Saturday, November 05, 2005


Saturday music blogging

Richard Bryne at TAP sings the long overdue praises of Great Plains:
Back in the lo-fi bliss of mid-1980s, the Columbus, Ohio band Great Plains wrote a song called "Letter to a Fanzine." It was a brilliantly Janus-faced take on indie rock's navel gazing, neatly encompassing satire and self-satisfaction. ("Isn't my haircut really intense / Isn't Nick Cave a genius in a sense?") Rock critics of that era rejoiced in Ron House's nasal sneer and the garage-band swirl of organ and guitar laid down by brothers Mark and Matt Wyatt. The question at the center of "Fanzine" -- "Why do punk rock guys go out with new wave girls?" -- remains the band's most-cited bon mot.


Pay-to-play gang behind Ohio First

The ePluribus Media folks have a must read post at dKos about the overlapping circles among cronies behind Ohio First/Ohio Voter Education Fund and the lobbyists who channel the big $$$ federal contracts in Ohio and the pro-TABOR crowd.

It's like pulling a tread on a sweater. All kinds of things start unraveling:
Tom Whatman [of Strategic Public Parnters - ed. has his hands in the GOP attack against the Reform Ohio Now's effort to clean up Ohio elections after the rumored voter disenfranchisement and vote stealing that occurred in the 2004 election.

Friday, November 04, 2005


More on Dimora, the ODP and RON

The more we think about Jimmy Dimora's robo calls, the madder we get. But, the Cuyahoga Co. rank and file Dems should be more than capable of handling Jimbo.

What really gives us the slow burn is that this stupid stuff happens because we have Denny White and the ODP staff who 1) don't have the balls to be independent of stooges like Dimora and Susan Gwinn, and 2) try to float bullshit to cover for the chickenshittedness that passes for leadership on East State Street in Columbus.

Take, for example, the equivocating that has gone one over the past few weeks out of the ODP about whether they intended to support the RON amendments - or not.

Now, we are willing to grant that reasonable people, people that we think highly of, have argued that RON's strength is it's grassroots genesis. Consequently they have also argued that the ODP should just stay away from the RON campaign in order to maintain the campaign's non-partisan premise. These are the folks who have been believing that the ODP's apparent "hands off " stance was due to the party's grasp of this line of tactical thinking.

We admit: We got hoodwinked. We originally subscribed to this line of thinking. But events over the last week have changed our minds on a number of levels.

First, on a tactical level, asking the ODP to sit this one out - all things considered - is a mistake. For Issue 4 to have any chance of winning, we need people who are voting in the mayoral races in all of the big cities to also vote for RON. Since the mayoral candidates are virtually all Democrats (or at least non-Republicans), this means that we need every Democratic party county operation that has mayor's race pigging backing on the RON issues. We need them distributing sample ballots and palm cards that say "Vote for Issues 2-5." This far outweighs the benefits of being able to claim that RON is truly bi-partisan.

And, you know what else? We've seen some of the polling and that non-partisan line is a weak argument with the public.

The second thing that changed our mind is that we've learned that Denny White has been playing the "let's keep it non-partisan crowd" for chumps for some time. Once Denny learned (some time ago as it turns out) that Dimora and Gwinn had decided to oppose RON and that the Plain Dealer was going to run the news on 10/28, he immediately began looking for a way out.

The solution? Rush out a preemptive press release (below) to soften the damage to the ODP leadership's that would certainly arise from the next day's revelations about Dimora. (Don't bother looking for it on the ODP website - they apparently were in such a hurry that they overlooked posting it.)


In other words, we assert that the purpose of this press release had nothing, nothing to do with "helping" the RON campaign and had everything to do with providing White some plausible cover story that he might be able to sell to some of his key constituents such as the labor unions that have also been heavy RON backers. And, he needed to have the cover story in place before the Executive Committee meeting.

While Denny and his minions deserve the scorn of progressive Ohioans, we'll try to do a little karma balancing by praising the Franklin Co. Democratic Party operations for proclaiming their support for RON loud and clear on its sample ballot. Our thanks goes to whoever in that group was responsible for getting that done.


Slick Bob is now "A target"

Ney, that is. Josh Marshall asks, "Can you say 'subpoenaed'?"

Stick the fork in. He's done for 2006. What fun this is going to be.


Slime-O-The Day: Jimmy Dimora

dimoraWe'd love to have been a fly on the wall when Bob Bennett cut his deal with Jimmy Dimora to oppose Issues 3, 4 and 5. Dimora, you see, is a Cuyahoga County Commissioner. Dimora is also chair of the Cuyahogo County Democrats.

Dimora pissed off a lot of people last week for announcing his inane opposition to the Reform Ohio Now amendments.

Now that Dimora's voice is showing up on answering machines all over the Cleveland area telling voter's to oppose Issues 3, 4 & 5, there is a whole army that want Dimora's hide. From a recording of the robocall:
Hi, this is Jimmy Dimora, chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party with a report and message about Issues 3, 4, and 5.

. . .

Issues 3, 4 & 5 should be defeated. Please join me in voting no on Issues 3, 4 and 5. Thank you for your time and attention.

Announcer: Paid for by Ohio First.
That last line pretty well sums it up. Jimmy is paid for by the Ohio First guys. Internally, it would appear that the entire CCDP may not be on board with Jimbo. The CCDP until recently had a link to the Plain Dealer article on its home page (bless you, google cache! - see below) but now the site seems to have been scrubbed of all anti-RON messages.

Cache screen shot of Cuyahogo Co. Dem Party homepage

Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, it's our guess that Dimora realizes that if the RON amendments pass, hack-a-riffic pols of his ilk in both parties will be done for as new activists who relish competition rush into the Dems and the GOP, sweeping out the old guard.

It can't happen too soon. And, hey, you could always call him and tell him how you feel. 1-216 -443-7180.

And, make this reason #403 for Denny White to find a new job.


Someone given immunity?

The word on the street is that someone in the Moorman-Talbott-Mermis trio was granted immunity. Because Moorman's case has been forwarded to the prosecutor, that leaves either Doug and Jim. Hmmm. . .

Here's our theory: We think that since Talbott's got the most to lose, our bet is that his lawyer jumped at a chance to make a deal.

Any other theories?


"Vastly preferable"

Sometimes it helps to have a little distance from the lies to get an objective view of Issue 4.

From the Austin (TX) American-Statesman:
If the measures are approved, Ohio and California would join a dozen other states that already give redistricting authority to commissions. That's vastly preferable to the viciously partisan redistricting by legislators, a system that guarantees a playing field heavily tilted toward the party in power.

. . .

Sophisticated computer models now make it possible for legislators to draw districts to the very doorstep, and to ensure an overwhelming victory for their party.

. . .

Bipartisan commissions don't take all the politics out of redistricting. Its members are political animals themselves. And they don't guarantee competitive races. Some of those overwhelming victories last year were in commission-drawn districts.

But commission-drawn districts are infinitely better than the geographically tortured, predetermined, fix-is-in districts devised by the Texas Legislature. It's at least possible that a commission would come up with political jurisdictions in which the winner is not known before the polls open.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


"A waste of time": A new CD columnist is born? [Updated]

This is at least a day late, but damn we were glad to see that Ann Fisher took a swing at dipshit GOPster Courtney Combs's "Ohio English Unity Act" calling it "A waste of time."
Most immigrants in the 17 th century were English, followed quickly by groups of Germans and Dutch, among others. And even then, folks such as Benjamin Franklin fretted over language differences.

How, they wondered, would the wobbly legs of the new republic get a proper toehold if its residents couldn’t even agree on a universal language?

Somehow, we muddled through. English prevailed without a mandate and the nation grew into the greatest superpower the world has ever known.
And, what's up with Fisher career? She was tough-ass professional pitbull during her reporting days and she significantly improved the Dispatch's stories when she became a state editor. There's been a scary rumor around that she also channels Ian Anderson in her spare time. Go figure.

More to the point, the paper now refers to her as a "Dispatch Metro columnist" so clearly some change has happened in her role on Third Street. We're think we're going to be looking forward to her columns.

[Updated info promoted from the comments:] We fall into a deep, dark depression when GOPsters have the skinny on reporters before we do, but thanks to maven Michael Meckler, we are now up to date about Fisher's new assignment:
Ann Fisher, who has written about everything from presidential elections to profiles of Appalachian artists, will become a Dispatch Metro columnist on Oct. 31.

"To be successful, a columnist must know the community and its issues," Editor Benjamin Marrison said. "As our state editor, Ann has been immersed in regional issues; as a former Statehouse reporter, she understands the problems facing our struggling state."

Fisher, 48, will be a good complement to columnist Mike Harden, Marrison said.

"Ann has intense passion for what we do every day, and she respects the awesome role a newspaper plays in a community," he said, adding that her columns will be based on analysis as well as opinion.

. . .

Her column will be published on Wednesdays and Fridays.


Something smells? Something smells!

Give us a break! From the legal spin machine, as reported by the Blade:
"Some thought it smelled a little bit,” Bill Connelly said yesterday. “But they didn’t inquire further.”

Mr. Connelly, whose clients in the matter include Toledo City Councilman Betty Shultz, Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, and former Toledo mayor Donna Owens, said others had no idea it was a problem and were “flabbergasted” to learn he was under investigation.

Mr. Connelly also represents Ms. Thurber’s husband, Sam, and jeweler Jeffrey Mann. All five of his clients testified before the federal grand jury investigating Mr. Noe.

He declined to say which of his clients thought it could be a problem and which did not. He said they were all told they would not be prosecuted if they cooperated with the federal investigation.
Some thought it smelled a little bit? Cheese and crakers, got all muddy! Some guy hands experienced politicians $2,000 - an amount they clearly know is the maximum contribution limit - and they say it "smelled a little bit" but not enough to make them ask any questions? Is this a joke?

And later he says:
Although his clients have told him they thought they were being “comped” — or given complimentary tickets, Mr. Connelly said that “in hindsight” his clients realize that accepting the money was wrong.

“They just weren’t thinking this was what he was trying to circumvent,” Mr. Connelly said.
Mr. Connelly - the only thing that doesn't pass the smell test is your pitiful, pitiful explanation. Why this bullshit isn't being prosecuted is beyond us. We understand that immunity is going to be given to a few folks to sew up the Noe case, but Schultz, Owens and Thurber. C'mon now!


TABOR Tumbles in Telluride Tuesday: Bad for Blackwell

Actually it tumbled throughout Colorado on Nov. 1, but we have always wanted to write that headline since we first wrote about this issue many months ago.

Anyway, the citizens of Colorado gave a nice little "f-you" to the conservatives and their nasty TABOR amendments on their election day, shelving for five years the measure that has suffocated the state for a decade. Voters, as we understand it, also permanently repealed the component of TABOR that permanently "racheted" downward government spending, effectively preventing the restoration of programs and services after a recession had passed.

TABOR was a nightmare for the state. Once one of the greatest economic engines in the West, Colorado has gone through a painful 12-year period in which revenues dried up that were needed for things like basic state infrastructure, schools and health care. The state's Republican governor evolved into one of the most vocal opponents of TABOR

As Nathan Newman points out, one big loser is Grover Norquist. Sure, it's a setback, but he is pushing similar measures in dozens of states and is gambling that one of the will pay off.

But, from our perspective, the biggest loser actually is Kenny Blackwell who was staking much of his gubernatorial effort to a similar TABOR measure in Ohio - something he vowed to put on the ballot in 2006. As much as Blackwell's spokesman tries to polish this turd, the Colorado defeat means the bottom just fell out of his Ohio TABOR effort.

Not surprisingly, there is nary a word about the Colorado vote on Blackwell's campaign website.

We aren't convinced that the stalwarts of his own party want TABOR in Ohio, and many GOP moderates were already pissed off that Blackwell was creating a wedge issue in his own party at one of its weakest moments in the past two decades. We've got to believe that Bob Bennett must must have been yukking it up with his pals at Kenny's expense all day yesterday.


Bobo's world - Ohio edition

Minister Arrested In Sex Sting


More GOP corruption: Moorman case referred to prosecutors

Remember - ya' heard it here first. Back on Aug 19th, we wrote:
There's a real perp-walk ahead
Now it going to get very interesting:
A state task force and the Ohio Ethics Commission were still investigating public employees for similar offenses and O'Brien said he expected more serious felony charges to be charged, although not against Taft.

"We would like to move on and have the inspector general and law enforcement focus their attention on more serious crimes that we are trying to investigate instead of spending all our time on golf matters," O'Brien said.

Messrs. Moorman, Talbott and Mermis, the prosecutors would like to see you now - one at a time.

Plea bargaining is a challenging game. You jump too soon, you screw yourself. You jump too late and everyone screws you.
Today's Blade:
A second former high-ranking aide to Gov. Bob Taft may face criminal charges for accepting a loan and free meals from GOP fund-raiser Tom Noe.

The state Ethics Commission has referred its investigation of Douglas Moormann, who served as the governor’s executive assistant for business and industry, to prosecutors for review, said Lara Baker, chief legal counsel for the Columbus prosecutor’s office.

Yesterday, Ms. Baker said no decision had been made on whether to file charges against Mr. Moormann, who received a $5,000 loan from Mr. Noe in 2004, after he had left the governor’s office.
This story doesn't answer the question of who is testifying against whom, but we understand that Talbott and Mermis are still in the mix.


At least the witch is honest

We get a weird kind of happy/nausea every time we hear Kevin DeWine and Bill Harris crying about how the current system is flawed by RON is a bad solution. Their concerns about the current "flaws" are a transparent joke, but we love it when reporters call them out about being such hypocrites.

But, Jean Schmidt, Ohio's newest congresswomwn, clears up the GOP point of view:
Why replace something that is not only not broken, but is working very well? The current elections process in Ohio is competitive, well tested and contains safeguards in a place well-known for being a "battleground" state.
Working very well? Hmmm . . .
Not to change the subject, somewhat, and maybe we've missed other bloggers that have pointed this out, but if we weren't totally convinced that Ann Coulter is the devil's own spawn, we swear Jean Schmidt might be Ann's mom. Just look at the similarity.



Oxley sitting on war chest

Even in retirement, Oxley's going to be a political player for a while. From PoliticalMoneyLine:
Rep. Oxley Has $1.1 Million Cash-on-Hand
Rep. Michael Oxley announced 11/1 that he would not run for re-election in 2006. His campaign committee, Oxley For Congress, had $383,026 cash-on-hand as of 9/30. His PAC, Leadership PAC 2006 reported cash-on-hand of $723,384 as of 9/30. In 2005, he has so far given out a total of $254,000 to candidates and political committees ($121,000 from his PAC and $133,000 from his campaign committee). The NRCC received $125,000 of that.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Konop downplays his candidacy for Oxley seat

From the Blade:
Mr. Konop, who moved into Mr. Oxley’s district in late 2003 to run against him, has since moved back to Toledo to practice law. He said the congressman’s departure could provide an opportunity for Democrats to capture his seat.

“I am optimistic today because I think his retirement gives the 4th Congressional District the opportunity to have fresh and vigorous representation, which has been sorely lacking during his tenure in office,” Mr. Konop said.

Asked if he would consider moving back into the district for another campaign, Mr. Konop replied, “Honestly, I like where I am right now. This is my home. I was born and raised in Lucas County.”

Mr. Oxley said he has no plans for what he’ll do after he leaves office in early 2007, but Mr. Konop made a prediction. “My guess is Oxley will get a very well-paid lobbying job in Washington, D.C., and be able to play a lot of golf,” he said.
The story also had some interesting comments from the Mansfield Mayor. As we have commented elsewhere, Oxley's big key to re-election was constituent services such as protecting area business, military-related services and highway construction (U.S. Rt. 30). So, the observations and perceptions of the mayor of a large city in this district is very important.
Mansfield Mayor Lydia Reid, a Democrat, credits him with saving her city’s Air National Guard base from being shut down during this year’s round of Pentagon cutbacks.

“I think it was due to his clout in Washington,” Ms. Reid said. “He worked very hard for us.”

. . .

The state’s Republican Party has been rocked this year by ethics and financial scandals, including Toledo-area coin dealer Tom Noe’s indictment last week on charges of laundering money to President Bush’s re-election campaign. Mr. Oxley said the state party’s troubles played no part in his decision to retire, but Ms. Reid isn’t so sure of that.

“Last time was the first time he’s had any real opposition,” she said. “Maybe he saw the handwriting on the wall, with all the problems. … Time to get out while you can. Certainly, after a sterling career like his, he wouldn’t want to go down to defeat.”
We still think this is a winnable district. It's got a good blue-collar/union mix. It's an area devastated by manufacturing losses. The Lima area is still pissed off about a prison closing. Many of the sons and daughters in that area are serving in Iraq. There are many folks in the district also concerned about hanging on to their Social Security as well as tax deductions for their mortgages. Opportunities abound! Who is going to step up to the plate?


You know what to do with this poll

Picture 8

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Tim Ryan now live on CSPAN . . .

. . . ripping on Traitorgate. Check it out.


Our crystal ball on Oxley . . .

. . . has us imagining a career arc like John Kasich. Cushy Fox News job. Cushy corporate job. Besides being a Fox contributor, our first guess is that Big Mike will end up at some big investmenat house like Lehman Brothers given the list of big contributors (since 2002). We'll have to figure out a way to hedge that bet because he has also been kissing some major insurance industry ass.

Either way, he's going to be looking for some major payback from one or more of those below:
VenturePAC - $14,000 Lehman Brothers- $13,000
CUNA - $12,000 HSBC - $11,000
Bear Steans - $10,000 Capital One - $10,000
Citigroup - $10,000 Credit Suisse First Boston - $10,000
E*Trade - $10,000 Goldman Sachs - $10,000
J.P. Morgan - $10,000 Ind. Comm. Bankers - $10,000
KeyCorp - $10,000 Morgan Stanley - $10,000
UBS - $10,000 Wachovia - $10,000
Wells Fargo - $10,000 Bank of America - $8,000
Nat. Assoc. of Ins. and Financial Advisors - $10,000
National City Corp - $10,000
Bond Market Assoc. - $10,000


Two new RON ads running now

Hey - it's a twofer day! And we think it's pretty smart to keep highlighting the Taft/Noe stuff. It's surely the one thing that keeps Bob Bennett and the Ohio GOP awake at night.

The first ad is by Citizens's to End Corruption that was responsible for the excellent one that ran last week:
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3

The other one is from the RON campaign, itself:

Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6


Yippee! - Oxley is leaving

This is one retirement party we'll be celebrating. When it comes to concerns about legislators being in the pockets of corporations, Oxley is the poster boy. Oxley was also a turd when Social Security privatization was on the agenda.

This is prime opportunity for Democrats. Oxley's last opponent, Ben Konop, got 41% of the vote, and with a concerted effort, this could be a great race.


Hagan for Y'town mayor!

It's hard to imagine a better state legislator than State Senator Bobby Hagan who is now running as a candidate for mayor of Youngstown. He's been an unshakeable voice for not only northeast Ohio but also all working people in Ohio. He's been a leader in the fight in Ohio for jobs, real health care reform, and economic justice.

His campaign is having a rally this weekend and here's the details. If you have an ounce of progressiveness in your bones and you live in the area, you need to be there for this event.
Rally with Bob Hagan for Mayor
Hagan Headquarters on the Square
Saturday, November 5th at 11 A.M.

After the rally join the walk team as we cover the final precincts, and get the word out that we want Youngstown to be clean, safe and united.

Fantastic food—special recipe ribs, chicken wings & salad.
Wear your Hagan for Mayor T-Shirt

For info, call 330-742-4400


Time to bring Ohio up to speed with the rest of the world


See McDonald's letter in today's WaPo here.


Foley asks the right question on Issue 4 and calls DeWine's bluff

The director of OSU's Moritz Law School's Election Law program asks, "If not Issue 4, then what?":
State Rep. Kevin DeWine, R-Fairborn, who is leading the opposition to Issue 4, admits the current system is flawed. Yet he remains silent on what reform he would propose instead.
No Ohioan should vote against Issue 4 unless DeWine and his Republican colleagues announce a specific alternative to fix the system and, further, pledge to submit their plan to the voters in 2006.

. . .

DeWine and his Republican colleagues should promise to bring the Schwarzenegger proposal, or some close variation, to Ohio voters in 2006. Doing so would demonstrate that their opposition to Issue 4 is in good faith, rather than an effort to perpetuate an unfair partisan advantage.

A well-designed districting system would not require wide swings in public opinion to change which party controls the Legislature, in order to overcome a built-in advantage that the previous majority gets from gerrymandering. Right now, Republicans in Ohio benefit from that built-in bias, but not in California as Schwarzenegger's reform efforts — and the Democratic opposition there — so vividly demonstrate.

This built-in bias is wrong in either state, whichever party benefits. Ohio Republicans, therefore, should honorably follow the lead of their California counterpart and clearly commit themselves to nonpartisan districting.

Absent an unequivocal pledge of this kind, Ohioans should approve Issue 4 as their only guarantee of ending this unfair advantage.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Noe enters 'not guilty' plea [Updated]

From the Blade:
Tom Noe appeared in federal court in Toledo today with his attorney, Jon Richardson, entering not guilty pleas to three felony counts in the alleged laundering of $45,400 to President Bush’s re-election campaign.

U.S. District Judge David Katz accepted the pleas and then accepted a property bond valued at $350,000 to keep Mr. Noe out of jail. The bond is secured by two properties, one in Maumee and one in Bowling Green.
[Updated] The Dispatch reminds us this afternoon that more lays ahead:
Federal officials have described the federal indictment as the "tip of the iceberg" of matters involving Noe.
Squeeeeeesh! Dozens of spincters spasm every time they read that.


Papers weakening their own influence

We got an interesting email from a reader commenting on the Plain Dealer's and Dispatch's rejection of the Reform Ohio Now amendments and we think he makes a valid point, namely that in a big way, the non-endorsements are a triumph of political considerations over the best interest of the newspapers.

Let us explain. We're no great journalism historians, but we do know this: There once was a time when a newspaper's endorsement of a candidate meant a lot. Sometimes it was just pompous "King Maker" boasting, but papers like the Dispatch and Plain Dealer 20, maybe even 15 years ago could make or break a legislative candidate simply with an editorial of support. Today, the only place that seems to still be true is the school board races and city council/county council positions. For Congressional seats and elections for the Ohio General Assembly, they only pretend to have influence.

Why? Because of the same reasons Issue 4 is needed, namely that competition has disappeared from state and national legislative races and only really exists in non-district elections such as the school boards, etc. Without competition, the paper's endorsements are practically valueless because the encumbent really doesn't need it. She or he might lose a few points, but they will likely still win by a landslide.

The editors of the Dispatch and PD must have realized the power of their editorials was starting to slip years ago. Yet the blind political allegiance of their owners to their Republican bretheran causes them to lose a key opportunity to return major power to their papers' editorial staff.



Time to break the piggy bank

Help Reform Ohio Now double it's contributions:
The donor matching all funds to help us run our ad has generously extended the deadline until tomorrow! That means this is really, truly your last chance to help us run our ad and double your impact.

As of this morning, we've raised $43,000 out of $50,000 thanks to our incredible supporters. We're so close! Can you help us fill the gap?

Please help us raise that last $7,000 and take advantage of this generous match before it runs out tomorrow!

Don't let this dollar-for-dollar match pass us by!
Even if you given once, here's one more chance to help out. Show the RON opponents the power of the internet and grassroots. Just click on the box to the left.


Some questions about Noe's 'friends'

Several days ago we posted our hypothetical list of Tom's friends and 'super' friends. One bit a data that we seem to be inconflict with, at least with the Blade and/or the prosecutors, is over this bit of reporting:
For instance, prosecutors said he gave one conduit $1,750 on Oct. 22, 2003. That person then contributed the maximum $2,000 on the same day.
We've gone thru dozens and dozens of searches of the Center for Responsive Politics database and we can't find a donation from any of the likely parties on Oct. 22. We'd had to suggest that the Drew Crew's or the prosecutor's research skills are worse than ours, so for the time being we'll have to put an asterisk on our list.

Having said that, we got a little laugh from the comments in an AP story from one defense attorney involved with the case who is trying to spin his client(s) involvement as innocent favors among friends:
"It was more, 'If you go ahead and write a check, I'll go ahead and reimburse you when I see you next,'" attorney William Connelly said Friday.

He likened it to providing free tickets to an event to ensure a big crowd. "You want to see the president, that's a big inducement," Connelly said.
We are struggling to get beyond the emotional pain this has caused us because we've yet to find a friend or family member that would provide us with free tickets valued at $2,000 each (excluding of course the great offer we just got from a time-share salesman).

The problem is that a couple of Connelly's clients, Maggie & Sam Thurber, were given $3,750 but apparently thought she could veil the scheme by giving an amount ($3,900) that was slightly different. This suggests that Thurbers may have given some extra thought about how to make the thing look legit, further undercutting the "innocence" of the exchange.

Another thing that troubles us is the timing of when some of the payments were recorded by the Bush/Cheney campaign. If the fundraiser that all of this centers on was held Oct. 30, 2003, why were some of the payments not recorded until five days later?

We are sometimes not very creative, but we cannot imagine a scenario where the tickets for the Bush fundraiser were given out on an IOUs to individuals. We just can't see ticketmaster letting us see the Rolling Stones on a promise that they'd get our check in a week.

Now, maybe Noe had the clout to get the tickets on loan, but certainly not some of the individuals that have been linked to him. So, come on prosecutors, what gives with this stuff? Did Noe provide some collateral to guarantee the payments? We'd sure like to see some of the testimony that the fundraiser organizers provided to prosecutors on the specifics of how the money was handled.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Blade backs RON while Dispatch caves

Hopefully the Reform Ohio Now campaign can gain some perspective from the conflicting editorial positions staked out today by two of the major Ohio newspspers.

In particular, the RON folks should be very pleased about the endorsements given by the Toledo Blade. As the paper with the investigative staff that consistently towered over all of the others' efforts combined to document the culture of corruption, the Blade's support is sweet because it comes from an institution that knows the problems the best.
Ohioans who are embarrassed by the national attention paid as recently as last year to our clumsy, inefficient, and occasionally unethical elections - and that should be all Ohioans - should be encouraged by a grass-roots initiative that would make the necessary repairs.
On the other hand, like the Kerry/Edwards endorsement in 2004, the Dispatch's rebuff of the RON initiatives is a not-unexpected disappointment to those of us who continue to think that maybe the paper will show more editorial political independence.

And, the negative editorial suggests some major underlying conflicts among the Dispatch's chieftans. We have heard from at least two sources, for example, that at least one very high-ranking manager after an editorial board meeting pledged that the paper would be supportive of the RON iniatives - at least of Issue 4.

We fully understand that John Wolfe still knows what side of the political bread to put the butter on and that he has the final say, but slamming Issue 4 puts at least one of his top team members in a significant pickle.

And, one last thought. If Kenny Blackwell still succeeds in putting his TABOR proposals on the ballot next year, will the Dispatch still feel this way?:
The biggest flaw is that they seek to write highly detailed, prescriptive language and untested policy into the Ohio Constitution. Once there, fixing any deficiencies would require another statewide vote.
If we were part of the anti-TABOR group, we'd be filing this editorial away for safe keeping.


Blade series documents 'pay-to-play'

This should be lots and lots of fun. The Toledo paper opens an important series documenting the one-hand-washes-the-other culture that permeates Ohio's politics:
The Blade assembled a team of six reporters to investigate how the Bush-Cheney campaign raised millions to win the Buckeye State.

Using raw data, the reporters assembled portraits of each of the top fund-raisers' poltical donations. They also built a database of checks cut by the state over the last five years and mined federal databases to track the state and federal dollars paid to the firms of Ohio's Pioneers and Rangers.

Over the next four days, The Blade will introduce you to the 29 men and women who engineered a fund-raising landslide for Mr. Bush in Ohio and helped deliver him a narrow victory in the state.
Today in separate stories, The Blade documents the enormous payback in public contracts and appointments for Ohio's top Bush/Cheney fundraisers, Noe's political ambitions and goals, Ron- Beshear's and Doug Corn's high level fundraising among conservative Christians and profiles top GOP contributor and schemer David Brennan.

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