Official A helps Donor B to compensate Contractor D, who takes care of Regulator C as A's nephews get rich.

"There is no question that the court has just raised the bar for prosecutors in public corruption and corporate malfeasance cases," said former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Collins, now in private practice.

Collins should know. He put former Republican Illinois Gov. George Ryan behind bars. Collins also prosecuted Robert Sorich, the patronage chief for Mayor Richard Daley.

Sorich ran a massive and illegal hiring scheme that allowed Daley to build vast armies of political workers to control elections in Chicago and Cook County. Those armies sent Rahm Emanuel to Congress from the 5th Congressional District.

And now Sorich's lawyers will no doubt use Thursday's ruling in his favor.

Once again the justices left it up to Congress to write a new law expressly stating what's honest and what's crooked in our politics. Why not consider this a wonderful teaching moment?

What an amazing opportunity for Obama and the Congress — the Democrats and the Republicans — to begin debating honesty in government. I'm sure they'll call a committee and put it all on C-SPAN.

But if all we hear from our president is silence, I guess we've got to wonder:

When Obama and all his chattering media suckups insisted that the guy from Chicago was truly a different kind of politician who would "transcend the broken politics of the past," did they really mean it?

And what about the Republicans? When they constantly harp about Chicago-style corruption, do they mean that the investigators should stay off their home turf and concentrate only on Chicago?

After the Supreme Court's opinion was released Thursday, you could almost hear the champagne corks popping behind locked doors in the offices of every crooked politician along The Chicago Way.

And along its minor roads, such as the Boston Way, the New Jersey Way, the Sacramento Way, you name it, it's all the same, but practiced best by the guys from Chicago, who combine public service with family fortunes. And since they write the laws, it's all legal.

Happy days are here again. Right, boys?

As if to celebrate, Sorich's old boss, Mayor Daley, announced this week that City Hall would sign private agreements with management companies and let them do the hiring in city government. Reporters who should know better said it was reform.

Yet private management contracts aren't subject to the same Freedom of Information scrutiny as is government. Private companies can hire who they want, without much explanation. The only explaining they have to do is explain to the mayor.

Perhaps they'll hire Sorich to review city job applications, as he did in the old days.

"Of course I'm disappointed; it's extremely disappointing" said David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor and the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate who did not loan money to mobsters.

Hoffman now teaches on corruption and politics at the University of Chicago.

"Now, in cases where there's no clear quid pro quo, you'll find prosecutors hesitating," Hoffman said. "And that's a shame."

He and Collins noted that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld the Sorich conviction.

That panel of judges ruled that if a public official violates his or her fiduciary duty to the public and becomes involved in fraud for private gain for themselves or for some other party, the money doesn't have to go into the official's pocket to be ruled a crime.

So the president and Congress could use that 7th Circuit opinion and make a new, tough corruption law within a week. When they say they're the change we've been waiting for, they meant it, right?

"When corruption occurs, absolutely something is stolen from the people," said Hoffman. "Something tangible. The right to honest government is more valuable to us than money."

And when corruption becomes institutionalized, as it has been in Illinois, the people become exhausted. They see how the political bosses reward their servants, they hear whose children get clouted into the public universities. That's when they're tempted to do something shameful:

Fall to their knees before the political lords.

And that's what's truly corrosive.

Political corruption isn't only about the theft of honest government. It's what's stolen after that. Our dignity.

Surely the president and the Congress — both Republicans and Democrats — understand this. And surely they'll do something about it before the mid-term elections in November.

I mean, who isn't against political corruption?

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.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:



12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2008, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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