Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The PD hit list. Anybody you know?

Here is the partial list of the first 42 layoffs at the Plain Dealer sent by a source:  More layoffs to come.  Did the company draw straws?  Note:  Among the victims was Harlan Spector, the guild president. A tipoff of what the owners are trying to accomplish in  its attempt to break the guild .  (Ahem.  It won't work.)   

Source: "48 layoffs from guild expected today. We're at 42. Still many people unaccounted for".

Cynthia C Baecker   clerk
Margaret Bernstein    columnist
Sandi Boyd    clerk
Tom Breckenridge    reporter
Regina Brett   columnist

Reid Brown    artist
Dave Davis    reporter
Stan Donaldson    reporter
Bob Fortuna    reporter
Pat Galbincea    reporter

Mark Gillispie    reporter
Lisa Griffis    layout editor
John Gruner    reporter
John Horton    reporter
Felesia Jackson   graphic artist

David Jardy    library clerk
Adrian Johnson    layout editor
Ellen Jan Kleinerman   reporter
Doug Kramer    copy editor
John Kuehner   city desk editor (night)

John Luttermoser    copy editor
John Mangels    reporter
Erik Maruschak sports clerk
Carl Matzelle    sports clerk
Joe Maxse   sports  reporter

Deborah Miller    copy editor
Mike O'malley   reporter
James W Owens    graphics artist
Mike Peticca    reporter
Bill Piotrowski   layout editor

Racquel Robinson    letters editor
Timothy Rogers    reporter
Don Rosenberg    reporter
Anita Russo    clerk
Tonya Sams    reporter

Michael Scott   reporter
Scott Shaw    photographer
Harlan Spector reporter
Edith Starzyk    reporter
Peggy Turbett   photographer
Eileen Zakareckis    clerk
Brian Zawicki library clerk

UPDATE: Apparently there were some PD staffers on the above list forwarded to me  by a PD source  who opted for a voluntary exit.  
But the number of people out of work doesn't change.    

For Don Rosenberg, the music stopped at PD

It was bad enough when Dale Allen of the Beacon Journal decided the paper would be better off without me on the roster.  But I must tell you that  when it happens to a long-time friend, the news is just as grim.

I'm referring to now-former Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg who was axed this morning by the paper in its less-is-better assault on veteran staff members and home delivery dates. As a former off-and-on music critic in Columbus and Akron, I will be one of the mourners of the newspaper industry's loss of one of its leading music critics.

For now, I can only say "Good luck,Donald" ...even if I didn't always agree with some of your reviews.  You should have been a sports writer.  Editors believe the Browns sell more papers than Beethoven.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

For Gee, a rainbow at the end of the pot

Talk about golden parachutes!  The word I'm hearing from unofficial sources - OK cynical gossipers - is that the OSU Board of Trustees had no choice but to give Gordon Gee a princely entitlement worth millions (and with his own private secretary!)  on his way out the door in September.

Even in a day of cash-strapped campuses, a trustee was alleged to have expressd his concern that without the Midas package, Gee might have bought the university and cracked jokes about the Icelandic army and a monastery in South Bend to his heart's content.  "You can see," the trustee said, "that if we didn't satisfy his demands, he would have replaced the entire board with his personal accountants  from Bank of America  and appointed his friend, Gov. Kasich, to set up a metrically-correct hedge fund for each of the school's  new football recruits. What could we do?"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The saga of the Akron's sewage problem remains a fiasco

 And so, dear reader, we are witnessing still another bizarre  episode in the years-long attempt to discredit the Plusquellic Administration of Akron by a Republican federal judge.  It arrived by way of a compelling article in the Sunday Beacon Journal that told us of Judge John Adams' decision to hire a friendly environmental law professor from Oregon at $450 an hour to examine the city's ongoing plan to clean up a serious sewage drainage problem.

I don't question the expertise of  the hire, Craig N. Johnston, from the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland , Ore., although I do have to wonder why Adams  had to go all the way to the West Coast to hire an expert when there surely must be one in Ohio as qualified as Adams' notion of his own expertise in the long and  costly saga that continues to run up a huge bill for the city.

Indeed, the BJ reported that the U.S. Justice Department for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Attorney General's office for the Ohio EPA described  Adams'  move as "unneeded and unwarranted". The paper  said that the three parties - city, federal and state - objected to the hourly rate as excessive.  Adams, of course,  disagreed.

Adams emerged as a severe critic of the mayor when the city supported a plan by a private contractor to put up  an office building  next to the downtown federal building.  He insisted that it would endanger judges with a possible terrorist  act.   The controversy began more than  six years ago and the building was never erected.   Meantime, Adams protested that the city was, of all things, dragging its feet in acting on the problem!

What is the court's obsessive determination to block the city's sewer plan?

There are building blocks in the back story that have pointed to Adams' personal enmity toward Plusquellic. And one of the arteries that has pumped  poison and passion into the Plusquellic tenure is Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, who years ago was whispering to folks that the mayor would be indicted for  some mythical federal crime. (Before that, it was Hillary Clinton who would be indicted. )  It was the height of the chairman's frustration that he couldn't come close to defeating the long-serving Plusquellic on election Day. Nor will he ever.

Dave Lieberth was Akron's deputy mayor at the time and today he scoffs at the original fear of terrorists.  "It's a stupid argument," Lieberth says, arguing there are other ways terrorists could attack even without access to a nearby building.

And Max Rothal, the former city law director who had an upfront view of the case,  recalls that when the U.S. Attorney's office  filed  suit to have the city "accelerate a remedy for the sewage problem," Adams promptly set a date for a status hearing before the deadline for the city to choose its own outside  lawyer.

"When I complained that we hadn't had enough time  to choose our lawyer,  I was told  the court thought we would hire somebody from Roetzel and Andress," Rothal said.    That's  the big Akron law firm that has long been targeted by Arshinkoff as a Democratic beehive. A laughable notion, to say the least.  Arshinkoff complained that Democratic Chairman Wayne Jones' was with the firm.  But so was Jones' friend and colleague, Atty. Pete Kostoff, the former Republican mayor of Fairlawn.

Arshinkoff  played a strong role  in Adams' appointment by President George W. Bush to the Federal bench in 2003. So his  political scheme is  paying off.

If all of this sounds a tad harsh, I'm merely connecting the dots in the linkage between the court, Johnston and the mayor.  Under different  circumstances Arshinkoff would have called it an "epic of Biblical proportions".

I'm merely calling it a court-inspired fiasco.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Note to Speaker Boehner: Steve King's YOUR problem.

 Rep. Steve King, the Iowa  Republican, had no sooner likened the kids of undocumented immigrants to  "drug mules" with bulging calves the size of "cantaloupes," than some of his GOP colleagues shuddered  at his metaphor.  Doesn't the maniacal  Iowan realize that some Republicans are doing their damnedest to convince Latinos that they are all  brothers and sisters of wholesome Americans? Apparently not, which is why Speaker John Boehner, departing briefly from his sky-is-falling rants against President Obama,  promptly described the remarks as "hateful and ignorant".

Worse yet, Rep. Raul Labrador, Idaho Republican, blamed the media for reporting King's comments.  Ah, but there's a problem here.  The last time I looked, Steve King's House roll call vote on any issue counted as much as Boehner's or Labrador's.  I'd say King, who is among those who have jolted the party's derangement still farther to the Right, is the GOP's problem, not the media's, which doesn't have a vote.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The painful countdown continues at Plain Dealer

Consider this the painfully lost week end for the Plain Dealer staff.  The news people are awaiting deadly verdicts, such as, "Will I have a job a week from now."  Nobody knows as the paper moves closer to Aug. 3, the day when it will be shrunk to three weekday home deliveries plus a "bonus" delivery on Saturday to accompany the Wednesday,  Friday and Sunday  schedule.  Why is it a bonus rather than a four-days-a week schedule?  Beats me.  Those clever consultants think of everything.  PD Guild president Harlan Spector told me at  5 p.m. Thursday, he still had a job.  But he, like all of the others, are in a state suspended animation.  "The company hasn't told us anything," he said.  But we expect it to happen next week."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

House Republicans programmed as the Army of the Potomac.

Have you heard about the latest Republican plan to warn grieving Americans and happy morticians that their government is dead?  Some observers are calling it a "Hate Washington" campaign when the well-fed Army of the Potomac, notably House GOP members,  come home during the August recess for a bleak assessment of the gridlock that they are largely responsible for creating in the first place. It's all contained in a House Republican Conference planning kit,  that, if you're still with me, is  loaded with Death Valley talking points.

A more accurate title is a "Hate, Obama" campaign ", a churlish commitment by that president's  enemies that was  reported on the first day he entered office in 2009. Look it up.

The army has been armed not with muskets but a long list of jeremiads as it  fans out across the nation in a sort of tea-formation offensive  to alert unsuspecting citizens that the worst is yet to come.  They are even aiming at drive-time  declarations on how to cut waste or as it has been called,  "An Obamacare Media Tour." By now we already know about the GOP's obsession with vaporizing Obamacare, don't we?  That particular chapter of Obama's sinful behavior has long dwelled on  how these lavishly-insured congressmen are driven to rid America of health-care  coverage for those who can't afford it.

Their tactics  deserve little more than the words in a New Yorker movie review of  "Pacific Rim", which largely deals with monsters.  The unimpressed critic, Anthony Lane, wrote:
"So what if the script is feeble, the plot is perforated, and the characters are so flimsy that you wouldn't risk blowing your nose on them."
Frankly, there won't be a new thought advanced that hasn't been around for the entire  Obama era.  But it will be an opportunity for each member of the traveling circus to boast in a later essay about  "What I did last summer."

You'd think that with a Congress wallowing with a desperate majority of Republican  lunatics in the House, we would all feel a lot safer if the sheriff met them at the district line.  Otherwise, their time could be better spent walking their dogs, lovable  creatures that have a way of brightening one's outlook.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pro-choice women assigned to covered wagons

Forgive me, but I keep hearing strange rumors from the epicenter of Darkest Ohio.  That could only mean the Republican-controlled legislature, where a new bill is being prepared to throttle pro-choice women from interfering with the  sober (not always) business of enlightened governing in 2013.  The measure will limit protests to a restricted area just west of Lima, Oh.   It will be  an amendment  quietly interred in another bill recognizing the covered wagon as the official state vehicle.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Liz Cheney et al answer calls from friends and God

It would have been so refreshing if Liz Cheney had declared her candidacy for the U.S. Senate as an initiative that she chose on her very own against all odds. Instead, the daughter of Dick C., the pulse-less guy  who... - No!  don't get me  started!  -   said she was responding to all of the many  people who have been urging her to save the country from the beastly socialists who operate these days under the guise of  garden  variety Democrats!

Who, after all, could turn down Rush Limbaugh, who promptly described her as a "Republican royal" and one of Dick Cheney's "greatest contributions to the country"? Wyomingites may soon start receiving robocalls with those exact words.

For the evolving ID of this candidate, Liz just moved to the wide open spaces of Wyoming last year.  It is a state where some ranches are as twice as big as Rhode Island.  It has not gone unnoticed that she will challenge the  Republican incumbent, Mike Enzi, whose credentials  include words to the effect that he is one of the most conservative  senators in D.C.

Well,  dead-enders from the GOP's teeming hatcheries seem to want to have a face-saving point by blaming uncountable hordes from the silent majority for their claims to political stardom.  Didn't Rick Perry and Sarah Palin  suggest their candidacies arrived via a vision from God?  (As noted above, that would also apply to Limbaugh)

State Treasurer Josh Mandel even got into the "My friends made me do it" mode during his Custer-style  campaign against Sen. Sherrod Brown.    In a speech at the Akron Press Club in 2012,  Mandel went on and on explaining that his idea to leap into the race was merely a humble response to the repeated appeals from a wide body of wholesome friends to save America.

George W. Bush, on the other hand, took his cues from the rich oil people in Texas who guaranteed him more than few pennies if he ran for president.  But in Texas, they are the Gods.

The only possible upside of Liz Cheney as American Idol is that she might be invited to speak at the Summit County Lincoln Day Dinner, which may be held between Christmas and New Year's Day this year.  The event has been catering to such  hard-right  GOP highlights as Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum,  Jim Jordan, Ken Mehlman and Ken Blackwell.  For her, it would be a great fit.

Get your reservations early while they last.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pols posing as doctors may force medical school closure.

Let me begin the week by forwarding the troubling word that with so many Ohio Republican lawmakers posing as physicians in advancing their bizarre medical certainties on abortion,  the Ohio State University College of Medicine has suffered a severe drop in enrollment and may close.  Officials say that so many young people  now believe that if you can play doctor in the Ohio legislature,  why spend all of that money on a formal education?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rep. Peter Beck standing his ground in another way

State Rep. Peter Beck, a right-wing Republican from Mason, Oh., is a co-sponsor of a Stand Your Ground piece of legislation in Columbus and maybe not a moment too soon.  He's the guy who was just indicted on 16 felony charges of securities fraud and could  be standing on less agreeable ground for years if convicted.

Not being geographically correct, I looked up Mason and found it to be just north of Cincinnati.  It once again upheld southwestern  Ohio's miserable record of sending  wingies into public service.  Mason also is the home of the Voice of America Museum,  which is not something Beck is in any position to brag about given the awful mess he's in.

According to Beck's lawyer, Konrad Kircher, his client is prepared to offer a "vigorous defense" when the case reaches the courtroom. Not original, but what else can a  defense lawyer say?

As for the Stand your Ground proposal, it was headed by Republican State Rep. Terry Johnson, who is from McDermott ( pop. ca. 400), down in Scioto County  north of Portsmouth.  We're told,  however,  that it does  have a Post Office.

Geography is becoming far more important in Ohio these days as the state retreats into an agrarian society. There is growing evidence of the handiwork of the legislative rustics  who are setting the pace  for your state and mine.  As we've noted in previous posts, even the Ohio Republican Party prefers landscapes with barns.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The latest GOP voter spin: From Photo ID to Photo 3D?

With a court test under way to determine whether Pennsylvania's restrictive new voter ID law violates civil liberties, there's word that   Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus, has proposed a remedy to settle things down on the electoral front.  Priebus, which sort of rhymes with genius, is said to be calling for a Photo 3D law that profiles every voter in much greater depth and in color.  Priebus argues that voter fraud has reached such extraordinary numbers that the only way to sustain our  democracy is to examine every facet of the voter's face as closely as possible.   "The stakes are too high to maintain   the system with the haphazard process we now have that gives Democrats  such an unfair  advantage at the polls," Priebus reportedly said.   (He supposedly expressed fear to an RNC associate that the faces of blacks and Latinos can be photo-shopped into albinos to beat the system.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

From Trayvon "justice" to Frog Jump, Tenn.

Maybe it's the tropical heat that followed a couple of weeks of rain that is causing a lot of public figures to say the strangest things these days.   Let me try to sort it out:

The post- Zimmerman trial has produced  talk of books and rumors of books to be written.   Not unusual.  Every national spectacle always  lures a wannabe author or two to tell you much of what you already know or don't really care to know. If there is to be a cash-conscious literary circus, someone should at least note the pointed words of Zimmerman defense lawyer Mark O'Mara, who paused long enough during his victory lap to remark that if Trayvon Martin's assailant had been black, he wouldn't have been arrested. Oh?

O'Mara didn't realize that he had just blown  another hole in the justice system.  If a black had killed Trayvon, why wouldn't he have been arrested?  Was the young black victim's death less important depending on the skin color of the person who killed him?    And if those are society 's acceptable rules for a justice system, where's the justice?  And what if a black had murdered a white?  In some quarters in the wake of the outrageous verdict  it would be asked why we even needed a trial to administer black-on-white  justice.

* * * * *

In the lead-up to the deal that confirmed Richard Cordray,   John McCain told us with a straight face that the problem could be solved if the president let Republicans make the nominations. Although Republicans said they liked Cordray but hated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that he manages, I think they also resented Cordray because he is intelligent.  Intellectual depth has never been helpful to politicians.  Otherwise Cordray, a former "Jeopardy" champ, would not have lost to Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine.  Way back, Jack Gilligan, another whiz, would not have been defeated by Jim Rhodes for Ohio governor.  I won't even mention George W.Bush's twin victories for president.

About McCain's pro-choice idea for his party:   I'm told he even agreed to sweeten it for the other side  by calling it Nominees for Democrats and encoding the names of the GOP choices in the Congressional Pledge of  Allegiance.

* * * * *

Ever hear of Frog Jump, Tenn.   Probably not.  It's not even listed on the Google map.  It's an unincorporated place near Elmore,  if that helps. It's also known as "Lightning Bug Center". (Trust me: I couldn't make this up.)

We call all of this to your sober attention because it is the home of a farmer named Stephen Fincher, a Republican  who has a well-fed place in Congress.  He recently voted to eliminate food stamps from the big agriculture bill on Biblical grounds.  He says he was prompted by a verse in Thessalonians  quoting Jesus as warning that anybody unwilling to work "should not eat."

Rep. Fincher, however, can enjoy eating to his  belly's content inasmuch as he's received about $3.5 million in federal farm subsidies.

Maybe he can at least reenact the fishes and the loaves for the poor.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Arshinkoff to Coughlin: Banana or orange?

Every now and then a precedent-setting moment occurs at an otherwise boring Summit County Board Elections Board meeting that could have a strong influence on how the Republican Party profiles color-coded  people to deny then a vote.

As reported by the Beacon Journal, it happened when Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, a board member, demanded that his old adversary, Kevin Coughlin,  produce a party-ID.  Coughlin, the Republican ex-state senator, was being screened as a nonpartisan candidate for Stow Municipal Clerk.

Arshinkoff, as is his wont, went directly to the gravity of the matter by asking Coughlin:  "Are you a banana or an orange?"

Well, now.  When was any politician ever  asked a provocative question like that? (For his part Coughlin said it didn't matter.)

There was a time back in the 12th Century when one might have been asked whether he or she was a Ghibelline or a Guelph, a life or death matter at the time. Or  a Hatfield or McCoy.  Or a Rino or Defender of the Faith.

But a  banana or orange from the guy who has long considered himself to be the county party's Top Banana since the days of U.S. Grant.?

We can only assume that the idea of such juicy metaphors was seeded in Arshinkoff's subconscience years ago when a disrespectful Beacon Journal editor referred to him as a "cumquat".  Alex didn't like the sound of the word even though he didn't know what it meant.

But be ready for a new line of questioning the next time you show up at  the polls.  If you are neither a banana nor an orange nor even a cumquat, be prepared  to spend long hours trying to define yourself as an ordinary voter.  For your convenience, a trash bin will be provided for the peelings and rinds.

P.S.  Whatever he is, Coughlin was denied a spot on the ballot.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Taking GOP imagination to the next level in North Carolina

Have you noticed that the GOP,  forever known as the Party of Ideas, still has plenty left in its tank in North Carolina?  In a uniquely progressive approach to show the ladies who's boss in the abortion battle, the sovereign white guys in the state senate  finessed Planned Parenthood and other maladjusted groups  by passing a strict anti-abortion bill sneakily attached  as an amendment to a measure opposing Sharia Law.   That was followed by a similar amendment slipped into a motorcycle safety bill in the House.  With more states considering abortion bills, it's now being reliably reported that other  Defenders of their Faith plan to ban the celebration of  Adolph Hitler Day in America, a brilliantly clever step  in smuggling more anti-abortion laws into the books.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Political life can be odd, if not always beautiful.

Let me try to sort out a few mostly odd odds and ends this week:

When Joseph Palazzo, the former tech director of the Cuyahoga Heights School District, was convicted of stealing $3.4 million from the schools, the Plain Dealer reported, Palazzo apologized  to U.S.District Judge Benita Pearson and declared that he had suffered a "lapse in judgment" and would never do it again.  Given that he was sentenced to 11 years and four months in a Federal prison, it would have to be awhile.

The PD also told us of Allen Warner's day in court for "secretly recording nude images of two former mistresses and a teenage grirl  using cameras hidden  in clocks and video players.

The 60-year-old voyeur,who apologized, told the court he had no idea he was doing anything wrong..  The court thought otherwise and sentenced Warner to a 17 year-hitch  for "voyeurism, pandering  sexually oriented material involving a minor and pornography related crimes".

* * * * *

It was a better week for GOP  Reps. Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, and a terrible one for Congressman Paul Broun, the nutty Georgia Republican. Bachmann once lamented that if the rascals in the White House continued to assault the wallets of Americans, some day "there won't be any rich people in America."  She can relax.  Several reliable sources have now reported that people with assets of more than $1 million soared  more than 11 pct.  in 2012 in North America, a continent in first place on the planet with $12.7 trillion in assets.

I needn't remind you that I have long considered Gohmert, the Texas guy, to be the perennial claimant to the congressional dunce cap.  No longer.  It is now claimed by Broun, an MD, who has never stopped Biblically ranting about the evils of science.  He has again told us of the planet's twin-evils: evolution and the big bang theory.

"God's word is true," says Dr. Broun.  "...All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is from  the pit of hell.  It's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior."  (Or. at least Broun, whichever comes first in politics.) Yadayadayada. ..  Move over,  Louie. Don't think you can top this for now.

* * * * *

Finally, I've figured out the heart of the congressional wingies' opposition to humane immigration reform.  They simply don't like Latinos. No way.

As for the abortion controversy,  I propose that we contact our congressmen to support  a law that serves two purposes:  Any congressmen who will be voting to restrict abortions must first present a photo ID - a photo ID  - to determine whether there is a tell-tale  scar from  a birth controlling vasectomy.  Those who fail the exam  will be barred from going to a Major League baseball game to watch a team with more than two  Latino players. Problem solved.

A troubling report from Plunderbund:

We offer this guest column from

Last week we reported that the Springboro Public School District was planning to host a series of courses on the U.S. Constitution developed by a group with ties to white supremacists, using materials developed by a couple of guys who believe the Bible should supplant US law.
On July 4th, the Dayton Daily News (DDN) reported that the class had been cancelled. The paper said registrants for the course, offered by the Institute on the Constitution, should contact Ricki Pepin at the Institute “for a refund.”
An email obtained by Plunderbund shows that Pepin has not actually cancelled the class but has instead moved it to a new day and location.
According to the email (below), Ms. Pepin will be teaching the class starting a week later once a new location is identified.   Ms. Pepin attributes the move to “a bump in the road”, which would more accurately be described as an overwhelmingly negative response from an outraged community.
Pepin’s website advertises her as a speaker focused on the “Contemporary application of Biblical Principles” through a process she labels “Educated activism”.  Her lectures aim to teach American History ”from a Biblical foundation”.  She is the author of two books “The Apocalypse! Unveiling of the End Times” and “God’s Health Plan”.
While the class will no longer be held on school property, the class was originally advertised in a flyer mailed to parents and staff by Ashley McGuire, Secretary to Superintendent Todd Petrey, using her official Springboro School District email account.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Never too late for payback by a deceased Browns fan

OK, fun time from a Columbus Dispatch obituary:

When long time Cleveland Browns fan Scott Entsminger died in Mansfield, his obit airily included his reputed last words: "(Scott) respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time."

His brother Bill explained that the Browns line was an inside joke in their family. "We had knocked that around before," Bill said. "It was nudge-nudge, wink-wink, whichever one of us goes first".


Monday, July 8, 2013

Jim Petro joins the pro- gay-marriage cause

Stop whatever's left of the presses.  Another well-known Ohio Republican has experienced an  epiphany arising from his family.  Following  Sen. Rob Portman's defense of same-sex marriage because his son is gay, former Ohio auditor and attorney general Jim Petro announced today  that he, too, supports gay marriage.  Here's  his statement to a news conference:
Last year, my daughter Corbin married Jessica Gelman in Massachusetts, where same-gender marriages are legal.  They are expecting a child soon, and deserve the same protections guaranteed to other families.  Seeing their happiness, and realizing all the rights they would be denied here in Ohio has proven to me the importance of equal marriage in our state"
Referring to FreedomOhio's  grass-roots initiative for an amendment to kill the gay marriage ban in the Ohio, Petro said;
"I'm thoroughly convinced that bringing marriage equality to Ohio is the right thing to do.  This amendment is rooted in a central conservative value, namely, freedom - the freedom to love, the freedom  of religion, and the freedom from big government.  I am proud to endorse the amendment."
Good,  Jim Petro!

Perhaps it will lead other prominant Republicans to shed their own enmity to the social values that are rapidly changing these days.  There are doubtless other social conservatives  faced with offspring (or their closeted selves) who could  step forward.  And at the local level, every county GOP chairman, the field hands of the people in power in Columbus,  needs to address the question.   So what about it, Alex Arshinkoff?  It's 2013, you know.

By the way, Phil Burress, the head of Citizens for Community Values (a conservative Cincinnati group that germinates in southwest Ohio) hissed that Petro has no right to impose his own family values on others.   Hey, Phil.  Isn't it the other way around?  Thought so.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Robart boasts of his Cuyahoga Falls mission in ...Fairlawn!

The oddest entry in  Fairlawn's  Fourth of July parade was a  big truck with an accordion billboard promoting Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart.  It told us that the long serving Republican was "always putting  Cuyahoga Falls  first".

A rather strange boast, don't you think,  in a Fairlawn event where the local mayor, Bill Roth, is a low-key Republican  in a well-managed town.

In recent years, Robart, who is seeking his 8th term in November, has swung  over to the Tea Party wing, if not as a card-carrying member, then as a kindred  spirit.  He showed up at the teabaggers Rescue America Tax Day Rally in the Falls last year (Another of those events with a do-gooder  name) to praise the GOP insurgents as the conscience of America. Still, he's not been  reluctant to take federal money for his own projects.

He also stonewalled giving a wounded Iraqi veteran  and his male partner family rates at the Falls Natatorium. In this instance,  the mayor decided that gay couples  come second to putting his city first. So it  seems fair` to ask:  First in what?

Now after three decades in City Hall, he's being challenged by a popular Democratic councilman, Don Walters. It won't be surprising to see more of those Robart Falls-first trucks in the Labor Day parade in Barberton.  Maybe even Canton.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The GOP CAN keep them down on the farm

A few people (probably Republicans) have  wondered why I frequently refer to the
GOPers running the Ohio legislature as "rustics". Being old-fashioned enough to believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, I again refer to the official photo logo adorning the top of every official press  release from the Ohio Republican Party as the symbol of the party of regressives.   I don't see a single skyline of an Ohio city nor an urban thoroughfare.    Simply a barn and silo.  Tell me that "rustic" doesn't befit the ordinary Republican politicians, even the ones who live in Upper Arlington or Hudson.

* * * * *

Speaking of the Ohio legislature, the GOP sausage machine that   ground out the new budget also produced some of the  oddest defenses that edge out the best of  Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert,  today's gold standard of loony  utterances.   There was Rep. Ron Hood, the Ashville, Oh. Republican who introduced an abortion bill in mid-June that was augmented in the final hour as a  budget amendment.  Referring to the American Cancer Society's  rejection of the notion that abortion leads to breast cancer, Hood said he didn't think these issues needed to be stated as fact. Only, he said, as a possibility. Or not.

Then along came Rep.  Terry Boose, the Norwalk Republican, insisting that a state budget is a statement of numbers, not top-heavy policy.  But Democratic Sen. Tom Sawyer of Akron would have nothing to do with that kind of talk that stresses  numbers over policy.  "He doesn't know what he's talking about," Sawyer said. "The budget is 80 pct. policy and 20 pct. numbers".  Right.  Working from the same column of numbers, the budgeteers will find a way to inject their own policies. (Remember the adage that figures don't lie, but liars do figure!)

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Dear me. My copy of the Beacon Journal arrived Monday morning without a single word about the budget that Gov. Kasich signed (as a guy thing, no less) on Sunday evening.    The Plain Dealer, however, nicely filled the vacuum with a long piece that topped the front page.  So how much longer can the BJ sustain its motto of Informing Engaging Essential?  I'm not awaiting a reply.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gonidakis wins the non-sequitur award for the Great Budget of 2013

The murky logic that attended  the governor's signing of the Great Budget of 2013 in Columbus Sunday night made it  somewhat of a challenge to isolate the best non-sequitur for posterity.  But we finally settled on this one from Ohio Right to Life's leader, Michael Gonidakis:
"It took great compassion and courage for our governor and pro-life  legislature to stand up to the abortion  industry that blatantly pressured them."
C'mon, Mike.   I would blatantly remind you that as a buddy of the governor who appointed you to the Ohio Medical Board,  you've been quoted  in  everything but the Major League box scores on your  aggressive support of the Draconian anti-abortion language  in the budget, even to the point of scary tactics about the cancerous illnesses  -not medically supported - that accompany abortion. Now that you've prevailed, don't you think it would be a greater act of compassion and courage for you  to recant  your self-serving  apocalyptic vision?

P.S. Your quote did manage to wind up on the Huffington Post, which cast more shame on Ohio at the national level by describing the approved anti-abortion  amendment in Ohio  as "among the most restrictive in the country."