There is an old joke: The French national railroad did a safety study and, after discovering that most accidents involve the last car on a train, removed all the cabooses.
If that doesn’t register, see, there’s always a last car on a train, and taking off the caboose merely shifts which car is last.
That works for first place, too. Thus Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest man, relocating to Miami doesn’t deprive Illinois of a richest man, merely transfers the honorific to ... Neil Bluhm, the casino magnate.
Friday I contacted Bluhm through Walton Street Capital, but they didn’t think he’d reply.
“I doubt it (I know that I would not!),” wrote one of his partners. “But I have forwarded your note to him in the unlikely event that he does.”
Figuring I could do better, I phoned a mutual friend, someone who’d flown aboard Bluhm’s jet — quite the brag in the early 2000s.
At that moment, word broke the U.S. Supreme Court has made obstetrics the hot issue in American politics for the next decade.
Suddenly, the new richest man in Illinois didn’t seem interesting anymore. My friend had something else on his mind.
Those coat hangers, he said, they’re just a symbol. Nobody ever really died from trying to give themselves an abortion with a coat hanger.
I believe they have, I replied, my fingers already on the keyboard. Countless.
He didn’t think so. I called up a 2001 interview with Dr. Quentin Young, who in 1948 was a resident at Cook County Hospital’s so-called septic OB ward.
“A euphemism for women who had been damaged in self-induced or criminal abortions,” he told me then. “Of course, all abortions were criminal then.”
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