[UPDATE]Civil trial before federal judge to be “YouTubed”–on trial: California’s Prop 8

Ah, the wonders of the world wide web . . . in this case, YouTube.

In the November 2008 elections, not only were Presidential candidates on the ballot in California, so was Proposition 8.  Proposition 8 sought to affirm that lawful marriage in California would be reserved for matrimonially joining one woman with one man.  Voters approved the measure.  Those opposed to the measure are apparently still miffed at “democracy” spelled with a little “d,” and have made numerous attempts to do an end run around voters and the fundamentals of American governance.

Among the latest attempts to circumvent democracy, those opposed to California’s Proposition 8 are in the process of litigating the measure as a civil matter in a federal court where one judge (no jury) will decide the case.   In an unprecedented move, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled that courtroom proceedings will be recorded on video for display on YouTube.  (All the handier for harvesting sound bites out of context, don’t you think?  After all, who’d stare glassy-eyed at a computer monitor for hours upon hours watching courtroom YouTube clips to wrap their heads around the full scope and context of everything presented at trial?)

Michelle Malkin points out, in her blog post on the upcoming trial, that the move to YouTube the trial may be an attempt to intimidate witnesses that might be called to testify.

My advice to Prop 8 supporters who will be testifying:  Don’t let the opposing side sucker you into their straw man arguments wherein religion is the bogeyman.  Don’t let them turn this trial into a referendum on religion.  The opposing side has attempted to use that trick to sidetrack debating the real issue time after time.  As I’ve argued in a prior blog entry here at Buckeye RINO, one can be an atheist who subscribes to Darwinian evolution and still see the wisdom of withholding state recognition of same-sex “marriages.”

Of course, I’m not surprised that the opposing side is pushing for video coverage.  I’ve noted the opposing side’s double-speak before, when they’ve said that they want the government to stay out of bedrooms yet their actions demonstrate that they really want to parade their bedroom activity in full public view.

I suppose we could be thankful that the liberal left will only be presenting us with a courtroom video and not a bedroom video.

UPDATE 1/11/10: At least for the near future, the Supreme Court has blocked cameras from the courtroom for this trial.

Consider running for office in 2010

Up in arms over the direction your county is headed in?  Up in arms over the direction the state is headed in?  Up in arms over the direction our nation is headed in?  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that’s the case.

Wonder what you can do about it besides contacting your elected officials, attending civic meetings, signing petitions, voting, and rallying for causes?

You could run for office in 2010!  Despite all our gripes about elected officials, how many times do we see unopposed candidates on our ballots?  Far too often!  Voters need choices on ballots!

For many races, the eligibility rules for candidates aren’t all that complicated, especially legislative races, where citizenship, residency, and voter registration are often the only criteria for eligibility.  Don’t automatically suppose you wouldn’t be qualified to run.  There’s an excellent chance you’re eligible for a great many positions.  The Ohio Secretary of State webpage can be a starting point for checking on candidacy requirements and deadlines.  Some of the pointers I shared about launching a candidacy for municipal offices apply to running for county, state, and federal offices, too.

Don’t know much about running a campaign?  Phil Van Treuren, who ran a successful campaign this year, has a blog titled “Killer Campaigning,” which is very thought-provoking.  I bet you’ll find highly useful information there.  Start with this important advice about consulting family about a potential candidacy, then feel free to absorb the remainder of the blog’s articles thereafter.  Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather.  That’s a great opportunity to discuss launching a campaign with family members.  December’s holidays are also great opportunities to further communicate with family about launching an election bid.

On the ballot for next year:

  • Judicial branch: county court, state appellate court, and state Supreme Court judge positions
  • Legislative branch: county commissioner, some state school board seats, all state rep seats, odd-numbered state senate district seats, all seats for U.S. House of Representatives, and a U.S. Senate seat
  • Executive branch: county auditor, Ohio governor and lieutenant governor, Ohio Secretary of State, Ohio Treasurer, Ohio Auditor, and Ohio Attorney General

I’m hoping voters are swamped with choices next year.  Please consider putting your name on the ballot.

Happy Thanksgiving!

As climate change negotiations approach in Copenhagen . . .

The following gruesome photos (below the fold) have gone viral on the internet, and have even made their way into my email inbox.  I tried to check the website cited on the pics, but I don’t read Arabic, so I reached a dead end. I also googled the photos and found them posted at numerous websites that advocate against eating meat.

Are the photos real?  Are they doctored in any way?  Are they photoshopped?  Is it a complete hoax?

They are purported to be photos of a ritual slaughter of Risso dolphins and pilot whales at a harbor in the sparsely populated archipelago of the Faeroe Islands, ruled by Denmark, the nation that will soon be hosting a global summit on saving the planet through creation of a new climate change regime. Purportedly, these marine mammals are used for food, but, allegedly, much more “food” is harvested than is actually consumed. Read the rest of this entry »

Criminals sponsor gambling? No way! . . . umm, YES way, hello . . . wake up, people . . .

Dan Gilbert, the Michigan resident who, if Issue 3 passes, would be allowed to own and operate Ohio casinos while Ohioans would be forbidden from doing the same, is trying to whitewash his past.  Gilbert saw to it that an illegal bookie operation during his college days was expunged from his record.  In a Plain Dealer story, he said what he did back then was “dumb,” but since then, he’s had that criminal record fixed.  No harm done, right?

Jeff Jacobs, a would-be rival who covets an opportunity to own a casino of his own, was quoted by the PD saying:

“It’s one thing if your youthful indiscretion is a barroom brawl.  It is another if you caused a college student to be so fearful that he goes to the police, who end up wearing an undercover wire just to shut your illegal bookmaking down.”

Sobering observation about Dan Gilbert’s past, don’t you think?

Left-of-center blog Plunderbund has heavily discounted the notion that any noticeable increase in crime will materialize if Issue 3 passes.  If you click over to Eric’s blog entry on the matter, be sure to scroll down to the comments section, where I’ve pointed out that it’s a matter of historical record that the gambling industry and crime have a symbiotic relationship with each other.  The opportunity to launder money via casinos greatly facilitates organized crime.  Who first conceived of the notion of operating casinos in Las Vegas?  A criminal.

Quite frankly, Issue 3 backers are already demonstrating that they can run circles around law enforcement efforts.  So far, a solitary individual in Cincinnati, as a former employee of a company formerly contracted by Issue 3 backers, has been charged in an absentee voting fraud scheme.  But while there may be closure on the horizon in that Hamilton County case, Franklin County still has to get a handle on absentee voting irregularities within its jurisdiction.  And let’s not forget the dead voters who signed Issue 3 petitions, because Erie County, among others, has yet to get a handle on that, too.  These are clear demonstrations Ohio’s communities just don’t have the means to police the casinos proposed by Issue 3, I don’t care what Ohio’s FOP says to the contrary.

The leaders of the Republican Caucus in the Ohio House of Representatives, state reps William Batchelder and Louis Blessing, Jr., on Friday, released the following statement to the press:

Background Checks Needed with Advent of Casinos

Issue 3 may open floodgates for criminals without proper regulations

COLUMBUS—House Republican Leader William G. Batchelder of Medina, today announced his commitment to safeguarding casino licenses and preventing individuals who have committed crimes in the past from obtaining a casino license, if Issue 3 is approved by voters this November.

“If Issue 3 passes, the General Assembly has an obligation to ensure that the Casino Control Commission carefully screens applicants who want to own and run the Ohio casinos and makes sure that licenses are not granted to anyone with serious gambling infractions in their past,’’ Batchelder said. “Many other states ask applicants about past gambling charges, even if they have been later expunged or overturned on appeal. This industry is highly regulated for a reason, and Ohio should not bow to pressure and adopt regulations that are lower than industry standards.’’

As per Section 3770.051 of the Ohio Revised Code, the director of the State Lottery Commission must request the criminal records of any vendor with whom the commission is considering entering into a contract, to protect the integrity of the state’s online gaming system or instant ticket system. Batchelder seeks to extend a variation of this law to apply to Ohio casinos, should the issue pass a public vote.

“It is prudent that policymakers work together to ensure there are safeguards in place such as background checks, so that anyone with a criminal record cannot apply for a license to operate casino in Ohio,” Batchelder said. “I can remember the Ohio Lottery suffering from scandal in the early 1970s caused by the lack of safeguards.   Clearly defined rules and regulations on something as vague as gambling are necessary to prevent the dismal mistakes of the past.  I urge my legislative colleagues to come together to proactively work and prevent the potential abuse that could come from Issue 3.”

Assistant Republican Leader Louis Blessing Jr. of Cincinnati, who is an opponent to Issue 3, stated the following: “A review of other state standards suggests that criminals would likely be denied a casino license in other states. The cavalier attitude that individuals with similar pasts, who apply for a license here in Ohio tells me they think previous mistakes are just college pranks. This is another reason why we need to know the identity of all of the investors. If the main financial backer can’t get a license, can their partners? We have no idea because he refuses to list the other investors.’’

Other states have similar laws that serve to uphold the integrity of the state casino system. According to Blessing’s research, Pennsylvania regulators ask casino applicants to list all ‘offenses or charges,’ even if the charges were later dismissed, or downgraded.

In Indiana, applicants are asked whether they have ever been ‘arrested, detained, charged, indicted, convicted, received pro-trial diversion, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere or forfeited bail concerns any criminal offense, either felony or misdemeanor…’ In Colorado, the first question regulators ask is, “Have you ever been convicted of any gambling-related felony at any time?’’

Batchelder and Blessing have seen the polls showing that voters are favoring Issue 3, and they want to be as ready as they can be if the issue passes, but, as they’ve pointed out in an earlier press release, this criminal background screening they propose might be a moot point, as passage of Issue 3 would etch the casino proposals in stone as an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution.

Even if you favor casinos in Ohio, there is another casino proposal on the table that wouldn’t write loopholes for criminals into Ohio’s Constitution the way Issue 3 does, but for that proposal to reach voters, Issue 3 must be defeated.

I of course, remain in opposition to casinos, as they produce no wealth, they only redistribute it by plundering it from gamblers.  The numbers that Issue 3 backers throw at you, as the PD’s Thomas Suddes points out, are to dazzle you, but aren’t based in reality.  Casinos do no good for our economy.  Those that benefit, beyond the casino owners, are the criminals and the politicians.  (Is that redundant to say casino owners, criminals, and politicians in the same sentence?)

Gambling tycoons don’t ever play games that aren’t fixed.  The more closely you examine Issue 3, the more you will see that the fix is in.   Career criminals are drooling in anticipation.  Please frustrate them.  Don’t sit this election out.  Please get out to the polls and vote NO on Issue 3.

[UPDATE] Coming up this month

Mark your calendars!  Oct. 12, Candidates Night in Oberlin; Oct. 14, CHIP Candidates Night in Lorain;  Oct. 21, Town Hall with State Rep Terry Boose in Norwalk; Oct. 22, Candidates Night in Huron; Oct 25, Chris Ritchey fundraiser to fight Hodgkins Lymphoma in Lorain; Oct. 29, Town Hall with State Rep Terry Boose in Kipton; Nov. 3, Election Day (early voting has already begun).

First Church in Oberlin, on Monday, October 12th, will host a candidates night for 13 Oberlin City Council candidates, and 4 Oberlin school board candidates on Monday, October 12.  Reception begins at 6:30 pm, and the forum begins at 7 pm.  First Church is located at 106 N. Main St.

Lorain’s Coalition for Hispanic Issues and Progress (CHIP) will host its 7th annual candidates night on October 14th in the Gould Auditorium within the St. Joseph’s Community Center at 20th and Broadway in Lorain.  Doors open at 6 pm, with the forum commencing about a half-hour later.  David Arredondo is the contact person for this event (440) 315-7812.  This event provides an excellent opportunity to see and hear the candidates who will be on the local ballot in Lorain.

[UPDATE:  This represents a change to the town hall schedule for Norwalk]  State Rep Terry Boose (R-58) has made a concerted effort to meet voters of his Ohio House district over the past 3 months.  Two town hall meetings remain on the schedule:  October 21st at 7:30 pm in the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center within Norwalk High School at 350 Shady Lane Dr. in Norwalk; and October 29th at 7 pm at the Kipton Village Hall, 299 State St. in Kipton.

At McCormick School in Huron, the Huron Public Library and Huron Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring a candidates night that begins at 7 pm on October 22nd.  Eight city council candidates (Sam Artino, Joel Bickley, Russell Critelli, Richard Hardy, Brad Hartung, Marilyn Shearer, Nancy Thornhill, Phyllis Wassner and Richard Wennes) have been invited to participate.

A fundraiser to help Chris Ritchey fight Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is scheduled for October 25th from 1 pm to 5 pm at Rosewood Place, 4493 Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.  A spaghetti dinner will be served.  Admission is $15 per person (children under 5 years old eat free).  If you can’t make it to the event, but would like to donate to help defray Mr. Ritchey’s medical expenses, a fund has been established at First Federal Savings & Loan of Lorain, 3721 Oberlin Avenue, Lorain, Ohio 44053 (make checks payable to: Friends of Chris Ritchey).  Tickets for the event can be obtained in several ways.  In person, tickets can be obtained at Jenkins and Bevans Insurance, 47375 Cooper Foster Park Road, Amherst 44001; or at Marsha Funk State Farm Insurance, 3004 Oberlin Ave., Lorain 44052.  By phone, tickets can be requested by calling Nikki (440) 282-3195 or  Rich (440) 245-8752 or (440) 989-5141.  Chris Ritchey is the son of Loraine Ritchey, blog author of That Woman’s Weblog (listed in my blogroll sidebar), and, besides her numerous blog entries about Lorain history and government, she shares information about the battle Chris has waged against Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Election Day is November 3.  Though it’s not hyped as much as a presidential election, please don’t sit out this election.  I urge votes against Issue 3 that would amend Ohio’s Constitution to allow an out-of-state casino cartel to plunder Ohio’s economy (what there is left of the economy) while throwing free market principles out the window.  Cleveland’s Plain Dealer continues to reveal Republican and Democrat insiders and entrenched politicians, who have WRECKED Ohio’s economy through their corruption and selfish pay-to-play tactics, who support Issue 3.  Gambling support from crooked politicians of both political parties should warn you that Issue 3 doesn’t pass the smell test.

Twittering

To keep up with politics and the blogosphere, I’ve decided to give Twitter a try.  I once (briefly) tried Facebook, but there was too much drama on there for my taste, and it took up too much of my time to maintain my page, so I pulled the plug on it many months ago.  I’m hoping that Twitter will be much easier to manage.  I’ve added my Twitter feed at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.

If you have enough hours in the week, Carnival 168

This week was my turn in the rotation, so I’ve compiled and posted installment number 168 of the Carnival of Ohio Politics.  Contributing blogs this week were Bizzy Blog, Writes Like She Talks, Roland Hansen Commentary, Just Blowing Smoke, Keeler Political Report, The Ohio Republic, Spinelli on Assignment, The Cincinnati Beacon, and The Boring Made Dull.  You’ve got 168 hours in a week, and at least one of them can be used to search through the great blogging represented at the Carnival.