Monday, October 31, 2011

Toledo leaf collection

Press Release from the City of Toledo:

Toledo to begin leaf collection November 7

The City of Toledo will begin its 2011 leaf collection program on Monday, November 7, 2011.

Collection will begin in both curbed and uncurbed streets of zip code 43613 and uncurbed streets in zip code 43623. Signs announcing leaf collection in each neighborhood will be posted detailing specific collection dates in each neighborhood. Please remember to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and our crews during collection operations.

As a reminder, this collection is for loose leaves only. Crews will not collect general yard waste including brush, sticks, or bags of leaves or grass clippings.

Leaves should be raked to the edge of the pavement on uncurbed streets and just over the curb on curbed streets. Residents are asked not place leaves on any boulevard or cul-de-sac islands.

Upon conclusion of leaf collection, any remaining leaves can be mixed with your solid waste and placed out for refuse collection.

For additional information and collection dates, please visit the Department of Public Service page on the City of Toledo website at www.toledo.oh.gov or call 419-936-2523.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Filling in on WSPD

No, I'm not trying to scare you, even though will be Halloween....

I'm filling in for Brian Wilson on the Afternoon Drive from 3-6 p.m. Monday, October 31st on 1370 WSPD. Even though it is Halloween, I hope the topics we discuss won't scare you too much, though with what's going on in the news, I won't make any guarantees.

So please join me Monday afternoon on 1370 AM, live on the internet or on I Heart Radio.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quote of the Day - gun laws

Note the date:


"False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.

Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty... and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer?

Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree
." ~ Cesare Beccaria (Dei delitti e delle pene, [On Crimes and Punishments] ch.38 1764)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wood County update

From Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown:

Received via email:

Memo From:
Wood County Commissioner Tim W. Brown


I just wanted to provide you with a quick update regarding our next town hall meeting. In keeping with our pledge to conduct town hall meetings throughout Wood County in our city, village and township halls; the Board of Commissioners will be holding the next in our series of meetings in Troy Township this Wednesday, October 26th at 6:30 p.m. The town meeting will be held at the Troy Township Fire Department, 311 Krotzer Ave. in Luckey. You and anyone you know are more than welcome to attend.

Additionally, our efforts to prevent a lease of the Ohio Turnpike continue and the effort has gained momentum. The Ohio Trucking Association has voiced their opposition to a lease and a number of Members of Congress have also voiced opposition. At present, the Governor’s office is working on putting together a request for proposal document, that once completed must be approved by the Legislature. We anticipate that should occur by the end of the year. That will be our last chance to prevent the lease from occurring and I will get a message out once that happens in the event you may wish to contact members of the Ohio Legislature.

Finally, if you would like periodic instant updates via Twitter – please add me to your following list. My Twitter address is TimBrownWoodCo

With all best wishes,

Tim W. Brown
Wood County Commissioner

TimBrown@wcnet.org - email
www.CitizensforBrown.com – web site

Joe the Plumber to announce decision on Congressional run

I received the following press release, but the release did not include the date of the event. In checking, I learned that the announcement is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25th. I hope Joe's campaign team takes note of this error and his incomplete sentences. He needs a proof reader for his releases:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Roman Schroeder
Email: roman@joeforcongress2012.com

Holland, OH- Samuel J Wurzelbacher, also known as Joe the Plumber, will be announcing his decision on a potential 9th District Congressional run at Tony Pakcos’ CafĂ©, 1902 Front Street, Toledo, OH 43605 at 7PM. Wurzelbacher filed as a candidate in the 9th District earlier this month. His campaign has been in an exploratory phase since that time, gauging their level of support across the district. “Good people just haven’t been stepping up to run in these important races. I want to prove that regular people can run, win, and keep their integrity intact.” Wurzelbacher will continue to weigh his options over the next week.

Mr. Wurzelbacher will be inviting a broad range of constituents from all over district to attend. There will also be a brief question and answer period. Which will be followed by a live cyber Town Hall Meeting with thousands of concerned Americans in attendance online. Additionally, the event will be streaming live over the Internet and will be viewable to thousands more on the soon to be launched campaign website. http://www.joeforcongress2012.com

Joe Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber) gained national prominence when he asked then presidential candidate, Barack Obama, a question about his tax plan. The conversation was captured by an ABC cameraman and Joe’s life would never again be the same.

His story came to symbolize the idea of spreading the wealth in the 2008 presidential campaign. Through massive amounts of mud-slinging and name bashing, Joe never backed down from his principles. To this day he continues to fight for the workingman so they have the opportunity to fulfill their true American dream.

Joe has been an avid outdoorsman since childhood and as a US Air Force Veteran believes very passionately in the health and happiness of our wounded soldiers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote of the Day - U.S. Constitution

Q. What is meant by the term “constitution”?

A. A constitution embodies the fundamental principles of a government. Our constitution, adopted by the sovereign power, is amendable by that power only. To the constitution all laws, executive actions, and judicial decisions must conform, as it is the creator of the powers exercised by the departments of government.

Q. Why has our Constitution been classed as “rigid”?

A. The term “rigid” is used in opposition to “flexible” because the provisions are in a written document which cannot be legally changed with the same ease and in the same manner as ordinary laws. The British constitution, which is unwritten, can, on the other hand be changed overnight by an act of Parliament. ...

Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?

A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the States. ...

Q. Does the Constitution give us our rights and liberties?

A. No, it does not, it only guarantees them. The people had all their rights and liberties before they made the Constitution. The Constitution was formed, among other purposes, to make the people’s liberties secure -- secure not only as against foreign attack but against oppression by their own government. They set specific limits upon their national government and upon the States, and reserved to themselves all powers that they did not grant. The Ninth Amendment declares: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

~ Sol Bloom, Director General of the United States Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission

Source: The Story Of The Constitution 1787 - We The People - 1937, copyrighted to The United States Constitutional Sesquicentennial Commission, July 28, 1937, Pg. 168, 169, 177.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Networks ignore occupiers' call for anti-capitalist revolt

My apologies, but there will be light postings over the next several days as I work with a client on a project.

In the meantime, here is a great article from the Business & Media Institute on how the Networks Won't Admit Occupiers Want 'Socialist' Revolution - Marxism abounds at Wall Street protests, but ABC, CBS and NBC barely mention call for anti-capitalist revolt.

The Occupy Wall Street protests marked off a full month of occupation Oct. 17, and the network news media continue to gloss over protesters calls for "revolution" as well as the socialistic mentality espoused by many of the protesters.

One protest speaker was videotaped saying, "Long live the revolution! Long live socialism!" Others in Chicago and Philadelphia marched with Communist flags. And Oakland, Calif. occupiers articulated their desire for income equality, a new political system and disgust for the bourgeoisie (whether they be landlords or hot dog stand owners.)

Socialists, communists and Marxists roam the Occupy Wall Street rallies, yet zero network news stories since the protests began used any of those three words to label protesters or their goals. Network reporters won't even explain that protesters are calling for a revolutionary-style change.

Business & Media Institute analyzed 115 news reports, briefs and anchor reads that mentioned the Occupy protests. BMI found that only 6 percent (seven stories out of 115) have even mentioned the word "revolution" in stories about the protests. In one of those instances, the word was actually describing the violent Middle East uprisings that supposedly inspired the occupiers. The other mentions were in passing and none stories explained what "revolution" means to the occupiers.

In their own words it means the overthrow of capitalism, potentially through violence. The Occupy L.A. speaker who cheered "Long live socialism!" advocated using violence, as in the French revolution, because it "made fundamental transformation, but it was bloody." He went on to advocate such a bloody revolution here in the U.S. saying: "So ultimately bourgeoisie won't go without violent means. We'll have the revolution yes, revolution that is led by working class. Long live revolution. Long live socialism." He was cheered on by members of the crowd.

Read more....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Toledo Chamber Virtual Candidate Forum

From the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce:

(Toledo, OH) The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce brings candidates for local office to you via its online Virtual Candidate Forum. Housed on the chamber’s website, the Virtual Candidate Forum is a collection of video-recorded statements from the candidates for Toledo City Council and Toledo Public Schools Board for public viewing on demand. The Virtual Candidate Forum can be found at www.toledochamber.com/candidateslive.

According to Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Carol Van Sickle, “For many years the Chamber has produced a live Candidate Forum event, bringing candidates together at one venue so that attendees could hear more about where potential officeholders stand on issues that affect northwest Ohio. We’re pleased to now offer an online event, which greatly expands the audience with whom the Chamber can share this information and allows viewers to watch at their convenience.”

This Virtual Candidate Forum will be live on the Chamber’s website through Election Day – November 8, 2011.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Toledo City Council Meeting October 18, 2011

Sherry's notes from the Toledo City Council Meeting of October 18, 2011 (Sherry's personal notes are in italics):

In Attendance: Councilmen Collins, Martinez,. Craig, McNamara, Waniewski, Ludeman, Steel, Sarantou, Councilwomen Brown, Webb, Hicks-Hudson, Mayor Bell, Deputy Mayor Herwat.

Item 446 – Appointments – Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 466 – Appointment – Civic Center Mall Commission – confirmed – all voting yes. (Isn't this part of the Erie Street Market? SZ)

Item 467 – Resolution – Recognize Police Chief Navarre on his retirement – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 431 – Amend Toledo Expansion Incentive Program (TEI) Guidelines – McNamara – Mr. Martinez and himself put together new guidelines to be revisited. Cruthers – looks at this – would like a vote at this time. Martinez – please look at the stuff we proposed. Steel – this was not brought up at Agenda Review. Cruthers – has no problem with the people having their say – was held two weeks ago – time has passed – move forward. Slow Roll – yes (to hold) – McNamara, Martinez, Craig, Hicks-Hudson, Collins, Webb. No (to pass) – Waniewski, Brown, Ludeman, Sarantou, Steel. Motion failed – hold for 2 weeks.

Item 468 – Amend Ordinance 81-10, 19 parcels to NHS for Cherry St. Legacy Plan, extend time from 13 months to 21 months – passed – all voting yes.

Item 485 – Zone change at 5047 – 5049 Douglas Road (Approved 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 486 – Zone change at 1631 Tracy Road (Approved 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 487 – SUP for indoor golf league facility and clubhouse at 1965 Shoreland Ave. (Approved 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 488 – SUP for tow lot at 6231 Telegraph Road (without recommendation 6 – 0) – Webb – this is in her district/neighborhood – it is a concern – talked to Army Corps. Of Engineers on this. This is on Stateline Road – nice community – tried to mediate – owner has tried to be compliant – some of this project is in MI – zoning is incompatible. Steel – feels the same way – Why did it fail? Craig – property has been cleaned up – this is industrial property – they can do anything they want with it. Waniewski – in favor of SUP – there are a lot of worse businesses. Webb – make up your own mind – there is a creek next door to this land – runs into the Ottawa River – I was told this would be cleaned up. Ludeman – how many neighbors showed up to the meeting? Webb – 1 – received 25 emails. Slow Roll – yes (to pass) – Waniewski, Craig, Ludeman, Brown, Sarantou, Collins. No (to fail) – Webb, Hicks- Hudson, Martinez, McNamara, Steel. Motion failed.

Item 469 - Resolution – Application to US EPA for Coalition Assessment Grant for assessing Brownfield Sites, $1M - adopted – all voting yes.

Item 470 – Resolution – Application to ODOD for Brownfield Action Plan Pilot Program, Cherry St. to river to I-280 – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 471 – Purchase 481 Fassett St. for additional 4+ acres for new Fire Station #6 at Oak & Fassett, $42,000 CIP – passed – all voting yes. Ludeman – thanks the Clerks for doing the math.

Item 472 – Easement to Toledo Edison for relocations at 481 Fassett St., new Fire Station #6 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 473 – Accept FirstEnergy grant for electrical upgrades at Products Designed & Built, 5949 American, $21,640 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 474 – Appropriation for TEI grant awards to 10 businesses, $115,000 General Fund – Webb – question – TEI guidelines – not passed. McNamara – this will be passed under the old guidelines. Passed – all voting yes.

Item 475 – Expenditure for demolition of 440 Winthrop at Collingwood for Scott High School, $50,000 Klandbank, NSP, Trust – Collins – this property goes to TPS – Beverly property should go for green space? Herwat – no. Collins – hold for 2 weeks? Cruthers – I will call Jim Gaff about this. Collins – 72% of this demolition to be taken care of by the State of OH – hold for 2 weeks. Cruthers – Collins, should have brought this up at Agenda – not to conference at this point. Steel – this is a good idea, will require an additional ordinance. Collins – knows this will be good – Beverly property to be returned to the City. Passed – all voting yes.

Item 476 – Purchase foreclosed property at 204 Richards Rd. for NSP model home, $67,000 NSP Funds – passed – all voting yes.

Item 477 – Appropriation for sewer lines for 5 new homes on Dale St. for Habitat for Humanity, $22,280 2% Sewer – passed all voting yes.

Item 478 – Expenditure to Ohio EPA for 2012 public water system license for Water Treatment, $114,690 Water – passed – all voting yes.

Item 479 – Resolution – Support Port Authority in application for Ohio Job Ready Sites grant for Overland Industrial Parkway at Jeep – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 480 – Agreements for National Great Lakes Maritime Museum in Marina District – passed – all voting yes.

Item 481 – Accept Ohio Cultural Facilities Comm. Grant for National Great Lakes Maritime Museum, $4,900,000 – passed – all voting yes. Craig – thank you – Colleges should bring in 40 – 50K in visitors – good for the East Side.

Item 482 – Expenditure for 12 PC's and software for Engineering Services, $28,000 CIP and Sewer Improvement – passed – all voting yes.

Item 483 – Resolution – Accept Lucas County Budget Commission property tax amounts & rates for 2012 budget – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 484 – Agreement with Port Authority for sale of City parking facilities and equipment, terminate DTPA - 1st Reading.

Item 438 – Contract with S&L and Northwest BioEnergy for biosolids recycling/disposal program at Water Reclamation – Collins – please support him on this – spoke with Dr. at UT and Chris Bonzell(sp) – soil sample to be done – Class B biosolid – 27 tons dumped, 230 tons to a golf course, and tons at a residence on Manhattan (he defines Federal Law) – Mr. Murphy to do tests – leave in Committee – let science prevail on this issue – he only wants time – this could be the most important decision he ever makes. Herwat – takes issue with the word “dumped” - $5,000 to get tests done – testing has been done. McNamara – this decision was made 19 months ago – tests done by the EPA – the best science we have, has been done – this is panic by the company that lost the bid – vote. Waniewski – move forward on this. Webb – my constituents prefer the S&L method – boaters, swimmers, and fishermen – lets not rush in - $7500 spent over months (I thought it was $5,000? Not her money, taxpayers. SZ) People in Detroit went to jail over things like this – letter from Enviro – cannot be hasty, leakage can happen – testing should be done by a 3rd party neutral – can effect constituents long term. Collins – it is consumptuous of you to talk to me like this – let science preside – I don't have a problem with 3rd party neutral testing – when Detroit had it's problems, the money came from the taxpayers – Why are you afraid to test? Steel – this is contentious – determine sediment/E-Coli in water – wonders about methodology – move load into one spot – what is this island holding? S&L is doing is doing what it is supposed to – can we approve the contract with S&L and do further testing? Herwat – separate issue – doesn't keep us from approving contract – no compromise. Hicks-Hudson – takes exception to additional testing – trusts EPA and testing done (she checked out the criteria) – will approve. Craig – trusts EPA – good science - this is research - we can't define the testing – don't need to go any further. Slow Roll – yes (to pass) – McNamara, Waniewski, Martinez, Craig, Brown, Sarantou, Hicks-Hudson, Steel. No (to put back into Committee) – Ludeman, Collins, Webb. Motion carried. Passed – yes, McNamara, Waniewski, Martinez, Craig, Brown, Sarantou, Hicks-Hudson, Steel, no - Ludeman, Collins, Webb.

Item 363 – Authorize amendment to 5-year consolidated plan & 1-year action plan to HUD for 108 loan for Berdan Building – Martinez – nobody is on the hook for this project except the taxpayer – we cannot afford this right now, highly risky – don't say you weren't warned. McNamara – effect City, big risk – jobs – no – project will not pass – we are on the hook for this – shouldn't support this right now. Hicks-Hudson - toured the building, did not need the hole in it – need to move on this, government finances. Steel – call for vote – make our voices heard. Martinez – leary of these deals – passed – yes – Craig, Ludeman, Brown, Sarantou, Hicks-Hudson, Steel, Collins, Webb. No – Waniewski, McNamara, Martinez.

Last Call:

Waniewski – How long have we issued the permit for the folks downtown?

Webb – good to be back.

Collins – look at abandon property (did not get where) right off entry to TP (Herwat).

Craig – thankful for the acreage for the Fire House.

Hicks-Hudson – look at 2 properties on Moore Street (Herwat).

Ludeman – Martinez – agree to disagree. Granddaughter was born 3 months early also (Webb), celebrating her 2nd Birthday.

Martinez – What are we going to do about abandon properties? Celebrates 8 years with girlfriend.

McNamara – Hopes Berdan project is successful.

Sarantou – Check out Old Orchard School – when is it going to be torn down? Neighbors are complaining about rats.

Steel – Maplewood – status – checked this site on Aries – fore fitted. Wants to know all houses rehabbed with Federal funding. Do testing that Mr. Collins wants.

Herwat – Friday at 10 AM in chambers, swearing in of new Police Chief.

Oral arguments on Ohio's smoking ban challenge

I know a lot of people have been following the lawsuit over the unconstitutionality of Ohio's smoking ban, so I thought this might be of interest.

For background, it's Jackson v. Bartec. The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and Columbus tavern Zeno's challenged the constitutionally of the Ohio smoking ban, as applied to the property rights of bar owners, and the constitutionally of how the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has enforced the ban, arguing that ODH has exceeded its limited administrative authority and taken the law into its own hands.

If you'd like to watch the oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court, which begin today at 9:30 a.m., you can do so here. If you like to watch them later, they will be available in the Court web site's archive.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If you think Solyndra is bad, wait until you see this

We've all heard about the Solyndra scandal, but that may pale in comparison to what is being described as America's Worst Wind Energy Project.

The article takes a look at General Electric's (GE) Shepherds Flat project in northern Oregon - which the author says "is a real stinker."

The majority of the funding for the $1.9 billion, 845-megawatt Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon is coming courtesy of federal taxpayers. And that largesse will provide a windfall for General Electric and its partners on the deal who include Google, Sumitomo, and Caithness Energy. Not only is the Energy Department giving GE and its partners a $1.06 billion loan guarantee, but as soon as GE’s 338 turbines start turning at Shepherds Flat, the Treasury Department will send the project developers a cash grant of $490 million.

The deal was so lucrative for the project developers that last October, some of Obama’s top advisers, including energy-policy czar Carol Browner and economic adviser Larry Summers, wrote a memo saying that the project’s backers had “little skin in the game” while the government would be providing “a significant subsidy (65+ percent).”
...
The memo continues, explaining that the carbon dioxide reductions associated with the project “would have to be valued at nearly $130 per ton for CO2 for the climate benefits to equal the subsidies.” The memo continues, saying that that per-ton cost is “more than 6 times the primary estimate used by the government in evaluating rules.”

Never mind that GE made $5.1 billion (yes - with a 'B') from their U.S. operations last year without paying any taxes. Never mind that GE clearly has the capital/financial ability to finance this project on their own. Never mind that GE's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, is the head of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

No, those facts are irrelevant. Our tax dollars are going to pay for this 'little' project and then to reward the 'investors' who have no skin in the game.

And the worst part about all of this is that these billions (yes - again with a 'B') are being taken from you and me and all Americans (probably borrowed from China) to reward campaign donors and promote a false idea that wind energy is a viable choice.

So just how many jobs will this little project create? Only 35 permanent positions. As the article says:

How much will those “green energy” jobs cost? Well, if we ignore the value of the federal loan guarantee and only focus on the $490 million cash grant that will be given to GE and its partners when Shepherds Flat gets finished, the cost of those “green energy” jobs will be about $16.3 million each.

Really?!? $16.3 million to 'create' a job?!? And that is excluding the billion in loan guarantees!!!

Where is the outrage?

The article does have some good news though. It appears that the more people learn about wind energy, the less they like it. Not because they don't want to have an alternative form of energy, but because they realize that the industry isn't viable without huge subsidies of their dollars, which they know diverts limited funds from other purposes.

During the webinar, Justin Rolfe-Redding, a doctoral student from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, discussed ways for wind-energy proponents to get their message out to the public. Rolfe-Redding said that polling data showed that “after reading arguments for and against wind, wind lost support.” He went on to say that concerns about wind energy’s cost and its effect on property values “crowded out climate change” among those surveyed.

The most astounding thing to come out of Rolfe-Redding’s mouth — and yes, I heard him say it myself — was this: “The things people are educated about are a real deficit for us.” After the briefings on the pros and cons of wind, said Rolfe-Redding, “enthusiasm decreased for wind. That’s a troubling finding.” The solution to these problems, said Rolfe-Redding, was to “weaken counterarguments” against wind as much as possible. He suggested using “inoculation theory” by telling people that “wind is a clean source, it provides jobs” and adding that “it’s an investment in the future.” He also said that proponents should weaken objections by “saying prices are coming down every day.”

They can spin it any way they want, but the truth came directly from a wind supporter:

As Rolfe-Redding said, the more people know about the wind business, the less they like it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kaptur's true colors: supports OccupyWallStreet, agrees with American Nazi and American Communist parties

Our congressional representative, Marcy Kaptur (D-OH9), is obviously happy to see the Occupy(fill in the blank) protests. She hates banks - calls them 'banksters.'

On the floor of the House, she said the occupiers had "found the right piece of geography. They have their eyes on the right subject."

She told local TV station WTOL

"I'm glad they've got the spotlight focused on Wall Street which is the problem. The way the banking system is structured and what they just did to the American people."

Of course she's glad they're focused on Wall Street - it means they're not focused on Congress!

I've seen quite a number of comments from angry protesters bemoaning the fact that 'people' on Wall Street are not going to jail for what they've done (though they rarely can describe in any detail what, exactly, it is that they should go to jail for). But the primary reason 'all' those people aren't going to jail is because what they've done was not illegal.

You may think it is immoral and unjust, but that doesn't make it illegal.

In order for it to be illegal, there has to be a law prohibiting what they did. And Congress, who writes the laws and provides for the regulation of the banks and sets the penalties, knows that most of what the protesters object to was not illegal.

This is not to say that there are no illegalities whatsoever, but writing a sub-prime loan isn't illegal. Offering variable mortgage interest rates isn't illegal. Thinking that people entering into loans and mortgages would actually understand the obligation they were taking on isn't illegal. In fact, these things were a direct result of the laws Congress passed.

Think about it - government mandated that banks include unemployment insurance as income for the purposes of getting a mortgage. Is it really a good idea for an unemployed person to take out a mortgage for a home? Probably not. But if you're a bank and you think the borrower is an unacceptable risk because they don't have a job, too bad! The government has now forced you to count unemployment compensation as income.

So when the borrower couldn't find a job and the unemployment ran out, the bank was left with a loan it couldn't collect - and foreclosure proceedings usually ensued.

This specific scenario is a direct result of the laws Congress wrote, but the occupiers choose to blame the banks and the investors who followed those rules rather than the ones who wrote them.

So it's no wonder Rep. Kaptur is glad they're focused on something other than the source of the problem!

Interestingly, despite railing against Wall Street, OpenSecrets.org shows that she and her PAC accept campaign contributions from companies traded there, investment firms, and lobbyists who represent the financial industry - though the majority of her contributions come from labor unions and, more recently, defense contractors.

Kaptur also told WTOL that what the occupiers are doing is "healthy."

Sanitation experts would disagree.

But if Kaptur is so approving of what the occupiers are doing, she should be asked:

* why she supports the disrespect of the American Flag;

* why she supports anti-Semitism;

* why she supports defecating on a police car;

* why she supports 'killing and eating the rich';

* why she supports calls for violence;

* why she supports people who wave signs that say "if Jesus returns kill him again"'

* why she supports people who sing "f*** the USA";

* and why she is aligning herself with the American Nazi Party and the American Communist Party.

Yes, this from the same representative who has an article linked on her official Congressional website that describes the TEA party movement as a "war on America." Don't believe me? Here is the screen shot:



She 'officially' supports calling tea party protesters "terrorists" and referring to the tea party as a "jihad."

Strange how she believes tea party protesters were conducting a 'war on America' but supports 'occupiers' who are aligning themselves with Nazis and Communists and are calling for the destruction of our economic system, by violent means if necessary.

Or maybe it's not so strange after all. Perhaps it's just her true colors shining through.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quote of the Day - soft tyranny

"The worst forms of tyranny, or certainly the most successful ones, are not those we rail against but those that so insinuate themselves into the imagery of our consciousness, and the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny." ~ Michael Parenti

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mobile Meals Wine Gala 2011

When I first ran for office in 1993, we got a lot of invitations to events and activities we'd never even heard of before. One of them was the Wine Gala fundraiser for Mobile Meals of Toledo, which we decided to attend.

We had a blast! It was a great evening with scrumptious appetizers, interesting and affordable silent auction items, a gourmet dinner, a live auction of finer wines and then music and dancing afterward. Other than our wedding, it was the first time we'd been to a black-tie event.

Even better than the fun we had that night, we learned about Mobile Meals and their mission - to assist "the elderly, ill, disabled, and homebound to remain in their homes and retain their independence and dignity." They do this by providing nutritious meals so the individual doesn't have to worry about shopping or cooking.

We were impressed with the organization as well as the people involved and decided that we wanted to support it. Mobile Meals had won a place in our hearts.

Since then, we have devoted both our time and our resources to this fantastic organization. I've chaired the Wine Gala and served on the Board of Trustees. And I know that today, its mission is even more critical.

The Wine Gala is one of the major fundraising events and this year's celebration will be Saturday November 5th at the Stranahan Great Hall. Tickets are $125/person and are available now.

While some might think the ticket price is a bit high, you certainly get your money's worth. The evening starts with a wine tasting from 14 area distributors. The distributors usually bring five or more different wines to sample. This is accompanied by scrumptious hors d'oeuvres from local eateries and have included, in the past, everything from cheese and crackers to smoked salmon to asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.

The gourmet dinner varies from year to year and is a far cry from the typical chicken dish you get at most events. Additionally, the committee selects two dinner wines (a red and a white) to be served with the meal. Samples are tasted to be sure the wines provide a good compliment to the dinner. Desserts have been anything from bite-sized petit fours to gourmet cakes. There is a selection, so you're sure to find something to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Throughout the evening, tables of silent auction items are bid upon. You probably won't find a better selection of silent auction items at any other event. While many of the items are wine-related, most are not.

But the main event is the live auction of fine wines, many from the private cellars of collectors in the area. As we still serve on the live auction committee, I can share with you some of the finer selections that will be available for bidding in the live auction.

There is a case of Italian wines:

1993 Marchesi di Barolo
1994 La Casa Brunello di Montalcino
1995 Bricco dell' Uccellone Barbera d'Asti
1998 Barbera d'Asti Superior
1998 Vitanza Brunello Di Montalcino
1999 Masi Costasera Amarone
2000 Novaia Amarone Della Valpolicella
2001 Parusso Barolo
2001 Seghesio Barolo
2003 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino
2003 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino
2003 Parusso Barolo

A magnicifent case of bordeaux:

1980 Chateau Talbot Saint Julien
1981 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou Saint Julien
1982 Chateau Villemaurine Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe
1982 Cotes De Bourg Chateau Falfas
1983 Chateau Gruaud Larose
1983 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lalande Pauillac
1984 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comteese De Lalande Pauillac
1985 Chateau Les Ormes De Pez Saint-Estephe
1986 Chateau Beychevelle Saint Julien
1986 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
1989 Chateau Batailley Grand Cru Classe Pauillac
1989 Chateau Beaumont Haut-Medoc

This donation - two bottles of each:

2002 Chateau Latour
2202 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

And the featured lot:

1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
1989 Chat au Longueville
1990 Chateau Pichon Longueville
1995 Chateau la Renaudie
1997 Chateau D'Angludet

All of these wines have been properly stored and some are no longer available on the open market.

The event concludes with live music and dancing.

If you'd like to join us for a fun evening benefiting a terrific organization, you can order tickets here. Donations are also welcome if you cannot attend. Additionally, if you'd like to volunteer for the event, or to help deliver meals, even as a substitute, please call the office at 419-255-7806.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Examination of Tea parties and Occupy(fill in the blank) show double standards

I've deliberately held off writing about the Occupy(fill in the blank) events because I thought it would be best not to judge the entire movement by the actions of the individual members - many of whom are really out there. I've been waiting, patiently, for them to decide what their goals are - though I am concerned that they refer to it as 'demands.'

I've been reading conservative and liberal sites - praise and condemnation. I've seen the despicable things and the stupid things, heard heart-wrenching stories and passionate pleas.

My original thought on the lack of goals for the group was that, by failing to define themselves, they were opening themselves up to be defined by others. And others - from both the left and right - have clearly done so.

Sadly, the majority of the people willing to be recorded by others are not good representatives - or perhaps they are exactly what the 'movement' represents, which will turn out to be a bad thing for the movement itself.

So while I wait (days, weeks or months, according to one speaker recorded at OccupyToledo by Fred LeFebvre at WSPD), I thought I'd take a look at the differences and similarities between the TEA parties and the Occupiers - and the double standards that are being employed.

A significant difference is, obviously, the purpose. The Occupiers don't have any yet, though they seem to agree in general on anti-capitalism. They don't like Wall Street, either, but they've not developed any specifics for which they have achieved consensus. They have several well-circulated proposals which range from 'abolish the federal reserve' to 'forgive all debt,' 'open the borders' and 'pay everyone a living wage regardless of work.'

TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already, which is a clear message about the goal and purpose of the participants. In joining together to oppose the fact that they believed they were taxed enough, they focused on the Constitutional restrictions on the federal government which they believe have been exceeded, resulting in taxation to support non-constitutional things.

The press coverage of the two actions is also quite different, as the Media Research Institute explains:

The Occupy Wall Street protestors have received overwhelmingly positive coverage from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks, as they used their airtime to publicize and promote the aggressively leftist movement. In just the first eleven days of October, ABC, CBS and NBC flooded their morning and evening newscasts with a whopping 33 full stories or interview segments on the protestors. This was a far cry from the greeting the Tea Party received from the Big Three as that conservative protest movement was initially ignored (only 13 total stories in all of 2009) and then reviled.

Where the Tea Party was met with skeptical claims of their motivations -- with some reporters claiming they were merely corporate backed puppets and others implying they were spurred on by their racist opposition to the first black president – the Occupy Wall Street crowd was depicted as an almost genial “grassroots” movement.
...
Most astoundingly, the networks’ Occupy Wall Street (OWS) stories were overwhelmingly sympathetic: Protestors and supporters of the movement dominated the soundbites, with 109 (87%) to just 8 critics (6%), with another 8 soundbites from neutral sources. Five of the eight soundbites unsympathetic to the protestors were brief clips of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain blasting the occupiers. In addition to the 109 pro-OWS soundbites, seven times guests on the Big Three network morning shows expressed sympathy for the protestors. No guests opposed the protests.

Interestingly, and this is a similarity, both groups believed the press was being unfair in their descriptions - depicting them negatively or out of context.

The way the groups have been described by the media is also quite different - not just because of the stated or apparent goals. While the media routinely identify conservative perspectives as 'conservative' or other descriptors with negative connotations, they rarely do the same with liberal ones.

In 2009 Tea Partiers were repeatedly but accurately described as conservative. Back on the April 15, 2009 Today show, NBC’s Chuck Todd’s labeling was typical when he introduced the Tea Party movement to viewers this way: “There’s been some grassroots conservatives who have organized so-called Tea Parties around the country, hoping the historical reference will help galvanize Americans against the President’s economic ideas. But, I tell you, the idea hasn’t really caught on.”

However, when it came to appropriately labeling the OWS crowd as leftist or liberals, it happened exactly one time, when on the October 11 edition of ABC’s Good Morning America, co-anchor George Stephanopoulous asked Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe if he thought the OWS protestors were the “liberal version of the Tea Party?” and wondered if that was a “good thing for the White House?”

The only other usages of the world “liberal” came when Columbia University’s Dorian Warren, on the October 1 NBC Nightly News asserted that the protesteors were “a liberal version of the Tea Party” and obligingly offered: “I think this could potentially carry over into the 2012 elections and get people to the polls.” Then, on the October 9 edition of Sunday Morning, Rebecca Jarvis pegged Columbia University professor Todd Gitlin as “a liberal observer of the politics of the protest.”

In fact, as this more recent article from MRC's Business and Media Institute points out, the headline says it all:

Media Embrace 'Noble' Extremists Occupying Wall Street, Ignore Radicalism 88% of the Time
Communists, anarchists and revolutionaries fight to destroy capitalism, while journalists praise the 'Zen-like' encampment.

The article has plenty of examples of 'extremism,' most of which you can find on the Internet, but not in the main stream media. But if you recall the tea party coverage, it was confrontational and seemed to the tea partiers to go out of the way to highlight the most 'extreme' of signs, even when there was only one such example at a gathering of hundreds.

Another difference is in how the media and politicians treat the supporters. While many claimed that the tea parties were just astroturfing, the occupiers are praised as being truly grass-roots, despite the fact that their entire movement is being supported and assisted by Adbusters, an anti-capitalist group in Canada.

According to the OccupyWallStreet (OWS) web page, Adbusters started the protests:

On 13 Jul 2011, the group Adbusters released this call: Occupy Wall Street!

In Solidarity, and as a response to this call, a planning group was formed [occupywallst.org], and an info sharing site established. The participation of every person, and every organization, that has an interest in returning the US back into the hands of it's individual citizens is required.

OWS clearly admits they are an action that was dictated by a foreign company.

From the Adbuster's blog:

On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.

Talk about astroturfing....

But the MSM hasn't even mentioned this, despite the fact that it is clearly discerned.

*** SIDENOTE: In their call to occupy Wall Street, Adbusters says (emphasis added): "Our government would be forced to choose publicly between the will of the people and the lucre of the corporations." But as a company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the United States government is not their own.

Does anyone else see the problem here?
End SIDENOTE ***

The tea parties did have an inspiration - Rick Santelli's rant that was broadcast on CNBC. But Santelli was an individual and it was individuals who, liking the idea, decided to follow through.

Now, since both actions began, other groups have stepped in and joined to support the movements. Conservative and free-market organizations urged their members to attend tea parties and were often called upon to speak to the tea party protests. Unions and liberal groups have donated funds and support while encouraging their members to join with the occupiers.

In both instances, the involvement is welcomed by the groups. But while the tea parties are still accused of being 'tools' of these groups and even the Republican Party, the Occupy(fill in the blank) has received no such accusations. In fact, when individual occupiers talk about the idea of being 'co-opted' by liberal groups, they insist that all are welcome but that they are not like the tea parties.

Occupiers maintain that groups joining with them are there because they agree with the message (yet to be defined, but don't let that fact get in the way). However, they then claim that tea parties (doing the exact same thing - welcoming groups that agree with them) are 'tools.' The contradiction in perspective, despite the exact same occurrence, is striking and clearly indicates a double standard.

Tea party members insist that no group or organization is behind their involvement (which was certainly true in Toledo, as I was there and helped provide advice and direction on city matters to the individual who organized the first Toledo tea party). But when they do so, the media and those on the left accuse them of lying, being insincere, are sayt they're just too dumb to know they're being used.

Individual occupiers routinely express this opinion.

But when the occupiers say the exact same thing, that no group or organization is behind their involvement, they are believed. Double standards don't sit well with the American public.

Now, is it likely and accurate that many of the people participating in the Occupy action are there of their own volition, hearing about the actions and deciding to 'do something'? Yes, it is. But if occupiers know this to be true of themselves, why do so many of them reject the same for members of the tea party?

Perhaps the media descriptions had something to do with it? Again, MRC points out:

Back on the April 15, 2009 edition of ABC’s World News, reporter Dan Harris told viewers that “critics on the Left say” the Tea Party was not “a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it’s actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests.”

But when labor unions started joining the OWS protests, reporters didn’t greet that information with jaundiced skepticism of a movement being taken over by well-funded, well-heeled union organizers, but treated it as recognition of the growing respect and influence they were gaining.

On the October 5 Today show, Mara Schiavocampo alerted viewers that on “Tuesday, several labor unions, including transit workers and teachers, joined activists for a march to Wall Street. Today they plan to join protesters in what could be their largest event yet, a rally and march in lower Manhattan.” In the very next sentence the NBC correspondent was careful to remind her viewers: “The grassroots movement has no official leaders.”

The tea party had no officials leaders at the start either, though groups did get more organized and select people to speak for them as time went on.

MRC continues:

Despite hundreds of arrests, the media have painted the Occupy Wall Street crowd as friendly, genial, even industrious folk who started their own newspapers, and taught Yoga classes to pass the time.
...
In contrast, the network anchors treated the Tea Party much more harshly, depicting its members as violent, racial slur hurling thugs.
...
In the media’s coverage of the Wall Street occupiers and Tea Partiers, a clear tale of two different protests is seen. One that grew out of concern for out-of-control government spending was initially ignored and treated to catcalls of racism and thuggery by ABC, CBS and NBC. The other, a leftist movement screaming for an even more expansive government, that actually resulted in hundreds of arrests, was greeted by the Big Three networks with a tidal wave of coverage full of friendly talking heads.

Then there is the issue of race. Tea party groups were routinely criticized as being non-inclusive without minorities involved. The NAACP even went so far as to issue a call for "the tea party and all people of good will to repudiate the racist element and activities within the tea party." The claim, however, was widely disputed by the tea parties as well as minorities participating, including individuals like Kevin Jackson, president of the Black Conservative Coalition. But the description, repeated so often, has stuck with those who are not involved with the tea party groups.

However, despite the fact that OWS had to form a 'people of color' committee to try to attract more minorities to their effort (as their minutes show), no such examination of the racial makeup of their group has been done.

I did see an online discussion about the lack of minorities in some photographs, but it was quickly pointed out by Occupy supporters that the racial makeup of the subjects in the pictures was roughly the same as the percentages they represent in the population. No such 'justification' was ever granted to the tea parties, despite the same being true.

The last similarity I want to highlight is the 'infiltration' charge. Tea party attendees claimed (and there was some online evidence that the claims were true) that many of the more extreme and bizarre signs at their rallies were from infiltrators who came out to try and make the protesters look bad. Clearly, the Lyndon LaRouche people amongst the tea parties are a good example. And the reaction of tea party members to those individuals (including saying they didn't represent the group) should demonstrate that the 'infiltrator' wasn't truly representative of the group as a whole.

But the occupiers can make no such claims. They do claim that they are being 'infiltrated' by others who want them to look bad, but again, if that claim by the tea party protesters was invalid, surely the occupiers' claim must be treated as invalid as well.

But the Occupy groups say that all are welcome. They encourage anyone and everyone (except the evil 1%) to join with them. They have 'tolerance' for positions they, individually, might not condone and they embrace the 'right' of others to have such extreme positions.

You cannot welcome all, tolerate extreme opinions and then claim you're being 'infiltrated.' That's not logical - either all are welcome, or they're not. They can't be 'infiltrators' if they're welcomed into the group.

As a result of not objecting, the Occupy groups are seen as accepting - and even agreeing with - the extreme messages and positions. Perhaps, once they reach consensus on their demands, this may change. My prediction is that the belief that all views must be 'tolerated' will result in them being labeled and identified by those extreme views. And, like the perception that the tea parties are racist, the perception of the Occupy groups as extreme, left-wing 'crazies' may be too much to overcome.

We may find, once they agree on their demands, that they are indeed, extreme. But in the meantime, the double standards applied to and by the participants will turn off many 'average Americans' and hurt their efforts in the long run.

Double standards = hypocrisy.

*******

And if you really want to see something hypocritical, take a look at the second to last picture in this story. It's of OWS protesters huddling under a Bank of America AMT roof to get out of the rain.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

'Occupiers' don't respect our flag

Below is a screen shot of a story about the Occupy Wall Street protest. What struck me was the photo, by Spencer Platt (Getty Images), of one of the protesters sleeping and using the U.S. Flag as a blanket.


Obviously, this person was never taught - or has chosen to ignore - the proper etiquette for our flag. And other protestors either don't care or don't have the internal fortitude to correct the individual.

So little respect ...

Happy Birthday U.S. Navy!

When asked what I am most proud of, I stick out my chest, hold my head high and state proudly, 'I served in the United States Navy!'” ~ President John F. Kennedy

On this date in 1775, the Continental Congress established the Continental Navy. The purpose of the act was 'the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.' To oversee the assigned tasks, a Navy Committee was also formed.

Following the Revolution, Congress effectively disbanded the Navy, but the Constitution, when ratified in 1789, authorized the federal government to "to provide and maintain a navy."

Official recognition of the birthday was authorized by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt in 1972.

You can go here for more information on the birth of the Navy.

"A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace." ~ President Theodore Roosevelt

"The Navy has both a tradition and a future--and we look with pride and confidence in both directions." ~ Admiral George Anderson

Happy Birthday to all who have served - and continue to do - and uphold the fine traditions of this branch, keeping us safe.

Dollar vans - an (illegal) alternative to the public transportation monopoly

I came across this article on The (Illegal) Private Bus System That Works and instantly wondered if something like this might make more sense than TARTA for Toledo and Lucas County.

The article highlights 'dollar vans' in Brooklyn. They're sort of a cross between a taxi cab (plentiful, available, convenient in terms of being willing to wait for you if you're just walking your child to the door of their day care center) but with a set route like the bus.

As the article explains:

America's 20th largest bus service -- hauling 120,000 riders a day -- is profitable and also illegal. It's not really a bus service at all, but a willy-nilly aggregation of 350 licensed and 500 unlicensed privately-owned "dollar vans" that roam the streets of Brooklyn and Queens, picking up passengers from street corners where city buses are either missing or inconvenient. The dollar van fleet is a tantalizing demonstration of how we might supplement mass transit to include privately-owned mini-transit entrepreneurs, giving people alternative ways to get around, and creating jobs.

One of the major complaints about TARTA is that the routes are not convenient to riders and, despite multiple plans, probably millions of dollars for studies, and numerous public hearings, the complaint continues - over decades. It's not that the routes don't eventually get you from place A to place B - it's the time it takes to get you there, with too many requiring a trip into the downtown Toledo hub enroute, despite the fact that such a stop adds time and often requires a transfer.

Another complaint is the cost of the tax levy that member communities pay, with many finding that they pay more than their usage because of the above issue.

So could a private company provide - either entirely or as a supplement - the service the county needs? Would such a system work in a larger area than Brooklyn? I'm sure it wouldn't be identical to the example in the article, but could a private company better meet the transportation needs of our residents?

TARTA obviously believes there is such a need because they implemented their Call-A-Ride service. But because of the way TARTA funding is structured, this means that residents of Toledo are helping subsidize a service they cannot use since the Call-A-Ride is only available in the suburban communities. Conversely, suburban members realize that they're subsidizing the regular bus service within the city of Toledo. Ah - the complications of a public transportation service that relies upon taxpayer funding rather than the cost charged to actual users of the service.

Could a private company provide a better call-a-ride type of service? Probably. But without the income from the suburban communities, TARTA would face problems. Of course, as a Toledo resident, I want to know why I'm paying taxes for TARTA and don't have call-a-ride available to me.

So if a private company could provide this type of service, why doesn't it? What would prevent a private company from recognizing (years ago) the need and meeting it?

The article explains that as well:

"You might want to know why, exactly, jitneys or dollar vans are illegal in most states. The answer lies in the history of public transit. Until the early 1950s, most transit systems in the U.S. were privately owned companies that operated as regulated monopolies (like electric utilities today) and expected to provide transit service to an entire city. In exchange, they got the right to be the city's only transit service. Transit ridership peaked during World War II, but the transit companies slid into bankruptcy afterwards, as they were expected to serve greater suburban areas, service declined, and more and more federal money went into highways -- all of which tempted people to buy cars and abandon the trolleys and buses. Most of the country's 200 private transit franchises died in the 1950s. (Roger Rabbit had nothing to do with it. I swear.) In the late 1950s, cities took over the bankrupt transit lines and tried to make a go of them, retaining for themselves the monopoly on the right to provide service. In the early 60s the feds became involved in propping those systems up, but without much enthusiasm. Meanwhile, private transit were prevented from driving the streets even when they offered serviced different from the public transit agencies.

What's interesting about dollar vans, if they're properly licensed and insured -- and reasonably legal -- is that they could gravitate to where the riders are and where they want to go faster than public transit, which requires more infrastructure and meetings. In some cities, bus routes have histories going back decades, and they don't change to reflect how people's lives and work habits have changed. (They certainly don't stop at daycare centers.) Dollar vans are out there to make a buck, and that's not bad for passengers."

So government has a monopoly and doesn't want to let it go. I guess the hypocrisy of government restricting monopolies in the private sector completely escapes the politicians and bureaucrats.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Art is too important to be left to government

The National Center for Policy Analysis recently reviewed an article by Lawrence Reed, "What's Wrong with Government Funding of the Arts," which appeared in the September 2011 issue of the Freeman Online.

Here is their summary which makes some very valid points that should appeal to those who don't want public funding of the arts, along with those who love the arts and want to see them succeed:

People who oppose Soviet-style collective farms, government subsidies to agriculture or public ownership of grocery stores because they want the provision of food to be a private matter in the marketplace are generally not dismissed as uncivilized or uncaring. But people who oppose government funding of the arts are frequently accused of being heartless or uncultured, says Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

The fact that the arts are wildly buffeted by political winds is actually a powerful case against government funding. Art is too important to depend on politicians, too critical to be undermined by politicization. Furthermore, expecting government to pay the bill for it is a cop-out, a serious erosion of personal responsibility and respect for private property.

What multiplier?
* Virtually every interest group with a claim on the treasury argues that spending for its projects produces some magical "multiplier" effect.

* Routing other people's money through the government alchemy machine is supposed to somehow magnify national wealth and income, while leaving it in the pockets of those who earned it is somehow a drag.

* Those "studies" that purport to show X return on Y amount of government investment in the arts are generally a laughingstock among economists -- the numbers are often cooked and are almost never put alongside competing uses of public money for comparison.

Meaningful money.
* Those of us who wish to nurture the arts privately stress other, far more important values.

* Money that comes voluntarily from the heart is much more meaningful than money that comes at gunpoint
.

What's important.
* Art is just about everything to some people, especially those whose living derives from it.

* But as adults we have to resist the temptation to think that what we are individually doing is somehow the greatest thing since sliced bread and that therefore it must receive more than what people willingly give it.

Reed also asks some great 'what if' questions - questions we should always when others tell us we need to spend tax dollars on arts or zoos or a myriad of other things:

What if, for instance, “public investment” simply displaces a certain amount of private investment? (Arts subsidy advocates never raise this issue, but I know that I personally am far less likely to make a charitable contribution to something I know is on the dole than to something I know rests on the good hearts of willing givers). What if “public investment” brings with it some baggage like political manipulation that over time erodes the integrity of the recipient institutions? How does that fit into the equation? What if I, as a taxpayer who earned the dollars in the first place, could keep what the government would otherwise spend on the arts and invest it in my kid’s college education and end up getting twice the return on my money that the government would ever get on the arts?

In the end, Reed's conclusion is what a lot of *feel* and believe:

Lots of things are important in life. Spare us the sanctimonious and self-serving nonsense about taking other people’s money for the art you happen to think they should pay for.

I'll support the art I like - and you can do the same!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quotes of the Day - bound by the Constitution

"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"Our Founders warned us that all republics have eventually fallen into tyranny -- the only difference being the relative timeline of each republic's descent. ... From the summer of 1787 when our Framers deliberated over their magnificent Constitution, we have recognized that the clear statement and equal application of the Law is among the most critical duties of any government. If we allow ourselves to lose this, we may as well be back in ancient Rome, subject to the whim of every petty tyrant in the taxing bureau or the zoning board. For it doesn't matter whether the regulator's foot is shod in a jack boot or a Roman sandal; if he can hold you down with that boot upon your neck, then we are no longer in the America that our Founding Fathers intended for us." ~ John F. Di Leo

Monday, October 10, 2011

'Joe the Plumber' makes it official - files for Congress

Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as 'Joe the Plumber' who questioned Barack Obama on the campaign trail and got him to admit that he believes in redistribution of wealth, has filed a campaign committee Joe for Congress 2012 with the Federal Elections Commission.

I'd heard that he was meeting with former candidates for Congress, including Rich Iott, and that he'd talked with several campaign consultants.

If I'm reading the new congressional district maps correctly, Wurzelbacher will not be in the 9th Congressional District, the seat currently being held by Marcy Kaptur, which means a primary against incumbent Rep. Bob Latta if he runs as a Republican.

UPDATE:
According to an interview with the local daily, he said he'd announce his intentions by Oct. 25th. He said he that if he runs, he would seek the 9th Congressional District seat even though he doesn't live in it.

Should the Federal Reserve be abolished?

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is asking that question - and more - and giving you a chance to express yourself. Additionally, they're awarding a $2,000 prize for the winning entry.

2011 Eugene S. Thorpe Writing Competition

FEE invites writers to address the following:

"Should the Federal Reserve be abolished? What monetary system should replace it?"

The deadline is midnight on Dec. 31st. There is a maximum length of 2,000 words and entries (only one per person) can be emailed to essaycontest@fee.org

They will also publish the winning essay in their magazine, The Freeman.

Of course, there are eligibility rules with the traditional exclusions:

The Eugene S. Thorpe Writing Competition is open to writers from around the world, including students, freelance writers, teachers and professors, and business professionals. There is no minimum or maximum age for entrants. FEE employees (and their immediate family members), trustees, and Freeman editors and columnists are not eligible.

Also, if you decide to submit an entry, I'd be happy to publish it here as a guest post.

So for all those who've been railing against the Fed and its unaccountability, here's your chance! Good Luck!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Table saws, government mandates, monopolies and crony capitalism

On October 5, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, voted unanimously to start looking at ways to reduce table saw injuries.

"Wow," you think, "that's a good thing! I mean, those terrible table saws can be pretty dangerous, even for people who are careful. Good for this non-elected agency that's looking out for our best interests!"

They are, according to this statement from the chairman, "determined to be a part of the solution to reduce the serious number of preventable table saw injuries that occur each year." (Yep - determined, whether needed or not!)

The problem is, they're not going to say they can actually reduce table saw injuries - they're just going to start looking for ways. Oh - and those ways they're looking for? It means new regulations - not new designs or innovative safety features.

No - new designs and technology and innovative features are what happens on the manufacturer's side... not the government's.

Also from the chairman's statement:

Last year, I called on the table saw industry to address this hazard through the voluntary standards process and work to prevent the needless injuries that occur each and every day. Despite my public urging for the power tool industry to make progress voluntarily on preventing these injuries, no meaningful revisions to the voluntary standard were made. Therefore, when the first opportunity arose this past June to reinitiate federal rulemaking through the CPSC’s FY 2011 Mid-Year Review vote, I joined my colleague Commissioner Robert Adler’s amendment, directing staff to prepare a briefing package with an ANPR by September 2011, to address table saw blade contact injuries. Although the Commission was urged by some to allow the voluntary standards process continue without initiating a rulemaking, the frequency and severity of the blade contact injuries associated with table saws demanded action via the ANPR.

But here's the thing that really makes a mockery of the whole 'government as savior' attitude. According to the Power Tool Institute, headquartered in Cleveland, since table saw manufacturers started using new guard systems in 2007, there have been no reported blade-contact injuries on any saw using the new guards.

So why in the world would a government agency decide now to impose new regulations? After all, isn't four years without injury a long enough time to judge the effectiveness of the new design? Wouldn't that be a rather exemplary record to be praised?

Turns out, crony capitalism may be to blame - or perhaps it might be a case of using the government for personal benefit.

You see, there is a company called SawStop, with a product by the same name. Their design will, the website claims, stop a table saw blade within five milliseconds of detecting contact with skin.

Since I don't use table saws, but most of the men in my family do or have, I asked them about this new design. They all thought it was a great idea - especially the engineers - if they could afford it.

Cost - aye, there's the rub.

SawStop sells table saws equipped with the design. This is their niche - their marketing angle - and it's a good one. And, according to some news reports, it seems to be successful as the company has sold 'tens of thousands' of their saws.

But, rather than be content that a different product is on the market that people can choose to purchase, consumer advocates are pressuring the government to mandate the inclusion of this new technology on all table saws, as this NPR article explains:

"The problem is enormous, and it's getting worse," says Sally Greenberg, who heads the National Consumers League and has been a top lawyer with Consumers Union.

The problem, she explains, is that there's a safety brake technology that can stop a table saw instantly — before it cuts off a user's fingers. It's like an airbag in a car. It's a breakthrough safety feature. But only one company in the entire industry is using it.

"We've got this great technology — it's not terribly expensive to implement," Greenberg says. "Let's do it."
...
Greenberg says this case is a classic example of why the Consumer Product Safety Commission was created.

"You have a pattern of injury, you have a technology that can address the injury, and it can address the injury for a reasonable cost," she says.

Given the life-altering harm these injuries cause, Greenberg says the government should mandate a safety brake like this for all table saws.

My argument would be that since the product is on the market and available, it should be a consumer's choice which table saw they want to purchase. Do they want to buy this one or that one - do they want this feature or that one - how much do they want to pay and what features are most important to meet their needs?

Strangely, that seems to be the position other manufacturers have taken in their statements during hearings on the matter:

"SawStop is currently available in the marketplace to any consumer who chooses to purchase it," says Susan Young, who represents Black & Decker, Bosch, Makita and other power tool companies.

In other words, let consumers decide. Young says many consumers won't want to pay for the SawStop technology, which could add $100 to $300 in cost, depending on which side you talk to.

A quick check online shows that table saws range in price from around $125 to $3,000, so adding $100-300 to the cost could be significant if you're only looking for the $125 model. A similar check found prices of $1,600 to $3,400 for SawStop's products. Perhaps, given a purchaser's budget and need, they'd rather not pay SawStop's cost and, instead, go with another type of guard on the blade?

Despite what appears to be success in the market, Steve Gass, the owner of SawStop and the holder of the patents on the technology, would stand a make even more profit if his product was required by the government. And it's his petition the CPSC is addressing:

Recently, Gass petitioned the Consumer Producer Safety Commission (CPSC) to require emergency brakes for all table saws. The request is being met with opposition from the industry—not only because the mandate would increase costs for manufacturers and consumers, but because Gass’s product is patented and would create a monopoly in the market.
...
As the sole owner of safety-brake technology, Gass would be able to charge whatever he wants for the safety-brake system—at present, Gass’s proposed cost adds about $100 in manufacturing costs for each saw, not including royalties. While this may be a negligible increase for high-end saws, it would double the price of cheaper saws. In addition to the added production costs, industry representatives say it would cost manufacturers tens of millions of dollars to re-tool to build saws with the device.

The Power Tool Institute believes the mandate will give SawStop a monopoly:

The Power Tool Institute is concerned the CPSC will mandate the use of SawStop, which, it argues, would give Mr. Gass's small saw manufacturing company, also called SawStop, a monopoly over giant power tool makers that have already rejected the technology.

"Unfortunately, for consumers, such a mandatory standard could as much as quadruple the cost of current inexpensive saws and significantly increase the cost of professional saws on the market today," the trade group said. The group plans to urge regulators not to "create a standard that enriches a private company while passing unnecessary costs on to consumers," it added.

Mandating anything too similar to SawStop could also be a problem for the industry, which could be forced to pay the SawStop company royalties on dozens of patents it has secured.

Yes, you read that correctly. Gass approached the larger manufacturers and tried to sell them his design - and they rejected it. So he went to the government in 2003 to see if he could get his design mandated - and he teamed up with the National Consumers League to do so.

And now, it appears, this non-elected government agency seems happy to oblige by creating a federally-mandated monopoly for SawStop, despite the fact that current safety features seem to be working just fine.

But this raises an even bigger question: the proper role of the government.

Some will claim that government has a responsibility to ensure that manufacturers include safety provisions and user warnings on their products. But no manufacturer wants people to hurt themselves using their products. Contrary to the belief of some, most companies understand that the negative publicity from harm to a customer is more costly than the safety provisions they could include. They also understand that customers will pay only so much for such protections - gladly paying for protections they, personally, need and want, but rejecting products with other protections that might include a higher price.

This is the beauty of the marketplace - there are products to meet all needs.

But in recent years, it appears that manufacturers are being held accountable for the stupidity of consumers (consider the lawsuit against McDonald's for hot coffee, or warning on plastic bags that tells parents not to let children play with them or put them over their heads). The Foundation for Fair Civil Justice even holds a Wacky Warning Label Contest to highlight some of the more ridiculous warnings that manufacturers now feel necessary to include.

And the stupidity of consumers is the argument being used in this case. According to several reports I read in researching this issue, Gass and his supporters have claimed that some people disable the guards on the equipment (for various reasons) so government needs to mandate even better protections - foolproof ones for people who are stupid enough to ignore or remove the ones that already come with the product.

And government, happy to inject themselves into our daily lives and save us from our own stupidity, is all too "determined to be a part of the solution."

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Issue 2: 'mostly false' ad and latest 'honest look'

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, through their PolitiFact Ohio, took a look at the We Are Ohio claim that "Says that politicians who approved collective bargaining restrictions for public employees "exploited a loophole exempting themselves from Senate Bill 5." They determined the claim is mostly false.

The claim in the ad does contain an element of truth -- legislators are exempted from several provisions of SB 5.

But the portion of the claim that they’ve exploited a loophole leaves out important details that would give a different impression. Those details include that lawmakers have long been exempt from Ohio’s collective bargaining law, that they already pay the same percentages for medical and pension benefits as SB 5 would require and that their wage is set by statute.

On the Truth-O-Meter, a statement that has an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression rates one way: Mostly False.

Additionally, the fifth video in a series by GOHP Blog, "An Honest Look At Issue 2" is out. It examines some of the other erroneous claims by Issue 2 opponents (We Are Ohio) and provides the truth - especially in terms of job creation in Ohio since Gov. John Kasich took office.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Roundup: Neil Cavuto, Durbin Fee, Ohio Issue 2, Democrats Anonymous

I've collected a bunch of miscellaneous items that I wanted to share, so here's a roundup for your Friday reading:

* My friend and fellow blogger, Warner Todd Huston, who writes at Publius Forum, is in the Chicago area and recently had the opportunity to see a behinds-the-scenes look at the Your World With Neil Cavuto show. Cavuto was in Chicago as part of the celebration of the 15th Birthday for Fox News. WTH, as he's known to his friends, also had a chance to talk with Cavuto and his interview is here. Interestingly, I did not know Cavuto has Multiple Sclerosis nor that he is a survivor of Stage 4 cancer. It's a good interview and I hope you take the time to read it.

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* In response to the union-backed We Are Ohio bus tour urging a no vote on Ohio's Issue 2 in November, Building a Better Ohio issued a press release detailing how much the various cities on the tour could save if Issue 2 is passed. Issue 2 is the referendum on Senate Bill 5, the public sector collective bargaining reform bill.

Toledo: The city's police contract includes a 10% pension pick-up, and other city employees get between a 5.5% to a 10% pension pick-up. Pension pick-ups alone cost the city $11.4 million in 2011. Teachers pay nothing toward their health care premium.

How much better would our roads be if we put that $11.4 million toward road repair rather than 'picking up' the employee's portion of their pension? Don't forget, that's over and above the city/employer's portion that we are required by law to pay.

Now, I realize that pension pick-ups have been negotiated in lieu of pay increases. But what many people fail to realize (union and non-union alike) is that the me-too clauses mean that one union might have gone without a pay increase, but all the other unions in the city got the same pension pick-up without the same concession. That's the way a me-too clause works.

So remember this when you hear the claim that pension pick-ups were in exchange for pay increases. It may be accurate in some instances, but more likely than not, it's not true for all - and certainly not for the entire amount.

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* In response to the Durbin Fee, Bank of America, along with many others, decided to begin charging customers a monthly fee for the use of a debit card. Rather than blame himself, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) took the floor of Congress to urge a run on the bank.

Now, he didn't talk about the other banks doing the same thing, so this wasn't a blanket statement telling people that if they're unhappy with one provider of a service, they can (and probably should) try a competitor. No - this was a directed attack against a single company.

So I'm wondering: do shareholders have any legal recourse to hold Durbin personally accountable for any negative consequences or decline in stock value of Bank of America? Probably hundreds of thousands of individuals have an investment interest in the bank - and its subsidiaries - through direct holding of stock or through pensions, IRAs and mutual funds. Can Sen. Durbin be sued personally for using the power of his office to target a single company and urge its demise?

Why does Sen. Durbin hate the working people of America and seniors and retirees who rely upon the value of their investments to either provide them with their retirement income now or in the future? Why would Sen. Durbin want people to lose income? Aren't people hurting enough?

And what about all the bank employees? If the bank loses too many customers, it will have to lay off workers - tellers and secretaries and janitors - due to less need and less income. Why does Sen. Durbin hate all these working-class people who were fortunate enough to actually have a job in today's economic climate?

And if any elected official agrees with Durbin, we should have them answer the same questions. Elected officials need to be held accountable and it's time we start doing so.

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"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." ~ Herbert Spencer

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* I'd not heard of the non-profit American Crossroads before, but was sent a link to their latest video, which I found amusing. According to their website, they are:

"...a new kind of non-profit political organization dedicated to renewing America’s commitment to individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise and a strong national defense—through informed and effective political action by citizens like you.
...
Today, America faces much more than a choice among various candidates for public office. We face a Crossroads – a fundamental decision about the future direction of our country that will impact America’s strength and character for years to come."

Here is the video, "Democrats Anonymous," which might actually be pretty timely considering the dissatisfaction we're seeing from the left. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Toledo City Council Meeting October 4, 2011

Notes from Sherry with her comments in italics:

*** Side Note: You'll note that there was considerable discussion about Item 438 – Contract with S & L and Northwest BioEnergy for biosolids recycling/disposal program at Water Reclamation. Just to clarify - Councilman D. Michael Collins accused S&L of, well, trying to bribe Tom Kovacik (who is with N-Viro - a competitor of S&L) by offering him a job. According to what I've heard, after the last council meeting a representative from S&L told Kovacik that he was so good at the council podium that perhaps he should come to work at S&L. When it was made clear to Collins that it was not a 'bribe' but a joking compliment, Collins refused to apologize. Sherry reference in her notes to "Mr. Crushack" is actually referring to Tom Kovacik, but Collins kept pronouncing it the way Sherry spelled it, so it was no wonder she spelling it that way.
***

Toledo City Council Meeting

October 4, 2011


In attendance: Councilmen Waniewski, Copeland, Steel, Collins, Sarantou, Ludeman, Craig, Martinez, McNamara, Councilwomen Brown, Hicks-Hudson, Mayor Bell was there, didn't speak.

Item 451 – Approve Municipal Job Creation Tax Credit for Chrysler Corp., 10 years, 40% tax credit – Martinez – supports Bill, policy concerns that go international – more business friendly – passed – all voting yes.

Item 432 – Grant 50% tax exemption for Chrysler Corp. $365M expansion and upgrade, retain 920, create 1105 – refer back to the Administration – Collins – (addresses Mayor and Martinez) if Chrysler reduces, we need to reduce. Cruthers – we cannot pull this back. Ludeman – please give percentage figures to Council. 65% of their workforce is from Toledo.

Item 441 – Appointment – Chief of Police – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 442 - Appointments – Blair Museum of Lithophanes – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 443 - Appointments – Marina District Architectural Review Committee – confirmed – Sarantou abstains - rest voting yes.

Item 444 - Appointments – Ottawa Park Advisory Board – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 445 - Appointment – Toledo-Lucas County Health Commission – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 446 - Appointments – Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority – Ludeman – waiting on one confirmation - 1st Reading.

Item 447 - Appointment – Vistula Historic District – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 448 - Appointments – Walbridge Park Advisory Board – confirmed – all voting yes.

Executive Session – all voting yes – 4:20 – 4:40.

Item 423 – Amend TMC Ch. 2117, AFSCME Local 7, to implement terms and conditions of Fact Finding Report – to the Committee of the Whole. (I came here 1 hour early, no Union people. While Council was in Executive Session, the representative for AFSCME Local 7 was behind me. His phone conversation was very interesting. SZ)>
Item 428 – Purchase Laskey Rd. to Bancroft St. portion of abandoned CSX rail line for multiuse recreational trail – passed – all voting yes. (Waniewski ? This is the bike trail. SZ)

Item 440 – Issue Water System Revenue Bonds, $40,000,000 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 449 – Sub grant to United North for demolition and clean up of 5 properties along LaGrange, $110,000 Grants – passed – all voting yes.

Item 450 – Amend TMC Ch. 767, Adult Entertainment, to settle lawsuit with Deja Vu – Toledo – passed – all voting yes.

Item 452 – Lease for snack bar in basement of Municipal Court Building, $12 per year, 1 year plus options – passed – all voting yes.

Item 453 – Amend Ordinance 215-11, accept 20th Year HOME grant, $2,697,406 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 454 – Appropriation for upgrade of SAP billing system for water/sewer bills, $700,000 Water/Sewer Funds – Collins – like to see Finance Committee get this. McNamara – Why didn't this come up at Agenda Review? Collins – SAP System – bring in a Consultant – already have spent 15 mil on this – push back to GF – this will save the rate payer ¾ of a mil. McNamara – go4es over what was previously said. Sarantou – What is the effect on billing? City Rep. - none. To Finance Committee.

Item 455 - Appropriation for 5 vans, 5 trucks, backhoe and mixer for Water Distribution, $713,000 Water Replacement – passed -= all voting yes.

Item 456 – Application to OPWC for for financial assistance for various City-wide infrastructure improvements – amend/passed – all voting yes.

Item 457 – Expenditure for skimming system at Water Reclamation, $85,000 Sewer Operating Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 458 - Expenditure to R&S Construction for sewer repair at 4410 Lewis Ave., $37,175 Sewer Operating Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 459 – Lease of shelter house and open-sided picnic shelter at Walbridge Park, $10 per year, 3 years + options – Steel – hearing on this next Tuesday at 1:00. Waniewski – get the word out about the parks. Passed – all voting yes.

Item 460 – Accept contributions from AOA, Board & City Parks Commission for interior painting of Friendship Center, $15,000 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 461 – Zone change at 5435 N. Detroit Ave. - passed – all voting yes.

Item 462 – SUP for scrap & salvage facility at 1300 Champlain St. - passed – all voting yes.

Item 463 – SUP for fuel station & convenience store at 2246 W. Alexis Rd. (Plan Commission Disapproved) – Craig – violates spacing requirements – they needed to re-apply. Waniewski – spoke to Webb on these properties – they border the Districts. Passed – all voting yes.

Item 438 – Contract with S & L and Northwest BioEnergy for biosolids recycling/disposal program at Water Reclamation – McNamara – enthusiastic about the environment – pathogen migration in the water – talked to OH EPA about the potential for leeching because of the type of soil. Also checked with the US EPA on this, not seeing that happening – went out there – no issue. We are loosing the bid holding this up – where is this coming from – bidders objective measurement – don't delay – costing the people $2,500 a week. Collins – disagree – not for N-viro or S & L – integrity of process – this is human waste - get with OH EPA – give soil samples – (doesn't like the water samples) – implementation of decision – Mr. Crushack was offered a job by S & L. (man from S & L ruled Out of Order) Steel – We will still be paying the extension – knows we have done testing – day window – best for constituents – hearing rates concerns, rather than dismiss. Craig – don't understand how can this be done in 90 days. Herwat – up to 90 days Craig - 500 acer facility - we talked about this 1 year ago – no evidence – no contamination – why are we testing? Mr. Welch – next 3-4 years, test 2X's a year – point source of E-Coli – birds live there. Test the site, S & L will sample – site specific of EPA. Martinez – agrees with Craig – there are two separate entities – flabbergasted this has become a circus. McNamara – biosolids – not human waste – soil sample won't prove one way or another – not serious about the job offer – vote to relieve. Sarantou – term clause option – 90 day notice. Collins – doesn't smell right – not apologizing. McNamara – vote to relieve from Committee. Steel – Mr. Welch, Mr. Welch, fine details. Vote to relieve from Committee -passed – all voting yes. Vote – yes – Craig, Hicks-Hudson, McNamara, Sarantou. No – Waniewski, Martinez, Ludeman, Brown, Steel, Collins, Copeland – motion failed. To Intergovernmental Committee.

Item 430 – Amend Enterprise Zone Policy with new section on job requirements – refer to Administration.

Item 431 – Amend Toledo Expansion Incentive Program (TEI) Guidelines – Martinez – hold for 2 weeks. Cruthers – no urgency to move.

Item 464 -= Additional extension (October – December) for dog control services with Lucas County – Ludeman – why wasn't this out there? Herwat – legal matters. Adam Loux – get that processed ASAP. Collins – police academy trained dog warden – save ourselves ¾ of a mil – Maumee does this. Herwat – get info on this. Passed – all voting yes.

Last Call:

Hicks-Hudson – early voting started.

Ludeman – boxing championships at the Civic Center.

McNamara – Intergovernmental Committee – EPA – talk to Dave Welch.
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