Ryan’s trip to a Youngstown soup kitchen backfires

By , October 27, 2012 | 6:05 pm | 0 Comment

Ryan’s trip to a Youngstown soup kitchen backfires

ONUMBA.COM – It goes without saying that no Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, which easily explains why the Romney campaign is pouring gobs of wampum in the Buckeye State.

But just how bad does Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney really want to win Ohio’s 18 electoral votes?

Apparently, bad enough that Romney said this, “We need to win Ohio. If we win Ohio, we take back America.”

And bad enough that his 42-year old running mate Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan last week took over a soup kitchen in Youngstown for a photo-op without gaining permission from the president of the facility.

But it wasn’t just Ryan being in the kitchen that was the kicker. It was what he did when he got there. While in the kitchen, Ryan, who was decked out in a white apron, was photographed washing pots and pans that appeared very clean.

It was a 15-minute visit to the soup kitchen for a photo-op that went terribly awry. It resulted in a pointless publicity for the Romney campaign, forcing it to explain why Ryan snuck into a soup kitchen pretending to be washing dishes without asking the president of the facility if it was OK to do so.

Ryan offered explanation for what he was doing in a soup kitchen.

“We just wanted to come by and say thanks for doing what you do,” Ryan said. “This is what makes society go. It makes it work. Helping people.”

That was a nice clarification , but the president of the facility didn’t appreciate it.

“We are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Brian Antal told the Washington Post, as he kvetched that Ryan pretty much
“ramrodded their way” into the facility without asking the people who runs the place.

It all begs the fundamental question: Why was it that important for Ryan to be seen in a soup kitchen to start with?

That’s easy. For one thing, for politicians running for office, it seemingly conveys, even if it is phony, a connection to struggling hoipolloi.

For another, especially in this case, it might be a continuation of Ryan’s effort during his debate with opponent Joe Biden to debunk the notion that the Romney campaign is only looking out for millionaires and billionaires and intrinsically detached from the pain and concerns of average folks.

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus. He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com / Copyright 2012 Onumba.com.

The information contained in the Onumba.com news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of Onumba Media Group (OMG).


Commentary , Politics

A conversation series: One-on-One with Ohio Black legislators debuts in the Call & Post, Onumba.com

By , June 9, 2011 | 12:21 am | 0 Comment

A conversation series:  One-on-One with Ohio Black legislators debuts in the Call & Post, Onumba.com

ONUMBA.COM – The protracted paucity of fresh postings on onumba.com is obvious, to say the very least.  We certainly regret it.  Over the last couple of weeks, it may have appeared as though we dropped everything and embarked on a fun-filled vacation.  But that wasn’t it.  Actually, the explanation for our rare taciturn is quite contrary to such perfectly understandable speculation. 

The thing is, because we pride ourselves in pursuing topical news to offer our readers quality product, not just chucking stuff out there just to fill up the space, we have been busy working to bring you a healthy mix of news reporting, political analysis and most recently, the best of interviews with newsmakers in Ohio, including our plan to offer a rare penetrating peep into the life, career and thinking of the men and women who represent the Ohio African-American community in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.

We have been putting all of this together and the result is something that has never been done before, certainly not to our knowledge.  And that is, Ike Mgbatogu, the Call & Post and Onumba.com columnist will be sitting down with each member of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC), in a wide-raging, meaty conversation over a gallimaufry of subjects including their background, politics, faith, future plans, their dreams and aspirations growing up.  The lawmakers will also discuss a miscellany of other issues including diversity and inclusion, their heroes, their views on Malcolm X, what they think about Africa; whether they have been there or even care to go.

The parley on politics and government will navigate the shoals of party partisanship as it interfaces with the anfractuosity of governance, where each member will tell us what they make of Gov. Kasich, his first 100 days in office, his policies, and his support for controversial Senate Bill 5, House Bill 1, and the $55.6 billion biannual budget.  They will tell us whether they have met the governor one-on-one and how that played out, obviously, mindful of the frosty and tumultuous nature of the relationship between Kasich and members of the caucus.

So, the next time you see Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard, who recently had her one-on-one with Ike, fighting and defending programs for the poor, the middle-class and the minority communities, think of her as an intensely progressive politician who, believe it or not, never planned to be in politics, but rather, was earlier in her life on a confident trajectory to become a ballet dancer, an actress and a singer, the “next Lena Horne,” if you will. 

Also, think of her as a profoundly devoted public servant who was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., (not in Akron where she grew up) with a Godfather from Nigeria, friends in Ghana and a ferocious desire to travel the African continent she holds exceedingly dear as her beloved ancestral home.

The full interview of each member will appear each week in the Call & Post Newspaper, with intriguing excerpts posted here in Onumba.com that week, and then the full interview the week after.

All told, expect a landfill of information from this.

Rep. Heard’s ‘one-on-one with Ike Mgbatogu’ is on this week’s Call & Post issue.

Now, having said all that, it is quite possible there are some folks (and there’s no rosy way to say this) who may be totally oblivious to all of this, or may not even know who their representative are, or perhaps belong to a phalanx of the politically aloof crowd who take the work of these legislators for granted. 

But just so all of you know, the 15 members of the OLBC are collectively, without a doubt, the loudest and most effective voice of the Black community in Ohio government.  With a commendable mix of diligence and vigor, they form a plexus of relentless bulwark and cathead of minority vigilance fighting back a tide of legislative proposals they believe to be hostile and baneful to the interest of the Black community. 

In short, without this covey of folks, African-Americans could be the first to be “run over” by that proverbial “bus” that tough talking Kasich talked about shortly after he took office.

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

Copyright 2011 Onumba.com. The information contained in the Onumba.com news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of Onumba Media Group.


Editor's Choice , Featured , Politics , State of Ohio

Columbus man is seeking to lead warring Somalia

By , December 5, 2010 | 2:29 am | 0 Comment

Columbus man is seeking to lead warring Somalia

ONUMBA.COM – Mahatma Ghandi’s words that we should be the “change we want to see in the world,” is probably no more than just a lofty cliché for a lot of people.

But for one Columbus resident, it has become much more than that. 

It’s also a call to action.

Abdulkadir “Fish” Ali said that it’s time to rescue his war-battered homeland from the mean-spirited grip of politicians he characterized as “inhumane, unwise and heartless.”  These folks, he said, have for years fanned the flame of a vicious conflict that has brought Somalia to its knees. 

Yet, through it all, Ali, like other Somalis, paced the sideline with hands folded as their troubled homeland ravaged in deepening squalor.

But that was then.

In an interview last week, the 52-year old Ali told the Call & Post that he has seen enough.

“I came to the conclusion that I can no more be an indifferent spectator of the calamity that has befallen on my beloved country of Somalia,” said Ali.  That conflict has shredded Somalia into rubbles of despair, leaving its hapless citizens dangling in endless brutal hostilities, which started in 1991 after the collapse of Siad Barre’s government. 

Ali, who was the Chairman of the Somali Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, announced last week that he is a candidate for president of Somalia in the upcoming 2011 election under the mantra:  “2011 New Hope for Somalia.”   

He described the existing political arrangements and behavior of current crop of Somali politicians as “unacceptable.”

Most Somalis would certainly agree with that assessment.  The East African nation is currently ripping itself apart in a conflict that has robbed it of an effective government for nearly 20 years. 

What’s worse, there appears to be no end to the anarchy in sight.

In the Diaspora, war-fatigued Somalis residing in the United States and elsewhere pray for a leader capable of rescuing their torn-up homeland from lawlessness to make room for peace and stability. 

But they are clinging on to very little hope that it would happen.

Ali, though frustrated, remains optimistic.

 ”I am not one of those who gave up hope on Somalia, because I love my people and I love my country,” he said.  “I believe our good days are ahead of us, all we need is to make the right choice this time around.”

That right choice is his candidacy.  “I have a plan,” he said.

The linchpin of that plan is to “restore our statehood and rebuild our country,” he said, promising “to build a strong Somali army” to rid the nation of meddlesome foreign forces. 

Ali vowed to “stop and eliminate the senseless bloodshed.”

“It is very painful,” he said, decrying the mindless destruction playing out in Somalia today.

A major part of the country’s woes, said Ali, is caused by the current Somali leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.  In his eyes, Ahmed is simply not up to the job of delivering peace and stability to the country.

However, Ali wasn’t always against Ahmed. 

When Ahmed visited Columbus in 2009, Ali wholeheartedly supported him.  He even gave an inspiring speech at Ahmed’s welcoming clambake held at Villa Milano where he expressed the view that “he is our best chance to lead Somalia to peace and stability.”

Well, Ahmed is yet to do that, and Ali now doesn’t think he is going to.

“It’s time for a new leadership,” he said, promising to run a government rooted in “honesty, integrity and accountability.”

“We cannot wait for another 20 years for something to happen,” he said.  “We want to take back our country from corrupt politicians.”

Asked why he turned against President Ahmed, Ali replied, “Reality.  The president had enough time to show leadership, but he has not.”

As for why he supported Ahmed before, Ali said it was largely because of his background, alluding to the fact that Ahmed was part of the Islamic Court regime that was generally lauded for ruling Mogadishu “peacefully.”

“We thought he would show leadership,” said Ali.

But Ali’s candidacy may run into a hurdle from the fact that the United States and the international community are reportedly rooting for Somalia’s current regime to succeed.  It remains unclear whether such support will translate into a policy to have Ahmed remain as president. 

Either way, Ali is forging ahead believing that, “The U.S. is supporting the wrong leadership in Mogadishu.”  Despite all that support, the government is still unable to fend off its formidable foe, al-Shabaab, which reportedly has ties to al-Qaeda.

Currently, Somalia is ungovernable.  A mix of sustained hostilities and sporadic flare-ups has engulfed the impoverished Muslim nation, forcing thousands to flee to neighboring countries, the United States and elsewhere.

At the height of Somali conflict, a stampede of warlords scrimmaging for power littered the scene of a ruptured country carved up into hostile clan-based fiefdoms.

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

Editor's Choice , Featured , Immigrant Community , People , Politics