Friday, June 29, 2007

Family Values

When Jerid Kurtz of Buckeye State Blog posted the phone number of a top GOP official earlier this year, many of his peers thought that he had crossed a line by posting what they felt was private information, or at least was an implicit invitation to harrassment of a public figure. Others were of the opinion that lobbying a public figure on an important issue shouldn't be restricted to those with access to contact information that was semi-private at best.

The GOP had no such moral dilemma. They responded by publishing Jerid's mother's phone number. Not Jerid's. His mother's. I know two things about Jerid's mother. The first one is that she received harrassing phone calls from right-wingers because of something she neither did nor was even aware of, and the second was that she once had to fight tooth and nail to get out from under the predatory lender she had turned to in order to buy Christmas presents for her children.

Recently, Matt Naugle, the most widely known right wing blogger in Ohio, was taken to task, even by Conservative Republicans, for his attacks on Mayor Coleman's wife. He has claimed and will claim that his attacks were on a state employee and her boss, in much the same way that he claimed his attacks on a college student's party photos were meant to embarrass a low-level campaign staffer, not that staffer's high-profile mother. Just like nobody bought that, nobody bought this either, as he went out of his way to re-publicize his own attacks on Frankie Coleman from the 2006 gubernatorial campaign, and link them together.

Upset that even his supporters thought he had crossed a line, Mr. Naugle responded. By respondeded I mean dug up a twenty year old DUI conviction belonging to Jerid Kurtz's father and posted it on Right Angle Blog. Not Jerid. His dad. Once again, Jerid Kurtz has found himself explaining to a loved one why their private life is now public (short version: because, for some reason, right wing bloggers think it should be). So now I know more than two things about Jerid's dad. He had a DUI twenty years ago, when Jerid was about 4 years old. He's recovered from two broken hips and hip replacements. He's amused that Jerid is the grandson of a former Republican mayor of Miamisburg. And he loves his son Jerid. Wanna know how I know? I heard it. Jerid has posted an audio file of a phone call in which Jerid talks to his father about the conviction and today's posting.

Most rank-and-file Republicans really do value Families, especially their own. We often disagree on what, exactly, that means. But I can't imagine that any of them would be proud of the disregard and contempt that the Ohio GOP shows toward families. Mr. Naugle,


Shame On You.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Do you really really feel this way, Pat Tiberi?

I came across a blog post which appears to be a publication from the Republican Policy Committee.

After I read it, I wrote to my Congressman. I've since decided to share:

Congressman Tiberi,

Your name is listed as a contributor to Flashpoints v.1,3; which has been attributed to the Republican Policy Committee. Although it appears on a GOP blog from the chairman's home state rather than on the committee's official website, it appears consistent with Nos. 1 and 2, which do appear there. I was hoping that you could clarify for me whether you personally endorse some of the ideas and statements attributed to you:

1) Do you believe that China poses a threat because it is "a rival model of governance" for the United States?

2) Do you believe that "a misled electorate counter-intuitively chose a liberal Congress to stem the Heralds of Disorder?"

3) Do you believe that Americans were able to be misled because they were upset about the period from 9/11/2001 through 11/06/2006, a period marked by "a dark foreboding of chaos spawned by escalating violence in Iraq; the doddering incompetence of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina; the bloating spending, bursting debt and expanding entitlements of the federal government; the spiking costs of health care, energy, and higher education; the surging influx of illegal immigration across the unsecured borders of our nation in a time of war; declining manufacturing jobs in the northeast and Midwest commonly attributed to the communist Chinese's predatory trading practices; and unfolding Congressional scandals involving criminal corruption and immorality?"

4) Do you believe that Democrats are properly characterized as "The Architects of Chaos, Decline and Defeat?"

5) Do you believe that the following analogy: "To prove the point, think of the body politic as any other living organism. When big government redistributes oxygen (i.e., liberty) amongst the body politic, one part of the body politic will have less oxygen and, like any appendage, will atrophy and die. " makes any sense? Proves something? Is meant to imply that CEOs would actually die if they only made 100 times as much money as their front line employees?

6) Do you actually claim to understand the statement that "liberty leads to order?"

Finally, if you could provide me with the name of one of the "totalitarian nations who claim absolute order must precede their people's paltry snippets of liberty," the name of one of the "leftist candidates (who) portrayed themselves as more conservative than has proven the case," and a general plan for how Republicans plan to vanquish the number one Herald of Disorder, "The social and economic upheavals of globalization," I'd appreciate it.

In all sincerity, I find this rhetoric disturbing on a number of levels. In the past, I would have simply mocked what I found to be poorly argued, factually suspect, deliberately misleading, and irrelevantly petty. I will undoubtedly do so again in the future. Given the level of vitriol and literal demonization of your colleagues that is attributed to a committee that states of itself:

"...Many issues that call for a clear statement of majority policy are not properly addressed (or cannot be timely addressed) by legislation. The Policy Committee--with a combined membership of 20 percent of the Conference, including leadership, key committee chairmen, and both class and regional representatives--is uniquely well suited to issue such statements after careful deliberation and opportunity for all Members to be heard."

I find this much more serious than a simple campaign screed or red-meat fundraising speech. As a constituent, I really want to know if this is how you think,

Jason Sullivan,

Bexley, OH

Re-reading that, I needed to exercise more restraint on #5. Oh well. What's sent is sent.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

politics v. government

This is how some of us get ourselves into trouble. Republicans like John Warner and our very own George V. are lining up behind Dick Lugar's call for an immediate commencement of a gradual troop withdrawal in Iraq.

Why is Dick doing this now? Well...

Lugar urged haste, before the political climate heats up heading into the 2008 elections. “The purpose of giving this speech now is that we are in a quiet period when we are not forced to extreme debates and there can be consensus building,” Lugar said today.

Republicans have been wrong on Iraq. Republican legislators have enabled this administration to carry out a sickeningly wrong Iraq policy for going on five years. For this moral failing, they should be hammered repeatedly, and voted out of office.

But there's the rub. If it takes allowing Republican senators a chance to pick the most politically advantageous circumstances along with a clenched mouth "attaboy" to get us out of Iraq, I suppose it's morally questionable not to.

I've always been of the opinion that giving a pass to our representatives based on pragmatics was wrong-headed. When someone you support makes a move that you don't like because it advances some other purpose, they should have factored your anger into their calculation. If you give a pass, that's what they'll factor in next time. Sometimes, though, I guess the peanut gallery has to play pragmatist as well.

Tuesday's Salute to Small 'h' heroism

1) Yesterday Jerid Kurtz of Buckeye State Blog posted an MP3 of his interview with presidential candidate Senator Chris Dodd. My question didn't make it into the 15 minute chat (that's not as long as it might sound), but you'll be interested in some that did. Like I said before, strippers drive traffic. I'm guesing that Jerid will parlay this into more and more interviews with candidates and other key campaign figures. For several hours, Jerid was my hero.

2) But then he got smacked soundly out of the top hero slot by a man named Thomas F. Van Horne. Mr. Van Horne read a letter to the editor in the Dispatch that I had also shown to a colleague at work. In part, that letter by H. Jack Taylor read:

The first law (of thermodynamics) says that the total amount of energy and matter in the universe is fixed. It can change forms but can't be created or destroyed. Einstein's E = MC{+2} is a part of this law. The second law says that the energy and matter in the universe are going toward disorder and randomness. If the evolutionary theory is true, then there had to be a time in the past when these two laws weren't true...

What I pointed out was that this argument relied on someone fundamentally misunderstanding both evolution and thermodynamics simultaneously. My colleague suggested I write a letter. I did not. Mr. Van Horne did. I cannot do it justice without going beyond fair use, So I'll throw out a tease and direct you to go read the whole thing:

...Too many "scientific" people refuse to give Jack Frost the credit for the extraordinary beauty he spreads every winter...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Morning

1. I never went to Comfest once when I lived six blocks away. We were always out of town that weekend. We finally visited this year, and I now believe the hype.

2. Lots of Psychology researchers are ambivalent or even mildly hostile about MSM reporting on their work. Professional societies have tried to argue to their members that disseminating knowledge is a duty and that the responsibility to ensure the accuracy of that information rests upon them, but you see crap like the press/public interplay on the IQ/birth order story, and you start to see the individuals' points.

3. According to BlogNetNews readers, Blue Bexley is the 7th worst blog out of 90+ Ohio blogs in the history of their ranking system (sharing a bottom 10 with Redhorse and Pho, actually). Thanks y'all for taking the time to vote :)

4. The site re-design left "The Neutral Zone Trap" without a link category. I'm going to have to fix that. It's a hockey blog, but there are more hockey blogs than politics blogs in Columbus, and it's the only one in my RSS. It's entertaining and well-written. She recently compared American hockey fans to John Zorn fans, to which I can only say, it is unclear whether she means fans of the avant-Knitting-Factory-bleater John Zorn, or the grindcore-Torture-Garden-screamer John Zorn?

5. Speaking of politics blogs in Columbus, let me know if you know of any that I can/should link to. Columbuser and I can't continue trading traffic indefinitely. Especially once everybody figures out that we're both just Matt Naugle.*

Enjoy your week.

(*decoder ring - don't read if you like to enjoy punchlines - Matt Naugle is a right-wing blogger. He's every negative blogger stereotype personified. Recently, there has been speculation that Mr. Naugle is blogging under other names at other blogs. Some of this is quite plausible, some less so. I have a lot of respect for most of the speculators, and I understand that sometimes speculating is useful for speculation's sake, but I've been called out by "Brian" since before most of them knew he existed. Say what you will about Columbuser, but it's not Naugle.)