Drew Carey and The Reason Foundation decided to look for ways to save Cleveland from its aggressively stupid political leaders and their refusal to heed the first rule of holes. The result is a video series called "Reason Saves Cleveland":
Keep checking back as new episodes premiere, because I'll add them to this playlist.
3/18 Update: Right on cue, Tim Russo (a standard-bearer for typical Cleveland progressives) posts a spittle-flecked screed that misses the points of the Reason video ... and indelibly beclowns its author. Statist hacks like Russo simply cannot admit (or even comprehend) that punitive taxation and suffocating bureaucracy are responsible for Cleveland's sorry decline.
Oh, joy. The City of Cleveland just won the competition to host the 2014 Gay Games. Here's the relevant audio from the first two hours of last night's Bob Frantz Show:
I don't see the point in creating a homosexualized version of the Olympics. If someone's an Olympic caliber athlete, they can compete in the Olympics. Their sexual tastes have nothing to do with it.
Who wants to crow about winning some event at a politicized athletic gathering that has no qualification standards whatsoever? For goodness' sake, the Gay Games are "not oriented to victory" ... whatever that means.
Every time I think Cleveland has sunk to a new low in punch-line-worthiness, the city breaks out a shovel and digs some more.
Since President Barack Obama will be at Shaker Heights High School on Thursday, taking questions on health care, I've got one for him:
Who should have the final say on the type of health care patients receive under any reformed system?
A. Patients and their doctors
B. Insurance corporations
If A is his answer, his solution should be one that shuts out insurance corporations that make billions of dollars by denying coverage to millions of Americans.
Coleridge is the director of something called the "Economic Justice & Empowerment Program" of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee, a group that has yet to find an anti-American cause it doesn't like.
I wonder if the Cleveland Tea Party Patriots will run into this tool tomorrow at their protest?
My mind boggles at the the sheer brilliance of it all. Even though he left the government on August 13, 2007, Karl Rove managed to start 2500 Department of Justice investigations into innocent community leaders from industrial states in the Great Lakes region. Everybody knows that Rove hates overweight Italian Democrats, especially when they stand in the way of his continuing attempts to suppress voter turnout among blacks eager to vote for Our Lord and Savior Barack Obama.
Why else would County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and County Auditor Frank Russo be under investigation?
No corruption here. They're as pure as the wind-driven snow! You know the fix is in when two editors from that obvious right-wing rag, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, are seen plotting over dinner with the arch-conservative "Uncle Bob" Bennett, former head of the Ohio Republican Party.
Only a brilliant intellect of Jimmy Dimora's prodigious stature could untangle the wispy tendrils of this wingnut conspiracy, a plan so incredibly subtle that it continues to unfold during the administration of its original target. Only the sinister mind of Darth Rove could manipulate the levers of power so deftly that even President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have not detected the plot. Thankfully we have Jimmy Dimora to rely upon, so that the well-meaning but clearly misguided Department of Justice can investigate its own investigation and stop itself from mindlessly marching to the Evil One's tune.
Hats off to Karl Rove, the evil criminal mastermind! Someday justice will be done, but until then he deserves our grudging admiration.
The U.S. Coast Guard will fire lasers -- not live ammunition -- at its own boats this morning in a sort of war-games training demonstration on Lake Erie.
Coast Guard personnel on the defender boat will be armed with machine guns and rifles loaded with blank ammunition and fitted with laser beam emitters.
The attack boat will have laser sensors on board that will reveal if it has been "hit" by the weapons aboard the defending boat.
The Coast Guard late last year dropped its proposal to conduct training exercises with machine guns loaded with live ammunition in 34 zones in the Great Lakes, including four in Lake Erie.
Rear Adm. John E. Crowley Jr. called that plan unsatisfactory after widespread complaints about safety and potential damage to the environment.
U.S. environmental groups and the Canadian Foreign Affairs minister said they were concerned that the bullets, which could dump some 7,000 pounds of lead compounds a year in the lakes, could be a health hazard to humans and wildlife.
Puh-leeze. This is just another example of the Coast Guard's tendency to kowtow to environmentalist wackos. Trust me on this. I spent 2 1/2 years at USCG Headquarters in the office that oversees vessel traffic management in major ports. Ever since the Exxon Valdez spill, the environmentalist movement has been the 400-lb. gorilla in the room when it comes to the Coast Guard's marine safety missions.
Has anyone demonstrated that the ammunition expended in true live fire exercises would actually cause the horrible environmental damage alleged? I'd love to see it, but I won't hold my breath. These days all it takes to spook the federal government is an alarmist press release about impending environmental doom. Gathering facts is so tedious and dull, especially when you can use sexy computer models and glitzy ad campaigns instead.
Further, which is more important: preventing expended ammunition from entering the water, or preventing waterborne terrorists from attacking our northern shores? Those nice jihadist fellows would love to blow up a tanker or ore carrier, and given an opportunity they'd light off a dirty bomb near a major coastal city too. I invite the assorted Gaia-worshippers to consider the environmental damage attacks like these would cause (since the human death toll probably matters much less to them). Isn't prevention of a true disaster worth the cost of small amounts of expended ammunition entering the lake?
One of the opponents of the original live fire training sees the foolishness in this laser tag exercise:
Dan Thomas, president of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, one of the groups that had criticized the initial plan, had a mixed reaction to today's planned demonstration.
"It sounds reasonable at first, but there's also no substitution for the real thing," Thomas said by telephone from his Chicago office. "Our group is not opposed to them using live ammunition, but we want them to be better at communicating to all interested parties when it is going to be conducting its exercises."
Thomas said his group and others have also wanted the training to be done farther out in the lake if live ammunition will be used in the future. Today's demonstration was supposed to take place from three to five miles from Cleveland.
A little more common sense would be nice, but alas, this is the Coast Guard we're talking about.
Conventional wisdom holds that America's manufacturers have been declining for ages, yet the facts don't support this assumption. Tom Blumer wonders why:
The powerful "manufacturing is in decline" meme won't go away soon, but it should.
It apparently isn't enough that the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index has read "expansion" in 48 of the past 50 months. It has become an article of faith among reporters and opportunistic politicians that American manufacturing has been, and continues to be, in a long-term decline.
The fact is that government reports also show the exact opposite. Why apparently no one, including the sector's supporters, has done, or at least published, the simple math involved to debunk the myth of "deindustrialization" is indeed a mystery.
Pay close attention to Tom's description of manufacturing's share of the economy. It's a smaller chunk of a much larger pie. Refer to the concepts of tax cuts or baseline budgeting for more illustrations.
Since cities like Dubuque, Houston, Seattle and Charleston support robust manufacturing sectors, I'm forced to ask: what's Cleveland's excuse?
WTAM just mentioned that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority voted in support of the City of Cleveland exercising eminent domain to take several commercial properties and turn them over to a private developer.
Keep in mind that this vote does not trigger the city's eminent domain powers; only City Council can do that, not the Port Authority. But today's vote tosses the issue squarely into City Council's lap, which is clearly a heavy-handed negotiating tactic. The eminent domain threat is designed to pressure the last hold-outs to sell their properties to Scott Wolstein for a multi-million-dollar redevelopment venture. It's a pretty blatant strong-arm job, but hey ... that's Cleveland politics for you.
I found the CCCPA news release, which includes the following:
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority voted unanimously to authorize eminent domain proceedings if further negotiations do not result in the acquisition of several properties identified for redevelopment in the Flats east bank.
Eminent domain is always a last resort, but the agency must be prepared when all good faith efforts to reach an agreement have been exhausted, Chairman John Carney said today at the port's board meeting.
"We are still hopeful we can resolve this situation before it actually goes to the courts. That is still our desire," he said.
"The [Uniform Relocation Act] very clearly spells out the rules for acquiring property for redevelopment. We are not given a choice in the matter. Either we follow the letter of the law, or the project could be in jeopardy," Loftus told board members.
Note the phrase "acquiring property for redevelopment." This is exactly the kind of eminent domain taking that sparked the lawsuit in Kelo v. New London. If approved by City Council, this will be another example of a local government seizing private property from one private citizen and giving it to another.
Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Chairman John Carney said:
"The project will transform a crime-ridden area plagued with neglected buildings and deserted streets into a thriving lakefront neighborhood. This will result in millions of dollars in revenue for the region and thousands of construction and full-time permanent jobs."
Ah, yes. The famously elastic "blight" loophole is back again. Eminent domain seizures often target "blighted" areas that are declared to be unsafe or hazardous to the public in some major way. The catch is that the definition of "blight" has never been firmly settled. If the government wants your property badly enough, it will find a way to declare it "blighted."
The Cleveland City Council had better beware, though. The Ohio Legislature's moratorium on these types of eminent domain takings will not expire until December 31st. The penalties for violating the moratorium are pretty stiff.
I'll have more to say about this shortly.
Since your local government is now allowed to take Citizen A's property and sell it to Citizen B because the government believes Citizen B will generate more tax revenue, I predict it'll be less than six months before the City of Cleveland snatches up the privately-owned parking lots in the Warehouse District.
Cleveland's downtown area is badly run down, and the city government has been unsuccessfully trying to spur growth there for decades. The owners of those downtown parking lots have long refused to sell them to developers (who want to build apartments and condominiums), because the parking lots are much more profitable than other uses would be. But now that the U.S. Supreme Court has removed all restraints from the government's use of its eminent domain power, Cleveland will grab those parking lots for a song, then turn around and sell them to somebody willing to build some glitzy high-rises that'll generate higher property taxes than the city currently collects.
You heard it here first.
I'm blogging from the Arabica Coffee House in North Ridgeville, an establishment I haunt often. It's got good coffee, lots of fresh pastries and tasty sandwiches, ice cream, a comfortable dining area, a drive-through window, free wireless broadband internet access, and a friendly staff made up almost completely of attractive women. I've gone there so many times in the past three years that the manager, Patty (prettiest of the crew by far), is now a good friend of mine. With the amount of disposable income I've left behind there, you'd think they'd put a plaque over my favorite table, but they haven't gotten around to it yet.
If you're passing through on I-80 or I-480 on the West Side of Cleveland, consider stopping in. Arabica's about 5 minutes from either highway. Try the Cafe Voltaire with whipped cream, and throw in a dark chocolate biscotti or an orange & cranberry scone to go with it.
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