November 30, 2006

No, I'm not dead.

I've just taken a brief hiatus from blogging. I will be back to the usual semi-regular posting in a couple days time once time avails itself. A couple months back I mentioned doing a couple posts on the nature of lying versus the truth. That will be coming shortly. I have decided to include potential political implications that come along with following lying and telling the truth.

Does anyone think it's odd that there's a common verb for not telling the truth (to lie/lying) but not one for telling the truth? I don't even know if there is a rare or archaic verb that is used "to tell the truth."

Anyhow, more later.


November 16, 2006

This one is for MJ

Things never seem to change at my alma mater. Its old conservative... er... "traditional" roots seem to have found fertile ground amongst certain residents of Lang Hall. In this week's issue of the Exponent, Matthew Jurick chimes in on the revival of racism on the campus of Baldwin-Wallace College.

The hatred knows no end, does it?
Matthew J. Jurick

Everything quieted down and a sense of normalcy seemed to return to Emma Lang Hall. Of course, something as ugly as hatred never really goes away that easily, does it?

I was both suprised and completely disgusted to hear that the racist acts of hatred are continuing STILL in Lang. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, why the hell is this shit still happening? I was talking with one of the ustodians for my dorm (by the way, Baglet custodians ARE the best custodians ever), and she was telling me that now there has been intentional flooding going on in the third floor of the V-Vault. It's honestly gotten to the point now where it's no longer warranting the, "Oh my God! This is terrible!" response from me. Now it's just, "Oh yeah? The racist idiots know no end, do they?"

If you are one of these racist idiots of whom I speak, then please know this: in the beginning, I was a big proponent of not chucking your ass out of here, as that would only further reinforce you now-seemingly bottomless pit of hatred and ignorance. Now? Now I'm not so sure I want racist idiots who refuse point-blank to consider reason attending the same school that's going to be stamped on my diploma.

Did you think by coming to COLLEGE you wouldn't be exposed to black people? Because if you honestly thought that, then you really don't deserve to be here on lack of intelligence alone. College is about learning, not just about academic matters, but social matters - the matters that REALLY count in life.

On a sidenote but still somewhat related, I am a big supporter of equality for all people. I found it particularly disheartening that the creator of the "Gay? NOT fine by B-W" group was a member of a recently persecuted minority group here on campus. If you expect the campus to rally around you when you get discriminated against, you better grow up and stop perpetuating the ignorance.

I have one request, really, and this is to anyone here who shows any form of ignorance: grow up, or get the hell out because hatred is certainly not welcome here.

Matthew Jurick is the Editor-in-Chief for the Baldwin-Wallace College Exponent, the student-run newspaper.

Post-Mortem on Election 2006 with Dr. John Green

Dr. John Green of the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life met with several local members of the Ohio blogosphere last evening at the Crowne Plaza on Quaker Square in Akron. He is currently serving as a Senior Fellow with the Pew Forum. Dicussed at length were the causes, through the perspective of polling, of the results of the November election and the emergence of a religious left.

Firstly I'd like to touch upon the concepts of the religious left. There are two main paradigms of religious leftism: 1) those having a conservative theology, yet are socially and economically progressive and 2) those having a liberal interpretation on theology. Within these two "sects" of the religious left, there are even more specific delineations. These two main branches do not always agree on the issues and from some perspectives, it would appear that they are the religious left only because they are not the religious right.

Prior to the 1990s, it seemed quite unnecessary to be religiously liberal, mainstream/mainline Christianity had helped drive the civil rights movement, the economic progressivism of the early to mid 1900s, and the feminist movement. But the election of a solidly conservative Republican Congress in 1994 and the (re-)election of President George W. Bush in 2004 helped propel the religious left into action in 2006. Why was the religious left unimportant in 2000? We must take off our post-Sept 11 glasses and look at a world that was decidedly different: the economy, by and large, was still holding up; the World Trade Center towers still stood; and President Bill Clinton had just fended off an attack from Republicans (and some Democrats) on impeachment. Governor George W. Bush and Vice-President Al Gore both ran as moderates. Regardless of personal opinions on the election process itself, George W. Bush was declared the victor. Hope ran high, a new of era of conmpassionate conservative was upon us.

Sadly conservatism won out over compassion... and then September 11th.

Nothing was conservative about the Bush White House following that day. The government grew by leaps and bounds in the name of security of the public, but the Administration continued to posture itself as conservative. The President took the step of endorsing a constitutional amendment to define the definition of marriage: that itself certainly isn't conservative, at least politically. Indeed, it seems to run against the current of conservatism, goading for larger government and more "interference" in the business of the public. Conservative isn't the word to use anymore, rather, I think it is a traditionalist government. It is claimed by many people who say they are conservative: liberals are against social traditions and clearly they are not. Add to that the disaster of the Iraq war and the failure of Bush's faith-based initiatives (highlighted in David Kuo's recently released book) and religious liberals were left wanting.

Religious liberals wised up to these failures in 2004, yet unfortunately had a Presidential candidate who was born with a silver spoon and his left foot in his mouth. Democrats were defeated in Congressional elections, yet picked up notable positions, namely the Governorship in Montana. Religious conservatives seemed to win the day once more, but it wasn't to last long.

In Ohio, different dynamics drove the Republican party to the brink of disaster by mid-2005. Between a lagging economy and a state administration that was one of the most corrupt in recent memory, Republican Governor Bob Taft witnessed his approval ratings drop into the low teens. Democrats seized upon this opportunity. In May 2006, Democrats chose Congressman Ted Strickland as their candidate for Governor.

A brief summary wouldn't do Ted Strickland the justice he deserves. He is a former minster with the United Methodist Church and a Professor of Psychology. Ted Strickland was a man that the religious left felt they could get behind. The Republicans and religious right picked the condescending and disingenuous Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, to be their standard-bearer. Why disingenuous? From the beginning of the campaign, Blackwell made it clear that he was going to pander to the religious right. And he did. He spewed statements to create fear and draw support to him from his base, but drove away mainstream voters.

In the 2006 elections, the self-described religious right composed roughly 24% (white protestant-evangelical) of the electorate, 70% of whom voted for the Republican. Blackwell certainly captured his base. But he didn't even muster 40% of the popular vote. Why? Blackwell drove away people who could be described as religious moderates or religious liberals. Catholics and mainline Protestants voted in large numbers for Ted Strickland. Of course, this wasn't all of Blackwell's doing. The Ohio Democratic Party and Ted Strickland themselves helped motivate voters into voting for Strickland and other Democrats. Result: Democrats took all of the elected executive offices except for Auditor. The Auditor's race, was a different story that deserves its own post.

Democrats would also pick up the Senate and the House of Representatives. Was this the result of a religious shift or a general disgust with perceived Republican corruption? Again, that is a topic for a another post at another time.

"It seems to me we had shrillness before bloggers."
-Dr. John Green, 11/15/2006


November 15, 2006

Learn and Earn: The Corrupt Bargain

Turns out that Learn and Earn wasn't just a corrupt bargain for our kids, but also for its field-level employees. This is from the blog of a former office director whose name has been removed:

Finally... and I do mean FINALLY... I am off of the campaign trail.

Issue 3, Learn & Earn, was a wild ride for me. I had so many staff come and go, went through several layers of changes, and even quit my job three seperate times -- all resulting in increased wages & benefits.

Many of you have asked if I was upset to be layed off after each campaign cycle, and the answer is no. The best thing about working on campaigns in the unemployment through the holidays. You get to sit back, relax, visit with family and friends, not to mention catch up on all of the little things that you missed over the year.

I enjoying working on campaigns because I get to meet alot of new people and make new friends. If it were not for Issue 3, I would not have met cool people like ... and so many others.

It was and continues to be a pleasure to work with those individuals and to establish a relationship that will last. Campaigns, especially grassroots campaigns, are about the people -- on the ground -- talking and establishing a connection -- and that's my favorite part of my job.

I do have to say however that although my employer during the campaign, Field Works, did treat me exceptionally well -- for one reason or another, they continued to screw up the hourly and daily staff wages week after week since April.

My only hope is that people have a voice and stand up and say that they were not paid correctly or on time and that these issues are resolved. Although these issues are no longer my responsibility to solve, I feel it is the humanly decent thing to do and therefore I will attempt to help everyone with their pay roll issues to the best of my ability.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog, as there will be many others now that I have down time. I am single and have a lot of free time, so keep those date requests coming -- the appointment calender is filling up fast.

As always: The views expressed on this blog do not necessarily represent those views of the staff, management, or advertisers of this blog of John Doe Worldwide. :-D

How's that for you?


November 14, 2006

Whatever happened to the good old days...

... when you could count on right-wing evangelical airbag not unlike Jerry Falwell to go into a mindless diatribe about the godless heathens in Israel? Apparently it is no more: For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is ‘God’s Foreign Policy’

I don't support Israeli's aggressive policy with retaliatory strikes... at all. After what they did to Lebanon this summer, Israel must be watched more carefully by the United States. Not watched after. Watched.

Whatever happened to the right-wing nutjob of old?


November 8, 2006

Rumsfeld resigns; Gates nominated

At roughly 1PM this afternoon, President George Bush announced the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Quickly nominated to replace Mr. Rumsfeld was former CIA Director Robert Gates, who has served on James Baker's group on Iraq exit strategy.

Future: The 110th Congress will be quickly tasked with confirming Mr. Gates appointment should the President not do this in recess. Given the current makeup (50D 49R - one contest undecided) of the Senate, debate on the appointment could be contentious.

Implications: This could be a sign that in spite of all of the rhetoric to the contrary, the President may be ready to bail out of Iraq.



Dem pickups...

As of right now, Dems hold even in the Senate (47+2) against the Republicans (49). Races in Virginia and Montana are yet to be decided, with Democrats holding small (less than 9,000) vote leads in both races.

I called the Senate to go 50-50. Control is still up in the air.

Dems control the House, currently leading 227-194, with 14 contests still up in the air.

I called the House to go 235-200. Control is firmly with the Democrats, to what degree remains to be seen.

State constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage pass in 7 of 8 states, with AZ's being too close to call.

Ohio issues 2 and 5 pass. Ohio issues 3 and 4 fail. Issue 1 (Worker's Compensation legislation repeal), although on many ballots, was booted from the official ballot. Any votes cast for or against the issue were not counted and the law that the state legislature passed remains on the books.

Sherrod Brown: first Democrat since John Glenn to get elected to the US Senate from Ohio. Current delegation - George Voinovich (R)

Ted Strickland: first Democrat to move into the Guv's house in 16 years.

Dems sweep most statewide offices, except Auditor still being too close to call. Dems made gains in both the State Senate and State House, but not enough to take control of either chamber.

Mike DeWine: "This was not the year. We could not win."


Now that the election season is over, I'm going to be converting into a state and national policy observation blog. Kevin Coughlin is my State Senator. It appears that John Widowfield, whose ANNOYING campaign mail kept getting sent here, is my State Representative.


November 7, 2006


It's election day.


November 5, 2006

2 Days: A Forecast from Professor Charles F. Burke of Baldwin-Wallace College

On Thursday, I was able to have a brief but candid conversation with Professor Charles Burke, Chair of the Department of Political Science at Baldwin-Wallace College, about the outcome of federal races in Tuesday's upcoming election.

Professor Burke: The Democrats will win 243 seats in the House. Democrats will take 51 seats in the Senate and that's counting the 2 Is caucusing with the Dems.

BlogginRyan: It only took the Rs twelve years to blow control of the legislature. Do you think the Dems can beat that?

Burke: No, but the Dems might lose out in some instances because they are a party without being a cohesive unit.


In giving Democrats a 51-seat (243-192) majority, Professor Burke has offered an opinion indicating more gains for the Democrats in the House than even the most optimistic leftoblogs. His Senate predictions were predicated upon winning 3 of the 4 remaining races considered to be toss-ups: Virginia's George "Macaca" Allen v. James "I Was Secretary of the Navy" Webb; Missouri's Jim Talent v. Claire McCaskill; Montana's Conrad "Foot-In-Mouth" Burns v. Jon Tester; and Tennessee's Bob "Chatanooga Choo-choo" Corker v. Harold "Playboy Bunny-Lovin'" Ford.

My personal bets: Dems take the House 235-200. Repubs take the Senate 50-50, with Dead-Eye Dick casting the deciding vote.

Congressional Outlook:

OH-1 REMAINS A TOSSUP (Chabot-R, Incumbent v. Cranley)
OH-2 REMAINS A TOSSUP (Schmidt-R, Incumbent v. Wulsin)
OH-4 SAFE REPUBLICAN (Jordan-R v. Siferd)
OH-6 SAFE DEMOCRAT (Wilson-D v. Blasdel)
OH-12 LEANS REPUBLICAN (Tiberi-R, Incumbent v. Shamansky)
OH-13 SAFE DEMOCRAT (Sutton-D v. Foltin)
OH-14 LEANS REPUBLICAN (LaTourette-R, Incumbent v. Katz)
OH-15 LEANS DEMOCRAT (Pryce-R, Incumbent v. Kilroy)
OH-18 LEANS DEMOCRAT (Space-D v. Padgett)

I think that based on polling and trending, Dems handily gain two seats (15 and 18) and stand the chance of gaining 4 more (1, 2, 12, and 14). Why OH-14? Steve LaTourette has actually had to run for office and campaign. This stems from two causes, the first being that Lew Katz is the strongest Democrat to run for that seat since Eric Fingerhut held it. The second reason is the national climate and general sentiment is far more sour to the Republicans than it was in 2004. Why did I list OH-4? Jim Jordan only holds an 8-point lead over Rick Siferd in one of the most conservative areas of the state. It's a race worth watching, along with the rest of these.

2 more days until the wave washes over us all...

... save for a November surprise.


November 2, 2006

Une leçon française

There is an expression in the French language, "vouloir, c'est pouvoir," which idiomatically translates to English's "when there's a will, there's a way." But the idiomatic expression is insufficient for what mindset the Democrats need to have going into Tuesday, 11/7. Translated more literally, "vouloir, c'est pouvoir" means "to want (it) is to be able (to do it)." Democrats need to prove that they have the vouloir, the incredible desire to do it.

Thus I ask of the Democratic readers of this blog: on Election Day, take the day off work and volunteer at any race where the race is close or where the Democrat is behind. No matter how hopeless it may seem, there is still hope. Tenacity is something that Republicans have claimed to their advantage. I say this is no more: it is time for Democrats to be tenacious. Fight tooth and nail for every vote. Talk to people. Make them want to vote for Democratic candidates. Give them vouloir.

Quand on veut élire quelqu'un, on doit parler à la peuple.
"When we want to elect someone, we must talk to the people."

People determine elections, remind them of this. That swing voter you aim to reach? Reach them before somebody else does! Populism still works, as Sherrod Brown is about to prove to the nation. Drink that deeply and let these creeping notions of civil public discourse, not necessarily done through the media, seep through your corpus.

We have five days.

Lest we forget, though, that in the grand scheme of global politics, Democrats are to the right of most other centrist political parties globally.

Let us push back towards the center.

We have five days.

Do you have the vouloir?

November 1, 2006

Ohio Issues 4 and 5: Oy!

Oy gevalt! is what people in the state of Ohio are going to be thinking once completing down-ballot races and glancing at these competing issues with very different goals.

First, the overview.

Ohio Issue 4:

Backed by the hospitality industry and funded by the R.J. Reynolds company, the proponents of issue four seek to, by constitutional amendment, allow smoking in public locations such as bars, bowling alleys, restaurants, and negate any local smoking ordinances previously passed. The issue is being touted as SmokeLess Ohio.

The reality is that the proposed amendment takes away the ability of local governments to regulate smoking in their communities by making it unconstitutional for any legislation counteractive to the amendment to be passed. The matter is a total regression on the progress that had been made to curtail smoking in restaurants. I remember the adage regarding the utility of no-smoking sections in restaurants: Are there no-peeing areas in the swimming pool?

Ohio Issue 5:

Backed by the American Cancer Society, issue five, touted as Smoke Free Ohio, seeks to effectively ban smoking in restaurants and a host of other public establishments. The issue is a legislative initiative and is not a constitutional amendment. In the wake of other smoking bans being implemented elsewhere in the state, backers of issue five began to circulate petitions for ballot access in late 2005.

This initiative, if passed, could be amended by state legislators in a process much easier than, say, repealing a constitutional amendment.


The verdict?

SmokeLess Ohio is like Learn and Earn in its short-sighted foolishness. Matters such as gambling and smoking (and gay marriage) are not fundamental and thus should not be enacted by constitutional amendment.

Vote NO on Issue 4, SmokeLess Ohio.

Smoke Free Ohio does more, yet does it in a fashion that would not require another election for a change to be made to it. I support a statewide test run of this and should it hurt business as much as business claims it will hurt them, which I sincerely doubt, it can be easily changed.

Vote YES on Issue 5, Smoke Free Ohio.