Prepare yourself for the 12-11-14 edition of Left, Right and you!

Which is right here for your listening pleasure:

Buckle your seatbelts folks because Larry and I moved pretty quickly today!

We started off the show discussing the prospect of new Sheriff Don Kramer not living up to the promises he made on Left, Right and You when he ran for office. Larry and I aren’t ready to make a final pronouncement, but I’m certainly nervous about what might be happening to former Sheriff Pat Perez’s friends.

LRY2Then we talked about how petition challenges can come right back around to bite the challenger in the butt. C’mon people! If you’re gonna expend all that energy running for office be smart about it!

Our final topic was the importance of new candidates getting their message right. Elgin mayoral challenger Joe Galvan offered all of us a primer on exactly what not to do!

Next week, Elgin city council candidate Fred Moulton will be on the show. And you don’t wanna miss that one!

Thank you for listening!

It’s almost Left, Right and You time!

So here’s the voice promo:

jeff and larryToday, Larry and I will be talking about:

  • Has brand new Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer already reneged on his promise to not seek vengeance on his former opponents? He’s making an awful lot of changes for someone who promised there wouldn’t  be any changes in his first 30 days!
  • Does a failed Elgin City Council petition challenge clearly prove that some conservatives have no interest in less government? I think it does, but I’m also heartened with one conservative group’s response.
  • An Elgin mayoral hopeful’s responses to a series of basic Daily Herald questions is a perfect primer on exactly how not to do it! Larry and I will discuss why it’s so important for a novice candidate to come up with a clear message!

That’s Left, Right and You at 3 p.m. this and every Thursday on WRMN AM1410 with yours truly and the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones. Please join us for the kind of insights you just won’t get anywhere else. We promise you won’t be sorry!

The odds of this one working out aren’t real good!

I thought I’d give my brain a brief rest by taking on the role of sportswriter today. C’mon! All that addled group of ne’er-do-wells really do is make swift and strange pronouncements only to contradict themselves as soon they inevitably prove to be false.

So why am I the only Cub fan who’s not terribly excited about the six year $155 million signing of free agent left hander Jon Lester? Because the chances of a 31 year-old pitcher living up to that kind of contractual obligation sit squarely somewhere between slim and none.

LesterThose seemingly ageless starting pitchers like Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Curt Schilling and Tom Glavine are so rare you can count ‘em on one hand. (We can’t count Roger Clemens because he had some pharmaceutical assistance!)

Ah! But on the other hand, hurlers of the opposite ilk, i.e. those whose skillset starts a steep decline around age 30, are too numerous to mention. The most infamous free agent pitcher signings include, but aren’t nearly limited to, Carlos Silva, Wayne Garland, Denny Neagle, Darren Dreifort, Chan Ho Park, Kevin Brown, Mike Hampton, Barry Zito, Jake Peavy, Jason Schmidt, Carl Pavano, C. C. Sabathia, and Justin Verlander.

In an effort to go a little Nate Silver on you, the following starting pitcher aging curve graphic says it all:

Pitcher_Curves_StartersAnd Lester’s already lost 2 mph of velocity which does not bode well for the future.

Let’s throw caution into the wind and say the Cubs latest acquisition is a rarity who will beat the aging odds. None of it makes any bleepin’ difference unless he manages to stay healthy. And the probability of that possibility coming to pass ain’t real good either.

The red pitcher line on the following MLB player injury risk by position and age graph says it all.

injuryrisk_byboth1As those humorless insurance actuaries like to say, pitchers over the age of thirty are not a very good risk. And remember, we’re talking about 25 players slogging through a 162 game season which provides the kind of large sample size that makes those percentages far more likely to play out.

That said, if anyone can beat the odds it’s Jon Lester. He’s made at least 31 starts in each of his last seven seasons, he’s smart, and he relies more on stuff than speed. But legendary Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane has made a career out of playing the probabilities and as a result, the A’s, the smallest of all small market teams, continually contend.

The Cubs? Not so much.

Ironically, when Beane threw his percentage playbook out the window went for broke this season, it didn’t turn out too well. The A’s second half was the stuff of nightmares. We all love to bet on the 20 to 1 shots at the track, but the truth is, only the gamblers who wager on the consistent favorites make money.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand there’s more to this deal than simply signing a staff ace. Cubs management wanted to make a splash and they wanted to let the fans and every other National League Central Division team know they’re serious. Good for them!

But if I was in Theo Epstein’s unenviable shoes, I would’ve re-signed Jeff Samadzija and given Johnny Cueto a shot. That’s two good arms, they’re both considerably younger, and their combined salaries would’ve been around $5 million less than Lester’s.

Of course, when it comes to any aspect of the Chicago Cubs, the best thing you can say is that hope springs eternal. Perhaps we’ll get five good years out of Lester. But as is almost the case with our lovable losers, I wouldn’t bet on it.

When a petition challenge bites you in the butt!

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Elgin City Council candidate Kyle Scifert handily survived the petition challenge leveled by former Elgin OCTAVE treasurer and failed council hopeful Roy Chapman on behalf of former OCTAVE board member and current council hopeful Julie Schmidt.

In fact, the Elgin election board trio of Mayor Dave Kaptain, City Clerk Kim Dewis, and senior city council stand in Terry Gavin all voted unanimously in favor of Scifert remaining on the ballot. Gavin put it perfectly when he said Scifert’s primary date error was “merely a technicality” adding “We are trying to encourage people to run for office.”

Kyle Scifert

Kyle Scifert

Should you want to read the full story for yourself, please avail yourself DH reporter Elena Ferrarin’s excellent account of those proceedings.

But while things are looking pretty rosy for our novice candidate, the political dust hasn’t nearly begun to settle on the folks who foolishly embarked upon this frivolous course of action. As I so frequently like to say, please allow me to explain:

1. This challenge was doomed from the start

The missing staple, errant page number, and incorrect date minutia may play well at the township, fire district, and village board level, but it almost never works in a city the size of Elgin. So it was futile to pursue it because those savvy metropolitan folks generally aren’t as enamored of their own political power and thus, they understand the spirit of electoral law heavily leans towards keeping folks on the ballot.

Unable to unring that bell, Chapman and Schmidt come out of this kerfuffle looking petty and mean which never helps your cause.

2. Chapman got the challenge wrong

To quote the challenger himself, in an error of “egregious” proportion, his own paperwork referred to Scifert as “Siefert.” The fascinating irony there is, the election board specifically noted that Chapman’s gaffe was not enough to dismiss his challenge.

The truth is, we all make mistakes, but if you’re going to go after a nominating petition, you probably don’t want to make an error even more “egregious” than the candidate in question has been accused of. So now Schmidt’s “team” comes across as petty, mean, AND incompetent.

3. Never mention your opponent!

It’s politics 101 folks. Unless your opponent is a damaged incumbent, there’s no point in providing any free political advertising whatsoever.

Ah! But as a result of this petition fracas, Scifert’s face has been in two papers for two weeks while Schmidt’s gleaming visage is nowhere to be seen. (Though Kyle, you might want to consider cracking a smile whenever you’re running for office.)

So the Schmidt team has essentially thrust Scifert into the frontrunner position among the non-incumbent city council challengers. This interesting dynamic gives a whole new meaning to the term “backfire!”

4. Chuck Keysor comes out against the cabal!

This second major politics 101 lapse will probably prove to be the Schmidt campaign death knell. You see, it’s one thing to move to the middle to win an election, but it’s another thing entirely to cast your old friends aside without a second political thought.

To wit, I may have been unduly harsh on the Elgin OCTAVE folks yesterday because current chairman Chuck Keysor told reporters he was “distressed” by Chapman’s objection declaring, “I’m happy Scifert is off the hook. It is not our business to kick people off of ballots.”

You really have to give Mr. Keysor credit for setting the record straight and sticking to his conservative guns. You don’t seen that kind of thing at the local level very often.

So now, not only do Chapman and Schmidt look like complete hypocrites, but they’re unlikely to get OCTAVE’s support which an Elgin conservative desperately needs to win a city council seat The moral of that story, of course, being that you shouldn’t go out of your way to make your former friends look bad even if it’s an inadvertent effort.

Chapman could still appeal the election board’s ruling, but that would mean putting out some real cash, going all the way down to a Chicago courtroom, and making all of our previously discussed matters exponentially worse.

A good friend of mine likes to say that whenever first or second time candidates announce a run, they immediately forfeit a third of their brain cells. I’d put it closer at a half because that’s what it takes to allow your ego to run completely amok and ego is the biggest candidate killer of them all.

Bears coach Marc Trestman provides a perfect analogy. He thinks he’s smarter than the game, believes that trick plays can consistently win the day, and he doesn’t honor the NFL basics that have held true from the first day the league was founded.

Please learn from this people! Nobody needed to campaign against Julie Schmidt. She did a fine job destroying her candidacy all by herself.

A different definition of “less government”

Don’t conservatives and tea partiers just love to run around in concentric circles shouting “less government” until the very second when more government serves their stilted self-interest or promotes their exclusionary purpose?

Though there are a plethora of possible examples, in this particular instance we’re talking about an Elgin City Council nominating petition challenge in which, ironically, one conservative is doing her damndest to knock another conservative off the ballot on the merest of technicalities.

Now, my long-time readers know just how much I abhor petition challenges because most of them are so bleepin’ silly. They’re typically based upon egregious errors like a missing staple, an errant political term, a missing page number, or a small clerical problem and they serve no purpose other than to rig the electoral process and force a challenger to focus on everything but campaigning.

petitionDon’t get me wrong, there’s certainly something to be said for dispensing with candidates who can’t get the paperwork right. When a young man recently ran against St. Charles Republican Precinct Committeeman Nabi Fakroddin, not a single one of his signatures came from within the precinct, so it was truly time for him to go.

But blatantly bad blunders like that one are rare. Meanwhile, I’ve sat through a couple of petition challenges where the difference between the terms “county board member” and “county commissioner” was the main bone of contention.

But let’s get back to this specific challenge which was filed by Elgin OCTAVE member and failed city council candidate Roy Chapman on behalf of former OCTAVE board member and current city council hopeful, Julie Schmidt. Chapman’s objection claims Kyle Scifert’s petition cited April 7 as the possible primary date when it should’ve been February 24.

Be still my beating heart! This can only mean that Kyle cuts those tags off mattresses and provides accounts of Cubs broadcasts without the express written consent of Major League Baseball. The cad!

Not only that, but this mistake is immaterial because Elgin ain’t even gonna have a primary. Of course, the really sad thing is, had Kyle simply run his paperwork by anyone with half a political brain (like me for example) they would’ve caught that error.

Better yet, had he engaged the educated eyes of fine folks at the Ancel Glink law firm, whatever small monetary amount he’d have been out is nothing compared to the time and effort he will now expend defending a petition challenge. But I digress.

“I just feel that if you’re running for city council, you should be able to fill out the paperwork correctly,” Chapman said. Translated, what that really means is, “Scifert may be a fiscal conservative, but he’s not our fiscal conservative so we’re going to knock him off the ballot to give our candidate a leg up.”

By the way, OCTAVE actually stands for Operant Conditioning to Achieve Voter Expectations which apparently includes giving voters as few choices as possible. And whoever came up with that strange Skinner-esque acronym really oughtta hang onto their day job.

Yes! Just like Sheldon Cooper, the OCTAVE folks want you to engage in the political process unless you’re not doing it right.

But the worst part of this petition challenge sham is Schmidt’s complicity. It may be true that she’s a conservative ideologue who doesn’t stand a chance in hell of winning, but the best thing about ideologues (if there is a best thing about them) is that they tend to embrace a rather unyielding and unevaluated consistency.

They don’t disappoint you because you know exactly what to expect from them and it ‘s usually something that’s disappointing.

So for someone who just told reporters that, “Local government needs to be downsized. Its focus should be limited to public safety and health emergencies, public works, business development and parks and recreation,” it’s kinda disappointing to watch her team bring the full weight of that very government down upon an opponent who made a very minor error.

The least she could do is amend her statement to include that government should also throw folks off the ballot. And by the way, had she been on the receiving end of a similar challenge she’d be screaming holy hell and invoking all sorts of sacred conservative stipulations.

But this is exactly how it is with conservatives – even the local ones. They’re completely enamored of their constitutional rights until it means that two guys can get married. They love their freedom of speech until someone says something they don’t like. They chastised liberals for “disrespecting” George W. Bush only to turn around and level the kind of vitriol against the current president that makes moderates cringe. They don’t want to be tread upon, but they can’t help peering through bedroom windows. They want the government to keep their filthy hands off of their Medicare and finally, they don’t want less government, they want a lot more of their government.

In the end, Mr. Scifert will likely survive this challenge, but I’m hoping that Elgin voters won’t forget this particular brand of conservative hypocrisy when they go to the polls on April 7th.

This is the December 4, 2014 edition of Left, Right and You!

For those who listened, we hope you enjoyed the show and for those who haven’t, you’re in for a real treat!

Larry and I covered it all from the impending Elgin City Council clashes to the political official’s official guide to the appropriate use of social media to why Councilman John Prigge’s $1,600 lunch tab doesn’t matter!

elginlogo-3color

So there you have it! The truth as Larry and I see it which is all that matters! Thank you for listening! And don’t forget – next week former Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez will join us to talk about his life in law enforcement. You won’t want to miss that one!

Left, Right and You is back baby!

And this week, we’re going all Elgin!

The city council contests are all set and even Mayor Kaptain has a challenger. But can an unknown upstart unseat a popular mayor in just three short months?

elginAnother Elgin city official is in a heap of hot water over yet another fascinating Facebook post! Can any political post holder ever really speak as a private citizen? And will the fallout from this fracas derail a city council candidate?

Councilman John Prigge’s 2014 Thursday City Manager meeting lunch tab has cost Elgin $1,600 so far. Jeff and Larry say, “So what!” Though there’s certainly some political karma involved in this story, how many times are some conservative folks (and mediocre reporters) gonna cry financial wolf?

For all those answers and more, please join Jeff Ward and Larry Jones on Left, Right and You on WRMN AM1410 this and every Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. Prepare to be enlightened!

Learn how to bleepin’ turn left!

Trust me, I understand that, way out here in these godforsaken Chicago collar counties, any kind of left turn is utterly antithetical to the shit that so many good Republicans supposedly stand for. But unless you’re gonna emulate those unfortunate UPS drivers who are eternally damned to only rotate clockwise*, every now and then the southpaw side of the street doth beckon.

leftI also understand that those newfangled dual left turn lanes, the bane of my current existence (aside from the ancillary players, that is), have greatly contributed to the already steep decline in our diminishing cultural capacity to effectively turn left.

So since I’m nothing if not magnanimous about sharing my impeccably aphoristic perspectives on life, please allow me to educate y’all as to the appropriate itinerant sinistral procedures. And we’ll start off with what you should bleeping never do!

While attempting to turn left from northbound Randall Road at Keslinger when the green arrow has already expired and you’re first in line, DO NOT SIMPLY STOP AT THE WHITE LINE and start offering a sacrifice to the traffic gods in hopes of a sudden opening or, failing that, wait for the next left-turn arrow.

That’s not how it works!

Here’s a thought! Instead, please pull your car directly into the middle of the intersection with the appropriate turn signal brightly gleaming while aiming your front wheels to the port side without quite crossing that invisible center line. The vehicle immediately behind you should summarily follow suit.

Should your karma be such that an opportunity presents itself, by all means, make your turn and be on your merry way. If the gap is as fleeting as most of them tend to be, the the second vehicle should take your place with the third now pulling up immediately behind them.

If, as is often the Randall Road case, oncoming traffic proceeds unabated, wait for the light to turn yellow, take a brief moment to be sure oncoming traffic has come to a complete halt and make your left turn as the light turns red (or shortly thereafter). The vehicle directly behind you should be following your perfect procedural footsteps.

That’s right! AT LEAST TWO VEHICLES SHOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE THE LEFT TURN AS THE GREEN LIGHT FADES TO ITS RED COUNTERPART.

The fact that those dastardly double left turn lanes do not allow for this course of action does not automatically render that kind of eminently reasonable conduct illegal – as so many middle-aged women obviously believe it does!

Not only is standing pat in a single left turn lane as the light turns red the work of the devil, but it impedes upon my freedom to move forward which is determinately anti-Republican. So don’t do it!

* It is UPS company policy that drivers avoid left turns unless there is absolutely no other possibility. The Mythbusters proved that practice saves both time and fuel.