November 8, 2006

Mode Change

Filed under: General — Tom @ 10:33 am

Before the election issues heated up, I moved briefly into “light posting” mode, meaning roughly four brief posts in the morning and maybe another, if the mood struck, sometime during the rest of the day.

I’m going back in that direction for the time being, and will hopefully get the online business initiative I have been working on finished shortly.

Election Follow-up

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:28 am

National:

  • The 527 Media tilted at least two Senate elections in the Dem direction, maybe three. In Virgina, the George Allen macaca story, plus the n-word story (aided in its spread by a “political consultant,” Larry Sabato, who didn’t even hear what Allen supposedly said) both monopolized the WaPo for days. Meanwhile, Jim Webb’s lewd novel-writing habits and general incoherence got little notice. Missouri got stolen thanks to Michael Fox’s lying about Amendment 2, and about Jim Talent’s supposedly opposition “stem cell research.” No, Talent supported the kind (adult) that is getting results, but his opponents who have now successfully enshrined cloning in a state’s constitution wouldn’t let a little thing like the truth get in their way. I would also argue that the WaPo’s passive/aggressive approach to Steele (strident editorial opposition while studiously ignoring the support he picked up in the AfrAm pastoral community) may have also made the difference in Maryland.
  • The Republicans as a party learned that if you don’t govern as advertised, you eventually pay. John Boehner did what he could to engineer a recovery, and did as well as anybody could in the circumstances. He should be named Minority Leader, NOW.
  • We can thank McCain-Feingold and Campaign Finance Reform for keeping independent voices in support of and opposed to candidates off the stage, and giving the 527 Media virtually free reign. Hewitt’s right; John McCain should not run for President. McCain probably won’t listen.
  • The 527 Media’s influence may be slowly but surely waning, but its open advocacy is at least offsetting that decline for now. If you though 2006 was bad, wait until you see what’s in store for 2008; the financial reverses, which will surely continue, will not prevent that. But how bad does the bias have to get before they fall of the cliff?

Ohio:

  • Taft, Taft, Taft — He should have resigned. He didn’t. Very few people called for it (for what little it’s worth, I did). Bob Taft’s possibly second-last legacy is that Ohio is for all practical purposes a somewhat Blue State that needs to be turned red again; his final legacy is that Ohio’s turn in 2006 may be all that a Hillary Clinton needs to become president in 2008. Even if the next three problems I’ll go over didn’t exist, Taft’s failure to leave, in retrospect, doomed the GOP from the very start. I guess they thought if it could work for Bill Clinton, it would work in Ohio. Uh, dummies: It didn’t work for Bill Clinton; Al Gore lost.
  • Guns, guns, guns — Strickland neutralized what would ordinarily be a 10% advantage (at least 5% went to Strickland and got taken away from what would normally go to Blackwell on that issue alone). DeWine surely lost a few hundred thousand votes (no-shows and non-votes) based on his anti-2nd Amendment positions.
  • Ohio’s 527 Media did its part for both Dem candidates by failing to challenge their pasts, and in Strickland’s case, failing to report his 3-1/2 year residency scam that would have had them salivating at their computers had a Republican done similar things.
  • The rest of last night’s poor showing can be laid to the Ohio Republican Party’s failure to maturely handle Ken Blackwell’s primary victory. They should have aggressively defined Strickland starting on May 3, and essentially let the summer go by without acting. There were openings; they weren’t taken.

There’s one thing the General Assembly and Taft can do for this state before they go — lower the state income tax as much as eventually promised, but do it NOW. The state’s running a comfy surplus, and could use a shot in the arm. It will prevent the new governor from deciding that “we can’t afford it” (which is about as certain as the sun rising in the east). It will establish an appropriately low tax baseline for evaluating what the new governor does. It may save us from some of the awful effects of Issue 2′s passage. Will they do this? They’re probably not even thinking about it.

The fact that only Bob Ney’s old seat was lost out of the Ohio’s GOP congressional delegation has to be seen as a near miracle.

Issues:

  • The passage of Issue 2, especially with its escalator clause, is a very sad event in a state that has never fully bounced back economically. It has the potential to hold Ohio back from what it could be for years to come.
  • Issue 3′s repudiation is a definite bright spot. What a mess that would have been.

Local:

  • All of the local GOP Congresspersons survived (Turner, Chabot, Boehner, Schmidt, and Davis in KY). Chabot and Schmidt were closer than they should have been. More on Schmidt in a bit.
  • State Rep. Tom Brinkman survived a stiff challenge from a strong Democratic opponent and (I am told) people on the right who tried to undercut him, setting up a probable 2008 Clash of the Titans with Michelle Schneider for the Ohio Senate.
  • In Hamilton County, Phil Heimlich lost a County Commission seat, thank to “help” from the same people whose mission in life has been to make Jean Schmidt’s life difficult. The county gets less red, and more blue, with each passing election. The slash-and-burners are accelerating the process.

Now to Schmidt:

Let’s see –

  • She won an 11-person special election primary in June 2005 where the Christian Right’s fair-haired voting scofflaw tried to parachute in for a quick victory.
  • She survived a nationally-focused special election in August 2005 where her Iraq War vet opponent pretended to be a Bush-supporting Republican on TV while cursing her in personal appearances.
  • She survived a challenge in May 2006 from the same voting scofflaw who accepted the help of slash-and-burn artists while pretending to be “dignified” himself.
  • And finally, she has survived an opponent who got the help of a gullible (or co-conspiring) newspaper and, I believe, the active assistance of a write-in candidate who (as of this moment) received less than half of votes the non-illustrious David “Mr. 362″ Smith did in 2005 (with 4 times as many votes cast). With their help, she dishonestly played the nuclear NIMBY card in the 2nd District’s easternmost counties. For this reason, and others (here and here), Vic Wulsin, and not Jean Schmidt, should be the one wearing the “TLB” tag.

Memo to all those afflicted with SDS (Schmidt Derangement Syndrome): She’s still standing. You ….. aren’t.

If SOB Alliance members have helped Jean Schmidt get or save her job four times (of course, who can ever know?), I for one am glad to have contributed to it. Now, after four elections in 17 months, the last three against opponents whose victories would have been disasters, it’s up to Schmidt to prove herself worthy of something more than defense against the undeserving. Is it too much to ask that the SDSers let her do her job for the next 14 or so months, and THEN decide whether she deserves a primary challenge? Unfortunately, it probably is. But before you guys hatch your next grand scheme, consider this: If yesterday taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as a safe seat. We saw nationally what happens when a party starts believing that control is its birthright and starts to believe it’s untouchable. That goes for the 2nd District as well as the nation. The GOP does not own it.

Jean Schmidt’s unhinged right-wing opponents have disgracefully played with fire in two general elections in a row, first by encouraging conservatives to stay at home in August 2005, and this time by encouraging, if not sponsoring, a write-in candidate whose only mission was to disrupt her campaign and cause her defeat. Folks, by undermining Schmidt, YOU have put the 2nd District in play, while the other side rubs its hands in anticipation of the next favor you’re planning to do for them. Just stop; if the District is ever lost, there is no guarantee it will ever come back. If you think she should be opposed in May 2008, at least find a worthy challenger.

______________________________

UPDATE, Nov. 12: Re Blackwell-Strickland, this comment I made at NixGuy back on August 23 was unfortunately prophetic:

I’ll have to admit to not following the gov race as close as others, but maybe that’s an advantage in the following comments.

I get the distinct impression that the Buckeye media intends to ignore this race except for the most unimportant of details — things like where the candidates were and how many babies they kissed, etc.

Why? They think Ted’s winning, and they want Ted to win. The less said about Ted, the less likely his lib tendencies will be exposed. The less said about Blackwell, the less reasonable he will seem, as their meme is that he’s a right-wing religious wacko extremist.

I think Ted is going to have the most invisible campaign by a competitive candidate in memory, in hopes that he isn’t exposed for what he is and that he can preserve his perceived lead. Blackwell is going to have to go around the media in a very, very big way to get his true self known.

E-Voting Bullet Appears to Have Been Dodged

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:08 am

Lots of problems reported, including potental biggies in NJ (some machines reported to be pre-programmed to vote for Democrat US Senate winner Menendez), but they don’t appear to have been factors that swayed elections ….. I think.

This situation had better get totally straightened out by November 2008, or there will be serious hell to pay that may make Florida 2000 look like a picnic.

EU Working on Spreading the French Economic Disease

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:03 am

Item: EU ministers clash over law limiting working hours

European Union employment ministers on Tuesday clashed over an EU working hours law, signalling little chance of a much-needed agreement on the disputed piece of legislation.

The day-long talks aimed at settling a two-year row on the divisive EU working time directive showed member states at loggerheads over when Britain should end its opt-out from the EU’s 48-hour maximum working week.

Employers and employees apparently are unable to work such arrangements out like adults in the EU.

I suppose next we’ll have self-employed folks being required to turn themselves in if they work too hard.

In the UK, the Government Gets to Decide Whether Your Charity Is ‘Worthy’

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:58 am

If I thought the government would work to get charities out of political advocacy and often overtly partisan activity, I might be impressed. But it’s clear from this column by Alasdair Palmer in the UK Telegraph that the threat of revoking charity privileges based on political correctness is real:

We don’t like your charity, so we’ll close it

Next week, the new Charities’ Bill will finish its passage through Parliament. It should become law before the end of the year. In spite of being billed as “the biggest review of charity legislation in the past 400 years”, it has generated very little comment. This is surprising, because the Bill will vastly increase the power of the Charities’ Commission to dissolve charities, confiscate their endowments and assets, and give them to what the Commission considers a more genuinely “charitable” cause.

That threat is alarming and real. It used to be taken for granted that organisations devoted to education, to religion, or to the relief of poverty, were automatically providing a “public benefit”. The new legislation dissolves that assumption. Even more worryingly, it also leaves it up to the Charities Commission to decide what constitutes a “public benefit”. There is no guidance in the legislation on how that slippery notion should be defined. Ministers and members of the Commission have referred to “case law”, but there is almost none, precisely because, for the last 400 years, there has been so firm a consensus that education, religion and the relief of poverty constitute public benefits.

This is truly odious. Don’t you just love it that the government gets to seize the assets and redistribute them?

It’s hard to underestimate how much mischief an ideologically determined Charities Commission could cause, especially to religions or think tanks that don’t toe a politically correct line. This could go in any political direction, and could change on a dime if there is a change in Commissioners or which party controls the government.

The idea that the Commission gets to feast its eyes on charities’ assets is particularly offensive. It could (more likely will) lead to targeting of richer organizations that have somehow strayed, as the Commission would arbitrarily define it. Shouldn’t recent donors be entitled to some kind of pro rata refund if a charity they have given to gets dissolved?

Good-Bye, Dean Baquet

You knew this was coming. It should have come sooner.

Positivity: Dog Saves Owner’s Life, Survives Being Hit Himself

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:02 am

Near Philadelphia:

Updated: 10/31/2006 8:56:09 AM

A heroic rescue near Philadelphia this weekend proves a pooch really is man’s best friend.

Ozzie, the hero dog, as he’s being called, was credited with saving his master’s life by pushing him out of the way of a hit and run accident.

David Tillman, Ozzie’s master, says his dog thought nothing of his own life as he pushed him away from an incoming car and was himself dragged under it losing part of his leg and almost losing his life.

“He’s a hero, he saved my life. This is my best friend man,” said Tillman,”I was kind of bummed out cause he was hurting really, really bad.”

Residents who saw the story on a local news station poured in support with donations to help save Ozzie who is still in a battle to save his life despite two operations.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been man, you know,” Tillman said, “I’m just glad he’s home.”

Ozzie’s medical bills were covered in full by the donations but despite all the calls and goodwill, police still have not found the suspect who drove off.

“We’ll get him. Man, you’re gonna get caught so just turn yourself in, man,” said Tillman of the suspect who is still at large.