The passing of George Voinovich

A common theme appearing in coming-of-age tales is one of a youth who becomes disenchanted with a hero.  The youth discovers the hero has flaws.  The youth becomes a bit cynical.   The youth feels disillusioned.  The youth doesn’t look at the hero the same way again.  It’s just a part of growing up.

But then one is not all the way grown up at that point.  One has to grow up a little bit more and not only be forgiving of flaws, but giving permission to others to be flawed.  Why?  Because no one is perfect and because no one ought to coerce another to give up their flaws.  We have to respect agency–people making choices about their own lives . . . and if someone doesn’t make any wrong choices, then that somebody isn’t making choices, period.  Furthermore, one only has to look in the mirror to find a person who needs forgiveness for being flawed, for making wrong choices.

So as I reflect on the passing of George Voinovich and what George Voinovich meant to me, I have to own up to making a hero out of him.  By September 2009, I was disenchanted.  Now, I find my criticisms a bit harsh and now I find myself wondering why I didn’t try to muster some forgiveness sooner.  I need to look in my mirror and take a good long look at a flawed person again to cement in my mind the need for forgiveness.

I first remember Voinovich from my boyhood, when he was mayor of Cleveland.  He performed two miracles.  One was getting elected as mayor of Cleveland as a Republican.  That he had been a Cuyahoga County commissioner some time prior to that was amazing enough, but Cleveland mayor?  Republicans just don’t get elected as Cleveland mayors.  It just doesn’t happen.  At least, not anymore.  There have been mayoral elections in Cleveland where Democrat primaries settled the mayoral races.  The other was that he led a Cleveland economic renaissance immediately after his predecessor, Dennis Kucinich, had led the city to financial default.  If only Detroit could have been so lucky as to have a person like Voinovich take over as mayor after Kwame Kilpatrick was ousted.

He went on to be Ohio’s governor, and then U.S. Senator.  He was the rare Republican who could sweep the vote across 88 counties.

One of the issues that I really felt close to Voinovich on was his opposition to casino gambling.  His steadfast stance on the issue was perhaps the main reason I lionized him.  The casino lobbyists had infested Ohio by the swarms, targeting weak and corrupt legislators of both parties.  The lobbyists kept saying that casino legalization would be an easy revenue raiser.  Voinovich had brought Cleveland back from financial default without resorting to gimmicks like gambling.  The lobbyists were doling out campaign contributions left and right, but Voinovich wasn’t having any of it.  It’s refreshing to see politicians who will not be bought by the agents of sleaze.

I really feel like Voinovich’s star shone brightest when he held executive office.  Not so much legislative office.  He was better at on-the-spot and uncompromising executive decisions than the highly deliberative and compromising legislative decisions.

My first taste of government service came as a volunteer intern in the office of Governor George Voinovich.  Though my tasks were menial clerical ones, I felt like I had an excellent aerial view of Ohio’s political landscape from atop the Vern Riffe State Office Tower.  I assisted with the filing of the “Governor’s Clips.”  Each day, staffers combed through the print media to assemble a digest of the day’s political stories.  This digest kept the governor informed about the issues without occupying too much of his time.  This was back in the day before internet killed print media, and back when filing cabinets held paper files rather than computers holding data files.  After the governor read each day’s clips, that wasn’t the end of them.  They had to be filed for possible future retrieval.  They had to be filed according to date, according to source, according to location, according to the names of people in the news clips, according to issues, etc.  I do that on this blog with tags.  With paper files, tags don’t quite cut it.  The date, location, and source filing was easy.  That was done by others before I even arrived at the office.  My task was to skim through the stories, themselves, to pull out the keywords, then make as many photocopies of the clipping as I needed in order to file away each story according to each keyword.

Working with the “Governor’s Clips” gave me a brief glimpse into my political future when I encountered an article outlining a state legislator’s gambling expansion proposals: Some guy named Joe Koziura wanted a casino built on Lorain’s lakefront.  I was incensed.  Years later, in 2002 and 2004, I would run against that same Joe Koziura for the office of state representative, but lose both times.

Until 2009, I had voted for Voinovich every time his name appeared on my ballot.  I had handed out his campaign literature door-to-door.  I had attended some of his fundraisers (which meant that some of his campaign money came from me).  I had also worked phone banks getting out the vote on his behalf.  But the chinks in my hero’s armor had begun to show.  Congress bailed out Wall Street in 2008, something it should not have done.  I didn’t understand Voinovich’s voting patterns.  When I finally paid a visit to the offices of the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC, I figured it out.  Those office buildings, especially the Hart Senate Building, resembled palaces.  Democracy gives way to aristocracy in the rarefied air of these Senate offices.  It was the Beltway Bubble.  Our Senators are too far removed from the real world, and even a man as principled as George Voinovich succumbed to the disengagement with the real world.

In the upcoming Senate race, I have no love for Ted Strickland, who reneged on his pledge against the expansion of gambling on his watch as Ohio governor.  Voinovich and Strickland had touched base on the topic of casinos, and Strickland had told Voinovich that he would hold the line against them.  He lied.  He lied to George Voinovich.  He lied to Ohio.  Strickland doesn’t deserve Ohio’s vote.  I here and now endorse Rob Portman for reelection.  However, I would note that Portman has been around DC for far too long.  Between a stint in the US House, and a stint in the US Senate, Portman served in the George W. Bush administration.  I would urge Portman to (get reelected and) use this upcoming Senate term to groom someone else to succeed him.  Make that two someone elses, for we need someone to oust and succeed Sherrod Brown, too.  And I would say that we need more diverse representation than what we’ve had.  Portman has had “listening” tours around Ohio so that he feels like he hears from folks outside the bubble, but I would say to Portman that, at some point, before he serves any additional terms in DC beyond the next one, that he needs to BE one of the folks from outside the bubble if he’s to remain useful as a representative of Ohioans.  This is what I learned about the bubble on my trip to DC.  Even a hero like Voinovich could not make sound decisions after spending too much time in the DC bubble.

Farewell, George Voinovich.  We didn’t end up with quite the Ohio that we wanted.  Four casinos are legal in Ohio now.  The lobbyists wouldn’t be denied.  But as long as you were in the real world with us, outside of that bubble, no lobbyist could cross your conscience.  We need a government with a conscience.  Badly. And so I should have forgiven you a long time ago. I do forgive you.

 

 

Trump University fraud . . . is this news? Trump’s a casino owner, which means he’s been in the fraud business a long time . . .

If you’ve been reading Buckeye RINO since its inception, then you probably know how I feel about the gambling industry.  I’m totally against it.  I’m even against state lotteries.  I don’t even play bingo or buy raffle tickets . . . even for charity.  If I feel like contributing money to a charity, I’ll do it as a straight up donation rather than as an entry into a game of chance.  I’ve written many times about how the gambling industry is a fraud industry.  All the marketing for gambling tells you that you have chances to win.  The truth is, the house always wins.  This means, in the aggregate, gamblers lose.  Right now the media is fixated on the fraud that was Trump University.  It would be helpful if the media would also fixate on the even bigger fraud that the gambling industry perpetrates.  Hey media! . . . want to go after Trump University?  Fine.  How about going after Trump casinos, too?  How about going after all the casinos no matter who they’re owned by?  After all, the more money consumers spend on gambling, the less money they have for anything worthwhile.  Gambling redistributes wealth in the wrong direction.  Gambling feeds economic contraction.  Gambling compromises law enforcement, especially casinos, for casinos are used for money laundering.  The sad tales of those few consumers who complained about the value of their education at Trump University pale in comparison to the sad tales of those who have lost so much more at casinos.  Leave it to the media to strain at gnats and swallow camels.

Why should we be surprised that Trump cannot admit that Trump University is a fraud?  Why should we be astonished that Trump lashed out at a judge, any judge, for releasing information about suits being pursued against Trump University?  Casino owners would never admit that they perpetrate fraud and that an important part of their business is laundering money.  Deflect, deflect, deflect.  Trump has called into question the bias of the judge because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.  Guess what?  If the judge had been a white Presbyterian New York Republican male, like Trump, the strategy would still have been to deflect, deflect, deflect.  The demographic background of the judge wouldn’t have saved any judge from Trump’s attacks so long as the judge did something that met with Trump’s disapproval.  Remember that casino owners are special people with special rights.  Casino owners are entitled to more than the average citizen.  When it comes to public servants such as judges and legislators, casino owners view them with contempt because either they are contemptible because they can be bought or they are contemptible because they can’t be bought.  Gambling buys politicians.  Remember why Trump has donated to Hillary Clinton in the past?  Because Trump buys all the politicians that he can.  He finds that contemptible.  Trump self-funded his primary campaign to show that he could not be bought like Hillary.  But then there are other public servants, like the judge in this Trump University case, who can’t be bought or persuaded, who, since they stand in Trump’s way, they are also to be treated with contempt.

What is novel about this election cycle is that casino owners in the past were donors to political campaigns.  They weren’t politicians, themselves.  Donald Trump is now a politician.  He’s on the ballot.  A casino owner’s business is a sleazy one, which makes running for office quite a dicey proposition, as it’s hard to dismiss the sleaze factor when the political opposition puts a target on one’s back.  I think the fact that Hillary Clinton was anointed as the inevitable Democrat nominee emboldened Trump to run.  I think if the undisputed Democrat frontrunner were trustworthy, ethical, and incorruptible, Trump would have stayed away from the presidential race.

My disparagement of Trump should not be mistaken for support for Clinton.  I believe Ambassador Stevens is dead because someone in the administration wanted him dead.  The terrorists who took him out in Benghazi acted on information.  Clinton didn’t safeguard information.  I find it telling that at a Cheryl Mills deposition (Mills being a chief operative of Hillary Clinton’s), not only did Mills have three attorneys there to help her navigate the interrogation, there were also two attorneys for the State department and two attorneys for the Justice department, meaning that a lot hinged upon what was permitted to be asked and how minimal the responses needed to be.  In other words, if Cheryl Mills had been inclined to freely answer truthfully about every last detail, the integrity of the State department and the integrity of the Justice department would have been impugned just as much as the integrity of Hillary Clinton.  Mills had to walk a tightrope.  She wanted to keep all of the information to herself, but she had to make at least a minimal effort to appear that she was cooperating.  We’ve only been given transcripts of the deposition, for the judge agreed that video would have been too politically damaging to the Clinton campaign.  The State department is putting on a charade that they are cooperating.  They allowed the inspector general report to come out (but if State were really on top of things, they would have had an inspector general in office throughout Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, but, instead, there was never an inspector general at State for the whole of Clinton’s tenure there).  The Justice department is putting on a charade by conducting an investigation (but if the FBI, a branch of Justice, is doing the questioning, why were two lawyers from Justice present to make certain that the FBI’s inquiries were limited and make certain that Mill’s responses were also limited?).  Just now, the media is starting to learn that archived footage and transcripts of official press conferences at the White House and at State have been doctored so that future historians would only able to cobble together a revised history.  I think Ambassador Stevens was the type of person who personally understood shady things were going on and also personally disliked that he had to put up with them.  I think someone in the Obama administration figured that they’d rather have a dead Ambassador Stevens than a whistleblower Ambassador Stevens.  I think Edward Snowden is convinced that the Obama administration would have preferred a dead Edward Snowden than a whistleblower Edward Snowden, because Snowden didn’t blow the whistle until he was safely away.  I think if Hillary Clinton is elected to office, the corruption of the federal government will only worsen.  We’ve seen the IRS politicized, the FBI politicized, the State department politicized; and the list will go on.

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton; I guarantee that.  I’m hoping that Bernie Sanders will succeed in his quest to wrest the Democrat nomination away from Hillary.  I also don’t plan to vote for Trump, though I see a silver lining if he were to be elected (a shake-up of the establishment).  Especially if there’s no Bernie in the equation (but maybe even if there is), I will probably vote for a minor party candidate, which is not unprecedented for me.  I vote my conscience.

Press release: Resolution introduced in Ohio House to prohibit using the state constitution to carve out protected monopolies

Editor’s note:  This press release, dated June 16, 2015, announces the introduction of a resolution that should have been part and parcel of Ohio’s constitution from its inception.  One of the weaknesses of the state constitution is that it has been too easy to amend in ways that make little sense.  Though I favor this resolution, hasn’t the damage already been done?  Of course, the damage I am referring to is the legalization of casinos in Ohio.  Had Ohio’s constitution not been allowed to be amended to establish a business monopoly and prevent said monopoly from any future competition, we would not have the current abominable amendment on the books that allowed the establishment of 4 Ohio casinos (Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati) all backed by a particular group of casino investors.  To me, Ohio should have had zero casinos (and no state lottery, either).  But if Ohioans demand casinos, then the casinos should not be monopolies and they should not be protected from future competition.  If Ohio must have casinos, then let them be no different than other retail businesses.  If someone wants to be a restaurant owner, no problem.  If someone wants to be a gas station owner, no problem.  If someone wants to be a casino owner in a state where casinos are legal, there should also be no problem.  Unfortunately, this resolution cannot undo what has been done, but at least it can prevent future improprieties of this sort. I hope this is indeed on the November ballot and that Ohioans turn out to support it.–DJW

State Reps. Ryan Smith and Mike Curtin Introduce Resolution Prohibiting Constitutional Monopolies

COLUMBUS—Today, State Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Mike Curtin (D-Marble Cliff) introduced a resolution that prohibits an initiated constitutional amendment that would grant a monopoly in the state of Ohio from being proposed as law or as a constitutional amendment through the petition process.

House Joint Resolution 4 calls for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot for the November 3rd general election of this year that would ensure that monopolies cannot be created through the use of constitutional amendments. This would block any upcoming initiatives that create a monopoly from becoming effective in the Ohio Constitution.

“I believe that, as elected members of this government, we are all called upon to protect our Constitution from being exploited for personal profit,” Rep. Smith said. “In addition, as the current standard-bearers of this state’s democratic process, for us to allow any person or group of people to enshrine in this Constitution a provision that would only serve the financial interests of a highly selective group of wealthy individuals would be a tremendous moral failure and an injustice to every citizen of this great state.”

“This would protect Ohio’s century-old constitutional initiative process from those who would pervert it, who would stand it on its head, who would use it to protect the privileged few rather than to protect the many against the privileged few,” said Curtin. “All we ask is that Ohioans be given the opportunity to vote this November to protect their state constitution—to protect it from those who would carve into it a self-serving, and permanent, monopoly.” 

H.J.R. 4 will receive sponsor testimony today in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 1:30 p.m.

Hypocrisy of Ted Strickland at the DNC

At the DNC on 9/4/2012, Ted Strickland said President Obama is “a president who stands up for average working people.”  What would Ted Strickland know about that? Strickland never stood up for average working people as governor of Ohio.  His policies increased the number of unemployed people of Ohio.

If Strickland was concerned about the survivability of the auto industry, why were Ohio Democrat politicians around the state, from people like Joe Koziura to people like Jimmy Dimora, empowered to shake down companies via fines or kickbacks in ways that cannibalized free enterprise in Ohio for decades without being held accountable?  Strickland could have improved the business climate for the auto industry in Ohio, but he did not.

Strickland has a problem with Americans who offshore money?  Really?  Strickland single-handedly handed over Ohio to the gambling industry, the ultimate predatory industry that targets the working class and sends its fraudulent ill-gotten gains offshore.  On top of that, organized crime, that also preys upon the working class, now has a permit to launder their money inside Ohio’s state lines now that casinos are opening for business.

The Republicans lie about waiving welfare’s work requirement?  The President’s executive order on the matter is not written in plain English, so parsing the words themselves is not exactly illuminating. Therefore, we need to look at the function of the executive order.  If the executive order did not change the work requirement, then why does it exist?  If there’s no change, why not rescind it?  It still stands, so evidently it represents a change of the requirement.  It functions as a waiver.  Therefore, it is a waiver.  This is a problem because the statute specifically forbids the exercise of presidential power to alter that requirement.  The Democrats lie.

But as far as calling out someone for lying, let me take the opportunity, once more, to call Strickland out as a liar of the Nth degree.  Prior to his gubernatorial election, he postured against the gambling industry.  During his term as governor, he ushered those wolves into the fold so they could glut themselves upon the sheep.  Turncoat.  What a whopper of a lie.

Strickland, who worsened the labor market in Ohio, eventually fed Ohio to the wolves.  He could easily conjure up a fiction of Santa Clause laying off reindeer and outsourcing elves because, in reality, he, himself, has actually done something many times worse.

Forget Vegas! This is all about VCU! VCU’s got to do what VCU’s got to do!

In men’s hoops, the NCAA Final Four is not comprised of teams that most sports fans were expecting: A 3rd-seeded Connecticut, a 4th-seeded Kentucky, an 8th-seeded Butler, and an 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth (which I will abbreviate as VCU).  Picking this Final Four field was as easy as posting the names of the 68 tournament teams on a dartboard, putting a blindfold on, throwing four darts, taking the blindfold off, and reading the names of the universities where the darts landed.  You didn’t need to know much about men’s college basketball to figure this out.  In fact, the more you knew about men’s hoops, the more likely you were to predict the wrong Final Four.

Two Associated Press stories about the NCAA tourney caught my eye that I’d like to share with readers.

A story written by AP’s Paul J. Weber recaps VCU’s stunning upset victory against a 1st-seeded Kansas squad.  Kansas was so heavily favored to win, not just this game, but the entire tournament, that even President Obama predicted that Kansas would win it all.

VCU’s coach, Shaka Smart, has an Ohio connection.  A history major, he graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College, where he also played men’s basketball at the Division III level of the NCAA.

As if the pre-game taunts from Kansas players weren’t enough, as if the arena chock-full of Kansas fans weren’t enough, as if the naysaying sports reporters and pundits weren’t enough to get under the skin of Shaka Smart, VCU’s coach plainly saw that the game’s referees weren’t going to call the game the way Smart saw it.  Adversity reared its head anywhere the coach cared to look.  There was no friend to be found anywhere outside the VCU camp.  Every last one of those converging on the VCU contingent were foes.

And then Coach Smart was whistled for a technical foul.  That’s it.  That’s the last straw.  Enough.  To seek redress for these grievances, there was only one option left open to VCU: WIN!

Here’s an excerpt from the story, and I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting the most salient quote from the coach in bold print:

Smart, the 33-year-old whose enigmatic personality has made him a breakout star, was so animated shuffling in front of his bench that officials shooed him back. Another official later served Smart his first technical all season.

Smart said he used that moment as a motivator – though he had to clean up his language first.

“It was basically forget the refs, forget Kansas, this is all about us,” Smart said. “We got to do what we got to do.”

Among the field of Kentucky, Connecticut, Butler, and VCU, I was feeling mixed emotions about whether I’d like to see Kentucky win it all or Butler win it all.

Butler, located in Indianapolis, is another giant-killer small school, just like VCU, but I tend to favor teams from the Midwest.  Butler competes in the Horizon League, against schools such as Cleveland State, Wright State, and Youngstown State.

Kentucky is the team that ousted Ohio State by just a smidgeon in a game that went down to the wire.  If Ohio State can’t win it all, then a consolation would be that OSU lost to the eventual champion.  Kentucky is legendary in the annals of men’s basketball lore, so it’s no great shame for Ohio State to lose to such a highly-vaunted hoops program.

Kentucky?  Butler?  Kentucky?  Butler?  Kentucky?  Butler?  Kentucky?  Butler?

Which brings me to the other AP story, penned by Oskar Garcia, about who the Las Vegas oddsmakers favor for the men’s NCAA championship.

You’re not a regular long-time reader of Buckeye RINO if you are unaware of the fact that I have always vehemently opposed gambling.  Let’s see . . . there are at least . . . let me count (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, . . .) at least 22 blog posts chiefly about my anti-gambling views.  There are additional blog posts in which some other issue is more prominent, yet my opposition to gambling still gets expressed.  So, to the casual, infrequent Buckeye RINO readers or those who are just recently coming into regular contact with my blog, let me just say, “Hi!  My name is Daniel Jack Williamson, and I’m opposed to gambling.”

As I contemplated whether I wanted Butler or Kentucky to win it all, I had an epiphany.  I ought to be rooting for VCU, and the Oskar Garcia article explains why.  Here’s the opening paragraph:

Las Vegas casinos have tabbed Kentucky the latest favorite in an NCAA tournament full of upsets, and are hoping that Virginia Commonwealth ends its improbable run without a title.

Now here’s the clincher.  It’s a quote from Mike Colbert, an insider in the sports betting industry in Las Vegas.

“VCU is the one team that we don’t want to win,” he said. “Every other team is good for the house.”

Right now, VCU is the underdog among the four with 7 to 1 odds.  Back when VCU reached the round of 16, however, the odds of them winning it all were 80 to 1 , so, to say the odds have improved dramatically since VCU has advanced through two more tourney rounds is perhaps an understatement.  Apparently, some big wagers were placed on VCU last week at the 80 to 1 odds.  If a VCU championship materializes, it’s going to sting the sports gambling apparatus.

My antennas are up.  My radar is beeping.  The trajectory of whatever is out there faintly portends that Vegas might take a direct hit.  Bwahahahahahaha! I’m rubbing my hands together with cocked eyebrows and a mischievous grin on my face as my imagination plays out the complete annihilation of the gambling industry of Vegas in my mind’s eye.  I cackle some more and dance a little jig.

I do realize that, in the grand scheme of things, a VCU championship would be just a tiny setback for an industry that wins day in and day out.  Sporting events are strewn throughout the calendar, so the pipeline of $$$$ flowing to the industry won’t really be interrupted, as the house will win 99.99999999% of the time no matter which contestants win or which ones lose.  The industry almost always has all bases covered, but apparently VCU is one of those very rare exceptions.

Just the same, I derive some perverse delight from any event that causes the gambling industry to flinch because of pain, however fleeting the hurt may be, so VCU is my team leading up to this year’s Final Four match-ups.

I hope that Coach Smart takes offense against Las Vegas for not just disrespecting VCU, but for openly spouting its venomous contempt of VCU.  This is disrespect beyond opposing players, opponents’ fans, the media, or even the refs, for they might not want you to win, but they wouldn’t want actual harm to come to you.  Vegas would probably break the legs of every VCU player if they figured they could get away with it.  I hope that becomes bulletin board material in the VCU locker room.

Nobody’s looking out for the best interests of VCU in Vegas.

If it enraged Coach Smart that he could find no one outside the VCU camp who possessed even an ounce of goodwill toward his team at the Kansas game, then it has now been confirmed that the coach is not the least bit paranoid as VCU heads into the last two games. Vegas is truly out to get him and the team.  Winning it all is the only way to turn the tables on Vegas.

Forget those hateful conspirators!  This is not about what the haters want.  It’s all about VCU and what its players actually do on the basketball court at the appointed hour.  When play commences, the haters will have no power to determine the outcome.  Only the team that steps out onto that floor has that power.

Forget Las Vegas!  This is all about you, VCU!  Do what you gotta do!

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Nevada’s tempest in a teapot–Obama’s right about a few things

I picked up this story of huffing and puffing Nevada politicians at ABC’s website.

It seems that all the politicians in Nevada are expressing umbrage at the President for saying the following:

“Responsible families don’t do their budgets the way the federal government does.  When times are tough, you — you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. It’s time your government did the same.”

Of course, the federal government should’ve tightened its belt, too, and that fact seems lost on Obama, but the rest of what he said is perfectly sensible.  I said in September of 2008 that families should prepare as best they can for the worsening economy.  The events of September 2008 are different than the events of today, but the prospects for continued and perhaps even worsening economic malaise are still staring us in the face.

But Nevada politicians, whether Democrat or Republican, are evidently irrational.  They’ve built their state’s economic foundation upon the sand (see the economics explained here and here) instead of upon a rock, and when the economic storm blew in, their economic house was pulverized.  Do they face the music of generations of bad decision-making?  Apparently not.  They are still in denial about what a prudent course of action should be.  All they’ve done so far is shoot the messenger, in this case, President Obama, when the truth of the message is plainly evident.

I might add that there was never a time when it was OK to blow a load of cash in Las Vegas casinos at the expense of a college fund, not even in the good times.

President Obama sent a letter of clarification to Senator Reid.  In the letter, the President still makes perfect sense:

“I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not college tuition money, to have fun.”

For the record, I like vacations.  I like to travel.  I learn many things about our world from my travel experiences.  But I wouldn’t be able to afford much traveling or vacationing if I feed those one-armed bandits called slot machines.  I certainly don’t see any educational value in making a casino my tourist destination.

Remember when Senator Reid was accused of making racist remarks?  How many politicians came to the Senator’s defense?  He made an apology to the President, and the President vouched for the Senator’s character, that the Senator was not a racist.

But, in this instance, no apology is necessary, yet Senator Reid, with lightning quickness, has thrown the President under the bus, even after the President reached out to him with a letter of clarification.  I think the President would do well to file this episode of disloyalty in repayment of his own loyalty in a place where it can be easily retrieved in the case of a future dispute.  Bad karma for Senator Reid.  Bad karma.

One of Reid’s potential opponents for his Senate re-election, Republican Danny Tarkanian, isn’t demonstrating any more intelligence on the issue than Reid is.  I won’t bother to quote any of the Nevada politicians, since their rants aren’t sensible enough to be worthy of repetition on my blog.

So, why all the nonsensical bluster?  As I posted in the run-up to Ohio’s elections on the casino issue, GAMBLING BUYS POLITICIANS.

2009 election results: 1 step forward & 2 steps backward

Some of the election races turned out the way I’d hoped, but I’m sure regular readers know that, over all, I’m displeased with Ohio’s election results, especially pertaining to Issue 3.

All counties routinely covered by Buckeye RINO, namely Erie, Huron, Seneca, Lorain, and Cuyahoga, favored the casino cartel.  Absentee votes were overwhelmingly in favor of the casinos. In a few years, Ohioans will see how the casino vote is every bit as damaging as the lottery vote a few decades ago, but it will be too late to do anything about it, just as it’s too late to do anything about the lottery.  These things can’t be undone.  Sorry, Ohio, but you’ve stepped in it.

Ohio also voted to pay out more interest by taking on more debt with passage of Issue 1.

In Erie County voting, there were some election night successes that indicate an improvement for both the Sandusky school board and the Sandusky city commission.  Voters did pick Koonce for Sandusky school board and dump Patterson.  Smart move.  Also, two Sandusky city commission incumbents who are among the good old boys, Stahl and Warner, came in dead last, while challengers Nuesse and Hamilton picked up two of the three commission seats available.  However, by favoring Issue 3, Erie County residents rewarded some bad behavior and have undercut Cedar Point and the indoor water parks as tourist destinations.

In Cuyahoga County, voters did pass Issue 6 and reject Issue 5 in an attempt to come to grips with corruption in county government.  However, in passing Issue 3, voters have greatly facilitated the operations of organized crime, so, at the same time they are trying to heal the damage, they’ve shot themselves in the foot.

In Lorain County, it seems that Gary Bennett has won election to Elyria Municipal Court, that Phil Van Treuren did secure a seat on Amherst city council, and it seems that the Lorain school board candidates endorsed at Buckeye RINO have emerged as winners. Issue 4, a county sales tax increase, was also defeated.

However, Lorain may have to change its name to Giardini-on-the-Lake as Democrat good old boy party boss Anthony Giardini saw all of his preferred candidates sweep the elections for Lorain city council.  It’s really hard for me to feel sorry for Giardini-on-the-Lake when voters continue to support a Democrat machine that has abused them terribly.  In the race for Law Director, Giardini-on-the-Lake voters rewarded non-compliance.

Elyria voters chose exactly the same city council candidates that were endorsed by the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.  Maybe the CT wants to do more than just report events–maybe they want to shape events.  Maybe the CT, with its endorsements, just wanted to bet on the winning horses and come out smelling like a rose.  I don’t know, but I bet the city won’t move forward as successfully as if the election results had matched Buckeye RINO’s endorsements.  Most disappointing were the Democrat sweeps in the at-Large seats.  Here’s the fly in the ointment with electing the CT slate:  The city tax issue, Issue 10, went down to defeat.  The CT endorsed Issue 10.  The city council that the CT has chosen doesn’t know how to govern without passage of Issue 10.  The Buckeye RINO-endorsed city council would have been able to move forward without passage of Issue 10.  If Elyria voters had thought this through more thoroughly, they would have realized that their opposition to Issue 10 meant that they needed to elect the Buckeye RINO slate, not the CT slate.  Just watch–Elyria will try to raise taxes again, because of who was elected to city council.  Leopards don’t change their spots.  Just look at the county commissioners with their sales tax hikes.  Voters in Lorain County chose commissioner candidates that can’t govern without hiking taxes.  Two years ago, a sales tax hike approved by county commissioners was soundly defeated.  Did voters oust the offending county commissioners?  No.  They returned them to office.  What happened?  They hiked sales taxes again.  Voters rejected that tax hike by rejecting Issue 4.  Want to stop going down the path of tax hikes?  Vote for different commissioners!  Next year, Betty Blair’s commissioner seat will be up for election.  Should you return Blair to office?  Not if you’ve voted against the tax hikes twice.  Think about it.