Home
In this issue
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 Sept. 3, 2009 /14 Elul 5769

Blago as author gets it wrong yet again

By John Kass

John Kass


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With the FBI knocking on his door, Rod "Dead Meat" Blagojevich was about to be the first sitting Illinois governor hauled from his house in federal handcuffs.


Yet even in this time of abject panic and fear — as he writes in his new autobiography — Blagojevich thought of a Chicago politician.


No, it wasn't President Barack Obama.


About the only thing Obama and Dead Meat have in common is convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko. But Dead Meat didn't need Rezko's help to buy a mansion. Dead Meat already had one, in Springfield.


So at 6 a.m. on Dec. 9, the phone rang in his Northwest Side home and the then-governor was told he'd be arrested any second. That's when Blagojevich started thinking about a politician:


His good buddy, and shadow-governor, state Sen. James DeLeo (D-How You Doin?).


"I honestly thought that for a fleeting moment, that someone was actually playing a practical joke on me," the former Democratic Illinois governor writes in his autobiography, "The Governor" ( Phoenix Books, $24.95).


"I was quickly trying to gauge the voice and run through my mind who might be doing it. Which one of my friends could this be?…state Sen. Jimmy DeLeo, a lawmaker and a friend, and a guy known for his sense of humor — could this be him? For a moment, I thought it was him."


But it wasn't Jimmy.


It was Rob Grant, special agent in charge of the Chicago FBI, and Dead Meat was going down on corruption charges.


This first of several DeLeo references was on page 9. But the book goes downhill from there.


Dead Meat, scheduled to stand trial in federal court in June, takes all 259 pages to send messages to former friends and to enemies, like the Madigans, and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.


Throughout, Dead Meat writes he's a regular fellow, like Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life," fighting for the little guy, fighting for his country, fighting against all those evil Mr. Potters of the world.


But regular guys don't quote Shakespeare's "Henry V" to a bunch of Northwest Side Democratic machine precinct captains belonging to his ward boss father-in-law, Alderman Richard Mell.


Dead Meat, whom Mell picked to become a state legislator in 1992, said he felt the need to impress Mell's troops.


So he quoted from "Henry V," the part where Henry encourages the outnumbered English before their historic battle with the French at Agincourt, a battle that would mark the end of chivalry for all time, though Blago didn't mention chivalry. Yet he insists he quoted Shakespeare in that Northwest Side VFW hall.


"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, and gentlemen in England now abed, shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhood cheap, while others speak that fought with us on St. Crispin's Day!"


Now, I've been covering Chicago politics for years. And I've seen Mell's precinct captains in action. They're pros, and very good at getting out the vote. But picture them at a political meeting, guys on loan from DeLeo like Dominic Longo and Ronnie "Little Pistol" Calicchio, wearing their knit shirts and gold chains, their leathers, smelling of cigars and of Paco Rabanne for Men.


Then out comes the son-in-law with the dry look hair-do, a 30-something Dead Meat screeching at them about St. Crispin's Day and men who hold their manhood cheap.


"What's he talkin' about, this 'gentlemen in England now abed?' Who the #$%^ is this Crispin guy!?"


"He wants to hold my manhood cheap? What the @#$%? Nobody's touching my manhood. Especially this Elvis lookin' spacone."


What's astounding is that after such a display, they elected him to a public office. I'm surprised they'd elect him to the mosquito abatement district.


I can handle the fantastic exaggerations in this book. But what I can't handle are all the bizarre literary references, especially when you get the feeling he never read the books and only watched the movies.


He invokes Daedalus and Icarus, but Blago gets the ancient myth wrong and insists Icarus fell to the ground after flying too near the sun rather than into the sea. Shakespeare's "Richard III," "Othello," "King Lear," "Julius Caesar" are all represented. There is even a misused "Godfather" reference, and another to Robert De Niro's character in "Raging Bull." This is autobiography by Google.


It's all very frightening, with Blago the tragic hero of every story, until you realize that he's just seeding the jury pool. But there is another moment of truth, on page 135, after he compares himself to every hero in Western literature.


"The truth is, I would probably never have had a start in politics if it wasn't for my father-in-law."


And he would never have had so many laughs, if it weren't for Jimmy DeLeo.

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:


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.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles