Saturday, October 14, 2006

An Open Letter

I heard a disturbing story recently. It's hearsay, but I'm perfectly happy to give the subject a forum to respond and give their version of events, should they wish.

I've never met you, but apparently you have personal connection to Senator Goodman, and should recognize yourself.

The story that I heard about you went like this:

The Kreider campaign had folks doing a literature drop in your neighborhood. The campaign had not been to your house, so you had not seen the literature that they were distributing. In fact, you did not even know what campaign was in your neighborhood that day.

So when you were pulling out of your driveway, and you saw a volunteer, you rolled down your window, and asked him what campaign he was with. When he informed you that he was with the Kreider campaign, your demeanor changed. You demanded to know why he was there. Because this was part of their district, was his reply.

"Get out of our district!!" was apparently the response you gave to that.


My unease with that vignette, assuming it's fairly close to the way things actually happened, arises from a number of things. The first one is the immediate sense of arrogance and entitlement that your response implies. It was not "get off of my street" or "get out of my neighborhood," it was not even "get out of the district," it was "get out of our district."

The second thing is the apparent anger at the Kreider volunteer. Exactly what were you angry about? Were you really angry at him for doing volunteer work for a candidate? For supporting a candidate who wanted Mr. Goodman's job? Just for being one of "them" in an us-and-them world?

I've watched the Kreider campaign. They've knocked on doors and walked through neighborhoods. Lots of them. Maybe not the 50,000 doors Mr. Goodman claims to have knocked on when he first ran for this seat, but I wouldn't be surprised. They are trying to get to as many people in the district as possible to let them know about Emily Kreider, and your family resides in the district. Senator Goodman once said that knocking on those doors didn't make a bit of difference, that TV ads were the only way to communicate with voters. Maybe that's why you had a hard time understanding why any candidate still runs a campaign this way.

I've watched the Kreider campaign. They haven't put up negative television ads or questioned Mr. Goodman's character. I, on the other hand, have made negative amateur web-ads featuring the Senator. I would expect and deserve legitimate anger if I had questioned whether Mr. Goodman was a good husband or a good father. You know him better than I do, and I'd certainly have to defer to your judgment in those domains. What I have questioned are his judgment as a legislator and his forthrightness as a candidate, things that affect me as a constituent. Legitimate issues, in my opinion, and fairly standard stuff of politics.

But let me re-iterate: As far as I've seen, if attacks on Mr. Goodman have made you angry, I'm the only person in this campaign that you even have a smidgen of a reason to be angry at. Taking out your anger and frustration on a young man engaged in the democratic process is pathetic and wrong. I don't know whether you are misguided, arrogant, simply temperamental, or had a bad moment that you now regret, but I think that if your words are even close to the ones recounted to me, you should apologize.

And if you want to pick a fight, pick it with me.

Friday, October 13, 2006

OH12, SS3, & OhioChannel; The BlueBexley Week in Review.

1) The OH-12 race continues to become a higher profile race, at least regionally. The local NPR station, WOSU had both candidates give 1/2 hour interviews, which are available as streams in Windows Media or RealMedia. The Dispatch came out with an endorsement in the race, as part of a triple-header endorsement editorial. I've decided that the global theme of the endorsements was: 'Central Ohio has sent these Republicans to Congress every election in the new millenium. We think holding on to Republican incumbents is a good thing in and of itself, so we endorse them all.' I guess if I thought that the Republicans in Congress had been doing a great job, I'd say the same thing. Later in the week, Shamansky released a statement responding to Tiberi's NPR interview, and the news that the U.S. is planning on having troops in Iraq through 2010. Melding the two big pieces together: If you don't care about the big issues facing the nation today, send Pat Tiberi back to Congress. If you care about the War in Iraq, Social Security, Medicare, and the massive federal budget deficit, vote for Bob Shamansky.

2) While the OH-12 race is being fought out over the TV and radio airwaves, The Ohio State Senate District 3 race is getting more play in the Ohio Blogosphere and the local print media. For instance, in letters to the Editor and in the community weeklies. Let me be the first to say that the first sentence of that Bexley News article completely goes against what I said on Monday about dailies vs. weeklies, although the rest of the article pretty much fits. This one, however, definitely fits the pass-through model. Which is one of the weaknesses of that method of journalism, because the story is about Goodman's attack on Emily Kreider's history of voting in Franklin County. It puts Emily on the defensive by design and has an absolutely abominable title. But I applaud her for standing up and taking responsibility. Me, I would have been coming back and asking Goodman if he really wanted to tell the people in his district that anything less than perfect attendance at the polling place disqualifies you from holding public office. But I'm easily baited.
As for the blogs, most of the fun started here this week, ending with this post, but starting with the tangentially related copyright kerfluffle (see below).

3) "That followed a recent dust-up about an Ohio Republican Party Internet attack ad using footage of a 2003 legislative House session. The ad targets Democratic Rep. Barbara Sykes in her race for state auditor against Republican Mary Taylor.

The Ohio Channel, which provides unedited, commentaryfree coverage of the legislature, Supreme Court and various government meetings, asked the party to stop using that ad as well.

After initially complying, the party put the video back on its Web site. Dan Shellenbarger, executive director of Ohio Channel, said he sent a "cease and desist" letter to the party Oct. 2 without a response and has now contacted an attorney to explore legal action."

For those of you not keeping score at home, Republicans used footage without permission, flip-flopped on whether or not they would comply with the law, decided to defy the law, little happened, even after this flip-flop and defiance was reported upon, while in the meantime ProgressOhio put out a web ad with similarly copyrighted (but less chopped-up) footage from the same source (Ohio Channel archives), got much publicity, then were asked to comply with law, which they begrudgingly did, I got miffed that the other side could thumb their nose but our side played by the rules, so I went ahead and posted an ad using chopped up footage of David Goodman from OhioChannel archives, which turned out to apparently hit a couple of nerves, as it was shut down on YouTube in a matter of hours, which I said didn't bother me, as long as they were serious about protecting their copyright.

See here, here, here, and here.

The quote that opens this section of today's post, however, is from yesterday's Dispatch. Although WVIZ/PBS did not contact me directly about the footage, and the Dispatch does not mention my piling on, I can't help but be happy about the apparent outcome (assuming that this exploration of legal action results in actual legal action or compliance on the part of the Repubs). I pushed for something to happen and it happened. I'm gonna consider that a success even though I have no tangible evidence that my pushing tipped any scales.

Oh, and the weekly wrap-up should contain my mea culpa for criticizing the CBJ after two games. They won 5-1 that very night against Phoenix, and they are currently alone in first place in the division. Last year it took 95 pts. to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Five down, ninety to go.

And yes, in high school football, the Bexley Lions are on a (6-1) tear this year. Best of luck against Lakewood.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Independent Ads

Okay. Fine. I've built back up a level of, well not righteous indignation perhaps, but righteous irritation and annoyance. David Goodman was sort of an auxillary target in my campaign to get the Republicans to stop using copyrighted footage from the Ohio Channel. I wanted to use some footage, and he happened to make an attractive subject, as he was easy to skewer and I make no secret of supporting his opponent, Emily Kreider.

One of Goodman's contentions that I didn't include in the condensed version of the speech was that individual contributors directly funding campaigns was preferable to the onslaught of independent 527 money we saw funding ads in Ohio during the 2004 campaign. He admits that this didn't happen in the State Senate races, but the principle...

Well, now it is happening in the State Senate races. Specifically, in his State Senate race. Yesterday I got a mailer from All Children Matter - Ohio PAC. The "paid for" statement was the only place the word "children" appeared. The flyer talked about how great David Goodman's position is that there's no problem that can't be solved with a tax cut.

What is All Children Matter? Aparently it's a Michigan-based organization that supports school vouchers and pours millions of Wal-Mart's and Amway's money into campaigns around the country, without actually mentioning who they are, what they support, or where their money comes from.

Not only does he argue for rules that he says would help keep campaigns clean, but seem to encourage corruption, he also now benefits from tactics that he says are the scourge of contemporary campaigns.

So I figure I owe him an independent ad. I don't have millions, and I don't have video footage. Someone with talent should really make a better ad. Here's the new prototype. It's got way too many words. One more reason I Don't Make the (Real) Ads. Bleah.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm flattered. I guess.

How do you know that people are reading your blog? When you put up a rambling post that contains fifteen links, and six hours later you get this in your mailbox:


Dear Member:

This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by WVIZ/PBS claiming that this material is infringing:

Take the Money:

'Take the Money' was the 30 second video I made condensing David Goodman's speech on getting rid of campaign contribution limits (because politicians can't really be corrupted like people seem to think) into a series of sound-bites, juxtaposed with text about Tom Noe, Bob Taft, Bob Ney, and Jack Abramoff. The only link to it that existed was one of the 15 links in that post.

I had thought about giving up on my Goodman Ad project when ProgressOhio took down their Noe ad, but I was miffed. The Republican Party had completely blown off a similar request, with no apparent ill effects. Was WVIZ seeking an injunction? Not that I had heard. Will they? Who knows. I could try and get myself worked back up into a righteous IOKIYAR tizzy, but this really isn't the battle I want to pick. I want the OhioChannel to defend their copyright. But I can't make them do it. I tried. I failed. There's an election in less than 30 days. I've got better things to spend my time on than publicizing a Republican attack ad from a race about which I've got little else to say. So that's it. If you saw the proto-ad and enjoyed it, great. If you saw the proto-ad and freaked out, great. If you saw the proto-ad and were sincerely concerned about the integrity of intellectual property in the digital age, I apologize. If you weren't among those who saw it before it went down, there's a speech by David Goodman on the floor of the Ohio Senate on the afternoon of December 17, 2004. The Ohio Channel has provided video of this session, in two segments. Approximately one hour and twelve minutes into that segment, Mr. Goodman starts speaking. If you listen to all eight minutes, the ads just start writing themselves. I'll let you get there on your own.

One last thing. WVIZ/PBS didn't contact me directly to discuss the issue or let me voluntarily take the videos off of YouTube. What are the odds that it is in part because they have no idea who I am, that they still don't know this blog exists, and that they received the URL of the video in an email? Pretty good, I'd say. Who do you think sent it? These are my last hundred hits (1 visit = 1%):

It could have been any one of these, I guess. Whoever you are, you took time out of your busy day to protect Ohio from my handiwork.

I'm flattered. I guess.

Why should we have to do the right thing?

You usually can't pin someone down saying that they support something as long as somebody else takes on all the associated suffering.

Some people support the Iraq war, but see no reason that they or any member of their family should serve.

Some people love the idea of nuclear power. But nobody ever pushes for a local waste repository.

And many people blast Congress for pork barrel spending, but nobody returns the federal dollars.

It is rare, however, for someone to come out and say so explicitly. Today, the Dispatch did:

Tiberi is opposed by businessman Bob Shamansky, a Democrat who served one term in the U.S. House in the early 1980s. Shamansky is capitalizing on discontent with the Iraq war and hits Republicans for passing tax cuts while driving up the national debt with deficit spending. These are legitimate issues, but ones that can be addressed without depriving central Ohio’s House delegation of one of its three veteran members.

The Dispatch, if I may paraphrase, is saying that although the current Congress has done nothing to solve these problems, and in fact is actually the source of them, we should rely on voters outside of Ohio to change the make-up of Congress. Let other districts sacrifice their pork for the greater good of solving the Iraq quagmire and balancing the budget.

I can't tell, but it also appears that part of their endorsement is based on the fact that:

Tiberi says he will continue to press for reforms in financially troubled entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security

So, let someone else solve Iraq and our deficit spending, while Pat attempts to balance the budget by gutting Social Security and creating more massive financial giveawys to the drug companies a la Medicare D. Why, because maybe, just maybe, Rickenbacker Airport might become a job-creation engine. This time.

I'm sorry. I refuse to believe that Bob Shamansky won't fight for Central Ohio. The Dispatch as much as admits that Congress needs a change. The endorsements today are a cop-out. I'd like to think that we can't be bought so easily.

Why I don't make the ads, part ii

A while ago, I suggested an ad accusing Pat Tiberi of terrorism. There were several major problems with this suggestion, mainly that folks would probably misunderstand the ad, those who did understand might be turned off by the seething anger that inspired the ad, those who understood and agreed would be the proverbial choir, and last but not least, an Ohio representative from the Democratic Party who shall remain nameless, but happens to be running for the U.S. Senate, voted along with Tiberi on the bill in question. Sigh.

Then, I actually made an unsolicited prototype of a 30 second ad using the David Goodman speech that I originally posted in an unedited form below. This prototype ad potentially suffers from two related problems:

  • It is more of a Republican Style attack. The great thing about the ads our side is putting out is that they either are positive ads focused on the candidates themselves, like Shamansky's John Glenn endorsement ad and Emily Kreider's "I am Emily Kreider" series of print and TV ads, or are less overtly aggressive in their negativity, like the beautifully done "Anvil" ad, or the new flyer from the Kreider campaign that actually appears to have been inspired by Blue Bexley, but pairs it with a positive quote from Kreider:

    [Image Forthcoming]

  • The second potential problem is that it may infringe on the copyright of an entity that provides a vital public service. The OhioChannel provides huge archives of video from our government in action, for free. They want you to see it. They don't, however, want it to be usd in political communications. They have told the Republican Party to cease and desist the use of their video in an anti-Barbara Sykes ad. The Republican Party, after initially agreeing, changed its mind and as of this posting still has the offending video on their website. In the meantime, ProgressOhio released an ad on the web that featured Tom Noe personally acknowledging many of the folks on the current Republican slate during a Supreme Court swearing in ceremony. The OhioChannel asked ProgressOhio to cease and desist, and ProgressOhio almost immediately complied. So, although my stance has been fair is fair, and I'll stop when the GOP stops, ProgressOhio has taken the position that our side is the side that plays by the rules.

    So as Bob Shamansky said in The Other Paper about his role in the Central Ohio political environment: All he needs to do is establish himself as a "credible alternative" for voters fed up with Republicans... "My job is not to be more shrill than any other person on television."

    As to my job, well, I'm nowhere near the shrillest person in the blogosphere, let alone with a TV ad buy, but I do tend to, well, write like an agitated blogger sometimes. My candidates are not only better people than their opponents, they're better people than me. Their staffs know it. Even though negative campaigning is a necessary evil, and our side is perfectly willing to go to the mat (see the Dewine Empty Chair ad for a wonderful example), driving your opponents unfavorables up is no substitute for driving your own candidates favorables up. And that's why it's a good thing that I don't make the ads.

Monday, October 09, 2006

If that's the way Republicans want it...

So, the Ohio Republican Party fully believes that the footage from the Ohio Channel is public domain for political speech. I was dubious, but I think they've convinced me. The problem for them is that there is a lot more in the archives that looks bad for Republicans than there is for Democrats. For instance, the Tom Noe lovefest found by ProgressOhio.

What's worse is that their ads rely on snippets being taken out of context, but the videos that make them look bad are even worse in long form than in sound bytes.

For example, speaking of Tom Noe, and Jack Abramoff, and Bob Ney, and Bob Taft, the revelations, admissions, and convictions of these folks must have come as a big surprise, if we take him at his word, to David Goodman:

I am incorruptible.


I raised ridiculous amounts of money.


I ask you to not vote for this amendment (preventing the contribution limit from being quadrupled to $10k), because it takes away our abilities and puts the power in the – because the money is out there. Millions of dollars are out there to influence elections, and it’s going to come out in some way, shape, or form. The reason why all of these shenanigans took place is because we were limited in our ability to, to speak and our ability to raise money in the way- and be answerable to the general public.
I just say, ‘take those limits off.’ Ten thousand dollars is a good start, I believe there shouldn’t be any limits. At all.


I don’t think anyone here is really influenced by it. I think it helps us get elected. I think we’re thankful for it, but I think at the end of the day, each and every one of us votes our constituency.

Apparently, the only thing wrong with politics today is that there is not enough money being fueled into campaigns. David Goodman thinks that there are not enough political ads to get the message out. And David Goodman thinks that the PACs and big-money donors don't have any more influence on his political decisions than I do.

Even though I think the whole speech is absolutely unbelievable, I'd love to see people make 30 second ads out of this. Not just the Kreider campaign, but all Democrats. This is what is wrong with our state. If you can't pay, you don't play. And if everyone wants to play, well, just make 'em pay more.

Blue Monday

I think that I may have overestimated the Blue Jackets this year. I'm still grumpy about blowing a two-goal lead in the third and losing to Vancouver, and letting a 5-2 lead with under five minutes left turn into a 5-4 nail biter the next night in Chicago. Hmmm, perhaps a warning to Ohio Dems, "you can't sit on a lead when you're still weeks away from an election?"

Anyway, I spent all of my daughter's nap times this weekend working on a post that still isn't ready. Argh. So all I've got this morning are links, updates, and some musings on media:

If the only newspapers you read are dailies, you might be missing a bunch of relevant and interesting campaign coverage. For instance, Suburban News Publications (publisher of the Bexley News, among other suburban weeklies), has this profile of Emily Kreider. This Week, which publishes its own collection of suburban newsweeklies, including This Week: Bexley (and is part of the Dispatch Media conglomerate), has a Q&A article with both Kreider and Goodman providing stances on issues.

Even larger races, such as Shamansky's campaign to represent OH-12, get more attention in the weeklies.

What's particularly interesting to me is the difference between the Dailies' idea of fair election coverage and the weeklies' approach. The Dailies attempt to be an authoritative, but objective voice. For example, the Dispatch has a feature on its OhioElects site that I check fairly frequently called AdWatch, (speaking of which, the Dispatch followed up on the re-appearing anti-Sykes ad!) which looks similar in many ways to the format of These commentaries mean to act as neutral referees.

The weeklies, on the other hand, seem to operate as relatively 'hands-off' conduits for campaign information and spin. They can get away with this by providing equal opportunities for candidates to express themselves. Unlike the owner of the slogan, they really seem to hold the philosophy: "We report, you decide."

Both approaches provide distorted views of reality. I'm still not sure which I actually prefer. I think it's pretty interesting, though, as people debate the relative merits and influence of traditional media vs. 'new media' like blogs, that community weeklies are never really considered, and they probably make a much better comparison for most blogs than big daily papers do.