Monday, January 31, 2005

Ohio Academia

How long until we start hearing Ohio jokes, in the vein of Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama, etc.?
(C) Faculty and instructors shall not infringe the academic freedom and quality of education of their students by persistently introducing controversial matter into the classroom or coursework that has no relation to their subject of study and that serves no legitimate pedagogical purpose.

The right wing's quest to make Ohio a backwater state is progressing nicely.
From Daily Kos:
[Senator Larry Mumper] is quoted in the Columbus Dispatch on 1/27/05 as saying that SB 24 is intended to shield the youth of Ohio from "liberal" professors, as "80% of them [i.e., professors or academics at Ohio universities] are Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying communists" and so this bill is needed to protect "young minds that haven't had a chance to form their own opinions."

Let the cousin marryin' jokes begin.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Oklahoma Students and Straight Pride

Our future Republican leaders:
A University of Central Oklahoma student group is planning what it calls "Straight Pride Week" on campus.

Members of the College Republicans said despite objections from some, they have every right to celebrate.

"The general gist is that if you are a straight student on campus be proud, be loud, this is your time to shine," said college Republican Kyle Houts.

The group has posted fliers on campus that read, "we're here, we're conservative, we're out."

Look, I live in a red state. I grew up in the reddest of red counties, and I saw plenty of racism and homophobia. I know these people. They were all around me growing up, and they're all around me now.

And yet I'm still stunned when people want to flaunt their ignorance, like it's something of which they should be proud. I think it'll always surprise me. These people are evil. Honest to God evil. It's an evil born of ignorance, but that doesn't make it any better.

These college kids are no different than their granddaddys who were in the KKK. There's the old Socrates quote that the unexamined life is not worth living. We've become a nation of people pissing all over that concept. And being rewarded for it in many cases.

I wonder how many of these College Republicans are gay themselves? There certainly do seem to be a lot of closeted Republicans.

Friday, January 28, 2005

And then ...

There were three:
One day after President Bush ordered his Cabinet secretaries to stop hiring commentators to help promote administration initiatives, and one day after the second high-profile conservative pundit was found to be on the federal payroll, a third embarrassing hire has emerged. Salon has confirmed that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion," appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.

Time and time again I've read that whatever Bush administration scandal is taking place is going to be "the one". The one to take down the entire lying, thieving, crooked bunch.

And every time Bush and his cronies have slipped away, using a pliable media and plausible deniability.

I think this one might be the one. Not a Watergate, I'm not sure the world works that way anymore. But a good scandal tends to have a snowball effect, and that's what we're seeing right now. A couple of things need to happen for this scandal to reach a boiling point.

We need a bigger name. Someone huge like Novak or a TV pundit.

And we need a direct link to the Bush White House.

We get those two things and we've got a lame duck president real quick. Every revealed name brings the above scenario a little closer.

Sen. Boxer on Daily Kos

Sen. Barbara Boxer dropped by Daily Kos with a message of thanks:
More than 94,000 Americans from across the country signed my petition and stood together to demand the truth from Condoleezza Rice. It was truly an overwhelming response -- much more than I could have anticipated. You helped to get our message out to millions of Americans -- I couldn't have done it without you.

And you made a difference. You gave me the voice I needed to ask the tough questions during Dr. Rice's confirmation hearings. And you gave the entire United States Senate the voice it needed to take its "advice and consent" responsibility seriously. In fact, Condoleezza Rice received 13 votes against her confirmation -- the most votes against any Secretary of State's nomination since 1825.

Good for her for making direct contact with the people fighting for her.

Retired Military Leaders Against Gonzalez

From Stars and Stripes:
The United States’ commitment to the Geneva Conventions — the laws of war — flows not only from field experience, but also from the moral principles on which this country was founded, and by which we all continue to be guided.

We urge senators to take into account the effects of Gonzales’ advice on U.S. detention and interrogation policy and practice.

Surely Democrats won't lay down on this right? A vote for Gonzales is a vote for torture, and Democrats that vote yes on this nomination need to face some sort of retribution.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

President Boxer

I could get behind a Sen. Boxer for President campaign. She's done an amazing job in the past weeks, and I hope she continues in the coming years.

Say one thing, do another

President Bush:
"But all our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying, you know, commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet,"

But...
In a letter to the Acting Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Human Rights Campaign requested an investigation to determine whether columnist Maggie Gallagher, having received more than $40,000 in federal grants to promote President Bush's marriage initiatives, violated federal law by not disclosing the funding to the public or Congress. Gallagher testified in the Senate in support of the discriminatory constitutional amendment and wrote numerous syndicated columns on these issues.

I have to say that when compared with Williams she's an awfully cheap whore. But then again, you get what you pay for.

Fiscal Responsibility

Wouldn't it be great if conservatives were actually fiscally responsible, the way they claim to be?



Via Oliver Willis.

Critical News Media

Look at this from Save Our City:

It seems that yesterday ABC News posted a call on its website for help from readers: Jan. 19, 2005--For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below:
(ABC took down the request, fortunately the blog Captain's Quarters copied the page first.) ABC tried to pass this off as "Honoring Fallen Heroes on Inauguration Day."

Imagine the audacity of ABC to dare contrast the price of war with the excess of Bush's coronation!

It's hilarious to see right wing bloggers think they're "catching" ABC doing something illicit here. I'm not sure how much more delusional these guys can get, but I'm sure we'll find out since they feel that they achieved something grand with the CBS Memo.

I commented a few times after the post, and I found this to be kind of amusing:

Anonymous: Did any networks do stories on FDRs big day after he starred a pre-emptive war with germany?

scott rawlings: There were no stories about deaths of soldiers on FDRs inauguration day-despite the fact that there was a pre-emptive war going on.

Apparently being a right wing nut means you don't pay very close attention during history class, because, of course, Germany declared war on the US first.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Draft Condi

Heh.

I'd like to draft her too. I wonder how smug she'd look wearing desert camo in Fallujah?

Link via Mark Adams.

Conservatives mad about no-name calling week?

The story:

NEW YORK -- Using a young readers' novel called "The Misfits" as its centerpiece, middle schools nationwide will participate in a "No Name-Calling Week" initiative starting Monday. The program, now in its second year, has the backing of groups from the Girl Scouts to Amnesty International but has also drawn complaints that it overemphasizes harassment of gay youths.

The initiative was developed by the New York-based Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which seeks to ensure that schools safely accommodate students of all sexual orientations. GLSEN worked with James Howe, the openly gay author of "The Misfits" and many other popular children's books.
..."I hope schools will realize it's less an exercise in tolerance than a platform for liberal groups to promote their pan-sexual agenda," said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute.

Now there's one thing that really has me scratching my head in all this. Why is the director of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute a man?

I'll go ahead and placate the conservatives. Robert Knight, you're a fucking idiot. Happy?

Academy Awards

When the usual right wing idiots are crowing about Fahrenheit 9/11 being "snubbed" by the academy, remember that Moore didn't submit the film because he hoped it would be shown on television before the election.

The documentary category is a bit different than others, in that they have to be submitted for consideration. The movie was still eligible for Best Picture, but the odds were always next to nil that the Academy was going to nominate a documentary in that category.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Interesting Article on Christianity

This is a very thought provoking article on Protestant Christians and how they don't really differ from their non-religious counterparts. Here are some highlights:

In a 1999 national survey, George Barna found that the percentage of born-again Christians who had experienced divorce was slightly higher (26 percent) than that of non-Christians (22 percent).
...
As we got richer and richer, evangelicals chose to spend more and more on themselves and give a smaller and smaller percentage to the church. Today, on average, evangelicals in the U.S. give about two-fifths of a tithe.
...
A story in the New York Times reported that, according to census data, in the 1990s the number of unmarried couples living together jumped a lot more in the Bible Belt (where a higher percentage of the total population are evangelicals) than in the nation as a whole.
...
In 1989 George Gallup Jr. and James Castelli published the results of a survey to determine which groups in the U.S. were least and most likely to object to having black neighbors—surely a good measure of racism. Catholics and nonevangelical Christians ranked least likely to object to black neighbors; 11 percent objected. Mainline Protestants came next at 16 percent. At 17 percent, Baptists and evangelicals were among the most likely groups to object to black neighbors, and 20 percent of Southern Baptists objected to black neighbors.
...

Look I certainly believe that anyone can believe whatever they wish to believe, and worship whatever they wish to worship. That's a large part of what makes me a Democrat. But evangelicals are the politically active Christians who want to remake our country to fit their narrow view of what God wants.

Yet they can't even get their own house in order. As a group, you really have to have a lot of balls to scream about moral outrage when you're statistically no different from the rest of America. Evangelical Christianity apparently doesn't work. Why should our laws be shaped by what these people believe if it's not working for them?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Nuns Deny Food to Tsunami Victims

From Yahoo:

Jubilant at seeing the relief trucks loaded with food, clothes and the much-needed medicines the villagers, many of who have not had a square meal in days, were shocked when the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water.

What Would Jesus Do?

Letter in Today's Enquirer

Forbidden weapons are somewhere

The letter "Iraqi WMDs did, could still, exist" (Jan. 18) is right on. The intelligence of the United States and Israel are the best in the world. Those weapons of mass destruction did and do exist. Are they in Syria or Iran? Have they been smuggled into the United States? We need to realize that they do exist and pray they are never used in this country.
Jim Burkart, Villa Hills

Friday, January 21, 2005

Laura's Hair

From Salon:

Meanwhile, our favorite TV nugget of the day so far came courtesy of Barbara Walters, who matter-of-factly informed viewers that Laura Bush recently had her hair done by famed New York City stylist Sally Hershberger, who charges $700 for a haircut. Just take a moment to think back to the go-go '90s, and try to imagine what the press' hysterical reaction would have been if word ever leaked out that Hillary Clinton had sat down for a $700 trim.

$700. And poor, white, Christians feel like the Bush's are kin. I wonder how many women back in Texas spend $700 a pop getting their hair cut?

Kenneth Blackwell: Most Loathsome Person of 2004

From The Buffalo Beast:

1. Kenneth Blackwell

Crimes: The greasy, rancid piece of crap who delivered Ohio for Bush by any means necessary, and then bragged about it in a recent fundraising letter. A black man who has no reservations about screwing over his own people in his lust for power and money. Blackwell is the kind of soulless traitor without whose complicity no nefarious evil plot ever goes down. In step with the future of global elections.

Smoking Gun: Phony recounts, media lockouts, intentional misallocation of voting machines, you name it.

Just Punishment: Dissolved in barrel of acid.

Sounds about right.

Spongebob? Really?


Who knew?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Coleman Closer to Running

Bring Ohio Home has a post about a Columbus Dispatch article that discusses Michael Coleman's chances of running for governor:

Coleman will announce by month’s end whether he will run for governor, but his political adviser, Greg Hass, said yesterday, "I think he’ll be a candidate."

The article also mentioned that Jerry Springer has decided not to renew his TV contract. With that move I have to think Springer will either be running for governor or challenging DeWine for the Senate.

I don't know how I feel about Springer. I love the man's politics, but it goes without saying that he'd be easy to attack. He's shown time and time again that he has impressive political skills however, and I think he'd have a better chance of winning a statewide race than people realize.

Bet on Iraq

Whenever I go to a right wing blog the ads I see all seem to involve either homoerotic weight conditioning or the sale of Iraqi currency.

I found this to be interesting with regards to the wiseness of investing in Iraqi currency:

The official rate of the old Iraq Dinar, $3.22 USD (U.S. Dollars), was set in 1982 by Saddam Hussein. The old Iraq Dinar could not be freely traded, so this rate was never tested or upheld on the world market.

The current Iraq Dinar (IQD) was introduced between October 2003 and January 2004 by the Coalition Provisional Authority in close consultation with financial experts from Iraq and the international community. The IQD is currently valued at a little less than seven US cents. (1 USD = 1460 IQD). The old "Saddam" Dinar has no current value and is worth only what a collector is willing to pay for it.
...
The Central Bank of Iraq's stated objective is not to promote the free trade of IQD, as is the case in a true free market economy, but rather to keep the value of the IQD stable. The only way the Bank can ensure the semblance of stability is by tightly controlling the exchange of IQD on the market, and by ensuring that the currency cannot freely trade on the open market. They evidently fear that open trading of the IQD would lead to a rout in which the value of the IQD would sink to practically nothing.
...
The current situation in Iraq is pretty grim:

* Over a decade of international economic sanctions and a devastating war has left the infrastructure in tatters
* $125 billion of external debt
* Millions of dollars in post-war debt
* No stable government
* Insurgency steadily on the rise
* Oil facilities and pipelines are sabotaged regularly
* International observers predict out-and-out civil war

These aren't the kind of conditions typically conducive to the creation of booming economies. More to the point -- a 450,000% increase in the value of the IQD (as predicted by some of its promoters) seems ridiculous in the face of these challenges.

You'd think that blogs like Instapundit and Powerline would care enough about their readers not to expose them to an out and out scam, but I guess not.

Fox News

Check out this video via Oliver Willis.

I'd like to give Judy Bachrach of Vanity Fair a hug.

Liberal Blogs vs. Conservative Blogs

Great read.

More importantly, however, we did a tremendous amount of work that had little to do with the media while they did almost none. We raised well over a million dollars for Democratic candidates in the 2004 cycle whereas they did not even come close to 100K. We crushed Roemer's candidacy for DNC chair and are on the verge of basically selecting the new DNC chair, whereas they said nothing about the RNC chair. We changed a law in Virginia, but I have never heard of them contacting lawmakers. We organized a challenge to the electoral vote certification, but I can't remember the last time a Republican Senator did something on the urging of the right-wing netroots. We have significantly whipped our own party into line on Social Security, and there is nothing comparable on their side. We formed a PAC and started running ads, but I guess they have Rather. And we did a bunch of other things as well that I did not mention here, but, of course, they have Rather.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The British Abu Grhraib

Here are the rather disturbing pictures of British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners:

Gallery

I wonder if this'll be dealt with any differently in Britain? They're supposed to have elections next May, hopefully the British people will put Blair out on his ass for being Bush's lackey.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

That Liberal Media

From CNN:

A majority of Americans see improving military security as President Bush's only major first term achievement, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday.
...
Fifty-one percent of respondents said Bush's policies will move the country in the right direction.
...
Large majorities think Bush did not improve health care, Medicare, Social Security or the environment in his first term.
...
Fifty-three percent said they believe the country will be better off in four years than it is now, 7 points higher than in a January 2001 poll. Those who believe the country will be worse off remained at 42 percent.
...
But only four in 10 said Bush would strengthen Social Security, and only about a quarter said he would reduce the federal deficit.

The headline of the article? "Americans Upbeat About Four More Years"

In CNN land if 51 percent think Bush's policies will move the country in the right direction then, by God, Americans are upbeat.

Commenting

I really dislike Blogger's commenting system, so I've switched over to Haloscan. Unfortunately that means the comments I've gotten thus far have been lost. In the long run this'll make things a lot better, and I've only received four or five comments so I think the tradeoff is worth it.

Thanks for your patience as I continue to get settled in.

Strickland Out of Governor's Race

Ted Strickland announced today that he will not run for governor in 2006.

I grew up in Hillsboro and Ted Strickland was my congressman for awhile. I think he would have done well in a state wide race since he's a very moderate Democrat. But he's doing good work in the House, and hopefully this will pave the way for Sherrod Brown.

Thanks to The Hegemo for the heads up.

Sherrod Brown for Governor?

Sherrod Brown is possibly pointing towards the governor's race in 2006.

Brown, 52, who just began his seventh consecutive term in the U.S. House, said he is weighing his options on the governor's race.

''I'm thinking about it,'' Brown said. ''Absolutely. I love what I'm doing now, and like where I'm at. I'll have to figure out where I'm going to be most effective at, and maybe six months from now, I'll know. In the next six months, there's a lot of work to be done.

The Democratic primary for this race should be very interesting. There are quite a few intriguing candidates, among them Ted Strickland, Eric Fingerhut, and Jerry Springer. I don't really have a favorite at the moment, but I'm definitely leaning towards Strickland and Brown, and I think they'd both make excellent governors.

**Edited to add that I completely blanked on Mayor Michael Coleman who is also thinking of running. I think he'd be a force to be reckoned with in a primary, so what he decides will have a lot of influence on prospective candidates.

Kerry Speaks

John Kerry made some remarks yesterday that I found interesting:

The Massachusetts Democrat, Bush's challenger in November, spoke at Boston's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast. He reiterated that he decided not to challenge the election results, but said "thousands of people were suppressed in the effort to vote."

"Voting machines were distributed in uneven ways. In Democratic districts, it took people four, five, 11 hours to vote, while Republicans [went] through in 10 minutes -- same voting machines, same process, our America," he said.

He's absolutely right. And yet, what do I think when I read this? I think - Shut up John. You had your opportunity to speak on this issue when Conyers and Boxer challenged the Ohio vote. And you were out of the country.

So just shut up.

Anyone that supports Kerry for president in 2008 is just senseless. A competent candidate, with competent handlers destroys Bush last November. Kerry chose Shrum and couldn't stay on message and the rest is history.

So I'm feeling a little bitter towards John Kerry right now.

Florida Dems Back Dean

This is a step in the right direction.

The Florida delegation to the Democratic National Committee has voted unanimously to endorse Howard Dean to be the party's next chairman, bucking an effort to orchestrate an endorsement of one candidate by all 50 state party leaders at the same time later this month.

Shocking, really

You'd think it'd get old being right, but mostly it just breaks your heart.

There are already some interesting consequences of Ohio's Issue 1 (gay marriage ban) being passed.

Some attorneys are attempting to use Ohio's new gay marriage amendment to defend unmarried clients against domestic violence charges.

The constitutional amendment, which took effect on Dec. 1, denies legal status to unmarried couples.

In at least two cases last week, the Cuyahoga County public defender's office has asked a judge to dismiss domestic-violence charges against unmarried defendants, arguing that the charges violate the amendment by affording marriage-like legal status to unmarried victims who live with the people accused of attacking them.

The Cincinnati Enquirer took that and decided to use the headline "Gay clients challenge domestic violence charges" despite the fact that this refers to all unmarried couples, not just gay unmarried couples.

Where the hell were the conservative libertarians on this issue anyway? Or do they not exist anymore?

Condi Rice

As Condoleeza Rice is confirmed I thought it would be fun to revist this gem:

Eleven weeks after the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution demanding yet again that Iraq disclose and disarm all its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs, it is appropriate to ask, "Has Saddam Hussein finally decided to voluntarily disarm?" Unfortunately, the answer is a clear and resounding no.

Our next Secretary of State.

Springer Getting National Coverage

Jerry Springer's new radio show is bringing national attention to Cincinnati.

People seem to be very unreceptive to Jerry returning to politics, but I wouldn't rule anything out. This is a guy who paid for a "massage" with a personal check back in the 70's and still managed to survive politically. He's already demonstrated the kind of resiliency he'll need to stage a comeback, and he's got deep pockets so I wouldn't bet against him.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Springer Returns

Jerry Springer is returning to Cincinnati with a radio talk show that starts tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM on 1530 WCKY. 1530 is now all progressive radio and will be featuring Air America Radio programming.

Here are two interesting quotes from the Enquirer story:

"I think there may be a spot for liberal radio, but it depends on how much whining they do. They never have solutions, they just want to cry and complain."

"Who would have thought a foreign-born, New York Jew (Springer was born in England) would come to Cincinnati and become mayor?" Every once in awhile, the impossible happens."


The first quote is from a guy named Lincoln Ware that I've never heard of, and the second is from town idiot Bill Cunningham. I emailed John Kiesewetter to complain about including such slanderous comments and this is what I said:

Mr. Kiesewetter,

I read your article this morning on Jerry Springer and was dismayed to read the comments by Bill Cunningham and Lincoln Ware. I am referring to these comments:

"I think there may be a spot for liberal radio, but it depends on how much whining they do. They never have solutions, they just want to cry and complain."

"Who would have thought a foreign-born, New York Jew (Springer was born in England) would come to Cincinnati and become mayor?" Every once in awhile, the impossible happens."

I understand why the "opposition's" take on Springer's entry into talk radio would be newsworthy, but I think their comments became unusable when they decided to spew that kind of vitriol. I feel that you simply gave them another outlet for their beliefs which already receive enough coverage through their talk shows.

Thank you for your time,

JD Arney

If you feel the way I do then drop Mr. Kiesewetter a line.

If I get a response I promise to share.

Dr. Daniel W. Nebert

Dr. Danny Nebert thinks that liberals have all led "a soft life with few worries, and time to contemplate their navels. These people are seen today especially in urban areas, Hollywood, academia and in the media; they vote heavily Democratic."

That's odd, I think of Republicans as soft with few worries.

Oh wait, I'm talking about Republican leaders.

My favorite part is at the end of his editorial:

Dr. Daniel W. Nebert is a professor in the Department of Environmental Health, Center for Environmental Genetics and Department of Pediatrics & Molecular Developmental Biology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

When will those goddamn hippy academics learn to keep their mouths shut about politics? I mean, Jesus.

Rebels Taunt US

From Reuters:

The video, narrated in fluent English by what sounded like an Iraqi educated in the United States or Britain, also mocked the U.S. president's challenge to rebels in the early days of the insurgency to 'bring it on'.

"George W. Bush; you have asked us to 'bring it on'. And so help me, (we will) like you never expected. Do you have another challenge?," asked the narrator before the video showed explosions around a U.S. military Humvee vehicle.

Do nations ever meekly accept occupation? Why did Bush&Co. think this time would be different?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Deserters Flee to Canada to Avoid Iraq

Iraq is nothing like Vietnam, right?

American Army soldiers are deserting and fleeing to Canada rather than fight in Iraq, rekindling memories of the thousands of draft-dodgers who flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam.

An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale.

I can't really condone deserting, since everyone in the military knew what they were getting into when they signed up ... especially if they voted for Bush, but I can certainly understand not wanting to be meat for the grinder.

It's really kind of amazing to think we were in Vietnam for a decade. That would put us out of Iraq in oh ... 2013.

Fox News Lies ... Again

According to Media Matters Fox News has lied again, this time about the California school that supposedly banned the Declaration of Independence because it mentioned the word God.

In fact, Stevens Creek Elementary School in Cupertino did not ban the Declaration of Independence. As the Cupertino Union School District stated in a November 30 news release, the Declaration is featured in the school's textbooks and is displayed in some school buildings. A December 8 editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "The Declaration of Independence is not banned from Stevens Creek Elementary School, or any classroom in Cupertino. Copies of the Declaration -- including the passages about the inalienable rights of all men 'endowed by their Creator' and the founders' 'reliance on the protection of divine providence' -- hang in classrooms. It appears in textbooks distributed throughout the district."

Even the lawsuit, which was brought forth on behalf of teacher Stephen Williams by the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund challenging the school's decision to prohibit the handouts, acknowledged that the school has not imposed an outright prohibition on the mention of God or the discussion of religious beliefs in the classroom. The lawsuit recognized that "other teachers are permitted to show films and distribute handouts containing references to God," and that Williams had been permitted to teach "lessons on the origins of religious holidays" during that school year and had provided handouts relating to religion in the past "without any problems." Despite that acknowledgement, an Alliance Defense Fund press release about the lawsuit was headlined "Declaration of Independence Banned from Classroom."

When this story broke I remember thinking that it sounded awfully fishy, and I'm not at all surprised that it was blown out of proportion. The original news stories all seemed to be completely from the teacher's camp with minimal input from the school involved. Fair and balanced and all.

The Rod

Can I just say that people who beat children are scum?

Apparently there's a market for child beating products. How very Christian.

Here's a spot on response from the blogging community.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Some Levity

Here is the LiveJournal of Michael Smith, a soldier who died in Iraq on Tuesday. If the comments following his last post don't bring tears to your eyes then you must be made of stone.

via MetaFilter

Help Pick New Cincinnati Enquirer Columnists

Not surprisingly, the Cincinnati Enquirer's opinion page is filled with right wing ranting. Last Sunday they asked readers to write in and let them know your three favorite and three least favorite columnists. I wrote a quick email and here's what I said:

3 Favorite:

Maureen Dowd
Richard Cohen
Leonard Pitts Jr.

3 Least Favorite:

Jonah Goldberg
Charles Krauthammer
Jeff Jacoby

Please add:

Molly Ivins

Take a minute and send them an email, it can't hurt and the city of Cincinnati could certainly use more progressive voices.

Email the Enquirer

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

In Shocking News ...

The search for WMD in Iraq has ended.

I wonder if they found any?

Despite intensive searches, WMDs were not found after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Damn.

Dean for DNC

Howard Dean has announced his candidacy for the Chair of the DNC.

As he seems to be the only non-status quo candidate I have to support him. The Democratic Party really needs to take some lessons from Bush and Karl Rove. While we keep moving towards the center they eat us alive by playing to their base. Until the DNC stops being so weak I can't see the Democratic Party winning another national election, save for the rare times when a once in a lifetime personality like President Clinton comes along.

It can't be all about fundraising anymore. I think the internet did a pretty good job of that in 2004. The DNC has to start inspiring people, or nothing's ever going to change.

That Was Quick

From CNN:

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) -- A library board reversed a ban on comedian Jon Stewart's best-selling satirical book, which it had passed because of its image of Supreme Court justices' faces superimposed on naked bodies.

...

"There were 12 to 15 people in the audience and most spoke up in defense of the book," he said. "The board responds to community input and they made that decision."

He said majority of the messages criticizing the move came from out of state.

"We got some absolutely nasty e-mails and telephone calls that you would not believe," Willits said.

"We were communists and fascists at the same time."

Good for the library for doing the right thing.

President of Fabricated Crises

From the Washington Post:

But when historians look back at the Bush presidency, they're more likely to note that what sets Bush apart is not the crises he managed but the crises he fabricated. The fabricated crisis is the hallmark of the Bush presidency. To attain goals that he had set for himself before he took office -- the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the privatization of Social Security -- he concocted crises where there were none.

Great editorial, make sure to read the entire thing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Thank You, President Bush

A new book is coming out entitled Thank you, President Bush.

I can get into the spirit of that sentiment. So here is what I'm thankful for when it comes to our leader.

Thank you, President Bush, for misleading our nation about the threat that Iraq posed to our safety.

Thank you, President Bush, for advocating the denial of constitutional rights to a segment of our population because of their sexual preference.

Thank you, President Bush, for ruining our reputation in the world.

Thank you, President Bush, for helping to bring political discourse in this country to an all time low.

Thank you, President Bush, for the negative job growth in the past four years.

Thank you, President Bush, for the creation of a new governmental department that was redundant as hell. The Department of Defense could have given us a color code.

Thank you, President Bush, for underfunding No Child Left Behind.

Thank you, President Bush, for the deaths of over a thousand of our troops in a war that didn't need to be fought.

Thank you, President Bush, for the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens, citizens of a country that had never attacked us, citizens of a country that posed no threat to our well-being.

Perhaps most of all, thank you, President Bush, for causing me to waver in my belief that America is a fundamentally good place. Now that torture has been deemed okay, and we hold people for years with no trial in Guantanamo Bay, and the Christian Right has an inordinate amount of power, I can say without equivocation that America is not the country we once knew. You have disgraced America. Thank you very much.

Monday, January 10, 2005

LaTourette to Marry Lobbyist

Congressman Steve LaTourette (R) - 14th District is all set to marry Jennifer Laptook.

Why do we care?

Jennifer Laptook is a lobbyist. According to this article from the Plain-Dealer, Laptook was hired by lobbying firm Van Scoyoc and Associates. She has promoted herself by mentioning her closeness with LaTourette and her knowledge of the House Transportation Committee.

LaTourette sits on that committee.

No, no conflict of interest there.

They'll be getting married on February 19th. I feel it's worth mentioning that LaTourette divorced his wife of 21 years last March. Republican family values strike again.

Mississippi libraries ban 'Daily Show' book

I'm reading America the book by Jon Stewart and the Comedy Central people, and I saw with some amusement that certain libraries in Mississippi have decided to ban the book. There is a layout in the middle of the book that features the heads of the Supreme Court justices pasted onto elderly nude bodies, and that page is the reason some Mississippi readers won't be finding this book in their local library.

I have to wonder if you could find a picture of a naked human being somewhere in the systems of these libraries. I'm going to go out on a limb and say more than likely, what with all the possibilities in the health section alone.

I understand that librarians choose what to stock, and I'm pretty much okay with that. But I think it's pretty rare for a book that's spent a lengthy time on the best seller lists to not be carried. I sincerely hope that Ohio's libraries won't be mimicking Mississippi's.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Gingrich For President?

Newt Gingrich is talking about running for president:

"Anything seems possible," including a White House race, Gingrich told The Associated Press.

Let's hope so.

A Hillary Clinton/Newt Gingrich matchup in '08 would probably mean the apocalypse wouldn't it? Both sides bogeymen in a steel cage match to the death. Everyone's worst fears about the other side confirmed.

Wait, all of our worse fears have already been validated and surpassed, so scratch that last part. It'd be an interesting race, that's for sure. I have to think it would make '04 look tame and professional.

Blackwell Letter Violated Ohio Law

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

COLUMBUS - The state's chief elections officer, already accused of mishandling the presidential vote in Ohio and criticized for backing President Bush, sent a fund-raising letter for his 2006 gubernatorial campaign in which he asks for illegal corporate contributions.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who co-chaired the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio, said the request for corporate checks was an oversight. His spokesman, Carlo LoParo, said Saturday that any corporate donations would be returned.

In the five-page letter to GOP donors and activists, Blackwell said, "And with your help, I intend to provide fresh, new leadership and bold reforms to Ohio as our next Republican Governor."

A pledge card that accompanied the letter said "corporate & personal checks are welcome." Corporate donations are illegal in Ohio.

Jeff Ledbetter, fund-raising coordinator for Blackwell's gubernatorial campaign, blamed a printer for using a template for an issue committee, which is allowed to accept corporate donations.

In a just world this would end Blackwell's gubernatorial hopes, but I'm sure it's just a bump in the road.

In the letter, Blackwell also thanked Republicans for delivering Ohio to Bush. Is it too late to start calling him Katherine Blackwell?
This is just another incident in a long line showing why we need electoral reform in this state and in this country. If Republicans would simply imagine themselves on the opposite side of this scenario we might be able to get somewhere, but many on the right don't seem to be that imaginative.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Proposed Parking Fees for Ohio State Parks

From ONN:

Visitors to Ohio state parks might have to start paying to park for the first time starting in May.

The Ohio Department of Resources will propose the new fees Saturday to a legislative committee that reviews agency rules. The body has 90 days to rule.

Ohio is among just a handful of states, including Kentucky, that don't charge for picnicking or other day use of parks.

The proposals calls for a $5 daily pass for Ohio motor vehicles.

Great. I've often driven to state parks to go running (Alum Creek, Rocky Fork, Paint Creek), but I'll definitely stick to Franklin County's park system if this goes through.

State parks are one of the very few forms of free entertainment available, and it'll be a shame if Ohio legislators decide to start charging to use land set aside for the citizenry's enjoyment.

Cincinnati Enquirer - Setting Age Limits on Taser Use Not Necessary

File this one under you've got to be kidding me:

There's no need to set a new age limit on whom officers can subdue with electric stun guns if we believe most officers have common sense and good judgment.

City Council last week deadlocked 4-4 on whether to ban police use of Tasers on suspects under 11 years old.
...

This from the city that seems to use African Americans for target practice.

I spent quite a few summers working at a Salvation Army summer camp for inner city kids, and met quite a few screwed up kids along the way. More than a few were extremely violent.

And you'd be surprised at how big an 11 year old can be.

But I can't think of a situation where a child should ever have to be tasered.

Then again, Florida seems to disagree with me.

In the latest incident, an officer Tasered a 12-year-old girl accused of skipping school. The officer shocked the student after he said she tried to run away.

I keep thinking I've lost my ability to be shocked, and things keep proving me wrong.

Friday, January 07, 2005

God help me

I think I'm going to puke.

Election Certified

The election was certified yesterday, but Ohio's electoral votes were challenged by a group of House Representatives and Senator Barbara Boxer of California.

I emailed Sen. Boxer this morning, and this is what I wrote:

Senator Boxer,

I just wanted to thank you for your challenge yesterday of Ohio's electoral votes. I live in Columbus, Ohio and voted on the west side of the city in the 15th Congressional District (11-E). I waited for more than two hours to vote, and saw many people give up and leave in my time waiting. To later find out that 39 voting machines went unused in Franklin County was disappointing to say the least. Please continue the fight for electoral reform, and thank you once again.

If you would like to thank Sen. Boxer click here.

The way that we elect a president in this country is disgraceful in so many ways, and the odds of the system improving are pretty slim since it would take a bi-partisan effort to fix. I certainly don't see the Republicans wanting to discuss electoral reform any time soon, not when doing so would be tantamount to admitting that W's ascendance might have been illegitimate.

First Post

This might seem like an odd time to make a political blog. The election is over, political frenzy is dying down (maybe?), and Ohio isn't the center of the universe any more.

But what the hell, I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

I'm a 23 year old college student who lives in Columbus, Ohio, a state that's probably a lot redder than it appears to the outside world. Apart from going to college I also coach high school cross country, high school guys tennis, and I also run a Cincinnati Reds website that you can find here.

I've lived in Ohio since I was four or five. Before that my parents were both in the military, and that caused me to be born in Texas (Ft. Hood) and also to spend some time in Germany. So I guess that makes me about as Texan as G.W.

Growing up my governor was George Voinovich, and my president was Ronald Reagan. What a frightening time. I didn't really pay attention to politics until the later Clinton years, when I was pretty deep into high school. My first exposure to political literature was P.J. O'Rourke, who I found appropriately enough in the humor section of my local library. Luckily I managed to avoid being corrupted. My best friend since my sophomore year of high school is a staunch conservative, and it's because of him that I try very hard to listen to the opposition's point of view. I still very rarely (never?) agree with it however.

My goal in this New Year is to become more political, and to create a platform to express my beliefs. This blog is my way of accomplishing that goal. It will primarily focus on Ohio politics, but it will also touch on politics in general.