October 19, 2006

Accounting for This Evening’s Blackwell-Hannity-Cunningham Rally

Viking Spirit has a report. He says there were “a lot more than 100 Blackwell supporters at the rally.”

So does Nasty Brutish & Short, who claims the pro-Blackwell crowd was “200-250.”

So does Howard Wilkinson of The Enquirer’s blog. He says there were 100 Blackwell supporters and 30-40 for Strickland.

Viking and NB&S say that Howard is full of baloney on his Blackwell supporter count.

This would not be surprising. As BizzyBlog demonstrated back in April, Howard Wilkinson is very math-challenged when it comes to addition (the error is STILL THERE).

So why would anyone think that Howard can count?


UPDATE: Mark at Weapons of Mass Discussion was there, and is quite ticked at Wilkinson’s demonstrated lack of math skills, and with good reason. I also like Mark’s name for our local paper — The Cincinnati Emptyquirer.

UPDATE 2: NB&S links in an update to the Emptyquirer’s online report on the event. NB&S believes that the reported count of 50 protesters count is higher than actual, and that the count of 200 Blackwell supporters is lower.

UPDATE 3: In a comment at the NB&S post, Mark of WoMD says — “I went around counting, and there were about 300-400 blackwell supporters, no more than 45 strickland supporters.

What Touchy Ted Didn’t Say About His Residency Yesterday at the DDN (DO NOT MISS UPDATE 2)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:17 pm

This post will stay at or near the top for the rest of Thursday.

Ted Strickland DID say he’s going to sue Ken Blackwell because a citizen in Columbiana County is challenging his (Strickland’s) voter registration there on residency (i.e., lack thereof) grounds:

Democrat Ted Strickland said Wednesday he plans to file a lawsuit against Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell, in his role as secretary of state, over a challenge to Strickland’s eligibility to vote.

“We’re going to sue you and we’re going to win,” Strickland, a U.S. House member from Lisbon, said as the two dueled verbally in a meeting with reporters and editors of the Dayton Daily News.

The two had a heated exchange over a challenge to Strickland’s voter registration filed by Jacquelyn Long of East Liverpool. Long’s son is a volunteer in his campaign, Blackwell said. But Blackwell said his campaign had nothing to do with the challenge.

An unanswered question is whether Strickland’s status as a registered voter could also affect his place on the Nov. 7 ballot.

“This is unbelievable,” said Strickland, who has residences in Lisbon and Columbus. “He knows that I am registered in Columbiana County … I pay rent in Columbiana County. I pay utility bills in Columbiana County … I am a qualified elector and qualified to be on the ballot as his opponent.”

Said Blackwell, “That’s a decision for the local board of elections.”

The idea that Blackwell can be sued over a matter in which he is not a party, and when in fact his office has turned the matter back over to Columbiana County so that its Board of Elections can do the job it was supposed to do the first time around, is a pretty good knee-slapper.

Given that this was a meeting at the offices of what is perhaps the furthest-left “major” newspaper in the state (I know, the competition from the Blade and the PD is fierce), I suspect that yesterday’s outburst was orchestrated by Team Strickland to get out a carefully calculated statement.

Regardless, take note of what Ted Strickland did NOT say:

  • “I pay income taxes in Lisbon.” He could not say that because he doesn’t. The Strickland campaign has acknowledged that he pays them in Columbus. It is on the record from matters that have transpired so far in the voter-registration dispute that he does NOT pay city income tax in Lisbon.
  • “The Lisbon apartment is my principal residence in Ohio.” He could not say that because it’s not; he told the property tax folks in his condo’s Columbus-area jurisdiction that the condo is his principal residence so that he could get a 2-1/2% property-tax reduction. He has also, I am told, consistently filed his federal and state income taxes listing the Columbus condo as his primary address.
  • “I LIVE in Lisbon.” (let alone “WE live in Lisbon”)

Stay tuned.


UPDATE: Lincoln Logs has further thoughts.

UPDATE 2: Whoa. Conservativeguy at RAB posts on a residency-related article in the Plain Dealer today with this remarkable pair of paragraphs –

(Complainant) Long’s attorney, Heather Heidelbaugh, said that if Strickland’s voting residency was overturned, he would not be a “qualified elector.” Only qualified electors can serve as elected officials in Ohio, although Heidelbaugh stopped short of saying that meant Strickland would be knocked off the ballot.

An Ohio State University professor who specializes in election law said it was “not likely” but “conceivable” that Strickland could be thrown out of his race against Blackwell if he is found ineligible to vote.

Go see who Conservativeguy thinks the OSU professor who apparently wished not to be named is.

UPDATE 2A: Needle time — The Plain Dealer has gone from “lame” to 2 full pages of coverage in 14 days.

UPDATE 3: It’s a couple days old, but there is a YouTube capture of a Youngstown station’s Tuesday story on the residency controversy that serves as a pretty good primer.

UPDATE 4: The Youngstown Vindicator has a report that’s heavy on details and a little light on clarilty. What I come away with is an impression that Team Strickland is trying to run out the clock.

Previous Residency-Related Posts:

- Oct. 18 — That ‘Lame’ Strickland Residency Story Has Travelled Quite a Bit
- Oct. 14 — Et Tu, AP?
- Oct. 14 — How Important Is It to Voters That a Congressional Candidate Live in the District?
- Oct. 13 — Oh, That ‘Lame’ Strickland Residency Controversy Is Getting Around Quite Nicely
- Oct. 6 — Should One Columbiana Co. BOE Member Disqualify Himself in the Strickland Complaint?
- Oct. 5 — Ted Strickland’s Ohio Gubernatorial Candidacy Challenged on Residency/Voting Grounds

I Missed This Anniversary — Bankruptcy ‘Reform’ Is a Year Old

Filed under: Bankruptcy & Reform,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:04 pm

Not that I would have celebrated Tuesday if I had remembered.

Here’s some of an interesting look, with clear biases in the full article, at what has happened since the law’s enactment:

Supporters of the new bankruptcy law claimed that there would be a precipitous drop in filings after the law was enacted, as those trying to evade their debts through liquidation would find the process too difficult to pursue.

Initially, that seemed to be the case, as filings dropped to slightly over 100,000 in the first quarter of 2006, as opposed to over 600,000 in the last quarter of 2005 and a year-round total of over 1.6 million.

But the statistics were measured against an abnormal spike in bankruptcies, as debtors rushed to get their petitions in before the new law took effect. Now bankruptcy lawyers and courts are noticing a slow rise in filings around the country.

True enough, but as I have mentioned a couple of times (here and here), I think filings under the new law will peak in the 800,000 per year range. Continuing:

In surveying credit counseling agencies for information on why petitioners were filing after the law, NACBA found 79 percent of those seeking credit counseling prior to filing bankruptcy were doing so due to circumstances beyond their control, such as job loss, home loss, serious medical illness, and so on.

Though it was one of the main topics at the time of the legislation, I haven’t seen any mention of reducing fraud or catching scam artists since the new law took effect. I thought all along that the fraud argument was bogus, as an FBI task force devoted to fraud got very little in the way of results after many years of trying.

One thing I didn’t expect is in a MarketWatch piece from Tuesday (requires free registration):

About 95% of consumers who filed in the eight months following the law’s effective date earn below the median income, said Clifford White, acting director of the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, at a conference looking at the law convened Monday by the American Bankruptcy Institute in Washington.

More consumers are filing Chapter 13, under which the debtor pays back a portion of debts over a period of usually five years, instead of Chapter 7, under which a debtor can eliminate most debt. Chapter 13 filings are now about 40% of the total, compared with a historic average of 27%, according to White’s presentation.

First, I thought the new law was very clear that if you had sub-median income, Chapter 7 was the only permitted way to go. I re-read the language of the bill, and it still looks that way to me.

Nevertheless, as noted above, it appears that a lot of people are voluntarily signing on to the payments regime of Chapter 13, and that such voluntarism is being allowed. Unless they are being forced to do so by creditors (which in theory under the new law should never happen unless there is bad faith on the part of the bankrupt person or family), the high percentage of Chapter 13s is more evidence that the truth about what “reform” backers claimed, that large numbers of people filing for bankruptcy before the new law took effect were simply gaming the system, is really the opposite.

Quote of the Day: Hugh Hewitt on Pre-Election Polls

Actually it was posted yesterday, but his question is astoundingly on point:

Now here’s my question: When, in the last two cycles of 2002 and 2004, has any national poll of standing shown a Republican to be ahead at this point in the race where that Republican in fact lost? (You can’t cite Zogby for this proposition, as the poll must generally be recognized as having at least a shred of credibility.) While poll after poll over these years have shown Democrats ahead who in fact lost, can you recall a race where polling put a GOP candidate ahead who in fact got smacked badly on election day?

Nope. And I’m trying. Anyone with a legit exception, throw it in the comments or e-mail me.

Over and above what Hewitt raised, there are Ohio pollsters’ special problems in getting it right, or even getting in the neighborhood (discussed here, here, and here) to consider.


UPDATE: Dan Riehl (HT Instapundit) looks at 2002′s US Senate results vs. final polls and can’t find a single example that answers Hewitt’s question. EVERY ONE went further the in GOP direction, some by stunning amounts; one swing was 16 points.

Moving at the Speed of Government

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:04 am

That phrase might soon be replaced by “moving at the speed of Democrats”:

When (Terry) Mr. McAuliffe took over in 2001, one of the first orders of business for his team of computer geeks was to gather information for the national party to turn into a flexible, open-source format for use in races across the country.

Then, when Dr. Dean took over last year, he essentially made a clean sweep of the people who had engineered the nascent national database effort.

Four years to get to “nascent”? The linked Observer article indicates that the Dems are not doing well in the geeky game of fine-tuning voter targeting. So if you’re a conservative or moderate and you get unexpected robocalls from liberal groups, you’ll know why.

Belgian Newspaper Online Suicide Watch Report

The newspapers got courts to order Google to pull their content from Google News’s search engine. Google went further, and pulled all of the newspapers’ URLs from Google’s regular search.

They must be pleased. Pass the cyanide — Now they want to be banned from MSN.

Real Earnings: A Real Increase

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:54 am

From yesterday’s Real Earnings announcement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Real average weekly earnings rose by 1.0 percent from August to September after seasonal adjustment, according to preliminary data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. This increase stemmed from a 0.2 percent rise in average hourly earnings and a 0.7 percent decline in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Average weekly hours were unchanged.

The Consumer Price Index (separate announcement here) dropped so much because of falling gas prices. Excluding food and energy, CPI was up 0.2% in September, and has gone up 2.9% in the past year. That’s a little higher than most economists would like to see, but not out of control.

This may be dismissed as a one-month shot in the arm, but what a shot.

Quote of the Day: Christopher Hitchens

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:49 am

That would be liberal Christopher Hitchens in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago (link requires subscription):

For a “peccadillo,” Mark Foley is gone from politics already. And a huge public holiday has been taken from the serious matters that confront the electorate. But before the waters close over this scandal, and before the next one surfaces, I would still like to know what crime was committed in this instance, and who if anyone was the victim. We like to think that we “learn” from such episodes, but I cannot think of any lesson that can be derived from this latest spasm of righteous indignation.

I’m still waiting on the “crime” and “victim” too. As of yesterday afternoon (HT Drudge) — “FBI Yet to Find Evidence of Foley-Page Sexual Contact”

Positivity: Vietnam’s Miraculous ‘Parachute Boy’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:02 am

The family is homeless — and celebrating:

Oct 4, 2006, 5:31 GMT

Hanoi – Residents of typhoon-ravaged central Vietnam are taking hope in the amazing story of a baby boy who survived when he was ripped out of his house and sent flying along with the home’s roof.

Le Ngoc Dong, 13 months old, was blown over a three-story school before landing in a pond 150 meters away, his family says. His fall was cushioned by a bed of floating plants that also kept him from sinking until his father plucked him out.

‘It’s a miracle,’ his father, Le Van Vinh, a 35-year-old welder in the city of Danang, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by telephone. ‘My son is very lucky. My family is very lucky.’

The infant has gained the nickname ‘Parachute Boy’ after his wild ride.

‘Everyone here knows his story,’ said a doctor in Danang’s Thanh Khe Hospital, who said the boy sustained only a slight head injury. ‘He’s very lucky he fell into the plants.’

The baby was sleeping in a cradle hung from a roof beam in his small home Sunday morning as his family and some friends sheltered from typhoon Xangsane, which killed at least 42 people in Vietnam and has left tens of thousands homeless.

When the 117-kilometre-per-hour winds tore the roof off the house, the cradle and little Dong went flying with it. His father and two friends immediately ran out and saw the roof and the cradle fly over a nearby school as they gave chase.

A neighbour, Vo Van Hoa, told local Thanh Nien newspaper he also saw the strange sight of the flying roof and cradle.

‘When the roof was in the air, it broke into two parts,’ Hoa told the paper. ‘One part fell down on the school and the other part flew over the school and into the pond behind it.’

When Vinh and his friends caught up, they found baby Dong’s cradle in a bamboo stand and the baby himself sinking slowly in the pond, slowed down by the aquatic plants known as ‘duckweed.’

The boy retrieved, everyone returned to ride out the rest of the storm in the now-roofless house, which eventually collapsed, though no one else was injured.

Now homeless, Dong’s father said the whole family still feels like celebrating.

‘My house has collapsed and we’re staying with relatives while I rebuild,’ Vinh said. ‘But I will hold a party to celebrate my son’s miracle survival.’