Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
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Friday, November 07, 2003

Oral Sex Is Not Adultery

At least, not in New Hampshire (via Volokh Conspiracy). Ostensibly it regards homosexual sex, but it has this little gem in the opinion.

We reject the petitioner’s argument that an interpretation of adultery that excludes homosexual conduct subjects homosexuals and heterosexuals to unequal treatment, "contrary to New Hampshire’s public policy of equality and prohibition of discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation." Homosexuals and heterosexuals engaging in the same acts are treated the same because our interpretation of the term "adultery" excludes all non-coital sex acts, whether between persons of the same or opposite gender. The only distinction is that persons of the same gender cannot, by definition, engage in the one act that constitutes adultery under the statute.

Emphasis added.

I think it safe to say that the wife will emphatically disagree with this one.

Why You're Not Taken Seriously

I really don't have much respect for either of the alt-weeklies in Cleveland. Both have taken to making useless rants against the other. Explaining why the other sucks. They both aren't that good. Most recent example:

Last week, was Cleveland Scene published the results of a survey of local lawyers on their opinions of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Justices. It was done very tongue in cheek, and not that serious a piece.

This week, and I don't know why, Cleveland Free Times blasts at Scene for the story not being true journalism. Then, as if to undermine their local "street cred" they make non-stop snide comments about Scene being owned by New Times Media -- a chain owner of alt-weeklies. Scene was bought by New Times back in 1998.

OF course the Free Times pretends its previous history of being owned by a competing alt-weekly chain -- Village Voice Media. And it seems to try and cover up its true present ownership -- Times Publishing Co. in Erie, PA

While Eden uses his space in the debut issue for vituperation, in his own introductory column Publisher Fabyan plants the flag of "local" ownership and dons the mantle of small business: "We are no longer owned by a large media corporation and just another link in a newspaper chain. Now we are locally owned and operated, a paper for Clevelanders produced by Clevelanders."

Although Eden, Fabyan and "several key management personnel" now own a small fraction of Free Times, along with former VVM President and Cleveland-area native Arthur Howe, the majority owner is Times Publishing Co., of Erie, Pa. Eden, Fabyan and Howe are principals in FT Acquisitions, LLC, the company that was formed to acquire the paper, but the largest investor is Times Publishing, through a separate entity formed with Howe to pursue acquisitions of alternative newsweeklies.

The March 26 press release announcing the acquisition of Free Times failed to mention Times Publishing's involvement. A week later, after AAN News learned that Times Publishing owned all but a sliver of the paper's equity, Howe confirmed that the family-owned daily paper company holds a "significant majority" of the ownership. Nevertheless, in the column in which he claims the paper is "locally owned," Fabyan never mentions the size of Times Publishing's ownership stake. Instead, claiming to "set the record straight" about "rumors regarding our new ownership," he portrays himself as a "significant part" of the investor group.

You can pretend to be local and independent, though you're anything but. Give Scene credit for admitting on its site, at the bottom who the corporate parent is (complete with a link). Here's the wonderfully vague statement at the bottom of the Free Times site.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner.

All comments are property of their posters and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The Cleveland Free Times.

All the rest ? 2003

Real open and honest guys.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Dead On, It's Long Over

Megan McArdle perfectly nails why no one cared about the Toledo Blade story on a massacre in Vietnam from an elite US unit way back then.

... I read an item in this week's Talk of the Town lamenting the fact that some paper in Ohio had uncovered evidence of another massacre in Viet Nam, yet this had somehow not become front page national news. How could this be? The article asked. It seemed to imply that the reason had to lie somewhere in the dark bowls of the VRWC [Vast Right Wing Conspiracy].

Here's an alternative explanation: it happened almost 35 years ago, dude. The events, if they indeed occurred, are tragic, but they are no longer news. The men who committed the acts are beyond military justice; any higher ups who decided to shield them are retired or, more likely, dead. Injustices that are beyond redress certainly do not merit front page coverage when we have an actual real live war right here and now to worry about. How would our author have felt if we'd seen exposes about Americans cutting trophies off Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima hit the front pages -- in 1980?

It's a good post on Baby Boomers still refusing to concede that they are old.

It's Going to Take How Long?

I was half-joking about waiting for the recount on Lakewood's Issue 47. But this is ridiculous.

A recount is not likely before Nov. 25 because elections officials have yet to receive some absentee ballots, said Michael Vu, Cuyahoga County elections chief. And, officials also must review an undetermined number of challenged ballots.

Say what? How long can you wait to mail an absentee ballot in Ohio? This will be watched closely in Lakewood.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Waiting for the Recount

Before I express my full happiness regarding the Lakewood eminent domain matter. As it stands now, the public referendum on using eminent domain to take an entire neighborhood was barely defeated

By the slimmest of margins, 39 ballots, voters rescinded public financing for the $151 million project that was billed as the cure-all for the aging suburb.

But that tally will certainly be recounted and contested.

As of this morning, the Cleveland Plain Dealer puts the tally at 7913 against, 7874 for. An additional proposal to require all future eminent domain matters in Lakewood subject to a public referendum was defeated 7950 to 7342.

The Mayor of Lakewood, Madeline Cain, who was completely tied to the "West End Project," lost her bid for a 3rd term.

The law allowing this kind of abuse won't be changed. Hopefully, though, this will have a pleasant chilling effect on the rest of northeast Ohio and abuse of eminent domain. Though not all see that as the cup being half-full.

A defeat of the project could come as a blow to other Cleveland-area suburbs looking at eminent domain as a way to rebuild neighborhoods, create jobs and boost tax revenues.

Early yesterday evening, outgoing Euclid Mayor Paul Oyaski said he feared a loss for the Lakewood project would dampen enthusiasm by other suburbs for attempting innovative development proposals.

"When you are rebuilding a city, you've got to do things that are not customary," said Oyaski, who is being considered for Cuyahoga County's chief of economic development.

By all means, lets not actually have restrictions on the ability of government to take people's property when it might, possibly produce more taxes for the government. My feelings on this sort of use of eminent domain are here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The "Peace" March

I don't remember the last fisking I've done. It's definitely been awhile. This "article" on the Washington march to let Iraqis die, though, begged for it. It is really just a collection of quotes from people from the Cleveland area who attended, collected by an editor at the Cleveland Free Times, Timothy D. Smith.

Nearly 150 Northeast Ohioans boarded buses and traveled to Washington, D.C., late on Friday night, October 24, to participate in the October 25th mass peace march. Their goal was to demand the end of the occupation of Iraq, to seek the immediate return of U.S. troops, and to propose a redistribution of the Iraqi aid package to benefit education, healthcare and other domestic issues.

So, the goal is to have the US pull out and let the Iraq people fend for themselves with no money, no infrastructure, and no help. A people who had spent 30 plus years under a violent, murdering dictator. A people, not exactly looking for the US to pull out any time soon.

Instead, the money the US would have given to help Iraq would be spent exclusively on US domestic projects. Where exactly does "peace" fit into any of this plan?

The march was sponsored by International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and United For Peace and Justice, two large coalitions of diverse peace and justice organizations.

Peace and justice aren't exactly the terms I'd use to describe their views considering ANSWER is a front group for the World Workers Party.

As a peace activist and Free Times writer/editor, I joined the march in order to ask people why they went to Washington.

Mr. Smith doesn't actually want to say he joined because he believes in this. He went strictly as an observer. Uh-huh.

What the thousands in attendance - ANSWER organizers estimated the crowd at nearly 100,000, D.C. police say more like 50,000, and the New York Times on Sunday reported "tens of thousands" - saw was a display of vibrant diversity unequaled in recent history, and a stirring collection of political ideas and philosophies gathered between the open arms of the two sponsoring organizations.

Recent history, apparently being only a few months. Weren't these same people out in even greater numbers (allegedly) before the actual war in Iraq? It seems Mr. Smith woke up from a coma last week. And the stirring collection of political ideas and philosophies -- what? The gamut between the free Mumia crowd and unrepentant Communists? The anti-globo kids and anarchists? The ones who think Bush is a Nazi to those who think he's part of a vast right-wing conspiracy?

So why exactly were we here? Here's what Northeast Ohio peace activists said.

We gather together

Many marchers spoke of the importance of gathering together and creating unity among like-minded people.

"Like-minded people?" But I thought this was a group with "vibrant diversity" and a stew "stirring collection of political ideas and philosophies?"

Brian Stefan-Szittai, the interim coordinator of the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America, said, "I think a lot of us that have been with this since the fall of 2001 protesting the then-impending bombing of Afghanistan can now say, 'I told you so' ... that the motivations for the Bush administration going into war in Afghanistan and Iraq were not to protect the United States from terrorism, that they have other economic and political motives. Now that the mainstream press and Congress are trying to call the Bush Administration on the carpet for their lies about going to Iraq, now we can begin to feel vindicated."

The secret economic and political motives of going into Afghanistan are now so clear. They are? Well, we'll get back to that I'm sure. But the war in Iraq, here we go. Now people are noticing the lies and deceptions -- except that the only lies seem to be ones being told by those who opposed the war in the first place. Imminent threat? No. Bush never said that.

Diane Schurr, an event coordinator from the Near West Side, said that marches are "a step that has to be taken. I always wish that we could just jump over the whole thing, and take the whole journey in the first step, but it was what it needed to be, a big first step."

Diane once received a great proverb in a Chinese fortune cookie about a journey beginning with a single step, and now applies it to everything.

Some made the trip for more personal reasons. Phil Trimble, a student at Cleveland State University from Mentor, said he brought a camera, "and I hope to get some really good pictures, because Mentor, where I'm from, is a very white, suburban, Republican kind of town, and not too many people care about what's going on or even know that this is happening. I want to show the people I know why I came here, so that they can understand."

Yeah. Once they see the pictures of big puppets, people wearing death masks, and the "Bush=Hitler" banners; they'll understand the protestors completely.

Some were more inclined to just raise a joyful noise.

"I'm still of the belief that if enough people make enough noise and are visible that it'll have an impact on public opinion," said Gene Kotrba, a maintenance supervisor for "Manco, the duct tape people," from Berea. "If there are 10,000 or 50,000, or even 500,000, people on the mall, that someone who might not have normally paid attention would get that five-inch story on page three of McNewspaper and know that there are still people who don't like the way things are going and maybe they agree with them even though they're not dumb enough to ride a bus all night to do it.

Sure, as long as they aren't paying attention to what the speakers are actually saying.

"Sometimes you have to stand against your government," said Kathleen Wynne, a legal secretary from Cleveland Heights. "Stand up and speak out. To bring back democracy, and to not sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do it. I have to live with myself, no matter what the outcome."

I agree, but what are you actually speaking out in favor of? Other than being against the Iraqi people having a chance at a political climate that doesn't involve a dictator.

"We have to send a message to the administration and those who support this thing that the American people do not support this occupation, they do not support troops being put in harm's way, that we do not support the Haliburtons and Bechtels of the world," said Greg Coleridge, director of economic and justice programs for the American Friends Service Committee in Akron. "It's important that we get together and support each other, to come out of our isolated abodes, and feel that we're speaking and acting in unison. To do so, to do it loudly, and to do it affirmatively. So it's both making a political statement, and also making a human statement."

Again, the question is: Are you advocating the abandonment of the Iraqi people after we removed their dictatorial government? Are you saying that no American lives should be put at risk to help people in another country? That we should not spend any money on Iraq? What kind of "human statement" is that?

Said Sarah Morton, a playwright and cofounder of Artists For Peace from Shaker Heights, "I think it's an important gesture to say to Bush that his priorities are in the wrong place. It's not that that he'll be convinced by us. Millions of people have marched against this war. We were right, and he was wrong. And it's interesting that this administration refuses to admit that they have created this incredible mess that they can't get out of on their own. This idea that Bush is once again given a huge blank check and can continue to ask for billions of dollars without Congress demanding some personal responsibility and concede that mistakes were made and that changes need to be made immediately is amazing to me."

"We were right, and he was wrong." That's what the march comes down to. An affirmation amongst the like-minded that they were right the entire time, and by God, we will get together and shout that at the rest of the sheep! And how dare he ask for money to rebuild Iraq. This isn't Europe and the Marshall plan or anything.

"It's important to me to have a part in saying something about the war in Iraq, to bring the troops home, to bring the funding home," said Caitlin Harwood, a nonviolence trainer and community organizer from Shaker Heights. "To continue to say no to the occupation and the war, and though we weren't able to stop it from happening, I believe we can stop it from continuing."

Translation: No American lives must be risked overseas. No dollars must be spent on another country and its people. They don't really matter. Sure there might be violence and civil war, and as a noviolence trainer, I would be against the violence. But the thing is, I won't actually have to see it or know about it.

"I have a nephew who is over in Iraq, and his little girl keeps asking, 'Where's daddy?' And his wife says 'he's at work' and the little girl cries 'no! no!' and I can't help but think that there's 130,000 soldiers that have families yelling ëno, no!' back here at home, and it puts a real human touch on this," said Sr. Kathleen Lyons, a sister of Notre Dame at St. Michael's in Independence.

I said to Sr. Lyons, "Bush claims to be Christian..."

She answered, "Well, that's easy to do. You can claim to be anything. I don't want to judge the man on his Christianity or his relationship with God. I just feel that we're finding out all of the things that we've been lied to about, and I think that this'll last for decades. I'm just so distrustful. A lot of things have been done in the name of religion which are atrocious, and I don't think God approves of them. But as for Bush's actions in regards to Iraq, I'm judging that."

Well, I can understand her being distrustful of authority... she is in the Catholic Church. Apparently she is protesting because she puts her own family ahead of all others. I can accept that.

Nate Snyder, a student at Brush High School in Lyndhurst, was more introspective. "I support the opposition of the administration because they're a bunch of money-grubbing war-mongers, and I think they've gotten out of control, and they think they can do whatever they want. But I'm also here for myself, trying to look at people and gain inspiration for myself, because I consider myself a thinker and a philosopher, and I look at the greater scale as well."

Translation: I read the internet. I've checked out the conspiracy sites. I know what's happening. I'm smarter than 90% of the people, even my guidance counselor knows how deep I am. Now, if I could only get laid.

If it was coming from anyone but a high school kid I'd want to rip him a new one for hubirs, stupidity and arrogance. As it is, in 15 years he'll either look back at this quote with some embarrassment, or he'll be somewhere in academia.

Political philosophy was also strongly present. "The United States needs to learn some lessons from this, that it can't carry on this war against the world, this endless war against terrorism," said Brian Fry, justice coordinator for the Congregation of St. Joseph in West Park. "You can't fight a war against terror by being a terrorist. I think it gets a little more complicated now though, because what do we do now that the U.S. has done this thing against Iraq? I think we need to pull out the American troops. Armies aren't very well trained to be 'peacekeepers.' Soldiers themselves will say that they aren't very well trained to be policemen."

Translation: The US must be humbled. The situation is messy because the US already did the war, and there needs to be stability. I don't have the answers, so rather than think any longer just bring home the troops and let God figure it out.

Said Dr. Jim Misak, a family practitioner from the Near West Side, "We cannot rule the world unilaterally. We cannot deprive Americans of their basic constitutional rights in order to pursue a right-wing extremist political agenda. War will never create peace; war will never create international security. We simply have to use other means to pursue those ends. It will never happen through our current way of doing things."

Nation-building is part of the "right-wing extremist political agenda?" Last I checked, the right-wing extremists (like, say PatBuchanann) opposed the Iraq war and favor isolationism.

"We're supposed to be the good guys. America does not do this," said Jeff Seemann, a congressional candidate from Canton. "We threw out an invading force in 1945. This is not what we do. We do not invade. We drive out invaders. And we've become what we most feared 60 years ago."

channelingg my inner-Beevis: heh-heh, his last name is Seemann. Heh-heh.

Sorry. That was uncalled for. Anyways, back in 1945, I think we did a little more than merely "drive out invaders." There was pretty much a crushing of countries.

Said Todd Schneider, a machinist from Cuyahoga Falls, "I'm a commoner; I'm as common as a person can get. But if we stand any chance of taking back our country from our corporate overlords who control everything that happens in this country now, then we're the only chance this country has. Little pipsqueaks like me. We talk about election fraud. If I had gotten off my ass and done a little bit more, and if there would have been a hundred thousand other little pipsqueaks like me getting off their asses and doing a little bit more..."

If you describe yourself as a "commoner," you aren't. If you use the term "commoner," you aren't.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Not a Good Thing

When Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice is writing this,

I write this final column on Charles Pickering because, in some 50 years as a reporter, I have seldom seen such reckless, unfair, and repeated attacks on a person—not only by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee but also by organizations that gather financial contributions because of their proclaimed dedication to civil rights, civil liberties, and honest research. (People for the American Way, Alliance for Justice, et al.)


(Copyright © 2002-2005 Chas Rich All rights Reserved.);
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