1 Comment · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
It makes me nervous knowing the re-election of President
Barack Obama rests partially in the hands of Ohio voters and in the
trustworthiness of the shaky Ohio electoral process.
by German Lopez
President Barack Obama announced trade action against
China while in Cincinnati yesterday. Obama said his team had filed a
lawsuit at the World Trade Organization on the claim China is
cheating in auto trade by offering “extensive subsidies” to its
automakers and auto-part producers. China fired back with its own
lawsuit for U.S. tariffs that raise the price on a variety of Chinese
products — from steels to tires. Anti-China rhetoric has fast become the
latest flavor of the month for the Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns, and
China is not happy with it.But the presidential race raced back to gaffes over trade policy when Mother Jones
posted amazingly candid footage of Romney speaking to millionaires at a
fundraiser. In the videos, Romney straightforwardly outlines campaign
strategy. In one video, Romney said he doesn’t care about getting the
vote of the 47 percent of Americans that don’t pay taxes because he
doesn’t believe he can convince them to “take personal responsibility
and care for their lives.” The Obama team retaliated in a statement:
“It's shocking that a candidate for president of the United States would
go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that
half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to
handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their
lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve
disdainfully written off half the nation.”
Ohioans love their local schools, a new survey shows. The
survey also found Ohioans trust their local school boards of education
with education-related decisions, but they really don’t trust the state
superintendent, governor or legislature.
Hamilton County courts want to go paperless. The move would save money and space and make the system more efficient.County budget meetings are still chugging along. Different
department directors are still pleading for no cuts, but the
commissioners insist cuts have to be made somewhere.Cincinnati police announced a new Taser policy. The new policy
disallows the use of frontal shots except in situations involving
self-defense and the defense of others, reinforces the fact officers
need to make sure such force is necessary and points out people have
been injured due to Taser use. The new policy was brought about due to
findings Taser use can kill in rare situations.Cincinnati launched a national design competition for the
decks over Fort Washington Way that will connect the Banks and Central
Business District.A new Hamilton County initiative to improve neighborhoods will tear down 700 dilapidated homes.The streetcar’s yearlong delay got an explanation
yesterday. A few issues are to blame, including the city’s ongoing
conflict with Duke Energy over who has to pay for moving utility lines
to accommodate for the streetcar.The amount of people on Ohio’s death row is shrinking.
After Donald Palmer’s execution, Ohio will drop to its lowest death row
population since July 1995.Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted launched a mailing
campaign to clean up voter rolls. Using data from U.S. Postal Service
National Change of Address Registry, Husted mailed 70,000 former Ohioans
encouraging them to cancel their voter registration. The action is a
lot tamer than Republican-led efforts to purge voter rolls in other
states, which states like Florida, Iowa and Colorado have backed out of —
at least for now.Duke Energy unveiled its new logo.A new meta-analysis found fish oil may not live up to its health hype.NASA is now saying faster-than-light travel may be
possible and feasible. The technology would allow spaceships to travel
to Mars in minutes. Still, the theory does have some problems.
by Bill Sloat
Tax data shows Republican states more likely to pay less taxes
Well, surprise. Most of the Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes live in states that polls show are locked in for Mitt Romney. They are down South. Or out in the Southwest, according to Tax Foundation data.Mississippi has the most filers with no income tax liability. It has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980. When Obama was on the ballot there in 2008, he only got 43 percent of the popular vote. Yet 45 percent of Mississippi tax filers pay nothing. That tidbit certainly rips a hole in Romney’s contention that Obama voters don’t pay income taxes — Republican voters appear to be skating as well, and obviously in far larger numbers than Romney suggests.Our neighbors in Kentucky — who voted early 60 percent GOP over the past three presidential elections — are pretty good at not paying income taxes too. Fewer send checks to the IRS than in West Virginia. Alaska is the outlier — it votes Republican and just 21 percent of its filers don’t pay income taxes to Uncle Sam. You betcha, the vast majority of Alaskans do send money to the IRS. Perhaps they write their checks while looking at Russia from their porches.If you are wondering about Ohio, the state had 5.56 million tax filers. Of that number, some 68 percent paid federal income taxes. We’re a swing state that backed Obama in 2008. Clearly, not all the payers were Republicans.Here is a map with all the data:
The Tax Foundation, a group based in Washington, D.C. that calls itself a nonpartisan research group, produced its state-by-state ranking of non-filers in May 24, 2010. It has been available on the Internet for more than two years, which means it was available long before Romney said Obama’s supporters don’t pay taxes. This insight gets right to the heart of the matter:“Nine of the 10 states with the largest percentage of non-payers are in the South and Southwest. In Mississippi, 45 percent of federal tax returns remit nothing or receive money with their federal tax returns; that is the highest percentage nationally. Georgia is next at 41 percent, followed by Arkansas at 41 percent, and Alabama, South Carolina and New Mexico at 40 percent. All of the top 10 ranking states have among the lowest median family incomes in the country.”
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: 2012 Election
, Foreign Relations
, President Obama
at 03:16 PM | Permalink
Local Republicans criticize president's record on deficit in counter-rally
President Barack Obama announced a new trade action
against China during a Cincinnati campaign stop on Monday, where he also
took the opportunity to attack Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The U.S. filed the case at the World Trade Organization on
Monday and claims that China offers “extensive subsidies” to native
automakers and auto-parts producers.
The Chinese government filed its own complaint before the
WTO on Monday, challenging tariffs the U.S. imposes on Chinese products
ranging from steel to tires. The tariffs are meant to protect American
manufacturers against what the U.S. government claims are unfair trade
practices by China.
“(The U.S. action is) against illegal subsidies that
encourage companies to ship auto part manufacturing jobs overseas,”
Obama said before an estimated crowd of 4,500 at the Seasongood Pavilion
in Eden Park. “These are subsidies that directly harm working men and
women on the assembly lines in Ohio and Michigan and across the
“It’s not right, it’s against the rules, and we will not let it stand. American
workers build better products than anyone. ‘Made in America’ means
something. And when the playing field is level, America will always
Obama went on to criticize his Republican challenger,
saying Romney made his fortune in part by uprooting American jobs and
shipping them to China. Obama accused Romney — who has criticized
Obama’s foreign policy, saying the president apologizes for American
interests — of talking the talk without being able to walk the walk.
The Romney campaign countered with an email after the
rally, saying that Obama’s economic policies were hurting the private
sector and harmed manufacturing.
“The President’s misguided, ineffective policies have
hampered the private sector and allowed China to flaunt the rules while
middle-class families suffer,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda
“As president, Mitt Romney will deliver a fresh start for
manufacturers by promoting trade that works for America and fiscal
policies that encourage investment, hiring and growth.”
The email pointed to reports from Bloomberg finding that manufacturing and production have shrunk recently.
Before the Obama rally several Ohio Republicans held a
news conference behind a Romney campaign bus near Eden Park, where they
focused more on the deficit than foreign trade.
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot said it was “laughable” that
Obama considers himself a budget hawk. He pointed to the decline in
budget negotiations between the president and the Republican-controlled
House of Representatives, saying Obama “walked away” from talks with
Speaker John Boehner.
“Basically as president from that time last August until now, it’s been all politics,” Chabot said.
Chabot also attacked Obama on foreign policy, claiming the
president has left Israel hanging in the Middle East and is not serious
with Iran, who he says is on the brink of getting nuclear weapons.
The president in his speech said he did have a plan to
reduce the federal deficit, and would reduce it by $4 trillion over the
next 10 years without raising taxes on the middle class.
Monday’s visit to Cincinnati was Obama’s second of this
campaign and his 12th trip to Ohio this year. Romney has visited the
state 18 times during his campaign.
Obama was scheduled to fly to Columbus Monday afternoon for a campaign appearance there.
by Bill Sloat
Women for Liberty delivers sneak attack on Sherrod Brown
Over the past few days, packets of anti-Democrat
political literature tucked into plastic sandwich bags were tossed
into East Side driveways. Don’t assume it’s litter. Nope, it’s
apparently a broadside from some bag ladies with an Indian Hill address
who call themselves a “grassroots, conservative group.” They are new on
the scene and bent on kicking President Barack Obama out of office, along with
anybody who might possibly share his views. But they might be cheating, or
tools of someone who is flouting the law.
There are 16 political pieces in the plastic bags, including an ad for the anti-Obama movie You Don’t Know Him.
All but one are properly labeled with disclaimers that show who paid
for each piece. For example, the Mitt Romney flier says it was paid for
by the Romney campaign. The Sean Donovan for Sheriff of Hamilton County
was paid for by Donovan for Sheriff. But a piece that attacks U.S. Sen.
Sherrod Brown is a mystery — nothing identifies its source. You cannot
discover who is behind it. The flier lists 10 reasons why Ohio
voters should replace Democrat Brown with Republican candidate Josh Mandel. The
piece concludes by saying, “This November 6, Vote for New Leadership for
Ohio. Vote Josh Mandel for Senator.”
The secret source of the handbill has the earmarks of
a dirty trick. Laws and rules governing electioneering make it clear printed material seeking to influence voters must disclose where it
came from. The mandatory disclaimer is what a person endlessly hears on TV
commercials — “I’m so and so and I paid for this ad.” Print material has
the same requirement — “Paid for by Save the Seahorses” or whoever is
So whoever gave the conservative ladies the
anti-Brown handbill for their plastic bags seems to have broken the law.
Perhaps it was the coal mining industry, perhaps it was the Chinese
government, perhaps it was Ayn Rand back from the dead. Without a
disclaimer there is just no way to know who paid for the anti-Brown
attack. You are left to guess. All we know is that the writer didn’t
have the guts to stand behind the attack. They preferred shadowy and
sneaky over open and upright.
The Federal Election Commission publishes the rules campaigns must follow. It says, “On printed materials, the disclaimer notice must
appear within a printed box set apart from the other contents in the
communication. The print must be of a sufficient type-size to be
clearly readable by the recipient of the communication, and the print
must have a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background
and the printed statement.”
By the way, the group that is tossing the plastic bags
into driveways calls itself Women for Liberty. There is no website for
the group, although it appears to be an offshoot of another group with the same name that is based in a Washington, D.C. suburb and cites a libertarian philosophy.
by German Lopez
President Barack Obama is in town today. Expect some coverage from CityBeat this afternoon. Last time Obama was in Cincinnati, he discussed gay rights, small
business support and girl scout cookies. Ohio is typically considered a
must-win for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but he is currently
losing in aggregate polls.Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati criticized the
University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees for former UC President Greg
Williams’ severance package. She told The Enquirer, “It’s
really disappointing that the trustees would make such a decision while
so many students and families are struggling with rising tuition costs.
As the trustees vote to needlessly spend over a million dollars, the
University is trying to decide how to fund $10 million for the
Cintrifuse project and students are taking out more loans to pay a
tuition that was increased by 3.5 percent this year.” Williams got a
package totaling $1.3 million after abruptly leaving the university,
citing personal reasons. Despite the allegedly rocky past between the
Board and Williams, the Board of Trustees insists it did not force him
out.Local governments setting 2013 budgets are feeling big cuts from the state government’s Local Government Fund. Eligible residents could save $163 a year with natural gas thanks to a new aggregation program in Cincinnati.
The city announced Friday it's working on the new plan with Duke
Energy, and customers should get details about the deal soon. The city
says the deal will reach about 64,000 residents and small businesses.Voter fraud is still not a widespread problem. A Butler
County Tea Party group found zero complaints with sufficient proof to
remove anyone from the voter rolls.As part of its expansion at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, DHL is adding 300 jobs.In case you missed it, the streetcar has been delayed to 2015. The city is now looking
for consultants to help manage the project with CAF USA, the city’s
preferred car manufacturer. The first phase of the streetcar will span
the Banks and Findlay Market. The city is also trying to study a
connection to the University of Cincinnati, Uptown’s hospitals and the
Cincinnati Zoo.U.S. senatorial candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio claims he
has seen a recent surge in the polls, closing a 13-point gap. But a new
poll from Rasmussen Reports, which typically has a Republican-leaning
in-house effect, says Mandel is still very far from Sen. Sherrod Brown
in the polls with an eight-point gap. Aggregate polls show Brown leads
Mandel by 7.2 points.There is a lot of criticism being hurled at public charter
schools. While some charter schools are successful, some have serious
financial and educational problems. Critics say the schools need tougher
standards.Romney is facing criticism for saying middle income is
$200,000 to $250,000 and less. However, Obama made a similar distinction
in the past when he said income up to $250,000 is middle class. The
reason for this strange distinction from both sides — most Americans
would find $250,000 to be beyond middle class — is to protect small
businesses. Typically, politicians try to bundle up small businesses
with middle class protections, and taxing income between $200,000 and
$250,000 as if it’s not middle class could potentially hurt small
businesses.Dissatisfied with the lack of innovation in the iPhone 5? Apparently, you might be alone.Scientists can now levitate fluids with ultrasonic sound.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I’m more inclined to pop open a bottle from the experts,
but, hey, I don’t have the White House staff on hand to fix what “ales”
me. So I asked a home brewing friend, Matt Canale, a video game
developer in L.A., to fill me in on his experience and give our readers
some tips on how to get started.
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: 2012 Election
at 01:00 PM | Permalink
Amusements and things that didn't make it into our story
There are a lot of things that don’t make it into any given news
story. When you attend an event as a reporter, such as Republican presidential
candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Union Terminal last Saturday (as I did), you
wait in line for about an hour, then wait inside for another hour while
security checks every visitor.
During that time, you’re talking to people who are attending,
taking notes to provide color for the story (things such as what songs are
playing, slogans on shirts or signs, the general mood or atmosphere) and
getting information from the event staff, such as how many tickets were given
out, how many people are estimated to attend, etc.
Then there are the speakers — about an hour of politicians
talking. After that, there’s the counter press conference with local Democratic
officials. Then you make phone calls to fill in any gaps.
With all of that material and the average reader attention span
on 800 words, a lot of information gets left out of any given piece. So here
are some things I found interesting from Romney’s visit that didn’t make it
into my story that day.
The most popular attire seemed to be Reds items. Many
event-goers wore Reds T-shirts or caps, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who spoke at
the event, wore a Reds ballcap and opened his speech with “So Cincinnati, how
about these Redlegs?” and talked about Jay Bruce’s homer the previous night.U.S. House Speaker John Boehner attended the rally. I remember
seeing him on TV at the Republican National Convention and commenting that he
didn’t look as tan anymore. Must have been the cameras. In person, he was at
least five shades darker than the pasty Portman.U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot also spoke at the rally. While most speakers
stuck to short speeches meant to pump up attendees and introduce Romney, Chabot
got local. He encouraged attendees to vote against Issue 2, a ballot measure
appearing in November that would change the way redistricting is done in Ohio.
Currently congressional redistricting is done by the Legislature, which can
give one party an advantage if they control both houses and the governor’s
mansion. Chabot said Issue 2, which would set up an independent commission to
redraw congressional districts, would allow special interest groups to take
voters out of the equation and have the lines drawn by “unelected,
unaccountable” people. (CityBeat covered this year's redistricting issue here and here.)As politicians do, speakers from both Republican and Democratic
camps tried to spin the message. Portman told rally attendees that we were in
the midst of the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, a
statement independent fact checkers determined to be false. UPDATE 9/5/12: According to Republicans in the Joint Economic Committee and a report by The Associated Press economic growth and consumer spending have recovered more slowly from this recession than any time since The Great Depression. A PolitiFact check of Romney's claim that it was the slowest jobs recovery was deemed to be false.Meanwhile, in their
press conference after the rally, Democrats had maybe a dozen local
Cincinnatians in a small public area near Music Hall. Obama’s campaign provided
signs and had them all crowd behind a podium where local politicians spoke. For
the TV cameras, it probably looked like a sizeable crowd, which is an old
by Andy Brownfield
Local Democrats say GOP nominee's plans would hurt middle class, Hamilton County
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday laid out
five steps that he said would have America “roaring back” during his first campaign stop since formally accepting the
Republican nomination.At Cincinnati's Union Terminal, Romney was joined on stage by his wife Anne, who spoke briefly, echoing her convention speech meant to humanize her husband.
He said his plan involved encouraging development in oil
and coal, implementing a trade policy that favored American companies
and not “cheaters” like China, making sure workers and students had
skills to succeed in the coming century, reducing the deficit and
encouraging small business growth.
“America is going to come roaring back,” Romney told the crowd of thousands packed inside Union Terminal.
Not everyone was so impressed with the GOP nominee’s promises.
About an hour after the Romney campaign event, Cincinnati
Democratic leaders held a news conference to rebut the Republican’s
“Much of his (Romney’s) speech was like his speech in
Tampa, which is where Romney gave Cincinnatians nothing more than vague
platitudes, false and misleading attacks without one single tangible
idea on how to move forward,” said Democratic/Charterite Cincinnati City
Councilwoman Yvette Simpson.
Simpson, along with Democratic Councilman Cecil Thomas and
Bishop Bobby Hilton, attacked the tax plan put forward by Romney and
his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. They said it would cut taxes
for the richest Americans while raising taxes on the middle class by
about $2,000 per household, citing an analysis from the nonpartisan Tax
“Mitt Romney’s plan would take Ohio and Cincinnati backwards, and we don’t have time to go backwards,” Hilton said.
Hilton credited Cincinnati’s revitalization and urban development in part on federal money obtained from Obama’s stimulus plan.
“We deserve better than this. We deserve better than Romney/Ryan,” he said.
Romney would have disagreed with Hilton’s assessment of
Cincinnati’s growth. During his speech he praised Ohio Gov. John Kasich,
crediting him with bringing jobs and businesses to the state.
Romney also took time to attack President Barack Obama’s
record in office. The GOP nominee said in preparation for his convention
speech he read many past convention speeches — including Obama’s.
“He was not one of the ones that I wanted to draw from,
except I could not resist a couple of things he said, because he made a
lot of promises,” Romney said. “And I noted that he didn't keep a lot of
Romney also criticized what he called the bitterness and
divisiveness of Obama’s campaign, saying as president he would bring the
country together. He mentioned the “patriotism and courage” of the late
Neil Armstrong, who was honored in a private service in Cincinnati on
“I will do everything in my power to bring us together,
because, united, America built the strongest economy in the history of
the earth. United, we put Neil Armstrong on the moon. United, we faced
down unspeakable darkness,” Romney said.
“United, our men and women in uniform continue to defend
freedom today. I love those people who serve our great nation. This is a
time for us to come together as a nation.”
The candidate’s remarks ignited the crowd of thousands,
many of whom wore shirts with slogans like “Mr. President, I did build
my business,” in response to a remark made by Obama about businesses being helped to grow by government contracts and
infrastructure, and “Mitt 2012: At least he never ate dog meat,” referring to a passage in Obama’s 2008 memoir during which he recalls being
fed dog meat as a boy in Indonesia.
Steve Heckman, a 62-year-old environmental consultant from
Springfield, Ohio, said he voted for Obama in 2008 but will likely
vote for Romney in this election.
He said he’d written “some pretty ugly stuff” about Romney
in the past but felt jobs was the No. 1 issue and thought the Obama
administration’s policies were sending them out of the country.
“The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has, to me, become a little too almost like a fringe group, putting so much pressure
on businesses that they are moving to Canada,” Heckman said. “Things
like air permits, the EPA is taking too long to issue them. It’s not
just power plants they’re affecting, but all manufacturing.”
Heckman said he didn’t blame the president personally but thinks whoever he put in charge of the agency is being too strict.
“I grew up when the EPA was first put in place in the '70s, and they were, in my opinion, doing God’s work,” he said, citing
the cleaning up of rivers such as the Cuyahoga near Cleveland, which
famously caught fire because of pollution in 1969.
“I support the EPA, but it’s driving businesses out of here.”
Speaking ahead of Romney were U.S. House Speaker John
Boehner, Sen. Rob Portman, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, Ohio treasurer and
GOP senatorial candidate Josh Mandel and Republican U.S. House candidate
for Ohio’s 2nd District, Brad Wenstrup.
“This election is all about changing Washington,” Mandel
said. “The only way to change Washington is to change the people we send
by Andy Brownfield
Romney campaign, Murray Energy dispute who made call to close mine for event