Monday, August 30, 2004

Jane on Taxes

From Jane Mitakides' website:
Fair, Balanced Tax Cuts

It is painfully clear that the current administration's approach to tax reform has unfairly benefited the wealthiest Americans and left most of Ohio's working families with a still-unacceptable tax burden. Tax cuts work best when they reach the maximum number of Americans. We need a tax code for America that is fair and balanced in its approach, and prioritizes the needs of America's middle class families.

When elected to Congress, I will work to:

* Support tax cuts that reach the maximum number of Americans, for true economic stimulation

* Update the Alternative Minimum Tax to avoid the unfair burdening of the middle range of taxpayers

* Revise, not eliminate, capital gains cuts and dividend taxes, to include professional and small corporations – not just the giants
It is painfully clear that Jane really doesn't have a clue what she's talking about. The top 20% are paying 80% and we're not talking millionaires here. It's more like "thousandaires." The top 50% in 2001 made $26,000 and up if they filed jointly.

Tax cuts do work best when they reach the maximum number of families. Failure to extend the President’s tax cuts permanently would mean a massive tax hike on America’s families. For example, in 2005, the tax burden on a family of four earning $40,000 would increase by $915. Raising taxes on the American people would hurt families and hurt our economic recovery.

To learn more about the Alternative Minimum Tax system, go here.

If Jane will back up her claims with some proof and some details about her plans, it would be helpful for determining her position. The thing is, she slams the President, but doesn't really proivide an alternative.

President Bush reduced the tax burden on the 90 percent of small businesses organized as S corporations, partnerships or sole proprietorships and who pay their taxes at the individual income tax rates. Small businesses create 7 out of 10 jobs in our economy. Cutting marginal income tax rates allows small businesses – America’s job creators – to invest more of their money in their businesses to expand and create more jobs.

Another thing: I thought Jane was running against Mike Turner for this seat, not President Bush. I think Jane doesn't know who her opponent is...either that or she thinks Bush hatred is going to get her somewhere. It isn't enough, Jane. Substance wins over style...

Jane On...

...Energy and Conservation
...Health Care

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Youngstown Mayor (D) Endorses Bush

Check this story out. Here is my favorite line:
"What has our community received in return for the past loyal support for Democratic presidential candidates? Dare I speak the answer? Nothing."

Mayor George M. McKelvey
Say, remember that tour of Ohio by the "bi-partisan"/"non-partisan" group of mayors? Here is the president of that group:
"I'm shocked, given the huge number of job losses that have occurred in Youngstown, unless the mayor knows of a policy statement the Conference of Mayors doesn't know about," he said. "I don't see he (Bush) is willing to do anything to help cities in Ohio."

Mayor Don Plusquellic
What a lying windbag that dude is...non-partisan... Heh. That's a good one.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Jane On Veterans

From Jane Mitakides' campaign website:
America must say to our veterans: "We made you a promise, and we are going to keep it." It's time to stop deducting disability benefits from the retirement pay of any veteran. Veterans should never again have to wait months or years for the health care they earned in the service of our county and the defense of freedom. Unlike my opponent, I would never support the 2005 budget that not only underfunds veterans' medical care next year, but cuts funding below current inadequate levels in the four years that follow. It is a budget that the Veterans of Foreign Wars calls "a disgrace and a sham." We need to end cuts and caps right now.

When elected to Congress, I will work to:

* Fully fund veteran's services, to assure we can provide not only for our current veterans, but for the 150,000 soon to join their ranks

* End the deduction of disability benefit from retirement benefits

* End lengthy waiting periods for health care benefits and determinations

* Help the 250,000 homeless veterans in America today
As with the last update, this one is a bit short on details. Here's the thing though, Jane seems to think that veterans are somehow getting the shaft in regards to benefits, but that just isn't so...

Funding for veterans is up 27%, yet Jane and other more prominent Democrats continue the charade of a "cut." But don't take my word for it, here's
In Bush’s first three years funding for the Veterans Administration increased 27%. And if Bush's 2005 budget is approved, funding for his full four-year term will amount to an increase of 37.6%.

In the eight years of the Clinton administration the increase was 31.7%

Those figures include mandatory spending for such things as payments to veterans for service-connected disabilities, over which Congress and presidents have little control. But Bush has increased the discretionary portion of veterans funding even more than the mandatory portion has increased. Discretionary funding under Bush is up 30.2%.
If this is an argument you keep hearing from our liberal friends, you should arm yourself with the facts from the folks at Annenberg.

Just because veterans groups didn't get everything they wanted doesn't give Jane and her friends the right to distort the record.

I think we'd all like a reduction in "lengthy waiting periods for health care benefits and determinations." Is Jane advocating privatizing these functions? If so, I applaud her, but I don't think her Big Government friends in the Democratic Party are going to like that idea. We all know that the only thing government excels at is bureauocracy.

The plight of the homeless is tragic, especially for veterans; but help is already available. What is Jane proposing here? I don't know. But it sounds good.

Once again, Jane is high on style, low on substance. If she has real ideas worth exploring, she doesn't seem to want to let anyone know what they are...

Jane On...

...Energy and Conservation
...Health Care

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Jane on Energy and Conservation

A day late on this "scheduled" feature, but here goes...

According to the Issues section of Jane Mitakides' website:
Preservation of our natural environment and protection of our national interests increasingly rely on our ability to find meaningful, long-term energy solutions.

When elected to Congress, I will work to:

* Support research and development of clean, renewable sources of energy

* Put a stop to the pillaging of our national parks for corporate profit

* Work with business and environmentalists to find ways to preserve our water, air, and soil without unduly burdening business
That is the whole shebang. No details, no ideas to explore...

Well, let's give it a shot anyway...
Support research and development of clean, renewable sources of energy
Question: what does "support" of research and development entail? Who's going to do it? What sort of clean, renewable sources of energy do you advocate?

Put a stop to the pillaging of our national parks for corporate profit
Jane, are you running for a position in the forrestry service or Congress? What exactly are you proposing?

Work with business and environmentalists to find ways to preserve our water, air, and soil without unduly burdening business
Business and environmentalists don't often "work" together without much "burden" placed on one or the other. How do you plan to accomplish this feat? Are you simply suggesting the arrangement of a meeting or do you have an agenda of goals to accomplish? If so, what are they and how do you forsee getting them achieved?

On this subject, Jane leaves us asking more questions than finding answers...

Jane on...

...Health Care

Monday, August 16, 2004

A Response to Jeff Bruce

DDN editor Jeff Bruce:
Specifically, the mayors want the federal government to focus on job creation and to help more with the cost of public safety and homeland security. They want the feds to knock off issuing unfunded mandates. And the ailing infrastructure of cities is in desperate need of attention.

For instance, a recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers shows that nearly 28 percent of the nation's bridges are "structurally deficient or functionally obsolete," 75 percent of the nation's school buildings "remain inadequate to meet the needs of school children," and the number of unsafe dams has risen by 23 percent.

Public works projects that address these issues are needed and, as McLin pointed out, also would serve to boost local economies through the jobs they would create.
The mayors want the candidates to make their cities' needs a priority. They want those bright lights in the night sky to keep burning over Ohio. And they want voters to let the candidates know that it's not just the economy, stupid, it's the local economy.
I hate to break it to Jeff and the rest of the liberals, but "public works projects" are not what the federal government is for. First and foremost, the federal government is charged with protecting the citzenry; and if the mayors really want to make sure those bright lights to keep burning over Ohio (which I think is a refence to a "story" at the beginning fo the editorial about seeing lights from space), they'll want the federal government to be focused on Homeland Security.

Talks of unfunded mandates (why do I always think of No Child Left Behind when I hear that cute little phrase?) and programs that for all intent and purposes are State welfare (think Taxachusetts' Big Dig here). The mayors appear to be advocating for things that the federal government is not good at providing.

If the mayors want their bridges fixed (and I assume we aren't talking federal highways here), shouldn't the communities get together and do what needs to be done? Shouldn't the mayors find a way to make that happen within their budgets? Isn't that what the mayors are elected to do?

Email to Jeff

I've sent an email to Jeff with the above commentary. Let's see if we get any sort of response...

3:00 PM Update

I just checked my email box and got an auto-reply from Jeff:
I am out of the office but will gladly respond when I return.
Oh...good...I look forward to that.

Friday, August 13, 2004

An Email to Marty

Mr. Gottlieb,

I have to take exception with this assertion in your
latest editorial posted on DDN's website:

"“As our (domestic) opponents see it, the problem
isn’t the thugs and murderers we face — but our

Shouting that line wouldn’t make it any sillier;
saying it softly doesn’t make it any better."

It does make sense. All I ever hear from liberals and
Democrats is how "arrogant" this President is. That
sounds an awful lot like "attitude" to me.

And ask yourself, what does it mean that John Kerry
has admitted that he would have voted for the war even
knowing what he knows now. To me, that says the
problem isn't the "thugs and murderers we face."

And then there is this:

"At another point in the speech, Cheney said,
according to the text released beforehand, “In the
aftermath of the first terrorist attack on the World
Trade Center, Sen. Kerry put forward two measures to
gut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion.” (Here’s
guessing that some people thought he meant after 9/11.
I did.)

He doesn’t say that the big picture at the time of the
1993 bombing was the end of the Cold War and that just
about everybody was still looking for cuts in military
and intelligence spending."

Republicans are well aware of the 1993 bombing of the
WTC. President Clinton's "response" (for lack of a
better word) is part of what makes this President's
action mean so much more. al Qaeda didn't declare war
on the United States on September 11, 2001, we were
already at war. That a journalist of your stature
didn't know that is astounding.

I appreciate your work; I've read you for quite some
time. I rarely agree with everything you have to say
and this time it just appears you're out of your
element covering a Republican.

Is my assessment incorrect?


8/16 Update

Marty reponds:
Thanks for the note.
You're welcome...I think.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Letter to the Editor

Presented without commentary:
Honesty needed about Kerry record

As a former naval lieutenant who commanded special warfare patrol craft in the Middle East as recently as three years ago, I at first resisted criticism of Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam War record as inappropriate. However, as his campaign has made this one of its main issues, I feel that it is proper to speak out.

Most real war heroes that I have met are humble and do not like to talk about their accomplishments. Kerry cannot stop talking about his medals.

Second, a naval officer who brings a movie camera into combat is much more interested in building his resume and his legacy than taking care of his men and accomplishing the mission.

Lastly, a naval officer who leaves his men in combat and goes home early after only four months is not a real leader.

Vietnam really did not need to become such a big campaign issue, but now that it has, we need more honesty about the nature of Kerry’s war record.


DDN Editorial Wrong on Education

David Bohardt (executive director of the Home Builders Association of Dayton) writes:
At the end of the day, we should be clear on two things.

First, the fate of Ohio’s public schools depends on the state government and state leadership, not on local government and PTAs.

Second, every other challenge we face pales in comparison to the need for radical and equitable reform of public school funding.
Mr. Bohardt, you are wrong on both accounts.

First, while state leadership can help fix the problem; local government and PTAs have a significant role to play in determining the fate of our public schools. More accurately, the school's administrations hold the fate of their schools in their hands and have the responsibility to meet the challenges. If that means they have to take a pay cut and knock off some perks, so be it. When you treat education like a government service, the establishment becomes government employees and the People have the right to be angry at what they are getting for their investment.

Second, every other challenge we face pales in comparison to the need to be safe and secure. National security and homeland defense are the priority issues of the day. Providing for the safety of the citizenry is the government's most important duty. Suggesting otherwise is irresponsible.

It is awful that the failed levies may have hurt your bottom line, Mr. Bohardt, but you are overstating the case. Taking pot-shots at Republicans in general and the President specifically is not going to help your cause.

Marty Gets Another One Right

Grading on a ‘curve’ saves Bush
Connection between Bushisms and Bush policy apparent only to Bush-bashers
So far, though, the connection between these Bushisms and Bush policy is apparent only to Bush-bashers. This may be because things aren’t going quite badly enough on the Bush watch. If the economy were unmistakably tanking, and the administration were in chaos, more voters people might see a competence issue.

It’s like the Monica Lewinsky deal: If things had been going badly for the country back then, Bill Clinton’s critics would have gotten a good hearing for this: “Well, what do expect, when the president is spending his time?” As it was, though, nobody want to listen to their gripes.

If Bush’s communication snafus cause him any political problems, they are undone when he acknowledges them and pokes fun at himself. People love that kind of schtick coming from a president. Even Democrats laugh with him.

Sometimes, as has often been noted, he even seems to be helped by his reputation, because in most appearances he doesn’t say anything that strikes people as all that ludicrous. He benefits from being misunderestimated, kind of like John Kerry gets a star every time he isn’t ponderous and boring.
Marty, I take back some of the nasty things I've said about've earned it. This time...

Swift Vets Strike Nerve at DDN

I don't recall reading an editorial condemning Michael Moore and DNC Chairman Terry McAwful for accusing President Bush of being AWOL and a deserter.

They are, however, condeming the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The perpetrators of the ad are questioning the validity of four out of five of Sen. Kerry’s medals. This is the old lawyer’s tactic of just throwing up everything and hoping something sticks. It is not to be taken seriously.
Which is sort of like the exact same tactics being employed by the Left with charges of HALLIBURTON! and AWOL...
Anybody who doesn’t recognize all this as mere opportunistic, after-the-fact political spin has not been paying attention to the way politics is conducted these days. it for the judge...or the ombudsman.
President George W. Bush has separated himself from the ad, but has not denounced it. It is partially funded by one of his supporters. is supported by a LOT of Kerry supporters, George Soros for one. Has the Dayton Daily News suggested that Kerry denounce ANY of their ads? Not that I can recall.
Today Vice President Dick Cheney is to address veterans in Dayton. It would be a great time for him to stand up for what is right and say the ad is an abomination.
Same question with Mr. Edwards and Again, not that I can recall.

Partisan bias in the media? Shocking...

These men have as much right as and ACT do to speak their mind and try to influence the American people. As usual, liberals only like free speech when it suits their needs.

Never mind that the Swift Vets have already gotten a victory out of all this. John Kerry had to admit he lied about "Christmas in Cambodia" and how much longer will the "Magic Hat" story hold water? If you don't know what either of those stories are, you should read the Swift Vets website and/or radio guy Hugh Hewitts blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Mayors Tour Ohio

The supposedly bi-partisan US Conference of Mayors will be toring Ohio with stops in Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Toledo and Cleveland. For all intents and purposes, they are stumping for John Kerry because they are going to continue to distort the jobs situation and downplay our economy.

Here is a list of who is on the tour:
-- Akron (OH) Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic, USCM President [unable to tell party affiliation by his bio]

-- Hempstead (NY) Mayor James A. Garner, USCM Past President [Republican]

-- Dearborn (MI) Mayor Michael A. Guido, USCM Advisory Board Chair [unable to tell party affiliation by his bio]

-- Columbus (OH) Mayor Michael Coleman [Democrat]

-- Dayton (OH) Mayor Rhine L. McLin [Democrat]

-- Toledo (OH) Mayor Jack Ford [Democrat]

-- Cleveland (OH) Mayor Jane Campbell [Democrat]

-- Tom Cochran, USCM Executive Director [unable to tell party affiliation by his bio]

A 4 to 1 ratio with 3 unknowns.

Whatever you might hear from these folks, you should take with a grain (or a pound) of salt...

Here is their schedule:
Thursday, August 12, 2004:

Columbus Press Conference - 10 a.m.

West Edge Business Center, 855 West Mound Street, Columbus, OH (corner of Mound and Harmon)

Dayton Press Conference - 2 p.m.

Select Tool, 240 Detrick Street, Dayton, OH

Friday, August 13, 2004:

Toledo Press Conference - 8:45 a.m.

Chrysler Jeep Plant, 4400 Chrysler Drive, Toledo, OH

Cleveland Press Conference - 1:30 p.m.

City Hall - Red Room, 601 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, OH
(Source) (Resource)

4:45 PM Update

Who's agenda does this sound like?
1. Jobs and Public/Private Partnerships: Keeping America Working

The federal government must be responsive to the new realities that current and future workers face with shrinking manufacturing jobs, the slow job recovery, and global competition.

-- Tax Incentives: Provide targeted tax incentives to attract investments in the nation's 600,000 brownfields, to help build low- and moderate-income single and multifamily housing, and to foster private investment in modern infrastructure development including transportation and water projects.

-- Modernization of Infrastructure Financing: Develop a new, modern infrastructure investment plan using pension funds, insurance guarantees, infrastructure bonds, and creative public/private partnerships to help finance major projects in U.S. metro areas such as water, wastewater, transportation and school projects.

-- Small Business Incentives: Shut down corporate tax loopholes that help move jobs overseas and apply revenues to small business incentives that will encourage innovation, create new, real jobs, and train workers.

-- Improved Public Schools: Improve public schools through increased funding for the creation of smaller public high schools, Head Start and other early childhood education, early reading readiness and adolescent literacy, and after school learning and other related activities. In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act should be fully funded, and there needs to be continued support for education standards and accountability.

-- Workforce Training: Increase investment in workforce training, out-of-school and after school training and workforce preparation for youth, and summer youth employment.

2. Smart Investment: New Infrastructure for a New Economy

Our metro economies need modern infrastructure to secure the nation's future economic growth, yet the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the vast majority of U.S. infrastructure a dismal overall grade of D-plus.

-- Transportation Investment: Invest no less than $318 billion over six years for reauthorization of the nation's surface transportation law (TEA-21) to build a 21st Century Transportation system with modern transit and high-speed rails, Amtrak, bridges, large-scale transportation infrastructure projects, and metro highway systems with new technologies that link major metro areas, cut the time people spend in traffic, create more jobs, and move goods and services more productively.

-- Brownfields Redevelopment Action Grant (BRAG): Establish a new Brownfields Redevelopment Action Grant (BRAG) investment program that can be used by cities to leverage private investment in brownfields -- underutilized and/or contaminated properties -- and help preserve farmland and open spaces.

-- Homeownership and Rental Housing: Support a comprehensive agenda to promote homeownership and the construction of affordable rental housing. Continue to fully support the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and other housing programs, fully fund every section 8 voucher currently in use across the country, and continue full funding of Section 8 vouchers currently allocated.

-- Energy Self-Sufficiency: Develop a new, innovative energy plan that frees us from dependence on oil and helps secure our economic future.

3. Public Safety and Homeland Security: Keeping America Safe

As a nation, our future requires a strong, comprehensive public safety system to continue the ongoing fight against crime and protect every American community from the new threat of domestic terrorism.

-- Fighting Crime: Support the ongoing fight against traditional crime with increased support for deployment, overtime, prevention, equipment and training programs. A new focus must also be placed on fighting rising gang crimes as well as the continuing problem of gun violence, drugs, and cyber- crime. Support the renewal of the assault weapons ban.

-- Homeland Security/First Responder Funding: Immediately enact the recommendations of the recent Department of Homeland Security Task Force on State and Local Homeland Security Funding including: exemption from reimbursement provisions; flexibility for overtime; funding for incremental operational costs such as the protection of critical infrastructure and major events; and obligation deadlines from one level of local government to another. And, as reauthorization of the federal first responder program moves forward, include direct funding for cities, as is the position of the nation's mayors for all major federal-local partnership programs.

-- Intelligence Sharing: Create a new communication and coordination system that links Federal officials with local officials and effectively uses the 600,000 local law enforcement officers.

-- Drug Treatment and Prisoner Re-Entry: Provide drug treatment to every American who needs it, and institute a comprehensive agenda on prisoner re-entry with more than 600,000 ex-offenders re-entering America's communities every year.

4. Restrict Unfunded Mandates and Cost Shifts: Improve the Intergovernmental Partnership

Despite the passage of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, Congress has continued to impose new mandates in areas such as the No Child Left Behind Act, special education, homeland security, election reform and environmental protection without following through on supposed commitments to provide federal funding. These new unfunded and/or underfunded federal mandates are putting enormous pressure on already stressed city and state budgets. Action must be taken to protect state and local revenues, and to restrict mandates and other federal cost shifts and preemptions.

-- Fully Fund Mandates: Support full funding of the No Child Left Behind Act, special education, homeland security, election reform, environmental and other existing unfunded and underfunded federal mandates.

-- State and Local Sales Tax Revenues: Support federal legislation that protects state and local sales taxes by enacting streamlined sales tax legislation, which will correct a federal preemption and authorize state and local governments to collect taxes due on remote sales.

-- State and Local Telecommunication Tax Revenues: Support the enactment of federal legislation that will allow state and local governments to continue collecting taxes and fees on telecommunications services regardless of the medium, whether it's voice over a traditional telephone line or Internet Protocol based services.

-- Federal Preemptions that Erode State and Local Revenues: Oppose federal legislation, regulation and policy that would redefine Internet access and telecommunication services in a way that will erode state and local revenues, or restrict their authority to tax or charge rights-of way fees.
For a "bi-partisan" organization their playbook sure sounds a bit familiar...

Monday, August 09, 2004

DDN on Gay Marriage Debate

In response to this editorial, I have the following to say:

The gay marriage activists knew EXACTLY what they were doing. The Massachusetts Supreme Court knew EXACTLY what they were doing. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome knew EXACTLY what he was doing. They were all pushing an agenda and it is time for those who support the traditional family to insert themselves into the debate.

Don't bother pontificating to me that judicial activism isn't the threat that it has been painted to be; it is EXACTLY the threat it has been colored. This whole thing got started by an activist court engaging in legislating from the bench.

And don't bother telling me that Ohio is safe from judicial activism because conservatives are well represented. This isn't just about Ohio, the Full Faith and Credit Clause comes into play here. What happens in San Francisco and Massachusetts affects what happens in Ohio and indeed around the nation.

The activists weren't content to have the debate, so why should those who seek to ban gay marriage?

The editorial asks what if we change our minds? I respond, what if we don't? By then it will be too late, Pandora's box will have already been opened. Once rights are granted, they can't be taken away; and one wonders if that isn't why the liberal establishment is playing the "Why Rush?" game. They know it will happen, in time, if the people let it happen.

Ellen Belcher: 527s Bad

Where was Ellen when was railing against the President? You couldn't find a statement against 527s with a search warrant when all that crap was going down. I find it very interesting that the Dayton Daily News editorial board can waste so much ink on the likes of Michael Moore and his pathetic movie then turn around and say it is getting out of hand now that a group (they aren't all Bush supporters, but they are Kerry haters - how about that for a phenomenon?! - not everybody loves the guy.) has told their truth.

If it is vitriolic now, why wasn't it then, Ellen? Did you write a column on it? I didn't think so...

DDN on the Importance of This Election

Three factors, at least, limit the impact of the election.

One is that the two candidates agree on a broad range of important matters. They have different attitudes about Iraq, for example, but they are both proposing roughly the same course now that we’re in the country.

As for the broader war on terrorism, John Kerry would not lie down and play dead. George Bush cannot look for new countries to invade.

Second, a president is not a dictator. He is limited by Congress, the courts, laws and the Constitution. He can set a tone and make some momentous war and peace decisions. But he has to muster a lot of support from public opinion.

Many argue that President Bush manipulated public opinion grossly to win support for the Iraq war. But he can’t always manipulate successfully. He has been battered by the public into agreeing to the creation of the 9/11 commission, into extending its life, into allowing Condoleezza Rice to testify and into talking to the commission himself.

A third factor is simply that some problems don’t care whether the president is a liberal or conservative. Iraq, world trade, the economy, inner-city problems, all these have lives of their own, with no absolute solution depending just on a presidential election.
Well, at least they think it is important. Earlier in the piece they make the argument that whomever wins, the world will go on, which of course it will. But let's examine their criteria here:
One is that the two candidates agree on a broad range of important matters. They have different attitudes about Iraq, for example, but they are both proposing roughly the same course now that we’re in the country.
I disagree with the editorial board on this point. One candidate is being very clear about a wide range of issues (that's Bush for the liberals who happen to stumble upon my humble site) including Iraq; and the other has taken most every side of most every issue (that's Kerry for the same crowd). That's not just a political slogan, it is fact. Sen. Kerry's record can not lie. In the Internet age of Google, you just can't get away with that kind of thing.
Second, a president is not a dictator. He is limited by Congress, the courts, laws and the Constitution. He can set a tone and make some momentous war and peace decisions. But he has to muster a lot of support from public opinion.
True enough, but the problem here is that the editorial board thinks that the President "manipulated" popular support for the war. He did no such thing. Here is the relevant definition of "manipulate" from "To influence or manage shrewdly or deviously." The burden of proof is one the accuser to show that the President engaged in such behavior. They, and many before them, fail to do so.
A third factor is simply that some problems don’t care whether the president is a liberal or conservative. Iraq, world trade, the economy, inner-city problems, all these have lives of their own, with no absolute solution depending just on a presidential election.
Also true, but the problem with this point is that there is an overriding issue in the campaign this year: national security. I'd argue that it does matter whether or not the winner is liberal or conservative on all of those issues anyway. The President has the ability to influence public policy and opinion, Congress can either step on board and help move the country in the right direction or not. But the influence is there nonetheless...

Is it just me or does it sound more and more as if the editorial board is preparing the liberal masses in their readership that Kerry is going to lose?

Ask Yourself...

...would this story be in the Dayton Daily News at all if we were talking about Democrats? I don't think so...

WMDtv's producer is currently negotiating an appearance by Mr. White on the show. If it gets arranged, I will ask about this situation and hopefully put it to bed once and for all.

Jane on Education

From the Jane Mitakides for Congress website:
The future begins anew every day in the classrooms of America and Ohio. We must work harder and smarter to ensure that school administrators and teachers have the resources they need to make our system of public education work for all children. Instead of empty political promises to improve our schools, I believe that our elected leaders should take a hands-on, nuts-and-bolts approach, working closely with educators at every level to understand and overcome real, everyday challenges. As a mother, I know that education isn't about "teaching kids," it's about shaping and changing lives. It is the single most important component in the future of America, and yet it fails to be properly prioritized in budget after budget.

When elected to Congress, I will work to:

* Partner with state and local governments for fair, full funding of education – including higher pay for Ohio teachers
* Provide scholarships for students who commit to teaching as a profession
* Strengthen before- and after-school programs
* Partner with state and local governments to help achieve smaller classes and a more diverse curriculum, including technology, fine arts and music
Right away, I notice one very important word missing from this diatribe: "parents." Jane throws in the Democrat-required jab at the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind, but doesn't really give us an alternative plan beyond the usual talking points. This is a serious issue, so let's break it down:
Partner with state and local governments for fair, full funding of education – including higher pay for Ohio teachers
NCLB is and always was fully funded. Saying otherwise displays ignorance on the issue and panders to a constituency that hasn't bothered to learn about the issue.

Jane will have a tough time partnering with state and local governments on funding issues when said governments can't convince the electorate to pass levies. Educational funding comes down to a taxation issue, and the people have spoken on that time and again. They want their taxes low.
Provide scholarships for students who commit to teaching as a profession
This is just a bad idea and potentially a waste of tax money. Just because a college student intends to persue the education field, there are no guarentees that the student will finish or what the quality of teacher will result. Jane would also need to prove that there is a shortage of teachers in order for this to work too (this is where her last bit about class size comes into play).
Strengthen before- and after-school programs
Like the previous campaign promise, this one is nothing more than throwing more tax money at a perceived problem. "Stregthen" could mean anything: she could be talking about accountability, but if that were the case, she'd be a Republican; so we're pretty sure she means funding.
Partner with state and local governments to help achieve smaller classes and a more diverse curriculum, including technology, fine arts and music
Again with the partnering... Smaller classes and a more "diverse" curriculum are wonderful goals for education, but "partnering" isn't a realistic approach to achieving them. That is going to require legislation and funding; two things Jane can not secure for Ohio in the United States House of Representatives. Consider this from the US Census Bureau:
Education revenues from federal, state and local sources reached $419.8 billion in the United States in 2002, up 4 percent from the previous year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. The District of Columbia spent the most money per student ($13,187) of any state or state equivalent.

These findings are from the 2002 Census of Governments Survey of Local Government Finances — School Systems.

State governments contributed the greatest share of public elementary and secondary school funding, $207.4 billion. Local sources followed at $179.7 billion, and the federal government was the third largest contributor at $32.7 billion.
If Jane wants to increase funding for schools, it would appear she is running for the wrong position...

And then there are these findings:
* Public school systems spent $435.3 billion, up 6.0 percent from 2001. About $224.8 billion was spent on elementary-secondary instruction, $125.5 billion on services that support elementary-secondary instruction, $52.9 billion on capital outlay and $32.1 billion on other items.

* School districts received $155.6 billion, or 37.1 percent of all revenues from local taxes and local government appropriations.

* Instructional salaries totaled $160.7 billion in 2002, up 5.0 percent.
Once again, Jane appears to be pandering for votes, but not really offering a realistic vision for the district, its constituency, the state of Ohio, or the United States of America.

Jane on... Series:

...Health Care

Friday, August 06, 2004

Gottlieb on the No-Bounce


"Did ceiling stop Kerry bounce?" Marty asks. Let's see if we can answer some more of Marty's questions:
The question arises because candidates often do come out of a convention on a nice upswing.
Candidates are often liked by people when they come out of a convention, Marty. This should tell you something.
And this seemed to be a successful convention.
It wasn't successful for John Kerry. By what standard are you using to make such a claim anyway?
Kerry was convincingly celebrated as a military hero.
It is after all, all he has to run on. We haven't heard much about his record in the, you know, Senate.
He gave a speech that far exceeded expectations.
The bar wasn't that high to begin with, Marty.
The party was fully united.
Fully united against Bush, not for Kerry.
[Not] only Democrats declared the convention and the speech successful. Republican analysts generally did, too.
Name one...because I can't think of a single Republican analyst who actually liked that speech.
Yet Kerry gained only a couple of points in the polls, maybe not even that, depending on the poll. Why?
Because nobody cares about John Kerry or the Democratic convention.
The most widely held view seems to be that the public is peculiarly set in its ways this year, and not subject to persuasion one way or the other.
This should keep you awake at night...
David Broder has dissented on this page, arguing that Kerry’s speech wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, that he didn’t offer a pithy message that anybody remembers and didn’t discuss what people wanted to hear about (such as Iraq).
And Mr. Broder would be correct.
Still others have suggested that the absence of a serious bounce results from low viewership of conventions these days.
That should also keep you awake at night. Could it be that people don't care for a liberal message?
But here’s a different possibility: Kerry had already reached his ceiling before the convention. The many months of bad news coming out of Iraq had given him a big boost. So he didn’t need the convention to get him there, the way most first-time candidates need a convention to allow them to show their stuff. He was at his ceiling just as a result of widespread opposition to the incumbent.
I see what's going on here... Folks, Marty is trying to lower the expectations for this candidate.
Regular readers will know where this is going: While most pundits are hemming and hawing about who might win the election, and most of the rest are simply picking their side, this column has reported several times that the best predictive scheme suggests 2004 is a Bush year. The basic reason is that things must be going worse for an incumbent across a broad range of subjects for a challenger to win.
Indeed I do know where this is going: nowhere. The best reason 2004 is a Bush year is that he is the better candidate. But let's hear the distorted reasons why Marty thinks Americans are stupid:
Iraq isn’t enough. The economy is a wash, having been pretty bad during most of the Bush years, but not so bad this year.
Marty, it is this kind of talk that gets characterized as "pessimism." Iraq is going quite well. The recovery from the Clinton/Gore recession took a little longer than expected because of 9/11, but the progress is there for any to see who aren't blinded by partisanship.
If this theory — the work of Professor Allan J. Lichtman of American University in Washington, D.C. — is right, then Bush might get a bigger bump out of his convention, because he is not at his peak, again because of bad news about the war. Highlighting the good news about himself might work better for him than it did for Kerry.
Marty, Marty, Marty... If the media had done their job accurately, the President would have peaked awhile back. There has been plenty of good news to report; but in order for good news to get coverage, it has to be damaging to Republicans in some way. Journalism shouldn't be this way, but it is.
When Sen. George Voinovich was in town this week, he was talking about how hard he has been campaigning. A journalist expressed skepticism that he was really all that worried about his bid for re-election against relatively unknown, unfunded state Sen. Eric Fingerhut. In the course of insisting that he is not taking anything for granted, Voinovich said, "I remember what happened in 1958" in Ohio.

Then he mentioned two other elections well before the 1980s as examples of his point that he should run scared.

That is a very long memory bank he’s developing.
You know, Marty, they say elephants never forget. I'm not real sure what this has to do with the Democratic convention resulting in no bounce for its candidate; but I don't mind some free publicity for a Republican, even if he is a RINO.
Think things are not getting out of hand this year? Ask Ann Boucher of Columbus. She has had pro-Kerry signs stolen from her yard twice.

The first time was at the instigation of a lawyer, a member of the Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Fund board. Neighborhood resident Mitchell H. Banchefsky told his 13-year-old daughter to take the sign. He insists that he was upset because the sign was too close to the right of way. Boucher denies that it was. But, anyway, Banchefsky admits that he shouldn’t have taken the matter into his own hands.

He is described in news reports as “an avid supporter of President Bush.” Boucher is sure she knows what his motives were.
Ohh...those evil Republicans and their HALLIBURTON! masters... Boucher apparently has mindreading skills; must be part of some liberal genetics program or something.
It is not clear whether anybody has asked him whether he would have taken the sign down if it had been for Bush.

Banchefsky insists that a Bush sign had earlier been taken from his own property. He thinks the concerns of the swiper might have been a right-of-way issue.

So maybe he figured that what’s good for the Ds is good for the Rs. Which is the way these things often get out of hand.

After Banchefsky’s daughter took the sign, Boucher replaced it, only to have that sign taken, too. So now she has made a sign herself, and says “I’ll keep replacing them.”

So far, the national guard has not been called in to restore peace to the neighborhood.
And at last we get to the end of another useless Marty column that didn't provide insight in to the issue it was supposed to...

Some job Marty has there, eh?

Thursday, August 05, 2004

DDN: Dem Convention Was A Beauty Pageant

Yes, you read that right. A beauty pageant. Specifically the Miss America Pageant. Read on...:
People just don’t seem to care much about the talent of women who are entered in what everybody thinks of as a beauty pageant, no matter what anybody else says.

Maybe it’s all part of the same phenomenon as what’s happening to political conventions. No, really. Hear this out.

Sen. John Kerry gives a speech at the Democratic convention that blows away the political community, which had heretofore considered him boring, lifeless. So the assumption becomes that by proving himself not so boring, he gained politically. Then the polls come out showing that — even though his speech was the most watched event at the convention — he got little or no boost.

Maybe people just don’t care whether he’s boring. Maybe what they care about is whether he can run the country. And maybe they see no more connection between that and his speech-making ability than they see between talent and beauty.

Then there’s this: When the conventions stopped being the places where politicians fight about issues and decide who will be nominated for president, they stopped having much appeal to the public. They came to be seen — rightly — as something other than news, which is what people used to tune in for. THAT's a likely excuse for the no bounce convention. Sure...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Gottlieb on Kerry's Militarism

Marty seems to really understand Democrats...
Carried too far, however, the center-seeking gimmicks can lower the level of discussion, putting empty gestures and symbols too front-and-center.

Kerry sometimes seems to be saying, “I can’t be a liberal. Look at my medals!” That kind of mindless political opportunism — insulting to the intelligence of voters — could do more harm than good.

Time to move on. The pre-emptive strike is over. Now the task is to build something.
...but doesn't really have much of a clue about Republicans...
Kerry has only done about military values what the Republicans have done about race: Sensitive to the charge of being a one-race party, have bent over backward to put their few blacks and minorities front and center at their conventions.

It’s just a matter of each party reaching out to the political center, trying to claim that it is not in the grip of some unrepresentative group.
Republicans DO actually care about African-Americans. Condi Rice and Colin Powell didn't get there because of their color...and isn't that REALLY what Dr. King's dream was all about? Liberals tend to think there is some sort of political motivation about these kinds of appointments, but the fact of the matter is that President Bush believed these two African-Americans were very much so qualified to do the job. And they are.

Marty doesn't seem to think so...

Ohio Campaign Finance Reform

The first of two editorials focuses in on the evil Republicans quest for total domination of the Buckeye State through shady deals and financial shenanigans. It is the same old story. The DDN Editorial Board wouldn't run this story at all if it were Democrats at the center of the storm. This is the sort of rhetoric you get when a Republican is on the hot seat:
Sen. Jacobson and the politicians who ultimately join him shouldn’t get too much credit for ensuring that elections are paid for cleanly and with complete disclosure. They should expect at least that much of themselves because fair elections are central to the idea of democracy.

If they do nothing else in office, lawmakers should do no harm. Some of them have been trampling on the democratic ideals of honesty and openness with their manipulative and self-interested dealings. Voters shouldn’t have to rise up to make them stop.
I've said it elsewhere, but will repeat it here: the Republicans are supposed to be the good guys. We're supposed to be the party with ethics and values. When our own engages in this sort of tomfoolery, it should be denounced by the Party.

The second deals with Republican state Senator Jeff Jacobson's attempt to clean up his own mess and close the loophole that allowed himself and others to engage in said shady deals and financial shenanigans.

Think of Jacobson as Ohio's own little John McCain and the goal is to create the sort of fiasco that we have at the federal level known as campaign finance reform. People should have the right to contribute however much they want to a campaign and they shouldn't be dragged in to the political fight that occurs when one side wins over the other. Do we really need 527s at the local level? Do we need I don't think so...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Gottlieb on Kerry's Liberalism


Martin Gottlieb is one of my favorite of the wacky liberals on the DDN editorial board. He's trying to paint John Kerry as some sort of moderate:
Kerry has had a liberal voting record. Of course. He’s a Democrat who’s not from the South. He’s in the mainstream of people in that category. And that’s what gets called liberal.

Compare him to Ohio’s two most recent Democratic senators, John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. Glenn was seen as a moderate liberal. Liberal groups would generally say he agreed with them about 80 percent of the time on their pet issues, or a little less. For Metzenbaum, the number was often 100 percent. The difference between the two can be seen as splitting hairs, because they were fundamentally allies. Kerry’s ratings have typically been between theirs.

As popular as Kerry is with the liberal groups, though, that’s how popular President George W. Bush is with their conservative counterparts. Maybe that’s why the Bush people don’t think they can get very far with swing voters by simply accusing Kerry of being a liberal. They have to go further. They have to make him peculiarly liberal.

To do that, they must distort. They try to do it by positioning him on the edge of the Senate.

Well, first of all, the “far left” is simply not represented in the U.S. Senate. There’s no Michael Moore there. There’s no Dennis Kucinich, no Al Sharpton. Just a bunch of boring white folks. There’s not even a Paul Wellstone anymore. He was the last of the firebrands.
Marty is branding the National Journal as part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

The comparison to Ohio's liberal Democrats is pretty entertaining. The idea here is to compare Kerry to someone we know, but isn't real fresh in our minds. I recall Metzenbaum as being a Kerry-esque liberal. The fact remains that Kerry's record shows him to be the most liberal Senator from 2003. We aren't comparison shopping for liberals and there is no distortion of Senator Kerry's liberal record.
The man the Republicans now accuse of being a “far-left” liberal voted with the Bush administration on the Iraq war resolution, the Patriot Act and the No Child Left Behind Act — three of the biggest issues of the Bush years — all to the horror of even Howard Dean, who himself is no Michael Moore, Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton or Paul Wellstone.
What Marty isn't telling you is that Kerry then turned around and failed to support the troops when it came time to fund the operation. The Patriot Act is a neccessary and serious piece of legislation for America, liberals and conservatives are right to be behind it. No Child Left Behind was not wildly popular amongst the Republican base groups; Ted Kennedy co-sponsored it for crying out loud. Marty also isn't telling you that Kerry is now criticizing ALL of these initiatives.
Over time, Kerry has voted for welfare reform, for paying for 100,000 new police on the streets, for serious efforts at deficit reduction, for free trade and for other ideas not typically associated with liberals.
Kerry already has enough medals, Marty wants us to give him another one. I'm not impressed that Kerry did the right thing on four issues when his record shows him to wrong far more often than he is right.
The Economist magazine, working with the National Journal data, says that if you take the last half of the 1990s as a whole, 14 senators had more liberal records than Kerry.
There are 100 senators in each session of the Senate. Think about that for a minute. At least 86 senators where to the right of John Kerry. And this is supposed to be an argument for Kerry's not being a uber-liberal?
The National Journal ranks senators in three categories: social, economic and foreign policies. In 2003, Kerry was on the campaign trail a lot. He didn’t cast enough votes in the social and foreign fields to be rated. But he did go with the liberals on all the controversial economic issues. That’s what got him the top ranking.
Now this is an argument that I have heard for Edwards' ranking as the fourth most liberal senator in 2003. (Hi Jeremy!) You might get away with that on Edwards, but Kerry? No way. One wonders if Marty is transposing Kerry for Edwards. This NYT article makes the argument for Edwards, not Kerry.
In other words, it took an awful lot of odd circumstances to get the Republican warriors their little sound bite about the 2003 rating.
No, at worst, it took a liberal Senator not showing up to do his job to produce the soundbite. Kerry's attendance has to mean something. He has a job that he gets paid for that he isn't doing. I can't imagine not showing up for work and still taking the money for doing so from the American people, but John Kerry sure has...
And, of course, they leave out what the Senate votes were about. Kerry voted against extending the Bush tax cuts to people earning over $200,000; for extending unemployment compensation benefits to the long-term unemployed; against curtailing overtime pay. Most of Kerry’s “liberal” votes would find favor with most people, the baggage of the L-word notwithstanding.
Again, this isn't the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy putting this report out, its the National Journal. The other thing that Marty doesn't tell you is that those ARE liberal issues. $200,000 might sound like a lot to you and me, but try running a small business on that. The unemployment benefits are already thirteen weeks long, an extension of those benefits is akin to a welfare program that doesn't encourage the unemployed to get employed. (I'm all for safety nets; but there is a point where we aren't talking about temporary help, we're being taken advantage of...) And the overtime bit has also been debunked. Turns out that as many low end jobs would have been granted the overtime option as high end jobs would have lost the benefit.
Kerry and others are boring and unconvincing when they reject the use of words like liberal and conservative as too simplistic. The labels are legitimate shorthand. The Bush warriors, however, aren’t using shorthand, but sleight of hand.
Marty just doesn't like being called a liberal. Kerry really doesn't like it either. The fact is, these guys ARE liberals.

Are they ashamed of who they are? Are they aware that they are out of the mainstream and that is the reason for all the cosmetics?

Just asking...

2:40PM Update

Another View...Jeremy (as referenced above writes:
If the editorialist were arguing that Kerry is a moderate, then I'd agree that's he's nuts. He's not. He's saying that JFK is a liberal. It's a statistical anomaly produced by his absences that he is the MOST liberal of 2003, but yeah, the guy is pretty [darn] liberal. I agree with the editorialist--within the context of his party, he is as liberal as Bush is conservative. There are people to the right of Bush in the Republican party, ditto for liberals in the Democratic Party.

The editorialist is just saying, he's not the far out liberal that he's being depicted as, someone who is scarily to the left of Teddy Kennedy. He's a liberal, with certain quirks.
I'm not so sure about that Kerry is as liberal as Bush is conservative bit. The President has done some really unconservative things in this term.

Jeremy is a pretty reasonable guy even for a lefty...

DDN Editorial "Kerry's talk on jobs misleading"

Sen. John Kerry and his supporters harp — especially in Ohio — on the loss of American jobs to foreign workers during the Bush presidency.

"We’re going to change that," he says.

The drumbeat continued at the party convention last week and here in the state over the weekend. It is campaign baloney.

The loss of those jobs is not President George W. Bush’s fault. It results from the birth of the global marketplace. To the degree the losses have been fostered by U.S. policies, those policies — favoring free trade — have been adopted on a bipartisan basis with the full support of Sen. Kerry. He is a self-described free-trader.
This is the most truth we've had from the editorial board in regards to Mr. Kerry in quite some time.

The President of the United States has no ability to create or destroy jobs. The best that he can hope to do is provide the economy with enough stability that businesses thrive. Blogger Bill Hobbs has noted that small businesses (LLCs specifically) have grown at an amazing rate in this economy. The problem with the numbers that Kerry has been tossing around is that they do not include the folks who are now self-employed. My initial web search was unsuccessful for finding statistics regarding Ohio specifically, but I have no reason to believe that Ohio has bucked this particular trend.

If anybody is to blame for losing jobs in a state it is the governor and the state legislature. Ohio ranks 47th for its business tax climate. We have a corporate income tax rate that is the 14th highest in the nation (same source). The President has nothing to do with either of those statistics.

Mr. Kerry says he's going to change that. It is misleading.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Jane on Health Care

Continuing the series, here is Jane of Health Care via her campaign website:
I believe that a nation as great as ours has a moral obligation to care for the needs of our sick and our vulnerable, and yet we continue to fall dramatically short of that commitment. The Medicare bill passed by the last Congress promised much and delivered little but uncertainty, pushing seniors into private plans with no promise of what happens next – and at a time in their lives when they should be enjoying the security they have earned and been promised.

When elected to Congress, I will work to:

* Ensure access to affordable health care for all Americans
* Cover every child
* Make seniors more secure by making Medicare more secure
* Work for a real solution to the high cost of prescription drugs, in a way that benefits people, not pharmaceutical giants
Her preamble is filled with the usual Hillary-lite rhetoric. Her take on the Medicare bill that Congress passed and the President signed in to law is a little confusing: how can it deliver "little but uncertainty" when the bulk of the law's provisions aren't active until January 2006? The plan doesn't "push" anybody into private plans, rather it provides an alternative to those who would rather manage their own care.

Let's break down her goals:
Ensure access to affordable health care for all Americans
What sort of legislation would she propose/support? This blurb is a bit light on the details, but it sounds good...if you don't ask too many questions, that is.

Health care will never be "affordable" until tort reform is enacted and insurance companies and the care providers can get back to business without fear of frivilous lawsuits.

I've seen an interview with Jane where she says she's for the tax cuts (which is good), but one is left asking how she would pay for this benefit without raising taxes.

Jane may have a "secret plan" but if she does, she should run on it instead of leaving us in the dark.
Cover every child
This is traight out of the HILLARY! playbook. The same questions apply. It is one thing to say it, but it is entirely a different matter to find ways to make it happen. Again, the "secret plan" approach really isn't going to get it done.
Make seniors more secure by making Medicare more secure
We'd all like to do that, but I suspect Jane's "secret plan" will involve a "lock box" which doesn't exist.
Work for a real solution to the high cost of prescription drugs, in a way that benefits people, not pharmaceutical giants
I suspect this is another Medicare bill scare tactic. If she's going to "work for" it that means she doesn't have the solution; to which I say, why bother making an issue of it.

In the end, somebody needs to ask Jane just what it is she is proposing for Health Care because it isn't real clear at this point. Her positions leave a lot questions unanswered and all we're left with is flowery rhetoric empty of substance.

Jane on... Series

Jane on Jobs

Jane Thinks She Can Beat Turner

...Jane is wrong, but her enthusiasm can be appreciated.

She may have gotten the rock star treatment at the Democratic convention, but that sort of thing won't play well back at home.


Another Editorial Board Moment

In this editorial, the board can't figure out that Ohio is in play... It was pandering to the Buckeyes that got a Dayton mention...

VIETNAM! and the DDN Editorial Board

After reading this editorial, I am left wondering if the board has even heard of the Swift Veterans for Truth, the POW/MIA Families Against Kerry, the Vietnam Vets to Stop John Kerry, the VietNam Special Forces Vets Against Kerry, or the VietNam Vets Against Kerry.

There sure wasn't any mention of them. But there was plenty of praise for the "parade of retired flag officers at the Democratic convention, including two former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff."

The editorial board is sorely mistaken if they think the avergae Viet Name vet is supporting John Kerry. They may not like everything President Bush has done, but they do not care for John Kerry much at all.