Quick Hits Supplemental – E-Filing a Lawsuit is No Fun!

Yes! In their inimitable wisdom, or perhaps after a week-long bender, the Illinois Supreme Court summarily decided that all civil lawsuits must be electronically filed. Their theory, they said, was to increase court access particularly for those folks who couldn’t afford an attorney.

Perhaps if, like a gift, it was the thought that counts, you’d have to give those justices credit for their foresight. But when you take the e-filing execution into account, it quickly becomes a case of the cure being far worse than the disease.

E-File

So, with my complete sexual harassment document FOIA denial civil complaint in hand, I availed myself of the online Odyssey System only to be thoroughly confused.

The first problem is the multiple-choice dialog boxes scroll so poorly that you can’t read all of the possibilities. But even if you could, the answers are concocted in the kind of legal terms that most pro se litigants wouldn’t begin to understand.

I did correctly guess the complaint category and subcategory, but I still had attorney Jeff Meyer on the phone to ensure I didn’t go too far astray as there was yet more legalese in the offing! I did try to sue myself at one point, which would’ve been a fascinating proposition, but I eventually managed to name the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office as the “respondent.”

But then Jeff had me upload what we thought was the wrong file, and with no way of retracing our electronic steps, I had to start the process all over again.

This time, upon attempting to upload the right file, the system said it wouldn’t accept any complaint over 15 megabytes. Enforcing brevity on lawyers? How the hell did they ever get away with that one? So, I resorted to a system chat with Shawn who told me the only option was to restart the process a third time with a smaller complaint file.

So, with a dutifully compressed the PDF file in hand, the third e-file attempt was, indeed, the charm. Here’s the stamped copy of that lawsuit:

Stamped Civil FOIA Complaint

But let me tell ya, all those bumps in the road weren’t nearly as bad as having to fork over $377.61 just for the privilege of suing the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Hey! Illinois Supreme Court! If you really want to give court access a boost, how about doing away with the kind of absurd entry fees that price justice well beyond what so many Illinoisians can afford? Granted, the KCSAO will have to pay those fees when I beat them – again – but I still have to front that cash to get the ball rolling.

Entities like the KCSAO know those fees can be cost prohibitive and they tend to take advantage of that reality.

On the good side, a mere two hours after completing the e-filing, the Kane County Circuit Clerk’s Office accepted the complaint and responded with that officially stamped copy. Now, we’ll see if Civil Division head Joe Lulves will waive service so I don’t have to shell out yet more money on a process server.

Once service has been established, it’s up to the KCSAO to respond to the lawsuit. As I previously indicated, I’ll keep you posted!

Quick Hits – Death by a Thousand Cuts

One of the “joys” of turning 60 is the imminent prospect of staring your own mortality squarely in the eye. In that very vein, that plan to live forever notwithstanding, my wife and I just had our will done.

You’d think it would have been a somewhat sobering experience, but it turned out to be a rather fascinating proposition right down to bequeathing my vast superhero statue collection to one of my favorite Facebook friends.

There was an element of humor to it, too! When it came time to discuss what medical interventions might be applied to keep us alive, without hesitation, I declared, “Pull the plug,” and I made it clear that should be the case even in the case of mental incapacitation.

I have to say I was a little dismayed by how quickly my wife agreed to that course of action, but all things considered, can you really blame her?

Before y’all get too excited, that end-of-life determination must be made by my wife and a medical professional – not my “adoring throng.” So, any reader petition drive in that regard would be patently pointless. The plan continues to be to stick around and torture you for as long as I possibly can.

Put more simply, I have absolutely no interest in lingering in a persistent vegetative state because some things truly are worse than death. And one of those things would most certainly be walking in Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen’s current shoes.

jensen

I understand that, because justice is blind, she tends to bump into a lot of things in her quest for the truth, but Lt. Jensen has been on administrative since Decynthia Clements was shot and killed at that fateful I-90 traffic stop on March 12, 2018.

That adds up to 16 months, 2 days, and 9.5 hours, which is far too long to leave someone twisting in the wind. That’s especially true when you consider both the Illinois State Police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office cleared Jensen of any possible criminal charges back in early March.

Sure, the private consultant’s investigation found that Jensen violated some minor department protocol, but those “offenses,” even if combined, don’t nearly amount to a case for termination. All we’re talking about is a letter of reprimand or a brief suspension.

So, what the bleep is the City of Elgin waiting for, a sign from God? Sorry! But that kinda thing only happens in Blues Brothers movies. Reinstate Lt Jensen NOW! Three separate independent and unbiased agencies ruled the shooting was justified and that’s the only thing that really matters.

But at this bleepin’ drawn out point, it appears as if Elgin is trying to stave off the inevitable by dragging their feet. C’mon! You know it’s gonna hurt when you finally yank that sticky bandage off, so just do it quickly and get it over with.

Then the City seems bent on placating the vocal minority who’d place Jensen’s head on the end of a pike regardless of any investigatory findings. But that kind of appeasement is beyond futile. The mob won’t settle for anything less than blood and nothing’s going to change that.

Those folks refuse to believe the City Council and Mayor lack the power to fire Jensen. They refuse to believe the three agencies that cleared him. And they refuse to believe that, if fired, especially in light of Councilmen Tish Powell’s and Cory Dixon’s determined decision to ignore good legal advice and open their mouths at every turn, Jensen will win a hefty settlement AND get his job back.

Remember what happened when Elgin fired officer Jason Lentz for unforgivably racist social media posts? He’s back on the job, isn’t he? And the longer this “investigation” drags on, the worse the rabble’s reaction will be at the inevitable reinstatement result.

The late 49’ers coach Bill Walsh’s described a fascinating team dynamic in his book on leadership, ‘The Score Takes Care of Itself,’ and it applies to any group effort. He said that, on a reasonably functioning football team, 80 percent of players love the coach and 20 percent don’t regardless of external influences like wins and losses.

Walsh said the problem was, if the 20 percent were allowed to peddle their poison unchecked, it would start to infect the 80 percent, and the team would rapidly descend into dysfunction. The solution was to silence or rotate those disgruntled folks off the team.

Similarly, because Elgin is either incapable of or simply refuses to frame the message correctly, the anti-Jensen minority – and it is a minority – is gaining momentum. Not only is there now an Elgin billboard calling for Jensen’s head, but a community activist group submitted a 1,600-signature petition demanding he be fired.

Those signers may amount to a mere 1.4 percent of all Elgin residents, but it’s another sign that the “infection” is growing and Elgin is losing the messaging battle. That, of course, begs the question, where are Mayor David Kaptain and Communications Manager Molly Center?

Kaptain can be a formidable communicator when he chooses to apply that skill, while Center is the least effective municipal communications manager I’ve ever met. There’s never been a better time for the Mayor to step in, and if Center can’t frame a reasonable message when it’s beyond critical to do so, perhaps she’s better suited to another gig.

Now the City is talking about a discussion of the consultant’s finding before Jensen’s disposition is determined, which is only going to allow the wound to further fester. As our Italian friends would likely interject, “basta!”

Elgin! With the handwriting clearly on the wall, reinstate Lt. Jensen NOW and let’s bring this sad chapter in Elgin’s long history to a reasonable conclusion. If disciplinary measures are required as result of the procedural lapses, then do it. But don’t waste any more of our or Jensen’s time on meaningless discussions that won’t change anyone’s mind.

There’s nothing worse than a slow death by 1,000 cuts, so stop the bleeding.

 

Quick Hits – So Much for the Least of Our Brothers!

My preeminent intention was to stay out of this one in the fervent hope that cooler heads would prevail and it would all work out exactly as it should. Silly me! Though no one could ever accuse me of harboring idealist tendencies, wouldn’t you think after thirteen years at the keyboard I’d finally realize the opportunity to pander to your political constituency is an even more powerful proposition than the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy?

Still, hope does spring eternal.

Most of my beloved Aurorans are well aware of the ongoing kerfuffle between Mayor Richard Irvin and the fine folks at the Wayside Cross Ministries at 215 E. New York Street. For those who aren’t, it started back in February when, according to the Mayor, the City opened a “conversation” with Wayside regarding the 19 child sex offenders residing at the facility.

You see, employing a cell phone app, some of the neighborhood rabble discovered the Wayside building fell within the 500-foot radius of McCarty Park, which means those 19 residents are in violation of a state law prohibiting sex offenders from living that close to a school, park, or daycare.

But that not-quite public dispute didn’t reach a fever pitch until paroled Ripper Crew member, Thomas Kokoraleis, was admitted into Wayside. That’s when the bovine excrement hit the rotating air-propulsion device and the rabble immediately resorted to their social media torches and pitchforks in an effort to get Aurora to remove the sex offenders.

Never one to miss an opportunity to pander to the loudest of those City of Lights voices, on June 26, Mayor Irvin, through the Aurora Police, ordered Wayside to remove those 19 men within 30 days. “Our effort and priority is the protection of our children,” Irvin told the media, “Especially in proximity to the park where the children regularly play.”

Irvin 3.jpg

First, despite the Mayor’s personal assurances to the contrary, my sources tell me McCarty Park ain’t exactly the kind of place where young children regularly frolic. But for argument’s sake, let’s say the Mayor is right, and the park isn’t a haven for drug dealers, drug users and hookers. That doesn’t mean this misguided move will make Aurora’s children any safer. In fact, it will do just the opposite.

Please allow me to explain.

In their unrelenting pursuit of more votes, Illinois politicians created the previously mentioned ridiculous 500-foot rule fully understanding it was nothing more than a feel-good maneuver. Anyone with half a brain knows no sexual predator would be stupid enough to show up at a playground or school, grab a child, and abuse them – particularly one in close proximity to their residence.

C’mon! Where would the police go first?

The problem is, because the press tends to hyper-cover those eminently rare child kidnappings, the rabble tends to believe that’s how it works. So, the stranger-danger myth persists.

But the truth is, in 85 to 95 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the predator, a family member or someone known to the family, first gains the trust of the parents and then starts “grooming” the child before they finally strike. If “successful,” the abuse can go on for years.

So, when the Mayor finally kicks these men out of a religious institution that truly keeps tabs on them – individuals who were 90 percent likely to have been sexually abused as children themselves – where will they go? Small group homes and seedy apartments where they’ll have little or no supervision? And they won’t have each other as a de facto support group anymore, either.

Instead of residing in one very manageable location, those 19 individuals will simply scatter into the wind putting the children of Aurora at a far greater risk. And Mayor Irvin damn well knows this, but doing the right thing doesn’t always get you votes, now does it?

Though he refused to give me an on-the-record quote, Mayor Irvin argued the City had no choice but to follow the letter of the law. Really? Because when it comes to any potential local ICE raids, the Mayor made it abundantly clear that the APD would not cooperate with that agency in any way, shape, or form.

Why? Because it would be political suicide to support ICE in municipality that’s 43 percent Hispanic. Ironically, the only positive thing Donald Trump has managed to accomplish is getting our Latino brothers and sisters to finally vote.

Put more simply, Mayor Irvin follows the letter of the law only when it falls in line with his ambitions.

Some other sources told me the City and Mayor may have their eye on the Wayside building and they want to force the group out for financial reasons. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if the building inspectors started showing on a more than usual basis?

I also reached out to APD Chief Kristen Ziman in this regard, someone I generally hold in the highest esteem, but she refused to respond. I reminded her that, as far as letter-of-the-law arguments go, a plethora of statutes remain on the books that, if enforced, would make being gay patently illegal. But those statutes are generally ignored because our police departments correctly apply a more-than-reasonable discretion.

And that’s exactly what the APD should be doing here.

But here the real kick in the fricken’ kiester! In an era of artificial and convenient Christianity that somehow allows the “faithful” to support a bleep like Donald Trump, Wayside Cross Ministries is actually doing their best to adhere to what truly is a tough standard.

When Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers,” I don’t recall him adding caveats like “unless we’re talking about child molesters or murderers.” He made no exceptions because there are none. So, when the folks at Wayside take in these difficult individuals, they truly are doing God’s work, which is a lot more than I can say for the Mayor, the Chief, and the Aurorans who would so casually throw these men out.

Quick Hits – Above the Law!

Trust me! I’ve been toiling at the keyboard long enough to know when I write, “Because they enforce the law, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office firmly believes they’re above it,” some of you chuckle and say to yourself, “There goes Jeff Ward with the hyperbole again!”

I will be the first to admit that I’m not nearly averse to the auspicious application of embellishment, but the truth is, the KCSAO is a proposition that requires no exaggeration whatsoever.

To wit, a full 19 days after the Attorney General told them to turn over 255 pages of sexual harassment complaints against just one former prosecutor, I finally received a response from Civil Division head Joe Lulves. Just as I predicted, citing the same sad  stipulations the AG already struck down, the KCSAO remains steadfast in their refusal to abide by the law.

KCSAO 3

I can almost understand another elected official trying this kind of bleep, but the state’s attorney’s office? Aren’t they the very individuals tasked with upholding the standard they’re supposed to set for the rest of us?

Here’s Lulves’ final response to the AG upholding my FOIA request appeal:

Lulves Final Response

Please note his argument it’s not materially different from his previous FOIA denial responses. He cites the same statutes, the same precedent, and the same internal policies that the Attorney General’s Office already overruled in their lengthy eight-page ruling.

He did manage to add a few inconsequential new twists at the end, but as any competent attorney knows, the time to make your argument is during the trial. The appeal process is reserved for determining the efficacy of that argument.

If that weren’t the case, the KCSAO could simply change their position every time they lose a FOIA appeal sending the requester right back to square one. Lulves regularly brags that his office is FOIA-proof and that’s exactly how he does it.

So, when Lulves encouraged me to go back to the Public Access Counselor in his latest denial letter, I wanted to shout, “Joe! Did you miss the fact that I already appealed your illegal FOIA refusal and won?”

To be fair, in an obvious effort to placate me, Lulves did release a letter of reprimand issued by Joe McMahon to the former prosecutor involved. So, now I’m the proud recipient of two pages and one sentence out of a 255-page sexual harassment file the AG asked them to turn over.

You can read that reprimand right here:

FOIA response

And the reason they released that letter is, at first glance, it appears as if they actually did something about this prosecutor. But Joe Lulves made a point of saying it was “the only written disciplinary documentation,” finally coming after the problem had persisted for more than five years and at least four female ASA’s quit as a result of the harassment. And what was McMahon’s amazing answer? To move that prosecutor’s office away from one of his victims.

Be still my beating heart! Who knew that making them walk an extra ten yards would be an effective sexual harassment deterrent!

We also now know the prosecutor got away with it because, in McMahon’s own words, he was “a very talented lawyer and a valuable employee in the office.” I guess McMahon feels that women are expendable! Anything for a higher conviction rate, right Joe?

And doesn’t it really say something that out of those 255 pages, only two of them contain any sort of disciplinary action?

So now, after nine long months, we’re finally to the point where most newspapers and journalists would be forced to give up. They’d realize the court system would be their only option and the legal process takes the kind of time and financial resources that local newspapers no longer have.

And Joe Lulves knows that.

But as my adoring throng already knows, I have a propensity to be a little more persistent. Ironically, as a result of the KCSAO’s efforts to silence me, I’ve learned how to write reasonable complaints and motions. I also understand the Kane County court system better than most attorneys, which really isn’t setting the bar too high when you consider most Kane County attorneys.

Of course, there’s no way of escaping the horse manure $350 “tax” attorneys have to pay just to walk into a civil courtroom, but we certainly have to keep our judges in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed, don’t we?

So, with yours truly coughing up the cash and doing most of the legal groundwork, and with attorney Jeff Meyer ready to provide the courtroom argument, trust me, a judge will eventually order the KCSAO to release every last page of those complaints and they will subsequently be posted right here.

Meanwhile, please understand that this is exactly who Joe McMahon and Joe Lulves are. They can offer all sorts of halcyon platitudes about their KCSAO tenure, but their final legacy will be the kind of beyond the pale arrogance that would have them believe they’re somehow better than the rest of us.

The truth is, they’re far worse than the people they successfully prosecute.

The bottom line is, in the words of that late, great philosopher, Tom Petty, “I won’t back down.” And wouldn’t you think Joe Lulves would get a little tired of me consistently beating him?

Quick Hits – Joe McMahon Was Never There – Part Two!

Let’s move on to the second installment in our two-part series on soon-to-be-departing Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon.

While the kind of KCSAO issues we discussed last week certainly aren’t unique to any particular political office, what baffles me most is the insistent incompetence on the part of the civil division.

Their utter failure to effectively defend Kane County against any lawsuit is so far beyond the pale that it’s inexplicable. This deficiency culminated in millions of dollars being paid to Maxxam Partners as a result of failing to provide the County Board with reasonable legal counsel pertaining to the incoming Campton Hills rehab center.

mcmahon

As a result of that malpractice – no other word works – the County’s lawsuit liability insurance just doubled. Guess who’ll be paying for that preposterous premium increase every bleepin’ year?

To make matters much worse, for an encore, the Civil Division incorrectly constructed and failed to accurately review an AFSCME labor union contract that will cost Kane County taxpayers an unexpected $1.2 million.

The thing is, some of Civil Division head Joe Lulves’ detractors still say he’s a good attorney, but if you’re unwilling to apply those skills, then it’s even worse than being a bad one.

Let’s not forget about the general arrogance.

After Daniel Rak was acquitted of murdering his father in 2017, the KSCAO continued to post newspaper articles detailing those charges on their taxpayer-funded Facebook page as if the trial never occurred. Despite both myself and an expert trial witnesses explaining that it was blatant libel, the KCSAO persisted in the practice.

And the reason they did is because they knew Rak didn’t have the cash to mount an appropriate lawsuit. It’s yet another stunning failure on the part of our prosecutors to abide by the same law they’re sworn to uphold. They fervently believe that, because they enforce the law, it doesn’t apply to them.

But McMahon’s biggest lapse was the virtual lack of any response to the sexual harassment scandal that proceeded right under his nose. We’ve previously discussed the “Welcoming Committee,” a group of male prosecutors who competed to “date” their newly hired female compatriots.

Then, despite an Attorney General ruling in my favor, The First Ward is still battling to get 255 pages of unredacted sexual harassment complaints against just one former prosecutor. Between being regularly berated and/or harassed by their male supervisors, the number of female ASA’s who resigned as a result is more than a bit staggering.

We’ll cover Lulves’ and the KCSAO’s most recent response to the Attorney General’s directive on Wednesday. Let’s just say they’re using the same sad arguments to completely ignore the ruling and continue to withhold the documents. Attorney Jeff Meyer and I will have to take them to court to force their hand.

To summarize, what are the real reasons McMahon’s fleeing a sinking ship after 10 years in office? That’s easy:

1. He has a real opponent

I’ve briefly spoken with current state’s attorney candidate Jamie Mosser, and she’s an impressive individual who understands how Kane County elections work. That means McMahon would have to mount a real campaign for the first time in his life and he has no interest in that much work or knocking on the thousands of doors a Democrat-leaning 2020 race will require.

2. His relationships with the Chairman and County Board are irretrievable

It goes back to McMahon’s all-encompassing political obliviousness. Every single one of his board battles became an unnecessary self-inflicted wound, and when those spats, particularly the union contract fiasco, finally pushed the board past the tipping point, being state’s attorney quickly lost its luster.

3. Being forced to produce the sexual harassment complaints

Though McMahon and Lulves will stand in my way every step of the way, per the Attorney General’s ruling, they know a Kane County judge will force them to release the complaints well before the 2020 election. And when even the AG’s office referred to some of that content as “salacious,” those revelations would have made it very difficult for McMahon to win reelection. Investigative journalism, when properly applied, still has merit!

So, what’s our State’s Attorney going to do going forward?

Some folks say he’s aiming for Judge Katherine Moran’s soon-to-be vacated seat, but an associate judge has to consistently be on call, work weekends, and perform marriages, and that ain’t Joe McMahon. Put more simply, an associate judgeship would not afford him the capacity to set his own hours like being the state’s attorney does.

My best guess is he’ll try to parlay the press from the Van Dyke prosecution into a lucrative downtown Chicago law firm gig.

But as far as McMahon’s “integrity, professionalism, and commitment” declaration goes? Those are the three words that least describe his ten-year tenure. It’s time for the Kane County voters to elect an outsider who will attack the rampant dysfunction and return the office to some semblance of the standard set by his predecessor John Barsanti.

Quick Hits – Joe McMahon Was Never There – Part One!

First, I want to thank those sources who, once again, made sure The First Ward was the first to break the news that, after two-and-a-half dismal terms, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon will not be seeking reelection in 2020.

Of course, in his letter to the press, McMahon tried to spin his disastrous tenure thusly:

It is my hope that my successor maintains the integrity, professionalism and commitment to justice that has been so important to me and my colleagues over the last 10 years. The citizens of Kane County deserve no less.

Joe! Perhaps if you repeat that paragraph often enough, you might actually start to believe it.

The truth is, McMahon’s administration was marred with an utter lack of staff supervision, across-the-board incompetence, arrogance, vindictiveness, and a vast unwillingness to apply justice as it was intended to be applied.

Joe McMahon

To put that statement in perspective, my journalistic efforts have coincided with both former SAO John Barsanti’s and McMahon’s terms. And while I’d receive about one complaint a year about John – none of which came from attorneys or former prosecutors, the multiple weekly complaints about McMahon were primarily from attorneys and former prosecutors.

And that all starts with McMahon’s vast political naivete, and that starts with the fact he was appointed and never had to run a contested election.

McMahon was excellent with the press, but how someone that smart has absolutely no clue as to the political consequences of his actions consistently baffles me and many others. Even when we were on good terms and I helped him navigate the Chairman and the County Board, he never really “got it.”

Yes! Chairman Chris Lauzen can be difficult to deal with, but he’s equally as easy to please. And all the other Collar County chairmen have similar personalities, so it’s not as if he’s some sort of rarity. Have you ever met McHenry County’s Jack Franks?

I was just one of the folks who warned McMahon NOT to make Civil Division head Joe Lulves the County Board attorney, but he wouldn’t listen. And once Lulves pulled his typical arrogant and dismissive BS with the Chairman, all bets were off and Lauzen’s and McMahon’s relationship never recovered. The sad result was a host of pointless infighting and a whole lot of wasted time.

And McMahon’s inexplicable overarching obliviousness was greatly compounded by his addiction to pursuing fame and glory. Sure, the periods where he was rarely in the office were problematic, but they weren’t nearly as questionable as the fact his head was never in it. He was always on the lookout for something “better.”

First, it was that federal prosecutor gig, and when that fell through, it was the Cook County Jason Van Dyke prosecution. McMahon can say he was “appointed” to that gig till he’s blue in the face, but while every other Illinois state’s attorney hid in the bathroom when that fateful call came, McMahon actively sought the jop. He thought that taking that case would be his ticket to a downtown law firm.

In the end, it may well tun out to be, but that only comes on the backs of the shortchanged Kane County voters because, as the Good Book says, “no man can serve two masters.”

So, when McMahon, First Assistant Jodie Gleason, and misdemeanor head Joe Cullen spent months in Chicago, the frontline staff were cast adrift with no guidance or direction to the point where one insider said they felt like they were being “thrown to the wolves.”

Office morale plummeted to the point where that Peck Road and Route 38 entrance became the kind of revolving door where they could barely keep up with replacing the departing staff. Those who did remain didn’t even know to whom they were supposed to report.

My favorite revelation was the one where the new prosecutor quit by leaving a sticky note on his supervisor’s office door.

Generally left to their own devices, any notion of prosecutorial discretion went right out the window. The theory was, “Charge ‘em all and let the judges sort it out,” but that’s not the way it’s supposed to work. The current KCSAO legal theory looks a lot more like fascism than any kind of justice.

As I proved in this February 2018 column, despite the local newspaper reports, there has been no significant increase in Kane County felony cases since 2014. That number is remarkably consistent. What has changed is Chief Felony Prosecutor Bill Engerman absolutely refuses to separate the wheat from the chaff, and let me tell you, some judges are NOT amused that this blatant abrogation of responsibility then falls on their black dressed shoulders.

 

Since I’m taking four well-earned days off writing, on Monday, part two will cover the massive failures of the civil division, how the KCSAO libeled acquitted defendants, the still unfolding sexual harassment scandal, and why Joe McMahon is really leaving.

Quick Hits Breaking News – Joe McMahon is Not Running

A number of sources just told me that Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon called his senior staff into his office this afternoon to announce he’s not running for reelection.

McMahon

It’s really no surprise because his heart and head have never been in this gig. Always on the lookout for fame and glory, he’s the epitome of the absentee boss.

Some folks say he’s aiming for associate judge, but really? The guy who was never in the office suddenly wants to work weekends, be perpetually on call, and do weddings? Nope!

What this means is chief felony prosecutor Bill Engerman will likely run in his place and Engerman has more skeletons in his closet that Hannibal Lechter. Trust me, it will be a very fascinating proposition

We’ll delve into this a lot more in tomorrow’s Quick Hits!

Quick Hits – The Straight Pride Parade is Bleepin’ Hilarious!

Since some of you bleeps love to read just the column title and summarily dismiss the rest of the piece, please let me preempt your prejudicial practice by stridently declaring I’m as socially liberal as they come – with exception of firmly believing in personal responsibility.

Ironically, the lack thereof is one of the few things that regularly brings conservatives and progressives together. With that stipulation out of the way, let’s proceed!

On August 31, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, will play host to the first ever Straight Pride Parade, and just like those impending Fourth of July fireworks, liberal heads have been serially exploding since the event organizers won a lawsuit forcing Beantown to issue a parade permit.

Milo

The Fabulous Milo!

So, now I’m going to type really slowly so progressives can finally see the abundance of humor permeating this rather preposterous proposition.

First, the group planning the parade calls themselves “Super Happy Fun America” which sounds a lot more like a Japanese toothpaste marketing campaign slogan than a white supremacist group. I know this because the average white supremacist’s sense of humor sits somewhere south of the liberal variety.

Second, parade organizer John Hugo prefaced the one-of-a-kind event with, “Perhaps one day straights will be honored with inclusion and the acronym will be LGBTQS. Until that time, we have no other choice but to host our own events.”

“I’ll stake Satire for $600, Alex!”

Third, SHFA whose motto is “It’s Great to be Straight,” not only enlisted a gay parade ambassador, but they slated openly gay conservative activist Milo Yiannopoulos to be the grand marshal. And the only thing gayer than Yiannopoulos is Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ video.

Lastly, three parade organizers recently received suspicious envelopes in the mail only to discover they contained glitter. Now, I generally wouldn’t recommend speciously getting the FBI involved in anything, but that really is freakin’ hilarious. Hey! It’s a lot better than Chicago aldermen bombing their own ward office just to get more press.

C’mon liberals! It’s a joke, and it’s a really good one, too. It’s the kind of satire and hyperbole that has Andy Kaufmann laughing his ass off from the great beyond. Please tell me you understand that this is not an attack on your version of morality or your generally delicate sensibilities.

Considering that we white males are kinda down and out right now – you know – toxic masculinity, microaggressions, Ellen, hostile college campuses, Colin Kaepernick, priestly pedophiles, Oprah, Betsy Ross flag Nikes, and Bruce…I mean Caitlyn Jenner, this is a far better response to a cultural sea change than anything the Republican Party would typically concoct.

With some notable exceptions, we’re not all cads!

Though I’m getting a little old for them, I love Pride Parades. They’re a blast! Our LGBTQRXZ and sometimes Y brothers and sisters really know how to celebrate something. But having been to more than my share, to some degree, they’re a lot more about getting stoned and acting accordingly than they are about any kind of pride.

So, why should anyone be surprised if someone wants to have a little fun with the entire concept?

In that very vein, were I a proud member of the LGBTQ community, I’d immediately co-opt the event by coming up with a float that makes blistering fun of straight folks which really wouldn’t prove to be all that difficult.

It would start with a shirtless Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin kissing, move onto some portly middle-aged white men wearing white v-neck t-shirts, plaid Bermuda shorts, and sweat socks with black sandals, and end with every anti-gay activist who eventually got caught in a “compromising” position.

As I tell my wife, who still hasn’t quite figured out my wonderful sense of humor after all these years, just go along with the joke because it always makes it more fun. That kind of attitude would actually bring people together as opposed to further driving a wedge between the two communities.

Put more simply, the best way to ensure the Straight Pride Parade’s success is for progressives to spend every waking hour railing against it, or to stage an utterly unnecessary and counterproductive counter-protest. Liberals! For once in your fricken’ self-righteous, guilt ridden, existential angst riddled, and miserable self-loathing lives, please prove you actually have a sense of humor.

Quick Hits – Let the Democratic Self-Destruction Commence!

It certainly didn’t take a degree in theoretical physics for The First Ward to predict that, given the absurd 293 candidate Democratic presidential field, those debaters who either unleashed politically suicidal attacks or engaged in a group sprint to the left would be the ones who got noticed.

Two sets of ten candidates over two separate nights of debates? That ain’t an electoral field, that’s a Women’s World Cup soccer team. Why don’t we just declare Donald Trump the 2020 winner right now?

And those night two frivolities commenced with California Senator Kamala Harris launching the kind of nuclear attack on frontrunner Joe Biden that’s going to take down the entire Democratic party. Of course, the source of the verbal assault was Biden’s 1970’s position against federally mandated busing.

Biden-Harris

For those of you who weren’t alive then – and that includes the vast majority of Biden’s current critics – “busing” was an utterly misguided effort to end the de facto segregation plaguing most major metropolitan schools. The thought was, if you bussed black students into predominantly white schools, not only would it would satisfy that Brown v. The Board of Education ruling, but it would help bring about the end of the de facto practice in general.

But just like it’s impossible to legislate against stupidity, this attempt to impose morality was an unmitigated disaster.

Black parents didn’t want their children bussed to schools up to 12 miles away and white parents didn’t want black children in their schools. Worse yet, white parents feared their progeny would be bussed to inner-city schools in much more dangerous neighborhoods. Things got so bad in Boston that the issue generated riots and violent protests on both sides.

Though I really shouldn’t have to say this, considering one reader’s blatant misinterpretation of my piece on the Dalai Lama, I AM NOT pro-segregation. I’m simply and factually explaining why busing was an abject failure and that you can’t apply today’s morality to a 40 year-old problem.

So, when Biden said busing was “the least effective remedy to desegregate schools” in 1981, he was dead on. In addition to the associated violence, white parents pulled their kids out of the public school system making the problem even worse.

Pease let me also restate that I’ve never been a Biden fan, but I am a fan of anyone who can beat Donald Trump. This isn’t a defense of Uncle Joe, either. It’s yet another attempt to prevent my progressive compatriots from rewriting history.

And the truth is, Harris’ “I was that little girl” attack is so much more than disingenuous.

Biden was specifically opposed to federally mandated busing, which may have fallen in line with those segregationist senators, but they hardly “worked together” on the issue. Biden believed busing should be left to the states, and as it turns out, California’s busing program was, indeed, state driven, not a federal edict. So, Kamala’s Golden State experience had nothing to do with Joe Biden.

Not to be outdone, in an effort to appear four standard deviations to the left of Che Guevarra, various and sundry Democratic contenders seriously mangled the Spanish language as they unanimously insisted that national health insurance should be extended to undocumented immigrants.

Yes! That’s exactly how you get a machinist in Milwaukee to vote for you. And when are the Democrats finally going to figure out that Hispanics don’t vote?

I can’t tell you how much it pains me to agree with Rush Limbaugh, but when he said, “Overall, folks, it is the never-ending portrayal of this country as a land of destitution, hopelessness, discrimination, racism, hatred, bigotry, that I, frankly, have had my fill of…,” he was dead on.

As Bill Maher likes to say, “Republicans govern with no shame while Democrats shame without governing.”

Think about it! JFK made us feel better about ourselves as did Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Donald Trump won by speaking directly into the fears of the receding white majority. But this insistent shaming by Democrats and progressives ain’t gonna get them anywhere. In fact, it’s doing just the opposite.

I’m not asking the Dems to abandon their core beliefs, but as my father used to say when I reacted to someone cutting us off in traffic, “I’ll put the fact that you were right on your tombstone.”

And Harris clearly cut off her nose to spite her face, too. She has absolutely no chance of winning the primary, and if she somehow did, Trump will eat her alive. Some folks were even talking about a Biden-Harris dream ticket, but that certainly ain’t gonna happen, and that’s an opportunity squandered.

If Harris had any shot at getting me to cast a ballot in her favor, in the words of that great philosopher Mick Jagger, “But it’s all over now!”

The Democratic party should have one singular goal – defeating Donald Trump – and the only way they can do that is by providing a reasonably united front and appealing to those swing voters who determine each and every bleepin’ presidential election.

And let me tell ya, those two debates were a terrible way to start.