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Friday, November 05, 2010

Ride The Time Machine To 2014: 27% Unemployed, Trains Running From Cincinnati To Cleveland Hauling Cheap Chinese Crap

 From Ohio Daily, where Anthony Fossacecca writes what might be the best Ohio political satire ever. But what if Anthony really did get a trip to the future with mini-John Candy in the shiny blue suit?    

BREAKING : Voters Remove Kasich From Office as Unemployment Climbs to 27%

     I have to admit, I was a little nervous about traveling four years into the future after drinking all that alcohol Tuesday night.
    There was Fisher, then Cordray, then the Governor, giving concession speeches on ONN. As I reached for a tissue to dry my eye, I slipped off the couch and hit my head on the coffee table. After what seemed like 10 minutes, I woke to find a small man dressed in a shiny blue suit standing beside a telephone booth–right in my living room. The whole thing was kind of like a scene from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, only the little man looked more like John Candy than George Carlin and the phone booth appeared to have wifi. But, whatever.
     Anyway, the small man asked if I'd seen enough of the results. "Yes," I replied, "more than enough."
     "Care to see what they've done tonight?," he asked in a tone that seemed to imply that I should.
     "What the hell," I said. "Let's take a look. Do I need a jacket?"
     "No, your boiling blood will keep you warm enough."
     We squeezed into the phone booth, this little man and I, and as he pressed "2-0-1-4," a flash of light appeared and we found ourselves standing in the exact same spot. Unfortunately the TV was still on, and I must admit, the thought of that electric bill sent a shiver up my spine.
     "What's going on here? Nothing seems to have changed that much," I said.
     "Wait...just...wait...," he replied.
     Just then the TV volume grew. "...And we're back on FOX:ONN Election Night Coverage with breaking news. Let's go down to Kasich Headquarters where Jim Heath is standing by."
     "Thanks, Arica. Senator Taylor just made her way to the podium to prepare the remaining staffers and supporters for the Governor's arrival."
     "Senator Taylor?!?!" I asked.
     "Yes, Mary Taylor replaced Vice President Portman when he..."
     "Phhhhwwwwwaaaaaattttt?," I shouted while taking a sip of the four year old Dortmunder still sitting on the table. "Did you say VICE PRESIDENT Portman?"
     "Why yes," little man said with a snicker. "He was elected along with our new President..."
     "NO! I don't want to know," I begged.
     "Fair enough. It's not important anyway."
    The TV blared louder again as Heath's voice boomed. "Governor Kasich and Lt. Governor Seth Morgan are about to take the stage. They are joined tonight by their families and some close friends, but sadly few others remain. As you know, the last four years have been trying times for our state, and frankly, even the faithful are ready to move on."
     "This looks like quite a party," I said, grinning smugly from ear-to-ear. "Let's hop on the 3C Rail and get there before the whole thing is over."
     "Passenger rail? You must be joking. John Kasich promised he'd kill passenger rail, and he did. What's worse, he took our existing rail system and loaded it up with freight cars filled with cheap imported crap from China. Ohio now leads the nation in two things : useless household junk from overseas, and traffic congestion."
     "But what about the jobs the rail system was going to create?" I wondered.
     "Those jobs obviously never happened. Dayton suffered. Cincinnati suffered. But worst of all, Cleveland suffered."
"Why? What happened in Cleveland?"
     "That's a tragedy top to bottom," said mini-John Candy shaking his head. "Not only did the rail project get derailed, Attorney General Mike DeWine was so busy trying to interfere with health care reform that when United Airlines pulled out of Cleveland, he simply didn't have time to hold their feet to the fire."
     "So Cleveland not only lost a major carrier, they lost their ability to serve as a rail center because Kasich never pursued high speed rail?"
     "That's right. but it gets worse," he said. "Remember Kasich's plan to have his hand-picked board of "business leaders" make decisions with Ohio's Third Frontier pool? Well, the Governor placed many of his Wall Street buddies on his JobsOhio board. And just like the Wall Street money, this money vanished as well. No investment in new technologies, just a bunch of random funding for random projects, making Kasich's friends richer while Ohioans foot the bill."
     "Schools?" I asked.
    "Gutted!" he said. "Kasich tried to force school district to merge or suffer funding cuts. He and the GOP legislature slashed education in the budget and left the poorest districts to die on the vine. Now test scores have dropped, buildings are crumbling, and even once strong districts are going broke as homeowners head into foreclosure and tax revenues disappear. And don't even get me started on higher education. With skyrocketing tuition and a dwindling enrollment, Ohio universities are stretched way too thin. Even Ohio State is struggling to field a competitive football team. Michigan has won the last three meetings. It got so bad, Tressel went to Penn State and replaced Joe Paterno. Then, when it couldn't get worse, Governor Kasich found pricey speaking gigs for his buddies. They show up to give a lecture on whatever they want, and the schools send them home with a fat check. No questions asked."
     "What else got slashed by Kasich and the GOP legislature?" I regretted saying out loud.
     "Libraries. Farm aid. Roads. Social services. Public safety. Prison guards. The state fair. And so much more."
     "That's a lot of stuff. Why so many deep cuts?" I asked. But I already knew the answer.
     "To pay for tax cuts, duh," he replied mockingly. "They chopped out the state income tax and now property taxes are through the roof. Except no one lives here anymore because they can't find work. And many of those still here haven't made a mortgage payment in months or years."
     "So what you're saying is Ohio is a complete and total mess now?"
     "Exactly. And with unemployment at 27%, and no hope for jobs anytime soon, the voters finally realized they didn't like the taste of John Kasich's tea. Now the Democrats have to clean up the mess again."
     "Take me back," I begged. "I've seen enough."
     The little man and I climbed back into the booth, he punched in 2-0-1-0, and before I knew it, I was back in my living room. I took three steps across the floor and fell back deep into the cushions of the couch.
     "Well, I'm glad it ends well." I told the little man as he began preparing to leave.
     "Well? You call that well? That, my friend, is a joke. And you let it happen."
     "I let it happen? I think you forgot who voted these fools in," I said in my standard, arrogant tone.
     "Dude, you let it happen every day since today. Every time you let them gut funding to a project. Every time they rammed a terrible bill through the legislature. Every time Kasich let another one of his buddies bleed this state for their own personal gain. It was all you.
     "So what do we do about it?" I asked.
     "You fight. You educate. You inform. You make it a point to block these thieves and liars at every turn. Organize. Grab the momentum. Force the change you've been fighting for these many years. To everything you can. Everything you can, except sit on that couch."
     With that, I reached for the remote and clicked off the TV. And as I did, the little man in the shiny suit with the time machine phone booth disappeared. I knew he was right. We have to stand up and keep fighting. But first, I'd need to sweep up the mess in this living room

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