Friday, July 3, 2015

Kasich ode to Pearly Gates of Scarlet and Grey

On July 21 Gov. Kasich’s Starship will touch down in the Student Union at Ohio State University. There, with word from the Lord, he will announce his intention to seek the presidency to rescue America from President Obama as well as the immortals who are already on the Republican list of first responders to the lure of the Oval Office..

Not a moment too soon. For months he’s been flying around the country with the itinerary of a Johnny Appleseed, planting his bountiful seeds for voters in such dog-eared candidate visits as New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. Not since 2000, when he failed to convince the electorate that he was worthy of the White House, has he stretched out so many tourist miles.

But times do change. With that in mind and his reliance on direct lines to God, the governor is at it again. So far, it has been a message that has yet to elevate him in the polls.. When economists shooed him away from his earlier stump talk of a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget, he could always depend on the media to soften the blows. One occasionally heard a huzzah from network reporters who speculated that his erratic behavior was sort of refreshing, adding that he might be, could be, would be, could arguably be the guy thing to eject him from the clown car running on fumes.

A personal note: Having worked alongside national reporters in presidential campaigns, I can vouch that they are hit-and-run chroniclers of candidates – appraisals arising from a quarter hour interview with the candidate with no awareness of the back story.

The Ohio media, primarily the Columbus Dispatch, have sustained their hopes for the first Ohio president since newspaper publisher and cornet player, Warren G. Harding, who presided over a scandal-ridden administration, prescribing “equipoise”.

Kasich doesn’t resort to big words, although he has referrred to Californians (65 electoral votes, guv!) as “wackadoodles”. More recently, his crude responses to his critics is said to have cost him support from the Koch Brothers. It was their event in California in which Kasich barked from the dais at the wife of a rich Republican donor who questioned his extension of Medicaid. “I don’t know about you, Lady,” he snapped, sounding a lot like a harried Manhattan taxi driver. “but when I get to the Pearly Gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor…”

This from the fellow who cut food stamps, opposed the stimulus and auto bailout, and cut corners in other ways, etc. etc.

You should also be aware that according to my ASPCA calendar, July 21 has also been designated as national “No pet store puppies day”.

That will put some of us in a much better mood when the Starship arrives at the Pearly Gates in the land of the scarlet and grey.

(Reposted from Plunderbund)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Mexican artist trumps Trump

We all laughed when Donald Trump boasted that he was the world's greatest jobs creator.   But that was before Mexican artist Dalton Avalos Ramirez decided the time had come to cash in on Trump's vicious attacks on Mexicans as rapists.

So Ramirez created a Donald Trump pinata and it could become a growth industry  across the border.  The likeness is amazing and is said to be causing a buzz among folks who want to teach The Donald a thing or two about his stupid remarks.  For pinata lovers, Trump is now in  the swing of things. Here it is.:

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.