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December 19, 2014 / jeffnward

Finally! The December 18, 2014 edition of Left, Right and You…

… is right here!

Sorry for the delay folks!

So Elgin city council contender Fred Moulton was the first to take us up on our “state your case” challenge and Larry and I think he did pretty damn well. If you’re running for office and you get a crack at free publicity, you need to be prepared as Fred most certainly was!

Moulton show 3Up to this point, none of the challengers have really impressed me (there’s still time!), but it would certainly behoove the incumbents to pay attention to Fred.

Then Larry and I got into a rather spirited discussion on roadside safety checks, a subject on which we did not agree. It’s a good thing I’m always right!

Don’t forget, with Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Thursdays, Left, Right and You will not be back until January 8, 2014 when former Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez joins us in the studio. The following week we’ll host our second Elgin city council candidate, Rose Martinez.

Until then, please have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, and a Furious Festivus. Have a safe New Year’s Eve and you might want to watch out for those inevitable December 31, roadside safety checks.

Thank you for listening!

December 18, 2014 / jeffnward

Technical difficulties!

Sorry podcast listeners, the audio file of today’s Left, Right and You did not transfer correctly. We will have the show up as soon as we can!

December 18, 2014 / jeffnward

Get ready for Left, Right and You!

That’s the voice promo and now for the full breakdown!

Larry and I have already had an interesting conversation on the Tribune’s Brian Dugan interviews so we thought we’d share it with you. This individual certainly elicits some very strong feelings, but how is that no one caught on to him long before he became a serial killer?

Fred Moulton (courtesy of the Daily Herald)

Fred Moulton (courtesy of the Daily Herald)

Then, Elgin City Council candidate Fred Moulton will join us in the studio to issue his opening statement. Larry and I are looking forward to it!

Using a Geneva “event” as an example, in the second half, we’ll be discussing the effectiveness of and fallout from those police “roadside safety checks.” Apparently some folks don’t understand the notion of “probable cause!”

Have you noticed that the sun only seems to come out before Left, Right and You comes on? Perhaps the Big Guy is trying to tell you something! At least that’s the conclusion most conservatives would come to.

That’s Left, Right and You, with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and me, Jeff Ward, every Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m on WRMN AM1410. Be there or be square!

December 18, 2014 / jeffnward

It’s time to stop calling ourselves Christians

So since it was Wednesday, an after a morning of writing, I dutifully headed off to Graham Cracker Comics in St. Charles in eager anticipation of acquiring this week’s new releases.

You see, when we last left off, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, had traveled to the planet Apokolips to rescue the body of his son Damian, aka Robin, which had been stolen by his arch nemesis Ra’s al Ghul. Using his advanced battle suit, Batman is about to square off against Darkseid in an effort to acquire the Chaos Shard and resurrect his dead son.

accidentAnd I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Don’t laugh! There’s a little bit of Sheldon Cooper in all of us.

But as I was walking into the comic book store, I heard the sudden screeching of tires followed by that telltale sickening metallic whump. My line of sight was semi-blocked by all the construction materials used to renovate that strip mall, but I still managed to see one car sitting sideways across the east side of the Prairie Street and Randall Road intersection.

Figuring there wasn’t much point in running the 220 yards up to the scene of the accident to see if anyone was injured, I immediately dialed 911 in the hope of getting the folks, who actually knew what they were doing, out there as soon as possible.

The fact that I was transferred once and the length of the emergency call surprised me, but, in the end, the St. Charles Police and paramedics got there within a scant two minutes.

But here’s the thing, as I stood there talking to the dispatcher and waiting for the first responders to arrive, not a single motorist stopped to offer assistance of any kind. For five minutes they simply drove around the crash and went along their merry way. I wonder if any of them even bothered to call 911. At least they didn’t start honking.

So much for that highly vaunted American holiday spirit. Could this be the war on Christmas that Fox News keeps talking about?

I eventually ended up talking with a couple of St. Charles firefighters who, despite the two obviously disabled vehicles, assured me that no one was hurt. But even though the drivers were fine, my perception of my fellowman’s capacity to be their brother’s keeper certainly took a massive hit.

What’s happening to us? We’re waging a war on the poor, we actually believe there could ever be a justification for torture – especially of innocent people, and it’s OK to kill someone for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When did our automatic response to anyone who finds themselves in a difficult or dire situation become “bleepin’ deal with it?”

When did we get to the point where we can’t even be bothered to expend the 60 to 120 seconds it would’ve taken to stop and check on two fellow human beings who could’ve been hurt? Isn’t the principle conveyed by the story of the Good Samaritan, a parable I learned in third grade, as important as any other biblical tenet?

Before y’all starting hammering me for “bashing” Christians – again – please remember that I’m not the one who came up with the rules. I’m simply pointing out a vast inconsistency between those rules and those people who purport to follow them.

So all I can say is, considering those perpetually packed Randall Road and Tri-Cities churches, our pastors, ministers and priests are failing miserably. What are you guys doing up there every Sunday? Isn’t Christianity supposed to be a bit more than railing at gays and beating up liberals?

Maybe it’s the fear of a lighter collection plate, or maybe you just can’t bring yourselves to challenge your flock, but if we’ve really gotten to the point where the plight of our fellowman means this little, then the least we can do is stop calling ourselves Christians.

December 16, 2014 / jeffnward

Todd Martin weighs in on “roadside safety checks”

Regarding yesterday’s piece on the Geneva Police Department’s roadside “safety check” which netted all of ONE drunk driver out of 41 tickets issued. So here’s semi-frequent contributor Todd Martin with his thoughts, which for some strange reason, always seem to be more brief than mine:

martin“From the data, it is clear that most of the enforcement is regarding people having proper paperwork to drive their car: registration, license, proof of insurance. This makes sense, since when you are pulled over in one of these traps, this is what they ask for. They don’t have a mechanic looking at your brakes or a truck scale to see if you went over the GVWR rating on your car or have you prove the turn signals/brake lights/headlights all work.

These roadblocks are there to raise money from people that fall behind in their paperwork. In America, we should not have to “show our papers” unless there is probable cause. In America, we should not have our cash seized by the police through “Civil Asset Forfeiture” because you have money in your vehicle and can’t prove on the spot where it came from. In America, sniper rifles should not be pointed at peaceful protesters from atop military vehicles.”

And I couldn’t have said it better myself. Now, if we can only get the Geneva Police to read it.

December 16, 2014 / jeffnward

What customers hate about their servers

I know it was a mistake, but it’s just so fascinating to delve into an entitlement mentality so vast that the oblivious wielder is willing to put it out there for all to see without any concern for the repercussions that are so blitheringly obvious to the rest of us.

And that mistake was to read yet another one of those “What your waitress/bartender/server really hates about you,” pieces on the Net.

Now, I hope I don’t sound too much like some of my more conservative friends (Tina Yagla!), but the thing is, sometimes they’re right! If the sum total of your workforce skillset qualifies you only to write stuff down and carry a plate 10 yards, then it’s not my problem.

I was a waiter for a very short time, but, having quickly given up on the notion of having to deal so directly with the public, I didn’t complain – I simply moved on. For all of those servers who so clearly feel the same way, may I humbly suggest embarking upon a similar course of action.

Waitress Holding Tray

So! Since turnabout is always fair play, here’s what customers can’t stand about their servers/bartenders/hostesses:

1. Ask us if we made reservations when there’s four people in your 350 seat restaurant.

It doesn’t make you or your empty restaurant seem any more important to us, but it does make us question your eyesight and incredibly poor judgment.

2. Seat us right next to the kitchen when there’s four people in your 350 seat restaurant.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Frank Sinatra’s dead, so there’s absolutely no chance that he and his entourage will show up at TGI Friday’s and demand all the “good” tables any time soon.

3. Introduce yourself and tell us you’ll be our server.

Have no fear! I would never have mistaken you for the Belgian Diplomatic Attache and, as far as your name goes, I have enough trouble remembering who my wife is, so I’m gonna forget who the hell you are the second you leave our table.

4. Take twenty minutes to bring our drink order, get it wrong, and then spill a drink because you weren’t really looking where you put it down.

If the restaurant is packed to the gills, I understand, but when it’s 5:30 on a Sunday evening I don’t. A glass of wine and a beer aren’t all that difficult to remember and they don’t require anything more than a bit of pouring! And after spilling the drink, it would be nice if you or a cohort came by and wiped the now sticky table down with a wet towel.

5. Water down the drinks in hopes we’ll order at least five $8 margaritas.

This one applies to the bartenders who clearly believe the fact that they’re not servers sets them somewhere on a par with English royalty. As the great Paul Simon once sang, “who do you think you’re foolin’?” It certainly ain’t us.

7. Act surprised when we virtually have to tackle you to place our dinner order.

Apparently the fact that we’ve been waiting 20 minutes since the botched drinks, our menus are closed and neatly placed at the edge of the table, and we’re consistently glancing in your direction is not nearly enough of a clue that we’re ready to order. Perhaps next time we’ll use a signal flare.

8. Have no clue who ordered what when you bring the food back to the table.

I thought that’s why you wrote it down! There’s only two of us! Throw caution into the wind and give it your best shot.

9. Have no clue what a rare steak is and then sneer when we send it back.

Despite the fact that I specifically asked if your kitchen can handle a rare steak order, you bring me something a lot closer to the charred remains of a barn fire. A rare steak is so easy to cook that even I can consistently pull it off.

9. Spend more time flirting with the other servers or the manager than doing your job.

I can clearly see that you’re utterly irresistible and I understand what a burden that kind of thing can be, but might I suggest availing yourself of Match.com instead? That way, the job won’t get in the way and cramp your style.

10. Purposely ignore us once the meal is served.

I’m not a monster. I realize that, after bringing us two drinks and hauling two plates all the way from the kitchen, you may need a nap. But all I really want is a little more water because the glasses you serve it in are absurdly small in the hope that we’ll resort to ordering more drinks. We just love it when you become the server equivalent of Helen Keller (look it up) in regards to any attempt to get your attention.

11. Please look up the word “grooming” too!

I’d like to inform all the male servers that the Charles Manson look is dead. It may be true that he gets all the hot chicks, but it doesn’t play that well in a restaurant. There’s a fabulous device called a comb and there’s no such thing as too much deodorant.

12. Please wear a bra.

And I mean the kind of brassiere you would wear to your grandmother’s funeral, not the kind that provides a clear indication of just how cold the restaurant really is. Unless you work at hooters (your mother must be so proud!), we really don’t want a peep show, we just want our bleepin’ dinner. We’re not giving you a bigger tip just because you jiggle so nicely.

13. Get the check wrong, bring the wrong check, or ignore the discount coupon.

Which all happen with alarming frequency. Look, I understand that folks don’t always get tipping on the pre-discount amount. But if you don’t like it, then complain to the owner who’s simply trying to get more butts through the door. And go ahead and bring the wrong check as long as it’s less than ours.

14. Put cute notes and smiley faces on the check.

If out of the goodness of your heart, you’ve decided to pay half the bill, then by all means, scribble away. But as far as anything else goes, we’re not in third grade anymore! Though you seem fairly pleasant, despite your best efforts to be friends, we’re not gonna put you on our Christmas card list any time soon.

15. Ask if we need change!

No! When I put that C-note down on a $60 dinner tab, I fully intended to give you a 66 percent tip. Trust me, if we’re all set, you’ll be the first to know.

16. Think we care about what you think.

Because we really don’t. Perhaps you’ll be president one day or you may even write the great American novel, but until then, our only concern is that you don’t spit in our food. Listen, being a server or bartender is a time honored profession, but the truth is, any competent sixth grader could pull it off. (And that goes double for flight attendants who are nothing more than sky servers.) So please get over yourselves even though I know you never will.

Who said I couldn’t out entitlement mindset anybody out there?

December 15, 2014 / jeffnward

Your constitutional rights at work!

I still love newspapers and, just like it is with any love affair, there are times those Daily Herald reporters drive me nuts, and there are times when I wanna kiss them (male or female) squarely on the lips. I still can’t stop thinking about Jake Griffin’s piece on just how Caucasian our suburban police departments really are.

And I’m in a kissing mood again because the DH’s Susan Sarkauskas did what every good reporter should do – she brought a simple yet fascinating fact to light. It was something most folks would’ve completely missed if not for her due diligence and the City of Geneva’s well-known capacity to misstate the facts.

Normally I’d just link directly to the story so the reporter gets full credit, but so far, the stats are only up on Facebook which makes that impossible.

Basically, late December 6 through early morning of December 7, the Geneva Police set up what law enforcement officers euphemistically call a “safety check” at 1166 East Route 38. And I say “euphemistically” because it has absolutely nothing to do with safety.

Police

The ostensible objective of these “events” is to remove drunk drivers from the road. But unlike No Refusal Weekends, in which drunk drivers and only drunk drivers are targeted, a “Roadside Safety Check” consists of pulling people over at a check point with no probable cause whatsoever.

Then, even if the driver is as sober as it gets, the officers can still demand a driver’s license and registration and then proceed to write the motorist up for any other number of unrelated offenses. A more appropriate term for this kind of endeavor would be “Trolling for Tickets.”

But don’t take my word for it, simply review the following “safety check” stats that Ms. Sarkauskas was kind enough to provide through the Illinois State Police:

Violations Enforcement Activity

2          Registration offenses
16        Driver’s license offenses
3          Occupant restraint offenses
1          Driving under the influence arrest
5          Other alcohol/drug arrests

41        Total citations/arrests
6          Total written warnings

What that means is, out of the 41 tickets issued, a grand total of one arrest (two percent of all the “enforcement activity” if you count the warnings) can be attributed to the “safety check’s” original intent.

Nice!

To be fair, Geneva is not nearly the only Illinois municipality engaging in this sad practice. That said, the GPD’s generally laudable propensity for writing warnings certainly didn’t show itself that night! And to make matters worse, on their own Facebook page, the City of Geneva reported they’d actually written five DUI’s, which may make the police department look better, but it’s clearly not the case.

I did ask the State Police exactly what they meant by “Other alcohol/drug arrests” and, while they said they’d get back to me with a more specific definition, a spokesperson told me they’re definitely not DUI’s.

So here’s what we have folks!

As long as they follow the “rules,” any Illinois police department can set up a “roadside safety check” by which they can randomly stop motorists with no probable cause. Then, even if the driver isn’t the least bit inebriated, the officers can demand a license and registration and proceed to write up the vehicle’s occupants for any number of violations completely unrelated to the “safety check’s” sanctioned purpose.

And all the police have to do is sit there and wait for the motorists to come to them! Only in America!

One of conservatives’ favorite fears du jour is the “dismantling of our Constitution.” But if you ask them to define exactly what that means, they can’t seem to come up with an answer. Meanwhile, in yet another supreme irony, the “dismantling” process is taking place right under their collective noses.

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