Friday, September 08, 2006


Ohio's worst reporter

The Dispatch's Niquette just makes shit up:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean tried to make a stealth visit to Columbus yesterday, but the Ohio Republican Party wouldn’t let him.

The GOP issued a statement bashing Dean — and tipping off reporters that he was here for a trip that had not been announced.
How do we know Mark makes this stuff up? Because everybody and their brother got this invitation at least TWICE last Tuesday (8/29/06):

Picture 4

and this was on the ODP web site:

Picture 5

We are waiting for the Dispatch to pull or correct this story.


Tiny investments, big gaps

The editors of the Morning Journal get shrill on Ohio's failed higher education opportunities:
In fact, low-income students are being especially hard-hit because Ohio makes a tiny investment in need-based financial aid, in comparison with some other states.

According to the study, the cost of college tuition, room and board above and beyond what is paid by financial aid chews up 44 percent of the family income for low- and middle-class students in community colleges and 62 percent of family income for public four-year colleges and universities.

Young adults from high-income Ohio families are three times more likely to attend college than kids from low-income families. That's one of the widest gaps in any state. College has become much less affordable in Ohio since the early 1990s, the report said.

Another gap is racial. In Ohio, 37 percent of white young adults are in college compared to only 26 percent of nonwhite young adults age 18 to 24. That gap has widened considerably over time.

. . .

One of the most disturbing findings is that colleges are aiming their financial aid money at luring top-performing ''prestige'' students, rather than going by financial need. The study found that students from the wealthiest families are getting almost as much grant aid as students from the poorest families. That means, in the words of Education Trust Director Kati Haycock, ''Educational opportunity ... is taking a back seat to institutional prestige.''

Top-quality, affordable higher education is crucial to being able to retain Ohio's young people and to attract good new jobs. Right now, Ohio is losing too many jobs and too many of its young people, and not attracting enough new jobs and highly-skilled new residents.

This state will never recover from its economic decline unless its leaders find ways to make college truly affordable for anyone.
This is the legacy Bob Bennett and his peckerhead gang are really proud to be leaving behind. Tools.


Ohio GOP on higher ed: F-you

Remember, the Republicans have held the Statehouse for 12 years and the governor's office for 16.
A national report card just gave Ohio its third straight "F."

Karlicia Dawson works two jobs just to pay for the rising cost of tuition.

"You really have to keep your grades up, but you still have to work, and you're tired, you have to go home, and study, you're studying, you're hungry, so many things going on at one time," said Karlicia.

For the third time in a row, The National Report Card on Higher Education gave Ohio an "F" for affordable tuition.

For a 4-year school, it costs about 8-thousand dollars for tuition and fees, that's 3-thousand dollars more than the national average.

"While our school are trying hard to make collaborations and give the business community the kind of work force it need to be successful here, the state needs to make the investment in higher education and stop viewing it as another budget expense to be cut to the bone," said Monica Turoczy, Associate Director for the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Dancin' with the devil, Les and Deb edition

We saw a good bumper sticker the other day in Shaker Heights: "Too poor to be Republican"

Which brings us to Central Ohio's Shaker Heights wannabe: New Albany. Well, New Albany's founder, anyway.

If we were a bizillionaire whose company does a lot retailing in a state where the economy sucks, we might think it sends the wrong message to consumers and investors to be hanging out with George W and Deb Pryce. Especially when the national economy seems to be heading to recessionsville and shoppers are getting damn twitchy.

Gongers [sub. req'd] provides the details.
For the second time this election season, the Bush family is heading for Ohio to help raise money for Rep. Pryce’s re-election bid to the U.S. House. President George Bush is scheduled to attend a fund-raiser the evening of Sept. 28 at the home of Abigail and Leslie Wexner in New Albany.

Tickets for a VIP reception and photo opportunity are available at $5,000 per person. Tickets for the general reception cost $1,500 per person, or $2,100 per couple. Organizing the event is the Pryce-Ohio Victory Com-mittee, described as a joint fund-raising committee established on behalf of Pryce for Congress and the Ohio Republican Party.

President Bush previously has appeared at two fund-raisers for U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville), and for GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell. First Lady Laura Bush was featured at a Pryce for Con-gress fund-raiser May 2 in downtown Columbus.


Chasing shadows

Question for Bob Bennett & minions: At this point in the year, wouldn't you better off spending more time figuring out how to get your ass out of the frying pan and less time hunting for moles in your organization?



Charlie Cook: OH-15 now a toss-up

The flop sweat in the Pryce camp must be starting to flow now. As we predicted last week, the highly respected Cook Political Report has just moved the central Ohio Kilroy-Pryce congressioanl race into the "toss-up" column. Cook had also put the OH-18 Zack Space vs ?? race in the toss-up column several weeks ago.

Cook defines a toss up race this way: "These are the most competitive; either party has a good chance of winning."

Cook is also noted for saying that, "Pound for pound, Ohio will be the most important state in next year's midterm elections." Pound for pound? Was Cook making an observation about Ohioans eating habits and politics?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Gallup: Dems burstin' out all over

News today from all over Gallup about Ohio, the place that Dr. Frank Newport, Gallup Editor in Chief, likes to describe as "that state where Republicans are probably really in trouble."

First, we have the results of their generic ballot:
Across all Gallup Polls this year, Democrats have averaged a 52% to 40% lead on the generic ballot among registered voters. That would suggest a strong Democratic year, with the possibility that Democrats will pick up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and perhaps enough to wrest partisan control from the Republicans.
Then there's this from Gallup's Daily Briefing on the OH Senate race.

Gallup 9/6 poll Brown-Dewine

Finally there's the guv's race:
Strickland 52%
Blackwell 32%


Rasmussen: Gravity sucks for Ohio GOP

From Scott's latest analysis [sub req'd]
How will the laws of political gravity work in the most competitive races for 2006? Overall, advantage Democrats.

. . .

The final two states--Missouri and Ohio--probably will not see much gravitational pull. Missouri might have a very slight lean to the Republican side of the aisle. But, the national political environment might cancel it out.

That leaves Ohio which would normally have a slight Republican pull. But not this year. Things are so bad for Republicans in the Buckeye State that the GOP Governor considers it good news when his Job Approval reaches 20%.

. . .

At the moment, it looks like the Ohio and Missouri races may be the ones to watch on Election Night. If they go to the Democrats, it will be a very long night in the White House. On the other hand, if DeWine and Talent can use the benefits of incumbency and other resources to stave off defeat, Democrats will once again be grousing about missed opportunities.


Debate morning after edition

After listening for the last week to several Republican insiders who touted Kenny's "imposing," debating style, we think Kenny let the good ole boys down. We suppose his backers had to say such things to retain interest in the idea that maybe Kenny would land a KO, but ultimately it hurt him. That sort of mis-timed overhype can be deadly with the press corps, and the conclusion seems to be that Strickland held his own.

That's why we are seeing headlines this morning like "Strickland, Blackwell use debate to toss labels" (Plain Dealer), "Round 1: No knockouts as Blackwell, Strickland spar in first of four planned statewide debates" (Dispatch), "Strickland, Blackwell squabble over tax policy" (Blade) and "Blackwell, Strickland begin live debates" (Enquirer - someone want to wake up the Enquirer's headline writer?).

Several random thoughts: Although Ohioans will be bludgeoned with the "Taxin' Ted" theme until election day, we think it is quickly reaching the point of diminishing returns for Blackwell's campaign. Strickland handily dismissed it with the memorable line, "My opponent can talk about me raising taxes all he wants to, but he’s blowing hot air."

Journamalist nonpariel Mark Niquette seems to question Strickland's assertion that "thousands of Republicans" are joining his campaign. While we grant that the meaning of "joining a campaign" is a little unprecise, the fact is that Strickland does surprisingly well with GOP voters. For example, the 7/26 Rasmussen poll showed 37% of GOP respondents saying Ted is "Very Favorable" or "Somewhat Favorable." This number stayed at 37% in Rasmussen's 8/22 poll. The May 9-21 Ohio Poll showed 34% of "Conservatives" and 17% of Republicans siding with Strickland. And the Dispatch's own July 11-20 poll showed 12% of Republicans going with Strickland and another 25% undecided.

Finally, why does anyone take seriously Blackwell's claim that he could raise $6 billion by leasing the Ohio Turnpike for 99 years? Financial experts, including ones from the Center for Community Solutions and ones hired by the Plain Dealer say Blackwell is delusional (in so many words). The problems boil down to these two concerns: There is a trade off between higher tolls and usage, and the State of Ohio is still on the hook for rebuilding the turnpike 2-3 times during the lease. Potential leasees will not pay what Blackwell claims they will unless tolls double or triple, and the rebuilding costs are estimated to be $2-3 billion. And Blackwell's use of the Indiana turnpike lease is a joke! The tolls are already being doubled and investors are freaking out that drivers are going to go "off-turnpike" to offset the increases. And if the leasee (an Australian bank) in Indiana made such a good "deal" for itself, why didn't the banks stock rise? Our suggestion would be for Strickland to be the first to raise the turnpike issue at these debates.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Uh . . . Bertram . . .


Hey, B-guy, wasn't it bad enough that you had Kenny afraid that enormous gray squirrel was gonna jump off your head and attack him. No. You had to stumble on that lame Springer one-liner you thought of last night.



Special debate edition

Kenny Blackwell

Ten word version:
Blackwell - "Nobody loves me. Got nuthin."
Strickland - "Fix Ohio's health, economy, education"

Monday, September 04, 2006


AP highlights Deb's flight from W . . .

. . . but fails to credit this blog. The story is good, and solidly embarassing to her.

But, call us grouchy or something, the fact that we did the web sleuthing and were the first to republish the picture, yet get no credit sticks in our craw.

But, just to show we're good sports, here is another we dug up but does not want you to see:

Picture 11

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Wanker of the day: Ted Diadiun

With all the accusations of "invective," our take on "Reader Representative" Ted Diadium of the Estruth affair is that he is acting like a wanker and, once again, blogs touch a raw nerve at the PD.

We think our take on the matter is a little harder than Jill's and BSB's.

First, let's get a couple of things out of the way. We've never been exactly sure what a "Reader's Representative" is, but we assume that the RR is supposedly two fold: 1) act as a go between with the editorial staff and readers, and 2) advocate for the readers point of view with the editorial staff. Now clearly, they could have give him the "ombudsman" title and the PD didn't and we suppose that's no accident, so maybe #2 doesn't apply. And, if it doesn't, he is even more of a wanker for agreeing to become staff apologist.

But even if it is only #1, his lede is pure wankerdom to suggest that somehow blogs stiffle people expressing their opinion. While Ted's been so-so in the past, this debate has surprisingly hit Diadiun's defensiveness reflex spot - and he is about an em-dash away from joining Lee Siegel's "blogofascism" gang.

The second thing to get out of the way is that we like Mark Naymik. We have worked with him on a number of stories and he is, we guess, fair enough. A touch on the Journamalism side, but better than most of the Steno Corps.

With that out of the way, on to our main point: What passes for political "news" in Ohio (arguably, Ohio is catching up with the rest of the nation on this) has changed significantly in the last few years, thanks to the introduction of Astroturfing, push polling, and catch-me-if-you-can outright lying that Bob Bennett and his minions do as a matter of everyday work throughout the center-right strands of the Ohio GOP campaigns.

Does Ted remember Bob Bennett playing rope-a-dope with political writers in 2004 about "massive voter fraud" that never took place. The fact that it never occured didn't stop any political writers from writing about it day-after-day as if it was fact. And the fact that it never occurred apparently hasn't led any political writers, columnists, or editorial writers from writing that Bennett was apparently a lying sack of shit.

And we have right wing think tanks planting phony op-eds in major newpapers (i.e., the Dispatch and Buckeye Institute).

A couple of weeks ago it was a planted Blackwell supporter in Dayton. (And then we flip on the cable and see planted Bush supporters talking to reporters about the great job the White House has done in Katrina.)

And we have a gubernatorial campaign worker apparently hired to create phony email messages.

And the latest is that we have a strategist being hired for a GOP congressional campaign (Sam Dawson for Deb Pryce) whose firm (DMNM) is openly to create phony Astroturf and contribution laudering organizations-laundering.

Now, we have only scratched the surface of the GOP's rope-a-dope antics, but that is exactly what they are. Given this, yes, it is harder to be a journalist these days, and consequently, yes, it is harder to put a daily newspaper with integrity. Yes, they didn't do it to this extent in the old days. Yes, they didn't prepare you for this in j-school. Yes, the internet creates a set of instant critics when you screw up.

But get the hell over it. It's here and it ain't going away. Like it or not, Ted, the world has changed and Ohio has changed and now every person in a political story needs to be vetted. Every person.

Bloggers didn't do that to you. Karl Rove created it. Bob Bennett blessed it, and the PD fell for it. Admit it. And change your procedures. And thank the blogs for creating more interest in your stories than they otherwise would have had.


State of Working Ohio: Not so good

"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." (WaPo, 12/08/2005)
"We need jobs in Ohio and everyday I go to work, that's my top priority" (campaign ad, August 2006)
Those darn researchers at Policy Matters Ohio are trying to ruin Pollyanna's day again.

Seems Deb and her colleagues has been so darn "successful" working on "her top priority" that (from PMO's latest edition of their excellent State of Working Ohio):
  • "Despite national productivity growth of 3.3 percent a year between 2000 and 2005 and a staggering fifty percent increase in real after-tax corporate profits, the national employment rate remains below its 2000 peak."
  • "The typical family nationally had a lower real income in 2005 than it had in 2000, and national hourly median wages have also not grown much since 2000. "
  • "[T]he number in poverty nationally grew by 5.4 million between 2000 and 2004, while the number without health insurance grew by six million."
  • "While the U.S. did finally climb above its 2000 employment levels in early 2005, Ohio still has not done so. While U.S. wages are below their peak levels at the start of this recession, Ohio has real wages that are both lower than at their peak earlier this decade and lower than they were at the base point in 1979. Unemployment, too, is higher in Ohio."
  • "The top one percent of income tax returns in Ohio in 2006 (for 2005 earnings) had an average value of more than $760,000. This was 75 times what a household among the bottom twenty percent earned and twenty times what a filer in the middle twenty percent earned on average in 2005. This inequality has spiked since 1988."
  • "Ohio women’s median wages rose slightly last year but a 25 percent gender wage gap remains. At the median, men earn $15.68, compared to just $12.52 for women."
  • "Workers without a high school degree earn just $9.02 an hour in Ohio, while those with at least a college diploma earn $21.06 on average.
  • "[T]he wages of those with a bachelor’s degree have not grown since 1999. The median wage of college graduates fell in 2005. "
One piece of good news that PMO reports is that the "median black worker wage rose 3.6 percent in Ohio last year, the biggest increase since 2000."

Now, for those who'd rather get their info by visually, we've taken five charts from the PMO report that speak for themselves and pretty much sum up why working men and women, particularly Ohioans, sense that there is a difference between trickle-down and getting pissed on, despite what Pollyanna Price says:

Picture 8

Picture 10

Picture 7

Picture 6

Picture 9

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