Friday, May 18, 2007

Morrissey Tix

I have mainfloor tickets to the Morrissey show at the Palace Theater in downtown Columbus tonight (show starts at 8:00pm, there is an opening act). What does that have to do with politics? Nothing. But in a pathetic stretch to cover the abuse of my blog, I will say that I am Blue because I can't go, and that if you make the best offer (which at this point is bound to be any offer), you can meet me in Bexley this evening and pick them up.

They have a face value of $47 plus fees each, but I paid a whole lot less than $94, and I'm not expecting to break even.

Dispatch Joins Other Ohio Papers with New Political Blog

I never saw an announcement, or heard any buzz, nothing. All of a sudden Paul at BSB referenced the new Dispatch feature "The Daily Briefing," a blog put out by the Public Affairs staff at the CD, and then removed the description from the link. The blog has apparently been live since Tuesday, starting with Papa Joe Hallett, but dominated by D.C. Bureau Chief and Screen Star of 'On The Hill', Jonathan Riskind.

The PD staff has been doing Openers, and the Enquirer staff has been doing Politics Extra, so the idea is not earth-shatteringly original, but it still comes as a welcome surprise. The Dispatch is in the midst of one of those periodic overhauls that seeks to re-adapt The Newspaper to contemporary needs and desires. So far, I'm actually buying it.

Coffee with David

At the urging of a regular reader, I set up a meeting with State Senator David Goodman, and we had coffee in Bexley, two blocks from my house and walking distance from his childhood home. We chatted about a number of things, few of them in depth. He's read some of the stuff on Blue Bexley about himself, although he seemed honestly unaware of the worst of it. It was awkward enough for me to talk about stuff I'd written without trying to navigate interview rules, so I offered up a blanket "off the record" on the whole conversation before we began.

Even though there's a couple of interesting things that I could have posted if I hadn't done so, I'm particularly glad I did now that I've had a day to think it over. During our conversation I nodded along with things I wouldn't have nodded along with in most any other situation, because I was curious as to the viewpoint of an insider, and I wanted to encourage the conversation. Not intentionally or manipulatively, just conversation pragmatics.

During some of that nodding, I was being spun. I was nodding along with opinion as if it were fact. When I say I was being spun, I don't mean to imply intention or manipulation (nor lack thereof, which under some circumstances could be construed even more negatively), merely that someone was presenting me with a particular view of reality that they wanted me to share. In hindsight, working on a post right after the conversation might have led me to inadvertently accept some premises that I wouldn't normally let get by me.

So anyway. David Goodman. Nice enough guy. Willing to talk to constituents. Smart. I'm still hoping that he fails in his quest for the Appeals Court, mainly because I want to see an open seat in the 3rd in 2010 rather than an incumbent Republican. He can respect that. Blogging goes on.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why do I know more about OPERS in Iran than in Ohio?

So, it's not really appropriate for me to blame the world at large for my ignorance of it, but there's a problem here. The Ohio Public Employee Retirement System, apparently the 17th largest public pension fund in the world, has been in the news lately arguing with a couple of State Reps who want the fund to divest itself of holdings related to companies with ties to Iran.

Iran lends itself well to political grandstanding (just ask their President).

Do you know what lends itself to even better political grandstanding? OPERS pumping money into Ohio firms that are pushing Ohio innovation and entrepreneurship. But... I came across this by accident. If Mandel and Jones have gotten in my face from six different directions, this shouldn't have required stumbling luck:

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and Credit Suisse Group have doubled their investment in the Ohio PERS/Credit Suisse Ohio-Midwest Fund.

Ohio PERS said the fund of funds, managed by Credit Suisse, now totals $102 million.

Ohio-Midwest was established in 2005 to provide funding to venture capital and other firms that then provide funding for early-stage companies in the state and the Midwest.

In February, the entirety of the original $51 million dollars had been allocated.

I don't mean to undercut any notion that OPERS has a fiduciary duty first and foremost, but if you want to use that twenty-ton bank account as a force for social change, that's the way you do it. Let Ohio Experts put it where it can aggressively grow Ohio.

And while I like our Ohio officials to think globally, I'm a lot more impressed with the local action.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Links

I'm kind of stingy with my links. My position tends to be that if a link appears on my page, I'm saying "Hey, it'd be worthwhile for you, dear visitor, to click this." If I don't think it's really worthwhile, I'm sacrificing a bit of credibility in putting it up. Additionally, the longer a blogroll gets, the less useful it becomes.

Of course, functionality and endorsement are not really the points that justify the existence of blogrolls. Your blog is only as good as the number of links to it. Technorati explicitly uses the number of sites linking to a blog as its ranking index ("authority"), in part because it makes a good proxy for other metrics, like site traffic, that one might use. Links to your site lead to direct referral traffic, indirect referral traffic in the form of a higher search engine/ranking index profile, and the recursive benefit of more links to your site.

So, you might ask, how does increasing the number of outbound links help, if it's the inbound links that make a difference? Well, courtesy often dictates an implicit or explicit reciprocity. When I started this blog, I linked to something like 4 other blogs immediately. Within the week, one of those blogs had added me to their blogroll. At times, I've had other bloggers email me and say that they liked Blue Bexley, they link here, and that I should check out their blog, and consider linking there. Which I've done. And I've linked to blogs that linked to me without such an explicit request, although I wouldn't have thought about it before discovering the inbound link.

Because of this, the number of outbound links tends to correlate with the number of inbound links (although this breaks down considerably for both very high and very low profile blogs). So there can be an urge to link to everybody who might consider linking you back. One can completely resist this urge with a sufficiently rigid set of principles and disdain for popularity metrics.

Those things belong on a future resolution list of mine.

In the meantime, I am in the fortunate position of having some links to add, unilaterally, simply because they belong in the left hand column over there, and not just because my technorati rank has slipped back below 200000 or because someone with a ranking an order of magnitude better than that is using the same consolation of it's not how many but who. First of all - MCDAC, the blog of the Medina County Democratic Action Committee has been added to the Ohiosphere list. This is long overdue. The blog is not very Medina-Centric, covers a lot of already well-covered turf, and is not real flashy in its approach, all of which have caused me to sort of miss the fact that I really enjoy reading it. Even after I subscribed. It is intelligent and well-written, and a very welcome addition.

Another Ohio Blog, Ohio 2nd, has also been added. I finally figured out that the people who inspired me to start blogging locally were inspired by this blog.

And in the category of Central Ohio Politics, there is a now a blog called... Central Ohio Politics. Madrigal Maniac doesn't actually spend a whole lot of time blogging about Central Ohio Politics per se, so it's been a toss-up for a while whether the blog actually belongs in the Ohiosphere or Central OH categories. It's time to quit being silly and just put up the dang link.

Finally, Ohio 15th District should have been on the Central roll from the get-go, so I can't really blame them for writing about Payday Lenders without referencing any of the stuff written here (including ties to Pryce, hint hint).

Google prohibits me from telling you to click on the ads which have netted me a total of $8.37 in the six months they've sat on the site, but I can tell you to go ahead and click on anything in the outside columns. There's at least something, dear visitor, that makes them worth your while.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Elvis Reagan Falwell Was a Hero to Most

I don't want to pile on. But I don't want to watch Fox News and listen to a bunch of old white guys compete for the affections of the folks that held Mr. Falwell in high esteem. I don't want to listen to a bunch of old guys try to capitalize on the bizarre distorted memory of the oldest whitest guy to hold the office they aspire to. I don't want to speculate on the artefacts that explain why the blogs that venerate these guys are so influential. That leaves me with the guy who made a Cincinnati pornographer a household name.

Something something and John Wayne.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Mo

It's going to take at least two more cups of coffee to get my head into the new week.

My daughter apparently says all sorts of things, just not in my presence. As I explained to my mother, it's apparently a Michigan J. Frog effect. My mom didn't know the reference. One of the things that apparently gets said is mo-mo-mo meaning 'more' (not, apparently, in the manner of a Rebel Yell, however), as opposed to ma-ma-ma meaning 'mama,' which also gets said, just not around me. Everybody loves the Michigan Rag. Either that, or I am just so in tune with Charlotte that she sees no need to verbalize her mental state. Of course, Charlotte's mother does not favor that explanation, and I didn't want to push it on Mothers' Day weekend.

I was already in enough trouble. I had been talked into giving her her gift a week early (she's bad with surprises and I'm a pushover), which left me with nothing for the weekend. I got her another gift by accident on Friday night. I put a bid in on Morrissey tickets on E-Bay, with the idea that they wouldn't possibly sell for what I had offered, and then I could tell her I had thought of getting her the tickets (plus mark), tried to buy them (plus mark), but hadn't been willing to spend a bunch of money (double plus mark). So now I'm going to the Palace Theater on Friday. Don't get me wrong, the man's a genius and even without Johnny Marr (currently playing with Modest many words that start with "MO" are there in the English Language??), it'll be a show worth seeing, but my experience at shows like the Pixies and the Soft Boys has been a little depressing. At least that's the appropriate mood for a Morrisey show.

Where was I? Mothers' Day. We didn't do anything special. As a matter of fact, on Saturday, I explicitly didn't do something special. I backed out of volunteering at the ODP Dinner so I could go to a Northwestern University Alumni club event with my family. My wife, the NU alum, is a big HRC fan. Me, not so much, really. Therefore, me going without her seemed kind of cruel. I'm not sure if I missed anything. Joe Hallet says I would have been wildly enthusiastic. Jerid says I would have been sleeping. Who knows? As it turns out, I was several hundred yards away at Crew Stadium, watching a soccer game in the party area behind the goal underneath the scoreboard. None of us were aware that it was the home debut of the new Argentinian superstar, just that it was tremendously colder at 8pm than it had been at 4pm.

I'm typically the one into the sporting event, but I didn't feel too bad about not paying attention. I met a sportswriter for one of the largest papers in the state, and the game didn't hold his interest. I also met a media guy who is taking a communication job at the Statehouse. I think I owe my wife a favor.

Especially because the next day, the Holiday itself, I spent all day out back trying to bring our garage up to Bexley city code. I met some neighbors who sympathized with my efforts and complained a bit about the code enforcement, but honestly, I'm glad the city pays attention. We're a small city, and I'm still a newcomer, but I'm continually getting more obnoxious with civic pride. All of the articles about Hilary's visit talk about a recent audit of Ohio politics done by David Wilhelm, former WJ Clinton campaign manager, former DNC head, and current Bexley Resident. And while Mr. Clinton will be speaking at the OSU commencement, Bexley High School's commencement will apparently feature BHS alumnus Frank Lesser, Emmy-nominated writer for the extremely funny Colbert Report.

So now it's Monday Morning, and time to actually start doing stuff.

Like drinking coffee.