Leave Us Alone!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Run, John, Run!

U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville) is in a similar position to the one Frank Lausche was in 37 years ago. Senator DeWine was elected to the Senate in a landslide in 1994, and easily re-elected in 2000. However, his party's base is not pleased with him. Gun control opponents are not happy with Senator DeWine's opposition to a bill that would shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits. Social conservatives are angry over Senator DeWine's role in the judicial filibuster compromise.

Now, like Senator Lausche in 1968, Senator DeWine may face a primary opponent. The Cincinnati Post and Columbus Business First both report that former AK Steel President John Hritz has formed an exploratory committee and is considering challenging Senator DeWine in next year's primary. The Mockingbird has a copy of Mr. Hritz's press release. The Mockingbird also states:
DeWine is in deep trouble because he's staked out general election territory, NOT primary territory. In other words, primary voters will turn out in droves for Hritz and DeWine can't possibly run to the right, though he might try.

I hope Mr. Hritz runs. If he does, he just might pull off the primary upset. The "traditional values" crowd will turn out in droves to vote for Ken Blackwell for governor. Mr. Hritz might be able to ride in on Secretary Blackwell's coattails. If Mr. Hritz were to win the primary, he'd give the Democrats a good chance to pick up the seat. A moderate, well known incumbent like Senator DeWine is tough in a general election. With more extreme views and a name that has never appeared on a statewide ballot, Mr. Hritz would be a lot easier for a Democrat to beat. Do the Democrats have a candidate who can take advantage of this situation the way Attorney General Saxbe did in 1968?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Some Boring Stuff that Happened 37 Years Ago

Conservative Democratic U.S. Senator Frank Lausche (D-Cleveland) was popular with general election voters, having won five elections for governor and two elections for U.S. senator. However, in 1968, Senator Lausche found himself on the outs with the liberal base of his party. Labor unions backed liberal former Congressman John Gilligan (D-Cincinnati) against Senator Lausche in the Democratic primary. Congressman Gilligan handily defeated Senator Lausche in May, but then went on to lose narrowly to Attorney General William Saxbe (R-Mechanicsville) in November. So, why am I telling you this story of a party losing a Senate seat after rejecting a popular maverick senator? How is it potentially relevant today? Stay tuned. I'll tell you tomorrow.

Operation Iraqi Freedom, Part III

At Martini Republic, Laura Fisher points out this quote from American Enterprise Institute Fellow Reuel Marc Gerecht, speaking on Meet the Press this past Sunday:

Actually, I'm not terribly worried about this. I mean, one hopes that the Iraqis protect women's social rights as much as possible. It certainly seems clear that in protecting the political rights, there's no discussion of women not having the right to vote. I think it's important to remember that in the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

So, basically, women's rights don't matter in the new, "free" Iraq.

At Hit and Run, Matt Welch links to the story of a Reuters journalist who is being held incommunicado at Abu Ghraib (from Wired News):

U.S. military spokesmen have refused to say why they are holding Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani, a 36-year-old freelance cameraman and photographer who has worked for the international news organization for a year in Ramadi, capital of Anbar region.

Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, spokesman for U.S. detainee operations in Iraq, said the journalist was now in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison: "He will not be able to have visitors for the next 60 days," he added.

The article goes on to state:

An account from Mashhadani's family of his arrest on August 8 suggests that images found by U.S. Marines on his cameras during a general sweep in the neighborhood prompted his detention.

Relatives said that Marines conducting a routine search of the house turned hostile after viewing images stored on Mashhadani's video and stills cameras and his desktop computer.

It looks like freedom of the press and due process rights don't matter in the new, "free" Iraq, either.

Yep, freedom is on the march!

Robert A. Taft II: His Initials are RAT

As I mentioned before, Governor Bob Taft pleaded no contest to four counts of filing false financial disclosure statements. What really bothers me about Governor Taft is that he's not only corrupt, he's also boring. When Democrats are crooked, they at least provide some entertainment value. Think of former Governor Edwin Edwards (D-Louisiana), former Mayor Buddy Cianci (D-Providence), and former U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Youngstown). Governor Taft's administration, on the other hand, has been like watching paint dry. I would have expected better from the first sitting Ohio governor to be found guilty of a crime.

What I want to know is, Did Governor Taft send his false disclosure statements through the mail? Probably not. One of the advantages of working in Columbus is that you can have one of your flunkies hand-deliver your fraudulent documents to the Ohio Ethics Commission. But, if he did mail those documents, I'd hope that, in the interest of consistency, the U.S. attorney's office would ask for mail fraud indictments against the governor. After all, the feds went after Joe Jones for the same thing.

Ohio Democrats are not yet calling for Governor Taft's impeachment. That seems like the right move to me. If Governor Taft hangs around, he'll be a big drag on the Republican ticket in next year's elections. For that reason, I wouldn't be surprised if GOP leaders pressure the governor to resign.

At Toledo Tales, Subcomandante Bob has a hilarious take on the Taft scandal. Check it out!

It's Good to be Noticed (Warning: Self-Promotion)

My earlier post about the technicality that led to former Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones' guilty plea to a federal mail fraud charge has attracted some attention from the legal blogosphere. Mike at Crime and Federalism linked to my post, saying "...Mr. Sonenshein's full post is worth reading." Thanks, Mike! The Mommy Blawg linked to me in Blawg Review # 20: Reality TV Edition. My Jones post even made the Blawg Republic's Top Links. Thanks for noticing me!

In other Joe Jones-related news, a federal jury in Akron convicted Cleveland businessman Nate Gray and co-defendant Gilbert Jackson on all charges.

Also, Mr. Jones has asked Council President Frank Jackson (D-Ward 5) to appoint Mr. Jones' wife to the vacant Ward 1 Council seat. President Jackson was understandably non-committal, but if Ms. Jones runs for the seat this fall, I wouldn't count her out. Jones is a good ballot name in Cuyahoga County and the voters of Ward 1 might decide that Councilman Jones, who was quite popular in the ward, got a raw deal. Stranger things have happened.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm Back

I was on vacation last week, and I'm still getting caught up. It looks like I missed an eventful week. Governor Bob Taft (R-Cincinnati) pleaded no contest to four counts of filing false financial disclosure statements.

U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Lorain) is out of next year's U.S. Senate race, while the Cincinnati Post reports that former Marine Reserve Major Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hill) might enter, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) is leaning against entering, and the Mockingbird reports that former AK Steel President John Hritz (R-Cincinnati) has formed an exploratory committee. I'll comment on all of this and more in the next few days.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lesson of Jones Plea: Use a Private Courier

The Honorable Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones (D-Ward 1) pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a federal felony charge of mail fraud. According to the Plain Dealer,

Jones pleaded guilty to mail fraud involving a $5,000 interest- free loan he got from Gray. Jones didn't mention the loan on his state-required financial disclosure statement, which he mailed to Columbus in 2003. The loan was repaid in full. Though prosecutors argued that the no-interest loan showed a pattern of how Gray cultivated people for possible future use, there was no allegation that Jones subsequently performed any illegal act to benefit Gray.

Filing a false financial disclosure statement is violation of § 102.02 (D) of the Ohio Revised Code. According to § 102.99, violation of § 102.02 (D) is a first-degree misdemeanor. All of this can be found on the Ohio Ethics Commission's website.

Theoretically, a first-degree misdemeanant in Ohio can be fined up to $1,000 and jailed up to 180 days, but that's rare. The most Councilman Jones probably would have faced would have been a fine and probation. He also would have been able to keep his Council seat.

Instead, Councilman Jones is now a convicted felon. In addition to months of home confinement and a possible fine, Councilman Jones is barred from holding elected office in Ohio for the rest of his life.

What made this state misdemeanor into a federal felony? Councilman Jones put a stamp on his false disclosure statement and sent it through the U.S. Postal Service. That made it mail fraud. So, the next time you need to send papers that you aren't sure are completely accurate, use a private courier. Perhaps Councilman Jones can get a job as a spokesman for Federal Express or UPS.

Ohio "Patriot" Act Update

Remember when I said it was the last chance to stop the Ohio "Patriot" Act? Well, it turns out that wasn't quite accurate. The Ohio House of Representatives has delayed action on Senate Bill 9. Keep the pressure on your state representatives to defeat this legislation. The ACLU of Ohio has more information on Senate Bill 9 and how to take action to stop it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Operation Iraqi Freedom, Part II

Vice Squad links to another Guardian article, which states that Iraq's transport minister has banned the sale of alcohol at Baghdad International Airport.

The minister reportedly justified his ban by saying that Iraq was an Islamic country and that "it would give a bad and wrong first impression to visitors".

The alcohol row comes as conservative Shia Islamists on the committee writing the country's new constitution are trying to have the country renamed the Federal Islamic Republic of Iraq.

The article goes on to state that "Now, Baghdad airport is one of the few places in the capital where alcohol is still sold. ... In the rest of the city most liquor stores have closed after attacks by extremists."

Yep, freedom is on the march!

Damn, This is Scary!

At Hit and Run, Julian Sanchez links to a story in The Guardian, which provides this unnerving piece of information:

...according to a report in the Financial Times - the operators (under instructions from the authorities) can remotely install software onto a handset to activate the microphone even when the user is not making a call.

Two Ways to Support the Troops, Even if You Oppose the War

Dick Feagler has an excellent column in Sunday's Plain Dealer in the wake of last week's deaths of twenty members of the Third Battalion, 25th Marines based in Brook Park:

It is a terrible week to trash the war.

And it leaves a lot of us tongue-tied. In the face of such sacrifice, how can we continue to criticize this war. Because, if we say it's wrong, what do we say to those parents?

I don't know the answer. But, as a survivor of the Vietnam generation, I know this. You don't blame the troops for where our country has put them. You cherish the troops because they are by far more noble than the suits who sent them to fight and die for a nation that is far too indifferent and detached.

(entire column here)

Mr. Feagler also provides contact information for the USO of Northern Ohio and reminds us that the USO needs monetary donations to assemble care packages and letters to send to service members overseas.

At Objective Justice, Sean Sirrine, another war opponent, is helping to raise funds for the family of Sgt. Christopher Taylor. Click here to find out how to help.

(link via Vodkapundit)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Paul Hackett Covers the Spread

Final unofficial election results from the 2nd Congressional District:
Schmidt: 59,095 votes (52%)
Hackett: 55,091 votes (48%)
I said last month that more than a third of the vote would be a good showing for a Democrat in the Second District. 48% is phenomenal. This race should have been a foregone conclusion for Tracy Flick Jean Schmidt, but Paul Hackett almost pulled off the upset. Major Hackett showed that a Democrat with a libertarian message can be a viable candidate in even the most Republican of districts.

There will be an open-seat election for Hamilton County commissioner next year. Has there ever been a Democratic majority on the Hamilton County Commission? If Paul Hackett runs, there will be.

Vote Early! Vote Often! Vote Democrat!

Today is election day in many parts of Ohio, including the Second Congressional District and the Cleveland Municipal School District. Polls are open from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. Please remember to vote!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Good Riddance

The Honorable Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego) has announced that he is not seeking re-election, saying "Quite simply, right now I may not be the strongest candidate."

Freedom's Gate, Kn@ppster, and The War on Guns

Links to Leave Us Alone appear on three more blogs: Freedom's Gate, Kn@ppster, and The War on Guns.

At Freedom's Gate, Andrew Lewis is raising money to defray his cost of promoting the Democratic Freedom Caucus at the Young Democrats of America's annual convention. In other recent posts, Mr. Lewis has called for more civil discourse and asks "What's wrong with being a member of the Federalist Society?"

At Kn@ppster, Thomas L. Knapp is raising funds for Doctors Without Borders as part of the upcoming Blogathon 2005. Mr. Knapp has recently posted policy proposals to make the Democratic Party "America's party again" and, in a two-part post, highlighted abuses of power by the government of a small suburb in Missouri. Also, if you haven't yet read Mr. Knapp's post about the draft Iraqi constitution, please do so. It's well worth the read.

At The War on Guns, David Codrea doesn't appear to be raising funds for anything, which is good, because I'm tapped out at the moment. Mr. Codrea speaks out against threats to our Second Amendment rights, including Ohio's own Senator Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville). While focusing primarily on opposition to the right to keep and bear arms, Mr. Codrea touches on other threats to freedom, including RFID tracking and subway bag searches.

Thanks to Mr. Lewis, Mr. Knapp, and Mr. Codrea for linking to Leave Us Alone!