Wednesday, September 30, 2009

They were against it before they were against it


The current tossed salad of congressional Republicans has done more to debase the party's name than any in the 40 years that I was a paid witness to political hijinks by people engaged in that line of work. What else are we to think of a gang on the fringes of human intelligence that is attempting to scare the hell out of senior citizens by warning that current health insurance reform initiatives will reduce Medicare benefits? Whaaah? And what party has tried harder over the years to denigrate, scandalize, block and cut the benefits of Medicare and Social Security than the GOP? But its soldiers continue to plod on, confirming that ignorance is bliss in the wake of a recent New York Times/CBS news poll that President Obama is leading the Republicans 52-27 on who has the better ideas about health care reform, and that two-thirds of the public want a public option. Up and down the line in this and other polls Republicans are trailing with dismal public support. Sail on, o ship of hate!

The recent discovery of mini-Tyrannosaurus rex in northeastern China reportedly has drawn great interest from paleontologists who might have to reconsider their theories about the evolution of giant T rex, the so-called king of dinosaurs. But they could have saved the expense of going all the way to the Orient to find mini-T. A passing glance at the Senate Finance Committee., which rejected a public option yesterday, would have easily turned up several more recent examples of paleontological-friendly existence.

SIGNS OF OUR TIMES: Having just added a new Verizon land-line telephone to my home office desk, I hustled it to one of those shopping center kiosks to inquire about a problem.

"I have have a question" I said, holding up the phone to a young man at the Verizon kiosk.

"What's that?' he asked, staring at the phone.

"It's a telephone," I said. "You call people with it and they call you."

"I never saw one of those. I don't know what it is."

"But you have a big Verizon sign over your kiosk."

"True but we're a different company. We only deal with wireless."

"Do you have a telephone number that I can call?"

"No, we're a different company"

I backed off in defeat, wondering whether I was actually holding a telephone.

So I drove a greater distance to OfficeMax, where I had purchased the phone and mentioned my problem to a slight young girl.

"Oh, " she said cheerfully, "you just have to press this button."

It worked. I felt dumber than usual.

FINALLY: The Grumpy Abe Linguistic Lunacy (GALL) award goes to our old friend Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican, who responded to a constituent's doubts about global warming thusly:'
"I think he's right. I think what he's saying is God's still up there. We're going through these cycles....I really believe that a lot of people are in denial who want to hang their hat on the fact, that they believe is a fact, that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, are causing global warming. The science isn't there."
Ahhhh.... Oklahoma. Where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ganley stakes out right-wing voters

IF OHIO's ultra-conservative Republicans were looking for a David to slay the party's establishment-endorsed Goliath in the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate primary, they now have their man: Akron auto dealer Tom Ganley. Since Ganley announced his candidacy last summer to challenge Rob Portman, George Bush's former budget director, Ganley has busied himself with pressing all of the WOW buttons to lure right-wing voters who disdain Portman's stakeout on Ohio conservatives. Ganley has so impressed his targeted voters that he now boasts of the endorsement of Bay Buchanan on his home page. Bay, who shares a lot of ideas with her brother, Pat, needs no introduction.

Ganley's game plan to win over the Ohio electorate is looking more and more like Ken Blackwell's failed right-wing fling in the 2006 gubernatorial race. I'm beginning to wonder whether Blackwell, from his safe house at a conservative think tank, might be among Ganley's advisors inasmuch as Blackwell has a thing about advising other candidates on how to win elections.

When I asked one of Ganley's campaign aides in Columbus what he's been doing , she replied that he's been quite busy talking to different groups and attending Tea Parties. I could stop right there, but I should add a few essentials. He's also issued statements opposing health care reforms, noting:
"I do not believe any of the plans I've seen thus far will help us reach that goal without destroying the free market and lead us down the path towards socialized medicine and rationed care."
On the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor:
"Had I been in the Senate today I would have voted against Judge Sotomayor's confirmation for the following five reasons:
Among these was her view on allowing her "views and experiences to influence judicial decisions". I could go on but you've heard them all before.

Well, Ganley has staked out his turf position in the GOP in the long track ahead. Should you want to hear it first hand, he'll be at the Akron Press Club in the Martin Center on Thursday for a luncheon talk. You'll need a reservation. ( Call:330-564-4211) As you've probably guessed, I already have my reservations. l

Monday, September 28, 2009

Once again with feeling: Liberal Media!

WHAT WAS THAT? Did I just hear another snarky reference to, liberal media? Alas, it is one of those mossy idiomatic terms that is a convenient escape hatch for folks who can generally be expected to denounce, slander and/or vilify the aforementioned media that they haven't read in ages. They do so with such ease that it is useless to respond that much of the mainstream media is owned by corporate power brokers not far removed from Wall Street. The owners aren't the sort of people that you would expect to be pushing a cart on Saturday mornings at the local supermarket, if you know what I mean. And they have a way of supporting the Republican candidate.

But why limit the discussion to the print media? Take the recent study by FAIR magazine, a liberal publication that describes itself as the "media watch group" that targets the New York Times as well as any other print or broadcast voice that has slipped up on such news stories as, say, the American invasion of Iraq. ( It wasn't the only "liberal" editorial voice that servilely followed George Bush into the swamp on that story!)

FAIR reported that six of the biggest media companies (including the leftist Fox News, New York Times and Washington Post) had interlocking directorates with pharmaceuticals and insurance companies. In a survey of how the big corporate media covered the health care issue, FAIR observed:
"In the past six months, the Washington Post has published hundreds of articles on the subject of healthcare reform, fewer than 25% of which mention single-payer. Fewer than 30 percent of the sources who spoke about single-payer in those articles were advocates of the plan."
The same retreat from single-payer advocates appeared in the other mainstream media, including the networks. Although FAIR concluded that the interlocking directorates didn't necessarily lead to the lopsided reporting of the issue, it did indicate "at the very least, corporate media and the insurance and pharmaceutical industries' interests are fundamentally aligned." There is reason to believe it.

A greater threat to the performance of the media these days is its struggle for survival that has shaped its mission to be inoffensive and less intrusive into what it assumes to be the public's intolerance of anything beyond garden variety news dispatches. The networks' evening news shows are 22-minute recaps (with film, of course, and friendly reminders to the audience that "We're here for you!" ) of whatever might be sorrowfully noteworthy in the world. There is seldom an attempt to explore a complex issue beyond a couple of minutes. Seldom, too, is an effort to correct misinformation by political celebrities and their flaks. The medium simply doesn't permit it, and there are obviously moments when the interviewer doesn't know that he/she and the audience are being taken as fools. And when the collegial pundits take over on Sunday mornings, they offer no more than the same George-Will-like analysis that there is no such thing as climate change. Are you there, Cokie?

The final degradation of national media occurred twice in one week, with Time's doting cover story of Glenn Beck and Jay Leno's hunt for audience inflation by interviewing guest Rush Limbaugh. (Limbaugh needs another rostrum?) Leno should have stuck to standup comedy. Rushbo was all over him with such insights as "Medicare doesn't work" and "Social Security doesn't work." It's interesting to me that Limbaugh could pass honest judgment on two essential government programs that a multimillionaire of his resources will never need anyway.

It's during moments like this that I decide to give Chaucer's Canterbury Tales another shot in hopes that it will be easier to comprehend than what's happening in those liberal media today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Auditing Beethoven and City Hall credit cards

A COUPLE OF SPARKLERS from the area media:

The theatre critic of the weekly West Side Leader led off his review of the Cleveland Play House production of Beethoven, As I Once Knew Him, with the following tourist info:
"Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827) remains one of the premiere composers of what we now call classical music."
Classical, huh? That should clear up the most enduring mystery of what Ludwig was all about!

The front-page headline of the Akron Beacon Journal told the reader, New audit of Akron's paperwork says receipts are lacking. That reference to City Hall mischief sent me quickly to the the Community section, where a much larger headline boomed, Auditor cites mayor's receipts, above the story that was accompanied by photos of Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor and Democratic Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic. The story noted that Taylor advised City Hall to start adding receipts to credit card purchases, which amounted to $11,272 in 2008. Fair enough. More grist for the mayor's critics. But if you followed the story to an inside page you also found this paragraph:
"The 2008 audit contained no findings for recovery, and gave Akron an 'unqualified' opinion, which is the highest possible opinion and indicates there were no significant problems."
I have a hunch that the auditor's report is well within Plusquellic's comfort zone, no matter the headlines.

Friday, September 25, 2009

UA Parking Fiasco: Excuse the delay?

YOGI BERRA,. a pin-striped philosopher who gave us all something profound to think about, once observed of a certain restaurant: "It's so crowded that nobody goes there anymore." The University of Akron campus hasn't quite reached that point yet, but give it a little more time while you are marooned in a car heading for a non-existent parking place.

The horror stories of modern campus life continue to prompt questions about who planned this massive snarl in the first place. Letters to the editor, casual comments by faculty friends and reports of family-improvised shuttle service strongly suggest that there might be more time spent in traffic crushes than in the classrooms for some of the students and visitors. (To make matters worse even if you don't drive to campus you still must pay a $115 parking fee!)

Some faculty members are now being driven to their workplace by their spouses who return to pick them up at the end of day. Others are futilely trying to game the system by allowing up to an hour to find a spot. I had a couple of experiences that told me, thanks, but no thanks for any campus business. In one instance, we gave up trying to attend an evening program at Guzzetta Hall after a half-hour search that ran beyond the program's starting time. On another, we became hopelessly lost in a bumper-to-bumper gridlock and decided to give up and shoot for the county line, God and weather permitting. At this rate of inconveneince I can only wonder why all of the new construction on the campus did not include motels and eateries along the route to accommodate the long delays to the classroom.

A word to the UA Administration: I've heard all of the defense arguments so no need to repeat them. Besides, I've decided that my college days are over.


As we have been saying....

Here's a quote sent by a Grumpy Abe reader from a piece by Steven Pearlstein of the WashPost re: healthcare.

"During the first two days of committee action on his bill, Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, beat back repeated attempts by most of the committee's Republicans to gut provisions that would slow runaway growth in Medicare spending. Republicans want us to believe that they care deeply about the federal deficit and about keeping Medicare from going broke, while at the same time demanding that there should be no cuts in benefits, no cuts in payments to insurers or providers, and no reduction in the utilization of medical services. It was the most craven, cynical, hypocritical performance by a group of elected officials that I can remember, and a good measure of the political, intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Republican leadership in Congress."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And the earth may very well be flat

VACANT MINDS do have something to offer to others on drab, overcast days. They have a way of easing the load of the calamitous issues bearing down on the world. I find that's particularly true of Steve King, the daffy Iowa Republican congressman whose quotable quotes form a chaotic mosaic of a modern Tower of Babble. Funny, really. His latest offering widens the playing field for America's cult of socialist-watchers with a new dimension of right-wing gibberish. Rep. King warns that same-sex marriage is a "purely socialist idea". Conservative adulterers beware. You're next.

Jim Traficant, the tufted former Ohio Democratic congressman is a free man again and I would think that it should be worrisome to the quotable crackpots in our midst. No sooner did Traficant start showing up in the national media after a 7-year prison term for public corruption than he started dropping massive boulders into Capitol Hill's downspouts, one of which referred to Congress as a "big whorehouse" while apologizing to hookers for the unseemly reference to their line of work. On the stimulus package, he advised President Obama to "stimulate this" and said he wanted to kick the IRS in the crotch. He is obviously mad as hell, spending some of his time at Tea Parties. Democrats should be worried, too. He says he may run for office again, and the reports from the Youngstown area indicate he has an overwhelming following there. How will the Dems manage to live with that?

No wrapup of loony moments can ignore Sarah Palin, who was on a handsomely underwritten visit in Hong Kong, slamming the American government's way of doing business these days to a world conference of well-heeled investors. She wanted them to know that she was delivering the honest-to-God goods from "Main Street USA" - her latest geographical point of departure now that it has been proven that you can't see Russia from her front porch. She seems to be preparing more and more for a third-party presidential candidacy. We can hope.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

DeLay's Cha Cha Danse Macabre

DID YOU happen to see the photo of a beaming Tom DeLay grasping the hand of a twirling bare-midriffed Cheryl Burke as they cha cha-ed on Dancing with the Stars? My reaction: Cheryl, do yourself a favor now and wash your freakin' hands!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blitzer: A fabled situation in the Situation Room



…Or Breaking (Up) News at CNN

The historic news was first reported at 4:23 p.m. Eastern Standard Time by

Wolf Blitzer in CNN’s Situation Room:

“We have just learned here in the CNN Situation Room, right here, where news is arriving at our desk every second, that King Henry the Eighth of England, the powerful European monarch – some say the most powerful - will ask Pope Clement VII to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon. We are now in touch with all of our far-flung correspondents to update what is developing as a major international church and state crisis. It’s happening now….”

The gravity of Blitzer’s report was made all the more colossal by a banner across the bottom of the TV screen that announced: BREAKING NEWS…King Appeals to Pope to annul marriage. Will he succeed?”

A solemn Blitzer, assuming his official authoritative stance with a firm grip on a pad of standard blank paper and a pencil (pen?), calls in poker-faced John King, CNN’s chief national correspondent, and asks:

“John, what can you tell us about this amazing turn of events that is happening right now, as we speak in the CNN Situation Room?”

“It’s not entirely clear, Wolf,” King says soberly as he stands in front of a large graphic showing Henry on one side and the Pope on the other, each with an arrow pointing at the other, separated only by a large question mark. “What we do know of this stunning event is that Henry has not been at all happy that Catherine hasn’t given him a male heir to the throne, which, as I have been told, has clearly violated their prenuptial agreement…”

Blitzer: “That much is clear enough in this utterly complicated international clash of titans that we are reporting from the CNN Situation Room.”

“Right, Wolf. And so that our audience may better understand the potentially grave consequences of this clash of titans, I've been told that Clement was one of the Medici popes and has the power of that family behind him. I am getting reports from the international community that there can be no winner in such an explosive showdown – none whatsoever. So whether Henry will be able to convince –“

“Sorry to break in, John,” Wolf blurts, his voice rising in the energy of the moment, “but we have our Tony Maddox , managing director of CNN International which brings you news from around the world to our Situation Room right here, standing by in London. He has just talked to some members of the Royal Court.


“Tony, hi. What can you tell us about this amazing turn of events in church-state relationships that we are reporting exclusively from here at the CNN Situation Room?”

“Hi, Wolf. Well, as you might expect, there are a lot of candles burning at the king’s several palaces tonight as the story is making its rounds. Some members of the court are already characterizing it as the king’s ‘great matter’ - a term, of course, in the interest of accuracy, that should be written with quotation marks around it. This much we do know: He is relying heavily on Cardinal Wolsey, his old friend and chancellor, to work out a deal with the Holy Father that would free the king from his marriage contract with Kate. For complicated technical reasons, I have been told by royal insiders, the king doesn’t believe the marriage was ever consummated. But how do you prove a negative to the Pope? However, Tom Wolsey knows his way around as Henry’s confidant and lobbyist but he wlll most certainly face big – enormous - odds on this one.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, for one thing , the papacy doesn’t look kindly on divorces. It’s still the 16th Century over here and it’s a big deal with Catholics, you know, even though recent polls here have the Brits splitting evenly on the issue. There have been rumors for some time that the king has his eyes and possibly even his heart set on marrying a young woman named Anne Bolling or Boland, or something like that, and that he has enlisted an old pro like Tom Wolsey to do the heavy lifting for him. You know, somebody he can trust in delicate matters such as this one.”

“Is there a back story to all of this that gives the king the notion that he can pull this off?

“Well, it has something to do with some questions surrounding his marriage to Kate, who had been married briefly to Hank's brother, Arthur, requiring a special dispensation from Pope Julius the Second for Henry’s marriage because there is something in church law about marrying your sister-in-law ---I'm not really all the way up to speed on this yet.

---- “That makes sense, I guess.”

“ Really I’m not clear on all of this. In fact it can be quite complicated. And it will take some time to look into the subtext for our American audience and shake out a few more details.”

“Wow. I can see that. We’ll try to get some transparency to this from someone at one of the Catholic universities.... And where is the brother?”

“Oh, he died. Natural causes, which doesn’t happen that often with royalty. Perhaps we should do a little more bio on him. But in the meantime –“

“Sorry to cut in on you, Tony, but I’m told we’re going to go to Alessio Vinci, our man in Rome for this unprecedented breaking story that is happening right now as I speak to you from the CNN Situation Room.”

“Hi, Wolf. Buona sera from Bella Roma.”

“Good day, sir, to you, too. I know it’s getting close to midnight there, Alessio. But did you manage to talk to anybody to get a reaction to King Henry’s extraordinary back-channel appeal to the Holy Father?”

“Yes, it is getting rather late, Wolf. There’s a six-hour time difference, you know. But while I wasn’t able to hook up for an audience with the Pope, who retires early, I did speak to one of his assistants, a Father Tucci, who said the matter is being closely watched but that it was unlikely that anyone would wake up the Holy Father for a statement tonight. Who knows, Wolf? This is Italy. All of the soccer games have ended and the trattorias are winding down. Maybe more tomorrow,”

“Thank you very much, Alessio for that exclusive report. We will await further word from Rome. Meantime, I have been advised that we have Christiane Amanpour standing by in Madrid…(PAUSE) …Oh, there you are, Christiane. Hi…”

“Hi, amigo…”

“Tell me, how is this extraordinary story playing in Madrid, considering that, if I’m not mistaken, Catherine of Aragon is the daughter of Queen Isabella. I’m right about that, am I not? At least that’s what I’ve been told. And what does that mean for relations between England and Spain?”

“Yes, Wolf. She is the daughter of Queen Isabella. But I can’t offer much more at this time because I just flew in from Cairo and heard about this at the airport on my cell phone from Candy Crowley in Waco. But I can tell you this much, Isabella will not be pleased to learn that her daughter has been thrown under the proverbial bus by the king. Everywhere I look at the airport I see a lot of grim faces. Spain is not Italy.“

“Well, we will talk again with you, Christiane, to be sure. But now we are going to talk with our CNN political analyst Bill Schneider who just arrived right here at the CNN Situation Room with something to tell us….Hi, Bill. Thanks for stopping by as big things are happening right now as we continue to receive reports in the Situation Room.”

“Hi, Wolf.”

“How do you think this will play out politically in the United States?”

“Well, according to our exit poll at the U.S. Senate dining room, the king is not faring well with this issue. That, I suppose, is natural. No senator wants to support a monarch who is suspected of being an adulterer these days, what with all of the problems that some politicians are having in Washington these days. I'm told the king has his eye on a great-looking young woman, Anne Bolden? It's a delicate give and take on Capitol Hill. America, as you well know, is not England.”

“No, it’s not…”

“Correction: I believe her name is Balloon.”

“Anyway, we’ll know more tomorrow after our overnight poll of voters around the country, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.372. But I rather think –“

“Sorry to cut in on you, Bill, but Candy Crowley is standing by with the Archbishop of Dallas. CNN is only trying to be thorough about this apparent torrid love affair in the Royal Court.”

“No problem, Wolf,” Candy says. “ Yes, I do have Archbishop James Oble with me. What can you tell me about this, Archie?”

“Well, Candy we really don’t know anything more than what we’ve been hearing from the Situation Room. You people do a fine job. But there is no doubt in my mind that the story is true. Henry is a lecherous old fool. You can see it in his eyes. So I want to leave it right there without trying to speculate further on a torrid love affair that surely exists.”

“That makes sense, father,” Wolf cuts in. “Is it OK to call you father?”

“Please do."

“Thanks, Candy. I do want to remind our viewers that we will have a two-hour special at 10 p.m. tonight on this really huge issue that is rocking the free world. For those of you who tuned in late, I will repeat: King Henry VIII wants to have his marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon – the daughter of Queen Isabella and aunt of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V – annulled to enable him to marry his beautiful pregnant young lover.

“Now we will return to other breaking news from around the world that is happening right now as we speak in the CNN Situation Room.... Brittney Spears…”

Monday, September 21, 2009

The false prophecy of Gobbledegook

IT WAS AWFULLY good for my ego to read the recent report in the New York Times that PC makers believe it would make their products more seductive to the technically-challenged if they promoted them in plain English. After decades of glowering into a computer screen, I still don't know what all of the little icons mean, nor do I much care. But it did make me a bit defensive with friends who can recite the icons by heart and are generously available to me when my computer refuses to do what I want it to do. I'm sure many of you have had a similar feeling of instant helplessness.

In the Times article headlined "Goodbye, Gobbledygook," I was told that we may see the last of such chaotic collections of letters and numbers as "DDR2 RAM, 5400 R.P.M, hard drives, Turion benchmark scores and the robust 1.2 cache sizes of Core 2 Duos." Even Einstein left us with a simple E=MC2. One didn't need to know what it meant and still get by in life. But computers have become a lot of people's lifelines today. It was quite easy to become marooned in that black hole between megas and bytes. As one who once spent several weeks in a cryptography class in the Air Force, I can tell you it was much simpler than the coded language of the PC culture.

So hooray for Deborah Conrad, vice president of corporate marketing at Intel. She conceded, "We were our own worst enemy, making it confusing about which chip is best for a computer." Her willingness to share the blame for my confusion is sunny progress. I thought of how valuable she could be in other venues when I heard the GOP House leader John Boehner, who has called President Obamaa socialist, insisting that he - and here's the robust 1.2 cache part -didn't really call him a socialist, at least not exactly in those terms, or maybe in no terms at all, because what he meant was, you know, Americans are worried. Maybe not exactly, but it's close enough. But I think I heard him say something about worried Americans, which is not news because we all know how we are reminded daily by the Tea Parties that we are living in fear already. How profound!

Goodbye, Gobbledegook? Not yet, folks. With the Boehner crowd, not even close.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Road map to Teabagger idiocy: :

This is from Makes sense to me!

The Teabagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2ndAmendment Rights in this country, while I am duly >being allowed to exercise my 2ndAmendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.

I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

  • Social Security
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
  • US Postal Service
  • Roads and Highways
  • Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
  • The US Railway System
  • Public Subways and Metro Systems
  • Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
  • Rest Areas on Highways
  • Sidewalks
  • All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009federal senate appropriations--
  • Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
  • Public and State Universities and Colleges
  • Public Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Sesame Street
  • Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
  • Public Museums
  • Libraries
  • Public Parksand Beaches
  • State and National Parks
  • Public Zoos
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
  • Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, Stateor Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
  • Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
  • Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
  • Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
  • Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
  • Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
  • If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care

I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist

locations, including but not limited to:

  • Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
  • The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
  • The government-operated Statue of Liberty
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
  • The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
  • All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.

SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS DAY OF ____________ IN THE YEAR ______________.

___________________________ ___________________________

Signed Printed Name/Town and State

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's Time out for this Beck article

NO DOUBT Glenn Beck loved this week's cover story about...Glenn Beck. Such glorification of the hysterical right-wing hero, even with a few mild negatives tossed in, are precisely what sustains and exalts media celebrity in America. So when the headline above David Von Drehle's piece rhetorically asks the reader, "Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?" it was merely a teaser to suck you in to a story that never really answers the question. Indeed, it concludes by asking four more questions. Even the reference to "mad" seems to point more to anger than to insanity.

Otherwise, the piece is drive-by puffery that adds few new insights into an often out-of-control demagogue that will please his followers and frustrate his critics. In editorial lingo, it didn't advance the frightful story of Glenn Beck with much new information. Instead, the reader got a heavy serving of gee-whiz flattery of Beck's M.O. from a writer more in awe of his subject than to the gravity of a renegade on the loose.

The author was so politically correct in trying to make Beck and his critics equal participants in balancing the pro-and-con argument that it allowed Drehle a wide range of maneuverabilty in the pretense to be playing fair. Actually, the balancing act was no contest for Beck inasmuch as I didn't find more than a buried reference or two to any response by Beck's critics.

One glaring example of Time's game plan was the article's attempt to show that there was nothing unusual about the great difference in the crowd estimates for the recent angry Beck-hustled Tea Party crowd in Washington. Conservatives gave a soaring number, liberals a much lower figure, Drehle noted, making it a business-as-usual ideological divide. What he didn't do as a reporter was to take the story beyond ideological differences and report that even FreedomWorks, which sponsored the rally, later halved its original crowd estimate from 1.5 million. Suffice it to say the crowd was what it was, allowing either side bragging rights.

In reference to the dozens of sponsors who withdrew their ads from Beck's programs on Fox after he damned Obama as a "racist with deep seated hatred of white people" the article blew off that incendiary issue with a single sentence: "A liberal group called Color of Change has organized an advertiser boycott of Beck's TV show - great publicity for the group and a boon to Beck's ratings." That's it, folks.

As has been reported in other stories and observable to those who have seen Beck tearfully crash on TV, the Time article did describe its protagonist as "45, tireless, funny. self-deprecating, a recovering alcoholic, a convert to Mormonism, a libertarian living with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactive syndrome)." And, I noted, getting by on $23 million a year, a primary measure of broadcasting success.

In its effort to soften Beck's image, the article did add a new way to describe a lie. "Yarns of less substance," says Drehle, of Beck's accusation that Obama wants to establish a "civilian national-security force that is just as strong, just as powerful as the military." And the President plans to do it with his love affair with "volunteerism". Is that the work of a sound mind? Or simply a carnival barker trying to scare the hell out of his willing audience?

As a longtime journalist, I've often wondered whether it's better to treat people like Beck with silence, allowing him his audience while the world tries to move forward. But in this instance, he has such a loud megaphone with Fox that I'm inclined to believe that a constant shower of exposure for this nonsense will inflate him to the point of self-destructing. As for Time's desperate effort to reverse its decline as a general interest magazine with a naked appeal to a self-contained audience of nitwits, it's a readership effort that is destined to fail. And with such shallow cover stories as this one, not a moment too soon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A compassionate plan for those who need it the least

AND NOW, FRIENDS, do I hear a motion from the the ether to call the newly arrived and, eh...long-awaited, document from committee the Baucus-Grassley Wealth Care Plan? We might all have awaited the arrival of Godot, who never showed up. Don't be shy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taxing rants about taxes, et al


Hearing Republican pols endlessly chant about the evils of taxes, I am forced to conclude that their greatest orgasmic experience would occur with the abolition of all taxes except those that provide for their daily wage, health care insurance and for some, therapeutic night life. . That would leave the voluntary construction of highways to neighborhood associations; the care of the national parks system to garden groups and law enforcement to the Lone Ranger. Too bad for the R-pols, it won't happen. All of which means they will go on and on talking about it.

If you've spent a few minutes listening to Sen. Max Baucus, the Medicare-eligible Montana Democrat, boasting of the merits of his newly released committee health care reform plan, you might agree with me that he is a Republican impersonating a Democrat. And he's damned good at it. He'd better be inasmuch as he's into the health-care and insurance industry's treasury for about $4 million in campaign cash. It proves that experience does count, considering that he's been in the Senate for 31 years and doubtless knows all of the unlisted phone numbers of the lobbyists who need his undivided attention. (Two of his former chiefs of staff now work as lobbyists for health and insurance related companies. I rest my case.)

Mayor Don Plusquellic's critics will not spare the rod in denouncing the 201 layoffs the city announced this week. So what's the counter-proposal for these troubled economic times that is affecting city governments from coast to coast? Raise taxes to pay for the services? What? Are you crazy? There would be a dozen Republican candidates for mayor if Plusquellic breathed such evil. Cut back more city services? Those who opposed this week's layoffs would be the noisiest critics of further shrinkage of the safety forces. Fortunately, FirstEnergy has made its community presence felt with a $2.2 million grant to the city to ease a little of the pain. Plusquellic has presided over the best of times in the city, and is now having to make the hard choices in the worst of times. If there are less painful solutions these days, I'm sure everyone concerned would like to know about them. (The mayor could take a cue from former President George Bush, who advised Americans after 9/11 to "go shopping.")

Former President Jimmy Carter, a bona fide Georgian, sounded quite sane when he bared the roots of southern outrage sgainst Barack Obama in the White House. Quite simply, he called it "racism", which too many others who know better are trying to ignore. And people like Rush Limbaugh are exploiting it Klansman-style with not-so subtle reference these days to a newly-minted ObamaWorld, which Limbaugh sees as clear evidence of black hatred of all whites. I used to believe that Obama's election would allow us to move on as a nation from the not too-distant past when the New York Yankees turned down a chance to sign a young man named Willie Mays because, you know... he was black. Once Mays signed on with the New York Giants and did his magic act on the field, many fans became color-blind.

The University of Akron is in the midst of dodging another hit on its image with the latest episode involving John Case, the U's vice president for finance and education, who was placed on leave after his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence. But Case, who was arrested once before for erratic behavior behind the wheel, will continue to be paid under his $242,625 annual contract that runs through next June. UA President Luis Proenza says he will find some special jobs for Case to perform in the meantime. My sources tell me that it amounts to a waiting game and that Case's contract will not be renewed in June 2010. Taking note of the contretemps, the Plain Dealer concluded editorially a few days ago:
"It's a generous reassignment that the University of Akron can ill afford. While Case has been whisked offstage at full pay, the university is balancing its $419 million budget by eliminating vacant positions and reducing other costs. Surely this could have been handled better."

At the same time, UA must still adjust to the two ethics convictions of Board of Trustees member Jack Morrison, Jr. who obviously has no intention of giving up his seat on the board.

Kevin Jacques: Will we waste this financial crises?

EVER SINCE Americans discovered huge p0tholes ( and not pots of gold) in the country's economic safety nets, one expert after another across the political spectrum has sought to lead us to the smoking gun that victimized millions of unsuspecting souls. Well, yes. Predatory home mortgage lenders and Wall Streeters who found a comfort zone in the Bush administration's relatively soft regulatory touch on free-wheeling financiers were among the culprits. Hooray! Now we know.

Indeed, a former regulator in the Bush years, Kevin T. Jacques, an economics professor at
Baldwin-Wallace College, concedes that the government's watchdogs did a "poor job" in looking after the shifty fast-buck artists and institutions who manipulated the system to their benefit and, disastrously, to many others' financial ruin. But he did put an asterisk after that observation: the government has regulatory power over only half of the lenders who led people hopelessly astray.

In a talk to the Akron Press Club, Jacques said that there was an "urgent" need to fix a systemic crisis in the nation's opaque financial framework. And, he added in proposing strong action now that we have experienced a meltdown, "a crises is a terrible thing to waste." Well, considering the across-the-aisle warfare that has taken hold in Congress, that remains to be seen.

"Regulators need a game plan," he said, noting that too often regulators looked at the individual trees in the mix and lost sight of the forest. But even he doesn't see much hope for early financial reforms to control abuses - "greed and evil", as he put them - in the financial systems. Politics keeps getting in the way of a workable transition to a higher ground. One needs to check Congress on any average business day to understand the source of Jacques' concern.

Jacques also addressed another element of the mess that has gotten less attention: the financial ignorance of too many people who were led astray by the sharpies. He said there was a move afoot early in the Bush years to insert financial education into a high school's curriculum. But, alas, it was beaten back by states and education groups who preferred to keep the feds out of their education plans

So now, I must necessarily wonder: Which is the greater of the two evils?

Monday, September 14, 2009

With Joe, the race card is cashworthy

AT THE END of pianist Philip Thomson's stormy performance of the first movement of the Grieg piano concerto with the Akron Symphony Orchestra Sunday night, a woman seated somewhere behind me effused, "He got a helluva lot of music out of that piano!" That appears to be also true of Joe Wilson's slam at President Obama as a liar. The South Carolina Republican congressman reportedly is getting a helluva lot of cash register music out of his contributors following his historic misconduct during the president's health-care reform speech.

As awful as it might seem, Wilson may have set a precedent for other congressional Obama haters. The next logical step would be for one of the southern Claghorns to interrupt a State of the Union speech to challenge Obama to a dual. Politics doesn't limit its questionable excesses when it comes to raising money.

The Republican Party has never been the same since it was hijacked by noisy groups of religious fanatics, racists and cable lunatics. The election of Barack Obama only increased their fervor to do and say outrageous things. And after decades of racial progress, a party without a single African American in Congress is now hosting a retreat to political precincts where racism is a guarantee to a long happy life on Capitol Hill.

The haters are embittered that their war-hero candidate and pink-cheeked hockey mom were soundly defeated by a Democrat with dark skin. This was not supposed to happen, not in an America where The Others were supposed to know their place. After all, wasn't it Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss who cautioned Obama to be "humble" in his speech to the congress? In Louisiana, which is two-thirds white, Republican Sen David Vitter is basing his rise-from-the-ashes campaign by reminding everyone that he has no use for Obama. Even some ministers down there, well aware that Vitter is an out-of-pocket adulterer, figure he can be excused because of his antipathy toward the President.

What is it about Louisiana? Vitter succeeded Rep. Bob Livingston in the House, who in turn was to succeed Newt Gingrich, a Georgian, as the House speaker, after Newt was caught up in his own scandal. And why did Livingston need a successor? Well, he resigned from Congress because of public notice of his own extramarital affair and is living happily ever after as a...yep, lobbyist. I've only gone back on the devious line of succession to Gingrich. For all that I know, it might have begun with the Marquis de Sade.

OK, I might as well haul in California GOP Assemblyman Mike Duvall, who just resigned after unwittingly boasting on a live mike to a friend of his sexual escapades with a much younger female energy company lobbyist. This was the same pol who once received an ehtics award from Chapman University in Orange, Ca., for his deep commitment to meritorious behavior as a family and community man.

Remember: This is the party that boasts of its moral clarity and family values only to have some of its leading lights - Sen. John Ensign, Gov. Mark Sanford and Vitter - seeking sex right off the assembly line.

And this is the party that is adrift in a world where racism and hyprocrisy could become a plank in th next party convention platform.

In his introduction to Stendhal's The Red and the Black, Columbia University Prof. Bruce Robbins observes that the book's protagonist merely reflected his times. Of Julien Sorel he writes:
"If he wants to improve his lowly condition, hist0ry decrees he must be a hypcocrite. In love, as in religion and politics, he must ignore the empty banalities he is fed and take a hungrily scientific interest in how the gears and levers of social power really work."
Since it is also a no-no with the Joe Wilsons et al, science may not enter their premeditated conduct. But the rest of Robbins' words seems about right.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rushbo wildly out of control over Joe Wilson

WOULD SOMEBODY please tell Rush Limbaugh to get back on his meds? The film clip of him shouting that Joe Wilson should not have apologized to President Obama was an astonishing spectacle of a person totally out of control. Rushbo appeared to have live wires attached to his buttocks as he bounded on his chair and flung his arms in every direction to emphasize his displeasure with Wilson's retreat. It recalled, however, the apologies that some Republicans offered the Great White Whale for disagreeing with his preeminent stature in the GOP. Rushbo thought those concessions were just fine.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Akron Press Club Speaker Kevin T. Jacques

Should you be seeking further insights into how we got into the current economic mess, the Akron Press Club's program on Tuesday will present an economist who spent 14 years in the U.S. Treasury Department as an advisor on domestic and foreign economic policy. The speaker is Kevin T. Jacques, a member of the Baldwin-Wallace Colllege faculty who will offer a "former regulator's view". The buffet luncheon is at 11:45 in the Martin Center. Club members, $10; non-members, $15. Reservations, call Michelle Henry at 564-4211. E-mail,

The GOP showed Obama who's running the plantation

WELL, REPUBLICANS really showed that socialist kid Barack Obama who was in charge of the the plantation. There were jeers and sarcastic laughter and Rep. Joe Wilson shocked his brethren by shouting that the president is a liar. He later recanted when he became a household word for incivility, but we all know what he was thinking, don't we? The GOP House minority leader John Boehner sat stoically through the speech with his dyspeptic fixed scowl as if to question why his valuable time was being wasted on someone accused of being born in Transylvania. And every time I saw his second in command, Rep. Eric Cantor, the minority whip from Virginia, he seemed distracted by something else. Cantor did hear enough, however, to complain later that Obama offered "nothing new," which should be taken seriously, I suppose, because if anybody knows something about "nothing newness" in policy it's the Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Finally, the Republicans chose a drab Louisiana congressman - Charles Boustany Jr, a retired physician by trade - to respond to the speech. (The immediate conversation turned on whether he was martyred simply as a sacrificial lamb who, unlike Bobby Jindal, could not destroy a promising career with the party's TV response.) Still, it should be noted that this guy was from Louisiana, too. He has also nailed more than $1.2 million from health insurance providers. What could the party's handlers possibly be thinking to send this poor guy to the gallows for his nothing-new deer-in-headlights speech that was DOA.

But in case you are scrapbooking TV responses, you should also know that Boustany was taken for a $50,000 investment back in the 90s by two British con men when he tried to access nobility by buying the title of "lord". Yep, Lord Boustany. The perps were found guilty of defrauding him, which means he is living out his remaining years simply as a commoner. He impressed me as a September rookie call-up from the low minors to fill out a team roster.

Back to the unruly Joe Wilson: His real name is Addison Graves Wilson Sr., but as a Good 'Ol Boy from South Carolina, he prefers to go by Joe. Ok, I'll go along with that. So, can we now say, Goodbye Joe?


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On political non sequiturs, Saxby Chambliss et al


Non sequiturs are not uncommon in politics, even fashionable, but there was one that stood out for me following the report by a New Orleans newspaper that Gov. Bobby Jindal flies off to church on most Sundays in a state helicopter. A Hindu who converted to Catholicism, Jindal appears to be concentrating on extremely conservative churches in northern Louisiana while avoiding New Orleans for his Sunday "worship". Critics accuse him of politicking at taxpayer expense. And one national church leader, the Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, the president of the Interfaith Alliance, has challenged him to stop "politicizing" churches and to return the $45,000 taxpayer costs of his helicopter tours. But a Jindal aide countered the critics by noting that they are for same-sex marriage! Huh? Is that also a valid argument against the infield fly rule?

While we are rooting around down South, there arrives a warning from Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia that President Obama should be "humble" in his speech to Congress tonight. Chambliss, a right-wing Republican, has a way with words. Did he mean that a president with dark skin should not be uppity? Coming from a pol with Chambliss' deeply cultivated roots, the answer must be YES. Remember that this Medicare-eligible white southerner who vigorously opposes Obams' s health care plan, managed to worm into the Senate in 2002 by defeating incumbent Democrat Max Cleland, a decorated triple amputee Vietnam veteran by charging that Cleland was soft on homeland security.(Like so many of the uber-congressional hawks today, Chambliss managed to avoid military service, in his case, with a "bad knee".) Will the Civil War never end? Maybe Chambliss is trying to get a free shoeshine from Obama.

Circle the calendar: Sept. 26. That's the day Bud Norris, the mayor of Mt. Vernon, Wash, has designated as "Glenn Beck Day," complete with a key to the city. Beck is a native son, but fortunately for the city and the nation, they're not all like that. Beck, in case you have not been paying attention, has lost a pile of sponsors on Fox after describing President Obama as a racist who hates all white Americans. Protests has already occured against the mayor - with some signs urging the city to "change the locks." Six of the city's seven councilmen have opposed the idea and city business people are worried that Mt. Vernon will draw negative attention to it. Times have changed since we identified Mt. Vernon solely with the father of the country.

Saving the best for last: The washout of the so-called "reform" ticket in Tuesday's primary election in Akron prompts me to offer a slightly altered bit of hackneyed wisdom:
You can fool some of the people some of the time, but sometimes, not that many...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The closed minds of those who want to close them

"As the superintendent of schools, I am not comfortable with school district resources being used for this purpose; therefore Prescott Unified School District will not carry the speech either via television or via computers in our schools." --- Kevin Kapp, superintendent of schools, Prescott, Ariz.

Countless public school students were subjected to darkness at noon Tuesday through the combined efforts of an uncontrollable and scarily unaware right-wing mob abetted by a gaggle of spineless school officials. The object of their disdain was President Obama's televised pep talk to students channeled into class rooms across the country. Some of these politicized officials, a majority in Republican Red State school districts, were not even honest enough to concede their personal bias against Obama - the first president to be denied access to classrooms. Others, with wilting knees, merely passed the buck to teachers to decide whether they wanted the students to hear what Obama had to say.

My, my! The cry against the speech ranged across the spectrum from top-serving educators to alley cats. Arizona's state superintendent of schools, Tom Horne, argued against the speech (before hearing it) because he felt it would be "worshipful" of the president. To be fair, the daily temperature around Phoenix these days is in the blistering three figures. It can do strange things to sanity. We hope he's recovered his senses now that the upbeat motivational speech is history.

On the other hand, one mother who spoke out against the event on CNN, tried inexplicably to explain: "I'm against gay marriage and I'm against abortion and I don't want that stuff shoved down the kids' throat." Others continued to raise the specter of Big Brother, who derives from a book that I have a hunch most of them never read.

The problem faced by the schools that succumbed to a foul bath of hogwash is that their retreat will not satisfy the alarmists. They will try to build on their winnings by returning for still greater control over the classrooms. That's how it works, particularly in a nation where the education system is in a deep slump and where, say in Kentucky, only 51 pct. of the people believe Obama was born in America. America? Where's that on the map?

Tuesday was not one of the country's better days.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Florida Chairman Greer in slow retreat

JIM GREER HAS been blindsided by President Obama's speech to school children. If you don't already know, Greer is the bloated chairman of the Florida Republican Party who last week was ripping the yet undelivered speech on grounds that it would promote a socialistic message to kids and should be banned from the schools. Even after he read the text, Greer retreated no more than an inch or two. He told CNN on Monday that although Obama said all of the right things, Greer was satisfied that the protest had had an effect on the text. The chairman (!) concluded that the text had been changed in response to the outcries against the unread original. Did he have proof that the text had been altered? the interviewer asked him. "No," Greer conceded. He had no proof, only suspicion because Obama wants to run the schools. As for me, I suspect that Greer is an imbecilic pol.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Falls riverfront project: impressive & tax worthy

WE READ with interest the big spread in Sunday's Beacon Journal about the impressive riverfront project in Cuyahoga Falls that will be an important amenity in the city's quality of life. For this, Mayor Don Robert should take a deserved bow. But before his head strikes his shoes, I believe he should host another Tea Party at the riverfront pavilion to remind his anti-tax friends that the handsome project is costing $1.8 million, with $640, 000 coming from the state, i.e., your taxes and mine. Without taxes there would be no riverfront showpiece in the Falls, no reason for the mayor to take a bow and no reason for the anti-tax crowd to rant. Trouble is, too many politicians won't admit how taxes - and only taxes - often make them look good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Two Ohio schools hear from anti-Obama ranters

THE DOOMSDAY rant of the unwashed opponents of President Obama's planned TV speech to schools across the country has echoed through two Central Ohio school districts. The Dublin district will ban the speech in its schools in a scandalous assault on what, after all, is nothing more than a presidential pep talk on achieving higher goals in education. The Hilliard school district first banned the speech, then changed its mind after what Superintendent Dale McVey described as a "divided community outcry."

The anti-Obama network has laid down a new challenge to Republicans with a tad of respect for the difference between right and wrong. TV host Joe Scarborough, a Republican, has called on others in his party to stand up and be counted against this right-wing outrage. I'll do the same: If there are any Republicans reading this who feels a twinge of guilt about this latest spectacle, there is a little box at the bottom to add your comment. Unfortunately, I doubt it will happen. Too socially risky. As Rousseau once said: "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains."

To those who are accusing Obama of trying to brainwash students (Reagan et all had the same classroom opportunities and nobody screamed!) I would say it takes a brainflooded Republican to remain silent in these times of increasing madness on the right.

Operators are standing by. I dare you.

UPDATE: Saturday's newspapers are reporting that the ban on Obama's speech is spreading rapidly in our distressed Bogeyman State of Ohio. Among the latest schools to opt in favor of the aginners are Medina , even though superintendent Randy Stepp said the calls reaching him are "evenly split". That's the rule of Las Vegas blackjack, where a tie means you lose. Other school districts reporting bans are Parma and Brecksville-Broadview Heights. There will be more. as parents with no recollection of history, overlook similar speeches from Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. This is a disgrace as tails keep controlling the dogs.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Still one more crusade by the classless Dimmies

ANOTHER DAY, another crusade by the southern strategists (with assistance from the oil states and Grand Canyon). The latest uproar by the Dimmies was ignited by President Obama's scheduled TV speech to school kids on Sept. 8 in which students, parents and educators will be urged to work together in providing kids a stronger education to face a tattered world. In Education Secretary Ame Duncan 's words: an education that would lead to "good jobs and productive lives as American citizens."

That would seem to be so noble an effort that even the most partisan of GOP Dimmies would step aside and let the president of the most powerful nation on the globe have his say. But Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, says he's "infuriated" (it doesn't take much these days!) by the thought of Obama's attempt to propagandize the kids by going over the heads of their parents who, Greer assured us, believe otherwise. "An invasive abuse of power," Greer stomped. For all in loco parentis advocates, I have one word, duck. There's an absolutely LOCO politician in Florida trying to steal the scene.

Meantime, the hysteria in Texas could force some school districts to ban the speech in their schools. And a Dimmy Conservative talk show host, Tammy Bruce, is urging parents to make Sept 8 a Parentally Approved Skip Day. Tammy raised the bar on intellectual vacancy by telling parents that they should be "your child's tutor, not that shady lawyer from Chicago."

Well,there is an easier way to counter Obama's supposed bid to control the kids' minds, His opponents should gather up copies of "My Pet Goat" and pass them out as the students enter their classes on Sept, 8. There are still copies of it floating around on Amazon, and as we learned from Obama's predecessor, the story can be totally engrossing..

GOP Deep Southerner coming to Akron

NEWS FLASH: Summit County Republicans will get an ample supply of Deep South politics at their annual finance dinner on Oct. 19. The featured speaker, says County Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, will be Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Barbour is the former GOP national chairman and I would be surprised if he didn't have something to say about all of those "socialists" across the aisle.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A call for Republicans to slit their wrists

THE REPUBLICAN opponents of a health care reform seem to have taken their cues from a Class D minor league pitcher in firing wild pitches: curve balls aimed at the electorate, stray sinkers in the dirt, fast balls at the chin of Barack Obama, knock-down sliders that force the umps to warn of ejections.

It is disgraceful behavior by a group that calls itself a national political party without apology.

And it has only gotten worse in the past several days as that segment of the GOP that was once the home of the the fringe has now spread to the party's "leaders" who washed out of the mainstream of political discourse. Some samples, if you are sitting down:

  • The Republican National Committee circulated a fund-raising letter that claimed an Obama style medical care reform would deny Republicans access to coverage! Here is a direct quote from the letter:
"It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person's political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you.?"

What concerns me is that the RNC employs people who can come up with that sort of crap. And by the way, who, in your words, suggested it?

OK, so after it placed such idiocy before its jury, it stepped back from it, with an RNC operative saying the letter was "inartfully worded" while denying it was intended to scare people. But it obviously was quietly pleased that the message made it to a friendly jury before it was stricken from the record.
  • Michele Bachmann, the Republican c0ngresswoman from Minnesota , again rose from the ashes of her many earlier self-immolating utterances to explain the intensity of her opposition to reform. This one has taken her to new heights as the party's uncontested ding-a-ling:
"This [health care reform] cannot pass...What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't pass" .

Covenant? Michele, be sane for once in your life. If you slit your wrists there's no way you can reach the summit of Mt. Sinai alive.

  • Finally, credit Rep. Joe Barton, Republican, Texas (what is it about Texas!) with counting his chickens before they cross a heavily traveled road. Barton believes Democrats will lose the House in 2010, allowing him to return to his former role as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. And if health reform becomes law, he says, Repubicans will simply repeal it with him in the driver's seat.

Joe has yet to say whether he will join Michele up to the top of Mt. Sinai.

This is an incredible chapter in the life of a desperate political party. And a promise: I'll stop nailing it when its soldiers stop acting like infantile soldiers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sex & hypocrisy, South Carolina style

YOU WOULD think that by now, South Carolina would postpone any efforts to become a theocratic state and simply dedicate itself to keeping the sunny strip at Myrtle Beach well-sanded for the northern tourists. It would help the economy of a state that is shaking its piggy banks these days and spare its leading politicians and other public officials of having to explain how they were drawn through the dark valley of sex.

We all know about the state's top executive, Gov. Mark Sanford, a devout Christian conservative who is now being forced to cry about his witless exchange of the Appalachian Trail for Argentina. (As my family used to scold me when they heard I was dating a young Irish woman (read: American girl). They reminded me that the daughter of a Lebanese car dealer in a nearby town was perfectly qualified for the altar, advising without consent: "There are lots of our kind right here you could marry instead." ) So much for Argentina.

Now we learn that Kristin Maguire, the chair of the South Carolina State Board of Education, resigned after she was outed as the source of a pornographic internet blog, authoring under the pseudonym of "Bridget Keeney." The same Kristin Maguire had been lobbying long and hard for Christian virtues that included abstinence-only sex education, the banning of teaching evolution and other ideas that fit her profile as a soldier of the religious right.

Don't' go away. There's more. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who has called for Sanford's resignation, is being touted in news stories as a closet gay, which he denies, of course, because, if true it would put a big dent in his political ambition in South Carolina. It is, after all, the home of Bob Jones University.

To make life more miserable for him, a lesbian politician down there named Linda Ketner has challenged Bauer to step out of the closet, adding:

"We have more gay people serving in South Carolina than probably in any place in the United States."

She didn't hesitate to add Sen. Lindsey Graham to the list. And who can forget John Edwards' escapades, except that he didn't spend a helluva lot of time warning his constituents about sexual transgressions. He apparently just set out to have some adulterous fun.

I'll stop right there. It is another chapter in the hypocrisy of right-wing politicians who swear their allegiance to family values and other good stuff. If this keeps up, the time may come when Ft. Sumter will have to fire on South Carolina.