For all you U2 fans, Songs of Innocence is free on iTunes!

It’s always nice to start your morning with an unexpected pleasant surprise. And on this particular dawn I was the emnently fortunate recipient of two of ’em.

First, my dog didn’t poop on the kitchen floor to protest the raging storm. And second, U2 got together with the Apple folks and, as a gift to their fans, they just released their new album, Songs of Innocence, free on iTunes!

U2 SOI

All you have to do is go to the iTunes store and click on “purchased music” under the “quicklinks” heading to the right side of the store homepage. Once you see the album icon, simply click on the little cloud with a downward pointing arrow and you’re all set.

Thank you U2 and Apple! (Though I will most certainly purchase the vinyl when it does come out!)

The Daily Herald is right! Our police departments are way too white!

Whether it’s on the air, on Facebook, or just between the two of us, I always enjoy the opportunity to debate the merits of our journalistic philosophies with Daily Herald reporter Jim Fuller. And the fact that we frequently disagree, as the great Inspector Clouseau once noted, only makes it “All part of life’s rich pageant.”

The topic that seems to elicit the most frequent butting of our heads  has to be what newspapers should and shouldn’t cover. At the conclusion of our most recent discourse, Jim submitted that, just like a Jewish mother, there was nothing his newspaper could do to make me happy.

Ah! But armed with my unbridled enthusiasm for today’s dead on DH piece on the blinding whiteness of our suburban police departments, I’m officially letting you know that Mr. Fuller was wrong once again!

Jake Griffin and the DH did a great job on this story.

None of these things is not like the other in St. Charles.

None of these things is not like the other in St. Charles.

Presumably prompted by the Ferguson, Missouri debacle, Griffin cited a 2007 Department of Justice study that found that 16 of the largest north and northwest suburban police departments are 90 percent white, despite serving an average 36 percent minority population. Then Mr. Griffin went on to examine what might have caused this phenomenon.

But don’t take my word for it! You can read the entire article for yourself right here!

Just as you might expect, a crescendo of conservative Caucasians waded into the comments section claiming the whole story was utter BS because, when it comes to hiring police officers, you always want to fall back on the best possible candidate.

Of course, that’s nothing more than Caucasian-ese for “we really want you to keep on hiring white folks because we’re more than willing to completely ignore the fact that most minorities are born economically, educationally, and prejudicially, far behind the eight ball.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we need to go all Affirmative action here. But some white people, and police chiefs, insisted the real problem was minorities simply weren’t applying, which begs a chicken and the egg kinda question.

Could the fact that qualified minorities are bypassing your application process be directly related to their perceived likelihood of being hired? A police department’s reputation does precede itself. It would certainly seem that the Tri-Cities’ gendarme job description includes a pot belly, short haircut, and pasty white skin.

Or could it be that, per almost former Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levinson’s bar business model theory, potential black and Hispanic officers aren’t too thrilled with the prospect of becoming an even bigger minority on their own police force? In some cases, they’d be the only non-white officer.

How well has breaking that kind of barrier worked out for the President?

So if Affirmative Action isn’t the answer, then what is, you ask? Griffin quotes Hispanic advocate, Julie Contreras, who said, if local departments are truly interested in diversity, then they should get off their collective butts and reach out to qualified minority candidates.

And speaking of qualified minority candidates, my answer to all those aforementioned convoluted commenters would be, “How do you know you have the most qualified candidate until you’ve explored all the possibilities?” The best businesses go to great lengths to recruit the best people all the time. You might get much more interesting results if you make a real effort to attract a broader base of applicants.

The problem is, there are real ramifications for failing to make that effort. One of those complications is that it becomes far easier for an all-white (mostly male) group to adopt an us against them mentality when their only daily interaction with any minority is a traffic stop.

In the DH article, Carpentersville Public Safety Director Al Popp admitted that a diverse workforce is always better, but then he said, “But I don’t think individual makeup of an officer has anything to do with job performance. Lady Justice is blind for a reason.”

Really? If that is indeed the case, then please tell me why CPD tickets minority drivers 30 percent more often than their Caucasian counterparts? Say what you will, but it would appear that Lady Justice certainly ain’t color blind.

And they’re not nearly the worst. Per a previous blog post, Batavia and Geneva – two of the whitest departments on the planet – stop minorities twice as often, and write ‘em up 55 and 100 percent more often respectively. We’re not even talking about criminal prosecutions which are even more lopsided. Oh! And by the way! Around 90 percent of the prosecutors are white too!

Just like it is with any city council, a police department cannot properly function unless it reasonably reflects and represents the people they purport to serve.

So what really frosts my cookies are all the white folks who are so ready, willing, and able to accept and promote this status quo, despite the fact that it was perpetuated by and built on the kind of bigotry that still needs to be redressed.

No one’s advocating firing half the white guys to set the imbalance straight overnight. But what’s wrong with, on regular occasion, sending a department staffer down to Macomb to court some of Western Illinois’ finest impending minority graduates? That rolling out the welcome mat message can be a pretty powerful thing.

Now that we’ve set that record straight, let’s get back to our original contention. Because before you can truly consider any new newsprint business model, you have to be able to provide content for which people are willing to pay. So not only am I pleased to say the DH did just that, but I love it whenever I’m provided with yet another opportunity to prove Mr. Fuller wrong.

A newspaper can make me happy, because the Daily Herald just did.

Why the Bears suck and what we all can learn from it

I’m feeling kind of sportswritery today! And since that gig doesn’t take all that much talent – you simply have to be able to make strange proclamations with no sense of continuity from one column to the next – I’m uniquely qualified to step right into those shallow shoes.

Not only that, but just as Da Coach used to preface his perspicuous points with that two-word preamble – “in life,” sports clashes are a wonderful metaphor for so many of the struggles this existence tends to thrust upon us. A football season is nothing more than a lifetime on fast forward.

cutler

(As an aside, I’m no fan of Mike Ditka. He was a helluva tight end, but he was all bluster and no substance as a coach. My grandmother could’ve won a Superbowl with the ’85 Bears and if Chuck Knoll had coached those teams, they would’ve won four more!)

So here’s what we can take away from yesterday’s Bears – Bills debacle and why this is the beginning of the end for Marc Trestman.

 

1. Ya gotta honor the game!

Trestman clearly believes he’s smarter than the game and the dangerous thing is he harbors the unique capacity to get his players to buy into that utter improbability. Though after yesterday, I’m thinking the team are finally catching on to his brand of bleep.

Football may have changed quite a bit over the years, but the fundamentals have not. It still starts and ends with handing the ball off to the halfback or getting the split end to run a consistently crisp route.

Even the most innovative coaches like Bill Walsh, Don Shula or Tom Landry implicitly understood the game existed long before they appeared on the scene and it will endure long after they’ve departed. If you don’t pay the appropriate respect to all those folks who came before you, then you’ll be the one who won’t last too long.

2. Ya gotta be prepared!

And the Bears clearly were not.

Trestman thought he’d outwit the rest of the NFL by barely playing his starters throughout the pre-season. He didn’t play them at all in the fourth game and then he let Lance Briggs skip the last week of practice.

There’s a reason they have four full exhibition games, and one of them is so the players have the time to mentally and physically prepare for the rigors of a NFL season. These tests also provide the perfect opportunity for the offensive and defensive units to gel.

Stripped of that opportunity, the highest paid players made the biggest mistakes, the entire defense was a step out of sync, there was no pass rush, and Jay Cutler looked like a third string quarterback on a bad day. He couldn’t roll out and his passes were wobbly, off-line and short.

Of course, you don’t want to take unnecessary risks with your best players, but how does letting a star player out of practice do anything build the kind of camaraderie necessary to win in the NFL?

3. Ya gotta call the right plays!

In the very first series, the Bears took it right down the Bills’ throat and scored. But then, as if to prove just how smart he was, Trestman decided to go with cutesy crap like a flea flicker and bubble screens that fell completely flat.

You use gimmick plays when you’re the underdog – not when you’re expected to win.

Despite the fact that Forte was having a really good game – when the Bears finally got around to giving him the ball – Trestman kept going back to Cutler who’s mind clearly wasn’t in it.

That said, the Bills could not stop those quick slants across the middle where Cutler didn’t have enough time to think about screwing it up. So what did they do in overtime? Start passing to the outside again.

4. When they try to hand it to you, ya gotta take it!

As is so typical of second tier teams, whenever they get a decent lead they’ll do their damndest to self-destruct. And the Bills were no exception.

They managed to amass nine penalties for 108 yards, including. a stretch of seven straight fouls with two unnecessary roughness calls that really were totally unnecessary. Once you have a team on those kind of mental ropes, a veteran group like the Bears should be able to put them out of their misery.

But no! They couldn’t even get excited about the way the Bills were manhandling them.

5. Ya can’t mistake a tailwind for talent

Even when he was no longer returning kicks for touchdowns, Devin Hester provided Cutler with the kind of field position that most NFL quarterbacks could only dream of. When you’re consistently starting out at the 50 yard line, both the coach and quarterback can start to believe they’re real geniuses.

I understand salary cap issues, but considering what a good return man can do for a team, I don’t understand how Trestman gave that prospect such short shrift. He gave everyone but the trainer the opportunity to return pre-season kicks and Senorise Perry certainly ain’t the answer.

Yes! He had one decent return yesterday, but it was against Buffalo whose special teams finished near the bottom last year.

6. Ya gotta have respect or at least make ‘em fear you!

The Bears were absolute ball hawks at the beginning of last season. The opposition both respected and feared them. But then Marc Trestman put his imprimatur on the team and suddenly it was the Bears who were coughing up the football.

When you get to the top level of any sport, the game becomes far more mental than physical because the talent disparity becomes so slim. Thus, your capacity to intimidate your opponent os a critical factor in winning those close games.

The problem is, the converse is also true! So now, instead of fearing the Monsters of the Midway, the 49ers are salivating over the prospect of playing this sad bunch and it’s gonna be a massacre.

 

The bottom line? With their schedule, the Bears will be lucky to go 5 – 11. Frustrated with (and blaming) everyone but himself, Jay Cutler will go down with some sort of tenuous injury, and Marc Trestman will last one or two seasons beyond this one.

And then the Bears will gleefully hire another really bad head coach.

 

What’s in a name? Apparently a lot when you’re at the ER!

But before we get to the main poetic course, we have to set this fascinating story up with a reasonably prosaic appetizer. So here goes nuthin’!

I have a very good friend who, as George Carlin would say, “happens to have” an Hispanic sounding last name. Though the truth is, If you gaze upon his gleaming visage in the full light of day, the depth of his Italian heritage is pretty obvious. Ah! But when viewed under the vagaries of florescent lighting, I suppose he could be mistaken for someone of Spanish-Mexican descent.

It’s also important to note that this friend regularly has to cope with some of the most interesting three day weekends ever endured by any human being. So taking a schadenfraude page from my German ancestry, I look forward to those forthcoming Tuesdays when I can inevitably ask him, “Alright! What happened this time?”

And his Labor Day experience did not disappoint.

The sad thing is, he’d nearly made it through this one intact. But just when he thought he was out of the woods, distracted by her children while dicing some Monday dinner vegetables, his wife took a chunk out of one of her left-hand fingers.

So instead of dinner, it was off to the Delnor Emergency Room where they found themselves fourth in line.

delnorBeing an astute observer of the human condition, my friend noted that, though it wasn’t required of the three antecedents, the intake worker specifically asked him for identification. He thought it was a little odd, but it didn’t rise to the level of a pointed response.

But after a second ER employee made the same request in the waiting room, he began to wonder what the heck was going on. When they went back to be treated, it became a bit more clear.

He wasn’t exactly sure who the revolving group of staffers were – they could have been social workers, patient advocates, or simply nurses – but the first one asked his wife if she was right-handed.

Upon an affirmative reply, she quickly retreated.

After a brief interval, a second one appeared to ask his wife if she was scared. Now my friend, who’s capacity to suffer fools is even more limited than mine, was getting a little ticked. But he realized that if he responded too negatively, he might just prove their point, so he let that go too.

Then the original interviewer returned to inquire as to whether his wife was feeling suicidal.

Now, I don’t know about you, but folks who plan on doing themselves in with a kitchen knife generally aim a little bit higher than their fingertip. It wasn’t as if the wound wasn’t consistent with a very plausible story.

And just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, a male employee approached his wife and quietly asked, “Are you afraid to go home with him?”

Finally fed up with the third degree, my friend replied, “Look buddy!, If I was going to bleeping stab my wife it wouldn’t be in the bleeping finger.” And that promptly ended the inquisition. Three hours later, her finger was sewn up and they on their way back home.

Please don’t get me wrong, I understand that hospital staff are mandated reporters who are trained to be on the lookout for this kind of thing and we should be grateful for their vigilance. But as sure as I’m sitting here, I know that if my friend’s last name was “Ward,” that conversation would have never taken place.

How do I know this? Because my wife did the very same thing, and while she’s no longer allowed to go anywhere near my Wusthofs, when we ended up in the ER (Not Delnor), they didn’t say boo.

C’mon! Domestic violence is one of those rare non-partisan acts that knows no racial, economic, or ethnic boundaries. And even though I’m sure their intentions were good, this is clearly a case of a hospital staff trying to save the poor white woman from her nefarious Hispanic husband despite an utter lack of any real evidence to support their theory.

Shame on them.

The best movie quote ever!

For all those brave souls who are willing to speak their mind. For all the noble folks who do their damndest to bring justice to this planet. For all my compatriots to whom the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune mean absolutely nothing, this is for you!

“There’s this passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is The Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

I been saying that shit for years. And if you heard it, that meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this morning made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking, maybe it means you’re the evil man, and I’m the righteous man, and Mr. 9 millimeter here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is, you’re the weak, and I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.”

Keep up the good fight!

The 9-4-14 Left, Right and You episode is…

… right here for your listening pleasure:

Larry and I would like to offer a huge thank you to Batavia businessman Joe Marconi and his attorney Mike Childress, for coming into the studio and discussing their class action lawsuit against the consultants that got Batavia and Geneva into their current electrical mess. We really need a lot more folks like Joe Marconi.

Oh, and by the way, for all you Batavians who want to sign on to Joe’s class action lawsuit I would encourage you to visit this website. What the Batavia city council did is utterly unconscionable so fight the power!

Joe Marconi

Joe Marconi

 

Then your favorite radio show co-hosts discussed the pitfalls of social media as it can apply to police officers. We’ll see how the current Elgin scenario plays out!

As always, thanks for listening!

It’s almost time for the September 4, 2014 edition of Left, Right and You!

So here’s the audio promo:

Batavia businessman Joe Marconi will be coming into the studio to discuss his legal efforts to get his city out of an overly onerous electrical power contract. We’ve talked quite a bit about the Prairie State Energy Campus fiasco here so this should be a very interesting conversation.

City councils should never speculate! 

PSECThen we’ll provide an audience for all those late-in-the-show callers who wanted to wade into last week’s militarization of the police debate. We’re ready to hear from you at 847-931-1410.

The bottom line? Please join the Smiling Conservative Larry Jones and me today on Left, Right and You at 3 p.m. on WRMN AM1410. We can’t wait for your calls!

 

Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with our freedom of speech

Oh bleep! Here we go again! Another mindless liberal assault on the most sacred of all amendments – the one that stands before ‘em all. When will my despicable and dastardly progressive brethren finally relent and let those poor persecuted conservatives speak their stilted minds in peace?

It’s always fun to hear what they haven’t been thinking about!

First, Rush found out you can’t call a young woman a “slut.” Then those Duck Dynasty dopes discovered the dangers of waxing poetically about gays. Laura Ingraham and Paula Deen learned that only black folks can use the N-word and Cliven Bundy’s political support started slipping when he started talking about the finer points of slavery.

It certainly ain’t easy being a conservative icon these days. Next thing you know you’ll actually have to think about the merit of you latest thought before simply spewing it forth.

EPD2

And now we have a similar situation right here in Elgin. In his more recent Facebook musings, 17-year veteran officer John Lentz proposed that the Ferguson, Missouri police “did society a favor” when they shot and killed Michael Brown. Apparently, an alert EPD sergeant noticed that the post violated the department’s social media policy which prohibits officers from making statements that would compromise the department, the city, or themselves.

Not one to quit while he was almost ahead, when command staff asked Lentz to remove the post, he kinda complied by leaving the one-word preamble “Hmmm” in it’s place.

Of course, this marginal act of defiance solicited a more thorough review of the officer’s offerings which resulted in the discovery of 10 more Facebook posts containing the kind of racial overtones that really make ya wanna wince.

So on August 21, the City placed Lentz on his fourth administrative leave pending a full investigation. Though it’s not germane to this conversation, should you wish to learn more about his running Facebook commentary as well as his lengthy disciplinary history, Elena Ferrarin covered it pretty well right here.

And what do our conservative compatriots love to shout whenever one of their ilk is cornered in this heinous manner? That’s right, “Whatever happened to freedom of speech?” So in addition to the chorus of newspaper commenters, even Lentz’ attorney, Tim O’Neil, asked the question, “What happened to the First Amendment?”

Fearing the worst, I checked Wikipedia this morning only to find that the Constitution still intact and that no one’s been messing with the Bill of Rights either. You are still free to speak your mind though I’d urge most of you to refrain from that practice because it really does remove all doubt.

You see, what conservatives really want isn’t just freedom of speech, they want freedom of any consequences from that speech when the constitution makes no such guarantee.

The truth is, despite the insipid nature of their celebrity commentary, none of the aforementioned folks – including our officer Lentz – have spent a single night in jail, have been whisked off to some secret gulag, or were summarily shot for issuing their proclamations. They were and still are free to share their unbridled viewpoints.

But no one better than me understands the inherent perils involved in laying it on the verbal line, not the least of which is potentially aggravating your boss.

So, once again, I’m going to challenge my conservative friends, who so fervently believe in their absolute right to say whatever they want, to fire up facebook this evening and offer a disparaging dialogue on the state of your employer. If you’re feelin’ particularly frisky, liberally make mention of your boss as well.

Don’t worry, I know you won’t do it because you know what will happen if you do. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the consequences of that speech, in fact, it can often turn out to be quite expensive.

The irony is that Officer Lentz has far more protections than either you or I do. He can’t be fired outright because of union rules. He can expect a rep at his hearing and the union  will cover his attorney’s fees. If he is terminated, a very unlikely possibility, he can avail himself of all sorts of avenues of appeal.

And don’t forget, he’s getting paid for his involuntary time off.

Ah! But If we said something that reflected as poorly on our company as Lentz’ statements did on the EPD, swift and surely, the ax would fall. Yes! You could file a lawsuit, but Illinois is a Right to Work state so that would get you about as far as a submarine with screen doors.

Not only do officer Lentz’ racial ramblings discredit the EPD in the eyes of the public, but can you imagine the damage they’d do if anyone ever files a discrimination suit against the department? They wouldn’t have to go very far to find the smoking gun now, would they?

I was also particularly amused by Attorney O’Neil’s assertion that, “We are appalled that the press knows [about the investigation]. I will strongly advise my client to sue the city.” Call me crazy, but could that “leak” have something to do with the fact that officer Lentz put his philosophical meanderings up on Facebook?

Here’s what really happened. The sergeant was likely alerted to the offending post by another officer who didn’t find it very amusing. But despite officer Lentz’ lengthy internal rap sheet, rather than have to endure all the hassles involved in the union disciplinary process, they simply asked him to take it down.

But instead of being a team player and following the eminently explicit and equitable EPD social media policy, officer Lentz decided to be a bleep and flip his bosses the figurative bird by leaving a portion of it up.

So now the command staff decided to delve a little deeper, they found new evidence, and suddenly the prospect of expending the time and energy required to pursue an action didn’t seem so bad. That’s all this is and nothing more.

There’s nothing wrong with free speech my conservative friends. It’s doing just fine.

A tale of two technological pitfalls

Given my professional meanderings and predilection for toys, I can’t tell you how great it is to be alive during a time when personal technology is exploding at an exponential pace. Who’d a thunk I’d wear something on my wrist that records my runs, thousands of my favorite songs would be stored somewhere in the ether, and that the device clipped to my side would be far more powerful than my first PC could have ever dreamed of.

But as two recent news stories suggest, as it is with any kind of advance, the potential pitfalls of those very same devices can be even more hazardous than their intended beneficial utility.

And our first story is the unfortunate iCloud hack and subsequent posting of various and sundry nude female celebrity photos. Of course, the immediate reaction of those aggrieved women was that these heinous hackers who invaded their privacy should be summarily strung up by specific body parts.

Even CNN got into the act by asking us not to blame these unfortunate women whose right to privacy was so brutally stripped away by the least common denominator among us.

Of course, my first reaction was, “You put nude photos on the cloud?” And my second reaction was, “Isn’t invading privacy exactly what hackers generally do?”

Please don’t get me wrong, the issue is not that these personal photographs exist. Though I do sometimes think it’s a sign these young stars fall prey to the notion that women are nothing more than the sum of their body parts.

That said, when you consider just how unkind the deleterious effects of gravity and childbirth can be on the fairer sex – and if I looked anything like Jennifer Lawrence – perhaps I would want to have some sort of remembrance of days done by.

But I wouldn’t take ‘em with a cell phone, I wouldn’t put on a computer that’s ever attached to the Internet, and I certainly wouldn’t put ‘em up on the cloud at a time when simply swiping a credit card at any major retailer is even riskier than marrying into the Wallenda family.

So what I don’t get is the vast celebrity outrage, general gnashing of teeth, and strange proclamations over something so eminently foreseeable. Since no one’s died or lost all their worldly possessions as a result, let’s move on.

Our second story involves a CEO who, while taking care of a friend’s dog, decided that kicking the hapless animal was the appropriate course of action. Of course we would’ve been none the wiser had not the incident occurred in a hotel elevator complete with its own security camera.

And sure enough, someone submitted the video to the Vancouver SPCA and it went on to get more hits that the those now infamous nude photos.

ceo dogThe CEO tried to explain his way out of it by claiming he was frustrated with the Doberman puppy and said the “incident” was “utterly out of character.” But isn’t what you do whenever you think no one’s watching the surest sign of your real character?

In this case the outrage was justified and our intrepid CEO did not survive the fallout.

Not even the police seem to have figured this one out yet, but the bottom line is, unless you’re in the privacy of your own home (and not even then if you have a suspicious spouse), it always pays to assume you’re on camera.

Given the proliferation of these electronic eyes, it would be best to follow the sage advice of the great Joe Torre. When the baseball manager was asked why he never lost his cool during a game, he replied that he always behaved as if his grandmother was watching.

So while I certainly love my Garmin, the Amazon Cloud, and my Galaxy Note 3, there certainly seems to be a tradeoff between that kind of technological power and our “right” to privacy. And for better or worse, it’s privacy that seems to be losing.

Caught in a bad bromance!

Now, I know this may not be the best metaphor to use when referring to a conservative Republican candidate, but just like it is with that crazy ex you want to see succeed despite her best efforts to the contrary, I keep pulling for Jim Oberweis.

Perhaps it’s his prescience in predicting the GOP’s panderingly absurd right turn. Maybe it’s his unique brand of persistence – most folks would’ve given up after spending upwards of $6 million only to lose four consecutive high profile elections. It could be the fact he’s managed to run more than one successful business.

oberweis durbin

Then again, his unbridled capacity to wholeheartedly commit to his infamous campaign faux pas certainly is endearing. Most of us wouldn’t even consider using a fake newspaper headline to make a point.

All kidding aside, Jim has moderated his views over the years which reveals a propensity for growth, he can – and has – bounced back from almost anything, and if you take the time to talk to him, you’ll discover he’s actually a nice guy who really wants to make a difference.

Add all that to my general disdain for Dick Durbin and, despite the fact we definitely don’t need any more Republicans in Washington, I find myself silently supporting our U.S. senatorial underdog.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in the polls putting the challenger just seven points behind the incumbent because Sen. Durbin hasn’t even lifted his little finger yet. But given Jim’s current comportment, and making the most of small victories, I was starting to feel that lapses like last January’s “I have a dream” debacle were rapidly receding in the rear view mirror.

Note to white politicians everywhere; while it’s safe to stand behind the black guy, look serious and nod your head on MLK day, never, ever try to co-opt the “I have a dream” speech for your own purposes. It’s just like watching Justin Bieber rap. You’re horrified by the prospect, but you can’t take your eyes off it!

But I digress.

Sadly, I suppose it’s safe to say the only time Jim Oberweis surprises me is when he doesn’t surprise me. Though thankfully, on the 1 to 10 Oberweis Richter scale, his latest effort probably falls somewhere around a 3.5.

After calling his opponent “arrogant” for refusing to take part in seven separate televised debates, Durbin dropped the following neutron bomb, “He (Oberweis) ought to be a little more humble when he starts asserting his love of debates. When he had to make the decision in the primary, he allowed only one debate with no TV coverage.”

Apparently Jim and his minions forgot that they gave Doug Truax just one bite at the dimly lit debate apple. But as I read that portion of the recent Tribune piece I suddenly found myself internally shrieking, “don’t respond Jim, don’t respond Jim, don’t respond Jim, please don’t respond Jim!” And then he did.

He said his vast Springfield legislative workload was the real culprit and he “never declined an opportunity to debate” during that primary season adding he had no clue that his dastardly campaign staff were declining Truax’s overtures behind his back.

First, being an Illinois legislator has gotta be one of the easiest half-time gigs on the planet. And second, when will politicians finally realize that if you keep saying stupid shit like “I really don’t know anything” people will start to believe you.

Jim, Jim, Jim! The appropriate response to Durbin’s rejoinder would’ve been something along these lines; “I didn’t debate Doug Truax because we didn’t think he was a legitimate contender with the resources and backing required to beat Dick Durbin. We felt our time and energy was better spent elsewhere. Dick Durbin and the Democrats know I’m a legitimate contender and that’s what scares them.”

And here’s the thing, Durbin did agree to a total of four debates which is four more than I would’ve gone for. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, were I the incumbent, I wouldn’t debate Oberweis at all.

In the end, pulling for Jim Oberweis is a lot like rooting for the Chicago Cubs. No matter how many times they disappoint you, you’re still willing to grasp at whatever minor success they have only to have those reignited hopes dashed faster than a Fox News anchorman’s advances at the Lilith Fair.

Jim! What the bleep were your people thinking when they let you offer that kind of semi-suicidal response to the Tribune? You need to get rid of the all the yes men and ancillary players and hire someone who’s actually gonna tell you the truth because this is your last shot at the big time (unless you want another divorce). Considering the current level of anti-Democrat antipathy (and with a decent campaign strategy) you might actually have a shot.

Ah well! I suppose it will be interesting either way.