This comes from the NY Times yesterday...sooooo funny.
Things Can Always Be Worseby Gail Collins
Once again, it’s time to look for a silver lining.
The health care bill is a mess in Congress. But at least the Senate voted to stop constructing the stupid F-22 fighter — and they did it before the plane contract’s 30th anniversary!
California is about to whack the heck out of funding for its school system. But on the plus side, the Legislature rescued the money that localities needed to continue identifying dead bodies in their morgues. We hate it when they balance the budget on the back of the corpses.
In New York (Most Dysfunctional State in the Union! Thanks, National Journal!), Albany is being run mainly by thugs and people who were appointed to fill sudden vacancies. But I’m happy to report that we do have a lieutenant governor for the moment, thanks to an emergency swearing-in ceremony at a steakhouse in Brooklyn, two minutes ahead of Republicans waving court orders.
The governor of Nevada is being sued by a cocktail waitress, who claims he assaulted her outside a nightclub, and his wife, who wants a divorce. But at least he is doing better than the state’s lieutenant governor, who is facing felony charges for misusing funds when he was the state treasurer. And not all that much worse than Nevada’s U.S. senator, who had that affair with the campaign bookkeeper who was married to his chief of staff.
No matter what dreadful embarrassment your state is facing, you can always console yourself by remembering that you do not live in New Jersey. On Thursday, a vast corruption sweep there netted three mayors, two state assemblymen, five rabbis and a guy who had allegedly been running an organ-trafficking business that has left swathes of the population of Moldova walking around with only one kidney.
If you do live in New Jersey, console yourself by remembering that the organ-trafficking business was actually run by a guy in Brooklyn.
Among the indicted mayors was Peter Cammarano III, Hoboken’s 32-year-old “thoughtful fighter” whose reform agenda had raised hopes in a city so beleaguered that it had been under control of a state monitor.
“Though we campaigned with fists raised, I now extend my hand,” Cammarano said after taking the oath of office. This was three weeks ago. At the time, no one understood it was a double-entendre.
I hate it when reform mayors get indicted. Although it does make me feel better about the fact that in New York, the reform governor was not actually indicted but only forced to resign because of a hugely humiliating sex scandal.
The New Jersey story is particularly dispiriting because it appears that the original federal investigation was not aimed at government corruption at all, but a money-laundering scheme centered in a town appropriately named Deal. This case involved Israel, Switzerland and an Apple Jacks cereal box stuffed with $97,000 — all of which was very regrettable, but not the sort of thing likely to give nightmares to lovers of democracy around the globe.
However, it turned out that once the informant began driving around with a trunk filled with laundered money, government officials popped up like so many beagles sniffing an unsupervised hot dog. And these public servants were depressingly inexpensive. Five-thousand dollars appeared to be the going rate for pretty much everything in the political favor department. Although there was a reform assemblyman who allegedly got $15,000. And, of course, the kidney would set you back a bundle.
According to the indictments, one employee of the Hudson County Board of Elections did complain that he was being shortchanged when he was paid $2,500. And although his name is now linked to a scandal that is roiling New Jersey with shame, he is probably comforted in the knowledge that he was absolutely right.
Hard to come up with any consolation for the people of Hoboken, who turned on the TV Thursday night and saw their brand-new mayor being hauled off in handcuffs. While Cammarano was campaigning to “build a better, stronger, more-affordable Hoboken” he was also allegedly sitting down at a diner with a federal informant, who promised to give him two $5,000 payments in return for help with various development projects.
And, oh, bitter pill — the prosecutors say he lightheartedly told the informant that he was so popular that he could win the election even if he was “uh, indicted.”
The voters can tell themselves that at least they tried. Cammarano’s official biography boasts that he championed ethics and open government and sponsored a law requiring “that all wood products purchased for municipal projects are certified as non-rain forest in origin.” Whoever told us to beware of politicians bearing rain forest resolutions?And it could have been worse. At least Hoboken’s indicted mayor isn’t the cut-rate $2,500 kind. And at last report, everybody was still hanging on to their kidneys.