by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 11:03 AM | Permalink
Proposed welfare reforms could make "one stop shops" for services; is Miley Cyrus planning a Leelah Alcorn benefit concert?; Bush campaign operative resigns after offensive online comments
Good morning! This week is going crazy slow but it’s half over now, so that’s awesome. But the news isn’t going slow, and it’s never half-over. It’s always hurtling forward. Always changing. Growing. Watching. Ok. Maybe not watching. But those other things. Sorry. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Let’s get to it. Gov. John Kasich yesterday came to Cincinnati to detail his plans for reforming the state’s welfare program to leaders from a number of county social service agencies. Kasich says his plan will simplify welfare services in Ohio, which can currently sometimes be a complicated array of various service providers clients must navigate to get help. Kasich would like to gather as many services as possible under a single roof, saving the state money. Those agencies that don’t go along with the plan could lose state funding. But some providers are wary of too much consolidation, as various agencies in different counties often serve very different populations. Kasich called those concerns “turf battles,” though some providers see the issue differently. Kasich has yet to release all the details of his proposed changes.• The debate over what to do about Hamilton County’s morgue and crime lab is turning into something of a shouting match. Republican Hamilton County Commissioners President Greg Hartmann clearly hit a nerve last week when he called Hamilton County’s crime lab “a luxury item.” Now Democrats are firing back at the assertion. Yesterday, Hamilton County Democrat Chairman Tim Burke berated Hartmann in a letter suggesting the commissioner is playing politics with the crime lab and morgue, which have been at the center of a county budget debate. Both offices, which share a building on University of Cincinnati’s medical campus, are in need of extensive upgrades. “I’m sorry, but the need for a modern morgue and crime lab is so clear that I can only conclude that your failure to fulfill the Commissioner’s duty to provide that must be due to the fact that our County Coroner is a Democrat who you don’t want to see succeed,” Burke said in the letter.All parties agree the lab needs updating. Republican Commissioners Hartmann and Chris Monzel, however, say retrofitting a former hospital in Mount Airy donated to the county will be too expensive at $100 million. They’re suggesting the possibility of partnering with neighboring governments to create a regional lab. Conditions in the current building are so cramped that neither the crime lab nor the morgue has room for the extra employees it needs to process the increasing amount of work it must undertake. Other issues include an outdated electrical grid that won’t allow all the lab’s equipment to be plugged in at the same time and an insufficient plumbing system beneath the building that causes the build up of autopsy debris.• Sticking with news about the county for another beat, 100 Hamilton County poll workers have been dismissed from their jobs for not voting in the last election. Officials with the Hamilton County Board of Elections have said they want to encourage voting, and if their employees aren’t doing it, it sends the wrong message. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s kind of like wearing American Apparel when you work there or tweeting your articles when you’re a reporter — probably a good idea, but mandatory? Seems a little harsh. • A quick bit of gossip and speculation: is Miley Cyrus planning a benefit concert in memory of Leelah Alcorn? Could be. Recent social media posts by Cyrus show rehearsals for an upcoming project and a notebook that says “Leelah set list,” the Columbus Dispatch reports. Alcorn, a transgender teen, died Dec. 28 after throwing herself in front of a truck on I-71. She left a suicide note on social media explaining the isolation she felt when her family did not support her transgender status. • Three people were killed this morning in Chapel Hill, North Carolina after a gunman entered their home and shot each in the head. The alleged gunman, forty six-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, turned himself in immediately following the shooting deaths of Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, all local university students. Though no official motive has been determined, the killings may have involved the fact the three were Muslim. Hicks, an outspoken atheist, had recently put photos of guns on social media as well as writing anti-religious posts.• Finally, a high-level campaign operative for potential presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush resigned today after racially and sexually charged comments he allegedly made online recently came to light. Ethan Czahor was chief technology officer for Bush’s Right to Rise political action committee. In Twitter posts before he was hired in January, Czahor made disparaging remarks about gay men and called women “sluts.” One grade-A post from 2009 reads, “new study confirms old belief: college female art majors are sluts, science majors are also sluts but uglier." Wow. Bush’s campaign initially called the tweets inappropriate but let Czahor stay on. He resigned yesterday after other racially insensitive statements attributed to him were found on a website for a radio show he worked on in 2008.
by Hannah McCartney
at 02:10 PM | Permalink
Becomes first president to openly affirm approval for same-sex marriage
News has been buzzing about North Carolina yesterday passing a controversial constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman, making it the 30th state in the U.S. to outright ban same-sex unions. Unsurprisingly, the backwards legislation and its passage came as a monumental blow to the LGBT community and its supporters — especially in light of the fact that the state still allows marriage between first cousins. Today, president Barack Obama announced his official support for the legalization of same-sex marriage in a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts. His declaration marks a strong political stance supported by Joe Biden's statement on Sunday to Meet the Press and growing pressure from Democratic constituents to form a solid platform on the issue. Over the course of his 2012 presidential campaign, critics have lambasted Obama for refusing to speak out on the issue, many assuming he was opposed to same-sex marriage on a moral level.In the interview, Obama states: "I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have
talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of
my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships,
same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think
about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there
fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask
Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a
marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally
it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex
couples should be able to get married."According to ABC, in the interview Obama attests that his statement is a matter of personal opinion, and that he still believes states, like North Carolina, should still possess the rights to independently craft legislation on the issue. Thus, the statement will likely do little for the LGBT community. His affirmed support could rally stronger support among Democrats and the LGBT community for his reelection, but might also alienate voters in strong opposition of same-sex marriage. A full version of Obama's interview with Roberts will air on ABC Thursday.
The Taft’s current Romare Bearden exhibit is a multi-dimensional revelation
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Having recently seen a retrospective of
Romare Bearden’s artwork at Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, N.C., his
hometown, I wasn’t expecting the Taft Museum’s current and smaller Impressions and Improvisations: The Prints of Romare Bearden to be as impressive as it is.