Thumbs-down: To inconvenient scheduling and late reporting. A city of DeKalb Joint Review Board hearing on how millions in public funds are being spent in the city was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, a time when many people are at work. The hearing was to inform board members and the public about how the city is spending tax increment financing proceeds. But the figures discussed at the hearing were from the fiscal year that ended in July 2016 – almost a year ago. Tax increment financing generates a large amount of discretionary spending for the city, and the accounting of how the money is being spent and how effective the spending has been should be more prompt and accessible.
Thumbs-up: To succeeding in the “Shark Tank.” On Friday, Northern Illinois University alumni Joe Parisi (2011) and Adam Havey (2012) secured a $100,000 investment in their company, Guard Llama, on the ABC TV show. Parisi and Havey were among the co-founders of their company in 2015. They have created an app and keychain remote designed to alert authorities in case of an emergency. They had to keep the outcome of the show under wraps for a while, but now that the show has aired, they can finally talk about it. Congratulations and good luck to Havey, Parisi and their new company.
Thumbs-down: To brutalizing airline passengers. Video of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight at O’Hare International Airport on Sunday spread far and wide this week and enraged a lot of people. Lawyers for the man who was dragged off the plane, 69-year-old David Dao of Kentucky, say he suffered a concussion and a broken nose and lost two teeth as a result of his removal. It was wrong for the airline to treat a paying customer who had already been seated on a plane that way just because it wanted to make room for a flight crew. If there’s any positive that can come from the situation, it appears it will lead to a change in the way airlines treat passengers.
Thumbs-down: To false comparisons to Hitler. Note to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer – never talk about Hitler when addressing the press, and especially not during the Jewish holiday of Passover. For one, Hitler’s dead. For another, there’s an excellent chance you’ll put your foot in your mouth when making any comparison to one of history’s most murderous megalomaniacs. The regime of Syria’s Bashar Assad is bad. He may well have committed war crimes against his own people. But Hitler is in another league of evil. Any sentence that begins “Even Hitler didn’t ...” has a high probability of being regrettable no matter how it ends.