Having grown weary of beating up on homos, Ohio's favorite conservatives are turning to one of the final frontiers of depravity: pay-per-view porn in hotels.
Citizens for Community Values, the Cincinnati group with a really weird sexual obsession, is launching a jihad to make Quick n' Nasty -- volumes one through seven -- unavailable to lonely businessmen. The group, along with 11 other organizations specializing in curbing freedom, took out ads in USA Today calling on the Justice Department to prosecute porn dealers for interstate commerce of obscene materials.
It wants the feds to light up two Colorado companies, OnCommand and LodgeNet, for distributing porn to hotels nationwide, arguing that it's easily accessible to children.
Community Values President Phil Burress asserts that kids age 12 to 17 are the porn industry's biggest customers, and that 95 percent of 9-year-olds have already seen Weapons of Ass Destruction, thanks in part to hotels.
Punch thinks he got his stats from Channel 19.
Burress also says that grown men who watch porn are more likely to harm women and children. "Every cop that searches a sexual predator's home finds a stash of this stuff," Burress says.
Mind you, he doesn't care if grown men watch porn in the privacy of their hotel rooms. "We're not saying people shouldn't be able to buy porn," Burress says. "We're just saying that it's illegal to sell it."
That unique hair-splitting may be due to the fact that porn is usually available only at luxury hotels, which tend to be frequented by businessmen, who tend to be conservative, which means they may well be the very people funding Burress' organization. And as any smart activist knows, it's never wise to call for the prosecution of your donors.
"In Cincinnati, pornography is not sold, because the law is being enforced by our county prosecutor," he says. "But in Cleveland, you've got those stores all over the place. That's because your prosecutor is not doing his job."
And that, friends, is just another reason to Believe in Cleveland.
The pill is finally here
Last week, the FDA finally approved over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception pills for women 18 and over ["Bitter Pill," July 13, 2005]. Younger women can get it with a doctor's prescription.
The Bush administration did its best to keep women from getting the pill, stalling the decision for two and a half years. Last year, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-New York) and Patty Murray (D-Washington) declared that they wouldn't vote to confirm acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford unless the agency promised to make a decision. But Crawford quickly double-crossed the senators, claiming that more research was needed.
So this time, both senators refused to support new FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach until a decision was made.
"I think it's one of those landmarks in women's rights," says Mary O'Shea of Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland. "It's almost like when the birth-control pill became legal."
The pill, which will be sold under the name Plan B, is expected to be available over the counter in November.
You know things are bad when you're fighting over a balding white guy from Arizona.
But that's exactly what happened last week when Republican Senator John McCain came to Ohio for a three-day campaign swing with Senator Mike DeWine (R-Comatose).
Apparently offended that McCain wasn't stopping by even to say hello, challenger Sherrod Brown's camp accused the pair's friendship of being a partisan front.
On issues like the Iraq war, tax cuts for the wealthy, and pay-to-play corruption, says Brown spokesman Ben LaBolt, McCain "agrees with Sherrod Brown, not Mike DeWine."
But DeWine spokesman Brian Seitchik says that McCain would never roll with Brown's posse, since it includes such lefty senators as Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Chuck Schumer. "I think it's ridiculous," Seitchik says.
McCain's camp carefully downplayed news of the secret affair. "Senator McCain stands behind Senator DeWine 100 percent," says spokesman Craig Goldman. He was quick to add, however, that "[Brown] can praise John McCain all he wants."
Murder's a bitch
When the "You are a stupid bitch" e-mails continued for close to a year, Eileen Moushey decided it was time to investigate.
A Kent writer and director of murder mysteries performed at private affairs and corporate parties, Moushey used tracking software to uncloak the source of the anonymous messages. That's when the plot thickened like blood on a day-old corpse: At least 10 other murder-mystery companies had been targeted in the same way. And all believe the messages came from a computer used by none other than . . . [insert the scary music here] the Random Acts murder-mystery company of Toledo.
"I don't know who has been e-mailing other mystery companies from my computer, but they were retaliating," writes artistic director Lynda Whiting. "The murder mystery wars have been going on for quite a while. [The others] don't like us because we are from Toledo and we get more work than they do."
Evidence suggests that some also don't like being called stupid bitches.
"This chick is totally out to lunch," says W.J. Malbasa, owner of Mysteries Off Broadway Inc. in Cleveland. He claims that Whiting has repeatedly threatened him via e-mail and told his clients that he runs with the Mafia. Like Moushey, Malbasa traced the messages and found that they all came from Whiting's computer.
Whiting's response? "I'm not going to dwell on this."
Uncovering the cover-up
Marc Dann is taking this liberty thing a tad too literally.
The Democratic state senator and candidate for attorney general is pushing a bill that would force government agencies to hold onto important public records -- including e-mails about hiring, investment documents, contracts, and more -- for at least five years.
Under current law, records can be destroyed for reasons including, but not limited to, "saving the governor's ass" and "the therapeutic nature of trashing stuff."
But Dann was surprised recently to learn of e-mails detailing how state workers-comp officials hid $215 million in investment losses from the public in 2004 "because they would make national news" before the presidential election.
He should have learned about the same e-mails last year, when he requested the documents himself, he says.