Thursday, February 27, 2014

County Dems: A new chairman on deck?

Slowly, and possibly even surely, the Summit County Democratic Party appears to be reaching a consensus on its  leadership for this election year and beyond.  For months, rumors have intruded upon any discussion of where the party is headed.  Such talk usually derived from the frustration by the party's achievers of not really knowing what the next  chapter would tell them.

The puzzle led to the chairman himself, Wayne Jones, who has long delivered money and votes to his candidates but is now a  Parkinson's victim that limits his presence in the arena.  Ironically, the illness is the one matter that co-exists with his Republican rival, Alex Arshinkoff, whose mobility has been seriously limted since an auto accident.

As recently as a few days ago, some Democratic insiders were telling me  that Jones would definitely seek reelection;   others said he would not, and several weren't sure one way of the other.  Furthermore, most lamented that it was a delicate issue because nobody wanted to force him out on the basis of his infirmity.

So I called  Jones yesterday afternoon and asked him point blank: Are you running?

He replied:  "Probably not".  End of conversation. Got that, undecided Democrats?

I'm told by a few others that it's a "done deal':  Jones will remain on the Board of Elections and at-large city councilman Jeff Fusco will become the new chairman although board membership normally is accorded the chairman.  With so many Democrats in office hereabouts, however,  there could be a half-dozen more candidates for the job when the party central committee meets in May to elect a new leader.

Never the most disciplined souls when it comes to party politics, Democrats can be quite independently free-spirited when the the moment calls for cohesion.    As for Fusco, the city's former deputy service director, he said he's willing to take on the  chairmanship, adding that he wanted to serve in whatever way would benefit the party and the community.

From a political writers' standpoint, glad that all of this is settled.   Or so it seems.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kasich came and went. Can we now talk about reality?

Reposted from plunderbund: 

Well, we managed to get through  the governor's State of the State speech unscathed in the comfort of our home with nary a word of parting seas. (If you missed his arrival in Medina,  I can report that it was in all of the papers, just as he had planned it.)

The pageantry far exceeded the accuracy of Kasich's assessment of the actual state of the state, which was sort of a spin-off of Voltaire's Dr. Pangloss, the rosiest soul among fictional characters. It began with  the first notice that the governor had chosen the Republican Town of Towns as his visible launching  pad for re-election - no small concession to hometowner Bill Batchelder, the retiring Ohio House speaker.

The buildup of Medina's small-town recognition for  such an event soon assumed a merry life of its own.   The medieval aspects of the governor's entry into town (as  shown in the French art here)  reflected what was once called "royal entry"  with an endless  line of  trumpeted fanfares, caparisoned  horses and, of course, the king himself lofted in full bejeweled regalia in the sheltered kiosk above the procession.

Departures are never recorded by classical artists, although the awed media told us about it the next day in Olympian terms.  The Beacon Journal, enjoying the bottom-line benefit of not having to spring a  reporter or two to yet-to-be discovered places in southern Ohio, took up a large  portion of the front page and a full page of photos and stories inside to report the governor's vision of the Ohio Miracle  during  his stay in the governor's office today and possibly for at least five more years.

Such grandiose occasions, complete with the entire General Assembly and doting locals   seated within eye contact, seldom deal with realities. You needed only to see the Beacon Journal's' day-after Page One headline to note the disconnect:

                                   Kasich talks education, jobs. 

 Talking education by the governor has meant his enthusiastic support of charter schools  sapping the public arena after he sternly issued a long-term threat to the education lobby to get out of his way when he first arrived on the scene from a Wall Street and Fox News job  nearly four years ago.

Jobs?  Is it nit-picking to mention  the state has fallen to 47th place in providing private  sector jobs?  The governor is forever confident that Ohioans are too dumb (or lazy) to do the math.

Well, he's had his vastly overripe royal entry into another campaign. It has been generously exclaimed by the media.  And yes, I rained on his parade.   Should we now see him get down to confronting all of his unfinished business as the state's CEO without the blaring fanfare of the moment?  I wouldn't count on it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The ordeal of diving into the Republican Party Part II

As I mentioned to you earlier in my exclusive report, I am converting to the Republican Party.  Update:

I went to the Board of Elections fully prepared to change parties   with valid credentials as an American citizen.  Among the many documents I handed to the clerk were a letter from the library that I was not in arrears on overdue  book fines; a dog-eared copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged;  a snapshot of Ronald Reagan in a Hollywood Air Force uniform;  a birth certificate signed by the police chief in my hometown; an honorable discharge from the Air Force; before-and-after photo IDs of when I had a full head of hair; an invitation to speak at Kiwanis luncheon;  and a note from my childhood doctor  clearing me of mumps.

"Have you ever been out of the country?" a suspicious clerk asked me.

''Yes," I replied, meekly.  "A number of times to Italy."

"Hmmm..." she said with a frown,  writing in her tablet. "Have you ever been on death row?"


"Why do you want to be a Republican?"

"I want to move in different circles," I stressed.    "Get an appointment to a well-paid job.  Share golf stories with the guys at  the club.  Be invited to a fancy dinner for no good reason.  Be around people who can tell me how hedge funds work."

She continued to take notes.

"Do you have a sponsor for this game-changer in your life?"

"I need a sponsor?"

"I'm afraid so, sir.  We have no way of knowing that you won't be a spy for the other party. Moles are everywhere these days."

"But I explained why I want to be a Republican---"

"How much are you pledging to donate to the party up front?"

"Donate? I'm not even a member yet."

"It's earnest money, sir."


"Thank you for coming in," she said impatiently.  "We will forward your request to the chairman, who will get it back to us in 45 to 60 days. He's a very busy man, you know."


"Your telephone number will suffice. We'll call you if and when you are validated. Even if you are, there will be a six-month  probationary period, or the receipt of a large check to the party  - whichever comes first."

"Large check???"

"We accept Visa and Master Card."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Is keynoter Laura Ingraham ever 'not political'?

Akron General Health System's centennial celebration this week produced, if nothing else, an odd public relations failure with a remarkably poor antidote  for whatever ails health care today.

In short, it invited a widely known right-wing TV commentator to be its keynote speaker and paid her well.   Yep.  Laura Ingraham, she of Fox News and all of the journalistic darkness that such employment portends.

No fool to blow such a festive opportunity, Ingraham struck her sword at Obamacare.  According to the Beacon Journal, she asserted:  "I would say that Obamacare is the most glaring example of government overreach [read: President Obama] that I've seen probably in my lifetime."

In a city with a long progressive health care tradition, I'd say her invitation was the sort of overreach that served only the partisan speaker and her hosts.  There was nothing in her attack mode for the Democratic leaders in the audience or the new health insurance applicants around town. Talk  about public relations! (I did today with two former veteran PR guys from the rubber companies.  Both said they were astonished by  the choice of Ingraham).   Is anybody having any fun yet?

The hospital's president and chief executive, Dr. Thomas "Tim"  Stover, described Ingraham as "dynamic", but made the situation worse with a strategic retreat by saying:
"It wasn't anything political".  Even when you stand at the podium  blasting President Obama's calling-card  initiative?

 It wouldn't  have been more political had Ingraham been led to the podium arm-in-arm with  Mitch McConnell and  John Boehner.

Time for some triage called Damage Control 101.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Major disclosure: I will be a Republican!

OK! That's it!  I'm heading down to the Summit Count Board of Elections to register as  a Republican.  (Which will finally satisfy my late father and let him rest in peace.)

I've been tinkering with the idea ever since they started paying GOP chairman Alex Arshinkoff $10,000 a month to be a University of Akron lobbyist.  And after Bryan Williams (Alex's heir-apparent as chairman?)  landed on the county Board of Elections  following his resignation as a board member  of the State Department of Education under fire for a conflict of interest.   After all, I have to eat, too.

But the decisive point in driving me into the land of the enemy  was the announcement  that Don Robart,  the recently defeated ex-mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, has been hired as the "eyes and ears"  of Secretary of State  Jon Husted to keep book on several Northern Ohio counties for an annual fee of $40,000. As you can see, conservative distaste for public spending doesn't include the immediate family.

Well, folks.  As one who has not had a regular  pay check since I left the sagging newspaper world in the late 1990s, you should not ask why  I am so sour about certain people returning to the inglorious public trough for jobs that don't require much heavy lifting.

Robart told the Beacon Journal that he hasn't ruled out running for elective office again.  If so,  I would be interested in the eyes-and-ears job.  After all, as they say, the legs go first.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kasich heads to Medina for the true believers

As Gov. Kasich's election-year caravan prepares for a rousing visit  to Medina on Monday for the annual state-of-the-state speech, the town's Republican upbringing will provide the perfect festive comfort zone for his words.  Such occasions, after all, are meaningless if not revealed with political pageantry marked by hyperbole.

There's even talk that Kasich is infusing a softer touch to his hard-edged disposition as he reaches out to voters for a second term.  When  he arrived in the governor's office in Columbus we  can all remember his verbal assaults on a Columbus police officer who stopped his car (an "idiot," he supposed to a Columbus audience).  And he wanted it known  to his opponents - lobbyists (Oh?)  and the education class - that either should join him or be run over by the bus.  Read: there was a new sheriff in town.  He didn't impress us as a candidate for a Mr. Geniality award.

Don't think there will be much of that bravado in Medina. Still, in weighing Kasich's  words, let me point you to the sage advice that Sherlock Holmes gave to his friend Dr.Watson after solving a murder mystery in A Study in Scarlet:.
"What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence.  The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kasich-at-bat, reposted from Plunderbund

The latest board game of presidential speculation has seen the media conveying Gov. Kasich as a possible GOP favorite at the party convention – two years hence, if you’re marking your calendar. Besides, what else is there to talk about these pent-up cabin-feverish wintry days?
In context, the Buckeye state has long borne the burden of being the Mother of Presidents, eight – seven of whom were natives. That would include three who are among the lowest ranked: Benjamin Harrison, U.S.Grant and Warren Harding.
To land in the White House, Kasich also would have to break a 93-year long dry spell that hasn’t elected a guy from Ohio since Harding. And there’s another historical matter that Kasich’s promoters must consider: He wouldn’t be the first modern Ohio governor to bestir pre-convention juices: There are four others who were the upbeat talk of the Ohio political class until they were not.
During his earlier terms, Jim Rhodes’ picture occasionally turned up on slick fold-ups with a dandy photo of him in full color and a can’t-miss caption: Rhodes for President. Huh!
Jack Gilligan ‘s inner circle was certain that he could capture the hearts and souls of the delegates at the 1974 Democratic mini-convention to sweep him to the nomination in 1976. Indeed, shortly before Gilligan’s City Club debate at the City Club with an empty chair set aside for Rhodes in ’74, a key member of his staff invited me to a restaurant to look at a thick private notebook on how the game plan (which I don’t think Gilligan had even seen) would catapult him to the White House.
My host was quite serious and batted away my reminder that Gilligan had some other business to take care of called an election that was just days away. The guy thought I was both naive and overly-dramatic. Rhodes beat Gilligan by 11,000 votes. Game, set, match.
Another Democratic governor, Dick Celeste, also was carefully touted for the top job by allies who considered him in style and substance to be the chosen one. Never happened. Not even close.
And, of course, John Glenn, who arrived at the 1976 convention as the “most popular” Democrat in the universe, a can’t-miss-nominee. Problem: His heart really wasn’t in seeking the job. He even turned down an offer by Ohio Democratic Chairman Paul Tipps to whip up a floor demonstration in his behalf. Glenn didn’t even bid on the veep post.
Still, here we are with national and state articles already talking about Kasich as a formidable choice for the big GOP deal. The Columbus Dispatch never ceases deliberating on his prospects.. And Sunday’s Plain Dealer carried think-pieces by two columnists mulling his current status as a possible candidate. Brent Larkin, however, did take clear notice of Kasich’s “fudging” of job numbers. You bet. The state ranked 13th in private job growth when he moved into the governor’s office in 2011. In 2013, it ranked 44th!
To those who say the governor’s race is already history, I’d say: With numbers like that, as well as other problems, not so fast. It could be Kasich-at-bat.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

But only on a clear day...

One of the better laughs making the Internet rounds:

What went around centuries ago is still here...

In his spritely volume The History of Mankind, first published in 1921,  the author Hendrik Willem van Loon wrote of the Roman Republic:
It became a land of rich people ruled by rich people for the benefit of rich people.
Many pages  later, he observed that under the later European mercantilism, the system:
Laid so much stress upon the importance of owning wealth that "being rich'' came to be regarded as the sole virtue  of the average citizen. 
It appears that times haven't changed that much since  then.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sen. McConnell in search of justice

Thanks to a lifelong source in Plato Cave Anonymous,  I have received access to the diaries of many famous people and will share some fascinating entries on an occasional basis with Grumpy Abe friends.  Let me begin to day with...

Sen. Mitch McConnell:
One hour. one week, one month, more than five years after I said I  would destroy him... and that dang colored fellow is still in the White House while I am hanging on by my fingernails to save my seat  in the Senate. Where is the justice of it all? Where!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Republican massacre of Summit County districts

  As you might have suspected, Summit County's two Republican congressmen voted against the debt ceiling increase while the county's two Democrats supported  the clean bill offered by House Speaker John Boehner.  The nays were Rep. Jim Renacci and Rep. David Joyce;  the yeas, Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Marcia Fudge.

About Joyce:  Wasn't he the guy who succeeded Steve LaTourette and billed as a moderate in the mode of his predecessor?   We're still waiting, folks.  Renacci, meanwhile, has been a perfect fit for the Tea Party.

Since the congressional districts were mercilessly gerrymandered by  Republicans,  Summit County's bizarre carving have left us  with four congressmen who don't have homes in the  county.  (For comparison's  sake, Gaul had only three parts.)   Religious scholars might  call it penance for the sin for long harboring  the late John Seiberling back when the liberal Democrat  represented the entire county.

Today, Renacci calls Wadsworth home; Fudge,  Warrensville Hgts; Joyce,  Russell Townshp in Geauga County, and Ryan, Howland ( near Warren).

On the map, the four new districts are virtually indescribable, appearing as though they fell off a truck.    Look for yourself.

* * * * *

Sen.  Rob Portman can't be feeling too chipper these days.   The latest Public Policy Poll revealed the Ohio Republican  is taking a heavy shelling from voters for his vote against extending unemployment  insurance.  The PPP figures say 51 pct. of the Buckeye voters are now less likely to vote for him; only 27 pct. more likely.

According to the pollster, Portman, a passive sort of pol, is "pretty undefined with voters right now.  36 pct. have no opinion one way or the other, with only 28 pct. approving of him to 35 pct. who disapprove.   He doesnt have the kind of politlcal capital stored up that lets you vote against something  more than 60 pct. of your constituents support."

As I've mentioned before, one of Portman's favorite responses  when the other side doesn't agree with his position is that he's disappointed.  In the wake of the PPP poll, he has a lot to be disappointed about.

UPDATE: Portman voted NO on cutting off debate to raise debt limit, defying Senate minority leader McConnell; Ohio's Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown voted yea. Measure passed handily.  If it had failed, it could have led to another government shutdown. Way to go, Rob!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hey, people. Mike Sam isn't a tornado alert!

The self-revealing notice by college football star  Mike Sam that he's gay has handed the national media an intoxicating grape to wildly seduce an audience otherwise  occupied with the worst of winter. For that, I say shame on the TV reports - with endless photos -  that bounded across the screen  with the urgency of tornado alerts.  (I sympathize with the remaining NFL players, coaches and owners who have yet to be asked to comment on  its "impact" on the pampered and sacrosanct league.)

So the guy's gay.  So what?  Oh, while many have stepped forward to praise Sam' s courage, there may be catcalls from the homophobic cretans in the bleachers.   I'd like to be around if Sam, who is 6'2" and weighs about 260,  invites the guy to come onto the field and asks:  You got a problem with that? 

Enough already. When Sam enters the pros, he will be judged like everybody body else in pads:  Is he helping the team to win?

When he was managing the Pittsburgh Pirates, Danny Murtaugh was asked by a reporter  about the all-black team he had fielded that day.  Murtaugh responded perfectly:

"Oh, I didn't notice."

By now, in 2014,  I thought that all of us would have stopped noticing the inner Mike Sam.

Monday, February 10, 2014

When a Christian school dips into a lot of public money

 If  scowling at religious retailing gives you a sense of anxiety, you can stop reading this post right now.  You won't find anything in it to comfort you.

Having given you fair warning, I want to review the solid reporting of Carol Biliczky  in the Beacon Journal that led the reader to a small religion-based private  school in Circleville that is doing quite well, thank you, as the state fills the school's  collection plates  with public dollars.   Its formal name, Ohio Christian University, befits its enterprising spirit in selling its sectarian product to students in public high schools with considerable help from the state treasury.

Not only that, the school's president, Mark Smith,   has what is essentially a room with a view as a member of the Ohio Department of Education  board, where he is joined by C. Todd Jones, a lobbyist for OCU as well as some 50 private Ohio colleges.  Smith, Biliczky wrote, is no stranger to politics.  He runs Ohio Faith & Freedom, which strongly supported Mitt Romney in 2012. (Freedom to do what?)

Remember folks:  We're talking about a state board that presumably oversees public education policy while Smith and Jones look after their own interests back at the private schools. (There used to be a third one:  Bryan Williams, who, alas,  resigned recently after his efforts  as a lobbyist for a non-union contractor group that also owned a charter school.)

OCU's  links to the public money are  really quite  simple.  Public school students can  enroll in OCU's classes, either on line or by other means and receive high school or  college credit.  As Biliczky wrote:
"The 30 general education courses in Ohio Christian University's Trailblazers Academy have many strong Christian themes, according to course descriptions on the university's website.  
 ""General Psychology', for example,  "will reflect a holistic Christ-centered biblically integrated education in the Wesleyan tradition.  'Western Civilization II'  will help students develop a Christian worldview of history."

As with many of the charter schools that are siphoning  money from public education, OCU profits leaped to $27.8 million in 2012  from $10.7 million three years earlier. What's more, Biliczky wrote, its enrollment  jumped from 380 students  seven years ago to 3,800 today.

As Plunderbund reported, in the 2012-13 school year, charter schools received more than $829 million in taxpayer  money to educate about 116,000 children, or $7,144.86 per child.  At the same time, local public school districts received $5.5 billion to educate the remaining 1.7 million children., or only $3,125.30 per student.

The private religious (read: conservative)  thrust into public education in Ohio has Governor Kasich's fingerprints all over it. He has packed the state board of education with appointments of charter-friendly operatives.  That helps explain the fierce boldness of such special - and costly - ventures  in the state today in supping at the public education table.

But even though state law forbids such use of public funds, it seems the governor believes it's the Christian  thing to do.

Portman tells Gregory he's for the American Worker

Reposted from Plunderbund

 Did you happen catch the cameo appearance of Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican senator from Cincinnati, on Meet the Press this morning?  It was hardly a rocket-launching moment in political history.  But he is, after all, only one of a hundred such mortals in America so I took a look at him in a mini-debate with New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer over Obamacare (which Portman detests) and extended unemployment insurance (not on his to-do list).

As  you may not know since the Beacon Journal and all three networks (ABC,NBC, CBS)  didn't bother to report the extension for 1.7 million jobless was defeated by a single vote, with Portman on the downside. (The Plain Dealer finally caught up with the story of the Thursday  vote on Sunday, which is better late  than never, I suppose.)

Portman continued his symbiotic relationship with his party's leaders and the wackos who worship, say, the Koch brothers by oddly defending his vote as a plus for the working class if not for all of the souls who lost their benefits.

With the righteous  demeanor of a man of his rank,  Portman told host David Gregory  that his worries  about "the American worker"  drove him to rise in their defense.

He told the Plain Dealer in Sunday's piece that it was the Democrats' fault for stone walling.

I'm never ever quite sure what he's so vaguely saying.  He has a cautious  way of speaking softly and carrying a little stick.  His fallback position on most issues is that he's the good guy in favor of what's best for everyone and is "disappointed" that the other side  didn't see it his way.

 In the Plain Dealer, there he was again, telling the reader that he was "disappointed" that the Democrats didn't work with Republicans to break the deadlock to find money to pay for the extension.  Not angry, mind you.  Just gentlemanly disappointed.  At least that seems to be what he was trying to say.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Portman rises to top of mythiness list


Well, we knew the moment would arrive when Sen.Rob Portman would vault to the top of the Ohio Republican mythiness list. He earned the title by  voting against a 90-day extension of unemployment benefits. It dashed the notion (carelessly distributed in the media) that he is a "moderate" which,  in 
GOP  circles, is slightly to the right of socialism.  

 The measure lost by one vote in the Senate - O-N-E - which could have been avoided if Portman had voted for it after the Dems, on hands-and -knees, excluded unemployed millionaires (!!!)  from the bill. I'm not sure how the one per centers got into the bill, but they would be the  last people that the GOP would want to annoy.

 Portman said he liked that part of it, but still couldn't bring himself to vote to save the benefits of 48,000 Ohioans as well as 1.7 million  unemployed Americans. Bottom line:  The aginners, as has been the trademark of the Republican class,  said America  couldn't afford the cost.

Speaking of the jobless:  Wouldn't you think that somebody in the Republican caucus would have called the New York Yankees  front office to chip in the pay  of Alex Rodriguez, who is currently suspended and out of work himself.  It would have nicely covered the cost of the extension.

But where would that that leave our Sen. Portman as he obediently defends the  faith of his conservative colleagues? You can see how tough it is these days to be be a moderate senator.

UPDATE: Neither the Beacon Journal nor the Plain Dealer reported the Senate's action in the paper that arrived at my mailbox today;  readers of Grumpy Abe and Plunderbund reported it last night.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mythiness, the GOP art of mythical stuff

Reposted from Plunderbund

Stephen Colbert added "truthiness" to our language;  Aristotle gave us "shoeness"  (the generic concept of a shoe).  And now Republicans have contributed "mythiness".

That describes all of the mythical stuff that the GOP has assigned to whatever comes to mind to savage President Obama, from minimum wages to birthplaces to Obamacare  (healthyness?).

That came to mind when a major flaw was discovered  in the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union speech by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a rock-hard conservative of Washington. To dramatize her horror  over the President's ACA law, she  told us about "Bette from Spokane", whom,  we were soberly  informed,   was floored by a $700 increase in her health plan. Oh?

It gets a little confusing after that bombshell  if you try to connect the dots to Bette Gernier's complaint.    Suffice it to say that after the Spokane Spokesman-Review checked Bette's story it reported that she was  referring to a much pricier insurance option that neither you nor I could afford, Obamacare or not..

What's more, Bette also told the paper that she hadn't checked a health insurance exchange nor would she ever "avail herself of federal subsidies".  And a Rodgers  spokesman admitted that no one had checked Bette's story before it was inserted in the response to the president's speech.

Perfect, if mythiness is your thing.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kasich Medina speech may upstage return of Hinckley buzzards

Medina is the name of a quaint Republican town in a quaint Republican county in northern Ohio that boasts of a quaint  Republican Ohio House speaker, William G. Batchelder lll,  as its influential native son and pal of Gov. Kasich.

It also is the ancient name of a holy city in Saudi Arabia that boasts of being the burial site of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, a  historical landmark that would doubtless be a hard sell to the Medinans of Ohio, where the folks are preparing for the arrival of Kasich later this month to convey  his state of the state message.  It will be this year's chosen comfort zone to allow him to cozy up to what the GOP believes are the "real people" .

The governor has had  a thing about staging the annual message away from cities since his first one  in Columbus in 2011 drew loud labor protests over the controversial union-restrictive Senate Bill 5. Remember?

He has since spoken in  Steubenville  and Lima  and will continue that novel approach with the Buckeye legislators in tow (some kicking and screaming for their overland journey) in Medina on  Feb. 24.)

Oh, the pageantry of it all as he bounds around the  countryside bearing tidings of great joy from the Ohio Miracle to the voters.  Besides, it's important to remember that there is only one more state fair  remaining before election day.

Do you think his visit  will drain some of the local excitement from the annual return of the Hinckley buzzards just up  the road on March 15?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Not only the poor needed a safety net on Sunday!

John Elway, the Denver Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, appeared on Fox News with Chris Wallace before the Superbowl game and explained why he is a Republican  who doesn't believe in safety nets - even though he thinks they are necessary. (Huh?)  A one percenter who gave a lot of money to Mitt Romney's campaign safety net, he opined that if congress acted  more like businessmen,  "we would get a lot done."

Bad timing.  After his team was humiliated by Seattle on Sunday, it's obvious that Elway forgot to provide a safety net for the Broncos.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

With Bryan Williams, you can go home again

Should anybody be surprised that Bryan Williams has found his way back to the Summit County Board of Elections? All that remains for him to add $18,000 per annum to his lifestyle is the pro forma appointment to the board by Secretary of State Jon Husted.    Nice work if you can get it.  And Williams usually does.  He owes Republican county chairman Alex Arshinkoff, the bell cow of the county party for decades, big time.

You may recall that Williams resigned from the State Board of Education in December after the media started printing the nasty word that he was multitasking as a lobbyist for the non-union Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio.  That group has a private charter school and there was more than a little notice that he was  aggressively  trying to persuade the board to support the school with your tax money and mine. That, after all, is what lobbyists  do.

There was some heartfelt disappointment about  Williams' departure from the state board.  
The panel's president.  Debe Terhar, a certified Tea Party member, sent her regrets and told him she would keep in touch.

His return to  the Summit board on March 1 will be a reunion  with his old stable where he once served as the board's director via the  good graces of Arshinkoff . Williams also  ran against Mayor Plusquellic  in 2003, losing mightily.  He highlighted his campaign by accusing the Democratic mayor of  corruption (another Arshinkoff theme).  He hissed   declaring that his opponent had generously given a tax break to a friendly company  that filed for  bankrupcy.

There was a problem.  The charge was not only untrue, the company, Qualilty Mold,  was quite healthy and doing business.  Under fire for an egregious error,   Williams ultimately withdrew the charge from his website and apologized.

Now Williams and Arshinkoff will be united again, working in tandem on the board in the interest of the people, or at least some them.   That will more than please the chairman who returned to the board himself under Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted after the previous secretary, Democrat  Jennifer Brunner,   ousted him for being so damn disruptive.

He's back?  $18,000 per annum?    No, we're not surprised.