Saturday, September 18, 2004

 

Plain Dealer shows increased lead for Bush

(My bad with original headline. Deep unconscious longings)

Let me vent first: I don't have a way to get a print copy of the Plain Dealer and the paper's web site is horrible. It is difficult to navigate, nothing is intuitive, links ofter are screwed up and it, hands down, has the worst archive system of any major US newspaper. Even its own reporters have trouble getting archived stories. Really, the terms "archive" and "stories in the past 14 days" are oxymoronic. Doug Clifton and Knight-Ridder can do better.

Therefore my discussions of the PD poll will have to be short and qualified.

In brief it appears to show some bad news. It was conducted Sept. 10-14, of 1,500 registered voters. Here are the raw results:

Bush: 50
Kerry: 42
Nader: 2
Undecided: 9
(MoE: ±2.6%)

Now, its hard to figure out what to make of the poll conducted by Mason-Dixon, hired by the PD. Back in May, when nearly every poll showed Kerry either even or with a lead, the PD/Mason-Dixon showed this bizarre set of numbers:

Bush: 47
Kerry: 41
Nader: 3
Undecided: 9
(MoE: ±2.6%)

So, while it appears that there may be some methodology problems in how M-D does its work, it nevertheless appears to show a trend that Bush's numbers are growing.

The Kerry campaign, according to the PD, is upset with how the polling sample with created, but I haven't been able to find the details of that.

I also suspect the experts will come out with more of a critique in the next day or two.

 

Mark Niquette: King of the "on one hand . . ." reporting.

The Dispatch's Mark Niquett is quickly distinguishing himself the most prolific producer of drivel among all Ohio reporters.

Once again, Niquette takes a straight forward story, e.g., Ohio's jobs picture is on a clear downward trend with no logical end in sight, and turns it into equivocating pablum.

The news, that the unemployment rate has grown again after consecutive increases in June and July, is an indictment of the failure of Republican leadership - in Ohio and from Washinton. Period. Anything other description is a LIE and if Niquette can't sniff one of those critters out, then his editors should.

There is no journalistic responsibility to be balanced in these situations. Actually in cases like this, the journalist's responsibility is to find the truth and explain it and expose those that try to wrap shit in roses.

Examples:
"Experts warn not to read too much into a single month of data, which is revised the following month." What experts Mark? Or are these really BC04 sources. I goddamn challenge you to name one that said that about this report. Further, it would be one thing if August's numbers showed some different trend. But since August made it three consecutive months of growing unemployment, there is a whole lot that can be read into the data. How about pinning your "experts" down about that.

Next:
"Ohio’s preliminary July jobs total, for example, was increased by 4,000 in yesterday’s report." Actually, it was increased by 3,600, but the number of unemployed Ohioan was adjusted, too. It was INCREASED upwards by 5,000 and the unemployment rate increased upwards by .1%. Mark, that's called selective reporting.

And this:
"But the Bush campaign says the president’s plan to simplify the tax code and other policies will be better for the Ohio economy than Kerry’s plans — which would raise taxes that hurt small businesses, 'kill jobs and derail Ohio’s economy,' the campaign said." Mark - there is only one plan that has verifiably killed Ohio jobs and derailed Ohio's economy, and it ain't Kerry's.

Niquette is the best friend Bob Bennett and the RNC have in Ohio. I am just thankful that he isn't covering the Iraq war. I can see it now: "Some observers point out that Iraq is desending into other bloody civil war with no exit strategy for the US. Others, on the other hand, say it is going quite well . . ."

What a tool.

 

Track offshoring of Ohio jobs

Working America has unveiled a new web tool, "Job Tracker," to identify what companies in any location are engaged in outsourcing.

It looks pretty idiot-proof. Just enter a zip code or industry or company and it produces results. The zip code method generates a regional report.

Admittedly, outsourcing and offshoring are complicated problems. But clearly, the one-sided, naive and short-sighted support coming from some sectors of the business community and the Bush administration is insane.

In the words of Treasurey Sect. John Snow, "You can outsource a lot of activities and get them done just as well at a lower cost. . . When a good or service is produced at lower cost in another country, it makes sense to import it rather than to produce it domestically." John - there is a few hundred thousands workers in Ohio that would love to outsource your hide.

Already, 1.2 million jobs have been shipped overseas during the Bush years.


 

Bad . . . and getting worse

Regarding jobs in Ohio, the situation got worse in August and, gee whiz, the improvement in July turned out to be, well, wrong.

Here's the skinny on the trend:
- June unemployment 5.8%
- July unemployment 6.0%
- August unemployment 6.3%
Concretely, that translates into 370,000 officially unemployed, compared to 354,000 a month ago.

For the record, unemployment in August '03 was 6.1%.

Worse hit are the counties in southeast and eastern Ohio: Meigs, 15.9%; Morgan, 15.8; Vinton, 11.3; Adams, 10.9; Jefferson, 9.5; Perry, 9.4; and Coshocton, 9.0 percent.

So maybe that's why Bush-Cheney's message (openly and underground) is guns, the Bible and abortion in this part of the state.
May guess is that Cheney will complain that the Ohio numbers don't include all the money people in that region make from hemp.

 

Saturday: Run Against Bush

Check it out:

Akron, OH
Cincinnati, OH
-We will be running across two bridges over the Ohio river from Covington, KY into Cincinnati!
-Meet at 9 a.m. at 3rd and Court St, Covington KY (Kenton County Democratic Office). There is a parking lot diagonally south of Kenton Co Courthouse.
-For more details email: runagainstbush AT fuse.net
 
Columbus, OH
-Run/walk a 5K starting from the Columbus Athaeneum (32 North 4th Street); register between 7 and 8 AM - start time is 8 AM!
-For more info, email Marie: meh3p AT virginia.edu.
 
Dayton, OH
-Meet at 10 a.m. at Peaches Grill, a restaurant near the Bike Path in Yellow Springs at Corry and Rte. 68.
-For more details email Jodi: Runagainstbushjodi2004 AT yahoo.com
 
Logan, OH
-We'll do the Indian Run at Hocking Hills state park. Anybody interested can register at www.1800hocking.com. Click on the "Indian run" tab at the top of the home page.
-Email Hillary: Hrinehardt AT neo.rr.com for more info.

 

Outsiders view of some of the front lines

From daily Kos:

"Last week my friend Amanda and I hopped on a plane and headed to Ohio for 5 days of volunteer work.  It was a tremendous experience, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. In it, we encountered a Kerry office we weren't thrilled with and one that couldn't have been better.  We got a lot done and contributed in ways we hadn't thought we would. . . "

The whole post is worth reading.

 

Johnny, RIP

All hail Johnny Ramone. Guys - get your prostate checked. That finger isn't nearly as bad as the alternative.

Friday, September 17, 2004

 

Wingnuts give Taft blame for Bush failings

From daily KOS, notorious rightwing crank Grover Norquist speaks out on Ohio and Taft:

"Q: What are the key, or most problematic, battleground states?

Norquist: The key battleground states. We have to hold Ohio. OK? We have an idiot, stupid, corrupt, dumb, rotten, Republican governor in the state, who's been busy looting the state, and raising taxes, and lying to gun owners.

And his state is the only state in the nation that's lost jobs and isn't recovering, because he's been beating the economy to death in the state! But he's not on the ballot! George Bush is on the ballot.

And we've got to overcome, what we've had in Illinois, too, which is a Republican governor busy raising taxes and pissing everybody off, and now we've got that in Ohio.

It's not helpful. He should be taken out and horsewhipped."

An audio version of the same is here.

Now Taft deserves a lot a blame for the economic situation in Ohio, and so does the Larry Householder, Doug White and the overwhelming majority of wingnuts in the General Assembly. But so does the RNC. Between the Ohio Republicans and the national Repubicans, they have had a totally open playing field in Ohio for four years - and blew it! Norquist is simply looking for a way for Bush to wiggle off the hook.

Thanks to Confined Space for this tip.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

 

Hold them accountable

A new ad here.

 

State Office of Affairs Investigation?

Hmmm, since AG Jim Petro is now in the business of upholding the integrity of investigations into personal affairs in county political offices, he could theoretically have a big case load.

Hypothetically speaking, for example, what if there was a situation involving a judge who was recently appointed in a well-populated central Ohio county to fill the responsibilities of another judge who was suspended by the Ohio Supreme Court? Would Petro, given these new interests, want to see if an indiscretion by that judge might not have been properly handled either?

Hypothetically speaking, again, wouldn't a "visiting judge program" be a way to avoid running for re-election if said election cause these indiscretions to be revealed?

 

Prodigal son?

Deters is probably very safe, even if by a write-in ballot. But the Enquire reports:

". . . Deters returns home with more political baggage than he's ever carried before."

The big issue is to what extent the Mike Allen affair and Deter's candidacy decreases a badly need Republican turnout for the presidential race.

 

PD: State earns an 'F' in college affordability

Why does Taft and the Republicans majority in the legislature hate the middle class?

If there isn't a more bedrock goal for a typical family then trying to afford to send your kids off to college, what is it? Then why, after nearly 15 years of wall-to-wall Republican rule in state government are our colleges getting farther and farther out of reach?

In an understated but outrageous story with data from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Barb Galbincea reports (emphasis added):

". . . the NET yearly cost for a student to attend one of Ohio's public universities represents more than half of the annual income for families earning an average $21,413 a year. Those families are among the 40 percent of Ohioans classified by the study as lower-middle income and below."

It's not like Taft and the R-gang weren't warned. "Today's report card, which looks at the public and private sectors of higher education, is the third from the center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in San Jose., Calif. Ohio got a D- in affordability in 2000 and an F in 2002."

"Ohio's investment in higher education has dropped more than $1,000 per student over the last five years, according to Jamie Abel, a spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents."

[. . .]

". . . Gov. Bob Taft was creating a business-led alliance to mediate and advocate for higher education as an instrument of economic growth. NO ONE HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO LEAD THAT EFFORT. . ."

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

 

Kerry edging ahead

Apparently Rasmussen was right.

The new Investors Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor poll shows that its a dead heat if not turning in Kerry’s favor.

The IBD/CSM results indicate Kerry has a 2-point "lead" among Registered Voters and a 46-46 matchup among Likely Voters.

Plus, the polls show Kerry with:
- a 10-point lead among independents
- a 29-point lead among voters "worried about job security"
- a 12-point "Battleground states" lead.

Will we see this in any Ohio stories tomorrow?

 

Is Blackwell next to rescue Nader?

Geez, this is a little blatant, isn't it?:

"Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state."

 

Project Vote continues registration success

The Columbus-based Project Vote today announced that nationwide it had registered over 921,000 new low-income and minority voters as of 9-14-04. These include 150,555 new registrants in Ohio. I hope Karl Rove loses sleep over this.

Monday, September 13, 2004

 

Nader out. Can Blackwell deliver the news?

Everyone I talk to says its all over but the official announcement for Nader. As was pointed out earlier, he barely had enough signatures turned in by the counties to suffice, and an enormous chunk of those are obviously bogus.

So why no announcement? Every one knows Ken Blackwell is putting in overtime to keep the gay marriage initiative alive (it's got plenty of problems, too, which is no big surprise since the same group did the Nader petitions). The Nader thing can't really be that big of a deal to him.

Kenny - five words: "Nader is off the ballot." See how simple it is.

 

So this was the chair of the southern Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign . . .

. . . and the self-appointed watchdog for morals in Hamiltion County? A la the New Gingrich school of hypocritical husbandry, the Enquirer on the Mike Allen (aka HD#81) affair:

"'HD #81,' which she said stood for Horn Dog and Allen's former Cincinnati police badge number, she said."

[. . . ]

"At least once they had sexual intercourse in his office during office hours, she said."

[. . . ]

"When she resisted his advances, Collins said Allen would tell her to go to the fourth floor of the prosecutor's office, where Allen's name and title are on the wall in bright gold letters. 'Whose name is on the wall?' she claims he told her."

[. . . ]

"'He began making (sexual) advances,' Collins said. 'I said: 'No' repeatedly; 'I don't want to do this.'"

[. . . ]

"She walked room to room, trying to get away from him."

[. . . ]

"At one point, Collins said, Allen pinned her against the wall."

[. . . ]

"Through the first year of the relationship, Collins said Allen promised to leave his wife and marry her. But before he could leave his wife, he wanted to arrange for her to become a judge, Collins said."

[. . . ]

"In February 2003, Gov. Bob Taft appointed Lisa Allen a municipal court judge."

[. . . ]

"Allen is the former head of the Hamilton County Republican Party and a rising star in local and national Republican Party. Until two weeks ago, he served as chairman of the southern Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign for re-election."

But with Allen off the ballot and Joe Deters a write in, will the Ohio Dems blow this opportunity?

 

How to report on the 60 minutes memos controversy

Way to go, Andrea. Why can't other Ohio reporters put to rest the allegations of forged memos the way she does?

 

Will Republicans hack Ohio GOTV?

I know a lot of discussion has started about how to protect the voting process on Nov. 2. I am glad someone is thinking about what I would term the "technical side" of the voting process, and what it will take to make sure that the polls open on time, function properly, chad problems avoided, all votes counted in a timely manner, etc.

These are serious issues, but I think there are a couple of additional - and perhaps bigger - worries that also require planning.

The first worry is that the Republicans will try to hack the Get Out the Vote effort. Everyone from the official Dems circles to the unions, to ACT to MoveOn to ACORN to Rock The Vote will be working to beat the bushes on the Nov. 2 and the immediate days before. This requires some considerable planning and coordination between a group and its volunteers, and that's not possible without good communications.

But, as this story shows, the Republicans field-tested a new and effective method in 2002 to stop these GOTV efforts:
"The Virginia-based GOP Marketplace - which links 'campaigns and committees with telephone vendors online', according to its mission statement - has been implicated in a plot to jam the phone lines of Democratic "get-out-the-vote" call centers in New Hampshire last November. Allen Raymond, a 33-year-old former New Jersey Republican State Committee staffer, heads the group. According to recent news reports, GOP Marketplace was paid $15,600 by the New Hampshire GOP on November 1, and in turn hired an Idaho telemarketing firm to clog the lines of Democratic phone banks with 'hang-ups.'" The phone lines were set up to provide voters with a ride to the polls. Raymond and another individual eventuall pleaded guilty.

Interestingly, news reports initially said that an "official in a national political organization" played a role in putting this scam together. Later, a story on this in the Union Leader (pay to see it) reported, "We can’t tell you who it is or whether he broke any laws, but we can tell you the person questioned by the feds has a significant role in the Bush-Cheney campaign."

This can and will happen in Ohio. It seems to me that the way to prevent this to to have lots of redundancy in communications systems.

The second is a coordinated smear campaign. This, of course, is not new but the technology to do it on a widespread basis is relatively new. All it takes is a automated "phone blast" system that will play a recorded message to everyone on a telephone list. Although a "false negative" telephone calls to rural areas that smear Kerry and Edwards with a lie could be easily refuted, the refutation would come to late if the calls were made Nov. 1.

It seems to me that one way to prevent this is to, have a network in place that could detect that these calls were being received also reach some agreement - well ahead of time - with the media about how they need to help if false information is distributed this way.

Finally, there will probably be more efforts to suppress voting in poor and black neighborhoods. Recent elections have several stories (not sure about in Ohio) where Republicans poll observers try to ask for identification of voters and challenge every ballot. I'm sure that this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what could be done in these communities to decrease the vote.

The point is that the pro-Kerry forces better be prepared for the BC04 folks to open their bag of tricks quite widely.

 

Nader troubles deepen.

Douche bag Nader is in deep trouble in more ways than one.

First, no one cares about Ralph except the Republicans. Evidence? Today the Plain Dealer reports that when he spoke yesterday at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center, he drew a crowd of, maybe, 100. And you know at least half of those had to be there out of curiosity. Pathetic.

Second, Nader will not get on the Ohio ballot. As the Dispatch reported last week, or the 14,473 orginal names on Nader's petition, the secretary of state has only logged 6,464 valid signatures. 5,000 are needed to place him on the ballot. But the SOS office has not dealt with any of the challenges to the signatures, which are in the thousands because of apparently illegal signature gathering.

Finally, eventually it will be learned who has paid for Nader's petition efforts. This involves several companies and the work ain't cheap. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit in Franklin County alleging fraud and misrepresentation by petitioners. Maybe Steve Laws wants to take a fall for republican bank rollers, but I doubt it. My bet is that he will sing.

Nader is washed up. Vanity and old age make a nasty cocktail.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

 

Followup on geography strategy for Kerry

First, I should have pointed out that the Dispatch story is actually the first of a series.

Also, I've been reminded by a reader that the Plain Dealer actually beat the Dispatch with it's link name"Five Ohio's" series from earlier this summer.

But whether it's five regions or six, both papers make contributions to the discussion. While the PD does a great job of laying out the history and demographics of different parts of the state, the Dispatch (based on the first article) takes the next step of putting it in a coherent winning political strategy.

Finally, I don't know much about Darrell Rowland's background, but Hallett's instincts are probably pretty good since he worked for small-town newspapers in northwest Ohio before working for the Blade and the Dispatch.

 

Ohio election geography strategy

The Columbus Dispatch and the New York Times have must-reads if you want to know what it's going to take, strategy-wise, for Kerry to win in Ohio. Although everyone should read these [warning - the NYT piece repeats the same garbage about the Gallup Poll showing a 6 pt Bush lead among Likely Voters instead of using the more accurate one-point margin among Registered Voters], here are some important pieces from the two that only make sense if you read the two articles together.

First, from the NYT's esteemed R.W. Apple Jr:
"Robert T. Bennett, now in his fifth presidential race as the Ohio Republican chairman, predicted that 'trench warfare, down at the grass-roots level' would continue right through Election Day, with a close finish the most likely outcome."

The second, from the Dispatch's esteemed Joe Hallett and Darrell Rowland:
"[In 200] Bush won 72 of 88 counties. Significantly, 23 Ohio counties went from the Democratic column in 1996 to the GOP column in 2000. None went the other way.

"While Gore dominated Bush in the Big Six [urban areas - Toledo, Columbus, Dayton, Akron, Youngstown and Cleveland] by 9.5 points, Bush more than made up the difference in the other 82 counties, winning them by 13.25 points. These counties tend to be the bations of conservatism that represent Bush's base in 2004.

In other words, Kerry can't win in the cities, alone. When Bennett talks about doing grass-roots level warfare, he is talking about places like Fostoria, Lima, Chillicothe, St. Clairesville, Logan, Xenia, Piketon, Portsmouth, etc.

And then there's the message crafting for these areas . . .

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