In Barrett’s wake: GOP wins

For personal reasons, Matthew Barrett resigned as state representative in Ohio’s 58th House District. It would not have been easy for Matt Barrett to win re-election anyway. He was living on borrowed time because he was a Democrat occupying a Republican seat.

I’m sure ODP Chair Chris Redfern was counting on holding that seat in his master plan for Democrats to capture the Ohio House of Representatives, so the Democrats not only lose the 58th, but they lose their opportunity to capture the lower chamber of the General Assembly.

I’m going to go out on a limb here (OK, it’s not really a limb, I’m hugging the trunk of the tree with my feet firmly planted on the roots) and predict that former Huron County Commissioner Terry Boose wins the 58th House seat for the GOP this November, and squashes the Dems attempt at a takeover of the House.

How much money is the ODP willing to spend on retaining the seat? A bunch? That’ll be good, because that means that money that could have been distributed to other candidates will be eaten up in a failing effort.

So far, the Democrats have a list of names for a replacement that is so short, they are going to have to lengthen it.

First on the list is former state rep and current Ohio Lottery Deputy Director, G. Daniel Metelsky. I didn’t know that Metelsky had moved into the 58th District. If he hasn’t moved there, then, that nips that idea in the bud. If he has moved there, I’d have to point out that. though he was a former state rep, he didn’t represent a district with THESE demographics. He represented a district that was roughly analogous to the current 56th District (which was where he was living when he ran for the Democrat Party State Central Committee seat in 2004), which stretches from Lorain to Oberlin. with a Democrat Index of about 70%. The Democrat index of the 58th District is probably about 44%. Metelsky’s name recognition would only help him in the northernmost finger of the district that shoots up from Amherst into the Lorain County side of Vermilion on Lake Erie’s shore. Half the voters live in Huron County, and they have no knowledge of Metelsky. When they learn that Metelsky was a Democrat that used to represent Lorain and Oberlin, they’ll by turned off. He won’t get the Ohio Right-to-Life or NRA endorsements that Barrett had, and needed, to eke out a narrow win over a lackluster opponent during the 2006 election year that proved disastrous for the GOP statewide. Terry Boose doesn’t have as high an undesirable rating as the 2006 GOP candidate did. Boose also has greater name recognition, as the 2006 GOP candidate was making his first run for public office. Metelsky’s position with the Ohio Lottery Commission won’t help him, either. Gambling is unpopular in the 58th District.

I suppose, if he’s a 58th District resident now, it wouldn’t hurt to appoint Metelsky to the seat so long as Metelsky is given an assurance that he can be appointed back to the Ohio Lottery after he loses in November. There’s no other Dem that will win the seat, and any other Dem would have to start looking for a new job just as soon as they fill Barrett’s seat, because they won’t win the election.

Another name bandied about was Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch. She wouldn’t want the job. She can get re-elected too easily where she’s at. If anything, get a former office holder to take the state rep seat, not a current one who has a lot more job security. Besides, Lorain County Democrat Party Chairman Tom Smith apparently isn’t interested in a woman taking the seat. The Morning Journal quotes him thus: ‘We want someone who is bright, sharp, intelligent, hungry for the job and has his family behind him.” Note the pronouns?

A third name bandied about was Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach, who won the auditor election during the Democrat high tide of 2006, so he can stay in office until at least 2010, and earn a higher salary as auditor than he could as state rep even if he DID win in November. But he wouldn’t win in November. But either way, there’s no way he could be better off by taking the state rep job. It doesn’t surprise me that the Morning Journal reports that Tkach isn’t interested.

If the Dems really want their best shot at winning, they should see if their 2002 nominee, Ken Bailey, is still a voter in the district. Bailey already garnered name recognition his first time out when he was running against a current (at the time) multi-term winning county officeholder, and he already knows the district well. Bailey also can get the necessary Ohio Right-to-Life and NRA endorsements. Last time he ran, Bailey was still in high school. Now he’d be prime-time. If he’s available, that’s who’d be the Dems best bet against Boose.

But I think the GOP has already won.

Betty Sutton mixing it up with the WoMbats

Word of Mouth contributor Bruce Batista had these unflattering things to say about Sutton’s efforts in Congress to address the worsening oil crisis.  The staff of Betty Sutton, who represents Ohio’s 13th Congressional District in our nation’s capitol, sent this response.  I think the response falls flat, and I expressed my reasons for saying so over on WoM.

Why is the Left paranoid about Fox News?

Obama should have granted an exclusive interview to Fox News much sooner.

I think the Democrats should have had a Nevada pre-primary debate on Fox News.

But no. Liberals everywhere screamed that having a Democrat debate on Fox News would only legitimize the channel that they deem to be a partisan tabloid.

If there were a Democrat and a Republican debating each other, and there was a perception that Fox was biased toward the Republicans, then I can understand the fuss. But when there are only Democrats?

How would a debate on Fox have been any worse than the one hosted by MSNBC where Hillary chided Tim Russert and Brian Williams for poor question selection and for making her answer the tough questions first while giving Barack an easy time of it?

How would a debate on Fox have been any worse than the one hosted by ABC, where the Obama campaign was aghast, again, at the question selection?

Were the criticisms about question selection even valid? After all, I can tell you what Clinton and Obama have said about health care, about the economy, about the war on terror, about Afghanistan, about Iraq, about our veterans, about No Child Left Behind, about housing foreclosures, about trade, about diplomacy, about the budget, and about taxes. Plus, they have legislative records that we can use to gauge their stance on a host of other issues. So, MSNBC and ABC both asked questions designed to establish the veracity of campaign messages, probing the sincerity of campaign advertisements, fleshing out the character of the candidates, seeing if the candidates had been telling the truth–in essence holding the candidates accountable for what they had been saying. What’s the harm in that? There’s a lot of good in that. Fox News could have accomplished those feats just as easily as the other networks, plus I think Fox would have pressed the two Democrats to more clearly define their immigration positions, which is something they’ve been too squishy on for fear of alienating either Latinos or alienating blue-collar whites when they are trying to lock up both constituencies.

Fox has viewers. Fox has ratings. Fox attracts advertisers. Fox is able to pay the bills and make a profit. That’s what legitimizes Fox. Sorry, liberals.

But the main reason why I say that Obama should have done an interview with Chris Wallace much sooner is that last night, on Bill O’Reilly, I saw that Obama had won a convert in the controversy over Rev. Wright. As I’ve already said, we shouldn’t attribute Wright’s views to Obama when Obama is saying something totally different than what Wright is saying. I, frankly, don’t care much for Mr. No-Spin-Zone, because I think he is overly subjective in his approach, and suffers from momentary lapses of logic. But when he rambled through his talking points at the top of the hour, I was amazingly in agreement with O’Reilly all the way through. What happened? Chris Wallace asked Barack Obama questions about Wright, and O’Reilly watched the interview. O’Reilly concluded that Obama was “a stand-up guy.” Those were his words . . . “a stand-up guy.” I noted that the interview caused many other observers, even at other networks, like CNN where Anderson Cooper hosted a panel of pundits, were believing that Obama really does disagree with the looped Wright rhetoric. There’s not much question of that anymore. Obama’s Fox interview achieved some good.

But Obama’s not out of the woods yet.

So far, the narrative that has emerged from the debates, interviews, and speeches is that Clinton is a feisty liar (Bosnia is but one illustration), while Barack is a transparent wimp. The transparency is a good thing. That’s what I like about Obama. But what Obama has to do now is to take the Democrat party by storm. He has to prove he’s a stronger, more powerful leader, and that as feisty a fighter as Clinton portrays herself to be, he has to show that he is the one who commands.

I realized last night that this Reverend Wright distraction will not go away until Obama, himself, pushes it away. Wright has begun making a flurry of appearances, heightening his notoriety, and sucking up all the oxygen in the room. Wright is clearly relishing the spotlight and is not going to relinquish it. Obama can’t afford to wait until this media frenzy over Wright dies down before getting the media to cover his candidacy on his terms again. Obama is already projected to lose Indiana.

I think what Obama needs to do is treat Wright as if he were Clinton or McCain in his speeches. Obama has said he won’t disown Wright, but he can still ridicule some of Wright’s rhetoric. After all, Obama says that he is a friend of Clinton, and that his supporters would embrace Clinton if she were the nominee, but that doesn’t stop him from ridiculing Clinton as an Annie Oakley wannabe. It didn’t stop Obama from ridiculing Clinton for hinting that the person in first place could accept the VP slot while the 2nd place person takes the C-in-C slot in order to unify the party. Obama says he respects McCain, but he’s given McCain a new first name–it’s not John anymore, it’s Bush. He can still maintain publicly that he feels friendship and respect for Wright while ridiculing Wright with wickedly funny barbs that mock the looped rhetoric. I think, if he does that, and people laugh are entertained by Obama’s repudiation of Wright’s rhetoric, Obama will have upstaged Wright, will have stolen the spotlight back from Wright, and can resume broadcasting a campaign message again. There are harsher, more dramatic steps Obama can take, too, and he should try them if this smoother approach doesn’t work, because he can’t allow Wright’s grandstanding to deny him the nomination. If he doesn’t act, not only will he lose primaries after Indiana’s, but he will fail to be acknowledged as a leader, and that could possibly lead to either a Clinton stealing the nomination, or McCain blowing him out in November.

Perhaps he could make an appearance on Hannity and Colmes and deliver his barbs while deflating Hannity at the same time. I’d like very much for Hannity to move off the Reverend Wright topic and move back to the substantive issues, perhaps expounding upon why raising taxes, even if on the “rich,” is the wrong approach to a mired economy. I think America needs to have a more sophisticated knowledge of the economy and taxes, but we won’t cross that bridge while we’re standing still jabbering about Rev. Wright.

If a Democrat is going to run as an inclusive unifier, someone who will be everyone’s president, then that Democrat needs to appear on Fox. If a Democrat is going to show that they are a strong leader that can weather the storms, then they need to appear on Fox, wear the storms are brewing. When a Democrat is going to exemplify audacity, then that Democrat needs to have the audacity to appear on Fox.

Teens need protection from adults

The adult world is engaged in an all-out assault on teens. Are we doing enough to protect our youth?

Think about the following:

Malevolent gangs, like the Crips and Bloods, recruit juveniles. I want Code Pink to protest the Crips and the Bloods in Berkeley, if they find the Marines to be so offensive to their sensibilities. Perhaps Code Pink doesn’t realize that they are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

Teen fashion is revealing more of the body. Is Iran on to something when they ban Barbie because of Barbie apparel? Iran went on to say that Barbie, if permitted on an ongoing basis, could subvert the entire culture of Iran. Perhaps it’s already subverted ours.

Teenage consumption of alcohol is usually aided and abetted by adults who provide the fake ID’s or who procure the alcohol directly. Alcohol is, overwhelmingly, the number one date rape drug.

It wasn’t so long ago that the PG-13 movie rating didn’t exist, and some movies that receive that rating today would have been rated R many years ago. Movie studios now are making strategic edits in R films to get a PG-13 rating, while pushing PG movies to take on a harder edge to bump them up to PG-13, as movies with this rating seem to have a bigger box office. It’s all about manipulation, whether in the creative process of making the film, or in the marketing process of selling the film, or in the audience reaction process of screening the film. Of course, the P stands for Parental and the G stands for Guidance and the 13 suggests that teens are old enough not to require Parental Guidance . . . hmmm . . . are we sure about that last part?

Adolescents are gaining more weight because of sedentary lifestyles. If the adults are home, they may be filling their time with pursuits that they enjoy rather than engaging with the children in healthy, active pursuits. Often the adults are working away from the home. Mom and Dad are relieved, though, if the kids are quietly occupied in playing a video game, instant messaging friends on the internet, or watching TV (and helping themselves to snacks from the fridge) to pass the time instead of being a thug or a crime target out on the streets while unattended. Hmmm . . . maybe there are more downsides to those sedentary activities than just gaining weight.

Pulp magazines, probably more often read by teen females than males, often have cover stories about navigating one’s way through the twists and turns of adult romantic relationships, and teen girls are magnetically drawn to the content of those articles. Boys may be more interested in sports magazines, but if they are interested in cars or motorcycles, a magazine like Easy Rider may very well have a scantily clad centerfold model posing on a Harley Davidson, whetting the teen’s appetite for raunchier fare.

Juvenile fiction, especially marketed toward females, often has some snippets of disturbingly adult occurrences. Back in 2005, I was teaching English in South Korea. A mother enrolled her two teen girls at our school that were more advanced English students. The mother asked if I would practice conversation with them that would also test their reading comprehension. She brought two English-language teen novels to the school. I read them. The students were to read them. We were to discuss the books. Before the students were to read them, I told the mother that one of the books, though marketed toward teens, did not seem age appropriate because of a sexual incident that occurred at the climax of the story line. It made me blush to read the book. I could discuss the book with an adult, but I would not discuss the book with a teen. I thought the mom would understand. She withdrew her teen girls from our school, and enrolled them in another that was an hour-and-a-half away so that they could have advanced study from teachers that weren’t as prudish as I was.

While I’m mentioning Korea, I might as well say that teens there are even less protected from adults than American teens are. The Koreans are deservedly outraged when one of their teens has been sexually assaulted by someone in the American military, and if you were to watch the news, you’d have the sense that the only offenses ever committed against Korean teens are perpetrated by the American military, except for the occasional Canadian ESL teacher that beds a Korean student (which doesn’t result in nearly as much indignation as what’s been aimed at the American military). I suppose that explains why there are some Koreans that loathe Americans, and some that distrust all Westerners. I’ll just say that the news is selectively silent about much more widespread offenses that Korean adults commit against Korean juveniles, including male juveniles. One of the big news stories out of America at the time I was in Korea was the trial of Michael Jackson concerning accusations Jackson masturbated in front of a boy and perhaps encouraged the boy to do the same, perhaps even to the point of touching the boy, while in a bedroom at the Neverland ranch. A male college student told me, after he comprehended what the fuss was all about, that in Korea, even if all the allegations were true, the Michael Jackson thing would be no big deal. Gulp!!!!

There are teachers, male and female, straight and gay, that have sexual encounters with students, male and female. Some priests have been accused of child molestation. Let’s not forget the Warren Jeffs FLDS cult, with the dominant males deflowering teen girls when they reach adolescence, and turning teen boys, potential rivals for female affection, out to pasture, ill-prepared to adjust to the rest of society.

Several years ago I had a girlfriend, who was nearly 30 at the time, who suffered from bulimia. I discovered, through conversing with her, that nearly all eating disorders are rooted in an emotionally traumatic occurrence at a very young age, often quite a few years earlier than the onset of the eating disorder. Frequently those emotional traumas were from a child starkly exposed to an adult situation, precipitated by an adult, such as something violent or something sexual, or something along those lines.

Over time, I’ve discovered that many of the most promiscuous adults I’ve ever met, men and women, straight and gay, had been molested as children. It’s estimated that a little over 40% of all rape victims are minors.

20 years ago, when I was living in Fremont, Nebraska, I met a woman and her husband who, in addition to their four kids, had just taken 5 of her sister’s kids into her home. It seemed like such a lovely family. They all looked so beautiful. Her own daughter, aged 13, was the oldest of the bunch. The second-oldest child was her sister’s 9-year-old girl. The youngest was an infant of her sister’s, less than a year old. The 13-year-old daughter, though, always had a facial expression that showed she was constantly stressed out. I found out later that the woman and her husband were also stressed out, but that they were better able to put on a brave face than the 13-year-old. Where was the woman’s sister and brother-in-law that they weren’t taking care of their own children? In jail. The story of what had happened to these beautiful children was horrifying. Those jailed parents (monsters!) had been having sex with their own children. Group sex. Group incest. Cavorting all day around the house in their birthday suits and engaging in sexual activity. The medical examiners showed that even the 5-year-old girl had been penetrated. The woman and her husband were hoping that their custody of the sister’s children would be very temporary. They wanted the children placed into other foster homes pronto, except for the infant, who hadn’t been abused, and who was a perfectly normal infant. They said that while there is usually a desire to keep siblings together, these siblings would need to be split up and each placed into a home where there weren’t other children to corrupt. They talked about how these siblings, if permitted to cavort together, would revert to engaging in sexual behavior. The nine-year-old was in the worst condition, because she had been abused for a far longer time than the others, by virtue of being the oldest of the sister’s children. They couldn’t all sleep in bedrooms at night. Instead, the children had to be separated into different rooms of the house, with the woman, the husband, and the 13-year-old sleeping in strategic locations where they could intercept the young children if they attempted to congregate. Even in sleep, the woman, the husband, and the 13-year-old had to wake frequently to maintain their vigil. The 13-year-old had been a model student in school, but this extraordinarily heavy responsibility was taking a toll on her. The woman and husband were very worried about the strain on the 13-year-old, but her help was necessary, and they were incessantly lobbying the state agency to place the sister’s children lickety-split. The woman had a 16-month old daughter of her own. One night, during these sleep-deprived vigils, they found the sister’s 2-year-old boy just as he attempted to mount the woman’s 16-month-old. Doesn’t that make you cry? If not, then you are more stoic than I am.

I’ve been alarmed, when roaming Yahoo! 360 from my personal blog, DJWPP, that there are a number of webpages where lesbian women are trolling for girls. Why is a Louisiana school teacher (NSFW), who is a big fan of cheerleaders, posting flirts to a high school senior? Why is a 34-yr-old Floridian flirting with a 13-yr-old? And another woman, with a masters degree, flirting with the same 13-yr-old? Then there’s a Bowling Green grad flirting with the very same 13-yr-old!

Let’s face it, there are many, many adults who are aroused by youth, and I’m not just talking about the teacher that beds a student, I’m not just talking about the priest who molests a child, I’m not just talking about the dominant males in the Warren Jeffs FLDS cult, I’m talking about something more pervasive than that. I’m talking about Annie Leibovitz photographing 15-year-old Miley Cyrus in a way designed to be alluring to adults to sell a Vanity Fair magazine that is sold to an adult demographic. The photographer talked Cyrus into it after her father had left the shoot. At such an impressionable age, when she looked at the photo, she didn’t think things all the way through until later, when other voices entered her thoughts, and she ended up feeling embarrassed. The photographer, on the other hand, thought things all the way through. Leibovitz pushed all the right buttons. She knew exactly what she was doing, and had calculated it out all in advance. And, apparently, Vanity Fair is all too certain that a child photographed in this way will cause their magazine to fly off the sales racks and into the shopping carts of adults.

The pliability of a teen’s will is what makes them so vulnerable. There are adults who recruit teens to go on crime sprees with them because they know how to bend the will of the teens. It’s the same reason why we set an age below which rape is statutory, because though it may seem the teen is willing, the teen is probably being played.

Unfortunately I feel that the adults who try to protect teens aren’t succeeding very well in preventing teens from being exploited by less-well-intentioned adults.

I hate to sound alarmist, but let’s step up our efforts a bit.