Paris Hilton Responds to McCain Ad

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Jon Stewart's 'Dick Move of the Week': McCain Attacks

Jon Stewart's 'Dick Move of the Week' (video): McCain Attacks

"John McCain thanks the Hilton family for their support. Now if you'll excuse him, he's got to take a nationally televised dump on their daughter."

Also, NPR's Peter Sagal on this week's "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" pokes some fun (audio) at the McCain ad campaign.

"Faced with an opponent who can draw massive screaming crowds in this country and abroad, the McCain campaign has decided to convince voters that this is in fact a fatal flaw.

The ad shows images of Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears, two icons of substance-free fame, then it calls Obama the biggest celebrity in the world.....

This meme has caught on. Pundits are suggesting that by being widely beloved, Obama runs the risk of losing popular support. ...."


Building Iraq's infrastructure while ours decays

The I-35W Mississippi River bridge catastrophically failed during the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007, collapsing to the river and riverbanks beneath. Thirteen people were killed and approximately one hundred more were injured. The average age of American bridges is 43 years, approaching the normal lifespan of 50 years. One fourth have a problem.

The U.S. has built 810 schools, 4800 water and sewage projects, 1047 roads and bridges.

Not in America. In Iraq.

Al Franken has an excellent video about this called 'Invest Here'.

Now the LATimes is reporting today that after the I-35W bridge collapse killing 13 and injuring 100 last year, 'Urgency has buckled since Minneapolis bridge collapse' due to lack of state funds for infrastructure projects.

From an AP story 'Little progress made in bridge repairs across US':

"An Associated Press review of repairs on each state's 20 most-traveled bridges with structural deficiencies found just 12 percent have been fixed. In most states, the most common approach was to plan for repairs later rather than fix problems now."

Of the 20 deficient bridges studied in Ohio, 40% have not been fixed or improved.

With $10 billion a month spent in Iraq we're short money for bridges and roads, tin-cupping to fund American schools, underfunding our water systems. And now President Bush is predicted to leave a record $482 billion deficit to his successor.

Update (Aug 6, 2008): NYTimes is reporting ('As Iraq Surplus Rises, Little Goes Into Rebuilding') that

Soaring oil prices will leave the Iraqi government with a cumulative budget surplus of as much as $79 billion by year’s end, according to an American federal oversight agency. But Iraq has spent only a minute fraction of that on reconstruction costs, which are now largely borne by the United States.

Video: Payday advance loans lead to endless cycle of debt

Six states - Arkansas, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon as well as the District of Columbia - have now effectively banned "payday loans". Incredibly, Ohio's payday lenders are asking voters to reinstate their 391% interest rates --- eliminating the new 28% interest rate cap just passed in HB 545.

CBS Evening News produced this excellent new segment video entitled 'Payday Advance Loans Seem Simple, But Can Lead To Endless Cycle Of Debt'.

"In the current state of the economy, about 2,600 Americans a day file for bankruptcy. Others are turning to a financial quick fix called "payday loans."

They've now grown into a $59 billion industry.

Incredibly, Ohio's payday lenders are asking voters to reinstate their 391% interest rates --- eliminating the new 28% interest rate cap just passed in HB 545.

The payday loan issue is yet another reason to ensure that Democratic candidates are elected to office this fall:

  • Ted Celeste, District 24 Ohio House representative and candidate for re-election, is solidly behind regulating the payday lending industry and co-sponsored a bill this year to cap payday lender interest rates.
  • Mary Jo Kilroy's opponent in the race for the 15th Congressional District, former bank lobbyist Steve Stivers, previously opposed efforts to effectively regulate the payday lending industry claiming that it would actually hurt consumers to limit this brutal form of usury. When it became clear that the G.O.P. couldn't prevent genuine payday regulation, Stivers decided to own it instead, attempting to defuse a powerful campaign issue in the general election. Comparing campaign donations between the candidates, it's not hard to see how Stiver's could easily change his mind back again after the election ---- but this time, if elected, his influence would be at the federal level.

Original CBS story: Payday Advance Loans Seem Simple, But Can Lead To Endless Cycle Of Debt

Economic redevelopment vs. private property rights

On W. Lane, two homes will likely be replaced by two 6,500-sq ft buildings to house restaurants, stores and offices. The developer, Metropolitan Partners, needs the approval of BZAP to build on a site less than 70 percent of the required 1 acre. Map source: Columbus Dispatch. Click on the map to enlarge.

The economic development vs. private property rights issue has popped up again in UA. And with Council's emphasis on economic development, this probably won't be the last time we'll see it.

Earlier this year, the controversy was around Tremont development (Columbus Dispatch: Upper Arlington rezoning to allow office to replace houses approved). This time it's on Lane Avenue.

Here are three recent newspaper articles on the topic:

  1. July 20th, 2008, Columbus Dispatch: Homes rare on stretch of Lane Avenue: Arlington leaders prefer redevelopment
  2. July 15, 2008, Columbus Local News: Developers of Lane site continue discourse with neighbors
  3. July 9, 2008: This Week: Residents concerned about Lane Avenue development

The Upper Arlington Board of Zoning (BZAP) will review final plans for a 13,000-square-foot commercial redevelopment on Monday, July 21.

Update: UA zoning board delays decision on Lane Avenue project

Missing Your UA for Obama Sign? You're Not Alone!

The sign wars begin . . . already.


We report with regret that many of the UA for Obama signs already have been stolen since their debut in the city on June 22nd. This is a problem that we expect to continue and worsen as we approach the general election.

We understand your frustration, and hope to ease the pain by helping to make sign replacement easy and affordable. Visit our Stolen Yard Sign Replacement page to order your replacement sign. It will be placed in your yard by our volunteers, and the general location of the theft will be "push pinned" on our stolen sign map. Best of all, replacement signs are half-priced!

We encourage our supporters to report all sign thefts to the UA Police department. We hope that our local law enforcement will keep an eye out for any active sign thefts during their nightly patrols.

Just a reminder about the proper placement of your UA for Obama sign:

1) Signs must not be in the City's right-of-way (different for every street, but typically the area from the sidewalk to the curb), nor can signs pose a visibility issue for drivers.

2) Signs cannot be illuminated at night.

3) Signs that are deteriorating and unsightly, or violate the above restrictions, legally can be removed by the City.

There is no limit as to the number of political signs in your yard as long as the signs conform to the above guidelines.

In 2004, many of our UA for Kerry supporters came up with creative ways to protect their sign from theft, such as hanging it from tree or placing it in a cage. If you think of a clever and effective way to prevent your sign from being stolen, please drop us a line at

Celeste: Streamline help for vets

Everybody wants to help our Iraq War veterans, and that's the problem. Is the right kind of help behind Door No. 1, Door No. 2, or Door No. 3? Or maybe 4 or 5?

In "Ohioans should do more to show they appreciate vets," a July 12 letter to the Columbus Dispatch, State Rep. Ted Celeste called for "a unified, streamlined system to respond to the enormous challenge presented by so many young (and not so young) men and women returning from war in desperate need of assistance."

In talking to vets and their families, Ted discovered that there are programs from local government, county government and state government. But each program is basically working independently -- a confusing, tiring and frustrating situation for people trying to get back to a normal life.

And you have to take a deep breath before jumping into the whirlpool created by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ted notes the Ohio National Guard's "OhioCares" program is a great first step. But it is staffed by volunteers! We need to do more.

Help Ted streamline aid to veterans in Ohio and beyond. Contact him at with your ideas. Together we can and will make a difference.


Obama: Seize the chance to get out of Iraq

Barack Obama says "we should seize this moment" as Iraq Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki calls for a timetable for the removal of American troops.

In a July 14, 2008, New York Times opinion piece, "My Plan for Iraq," Obama outlines his ideas for "phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States."

He goes on, "The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops."

Obama's strategy is detailed. He writes, "As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in."

His plan would get troops out of Iraq by the summer of 2010. Some forces would continue limited missions to restrict any Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protect American service members "and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces."

He notes, "That would not be a precipitous withdrawal."

The full story. (Free registration required.)

What do you think? Comment on Barack Obama's pledge to start getting us out of Iraq as soon as he is in the White House. (First time? You will fill out a form and give us a user name.)

Lobbyists, PACs write big checks for McCain

Does it seem like you see McCain every time you turn on TV? It's because his campaign and the Republican National Party have more than $95 million -- and they are buying, buying, buying.

In fact, the McCain campaign is bragging that they are out-raising and out-spending us.

By collecting huge checks from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs, they raised more money than ever before in June.

To see what we're up against, check out this video from David Plouffe, Obama for America campaign manager. And then make your first donation to help close the gap. $25 would do it.

This grassroots movement won't just happen on its own. Success is up to all of us together.

New Yorker Cover Illustration: Stupidity or Satire?

coverIs the New Yorker way off base? Or right on target? The magazine famous for its satire has generated a lot of attention for its July 2008 cover illustration of Barack and Michelle Obama in the Oval Office, with abundant terrorist symbolism.

According to CNN, New Yorker editors say the drawing is a comment on how the media has passed along ridiculous claims about the Democratic candidate. (Don't forget is a great place to find out the truth when you hear allegations.)

The New Yorker magazine says its latest cover is satire.

Meanwhile, the Obama camp calls the cover " tasteless and offensive." McCain's campaign repudiated it. Liberal Liberal radio talk-show host Laura Flanders takes another view. She told CNN's "American Morning" on July 14 that Obama campaign "should have come out strongly endorsing this cover."

She said, "This isn't a jab at them, terrorist or any other kind. This is a jab at the media. ... It should be cause for our conversation to focus on the kind of fear mongering that the media and people on the right have engaged in." What do you think?


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