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Showing posts from October, 2008

Young People Shouldn't Vote?

My hometown newspaper, the Plain Dealer, printed a story in yesterday's edition about generational differences that people experience during election season. The story goes on to give anecdotes for a handful of high school and college students in the Cleveland area who have been involved in politics this year. I've always believed that our democracy would function a lot better if more people cared and participated; and the fact that I have found other young people who have a passion about our country is encouraging. I normally try to avoid the comment section on the PD's blog, but after I caught a glimpse of the first few remarks, I noticed a disturbing trend. Among the worst are highlighted below.

The first comes from a person ironically identified as LogicalMan2:
It is very sand indeed!....Very sad that the idealistic and unrealistic 18-20 year olds get to vote. These young young people have never paid taxes, had responsiblity or experienced life yet. Speaking in general, …

Is There Love in the Blogosphere?

A controversy is brewing in the blogosphere over whether blogs are a thing of the past or the wave of the future. My last piece, The Value of Blogging, is certainly an expression of my enthusiasm for the future of the medium. Others, though, are not so confident. About a week ago, Paul Boutin posted a piece titled, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004, over at Wired, writing:
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug. Writing a weblog today isn't the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It's almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressin…

The Value of Blogging

Andrew Sullivan's newest piece in The Atlantic, Why I Blog, is an essay that I believe will become an instant classic; a common reference point for the the habitually asked question, "why would anyone want to blog?" Writing and journalism has undergone a revolution in the past decade. Amazing as it is to imagine, only in recent years have we achieved the ability to disseminate information instantly to the world, from anywhere in the world. Anyone with something to say can say it - the gatekeepers of journalism, the publishers, editors and ombudsmen, have watched their authority dwindle in one of the greatest non-violent power struggles of modern history. Blogging has given a new life to free speech in America, allowing anyone to publish their thoughts without having to go through the long and lengthy process of actually getting it published.

Sullivan's piece in The Atlantic describes what blogging has brought to the world of professional journalism. Some of my favorit…

Do Cars Make Us Less Free?

In America, automobiles are portrayed as symbols of freedom. Cars are supposed to idolize “freedom of mobility” and “rugged individualism”. Auto supporters tell us that owning a car means going wherever you want, whenever you want, living wherever you want, and without anyone to stop you. It is no surprise that car commercials do everything in their power to reinforce this ideology. Unfortunately, I believe we are no longer at a period in time when a car is the ticket to freedom – quite the opposite, actually. The car represents a host of problems for society – sprawl, pollution, and traffic, among others; but the car now also represents a problem for individuals – loss of freedom and independence.

My analysis begins with the following thought experiment:

When Southwest Airlines took to the skies in the 1970s, they marketed the “freedom to fly”. The new company believed that it should be cheaper and easier to fly to various destinations than to drive, giving people who couldn’t afford t…

Eaton Corp's Big Move

Last month I voiced my criticism to the leaders of Cleveland for failing to keep Eaton Corporation in the city and instead allowing them to slip into the suburbs. Newly released documents, as reported by the Plain Dealer, indicate that it may have actually been Eaton who made demands that simply couldn’t be met. I still stand behind the contention that Eaton’s move to Cleveland’s suburbs is neither good for the city nor the region as a whole; but I also wonder whether the move is even in Eaton's own self-interest?

If my theory on demographic shift is correct, Eaton will have an increasingly difficult time attracting high quality young talent to its new corporate headquarters. First because talented young people are more apt to leave the NE Ohio region if exciting urban opportunities become sparse in Cleveland, and also because those who do stay in Cleveland will be more likely to opt for a similarly challenging and rewarding career in the city than they are in the suburbs.

Plus, wha…

What is the Plain Dealer Afraid Of?

Having watched various newspapers and magazines make their presidential endorsements over the past few months, I anxiously awaited to hear what the editors of my local paper, the Plain Dealer, had to say. I give the Plain Dealer credit for endorsing Barack Obama for President today, but I have a few concerns to address. The Plain Dealer has had a not-so-impressive endorsement history in recent years. They endorsed George W. Bush in 2000, writing:
Bush possesses a quality his opponent, Al Gore, cannot claim: authenticity. After nearly eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration, we believe Americans long for leadership that will not hide behind the absence of a 'controlling legal authority' to justify its actions.Then the PD made a controversial decision in 2004, endorsing no one:
After nearly four years spent watching George W. Bush as president, and after a year of watching Sen. John Kerry campaign to oust him, we have decided not to add one more potentially polarizing voice…

Cleveland's Leaders Aren't Doing Obama Any Favors

In the battleground state of Ohio, Barack Obama can use all the help he can get. Obama has made great progress in other rest Rust-Belt states over the past few weeks. McCain has basically conceded Michigan; and thanks to Joe Biden and Hilary Clinton campaigning heavily in Pennsylvania, Obama has moved into a double digit lead in the Keystone State. Despite similar economic and cultural conditions in Ohio, Obama is struggling to generate momentum, and unfortunately, Cleveland's Democratic leaders are not doing him any favors.

Cleveland's Democrats have had issues for years - but the past six months have pushed skepticism to a new high. Beginning in June, the Plain Dealer ran a front page story detailing Cuyahoga County's political machine, headed by county auditor, Frank Russo. The Plain Dealer's report found that nearly a third of county employees had political connections to Russo.

A month later, the FBI and IRS raided county buildings in a corruption case targeted at F…

Mixing Sports And Politics

Sports and politics each have their own sections in newspapers and for the most part are completely segregated aspects of people's lives; so it is always interesting to see what happens when the two are mixed together.

Sarah Palin received the honor of participating in the ceremonial puck drop at tonight's Rangers/Flyers game. The response was probably not exactly what America's "hockey mom" was hoping for.

Frankly, I find the crowd's reaction very similar to the one Washington Nationals fans gave to George W. Bush when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the new Nationals Park last spring.

Whether professional sports teams want to invite controversial politicians to be part of sports ceremonies is up to the team and the owners. I really wonder if inviting someone who gets booed off the ice or the mound ends up doing more harm to the team than good?

Does This Disturb Sane Conservatives?

Throughout my life I've known a lot of conservatives. You know, the kind of folks who believe in smaller government, lower taxes, fewer expenditures, a hands off approach by government in the lives of everyday people... I don't always agree with these people, but I understand where they are coming from and I usually am willing to have a discussion about various issues. For the most part, they support and vote for Republicans.

I recently saw this video that was shot outside a John McCain rally in Pennsylvania and wondered, "would a sane conservative feel comfortable around this mob?" Someone might be completely opposed to Obama's proposed policies, but would he or she be embarrassed to stand next to people blasting Obama as a Muslim and a terrorist and a commie?

I attended some political events in 2004 when Ohio was ground zero for political campaigning. Granted, there are always going to be some crazies at any political rally, but I never saw the level of hatred an…