Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Bexley Council Member

ThisWeek has an article up about Hanz Wasserburger, the newly appointed City Council member who will finish out Helen MacMurray's term. What little I know about Wasserburger comes from the resume and cover letter he sent in when he applied for the job (p12-14).

(By the way, if it seems like I've been linking a lot more to ThisWeek lately, I have been. They have a new Bexley beat reporter named Quinn Bowman who has been doing an excellent job, including helping me out with a heads-up about the Peter Yarrow documents. Putting additional source material online like this is a good way to gain admirers in the blogosphere).

Three things pop out- First, he's been a pretty high-ranking lawyer working for Ohio and Texas working for Republican bosses, but losing his appointment with the most recent changeover. Of course, that doesn't really mean anything, especially since his most recent gig was in the Auditor's office, which is the only one that stayed in GOP hands (Mr. Wasserburger is listed as 'unaffiliated ' in his voter registration).

Second, he's from my 'hood. He votes in precinct 3-B, just like me, meaning that he lives in South Bexley. Our neighborhood is younger (Mr. Wasserburger is a year younger than I am) and the houses are smaller than the stereotypical Bexley house. It's good to make sure all areas get representation, so I'm happy about that.

Third, I'm afraid my wife might vote for him in November due to the existence of one particular line on his resume - he wrote a Lifetime Network Movie. "Her Fatal Flaw" premiered on the Television Network for Women last year, and garnered positive, if sparse, reaction amongst IMDB users.

More, if and when.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

OSU Dems 'meet the candidates' night

I went to the event at the Drexel Gateway with my wife and daughter. Twelve-Month-Old Charlotte got a lot of attention from the electeds and staffers, which was good because I cannot initiate a conversation on my own to save my life. There's not a lot of substance for me to report. I talked about the GIRFOF education amendment with Stephanie Groce of the Columbus Board of Education. I got a surprised laugh out of Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks when I said I was behind a shadow internet campaign to get her to move to the 12th. She was very nice and put Charlotte's shoe back on when it came off. 2010 Buckeye (Peter K.) picked up Charlotte's water bottle when she dropped it during the speechifying portion of the evening. Hearcel Craig, newly appointed to Columbus City Council, was thrilled that he could get Charlotte to wave.

Mayor Coleman was there for a bit. His plainclothes detail was quite unobtrusive, but would have blended in better if he had put on one of the nametag stickers. The Mayor shook my hand and commented (of course) on Charlotte, but he had that sort of VIP automaton thing going on.

Ed Leonard, the new Franklin County Treasurer, was much different. He's on the ballot in '08, but as he said, he's already running. He's got some big shoes to fill, but it was obvious that he wanted to earn his job by doing it well and winning an election. I hope he can maintain the energy and sincerity.

Even worse than my conversation initiation skills are my conversation joining skills. So I never got a chance to talk to Ted Celeste (State Rep.), Andrew Ginther (City Council), or Herb Asher (frequently quoted OSU PoliSci prof). I got a chance to stand two feet away from each of them for several seconds until it started to feel awkward. That's something I guess.

I was a bit annoyed with some of what I heard/didn't hear, but I'll talk about that some other time. The OSU Dems put on a nice event, we enjoyed ourselves, and I'm looking forward to election season.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Yarrow Documents

I did a post last week on Peter Yarrow, folk-singer, anti-bullying activist, and ex-con. My point at the time was that there was a lot of smoke, but... In a country that obsesses over sex, celebrity, crime, and acts like a dog in a Gravy Train commercial when all three are present at once, I was sure that details of the alleged offense would be all over the internet. Especially since the complaints from parents were supposedly based on information that their kids found all over the internet. After failing to find salacious details, but finding plenty of people with a motive to imply that unspoken details were more salacious than they actually were, I challenged my readership to convince me that Yarrow had actually earned the negative reaction he was receiving.

I updated that post yesterday, because a reader who had actually read a more detailed description of the complaint, to which Yarrow pleaded guilty, informed me that it included Yarrow being manually stimulated by the 14 year old victim. Today, ThisWeek has posted a collection of clippings, including the news reports at the time, in pdf format. It starts with an extremely unflattering opinion column from a few years ago that nevertheless contains the actual words "so the singer is not exactly a sexual predator."

That was the standard I used at the end of my original post. I'm ambivalent at this point. If you're interested in the topic, I highly encourage you to read the clippings, and feel free to weigh in here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bloggers on the TeeVee

The Ohio News Network does two Sunday Morning Talking Head News Shows, one out of D.C. called "On the Hill," and one out of Columbus called "Capitol Square." The first half of this week's Capitol Square was on bloggers, and more specifically, Ohio political bloggers. The featured guests included two print journalists, and two well-known denizen of the 'sphere: Matt Naugle of Right Angle Blog and Jill Zimon of Writes Like She Talks.

Going into viewing the show, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm a fan of WLST and I've never cared much for RAB, so I had some expectations, but I had never seen either of them speak on camera. I also didn't know the format, as the show was basically promo'd as "Hey - Bloggity Blog Blog!" Was this supposed to be Right vs. Left? Pixels vs. Ink? Those are the typical TV frames for blogging stories, and I'm okay with some of that. I've got a side to root for either way.

The way it ended up going down (h/t plunderbund for the youtube link), however, was actually quite disappointing. Mr. Naugle came across as a caricature of a blogger. I've been struggling with how, and even if to write the next sentence. Superficially, he is not an attractive individual and he has a mild speech impediment. It doesn't matter in the 'sphere, but it matters on television. Much more to the point, he made paranoid/angry sounding rants about the 'liberal media' and how the job of bloggers was to report things that the MSM intentionally avoided. He used his platform to blurt out an inflammatory statement about the recreational activities of the son of an elected official. He evaded the questions that that raised about whether there was an ethical line that he would not cross in his writing.

Jill was well prepared, conversant with the issues, and frankly so professional that she seemed much more like one of the panelists than a blogger under glass, leaving Mr. Naugle to carry the 'blogger' flag. Or drag it behind him, as the case may be.

A legitimate question to ask might be: "So what if someone on Capitol Square made bloggers look bad to the Capitol Square audience?" Bloggers either will or will not gain respect from the media and political establishment by working for it post by post, there is little or no point in lobbying and waiting for heads to nod sagely and say "citizen journalism is the future." Even so, there is little or no point in feeding the 'Real Journalism will alway be better than random-social-misfits-writing-on-the-internet' theme that many commentators like to follow.

Jill tried to fight it. I'd like to think that people were paying attention to what she said, but it's hard to divert one's attention from a train wreck.