In response to “Newt Gingrich and Our Dysfunctional Congress” (December 15, 2011 issue)

Dear Editor,

Newt Gingrich’s explanation of his role as “historian” for Freddie Mac and not a lobbyist reminds me of a legendary story from Olde Chicago. The city’s half-hearted crackdown on prostitution became such a threadbare charade that the streetwalkers would send their maids to make bench appearances for them and pay their fines. One day, so the story goes, a weary Judge was going through the motions of taking bogus legal occupations from the stand-ins when he came to a poor but honest streetwalker.

“Me? I’m just a whore,” she insisted.

The judge was so tickled my her candor that he quipped, “Madam, I sympathize–you have so much amateur competition.”

—Earl Divoky