Saturday, July 01, 2006

 

Oh my, Part II: Flake hearts W

More Big Apple Flake's astounding lack of political judgement, from Salon 1999:
At a charter school in Harlem and an education address to the Manhattan Institute midtown, the Houston-born Flake was there, calling Bush "my homeboy," and helping to bring a little cred to the first half of Bush's much-touted "compassionate conservatism."

. . .

Bush "has more of a sense of necessity to move toward the middle than I have seen in recent times," Flake says.

 

Oh my: Flake hearts Alan Keyes

This is not going to help Kenny's credibility.

Note that Rev. Floyd Flake, Kenny's new co-chair (and we are still waiting for an explanation of why Ohioans should be impressed that a New Yorker is co-chair of a campaign for state office) apparently wrote this in the NY Post in 2000. Although it took the conservative wing of the GOP until 2004 to be fully convinced that Keyes was a raving loon, moderate Republicans had figured that out by 2000:
Keyes has never shrunk in the face of a challenge or a controversy. He says what he means and means to say it time and time and time again. He'll say it until we can't help but listen to his voice.

That's what makes Keyes one of the big winners in this year's presidential sweepstakes.

Interestingly, Keyes has won over the minds, if not the hearts, of many new people. Many people I speak to half jokingly say that if they voted Republican, they'd vote for Keyes. Much of what he thinks and says makes sense, even to many Democrats who've never voted for a single Republican.

What makes the headlines from the GOP's primary debates interesting is that Keyes has won every debate. Not Bush, not McCain, but Keyes, the greatest orator in the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan, has swept the audiences away with his Solonic oratory.

Keyes' breadth of discussion is remarkable. He doesn't even pause for air before he cuts to the most obscure fact on domestic or foreign issues.

. . .

Like him or not, Keyes shoots from the hip and is rarely off message or target. That's the advantage of having beliefs that are not shaped by pundits or handlers who tell you what the people want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.

Friday, June 30, 2006

 

Kenny gets Flakey

Birds of a feather, etc.

To be clear this isn't really a "Democratic" endorsement nor an endorsement by an Ohioan. Yes, Flake was a one-time NY congressman and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was reportedly the only CBC member who was pro-school vouchers.

Not suprisingly, in the the second half of his career, Flake took off in a new direction: to shill for Edison Schools, the for-profit, pro-school privatization company with a very-checkered history of finacial and educational success.

So, as explained below, Flake's endorsement is really an endorsement by privatize-YOUR-schools-to-line-OUR-pockets-for-financial-gain community.

Flake was made President of Edison Charter Schools in the first part of this decade and later became a member of the firm's Board of Directors. In other words, he gained a very clear vested financial interest in seeing that schools became privatized. Flake also became a key player in the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities.

According to People for the American Way, BAEO
bills itself as a coalition of up-and-coming leaders working within the African-
American community. But a closer look shows that BAEO has been bankrolled by a
small number of right-wing foundations better known for supporting education
privatization and affirmative action rollbacks than empowerment of the African
American community or low-income families.

Four groups that BAEO originally listed as benefactors back in 2001 are major players in the right-wing voucher movement. In fact, the Walton Foundation and the Bradley Foundation have financed much of the movement. The Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation and the American Education Reform Council are pro-voucher advocacy groups that – while also receiving significant funding from the Walton and Bradley Foundations – are lending their own significant support to BAEO, the relative newcomer.
The PFAW report also suggest that BAEO is a mix of Armstrong Williams-type ideologues and those who a personal financial stake in school privatization. Besides Flake, BAEO advisors include, tah dah, Kenny Blackwell.

Small world.

Back to Flake and Edison schools, Flake current relationship is unclear. After an SEC investigation and criticism of Edison financial practices and lackluster investment returns, Edison became a privately held company that is required to make few public reports. We can't find any official announcement that Flake left Edison, but the official Edison Schools "team roster" omits Flake's name.

And speaking of omissions, isn't it interesting that Flake's connections to Edison were omitted from Kenny's release? Kind of like the other "oversights" that are going around in GOP circles.

 

Ney held a staff meeting last night

What if the forgetful lobster-boy held a strategy meeting and nobody came?. BSB has the pix of the results.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

 

"An oversight? Perhaps."

That's putting it mildly:
Mark Rickel, Mr. Taft’s press secretary, said yesterday he didn’t know how Gasper was considered for the 2003 appointment. He also said he didn’t know why Gasper remained a member of the authority for eight months after his forced departure from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
But apparently Taft's spokeswank thinks he as still performing the public a service:
“If you look at the resume, obviously he’s qualified,” Mr. Rickel said.
We did look at his résumé. Working at Borden and having an MBA case doesn't automatically make you qualified to manage a billion dollar portfolio on behalf of the public. Hell, we wouldn't trust $1,000 to three-quarters of the twits who have "earned" their MBA.

Keep in mind that this "new oversight" is on top of Taft's previous "old oversight" (that lasted 9 months) where he "forgot" to inform anyone that the MDL Fund lost $215 million.

 

ABJ's Hoffman hits/misses

Steve Hoffman gets the polling . . .
pay attention to overall trends. In the governor's race, Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell has consistently trailed Democrat Ted Strickland. Blackwell, Ohio's well-known secretary of state, gets between 36 percent and 44 percent of the various samplings. Strickland, a congressman from Lisbon in his first statewide race, gets between 49 percent and 53 percent. Message? Blackwell has work to do.
but misses on the push polls . . .
So do candidates, who often practice the black art of ''push polling,'' callers pretending to gather opinions when the questions (Would you vote for so-and-so if you knew he or she... ?'') are intended to steer responses.
Steve - "candidates" didn't use push polls in Ohio. Republicans and the Cristocrats used the push polls. Push polling was rampant, for example, by the proponents of Issue 1 in 2004. We know of no documented or even alleged examples of Democrat push polls here. Don't do your readers and disservice by smudging the facts in this case.

 

Honda: Taft explanation of decision indicts him and GOP

Talk about trying to polish a turd! Taft's response to Honda's decision to build its new plant in Indiana and not Ohio left us speechless, as does the press's apparent willingness to treat the Governor's comments seriously.
Ohio may have been a victim of its own success in failing to lure a sixth Honda plant, state officials and automotive industry experts say.

Gov. Bob Taft and his economic development chief, Lt. Gov. Bruce Johnson, put their best spin on the news Wednesday, pointing out that Honda officials themselves estimate that 1,000 jobs and $100 million in investment will be generated among Ohio firms supplying parts to the new plant.

"We think there will be a huge investment as Honda suppliers (in Ohio) ramp up," Taft said.
And the AP chimes in:
Ohio's strong success with Honda may be the reason why the automaker's new plant will be built in Indiana.

Taft said Honda's decision was based in part on its concern that an Ohio location would draw workers from its suppliers in the state.
Let's break this down a little bit. Now we don't know everything that Honda officials said yesterday, but their corporate press release said this:
We believe the great state of Indiana has what we need to continue this success -- an outstanding community of people, excellent transportation systems, and the necessary infrastructure to support industry. It is an ideal location in the Midwest both for our network of parts suppliers and as a central location for all of our customers across the country.
That's seems to be surprisingly straightforward. Honda requirements, in REVERSE order, were:
5. central location in relation to all U.S. customers
4. proximity to parts suppliers
3. a supportive infrastructure
2. an excellent transportation system
1. an outstanding workforce (community) pool
How did Ohio stack up? He're our report card:
5. central location - A
4. supplier proximity - A
3. infrastructure - C (based on such things as unreliable utilities, poor support for higher education, lack of strategy for state economic investments, spotty health care networks, lack of master public/private partnership planning and weak support for cross-cultural activities and ex-pat integration)
2. transportation system - B (based on insufficient dedicated state funds, insufficient state/county highway planning and coordination, and insufficient maintenance/quality control)
We can quibble over the specific grades, but based on requirements #2-#5, Ohio seems to be pretty much tied with Indiana.

The real backbreaker for the Buckeye state was requirement #1, the "outstanding community of people." What does that mean? It's diplomatic business-speak for having a sufficient number of skilled employees.

By "employees" we ALL employees. Not just blue collar workers but also middle and upper level mangers.

By "skilled" we mean a highly educated workforce that is being produced by an educational system that receives strong supported and investment by state and local leaders (both governmental and non-governmental). Further, "skilled" means that employees experienced in (or at least exposed to) working in teams and trained in high-performance workplace techniques such as Just In Time production, Kanban processes, and Total Quality Management methods. Finally, "skilled" means having the support of academic institutions who provide ongoing research, analysis and training around potentional continuous-improvement solutions.

And while Honda may have delivered the bad news to Ohio as pleasantly as they could, Taft/Johnson know precisely that these skilled workforce issues put the kibosh on the deal and doomed the state's proposal. Honda, indeed, was deeply concerned that operating a new plant in Ohio would "draw workers away from Ohio suppliers." Honda is only holding up a mirror to Ohio's political leadership and telling them to take a cold, hard look at the state's embarassing educational deficiencies.

That is why it is so absurd for the Republicans to try to put a positive spin on this mess - and why it is so appalling that the press is apparently willing to let them get a way with this.

It wasn't taxes. It wasn't labor laws. It wasn't fear of the UAW. It wasn't concern about the Democrats. Honda was simply indicting Taft and the other GOP leaders for failing to invest in Ohio's most valuable resource: It's people.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

Blue grin, red frown

The new USA Today poll, via Shamansky for Congress and Buckeye State Blog.

 

Another thing about that Deb Pryce ad

A reader raises another interesting question: Why is Pryce using at least one - if not two - vets from a VFW post in Maryland in her ad about her "role" in getting the new Columbus-area VA clinic?

The immediate problem is that this guy is definitely from Post #1936 located in western Maryland.

Picture 6

And while the picture is less clear and the post # is indistinct, this guy

Picture 5

also seems to be this guy

Picture 7

Besides the physical similarities (slow the ad down to verify) in both pictures the vet in these last two pictures sports the distinctive red piping on his overseas hat which, as the second picture makes clear, is typical of Maryland VFW posts.

To be clear, the Post #1936 guy says:
All veterans owe a debt of gratitude to Debbie Pryce.
Fair enough. He has a right to his opinions. But isn't the Pryce for Congress campaign being less than fair for not disclosing - despite the implied message in the ad - who the non-Ohioans are?

Not to beat a dead horse, but we're just saying, you know . . . maybe some political reporters who aren't scared shitless by the thought might want to be making a few calls to the Pryce camp about this.

 

A problem with Kenny's search for crossover voters

Maybe this has been touched on by others, but isn't Jennette Bradley's failure to endorse Blackwell kinda ruin the story his campaign is trying to sell the press corps about what "black voters" are going to do in November?

We understand that a recent attempt to send Bradley into exile at the U.S. Mint failed. We're no fans of Bradley's, but it seems like she is prepared to play a high-stakes game of chicken with Bennett and Blackwell and may be a significant fly in the ointment.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

 

The picture Deb Pryce wants to forget

Sometimes the scrubbing of a website doesn't go so well and when that happens, some things come back to haunt. You see, back in 2004, St. Deb had a different sorta attitude about W:

The logo Deb Pryce wants to forget

Nice.

 

About that Deb Pryce ad . . .

You know the ad running in the Columbus - the one with the older vets in their campaign hats benevolent smiling at St. Deb, expressing their gratitude for her leadership in getting a new VA clinic in central Ohio.

Yeah - it's the one that originally mispelled her own name.

It's also the one with pulled quotes from the Dispatch: "Veterans Clinic Becomes A Reality Via Great Effort" (Sept. 18, 2005), "An Accomplishment That Is Going To Help A Lot" (Sept. 18, 2005) and Congress Showers Benefits On Ohio (Oct. 15, 2004).

A friend sent us copies of those articles (the Dispatch charges $$ for archive searches) expecting to see Pryce acknowledged as the major sponsor for getting the new clinic and documenting the daring and unusual steps she took to get the clinic. Well, we found in the articles nothing daring and unusual, and a whole lotta hedging about whether she played much of a "leading" role at all.

First, we should note that the new clinic sounds like it was greatly needed. Glad to hear it is a reality. However, we take issue with how much chest-thumping it seems St. Deb really deserves to be doing in regard to this clinic.

To be sure, the 2004 Dispatch article is a little vague and reads more like a rehash of press releases:
This is "great news to come home with,'' Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Columbus, said earlier this week in a statement.

Reps. David L. Hobson, R-Springfield, and Deborah Pryce, R-Upper Arlington, also have played roles in helping move the clinic project along.
The 2005 article - actually a commentary by the hackarific Jonathan Riskind - seems to shed a little more light on which GOPers deserve credit:
Hobson is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, past chairman of that panel's military construction subcommittee, past senior member of the veterans subcommittee and current high-ranking member of the defense subcommittee. He has a lot of power over how the House allocates money and a lot of knowledge about the ways of the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tiberi and Hobson also sought the assistance of Rep. Deborah Pryce of Upper Arlington, the fourth-ranking House GOP leader, as well as Ohio GOP Sens. Mike DeWine and George V. Voinovich.
Riskind gushingly snags a few "it was a team effort" kind of quotes Hobson, but notes that Hobson, through his HAC connections,
won $500,000 in planning money, for instance, before the VA signed off on the plan, and he passed a bill authorizing $90 million for the project that showed federal officials there was general support for the idea.
Okay, so Deb was more of supporting cast member than lead actor. Nothing wrong with that.

We do object however, when elected officials like Deb heap hyperbolic praise upon themselves FOR DOING THEIR GODDAM JOB. Pryce is supposed to advocate for this region. She is supposed to testify, write letters and make phone calls for her constituents. Frankly, she is supposed to bring home the pork for Franklin County folks. If you can't do a little rainmaking for your peeps you need to retire ASAP.

We especially object to politicians that hyperventilate about one thing they do right on an issue to cover for their years of sorry-ass neglect of veterans as documented by the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America.

Monday, June 26, 2006

 

Comfest fun

Tens of thousands packed into Goodale Park to listen to music, support the minimum wage hike and drink cold beer. Yeah, yeah, we know we're behind on posting but the weather and some extra volunteer duties seduced us. For those who weren't there, a few highlights:

Mors Ontologica had the crowd jumping on stage but had the Evil Queen's drummer looking for a seat cover.

DSCN7310

Why beer booth volunteers' knees ache . . .

DSCN7312

. . . and why their eyes ache after a 4-hour shift, too:

DSCN7314

The always fantastic Willie Pooch (in pink), Dave Workman, Greg Trout and other bozos:

DSCN7317

Grafton had the Off Ramp Stage gang jumping for more . . .

DSCN7320

. . . and more they got with an collective Rockin In The Free World.

DSCN7324

Sorry, no Pride Parade pixs. We were up late Friday and nursed a hangover Saturday.

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