Ohio River Life
Friday, February 27, 2009
Open Office workshop on Saturday
Saturday's workshop will be led by KSU technology professor and assistant dean Shawn Golden (top) and Beaver Local teacher Bruce White. Open Office is high-quality, open-source software offered as a free download by Sun Microsystems.
If you want to get a jump on Saturday's workshop, read about Open Office here and download the program here.
Tech Council member and East Liverpool City Councilman Brian Kerr will distribute free copies of Open Office on CD-ROM. Kerr's business, PC Doctors, is located inside the same building as the coffee shop at 129 E. Fifth Street.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Angry white southerners
If the alleged writer truly is a law student—and I don’t believe that for a minute—I think it’s safe to say his future as an attorney is bleak. Normally, I would not offer this sort of nonsense on ORL, but the most interesting news item in the local newspapers today involves someone opening a Buckeye Water District fire hydrant and letting it run for a while.
I suspect that Sarah Palin/Rush Limbaugh followers will see something like this as a manifesto. The “letter” hits every worn out, far-right cliché—those popularized in the 1960s by Christian militant groups like the John Birch Society and the Ku Klux Klan. As such, there is nothing new here. References to Jane Fonda, Barbara Streisand, and "hippies" reveal that it is merely an updated version of something written long ago by angry white males bubbling over with frustration and hate.
If nothing else, the letter demonstrates what modern Americans are up against. I present it exactly as it was sent to me:
Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:
We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.
Here is a model separation agreement:
Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.
We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).
We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street . You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood .
You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.
We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology , Humanism and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N.. but we will no longer be paying the bill.
We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.
You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors. We'll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right. We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing , Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World .
We'll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot. Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.
Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.
John J. Wall
Law Student and an American
P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda with you.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Handling the money
I was pleased to read in today’s Morning Journal that Salineville Clerk Melissa Baker has decided to take the job of East Liverpool School District assistant treasurer. Baker is an intelligent, competent, honest person—in other words, exactly who we want handling our school district’s money.
But what’s good for us in East Liverpool is not good for Salineville. Baker has provided the village with steady professionalism at perhaps the most important position in small-town government. No question the village will have a very difficult time finding someone of her caliber to manage its funds.
Thanks to ORL reader Suspicious Mind for sending us the link to Ohio’s stimulus package requests. It’s interesting to see that East Liverpool’s Soaring Eagle LLC, New Life Technical Institute, and American Spirit Academy have submitted several requests for stimulus funds. I wish Mr. Newbold and all of the other applicants well in this federal money grab. Get out there and stimulate!
Click here to examine all the requests from Ohio (listed by county). Note that this is a list of requests only. I’m not sure when decisions will be made on the applications.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Getting rid of Rosie
According to the Morning Journal, the county board of elections once again has exerted its power to keep people off the ballot. Most notable on the list this time around is incumbent Wellsville Councilwoman Rosie Goss, whose petition was disqualified because one of her signers, Angela “Babe” McGraw, used a nickname.
Board of elections director Kim Meek is from Wellsville, and I'd be willing to bet she knows the McGraw family. If so, could she not have stepped in to set this right? Is not Angela "Babe" McGraw, after all, a real person?
Other than to say that Rosie Goss has been a thorn in the side of the ultraconservative Democratic faction that controls Wellsville politics, I won’t speculate further on Goss’s disqualification.
In the end, I'm sure the elections board was just doing its job. Goss's petition was inadequate. Ms. McGraw should have signed with her given name. End of story.
Nevertheless, if the election board actually wanted to assist candidates, it could work with them to make sure petitions and signatures are valid. Why, for example, is it so out of the question for an errant petition to be returned to the candidate for correction before the filing deadline? Why can’t the elections board facilitate the democratic process rather than hinder it?
I don't even know why I ask such questions.
Frankenstein in Pittsburgh
Is cell regeneration one more step toward immortality, or is it just another instance of misguided human pride? Thanks to Liz Lundberg for pointing out the video.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Saturday night fights
In the meantime, check out KSU-EL's Eastern Flash, which has some nice pics and a story on Saturday's big boxing match between Kelly Pavlik and Marco Rubio in Youngstown.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Good news for East Liverpool’s downtown: The city has filed a motion in county common pleas court seeking permission to demolish the Smith Auto building. It’s about time. (See story in today’s Review.)
I think it’s terrible that property owner Willis Smith let this beautiful old building sit there and rot all these years, but it was his choice and no one else’s. Rather than do anything to maintain the building, Smith has attempted to blame everybody but himself for his own negligence. Finally, after decades of inaction, the city has decided to move on the decrepit structure.
As good as today’s news is, it’s a bit early to celebrate. The motion still has to get through Lisbon, and who knows what else Mr. Smith will do to delay the demolition. Obstinacy and greed can be very powerful motivators, and the fat lady has yet to sing.
Earlier this week the newspaper told us that the body found on Feb. 13 at the New Cumberland Dam is that of 17-year-old Joseph Harris from Pittsburgh. The Schenley High School student was reported missing in November, so the body has been in the water for at least two months, maybe closer to three.
While I’m sure the cold waters of winter are relatively kind to a corpse, one cannot help but wonder what such a long submersion would do to a person. Still, there are far worse fates than a slow ride down the Ohio.
No one knows how Joseph ended up in the river.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Not a matter of interpretation
For once I find myself in agreement with the Rev. Al Sharpton. To call the recent New York Post cartoon “controversial” is to obscure the severity of the affront. I haven’t seen such overt racism in the media in my lifetime.
Regardless of the cover story that the cartoon was referring to a recent chimpanzee attack, no newspaper editor could possibly have operated under the assumption that it was not a reference to President Obama; therefore, we must conclude that the New York Post had obvious and deliberate racist intent by running such a cartoon.
Perhaps the steady downturn in circulation and readership has come to the point where newspaper publishers and editors will do anything to draw attention to their product, even if it's negative. But I may be grasping at straws to find an excuse for journalism. In fact, there really is no way out of this.
Of course, conservatives will claim that I and others are merely “protecting” the president, but this is simply not the case. Any rational person who sees this cartoon and can deny the intent is not being honest.
I have no illusions about racism is our country. I am not fooled by those people who make racist statements and then immediately claim they are not racists. I have a little more respect (very little) for people who practice racism but at least aren’t afraid to admit they are racists. It’s those who hide behind false innocence and ignorance that get me.
If you don’t like President Obama, fine. There is nothing wrong with that. If the president himself practices racism and there is some evidence of it, by all means, call him on it. But it’s well beyond the time when our media should display an overtly racist editorial policy.
In New York, the Post is widely accepted to be the city’s blue-collar newspaper. The Post was Archie Bunker’s paper of choice. Thirty five years later, it remains clear why.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Council is no place for prayer
I read today’s Review account of Councilman Bink Applegate’s tirade on religious persecution at Tuesday night’s East Liverpool City Council meeting. After glancing at the calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fool's Day, I realized that I was awake and the story was real.
First of all, city council has no business conducting prayer sessions of any kind. The length of the prayer isn't the point. It's a basic church/state issue, and this activity should be stopped immediately by the council president. It doesn't matter what Mr. Applegate thinks. He was not elected to serve as city council pastor.
Secondly, I have witnessed a few of Mr. Applegate’s ridiculous rambling “speeches,” and they have provided levels of public embarrassment I have not seen elsewhere. Oftentimes people just get up and leave.
If or when I get to such a point, I can only hope that friends and family will step forward to help me make wiser decisions about public appearances.
Unless it’s cruel comedy they’re after, the people who keep electing Mr. Applegate to council are doing him no favors. The statements quoted in the news account reveal a person incapable of coherent speech or lucid thought. Our city has enough problems already without having this sort of nonsense put on public display in the newspaper.
But perhaps what’s even sadder is that Applegate’s drivel was the only story that came out of Tuesday’s council meeting. At least he had something to say. Where was everybody else? Was there no business on the agenda?
CORRECTION: It has been brought to my attention that today's Review carries a second story about Tuesday's city council meeting. Because the Review blocks links from this site, you'll have to locate in on your own.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
What's with all the decapitations?
Over the weekend I picked up the second season of the Showtime series The Tudors. With historical dramas, the viewer tends to know what’s going to happen, so he watches to learn not what happens but how it happens.
A great deal of tension can come from this. For example, on The Tudors I know Henry VIII will soon order the beheading of his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Given that knowledge, it’s quite horrifying to watch her fate slowly unfold, especially in the hands of gifted writers and directors.
If you aren’t familiar with The Tudors, I recommend it highly. It is one of the most authentic historical dramas ever produced. Speaking of historical dramas, I’m sitting on a copy of the HBO series John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti, but I haven’t had time to get to it yet. I very much look forward to that.
And speaking of beheadings, it seems that decapitation is becoming popular again. We know about the grisly filmed beheadings carried out by Al Qaida a few years back, but what about this recent one at Virginia Tech? What the heck is going on down at my old school? First it’s mass murder; now it’s decapitating women in coffee shops.
Then there is Muzzammil Hassan, founder of an American Muslim television network in Buffalo. Last week he allegedly cut his wife’s head off in his Orchard Park office.
The wife, Aasiya Hassan, apparently had a protection order against the husband directing him to leave the family home by Feb. 6. Rather than leave his home, Muzzammil decided to cut off Aasiya’s head.
According to the Reuters story, Hassan started the Muslim television network to “show Muslims in a more positive light.”
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Morehead sentenced to jail
According to the Lisbon Morning Journal, former county health commissioner Bob Morehead was sentenced to 60 days in the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center in Wintersville after pleading guilty to theft in office.
Although I'm a bit surprised that Morehead got the jail time, the most alarming aspect of Friday's sentencing is the reaction of the health board and Morehead’s “supporters"--a reaction that reveals a defiant culture of cronyism in Lisbon that should result in a giant red flag placed atop the county courthouse.
Aside from having a thief removed from public office, we should be pleased that the legal system did work, but it required a Youngstown journalist and a Canton Judge to get it done. Left on our own, Morehead would still be abusing his office and using our credit cards as his own.
Because county health commissioner is an appointed office, and because the board of health clearly has betrayed its function as an oversight body, county residents have no direct recourse when such abuses occur—that is, we can’t vote a bad guy out of this type of position. As such, Columbiana County taxpayers owe a sincere debt of gratitude to journalist Norman Leigh, who did the work that ultimately nailed Morehead.
In handing down the sentence, Canton Judge John Milligan put much of the responsibility for Morehead’s “pervasive pattern of abuse” with the health board itself, referring to the five members as “enablers” who were “asleep at the wheel.” (see Morning Journal)
Just in case anyone had any doubts about what Judge Milligan said about health department enablers, board president Dr. Jack Amato and department nursing supervisor Barbara Knee continued to voice support for Morehead on Friday. Quoted in the Morning Journal, Knee said, “Most of the staff here today took a vacation day to show their support.”
We should recall that Morehead pleaded guilty to charges of theft in office, which included allegations of more than 100 illegal purchases. We have no choice but to conclude that these county employees "support" the theft of public funds by a health commissioner. Is there any other way to interpret this?
Let’s make sure we all understand what was not included in Friday’s discussion of enabling. Go back with me to the Dec. 13, 2008 Morning Journal. These data came from the county auditor and refer to Morehead’s income AFTER he “retired”:
“… Morehead received a check of $25,903 for his accrued vacation time and $41,404 for his accrued sick time when he retired. His regular paycheck totaled $3,454 every two weeks even after he retired and was collecting from the Public Employees Retirement System. His total pay from the county health department [for 2008] as of the last pay totaled $84,628. With his pay and the accumulated sick time and vacation time combined, his total income from the county so far this year  totals $152,627.” (Morning Journal 12-13-08)
As of Dec. 12, Morehead still owed the county $10,700. (Vindicator)
If there are more “supporters” of Bob Morehead out there—especially if you work for the county and live on taxpayer dollars—by all means voice your support for Mr. Morehead here at ORL. But please leave your real name. We all want to know who you are.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Celebrating photography in Liverpool
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Miracles for hard times
If you’ve lost your job or are having economic difficulties related to the recession, fear not. You can always turn to the green prosperity handkerchief. My understanding is that the handkerchief also cures any disease or infirmity you might have. Want proof? Read these testimonies. Can’t read? Try these video testimonies.
Should you obtain your anointed green handkerchief and discover that it doesn’t work, be cool. Try some miracle manna. Follow the instructions, and you will receive a check from a mysterious angelic being for just the amount you need. Don’t believe it? Read these testimonies.
Still having problems? Try the Exodus 30 Anointed Prayer Oil gift set. This isn’t free, but sometimes you have to invest in yourself.
If these miracle agents do not provide relief, you could be one of the damned. In that case, you may wish to blow your head off with a shotgun, but before you do, check out this autopsy photo of a guy who did just that. (WARNING: DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK.)
Don’t blame me. I told you not to click it.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Is this East Liverpool?
The Neocon legacy
by M. Stewart
I assume President Obama’s $800 billion economic recovery package will pass the Senate this week, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
The right wingers who frequent this site have a habit of calling me a leftist, but that’s only because they’ve been conditioned to see the world in high-contrast black and white. In fact, my amateur view of economics leads me to be suspicious of economic stimulation by government, and that alone pulls me in another direction.
Regulation and oversight—yes, those are appropriate roles for the federal government. But handing over billions of federal tax dollars to local politicians with the assumption that it will stimulate private enterprise doesn’t fill me with hope.
In the end, what do I know? I’m no economist. I assume, however, that those advising the president are. After all, the stimulus package might work; then again, it might not. I hope it does. But if it doesn’t, Obama surely will be a one-term messiah. This necronomy is not his mess, but he’s been hired to clean it up. He wanted the job; now he’s got it.
Before W. Bush left office, the federal government opened the treasury to greedy Wall Street bankers who not only ran their businesses and country into the ground, but also helped themselves to incredible personal bonuses. I thought it best to let the banks and the incompetent corporations like General Motors fail. My assumption is that the threat of failure is essential to capitalism. But I’m too old fashioned, too conservative.
The Bush administration’s weird brand of socialism and corporate welfare made me nauseous. Beyond that, there was the crazy check-cashing scam. You remember. Bush tried to stimulate the economy—not once but twice—by handing out checks directly to American citizens. This was money the federal government had to borrow from foreign investors.
Faux conservatives—the so called Neocons—like to scream about how Democrats tax and spend. At least the Dems like to have the money in hand before they spend it. Neocons prefer a model of complete fiscal irresponsibility. The Bush economic plan was to spend yourself into the largest federal deficits in history, sell the country off to foreign banks, let the rich run off with all the money, run the economy into the ground, retire to your estate, and then watch as your deluded followers heckle the Democrats as they try to clean up your mess.
It turned out that W couldn’t even buy votes for his party. If we average citizens ran our personal finances like George Bush ran the executive branch, we’d all be in jail.
I don’t know if it’s fair to compare macro-economics to one’s own personal finances, but it seems to me that the only significant difference is scale. In my own life, I try to keep it simple—that is, I don’t buy stuff I can’t afford. When times are tough, I tighten up and do what’s necessary to survive. I like to think that’s what most people do.
There was a time when I had no money, no job, no home. Trust me, looking into the abyss and deciding whether to jump is no place you want to be, but if you’ve been there and survived to tell the tale, you learn a lesson or two. Among them is that fear of failure is a great motivator. Pulling yourself up off the ground after you’ve been left for dead builds character and keeps you from taking anything for granted.
That’s pretty much where George W. Bush left us: on the ground and left for dead. I sure hope President Obama and the Democrats can help us recover from the crimes of the Bush-Cheney gang, but I’m not counting on it.
The way I've got it figured, we're pretty much on our own. That's the lesson of capitalism.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Inadequacy and inequity
Wouldn’t you know it; the state of Ohio finally moves to address its illegal public school funding system, and the solution is to increase funding to wealthier districts and decrease funding to poorer ones. At least that’s the end result of Gov. Ted Strickland's plan. [Pick up any newspaper and read Tom Giambroni’s story.]
So Ted turned out to be a Republican after all. A little while in Columbus and the words “adequacy” and “equity” change meaning.
Under the Strickland plan, the big local winners are Salem, Columbiana, United Local and Beaver Local. The big losers are East Liverpool, Wellsville and Lisbon. According to the newspaper, the superintendent of Liverpool schools, the district that stands to lose the most, wouldn’t even return phone calls. That in itself speaks volumes.
More than a decade after the DeRolph decision, still no one in Columbus seems to understand the problem well enough to address the overriding issue: that all of the state’s public school students should be given equal educational opportunities.
This is not about closing the gap between the rich and the poor. (The wealthy and the true middle class don’t send their kids to public schools.) It’s about lower-middle class and working-class families who rely on public education. As I understand it, if Strickland's plan is adopted, more of my state tax dollars will be sent north to Salem and Columbiana and less to my own district, which has been nearly squeezed to death since DeRolph.
Perhaps I should wait to hear how the governor justifies his plan before completely condemning it, but if the article in today’s papers is any indication, Ted has a long way to go to convince people in southern Columbiana County that his plan makes sense.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Big party dahntahn
It would have been fun to join the 350,000 people who participated in Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl victory parade on Tuesday, but like a lot of other people, I chose work instead.
I am beginning to understand why they don’t hold such events until the weekend when more people are free to attend. If 350,000 will fight their way downtown on a cold Tuesday morning, three or four million might show up on a Saturday, and that's more than the city can hold.
Watching coverage of the parade at the Post-Gazette site, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the Steelers players were using video cameras to tape the crowd during the parade. Of course most of those in the crowd were snapping pictures and shooting video of the players as they went by in convertibles. As strange as that was, it was great watching Troy Polamalu leap out of his car for some crowd surfing.
Have you even wondered what happens to all the T-shirts and hats that get made up for the losing teams? Turns out they are collected by World Vision, a Christian relief group that sends the garments to distant parts of the globe for use by the poor.
So someone out there will be wearing a T-shirt, a sweat shirt, or a hat that declares the Arizona Cardinals winners of the 2008 NFL Super Bowl, but not too many. According to the story, Arizona is “a small market [with] no fan base.” As a result, not a whole lot of merchandise was printed up.
Speaking of Cardinals fans, the word is that many are saying nasty things about the people and the city of Pittsburgh after the Cardinals lost in their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.
With six Lombardi trophies, the Steelers and their fans are used to it by now. For example, Cleveland and Baltimore fans have developed an advanced inferiority complex that they express in the form of irrational hatred for the Steelers and their city. So all you unsophisticated, sore-loser Cardinals fans will have to get in line to hate Pittsburgh.
Apparently losing with grace and dignity is something people can do only after they’ve experienced success. As such, perhaps Cardinals fans should take their lead from their quarterback, Kurt Warner, who was as graceful and articulate in defeat as a man could be.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Bringing home the Vince
What can you say about the Super Bowl? No matter which side you were on, it was one of the greatest games ever.
For once it wasn’t defense that won for the Steelers. Clearly that great unit finally met its match in Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. In the end it was Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense who simply walked onto the field with 2:37 on the clock and zero momentum and won the game. It was great.
For Arizona fans, Larry Fitzgerald's late fourth quarter touchdown was one of those horrifying “scored-too-soon” moments—the kind that leaves the stomach churning with both sweet and sour adrenaline. For Big Ben, it was time to move over into greatness. For Santonio Holmes, it was time to make Fitzgerald say on camera in slow motion, “Oh no, no, no, no, no.”
When Fitzgerald took Warner's pass into the end zone with 2:37 left, I had resigned myself to the fact that the Steelers would lose this game, that Dick LeBeau’s defense had finally rolled over, that the Arizona Cardinals were the better team, that Kurt Warner would walk away hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy on his way into the Hall of Fame.
Oh me of little faith.
Even though I’d seen Ben Roethlisberger pull out several games in the final drive this season, I didn’t expect him to do it again. After all, Arizona had virtually shut down Pittsburgh’s offense since the first quarter. The Steelers couldn’t score a touchdown on two back-to-back first-and-goals from the five yard line. It was pitiful to watch—embarrassing.
It was the Cardinals defense that came to play and to show Pittsburgh what hard-nosed football is all about. Our faux men of steel were going to be humiliated by these warm-weather pussies after all. Bad news, but we'll get over it. You can't win 'em all.
But that isn't the story.
The story is that Ben and Santonio said “no.” With the Cardinals offense on the bench going over their victory speeches, the Cardinals defense, which had done everything anyone could have expected it to do all evening, was pooping its pants. In the twinkle of an eye, it was over. Up became down, heaven became hell.
For Steelers fans—well, I still haven’t been able to get my mind around it. As usual, it’s a mixed bag. You look at the failures and the successes, add them up, and somehow your team won the Super Bowl.
To be honest, at no point during this season did I think this Steelers team had what it would take to win another championship. There were too many weakness, too many obvious flaws, gaps. Mike Tomlin will bring it home one of these days, I said, but it won’t be this year. In my heart of hearts, I thought Baltimore would be 2008's NFL team of destiny. Ha!
It’s a good thing I don’t mind being wrong. Eating crow is a learning experience, especially if it’s served on a silver trophy.