January 30, 2009

Score one for team Kucinich

Every now and again, I think Dennis Kucinich has a terrific idea. This is one of them.

Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich teamed up with Texas GOP Rep. Ted Poe on Thursday to demand that the Treasury Department force Citigroup to give up its $400 million stadium naming deal with the New York Mets baseball team.

The congressmen wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that observed the bank's finanical situation has worsened dramatically since it signed the Mets deal in 2006. Citigroup recently accepted billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout money and announced it's eliminating 50,000 jobs.

"The Treasury Department, which forced Citigroup corporate executives to give up their private jet, should also demand that Citigroup cancel its $400 million advertisement at the Mets field and instead being to repay their debt to the taxpayers," Kucinich said in a press statement.

Citigroup's mismanagement was astronomical. They shouldn't get fringe benefits like naming rights.

That being said, Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field? Never. The Gund and The Jake. Forever.


January 19, 2009

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr, Day, January 19, 2009. All across Athens this morning, from 9am to noon, and even going into this afternoon, people of all races gathered in common cause. We chose to participate in Athens' MLK Day of Service to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whose efforts at social justice and equality for African Americans were made in concert with members of other communities, and not just his. We chose to participate in this in order to help the city of Athens and to demonstrate that by continually working together as separate communities, with differing ideals, we can yet perfect our greater community.

I left this morning at 8:25, for whatever reason anticipating a slow time in traffic. So upon arriving at the worksite at 8:30 I expected to wait. But that was not the case. Rather, a small contingent of volunteers had already arrived and we quickly began our task - to clean up the Greenway by College Ave and MLK Jr Drive and rid it of masses of overgrowth.

We did it. We didn't get paid for it. We did it out of our mutual love and respect of our community.

Today is now Wednesday, January 21, 2009.

President Obama, and what a thrill it is to write that!, has called upon us as Americans to renew our promise of greatness to our country. President Obama understands that getting us out of this current crisis of confidence requires more than empty words with ambiguous goals.

Yesterday, President Obama called on all of us to summon our strengths to pull together and renew our pledge to each other. It's a funny thing, really. We united as kids to recite the pledge of allegiance every day. Sure, you're pledging your allegiance to your country, but what else is there?

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

With liberty and justice for all. Maybe with the start of the new administration we might revisit what those words mean. They certainly mean more than spreading liberty in other lands while having liberties at home mocked by the people we charge to defend them. And justice will surely be granted, in the form of due process and trial by jury and not by the blind administration of justice, by means of torture, indefinite incarceration, and brute force.

Indivisible - we are not red state and blue state: we are one nation. It's time our leaders recognize this. We in Athens came together from separate neighborhoods to improve our city as a whole. We in America can surely come from our separate states to better our nation.

Let us so go forth.


January 16, 2009

Left-wingnutters and Muslim terrorists: Starbucks funds Israel

This has millions of levels of what the hell written all over it: The Protocols of the Elders of Java.

Please read the article and apply some critical thought to it. Reading it brought two things to mind: the power of freedom of expression on the internet to commit wrong and the power of freedom of expression on the internet to right that wrong.

Take the author's words with a grain of salt, though, as he seems to believe that left wingnutters and Muslim terrorists seems to coalesce in these days, but in reality the only matters where they do so is concerning Israel.

That being said, it's still mind-numbing how determined these people are to propagate a falsehood like this. It's no blood libel, but it's getting closer.

January 12, 2009

Voinovich to retire after completing term

Stephen Koff from the Plain Dealer has it: It's official: Voinovich to retire from Senate after 2010


Senator Voinovich has done a decent job working together with Senator Sherrod Brown recently, cobbling together ideas in the last two months to forestall a massive auto industry collapse which would adversely affect Ohio for years. He's even come around on the forthcoming additional stimulus.

These final two years, I think, may be what defines his entire Senate career. He says it himself:

After prayerful consideration and much thought, my wife Janet and I have decided that I will not seek a third term in the United States Senate.
As I spent time with my family during the holidays and celebrated Janet's birthday, I reflected on God's blessings on our family: my wife, our three children, our seven grandchildren and our health.

I also spent time thinking about the health of our country. In my lifetime of public service, I have never seen the country in such perilous circumstances. Not since the Great Depression and the Second World War have we been confronted with such challenges, as a nation and
as a world.

Those of us that have been given the honor to serve in these times must step up to the plate and put this country on a course that will see it through these harrowing times and make it strong and viable for the 21st century.

These next two years in office, for me, will be the most important years that I have served in my entire political career.

I must devote my full time, energy and focus to the job I was elected to do, the job in front of me, which seeking a third term -- with the money-raising and campaigning that it would require -- would not allow me to do.

In addition, Janet and I have concluded that once my second term is complete, we should devote ourselves to our children and grandchildren. We have been blessed with good health, but we're no spring chickens. In 2010, I will be 74 years old and will have served 44 years in public office, having been elected to more public offices than any other person in Ohio history.

I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve my statehouse district, my county, city, state and nation and feel good about the fact that with the help of some extraordinary people, many of whom are no longer with us, I have made a difference and will, with God's help and a great team in my Senate office, continue to make a difference during these next two critical years. We intend not to wind down-but to wind up, just like I did in the Mayor's office as well as the Governor's office.

We have a great deal to do in this Congress, and I will continue to focus on the areas that matter most: providing the nation a responsible stimulus package; jump-starting our credit markets; re-establishing confidence in the housing market and stemming the tide on mortgage foreclosures; harmonizing our nation's economic, energy and environmental policies; ensuring safe and stable highways; and continuing to improve the personnel and management of the federal government.

After the next two years, it will be time to give someone else the opportunity to serve our great state in the Senate, someone who can devote full time to organizing their campaign and raising the money necessary to win.

This has not been an easy decision for us. I still have the fire in my belly to do the work of our nation, but after serving the next two years, it will be time to step back and spend the rest of our time with our children and grandchildren, siblings and extended family and

We both are confident that God has a plan for us to use the time, energy and talents that He has given us to make a difference in another way.

He will be working in the minority party, out of power in both the House and Senate, so in order to have an impact, he should understand the need to work with Democrats. I believe that is within Senator Voinovich.

Looking ahead, it appears that Bush administration lackey Rob Portman is the prohibitive Republican favorite to run for the seat. Right now, names such as Congressman Tim Ryan and Lt Gov Lee Fisher have been floating in Democratic circles, but no takers (viable, at least) have appeared.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight has some thoughts to offer regarding Rob Portman and whether or not Ohio Democrats should have any fear in running against him.

For the record, I think Rob Portman, who represented one of the more conservative districts in the state of Ohio, is an establishment Republican candidate, and while establishment Ohio Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell is running for RNC Chair, the mood of Ohio Republicans isn't necessarily leaning towards an establishment candidate by default. Moreover, based upon the last two election cycles, the state as a whole might not be in a mood conducive for a successful run by someone whose conservative "credentials" are as strong as Portman's. Those reasons and his tenure in the Bush administration as United States Trade Representative (connection to the Bush W.H.) may further preclude his ability to win in 2010.

Those are just my thoughts.

Yours are welcome.