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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Who wants to buy your vote?

 

 

Whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican, or independent, I think there is one thing we can all agree on. We have had enough of the political ads!

If you live in a political battleground state as I do, you know how saturated the TV time has been with mostly negative ads for one presidential candidate or the other. I live in Ohio which many feel is the key state for determining the fate of the election. An NBC analysis showed more money spent on political ads in Ohio than anywhere else with $181 million so far, which is about one-fifth of the national total of $883 million. NBC is predicting the number will reach $1 billion dollars before the election is over.

In my hometown of Columbus, the capital and center of the state, we have been privileged to see 6,647 ads this month alone, or 333 a day! However, our friends in Cleveland are suffering even more as they are ranked as the No. 2 market in the state and Columbus is only No. 9.

Obama ads have been more plentiful but Romney isn’t far behind. During September the president and his supporters bought more than 800 spots in both Cleveland and Columbus markets according to the Wesleyan analysis. Since the beginning of October Obama’s campaign has spent more than $2.5 million with Columbus’s four main broadcast stations where Romney has spent less than $1 million; but the super PACs, American Crossroads and Restore Our Future, bought $800,000 in ads according to Federal Communications Commission data.

Negative ads saturate the airwaves

We have been inundated with ads all summer. Overall, there have been more than 915,000 presidential ads on broadcast and cable TV and radio since June. It seems that most of the ads are negative and the stats back this up with 91% of Romney’s ads negative compared to 85% for Obama. The Wesleyan study says that the tone of these ads is more negative than any other presidential cycle. It found that more than 60% of the ads were attack ads that appealed to anger, fear and even sadness more than enthusiasm and pride. Experts explain that polarization in this country has become so intense between the two parties that the candidates truly believe it is dangerous for the country if the other side wins and they feel they must point this out.

Results of Citizens United ruling

We have the Supreme Court and the Citizens United decision of 2010 to thank for this. Citizens United was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. This decision has been credited with creating the super PACs, political action committees, which make no contributions to candidates or parties and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, and unions.

However, it took another decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. In March 2010, the D.C. Circuit ruled that individuals could make unlimited contributions to Super PACs, which supported individual candidates. This opened the door to massive donations for advertising campaigns essentially funded by single individuals but shielded in anonymity behind hastily drawn up corporations.

During this current presidential campaign, the first presidential election held after the Citizens United ruling, we are seeing the results of this ruling. Jack Gillum of the Associated Press reports that $5 million has been donated by a mysterious company to FreedomWorks for America to support conservative candidates for federal office. Tennessee business records show that Specialty Group filed its incorporation papers less than a week before its sizable donation to FreedomWorks. The Specialty Group has no website or listed products or services. The address given is that of a suburban Knoxville home. If you think this doesn’t concern you, think about it. Someone in another state is spending MILLIONS to influence your vote, whether it is for a local or national office.

Citizens United opens a second floodgate

The Citizens United ruling opened another floodgate of which you may not be aware. The decision also lifted the ban on employers advising employees on how to vote. Just after the ruling the Yale Law Journal said this case could let employers “Hold political captive audience workplace meetings with their employees,” and may even be able to “compel their employees to listen” to their political views at those meetings “on pain of termination.”

This is exactly what happened in Ohio with the Murray Energy coal miners. Murray Chief Operating Officer Robert Moore explained to WWVA radio that they were forced to show up at the mine owned by Murray Energy, a big donor to Republican causes. The mine was then closed that day for supposed safety and security reasons on the day Romney visited the mine, then they were docked a day’s pay after being ordered to show up. Moore said, “You figure it out: Attendance was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event.”

Company owner Robert Murray told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Nobody was ordered to attend.” But he added, “Barack Obama is destroying their lives, their livelihoods. These people are scared, and they came out in droves to see Mitt Romney, and that’s what it was all about.”

Georgia-Pacific, which employees 45,000 people, is distributing an employee packet about civic voter information with a letter from the chief operating officer warning: “If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.”

However, not to appear too prejudicial, they added: voting decisions are “yours and yours alone.” Georgia-Pacific is owned by the billionaire Koch brothers. They have been funneling much of their own money and others and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat Obama.

It is reported that many other businesses, large and small, are sending similar letters to their employees. A guest blogger for the Hill, which covers Capitol Hill, said that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (which is closely tied to the Republican party) is encouraging campaigns to put political ads in employees’ pay envelopes. Romney has encouraged employers to “make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming election.”

It is good to know that in Ohio and some other states employers are not allowed to predict that “if any particular candidate is elected…work in the establishment will cease in whole or in part.”

Can Karl Rove and 17 angry white men buy the election?

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, said, “My concern is that Karl Rove and 17 angry old white men are trying to buy the election. And that’s the truth,” Reid told the Review Journal. “You have Adelson (Las Vegas Sands casino billionaire), the Koch brothers (billionaires David and Charles). You have Simmons (billionaire) of Texas. They are literally trying to buy the election. Think about this. The day after the election, Karl Rove sits down and talks to…the 17 angry old white guys and says, ‘Hey listen guys, we just bought America. And we’re still rich.’ That’s the concern that we all have.”

All the above men are heavy contributors to super PACs supporting Romeny. Since the Citizens United ruling, individuals, corporations and unions are able to spend unlimited money attempting to influence the elections. This election alone they have spent $650 million.

Money equals speech

The Supreme Court said: “in our political system, money equals speech.” This appears to be the beginning of a very slippery slope where those with money can outright “buy” the election. It is up to us, the citizens, to trace the money trails and see who is trying to influence us and buy our vote. I don’t know about you but I consider myself an independent thinker and I look for the hidden agendas behind all the noise and slick advertisements. Study all the issues and candidates carefully before you enter the sanctity of the polling booth. Voting is a sacred right we Americans have so exercise your right and don’t let anyone buy your vote.

 

www.mediabistro.com/tvspy/category/politicalads

http://www.thenews-messenger.com/article/20121020/NEWS01/210200303/Buckeyes-see-more-political-advertising-than-ever

http://www.nationaljournal.com/hotline/ad-spending-in-presidential-battleground-states-20120620

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/track-presidential-campaign-ads-2012/

http://kuow.org/post/ad-watch-rematch-6-swing-states-1-half-hour-87-political-ads

http://www.npr.org/.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/sensing-saturation-ohio-house-candidate-cancels-advertising-buy/

http://www.citizensunited.org/index.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_(organization)

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-companies-can-now-advise-employees-on-how-to-vote-and-they-do-20121030,0,4157647.story

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/30/harry-reid-karl-rove-white-men_n_2042900.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/freedom-works-donation_n_2038099.html

 

 

 

Movie Review–Argo is an Oscar contender

 

Ben Affleck has gone from the Hollywood playboy linked to several prominent starlets, most famously with Jennifer Lopez, to a respected actor, director, husband, and father. Affleck’s latest project, Argo, will certainly add to his credibility.

Argo is a movie about a fake movie that was used as a cover to bring six Americans home who were hiding in the Canadian ambassador’s residence after the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. These Americans were employees of the embassy and managed to escape out a back door when the embassy was overrun by a crowd angered over the U.S. support of the deposed Shah.

Even though this event occurred over 30 years ago and we all know the outcome, the movie keeps you on the edge of the seat until the very end. This is a tribute to Affleck who not only stars in Argo but is also the director.

Argo is filled with action, tension, political games, and a bit of comedy to liven the mood. Veteran actors John Goodman and Alan Arkin remind you of Laurel and Hardy thrown in the midst of a James Bond thriller. Goodman and Arkin play the fake film producers putting together a sci-fi picture similar to the recent block-buster Star Wars. They take their jobs seriously and see to every detail from advance PR to storyboards.

Ben Affleck’s character, CIA agent Tony Mendez, poses as the director of the fake movie Argo and tours exotic locations with his team of movie personnel (the escaped Americans). They must drive through crowds in narrow streets and walk through the local bazaar in order to maintain their cover of scouting a location for the movie. Every moment they are outside the Canadian embassy walls you feel their cover might be blown. They have many close calls including showing up at the airport where their tickets have not been approved and receiving the OK only at the last minute.

We went to the movies after a very busy and exhausting weekend and I said to my husband, “This movie better be good or I’ll fall asleep.” Let me tell you that there was no snoring in the movie theatre, in fact, the audience actually cheered and clapped.

Expect to see Argo nominated for best movie, Ben Affleck for best director, Alan Arkin for best supporting actor, and perhaps several other nominations. Argo is a real winner and I give it an A.

 

Autumn appeals to all the senses

 

Autumn can best be described as a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells. It is nature’s last hurrah before she climbs into bed covered with a white blanket of downy snow.

Autumn is an array of colors in Mother Nature’s pallet of paints from the palest pinks to intense fiery oranges and reds. It is the faint rustle of leaves and the excited cheers of football fans. It is the smell of pumpkin pies and campfire smoke. It is the smoky taste of hot dogs and marshmallows toasted over a bonfire at a hayride. It is the sight of bright orange pumpkins and gleaming red apples at a roadside farm stand. It is hot cider and donuts. It is candy apples and candy corn. It is witches, brooms, black cats, and Halloween costumes. It is warm sunny days and cold frosty nights.

Here in Ohio the farmers are busy harvesting the corn and soy beans and getting their king size pumpkins ready for the Circleville Pumpkin Festival. The houses are decorated for Halloween and if you look closely you might see a witch flying across the face of the moon.

 

Yes, autumn is many things but it is also a very short season so get off the couch, shut off the computer and video games and come outside to play. Hurry before this beautiful parade passes you by.

Movie Review: The Master showcases masterful performances

The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams is a character study of a drifter after World War II. All three actors give superb performances which could result in many award nominations.

The story revolves around Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Freddie Quell, a social misfit and alcoholic trying to adjust after the war and suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. In a drunken stupor, he goes aboard a yacht one night and crawls into a berth to sleep while everyone is partying on the deck above. Here he meets Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman) leader of a quasi religious and philosophical movement known as The Cause.

Dodd decides to keep the stowaway because he likes him and because he enjoys his stash of homemade booze. He welcomes Freddy into the movement and subjects him to a series of exercises known as Processing during which Freddy must undergo psychological questioning and various other exercises.

Freddie, the constant misfit, responds to any negative criticism about himself, Dodd or the movement with physical fights. A key scene in the movie is when Freddie confronts Dodd’s son Val, played by Jesse Plemons (Landry from Friday Night Lights), for lack of enthusiasm over his father’s teachings.  Dodd’s son responds by saying his father is a fraud and is making up his teachings as he goes along.

There has been a lot of buzz about this movie since its inception due to its comparisons to Scientology. However, it is neither a biography of L. Ron Hubbard nor a documentary of Scientology. There are many comparisons between L. Ron Hubbard and Lancaster Dodd including their physical appearance, Navy background, and charismatic personality; but, writer/director and producer Paul Thomas Anderson said he also included deleted scenes from There Will Be Blood, tales of Jason Robards’ Navy days, and stories of the life of John Steinbeck.

What this movie is, is a study in mind control and the clash of strong personalities. We see the inner workings of a cult and how people can be broken down and remolded into a follower of a strong personality who promises them love and acceptance.

Lancaster Dodd’s wife (Amy Adams) doesn’t have as much screen time as the other two main characters but we know she is a powerful character behind the scenes. You might say she is a strong passive/aggressive person.

This movie is not what I expected and is a little dark at times. I should have known it is not a typical Hollywood movie since it is not playing at any of the many multiplexes around this big metropolitan area but can be found only at the single art-house movie theatre in the city.

The Master is powerful, informative, and well done and will probably produce many candidates for awards including best actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Master is not for everyone. Some scenes are dark and various people may find them questionable but the outstanding acting balances out the negatives of the movie. I give The Master a B+.

The Master – Official Trailer (2012) [HD] – YouTube.htm

 

 

 

 

Ohio State establishes new NCAA guidelines

  To avoid any future “tattoo-gate” which endangered OSU’s standing with the NCAA, Ohio State revealed its new compliance plan today. The new plan addresses every issue that created problems for it in the past, according to Bleacher Report.com. (http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d8BBl?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=ohio-state-football)

If you have been living under a rock the last several years or wish to refresh your memory of how OSU got into trouble please see the links below. I wrote extensively about the troubles at the time and in What now for Ohio State? (June 2, 2011; http://dobbie.icrewdigital.com/2011/06/02/what-now-for-ohio-state/) I outlined several steps I felt should be taken to remedy the situation. I am glad to see that most of the steps have been taken and hopefully Ohio State can become the example of how to come back after NCAA sanctions.

Ohio State got into trouble for the players selling their memorabilia and autographed jerseys and equipment. To address this problem, the players will be required to sign a statement saying they have not sold any of their bowl gifts or rings and the school may conduct random audits. Also, the items will be kept in storage and will be given to the players only after graduation.

New rules for charity events

The second round of violations occurred when several football players attended a fundraiser banquet in the Cleveland area where people paid $5,000 to be able to dine with the athletes. Now the new rules for charity requests include:

• Athletes can’t go to an event as a celebrity figure. They have to actively do something.

• Athletes can’t go to an event more than 30 miles from campus.

• For men’s basketball and football players, an OSU staff member has to go along to keep tabs on things.

• Charities have to get prior approval.

In addition, the new rules include areas addressing the social media, buying cars, giving out tickets, and educating players and boosters. Also, a compliance person in the football building itself has been added.

My score card on the OSU situation

On June 2, 2011 I suggested six steps I felt OSU should take to make itself a leader in rules reform. Below are the six steps and an evaluation of whether or not they have been taken:

  1. Resignation of Coach Tressel—this occurred in the very beginning of the investigation. He “resigned” under pressure.
  2. Lengthy investigation into the school, the athletic department, and the players involved—this was done by the school and the NCAA.
  3. The coach, school administrators, and players should acknowledge their part…and publicly apologize—the players and coach admitted their wrong-doing and apologized but I’m not sure the administration has. Some people are upset that AD Gene Smith is still on staff.
  4. Take all punishments and sanctions without whining—I am happy to say that the players and most of the fans have graciously accepted their punishment.
  5. Clean house…to rid the campus of guilty and unsavory characters. Start with a clean slate—Terrell Pryor and his entourage left campus under pressure. Also, with the new coach most of the old coaching staff is gone. The slate appears pretty clean.
  6. Institute and oversee stricter rules for all players in all sports. It is not a right but a privilege to wear the Ohio State uniform—looking at the new rules above it seems this has been done.

Congratulations to Ohio State and its fans for taking its punishment without complaining and taking positive steps to avoid such problems in the future.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, JIM TRESSEL? Published on March 11, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events http://dobbie.icrewdigital.com/2011/03/11/what-have-you-done-jim-tressel/?doing_wp_cron=1349379342.9226739406585693359375

Adios Jim Tressel Published on May 31, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events http://dobbie.icrewdigital.com/2011/05/31/adios-jim-tressel/

Good Bye and Good Riddance, TP Published on June 11, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events http://dobbie.icrewdigital.com/2011/06/11/good-bye-and-good-riddance-tp/

Football Offers Many Lessons Published on August 17, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events http://dobbie.icrewdigital.com/2011/08/17/football-offers-many-lessons/