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, July 09, 2004

Oh. Well, Nevermind

I hadn't heard about former LA Mayor, and current California Education Secretary Richard Riordan's bizarre crack to a 6-year-old girl that her name meant "stupid dirty girl." Plenty of political foes of Riordan and Gov. Schwarzenegger are trying to use this as being grounds for his termination. This, despite the girl's mother saying the whole thing is over and done. This part of the story, though, is the absolute kicker.

Democratic state Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, who had scheduled a protest by civil rights organizations, canceled the demonstration after an apparent mix-up over the girl's racial background.

Dymally was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News Thursday saying the child was "a little African-American girl. Would he (Riordan) have done that to a white girl?"

The girl is white, with blond hair.

Dymally did not return telephone calls. His office issued a statement Wednesday calling Riordan's remarks to the girl "outrageous and irresponsible," then issued another statement Thursday saying, "To err is human; to forgive is divine."

"Race is not a factor in this issue," Dymally said in Thursday's statement, adding that Riordan had apologized a second time. "It is time for us to move on."

It's for the children.

Turning Off the Classic Rock Demographic

Kind of an amusing Michael Moore tidbit (via Will at VodkaPundit). Seems he wanted to use Pete Townshend's song, "Won't Get Fooled Again" in the movie. Pete said no.

Apparently that still has Moore a little pissed and he has been talking about it. Townshend has his own weblog and fires back.

He says – among other things – that I refused to allow him to use my song WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN in his latest film, because I support the war, and that at the last minute I recanted, but he turned me down. I have never hidden the fact that at the beginning of the war in Iraq I was a supporter. But now, like millions of others, I am less sure we did the right thing.
I have nothing against Michael Moore personally, and I know Roger Daltrey is a friend and fan of his, but I greatly resent being bullied and slurred by him in interviews just because he didn’t get what he wanted from me. It seems to me that this aspect of his nature is not unlike that of the powerful and wilful man at the centre of his new documentary. I wish him all the best with the movie, which I know is popular, and which I still haven’t seen. But he’ll have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a guitar.

You would think that Moore would just be happy to collect his money and accolades, rather than look to extract petty shots at anyone who didn't do what he wanted.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Well we're back. The drive back was long but relatively easy. Not a lot of traffic on the PA Turnpike on a Wednesday. The trip was, obviously, far too short. Missed seeing a couple relatives and there wasn't nearly enough time for the arguing and debating that happens when my family gathers (only dealt with one brief lecture as to how I must vote against Bush by voting for Kerry).

Still we had fun, and got to go a few days without having to hear the soundtrack to Elmopalooza (I think the CD would have had an accident with a lighter, if I hadn't burned a version that excludes the songs sung by Celine Dion and Kenny Loggins).

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Well, we ended up on an abbreviated trip to Pennsylvania. Left on Monday afternoon following a trip to the Saturn dealership. Turned out that the seal on the transmission filter (I didn't even know there was a filter for it) had ruptured. Replaced the filter, and the car was fine. We decided to make the trip because my sister and her husband were still in town from Texas; and it would likely be several months before we could be lucky enough to coordinate a visit with them.

Only bad part of the trip was a 13 mile stretch on the PA turnpike from the Bedford Exit to Breezewood. Took an hour and a half to travel that distance. Just a mess with so many people backed up to get off at that exit. There was a WSJ article about that exit 6 or 7 years ago explaining how that exit will never be fixed because of the local interests that keep the US Congressman for that area beholden to protect their interests.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

The Sunday Paper

The wife and I won't subscribe to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Not even for their weekend deal, based on our own odd standards. The paper has been the the only daily in the Cleveland Metro area (the smaller, localized dailies like the News-Herald and Akron Beacon Journal aren't real competition for the overall region) for so long that it has never aspired to be more than mediocre.

The Sunday edition is the classic example. I usually pick it up, if for no other reason, than to get the grocery coupons that often make it worth paying the standard $1.50. I usually skim the first section, because most of it is just wire report stories that I already have read on the web. The Sports section is acceptable (though the columnists aren't that special). Comics take 2 minutes. Metro and Business rarely seem to have much on Sundays.

Then there is the Forum (op-ed) section. It is 6 pages in length. One page for letters, 1/2 a page for the editorials and cartoon, 1/2 a page for some local political news (who voted for what, little info-bytes, etc.), 2-2 1/2 pages for local opinions and columns, 1/2 - 1 page for syndicated columns and 1 full-sized ad on the back page. Not exactly doing much to stimulate thought or discussion. Today, though, may have been the worst ever.

Today, is the 50th anniversery of the murder of Marilyn Sheppard, i.e., the Sam Sheppard case. This is Cleveland's greatest unsolved mystery. Fine. I may never have heard of it until I moved to Cleveland, but then I haven't been that deep into crime mysteries since I stopped reading the Hardy Boys. Yes, I know, The Fugitive was loosely based on Sam Sheppard. Whatever.

The point is: what the hell is a full page story reviewing the history and some details of the Sheppard Case, along with another page for the timeline doing in the op-ed section? They even waste most of the front page with collage of photos from the time. The only tie-in is the ever boring Feagler column asking if it's time to let it go. So, on the 4th of July, the PD offers no syndicated columns and about a page of local columnists. My only theory is that they decided to go really cheap on the Forum this week.

Attention Cuyahoga County

Whether you are in power or a regular citizen, you need to read this piece on convention centers around the US. Here are a couple excerpts:

Although Boston's gleaming new $800 million convention center is set to open in a few months, so far it has booked only a handful of conventions. So dire is the facility's outlook that it will need a $12–15 million annual public subsidy in its first few years of operation and may not reach its full booking potential for a decade, say Boston officials. Even that may be too optimistic, judging by what's going on in Baltimore. There, a vastly expanded convention center that reopened in 1997 is finding it so hard to lure business that city officials are now searching for ways to make the facility more attractive, including spending millions in public money to build a subsidized hotel next door.

What is happening in Boston and Baltimore is not an anomaly but merely the latest chapter in what is turning out to be one of America’s biggest civic boondoggles. For more than a decade now, cities and counties have been rushing, at enormous public cost, to build new convention centers or add space to old ones, including a $191 million expansion of San Francisco's Moscone Center, a $291 million new facility in Omaha, and a $354 million center in Pittsburgh. The increase in space has vastly outpaced the growth of the convention industry and often failed to generate the kind of economic activity predicted by boosters. Rather than energizing local economies, in fact, some convention centers are emerging as a drag on civic finances, requiring taxpayer operating subsidies on top of their huge, publicly financed construction costs. What's more, the situation is only likely to get worse. Another eight to ten million square feet of exhibition space is scheduled to come on line within five years, an increase of about 15 percent in an industry where demand is barely growing.
But today, after a generation of frenetic building and with much better data available, the inescapable conclusion is that few of these new projects are worth doing. Boston, for instance, spent nearly $230 million to renovate its existing convention center in the 1980s, and the result was barely a blip upward in its hotel occupancy, says political scientist Heywood Sanders of the University of Texas at San Antonio, the foremost expert on publicly built convention centers. Yet Boston officials brushed that experience aside and went ahead and built its brand-new—and already troubled—center anyway. Similarly, a vast expansion of Chicago's McCormick Place, costing $1 billion in the mid-1990s, didn't prevent a drop in that city’s share of major conventions. Meanwhile, Atlanta's huge expansion of its convention space has done little for the city's struggling downtown: a major retail project there, Atlanta Underground, has struggled to survive even as the city's convention business has grown. "The payoff is not there," says Sanders.

But local politicians have typically argued that their projects will work better than those in other cities -— on scant evidence for such conclusions. New York officials, for instance, justify expanding Javits on the grounds that the city is already a major trade-show destination and therefore won’t suffer like other cities from significant new competition. Yet Chicago was an even bigger force in the business when it expanded McCormick, but still saw its market share decline. And even if a bigger Javits were to attract some new business, it is highly unlikely to generate enough spin-off activity to justify its enormous public cost (including the eventual cost overruns likely with such a gigantic public project).

Why do I bring this up, when the convention center issue in Cleveland is in a coma? Oh, no reason.

At the first meeting of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Authority, held Wednesday, the new governmental body's 11 members got to meet one another and decide what to do first.

William Reidy, a retired partner from PriceWaterhouseCoopers who also serves as chairman of the Gateway Economic Development Corp., served as acting chairman. All agreed the first two things to be done are to hire a lawyer to help them establish rules and regulations for the new organization, and to establish a budget.

Talk also turned to dealing with the media. CFA members mentioned how open the meetings needed to be to instill confidence in county residents that decisions about building and paying for a new convention center would be made in a thoughtful, transparent manner.

This CCCCFA is the new vehicle quasi-governmental agency that will try to push a new convention center in Cleveland. Read the whole article from City Journal.


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