War on Drugs: FAIL

Good question for tonight’s candidates forum: What’s your position on the US “war on drugs?”

I believe in decriminalization of recreational drugs, taxation of pot, and pouring the money into treatment and education. Yep- it’s radical for a candidate to say that- but, I’m with Albert Einstein on this one. Don’t know why I’m talking about Einstein- watch this video that reader John Ise posted:

I don’t know how we can say we are the land of the free and the home of the brave- when we’ve got more people incarcerated than any other free country- and we’re not brave enough to face the fact that the “war on drugs” isn’t working any better than the “War on terror” as we’re currently proceeding.

This is the kind of frankness you get from a candidate who isn’t beholden to corporate interests- or worried about endorsements based on my personality. I believe in rational decisions made in the best interests of every American. We can do better than filling our prisons with poor people who don’t have the skills to do much more than peddle dope- because we don’t care enough to educate them properly, provide health care adequately, or create an economy with low skill jobs that pay a living wage.

Absentee ballots arriving- as well as….

I got my absentee ballot today. Lots to fill out on the outside of the envelope- lots of places where the Board of Elections can start asking questions. Didn’t check this box- fill this in right- we’ll toss it.

I’ll be extra careful- in fact, I’ll make a video of the process for people to watch – step by step.

Application for Absentee Ballot in 13 July 2010 OH-3 special

The request- with the party affiliation box click to download full size PDF

But- some voters, including my parents & my girlfriend, might be getting their request for absentee ballots back in the mail. Apparently, they didn’t check that they were democrats (despite voting as democrats in the May primary) and despite having filled out their e-mail and phone number, they were mailed additional request forms with instructions– and had to place postage on again.

UPDATE: The BOE has received appx: 4500 requests so far- and appx. 500 have had to be followed up with a letter- mostly because the voter didn’t check in the RED box- for voter affiliation is (ALL THE REST OF THE REQUIRED INFO IS IN YELLOW – color joke)

That’s appx a 10% FAIL rate.

If you’ve mailed your absentee back in and want to check if your ballot was received, they do have a crude lookup tool: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/absentee_download/absentee_tracking.cfm

The BOE could have just sent a ballot with a form 10z and saved a step…. but that would be too obvious.

I know someone is out there snickering, thinking it’s a genetic default in the Esrati family about dotting i’s and crossing t’s on BOE forms- but, that’s the reality- it’s all designed to be more complex a legalistic than it needs to be. A good user experience designer would solve these problems.

Warning- if you request a ballot by mail- if you try to vote in person on election day at the centralized voting places in Highland, Clinton or Montgomery County- you will be asked to vote provisionally, so send your ballots back in.

I’ve also included a scan of the instructions that come with your ballot- for you to review: Instructions to Absentee July 13 2010 PDF (of course, the BOE putting all this up online in an ADA format is too much to ask)

Bad news is that the return ballots are supposed to mail for 61 cents.

DDN picks the sacrificial lamb

The wise ones at the Dayton Daily News, the ones who endorse Mike Turner every time (even though they don’t agree with him), have chosen a 25-year-old college dropout who has “been involved in political causes for a long time” to go head-to-head with Turner for Congress.

Yes- the same people who endorsed Rhine McLin, want to send a lamb to a lions’ fight:

Joe Roberts also lists education as his top priority, seeking an “overhaul” of “the system.” He points to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown as a role model, and expresses general support of the Democratic “platform.”

He is a political consultant, saying he has worked for such low-profile candidates as Stephanie Studebaker and Dr. Mark MacNealy (who each briefly put their names up to run against Rep. Turner). Dr. MacNealy is the fellow whose withdrawal resulted in this special election.

Mr. Roberts has been involved in political causes (immigration reform, Barack Obama, Israel) for a long time, or at least long for his age, 25.

And of course, they couldn’t resist trying to pigeon-hole me:

Mr. Esrati wants to be known not simply for running for election repeatedly, but for his blog, which he says fosters public discussion of issues and offers his views on them.

He mentions Rep. Dennis Kucinich, of the Cleveland area, as a political role model. As a presidential candidate, Rep. Kucinich took positions to the left of then-Sen. Obama and everybody else.

Mr. Esrati’s thinking continues to be hard to track. At the editorial board meeting, he said he favored the Obama stimulus, but would oppose a second one on constitutional grounds. (He invoked the 10th Amendment and the commerce clause.) Given that the Constitution hasn’t changed, there’s a disconnect in his logic.

Known for a confrontational temperament, he is unsuited to public office, better suited to gadfly status.

The best choice is Mr. Roberts, though, like Mr. Fogle, he would be a better choice for a lower-level job.

via Editorial: Joe Roberts best Dem bet in 3rd District primary | A Matter of Opinion.

And, of course, they are welcome to their opinion.

But, they aren’t allowed to do it in secret anymore. I’ve had it with the high-handed treatment- so I recorded it for you to listen to. Why not? They had their recorders (2 of them) going.


You can listen and form your own opinion.

And- as a final note: If you believe in something, and keep trying to accomplish it, why would you be mocked for trying and failing? Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan and many other successful people will tell you- true winners don’t give up.


Quicktake on the DDN editorial board meeting

Guy Fogle looks like a politician. Joe Roberts sounds like a politician. And then, there’s me.

That’s my take from the screening by the Dayton Daily News editorial board of the three candidates for the special democratic primary for OH-3 which takes place on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.

The questions were softies- as if the editors felt sorry for us running to run against their favorite son, Mike Turner.. Martin Gottlieb had to explain what a “Blue dog” Democrat was to Guy. I had to explain what instant-runoff voting was to Martin. Roberts was waffling on what campaigns he’d worked on- and what he’d done.

When asked what elected official we’d compare ourselves to- Fogle said “Capps” and couldn’t even give her first name: I’m assuming Lois Capps of CA.

Roberts chose Sherrod Brown. And, of course, I picked the abrasive one- Dennis Kucinich – because he stands up for what he believes.

One change- Jim Barrett from WHIO radio was there and taped the whole thing. It would be great if he put the whole thing up as a podcast- so you can hear for yourself.

Ellen Belcher had a problem at first with Ice Bandit’s endorsement letter- but as I explained, you allow anonymous comments on your site galore- so why not the ol’ bandito’s.

I think she’s actually going to run it.

Of course, she still doesn’t understand why I’m running, nor measures my increased number of votes per dollar spent with each election as credible.

I’ll reserve my judgment on the other candidates for after the League of Women Voters forum this Wednesday night at Montgomery County Democratic HQ, 7:30 pm. I’ll run tape and have it on youtube for you as well.

Concrete vs. liquid

“Liquidity” was the invention the wizards of Wall Street came up with to create a lot of fake wealth and transactional opportunities for them to siphon off “investors’s” money for themselves.

The great run-up in GDP thanks to all this liquid capital came to a crashing halt in the fall of 2009 when the banks collapsed (yes, that’s what happened) and the taxpayers had to step in to bail them and a few other big industries out. In 2011, China is expected to overtake the U.S. as the largest producer of goods. All the while, Congress is still arguing over derivatives markets and disclosure rules.

Let me make things clear: Before this move to liquidity, programmed trading, hedge funds and other fancy financial instruments- we used to deal with things like profitability, price/earnings ratios, leverage and market share. Now, we don’t. A company’s actual value has no connection to its market position, products or projections. Wild swings in stock prices have swung our economy around by the neck- almost to the point of death. It’s time to stop.

Back in the old days, when people in my business still used acetate, keylines, press-type and the like to create ads, there was a book on typography that I loved. One example was how you would set the tagline in a specific typeface to match the message. “Our advice is rock solid” was the line- and it called for a strong, sans serif typeface- not some swishy swashy face.

We heard about “Get a piece of the rock” when we thought about insurance. There was a recurring theme of strength in financial products ads- because the idea of “investment” was tied to something concrete. They didn’t say “Our advice is like water” or “Get a piece of the spill” because we had to believe in these financial instruments that weren’t backed by the old “gold standard” or anything else as concrete as just saying “trust me.”

The move to liquidity made it easy to ignore the skimming of the cream- which is what made Wall Street go nuts. Every transaction paid a commission, and the people who did the deals, just became junkies for more deals- until the deals were being done for no other reason than to get the quick fix of a little cut on a lot of money being moved. It got so crazy that 70% of stocks are now held for 12 seconds or less. In the meantime- the companies that are supposed to be benefiting from these crazy transactions stopped worrying about making widgets- but making sure their stock stayed strong. That might account for the chicanery that showed AIG as a grade A investment, weeks before its mighty fall.

The reality is: it’s a lot harder to steal a little bit from concrete- but easy to siphon off some liquid and pretend it’s still all there. After they couldn’t play with the liquid anymore- the concrete started to crumble- plants closed, jobs lost, economy in shambles.

That’s why the only way to fix this mess is to put some concrete rules in place that put balance sheets, profit and loss statements and investors back in control and take this wild ride created by Wall Street off line. No more trades bigger than .01% of any company for less than a year, no more programmed trading based on fluctuations, no more big CEO pay outs before the shareholders. There must be a ratio set for pay- so that it’s based purely on performance- not on what “the market will bear.”

Put real numbers back in play- and we’ll see real jobs. You don’t employ Americans, you don’t make over a million dollars- simple. It’s time to tighten up what we allow to be collected as rewards- for instance, can anyone tell me why running DP&L, with no competition, a captive market, and a commodity product rates a salary of over a mill, while running Sony- a global company in a highly competitive marketplace doesn’t?

If you wonder why your pension fund was robbed blind- the answer is that it’s easier to steal liquid than concrete. That’s why people will siphon gasoline, but have a hard time stealing your home’s foundation (however, the bankers found a way to do it- just create credit default swaps and punt your loan). Put the fundamentals back into the market and this mess will begin to straighten itself out quickly.