Friday, January 29, 2010

THEY ALL LOOK ALIKE TO ME

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 9:00 AM

According to Scientific American, a recent study claims you can tell the Republicans from the Democrats just by looking at their head shots.

Ever-tan John Boehner hopes to make it on the second season of MTVs Jersey Shore.
  • Ever-tan John Boehner hopes to make it on the second season of MTV's Jersey Shore.
“The authors [of the study] concluded that people possess ‘a general and imperfect’ ability to infer political affiliation based on facial appearance, which is related to stereotypes about Democrat and Republican personalities.”

“To investigate the basis of these judgments, subjects were asked to rate photos of faces on a seven-point scale assessing personality traits such as assertiveness, maturity, likeability and trustworthiness. Subjects consistently associated Democrats with warmth (likeable and trustworthy) and Republicans with power (dominant and mature).”

Come on — be honest: The real tipoffs were the unnatural tans and fluffy hairpieces (Republicans), and the combovers and policy-wonk pallors (Democrats). — Anastasia Pantsios

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

CONGRESSMAN, YOU DO KNOW YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN, RIGHT?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 2:04 PM

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At a time when even prominent Republicans casually accuse Democrats of the most outrageous things, including wanting to kill off the elderly, it's shocking to hear one speak of working with the president, as Congressman Steve Latourette did this morning on WCPN:

"I understand, as a member of the minority, we did such a bang-up job that we got thrown out in 2008. But the fact of the matter is we do have ideas, and I'm willing to work with people. As a matter of fact, if you look at [Congressional Quarterly], [they] came out with [an analysis of] who votes with the president more than anybody else, and I vote with President Obama, when he's clearly identified his position, 62 percent of the time. There are members of his own party that don't do that. So I'm ready to take his hand if he wants to extend it and I hope he means it."

That sounds so … rational. And note the apparent pride in voting with a president who many fellow Republicans are convinced is a foreign-born socialist. Weird. Refreshing, but weird. Let's hope he doesn't turn out to be another hypocritical hack. — Frank Lewis

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STOP ME BEFORE I TEXT AGAIN

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

AAA supports a bill that would ban texting while driving in Ohio:

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Text messaging is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, yet survey after survey shows that an alarming number of drivers do it. AAA is calling on the Ohio General Assembly to help remove this menace from our roadways by passing either House Bill 415 or Senate Bill 164, both recently introduced by Reps. Michael DeBose and Nancy Garland and Senator Shirley Smith, respectively. Both bills ban all drivers in the state from text messaging while driving.

A growing body of research confirms that taking your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and mind off the driving task radically increases your chances of causing a crash. A recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that for commercial truck drivers who are texting, crash risk increases by 23 times. The study also demonstrated that the average time spent looking away from the road while writing and sending a text was 4.6 seconds. This amount of time with eyes off the road clearly distinguishes texting as the most dangerous distraction. …

AAA East Central is joining AAA clubs nationwide in a campaign to pass laws in all 50 states to ban all drivers from text messaging. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have such laws, with 10 more states prohibiting teen or new drivers from texting while driving, often part of a broader ban on teen cell phone use. AAA also continues, through driver training, public education and safety programs, to discourage motorists from yielding to any kind of distraction while behind the wheel.

Texting while driving is more dangerous than driving stoned: "[D]rivers who sent or read text messages were more prone to drift out of their lane, the research found, with steering control by texters 91 per cent poorer than that of drivers devoting their full concentration to the road. This compared with a decline of 35 per cent by drivers under the influence of cannabis." — Frank Lewis

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THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR IS TV NEWS

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Local television news can be pretty pathetic in general, but is it bad for your mental health?
Humor web-site Asylum thinks so and has ranked Cleveland as a top city for most depressing television newscasts. More than a quarter of Cleveland TV news stories feature crime, according to Asylum's informal survey of its readers.

From Newsweek article The Roots of Fear
  • From Newsweek article "The Roots of Fear"
We can't argue with the findings, given our broadcast counterparts' fetish for blood, tears and "thugs" (and their propensity to cover the same freakin' stories about blood, tears and "thugs"). If you're not buying it, grab your Prozac — here's a quick scan of stories presently featured on their web sites:

Action 19: Gun found at Cleveland school; Cleveland strangler wants out-of-town trial; Cleveland neighbors homeless after gas explosion; a new Carl Monday caper.

Fox 8: Gun found at Cleveland school; cop killer asks to be executed; death row inmate with Sonny Bono-hairdo gets sheared; Cleveland strangler wants out-of-town trial; Anna Nicole Smith/John Edwards tabloid fodder.

WEWS 5: Gun found at Cleveland school; Cleveland strangler wants out-of-town trial; old man punches grocery clerk; Apple unveils new expensive gadget.

WKYC 3: Gun found at school and strangler stories, again (isn't there anything else going on today?); Obama's State of the Union address; Conan O' Brien's last show.

There you have it: guns, creeps and a shameless network plug by WKYC. Aside from Carl Monday, not much to laugh about here in Cleveland. — Damian Guevara

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CLEVELANDER IS WITNESS TO HAITIAN TRAGEDY

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Former Free Times photographer Keith Marlowe (pictured below) is shooting in Haiti for Life. See a gallery of his work here.

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JOKERS TO THE RIGHT: KUCINICH'S GOP 'CHALLENGERS'

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

The latest report from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections shows that five candidates have now pulled petition to vie in the Republican primary for a chance to face Dennis Kucinich next November for the 10th district congressional seat. Good luck with that, guys.

The problem is that all five are unknowns without any record of past campaigns or holding elective office. Only Thomas R. Olschlager has a web site, where he shares fun facts like “Under the socialist/communist healthcare plan in the Soviet Union during the early part of the 20th Century, the average number of abortions grew to 12 per female regardless of age. Some women had as many as 20, thus causing a sharp rise in uterine damage and related injuries and cancers.” He’s been endorsed by Doug Hoffman, the teabagger candidate who recently caused the Republicans to lose a congressional seat in upstate New York they’d held for over a century.

The other four potential contenders — James Brihan, Peter J. Corrigan (not the Democratic common pleas judge of the same name), Willard “Benjamin” Franklin and Michael Grusenmeyer (who had previously pulled petitions to run as a Democrat, Republican and Independent in the U.S. Senate race, but has now withdrawn ) — are complete ciphers without any discernable campaign presence.

In 2008, Kucinich faced his toughest contest since he was elected in 1996 when his opponent was James Trakas, a former state representative and former Cuyahoga County Republican Party chair. Clearly the strongest opponent the Republican Party had put up against Kucinich, Trakas still lost by an overwhelming 157,268-107,918. Most of Kucinich’s previous opponents had lost by margins of around 2-1. It doesn’t look like this time will be any different. — Anastasia Pantsios

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

DEMS STILL NOT GIVING UP ON REPLACING GARRISON (UPDATED)

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 5:14 PM

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Ohio Democratic activists, still angry about the state party’s anti-choice, anti-gay-marriage candidate for secretary of state, are trying to recruit former congressional candidate Sharen Neuhardt to enter the race.

Since Franklin County (Columbus) commissioner Marilyn Brown bowed out in the fall, the only candidate has been state legislator Jennifer Garrison from Marietta. But she won her seat in the legislature in a campaign in which she ran to the right of her Republican opponent on gay marriage, and she has taken fringe right-wing positions on reproductive freedom, like banning virtually all abortions, lack of support for pregnancy planning and passage of a “fetal personhood” amendment. She even opposes stem-cell research. Many Democrats feel that, at a time when the far right has been energized and motivated by the so-called “teabag” movement, the party can’t afford not to present a clear alternative and motivate its own base by advocating strongly for its core positions — including reproductive choice and LGBT rights.

Cleveland Marshall law professor and noted elections expert Candice Hoke briefly considered running before the holidays, but decided against it. Neuhardt’s name, which had been bandied about in the fall, came up again last week, and it turns out she is seriously considering entering the race. She’s spending this week gauging the support for her run. Neuhardt, from central Ohio’s seventh congressional district, ran for the congressional seat in 2008 but lost to Republican Steve Austria. She’s an attorney with Thompson Hine, based in the firm’s Columbus and Dayton office.

Because she doesn’t have an official campaign treasurer and can’t accept donations yet, Ohio Daily Blog is asking people to pledge to her campaign, promising to give the list of supporters to her if she decides to run. So far, it’s gotten $6,555 in pledges from 40 people. In addition, there’s the Draft Sharen Neuhardt page on Facebook, and a Twitter feed at #runsharenrun. — Anastasia Pantsios

UPDATE: Apparently, the response was good. Neuhardt, who had said she would spend this week assessing the level of support for her to enter the race to become the Democratic candidate for Ohio secretary of state and come to a decision by the end of the week, made up her mind early: She’s in. She has pulled petitions and will start gathering signatures immediately to meet the February 18 filing deadline.

The party had challenged members to find another candidate, so they did. The race is on. Visit the Draft Sharen Neuhardt Facebook Group for more information on Neuhardt’s campaign as it develops. — Anastasia Pantsios

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