SB5 Soundly Defeated in Ohio

I am glad that 61% of voters in Ohio rejected Governor John Kasick’s law against public workers engaging in collective bargaining. Government should be about discourse and compromise. SB5, on the other hand, was a bit of Republican thuggery against the public workers that are essential to making this or any state function. The voters of Ohio demonstrated at the polls that they would not stand for this. Instead, they supported public workers’ rights to collectively bargain, and I believe, they supported the reopening of respectful dialog and compromise in politics.

Read more about the results here.

Back from Voting

I just cast my vote in Ohio to repeal SB5 (and restore collective bargaining rights for teachers and other public workers) and to fund the Kent Free Library (via a new levy).

The polling station workers were very friendly, and one fellow was curious about how I came to be named Woodrow (It was from my Uncle Woodrow Wilson Head. I am proud to carry his name forward).

It was the first time that I had voted on an electronic voting machine. The station had four Diebold machines, each with a programmable voter card and built-in printer for generating a saved receipt for recounts.

Compared with the horror stories that I had heard about electronic voting machines, I thought that the machine that I used worked well and I was very happy to see a paper trail (that I could spy through a magnifying window) generated.

However, I do not know if the kind of Diebold machine that I used is one of those that Argonne National Laboratory identified as easily hackable [read about it on Salon here, and on Voice of America’s website here].

Ohio Legislature Railroads State Worker Anti-Union Bill, Passes Senate

According to the New York Times here, and The Huffington Post here, the Ohio state Senate passed a bill that removes rights of collective bargaining and protest from state workers including teachers, police, and firefighters. It is reported that it will also pass the Republican controlled House and be signed into law by Governor Kasich.

Ohio, Wisconsin, or the other states considering this kind of legislation are playing for political points through short term solutions that unfortunately will wreck their longterm develop plans. I don’t know if these laws, if passed, will stay on the books in the next election cycle, but if they do, I will be very curious to see what effect that they will have on the quality of education in these states. According to Angus Johnston at Student Activism, it appears that teacher unions do contribute to better quantified student performance [read the details here].

T Plus One Week from Taiwan

Y and I returned from Taiwan a week ago, but it still seems like we were at her parents’ house only yesterday. We are still digging through Christmas cards, correspondence, bills, and a stack of other less important mail. We have almost caught up with our house cleaning after vacuuming all of the floors, washing a load of dishes, and generally cleaning up accumulated clutter. Miao Miao has been as helpful as any cat can: not so much, but at least she’s very cute with her attempts at cat help. Y is still battling jet lag, and I am to a lesser extent. Y did get back into her weekly routine reading the Sunday newspaper and going through the sales ads. I suspect that the cold weather and the slightly higher than outside yet still very cold temperature inside our house hasn’t accelerated our re-acclimation to EST and the routines of NE Ohio. If anything, the weather has probably impeded our progress. Nevertheless, we struggle on to get our work done so that we can leave Kent for our professional lives as soon as possible.

Big Day in Snowy Ohio

Unlike yesterday, which was a 2x shovel and roof rake day, I only had to shovel and rake the roof once. However, I was busy indoors and away from the house.

I did more winterizing in the house, including the construction of a plastic partition in the back of the house to segment the less insulated rear from the front of the house. I layered 3 mil plastic sheeting and bound at the top and bottom with a wide piece of duct tape. Inside the bottom, I put two old socks to provide weight, and I looped the top and taped it so that I could run a curtain rod through it. I hung the whole assembly in the door way leading from the back area into the kitchen. It has been an amazing success. I can feel the difference and observe the change in the central heat despite it being 16 degrees outside. The cooler air in the back stays there and the central heat runs less often.

We built two fires today, one after I shoveled snow and the other immediately after that one died. I moved Miao’s chair close to the fire, which made her very happy and sleepy.

This evening, I put together a spare Ikea desk in the living room between the fire and the television. I did this so that I could begin a large photo scanning project that I had not had time to do until the semester was over. I brought a lot of photos from home that I wanted to digitize and keep. Getting started was rough for some technical reasons, but now scanning is zipping right along.

Y is busy with D’s books and her iPad and now she is talking with her Mom over Skype.

It is a chill night in both senses of the word.

Fireworks, Libraries, and the Ohio State Budget

Apparently public libraries are in trouble in the state of Ohio due to 1) a decline in the state’s general revenue fund, and 2) Governor Ted Strickland’s proposed 30% cut to statewide library funding.

According to the responses from this Yahoo! Answers question, fireworks displays on the scale of what I’ve been hearing about in the small towns surrounding Kent would run into tens of thousands of dollars in addition to costs for insurance, police, music, etc.  I don’t know how many fireworks displays there were in Ohio this July 3rd and 4th, but there were 37 in the Northeast corner of the state according to this news site.

I realize that this is not a maximized solution, but I believe that forgoing fireworks during a financial crisis so that those funds can be routed to local libraries, which provide year-round services to the public, would be a far better use of money than an ersatz orgasmic light spectacle.

Read more about the Ohio library dilemma on the Ohio Library Council website here.