Friday, August 27, 2004

 

A pattern emerges . . .

Is the Republican Party in a panic mode on voter registration?

First they go after the Steelworkers Union for offering a one-in-a-jillion chance to win a motorcycle if someone registers to vote.

Then they go after the teachers union for offering a one-in-a-jillion chance to win a Staples gift certificate if they register to vote.

Now, there are reports that Governor Taft has ordered a crackdown on voter registration in state government offices being conducted by the public employee unions - and they apparantely are offering a one-in-a-jillion chance to win a crummy t-shirt (and maybe a hug from former Ohio Supreme Court Justice turned union leader Andy Douglas.)

More on this in the next few days.

 

Gay marriage poll (& HA sighting, too!)

Surprising poll and story, especially when Herb and the Enquirer reveal deep thoughts about the impact of possible gay marriage amendment.

The right better think twice about pushing that issue.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

 

Nader ballot effort in trouble?

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:

"The Butler County Board of Elections ruled that only 24 of Nader's 633 petition signatures - less than 4 percent - were valid in the county."

Butler is the first county to report its signature validation efforts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

 

'Fuggedaboudit!'

Comedian, talk show host asks country to yell.

 

God's convention?

Great new video.

 

Why does Robert Bennett hate Ohioans?

A Staples gift certificate? Ya gotta be kidding.

This only received sparse coverage in the mass press and some radio coverage. Here are a few lines from the Gongwer News Service (warning - subscriber only service):

". . . the Ohio Republican Party said Tuesday it has asked prosecuting attorneys in Franklin and Summit counties to investigate cases in which labor unions allegedly violated election law by offering prizes in exchange for registering to vote. . . "

"A July letter from the OEA to its members included the sentence, 'As an incentive, every person who notifies OEA headquarters that they have updated their voter registration will automatically be entered in a drawing for a Staples' gift certificate. . . '"

"State law clearly prohibits offering 'incentives' or anything of value in exchange for registering to vote," said Robert Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. "We're asking the...(prosecutors) to review this matter and take appropriate action to protect the integrity of Ohio's election laws . . ."

"We're really kind of surprised by the whole thing," William Leibensperger, secretary-treasurer, said in response to the Republican complaint. "It really has all the appearance of a political maneuver of some kind, but to what end I don't know." He said the letter was a means of encouraging members to make sure they were registered to vote, and to
promote civic involvement.

Bennett has also filed a complaint in Summit County against the steelworkers union earlier this month.

In addition, State of Ohio employees have recently been told that voter registration drives are forbidden in state offices buildings.

And these are the people that want to run the nation and the state?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

 

Hmmm . . . now both can't be right

Today's Washington Post headline:

"KERRY TEAM LINES UP VIETNAM WITNESSES; Bush Again Declines to Condemn Attack Ad."

Today's Columbus Dispatch headline:

"BUSH CRITICIZES BAD ADS"

The CD also runs a photo of W above the fold with the caption, "President Bush didn't directly condemn ads by a group that questions John Kerry's war record in Vietnam."

In fact, he didn't indirectly condemn the ads, either, as the WaPo takes the time to point out.

Gee, which campaign benefits from such ham-handed reporting and editing?

 

Run for change

Run Against Bush is a national grassroots organization comprised of Americans who literally run (and walk) against Bush to raise awareness and funds to elect Senator John Kerry. They have raised more than $235,000 and have donated the maximum $15,000 to the Democratic National Committee and helped raise almost $7,000 for Ohio 16th District Congressional Candidate Jeff Seemann in less than two days through a $1,000 matching grant. They recently declared September 18th: National Run Against Bush day and are coordinating 100+ runs around the country, including one in Columbus in conjunction with the Ohio State Democratic Convention (there will be several other runs in Ohio too… check the website for more information on these runs and others).

Furthere, the group will donate $25 to the Ohio Democratic Party for every new sign-up they receive from an Ohio resident this week! Start running for change, get a cool Run Against Bush T-shirt and help out the Ohio Democratic Party all at the same time. What a great way to express your displeasure with the Bush administration, get some exercise and support our efforts to help elect Senator John Kerry in November!

 

Loosen Republican stranglehold?

I wish.

Monday's Washington Post suggested that the campaign finance scandal in Ohio is undermining support for the Bush campaign. Probably true.

But the response by local media seems to be overly optimistic. For example, Plain Dealer reporter Ted Wendling's lede today is,

"Propelled by a scandal that has threatened to loosen the Republican Party's stranglehold on political power in Ohio, Gov. Bob Taft and other state Republican leaders pledged Monday to pass campaign-finance reform before the end of the year."

The Democratic Party in Ohio and their leaders in the state legislature have been AWOL on this issue and letting the Plain Dealer and a few others do all the heavy lifting. They have squandered a great opportunity and have allowed another wingnut, Ken Blackwell, to look like the political savior.

No, the chances are that this scandal will increase the stranglehold, not weaken it.

 

Because the last four years have been so great for Youngstown?

Youngstown endorsements from the Plain Dealer:

"Youngstown, Ohio - The mayor of this Democratic stronghold known for its steel industry job losses endorsed President Bush's re-election on Monday . . . "

"McKelvey pledged his support for Bush at a news conference. With him was Jo Ann Davidson, chairwoman of Bush's campaign in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana . . . "

"McKelvey said he has no intention of becoming a Republican, but he said he might accept an invitation from Ohio Republi cans to attend the Republican National Convention in New York . . . "

"State Sen. Robert Hagan, another Youngstown Democrat, said he is not surprised by McKelvey's decision. 'He's been a Republican running as a Democrat as long as I've known him. I'm friends with him, so I'm not disparaging him,' Hagan said.

 

Questionnaire conundrum

Every newspaper in the state is moaning the fact that nearly every politician has refused to complete a Project Vote Smart questionnaire that would be used to educate members on where they stand on issues. In particular, reporters and editorial writers recall the nightmarish situation former Columbus area candidate Lori Tyack face in 2002. For example:

"House Democratic leader Chris Redfern points to the case of candidate Lori Tyack of Columbus. She told Project Vote Smart that she might support slight corporate and sales tax increases. Republicans labeled her 'Tax Hike Tyack' in ads, though she had never actually voted for a tax increase. And she lost."


How convenient of a position to take now. Did any reporter or media outlet two years ago denounce these ads as a vicious lie?" Did any TV or radio station refuse to run the ad because it was false? Did anyone hold the Republican party accountable for these ads and propose the need for an apology? These are the same newspapers that are maintaining "balanced" coverage of the Swift Boat affairs when it is clear (if military records and first person accounts mean anything) that only one side is factually supported.

Hypothetically speaking, perhaps if editors and reporters would have the guts to call a lie a lie - now, not two years later - maybe then the editorial hand ringing could appear a little more sincere.

 

Okay - so the difference now is that they got caught and may lose the election for Bush?

From the Dayton Daily News

"Blackwell touched on the campaign finance controversies swirling around Ohio Republicans this year. He said reform has been proposed before — he, Taft and Gardner pitched a plan two years ago — but, "the difference is we now stand in a Statehouse awash in scandal."

Monday, August 23, 2004

 

Sheesh . . . when will the Dispatch wise up about the Buckeye Institute

Hypothetically speaking, friends in high places can sometimes re-open doors. A year ago, the Columbus Dispatch got burned when Columbus Dispatch editorial page editor Glenn Sheller allowed two of his wingnut friends at the Buckeye Institute, Joshua Hall and Sam Staley, to rail on in an op-ed column about the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring government services. (Note: the BI column is only available through the Dispatch's paid-as-you-go archive.)

Unfortunately, Glenn forgot to do basic vetting on the column. Usually, that means some basic fact-check, but Glenn also forgot to plagiarism-check. Too bad, since not only was the Buckeye Institute spew wrong but it also previously appeared on the op-ed page of the Baltimore Sun with a different byline.

When the plagiarism was pointed out to Dispatch editor Ben Marrison, he confront Hall who continued to lie about writing the column. According to Marrison, Staley eventually confessed that the column had been written by a PR firm in Virginia and passed out to conservative "think" tanks to plant in their local papers under a local byline. Marrison came clean in the paper on the whole affair and published an apology.

The punishment to the Buckeye Institute seemed good at first. Marrison said the Dispatch would ban future columns from Hall and Staley. But nothing was said of Sheller's responsibility or if he was held accountable. That's okay, since Marrison could legitimately argue that Sheller's status is an internal matter. But, Sheller has again been putting out the welcome mat to another BI stalwart David J. Owsiany.

Why the Dispatch should give one-inch to the Buckeye Institute is beyond me, and Owsiany's latest is a doozy, arguing against the action of eight states who have gone to federal court to stop the pollution that is being dumped on the Northeast from five Ohio and Midwest power companies.

A summary of Owsiany: It's all political, it will cost the utilities money, it bypasses the states' regulatory processes, it will hurt the economy. All without a shred of evidence, at least in regard to the economic affects.

In particular, the comment "Scientific data is unclear on the relationship between carbon dioxide and global warming" should have stopped this column from ever appearing. Wingnut science is just that, and, at best, should be left to the letters to the editor section and denied the extra credence that a full blown op-ed provides.

Moreover, Owsiany apparently has forgotten (or more likely never knew) that the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s faced similar footdragging by states and Congress. I mean, the Northeast states and Canada have been complaining for at least a decade, if not longer, about Ohio Valley utilities allowing their smokestacks to do damage downstream. Obviously, as in the civil rights case, the federal courts eventually have a role, if for nothing other than the issue of interstate commerce. Expecting the Midwest states to regulate their utilities (or the Bush administration's EPA) to bite the hand that feeds them is beyond serious consideration.

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