Thursday, January 04, 2007

Jobs and the Blog (updated)

Right now hundreds, if not thousands of state employees are awaiting word on whether they will have a job in the new administration. One of those employees is named Brian Eastman. Mr. Eastman responded to a posting by an anonymous commenter here (and at Ohio2006), who had encouraged activism in opposing any appointments for him in the new administration.

Mr. Eastman speculates that the comments are being placed by a disgruntled employee, denies the charges that he had been approached by Blackwell for a similar position in the event that the election had gone the other way, and states that he has been recommended for a high-level post in the Office of Collective Bargaining by "by at least two or possibly even three of the Labor Unions representing state employees."

Given that I really was not sure that this was an appropriate topic (both in terms of relevance and privacy concerns), I wanted to put it all to rest by confirming broad-based support from the unions representing state employees in Ohio, and decrying the use of the blog for anonymous attacks. I contacted a few of the relevant unions, and I received a response from the Ohio Civil Service Employment Association (representing by far the largest number of state government employees), who informed me that their organization had not recommended Mr. Eastman for a role in the new administration. I also heard back from one other union, where my contact told me that OCSEA's opinion was the one that was really relevant, and that they had nothing to add for the record.

There are apparently a total of 5 unions representing State Employees, so OCSEA's statement, and even the corroboration from one of the remaining unions, don't necessarily invalidate Eastman's claims, but I certainly didn't find the support I expected to find. So for now, in what must certainly be an eagerly awaited pronouncement, Blue Bexley declares that it has no idea whether or not Brian Eastman would be good for the Strickland administration.

UPDATE: I've received an e-mail from Brian Eastman. In that email he clarified his earlier remarks. I'm satisfied that nothing he said in his earlier remarks is actually inconsistent with what I heard today, nor is it inconsistent with what I wrote above.

How this blog ended up in the midst of of this dispute is something that still confuses/amuses me, but it just goes to show that I'm a sucker for readers who express an interest. For instance, one regular reader pointed me to this story, covered on other blogs as well, about an erosion of worker's protections by the Ohio Supreme Court. These are the cases that really frustrate me. I'm not a particular fan of defending the position of a sixteen year-old fast-food employee who insisted on ignoring repeated warnings that his labor saving shortcut was unacceptably dangerous, did it anyway, got injured, and is asking for his former employee to bear the costs of his lost wages.

But I will. Beyond the fact that Ohio has established a system that does not allow a finding of fault in determining eligibility for Workman's Comp, and that this ruling effectively guts the legislative intent, it seems to me that it actually goes further. The news report states that 1) The employee had been warned against this particular procedure several times. 2) When the employee disregarded those warnings and boiled the water, he effectively abandoned his job, and was no longer an employee of KFC.

So, why did KFC get to determine that the employee had not abandoned his job after the first or second or third incident, but had abandoned it at the precise moment before everything literally blew up in his face? I'm not a lawyer nor a judge, but it seems to me that this ruling sets the bar way too low in terms of allowing employers to assert abandonment. If the employee had not been fired for the behavior before, he would have had no reason to believe that it would result in the termination of his employment on the day in question.

As my reader pointed out, judicial elections are every bit as important as legislative and executive branch elections. Rulings don't get a whole lot more corporation-friendly than that one.

And finally, as to readers and jobs: I got a video today from someone who has a major grudge against Todd Bosley, the newly elected Stark County Commissioner, who defeated Republican Richard Regula (son of Ralph and former heir apparent to the OH-16 seat). The website and YouTube ID governorgirlieman (.com) contain a disparate set of accusations ranging from shipping jobs to China to conflicts-of-interest. Who gets so worked up about a County Commissioner that they are still producing video content after the election? Seriously, who? The domain registrations (, are all held by proxy.

Like I said before, this dispute also has nothing to do with local/regional politics, and has come somewhat out of the blue. I'm kind of hoping that, like the tendency for '' to show up on every liberal blog's traffic reports, these are near random events. I probably do way to much to encourage them by blogging them, but enquiring minds, as the commercials used to say, want to know...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why I'm not Fighting to Save AM-1230

I like being able to listen to Air America programming, and even moreso to Stephanie Miller, but I don't feel like I've got any standing to demand that Clear Channel keep the format. CC is a pretty good example of everything that is bad about 'corporate', 'media' and the conjunct 'corporate media.' So you have to wonder why they wandered into the domain of Progressive Talk in the first place.

Simple. They thought they could make a buck.

Why did they think they could make a buck? My guess is because, as many people have pointed out, the ratings are better than most of the other available syndicated programming, the audience is underserved, and the demographics are attractive to advertisers.

So why are they getting out and replacing Progressive Talk with Right Wing Blather? They say that it's because they could never figure out how to sell Progressive Talk. I'm taking them at their word.

See, I have never in my life bought a diet pill, an ED treatment, gold, or hypnosis tapes. I have obtained, since the advent of Air America, a mortgage, computer software, educational training, flowers, and legal representation. I did not once seriously consider, however, obtaining these things from any of the advertisers I heard on Progressive Talk Radio. In most cases, one would have to be pretty stupid or credulous to buy the products and services being marketed on talk radio.

Listening to Al Franken do the recorded endorsements for the Sleep-Number Bed or Go-To-My-PC was simply painful.

So, anyway, I listen(ed) to AM-1230. I buy products and services. More than I really need to, by any stretch of the imagination. Somehow, none of the folks who get my discretionary income ever mangaged to find people like me through Progressive Talk radio, and none of the people who got my ear ever got my money. That means that Clear Channel (along with AA) has failed miserably at its core business.

There is a market. I believe it will get served. I don't think Clear Channel is the entity to provide that service. For my second act of random irresponsibility of 2007, let me throw out another name: CD101. The locally-owned Alternative Rock station has, like Progressive Talk, an older and wealthier listenership than one would immediately guess. I'd like to see them buy an AM station and try a Progressive Talk format. If you have advertising contacts in the community, if you know the local market and your target demographic, if you can put a mix of local and national content on the air, you're going to have a much better chance at succeeding. As in my last out-of-left-field nomination, I have no idea if CD101's ownership is remotely interested in expanding into talk radio, let alone lefty talk. Or even if they already have tried talk radio of any flavor. I'm just saying that a business like that has a better likelihood of making it work than a formulaic monolith like CC.

So, anyway, I know the effort was successful in Madison, and if the people fighting to save Progressive Talk in Columbus win, I'll keep listening. But I'm not about to ask for any favors from, nor give any favors to, Clear Channel. And I'm not about to attend a get-rich-quick-in-real-estate seminar just to get Stand-Up news when I'm running late for work.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

BB New Year's Resolutions

1) More Bexley. My vision for this blog was to stay grounded in my community, and to blog about politics that affect my community. As a result, I talked about the 20th Ohio Statehouse District, the 3rd State Senate District, and the 12th U.S. House district. I didn't, however, talk much about Bexley in particular. That was in part because I'm a newcomer and I'm not tied into "my" community as much as I should be. So, more Bexley means both within the blog, and in my life outside the blog.

2) More Blue. I've always been leery of party functioning, and my initial impressions of the Ohio Democratic Party and the Franklin County Dems were not incredibly positive. These impressions were and are, however, primarily based on only seeing what I expect to see. There is a strong community of Democratic Party activists in Bexley, and the blog should certainly be more reflective of that.

3) More Transparency. My name is Jason Sullivan. I'm 35 years old. I work for The OSU. I have a BS from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and an MA from the University of Illnois at Urbana-Champaign. I will continue to blog as bonobo, in part because I feel no need to advertise my identity, and in part because I like the name (off-topic, our bonobos are sick, and one has died. As of 2002, there were only 141 bonobos in captivity worldwide, so every loss is significant. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery for the survivors.) However, I don't feel like I have anything to hide, and I think that anonymity detracts from credibility. So there you go.

4) More Original Content. Blogging takes more time than I really have, but that hasn't stopped me so far. What would take even more time is relying less on making comments on stories from print media and other blogs, and providing more content from original sources. But that's the stuff that makes this blog worthwhile, so I resolve to focus more on that.

5) More Long-Term Projects. A while back I asked for opinions on the winnability of OH-12 in general, considering that the effort this past election was substantial, and didn't really come close. I actually got a few responses off-the-record from people who watched the campaign at least as closely as I did, and the consensus was that the district is winnable, despite the results this year. Although there was little consensus beyond that, it seems that folks would like to see a commited candidate and more party support. Those are things I can work on from here. For instance, my draft-a-candidate post elicited suggestions that Emily Kreider or Bev Campbell run for the seat. For my first act of random irresponsibility of 2007, I'd like to throw out the name of someone I've never met, and know little about:

Marcia Phelps is a Licking County Commisioner. I personally would like to see a candidate from Licking or Delaware Counties who has won elections against Republicans in one of those counties. There are two prongs to any winning strategy for the district: pull some moderate voters in Licking/Delaware counties, and push turnout up in Franklin County. Given 2004, I'm guessing that the presidential election will result in a lot of GOTV in the city of Columbus, so the outstanding problem is in the suburban counties. I have no idea if Ms. Phelps is interested in higher office, nor do I have any idea whether or not I'd support her if I knew more about her than her resume page. But for what it's worth, that resume is one I could get behind. If anybody has strong opinions about her or anyone else, the comments are open.