For Issue One

The marijuana legalization-related initiatives on the Ohio ballot this year are getting all of the attention, while Issue One is getting almost no press.  That’s too bad, because it’s the issue that is most likely to have a positive long-term impact on Ohio and Ohio politics.

Issue One would change the way Ohio draws legislative districts.  Its goal is to make the drawing of districts more bipartisan and more inclusive of minority views and to specify criteria to be applied in creating new legislative maps.  The underlying concept is to prevent “gerrymandering” that produces bizarrely configured districts, creates “safe seats” that can be counted on to go to the candidate of one party or the other at all costs, and seeks to lock in long-term political control by one party or the other.

Restraining run-amok gerrymandering would be a good thing for everybody, for two simple reasons.  First, politicians who actually have to pay attention to getting elected are much more likely to be attuned to constituent service and listening to the voters.  Second, the existence of jigsaw puzzle-shaped districts where voters of one party have overwhelming majorities makes the only real election the primary for that majority party, and tends to produce candidates who are farther to one end or the other of the political spectrum than the Ohio body politic as a whole.  We don’t need more polarizing politicians, we need representatives who know that they will have to appeal to swing voters to attain office.  If Issue One can achieve that, it will have done future Ohioans an enormous service.

Voters often urge politicians to be bipartisan and to work together to solve problems, and Issue One demonstrates that that goal is achievable.  It’s supported by the Ohio Democratic Party and the Ohio Republican Party, business and labor, and voting groups.  I’m supporting it, too.  I want to reward the politicos who managed to get together on this issue, and also try to bring some reasonableness and common sense to redistricting.

Voters tend to vote against ballot issues.  The initiatives typically are long and hard to read, and busy people tend to reason that if things are OK now, whatever that agate type means just might make things worse.  I hope Ohioans resist that tendency in this instance and vote yes on One.

Bridge Of Spies At The Arena Grand

Today, I wasn’t going to be gulled into watching the Browns.  It was a beautiful fall day, so Kish and I decided to walk down to the Arena District to catch Bridge of Spies at the Arena Grand.

It’s not easy to find a movie that we both like.  Kish favors romances and the kind of character dramas that fall into the “chick flick” category, and I prefer action-adventure and sci-fi films.  Bridge of Spies is one of those rare movies that we both can get excited about.  An historical drama with the always excellent Tom Hanks as its star, about Cold War incidents that happened during our lifetime, Bridge of Spies seemed to be the perfect choice for a Sunday afternoon movie.  And it was.

If you haven’t seen Bridge of Spies, you’re missing something.  Hanks is excellent, as always, but Mark Rylance’s performance as Rudolf Abel, the accused Soviet spy, is a stunning revelation.  Rylance’s bushy-eyebrowed, deadpan treatment of the stoic Russian secret agent (and talented painter), and his clear chemistry with Hanks, takes the film from the realm of an interesting period piece into a real tour de force.

The movie is filled with fine performances and little touches that will resonate with those of us who grew up in the early ’60s and remember “duck and cover” lectures and air raid drills during grade school.  And — for me at least — it was refreshing to see a movie treat lawyers with sensitivity and respect and depict them in a way that reflects honorably on our profession.  In his own quiet and determined and ethical way, Hanks’ depiction of insurance attorney James B. Donovan, who was charged with representing a man most Americans wanted to hang, is one of the most positive portrayals of a lawyer since Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird made many young Americans decide to go to law school to try to improve the world.

This is the first time I’ve been to the Arena Grand complex, by the way, and it’s a great place to watch a movie.  We sat in comfortable seats, split some chicken quesadilla, and had a great time reliving those tense Cold War days.

Deleters Versus Retainers

They say that opposites attract.  It must be true, because Kish and I are complete opposites in one very important modern characteristic.

I am a dedicated email deleter.  She is a confirmed email retainer.

We get along well despite this significant difference in our approaches to modern communications.  It’s just one of those distinctions and behavioral quirks that we ignore in furtherance of the greater good and the ultimate goal of happy household harmony.

IMG_7439In reality, I try to avoid even looking at Kish’s email box when its on our home computer screen, because it usually provokes a grim sense of horror.  Even a casual glance tells me that her inbox is chock full of obvious deletion candidates, like that Williams-Sonoma solicitation for us to buy high-end knives — one of dozens of Williams-Sonoma emails that we’ve received since we bought some cookware there a few weeks ago and reluctantly agreed to track the delivery of our order on-line.  (Sigh.)

In my in-box, such unrequested solicitations and other junk emails would be identified, highlighted en masse, and deleted immediately, with great relish.  But in Kish’s emailbox they are examined, and then . . . accumulate and remain, apparently forever.  She is a gentle soul at heart, and no doubt is pained at the thought that whoever sent the email might be troubled by a quick deletion — especially a deletion without even being read.

I like the idea of keeping a crisp, limited in-box, so that the important emails aren’t mixed in with a bunch of crap and unable to be promptly located amidst the clutter.  And, candidly, I enjoy the little thrill of accomplishment that comes from highlighting and deleting an entire screen of junk and then hitting the garbage can icon.  It gives me the same sense of control and glow of basic achievement that also comes from rinsing off the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, putting them in the dishwasher, and wiping off the counter, or sweeping off the back patio to remove the debris falling from the trees overhead.  “Begone, solicitations, and Twitter announcements, and Facebook notifications!,” I think.

I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to experience the joys of regular email deletion — but I guess such differences make the world go round.