Steven Greenhut on the California Senate and the Corrupt Reality of Government


Sen. Leland Yee
Tim Bartel

The only mild complaint against the critically acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, writes Steven Greenhut, is that the premise is a stretch. It's hard to imagine a straight-laced high-school chemistry teacher, after being diagnosed with lung cancer and struggling with money problems, becoming a kingpin in the crystal-meth underworld.

The 137-page affidavit in the federal corruption case just unveiled against a California senator makes clear that the show doesn't stack up against reality. TV's Walter White quickly became believable in his drug-dealing role, but who could ever imagine Sen. Leland Yee, the mild-mannered San Francisco Democrat, as an international arms dealer with links to mobsters? And he's not the only embarrassment in the California Senate.