Here he comes to save the day!
Josh Mandel is now claiming he was the Ohio GOP's seventh choice to run against U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown last year.
But somehow, mysteriously, no one else wanted to do it, and whoooosh! here comes Josh 'The Empty Suit" Mandel stepping up to the plate to make a strenuous effort to save Ohio from being represented by someone who cares about regular working people and is actually working hard on their behalf.
It was entirely accidental he started having fundraisers about a month after being sworn in as state treasurer, two years before the election, and long before other candidates might have started exploring a run. It just happened that an exceptional amount of special interest big money was gravitating to Mandel. Wide-eyed little Joshie just never gave a thought to leapfrogging all the big names in his party and making a big push for an office he clearly wasn't qualified for. Not an ambitious bone in HIS body, nosiree.
According to Mandel, the party would have preferred former congressman Pat Tiberi, who was drawn out of a district; newly elected attorney general Mike DeWine who had previously lost the seat to Brown; lieutenant governor Mary "Who?" Taylor, newly elected secretary of state Jon Husted; former congressman Steve LaTourette who retired in January; and Ohio's mot radical right-wing congressman Jim Jordan, who would have pushed the Ohio party so far to the right it likely would have even increased President Obama's total here.
Current Ohio Republican Party chair Bob Bennett's response was "Josh said that? There was a consensus that Josh was the strongest candidate.”
(Are you losing count yet?)
Apparently, goaded by criticisms that he has basically ignored education except to steal money from schools and give it to his cronies at failing for-profit charter schools, Governor Kasich is making noises about presenting an education reform program to the legislature.
But, since he really obviously doesn't care all that much about education or it would have been at the top of his to-do list two years ago when he was suddenly unveiling SB 5 instead, his "ideas" are nothing but the weak fodder of the anti-public education "reform" crew.
One such idea he's ballyhooing is "merit pay" for teachers who perform well according to some unclear standard.
This is one of those ideas that kind of sound good in theory but has proved of questionable worth in practice. In areas where it has been implemented, it has often had no impact on teacher or student performance. Many teachers have made it clear this isn't a motivation, and they'd rather have the resources put into education.
The lack of clear, reliable standards for judging teacher performance is a huge obstacle, especially with the push by many "reform" groups to weigh standardized testing more — testing that wasn't designed to measure teacher quality.
But I don't see one of the biggest obstacles mentioned by education funding slasher Kasich — who is going to pay for it? Please draw my attention to this if I missed it. Is Kasich going to offer a significantly large new pot of money to make this anymore than a symbolic sop? HA! Or does he plan to pay for it by firing other teachers or cutting their pay? That would be terrific for morale. Or maybe he'll pay for it out of the profit David Brennan of the failing for-profit White Hat charter schools is making at the expense of Ohio taxpayers and kids, and the state's future? Double HA!
Perhaps I shouldn't be so suspicious, but this sounds like yet another of our governor's poorly vetted plans based more on ideology than on being a pragmatic and proven solution to a problem. It joins a long list of such ideas, like JobsOhio, prison privatization, and turnpike leasing/bonding, whose benefits to Ohioans would be questionable, if any of them were actually ever implemented.
The seventh annual Rootscamp in Columbus yesterday was a great experience as always, with a diversity of attendees from around the state who generated a wide variety of discussions/panels/presentations to attend.
And this year, instead of 9 a.m., it started at 1 p.m. so those of us driving in from around the state didn’t have to get up at dawn. Thanks, organizers.
The speaker at the opening session was Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald who is openly exploring running for governor. He made a strong case for why he would be a good choice, talking about how he convened county officials across northern Ohio to oppose Governor Kasich’s unpopular plan to privatize the turnpike, which would be devastating to the economy of northeast Ohio. He demonstrated that he has a couple of qualities Kasich lacks: the ability to collaborate and a focus on pragmatic solutions to problems rather than blind ideology.
I’m not a big fan of self-appointed education “reform” guru Michelle Rhee. Her three-year stint as chancellor of the Washington D.C. schools was marked by controversy, as she adopted a bullying, I-know-best attitude that alienated teachers, principals, parents, and much of the community. Since she left in October 2010, charges have emerged — documented in USA Today — that any gains in achievement were tainted by the possibility of cheating.
Since leaving, she’s formed an organization called Students First that claims to care about kids so much more than those lousy, lazy, progress-blocking teachers who won’t knuckle under to her ideas. While she says she’s nonpartisan, she’s mostly been embraced by right-wing Republicans such as Governor John Kasich, who don’t seem to mind associating with an ethically tainted, dishonest individual — as long as she furthers the inroads of their ideology on education.
Last week, Rhee exposed just how absolutely she is driven by a rigid ideology and not by practical real-world reforms that have been proven to get results i.e. educating kids. Students First released education “grades” for each state.
Most states did very poorly with none getting an A.
Sounds alarming, eh?
Don’t worry. It’s not. Rhee’s group wasn’t grading the states on how well their schools educated kids. It wasn’t looking at things like dropout rates, or how many kids go on to college, or even standardized test scores.
Not anymore! Look what 18 depraved fools introduced this week in Congress:
They've dubbed this the "Sanctity of Human Life" bill (I can hear you groaning already). It's really "Personhood" — the most extreme anti-abortion proposal out there — in another guise. Never mind that a "Personhood" amendment was defeated in Mississippi (!!!!!) in a landslide in 2011. Never mind that Colorado voters have said "no dice" twice. These 18 congressional co-sponsors (all Republicans, of course) think massively huge, invasive government needs to be monitoring the reproductive cycles of every woman of childbearing age — what you'd have to do to even tell if an egg has been fertilized — to protect zygote "persons."
If even the voters in deeply conservative Mississippi rejected this, you know that the list of things wrong with it is very, very wrong. The problems with the idea that a fertilized egg enjoys all the rights of a born person start with the fact that your birthday would no longer be your functional "start" date. For record-keeping purposes, your conception date would be what everything from your school readiness age to your Social Security age would need to be counted by. And good luck figuring out when that is. The entire idea — even if it weren't invasive, cruel, and an attack on women's AND religious freedom (many faiths don't share the belief of extremist right-wing evangelicals that human life suddenly springs into being at conception) — is impractical.
Who didn't see this one coming 372 miles* away the minute Steve LaTourette announced he was retiring from Congress? I don't see any hands out there.
* Distance from Cleveland to Washington D.C.
That's right: Steve LaTourette's new career is — wait for it — LOBBYIST!
Oh, you're not surprised? Me either.
"Moderate Republican group to remove ‘Republican’ from name, welcome Democrats"
I actually thought this article might be from The Onion when I first saw it, but no ... Stevie is going to continue his charade of being a "moderate" or a "centrist" or whatever they're calling far-right conservatives these days who aren't simply out of their minds (aka Michele Bachmann or Steve King or Darrell Issa or Jack Kingston or Virginia Foxx ... or way too many for a supposedly "advanced" nation to be sending to their Congress).
The organization's board of directors voted Tuesday morning to scrap party identification from its title and be known simply as "The Main Street Partnership." The group's new president, former Ohio Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette, told Yahoo News that he plans to begin conversations with Blue Dog Democrats and centrist groups in the coming months.
I wonder if that rules out his congressional BFF Dennis Kucinich?
He's certainly got a lot of Blue Dogs and members of former "centrist" groups which have vanished to chose from; they're a dying breed. They've lost seats and influence in Congress, and many such groups have slowly disappeared from public view, as people picked up on what they really were: conservative apologists for the bad policies of those non-batshit crazy Republicans, policies that put corporate welfare WAY above public welfare.
LaTourette demonstrates his skewed sense of the political scene in this quote:
This morning, the Ohio Democratic Party released a statement from former governor Ted Strickland saying that he will not seek a rematch with Governor John Kasich next year. Strickland was a good governor but trying to mount a comeback didn't make sense to me.
While I'm sure it was tempting to go back and try to redo a race that he lost by only two points — with his opponent not even garnering a majority of the vote — Strickland carried some baggage from the last campaign that could have been a minefield going into a new one. Specifically, his allies' working to undermine Jennifer Brunner's U.S. Senate primary campaign and his embrace of the anti-choice, anti-gay Jennifer Garrison for statewide office dampened the enthusiasm of activist women (and probably some in the LGBT community as well) for his campaign.
I had heard much talk in recent weeks that Strickland either would not run unless the field was cleared for him or that if he ran, that would clear the field because other potential candidates had expressed a desire not to challenge him. I have heard some say — wrongly, I think — that Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald should not seek the office because he needs to stay another term in order to get more done in the county.
I don't buy that. It's not like he's only been in office a month and is already looking for higher office (not that any officeholder in Ohio would ever DREAM of doing that — oh no! Hi, Empty Suit!). FitzGerald has already amassed a solid record as county executive and has plenty to run on. He can certainly speak strongly about what Kasich's budget priorities have done to local governments and schools and how they have placed an increased burden on taxpayers.
The toxic effects of lopsided redistricting, cynically done to consolidate a single party's power no matter what voters want, go on and on in Ohio. The more one surveys the landscape, the more it's clear the worst choice Ohio voters made in November was to vote "No" on Issue 2, even though the confusion surrounding it made such a vote understandable.
Today, Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, sent out this email which vividly demonstrates what happens in the state legislature when the partisan balance is so out of line with how people voted.
Issue 2 would have created a nonpartisan board to draw the district boundaries, potentially ending the practice of politicians picking their constituents. Unfortunately, Issue 2 was plagued by confusing ballot language, placed at the end of a very long ballot, and was insufficiently funded to cut through the barrage of advertising and voter contact from the other races on the ballot. The measure lost, garnering only 37 percent of the vote.
Ohio House of Representatives
As a direct result of gerrymandering, despite receiving only 49 percent of the votes in Ohio House races across the state, anti-choice politicians hold 60 percent of the seats. Although NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio endorsed eight pro-choice incumbents for the Ohio House and eight pro-choice challengers, gerrymandering made only a few of these races competitive: out of the eight endorsed challengers, only Heather Bishoff was successful. Anti-choice lawmakers now have a super majority, allowing them to place measures directly on the ballot without having to go through the normal process of collecting hundreds of thousands of petition signatures.
One of the results of the gerrymandered maps that the Republicans drew is that most of the state's northern urban counties were shredded to pieces, destroying their coherence and unity. Don't think this negative result for communities wasn't deliberate. It was.
A piece in the Canton Repository, called "A County Divided Leaves Residents Confused," describes the impact of this crazy-quilt map drawing on one of northeast Ohio's urban counties, spotlighting while we need to continue the fight for redistricting reform NOW and not wait for a decade, as Republicans have suggested, so that they can enjoy their unfair advantage for that time. What was done to the Canton area was also done to Akron, Cleveland, and Toledo. It's an insult to democracy.
Incumbents may have won every state representative and congressional contest in the county in November. But the majority of people here are experiencing a change in who represents them in the Ohio General Assembly or Congress because of a process that occurs once every 10 years.
It should be a requirement that as few voters as possible should be moved into new districts, given the necessity of moving some to account for population shifts. But of course leaving residents confused was very likely one of the desired results of new district lines. A confused voter is one who frequently makes uninformed choices — or fails to vote in a race at all.
This is shameful:
In Stark County, Democratic congressional candidates got 51 percent of the vote, but two of the county’s three congressmen ended up being Republicans. Republican state representative candidates got 50.9 percent of the county vote, and yet three of the county’s four representatives are Republicans.
That essentially mutes the county's voice in state politics, draining its influence.
Republicans not so much.
When Jennifer Brunner was running in the primary to be the candidate for U.S. Senate from Ohio in 2010, one of hooks she was using was "18." If elected, she would have been the Senate's 18th women — out of 100 members. Very slight progress. But she didn't win the primary and in fact, the number of women in the Senate after the 2010 declined by one. No progress, just regress.
That number is now up to 20 — and 16 of those are Democrats.
Over on the House side, a record number of women were elected — 68. And 58 of those were Democrats. That's a pretty sorry showing on the GOP side, especially since they have more members in the House.
But the GOP is failing on the diversity front in general, struggling to attract anyone who isn't a straight, white, Christian male.
Meanwhile, the Democratic delegation has become more and more diverse. This recent Washington Post article talked about just how diverse it's gotten.
The photo above shows all the new Democratic women in Congress. Can you find Ohio's three congresswomen?
Well, after that last post, I think Ohioans need some good news!
Not every Ohio congressperson is embarrassing the state of Ohio and working against the welfare of its citizens.
In November, shortly after the election, it was announced that northeast Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-11) was picked to be the new chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus. This past Thursday she was sworn in.
Now you might be saying to yourself, "What does this mean for me? I'm not black."
Quite a lot actually. The CBC has focused heavily on social justice and civil rights issues — justice and rights for everybody.
As she said in her remarks at the swearing-in,
Though we are not without our critics, there are millions of people around the world of all races and ethnicities who are reaping the benefits of our work every day. Whether it is a violation of human rights in Africa or the compromise of our civil or constitutional rights in America, we’ve worked across borders and boundaries on behalf of the voiceless in every corner of this country and around the globe
When the group has stood up for job creation, for expanding health care, for fighting foreclosures that destroy communities, their efforts don't just benefit citizens of a certain color.
JIM JORDAN: He's all about "freedom"
Ok, so he's never actually ever been out of contention for the title. But these days he seems determined to hold off all competition. If there's a group of heartless dead-enders opposing some civilized and humane legislation, you're almost certain to find Jordan's name on the list. He was one of three Ohio Republicans to oppose aid to those devastated by Hurricane Sandy (I previously forgot newcomer Brad Wenstrup who primaried Jean Schmidt), all from southwest Ohio.
Then there's this:
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) says that gun buyers should face background checks for concealed carry handgun permits but not assault rifles because "it's about freedom."
Huh? Oh right, he's crazy.
"We've got to remember the Second Amendment is about freedom," Jordan opined. "And that's what we've got to focus on as we move forward. If there's ways outside of this [background check proposal] that we can help address the situation, fine. But we've got to remember it's about freedom. And, frankly, you've got to remember that bad guys aren't stupid, they're just bad."
Well, Jim, "bad guys" is a really loose description. If you base it on behavior, then I guess you've got to wait until 26 first graders are killed. If you base it on the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and policies espoused by an individual, then Jim, you are going to be added to a lot of people's lists of "bad guys."
*Someone hasn't been having a lot of good days recently*
It's time to end my self-imposed break, roll up the sleeves, and look at what's coming at us in 2013. I had a great time in Chicago — took a total digital break, looked at art, browsed in bookstores, made lots of chocolate chip cookies.
En route, I even saw a proudly racist trucker who displayed two sticker on the back of his trucker. One had the Obama logo and "= crap." (Such trenchant, witty commentary!) The other said "Don't blame me — I voted for the white guy."
Yeah, Tea Partiers, tell us again how racism isn't behind your absurd, fantasy-based attacks on the President.
Speaking of the Tea Party, here's my most favorite story of the past few weeks:
If you haven't read all about the meltdown and intrigue at the well-funded Tea Party parent organization Freedom Works, do so now. I guarantee you will laugh your ass off.
Then there's this:
"A delicious roundup of conservative-on-conservative violence."
If you've been following the end-of-session lunacy in the House of Representatives, you probably know the slitty-eyed snake Eric Can'tor appears to be honing his knife to stick in Speaker John Boehner's back.
He got no cover from outgoing Ohio congressman and fake "moderate" Steve LaTourette (R-14), who noted publicly that Boehner wasn't as good at keeping his party in line as former Democratic speaker Nancy Pelosi.
I can proudly say I have been to every single Rootscamp since the event launched in ... was it 2006? 2007? Whenever.
This is a FREE event that all Ohio progressives should think about attending — and this year, they made it easier for us not-morning people. The one drawback for me has always been getting up before sunrise to begin the long, dreary, cold drive from Cleveland to Columbus.
This year, registration starts at 12:15 p.m. and the first session is at 1. It runs until 7 p.m. and dinner will be served instead of lunch. It happens on Saturday, January 12, at the same place it's been for the last three years: the Ohio Civil Service Employees Union office at 390 Worthington Rd, Westerville, just off I-71 north of Columbus. It's easy to get to and the space has proved ideal for the event.
Rootscamp attracts progressives of all stripes from aspiring and former candidates to elected officials, from teachers to union leaders, from food bank volunteers to Planned Parenthood organizers to peace activists. It's an opportunity to get outside your bubble and meet people from other parts of the state, to learn what issues engage people in their areas and what challenges they face.
The actual content of Rootscamp is determined by the attendees. A large board is placed in the lobby with a grid featuring the time slots and rooms available. Anyone can place their panel, forum or roundtable in one of those slots. Attendees can participate in anything they find there for as long as it engages them. Last year, I attended many exceptional discussions, including one led by education blogger Greg Mild and attended by many teachers who aired their issues and ideas, and one on women's rights led by a 19-year-old male OSU student. I've hosted a few discussions myself.
It's a great opportunity to meet new people, share energy and ideas, and hopefully create some momentum to help us purge Republicans from statewide office in 2014.
Here's where to go to sign up:
[Well, it appears the link to the free version is shut down. The film is still available for $2.99 via this link: http://www.youtube.com/movie?v=WliQIyXxGVA&feature=mv_sr. Sorry about the error]
Confused about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School?
Are you searching for an explanation about why we have some much gun violence in our society?
If you really care, if you really want to get to the root cause, then take just a little bit of your time and watch Michael Moore’s film. It does provide some answers. Just click on this link, the movie will start right away and again, it’s
People in the wider community and the national progressive community think I'm dreaming when I say that I believe marriage equality will be on the Ohio ballot next year and that I would not bet big on it not passing. (Hey Mitt, about that $10,000 wager ...)
But I have good reason to think this. I've watched as the movement grew from a conversation between a handful of individuals in the Columbus LGBT community early this year to volunteers all over the state collecting tens of thousands of signatures to put it on the ballot. (You may recall that attorney general Mike DeWine rejected the initial language for the petitions but it was rewritten and petition circulators hit the streets in April.)
As the movement — now named Freedom Ohio — became more organized, it pulled back from aiming for this year's ballot to spend more time educating and organizing for a better shot at passing the issue once it got on the ballot. Some of the more traditional LGBT folks were reluctant at first, thinking "it's not time yet." But the energy has snowballed and the movement is heading toward an inexorable conclusion of equal rights for everybody whether next year or some other time in the near future.
The group has now announced that the Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed its initiative.
This is a good move for both sides. Obviously, having the endorsement of a major political party provides some establishment cred. (What a shame that the GOP doesn't recognize that equality takes nothing away from anyone, merely puts every citizen on the same footing.)
It's long been an article of faith in politics that you don't want to get the National "Rifle" Association — the lobbying group for gun manufacturers and dealers — riled up agains you. Their power to influence an election has been taken for granted. When a Democrat like Ted Strickland gets their endorsement, it's considered a huge plus.
The group has long since ceased to be a real voice for gun OWNERS. And its constantly more extreme standards — that anybody should be able to own any gun and take it anywhere without any checks or permits or anything — have provoked backlash in groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
And me. I never cared much about this issue. I was surprised to see how much passion there was on the sane gun control side when I went to a forum back in 2005 with the two candidates then running for Ohio governor on the Democratic side, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and Ted Strickland. It was at a suburban Cleveland synagogue, and Strickland was grilled repeatedly about his NRA-friendly stances. It was clear Coleman was the favorite.
More and more, I think it's well past time to take their guns away, just as they fear.
And it's also time for politicians to stop tiptoeing around the issue of sane gun control and backing down when the voices on the right bellow that it's wrong to "politicize" a shooting tragedy by talking about it, when in fact there's no better time.
It's time for politicians and everyone else to look at this:
I posted this link a few weeks ago when I talked about how successful the pro-choice groups had been in electing the officials they backed in November. Planned Parenthood had one of the highest success rates.
If you've ever browsed right-wing websites or subscribed to their newsletters (I'm lucky enough to be on both Newt Gingrich's and GOPUSA's lists!), you know that they love to attach the words "freedom" and "liberty' to everything. It's a safe better that if an organization's name includes the word "freedom," it's a right-wing group.
But all their talk about "freedom" (and right now it's a lot of talk about all the "freedom" that the unfairly reelected socialist commie Kenyan president is going to take away from you) rarely examines what that so-called "freedom" involves.
What would "freedom" entail for the average person? Having a job with enough money to pay bills and not have to worry about hunger, homelessness, or going bankrupt from an illness or accident? I'd say that's a good start, but they clearly aren't interested in THAT kind of "freedom" for the suckers they're playing to, the ones Charles and David Koch are mocking behind their backs.That's pretty much a pipe dream anymore, considering the direction the economy's been going for the 99%.
No, the "freedom" they usually sell to their suckers is the "freedom" to own as many guns of any type as one desires. This crew usually acts as if the constitution begins and ends with the Second Amendment — and they don't actually know what it says.
Naturally, with a new mass shooting tragedy happening today, we're getting the usual round of canned statements about our hearts going out to the victims and their families and blah blah blah, just a bunch more handwringing. And naturally we get the right-wing shills instantly politicizing the tragedy for their own gain by announcing that guns had nothing to do with it and we can't politicize the tragedy by talking about sane gun control laws. After all, this is our "freedom" we're talking about.
Why are we talking about 2016? Of the various news outlets I read during the day, I’ve been a little disappointed to see how many of the stories have been about Hilary Clinton, and if she’ll run. Or another story basically stated that she had to run. If she didn’t run, the Democrats would lose in 2016; there was just no question.
Why are we talking about this? Barack Obama hasn’t even been sworn in for his second term. Shouldn’t there be a little more focus on what he wants to do in the next four years?
The truth is 2016 is a long way off. Hilary Clinton, is a logical choice for right here and right now, but who knows what we will be facing in four years. After the 2008 elections it didn’t seem like the Republicans would have much success in 2010 and look how that turned out.
Some very smart people have warned us about the “permanent campaign.” How can anything get done if we’re always in campaign mode? But these warnings seem to be of no avail. We can’t seem to help ourselves, to stop ourselves, even if it means saving ourselves.
What happens to a losing congressional candidate who ran a strong, energetic, positive campaign after the election? If you're Angela Zimmann, who ran against Bob "Who?" Latta in heavily Republican northwestern Ohio, your campaign opens a whole new door. The Bowling Green State University professor and Lutheran Minister will be heading to Palestine in February with her husband, the Rev. Martin Zimmann, where they will co-pastor the CHurch of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Zimmann told the Toledo Blade,
... part of the reason they called me was because of my political involvement. They saw the campaign, they liked what they saw, they felt like this is a person who could serve in this capacity. ... they said ‘she lost well.' They said, 'We saw a lot of grace under pressure, we saw fortitude.’
Yeah, too bad the voters of the 5th district didn't feel the same way or, more likely, were just oblivious and prone to voting party ID, as opposed to who could best serve their interests. That certainly isn't the lackluster Latta, a typical GOP water carrier for corporate interests.
I’m going there to be of service, and I don’t know what that’s going to mean. There’s pain there; what small piece can I be in the puzzle that alleviates it, not just there but internationally? For me, it’s an issue of social justice and the poor, because in my religion Jesus showed preferential treatment for the poor, and so the poor and the oppressed are the ones that need to have a special focus. To me, it seems as if that’s happening in the Middle East, and I want to go and find out what’s really happening and be there.
Earlier today I was among a number of people copied on an email sent by area activist/blogger/videographer and long-time OhioDaily Blog front pager Tim Russo to Plain Dealer publisher Terrance Egger and editor Deborah Simmons. Tim, whose video of Occupy Cleveland's activities you may have seen posted here last year, calls out the Cleveland daily for its belated coverage of the dismissal by the th district court of appeals of charges against Occupiers Lea Tolls and Erin McCardle stemming from a sit-down on Public Square last October, when Occupiers refused to honor their eviction from the square by the city.
See what a threat to Cleveland citizens Lea (in plaid pants, left) and Erin (in polka-dot boots, right) are by exercising their First Amendment rights!
Mr. Egger, Ms Simmons,
As a daily newspaper facing extinction, guardians of the First Amendment in Cleveland, your 3 day late coverage of the Thursday decision by the Ohio Court of Appeals declaring the October 21, 2011 arrests of Occupy Cleveland unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds is a disgrace.
Even on a crass profit/loss analysis, your readership has shown an insatiable interest in the Occupy movement, largely from your core readership, older readers who cannot stand that Occupy exists, who descend upon every mention of Occupy to attack it. At this moment, when revenue seems to drive every decision you make, burying this story on Metro page B3, three days after the decision was published, is odd to say the least.
I wouldn't want to be a Republican strategist right now (fat chance!)
Their party is disintegrating. As it spins further and further to the extreme right, it's shed sanity, support, voters, and members.
I wrote earlier this week about how "moderate" (i.e. hardcore conservative but not batshit insane) congresswoman from Missouri Jo Ann Emerson has joined northeast Ohio fake "moderate" Steve LaTourette in retirement.
Two more stories broke at the end of this week that demonstrate what a hard time the GOP is having keeping itself together. They come from opposite ends of the Republican spectrum.
One is that former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who had already left the GOP to become an independent, officially became a Democrat, not a huge surprise or a big stretch.
We can officially stop speculating on whether the 56-year-old Crist, who finally got married three years ago after numerous "engagements" (Floridians like to joke that he got engaged every time he ran for office and broke it up immediately after the election) is gay. Crist has never personally been anti-gay; now he doesn't belong to the party pushing the persecution of LGBT people. I always say if you're not part of the group trying to regulate other people's private lives, there's no reason to be interested in yours.
At the far, far, far, far other end of the ideological spectrum, we have soon-to-be former U.S. Senator from South Carolina Jim DeMint. Ugh. I'd rather not have him — and luckily, we won't, at least not in the U.S. Senate. He's stepping down from his seat to head right- wing "think" tank the Heritage Foundation.
If you're on any progressive mailing lists, you probably that they're trying to rally supporters to contact their elected representatives regarding the upcoming budget negotiations.
For instance, tomorrow, Friday, at 1:15 p.m. you can join state representative Mike Foley, state senator Nina Turner, and AFL-CIO executive secretary Harriet Applegate outside the Cleveland office of Senator Rob Portman to talk how a miniscule tax increase for the wealthiest people in the country — a position that earns positive approval even from right-wingers — is the best way to solve the deficit problem Republicans started wailing about the minute President Obama took office (never mind that President Bush created it), rather than cuts to safety-net programs.
Portman's office is at 1240 E. 9th St., # 3061, in downtown Cleveland.
Ohio has two senators. Why are they going to Portman's office?
Well, yesterday, Senator Sherrod Brown sent out a newsletter that said, among other things,
We can reduce our nation’s deficit and avoid onerous tax increases on middle class Americans. Last July, the Senate voted to extend tax cuts for 99 percent of Ohioans—the working families and the middle class tax payers who need relief the most. Yet today, this bill that ends tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 still languishes in the House of Representatives.
Middle class Ohioans have always worked hard and played by the rules—now it’s time that the wealthiest Americans paid their fair share too. That means it’s also time for the House of Representatives to act.
In other words, he's already on board.
I know we were all sweating this: especially the president. But, Kid Rock, has let the president know that he has no hard feelings over his re-election. In a chance encounter during the Kennedy Center Honors, Kid Rock, was able to personally tell him this.
Mr. Rock also conveyed some words of advice as to why he took such a strong stand against the president. He stated…
”I believe if you don’t stand for something, you don’t stand for nothing.”
I think he was trying to convey the adage…
”Those who stand for nothing: fall for anything”
But Mr. Rock’s rendition sounds so much wiser, don’t you think?
The fact that Mr. Romney had the support of people like Mr. Rock, makes it even more of a mystery as to why he lost.
Journalism website Poynter.org has a story up today that confirms one of the rumors that's been in the wind about the Cleveland Plain Dealer's future. It says the paper has told the Guild it will cut the newsroom staff by a third.
To say I have mixed feelings about this is putting it mildly.
Clevelanders are aware — others around the state may not be — that big changes are in the paper's future, although the paper's management and ownership has been cagy about saying exactly what they are. But Advance, the paper's owner, has shrunk its dailies in other markets to three days a week, most prominently the New Orleans Times Picayune.
It has given a lot of lip service to making coverage more immediate by pushing more of it online — this despite a corporately imposed template for all its papers' websites that is ugly, confusing, and difficult to navigate. It's so terrible that Louisiana Senator David Vitter sent its publisher a letter mocking the site — perhaps the only time I have ever agreed with Vitter on anything.
The Plain Dealer, of course, is spinning this as a heightened commitment to serve its readers and its market, as demonstrated by this laughable open letter to readers published in the paper a couple of weeks ago:
Among other things, it said,
We also have a chance to be even more useful and responsive to an audience that in recent years has migrated to digital platforms — looking online, on mobile devices and tablets for news and information we previously provided only in print.
They've had that chance for years now, and they've blown it.