25 November 2005

Iraq Soldier Says "Go Bengals!"

Seen last night on The Jimmy Kimmel Show: he talked to a group of soldiers and they went around and each said their name and hometown. Sure enough, there was one from Cincinnati and he said "Go Bengals!"

We're thinking about you, too, my friend. Hope you'll be back soon to enjoy the games with all of us.

22 November 2005

A Response to Schmidt's Statement

In her statement, Schmidt sticks to the pattern of prevarication that has already come to characterize her in just a few months on the job. After reading it, I can't help but recall the previous post, "Jean Schmidt Helps Toe Party Line." A closer look at her statement:

"Since that moment I have been attacked from across the country by the left."
The definition of “left” is not “everyone who disagrees with me.” The people who have been criticizing Schmidt since before the election come from across the political spectrum. Cincinnatians are aware of how unpopular she has been among a significant portion of conservatives and Republicans, but perhaps the rest of the country is not.

"I never meant to attack Congressman Murtha personally."
It’s clear from Schmidt’s statement that her remarks were (a) insulting and of a personal nature, and (b) directed at Rep. Murtha. Therefore this is a lie. Moreover, she violated House rules as well as her own pledge of personal conduct.

"But this story has been way too focused on me, my conviction and word selection. Instead this story should be focused on the extremely poor policy the minority now propose."
Such attempts to divert the public’s attention from failed policies and constant attack-style politicking are not working as well as they have in the past. Schmidt is hardly in a position to call anything else “poor policy” as the lowest ranking member of Congress and a member of the party that has done little else EXCEPT fail.

No, the focus should not be on how all your Party's failures are the Democrats’ fault; that’s classic narcissism. The focus should be on the outrageous corruption behind the neocon war plan.

"I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening."
Schmidt’s campaign personally attacked Marine Paul Hackett just a few months ago. Now she has made a personal attack upon another Marine, John Murtha. And she pledges blind loyalty to the party that trashed veterans John McCain, John Kerry, and Max Cleland—all of them decorated soldiers.

Mrs. Schmidt will not get any sympathy for receiving personal attacks. Certainly not in this case, when she herself opened the door with invective and partisanship.

"First and foremost I support the troops."
I don't believe Schmidt is lying; however, it's a false statement. In my opinion, Schmidt does not know what this really means, and she really does believe that her blind ideology is pro-military and patriotic. So it's not part of the pattern of prevarication, but it is part of the ancilliary ignorance that allows people to draw conclusions without critical analysis.

"I strongly oppose withdrawing our troops until we give them a chance to do what we sent them there to accomplish. They haven’t failed us. We must not fail them."
You have already failed them.

U.S. troops were sent in to establish a corporate-run state (“democracy” to neocons). That is the goal of Iraqi occupation. Had the neocons not been such idiotic war planners, they might have pulled off the boondoggle quickly and no one would have noticed the scam.

Most Americans are ignorant of the corporate takeover and the media is still too lazy and corrupt to report it, but they will notice that soldiers keep dying and money keeps bleeding and nothing seems to be getting better. Eventually they will ask why and demand answers.

- - -

Rep. Schmidt's statement reveals what 'damage control' means to the GOP. To those who hold principle and personal integrity in high regard, the damage done here was to the honor of a respected U.S. veteran and member of Congress. To the GOP, the damage was to the party.

If Schmidt was a person of honor and integrity, she would have ignored the political considerations and taken full personal responsibility for her words. That would have been a non-partison statement from an official to her constitutents. But that is not what she did. Instead, she chose to lie about her intentions and EXACERBATE partisanship by putting forth divisive partisan rhetoric.

Rep. Schmidt's statement falls short of apologizing or explaining her behavior. She does not even suggest that she will do better. It is unclear whether she even understands that she did something wrong. If her statement signifies anything, it is that the GOP stands by their doctrine of failed policies and personal invectives against those who demand better.

New Memo Says Bush Wanted to Bomb Al-Jazeera

LONDON (AP) -- A civil servant has been charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera. [full story]

Democratic Leaders Should Pay Attention

From an editorial at American Firearms, the site of the Professional Gun Retailers Association:

“As a person who was once very active in the Democratic Party…I liked Howard Dean. I saw, and still see Dean as a Gorbachev for the Democratic Party. I see Dean as somebody who could have been an effective Party reformer. Those Democrats who endorsed Dean: like President Carter, Al Gore, Senators Bradley and Harkin and other thinking Democrats, they made the correct choice.” In retrospect, Kerry, Mr. perfect hair at the head of the ticket, he lost the Presidential race, lost the Senate races and House races, and most of the races for Governor, so if Dean had run he couldn’t have been a bigger loser…”

“The Republicans think of Dean as a joke, but their
[sic] wrong. Dean will identify the main weaknesses of the Democratic Party and create perceptions that will in part correct those weaknesses.”

Will the Dems have better judgment in '08, or will they find a way to lose an easy election for the 3rd time in a row?

A Peek Into the Future, Pt. 2

The other day I posted an entry comparing the woes of American auto companies with the rising fortunes of the Asian economy. Just today GM announced massive reductions on top of Ford’s. Both companies seem to be okay for now, but their futures are uncertain.

This is a bit of a bummer, at least symbolically.

It’s hard to be sympathetic, considering the companies are in this situation for no other reason than boardroom stupidity. To be faced with the exact same problem and make the same disastrous mistake (within a generation, no less) is, in my judgment, incompetence. Should there not be an outcry for accountability from the boards of these companies? Should we not be talking about the ills of having industries driven by quarterly profit reports rather than long-term solvency?

21 November 2005

Why Ugly Men Want to Pollute

The latest evidence reveals why unattractive men (sure, let’s pick on him again) might prefer a polluted world.

Today's Jean Schmidt Links

The NYTimes has an article on the row.

Here's a worthwhile blog entry from a woman who lived on Schmidt's street when they were kids.

A cartoon by Danzinger.

Read what the group Veterans for Justice thinks about Schmidt and her ilk. And in case you forgot, Jean Schmidt has no military experience and John Murtha has plenty.

A blog named People of Seabrook gives Schmidt the coveted Dumbass Award.

And some lady somewhere came up with a couple of Schmidt limericks.

20 November 2005

Pssst... Hey Kid, You Wanna See the Future?

As one powerful nation fades away:

Ford Motor Co. plans to eliminate about 4,000 white-collar jobs in North America early next year as part of what the automaker has called a painful but essential restructuring plan. [AP story]

General Motors Corp is expected to unveil sweeping plant closures and job cuts in coming days, in response to falling market share and revenues, analysts say. [Economic Times]

Others rise to take its place:

Toyota Motor Corp. grabbed more U.S. retail market share than Ford Motor Co. in early November and it was less than one share point behind General Motors Corp., J.D. Power and Associates said on Friday. [Reuters]

Automobile exports from India moved up 33 per cent in the seven months of this fiscal, boosted by healthy demand for two-wheelers and commercial vehicles... [Economic Times]

China will buy 70 Boeing 737 airliners, a U.S. official said Saturday as President Bush arrived on a visit expected to include discussion of Beijing's surging trade surplus with the United States. [AP story]

19 November 2005

Mrs. Schmidt and Colonel Bubp

Blogesque looks into the matter of just who is Mrs. Schmidt's little Marine friend and what kind of person is he?

Ohio State 25, Michigan 21

Not precisely the 24-20 final I predicted, but not bad, eh? I thank you in advance for your genuflections.

And tomorrow it's the Bengals turn. I bought some meat & cheese at Avril's deli on Court St. this morning (I like their rare roast beef) and the cashier bellowed "Who-Dey" as I turned to walk out.

Corporate Media, Schmidt, and Lindner

News of Schmidt’s folly is all over the grassroots media. What about the corporate media?

As of 9 a.m. Saturday morning, only The Enquirer has an article on Schmidt's folly (“Schmidt causes ruckus in House debate on Iraq”). It also has the article “Lindner buys $300,000 worth of police radios for Norwood.”

Nothing in The Post about Schmidt or Lindner.

Nothing on WCPO about Schmidt, but they do have the article “Carl Lindner Buying Norwood Radios.”

Nothing on WKRC about Schmidt, but they do report “Lindner buying police radios for Norwood.”

FOX19 has a few sentences under the heading “House Democrat Demanding Iraqi Withdrawl. [sic]” Pretty different heading than “Schmidt causes ruckus in House debate on Iraq,” huh? It doesn’t even mention Schmidt. FOX19 also has the article “Norwood Gets Radios Thanks To Carl Linder.”

WLWT: Nothing on Schmidt; something on Lindner: “Lindner Buys Police $300,000 In New Radios.”

(FYI: The Lindner family gave over $30,000 to Schmidt’s campaign).

So The Enquirer is the only local corporate media to report on Schmidt’s folly. How did they do? Not too bad, but here’s a couple of things from the article I noticed:

Dressed in a red, white and blue suit, Schmidt, a Clermont County Republican and the most junior member of the House, took to the floor to protest the resolution.

Dressed in a red, white and blue suit. Jean Schmidt’s sartorial profile is hardly relevant to this matter. I presume this is The Enquirer’s gauche attempt to paint Schmidt as a patriotic.

The House took a 10-minute recess as Schmidt was told to stop talking. Democrats called for her remarks to be stricken from the official transcript, but Republicans ruled that the remarks would be reported.

Based on the video I saw, it was not Democrats who called for her remarks to be stricken. It was she herself who requested this. Democrats suggested tabling the resolution for another day (since Schmidt basically shot this day to hell) and voiced no objection to her request that her remarks be stricken.

18 November 2005

Even Low Expectations Prove Too High for Jean Schmidt

I could hardly have been more on-target about invertebrate sycophant Jean Schmidt (below). Get the whole scoop at Political Cortex, who has the complete play-by-play.

Be sure to watch the video of Schmidt's speech, where tries to paint John Murtha a coward and the Marines as heroes. The chamber erupts in boos (Murtha was a Marine for 37 years. He also earned the Bronze Star, two purple hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. And for the last thirty years he's been one of the most respected voices in Congress on military issues -- universally respected by Democrats, Republicans and military brass alike).

And there's much more, so check it out if you can stomach it.

I also wonder if the House leadership chose Schmidt for the statement. It makes sense because the GOP knows they are toast on this issue. Anyone who makes a statement risks losing serious credibility, so who better to pick than Schmidt, who has very little? If it works, then it's win-win, but if it doesn't, then Schmidt is damaged more than the party, and she can be replaced soon, anyway, so the party doesn't have to carry the baggage.

So let's remember: it's not just Schmidt, it's the whole Party. This is one flare-up among so many others. That's how hemorrhoids are. You can't just keep treating the flare-ups, you have to take the big step and get the surgery. And we need to have the surgery, folks. It's just going to be one flare-up after another until we make the political system bend over and we take out those painful, irritating blood vessels swollen with corporate lobbyists.

Jean Schmidt Helps Toe Party Line

Jean Schmidt is the perfect GOP official. She has no political views of her own and toes the party line completely. She is neither smart, well-informed, or independent. She made no secret of this during her campaign, as she annoyingly seemed to answer every question with "I support the President's position..."

Schmidt displayed her blind loyalty this week when she joined a chorus of Republicans in denouncing gutsy John Murtha's call to quit fucking around in Iraq. The NYTimes has transcribed the press conference; scroll to the end for Schmidt's portion.

It remains to be seen who Schmidt's competition will be in next year's election and whether she can hang on, but here's what one Ohio blogger thinks of what OH-2 did last time:

Congratulations, OH-2's GOP voters. You had the chance to elect Iraq veteran Paul Hackett (who actually has some clue of what the war over there is actually like) and instead you elected this stupid cow. Well done.

That's how people feel about Schmidt. Whatever her political views, Jean Schmidt is a person of such meager intellect and character that she cannot be considered suitable for Congress. OH-2 is lucky it gets another chance next year; they won't have Hackett on the ballot, but they can certainly do better than Schmidt.

What about Jeff Sinnard? His social conservatism is sure to be a hit out in the burbs and on the farms. And Victoria Wells-Wulsin's public health background could benefit OH-2 directly and maybe even kickstart some progress on health care in Congress. On the Republican side, I think Bob McEwen is still considering the Senate and I don't think Brinkman is getting the thumbs up from anyone. McEwen could certainly win since he came in a close 2nd last time.

Anyone except Schmidt.

17 November 2005

DeWine's Record "Shameful," Says Vet.

As an addendum to the post below, more information is available about DeWine's voting record on Veteran's benefits from another army veteran, who describes the record as "shameful."

Strong word. Will this issue come back to haunt DeWine in the election?

(Orig. post at the OH-2 Blog.)

16 November 2005

Sen. DeWine Rights a Wrong

The Senate just passed the 2006 Defense Authorization Bill (S. 1042) which includes an extension added by Mike DeWine to allow children of soldiers K.I.A. to receive health insurance beyond the 3 years originally provided. DeWine said the extension would end what amounted to punishment for the families whose sacrifice was the greatest.

He's right. But interestingly, the extension only 'de-punishes' children, not spouses. Does anyone else see the irony in nickel-and-diming poor military families while military contractors make record profits?

Nevertheless, Sen. DeWine is to be commended for trying to right a wrong. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and presume he would have done this whether it was an election year or not, but I won't be surprised when it shows up as a talking point to help him campaign against the Major.

The House still has to pass its version of the bill, but its version does not include the extension. So it remains to be seen what will end up in the final compromise bill.

The families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country deserve health insurance. Period. I personally think they deserve 4 years of college, too.

Send an email to your House member and tell him/her to support an extension for military health insurance in H.R. 1815.

Click here to email Steve Chabot

Click here to email Jean Schmidt

Ohio Needs More College Grads

The Ohio Board of Regents wants to increase college enrollment by 30% over the next ten years. As pointed out previously on this blog, Ohio is bleeding students and young professionals. This trend must be reversed if Ohio is to maintain economic competitiveness and QOL.

The Cincinnati Business Courier reports:

"While 24.4 percent of adults nationwide had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2000, only 21.1 percent in Ohio did, according to U.S. Census figures. Enrollment at Ohio colleges rose 14 percent from 1997 to 2004. But during that period, enrollment in a six-state region that includes Ohio went up 17 percent, and enrollment nationwide rose 21 percent, regents statistics show.

...Ohio's obstacle will be finding the $15 million to $20 million the 10-year endeavor would cost."

I can't wait for lobbyists (including Luken, perhaps?) to start yapping about how it should be funded with casinos.

15 November 2005

Dave Lapham’s Rx for the Bengals

Player-cum-analyst Dave Lapham suggested the following 3 things would be key to the Bengals’ staying competitive in the 2nd half of the season:

Turnovers: They won all 6 games in which they were (+) in turnovers and were 1-2 in the games where they broke even (no negative games). Lapham said this has been a key factor, especially in the first 5 games. What has really made the difference, though, is not just the turnovers, but the points off turnovers. The Bengals scored 70 pts. off turnovers in the first several games. It’s been a huge factor.

Red Zone Offense: Lapham says the Bengals need to score TDs in the Red Zone 60% of the time and hold the opponent to under 40%.

Third Down Conversions: Bengals have to make 3rd downs at least 10% more of the time than the opponent.

If they can do these three things and keep penalites under control, the Bengals would be strong postseason contenders.

How to Solve the Union "Problem"

An interesting idea from BadTux on how to level the playing field for union vs. boardroom.

Travesty of Justice in Libya

I hadn't heard about this story before last night: the Libyan government has accused 6 hospital workers, all foreign nationals (1 Palestinian, 5 Bulgarians) of intentionally infecting hundreds of children with HIV.

The international community is protesting, since it's obvious that Libya is using the workers as patsies to cover up poor hospital practices. But so far efforts have been futile. The workers have been imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to death. And they are running out of options.

14 November 2005

Read This Before Your Next Campaign

A list of do's and don'ts to marketing your candidacy online. A great set of rules for the 21st-century campaign, and a 'must read' for any campaign worker.

You Say Torture, I Say Tomaahto

We do NOT torture.

Nevertheless, it's important to give the CIA exemptions, even though they don't need any. And this article doesn't prove anything because, as I said, we do NOT torture. We just need the exemption. You wouldn't understand. It's a black thing.

13 November 2005

Taxes Are for Chumps

Instead of levying taxes (which the Bible points out are "Satan's tolls" in Republicans 3:16), how about charging "user fees" to citizens (see this previous post) or billing their auto insurance companies for reimbursement if emergency services are required at an accident?

It's obviously still a tax, but it's a "hidden" tax and it's only levied on citizens that use it rather than all citizens. Several major Ohio cities already do this, and Columbus is about to join the club.

I wonder why (a) so many municipalities are facing shortfalls in emergency funding and (b) how it can be better to fund services with large user fees for a small number of citizens rather than low taxes for a large number of citizens?

I know part of the reason for (a) is Ohio's lousy economy (Ohio ranked 46th in terms of average annual growth rate in Gross State Product from '97-'03), but the economic boondoggles of the Ohio Republicans have really added insult to injury.

In a state where major cities can't fund their emergency services, there's no excuse for passing tax cuts for the wealthiest nor for the top 50 corporations to have paid zero taxes.

There are people out there enjoying the libertarian utopia--no taxes and all the perks-- they're just not you.

11 November 2005

Accidental Time Warp

This is an interesting site: a photographer seeks out old cameras with film still inside them. He buys the cameras, develops the film, and posts the shots on this web page. Very interesting.

Props to local blogger Lewis Riley.

Homosexual Defeats Homophobe for Council Seat

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS-- Closet homosexual Rev. Jimmie Hicks, Jr. lost his bid for a council seat to openly gay Mark Tumeo. No word yet from Pat Robertson on what the city can expect in the way of God's wrath.

Full Deck Continues to Elude Pat Robertson

Yep, God called Pat again and gave him this message. You have been warned.

By the way, is he still operating tax-free?

18-Year Old Mayor is Interviewed

Go here to link to Keith Olberman's interview with Hillsdale, Michigan's new 18-year-old mayor elect, Michael Sessions.

10 November 2005

Enquirer and Post Losing Subscribers

Both papers lost 3300 subscribers in the past 6 months. Is this because SW Ohio has experienced a net loss of people in the past 6 months? Is it because new media is replacing old media? Or is it because people have noticed a difference between news and propaganda and aren't interested in a paper that delivers a dearth of the former and a plethora of the latter?

Would you say they have a plethora? Si, senor, they have a plethora.

Purple People Bridge Idea is Over-the-Top

Just a couple of weeks ago I made a post about the transfer of ownership of the Purple People Bridge and wondered whether "the transfer of ownership to a local entity may bring some exciting and creative things to the bridge."

Indeed it has!

09 November 2005

Dorothy, You're Not In Reality Anymore

Pennsylvania's reality-based community came out on election day, ousting 8 out of 9 school board wackos who backed creationism.

Kansas still has a way to go, unfortunately. There's no place like home school... there's no place like home school...

If Your Kindergarten Teacher Is Behaving Strangely

Then you should take note of this story:

Lynne Filippini, 47, was teaching at French Valley Elementary School about 65 miles north of San Diego on Tuesday when "other teachers noticed she was acting strange," said Earl Quinata, a Riverside County Sheriff's spokesman.

Turns out she was on meth.

Gigantopithecus Blackii Is Not A Porn Actor

It was a giant gorilla—the largest primate ever, in fact—and it roamed around southeast Asia until it went extinct 100,000 years ago. It stood 10 feet tall and weighed over half a ton.

Humans were already populating the world during the giant gorilla’s time, so you’re mega-great grandaddy probably saw a few… but don’t tell that to an American!

Top 8 Fundraisers Get Council Seats

8 out of the top 9 fundraisers got Council seats this year. The only exception was 9th-place fundraiser Christopher Smitherman, who was replaced by Cecil Thomas from down the list at no. 16.

Despite the 90% correlation between being among the top 9 fundraisers and winning one of the 9 Council seats, there was minimal correlation between the amount of money raised and the number of votes received (0.105).

The average dollars-per-vote for the 9 winners was $4.63. The range with Std Dev is $2.11 to $7.15. Only two candidates fell outside this range: Jeff Berding had the most at $8.94 and Cecil Thomas had the least at $0.77.

Perhaps the most telling statistic comes from the next 9 finishers: the average dollars-per-vote for them was $1.76. This figure is far lower than that of the winner's group. One candidate, Gerry Kraus, did average out to $4.31 per vote, but to no avail. She turned out to be the "losing" exception and Cecil Thomas the "winning" exception.

The top 5 white finishers raised $160k (+/- $66k) which is an average of $5.30 per vote received.
The top 5 black finishers raised $43k (+/- $19k) which is an average of $1.70 per vote received.

08 November 2005

GOP Officials Still Plagued by Avian Stupidity Virus

State Rep. Courtney Combs, who we've previously surmised has his head up his ass, is now exchanging unpleasantries with Butler County Commissioner Michael Fox, who is an ass.

At least these two Republicans have the modicum of maturity to use words, which is more than can be said for these three.

Election Predictions

Mayor: Mallory will be elected mayor by a wider margin than expected;



Issue 1: YES
Issue 2: YES
Issue 3: YES
Issue 4: NO
Issue 5: NO

Issue 8: YES
Issue 9: NO

04 November 2005

State Issue Endorsements

Issue 1: NO

The goals of Issue 1 are worthwhile: high-tech job creation, economic development and university R&D. So how did it end up as mostly another corporate welfare program? Probably because it has some of Taft’s genes.

Issue 2: NO

This bill is not the answer to long voting lines; better (and fairer) election management is (see Issue 5). Furthermore, I share the concern that expanding early voting concomitantly expands opportunities for fraud and error. It might be a case of one step forward and two steps back.

I also don’t understand why this requires a constitutional amendment and not just a law.

Issue 3: YES

Of course Ohio needs campaign finance reform. After passing last year’s insulting House Bill 1 that blatantly skewed campaign rules to favor one party and their special interests (see this article), reform is badly needed to level the playing field. The special interests’ campaign to defeat Issue 3 ignores its background and grabs at air with moot talking points about out-of-state money.

Again, I don’t understand why it has to be a constitutional amendment instead of a law, but the need for campaign finance reform is so critical that this just has to be done. It’s been one corruption story after another this entire year. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing that Ohio’s government is characterized by corruption, and we should take this opportunity to change that.

Issue 4: NO

This was a tough one. The benefit is that this issue will take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and into those of an independent commission’s. Politicians should not be in charge of drawing their district lines because they have a conflict of interest. The formula authorized by this issue to create more competitive districts is a better system.

But the disadvantage is that the formula only takes into account the two major parties. I view this as a serious disadvantage because the two-party duopoly stifles the marketplace of ideas and produces worse government than is otherwise possible. It is critical that third parties and independents acquire a greater presence in government, and this bill does not allow that.

Once again, if this issue were a law, then I would probably vote ‘yes’ because I think it would be easier to diversify the political marketplace under a competitive-districting system than the current "self preservation-" districting system, and it would be easier in the future to amend legislation than to amend (again) the constitution. But making it an amendment is too much.

Issue 5: YES

The Secretary of State is in charge of election oversight, and that means there is a clear conflict of interest for him to also be in charge of a campaign. I would never have expected that anyone would actually have the sass and/or poor judgment to actually do this, but that was before Ken Blackwell. Let’s not have any more of that nonsense.

03 November 2005

Local Issue Endorsements

Issue 8: NO

Issue 8 is the kind of political gimmick that appeals to people who watch local news. The only rationale for this issue is that Council salaries are (a) unreasonably high for (b) part-time employees. If this is the case, I suggest (a) changing the formula at the statehouse (to 50%, for example), or (b) making Council a full-time job. And voting for this issue out of fiscal constraint is like rejecting the sunroof option on your new Mercedes to save money. Council spends far more on corporate welfare and out-of-state consultants.

Issue 9: NO

Even my rudimentary understanding of fiscal management and tax policy is enough to recognize this issue as piece of junk. The fact that COAST would put forth such a fiscally catastrophic proposal (now for the second time) totally discredits them as pro-Cincinnati group. I would take COAST much more seriously if they recognized that corporate tax loopholes shift the burden to individuals, and that eliminating those loopholes would level the playing field and lower individual taxation.

City Council Endorsements

Clark Street's Council endorsements are below. Key considerations in the selection process were:

Does the candidate have a vision of what the city can be like in the future and can he/she develop sensible, creative ideas that lead there?

Does the candidate have the intellect to understand and critically analyze the range of issues that may come before council (policy, administration, economics, technology, etc.)?

Can the candidate work well with a team? Council will have difficulty implementing policies and dealing with crises if it cannot work cohesively and efficiently. Candidates with “issues” are a red flag.

Council should reflect the city’s diversity to at least some extent (geographic, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic).

Samantha Herd
Paul McGhee
David Crowley
Wendell Young
Cecil Thomas
John Cranley
Christopher Smitherman
Nick Spencer
John Eby

It’s disappointing to end up with only 1 woman, but I won’t add another woman just for balance. Maybe next time I’ll end up with 8 women and 1 man. I’d pay a poll tax to see that.

I like the idea of district voting more than the idea of Jeff Berding on Council.

Chris Bortz’s association with Towne Properties was all it took for me to reject him. Developers are the antithesis of smart growth and the last thing we need on Council is more influence from developers and home builders.

A final thanks to all the candidates who stepped up to the plate for public service.

02 November 2005

Blade Series Reveals Corruption and Pay-to-Play

Corruption and quid pro quo: that’s what characterizes the Republican Party, as a new series in the Toledo Blade is revealing. Link to the relevant articles through HypoSpeaks.

01 November 2005

Fairfield Republican Puts Head in Ass

State Rep. Courtney Combs, R-Fairfield, has said he will introduce his Ohio English Unity Act, which would require state agencies to produce records only in English by the end of the year. Combs believes society has been “coddling” Spanish-speakers for too long so they won’t learn English. Julia Arbini Carbonell, president of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition, said the legislation disrespects immigrants. She calls it "a bill about intolerance." [Cleveland.com]

Does this really make any sense? Let's look at some statistics comparing Ohio to the nation (Ohio figures in yellow):

White persons: 85% / 75%

Asians: 1.6% / 3.6%

Hispanics: 2% / 12.5%

Foreign-born persons: 3% / 11%

Language other than English spoken at home: 6% / 18%

Minority-owned enterprises (1997): 6.3% / 14.6%

Clearly, Ohio should not be ground zero for xenophobia. Furthermore, it is well known that immigrants are good for economic growth. A steady influx of immigrants means a steady infusion of human capital. That grows economies, something Mr. Coombs should be well aware of as a member of both the Commerce & Labor and Economic Workforce & Environment committees.

There is also another reason Mr. Combs gets recognition for cephalocolonoscopia: the GOP is making a concerted effort to bring in Latinos into the Party, and he's pretty much shooting his party in the foot with this kind of idiotic right-wing grandstanding.

Somebody send Mr. Combs to Toronto for a weekend so he can experience a better melting pot than Hamilton or Fairfield.

Mr. Combs has sponsored 3 other bills this year: HB209, a bill to allow nonprofits to sell booze; HB303, a bill to designate the children's book Lentil as the official children's book of the state and its author as the official children's book author of the state; and HB313, which modifies the sentence an offender receives under the Sexually Violent Predator Law so that any person who is sentenced under this law (and who is not sentenced to death) must receive a term of life imprisonment without parole.

Interesting guy.

Purple People Bridge Getting New Owner

The ball is rolling to transfer ownership of the Purple People Bridge from Kentucky to Newport and then to a subsidiary of private firm Southbank Partners, which will then own the bridge.

Southbank already oversees the bridge, but once it gets ownership it’s possible things may change because it will be able to set its own rules and usage fees. Will it allow certain kinds of public gatherings and not others? Will it permit certain kinds of banners and not others? Will it set restrictive policies and fees? How much profit will Southbank want to make after covering maintenance costs?

Aside from these questions, the transfer of ownership to a local entity may bring some exciting and creative things to the bridge. I don't know how much you can really do with a bridge, but who knows, maybe they'll come up with something out-of-the-box.

Big Pharma’s ‘Screwball’ Marketing Scheme

An exec at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, came up with the idea to commission a novel. The plot was to focus on the danger of importing cheaper drugs from Canada.

“According to the proposal, PhRMA would pay Phoenix a six-figure sum for the marketing and production of a written-to-order fictional thriller. The plotline was what Hollywood would term high-concept — a group of shadowy terrorists conspires to murder thousands of Americans by poisoning the medicine they're importing from Canada to beat U.S. drug prices.”

Eventually, higher-ups discovered the "screwball" idea and pulled the plug. The authors “were informed that PhRMA didn't like the book and was pulling out. He says the group offered them $100,000 if they would agree never to speak ill of PhRMA or the drug industry for the rest of their lives. They refused.”

Also noteworthy: PhRMA’s new president is former Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-LA). Another one through the revolving door.