Quick Hits – November 3, 2017

Stupid is as stupid does!

So suddenly DNAinfo is no more, and the moral of that story is, a bunch of overly entitled, smug, shortsighted and vainglorious (look it up!) journalists are no match for Joe Ricketts. Perhaps they shouldn’t have called his “bluff!”

For the uninitiated, DNAinfo was a hyperlocal news experiment founded in 2009 by billionaire Ricketts, the Cubs family patriarch, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Though I think it was a bad business model, they took a no-nonsense approach to local reporting by eschewing opinion, editorials, taking sides on issues, and political endorsements.DNABut make no mistake, the bottom line was (pun intended), the only reason this enterprise existed is because Joe Ricketts underwrote the whole thing. With Net ads bringing in less than 10 percent of their print counterparts, DNAinfo never came close to breaking even, much less making a profit.

Just like Illinois unions fervently felt they couldn’t let the Sun-Times die, Ricketts believed a truly independent news organization was critical to the municipal Democratic process. And he paid his people far more than they would’ve made at any newspaper.

But despite a clear understanding of this business dynamic, last April, the 27 blitheringly oblivious journalists in the New York office decided to bite the hand that fed them by joining the Writer’s Guild, an obsolete union if there ever was one.

When Ricketts made his displeasure abundantly clear by refusing to negotiate with the union, failing to consider that fencepost over the head hint, those chutzpah addled New Yorkers turned to the National Labor Relations Board who forced a formal vote. And when 25 of ‘em went all Norma Rae on him, the unamused Ricketts shut the whole thing down the following week.

And 115 journalists lost the kind of jobs that they’ll never see again because they don’t exist anymore.

Then, in a scene right out of a Monty Python movie, those suddenly former DNAinfo employees had the nerve to basically tweet “I can’t believe this happened,” which is more than ironic when you consider that journalists are supposed to have the capacity to understand cause and effect.

Of course, all the insipid anonymous commenters are calling out Ricketts for what they call a “dick move.” Really? I’m certainly no fan of the Rickett’s family brand of conservatism, but if the employees I’m paying out of my own pocket offered me that not so subtle fuck you, I’d send ‘em packing too!

I don’t think “hoist by their own petard” is nearly a strong enough sentiment here.


He had a bad day?

If you recall, Dominic Castelvechhi the adult member of the trio that firebombed my pickup truck in my driveway at 3 a.m. on an April 2016 Saturday morning, just got 15 days. The moral there is, when considering potential sentences, you’re far better off going on an arson spree than selling small amounts of pot.

After that absurd sentencing, his attorney, a real piece of work, said, “He’s not a bad kid. He had a bad event.” A “bad event?” A flat tire is a “bad event!” Throwing Molotov cocktails at two residences is a a bit more than a “bad event.” A black or Hispanic offender would’ve gotten at least two years.

castelvecchi mugshot

Castelvecchi’s lawyer delayed the proceedings for over a year-and-a-half so this worthless piece of bleep could get just sober enough to enroll in community college and get a minimum wage job. Then Judge David Kliment, not the brightest bulb in the 16th circuit pack, fell for it.

Ah! But as a result of that sentencing, a number of former classmates and friends reached out to explain the real Dominic Castelvecchi.

According to a former middle and Geneva High School classmate, “Dominic was one of the students that everyone knew did drugs.” Her theory is borne out by the fact that Castelvecchi was already serving supervision for drug paraphernalia in his locker when he assembled those Molotov cocktails.

They went on to say that Castelvechhi was frequently suspended for drug use, drinking and assaulting other students, going all the way back to seventh grade.

Another former classmate said, “I would frequently see him grabbing girls’ butts in the hallways, followed by them looking scared and quickly escaping with their friends.” Apparently he’d call them prostitutes in the process. The source added that those young women were so scared of Castelvechhi, they wouldn’t seek help from Geneva High School administrators.

But none of that came into play during his sentencing because a prosecutor told me that most judges won’t consider a juvenile record when faced with a first adult offense. It’s kind like shaking a virtual Etch-a-Sketch. Those youthful incidents are magically mitigated by sheer virtue of turning 18.

I’m gonna keep on saying it! There’s no justice in Kane County. So let’s see what the civil courts can do. I promise I’ll keep you posted.



Quick Hits – McMahon ain’t running for Attorney General

“McMahon won’t challenge [Erika] Harold in GOP AG primary,” the Capitol Fax headline blared. My first thought was, “Tell us something we don’t know, Rich Miller!” Beating Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon wouldn’t be much of a challenge for any candidate.

His press release also begs the question, do you really have to announce that you’re not running for something you weren’t really running for, and you never had a shot at to begin with? I suppose I could distribute a press release pointing out that I won’t be competing for the Cubs’ centerfield spot in 2018, but what’s the point?


So, here’s how I’m guessing the conversation between Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon and Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider must’ve gone:

Tim: What the hell are you doing?

Joe: Whaddaya mean what the hell am I doing?

Tim: For the first time in 50 years, we field a decent minority statewide candidate and you’re screwing it up.

Joe: How am I screwing it up?

Tim: The Illinois GOP already has more than their share of old, bald white guys, Joe. Ah! But as a black female candidate, Ms. Harold counts as ten minorities. It’s kinda like dog years when it’s applied to the Republican Party. If only she were gay and handicapped! We wouldn’t have to embrace another minority candidate for at least 20 years.

Joe: Don’t say “embrace,” Tim. It’s that whole Springfield sexual harassment thing.

Tim: (rolls his eyes) Thanks for the free legal advice, Joe.

Joe: But Erika has no chance of beating the Democratic Machine.

Tim: Of course she doesn’t. C’mon! We don’t really want to get a black woman elected. She’s simply a sacrificial minority lamb who makes the rest of us look good for supporting her. But we wouldn’t want that getting out now, would we? The plan is for all the Republican bigwigs to celebrate Kwanzaa at her house and then we cut her loose right after January first.

Joe: But I could win Tim! Really! I could! Joe Lulves and Joe Cullen told me so!

Tim: No you can’t! And they work for you Joe. What the hell do you think they’re gonna say? You suck? You’re gonna have a tough enough time getting reelected in Kane County.

Joe: But the countywide elected officials and the chairman seemed so excited about my candidacy.

Tim: That’s only because they want to get rid of you, Joe.

Joe: Oh.

Tim: So are you going to get with the program and get behind Ms. Harold, or do we have to put you on the Governor’s shit list? If you insist upon running for Attorney General this time, you’ll get no party support now or in the future.

Joe: Well, since you put it that way, I guess I have no choice. But the Party will help me get reelected in 2020, right?

Tim: (Fingers crossed behind his back) Of course we will Joe! Despite your vast political naivete and the worst case of electoral tone deafness we’ve ever seen, you’re our man!

I won’t bore you with the entire thing, especially all the grammar and punctuation errors (yikes!), but McMahon concluded his I’m-not-running press release with this:

I have an incredible job; one that I am thankful for and I intend to fulfill my commitment to the people of Kane County and the People of the State of Illinois as state’s attorney for Kane County.

Why start now, Joe?

Quick Hits November 1, 2017

Halloween sucks!

As I’m wont to do, I was waxing poetic about all the shit that annoys me on Facebook yesterday, when my satirical sister-in-crime, Mona McCranky, asked me why I hate Halloween with such a flippin’ ferocity. I suppose a simple, “What’s not to hate?” would’ve sufficed, but since brevity has never been my bailiwick, a more thorough explanation is required.


You see, I’m not terribly fond of people ringing my doorbell to begin with, so it’s beyond horrifying to have to repeatedly answer the door just to give those ill-mannered disguised neighborhood progeny free candy, which only serves to hype them up more so their incapable of parenting parents can thrust them back upon the rest of us the next day.

That’s the real horror story here! How can Jason or Freddy possibly compare to that?

For all the goddam money I put into the school district and dole out to children selling all sorts of shit at my front door – I shouldn’t have to dole out free candy – they should be bringing me free liquor.

That would make Halloween much more palatable.

On the bright side, we had only one group of teenagers who clearly needed a shave, especially the young women. New rule! Trick-or-treating ends the second you walk through that middle school doorway.

Of course, the remaining idiot high schoolers, who aren’t anything to write home about on their best day, take Halloween as a license to behave more badly than they already do.

Not to mention all those south Fisher Farms parents, who can’t walk a scant block without a bottle of beer in their hand. And they don’t need any help ignoring their children as it is.

Speaking of costumes, though last night’s near-freezing temperatures put a damper on it, it’s so much fun to watch all those “me too” moms dress their middle school daughters like hookers. Sexy nurses, sexy devils, sexy policewomen and sexy gynecologists, because that’s the message you really want to send the boys and young girls everywhere.

Then there’s the neighborhood trend towards graphic scenes of dismemberment and other “humorous” mayhem. Considering what my neighbors already think of me, they probably shouldn’t be giving me ideas.

But worst of all, people invite you to parties, which, in and of themselves, are far more terrifying than anything we’ve already covered. I barely want to get dressed in the morning, much less have to put on some sort of costume only to be forced do deal with my adult neighbors who inexplicably, don’t get any more interesting when they’re drunk.

Though, I will say, my wife and I truly enjoyed watching all the neighbors skip our house last night.  Apparently they didn’t get the memo about what a great guy I really am!

Put more simply, once again, adults have co-opted yet another children’s holiday and they sucked all of the innocent fun out of it. Thank God it’s over for another year.


You can’t turn Hendrix down!

So, the body parts they found along the lakefront and in the Lincoln Park lagoon, indeed, turned out to be our missing Elgin woman.


Apparently, fed up with his mother’s insistence on a quieter Jimi Hendrix experience, the son decided that homicide was the only option. It was an eminently unreasonable request – the statute clearly states that ‘Foxy Lady’ must be played at maximum volume at all times – but I might’ve resorted to headphones before considering murder and dismemberment.

It would’ve been a close call.

Perhaps all those graphic neighborhood Halloween displays made him think it was alright.


The Daily Herald downsizes

Despite the fact they’re profitable and they fail to report any real news as it is, according to media blogger and occasional Daily Herald columnist, Rob Feder, Paddock Publications is offering buyouts to DH staffers in all departments.

Why, they’re going as far as threatening to give them a week’s severance for every year of employment plus three months of medical coverage. Be still my beating heart! If no volunteers come forward, and none will for that paltry payout, Paddock will resort to layoffs which does wonders for company morale.

So basically, this is downsizing under the guise of giving folks an option that really isn’t an option.

daily herald

“We’re trying to get ahead of the curve here, and we need some breathing room to execute on the strategy to grow the business in new and different ways,” said Doug Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of the Daily Herald Media Group.

Why start now, Doug?

We’ve already covered those impending “strategies,” which include running stories about nothing and printing columns informing us they won’t be writing about what they were writing about.

They are novel strategies, I will give them that.

So, since the DH and TheFirstWard.net have reached a new level of détente, and given my generally magnanimous comportment, I’m willing to provide a list of who should take those buyouts in the order they should take them. So, here goes:

1. Harry Hitzeman – (It would be cheaper to pay him off by the IQ point)

2. Jim Fuller – (He doesn’t even get it right twice a day)

3. Mike Smith – (He lets Jim Fuller get away with all that stupid shit)

4. Jim Baumann – (The guy who writes about writing should really be able to write)

5. Elena Ferarrin – (She can’t even get restaurant names right)

6. John Lampinen – (The inept bosses should go first)

7. Jim Slusher – (See the above comment)

8. Madhu Krishnamurthy – (She never met a run-on sentence she didn’t like)

9. Kerry Lester – (It’s the IQ thing again)

10. Justin Kmitch – (Because that’s a silly last name)

11. All the rest are tied.

And people have the nerve to say I’m not a nice guy.