Quick Hits – Do snitches really get stitches?

At a time when it’s generally dying, some enterprising entrepreneur really oughtta revive the reality show genre with ‘The Real City Councilmen of Chicago, Illinois.” Can you imagine the cameras following that captivating “cast” virtually everywhere they go – including those sacrosanct City Hall lavatories? I guarantee it would be a ratings coup along the lines of that last ‘M.A.S.H.’ episode.

Of course, the star would be none other than 50-year alderman Ed Burke, who’s facing federal attempted extortion charges for doing his damndest to shake down a Burger King restaurateur. Please note I didn’t use the word “alleged” because it’s all on tape – the Alderman’s stern denial notwithstanding.

Please also note that, while his former peers and protégés are distancing themselves from him faster than Virginia Democrats can abandon Governor Ralph Northam’s rapidly sinking ship, none but the bravest city councilmen dare speak ill of the master.

Despite the recent damage done to both of them, the abject fear Burke and Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan strike into Illinois Democratic hearts has them continuing to toe the line.

And all reality shows need a generous dose of irony, too, right? Thanks to the once-powerful Chicago 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis, there’s plenty of that literary heavy metal to go around.

Image result for danny solis

You see, prior to Burke, the feds were listening into Solis’ cellphone conversations regarding receiving free sex acts, acquiring free Viagra to engage in those sex acts, free weekend use of an Indiana farm once owned by Oprah, and a slew of campaign contributions to ensure that zoning decisions went the contributors’ way.

At the time, the retiring Solis was Chairman of the influential City Council Zoning Committee.

But my favorite lines from those Solis conversations are, “I want to get a good massage, with a nice ending. Do you know any good places?”

First, I’m appalled that any God-fearing Chicago alderman had to ask that kind of question. Hasn’t he been paying attention? If you want a “nice” ending, simply avail yourself of any massage establishment that:

  1. Bears an Asian name
  2. Perpetually obstructs their windows
  3. Requires clients to be buzzed in
  4. Is open till two in the morning

And second, I would’ve fiercely fought the FBI on that one! My rebuttal would’ve gone something like this:

But my fine federal friends! Please note that I asked for a “nice” and not a “happy” ending. Of course, I know what a “happy” ending is, and I would never sully the Second City’s sterling civic reputation in that egregious manner. Never! A “nice” ending is one in which the fully licensed – and fully clothed – massage therapist gives you a gentle peck on the cheek!

I’m thinking the FBI would’ve bought it too, because no self-respecting Chicago City Councilman would be reckless enough to make that kind of salacious suggestion on a cellphone.

Caught with his pants down, Solis folded like a cheap suit, and even before the search warrants could be served, he turned on Burke like Donald Trump on one of his Intelligence chiefs. In short, he cooperated with the feds for two long years in which he recorded all sorts of conversations with his tall silver-haired compatriot.

And there’s no indication that Burke was the only one he taped, either.

But while Burke has, so far, has circumvented his cronies’ public condemnation, Solis has not nearly been as fortunate. It’s not that they’re aghast at his sexual or financial proclivities. Oh, no! They’re perturbed that he had the precipitancy to turn snitch.

It’s just more reality show gold!

A plurality of his council compatriots indignantly pounded their fists on the table as they declared, “We’re a family! And families don’t do this to each other!” They’ve never watched an episode of ‘Cops,’ have they? And if by “family” they mean the Kardashians, Gosselins, Addams, or my calamitous clan, then they might be onto something.

Sixth Ward Alderman Rod Sawyer said Solis NEVER should’ve have cooperated adding:

You would like to think someone would just take their punishment like they should take their punishment and not try to spread it to other people. It could be entrapment. It could be ensnaring somebody in something they would not normally do.

Apparently, the good alderman hasn’t been paying attention because ratting out your peers to save your own political posterior is as Chicago as the Cubs, the Bean, Buckingham Fountain, and weekend homicides.

Nineteenth Ward Alderman, Matt O’Shea, went a wee bit further! “Where I come from, if you wear a wire someone’s going to kick your ass.” Now, that’s s a statement I would expect from a certain brand of “family,” but it would probably be Italian and not Irish.

O’Shea later apologized, claiming he didn’t realize he was speaking out loud and not simply thinking it. Well…that may be what he meant, but what he actually told the Chicago Tribune was his statement was “An ill-advised and poorly timed attempt at humor.”

I don’t know about you, but considering that infamous ‘Goodfellas’ scene, I’m not gonna be telling the Alderman he’s funny any time soon.

An anonymous councilman said this:

The City Council is so scary right now. Because anytime you have a colleague selling you up the river — if people are trying to set you up, you could say something in passing and it gets taken as the basis for something illegal.”

“Sell you up the river?” Are we talking about a governing body here or an episode of ‘The Sopranos?

No! That’s not the way it works. Simply referring to an illegal act isn’t illegal. It’s when you’ve committed the act and you start talking about it on tape that your problems tend to start. It’s not as if Burke and Solis were beating around the bush – well maybe Solis was, but that’s up to the feds to determine.

Furthermore, while they were bitching about snitching, not a single one of ‘em said, “I haven’t done anything wrong, so I have nothing to worry about!”

Clearly, there’s a whole bunch of City Councilmen doing their damdest to recount every conversation they’ve had with Solis over the past two years. Again! It’s reality show gold! They could even bring in a professional hypnotist.

As for that esteemed body being a little more worried about fair and ethical government and a lot less worried about snitches, let’s harken back to something the late, great Mike Royko wrote in his December 21, 1976 column:

On the other hand, there were financial vices. And if somebody in City Hall saw a chance to make a fast bundle or two, [Richard J.] Daley wasn’t given to preaching. His advice amounted to: ‘Don’t get caught.’

But that’s Chicago, too. The question has never been how you made it, but if you made it. This town was built by great men who demanded that drunkards and harlots be arrested, while charging them rent until the cops arrived.

I don’t know about you, but I’m somewhat heartened that some Chicago traditions never go out of style! Pizza for example!

The late Paddy Bauler notwithstanding, it would behoove our illustrious aldermen to remember something comedian D. L. Hughley once said, “Snitches don’t get stitches, they get immunity from prosecution. Snitches come home for Christmas.”

Danny Solis ain’t under indictment, is he?

Quick Hits – February 1, 2019

There aren’t many thrilling topics to cover today, so I thought I’d catch up on a few minor things.

Small boards should be appointed

Look! I understand why Aurora State Rep Stephanie Kifowit drafted legislation that would convert the Aurora Library Board from an appointed to elected body. Not only is it in line with our representative democracy mien, but it might just help mitigate kerfuffles like the recent row over the potential relocation of the West Library Branch.

Though I have to say it is kind of fascinating to see a local library issue rise to the top. That hasn’t happened in quite a while!


But despite our State Rep’s legislative heart being in the right place, there are a number of problems with her proposal, not the least of which are:

1. Illinois has almost 7,000 governing bodies and even the savviest voter can’t possibly apply the appropriate due diligence to all of them.

2. Because voters don’t pay attention to these low-level races, you tend to get way-out-on-the bell-curve candidates like Elgin’s Randy Hopp. Hopp managed to make it on the Gail Borden Library Board only to be banned from that building for verbally abusing the staff. And he’s running again.

3. These small board consolidated election races don’t draw enough candidates and those electoral positions wind up being appointed anyway.

4. The folks best suited for those non-paying small board seats generally don’t want to have to mount a campaign to do all that work for free. I know we want to avoid these patronage pitfalls, but I’m just fine with water reclamation, park, and library boards being appointed.

5. If these semi-invisible races don’t draw loons, they tend to attract the kind of people you’d find serving on a homeowner’s association board. They’re far more interested in self-aggrandizement and having any modicum of power than in serving the public.

And the bottom line is, when the public pressed the Aurora Library Board not to move that West Branch, that’s exactly what happened – it’s staying put. So, the process still works, and if it ain’t broke, let’s not fix it!


March on my female compatriots!

Conservatives’ reactions to the various January 19 women’s marches never failed to be amusing – especially those of conservative women. It’s almost as if they took it as a direct affront to their gender. And the responses of Geneva women to our Third Street march were particularly intriguing.

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Though the march clearly didn’t diminish them in the least, their proclamation generally ranged from “Don’t they have better things to do,” to “Why do they feel the need to march,” to “How dare they attack our President.”


While most folks can’t be bothered to drive to a polling place in a light drizzle, these 500 or so motivated women braved our worst winter storm to stake their claim to political power. I’m not sure you could call it a protest, but it certainly was a peaceful demonstration with nary a mention of Agent Orange.

And that kind of march speaks directly to the core of our democracy. If you recall, this nation was founded on some not-so-peaceful protests, as well.

What I want to know is, what’s wrong with carrying signs saying, “We march for human rights,” or “Be brave. Speak your truth!” or “We are not afraid!” Those certainly aren’t radical thoughts. I’ve been encouraging folks to get involved in the process for 12.5 long years and it’s kinda cool to watch it happen.

So, lighten up my traditionalist ladies! No one’s forcing you to march, adopt a liberal ideology, or burn your brassieres. It’s all good!


SUI? Please God no!

Before we start, please let me clearly stipulate that I love the Blue Goose grocery store and I love the Lencioni family, too. But when I read they were petitioning the St. Charles City Council to allow customers to indulge in a little wine or beer sipping as they strolled their aisles, I wanted to immediately avail myself of my favorite crawlspace hiding place.

Why, I haven’t been this terrified since Geneva proposed allowing alcohol at city council meetings. Oh wait! The Mayor already does that!

Because if I had to choose between standing buck naked in the middle of Randall Road and Route 38 during rush hour or enduring any grocery store at 1 p.m. on any weekend day while fully clothed, I’d choose the former without hesitation.

Whether it’s Meijer, Jewel, Target, Trader Joe’s, or Aldi, food shopping has become something similar to surviving a military obstacle course.

First you have the female shoppers who stop dead in the middle of the aisle to gab such that, to quote the great Gandalf the Grey, “You shall not pass.” Then there’s the folks who insist upon hitting you from behind with their cart, the ones that just can’t get a plastic bag off the roll, those that leave their cart unattended in the middle of the aisle, the shoppers who insist upon swerving and changing direction like a squirrel on speed, the ones that take two hours to pick the perfect plum, and my personal favorite, the parents who take great delight in foisting five of their ill-mannered and shrieking progeny on the rest of us.

Image result for wine drinking grocery store

Now, imagine adding alcohol to that incendiary mix and what could possibly go wrong with that?

Though, come to think of it, applying copious amounts of booze to the out-of-control children who just love to race those mini shopping carts around those tight Batavia Trader Joe’s confines might not be a bad idea. A shot of scotch should calm the little bleeps down!

You never know! Given the Batavia City Council’s generally strange proclivities, they just might go for it.

“You have the opportunity to earn customers’ understanding and respect, and to change how they see the experience of having a meal,” Blue Goose owner Paul Lencioni said. “It’s just looking for an opportunity to show elevated expertise and elevated cultural experiences.”

Personally, I think it will lead to baked goods aisle brawls, but perhaps I’m being a bit too cynical. Specialty grocers like Caputo’s, Mariano’s, and Whole Foods have already embraced this notion and they seem to have no problem with “shopping under the influence.”

So, why not! Perhaps if I get my wife sloshed enough, she’ll finally let me ride in the cart!

Quick Hits – Naperville can be quite fascinating!

Apparently, conservative Republicans love candidates who speak their minds until they say something they don’t want to hear. Imagine that! Though I will admit that calling out a large swath of your constituency for “white supremacist” tendencies is a rather fascinating proposition.

It’s not the kind of campaign message I’d generally recommend.

To wit, freshman Democratic Naperville State Rep, Anne Stava-Murray took her hometown to task over what she called its “white supremacist policies.” She also declared that the entire Chicago area is fraught with “white supremacy in an unclad kind of way, without it’s hood on.”

Alright then!

Stava-Murray, who’s currently campaigning for Senator Dick Durbin’s seat, clearly hasn’t read any Dale Carnegie lately. All I can say is, I can’t wait to see her first mailer. It’s bound to be a doozy!

stava murray

But before we continue, the Daily Herald was dead on when they called our intrepid state rep out for incorrectly applying the term “white supremacist.” If you also recall, the former Elgin, Illinois, diversity consultant had the same sort of connotative problem.

People! There is a vast difference between a white supremacist and your garden variety racist. A vast difference!

David Duke and members of the Ku Klux Klan, the White Aryan Resistance, and the American Nazi Party are white supremacists. They believe Caucasians are the “master race,” they assault minorities, burn crosses, and actively call for a race war. There is nothing subtle about them.

Conversely, some Naperville residents harbor some racist sentiments, and just like my hometown of Geneva, various Naperville entities semi-unconsciously apply a list of unwritten racist rules. But regular racism tends to be much subtler than your average white supremacist.

It’s a very important distinction, particularly for someone who wants to win a Congressional seat – a very unlikely occurrence after Ms. Stava-Murray’s fascinating declarations.

Now that we’ve resolved that issue, I think our errant state rep is onto something, especially in regard to Naperville, which may be even worse than Geneva in the implicit racist policies rules regard.

Stava-Murray cited:

  • Racial profiling during traffic stops
  • A lack of minority police officers
  • Discrimination in housing and home showing
  • A lack of minority teachers
  • A much higher African-American student suspension rate
  • A lack of black AP students

which she chalked up to “white ignorance,” claiming “As soon as people realize that they have some ignorance, mostly they want to solve it.”

I don’t know about you, but Ms. Stava-Murray must’ve run into a breed of Collar County folks I’ve never encountered. My experience has been that most politicians and voters react rather negatively when someone makes a point of pointing out their “ignorance,” especially if it’s true!

And sure enough! The Lisle and Naperville Township Republican Organizations demanded an immediate apology, while Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne called for Stava-Murray to be officially censured, vowing he would no longer refer to her as a state representative because “she doesn’t deserve that title.”

How mature! He must be taking his political cues from Donald Trump.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico simply said, “I don’t think it’s a fair characterization,” which is the perfect response, because all those over-the-top tirades do is remind the rest of us of Queen Gertrude’s famous quip, “The lady doth protest too much methinks!”

If one of those wacky NBA players tries to tell me the world is flat, I don’t demand a retraction, I just walk away laughing!

Some folks pointed out Naperville’s healthy 31.7 minority population in protest, but that’s almost as bad as saying “Some of my best friends are black.” And more than half of those minorities are of Asian descent, with just 5 percent being black and 5.7 percent claiming Hispanic heritage.

Though Asians certainly are a minority in this country, and they do experience the occasional racist rant, with the exception of the whole driving thing, most Asian stereotypes are positive. I wish my Caucasian counterparts were noted for being exceptionally smart and good at math! And the truth is, they can’t drive either!

If you really want to discern a town’s true colors, head on over to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s website and click on their traffic stop studies, which also include police pedestrian stops. It always proves to be quite an enlightening endeavor.

Sadly, the IDOT traffic stop data lumps all minorities into one group, so that large Naperville Asian community makes it impossible to determine if African-Americans are being singled out. Ah! But the pedestrian stop study is another story.

Granted the Naperville Police made just 21 pedestrian stops in 2017, but when you consider half of the detainees were white and half black, considering the demographics we just covered, that is a statistically significant number. There was just one Hispanic stop.

And while just 20 percent of the white folks enjoyed a pat down, 70 percent of the black folks were frisked.

Another telling indicator is vehicle consent searches. In 2017, Naperville officers asked to search 75 minority driven cars, but just 53 Caucasians faced the same request. I’d be willing to bet that most of the minority searches involved black drivers, too.

So, as long as we agree to use the phrase “racist policies” or “unwritten racist rules,” Stava-Murray is generally correct, and most folks in the surrounding counties are well aware of those Napervillian tendencies. I spent quite a bit of time in Naperville in the 80s, and a majority of residents harbored a “Thank God we’re not Aurora” mentality.

And we all know what that really means!

They were just fine with the police zealously guarding their borders, too. The bottom line is, Stava-Murray is correct. Though I love Naperville, they need to do more work on racism than most Chicago area municipalities.

But while I admire her capacity to tell the truth, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why she said what she said. I’d expect those statements to come from a community activist, but not from a politician who needs those “ignorance prone” white folks to cast a statewide ballot in her favor.

Though I count myself among their numbers, liberals continue to be an eminently entertaining and fascinating breed!


Quick Hits January 28, 2019

Being lucky doesn’t matter if you’re not smart enough to see it!

I thought Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon had actually managed to pull it off. It wasn’t a conscious effort by any means, but on occasion God really does protect children and fools.

He got his conviction of CPD officer Jason Van Dyke, and not only was there no significant fallout in Chicago’s African-American community, but McMahon actually avoided becoming a law enforcement pariah, too.

It was the kind of trifecta you generally don’t see in high profile prosecutions because someone’s always unhappy with some part of the outcome.

McMahon 4

But just when he thought it was safe to wade back into the legal water, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul threatened to go to the Illinois Supreme Court to get Van Dyke’s unduly light 6.75-year sentence overturned. As it stands now, he’ll serve just 3.5 years.

When you consider how many non-violent drug offenders are doing double digits, Judge Vincent Gaughan’s thought process is a wee bit more than perplexing. He did do the right thing by sentencing Van Dyke solely on the second-degree murder charge, but just 6.75 years for shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times?

While we were waiting for that final word, a local attorney and I were betting on what Gaughan would do. I predicted 12 years, while she went with 8 to 9. Needless to say, we were both quite surprised at the Judge’s generosity, but it did work out pretty darned well for McMahon.

He got his conviction, which went a long way towards placating those often-rabid Second City minority activists, but the sentence was light enough that he didn’t lose much standing in the Illinois law enforcement community, either.

So, when Raoul started asking questions, all McMahon had to do is keep his mouth shut,  and in the words of those great philosophers Modest Mouse, we’d “all float on! But no! Looking that gift horse directly in the mouth and always a glutton for free press, McMahon took to WGN radio and talked to the Chicago Tribune to defend himself for not questioning Gaughan’s largesse.

And that blithering bad PR move immediately created a political vacuum that a host of critics rushed in to fill. One attorney stipulated that McMahon had “abandoned his responsibilities” by failing to challenge Gaughan’s legal interpretation.

Now, because McMahon was foolish enough to open his mouth, Raoul has no choice but to challenge the sentence or he’ll appear to be complicit. This turn of events, of course, puts our intrepid State’s Attorney right back on the hot seat he so unwittingly avoided.

When Shakespeare coined the phrase, “Hoist by his own petard,” I’m convinced he must’ve had the average politician in mind. Being lucky may mitigate the need to be smart, but Joe McMahon is neither.


Yep! He’s running again!

Unable to parley the Van Dyke conviction into a more prestigious gig – we all know Joe’s still looking for that big break – it would appear Mr. McMahon will be settling for little old us.

How have I ascertained this eventuality? Because the Citizens for Joe McMahon Facebook page has suddenly sprung to life with multiple recent posts. And that’s as sure a sign as any.

Considering my eminently magnanimous nature, I’m thinking, “I’m never in the office so how could I possibly screw up” would be the perfect campaign slogan. This one’s on me, Joe!


And he’s running, too!

There’s also no doubt in this journalist’s mind that 10th Ward Aurora Alderman Judd Lofchie is positioning himself for a 2021 mayoral run.

How do I know this? First, Lofchie, a legend in his own mind, clearly believes only he can bring balance to the Aurora governmental force. Second, he’s been regularly taking on Mayor Richard Irvin over nitpicky bleep just to provoke the kind of rise that tends to bestow a certain political credibility. And third, his most recent efforts revolve around Aurora’s pending ethics ordinance, specifically in regard to campaign contribution limits.

Let’s just call him Captain Obvious.

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Lofchie took the mayor to task for the “appearance of impropriety” over contributions from telecommunications company Scientel and the Poulikidas brothers, both principles in the Fox Valley Developers group.

Last January, the city council reversed itself on Scientel relocating their national headquarters to Aurora, a project Irvin had been championing. Scientel made a $10,000 donation to Irvin’s 2015 campaign.

And while it’s certainly true that Fox Valley Developers, who won the contract to clean up and develop the old Copley Hospital site, made quite a few contributions to Irvin over the years, the Poulikidas brothers have been smart enough to cover their assets by contributing to a host of Aurora politicians. Those fine folks include the late Mayor Tom Weisner, State Rep Stephanie Kifowit, and former Sheriff candidate Willie Mayes.

But think about it! The fact that Lofchie could only come up with two examples clearly indicates Irving hasn’t quite caught up to the Illinois pay-to-play standard. Irvin also correctly noted that neither contract would’ve been approved without the advice and consent of the Aurora City Council.

And the Scientel reversal and Copley votes were unanimous at a time when the rubber stamp votes that Mayor Weisner generally enjoyed are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Should Aurora limit campaign contributions beyond the Illinois State Board of Elections $5,600 individual and $11,100 business/organization limits? I’m torn on that one. But that’s a topic for another day.

Meanwhile, make no mistake, Lofchie’s running for mayor and he will go down in electoral flames.

Quick Hits – January 25, 2019

And the whining continues!

I told him to turn the comments off, but no! U-46 CEO Tony Sanders just wouldn’t listen and now we have to endure all that parental Facebook whining regarding the fact that it actually gets cold in Chicago in January.

Who knew?

If the District closed every time the mercury dipped below zero, that would mean an average 8.2 makeup days per school year. And every parent and student that’s been bitching about having to go to school today would bitch about U-46 destroying their vacation plans.

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If the district closed schools on any day with a high of 10 degrees or less, that would mean 22 missed school days, of which they’d have to tack on 10 at the end of the year. Add that to an average of 4 snow days a season and your delicate little darlings would miss a half-a-month of class time.

If you consider their recent illiterate Facebook musings, they clearly need all the schooling they can get!

But since that evidence won’t be nearly enough to convince these prima donna parents to stop whining, please tell me who put the gun to your head and forced you to live in that tundra known as the Midwest? I promise I’ll bring them to justice.

And while we’re at it, you may as well let me know who forced you to have children, too, because I’ll deal with them as well!

C’mon! When did whining surpass baseball as our national pastime? Lest you think I’ve been sitting on my bony white ass in my balmy home office all morning, as one reader insinuated on Wednesday, I’ve already walked the doggies a mile, clearly surviving those -10 temps without a problem.

Children, by their eminently insidious nature invite sacrifice. So, drive your child to the bus stop and let them sit in the car until it gets there. Since, you’re already there, invite any other students into your car to stay warm.

And it’s not like these temperatures were a surprise. We’ve known about them for a week. There was plenty of time to arrange the kind of carpools that would dispatch any number of students safely to school. Sure, it takes a little effort, but you will discover that extreme weather conditions tend to bring people together, and that kind of perseverance in the face of adversity is a great lesson for our children.

But teaching them to whine and wimp out at every possible turn is not!


MAGA = not a Christian

Much to the chagrin of my conservative counterparts, I’m just gonna keep on saying it. Some things are mutually exclusive.

You can’t be tall and short. It’s impossible to be alive and dead (no Schrodinger’s Cat analogies please), no true Chicagoan can be both a Cubs and a Sox fan, and you cannot support Donald Trump and be a Christian – end of story! Before you hit the “send” button again, I did not set that standard, I’m simply applying it.

Image result for covington school kids

So, when I consider the Covington Catholic School outrage du jour, it isn’t as much about who was right or wrong, it’s that no Catholic with any kind of conscience can get away with wearing a MAGA hat.

For the record, it was those Covington chaperones were wildly off-base. We all know Washington D.C. protests bring out the loons and it doesn’t get much loonier than the Black Hebrew Israelites. They make Louis Farrakhan look a milder version of like Barney the Dinosaur.

When they started spewing their racist and homophobic bilge, those parents should’ve shuffled those children away from the situation instead of simply standing by and laughing.

But back to the hats! Since, I know you all won’t listen to me, let’s move on to what Father Edward L. Beck, a Roman Catholic priest and a CNN religion commentator had to say about them:

I don’t think the boys should have been permitted to wear MAGA hats to the March for Life event they attended. The ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan has become political code for an agenda that is often in opposition with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

The boys attended the march representing a Catholic boys’ school. Any hat donned should have had the school name or a logo identifying them as participants in the March for Life event — not a hat with a logo that may suggest stances not in accord with the mission statement of their school.

The Catholic Church’s pro-life teaching encompasses a panoply of issues such as: abortion, immigration, capital punishment, the environment and climate change, sex trafficking, and the inequitable distribution of the world’s resources. Some claim the ‘MAGA philosophy’ is not in accord with church teaching on many of these issues. Teachers and chaperones from the Catholic school should have discouraged students from, however unwittingly, promoting a questionable partisan political agenda.

Exactly! You can support the President or be a Christian, but you can’t be both! So, decide!


Stranger danger remains a rarity

Every time I watch the press go berserk over the Jayme Closs kidnapping, I want to scream “Don’t you realize you’re doing America a vast disservice?”

I understand the rarity of the event leads to this over-the-top coverage. How many 21-year-olds murder two parents on their way to abducting their teenage daughter? But delving into every detail only serves to obscure the reality that these kinds of heinous criminal acts rarely occur at the hands of complete strangers.

Image result for jayme closs

God forbid your son or daughter should ever sexually abused or kidnapped, but if they were, there’s a 95 percent chance they were groomed by a predator who was known to the family. Of the 1,435 child abductions that occur every year, just 205 are perpetrated by complete strangers, and 90 percent of those children are safely recovered.

Not only that, but the odds of a child being kidnapped are 1 in 300,000. Your chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is 100 times greater.

So, let’s try to keep this news story in perspective and remember that this kind of danger almost always comes from within.

Another bonus Quick Hits?

As the release of ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election?’ finally draws near (we have the InDesign files and are looking at mid February, woo hoo!), I will continue to cross-post blog entries from that website right here on The First Ward.

chicago mayor

This particular column covers my favorite campaign commandment, pick a race you can win! And we use the crowded Chicago mayoral field as the perfect example of how most of those fine folks don’t have a snowball’s shot in hell.


Please pick a race you can win!

My favorite campaign commandment in the soon-to-be-released ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election?’ is …drumroll please… pick a race you can win! I may love idealists and their boundless energy, but we campaign managers have another name for those overly optimistic folks – “losers!”

And I mean that in the electoral sense only.

Because for every Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Dave Brat (he beat Eric Kantor), there are 100 candidates you’ve never heard of and never will. And the truth is, Brat didn’t win, Kantor lost that Congressional race out of an absurd abundance of arrogance and Ocasio-Cortez is one of those rare “movement candidates” you see just once or twice in a lifetime. read more


Quick Hits – I got your snow day right here!

Though he and I have certainly had this discussion before, it would seem U-46 CEO Tony Sanders just can’t let go of his former chief communications officer roots. And while I firmly believe his ‘Weekly Message’ is a worthwhile endeavor, it’s always entertaining to watch the CEO of the state’s second largest school district regularly put himself out on social media.

Image result for u46 snow day

And it’s particularly fascinating when it comes to determining the efficacy of a snow day. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a school official harboring a vast public death wish. To wit, these are the greatest hits on Sanders three most recent weather-related Facebook posts.

I mean people barley do their school work now so is it really gonna be necessary if kids who don’t even do school work to “do it” at home

First, I thought barley was a grain, and second, I have absolutely no idea what this young woman is talking about. I’m not sure she does, either.

exactly too much stuff to do, we can’t even have a semester without the lights going out at a school

This young man clearly hasn’t learned the importance of punctuation, and I’m not sure what power outages have to do with snow days.

i’m not tryna die tomorrow driving 25 mins on 20 from west side of elgin -> streamwood pleassseeee be a g and save me. shs is cold asf too i’m not tryna freeze

What? And that’s a high schooler, too! I’m at a loss for words. It’s too bad she wasn’t.

shs really is cold asl. I was in first period today, I sit next to the air vent and they had the audacity to turn the A/C up 

What? I’m starting to think we should burn the entire public school system down and start over.

Is they School tomorrow morning for Students & Teacher’s & Transportation too

And that was from a parent!

Plz be g and save me for it is too cold for me. But for real the sidewalks are covered in ice and i almost slipped on the way to home well i did slip but we arent gonna talk about me lookin like frozone from incedibles

I don’t even know where to begin. Don’t they teach English in U-46?

dude i almost died like 3 times driving home last night

That was one of the more cogent comments.

This is lame .-. Just because of this . I’m gonna get late to school

I’m sure you will! And there is such a thing as too much punctuation.

That’s crazy how a 2 hour delay would get us 4 hours through the school day lmao

At least he put the apostrophe in “that’s.”

I don’t agree with having school today for the safety of kids. How can you let your kids wait at bus stops in THE FREEZING COLD to go to school? I wouldn’t dare have my kid out in this type of whether!

Another amazing parent! “Freezing cold?” It was a balmy 28 degrees this morning! The real cold is about to come. And I don’t know WHETHER to be happy she spelled the wrong word correctly or to be depressed that she used the wrong word entirely.

And if I quoted all the students who wrote “your” instead of “you’re” and vice versa, this column would be longer than a Dostoyevsky novel.

But my favorite transactions were the abundance of foul-mouthed Tweets hurled directly at Mr. Sanders’ feet. Normally I’d say those students aren’t going to amount to much, but considering current events, they might turn out to be presidential material.

Sanders did encourage his young charges to stop swearing and apply the persuasive skills they’d learned in class, but as you might imagine, that reasonable plea fell on deaf ears. The fact that those parents let their little bleeps speak to them in that manner notwithstanding, a U-46 CEO deserves a little more respect.

I can’t wait to see what happens the first time they address their first boss in that surly manner. And most places that hire illiterate teenagers don’t offer snow or cold days, either.

And while I’m certainly intrigued by the notion of a school district CEO readily engaging the rabble on social media, the result was far too depressing – on a number of levels – for this kind of thing to continue.

So, Tony! Go ahead and leave the comments on your (not you’re) Weekly Message, but for the love of all things holy, TURN THEM OFF on any potential snow day post. I love your whole buck-stops-here brand of thinking, but you might want to delegate those things to other capable staffers because you clearly have better things to do.

Meanwhile, all the delicate little darlings and overly entitled parents who couldn’t bear the thought of dealing with two inches of snow might want to consider growing a pair. If this 60-year-old man could walk his dogs two miles through mostly unshoveled sidewalks and paths this morning, then you and your children can get their candy asses out of bed and make it to school.

On a one-to-ten Chicago winter storm scale, this was merely a “3” which means you don’t get to sit on your ass and play video games all day. And to endlessly swear at and bitch to the CEO in this regard belies the fact that you’re (not your) all just a bunch of…well…I’ll leave that word to your active imaginations.

You already had Monday off, what the bleep more do you want?

All that said, I can only hope that U-46 will redouble their English classroom efforts. Can you actually get a negative SAT score?