Friday, January 26, 2007

To all the Roots Campers

Have a blast. At first I freaked out when it said you had to be prepared to contribute something useful. Most anything useful I know about politics I gleaned secondhand from the other folks attending. Then, when I decided that I could probably just fake it, I was informed that my brother/sister in-law were coming this weekend. Even then, I still probably could have stood firm and attended during the day, but my will melted under the glare of fourth row center ice CBJ tickets. So, if everyone wants to drop by the house sometime during the afternoon, being in Columbus and all, drop me a line. Otherwise, try not to leave knowing winks throughout the sphere where I can see them. Thanks.

Oh, and if you haven't listened to anyone else and gone to Pho's blog to understand the Education Amendment, you probably won't listen to me, either. But you can't come here to avoid the push.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Counts and Recounts

All sorts of counts and recounts going through my head today. We have felony convictions of election workers in Cuyahoga. Note to the tin-foil hat brigade: they were basically convicted of felony laziness, not conspiracy to rig the election. Not that in an election only slightly closer than what we saw in 2004, the laziness, incompetence, carelessness, and contempt that characterized the count and recount would have had the same effect, but these were not 'plumbers.'

Anyway, somebody who knows a whole lot more about the mechanics of recounts forwarded me an invitation to a town hall meeting sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Ohio Citizen Action at the JCC on Feb. 7, featuring (among others), Cliff Arnebeck, the lead attorney on the election-irregularity lawsuit in 2004. So of course, the meeting is about fair and accurate elections, right? No. It's about "Political Accountability, Redistricting, and Judicial Reform." I actually think that sounds a lot more interesting at this point.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bexley's Website

...has been updated. It looks a lot better now, and I'm not just saying that because I want a slot on the technology council. If it had an RSS feed, I would mirror it over there in the sidebar where I have just jumped on the shared-items bandwagon (Eye-Catching). If I get a spot on the council I'll suggest it.

Alas, it does not have a news feed. It does have extensive sections of the city's ordinances, but I have not yet found confirmation that Bexley does, in fact, regulate slot machines in outbuildings.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Waiting on the SOTU

I don't normally comment on these sorts of things, but as we await the President's annual address to Congress, the media keep telling me that the George W. Bush's approval rating has gone down by 30%, that more than two-thirds of Americans oppose the way that Bush has handled the war, etc. etc.

So 1/3 of Americans used to think that W was a good President and Commander-in-Chief, but now realize that this is not the case.

From them, I want to hear an apology.

Is that too much to ask?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pat Tiberi, Mr. Moderate.

I'm not sure how he does it. Consider this paragraph from the Dispatch, written in the waning days of the 2006 campaign:

The tenor of several Republicans’ late campaign ads has turned especially aggressive. For example, three-term Rep. Pat Tiberi, usually a mild-mannered moderate who decries intense partisanship, just mailed a flier to voters claiming that Democratic opponent Bob Shamansky, shown in a blurry photo, "voted to allow experimentation on live fetuses."

After the election, one conservative commentator reflected on the lack of success Ohio Democrats had in knocking off vulnerable incumbent U.S. Reps:

The other Democratic-targeted Ohio race that has gotten surprisingly little attention was the re-election of Rep. Pat Tiberi. With a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 93 in a district that gave Bush just 51% in 2000 and again in 2004, Tiberi fundraised aggressively knowing he would have a tough fight. His opponent, former Congressman Bob Shamansky, poured in $1 million from his own pocket.

By staying on message—a conservative message—and localizing the race, Tiberi kept Shamansky at arm’s length the entire way. Building on President Bush’s 2-point win here in 2004 by 14 points, Tiberi routed his Democratic foe, 58-42%.

In the time since the election, Mr. Tiberi has been making statements about Democrats:

It certainly didn’t take long. Before they’ve even been assigned offices or picked up their fresh, shiny IDs, members of the new Democrat majorities in the House and Senate were told by a top former Clinton administration official that the first thing they should do is raise taxes.


Don't be fooled by the headlines. The minimum-wage bill Democrats pushed though the House of Representatives on Jan. 10 was just for show.

That last is from a recent piece called " CONGRESSMAN PAT TIBERI’S CAPITOL NOTEBOOK" on Mr. Tiberi's website.

I love it when Republicans insist that Partisanship is a problem that could be solved if Democrats simply stopped engaging in it. I did not once hear in the last six years a call from Mr. Tiberi to his fellow Republicans to not engage in "exercises of raw political power."

As a matter of fact, in a chamber that has certainly had its share of straight party line votes, Mr. Tiberi somehow fails to note that more than 40% of the House Republicans voted for this bill, including more than half of the Ohio Republican delegation. It's kind of stunning how our raw political power extends to the brainstem of Jean Schmidt.

So anyway, how do you have 93% Conservative rating, consistently vote with the Bush administration, write anti-Democratic Party polemics, engage in the ugliest sort of gutter political campaigning, and have anyone in your home district, let alone a reporter for the largest newspaper in your home district, refer to you as "a mild-mannered moderate who decries intense partisanship?"

I'd love to know, and apparently I'm not alone. In this weekend's D.C. Dispatches, the Columbus Dispatch notes the Pat is a frequent recipient of requests for face time with presidential candidates such as Romney and McCain. According to the CD, this is what Pat thinks the possible reasons are:

Tiberi thinks it is partly because he is a close lieutenant of House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-West Chester, and has served as a political monitoring post in Ohio for him. In addition, Tiberi served in the Ohio House and remains close to Jo Ann Davidson, former Ohio House speaker and current Republican National Committee co-chairwoman. He also was an aide to former Rep. John R. Kasich, R-Westerville, who made a presidential run in 2000.

Don't sell yourself short Pat. McCain knows all about the 2000 campaign. He doesn't need second-hand advice on what it took to lose that primary. What McCain and Romney need to know is how to make sure the wingnut contingent in Delaware County stays on board while you convince the swing voters in Franklin that you're a middle-of-the-road kind of guy.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Tale of Two Districts

My daughter will eventually attend Montrose Elementary, not Cassingham, and so will most likely not be taught using the International Baccalaureate elementary school curriculum. In my district, these are the types of issues that make the news:

'District Superintendent Michael Johnson said IB does not give Cassingham students an advantage. He said all the elementary schools have instituted similarly rigorous education programs, and that few parents have asked to move their children to Cassingham.

Johnson said he supports using the method at Cassingham.

"It creates a new minimum that was once reserved for the college-bound," he said. "It should not be an elitist program. It should be the standard we want for all of our students." '

Over in the South-Western City district, this is what counts as good news:

' With a smaller deficit and a new biennial budget yet to be determined, administrators and board members decided to hold off on a tax request in May.

“I'm overjoyed,” said board President Jim Lester. “We're not going to have to cut 30, 40, 50 staff members, we're not going to whack supplies for schools as much.” '

Note that the good news means that they won't have to ask for money from the voters this May. They can put it off until November.

This graphic lists what the districts get in terms of operating millage from their residents.

These are the State Report Cards for Bexley and South-Western City.

Now that nobody listens to vinyl, I don't know what the proper cliched metaphor is supposed to be, so I'll stick to being a broken record: Tell me, please, what is a High Quality Public Education? What will these districts look like once local funding requirements are capped and a High Quality Education becomes a fundamental right? Are these differences outside of the scope of reform?