William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MY KIND OF TOWN – AT 9:31 A.M. ET:   Having spent years in Chicago, I'm delighted when my "second home town" gets the kind of credit it deserves.  This is one of those days, a time for reflection and pride.  From CBS:

CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Chicago alderman turned political science professor/corruption fighter has found that Chicago is the most corrupt city in the country.

He cites data from the U.S. Department of Justice to prove his case. And, he says, Illinois is third-most corrupt state in the country.

We'll have to work at getting to be number one.

University of Illinois at Chicago professor Dick Simpson, who served as alderman of the 44th Ward in Lakeview from 1971 to 1979, estimates the cost of corruption at $500 million.

It’s essentially a corruption tax on citizens who bear the cost of bad behavior — police brutality, bogus contracts, bribes, theft and ghost payrolling to name a few — and the costs needed to prosecute it.

“We first of all, we have a long history,” Simpson said. “The first corruption trial was in 1869 when aldermen and county commissioners were convicted of rigging a contract to literally whitewash City Hall.”

Corruption, he said, is intertwined with city politics.

“We have had machine politics since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871,” he said. “Machine politics breeds corruption inevitably.”

COMMENT:  Need I remind you that this is the political environment from which Barack Obama emerged.  He has never uttered a single word of criticism about Chicago politics.

And Illinois governors have a nasty habit of winding up in jail. 

And Illinois keeps raising taxes, driving more and more businesses out of the state.

Lincoln is buried in Illinois.  At last report, he indicated a desire to move.

February 15, 2012