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April 16, 2015 / jeffnward

This is the April 16, 2015 edition of Left, Right and You!

And the Smiling Conservative and I would like to thank Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain for coming in and sharing his four-year vision for the city over which he presides.

Larry Jeff and DaveLarry and I really don’t care where you sit on the political spectrum, our fondest wish is that you have some sort of vision for the betterment of the people you purport to serve. And the Mayor most certainly has a plan!

On Monday! We will cover the local species of activist groups and what works and what doesn’t! When will conservatives ever learn? Until then…

April 16, 2015 / jeffnward

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

Is it just me or do the weeks seem to fly by when you’re in your late 50s? But I digress!

Today, at 3 p.m., Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain will join us in-studio to discuss his big win, his thoughts on Elgin’s conservative faction, and what he hopes to accomplish on behalf of his constituents as the City Council moves forward.

kaptain4Dave is always a great guest so I wouldn’t miss this one folks! If you have any questions for the Mayor simply dial 847-931-1410 and our producer Dave will get it on the air.

That’s Left, Right and You, Mondays from 9 to 10 a.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and the Liberal Curmudgeon, Jeff Ward, on WRMN AM1410.

April 14, 2015 / jeffnward

A local newspaper can learn a lot from a magician

Whether it’s Dave Mason, Roger McGuinn, or Who’s Line is it Anyway, my wife and I love those Elgin Community College Arts Center performances. It’s such a great venue! And last Saturday, it was the Spencers: Theater of Illusion because I can’t pass up a magic show!

Their first trick was the ripped newspaper mysteriously putting itself back together and, though I understand exactly how it works, when deftly done, it’s a lot fun to watch. But the real surprise was, as Kevin Spencer unfurled the Daily Herald to great fanfare, the audience’s response was a whole lot of silence mixed with a reasonable smattering of boos.

Faced with that underwhelming result, Mr. Spencer said he thought a hometown paper would generate a little more applause and he was now worried we’d be a particularly tough crowd.

DHGiven the upbeat nature of the show, even I was surprised that the DH didn’t garner at least a polite round of applause, but then I remembered this is exactly what I’ve been predicting for the last couple of years.

While they’re certainly not the only newspaper to face some tough times, those folks seem particularly dead set on proving Einstein’s theory of insanity correct. They will keep doing the same thing over and over again until they finally get that different result. Sadly, I think their (former) readers are catching up with them.

I understand that newsrooms have endured massive cutbacks, but why is it that those upper echelon folks – the ones who consistently make the bad decisions – never seem to lose their jobs?

As a result, newsroom staff is stretched to the breaking point which forces them to either wait for stories to fall in their lap or to go after the low hanging fruit. Yesterday’s online DH trumpets, “Management, community and respect rule in Winfield teacher’s first grade classroom” as a major story. My wife is a teacher and my first thought was, who cares? So now we’re covering first grade classroom dynamics? It reminds of the Andy Griffith episode in which Opie and his friends started a school newspaper.

Worse yet, they’re going after those low hanging apples without the most basic fact checking.

The DH recently ran an Elgin City councilwoman “campaign violation” story – right before an election – based solely upon the word of a small conservative activist group which is a real no-no. When that group turned out to be wrong, the DH had to print a retraction two short days later.

I’m no fan of what the Courier-News has become, but at least they got that story right from the get go – other than the fact that it was never a story to begin with.

Then there’s their highly heralded endorsements (pun intended) which have become a parody of themselves.

In an editorial last fall, DH assistant managing editor, Jim Slusher, wrote a flowery piece explaining newspapers’ obligation to the democratic process including, but not nearly limited to, endorsements. He said that, while some considered that process to be obsolete, the Herald would continue this grand tradition because, by golly, the readers have a right to learn about the candidates.

But with the DH editorial board becoming almost as thin as their newspaper, they would simply throw five candidates in a room and attempt to “interview” that gaggle in 60 short minutes. One Elgin hopeful told me his endorsement interview  immediately degenerated into a mini-debate with the loudest folks getting the most attention.

And if you look at some of the DH’s bizarre choices over the last few years, you’ll see exactly what I mean! C’mon! Mark Davoust over Jack Cunningham for Kane County Clerk? I’m no fan of Cunningham, but can anyone name a single Davoust accomplishment in his more than 8 years on the county board? And for the DH to endorse him on the basis of a clerk “working harder to get the vote out” is beyond the pale.

Not only would that effort potentially double the Clerk’s budget, but wouldn’t a Republican Clerk face immense pressure to get out only the Republican vote?

Their worst offense, though they’re not nearly the only paper with this problem, is that too many of the DH reporters and editors don’t live up to the standard they so eagerly thrust upon the people they cover. Many of their reporters, in collusion with their editors, regularly play favorites and/or pit one politician against another just to get the next story.

Then there’s the aforementioned fact checking thing.

Worse yet, Paddock Publications is still using a sales tactic whereby an unsuspecting charitable donor suddenly gets a “free” subscription to the paper without knowing they’ve subscribed – until they get the bill and go into collections, that is. There have been 21 BBB complaints since 2014 and if you take a look at their Yelp reviews, it ain’t a pretty sight!

As a consultant, I understand it’s difficult to control subcontractors, but if the DH caught another business pulling this kind of thing it would quickly become headline news.

And then they refuse to respond when they’re called on the carpet which is particularly disingenuous for an entity whose primary purpose is calling people on the carpet. Papers take on bubble prone politicians all the time, but I wish I had some of the drug those DH editors and publishers must be taking because it’s gotta be really good.

Though I’ll be the first one to admit I have my moments, the irony is, the DH will dismiss me as a “bleep” for daring to criticize them out loud and some editors will privately claim I’m some sort of traitor. But much like Danny Devito’s Larry the Liquidator character once said, “I’m not your best friend, I’m your only friend.” Because I’m the only one willing to tell you that what you’re doing isn’t working and you don’t have much time to try something different.

We desperately need local papers to survive and earn respect or Cicero, Illinois is gonna start looking a lot like Candyland.

But don’t listen to me! Guys! They booed your newspaper! It’s time to pop that bubble.

April 13, 2015 / jeffnward

This is the April 13, 2015 edition of Left, Right and You!

Larry and I want to thank Elgin OCTAVE Chairman Chuck Keysor for coming on the show and telling us what his group is all about.

keysor2This interview should forever dispel the notion that Left, Right and You is unfair or disrespectful to conservatives. Chuck got the entire show to makes his points, we let him talk much longer than most guests, we provided the questions ahead of time, and we told him he could come back to make some points we didn’t have time for today!

Now it’s up to you, the listener, to decide whether OCTAVE has merit or not!

On Thursday! Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain comes in the studio to discuss his big win and tell us what he has in mind for Elgin for the next four years.  Until then…

April 13, 2015 / jeffnward

Let Left, Right and You be your Monday political umbrella!

This morning! Elgin Octave Chairman Chuck Keysor will join the Smiling Conservative and I to explain his group’s mission and to answer our question. And you really have to give him a lot of credit for coming on!

keysorDepending how long we go with Chuck, we may have time to discuss which activist groups tend to succeed and those that don’t. All I can tell you is, city councils love evidence!

That’s Left, Right and You, Mondays from 9 to 10 a.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with Larry Jones and Jeff Ward on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss it!

April 9, 2015 / jeffnward

This is the April 9, 2015 edition Left, Right and You!

Of course, the Smiling Conservative and I want to thank our callers today and we certainly hope we’ve put to rest the notion of who or who isn’t conservative enough. If you don’t like something you hear on the show, the door is always open for anyone to come on and explain exactly why we’re wrong.

And if you choose not to avail yourself of that option, then you really can’t bitch about us either!

Meanwhile we liberally threw out the kind of post election insights that have made Left, Right and You world famous!

LRY2And speaking of conservatives coming on the show! Elgin OCTAVE head honcho Chuck Keysor will be joining us on Monday from 9 to 10 a.m. to refute some of my contentions. I’m sure that will be an interesting conversation. Until then…

April 9, 2015 / jeffnward

Get ready for a rollicking Left, Right and You!

Today, my smiling conservative co-host and I will offer a complete review of last Tuesday’s elections, including, but nearly not limited to:

  • Why Elgin OCTAVE and the conservatives went down in flames
  • How Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham and Co-Chief Deputy Susan Ericson, through an unforgivable tax error, opened the door for Tea Partiers to win seats on the U-46 School board
  • How the Elgin City Council incumbents ran a campaign that worked at every turn
  • How Elgin City Councilman John Prigge, instead of congratulating the winners, essentially called the voters stupid
  • Why Elgin City Councilman Toby Shaw was very lucky to have kept his seat
  • And I’ll even explain the difference between liberals and conservatives

Jeff and Larry2That’s Left, Right and You, Mondays from 9 to 10 a.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with Larry Jones and Jeff Ward on WRMN AM1410. We certainly hope you’ll join us!

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