This is the May 26, 2016 edition of Left, Right and You!

Larry and I want to offer a huge thank you to Elgin City Councilwoman Tish Powell for calling into the show and having a cogent conversation on a controversial mural.

We also want to thank Demetrius and Bob for calling in with some rather interesting points. But why listen to me when you can listen to the show:

 

 

No show on Monday, but Larry and I will be back on June 2nd and we already have plenty to talk about! Until then…

 

Clowns Jokers 2

Get ready for Left, Right and You at 3 p.m. on AM1410

With Elgin City Councilwoman and Cultural Arts Commission Board Member Tish Powell calling in, Larry and I will discuss local artist David Powers’ American Nocturne mural and it’s  sudden and amazing impact on the community.

It’s the discussion before the community discussion. After all, isn’t art always supposed to be a risky proposition?

 

American Nocturne

 

The only place you get this kind in-depth discussion is Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with Larry Jones and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss this one folks!

 

Quick Hits – May 25, 2016

The DH does it right?

SilverbergWow! My keyboard just burst into flames as I typed that title. But the stranger than fiction truth is, I actually mean it!

To wit, the Daily Herald’s Kane County edition is doing an in-depth, three-part series on the D131 East Aurora School District and it’s excellent. In fact, it may well be the best thing they’ve ever done. Granted that isn’t setting the bar too high, but it still says something.

Clearly, reporter Melissa Silverburg:

  • Did her due diligence
  • Actually talked to people
  • Went beyond the simple platitudes when she talked to people
  • Came to a clear understanding of a very difficult and unique dynamic
  • Brought her own insights into the series
  • And to top it off, she can actually write!

If Larry hadn’t forbidden me from proposing to anyone who’s not my wife, I’d be out buying the ring right now. That D131 series is making me downright giddy!

But my abject fear is, just like that old Foundations’ song goes, “Why do you build me up, buttercup, just to let me down.” I desperately want to believe this isn’t some sort of strange anomaly like Sarah Palin. Dare I think this kind of thing will be the new DH norm? Could the death of local journalism have been greatly exaggerated?

As the supergroup Asia once intoned, “Only time will tell.”

Of course, today’s DH contains a story about an Arizona woman who punched a police horse in the mouth because covering Kane County demands that kind of thing. Perhaps, in the end, it would be best if I didn’t set my sights too high.

Art Nouveau was my next-door neighbor

The Nazi’s removed art. The Nazis were the final arbiters of what acceptable art was. The Nazi’s arrested any artist who dared to defy them.

So my advice to anyone who would have a mural removed because they find it “offensive” is to carefully consider the company they’re about to keep

Art is intended to challenge the viewers’ preconceptions even if it’s something as simple as dogs playing poker. Art can evoke a visceral reaction. And all art is covered by the First Amendment.

(Where are all those First Amendment shrieking Elgin conservatives on this one?)

American NocturneAesthetically, the “American Nocturne” mural by Elgin artist David Powers doesn’t appeal to me. The Depression Era art style never has. But the piece itself is brilliant.

Removing the lynching victims and focusing on the theory that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, is incredibly powerful. The crowd that simply sat back and watched that infamous lynching was, indeed, far worse than the perpetrators.

Make no mistake – we’re not nearly exempt either! When Afghani children report “fearing the sky” as a result of collateral damage from War on Terror, it puts us in the same category as the mural audience.

Oh! And by the way, when it comes to art – of any kind – the viewer isn’t owed an explanation. If you don’t like a painting don’t look at it. If you don’t like an opinion column, don’t read it. If you don’t like a joke don’t listen to it.

There’s no Constitutional Amendment that says you get to feel good all the time, but that doesn’t mean you have to endeavor to make yourself miserable either.

The mural, now moved to the Hemmens Cultural Center, shoulda stayed right where it is and it requires no explanation. Sometimes we need to figure things out for ourselves.

For the birds!

I gotta give a huge shout out to a great group that, until yesterday, I had no idea existed. They’re called the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, a loose network of volunteers that covesr the Chicago and northern Illinois area.

Should you find a bird in distress, please give them a call at 773-988-1867 and the nearest volunteer will come right out and rescue it.

coopers hawkYesterday, it happened to be a Cooper’s hawk with a broken wing. A neighbor and I tried to capture the wounded critter with a sheet, but he simply hopped up the branches of a pine tree. Enter CBCM experts Paula and Mark armed with their lengthy nets and, not only was our hawk quickly captured, but he’s well on the road to recovery at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn.

They’re a great group of people too.

So I certainly want to thank the Fox Valley Wildlife Center for putting me in touch with the CBCM folks and the CBCM itself for coming out and saving such a regal creature.

This is the May 23, 2016 edition of Left, Right and You!

 

Larry and I want to thank Pat Perez for filling in today! Not only did I get to ask him the questions I’ve been dying to ask, but I finally got my 20 bucks! Enjoy the interview.

Meanwhile, it what can only be called a twofer, here’s the May 19th show. Technical difficulties prevented it from going up sooner:

 

 

Thursday we talk about the mural! Tish Powell may well attend and though we’re working on artist David Powers, that prospect doesn’t look promising. Until then…

 

Clown Joker

 

 

Get ready for Left, Right and You at 9 on AM1410

Today our special fill-in guest will be former Kane County Sheriff and interim Elburn Police Chief Pat Perez. Perhaps he’ll finally fork over the 20 bucks he owes me.

Beyond that, we’ll talk about his eight-year Sheriff tenure and what might be next for Pat

 

perez2

 

The only Illinois radio show where you get these kinds of in-depth interviews is Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with Larry Jones and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. The conversation continues!

Quick Hits – May 20, 2016

You don’t know Jack!

I never thought the day would come when I felt sorry for former Kane County Director of Elections, Suzanne Fahenestock. But today is, indeed, that day. And this surprises me because anyone who’s ever met Suzanne quickly realizes she’s not the kind of person who tends to generate sympathy.

But here we are, one more time, proving that truth is far stranger than fiction. Perhaps it truly is wise to never say never.

SuzanneTo fill in the blanks, Ms. Fahnestock abruptly resigned this week, ending her seven-year tenure and casting the Kane County Clerk’s office adrift a scant six months before the biggest election of our lifetime. When you consider Clerk Cunningham’s already abysmal election day track record, the phrase “impending nightmare” would not be inappropriate.

So here’s what happened and here’s what’s about to happen.

Cunningham’s managerial style is best described as divide and conquer. He loves to pit his top staffers against each other in an effort to get them to turn on each other. Ironically, the only one in the entire office who actually respected Jack, was Suzanne. The rest of his employees consider him a complete laughingstock.

A huge part of that managerial strategy is that Cunningham always has a golden boy and a punching bag. Those roles can be fluid, but typically, once you become the punching bag, your time is at hand. During my days with the County, former Chief Deputy Stan Bond happened to be the object of Jack’s derision.

In this particular instance, Cunningham created an “Inspector” position, immediately setting this new hire on Ms. Fahnestock, which immediately thrust her into the position of punching bag. After the “Inspector” was allowed to overrule Suzanne on a number of consecutive occasions, she simply walked out that Building B front door with no notice.

Jack tends to have that kind of effect on people.

The truly sad thing is, like I said before, Suzanne was the only one who actually respected Jack to the point where she was willing to defend him to her dying breath. So, to quote Donald Trump, whatever transpired between them had to be “huge.”

As far as what happens next, Elections second-in-command Ray Esquivel, adequate at his appointed task, couldn’t run an election on his best day. If you think DuPage and McHenry Counties were bad this year, just wait!

Then, immediately after declaring he’d be the taxpayers’ savior by not replacing Fahnestock, Cunningham said he’d hire consultants to run the election instead, which would cost at least four times as much.

Given Jack’s capacity to immediately alienate anyone whom he perceives to be smarter than he is – a very long list – the consultant possibility will also crash and burn.

CunninghamBut here’s the real problem. Jack repeatedly told me the reason he hired Suzanne was because her husband happens to be Kane County IT Director Roger Fahnestock – the most talented IT Director I’ve ever come across. It’s not that Suzanne couldn’t do the job, but her previous position was writing grants for former Sheriff Pat Perez. She had no election experience.

Prior to her hire, the IT department ignored the Clerk’s office, once again, because of Jack’s vast capacity to lose friends and fail to influence people. After Suzanne’s hire, the IT department bent over backwards to support the Clerk, including, but not nearly limited to, dedicating two crack staffers to the election effort for one solid week.

And that ain’t gonna happen anymore.

So what we have here is an unqualified employee and/or some mediocre consultants trying to run a record turnout election with a no-clue County Clerk who won’t be getting much help from the IT department.

Like my AP history teacher always said after asking me a question as I was snoozing at my desk, “Listen up class, this is going to be good.”