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October 30, 2014 / jeffnward

This is the 10-13-14 Edition of Left, Right and You!

Today Larry and I talked about Carpentersville and FOIAs, all of the fine candidates that came on Left, Right, and You this fine political season, and then we had a very interesting conversation with GOP 44th State Rep Ramiro Juarez. Yes! You read that correctly! A Hispanic Republican!

I’m hearing his race against incumbent Fred Crespo is neck and neck!

ramiro2And please don’t forget to tune in to the special three-hour election night Left, Right and You. The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. We’ll have Kane County Board Member Kurt Kojzarek, Tim Elenz, Daily Herald Reporter Jim Fuller and all of the numbers.

See you then!

October 30, 2014 / jeffnward

It’s almost time for Left, Right and You!

So here’s the promo!

Today, Larry and I will discuss the current Carpentersville/Daily Herald FOIA fiasco and why FOIA laws are so important to a functioning democracy. Then, as we glide towards election day, we’ll offer a recap of all the candidates that were kind enough to come on the show. And you all know how much I like to make predictions!

juarezJust when you thought it couldn’t get any better, 44th District GOP State Rep nominee Ramiro Juarez joins us in the second half to tell us a little about himself. The truth is, you don’t get to talk to an Hispanic Republican candidate very often.

That’s Left, Right and You today from 3 to 4 p.m. on WRMN AM1410. We certainly hope you’ll join us!

October 29, 2014 / jeffnward

Obey the law in Carpentersville? Why bother!

Carpentersville has always been an interesting proposition. There was that marvelous dichotomy known as Jack Roeser, a city councilman who beat his wife but wouldn’t resign, and that Tea Party prescient 2006 anti-immigration drive that divided the council, the city, and destroyed businesses and neighborhoods without making a dent in the crime rate.

Who can forget former Village President Bill Sarto’s legendary city council performances forever immortalized on Youtube? Then he went on to lose a county chair race to an opponent who didn’t even bother to campaign.

But despite that vast and storied history, this city’s most recent attempt to make headlines may well take the cake.

cvilleAnd this particular form of embarrassment started with the still unexplained post traffic stop death of 31 year-old Joshua Paul on August 17. For the full details, please avail yourself of DH reporter Jake Griffin’s account of what happened that day.

Fast forward to the end of August and, after the DH sought to obtain the Paul arrest report and accompanying police video via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), citing the need for an unimpeded investigation, the City of C’ville refused to comply.

Ah! But the problem with the village board’s “legal” theory was, since law enforcement officers can only act on behalf of the people, their reports and videos, by definition (and state statute), are public records that, regardless of any ongoing investigation, must be released upon request. Refusal to do so is not an option – at least that’s what any rational person understands.

So armed with the truth, the DH turned to the Public Access Counselor (PAC), an arm of Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office charged with the mediation of rejected FOIA requests. I’m not sure why it took ‘em nearly two months (they’ve gotten back to me much quicker), but on October 15, they ruled in favor of the Daily Herald and told Carpentersville to turn over the goods.

Not being a group to take “yes” for an answer, in a clear violation of the law, citing the same specious investigation argument, the Carpentersville village board balked again.

And they embarked upon this blatantly illegal course of action because, as every single journalist in the state sadly knows, unless the Attorney General’s office expends the precious resources required to offer a rare “binding decision,” the Illinois FOIA law ultimately has no teeth. So the DH’s only recourse is to take the City of Carpentersville to court.

And that’s exactly what they have to do!

Because if they don’t, why would any government entity honor any future FOIA request on the part of any newspaper? I hate to cast the Daily Herald as the guardian of all things journalistically holy, but you can bet your bottom dollar that every last Illinois municipality is salivating over the prospect of getting away with even more bullshit than they already do.

Not only that, but the failure to fight back will be even worse for the Daily Herald because it sets such a terrible precedent.

Let’s say I’m the City of Bartlett and I just get handed a brand new DH FOIA request. All I have to do is come up with some reasonably sounding, but worthless excuse to refuse their request and when the PAC inevitably rules against me, I’ll simply flip them the C’ville bird because I know I can get away with it.

But the worst thing is, if the DH isn’t willing to fight for this most basic of all principles, then why should we believe anything they print? Their editorials, endorsements and columns are all compromised by the fact that that we don’t know if they really mean it.

So let’s hope the DH leads the legal charge and asks the courts for punitive damages (to be donated to charity) just to make a point.

Meanwhile, if you find yourself on the wrong end of one Carpentersville’s finest, I happen to have a fantastic suggestion for you. Ignore them! Moving violation? Rip it up! Parking tickets? Toss ‘em in the trash! Code enforcer pays you a visit? Simply slam the door on him!

Don’t even bother with building permits, water bills, ambulance fees, liquor licenses, or for that matter, zoning laws. Because if seven separate Carpentersville village board members can willingly sign the following oath of office:

“I solemnly swear that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and the laws of the State of Illinois, to the best of my ability.”

and then turn around and ignore the very law they swore to uphold, then so can you!

October 28, 2014 / jeffnward

Corporations DO NOT create jobs

They never have and they never will.

On the other hand, old line Communist countries actually do create jobs as investor Jim Rogers noted in his excellent book, Investment Biker. While circumnavigating the globe on his BMW motorcycle in the early 90’s, Rogers ran into a Congolese match factory donated by the North Koreans.

The problem was that no one in the Congo knew how to make matches and their currency was artificially inflated to the point where they couldn’t competitively sell the matches even if they made them.

As Rogers described, “Every day these seven people came to work at the match factory, did nothing, took vacations for two weeks a year, and returned to do more nothing. They hadn’t made a match in 20 years.”

Oh! And governments create jobs too! Rogers pointed out that, at the time, the Congo National Airline had all of two planes and 400 employees. That sounds eerily similar to the Chicago Street and Sans department right before an odd-year election.

clintonSo if the current crop of crazy conservatives really wanna get behind their “job creators,” may I humbly suggest a Pyongyang vacation adventure or putting a poster of Richard J. Daley on your bedroom wall. You gotta admit, Hizzoner was the archetypal job creator!

But corporations? Unless you count your neighbor bringing his no-account son-in-law into the family business because he’s been fired eleven times, corporations do not create jobs – only demand does!

In the deepest darkest desperate depths of the great depression, if more people purchased your company’s products or services than they did before, you hired folks to fill the gap. At the height of the housing driven early Oughties boom, if your company saw its customers turn to your competition, then you laid people off.

It’s as simple as second grade addition and subtraction.

So with the exception of our aforementioned charitable neighbor, since labor is always the single biggest business expense, no profit seeking corporation in this vast nation will ever hire a single person beyond the minimum required to reasonably provide their product.

And the fact that conservatives completely flipped out when Hillary Clinton shared her keen perception of the obvious in this regard only shows that they’re either utterly disingenuous or not nearly as smart as they purport to be.

Personally, I’ll go with the latter.

One of my former conservative radio co-hosts would routinely pound his fist on the studio table while lamenting that if only the government were a little more light-fingered, his business would be happy to hire another employee! But despite his vociferous protests, putting more money in a business owner’s pocket never translates into hiring more staff.

Never! This ain’t the Congo! If there’s nothing for your new employee to do, then there’s no point in hiring them. Unless demand has increased, taking the tax burden off a business only means more money in the boss’s bank account.

So when Ms. Clinton explained her “corporations don’t create jobs” comment by adding, “…trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs overseas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn’t add up,” she was dead on.

And the fact that conservatives immediately proceeded to shrieking and howling as if another cable channel just picked up Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, doesn’t make her statement any less true.

What utterly baffles me is how the one percenters have so completely conned our generally poorer conservative compatriots into buying their line of blatantly bogus bleep. It’s gotten to the point where they’ll consistently vote against their own best interest by putting more money in their sponsors’ already bulging pockets.

Even though I don’t hold out much hope this dynamic will change anytime soon, at least we can get one thing straight. Whenever a conservative starts talking about “job creators,” remember that they’re actually referring to Communist countries and the expansion of government.

It’s the only way their argument makes sense!

October 27, 2014 / jeffnward

The resilience of the rescue dog

Unlike her master, our 11 year-old Australian cattle dog Eve has managed to mellow with age and, considering her current comportment with other canines, we thought she might like to have a buddy. Not only that, but since my son has always wanted a cuddly pet – birds and fish tend to do neither – we started perusing Petfinder to find an adoptable doggie which is always a very dangerous thing for me to do.

Truth be told, I’m just one divorce away from turning into a crazy old dog man.

Given my good fortune with female herding dogs, I was very pleased when a one year-old border collie/Australian cattle dog mix popped up and, after she virtually leapt into my son’s lap, it was a done deal.

And let me tell you, Pharrell Williams ain’t got nuthin’ on this dog! Oreo may well be the perfect manifestation of the word “joy!” It’s an absolutely fascinating phenomenon to watch her navigate this boundless existence and it goes something like this!

Oreo 2

“People! I love people! I’m sure they’ll want to pet me. Leaves! I love leaves! They make running around in circles for absolutely no reason sound so much better. Look! It’s Eve! I’m sure she’ll play with me. What! A dirty sweat sock? Let’s grab it and run around the house as fast as we possibly can. You mean all I have to do is sit and I get treats? Wow! What could be better than that? Matthew’s home from school! Yay! A ball! Please throw me the ball and I promise I’ll go get it. Now it’s time to take a nap because I’ve managed to completely wear myself out being so happy!”

Of course, taking Oreo for a walk is a lot like dealing with an ADHD child after eating an entire bag of gummy bears and playing video games for three straight days. God forbid, she should see a squirrel! And what I really want to know is, how can a 31 pound dog so effortlessly drag a 190 pound man wherever she wants?

The amazing thing is, just one short week ago this dog was in a high kill Indiana shelter (and God knows where she was before that), then she spent a couple of days at Rover Rescue in North Aurora, and now she’s suddenly with us. Getting stuck in traffic for five minutes is often cause enough to ruin our day, but nothing seems to phase this dog.

I’m not sure if “resilient” is a strong enough word to describe her.

Eve’s still not too sure about all of this, but adding a new pack member has certainly perked her up a bit. It’s kind of fun watching Oreo follow her lead and Eve loves to come and “tell me” when the new doggie is doing something she shouldn’t be doing.

I’m sure it will be a lot of fun to watch them continue to interact and see Oreo’s true personality come out. Apparently she’s a big fan of Ritz crackers and she’s already proving to be quite the watchdog.

Now, you do have to be careful because, like that proverbial box of chocolates, you don’t know what you’re gonna get when you’re dealing with strays. That said, out of my six adoption attempts, four have worked out fabulously.

Do your due diligence! Research the various breeds and pick a dog that fits your lifestyle. Working dogs are no problem for a runner like me, but if you’re a bit more sedentary, they might just start eating your drywall.

Most shelters and rescues do a reasonable job of determining a dog’s temperament and disposition with children and other pets, but there’s no substitute for meeting the dog (or cat) of your choice – maybe more than once – and seeing how it goes.

The great thing about dogs is, unless they’ve been abused, they can’t wait to figure out how to please you and rescue dogs will be eternally grateful for having a new home. It certainly has been very difficult convincing Oreo that constant licking is not a requirement of her residency.

How often do you get to save a life?

October 24, 2014 / jeffnward

We really are our brother’s keeper!

So I was taking the old and new doggies for a longer walk this fine gray morning, when I noticed a Sheriff’s patrol car sitting at an elderly neighbor’s front door. Fearing the worst because this gentleman lives alone in a large house, I hustled up the long driveway to be sure he was OK.

Thankfully, he saw me walking up the drive, met me at the side door, and let me know that everything was fine. “It’s nothing to worry about,” he said, “I got scammed.” I said I was relieved he was OK and that, when it comes to handling this kind of thing, the Kane County Sheriff’s office was one of the best.

He seemed relieved and went back inside to talk to the deputy.

騙す男But as I retreated back to the bike path, I suddenly remembered seeing something semi-suspicious when my wife and I walked by that very house Sunday afternoon. At the time I thought it was odd, but given that general human propensity to ascribe the best of intentions to situations that don’t make sense, I didn’t do any more than make a mental note of it.

Armed with this new information, it really bothered me that I hadn’t grabbed my cellphone and taken a picture of that previous suspicious vehicle. So I called the Sheriff’s office, told them my story, and they asked me to pop by and discuss it with the officer involved.

About a half hour later I was speaking with Deputy Chris Ruchaj, one of the nicest law enforcement officers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. After duly noting my suspicions, he let me know that they were dealing with a version of the grandmother scam.

For the uninitiated, this particular con consists of a predator calling an elderly victim while purporting to be their grandson in dire need of bail money. The perp never actually uses a name. They simply say “it’s your grandson” and wait for the victim to reply “Is that you Johnny?” Then they beg the “grandparent” to send them money and not to divulge this sensitive information to their “parents.”

So while I was somewhat relieved that what my wife and I witnessed likely had nothing to do with the actual scam, I did ask the deputy if he’d be willing to drive by the house and keep an eye out for a particular vehicle.

Of course, he said he would, and then he thanked me for looking out for a senior citizen. But while walking back to my car I couldn’t help but think, “Isn’t that something we all should be doing?” We all have those elderly neighbors who, despite their fierce desire to remain independent, would greatly benefit from an extra pair of attentive eyes.

It’s so easy to do and many times that’s all it takes to keep things right where they need to be. If you do suspect something like a scam, please call the Sheriff’s office because they have an entire division that deals with that kind of thing.

And you know what? From now on, whenever I see something that doesn’t seem quite right, I’m whipping out the Galaxy S3 and taking a picture. And if I happen to offend someone in the process, no worries, I’ll just add ‘em to the long list of people I’ve already managed to completely aggravate.

Apparently, the capacity to irritate people is part of my vast and boundless charm.

October 23, 2014 / jeffnward

This is the October 23, 2014 edition of Left, Right and You!

I have to say it was fascinating to discuss JFK’s visit to Elgin with my esteemed co-host who was actually there on DuPage Street on October 20, 1960. Larry and I also want to thank listener Bob for calling in and describing that momentous event and noting the lack of Secret Service agents back in those days.

OberweisLarry and I also want to tip our hats to U.S. Senatorial candidate Jim Oberweis for taking time out of his busy campaign schedule to call into the show. I’m sure this liberal surprised a few people with his final pronouncement. All I can say is, I love politicians who are willing to evolve!

Enjoy the show!

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