Saturday, April 23, 2005


Hey Riskind - How 'bout sharing the byline?

We suppose that we should be flattered, but the Dispatch's resident DC sloth (with apologies to the real sloths of the world) Jon Riskind has reached new lows of laziness when he resorts to stealing something we posted two days ago about Bob Ney being targeted by the DCCC for 2006 - with no credit to us. He also doesn't give any credit to The Hill, whom we at least had the decency to credit them and provide a link to the story.

We should also note that when we do lift from a story, we tell readers - and we don't make a living at it. We also try to be upfront that one of our goals is to find interesting stories about Ohio-related issues in other media that don't get coverage by the mainstream Ohio media.

Seriously, we are more than a little pissed off. Since we choose to continue to be anonymous at this point, there's not much we can do except expose what a worthless fuck Riskind is.

But Jon - don't you know that some of the higher-ups at the Dispatch read this blog, too? How ya' going to explain it to them?

Friday, April 22, 2005


Pryce: Hypocrite or stupid?

Dear Congresswoman Pryce:

We recently received one of those smarmy email newsletters you send out each week.

This week, you had the gall to lecture us on the benefits of saving for retirement (versus depending on the pension we used to be able to earn before it became SOP for the board of directors to loot its assets).

But we soon had milk blowing out our nose when we got to the part where you stooped to lecture us on budgeting:
Many of our children-America's future retirees-are unable to balance a check book or have no insight into the basic survival principles involved with earning, spending, saving, and investing. This inadequate knowledge of personal financial affairs is a danger to individuals' pocket books and to the economy as a whole. It's time we exercise some financial responsibility and teach our children the value of money. Just think of the benefits to the American economy if our citizens become financially literate. If all Americans made some small investment in our economy! the growth would be astounding, creating more opportunities for our society as a whole.
You gotta lotta fucking gall, Congresswoman. As Chair of the House Republicans, didn't you corral your fellow Repubs in Congress to trash the federal check book and create the largest deficit in US history?

We'ren't you the one who helped organized them to forget financial responsibility in favor of a politically expedient war?

We'ren't you the one that co-authored the financially ILLITERATE political handbook with Rick Santorum that had the one-and-only purpose of teaching your fellow GOPers to bamboozle our friends and neighbors into letting you phase our fine Social Security system - which would have left many of us literally penniless at retirement?

And investments? You clearly have no idea of how bad the economy is in Ohio and you wouldn't know a real investments if it walked up and spit a tobacco wad in your face.

Given this display of ignorance, its kind of ironic that we hear that finance committee chair you have been yearning for might be too much of a stretch for someone as sharp as you.

We suspect your credibility among your constituents money issues is as shot as your leadership aspirations.

Hoping your days in Congress are over soon,

- Hypothetically Speaking


A civil war coming in Ohio's GOP

Several blogs have noted Andrew Sullivan's post today at TNR about the threats and growing schism within Republican ranks because of the powerplay the religious right is making. Sullivan says:
Religious right dominance of the party machinery, in an electoral landscape remade by gerrymandering, means that few opponents of fundamentalist politics have a future in the Republican Party. It's telling that none of the biggest talents in the Republican Party will ever be its nominee for president. John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Pataki, and Rudy Giuliani could never survive the fundamentalist-dominated primaries.
We don't know about the "biggest talents" part, but we agree with his point about them not surviving the primaries.

The local corollary is whether Ohio's U.S. Senators George Voinovich and Mike DeWine could survive Republican primaries at this point. Voinovich is being viciously targeted for merely suggesting that questions and accusations about Bolton be investigated, and DeWine is being targeted for expressing grave doubts about privatizing Social Security. Likewise, Betty Montgomery and Jim Petro (despite his blatant pandering) haven't got a chance with the Rod Parsley/James Dobson/Russell Johnson crowd.

While the Republicans are facing a bloody, internecine conflict, the Democrats in Ohio have the opportunity build some major leadership identification by getting on board with the three new pro-democracy constitutional amendments that were announced today and by opposing Blackwell's bogus government spending amendment.

Let the theocrats overplay their hand. Let them go to all the excesses they want. We hope they bring in the likes of Ann Coulter and Alan Keyes and Roy Moore every week, as long as they do it through the first week in November 2006. The trainwreck will be a spectacle to behold.

[UPDATE - Sullivan link fixed]


Ohio Poll: Bad news for Republicans

A majority of Ohioans reject the work of both the Bush and Taft administrations in key areas, and in international areas, their disapproval has reached new levels.

Regarding Bush, the Ohio Poll asked 841 Ohioans to say if they either approved or dissapproved of his overall job performance, his handling of the economy, foreign affairs and the Iraq war.

Bush results:
Overall Job ___ Approve/Disapprove
April 2005 ___ 49%/50%
March 2004 ___ 46%/51%
February 2004 ___ 49%/49%

Foreign Affairs ___ Approve/Disapprove
April 2005 ___ 43%/54%
March 2004 ___ 46%/50%
February 2004 ___ 47%/51%

Iraq ___ Approve/Disapprove
April 2005 ___ 46% 53%
Sept. 2003 ___ 53% 44%
April 2003 ___ 82% 16%

Economy ___ Approve/Disapprove
April 2005 ___ 41%/58%
March 2004 ___ 38%/59%
February 2004 ___ 40%/58%

Taft results:
Overall Job___Approve/Disapprove
April 2005 ___34%/55%
February 2004 ___47%/43%
Sept. 2003 ___ 44%/46%
The MOE was +/- 3.4%.

We want to look at the crosstabs later today, but here is the pollsters' analysis:
Democrats and Republicans are sharply divided on the president’s performance in these issue areas. For example, just 12 percent of Democrats approve of Bush’s handling of foreign affairs, while 80 percent of Republicans approve. Fourteen percent of Democrats approve of Bush’s handling of the economy, while 71 percent of Republicans approve.

The latest Ohio Poll also finds Governor Bob Taft’s approval rating at its lowest point since he took office as governor . . . .

Taft’s disapproval rating (55%) is now higher than it has been for any governor since the Ohio Poll


The week that was

This week is turning out to be the motherlode of major emerging news stories, and we haven't had time to blog on most of them. The best we can do is to highlight them and promise to return to these topics ASAP.

The first is the announcement that some labor groups, backed by a broader coalition, are putting together a three-part constitutional amendment effort that could create a tidal wave of political change that we think will be nearly impossible for any politician to oppose. The amendments apparently would:
We had been hearing for several months that such an effort was in the works, so we're glad that something is now moving forward. Nearly 330,000 signatures have to be gathered by late summer.

Now on to a second item. The Coalition for Ohio's Future held its first news conference to announce its campaign to defeat Kenny Blackwell's proposal that we like to call the Last In Everything Amendment. The Coalition, which appeared to be very broad with hints of even Republican support, promised to mount a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat the measure. We have already had several posts about how the LIE Amendment would slowly strangle government, undermine education and health care and sap the ability of public agencies to invest in roads, schools and other essential infrastructure development. Paul has more info on the news conference here.

Related to this is the news this week that Coloradans are probably going to dump or signficantly alter a similar measure. Colorado is the only other state that has implemented a state constitutional government spending limit, which it did in 1992. The results of this experiment has been a disaster, and now even its Republican one-time supports admit that the measure has been a failure and wreaked much damage on the state's educational system.

And, let see, what else?
There is John Edwards speaking in Columbus on Saturday.
There is Sen. Harry Reid and others holding a big town meeting on Social Security.
There was Karl Rove speaking in Ashland last night.
There is Bob Ney trying to increase political campaign spending.
And there is starting to be a few more details emerging about the Rod Parsley/Ann Coulter/Alan Keyes/Kenny Blackwell American Taliban Festival last weekend. (Warning, the author is actually a drooling fan of Blackwell.)
So many stories, so little time.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Friday: New Ohio poll on Bush, Taft

The first Ohio Poll since Nov. 2004 will be released Friday. It is expected to show approval ratings on Bush and Taft, plus we expect it to cover several other potential issues that may make it on the ballot this fall. This survey is conducted by the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research.

Look for it here first.


“Ney gets higher on our list every day.”

Who's in the crosshairs in 2006 for those watching the ethics charges closely? Our old pal Bob Ney!

According to The Hill, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee already is developing strategies around several high-profile local congressional races using the Republican's ethics problems:
Several Democratic lawmakers and aides said that Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) will be the first target of this new strategy.

[. . . ]

“There’s no doubt that we’ll be going after Ney on ethics,” a knowledgeable lawmaker said. “There will be other races like Ney’s as well. It’s fair to say that ethics is going to be a national issue in this campaign.”

Another lawmaker said, “Ney gets higher on our list every day."

Admittedly, this is easier said than done. Ney won his seat with 65+ percent of the vote, so the DCCC better come up with someone better than token opposition, and a ground game to match. The candidate may be the easy part:
We have a strong Democrat bench out there, including the former Senate minority leader from New Philadelphia, Greg Didinato[sic], and State Rep. John Boccieri from New Middletown.”


See Ney's role in DeLay affair in interactive map. . .

. . . here.


MoveOn, Social Security groups organizes Rove "welcoming committee"

We are elevating this from the comments because of the short notice.

We have just learned that MoveOn, Americans United to Protect Social Security and Ohio United to Protect Social Security are planning a demonstration at 6:30 PM at the Karl Rove slime fest TODAY(!) at Ashland College in Ashland (roughly halfway between Columbus and Cleveland on I-71).

This will be outside the College's Myers Convocation Center. Participants are asked to meet at the three-way intersection of Clairmont Ave., King Rd. and College Ave.

No better place for a Spring evening!


Dispatch continues to coddle Bob Ney

What up with the Dispatch's editors, the paper's Washington bureau and Bob Ney?

A while back we noted Jon Riskind's undeserved kindness to Ney, and was hiding details of a Senate Finance Committee investigation. We also noted that others are noting that Ohio newspapers are dodging this story.

On Sunday, Riskind, now apparently serving as chair of the Ney fan club, starts off with this lede and goes down hill:
Rep. Bob Ney is eager to talk to the House ethics committee. But in another example of what's wrong with Congress, there effectively isn't an ethics committee.
Wrong with Congress? How about wrong with the GOP, Jonny-boy? You know, there is universal agreement everywhere except in the halls of the RNC, Fox News and the IEB studios as to who cut the balls off the Ethics Committee, changing the rules to protect Tom Delay and his hyenas like Ney.

Riskind continues:
From Ney's point of view, he's been unfairly dragged into the Abramoff scandal. And, despite numerous news stories noting that the investigations into Abramoff by federal agencies and the Senate Indian Affairs and Finance committees include looking at Ney's Scotland trip, no new information about the trip and Ney's involvement has emerged.
Jon - did you believe him? Did you do any checking. Apparently not because Newsday yesterday scooped the Dispatch with a report that says:
Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, held a campaign fundraiser at a Washington Wizards basketball game two years ago but failed to report the use of a $1,500 luxury suite leased to an Indian tribe, according to amended campaign finance reports filed this week.
The event at the MCI Center in downtown Washington was hosted by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians of Banning, Calif., which operates a casino, resort and spa near Palm Springs.
Now Ney is denying that Abramoff was involved, and maybe so. But, hmm. . . isn't Abramoff accused of being involved in a scam involving a couple of Indian tribes and casinos? Jonny-boy - how many times are you going to get embarrassed by falling for the spin by the douche-bags in DC?

But the kid-glove approach for Ney at the Dispatch seems to go beyond Riskind. Compare the placement of two stories today. The Dispatch buries the Newsday story on Ney's new problems on page C6, but puts in the "A" section is "DeLay given use of skybox." Go figure.

On a national scale, Ney is effectively Tom Delay's version of mini-me. But he IS Ohio's version of DeLay, and deserves scrutiny instead of blown kisses from star-struck reporters.


Edwards at labor confab, Reid at Soc. Security town meeting

The capital city gets visits this weekend from some political heavy hitters.

First, we understand that Sen. John Edwards will be in town most of Saturday (April 23) to speak with backers plus labor leaders of SEIU and the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association/AFSCME. Edwards profile has risen recently with the launching of his One America Committee, weekly podcosts from his website, speeches about poverty at the Kennedy School of Goverment at Harvard and tax reform at New York's New School, discussions of the bankruptcy laws, etc.

Also coming to Columbus April 23 is Sen. Harry Reid who has surprised many at his canny decision making and feistyness as Senate Minority Leader. Sen. Reid will be in town to host something of a national town meeting on Social Security that is, at least in part, apparently hosted by MoveOn. Panelists include North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan (ND, Sen. John Glenn and Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman.

This 2:00 PM event will be held at the Berry Bolts Company, 350 East First Avenue. Doors open at 1:00 PM. Interested participants should call 614-645-7787.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Ohio traitor unmasked!

Tsk, tsk - the disloyal Sen. Voinovich. Act first, ask questions later!

Thank God and Rev. Parsley he has been caught and exposed!

[UPDATE] Digby's take:
It must be awfully uncomfortable being told that either you become a submissive slave to the right wing or you are a traitor. Welcome to our world Senator Voinovich.


The real FDR - not Parsley's

We noted a couple of days ago that self-appointed godhead of the moral reformation movement in the US, Ohio's own Rev. Rod Parsley, is trying to generate the cockamamie myth that FDR was against aid for the poor and unemployed, particularly government aid for disadvantaged. Parsley had resorted to lying and using deceptive editing to get FDR's 1934 SOTU speech to fit his theocratic needs. Apparently this was Rev. Rod's thoughtful way of marking the anniversary of Roosevelt's death.

Bob Herbert, however, truly does honor the FDR legacy and points out that his aim was "to make a country in which no one is left out.'' Indeed, in his 1944 SOTU speech, Roosevelt introduced the notion of a Second Bill of Rights:
[T]he president offered what should have been recognized immediately for what it was, nothing less than a blueprint for the future of the United States. It was the clearest statement I've ever seen of the kind of nation the United States could have become in the years between the end of World War II and now. Roosevelt referred to his proposals in that speech as "a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race or creed.''

Among these rights, he said, are:

"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.

"The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

"The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.

"The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.

"The right of every family to a decent home.

"The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

"The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

"The right to a good education."

[. . . ]

Roosevelt was far from a perfect president, but he gave hope and a sense of the possible to a nation in dire need. And he famously warned against giving in to fear.

The nation is now in the hands of leaders who are experts at exploiting fear, and indifferent to the needs and hopes, even the suffering, of ordinary people.

"The test of our progress,'' said Roosevelt, "is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.''
Sixty years after his death we should be raising a toast to FDR and his progressive ideas. And we should take that opportunity to ask: How in the world did we allow ourselves to get from there to here?

Monday, April 18, 2005


Rev. Parsley lies about FDR

We haven't yet read any transcripts from Rev. Rod Parsley's Saturday rally and festival that is apparently aimed at letting him annoint himself as THE leader of the theocracy's "moral reformation movement" (look out, James Dobson). The closest we've come is the hackery of Mark Niquette.

In the meantime, we decided to check out Parsley's latest "Breakthrough" broadcast from April 17 which promised to tell us how he intends to lead America in "Reversing the Curse of Poverty." Come on, how fascinating could that be?

Actually, waiting for his solution was actually an effort in futility because, unless there was a big video editing error, he never got around to it. We mean, after 30 agonizing minutes - interupted twice by ads calling on his followers to send petitions to fight the awful monsters in black robes that dominate the courts, and plugs for his bible college, no big time solution was unveiled. A helluva way to lead the reformation, rev.

But he did manage to create an enormous lie about FDR in a manner that is worth looking out since I expect him to resort to using it again.

The incident in question comes at about 12 minutes into the broadcast. To set this up, we have to described that he initially seemed in his sermon to be going down a "fuck the poor" path:
Proverbs 14:23 says that, “In all work there is profit.” And in the New Testament, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 it says, “For this we commanded you, that if any would not work, he should not eat.” Oh, I am going to mess you up. (He repeats this quote.)
Seemingly to emphasize this point, immediately following this Parsley dredges up old FDR to make his point:
It was Franklin Roosevelt who said the federal government must and shall quit this business of relief. "To dole out relief is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit."

Now I know it hard to equate what happened with the welfare system as a result of FDR’s policies to that statement nonetheless. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said the government must quit this process of relief. Because, to dole out relief and not expect people to work for it, is to give them a narcotic. Not that was many decades ago. And I am going to prove to you this morning that that is exactly what has happened to the United States of America.
Since Parsley seemed to be trying to set up the point that aid to the poor is bad, it's convenient to make FDR look like the two are on the same side. But Roosevelt didn't say that. Parsley edited the real Roosevelt quote to make it fit his purposes.

The bogus reference is to FDR's 1934 State of the Union speech. He had taken office one year before, and this was his first chance to reflect on his administrations initial efforts to deal with the human side of the Depression. As we recall it (and we are no great historians), FDR tried to immediately mitigate the worst effects of the Depression such as serious starvation and homelessness. In exchange for some "make work" - which apparently was a job in name only - everyone was guarantee some "relief" - some subsistence income to tide them over.
By 1934, however, FDR was in a position of wanting to move government programs beyond what were little less than phony "make work" efforts and convert them into real jobs programs that would 1) benefit society, 2) treat the unemployed with dignity, and 3) prepare them for eventual employment in the private sector.

So, in the State of the Union speech, FDR says:
To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of human spirit. [emphasis added]
Parsley conveniently leaves out the "in this way" part. But that is the key point that FDR was trying to make in his statement. FDR was trying to build support for moving from government providng "relief" to government providing real jobs, i.e., the Work Projects Administration. Our sources indicate thate the WPA was:
was designed to increase the purchasing power of persons on relief by employing them on useful projects. WPA's building program included the construction of 116,000 buildings, 78,000 bridges, and 651,000 mi (1,047,000 km) of road and the improvement of 800 airports. Also a part of WPA's diversified activities were the Federal Art Project, the Federal Writers' Project, and the Federal Theatre Project. Close to 10,000 drawings, paintings, and sculptured works were produced through WPA, and many public buildings (especially post offices) were decorated with murals. The experiments in theatrical productions were highly praised and introduced many fresh ideas. Musical performances under the project averaged 4,000 a month. The most notable product of writers in WPA was a valuable series of state and regional guidebooks. WPA also conducted an education program and supervised the activities of the National Youth Administration. At its peak WPA had about 3.5 million persons on its payrolls. Altogether WPA employed a total of 8.5 million persons, and total federal appropriations for the program amounted to almost $11 billion.
In other words, Roosevelt understood there was a synergistic benefit from unleashing the talent and abilities of the unemployed workforce to improve society, modernize its infrastructure and have the partcipants know that they were contributing something meaningful instead of propping up a broom.

As we noted earlier, Parsley's sermon never delivered any payoff, so we aren't sure exactly where he was going, but we are pretty damn confident he wasn't going to advocate a new WPA.

FDR has a powerful legacy among those aged 65+, and too a large extent their children. All modern populists, even theocrats like Parsley, ultimately have to try to wear the Roosevelt mantle. But like those that wanted to twist FDR's words on Social Security, their lies only reveal the shallowness and desparation of their own beliefs.


Marky's world

Mark Niquette did a surprisingly lousy job of covering the Rev. Rod Parsley's attempt to whip up the persecuted-Christian hysteria among his followers. Hell, Niquette didn't even bother to get a response from anyone who might an opposing point of view or who might at least disagree with Parsley's and Alan Keyes' presentation of the facts. (Did Niquette have to call it a night before Ann Coulter spoke?)

So, gee, readers of the Dispatch get to hear, unrebutted, that:
It was that last point that didn't ring true, and we'd sure-as-hell would like to here Keyes' definition of tolerance, especially since Parsley said that evening that, "I will rail against the idea that the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are the same being." Sheesh!

Last, but not least, Niquette got a plug in for Kenny Blackwell's appearance at Parsley's church.

As one blog commenter said, "I wish our churches would focus on their calling instead of the call of Republican politicians.

Likewise, we wish the Dispatch's editors would focus its hacks on real journalism instead of writing press releases for the Christian theocracy.

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