Friday, July 06, 2007

An oldie but goodie

My mother and stepfather are both GM retirees, and I know that there are a number of GM family members in the Ohio blogosphere. My mom's retirement saving would have been a lot better had they not been tied to GM and Delphi stock. This tends to make me angry when I think about it. To tell you the truth, Ken Lay may have stolen directly from his employees, but GM... 23 words from Robert Lutz, VP of product development in January 2004:

"Hybrids are an interesting curiosity and we will do some," he said. "But do they make sense at $1.50 a gallon? No, they do not."

If they had simply stolen my mom's money, at least somebody would have benefited.

Some Congrats

1) To Pari Sabety and her crew. The State of Ohio just underwent a massive IT changeover, moving the bulk of their financial information processing from a 1980's mainframe-based system to the new OAKS system. A move like this has the capability of virtually shutting down government if things go wrong, but as Gongwer (subs.) notes, gets almost no attention when things go right.

2) Plunderbund. Eric has a much-expanded Plundercrew, giving the site an embarrassment of Blogger riches. A number of people had independently noted that there was a surprisingly unfilled niche for a political blog that focused on Columbus/Central Ohio Politics. I tried unsuccessfully to get something going, and eventually Columbuser popped up on the red side, but... As all of the so-called PlunderMonkies are from Central Ohio, I'm betting that Plunderbund heads into the fall as the go-to place for races like Columbus City Council. Congrats to us readers as well, I guess.

3)Travis Irvine. This young man has heeded the call. We now have five candidates for mayor in Bexley. As he is quoted as saying: "Sometimes you just gotta run for mayor."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bexley 4th of July / FB4*

So I left off on July 3rd, having figured out that the guy at the table next to me was actually a person I've blogged about, Hans Wasserburger, recently appointed City Council Member. Hans seems like a pretty nice guy, about my age, and he was clearly flustered when I said I had written about him here. He asked if it was good or bad, and I said mainly neutral, hoping that was right. Turns out it was. As I said, I was already distracted, as my last meeting with a politician had been with David Goodman at the very same coffeeshop, and I couldn't help but wonder if meeting the author of Blue Bexley at Todd Appelbaum's place of business had amused him.

Anyway, to continue with the boring personal post (it doesn't get much better, unless you like cute kids), the next morning I went out and set our chairs up next to Mound Street. Ms. Bonobo made cookies (aside: cookie baking is definitely a Holiday luxury for her, and it got me to thinking about 1992... Do you think anyone is going to ask HRC if she bakes cookies this time around?), and baby Charlotte tried to figure out what the heck happened to Wednesday. Eventually, time, cookie dough, torrential downpours, and afternoon beer would mean an early evening of watching fireworks from the upstairs window followed immediately by slumber, but before then was a neighborhood picnic, where I (ran into HW yet again, but more importantly) met mayoral candidate Bill Minckler. He and I have been (and continue to be) playing phone tag, but for those who have been breathlessly waiting, continue to expect an interview post in the very near future.

Which leaves the parade.

Charlotte had never seen a parade.

A certain wariness is understandable when even the candidate type participants have a hard time maintaining enthusiasm.

But not everyone is mailing it in. A new acquaintance recognizes yours truly, throws candy.

Put some candy and attention her way, then throw in enough drummers, and Charlotte gets her Patriotism on.

This was our one year anniversary of having a house here, and we are feeling more at home in the neighborhood every day. If any of y'all are reading this... if you could ask one question of each of the four mayoral candidates, what would it be? For instance, Lampke is on the record favoring a bond issue on the ballot to pay for the Police Station... I have no idea where the other three stand. I'm sure you can do better...

*FB4 = Friday Blue Bexley Baby Blogging

Oh,and some announcements....

For those of you who don't already know this, Jerid over at BSB continues to make actual news. He has filed a formal election complaint alleging that Bill Brownson, Columbus City Council Candidate, has ignored filing and finance laws with which he is almost undoubtedly familiar. This is one of those big deal activist steps, moving from writing to doing, that should be applauded, especially when done well.

What I'm really looking forward to is the next New Hampshire Project Presidential Candidate Interview. Jerid is going to have a 15 minute sit-down with Bill Richardson, the default candidate of Blue Bexley.

Finally, it seems to be a season of new blogs. One I'd like to highlight, although it is pretty much content-free at this point (beyond some flattery) is Political Outcast. PO has been a frequent commenter here, and truth be told, consistently one of the better commenters here. Political Outcast is a conservative, but if past performance is any indication of future behavior, any civil and intelligent comments will probably be engaged.

A Rock and a Coffee Place

Tonight I'll put up a real post, with pictures and stories about Bexley's July 4, but for now, like many of y'all, I've got to deal with the second Monday of the week. My short post (with big fat pasted quotes) here is catching up from what I wanted to post on the third, but couldn't, because the Wi-Fi at Cup'O'Joe was so unreliable. While I was at Cup'O'Joe, and with the precious little bandwidth that was afforded to me, I looked up info on the Cup'O'Joe company.

You see, there are two coffee houses less than a block from each other, both within three blocks of my house. One is a Starbucks, the other a COJ. I had told people that I preferred to support the local business, to which some had replied that they believed COJ to be a national chain. I wanted to reaffirm that COJ was in fact local, so I did some Googling.

Yikes!!! Now I've got a dilemma. Starbucks is a corporate giant that has prospered in part by driving community based businesses out of business. Cup'O'Joe is a locally-based Central Ohio chain owned by Bexley resident Todd Appelbaum... That sounded right, but it also set of some alarm bells...

There was this from a Jewish political blogger at Haaretz right before the election last November:

In the 12th and 15th districts, most of Columbus and its suburbs, Republican representatives are fighting for another term. Deborah Pryce trails her opponent Mary Jo Kilroy, in the 12th, Pat Tiberi is a hair's breadth ahead of the contender for his seat: Bob Shamansky, Jewish and a Democrat.

Appelbaum's cell phone stores the names and addresses of thousands of voters, mostly Jews. A political wheeler-dealer, with enough get-up-and-go for twenty party activists, he supports both Pryce and Tiberi.

A matter of priorities

He also supports Senator Mike DeWine, and he understands his candidates are in danger of extinction.

Appelbaum says he has a better relationship with many Evangelical Christian voters - he's regularly in touch with a few such groups and their leaders who are enthusiastic supporters of Israel - than with Jewish voters. He understands why most of his community votes Democrat, but thinks their priorities are skewed.

That relationship with Evangelical Christians is well known. Todd gained notoriety through a Cleveland Jewish News article that described his cozying up to Rod Parsley:

Several months ago, Parsley's church hosted the third annual gathering of Christian pastors. Its goal: galvanize the Christian leadership to get involved in politics through the ORP. About 1,100 ministers from 80 of Ohio's 88 counties listened to Parsley and guest speaker Roy Moore, former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice ousted over his refusal to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse rotunda.

Todd Appelbaum, a 44-year-old native Clevelander who has lived in Columbus for the past 25 years, attended the event along with a number of Republican government officials, including Blackwell. Former chairman of Columbus's chapter of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Appelbaum is now active in a Jewish-Christian coalition that works to support Israel and other issues.

Evangelicals are loving patriots

Appelbaum, who brought three Orthodox rabbis to the pastors' gathering, attended in order to meet Parsley and to develop deeper relationships between the Jewish community and conservative evangelicals.

"Our freedoms are threatened, our Judeo-Christian beliefs are threatened by radical Islam," Appelbaum says. "If western civilization is going to be saved from these evil forces, who don't share our values, it has to be done through Christianity. There are only 14 million Jews throughout the world. There are two billion Christians. They are the only ones who can stand up to radical Islam."

So, as I stroll down Main Street, I can stop and buy an Americano from a corporate behemoth or a Neo-Conservative nutjob. Come to think about it, I've got wi-fi on the back deck. What in the world am I doing giving money to either one?

Well, in defense of coffee shops, it is highly unlikely that I would get into a discussion about the Wi-Fi quality on my deck with someone who turned out to be City Council Member Hans Wasserburger. But that's for tonight's post.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

Yesterday was shaping up pretty nicely.

Hearcel Craig is confirmed on the ballot.
There will be no contentious primary in OH-15.

Then the GOP came back with a press release blasting Marc Dann for sponsoring the Red, White and Boom parade in Columbus. Stupid and petty, yes, but perhaps the Ohio GOP is rolling the dice and putting all of their money on the AG race in 2010, writing off most of the statewide races. In that kind of scenario, the strategy relies on the quantity, not the quality of slung mud.

Of course, the big one came after that. No, not the GIRFOF folks finally coming around. Scooter Libby's sentence was commuted. Bush left the fine in place (anybody have a guess as to how long it will take for the right wing to raise that $250k?), and the probation. I tend to think that Scooter will probably stay clean as long as he stops hanging out with those thug friends of his. But no jail time. W says that that's just too harsh.

I don't have some sort of bloodlust when it comes to Libby. It's unfortunate that he took the whole fall for the administration. On the other hand, I don't feel sorry for him. He did what he did knowing that he was potentially taking a bullet for Cheney. I thought that the big positive in Scooter's sentencing and the repeated reaffirmation by the courts of the appropriateness of that sentence, was that it provided the clearest signal yet to those inside the bubble that many of the things that they were doing were against the law. Illegal. Criminal.

Commuting that sentence says to me that they still don't get it. That they are extending the defense that a President can't logically/technically disclose classified information, because the act of disclosing it is, for the president, an act of declassification. That, unfortunately, is more or less true. The problem is, that they believe that a President cannot act in UnAmerican manner, because actions become American when the president does them. Worse, they seem to believe that the president cannot actually break the law, because actions become legal at the exact moment the president does them.

I will calm down. I will go back to putting my head down and concerning myself with the incremental and local changes that are necessary to move the Greatest Nation on Earth back to a place where that phrase is more than just branding. But overnight, I haven't lost my initial reaction --

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush have illegally wiretapped American citizens. They have illegally detained American and Foreign Nationals indefinitely and without charges. They have illegally directed U.S. Military and Intelligence personnel to engage in torture. They have likely illegally used the CIA to transport detainees to nations where they would be tortured using even less defensible techniques. They have likely illegally interfered in criminal investigations for political purposes. The extent to which they have gotten away with this so far is a perverse testimony to the plausibility of their legal arguments in defense of these actions. Last night's commutation, however, shows that in the rare instance in which they are actually held to account, even indirectly, that they have nothing but contempt for the laws and judicial system of our country.

Impeach them.

This morning I don't care that impeachment is divisive, would be counterproductive to any and all other legislative objectives, and would be unlikely to result in any meaningful redress. Those are all reasons that I'll get over it, but right now...

I'm looking forward to a celebration commemorating the stand taken by Americans, in which they told King George that enough was enough, that the King has no inherent rights that the citizens do not themselves possess. That his refusal to recognize this meant that his services would no longer be necessary. The title of this post is the very first charge levied against King George in the Declaration of Independence, rendered verbatim. I guess I'm just caught up in the holiday spirit.