Friday, June 30, 2006

Susette Kelo Loses Property, Saves House

From a press release from the Institute for Justice's Castle Coalition:

Susette Kelo's little pink cottage -- the home that was the subject of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case and a national symbol of the fight against eminent domain abuse -- will be spared from the wrecking ball. In a compromise put forward by Kelo and accepted today by the City of New London, the home will be saved and moved to another location, perhaps close to where it originally stood over a century ago, on Pequot Avenue in New London. The U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London gutted federal constitutional protections against eminent domain abuse but, in so doing, sparked a national rebellion against these practices.

"It is wonderful that Susette Kelo's little pink house, which is a national symbol of the fight against eminent domain abuse, will remain standing," said Scott Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, which continues to represent the remaining two homeowners. "The home will continue to serve as a tribute to her brave struggle and as a powerful symbol of the fight to stop land-grabs by cities and their developer allies."

"I am not happy about giving up my property, but I am very glad that my home, which means so much to me, will not be demolished and I will remain living in it," said Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff in Kelo v. New London. "I proposed this as a compromise years ago and was turned down flat."

Faced with eviction and the destruction of her beloved home, Kelo put forward an idea that she had originally proposed when first threatened with eminent domain abuse: preserving the home and moving it. When she first proposed this idea, it was rejected by the New London Development Corporation (NLDC). Now, the City, NLDC and the State of Connecticut have agreed to the move. While the precise location has not yet been determined, the house may be moved on or near Pequot Avenue, which is where the home originally stood before it was moved to Fort Trumbull over 100 years ago. There, the home, like Kelo's property in Fort Trumbull, will be very close to the Long Island Sound.

A small win for "the people," but anyway that you slice it, it just ain't right.

Mr. DeWine, Do the Right Thing

An upcoming vote in the senate will give us a chance to see if Sen. DeWine has the intestinal fortitude to ignore the high-paid left and strike a blow against high fuel prices.

From the AP via The Columbus Dispatch:

Congress has taken a major step toward allowing oil and gas drilling in coastal waters that have been off limits for a quarter-century.

Still, a battle looms in the Senate over the issue. And the Bush administration's support for the legislation, which was approved Thursday by a 232-187 vote in the House, is lukewarm.

The House bill would end an Outer Continental Shelf drilling moratorium that Congress has renewed every year since 1981. It covers 85 percent of the country's coastal waters - everywhere except the central and western Gulf of Mexico and some areas off Alaska.

In the Senate, the measure is likely to face a filibuster from Florida senators and possibly others from coastal states that fear offshore energy development could threaten multibillion-dollar tourist and recreation businesses if there were a spill.

The Senate is considering a limited measure that would open an area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, known as Lease Area 181, that comes within 100 miles of Florida. It is not under the moratorium. Even that is unlikely to pass unless its sponsors get 60 votes to overcome a filibuster from the Floridians.

Congress needs to open up the entire coast of America, but this is a good first step towards energy independence.

Care to bet the entire kitty on the chances of Mike DeWine doing the right thing?

NOTE: Check out Matt Hurley's earlier post here.

Chuck Blasdel Has a New Website

Check it out.

The Trouble With Democrats

First we have Democrat Howard Dean saying something smart for the first time in his pitiful life and now the Dayton Daily News' Martin Gottlieb?

This column is about how awful Democrats are. But it's not about how they are failing to position themselves to win this year, when they seem to have an opportunity. There are bigger questions to be looked at.

Question 1: What's the party for?

Once, Democrats were the party of "working people." That's gone. President George W. Bush beat John Kerry and Al Gore soundly among whites in the $30,000 to $70,000 annual income range. One study concluded that the presidential candidates of the two parties got about equal support in the lower half of that range, and that the Democrats had more support only well below the $30,000 figure.

Meanwhile, the party is becoming more attractive to other kinds of voters. Whereas college graduates used to vote overwhelmingly Republican, in 2004 Bush only beat Kerry by 3 points in that category, near as the pollsters can tell.

Fine. But the Democratic college grads are largely the voice of the party. Broadly speaking, they are the ones who are angry about the war, against the Bush tax cuts, focused on civil-liberties issues and big into the environment. They care a lot about abortion, favor gun control and are at war with the religious right. They typically are not very religious. And they just don't like Bush's style, or Dick Cheney's.

Little in that list connects with the people who are struggling economically. And a lot falls flat with working people whose instincts on social issues are conservative.

While the Democrats keep their egos inflated with memories of the past, the Republican Party is (too slowly!) becoming the populist party of the regular guy -- and I mean defending him, not big government.

Question 2: How does the party do what it does?

George Will wrote a column this year about former senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards, who makes poverty his big issue. Will said that Edwards didn't recognize the name James Q. Wilson. He implied that this makes it difficult to take seriously the notion that Edwards studies poverty.

That happens to be true. Those who do read widely on poverty issues can tell you that Professor Wilson's name keeps coming up.

This is more than an anecdote about one guy. It's about the party. After all, Edwards ran in a string of hot presidential primaries. Yet nobody ever noted this. It took a Republican.

Watch Democrats in the U.S. Senate confront Republicans in, say, a confirmation hearing. They take an honest difference of opinion about a small issue and twist it into some grand measure of commitment to equal rights. They fail to sway anyone who isn't on their side. They embarrass some who are.

YES!!!!!

I am so used to those on the left saying dumb and just plain wrong things, I am almost speechless.

I need a drink...

Boehner on Terrorists Rights

Via email:
"I know what motivates the president," said Boehner, Republican of West Chester. "And that is to protect the American people from attacks here at home and abroad."
Catch what Nancy Pelosi had to say here.

Good News for Blackwell

From the Akron Beacon Journal:

In his quest to woo black Democrats to his gubernatorial campaign, Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has netted a big fish.

Blackwell's campaign announced Thursday that it has named the Rev. Floyd H. Flake, president of Wilberforce University and a former U.S. congressman from New York, as a campaign co-chairman.

Flake is also senior pastor of the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York in Queens -- a 20,000-member church that operates one of the largest private economic development corporations in the country.

Flake represented Queens, New York, as a Democrat in Congress from 1987 to 1997, where he was a leading advocate of urban revitalization and economic empowerment policies.

"I am honored and humbled by Rev. Flake's support of my gubernatorial campaign," Blackwell said in a statement released by his campaign on Thursday.

"Rev. Flake is an educator, a statesman and a national leader. He is providing our nation's oldest historically black college with principled, prudent and inspirational leadership. Rev. Flake will bring those same outstanding leadership qualities to my campaign."

In the same statement, Flake called Blackwell "the leader Ohio needs right now."

"He understands the challenges faced by institutions of higher education, he understands the importance of home ownership and he understands the power of economic opportunity," he said.

The Rev. Flake is an honorable man and this is a very helpful pick up for the Blackwell campaign.

Noe case and intellectual honesty

I see Maggie commented below my previous post, and I thank her for responding by email as well.

Steven, you probably won't find someone more opposed to the labyrinthine campaign finance and disclosure system than me. Like you, I believe the system is gamed to provide little traps which can be sprung for the opposition's political benefit whenever they feel the need. Here in Ohio, legislators have written exclusions to their own disclosure requirements so they, in many cases, do not face the same rules as members of the executive or local officials. It really is messed up.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of important points about the Noe funneling case, which I've followed pretty closely. First, Noe set out to break the law, intentionally. He knew the donation limits, and plotted a way to get around them. This was not a case of "accidentally" failing to file some forms. This was an effort to expand influence by being a "money-man" those close to President Bush and other politicians could count on.

Second, the "conduits" involved also knew the campaign donation limitations. They knew they were channeling money from Noe into the Bush campaign (and perhaps others). They were willing collaborators with Noe. Without them, Noe couldn't have pulled off his plan.

Prosecutors have a hard time proving some of these cases because you can always say something like "Noe only loaned me the money" or this was a "payment for services." You then get into tax issues and the like - potentially a long legal trail to walk. Prosecutors, seeking resolution to this part of the case - and really aiming at the "big fish," Noe - looked for lesser violations they could get the accused conduits to plea to. The meals and financial disclosures do indeed seem like small potatoes, but it was the threat of more serious criminal prosecutions which brought about cooperation from the conduits as the investigators built their case against Noe.

Maggie and the other accused "conduits," if they wished to maintain integrity, needed to refuse the plea deals and fight the accusations. Plea bargaining down to a minor violation may not mean they are "guilty" of the larger crime in the technical sense, but they are "convicted" of being Noe's assistants in crime in the court of public opinion, upon which politics is based. That's the choice Maggie and the others made when they pleaded no contest. I think the only intellectually honest result of that choice (as Matt thoughtfully argues) is the immediate resignation of those presently holding public office.

Jaob's Blog Interviews Libertarian Candidate for Governor

Get the complete interview with Bill Peirce here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boehner on Resolution Supporting Intelligence and Law Enforcement Efforts to Track Terrorists and Terrorist Finances

Via email:
"The news media's disclosure of the SWIFT program has undermined the safety and security of the American people and our ability to prevent another attack on our nation. Simply put, we may have lost an opportunity to catch terrorists bent on harming Americans. It's particularly ironic that this story was made public on the very day that we learn about terrorists on U.S. soil who were seeking al Qaeda funding. The four chairmen who crafted this resolution - Chairmen Oxley, Hoekstra, Sensenbrenner, and King - all deserve great credit for their strong support of our efforts to win the Global War on Terror and ensure the safety of the American people."

Boehner on House Passage of Common Sense Energy Bill to Help Lower Gasoline Prices

Via email:
"House Republicans are taking another important step towards energy independence today and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy. This bill is a 'win-win' for the American people. It will deliver American-made energy supplies to ultimately help lower gasoline prices for working families and create thousands of family-wage jobs.

"The chronic negligence of Democrat leaders who continue to oppose common sense energy solutions demonstrates they are out of touch with the American people. Chairman Pombo and Reps. Putnam, Peterson, and Jindal all deserve great credit for their work in crafting a responsible, bipartisan bill that helps secure America's energy future."
UPDATE: New website...

2nd Hand Smoke



Site Editor's Update: This cartoon comes from the Columbus Dispatch editorial page.

Re: AFP

They seem to be on the up and up. I had never heard of them either. Their main website is here, but the focus on Ohio can be found here.

UPDATE: And, yes, they have a blog.

Intellectual Honesty

Intellectual honesty compels me to agree with commenter save_the_rustbelt from this thread on the latest developments in the Noe scandal. I was furious, and still am, that Bob Taft didn't do the right thing and resign after his debacle. This sort of thing is what is wrong with the ORP and I've had my fill of it. I'm also one of those people who thinks that local government is important and that competence matters at all levels of government. A competent official would have known that Noe's scheme was illegal, or at least unethical, and wouldn't have participated in it. Sometimes good people do bad things; when they do, I think they should be held accountable. Some might say that the fine is enough...I'm not so sure. I expect more from our leaders.

Was Maggie given bad information? Was she led astray? I don't know, and I suspect we won't know until she can talk about it. But I do think she should step down from her position as soon as possible.

Americans for Prosperity

From The Columbus Dispatch:

A group that has battled tax increases and brought attention to government "pork" from Texas to New Jersey is setting up shop in Ohio.

Americans for Prosperity, which claims 8,000 Ohioans among its 200,000 members nationally, launched its Ohio chapter today with a tour of three projects the group cites as examples of wasteful government spending.

No single event caused Americans for Prosperity to launch an Ohio chapter, said Michelle Korsmo, the national organization's executive vice president. Rather, Ohio's tax burden has been mounting and there are no other grassroots organizations with a statewide presence and focused mission of fighting taxes, she said.

Peter Pudner, the Americans for Prosperity Ohio chapter director, said the group does not engage in partisan politics but may rate politicians on their records on tax measures and government spending.

"The thing I like about Americans for Prosperity is they haven't been shy about exposing government pork from Republicans as well," Pudner said. "If they're running on a fiscally conservative platform and they're one of the worst offenders as far as government waste, we want to hold them accountable."

Never heard of them.

Guys?

George Soros' America

Newsweek has an interview with "the largest financier of the Democrat Party" but the title and slug are frankly more than I can stand:

America the Dangerous?
Activist and financier George Soros on the global energy crisis and why he thinks the United States has become an obstacle to a stable and just world.

America is standing in the way of a just world? America?

I could go on, but the string of words coming to mind are not fit for publication on a family blog and perhaps I should just move on...

Boehner on House Passage of Freedom to Display the American Flag Act

Via email:
"Every American should have the right to display the American flag on one's own residential property. As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, it is important that we remember the principle of freedom upon which our nation was founded. To restrict Americans from displaying the very symbol of that freedom is the antithesis of what the Founding Fathers had intended for this great nation. I commend Rep. Bartlett for his work on this important legislation and the values it represents for our great country."

The Amish Menace: Ohio's Raw Milk Cartel

JackLewis.net has the story here.

Some government agency has too much time on their hands...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ann Coulter Interview

It's a nice, long piece by George Gurley in The New York Observer.

My favorite passage:

What did she think of the 10,000-word profile of Sean Penn that ran in The New Yorker?

"Oh, I didn't read it."

But did she hear about the vulgar comment Mr. Penn made in the article about his Ann Coulter doll, and how he liked to burn its private parts with a cigarette?

"Oh, right."

That's gotta be as offensive as things you've said?

"I don't think I've said anything offensive. Well, I was not surprised to find out that Sean Penn plays with dolls. I did think they'd be larger and inflatable."

DAMN!!!!!

Call for Submissions

Reminder, the deadline is Friday, 6/30, 8.00 PM EDT. Publication will be on either Sunday or Monday.

Original carnival announcement post is here. The first edition achieved the coveted “Highlander” level of readership*, so don’t miss out!

Go to Blog Carnival to submit your posts. Pick “Economics and Social Policy” from the drop down list, and go from there.

Hosted on The Boring Made Dull.

* Apparently, there can be only one.

Blackwell: Ohio Needs Bold Initiatives to Attract Jobs

This just in from the Blackwell campaign:
On the heels of Honda Motor Company's selection of Indiana over Ohio for the automaker's $550 million assembly plant and its corresponding 2,000 new jobs, gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell today issued the following statement:

"Ohio has too many impediments to job creation and business expansion. Our taxes are too high, our government is too big and we are not taking advantage of available resources. We must move beyond the status quo and become competitive with neighboring states by cutting taxes and streamlining government, or we will continue to lose jobs and talented young people."

"Ohio's next governor has to embrace bold initiatives. I have proposed such initiatives and I offer the experience and leadership needed to take our state on a path of job creation and economic prosperity."

Blackwell has advocated the following job creating initiatives:

  • Create a $6 billion jobs creation and infrastructure improvement fund by leasing the Ohio Turnpike;


  • Implement a single rate tax system over a four year period, with a target rate of 3.25 percent;


  • Eliminate the stand alone estate tax and increase the definition of residency for tax purposes from the current 120 days to 180 days or more;


  • Repeal the sales tax increase of 2003, returning the state sales tax to 5 percent; and


  • Privatize the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
  • Four more plead in Noe case

    Four present and former public officials from northwest Ohio just pleaded no contest in the Tom Noe campaign donation laundering case.

    One of them was S.O.B. member Maggie Thurber, a Lucas County commissioner.

    I just sent her this email:

    I was wondering if you would be posting something on your no contest plea in the Noe campaign donation laundering case today. I and many others would very much like to learn your thoughts on this issue.

    I am not a constituent, only a concerned Ohioan and a conservative opinion writer. However, I have always taken the position that public officials should resign after convictions on ethics charges, crimes related to the office or any felony. I hope you recognize your mistake and seek to earn back the trust of the public by stepping down as commissioner.

    I also want to stress this opinion is mine alone, and is related only to your position as an official sworn to uphold Ohio law. You also happen to be a blogger, and I welcome and encourage your continued writing on issues close to your heart. I will gladly continue to include any posts you may submit for the Carnival of Ohio Politics.

    Paul A. Miller
    Newshound


    According to reports, about 20 local officials, party leaders and other politically active men and women in Northwest Ohio were involved in Noe's scheme to funnel something like $50,000 into the Bush campaign in '04. A handful of those "conduits" have not been named, and I have gotten some strong hints as to who those folks are. The allegations are serious enough that I don't plan to release those names until I've gotten something very solid - but I am in pursuit.

    It's a shame people felt either pressured by Noe or caught up in the "glamour" of being major contributors to the Bush campaign. Bush certainly didn't need funds so badly that illegal avenues were "the only way." What's more, several of the "conduits" are wealthy political patrons who simply shifted their own inevitable $2,000 donation to other races. These kinds of shenanigans give a black eye to the hardworking volunteers, campaign workers and donors who follow the law. They also tarnish the good name of the candidate who almost never even knows about the illegal scheming which has gone on.

    I don't particularly care for our campaign finance laws. Political speech should be close to inviolate, yet we are tying it down in red tape more and more each cycle. Nevertheless, the law of the land stands, and should be followed by all until it is corrected.

    Anti-Smoking Data Bogus

    I'm not the only one who speaks out against the Smoking Nazis and their lies.

    From The Plain Dealer:

    A spotlight is on Ohio in one of the latest controversies over scientific findings on secondhand smoke.

    Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, accuses the health group SmokeFree Ohio of touting bogus scientific data in its campaign for a statewide ban on public indoor smoking on the November ballot.

    An item that Siegel posted Thursday on his blog (tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com) takes issue with several claims about the dangers of secondhand smoke. SmokeFree Ohio, a campaign of the American Cancer Society, has stated on its Web site that 20 minutes of exposure elevates risk of heart attack and that 30 minutes of exposure can cause narrowing of blood vessels, contributing to hardening of the arteries.

    The statements "are so wildly misleading and inaccurate that they completely fly in the face of pure common sense," Siegel wrote.

    Siegel is a regular critic of the tobacco-control movement, which he says makes statements that are not scientifically valid. He stands out from most naysayers, because he is in the public-health business and favors smoking bans.

    Though I question some of Mr. Siegel's "evidence" as well, at least he has the honesty to bash those on his side who make wild clams.

    Is "Smoking Nazi" too harsh a term?

    Another recent target of Siegel's criticism is Action on Smoking and Health, a hard-line anti-smoking group that advised doctors to report parents who smoke around children to authorities for child abuse.

    I think not.

    Dear Peggy Lehner

    "No one disputes the evidence [the dangers of "second-hand" smoke...]"

    Nobody? I am quite sorry to bust your insulated bubble, but that is a patently false statement. I present you dissent here and here. In addition, I ask you to use a little common sense (if you have any that is, the evidence of it's existence is shakier than that of "global warming," or "second-hand smoke" for that matter...)

    We are to believe that casual contact with diluted cigarette smoke is dangerous, even though first hand smoke takes over 40 years or so to kill? Just how much smoke do you think that you are exposed to "second-hand?"

    I hate to slap you with a little scientific fact, but researchers have yet to discover the link between smoking and cancer. I do not deny the link, simple observation and anecdotal evidence suggests such a link, but let us be honest here. The debate is far from over.

    You do not like cigarette smoke, fine. There are a lot of things that I do not like either. I sure as hell don't go around and use the heavy hand of government to force others to conform to my values. The link to male homosexual sex and various diseases is not in doubt and has cost the government billions of dollars and still counting. Am I to believe that you are about to outlaw that practice? Perish the thought! Fattening foods? Shall we ban alcohol again? If I remember correctly, that policy didn't work to well the first time.

    If petty dictators like you spent more time tracking criminals and patching potholes rather than butting your nose where it does not belong, this would be a much better (and freer) country.

    Shamansky and Tiberi to Debate?

    From The Columbus Dispatch:

    Let the debate over debates begin in the 12th congressional district race where Democratic Robert Shamansky of Bexley is challenging Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township.

    Shamansky wants four debates with the incumbent before the Nov. 7 election. He hasn't proposed exact dates, venues or formats, but said the topics should be Iraq, health care, the economy and congressional corruption and ethics.

    Tiberi wasn't making any promises. Spokesman Bruce Cuthbertson said "there will be many opportunities for voters to hear the views of Pat and his opponent" through "candidate forums and other joint events" of the type Tiberi has participated in during past elections.

    I doubt that Shamansky has much of a chance against my former congressman, but I'd like debates (if we had real debates anymore.)

    Kettering Ohio Mulls Smoking Ban

    This posting is a cross post from Ohio Guy dot Com. It features a counterpoint section, below the fold, by Josh Kirkendall.

    This morning I found myself wishing for a smoking ban. I never thought I would utter those words. It is against my very nature to wish for legislation that restricts any of my (or your) freedoms. I wear a motorcycle helmet, but am opposed to helmet laws. I use a seatbelt, but am opposed to adult seat belt laws. You get the idea. So as I am filling up my coffee at the Stroop and South Dixie UDF I find myself wishing for a smoking ban. Why, because Candy and her assistant were smoking up a storm in the backroom. Then it hit me.

    I should leave. I should not shop there anymore. That is why my wife never gets gas at Charlies Marathon on the other corner of Stroop and Dixie. That is why we dont take our kids to dinner at smokey restaurants. That is the answer. Personal responsibility. Let the market do what it will. Applebees is smoke free. Not due to legislation or codified ordinance, but by consumer demand. McDonald's the same.

    This caused me to pause and reflect on the City of Kettering's current project.

    From the Dayton Daily News this week:

    Dozens show up to back bid for smoking limit in Kettering

    By Dayton Daily News

    KETTERING — More than 70 people attended a rally at Town and Country Shopping Center on Monday evening to support a proposed ordinance to limit smoking in public places in the city.

    Speakers shared stories of how smoking and secondhand smoke affect their lives personally and professionally.

    They included Mark Gebhart, an emergency room physician and medical director for the Kettering Fire Department; Andrea Trevino, whose daughter has a heart condition; Greg Wise, a physician and vice president of medical affairs at Kettering Medical Center, Shalini Forbis, a pediatrician; and Kyle Peebly, a youth advocate for smoke-free environments.

    According to Pat Hale, campaign coordinator for Smoke Free Kettering, the rally was to "get the conversation going" but the ultimate goal is to persuade the Kettering City Council to pass a 100 percent Smokefree Clean Indoor Air ordinance by fall.

    The group was awarded a $70,000 state grant and given 10 months to facilitate passage of the ordinance.

    City Council members Peggy Lehner and Bruce Duke attended the rally. Duke said Smoke Free Kettering had been working with the council for about a year.

    "In general, we are supportive of their efforts," he said, noting that two statewide issues to reduce smoking statewide are planned for the November ballot.

    "The council at this time believes decisions regarding smoking within a community are best made at a statewide level," he said.


    The City is being lobbied hard by an anti-smoking group that is armed with a $70,000 grant from the state's Tobacco Lawsuit windfall. In order to get the grant they needed "sponsorship or support" of two or more city councilmen. They received the support of 5. The grant was awarded earlier this year. The group seeks Council action to ban all smoking in all public places in the city. There is at least two council members who agree, Councilwoman and friend Peggy Lehner and Frank Spolrich. Mayor Patterson and Duke both prefer a more flexible law that mirrors the Centerville legislation. Both also wish to slow city action to see what happens on the state level.

    It does not appear that Kettering Council has the 4 votes needed to pass via ordinance to ban smoking city wide. There is sufficient support for a "Centerville type" law according to my councilman Bruce Duke of Kettering 4. This "Centerville type" of law would allow for exemptions for bowling alleys, bars, pubs and private clubs. Unlike the City of Centerville law, Kettering Councilman Duke would rather see a vote by the residents. I wholeheartedly agree. If this issue is really that important to the voters, let them decide. Unilateral action by the council is the wrong thing to do.

    I welcomed Peggy Lehner to comment and expand on her views on the subject and she did.

    No one disputes the evidence –the only real debate is what we should do about it. To suggest that the government should not take a role in protecting its residents from identifiable health risks is an abdication of our responsibility. We place all sorts of requirements on restaurants as to how they handle food, the cleanliness of their facilities and the behavior of their employees. Peggy Lehner via email


    Ms. Lehner in broad terms believes that this is a public safety issue and within the purview of council to act in the best interests of it's citizens. I disagree.This is not apples and apples. It is our job to inform the citizens so they may protect themselves. Not to discriminate against law abiding citizens who are free to enjoy, or suffer, a legal activity like cigarette smoking within the confines of a privately owned business. Banning smoking from public places like parks, city offices, hospitals and schools, in my opinion would be the pervue of council, not private businesses where citizens can choose to patronize or not.

    For the record. My wife disagrees with me totally and supports a city wide smoking ban.

    Waiting on the state level does two things. First it saves the city time and money addressing what may be a moot issue come November. Why enact a law that may be void by a state law later this year. Secondly a statewide smoking ban, if passed, would eliminate the negative economic impact that could come with a city smoking ban. Mayor Don Patterson agrees and has urged the local Anti Smoking group to work with the state-wide initiative. Don further stated that if signatures in Kettering were gathered and a partial ban, a la Centerville, passed in our fair city, any state action would override the local legislation.

    There is an unproved theory that when a city bans smoking that bars, bowling alleys and pubs will suffer a substanital economic loss. There is only antecdotal evidence to support this theory. Most economic studies on this issue only relate to the statewide bans in California, Florida and New York.

    I would urge the council to do nothing. The council can continue to lend their support to the citizen group as Lehner and Duke has, but I would ask that they allow the citizens to speak on this issue with petitions and a vote at the ballot box, not in council chambers. Again, Kettering Council agrees, according to Mayor Patterson. Very few, 3 or less, would favor a council action on the topic. Not enough votes to act as Centerville did. This council, thankfully, will wait for a ballot issue from citizens or state-wide legislation.

    Lehner closed her comments with this:
    While I do oppose a local referendum and would support a total ban in Kettering I also recognize that the best way to create an equitable law with the least impact on business owners is through a state wide ban.


    My sources at City Hall tell me that a straw poll taken shows a 4-3 vote against a city wide ban. The three voting for council action without a vote of the people are Duke, Spolrich and Lehner. There is some who question Spolrich's resolve on the issue. The council is more receptive to a vote of the people for a exemption included ordinance. If push came to shove, I believe council would act by resolution or ordinance for a partial smoking ban. Each council person I have spoken with is deferring to the state legislation.

    One last note. I was reminded of this little fact my the good Mayor. Centerville's Council action affected about 5 or 6 businesses. Each of those were able to apply for an exemption based on the amount of alcohol sales verses food sales. The same action and legislation in Kettering could impact almost 30 businesses. A far greater impact!

    Josh Kirkendall's comments rant below the fold:

    GOVERNMENT TAKES AWAY RIGHTS FOR…
    Whether or not you're a smoker, the concern for citizens is whether or not the government can and will legislate you're ability to choose freely. That's always what's been at stake. It's not the context of the government's message of denying you to choose freely; rather it's an excuse used to remove an inconvenience; a DANGEROUS precedence.

    Health risks? Sure, there's health risks. After all, you're smoking (umm, duh!) But there's health (even life) risks, and if you listen to the government, you should avoid the following: sky-diving, driving on 75, eating chocolate, drinking alcohol, Junior Whoppers, White Castles, Pepsi, carbohydrate only diets, Dr. Phil, flying commercial airlines, trading stocks, naked women, being or acting like Martha Stewart; any of the above and you'll either gain weight (government says that's bad), becoming an addict (government says that's bad), or learn to sow elegantly (government says that's bad).

    But why does the government do this?

    Because the inability of some to actually explain what was that on Janet Jackson's nipple during the Super Bowl half-time show to their children and let them know, hey, that's natural. No no no, it's offensive and repulsive. It's a boob for god sakes. Half of us have them and the other half will do everything they can to find them. It’s natural.

    HERE'S YOUR OWN "COLORED" WATER FOUNTAIN.
    Let’s get to the sole of the problem. A smoker's ability to choose freely is being reduced significantly. If people have a problem with smoking, take Bryan's advice, leave the area. Smokers are cattle to you; like slaves, forcefully putting you, like pawns in a chess game, in a secluded area that’s not allowed to bother anyone else; it's not like they've been cheapened enough. But like blacks had signs that marked "colored water fountains”, the same now exists for smokers and smoking permitted sign. Admittedly this isn't the level of the 60’s civil rights movement and I wouldn’t dare compare that to anything else; but smokers are treated to the same fake coughing sounds or tiresome, “durr, smoking will kill you” diatribe.

    Perhaps the civil rights movement only meant blacks; not basic overall rights. And if this were to be about anything other than smoking, the ACLU and other left-wing organizations would be all over it; the social order thus could be controlled from one entity. After all, who cares if people that smoke get the unwanted attention of big signs that say "go ahead, smoke” in that little two square foot space 20 meters away from the building you work at.

    IT'S ALL HYPOCRISY ANYWAY
    Perhaps 50 years down the line when people take alcohol-related cancer or drunk driving related accidents seriously, not like some late news update on which lane on I-75 is open, maybe we can look at the dangers of drinking. Right? Oh, wait, more people do that. Therefore, it’s socially acceptable that mom, dad, little Johnny and little Jill in the minivan driving back from grandmas in the middle of the night get killed because of a drunk driver. Is this the same as smoking? Yes! You're taking a foreign substance and causing someone else's life to be altered or terminated.

    Is it a problem? Yes. Does anyone seem to care outside of MADD? No because it affects them too! Hypocrisy is the way of the ass-clown. Remember that.

    IF YOU CHOOSE
    If you choose to support an anti-smoking bill, just remember a few things. One, you’re removing a right of free choice for me, yourself, or Billy-Bob Frank to smoke a cigarette. Two, you’re putting mid-America farming at risk. Kentucky farmers are one of the most affected because of the increased taxation of cigarettes and city banning of smoking publicly, will drive them towards bankruptcy.

    If you’re actually a smoker that sits outside and enjoys a few quick puffs, then smoke it up, your time is running out. If you’re not a smoker and hate smokers, then make sure the government will fight your battles for you; this thing we call freedom is over-rated anyway.



    ed note:
    Josh is a real conservative blogging from the overdeveloped, over visited and over populated Mason Ohio. A computer guy during the day and avid Reds and Bengals Pundit by night. An overall nice guy with a powerful pen, he blogs at www.joshkirkendall.com and cincyjungle.com while contributing to www.bengalszone.com.

    Carnival of Ohio Politics

    Check out the weekly carnival hosted by SOB's own Newshound here.

    SOB Member Media Appearance

    Steven Kelso of Made for the Internet will be appearing with Russell from the BackStreetBoys Buckeye State Blog on the PBS show, "The State of Ohio." The show first airs on July 7.

    Topic: the power of bloggers in this year's elections.

    BROADCAST on Ohio Public TV Stations

    Fridays
    5:30 PM Columbus WOSU-TV34 and Portsmouth WPBO-TV42
    7:30 PM Cleveland WVIZ-TV25
    9:00 PM Cambridge WOUC-TV44 and Athens WOUB-TV20

    Saturdays
    5:30 AM Akron WEAO-TV49 and Alliance WNEO-TV45

    Sundays
    7:00 AM Cincinnati WCET-TV48
    7:00 AM Dayton WPTD-TV16
    10:30 AM Oxford WPTO-TV14
    12:00 Noon Bowling Green WBGU-TV27
    12:30 PM Cleveland WVIZ-TV25
    12:30 PM Cambridge WOUC-TV44 and Athens WOUB-TV20

    Mondays
    12:00 Mid-night Toledo WGTE-TV30 (Sunday Night/Monday Morning)

    CABLECAST on The Ohio Channel

    Mondays
    10:00 AM The Ohio Channel is available on:
    Athens – Time Warner Channel 00
    Cincinnati – Anderson Union Channel 08 - ICRC Channel 15 - Media Bridges
    Channel 15 - Norwood Community TV Channel 04 – Waycross
    Community Media Channel 23
    Clermont – Time Warner Channel 22
    Cleveland – Cox Channel 201 - Adelphia Channel 181
    Columbus – Time Warner Channel 199 and Digital 34.5 - Insight Channel 765
    - WOW Channel 150
    Dayton – Time Warner Channels 715 & 720
    Middletown – TV Middletown Channel 24
    Toledo – Buckeye Cable System Channels 08 and 13
    Ohio Public Television broadcast channels are also available on local cable channels.


    And Listen to the “Statehouse News Bureau’s Radio Reports”:

    Athens WOUB 1340 AM, WOUB 91.3 FM. Bryan WGBE 90.1 FM. Cambridge WOUC 89.1 FM. Chillicothe WOUH 91.9 FM, WVXC 89.3 FM. Cincinnati WVXU 91.7 FM.
    Cleveland WCPN 90.3 FM. Columbus WCBE 90.5 FM, WOSU 89.7FM, WOSU 820 AM.
    Coshocton WOSE 91.1 FM. Defiance WGDE 91.9 FM. Dover WKRJ 91.5 FM.Ironton WOUL 89.1FM.
    Kent WKSU 89.7 FM. Lima WGLE 90.7 FM. Mansfield WOSV 91.7FM. Marion WOSB 91.1 FM. Mt. Gilead WVXG 95.1FM. New Paris WVXR 89.3 FM. Oxford WMUB 88.5.
    Portsmouth WOSP 91.5 FM. Thompson WKSV 89.1 FM. Toledo WGTE 91.3 FM,
    West Union WVXM 89.5 FM. Wooster WKRK 89.3 FM. Yellow Springs WYSO 91.3 FM. Youngstown WYSU 88.5 FM. Zanesville WOUZ 90.1 FM.

    Update: DeLay Redistricting

    The Associated Press report sounds more like a press release from Howard Dean rather than a professional, unbiased piece of journalism.

    Via The Washington Post:

    Court Nixes Part of Texas Political Map

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld most of the Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay but threw out part, saying some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights.

    The fractured decision was a small victory for Democratic and minority groups who accused Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in drawing boundaries that booted four Democratic incumbents out of office.

    Shades of calling Paul Hackett's narrow loss to Jean Schmidt a "win!"

    As much as I appreciate the Supreme Court decision, the section of the redistricting plan overturned marks a sad day in the Reagan legacy: Justice Anthony Kennedy must now forever be considered an enemy of the Constitution and an opponent in the battle for a color-blind society:

    Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said Hispanics do not have a chance to elect a candidate of their choosing under the plan.

    At issue was the shifting of 100,000 Hispanics out of a district represented by a Republican incumbent and into a new, oddly shaped district. Foes of the plan had argued that was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander under the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.

    Or, put more plainly: only whites can represent whites, only blacks can represent blacks and only Latinos can represent Latinos. The Republican plan added one black and Latino "minority-majority" district for Pete's sake!

    A little from Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog:

    The District that the Court found legally wanting is a huge Latino-dominated district that the state created in an attempt to salvage the political fortunes of a Latino member of Congress, Republican Henry Bonilla. He had been losing strength among Latino voters, so the state legislature drew a new district by including a largely Anglo, Republican area in central Texas. That, a Court majority found, was the product of a "troubling blend of politics and race -- and the resulting vote dilution of a group that was beginning to achieve [the Voting Rights Act's] goal of overcoming prior electorial discrimination." It "cannot be sustained," the Court concluded.

    Whether the state legislature can repair the problem found by the Court in that one District without redrawing the plan statewide is uncertain at this point. The Court majority found no legal flaw in any other part of the plan.

    This was the perfect opportunity for the court to rule once and for all that the Constitution is color-blind (it always has been) -- they did not. The Republicans should feel correctly admonished and their racial shenanigans must stop. But, for the court to stop there, giving its explicit support for districts based solely on race (other than white, of course), is a disgrace.

    We need another conservative on the Supreme Court!

    NOTE: Rush Limbaugh had the same take.

    HALLIBURTON!



    Perhaps this fellow will know where my Vast Right Wing Conspiracy check is... :)

    SCOTUS Upholds 'Most' of DeLay Redistricting

    It's all Karl Rove's fault!

    More as details come in...

    DeWine Update

    Did you know that Sen. Mike DeWine has been caught up in the Abramoff scandal?

    No?

    Me either.

    But Bob Burnett of the Berkely Daily Planet thinks so...
    In Ohio, Democratic Representative Sherrod Brown is running against embattled Republican incumbent Mike DeWine, who has been implicated in the Abramoff scandal. This race is a toss-up.
    Uhhh...no. Nice try though.

    Okay, Bob...let me explain this to you. I know you're a "journalist" so I'll be sure to use "little words" so you can understand.

    Mike DeWine has NOTHING to do with the Jack Abramoff scandal. If you have proof otherwise, please feel free to show it.

    $1000 from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is not being involved in the Abramoff scandal.

    If $1000 is all it took to get Mike DeWine to take a position, I'll start a collection right now... I've been trying to get Mike DeWine to take a position on any number of things...

    And let's not pretend that trying to get an endorsement from Grover Nordquist's organization ties DeWine to Abramoff either. Liberals are trying to do just that. David Sirotka gives it a shot in this post. Problem is neither of the two links he provides to "support" his false assertion actually makes the same claims that he does. This piece in the Washington Times details DeWine's failed attempt to get the Americans for Tax Reform to endorse him. This Washington Post piece doesn't even mention Mike DeWine.

    I thought liberals were supposed to be good at propaganda...

    Secondhand Smoke Hysteria

    From The (Toledo) Blade:

    U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona declared yesterday that the evidence is now "indisputable" that secondhand smoke is an "alarming" public health hazard, causing tens of thousands of premature deaths from heart disease and cancer among nonsmokers each year.

    "I am here to say the debate is over: the science is clear. Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance but a serious health hazard," Dr. Carmona said at a televised news conference to release a report updating the original surgeon general's study of secondhand smoke in 1986.

    The debate is over? So nice of them to inform me. Let us use a little common sense here. We are to believe that casual contact with diluted cigarette smoke is dangerous, even though first hand smoke takes over 40 years or so to kill? Even though science has yet to conclusively prove the particulars of how smoking causes disease?!

    I've got news for you, sitting behind a city bus at a stop light is more dangerous than walking by a guy smoking outside the door of your favorite restaurant.

    All science is now apparently political.

    Please read the CATO reports that do end the debate.

    Re: Flag Amendment

    If you are waiting for the press to treat both sides fairly, I am afraid you'll be waiting quite a while my friend.

    Global Warming is affecting Hell as well I assume... :)

    Flag Amendment Fails

    From The Columbus Dispatch:

    A constitutional amendment to protect the American flag from desecration was defeated by the Senate last night, ending a two-day debate that analysts say was more about politics than constitutional law.

    Senate Republicans and President Bush, who had pushed hard to win the 67 votes needed to approve the amendment and send it to the states for ratification, came up one vote short, 66-34. Although proponents portrayed the amendment as necessary to protect America's premier symbol, others saw it as an election-year ploy by Republicans to inject enthusiasm into their most conservative supporters while forcing Democrats to oppose a popular amendment.

    To drive home that point, Senate Majority Leader Bill First, R-Tenn., who is considering a run for president in 2008, scheduled the floor debate just one week before the July Fourth holiday and only months before crucial November elections that will decide which party controls the House and Senate.

    "Why bring this stuff up a few months before an election?" said Peter Fenn, a Democratic consultant in Washington. "It's a political ploy. I think voters see through it. Does it mobilize the (conservative) base? After awhile, folks just roll their eyes."

    Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic consultant in Boston, described the amendment as White House political adviser Karl Rove's "latest attempt to make the Democrats look unpatriotic."

    The Democrats do not need Karl Rove to help them look unpatriotic -- they do a fine job all by themselves.

    Still, I do not believe that an amendment is needed and am not sad that it failed. I believe that those who would burn the American flag deserve treatment similar to what would be given out by the big black guy who just got called a "n****." (Hint: it involves knuckles and several right crosses.)

    Mitch McConnell (Ky), Robert Bennett (Ut) and Lincoln Chafee (RI) were the only Republicans to vote against the amendment.

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Christopher Hitchens!

    Of the Four projects for righteous anti-war types that the redoubtable Mr. Hitchens recommends, the first two contain such delicious irony:

    What about the land mines? A few years ago, a fairly broad consensus was achieved, to the effect that land mines should be regarded as an illegal and immoral method of warfare.

    Whereas in Iraq and Afghanistan, every day dozens of these devices—sometimes known as "improvised explosive devices," or IEDs—are buried where anyone can step on them or be blown up by them.

    Anyone who has ever uttered the phrase "civilian casualties" has a particular obligation here.

    And my favorite:

    What happened to the human shields? I didn't think it was wise or principled of certain activists to go to Baghdad in 2003 and swear to put themselves between Iraqi civilians and undue harm. (To most Iraqis and Kurds, they looked like sheepish guards who were standing between Saddam Hussein and what was rightly coming to him, and there were protests at their presence. And they did seem to leave when things became nasty.) But the idea of witnessing for peace in this manner has its attractions.

    But would not now be the ideal time for those who hate war to go to Iraq and stand outside the mosques, hospitals, schools, and women's centers that are daily subjected to murderous assaults? This would write an imperishable page in the history of American dissent.

    OUCH!!!!!!!

    The myth of "harmless" WMDs discovered in Iraq

    I have a request for all the leftist nutburgers out there in loony-land: can we dispense with the "totally degraded poison gas" meme already?

    Supreme Court Update #2

    The second installment of my Supreme Court Update series has been posted at Conservative Culture. I started this series because I didn't see anyone else in Ohio commenting on the happenings at the Supreme Court on a regular basis, yet the actions of the Supreme Court will have an impact on the future of our society equal to or greater than just about anything else happening today.

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    Betty Montgomery Earns Union Endorsement

    This just in from Kathryn Hampton of the Montgomery campaign:
    Attorney General candidate Betty Montgomery has earned the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association's (OCSEA) endorsement. Montgomery, a Republican, welcomed the support of one of Ohio's largest labor unions.
    The OCSEA is a labor organization that represents about 37,000 public employees. The organization strives to ensure that its members are successful in their jobs, compensated fairly, treated with dignity and provided a safe and healthy work environment.

    Montgomery has focused her entire career on public service. She's dedicated to meeting her commitments to the people of the State of Ohio - to serve as a watchdog of public funds and to provide taxpayers with the highest level of professionalism, service and accountability.

    "I'm honored to be recognized by those who've also chosen to serve in the public sector," Montgomery said. "It's a great compliment to be recognized by other public servants and I appreciate their hard work and commitment to making our state better."

    "When it comes to protecting working men and women, Betty Montgomery is clearly the best choice," Ron Alexander, President of the OCSEA, said. "Her experience and dedication to the people of Ohio is unparalleled."

    Montgomery has spent more than three decades serving the public and has earned a reputation as a fighter and a reformer. Her campaign platform includes fighting for tougher sentences for child sex predators, increasing enforcement of consumer protection laws and enhancing a statewide approach to prosecuting public corruption.

    The Constitution as 'Sideshow'

    From an editorial by The Plain Dealer:

    Ted Strickland numbers gun enthusiasts among his biggest supporters. And given the Democratic nominee for governor's Appalachian roots, there's nothing surprising about that.

    But when Strickland said last Monday that he would sign House Bill 347 -- a bad gun bill now pending in the Ohio Senate -- the "moment it hits" his desk, he needlessly put into play an issue that has long occupied too much of the legislature's time. Strickland's response reflected an over-eagerness to please gun enthusiasts.

    Not to be undone, Republican rival Ken Blackwell reiterated his Second Amendment credentials. A Blackwell spokesman said his candidate also supports House Bill 347, which would unnecessarily dilute the permit process for carrying a concealed weapon.

    Senate President Bill Harris said he expects the Senate to approve the gun bill before year's end. That would be no surprise, given the gun lobby's clout in Columbus.

    But Strickland's jumping into the discourse on guns was purely political pandering. Guns are a sideshow in the race for governor -- a show that distracts attention from the state's dire economic condition and its huge educational shortcomings.

    Despite Tax ... er I mean Ted Strickland's choice of a gun grabber as a running mate, it appears that he is a strong defender of the Second Amendment.

    Am I wrong?

    PS: Have you ever noticed how when politicians deal with conservative issues that the American people support, liberal journalists like those at The Plain Dealer call it "pandering," but politicians passing the "correct" legislation are engaging in "principled leadership?"

    The Gun-Grabbers Like DeWine

    From The Cincinnati Enquirer (scroll down):

    Sen. Mike DeWine last week became the first Senate candidate of 2006 to win an endorsement from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a top gun violence prevention group.

    DeWine, a Republican, was a vocal opponent of a bill that Congress passed last year to shield gun dealers and manufacturers from lawsuits brought by gun crime victims or their families. He also supported background a ban on semiautomatic weapons.

    While these positions have consistently upset conservatives --- and earned the Cedarville lawmaker an "F" from the National Riffle Association -- it's garnered praise from groups like this one.

    Sarah Brady, honorary chairwoman of the campaign, said while some pander to special interests, DeWine "consistently and reliably does the right thing for his country and for the people of Ohio."

    DeWine spokesman Brian Seitchik said, "The senator is a firm believer in the Second Amendment, but makes a determination on the merits of each issue."

    The Constitution is not a "special interest!"

    A "firm" believer in the Second Amendment does NOT pick and choose when he will defend the constitutional protections guaranteed to the citizens of America.

    And I'm supposed to vote for this guy? It seems that no matter who wins, Ohioans and lovers of freedom lose.

    Is a Major Anti-Tax Warrior Going Down?

    Recent reports in The Washington Post (free sub req.) paint a picture of a questionable relationship between Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform fame:

    Newly released documents in the Jack Abramoff investigation shed light on how the lobbyist secretly routed his clients' funds through tax-exempt organizations with the acquiescence of those in charge, including prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist.

    The federal probe has brought a string of bribery-related charges and plea deals. The possible misuse of tax-exempt groups is also receiving investigators' attention, sources familiar with the matter said.

    Among the organizations used by Abramoff was Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. According to an investigative report on Abramoff's lobbying released last week by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Americans for Tax Reform served as a "conduit" for funds that flowed from Abramoff's clients to surreptitiously finance grass-roots lobbying campaigns. As the money passed through, Norquist's organization kept a small cut, e-mails show.

    The Senate committee report also details Abramoff's dealings with two others from the College Republicans crowd: Ralph Reed, former Christian Coalition executive director; and Amy Moritz Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsored a golf trip in 2000 to Scotland for then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

    "Call Ralph re Grover doing pass through," Abramoff wrote in a stark e-mail reminder to himself in 1999, a year in which Norquist moved more than $1 million in Abramoff client money to Reed and Christian anti-gambling groups. Reed was working to defeat lotteries and casinos that would have competed with Abramoff's tribal and Internet gambling clients.

    In a recent interview at The Washington Post, Norquist said that Americans for Tax Reform and Abramoff's gambling clients worked together because they shared anti-tax, anti-regulatory views. He denied that Americans for Tax Reform was used to conceal the source of funds sent to Reed.

    Norquist's relationship with Abramoff's gambling clients began in 1995 when Congress was considering taxing tribal casinos.

    Abramoff, then a newly registered lobbyist with Preston Gates & Ellis, e-mailed a colleague that Norquist was willing to fight a tax opposed by another of his clients -- a beverage company -- if the firm became "a major player with ATR." Abramoff suggested the firm donate $50,000 to the group.

    "What is most important however is that this matter is kept discreet," Abramoff said in an e-mail on Oct. 24, 1995. "We do not want the opponents to think that we are trying to buy the taxpayer movement." He promised that Norquist would be "very active" on the issue.

    The following year, according to the Senate committee report, the Choctaw tribe donated $60,000 to Americans for Tax Reform to oppose a tax on Indian casinos. By 1999, ATR was getting large sums of Choctaw money. "What is the status of the Choctaw stuff?" Norquist asked Abramoff in an e-mail that May. "I have a 75g hole in my budget from last year. ouch."

    I make no accusations nor do I know if this report is accurate, but I would be highly disappointed if I found out it was true. The fight for the freedom of the American people is far more important than any one man, but Mr. Norquist has been on of my favorite fighters in the modern conservative movement.

    Damn.

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    Questions for Every Democrat Congressional Candidate

    1. Do you agree with Congressman John Murtha's on this?
    MURTHA

    American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.

    2. If you don't agree with him, why haven't you said so?

    ++++++

    Murtha is now so far over the line he can't even see it in his rear view mirror.

    July 6 Update: Wizbang (HT Return of the Conservatives) cuts through the attempt by Murtha, Media Matters, and Think Progress to minimize the impact of what Murtha said. At a minimum, he is saying that we should be guided by what other countries think (in polls, no less) than by our own best interests. At worst, he's saying he agrees with them personally that the US is a bigger threat to world peace than anyone else.

    Economics and Social Policy

    First edition is up. Tossed this together in a hurry this pm. As you’ll soon see, there’s plenty of opportunity for “continuous improvement”. Thoughts and posts for next week’s edition appreciated.

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Gianna's Story

    My most recent post at the Conservative Culture blog, Gianna's Story, is one that no pro-lifer will want to miss. Colorado State Rep. Ted Harvey is a pro-lifer with backbone, and the story is one of the most inspiring I have read in a long time.

    Results: Alliance Poll #3

    27 respondents to this week's poll:
    Right on the Right
    Made for the Internet
    VikingSpirit
    BizzyBlog
    Conservative Culture
    LargeBill Pontificates
    Thurber's Thoughts
    OhioGuy
    Newshound
    Lincoln Logs
    Project Logic
    Gribbit's Word
    Ohio Conservative (Derrick)
    Ohio Conservative (Phil)
    Brain Shavings
    Rose by any Other Name
    Conservatorium
    Boring Made Dull
    Andy's Angle
    Pro Ecclesia
    Steve the Pirate
    Jaob's Blog
    Chuckoblog
    Return of the Conservatives
    Brad's Journal
    Ain't That the Truth
    Pullins Report


    QUESTION 1: Gingrich vs. Kasich



    Kasich 13
    Gingrich 11
    No Answer 2
    Depends 1

    QUESTION 2: Guiliani vs. Allen



    Allen 16
    Guiliani 10
    No Answer 1

    QUESTION 3: Rice vs. Kilpatrick vs. Dole



    Dole 2
    Kirkpatrick 8
    Rice 16
    No Answer 1

    QUESTION 4: Huckabee vs. Pawlenty vs. Ehrlich



    Huckabee 13
    Pawlenty 5
    Ehrlich 2
    Not Huckabee 1
    No Answer 4
    None of the Above 2

    SOB ALLIANCE BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:



    Second 4
    Third 2
    Fourth 3
    Fifth 3
    Sixth 1
    Seventh 2
    Eighth 4
    Ninth 1
    Thirteenth 3
    Fourteenth 2
    Fifteenth 1
    Sixteenth 1
    Seventeenth 1
    Eighteenth 1

    NOTE: This data includes all 27 respondents plus Mark (2nd) and I (8th) from WMD.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Kelo Holdouts Reach Tentative Agreement in New London, CT

    It's too early to declare a winner, and there are no details yet. Loose ends have to be tied up by June 30.

    But the statements from the holdouts and the Governor make it sound like the holdouts MAY be able to declare a win:
    Kelo and Cristofaros Reach Tentative Agreement

    An AP report is here:
    Tentative agreement reached with final two Fort Trumbull holdouts

    I've been doing a semi-live update on this throughout the day at this post, which also contains a map and a collection of links:
    The Kelo New London Collection

    Fitting for the anniversary of the ruling if, as it appears, the holdouts get to keep their homes.

    What ultimately comes of this may have relevance to what happens in the Norwood, Ohio (suburb of Cincy) situation that has made its way to the Ohio Supreme Court.

    Supreme Court Update

    I have started a new series looking at decisions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. A primary focus will be examining the opinions of the new justices (presently Roberts and Alito). The first in the series is posted at Conservative Culture. Check it out!

    The series will only be updated periodically, because the Supreme Court can go for weeks at a time without handing down a decision, and then issue four or five opinions in a day (like they did yesterday).

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Blackwell Closing the Gap?

    I know that many disagree, but I believe that Zogby runs a decent polling system (though he does at times overweight Democrat voters). In the latest results, it appears that Ken Blackwell, while still behind, is making this a close race (even before Tax ... er I mean Ted Strickland has been fully revealed to the Ohio electorate.)

    Strickland is currently polling 49.1 % while Blackwell is now within striking distance with his 44.3%. This closely reflects the University of Cincinnati poll which had the race going for Strickland 50 to 40 percent. I believe that this is close to the truth and leaves Strickland open to attack one we get closer to the election.

    A good time to give Mr. Blackwell a few bucks to let our fellow Ohioans know just who the real Tax ... er I mean Ted Strickland really is?

    Do You Read 'Lincoln's Logs?'

    I try to catch my fellow State of Ohio Blog Alliance mate at least twice a day (yea, he's that good.)

    The Bob Ney campaign has taken note of the other blogging Matt as well (from their press release):

    Just wanted to make sure you all saw this post in Lincoln's Logs about what Violet Cummings, a Space supporter, had to say about Bob Ney.

    OH-18 Dedication

    Zack Space is making quite a little name for himself as an hollow shell that spews forth whatever latest propaganda is fed to him by Howard Dean, George Soros and other out-of-touch liberals.

    He had to be corrected today on national TV when he mistook Bob Ney for William Jefferson and Alan Mollohan by suggesting Congressman Ney enriched himself during his time in office.

    Earlier he forgot to vet his own record when he sent a press release out accusing Ney of voting for his own pay raise. It is great to tell the media that you will donate a raise to charity, except when you already accepted an 82% taxpayer raise (which, by the way, was nearly the average household income for the district by itself).

    So while Space continues to have his campaign of lies and pandering refuted at every turn, let's take a look at what one Zack Space supporter has to say about Bob Ney (Via a letter to the editor). I am going to paste the whole thing, because I think the story -- as the writer says -- speaks volumes.

    Congressman Ney to the rescue!

    I am probably one of the most patriotic people east of the Rockies. I live and breathe the American Dream.

    I spent 11 days in May as a tour guide in Washington, D.C. I was continually reminded of the greatness of our country and was thrilled to share my patriotism with nearly 500 people from Ohio. Last Thursday, my group of 84 students was scheduled for a tour of our nation'’s Capitol Building.

    There were two bad accidents in Washington that morning, and the two main roads into the city were blocked.

    The detour took an hour and half, so the kids missed their Capitol tour.

    I was devastated for them. It was my patriotic duty to get them into the Capitol.

    I called Congressman Bob Ney that afternoon. His staff was gracious but assured me there was nothing the congressman could do. He was back in Ohio, and Congress was in recess. I gave his aide my name and number and begged her to convey my desperation to Congressman Ney.

    Bob Ney personally called me on my cell phone within 30 minutes. He assured me he would take a flight out of Columbus that night and meet the kids at the Capitol the next morning. We were all thrilled.

    What Congressman Ney did next gives him "White Horse Status" in my book.

    It stormed so badly in Columbus that his flight was cancelled.

    So Bob Ney and his aide drove through the night to Washington. They arrived about 4 a.m., slept in his office and met those kids at 9 a.m.

    Many times people say they care about the kids. Congressman Ney showed 84 people that day that our leaders do care enough to go above and beyond the call of duty.

    The most amazing thing is that the school the kids represented isn't even in his district.

    Congressman Bob Ney's actions that day spoke volumes in the hearts of 84 people from Ohio.

    Violet M.L. Cummings

    Cambridge

    There are a lot of good writers down there on the right side (pun intended), check them out after checking out Lincoln's Logs.

    Is the 'Gang of 14' Dead?

    My gosh, let us hope so!

    From The Hill:

    Despite a likely fatal lack of support among the Republicans in the Gang of 14, conservative activists this week pushed hard to move the forlorn nomination of Judge Terrence Boyle to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Heavy lobbying efforts by the right have generated more support for Boyle among several Republican senators, such as Assistant Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Elizabeth Dole (N.C.).

    But the Gang of 14 -- seven centrist Democrats and seven centrist Republicans -- probably holds the swing votes that will determine whether a filibuster is allowed to block a vote on Boyle.

    Boyle's lack of support among Republican Gang members has been kept quiet by behind-the-scenes pressure from Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio).

    He is the only one of the 14 facing a difficult reelection race this year. He has taken heat from the Ohio right, particularly from activist Phil Burress, for taking centrist positions, including his membership in the Gang.

    I do not care which nomination destroys this dark coalition; just kill it already!

    Boehner Remarks

    Received via email:
    On Camera Remarks As Prepared

    Majority Leader John Boehner

    June 22, 2006


    Thank you all for being here.

    Spending Restraint/Line-Item Veto

    This week Republicans are continuing our reform efforts to help rein in wasteful spending and exercise fiscal restraint. Today we expect the House to pass the Legislative Line Item Veto Act. This bill will make Congress more accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars and help eliminate worthless pork, and Rep. Ryan deserves great credit for his work on this issue.

    Also this week the House passed a bill introduced by Majority Whip Roy Blunt and Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis to establish a public database to track federal grants. Increasing transparency is a vital tool to promote greater accountability and ensure that the American people understand how their tax dollars are spent.

    These two bills are just one part of a larger Republican effort to bring greater transparency, accountability and common-sense spending restraint to the federal budget process. While Democrats call for fiscal restraint, Republicans are working to rein in reckless spending and demonstrating fiscal discipline.

    Death Tax

    Today Republicans are also poised to make major progress on the death tax. Americans are being taxed almost every waking moment. They shouldn't be taxed upon their death, too. While Republicans attempt to address the needs of small business owners and family farms, Harry Reid and most Senate Democrats have been standing in the way of relief from the death tax. I would encourage Senate Democrats to do what's in the best interest of the American people and stop blocking progress of death tax relief.

    Immigration

    Lastly, let me just say on immigration, Republicans want to enact a strong bill that that strengthens our border security and strictly enforces our immigration laws. We want to work with the Senate to forge an agreement that accomplishes those goals. Above all else, the American people expect us to secure our borders and make sure we effectively enforce of our immigration laws, and that's exactly what Republicans are pushing for.

    Senate Democrats, led by Senators Reid and Kennedy, have consistently advocated policies that are out of touch with the American people which would encourage more open borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Holding hearings to gather more citizen input will strengthen our hand in conference and help us produce responsible solutions on behalf of the American people.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    WMDs found in Iraq

    Senator Rick Santorum and Representative Pete Hoekstra held a news conference today, where they announced a newly-declassified report that summarizes our discovery of ~500 warheads full of chemical weapons in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

    That's right, kiddies, you won't have to hear "no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq" for very much longer.

    What a bad week for the Democrats this is.

    Greg Hartmann...

    ...has a blog! (HT: VikingSpirit)

    I'd really like to see more of this sort of thing. Of course, I'd like to see more candidate blogs that are more like Matt Naugle's work with the Blackwell blog. I'd like to see a whole lot more multi-media features with audio and video files.

    Read, Weep -- Re Ohio's Tax Burden

    In a misleading headline ("Think tanks take aim at Ohio's tax reform") that I believe is designed to make non-readers of the Columbus Business First article believe it is about TEL, The Buckeye Institute and The Tax Foundation criticize Ohio's 2005 "tax reform":

    +++++++++++++++++

    The Buckeye Institute and a national anti-tax group are challenging last year's reform of Ohio's tax code, saying the changes are covering up continuing problems in the state's tax system.


    The Buckeye Institute and the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, in a report on the state's economy, said lawmakers are using a 21 percent cut in personal income taxes over five years to cover up the state's continuing uncompetitive taxes on businesses compared to the rest of the country.

    The reform package included a phasing out of the state's corporate franchise and inventory taxes in favor of a commercial activity tax on gross receipts. The report said that might actually hurt the state's competitiveness, however, because it could tax goods and services at several stages in the production process and because companies may owe taxes even when they're not profitable.

    "Our economy is being held back because of our high taxes," said David J. Hansen, president of the Buckeye Institute. "Job creators are not coming to Ohio because we are uncompetitive."

    Curtis Dubay, an economist for the Tax Foundation, said tax abatements offered to lure businesses to the state are proof that something is wrong with the system.

    "State tax should be above board rather than in need of abatement," he said. "Offering abatements hurts existing companies, especially the smaller ones.

    "The state should fix its tax system rather than give abatements," he said.

    A Tax Foundation ranking of states' tax rates found Ohio had the third-highest tax burden in the country, behind Maine and New York. The April report said state and local taxes take up 12 percent of the income of the state's residents and businesses, compared with a national average of 10.6 percent.

    ..... Dubay said Ohio fared much better in the foundation's annual ranking back in 1970, when residents paid 8.1 percent of their incomes in taxes, placing the state at 47th in the country.

    ..... The full report is available online at www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/1672.html.

    +++++++++++++++++

    Also in the artilcle -- neighoring state, rank (x highest), burden:
    Pennsylvania, 24, 10.4 percent
    West Virginia, 21, 10.6 percent
    Kentucky, 20, 10.7 percent.
    Michigan, 16, 10.8 percent
    Indiana, 12, 11 percent.

    It's pretty clear that Ted Strickland doesn't think Ohio's 12% isn't even enough. Ken Blackwell will have his hands full keeping the burden where it is.

    Newshounds's Carnival of Ohio Politics #28 is Up!

    Check it out.

    Religious Fight

    From The Toledo Blade:

    It wasn't exactly rapid response, but U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland yesterday accused Secretary of State Ken Blackwell of questioning the faith of millions of Ohio Democrats in a Toledo speech last week.

    A spokesman said Mr. Blackwell wasn't questioning all Democrats -- just party leaders, the interest groups who support them, and Mr. Strickland himself.

    Mr. Blackwell, the GOP candidate for governor, told the Lucas County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner last week that Democrats "still believe that government is God, and God is not."

    Mr. Strickland, a Methodist minister who said he only discovered the statement this week, criticized it in a Scripture-laced news release, and urged his supporters to sign a petition asking Mr. Blackwell to retract his statements.

    "I don't think you should say such a thing about any group of people," Mr. Strickland said in an interview, "because it exhibits, I think, a spirit of self-righteousness and judgment. It implies that you understand the hearts of millions of human beings ... it's inappropriate for anyone seeking the office of governor."

    Mr. Blackwell's campaign spokesman, Carlo LoParo, said Mr. Blackwell was talking about "Democrat leadership [and] liberal groups who support Ted Strickland's candidacy and ... believe that big government is the solution to all society's problems, and that God and faith have no place in the public square" -- and not "the family that lives down the street who are Democrats."

    Come now Tax ... er I mean Ted, it seems to me that Mr. Blackwell hit a raw nerve. The Democrat Party has itself admitted that it does a poor job of reaching out to religious voters and is taking (painfully ironic) actions to remedy the situation.

    More damning in my mind is the list of Strickland votes that the Blackwell campaign as recently compiled (Hat Tip: Right Angle Blog):

    * Strickland voted against a measure that permitted the public display of the Ten Commandments in government buildings. (Vote 221 6/17/99)
    * Strickland voted against protecting the Pledge of Allegiance from attacks from liberal judges. (Vote 467, 9/23/04)
    * Strickland voted against a constitutional amendment to guarantee every citizenÂ’s right to pray and express their religious beliefs on public property, including schools. (Vote 201 6/4/98)
    * Strickland voted against allowing faith-based organizations compete for federal housing program grants. (Vote 109 4/6/00)
    * Strickland even voted against allowing government-funded religious organizations to use religion as a factor in hiring. (Vote 175 5/8/03)

    While each of these votes taken individually may be debated, surely Mr. Strickland's track record could lead one to believe that he belongs to that Democrat tradition which has shown a distinct hostility to people of faith in general and Christians in particular.

    This is the voting record of one who despises religious freedom, not supports and succors it.

    Blogs like The Daily KOS are replete with anti-religious bigotry. It should come as no surprise that the elected left would in some way reflect the soul of its party.

    Socialists doing what socialist do, maybe the Democrat Party should look elsewhere for inspiration?

    Institute for Policy Innovation Update on Colorado's TABOR

    Received this in an IPI e-mail yesterday:

    +++++++++++++++

    Labor Over TABOR

    Last year, the fans of big government sobbed that Colorado faced a fiscal Armageddon.

    State services were at risk of being reduced and programs cut because Colorado’s constitution said that tax money collected in excess of state spending must be returned to taxpayers under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

    So these big-spender types—led by the usually prudent Gov. Bill Owens (R)—put Referendum C on the ballot. Simply put, the amendment suspends TABOR for five years and lets the state government keep all of those excess funds.

    It was a heated campaign, and millions were spent successfully convincing the public that Armageddon was nigh if “Ref C” didn’t pass.

    And besides, they argued, it’s only estimated to come to a paltry $3.2 billion over five years. No, wait! That was the first estimate. During the campaign, the estimate rose to $3.7 billion, as the economy started to grow. Now economic forecasters see excess revenues reaching $4.2 billion.

    If Colorado’s economy continues to flourish, look for that number to head skyward. But taxpayers won’t see a dime of it in their own pockets. It’ll be up to the Legislature, now controlled by Democrats, to spend that money as it sees fit. And when has the Democratic Party been known for fiscal restraint?

    Moreover, we predict that when the five-year suspension of TABOR nears, look for the same Armageddon stories in an effort to make the suspension permanent.

    Some Coloradans, led by the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldera, are trying to get a referendum before voters this year that would require the state to rebate to taxpayers any funds that come in over the $3.7 billion estimate.

    That’s only fair, and it would hold the state accountable for its initial, unrealistically low projections.

    More importantly, passing the referendum would send a message to other states, all of which closely monitored the TABOR battle last year: Excess tax money belongs to tax payers. It’s their labor, not TABOR, that created it in the first place.

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    Looks like CO taxpayers and the guv got snookered into thinking there was a problem when there wasn't (thanks once again to the Bush tax cuts.

    It also appears to show that even over the long haul, TABOR hasn't caused the problems the critics allege.

    SOB Alliance Goes to WAR

    A number of members of the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance are joining up with Wide Awakes Radio to present some of the finest internet radio programing available on the web.

    Check 'em out...

    The WMD Program:



    Right on the Right:



    Gribbit Live:



    Wide Awakes Radio launches on July 4th...be sure to tune in!

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Mary Jo Kilroy Loses

    I suppose that the Franklin County commissioner will just have to find another way to repay her union cronies.

    From The Columbus Dispatch:

    Franklin County is shelving a proposed agreement that would have required nonunion contractors to observe union rules during construction of a new Downtown courts building.

    After weeks of controversy that some said was beginning to reignite long resolved tensions in the central Ohio construction industry, county Administrator Don L. Brown said yesterday that he'll recommend commissioners put the deal on hold indefinitely.

    "Further thought needs to be put into this," he said.

    Commissioners had planned a final vote today on what they called a "good contractor and fair employment agreement" with 16 trade unions. It would have placed all workers on the upcoming project under union contracts, even if they weren't union members.

    Critics said it discouraged nonunion companies from bidding on construction contracts worth millions of dollars.

    A similar plan for the construction of Franklin County's new minor-league baseball stadium was dropped earlier this month after legislators and potential corporate sponsors threatened to yank funding.

    "I think sanity has finally prevailed," Commissioner Dewey Stokes said.

    I once again ask the good citizens of Ohio's 15th District to vote for the candidate who votes her conscience -- not the bidding of her cronies and campaign contributors.

    Vote for Deborah Pryce!

    'Ohio Education Association Announces Endorsements'

    All Democrats.

    Real, but Accurate

    Dan Rather is leaving CBS.

    Good News for Columbus Schools

    Hopefully, Columbus schools will be getting a little safer.

    From the AP via ONN:

    The city school district plans to open a school this fall that will cater to students with behavior problems, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

    The 150-student SuccessWorks Academy will provide a temporary site for students in grades three through seven to learn ways to curb misconduct...

    "Safety and discipline has always been the No. 1 issue with parents and has always been the No. 1 issue with teachers," said Rhonda Johnson, president of the Columbus Education Association teachers' union. "Everybody wants safe schools in Columbus. ... I think we're all on the same page."

    The most recent teachers' contract set a deadline of the 2006-07 school year for the district to open a school for disruptive students.

    I do not agree with teacher's unions very often, but I am thankful that they have stood up and demanded that the city does something about this growing problem. Too often, just a few disruptive students can make it near to impossible for the majority to get a good education. This is a move long needed and I hope other systems follow suit.

    Mrs. Bill Clinton is Coming to Ohio

    She'll be campaigning (fundraising) for Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland.

    Quick, lock up the women!

    Passionate America on Jean Schmidt

    Passionate America is a conservative blog from Oklahoma. Here is a taste of what Wild Bill had to say about Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH2):
    Congresswoman Schmidt is a supporter of private property rights against the rising level of abuse of eminent domain by cities and states. Emiment domain is the widely criticized practice by which local governments kick you out of your home, pay you a (now very deflated) price for your house, and then hand it over to big business. Some of the rampant abuse of eminent domain has had governments pay only $1 for property worth over a million, and the City of New London charging "back rent" for citizens who exercise their legal rights and challenged the city's eminent domain action in court. Congresswoman Schmidt is commited to ending the abuse of local governments by curtailing eminent domain.

    Representative Schmidt has been a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility and has cosponsored legislation to give the President a line-item veto to help curtail the abuse of earmarks tagged on to legislation. She also understands that part and parcel of cutting taxes is reducing spending, not increasing it.

    Lastly, Representative Schmidt understands that a nation worthy of the title of nation must secure it's borders. This is not to say all legal immigration should be stopped, but it should be a matter of common sense that immigration should be regulated and orderly. While it may be difficult to craft a a solution to illegal immigration, it does not follow that an open-borders, full amnesty, and large payoff to illegals is the way to go.
    Thank you Wild Bill!

    Blogger Convention Announces Design Contest

    This just in via email:
    Blogging Man 2007 (www.bloggingman.org) today announced a National blog design contest and welcomed talented designers from all 50 states to enter the competition.

    "Blogging Man 2007", a project of Quicksilver Strategies, LLC (www.quicksilver-strategies.com ), is a gathering of more than 4,000 political bloggers scheduled to take place in October of 2007. The convention and expo will be held in Reno, Nevada at John Ascuaga's Nugget Resort Hotel and Casino (www.janugget.com).

    Event organizers hope that this design contest will entice additional opinion writers and new media activists to get more involved in the project, while also providing them with a unique and state of the art blog design.

    "'Blogging Man 2007' was founded with a vision of helping the blogosphere evolve to a new level of awareness and effectiveness." Said Eric Odom, convention chairman, "And we feel strongly that it should be something the grass-roots blogging community itself takes ownership of and has an opportunity to play a significant role in getting off the ground.... It truly will be an event developed by the little guy, for the little guy."

    The contest will officially open on June 19th, 2006 and the winning designer, to be announced on October 1st, 2006, will be awarded free airfare, lodging, and VIP event access to the "Blogging Man 2007" Convention and Expo.

    All, interested designers are required to fill out a contestant form located on the event website (www.bloggingman.org ). Applications for the contest must be received by July 1st, 2006 and completed designs submitted by September 1st, 2006.
    This is being billed as a conservative political blogger event. I checked out the speaker's list and the only name that really stuck out at me was Hugh Hewitt...but its still pretty early yet.