Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The dive bombers are active on Browns' QB crisis

The reports from the boiling  Browns QB crisis are not reassuring.  The updates:

The Beacon Journal described it as a "conundrum".

The Plain Dealer's usually upbeat Terry Pluto described it as  "chaos'.

Ch3 sports guru  Jim Donovan said the QB's performances in Game 2 were  "terrible," adding that the Browns are the only NFL  team that don't know who the starting QB will be.

I can't go on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Post-game reviews; Browns lose more than a game

Quickly, to update my earlier piece on the media hype of the  Browns' QB crisis:

The reviews of the Monday night snore were distinctly  flavored with the acidity of a lovers' quarrel.  The Beacon Journal headlined "QB hopefuls  don't impress''  and the story reaffirmed it  by describing  the historic performance  as "perhaps the biggest dud since the Y2K  Scare".

The Plain Dealer took a  meaningless  more humane course by calling for a reader poll on whether  Brian Hoyer or Johnny Middle-Finger Football Manziel should be the starter. (One fan proposed dressing Tim Tebow for the next game!  You can understand the desperation.)

But  shouldn't some of the red faces be shared by the media for the  electrified buildup of the QB gold rush that asked us each day which guy should start?  Unfortunately, the Browns  didn't play on Broadway Monday night, where bad reviews can close a show in an instant.  .

They are left, instead,  with Hoyer and Manziel, for better or worse and the show must go on.

Alas, ABJ's Beliczky is leaving

The word from the  ABJ is that  another top reporter ls leaving an already skeletal staff. Carol Beliczky is packing up after 24 years on the local staff plus two in the Columbus bureau and will be gone in two weeks.

Her departure, folks, is a major blow to the paper.  Her coverage of higher education as well as the Tressel epic at the University of Akron was at the highest level of professional journalism and one of the few bright signs of local reporting. The decision didn't come easily.  After extended consideration she applied for a buyout during the last staff churn - and was  turned down by the front office.

A university town can't afford to lose her, but it will too soon.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A new and energized Democratic executive director

The Summit County Democratic team  is looking a little younger - and more energized - these days and maybe it's just what the doctor ordered this election year.

Meet Pete Nischt,  27.  He's the  party's  new executive director via an appointment by  chairman Jeff Fusco.  Nischt, Fusco told me, was "highly recommended by a number of people who know him personally and has great organizational skills."

Nischt arrives in the political trenches with a law degree and an MBA from the University of Akron.  During lunch he impressed me with a ton of enthusiasm for the job
It's the sort of thing that you don't often find in the ranks of either  party.  Elected officials, particularly button-down Democrats, are generally satisfied (complacent?) with their safe positions but rarely do I  find anybody ready to step up for the sake of the traditional party values that have long sustained the distinction of being called a Democrat.

Republicans, on the other hand, still cling to the notion  that the first and only privileged rung on Jacob's ladder is a tax cut. I'll leave it at that.

So,  yes, Nischt (pronounced Nisht, I think) brings an enthusiastic voice to the dance.   That will pose the usual problems among some of the old  folks,  but he also appears to have the energy and intelligence to make a difference.

The all-consuming hype for Browns QB's

Spent too much time over the week end besieged by the central drop-dead issue in Northern  Ohio:  Will Quarterbacks Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel start the Monday night exhibition game against the Washington Redskins? Well?

Having grown up in Western Pennsylvania with only a passing interest in Jim Brown or Otto Graham, I didn't intend to get sucked into the media hype over the Browns' decision.  But ever since a young man also named Johnny Football was inserted into the equation, I've had no choice.  I really believe the media planted a computer chip in my brain as I was fishing around on the internet for a Steelers score.

Quarterback controversies for the Browns, of course, are not new.  But they serve to rev up interest in the fans before they realize that the Monday night starter  may be meaningless when the real season begins.

Computer chip?  Why do things go haywire when I stand too close to the microwave?  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Husted's mythical redistricting plan

Reposted from Plunderbund

Among the more aggressive political myths projected by the state's editorial writers and  garden variety pundits  is that Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, has earned a big gold merit badge for his concern about Ohio's scandalous congressional disftrict lines.   After all, he talks about it all the time.

But wait! Husted is a Republican.  The gerrymandering was carried out by Republicans who are quite comfortable with their congressional victories  at the polls.  Both houses of the General Assembly are controlled by Republicans.  Gov. Kasich and his  crowd are all Republicans.    Question:  Why would any of these operatives want to change anything.  to make their Valhalla competitive?  They wouldn't.

But Husteed continues to talk about it in an election year, knowing full well that his convenient  good-guy idea  has no chance.    Nice try, Jon.  At least the unquestioning mainstream journals like it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

GOP judicial employment office working overtime

If you've been trying to figure out the comings and goings of Republican judges in Summit County,  you may need more experience in following  the bouncing balls. I'll warily try to explain.  Get out your pencil and paper for these curious twists and turns.

Our journey began with Gov. Kasich's appointment of State Rep. Todd McKenney to the coveted Probate Court bench in November, 2011.

Within  weeks, he announced that he wouldn't seek a full term because he didn't want a political campaign to distract his work in his new job.. The buzz at the time was that he had  made a couple of appointments that distracted Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff,  who would withhold campaign cash from him in a Probate primary race against Common Pleas Judge Allison McCarty.

McCarty lost anyway to  Common Pleas Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer, a Democrat.

After a stint in private practice, McKenney seems to have gotten back into Arshinkoff's good graces and was appointed to the  Barberton Municipal Court  bench by Kasich on April 11.

(Still with me?)  Then Common Pleas Judge Jane Davis , who had held her appointed  seat for no more than a year,  announced earlier this month  that she would not  seek election in November. Hmmm...

Sooooo...the Summit County Republican Executive Committee, chaired by Arshinkoff ally Bryan Williams, nominated McKenney to seek election to the seat against Probate Court Magistrate, Jon Oldham, a Democrat..

It's a given  that Arshinkoff's hand has been in the middle of all of this judicial mobility.    And although we've been asked to solve the riddle of why Davis withdrew, she didn't return my phone call and Republicans aren't talking -  or aren't in Alex's  loop.  Whew!

Palin: Low minimum wage a roadmap to brighter future

Reposted from Plunderbund

May we pause for a moment to give thanks to the presence  in our midst of comic opera diva Sarah Palin, who brightens each day with cheerful lyrics that sustain us in the rush of awful news from around the world.

 Her latest aria, voiced from a truck stop north of Fairbanks, and played quite broadly, told us there is a brighter  future for people who work for minimum wages - or less. Reaching a high C, she reminded all of us  that such jobs are not lifetime endeavors  but rather "stepping stones" to something quite  more rewarding. Another controversy happily settled!

Speaking of Palin, whom John McCain assumed would be his light to the end of the tunnel, CNN's Candy Crowley gave us some flickering gaslight as to why he appears on so many of her programs.  Listen to this Crowley gem, class:

"Senator McCain, lots of people, when we have you on, often say, why do you have him on so often.  And we say  because he answers our questions,  because he expresses his views quite clearly."

Oh? Still unanswered by him is how he dared risk the nation with a daffy woman a heartbeat away from the presidency."  Fortunately, the voters didn't wait for the answer.  


Monday, August 11, 2014

UA's Scarborough: Will he face immovable object?

Although one may be impressed with the recent arrival of University of Akron President Scott Scarborough as the new sheriff in town, his stern warnings to the management folks  might well develop into an irresistible force against an immovable object.

Telling an Akron Roundtable audience that he expects his  top people to show up at meetings on time, be positive in their work and pick up trash projected his role as a disciplinarian  running a sprawling well-paid and deeply entrenched team.

It's not uncommon for  a new face to lay out a change in the trajectory of what they inherit, but in this instance, challenged with debt, declining enrollment and the constant buzz on campus that there are too many long-term managers  settled into their posts at six figures, it can easily be inferred that the new prez was not happy with the first-team campus-scape that he found - and we're not talking about new buildings and trees.

It will be awhile to see whether it  works, no matter his needed Draconian call for teamwork and pride in a day's labors among the slow-moving parts.   But if you don't find some of the high -level campus operatives  picking up an empty  beer bottle on the way to their offices, it will tell you there are still miles to go for the irresistible force to triumph.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The loneliness of life under a rock

As you approach another birthday it's funny how you suddenly learn things about yourself that you hadn't noticed before.  Prodded by a full page layout  in Vanity Fair magazine "spotlighting" a starlet, I was scolded  for  "living under a rock" if I missed a "stunning breakout"  of 23-year-old model named Emily Ratakowski.   She was described as the "nearly naked dancer in a controversial video."    It was a   reference that hardly needed further description or her commanding Vanity Fair  photo that threatened  to break out before a reader's very eyes.

About the rock:  Well, yes.  Had no idea who she was, nor  had ever heard of her before I flipped the mag's page to her startling pix.

It happens more often now, when we wrestle with such challenges to be hip, like trying to fill in blank squares in the New York Times Sunday crossword when the clues call for the name of the artist with triple platinum albums whose name begins with SqPerqlll - at least in my rendering. It's even worse when you think that there are  probably some young moderns around the country  who are happily penciling in the name..

Yeah.  You know you are getting old when such puzzles include pop definitions that are well known to everybody but you.   Or when you want to sneer at a teenager who offers to carry your bag of popcorn to the car.  Or when you can't find your worn LP of a radio  announcer describing Bill Mazeroski's 1960 World Series homer.

Ratakowski, huh?  Did I get it right?  Or did the name end in a "y"?