May 24, 2013
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Dec. 11, 2008 / 14 Kislev 5769
Good Old-Fashioned Graft?
The response of Kathryn Jean Lopez, whose column appears on this site, to the arrest of Rod Blagojevich was priceless. "Finally, a political scandal you can talk to your children about. No room at the Mayflower. No myspace page. No Gay-American announcement. Just good and evil and money and power corrupting."
Rod Blagojevich is part of a storied American tradition. By selling government posts, shaking down businesses that had dealings with the state, and maneuvering to get lucrative jobs for his wife and himself, Blagojevich was practicing "honest graft."
The distinction between "honest graft" and "dishonest graft" was elucidated by a turn of the century politico named George Washington Plunkitt, a Tammany Hall man. Tammany was the political machine that ran New York, which was then a lot like Illinois is today. "Everybody is talkin' these days about Tammany men growin' rich on graft, but nobody thinks of drawin' the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft … Yes, many of our men have grown rich in politics … I've made a big fortune out of the game … but I've not gone in for dishonest graft blackmailin' gamblers, saloon-keepers, disorderly people, etc."
No, he explained, here's how "honest graft" works: "Well, I'm tipped off, say, that they're going to lay out a new park at a certain place. I see my opportunity and I take it. I go to that place and I buy up all the land I can in the neighborhood. Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared particular for before. Ain't it perfectly honest to charge a good price and make a profit on my investment and foresight? … Well, that's honest graft."
That was how things were managed in the early 1900s. How is it done today? Gov. Blagojevich, who had authority to appoint a successor to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama, instructs his aide that "The trick is … how do you conduct indirectly … a negotiation?" Actually, on the evidence of these secretly taped conversations, Blagojevich was anything but indirect. "We were approached 'pay to play,'" he told an aide on Dec. 4, "That, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million if I made (Candidate 5) a senator."
Seeing himself in possession of a valuable commodity, Blagojevich wasn't about to give it away for mere gratitude. "It's not coming for free. … I've got this thing and it's (expletive) golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing. I'm not gonna do it." Then, demonstrating a fine appreciation for his legal authority, he added, "I can always use it. I can parachute me there." At another point, he was subtlety itself: "I want to make money."
No doubt he was inspired by the example of his wife, who is heard demanding in the background of one call regarding the Chicago Cubs, that her husband should "hold up that (expletive) Cubs (expletive) … (expletive) them." He liked her advice well enough to ask the aide what he thought of it. Not a shock from a guy who could demand a $50,000 campaign contribution from the director of a children's hospital before releasing $8 million in state funds for the kids.
Plunkitt had some other reflections on public service. He noted that "What tells in holdin' your grip on your district is to go right down among the poor families and help them in the different ways they need help … If there's a fire in Ninth, Tenth, or Eleventh Avenue, for example, any hour of the day or night, I'm usually there with some of my election district captains as soon as the fire engines. If a family is burned out I don't ask whether they are Republicans or Democrats, and I don't refer them to the Charity Organization Society … I just get quarters for them, buy clothes for them … and fix them up till they get things runnin' again. It's philanthropy, but it's politics, too … Who can tell how many votes one of these fires bring me? The poor are the most grateful people in the world, and, let me tell you, they have more friends in their neighborhoods than the rich have in theirs."
On second thought, Blagojevich wouldn't be fit to shine Plunkitt's shoes.
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 JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.
Mona Charen Archives
© 2006, Creators Syndicate
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K