Sunday, August 31, 2014

The worldly pursuit of the tan suit

In the soaring atmospherics of my keen preparation of Grumpy Abe, I have only  occasionally slipped out of the noose of commenting on the darkest side of politics.  So when I happened to see President Obama in a tan suit instead of funereal black, I gave it no more attention than any tan suit should have, even one worn by the leader of the free world..

Little did i know at that critical moment that it would become  the biggest sartorial story of  our day that would surpass the wardrobe malfunctions of Biblical proportions that   exposed nipples to TV audiences.

 There were reports of an explosion of twitters around the world that even created a "suitgate"  (not my word!) for anybody who needed one more thing to blame on the president.  It was a modern reversal of Hans Christian Andersen's wonderful tale of  the Emperor's  New Clothes - actually skin colored and not tan.  

One of the leading critics of Obama's attire was Rep. Peter King, the New York Republican who can always find something to bitch about.

He was outraged that Obama wore a light summer  suit to talk about the economy and the revision of the second quarter numbers when there are so many weightier matters on his plate.  In the scheme of talking points, King downgraded the  economy as though it were a trivial pursuit.  You get that way when you are a well-fed, well-paid congressman from a safe district.  Shouldn't these  guys simply enjoy their ample public troughs  and shut up?  

Tan suit or black suit or no suit or Reagan's plaid sport jacket or  LBJ's "Open Road Stetson" or George W. Bush playing cowboy.  Congressman, the person who is out of work has only one concern: a paycheck to get the family through the day.  Why don't you know that?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Charter schools not a happy narrative

Today's recommended reading:

If you are rightly concerned about the invasion of public school education (and your tax money)  by charters,  check the detailed account of the current dismal situation reported on Plunderbund.  You can easily find it  under the headline: Are Religious Charter Schools  the New Norm Under John Kasich?  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Normal etiquette returns to Board of Elections

Every now and then, a warm and fuzzy slice of political life reminds us that there is a glimmer of hope in the future of civilized discourse.    Such was the case today in the Beacon Journal report that normalcy has returned to the Summit County Board of Elections.

The story told us that Cecilia Robart, board worker and wife of former Cuyahoga Falls Republican mayor Don Robart, was quite active in using her cellphone while on the  clock.  An investigation  revealed that she had been on Facebook 48 times  in a single day (twice that number over a longer period!) even though board workers are prohibited from taking such liberties on company time.

Well, now.  The probe called for a studied temperate response from Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, a board member, and he rose to the occasion.  He  considered the affair a dirty trick by Democrats. He didn't call it dirty, asking only: "What kind of crap is that?  That's baloney." The reporter said he pounded his fist.

We all know that throughout his millennia as GOP boss for the party of family values,  Alex has set near-impossible standards for gentlemanly etiquette for his line of work.  He had long rumored that Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic would be indicted for reasons not fully explained.    And leaping to  the solemn defense of his party when United Way included a stop at Democratic headquarters to pick up a bauble  for a scavenger hunt, he once called for a boycott of the charity.There were other times, but we're talking here about more pleasantly  controlled moments. As they say in hockey, no blood, no foul. 

As for Cecilia Robart, she wasn't pleased, either.   In her cellphone  chatter,  she merely raised the spectre of  recalling Don Walters, the Democrat who vanquished her husband, because the new guy ended Rockin' on the River in the Falls. (Last concert Friday night.) She called him a liar and  threatened the Democrats with the return of her husband to oppose Walters the next time. Aside from that,'ve heard enough.

Looks like more halcyon days ahead, right,  Alex?

Re-posted from Plunderbund

The Ohio Republican Party says it has found a scandal in Democratic State Sen. Nina Turner’s campaign against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. According to the party’s top flak, Chris Schrimpf, Turner is …um…”too partisan”.
Who knew?
Although Schrimpf’s assessment of Turner hardly rises above the level of playground insults, it is the stuff one would expect from a spokesperson who once labored in the non-partisan inner circles of righties like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Schrimpf doesn’t think Turner is playing nice by referring to Republicans as “stupid and dumb”, words not unfamiliar to Gov. Kasich who famously called a Columbus police officer an “idiot”. So I have to ask: What is the dividing line between “partisan” and “too partisan”?
We should all be thankful that we aren’t faced with answering such pressing questions in our workaday lives.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cheney raging at Obama from his Cluck Dynasty

Dick Cheney has emerged from his Cluck Dynasty on Fox News  to condemn President Obama for taking a vacation while the planet is still spinning.  Although it's true that no president ever takes a real vacation from  troubles (got that, Maureen Dowd?),   Cheney is outraged that Obama wanted to get in a round of golf.

To Sean Hannity's everlasting delight, Cheney, a helpless liar, hissed that there's new evidence every day that Obama prefers to play golf rather than  deal with weighty  problems.

Here's the rest of the story from National Memo:

To date, President Obama has spent 150 days on vacation since taking office in 2008.  But George W. Bush, Cheney's designer  boss, spent 1,020 days at his Crawford,Tx. ranch and 43 at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Me.

There's a difference in context , too.  During Bush's term, the world was serenely at peace and America's economy was booming.  And even though Osama bin Laden was still lurking somewhere, Dubya dispatched concern by saying he didn't know where the guy was and couldn't care less.

As for  Cheney, you you must understand that one of a cluck's liabilities is they can't do the math.  Nor do they want to.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chris Christie to win Arshinkoff's straw vote poll?

OK, here's the load:     If you're planning  a vacation at Lake Anna in late September, scrub it.  Chairman Alex Arshinkoff's Summit County Republican Party wants you to SAVE  THE DATE.    Chris Christie is coming to town.

For a $300 ticket, they will seat you at the party's finance dinner at the Hilton in Fairlawn on Sept. 29. You also will have a chance to get an up-front look at what  the dinner's sponsors assume will be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016.

That's a safe assumption about Alex because he caters to  fill-the-bowl VIP dinner speakers at these affairs.  You also will get  a chance to participate in his unique  straw poll that will find its way  into the next day story.  In 2112,  Rick Santorum, then (and still is) a presidential candidate, thrilled the audience with his attacks on President Obama and won a landslide victory in the straw poll.

When I last looked, Christie, though still the target of an investigation into the George Washington Bridge scandal, was in Kansas trying to dig  Gov.  Sam Brownback from a deep hole.

A couple of years ago, Brownback signed away the state's decent financial health  with huge tax cuts (25 pct.  for the richest Kansans), and turned the state's ledger from a $600 million surplus to a $2.5 billion deficit.  At the time,  Brownback cheerily proclaimed his state would  gush upward and not trickle down to demonstrate how Kansas would save America through his good works  and the Grace of God.

Once again, trickle-down economics would find a way to avoid the bullshit filter.

Joined by happy talk, both Brownback and Christie  have asserted  that Kansas' devastating path to looming bankruptcy was entirely due to - yep - President Obama's "failed economic policies".  I   have to say that when these guys move on they will leave behind no intellectual history.

A cautionary note: If you're in the neighborhood  on Sept. 29, be on the alert for a lot of orange cones and a massive traffic jam at the All-America Bridge.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kasich: the blue-collar kid who really isn't

Re-posted from Plunderbund

John Kasich wants me to know that he grew up in humble surroundings that seeded his deep concern for ordinary, hard-working folks.  He seldom fails to mention in his TV ads that his father was a mailman for 29 years.  His reelection campaign is spending millions of soft-earned contributions from the highest rollers that pay for  these ads.  He's just a regular guy, they tell us - or as National Review defined him,   "a  blue-collar kid from a little town near Pittsburgh called McKees Rocks.  (Historians tell us Alexander McKee was a colonial British Indian agent who was loyal to royalty during the revolution.   That explains everything.)

C'mon, guv. There are countless small-town kids  who were too short on ambition to  be  governor.   There were many, too, who grew up with silver spoons that went on to be the head of state.   As one who was nurtured in the culture of  a small coal-mining town not that far from Kasich's home,  I would have been an awful governor. So what's the point?

Acknowledging Kasich's blue-collarship,  it's worth knowing   he also was the  one who vigorously supported the voter-rejected  bill that would have restricted unions, which sort of  made him the  white-collar kid that he really is. The cascade of dough that has found its way into his campaign suggests his croupiers outshine anyone you'd find in Vegas.

In 1998 as chairman of the House Budget Committee, then-Congressman Kasich  concocted a Federal budget plan  that mercilessly slashed money from welfare, anti-crime and  environmental programs, a proposal that  was even resisted by some Republicans but lauded by his colleague,  then-House Speaker  Newt Gingrich, who as a presidential candidate called for the firing of all school janitors. On the other hand Republican Rep. Michael Castle of Delaware  said Kasich had "overreached in both  policy and political viability".

So this is what Blue Collar kids do when they get to Congress?

Dave Hess.  retired Capitol  Hill reporter for Knight-Ridder newspapers, wrote more recently that Kasich's slogan of "a new way and new day" was  the "typical  Republican euphemism  that adorns all of the party's proposals and ensure a steady flow of election year lucre by preserving the wealth of the wealthy..."

I do want to thank the governor  for one small matter.  As one forever interested in the meaning of the written word, I  can now add a new synonym to the definition of "blue collar kid."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The dive bombers are active on Browns' QB crisis

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

The Beacon Journal described it as a "conundrum".

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

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

I can't go on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Post-game reviews; Browns lose more than a game

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

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

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

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

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

Alas, ABJ's Beliczky is leaving

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

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

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

A new and energized Democratic executive director

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

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

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

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

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

The all-consuming hype for Browns QB's

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Husted's mythical redistricting plan

Reposted from Plunderbund

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

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

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

GOP judicial employment office working overtime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palin: Low minimum wage a roadmap to brighter future

Reposted from Plunderbund

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, August 11, 2014

UA's Scarborough: Will he face immovable object?

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The loneliness of life under a rock

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Read all about i!!

For any poor soul who may have missed it, the ABJ gave us a full accounting again on Friday:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Whew! Busy Michele a goblin in cause of liberty

Shortly after Congress went home for its 5-week vacation a night janitor on Capitol Hill found a work schedule that had strayed from Rep. Michele Bachmann's calendar.  Let me share:

9.a. m.    Demand  again that Barack Obama be led out of  White House in handcuffs.

10 .a.m. Agree to participate as queen in hometown of Anoka Minnesota's annual Halloween Parade  celebrating its self-promoted title as the Halloween Capital of America. (sic)

11 a.m. Go to  bank to deposit  federal subsidy for family farm.

Noon Blame Obama for not having blue  eyes.

i p.m. Lunch with Tea Party leaders as a founder of the group in Gopher State.

2 p.m. Accept invitation from PBS to perform on  network's program,   Dinosaur Train.

2:30  Appear on Fox News to blame President Obama for being President Obama.

3 p.m.Talk with  literary agent about publishing new book about  inspiring experience of seeing Minneapolis from a pulpit  in St. Paul.

4 p.m.  Demand that Obama be led out of Oval Office in leg chains.

5 p.m.  Accuse Obama of having an uncle in Honduras  who is rounding up thousands of migrant children to head for the border.

6 p.m.  Deposit another check from federal farm subsidy.

7 p.m. Call for  impeachment of Barack  Obama, explaining that as a born-again
Christian  she was told by God to do it.  .

8.30.  Read another chapter of Ayn Rand's book

10 p.m Off to bed after another hectic  day of courageously defending liberty in America.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Here's stuff to brighten your day...

In my querulous quest to bring light to the planet's endless darkness, I offer today  some vignettes  that you may have missed  in the numbing front-page  media coverage of LeBron's return:

Dollar Tree has converted its dollars $8.5 billion times for its purchase price for Family Dollar. Don't know where that leaves discounter Dollar General, whose latest flier told us of scads of items well above a buck (The only stuff  that sustained the $1  tag were Animal Crackers and a few other Back to School "Snacks and Treats" .)  As a wag once  said of Starbucks in New York City, they should call it "FiveBucks".

* * * * *

All writers, including me, should mightily thank  New York Times columnist Gail Collins for liberating us from the cumbersome burden of politically correct references to his/her...When she began a sentence "Look, everybody has their own way of demonstrating..."  it was a wicked dismissal of a singular subject and plural pronoun that has tormented me since I was still  figuring out how to replace a typewriter ribbon. Now,  everybody and their  have been reconciled in the Times by a leading national columnist.   Will she now move on with who and whom?  Gail, I'm waiting.  Desperately.

* * * * *

After years in my line of work, I learned that you can't  tell  politicians from their covers. No better example of that is Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine, a
Republican,  who seems so meek and mild but is a first-tier religious zealot.  On Tuesday,Team DeWine was in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati, again arguing against what he considers sinful, lawbreaking same-sex marriage.   No one has  been keeping score on how much all of this costing Ohioans - a personal crusade that extended  for DeWine in earnest when he ran for the office in 2011 promising to fashion an AG  career on family values and opposition to ObamaCare. (Summit County Republican Chairman was a paid DeWine liaison in northern Ohio, which paid adequately and required no heavy lifting). Although Outlook Ohio Magazine pointed out that 29 consecutive court decisions support marriage equality, DeWine is Ohio's King Sisyphus, who was  forced  to repeatedly roll a huge boulder up the hill and then see it roll back.

* * * * *

Finally: It's getting harder every day for a baseball writer to cover the sport.  When Pirates star outfielder Andrew McCutchen was forced out of the lineup with a fractured rib, the medical report  called it an "avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of the left 11th rib."


Monday, August 4, 2014

Republican committee undercuts its own Benghazi issue

Nuts. No sooner had I finally learned how to spell Benghazi with an "h"  than the House Republican Intelligence Committee  yanked it from the blame-Obama lists.   Monday night several  media sources were reporting that the House committee  declassified the Benghazi report, saying it found "no evidence " to support the GOP's conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attack that killed four Americans, including US. ambassdor to Libya, Chris Stevens. The two-year investigation, which was thought by Republicans to be too big to fail in demolishing then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions, cost a neat $3.3 million of your money and mine.  Never mind.

By George, Sherrod Brown an authentic lefty?

 When we spotted a headline on the Beacon Journal's op-ed page that said "Sherrod Brown,  authentic progressive," it appeared to be an accurate  reference to the authentic  Ohio Democratic senator.  So imagine my shock when the columnist was George Will.  Was he really paying homage to the guy that he described as  a "leftist"?

No dear reader, he wasn't. Instead he cleverly  used Brown, as  "rumpled"  and "hoarse" as he may be,  as a wedge to get at his real target: um, gender-crazy Democratic activists who are clamoring to nominate Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren in 2016.

( I will dispense with professional courtesy at  this point and refer to the sniffy conservative columnist only as George because any sentence beginning with his surname  sounds ungrammatical, as in "Will wrote..." or "Will asserted...")

From a point early in his gender diatribe, George  slams both women as phony or theatrical leftists and offers up Brown as the "authentic progressive" to fill in the blank at the top of a hypothetical Democratic ticket.

Oh, the subject has come up more than once.  Brown  deflected an  insistent question from MSNBC's Chris Matthews, saying he is "quite happy where I am but, thank you".   And to the Huffington Post he said: "I have no interest.  I mean zero interest.  I love what I do.  I think if you want to be a really good senator you shouldn't   be looking over your shoulder and running for president. Zero interest.  I appreciate the question but no thanks."

Nothing, of course, is ever final in politics, particularly in George's  tantrums against female lefties.   And Brown's intense fund-raising efforts for Democratic candidates across the land does cast him as an authentic team  that more than a few  of his colleagues will remember down the road.

But George has a widening reputation for his erring punditry.  Item:  Romney would win in a landslide!    So George's readers might conclude that Brown is in fact  an authentic  crypto-right winger.  In this instance, however, we'll stick with the headline. Thanks anyway,George.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

On the Renacci-Joyce wingers; Pete Crossland, Rob Portman, Steve King

Now that we won't have  Republican congressmen to kick America  around for at least five weeks, I want to fill in a few blanks from the past week's immigration vote debacle:

Your two GOP representatives from northern Ohio - Jim Renacci and David Joyce - joined the heavy seas'  Cruz revolt by voting for a nonsensical grandstanding substitute bill with zero chance of getting past the Senate.  Both congressmen  have occasionally  been called ''moderates" in the  mainstream  media.. But a glance at their records show they come down squarely on the hard-wrong nutsy side that so pleases the Cruz mob.

So let's not continue the phantom portrayal of them as anything but lockstep wingers.

Renacci is opposed in a Republican designer district by Democrat Pete Crossland.  And when you mention this long-time party  loyalist and officeholder to other Democrats, some just shrug.   Let me tell you about shrugging:  The Democratic Party owes him.  He assumed the party's face-saving role when no other Democrat - even at his urging - would agree to accept the challenge. He didn't think an area with so many Democrats should leave the ballot space blank.  That, alone should wave off the shrugs, unless you are referring to the County Democratic Party these days.

* * * * *

So how did Sen. Rob Portman view his party's collapse in the House to the Cruzers?

He flew out of Washington and eventually turned up Friday at the Ohio State Fair, which has always been a welcome managerie for politicians.  There, the Dispatch reported, he did what comes naturally for GOP pols these days: He blamed President Obama for the humanitarian crisis.    But as with so many of his cautious non-answers about other issues he  said he favored  a policy shift on immigration. Considering that he belongs to a political group on Capitol Hill  that's  frozen in place, that would take years.  Besides,   wasn't it  President Bush who signed the document in 2008 that gave migrants time to state their cases for remaining in the U.S?

(Portman, lest we forget, was Bush's budget advisor, and you know how that turned out.)

* * * * *

And now for some really heavy lifting:

Daily Kos reports that a  House bill to honor Pope Francis for "inspirational statements and action" in advance of  his 2015 visit to the U.S. has met with tepid response from Republican congressmen.

Of the 221 co-sponsors only 19 are Republicans.  According to a Republican supporter of the measure, some of his collegues believe the Pope sounds  too much like Obama,  particulalry when he wants to help people in ways that are "more humane, noble and fruitlful, and which bring dignity to their presence on the earth."

Daily Kos also reminded us that Rep. Steve King, one of Cruz's wacko dittos,  said the U.S. needs the strongest of immigration laws because the border was created by God and any attempt to violate it is  "disrespectful of God".  

King, by the way, lives in Kiron, Iowa (pop. 279) and belongs to the Odebolt Chamber of Commerce.  For God's  sake, if you want to know more, look it up!