Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Buckeye State

Image by Rupert Kittinger-Sereinig from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it." -P.J. O'rourke 

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),

It occurred to me that it has been quite a while since I have written much, if anything, about my tired little town, one of many in a tired little valley that doesn't look like a valley.  

{Tired? A valley that doesn't look like one?}

As to tired, Dana, Hooterville is in the heart of the rustbelt, and despite heroic efforts to revive it and the valley in which it's located, it remains rather rusty overall.

As to the valley thing, if you found yourself passing through, particularly if you were a Yinzer (a native of Pittsburgh like me), you'd be unlikely to notice that you were technically in a valley. 

The 'Burgh is in a clearly defined, deep valley that conforms to the definition of a valley that I learned in geography class under the tutelage of Sister Mary McGillicuddy. I wonder if there's a commonly used word for a very shallow valley? 

Just a second, I'll be right back. 

Huh, according to Google/Generative AI (Generative AI is experimental. Info quality may vary.) there are a ton of names for shallow valleys including dingle, bunny, thrutch, etceterutch. My personal favorite is cwm, a Welsh word pronounced kuum. I caught a rabbit in the cwm, so we had a Welsh rabbit for dinner. 

And now that I think about it, isn't there a tiny town in West Virginia called Dingle Bunny?

{There's something really wrong with you, you know that, right?}

Living in the Rustbelt ain't all bad. For example, recently our three-burner stove--which I bought new down at the BestBuy 16 years ago, the one near damall?--which originally had four burners transformed, literally overnight, into a two-burner, both of which were clearly not long for this world. 

Not good, particularly given the current cash flow crunch here at Casa de Chaos. However, in short order, we secured a surprisingly decent one from the next tired town over for $100, and the old one vanished the next day.

{A hundred bucks! Vanished?}
As to the price... it's better not to ask any questions. Pay the money, load up the stove, say thanks, and get out of Dodge. As to vanished, we have a very dedicated and discrete group of voluntary recyclers in the area who are happy to deal with anything made of metal left out on the curb.

We once shoved a very large, very dead air conditioner out of a first-floor window and into the yard, intending to drag it to the curb the next day. In about an hour, a very polite, if somewhat disheveled gentleman knocked on the front door to inquire if we had made funeral arrangements yet for the dead appliance in question. 

He recycled it quickly and efficiently with our blessing and our thanks.

There's an off-year election coming up, (11/7),  in which the good citizens of the Buckeye State will decide if, going forward, weed, with the requisite sin tax and no shortage of silly Rules&Regs, will be recreationally legal, not just medically legal as it is now.


Well, after all, it is a weed, and I'm led to believe it's not difficult to grow, particularly since instructions, advice, and equipment are easily acquired. My favorite caveat? You can legally grow your own, as long as you don't have more than six plants, 12 if there are at least two adults in the household that are 21 or older. 

After all, like tobacco, you're not allowed to use it till you're 21. However, it's still legal to join the military or star in a porno if you're at least 18.  

Also, possessing more than 2.5 ounces is illegal, but that's not silly. That's just Ohio trying to make sure that sin and state and local sales taxes are being collected, and that the shady-looking dude that hangs out in front of the 7-Eleven and his colleagues aren't dodging both sales and income taxes and underselling their legal competitors. 

This might seem odd given that the Republicrats, the party of small government, currently have an iron grip on most of our carefully gerrymandered state, but maintaining a full-time, two-house legislature, 24x7 x365 ain't cheap. Neither is maintaining numerous tired, tiny towns that all have their own government employees, school systems, police departments, zoning boards, etc. 

Having friends in low places, I could have weed delivered to my front door, with no delivery charge, by making a phone call. I haven't been a regular user in decades but I'm voting yes so that those who do choose to indulge can do so knowing the source of the product and know that nothing dangerous/crazy has been added to tweak its potency. 

There's another issue to vote on this year, a proposed constitutional amendment no less, that guarantees abortion rights to the women of Ohio. This, as you might imagine, has generated endless Sturm und Drang... all of it unnecessary. 

Long story short:

Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supremes but Ohio already has a law in place restricting abortion (21 weeks and 6 days), a law the majority of its citizens support.

The masters of morality in control of the Ohio Legislature pass a law that limits abortions to the first six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest, that is promptly, and currently, blocked by an injunction. 

A ballot initiative, a broadly worded amendment (thus guaranteeing endless litigation if it passes) to amend the Ohio Constitution to include abortion rights is added to the ballot. 

Money is pouring in from outside Ohio by people and organizations on both sides of the issue to fund information/disinformation campaigns. 

Our 76-year-old, five-foot-tall governor (whose son is an Ohio Supreme Court justice) and his wife have released their own ad. They both look right into the camera and lie their bums off, stating that if the amendment passes partial-birth abortion will be legal in Ohio. 

They neglect to mention that there's a federal law in place that bans that barbaric procedure nationwide.   

{Ain't it cool that the German phrase Sturm und Drang sounds like what it means in English? Is Mike Dewine really five feet tall?}

Nah, I lied. Go Buckeyes!

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Saturday, August 5, 2023


A Republican State?

 Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in debilitating psychological trauma.  



Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." -Unknown  

Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

As my regular readers are awareI live in a fortified lair, Casa de Chaos, in the mountains of Ohio. 

Ohio is a Republican stronghold these days although we do have a token Democrat, Senator Sherrod Brown, our Senior Senator (in more ways than one, he'll be 71 in November) who's been a politician for all but two years of his life since leaving college.

His brother, Charlie Brown, was the Attorney General of West (by God) Virginia from 1984 to 1989 when, according to Wikipedia,  "...he exchange for an end to a grand jury investigation into allegations that he lied under oath and into his campaign financial records." And which resulted in a very brief Wikipedia entry.

{Charlie Brown? You're making that up!}

No I'm not, Dana, follow the link.
My current official position concerning America's two major political parties can be summed up by Mercutio's famous declaration in Romeo and Juliet, "A plague o' both your houses! They have made worms meat of me."

{Thou wouldst have us believe thou art a Shakespeare fanboy, gentle sir?} 

We studied a condensed version of Romy and Julie in high school and I saw the (in?)famous 1968 movie version that very briefly featured Romy's bum and Julie's boobs. 

The teenage actors, now in their 70s, were so scarred by the experience they sued Paramount — 55 years later — for half a billion bucks, although unsuccessfully. And I'm definitely a Mark Knopfler fanboy whose song Romeo and Juliet is a favorite of mine (but not the kinda dumb video).

But I'm drifting, Dana.

{As is your wont, gentle sir.}  

All things considered, I'd rather live in a state where the Republicans are in charge rather than one in which the Democrats are because California. California reveals everything you need to know about the current state of the Democratic Party.

Big BUT, Ohio, like California, demonstrates what can happen when one-party rule is in effect. 

There's going to be a special election this week, in feckin' AUGUST! (8/8/23) to gut an Ohio tradition that's been in effect since 1912. 

There are elections every year somewhere in Ohio. We not only have off-year elections we have off-off-year elections. This year there will be statewide elections in August and November. The one in August only has one issue (no humans) on the ballot to vote for or against. 

It will cost the good citizens of Ohio about $20,000,000. 

{It can't wait till November?}


The powers that be are using the August election to change the rules in the middle of the game to help them defeat a ballot issue in the November election that will expand abortion rights — if the citizens of Ohio agree to do so. 

Currently, the carefully gerrymandered GOP supermajority has decreed that abortions are only permitted for the first six weeks of pregnancy and they don't want to take the chance that the voters might disagree. 

If next week's ballot initiative (initiated by the legislature) passes, come November it will take 60% of Ohio voters to expand abortion rights. Since 1911, ballot initiatives have only required 50% + 1 vote to pass. 

Going forward, not only will it take 60% to pass an initiative, the Rules&Regs for citizens seeking to get an initiative placed on the ballot will tighten dramatically. Bottom line: much harder to initiate, much harder to pass. 

Given how polarized Americans are just now, getting 60% of voters to agree on anything, anywhere, is obviously a tough sell. 

And by the way, since the old Rules&Regs will still be in effect on Tuesday, it will only take 50% + 1 voter to pass the new Rules&Regs, and the taxpayers are on the hook for the $20,000,000 regardless of the result.

Machiavelli smiles. 

A very long story short: At the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1912, Teddy Roosevelt spoke in favor of the creation of the current system. “I believe in the initiative and the referendum, which should be used not to destroy representative government, but to correct it whenever it becomes misrepresentative.”  

The referendum on referendums passed and it became possible for anybody to start a petition drive to amend the Ohio constitution, propose a new law, or overturn an existing one. Get enough signatures and the proposed statute or amendment will be on the ballot. 

If 50% of the voters, and that nut job from Newton Falls support it (+1), it passes. 

(Irony alert. The referendum that permitted initiatives and referendums passed with 57.5% of the vote. If the proposed new Rules&Regs had been in effect it wouldn't have passed.) 
Last January, the legislature passed HB 458, an election reform law. According to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose the bill, among other things, did away with "...August special elections – a costly, low-turnout, and unnecessary election for our county boards to administer – unless it involves a political subdivision or school district that is in a state of fiscal emergency."

(It's a tradition in Ohio for subdivisions and school districts to use August elections to get unpopular levies passed with the help of low voter turnout. F.Y.I., despite allegedly being a Republican state, Ohio has a sales tax, sin taxes, property taxes, local special levies, local income taxes, and a state income tax.) 
Last May, they decided that there would be at least one more special state-wide August election, hoping to bump 50% to 60% before the abortion vote this fall, hopefully while no one was paying attention. The good news is that a lot of ones were, and are, paying attention. The Democratic Party, among others, has made sure of that.

{Wait-wait-wait. Aren't you the one that's written about the wisdom of America's founding pasty patriarchs setting up a republic to counteract the downsides of democracy? Couldn't "initiatives and referendums" proposed by Wokies or Normies get ugly?} 

Potentially, sure. Another big BUT: since 1913, only 71 citizen-driven ballot initiatives made it to the ballot and just 19 were approved by voters. That's an average of once every six years or so.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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