WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 10.09.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Today is the last day to register to vote, and in-person early voting is underway. Register to vote and vote at your nearest board of election, which can be located here.Hamilton County commissioners agree on not raising the sales tax. That effectively rules out two of three plans laid out by the county administrator. The one plan left would not cut public safety, but it would make cuts to the courts, criminal justice system, administrative departments, commissioner departments and the board of elections.It seems other news outlets are now scrutinizing online schools. A Reuters report pointed out state officials — including some in Ohio — are not happy with results from e-schools. Even Barbara Dreyer, CEO of the e-school company Connections Academy, told Reuters she’s disappointed with performance at e-schools. A CityBeat look into e-schools in August found similarly disappointing results.  Ohio Democrats are asking federal and state officials for an investigation into Murray Energy, the Ohio-based coal company that has been accused of coercing employees into contributing to Republican political campaigns. In the statement calling for action, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said, “Thanks to this report, now we know why coal workers and miners have lent themselves to the rallies, ads, and political contributions. They’ve been afraid.” Councilman Chris Seelbach is following up on information obtained during public safety meetings. The most consistent concerns Seelbach heard were worries about loitering and young people breaking curfew. The state auditor says the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) could save $430,000 a year if it moved its student information database in-house. Current law prohibits ODE from having access to the data for privacy reasons, but State Auditor Dave Yost says it’s unnecessary and “wastes time and money.”It seems Duke Energy is quickly integrating into its recent merger with Progress Energy. The company's information technology, nuclear and energy-supply departments are fully staffed and functional. The Cincinnati Art Museum is renovating and restoring the Art Academy on the building’s west side. It might not feel like it sometimes, but parking in Cincinnati is still pretty cheap. Scientific research is increasingly pointing to lead as an explanation for people’s crazy grandparents. Research indicates even small programs cleaning up lead contamination can have massive economic and education returns. Kings Island is selling off pieces of the Son of Beast. The troubled roller coaster was torn down after years of being shut down. The “Jeopardy!” Ohio Online Test is today. If you’re ever on the show, give a shout-out to CityBeat.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 10.08.2012
 
 
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ODP Asks State, Feds to Investigate Coal Company

Letters allege Murray Energy coercing employees to donate to Republican candidates

The Ohio Democratic Party is asking both state and federal prosecutors to look into allegations that a major coal company is coercing its employees to donate to political causes against their will. The ODP on Monday sent letters to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven Dettelbach and Acting Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty asking them to launch a criminal investigation into Ohio-based Murray Energy Corporation. The letters allege that Murray Energy “may have engaged in a pattern of illegal activity, extorting millions in financial contributions from employees and vendors for Republican candidates running for public office.” Murray Energy fired back in a Monday statement, saying the allegations “are simply an attempt to silence Murray Energy and its owners from supporting their coal mining employees and families by speaking out against President Barack Obama’s well known and documented War on Coal.” The allegations stem from an Oct. 4 investigation by left-leaning magazine The New Republic. The article is based on the accounts of two anonymous former Murray managers and a review of letters and memos to Murray employees. It suggests that employees are pressured into making donations to Republican candidates and contributing to the company’s Political Action Committee.  “There’s a lot of coercion,” one of the sources told the magazine. “I just want to work, but you feel this constant pressure that, if you don’t contribute, your job’s at stake.” ODP Chairman Chris Redfern told reporters during a conference call that party research found that Ohio political candidates — including all current statewide officeholders — had received almost $750,000 from Murray Energy, its subsidiaries and employees. Neither Dettelbach or McGinty returned CityBeat calls for comment on any pending investigations. Murray Energy in its statement called The New Republic biased and radically liberal. The company’s characterization in the article is incorrect and untruthful, according to the statement.  Murray had previously come under fire when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a campaign event at one of its mines. Some workers claim they were pulled out of the mine early when it closed for the event and forced to attend without pay.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.05.2012
Posted In: News, Economy, 2012 Election, Redistricting at 09:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
us bls

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September — the lowest jobless rate in nearly four years. The country added 114,000 jobs during the month, and labor participation actually rose with 418,000 people joining the labor force. Jobs numbers for July and August were also revised upward, indicating that the summer’s economy was not as weak as previously estimated. Unlike previous reports that were mired with dropping labor participation rates and job additions below expectations, this report paints a generally rosy picture of a recovering economy.A new report found Ohio-based Murray Energy might be coercing employees into making campaign contributions to Republicans. It seems Bob Murray, Murray Energy’s CEO, directly encourages employees to make donations through memos and strong language. As a result, the company has an unusually high amount of donations to Republican candidates, including senatorial candidate Josh Mandel, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and House Speaker John Boehner. The company’s PAC and staffers are the sixth biggest source of funding for Mandel.By their own admission, Republicans misrepresented Issue 2. The good news is they have agreed to stop using some of the misleading language. If Issue 2 is approved by voters, it will give redistricting powers to an independent citizens commission. Currently, elected officials redraw the district boundaries, and they use the system in politically advantageous ways. The Republican majority redrew the First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati to include Warren County, which places less emphasis on urban voters that typically vote Democrat and more emphasis on rural voters that typically vote Republican. CityBeat previously covered redistricting and Voters First’s reform here. The state auditor gave a mixed review to Ohio’s schools and education department yesterday. In an interim report, the auditor criticized a handful of school districts for scrubbing attendance reports and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for having poor oversight. ODE promised “additional safeguards” in response to the report.Gov. John Kasich is continuing his privatization campaign. The governor is finally close to leasing the Ohio Turnpike, and he says that could raise more than $1 billion. It turns out Kasich’s number about Ohio’s auto industry losing 500 jobs might be correct, but only because of the time frame and terms Kasich used. In general, the auto industry in Ohio has improved since 2009. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is leading the charge, but it’s only the beginning. A few movies are taking advantage of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, which is meant to bring film production to Ohio. Seven films will be filmed in Ohio: Underdogs, Crooked Tree, Blood of Redemption, The Tribunal, A Dog Named Suki, In Other Words and The Do Over. Since the tax credit began, the Ohio Film Office has helped employ more than 19,000 Ohioans and added nearly $205 million to Ohio’s economy. Some in the aerospace business want southwest Ohio to take bigger advantage of the area’s strong aerospace industry and make it stronger. A survey found Ohio is among the 25 best states for entrepreneurs. The state moved up 18 spots — from No. 40 to No. 22 — in the past year. Update on Ohio Supreme Court candidate William O’Neill’s demands for Justice Robert Cupp to “recuse or refuse” due to campaign donations: Mark Weaver, Cupp’s spokesperson, responded, saying, “Mr. O'Neill previously raised this argument with disciplinary authorities by filing a complaint. It was reviewed by disciplinary authorities, and they unanimously dismissed it as having no merit.”An Eden Park microbrewery got approval from City Council. A study found students enrolled in parents’ health care plans are 5.7 percent more likely to attend college full time. The finding is good news for Obamacare, which forces insurance companies to allow sons and daughters to stay on family insurance plans until they turn 26.Robot sea turtles might soon carry cargo in their shells.
 
 
by German Lopez 09.06.2012
Posted In: Government, News, 2012 Election, Economy at 08:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
jon_husted_518045c

Morning News and Stuff

A federal judge is ordering Secretary of State Jon Husted to appear in court to explain why Husted is ignoring a recent ruling. The judge ruled Friday that Husted must enact in-person early voting for all voters on the weekend and Monday before Election Day. Husted told county boards of elections to ignore the ruling until after an appeal process. Republicans have consistently blocked the expansion of early voting, citing racial politics and costs.After a merger with Progress Energy, Duke Energy will rebrand itself. The details are sparse, but CEO Jim Rogers promised in a letter last week that the company will be going some big changes. Even a name change was hinted at in the letter, which promised the commission “a rollout of the new logo and name-change occurring at the end of the first quarter of 2013 and beginning of the second quarter.” An activist group is demanding the U.S. Department of Labor investigate allegations that Murray Energy forced its miners in Bealsville, Ohio to attend a campaign rally for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. CREDO Action, the group filing the petition, wants the Department of Labor to see if any laws were broken in the process. Murray Energy’s CEO says workers were told the campaign rally “was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” But that explanation makes no sense.Cincinnati hospitals and medical centers saw higher expenses and revenues in the past few fiscal years. Urban hospitals and centers in particular were more likely to see higher costs and income, while rural hospitals and centers sometimes saw decreases.Voters First is mocking the redistricting system with a new graph. The graph shows a real email exchange between politicians carving out districts for personal gain. The exchange only lasts 13 minutes and has no questions asked before Republican redistricting officials agree to redraw a district to benefit Rep. Jim Renacci, a Republican. Voters First also held a 13-minute press conference to mock the exchange further and explain the redistricting process.I-75 will be undergoing a massive widening project starting in 2021. The project is estimated to cost $467 million.Three downtown buildings have been sold to 3CDC for $10. The company currently has no plans for the buildings.Ohio is hosting an international venture capital conference. The National Association of Seed and Venture Funds conference is in Cleveland between Oct. 15 and 17. The nonprofit organization has 200 members, and 22 of them are in Ohio. Venture capital has come under fire during the current campaign season due to Romney’s campaign and Romney’s work as CEO of Bain Capital.The Miami University frat that was suspended is dropping its $10 million lawsuit. The frat was suspended after a fireworks battle led to police finding illegal substances inside the frat.Ohio farmers from all counties are now seeking disaster aid after severe storms and drought hurt crops this summer.Former Gov. Ted Strickland got “God” and “Jerusalem” put back in the Democratic Party’s official platform. There was some booing after the pandering addition was made. Former President Bill Clinton made a speech defending President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention last night. In the speech, Clinton points out that Republicans were in power when the recession began, and Obama inherited a horrible situation from them. But Clinton passed the largest deregulatory law in history when in 1999 he repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, and the severe lack of regulation is often blamed for the financial crisis that helped spur the Great Recession.A scientist is linking global warming to the amount of exploding stars in the sky.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 09.05.2012
 
 
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Activist Group: Investigate Miners' Appearance at Romney Rally

CREDO Action petitioning Labor Department to investigate Murray Energy

The activist branch of a liberal telecommunications company has filed a petition asking the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate allegations that Murray Energy forced miners in Beallsville, Ohio to attend a rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. CREDO Action Campaign Manager Josh Nelson told CityBeat that the group emailed the petition with 4,021 signatures to the Department of Labor Wednesday morning. The petition reads: "Requiring employees to attend a Mitt Romney political rally without pay is totally unacceptable. I urge you to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether Murray Energy violated any federal laws on August 14th, and to hold it fully accountable if it did." Romney appeared at the event to attack what he called President Barack Obama’s “war on coal.” He was flanked on stage by hundreds of miners with soot-stained faces. Dozens of those miners told WWVA-AM West Virginia talk show host David Blomquist that they were pulled from the mine before their shift was over and not paid for the full day of work. The miners, who Blomquist did not identify, said they were told that attendance at the rally was mandatory. Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore told Blomquist on his radio show that managers “communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.”  He said that people who did not show up to the event, which organizers say drew 1,500 miners and family members, were not penalized for their absence. “Forcing Ohio workers to participate in a political rally is unacceptable, so we're joining our friends at SEIU in calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct an investigation to determine whether or not any federal laws were broken,” Nelson wrote in an email to CREDO Action’s Ohio activists on Sept. 1. A spokeswoman for the Labor Department was not immediately able to confirm whether the department had received the petition or planned to launch an investigation. This post will be updated with comment from the Labor Department when it becomes available.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 08.28.2012
 
 
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Romney/Mandel Event Mandatory For Miners?

Romney campaign, Murray Energy dispute who made call to close mine for event

 
 

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