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by 08.10.2011
Posted In: School Board, Courts, Religion, Public Policy at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
 
 

ACLU Warns Springboro

School officials in a suburb north of Cincinnati are being warned not to add creationism to their curriculum if they want to avoid a costly legal challenge.

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by 07.27.2011
 
 

Council Forum Set for Friday

Several groups are teaming up to sponsor a forum on Friday for candidates running for Cincinnati City Council.

So far, seven candidates — including one incumbent — have indicated they will attend the session. They are Councilman Wendell Young, a Democrat; Nicholas Hollan, Jason Riveiro, Chris Seelbach and P.G. Sittenfeld, also Democrats; and Kevin Flynn and Yvette Simpson, who are Charterites.

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by 12.05.2008
Posted In: Business, Public Policy, News at 05:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Customers Revolt Against Banking Fees

This week’s issue of CityBeat features an article about a lawsuit that a disgruntled customer filed against Fifth Third Bank about how the institution processes debit card transactions.

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by 05.26.2009
Posted In: City Council, Public Policy, Courts at 04:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 

City: COAST Squanders Taxpayer Money

Cincinnati’s solicitor says an anti-tax group is wasting taxpayer money by filing a federal lawsuit against the city without first contacting its Law Department to resolve the alleged violations outside of court.

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by 07.22.2011
 
 

Getting Deep Inside ALEC

When CityBeat profiled the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in May, just after the conservative organization held a private meeting in Cincinnati, some of its members downplayed conspiracy theories about the group and its love of secrecy.

Fueled by corporate donations, ALEC is credited with working quietly behind the scenes to draft legislation that can then be introduced by elected state lawmakers. Among its efforts, ALEC spearheaded the push in Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere to introduce bills that limited or abolished collective bargaining rights for public-sector labor unions.

The membership list that contains the names of the roughly 2,000 state legislators and about 300 private-sector supporters who belong to ALEC is kept confidential.

State Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Green Township), who sits on ALEC's board of directors, noted in the CityBeat article that the identity of its sponsors aren't kept secret. They include the American Petroleum Institute, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Coors and the National Rifle Association.

Now with the help of Aliya Rahman, an activist based at Miami University in Oxford who organized the Cincinnati protest, The Nation magazine has obtained more than 800 documents representing decades of ALEC's model legislation. The treasure trove of materials is featured in The Nation's Aug. 1-8 issue, which currently is on sale.

[UPDATE: Read more about Rahman's path to unearthing the documents here.]

In conjunction with the Center for Media and Democracy, The Nation asked policy experts to analyze this never-before-seen archive.

As The Nation's John Nichols writes, “Inspired by Milton Friedman’s call for conservatives to 'develop alternatives to existing policies (and) keep them alive and available,' ALEC’s model legislation reflects long-term goals: downsizing government, removing regulations on corporations and making it harder to hold the economically and politically powerful to account. Corporate donors retain veto power over the language, which is developed by the secretive task forces.”

A full archive of the exposed ALEC legislation is available here.

 
 
by 11.11.2008
Posted In: Public Policy, Social Justice at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 

Equal Marriage

No, this isn’t an effort to get men to scrub toilets, women to wash cars or any other such stereotypical complaint about equality in a marriage. It’s about busting up another stereotype – that only heterosexuals can live in a long-term, committed relationship.

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by Hannah McCartney 02.17.2012
Posted In: Public Policy, Ethics, Government at 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Ohio Executions On Hold

Supreme Court upholds lower court ruling that state has failed to follow proper protocol

A ruling that resulted in a temporary halt in Ohio executions last week means there are 148 inmates on Ohio's death row with uncertain futures. Ohio's death penalty is currently under scrutiny, largely due to opposition that's been raised from documented failures to follow protocol in state executions.

In January, Federal District Court Judge Gregory Frost of Newark, Ohio halted condemned murderer Charles Lorraine's Ohio execution because Ohio has allegedly demonstrated problems over the last several months upholding the execution protocol the state put in place itself in 1981. On Feb. 8, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Frost's decision, saying that because Ohio had been proven to stray from its own execution policies, it couldn't be trusted to carry out Lorraine's execution or any other death sentences. The next execution in Ohio is scheduled for April.

Frost is one of several advocating for the abandonment on Ohio's death penalty. "For close to eight years, the Court has dealt with inmate challenges to the constitutionality of Ohio’s execution protocol. During that time, the litigation has morphed from focusing primarily on allegations of cruel and unusual punishment to allegations of equal protection violations. Ohio has been in a dubious cycle of defending often indefensible conduct, subsequently reforming its protocol when called on that conduct, and then failing to follow through on its own reforms," said Frost in his written opinion.

He goes on to describe instances in which state agents lied to the Court concerning state executions, expressing frustration about the state's lack of commitment to constitutional execution. "No judge is a micro-manager of executions and no judge wants to find himself mired in the ongoing litigation in which he must continually babysit the parties," said Frost.  

That's just a piece of it; there are other judicial bigwigs hoping to have Ohio's death penalty overturned, including Senior Associate Justice for the Ohio Supreme Court Paul Pfiefer, who helped write Ohio's death penalty law when he was a state senator more than 30 years ago. According to Pfeifer, he's changed his mind because he sees the option of life without the possibility of parole more moral and socially beneficial.

Evidently, most of the deviations from the execution regulations were minor paperwork technicalities. Huffington Post reports the errors included switching the official whose job it was to announce the start and finish times of the lethal injection and not properly documenting that the inmate's medical records were reviewed.

Those in support of the hold, however, make another point. Controlling life and death is the most important power the state of Ohio holds; if it can't follow minor rules that it set for itself, who's to say there won't be larger, more detrimental errors in the future?
 
It's difficult to tell whether or not Ohio will just get a slap on the wrist for its slip-ups or if reform will be seriously considered. The death penalty has almost always been a part of Ohio's history, since it became a state in 1803. Ohio ranked third in the U.S. for executions among the 34 states that have the death penalty in 2011.

Listen to Paul Pfeifer and hear more about the controversy on The Sound of Ideas radio program below.

 
 
by 02.06.2009
Posted In: Social Justice, Public Policy at 03:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Life over Death

The Parole Board issued is recommendation today on the request for clemency in the case of Jeffrey Hill. In the state of Ohio a death sentence stands more often than it is overturned because, they say, it's to give the victim's family closure and a sense of justice. In the case of Hill, his mother was the victim, killed bu Hill while high on crack-cocaine, and the rest of his family didn't want to see him executed.

The final decision is up to Gov. Ted Strickland and if he listens to the family, as the Parole Board did, one less murder will take place in the Buckeye state. What follows is a statement from Eddie Sanders, brother of Emma Dee Hill and uncle of Jeffrey Hill, on behalf of Emma Dee Hill’s family.

“My family and I send our deepest appreciation to the Ohio Parole Board for unanimously recommending clemency and parole eligibility for my nephew, Jeffrey Hill. We now pray that Governor Ted Strickland respects my family’s wishes and follows the Parole Board’s unified recommendation.

“Eighteen years ago we suffered a profound loss when Jeffrey took the life of his mother, and my sister, Emma Dee Hill. Jeffrey became addicted to crack-cocaine after his father’s passing. My family knows that had it not been for the effect of drugs, this tragedy would never have occurred. We have forgiven Jeffrey and do not want to have to suffer through the tragic loss of another one of our own. We are certain that Emma herself, who was a woman of great faith and conviction, would also be absolutely opposed to the death sentence given to Jeffrey.

“Twelve members of my family appealed to the Parole Board to spare Jeffrey’s life. It was the first time that we were able to state our wishes in depth. We were cast aside at trial, and the jury never heard from Emma's mother, her two brothers and sister, all of us who were and who remain opposed to Jeffrey receiving a death sentence. It is tremendously meaningful that we were able to have our position recognized by all of the members of the Parole Board today. We are so very thankful that the Parole Board respected our plea and recommended clemency.

“My family, including Emma’s mother, other siblings, nephews, nieces and grandchildren, does not want this execution carried out in our name. We pray that Governor Ted Strickland upholds the Board’s recommendation and grants clemency and parole eligibility to Jeffrey.”

To help Strickland make up his mind, drop him a note or give him a call.

e-mail

Governor's Office

Riffe Center, 30th Floor

77 South High Street

Columbus, OH 43215-6108

Phone: 614-466-3555

 
 
by Kevin Osborne 09.08.2011
 
 
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Ron Paul Jumps the Shark

Some progressive Democrats share a modest admiration for Ron Paul, a U.S. congressman from Texas and perennial darkhorse contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

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by 10.23.2009
Posted In: Financial Crisis, Protests, Public Policy at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Battling the 'Banksters'

Thousands of taxpayers from 20 cities — including Cincinnati — will converge on Chicago beginning Sunday for a protest at a major banking conference.

In what’s described as the largest mobilization since the economic crisis began in earnest last year, "Showdown in Chicago” will protest the American Bankers Association (ABA) to demand banks stop spending millions in taxpayer dollars to lobby against reforms that could prevent a similar crisis.

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