Dem convention, night 1

So I watched the big political show last night. Some thoughts:

It was good to see Ted Kennedy again, and looking surprisingly healthy. I was half afraid he’d come out on stage looking all skinny. That would have been bad. Nothing fantastic about his speech but it was perfectly serviceable. But doesn’t making that huge Kennedy sailboat the centerpiece of that video undermine a bit the whole John McCain seven houses thing? And then the first person interviewed in the clip was John Kerry. Hah.

Michelle Obama’s speech left me a bit cold. Most of the TV pundits seemed to rave about it, I thought it was just meh. The introductory video narrated by her mother was far more effective. The video had her deliver the line, roughly, “My children are the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning, and the last thing I think about before I go to bed.” Then she repeated the line word-for-word in the speech. That jarred. And it’s too long to be a catch phrase.

But will her speech accomplish that big job that everyone claims was its purpose: to make her seem a bit less Angela Davis-y (per the New Yorker). Probably, some. Not a home run though. One thing that intrigued me was her use of the conceit regarding “The world as it should be.” Here’s a graf from her speech:

Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be.” And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is - even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves - to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn’t that the great American story?

I think she means the country when she says “the world,” but that doesn’t fit with her purpose of playing down the “I’ve never been really proud of my country” bit. I mean, people don’t generally talk about “fairness and justice and opportunity” in terms of the world- they say it about America. It’s almost as if someone did a search and replace on the text to avoid those Michelle problem areas. Note, there’s nothing wrong of course with saying that America can and should be better- it’s just a problem for her.

Naturally, the kids were great, though the Barack video feed seemed tacked on and pointless. It was like he was holding that family hostage in order to take over their house.

Apparently it was attack Pat Buchanan night on MSNBC. He noted that Michelle didn’t mention religion in her talk about her family life and he wondered why. I think he thought that she was being a secular Democrat, but of course the Obamas will have a difficult time now discussing how big a part their church played in their lives. Anyway, Chris Matthews’s shoot-down was hilarious: We don’t have a religious test in this country, Pat, thanks to Thomas Jefferson. Cut down on the coffee, Chris. And I thought Rachel Maddow (now with her own show!) was going to hit him when she was discussing Pat’s somewhat infamous 1992 RNC speech in Houston.

Juan Williams’s reaction to the Michelle speech was very moving, but unfortunately, I agreed with Bill Kristol, who poured cold water over everything.

Ohio: McCain up by 1

The Dispatch released its first presidential poll results yesterday:

Republican John McCain holds a 1-point edge, 42 to 41 percent, in the first Dispatch Poll of the general election campaign. The Arizona senator’s lead is well within the poll’s margin of sampling error, plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. That means McCain could be ahead by as much as 5 points or Obama could be up by 3.

The poll was conducted before Joe Biden was named the VP nominee, so if there’s a bounce, it’s not reflected here. I’m doubtful there is one though.

Previous Ohio poll post here.

“Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland was greeted like a rock star in Denver at 5:30 p.m. eastern time Sunday when he arrived….” Hah. Politics is weird. (Link.)

Strickland comes out against sick-day initiative

“While we would hope that all Ohio businesses would make paid sick days available to their employees whenever possible, we believe that this initiative is unworkable, unwieldy and would be detrimental to Ohio’s economy, and we will be opposing it and asking Ohioans to oppose it as a result,” said Strickland and Fisher in a statement.

Against labor? Interesting. Here’s the rest at Openers.

Fascist bicyclists.

Tax credit shenanigans

A press release from State Rep. Mandel (R, Lyndhurst) and Jay Goyal (D, Mansfield):

COLUMBUS – State Representatives Josh Mandel (R- Lyndhurst) and Jay Goyal (D- Mansfield) announced today they will soon introduce legislation to offer state income tax credits to Ohio-educated graduates in return for their commitment to stay and work in Ohio.

Oh, my favorite: tax credits. One of the things that stands out for me about the 2004 presidential election was Al Gore’s mantra “targeted tax cuts.” (Second only to “lockbox.”) This season, tax credits are the fashion, and it seems everybody’s doing it.

McCain’s got his health care tax credit, and he’s got a proposed $5000 tax credit for people who buy new electric or hybrid cars.

Obama, clearly the winner in the tax credit contest, is proposing tax credits for having children ($7000), working ($500), child care (50%), tuition, building hybrid vehicles, and more.

There are two things wrong with targeted tax credits. One, the tax system is already ridiculously complicated, and clearly all these new rules will make it even worse, and will open the door to fraud. But more importantly, this is our money. A government which takes too much money from you, and then deigns to give some of it back- if you jump through some of these hoops they’ve set up- is too involved in our decisions.

Frequently the tax credit is sold as making citizens’ financial burdens lighter. This is a cynical ploy in which politicians pretend to care while they’re really trying to get people to toe the line on this or that government policy. How about this policy- let us keep more of our money in the first place, and then you won’t have to bother yourselves coming up with reasons to give some of it back.

Back to the Ohio residency plan, look at what they’re proposing for tax credits over 10 years:

* Associate’s degree: $5,000
* Bachelor’s degree: $20,000
* Master’s degree or higher: $30,000

I don’t have to point out studies which show that college graduates earn more than non-graduates. So this tax credit plan is also likely to be rather regressive- not good.

Here’s a different idea: reduce everyone’s taxes in Ohio. Then more of everyone will want to stay- including businesses. A plan like that might also help out a little problem like 7.2% unemployment.

UPDATE: Practically on cue, Mary Jo “Kilroy calls for targeted tax relief for middle class:”

Kilroy wants a college tuition tax credit worth up to $5,000 annually; increasing the child tax credit to 35 percent to a maximum of $2,100 for families earning up to $200,000; a $1,200 credit for the first $6,000 in elderly care expenses; $1,000 per person credit ($2,000 per family) for health insurance coverage otherwise lost between job, and finally a 401(k) match from the federal government of 25 percent up to $1,000 per year….

Kilroy said her plan could be paid for by repealing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

Charming. Raise taxes on everyone, only give it back to those whose votes she wants to buy- I mean target.

More “It’s Gotta Be Hillary“. (Previous.)

Strickland’s brand of Stone Age union economics“. That’s a good one.

This is kind of cool. It’s like the Columbus version of Koyaanisqatsi. Bexley’s in there too. (Via RetroMetro.)

OH-15: Eggs-scruciating

Is this the end of Mary Jo Kilroy’s egging on fellow Dems with that charge against Republican Steve Stivers that a 2003 bill he co-sponsored stripped local jurisdictions of control?

Stivers’ Senate office told PolitickerOH.com that townships and counties have not been able to regulate agriculture since the 1950s, as stated in sections 303.21 and 519.21 of the Ohio Revised Code. These statutes forbid counties and townships, respectively, from regulating agriculture. Stivers’ office said before 2000, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was in charge of regulating agriculture but the 2000 legislation transferred regulatory control to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Stivers himself was incorrect in saying that the 2000 legislation actually stripped localities of control.

Verification of that from a neutral source ought to end this. So does Kilroy now have egg on her face? (This is terrible, I know. I could go on, but I’ll have mercy on you.) I thought this issue was awful from the get-go, so I hope it’s dead now. Here’s the previous post, where it turns out I was on to something. (!)

The Carnival of Ohio Politics #131 is now up.

Port Columbus gets new airline

Some good news for all you flyboys:

Local travelers still stinging from Skybus Airlines’ demise are expected to get a welcome piece of news today, as discount carrier AirTran Airways announces it will begin flights from Port Columbus in November.

The Orlando, Fla.-based airline will offer nonstop flights to Atlanta and Orlando and Fort Myers, Fla., beginning Nov. 6. Atlanta service will be twice daily, while service to the Florida destinations will be once daily.

A bit limited but it’s a help.

Byrne/Eno

The name of my favorite band is Talking Heads. (Hah.) After 30 years, David Byrne and producer Brian Eno have a new record out. “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.” Here’s the single:

I’m not sure what I think about that yet. Definitely a different sound from their other collaborations. Oddly, it reminds me of the 1974 Hollies classic “The Air That I Breathe.”

I like that song. (Via Lefsetz Letter.)

Tragic day in Ohio politics [Updated x 3]

This is rather shocking:

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first African-American woman to represent Ohio in Congress, has died after suffering a brain aneurysm, said sources familiar with the situation.

UPDATE: Acknowledging earlier reports that she had died, CNN is saying Tubbs Jones “remains in critical condition.” I hope so. (Via Plunderbund.)

UPDATE 2: The Plain Dealer story linked above is gone. Now,Tubbs Jones in critical condition at Huron Hospital is the story.

UPDATE 3: And now it appears that she has passed away. 10TV News is reporting that:

Tubbs Jones died at 6:12 p.m. after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm that burst and left her with limited brain function.

“Throughout the course of the day and into this evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones’ medical condition declined,” Sheil said in a statement from the clinic and Tubbs Jones’ family.

No voting machines at home

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued a directive yesterday forbidding county elections officials from taking voting equipment home and bringing it to polling locations on Election Day. The directive affects at least 23 counties, including Fairfield.

That’s one of those rules that common sense would lead you believe had already been in place since, well, forever. (Dispatch.)

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