What should I be doing instead of this?
 
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.18.2016 106 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Five Takeaways from the Fourth Democratic Debate

Hillary Clinton, facing the unexpected challenge from her left flank in the form of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Sunday, fought furiously to hold her ground as the Democratic frontrunner. With the two candidates virtually tied in Iowa and Sanders leading Clinton in New Hampshire, the former Secretary of State might be having flashbacks to 2008 when a young Sen. Barack Obama from Illinois came out of nowhere and knocked down the inevitable Clinton. Clinton has been virtually grooming herself to be president since the ’90s, and 2016 appeared to be her year. Who would really give the candidate that seemingly has the backing of the entire Democratic machine a run for her money? No one expected a 74-year-old Jewish socialist from Vermont to lead a formidable fight against Wall Street and the Democratic empire. Sanders has encapsulated the populist and liberal fires in this country and, with the backing of America’s youth, has lead a surgical campaign against the Washington machine. This was the most electrifying debate of the election so far. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was there, but this was a battle between Clinton and Sanders, two black belts of American politics. These two powerhouse candidates entered the ring, throwing their best punches. Sanders needed an outstanding victory Sunday night. However, Clinton expertly attacked Sanders’ weak points. This was the Bernie Sanders debate. He brought the most policies to the table, he outlined tax plans and most questions were seemingly directed toward him. Sanders started this campaign with the image of a candidate who wouldn’t be in for the long haul. With the election starting in two weeks, the debate was focused on America getting to know the Democratic socialist from Vermont. However, Clinton did not allow Sanders to hog the attention, and she expertly defended herself. The former First Lady did not spend much time appealing to America’s liberals — Sanders won that war. She dug in on centrist policies, appealing to voters who want realism, not idealism. This was a fight over the identity of the Democratic Party. Gloves Off: Sanders Goes After Clinton’s Relationships with Big Banks Clinton’s nomination is not inevitable, and any doubters of the power of Sanders’ insurgency simply had to tune in and see the former secretary of state backed into a corner and having to play defense for the bulk of the debate. Sanders prides himself on not attacking his opposition, and he has mostly stayed away from attacking Clinton directly — let's not forget about the famous “sick and tired of your damn emails” moment. However, this was the end of Mr. Nice Socialist Guy on Sunday. Sanders launched a full-frontal assault on Clinton’s “cozy” relationship with big banks, specifically Goldman Sachs. "The first difference is I don't take money from big banks. I don't get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs," Sanders unloaded. Clinton’s relationship with the banking industry has been one of her biggest criticisms from liberals. Sanders’ burn was met with slight applause and a faint boo or two from the audience. The tone of the room was tense. You could hear a pin drop; the nation’s attention was focused on this exchange. My Twitter feed erupted in disbelief that Sanders made such a targeted attack. Even the moderators stepped back and let the two candidates go at it. The battle escalated when Sanders suggested Clinton has a corrupt relationship with Goldman Sachs. “You've received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the laws, not one of their executives is prosecuted while kids who smoke marijuana get a jail sentence." Clinton fired back, owning her relationship with Wall Street and invoking President Obama. “Where we disagree is the comments that Senator Sanders has made that don't just affect me, I can take that, but he's criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street, and President Obama has led our country out of the great recession,” Clinton said. Clinton Amps Up Gun Debate No intellectually honest person would argue that any of the three Democratic candidates want an unlimited freedom on firearms as most Republicans seemingly do. However, this was a fight on who was the most against unlimited gun freedoms. Sanders has a solid liberal agenda and has the backing of America’s Democratic base. However, with some of his voting, such as allowing firearms in checked bags on Amtrak, Clinton zeroed in on the one thing she can attack from his left flank. Clinton doubled-down on her attack on Sanders’ voting record with gun regulations from the last debate. She attacked the Vermont senator for voting against making gun manufacturers legally liable for crimes committed with their weapons. “He voted for what we call the Charleston Loophole,” Clinton said. “He voted for immunity for gunmakers and sellers, which the NRA said was the most important piece of gun legislation in 20 years ... He voted to let guns go onto Amtrak, go into national parks. He voted against doing research to figure out how we can save lives.” Sanders defended himself, saying he has a D- rating from the National Rifle Association. “I have supported from day one and instant background check to make certain that people who should have guns do not have guns,” he said. “And that includes people of criminal backgrounds, people who are mentally unstable. I support what President Obama is doing in terms of trying to close the gun show loopholes.” Sanders Releases “Medicare for All” Plan Two Hours Before Debate From day one of his candidacy, Sanders has been clear on his rhetoric with healthcare being a right, not a privilege. Sanders failed in bringing a universal Medicare system to his home state but is determined to make it work for the nation. Right before the debate, Sanders released what he described as a not-very-detailed plan on how he intends to pay for what his campaign estimates as a $1.38 trillion effort. You can read the full plan here. The plan introduces some new taxes such as a 2.2-percent income-based premium paid by households and a 6.2-percent income-based premium paid by employers. There is also progressive taxation: 37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000. 43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million. 48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million. 52 percent on income above $10 million Clinton lashed out on Sanders’ plan, saying the battle for Obamacare was too rough to start over again. “We have accomplished so much already,” she said. “I do not to want see the Republicans repeal it, and I don't to want see us start over again with a contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it.” “I certainly respect Senator Sanders' intentions, but when you're talking about health care, the details really matter. And therefore, we have been raising questions about the nine bills that he introduced over 20 years, as to how they would work and what would be the impact on people's health care,” Clinton added. “He didn't like that; his campaign didn't like it either. And tonight, he's come out with a new health care plan. And again, we need to get into the details. But here's what I believe, the Democratic Party and the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed.” Sanders defended himself, saying he doesn’t intend to tear up Obamacare, adding that he helped write it. However, he added that 29 million Americans are still without healthcare and that Obamacare has left a lot of people with huge copayments and high deductibles. “Tell me why we are spending almost three times more than the British, who guarantee health care to all of their people? Fifty percent more than the French, more than the Canadians. The vision from FDR and Harry Truman was health care for all people as a right in a cost-effective way,” Sanders said. Clinton also threw a jab at the tax increases: “I'm the only candidate standing here tonight who has said I will not raise taxes on the middle class.” O’Malley Is Cool, But Overshadowed by the Boxing Match It’s virtually impossible to stand out when you’ve got Clinton, who represents establishment politics and the backing of virtually the entire Democratic Party, on one side and Sanders, who has captured the imagination of a populist movement, on the other. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley put up as much of a fight as he could and served as a good middle point between Clinton’s centrist approach and Sanders’ liberalism. Other Democratic contenders already got out of the way of the fight for the identity for the party. Remember Lincoln Chafee? Most people seem to want O’Malley to stick around in politics. Perhaps even running for president again come next election. But 2016 simply isn’t his time. Foreign Policy Will Not Divide the Party All three candidates agreed on one thing: They do not want a ground war in Iraq or Syria. The presidential hopefuls generally appear to want to continue Obama’s aggressive air campaign and utilize special operations in training missions and raids. It is safe to assume none of these candidates have plans to deploy conventional troops to fight the Islamic State on the ground. Outside of healthcare, the candidates agreed on a lot of things. For example O’Malley and Sanders agreeing that minimum wage needs to be $15 per hour.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.15.2016 109 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election, Republicans at 03:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
debate

Four Takeaways From the Sixth Republican Debate

The battle for Iowa and New Hampshire kicked into high gear at Thursday’s Republican debate, featuring a smaller cast of candidates. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush took the stage and engaged in one of the debate’s bloodiest battles as the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus looms. Yes, this election starts in two weeks. Bromance Between Trump and Cruz Is Over Some of the debate’s most electrifying moments are when these two went head-to-head exchanging blows to win over the Iowa’s Republican base. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas came out on top in this battle, towering over a seemingly desperate Donald Trump. However, polls indicate Trump might still win the war for the early primary states. The Texas senator’s citizenship has been in question lately, however this is more of an attempt to resurrect the birther movement than any real questioning of the Constitution. Let's not forget Trump was a major player in the birther movement against President Obama. Section 1 of Article Two of the U.S. Constitution states: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” Cruz was a Canadian citizen born to an American mother and most interpretations would consider him “natural born.” However, there are some arguments against Cruz’s eligibility. The Constitution does not clearly define what natural born is. Trump started using this against the Texas senator once he started gaining in early states, positioning himself as a heavyweight. However, to clear the air, the Fox Business moderators started the citizenship topic. This virtually cleared the stage; the only thing that mattered was Trump and Cruz. “You know, back in September, my friend Donald said that he had had his lawyers look at this from every which way, and there was no issue there,” Cruz said referring to his Canadian birth. "There was nothing to this birther issue … Now, since September, the Constitution hasn't changed.” When Trump was asked by a moderator why he was bringing up the citizenship issue now, Trump fired back with the kind of honesty we seldom get: “Because now he's going a little bit better [in polls]. No, I didn't care. Hey look, he never had a chance. Now, he's doing better. He's got probably a four- or five-percent chance.” The Texas senator continued his fire against the real-estate giant, saying he “embodies New York values,” suggesting Iowa and New Hampshire voters should think twice about the billionaire’s roots. “Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan,” Sen. Cruz said. He has also suggested Donald Trump is a New York liberal pretending to have conservative values. Trump defended his hometown, reaching for a very cringe-worthy use of 9/11. "We took a big hit with the World Trade Center — worst thing ever, worst attack ever in the United States, worse than Pearl Harbor because they attacked civilians," Trump said. "They attacked people having breakfast. And, frankly, if you would've been there, and if you would've lived through that like I did with New York people — the way they handled that attack was one of the most incredible things that anybody has ever seen." While the bromance might be over going into Iowa, both candidates suggested they might pick the other one to be their vice president if they take the White House. Perhaps a Cruz/Trump is on the table for the future. Sen. Rand Paul Goes Down Honorably The Kentucky senator didn’t qualify for the main stage debate. However, he was invited to the undercard debate along with Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Rand Paul refused to be seen as a second-tier candidate and didn’t show up to the lesser debate only to share a stage with reject candidates. Sen. Paul hasn’t dropped out, but you might have had a better chance of winning the Powerball than getting a President Rand Paul. This didn’t stop Paul’s fangirls from showing up in the debate’s audience, chanting “WE WANT RAND!” in the middle of the main debate. Instead, The Daily Show was kind enough to offer the senator his very own “Singles Night” debate. Host Trevor Noah and Sen. Paul drank bourbon for 20 minutes and talked policy. You can read CityBeat’s profile of Sen. Rand Paul here. Dr. Ben Carson Is Over When asked his first question on Thursday night, Carson responded, "I was going to ask you to wake me up," which might have been funny if he wasn’t the candidate known for looking like he is sleeping all the time. The famous neurosurgeon has been an oddity this entire race. I covered Carson’s visit to Cincinnati last year and even had the privilege of meeting him. However, something felt off about him. I’m less referring to the man’s politics and more about his mode of thinking. His arguments are typically muddled, and myself and most others covering this election are commonly left scratching our heads wondering what exactly Carson is talking about. His supporters at the rally weren’t attracted to any specific policies of Carson’s, but literally everyone I interviewed said the same thing: They liked that he wasn’t a politician. Wanting someone who isn’t a politician is attractive, but sometimes you need a politician to do politician things: like make a good case for why they should be president. Donald Trump isn’t a politician, but he is an excellent communicator and doesn’t fall asleep during debate. Carson’s campaign has been a disaster. He was a GOP star for part of the summer, but his own staff says he’s difficult to work with and the brain surgeon has had issues with senior-level staff leaving. During the debate, Carson described an ominous string of threats and fantasized a doomsday scenario of terrorists detonating a nuclear bomb, eliminating our power grid, setting off dirty bombs and unleashing ground attacks in the streets. While that sounds like a plot to a Michael Bay movie, that scenario is technically possible but sounds a little off-the-rails. Perhaps doomsday scenarios should be debated in the Pentagon, not a mainstream debate. “The fact of the matter is, [Obama] doesn't realize that we now live in the 21st century, and that war is very different than it used to be before,” Carson said. “Not armies, massively marching on each other and air forces, but now we have dirty bombs and we have cyber attacks and we have people who will be attacking our electrical grid.” Carson might have had his 15 minutes of fame, and his polling has been in free-fall since the Paris attacks. This candidate isn’t just weak on foreign affairs — he is quickly losing relevance and will fade into political obscurity. Where is Sen. Marco Rubio? Marco Rubio has virtually forgotten he is a senator of Florida and debate viewers may have forgotten he was a contender. Rubio wasn’t talking policy and was largely overshadowed by the boxing match between Cruz and Trump. However, the junior senator tried to bring attention his way with attacking Obama. “I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV. But I think we have to get back to what this election has to be about. OK? Listen, this is the greatest country in the history of mankind. But in 2008, we elected a president that didn’t want to fix America. He wants to change America. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the Constitution. He undermines it. We elected a president that is weakening America on the global stage. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the free enterprise system.” As the debate came to its conclusion, Rubio engaged his competition on tax plans. As both Cruz and Rubio got lost in the weeds, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reminded the senators the topic was about entitlements. Sen. Rubio said he would be happy to talk about entitlements. “You already had your chance Marco,” Christie responded. “You blew it.” The Florida senator had a quick rise in the fall, but has lost all of the polling support he gained. He is almost back where he was at the end of the summer coming in at a distant third with 12 percent average among national polling.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 12.22.2015 134 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election, Democrats, Election at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
abc_candidates2_cf_151219_12x5_1600

Four Takeaways From the Third Democratic Debate

The Grown-up Debate Regardless of where you fall on the partisan spectrum, you have to acknowledge this debate was a stark contrast against the last Republican debate. The last time we saw the GOP duke it out it was overflowing with silly rhetoric about “bombing the shit” out of ISIS, despite the current air campaign being so aggressive the U.S. military has a munitions shortage. Instead of having an intellectually honest debate, most of the GOP were beating the drums to another ground war, inflating the surveillance state against Americans and, in Trump’s case, proposing the U.S. murder the families of suspected terrorists. Only Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was questioning the foreign policy grandstanding and challenging his competition on “liberal military spending.” Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley all came equipped Saturday with specific policies and answers to issues both foreign and domestic. Most debates have clear standouts. This third Democratic debate was different. Every candidate was at their best. It’s unlikely anyone jumped ship from one candidate to another here. Clinton played centrist politics, Sanders maintained his populist momentum with his progressive agenda and O’Malley stayed center-left and laid out his resume from his governor experience. Those on the fence were able to clearly see who each of these candidates were and the values of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Civil War Was Brushed Off in Minutes Clinton’s campaign on Friday accused the Sanders team of inappropriately accessing its voter data, and the Sanders campaign turned the blame on the vendor for a shoddy firewall. The Democratic National Committee banned the Vermont senator’s team from accessing critical voter data and the campaign sued the DNC to restore its access. The Sanders staffer that wrongfully accessed Clinton’s private voter data was fired and two more staffers have been terminated since the debate. Sen. Bernie Sanders kicked off the debate delivering an apology both to Hillary Clinton and his supporters, saying this breach of integrity isn’t the sort of campaign he runs. Clinton Battles Trump As a major Democratic candidate in a room full of allies, Clinton has virtually unlimited ammunition against the GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. She put on her general election hat and targeted the real-estate tycoon’s questionable policy of banning Muslim immigrants. "Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people and to make them think there are easy answers to very complex questions," she said. Sanders and O’Malley also came out in strong opposition to Trump’s immigration policy proposal, a position that most Democratic voters will likely agree with. However, Clinton took this a step further saying Trump’s rhetoric is actively used as an ISIS recruiting tool. “He is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter,” Clinton said. “They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” Critics of Trump say his anti-Muslim rhetoric could help the terror group in its recruitment, which is very believable. However, it’s unclear whether such a video exists.Jen Palmieri, communications director of the Clinton campaign, told George Stephanopoulos that the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the activity of terror organizations, said that terrorists are using Trump in social media as propaganda to help recruit supporters.However, Palmieri admitted that the former secretary of state “didn’t have a particular video in mind.” Politicians lying or exaggerating the truth is obligatory. But it’s lazy for a candidate as experienced as Hillary Clinton to attack a candidate as controversial as Donald Trump with lies. Real Policy Maybe you don’t like the agenda of these three powerhouse candidates, but they do bring specifics to the table. Sen. Sanders talked about his college tuition reform, calling for public universities to be free and paid for with a tax on Wall Street speculation. Clinton doesn’t believe college should be free, but instead wants to tackle student debt.  The Vermont senator also brought up the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Workers would be eligible to collect benefits equal to 66 percent of their typical monthly wages for 12 weeks, with a capped monthly maximum amount of $1,000 per week. He also openly talked about and supported Gillibrand's increase of payroll taxes for workers and companies by 0.2 percent, or about $1.38 a week for the median wage earner. Clinton was very adamant about not increasing taxes with rhetoric inspired by George Bush Sr.’s “read my lips” line. O’Malley and Sanders both attacked Clinton’s foreign policy, saying that she is too quick to support regime change and for her support of the invasion of Iraq.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.25.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, Economy, Budget, News at 08:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Brown, Mandel Meet for Final Debate

Candidates detail Social Security plans

Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel met once again Thursday night for a debate to see who is more qualified for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat. The candidates were a bit less feisty in their final debate, but the substance behind their words was fairly similar to the past two debates.Mandel spent a bit less time attacking Brown for “Washington speak,” and Brown spent a bit less time attacking Mandel for dishonesty. However, Mandel did spend a bit more time attacking Brown for being a “career politician,” and both candidates criticized each other for voting along party lines.For the most part, the debate treaded ground covered in the first debate and second debate. CityBeat covered those face-offs in-depth here: first debate and second debate.Some new details did emerge when Brown and Mandel discussed Social Security. Mandel clarified he would raise the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare for those around his age — 35 — and younger. To justify the raise, he said life expectancy has grown since those laws were first put into place. He also claimed, “If we maintain the status quo, which is the way of Washington, there will be no Medicare or Social Security.”Brown responded by saying he wouldn’t raise the eligibility age or reduce benefits, but he would increase the payroll tax cap. In the case of Mandel’s proposal, there is some important context missing. While it’s true life expectancy has increased in the U.S., it has not increased at the same level for everyone. A 2008 study by the Congressional Budget Office found life expectancy is lagging for low-income individuals, while it’s steadily rising for the wealthiest Americans. A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology had similar findings. These studies show increases in the average life expectancy may not be reflective of what’s actually happening within the poor and even middle class. In other words, raising the eligibility age to match the rise in life expectancy could disproportionately hurt the lower classes.There are also some holes in gauging the eligibility age for entitlement programs with a rise in the average life expectancy. Social Security was enacted in 1935. Between the law passing and 2007, the U.S. child mortality rate dropped about 3.3 percent per year for children between the ages of one and four, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This large drop in child mortality rate could be exaggerating gains in life expectancy, which is an average that takes into account the age of deceased children.Mandel’s implication that raising the eligibility age is the only way to keep Social Security solvent is also misleading. Currently, the payroll tax is set up so it only taxes the first $110,100 of everyone’s income. A Congressional Research Service study from 2010 found eliminating the cap would keep the Social Security Trust Funds solvent for the next 75 years. The downside is this would raise taxes for anyone making more than $110,100. Still, the fact eliminating the cap would extend the trust funds’ solvency shows there are other options, and it shows Brown’s idea of increasing the cap has some fiscal merit.However, Mandel would not be able to take Brown’s approach because it would mean raising taxes, which Mandel vowed to not do under any circumstance when he signed lobbyist Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge.For the final debate, Mandel and Brown followed similar paths as before and even recited some of the exact same lines. At this point, the candidates have painted clear contrasts. With three debates and a year of campaigning behind them, it’s now clear Brown is mostly the liberal, Democratic choice and Mandel is mostly the conservative, Republican choice.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.26.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, News, Economy, Budget, Education, Environment at 08:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
sherrod brown

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here. The last debate for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat took place last night. The debate between Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel mostly covered old ground, but the candidates did draw contrasting details on keeping Social Security solvent. Mandel favored raising the eligibility age on younger generations, while Brown favored raising the payroll tax cap. Currently, Brown leads Mandel in aggregate polling by 5.2 points. Mitt Romney was in town yesterday. In his speech, he criticized the president’s policies and campaign rhetoric and touted support for small businesses. The Cincinnati visit was the first stop of a two-day tour of Ohio, which is the most important swing state in the presidential race. But senior Republican officials are apparently worried Romney has leveled off in the state, which could cost Romney the Electoral College and election. President Barack Obama is expected to visit Cincinnati on Halloween. In aggregate polling, Obama is ahead in Ohio by 2.1 points, and Romney is up nationally by 0.9 points.  The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio says the use of seclusion rooms in Ohio schools should be phased out by 2016. The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Board of Education are currently taking feedback on a new policy draft that says schools can only use seclusion rooms in cases of “immediate threat of physical harm,” but the policy only affects traditional public schools, not charter schools, private schools or educational service centers. Seclusion rooms are intended to restrain children who become violent, but recent investigations found the rooms are used to punish children or as a convenience for staff. Currently, Ohio has no state laws overseeing seclusion rooms, and the Department of Education and Board of Education provide little guidance and oversight regarding seclusion rooms. The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati and a City Council task force have a plan to make Cincinnati’s water infrastructure a little greener. A study found Cincinnati hospitals are good with heart patients but not-so-good with knee surgery. The names of the hospitals that were looked at were not revealed in the study, however. An economist at PNC Financial Services Group says 10,000 jobs will be added in Cincinnati in 2013. Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble has new details about its effort to reduce costs and make operations more productive. The company announced a “productivity council” that will look at “the next round of productivity improvements.” The company also said it will reach 4,200 out of 5,700 job cuts by the end of October as part of a $10 billion restructuring program announced in February. The world just got a little sadder. Chemicals in couches could be making people fatter.On the bright side, we now know how to properly butcher and eat a triceratops.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.25.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, News, Economy at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
sherrod brown

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here. The final debate for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat is tonight. Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel will meet in Cincinnati to continue a feisty exchange of ideas and sometimes insults. In the last debate, the candidates drew sharp contrasts on policy, which CityBeat covered in-depth here. The final debate will be tonight at 7 p.m. on all Ohio NBC news stations, including WLWT.com. In aggregate polling, Brown is currently up 5.2 points against Mandel. Want to see what a biased headline from a local newspaper looks like? Here you go, from Business Courier: Romney win would boost economy, economist says. Strangely enough, the article says re-electing President Barack Obama could also lift the economy, which makes the misleading headline even worse. Unfortunately for the newspaper, Obama is currently leading by 2.1 points in Ohio against Mitt Romney, and the state will play a pivotal role in the election. Romney is leading by 0.6 points nationally. A group is trying to convince Cincinnatians to vote no on Issue 4. The initiative, which is on 2012’s ballot, would extend City Council terms from two to four years. Supporters of Issue 4 say it lets City Council focus more on passing laws and less on campaigning, but opponents say it makes it more difficult to hold City Council accountable.Ohio Supreme Court Justice Robert Cupp is distancing himself from a TV ad put out by the Ohio Republican Party that depicts his Democratic opponent, William O’Neill, as sympathetic to rapists. Liberal blog Plunderbund called the ad “tone deaf,” referencing recent instances of Republican senatorial candidates turning rape into a legitimate issue. The Republican Senate candidate for Indiana, Richard Mourdock, recently said during a debate, “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Previously, the Republican Senate candidate for Missouri, Todd Akin, told reporters when discussing pregnancy caused by rape, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” CityBeat looked at some of the benefits and downsides of green water infrastructure yesterday. Basically, it’s going to produce more jobs and economic growth, but it’s going to require long-term commitment and education. Later today, CityBeat will be talking to some city officials of how that green infrastructure can be adopted in Cincinnati. Hamilton County’s budget is tight, and that means no wage hike for county workers anytime soon, according to Hamilton County Commission President Greg Hartmann. Gov. John Kasich is taking his time in filling an open Board of Education seat. Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesperson, says, “We just want to get the right person.” But state law requires the seat be filled within 30 days, and the seat has been vacant for a month. An Ohio judge said provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct and polling location must still be counted.Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble beat Wall Street expectations, easing concerns from skeptical investors.Huntington National Bank is relaunching its credit card business in a move that will produce 250 new jobs, and Greater Cincinnati is expected to land some of those jobs. Ohio is getting a little love from Airbus. The aerospace company will be getting more of its parts from Ohio manufacturers. Cincinnati-based GE Aviation is already Airbus’ biggest U.S. supplier. A new health care report found health providers often cover up mistakes in fear of retaliation. The report also found health care has been slow at embracing the “culture of safety.” Apparently, strict parents raise conservative kids.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.23.2012
 
 
barack obama 2

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here. The final presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was last night. The general consensus from media pundits is Obama won by a substantial margin. But political scientists say debates typically have negligible electoral impact. In aggregate polling, Obama is up in Ohio by 1.9 points and Romney is up nationally by 0.6 points. Ohio is looking like a must-win state for both campaigns, so Obama’s advantage there is a very bad sign for Romney. FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times’ election forecast blog, has an explanation of how and why the current electoral landscape favors Obama.    In a follow-up to the debate, Romney will be visiting Greater Cincinnati Thursday. A new motion by City Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan could encourage more people and businesses to make use of the city’s LEED program. The program uses special tax exemptions to encourage buildings to be cleaner and greener.  Cincinnati’s City Planning Commission approved Plan Cincinnati Friday. With the approval, the plan’s only hurdle is City Council. If passed, the plan will reform city policies to put a new emphasis on the city’s urban core. That means a cleaner, greener city with more transportation options, ranging from walking and biking to the streetcar and rail. CityBeat wrote about Plan Cincinnati here. The full plan can be found here.   Three Republicans in the state legislature, including Cincinnati’s Sen. Bill Seitz and Rep. Louis Tehrar, introduced a bill that would require health insurance providers to cover autism. Critics say the move could cost small businesses too much during an economic downturn, but supporters say it’s necessary to Ohio’s mental health coverage requirement, which was passed in 2007. Seitz says the bill could also save money by bringing down special education costs. In a sign of Ohio's education funding problems, one report found two of three Ohio school levies are asking for additional funding. But Cincinnati Public Schools’ (CPS) levy will only not ask for extra funding or higher taxes; instead, it asks for funding and taxes to remain the same. CityBeat covered Issue 42, the CPS levy, in-depth here.  A new report found Ohio students graduate with more debt than most of the nation. The report named the state a “high debt state” with an average of $28,683 in student loans — above the national average of $26,600. Despite what a recent conflict between Commissioner Greg Hartmann and Mayor Mark Mallory implies, Cincinnati and Hamilton County are working together. The city and county are cooperating on the Banks project, funding the Port Authority and operating the Metropolitan Sewer District.  Cincinnati is working harder to enforce a chronic nuisance disorder. A property is classified as a chronic nuisance when it surpasses a certain amount of crimes and violations. The law is meant to hold property owners accountable for what happens in their buildings. There are more signs that Ohio’s fracking boom may not be sustainable. Natural gas producers are not seeing the profits they expected from the boom. For many, the boom is quickly turning into a bust. Still, natural gas prices have massively dropped, and an analysis at The Washington Post suggests natural gas could play an important role in reducing carbon emissions. CityBeat wrote in-depth about the fracking boom in Ohio and the faulty regulations on the industry here.  The Ohio Board of Regents is using a grant to award 1,300 associate degrees to transfer students over two years. Fourteen recreational trails in Ohio will get $1.6 million in federal funding, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. However, none of the trails are in Hamilton County.The key to humanity: cooked food.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.22.2012
 
 
Mitt Romney

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here. The final presidential debate is tonight. It will cover foreign policy. The debate will likely focus on the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya and Iran’s nuclear program. Whatever happens, political scientists say debates typically have little-to-no electoral impact. In aggregate polling, Obama is up 2.2 points in Ohio and Romney is up 0.3 points nationally. Ohio is considered a must-win for Romney, and it could play the role of 2000's Florida. The debate begins at 9 p.m. It will be streamed live on YouTube and C-SPAN. CityBeat will host a debate party tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Come watch the debate and live tweet. Councilman Chris Seelbach will make an appearance. If you can’t show up, at least tweet if you watch the debate with the hashtag #cbdebate. Check out the event’s Facebook page for more information. If Gov. John Kasich gets his way, 60 percent of bachelor’s degrees will be completable in three years by 2014. The move intends to raise graduation rates and save money for students. Currently, very few students graduate in three years. Only 1 percent of Miami University students and 2 percent of University of Cincinnati students graduate that quickly. Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, a new education policy approved by Kasich that requires all students to be proficient in reading in third grade before they can move onto fourth grade, could cause 40 percent of students to be held back in some schools. The policy is meant to encourage better progress and higher reading standards, but some studies have found retention has negative effects on children.  The Urban League of Greater Cincinnati announced a merger and expansion into Dayton. The organization will now be called the Urban League of Southwest Ohio. Greater Cincinnati home sales ticked up in September, but there was some slowdown.The end of the Scripps trust that funded the Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Company could lead to the end of a few newspapers. But Ohio will not be affected; the company no longer owns newspapers in the state. Plant identification has never been easier at Cincinnati parks. University of Cincinnati researchers are using a $2.7 million grant to see if there’s a difference between generic versus brand drugs for transplant patients. The study could potentially save money and lives. Tired of traditional bridges? Meet the trampoline bridge.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.19.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, Economy, News, Voting at 08:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
odjfs

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here. Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.0 percent in September despite employers cutting 12,800 jobs. The rate is much lower than September's national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent. Ohio actually lost jobs in manufacturing, construction, education, health services, government and other sectors, with some gains in professional and business services, information services and trade, transportation and utilities. The new rate is a big improvement from the 8.6 percent unemployment rate in September 2011. This is the last state unemployment rate Ohioans will see before the Nov. 6 election.   The second debate for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat took place last night. As usual, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel held back no punches. Each candidate mostly focused on attacking his opponent’s integrity and record, but the men also discussed a multitude of issues — the economy, China, Obamacare, foreign policy, gay rights and more. Check out CityBeat’s in-depth coverage of the debate and the policy proposals espoused by the candidates here. The final presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will take place next Monday. The debate will cover foreign policy. Presumably, the debate will focus a lot on Iran, but Foreign Policy has an article focusing on five bigger threats to U.S. national security. Although the debate could be important for substance, political scientists say debates typically have little-to-no electoral impact. In aggregate polling, Obama is up 2.4 points in Ohio and Romney is up one point nationally. Ohio is considered a must-win for Romney, and it could play the role of 2000's Florida. To make the debate more fun, CityBeat will host a party at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine Monday. Come join the CityBeat team to watch the debate and live tweet. Councilman Chris Seelbach will also show up and talk for a bit. If you can’t show up, feel free to tweet about the debate at home with the hashtag #cbdebate. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page. Ohio Senate Democrats are demanding an investigation into a voter fraud group. The Democrats say True the Vote (TTV), a conservative group, is unnecessarily intimidating voters. TTV claims it’s just fighting voter impersonation fraud, but the reality is that kind of voter fraud doesn’t seem to exist. A study from the Government Accountability Office found zero cases of voter impersonation fraud in the past 10 years. Another study from News21 found 10 cases since 2000, or less than one case a year. Meanwhile, a local group is trying to encourage Muslim voters to get educated and vote. The Cincinnati Police Department is trying to improve relations with the LGBT community. As part of that effort, the city hosted a LGBT public safety forum and named the first LGBT liaison yesterday. A federal appeals court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbids the recognition of same-sex marriage at a federal level. The ruling was praised by Ian James, spokesperson for FreedomOhio, in a statement: “The federal DOMA forbids allowing governmental recognition of civil marriage. The demise of the federal DOMA will not resolve Ohio’s ban on marriage equality. For this reason, we will soldier on, collect our petition signatures and win the right for committed and loving couples to be married so they can better care for and protect their families. That is ultimately why marriage matters and we look to have this issue on the ballot as soon as November 2013.” With a week left, the United Way of Greater Cincinnati fundraising campaign has only met 70 percent of its goal. The campaign acknowledges it’s been a tough year, but campaign chairman David Joyce says he has been “heartened” by support. The University of Cincinnati is committing to giving Cintrifuse $5 million initially and $5 million at a later point. Cintrifuse is a “startup accelerator,” meaning a company devoted to helping startup businesses get started. Ohio health officials urge caution as they monitor a meningitis outbreak. Ohio’s heating assistance program for low-income households is starting on Nov. 1. Qualifying for the program is dependent on income and the size of the household. For example, one-person households making $5,585 or less in the past three months or $22,340 or less in the past 12 months are eligible, while four-person households must be making $11,525 or less in the past three months or $46,100 or less in the past 12 months. For more information, check out the press release. Kentucky is pitching into development at the Purple People Bridge. The state is boosting a $100 million hotel and entertainment project on the bridge with a $650,000 grant. The Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” were released, and some of the sexual molestation cases involve Cincinnati.Science finally has a breakthrough to care about. Scientists invented a strip that ensures pizza and coffee won't burn a person's mouth.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.18.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, News, Voting, Economy, Bailout at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
sherrod brown

Brown, Mandel Continue ‘Clash of Ideas’

U.S. Senate candidates engage in second round of attacks

For a full hour Thursday night, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel continued their feisty fight for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat. For the most part, the debate centered on the candidates’ records and personal attacks, with policy specifics spewing out in between. Apparently, the barrage of attacks is not what the candidates had in mind before the debate started. Throughout the debate, both candidates asked for substance, not attacks. At one point, Brown said, “I appreciate this clash of ideas. That’s what this debate should be about.” At another point, Mandel said, “We need less attacking, and we need more policy ideas to put people back to work.” These comments came well into the debate. By that time, Mandel had criticized Brown for “Washington speak” so many times that an exasperated Brown quipped, “I don’t get this. Every answer is about Washington speak.” Brown also launched his own attacks, which focused on Mandel’s dishonesty on the campaign trail, which previously earned Mandel a “Pants on Fire” crown from Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer, and Mandel, who is also Ohio’s treasurer, missing state treasurer meetings to run for political office. But Ohioans have seen enough of the attacks in the hundreds of campaign ads that have bombarded the state in the past year. Voters probably want to hear more about how each candidate will affect them, and the candidates gave enough details to get some idea of where each of them will go. On economic issues, Brown established the key difference between the two candidates’ economic policies: Mandel, like most of his Republican colleagues, believes in the trickle-down theory. The economic theory says when the rich grow, they can create jobs by hiring more employees and expanding businesses. In other words, proponents of the theory believe the success of the rich “trickles down” to the middle class and poor through more job opportunities. Belief in this theory is also why most Republicans call the wealthy “job creators.” Under the trickle-down theory, the wealthy are deregulated and get tax cuts so it’s easier for them to create jobs. On the other hand, Brown says he supports a middle-out approach, which focuses on policies that target the middle class. That is how sustainable employment and growth are attained, according to Brown. Under the middle-out approach, tax cuts and spending policies target the middle class, and the wealthy own a higher tax burden to support government programs. Some economists, like left-leaning Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, say the trickle-down theory should have been put to rest with the financial crisis of 2008. After all, deregulation is now credited with being the primary cause of 2008’s economic crisis. In that context, more deregulation seems like a bad idea. Still, Brown’s contrast to Mandel holds true. Brown has repeatedly called for higher taxes on the rich. In the debate, he touted his support for the auto bailout and once again mocked Mandel’s promise to not raise any taxes. These are policies that do end up benefiting the middle class more than the wealthy. The auto bailout in particular has been credited with saving thousands of middle-class jobs. On the other side, Mandel told debate watchers to go to his website and then offered some quick talking points: simplify the tax code, end Wall Street bailouts and use Ohio’s natural gas and oil resources “in a responsible way.” How Mandel wants to simplify the tax code is the issue. On his website, Mandel says he supports “a flatter, fairer income tax with only one or two brackets, eliminating almost all of the credits, exemptions and loopholes.” A study by five leading economists suggests a flat tax model would greatly benefit the wealthy and actually hurt the well-being of the middle class and poor. That matches with the trickle-down economic theory.  Another suggestion on Mandel’s website says, “Help job creators. Reduce capital gains and corporate taxes, and allow for a small business income deduction.” The small business portion would help some in the middle class, but an analysis from The Washington Post found 80 percent of capital gains incomes benefit 5 percent of Americans and half of all capital gains have gone to the top 0.1 percent of Americans. So a capital gains tax cut would, again, match the trickle-down economic theory. What all this means is on economic issues the choice of candidates depends mostly on what economic theory a voter believes. Brown believes in focusing economic policies that target the middle class, while Mandel mostly supports policies that generally support what he calls “job creators” — or the wealthy. On partisanship, both sides once again threw out different ideas. Although he was asked for three ideas, Brown only gave one: fix the filibuster. The filibuster is a U.S. Senate procedure that allows 41 out of 100 senators to indefinitely halt any laws. The only way to break the filibuster is by having a supermajority of 60 senators — a rarity in American politics. Brown said if this rule was removed, a lot more could get done in Congress. Mandel had different ideas for stopping partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. He touted his support for No Budget, No Pay, which would require members of Congress to pass a budget in order to get paid. He also expressed his support for term limits, saying lifelong politicians only add to the partisanship in Congress. Then, in a strange twist, Mandel’s last suggestion was to stop bailouts, which has nothing to do with partisanship or gridlock in Congress. Then came Obamacare. Brown said he was “proud” of his vote and continued supporting the law, citing the millions of Americans it will insure. Meanwhile, Mandel responded to the Obamacare question by saying, “The federal government takeover of health care is not the answer.” The fact of the matter is Obamacare is not a “government takeover of health care.” Far from it. The plan doesn’t even have a public option that would allow Americans to buy into a public, nonprofit insurance pool — an idea that actually has majority support in the U.S. Instead, Obamacare is a series of complicated reforms to the health insurance industry. There are way too many reforms to list, but the most basic effect of Obamacare is that more people will be insured. That’s right, in the supposed “government takeover of health care,” insurance companies actually gain more customers. That’s the whole point of the individual mandate and the many subsidies in Obamacare that try to make insurance affordable for all Americans. Mandel made another misleading claim when he said Obamacare “stole” from Medicare, with the implication that the cuts hurt seniors utilizing the program. It is true Obamacare cuts Medicare spending, but the cuts target waste and payments to hospitals and insurers. It does not directly cut benefits. The one area with little disagreement also happened to be the one area with the most misleading: China. It’s not a new trend for politicians to attack China. The Asian country has become the scapegoat for all economic problems in the U.S. But in this election cycle, politicians have brandished a new line to attack China: currency manipulation. This, as Ohioans have likely heard dozens of times, is why jobs are leaving Ohio and why the amount of manufacturing jobs has dropped in the U.S. In fact, if politicians are taken at their word, it’s probably the entire reason the U.S. economy is in a bad spot. In the Brown-Mandel debate, Brown repeatedly pointed to his currency manipulation bill, which he claims would put an end to Chinese currency manipulation. Mandel also made references to getting tough on China’s currency manipulation. One problem: China is no longer manipulating its currency. There is no doubt China greatly massaged its currency in the past to gain an unfair advantage, but those days are over, says Joseph Gagnon, an economist focused on trade and currency manipulation. Gagnon argues the problem with currency manipulation is no longer a problem with China; it’s a problem with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. If the U.S. wants to crack down on currency manipulation, those countries should be the targets, not China, he argues. In other words, if currency manipulation is a problem, Mandel was right when he said that countries other than China need to be targeted. To Brown’s credit, his currency manipulation bill targets any country engaging in currency manipulation, not just China. The problem seems to be the misleading campaign rhetoric, not proposed policy. The debate went on to cover many more issues. Just like the first debate, Brown typically took the liberal position and Mandel typically took the conservative position on social issues like gay rights and abortion. Both touted vague support for small businesses. Each candidate claimed to support military bases in Ohio, although Mandel specified he wants bases in Europe closed down to save money. As far as debates go, the contrast could not be any clearer, and the candidates disagreed on nearly every issue. The final debate between the two U.S. Senate candidates will take place in Cincinnati on Oct. 25.
 
 

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