October 30, 2006

Dealbreakers: Updated List

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:20 pm

As a reminder, a BizzyBlog Dealbreaker is “something that completely justifies a person not voting for you, regardless of your party or your stands on the issues.”

Once any Dealbreaker is in place, discussion of where the candidate involved stands on “the issues” is over. The candidate is unacceptable by the standards of any reasonable voter, PERIOD. The choices are then limited to those candidates who remain.

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Official Dealbreakers of the current campaign season:

  • Ted Strickland Dealbreaker #1 – Voter Deception over the fact that he has been living outside of his district.
  • Ted Strickland Dealbreaker #2 – Financially Shortchanging His District by not living inside it.
  • Sherrod Brown Dealbreaker #1 – No-show Sherrod’s absence from roll call votes and key committee and subcommittee hearings.
  • Sherrod Brown Dealbreaker #2 – Late payment of taxes (19 months), and then only under legal threat (Brown can’t even remember the taxes he’s pushed on us, so “of course” he won’t remember the taxes he owes).
  • Charlie Wilson Dealbreaker (OH 6th District Congressional Candidate) — living outside his district, refusing to move into it, and thereby financially shortchanging it.
  • Paul Gillmor Dealbreaker (OH 5th District Congressional Incumbent) — living outside his district, and financially shortchanging it in the process; his opponent’s Wiki entry is the source, and the fact that Gillmor lives outside the district is not in dispute.
  • Vic Wulsin Dealbreaker 1 (OH 6th District Congressional Candidate) — Serious Breach of Medical Ethics, apparent endorsement of, and supporting continuation of, CDC-discredited “Malariotherapy” experiments.
  • Vic Wulsin Dealbreaker 2Failure to Disclose Endorsements of major national feminist organizations.
  • UPDATE: I’ve been tipped off to another congressperson who feels it’s beneath their dignity to live in the district they supposedly represent. I just need to button down some details, and will add that person when that occurs. It may also be another example of moving out while not informing voters. This ended up being a false lead. I learned this on about Nov. 4, and am just now (Nov. 12) updating.

In previous campaigns, before the Dealbreaker name was officially coined, these situations qualified under Dealbreaker standards:

An Imprecise Post (UPDATE: Some Precision Added)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:45 pm

Personal income is up a bunch, both in this month and during the past six, and wayyyyyyy ahead of inflation.

As Matt at WoMd would say, “I blame Bush.”

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UPDATE: Some precision — Marketwatch (link requires free registration) reports that “Real disposable incomes (were) up 0.8%, (the) biggest rise in a year.”

So Many Good SOB Alliance Posts, So Little Time

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:55 pm

Outstanding posts I noted over the weekend while perusing the output of the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance (I’m sure I missed many other good ones; please don’t feel offended if you’re not included):

  • Blackwell v Strickland found a FreeRepublic poster who said, “I am a graduate of the same seminary as Ted Strickland. There is NO WAY that a graduate of Asbury Seminary, in that era in which he attended (late 60′s), should be advocating these anti-morality positions that Strickland advocates.” It gets better from there.
  • B v S also had a quick interview with an apparently confident Lt. Gov. candidate Tom Raga, who said, “Polls have been wrong before, remember the RON issues?” Oh yeah. I do.
  • Friday afternoon, Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion posted a passionate video recitiation by Mike DeWine of Sherrod Brown’s dismal record (one would hope, in about 8 days, Sherrod Brown’s dismal legacy). The idea that every major 527 Media newspaper except the Toledo Blade endorsed DeWine because Sherrod Brown is too far on the fringe — even for them — is stunning.
  • This goes back a bit, but FYI News wrote a reinforced editorial endorsement of Ken Blackwell that Ohio’s 527 Media hopes their owners won’t read — because it’s better written than theirs, regardless of who they’re supporting.
  • EyeHackerBlog covered the Hugh Hewitt interview/slugfest with Andrew Sullivan last week that I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, and honed in on Sullivan’s heretical recasting of Vatican II as an excuse to dismiss papal authority if your conscience tells you otherwise. Nice try, Andy — no sale. UPDATE: Non-SOB blog Deep Thought fisked the conscience question in great detail, and finds Sullivan’s take on Vatican II totally wrong, to the point where he questions Sullivan’s right to call himself a Catholic. Money quote: “The trickiest part of claiming to be Catholic, though, is that there is actually a definition. Mr. Sullivan doesn’t seem to match it.”
  • New SOB member Connect the Dots 2006 (welcome!) fisks a tiny portion of the Associated Press Stylebook. Creating an automated AP-to-objective/fair/balanced translator from a detailed study of the Stylebook would be a noble project.
  • Newshound, who in my opinion must have tuned in sometime after the endless fever-swamp repetition of the false “Blackwell stole Ohio” meme that his opponent has bought into, isn’t happy with the gubernatorial campaign’s devolution, and says he won’t be pulling the lever for Ken Blackwell. (UPDATE: I think NixGuy has a great post to consider for Newshound and anyone else who is thinking of sitting out the guv race on account of “civility.”)
  • Red Hawk Review covers Antonin Scalia’s speech a little over a week ago. Make it an over-dinner read if you want to get through the comments, where Red Hawk quite stridently and successfully defends originalism.
  • Steve the Pirate has 10 questions you should ask yourself before deciding whether to vote in this election. Steve, you’re grading on a curve — I’d be tempted to say anyone who isn’t 9-for-10 on “yes” answers should stay home.
  • Wizblog notes the coverage of a coach and father figure who may have as much to do with Ohio State’s current perch at Number 1 as anyone besides Buckeye Jim Tressel.

We’re Number 354: Cincinnati Got to This Point During Six Years of John Cranley (Updated for Population Revision)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:27 pm

Or, conversely, Cincinnati is the 18th most dangerous city in America (based on FBI figures, per AP report, out of 371 listed; HT Drudge).

More dangerous than:
- Washington, DC (353)
- Newark(!) (350)
- Dayton (346)
- Toledo (331)
- Miami (327)
- Columbus (326)
- Indianapolis (320)
- Pittsburgh (307)
- San Francisco (270)
- New York City (145)

Small consolation: A few cities didn’t report, including Chicago and New Orleans (but Chicago might very well have come in less dangerous).

John Cranley isn’t the only person to blame for the city’s safety deterioration. But he’s the only one who feels he’s entitled to a promotion to Congress after six years of watching it happen.

I don’t think so.

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UPDATE: This is admittedly from a Wiki entry that doesn’t have a cite, but it conforms with what I expected and recall, having lived in the Cincy Metro area for over 40 years, and in the city itself during part of that time:

Before the riots of 2001, Cincinnati’s overall crime rate was dropping dramatically [citation needed]. It was at its statistical lowest point in records dating back to 1992.

John Cranley has been in City Council for six years while a previously favorable trend in crime has gone the other way — severely.

UPDATE 2, Nov. 12Cincinnat Blog points out that the recent restatement of Cincinnati’s population upward by 22,582 changes the city’s crime standing. My admittedly wild quess is that the 7% or so increase improves the city’s ranking by 20 or so places at the very most. The Enquirer link indicates that the city’s standing in homicides only “improved” from 15th-worst to 17th-worst.

John Fund Rips into ‘Early Voting’ (I’m up to EIGHT Solid Reasons Why It Should Be Restricted)

Filed under: Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:16 am

Disadvantages of early voting identified so far:

  • The political landscape can change after you’ve voted.
  • Candidates reveal their rude, deceptive, or self-righteous or other less-than-desirable sides (in this case, all by one person, and there’s still about a week to go).
  • Unpleasant or pleasant truths about candidates that should legitimately affect voter opinion can come in the final days. (Do you really want to tell me you wouldn’t care if a candidate’s previously unknown violent crime history was discovered after you voted for him or her but before Election Day?)
  • Politicans can abuse it if they get into disputes over their residency or voter registration situation (the link is to a mythical conversation between two Ohio politicians who have done just that this year)

John Fund’s column at today’s OpinionalJournal.com identifies many reasons that are even stronger:

Absent Without Leave
Early voting may result in late election results.

This year more voters than ever will cast ballots early. The result may be that we get the final election results late. It’s possible we won’t know which party controls either house of Congress for days or even weeks because of all the disputes and delays caused by absentee ballots.

Thirty states now allow anybody to cast an absentee ballot without having to give an excuse for missing Election Day. That’s up from just 20 states six years ago. Several other states also allow early voting at government buildings or even grocery stores. This year, it’s expected that over one in four Americans will vote before Election Day.

In states such as Washington, California and Arizona, more than half the ballots are likely to be absentee. In California, more than 1 in 5 voters have signed up to receive absentee ballots for every election. Oregon has gone even further. In 2000 it abolished polling places, and everyone votes by mail.

With all due respect to The Beaver State, that is nuts. Whether or not you know it or are willing to admit it, you have lost control over your elections, as we will see. But let’s move on:

If control of Congress hinges on a few close races, don’t expect to know the final outcome on Election Night. While early votes cast on electronic machines are easily integrated into the totals from traditional polling places, paper absentee ballots are typically counted only after the others.

….. In some supertight races, a flood of absentee ballots could delay the results for weeks. “Anytime you have more paper ballots cast outside polling places, the more mistakes and delays you’re likely to have,” Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s Democratic secretary of state, told me.

Mistakes are certainly possible. In 2004, a worker at a Toledo, Ohio, election office found 300 completed absentee ballots in a storage room more than a month after the vote. At least half hadn’t been counted, and they affected the result of at least one local contest. In Washington state, absentee ballots were the main reason that two recent statewide contests, for Senate in 2000 and governor in 2004, went into overtime.

It is also more than a little likely that Washington State’s 2004 governor’s race was stolen (uncounted ballots weighing heavily Democrat were unaccountably being “found” day after day after day), yet there appears to be no move towards improving controls over voting or ballots in that state. It’s also telling that those who simply lie about Ken Blackwell somehow fixing Ohio’s elections are stone-cold silent about what happened in Washington, and, as far as I know, haven’t lifted a finger to change the crazy system that enabled the shenanigans to occur.

Continuing with Fund:

….. Supporters of absentee voting insist that it increases turnout. But that’s simply not the case.

It’s certainly true that voters like no-excuses absentee voting for its convenience. ….. But it comes at a price. Simply put, absentee voting makes it easier to commit election fraud, because the ballots are cast outside the supervision of election officials. “By loosening up the restrictions on absentee voting they have opened up more chances for fraud,” Damon Stone, a former West Virginia election fraud investigator, told the New York Times.

It’s so easy to cheat you’d be surprised who’s been caught at it. In 1998, former congressman Austin Murphy of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, was convicted of absentee-ballot fraud in a nursing home, where residents’ failing mental capacities make them an easy mark.

Absentee voting also corrupts the secret ballot. Because an absentee ballot is “potentially available for anyone to see, the perpetrator of coercion can ensure it is cast ‘properly,’ unlike a polling place, where a voter can promise he will vote one way but then go behind the privacy curtain and vote his conscience,” notes John Fortier, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, in his new book, “Absentee and Early Voting.”

I’m simply amazed that people don’t get this, don’t care about it or, I suppose, haven’t thought about it.

The 2001 National Commission on Federal Election Reform, a bipartisan group co-chaired by Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, found that local election officials have grown sloppy in handling absentee ballots. “Most states do not routinely check signatures either on applications or on returned ballots, just as most states do not verify signatures or require proof of identity at the polls,” noted John Mark Hansen, the director of research for the commission’s report.

The commission concluded that absentee ballots do not satisfy five essential criteria for sound and honest elections:
– Assure the privacy of the secret ballot and protection against coerced voting.
– Verify that only duly registered voters cast ballots.
– Safeguard ballots against loss or alteration.
– Assure their prompt counting.
– Foster the communal aspect of citizens voting together.

It’s easy to make fun of the final item, but failures in any one of the first three items listed can easily compromise the integrity of elections. And this point cannot be denied — As things stand now, there simply is NO WAY to ensure that these three forms of cheating (coercion, voting when not eligible, and losing or altering ballots) will not take place. As to the fourth, letting the counting of ballots and finalization of results go past Election Day in all but the closest of races is inexcusable in the 21st century.

Add these four additional disadvantages to the four identified at the beginning of this post, and there are EIGHT solid reasons why voters should be compelled to vote on Election Day, unless they REALLY can’t get to the polls because of health or legitimately being out of town.

I’m sorry; I will not be moved on this matter. Unrestricted “early voting” is sheer madness. Why in the world are we so cavalier about exposing elections to rampant fraud (or even a little fraud)? How can at tiny bit of convenience possibly be that important?

The Incredible Shrinking 527 Media: They’ll Blame It on the Internet; They’re at Least Half-Wrong

Newspaper circulations are plummeting (HT Michelle Malkin), even more than I expected. You’ll be stunned at some of the losses.

If the problem is entirely reader migration to the Internet, what explains the New York Post bucking the trend with circ up over 5%? (No, it wasn’t this; besides, that blessed event occurred after the September 30 reporting cutoff.)

It’s not just about giving readers what they want, which is what the Post’s statement about the circ increase focuses on. It’s also giving it to the readers straight in a fair and balanced manner — something too many papers appear determined NOT to do.

Keep in mind that the circ changes noted are only for a six-month-period, NOT a year.

Here are the top 25, along with that 6-month change:

1. USA Today: 2,269,509, (-1.3%)
2. The Wall Street Journal: 2,043,235, (-1.9%)
3. The New York Times: 1,086,798, (-3.5%)
4. Los Angeles Times: 775,766, (-8.0%)
5. The New York Post: 704,011, 5.3%
6. Daily News: 693,382, 1.0%
7. The Washington Post: 656,297, (-3.3%)
8. Chicago Tribune: 576,132, (-1.7%)
9. Houston Chronicle: 508,097, (-3.6%)
10. Newsday: 413,579, (-4.9%)
11. The Arizona Republic, Phoenix: 397,294, (-2.5%)
12. The Boston Globe: 386,415, (-6.7%)
13. The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.: 378,100, (-5.5%)
14. San Francisco Chronicle: 373,805, (-5.3%)
15. The Star Tribune, Minneapolis: 358,887, (-4.1%)
16. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 350,157, (-3.4%)
17. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland: 336,939, (-0.6%)
18. The Philadelphia Inquirer: 330,622, (-7.5%)
19. Detroit Free Press: 328,628, (-3.6%)
20. The Oregonian, Portland: 310,803, (-6.8%)
21. The San Diego Union-Tribune: 304,334, (-3.1%)
22. St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: 288,676, (-3.2%)
23. The Orange County (Calif.) Register: 287,204, (-3.7%)
24. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 276,588, 0.6%
25. The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee: 273,609, (-5.4%)

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UPDATE: If you check against the published list first released six months ago, the math doesn’t work (I hate that when that happens, but I’m just the messenger). Just look at the first two: USA Today’s decline from March’s 2,272,815 to 2,269,506 to September is about 3,300, which is nowhere near a 1.3% loss. The story is similar with the Wall Street Journal, whose drop from 2,049,786 to 2,043,235 is NOT a 1.9% loss.

I have to assume that the Audit Board of Circulation, the source for all of this, made adjustments to the March 31, 2006 numbers after they were first released in early May.

UPDATE 2: A later Editor & Publisher item noted this:

The San Jose Mercury News, for example, is off 9.4% daily and 9.7% Sundays.

Over the past several reporting periods, while the Times lost circulation, it wasn’t nearly as steep. In March 2006, daily circulation at the paper declined 5.4% and Sunday decreased 1.7%. In September 2005, the paper’s daily circulation fell 3.7% and Sunday slipped 3.4%.

Someone needs to tell me what the Merc did to cause such a shrinkage.

As to the LA Times, do the math for the 18-month daily circ shrinkage and it’s stunning: .963 (1 minus Sept. 2005 shrink) x .946 (1 minus March 2006) x .92 (1 minus the 8% above) = .838. The Times has lost 16.2% of its circulation in 18 months.

And Dean Baquet thinks he’s untouchable?

Harold Ford Is Coming Unhinged

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:14 am

Harold Ford, the gift that keeps on giving when persuading people that early voting is something to avoid if at all possible, has done it again:

Republicans fear the Lord; he said Democrats fear AND love the Lord

This would not be a totally surprising Monday evening headline: Thousands of Tennesseans Swarm Election Boards to Demand Early Ballots Back.

Oh, and did I tell you that he called Australia “a nuclear threat” (HT Riehl via Ace)?

‘Appeal for Redress’ Is a Carefully Orchestrated PR Campaign, NOT a Grass-Roots Movement (ALSO: Same with Cindy Sheehan)

In fact, Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette calls it a perfect example of “Astroturfing“:

In politics and advertising, the term astroturfing describes formal public relations (PR) campaigns which seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the “AstroTurf” (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate “fake grassroots” support.

The goal of such campaign is to disguise the agenda of a political client as an independent public reaction to some political entity —a politician, political group, product, service, event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt (“outreach,” “awareness,” etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by anything from an individual pushing their own personal agenda through to highly organised professional groups with financial backing from large corporations.

Go to the Mudville link for the details. “Appeal” would get away with its scam if it weren’t for Mudville and one paper (the New York Sun via Mudville) out of 200 who had stories on the outfit that had enough curiosity to find out who is really behind it.

What a bunch of phoney baloney pretentious, irresponsible jerks — that would be both the orchestrators and the 527 Media that willingly abstains from having any kind of curiosity.
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UPDATE: Greyhawk notes (and note this well for posterity) that Cindy Sheehan, as written up in the Washington Post, was an “AstroTurf” operation engineered by Fenton Communications — the same people orchestrating “Appeal for Redress.”

Christine Brennan’s Attempt to Rattle Cardinal Pitcher Jeff Suppan

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 8:11 am

On Friday, the USA Today sportswriter took time off from her endless flogging of Title IX as the reason for every success that occurs in women’s sports to try to rattle Jeff Suppan, the Game 4 pitcher for the now-World Champion St. Louis Cardinals (the game took place Thursday evening; Brennan’s column probably had to be turned in before game time):

While raindrops fell Wednesday night on Busch Stadium, preventing Suppan from starting Game 4, his face and voice were all over the local and national news. He has injected himself into the most contentious national campaign issue of the week, Missouri’s Amendment 2, which would provide constitutional protections for embryonic stem cell research in Missouri.

This is the issue that gained fame — the right word might be infamy — when actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, appeared on a television ad during World Series Game 1 praising Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill’s support for stem cell research.

….. Suppan appears in an anti-Amendment 2 ad that was scheduled to air Thursday night in Missouri during Game 4. The commercial, which went into production a couple of weeks ago, was timed to air during his start, said Jaci Winship of the group Missourians Against Human Cloning.

Suppan isn’t the only celebrity in the commercial; he’s joined by former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals, actress Patricia Heaton and actor Jim Caviezel.

In the ad, Suppan says, “Amendment 2 claims it bans human cloning, but in the 2,000 words you don’t read, it makes cloning a constitutional right. Don’t be deceived.”

….. Suppan has every right to speak out on any issue he’d like. It’s often refreshing to find athletes who are not the stereotypical dumb jock, athletes who actually have opinions about the world around them and occasionally let them be known.

But (Rush) Limbaugh did Suppan no favors this week. When the commentator made a mockery of himself — and the view they share on a significant issue — Suppan was dragged into something bigger than even World Series Game 4, ensuring a much wilder ride now for Suppan and his political pitch.

It sure seems to me that Brennan was hoping that Suppan would have a hard time in Game 4. The lesson would have been: Don’t rock the boat, buddy, especially during crunch time, or it will affect your career. I somehow think that if Suppan were on Michael J. Fox’s side of the debate, Suppan would have instead received high praise from Brennan for his “courageous stand.”

Too bad for Christine: Suppan came through with an acceptable but not special start (6 innings, 3 runs), and his team won Game 4.

It would be nice if Christine Brennan would get off her high horse and concentrate on telling us what is happening on the field for a change, instead of writing targeted politically-correct columns in an attempt to affect it.

‘Idomeneo’ Is On in Germany

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:06 am

“Idonemeo” is German play that was cancelled out of fear of Muslim violence is going to return (HT Michelle Malkin), and preparations have begun “without delay.”

That’s a relief in one sense, but the machinations necessary to get to this point virtually guarantee that concerns over safety and avoidance of violence that shouldn’t even be considered in a civilized society will continue to get undeserved attention.

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Previous Posts:
- Sept. 27 — Eurabian Thinking Strikes in Germany — UPDATE (Inefffectual Pushback)
- Sept. 27 — Eurabian Thinking Strikes in Germany

Kevin at Pundit Review Has a Great YouTube Vid by Larry Elder on the Upcoming Election

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:01 am

Watch it.

‘On full disclosure, I haven’t read it, and that’s why I didn’t put myself up for it distinctly.’

That’s Michael J. Fox on Missouri’s Amendment 2 on EMBRYONIC stem-cell research.

What, a, tool (HT Drudge).

Hugh and Andrew: An Interview NOT Made in Heaven

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 7:51 am

You know a conversation is not going to go well when you ask the other person “How are you?” and the response is “What do you mean by that?”

That’s essentially what Hugh Hewitt faced when he interviewed Andrew “I’m not angry, I’m happy” Sullivan a couple of days ago. Sullivan responded with hostility to the following questions:

“Are you a Christian?”

“Do you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead?”

“Do you consider yourself under the authority of Benedict, or before him, John Paul II?”

Questions such as these were seen by Sullivan as part of a Hewitt “inquisition.” Zheesh — That’s not a way to sell a lot of books, Andrew

Positivity: Scott Adams Recovers His Voice, In His Own Words

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:02 am

Persistence, persistence, persistence (multiple-hanky alert; HT Club for Growth):

Good News Day

As regular readers of my blog know, I lost my voice about 18 months ago. Permanently. It’s something exotic called Spasmodic Dysphonia. Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis. It happens to people in my age bracket.

I asked my doctor – a specialist for this condition – how many people have ever gotten better. Answer: zero. While there’s no cure, painful Botox injections through the front of the neck and into the vocal cords can stop the spasms for a few months. That weakens the muscles that otherwise spasm, but your voice is breathy and weak.

The weirdest part of this phenomenon is that speech is processed in different parts of the brain depending on the context. So people with this problem can often sing but they can’t talk. In my case I could do my normal professional speaking to large crowds but I could barely whisper and grunt off stage. And most people with this condition report they have the most trouble talking on the telephone or when there is background noise. I can speak normally alone, but not around others. That makes it sound like a social anxiety problem, but it’s really just a different context, because I could easily sing to those same people.

I stopped getting the Botox shots because although they allowed me to talk for a few weeks, my voice was too weak for public speaking. So at least until the fall speaking season ended, I chose to maximize my onstage voice at the expense of being able to speak in person.

Read the whole thing.