Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Poseur) loves TV cameras more than that gay guy on The Real World. So you'd think he'd jump at the chance to debate primary opponent Barbara Ferris at the prestigious City Club.
But, alas, that would entail answering hard questions, like what he's accomplished with the nearly $5 million in federal money we've given him (counting his vanity presidential bid) since he was elected to Congress. So The Creepy Elf did what anyone who's posing as a standup West Side guy would do: He chickened out. Instead of showing up for the debate, he held a "summit" at his Lakewood office.
He thought he'd be safe talking to school administrators about his universal pre-kindergarten proposal -- especially since the bill will never pass, because Kucinich hasn't had a bill approved in 10 years in Congress.
But Ferris wasn't about to let The Elf hide. So she called him out at his made-for-TV summit.
"Mr. Kucinich," she interrupted, standing at the front of the room.
"Excuse me?" he peeped back.
"I just want to ask you why you refused to show up at the City Club today at noon for our debate," she said.
"You'll have to excuse me," said Dennis, apologizing to the crowd and trying not to show fear.
Though Ferris stood for a half-hour waiting for an answer, the summit ended without Kucinich getting his ass kicked.
"He almost was going to wet his pants," Ferris recalls. "What is he hiding from?"
Speaking of cowardice . . .
No one can fault Attorney General Jim Petro for having ignored a little thing called Coingate. After all, The Laziest Man in Law Enforcement was busy busting blind people.
In 2005, Petro began investigating WCRS, an Akron radio station that reads local publications to the blind ["Kill the Radio," March 29]. After a year of probing the nonprofit, Petro finally accused WCRS of numerous improprieties, including -- gasp! -- making donations to a baseball league for the blind.
But before the station was actually found guilty of anything, he yanked its license to sell instant-bingo tickets, which accounted for 85 percent of its funding. Unable to pay the electric bill, WCRS was forced to go off the air on March 26.
But last week, after receiving a donation from businessman Bob Taylor, WCRS was back on the air. "The battle's far from over," says operations manager Dave Loyd. Despite the reprieve, employees still aren't getting paid, nor has Petro made a final ruling on the case. "We're taking it day by day," Loyd says.
Petro couldn't be reached for comment. He was reportedly cracking down on guys in wheelchairs, and could not come to the phone.
If it oinks like a pig . . .
Last week, a national group opposed to pork-barrel spending stopped by Akron as part of a bus tour that's visiting the sites of Washington's dumbest spending.
Believe it or not, the federal government gave $500,000 to the University of Akron for its Hard Choices program, which teaches students -- get this -- how difficult it is to balance the federal budget.
Of course, it might be a whole lot less difficult if you didn't throw around 500 grand to educate people on your difficulties, but this is Congress we're talking about.
"We're trying to make the point that the process is corrupted," says Annie Patnaude, spokeswoman for Americans for Prosperity, which is leading the tour. "We can't rebuild the levies in New Orleans, but we're spending $500,000 on the Hard Choices program?"
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently produced a TV ad urging viewers to boycott Kentucky Fried Chicken. The ad, narrated by Pamela Anderson, accuses KFC's suppliers of being mean to fowl about to enter new careers as extra crispy. It includes footage of chickens being stomped on, thrown against walls, and scalded to death in defeathering tanks.
But unless you log onto KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, you'll never see it. All of the city's stations rejected the ad, citing its graphic nature or a "conflict of interest" with other advertisers, says PETA's Matt Prescott.
(Channel 19 reportedly rejected it because the chickens wouldn't show any cleavage.)
According to Prescott, Cleveland's the largest market to ban the spot, following backwaters like El Paso, Texas; Montgomery, Alabama; and Lexington, Kentucky, all rumored to be places in America.
Spraying it to The Man
Tired of ripping open official "City of Cleveland" envelopes to see a $300 ticket, apparently issued for speeding through a red light at 4 a.m. on Chester when no one else was around?
Now there's a solution for Cleveland's pesky traffic cameras. Various companies are selling "photo blocker," a Windex-like formula that's sprayed on license plates. When the traffic camera attempts to take a picture of your plate, the blocker reflects the flash back to the camera, resulting in an overexposed picture. Distributors promise a 70 percent success rate.
Punch can't vouch for their effectiveness, but we do know where to score 'em cheap. Though they're selling for $37.50 on cable, they're going for $17.50 on Amazon.
Secretary of State Uncle Tom Blackwell, the zaniest man in politics, has been busy collecting endorsements from All the Big Names for his gubernatorial bid.
He's already landed a psycho (former Georgia Governor Zell Miller) and a pervert (Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff). Now he's scored a degenerate.
Most public officials would shy away from an endorsement by Newt Gingrich. The former House Speaker left his post eight years ago after he was fined $300,000 for funneling money from tax-exempt charities to Republican causes. He also asked for a divorce from his wife while she was in the hospital, which we're pretty sure is Not What Jesus Would Do.
(When contacted by phone, an irritated Jesus replied: "You're bothering me about a newt?")
But to Uncle Tom, Newt's backing is like being blessed by the Pope. "I am honored to have the support of a true hero in the conservative movement," he said in a press release.
Now, if only he could get Jack Abramoff to return his calls . . .