Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Statement issued today (Oct. 22) by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland

Did you know about this?

“I am deeply troubled by the news that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and her family have been subjected to repeated serious threats. This sort of behavior simply has no place in a healthy democracy. I know we can all agree that, regardless of which party we belong to or which candidates we support, threatening our public officials or their family members with physical harm has no place in Ohio or America. I admire the steady resolve of Secretary Brunner and her partners at the local bipartisan boards of elections as they continue to prepare for this historic election, and I wish them well as they work to ensure that our elections are administered fairly.”

--Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

None of this has received anything approaching proper coverage in the local media. In fact, last night, the local 11o'clock news (at least, on the channel we watch) waited until 11:15 to casually announce that the Ohio Supreme Court had dropped the latest suit against Brunner (which would have required challenging all newly-registered voters from early 2008 on!).

Then again, at least they covered it.

Meanwhile, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch has endorsed McCain, whom they feel is up to dealing with the great challenges that lie ahead. Why? Because he was a POW, why else? Did you even need to ask?

The country is in a big mess, they acknowledge. Yeah, and it's in that mess because of George W. Bush.

And who did the Dispatch endorse in 2000 and 2004? Right! George W. Bush.

The 'Patch also warns against a situation in which the Democrats control the House and Senate and have a man in the White House. A situation that was just fine with them when Republicans enjoyed it.

Speaking of shilling for the GOP, the 'Patch has been keeping up with a local story involving thirteen people who came to Ohio to get out the vote (something Repubs disapprove of, especially when the election's this close), even while it gives precious little coverage to the GOP vote-suppress-athon. Their right-wing--I mean, nonpartisan--political cartoonist of little talent, Jeff Stahler, recently drew a panel which depicted a dog wearing "I Voted" sticker. In the background is a newspaper headline reading "Voting Fraud Alleged." See the offensive cartoon here, if only to prove to yourself I'm not making this up: Voting--a big joke, to some.

Yeah, Dispatch. The war on Ohio's voters is hilarious, isn't it?

Ohio's not the ultra-conservative place it's fabled to be, but it is dull and uninvolved. With a streak of nastiness. Maybe it's this dull, nasty disposition that makes us such an easy mark for GOP evil. I tend to think so.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our precious American right to vote vs. database field mismatches. Guess which issue takes precedence?

The voter-suppression-athon in progress is one that's happening across the country, of course, though Ohio (as usual) is getting most of the attention. Which is great, so long as people are paying attention and getting very, very concerned.

And they are. I think. Maybe. (Public? Hello? Wakey-wakey time.)

Wow. Talk about a deep sleep. Anyway, no sooner had the marvelous Jennifer Brunner, our wonderful Secretary of State, won the U.S. Supreme Court case, the Repubs--oh, I'm sorry, a private (and, no doubt, highly and legitimately concerned) citizen--filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court. This article supplies many details:

The despicable, thuggish, un-American notion underlying such actions? Nothing less than a presumption to defraud on the part of the American voting public. It's that simple, and that blatant. In other words, any American who registers, or has ever registered, to vote is presumed to be part of a conspiracy to cast multiple, fraudulent votes. And for the Dems, of course. We're desperate, you know, to get that Arab, socialist, tax-raising terrorist lover into office so he can destroy America, or whatever it is he's planning to do to OUR country--so insist Palin-McCain and the GOP.

Is such a bigoted and idiotic notion buried in laughter whenever it's aired? Well, no, because it's coming from the right. If the right insisted that 17-foot jelly doughnut creatures from Pluto were breaking into the homes of true, red-blooded Americans and taking their guns, the right to breathe would be suspended until an act was passed to send soldiers into space to fight the menace.

The Halt America's Vote Act (HAVA) provides the perfect cover for this Jim-Crow-esque behavior, since it all comes down to data-field mismatches. (As if.) Think about it--our right to vote apparently stands on such shaky, uncertain ground that a data-field mismatch can leave it in doubt. Our most precious and important right is optional. Subject to suspension or denial. And all because the Republicans insist, without a shred of evidence, that a mass conspiracy is afoot.

No, ACORN is not evidence of a mass conspiracy. The burden of proof for a huge, nationwide plot to defraud at the polls is not remotely met by the fact that ACORN has collected fake registrations. No matter how obsessively the right treats the ACORN situation like the End of Life As We True-Blooded Americans (sorry about the rest of us) Know It.

The moral of this sorry story should be very clear--when the public stops caring about its most precious right, that precious right can, and will, be taken away.

It's that simple. The Republicans get away with this stuff because, as a group, we LET them.

Oh, for the day (if it ever existed) when the American people imagined they had rights. And stood up for them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ohio GOP is on the case

Shocking news from the "battleground" state of Ohio (where I reside)--people are registering to vote! Can you believe it?

What's more, some of them are taking the next step and voting!

Luckily, the Ohio GOP is on the case, playing games via the voter-suppression measure called the Help America Vote Act, which requires that new registrants have their info matched against state and federal records. The latter, if things don't line up state-wise.

Ain't that great. Voting is such a precious, fundamental right, no? So precious that it comes down to a database match. If this keeps up, other precious American rights--home ownership, for instance--may come down to a data field in doubt. "Sorry, but we've got to take your home, car, and the children. Data base mismatch."

And, so, the Ohio Republican Party has gone to a federal court to complain that people are voting. And, because they're Republicans, they're being (pick one) A) told to get a life, B) laughed at, C) razzed by the citizens of this great state, or D) getting their way, as usual.

D? How did you guess!!

Leethinks that his party (the Democratic Party) should take a break from bashing religion and making fun of Sarah Palin's "folksy" asides to look into this latest assault on voters. That's a big sacrifice, yes, but class- and faith-bashing are always going to be there--our right to vote may not. And, remember--the Hinder--er, Help America Vote Act is nationwide. It's not just Ohio and Florida and a few other reluctant-to-speak-up spots. It's everywhere.

Meanwhile, our Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner (a Dem) states, "I don't know when it became vogue to put fear into the voting process, except if you don't want people to vote." My memory tells me it's been years. Eight, at least.

Anyway, the Columbus Dispatch reports that "The Ohio Republican Part asked a federal court on Sunday to force Brunner to identify mismatches since Jan. 1 and try to resolve any discrepancies before the Nov. 4 election." Yes, sir--our fine Republicans, using our tax dollars wisely and frugally, as ever. Here in Ohio, there's no money for most things, but apparently we've got the time and dough to investigate database-field discrepancies with less than a month to go before the big day. Far out.

In its court filing, the on-the-case GOP said: "This is no mere technicality; it is the cornerstone of American democracy that every qualified voter should vote, but that persons who are not qualified voters should not vote." Wise users of public dough AND super-patriots. Wow. I'm impressed.

Yeah, the problem of people lying and cheating to get into the voting booth is about as massive as the issue of cat-shelter break-ins. Maybe the GOP can look into that when it's finished "helping" America vote. They can issue a statement about the problem of emptied-out cat shelters and long lines of Americans waiting in the cold and rain, and in vain, for a used feline.

Anyway, the bombs are dropping--must take cover. I hate living in a battleground state. It's hell on property rates, even when the market isn't tanking.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Does the left's hysteria Palin comparison to the right's?

Sorry--I had to do "Palin" word play, and that was the best I could manage. It won't happen again. At least, not in this post.

So... in case you haven't heard, some on the left (my side, by the way) want the media to question Sarah Palin hard and in detail about her possible ties to the Third Wave/Joel's Army movement--specifically, they want her to reveal, once and for all, her intentions regarding the end of the world. As in, if she becomes VP, does she plan to use her office to bring it about? The end of the world, I mean. Just what are her End Times policies?

Questions like that. Someone suggested Bill Moyers to do the interview, though Art Bell seems like a better choice to me.

In other words, we're (the left) up to our usual Oh-my-God-somebody-mentioned-God dumbness. Last time, it was Obama with his talk of faith-based initiatives--before that, it was Nancy Pelosi revealing to the press that she (gasp!) prays. Palin's Assembly of God association, of course, has caused far more progressive consternation (and it does seem to be progressing), but the root issue is the same. That issue being the left's determination to use religion as a metaphor for 1) the Religious Right, 2) everything and anything conservative, 3) "organized" religion, 4) uncoolness, 5) mind control, 6) etc.

That is, the left has programmed itself to assume a sarcastic, superior, preachy, and generally hostile posture whenever the subjects of religion, God, prayer, the end of the world, the Bible, Word Records, or Little Marcy comes up in print or speech. As a result, the general public has assumed that the left is anti-God. And why wouldn't they? Sure, we aren't, but because we've worked so hard to create that impression, we've earned everything that goes with it. Including lost votes, talking points for the right, and so on.

Our anti-God stance is a fashion statement. It's how we distinguish us from them. It's a knee-jerk ritual, and few of us spend two seconds thinking about the harm we're causing with such a posture. After all, as richard dawkins and sam harris point out, why treat religion as some sacred subject (no pun intended)? Why can't we speak critically of faith? Never mind that we've been doing just that for several years now, and nonstop, and with no one ending up in prison, the nearest river, Hell, or Alaska.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Griff gallery

The newest member of my tuxedo trio, Griff (short for Griffin, as in Merv).

The rest of the cats, remember, are officially Seaton cats, though all are part of the one (hopefully big and happy) family o' cats and their caretakers.

Herrrrrrrrrrre's Griffy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Separation of Sports and State

I just wanted to clarify some things regarding my sports/state separation stance, lest anyone think I'm an asportsiest.

First of all, I have nothing against sports, so long as the government keeps its paws out of same, and vice versa. What people do in the privacy of their homes or sports facilities is no business of mine, so long as I'm not being asked to watch, listen to, buy tickets for, or feign interest in athletics.

Secondly, honor, integrity, goodwill, and group pride and unity are hardly qualities uniquely found in (or uniquely promoted by) athletics, despite endless suggestions to this effect in print, on TV, and over loudspeakers.

Thir.... Um, just a second--an email just came in.

"Hey, Lee--what are you, against the American way? You don't like sports? What else don't you like? Liberty? The flag? NASCAR? Prepared piano?"

Well, at least he didn't question my manhood. Oops. Here's another one.

"Oh, and are you some kind of sissy? You like cats, Muzak, and you think Rachel Dratch is hot. But you hate sports. 'Nuff said."

Yeah, well, as I'm trying to point out, I don't hate sports. Rather, I want sports kept out of government. I want people to stop behaving as if sports represented the only path to accomplishment, to maturity, to fulfillment, to.... Here's another one.

"Greetings, Lee. I'm with you to a point, but the problem is that the Constitution specifies state/church separation. You know--'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,' which clearly means that any candidate who mentions religion should be tossed in prison. Whereas, the C. says nothing about state/sports separation."

I see. Are we to presume, then, that everything BUT religion can be promoted, hand over fist, by our tax dollars? I'm sorry, but....

"That's a straw man argument."

No, it isn't. I'm taking your point to its logical limit--i.e., if there's no basis for restricting state/sports interaction simply because the issue isn't addressed in print, then....


"Hi, I recently left West Bosgodia with three million dollars that my husband the ex-King, had safelly hidden from those, who illegally seized power... I arrived today in United, States today, and naturally, I don't feel safe to carrying around three million dollars. I need the help, of good people like you--If you are would be willing to cash for me a check, of the amount $50,000 and send $40,000 back to me...."

Ha. Fool me once....



Friday, July 11, 2008

The hard facts

The world can be unkind. I explained this tonight to our young and fairly new red-striped (well, cream-striped) cat, Savio. Savio's been bummed out over the two new Manxes in our midst--he thinks we may not love him as much anymore. We do, I explained. At the same time, I added, it's a tough world out there.

Which he should already know, seeing as how he was rescued from outside a bar where someone had dumped him. Anyway, he needed our assurance we love him, and we gave it. I hope it helped.

From new Manxes to new polls--namely, this one from Newsweek. Simply put, suddenly Obama's not doing so hot--his Newsweek numbers have dropped amazingly from just last month. Says Newsweek, "Obama's rapid drop comes at a strategically challenging moment for the Democratic candidate. "

Yeah, as in right after his high numbers coming out of the primaries. As in, right at a time his numbers should be steadily rising. In other words, ohhhhhhh, shit.

Naturally, Newsweek, being a strong Obama supporter, is choosing its words carefully, but there's a depressed (and stunned) tone to the piece. Those of us who predicted this months ago aren't shocked, of course. Well, I am, a little--I didn't expect things to get so hairy so fast. Then again, Obama has shown, and continues to show, all the political savvy of a crumpled gum wrapper.

People will debate this latest poll's findings. Others will point out that polls don't mean anything. And most of them were saying nothing of the sort when polls showed Obama well ahead of McCain.

Note the article's mention of the faith-based stuff and its effect on his image. Last time around, I received several lectures about my alleged views regarding faith and politics and/or Progressivism and politics--which is funny, since I hadn't conveyed any. The whole point of my piece was simple: Obama's faith-talk is annoying a lot of progressives.

Proof? These two links provide a good start:

My own views re religion and politics (in case you want to know) are simply summed up: religion is a feature of our culture and that fact should be reflected in and by our popular, representative democracy. The institutions of sports, business, education, and entertainment are represented 24/7 in and by our system--why not religion?

If religion is not to be represented in any way, then let's cut all official, taxpayer-dime associations between government and sports, business, education, mass media, and so on. And let's do it without delay.

Anyway, folks, I think we're looking at President McCain. I don't like the idea one bit, but no one asked me. Hell, I'm a Hillary supporter from Ohio. As far as the press is concerned, I can't even read, and I probably don't understand words when they're spoken to me.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Talking the F-word (Faith): To Obama's progressive supporters, I say...

Nya, nya, nya, nya, nyaaaa!!

By now you've possibly heard this portion (or a portion thereof) of a 2006 Obama speech. The entire text can be found at Obama's site.

Here's the juicy part:

"But what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant (sic), Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their 'personal morality' into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition."

Oh, my. Oh, oh, my.

So, progressive Obama fans, starting to regard B.O. as less cool, maybe? Less of a spokesperson for your views?

Yes? No?

Ohhhhhh, I had no idea things would get this entertaining this quickly.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Wright Scandal, continued

What scandal? The only scandal we see is the press pretending there's a scandal. Wright is non-news.

All that stuff about white folks not understanding black prophetic preaching and about blue collar Midwesterners being racist, etc.? That was all a pun.

No, no. A palindrome.

Barack's slick move wherein he sided with Wright, leaving himself wide open to an about-face by the guy? That was... um....

A palindrome.

What do I know? I come, after all, from a lower-middle-class background in Ohio. I'm so dumb I don't even realize that "nuance" is a synonym for "context." Neither, oddly enough, do any of the dictionaries I've referenced, but stranger things have happened. I'm so dumb, I thought that Wright's rantings were in context, even before it was shown that they, in fact, were in context. Getting ahead of the smart folks isn't nice, and I should stop doing it.

Anyway, if I were a sophisticated sort, I wouldn't be saying things like, "A piece of dryer lint could have foreseen that Wright wasn't going to cooperate with Obama or the press." I'd be blaming the Wright Scandal (which I'd put in quotes, as if it were something that didn't really exist) on the press, religion, white voters, the weather, dryer lint, the press, a lack of palindromes in print and on the Internet, the press, and the press. And white voters.

And it would all depend on your definition of "definition." And its palindromic version, "noitinifed."

Anyway, it's perfectly O.K. for my party's presumptive nominee to screw up non-stop, because Barack will be granted a wide, wide margin for error during the general election. Ask Gore. Or Kerry.

We've got this in the bag. Obama's the man! Wow, I feel more sophisticated by the minute.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My shockingly racist Ohio experience--a confession

The latest issue of The Christian Century reveals which part of the U.S. is the most religiously diverse. Something we've all wondered, right? And that part is (drum roll...) the Midwest. So there.

I didn't know that. I also didn't know that Ohio is one of the most racist states in the country. But I've been reading and hearing that a lot lately. Of course, my first reaction was, no way. Then again, if my own experience is anything to go by, perhaps there's something to the idea.

To be sure, I had little contact with black people when I was a kid growing up in Toledo, Ohio. Except for my parents' black acquaintances, including a drummer named Al, who was my dad's best friend circa 1970, and who visited us often. And except for a couple African-American students of my piano teacher. Otherwise, for all I knew, the whole world was white.

There were, of course, no black students at my grade school. Native American Indian, Polish-American, Mexican-American, yes. But no African-Americans. It wasn't until I got to high school, where blacks made up 52 percent of the student body, that I experienced minority status as a Caucasian (roughly 35 percent).

Then it was off to the Navy, where I lived and worked with a number of fellow sailors who were black, including three guys in my Electronic Warfare division. My shipboard buddies also included a Jamaican, a Puerto Rican, and a Japanese-American who didn't care a lot for Japan (where we were stationed).

After the Navy and college, I worked at a big company in Columbus, Ohio, whose workforce was, oh, twenty-five percent African-American. Maybe a little higher. Riding the bus to and from my job, I was often the only Caucasian person. I used to sit and nap, dreaming of the day when I would at last have the opportunity to interact with people of other backgrounds, ethnicities and/or skin hues.

But I am what I am--an Ohioan. And that there Obama fellow is, well, differ'nt. And the only other choice is a lady. Good grief--a lady president? I can't even picture that. What's a Dem to do?

If only my background had prepared me for any of this. But I'm from Ohio.