Inscrutable Nina Turner Dumps Hillary, Joins Bernie Campaign

In a startling move, former state senator and 2014 Ohio secretary of state candidate Nina Turner has revoked her endorsement of Hillary Clinton and announced she is supporting Bernie Sanders. This comes after the Clintons — particularly Bill —supported her campaign last year for SoS.

Given her track record, Sanders doesn’t feel like a natural candidate for Turner, who, when she breaks with the Democratic Party, breaks to the right. Many remember when the Republican-led Issue 6, a county charter written in secrecy with the likely goal of increasing Republican influence in Ohio’s most Democratic county, was on the 2009 ballot and Turner was one of a handful of Democrats — and virtually the only black Democrat — publicly supporting it. That gave its supporters the opportunity to claim it was a bipartisan measure when it wasn’t really.

In late 2011, Turner announced she was going to challenge sitting Congresswoman Marcia Fudge in the 2012 primary. It was hard to see why, other than personality issues. Fudge is a quietly effective progressive, who was then chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, giving her district a lot of power and prominence. Turner is an outspoken firebrand. But to differentiate herself she would have had to show Fudge was ineffective — not true — or run to her right. There just isn’t any room to run to Fudge’s left. And given that this is Ohio’s most Democratic district that would have been a poor trade.

Of course, the Plain Dealer suggested that Turner’s campaign could “remind voters that she supported Cuyahoga County reform over the strenuous objections of Fudge and the party Old Guard.” That might have impressed the Plain Dealer, which served as a de facto campaign arm of the “reform” (Issue 6) campaign, but it would have been unlikely to impress voters.

The Real John Kasich Emerges in Fourth GOP Debate

The Real Kasich Comes Out

Some of us have been saying for a while that the excitement among some pundits about John Kasich — that the Republican Party had thankfully found its sane “moderate” who talked real policies instead of mean-spirited nonsense — was going to die once the real John Kasich began to emerge.

That Kasich has emerged in all his full-blown glory.

Of course, he has been oozing out for several months, whether it’s making a condescending remark to a young woman who raises her hand to ask him a question (Instead of responding, “What’s your question?” he goes “No, I don’t have any Taylor Swift tickets”) to telling a man who was concerned about his plan to cut Social Security benefits that he would “get over it.” America is having an opportunity to see the arrogant, rude bully Ohioans know so well.

Or at least some of us do. Alas, polls have shown his approval ratings to be high, including — unfathomably — among Democrats and he did win reelection in a landslide last year, as he likes to point out. But there were many factors involved in that besides his sheer wonderfulness or his (nonexistent) success as governor. And one of them was staying out of public view so that people had no chance to get an earful of the real Kasich. Debates could have exposed him so he refused to do any. Infamously, his one major public appearance — before the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer — was such a disaster that the paper took the video offline so the public could not see what a blundering, petulant ass he was. Ever since it’s been debated whether it was at the candidate’s campaign’s request. I lean toward yes.

Kasich Rolls Out Economic Plan. Will Sound Familiar to Ohioans.

Today, with much fanfare, Kasich, who is spending big bucks but losing ground in his must-win state of New Hampshire, rolled out his policy plan on the economy.

How do big tax cuts for the wealthy and not much for anyone else grab you?

Oh, you're saying that's an old story here in Ohio? Yup. In fact, the entire thing sounds like the way he was run Ohio into a ditch and spent it into a hole with a gigantic budgets paid for by working people, and stealing from local governments and public schools.

He's still pushing that fantasy "balance the federal budget" thing which has never been done in U.S. history and cannot be done without destroying the American economy. And it sure won't be done by a a spending addict like John Kasich.

The reaction to Kasich's plan probably isn't going to do much to turn his flailing numbers around, The Democratic National Committee did a such great job of collecting the responses, I'm just going to post their email. Enjoy! The Kasich campaign is probably having collective heartburn. Think about that and enjoy doubly!

AP: “This looks like a pretty big tax cut for the top end and a little bit at the bottom," said Robertson Williams, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. "There's not much going to the middle class."

NBC News: James Pethokoukis, an economic policy analyst at the conservative-center American Enterprise Institute, says Kasich's tax proposals won't necessarily set him apart from other Republican presidential candidates. "That is sort of what you've seen from the other plans: Christie, Bush, several others. In a way it is a very cookie cutter tax plan," he said, adding that losing revenue through the tax cuts could make it harder for Kasich to keep his first promise to keep the budget balanced.

Kasich, the Perpetual Gaffe Machine, Strikes Again

How's that presidential campaign thing going, John Kasich? Not very well I heard.

The whole "credible moderate" thing is falling apart fast, and his pretty words of compassion are rapidly being revealed as lies he mouths for effect.

In yet another display of the real Kasich coming through, Kasich told an audience member at a meeting in his new home of New Hampshire that he would "get over" cuts to Social Security.

"We can't balance a budget without entitlement reform. What are we, kidding?" Kasich said when asked about his opponents who say they won't touch entitlements.

Kasich said he was part of the effort to reform Medicare and Medicaid in the '90s, and that he also had a plan to change Social Security so that initial benefits were lowered for individuals not yet near eligibility.

He asked audience members to raise their hands if they were far from receiving Social Security, asked them if they knew yet what their initial benefit would be and then asked them if they would be bothered if it were a little lower for the good of the country.

One person said it would be a problem.

"Well, you'd get over it, and you're going to have to get over it," Kasich joked.

Well, who knows if Kasich was really "joking" or if that's spin CNN added. But it's really not a joke to most of the country's seniors, 65% of whom get a majority of their income from Social Security. For 25% it is their ONLY income, and the average check is about $1300 a month. Currently, less than 10% of seniors are below the poverty line. Without Social Security, more than 40% would be.

And once again, women would be overwhelmingly negatively impacted after years of earning less, taking time out to have and/or raise children and having longer lifespans. It's another salvo in the war against women.

Some joke, Governor Kasich.

PG Sittenfeld on Guns

Young Cincinnati city council member PG Sittenfeld is running in the Democratic primary against former Governor Ted Strickland (you know — the one who did NOT leave Taxin' John Kasich a $6 billion deficit to fill). I haven't talked much about this race, other than what I wrote earlier this year about how ill-advised I thought it was for the Ohio Democratic Party to have endorsed Strickland at the beginning of the year, even before campaigning began.

Each candidate has his pluses and minuses, but there's one very big minus looming for Strickland, based on recent events: he is pro-gun. He was even endorsed by the NRA in 2010 in his first race against Kasich. (It did not endorse him in 2014, not because he had visibly changed positions but because the NRA had veered further into being a wacko conspiracy-minded group pushing a bunch of rightwing positions that don't relate to guns).

It's very hard for Strickland to comment with any credibility on shootings such as the mass shooting at the Oregon community college or the crossfire shootings of infants and toddlers in Cleveland (or the school van that was shot at in Cleveland this morning, thankfully with no casualties). It's something he's got to be silent on.

Sittenfeld on the other hand has come out swinging on the issue on the side of stronger gun control.

ON Saturday, he wrote

I initially wanted to send an email today to thank you for your generous support of our campaign as we ended the third quarter. And I am truly grateful for each and every person who keeps our campaign going strong with your contributions and volunteer time.

New Hampshire Resident John Kasich's Presidential Campaign in Freefall

The news in New Hampshire was bad for Kasich on Saturday — and then it got worse.

On Saturday, the Boston Globe reported on John Kasich’s all-in New Hampshire campaign. As regular readers of this blog know, our governor has virtually moved his residence to New Hampshire and is spending lavishly to reach GOP voters in this important early primary state. My theory has long been that his goal was to finish second behind Trump and be there to be anointed by the GOP establishment when Trump floundered.

The Globe pointed out “The governor has assembled a high-profile team in New Hampshire, lead by former US senator John Sununu, for his state campaign. He most recently received endorsements from two other Granite State Republicans: former US senator Gordon Humphrey and former state government official Peter Thomson.”

But the paper reports that Kasich acknowledged, ““We’ve got about 128 days to go until the NH primary. We do well here, we’re moving on. We do terrible here, it’s over. No confusion about that. This is very, very important to us.”

Well, the fat lady may be heading for the stage. It seems like his carefully laid plan is going awry.

On Saturday October 3, the day the story was published, the Globe said “In the most recent poll of Granite State Republicans, Kasich tied for fourth place at 7 percent with former Florida governor Jeb Bush. That CNN/WMUR poll showed businessman Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in the lead.”

So despite all the spending, now he’s behind a whole pack of crazies.

But wait! That’s not the latest! New polling from New Hampshire came out the day after the Globe story was published (i.e. yesterday). And pity poor John Kasich (LOL)!

Trump still leads, followed by Fiorina. In the first good news he’s had in a while, Jeb! Bush is third. Rubio and Carson are tied for forth place. The scandal-tainted Chris Christie in sixth place. Finally, in 7th place, tied with Ted Cruz, there’s Kasich, dropping from 12% to 6%.

Apparently, New Hampshire voters have figured out — to know him is not to love him. But hey, we in Ohio could have already told them that.

"Stuff Happens"

Anyone remember when Jeb! (as he calls himself) Bush entered the Republican presidential primary to hosannas from the media that he was the “sensible” “grownup” in the field, whom his supporters promoted as a “competent” one with tons of real-life government experience that gave him an understanding of practical governance? The one who wasn’t going to go off the rails like most of his competition?

And remember when he entered the race with his shitload of money and everyone was going, “Oh, he’s going to clear the field”? He was, after all, the “smart Bush,” the one who SHOULD have run in 2000 rather than his hapless brother George.


When Jeb’s response to the shooting yesterday at an Oregon community college that left nine dead and twice that number injured was “Stuff happens” (no, really!), it was just the latest in a long line of blunders, gaffes and inadvertently revealing slips of the tongue. It’s as if Mitt Romney had a “47%” moment every week.

Was Jeb!’s comment taken out of context? You judge:

“I had this challenge as governor because we had — look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

Yes, “stuff happens,” when it does, over and over, your impulse is indeed to do something — after having a sincere discussion, not governed by large paychecks from the NRA, about what is the right thing to do.

Even leaving aside the fact that Jeb! has proved to be colorless and timid — that ! that he put after his name in his logo is strictly aspirational — is this man the most productive gaffe factory we’ve seen in politics in years or what?

Access Without Apology: Democratic State Legislators Take Strong Pro-Choice Stand

Access Rally

One thing a more evenly balanced state legislature would do (please vote for Issue 1 this November 3 — more on that later) is end the constantly stream of attacks on women’s ability to make their own reproductive choices.

But some Democrat legislators, even though they are in a super-minority, aren’t waiting until then to take a strong, principled stand. Information from the 2014 Ohio Induced Abortion report suggests that more women are fleeing to Michigan to have abortions and that more women are delaying the procedure, most likely due obstacles put in their way. It showed that while abortions performed prior to nine weeks decreased, abortions performed between 9-18 weeks increased.

The Access Without Apology legislation features six bills that address different aspects of the obstacles put in the way of women seeking an abortion. They’re co-sponsored by 11 Democratic legislators who are champions for women’s rights, with a pair leading each initiative. They are Nickie Antonio, Janine Boyd, Nicholas Celebrezze, Kathleen Clyde, Teresa Fedor, Stephanie Howse, Greta Johnson, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Dan Ramos, Kent Smith and Em Sykes (Johnson co-sponsored two). These legislators introduced them yesterday will a rally on the steps of the Statehouse (see photo above).

Sure, they are going nowhere in this virulently anti-woman legislature. But they lay down the gauntlet for what ACTUAL “freedom” and “small government” should look like.

The Access Without Apology Measures would:

John Kasich: Anti-Woman Extremist

Poor John Kasich! In his desperation to be seen as the GOP’s “electable” presidential candidate, he’s swinging wildly between trying to sound like a reasonable “moderate” and re-emphasizing the fact that his policies and actions have generally been on the far right.

He even, laughably, tried to smooth over the fact that he has one of the worst anti-choice records of any governor in the country saying things like, “Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and we have to follow the law.” Of course he didn’t add that he would remedy that situation if he became president and got to appoint some Supreme Court justices.

The state legislature is shoving through an abominable bill that would ban an abortion if the fetus is found to have Down Syndrome. The bill is an invasive travesty, and a very selective one, in that it singles out only one potential genetic condition. It’s also difficult to enforce, given that it penalizes the doctor performing the abortion who may not even know why the woman has made that choice.

Now Kasich likes to keep his extreme anti-choice positions as quiet as possible. Despite quickly signing more than a dozen provisions that make it more and more difficult for a non-affluent woman to control her own reproduction, he likes to do so inconspicuously and without justifying what he’s doing.

That’s why it was a surprise to hear him come out and openly admit on CNN’s State of the Union last week that if the Down Syndrome bill is passed by the legislature he will sign it.

He said, in his usual shambling, disgressive manner, "I would sign it, yes. Look, I'm a governor. I'm a CEO. I have to have a hand steady on the wheel. But in this case, I'm more than glad to say that of course I would sign that.”

Raging misogyny displayed at congressional Planned Parenthood hearing

Today Congress wasted more of our tax dollars on another of its endless string of “investigations” of things that don’t need investigating. (Hey — how about investigating why we pay members of Congress $175,000 a year to work 132 days — the equivalent of 26 work weeks — and waste many of those days on ideologically driven dog-and-pony shows?)

This one related to the issue that seems to obsess many members of the Republican Party: women’s reproductive organs.

As I hope you’re aware, they’re threatening another damaging, economy-slowing government shutdown unless they can take away all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, a long-established, reputable and well-liked organization that provides a range of health care services to women — and men — who otherwise might not be able to afford them. It gives less affluent women some control over their reproduction. And that’s what has clearly outraged some members of Congress, such as Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He’s now chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Chaffetz and his anti-woman colleagues are waving the flag of abortion but that’s a red herring. Only a small percentage of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions; their main work, providing birth control, has surely prevented millions of abortions and the government gives them no money for abortion. The video on which this latest hissy-fit is based, purporting to show the group “selling” “baby parts” from aborted babies, has been exposed unequivocally as a lie. And over this lie, they’re committing extortion: punish millions of women by denying their access to reproductive health care or we will close the government and deliver a body blow to the economy.

John Boehner to Resign as Speaker — and from the House

Here's a shocker of a news story breaking this morning: John Boehner has announced he will leave Congress — and his post as its most powerful leader — effective in late October.

This is pretty bad news for the country and here's why.

Over the past several years, there have been failed coups from far right/Tea Party opposition, but in the end, when the vote was taken, the opposition turned out to be minimal. In recent days, however, there have been whispers that he is trapped in a no-win situation on the issue of shutting down the government and costing the country billions of dollars over defunding Planned Parenthood based on an egregious lie.

Boehner has been acting as a sort of firewall between sanity and the crazed far-right types who have become more numerous and more dangerous in Congress over the the last four-six years. But Boehner has proved extremely ineffective at getting them in line. Many of them have little investment in doing the right thing for the country and its people because they are in thrall to far-right ideology and to the big money and the handful of billionaire donors that have backed them since the Supreme Court's Citizens United (2010) and McCutcheon (2014) decisions poisoned our electoral process with floods of big money.

Who knows what this will lead to, but surely the far-right types will feel they have achieved a major victory — stamping out the last tiny shred of rationality in their party — and will be jockeying for power to make the House even more ineffective, non-productive and a roadblock to any accomplishments at all.

Kasich Administration Tainted by Charter School Scandal

We’ve been so focused on Kasich’s play-acting as a “moderate” to try to win the GOP presidential nomination that we haven’t yet covered Ohio’s burgeoning charter school scandal which broke this summer.

It’s been covered in detail by our friends over at Plunderbund where Ohio’s best political reporter John Michael Spinelli interrupted his essential like-white-on-rice coverage of the phony Kasich to cover it, and education writer Greg Mild has been following it. Even some of the state dailies have done a decent job although they haven’t given it the saturation coverage of something really important such as Ed FitzGerald’s drivers license. After all, only the future of tens of thousands of kids and the misspending of hundreds of millions of tax dollars is at stake. So whatever.

But as more and more bad news comes out about Ohio charter schools (see previous post for the latest), I think it’s essential for everyone who has an outlet to talk about it as much as possible.

Despite the promise that they were going to give students in failing public schools a “choice” to attend better schools, the majority of Ohio’s charter schools are such an abomination they are a national laughingstock. The worst are the for-profit charters, run by bad actors (and big GOP campaign contributors, not incidental as we shall see) like David Brennan of the White Hat schools and William Lager of the ECOT schools. I call these schools “trash schools.” They are the worst in the state.

So what to do, what to do? Demand stronger oversight? Close them? Ban for-profit charters? Bar these operators from opening schools?

Ho ho. Nope. In order to maintain the fiction that charter schools should be allowed to siphon off tax dollars from local public schools, the state’s head of charter school oversight David Hansen simply THREW OUT some of the worst scores from the worst schools. But isn’t that illegal? Well, pretty much. But oh well.

More National Shame for Ohio's Disgraceful Charter Schools

Yet another statistic has exposed how corrupt and worthless Ohio's charter school system has become.

Last October, the Center for Media and Democracy gave us the report "Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate The Predator Outsourcing of America's Public Services" with its section on how John Kasich is bought and paid for by for-profit charter school interests.

Now they've done it again. They've just published a list of the bloodsucking charter schools across the country that have taken taxpayer money and then closed, littering the landscape with failure, destroying educational continuity for hundreds of thousands of kids.

They list 2473 of these leeches, bleeding states of their futures. And I hope you are appalled and disgusted to learn that 425 of these failed schools were in Ohio. That's about 1/6th of the total — one out of every six failed charter schools in the U.S. Gee, doesn't that make you feel special as an Ohioan?

You can view the list here:

It's worthwhile to peruse the list and then go back and read the Center for Media and Democracy's story from last October, titled "White Hat’s Magic Trick: Transforming Public Schools into Private Assets."

Here's that link again:

It details how our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, the Ohio Republican Party and many of our Republican state legislators have been purchased by charter school interests.

It seems like the various threads of Ohio's charter school story are coming together in a perfect story of corruption, failure and greed.

Kasich's Presidential Ploy Is Falling Flat

I didn’t watch the GOP debate this past week — there’s only so many hate sprees one can stomach.

I did follow some live blogging however, and was surprised to see John Kasich’s name was virtually absent. After the first debate, all the pundits were oohing and aahing over his performance, with all the pretty words that contradicted his actual record, designed to make him appear “moderate.” And they just ate it up. The voters not so much — most polls showed he didn’t make any serious gains.

Apparently, he really was virtually absent from the second debate as far as voters were concerned. New polls show that Kasich just isn't making any headway.

A new CNN/ORC poll taken after the debate shows Kasich mired in tenth place with only 2% support. As a tragic indictment of GOP voters, Trump’s support dropped somewhat, but not because they were looking for a more grounded candidate with more to offer than hate and attacks. It dropped because Carly Fiorina stepped up to deliver a big dose of viciousness and hate and win over some of his base.

Especially sad is that Fiorina was declared the “winner” of the debate, not just by GOP voters, but alsol by much of the media. And it is the media who should have been pointing out that this “victory” was based on meanness and lies, especially the gigantic whopper that the phony Planned Parenthood videos on which the Republicans have based the idea that millions of women need to be deprived of access to basic reproductive health care — NOT abortions — contained footage of a live, kicking baby having its brain harvested for science. It’s hard to describe how vile and disgusting this lie is but the mainstream media could have tried a little harder.

CNN coddles the lie, saying she “scored points for her condemnation of Planned Parenthood.” Any truly “fair and balanced” media would have pointed out that her lurid charges were fabrications.

Kasich Displays His Rambling, Incoherent Self on the Campaign Trail

Well, the second GOP debate is history, all — eek! — three hours of it, with two hours of pre-debate with a handful of low-balling candidates.

Unlike the first debate, when pundits were gushing about Kasich's "moderate" act, which we in Ohio know is fake, Kasich virtually vanished from the radar in this one, as higher-energy candidates like Trump (of course!) and Florin traded lies and slurs.

But Kasich is out there on the campaign trail, screwing up. I've long been saying that the unscripted Kasich — not the one who had 10 or 15 carefully controlled minutes at the first debate to put on his little act but the one who sprays baffling and insulting remarks all over the landscape when he makes a State of the State address — would start to emerge. And it has!

Speaking yesterday at a golf club in Orange County (how Republican elitist of him!), Kasich desperately tried to undo some of the damage the entire Republican Party has done to itself with its attacks on immigrants and specifically on Mexicans.

"A lot of them do jobs that they're willing to do and, uh, that's why in the hotel you leave a little tip," said Kasich.

He went on to say, "This lady wrote me in my hotel there in L.A. She wrote this note. It said, 'I really want you to know that I care about your stay.' Is that just the greatest thing?" So, you know, we can learn a lot and she's Hispanic, 'cause I didn't know it at the time, but I met her in the hallway — asked her if I could get a little more soap."

The Los Angeles Times described Kasich's latest statement as "striking for its inarticulateness."

Welcome to our world, L.A. Times! We've been listening to this off-the-cuff world salad — some of it worthy of the great world salad queen Sarah Palin — for the last seven years here in Ohio.

"Mister, don't tax my eggs."

Kasich the Hypocrite Touts God and Compassion in New Hampshire While Ohio Burns

This would be funny — if it weren’t such a complete lie, and dangerous if the media is duped into helping peddle this garbage to the whole country.

As some of you may know, our governor, Taxin’ John Kasich, has basically relocated to New Hampshire with the obvious strategy of hoping that a good showing in the presidential primary in New Hampshire will propel him to the front of the list when Republican kingmakers go looking for the anti-Trump.

Look at this crock:

“John Kasich brings a little bit of Jesus to secular New Hampshire”

First of all, I think most of us agree we’ve seen a little too much “Jesus” lately, with the posturing of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who went to jail rather than “violate” her “Christianity” by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her expression of “Christianity” is public life is a sham — but Kasich’s is an even bigger one.

Kasich loves to talk Bible, even though his policies would likely make Jesus puke. In addition to playacting at being a “regular guy” and not the arrogant, vindicate bully Ohioans know he is, he’s painting this lovely picture of himself as a kinder, gentler Republican Christian, and not your typical judgmental religious rightie a la Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum.

Get a load of this monster mountain of hooey:

"I believe that the Lord has a purpose for each of us," Kasich said in New London recently. "For me, I think that we're handed special blessings to do the thing we were carved to do the day we were born. I felt called out into politics...I thought I could fix things."

For most of the other right-leaning Republicans in the field, faith should be used by the government to curb behavior they consider to be sinful - bans on abortion and same-sex marriage, for instance.

Kasich the Not-So-Formidable Presidential Candidate

A handful of Democrats I know and/or run into online seem to have swallowed whole one of the media narratives about our governor, Taxin’ John Kasich, and his presidential campaign.

Desperate for some semblance of sanity in a GOP race now totally dominated by kooks (Donald Trump) and extremists (Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz), some pundits followed up the first GOP presidential debate in August by announcing that Kasich appeared ready to win over a wide spectrum of voters and that he was the “grownup” in the room.

Never mind that this narrative was spun out of 10-15 minutes of limited speaking time in which Kasich was lobbed softball questions on which to express a phony compassion that belied his actual extreme policies. Fine to say you attended a same-sex wedding and would support your daughter if she were “that.” Not so fine to help propel Obergefell vs. Hodges all the way to the Supreme Court and block any efforts to pass a nondiscrimination act in Ohio.

The trouble is, while the media loves to paint Kasich as a sensible moderate who can get things done by working with a wide range of people — the same lie the Cleveland Plain Dealer spread in its completely fabricated editorial endorsing Kasich in 2010 — that Kasich doesn’t actually exist. (That editorial claimed that Kasich could “cross partisan lines and get results” and that he “has no time for divisive hot-button tactics.” SB 5, anyone?)

Worse for Kasich, his efforts to sound acceptable to moderates and even Democrats by papering over his anti-woman, anti-LGBT, anti-environment, anti-education and anti-government transparency policies and terrible economic record are backfiring among the hardcore GOP base, besotted with the likes of Trump and Carson.

First There Is No Mountain, Then There Is

You may have heard the latest cause of Republican outrage at Obama, added to the pile of irrelevant, often made-up shit they come up with to hide the fact that they have been freaking out for seven years because OMG HE’S BLACK. (And sorry, but pretending that’s not it doesn’t work).

So now, on the heels of learning that a poll shows majority of Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim (he’s not) and that only 29% believe he was born in the U.S. (more believe the Canadian-born Ted Cruz was born in the U.S.), they are losing their marbles — if indeed they had any to lose — over the fact that he has made the renaming of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley official: it’s now Mt. Denali.

I say “made official” because this was the original native name for it, the highest mountain in the U.S. It was changed in 1917 to honor politician Willam McKinley who went on to become president. Now at the request of Alaskans who have been using the original name since 1975, it has reverted to Denali. Obama announced the move Monday.

Republicans immediately had a meltdown. “Republicans are pitching a conniption this week over an Obama administration decision that should’ve otherwise passed through the news cycle mostly without comment,” wrote Salon in an article titled “The GOP’s ludicrous ‘Mt. Denali’ freakout: What this latest ‘scandal’ reveals about the right-wing outrage machine."

They Called The Wind Katrina


Ten years ago today, Saturday, August 27, 2005, I was sitting where I am sitting now, on my computer as I am right now. And I was scanning the Internet for any news of my beloved New Orleans — news that in the coming days would be all bad, all heartbreaking, all infuriating. There was concern on Saturday that it would hit vulnerable New Orleans, which many had evacuated the previous year during Hurricane Ivan, only to find it was a false alarm.

A week earlier we had started to hear about a tropical storm headed north over the Gulf of Mexico that had turned into a Cat 5 storm before weakening slightly. Not everyone was taking chances. That Saturday, I found myself at the website of an animal rescue group in the French Quarter. “We are closed today,” it said. It went on to explain that their animals had been loaded into air-conditioned vans and evacuated, the cats to one safe city, the dogs to another.

On Monday August 29, Katrina made landfall, as feared, on New Orleans. And within hours, the disaster predicted prior to Ivan had occurred: the levee system failed. Some parts of the city filled with as much as 12 feet of water. It was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history and on of the deadliest with more than 1,800 people dead — the total is uncertain because some people were never found and many people evacuated died within weeks or months of other causes, particularly elderly people who saw their entire lives swept away.

Yes, John Kasich — Let's Talk about Education

Last week, John Kasich, in his zeal to portray himself (laughably) as a reasonable, compassionate “moderate” on the presidential campaign trail, announced that Republicans talk too much about abortion and should focus instead on other issues – such as education.

Naturally, Kasich doesn’t want to talk about abortion — he just wants to quietly pass the most extreme and freedom-crushing anti-choice measures in the country without being called on it.

But maybe it’s not a good idea for him to want to talk too much about education either. An article today posted at the Mother Jones website lays out the entire sordid story that many of us Ohioans already know in an article titled “Under John Kasich, Ohio’s Charter Schools Became a ‘National Joke’”:

Ohio is known nationally for having one of the worst charter school systems in the country. Every day that these schools continue to operate, thousands of Ohio children are robbed of their educations and their futures. This article lays out how these schools have abused the system and public trust and misused tax dollars to enrich their operators while cheating students and Ohio taxpayers.

It’s a story many Ohioans know — and one Kasich doesn’t want to talk about.

Early this summer, we learned that David Hansen, appointed by Kasich to be the executive director of something called the Office of Quality School Choice and Funding, was fudging charter school grades, dropping those of some of the worst-performing schools in order to make certain charter school sponsors look better.

“Specifically,” says Mother Jones, “he omitted failing virtual schools operated by for-profit management companies that are owned by major Republican donors in the state.”

Big Protest Blocks Downtown Columbus in Response to Koch Brothers Grovelfest

Those would-be GOP kingmakers Charles and David Koch — who have pledged to spend nearly a billion dollars to elect a president friendly to their far right agenda — are holding a Grovelfest in Columbus today and tomorrow to audition candidates eager to be the recipient of that money.

Today they’re hearing from hapless gaffe factory Jeb!ya Bush, whose self-bestowed exclamation mark is wishful thinking, and Louisiana Governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal who fiddles in Columbus while his home state burns. Tomorrow they’ll hear from Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and the under-indictment Rick Perry.

But today, there’s this:

“Thousands protest Koch brothers event in Columbus”

The Columbus Dispatch reports,

More than 3,000 union workers and supporters marched this morning from the Arena District to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, where Americans for Prosperity is hosting its ninth annual Defending the American Dream Summit.

“Defending the American Dream”? Don’t you love it? Two fossil-fuel billionaire brothers defending their right to keep the so-called “American Dream” for only themselves at everyone else’s expense.

The protest, organized by the Ohio AFL-CIO, included an inflatable “fat cat” at the corner of High Street and Goodale Blvd., and a large puppet in the likeness of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was not among the five GOP presidential candidates invited to the two-day summit. Protesters stretched roughly the entire length of the convention center.

(Don’t know why Scottie has fallen from favor. He’s a master groveler when it comes to the wealthy and powerful).

Shameless Liar Kasich Tries to Dupe People into Thinking He Supports Women's Rights

The game that Taxin’ John Kasich is playing to try to become our next president is rapidly becoming clear, and he’s trying to thread a needle with a very tiny hole.

At the first presidential debate, he ladled on the treacly false compassion for LGBT people, saying he had gone to a same-sex wedding and that if his daughter were “that” (he could not even bring himself to say “lesbian”) he would love and support her anyway.

Meanwhile, he supported spending our tax dollars fighting against marriage equality and he has consistently opposed any bill that would protect LGBT from discrimination in housing and employment. So any decent progressive or LGBT rights-favoring person who fell for his act is a sucker. But the conservatives are madder than wet hens. They find his pretend compassion for LGBT — which they don’t think is pretend but a betrayal — to be reprehensible.

This week he’s trying to pull the same thing with an issue on which he could not be worse: women’s reproductive rights. In policy and in action, he has been the enemy of women’s freedom. He has signed onto more terrible and pointless abortion restrictions than any governor in the U.S. Other candidates can babble about how awful they will be for women: Kasich has already walked the walk.

In addition, since most of the restrictions primarily impact poor and working women and being forced to have children they can’t afford will plunge them into deeper poverty, he’s made a lie of his grandiose words about concern for the poor and caring about people “in the shadows.”

At a townhall meeting this week in New Hampshire (apparently now the base from which he is governing Ohio), he was asked by a voter, "I would like to ask whether you can respect the Roe versus Wade decision, and I ask because as a lifelong libertarian, I'm looking for a candidate to support who is both a fiscal conservative and not a threat to a woman's right to control her own body.”

Farewell to Lou Stokes

It seems like this is one of those times we’re seeing the passing of a lot of great people who helped to transform the world. We lost civil rights pioneer Julian Bond over the weekend. And yesterday morning, we lost former northeast Ohio congressman and a civil rights leader in his own right, Lou Stokes. He had announced a few weeks ago that he had cancer that had spread. Now at age 90, he is gone.

With Jimmy Carter’s announcement this morning that his cancer has, like Stokes’, spread to his brain, we may be on the verge of losing another — someone whose profound decency and living into his Christian beliefs makes a mockery of some of today’s politicians who use the label “Christian” to define who they hate. Carter, like Stokes, is 90. Are we being greedy to wish they could be with us longer?

CoolCleveland columnist Mansfield Frazier wrote an enlightening piece about why Lou Stokes was significant:

Tributes have been pouring in from former colleagues and those he mentored. Marcia Fudge now holds the seat Stokes vacated in 1999 when he was replaced by his handpicked successor, Stephanie Tubbs Jones. He surely never envisioned that he would outlive the woman he mentored by seven years — she died on this very day, unexpectedly, of a burst aneurysm at the way-too-young age of 58 — and would be involved in naming HER successor.

Marcia wrote,

“My heart is heavy this morning with the passing of my predecessor, mentor and dear friend, Congressman Louis Stokes. He was a giant of a man - the person who everyone measured themselves against. It was easy to think of him as almost immortal.

For more than 30 years, Congressman Stokes tirelessly fought for the people of Ohio. He was our leader in good times and bad. The first African American elected to Congress from Ohio, Congressman Stokes was the epitome of a public servant.

"Moderate" Kasich Indulges in Some Teacher-Bashing

So Taxin’ John Kasich is a “moderate,” eh? All the Wise Pundits say so. What irritates me them most is Democrats frowning and fretting and saying that Kasich “worries” them the most of all the Republicans because he seems reasonable and caring and, yes, “moderate.” I even saw one post that of all the GOP choices, he’d be the least bad to have in the White House.

No no no — he would be TERRIBLE. And if you are a teacher, watch out — he’s as contemptuous of you as he ever was, when he tried to push SB 5 on you. Most likely his patronizing attitude toward teachers combines his animus toward unions and his contempt for women. Here’s what he sneered today at a “conservative education conference” in New Hampshire:

"I’ll tell you what the unions do, unfortunately too much of the time. There’s a constant negative comment, ‘They’re going to take your benefits, they’re going to take your pay.' If I were not president, but if I were King of America, I would abolish all teacher's lounges, where they sit together and worry about 'woe is us.’”

Gee, really, Kasich? You would abolish a place where teachers can get away from their stressful job for a few minutes and let off steam — just like people in every job do? And you know what? “Woe” is them indeed, with all the teacher-bashing and micromanaging and over-testing going on — and yes, cutting their pay and benefits.. And “woe” is them in particular in Ohio with you and your colleagues in the legislature treating education like some sort of pawn in your little game of “reward our charter school donors even if their schools stink.”

Hating Women in Today's GOP

The fallout from the GOP debate continues. The Wise Pundits continue to wring their hands over Donald Trump doubling down on his crass attitude toward women. But he’s not the problem, as I’ve already mentioned.

The New Yorker’s political satire columnist Andy Borowitz nailed it in this new column titled “Trump Fails to Back UP Misogynist Slurs With Anti-Woman Proposals, Rivals Say.”

Tempers flared in the aftermath of Thursday night’s Republican debate, as rival candidates accused the billionaire Donald Trump of failing to back up his misogynist slurs with concrete and workable anti-woman proposals.
Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker led the charge, as both of them asserted that Trump’s sexist rhetoric paled in comparison with their own strong records of opposition to women’s rights.

It may be satire, but it hits on a vein of truth: Trump is a lot of talk; many of the other candidates are urging or have taken action against women. There was talk about no abortion exceptions; there was jostling to advocate defunding Planned Parenthood and take away contraception, cancer screenings and STD treatment from women.

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