Posts by: Denis Smith

Remember all the stories about “pink slime” in ground beef several years ago? Though the topic of pink slime lurking in that cellophane container in your shopping cart might have disappeared for the moment, slime of a non-pink variety hasn’t. In fact, today’s Republican Party has perfected the art of soiling or, more accurately, sliming many things in our country, including some of our revered national institutions.

Like the FBI. And its parent, the U.S. Department of Justice.

Let’s examine two prominent Republicans at work today who are masters of the art of sliming.

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If Ohio citizens thought that state media were having a field day reporting about the demise of ECOT, the notorious and very dead online school, the former behemoth’s former spokesman was quick to add his own perspective about the decaying charter carcass. And then some.

“I think most of this is made-up, ridiculous attempts to abuse a corpse,” Neil Clark said.

It was a deft choice of words for Clark, who a few years back famously referred to school districts as “government schools” while he championed an ECOT monster that ravenously consumed government funds as it tried to masquerade […]

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Chen Xiangmei died last week at the ripe age of 94. If you were trying to fathom all of the hell breaking loose in Washington and the rest of the country, you probably were distracted and missed news of her passing. In fact, if it weren’t for an email sent by a friend in Rhode Island that contained a link to her obituary, I might have missed this news as well.

Chen, known in this country as Anna Chennault, died in her penthouse apartment at the Watergate complex in Washington.

That’s right. The Watergate. As I read her obituary in […]

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“We are living in very strange times, and they are likely to get a lot stranger before things bottom out,” Dr. Hunter S. Thompson warned his readers more than forty years ago. But if the “Gonzo journalist” was accurate in his observations then, what would he say about the present?

For the last week, headlines in the US have started to tell the story about a once-obscure company called Cambridge Anayltica and its use of data mining techniques in the 2016 election. The full details of how a company, funded by the mega-rich right-wing Mercer family, snared the profiles […]

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Help! Please Help! No, I haven’t fallen down or lost my keys. However, I am confused and do need some help in clearing up a few things.

The conventional wisdom tells us that senior citizens tend to get confused and even disoriented as they age. Sure, although I’m a senior, I think that I still have it mostly together.

But I’m still confused.

The fact is that every day, regardless of age, we Americans are getting more confused. And the truth is, we owe a great part of that state of confusion to one former reality show TV host who […]

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“The Ohio Department of Education should have taken steps to avoid a mid-year closing of the school. The department created an environment that caused the school to close mid-year.”

If Ronald Reagan could have heard Rep. Andrew Brenner’s comments about ECOT’s closing, he might have offered up his classic line one more time.

“There you go again,” the Gipper might have admonished the Chair of the House Education Committee as he attempted to lay blame anywhere for the online school’s colossal slow-motion train wreck –  except where the responsibility really lies in this disaster.

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It looks like the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is in fact yesterday’s school.

A long nightmare lasting nearly two decades appears to be over. ECOT, the notorious online charter school, has been suspended by its sponsor and is shutting down, although the appointment of a special master will delay the liquidation of its assets in the short term.

When the official last rites for ECOT are concluded, the online school’s remnants will be piled on top of the rest of the other charter school rubble, a junkyard contained in a swamp filled with the […]

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The woman’s voice distracted me from viewing the coming attractions on the big screen in the darkened movie theater. She spoke while sitting down in the soft, red leather recliner, the last seat to be filled in the next-to-last row of the crowded film venue.

“I wonder what the average age of the audience is here?” she asked, while looking closely at the group eagerly awaiting the start of the feature. “At least sixty,” I replied. “You’ve been reading my mind.” We both enjoyed a good laugh as we settled in to see this long-anticipated and very timely film, knowing […]

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In journalist Michael Wolff’s scathing new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Donald Trump is portrayed by many of his closest aides in the most derisive of terms. Prior to this book’s appearance, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s use of the word moron had received the most coverage of non-flattering words used to describe the nation’s chief executive. This book takes 45 POTUS invective to a new level.

In a way, the moron term might prove to be one the kindest descriptors for Trump. Then there is this:

A number of the president’s key staff […]

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What is it about a small Ohio town that can provide both an uplifting story about kindness for this holiday season as well as a real bummer of a tale that is sure to bring you down from an otherwise festive spirit?

We can find the answers to that question by looking at two people who both have roots in Urbana, a small town that could serve as a model for understanding the often contradictory nature of America.

The uplifting part of the story about Urbana is provided by Traci Bild, who grew up in the Champaign County community and […]

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The signs are everywhere. We’re experiencing an “epidemic of incivility,” and one Ohio congressman is working overtime to spread a toxic tone of discord in the land.

Last week, the nation witnessed the shameless duo of Congressmen Louie Gohmert of Texas and Jim Jordan of Ohio continually mispronounce the name of an American political party during a congressional hearing while they aggressively tried to besmirch the image and integrity of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. To these miscreants, their enemy is the “Democrat” Party and the “Democrat” National Committee.

As the hyperbolic partisan non-dynamic duo flopped in their […]

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