Quick Hit’s – It isn’t us; it’s you!

You’re in for a real treat Dear Reader! In an effort to enjoy a final summer four-day weekend, instead of running the usual political fare, I’m gonna grace you with a chapter from my in-progress book, ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Life.”

And I’ll probably present another one on Monday. Could life possibly get any better?


It isn’t us; it’s you!

Somewhere out there there is a tree tirelessly producing oxygen so you can breathe. I think you owe it an apology. – House (from the similarly named TV show)

My favorite neighbor lives directly across the street from my backyard…

“Wait a minute, Jeff! You have a favorite neighbor? Doesn’t that automatically mean the swift revocation of your card-carrying curmudgeon credentials?”

Normally, it would, but hear me out, first!

The reason he’s my favorite neighbor is he keeps to himself to the point where he wears earbuds while mowing the lawn which makes it impossible for him to even hear a greeting. And I bet he’s not really listening to music, either!

We may have briefly spoken one time when his young daughter wanted to pet my dogs, but that’s about it!


I have no idea what his first or last name is. I don’t know what he does for a living. I couldn’t tell you his daughter’s name. I don’t know his wife’s name. I have no clue where he came from or what his hopes and dreams are. But I’m so in love with his indifference to his fellowman that, were I gay, I’d probably propose.

I’ve said hello to his wife a couple of times, but that’s only because I finally figured out that normal people get really horked off when you completely ignore their existence. Who knew?  C’mon! Blatantly ignoring people is the curmudgeon’s version of complete Nirvana. (Not the rock group people!)

But now, not only do I fear my generally overbearing and extroverted fellow Fisher Farms subdivision dwellers will endeavor to “save” him from himself, but that he’ll face the same fate I had to endure upon moving into a brand-new subdivision – the biggest mistake of my bleepin’ life. Well…that and the hoverboard.

Who needs a tailbone? But I digress.

I call it the “Costanza Effect,” named for the Seinfeld character who couldn’t bear the thought of someone not liking him. Not only would George do everything in his power to convince the disliker he was likeable, but when that strategy inevitably backfired, he’d become so irate that he’d start plotting his revenge.

Essentially, that errant individual would become the most important person in George’s life simply for the “crime” of avoiding him. Seinfeld co-creator Larry David is clearly a curmudgeon of the highest order.

This is the part about the extrovert majority I just don’t get. Are your sensibilities and self-definition so fragile that they come crashing down at the mere thought that I might be indifferent to your existence, or, god forbid, not like you? Who the bleep cares what I think? I generally don’t give a crap about what I’m thinking, and I’m the one thinking it! So, why would anyone ever want to give me that kind of power and significance?

When someone dislikes me, a phenomenon that occurs with alarming frequency (Shocking! I know!), I thank that fictitious Christian god that there’s one less person to have to deal with and I immediately proceed to not waste another thought on them. There’s a reason I’ve blocked more than 300 people on Facebook.

My newest life goal is for my blocked list to be larger than my friends list.

And speaking of blocking Facebook detractors, by their reaction to my sphere of influence limiting choice, you’d think I just told them their children aren’t special. Though it tends to defeat the blocking purpose, other Facebook friends will insist upon passing along those ensuing diatribes that generally cite censorship, imperiousness, and the fact that I completely suck.

But if that’s really the case, and all you want to do is endlessly bitch about what a heinous cur I am, why would anyone care about being blocked? I’d tend to think you’d embrace your exceptional good fortune and enjoy a Jeff Ward free life.

My wife’s been trying to accomplish that for years!

But no! The Constanza Effect kicks in and you insist upon doing your damndest to insinuate yourselves back into our lives. Then I have to block you from the blog, too. What is wrong with you people? Don’t you see how pathetic this dynamic truly is?

Look! I know I’m fascinating and gorgeous but sometimes ya just gotta let it go!

Perhaps there’s something to that absurd extrovert notion of pretending to like people you loathe so you can talk smack about them behind their backs. I’m starting to think that kind of artificiality would require far less effort than having to deal with all that Costanza Effect fallout.

But I digress!

If it makes you feel any better, and I certainly hope it doesn’t, curmudgeons don’t like 99 percent of the regular rabble because they possess absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. If someone put a gun to my head and forced to say something nice about you, even then, the only thing I’d be able to come up with is that you do a marvelous job of taking up space.

Alright! Alright! Some of you seem to have mastered the art of breathing, too. Who said I can’t be magnanimous when I want to be?

We curmudgeons think of extroverts like those perpetually-doomed red-shirted crewmen on the original Starship Enterprise – they’re expendable. And it’s only the government’s incomprehensible insistence on protecting you from yourselves that prevents natural selection from taking its course so we curmudgeons could finally take over.

Failing that, in the words of that great philosopher Bill Burr, “85 percent of you need to walk into the ocean and not come back.”

But until the next asteroid strike mercifully mitigates our curmudgeonly misery, I’m stuck with the eminently depressing notion that the rabble is here to stay, they will continue to reproduce unchecked, and they will take great umbrage whenever a curmudgeon accurately assesses their obvious lack of merit – or simply ignores them.

So, it isn’t us, it’s you. Where’s the goddamn tequila?


Quick Hits – It’s Time for an Elgin Review

Lord! I truly wonder how some of you manage to dress yourselves every morning. I understand that an absurd 1.5 years of debate over Elgin Police Lt. Chris Jensen fatally shooting Decynthia Clements on that I-90 shoulder has inevitably clouded the issue, but some folks’ capacity to reject reality and substitute their own really is kinda frightening.

Elgin 2

So, in an effort to bring balance to the Force, let’s review some of the inescapable realities that have had an effect and will continue to determine how this situation unfolds:

1. Whites are a minority in Elgin

I made this statement on Monday and some folks went nuts, so let’s clear it up. I can’t help it if some of you flunked second grade math and it’s not my fault that census workers count Hispanics as Caucasians. So, here’s how those Elgin demographics actually pan out:

  • 44.9 percent Hispanic
  •   7.4 percent black
  •   6.1 percent Asian
  •   1.0 percent Native American
  • 40.6 percent white

I don’t care what anyone says, that means whites are a minority in Elgin. And if it’s finally gotten to the point where we can’t agree on math we’re completely bleeped!


2. You can’t fire a police officer because some people don’t like him

Illinois may be an at-will state, but the capacity to fire anyone for any reason does not extend to public workers. Lt. Jensen has stellar 20-year track record and he’s been cleared of any criminal charges by three separate independent agencies. And the fact that his existence bothers some people is not grounds for dismissal.

If the City does cave in to a vast minority’s demand to oust him, not only will Jensen be the recipient of a hefty settlement, but the courts will reinstate him.

The irony is, while the anti-Jensen folks want him fired for failing to follow the rules, they want Elgin to fail to follow the rules and fire him.


3. What message would Jensen’s termination send to the rest of the EPD?

Always thoughtful Elgin resident Reggie Kee made this excellent point, among others, at the “listening session” we discussed on Monday. If you fire an officer for a justifiable shooting, it will put every other EPD officer’s life at risk.

Think about it! The next time an officer is forced to draw their weapon in self-defense, the prospect of being terminated might make them hesitate just long enough to get shot first. And that’s a patently unfair position in which to put an entire police department.


4. Hindsight is always 20-20

To watch a video over and over again – parts of it in slow motion – does not nearly equate to being on the scene that dark evening. To make matters worse, those cameras don’t provide the proper perspective because they exaggerate and distort distance to cover more area.

But even if those Monday morning quarterbacks could make the correct call, whether Ms. Clements jumped or stumbled out of her vehicle is immaterial. Again, it would be beyond unreasonable to expect a law enforcement officer to make a split-second life and death decision based upon that kind of nuance.

The bottom line is, if you move towards police officers with a knife in any manner, you’re probably going to get shot.


5. I’m not anti-protest or anti-protester

This country was founded on the notion of protest and I firmly believe you have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. So, with the exception of shouting people down or co-opting meetings with megaphones, I wholeheartedly support that kind of activism.

What I might add, however, is with Jensen eventually coming back, if you have an issue with Elgin leadership – or the lack of it in my case – run for city council, actively support someone who’s running for city council, or, for God’s sake, vote for someone who’s a candidate for city council.

That’s the only act that ever really changes anything, but only 7,000 out of 58,000 eligible Elgin residents vote in odd-year elections. And if you don’t vote, then don’t bitch, either.


6. Ms. Clements wasn’t a saint

No one is! And let me, once again, be clear that whatever demons haunted Decynthia in no way deprived her of her civil rights. I also understand that it’s human nature, especially on the part of family members, to rehabilitate those who’ve died.

But if Lt. Jensen’s track record is fair game, then so is Ms. Clements’.

When the EPD showed up at her parents’ front door after the shooting, before they could say a word, her father, who hadn’t seen her for three weeks, asked, “Where did she OD?” Though she certainly struggled with mental health issues, the move on the part of some supporters to omit the effects addiction had in that I-90 standoff is patently unfair.

The stats are clear. Tasers work about 50 percent of the time on sober folks and virtually none of the time on addicts under the influence.

For better or worse, Ms. Clements was who she was, and her death doesn’t change that. My fervent hope is, as a result of this tragedy, we, as a society, develop a new determination to better deal with mental health and addiction issues.


7. Nobody deserves to twist in the wind like this

Whether you believe Lt. Jensen should be reinstated or fired, the City of Elgin has done no one a service by dragging this out for a year-and-a-half. There’s absolutely no excuse for their inability or outright refusal to make a decision.

The three investigations could’ve run concurrently, placating the “public” isn’t working, and the longer this lingers, the worse the reaction of those inevitably disappointed people will be.

And I don’t care what anyone says, even if you’re getting paid to do it, to have to sit at home and wait 548 days for a group of completely oblivious and well-salaried people to make a decision that may well affect the rest of your life is the bleepin’ definition of stress.

Considering the exceptional effort Elgin’s made to attract quality police officers, who’s going to want to work for the EPD now?


Trust me! At this point, I know this column isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. But everything we’ve discussed here is a fact, and unless we can agree on the basic facts, it’s going to be an even rougher road going forward.

Quick Hits – A Listening Session?

When I said the City of Elgin, Illinois, was approaching the inevitable reinstatement of police Lieutenant Chris Jensen like it was a bad SNL Stuart Smalley skit, I thought I was joking, but it turns out I was prescient.

A listening session? What’s next? A spa day?

If I was the conspiratorial type, I’d swear there has to be some Elgin city staffer who simply sits around thinking, “How can I give Jeff Ward another easy 800 words this week?” If that person really does exist, I want to thank them for coming up with “a listening session.”

What’s next? A group hug?

Clements Jensen

Yes! In an effort to further humiliate and waste yet more Elgin Police Department command staff time, this time, the City held a Saturday listening session at Elgin Community College in which Chief Ana Lalley, Commander Colin Fleury, City Manager Rick Kozal, and Community Engagement Specialist Bob Whitt listened to the same 25 people say the same thing about the Decynthia Clements shooting – unimpeded – for two bleepin’ long hours.

That has to be the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Of course, 95 percent of the speakers, including the same tired pastors who have no clue what it means to be Christian, rambled on endlessly about how, despite the lack of any quantifiable legal justification, Lt. Chris Jensen should be fired just because they think he should be fired.

“Consultant” Craig Mallett told reporters “Listening sessions allow the healing process to begin.” Perhaps if we were talking about Ferguson, Missouri, where racial tensions simmered for decades, he might be right, but it’s only making the Elgin situation so much worse.

Despite what some overly vocal “activists” would have you believe, Elgin, a city where Caucasians are the minority, does pretty well in the race relations regard. That’s why only 25 people showed up to “a listening session.”

What’s next? A slumber party?

Per the previously discussed late NFL coach Bill Walsh’s postulate, all these insipidly eternal forums do is provide the anti-Jensen folk with the kind of megaphone that belies their miniscule numbers as the press picks up their negative narrative up – again – allowing them to “infect” the 80 percent of residents who are generally happy with the City.

This utter lack of any leadership whatsoever is beyond astounding.

Mallette acknowledged the “community fatigue” over the shooting debate, but added that “the session was a valuable tool in the process of figuring out what community themes, such as questions around racism, implicit bias, police legitimacy and justice, city official need to address moving forward.”

Every time I try to picture Mr. Mallette, all is see is a guy in blue cardigan sweater with a silly blond toupee repeating “I’m good enough, smart enough, and doggone it! People like me!” The only value this charade added was to his firm’s bottom line.

Did I mention that only 25 people showed up?

They probably shouldn’t have bothered to rent an entire auditorium. How “valuable” can yet another whining assembly be when just .02 percent of the Elgin Populace shows up, and most of those were Ms. Clements’ family and local pastors?

So, it’s official! Elgin has finally become the equivalent an overindulgent Geneva, Illinois, toddler parent who gives their kid everything they want in an effort to become their best friend. Then they have the nerve to wonder why the temper tantrums only get worse.

The only one who’s shown any cojones in this regard is former Police Chief Jeff Swoboda who personally met with protestors in front of the police station days after the shooting. That simple act did more to resolve the situation than anything since.

But Elgin continues to undo all that good will and the level of City Hall incompetence surrounding the eternal Jensen saga is truly terrifying. Trust me, I will be issuing a FOIA request shortly to determine how much money the City has already wasted on this latest “consulting firm.”

You’d think they would’ve sworn off that kind of thing after the diversity debacles.

Chief Lalley! If you haven’t already, please start that job search. No gig is worth having to deal with this kind of relentless bovine manure.

Meanwhile, I’ll say it again! Three separate independent agencies concluded that Lt. Jensen committed no criminal act and violated no major EPD policy. That means he’s coming back, end of story. And if Elgin continues to attempt to placate a minority of residents who refuse to be placated, the next racial incident – and there will be a next one in a city that size – will make this one look like an early autumn stroll in Wing Park.

A “listening session?” What’s next? Karaoke night?


Save the Date Part II

I have to say, it was somewhat strange being in a courtroom and not being the defendant. I suppose I’ll have get used to it. But here’s how the lawsuit against the Kane County State’s Attorney will play out:

October 21    – Opposing counsel submits his brief

November 4 – I submit my response to that brief, if I choose to do so

November 6 – The hearing (bench trial) at 1 p.m. in courtroom 116 in Yorkville, Illinois

To clarify a previous misstatement, attorney Pat Kinnally is not defending this lawsuit as a partner in his law firm. Much like it was when he was the Kane County Board’s attorney, He’s been sworn in as a deputy assistant states attorney and is essentially handling this case on his own.

My contention that it was being handled by an outside attorney stands, but if I gave the impression that the KCSAO hired his law firm, that would be inaccurate.

Quick Hits – A Farewell to Logic and Critical Thinking – Part 2

In part one, we applied a detailed analytical process to determine that the 75-year-old Lake County homeowner who confronted, shot at, and killed one of six Chicago teens as they approached his rural home at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning clearly acted in self-defense.

My overarching contention was other journalists, and particularly Chicago Tribune columnists Dahleen Glanton and Eric Zorn, are not only applying their own stilted political agendas, but their expectations of a senior citizen who just got out of bed to find himself outnumbered six-to-one are patently absurd.

Please also recall that, since that 14-year-old died during the commission of a felony, as Illinois law allows, the five surviving teens were charged as adults with first-degree murder. Barring some sort of plea deal, they’re looking at 20 years to life.

Lake County Teens

But just when you think my press compatriots couldn’t possibly get any worse, while the homeowner has been subjected to the most massive scrutiny, the teenagers who drove over a hundred miles in a stolen car to steal another one are generally being rehabilitated.

Before we continue, let me be perfectly clear that neither previous charges, being a drug addict, a mental illness, nor the act of committing a crime automatically render anyone’s life forfeit. A Memphis, Tennessee, grocery store clerk was just convicted of second-degree murder for shooting a 17-year-old in the back as fled with a $2 can of beer. Now he’s looking at 15 to 60 years in the pen.

I also want to acknowledge that none of those factors entered into the equation that fateful Tuesday morning. The homeowner had no clue who he was dealing with, so, in that regard, these kids’ lengthy criminal histories is utterly immaterial.

But if we’re gonna view every last nanosecond of the homeowner’s response through a vast journalistic hindsight electron microscope, then those criminal histories are fair game, too. As an attorney would say, “It goes to motive.”

What bothers me is I’ve only read one news report that mentions those rap sheets. Part of the issue might be that five of the six teens are juveniles, but they admitted they were in Lake County to commit burglaries and steal cars, something they’d certainly done before. Even the mother of the slain teen said she let her son stay with his cousins despite knowing they had an affinity for other peoples’ vehicles.

So, they certainly weren’t at that house to ask for directions, and they clearly understood the risk involved because they were armed with at least one rather large knife. And they were ready to use that knife, too. I’m convinced they would’ve killed what they considered to be an easy mark if our senior citizen wasn’t armed. They clearly had no intention of fleeing until the shots were fired.

You see, if the homeowner’s intent matters, then those teens ill intent matters, too. But for some strange reason the Tribune, and particularly Glanton, believe they deserve some sort of unearned absolution simply for being young minorities.

Let’s not forget that those “children” also led the police on a 120-mph high speed chase only stopping when they ran out of gas, something Glanton likes to completely gloss over

And speaking of parents, where were the bleep were they? The mother of the deceased claimed she was “overprotective” and never let her son go anywhere, but the evidence proves otherwise. I know it’s beyond tough being a single mother, especially for minorities, but most mothers manage to keep their children from roaming the Collar Counties at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in a stolen vehicle.

In the end, if those “children” weren’t out in Lake County at that ungodly hour, then one wouldn’t be dead and five more wouldn’t be sitting in jail on $1 million bond. But because they’re minorities those parents get a free pass, but not the homeowner whose life was clearly threatened?

Of course, as is par for the course, those families are now self-righteously extolling the vast virtue of these sainted teens and the press just laps it up and prints it. When did journalism become propaganda? On second thought, don’t answer that question, it would be far too depressing.

Given their histories, I’m quite happy they’re sitting in jail, which would not have been the case without the murder charges. Then they’d simply be stealing more cars as we speak. And I have no problem with those charges, either. The bottom line is, if it weren’t for their collective actions, a 14-year-old would still be alive.

As we’ve already discussed, this tragic outcome was not entirely unpredictable.

But while I’m good with the charges and I would encourage Illinois lawmakers to resist the pressure to repeal the forced felony law, I do have a problem with the sentencing. In this case twenty years to life is a lot like trying to put out a match with a firehose.

Since everyone is inherently redeemable, five to ten on the forced felony would be a far more equitable sentence.

We consistently mourn how the impending death of local journalism is going to have some serious consequences, not the least of which is more misbehaving public officials. But if this news story is truly indicative of where the mainstream press is going, then let the death throes commence!


Save the date!

Monday, August 26 at 1 p.m. in courtroom 110 at the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street in Geneva, I will make my civil litigatory debut in my lawsuit against the Kane County State’s Attorney.

Please don’t get too excited, it’s just a status hearing, but it is the only time any part of this case will be heard in Kane County. After that, it’ll be off to Yorkville. Feel free to stop by and observe if you see fit.

Quick Hits – A Farewell to Logic and Critical Thinking

Where’s Mr. Spock when you really need him? Logic and critical thinking suddenly seem to be our most endangered species. What makes this round of rejecting reality and substituting your own particularly pernicious is even journalists are ignoring the facts and twisting news stories to suit their particular political agenda.

And there’s no better example of this alarming trend than the controversy surrounding the 75-year-old Lake County resident who confronted, shot at, and killed one of six Chicago teens as they approached his home at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

Since a 14-year-old died during the commission of a forcible felony, as Illinois law stipulates, the five surviving teens were charged with first-degree murder.

Lake County

The problem starts with Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton who clearly believes being a minority means never having to say you’re sorry. She’s the “journalist” who actually got away with saying that gay bigotry doesn’t nearly amount to the intolerance directed at black folks.

Can you imagine the nuclear winter that would’ve ensued had a gay white male columnist claimed the converse? But just like Donald Trump, Ms. Glanton has an agenda and she’s willing to “adjust” the facts whenever it suits her narrative.

To add insult to injury, the Trib’s Eric Zorn, from the comfort and safety of his Stetson Avenue office, unilaterally declared the shooting wasn’t justified because the youths were at least 40 feet away from the homeowner at the time.

Yes! Because that’s the justifiable homicide standard. Though I can’t get too crazy about that contention, because as my sainted mother would say, “consider the source!”

So, before it permanently fades, let’s dispense with the emotion and apply a little logic and critical thinking to this sad tale:

1. You could be killed crossing the street

Life is the definition of risk, but certain acts carry considerably more of it than others. Even if I’m not really paying attention, I’ll survive crossing the street in my sleepy subdivision 999 times out of 1,000. But just one errant trip across Randall Road and it probably won’t end very well for me.

To wit, if you show up on private property in a rural Collar County neighborhood at 1 in the morning with criminal intent, the risk of being shot and killed is far greater than if you were at home in bed. Put more simply, it’s not an entirely unpredictable outcome.


2. The burden IS NOT and SHOULD NEVER BE on the homeowner

Because it would be beyond insane to do so. How in the bleep is a civilian supposed to accurately assess and determine the direction of the kind of split-second potentially life-threatening situation that gives law enforcement officers fits?

Do any of y’all remember the movie “Glory” with Matthew Broderick? It’s the story of the Union Colonel who led the first all-black volunteer company in the Civil War. One of the recruits turns out to be quite the marksman, but when Broderick tells the man to continue loading his musket and shooting while he fires his pistol into the air, the soldier can’t do it.

Monday morning quarterbacking is bad enough in the NFL, but it’s downright shameful when someone’s life may well have been at stake.


3. They were 40 feet away from his front door

I’m 61 and I can cover 40 feet in under two seconds. That’s not a lot of time to make a decision when confronted with six potential attackers. Eric Zorn is an idiot.


4. The homeowner had no clue about their intent

Were they there to commit a burglary, steal a car, or to perpetrate a home invasion? The only reason we know the answer to that question is the teens told investigators AFTER they were apprehended. But the 75-year-old homeowner had no idea what they were up to, and so far, I’m the only journalist in Illinois to make that distinction.

Again, the unrealistic expectations thrust upon a 75-year-old man who was woken up by a commotion in front of his house at 1 a.m. only to be confronted by six teenagers are nothing less than mind boggling.


5. He should’ve locked the door and called the police

Some of you really don’t have two brain cells to rub together, do you?

Given the similarities between Lake and Kane Counties, let’s use Kane as an example. Though technically responsible for all 524 square miles, Sheriff Ron Hain’s seven deputy patrol shifts are tasked with covering 311 unincorporated square miles.

Do the math and that means each car covers a 44 square mile area. To put that in perspective, the City of Geneva, Illinois, deploys six patrol car shifts for a mere ten square miles of territory. That’s why it took Lake County deputies ten minutes to get to the scene after the homeowner dialed 911 to report the confrontation.

Please note that this is not a knock against local Sheriffs. They can only do what their budgets allow.

I’m sure it doesn’t take much imagination to consider the amount of damage six teenagers – at least one armed with a Bowie knife – could do in ten minutes. This is yet another blatantly unreasonable expectation of a 75-year-old man.


6. They didn’t retreat

That’s the real crux here. Whether the homeowner had a gun or not, the second those teens were confronted, they should’ve run. And had they fled, that 14-year-old would be alive today. But we know they advanced towards the house because the resulting bullet wound was in the front of the teen’s head and not the back.

And what’s really telling is, once they retreated, the shooting stopped. If the homeowner shot one of the teens while fleeing, it would be an entirely different story.

We’ll continue this analysis on Friday.

Quick Hits – August 19, 2019

I apologize for my tardiness, but in the pantheon of slouching towards my 61st birthday, I spent 1.5 hours at the Doc’s today only to discover that falling arches are causing me great foot pain. Apparently, years of going barefoot have finally caught up with me. I’m ordering the orthotics now!

But I digress, here’s Quick Hits:


Gimme a dolla!

If you have to beg for a Facebook dollar to meet the Democratic National Committee’s 130,000 unique donor September debate qualifier minimum, that doesn’t make you a presidential candidate, it makes you just another overly aggressive panhandler.

Why, Ms. Gillibrand is so desperate, she’s resorted to giving away a free t-shirt with every dollar donation. That’s sounds a lot more like a radio promotion than a campaign for the highest office in the land. You’d think some of these folks would have a little more self-respect.

On the other hand, if you need something to wash your Prius, it might be worth your while.

My good friend Paul Stukel managed to convince me that, after a couple of debates, this absurd Democratic field would winnow itself down by financial attrition. But with only Hickenlooper, Swalwell, and Steyer dropping out, Paul clearly underestimated the Democratic capacity to create castles in the sky and then move right into them.

Isn’t that the definition of psychosis? Where’s Nurse Ratched when you really need her?

Dem Field 2

So, since I’m truly tired of seeing all a your not-so-gleaming visages on FB, I’m unilaterally declaring the following candidates to be out of the race:

Buttigieg         5.2 percent

O’Rourke         2.8

Booker             2.0

Yang                 1.5

Klobuchar       1.3

Gabbard          1.0

Castro              1.0

Williamson     0.8

And the fact that Gillibrand, Bennett, de Blasio, Bullock, Delaney, Inslee, Messam, Moulton, Ryan, and Sestak don’t even register in the polls evinces a complete lack of any capacity to cope with reality.

Those welcome exits would just leave Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris – a much more manageable field.

Now, I thought, how difficult could it possibly be to hit 2 percent in the polls and con 130,000 American nitwits into coughing up a dollar. But perhaps the DNC was onto something, because right now, only nine contenders are gonna make that September cut.

So, please kindly refrain from giving a dollar to candidates who have absolutely no shot. This ridiculous gaggle only serves to make Donald Trump look semi-reasonable and that’s the last thing this country needs.


Barack Obama wasn’t liberal enough?

Yes! That was one of Corey Booker’s most recent debate declarations and the rest of e’m immediately piled on as they attacked Joe Biden for the Obama administration’s record illegal immigrant deportation rate.

Oh, holy mother of Pearl Jam!

I’ll say it again! Yes! That’s exactly how you get that Iowa farmer who’s looking down a double-barreled Trump trade war and that West Virginia coal miner who finally realizes he lied to him to vote Democratic.

Obama Meme

But then, Uncle Joe, the only one who can beat Trump, just had to resort to into his well-worn propensity to make it up as he goes along. First, he said “poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids” which is kind of like saying some of my best friends are black. Then he topped that off by claiming, as VP, he visited with survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain the problem with that timing.

To make matters so much worse, in light of all the Jeffrey Esptein revelations and his sudden jail “suicide,” after having forgiven him, Democrats have decided to start re-attacking Bill Clinton’s legacy which is exactly the kind of thing you want to do right before a huge presidential election.

I said it before Bill Maher did! All the Democrats have to do is prove they’re saner than a man who lies with alarming frequency while giving himself fictitious awards and 2020 will be theirs.

But no! They can’t even handle an eminently simple task like that. No wonder the Democratic party symbol is a jackass.


Apparently, the Elgin Dems are trying to catch up to their Aurora brethren

If you thought the local Dems were somehow immune to their federal counterparts’ regular flights of fancy, you would be sadly mistaken. And the best proof of this theory is that Kane County Board member Penny Wegman is seriously considering a run for county auditor.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Ms. Wegman’s current gig as a student loan officer, but call me crazy, I’d kinda like someone with an accounting degree to be going over those books. Being auditor doesn’t require a stellar personality or a great deal of political perspicuity, but beyond the roll call, I’ve never heard Ms. Wegman say the kind of board meeting word that would inspire a minimal amount of confidence.

Not only does she come from a staunch Republican family, which makes her sudden Democratic affiliation beyond disingenuous, but until I chided her for it, her board meeting attire made her look a lot like someone who actually would ask you for a dollar on the street.

Penny Wegman

Current Auditor Terry Hunt’s open support of Donald Trump greatly disappoints me, but even if he wore a Nazi officer’s uniform to work every day, that wouldn’t be enough to get me to vote for Ms. Wegman. He is an excellent Auditor.

But make no mistake, Wegman running for Auditor and Board member Theresa Barriero running for Circuit Clerk is a clear sign that those Republican chickens are coming home to roost. Forget about denouncing the President, as Republicans should’ve done long ago, but their outright or implicit support of him is going to cost them dearly in 2020.

Those suddenly emboldened Kane County Dems watched pathological liar Mike Noland beat Tom Hartwell in a 2018 judicial race while Board member Mo Iqbal, a perennial candidate who’s had just one good idea in his entire life, beat Kurt Kojzarek. Since the anti-Trump backlash will be even more pronounced next year, the Dems think they can win anything.

Could Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell and Hunt lose? Not if they apply their more than reasonable campaign skills. But instead of having no challenger, they’re both about to face off against challengers who’ve actually won a race or two. And that means knocking on more than 10,000 doors and spending at least 50 grand on a campaign to keep a $100,000 a year job.

Since neither one is capable of raising that kind of cash, it makes this a very expensive lesson.

Quick Hits – August 16, 2019

It appears as if Friday is becoming our tie-up-loose-ends day, so let’s continue with that reasonable motif!


Pro se plaintiffs get no love!

It has come to my attention that more than one you bleeps refuse to believe that I’m doing my own legal work. Why, some scurrilous cads even went as far as accusing me of having a legal ghost writer.

Silly people! Attorneys don’t do shit for free!

It may be true that most of my friends are attorneys and I frequently rely on their sage counsel, but from the FOIA appeal letter right on down to my recent motion in that lawsuit against the Kane County State’s Attorney, I am the sole author of every one of those documents.

Courtroom KC

Did I discuss my proposed appeal to overturn the KCSAO FOIA denial of 255 pages of sexual harassment complaints against just one former prosecutor with attorney Jeff Meyer? Of course I did! I do the same thing with the occasional column contention, too. Did the same Mr. Meyer add one paragraph to that three-page argument? Yes, he did!

Since I only play an attorney on TV, it’s nice to have someone who’s fluent in citing precedent. If you re-read that Attorney General appeal letter, I’d be willing to bet that you could pick out that single paragraph as our writing styles are materially different.

But the rest is all Jeff Ward, as is the complaint itself.

Once provided with a FOIA denial lawsuit template, it wasn’t very difficult to adapt it to my purposes. Sure! It took about a day and a half to get a handle on the build-a-foundation and step-by-step legal writing style, but it certainly ain’t rocket science.

Have you seen most Kane County attorneys work?

And the cool thing is, whether it’s a complaint, a motion, or any other court contention, they all follow an identical format.

Once the complaint was complete, a paralegal friend found a few typos and an attorney made two small additions/corrections. So, now I know that “supra” is the lawyer equivalent of “ditto.” I guess that’s what they go to law school for.

The motion to move things along proved to be a little more challenging because there was no specific example out there. But with Mr. Meyer kindly providing a five-sentence outline of the appropriate line of legal logic, that took a mere 30 minutes.

But the best argument in defense of my new-found jurisprudential capacities is that, with one notable exception, I’ve never met an attorney who can write, but I can! Oh! They can put words on paper, but owning a pen certainly doesn’t make you a writer.

I’d further stipulate that, aside from the vast pay disparity, the opinion columnist’s and attorney’s job descriptions are virtually the same. Through an argument built on a solid evidentiary foundation, we do our damndest to persuade our target audience to embrace our point of view.

With me, it’s the rabble, while an attorney has to convince a judge or jury.

Lastly, when it’s time to make our case before Kendall County Judge Melissa Barnhart, I’ll be the one standing at the plaintiff’s podium. And that argument is just about ready to go.

Though it’s somewhat infuriating, in the end, it’s quite a compliment that so many Kane County attorneys refuse to believe that I could produce those documents. Who needs law school?


The Sheriff and I settled!

Now that I’m down to one lawsuit, I’m not quite sure what I’m gonna do with myself!

Though we were already close, what spurred Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain and I to come to terms through a series of texts (who needs attorneys?) was Chief Judge Susan Clancy-Boles’ propensity to move any case involving yours truly out of Kane County.

Even if that weren’t the case, the 16th Circuit wasn’t about to hear a lawsuit between a journalist and a sitting Sheriff. Neither Ron nor I were looking forward to traveling to Kendall, DeKalb or DuPage County for the plethora of appearances a civil case demands, either.

But the point I really want to make is, throughout the negotiation process, not only were Ron and I civil, but we remained and still are very good friends. In the grand scheme of things, a dispute over campaign management fees is nothing to get completely bent out of shape about. We simply followed the general rules for resolving a financial disagreement and it worked out exactly as it should have.

I told Ron I only wanted to nail him when he deserved it, and given past history, I’m convinced he’ll provide me with me with plenty of opportunities to do so. And he agreed! In fact, if attorney Jeff Meyer could type opposing counsel’s email address correctly, this issue would’ve been resolved a couple of weeks ago. Goddam attorneys!

All kidding aside, I want to thank Mr. Meyer for so deftly handling this issue, Tim McLean of Clingen, Callow and McLean for understanding this wasn’t an MMA cage match, and Shaw Media for their even-handed coverage of the story.

As my crazy mother used to say, “Onward and upward!”


Quick Hits – Women Ruin Everything!

It’s true! Women are generally mean and spiteful creatures who, like vampires, love to suck the fun out of absolutely everything. I’m convinced it’s an evolutionary adaptation such that, after they temporarily sublimate those tendencies just long enough to woo us into marriage with their feminine wiles, they immediately commence to making our lives so miserable we wouldn’t even consider a furtive glance at another female.

What man could possibly cope with the unbridled “joy” of having two women in their lives?

The irony of course is, after they fatten us up and wear us down with years of mental torture and fashion advice, unhappy with their handiwork, they leave us for the Neanderthal they just met at Jiffy Lube who treats them like absolute crap.

Then it’s rinse, lather, and repeat!

Why am I going off on this too typical Jeff Ward rant, you ask? Because the Chicago Tribune just ran another insipid female-superheroes-are-sexist-skanks article authored by Naomi Darom, a doctoral student in sociology and gender at Northeastern University in Boston.

I should’ve known!

Only someone who’s spent the better part of their lives on an ultra-liberal east coast college campus, where they create fictitious realities like “microaggressions” and “cultural appropriation,” could actually believe that female superheroes are a social threat.

C’mon! A Ph.D. in “sociology and gender?” She’s gotta be making that up. I’d hate to see that ridiculous student loan balance.

With the caveat that she has eyes for Chris Evans’ Captain America, Ms. Darom postulates that while the Hulk is big and green, the Thing is “basically a pile of rocks,” and Thor completely let himself go in ‘Avengers Endgame,’ all the hot, “double-D” superheroines must have had at least two ribs removed to have waists like that.

She cites Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow), and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) as examples of this dastardly double standard.

Like I said, women ruin everything.

Black Widow

To be fair, I’m not sure why Supergirl has to wear a micro mini-skirt, Black Widow needs a pushup bra, or Zoe Saldana requires a skin-tight outfit. Perhaps it’s to distract the bad guys while they kick their asses.

But don’t tell me that every last one of you women don’t wonder exactly what’s in the Hulk’s pants as you lament whatever laws of comic book physics permit them to expand while his shirt completely vaporizes. And, trust me, if a shirtless Chris Hemsworth comes on the silver screen, my wife wouldn’t take the time to spit on me if I was on fire.

But here’s what Ms. Darom, and most women, completely fail to understand.

My favorite day of the week is Wednesday. No! It’s not because it’s Prince Spaghetti day, it’s because it’s new comic book release day. And as soon as I complete this column, I’ll eagerly head over to Graham Crackers Comics in St. Charles, Illinois, (Bricher and Randall) to pick up this week’s offerings.

But my unmitigated Wednesday glee involves much more than just the latest ‘Batman Detective’ issue. I look forward to talking about the plotlines with Dan, Sean, Sam and any fellow customer who might happen to be hanging around the counter at the time.

It’s kind of a like an alcohol-less Cheers where everybody knows your name. And just like they did on that vaunted TV show, we tend talk about stupid stuff like what’s the sweatiest gladiator movie. Our latest deliberations involve how the eyes on the full-size Brie Larson cardboard cutout eerily seem to follow you around the store.

Who knew a 5-foot, 7-inch woman could be so scary?

But while the comic book clientele isn’t quite as over-the-top as ‘The Big Bang Theory’ would have you believe, it’s not that far off, either. I know I’m gorgeous, but let’s just say that most of those men probably don’t get a lot of feminine attention – no double standard there, right ladies? And I’m still somewhat surprised whenever a woman walks into that store without children.

So, when someone like Ms. Darom starts bitching about unrealistic female superheroes, it inevitably comes off as some ivory towered bleep trying to take away one of the last bastions of collective male absurdity. Isn’t having to endure female sportscasters bad enough? (With the clear exception of Kelly Crull.)

And while we’re at it, why don’t we talk about romance novel covers! We certainly don’t buy that stuff. They’re emblazoned with ridiculously rippled men with long flowing manes who passionately gaze at their women in the most awkward embraces imaginable. First, you’d think they’d made men’s shirts illegal in the romance novel world, and second, if I bent my wife over backwards to kiss her like that, I’d be looking at a double hernia operation.

Why don’t those publishers portray something much more realistic like Fabio getting smacked in the face by a goose on a rollercoaster ride?  (Yes! That actually happened!)

The bottom line is, not everything has to involve social justice. I’d simply ask Ms. Darom to tell her daughter that most women don’t look like a digitally enhanced Ms. Johannson, just as most men don’t nearly resemble Mr. Evans. Just enjoy the bleepin’ movie!

Problem solved!

Meanwhile, my male compatriots and I will be more than happy to let you have your book clubs, bridal showers, and spa dates, but we’re gonna keep our female superhero fantasies because female superheroes are just that, fantasies!

God! It’s hard to be a liberal these days!

Quick Hits – August 12, 2019

Our local political system is prone to a couple of quirks that really annoy me in that they fail to bring balance to the electoral force. Since an example of both events has recently come to pass, I thought it was time to have a discussion about them!


Teacher’s unions shouldn’t be allowed to support school board candidates

This phenomenon reared its ugly head is the 2019 Geneva D304 school board race where the Geneva Education Association poured $12,500 into their three handpicked candidates’ campaigns. That backing came primarily in the form of mailers featuring the entire slate.

The only reason one of the union-backed candidates lost is board incumbent Mike McCormick matched the GEA’s effort by pouring almost $9,000 of his own money into three separate mailers.


The problem is, McCormick, the managing partner of a LaSalle Street law firm, is the exception that proves the rule. He’s that rare school board candidate who can count on virtually unlimited financial resources, while most will spend no more than two grand on a campaign, if that!

Yes! I understand unions pump all sorts of money into countywide and state rep/senate races, but that cash tends to be offset by competing financial interests that generally don’t weigh in on the school board level.

But more importantly, while that labor money is vastly diluted in a 200,000-voter county or 100,000-voter state senate district, it wields a singularly disproportionate effect in a meager 3,500 voter school district.

Then there’s the irony of the taxpayer covering teachers’ salaries, only to have that money turned against them in the form of union dues.

To be clear! I spoke with Ken Menzel, Lead Counsel of the Illinois State Board of elections and the GEA was well within their right to put their money where their mouth is. But the fact that something’s legal doesn’t it right.

If you recall our most recent First Ward theme, politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. So, I would warn the GEA that if they continue to subvert the process this way, some group or wealthy individual will eventually rush in to level the playing field, or perhaps even tilt it against them.

Should they require my assistance, I’m already planning on supporting the three best non-union backed candidates in 2021 with cash and campaign management.


Should those who lose judicial elections subsequently be appointed judge?

Now, I’m not nearly as adamant as one of my regular readers who firmly believes that associate judges who lose a circuit election should resign their position. Since, all associate judges are appointed, I don’t see any problem with the runner up retaining their seat.

To wit, Associate Judge Marmarie Kostelny lost to D. J. Tegeler in 2014, but she currently presides over Kane County Drug Court, and from what I hear, she’s doing a good job.

For the electoral novice, circuit judges are those who, at some point, had to win a countywide or districtwide election. Then they run for retention every six years. Meanwhile, associate judges are appointed by the circuit judges, they serve at their behest, they make a little less money, and they are on call some evenings and weekends.

The bottom line is, most associate judges want to move up to the circuit level for the perks and job security. As we’ve previously discussed, it’s virtually impossible to remove a sitting circuit judge.

To be fair, appointments aren’t uncommon at any political level. If an elected official steps down with less than half their term remaining, someone will be appointed to finish it. But those appointments happen with a far greater frequently in the circuit court realm.

To wit, Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood lost her 2018 circuit run only to be appointed to fill Judge Bob Spence’s seat when he retires to run for Kane County State’s Attorney in October. And Spence himself was appointed after he lost his first 16th Circuit judicial race.


Judge Elizabeth Flood

Spence did win his race (it’s much easier to win when you’re the incumbent), and Flood will have to repeat that feat in 2020. But when you consider her abysmal 2018 campaign, she’s bound to have some real competition, and if she loses this race, she’s out of a job – unless she gets appointed again.

But what really bothers me about this judicial process is, though it’s not the case with Spence and Flood, the timing of these retirement is often suspicious. Circuit judges tend to step down in such a way that provides a protégé with a leg up.

For example, former Kane County Judge David Akemann retired at the last minute which greatly shortened the potential campaign season giving his chosen candidate the opportunity to prepare their ground game months before anyone was aware of the vacancy.

But that potential candidate couldn’t keep their mouth shut and everyone knew about the plan and prepared accordingly. Former Elgin State Senator Michael Noland eventually won that seat in 2018.

And speaking of the bizarre Mr. Noland, there is another irony here.

Though he was appointed, Spence turned out to be a stellar judge. Flood, who now has been appointed both associate and circuit judge, has her moments, but where she truly excels is in the comportment department, something you can’t say about most 16th Circuit judges.

Meanwhile, Noland and Judge John Dalton, both elected, are horrific judges generally loathed by their counterparts as indicated by their abysmally low peer ratings.

So, while I’m not too fond of this process, my fear is, as judicial races become more and more politicized, the rabble will continue to elect idiots, something that seems to be their specialty.

I’m gonna have to think about it for awhile – and I’m open to suggestions – but there’s gotta be a better way of choosing the men and women in black.

The Last Day of Summer Vacation!

With my wife heading back to East Aurora this morning and most of the rest of y’all starting school next week, I thought it would be appropriate to bring out what may well be my favorite piece of prose.

The late, great Pulitzer Prize winning Chicago columnist Mike Royko penned this passage as his beloved Daily News was about to go belly up.


I too, adored summer vacation with all the sports, friends, and miniature wargame battles. I’m not a very nostalgic person, but those summer vacations are still some of the best memories of my life. And as someone who absolutely abhorred the specter on an impending school year, I still get goosebumps whenever I read this passage:

When I was a kid, the worst of all days was the last day of summer vacation, and we were in the schoolyard playing softball, and the sun was down and it was getting dark. But I didn’t want it to get dark. I didn’t want the game to end. It was too good, too much fun. I wanted it to stay light forever, so we could keep on playing forever, so the game would go on and on.

That’s how I feel now. C’mon, c’mon. Let’s play one more inning. One more time at bat. One more pitch. Just one? Stick around, guys. We can’t break up this team. It’s too much fun.

But the sun always went down. And now it’s almost dark again.