Saturday, December 10, 2005

 

Christian cult takes pass on . . . Christmas!

Calling Bill O'Falafel!

According to GOP blogmeister Michael Meckler, at least one Ohio "megachurch" thinks its congregation is too busy this Christmas:
Nationwide reaction has not been positive to the decision of a fair number of the so-called megachurches across the county (including Xenos Christian Fellowship here in Columbus) not to hold services on Christmas Day because it falls on a Sunday this year. Each of these megachurches typically draws thousands every Sunday in an auditorium-like setting, but the fear at these churches is that most of the employees and congregants do not want to come on Christmas. Faced with the logistics of having to run a small service with a skeletal staff, many of these megachurches have chosen to be closed that day.
This is just too ironic, but besides it's snicker value, this item allows us to bloviate a little on one of our pet peeves. You see, Meckler is being too nice about Xenos, first, by calling it a church and second, letting Xenos get away with calling itself a Christian Fellowship without at least inserting a "sic" in it's title.

It's all been papered over in the last few decades, but Xenos (nee The Fish House) is a scary pseudo-Christian cult begun on OSU's campus years and years ago. Some of the details are a little fuzzy in our memory, but it used to be that you couldn't throw a rock down High Street without hitting someone who had a nasty little run-in with the FH folks.

Fish House/Xenos is kind of like Ohio's version of Rev. Moon's "Reunification Church." They are both wrapped up in a lot of Christian trappings and religious mumbo-jumbo, but suddenly you open a secret door that reveals a set of leaders who imagine themselves to be - maybe, possibly, gee whiz hope so - the new messiahs!

And, moms and dads, keep you teenagers away from Xenos. We understand that you might like the idea of a free babysitter for Tommy and Susie when they reach those difficult years, and, you might think its even cool that the leaders of the teenage program wear overalls, have long hair and feed them all the pizza they can eat.

But before you turn your spawn over to these body-snatchers, you might want to catch some of the Xenos "sermons," especially the ones where they to drum into young Tom and Sue that those hormonal surges they have been feeling are really the devil at work, and that those occasional moments of self-doubt, self-loathing and fear about their futures that you told them was "normal" for kids their age was really due to lifetime of sinning that they better turn around or face an eternity of hell fire and damnation. And, by the way, that mom and dad are big time sinners, too.

We understand that we may piss a few folks off by calling Xenos a cult. We realize that there are a lot of naive people around central Ohio - even some that style themselves as being somewhat progressive - that think Xenos is the best thing since sliced bread. If that's true, the bread is full of mold and needs to be thrown in the compost heap.

 

Wanker editor gets own facts wrong

Unless he is looking for a career with the Moonies or Sinclair Boardcasting, minor league journalist Rory Ryan will never make it to the majors. Ryan, editor/publisher for the Hillsboro Daily-Gazette (which is owned by Brown Publishing), apparently had an orgasm when he convinced himself that he had discovered bias at the AP about the Murtha/Schmidt/Bubp affaire de cowardice.
Earlier this week, I had another occasion to offer some minor criticism to The Associated Press for what, in my opinion, was inaccurate reporting . . . I was critical of the AP this week because the international news service reported (again) that Schmidt called Murtha a coward. In a memo to Ohio AP Bureau Chief Eva Parziale, I suggested this was inaccurate reporting.
Not surprisingly, the AP brushed off the ranting of this twit.

But one would think that if someone wanted to make a big stir about inaccuracies, then he would make extra sure that his own column did not contain any major errors. Not Rory.
Last year, one particular AP economics writer routinely included a pat paragraph that the U.S. economy has lost 300,000 jobs under President Bush. That’s all well and fine; but if job losses are relevant statistics, what about job gains? The unemployment rate (5 percent) under President Bush is lower than any of his predecessors of recent memory.
Lower than any of his predecessors? Sadly no! As much as Rory may personally want to delete Bill Clinton from his recent memory, the Clinton adminstration presided over the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in 1997, 4.5 percent in 1998, 4.2 percent in 1999 and 4.0 percent in 2000.

Rory also inserts his foot in his mouth with this gem:
The House overwhelming – and bipartisanly – rejected Murtha’s proposal last month for withdrawal, in a 403-3 vote.
Sadly no, again! The GOP actually forced a vote on a resolution that had ripped Murtha's proposal out and replaced it with a Republican-written resolution. The original Murtha resolution read:
Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That:

Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.

Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.
Compare that to the final version that the vote was based on:
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.
In other word, what Congress overwhelmingly rejected had nothing to do with Murtha. It an was an idiotic stunt and, technically, a GOP proposal sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter.

Rory Ryan's wishful thinking about Jean Schmidt and George Bush just doesn't make it true, and readers might be interested to know that Brown Publishing seeks "editorial excellence" and we'd encourage readers to contact Mr. Ryan at rryan@timesgazette.com or 937-393-3456.

We'd also encourage readers to contact Brown CEO Roy Brown, Lee Walls Sr., President, or Publisher and Vice President Don Hartley at 513-794-5040

 

State's Democratic Reps stand together on tax cuts

One thing we forgot to post on yesterday was to congratulate Ohio's Democratic legislators in Congress for voting against extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. We had some fears about one or two defectors, but this was unanimous.

 

One ODP deadline today

Candidates for the chair must have resume and questionaire turned in today.

Friday, December 09, 2005

 

Ney charges around the corner?

So says the WaPo. The people in the 18th District might not know much about spyin' and fancy gamblin', but we suspect that a good ole' fashion frog walk is something that will stick in their minds:
Prosecutors have told Ney they are preparing a possible bribery indictment against him over official acts that benefited clients of Abramoff. Ney inserted comments in the Congressional Record at Scanlon's request praising Kidan and castigating the reputation of SunCruz's then-owner, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, during contentious purchase negotiations. Six weeks ago, prosecutors got agreements from Abramoff, Kidan, Ney and former Ney aide Neil Volz to suspend the five-year statute of limitations while the investigation continues.

 

Secret agent Ney [Updated]


"Swingin' on the Riviera one day
And then layin' in the Bombay alley next day
Oh no, you let the wrong word slip

While kissing persuasive lips

The odds are you won't live to see tomorrow"

- Johnny Rivers


We spit out a mouthful of coffee when we read this:
Ney spokesman Brian Walsh told The Dispatch this year that Ney, who once taught English in Iran, is "very active in Middle East issues and certain countries in that region. (The trip) does have national security dimensions, and as much as (Ney) would like to, he will not say any more beyond that." Yesterday, Walsh elaborated: "There were sensitive issues on matters of international trade discussed at these meetings and it would simply be inappropriate to air them out in the media. . . . There was nothing inappropriate whatsoever about this trip and the fact that yet another story is being written without any allegation that there was something inappropriate is completely ridiculous."
It get's better and better. Who knew he was a whiz at baccarat? It worked for Bond. James Bond:
Ney had dinner during the trip at a posh London casino with FN Aviation Director Nigel Winfield, a convicted felon whose offenses have included tax evasion, and Fouad al-Zayat, a Syrian-born businessman known as a high-stakes casino gambler. Walsh has said Ney did not know about Winfield’s background. Ney returned to the same casino on a personal trip later in 2003 and reported on his financial disclosure form that he won $34,000. Walsh has said Ney parlayed a $100 bet into the large winning on two hands of a three-card game of chance. Questions arose over the FN Aviation trip when NBC News in May reported Winfield’s background and disclosed Zayat’s involvement with the company. Zayat has not returned phone messages left by The Dispatch.
[Update] Based on a few emails we received, we should clarify that the baccarat reference is somewhat tongue in cheek and something of a guess. We seem to recall that many European casinos also play a 3-card variation of poker, so that is always a possibility. But, for some reasons, we really like to imagine the Boy Wonder of Bellaire relishing the chance to shout, "Banco!" surrounded by all these nefarious characters steeped in international intrigue.

And, although Pho, in the comments below, is somewhat correct about the odds in baccarat and how difficult it might be to parlay $100 in to $34,000, it really depends on the form of the game one is playing. The form that James Bond played is called Chemin De Fer and in it, the casino is NOT the bank; it must be one of the players, and the players placed the bets among themselves. In CDF, anything goes. Players can also take dives . . . if you know what we mean.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

Pollyanna Pryce strikes again


From today's WaPo:
"Our economic policies have done the trick," said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). "We are in the middle of one of the strongest economies this country has ever seen."
What state does Pryce represent? Ohio, you say. Well, then, let's contrast Pryce opinions to Policy Matters Ohio's take on the situation which is, uh, a little more grounded in the facts that no new net jobs are being created:
In the first nine months of this year, Ohio has gained a total of 13,800 jobs. However, gains earlier in the year have been offset by losses in the past few months, so that there were no more jobs in Ohio last month than there were in May. At this point after the early 1990s recession started, 276,400 jobs had been created in Ohio, an increase of 5.6 percent. By comparison, since the official beginning of the recession in March 2001, the state has lost 162,600 jobs, or 2.9 percent of its total.

The [Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services] also reported from a separate survey of households that the Ohio unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in October, the same as the rate in September (September’s unemployment rate was revised upward from the originally reported 5.8 percent).
Does Debbykins spend anytime in her district anymore, let alone Ohio? Jeezus, we are praying that Mary Jo Kilroy has a kick-ass campaign.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

Hoffman: GOP election reform is voter suppression

As we noted at the end of the post below, one of the pieces of the Repubs bill to change state election laws is the ID requirement.

ABJ columnist Steven Huffman cuts to the chase pretty quickly, and good for him for having the spine to call a spade a spade:
Since voter fraud in Ohio is extremely rare, this has accurately been called "a solution in search of a problem." The real goal is voter suppression in Democrat-dominated big cities, where poor, highly mobile residents have trouble with keeping IDs current.
We've also added Hoffman's relatively new blog - Road to Bexley - to our list of 2005-2006 Vote links. (For those unfamiliar with Columbus, Bexley refers to the neighborhood where the Governor's mansion stands.)

 

GOP launches an attack on state initiatives

The payback for RON begins with the Ohio Senate attempting to make future ballot referenda nearly impossible. Yes, there is a certain danger in having the republic undermined by citizen-directed initiatives, but we are hardly at the point in Ohio. And, yes, these efforts to ban out-of-state signature gatherers effect issues both on the "left" and "right."

Regardless, Republican Senate leaders make no effort to hide their pissitivity about Issues 2-5, as indicated by this partial transcript we put together of a story put together by the Statehouse News Bureau. We should note that the piece was put together by Bill Cohen, a reporter that is so afraid of being accused of being a liberal, himself, that he consistently goes overboard to regurgitate the right's spin. We have cut out some of his painful comments and logic as an enormous public service to our readers:
It’s and end run around legislators. But that kind of end run will be harder to pull off if a bill that majority Republicans in the Ohio Senate are considering is eventually passed.

Currently before citizen groups submit their proposed wording to the Attorney General of an okay, they have to submit 100 preliminary signatures. This measure would hike it to a thousand. Plus, the bill would ban the use of out-of-state petition circulators.

The main mover behind the changes is Republican Senator Jeff Jacobson. He's not hiding the fact Republicans are pushing the changes because they are upset about the unsuccessful campaign to pass Issues 2 through 5, a package of election reforms pushed mostly by groups on the left and fueled by out of state money.

"The people who gathered the signatures were from out of state. It was an attempt by liberals, wealthy liberals of California and New York to hijack Ohio. I think the laws need to be even clearer so that it’s Ohioans who get to decide Ohio’s future and not other people," [said Jacobson.]

. . .

[State Senator Kevin Coughlin] says signature gathers are important and should have certain qualifications. “They are actually quasi-election officials and, uh, they are being asked to present, accurately present the issue to the voters for their signature. They are asked to be custodians of that signature. And they are being asked to deliver that signature to the appropriate people so that they can be counted. That’s a little bit more than just, uh, pen and paper. That’s a pretty significant part of the process. They should be Ohioans just like everyone else who participates in the process."
Let's face it, Jacobson and Coughlin's efforts to clothe this powerplay in "quasi-election official" foofah and perverse Ohio-centric jingoism is more than a little absurd, even if Cohen and others are afraid to point it out.

What makes this worse is that this duo have recently jammed this into a larger and controversial election "reform" bill essentially without hearings on the bill with the final amendments, include the ones mentioned above. This is the same bill that would require:
Again, according to Hannah:
Peg Rosenfield, elections specialist with the League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO) said her group opposes the bill because it "will undercut the rights of eligible Ohioans to participate in the political process." Rosenfield, who said she and the LWVO tried repeatedly to meet with the bill's drafters but to no avail, added that the late hour of the substitute bill means that neither she nor most others have had a chance to fully review its contents. "We would like to work with you to discuss our concerns and try to salvage the good provisions that are in this bill before it is sent to the full Senate for consideration."
Ahhhh, the games of one-party rule . . .

 

And then there were 8

Eight officially throw their hat in the ring for the ODP chair. From today's Hannah Report (sub. req.):
The Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) announced Tuesday that eight candidates have filed letters of intent to become the next state party chairman, replacing outgoing Chairman Denny White.

They are: Bill DeMora, Ohio League of Conservation Voters executive director and a former state political director for the party; former U.S. Rep. Dennis Eckart; Erie County Democratic Party Chairman David Giese; Athens County Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Gwinn; Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Dennis Lieberman; Jane Mitakides, a Dayton-area businesswoman and former congressional candidate; Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune; and House Minority Leader Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island).
We continue to believe that this abundance of candidates is a great thing that will allow a number of strategies to be weighed, and this might not be the end of the candidates. The party's state executive committee is suppose to tap a new chairperson Dec. 19, but last-minute candidates have until 5 PM on the Dec. 18 to submit letters of intent.

Monday, December 05, 2005

 

Christocrat issue profiled in AP piece

Andrew Welsh-Huggins provides Parsley some ink without really advancing the story much. We had originally not planned on linking to this because there was so little new, but one quote in the story just doesn't sound right and we are wondering if it strikes others as being "off." First, here's the quote that bothers us:
Parsley, 48, represents a new debate about the line between religion and politics, said Ronald Carstens, an Ohio Dominican University political science professor. "The problem with the left, the reason they can't get elected, is they begin with the premise that anybody who believes in God is a moron," Carstens said.
Since we know quite a few practicing Christians and Jews on the left, including most Democratic elected officials, this seems like a very weird comment, in its on right. As a matter of fact, we can't think of one person that holds to Carstens' premise.

And, when you look at Carstens background, it seems even odder. Now, we understand that Ohio Dominican is a mainstream Catholic school and has no reputation for being a bastion of liberal thought. Carstens is a professor in behavioral and social science, has a background in history and humanities, and be names as an outstanding teacher, etc. He just doesn't seem to be the type to make such an over-the-top comment about God and morons.

We are anxious to know if anyone knows Carstens and whether or not this really sounds like something he would say. Any helpers out there?

 

Boccieri says Schmidt insults all veterans

From the Daily Times story on the news conference about Lamar refusing to put up billboard in the Portsmouth area:
Ohio Rep. John Boccieri, D-Youngstown, said Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, insulted all veterans last month during a Congressional debate over the Iraqi War.

“When you call one veteran a coward, you call every veteran a coward,” he said on Sunday in front of Schmidt's Chillicothe Street office. “I was personally offended by that remark, and I don't think there was enough of an apology. I have a message for Jean Schmidt - you're not sending the right message to the troops.”

Boccieri returned from his fourth tour of duty in Iraq in September. He is a C-130 pilot with the Air Force Reserve.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

 

Mystery still about who attended Ney fundraiser

From the Dispatch:
Despite Ney’s problems, GOP colleagues and lobbyists stood by him at a fundraiser Thursday at the Columbus Athletic Club. Ney, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, barred a Dispatch reporter and photographer from entering, complaining that the media have unfairly targeted and indicted him.

"We’ve said all we’re going to say about this," Ney said, declining to answer questions.
Unfortunately the story fails to mention any of the "GOP colleagues and lobbyists" - information that could have been gathered by just standing outside.

The article, nominally written by Riskind, Torry and Hallett feels like it 80% Hallett and 20% by the winkin'-and-blinkin' duo that staff the Dispatch's DC office. Once you get passed the, "Gee, that's not the Bob Ney I knew back in Bellaire" stuff in this piece, the story advances one point that needs to be remembered: Ney was not a virgin in the Ohio legislature when it came to lobbyists with money and deals to discuss.
Even before the current federal investigation, Ney has been on the periphery of ethics scandals. As a state senator from 1984 through 1994, Ney "always had a cloud" over him, one former Senate Republican colleague said, recalling a bribery scandal in the 1990s. Ney had been in Congress three years when two of his former top Senate aides went to jail as felons, including Thomas Strussion, a high-school football star from Ney’s hometown of Bellaire.

After working a few years for Ney, chairman of the Senate insurance committee, Strussion opened a lobbying business and was signing up major insurance interests. Within three years he owned homes in exclusive areas of Columbus and Arizona, drove expensive cars and frequented Zeno’s and other Columbus nightclubs, often accompanied by Ney, whose 12-year marriage to his first wife, Candy Sue, was dissolved in 1996.
For our part, we always wondered during his Statehouse days how Bobby boy kept the perpetual tan. Not in Bellaire, for sure.

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