Anna Moeller joins Left, Right and You!

That’s right! The Smiling Conservative’s schedule shifted at the last minute and Elgin 43rd District State Rep Anna Moeller graciously stepped in so you don’t have listen to me ramble on for an hour.

I’ll ask Anna for the latest scoop on the ongoing Springfield follies, whether there’s any budgetary hope in sight, what the Republican strategy seems to be to resolve the deadlock (because I can’t figure it out), and how platitudes won’t solve this problem.

moellerWe’ll also be happy to take your REASONABLE calls and questions at 847-931-1410.

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 me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. It’s the only place you can get real local political insights!

On Asian drivers and why God has a great sense of humor

I know I’m going to get in trouble for this one, but if God didn’t want me to write about it, He wouldn’t keep putting me in the same position. So rather than be offended, simply consider this to be my spiritual calling. After all, we’re all about religious freedom these days aren’t we?

Of course, my long-time readers will likely recall the story of my interesting sojourn to the Indian Trail, Aurora DMV so my older son could take his first driver’s test. That was where we encountered an elderly Asian woman who neither knew her left from her right, the electric door locks from the trunk release, nor the accelerator from the brake pedal. You can read that entire eminently entertaining story here.

So as my younger son and I headed out to the DeKalb DMV (see yesterday’s post) on a similar mission last Friday, I briefly considered, and even more quickly dismissed, the possibility of that lightning striking a second time.

But how does that biblical caveat go? “Oh ye of little faith!”

Because as we sat in the cramped waiting area abandoning all hope as if it was a Russian Gulag, a twenty-something Asian woman came bounding in from her driver’s test clearly excited about making the cut.

Just like it is whenever you encounter a reasonable Republican presidential candidate, her brand of boundless exuberance stood out in stark contrast to the soulless and surly world of that Secretary of State facility. So for a split second, we all forgot about our slow march towards a certain doom and got caught up in her joyful solicitations.

It was at that point when a gentleman turned to our new driver and offered her a jovial “congratulations!” She, in turn, folded the thumb of her left hand to her palm only to exclaim, “Fourth time!” It was at that point that the morale of the entire audience crashed even faster than the August stock market.

My immediate response was to whisper, “Four times! Holy bleep!,” to my son and lightly slap my right hand to my forehead. At least there was some solace in the fact the Aurora Asian woman didn’t even make it to her driver’s test, but this one was about to drive home!

Four times! How can anyone fail the same driver’s test on three separate occasions? Shouldn’t there be some sort of statutory yearly testing limit by which consistent failure means going back to driver’s ed? Even baseball sends you back to the bench after that third strike.

I know you can take the Bar exam as often as necessary, but I can’t remember the last time an errant law student forced me to dive out of a crosswalk. All I can say is, thank God I’ll never have to be a DMV chaperone again, but sadly, the damage is already done!

Some folks fear the dentist’s drill. Others cringe at the mere mention of public speaking. Then there are those terrified by the thought of their own inevitable demise. But the only thing that can truly make me break out into a cold sweat is the sight of an Asian woman behind the wheel.

Forget cyberattacks! If the Chinese ever figure out how to weaponize this, lord help us! This country would grind to a complete halt.

The Ghost of Michael Howlett is alive and well at the DeKalb DMV

Alright my rapidly aging (to quote Bob Dylan) compatriots! Who remembers girding their loins before heading down to Elston Avenue for their first driver’s test or any other DMV related issue?

For the uninitiated, if you dare utter the words, “Elston Avenue,” to any Chicagoan of any tenure, they will turn white as sheet and immediately scurry away.

It was at Elston Avenue that I first learned the true meaning of the word “patronage.” It was at Elston Avenue where I discovered just how slow a human being could move. It was at Elston Avenue where I first realized that “surly” could be an art form. It was at Elston Avenue where I learned that someone could actually take offense at the word “hello!” It was at Elston Avenue where first I discovered that, when it comes to an abject lack of emotion, Mr. Spock had nuthin’ on those folks.

Elston Avenue was the epicenter of the Daley-Howlett Democratic machine. It was were all the bodies were buried. Of course, the Daley of whom I speak is the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, and Michael Howlett was the first Democrat to win four consecutive statewide elections, culminating in a 1973 Secretary of State of state win.

Michael HowlettBut then something strange happened. In 1999, Jesse White became Secretary of State and the culture completely changed. He got rid of all the deadwood and somehow managed to light a fire under the most jaded of political hires. The end result was, when my wallet got stolen back in 2004, I was in and out of the Indian Trail, Aurora DMW in a scant 8 minutes.

It’s the closest thing to a miracle I will ever witness in my lifetime.

In fact, this Secretary of State has been so good, I’d almost forgotten about Elston Avenue – until today, that its. Figuring the road test would a bit more similar to his Geneva driving environs than Aurora – I made the mistake of taking my youngest son out to DeKalb for his driver’s test.

And the second we stepped into that building, just like what you’d expect from a Dickensian novel, the ghostly image of Michael Howlett appeared right before my very eyes.

It started with their laminated numbering system which appears to have been coopted from some long defunct library. What the waiting area denizens didn’t realize is, quite a few of the “numbers” were missing, so the distance from 11 to 29 was a lot more like 11 to 20. It’s kinda like a bizarre governmental form of the Theory of Relativity.

But daunted by the prospect of having to endure 15 to 38, some folks simply put their number down, hung their heads, and walked out.

But somewhat encourage by the failed consecutiveness of the situation, my morale soared until I realized there was all of one staffer working the license side of the counter on a Friday morning. And I can attest to the fact that her nickname certainly couldn’t be “The Flash.”

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did! Perhaps due to a lack of staffing, any time a CDL (bus or truck) driver came in, they got priority and every last one of ‘em had some bizarre problem which set the line back even more.

Meanwhile, having picked a set of seats in the back, my son and I were privy to all sorts of interesting conversations on the part of the facility manager. And let me tell ya, he isn’t gonna win a Mr. Congeniality ribbon anytime soon.

Who knew you could really get to know someone simply sittin’ there for an hour? His favorite lines clearly were, “What’s your question?,” “No, that’s not right!,” “What’s your ticket number?,” and “You have two options!”

When we finally made it to the counter, which was not unlike binge delivered from Dante’s 7th circle, both before and after the road test, the staff would simply walk away in the middle of the transaction with no explanation, only to return a few minutes later for no discernable reason.

In the end, my son managed to get his license and then we high tailed it out of the DeKalb DMV like an Azkaban Dementor was just seconds behind us. It was at that point he turned to me and said, “Dad, I don’t think I’ve ever run in as many heartless robots in one place in my life.” And all I could say was, “No son, you haven’t”

Shades of Elston Avenue!

But rather than make any attempt to change this DMV, which certainly ain’t the Illinois way, I have a thought! Instead, every single NIU Political Science professor should immediately schedule a field trip to this facility. Who needs a bleepin’ textbook when you can see patronage in person, learn how to do virtually nothing to get a reasonable pension, and bear witness to a governmental entitlement mentality firsthand.

All I can say is, my son got a lot more than just a driver’s license today.

This is the September 3, 2016 Edition of Left, Right and You!

Of course, Larry and I want to thank Author and journalist Lauren Lipton for coming on the show and describing how she struck a “Norma Rae” blow for journalists and writers everywhere! I bet the folks at the Huffington Post are still reeling from the onslaught! But why listen to me when you can listen to the show for youself:

You can also find Lauren and her work right here.

Lauren 2And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, we also discussed the ongoing Kane County Coroner follies – he made the Tribune today – and the fact that Michael Madigan seems to have politically stumbled. Say it ain’t so Mike!

We’re talking Monday off so you’ll have to wait until next Thursday for you Left, Right and You fix. Until then…

Journalist and author Lauren Lipton joins Left, Right and You today!

And it’s gonna be a real treat because Lauren will be discussing her “Norma Rae” moment in which she took on the nefarious Huffington Post and struck a blow for journalists and writers everywhere! We’ll also get her thoughts on whether local journalism has any chance of survival whatsoever.

Lauren Lipton

Lauren Lipton

Then, just when you thought he couldn’t get any sillier, Kane County Coroner Rob Russell is going to sue the very County for which he works. Perhaps he should write a book called, “How Not to Win Friends and Fail to Influence People.”

And Speaker Madigan, the man who never makes a political misstep, just attempted to override a gubernatorial veto without having the votes! Between the Cubs winning and this I’m really starting to believe in parallel universes.

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 me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss it!