Friday, February 09, 2007

Now can we get an audit?

Gongwer is reporting that the Dems have withdrawn a complaint against Mary Taylor that had been in front of the Ohio elections Commission. Even though the OEC has come under a bunch of fire recently for its seemingly slow and ineffective, but ultimately irrelevant, proceedings... An official finding of deception is something that would be bound to come up in 2010, and wouldn't look good for the current standard-bearer for the GOP. The complaint wasn't dropped for lack of merit:

Days before the Nov. 7, 2006 election in which Ms. Taylor defeated Democrat Barbara Sykes for the auditor's post, a four-member review panel found probable cause of false statements and referred the matter to the full commission.

Attorney Donald McTigue said Thursday that counsel for Ms. Taylor subsequently asked Mr. Redfern to seek dismissal of the case, and that the chairman agreed to do so. The commission unanimously accepted the request to withdraw the complaint.

So why was it withdrawn by the Dems if it was true and had some potential utility in future elections as a legitimate point against Taylor? I don't really know how these things work. It could have been a courteous letting of bygones to be bygones. Or, perhaps, Taylor might have something the Dems want in exchange. I can think of something. Brunner has been calling for an official audit of the SoS office as it was run by Ken Blackwell. Ms. Taylor has been less than enthusiastic. In the spirit of a new Hannibal Lecter movie coming out, let me be the first to hiss:


Quid pro quo, Mary. Quid pro quo.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

When will my representative stop whining?

Sometimes I have to step back and ask myself, do I really want to keep expressing the deep irritation the people who are supposed to be representing me keep causing? At some point, the constant irritation will start to look like a personality defect on my part rather than a natural reaction to the irritating antics of guys like Pat Tiberi. So it's kind of ironic that I'm watching Pat fall into that exact sort of cranky narcissism when it comes to Democrats. He started launching broad partisan condemnations of the majority even before this session convened, then he complained because they didn't allow amendments on the bills that were part of the legislative plan his party had insisted didn't exist. Now, he's complaining about the schedule. As his buddy John Boehner allowed back in December:

Setting a calendar that satisfies 435 members is impossible, said the current majority leader, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who will become minority leader in January. "Between the travel issues, the members' work schedules, the family and district issues, it was a Rubik's cube," he said.

One solution, used by Boehner, was to give the House a 2.5-day work week, resulting in Congress being in session for the fewest total days since the Great Depression. Another solution is to create a 5-day work week. This is what Steny Hoyer has now done (well actually, it's a 3-full + two-half day schedule), and Pat doesn't like that solution at all:

Here we go again. Another campaign promise – broken. In the days surrounding Election Day, Democrats declared the return of five-day work weeks, implying that Congressmen didn’t work unless they were in Washington, D.C. voting.

See, the mean Democrats are going to make him stay in Washington and do work there. Oh no, wait, if you keep reading, he's not mad about that, he's mad because things like Martin Luther King Day have stopped him from putting in a five day work week. Oops, no, he didn't want to skip the two day Republican retreat to get more time in on the floor, he's just upset that the Democrats said they would make him work, and then, one week when they got their work sufficiently done, Hoyer didn't make them stay anyway. Of course, he didn't want Hoyer to make them stay, because the Dems would have just made him vote on more bills that he considers hardly worth his time. He wouldn't mind staying if the Dems would just let him pick out some legislation to debate. Except that he would, because there's nothing that can be done in five days by Democrats that couldn't be done in 2.5 days by Republicans anyway.

He then goes on to accuse Hoyer of keeping him in D.C. just to play politics.

Perhaps Mr. Tiberi is brilliant. We could talk about him voting against a minimum wage act that not only mirrors an incredibly popular ballot initiative here in Ohio, but would stop the supposed flow of minimum wage jobs from Ohio into neighboring states that conservatives like Ken Blackwell predicted would follow the implementation of minimum wage-hike here. We could ask him if, given that no loss-of-life is too much to reconsider our plans in Iraq, if there's a maximum dollar amount the U.S. should be willing to pour into the war before we start to worry about the much more important effects on growth. We could ask him if he believes cord-blood cells are an adequate substitute for the pluripotent embryonic stem cells he voted against using in federally funded research. We could ask him if he's among the 13% of Congressional Republicans who understand that global temperatures are rising due at least in part to human activity. We could try and get him to stop whimpering about entitlement reform and give us a detailed proposal for how he would modify Social Security.

We could actually engage him on a series of issues where his positions range from short-sighted to out-of-step to just plain wrong. Instead, folks like me get suckered into calling him out for his incessant incoherent petty moans about the mean old majority party, and how he doesn't like the way they do things. He's bratty like a fox.

Glass Half Empty Kind of Guy Sometimes

Jill from WLST posted a bit on Progress Ohio concerning a Harris Poll that looked at Party ID and Political Philosophy Labels, which was discussed earlier today on the Daily Bellwether .

The write-up gives two somewhat opposing interpretations of trend data, one short term, and one long term:

The Harris Polls conducted by telephone in 2006 show the Democrats continuing to increase their lead over Republicans in party identification. Currently, the Democrats’ lead over the Republicans is nine percentage points, up from six percentage points in 2005 and three points in 2004. This is now the largest Democratic lead since 1998, when it was also nine percentage points.


The Democratic lead over Republicans has fallen over time from 21 percentage points in the 1970s, to 11 points in the 1980s and seven points in the 1990s.The lead has averaged six percentage points in the 2000s;

Because people like graphs, I made one of both the party ID data, and the Philosophy label ID data. I'll let y'all interpret the first graph however you like (the title of this post should let you know how I think), but I'll offer an opinion on the second one: Isn't the conventional wisdom that it used to be perfectly acceptable to call yoursel "liberal," and then sometime around the Dukakis/Pappy race it became the "L" word, and recently folks have been fighting to reclaim it? That's sure a whole lot of wisdom to expend explaining a series of changes that don't seem to have actually occurred...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Broad and High Front

So as near as I can tell, nobody actually blogs Columbus politics, at least not from the left side. At best we get stories about the mayor's race (Coleman files to run again and it's somehow breaking statewide news, the Republicans have a villain from Common Sense Ohio to play foil). But a question was thrown out yesterday about Coleman as a potential candidate in the 12th, or failing that, the chances that a city council member might step up. So here's a quiz: do Michael and Frankie reside in the 7th, 12th, or 15th? As a matter of fact they do live in the 12th, but how many of y'all actually knew that? I had to check. Charleta Tavares, former Statehouse Rep. and 2002 candidate for LG is a current city council member who also lives in the 12th. They all live in Berwick, which actually makes them my neighbors. Who knew? Not me. So Ms. Tavares has some campaign experience beyond the CC. As does the council member who:

studied peace and conflict resolution at the University of Ulster and Queen’s College in Northern Ireland while teaching at public schools in Belfast and Derry. He served in consecutive internships at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where he taught non-violence and dispute resolution to school children in the most violent parts of the city.

That'd be Andrew Ginther. He was just appointed to council after that application process last month. The media mentioned his credentials as an elected member of the Columbus Board of Education, but nothing about studying Peace and Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland. I happen to find that sort of thing interesting, even if he does live in the 15th.

Now, it's possible that City Council members would be considered toxic because of the budget they passed this week. Or perhaps the members will all be tripping over themselves to take credit. I don't know. They're not dipping into the rainy day fund, which I guess is good, but does anybody have an opinion? Anybody?

OK. So why am I whining about nobody writing about this stuff instead of just writing about it? Because I'm clueless. Anyone can subscribe to the Dispatch's Metro/State RSS. I don't have time to do much more. Even if I did, I wouldn't catch stories as tasty as Wal-Mart thinking it's "too good" for Columbus. Anyway, does anybody want to start up a group blog with me on Franklin County politics, with an emphasis on County and City level government, and city/suburb relationships? Email me. Know somebody who might be interested? Email this to them. I don't have an ideological litmus test for this project, but anyone who gets involved should be able to play nice with Progressives.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's only splitting hairs when it's not your scalp

A few days ago, I got on the Dispatch for putting up a headline that inaccurately sensationalized a fire here in Bexley. They stated that "arson" had done extensive damage to a synagogue. As I said at the time, I believed that someone had concluded that the fire "was set," and this turned into "arson" somewhere in between there and me seeing it on the website.

Somebody learned a lesson. The second fire in a week to strike a well known community institution happened Sunday night. The Old Bag of Nails, nominally if not technically in Bexley, burned down, aided by temperatures that apparently froze water in the hoses and hydrants. Today's story by Theodore Decker states:

Fire that destroyed popular pub not accidental, officials say
Whether blaze was set maliciously is unclear, chief says


Fire investigators have ruled out faulty wiring or other accidental causes in a blaze that destroyed a popular Near East Side restaurant early yesterday.

Battalion Chief Doug Smith of the Columbus Division of Fire said that someone started the fire at the Old Bag of Nails Pub, but investigators don't know why.

"That is one of the possibilities we are looking into," Smith said. "Whether it was intentionally set to do damage or intentionally set (for someone) to stay warm and blew out of control we don't know, but accidental has been ruled out."

Not accidental. Intentionally set. Someone started the fire. Whether blaze was set maliciously is unclear.

Wow. I don't know who jumped the gun with the word "arson" last week, but it certainly looks like they got their butt chewed off. The closest that the "a" word gets to this story in the CD coverage is in reporting a possible, but clearly unknown and speculative link to a confirmed case of arson nearby.

Note: I actually met Emily Kreider and her staff for the first time at the OBoN there at Broad and Nelson, so it has historical significance for BB. I hope they can rebuild there, and I'd like to take this opportunity to express my sympathy to those victims of fires this week, and my relief that no serious injuries apparently occurred.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Tell me about your favorite Central Ohio Political Blog

So I have LiCoPAC and Columbus RetroMetro (not political per se, but close enough) in my reader, and that's where I get local stuff. UAPA and Plunderbund have local roots but don't tend to focus on Central Ohio stuff. Many other blogs sputtered and croaked post-November. Grandpaboy does some local, and I feel like I should give a hat-tip to frequent commenter Paul and his Save Hilliard Schools for coverage of that issue. I do a very little bit of Columbus stuff, but pretty much only if it has an impact on Bexley or the East Side.

So there's a hole. Where do you get interesting blogging on Columbus City Council, Franklin County Commisioners, Columbus School District, etc.? That's not a rhetorical question. I don't mean "where does one," I mean "where do you...??"

Recapping the Down the Drain Post

I just had an hour's worth of writing eaten by an unexplained system hang. Boiling it all down:

Thank You to Lisa Renee for the kind words .

I usually get on board early with a candidate. Nobody is doing it for me yet.

I'm going to scrap the blogroll and start from scratch. If you're a regular reader and you'd like a link, let me know.

There's been a dangerous uptick in references to 80's alternative music. Do. Not. Get. Me. Started. Thank you.