Oh Ed, Ed, Ed, what is it with you rich guys? You're sitting astride a money machine, chugging away, day after day, year after year, pumping cash directly into your fat accounts. But it just doesn't pump fast enough—is that the problem?
No. That isn't it. What happens is, you get careless as the years roll on. Holding the honking, flapping goose jammed under one arm, waiting for something shiny to crown. You get impatient, standing there, choking on loose feathers, with your cupped hand, poised beneath its struggling bottom. You just want to move the process along. So you start to work your fingers in, try to get a handhold on that slippery sucker and pull the golden egg out.
Into a federal wiretap. With Burger King. Over a driveway.
Of course. It's always something trivial. Crystal and chairs and postage stamps in Dan Rostenkowski's basement. Mr. Chairman also went down after huffing power and money for so long it made him lightheaded.
The charge isn't trivial: attempted extortion. Though to me, the crime is what's legal: the cosiness of our leaders and big money already violates the public interest on a normal day, no chargeable crimes committed. The guys running the city do business with the businesses they're supposed to be monitoring. The standard of excellence being: no quid pro quo. So long as you don't speak the words, "Give me the money and I'll do whatever you want," clearly, into an FBI wiretap.
You don't have to say it. They know what to do. Manus manum lavat. It should be on the city seal. "One hand washes the other."
Ed Burke belongs on the seal too, instead of the baby. He is a minor Chicago landmark, and I'd be sorry to see him go, sort of. Not Field's but Carson's. Not the Water Tower but Water Tower Place. You might not ever go there anymore—who does?—but you'd still hate to see the thing torn down.
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