Friday, November 30, 2012

Of headlines, stupidity, Founding Fathers and JFK

I had several things I was going to post about today but, like I do every morning, I read the Drudge Report headlines.

I was struck by the stuck-on-stupid actions and comments of people - and I couldn't help but wonder what our Founding Fathers would think of some of these things.

For example:

Detroit Mayor: 'We are in an environment of entitlement'...

“We are in an environment, I think, of entitlement, we’ve got a lot of people who are city workers, who for years and years, 20, 30 years, think they are entitled to a job and all that comes with it,” Bing said.

He added: “Nobody wants to go backwards, but in order for us to move this city forward we’re going to have to take a step or two backwards — and then, I think, all of us have to participate in the pain that’ s upon us right now.”

He's right, but nobody wants to admit it and, if he wasn't Black, he would probably be called racist for saying so.

Fast food workers demand $15 per hour salaries...

Yeah - because I should earn what I think I'm worth rather than what my employer thinks I'm worth and because flipping burgers and putting the right food on a tray is as valuable as being able to run a multi-million international company.

So much for a 99-cent menu.

Any job I hold should pay me a wage that is capable of supporting a family of four, regardless of the job, the skills that are (or are not) required or the resulting impact on the cost of the products or services I'm providing via that job.

This concept is being promoted by unions and willingly adopted by gullible individuals - and it is completely and totally opposite of all the principles on which this country was based.

If you can hold any job and be paid what you want, where is your drive to succeed and excel? What is your motivation to do better and be a more active contributor to your community? What happened to the idea of building a better mousetrap?

And where does such a concept lead? What would our Founding Fathers think of this attitude? Forget turning over in their graves - they're spinning faster than a top


Liberals, leftists, Christians, moderate Muslims withdrew before vote...

Retains Islamic law as main source of legislation...

No equal rights for women; owning slaves not banned...

Remember when President Barack Obama and other leftists were praising the so-called Arab Spring and saying how democracy in Egypt was such a good thing? Now we find that their new constitution doesn't contain equal rights for women and doesn't ban the owning of slaves.

How do you have an otherwise 'civilized' nation that takes such positions? And will we have outraged comments from our president, leftists, womens' rights organizations and the NAACP???

Syria shuts down Internet...

Curtails land lines, cell phones...

Things have been really bad in Syria for a long time, but not many have paid as much attention to what's going on there - at least, not compared to Egypt and other countries in the area. But I'm not surprised by the action to block the Internet - limited communication and reporting on events is usually one of the first things an oppressive government does in order to prevent news about what they are doing from getting out. Controlling the message is critical to tyrants.

And then I think about some of the other news reports I've read in the last several days, including:

Judge: Northside ISD CANNOT Expel Student for Rejecting RFID Tracking Chip

says district's tracking program 'violates fundamental Constitutional Rights'

Seriously? We're letting schools track our kids? Are we just getting them used to be tracked by the controlling authority?

TSA Refuses to Show at Committee Hearing

Claims House Transportation Committee has no jurisdiction over it

Are we going to continue to let agencies ignore the checks and balances inherent in the system by letting them thumb their collective noses at Congress?

And on a local level, we have politicians and the daily paper calling for a ban on a type of business they don't like. Yes, in this era of high unemployment and people and businesses leaving the city, they want to ban a job provider who pays property taxes, income taxes, wages and who purchases supplies and goods, contributing to the overall economy of the area.

What kind of bizzaro world are we in?

With all this, I got depressed at the state of the world today because it seems so daunting to fight against the constant attack on individual liberty and penchant for being dependents of governmental tyranny.

But then I remember these three quotes and I'm ready to face the day:

"Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom." ~ John F. Kennedy

"[W]hat country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that [the] people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms...The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils." ~ General George Stark

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quote of the Day - worthy of our founders' sacrifices

I am constantly amazed at how sayings and comments by our founders are so relevant to today's circumstances. That their positions are as valid now as they were then means they were definitely right about the struggle for freedom being an on-going effort - clearly freedom is not the 'natural' state of things.

As the quote says, I hope we are worthy of it.

"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves." ~ Joseph Warren, Boston Massacre Oration, 1775

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Help TPS make the right choice on a performance audit

The Toledo Public School board is making a lot of noise about doing a performance audit... finally!

In May I suggested they do a performance audit PRIOR to putting a new or increased tax levy on the ballot.

My thinking was, as usual, very logical: do a performance audit and, based upon the recommendations, see whether or not TPS even *needs* more money. Many school systems in the state saw significant yearly savings, in addition to millions in one-time savings, when they implemented the recommendations from an Auditor of State performance audit review.

Had TPS started in May to pursue this approach, they would be near the completion of the audit and would have a better understanding of any financial needs going forward. They also would have had valid justification for any requested increase in taxes and they could have put that request on the ballot in 2013.

It is critical to note that they also had an $11.22 million carryover so they weren't facing any emergency in terms of funding nor did they need to make cuts in spending in this school year.

Of course, their last financial audit was proof enough that they don't handle public monies well (see here, here and here - yes, it took three very long posts to share the miserable report), so a performance audit and a commitment to implement the recommendations would have gone a long way to regaining public trust.

But they didn't do that. They pushed forward with a 4.9 mill levy because they wanted "a cushion" so they wouldn't have to "start cutting."

But their levy lost.

So, like they did in 2010 after the failure of levy requests at both the primary and general election, they're again talking about doing a performance audit. But they're going to need your help to get it right.

You see, they're not looking at a State Auditor performance audit - they're pursuing a contract with the Council of Great City Schools, an organization of public schools devoted to promoting urban education.

Not only are they turning to a group that they pay dues to, they're going to compare their performance with other large public school districts. Of course, there's nothing to say that the other public school systems are being run effectively, efficiently or at the least cost to taxpayers, so what is the point of comparing TPS practices to them?!?

The basic difference between using CGCS and the state auditor is that one promotes the interests of public schools and the other promotes the interests of the taxpayers.

Who do you really think will do a better job of evaluating every aspect of TPS operations?

Several other points to remember:

* the cost for either organization is basically the same, but the State Auditor offers payment options and financial assistance; the CGSC does not.

* CGCS has no experience doing comprehensive audits - they focus primarily on educational aspects and outcomes, not on such things as alternative options for costs.

* CGCS is not an 'independent' organization - they are a biased group to which TPS belongs.

So who and what is the Council of Great City Schools? Let's take a look.

"The philosophy of the classroom today will be the philosophy of government tomorrow." ~ Abraham Lincoln

This is their mission:

It is the special mission of America’s urban public schools to educate the nation’s most diverse student body to the highest academic standards and prepare them to contribute to our democracy and the global community.

That should stop TPS right there.

We are a REPUBLIC! We are not a democracy. The fact that this organization - devoted to educating our youth - doesn't understand that basic concept should disqualify them right out of the gate!


They support and promote the Common Core State Standards.

I've not completed my research on Common Core, but everything I'm reading so far makes me want to run away from it - screaming.

Basically, Common Core is a national set of educational standards mandated by the federal government and pushed to the local level. It removes local control over multiple aspects of education and dictates what students will learn and how.

It also appears to be very costly in terms of implementation and on-going costs - about $16 billion or so. (Just the thing we need for TPS: more costs to be paid by increased property tax levies.)

You've probably not heard much about Common Core, so a good place to start is American Principles in Action and their five part video on the subject.

Heritage Foundation has a short video that explains how these standards will trump local control and what parents and teachers believe is in the best interest of the children.

Additionally, here are some bullet points about Common Core - from Truth in American Education:

* requires transferring, to the federal government, decisions about educational content and standards and removing such decisions from parents, local districts and even states. Education is supposed to be a state issue, not a federal one.

* local districts must provide the funds for implementation, including for technology, equipment, network capacity, new books and materials and related personnel. The implementation costs are exorbitant - and there is no discussion about the ability of local districts to pay for these additional costs.

* adopting the non-public domain, privately owned copyrighted Common Core State Standards means that everyone must comply 100%. Basically, it's all or nothing though states can add their own standards, so long as those standards are 15% or less of the requirements. Talk about conforming to the lowest common denominator.

* assessment testing will "include annual multiple administration of standardized tests to students that, as the Department of Education notes, “could replace already existing tests, such as interim assessments that are in common use in many classrooms today.”

* will "increase the frequency of standardized tests, diminish the importance of traditional classroom tests, and further marginalize the role of parents and teachers."

Who is writing these standards and curriculum? "Linda Darling-Hammond, a radical left-wing educator and close colleague of William “Bill” Ayers, the former leader of the communist terrorist Weather Underground who became a professor of education and friend of Obama’s."

As Mary Grabar summarizes:

Common Core is part of an effort to implement regionalism, the replacement of local governments by regional boards of federally appointed bureaucrats, who in turn are beholden to international bodies. Regionalism will eliminate the freedom parents now have in choosing neighborhoods with good schools because tax funds will be distributed equally. There will be no escape in home schooling or private schools either, because the curriculum will follow national tests. Students will be tracked through mandatory state records that will then be accessible to Washington bureaucrats. Ultimately, all students will be subject to education mandates implemented by Obama’s radical cronies.

Grabar also wrote:

Although its proponents claim that Common Core increases academic rigor, education professor Sandra Stotsky — a major force behind Massachusetts’ previously high standards — refused to sign off on Common Core, referring to its “empty skill sets.” Others have noted the emphasis on the lowering of standards that is necessary for the goal of “closing the achievement gap.”

In my recent report, I added to the discussion by looking at some of the Common Core lessons now being peddled by school districts and freelance Common Core entrepreneurs. Among these materials was a horrendous “Common Core-compliant” book titled Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies by professor Marc Aronson. Extremely manipulative, historically inaccurate, and age-inappropriate for middle school students, Aronson’s book is a continuation of the Soviet disinformation campaign of diverting attention about the communist threat to J. Edgar Hoover’s alleged homosexuality. Sadly, it is these kinds of materials – tracts that meet the new focus on “informational text” — that school districts are now forced to buy. Teachers, professors, and freelance writers who had previously resisted standards now see a bonanza, as schools replace traditional literary works with books about such subjects as diamonds, snakes, New York City gangs, public artists, and yes, Justin Bieber.

Common Core sounds good on the surface: every school teaches the exact same thing to every child. As I was beginning my research on the issue, I reached out to several blogger friends who have experience in the area. Recognizing just how bad Common Core is, Michelle Malkin responded, "This is my number one policy issue for the next year."

You'll hear more about this, I'm sure, especially since Ohio has signed on to the program. There is still time to stop it. But back to CGCS and TPS:

Do you really think that a group dedicated to promoting Common Core Standards is going to ignore them in doing a performance audit and making recommendations about what TPS should do?

I don't. In fact, since that is one of CGCS's core missions, I expect it will be the primary focus of any audit they may do.


CGCS has several research publications that look at various performance measurements. It's called the Performance Measurement and Benchmarking Project.

This year's report includes data from 61 of the Council's 67-member districts (91 percent) and provides a fully tested set of Power Indicators that superintendents and school boards can use to assess the overall performance of their district's business operations. It also provides a set of what we call Essential Few Measures that, along with the Power Indicators, can be used by chief executives to assess the performance of individual departments and operations.

Note the wording: "indicators that superintendents and school boards can use to assess ... their business operations."

If they already provide these measurement for free (report is downloadable to anyone), why would we pay them anything at all?

Why doesn't the board just direct the staff to apply the indicators to current practices and get their own assessment?

And if these reports and indicators have been available from CGCS since 2009, why hasn't TPS already used them to evaluate their operations???

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, this is just comparing TPS to other large districts. It will only tell us how TPS stands in relation to such districts as Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, New Orleans and Detroit. Are these schools districts indicative of the performance we want from TPS?

Additionally, any so-called audit by CGCS won't tell us how to use existing and limited dollars to best educate our kids.

Do you think they will even touch on union contract terms?


TPS needs to contract with the Auditor of State for their performance audit. You need to contact all the school board members and demand this of them. They are your employees - they work for you. You get to direct them and their actions, not the other way around.

Here is the contact page. Go there now and send all board members an email and tell then you want an unbiased, objective, taxpayer focused performance audit done by the Auditor of State.

Let me repeat that:

Here is the contact page. Go there now and send all board members an email and tell then you want an unbiased, objective, taxpayer focused performance audit done by the Auditor of State.

Keep contacting them, either by email or phone calls (419-671-8200) until you get the answer you want.

The only way to get them to do a meaningful performance audit is to bring enough public pressure to bear so that they will make the right decision. They've already lost one levy and they have another up for renewal next year. They threaten us with loss of educational opportunities for our kids when they want more money - threaten them with active opposition to their existing funding if they don't comply.

Then, after they agree that a state performance audit is the right way to go, hold their feet to the fire to implement the recommendations.

As Lisa Sobecki asked:

“Once it's done and we made that investment, is the board going to have the will to actually enact what was put forward in the performance audit?”

They will if we make them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

How LCRP should handle vacant Toledo council seat

Phil Copeland, an at-large Toledo City Council member, was elected to the position of Lucas County Recorder on November 6th. As a result, he will resign his council seat and council, a majority Democrat, will name his replacement.

Some local unions - specifically the Building Trades - are supporting Sean Enright who lost a district seat to Mike Craig. In a Blade article Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook said:

"...there isn’t anything the Republican Party can do to derail the appointment.

“Obviously this guy has turned his life around and it happened over a decade ago. If the Democratic Party is picking Mr. Enright, then Mr. Enright is going to get the nod. It’s just the way it is,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

Actually, that's NOT the way it has to be - and this attitude is just part of the failure of this particular party chairman.

Despite this being a Democrat union town (but I repeat myself), Republicans can and do get elected. And even when there isn't a good chance of their election, there are things the local GOP can do.

What our party needs to do is recruit a business person as a placeholder until the next election when the VOTERS - and not a political party - can make a permanent selection.

We then promote the idea that our candidate is more interested in representing the voters than holding to any dictates from a political party or special interest (union).

Our placeholder would not seek the office, which would allow Enright and any other interested candidates to campaign for the support of the voters.

We enlist the support of other unions in the city (there are more than just the building trades), civic groups and the citizens themselves. We might not be successful in getting our placeholder appointed, but we can certainly bring significant pressure to bear on sitting council members and use their vote against any placeholder as part of any campaign against them when they are up for reelection or seek any other office.

Additionally, we should certainly embarrass the individuals who are willing to support Enright. I know there are other Democrats - including union members - who are more qualified than him.

Simply because Stainbrook wants to roll over and give in doesn't mean the LCRP should follow his lead. The GOP - even as a minority party in Lucas County and Toledo - has a vital role to play in articulating an alternate view and promoting what we believe will be best for Toledo.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hey Hostess union: how about those principles now you no longer have a job?

I once had a very wise man tell me: never let your principles interfere with your labor negotiations. It's a tenant the Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers (BTCGM) at Hostess never learned.

Let's go back in time a bit.

It was December 1993 and I'd just been elected Clerk of Toledo Municipal Court. Since I was filling an unexpired term, I took office right after the votes were certified.

On my first day I found a 'lovely' parting gift from my predecessor: a signed union contract covering all supervisors and management staff and a union petition for recognition covering everyone else. Oh - and the recognition petition had never been posted as required by law, so I was in violation the minute I took the oath of office. And one more thing - clerks of court offices in Ohio had never been unionized before.

Things eventually worked out with me getting the wish-list contract thrown out, my managers excluded and a good contract for everyone else which included the first-ever requirement for performance appraisals. But I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way.

Fortunately, I had a very good labor attorney, Jim Burkhart, who helped me. He's the one who gave me the good advice that I instantly rejected upon first hearing it. How in the world, I wondered, do you ever set aside your principles in your labor negotiations? Isn't everything you bargain for based upon those principles?

The short answer is both yes and no - but in case you're wondering how that works, a look at the BTCGM and their now-unemployed members gives you a perfect picture.

BTCGM is the union that went on strike and put Hostess, maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread (to name a few), out of business resulting in the unemployment of more than 18,000 workers.

BCTGM International Union President Frank Hurt issued a press release when the company announced it was going to liquidate - and one comment encapsulates the point perfectly:

"Throughout this long and difficult process, BCTGM members showed tremendous courage, solidarity and devotion to principle. They were well aware of the potential consequences of their actions but stood strong for dignity, justice and respect."

They were so busy standing for their so-called principles that they put their company out of business and not only lost their jobs, but the jobs of all other employees - including other union workers - as well.

BTCG and their wage and benefit demands are not the sole reason for the company failing, but there were the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. They were so intent on 'standing up to management' that they eliminated the management and the company entirely.

Clearly, they let their principles interfere with their negotiations and you can see the disastrous results.

But that's not all. Labor Union Report took a look at the union management, including Hurt, and, sadly, what they found won't surprise you.

Here are the main points:

* 18,500 Hostess workers unemployed

* BCTGM boss Frank Hurt encouraged the strike (knowing it could shut down the company)

* As BCTGM membership has fallen 30% since 2000, Hurts salary has gone up nearly 45% to over $260,000

* The bakery industry union pension fund is less than 50% funded ($10 billion in liabilities), yet bakery union bosses have their own fully-funded (100%) pension plan -- funded by members.

* Bakery union bosses Hurt and the Sec.-Treasurer both have their kids on union payroll.

Here is the post (the links to the info are embedded):

Let Them Eat Cake: As Hostess Workers Get Hurt, Bakery Union Bosses (& Their Kids) Do Well

When I was doing a regular radio show on WSPD (Eye On Toledo), I had Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, as a guest at a time when the city was threatening layoffs of police and fire. I asked him a question and got a surprisingly honest answer.

Q: It it came down to every member police office taking a small pay cut or most of them maintaining their current pay while some of their fellow union members lost their job through a layoff as a result - and in light of the union mantra 'all for one' - what would your members choose?

A: Sadly, I think they'd opt for the layoffs of some and keep their current wages/benefits.

BCTGM took that to an extreme. Can you say 'stuck on stupid'?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Toledo City Council Meeting - Nov. 20, 2012

Notes from Sherry:

In attendance: Councilmen Ludeman, McNamara, Craig, Waniewski, Steel, Copeland, Martinez, Collins, Sarantou, Riley, Councilwomen Webb, Hicks-Hudson, Deputy Mayor Herwat.

Item 525 – Resolution – Recognize Carol Van Sickle – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 534 – Resolution – Recognize Harold Mosely – adopted – all voting yes. (Everyone had something good to say about him – except Steve Steel.

Item 535 – Resolution – Recognize Books 4 Buddies – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 438 – State of former Facility & Fleet Operations building on Albion St. to American Steel Products, 6 months, $1
* Ludeman – another entity interested tn that facility – the City spent a lot of money maintaining it (the building).
* Martinez – he won't support this – giving away too much. Hicks-Hudson – feels the same as Martinez – Real Estate Department opposed lost transfer of property – she is against the way it has been conducted.
* Craig – it is going to cost money to get the building ready – will save the City $200k for taking this building – good deal – vote for this.
* Copeland – doesn't understand not creating jobs – revenue coming into the City – should support – should support.
Amended, passed – Martinez, Hicks-Hudson, no – rest yes.

Item 536 – Appointment – Neighborhood Block Watch – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 537 – Appointments – Toledo Youth Commission – confirmed – all voting yes. Hicks-Hudson – Dante (one of the appointees from District 4) young person here to see how government works.

Item 538 – Permission to Five Points Association for holiday decorations along Sylvania Ave., Jackman to Lewis – passed – all voting yes. Webb – thanks to Councilman Riley, it has been in construction for so long.

Item 539 – Accept contribution from LMHA for one-half salary & benefits for 6 officers & vehicles, $257,536 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 540 – Accept Ohio HIDTA grant for police overtime, equipment & vehicles for drug trafficking, $189,170 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 541 – Accept CJCC VAWA grant for Police for Domestic Violence Unit, $311,610 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 542 – Accept U.S. Marshals Service grant for Police for No. Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, $16,000 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 543 – Accept DOJ grant for Police for one-half cost of ballistic vests, $10,129 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 544 – Purchase 15-passenger used van for Police, $29,000 General Fund and LETF – 1st Reading. Ludeman - 1st Reading on this – are we OK with PAL van, wise expenditure?

Item 545 – Agree with ECDI for technical & financial assistance to small businesses, 6 months, $125,000 CDBG EDL - 1st Reading. Martinez – Nov. 28th, at 1 PM, advising on HUD policy – have to have less than 100 employees – Mom & Pop shops – redirect money – not new – please come to Committee Meeting.

Item 546 – Accept ODOD grant for Regional Composting Facility, $100,000; local match $70,000 SCM&R Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 547 – Purchase mowers, tractors, chipper, Hi-Rangers, truck, speed loader for Parks & Forestry , $775,500 CRpl (Capital Replacement) – passed Martinez – no, rest yes.

Item 548 - Vacate alleys bounded by Madison, 18th, Laburnum & 20th for Signature Park (Approved by Plan Commission Nov. 2011 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 549 – Zone change at 342 Avondale Ave. for LMHA (Approved by Plan Commission 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 550 – Planned Unit Development for 207 dwelling units at 392 Nebraska Ave. for LMHA (Approved by Plan Commission 4 - 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 551 – Zone change at 914 W. Laskey Rd. (Approved by Plan Commission 6 – 0) - passed – all voting yes.

Item 552 – SUP for used auto sales lot at 914 W. Laskey Rd. (Approved by Plan Commission6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 553 – SUP for expansion of existing school at 1 Maritime Plaza for Maritime Academy (Approved by Plan Commission6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes.

Item 554 – SUP for student residence hall at 1715 S. Reynolds Rd. for MVCDS (Approved by Plan Commission 6 – 0) – passed – all voting yes. Ludeman – toured Maumee Country Day School – solid anchor in the Community – investments that families have made. Webb – WGTE had a documentary about that school.

Last Call:

Webb – One reference – what do you do about coyotes in North Toledo? Quite a population in back yards.

Collins – Emailed a problem to the Administration, answer by 15th? Herwat – Your answer has been emailed to you. Collins – Thank you. Go Rockets! Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Copeland – Have a great Thanksgiving.

Hicks-Hudson – We like coyotes in District 4, they go after other rodents. Next Thursday Budget Meeting.

Ludeman – Go Bucks! Have a good Thanksgiving.

Martinez – Make sure investments for mowers etc. show up next year. CDBG cut – what will be the final plan – make sure you know – have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sarantou – Homeless Shelters haven't received money yet. Scheduled hearing – timely response from Citizens – Mr. Kaufman – thank him for jobs.

Steel – Bancroft/Franklin carry out – how was it approved?

Waniewski – Dave Welch from the DPU – best interest of the City, great crew.

Herwat – Jenny went to Madison, WI – she is not staying there.

McNamara – Cincinnati – 93% liked their water – Monday, Dec. 3rd. EPA issues with water treatment at Collins Park – Happy Thanksgiving – Go Blue!

They went into Executive Session, coming back to dismiss, no vote.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I do recommend and assign Thursday ... next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be." ~ George Washington, 1789

We have so much to be grateful for, including a day where we can focus on the many blessings in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving to all - and safe travels on this holiday.

And a very special thank you to the members of our military who keep us safe and ensure our liberties, especially those far from home this Thanksgiving Day!

"Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.

Trouble no one about his religion.

Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.

Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.

Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.

If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.

Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

~ Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Politics vs. Thanksgiving

Maybe it's a good thing that Thanksgiving follows the election - it forces us, whether winner or loser on that first Tuesday after the first Monday, to reflect upon what really matters.

I was heartsick following the election as I just couldn't believe a majority of Americans were really happy with the way the country was going, or that a majority of Lucas County residents didn't understand the negative consequences of increasing taxes on others for 'wants' when so many were going short of 'needs.'

Then I had to give a speech to the Fallen Timbers Republican Club and they asked me to help them see the positives going forward. It forced me to find them and communicate them in a way that gave encouragement, cheering me up as well.

Today I read this at

"It always annoys the Left when people from our side indeed pick themselves up and dust themselves off. We never wallow enough in despair to suit them, honestly."

I realize it's true...but I'm not sure I'm quite ready yet to get back in the fight - at least, not this week.

On my mother's side of the family, there is just her and her sister. Each of them had three kids and there are only seven grandkids between them. It's a small family - but close.

We're spread out across the country from Portland, WA, to Las Vegas to Memphis to Detroit - and us here in the Toledo area. But every Thanksgiving we get together, taking turns between Toledo and Memphis for hosting the family gathering.

Sometimes, it's the entire family, but most years someone isn't able to make it. As we've gotten older, obligations to spouses and their families must be balanced with traditions established when were children. That's okay - but it doesn't make us any less close or stop the rest of us from gathering.

In 2003, Sam and I started hosting 'our turn.' We bought a new house in 2002 and it's got plenty of beds for family to stay and lots of room for everyone to eat at the same table (though it's actually a couple of tables pushed together).

My oven is too small for the house (a quirk of the prior owners) as I learned that year when the turkey was too big to fit inside it and we had to cart it over to my mom's house at 7:30 a.m. and then cart it back when it was done cooking. That just makes for a fond memory now. And an electric roaster easily solved that problem in subsequent years.

This year, Sam and I are hosting again and will be serving dinner for 14. There are 10 who won't be with us but two of our friends (who are family just without the biological connection) will join us and be part of our feasting, laughing and enjoying.

Despite what many see as the headaches of preparing, I love this aspect of the celebration. I've been planning the menu for a while now. I took two days to make my grocery list and plan my route for shopping. I splurge and have a friend's daughter who started her own cleaning service come to clean, but I still have to pick up and organize. (Ashley's Cleaning Service - and she's absolutely fantastic!)

Then I have to prep, prepare and cook as much as possible ahead of time so I'll be able to actually enjoy my company. And with this menu:

Honeybaked ham; roasted duck; roasted sweet potatoes and sweet pumpkin with a brown butter sage topping; roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts; cheesy potatoes; green bean casserole with those crunchy onion things on top; Mom's homemade oyster dressing; popovers; roasted pear with blue cheese salad; pumpkin roll and my aunt's homemade pecan pie. Oh - and plenty of Sam's homemade champagne with sparkling grape juice for the kids.

you'll see that it is a bit of work.

This is the time to reflect on all that we are grateful for. One way of showing my family how much I love and appreciate them is to share this meal with them. And the meal deserves the attention necessary to match my devotion my family.

So with all this on my mind, politics just doesn't seem as important to me right now.

I know that Sherrod Brown said something rather stupid the other day - and I emailed myself the link so I can write about it.

I know that Toledo Public Schools is finally getting around to maybe forming a committee to discuss the possibility of setting up a study to consider getting together to potentially bring to the board for discussion....a performance audit. They're looking at two choices: an organization devoted to large urban school districts or the state auditor. The choice should be a no-brainer, but this is Toledo, so I'm doing research and will need to write about that.

I also know that provisional ballots are soon to be counted and that may impact the results for one of the tax levies that was on the ballot - and that deserves a blog post as well.

I'll write about these topics, but right now, I'm just not in the political mood. And I suspect many of you might feel the same way.

So this week, politics will lose out to Thanksgiving - as it should be.

There is so much to be grateful for and I hope these next several days give you the opportunity to appreciate the many blessings in your lives. The politics will wait, but the food won't.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote of the Day - loving servitude

A QOTD while I have my coffee and gather data on the news I missed while at Kelley's Island filling my quota of deer.

This quote is quite scary to me in terms of the last four words....

"Only a large-scale popular movement toward decentralization and self-help can arrest the present tendency toward statism... A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers." ~ Aldous Huxley

Friday, November 16, 2012

So long Twinkies....

Because union memebers wouldn't make concessions, Hostess is closing down operations and liquidating their assets. The Wall Street Journal has the details.

Leftists are always talking about greedy corporations and greedy CEOs but never a word about greedy government or, heaven forbid, greedy unions.

What could be more greedy than a union who would rather everyone be out of job than for some of the workers to take concessions and hope the company can return to profitability in the future?

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! And yes, this does qualify for 'stuck on stupid' designation!

So 18,000+ people are going to lose their jobs because of a greedy union.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oops! Were Blade's spellcheckers part of budget cuts?

The picture says it all...surprising how many people had to look at this and miss the incorrect spelling - in a headline, no less.... Wonder if this is just the on-line version or if the error made it into print as well:

Quotes of the Day - freedom's poetry

Two QsOTD as I continue pouring over the City of Toledo budget...not happy reading, that's for sure.

"Yes! to this thought I hold with firm persistence;
The last result of wisdom stamps it true;
He only earns his freedom and existence
Who daily conquers them anew."

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"We grant no dukedoms to the few,
We hold like rights and shall;
Equal on Sunday in the pew,
On Monday in the mall.
For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land, or life, if freedom fail?"

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 12, 2012

Toledo 2013 budget to raid another $14 million from CIP

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell presented the 2013 budget today and it plans to raid $13.96 million from the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) fund while spending more money on parks and recreation.

Despite the rejection of a levy to support parks and recreation, the city will allocate approximately $175,000 more in the 2013 budget to support recreation activities for Toledo residents.

Yes, you read that correctly. They don't have enough income to cover the existing expenses, but they're going to spend MORE money on recreation - clearly an unnecessary expense.

If they raid the CIP this year as planned and divert another $14 million in 2013, we will have lost $76 million out of the CIP simply to pay for overspending in the general fund.

And there are no plans to ever repay these funds at all.

Here is the press release:

Bell administration releases 2013 operating budget

Recovery remains slow but steady, lost state revenues hamper growth

Mayor Michael P. Bell today released the City of Toledo’s 2013 proposed operating budget at a press conference that included his finance staff, safety force leaders and top administrators. The Mayor made clear that 2013 will pose fiscal challenges, but acknowledged that the city remains on a slow and steady path to economic recovery.

The 2013 proposed budget continued a commitment to public safety with additional police and fire classes. The Toledo Police Department currently has a class in the academy and will offer a police officer civil service exam on December 1, 2012. The exam will provide a new list of candidates, at least 45 of which will be selected to begin training in 2013. The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department will begin a new class of recruits on December 3, 2012 with a class of 30 to begin in 2013. The 2013 police and fire classes would not begin until current classes have completed their academy training.

The administration also maintained a commitment to quality of life issues affecting residents. Despite the rejection of a levy to support parks and recreation, the city will allocate approximately $175,000 more in the 2013 budget to support recreation activities for Toledo residents. The increase of 14% will support programs and staffing will remain steady.

The finance department is forecasting approximately 3.4% growth in income tax revenue over 2012. The budget anticipates nearly $163.9 million in revenue from income taxes supporting total general fund revenues of $243.5 million. The city will however be negatively impacted by the loss of local government funds and estate taxes shared from the State of Ohio as well as a significant decrease in property taxes paid to the city, following the countywide revaluation issued by the county auditor. If the levels for the Local Government Fund, property taxes and estate tax were the same as in 2011 a CIP transfer would not be needed. The lost revenues represent approximately $14.7 million. The administration expects to transfer approximately $13.96 million from CIP to the General Fund.

Despite the need for CIP transfer, the administration is expected to present a proposed capital budget in December recommending $32 million in major street and residential road construction and resurfacing, representing approximately 51 lane miles. The 2012 CIP budget allocated $28 million for streets. Funding will additionally be allocated for renovation of the existing Fire Station #3 and to build a new Fire Station #12 in order to address a gap in coverage in the northern part of the city. A request for proposals has been issued for the design of the two fire station projects.

“When I took office in 2010 the city faced a deficit of $48 million,” said Mayor Bell. “We faced the unthinkable prospect of having to lay off police officers and firefighters. This budget presents a far different story. We’ve continued to hire police and fire, held the line on taxes and fees, are providing the quality of life services our citizens deserve and have reestablished our rainy day fund.”

The mayor also recognized Toledo City Council for their diligence in passing the 2012 budget by the end of January and asked that council and the administration again work together and move swiftly to solicit community input, hold committee hearings, and pass the 2013 budget in January to provide department directors greater opportunity to monitor their budgets early in the year.

The City of Toledo Charter requires that the mayor present to City Council a proposed budget by November 15 each year. Also by charter, council has until March 31 to pass the operating budget.

The City of Toledo operating budget will be available online at


Quote of the Day - government spending

A QOTD while I enjoy the company of my cousins who are in for a short visit.

Oh for a Congress with such principles!

"There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable. Sir, in my opinion, it would be hazarding the public faith in a manner contrary to every idea of prudence." ~ James Madison, Speech in Congress, 1790

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quotes of the Day - Happy Veteran's Day

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." ~ Cynthia Ozick

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?" ~ George Canning

On Veteran's Day, a special thank you to my father, brother and father-in-law who served and to ALL veterans who have purchased our freedom through their service and sacrifices - and to their families who supported them and went without their presence during their service so that we might all be free.

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." ~ Jose Narosky

"It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you." ~ Author Unknown

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John F. Kennedy

The History of Veteran's Day from

November 11, or what has come to be known as Veterans Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor Armistice Day - the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.' As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on November 11.

2012 Election Reflections Part 3: Where do we go from here?

This is Part 3 of my speech to the Fallen Timbers Republican Club. Part 1 was "What went wrong" and Part 2 was "What went right."

Where do we go from here?

Nationally – we need to stop the idea of the ‘next in line.’

The Republican Party needs to learn from the left and build coalitions – focusing on where we agree rather than where we don’t. The party needs to embrace and welcome the Tea Parties – looking upon them as the conscience of the party rather than the challenger to power.

The economy will remain a key factor, especially if Pres. Obama continues his failed policies and we need to remember that minorities are as interested in jobs as non-minorities. But the way we communicate that message has to be better than the Democrats' message.

Kevin Williamson, National Review reporter, wrote:

"…offering Americans a check is a more fruitful political strategy than offering them the opportunity to take control of and responsibility for their own lives. This is what Oakeshott had in mind when he wrote that liberty was something that many people simply are not equipped to “enjoy as an opportunity rather than suffer as a burden.”

For many years, Republicans have relied on Jude Wanniski’s “Two Santa Claus” theory, the strategy of using the promise of tax cuts to compete with Democrats’ promises of cash and other benefits. In part as a consequence of that strategy, a great many Americans pay little or no federal income taxes, while many of the other federal taxes they pay are indirect or partly hidden. Mitt Romney was right: You can’t use tax cuts to buy off people who are net recipients of tax transfers. Figuring out what we can offer them that is consistent with our principles is the task of conservatives between now and the next election.

Rush Limbaugh also referenced the idea of Obama as Santa Claus. While many of us still believe in the concept of Santa, we know there is no army of elves working tirelessly day and night to magically create whatever toys or goodies are on wish list. The American public, as much as they might like to believe that, knows it as well. That is the analogy we use.

House Republicans need to continue to hold the line. We maintained control of the House in spite of being demagogued as obstructionists. We need to understand that our House wins are as valuable and as much of a mandate as Obama’s White House win.

We do not capitulate to Obama, but maintain our position as the loyal opposition.

We must also remember that all things political are cyclical. So we’re not on top right now. It’s natural to feel demoralized at what is occurred, especially because so many in the fight are actually new to it. But the fact that Obama won, or the levies passed, does not mean that our principles are any less valuable to the nation or the people that they were on Monday.

We just haven’t made the case as well as we could and should have.

People are forgetful and they’re becoming accustomed to having everything happen like in a 30-minute sitcom.

Erick Erickson of wrote today (Thursday):

No immigrant comes to the United States wanting to be on welfare. They come for a better life of hard work and success. What conservatives forget is that people forget.

And conservatives have done a terrible job reminding people.

Since Ronald Reagan rose from the ashes of the Goldwater movement, Republicans have articulated a message of freedom and opportunity — a rugged individualism that says if you work hard you can be what you want and do what you want. But people forget.

In the last decade or so, Republicans began to assume everyone just naturally agreed. They stopped explaining. They stopped being evangelists. Worse, conservatism morphed into Republicanism and instead of being about ideas, both became about the acquisition of power for the sake of power. Republicans no longer articulated a core set of principles through policy, but policies designed solely to keep them in power. The party leaders and many of its candidates began to do the same — freedom became a platitude, not a policy.

During Barack Obama’s tenure, Republicans tried to blur every line, make every compromise, and often surrendered before a weapon was even pointed at them. They did not articulate a positive conservative vision, but a defensive position that Obama was bad and they were good with little to show for it. They cut deals that sold out their core to preserve their power. They do so even today.

Republicans assumed Americans got it. They assumed Americans and Republicans were still speaking the same language. But they weren’t.

Politics is cyclical and Americans are forgetful. Republicans forgot that. They failed to keep advancing. They failed to keep explaining. They relied on the tried and true that became the tired and stale.

Tax cuts? Yay!
Pro-life? Yay!

But what else? Under Republicans and Democrats alike, the tax code has grown more complex, the lobbyist class has grown richer, and the banks have gotten too big to fail.

Moving forward, the conservative movement from within the GOP needs to advance new ideas, not just dust off and repackage old ideas. The principles remain the same. The principles are fixed. But the ideas that advance those principles must fit into the twenty-first century.

Issues like education reform, tax reform, welfare reform, repealing Obamacare are all popular topics. Americans still agree with these things and, like I said before, talking about welfare reform did not hurt us with seniors and actually helps us with younger voters.

Erickson further explains that Conservatism’s ideas don’t just make people prosperous, they help the poor and the needy. People who need – and deserve – a helping hand are best helped by a limited government that lifts people up.

He also notes something very important: being an obstructionist is not a bad thing when we are preventing really bad ideas that history shows are failures. America is great and it is conservatism that helped make it that way.

Additionally, we have to challenge and end the careers of Republicans who claim to uphold our party’s principles and then vote otherwise – nationally, at the state level and at the local level.

We have to pick battles big enough to matter but small enough to win. We have to learn from the left in this regard. They are often willing to sacrifice a few elected offices to move their ball down the field, as they did with the passage of Obamacare. We need to be willing to sacrifice a few "Republican"-held seats when the individuals who hold them are not acting in concert with the core principles of the Republican Party.


We need to re-take the Lucas County Republican Party. It has utterly failed. It raises no money to support candidates, it has no candidate recruitment plan, it does not espouse the principles of the Republican Party, and it does not speak for Republicans.

We need to stop supporting people simply because of their party designation and hold them accountable for their votes, comments and positions that are contrary to our Republican principles.

When democrats go against their party, they are crucified for doing so. There’s a lot to be learned from that tactic. Elected Republicans should feel more heat from us when they go against our principles than they do from Democrats for standing for them.

Let me repeat that: Republicans should feel more heat from us when they go against our principles than they do from Democrats for standing for them.

We need to be MORE involved. We need to attend school board meetings, township trustee, council and commissioner meetings. We need to record what is going on and share that with others.

And we need to take advantage of the tools available to us – the Internet, social media, and opportunities to talk to others – to share the message.

We need to counter the media – loudly. How many here still subscribe to The Blade or watch local TV news? Why???? Why are you supporting entities that directly go against your best interests? Did any of you see local media talking about the percentage increase in funding the levies were asking for?

They didn't - and it's our fault because we allow it to stand without rebuttal and then put money in their pockets to continue their biases.

We need to be the fact-checkers on everything local politicians say and local media repeats. And we don’t demonize the source in doing so - the facts will stand without personal attacks on the individual.

We need to strategize better – we as individuals, because that used to be something left up to the party and, well ... see above.

Right now, you may be discouraged, depressed or even heart sick as I was yesterday (Wednesday).

I read a post by KrisAnne Hall who teaches the Constitution. She had some good quotes that should remind us about the real struggle for freedom – from people actively involved in the revolution:

John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail, wrote:

"I am wearied out with expectation that the Massachusetts troops would have arrived e’er now at headquarters. Do our people intend to leave the continent in the lurch? Do they mean to submit? … Do they wish to see another crippled, disastrous, and disgraceful campaign, for want of an army? I am more sick and more ashamed of my own countrymen, then ever I was before…I am a fool, if ever there was one, being such a slave. I won't be much longer. I will be more free in some world or other. It is not tolerable, that the opening spring, which I should enjoy with my wife and children, upon my little farm, should pass away…Posterity! You will never know how much it costs to the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took pains to preserve it."

And one from Mercy Otis Warren – do you know her? She was a poet and a historian, and one of the few women who wrote about the Revolution. Her brother was the noted patriot and lawyer James Otis, who is credited with the quote "taxation without representation is tyranny", the principal slogan of the American Revolution.

She wrote:

"I have my fears. Yet, notwithstanding the complicated difficulties that arise before us, there is no receding; and I should blush if in any instance the week passions of my sex damp the fortitude, the patriotism, and the manly resolve of yours. May nothing ever check that glorious spirit of freedom which inspires the patriots in the cabinet, and the hero in the field, with the courage to maintain their righteous cause, and to endeavor to transmit the claim to posterity, even if they must seal the rich conveyance to their children with their own blood."

I agree with Hall when she said (paraphrased), 'We don't do this for us. We certainly don't do this for the millions out there who obviously have no intent to think for themselves. We do this for liberty. We do this for our children.'

This reasoning is why our founders were able to pledge life and fortune and sacred honor for a generation that they would never know. They believed in their hearts and in their souls that without liberty, life was not worth living. Mercy said, "we will stand against tyranny today, or our children will bow tomorrow." How can we, have any less resolve? How can we even consider wavering in our stand, much less quitting altogether? What an insult to our framers.

As Andrew Breitbart preached, this is a war. It’s a never-ending, constant struggle for the hearts and minds of our fellow man - and it is not over with a single battle.

Now is not the time to give up… now is the time to lead. Are you ready to do so?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2012 Election Reflections Part 2: what went right

Yesterday I covered Part 1, What Went Wrong, of my three-part speech to the Fallen Timbers Republican Club. Today is Part 2: what went right. Tomorrow is Part 3: Where do we go from here?

On a national level, Michelle Malkin had a great list of things that went right for Republicans and conservatives on election. There's no need to re-invent the wheel, so here are a few of the items she listed:

1) Republicans retained control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
2) Voters in Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming all passed measures limiting Obamacare.
3) Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz, one of the conservative movement’s brightest rising stars, overcame establishment GOP opposition to clinch a U.S. Senate victory in Texas.
4) Despite entrenched teachers’ union opposition, a charter school initiative in Washington state triumphed.
5) Despite entrenched Big Labor support, a radical collective bargaining power grab in Michigan failed.
6) North Carolina Republicans claimed the governor’s office, congressional gains, and control of the state’s general assembly.
7) Paul Ryan will return to Congress after winning re-election and continue to carry the torch for entitlement reform and budget discipline.
8) Across the country, Republicans reached a post-2000 record number of gubernatorial victories. In fact, we now hold 60% of state governorships.

Another important things to note is that Obama got fewer votes than he did in 2008 (as of the time of the speech). We should also be aware that the ‘obstructionist’ House of Representatives is still in Republican control, even after opposing Obamacare, tax hikes and additional spending. This is a major win and it carries a message that even if Americans want Obama to remain president, they still want Republicans to oppose many of the terrible ideas Obama has put forth.

And, as Malkin wrote, "Conservatives who were devastated by the national election results demonstrated how to lose with dignity and grace."

In Ohio, State Issue 2 was defeated and we maintained control of state government.


1) TPS new levy failed – though they have another levy due for renewal next year and they may do what many did this year which is make it a renewal and an additional tax at the same time. But it only lost by 4,241 votes - not as much as it should have.

2) Toledo Parks and Recreation levy failed – not so much due to any organized opposition or understanding of the financial implications but primarily because Mike Bell gave pay raises to his administrators. The margin was 8,500 votes.

3) Imagination Station – after being voted down 3 times, they finally succeeded in getting a levy passed. This was a straight renewal and it lost by 2,075 votes – though they hope that provisional and late absentee ballots will make up the difference.

4) The Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition took a strong stand and opposed the seven levies on the Toledo ballot. They also had significant wins in terms of equal access, setting the stage for the future. You can read the details here and here.

5) Individuals were the big winners – they took the initiative and didn’t rely upon the party to lead. They've moved from protesters to activists and that bodes well for our future and represents the truest demonstration of our conservative ideals.

Next: Part 3: Where do we go from here?

Friday, November 09, 2012

2012 Election Reflections Part 1: what went wrong

The title of my speech last night to the Fallen Timbers Republican Club was "What went wrong, what went right and where do we go from here." It was a look at national and local elections, as well as a to-do list for the future.

I was asked to post it here, but it's very long, so I'm splitting it into three individual posts.

Here is the first: What went wrong.


The candidate:

Mitt Romney is a very good man and I believe he would have made a good president - certainly better than our current one. I voted for him, but, like many others, he was not my first choice. As a result, I wasn't as enthusiastic in my support and that lack of enthusiasm FOR the candidate was clearly evident throughout our area. Most people were voting AGAINST Pres. Obama. But that's not enough to win.

John Ransom wrote: “When running an election campaign it is often valuable to select a nominee who represents the rank and file of the Party. This is how other Parties do it. Perhaps you might get on board.”

Look at our candidates: George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney. As much as we might have *liked* these men, they do not reflect the conservative principles of our party. Need I say more?

Polls continue to show that roughly 60% of Americans oppose Obamacare. We nominated a person who had no standing to oppose that issue. Certainly, I understand the difference between a governor and state legislature creating such a mandate and program and I believe that Romney was sincere in saying that the federal government had no such authority. But that's a complicated issue (at least to some people) and is not easy to explain to an electorate who doesn't understand the difference in authority between the states and the federal government. Therefore, it was a losing position - and a major issue that might have brought people into the R column was sacrificed for a candidate too many insiders claimed was the 'most electable.'

In fact, for just about every bad Obama policy, there was a similar Romney policy out of Massachusetts. That's a huge obstacle to try to overcome.

Do you remember how much Romney was preferred by the press? Some thought that if the press liked him in the primary competition, they would be kinder to him in the general. WRONG! In fact, this is so wrong I'd like to shake whoever even remotely thinks this might possibly apply.

Romney - just like other Republicans was excoriated by same press that supposedly thought he was the best in the Republican field. They ALWAYS do this and we should ignore their praise and expect their contempt for whomever we choose. Additionally, since we know that whomever we nominate will be crucified by the press, we should nominate the candidate who best reflects our values, rather than try to cater to their professed preferences.

Romney was demonized as an evil person long before winning the primary and then didn’t hit back hard enough after the primary. He was behind when he was nominated and never caught up in this regard.

The complicity of the press:

Rich Noyes wrote a great column that gives the details about how the press basically elected Obama. Here are some excerpts with my comments intermixed:

1) Media hammered Romney with their Gaffe Patrol - but ignored similar gaffes by Obama and, must we even mention, Biden:

The media unfairly jumped on inconsequential mistakes — or even invented controversies — from Romney and hyped them in to multi-day media “earthquakes.”

“…when the left-wing Mother Jones magazine in September put out a secretly-recorded video of Romney talking to donors about the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income taxes, the networks hyped it like a sensational sex scandal. Over three days, the broadcast network morning and evening shows churned out 42 stories on the tape, nearly 90 minutes of coverage. The tone was hyperbolic; ABC’s "Good Morning America" called it a “bombshell rocking the Mitt Romney campaign,” while ABC "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer declared it a “political earthquake.”

None of Obama’s gaffes garnered that level of coverage. After the president in a June 8 press conference declared that “the private sector is doing fine,” the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts gave it just one night’s coverage, then basically dropped the story — nothing further on ABC’s "World News" or the "CBS Evening News" in the weeks that followed, and just two passing references on the "NBC Nightly News."

And, when Obama infamously declared, “You didn’t build that,” ABC, CBS, NBC didn’t report the politically damaging remark for four days — and then only after Romney made it the centerpiece of a campaign speech.

2) Partisan Fact Checking: There’s nothing wrong with holding politicians accountable for the honesty of their TV ads and stump speeches, but this year the self-appointed media fact-checkers attacked Republicans as liars for statements that were accurate. Check out Ohio Watchdog’s Politifact or Fiction series and MediaTrackers work on exposing Politifact – and note that most newspapers in Ohio use them as the truth meter when reporting.

3) The Benghazi Blackout:

Right after the September 11 attack in Libya, the networks proclaimed that the events would bolster President Obama — “reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief,” as NBC’s Peter Alexander stated on the September 14 edition of "Today." But as a cascade of leaked information erased the portrait of Obama as a heroic commander, the broadcast networks shunted the Benghazi story to the sidelines.

Instead of an “October Surprise,” the networks engineered an “October Suppression” — keeping a lid on the boiling Benghazi story until Election Day. Who knows how voters might have reacted if the media had covered this story as tenaciously as they did Romney’s “47% gaffe”?

4) Burying the Bad Economy:

Pundits agreed that Obama’s weakness was the failure of the US economy to revive after his expensive stimulus and four years of $1 trillion deficits. But the major networks failed to offer the sustained, aggressive coverage of the economy that incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush faced in 1992, or even that George W. Bush faced in 2004 — both years when the national economy was in better shape than it is now.

According to a study conducted that year by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, from January through September of 1992, the networks ran a whopping 1,289 stories on the economy, 88% of which painted it in a dismal, negative light. That fall, the unemployment rate was 7.6%, lower than today’s 7.9%, and economic growth in the third quarter was 2.7%, better than today’s 2.0%. Yet the media coverage hammered the idea of a terrible economy, and Bush lost re-election.

In 2004, the economy under George W. Bush was far better than it is today — higher growth, lower unemployment, smaller deficits and cheaper gasoline — yet network coverage that year was twice as hostile to Bush than it was towards Obama this year, according to a study by the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute.

When Republican presidents have faced reelection, network reporters made sure to spotlight economic “victims” — the homeless man, the woman without health insurance, the unemployed worker, the senior citizen who had to choose between medicine and food. But this year, with an economy as bad as any since the Great Depression, those sympathetic anecdotes have vanished from the airwaves — a huge favor to Obama and the Democrats.

Given Obama’s record, the Romney campaign could have overcome much of this media favoritism and still prevailed — indeed, they almost did. But taken together, these five trends took the media’s historical bias to new levels this year, and saved Obama’s presidency in the process.

The Ground Game:

Obama had a terrific ground game, not as good as in 2008, but still better than what we had. I gathered these numbers Wednesday morning…here is Obama’s margin in key states:

107,339 votes in Virginia
100,763 votes in Ohio
47,493 votes in Florida
111,094 votes in Colorado
66,379 votes in Nevada

Total: 433,068

So for less than 500,000 votes where it counted, Romney could have had 281 electoral votes Wednesday morning.

In Ohio, if Republicans had turned out like they did in 2008, Romney would have ended up with 2,786,327. Obama earned 2,725,165 votes this year. That would have resulted in 50.55% for Romney vs. 49.45% for Obama.

Many are claiming that it's our positions that resulted in our loss. I reject that completely. John Ransom also wrote:

The Democrats aren’t beating Republicans by virtue of ideology so much as by mechanics and logistics. Simply put, the models that the GOP relies upon, including those relied upon by myself, have failed to adequately account for this. Again, it makes no difference in a wave election, but we pay dearly for it in close contests.

The grassroots on the other side has spent ten years in community organizing, going door-to-door, creating coalitions of issues-driven, ideologically-funded third party groups that can do a lot of heavily lifting for GOTV. The GOP on the other hand has eschewed groups like the tea parties, seeing the grass roots as a hindrance to our chances at being the cool kids at school.

You saw it in the results on Tuesday.

The progressive activists worked for it, while GOP worked their top-down magic and expected to ride the wave.

Obama had a machine. Like Democrats have practiced and the GOP has failed to learn: this is a never-ending war and an election is only one battle. This it applies to everyone, including minorities.

John Fund wrote:

The fact is that the Machine played for keeps, while Mitt Romney — the quintessential corporate Manager — didn't.

The turnout operation it ran in the swing states and elsewhere spilled over into Senate races. Republicans won only eight of the 33 Senate races up for grabs on Tuesday, the fewest number of Senate races won by a major party since the Lyndon Johnson landslide over Barry Goldwater in 1964. If had not been for skillful redistricting, Republicans could have come close to losing the House.

The battle for Hispanic voters saw Romney and Republicans routed. John McCain won only 31 percent of Hispanics in 2008 — down from George W. Bush’s high-water mark of 43 percent in 2004. Mitt Romney won only 27 percent this election, and Hispanics were a tenth of the electorate.

Romney did just as badly with Asian voters, who were 3 percent of all voters. As recently as 1996, Bob Dole won a majority of Asian voters, John McCain still won 35 percent in 2008. But this year, Mitt Romney picked up only 26 percent of Asian-Americans.

Class warfare works:

Kevin Williamson had a great comment that I loved: "It may not be possible to be too thin, but it is, apparently, possible to be too rich, at least for an electorate that can be swayed by envy."

Rush Limbaugh said on his show that 'you can’t run against Santa Claus.' He was right - it's hard to run against someone who will promise you everything on your wish list, especially when your message is ‘you just have to work for it.’

But even that shouldn't be a winning message because as much as people may believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, we all know that they're isn't an army of elves at the North Pole magically creating all the items on our wish list.


This election was a huge loss for women and it revealed the hypocrisy of the Democrats. For all the talk coming from the left about empowering women and the feminist movement, in this election the Democrats and the media reduced women to nothing more than sex objects. Sadly, too many women believed that they are nothing but their ‘lady parts’ choosing ‘free’ contraception and abortion over the true women’s issues of jobs, high gas prices, high food prices and their children’s futures.

There have been numerous instances of so-called feminists ignoring true issues of discrimination and degradation in favor of a political position (think Bill Clinton as the most recognizable). I believe history will look back on this election and note that this was when the feminist movement died.

This wasn't just a loss for our party in that we couldn't expose this mockery for what it was. This was a huge setback for women today and our daughters tomorrow because the left embraced it - and we allowed it.

What went wrong on a local level:

* We had no local spokesman for the Romney campaign – or for any other state-wide candidate or issue. As a result, there was no one in Lucas County offering a rebuttal to charges made against our candidates or speaking in favor of their positions and strengths. They say that all politics is local and this was a detriment to our community and made it appear to supporters that our area had been 'written off.'

The problem is that, in close elections, no area can be ignored, because a thousand more votes each of the 'ignored' areas could have made a difference overall.

* Jon Stainbrook – absent from everything except comments to The Blade. Did the Lucas County Republican Party even take a position on the seven tax levies on the ballot? If they did, I didn't hear about it and I'm a news junkie.

(Interestingly, when I asked this question of the members of a REPUBLICAN CLUB, even THEY didn't know.)

* Our candidates - most were just place holders who didn't bother to put together positions or plans for the offices they were seeking - or even campaign for votes.

The few candidates with potential didn’t get the help they needed in funds, support, advice, strategy or publicity.

One of our candidates was in a race he shouldn’t have been in and, because of his previous votes and positions, failed to get the support of conservatives. Other voters thought he was just looking for another public position due to being term limited. Even with his name recognition and likability, he suffered from a lack of support that a robust county political party would have provided.

* Lack of experience – there were no individuals with a proven record of winning elections who were helping or guiding the strategy on a local level. Stainbrook has pushed away - and even banned - former elected officials who have valuable insight and perspectives that would have helped our candidates.

This is a failure of our party chairman who should be able to put aside his personal dislikes of individuals in order to advance the election of our candidates.

* Lack of information – too few realized what the levies would do to their pocketbooks or the economy in the county. Opposition, valiant though it was, was too late to be effective. If we had a strong party advancing the conservative principles of limited government and lower taxation, the information about the fiscal impact of more than $45 million in new taxes might have received more publicity.

Because of these things that went wrong, taxes in Lucas County are going up:

1) MetroParks levy – a 300% increase over what they had before passed by just under 19,000 votes.

2) Children Services board levy – an 85% increase over their previous levy passed by just over 18,000 votes – despite having 2 levies for funding and over $13 million in their reserve.

3) Mental Health & Recovery Services levy – a new, 10-year levy giving them a 67% increase over the funding in their existing levy, passed by 3,650 votes.

4) The Library levy – a 45% increase in funding passed by just under 60,000 votes. Primarily due to deceptive advertising: by making it a renewal and an additional tax at the same time, they could claim 50% of their funding was at stake. Most people didn’t realize it was an increase on top of their existing levy. Voters were given a lose-lose choice: give the library more or nothing at all - and people love their library.

While there are other items you might be able to point to as things that went wrong, these are a good start in evaluating the 2012 election.

But as important as it is to evaluate the mistakes, it is equally important to note the successes. My next post will be 'what went right.' Post 3 will be 'where do we go from here?'

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Open Meetings and Public Records training in Toledo

How do you hold elected officials accountable? You keep track of what they're doing and making sure they're doing things correctly.

But how do you do that? You know the law and take advantage of public records to find out what's going on and who is doing what.

And where do you learn how to do that? By attending training.

The Ohio Attorney General will conduct Sunshine Law training here in Toledo on Wednesday, Nov. 14th.

All elected officials are required to attend such training on a yearly basis, but members of the public are invited and encouraged to attend.

The training is free, but the AG requests registration. You can register here.

It will take place at the McMaster Center in the Toledo Lucas-County Public Library (325 Michigan Street in downtown Toledo). It runs from 1 to 4:15 p.m.

Please take advantage of this opportunity. Ohio has one of the best laws in favor of disclosure and some of the best protections for citizen access to public information. You never know when you'll need to know your rights.

Critical info missing from news reports on death of Justice Robert Duncan

Robert Duncan, the first Black Justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, passed away on Nov. 2nd at the age of 85.

If you do a search for him, you'll find a ton of information - but one critical piece of information is remarkably absent.

For instance, you'll find that he was a jurist of many 'firsts':

* first African-American elected to judicial office in Franklin County,
* first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio,
* first African-American to win a seat in a statewide Ohio election,
* first African-American to serve on the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, and
* first African-American to be appointed to the federal bench in Ohio.

CourtNewsOhio reports:

Born in Urbana, Ohio on August 24, 1927, Duncan frequently commented on his early schooling, noting his education in a desegregated school in a completely segregated community. In 1948, he received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University. He earned his law degree in 1952. Graduating as president of his law class, he admitted, “I wasn’t on fire about the law as a law student … I didn’t see myself as having a place in the law. I didn’t know any black lawyers.” He was admitted to the Ohio bar the same year.

He served in the U.S. Army in Korea. He was an assistant attorney general in Ohio and also served as chief counsel for the Ohio AG, supervising 125 assistant attorneys general and directing all legal work for the office.

Duncan was elected to the Franklin County Municipal Court in 1966. He was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court in 1969. Duncan won election to that seat in 1970.

He left the Ohio Supreme Court when he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, the highest court for military personnel. In 1974, he was appointed to the U.S. District Court for southern Ohio.

In terms of cases, he is best know for his decision in Penick v. Columbus Board of Education, 1977, which decided the Columbus schools’ historic desegregation cases.

Duncan described himself as a “constitutionalist who believes the law should be applied equally without regard to personality and to meet the challenge of our times.”

He stepped down from the bench in 1985 and joined the private firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue in Columbus. He was an administrative partner and the coordinator for the new associates group.

CourtNewsOhio also reports:

Over the years, he served the Ohio State University in many capacities, as vice president and general counsel, on the board of trustees, and as the Moritz College of Law’s Distinguished Jurist in Residence. In 1985, Duncan won the Distinguished Service Award from the American Civil Liberties Union, honored by Executive Director Benson Wolman as “one of the most impressive persona ever to grace the Columbus scene…as a jurist in the courts of Ohio and the United States, he fairly and justly demonstrated exceptional devotion to securing constitutional guarantees of expression and belief, due process, and equal protection of the laws for all citizens.”

Most of the news reports on his life and death reference the same items found in the CourtNewsOhio report, as well as comments from elected officials, judges and bar associations.

The media coverage also notes his wife, Shirley, to whom he was married for 57 years, and their three children. They even include the memorial service information: November 9th at the Fawcett Center on the Ohio State University Campus, followed by a reception.

So what is the most critical piece of information that is missing from all of these reports?

Justice Duncan was a Republican.

He won election as a Republican, was appointed by a Republican Attorney General (William Saxbe), a Republican Governor (James Rhodes) and a Republican President (Richard Nixon).

Of course, now that you know he's a Republican, you can understand why his party affiliation is ignored.

Republicans need to celebrate such distinguished members of our party, regardless of race.

But when the main stream media fails to, we have to proudly proclaim that Justice Duncan wasn't just the 'first African-American' - he was a Republican, too.

Where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here? That's the question I'll address tonight when I speak at the monthly meeting of the Fallen Timbers Republican Club.

I'll review what went right, what went wrong and what we need to do in the future - as conservatives who believe in the basic principles of the Republican Party. (Note that I'm talking about our party's principles - not the votes, comments and positions of party leaders and elected officials with an R designation after their name.)

We'll start with the national picture and end up on the local level.

Here are the details:

7:00 PM
Browning Masonic Community
8883 Browning Dr # 79
Waterville, OH 43566

If you can't make the meeting, I'll post comments here tomorrow.

Veterans Day flag raising at Cullen Park

Press notice:

Veterans Day Flag Raising and Dedication to be held at Cullen Park

On Veteran’s Day- Sunday, November 11th, a ceremony will be held at 2:00 pm at the entrance to Cullen Park, to dedicate the new flag and to honor Veterans. The flag pole had been donated by Howard Pinkley a Veteran, to the Visions of Cullen Park group and the flag was donated by Howard’s daughter, Wendy. They have been placed at the entrance of the park where the former toll booth stood. The area was improved with plantings and nautical post with ropes, the bollards were donated by Ken Socie. This was totally a volunteer project by the members of Visions of Cullen Park and local Point Place/Shoreland community residents.

Veterans are invited to attend along with the public who are encouraged to seek out veterans who may need a ride or assistance to attend.

For further information, call Tom Stagner at 419-727-9001 or visit the web site at

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Quote of the Day - tyrant or slave?

A quote of the day as I wrap my head around what the impact of this election will be - locally as well as nationally.

"In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former.

"His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot -- which is a mere substitute for a bullet -- because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency, into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.
" ~ Lysander Spooner

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