Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Chicago Corruption Hall of Fame

In case Americans were in danger of becoming deprogrammed, Democratic National Committee flack Karen Finney today used the occasion of the NCAA basketball tournament to drill us on -- all together now -- the Republican culture of corruption.

"March Madness may be fun for millions of Americans, but the Republican culture of corruption is no game," said Finney.

Poor Karen. The Dems need to get some better writers. Seriously.

Better writing over at the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, though, where columnist Tom McNamee last week inaugurated the soon-to-be world-famous "Chicago Corruption Hall of Fame" -- complete with a Selection Committee that includes dead members whose votes Tom gets to manipulate. ("Traditionally the cemetery vote in Chicago is controlled by the living," he writes, confirming a staple of Democratic politics that we write about in DONKEY CONS.)

Tom writes:
In case you missed my column last week -- family emergency kept you away, right? -- I announced the creation of a new Chicago Corruption Hall of Fame to recognize our hundreds, if not thousands, of home-grown stars in the highly competitive fields of graft and greed...Last week's inductees were William J. Lorimer, who bribed his way into the U.S. Senate; Tubbo Gilbert, a crooked cop whose misdeeds brought down the Democratic ticket in 1950; Richard LeFevour, the Greylord judge who fixed hundreds of cases; Tom Keane, the alderman who misused his position to get rich, and William McGarigle, the Cook County Hospital boss who let patients rot while he drank champagne.
After kicking deceased Sen. Paul Simon off the Selection Committee for being too "goody goody," Tom replaced him with Tubbo Gilbert:
Tubbo, also speaking from the grave, says I can do whatever I want with his vote. He's just happy to be back in the game.
Living members of the Selection Committee include Tom, a historian, and a government watchdog guy. Inductees this week -- henceforth, there will be only five so honored each year -- include a cavalcade of corrupt Democrats...

Pat Marcy...
Secretary of the 1st Ward Democratic Organization, the Chicago Outfit's political wing. He'd sit all day in a booth in Counsellors Row, a restaurant close to City Hall, and conduct important business -- rigging elections, bribing state legislators, paying off judges to fix trials, and greasing zoning and license deals. Marcy was a made member of the mob, which is like having tenure. The big mob boss, Sam Giancana, put him in charge of the 1st Ward.... He bought judges like they were on sale at Costco.
Michael Kenna and John Coughlin (AKA Hinky Dink and Bathhouse)...
They squeezed a regular buck out of every pimp, prostitute, gambler, bootlegger and speakeasy owner from about 1895 to 1945. The brothel keepers alone, one knowledgeable madam estimated, paid Hinky Dink and Bathhouse about $15 million over the years in return for protection. Kenna and Coughlin were trail blazers. Their monumental contribution to Chicago's dark side was to establish a culture of corruption in the 1st Ward that has yet to die.
Big Bill Thompson, mayor from 1915 to 1923...

In 1990, a group of 69 professors and other political experts voted Thompson the worst big-city mayor in the history of America.

(Gee, and we thought it was the crack-smoking, tax-dodging Marion Barry.)

The rest of McNamee's column is a great read, full of pimps, ho's, and general skulduggery -- the Chicago Way. Check it out HERE.

- VINCENT


McCAIN adds: Hilarious! To be fair and balanced, I will point out that Bill Thompson was a Republican, an interesting fact we describe in a note on page 241 of DONKEY CONS:
During Capone’s heyday, Chicago mobsters were more bipartisan in their politics. Republican William Thompson was Chicago’s mayor during Capone’s rise to power, but was defeated by Democratic reformer William Dever in the 1923 election. Dever’s crackdown on bootleggers prompted Capone to move his headquarters to suburban Cicero, Illinois, where Republican Mayor Joseph Klenha went along with the gangsters. Democratic Mayor Anton “10 Percent Tony” Cermak, recognized as “the father of Chicago’s powerful Democratic political machine,” was elected mayor in 1931. Cermak was supported by gangster Roger Tuohy, a Capone rival. Capone’s gang blamed Cermak when a police detective shot Capone henchman Frank Nitti in December 1932, and Cermak was assassinated two months later by Guiseppe Zangara—reportedly on orders from the Chicago mob.
Thompson was the last Republican mayor of Chicago. Nitti and his successors thereafter supported only Democrats, famously including Daley and JFK, who feature prominently in Chapters 3 and 4 of DONKEY CONS.

What is fascinating to me here is the remarkably consistent bias of academia. With all the notorious Democratic scoundrels who've been mayors of American cities -- New York's Jimmy Walker, Detroit's Coleman Young, the Daley dynasty in Chicago, the Morial dynasty in New Orleans -- well, of course the "professors and experts" had to name a Republican to the top honor!

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