Watch those parking lots disappear

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.

Passenger jets and missiles don’t mix

Yesterday, we heard about Nicaragua’s problems with maintaining control of its shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. Today as I was driving, I heard on WTAM that several communities near Hopkins Airport in Cleveland have complained so bitterly about jet noise that the government has responded with a web site … where you can track passenger jets. That’s right. According to WTAM, you can log on to a web site and make sure passenger jets are at their designated altitudes and in their correct flight corridors.
Now, assuming I heard the radio report correctly, am I the only one who sees a problem here? We’ve potentially got missing SA-7 surface-to-air missiles floating around on the black market, a new web site reveals location and altitude information for air traffic around a major international airport, and just up the road in the metro Detroit area there’s a very large community of Muslims. Heck, we have our own home-grown terrorist fundraiser here in town (and don’t tell me he’s alone).
Hello? Is anybody home at the Department of Homeland Security?
I’ll keep looking for a link to the aircraft tracking web site, which I’ve not found yet. Boy, I hope I’m mistaken.

UPDATE (12:02 PM): I just got off the phone with WTAM’s news room. I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The good news: I heard wrong … there is no jet tracking web site. The bad news: Hopkins Airport is indeed putting such a web site together (according to WTAM). I’ve already left phone messages with Marty Flask, the Security Director at Hopkins, and with Laura Farmer (position unknown … I got her number from the Media Relations Manager, Pat Smith, who didn’t answer my question about the web site).
UPDATE (3:21 PM): Andrew Cochran of The Counterterrorism Blog just let me know that the Department of Defense has been chasing down Nicaraguan SAMs for two years already, which wasn’t in the original story. That’s reassuring, since I suppose that if the terrorists had a workable SAM they’d have used it somewhere by now (in Iraq or Afghanistan if not in America). The idea of the jet-tracking web site still sounds foolhardy, though.
UPDATE (9:16 PM): Just to clear up what might otherwise be murky in my hurried post, the government entity involved here is the airport itself, which is owned and run by the City of Cleveland (except security of course, which falls under the TSA). So far as I can determine, this web site idea is not a state or federal one. The feds ought to take notice of this, in my opinion, if it truly will allow detailed jet tracking online.
UPDATE (9:30 PM): Jeff Quinton has thoughts on a similar-sounding system he’s seen before, and I sure hope what Hopkins has got planned is no more detailed than that.

Bleak surroundings = good blogging?

Chad The Elder at Fraters Libertas wonders if the climate, coupled with the local media’s blatant liberal bias and poor writing skills, might explain the bounty of good center-right bloggers in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. He also wonders if boredom might be involved. Now if Chad’s hypothesis is true, there must be several promising center-right bloggers in the Cleveland area.
Hmmmm …

An open letter to fellow motorists

Dear fellow Cleveland motorists,
I’m a pretty easygoing guy, but lately your collective driving habits have tempted me to mount a bazooka on my hood. To avoid further unpleasantness, I offer the following driving tips:

  1. The long pedal on the right is the accelerator. The wide pedal on the left is the brake. Learn the difference.
  2. That double yellow line on your left isn’t decorative. It means stay the hell out of my lane.
  3. When coming to a stop on a dry road, don’t brake – release – brake – release – SLAMBRAKE. Start braking early and smoothly, and I won’t feel the need to put my front bumper through your headrest.
  4. When braking in wet/snowy/icy conditions, apply your preferred dry braking technique from the previous rule, minus the slam at the end. You’re in Cleveland, where 99% of primates understand driving in inclement weather. If you can’t help doing a 180, don’t blame us for laughing.
  5. To turn right, you don’t need to drift leftward first. Your car is capable of turning ninety degrees directly onto a cross street or into a driveway if driven by a minimally sentient being.
  6. The yellow light does not mean “Hurry, next three cars! Floor it and squirt through the intersection!”
  7. The green light doesn’t mean “sit there gaping.” Study Rule Number 1 and apply it.
  8. If you’re over 65 and peering out between the top of your dashboard and the top of your steering wheel, get a damn booster chair or take the bus.
  9. That persistent clicking you hear isn’t your watch. It’s your left turn signal, blinking moronically as you cruise the Shoreway. I’m the guy behind you, anxiously hoping you won’t execute a sudden merge into my passenger seat as I try to pass you … which will inevitably be followed by your outraged explanation to the nice State Trooper: “But I had my turn signal on, officer!”
  10. The posted speed limit is a good guideline when choosing a minimum speed. If you can’t bear to get closer than 10 mph below it, take the bus and save my blood pressure.
  11. If I’m driving on the city street you’re waiting to merge into from that parking lot off to the side, wait ’til I’m at least even with you before you stake a claim to my lane. Otherwise I’m going to remember my sailor vocabulary, and some emphatic finger gestures too.
  12. If you’re under 18, think you’re a good driver, and have the keys to anything with more than four cylinders, I have four words for you: Stay. Away. From. Me.
  13. If you’re going to drive like a suicide bomber dodging machine gun nests, at least have the courtesy to pass this infidel on the left, okay?
  14. I have no bumper stickers, my license plate is readable from 100 feet away, and there’s nothing else of interest on the back of my van. Now back off before I brakecheck you.
  15. Use your high beams only when you’re all alone on the road. When I’m coming toward you (or when you’re catching up to me), I take it personally when you cauterize every rod and cone in my eyes. If at all possible I’m going to take you with me as I careen off the road into an oak tree.
  16. When a cop has a speeder pulled over on the other side of I-71, you don’t need to slow down. He can’t jump the concrete barrier and chase you down, even if he’s one of Linndale‘s Finest. Drive on, dummy.
  17. Same goes for accidents on the other side. The authorities are busy over there, so look at it as an opportunity to make up some time on your trip. Gawk at it on the evening news, not here in front of me.
  18. Bumper-to-bumper traffic jams suck, especially when we’re all trying to get home on the highway. It’s good form to let alternate cars merge into the flow, which is known as “taking turns.” When you decide that your destination is more important than mine by one car length’s worth, I’m going to step out of my car and smack you upside the head until you can’t think past the kindergarten level … at which point you’ll remember about “taking turns.”
  19. During those bumper-to-bumper snarls, passing the rest of us lemmings on the shoulder will guarantee 83 calls to the cops with your license plate playing a starring role.

Kindly print out a copy of this little missive and either tape it to your dashboard or have it tattooed backwards on your forehead for future reference. Because the next time you cut me off, the last thing you’ll see in your rearview mirror is a speck trailing smoke and approaching awfully fast.
Best wishes,
The Puddle Pirate

Arabica blogging

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.

Step back and watch the fireworks

Ah, schadenfreude. The City of Cleveland, financially mismanaged for decades by liberals, decided a year or so ago to cut expenses and laid off a bunch of police, firefighters, and EMTs. Bob Beck and the rest of the leadership of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association is now considering whether to retaliate in the way every politician fears most: using the ballot box.

Cleveland police, hacked off because of layoffs, are planning to take out some frustration on Cleveland City Council. The police union’s executive board met this month to talk about a ballot issue to shrink council from 21 members to as few as seven. The full union is expected to vote on it Dec. 9 and firefighters may join in. “They abandoned the unions and were hypocrites, and they don’t expect this to happen?” asked union President Bob Beck.

I’m torn here. This is a fight between a labor union (ugh) and a liberal Democrat-dominated city council (ugh). Is there some way I can root against both sides?

Condi’s a Dawg

According to the L.A. Times, Condi Rice has a favorite NFL team:

Then there are the endless conversations about sports. Bush is omnivorous when it comes to sports, making a special point of rooting for Texas teams. Rice is a little more selective, preferring football — especially the Cleveland Browns, her team since childhood.

I like her even more now.
Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

Cleveland’s good news hat trick

Greater Cleveland may be a political and fiscal and economic basketcase, but we needn’t lose hope in the area’s core city. Three tidbits of good news have cropped up in the past week.

  1. The VP debate may have generated anywhere from $4.1 million to $45 million of P.R. for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
  2. The Cuyahoga River is slowly coming back to life. It’s at least 20 years away from a clean bill of health, but local efforts are underway to remove the Cuyahoga from an international list of the most-polluted sites on the Great Lakes and to finish the cleanup. Clean water’s critical to any city, and I’m glad that the locals are taking the lead on this project instead of the feds. Of course, I never want to see the end of Burning River Pale Ale.
  3. Cleveland will remain a hub for Continental Airlines through, thanks to Democrat Mayor Jane Campbell. This is especially encouraging, since according to WTAM most airlines have lately refused to commit past three to five years in other cities, and Continental also committed to $141 million in capital improvements at Cleveland International … including another lengthened runway to compliment the most recent stretch job. Hats off to you, Jane. Nice work.

Now let’s lower local taxes and ease stupid regulations (read: elect Republicans), get some development going downtown (instead of parking lots), exploit our waterfront with something more attractive than Whiskey Island, and clean out the dive bars and rundown warehouses in The Flats.

UPDATE: Oh, and put a stop to this nonsense too.

Moonbat mating call

President Bush is coming here to the Cleveland area on the day after tomorrow, and the liberal barking moonbats are putting out the call to gather and agitate. Both the abortion industry and organized labor are running this show. In a blatant case of psychological projection, the moonbats have named Saturday’s protest the “Flip-Flop Forum.”

From: Debbie Kline []
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2004 9:28 AM
To: Debbie Kline
Subject: Anti-Bush Rally we need your help!
Planned Parenthood will be participating in this event and would like to have a nice sized turnout of Planned Parenthood volunteers. Please let me know if you would be interested in attending because the location of this event has changed a couple of times. You can either email or call me at the phone number below. The organizers will be sending out a final email on Friday so I will pass the information on to you.
I look forward to seeing you there! Thank you!
Debbie Kline, Field Coordinator
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio

From: John Gallo []
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 5:41 PM
To: John Gallo
Subject: Anti-Bush Rally this Saturday
The Rapid Response Network, a coalition of many organizations and leaders, is calling upon all people who oppose the policies of President Bush and want to see him retire in November to join together for a media action and rally.
When: Saturday, August 4,2004
Time: 8:00 AM
Where: Brecksville-Broadview Hts. High School, 6380 Mill Rd. in Brecksville.

George W. Bush will be speaking at the Brecksville-Broadview Hts. High School this Saturday at what is being billed as an oportunity to ask questions of the president.
Instead of attending this staged indoor event, we will hold an outdoor event called the “Bush Flip-Flop Forum.” With serious humor, we will have real people asking a fake president real questions about the war and terrorism, education and issues affecting working people, and hearing the answers from Fip and Flop, the two faces of Dubya.
We know 8 AM is a crazy hour for a media event/rally. But with only two months before Election Day, we must use every opportunity we get to get our message out.
We will send a final e-mail on Friday.

Come see the moonbats flocking, and bring a camera! Here are the directions.

Cleveland Plain Dealer still stalling

I’ve been pointing out the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s embargo on news addressing John Kerry’s lies about his service in Vietnam, and I don’t plan to stop. To this day, the only article that even mentions John Kerry’s “Christmas in Cambodia” lie is this one, which gently skims the surface thus:

Kerry also said in the Senate in 1986 that he entered Cambodia on secret missions, which would have been illegal, and in other accounts he specifically recalled being there on Christmas Eve, 1968, a memory “seared” in his mind.
Fellow officers and living commanders said he was 55 miles from the Cambodian border and never entered Cambodia.
They also criticize him for associating President Nixon with the alleged Cambodian incursions of 1968, since Nixon didn’t take office until 1969.
Kerry adviser Michael Meehan said on Friday that Kerry was “near and around the border” on Dec. 24, 1968 – Christmas Eve – and “for certain he transported Special Operations folks into Cambodia” other times.

Talk about missing the point and omitting the real story. So that’s the way we get our printed “news” in Cleveland. No other mention of the lie. Anywhere.
I can guess why.

Cleveland Plain Dealer’s bad news embargo enters Day 16

John Kerry lied about his service in Vietnam, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer has one response:

� SuperStock, Inc.

It’s been over two weeks since the accusations surfaced, and it sure looks like they’re trying to hold out for another 74 days.
As I predicted yesterday, today’s PD has reported nothing about the most damning news: Kerry’s “Christmas in Cambodia” lie, which Kerry’s campaign was forced to admit as such. There are six stories today mentioning John Kerry, and not a one of them even touches the Cambodia story. The PD focuses on “medals, medals, medals” when the explosive story is “Cambodia, Cambodia, Cambodia.” Don’t even get me started on Kerry’s magic hat and his adventures in gun-running. This guy’s another Walter Mitty masquerading as a presidential nominee, but apparently that’s not news around here.
I’m forced to conclude that the Plain Dealer is trying to protect their candidate, John Kerry. Rather than mention the news that’s finally breaking into public view (depite furious mainstream media spin), the PD continues to abdicate its responsibility to report it. Instead, they run a single AP article reporting on Kerry’s speech yesterday (“parroting Kerry’s speech” would be a more accurate description). But at least the AP wrote something, which beats the PD’s non-effort.
I did find one mention of Kerry’s “Christmas in Cambodia” lie in today’s paper … in a letter to the editor by Corrie Bergeron of Eastlake, Ohio. Bravo, Corrie! You’ve managed to do more reporting on the biggest political story around than the nation’s twentieth largest newspaper.

UPDATE: More here.

Moonbats in Cleveland

Good gravy! The moonbats gathered in Cleveland this weekend, and I wasn’t there to hassle them! If I’d only known, I’d have had a chance to ridicule Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Fisher Stevens, Julianna Margulies and Chad Lowe in person. I’m so disappointed.

Stevens identified himself as a Kerry supporter. But he said it is wrong to assume everyone in Hollywood is a liberal Democrat.
“The irony is you can look to the governor’s mansion in California now and a former president from California to understand that actors are not all liberal, far from it.

Refuting this one’s such an obvious slam dunk that I won’t insult your intelligence by hanging on the rim.

They (Bush supporters) love to label Hollywood liberal. All I’m trying to say here is, ‘Hey, let’s wake up, let’s take responsibility for the country.'”

I love being lectured on personal responsibility by a loon who supports the party of libertines.

Stevens said he has come to realize that Ohio may play a crucial role in the election.

Sharp as a beach ball, this one. He sure does encourage the “all actors are smart” stereotype that I keep hearing about.

“I don’t pretend to tell Ohioans what to do and who to vote for,” Stevens said. “I just want to raise money for this organization. It’s not only about money, it’s about awareness.”

Translation: “My intelligence may rival that of a sea cucumber, but I look pretty and I’m famous. I’ll just raise money so the lawyers and the lobbyists can tell Ohioans what to do and who to vote for.”

[An organizer] said some of those who were featured at the fund-raisers Saturday night may return in September for an Ohio bus tour.

Oh, please. Please come back. I promise I’ll be gentle.