Monday, June 19, 2006

Tim Ryan and the War on Terror

The above link takes you to the results of a recent vote on a House resolution "declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, [and] the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary."

Our own Tim Ryan voted "Nay" on this resolution.

Does this mean that Mr. Ryan does not believe that the US will win the "War on Terror," that we will be defeated somehow by the terrorists?

Probably not.

First off, it's not quite clear how one can realistically declare victory in a war against terrorism. There will always be terrorists- always have been, always will be. We can prevent certain things from happening, foil specific terrorist plots, and keep known terrorist organizations under surveillance. But we can't "end" terror. Ryan and the 152 like-minded Congressmen who voted "nay" may be merely trying to state the obvious.

Also, this resolution is a pointless waste of time and effort. A "Nay" vote may reflect this line of thought. There are far more pressing issues to deal with - and resolutions are not meant to be opinion polls. "Will the Indians win the World Series?" is not an appropriate matter for Congressional debate. (The answer is "Nay," by the way.)

Finally, judging by the distribution of votes by party, it's likely that this was a bill introduced by the Republicans as a propaganda piece, a "the Democrats don't believe in America"-type thing. Those who voted against it may have done so as a dismissive gesture, choosing not to play along with the whole "ignorant patriotism/divine right" mentality of many current Republicans.

No matter what the reasoning was behind Mr. Ryan's vote, I guess it's good to see that he's not just blindly playing along.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Party on the Plaza

Party on the Plaza returns this Friday night at the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings, and will likely take place every other Friday for the duration of the summer, as it usually does. It's still going strong- there's always a good crowd down there, weather permitting- so the novelty has yet to really wear off.

The downtown Buffalo Wild Wings (which most still refer to as "B-Dubs") is actually a pretty good spot year round. Some nights, it's packed, and other nights, it's dead, but its almost always a good time. There's always some interesting local color there (despite the fact that it's a chain), and it's probably one of the best places in town to catch the ballgame, with it's multiple projection screen TVs and its full bar-food menu. The prices are a little on the high side compared to other places in town (and they seem to have been climbing slightly in the last couple of years), but they're still "Youngstown" prices.

The bar's best asset, though, is its location- central, easy to get to, plenty of parking, and it also offers you the opportunity to hop to and from some of the other bars downtown. The usual itinerary is to start the night at B-Dubs and then, after midnight, head over to the Downtown Draught House, the real king of the downtown bars. More on that another time.

Buffalo Wild Wings
50 Federal Plaza
Youngstown, OH 44503

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Scrappers Gear Up for '06

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers have announced their promotional schedule for this upcoming season. Highlights include Napoleon Dynamite Night (featuring an appearance by Efren Ramirez, aka "Pedro"), Pittsburgh Pirates Night, Cleveland Indians night, and various community nights for many of the cities and townships throughout the Youngstown area. More information is available at the team's website,

Monday, June 05, 2006

SteelHounds and AHL Affiliation

A few months ago, the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League announced that they were leaving Cleveland for Worcester, MA, where they would take the name of their parent club and become the Worcester Sharks. At the time, I was concerned about how the move might affect the Steelhounds, who are technically the Barons' CHL affiliate. In my opinion, at least, having a higher-level affiliate gives the team some stability, as the larger, wealthier parent club has a vested interest in the success of its lower-level affiliate.

The Barons have been and still are listed as the Steelhounds' AHL affiliate. However, clicking on the link to their website no longer brings you to the teams' home page- it no longer exists. All that's left are the remnants of the online store, carrying deeply-discounted surplus Barons t-shirts and jerseys.

A team in Worcester, MA likely has little interest in a fledgling team in a suspect hockey market in the far-distant land of Youngstown, Ohio. The Steelhounds could then find themselves without an AHL parent club, which would be a problem.

Good news, though- according to several sources, including, a group headed by Dan Gilbert (the owner of the Cavs and Quicken Loans Arena) has purchased the AHL's currently inactive Utah Grizzlies, and will move the franchise to Cleveland for the '07-'08 season. I imagine there's a good chance that the Steelhounds will switch their affiliation to the new Cleveland franchise, maintaining their relationship with the American Hockey League and once again having a parent club within a short distance from the Chevy Center.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Traf in the News Again

There are a few special figures in the Youngstown community who simply won't go away, no matter how hard we may try to forget about them. Maurice Clarett and George McKelvey are certainly part of this "elite" group. Of course, the leader of this group would have to be everyone's favorite ex-congressman, Jim Traficant.

You may remember, a few months back, that ol' Traf got himself into the news when some of his paintings, mostly depicting serene farm scenes, went up for sale online. Now, according to WKYC (Channel 3) in Cleveland, these same paintings will be part of a special show in a gallery down in East Liverpool. They'll be sold of at the end of the show's run, and the proceeds will apparently go toward keeping the fledgling gallery open.

Art, of course, can be highly subjective, a fact that has given rise to the well-worn statement that "a 5-year old could paint that," etc. Some of the most highly-praised works in the world have received that very criticism. However, in Traficant's case, the expression couldn't be more true. The paintings are pretty terrible. Therefore, one can assume that the only reason these paintings are receiving any attention at all is because of who created them. I can't blame the gallery for putting on the show. I'm sure they have to do whatever it takes to survive, especially in the cultural hotbed that is East Liverpool. But it's a shame that the Traf continues to elicit this kind of attention.

I remember, a few years ago, being interviewed by one of the Cleveland stations (I think it was WKYC, but I'm not sure) about Traficant. I was home for the summer, working downtown, and they caught up with me as I was taking a walk through downtown Youngstown on my lunch break. The election was gearing up, the first one since Traficant had been put behind bars. The reporter asked me if I thought he might get any votes. I said I thought he'd have a good chance of winning.

No single political figure has captivated the Youngstown area as much as Jim Traficant has over the last few decades. And, it seems, he's not planning on stopping anytime soon.