Quick Hits – September 18, 2017

Really Republicans?

Though “tact” and “diplomacy” aren’t words typically associated with me, even I understand the need for certain cultural conventions. They do make this often difficult life a bit more bearable.

So, when that difficult-to-deal-with co-worker retires or finds a new job, you give him a going away party, a small gift and you muster up a few nice things to say about him, even if it’s something like, “At least you showered every day!”

Lisa Madigan

When someone dies, even if the term “son-of-a-bitch” doesn’t begin to do them justice and you’re doing cartwheels in your head, most of us can muster a sad look and say something nice about the decedent, even if it’s a tepid, “I always liked the way he breathed.”

But apparently that’s too much for the Illinois Republican Party, because when Attorney General Lisa Madigan just announced her retirement, this was the extent of their official statement:

“Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision to not seek re-election is a sign the Madigan family brand is toxic.”

When did every political development become an opportunity to stab the other side in their left kidney?

Meanwhile, if anyone thought Erika Harold was gonna beat Lisa Madigan, in the words of that great philosopher Steven Tyler, “Dream on.” Harold won’t even come within 10 points of any of the possible Democratic nominees, either.

And since when do the sins of the father ever fall upon the shoulders of the daughter? Despite her surname, Lisa Madigan has always enjoyed broad-based bi-partisan support and she’s served the public with honor and distinction for almost 16 years.

My mother, who defined the word “Republican,” loved Lisa Madigan.

So, what Republicans really oughtta be worried about is whatever office she might target next, because she’ll clearly clean their candidate’s clock.

How difficult would it have been to offer a short perfunctory statement simply citing her 16 years of public service? Even without her father’s clout, this smart and savvy woman could’ve made three times that AG salary in the private sector.

But no! The Illinois GOP – who can’t seem to get anyone elected – had to take a swipe at her on the way out because that’s exactly who today’s conservatives are. They’re mean, petty, and cowering behind a convoluted Christianity.

Put more simply, Republicans suck!


Genevans made me proud?

Along with “Illinois Republicans finally made a politically expedient move,” one of the last things I ever thought I’d say is, “My fellow Genevans did the right thing.” And it was the Christian thing to do, too!

Though that may have merely been a happy accident.

In response to all the basic Geneva bigotry in response to the impending low-income folks moving into the soon-to-be renovated Campana Building, a fair number of rainbow “GOT LOVE” signs are popping up throughout the city.

Got Love

Much to my surprise, I’ve even seen two in my generally insane and not terribly tolerant south Fisher Farms neighborhood.

Better yet, though it certainly was a minority, some Genevans told the Batavia Planning Commission they were in favor of the project, citing a desperate need for Tri-Cities housing that senior citizens and low-wage workers can actually afford.

I happen to agree with that sentiment.

So while it’s discouraging to hear all those “good” Geneva Christians refer to apartment dwellers as “those people,” “that element” and “trash,” the fact that some of my municipal compatriots understand and actually abide by that lofty Christian standard has gone a long way towards renewing my faith in humanity.

I’m sure they’ll do something to destroy it by next week, but for now, as my favorite TV judge likes to say, I’m simply going to bask in the glow!


Sometimes backyard bees choose you!

Considering their rarity, my family has been privileged to play host to a bumblebee hive this summer season. Since those theoretically unable to fly insects tend to seek out homes in the ground, this group has taken up residence under our concrete back stoop.

And the benefits have been amazing!

·         A bumper tomato crop

·         We haven’t seen a single wasp or yellow jacket all season – even by the pool

·         They’re eminently curious creatures who like to check you out

·         They’re a pleasant diversion while you’re grilling chicken

The disadvantages? I can’t think of a single one.


Sure! I’ve had three or four of ‘em inspect me at the same time, but they quickly determine I’m not a predator and simply go about their pollination business. Despite regularly standing on the stoop directly above them, I’ve never come close to being stung. They’ll buzz the dogs on occasion, but they generally leave them alone, too.

So, to all you Elgin nervous nellies who are unduly terrified at the prospect of residential beekeeping, I say you don’t know what you’re missing. No wasps or yellow jackets! The only bad thing about our backyard tenants is their hives last only two or three months.

They’re certainly a vast improvement over the majority of my human neighbors.


It’s time to change our attitude on mental health care

It’s something Larry Jones and I said for years on the radio show.

This morning, at around 7:30, a Geneva High School student climbed onto a cafeteria table, doused himself with gasoline from a water bottle and threatened to set himself on fire.

There are two versions of this story. Thanks to some quick thinking by nearby staff and students, the student was either subdued before he could immolate himself, or he was talked out of going through with it. He’s currently being cared for at Del Nor Hospital, the Geneva Fire Department hazmat team took care of the gasoline and, per the current policy, the school went on a soft lockdown until everything was well in hand.


I cannot confirm this, but a source told me this student may have become despondent over the death of his friend, a 2017 GHS graduate who perished in an automobile accident at 4 a.m., the morning after Friday’s homecoming game.

But here’s the thing. While Geneva High School is home to some of the best counselors I’ve ever encountered anywhere, there is a massive stigma attached to any male student who seeks out their services.

That has got to change and it starts with our attitude as parents. Please encourage your children to talk to you on a regular basis and let them know they can talk about anything without fear of ridicule or unduly harsh consequences.

No one should ever have get to this emotional point before they get help.

Meanwhile, let’s applaud all those alert GHS folks who prevented a real tragedy.


7 thoughts on “Quick Hits – September 18, 2017

  1. awesome article. I took down my For Campana argument when the “good people” began taking it over. I wish that others who feel like us were not afraid to put their opinion on the post. It became, just me and one other and much too much exposure for the “good christians”

    Also, awesome on mental illness and the stigma. It is unfortunate.

  2. Why the blanket judgment, Jeff?

    IL GOP party leaders suck. I agree. They’re incompetent and petty. That means all “Republicans suck?”

    I’m a Republican who has voted for Lisa Madigan. You see, her father has destroyed IL., even my D friends agree. But I don’t hold that against her just because she is a D or a Madigan. It’s called judging people by their actions, not their last name or political party.

    I don’t have a position on Campana but I find those yard signs offensive. Can’t there be a civil debate w/o one side suggesting those who disagree with them are heartless? It’s a passive aggressive personal attack which is shallow and mean. Those who can’t stick to the issues often lack a strong case.

    Ditto what you wrote about GHS. Love to the student and quick responders.💙

    • Kate,

      Because when it comes to both Illinois Republicans and Democrats, blanket judgements are entirely appropriate.

      As far as Campana and the signs go, you better than anyone know that I love holding Christians’ feet to the fire. Though I certainly didn’t set that lofty standard, I’m more than happy to remind my neighbors of it.


      • But your original piece criticized Republicans for not being nice to Lisa Madigan even though she’s a reasonable, Democrat and competent leader.

        Then you did the same in the reverse -attacking ALL Republicans. Now, you say it’s acceptable to do with IL Rs and Ds.

        It seems it’s only okay for one group and not the other. I’m not defending GOP statement. It was stupid. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

        Yes, many – not all – Christians are judgmental, intolerant, and claim moral superiority. But many ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ have taken that hypocrisy to a new level.

      • And thus, the intended irony. What! Jeff Ward use hyperbole? That never happens!

  3. Beyond the stigma, there really isn’t much available for the treatment of young adult mental illness in the area. I was once told that most initial-onset mental illness episodes occur late teens/early adulthood. Also males have a higher prevalence of certain classes of mental illness which tend to lean towards more violent and/or public displays versus females who have a higher rate of depression and anxiety, but generally express their mental health issues through self harm.

    Take a look around all of the suburbs and there is a huge gap in psychiatric services geared towards that age group. And considering the school shooting in Mattoon by a male student this week, it’s clearly not unique to our area.

    Majority of the hospitals throughout the state have basic adult units and many even have geriatric specific units. A few of the psychiatric hospitals have peds units. But where do these young adults really fit? I don’t think a 16/17 year old would really belong on a behavioral health unit or in a group counseling session with an 11 year old. And at the same time a 16/17 year old impressionable and scared first-timer doesn’t belong with a 45 year old who isn’t attending his first rodeo.

    I really don’t see Kane County being very sympathetic to the issue since we had the whole NIMBY uproar against the high-end substance abuse residential treatment center proposal. Let’s be real: the ambulance usage was more of a scapegoat than a real safety concern. Any health care facility worth it’s salt with accredited would be well prepared with what they need to treat their clientele. Maybe now that it was in our backyard and on Facebook, the NIMBYs won’t feel so far removed from the mental health crisis. But knowing the area, in a few weeks most will put their head back in the sand and act like we aren’t failing our neighbors and our vulnerable kids with the lack of qualified psychiatric professionals (and no I’m not talking about LCSWs; there are plenty at that care level available).

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