Saturday, May 02, 2009
Except that Kasich REFUSES, absolutely REFUSES to explain how he'll pay for a proposal that would equal a 40% reduction in state government revenues.
John Kasich has no plans; he has platitudes. While he claims he's more than a one-issue candidate and that he also cares about education, Kasich has been completely AWOL during the debate on Strickland's education plan. You'd think the top of the ticket candidate would be at the forefront of the Republican's alternative education plan. But perhaps Kasich's absence is that the Republicans have no alternative plan for education.
Kasich relies on partisan, ideological studies that claim the State is 47th in competitiveness and taxes, when objective studies put Ohio far more than the median. The conservatives studies he relies on also are based on data before the State went on a five-year reduction of their income tax rates. Taxes that continued to be cut under both of the Strickland's budget.
Strickland has reformed Ohio's energy polices to put Ohio on the frontlines in the development and utilization of alternative energy technologies to end Ohio's dependance on foreign oil. He's cut taxes every year he's been in office. He's frozen tuition at Ohio's colleges and universities after nearly two decades of unchecked sky-rocketing tuition under Republican rule.
His education reform plan is simply revolutionary.
John Kasich's talking head-ness at Fox News tells you what to expect from him as a candidate. Promises and platitudes, but not serious plans or the ability to lead.
Kasich will raise alot of money. And he'll lose by at least twenty points. Strickland hasn't been one to toot his own horns. The campaign will, unfortunately, need to do some public education as to what Strickland has done the last three years as a result. But despite that, he's got strong job approval numbers that suggest no Republican candidate can be a credible threat.
And John Kasich has never given a "fiery" speech in his life. He's bland, boring, and predictable.
This race is going to be painful to follow. John Kasich couldn't even carry his old Congressional District now.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Bizarre. While there was a sizeable number of party switchers leading up to and through 1994, it was mostly politicians switching TO the Republican Party, not prominent long-standing members switching AWAY from the GOP.
I guess this means that Specter's switch is no longer "just a Pennsylvania story" anymore?
"The President's first 100 days can be summed up in three words: spending, taxing, and borrowing."Name me a government that didn't spend, tax, or borrow. I guess you could say the same thing for Reagan. Every government spend, taxes, and borrows. Boehner is phoning this thing in. He's already checked out.
Then he repeats the lie that Obama has raised taxes on the middle class when he's actually CUT them. He also repeats the lie that their alternative plan would have created twice as many jobs. The economists they cited as their basis of the calculation has even publicly told them that their math is completely wrong.
Then it gets weird.
"I support the President's responsible plans to bring our troops home from Iraq . . . "
This would be the same plan John Boehner nationally called a surrender to terrorist just last year. The plan he said shows Obama "surrendering" to terrorists. For years, Boehner blasted the very notion of a timetable for American withdrawal. Now it's a responsible plan that Boehner supports? Elections do funny things to people.
In the story, there's this curious quote from Sheriff Jones:
"Timing is everything," Jones said. "The three commissioners we have now won’t be leaving soon. The 8th Congressional District is a conservative district (that) I do well in. We'll have to see."
This tells me that Jones believes that John Boehner may not run for re-election, as he's essentially saying that he's not considering other offices because they aren't vacant. I've heard talk in Republican circles that Boehner may retire "soon," but that has always been portrayed as being possibly at some point in the next few terms.
A retirement by Boehner isn't implausible. At the end of this term. Boehner will have served in Congress for twenty years. He's not on any short list for a Senate seat race or any other statewide race, but he'd easily fit in on K Street as a lobbyist.
Boehner is not a popular figure in Washington. Since becoming House Minority Leader, the Republicans have gone through two straight brutal election cycles and predictions are that 2010 is not going to be a Republican rose garden, either.
Boehner wants to avoid the embarassment of being removed from the House Republican leadership for the second time in his congressional career. He barely hung on as Minority Leader this Congress. He did so by convincing rising conservative stars like Eric Cantor to serve in lower positions instead, leaving the disaffected Republicans no viable alternative to organize and support.
Boehner cannot afford a third bad political cycle. The national dialogue about how the Republican Party lacks a national leader is an of indictment to tenure of Boehner's lack of leadership. A retirement does not put a seat at risk and allows Boehner to gracefully exit without suffering the indignity of being outsted in a coup and forced to spend his time in Congress as a politically impotent member of the House minority caucus.
Jones, by the way, is a media whore who has stoked people's fears about undocumented immigrants (a real problem in the county) and actions designed to humiliate and degrade jail inmates as a way to appear to the public as being tough on crime. He's very much like Arizona Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio who Jones have mimiced many of the same actions as that attention-seeking sheriff. So, don't think that Jones would necessarily be an improvement.
While Politico and the Pulse Journal are reporting this as a possible primary challenge, I think Jones' comment suggests growing confidence in the GOP Congresisonal candidate pool that John Boehner will not run for re-election in 2010 and it's time his potential successors start staking out their claim to his seat.
This borders on political malpractice. First, the vote itself, and then RNC Chairman Michael Steele's attempt to defend the vote which, I'm sorry, took place two months ago, not six.
They voted against keeping police on our streets, tax cuts, and preparing our nation in case of a swine flu pandemic. That's the Republican Party today. That's the spending and tax cut plan (one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history) you guys had your lil' Tea Party whinefest over.
Don't run from it. Deal with it! You're the pro-tax, anti-law & order, and anti-public health party.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So what does the conservative Club for Growth decide to do? "Let's take on a moderate Republican in a brutal primary that the moderate cannot win! What's the worst that can happen?"
Well, you could force the Republican to switch parties giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority, a major recruiting coup and further evidence that the country is tending to left-center. This is going to discourage top Republican challengers across the country to run. Making taking back the Congress, or even making a sizeable dent in the majority, of the Congress all that harder. Rob Portman's race just became the Republican Alamo of the Midwest.
But the Republicans could now get Joe Lieberman! So what? You think Droopy Dog is going to give up his committee gavel to be the ranking minority member of a subcommittee? Nope. No Democrat is going to switch themselves into political oblivion.
I'm amazed that the Democrats could keep this a secret so long. When Jeffords broke, it was already old news by the time he actually announced.
As if on cue, Bizzyblog goes nuts, having to dig back forty years to criticize Specter for work he did as a private attorney to suggest he's the favorite of serial murders or something. So his non sequiturs syndrome apparently isn't limited only to comments on the recession. His condition is worse than I feared. Oh my!
The conservatives will too easily write this off as part of Pat Toomey's primary bid, but that's a surface analysis that misses the big picture. There's a reason Pat Toomey was ahead- because the Pennsylvania Republican Party has been reduced down to the most conservative of elements (sound familar, Ohio?) The Party has scared or pushed out its moderate wing who is forced to become independents who split tickets... or, gasp, moderate Democrats. You know why John McCain thought he could pull up an upset in PA? Because he believed there were still Arlen Specter Republicans who'd come home. Palin scared them away, meaning that the only Specter Republicans left in the PA GOP was Specter himself (his family's allegiance to the McCain/Pail ticket last year is undocumented).
They never really were in contension because the Republican brand had been identified as being so out of touch with voters that McCain could not overcome the bad branding. Midwesterners no longer consider the Republican Party a viable option to them because of the party's dedication to an out-of-touch extreme conservative ideology that is hostile to moderates and compromise.
Branding that was the conscious choice of conservative organizations like Club for Growth. They are leading the Republican Party deeper into the political wilderness and off the cliff.
Welcome to the Democratic Party, Senator Specter. BTW, I love your voiceover work on "This Week in Baseball" (j/k).
I could not possibly detail the exact number of ways this is completely asinine. But here's some of the top ones:
1) An "alternative theory" as to why federal revenue collections dropped starting in last summer could have more to do with a global economic recession than an unorganized, uncoordinated plan to protest a three percent increase on the top marginal tax rate... especially when the control of Congress and the White House was far from certain. In fact, anyone who reads Bizzy's posting at the time would see that his rants then was that the Democrats and the media were falsely representing the state of the national economy and they'd be revealed as frauds when the fourth quarter showed 4% GDP growth (it instead showed -6% shrinkage... and yet, Bizzy still maintains there has been no recession at the time.)
2) The only ancedotal evidence cited by its supporters have people pledging that this year they will cut back on their business because they don't conceptually understand marginal tax rates. This pledge by people to go Gault in the coming future would seem to be strong evidence AGAINST a theory that people have been going Gault since June 2008.
3) The offshore drilling ban. This is the entire crux of Bizzyblog's "going Gault" theory:
Starting in June and all the way through to Election Day, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid repeatedly told the country that they were ready, willing, and would soon be able to starve the country of the conventional sources of energy it needs to keep its economic engines running, regardless of the consequences, bowing before what may be the greatest hoax in human history.
Never mind that Obama favors coal energy and the development of clean coal technologies. Never mind that the very "cap and trade" proposal Obama was supporting was also part of the McCain/Palin platform.
Beyond that, the only energy issue that meets this description is the federal offshore drilling ban... which was lifted under a Democratic Congress in September, a month BEFORE the stock market crashed. A ban which had existed for decades and went unquestioned during the prior six years of Republican rule in the White House and Congress. How lifting the offshore drilling ban equates to "starving the country" of conventional sources of energy which explains the following collapse of the capital markets is beyond even insane human comprehension.
4) Conflating typical recessionary actions with political motives. Here Bizzy couldn't be more transparent as he confuses the reader to ascribe political motives ("going Gault") with rational economic actions in an economy where GDP is shrinking 6% (at the same time Bizzy thought it was growing 4%), credit markets are frozen, capital is vanishing in the stock market, etc.:
"As a result, they took steps that businesspeople, entrepreneurs and investors ordinarily take when a serious recession takes hold — not hiring, not expanding, letting people go and not replacing them, making worn-out equipment last longer instead of buying new, and others — before the serious recession took hold."
These things all took place in the fourth quarter.... at the beginning of the recession. (Tomorrow, it is expected the First Quarter GDP will be announced, expectations are that it will show a negative 4-5%. Expectations are that the second quarter of 2009 will show another 2% loss in GDP before the economy begins to grow again.) The economy didn't shrink because Obama said the economy was bad. It's the opposite: Obama said the economy was shrinking because the economy was shrinking.
Again, this, and the global size of the economic crisis, suggests that the slowdown in the economy has more to do with macroeconomic trends than a bunch of rich folks protesting having to pay higher taxes. The fact that Bizzy is compelled to conflate the two so obviously reveal what a fraud the "going Gault" theory really is.
5) Dumb people don't stay rich. The top wealth producers in the economy clearly lost more wealth in the stock market crash beginning in October than any tax proposal by the Obama Administration. If the rich stopped hiring, producing, and investing to protest a three percent increase on the top marginal rate, then this was the most foolish waste of money in the history of economics. It's like detonating dynamite in your house to kill a fly.
6) Do as I say, not as I do. Almost not the the strongest evidence of what utter nonsense th "Gault theory" of the 2008-2009 recession, it certain is the most amusing. If, as Bizzyblog opines, the Tea Party protests earlier this month were about the collective Gaults of the nation expressingly their anger. Then where was Ohio's leading advocate that all things economic are Gault?:
"It is my pleasure on this Tea Party Day (which I will regretfully have to miss because of personal and business commitments) to introduce a new and hopefully fairly frequent poster here."
In other words, "While y'all go Gault, I'm going to work." How very un-Gault-like. Tell me, what are the titles of the books Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin won't be publishing this year because they're "going Gault?" (One reason why I totally support both of them if they decide to actually practice what they preach.)
After spending months claiming that there was no recession, Bizzyblog cannot fathom the idea that he was just simply wrong on the economy and wrong for attacking Obama for truthfully talking about the bad economic conditions. Nope, in his fevered partisan mind, the only conclusion is that the Trilateral Commission or some other shadowy, power conservative group wrecked the economy to get Obama elected President and make things so bad that Americans were willing to permit an extensive federal involvement in the means of production in our national economy in order to protest a tax increase at the top marginal rate (returning it to its levels permitted, without a Gault-like strike, in the 1990s), thus making Obama's prior comments on the economy a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yeah, that's far more plausible than Bizzyblog doesn't know what he's talking about!
Monday, April 27, 2009
At 1:30 a.m. this morning, I had an apparent Coughlin loyalist explain that the reason his lawyers aren't coming after those of us who have actually published and promoted this story is because "we're not important" and that he's going after the sources in the story themselves.
Add to that, this unusual e-mail from State Senator Kevin Coughlin himself, dated March 9, 2009 that is now posted over at Blogger Interrupted:
Anticipating legal action, he has repeatedly reminded Scene Magazine of it’s obligations to save all records that will help lead us back to the source of the defamatory comments and allegations:
“As I communicated in October, please make sure that your company and all its employees preserve all information, electronic and otherwise, they have or will have in their possession pertaining to this or any related matter. We will want to trace very carefully how all information has been used for any story being planned, what information was not used or followed up, and what individuals have been interviewed or contacted. Information concerning all alleged confidential sources should be preserved, also. No electronic information should be overwritten.
All drafts should be saved. Backup tapes should be preserved. No paper or other hard information should be discarded.”
Again, I thank you for your assistance and regret the harassment. Know that, if needed, we will be prepared with guns blazing and a proper response. In the event that our action gives us insight into the sources of the defamatory information, I will share it with you.
Except one thing, it's one thing for an attorney to claim that if litigation ensues they're entitled to certain information-- it's quite another to say that they're legally entitled to learn the identity of such sources.
Ohio's courts, and indeed the very legislature State Senator Kevin Coughlin serves, have recognized that journalists have a legal privilege from disclosing the identity of confidential sources. Don't believe me (even though I'm a lawyer?), then how about this handy-dandy publication from the Ohio State Bar Association:
Reporter’s Privilege Allows Journalists to Keep Sources Confidential
Created: 11/28/2008 12:56:54 AM
Q: Do journalists have a right to keep their sources confidential?
A: Most states, including Ohio, recognize some form of a “reporter’s privilege” that allows journalists to refuse to disclose their confidential sources. The Ohio legislature has enacted statutes called “shield laws” that protect print and broadcast journalists from being compelled to disclose the identity of their confidential sources. Ohio courts also have recognized a constitutional protection for non-confidential notes, drafts, video outtakes and other non-published or non-broadcast materials.
Q: Who is covered by the privilege?
A: Journalists are covered by the privilege, but “journalist” is defined differently by different courts and state statutes. Ohio’s shield laws define a journalist as a person “engaged in the work of, or connected with, or employed by” a broadcast station (radio or television) or newspaper or press association for the purpose of gathering, editing and publishing or broadcasting news. Courts in other jurisdictions have more broadly defined a journalist as someone who is gathering news with the intent to disseminate it to the public.
Q: Is it true that news reporters never have to reveal their sources?
A: No; the privilege is generally not absolute in most states. Ohio’s shield laws may not protect a reporter who is asked to reveal confidential sources to a grand jury or in a criminal trial when the criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial are in danger. In civil lawsuits in which a party seeks testimony or documents from a journalist concerning non-confidential sources, Ohio courts sometimes require the
journalist to disclose the information if the party seeking the information can
show it is relevant, it cannot be obtained from alternative sources, and there
is a compelling interest in obtaining the information.
In other words, under R.C. 2739.04, Coughlin's unlikely to get any information from Scene Magazine, or James Renner, as to the identity of Renner's sources. It's only been the law of the State of Ohio since 1977, so it's easy to see how Coughlin and his high-priced attorney could make such a glaring mistake. (Snark.)
Don't get me wrong, if I were Coughlin's lawyer, of course I'd be insisting on this information. But Scene magazine, if it has any journalistic credibility would assert the journalists' privilege from non-disclosure and Coughlin would be hard pressed to dent it.
So why send out the email suggesting that Coughlin is going to learn about who the anonymous sources are if he is unlikely to legally be able to do so? Four letters: STFU! He's broadcasting to the legally ignorant, those who cannot afford to go against Kevin Coughlin, his well-greased money machine and his high-priced lawyers, and threatening them that if they don't stop talking he's coming after them with guns blazing. He's sending it out to people he knows, or should know, won't realize that it's all a bluff. He's got nothing but blanks for his six-figure legal artillery.
It's a standard, "if you aren't with me, I'll find you out and expose you" and if you are with me, you'll be a loyal footsoldier and report all contacts by the "outsiders" so I can defend myself. It's downright cult-like. Veiled threats coupled with group-identity solidarity in the force of sinister, outside forces that only Coughlin will protect you against if you stay loyal to him.
This is what made those of us in the know on media law so shocked by the decision of Scene not to publish the story of Coughlin's apparent extramarital affair. If they were willing to kill a legally defensible piece of journalism to avoid litigation,would Scene be willing to waive its journalistic privileges and disclose confidential sources also in order to avoid litigation? Where is the line in the sand that Scene magazine has declared that it is not willing to compromise its journalistic integrity in order to avoid defending against a frivolous lawsuit?
Will State Senator Kevin Coughlin's campaign of legal bullying and intimidation actually work? And what social responsibility will Scene magazine bear in being complicit to Coughlin's legal strategy?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
To date, despite the best efforts of anonymous blog commenters who somehow have unprecedented level of knowledge of both the inner workings of Scene magazine and Camp Coughlin's activities (or are just pretended to), I've yet to see any evidence to give me a reason to doubt my initial assessment that any threat of a lawsuit by Coughlin was an empty threat and that any such lawsuit based on libel of Coughlin was groundless.
Also to date, neither myself, Tim Russo, or Pho has been contacted by Coughlin's attorneys to demand that we retract our posts or else be subject to litigation for libeling Senator Coughlin. And do you know why? Because Coughlin's lawyers know they have no case. They also probably know that I am a lawyer, that if I were sued, I would likely countersue Coughlin for malicious prosecution/frivolous conduct and seek to sanction Coughlin and his attorneys for trying to use private litigation to intimidate me from exercising my constitutionally protected First Amendment rights. If they didn't realize it before now, they do now.
So please, sue us. I could use the money. And it gives us all an excuse to write more about Coughlin's extramaritial affair with a campaign worker while going around the State and calling "gay marriage," not "adultery," the greatest threat to the institute of marriage. Posts about Cleveland Scene's spiking of the sourced newsstory about Coughlin's alleged affair is traffic gold.
I can't wait to depose Kevin Coughlin. And if I believe he committed perjury in such a deposition, I'll forward it to the General Assembly to consider impeachment proceedings against him.
Right now, Old Media is holding its fire because Coughlin is not a credible challenger for the GOP nomination and most people don't know who he is. That, and they hate to give credit for blogs for breaking any kind of story and they're using the excuse that a story about his affair is too "tabloid" for them after going gaga for Monica and the lil' blue dress.
This story is far better evidenced and sourced that what Matt Naugle had when he first alleged (and was proven right) that Marc Dann was carrying on an extramarital affair with a young staffer and using campaign funds to fund those activities. And yet, not one conservative blogger has even MENTIONED this story. Hypocrites. Kevin Coughlin supported the impeachment inquiry and thought Dann waited too long to resign. Coughlin's double standard on resigning over extramarital affairs in office can go unnoticed only so long.
But the embargo by Old Media collapses the second Coughlin sues us. That and other dams will then break. And Team Coughlin knows it. Which is why they'll continue their campaign to privately try to call the credibility of the story into question without ever actually suing.
It's your call, Kevin. But my prediction is that you'll get behind John Kasich as Governor and use his candidacy as an excuse to slither back to the obscurity he so richly deserves.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Ohio Supreme Court finds little fault in Strickland Administration's response to massive public records request
Morgan filed suit in less than a month after requesting that the Governor produce, for example, every email regarding the governor's evidence-based model and education funding. A request that alone generated over 74,000 pages of data alone.
The Governor's office claimed that it was already in the process of responding to the request, but that some of the request was too broad and the rest was under review for redaction of information that under state and federal law is exempt from disclosure in a public records request (since the Governor is pointedly NOT claiming executive privilege, I can only assume we're talking about personal addresses, Social Security Numbers, D.O.B., that kind of information.) The Administration said that it would take them some time to review the materials to redact such protected information before disclosure.
Although the Court granted the writ ("order") that Morgan was seeking, it was under the weakest terms possible. The Court today essentially ordered the Strickland Administration to continue to do what the Court found it was already doing and review the records, redact, and produce them within a "reasonable" amount of time. The Court unanimously agreed that the Strickland Administration's response to Morgan's "comprehensive" request was lawful and reasonable. The Court also found that Morgan's request was overbroad and that Morgan was being unreasonable in his expectation in how quickly he expected the Governor's office to respond to what even State Rep. Morgan conceded was a wide-ranging request of a massive amount of documents.
Furthermore, the Court also found that the Strickland Administration's claimed reason for the delay-- the need to redact information exempt from public disclosure under state and federal law-- was legitimate and reasonable.
The Court, and in the concurring opinion of Justice Pfeiffer, also referenced the political theater motivating the litigation. Political theater like State Representative Morgan and the Ohio Republican Party using the politically inspired lawsuit as grounds to allege that the Strickland Administration was engaged in a "cover up" regarding the Governor's plan to reform public education.
Morgan even lamely tried to label the whole thing as "Evidencegate." He falsely stated that he had gotten no response or information from the Administration when , in fact, it had contacted him and told him that it was working on a complete response but provided a bibliography of sources the Administration relied on in crafting the education plan.
The most laughable line of attack the GOP, and Morgan specifically, have been trying is to say that the plan was crafted in secret. This after a year of publicly held and reported town hall meetings with interested parties to discuss various proposals and then to discuss the plan itself.
Strickland's education plan was crafted in the most public ways possible. It's now also being publicly debated and altered in public legislative committee hearings. Hearings on committees that Rep. Morgan is actually a member of.
What is not public is any Republican alternative to anything Strickland has proposed. The Republicans have no plan to reform public education. None.
The Republicans have to manfacture something to be "outraged" about because they have no plan. They can only hope that by taking potshots from the sidelines they can convince Ohioans that they can do better for Ohio with no plans than what Strickland will do with his.
The Ohio Republican Party is just simply brain dead.
[UPDATE:] The Governor's Office just released this statement from the Governor regarding today's court decision:
"I appreciate that the Ohio Supreme Court acknowledges the considerable efforts my office has taken to be responsive to a legislator’s broad public records request. My office has released thousands of pages of documents in response to this request.
"Each of four document releases included letters inviting the representative to further refine or clarify his request so we could more quickly provide materials focused on any substantive concerns about my education proposal that he may have. To date, my office has not received any indication of any specific education policy areas in which he is interested.
"I appreciate the Court’s finding that the overly-broad request should be further refined, narrowed and clarified. I continue to believe that this effort is little more than a disappointing attempt to detract from, rather than enhance, the ongoing legislative discussion about modernizing Ohio’s education system. My staff will continue working to provide responsive records as quickly as possible.”