Friday, October 31, 2008

Clancy Runs A Distasteful Campaign

I'd had no intention of expressing preferences in any of the local races (particularly any involving the courthouse), but I was infuriated by an ad Patricia Clancy ran earlier tonight.  Perhaps it's been running for some time, but I hadn't seen it before.  Clancy, a Republican, is running against Democratic candidate Martha Good for HamCo Clerk of Courts.

In the ad, Clancy suggests that Martha Good isn't qualified to be the Clerk of Courts.  (Good is, by the way, the only Democratic candidate endorsed by the Enquirer this year.)  Clancy's "evidence":  Good supposedly received negative evaluations from her students at Miami University.  The ad goes on to show college-aged actors saying mean things about Ms. Good.  (The ad is produced in such a way that one might get the impression that the actors are actual students giving testimonials.  They're not.)

How, I wondered, did the Clancy campaign get hold of the evaluations students submit to Miami at the end of the semester?  Those aren't generally made public (at least, not at most schools).  Then the fine print came:  the "evaluations" were culled from a website, "RateMyProfessors," where anonymous students can rate their profs.

The website has no safeguards to ensure that students have actually taken the class of the professor they choose to rate.  Frankly, you or I could create an account and "rate" any professor we wanted to.  And we all know that this kind of website tends to draw angry people; people with something good to say won't generally take the time to search out a website to say it.  And here's a measure of the seriousness of the website:  one of the ratings categories is "hotness."

This is a silly, specious attack ad.  County row office races are often difficult for people to follow intelligently, particularly in a presidential election year.  This is a time that these candidates should be telling us why they're best-suited for the office for which they're running.  Instead, Clancy has chosen to cull together quotes from anonymous (alleged) students at Miami U.  Ridiculous.

Sometimes people have a hard time finding a reason (besides party affiliation) to vote for someone in the races for the more obscure local offices.  But I think this negative, misleading ad will give plenty of folks grounds to vote against Patricia Clancy.  

If you're looking for a reason to vote for Martha, check out the Enquirer's endorsement.  By itself, Dr. Good's pledge to end the tradition of using the Clerk's office as a sanctuary for political patronage is enough to warrant filling in the box next to her name on Tuesday.  Add to it her background and experience with the court system (and her opponent's dearth of legal expertise or experience), and the choice should be clear.

Your Halloween Robo-Call

Courtesy of Jason Silverstein at McSweeney's

"Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama talks during movies. During a recent screening of The Dark Knight, Barack Obama irritated several pro-America patrons when he echoed the famous 'Why so serious?' line to his wife, Michelle, who hasn't always been proud of being an American, much like the Joker. He'll raise his voice over Heath Ledger's. And he'll raise your taxes. That's why I'm so serious, my friends, about your vote on November 4."

Obama Update

To update Griff's post:

The Enquirer is reporting that Senator Obama will address a rally to be held at Nippert Stadium on the campus of UC at 9:00 pm. According to an email that UC has sent to students, gates will open at 6:00.

I'll be waiting to see if our local stations broadcast the address live, as they did in 2004 when Bush made a campaign stop here just before the election.

Ain't that America, we're somethin' to see, baby

Ain't that America, the home of the free

What kind of person puts a sign like this up in front of their business (Salem Hardware in Mt. Washington)? Or hangs Senator Obama in effigy on the University of Kentucky campus? Or hangs Governor Palin in effigy in West Hollywood?

Let's just have an election before any more of our ugliness is unleashed. It's quite sad.

But apparently we are still fighting over where Senator Obama was born out in Warren County, so on we go . . . . . . And what clever nefarious people Senator Obama's grandparents must have been to put that birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper after his birth in 1961 --- you see, they knew, as all clever radical sleepers must, that this newborn would one day run for President against someone born in Panama (Didn't the Senate feel it necessary to pass a sense of the Senate resolution declaring John McCain a "real American" even though he was born in Panama?). But damn, these folks are sneaky. (All those of you who are mouthing the idiocy of Corsi, Berg, and Savage on this point please explain the birth announcement for me.)

Does everyone have their tinfoil hat on today? It is Halloween, after all.


Be Safe Among The Ghouls And Goblins In Our Midst Tonight!

Obama in Cincinnati on Sunday?

The word I have gotten is that Obama will be doing a large event in Cincinnati on Sunday Night. Anyone have more information on that? Send me an email with the details and I'll post it.

UPDATE: I guess I need to check all of email, I have an email from the Obama media folks and they have this on the schedule for November 2nd:
Cincinnati area, OH
Details TBA

As I get more, I'll let you know.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Down-Ticket Races

Most of the media's attention has been focused on the presidential election. I suspect most people have made their decision in that race by now. But maybe people haven't paid attention to state- and county-wide races yet. To the extent that's the case, I wanted to create a post that pulls together info on the candidates in those races. Be clear: I'm not endorsing anyone; I'm just providing links to the websites and a description of a candidate's current post or position, where I can find it easily. Apologies for the length of the post.

Ohio Attorney General:
Repubican Mike Crites (currently in private practice) is challenging incumbent Democrat Richard Cordray. Cordray Nancy Rogers was appointed to the seat following the resignation of Marc Dann, but is not running to hold it.

County Commissioner (2):
Republican Ed Rothenberg (running without his party's endorsement) is challenging incumbent Democrat Todd Portune.
Independent Chris Dole (a registered Democrat running without that party's endorsement, currently a Crosby Township trustee) and Republican Greg Hartmann (currently Clerk of Courts) are running for an open seat (left open by incumbent Pat DeWine).

Clerk of Courts:
Democrat Martha Good (currently a professor at Miami) and Republican Patricia Clancy (currently a county probation officer) are running for this seat (left open by incumbent Greg Hartmann).

County Recorder:
Democrat Wayne Coates (currently bailiff to Judge Ted Berry) is challenging incumbent Republican Rebecca Groppe.

County Treasurer:
Democrat Steve Brinker (an attorney in private practice) is challenging incumbent Republican Robert Goering, for whom I can't locate a campaign website).

Common Pleas Court Judge (Three Contested Seats):
Democratic-endorsed Norma Holt Davis (currently in private practice) and Republican-endorsed Pat DeWine (currently a county comissioner) are running for a six-year term in a seat that is being vacated by Judge David Davis, who is retiring at the end of the current term.

Democratic-endorsed Jerry Metz (in private practice) is challenging Republican-endorsed incumbent Judge Fred Nelson, for whom I can't locate a campaign website, for a fresh six-year term.

Democratic-endorsed incumbent Judge Jody Luebbers is being challenged by Republican-endorsed Municipal Court Judge Russell Mock for an unexpired term that ends January 1, 2011. This is a mid-term election for a seat initially held by Judge Dinkelacher, who retired from Common Pleas Court after being elected to the Court of Appeals. Alex Triantafilou was appointed to the seat by then-Governor Taft in 2006, but resigned to become HamCo GOP chair before being required to defend the seat in an election.

Update: Post revised slightly to correct a really silly error I made with respect to the AG race.

Early Voting

Today, I went to the Board of Elections and cast an absentee ballot. From start (getting in line near Eighth and Broadway) to finish (getting my "I Made A Difference" sticker), it took about an hour. (I went around 2:00.)

I like voting on Election Day at my precinct, and voted early only because I'm slated to be a poll observer and won't be able to get to my own polling place. I'm a little sad that I won't be able to walk into my polling place on Tuesday.

But one benefit of voting early was getting to chat with some of the candidates, who were working the line (beyond the 100-foot demarcation inside of which political activity is disallowed). The candidates I noticed: Commissioner Pat DeWine (running for Common Pleas Court); Wayne Coates (for County Recorder); and Jerry Metz (for Common Pleas Court). Lots of other candidates had surrogates passing out flyers. Oddly, none of the candidates for Ohio's Second District were present or had any campaign workers in the area. Perhaps they've decided that the campaign will be won or lost in Clermont County, and are ignoring the part of the district within Hamilton County.

The folks at the Board of Elections seemed well-organized and were extremely courteous and helpful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Political Art at 9th and Vine

Here's some interesting political art up near the corner of 9th and Vine Street.

Less is Less

CityBeat is reporting that the Enquirer will be cutting staff by 10%. I assume based on the article that this is above and beyond the voluntary buyout packages offered earlier this year.

No word on what part of the paper will be affected. Previously, there was a report of centralization of certain back office functions, so this could be related to that reduction.

If more content staff is reduced, we will have no paper left. Arts coverage has suffered so massively. The Enquirer is turning into a local TV station in how it structures everything. The local content is vanishing and no return can be foreseen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Breaking News

Blue Chip Young Republicans announced they have endorsed Republican Ed Rothenberg over Todd Portune for County Commissioner. I know this will come to a surprise to everyone in Cincinnati.

Fountain Square Broomball FAQ

The Fountain Square Broomball League sign-ups began yesterday, here are the details:

WHAT: Team registration for the 2009 Fountain Square Broomball League (FSBL), the third season for Broomball on Fountain Square.

WHEN: Sign ups begin Monday October 27 and close Friday November 14 at 5 pm

WHERE: Go to to download the registration form. Registration forms will not be available until Oct. 27.

WHO CAN PLAY: Anyone over 18! The 2009 FSBL will include 32 teams: 16 Advanced and 16 Beginner. Teams can include up to 12 players. Six players are on the ice at a time and at least three must be women. The 32 teams will be selected by lottery and announced before Thanksgiving.

HOW LONG IS THE SEASON: Six weeks starting January 5. Games are played on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Championship games will be played for both Advanced and Beginner leagues on Wednesday, February 18.

WHAT IS BROOMBALL ANYWAY: Broomball combines elements of soccer and hockey. Players wear gym shoes, not skates, and use sticks with a small, broom-shaped head to pass the ball and score goals.

CAN I WATCH INSTEAD OF PLAY: Of course. It's free to watch the games, and adult beverages are available. Live announcers call each game and the Fountain Square video board becomes a giant TV with a scoreboard, time clock and live camera coverage.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Concert:Nova: Where the Wild Things Are

Just in time to give you a childhood smiley fright:
CONCERT:NOVA Season Two - Where the Wild Things Are is a collaborative project centered around NY composer Randall Woolf's electro-acoustic score and German graphic designer Till Lassmann.

Hear the kickoff season two concert and help us celebrate the opening of an interactive installation at the UnMuseum! After the concert, come upstairs to the reception to hang out with C:N, composer Randall Woolf and designer Till Lassmann!

Costumes encouraged - it's almost Halloween! Plus, you could win a prize if you come with the best costume - it's worth dressing up for a little gift from concert:nova!

Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

7 pm performance
8:30 pm reception
$20 admission/$10 students & ETA members

More in the Enquirer

Vote for the Music CEAs

City Beat's CEAs are fast approaching, so voice your opinion on the best music in town. Something to notice, there are a ton of new GREAT Bands out there. Hell, the Heartless Bastards weren't even nominated, but there are still a ton more great musical acts. This really is a great music town. It is too bad not enough people experience it.

On November 23, they can! Be sure to hit the CEA show at the premier reopening of the Emery Theater. Tickets are on sale now!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bootsy Ruby's News

Julie from wine me dine me (and Cincy Blog too!) has some inside news on the new Jeff Ruby/Bootsy Collins restaurant opening up in December on Walnut St.

Just Got Robo Polled By NBC 4 Columbus

I just got a robo-poll call from NBC 4 out of Columbus on the election. They asked about President, and the statewide races and issues. They also asked several demographic questions. Nothing out of the ordinary asked.

I'll see if I can figure out how many people are like me in Ohio! Well, at least how many have a land line and are home on Sunday afternoon.

Bush Trying to Suppress the Ohio Vote

What I find most troubling about instances of voter suppression is how people like George Bush believe that voter fraud is some wide spread problem. Well, it isn't. In 2004 claims went out that it was wide spread. Well, there was no proof of that and in fact the groups accused of it were exonerated.

This is a red herring for a GOP that is facing its worst defeat in over 30 years.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

An Interesting Factoid With Ten Days To Go In This Long Campaign

For 80 years, all successful Republican presidential tickets have had either a Nixon or a Bush on the ticket. That would be since the election of Hoover / Curtis in 1928. Looks like McCain / Palin will not break this string, barring a miracle like some white female campaign worker being mugged by a 6'4" black guy who carves a "B" for Barack in her face, while chanting "Obama is a muslim, born in Kenya, and Bill Ayers is god" --- oh wait, they tried that yesterday but it was a fake --- reminder that if you are going to look in the mirror and carve a "B" for Barack in your face, take into account that the mirror will cause you to carve it backwards, unless you adjust for that. It should look like a B, not a
--- ooops, did it again.

Well, there is Jeb waiting in the wings --- Palin / Bush 2012.

How many people actually agree with Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage that Obama is really not in Hawaii visiting his dying grandmother, but is really there to destroy evidence that he was born in Kenya and not the US? (Wasn't John McCain born in Panama?) I am just trying to find out how large the tinfoil hat brigade really is.

Out Of Touch Enquirer

I really feel sorry for the Enquirer Editorial Board for this drivel. Did someone just go to the McCain website, take down the last two week's worth of talking points and re-write it? This just sounds like a McCain stump speech, right down to the "Joe the Plumber" bullshit.

The funniest thing is the equivalency game they play. To think that the sleaze that has poured out of the McCain campaign, directly out of the campaign, compares with a handful of extremists on the left is just nonsense. I would like to know how the Enquirer thinks Sarah Palin lying about Obama and the "palling around with terrorists" line compares with anything Obama or Biden have said about McCain or Palin. There is nothing that even approaches that level of sleaze/lies/distortion.

Is Ohio is Now Solidly For Obama?

When the Ohio Newspaper Poll has Obama ahead 49 to 46, is McCain toast in the Buckeye State? This poll has relied on prior election breakdowns too heavily and therefore had way too large of a Republican sample. Previously it had McCain ahead. At this point I believe you can at a minimum consider Obama ahead here beyond the margin of error.

I am not saying Ohio is a lock for Obama by any means, but at this point I think he has the advantage and it will take a huge 2004 type (anti-gay type) of GOTV on the GOP side for McCain to win Ohio. I don't think that support is there.

Why Warren County?

Is there a particular reason that a series of baseless lawsuits being filed in Warren County based on the election? Could we have seen this coming? Is there a up tick in tin-foil hat sales?

What makes people do these types of things? Is it the attention? Is it delusional thinking that they can change the world by believing in a myth so much that as long as they click their heels three times the fascist faerie will fly down from the sky and grant them their wish to seen the country back into the stone age of 19th Century Industrial Feudalism?

Would someone in the Warren County GOP just tell their nutty members at the meetings that, no, this will not save the day. It just makes Warren County look like a place with too many right wing nuts.

Ten Days And Counting --- Know Hope!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do Joe The Plumber And Real Americans Drop $75,000 On An Afternoon At Nieman Marcus? Can We Just Stop The Pretense?

"Just make sure people understand that we know what Joe the Plumber was talking about when he was confronting Barack Obama and saying, 'Wait a minute, aren't you going to take my money, take my earnings and give it to somebody else who maybe hadn't worked as hard as I have worked?' What about this reward for strong work ethic, isn't that what capitalism is all about? Isn't that what the American economy should be based upon? And so when I mention Joe the Plumber, know that that's why I do mention it. Because we understand what his concerns were as he spoke to Barack Obama there in that rope line," she added. "We will be working for Joe the Plumber and working for the small business owners and those who wish to own business, those who have that entrepreneurial spirit and want to grow business and create jobs, hire more people and take care of their families."

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."

Gov. Sarah Palin in Greenesboro, NC

"Sarah Palin — she’s a lady that can get ‘er done. She’s been in Alaska. She got ‘er did! Folks, there’s a real America, and liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God. That’s a great comparison."

Republican Congressman Robin Hayes warming up the crowd for Senator John McCain

UPDATE -- Do Real American Men Spend $8,000 A Month Having Their Makeup Done? I Don't Even Know Gay Men Or Drag Queens Who Spend That Much On Makeup.

From the Washington Post:

"Tifanie White, who reportedly has done makeup for the shows "So You Think You Can Dance" and "American Idol," was paid a total of $8,672.55 in September by the McCain-Palin campaign [to do Senator McCain's makeup], according to the campaign's latest monthly financial report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission. She was paid $5,583.43 the previous month, records show."

Who the hell are these people wearing their tinfoil hats and talking about "real Americans" and "socialism"?

So I am, as a gay man who identifies as an atheist and as a liberal or a progressive or even a revolutionary, when the Dow dips below 9,000, not part of real America. Sarah Palin apparently is a real American because she loves "real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God." But apparently Governor Palin is not above accepting a little free stuff, like a $150,000 shopping spree at Niemans and Saks and the like. Somehow, I doubt that the "real Americans" that Governor Palin purports to champion have that opportunity handed to them, much less have someone to do their makeup at $8 grand a month. And I am supposed to conclude that Senator Obama is "too different," "too exotic," "too other" --- Come'on, don't be coy, just say it out loud, John and Sarah: "too black" --- to be President. Hell, Palin's spending and McCain's makeup make them way more "other" to me than Obama's race and funny name.

Yeah, the hypocrisy smells to high heaven, but just to cut through all of that, let's just be honest, Governor Palin is not just like hard working Americans who have seen their savings looted by folks who shop at Niemans and Saks, nor is her buddy John McCain, he of the married fortune and the seven houses and the regular makeup. No matter how much they want to keep telling us they understand what is facing working people and how they understand how the poor middle class working stiffs making $250,000 a year feel when that "socialist" Obama says he is gonna take their money, John and Sarah don't have a clue.

Let's stop all the pretense and nonsense and have an election and live with the result . . . . . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Cool Heads on "Voter Fraud"

Earlier today, I took a trip over to the Hamilton County GOP Blog and remembered why I respected Alex Triantafilou so much when he was a judge.

Since Triantafilou left the bench to become chair of the HamCo GOP Chair, he certainly hasn't wasted any opportunities to throw "red meat" to the base of his party. I'm often irritated by what he writes (not merely because I disagree with him, but because I get tired of seeing the same old daily talking points--and I think he can do better than mindless regurgitation of the national party line).

But he takes his role as chair of the HamCo Board of Elections seriously. And while still managing to throw some "red meat" out there, in this post, his concern for the fairness--and the perceived fairness--of next month's election comes through:

I want to assure readers of this blog that the election in Hamilton County will be fair and that their vote will count. Are there problems? Yes. There are always problems in any system where humans are involved. But, will those problems lead to massive voter fraud that changes the outcome of the election? No. I have seen no evidence of this.

Yesterday at the Board meeting, I made a rather poor analogy that I will, unfortunately, repeat on this blog. I compared the perception of downtown Cincinnati to the perception of the election.

Downtown Cincinnati is mostly a safe neighborhood and a great place to live, shop and visit. There is the occasional crime that sometimes mars the image of downtown and draws a fair amount of attention. These crimes and downtown's proximity to a high crime neighborhood have caused the misperception that downtown is not safe. It is safe.

In the same way, a few bad actors (or groups) have possibly engaged in improper conduct with regard to voter fraud. Voting fraud rightfully draws tremendous media and public scrutiny because it can undermine the democratic process that underpins our society. This high level of attention to potential crimes have caused a misperception that the election is not safe. A special prosecutor has been assigned by the courts to deal with this question.

At a time when it seems that every Republican--from top-ranked surrogates down to Bill Cunningham--is getting in front of microphones to declare that the sky is falling and Obama is "stealing the election," it's nice to see Triantafilou inject some sanity into our public discourse. He doesn't gain anything from that post; in fact, he's probably being deluged with emails and calls from people within his own party incensed that he's not doing more to stop "voter fraud." Instead, we see an excellent example of Triantafilou's thoughtfulness and integrity. (It's what made him a good judge.)

There is no conspiracy to steal the election--either in Ohio or nationally--by either side. Some registration efforts may have gotten carried away. ACORN's actions were likely downright negligent: paying (unemployed) people to register voters and giving them a quota is guaranteed to get the results we're seeing this year: fictitious names in an effort to turn in enough names (the people submitting the names, frankly, couldn't care less about the election's outcome--they just want their checks). Similarly, the police officers whom Griff mentions (who, if the FOP is any indication, are likely to vote GOP) aren't trying to sway the election; they've just bought into a popular misconception that it's permissible for them to register at their police district. (If they're not Cincinnati residents, though, they need to get registered in the right place, as they shouldn't be casting votes in municipal elections.) What's going on out there? Some mistakes. Some overzealousness. But no right-wing or left-wing conspiracy. And probably very, very little in the way of actual criminal misconduct.

Say it with me again: just two more weeks.....

Thanks, Blue Ash

No doubt, everyone in Cincinnati has heard of Edna Jester, the octagenarian charged with a first-degree misdemeanor (carrying a possible sentence of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine) by Blue Ash's finest. Apparently, after a neighborhood boy's football repeatedly landed in Ms. Jester's yard, she refused to give it back. The folks in Blue Ash, of course, charged her with a crime. She's been cited into Blue Ash Mayor's Court--which means she was charged under a Blue Ash ordinance, which means this is about the same thing every other mayor's court case is about: filling the coffers of Blue Ash.

I have no idea why this case is being treated as criminal. The owner of the ball could file a civil lawsuit for conversion, but this is precisely the type of nonsense that has no business clouding our criminal dockets. The City of Blue Ash is represented in its criminal prosecutions by Dinsmore & Shohl. I'd be shocked if those fine attorneys lack the good sense to immediately dismiss the charge.

Happily, Ms. Jester's case has now made national news. I just saw it on TV in the midst of my Florida sojourn.

Way to be ambassadors for southwest Ohio, Blue Ash!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is Joe Going to Charge Them?

Greg Korte reported this yesterday:
"Four people are registered to vote from 310 Ezzard Charles Drive - the Cincinnati Police Department's District 1 headquarters. All are Cincinnati police officers, according to city payroll records, and some have been voting at the West End precinct since the early 1990s.

It's not uncommon. The Enquirer found similar examples in other police districts and with sheriff's deputies in Hamilton and Butler counties. Election officials said they would look into the police officers' registrations.

'There's some sort of urban legend or myth that police officers or certain persons don't have to put their home address on their voter registration form. Everybody is supposed to be registered where they live, not where they work,' said Sally Krisel, the director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. She's a Democrat."
So, if Greg can identify these police officers and Sheriff Department Employees that would allegedly have knowingly submitted a false voter registration, then when will Joe Deters indite them for voter registration fraud? If they have voted from their work, isn't that voter fraud?

As Donald point out below, I will agree that Deters did do the right thing when he recused himself from this investigation, but would it not have been both proper procedure (or legal requirement) as well as the ethical thing for Deters to have referred the "pretty credible" allegations of voter fraud made to the BOE, who then could have evaluated the situation and then requested that he investigate? I believe Deters had no other choice than recuse himself. He did act unethically and I believe there are grounds to investigate his actions as an abuse of power. If Deters wants to use the evidence he finds as a challenge to Ohio law, then he clear has over stepped his bounds. If he wants to change the law, he can write his state legislator. Otherwise he needs to get out of the way of BOE.

From a purely legal perspective, isn't it also common for Prosecutors to wait until after an Indictment before they make a public statement of the "facts" which are unproven and unsubstantiated? In today's article Deters appears to have found wrong doing has happened even before the grand jury has spoken. I guess we can skip right to sentencing and leave the judge out of it.

I think Deters was caught with his hand in the cookie jar and he had no other choice but to step back. His actions appear to me to be intended to both intimidate voters as well as creating evidence for the GOP to use if they want to challenge all of those votes in line with a broader challenge of Ohio law allowing registering and voting at the same period.

What I don't understand, is that back when Deters was Prosecutor before going to into state government, Ohio law didn't require any ID when registering or voting. How many times did he office investigate alleged voter fraud then? It was "easier" to do it then, but there didn't seem to be a big problem of it.

Cooler Heads Prevail In "Voter Fraud" Investigation

My blogging will be light this week, as I'm in Florida, enjoying my first vacation in about 30 months. I've been following the story of grand jury subpoenas about which Griff blogged below, and it's good to see a sense of order restored to the process today.

The Enquirer reports that HamCo Prosecutor Joe Deters has recused his office from the investigation. HamCo Common Pleas Judge Norbert A. Nadel, in his role as "presiding judge," has appointed Mike O'Neill, a young Cincinnati attorney, as the special prosecutor for the case. I applaud Judge Nadel (a Republican-endorsed judge running unopposed to retain his seat this year) on his choice.

I also applaud Mr. Deters for his decision to step back from the investigation. Strictly speaking, Mr. Deters would not operate under a conflict of interest in pursuing voter registration or voter fraud prosecutions. As he pointed out to the Enquirer, he has no way of knowing how any particular voter voted. (And there's no evidence that he cherry-picked voters from precincts that leaned one way or the other in past elections.) But he was correct to recognize the appearance of impropriety and let someone else handle this important issue. (Remember: appearance of impropriety is not the standard under which lawyers operate; that's reserved for judges. Lawyers only have to "conflict themselves out" if there's an actual conflict, not merely the appearance of one.) It's important for the county and the nation that the election be handled transparently and administered without partisan politics coming into play.

As for Mr. O'Neill: he was a year ahead of me at UC Law. He's an intelligent, thoughtful guy. When he was a prosecutor (under Mike Allen), he was well-respected by both those in his own office and the defense bar. Mr. O'Neill is the kind of lawyer who knows when he has a case and when he doesn't. He has an even, calm temperment that makes him well-suited to navigate this emotionally-charged issue. And I like his early comments to the Enquirer (at least as reported by that paper), that seem to signal that he's more concerned with getting the right result rather than a fast one.

So my advice: everyone should take a deep breath, sit back, and let this process work. This isn't about voter suppression--the steps former SoS Ken Blackwell took in 2004 were far more likely to keep voters away from the polls than is the investigation of a few individuals with anomalous registration records.

And keep repeating to yourself: only 2 more weeks.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Abuse of Power By Deters

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is using his office in an attempt to intimidate voters for Obama. Deters only took 40% of those who voted and registered early. What was that 40% based on? Did he have access to those registrations? Did he have party ID or address to select certain votes? Who is Deters serving? If he had credible and SPECIFIC allegations of fraud, he would not need to go after this volume. This is a violation of privacy that there is no evidence will produce any violation of the law.

Based on the article it appears he has acted not at the request of the BOE, who was required by the Secretary of State to report voter fraud to the Prosecutor, but instead from someone outside, with no conceivable knowledge of voter fraud from this number of instances.

Deters must step forward and reveal the source of the allegation of any fraud. Going on a fishing expedition on behalf of the Republican Party or even more egregious the McCain Campaign directly is an abuse of power and grounds for an investigation of Deters himself. The Attorney General needs to step forward and investigate Deters.

UPDATE: Here is more from 700-WLW and yes, it is just a press release with no research or detail added. The only redeeming quality about the story is the fact they put the following in quotes:
He says his office has received "numerous credible complaints" of irregularities.
Where did Deters get these complaints? Who are they from? If these reports are not from the BOE, then how are they credible? What independent evidence could there be other than the politically motivated false charges being leveled against ARCORN, which are bogus. TPM has the full background on the entire trumped up Republican political ploy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Local Racist Out in the Open

Via Comments we get this:

Channel 12 is reporting his name as Mike Lunsford.

There are no words that can express my level of disgust at this "man". I wonder if he went to the Palin rally and was welcomed?

Yes, Cincinnati, there is open racism in the suburbs. Yes, there is open racism in the city too, just nothing we've seen this bad. What I fear we will get from many from the right wing is not defense of what he says, but his right to say it. All of that without forcefully condemning the pure hate Lunsford has.

Republican Ignorance Is Extreme

There is not only extreme ignorance that is WIDESPREAD amongst those attending this Republican rally, there is out right racism. If you don't know what I mean by the racism, watch for the guy holding the Monkey with the Obama sticker across its head.

I'd like to hear from anyone who went to or was around the Palin rally in West Chester yesterday. Are Ohio Republicans as bad as this batch from PA?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Extremism of the McCain-Palin Ticket

Typically, any pro-choice Democrat will be labelled an "extremist" by his or her Republican opponent. Sometimes, the Dem has earned that label, having been forced to run far to the left during the primaries. This year, though, it's the GOP that has turned into the extremist party, right in the midst of the general election campaign.

Abortion is a tough, tough issue. Nobody's mind ever gets changed by debates on the topic. It's emotional for both sides. Those who favor criminalization of abortion believe that abortion is nothing short of murder. The other side believes that whether to terminate a pregnancy should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor, and that government intervention in this area is a usurpation of individual autonomy of the most odious kind.

There seem to be some areas where lots of people have reached some agreement. Most pro-choice people believe that late-term abortions should be unlawful, so long as there's an exception where the mother's health is in jeopardy should she be forced to continue the pregnancy. And most pro-life people are okay with that exception.

But not John McCain. During an election year when the GOP--for a while, at least--has gone out of its way to attract women voters, McCain put scare-quotes around the word "health" as it referred to women. I gasped audibly when I saw this part of the debate:

Most people--even the most ardent of pro-life advocates--agree that a woman who is raped should be permitted to terminate her pregnancy. But not Sarah Palin. Last night, this commercial aired in some markets; it is, perhaps, the most powerful pro-choice ad I've seen.

John McCain was certainly right about one thing: elections have consequences. Are you ready for the consequences of a McCain-Palin administration?

The National & The Breeders Rock for Obama

Get down to the Square tonight (5 PM to 9 PM) and support Obama for President! Reports are that one of the special guests is Natalie Portman. I believe liberal men should be allowed to be men and be there in person to view and listen to the lovely actress.

While there, be sure to have a beer to support the Square!

Panic and Fear From WLW

It isn't a shock, but I feel it important to be point out what Willie Cunningham is saying on the radio about what would happen if Obama loses. This type of racial stereotyping is not new for Cunnigham, but this is a new low. Spreading panic and fear is just how Cunningham and others of his ilk make a living, and it pushes the divide on race in America further apart.

Cummingham fans will say he is just joking. The problem is that too many of his fans don't know he often says stuff to get a rise out of people. In the past, this type of comment is something he would never back down from when interviewed. It would be a miracle if WLW lowered the level of bigotry it allows on it the air, but they would have to replace half of their on air programming.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

John McCain's Credibility...Is Not Real

Steve Chabot's eyebrows were not, I repeat, were not dyed black and used in the making of this commercial.

More on Bring Ohio Back.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dayton Paper Endorses Obama

Senator Barack Obama received the support of Dayton Daily News.

Some in comments have been speculating that the Enquirer picked an entire slate of Republicans for Congress with little detail in part because they are trying to balance out a pick they will make for Obama. I would be surprised by that, but there is certain level of logic to it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shocked, Shocked I Tell You!

I am totally shocked that the Cincinnati Enquirer would endorse an entire slate of Republicans for Congress.

Yes, if you really think I am shocked, then you are an ignorant fool.

The Enquirer Editorial Board is totally out of touch with the fact the all of these representatives have done VIRTUALLY NOTHING for this area. The only Republican to actually have done "something" (and that's not saying that much) for the area was Rob Portman and he is not running. I would have thought the Enquirer might have a real reason why they support an entire Republican slate, but they don't. When I mean real, I mean credible.

Instead we get the disingenuous:
To deal with these issues and the crises we do not yet see, the United States needs a Congress willing to work together without partisan rancor.
McConnell, Boehner, Chabot, and Schmidt are as partisan as they come.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Robin at Taft Theatre Tonight

Anyone going to see Robin Williams tonight?

Anyone need a date and want to take me? :-)

Feel free to post your post-show report here.

VIP Police Escort Up Vine?

About 5 "VIP" charter buses just got a police (Sheriffs) escort up Vine Street towards UC. Anyone have an idea who it was? Could it be the Rutgers football team? Why would they need the police escort?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Red-Faced Anger Used To Be Blue

The Republicans (at this moment) are losing this election. And they're angry about it.

We see evidence of Republican anger everywhere. We see it right here at the Cincinnati Blog, where every post that comes close to touching on the presidential campaign spurs a commenter (generally known as "the Indiana troll") to make dozens of comments, most of which were cut-and-pasted from right-wing websites. We see it at Republican rallies, where McCain supporters recently have begun calling out disgustingly unacceptable epithets. We see it in the ads that John McCain, an once honorable man who promised to run is resuming a "respectful" campaign, has chosen to run in these waning days of the campaign.

The Republicans' anger is understandable. Their candidate is, after all, a genuine war hero--a scarce commodity in American politics these days. He's been in the Senate for decades. He's widely considered to be a moderate, the kind of politician who should be broadly appealing. His opponent, on the other hand, is a first-term senator who never served in uniform but still dared to run for office while the nation is at war; moreover, at a time when Americans are more suspicious of outsiders than they have been since, perhaps, World War II, he has an exotic-sounding name and background. Had one described such a scenario four years ago, it would have been laughable that this could even been a close election: McCain should be leading by double digits.

The Republicans are angry because they aren't just losing this election; they're losing their grip on the American electorate. Today, FoxNews (yep, that's right, Fox) released a poll. Like every other poll, it puts Obama in the lead (46-39). But the "internals" are what must be particularly disheartening for Republicans. Of those polled, 52% said they trusted Obama more than McCain (32%) to handle health care; 50% trusted Obama more than McCain (35%) to handle the economy (the most important issue for 49% of those surveyed); 45% trusted Obama more than McCain (40%) on energy independence; 46% trusted Obama more than McCain (41%) on taxes; and 42% trusted Obama more than McCain (40%) on cutting government spending. With respect to the war on Iraq, only 47% trusted McCain more, while 42% trusted Obama more. 46% think the Democratic ticket has "better judgment" than the Republican ticket (39%). That the Democrats have the confidence of the voters on so many issues (especially taxes and cutting government)--and that the Republicans are believed to be better able to manage the Iraq war by such a slim margin of voters--would have been unthinkable a year ago.

As Democrats, we can feel the GOP's pain, so to speak. After all, we felt much the same way eight years ago. Then, our candidate was the sitting Vice President, part of an administration that presided over eight years of peace and prosperity. His opponent was a relatively inexperienced governor whose primary claim to the office seemed to be genealogical. The Democratic base was furious about the campaign our candidate ran, just as the Republicans are angry with what they see as a lackluster McCain campaign today. Back then, we got angry. We questioned the Republican candidate's intelligence, even though he had degrees from Ivy Leagues institutions. We attacked his family. We made inquiries into his past that had no bearing on whether he was now qualified to lead. And we still lost.

Eventually, the anger will retreat a bit, and we will all sit down together and work through the serious problems we face. In the meantime, though, Dems should be tolerant of their Republican friends' anger; we've been there and done that. And Republicans should remember that they're not the first to be on the losing end of an election that they didn't think they could lose, and it won't be long (for Congress, two or four years, and for the White House, four or eight) before they're back on top again, wondering why we're so angry. So let's try to weather the next three-and-a-half weeks with some dignity, and make sure we can all hoist a beer together on November 5, once this election is over.

UPDATE: Earlier today, John McCain remembered who he was and why is so admired by so many from both political parties: he called for his supporters to be respectful. According to this report, he took time during a campaign rally to defend Obama as "a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States." As you all know, I have no shortage of disagreements with McCain with respect to the direction in which this nation should go. But today's events prove that at root, McCain is a classy guy, and I'm glad he remembered that. That's why the second paragraph of this post has been edited.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Never Know Who You Pass

On my way home from work tonight at a little past 6PM, I was faithfully following the speed limit (plus a little) down I-71. Over in the northbound lanes I started to see a line of motorcycle cops cruising along with their lights flashing. After a half dozen or so CHiPS look-a-likes, I could see more flashing lights and a big bus up ahead. I felt heartened that I might be passing Obama after his speech in Hyde Park. I wanted to attend the event, but I had to work. It sounds like a huge crowd came and that getting there was a mess. I was surprised they used Ault park as the location. It makes for a great photo, but a horrible place to get tens of thousands of people in and out of.

As the bus got closer I saw to my chagrin the name "Palin" on the front. Disappointment came over me like a huge waive and it was only a fraction of a second later that I was back focusing on the driving. I felt sorry for the traffic jam that lasted on I-71 Northbound from around the Cross County to nearly all the way Downtown.

5th and Race Under 3CDC?

The city has taken another step(next to last paragraph) in turning over development of the empty parking lot at the corning of 5th and Race Streets Downtown.

The Enquirer reported on the plan last week.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Suit Seeks Free Speech for City Employees

Two Cincinnati police officers (including Keith Fangman, former president of the local FOP) have filed suit against the City of Cincinnati, alleging that the City's blanket prohibition on city employees campaigning for political candidates is overbroad and violative of the First Amendment (as incorporated against the states by the Fourteenth Amendment). According to the Enquirer, they seek an injunction forcing the City to permit them to donate money to and distribute literature for the presidential candidate of their choice (one favors Obama, the other McCain--apparently, there's no police officer who wishes to be identified with Nader). The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Michael Barrett. The plaintiffs are making it clear that they wish to take part in campaigns off-the-clock and (presumably) while dressed in civilian attire.

I've long thought that the City's prohibition was ripe for challenge, and I'm happy to see someone doing it. Should City employees be actively involved in the mayoral or Council elections? Probably not. But is there any coherent reason to exclude rank-and-file employees (not policy-makers) from participating in federal, state, and county races? Not that I can see. If the City is smart, it will quickly resolve this matter: the harder it fights, the higher the bill it will have to pay to the plaintiffs' attorneys once the case is concluded (because this is a civil rights case, a prevailing plaintiff is entitled to have his or her attorneys' fees paid by the defendant).

Full disclosure: I am a former associate (from 2004 - 2006) of the firm now known as Gerhardstein and Branch, which represents the plaintiffs. I no longer have any connection to the firm, nor have I sought to learn anything from anyone connected to that firm about this case.

Quick Hits

Some tidbits from around the local blogosphere I found interesting:

1. After lawsuits that went all the way to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court, "same-day voting" doesn't seem to have been very popular. Ben Fischer reports that for Ohio's four largest counties plus Toledo, the total number of people who cast ballots on the same day the registered is a little more than 4,000. I suspect this is because anyone who was truly interested in this election registered during the hotly contested Ohio primary (this includes Republicans participating in Operation Chaos).

2. Jeff Berding has filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission, alleging that Better Ballot Cincinnati is making misleading statements about proportional representation. The Commission needs to update its website, which appears to have been dormant for the last two years, but Berding's complaint seems to be primarily based on Issue 8's supporters' contention that PR is how Obama was nominated by the Democratic Party. I've long wondered about that statement myself, and assume that the campaign is referring the large number of states that use caucuses to choose their candidate. This must be what they mean, as I'm quite sure I wasn't given the option to rank candidates when I voted in the Ohio primary. Nonetheless, I think Berding's complaint doesn't have legs, and trying to suppress speech doesn't really help his argument that PR isn't the most democratic way to do things.

3. Justin Jeffre continues in his quixotic quest to garner a few dozen votes for Ralph Nader. Although I've lost most of the respect I once had for Nader (I really liked Nader, but thought he was much more effective as an attorney and public interest advocate than he is with his perennial vanity campaigns), I appreciate and admire Jeffre's dogged idealism.

Mmm, Soul Food

I'm not sure what took me so long, but I finally got around to trying Flo's Plate Full of Soul today (Get in Mah Belly reviewed the eatery over a month ago). It's a takeout-only place on Court Street, just west of Main, open during the week for breakfast and lunch.

I had the chicken chili, cornbread, and peach cobbler (I know, it's a lot for lunch). The chili, though not what I expecting (it's probably more fairly called a "gumbo" than "chili") was really, really good. Very flavorful. The cornbread was OK, and the peach cobbler was to die for.

I hear excellent things about the mac and cheese, so I'll be stopping in soon to pick some up. The location obviously caters to the courthouse crowd. I'm hoping if they continue to do well, they'll be able to expand (the old Chambers restaurant needs a tenant!).

And by the way: all the food I just mentioned was for less than ten bucks (and included a can of Pepsi). So that's one more affordable place to eat downtown.

Maybe next time I'll take a picture of the cobbler. But probably not--that's Julie's job!

Poll: Driehaus Leads Chabot

In a poll from Research 2000 has Steve Driehaus leading Steve Chabot 46% to 44%. There is a 5% margin of error, so this is clearly an even race, but one that has been safe in the past for the Republicans. Obama is doing well in the 1st District and his coat tails along with a Conservative Democrat that can push the right button on the abortion issue for the Westside voter stands an even chance of winning this race right now.

Grammer's to Reopen, But Rathskeller Lost

WLWT reports the great news that the fine folks at first reported: Grammer's will reopen after the fire, but the Rathskeller was lost. There is no report on their website when they will reopen, but when it does, be sure to show some support with your patronage.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Time to Rethink Trees

Everyone always seems so concerned about having enough "green space" in the city. I've decided that we have too much. Or, at least, too much vertical green space.

I know, trees are supposed to be good things. But with trees come bad, bad things: birds. Birds, in and of themselves, aren't necessarily bad. But the stuff that comes out of their bird-butts certainly is.

I was going to post a picture of my car, after I made the mistake of parking it under a tree (downtown, mind you!) overnight. I decided it might nauseate our readers. The sidewalk outside of my office (across from Piatt Park) has to be hosed down every day because of the foul mess left by our fowl friends.

So maybe, we should replace the trees in the city with something else. We still want shade and the appearance of greenery. How about planting some large versions of these trees?

I'm off to find a car wash.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wynton: Wow, wow, wow

If you were able to see me tonight between 7:00 and 9:00, you probably observed me with the biggest smile that's crossed my face in a long, long time.

A couple months ago, I saw posters for tonight's concert at the Aronoff Center by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.  I quickly bought tickets, put them in a safe place when they arrived by mail, and promptly forgot about them.  Then, sometime around Tuesday or Wednesday this week, I remembered the concert.

I spent the rest of the week tingling with excitement.

I grew up a band geek--in particular, a trumpet player.  I idolized Wynton Marsalis.  I've listened to Wynton's recordings so often, I can actually tell, within a few seconds of the beginning of a song, when it's him on the trumpet.  During high school, during those interminable, boring classes when other guys would tune out the teacher and daydream about the opposite sex, I would . . . well, okay, I would daydream about the opposite sex, too.  But while I was doing it, I would try to perfect the technique of circular breathing, which Wynton had mastered and then discussed during an interview I read.  I never quite got it.

I've only been privileged to see Wynton play live once before (at a free concert at Battery Park on Independence Day, 2002).  Getting to see him tonight was phenomenal.  I don't think there is a bad seat at the Aronoff, but mine was particularly good:  center orchestra, row N.  Wynton and the Orchestra played a variety of songs, reachinig back for tunes by Ellington and Coltrane and forward to songs Wynton composed himself.  I'm sure the Enquirer or CityBeat or both will print a review.  I'm not a critic and won't pretend to be; I'm just a fan, and I wasn't disappointed.  But the concert will be something to tell my putative kids about.  Wynton Marsalis is, perhaps, the single most signficant living American musician.

There were an awful lot of "who's who" types at the Aronoff.  Lots of local politicians and judges.  The one who caught my eye--the one that will always catch my eye when I'm fortunate enough to be in the same room--was retired Sixth Circuit Judge Nathaniel R. Jones.  As much as Wynton was a hero to me in my childhood, Judge Jones is one now that I'm an adult.  I was saddened when he left the bench at the same time I graduated law school.  It's been my honor to actually meet him and shake his hand a couple times at various lawyer-filled gatherings (though not tonight).  I'm not sure that enough people realize that we have a hero of the Civil Rights movement living in our midst.

What a great night.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Election Deadlines

With the election nearing, a review of important deadlines seems in order:

Deadline to register: Monday, October 6, 2008.
Deadline to change registration address: Monday, October 6, 2008.

Absentee ballot request deadline: If by mail, must be recieved by BOE by noon on November 1, 2008. If in person, must by the end of BOE hours on November 3, 2008.

Deadline to return an absentee ballot: Must be postmarked by November 3, 2008 (and received by BOE by November 14, 2008), or delivered to BOE in person by close of the polls on November 4, 2008.

I've posted these dates because (unbelievably), I just got off the phone with someone from a local campaign who thought that the registration and absentee deadlines were the same. They are not. Monday, October 6, 2008, is your last day to register. But you can vote early in-person at the board of elections any time prior to Election Day, as long as you're a registered voter.

Things that can force you to vote with a provisional ballot: If your address has changed and you fail to report it by October 6, you will have to go to the Board of Elections on Election Day and cast a provisional ballot. Also, if you request an absentee ballot and then change your mind and show up at your polling place on Election Day, you will be required to cast an absentee ballot. Remember, provisional ballots are eventually counted, but not on Election Day.

Also, the HamCo Board of Elections has announced extended hours. On Monday, October 6, it will be open from 8 am until 8 pm. From Monday, October 13 through Friday, October 31, the BOE will be from 8 until 8 (though there's a rumor you'll have to come dressed as either Tim Burke or Alex Triantafilou if you come on the 31st). On Monday, November 3, however, it will close at 4.

The HamCo BOE's phone number is 632-7000. It's website is here.

Whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, or something else, please make sure you protect your right to vote.

McCain Absentee Ballot Apps Must Be Accepted

Earlier this week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Secretary of State Brunner must direct Ohio's county boards of elections that the McCain-Palin distributed absentee ballot request forms, which included a checkbox next to an affirmation that the applicant is a qualified elector, must be accepted regardless of whether the box is checked.

Brunner had been taking the position that those who failed to check the box were indicating that they weren't qualified electors, and therefore not entitled to receive an absentee ballot. The Supreme Court rejected that argument (rightly, in my opinion), holding:

[Ohio election law] does not expressly require that the statement be located a certain distance from the applicant’s signature. Because the statute also does not strictly require that the box next to the qualified-elector statement bemarked, we cannot require it. . . . Moreover, we “must avoid unduly technical interpretations that impede the public policy favoring free, competitive elections.” No vital public purpose or public interest is served by rejecting electors’ applications for absentee ballots because of an unmarked check box next to a qualified-elector statement. There is also no evidence of fraud. As relators persuasively assert, the “only reason to complete the form was to obtain an absentee ballot for the November 4, 2008 election,” and signing it necessarily indicated that the applicant represented, “I am a qualified elector and would like to receive an Absentee Ballot for the November 4, 2008 General Election,” regardless of whether the box next to the statement was marked.

(Slip op., paras. 21-23) (citations omitted). So I'll say it: the Republicans were right, and Jennifer Brunner was wrong.

I'll admit: it was fun watching Brunner stick it to the Ohio GOP. After all, the McCain campaign had created an unnecessarily encumbersome form, so it was the GOP's own fault that not everyone filled it out as intended. Moreover, it's been the GOP that has, over the past eight years, strived to create additional barriers to access to the ballot box. And Brunner's position wasn't going to deny anyone the right to vote: all voters had to do was submit a new absentee ballot request. If they didn't, they'd still be able to vote on Election Day. (These weren't, after all, registration forms.)

But the principles enunciated by the Ohio Supreme Court were exactly right, and I'm glad they reached the decision they did. Our public policy should be geared towards making it easier to vote, not harder. And the GOP (some of whose members believe the Seventeenth Amendment should be repealed) should bear this in mind when open access doesn't necessarily favor their candidates.

Friday, October 03, 2008

D'Oh: "Maybe in Ohio, but not in America"

I thought this was funny.

Two-Wheeled Menaces

I know from my survey of the Internets that many local bloggers think Cincinnati needs to become a more bicycle-friendly city.  That's probably true (perhaps we could start by flattening the landscape--who really wants to bike from downtown up to Clifton, Mt. Adams, or Price Hill?).

But a few words of wisdom for bicyclists:  just because you're not in a car doesn't mean you can ignore all traffic laws.  You know those traffic lights in the middle of intersections?  When they're red, you're supposed to stop.  I nearly had to scrape one of you off my bumper earlier this evening when you didn't stop for the light, and I (naively) thought I could proceed through the intersection with my pretty, green light.

And you know those hand signals we learned when we were kids?  The ones for left and right turns?  Try using them.  Those of us in our four-wheeled vehicles might have a clue as to what the hell you're doing.

I Like Pizza! I Like It!

Remember Multiplicity?  That pretty awful Michael Keaton movie where Keaton's character clones himself?  And then one of the clones clones himself?  Explaining the erratic behavior of the clone of the clone, one of the clones says,

"You know how when you make a copy of a copy, it's not as shap as, well, the original."

I'm pretty sure that explains the Republican nominee for Vice President.  You see, George W. Bush has always fancied himself a copy of Ronald Reagan (he's not, but that's a whole separate discussion).  And Sarah Palin is a clone of George 43.  She's trying to emulate the populist aura he exuded during the 2000 election.  She's trying to support his concept of a nearly unrestrained executive (that's why she appeared to agree with Cheney when Ifill asked her whether Palin felt, as does Cheney, that the VP is "outside the executive branch").  And, of course, she decided that Dubya really has been correctly pronouncing the word "nuclear" all these years.

But Bush isn't as sharp as Reagan, and Palin isn't as sharp as Bush.

I always knew that when the torch is passed to my generation (I was born in 1974), we'd have politicians winking into the camera, as if it's a person with whom the candidate is having a conversation.  After all, we grew up watching things like Ferris Beuller's Day Off and Saved by the Bell, where TV characters threw off convention and regularly made asides to the camera.  But Palin's about ten years too old to have been influenced by that, and winking into the camera just looked weird.

That having been said:  I think Palin did pretty well.  She wasn't as substantive as Biden was, but Biden came off a little whonk-ish at times.  I'm not sure she made any real connection with the voters, but the debate didn't really focus on social issues, which I think is where she'd have liked to stoke the fires of the conservative base.  Biden came awfully close to advocating for gay marriage (fine by me, but not a winning issue in this country yet), but cleaned it up.  Biden had two good moments, I thought:  first, when talking about Afghanistan and Iraq, and comparing the amount of money we've spent in each.  And second, when he choked up a little bit talking about being a single father.  That was unexpectedly unscripted--one of the few non-canned responses either candidate gave all night.

What were your thoughts on the debate?  Did it change your mind about anything?  And try not to feed the trolls....

Thursday, October 02, 2008

New CityBeat Website Design

I haven't had the chance to dive into CityBeat's newly redesigned website, so check it out and chime in with opinions.

Putin Rears His Head . . . . .

Hmmmm, I couldn't think of Supreme Court decisions either in my Constitutional Law final years ago, but then I was never Mayor of Wasilla or Governor of Alaska and never thought I was qualified to be a 72 year old's heartbeat away from being President and was certainly never quoted three months ago in the press saying the following about the SUPREME COURT DECISION in EXXON V. BAKER that directly affected --- what state? --- wait for it --- drumroll --- ALASKA:

Gov. Sarah Palin [said,] “I am extremely disappointed with today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Palin said. “While the decision brings some degree of closure to Alaskans suffering from 19 years of litigation and delay, the court gutted the jury’s decision on punitive damages.” Palin added, “It is tragic that so many Alaska fishermen and their families have had their lives put on hold waiting for this decision. My heart goes out to those affected, especially the families of the thousands of Alaskans who passed away while waiting for justice.”

"As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state."

I love America, even though Rush tells me that we are about to be taken over by the radical Marxists (are there still radical Marxists anywhere?)!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wake Me Up When It's Over

Matt Damon called me today to remind me to vote for Barack Obama. I don't think it was him, really, just a tape recording. At least, he wouldn't stop to answer questions.

I love politics. And I'm sick of this election.

Has anyone ever cast a vote because Matt Damon persuaded them to do so?

I paid for an Obama/Biden car magnet over the internet (at the campaign website) just before the DNC convention. I still don't have it. I'm tempted to buy a McCain/Palin magnet, and put the one that comes first on my car.

And how about a VP debate drinking game for tomorrow night?
  • A chug every time Palin mentions "hockey mom".
  • A chug every time Biden mentions the nuns at Catholic school growing up.
  • A chug every time Palin says "nucular". If "nucular" is followed by an attempt at "proliferation," finish your drink.
  • A chug every time Biden says "Scranton".
  • A chug every time Palin mentions the Bridge to Nowhere or the airplane that was(n't) sold on eBay.
  • Finish your drink whenever Biden tells you that he takes the train home every day.
  • A chug every time Palin says "gotcha journalism," "maverick," or "reformer." Finish your drink anytime she mentions her son in Iraq.
  • A shot (preferably of Stolichnaya) anytime Russia's proximity to Alaska is mentioned.
Any additions?