It was on a beautiful Valentines Day much like this one that Al Capone ambushed Bugs Moran and eliminated his north side gang. The slaughter was horrific. At the end of the massacre, Capone dressed some of his men in Chicago police uniforms and had them lead two others out of the building at gunpoint, to create the illusion in the eager bystanders that the police had the situation under control. You can read all the sorry details about who provided the brains and did the actual massacreing, but basically it gave Capone total control of Chicago's bootlegging operation. Unfortunately, it also brought him to the attention of the feds; 2 years later he was caught on income tax evasion. His life went steadily downhill, until he died of syphilis -- not a pretty sight!
For most of the last century, Chicago has been famous as the home of Al Capone. In a remote Japanese fishing village, when someone asked where I was from, they aped a man with a machine gun. Only during the brief reign of Michael Jordan was Capone eclipsed as The World's Most Famous Chicagoan. For some reason, Oprah is not Chicago identified--she seems to represent America in general, not her second home in particular.
So I say, let's all celebrate our sordid history. We have a mayoral primary coming up. Does anybody know? Does anybody care? Little Richie looks like a shoo-in, despite the hiring scandals that dog his administration. And I will give a kopek to anyone who can name either of his two opponents. He won't debate or talk to them, or even mention them. He gave us Soldier Field by fiat, took up Meigs Field in the middle of the night, and now is proposing to plunk down an Olympic Stadium in my neighborhood, also without discussion. I don't think a stadium, five years of construction, and several million visitors will help the south side--ask the people near Montreal's Olympic STadium--but I could be wrong. Still, when you have the opportunity for massive scandal, when many of your friends are under federal indictment and a lot of your employees are following them, doesn't it make sense to give the city bread and circuses?