A few quick hits!

Sorry for the dearth of posts here lately folks! Between putting a lot more effort into the book and preparing to roast the Sheriff tomorrow night, I’ve been a busy boy. All I can say is, I have a newfound respect for comedians like Jeff Ross, Lisa Lampinelli, the late Craig Geraldo, and Amy Schumer who make roasting some poor victim look so easy.

Even though you didn’t ask, here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about:

1. Jane Byrne

She was the woman for whom the term “feisty broad” was originally coined. Between her brashness, her charm, her self-inflicted wounds, her capacity to make you laugh, her poor choices, and her love of the City of Chicago, she was the Second City’s least boring mayor.

Byrne and the "Blues"I was living in Evanston when she threw the Machine into that 1979 tizzy and the news was even bigger than Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. You can call her temporary Cabrini Green residency a publicity stunt if you want, but no male politician ever had the balls to pull that kind of thing off.

But instead of living up to her carefully crafted reform campaign image, she listened to her no-account husband, former Daily News reporter Jay McMullen, who convinced her that the only method of staving off the younger Daley was to get in bed with the very folks she beat to a political pulp. He didn’t see Harold Washington coming and heronor was gone after four too-short years.

Rest in peace Mayor Byrne, I have nothing, but fond memories of you!

2. Carpentersville

No thanks to the village and their inexplicable FOIA scofflaw ways, we finally know what happened to Joshua Paul during that August 17 traffic stop. And the only reason we know anything is because the Coroner finally released the death report.

You can read Jake Griffin’s take on the Coroner’s report right here.

Suffice it to say that, while there may be something to Paul’s proposed hyper-alcoholism induced deterioration, the fact that, after three long months, Carpentersville still refuses to answer a FOIA request deemed eminently legal by the Attorney General’s office, is clear and convincing proof that they’re still trying to hide something.

Minimally, the city council is desperately trying to skirt some serious liability issues.

I’ve spoken with a number of current and former law enforcement officers who unanimously agree this “investigation” should’ve been wrapped up in no more than 30 days. One said that sitting on it for three months and counting is completely beyond the pale.

The lessons here are, don’t drive through Carpentersville and this is why the appearance of impropriety is always worse than any actual impropriety.

3. Climate Change

Just because it’s really cold here and heavily snowing in other places, doesn’t mean that climate change is some sort of hoax. That would be like saying that just because you didn’t get any mail today, the Post Office doesn’t exist, which is exactly the kind of demented logic a remedial third grader would use.

In fact, this early cold and voluminous snow is proof that climate change continues to tighten its grasp.

Climate change symptoms consist of short term extremes within a larger long-term global warming trend. We have millions of years of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on record and we know exactly what happens to the planet when those readings get too high. It’s simple scientific cause and effect and anyone who doesn’t believe the basic math is either not too smart, doesn’t care about their kids, or simply full of shit.

The President’s recent carbon emissions agreement with the Chinese should be lauded as one of the most important accords of our time.

4. Conspiracy Theories

Virtually never hold water.

Most of the time they’re like a harmless superstition that purports to explain something the “theorist” can’t completely comprehend. Not only that but, being the bearer of that “inside knowledge” also makes the theorist feel a greater sense of self-importance

But when taken too far, these conspiracy theories become excuses for ineffectual people (and especially ancillary players) who’ve never managed to make anything of their generally meaningless and depressing lives.

It goes something like this, “If someone of my vast significance and indelible righteousness can’t succeed, then it has to be because someone’s got it in for me/us!” Like a black president for example. That’s when these theories can get dangerous and co-opt the political process.

Let conspiracy theories go folks and live your bleepin’ lives!

And we’ll be talking about all this on Left, Right and You Tomorrow!

The November 13, 2014 edition of Left, Right and You…

… is right here…

… for your listening pleasure.

Larry and I want to thank Tribune reporter Rick Pearson for spending so much time with us today. The problem of having Rick on the show is I just want to sit back and listen to his insights and that makes me forget that I actually have to talk.

pearson2 We talked about the new governor, we talked about the midterm elections, we talked about the impending Chicago mayoral race. And while we’re at it, we want to thank Tim Elenz and Bob for calling in with some cogent questions.

Enjoy the show!

Rick Pearson is on Left, Right and You!

Today at 3 p.m. on WRMN AM1410!

Larry and I will be asking him whether he believes Bruce Rauner will be able to govern, what he makes of the strange Illinois midterm election results, and then we’ll pose a variety of other political possibilities that are worthy of a 30-year political reporter’s insights!


Of course, if you have a question for Rick, all you have to do is call into the show at 847-931-1410.

Rick Pearson is always a great guest so you don’t to miss this one folks. That’s Larry Jones and Jeff Ward on Left, Right and You every Thursday on WRMN AM1410. Because you can handle the truth!

Every day should be Veteran’s Day!

While I can certainly appreciate the efforts of all those facebook friends who took the time to post photographs of family members who so bravely served, as hard as I try, I cannot bring myself to feel that same cherished sentiment. It’s not that I’m not proud of my father’s service, because I am.

Despite being stricken with polio, like so many others, he faithfully served in the Korean War. And like so many others, he wasn’t the same person when he came back. Alcoholism, heart disease, marital problems, and the occasional psychological hospitalization plagued him for the rest of his life.

I don’t think he every fully recovered and I can say that because I’m the only one with whom he would regularly discuss his military service.

veterans day

Under the guise of photo reconnaissance, he was a member of the precursor to the Navy SEALS. They were the elite group who went behind the lines to blow up railroads, kill prison camp commanders, and interdict enemy shipping.

Sadly, I’m not so sure even he was proud of his time in Korea. He certainly didn’t want to talk about it. When I suggested co-authoring a book on his experience, the answer was an emphatic “No!” I can only imagine how tough it had to be on a sensitive only child from the north side of Chicago. Those late night conversations clearly conveyed the toll his service took.

So while I wouldn’t call it painful, whenever Veteran’s Day does roll around, I get this uneasy feeling in the pit of my chest. Again, I’m proud that my father fought for his country, but I can’t help but wonder what his life would’ve been like had the appropriate help been available when he came back from Korea.

Please don’t get me wrong! It is absolutely appropriate and correct that we post pictures and remember those courageous souls who were so willing to make the supreme sacrifice on the day set aside for that very purpose. But I hope I’m not the only one who feels that isn’t nearly enough.

Honoring fallen soldiers once a year is easy. What’s much more difficult, is honoring the 20 million veterans currently living is this country because so many of them could really use our help.

And I’m not talking about referring to them as “heroes” at every turn because that and four bucks will get you a small cup of coffee at Starbucks. I’m talking about implementing the kind of national safety net that will effectively get them back here in one piece – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Remember Omar Gonzalez? He’s the gentleman who jumped the White House fence and almost made in to the door. He’s a three tour Iraqi War veteran who suffers from PTSD and paranoia as a result. It ended his eight-year marriage. His Fort Hood psychiatrist gave him prescriptions for his condition, but as someone who worked with the mentally ill can attest, unless the appropriate support network is in place, they tend to stop taking their medications.

His former stepson told CNN that Omar was a “great, great guy,” who took great pride in serving his country. But instead of talking about improving the abysmal medical and mental health care options available to returning veterans, we discussed the Secret Service lapse and the need to extend street level barricades.

I’m sure our veterans would trade this one day for 364 others in which we acknowledged their service in a more meaningful way. Better social services, top flight medical and mental health care, job programs and so much more. That would be a far better way of saying “thank you!” Isn’t it far better to honor someone while they’re still alive?

The bottom line? Every day should be Veteran’s Day.

Should we call them “job destroyers?”

It’s not that I really needed another CD. I can’t possibly listen to the 2,000 LPs and 3,500 CDs I already own. In a chillingly biblical bent, my iPod Classic tells me it would take 40 days and 40 nights to listen to every bleepin’ song it currently contains. And when I use up that last scant 8.6 gigabytes, my only option will be to open the device and install a larger hard drive.

So there I was, doing my damndest not to acquire, “The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (Deluxe Edition),” which covers outtakes from Bob Dylan’s legendary 1967 sessions with The Band, when the dastardly Sunday Tribune published yet another halcyon review of those seminal proceedings. Any further resistance on my part was futile.

barnes and noble

But I didn’t want to fork over too much for that double CD either because we’re getting to the point where they’re gonna start releasing box sets of Bruce Springsteen’s various bodily noises. I’m sure one of the tracks will called “Bruce is Hungry!” And the sad thing is, I’d probably buy it too!

After the usual online suspects failed to meet my financial expectations, I thought, “why not give Barnes & Nobel another shot?” Perhaps after regularly enduring losses of $40 million a quarter they might have made some adjustments.

And wouldn’t you know it! At $15.39, the B&N “Basement Tapes” online price was significantly lower than their competitors. Not only that, but to put the transaction squarely into the almost as good as sliced bread category, there was a “Pick up in store” link. All you had to do is enter your name, Zipcode and email address and, after one short hour, the product would be waiting for you “at the counter.”

So I dutifully placed that order while harboring thoughts of enjoying Bob’s not-so-dulcet tones before the afternoon was out. “It’s nice to see Barnes & Noble making an effort,” I thought, “Maybe I should give ‘em another shot!”

Two hours later, I gleefully staked my spot in that B&N queue to eagerly await my prize. But when I got up to the front desk, the CD was nowhere to be found. And just when they were ready to start tearing the place apart, I mentioned it was a music selection and they quickly redirected me to a register in the back.

How difficult would it have been for the B&N webpage to dispatch me to that specific counter right off the bat? Even I can perform that basic level of Net programming.

Sadly, once I made it back to the music section, things didn’t get any better. That conversation went something like this:

“That will be $21.59.”

“21.59,” I exclaimed while pulling out my printed online order form, “The price I was quoted was $15.39.”

“That’s the online price,” the clerk said.

“I know that’s the online price because I placed the order online,” I replied.

“Yes, but the store price is different,” the clerk explained.

“But your website made no mention of paying the ‘store price,’” I added.

“I know,” the clerk said.

“Do you think customers will come back after Barnes & Noble pulls this kind of bait and switch?, I asked.

“I know,” the clerk repeated.

“Do you at least match your online price like Target and Best Buy,” I asked (understanding the irony of temporarily thinking fondly about Best Buy).

“No. We have to charge the store price,” he replied.

While the clerk was clearly affable and appropriately apologetic, I could tell this wasn’t nearly the first time he had that conversation. So I thanked him, walked out of the store, and ended up listening to the excellent Nils Lofgren box set instead.

Considering their insistent fiscal bleeding, Barnes & Noble has managed to survive longer than I ever thought they would, but I will reiterate my previous prediction that the reports of their impending death have not been greatly exaggerated.

And you thought the Bears were bad!

The November 6, 2014 edition of Left, Right and You…

… is a wrap! And you can listen to it right here!

First, Larry and I want to thank Bob and Pete who always make the best points whenever they call into the show! We want to hear more from them and all the rest of you lurking listeners.

LRY2Of course, the smiling conservative and I proceeded to cover all the elections results, add some interesting insights,  and interject a little levity in the process. It certainly doesn’t get any better than that.

And don’t forget! Next week we’ll have Tribune reporter extraordinaire Rick Pearson as we discuss whether Bruce Rauner will be able to contend with a Democratic general assembly supermajority.

Enjoy the show!

A second dose of Left, Right and You?

No! You’re not hearing double! Larry and I will be back on the airwaves at 3 o’clock this afternoon. So here’s the recorded promo:

Since we’ll actually have ’em, today, that smiling conservative and I will be discussing all the election results in detail. We’ll be answering those pressing questions like; How did Bruce Rauner pull it off? Was there an Illinois Republican surge? Were there any real surprises? And why do some folks even bother to run?

election results

Off course, I’m hoping Larry forgets I predicted a sizable Pat Quinn victory. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these fascinating midterm elections at 847-931-1410 as well!

That’s Left, Right and You every Thursday at 3 p.m. on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss it!