Please write and send praise, critique, interesting links or random musings to

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yeah, I Said Bagman

April 4th, 2011
An observation on the unfolding Wisconsin side show
by F. Grey Parker
Update 7:15pm CST 4/5/2011 The situation has changed, but it ain't over.

"Hinky Dink" & "Bathhouse"
The history of Chicago's political underbelly is something of a hobby of mine. Having grown up in it's shadows and in a house of a decidedly political timber, it just fascinated me. I can tell you amazing stories about the bad old days. It was once truly a city without peer in a nation without a whole lot of "sunlight." For a time, it even made "Boss" Tweed's Tammany Hall in New York look good. I hadn't thought about it much recently until a short time ago.

Yesterday, I posted about Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) doling out state money and an important position to the seemingly unqualified, legally challenged and not college degreed son of a major political backer. It's a stunning caper. I jived to a few pals that Walker's shenanigans would've made the average 1950s, cigar-chompin', Chicago-Machine hack blush. After some further thought, I have concluded that this was correct. No one in the first Daley Administration would ever have done anything this blatantly not on the level. 

In the midst of a dust-up Walker has intentionally crafted to steamroll over his own state's nearly century long history of open government while giving the high hat to organized labor, he has put an apparent connected bum on the taxpayer's nickel to the tune of just over 80 thousand samolians. To find a guy this craven in Chicago's past, I can only come up with the infamous prohibition era bosses of the 1st Ward, Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna and "Bathhouse" John Coughlin. 

At the height of the "Hinky Dink" and "Bathhouse" stranglehold on power in Chicago, a frustrated Mayor Carter Harrison questioned "Hinky Dink" about his quite eccentric and bent partner. The Mayor wanted to know if "Bathhouse" was using narcotics or might actually be certifiable. Kenna looked at Harrison. He suggested that it was not really explicable"To tell you the God’s truth, Mayor, they ain’t found a name for it yet," he said.

When a 21st Century Midwestern Governor is reminiscent of either of these goofs, he can take his good government malarkey and scram. I begin to wonder if Walker might not be ossified. Maybe he's just a piker. This is only beginning to heat up, kids. I am pretty sure that it ain't goin' away.

Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) is awfully temperate in his response, if you ask me:

“Gov. Walker has repeatedly stated that all public employees must sacrifice, but it appears his political appointees are exempt from any sacrifice. Media accounts in the past few weeks have focused on two appointees with close Republican connections getting questionable appointments with excessive raises.

Gov. Walker’s budget adjustment bill that is tied up in court gave him 37 additional political appointees and recent revelations make that highly inadvisable. 

A governor cannot ask his employees to sacrifice while rewarding his political cronies and relatives of big donors. I call on the Legislature to halt any expansion of political appointments, no-bid contracts or gubernatorial power over rule-making in the future. This includes special session bill AB 8, which could come back to the Assembly as early as tomorrow.

If there is any shred of independence among legislative Republicans they will not allow the hiring of additional political cronies after the revelations of the past weeks. This is simply not how we do business in Wisconsin.”

Personally, I would've at least called Walker a spifflicated palooka. The guy keeps spoonin' the applesauce. He's tryin' to take the whole state and maybe even the country for a ride. He thinks we're all pushovers. 

He is wrong.


  1. "To tell you the God’s truth, Mayor, they ain’t found a name for it yet," he said.

    Grey, this destroyed me. ROFLMAO