Quick Hits – Going back to MWF!

With the ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election’ cover in the bag (thank you Erin Tyler), my business coach, Brian Basilico, and I suddenly have quite a bit of marketing work ahead of us to ensure that late October release. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with this newly developing forward momentum because it feels like I’ve been pregnant for three long years.

Book Cover

Meanwhile, the dog days of August not only affect our moods, but the news cycle, too. You know things are slow when the current Beacon-News headline is “City to start water main work.”

That paper just loves to be the cure for insomnia!

So, Quick Hits will drop back to its previous Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule for now, but I’m sure the impending midterms will eventually require a little more effort.

What that means is, we’ll be back tomorrow with an analysis of how the Kane County Republican Party chose 33rd District State Senator Karen McConnaughay’s replacement. All I can say is, pray for the local GOP!

Quick Hits – July 30, 2018

It ain’t always nefarious, John!

Though he can certainly write, a compliment I rarely bestow on anyone, I’ve tried to tell former Elgin City Councilman John Prigge that if he accuses his former peers of a nefarious scheme every bleepin’ time he covers them, people will stop paying attention.

Insistent negativity eventually becomes just more political white noise.

I may not be a big fan of my hometown, but Geneva schools are reasonable, a plurality of the residents actually seem to “get it,” and despite a police department that couldn’t catch a cold, you generally don’t have to barricade yourself inside your house to foil the criminals.

But I digress!

So, I winced a bit when our former city councilman accused Elgin’s St. Joseph’s Church of “breaking their word” after opting out of a deal to buy two dormant City parking lots.

St. Joseph Church

I know John was opposed to this kind of connected contingency deal from the get-go, but that truly seemed like it was the only option.

St. Joe’s, the only interested party, signed a deal to purchase those lots, if and only if, they met certain church expansion fundraising goals. One of those targets was to have $2.25 of the $3 million total project price in place by July 1. But with only $617,000 in hand, church leaders did the right thing by pulling the plug on the parking lot deal.

That doesn’t mean St. Joe’s and the City can’t work something out going forward, and considering how rapidly that parish is growing, I certainly hope they do. But “breaking their word?” I don’t think so.

That’s why it was a contingency deal to begin with.

As Larry Jones and I pointed out on our former radio show, whether it’s another useless TIF district or marginal properties like these, if the market would bear a specific kind of development or a tidy sale to a developer, it would’ve already happened.

So, John! I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from here, and my challenge is for you to cover something that puts Elgin and its City Council in a positive light in your next exposition.

I wonder if you can do it!


Hey guys! Boobs aren’t just for ogling!

I know it’s hard to believe, but they actually do have a function beyond becoming Internet entertainment.

To set the story stage, I’m always amazed when, in the process of a high-profile jury selection, they always manage to find folks who never pay attention to the news. Given our frightening 24/7 news cycle, it’s hard to believe some folks summarily ignore it.

Aren’t those exactly the kind of citizens you really don’t want serving on a jury?

But apparently these creatures do exist because, despite a slew of news stories on angry women protesting security guard’s and management’s attempts to stop them from breastfeeding, it keeps on happening.

Breastfeeding protest

The latest incident occurred at Aurora’s Fox Valley Mall. When a Build-a-Bear promotion gone wrong added up to four-hour lines, a couple of moms had no choice but to discretely feed their infants. Though none of the customers cared, an errant security guard rudely insisted the women take it to a more private location.

His first problem is that Illinois law expressly forbids anyone from interfering with a publicly breastfeeding mom for any reason. And sure enough! Given our guard’s failure to consider history, about 50 irate breastfeeding moms descended upon the Mall in a Saturday, July 14, protest to make their point.

There were no incidents that day.

To be fair, mall management released the following statement:

“We have always allowed breastfeeding at our shopping center, and fully support the right for a mother to breastfeed wherever she may choose, including the common areas of the property. The actions of a few have impacted many and are not indicative of Fox Valley Mall as a whole. We have apologized to the mother and will continue to support these rights.”

But it baffles me that this kind of thing continues to happen. You’d think it would be on the second page of the security guard training or business owner manual, “Don’t mess with breastfeeding moms, because hell hath no fury like one of them scorned!”


Larry and I told you so!

Back in February of 2016, the great Larry Jones and I told you all that, despite the massive shrieking and rending of garments, Maxxam Partners’ proposed Campton Hills rehab center would become a reality. And if the County Board insisted on putting up suspect road blocks, the fine citizens of Kane County would be on the lawsuit hook for underwriting that project as well.

And that’s exactly what just happened.

Put more simply, the rehab center will be occupying the former Glenwood School building and a seven-figure settlement will be the icing on the developer’s cake. The second the Kane County Zoning Board of Appeals referred to these impending addicts as “animals that should be locked up,” the legal die was cast. You see, the federal government takes a very dim view of government entities that don’t take the American’s With Disabilities Act seriously.

Glenwood 3

Some board members are questioning State’s Attorney Joe McMahon’s lack of lawsuit fighting mettle (he does have a propensity to settle these things) as the reason for this turn of events, but even though I need to apply a little more due diligence here, given the players involved, I firmly believe this outcome was inevitable.

Just like it was with the new County jail that I can see from my house, within three months of accepting their first client, no one will remember the facility it exists. You know I love my Campton Hillians, but they’ve really gotten unnecessarily nutty over this prospect.

To me, it once again, boils down to a least of our brothers kind of thing. With a completely out-of-hand heroin and meth epidemic spanning all demographics, we need more rehab options, not less.

Quick Hits will return on Monday

Due to:

  • Working with my publisher on ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election’ (late October release)
  • Starting my second book, ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to the Universe’
  • And the fact I’ve been writing up a storm

Quick Hits will be back on Monday. Meanwhile, since I’m turning 60 in one short month, this video should carry you through till then:

Have a good weekend everyone!

Quick Hits – Stop subverting our school boards!

I generally wince whenever I tackle this topic because, while liberals have no ideas and couldn’t execute them if they did, conservatives consistently come up with bad ideas they gleefully thrust upon the rest of us.

And the last thing I want to do is give our rightwing brethren another bad idea.

But my five-year-fear that scheming Tea Baggers were going to start infiltrating our local school boards seems somewhat unfounded. Sure! The occasional ideologue can slip through as the U-46 School Board certainly discovered, but it doesn’t appear to be a trend.

Neither former liberal board member, Traci Ellis, nor batshit crazy current conservative board member, Jeanette Ward, could give a rat’s patootie about the children because it’s always been all about them and their stilted ideological agendas.

Thankfully, Ellis is fading into history’s dustbin and Ward won’t survive the 2019 consolidated election.

But just when you think you’ve finally dodged a political bullet, as is almost always the case these days, an even less appealing alternative rears its ugly head. The combination of a lack of interest in running for a school board seat and perennial candidates who can’t win any other election may be even worse.

Considering that school boards deal with our two most precious commodities, children and cash, they’re already a contentious proposition. But when you add higher office wannabees who insist on making regular partisan political proclamations, the students they purport to serve become nothing more than an afterthought.

Take the East Aurora D131 school board.

East Aurora

Despite the vast challenges facing that heavily minority district, a recent board meeting devolved into a rather acrimonious immigration debate between board member John Laesch and President Annette Johnson.

Laesch, who’s run for everything but homeowner’s association board, wanted to declare D131 an immigration “safe zone,” while Johnson contended it was a “symbolic gesture” that was a complete waste of the board’s time.

And Johnson is right.

Not only does the Illinois Trust Act prohibit any law enforcement agency from detaining anyone based solely on their immigration status, but Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has made it abundantly clear that every citizen of the City of Lights will enjoy all the protections that local and state law afford them.

Of course, when he didn’t get his way, the debate descended into Laesch accusing Johnson of opposing all of his initiatives while he insisted that “we have to take a stand.”

No! You don’t!

The only stand an East Aurora board member ever has to make is on what’s best for a very challenging student body. And immigration safe zones are clearly at the bottom of the list. It’s hard enough serving as a school board member as it is, but when that dialogue is co-opted by ideologues on either side, it becomes exponentially more difficult to do the job.

The problem is, short of encouraging more regular folks to run for school board, the very definition of a Herculean task, I don’t see a simple solution to this perennial-candidate-settling-for-a-school-board-seat phenomenon.

Who wouldn’t want to serve on a school board when you get to regularly enjoy:

  • A time-consuming and unpaid gig
  • A thankless position with plenty of criticism and no compliments
  • Angry parents who think their little darlings do no wrong
  • Angry senior citizens who believe they shouldn’t have to pay for schools
  • A state that loves to come up with unfunded mandates
  • Teacher contract negotiations
  • The fact that it’s not a stepping stone to any other elected office

Short of threatening people into running, our best choice would appear to be imploring school board members everywhere to remember that it’s always about the kids and never about partisan politics.

Since that’s not likely to work – you can never convince an ideologue that they’re an ideologue – perhaps it’s time to adopt the CPS methodology where school board members are appointed and not elected.

I know these kinds of political appointments are generally fraught with patronage peril. But since there’s absolutely no benefit to serving on school board, other than the thrill of public service, it just might work. And we might start attracting the kind of talent that, but for running a campaign, would be happy to lend their expertise and serve.

Considering what’s going on now, it’s something that’s certainly worth considering.

Quick Hits – July 25, 2018

One more thing…

Since I’ve kinda been getting long-winded lately (shut up!), I decided to cut yesterday’s Quick Hits a bit short. But given today’s fresh start, I want to mention that, not only did Democratic 14th Congressional District hopeful, Lauren Underwood, prominently post a reasonable picture of her incumbent opponent on social media, but her messaging was excruciatingly poor, too!

Hultgren Underwood

Because if you want to attract swing voters in a heavily white Republican district, the best way to do that is to publicly embrace Planned Parenthood. They’re not controversial at all!

Planned Parenthood may do an amazing job of helping women and abortions account for just 3 percent of their budget, but conservatives have successfully made an issue out of them. Since liberals can’t message their way out of a wet paper bag, it’s a campaign reality that must be considered.

I’m not saying Underwood should sell her soul to get elected, but how difficult would it be to avoid the whole PP thing until after November 6. Imagine all the good she can do on their behalf once elected! Not that that’s ever gonna happen.


You are NOT the resistance!

The next time I see one of you bleepin’ motherfuckers use the word “resist” or “resistance” as a political statement, I’ll finally give the Geneva Police a real reason to arrest me. And yes! I used that fascinating word because nothing else works here.

It’s awfully difficult to get through to you liberals these days.

You’re not the resistance. There is no occupying power. No one’s being taken out back and shot for speaking their mind. And despite what some of y’all think, Donald Trump ain’t exactly Adolph Hitler.

A Muslim travel ban hardly equates to the slaughter of six million Jews.

But if you insist on “resisting,” which generally comes in the form of useless Facebook memes –  here are some things progressives might want to resist:

1. Horrific candidates like Hillary Clinton

She’s the only candidate on this vast rocky sphere who could’ve lost to the likes of Donald Trump. And don’t give me any of this “she was unduly smeared by conservatives” bullshit, either. They would’ve done the same thing to any Democrat, but Joe Biden would’ve shoved it right back in their collective faces.

Clinton was cold, unlikeable, overly entitled, she couldn’t connect with voters, her message sucked, and despite a complete understanding of the Electoral College, she ignored that reality completely.

So, deal with it! Hillary Clinton wasn’t assassinated! She lost because she was a terrible candidate who ignored her working-class base. Say what you will about Trump, but his “message” clearly resonated with those blue-collar folks.

2. Carpet bagging opportunists like Bernie Sanders

No man did more to get Donald Trump elected than Bernie Sanders!

He isn’t and has never been a Democrat. He disingenuously abandoned his Independent roots to run as a Dem because he knew couldn’t win otherwise. And that my friends, is selling your soul to get elected.

So, of course, the party tried to undermine him, because, for better or worse, political parties are built upon a favor driven dynamic that generally works pretty well. If I help you knock on doors, then I expect you to do the same for me.

And that’s the way it is from the lowest Second City precinct committeeman all the way on up to presidential contenders. But Bernie just waltzed in and expected to be anointed king, and it doesn’t work that way.

Trust me, that’s a good thing. If Republicans had any control over their own party, Donald Trump would already be an afterthought.

3. Overly entitled millennials

The fastest way to electoral defeat is to base your campaign strategy on getting voters to do something they’ve never done before.

Take Hispanic voters, which is an utter oxymoron because they don’t vote! State Rep Linda Chapa LaVia certainly ain’t the mayor of Aurora, is she? That’s because Hispanic voters couldn’t be bothered to go to a polling place in the rain.

Sanders managed to pull off the almost impossible by getting millennials to vote in the primary, but when those spoiled brats didn’t immediately get their way, those-overly entitled delicate flowers took their vote and went home.

That’s what happens when parents tell their children they’re “special” once too often. So much for understanding the Zen notion of two steps forward and one step back.

And if anyone thinks millennials are going to come out for the 2018 Illinois midterms – with two bizarre billionaires vying for governor – in the words of those great philosophers Judas Priest, “you’ve got another thing coming.”

All I can say is, I hope the next asteroid strike comes sooner rather than later.


All this insipid “resistance” bullshit does is fire up Trump’s base and send swing voters into the conservative camp, or make them stay home on election day. It may work with the choir, but the choir’s already gonna vote Democratic!

Here’s a perfect local example of what really frosts my flakes. This is the Kane County Democratic Women of Illinois’ social media photo:

The Resistance

Yes! Nothing says revolution like a bunch of middle-aged women standing with their fists pumped dressed in their Ann Taylor business suits. Why, I haven’t been this fired up since Vanilla Ice sang ‘Fight the Power.’

Please let me clearly stipulate that I know some of the women in that photograph and I like them (especially one of ‘em), but if I was KC GOP Chairman Ken Shepro, Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell, and Treasurer Dave Rickert, some of the most capable campaigners in the Collar Counties, here’s what I’d do.

I’d take that photograph and plaster it all over social media – perhaps even put it on a mailer – with the caption, “These are your Kane County Democrats.” Then I’d casually mention the irony that every single person in that photograph is white.

And all of those moderate or leaning Republicans, the voters Democrats desperately need to win in red Kane County, will shake their heads and vote the status quo. It would be an incredibly effective messaging strategy.

Unless I’m wrong about the demise of the Blue Wave (and I wouldn’t bet against me), as it stands right now, with the exception of county board members and state reps in Democratic districts, no Kane County Democrat will prevail in November.

So, if you progressives (and remember, I’m one of you) don’t want to have to endure another four years of Donald Trump, my suggestion would be this. As you stare intently into the bathroom mirror, write “resist” on it in red lipstick. Then proceed to do just that!


Quick Hits – You can’t handle the truth!

There’s a Facebook meme going around that thanks those journalists who have the nerve to tell the truth, and it concludes with “We need you more than ever!”

Yeah, Right!

With certain rare exception, none of y’all want to hear the truth! You want to hear your “truth.” More specifically, you want someone to confirm your world view by telling you exactly what you want to hear. If telling the truth was the key to the journalistic kingdom, I’d be the most popular columnist on the planet. But instead, I get besieged by stupid people, the occasional death threat, and a former incompetent columnist who’s thoroughly obsessed with me.

Since there’s no point in further bitching, let’s move on!

And the best “you can’t handle the journalistic truth” example is any campaigning candidate. Because the second we dare to question their strategy; A: They go nuts; B: Their followers go nuts; or C: All of the above.

“But Jeff! Do you always have to be the rabble rouser? If your intercession upsets them so, why bother critiquing candidates?”

First, I gotta be me. And second, though there’s certainly merit to that question, it’s a great test. If a candidate can’t handle a simple campaign criticism, one can only imagine the problems they’ll encounter if they do manage to get elected.

Have any of you ever been to overflow board or city council meeting? Journalists ain’t nuthin’ compared to a mob of angry constituents.

Ah! But on the other hand, if the candidate adjusts, or they come back with questions, that shows a capacity to roll with those inevitable political punches, which bodes very well for the future.

C’mon! If a candidate can’t run a competent campaign, what on God’s green earth makes anyone think they’ll be able to effectively govern? So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of current campaign cases that have me banging my head against the wall.


Don’t ever mention your opponent by name!

Though this is one of the cardinal rules of campaigning, most candidates completely ignore it.  But on a reasonably level electoral playing field, the candidate who creates the most voter impressions tends to prevail. So, why would you want to give your opponent any free advertising?

Here’s a perfect example of what I speak:

Underwood Hultgren

Not only does 14th Congressional District Democratic contender Lauren Underwood mention incumbent Randy Hultgren by name, but she posts a reasonably flattering picture of him, too. This is complete and utter campaign insanity, especially when you consider that most Facebookers aren’t even going to bother to read the fine print.

They’ll simply skim down the page thinking, “Oh! What a nice picture of Congressman Hultgren.”  I gotta tell ya, there’s nothing quite like getting your opponent to campaign for you!

If you’re going to do this kind of thing, which I’d never recommend, be smart enough to post a picture that makes your opponent look really bad.

Though going negative can work in a congressional campaign, it generally falls flat when you’re in the district minority party as Underwood is. Again, you have to appeal to those coveted swing voters to pull off an upset and negativity tends to make those voters stay home.

If Underwood prevails in November, it will be by sheer luck because she’s running one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen.


Appearances matter

A consistent theme in my impending ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election” book (late October release) is those generally lazy voters are always looking for an easy reason to dismiss you. They don’t want to perform any kind of due diligence! Once again, on a level pitch, they’ll vote for the hopeful with whom they’d most like to have a beer.

But when I recently chimed in on Elgin’s 43rd District State Rep race, the Republican candidate’s wife tore into me like a hyena on a wounded wildebeest. The major bone of contention was the candidate’s disheveled and unkempt appearance while marching in Elgin’s Fourth of July parade.

And this is such a simple one, too folks!

Warm weather political parade attire consists of a polo shirt with the candidate’s name emblazoned on it, a pair of casual dress slacks, and black sneakers that look like real shoes. Put more simply, dress a level above the rabble.

Marching in an untucked plaid short sleeve button-down shirt that looks like it’s two sizes too small, shorts, and ratty old running shoes ain’t gonna cut it.

“But Jeff! Aren’t you kind of nitpicking?” No! Think about it!

This candidate is running against incumbent Anna Moeller who’s not only a savvy campaigner, but she presents very well. To add insult to injury, the 43rd district is at least 60 percent Democrat and Ms. Moeller has the entire weight of the Madigan ground game behind her.

That means her Republican opponent has absolutely no margin for error. And if you can’t get something as simple as your parade appearance right, then why are you wasting the voters’ time?

I will be very surprised if this candidate gets 33 percent of the November vote.


Look, I’m not trying to browbeat these eager folks into submission, but as anyone who’s ever done it will attest, a political campaign is beyond hard work. So, it greatly pains me to see someone who’s willing to make the effort fall completely flat because their ego won’t allow them to see the truth, and they can’t get the simplest things right.

Quick Hits – The prodigious ignoration of white progressives is stupefying

What I really wanted to say is “white liberals suck,” but I’ve been using the “S” word so much lately it’s gonna start losing its punch. Uncharacteristically seeking the high road, I thought it would be better to go with “prodigious,” “ignoration.” and “stupefying” instead.

But truth be told, those three words don’t nearly capture the imagination like that four-letter word does. And let’s not forget that I am a liberal.

Moving on!

The bottom line is, I’ve had it with you white people. If you’re not doing your damndest to embarrass the entire race, your capacity to make a situation so much worse than it needs to be is beyond the pale. Some of my best friends may be Caucasian, but y’all look alike, you can’t dance, and you destroy everything you lay your hands on.

From now on, if I see one of you coming at me, I’m crossing the street, and I’m calling the police if you people have the nerve barbecue, go to a public pool, deliver a newspaper, or open your own store.

Here’s why:


Sensitivity training? Really?

This is the best example of why I’m a man without a country. While conservatives have generally descended into a brackish abyss of hypocritical and narcissistic bigotry, liberals, whom I hold to a higher standard, have become so outrage-prone their rising intolerance is beginning to make the Tea Party look like pikers.

To wit, Major League Baseball just sentenced Milwaukee Brewers’ left-handed relief ace, Josh Hader, to sensitivity training for issuing some racist and homophobic tweets at the ripe old age of seventeen. For those who are counting, that’s seven long years ago.


To that end, I’d encourage my peers to join me in a moment of silence for the good fortune that, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, social media consisted of one shared land line that was prone to busy signals.

Because if all the shit we said as high school juniors ever came to light, sensitivity training would be the least of our worries.

As I once said to a local politician who asked me if he should start Tweeting, “What could possibly go wrong with sharing your thoughts in a mere 140 characters just seconds after they’ve been formulated?”

To his credit, Hader took full responsibility for those hideous tweets explaining, “I regret the mistakes I made in the past. That doesn’t resemble the person I am now. Those are not my beliefs at all. They were never my beliefs. I hurt people by those tweets, and that hurts me deeply.’’

C’mon! The survival of our species completely depends upon homo sapiens somehow surviving those turbulent teenage years to evolve into something a bit more reasonable – Donald Trump being the exception, of course.

So, why would anyone ever hold anyone accountable for some stupid shit they said at the age of seventeen? But leave it to liberals to do just that. NBC said Hader deserved to be punished, USA Today wrote “Hader faces long journey to redemption,” and the white, progressive blogosphere nearly spontaneously combusted.

Though it was a bit disconcerting to watch an all-white Brewers crowd give Hader a standing ovation in his first home appearance since “the news,” I was relieved to see that some Caucasians had the courage to muster up some badly needed perspective.

Do liberals really think that any kind of sensitivity training will ever make a bigoted leopard change their spots? Who knew it was that simple? Or is it more likely the case that their absurd intolerance over a stupid teenage mistake drives centrists like me into a more conservative corner?

Because that’s exactly what it’s doing.

Old, white, male bigots may be dying out, but progressives’ capacity to undermine and destroy their own movement is timeless!


It’s not a hate crime part two

Sure enough! The day I wrote that Timothy Trybus, 62, the lout who verbally accosted Mia Irizarry for wearing a Puerto Rican flag t-shirt in a Cook County forest preserve shouldn’t be charged with a felony hate crime, he was hit with two of ‘em!

Before we continue, since some of you clearly need remedial reading lessons, I never said he shouldn’t be charged. What I said was the initial misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges perfectly fit the crime.


Ms. Irizarry, indeed, had the right to enjoy her party without being verbally accosted by some drunken boob.

But two felony hate crimes? I don’t care what the overly broad statute states, these kinds of charges should be reserved for cases to which they truly apply. Painted swastikas in Jewish graveyards, vandalism against a gay nightclub, and burning down black churches? Those are hate crimes.

But a drunk old stupid white man who doesn’t even understand that Puerto Rico is part of the United States? No! Because if being drunk and stupid was a felony, there are a lot of ex-girlfriends who could be pressing charges for some fascinating late-night phone calls.

To apply a felony hate crime in this instance is to utterly diminishes the intent and spirit of the law. And anytime we decide to kill a flea with a howitzer to make political points, it almost always backfires.

Does anyone really think Trybus is going to suddenly “wake up” and say, “Thank you for prosecuting me! I clearly see the error of my way. Please forgive me?” Or is the more likely possibility that he becomes even further entrench in his particular brand of bigotry?

Does anyone really think hate crime charges are going to deter the next inebriated white idiot from launching into another intolerant tirade? And isn’t deterrence the backbone of our criminal justice system?

What should’ve become a teachable moment, especially considering Irizarry’s amazing grace and poise in the line of fire, has now descended into the kind of frenzied bloodlust that seems to be the only way that liberals can feel good about themselves these days.

The real question here is, when did progressives decide to become every bit as bad as the diehard Trump supporters they love to loathe?


Ya gotta love the outrage machine!

We’re going long today folks!

By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the viral video of the dastardly old white Cubs fan “stealing” a ball from a minority child.

What you’ll see in that too-short clip is Cubs first base coach Will Venable toss a ball into the stands in the kid’s general direction, the ball rolls under his seat, and the white guy behind him picks it up and hands it to his wife.

Ball Theif

I have to admit I was tempted to pile on, but then I noted that neither the child’s parents, nor the surrounding fans had any words with our purported ball thief. And I’ve seen situations where Wrigley Field erupted in a chorus of boos and “give it back” over a similarly poorly behaving adult.

But that didn’t stop liberals’ heads from spontaneously exploding in a fashion that made that dinosaur killing asteroid strike pale in comparison. Thankfully, ESPN radio host Dave Kaplan, my favorite sports pundit, set the record straight.

Not only did our nefarious Cub fan help the very same child retrieve a foul ball a few innings earlier, but shortly after he took a picture of his wife holding the second ball, he passed it on to another nearby child.

I’d ask liberals if they feel more than a bit silly now, but you can’t shame a group that has no shame.

Quick Hits – July 20, 2018

Once again, I was going to take today off, but, once again, duty calls. I guess we’ll stick with five days a week as long as the book publishing process is going well and the muse continues to be benevolent.


An IYC correction

Because their names sound similar, my Illinois Youth Center – St. Charles sources incorrectly reported that the inmate who attacked the guard during the April riot and the inmate who instigated the most recent attack were one and the same.

That is not the case. It was two different “residents” of that fun facility.

But all that means is there are two individuals who should be prosecuted for aggravated battery and not just one. But we know that won’t happen anytime soon because Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon is far too busy prosecuting the McDonald/Van Dyke case in Cook County to serve the voters who actually elected him.

Sadly, it will take a death at the IYC before someone finally does something about it.


Karen McConnaughay is everything that’s wrong with Illinois politics

Partly because a reader politely asked for a history lesson, and partly because the Daily Herald is disseminating their typically absurd propaganda again, as she strolls off into the political sunset, let’s examine the real legacy of 33rd District State Senator and former Kane County Chairman Karen McConnaughay.

You see, the DH typically doesn’t do glowing 600-word pieces on retiring Collar County politicians, but they made an exception in Ms. McConnaughay’s case, because she regularly bats her eyelashes at and says nice things to those editors and reporters.

But the truth is – and that reporter knows the truth – Karen McConnaughay was one of the most infamous absentee board members in Kane County history. Committee chairman had to force her ass out of bed to get a quorum on many occasions.

McConnaughay 3

The only reason McConnaughay got into politics was she joined (and later took full credit for) STOP (Stop Taking Our Property), a group that shuddered at the notion of the bicycling rabble riding through their Fox Riverfront backyards.

Public service has never been her first concern.

Sensing her malleability, disgraced Speaker Denny Hastert and Kendall County political hack Dallas Ingemunson tabbed her to be their Kane County Board chair lackey. And she faithfully served them for two long terms.

Serving those who elected her has never been her strong point.

Though she’s incredibly talented, her vast insecurities (most elected officials are incredibly insecure) rendered her an imperious, utterly ineffective, and quite vindictive Chairman. She was so paranoid of her own staff that she installed a security system covering Building A hallways that fed directly into her office.

She spent taxpayer money faster than a drunken Kardashians on Fifth Avenue, she never met a tax or fee hike she didn’t like, and, as former Beacon-News reporter Dan Campana demonstrated, she took pay-to-play to an entirely new level.

Cook County ain’t got nuthin’ on her.

When Campana and I started taking her on in the Beacon, McConnaughay responded by going after anyone she believed was behind the bad press. She went after board dissenters with all guns blazing, too. This infuriated the countywide electeds to the point where they hatched a plan to get rid of her.

So, emissaries Treasurer Dave Rickert and County Clerk Jack Cunningham approached then State Senator Chris Lauzen to run against her. They promised political and financial support as well as the prospect of him actually being able to accomplish something. Lauzen was always a Springfield outsider.

When Lauzen accepted their offer, realizing she could not beat him, McConnaughay turned and ran. Though some serious folks consistently deny this, I’ve heard the 33rd State Senate District was constructed just for her.

And she’s hated that job every step of the way because she can’t stand being a lowly downstate minion. She was on the fast track for greater things – Bruce Rauner became quite enamored of her – but when a couple of jealous peers disclosed her close Kane County union connections, McConnaughay’s star suddenly dimmed.

Bruce doesn’t like unions.

Despite her incredible luck, she’s managed to accomplish absolutely nothing during her Springfield tenure. Even old friends like Mike Kenyon and Ellen Nottke have turned on her because she dismissed them the second they became politically irrelevant.

My favorite McConnaughay State Senate story is, upon meeting with a constituent who’d asked for help with an Elgin project, she wasn’t shy about explaining that her assistance required a sizeable campaign contribution. Unscrupulous Kane County Board member Mike Kenyon was at that meeting, and even he couldn’t believe her brazenness.

McConnaughay’s new “job” with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America is just another Ron Gidwitz crony hire, the kind that Ms. McConnaughay has taken advantage of, and offered, throughout her charmed political life. If you’re interested, I’m taking bets on how many days she actually shows up at the “office.”

Put more simply, when she walks away September 3rd, Karen McConnaughay will not be missed.

Had the Daily Herald been covering Chris Lauzen’s retirement, they would’ve gone to great lengths to list every single quibble and controversy they’ve already attached to his name. But because McConnaghay was smart enough to avoid offending their eminently delicate sensibilities, the DH is more than happy to whitewash her corrupt legacy.

Not on my watch!

Quick Hits – The IYC inmates are still running the show

Let’s issue a few caveats before we get into the heart of this piece:

1. I want to apologize to all of the former and current employees who’ve been brave enough to reach out regarding the disaster known as the St. Charles Illinois Youth Center. My plan was to get back to each and every one of you, but the sheer volume of your responses to that original column has made that impossible. Rest assured, I will not let this story go anytime soon.

2. I want to thank Shaw Media for picking up on this one because it clearly requires as many journalistic eyes as possible. I’ve also provided them with the specifics of the incident we’re about to discuss here.

3. Despite submitting dozens of documents, incident reports, and handing over my sources (with their express written consent), I cannot fathom why the Daily Herald refuses to cover the chaos at the IYC. They’ve certainly been more than eager to write about:

  • A $149 Kane County Board reimbursement check
  • The KC Coroner’s office ad nauseum
  • Pointless and unfunny columns on grammar
  • And every accident and police report between Antioch and Alsip

But when a story requires a real effort, they run from it faster than Donald Trump from a Helsinki press conference. The problem is, it’s impossible to embarrass a group of people who have absolutely no shame. Why anyone still gets that paper is beyond me.

Maybe they’ll do the right thing and dig into this latest attack on an IYC guard.


A midnight shift guard was recently passing out blankets around 10 p.m. when the “residents” of one of the “cottages” attacked and injured him to the point where he had to spend the night at Delnor Hospital.

Once incapacitated, the inmates stole his keys and freed their compatriots who now had the run of the facility. Apparently, their plan was to kill a rival inmate in a nearby cottage, but the IYC managed to get them under control before they could pull it off.

Trust me! That was sheer luck.

And who was the inmate that orchestrated this attack? That’s right! It was the same thug who attacked a guard with a mop handle during that April riot necessitating 17 cranial staples.

Injured Guard

Despite sending two guards to the hospital in less than four months, this inmate has faced no consequences of any kind, and IYC administrators refuse to investigate this newest assault because that would mean broadcasting the kind of bad news that might get the whole shebang shut down.

And the inmates know this.

Meanwhile, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, who assured Chairman Chris Lauzen and Shaw Media that his office prosecutes IYC offenders “all the time,” refuses to lift a finger, virtually guaranteeing another guard’s hospital stay or worse.

McMahon, who can see the Illinois Youth Center from his office, hasn’t prosecuted a soul for the April riot, either. But he will press bogus charges against journalists who uncover a massive sexual harassment scandal in his own office.

The situation is going to get much worse before it gets better, too. As you might imagine, the IYC guard turnover rate is staggering with 30 of them quitting between November and December alone. With word of the violence getting out and Illinois unemployment at a record low, the IYC is having a very difficult time hiring new guards.

When they do manage to find someone willing to work in that morass, they can’t always hire them because so many guards are out on workman’s compensation from injuries, new hires would put them well over budget.

This is your Illinois Juvenile Justice System at work Illinois taxpayers! There’s no justice, there’s no rehabilitation, there’s no accountability, and all we’re doing is creating a culture of hyperviolent children who will eventually be unleashed upon the rest of us.

And speaking of the rest of us, we’re so busy being outraged and offended by inconsequential drivel that we’re ignoring a situation that actually requires our focused anger. Isn’t there a Christian stipulation about the least of our brothers, too?

So, once again! I’m calling on Governor Bruce Rauner to hold those IYC administrators accountable and/or shut the Illinois Youth Center down before someone gets killed.

Quick Hits – Reports of Rauner’s impending victory have been greatly exaggerated!

Despite his campaign manager’s overly enthusiastic proclamations to Crain’s political columnist Greg Hinz, I have a better chance of running away with Lucy Liu (Call me Lucy!) than Bruce Rauner has of running away with our November election.

Because even if those utterly ineffective Porcelain Prince attack ads were actually catching on, as those eminently quixotic Rauner folks insisted, our clueless Governor would still be doomed to defeat. And I can sum up the inexorable causality for this self-evident truth in two simple words, “Sam” and “McCann.”

Rauner McCann

As soon as our downstate State Senator turned in those 60,000 plus signatures, Governor Rauner should’ve read his concession speech right then and there. I know he’s got more money than God, but why waste all that now pointless campaign cash?

You see, in a marvelous example of the efficacy of Newton’s third law, the equal and opposite reaction to Rauner’s attempt to unseat McCann, is McCann’s mic drop move of entering the gubernatorial race as a third party candidate.

And given Illinois Republicans’ capacity to vote for idealist folks who can’t possibly win, even if McCann gets only 5 percent of the GOP vote, it’s curtains for our soon-to-be one term governor.

So, when Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller thought he had a real story when he reported that Speaker Michael Madigan’s team procured a significant amount of those 60,000 plus signatures, my immediate response was, “Tell me something I don’t bleepin’ already know.”

Because while the rest of y’all post memes, practice your outrage face in the bathroom mirror, and annoy the crap out of those of us who actually have a clue, Michael Madigan simply gets the job done.

Before you hit the send button, I’m not a fan of Madigan the State Rep, but one must pay the appropriate respect his political ground game.

Of course Madigan got signatures for McCann! Democratic gubernatorial nominee J. B. Pritzker is his man and he knows a conservative Independent spoiler virtually locks up his election. It’s a magnificent, and far too rare, case of walking the shortest distance between two political  points.

Even if the Supreme Court finally deems those stiltedly districted maps undemocratic, Madigan’s ground game would still regularly rack up Republican concession speeches.

I’ve said it many time before! If the Illinois GOP really wants to compete, they have to at least equal and probably surpass the Speaker’s capacity to get the right vote out. Simply stomping your foot and regularly shrieking about the state of the State ain’t gonna do it. But I can’t find a Republican who’s finally figured that out.

The irony is, when the Illinois GOP finally elected a candidate with the kind of cash to give the Madigan team a run for their electoral money, the Governor used it to go after Republican dissenters instead. It’s what a Shakespearean tragic comedy would look like if he ever wrote one.

This is exactly why the too-common practice of legislative leaders running candidates against legislators who don’t amuse them is such a bad idea. It never instills fear and almost always provokes the kind of response that comes around to bite you in the butt.

C’mon! McCann knows he can’t win, but he’s certainly going to make a point!

Though I’m frequently dismayed by the Kane County Board’s petty bovine manure, the majority of Chairman Chris Lauzen’s issues with that body stem from him running candidates against dissident board members.

Former Chairman Karen McConnaughay did it too (badly), until her opponents got someone bigger and badder to run against her. And before you say a word, a State Senate seat is no consolation prize.

The bottom line is, you don’t see Mike Madigan on Facebook. Aside from the former budget battle, you don’t see him directly attacking Republicans in public, either. And you certainly don’t hear him bitch and whine about his political lot in life.

In fact, he rarely makes any kind of statement at all.

No! The Speaker simply, and quite often correctly, determines the best way to achieve a political goal and then follows a statistically sound step-by-step plan like an overly focused bulldog. You want Rauner gone? Then Sam McCann is your man! It’s really that simple.

And the one thing you can count on about Illinois Republicans is that they will never learn!