Saturday, October 29, 2005


Noe's pals?

Here's what we think:
Joe Kidd, a former executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, $2,000 given to Bush/Cheney 11/4/05.
Susan Metzger, former executive assistant at Vintage Coins and Collectibles & chairman of the Bush-Cheney efforts in Lucas County, $2000 given 10/30/03
Mike Boyle, Toltest Inc., $2,000 given 10/31/03
Paul Swy, chairman of M.T.S. Seating, $2,000 given 10/31/05
Philip Swy, executive with M.T.S. Seating, $1,000 given 10/31/03
Denise Swy, Lauel Manor, $1,000 given 10/31/03
Bart Kulish, vice president M.T.S. Seating, $2,000 given 10/31/03
Joe Restivo, CFO of M.T.S. Seating and Noe brother-in-law, $2,000 given 11/3/03
Sally Perz, former state representative, $2,000 given 10/30/03
Allison Perz, Ohio Council of Community Schools, $2,000 given 10/31/03
Joe Perz, Central Catholic, $2,000 given 10/30/03
Betty Shultz, Toledo City Councilwoman, $2,000 given 10/30/03
Donna Owens, former Toledo mayor, $2,000 

given 11/3/03
Maggie Thurber, Lucas County Commissioner, $1,950 given 10/31/03
Sam Thurber, $1,950 given 10/31/03
Larry Kaczala, Lucas Co., $2,000 given 11/5/03
Gina-Marie Kaczala, $2,000 given 11/5/03
Michael Wilcox, CEO of Wilcox Financial, $2,000 given 11/6/05
Jan Wilcox, $2,000 given 11/5/03
Linda LaPoint, State of Ohio secretary, $2,000 given 10/31/03
Timothy LaPoint, Vintage Coin, $2,000 given 10/31/03
Corrine Mann, $2,000 given 10/31/03
Jeffrey Mann, jewelry store owner, $2,000 given 10/31/03
Patsy Hoag, broker Capital First LLC, $2,000 given 10/31/2003
Paul Hoag, Bush Electoral College voter, $2,000 given 10/31/2003
Our guess on 'super' friends: Susan Metzger and Tim LaPoint.

And, we are wondering who is squawking about whom? Theodore Wasky, the SAIC at the Cleveland FBI office, seemed to be suggesting that it's Let's Make A Deal time:
“I would encourage anyone with information to get on the train.

“Either you’re on the train or you are on the tracks, and the train is coming down those tracks,” Mr. Wasky said.
As Jimmy M. used to sing, "The time for hesitations through."

Friday, October 28, 2005


Three's company. . .


. . . and Lester is having a very hard time choosing who he wants to be his new bitch cellie.


Thursday, October 27, 2005


Other's involved in Noe money laundering

The AP/ONN updates the Noe story with this item:
Several Toledo-area politicians who attended the Bush fundraiser and contributed testified before the grand jury this summer. Prosecutors would not reveal the names of those who Noe gave the money to before the fundraiser or say if any of them would be charged.

The indictment said Noe and those who gave his money to Bush had conspired together to violate the contribution limits. Two people who received just over $20,000 from Noe recruited others who then gave money in their own names, the indictment said. [emphasis added]
We are anxious to see who these two people are. The indictment refers do them as "super conduits" in Noe's conspiracy. We suspect one or both of the super conduits cut a deal with the prosecutors quite a while back and his/her testimony was a significant factor in Noe's indictment.

There were also 22 "ordinary" conduits involved in the scheme.


"One of the most blatant and excessive financial schemes: Noe indicted

Damn - we go into a couple of marathon meetings and we miss all the fun news. What a great week this is going to be.
A federal grand jury has indicted Tom Noe, the former Toledo-area coin dealer at the center of a state investment scandal, of illegally laundering money into President Bush’s re-election campaign.

The three-count indictment states that beginning in October 2003, Mr. Noe contributed to President Bush’s election campaign “over and above the limits established by the Federal Election Campaign Act."

“He did so, according to the indictment, in order to fulfill his pledge to raise $50,000 for a Bush-Cheney fund-raiser held in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 30, 2003,” Gregory White, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced at an afternoon news conference.

The two other counts were for conspiracy and filing false statements.

One of the indictment accused Mr. Noe of giving money to 24 friends and associates, who then made the campaign contributions in their own names. In that way, he skirted the $2,000 limit on individual contributions, prosecutors said.

“The indictment also alleges that Noe wrote several checks in the amounts slightly less than the maximum allowable amount so as to avoid suspension. All together, Noe allegedly contributed $45,400 of his own money through 24 "conduit” donors, the prosecutors said.

Federal investigators also allege Mr. Noe made his friends and associates fill out contribution cards and forms falsely certifying they were making the contributions themselves.

“It’s one of the most blatant and excessive finance schemes we have encountered,” said Noel Hillman, section chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s public integrity section.

Mr. Noe faces the maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count. The conspiracy and false statement counts carry a maximum fine of $250,000 and the campaign finance violation carries a mandatory fine of between $136,200 and $454,000.
Noe's attorney denies that there have been negotiations, but the Statehouse wags have been saying for several weeks that the prosecutor has been trying to offer Noe 81/2 years. It's hard to believe negotiations didn't take place because of the potential prison terms and money involved. Plus, as the Dispatch points out:
Today's indictment is the first in what is expected to be a chain of indictments against Noe and others in the investment scandal.
It's hard to believe he hasn't tried to cut his losses by offering to testify against others, so we aren't really buying the "no negotiations" bit.

And, let's not forget that the Bush/Cheney campaign has only "returned" $6,000 of Noe's money - that which was directly given by Tom and Bernadette, and even then it wasn't returned to state officials but was instead given to a charity. The AP story on the indictments has what appears to be a contemporaneous statement from the RNC that makes it sound like they intend to resist returning the funds:
The committee said it is cooperating with federal authorities but will not return $100,000 that Noe raised for Bush for now, which could include money from the Columbus fundraiser. "At this time it appears those funds were given appropriately," [RNC spokesperson Aaron] McLear said.
Isn't it time for the big timers like Jimmy P, Kenny B and Betty M, the movers and shakers like Kevin DeWine, and the bible thumpers like Rod Parsley - heck, anybody who believes in the 8th commandment - to call for Ken Mehlman to cough up the dough?


Murky RON poll results, strengths on Issue 4 not being disclosed

As a followup to our previous post that raised a reader's questions about the Bliss Institute/Univ. of Akron poll on Issues 1-5, we want to provide an illustration of just how cloudy and contradictory the real results might be.

Nearly all of newspaper accounts we've seen have said that Issue 4 is losing among "Likely Voters" 43.5% to 56.5%. Leaving aside the question about what happened to "undecideds," the full report by the pollsters mentions something that all of the media stories have seemed to have missed: A separate category of poll respondents - "Aware Citizens" - support Issue 4 by a wide margin, 56.1% to 43.9%.

As a matter of fact, the pollsters admit:
These data suggest that the proponents have persuaded citizens who are aware of the measure and that the measure could succeed if this pattern were extended more broadly.
This is quite a conflicted outcome, and far different than what's being reported. However, we're unclear about how much good news this actually is.

Pollsters apparently first asked respondents if they were aware of a measure. If they said they were, they were then put into this "Aware Citizen" category and then they were asked if they favored or opposed it. That's the number, at least for Issue 4 that turned out to be 56.1%-43.9% in favor.

Then respondents were read to statements about each issue, on in favor of the issue and one opposed, and then they were asked to choose the statement that best reflected their own views. In regard to Issue 4, that was 43.5% to 56.5%.

There is a lot of polling methodology and dynamics potentially in play here. For example, did the pollsters alternate between the favor/opposed statements as to which one was read first? Were the two statements really representative of the choices that voters will perceive?

Until we understand much, much more about this poll we have to believe that neither side has gained the upper hand with Issue 4 and that the effort to convince Undecideds and the GOTV effort will determine who wins on Nov. 8.


Problems with new RON poll?

The Ray Bliss Institute/Univ. of Akron recently release the results of a poll that purports to show that Issues 1-3 are passing with "Likely Voters" but Issues 3 & 4 are failing.

But one of our readers has raised several questions about the validity of the poll. These don't seem to be "sour grape" type questions:
1) Why did the pollsters survey "citizens" instead of registered voters, and how many of them are registered voters?
2) How did the pollsters determine who was a "Likely Voter"?
3) How many respondents are in the LV subset and what is the Margin of Error for this group?
2) How did the pollsters determine who was a "Aware Citizen" and how many of these are registered voters?
4) How many respondents are in the AC subset and what is the MoE for this group?
5) How many LV respondents are in the AC group and vice versa?
6) Was the group of Ohio citizens or any of the subsets balanced for party affiliation?
7) Why is there no "undecided" category for any of the respondents for any of the questions?
8) Why was the poll conducted over a three-week period?
9) Were the phone calls used during the survey conducted by professional staff?
10) Will the pollsters release a copy of their full questionaire?
These seem like pretty serious concerns.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Update on Kevin O'Brien

In response to yesterday's rant about the PD's rubber hose & bag guy Kevin O'Brien, we received a couple of questions.

Yes, by all accounts, Kevin wrote the wrote - on behalf of Alex Machaskee - the infamous editorial that was to be the Plain Dealer's endorsement of George W. Bush in 2004. You know, the one that had all (or nearly all) of the other members of the e-board up in arms. From Salon:
After overruling its board, the Newhouse-owned paper was set to run an endorsement of Bush at Machaskee's behest last Sunday, written by deputy editorial director Kevin O'Brien, a staunch conservative."
Yes, O'Brien is really a few eggs short of a dozen when it comes to judging political character. Take this sage bit of advice - provided with no tongue in cheek - that he provided during the debates (from the same Salon article, since the PD has no archive service):
Immediately before the vice presidential debate in Cleveland on Oct. 5, O'Brien wrote a column giving Dick Cheney advice on how to win the debate: "The Democrats and their media sympathizers have spent four-plus years making you out to be a mean old sourpuss who hasn't cracked a smile since public hangings went out of fashion. Take this opportunity to remind America that you're a human being possessed of a wealth of knowledge and experience and a wry sense of humor."
We think that Patrick Fitzgerald has also become endeared to Cheney's 'wry sense of humor' over the past few weeks.

Finally, yes we think O'Brien is a perfect candidate for Operation Yellow Elephant since he is so gungho about making absolutely sure that no one supports the troops any more than he.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Best Issues 2-5 ad yet

This ad wasn't done by the RON campaign, but as far as we are concerned it's a great, positive response to the Ohio First!'s efforts. Congrats to Citizens to End Corruption!
Screen capture 2
Screen Capture 1


Slime-o-the-day: Kevin O'Brien

It must be some secret rule that every editorial page must have a designated douchebag that is assigned to see that the inane ramblings of the publisher make it on to the editorial pages. At the Dispatch, for example, senior douchman John F. Wolfe has junior doucher Glenn Sheller.

At the Plain Dealer, Alex Machaskee's man with the rubber bag seems to be Kevin O'Brien, the papers deputy editorial director. Kevin is the one who was tapped last week to write a column meant to foreshadow the thumbs down his boss gave to the RON amendments this weekend.

Our point here isn't to take issue with his column. (Who can argue with such gems as, "Where do you go to argue with an unelected mathematician?").

Instead, our point here is to shed a little more light on the mind of Kevin O'Brien by highlighting a different column of his that we had intended to post about several months ago.

The context of the column was the event at the I-X center commemorating the deaths of the Ohio marines killed in Iraq this summer. We leave it up to you to read the whole thing, but you'll get a sense of his third-rate bombastic imitation of Bill O'Reilly from this:
"Our boys have gone to war for a lie and under false pretenses," prattled a protester, whose name does not deserve mention in a column about heroes.

There's nothing new about such statements. They're the standard anti-war talking points. We've heard them and read them so often now that many people barely think of them as having meaning. They're just part of the same old, tired political script - background noise.

But think for a moment about what those statements really mean: The president is the enemy, and our military men and women are fighting so that evil will triumph.
and this:
every time some confused protester scrawls his ignorance on a sign and holds it up for the eager cameras of the controversy-obsessed media, the real enemy's resolve is strengthened.
Kevin-boy has painted himself into quite a corner given that we know pretty conclusively from the Traitorgate investigation who lied to the American people and undercut the intelligence services of the nation.

But take some Dramamine and read the entire piece to fully grasp who has their hands on the Plain Dealer's editorials.


Lorain Morning Journal lies

How do they lie? Let us count the ways:
And we have only touched on some of the most glaring untruths in the MJ's bullshit editorial.


The Fourth Frontier?

While the Taft administration tries to get voters excited about Issue 1 and the "Third Frontier" initiative, the reality is that the lame TF economic development proposals are about as exciting and productive as kissing your sister.

On the other hand, we have a new report from the good folks at Policy Matters Ohio that suggests a realistic plan that could bring a significant number of new manufacturing jobs to Ohio and at the same time help free us from petroleum energy dependence:
Ohio ranks fourth among states in potential new component parts manufacturing positions and fifth among states in potential new investment if the U.S. were to make a large national commitment to renewable energy.
. . .

Because of Ohio's strong manufacturing infrastructure and workforce, about $3.64 billion of the $71.8 billion that would be needed nationwide could be expected to be spent in Ohio, more than all but four other states. More than 22,000 of the nationwide 380,000 new component parts manufacturing positions would likely be in Ohio, exceeding all but three other states. With the right policy reforms, Ohio stands to benefit disproportionately from this investment, said George Sterzinger, Executive Director of the Renewable Energy Policy Project.

Ohio has more than 2,000 of the 36,000 U.S. firms producing component parts similar to parts needed in renewable energy equipment, according to the 1997 Economic Census. These firms would be poised to slightly modify current capacity to manufacture parts for the new equipment.
. . .

Ohio could capture:
  • More than 13,000 jobs from wind investment, exceeding all states but California;
  • Nearly 6,000 jobs from solar investment, more than all but five other states;
  • More than 1,800 jobs from geothermal investments, second only to California; and
  • More than 1,800 jobs from biomass, among the top nine states (several stand to gain between 1,800 and 1,900).
Job and investment gains from this national commitment could be spread throughout the state of Ohio - 85 of the states 88 counties have a firm that could enter this market.
PMO has created a nifty map that shows how many jobs would be created in each Ohio county.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Someone with a few RON ideas



Tale of two papers on Issue 4

The Akron Beacon-Journal:
We recommend a yes vote on Issue 4.

. . .

It would ensure a stronger measure of competition, bringing greater attention to issues that affect all Ohioans. That would significantly advance the state.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Vote "no" on Issue 4: There is no doubt that Ohio needs a new system of drawing boundaries for legislative and congressional districts. Sometime in the next five years, the legislature should take steps to craft a better system, as the present method has stifled competition and is based entirely on politics.
The douchebaggery of PD publisher Alex Machaskee knows no bounds. Let us recall that Machaskee tried to overrule the paper's editorial board last year with a Bush endorsement only to face a staff revolt, and only a "no endorsement" decision prevented open rebellion.

We suspect that the twisted logic behind Machaskee's opinion of Issues 3, 4 and 5 isn't supported by the entire editorial board either. It's not about what's best for Cleveland, or Ohio or the citizens of the state. It's not about the wholesale corruption that has engulfed the political system at every level from the Statehouse to the White House. It's not about growing voter cynicism and sense of betrayal about fundamental issues like jobs, pensions, health care and education. For Machaskee, it's about punishing the dimwits in the ODP:
But perhaps the most troubling aspect of Issue 4 is that it is such a brazen attempt by Democrats to compensate for their enormous political failings by changing the rules in the middle of the game. Having lost every election for state offices since 1994, the woefully inept Ohio Democratic Party doesn't have a clue about how to recruit or elect good candidates.
Machaskee then gets a little delusional:
Ohio's congressional delegation currently has more clout in Washington than it has had in decades. We see no reason to jeopardize that standing simply because Democrats don't know how to win elections.
No reason to jeopardize that standing??!! Exactly what has Ohio - or Cleveland for that matter - gotten from its current congressional lineup, more specifically, it's Republican members?

WTF Alex? Isn't this the same delegation that gleefully wasted months trying to sabotage the retirements of millions of Ohioans by trying to sell everyone on the idea of abolishing Social Security? Isn't this the same delegation that jammed bogus bankruptcy "reforms" down our throats. Isn't this the same delegation that subscribes to the terrifyingly false patriotism of unquestioned loyalty to the Commander in Chief?

Worst of all is for Machaskee to suggest that the Republican czars of the Ohio General Assembly would "take steps to craft a better system" that doesn't stifle competition and isn't based entirely on politics. This is such a dishonest assertion that we have to believe that even Machaskee cringed when he wrote it.

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