Friday, May 13, 2005

After Writing Stories, Blade Seeks Facts

For two months, the Toledo Blade has published near daily stories implying imprudent and unlawful activity in the management of a rare coin fund investment made by the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation with a prominent state Republican supporter, Tom Noe. The stories have resulted in the BWC deciding to wind down the investment (one of the best performing in its portfolio) and Mr. Noe to resign from the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

Now, the Blade is trying to find out if there are any facts to back up their story.

In a lawsuit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court to force the BWC to make public detailed information on the fund's transactions, the Blade states, "It is impossible to know whether the Bureau investments have been prudent or...lawful, without knowing what the investments are...without first knowing the facts..."

Obviously, it is not impossible for the Blade to pretend to report the news without first knowing the facts.

Liberal state senator Mark Dann from Youngstown has been the drooling champion of the Blade's politically motivated attacks. In one of many disingeniously melodramatic statements, Mr. Dann said, "I will be fascinated to find out if there is $50 million there...I would be absolutely surprised if there was."

There were never any quotes from Mr. Dann explaining what made him so sure there was anything missing when he had yet to get any details from the Bureau.

The Bureau is hesitant to release details because they are about to liquidate the entire holding. Obviously, making public every last item in their inventory, what they paid for each one and what they hope to get is not going to put them in a very good position when they go to market.

But putting the Bureau in a bad position and reducing their success at selling off assets would be great for the Blade and Dann. The whole reason for the attack in the first place is that a successful program was being run by a Republican. Limiting that success at every turn is the Blade's goal - regardless of whether it is good for the state.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Noe Serves Pretzels to House Speaker!!!

In a stunning development today, the Blade has learned that former speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder once sat on Tom Noe's couch and ate his pretzels while watching a football game. Predictably, liberal opportunist state senator Mark Dann of Youngstown acts as if he is terribly upset about this potential conflict of interest. Still under investigation is whether Noe went so far as to serve beer.

At the same time, it was discovered that Brian Hicks, Taft's chief of staff, stayed at Noe's Florida home several times. In an attempt to comply with whatever liberals might determine is ethical from time to time, Hicks paid Mr. Noe $300 to $500 for the week's stay. Despite the fact that Mr. Hicks stayed in the house's apartment, the Blade chose to describe the size of the main house as 3,600 square feet. They also chose to use the main house as a comparison for what a week's stay is worth.

The neighboorhood the house is in does not allow weekly rentals so, effectively, there is no market for renting these homes and as such, the Noe's could not have lost any revenue as a result of Mr. Hicks' stay. Nonetheless, the Blade has determined that the rent paid by Mr. Hicks is below the rate that would have been charged in some other neighboorhood nearby that does allow rentals.

Therefore, theoretically, if this house were in that other neighboorhood and if it was regularly rented out then you could say that the Noe's would have made more renting to someone other than Hicks, therefore the Noe's gave a gift to Mr. Hicks.

If all of these ifs existed, the Blade then says that "It is unclear if Mr. Noe would have been a "prohibited source" for a gift", indicating that after printing a story that makes everyone look like they're doing something wrong, the Blade and Mark Dann now need to figure out if anyone is doing anything wrong.

"There are very few business leaders who will devote that much time, and it's tough to get good people to serve on some boards...", said Mr. Hicks, reiterating a sentiment heard several times during the Blade's politically motivated attack on the Republican. Mr. Hicks goes on to say that Tom "is willing to spend an inordinate amount of time for public service".

All the more reason for the Blade to get rid of him.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Blade Scores Big Win in Quest to Reduce Ohio's Revenue

Based on popular political pressure generated by conjecture and unproven allegations from the Toledo Blade, the Ohio BWC has decided to wind down one of its only profitable investments.

That investment was made with a prominent Northwest Ohio Republican, thus the reason for the Blade's politically motivated articles.

The first article appeared a little over two months ago. In that time, no official investigation or oversight group has made any findings public. Presumably, given the short time frame, this means that no such investigation or formal analysis has concluded. Despite this, the BWC is taking action.

Appearently, political change has happened based on the weight of the allegations, not on fact. And it couldn't happen soon enough for opportunist liberal state senator Mark Dann.

The only time in recent memory that liberals wanted to wait longer for facts was when Saddam Hussein was murdering and raping thousands and providing support to terrorists who were planning the next attack on U.S. soil. For that, liberals would wait forever (9 years was not enough). But when it comes to a successful investment that benefits the state and that can only be credited to a Republican, 2 months is too long.

Liberal politics is simple: if you can't win on facts, employ the media to present only some of the facts juxtaposed to create implications that incite irrational, knee-jerk reactions. The whole thing is a Jerry Springer show spectacle of sensationalism which has become the norm for liberal activity today. Maybe Mark Dann can get on Jerry's new Air America show.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Toledo Smoking Ban is Amended

Contrary to the bombastic claims by some that smoking bans are “sweeping the nation” and that this amendment would easily fail, Issue 4 in Toledo, Ohio passed.

Issue 4 significantly weakens the smoking ban imposed on the city by its mayor and council over a year earlier without the blessing of its citizens. The mayor and council members, most of whom were born and raised to represent the labor left were making a bid to look hip in the eyes of their elitist left friends on the coasts.

I’m well aware of what swept the nation last night…and it certainly was not an assault on private property rights or a sneer at the free market. It was nice for a change to have the citizens decide on an issue that liberals were trying to shove down their throat by avoiding a public vote (much like a similar issue that got cleanly sent in all 11 states in which it was on the ballot).

"What they've really done is set Toledo back 20, 30 years…", says David Grossman, Lucas County Health Commissioner. You got that right, back to when the last embers of the greatest generation’s sense of personal responsibility were being stamped out by the baby boomers.

Telling his constituents just how stupid they are, Jack Ford said, "We put forth the health argument, which was the factual argument. But sometimes the facts don't prevail…".

"It's a very confusing issue", said Terry Carey, campaign coordinator for Citizens for a Healthy Toledo, reiterating Mayor Ford's assertion that voters of Toledo can't think for themselves.

According to Mr. Carey, "…health groups and anti-smoking advocates will focus efforts on reaching out to bars and restaurants who have gone nonsmoking and encouraging them to stay that way." Duh. Clearly, the structure of American government has been a very confusing issue for Mr. Carey.

Making a difference, changing the world, beating the system - whatever you want to call it – always involves changing people’s minds. Be persuasive, put up a good argument and, most of all, move others to change.

Somewhere liberals lost this concept and thought the shortcut was to simply force their ideas on the public by lawmaking. In this case, if they would have channeled the same amount of energy into convincing people not to go to smoking restaurants, they would have been a lot more successful and would have truly made a change. Instead, to borrow their own term, they now find themselves in a quagmire of a half-baked ban.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Smoking in Toledo

The best ally the smoking ban in Toledo, Ohio has is its opposition. The opponent's incredibly politically inept message is that the ban will hurt business. By focusing on this, and not facing the supporter’s accusation, they effectively admit that there is a public health issue. Therefore, the position becomes "sure there is a public health issue, but business is more important". Who in the world do they think is going to vote for that?

The opposition needs to paint a picture that will attract votes, not repel them. The message needs to first expose the ruse of the public health issue argument for what it is: people are dying of secondhand smoke because they choose to eat or work in places that are filled with the stuff. The health hazard is not caused by smoke – it is caused by the actions of the people who expose themselves to it.

The message then needs to drive home the idea that the ban supporters think that the people of Toledo are stupid and that they can’t think for themselves. They are elitists that will steal your freedom because they don’t think that you know right from wrong. The message needs to appeal to the public’s strong feelings about freedom, free enterprise, personal responsibility and what it is to be an American – and how the smoking ban flies in the face of all that.

I think this would get a lot of traction because many people that I’ve talked to support the ban based only on the surface effects: smoke is bad, the law makes it go away, so the law is good. With the opponent’s current tact, these people are not exposed to or compelled to think about the underlying implications about us as a society, the purpose of government or what makes America unique.

This is what liberalism thrives on – hiding the fundamentals. But people understand those fundamentals and, if the picture is painted well, will react strongly to anything that tries to take them away.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Going for the Greed

On Friday an editorial appeared in the Toledo Blade on what it calls “price gouging” in Florida in the aftermath of hurricane Charley. Several examples were given such as $10 for an otherwise $1 bag of ice and $3 for a gallon of gas, up from $1.78. The tone of the article was scathing. What happens temporarily to micro economies in disaster areas sent the opinion writer into some form of toxic shock as if someone had lifted the roof of his (or her) socialistic fantasyland and let too much reality shine in: ”The price gougers…deserve a special hot spot in whatever torturous afterlife may be reserved for such miscreants. This is nothing short of criminal behavior, and the complaints are coming in fast and furious to Florida consumer protection authorities. Let's hope officials are well equipped to track down and penalize the malefactors…”

The opinion rants on with the vacuous self-interest of a child whining for candy at the checkout aisle while mom is busy with 10 other tasks at once. Never mind supply and demand. Forget the fact that distribution is in a shambles. Forget the fact that a category 4 hurricane just flattened the state. Those point-of-sale prices better stay stable, damn it, or the consumer protection authorities are going to be all over you.

Price gouging is one of those terms like homophobia that are designed to cast an evil shadow and elicit a quick jerk of the knee. I define it as a market event that happens when, as the result of increasing demand and/or decreasing supply, the price of goods rises beyond a level that liberals are happy with. Notice that there is no term for the corollary, when supply outstrips demand, causing prices to drop to a level that all but eliminates margins.

So how do the consumer protection authorities determine that price gouging is happening? When the supply of ice drops to like one cube per square mile, how do they decide what it’s worth? If the guy who sells it normally unloads a hundred bags a day and now he only has ten bags left with no hope of getting or making anymore tomorrow, is he gouging? Or, the way it really works, if nine people are standing in line for the only bag left in the county and each one ups the bid by a dollar, what is it worth? I mean how do you regulate reality? Look, when stuff gets scarce, its value goes up. Get over it.

The editorial whines on, “One injustice that can't be remedied is the fact that…many insurance companies raised deductibles on homeowner policies to an astounding 5 percent of a dwelling's value. If the roof needed to be replaced on a $200,000 home at a cost of, say, $10,000, the homeowner would receive…nothing.” Well at least they concede that there is one thing they can’t remedy: the fact that if you live in an area where your $10,000 roof gets ripped off predictably once per decade, it will not get magically paid for by someone else. Guess it just costs more to live there. Duh. This is liberal thought where it burns the brightest, in a vacuum.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Obesity in America

NPR had a two part series this week on obesity in America. To be sure that the left-manufactured line between the two Americas stays crystal clear, part one examined the correlation between obesity and one’s economic status. It turns out, according to the story, that the America with the least invested on Wall Street has cornered the market on obesity. I am kept from saying that NPR drew any conclusions on this finding because they are extremely careful not to do that. However, the people they interviewed drew a conclusion and, coincidentally, they were all the same (the implication is, of course, there are no people with other conclusions).

The conclusion was, predictably, that the obese America simply cannot afford healthy food. Of course, the concept of “afford” is a highly subjective thing. If I’m not mistaken, this is the same group that I stand behind in line at the gas station as they consider (at great length) the best use of the week’s paycheck in terms of which lottery tickets to buy.

The piece centered on an overweight woman who ate at Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast, Burger King for lunch and from vending machines for dinner – because it was the cheapest way to eat and, by inference, all that she could afford. Hamburgers, she says, are 99 cents. Sometimes she gets two because it is “more filling”. Besides the money, Dunkin’ Donuts was necessary for breakfast because she just doesn’t “have the time” to eat at home.

Part two focused on the lack of disclosure about caloric content provided to the dumb public by those restaurants that serve the food that we have no choice but to eat. A word of wisdom to young entrepreneurs: smoking bans are only the beginning. This industry is about to be raped big time. Avoid the bar and restaurant business like the plague. It is the wrong place to be in coming years if you dream of running a business in a free market.