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

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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.

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