Sunday, December 11, 2005

Where Do We Get Our Arrogance From?

The following being an excerpt from the indictment of Mr. Noe in Federal Court:

...The Purpose of the Conspiracy
The purpose of the conspiracy was for defendant THOMAS W. NOE to make prohibited campaign contributions totaling $45,400 to Bush-Cheney '04, Inc. without being detected by the FEC or the public.
The Manner and Means of the Conspiracy
It was a part of the conspiracy that defendant THOMAS W. NOE, in order to fulfill a written pledge to raise $50,000 for the campaign at the fundraiser, used $45,400 of his funds to make campaign contributions over and above the legal limits and concealed the true source of the contributions by making the contributions in the names of other individuals, known as "conduits." It was a part of the conspiracy that NOE requested that each conduit contribute money to Bush-Cheney '04, Inc. in his or her own name and attend the fundraiser. It was a part of the conspiracy that NOE would recruit other individuals, referred to herein as "super-conduits," who would not only act as conduits but would also recruit additional conduits and pass finds from NOE to those additional conduits. It was a part of the conspiracy that before and after the fundraising event, NOE provided funds from his National City Bank account for 24 conduits and super-conduits as an advance on or reimbursement for their contributions; all but one of the conduits and super-conduits contributed the maximum permissible amount, with some adding small amounts of their own money to NOE's...
Remember, this is an indictment. Mr. Noe has not been convicted of the above charges.

Most who know me know that I vote democrat so I'll disclose that up-front. I am a self-admitted centrist democrat, both fiscally and socially, and realize our country has a lot of diversity and challenges that should be addressed from leaders that can see both sides of an argument. Like Clinton, who I once ran as a delegate for, I truly believe we need to keep both ends of our political spectrum in sight so that our ship does not sail too far to one end, taking all of us over the edge with it.

I can't help but wonder if the democrats would be as blatant with their hold on power though? Maybe I'm looking at history with rose-colored glasses and a short memory. This state was once controlled by Dem's for almost 14 years. I don't ever recall such subversive behavior to achieve a political end. And this from the party of family values? Have we ever witnessed such a colossal demonstration of greed, arrogance and subversion before? On a state or federal level?

Can the hope for a new, rebuilt democratic party in Ohio only lay at the footstep of the dysfunction that the republicans are responsible for? Is there any way democrats can create a new direction and vision for leadership that goes beyond just maintaining power? Can it happen with the current democratic leadership ranks?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Eighteen and I Like It

As 2005 begins to unwind, I find myself looking over the shoulder of my eighteen-year old a little more often these days. It doesn’t seem that long ago. Ouch!

We spent a good part of this year calling on colleges. Some far away, some right here in our own backyard. I’ve got to admit, it was quite a learning experience for everyone involved. Although I know most of the university presidents around here on a first name basis, I can’t say I really knew their business all that well—until this year that is.

The closest I came to college was visiting my buddies to party at Kent and BGSU in my late teens and early twenties. As easy as it was to get into those schools then (and believe me, they wouldn’t let either of my buddies into those schools now) it still wasn’t a place accepting of my scholarly standing.

Fortunately for me, I married a really smart girl and my daughter received more of her genes than mine.

From the iconoclastic campus of Stanford to the stately and gothic Boston College, what once was a far-fetched dream for me turned into quite a reality for my daughter this summer—and quite a decision.

Let’s see, should she consider a bucolic, sparse liberal arts college like Sarah Lawrence or the quite urbane NYU? Liberal-liberal Oberlin or the crowded campus of OSU? The studious University of Chicago or suburban-preppy Lake Forest?

The choice and differences between higher education facilities in this country is just mind-numbing. For her to be even able to consider one of these places is an accomplishment that astounds me—let alone trying to figure out which one is the right one for her.

But for all the brains god and my wife granted my daughter, it still seems to be coming down to a good old fashioned decisional crunch time. While she currently frets over the minutiae of application information, she still doesn’t have a worldly clue what she wants to do in her life. Arghh!

And that’s really OK with me; I would never want to push her in any particular direction. It just pains me to see her agonize over it; knowing the decision she needs to make right now, will shape much of what she learns—and ultimately does for the rest of her life. Maybe it was good thing I took the path I did?

She’s really blessed though. Good grades. Good study habits. Artist. Writer. Musician. Activist. She could choose any of a dozen or two paths and be incredibly successful.

And that’s the problem. Which place to go next in her life seems such an ominous decision. Unfortunately, there’s nothing a dad can do now except wait—and not push (words of wisdom from my wife.) The hardest part for me is just letting it be. She just told me I don’t understand girls. I guess I don’t.

But what I’m most left with after all this…

It really wasn’t that long ago that I held the little hand of a an infant girl with all the wants and worries a new dad can possibly possess. How can it be eighteen years already? The need to make a major life decision now is somewhat balanced for me by the pride of being able to hang in there for the last eighteen years and allow it all to go flowing by.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Five Years of Age

Can anyone explain the feeling that five year olds are able to create in fifty year olds?

To post or not to post...

Well, I finally did it... Got a blog set-up that is.

My friend John Ettorre warns if you don't have the time, it's really a waste of time; in other words, keep consistently writing if you want to be successful at it. And what a wonderful writer he is. Someone I envy for being so good at expressing himself.

I don't know if I have the chops, but I'm willing to give it a try. I did start a blog some time ago with my friend and founder of OneCleveland, Lev Gonick. But since I only posted a couple of times, I won't count it.

The other person who has really inspired me to write over the years use to be my high school newspaper editor. I was a part-time hippy photographer in 1975 that could not conform and Kevin Miller took me under his wing. We lost touch with each other after high school but within the first few months of my becoming a full-time entrepreneur, I accidentally ran into him at a bar in Westpark. After a couple of snorts I talked him into joining me in business and we became good friends and business partners.

Kevin's a brilliant writer, producer and director and has gone on to win many national and international awards for his documentary films, including the one I won with him at the 1990 International Television and Film Festival of New York; “Kids in Crisis.” His passion stayed with filmmaking, mine drifted towards computers, we parted business lives but have stayed close friends since. Kevin is one of those lone entrepreneurs I always talk about in this community. Creative and inspiring with no interest in building a fiefdom—just committed to great work.

Anyway, I got into a heated argument with Kevin last Sunday in the kitchen of my home for not using his god given talent for communicating by blogging on his life's work. All he gave me back was a bunch of bull about being too busy, having to raise two boys by himself and blah, blah, blah, blah and blah. It wasn't until after I wanted to deck him that I realized I wasn't even drinking my own kool-aid (and before my wife adeptly pointed it out to me as well.)

So here it is. I hope I can sustain it but I intend to talk about all kinds of things digital and community and welcome the interaction with the rest of the blogsphere.