Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Divorces: Did I miss one or two?

Rising from the horrific outcry in some quarters against the Supreme Court's
decision  to make same-sex marriage the law of the land,  two voices stand out for the sheer freakishness of their protests:  Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh.

Both have been loudly honking like a flight of wild geese
to defend traditional sanctified  marriage that has been trashed by the high court.

But wait, guys:   Trump is now on his third  marriage and Rushbo, his fourth.  Seven traditional marriages ended by five traditional  divorces?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Righty says Justice Roberts may have been blackmailed

 In no more than five,  or maybe six,  seconds,  the full fury of the Hard Right exploded  to a sinister new level following the Supreme Court's favorable ruling on Obamacare. Some of it was so irrational that it even  exposed a  conspiratorial view that Chief Justice Roberts may have been "blackmailed" or "intimidated" in supporting  the majority.

 That subversive thought arrived in the words of Wayne Root, the righty gadabout whose columns and voice  show up wherever there's an opening for more acid to be squeezed into his jubilant audience.

Root didn't actually state  the terrible things about Roberts as fact.  Worse yet, they found life in the arteries of the true believers in the form of questions.    Get this:

"It's time to start asking the question.  It's time to be cynical.  It's time to assume the worst of this government.  Has Supreme Court Justice John Roberts been blackmailed or intimidated?"

He rambles on from there, but you can easiy assume that it will be the grist  of many pulsating fairy tales  in the fringe's twilight zone.  .

Root, of course, was merely offering the theme and variations that would echo to the flash mob of the GOP candidates and their cupbearers.

Jeb Bush merely said he was "disappointed" but assured everybody that it was "not
the end of the fight," which is the most bravado we've heard from him as a candidate.

Mike Huckabee described the ruling as "judicial   tyranny",  but restrained by his Christian morality,  wasn't quite as snotty as Root.

At a much less official level, the court produced an array of undocumented constitutional experts who puffily  claimed greater insight into the document than the six Justices (two-thirds, if my math hasn't failed me) who supported Obamacare as the law of the land.

Among them in the frenetic mix was Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien, who always has seemed to be more comfortable in a medieval setting than today.  Without benefit of a  formal education in constitutional law, he berated the court and bravely declared the law "blatantly unconstitutional". You can expect this to go on blatantly for a while longer.

That gives me hope that although I'm not a mathematician, I can speak eloquently on the solution to pi to my neighbors.

DeWine a loser in his failed social agenda

Now that the Supreme Court has spoken grandly  on two issues so damaging to Mike DeWine's holy war in Ohio, shouldn't the attorney general's friends give him a gold watch and send  his agenda down to a burial mound on the Ohio River?  It would be a major step in ushering the state into the  21st Century.

As you may have heard, the Supremes ruled that Obamacare was the law of the land and also decided that same-sex marriage was OK in all 50 states. Both meteoric decisions struck a fatal blow to DeWine's own failed reading of the Constitution.  Indeed, when he ran for a second term in 2014,  he arbitrarily promised that his top priority would be to end Obamacare, which he swore was an anti-business  "job-killer"  without considering the salutary  effect it could have on uninsured sick and dying people.

DeWine could get away with saying such brutish things because the Ohio media was inexplicably enamored of him.  For example, although the Akron Beacon Journal has been known to disagree with DeWine on some  critical public policies, it endorsed his second term in 2014 anyway against a competent,  moderate  Democrat,  David Pepper, who is now the party's state chairman. A clear case of cognitive dissonance?

Likewise, the Plain Dealer opined that Mike's "flaws and blind spots are more than outweighed by his energetic and effective advocacy  on behalf of all Ohioans on a range of issues" and "deserves a second term".  Talk about blind spots in the ivory tower!

A lot of  DeWine's energy was consumed in cooking up the more than 50 briefs that his office filed against Obamacare and  same-sex marriage while in the lead of defending the corporate religious liberty of Hobby Lobby as a social conservative. For the media, their view of DeWine as the state's reasoned legal activist rather than a  lay street corner preacher was much like putting a reverse spin on the cue ball.

We can only wonder what Mike, now undercut by a higher authority in  his two favorite talking points, will think of next.

Lordy.  The gold watch, please. .

Reposted from Pliunderbund 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

To those who doubt Thomas Sawyer, the 'Grownup'

A funny thing has happened in the  gathering of Akron mayoral candidates. In the closing days before the Monday deadline for the official ballot listing of their names,    only one  continues to tease everybody on whether he is serious about leading the city for the next four years.

Former mayor Tom Sawyer, who currently resides term-limited in the Ohio Senate, apparently figures he will gain more public attention by avoiding a direct answer until the final hours of the deadline. Might there be one more campaign contributor still undecided?   Might there still be one job or another in a new administration awaiting him?

Folks, it's a masterful form of coy political gamesmanship.  But as the 69-year-old Democrat  told the Beacon Journal:  "I have  devoted a lot of my life to this community.  Finding the best way to continue to do that  is what this weekend's decision is all about."

Well, now.  Who has already had more time and political experience to find the "best way" than Sawyer?   Would a few more days of brinksmanship matter that much?   Count me as one who is Doubting Thomas.

When he first emerged as a potential candidate weeks ago,  he said he had yet to decide whether he would actually run.  He said he wanted to  be in the conversation as the "grownup".   Such hubris!

 Sorry, but we've seen little evidence that this is what being a "grownup" is all about.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kasich snappish behavior may have soured the Kochs

Has Gov. Kasich become a persona non grata for the wealth-almighty Koch Brothers? That question was raised when our itinerant leader failed to make the cut for a Koch -sponsored event in Columbus in August in which several  Republican presidential candidates will be guests.

Strange that hometowner Kasich isn't on that list?  Plunderbund has posted a piece referencing an earlier Politco story that the Kochs may have soured on Kasich after he snapped, as only he can,  at the wife of a major GOP contributor who questioned the governor's extension of Medicaid. It occurred at a Koch event in California.   It's good reading.  Take a look.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A very bad period for Republican candidates

The past couple of weeks have been hell for the stampede of GOP  presidential candidates who complained that  if it's not one damn thing, it's another.

 How could the devout among them safely respond to Pope Francis'  challenge to their empty  notions that climate change is not supported by overwhelming scientific proof?

Rick Santorum told the Pope to mind his own business.(It got even worse when Bill Donahue, the manical president of the Catholic League, accused  the Holy Father of being a Socialist sympathizer!)

Then there was the Charleston massacre, which produced insistence among political right-wingers that the slaughter was not a hate crime but rather an attack on Christians and religious liberty with Christmas still six months down the road.

That, in turn led to a lot of fumbling and stumbling  by some southern race apologists over that Confederate Flag.  Most of the Republican candidates shimmied back at an assured safe distance until South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who had earlier passed on the question in 2014, , effectively rose to the occasion to call for the removal of the flag from the Statehouse grounds.

Her talk drew a round of applause from her audience as well as from lawmakers from both parties who lined up behind her.   Prez. candidate Sen Lindsey Graham, pale  and  expressionless, stood nearby.  He, too,  had said earlier that the flag is "who we are" . He apparently was emboldened by Haley to forsake his earlier loyalities to  now agree that it it should be taken down.

The sideshow  leading up to Haley's statement ranged from Mike Huckabee 's dismissal of the Confederate flag as a national issue to Rudy Giuliani's profound  vision that the shooter may have "hated Christians".  And for comic relief, Rick Perry called the bloody assault on African-American churchgoers an "accident" before scrambling later to say he really meant to call it an "incident"'. The horn-rim  glasses  haven't helped.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Rev. Pat explains dead infants

Although I have never been at a loss to name somebody for my coveted   Grumpy Abe Linguistic Lunacy (GALL) Award,  I must cite  this one from the Rev. Pat Robertson as reaching for a yet-unnamed level to set him apart from all others.  It is his pathetic attempt to console a mother for her deceased infant.  She had asked the doddering  televangelist why God had taken the baby's life.

His profound reply:
As far as God's concerned, he knows the answer from the beginning.    And he sees the little baby, and that little baby  could grow up to be Adolph Hitler.  He could grow up to be Joseph Stalin. He could grow up to be some serial killer.  Or he could grow up to die of a hideous disease.  God sees all that.  And for that life to be terminated when he's still a baby, he's going to be with God forever in heaven.  And that isn't a bad thing.'
But God forbid,  would that baby have grown up to be a preacher like the Rev. Pat?    

The envelope, please.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

With Kapper, you're never too old to serve your city

Ray Kapper fussed with a bagel and cream cheese with a sense of quiet desperation.
"Bagels have a lot of calories," he said, remorsefully expressing the guilt of one trying to lose a few pounds.

Not unusual for dieters, casual or otherwise.  It's the sort of painful self-denial that sends a person to the bathroom scale  after snacking on two graham crackers.   But if you've already been to a couple of meetings by midmorning,  your defenses can be down.

For the man  that many of his friends call the patriarch of the local Democratic Party, and who has survived two open heart surgeries, one bagel with cream cheese hardly seemed life-threatening.  Oh, I didn't mention that it was topped by  two thin slices of tomato - something I had yet  to witness after countless sit-downs at the West Market eatery.  "You can get the tomatoes if you ask for it," Kapper knowingly explained, a little surprised that I didn't know.

Every since  Don Plusquellic's abrupt retirement shook up the balance of politics in Akron  last month,  Kapper voluntarily worked long days behind the scene partnering with his friend Joel Bailey, with a single goal of insulating the town's stability from a rising faction from his own Democratic Party  that was on the verge of seizing control not only of the mayor's office but also of city council.

Bailey, a FirstEnergy vice president and former Plusquellic chief of staff,  and Kapper worked through two of the former mayor's in-and-out successors in the  kaleidoscopic fallout.  

Never an orator, but a veteran at sizing up the prevailing landscape,  Kapper simply said, subject-predicate : "I'm from Akron. It's my home. I love my city. It was becoming the laughingstock.  I couldn't stand by without trying to do something, right?" 

Drawing upon his long political experience as a council president and respected city service director and Plusquellic advisor, he  became a  well-known figure among business and labor interests as well as party activists. It was an important asset in getting everybody's attention with what he considered a crises in the politics led by Plusquellic's old rival, Councilman Mike Williams.   

"I got 57 phone calls yesterday," Kapper told me along the way.  But never once was his work  noticed that much in the media,  which is exactly the way he wanted it.

He also was paying off his debt to Plusquellic's 28-year service.  "There's never  been anybody better than Plusquellic in getting jobs and lines open to business and labor....You have to know that all of the cities that have had problems have had bad mayors.  That wasn't true of Akron."

In the midst of the meltdown, Kapper was also digging into his work as a board member of First Tee, the youth development program that is ingrained in his his soul. 

"That,  too? "  I asked.  In his plaintive way of expressing himself, he nodded. "Yeah. My wife said I should be concerned about my heart, too." But at 78, he conceded he just couldn't walk away from the things that were most important to him - a city whose image and management were in peril. 

Nobody is more impressed than Bailey.  "Ray is a good and capable man with a vast wealth of knowledge and experience and trust, " said Bailey, who helped develop support in the business community for a united political front for their efforts. 

Eventually they were rewarded with Dan Horrigan, the popular Summit County Clerk  of Courts as their candidate for mayor on the November ballot.

Ray Kapper doesn't  need a gold watch  for his service.  He's already got a nice one.  But it wouldn't be a stretch to say in this instance that has worked out so far, he at least should be known as the unheralded hero of  the messy affair. And thanks to Ray, next time I'll try my luck at asking for tomatoes with my bagel.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jeb! running as an exclamation point

There were moments during Jeb!'s official  entrance onto the presidential glory road when  I had to wonder whether he was Pat Robertson,  Dick Cheney or the Man of La Mancha.  I finally settled on the latter when he broke into an Hispanic tongue  to prove his validity  as an authentic one-of-them. For  the current geographics, it won't be the last time that an eager collegial Americano sent a personal self-serving  message to an amigo or two.

But the bigger story of Jeb!'s   announcement is that he reaffirmed his commitment not to  be Jeb Bush. Surnames are no longer  fashionable for him  as he distances himself from his brother.    Oh, he did most of the familial things by introducing various members of his family, including his mother Barbara!, wife Columba! and son George P! But so far as I know, Dubya might have been up in the attic usually occupied by crazy uncles.

Otherwise, it was an unsurprising script with the normal cliched promises to a well orchestrated excitable audience that he would restore America's leadership in the world, reform immigration, preserve charter schools, oppose abortion and create a better planet for everybody without committing himself to supporting climate change even though the waters around Miami have risen several inches. The audience shrieked its approval.  (But that isn't hard to produce.  Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff used to say that if he wanted a lively audience for a visiting pol, he merely had to ship a couple of cases of beer to the campus).

Jeb! did seem anxious to straighten out the harsh Cuba of Fidel Castro even  though we hear regular reports of American business reps shooting across the water in their Lear jets or whatever to nail down some good deals before the oppressed Cuban laborers start demanding minimum wages

He also went after the clubby culture of Washington for creating the economic mess left behind by Brother George! that is slowly turning around under Barack Obama. No matter. By now, he figured, we should have a chicken in every  pot. I did think it was crude of Jeb! not to mention that both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court are owned by Republicans.

Yep. the Man of La Mancha, with a lot more windmills to tilt before  the next election. For all of his effort so far, Jeb! Whatever!  still  comes over as a frozen TV dinner.  It's supposed to be factory filling, but there's not much else to commend it.

P.S. Donald Trump, who described himself as $8.5 billion "rich",  is the latest to arrive from Jurassic Park, mockingly in  overproduced anger, mugging, hissing, snarling and words that told us there is but one great leader to save America -The Donald!  Nobody can buy him, he declared with the assertive confidence of  an $8.5 billion man.  But who would want to?  

Reposted from Plunderbund

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Why do you think he's laughing at us?

A closeup of one of the most powerful men in America:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

From mayoral to presidential discourse, a lot of HUHS?

The story lines in this season's political discourse have been stranger than normal for a bunch of would-be achievers at the local and national forums.  For starters, the seismic effect on the Akron mayor's race by Don Plusquellic's  volatile departure after 28 years has dug deeply into the viscera of not only his opponents but also his supporters.

Seismic?  Three Democratic  mayors  in a blink? Hardly time to change all of the official stationary at City Hall to bear the name of Jeff Fusco, Democratic county chairman until a moment ago who stepped aside for county Councilwoman Sandra Kurt.       At that he will only serve out his battleground commission until another mayor is elected in November, doubtless the survivor of the Democratic primary.

Among the odder  rollups to the mayoral filing deadline was veteran State Sen. Tom
Sawyer, once Akron  mayor himself 30 years ago.  He' told the Beacon Journal that his filing of petitions didn't mean, as he approaches 70,  he would actually run for the office.   (At that moment, a reporter should have done the routine follow-up by asking what the hell did that mean?  ) He now says he wants to be part of the "conversation" as the "grownup".

Shift the discussion  to Jeb Bush, who is trying to set a record for fund-raising by an unannounced presidential  candidate.  He was on TV the other day saying he's not campaigning for prez.  At what point, it's fair to ask, will he borrow a term from his brother by declaring "Mission Accomplished"?

But we did jot down for historical purpose the presidential  insight  added ay another candidate, Lindsey Graham.  Since he's a confirmed bachelor, he was asked about the rare moment in presidential history when there would be no First Lady.

Easy to fix, Graham breezily allowed, with his sister and a lot of friends posted on a rotating basis to serve as First Women.

I didn't make any of this up.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It never ends...

An American tragedy

Akron politics: Local, or loco?

The late Tip O'Neill, the iconic Democratic House Speaker, liked to tell people that "all politics is local".  But unless the downtown political rivals take note of the newly arriving interim Mayor Jeff Fusco's advice to calm down, the coming months will be a knock-off of O'Neill's definition of his institution. For Akron, it would read, "all politics is loco."

Not kidding.  The passion runs deep, maybe too deep to take Fusco's caution to the bank for the sake of the city's welfare.

As he rightly said in his prepared statement, Fusco, who also is the Summit County Party's Democratic chairman:

"Historically, we know that we Akronites are not strangers to moments of adversity.  We also know historically that we unite, bounce back and come back stronger than  ever.  We are fighters, we are committed to our city and we will get through this.  At this time, we may feel a little bit down, but I promise you, we are far from out."

That's the sort of talk that could change "loco" to "local".

PS: Summit County Clerk of Courts  Dan Horrigan's entrance as a mayoral candidate is a good start for an upbeat city  storyline.    

DayGlo has short life span in politics

Our itinerant governor has finally vacated New Hampshire amid the huzzahs reported in the Columbus Dispatch and heads west for Nevada to create a New Day Nevada Miracle. That would include a stop at Sheldon Adelson's place, where  Kasich has struck up a magnetic accord with the Casino  King and called upon the Lord to bless him.

The governor is deeply into  his money-raising stage of his all but official presidential campaign and renewing warm fat-cat acquaintances   can't hurt when you are as far behind in the polls as Kasich is.

It's been awhile since he's unpacked his overnight bags in Columbus.  So don't you think his advisors should  urge him to return to his home state before the DayGlo wears off?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Akron mayor: a revolving door that could lead to...What?

It's been a Hellzapoppin' couple of weeks for Akron mayoral politics, what with the  steady stream of comings and goings for the top job.

 In short  order (1)  Don Plusquellic abruptly resigns as mayor for 28 years (2)  City Council President Garry Moneypenny ascends to the fill the unexpired term,  (3) Moneypenny withdraws as a candidate for the full term after disclosing  an untoward "touch" of a female (4) the anti-Plusquellic  Democrats on Council demand that Moneypenny resign as interim mayor, a move that would scuttle the wall-climbing party strategists'  best-laid plans to assure his election to the full term (5) with the filing deadline approaching on June 10, the city's fate is blurring as the political class, virtually exhausted of options,  reaches what art scholars describe as the vanishing point.

Have I missed anything?  Oh, a Beacon Journal report described the Democratic Party as  "immersed in scandal".  That's a hasty summary judgment of guilt by association, inasmuch as most Democratic officials would argue that they are not scandalized, just as none of the Republican presidential candidates would insist that they have not been scandalized by Dennis Hastert.

Meantime, opportunity quickly arose for candidates  like Frank Comunale, a Democratic member of Summit County Council, and City Councilman Mike Williams, a faction leader who has spent a lot of his time trying to disgrace Plusquellic and figured that Moneypenny would do nicely as a surrogate target until somebody else came along.

The somebody-else list - this might come as  Plusquellic's after-shock to you - could be Plusquellic himself, who has taken out petitions to run again;  term-limited
state Sen. Tom Sawyer,  a former mayor: Summit County Clerk of Courts Dan Horrigan,  and County Councilwoman Ilene Shapiro.

Democrats have never been known for orderly in-house behavior, which has made them  far more interesting to watch on the playing field than the Republican culture of family and stock market  values.

Trouble is, with Plusquellic's stormy departure, he left a historically stable city to the uncertain fate of open political warfare if his enemies rise to the throne.  Whatever Mike Williams & Council Co. might tell you, there is no evidence to conclude that peace and stability are on the horizon.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rick Perry grabs a seat on overcrowded clown car

Three updates,  but I can only remember two:  Rick Perry is back... officially announced presidential candidate.  And  Gov.  Kasich is back, in New Hampshire, itinerant  unannounced candidate  huckstering his Ohio Miracle.  Shouldn't he be reminded that the two dozen other candidates who will be in the field won't drop out  to yield the nomination to him?  Indeed, at least another dozen or so will find a way to dive in.

A no-win Santorum vs. the Pope

We mistakenly believed that we would all get a break from political quackology once Texas got over its hysterics that the U.S. military was planning to invade the state,  sort of like the Martians landing during a Dallas Cowboys halftime tribute to George W. Bush.  If you'll recall  this glowing tribute to overdone political fondue, Lone Star Gov. Greg Abbot, a Republican with paranoiac tendencies,  ordered the Texas National Guard to monitor the U.S. military exercise, just in case.

But now, another quackologist, Rick Santorum a presidential candidate with Hellfire warnings, has literally told Pope Francis to mind his own business when it comes to climate change.  "The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science," he says, with something he had heard about Galileo in mind, "and I think we're probably better off leaving science to the scientists and focus  on what we're really good on, which is theology and morality."

But, Rick,  if 97 pct of the scientists tell us that climate change is real, which the Pope is likely to tell us in his forthcoming encyclical,  doesn't it make sense to you that they have already settled on that reality and we should leave the issue to science, too?  And as polls have shown, a much,  much smaller group of voters have settled on you as their candidate.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Columbus Dispatch has a new owner!

The Columbus Dispatch, long the dominant voice of conservative Ohio journals, has been sold.  The buyer in this apocalyptic transaction is the New Media Investment Group, Inc. of a New York, which owns other papers, including the Canton Repository.

Here's what John Wolfe, of the paper's historic family owner, had to say about it:

John F. Wolfe, chairman and publisher of The Dispatch, said the decision to sell was extraordinarily difficult, and only made after several years of careful assessment of the changing media landscape. 
“We are proud of our 110-year legacy of family ownership of The Dispatch, and the newspaper’s heritage of quality journalism and community involvement,” Wolfe said. 
“However, the past two decades of accelerating and challenging change in the newspaper industry made it clear to us that maintaining a single-city, family-owned paper in this environment was untenable long-term,” he said. 
“We remain committed to Columbus, and our family will continue to be fully involved in the civic, community and philanthropic endeavors that promote the high quality of life that exists in central Ohio,” Wolfe said. 

More later on the "changing media landscape" that  made the sale "extraordinarily difficult".  But as we all know these days, everything has a a price. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Once again with feeling; the charter school epic

Back in June, 2000, the Beacon Journal printed an excerpt from  a not very subtle letter by Akron businessman David Brennan to Ohio lawmakers.   It came directly to the point of a leading Republican contributor interested, as always, in profiling his potential recipients who were meekly laboring in the Capitol's back rooms:  
"Enclosed is a questionnaire that addresses education, economic competitiveness, and civil justice issues.  Though you will receive - and likely already have received - other questionnaires, I trust  you will take the time to complete and return this one.  We are prepared to use  responses to act on our interest  in issues that impact state government.  Thank you, in advance for completing and returning this questionnaire in the enclosed  envelope  and for sharing your views on these important issues."
By then, Brennan, a boastful self-asserting "futurist",  was well on  his way to restructuring the education of school kids in a way that would earn him hundreds of millions of dollars in public money.  From recurring published reports, a billion dollars for charter school state funding sounds about right.  As early as 2007, the Plain Dealer reported that Brennan and his wife had given $733,300 to state candidates and GOP organizations, $400,000 to the Ohio Republican party!

 Republican politicians, from the governor to  House Speaker William Batchelder to the rural precincts, were not inclined to muddy up the track. Not with their sugar daddy's purse on the table. Batchelder retired from the Ohio House this year and will put his  political muscle to use as a lobbyist  for a charter  school organization. He's also joined the faculties of the University of Akron and Cleveland State University.

If you find Brennan synonymous with White Hat Management, Inc., the private  charter school company named after his wide-brimmed white hat, you would  be absolutely  right.  And over the years, his feudal plan created the channels for enormous returns for a  a publicly endowed private school system that is rated among the worst in the nation.

On Sunday, the Beacon Journal's astute education writer , Doug Livingston,  took up the travesty once again under the headline "Charter schools misspend millions in Ohio".
Braced with figures from State Auditor Dave Yost's team,  Livingston topped his report with a telling opening paragraph:

"No sector - not local governments, school districts, court systems, public  universities or  hospitals - misspends tax dollars like charter schools in Ohio'"

Based on the writer's review of 4,263 audits by the state auditor,  the money was misspent "four times more often than any other type of taxpayer agency."  Say, $27.3 million. There are some other for-profit charter organizations in Ohio, but none with the commanding scope of White Hat's influence

Although Yost is committed to cleaning up the gore,  he's fighting a losing battle. The size and reach of the charter system has grown so large  that he doesn't have a staff that's big enough to cover all of it.

Some of the audits now are by private auditors, and there's a catch. Livingston reported that these audits found misspending in one of 200 audits, while Yost's audits turned up the problem in one of six.

Although Gov. Kasich  says he wants more accountability for the for-profit charters, his latest proposed budget actually increases their state funds.  So the deck of greenbacks is stacked against any meaningful change from the top down.

Small wonder that in national education circles the Ohio charter system is laughingly described as the "Wild, Wild West." Unfortunately, not a laugher in the Buckeye State.

Reposted from Plunderbund

Importance of cousins in presidential politics

The flash mob grows.  Sen. Lindsey Graham just made his candidacy official.  Jeb Bush, on the other hand, is still unannounced but hopes he will run. What a strange way to address the biggest decision he would ever make.  Is he hoping that he will tell himself to run?

Our Gov. John Kasich is ready to bivouac in Iowa, continuing to amuse himself with curious passerbys in the media. His absence from Ohio could  make it all the harder for the University of Akron's $10,000 a month lobbyist and Kasich specialist, Summit County Republican chairman Alex Arshinkoff, to reach him should the school decide to add seats  to its football stadium. Or something.

If you want to pick a survivor  from this GOP crowd, I would give the edge to  the candidate with the  most relatives still on speaking terms.   Go figure.

Monday, June 1, 2015

To Don Plusquellic, buon viaggio!

OK.  The deed is done.  Don Plusquellic retires.  Garry Moneypenny ready to inspire as his successor. The story has been told so many times that there's little for me to add, other than if a Martian landed in our front yard asking to be led to the Akron mayor, I would give the visitor Plusquellic's name. My error from 28 years of covering him from Day One.  It's so hard to break the habit.

So now the Democrats behind Moneypenny must find a way to keep him in the office to spare the city of a frightful assault that could produce a new threat in the party's primary, as well as the tipping of a warring faction on City Council to give it the majority.

For now, however, time to take a breath and say to the former mayor, buon viaggio, Don. Thanks for leaving the city in  much better shape than you found it.