San Diego to ban Wal-Mart Supercenters

Councilman Tony Young, who joined the 5-3 majority, countered, "I have a vision for San Diego and that vision is about walkable, livable communities, not big, mega-structures that inhibit people's lives."
You can't convince me that the lower gas prices weren't a political maneuver.

For months they've been low, as low as 1.99/2.01 in some places. For the last month they've been around 2.14 - 2.24. The last few days they were 2.14.

Today, after the election, after Republicans got their asses handed to them?

2.34.

MY. ASS.

Yeah, that's not as high as it's been; compared to this time last year it's still relatively low. Just watch and see what happens to gas prices now, though. I'm convinced they're going to go up again.

Good thing I filled up on Monday.
Ohio Elects Strickland

This is just based on exit polls and only 1 precinct reporting, but ohmygod it makes me SO. HAPPY.


I am stupid amounts of tired, and I need to go to bed, but I know I won't be able to sleep until Hamilton County releases their results at 9pm. *sigh*



Also: Ken Blackwell is the devil. Seriously. Not a minion of the devil. The actual devil himself. That I don't actually believe in. HA HA BLACKWELL. I DON'T BELIEVE IN YOU.



I.............need some sleep.
Live in Ohio? This may be helpful for you before you go to the polls.


DO NOT VOTE FOR ISSUE 4. Issue 4 is sponsered by R. J. Reynolds Co and is a constitutional amendment. If this issue passes, it reverses all citywide bans on smoking, such as Centerville and Columbus.

DO NOT VOTE FOR ISSUE 4.


Make up your own mind on Issue 5. Issue 5 is the real smoking issue. I am personally in favor of it, but I can't tell you which way to go. All I can say is Issue 4 = sponsered by cigarette company = BAD. Issue 5 = fair vote.
Yet another reason NOT to vote for Blackwell and to vote NO on TEL.  From my mother:

"From American Libraries [Journal]…



Medway, Mass., May Shut Library to Balance Budget

In the wake of residents’ failure to override Massachusetts’ Proposition 2 1/2 tax-limitation law, the town of Medway may shut its library to balance its budget. The town’s Finance Committee recommended May 10 that the library be closed July 1, for a savings of $280,000, to offset Medway’s expected $868,600 FY 2007 deficit.

The library board voted May 17 to request that selectmen place a second override measure, for $400,000, on a ballot before June 30, the last day of the fiscal year. In April voters rejected the previous attempt, for $2.5 million, the Milford Daily News reported May 18.

Library Director Patrick Marshall warned that shutting the library would result in loss of state certification, which is necessary for state funding and resource sharing. He added that several librarians from nearby towns have said they would deny service to Medway residents if their library closed. Last year the library cut its staff by one-third and reduced operating hours, requiring it to get a waiver from the state to maintain certification.

“I came to Medway two-and-a-half years ago, and pretty much all I’ve watched is the slow destruction of the library,” said Marshall, who recently accepted a new job as director of the Bourne (Mass.) Public Library, the Boston Globe reported May 18."

I asked her "Why would librarians from other towns deny service to Medway residents?"

She said, "Because without state funding, libraries are funding from their local constituencies, and if Medway isn't pulling their weight, the other towns won't reciprocate.  That's the way it used to be in Ohio, and it's the way it is in Indiana.  If you are outside a library taxing district you have to pay big bucks annually to 'join'."

Town won't let unmarried parents live together



BLACK JACK, Missouri (AP) -- The City Council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town's Planning and Zoning Commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the City Council in a 5-3 vote.

"I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town's definition of family could soon face eviction.

Black Jack's special counsel, Sheldon Stock, declined to say whether the city will seek to remove Loving and Shelltrack from their home.
From my mother:

"Here is another frightening piece of legislation brought to you by the
same narrow minds who instituted the so-called Patriot Act. It's one of
those, like TEL, that sound great in a sound bite. "We are going to
protect your children from online predators. Perverts will no target
your children, and your kids will be protected from accessing MySpace or
similar sites at school or the library". What it DOESN'T say, of
course, is that it wipes out with one stroke all collaborative
technology for both children and adults.

By denying access to instant messages, you wipe out online reference
service. Ohio is a national leader with Know It Now and Read This Now,
IM sites where a trained reference librarian "co-browses" with a user at
home, showing websites and information resources that can answer a
question without coming into the library. This allows the librarian to
provide a "teachable moment", demonstrating how to evaluate a site to
see if it is legitimate and authoritative. It provides a virtual
library branch for those who don't have time--or maybe don't have the
means--to come to the building. It works for busy moms, latchkey
children, business people, the elderly, the disabled. For
schoolchildren with homework related questions, Know It Now connects the
child with Tutor.com, which pairs the child with a teacher licensed in
the subject of the child's question. All this, gone with one stroke of
Dubya's pen.


For adults with trying and tragic situations, chat rooms, forums and
blogs are literal lifesavers. This is where people with lifethreatening
illnesses find support groups, where people in intolerable life
situations find comfort, where people learn about things that are too
new to be in books. No more Rick Steves travel forums for me--way too
controversial to find out what bed and breakfast in Ireland his readers
recommend!

Folks, this will NOT stop perverted adults from preying on children. It
will drive children away from open access to information, along with the
opportunity for open communication with parents and caring adults about
the safe use of the Internet. It will drive curious children to
sneaking access from friends with computers whose parents aren't home,
from Internet cafes, from many other places where computer access is
available. It will only be in the schools and libraries where real
information is banned.


We won't be stopping predators, we will be stopping the free flow of
information which provides the oxygen that allows a free and open
society to breathe.
The pompous posturing and self serving, mindless
pandering to the right wing radicals by our so-called public servants
disgusts me. Throughout all the mindless excesses of the Bush years, I
have remained heartened that, at our center, we were still a society
that could learn and grow, and hope to attain the ideals of our
Founders. I can't believe that anymore. I am so ashamed of this
country.

Mimi/Mom"
Yesterday at a staff meeting we watched a DVD that showed how TABOR affected the state of Colorado. TABOR is the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. Blackwell is trying to bring TABOR here to Ohio in the form of the TEL Amendment.

They both sound good on paper, and they'll sound really good to the uneducated voters on election day. Limit government spending? Sure! Less taxes? Great! We'll get a refund? Bonus!

The problem is that TABOR and TEL are flawed and well, basically shit. They pretty much ruin all state-funded programs such as public education (primary schools AND state colleges), roads, libraries, medicaid, roads, fire departments.

The video made a point to show republican senators and voters saying "TABOR is a bad idea! We wish we'd never voted for TABOR! Don't make the same mistake we did!" I thought that was interesting. They specifically pointed out the people that were republicans, but not the people that were any other party. Like, "Look, even other republicans think this is shit!"

From "The Coalition for Ohio's Future:"

What Happened in Colorado?

The Ohio TEL Amendment is nearly identical to Colorado’s TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) Amendment in place since 1992. In the only state where such a budget formula amendment exists, it has failed. For example:

* Funding for public schools fell to 50th in the nation;
* Higher education has suffered;
* Transportation and infrastructure needs are behind.

In fact, TABOR problems are so severe that last November 2005 Colorado voters approved a five-year suspension of the amendment, to allow the state a chance to recover. Why would Ohio pass a measure that hasn’t worked in the only state to have tried it?

Click here to view a video about TABOR in Colorado, and what citizens and leaders in that state have to say about its harm to K-12 education, public safety, higher education, healthcare and agriculture.


I don't think this is expected to be voted on until November 2007. So yeah, it seems like, "Why worry now?" Watch the video. (If you can get it to load) It was SCARY. We can NOT let this amendment pass. Seriously, people. We need to be spreading the word NOW.
Upset about South Dakota's abortion ban?

Please go here, read the article at the link that's been posted, and then make a donation if you so choose.

I think the idea is incredible.



ETA:

From [livejournal.com profile] maggiesox:

State bill proposes Christianity be Missouri’s official religion

Missouri legislators in Jefferson City considered a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion.

The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."
From my mother via the head of the library:

The Blackwell assault on local control



The most important vote you will cast all year

By Michael Douglas, Beacon Journal associate editor
Akron Beacon Journal Editorial

Visit www.kenblackwell.com, the home page of Blackwell for Governor, and you won't readily find reference to the candidate's proposed constitutional amendment setting limits on state spending and taxation.

You must click twice, and scroll down. There it is! -- under ``Ken Blackwell's Job Creating Agenda'' and ``Control Government Spending.''

How uplifting, right? Ohio must create more jobs. Anyone for out-of-control spending? To read more, click again.

You wouldn't think a proud candidate would throw even one obstacle in the way of the curious seeking access to such a sweeping and dramatic plan. Blackwell wants to limit annual increases in ``aggregate'' state spending to 3.5 percent or the rate of inflation plus population growth (whichever is greater). Does the click, click, click reveal a certain doubt, the secretary of state and Cincinnati Republican beginning to see the flaws and ambiguities, the real harm lurking in his proposal?

His appearance at a recent forum in Columbus, sharing the stage with the other candidates for governor, Republicans and Democrats, hardly suggested so. Blackwell appeared almost amused at the rhetorical bolts hurled by Jim Petro, his Republican challenger and the attorney general. Petro labeled the proposal a ``nightmare'' and a ``disaster.'' Blackwell responded, ``There's nothing more in need of restraint in the state than government spending.''

Good line? Of course.

That's what should concern the others running for governor -- and the rest of us. The amendment is set for the November ballot. If it wins voter approval, the next governor will face severe restrictions in moving the state forward. Petro isn't exaggerating. Colorado has already tried something similar, suspending the measure last fall, Republicans and Democrats joining to escape the devastating squeeze, having watched the state's investment in the future, from education to transportation, suffer gravely.

In other words, whether you favor Petro or Ted Strickland or Bryan Flannery or Blackwell (for heaven's sake), you will cast no more important vote than the one on this proposed constitutional amendment.

A political consultant may smile, twirling the end of his mustache, at the devilishness at work. Blackwell understands the pull of the gut, energizing the faithful with the slogan, ``Damn, they spend too much!'' Remember how good it may have felt to send a message by approving term limits. And now? What a miserable result.

This amendment reflects a similar false promise. Those tempted or determined to vote yes should consider two elements that have received too little attention: the sloppy (or sinister) crafting of the amendment and the withering assault on local control, the state driving decision-making in cities, townships and school districts.

How sloppy?

The amendment applies to the spending of the state and local governments. An entity seeking to raise taxes or to spend beyond the limit must ask voters for approval. The provisions covering the state are straightforward: Win a majority of those who cast ballots, and you prevail. At the local level? It gets tricky. The requirement calls for gaining a majority of all electors, yes, all eligible voters.

Do the math. If 51 percent of eligible voters go to the polls, a city with a tax increase or plan to lift the spending limit would have to receive the support of virtually every voter.

If 40 percent of voters turn out? The city has no chance.

Blackwellian types reassuringly wave away concerns. Will the courts decide? What a splendid use of time, and somewhat contrary to the lament of so many in the conservative camp about the legal system having the last word on too many matters.

The amendment fails to define precisely how the limitation would apply to taxing districts that cross political boundaries. It requires the state to cover the cost of all mandates on local governments (not a bad idea). What's missing? A definition of ``mandate,'' leaving the courts with another task.

Blackwell has justified his own easy spending in office, far exceeding the demands of his proposal, by pointing to the virtue of fees, differing from broad taxes because they are voluntary. Yet the amendment would cover revenue from all kinds of taxes and fees. Any surplus money would go into a reserve fund or into the pockets of taxpayers in the form of a refund. Which taxpayers would receive refunds? Those who pay income taxes. That sounds reasonable -- until you note the many ways Ohioans are tapped, starting with the sales tax.

Township trustees often put aside savings when they intend in the coming years to buy, say, a fire truck. They smartly avoid having to finance the purchase. Under the amendment, they may face a dismaying choice, when the savings pushes the township above the spending cap. They might go to the voters for approval (inviting ridicule for asking such a silly question). Or they might increase the overall cost of the purchase by borrowing the money and paying interest.

In a similar way, the amendment blurs the distinction between the state's operating budget and its capital budget, neglecting the important difference between investing in the future and covering immediate needs.

This proposal is rife with perversities. The governor would have the final say on an emergency exception, after lawmakers approved exceeding the spending limit. Lawmakers wouldn't have the chance to override the imperial veto and send the question to voters.

Who intends to be governor? Why, Ken Blackwell.
And on the TV News, it’s:
Poor Black Women (colon) The Expert Opinion
And all these white male scholars saying:
Well, she shouldn’t have a baby if she can’t feed him.
But she shouldn’t have an abortion either,
She should just know better.
You see, knowledge is power
Yeah, but power is money and
Money’s what matters.


--Criminal, Alix Olson
More from my mother:

"Here is some of the latest information that we have about the destructive power of Ken Blackwell’s TEL Amendment. This will be on the ballot next November, and current polling shows that 69% of probable voters support the Amendment. That is because the “sound bites” sound very positive—limit government spending, get money back from the government, etc. What has happened in Colorado is that schools and roads are crumbling, child immunization rates have fallen to the lowest in the country, and colleges are forced into dramatic tuition increases or program cuts. The minimal “refunds” that citizens get (average for a fairly well off family: about $250) is more than offset by the higher fees and local taxes for everything from textbooks to park entrance passes. Prenatal programs for at-risk mothers are essentially gone. Libraries are closing branches and cutting services. One of the most insidious clauses of the amendment is the formula of inflation + population growth. The population growth in the formula is an OVERALL figure for the county or state. This ignores the fact that while the area may be losing population overall, it is gaining population in the most at-risk demographics: aging baby boomers and children. The resources needed for services to these groups increase far faster than for the overall population. The inflation factor is tied to the Consumer Price Index, which is a hypothetical “basket” of goods and service purchased by individuals and families. It does not take into account that the purchases made by local government (public safety, health care, education) have costs that rise far more rapidly than the CPI. Please, please share with your friends that this is a bad idea that will cost jobs and lives…and drive our state further into an economic decline. "




http://www.swwerth.com/TEL_Brochure_version_2.doc
"From our friends in Washington...yes, Big Brother IS prying into your
library records, and your librarian isn't allowed to tell you about it.
Blecch."


The American Library Association expresses disappointment in USA
PATRIOT Act compromise
http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleases2006/februray/patriotcomp.htm

Washington, DC - The American Library Association (ALA) is one of the leading forces expressing opposition to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Across the country librarians have led the fight to advocate for changes in the law to make it more protective of civil liberties while still allowing law enforcement to use the tools necessary for the country's protection.

A compromise on the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act has been reached, but offers little improvements to Section 215 regarding individualized suspicion, and under the new legislation the recipient of a Section 215 court order does not have the ability to meaningfully challenge the order or the attached gag order in a court of law.

"It hardly seems constitutional that there is still no individualized suspicion requirement and that a recipient of a subpoena must wait a full year to challenge a gag order," said ALA president Michael Gorman. "We're glad to see that there is still a 4-year sunset provision for Section 215, which will allow oversight again in four years, but disappointed that the negotiators just did not go far enough.

"The fig leaf of the alleged remedy for library patrons is the change which restricts the use of National Security Letters to obtain records on traditional library services, including use of the Internet, but this does not provide clear protection."

Currently, Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act gives the FBI vastly expanded authority to search business records, including the records of bookstores and libraries. The FBI may request the records secretly, and is not required to prove that there is "probable cause" to believe the person whose records are being sought has committed a crime or is in contact with a terrorist. The bookseller or librarian who receives an order is prohibited from revealing it to anyone except those whose help is needed to produce the records.

"We appreciate the supporters from both sides of the aisle who tried to properly balance the civil liberties concerns," said Emily Sheketoff, director, ALA Washington Office. "Unfortunately, the White House prevailed and the Senators who negotiated this bill were unable to address the very real concerns in Section 215 - the standard for its use and the ability to meaningfully challenge these orders in a court of law."

Legislators have until March 10 to vote to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT Act.

For more information on the American Library Association's efforts to amend Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act please visit www.alawash.org.
Hackett drops out of Senate race, leaving politics

This is just disappointing on so many levels.

Hackett was a really great guy...I really wanted him to win last year.  Besides the loss of an honest and level-headed voice in politics, we have to see the democratic leaders acting stupid, stupid, stupid.  The upper levels of the democratic party is screwed up, IMO.  They have completely lost touch with the real world.  Hackett was the real world.  He would have been a good senator.

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