Friday, August 29, 2008

A matter of judgment

Is this the kind of judgment we want in a commander-in-chief? In an apparent effort to woo unhappy Hillary Clinton supporters, Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain has named Sarah Palin, the most inexperienced person imagineable, to be his VP. She is the ultraconservative governor of Alaska, who is just a couple years into her term.

Two years ago, this gun-toting, NRA card-carrying, beauty pageant contestant, and self-described "hockey mom" was mayor of a town less than twice the size of Yellow Springs. Now she is a heartbeat away from the possible presidency of an old man with health problems.

It is also quite possible that she was not fully vetted before being chosen. She is currently under investigation by the State of Alaska for allegedly trying to pull strings to have her ex-brother-in-law fired from his state trooper job over a custody dispute with her sister. Remember what happened when the Democrats, in their haste to shake things up, didn't fully vet Geraldine Ferraro?

In an interesting turn of events, NPR was reporting today that, yesterday, somebody went in and spent hours editing her Wikipedia profile, deleting such items as her Miss Wasilla title and that she was runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant. Immediately after McCain's announcement, your faithful blogger looked up her hometown of Wasilla on Wikipedia and they already had altered the entry to include that their former mayor was chosen as McCain's running mate. What an amazing world we live in.

Other interesting facts about Ms. Palin: She opposes putting Polar Bears on the endangered species list, because she doesn't believe in global warming. She is in favor of drilling on federal lands in Alaska to bolster her home state's economy. She is staunchly anti-abortion rights.

I can't imagine a Hillary supporter falling for this stunt. If you are pro-Obama, you couldn't have crafted a better scenario.

8/31 Addendum:
This from the Boston Globe Website:
In November of 2006, the Anchorage Daily News described Palin's positions on social issues in a story wrapping up the governor's race:

"A significant part of Palin's base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them)."

9/1 Addendum:
In press reports today, the McCain campaign is denying that the Palin choice was a snap decision, claiming that she had received serious consideration for months before she was invited to the position last Wednesday and that she was fully vetted.

In a television interview with George Staphanopolis on Sunday, Cindy McCain cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as a factor in Palin's foreign policy experience.

More news from the fully vetted Palin:
ST. PAUL (Reuters) - The 17-year-old unmarried daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pregnant, Palin said on Monday in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.

And this from the NY Times:

: A series of disclosures about Governor Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain's choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.

On Monday morning, Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.

Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state's public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990 of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Todd Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.

Aides to McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Sarah Palin's background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What is this, New Orleans..?

The Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a Brooklyn, NY based "radical marching band," stopped by today on their way to the Republican Convention to lend support to Non-Stop Antioch. What a pleasant surprise to find them playing in front of Sam & Eddie's and to follow them as they marched down Xenia Avenue. It was definitely a Mardi Gras atmosphere.

Raw Video

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Football fizzle

Yesterday, I heard the McKinney School football schedule was canceled.

Today, the Dayton Daily News, as part of its annual preseason high school football hype, is reporting that YSHS has only 16 players on its roster. Nine of them will play two ways.

One or two injuries, especially to a two-way player, and it's all over but the shouting.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Holt a Boilermaker

Photo courtesy of Purdue University

This just in...

Former McGregor Dean of Liberal Studies Jerry Holt has reportedly taken a position at Purdue University.

More later.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A follow-up to my football rant

As it stands right now, only a limited number of players have come out for McKinney football. Principal John Gudgel is concerned that they will not have enough players to field a team and is holding a meeting next week to decide whether to cancel the season.

At risk of stating the obvious, this does not bode well for YSHS football down the line.

Update on 8/28: I heard yesterday that only two boys showed up for the McKinney tryouts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MacQueen green

The Home, Inc. rental house on Xenia Avenue has been painted a lovely and unusual shade of green as a part of a full-scale renovation that has been going on most of the summer. Marianne MacQueen has confided that the color came about by mixing cans of left-over paint they had laying around until she hit the right combo.

However she arrived at it, the new color makes the old place look like a million bucks. I never realized that it was that dark orangy beige (for lack of a better way to describe it) paint job that made the place look so ugly. Now, it actually looks cute.

Making nice with Home, Inc...

Just what we need, another survey

The survey that came stuffed in the newspaper today is six pages long, copied on single sides. It wants to know what criteria Village Council should be looking for in the hiring of a new Village Manager. Don't the council members understand that they were elected to exercise their judgment on our behalf? If they hold a referendum on every little thing they do, nothing will ever get done. They should use their best judgment and pick the most qualified candidate. Next thing you know they are going to hold an open meeting and have the villagers ask their own questions. You can bet on it!

Here are the categories of questions:

  • Education - rank in order of how educated the VM should be.
  • How much experience - rank in order how experienced the VM should be.
  • Type of experience - rank in order the type of experience the VM should have.
  • Professional Style - I can't even begin...
  • Personal Characteristics - another loaded question.
  • Challenges the village is facing - a long list to be prioritized (this may be the only legitimate question). Not only is this list long, it is downright depressing.
Click here for a PDF copy of the survey.

Here's my response:
Hire the nicest person with the highest relevant degree and the most experience in Village Management who can stand to deal with a village council that has lots and lots of ideas, but hesitates to take responsibility, that we can get for the money, and who isn't daunted by our considerable list of challenges.

This from the official village Website FAQ list:

Council-Manager Government FAQ

The Council-Manager Form of Government: Answers to Your Questions (as taken from the ICMA publication of the same title)

What is the council-manager plan, which is used in so many local governments?

The council-manager plan is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council or other governing body, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. The plan establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected council as a whole and where the council hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services.

Is it a responsive form of government?

In council-manager government, council members are the leaders and policy makers in the community elected to represent various segments of the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens' needs and wishes. The manager is appointed by council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. If the manager is not responsive to the council's wishes, the council has authority to terminate the manager at any time. In that sense, a manager's responsiveness is tested daily.

What is the function of the council?

The council is the legislative body; its members are the community's decision makers. Power is centralized in the elected council, which approves the budget and determines the tax rate, for example. The council also focuses on the community's goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing and strategic planning, rather than the administrative details. It hires a professional manager to carry out the administrative responsibilities and supervises the manager's performance.

(I have bolded the relevant phrases.)

A bit of good news...

Sources tell me that a certain bank in town (and I mean "in town") will be changing to more user friendly hours come October: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Mon. - Fri. and 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Stay tuned...

Welcome to 108 Dayton Street

A bed store..? A yoga studio..? What's really behind this door to 108 Dayton Street? Could this be the new center of power for the village? This long time home of the Yellow Springs Community Foundation now also houses the Steering Committee for the Center for the Arts, and the Yellow Springs Arts Council. Their conference room not only serves as a gallery, but hosts meetings of such groups as the Nonprofit Network.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's going on just to the south of us...

This from the Channel 2 Website:

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) - Some workers at a Greene County restaurant are in hot water with the health department, after an employee took a bubble bath in a store sink.
It happened at the Burger King on Orange Street in Xenia.

A four-minute video posted on MySpace captured the employee, self-described as Mr. Unstable, bathing nude in a large stainless steel sink as several other employees and a store manager looked on.

Read more and view video>

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oten up for grabs?

After 40 plus years of adding brick after brick to that elusive landmark on Xenia Avenue, 70-something Alan Macbeth is apparently losing some steam. He confirmed last week that he is looking for some way to sell his Oten Gallery and newly renovated restaurant space, while retaining a place for himself to live in the building.

Macbeth's castle

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Why not get rid of football?

Why does Yellow Springs continue to bear the financial burden of putting on such a dangerous and violent sport as football when the team barely draws enough players to have a practice? In fact, in some years they haven't even had the 22 players to put 11 boys on offense and 11 on defense.

Football is the most expensive sport at YSHS. The cost of uniforms, including helmets and pads, insurance, lighting for the Friday night games, officiating, coaching, and maintaining a football field, are out of sight when compared to sports like cross country and soccer. And what is the payback? The games are sparsely attended, the team is lucky to win one or two games a season, and the players are disheartened. Let's face it, the village and the school are too small to support a football program.

Something that has always bugged me about high school football in Ohio is that it is played under the lights. In this time of energy consciousness, why is it that no one has suggested moving the games to Saturday afternoon? Remember Boomer Esiason, the outstanding quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals a few years back? Boomer didn't play high school football under the lights. And it wasn't just Esiason, it was Jim Brown, Vinnie Testaverde and a host of others. In most of the Northeast, and, in particular, on Long Island where Boomer grew up, football is played on Saturday afternoons. You would have a hard time finding a high school football field with lights.

What is so precious about the Friday night lights in football hotbeds like Ohio and Texas? It's college football. You can't watch the Buckeyes or the Long Horns on TV and attend your local high school game at the same time. But notice this: Ohio State and Texas rarely play under the lights, and then only to accommodate the television networks.

Let's face reality, Yellow Springs is not a football town. We could scrap the program and hire an extra teacher, instead of sending our kids off to local colleges to get instruction in math and science the high school can't afford to offer. With an enrollment that graduates less than 60 kids a year, the high school offers only two foreign languages, Spanish and French. Other schools offer as many as four or five. And a few years ago the school board was considering dropping French.

And I am not even going to get into the risk to our kids of fractures, concussions, paralysis and death.

I have to laugh when I see, on the television news, parents crying about having to pay for their kids to play when their local levy doesn't pass. I love to watch them scramble to get it passed when football is on the chopping block. Art and music programs, school buses, they are all expendable. But football..? Oh, no! Football is sacred.

Right here in Yellow Springs, a few parents showed up at the last school board meeting demanding to know when they were going to hire a new football coach. I couldn't believe it.

“The boys are worried,” one of them said.

And how many would that be, I wondered, a half-dozen?

With a new superintendent of schools and a new athletic director, there is no better time than now to get rid of football. We did it once before. I can't understand why we ever brought it back.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Seniors deny coveting Presby building

In an email in response to yesterday's article about rumors surrounding the First Presbyterian Church, Senior Citizen's board member Becky Eschliman said this was the first she had heard of it.

"I just read your most recent blog entry about rumors of the Senior Center coveting the Presbyterian Church as a new Center, and as a board member of said Center, I was rather stunned, because I have heard nothing of that idea, even as a vague "where would be a good space if it were available" brainstorming," she wrote.


(Originally posted on The Chronicles of Kresge on 8/7/08)

Presbyterians deny rumors

The First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs, which has been struggling financially and identity-wise, now has a new problem: deflecting rumors that it is about to go under.

“What?” session member Kay Reimers screamed into the phone when I told her about the word around town, only to later admit that she had heard the rumors herself. “These rumors are the last thing we need!”

“The seniors have their eyes on the church as a possible new center,” I told her.

“Where did you get that?” she asked.

I told her I had to protect my sources, but we both agreed that the rumors are emanating from the Senior Center.

Later Church Elder Walter Rhodes would tell me that another long-time church member, who will remain unnamed lest she have a heart attack, had her suspicions. All fingers are now pointing to a senior villager who mysteriously showed up at the Miami Presbytery while Reimers happened to be there to seek financial advice for the church.


(Originally posted on The Chronicles of Kresge on 8/6/08)

Spare Parts

For now, I will be using this blog for spare parts for the Chronicles of Kresge. Eventually, I may use it as my gossip blog.

We'll see...