Abandoned plant in Harvey

By John Ruberry

Contained in my inbox this morning was an email from Crain’s Chicago Business touting an article by Dennis Rodkin, “Can Chicago’s Southland Be Rebuilt?” In short, “probably” is his answer. Mine is “no.”

Chicago’s Southland covers the city’s South Side and its southern suburbs, some definitions include the Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs. I grew up in Palos Heights, a southwest suburb, after spending my early childhood on Chicago’s Far South Side.

After several readings–I want to make sure I’m right before pointing fingers–I was surprised, but not shocked, to learn that three words were missing from Rodkin’s piece: Corruption, cronyism, and graft. While Illinois is a very dishonest state, and Chicago and Cook County are the epicenter of  its dishonesty, Chicago’s Southland is the rottenest apple in this foul orchard. Five of the last six sitting or former Chicago aldermen convicted of crimes were South Siders. The two most recent Chicago City Council indictments are for Ald. Willie Cochran, whose predecessor went to prison for bribery, and former alderman Edward Vrdolyak, who has already served time in the House with Many Doors. Do you want to guess what part of the city they are from?

Vacant Far South Side home

South of Chicago is Harvey. While surprisingly light on convictions, Harvey is considered the most corrupt town in Illinois, which is saying a lot. For years the Daily Southtown, among its front web page tabs such as “Weather” and “Sports,” there was another, “Harvey.” Next to Harvey is Markham. Earlier this month voters foolishly elected a convicted felon as its mayor. The Cook County state’s attorney office is suing to prevent the mayor-elect from taking office. Nearby is Dolton. Four years ago its village president told CBS Chicago, “Over the past few weeks we’ve heard reports of ghost payrolling, vehicles being purchased without authorization, unauthorized overtime and the unauthorized use of village gas.”

Cochran was indicted last year

Illinois’ second congressional district covers much of the Southland. In 1995 its representative, Mel Reynolds, was found guilty of crimes centered around a sexual relationship with an underage campaign volunteer. He was later convicted of a slew of financial crimes. His successor was Jesse Jackson Jr, who, along with his wife, a South Side Chicago alderman, went to prison for spending campaign cash on personal items.

The most notorious Chicago Southlander is Michael Madigan of the Southwest Side. Illinois’ financial situation has descended to the point that it is functionally bankrupt. Because of generous public-sector pension commitments, which were never properly funded, Illinois is over $200 billion in debt, despite a balanced budget requirement in the state constitution.

Yes, Chicago’s Southland is majority black. Which means African Americans are being robbed the most by these so-called public servants who see government not as a higher calling, but as an opportunity to dishonestly enrich themselves and their cronies.

Much of the Southland is blighted. But there is still plenty of money to be made there, but for the most part, only if you are a crook and if you know the right people. Or if you pay off the right people. Or if you hire that politician’s brother-in-law to remodel your office so you can get that zoning variance passed.

Rodkin does touch on the soaring property tax rates in the south suburbs. But he misses the point. As people leave the Southland–and yes, they are leaving–there are fewer people left to pay the bar bill for these corrupt-and-drunk-with-power politicians in Illinois’ Corruption Corridor.

Public graft is expensive.

Oh, 600 words or so into this piece, and I didn’t even, until now, mention the region’s problems with rampant violence.

Every politician I mentioned so far is a Democrat, except for Vrdolyak, is once was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Blogger in Harvey

In related news, last week the 14 year corruption sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is not from Chicago’s Southland, was upheld by a US Appeals Court. That’s bad news for course for Blago, but good news for law-abiding Illinoisans–yes, we do exist. If Chicago’s Southland–and the rest of the state–has any hope of receiving honest government, long sentences such as the one Blagojevich was given just might be the cure. Fear of a long stay in a federal prison might scare some scoundrels straight–or better yet, frighten dishonest people away from a career in government.

But at least in the short term, I predict things will get even worse in Chicago’s Southland–and in the rest of Illinois.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Fr Imbarrato and the Lord

On Saturday afternoon drivers on Main Street in Fitchburg Massachusetts saw a sight they had likely not seen before.

Fr Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life and sometimes EWTN personality was in Fitchburg from New Mexico for the 2nd of three days in Massachusetts invited by WQPH 89.3 FM. Both Friday and Sunday would involve events and dinners in the Boston area but after a breakfast in Medford the rest of Saturday belonged to Fitchburg and it was an active one

He would celebrate daily mass at St. Bernards Parish at St. Camillus Church at noon, he would be the guest of honor at a lunch at Slattery’s. He would celebrate the Divine Mercy Vigil mass at the now closed Madonna of the Holy Rosary and would hear so many confessions that evening that it would delay the Dinner at that’s church’s hall and his speech there.

But the Highlight of the day and indeed his trip was to come at 2:30 when he would lead that most Catholic and most rare of events at least around here, a Eucharistic Procession where the Holy Eucharistic the actual Body blood soul and divinity of Christ would be actually be carried in full display along the street.

It was three years ago that I had covered a Eucharistic Procession from MIT to Harvard in response to the Satanic Black Mass. Saturday’s event would not be as dramatic but the target was just as evil, the Planned Parenthood location in Fitchburg which services the Worcester location to facilitate the murder and dismemberment of pre-born babies for financial gain.

at 2:30 a small crowd gathered at the old City hall including a contingent from the Knights of Columbus council #15962 St. Anthony of Padua Chapter Fr Imbarrato in full regalia held the Monstrance containing the host and began the prayers of adoration. And led by a banner calling for Rosaries to be prayed for America and an image of Divine Mercy with two angels cradling victims of abortion Fr. and the Crowd began to process from City Hall to Planned Parenthood.

In addition to this video a second person was streaming the procession live to Fr. Imbarrato’s facebook page where 2000 people watched and prayed live with us as we marched down the street praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

There were many curious reactions as the procession continued. A young girl at Espresso’s Pizza took pictures or videos with her camera as we passed. Drivers down main street slowed as they watched us, some visibly surprised at the sight of the blessed sacrament and the event drew curious looks from an art gallery where a small event was taking place at the same time.

It took about 11 minutes for the crowd of 70-80 accompanied unseen by the two thousand plus on the life stream to get to the planned parenthood location across from the parking lot where I had parked.

Unlike previous events there was no sign of counter protestors nor was there any sign of the press which was odd as fliers for the event had been distributed in the area for months. There was also a distinct lack of various people either passing by or driving by throwing the odd insult at the praying and protesting crowd. Whether it was due to the presence of the blessed sacrament or not I leave it for you to say, but there were at least two people who joined the crowd in prayer as they finished the Divine Mercy Chaplet and went to the Rosary.

Through it all Fr. Imbarrato stood there holding the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament before the Planned Parenthood site not reacting to the cars passing by, some beeping horns in support, some just staring, nor at the passers by from the young black man who took some video on his phone, to the fellow staring as he walked back to his apartment carrying this takeout from Fitchburg Jade to the Spanish Woman who looked at the sacrament and the praying and nodded in acknowledgement and approval.

Oddly there was no activity at the location itself. On previous Saturdays during protests there would be people at the location but it seemed empty and barren. Perhaps they had left early, perhaps it was a slow day but either way there was nobody entering or leaving under the visage of Christ.

At it neared 4 pm Fr. prayed the final prayers of Adoration and the host was covered and people began dispersing. Some to their homes, others to Madonna of the Holy Rosary for the next set of events which will be covered in later posts but I’ll leave you with this note.

Just under five hours later at Holy Rosary Church near the end of his talk. He informed the crowd that the number of people who had so far watched the video of the procession still available on his facebook page was in the tens of thousands. UPDATE over 200,000 It’s worth noting that the entire population of Fitchburg is only about 40,000 souls and it remains to be seen how long it will take the number of viewers online to eclipse that figure.

But even if not a single other person watches it, this was one of the most significant Catholic events ever held in Fitchburg.  Eucharistic processions are not common these days and one led by a national leader of the prolife moment in Fitchburg is rarer still.

It’s fitting that as people gather from all over the nation in Massachusetts at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in the southwest part of the state it serves as a reminder of just how much we need mercy for.

A photo gallery follows


If you think this and all we do is worthwhile and would like to help us pay our writers and make our annual goal Consider subscribing and become (if you wish) a listed as a Friend of DaTechguy blog

Remember all subscribers get my weekly podcast emailed directly to you before it goes up anywhere else.


Choose a Subscription level



And of course if you want to give a one shot hit (and help pay DaWife’s medical bills) you can hit DaTipJar




Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.