Friday, May 25, 2007

Richardson Mail, Surrender Dates (Project 5000), Holidays

I got my first direct mail piece of the 2008 campaign yesterday. Emblazoned with the slogan (paraphrasing from memory, I hope it's close):

"The war in Iraq is not the disease. Arrogance is the disease. The Iraq War is a symptom."

I've got to tell you, whether it's just because I tend to like the horse in his position, or because he does not yet have the shiny coat of spun plastic, Bill Richardson is starting to move out of Default status here. Oh yeah, he was sending me mail to get money. If you'd like to give him money, you can do so through the Blue Bexley ActBlue page. Even if it's just ten bucks, you too can start getting your '08 mail today.

As long as I'm passing a hat, I hope readers have noticed the new widget. I was invited by Eric to join There was no additional info, and I'm still not sure exactly what I registered for, but it appears to be a social networking site devoted to bringing about positive social change, as defined by the individual members. The coolest thing they have going for them, though, is a widget that you can put on your blog to allow direct donations to any of the more than one million non-profits that they have a listing for. Right now, you can support the Bexley Public Schools by donating to the Bexley Education Foundation from right here at Blue Bexley. On your blog you could raise money for anyone from the NRA to the ACLU to the Discovery Institute to PETA. Please don't raise money for the Discovery Institute.

It was nice to have positive things to think about. This was one of those weeks where it was certainly easier for me to look at the dank side of life. For instance, it's fine and good to be angry with Dems who voted for the war funding bill, but I'm stuck on the cheap shot Junior High antics of Republicans in the debate. We are losing approximately 67 soldiers per month on average in Iraq, leading to the current total of 3441 dead. At this rate there will be between 4700 and 4800 dead on Jan 20, 2009, when a Democratic President takes over. With a little more escalation, it is possible that we could get to 5000 dead by the end of the Bush Administration. Every time a Republican refers to "Surrender Dates," I'm going to refer to his/her support for Project 5000.

Putting those numbers through the calculator makes it tougher to look forward to the weekend. It's a holiday weekend, the kickoff for summer, but it is also set aside to remember those who pledged their lives to protect our freedom and security, and gave their lives in service to our government. May their families have peace, and may the memories bring pride and comfort.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ohio Dems Cross Lines on Corruption Motion

News outlets are claiming a Republican victory as the motion to recommit HR 2317 (The Lobbying Transparency Act) for the purpose of expanding the restrictions to a greater Range of PACs passed with the help of 33 renegade Dems.

More than half of the Ohio Dems were among those 33, with Kaptur, Kucinich, Space, and Sutton voting to expand the scope of the bill. Rep. Tubbs Jones did note vote.

My lack of writing time has helped me to self-enforce my if-you-can't-say-something-nice version of partisanship regarding the crafting of the ethics reform legislation Dems promised. I'm happy to say, I can say nice things about Ohio Dems.

Bexley in Transition

I'm stealing 10 minutes to do an inadequate run down of a busy news week in Bexley:

1) Students are being expelled from the Bexley School District based on the much tougher proof-of-residency requirements implemented this year. The affected families are charging racism, as African-American students are perceived to be disproportionately affected by the new policy. I wouldn't say that de facto open enrollment is in the best interest of the district or community. But I will say that kids stuck in poor-performing districts are obviously not all suffering from parents who don't care where they get educated.

2) Technology audit results in school district IT director being summarily canned. I still get hits on this blog because people are interested in the district's plan to adopt Linux. The person who claims to have made the suggestion has retained counsel and has apparently shut his mouth for now in the face of wave after wave of negativity concerning his job performance. I have no real idea whether this is incompetence punished or scapegoating accomplished, but it has been fairly thoroughly executed. And even though nobody appears to have come out and said it, the folks opposed to the Linux switch have new strength and opportunity.

3) Our mayor David Madison was widely quoted supporting alcohol at the State Fair. His neighbor Ted put a stop to such talk.

4)Many of these stories first came to my attention through This Week News, specifically from BB favorite Quinn Bowman. Quinn's predecessor on the TWN Bexley beat passed away this week. Growing up I was fairly disdainful of local community journalism. I've gained a lot of appreciation for the weekly newspaper format, and folks like Ms. Horwitz-Whitmore who devote their professional life to community writing.

5) The Pool is going to be open for tours on Friday. When I moved to Central Ohio, I couldn't really make people elsewhere understand the attachment to the Buckeyes. In the last year, my wife and I talk about The Pool. Folks can hear the capital letters. They give us strange looks.

6) Bexley High School once again made the nationwide list of top High Schools (which is based on the rate AP-level classes taken by students). Congrats.

7) Which leads me to my last point, which is that school pride can be generated from arbitrary numbers, or from the production of students who submit passages like this to the community weekly newspaper:

The quality education afforded us in Bexley confers upon us greater responsibility. If we lack focus in our education, we become an absolute disgrace to democracy, which depends on educated, participating citizens. Our privilege requires us to fight for those who are placed in the chains of oppression, whether they are working-class students, low-paid teachers or struggling parents who want only to see their children grow into beautiful people.

Let us remember that the best democracy is an educated and collective democracy where power and profit are shared throughout the community. Unfortunately, as long as poverty, disease, low standards in public education, tyranny, genocide and social injustice exist, we must answer our call to serve and be the voice for those who are silenced. If we do not, we surrender the convictions of opportunity and liberty for which our ancestors died; and these are lost to tyrants. As students, our obligation is to be actively involved in helping address and solve the issues we face so that our community can become strong on an individual, familial and collective level.

For those of you who've wondered, I'm not a token lefty. Click here to read the entire piece by Bexley High School Senior Isaiah Gabriel Calvitti.

Light Posting

I've said it before. There's an annoying negative correlation between the number of bloggable items and the time I have available to blog. My apologies for the light posting and especially for the lack of links in the following:

1) I am not opposed to gambling, per se. I am opposed to stomping on the spirit of gambling laws in an effort to let the most creative proponents of gambling make tons of cash. So, when Gongwer and ONN report on the new deal to have the AG's office determine if a device requires at least 51% skill to result in a payoff, I don't like it. Anybody who bets on sporting events, for instance, will tell you that a skilled bettor can do better than break even in the long run, but on any given Sunday... Of course, you can take all of the skill out of betting on horse racing by randomizing the information available such that a person is betting based not only on an unknown future but an unknown past. If you can cut into small digitized video clips and still call it betting on horse-racing at that point, you might be able to have the State Senate help you do an end around on Ohio Gambling restrictions. I'm starting to think that we should allow slot machines in any place of business, but require that patrons be no closer than six feet from any of them at any time.

2) I'm already out of time, but I will throw this out there: Regarding recent activity in the U.S. House, is it politically better for Dems to forge a compromise on war-funding and troop withdrawal that gets half of what they want, but also gives them shared responsibility for a failed war strategy, or to throw up their hands, say they tried, and give W all the rope he asked for?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Old News

Monday. Can't trust that day. The good news is that Jeff C. a/k/a Yellow Dog Sammy is back and blogging. Just so he knows, the 'sphere will now expect 9 posts (plus updates) every day.

The amusing news is that at least one of the CD's political journalists seems to be a snarky blogger at heart:

On Friday, we noted that Democratic Rep. Zack Space of Dover, a freshman from the socially conservative and GOP-leaning eastern and southern Ohio 18th district, was quick to rail against the deal. Literally. As in the headline to his press release trumpeting Space's opposition to anything that smacks of "amnesty" for illegal immigrants employing the word "rails" to characterize Space's stance.

Pryce's anti-amnesty missile came in a bit quietly, in a release that was sent out Saturday night and then landed in our Spam filter not to be noticed until this morning. However, Pryce made it clear that she too considers the deal to be handing millions of illegal immigrants amnesty.

I've got too much mundane grumpiness to really comment on the issues of the day, so I won't, but let me say that if Diebold and ES&S were the real problems, the GOP wouldn't have to go to the mat over and over in shameful-yet-shameless effort to suppress and disenfranchise poor and minority voters. Oh, and the whole invocation infracton flap just brought up the discussion I had with someone a few weeks ago where I said that belief based on evidence is not faith. Politicians keep telling me that their decisions are guided by their faith. I don't mind my public servants having faith, but I would much much prefer that the decisions they make on my behalf were guided by the part of their mind that relied on evidence.

That's just me.