Driehaus’s Congressional Web site live

Steve Driehaus has his Congressional Web page up and running, though there isn’t much listed on the site yet (plus he has had his new campaign Web site up for a while with it’s new domain name, www.driehausforohio.com, suggesting a possible future run for higher office).

There is on Driehaus’s Congrssional site, I noticed, a crapload of links to just about every social networking and bookmarking site known to man, though. I think this is an interesting and smart step forward for the new Congressman as he faces the challenges of crippled media in Cincinnati and the ever-important need to communicate with his constituents. Now he can easily ask visitors to his site to share what they have read with their social networks.

File photo

I have to mention (being the new media guy that I fashion myself), too, that there is not a link to “Share This,” the locally-founded (still with a local presence) social sharing service, that would take the clutter notch down about 10-fold. I’m sure they will work on this as they tweak the site in coming weeks/months. A quick Google search shows the Congressional site – which currently has a zero Page Rank – has about 42 pages, most of which are empty or needing content. It was likely a pre-packaged template that will eventually be filled with information and finish much higher in Google searches (especially after it gets passed around the blogs and other places).

What is conspiculously missing is any information about the Driehaus’s stances or record thus far in the new Congress (which I admit is new), including any mention, much less a transcript, of the speech he gave after his ceremonial swearing-in Friday in Cincinnati City Council chambers. In it he lobbied for the need to deficit-spend – something President-elect Barack Obama has been saying will be necessary and others have urged him to do once he takes office Tuesday.

“I can’t believe I am saying this,” Driehaus said in his Friday speech when calling for more federal government spending.

After the speech Driehaus shared some about his personal experiences so far in Congress. He told a story about being unexpectedly asked by Congressman Barney Frank to briefly run the Congressional debate as he was about to speak on the floor for the first time. Frank apparently had to rush to a quick meeting out in the hallway and called on Driehaus to take over the debate as he was waiting in line to speak for the first time. The drama only lasted a few minutes, he said, because Frank returned much quicker than either expected.

“It only took about two minutes,” Driehaus said. “I was very nervous.”

A side note: What was missing during Friday’s event? Reporters. There were, I think, two TV cameras there, but, aside from this columnist, no journalists of any stripe. And I had not come to report, but to watch. Further proof that Driehaus will have a difficult time making his case for why he voted the way he did when it comes around to election time next year. The only thing voters will hear will be an overload of political commercials with nary a speck of insight or objectivity. Welcome to the post-apocolyptic journalistic world. Scares the crap out of me.

Hamilton County GOP: Democrat(ic) Money Burn: Obama Style?

It seems current Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman and former Hamilton County Judge Alex M. Triantafilou has a short memory these days:

The current discussion in Washington to spend over $800 billion that we borrow from China ought to scare the hell out of every American. Is it the right thing to do to “bring back this economy”? I’m not the guy to make that call. But, I am a citizen that is about to watch liberal Democrats do what they love to do: spend lavishly and explode the size of government. I just can’t believe that is what the American people meant when they voted for “change.” It looks a whole lot like more-of-the-same.

via Hamilton County GOP: Democrat(ic) Money Burn: Obama Style?.

Why all the sudden outcry? Was it not the Republicans who got us into this mess? Plus, is not the deficit – now, as it stands before President-elect Barack Obama takes office – the highest its been in decades? And isn’t it – now, as it stands before President-elect Barack Obama takes office – predicted to go even higher than it has ever gone in the history of the United States, to the tune of more than $3.1 trillion dollars of national debt?

Alex, I think you’re a swell guy. Pretty smart, too. But, geebus, when will their ever be an admission that it was Republican leadership that got us into this mess? Denial is not Step One in admitting you’ve got a problem. And this ain’t the time for spin, friend.

Facebook Lexicon and “Cincinnati”

The Facebook Lexicon is a searhable application tracks the usage of terms used in Facebook on group, profile and wall pages. It’s an endlessly fascinating way to take a bird’s eye view of what people are talking about – and, frankly, what they are not.

Because of Facebook’s global scope, I think it’s hard to be able to get a true measure of what local people think. But, with our overall obsession with what the world thinks of Cincinnati, it’s a interesting way to see when exactly people talk about Cincinnati.

Here’s the chart for Facebook and the word “Cincinnati” for 2008.

Using the Facebook Lexicon, the word Cincinnati, Jan to Dec 2008
Using the Facebook Lexicon, the word "Cincinnati," Jan to Dec 2008

What exactly gets people talking about Cincinnati? I’m not sure. My memory is not that good. But maybe a look back at news coverage will give us an idea why there is a spike, for example, in early- to mid-March? Or big drops in mid-December? Or how can we better take advantage of the interest in Cincinnati during the warmer months of the year?

There has also been much said about Obama’s superior utilization of the Internet, but more specially new media, during the campaign. And that’s obvious with another feature of the Lexicon, comparative searches (up to five terms possible). I searched for “Obama” and “McCain” and zoomed into 2008.

If, presumably, McCain did not about this and he did, would he or his campaign staff worked harder to embrace new media?

There is not enough data to do the search I would really like to do: “Driehaus” and “Chabot.” No surprise, I am a big proponent of social media and politics. But surprisingly, there is still quite a bit of resistance to it.

There are loads of other possible searches. I have done a few others like “election” and “Cincinnati”; “boring” and “Cincinnati”; “fun” and “Cincinnati”; “streetcar,” “useful route” and “Cincinnati” – with not enough data present to render results. But I bet in the future there will be and this will be a great and very useful feature. What other searches would you do?

Go, go Garry

Brian Garry, as his Web site says, really kisses babies

Oh, brother. Here comes the onslaught of those who want to be John Cranley’s Cincinnati City Council replacement. First up, and coming in third (if the Enquirer’s article this morning is any indication) and making a run down the home stretch, Mr. Brian Garry…

He just sent out this press release:

Community Organizer, lifelong Democrat, Brian Garry will seek City Council seat.

Cincinnati- Brian Garry, a longtime voice in Cincinnati Democratic politics, will seek to replace John Cranley on Cincinnati City Council, his campaign announced today.

Garry, who ran a strong council campaign in 2007, believes he has the ability to hold the seat for Democrats this November.

“I’ve run for Council before, and I know what it takes to win. Building from my 2007 campaign will allow me to not only have the resources to retain this seat, but also the man power it takes to get out the vote,” Brian said of his credentials for the seat.

Garry, who was born and raised in Cincinnati, feels he has the ability to change things on Cincinnati City Council, while also continuing the impressive work that John Cranley has done.

“John has done a great job on council, and I commend his commitment to service. I believe that I can continue his work, while also looking at how we can take new approaches to the problems our city faces.”

Garry will look to meet with Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, as well as several other prominent Democrats in the coming days to actively seek their support.

“I look forward to meeting with our party’s leadership, as well as Councilman Cranley, to discuss my interest in this appointment. There will undoubtedly be other candidates seeking this seat, and I know that the party will conduct a fair and open screening process. I believe that when that process is complete, it will be clear that I am best suited to continue the work of the people of Cincinnati.”

Garry began his 2009 run for City Council in late November of 2008, hoping to get an early head start on the field.

Prompting this public appeal? Garry wants a seat on Council really, really bad and I think many Democrats really, really do not want him to have one. Will this public pronouncement tactic work? I predict backfire.

Open Left:: An Election Without Parties

I hope to be part of the change with the Driehaus for Congress Web site. Here’s what “Open Left” had to say about something I have become rather preachy about to those who will listen (and even a few who won’t):

I’ve been browsing dozens of congressional candidate/incumbent campaign web sites and was stunned to realize that apparently the Founding Fathers’ vision of non-partisan elections had been achieved! Why I could hardly find a single “Democrat” or “Republican” running for office or re-election anywhere in America. I thought “It’s a miracle! Surely this means the 111th Congress will be a utopia of respect, compromise and accomplishment. It will be made up almost entirely of non-aligned candidates!”

Open Left:: An Election Without Parties.

Broke down election van?

Broke down election van?

Originally uploaded by hjoew

Krikorian, an independent candidate for Congress in Ohio’s 2nd District, had his painted campaign truck parked at Big Apple Bagels on Beechmont Avenue and Salem Road in Anderson Township – a prime, high traffic location.

I asked Big Apple’s owner if he was a Kirkorian supporter and he said he wasn’t but that he was told the truck broke down and couldn’t driven. I mentioned that the van – parked conveniently in a corner spot – had a prime spot. He just smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said they’d be by to pick it up later that day.

They apparently did but snagged some prime high visibility space in the interim.
Sent from my BlackBerry.

Being more eco-friendly in the transpo department-o

In my column in this week’s CityBeat, I comment on an issue that has been buggin’ the heck out of me (and quite a few others) for some time. That’s the lack of alternate transportation options – bike, scooter or just ease of walking (especially when you live in the urban center) – available to folks living in this region.

To learn more, check out the column.

Jeffre’s voter van is a mobile campaign office

Justin Jeffre's Voter Van

In what has to be one of the funniest – and largest – pieces of Cincinnati City Council candidate campaign attention-grabbers ever, former 98 Degrees band member Justin Jeffre has bought a former bookmobile and turned it into his mobile campaign headquarters.

Jeffre, who is endorsed by the Green Party and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2005, happened into the RV-sized circa 1970s former library-on-wheels courtesy of the Cincinnati Public Schools, who sold it to him for a little more than $500. All it needed was the brake line repaired, but, beyond that, it runs fine, Jeffre said, who lets his father drive it.

Justin Jeffre's Voter VanHe had the big white vehicle – which he calls his “mobile command communications unit,” or MCU – parked Saturday afternoon at Bellevue Park on Ohio Avenue in Clifton Heights. His buddy, former band mate and Cincinnati-native Nick Lachey (who I missed) christened the bus with a bottle of Christian Moerlein‘s OTR Ale. Lachey spent about a half-hour there with his girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo, Jeffre said.

The bus’s trim has been painted Jeffre-campaign green, been adorned with vinyl wrap stickers of Jeffre’s face, campaign signs and stickers, a big red cross with “neighborhood rescue” written next to it, plus a wire can-sounding sound system that was playing The Who’s “Magic Bus” and making frog sounds. Plans include adding a green emergency vehicle-type light bar (think “mall cop”).

Jeffre plans to take the bus around to all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods and tout his campaign’s platform. One of the campaign’s workers said Jeffre’s voter van makes fellow candidate Mitch Painter‘s very recognizable and ubiquitous ice cream truck look like a “bitch mobile.”

Still awaiting word about when and where Jeffre’s whistle-stop tour will be next. Jeffre said the campaign would be releasing that soon.

Next to former Cincinnati City Councilman, Hamilton County Commissioner and current Congressman Steve Chabot‘s famous holding-a-sign-and-waving-on-a-highway-overpass stunt that propelled him onto Council in the mid-1980s and former Cincinnati Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell‘s “Tarbell, What The Hell!” buttons, I think this ranks pretty high for way-to-go, you-can’t-ignore-me retail politicking.