[Click above to embiggen: some of my nature photos, which I collect on the Sassy Plants Facebook page.]
One of my hobbies in the last few years has been taking pictures whenever I am out and about in Chicago and posting them to Facebook. Sometimes it upsets me that the Drudge headlines for Chicago are always about all the murders and the corruption here, when it’s a very lovely place.
So many people that I’ve known while I’ve been here are either moving away or have already left. A surprising number of Chicagoans (at least in Boystown) headed to Atlanta, in what felt like an exodus. Things are getting ridiculously expensive here, especially if you have a car. The City is so desperate for revenue that they keep coming up with new ways to tax or punish anyone who drives. It’s also expensive just taking the trains. A lot of people are being priced out…but, still others are feeling unsafe, largely because of how the news portrays the city. Then, of course, there’s that potential serial killer hunting the expressways…with something like 22 shootings so far that everyone on the ground thinks is one person (or a duo, like the Beltway Sniper) but the police just claim is random gang violence.
I never like hearing Chicago called “the next Detroit” because I don’t think that’s true. We’re in a strange period here because the City needs a tough as nails, tyrant of a Mayor to thrive…and Rahm Emanuel is a terrible Mayor. He’s really allowed this city to become a powder keg and his grip on power is so tenuous at this point that the sharks are circling for him. I think things will get worse before they get any better, as he doesn’t have sense enough to resign. So, the city will teeter on the precipice of chaos and ruin as long as he’s in office.
I’m not one of those people who wakes up in the morning and focuses on the impending apocalypse of the moment though. Chicago is a vibrant place full of talented and exceptional people, with a lot of beauty and advantages to living here. I think we’re in a national period of political collapse unlike anything seen in decades, but I don’t think that’s something to ruin your summer over. Too many people I’ve known in recent years have gotten sucked into FOX News on the tee-vee and the sky-is-falling! doom du jour and I just think that’s so unhealthy. I don’t know why anyone in their right mind even has cable, let alone watches cable news.
Get outside and enjoy the summer. Turn off the tee-vee and plug it for a week and see if you really miss it. If you like watching sports, find a cool sports bar or restaurant and watch the games there with other people and make new friends. Or, even better, find a local college and watch all the baseball or other sports you want for free when the college teams play and practice in a field near you.
Stimulate your mind by picking a local board of some kind and looking into and reporting on what it has been doing. Go to their meetings and become a regular speaker during public comment. Ask questions, and keep asking them until the public body gives you answers. Use Freedom of Information Act requests to dig up all their dirt. You can laugh, but it’s really a fun hobby studying these local boards. Megan Fox and I have been doing it for three years now and we juggle about a dozen boards now that we monitor, audit their spending, and bust the bad board members who are up to no good. Library boards were the subject of our first book…and the one we’re writing now is about village boards. We have material for a full series of books based on just the last three years of attending board meetings and investigating things that the Dinosaur Media refuses to investigate.
If you love politics, I guess my point is that you should get involved in your local area’s politics and don’t let the FOX News talking points rule your day. I just got done talking a friend off the ledge who was crazed today about Brad Thor and Glenn Beck. I have met Brad Thor several times at different Tea Pary events in Chicago and I’ve always liked him; I can’t imagine he’s someone who would ever want to assassinate a president (or anyone). But, I question why a fiction writer is being interviewed so often about politics when Thor is wired to write Richard Castle-like fictional thrillers. That’s how he’s programmed. I write satire and have jokes in everything I write, which is also how I speak. I give Thor the benefit of the doubt that his wiring to write thrillers creeps into how he speaks on the fly.
Doing interviews is hard because so much focus is on speaking well, carrying yourself well on camera, listening to what the interviewer is saying and responding, and sometimes the human brain is not as fast on the uptake as it should be. I’ve told jokes that bombed in interviews, or I messed them up by slurring a word or mispronouncing something. It’s hard to be spot-on every time. I regret that Brad Thor is being pilloried in so many places when I can say that the guy I’ve met a few times and had some good conversations with is a very nice man who is not the monster that he is being made out to be by opportunists.
But, this is what happens when people get so cranked up about what they see on cable news, which is desperate for ratings. They bring on a fiction writer of thrillers and then take advantage of an awkward exchange he engaged in (which sounds like a plot point from one of his books)…and then for a week very nice people are upset all day over something that doesn’t have much real bearing on them. There’s so much more to life that this energy could be spent on.
I have never been happier than I am focusing on local matters in Chicagoland and trying to oust bad board members, reduce spending waste, and change bad local policies. I am so much more fulfilled doing this than I ever was focusing on the national political circus. I loved writing the book SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment and am enjoying working on my second book with Megan Fox, which I hope to have on Amazon by the end of summer.
I am challenging myself to find something every week about Chicago that I’ve never done, never been to, never experienced and enjoying it (snapping pictures all the way for Sassy Plants). I love enjoying nature wherever it’s found in this urban setting. My goal is to make a bunch of new friends, have some fun times, and bust a handful more terrible boards this summer. I want to see as many live theater shows as I can, read as much as I can, and continue writing my own books with Megan.
This is going to be a great summer, in Chicago and everywhere. In the fall, we’ll elect a new president…and the world is not going to end. Sorry if that’s a spoiler. I think it’s exciting that for the first time ever it really feels like the Establishment is collapsing and the public is revolting against the status quo. This is a good thing. And we will all survive no matter how it shakes out. I have a true sense of peace about that. For some reason, my friend really needed to hear this today and I talked him down off his ledge so I shared the same sentiments here with you.
Back in 2008, I started writing this site because it was easier just to do this than to talk many people I knew off ledges during the crazy primary campaign that year. I have always had a love/hate relationship running this site because it takes so much out of me and when doing it I am unable to do other things that are more fun or enjoyable to me. For a while I’ve felt that the Internet has become an irredeemably nasty and foul place that does little good. It wasn’t like this back in 2008. I think it was the rise of smart phones and the abundance of Millennials (who are quick to attack and try to censor any opinion they don’t like) and the spur-of-the-moment immediacy of our culture today. In many ways, the Internet became incredibly toxic. I think possibly the pendulum is starting to swing back the other way, though.
I have so many mixed feelings about this coming election. I plan to start sharing them, which is hard because there is so much to process. These might be the strangest days that Americans have ever lived through. We will survive them, but the strangeness of it all will definitely be something for the history books.
What think you?
[Click above to embiggen: The Orland Park Public Library does not carry on its shelves the book SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment, even though this library claims every fall that any book that is deliberately not carried is “banned” or “censored” by the library that does not carry it. If they don’t carry a book that is critical of them, isn’t the Orland Park Public Library staff banning and censoring this book?]
* The American Library Association (ALA) hosts an event every year called “Banned Books Week,” which Thomas Sowell once called “National Hogwash Week.”
* The ALA claims that a book is “banned” if any parent ever complains about the book’s contents for young children. By this logic, the ALA would say it is age discrimination if a parent doesn’t want his/her child to look at Playboy or the Karma Sutra in a public library. The parent would be “banning” those adult books by merely voicing concern over the appropriateness for a child.
* Since the release of SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment, numerous members of the ALA have aggressively tried to suppress the book (aka “banning it”) by posting fake, negative reviews on Amazon (without ever having read the book). Also, libraries are refusing to carry SHUT UP! on their shelves…which is the very definition of “banning” according to the ALA.
* Hypocrisy, thy name is librarian.
In 2013, my friend Megan Fox and I stumbled upon the fact that no one seems to ever ask questions about how public library boards spend the millions of dollars of taxpayer money they are allotted each year in Illinois. In Chicagoland, the media once in a while busts bad school boards for going out to lavish dinners, staying in hotels for conferences in town, or expensing vacations to Florida or Hawaii or wherever and writing it off as “board education.” But, what are library boards doing? They get as much money as some school districts or park districts…only no one ever seems to question how that money is spent (just trusting that libraries aren’t misspending it).
We quickly realized that anyone who wants to fleece taxpayers and get away with it should probably think of running for a seat on a public library board. More often than not, people run opposed for those seats…and the benefits are outrageous. Since library boards are never scrutinized and the public almost never attends library board meetings, unscrupulous individuals who win seats on public library boards can pretty much do whatever they want.
We caught members of the Orland Park Public Library board stealing gold jewelry, putting in for large travel expense checks without receipts to back anything up, going on trips to “conferences” but never having any proof they actually attended conference events, throwing large sums of money at “contractors” who were paid big bucks for jobs that library employees could have (and should have) done for no extra pay, etc.
Read the rest of this entry »
[XANADU is playing at the American Theater Co. at 1909 W. Byron in Chicago 60613 (close to the Addison Brown Line stop); 6 shows weekly through July 31st, with tickets available at ATCWeb.org.]
What a way to start a fabulous summer in Chicago! The American Theater Company’s production of XANADU is the most fun I’ve had at any show in years, probably since I saw Smokey Joe’s Cafe at the Royal George several seasons ago (and am still humming along to all the fun songs from that, too). Approaching 40, XANADU’s early ’80s nostalgia is for me what Smokey Joe’s 60s nostalgia was for Baby Boomers in the generation above me…a fun evening of songs I remember from childhood, tuned up and refreshed for the here and now in a show that transported me to someplace fun and carefree for 90 nonstop minutes (with no intermission!).
For those who don’t know, XANADU is a stage retelling of Olivia Newton-John’s 1980 feature-length music video for her album (you guessed it) XANADU. I’ve always thought this movie was the most genius thing that any record company ever did, better than Purple Rain for Prince, Captain EO for Michael Jackson, Vibes for Cyndi Lauper, or Who’s That Girl for Madonna. It doesn’t seem like Newton-John ever fancied herself as an actress or dreamed she would have a film career…and I don’t believe anyone who worked on the movie thought they were creating a cinematic masterpiece for the ages. They knew this was camp, not high-art, when they were making it and understood that not everything in life has to be excruciatingly serious high-art. They all wanted to sell copies of the XANADU album and make it a big hit, so the movie was an extended music video for that, playing in theaters a year before MTV hit cable…and whatever anyone thought was cool or neat to see on a movie screen, they just threw into XANADU (like they were grade-schoolers bedazzling an art project until they could not possibly bedazzle it anymore).
You won’t read many reviews of the XANADU stage production that don’t trash the 1980 movie because I think critics enjoy feeling smug and good about themselves for making fun of things (from a long time ago, for Millennial critics in particular). There seems to be peer pressure amongst these cynics that if they don’t trash the 1980 movie then they cannot feel superior to the people who either made or just enjoyed the 1980 movie. That attitude is prejudiced and misplaced here, because XANADU was a product of its time that plays like a time capsule from an era now lost. It’s as if it was written and produced by a focus group of cutting-edge 1980 trend-followers, who shoved whatever they thought was “hot” at the moment into one movie: leg-warmers, neon, feathered hair, roller skating, disco…XANADU has it all! That movie is a window back in time…to a moment at the end of the Carter Era, just before Reagan took office, when Americans were sick of the gloom and malaise and stagflation and aspired for something more carefree and optimistic (in a time that people now derisively view as being devoid of culture or art). The musical actually references this, with confusion amongst the muses about whether they are in Venice, Italy in the 1780s or Venice, California in the 1980s…and there’s groans about being in the “wrong” place.
I could argue on behalf of the 1980s being a particularly spectacular time to be alive (as I was there), but I’ll save that for another day. Those of us who were there know the truth…and those Millennials who weren’t there are just jealous. Because the ’80s were fun and campy and people did things without being glued to phones and electronic gadgets…and I am grateful every day that I remember what it was like to be part of that simpler world.
There’s a hilarious line in the stage production of XANADU that calls all of this ’80s campiness “children’s theater for 40-year-old gay people,” which is the most accurate description imaginable. And that’s a great thing because we have enough cynical, depressing, dystopian, dark, and gritty you-name-it clouding over us wherever we turn (especially in Chicago these days, with what plagues our news). Being transported to an optimistic place like a roller-disco about to open in 1980 is not a bad way to spend 90 minutes on a Friday night in Illinois.
I have seen the stage production of XANADU several times, once on Broadway with the original cast in 2008 and then twice at Water Tower in Chicago when a touring company came to town in 2009. While I enjoyed all of those, there is something special about American Theater Company’s production that makes this version of XANADU the best I’ve seen yet.
The set design is transportive, largely because the venue American Theater Company uses is an old repurposed building that must have been some kind of auto body shop or other commercial/industrial space once upon a time. Walking up to the theater at 1909 W. Byron, the building surprises you, with an unassuming blink-and-you-miss-it entrance that meshes well with XANADU’s plot (involving an old building on the brink of demolition being repurposed as a roller-disco). It’s all very meta, in the best possible way, and the setting of the theater feels like a character in the show. Stepping inside, I was greeted warmly by beautiful chalk drawing murals, kitschy props and decorations, bubble gum and vibrant jolly ranchers, and fun video screens playing facts about the XANADU film and stage versions. Did you know that “Xanadu” was the name of Chinese Emperor Kubla Khan’s summer palace? You’ll learn that and more while in the lobby waiting for the show to start.
I’ve never seen a show more perfectly cast than this production of XANADU. Hats (or leg-warmers) off to director Lili-Anne Brown for assembling a group of talented young Chicago actors who really made this show their own…and I think elevated it to a place more fun than the Broadway or Water Tower productions I’ve seen. On a much smaller budget than previous productions, costume designer Samantha C. Jones made spectacular choices that I feel surpass the Broadway stagings. Jones is the first XANADU costumer I’ve ever seen make the connection between Mount Olympus and Studio 54, the pinnacle of that late-70s/early-80s elite aesthetic. When the Clash of the Titans-style gods appear at the end of this production, they’re not wrapped up in togas but instead clad in vintage Halston, the goddesses looking set-ready for cameos on Dynasty and Zeus a hilarious amalgamation of Jimi Hendrix, Richard Roundtree, and Ruby Rhod (fresh from a trip to Fhloston Paradise in The Fifth Element). See what I did there, I rapid-fired a bunch of random pop culture references at you…just like XANADU does in its 90 minutes! If you are into this kind of thing, you will love this show.
A real standout in this production is Missy Aguilar and her interpretation of Calliope. It’s hard keeping all the Greek muses’ names straight, but Calliope is one of the two villainous muses (the other, Melpomene, is delightfully played by Karla L. Beard). Calliope (you pronounce that like the music-making contraption from the ragtime era) and Melpomene (I know of no easy way to pronounce this) may remind some audiences of the characters Pain and Panic from Disney’s Hercules cartoon (which is fitting, considering the shared mythological source material). They are slap-sticky, over-the-top, comedic relief that insert themselves to move the plot forward in between Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra musical numbers. In past productions, Calliope has been played as a brash redhead with glasses and a stereotypical Bronx/New York hamminess…reminiscent of Annie Potts’ secretary character in Ghostbusters.
Aguilar largely reinvents the Calliope role and makes it her own, bringing a Chicago-ness to the part that I loved. It was refreshing to finally see someone do something new with this part and play the role in an original and memorable way. This actress really hits a home run in what’s a supporting character and in many scenes steals the show (especially when literally chewing the scenery). She was so fun to watch and her banter and timing with Beard’s Melpomene make me wish the two would score a road trip buddy comedy of some kind. They are spectacularly entertaining villains…and both are more fun to watch than most people on sitcoms airing today.
Another standout was Aaron Holland as Danny Maguire/Zeus. Again, this was another example of this production of XANADU reinventing a role in a unique way that makes the show better than previous versions I’ve seen. Both as Maguire (the Gene Kelly role in the film) and as Zeus, Holland puts his own stamp on the character. This was the fourth time I’ve seen a stage version of XANADU but Holland and Aguilar really made everything seem fresh by taking their characters in a new direction (which worked better than the original versions).
The other muses, played by Kasey Alfonso, Hanah Rose Nardone, James Nedrud, and Daniel Spagnuolo are hilarious and engage the audience frequently as they zip around on roller skates. The stage is circular, with the audience seated around as if in an actual roller rink, which adds to the fun and magic of the evening. Alfonso is particularly funny with the winks and nods she makes to the audience and the fun expressions and reactions she gives her character, even while chomping on popcorn (a very fun and obscure inside-joke reference to the original 1980 movie). Nardone is enchanting and elegant on her skates and is a master at delivering one-liners. Nedrud and Spagnuolo switch effortlessly between hamming it up in drag as “sister muses” and then butching it up as rockers or California dudes as the plot requires. They even get to play a cyclops and a centaur at one point! The fun of a comedic production like XANADU is seeing the supporting cast race backstage, switch costumes, and pop back into the show as completely different characters (which is called cast-doubling, where one actor plays various roles in a show). A lot of the blink-and-you-miss-it in-jokes come from them and they make the production seem much larger with their versatility.
The leads in this production, Jim Deselm as Sonny Malone and Landree Fleming as Kira/Clio are strong…but I think constrained in some way and unable to put as much of their own unique stamp on these parts as the supporting cast was able to do. This is no slight against Deselm and Fleming, as they are both fantastic singers, but more a reflection on the parts they have to play. Since the stage production is a parody/spoof of the original movie, the character of Sonny Malone has to be a dumb-as-rocks (but with a heart of gold) Venice Beach dreamer and Kira/Clio must be a satire of Olivia Newton-John in her big film role. Fleming is saddled with having to do a bad Australian accent (on purpose) that mutates throughout the show into various other accents (also on purpose). I hope audience members get the joke and don’t think Fleming is really bad with accents (because part of the show’s humor comes from this running gag). I will just say this because no one else ever will, but some audiences who saw previous productions of XANADU didn’t understand the jokes like this (and frankly that is the audiences’ fault, not the actors). While you don’t have to know much about the movie this is all based on, going out to see live theater requires a little more smarts and paying attention than sitting in front of reality tee-vee at home while eating pudding. I’m sorry, but that’s true. XANADU is a show for people who can embrace camp and can pay attention enough to catch a lot of rapid-fire, witty pop culture references rooted in the 1980s (with nods even to Singin’ in the Rain and other classics…including literal classics, like the Greek myths).
While watching American Theater Company’s production of XANADU on its first preview night, I couldn’t help making a list of everyone I know who I want to bring down to see this show while it’s playing through July. My friend Megan Fox‘s two daughters (Ten and Seven) are going to be over the moon when I surprise them with a trip into the city from the suburbs to see this. They study Greek myths in school, they love the ’80s music that their mom and other Gen-Xers like me grew up with, and they are both just learning to roller skate. I can’t wait for them to see this show! I listened and watched closely during the production and saw nothing that I thought was inappropriate for kids seven and up. There were a few jokes with some innuendo that I think will go right over young heads…exactly like in the Disney Hercules cartoon, come to think of it. I also plan on seeing the show again on my actual 40th birthday this coming June, since the show references itself as actual children’s theater for 40-year-old-gay-people and all. How perfect is that?
I know a show is good when I walk out of a theater itching to tell everyone I know about it. For some reason, Chicago audiences have never seemed to get the jokes or understand the campy fun of XANADU the other times productions of this show have been mounted here. Going to XANADU is like going to see a screening of Mommie Dearest at the Music Box Theater with drag queens dressed up as Joan and Christina Crawford chasing each other around during the movie with Comet cleanser and wire hangers. It’s like heading out to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show or showtunes night in a gay bar and screaming alternate lyrics to the songs playing on the screen. It is a fun, campy night that you can sing along to and dance in your seat…so I think you might need to be a fun, campy person to really get the most out of the experience. You can’t be a grump. You have to actually want to have fun on your night out to see a show and want to go out for drinks afterwards and laugh and laugh and laugh with friends over what a great time you just had.
If you are anywhere near Chicago now through July 31st and you want a great night out with friends and family, I can’t think of anything better to recommend to you than Lili-Anne Brown’s production of XANADU at American Theater Company.
Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Music & Lyrics by Richard Damus & Mark Rubel
Directed by: Lili-Anne Brown
Music Direction: Aaron Benham
Choreography: Brigette Ditmars
Scenic Design by Arnel Sancianco
Scenic Painter CoCo Ree Lemery
Costume Design: Samantha C. Jones
Melpomene/Karla L. Beard
Danny Maguire/Aaron Holland
Euterpe/Hanah Rose Nardone
I’m sharing this because it’s such a fun moment.
Megan Fox and I worked on our investigation into the sex crimes (and other illegal activity) happening in the Orland Park Public Library for a full 2 years. Just when we thought we uncovered everything there was to find, we’d stumble on something new. That Library had been covering up so much wrongdoing — with the blessing of the Village and the Police Chief — that it took us years to piece it all together. Along the way, the Village and police and the American Library Association all ganged up and tried everything they could think of to destroy us and shut us up. No one in Orland Park (or at the ALA) wanted us talking about the child pornography, sexual harassment of women, open public masturbation, and even gold theft happening at that Library.
We were even hit with a SLAPP lawsuit by the granddaughter of the woman who used to own the Chicago White Sox. All to shut us up.
But, Megan and I never stopped working, never stopped researching, and never stopped speaking out. And now every horrible thing that the Village of Orland Park, the Orland Park Police Department, the Orland Park Public Library, and the American Library Association did to us since 2013 is all being told.
Megan and I captured the moment when UPS brought us the first copies of the book. Almost three years of having everything and the kitchen sink thrown at us to shut us up and to terrorize us so we would never tell this story…yet, here it was.
666 pages of what no doubt is the American Library Association’s and the Village of Orland Park’s worst nightmares.
What a fabulous day.
SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment is available on Amazon.com now!
SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment is now available on Amazon.
The book details the harassment that Megan Fox and I received from Timothy J. McCarthy, the Orland Park Chief of Police, for several years, as the Village of Orland Park tried to scare Megan and me away from investigating sex crimes and other violations of state law that McCarthy had knowingly allowed to keep happening in the Orland Park Public Library for years.
Megan and I uncovered evidence that child pornography had been allowed by Library staff to be accessed without police being called as they should have been. The Library did not want police called on anyone engaging in sexual activity in the Library because then arrests would be made…and that would end up in the police blotter in the newspaper…and likely Drudge would find out about it. So, in a big public relations effort that McCarthy and other Village officials seem to have signed off on, the Library just kept quiet about the bad things happening in there. According to other sources, McCarthy knew for years that convicted child molesters who are barred from being around children were also using the Orland Park Public Library in violation of their parole. But he and the Orland Park Police chose not to do anything about that.
Instead, when Megan and I started uncovering what had been going on in that strange messed-up Library, McCarthy sent his goons after us. We were harassed and illegally detained while passing out political flyers. The Orland police called Megan at home to threaten her. McCarthy allowed Village and Library employees to make false police reports against us to try to frighten us away. The Orland Police would never take any action against the Library, not even when the Illinois Attorney General issued letters of determination showing that the Library Board Members had committed Class-C misdemeanors by knowingly and willfully violating the Open Meetings Act.
Timothy J. McCarthy seems to be allowed to get away with all this because back in 1981 he was the blonde Secret Service agent in a blue suit who was shot during the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Because McCarthy was a hero back on that awful day…for the rest of his life he gets to be a tyrant, I guess. He does what he wants, harasses who he wants, uses his police to terrorize who he wants…all because he is a “national hero” for being shot alongside Ronald Reagan and can never be questioned.
Is it smart to make a man who can never be questioned the police chief?
Is it safe for a community to have a police chief who can violate people’s civil rights and never be challenged, because he has that hero’s lifetime criticism-free pass?
Isn’t there another role that Timothy J. McCarthy could have in Orland Park besides police chief? It’s obvious people continue to want to reward and recognize him for his bravery 35 years ago…but is making him in charge of a police force really the best idea when he apparently can never be stopped from doing anything bad because of his celebrity status?
Read all about everything that McCarthy and the Orland Park Police did to us to try to shut us up in SHUT UP! (available now on Amazon).
Have you ever been at an event only to later read about it in the newspaper…but what the reporter chose to write bears no resemblance to reality? This happens all the time in Chicago, especially at local government meetings. Reporters here bend over backwards to avoid reporting negatively on government boards.
They do this on the national level too, but it’s really bad on the local level. Part of it is that these reporters are taught by Leftists in college not to make the government look bad…but also the reporters seem afraid of losing access or damaging a relationship with government entities by reporting accurately on them.
Megan Fox and I have seen this over and over again over the last several years, as she and I have been attending local government board meetings around Chicago’s suburbs, where we have busted many boards for violating Illinois’ Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act and other statutes. Reporters for the Tribune, Daily Southtown, Sun-Times, 22nd Century Media, and other outlets mostly refuse to report on any of this. They just pretend the bad things that elected officials do at board meetings don’t happen. Anyone who depends on newspapers for their news thus has no idea what really happens at these meetings.
Personally, I feel that reporters lie by omission when they deliberately refuse to report what actually happened at a meeting or other event. When a reporter decides to purposely not include something in an article, then the reporter is lying. Since the reporter is lying in order to benefit the government and deny the public the truth, the reporter is then a propagandist and the newspaper resembles something that would be printed in Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea and not the United States (at least as we used to know it).
Our latest example of piss poor reporting was done by David Lipowski of the Daily Southtown. He attended two Forest Ridge Elementary School (D-142) Board meetings in Oak Forest, Illinois that Megan and I attended…yet he refused to cover the bad behavior of board member Roxana Agler or her husband Troy Agler in his articles about the meetings. Lipowski reminds me of Norman Bates, being slight of build with a strange voice and a general air of oddness. There he sat at the 5/17/16 board meeting when Troy Agler lost his mind and launched into a deranged tirade that dropped F-bombs in front of small children…but Lipowski refused to report that in his write-up.
This is what David Lipowski refused to report on:
Where I’m from, the husband of a sitting board member standing up in the middle of a public meeting, screaming the F-word, shouting about cocaine and gay sex and Obama, is newsworthy due to the fact it’s the husband of an elected official intimidating and bullying both the audience and the board. Women at the meeting were so afraid of the unhinged Troy Agler that they called the police to be escorted to their vehicles after the meeting. David Lipowski chose not to write about any of that in his article.
This is similar to how in April, when he reported on the previous D-142 board meeting, Lipowski tried to downplay Roxana Agler’s own poor behavior and the awful things she had been doing that caused the controversy with the Forest Ridge Elementary Board. There Agler sat during the meeting: pulling gum in and out of her mouth; making childish faces; getting up and stomping around the room; going over to Lipowski during the meeting and whispering things; storming towards the camera and trying to stop the public from filming during an open public meeting by putting her hand over the camera. Lipowski ignored all of this when he wrote his article.
All of this is proof that you should never trust the reporting in the Daily Southtown or any other newspaper. In my opinion, if you still have a newspaper subscription you should cancel it. If you can’t trust the reporters to actually tell you what really happened at events they are covering then why are you paying for that newspaper? If you want to read fiction, go to the library and check out the newest John Grisham or Kia Heavey adventure. Read a good mystery by Newt Love. But, don’t waste your money on reporting that’s supposed to be truthful when the reporters refuse to report the truth about the government, especially at the local level.
Reporters like David Lipowski are going to keep doing this as long as they keep getting paid. And newspapers like the Daily Southtown are going to keep paying these shameless hacks as long as people keep blindly paying for those newspaper subscriptions. The only way for the editors at these papers to wake up to the fact that the public demands the truth in reporting is for hacks like Lipowski to actually hurt the paper’s bottom line.
How you can help
1. If you subscribe to any newspaper or magazine for home delivery, cancel it. In my opinion, you should cancel your cable too so that CNN and MSNBC lose revenue as well. Defunding the Dinosaur Media in all ways possible is the first step toward eliminating their bias.
2. When you attend an event and see it written up poorly in the paper, spread the word that the reporter is lying, either by omission or in an outright way. Call the paper’s editor and complain. Post comments on the article noting the truth. Take to social media and let people know that the newspaper cannot be trusted because it prints lies.
3. If you attend any kind of public event, film it and post the footage to YouTube if anything interesting or unusual happened. In the matter at hand, David Lipowski refused to report on some pretty shocking things that happened at these school board meetings because Lipowski wanted to help the government and not tell the truth to the public. He would have gotten away with that if it wasn’t for the video that Megan and I filmed of these events. We were the only people filming that evening because people (especially those of us Gen-X and older) just don’t automatically whip out their cameras to film when something starts happening. We all need to get better at that. Even a cellphone video as something is happening is great. Don’t worry about the quality of the footage because just capturing screaming and yelling or other outbursts during a board meeting or some other event with elected officials is enough to show that something awful happened that the Dinosaur Media and hacks like David Lipowski refused to report on.
The more people see that the reporters are lying to them, by omission or otherwise, then the less relevant and effective the lies that the Dinosaur Media tells will be.
Help chip away further at the Dinosaur Media’s remaining power by busting their bias and piss poor reporting wherever you can.
[Buy Domino on Amazon.com today. It’s a quick read that is remarkable in how clearly it distills the existential threat to the West.]
There is a new book out that is a must-read. It feels like our generation’s Animal Farm, written by a talented author named Kia Heavey.
Domino is the story of a farm cat who sees his home turned upside down by “transformative” forces who think they know better. The book is an allegory for what the “transformative Left” has been doing to America for the last 8 years (or longer, really, if you think about it).
Like Animal Farm, Domino uses animals and a farm setting to tell a bigger (and more frightening) tale about the insidious threats to our freedoms and life…which are forced on us by the “Big Thinkers” who believe they know better. In Domino, a working class farm cat has to defend his home from an invading foreign culture that seeks to erase his way of life and replace it with their own. Will Domino just sit meekly by (and be politically correct) and allow this colonization and conquest to happen…or will Domino fight back against the invaders and conquerors?
One of the big pushes by the Left these days is to colonize the West with Islam (in Europe) or the Third World in general (in America). The Left believes that “multiculturalism” (what I would call Tower-of-Babal-ism) is the key to creating enough chaos and disorder for the Left to seize power. Colonizing the West with Islam and dysfunctional Third World cultures is how the Left intends to collapse Western society. From its ashes, the Left believes it can create a new age of feudalism, with the Leftists as the aristocrats and monarchs. The “multicultural” hordes being imported aggressively into the West are tools the Left intends to use to break down, erase, and replace existing Western culture.
This is an age where the media and the public schools teach Westerners that we must be quiet, shut up, and allow our cultures to become extinct and be replaced by what the Third World colonists and Islam are bringing. When I was in grade school, the teachers still taught that America was a melting pot where people came from all over the world and put away their differences and became Americans for a greater good. By the time I got to college, “melting pot” was a banned word and the schools were instead indoctrinating children that “salad bowl” should be the preferred immigration objective (where new immigrants never put away their differences and become Americans, but instead remain unassimilated in little clumps, like the various objects in a salad). I think by 2016 the Left has succeeded in fostering a “TV-dinner” mentality, where the various ethnic groups colonizing America (and the rest of the West) stake their territory and turf and establish enclaves that are less “salad bowl communities” and more colonies. Immigrants today do not assimilate because the Left does not want them to assimilate. Having a Tribalist Civil War at some point in the future is how the Left intends to destroy the American experiment.
Megan Fox and I have spent the last several years studying local elected boards in the Chicago suburbs that have been violating our state’s Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act in various and sundry ways. Mostly, we focus on board members who are caught stealing (not producing receipts for trips and meals they expense, eating fancy steak dinners and making the public pay, buying themselves gold jewelry and charging it to taxpayers, etc.) or boards who have written illegal policies censoring or restricting public comment at meetings (or holding secret meetings where they hide from the public, in violation of the OMA).
We have busted the Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees, the Village of Orland Park, the Orland Park Police Department, and the Village of Tinley Park in OMA or FOIA violations. In every instance, we were up against the law firm Klein Thorpe Jenkins (which represented the public bodies); Megan and I wiped the floor with Klein Thorpe Jenkins each and every time.
We received a tip that another Klein Thorpe Jenkins client, the Forest Ridge Elementary School District (D-142) board in Oak Forest, Illinois, was facing a unique problem: one lone out of control board member named Roxana Agler was terrorizing the other board members…and her husband Troy Agler was part of the problem. This husband-and-wife team frightens parents and bullies anyone who attempts to stand up to them. Klein Thorpe Jenkins, as usual, seemed to make the problem worse for the board instead of finding any solution. My working theory is that this unscrupulous law firm makes more money when a board is in trouble or it breaks the law than it would if Klein Thorpe Jenkins gave competent and reputable legal advice to public bodies. I believe it is their business strategy to either let problems get worse for a public body or even create problems…because then they can bill more legal fees to taxpayers to “solve” the problems than they would if Klein Thorpe Jenkins attorneys nipped these problems in the bud.
Megan and I couldn’t believe what we observed at the D-142 board meetings we attended. According to a Google search, Troy Agler is the Vice President of Sales at Casting House, a jewelry manufacturer in Chicago’s Jeweler’s Row in the Loop. He and Roxana also appear to own some apartment buildings together, operating under a company called “TRAK” (which seems to stand for “Troy Roxana Agler Katoozian,” with Katoozian being Roxana’s maiden name).
Part of Troy’s sales duties at Casting House appear to include attending expos and trade shows…where I doubt he uses language as foul and deranged as what he inflicted on a room with small children present at the D-142 board meeting this month. The Casting House bio for Troy asks jewelry customers to please stop by and say hello to him at trade shows…but the question begs: if people do stop by to say hello, will he shout expletives at them or rant about cocaine, gay sex, and Obama the way that he did at the school board meeting?
We used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a year’s worth of emails that Roxana Agler sent in her capacity as a D-142 board member. What we found was shocking:
* threats against fellow board members
* an attempt to use her position as an elected official to intimidate her perceived enemy (a crossing guard) and pressure the Oak Forest Police Department to reassign that crossing guard’s work duties (which in my opinion amounts to intimidation by an elected official abusing her seat on a board to try to negatively impact another person’s work duties)
* accusing said crossing guard (a grandmother named Nancy Hullinger, who has worked for the village of Oak Forest for decades) of sitting in a car and talking about Roxana Agler to a dog. You read that right: Agler accused a woman of gossiping about her to a dog. A DOG!
* berating fellow board members, insulting their intelligence, and accusing various people of using the local McDonald’s as a base of operations to spy on her (in what appears to be part of a bigger paranoia affliction)
* revealing confidential information from closed sessions to the public (which is a big no-no for an elected official)
* a special representative from the Illinois Association of School Boards needing to come out to make a special remedial presentation for Roxana Agler’s benefit admonishing her for her behavior
* behaving inappropriately during board meetings, refusing to follow board rules, acting unprofessionally during PTA meetings
* repeated references from Roxana Agler to some sort of strange friendship that her husband Troy Agler has with Deputy Police Chief Tim Kristin in Oak Forest (which could explain why the Aglers are seemingly allowed to get away with the sort of things they keep doing to Hullinger and their other targets)
It is concerning whenever the police appear to favor people like Roxana and Troy Agler and look the other way when they engage in the sort of behavior they are documented to have engaged in. It could be that the police allow this because Roxana is a board member, and the Oak Forest Police are just acting as goons for an elected official. Or maybe it’s because the Aglers own those apartment buildings with TRAK (and maybe either they or TRAK contributed to the right people in Oak Forest to score a free-pass to behave however they want).
If it’s true that Troy Agler and Tim Kristin are good friends, as Roxana Agler implied in various emails, then that’s another explanation for why Troy Agler is able to scream, shout, menace, bully, and swear a blue streak in front of small children at a school board meeting without suffering any consequence. It also explains why Roxana Agler was able to make a police complaint against Hullinger where she accused her of talking about her to a dog…when Hullinger has repeatedly been told by the Oak Forest Police that they will not get involved and take any complaint from Hullinger about Agler’s harassment.
But, Tim Kristin seems to have had no problem with Agler making a false police complaint about Hullinger talking about her to a dog. This appears to be how things work in Oak Forest.
The D-142 Board finally had enough of the Aglers, however, and voted to censure Roxana and take away her government provided email address so that she could no longer harass anyone with it or represent the Board in emails (such as the one to Tim Kristin where she attempted to have Hullinger’s work duties reassigned, because Agler does not like Hullinger and seems to view Hullinger as her mortal nemesis). It took more than a year of Agler’s abuse before the Board worked up the nerve to do anything about her, which seems typical for communities in Illinois.
Our state seems to be in the mess that it’s in because people don’t pay much attention to what’s going on with these local boards. How many Roxana Aglers (or Troy Aglers) are loose in Illinois? How many local boards have members who are out of control and abusive, either towards fellow board members or the public? Notice that the Dinosaur Media is not interested in reporting on any of this, largely because at the local level the newspapers and TV stations are far too chummy with local boards (and don’t want to report negatively on any of them).
How you can help
Whether it’s a library board, a school board, a village board, or a parks and recreation board…find some local entity in your area to start studying up on. Use FOIA requests to see how the money is being spent. In particular, look to see which board members are eating in fancy restaurants or going on trips to “conferences,” which in Illinois is code for “all-expenses-paid-by-taxpayers” vacations. Take an active interest in what emails board members are sending and how they are using (or abusing) their power.
Illinois got to this point because at some point in the last several decades the people here became conditioned that they should be afraid of their government and of the police. That fear of challenging elected officials (and the police who act as praetorian guards for public bodies) has caused institutional rot on many of these boards. The public has taken its eye off the ball for far too long.
All it takes is FOIA requests and attending board meetings to bust bad behavior on these local boards. The next step after that is finding good people to run to replace the bad ones on the boards in the next elections…or just giving good members of a board the courage to stand up to their bad colleagues by showing them support in numbers at board meetings. It seems that many good board members feel alone in Illinois and don’t have the guts to stand up to characters like Roxana Agler unless they know that the public is behind them. This seems to be especially true when board members use their spouses (like Troy Agler) to menace and frighten people at board meetings who came to speak out against the bad behavior of board members.
Americans’ First Amendment Right to Petition the government for change and redress of grievances is of paramount importance in our country. It is what separates America from other nations in the world, especially those with royalty. The public is supposed to supervise elected bodies…and elected officials are supposed to be public servants, not tyrants and monarchs.
If you ignore what’s going on at your local board level then you should not be surprised by how out of control those in Washington behave. To change our political culture, we need to start local and force changes that will reverberate upwards. Enough is enough.
Watch more of the D-142 School Board scandal coverage here:
My new book (written with my friend Megan Fox) is coming out next week: SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment.
This book tells the story of the lengths that local government goes to (with the help of national lobbying groups) to silence the First Amendment rights of Americans when they criticize and petition the government for change. Something is very wrong with this country when even local library boards and villages out in the suburbs believe that they can throw everything and the kitchen sink at Americans to chill free speech, silence them, and shut them up.
Back in 2013, Megan and I stumbled upon years’ of unreported crimes in the Orland Park Public Library. It happened by accident, after a library staffer tipped us off that they “got a lot of that” in there. Curious what “a lot of that” meant, Megan and I used the Freedom of Information Act to look into the Library’s internal incident reports and legal invoices, to see what problems that Library had through the years. Immediately, the Library Director chose to involve the Orland Park Police Chief, Village staff, and the law firm Klein Thorpe Jenkins to try to scare Megan and me away so that we would not be interested in the incident reports she wanted to keep hidden.
The Library illegally redacted reports and hid other documents entirely. Some records appear to have been destroyed completely, but what we found shocked us: years and years and years of sex crimes happening in that Library, with staff never calling the police. In the instances where something bad happened at the Orland Park Public Library and police were called, it was library patrons (not staff) who called the police. A pattern emerged where it seemed that Library staffers were doing all this on purpose, as if they knew that if they called the police then what happened in that Library would make the news…and they didn’t want that bad publicity.
Very quickly, Megan and I were targeted for destruction. The American Library Association (a lobbying group that is funded in large part by George Soros) sent “crisis managers” to advise the Orland Park Public Library on how best to silence and scare Megan and me away. We did some digging and saw that the ALA does this to every mom or dad who discovers something awful happening in a Library and complains about it. The ALA targets the parents who complain and chases them away. This has been happening for years.
Figuring out who was behind all this — and who in Orland Park wanted the sex crimes to keep happening in the Library and to keep going unreported — took several years to figure out. FOIA requests gave us some insight and Megan and I took to attending board meetings to petition the library board to address its many problems. Instead of listening and doing the sensible thing, the Library decided to go to war against us…even encouraging a Library staffer to sue us in a bogus SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) suit.
Along the way, Megan and I became experts in the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act, and SLAPPs. We lived to tell the tale, which oddly was a story that the local media refused to ever report on accurately. You see, if you ever find yourself up against local government (especially an entity like a library board that no reporter wants to write a negative story about, no matter what happens in there), you will realize that the media is too chummy with government to ever tell the real story.
In our book, we document run-ins we had with reporters from the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Southtown, NBC, CBS, the Orland Park Prairie, the Orland Patch, and other outlets. Not a single one of these people ever wanted to report on the sex crimes that were covered up in the Orland Park Public Library for years and years (which all appeared in their incident reports, which reporters chose to ignore). No media outlet wanted to report on the female employees of the Library who were sexually harassed on a daily basis by men masturbating to porn in the Library. None of this was happening in downtown Chicago and these were derelicts doing any of this…this was all happening in an upscale, affluent suburb of Chicago…where local politicians and police seem to have decided that they were all going to deliberately look the other way and never stop any of this (because someone wanted this to keep happening at the Orland Park Public Library).
Every terrible thing that a local government entity can do to you to shut you up and scare you away was done to us. Sometimes twice. Sometimes eleven or more times.
The book goes on sale next week. I hope you buy it because in addition to telling our story of what the Village of Orland Park, the Orland Park Police, the Orland Park Public Library, and the American Library Association did to us it’s also an account of ways that you can fight back against entities like this when they come after you.
The First Amendment Right to Petition our government for change and redress of grievances is under attack in this country. Washington DC is largely a lost cause, depending on how you look at it…but your local government can still be changed, if citizens are brave enough to do that. I hope Orland Park goes down in history as an example of how wrong local government is when it thinks it can silence its critics.
Because even if the local media refuses to report on any of it, someone could always write a book about every terrible thing that happened. And if irony holds, the very same public library that declared war on the First Amendment might very well be forced to carry a book on its shelves all about every awful thing it did to try to silence people!
– Book will be released last week of May 2016 –
Why does the politically correct Village of Orland Park waste $5,000 every year on a “holiday party” when they have banned “Merry Christmas”?
* The Village of Orland Park long ago banned the words “Merry Christmas” due to political correctness (and the fact that Orland Park has been colonized by Muslims in recent years, ever since a large Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated mosque was erected there over the loud objections of longtime residents who tried their best to resist the colonization).
* “Happy Holidays” is the official mandate…though Village employees receive Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day as paid days off.
* Assistant Village Manager Joe LaMargo mocked Christ at the “holiday party” in 2015 with what he deemed a humorous sweater. Wanna bet that he’d never wear a sweater with Muhammad on it like that to a “holiday party.” Only Christianity receives such blasphemy and ridicule. Never, ever any disrespect shown to Islam.
* Isn’t it time public employees stop getting to have their “holiday” cake and eating it too? If they want to eradicate Christmas so badly…shouldn’t we stop feeling bad about taking away their “holiday” parties (since, by definition, these are no longer Christmas parties)? Even I would feel like a grinch if I forced this Village to stop having Christmas parties…but I don’t feel the slightest bit bad in suggesting “holiday parties” are not necessary and should be canceled.
* Why should public bodies be allowed to hold vestigial
Christmas parties for themselves at great public expense if the original meaning and intent of these December events no longer applies (since political correctness has eliminated Christmas)?
* Listen to Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan talk about the corruption and ongoing spending problems in Orland Park here:
This is another example of the kinds of things you can uncover if you use Freedom of Information Act requests to examine the spending of local government boards and village/town entities in your area. Writing FOIA requests and then poring over the documents you get back is like solving little mysteries right in your living room. It’s exciting catching public employees doing terrible or embarrassing things. You should try this for yourself in 2016. You won’t regret it. There is limitless potential when it comes to the upsetting things you will find.
For the last several years, my friend Megan Fox and I have been studying the corruption in a Place You’ve Never Heard Of called Orland Park, about 40 minutes southwest of Chicago, which first came on our radar when we discovered that child pornography had been allowed to be accessed in their public library (with library staff deliberately looking the other way and covering it up for years). Their own hidden incident reports (which they fought and fought not to produce) proved they had allowed a man to not only view child pornography on the Library’s computers without police being called but they had also allowed masturbation at the computers, the stalking of women, and the sexual harassment of female employees to go on for years in what can only be described as the Library’s second floor “Masturbation Lounge.” The Village lashed out at us and tried to scare us away after we uncovered the extent of perversion happening in that Masturbation Lounge and all the other sex crimes and impropriety happening at that Library…which then made us interested in everything the Village itself was hiding. The more nastiness these local elected and public officials aimed at us to scare us away and silence us, the more we committed to making scrutinizing the Village of Orland Park our new hobby. We knew if these people were so desperate to shut us up and chase us away and force us to sue them in chancery court to compel them to comply with the Freedom of Information Act that they must be hiding all kinds of things. SPOILER ALERT: we were right!
The Edgar County Watchdogs were an inspiration to Megan and me in our FOIA education, since those guys have become famous in Illinois for busting corruption using Freedom of Information Act requests. The Watchdogs have even performed citizen’s arrests on government boards around the state that they caught violating the law. Forbes magazine lauded them for that. I think they are probably the most talented and committed government corruption busters Illinois has ever seen. And the beauty of what they do…and what Megan and I learned to do by following their example…is that they just email government bodies and ask for expense reports, incident reports, and other documents that likely will contain clues to terrible things the public employees are covering up (hoping no local “busy bodies” ever think to look into).
Last month, in FOIA production, I came across references to the big “Holiday Party” that the Village was throwing for its employees at great taxpayer expense; they planned on having an “Ugly Sweater” contest, which is normally called an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” contest here in Chicagoland. Looking through emails and flyers that the Village had produced related to their big party, I noticed that the employees all very deliberately avoided any use of the word “Christmas.” Like, they went really far out of their way to avoid using the “C-word.”
Previously, Megan and I discovered that the Orland Park Public Library had even banned all traditional Christmas music, because they claimed it would offend Muslims passing through the Library. (Apparently, Muslims spontaneously burst into flames or shatter into a million pieces as if dipped in liquid nitrogen if they hear even the chorus of “Silent Night” or “Ave Maria.”) Hypocritically, a few summers ago this same Library dedicated an entire month of expensive programming to “Muslim Journeys,” which was a series of lectures, displays, and racy belly dancing performances where the Library actively promoted Islam and Islamic “culture.” (Complete with appearances by Imams from the Muslim colony’s mosque, there to proselytize and encourage submission to “the religion of peace”…that blows infidels to pieces.) So…that thing they say about traditional Christmas music and even the words “Merry Christmas” being banned from public property because such overt religious expressions would offend “other cultures” does not apply to Islam or Islamic “culture” offending anyone else. As usual, Christians are told they cannot express their faith or enjoy their culture in public (which just so happens to be the dominant majority culture in this country)…but every effort must always be made to do whatever the precious, wonderful Muslims want. People in Orland Park are idiots embracing dhimmihood…as you will see. But, I digress. There is much more of this tangent for another day.
I was curious how ridiculous people looked in their “Ugly Sweaters” and wondered how many high-ranking Village employees would participate in this silliness. I was also curious how much food the Village would order for the “Don’t Call It Christmas!” party and how much all that would cost. In addition to all the spending documents, I also thought to FOIA any photos and videos taken during the party. Helpful hint: Public bodies must produce photos, videos, audio recordings (like voicemail recordings), texts, Facebook messages, and other electronic audio/visual “documents” in addition to emails, faxes, spreadsheets, Word docs, and hardcopy papers you might request.
I was surprised to spot none other than Joe LaMargo, the Assistant Village Manager (second highest ranking position in the Village), dancing around in photos wearing a sweater with “Birthday Boy Jesus” on it. As he danced, various public employees seemingly stared at his butt and clapped. In his defense, it’s a pretty decent butt.
Amiright? His wife is very talented at picking out this clown’s jeans and dressing him. (Though I wish she had vetoed that sweater.)
So…at this “holiday party” that taxpayers pay for (but are not invited to), “Merry Christmas” is not allowed to be said and is forbidden (because uttering those words may cause any Muslims walking by to flip out and convulse on the floor in seizures)…but high-ranking Village employees are allowed to make any Christians in the room feel uncomfortable with a blasphemous “Birthday Boy Jesus” sweater. And everyone applauds!
It’s shocking how much these gluttons spent on food (and how much food they ordered) for all of these politically correct Village idiots. You could choke Rosie O’Donnell herself with all this:
* 45 pounds of hot Italian beef with bruschetta and sweet peppers = $350.00
* 5 full tubs of baked mostaccioli pasta with marinara = $325.00
* 4 full tubs of chicken with marsala wine sauce = $300.00
* 4 full tubs chicken with champagne butter shallot sauce = $300.00
* 3 full tubs of salad = $115.00
* 5 full tubs of roasted potatoes = $175.00
* 3 full tubs of grilled veggies = $120.00
Why couldn’t they have just done a potluck and had everyone bring a favorite dish from home, at their own personal expense?
Adding in other catering costs, sternos, waiters, utensils, etc. the grand total for all this came to $2,269.00. But, since 300 public employees were dancing around in their Ugly Sweaters and eating champagne and marsala wine chicken and 45 pounds of Italian beef for two full hours that day, at least one hour of that time involved public employees who were on the clock and incurring payroll expenses while they were partying (but never, ever saying “Merry Christmas”). Think about it. The luncheon was two hours long. People only get 1 hour of lunch break in a work day. That means people who attended this party had one hour of lunch break plus one hour when they were on the clock but away from their desks eating, partying, and shaking their butts in Ugly Sweaters for their co-workers (or subordinates’) amusement.
The minimum wage in Chicago currently is $10.00/hour. 300 public employees multiplied by $10 = $3,000. And that’s working off the assumption that all 300 of these people make no more than $10 an hour (which is unlikely, considering how well government positions in the suburbs pay).
So, over $2,000 for the food for this pigfest…and then $3,000 more in payroll costs for the 300 public employees who were on the clock but not at their desks during that second hour of the party after their lunch hours ended = at least $5,000 in taxpayer funds that were spent because of this “holiday party.”
Why You Should Care
In my opinion, if nobody can celebrate Christmas anymore because everyone lives in abject terror of upsetting Muslims then I think these vestigial public employee “holiday parties” need to come to an end. What is the purpose of these events if all the Christmas spirit is yanked out of them?
What they count on is good and decent people feeling bad and not wanting to “take away their Christmas party.” But, this event is decidedly and emphatically NOT a Christmas party. They make a big, colossal point of it NOT being a Christmas party. Therefore, no one should feel bad about “taking” this away from them. These people are hypocrites if they think they can make a big production of forbidding “Merry Christmas” but still insist we view this event with the emotional attachment we would ascribe to a real Christmas party from before the Days of Political Correctness. They count on the public not wanting to be seen as grinches and take this annual event away from them…but in my opinion when it comes to political correctness run amuck, it’s better to be a grinch than a chump.
They remove the “Merry Christmas” and deck the banquet hall with “holiday decorations” instead, but they want to still be able to eat their body weights in champagne and marsala wine chicken and gorge themselves senseless on Italian beef until they burst. Why should the public have to pay for that when this is NOT a Christmas party? What public benefit comes from wasting $5,000 in taxpayer money on these idiots? Surely this event does not cause these public employees to treat the public any better. I see no evidence of any gratitude at all ever been shown to the public for any of the endless perks, treats, and treasured showered on public sector workers using taxpayer funds.
Right now, unemployment is at its highest level in generations. Everyone working for the Village of Orland Park has a pretty nice life with steady paychecks and — let’s be honest — work that is not really all that difficult or strenuous. Take a look at these marshmallows and tell me if you think they have rough lives, like they are working in coal mines or something. If they don’t want to say Merry Christmas, then I don’t think they need to have an annual “Don’t You Dare Say Merry Christmas” party.
Why do they deserve a big $5,000 luncheon in December when they probably make more money each year and work cushier jobs than many of the people whose taxes pay their salaries? It’s unheard of in Chicago for employees in the private sector to have Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day off as paid holidays. Private sector employees only get Christmas Day and New Year’s Day off. Almost all businesses in Chicago are open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and people are expected to work those days.
I think these public sector employees need to start suffering a consequence for their insufferable political correctness and slavish devotion to Islam. If they are so hellbent on eliminating Christmas and making this a truly secular nation with no Christmas traditions…then it’s time to stop holding “holiday parties” at the end of December. They can have their own parties at home on all of the holidays they have off with pay.
They should buy their own food, cook their own champagne shallot butter sauce chicken, slice their own 45-pounds of Italian beef and call it whatever they want to call it, wearing whatever ugly things they want to wear that day.
But, it’s high time that these public employees shared in the suffering that political correctness has caused our country. Until “Merry Christmas” is reintroduced, it’s time to put the kibosh on this “holiday party” hypocritical foolishness.