Thursday, September 27, 2007


Does this look like 200 people to you?

Thought not! That's how many attended yesterday's (September 26) Stand Up for an End to Executions rally at the Statehouse... at least according to the Dispatch. (OK, this isn't the best picture but I only took one long shot, and it covers the back half of the plaza approximately.

DeSales High School alone sent over 100 kids.

The Dispatch's coverage of the event is so empty that I can offer only an educated surmise that the Wolfes like state executions and want to downplay the growing anti-death penalty movement in Ohio. Or maybe the Dispatch just went home after the first hour since its coverage is limited to repetitive speeches from "the faith community" In case you wonder, "pro-life" Patriot Pastors Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson were not there waving their freak flags.

Ohioans to Stop Executions, sponsor of the event, which included a prayer vigil at Trinity Episcopal, a teach-in at the Broad Street United Methodist Church, and after-rally lobbying, hoped that 6,000 would participate. About 1600 pre-registered. I didn't do a count but judging from previous events I've covered at the statehouse, I'd say well over 1000 showed up. At least 250 attended the teach-in.

Whatever... the Dispatch ignored or forgot to mention the meat of the rally: the keynote by former Bexar County, Texas (San Antonio) District Attorney Sam Millsap, who successfully prosecuted several capital punishment cases including the high profile Ruben Cantu case. Millsap is now an anti-death penalty activist. The Dispatch forgot or ignored Margery Koosed ABA Ohio Death Penalty Study Commission member. It forgot or ignored Jeff Gamso, Ohio ACLU Legal Director jutting his finger at the Statehouse and then towards the Ohio Supreme Court shouting "Stop it now! Stop it now!" The Dispatch forgot or ignored the moving anti-execution testimony of Dave Anthony. More than 30 years ago Anthony's parents were robbed and then shot execution-style by Akron teenager Carl Bayless, a walk-away from a state youth facility doing time for a murder he committed when he was 14 Finally, the Dispatch forgot or ignored Gary Beeman, (above) convicted on perjured testimony and sentenced to death in Ashtabula County in 1976. Three years later he was acquitted on retrial. (Full disclosure: I was a member of Beeman's defense team).

On September 24, the American Bar Association released a report, Evaluating Fairness and Accuracy in State Death Penalty Systems: The Ohio Death Penalty, a scathing examination of Ohio's legal and execution procedures. Noting that 5 Ohio death row inmates have been exonerated and released, it made 14 recommendations for improving procedures and an overall recommendation that executions be halted until the state can evaluate the current situation.

Hamilton County Prosecutor, rabid abortion foe and execution pimp Joe Deters snarks at the idea that innocent people are executed. (Hamilton has 37 inmates awaiting Death by Deters) "Tell me: Who is on death row that shouldn't be?" To these people, it's not about innocence, it's about whether their lawyer could have been a little trickier."

Tell that to Gary Beeman.

Friday, July 13, 2007


In response to the Other Paper's business -as- usual coverage of the June 23 war protest-police altercation during Comfest, longtime Columbus activist Chris "the Anarchist" Ryan submitted a letter to the editor to set the record straight. Other Paper managing editor Dan Williams assured Ryan that it would appear in the July 5 issue. It didn't.

Except for the indie media, little has been written about police pepper-spraying war protesters and minding-their-own-business Park Street bystanders and bar patrons (which apparently is common during Last Call in the Short North). Ryan promises to continue his agitation for a full investigation of the attack and other incidents of Columbus police behaving badly.

Below is the text of the letter Chris @ sent to The Other Paper in which he challenges the "official story" put out by the Columbus Division of Police and MSM.

NOTE: After I put this up I learned that an edited version of this letter is in this week's O
ther Paper. I saw it in hard copy, but I can't access it online.

To the editor:

I must protest several factual inaccuracies in your article "Illegal March Halted By Pepper Spray", (Jun 28th '07 Issue, Pg 6).

1. Claiming that the "Crowd stopped traffic as it marched southward" is factually incorrect. If one examines the video shot by Bruce Duncanson, it CLEARLY shows that the protest was NOT blocking traffic. In fact, traffic was already at a standstill before the protest left the park, due to normal traffic congestion found in the Short North during any big event. If you examine the video, (go to GOOGLE, go to VIDEOS, and search for "Comfest Anti War Protest" to see it for yourself.*) you can clearly see footage of the protesters PASSING cars moving in BOTH DIRECTIONS. If we were blocking traffic you would not be able to see cars moving in both directions.

2. The police failed to attack the march while it was on High St. The reason for this has to do with the enormous traffic congestion on High St. itself. The traffic was already at a standstill on the street before the march got there, and the police themselves were blocked from easy access to High St. by the Comfest traffic jam. There were too many other cars in the way for the police to be able to easily access High Street.

3. When the protest march got to the corner of Park and Vine, at the southwest corner of the North Market, there were a row of police cars waiting there, and officers who warned us that we ought to move onto the sidewalk. As we attempted to move onto the sidewalk, the police used their CARS to drive into the protest, forcing us into the sidewalk or risk being run over by the police. I, at the tail end of the march, had been on the sidewalk for over a block before I was sprayed with chemical mace by the police at the corner of Park and Spruce, less than 50 feet from a street closing barricade. Again, a close viewing of Bruce's video shows that the demonstrators were moving off the street and onto the sidewalk when the police attacked us. This directly contradicts the police claim that their action was necessary.

4. By the time the police deployed Chemical Mace (a substance that the United States Army classifies as a Chemical Weapon), more than half of the protesters had in fact moved into the
area of Park St. that was closed to traffic and open to pedestrians, leaving the majority of people victimized by the attack being people lined up to get into the Park St. Bars. The fact that the police were directing their weapons at uninvolved persons lined up to get into the bars shows that this was a "revenge" attack, and has NOTHING to do with breaking up people blocking traffic. In fact, due to the fact that Park St. was CLOSED to traffic at the point where the police attacked the public, it makes the police's claim utterly invalid. In fact, police spokesman Ford is lying when she claims that the police had no choices.

5. Given the location of the march, and the fact that it was headed in the direction of Goodale Park, it is an easy deduction that the protest would have been back inside the COMFEST if it had be allowed to continue moving up the closed portion of Park Street for even one minute. Again, a close examination of Bruce's video shows this.

6. A quick check with Park St. club patrons shows that the Police ROUTINELY use mace to clear Park St at Last Call. Further research shows that the police employed chemical attacks at the Latino Fest earlier this year. This indicates an ongoing attitude of violence and brutality on the part of the CPD that is unacceptable and unprofessional. Further, for police spokeswomen to
claim such actions are necessary by virtue of the situations involved, when the facts contradict the claims of the police, work to verify that the police are out of control and need to be restricted. In short, the POLICE CREATED an incident, where a calmer head would have allowed the moment to pass uneventfully.

Hosing down pretty young women waiting to get into nightclubs and claiming that you are targeting an illegal march in the streets, AFTER that march was already on the sidewalk is both deceitful and disingenuous.

Chris Ryan

*For more protest footage go to Arawak City MySpace.

Video captures from

Wednesday, June 27, 2007



Saturday night, June 23, Columbus anti-war protesters were attacked by the police on "grounds" that the march was "illegal."Reportedly the police have launched similar attacks on other "disruptive" groups and individuals at other venues this year with no media coverage.

I was not present at the protest. Arawak City SDS, however, videotaped much of the march. You can watch two versions of its video on Google. The police pepper spay attack on demonstrators and passerbys, starts about 14 minutes into the long tape;about 9 minutes into the short tape. Go to Google Video and type in "Comfest anti-war protest" This is important stuff.

Monday night longtime Columbus activist Chris "the Anarchist" Ryan recounted the police attack to Columbus City Council.

Comments to Columbus City Council (please distribute them freely):

On Sat night, at about 11:15 PM, the Columbus Police Department maced me. When I was assaulted by the police, I was obeying the law. I was subjected to a chemical warfare attack while observing an anti-war demonstration.

This was at the corner of Park St & Spruce, while it was closed to traffic and open to pedestrians. The police wanted to clear the streets of an illegal demonstration. I want to point out that where the police attacked me, there was nothing illegal happening, because the street had been closed to cars.

I remind council that the people have a right to demonstrate.

I have subsequently learned that the police had announced, prior to the event, that they were PLANNING this assault. This same police department used chemical warfare against the Latino Fest. A check with nightclub owners on Park St. shows that the police routinely use chemical weapons to clear Park St after Last Call.

What does this say about the Columbus Police?

What about the City of Columbus?

I say it sets a VERY BAD example. A very bad example indeed. Especially when you consider that the majority of people who were attacked had nothing to do with the attack.

When the police started spraying mace, most of the demonstrators had run away, leaving the majority of the victims being people lined up to get into the Park St. bars, and customers on the patio at Bar Louie!

This is improper, illegal, unjustifiable, uncalled-for, and just plain WRONG!

But I don't suppose anything will be done, because recent history shows a determined bent by the local authorities to misbehave in a chronic, ongoing, and predictable fashion.

Shame on you Columbus.

Shame Shame Shame.

How long before we see the likes of Kent State AGAIN?

Probably not long.

So unless you WANT a horrible debacle, one that gives the city a bad reputation, y'all better get down to FIXING your BROKEN POLICE!

That;s all. Thank you very much and goodnight.

Still stinking of mace,

Chris "The Anarchist" Ryan

PS- I was positively encouraged to hear that Councilor O'Shaughnessy's kid
was in that demo & got maced as well. I know this because Ms O'Shaughnessy
told everyone in City Council about it after my speech.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I attended yesterday's inauguration of Ted Strickland. There's really nothing to say that won't be found in any newspaper account of the event. But here are a some random notes:

I was happy to see John and Annie Glenn looking healthy and chipper. Their automobile accident a few months ago had me concerned that they might decline. Judging from the couple's appearance yesterday they seem healthy as the horses that braced the front of the Statehouse.

BTW, were all of those horses necessary, or did they line High Steet for ceremonial purposes only? You'd have thought Operation Save America (and here) was back in town.

Speaking of... They lied. The Phelps Family Tour didn't show. Does this mean that Ohio isn't the Land of the Sodomite Damned after all? The only "protesters" I saw ( I stayed out of the press pen and slogged around in the mud) were two people lugging around signs demanding "immigration reform."

Can't the state get better jumbotrons? Or perhaps it was just the weather. The grainy quality of the pictures looked like the ceremony was shot through a mosquito net from the back of a moving truck. (The jumbotron pictures posted here look better than the real-time broadcast at the event).

I didn't mind Strickland quoting Ronald Reagan much, since it was an OK line, but did Citizen Ted really have to quote George W. Bush? (NOTE: Democrats are polite Nobody booed. Anyone care to say what the reaction would have been if Ken Blackwell had been up there quoting Bill Clinton?)

Tramping around yesterday I noticed an actual physical energy A sense of decency. It was an odd feeling--one I never get when politics are involved. Politicians, of course, never live up to their "promise" or our mythologies. I'm sure some of us will have have reason to "hate' Ted Strickland soon enough. But damn! It's nice to have somebody in the Statehouse who actually has the people's interest at heart and notices that we are 7 years into the 21st century.

Here's a few pictures:

High Noon at Ted's House

Is this all necessary?

The Umbrellas of Columbus

A real Ohio event!

Demands for immigration reform

Watching the Gov

Ted cleans up!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I've been away for quite awhile and am trying to catch up. Below is an article I wrote for the upcoming issue of the Columbus Free Press. I'll be posting a couple other pieces of "old news," this month. Though it's old news, I think it's worth documenting theoconic activity pre-and post election. Remember, just because "they" didn't win doesn't mean "they" are going away! David Barton's appearance, which I write about below, garnered a short piece in the Dispatch. I doubt if MSM even knows who Barton is, much less why he's important.

Photos of David Barton by the author.


Republican operative, and self-made “chistorian” David Barton blew into Potter’s House Church of God on the city’s West Side on October 26 for an early morning meet and greet pre-election history lecture cum get-out-the-vote rally. The event was sponsored by Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values (CCV), Ken Blackwell’s infantry which 2 years ago brought out “values voters” in droves to pass Ohio’s Draconian “marriage protection” amendment. CCV director and public moralist, Phil Burress, father-in-law of Potter House pastor Tim Oldfield, was on hand for the introduction.

Barton, the former vice chair of the Texas Republican Party, an adviser and close friend of George W. Bush, is a seminal figure in the Christian Reconstruction movement, He is the force behind much of what I call “Christory“--the revision and re-order of US history to fit the Christian Domionist agenda. Barton and his organization Wallbuilders are dedicated to “educating” the nation on its “Godly foundation;” developing public policy based on Biblical values, and encouraging evangelicals to be involved in the public fora. The establishment of so-called Biblical principals in US culture and government, Barton believes, can be had by rejecting the “1960s economic view of history,“ and returning to “Providential perspective” of history as moral and governmental principles guided by a Divine hand.

This may seem pretty heady and unlikely talk for an early morning voter drive meet-up, but the 75 or so who attended the event were eager to learn more.

To help them out, Barton unloaded a bag of 19th century history books and law commentaries, school readers, and documents, including what he claimed was an original letter from John Adams, to aid in his Power Point lecture on “real” American History that placed God smack in the center of the American Revolution and the Constitution. Props without context, outside their own history, to desecularize the state. Barton’s history included the “facts“ that the Declaration of Independence is “about God,” written in response to George III‘s rejection of the Bible and the royal banning of missionaries to the colonies; Benjamin Franklin joined the cause of the Revolution to oppose slavery; and the assertion that Quakers and Episcopalians killed Baptists in Pennsylvania for preaching the Gospel.

Would you be surprised to learn that David Barton has no formal training in history or historical method.? He, in fact, holds only a BA in Religious Education from Oral Roberts University and an honorary doctorate from Pensacola Christian College. Although Barton’s “history” has been embraced by Presidential hopeful Sam Brownback as joining God and the Republican Party (Barton’s “research provides the philosophical underpinning for a lot of the Republican effort in the country today -- bringing God back into the public square) and Bill Frist (“detailed research into the religious heritage of our nation.”). Barton has no credibility among genuine historians. Derek Davis, director of the JM Dawson Institute of Church-Studies at Baylor University, complains that Barton presents a “distortion of the truth.” The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty trounced his work, tearing apart numerous “facts” concluding that his “history lessons are laced with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact.” Arlen Specter wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy that many of Barton’s arguments “range from the technical to the absurd.” Barton himself admits that he’s been unable to locate the primary sources of many of the quotes that he attributes to James Madison, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and other historical figures, but says it doesn’t matter since they are in line with the views of the Founders. (Go here to see criticism of Barton).Incredibly Barton has been appointed to state education History standards boards of Alabama, Texas, and Kentucky and acted in an advisory capacity in other states.

Barton says that the Christian’s duty is to vote So while he may have been talking history at Potter‘s House, his immediate job was to get out the vote--though he was careful to not say for who, for what issues, or for what party. And, despite the best laid plans of the Patriot Pastors, and the Ohio-invested Arlington Group (and here), “values voters” Barton feared would stay home. If they don’t vote, he warned, the “culture war“ is over. “Go to Sunday School and break fingers,“ he urged. “You’re accountable to God, if you don’t vote,” As if that weren’t scary enough, Barton lamented that 45% of Christians who do vote, vote economic issues over morality. What’s an evangelical to do?

In a discussion with me post-pep talk, Barton, in a strange self-contradiction, called the Ohio gubernatorial election for Ted Strickland. He admitted that “values candidate “
Ken Blackwell had little chance of winning. “Blackwell is the right man for the job, but with a governor with a 15% approval rating, everybody wants change.”

I have also written about Barton in My Evening with Rod Parsley...
More about CCV and Phil Burness is in Ohio Christian Alliance...