The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Greetings From Ohio!
UPDATE: Klanville, USA?

Posted on | February 25, 2011 | 25 Comments

One of my 18-year-old twin sons has a girlfriend here, and he has a four-day weekend break from the Christian academy where he is currently a senior. So he spent his hard-earned money to rent a car and I was enlisted as driver to bring him here. We left Hagerstown, Md., at 8 p.m. last night, driving through rain that turned to snow as we got north of Columbus, Ohio, and arrived here at 3 a.m.

We slept in the living room of the girlfriend’s family’s home, and when I woke up at 9 a.m., I immediately set up my laptop and ordered my son to get me connected to the household WiFi system, the password of which is more complex than the encryption at the CIA. Once that was accomplished, I ordered my son to go to the nearby Bob Evans restaurant and fetch me breakfast and a copy of the Columbus Dispatch.

He took the girlfriend with him.

The snow is about six inches deep outside, and still coming down. And now the son and girlfriend have returned. The top front-page headline in the Dispatch:

Panel rejects union favoritism
In another blow to organized labor and the legacy of former Gov. Ted Strickland, the Ohio School Facilities Commission yesterday repealed policies favoring unions for school-construction projects.
The commission, now controlled by appointees of GOP Gov. John Kasich, unanimously approved a resolution stating it no longer would approve contracts in which those bidding for projects were required to designate who would do the work, how much they would be paid or other mandates.
The move reverses policies enacted under the former Democratic administration that allowed districts to require the payment of prevailing wages and the use of project labor agreements mandating the employment of union workers.
“We hope to make our scarce tax dollars go farther,” said Ohio Budget Director Timothy S. Keen, who chairs the commission. . . .

Suck it, AFL-CIO.

OK, so now you know what’s going on with me, and what’s up in Ohio. And it’s time to eat my breakfast.

UPDATE: Here’s a photo of the front page of the Dispatch:

Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, but if you’ll look at the lower right corner of the paper, you’ll see this headline:

Ohio ‘patriot’ organizations doubled, report finds

Ah, yes, it’s our good friends at the SPLC, their scaremongering propaganda turned into a local story by Dispatch staffer Randy Ludlow:

Reflecting a national trend, the number of anti-government “patriot” groups doubled in Ohio between 2009 and 2010, according to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The conspiracy-minded organizations, which generally view the federal government as their foremost enemy, expanded from 13 to 27 in Ohio, the report says. Nationally, their numbers grew 61 percent, to 824 groups.
“Patriot” groups, including self-styled militias, have grown amid economic frustration and “the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at minorities and the government,” the report states.
The report reflects a number of radical-right groups scattered across the state but does not estimate their number of members.
Ohio Homeland Security Executive Director Rob Glenn said the numbers belonging to such groups are limited but that state officials continually are looking for signs that extremists might move from rhetoric to violence. . . .
Glenn said the state has trained more than 350 police officers to recognize the signs of hate groups and others, including left-wing and radical environmental groups, that might be moving toward violence.
Of foremost concern is “homegrown violent extremism” that constitutes terrorism, he said. “That’s what keeps us up at night,” Glenn said.

Someone at the Dispatch needs to teach their copy desk how to write better headlines:

Racist Reign of Terror in Bloody Buckeye State

That stuff sells newspapers, and if you’re going to publish press releases from the SPLC on your front page, you might as well go whole-hog with the sensationalism. Get your money’s worth, see?

Alternatively, you could do some actual reporting and see whether there is any justification for the SPLC’s claim of an alarming surge of extremist activity in Ohio. Except for his phone call to the OHS executive director, Ludlow’s actual “reporting” on the dreaded extremist menace was summarized in a single sentence:

The Dispatch attempted to contact the Ohio Minutemen Militia, which bills itself as a new statewide group, but received no response to an e-mail seeking comment.

Somebody phone the fucking Pulitzer Committee. We’ve got a winner!

One phone call, one e-mail, and the rest of it just repeats the SPLC press release — and this story made Page One!

Interestingingly enough, I went over to check the SPLC’s “Hate Map” to see what kind of extremist action was (allegedly) happening in Ohio and discovered that this town we’re visiting, Marion, is headquarters of the Brotherhood of Klans, which the SPLC describes as “one of the largest and most widespread Ku Klux Klan organizations in the United States.”

Great: My son’s girlfriend lives in Klanville, USA.

So far, I haven’t seen any brownshirts goose-stepping down Main Street here, but a quick search online reveals that, according to the Census Bureau, Marion County is 91% white. And the other 9% are presumably living a nightmare of fear, dreading the next midnight raid of the Klan.

Or so you might believe if all you had to go on was the SPLC and the half-assed “reporting” of the Columbus Dispatch.


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