I just wanted to drop you a note and remind you that Osama Bin Laden is still running around loose in the world. It seems like you may be pre-occupied with the occupation of Iraq and this fact may have slipped your mind. Almost four years ago you promised to get the guy who masterminded the 9/11 attacks but nothing seems to have come of it.
With you being a cowboy, I think we all thought that when you said you were going to get him dead or alive, that meant you were going to round up the world's biggest posse and go hunt this varmint down. Heck, I'm pretty sure that even those of us who didn't vote for you thought you'd probably seen enough Clint Eastwood movies to understand that when someone kills your family, you do something about it. Let me point you to The Outlaw Josey Wales for the proper mindset.
Unfortunately, you decided to act out a revenge drama of your own and go after your daddy's nemesis in Iraq. Well, now that Saddam Hussein is cooling his heels in a jail cell enjoying Doritos, you may want to look at the calendar and notice that the fourth anniversary of that terrible day in 2001 is quickly approaching.
You gave George Tenet the Medal of Freedom for the way he led the CIA following 9/11 but Osama is still running loose. Richard Clarke tried to tell everyone in your administration that al Qaeda was a threat as soon as you took office but he was ignored and then ridiculed when he spoke out. You surround yourself with chickenhawks like Cheney, Perle and Wolfowitz but their advice is all about finishing up the first Gulf War and ignoring the fact that we're just as vulnerable today as we were on the morning of September 11, 2001.
There's an old saying in Texas, Mr. President and I think it applies here. You're all hat and no cattle. Real cowboys take care of their own. Chickenhawks serve themselves.
Ohio Governor Bob Taft has been charged with ethics violations because he did not report gifts such as dinners, hockey tickets and golf outings (Full story here). State ethics laws require elected officials to report gifts worth more than $75.00 unless the donor is reimbursed.
Two of the golf outings were paid for by Tom Noe, the GOP donor and coin dealer who has been at the heart of an ongoing investment scandal which has cost the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation millions of dollars (above photo is Taft and Noe). Governor Taft talks a good game when it comes to ethics but lately it has become clear that he may be confused about some issues. Either the omissions were genuine oversights with no intent to hide the trips and outings or the Governor is learning some nasty tricks from his pal Tom Noe. I don't know about anyone else but I'm not impressed with either incompetency or criminal behavior from the man in charge in Columbus.
The Taft gang in Columbus has always played it fast and loose, from defying a state Supreme Court ruling that Ohio schools are funded unfairly to keeping the same faces in high state offices. Attorney General Betty Montgomery reached the end of her term limit in 2002 and promptly ran for and was elected state auditor. State auditor Jim Petro served two terms and then ran for and was elected attorney general. While there is nothing illegal about "switching offices" as these two did, this kind of insular politicking gives the impression that the same people are always going to hold the high offices in the state. Anyone who thinks there is nothing wrong with that only needs to look at the head man of the GOP in Ohio, Governor Bob Taft.
In the wake of the scandal concerning the Bureau of Worker's Compensation and the current ethics charges, Governor Taft should resign his office.
According to the Tribune Chronicle, Youngstown had it's 23rd homicide of the year Sunday when 48 year old Harold Dennis was found shot in a field on the city's South Side on Willis Avenue. In 2004 there were 22 homicides.
Upon reading this article I found this sentence about a potential witness to be very telling, "One Willis Avenue resident told police his wife had heard three gunshots between 2 and 2:30 a.m. Sunday but did not look outside." No kidding she didn't look outside. She was probably afraid she and her husband would be victims 24 and 25.
This is the fifth killing in August for the city.
As you watch the Youngstown Convocation Center being built and you think of all the tax money being spent building it, you have to ask yourself one very important question. How is Youngstown government going to attract people to come to events and, more importantly, stay in the city after attending events to spend money at area establishments when headlines like this are in the newspapers almost every day?
If this crime trend continues, people will come to events and then rush out of the city for dinner and drinks afterward. Look at Market Street with it's rich tapestry of abandoned buildings, sex shops, and dive bars. Who would want to go into one of those fine establishments when Boardman's bright lights and zero-sleaze atmosphere are just ten minutes away?
Getting the covocation center built was only half the battle. Youngstown needs to take the tax increase it's citizens have seen fit to give city government and clean things up. It's time to start knocking some buildings down, giving good businesses incentives to come back and giving people a return on their tax dollars. The truth is, people expect high crime rates in the city and they are rarely disappointed
In what appears to be an area wide race to see who can make the Mahoning Valley look the worst, Juvenile Court Judge Theresa A. Dellick cut off phone and voice mail service to an office used by two Mahoning County prosecutors who work in the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center. Apparently Judge Dellick wants to use the office space for a day-reporting program for juveniles. We say apparently because it looks like the judge snipped the phone lines as she left on a trip. The Vindicator reports she was on vacation and unavailable for comment although with actions like this, one has to believe such comments would consist of "nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah".
The Vindicator also reports that the prosecutors in question actually work at the court so one would assume they need office space to do their job. According to Mahoning County prosecutor Paul Gains, victims of crime and witnesses no longer have any way to reach the prosecutors handling their cases.
You know, nothing says sound responsible government like an elected official who solves problems by turning off basic utilities. Maybe tomorrow she can turn the lights off and really show them who's boss.
Jennifer and George Hyatt were caught in Columbus, Oh Wednesday night, 36 hours after a daring jail break in Kingston, TN which left one corrections officer dead. At this time it is unclear whether or not Columbus was their planned destination or if they were trying to reach the safety of Youngstown, which lately seems to be a haven for killers.
Y-Town had it's 20th homicide of the year Tuesday when 28 year old Michael S. Olenik Jr. was shot to death downtown on East Federal Street. According to The Vindicator, Youngstown is currrently experiencing a 54% increase in homicides. There were only 13 killings in the city at this time last year so things are definitely getting worse.
Last month's shootouts on the east side left several innocent bystanders injured and led to the evacuation of at least one government building. YPD stepped up patrols in the area but that does little to make one feel safe anywhere in the city. Clearly, raising the income tax to a whopping 2.75% has not led to an improvement in city services or given the city the money it needs to police itself.
Abandoned homes and buildings seem to invite crime and scare people away from the city. Entering the city by way of Youngstown-Hubbard Rd. leaves one with the feeling that they would be better off in an armored Humvee in case an improvised explosive device goes off. I've been traveling that piece of real estate for fifteen years now and I know the graffitti intimately. "Eddie Loves Debbie" is spray painted everywhere (and I doubt the real relationship lasted as long as the paint). The building next to the railroad tracks doesn't have an unbroken window left in it and it is clearly falling down. Is that really the image the city wants to project to people as they travel to St. Elizabeth's Hospital? It looks like you would be lucky to drive through that section of town without needing the services of the hospital once you arrive.
Mayor McKelvey should be ashamed that he's been in office as long as he has without something being done about that part of town. I guess President Bush didn't make it over that way during his visit or his favorite Democrat would have cleaned it up.
Opensecrets.org is a site that collects information on campaign contributions for the President and Members of Congress. It breaks down how much money was given through PAC's (Political Action Committees) vs individual donors, which corporations give to which candidates and who the top recipients of donors were.
By going there and doing a little research you can see that President Bush received a large amount of money from companies such as MBNA Corp, Credit Suisse First Boston, Citigroup and Bank of America. Draw your own conclusions as to how accepting contributions from large credit card companies affects his judgment when he signs laws making it harder for individuals to declare bankruptcy.
Our local Congressman, Tim Ryan, seems to be the sweetheart of the union set, with 13 of his top 22 contributors being local unions. Of course, he's a Democrat from the Mahoning Valley so that really isn't shocking.
Use this site to keep an eye on the upcoming House vote for gun industry lawsuit protection, specifically H.R. 800. The general idea with this bill is that the gun industry needs special protection from lawsuits. Apparently juries made up of regular American citizens just can't be trusted to protect corporate interests. The Senate already passed their version of the bill, S. 397. There are websites out there that promote this as some sort of second amendment fight but it's really just big business trying to muscle protectionist legislation through Congress by dropping gobs of money on legislators. A quick look here shows that dozens of Senators accepted money from the National Rifle Association and then voted in favor of giving the gun industry special protection from lawsuits. Conservatives claim they believe in smaller government and individual freedom but when push comes to shove (or money comes to the re-election campaign) they choose to take rights away from citizens and juries and protect the contributors putting them in office. I won't even go into how disgusted I am with the 14 Democrats who voted in favor of this bill and therefore decided that it in some way helped their constituents.
Don't just take my word for it, however. Go see how your elected officials are voting and see who gave them the money. Then ask yourself if they really have your best interest at heart when they cast their votes.