Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is there ever any reason NOT to endorse a GOP state candidate?

Re-posted from Plunderbund

The arrival of October not only offers us the annual radiance of autumnal colors but also, unfortunately, the dismal folly of another newspaper editorial endorsement season.   The candidate interviews have been held, the editorial boards have met and now we can sit back in wonderment at  how the corporate  media are  prepared to lead the voter into their secure grasp.

As the years passed,  the media not only lost  readers but also  credibility. Editorial support  is now a lesser matter of influence than a fading obligation.  Sort of like trying to lead a horse to water with fewer and fewer horses in the corral.

The Columbus Dispatch - no need to go into its past profile again - has led the enfilade  with its soaring endorsement of John Kasich and then on Sunday packaged the entire Republican state ticket as the Masters of the Universe. Not entirely unexpected.  Still there was a surprise tucked in the GOP group, namely the paper's support of Ohio Treasurer  Josh Mandel as its unapologetic choice.

Mandel, it's painful to recall,  was one of the principle characters so often mentioned in the Ben Suarez money laundering case.  Here's what the Dispatch reported  back in July:
"While Suarez was found not guilty of making illegal campaign  contributions in 2011, no one is questioning that he gathered $100,000 for Mandel's Senate campaign [against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown].  And no one is questioning that Mandel took up Suarez's cause in a California legal battle at the same time.''
The story further noted that Mandel's  fundraiser, Scott Guthrie, "twice helped Mandel solicit campaign money from Suarez: $30,000 in one instance, $100,000 in another.  Guthrie personally picked up an envelope containing the $100,000 in checks after hours at Suarez's company." Hardly beer money, wouldn't  you think?

So what does the Dispatch have to say about that apparent pay-to-play transaction?  It rebranded Mandel  by asserting that he has "performed his duties ably and helped put the state on a sound fiscal footing."  It concluded that Mandel had "weathered a bit of a scandal" in the Suarez matter and was not charged, as suspect  as it all seemed.

True to his style, Josh immediately posted the brief endorsement in his flow of fund-raising letters, mournfully pleading for financial contributions to help him fight  negative attacks by his opponent,

Mandel has experience in negatives.  He once denounced Sherrod Brown as "un-American" for supporting the auto industry bailout.

And he wants you to help pay for his re-election.   Clip and save.

Must read: New Yorker Magazine report on ISIS

Today's recommended reading:

Dexter Filkins' long and revealing report on ISIS in the Sept. 29th New Yorker.  In the end, you might conclude that there is no bumper sticker answer to the threat, that it is a nasty condition that won't go away soon and will still be around for the next president or two to confront.  This is an enemy active around the world, with even strong ties in Australia. Don't look for simple answers.  There are none.    Some of our friends are our enemies, and some of our enemies are our friends but unfriendly to others.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Dispatch endorses Kasich. Who knew?

I never know whether to take a Columbus Dispatch editorial endorsement seriously.  That's especially true after it awarded John Kasich the  Gubernatorial Medal of Honor  without a hint about his imperfect tenure as a leading force in the Political/Industrial/Crony Complex.

Not a word about his anti-union sentiments, or his allies (think:Mark Kvamme) who raked in millions of dollars in the glow of his office, nor his claim to lead Ohio out of the Bush recession poverty without telling us that the state ranks 41st in economic growth since he took office, nor that he opposed the Obama administration's stimulus package while now enjoying its  job-saving benefits.  No sense marring the Medal of Honor.

Don't get me started.

I mean, we're dealing here with a family-owned Republican newspaper that hasn't endorsed a Democrat for president since 1916 (Woodrow Wilson)  and has treated the legislative halls across the street as its very own plantation.

With giant holdings in banks, real estate and TV-radio media, the Wolfe family owners
have been brutal about  political dissent and ideological heresies that forever reminded the paper's critrics of Dante's admonition to "abandon hope of all ye who enter here''  as they approached the gates of hell.

I had the misfortune of working for years within the Dispatch's shadow as a reporter and later as a liberal magazine editor who felt some of it sting.   Close quarters some of that time when the Dispatch entered joint operating agreement that moved the fading Columbus Citizen into the mezzanine of the Dispatch as the Scripps-owned  Citizen-Journal.  The latter, more or less the  mad relative in the closet,  was said to be independent, but the Dispatch controlled advertising. circulation,  news space for the CJ and the minds of the establishment around town.

When newspaper critic and author A.J. Liebling spoke at the Ohio State University campus, he effectively referred to the phony setup as "two hermit crabs living out of the same shell".

Now there is just one hermit crab, but the message hasn't changed.

In its endorsement, the paper didn't even overlook the possibilities of more early voters. Closing its long anticipated blessing for Kasich, it opined:

"As voters take advantage of Ohio's early-voting opportunities, The Dispatch urges them to re-elect [bold face] Gov.John Kasich.

P.S  As Plunderbund reported, in an interview with  Columbus CEO Magazine, Mark Kvammea gave a soaring account of Kasich's brilliant economic works.   And who owns Columbus CEO Magazine?  The Dispatch Printing Company.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kasich brings message from God to Cuyahoga Falls

Now that Gov. Kasich has assured us that God  has given him a purpose "to allow everyone to be lifted", there really isn't much of a safe passage left for his opponents through Election Day. There, in his campaign stop in Cuyahoga Falls, the governor defined his burning bush moment to the delight of his immediately uplifted audience.

More and more these days, Republican politicians are invoking their personal messages from God to save the country, the state and more importantly their precious jobs. Had they not heard from their Maker, they doubtless would have had to settle for a dull but lucrative life buried in hedge funds.

I do wonder, however, whether God actually told him to  reward college students  with credits  for volunteering to help oldies.  It would be, he said, a vital learning experience for the kids to hear about WWII from the seniors.  My guess is that they would rather hear about ways to get out from under their student loans.

The governor was joined by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.  She told reporters Kasich should be credited for creating jobs.  Not the least of which was hers.  


The Roosevelts: Then, and now

As I viewed Ken Burns' compelling series about the Roosevelts, the comparisons with modern politics soon became evident:  the attacks on FDR  (read: Obama)  as a socialist, communist, dictator and king; the steeled resistance of the industrialists to converting to a wartime prooduction  line,  fearing loss of profits;  the Republican opposition to labor unions, Social Security, minimum wage and other safety nets for a nation mired in the Great Depression.

Does the equation ever change?

The heroics were particularly dramatic with Franklin,  whose legacy will be that of one of America's greatest presidents.  Pained and limited by more than 10 pounds of steel pressing against his polio-stricken legs,  he maintained a can-do optimistic tone in his fireside chats  and countless personal appearances that earned him four terms to the disgust of his bitterest enemies.   He connected with the commoners, or as one of the voices so eloquently  told us in one of the episodes:  "I didn't know him.   But he knew me."

He was, his critics asserted, a "traitor to his class"  - quite a stretch, I''d say, for a leader whose playing field must embrace the poorest of the poor who were far more plentiful than the clubby rich stiffs.

From coal miners to the Dust Bowl victims to the black Americans who were denied so much of  their country,  FDR rose to their needs. And then, driven by the disaster at Pearl Harbor,   he successfully led a tattered nation in regaining its equilibrium in destroying Hitler and the Japanese warlords.   That's not my version of history.  That's history, so well revealed  by Burns' series. Only the smallest of minds set against FDR will quibble.

And Eleanor, who suffered  pain from her husband's longtime affair with Lucy Mercer.  But she soldiered on as one of history's  great social reformers.  (Shouldn't her enormous contribution to humanity be somehow  recognized in a Rushmore setting?)

Still, if you were to look for a common denominator between the Roosevelt era and today's cheapies on Capitol Hill, check the attacks (Swiftboating!) on Elliott Roosevelt, the Roosevelts'  oldest son, an Air Force general who flew 300 combat missions who was targeted by his enemies at home.  Unlike that of the conservative icon, Ronald Reagan, Elliott's military uniform was the real thing.

Meanwhile, during those 14 hours of a memorable documentary, one other notable fact stood out:  In contrast to FDR's efforts for the hurting underclass, there was House Speaker John Boehner, today's conscience of the Republican class, damning the unemployed in his speech to a conservative group.

He said,  "this idea that has been born, maybe out of the economy over the last couple years, that you know, I really don't have to work.  I don't really want to do this, I think I'd rather just sit around.    This is a very sick idea for our country."

No, John.  You and your party are a very sick idea for this country.    You have no chance of Ken Burns doing a half-hour on your assumed greatness.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The TV networks: What climate change protests?

The herd mentality of the Sunday morning TV news panels was remarkably affirmed again as the networks shamefully chose to ignore the massive climate change demonstrations in  New York City and around the globe.  As Media Matters and other sources reported, except for one "stray reference" to it on ABC's This Week, the major networks decided to dismiss it from its Sunday news panel agenda as  more  than 300,000 folks demonstrated in Manhattan against the toxic plague affecting our air and water.  Wanna bet that if John McCain had  somehow entered the picture, he would have been the preferred panelist on all of the talkie programs?

Friday, September 19, 2014

No, Rush. What don't you know about No?

Rush Limbaugh, the arbiter of all matters sexual,  has created an entirely new niche audience for his deranged rants.  Rapists.

Continuing his  crude dismissal of campus rapes as an American fiction, Rushbo  had this to say to his  unique group:

"How many of you guys in  your experience with women have learned that 'No' means 'Yes' if you know how to spot it?"

Time to haul out the Grumpy Abe Linguistic Lunacy (GALL) award  for the Republicans' Great White Whale!

We are seeing Gov. Kasich in pantomime .

Re-posted from Plunderbund 

John Kasich has apparently  found his comfort zone for re-election in a kind of political pantomime  in which he is silently acting out his role  to the voters in paid-TV imagery while his narrators assure you that he means well in everything he sets out to do for you.

So until election day we will be served with body language and thoroughly encrypted feel-good messages without him really showing up as a real person. (Exception: When the governor, anticipating a generous contribution,  called upon God to bless Sheldon Adelson, the Midas-like casino owner. Those are the moments that don't appear in the TV ads).

The keepers of conventional wisdom shrugged when Kasich passed the word through his flaks that he wouldn't debate his opponent  Ed FitzGerald. Never intended to, for that matter. Nothing to be gained by it, one  Cleveland TV reporter supposed  without a hint of discomfort over a candidate's refusal to face the voters  with his opponent on hand.

After all, Kasich explainer, spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp, said the decision was regrettable "despite good-faith efforts on our side" that were halted a couple of  months ago when FitzGerald's campaign suffered an "implosion".

Good-faith efforts?   Kasich had said earlier  that he knew nothing about any  debate discussions because these were in the hands of his "campaign".    Anybody from the distance of Mars who has a hint of the man's brusque hands-on  style knows that absolutely nothing occurs in a campaign that he does not know about.

His pantomime will continue when he and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor turn up in the well-vetted  Summit County Republican Headquarters  Tuesday afternoon.  There he will be joined by some  local Republicans and Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, a lobbyist who gets a $10,000 monthly paycheck to connect the governor with the University of Akron.

In return for  Kasich's appearance, we have a hunch that Alex, never at a loss for hyperbole,  will describe him as the greatest  governor in Ohio history.  Kasich will act out his response with  a modest  smile and leave the scene in full command of  his unfettered campaign to run for president.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

GOP to voting reforms: We're outta here

IF you need any further  evidence of how our Republican friends are gaming redistricting reform, check out  how the idea was sent to die in the hands of  a committee of the monstrously named Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission.  A meeting to set the gears in the motion by November was cancelled.

Just to be on the fail-safe side against a pinch of progress, Fred Mills,  a Republican lobbyist and legislative  veteran  who heads the the reform committee, offered this explanation to the Columbus Dispatch as to why he cancelled the meeting:.

"We're in the middle of an election season. A lot of people who are making the decisions are involved in the elections,  and it's hard to get them to focus on this right now."

You had to figure that it would take something this momentous to get into the way a plan to make the districts  more equitable.

In this instance the committee was to take up the matter of how many minority votes would be needed on a vote to approve a map.

Democratic Rep. Vernon Sykes, of Akron, a committee member,   told me he hasn't  been informed of a new date to meet, although he sounded pessimistic about the prospects.

He said such reforms are the "single most important factor"  to determine which party controls the process "and it sure should be a fair process."

Problem for Sykes and other Democrats is that both legislative houses as well as the governor are in Republican hands and see no critical need to change rules that guarantee the party a continued long and happy life..  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There's a big difference between white hat and white hard hat

Re-posted  from Plunderbund

Having declared Ed FitzGerald's gubernatorial campaign DOA on several occasions, the Plain Dealer  still persists in digging into  his distant past in the hope of handing the election to Gov. Kasich by acclimation. In less-polite circles, it's known as piling on.

There's never been any doubt that the PD, the voice of the city's controlling business and religious establishment, was on board with Republican  Kasich way  back when it endorsed him against Democratic incumbent Gov.Ted Strickland.  When I asked an influential source at the paper how they arrived at that decision, he gave me his raw  assessment:

"Kasich scares the shit out of me.  But Strickland never did anything for Cleveland."

 Oh. Another glimpse of Cleveland's fantasy of statehood?

 In today's moment, the contest is no longer about re-electing the governor.   Heavens, no!   It is about having their guy win by such a crushing margin that he can immediately set out to run for the White House. (Kasich denies interest in higher office  about any of his motives other than blistering his opponents in temper tantrums. Meantime, secretive big- money  committees are gathering to pay for his trip to Disney World.

 What a selling point in the heavy-footed swing state.  To suppose that the Blue Collar Kid would be the savior of the party that has lost two presidenticsl races to an African American, well, you might know how those things go, rather softly among his caterers in the state media.   .

So on Saturday,  there was PD politics writer Henry Gomez  talling us on front page that 15 years ago, FitzGerald  didn't mention any  traffic violations when he ran for a seat on Lakewood City Council.  Yes, FitzGerald should have. And in a race that might have been a dead heat, that could have rolled some eyes.

But. hey, what does it matter to be sniffing arournd for more flaws from 15 years ago?  And to have the Columbus politlcal writer writing the story with a Lakewood dateline.

From experience  I can suppose that the Republican leak machine is working overtime while the governor, in one of those white hard hats from the central casting stock room,   is appearing in TV commercials  with his delighted Smilies with a shovel to stress how many jobs he has created in Ohio. (When will he - or the media, for that matter - admit that whatever success he's enjoyed with the state economy can be immeasurably traced to the comeback around the country from the Bush recession?)

Careful, there, Guv.   Your right wing has long insisted that government doesn't create jobs. Even when the governor is decked out in a hard hat and flanked by a bunch of happy-go-lucky Republican achievers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Another dull moment in life of Mama Grizzly

That must have been some bloody brawl Saturday night in Anchorage, Alaska  that involved Sarah Palin's family-values people and inebriated guests at a birthday party.  Although the accounts differ (they always do when drunks are involved)  about 20 people got so involved that Sarah's husband and First Dude, Todd, wound up with a bloodied face and her son Track suffered several cracked  ribs.

Question: Where was Mama Grizzly when her side was under attack?

By the way, John McCain's former runningmate has just launched her  own TV news channel out of Houston, Texas, the Sarah Palin Channel.  Its homepage urges: "Together, let's live life  vibrantly, purposefully and boldly."   Do you think that maybe the Saturday night  fracas was a dress rehearsal to promote that theme?

(Aside to McCain:  How could you?)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bishop Lennon drenches himself in cruel canon law

We normally don't poke our nose into another person's churchly views in the land of the divinely free and the Koch Brothers, and the home of everybody else; but we had to gasp at the  intervention by Bishop Richard  Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese  into a national fundraiser for medical research  that might someday save countless lives.

I refer to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with overwhelming response by volunteers who gave up their bodies  to be drenched  in ice water for the cause. They raised more than $111 million to fight the deadly Lou Gehrig's disease.  Good for these guardian angels!

Still the Bishop  objected, in a letter to the diocesan pastors and schools because the ALS Association  conducts or supports  "at least in part, embryonic stem cells research."  He warned that the facts present a " real and significant moral issue for Catholics as research using embryonic stem cells requires the destruction of a human embryo, and  thus the destruction of a human life."

One would think that at the intersection of religious canon and the prospect of saving so many folks who have already made it to planet earth in the flesh, the bishop would spend a few moments examining his soul for any hint of humanity in letting gravely ill people die.

But he did say that it was morally unacceptable for him to remain above the research labs, warning that the ALS event could lead to abortion.

Bishop Lennon, you are immorally wrong!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Debate-less Press Club series for state candidates

Through the combined efforts of the Akron Press Club and the Bliss Institute the  Akron area will get a closer view of some statewide candidates on the November ballot. Democrat State Rep. Connie Pillich, who is challenging Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel,  will open the fall series on Sept. 30.

Unfortunately,  there will be no political debates.  University of Akron political science professor David  Cohen, who does much of the  heavy lifting for the fall series, said the  process of setting up debates has simply become too complicated.

We experienced some of those complications when I served as the Press Club's program chairman.  Republicans simply  aren't keen on meeting  their Democratic opponents  on a debate  panel, particularly in Akron, where more than a few nitwits accused the Club of being a subversive Democratic hideaway.  (As Press Club president, I had at  least four Republicans on my board.) One critic even reported me to the national Veterans of Foreign Wars for catering to socialists!

In one instance,  we had succeeded in lining up a debate between Democrat Capri Cafaro, of Niles, Oh., and then-U.S.Rep, Steve LaTourette, a Lake County Republican.  We  later learned  that LaTourette had canceled his appearance for the age-old standby, a scheduling conflict. So Cafaro had the benefit of the entire program for herself.

The late U.S. Rep. John Seiberling, a towering Democrat who had  nothing to be gained from debates, agreed to more than a half-dozen encounters  with restaurateur, Mark Figitakis,  a Republicsn  running squarely and hyperactively  on the anti-abortion issue.  I covered the first one at the Tangier Restaurant  in which Seiberling calmly, cooly,  and collectively  left the Republican for dead.  (I told Seiberling  afterward that he  could debate as often as he wanted, but this was my first and last  one as a political writer.  He smiled gently and said he enjoyed  fulfilling his obligation to voters to debate, no matter what.)

Akron Mayor, Don Plusquellic, a Democrat , also accepted debate invitations from  the Press Club.   But over on the other side, Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff refused all attempts to haul him up to the debate panel against Republican Kevin Coughlin, who was challenging Arshinkoff for his job. The normally voluble  chairman flatly turned it down.    "I should have known," Coughlin told me.

I should have, too.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No answers in MidEast, so why blame Obama?

Did you see that Dick Cheney, the rusting Tin Woodsman of the Republican Party, ambled back up to Capitol Hill to advise others in his class on how to handle the ISIS problem.  According to the New York Times, his remedy could be reduced to a handful of words:  Embrace a strong military and reject rising isolationism.

But wait.  The Times report also noted that he didn't embrace specifics.  Smart evasion.  For one thing, nobody - not the president, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, America's allies in Europe, John McCain, Dick Cheney,the highbrow pundits, the fly on the wall know how to resolve this crisis without a lot more people (see Bush Iraq) getting hurt or killed.

It remains a challenge to political historians, however,to explain how the Republican Party can listen to this world class loser's hollow rambling. At the outset of the Iraq invasion, Cheney did tell us that the war wouldn't last more than a few weeks. How desperate must the GOP be to continue to kneel at his altar.

Obama critics do, however, have the luxury of using it as one more assault on the president before they leave for lunch. Let me know if I've missed something.

In his deadpan column,  McCain, called for the U.S. to embed additional American forces on the ground with our allies.  But he also writes:

"It is a truism, to say there is no military solution to ISIS",  ignoring another thought that told us "We need a military plan to defeat ISIS,  wherever it us." ..And then: "Still, we must face facts: A comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS  would require more troops. assets, resources and time."

As a college freshman history student I filled all 16 pages of an essay exam and  the exam came back with an F.   I told the prof that I had filled all of the pages. " I know,"  he said. "so you wrote everything that you could.  "The  answers may have been in there somewhere but you didn't  know what they were".  He was absolutely right!

Oh, for the luxury of being John McCain.  (We'll never forgive him for accepting Sarah Palin as his veep candidate.  Nor his buddy, Dick Cheney, for being a driving force in leading Dubya  into an Iraq invasion.

In the current global darkness there are no fail-safe answers. Not even close.   Which leads me to the famous response by Bertrand Russell, when he was asked to explain the universe.

"The universe is just there, and that's all."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's foie gras vs. kibbee and hamburgers

I was 47 years old before I learned how to spell foie gras.I mention that only because I am a hopeless laggard in what Smithsonian Magazine has referred to as the Era of Crazed Oral Gratification, which in the old days we called pigging out.

Smithsonian , however, noted that it was a perfect fit to tell us at length about world-class eclectic foodie(!) Anthony Bourdain, the global traveler with an iron stomach in search of exciting  new tastes and textures. (Clue: Rotting shark!)

Less exotically, the New York Times featured a piece on its front page about a Chicago nursing home for retired nuns as an example of the way kitchens are responding foodwise to the increase in aging Americans.  An upscale senior center in Evanston serves citrus-dressed duck breasts and "tomahawk" pork chops.

"The latte and sushi generation is coming," the Times quoted Mary von Goeben, the executive director of the nuns' residence.

My culinary needs are largely satisfied at the food truck level, although there were things on my mother's table that lived in their own cultural universe: Raw kibbee, doused in a generous pouring of olive oil and set off with crispy raw onions.   We also shared a putrified smelly cheese which I will  attempt to spell phonetically.  It was called shunkleesh, a word that described its evil intent quite well.

The only dropout from kibbee in our tribe was my Aunt Della, who had read something about tapeworms and other toxic intruders in raw meat.  My parents lived into their 90s anyway.

Now that I can spell foie gras,  I have yet to figure out how to pronounce it in polite society. A hamburger life is so much simpler.


Monday, September 8, 2014

The wash from the week that just ended - finallyl

Summit County Democratic chairman Jeff Fusco drew a good turnout  - 100 or so - for a pep session of party activist sand candidates on a rainy Saturday at the Dems' Grant Street headquarters to deliver a single message:  Hit the streets.

The centerpiece was the launch for delivering 80,000 sample ballots in the county.  "It will take a couple of  weeks,"  Fusco  told me afterward.  "But we'll get it done."

* * * * *

Finally unwinding after the near-collapse of the Steelers. The game saver:  Ben Roethlisberger, who never  knows enough to panic and led the team to a field goal spot on the field in the final minute.. It was known as winning ugly, but worth a win in the standings.  Whew!

* * * * *

When Eric Cantor joined aWall Street investment banker after his loss in the Republican primary, his new career offered perfect symmetry to Gov Kasich's own line of work when he voluntarily left congress to become a very rich man at Lehman Brothers (now defunct).  For the one per centers who are ideologically with you, there's always room for one more.

* * * * *

So eager are the Obama haters to find fault with his every breath, Dana Perino - former president Bush's press secretary - noted that Obama's brief tourist walk at Stonehenge had bad "optics".  I wonder how many divisions the optics army has.

Understanding Ohio politics, Plain Dealer style

Today's recommended reading:

John Michael Spinelli's  piece  on Plunderbund on how the Plain Dealer has set the table with its own political utensils  not only for the November election but also for 2016 and even 2018.  He reports that PD political writer Henry Gomez has based his crystal ball on hs best five (unidentified) Democratic sources.  Yummy stuff for  guys like Gov. Kasich, the PD's  choice since it endorsed him four years ago.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The possibility of impossibility!

The Page One headline in the Sunday Plain Dealer told the reader,

                 Congress unlikely to do much in session

That quickly recalled a recent New Yorker cartoon that  depicted a valise -bearing couple walking past Capitol Hill.  She is saying:

Politics is the art of nothing is possible.

Friday, September 5, 2014

For Husted a very busy week

It's been a busy week for Secretary of State Jon Husted.  While he was attending to his re-election campaign,  he also had to rule on a Summit County Board of Elections matter and then suffer a setback by a Federal judge on his  controversial election reforms.

To no one's surprise, he informed the county board that he would step aside from a request from Democrats that he investigate a board worker's use of her cellphone to post many times on Facebook as a sort of personal phone bank while she was on the job - a big-time  no-no.

Husted called upon the board to settle the issue in a "bipartisan fashion".  He said what?
Bipartisan?  It is  beyond acceptable naivete to use that standard of civilized behavior for a gathering of  board officials with English-speaking accents.  Six years ago, former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, even unceremoniously removed board member Alex Arshinkoff,  the county Republican chairman, from his hallowed chair for being disruptive.  (He has since returned under Husted.)

There's more.  Husted's decision to cut and run had a deeper context:  the  worker in question is Cecilia Robart, the wife of former Cuyahoga Falls mayor Don Robart,   the fellow who   had a brief stay on Husted's office payroll as a liaison in northern Ohio - brief because of the stuff that later was found on his office computer after he left office. Yep, pornography.  That damned Internet can be a career killer.

In that instance, Husted acted promptly in an election year by removing Don Robart from his ranks.

When you connect the dots, you can't make these things up.

Arshinkoff's solution to the latest hometown guyser   was to call for a probe of everybody's  cellphones, which , of course, eliminated any further thoughts of bipartisanship.

* * * * *

We assume the alarm button in Husted's office ran overtime when U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus in Columbus declared Husted's restictrive voter plan was unconstitutional and ordered him to restore all of the cuts in voting hours.

The secretary's deal was gilded with Republican repeatedly expressed concerns that voters were cheating like hell when they went to  the polls.  Voter fraud? All  subsequent studies revealed  no such thing and merely raised serious concerns that minorities were being targeted, which indeed they were.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Steelers & Browns:It's that time

And so, as we near the beginning of another pro football season I can't resist my soulful cause that will be another irritant to the readers of Grumpy Abe.

The Steelers, I mean.  But as a black-and-gold collar kid who grew up "over there", what am I to do?   After all, some of my best friends are Browns fans.

This season,   the opening matchup between the Browns and my team on Sunday will offer a much heralded special attraction, a rookie named J. Football, who was introduced to the sports world hereabouts  as the next Otto Graham. While teams have long experimented with different formations depending on the game situation, the Browns will be showing us the two-quarterback attack on the hated Steelers.

Will it pay off?  I'm merely a lowly fan, not an expert.  As wishy-washy editorial writers love to say, it bears watching.  Check with me on Monday.

There.   Must now get back to the lesser concerns of the human race before I say something that I'll regret.  So let's leave it at, GO STEELERS!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The governor in comfort zone with hula hoop

Reposted from Plunderbund

The Labor Day week end brought us more  verbal jujitsu from Gov. Kasich as he followed the yellow brick road to Stamco Industries in Euclid. There was even  evidence that his bid for reelection was actually living a double life - one as a candidate and the other as his campaign's innocent bystander.

As reported by the Plain Dealer, the governor was asked whether he would debate his Democratic opponent, Ed FitzGerald. He pleaded ignorance to the whole scenario.  '"That's up to the campaign," he told the reporter.  "They're involved in all that."

Up to the campaign?  What are we talking about here?  Is there a clear line of demarcation between the candidate and the campaign?  Never heard a candidate put it quite that way before.   Is he merely the hood ornament of the campaign against FitzGerald?   Does he deny that gubernatorial candidates are people, too?

On another matter he was asked about the minimum wage and his views  on being able to "fire at will" - the term describing employers' liberty to fire non-union employers.

Keep your eye in these instances of his hula hoop. "Fire at will?" he said, with the hoop spinning at  his wiggling midsection. "I don't know what that is."

There's more? Right to work?  Not on his agenda. Did President Obama's rescue of the  auto industry help Stamco, which has integrated ties with the auto industry?

"Hey," he said,  the hoop at full speed as others recalled his early reluctance to endorse the idea.  "I'm glad it all worked out.  Who would not be pleased about it all?"

 Another swirling day in the life of the Blue Collar kid who  now happily bears the endorsement of the Ohio Manufacturers Assn. if not the blue collars of organized labor after the SB5 debacle.  But in fairness, he did issue a boilerplate Labor Day salute to the "achievements of the hardworking men and women of our state and nation".

 Particularly, I  assume,   those engaged in making hula hoops.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bully for Chris Christie!

Summit County Republicans who attend the party's finance dinner later this month should be pleased to know that  Gov. Chris Christie, their featured speaker and probable presidential candidate, ain't gonna take any crap from Vladimir Putin.  The NY Times reported today that in the governor's typical blustery self appraisal  of his Ramboesque style, Christie  was recorded at a GOP meeting as contrasting himself to meek-and-mild Barack Obama.  He boasted that Putin would not  dare to take him on.

 In  a unique selfie of his bearish diplomacy, Christie asserted:  "I don't believe, given who I am, that he [Putin]  would make the same judgment. Let's leave it at that."

Thanks, Chris. Given who you are, I will.