WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Surrender Imminent?

2 Comments · Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The war on drugs is straining Ohio's criminal justice system and has failed to reduce drug use for decades. Experts say decriminalization and legalization could be part of the solution.   
by Hannah McCartney 11.07.2013
Posted In: Music, Culture at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
personalized_ohio2

This Could Be Ohio's New State Country Song

For whatever reason, Americans deem it a necessary source of pride for us to award the states we live in all sorts of symbolic attributes, such as an official state amphibian (Ohio: spotted salamander), official state muffin (Minnesota: blueberry) or an official state "sport" (Maryland: walking?). And Oklahoma's unofficial state sport is apparently obesity — their official meal is "fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken-fried steak, black-eyed peas, and pecan pie." Now, there's a very real possibility that sometime soon, the state of Ohio will add to its arsenal of symbols (our state drink is tomato juice?) by adopting its own state "Country" anthem: On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Ohio Rep. Nick Barborack (D-Lisbon) introduced House Bill 330 to the general assembly, which would give the state an official Country song called "Ohio" by Lisbon, Ohio musician Zach Paxson. Here's the song that's been Ohio's official, official song since 1969: Old-timey, for sure, but at least there's some pretty imagery thrown in there. Everybody likes moonlit streams and freedom. And we all know "Hang on Sloopy," the '60s Pop Rock ditty that was actually wasn't designated our state Rock song until 1985, when the House passed a resolution with a bunch of references to the song, including phrases like:  WHEREAS, "Hang On Sloopy" is of particular relevance to members of the Baby Boom Generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously; and WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the state anything, or affect the quality of life in this state to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff.The '80s were a weird time for a lot of things, so this makes a lot of sense. The introduction of Paxson's song, however, feels a little out of the blue.Paxson's video, and the lyrics to the song, from Paxson's website (SIC to the errors): Austin Texas was a great place but I couldn’t wait to get home with a big smile on my face and see those green farms and factories as I made my way through my favorite city’s Chorus So give me a cold one at the end of the day and a “w” for the scarlet and gray this still is the greatest place that I’ve ever known OHIO, OHIO Every morning I pass them in their work boots and their business suits but we all come from the same roots and we’re the keeper of great names cause we got the rock ‘n’ roll and the football hall of fame Chorus So give me a cold one at the end of the day and a “w” for the scarlet and gray this still is the greatest place that I’ve ever known OHIO, OHIO Chorus So give me a cold one at the end of the day and a “w” for the scarlet and gray this still is the greatest place that I’ve ever known OHIO, OHIO, we’re the pulse of America here in the heart of it all OHIOWhat do you think of it? I only made it through the first 30 seconds — I grew up in a rural town and any varietal of  Country music makes me hurt inside. Plus, I found the video, which is a kind of schizophrenic mix of a bunch of really blurry photos accompanied by WordArt lyrics, hard to watch.Clearly, I'm biased, and I don't really get why there are several politicians taking the time to lobby for this to join "Hang on Sloopy" and "Beautiful Ohio." The bill is just waiting to be signed to a committee, so it will be awhile before a decision is made. But it's worth thinking about. Does it deserve to join the ranks of Ohio's tomato juices and bullfrogs? Or are state symbols just generally not supposed to make any sense?
 
 

Liberty for Sale

Should Ohio inmates be commodities in a for-profit venture?

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Security and public policy risks, along with research suggesting that private prisons don't save taxpayer money, paint a grim picture of Ohio’s public and budget health as the state moves to monetize prison inmates.  

Cincinnati vs. the World 10.23.2013

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A food writer for website Deadspin ranked eating Cincinnati chili as a more painful experience than getting hit by a car.  CINCINNATI -2  
by Hannah McCartney 09.26.2013
 
 
timothy black

State Rep. John Becker Is a Sore Loser

Becker worried a same-sex marriage case will turn U.S. socialist, make him cry

When my brother and I were little kids, we used to play board games all the time, and because I was older and smarter I usually won. Back in those days, my little bro didn’t really understand the concept of sportsmanship and he would sometimes defiantly flip over the entire Stratego board when I started to win a game and get really close to finding his flag, and then he’d storm off and say I cheated (I didn’t cheat, Dylan!).  Republican Rep. John Becker is pretty upset that a terminally ill gay man has earned the right to die in peace, and now it’s become a very real possibility that other gay Ohioans might also get to die (and live) in peace. And, just like my brother, he’s kind of trying to ruin the game for everyone just because he’s losing. In July, Judge Timothy Black heard the case of Jim Obergefell and John Arthur, a long-term gay couple who flew to Maryland to marry at the beginning of the month because Arthur is terminally ill, in hospice care, and not expected to live much longer.   Obergefell and Arthur sued the state of Ohio for discrimination in not recognizing their out-of-state gay marriage, legal and recognized in Maryland, when other gay couples residing in states recognizing same-sex marriages and subsequently moved to Ohio would have their marriages treated as valid. And because Arthur is terminally ill, it's just as much for the emotional connection as it is for any kind of economic benefit. Here's what Obergefell wrote in his original complaint (grab a tissue):“Our legacy as a married couple is very important to John and me… in two or more generations our descendants will not know who we are. Married couples, often through research based on death records, have recognition for their special status forever. I want my descendants generations from now who research their history to learn that I loved and married John and that he loved and married me. They will know that they had gay ancestor who was proud and strong and in love.” In his ruling, Black called the case “not complicated,” explaining that he’d allow the marriage to be legalized on Arthur’s death certificate because it was likely a constitutional violation that the state of Ohio treated lawful out-of-state same-sex marriages differently than lawful out-of-state same-sex marriages.  In September, he ruled to allow the marriage of another gay couple — David Michener and William Herbert Ives — after Ives unexpectedly passed away in late August. Although these aren't (yet) blanket rulings, they're being interpreted as monumental victories for supporters of marriage equality. Becker, then, decided to do the political equivalent of my brother running to my mom and accusing me of cheating; he wrote U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup and called for Black to be impeached for “malfeasance and abuse of power,” which apparently made him really concerned about the “federal government’s ever growing propensity to violate state sovereignty.”  Unfortunately, though, U.S. District Court judges are appointed for life, so since Becker’s claims against Judge Black are totally unfounded, Black is free to continue to anger Becker and other people who don't approve of equality for gay couples. Alphonse Gerhardstein, the attorney for both couples, calls Becker's response to the rulings "bullying.""Federal judges are granted tenure for life for a reason. It's their job to enforce core principles even when the majority disagrees," he says. "Look at the Dred Scott case. I think most people would agree that's the worst case decision ever made by a judge, and even he didn't get impeached." (In case you forget, he's talking about Dred Scott v. Sandford, the landmark 1857 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ruled black people weren't citizens.) Things that actually can get a judge impeached, says Gerhardstein, are offenses like having sex with a criminal defendant or taking bribes.  On Wednesday, Sept. 25, the court added licensed funeral director Robert Grunn, who is responsible for registering deaths and providing personal information to the state on what should go on a death certificate, to the list of plaintiffs. Grunn currently serves same-sex couples when he signs death certificates, says the lawsuit, including those with marriages recognized outside the state of Ohio. The lawsuit, if successful, could require all funeral directors to recognize gay clients as married on death certificates if they were legally married in a different state. Gerhardstein also says since accepting Arthur and Obergefell's case, he and his colleagues have received inquiries from between 30 to 50 other gay couples seeking legal recognitions of their out-of-state marriages. For now, he says, he and his firm are concentrating on cases specifically involving recognizing same-sex marriages on death certificates, although this litigation could (and probably will) lead to other blanket rulings on how same-sex marriages are recognized in Ohio. Another hearing with Judge Black is scheduled for Dec. 18.
 
 

21st Century Bigots

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
 I know that racist people still exist. I know that people who hate gay people still exist. But even if you have those kind of tiny, dark asshole thoughts, at what point are you so comfortable with your surroundings that you assume everyone around you agrees with your limited worldview?  

Dear John

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I have seen Boehner’s political rise — from courtside seats in the early days — and I am amazed but not surprised by it because it’s easy to be “impressive” and to be passed up the ranks and into many branches of American politics; it’s a trait politicians share with student/athletes in higher education.   
by James McNair 07.31.2013
Posted In: Government at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)
 
 
plate+1

Is Ohio's New License Plate the Worst or Just Bad?

Bye, bye “Beautiful Ohio” plate, hello word scramble

In case you haven’t noticed, Ohio has gained a new distinction among the 50 states — that with the ugliest license plate. Gone, after just three-and-a-half years, is the “Beautiful Ohio” plate, a bucolic affair that managed to combine green rolling hills, a red barn, a city skyline, trees, a yellow sunburst, the Wright Brothers’ plane and the year of statehood. The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association gave it second place in its Best New License Plate contest in 2009. The new standard-issue plate, which went on sale April 15, is called “Ohio Pride” (no, not that pride). The word Ohio appears on a wide, red isosceles triangle bleeding from the top of the plate. And behind the plate number is a background of 46 slogans, identifiers and products “describing what makes Ohio a great state.” Such as: “State of Perfect Balance,” “The Heart of it All,” “Newark Earthworks,” “Serpent Mound,” “Polymer Capital of the World,” “Steel City” and “Walleye.” It is devoid of images. Pity the passing driver who tries to make out any of the 46 words and phrases. Because they are jammed together in light gray lettering, they blur into a hazy backdrop. Don’t take CityBeat’s word for it. Pull up behind a car with one of the new plates. Maybe you’ll be able to make out two of the larger-print items, “Birthplace of Aviation” and “DiscoverOhio.com.” The cacophony of slogans and products gives the new Ohio plate an edge over the regular plates of many states, said Greg Gibson, president of the ALPCA. But he, too, was confounded by their legibility. “I doubt that the slogans can be read at any distance,” he says. Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles spokesman Dustyn Fox said no one in the Kasich administration objected to the Beautiful Ohio plate, which was designed with the help of former First Lady Frances Strickland. “Traditionally, each new administration redesigns the Ohio plate,” Fox says. “A selection committee made up from BMV officials, Ohio Department of Public Safety officials and representatives from the governor’s office choose final designs. The governor and first lady make the final decision.” The review panel considered five or six designs before settling on one submitted by students at the Columbus College of Art and Design. The selection, however, represents an act of artistic regression in a milieu that has gone wild for visual elements in the past decade. Wyoming, for instance, has a bucking bronco, Oklahoma a Native American archer, Utah a skier and South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore. Elsewhere, we see trees, mountain ranges, peaches, oranges, a cactus, a pelican and a buffalo. Closer to home, Indiana has a blue license plate depicting the state seal, but which looks like a clock face in traffic. Kentucky plates bear the slogan “Unbridled Spirit” and the head of a hurtling race horse. Cleverly, they also show the vehicle owner’s home county, which allows police officers to snag out-of-county drivers for traffic violations.The following are the four license plate designs that were considered by the state BMV:    
 
 

You Better Recognize

1 Comment · Wednesday, July 24, 2013
So I could’ve married my cousin, Marc, when I was 13 in Tennessee and we could now be 35 years into Ohio-based bliss but, so far, I cannot marry my partner anywhere else and legally leave her any of my crap in Ohio? SMH. And this is what the Obergefell/Arthur family is upset about.  
by Hannah McCartney 06.28.2013
Posted In: Human Rights, Public Policy at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news_transitionsglobal_intake_provided

Attorney General Releases Human Trafficking Report

Law enforcement identified 38 trafficking victims last year among estimated thousands

 New data released today in the first annual Human Trafficking Statistics Report, compiled by the state’s Human Trafficking Commission, provides reports on human trafficking investigations conducted by local law enforcement agencies across the state. Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law, also known as House Bill 262, was passed June 27 last year to combat Ohio’s human trafficking plague by harshening penalties for traffickers and offering trafficking victims more resources to heal. Included in the legislation was the mandate that the established task force, the Human Trafficking Commission, collect statistics and reports on human trafficking investigations, cases and arrests, for an annually published report.  The report chronicles 30 different human trafficking investigations, which have resulted in 15 arrests and 17 prosecutions over the past year. Some of the investigations are still ongoing. Thirty-eight sex trafficking victims were identified by local law enforcement last year, most of whom where identified as white or between the ages of 18 and 29. Only one reported victim was male. That represents just a fraction of the thousands of total Ohioans who fall victim to human trafficking in Ohio each year; around 1,000 Ohio youths and 800 foreign-born were trafficked across Ohio. Thousands more are considered "at risk" of becoming trafficking victims, which makes grand estimates on the total number of actual victims virtually impossible.Law enforcement officers were also asked to identify possible social and economic vulnerabilities that made certain victims more susceptible to trafficking, which included a history of being oppressed or impoverished and possibly experiencing alcohol and drug dependency issues, although enforcement wasn't able to distinguish whether dependency issues actually made victims more vulnerable or if the experience of being trafficked facilitated dependency problems. Most traffickers were males between the ages of 21 and 29, according to the data. In 2010, the state of Ohio was considered among the "worst states" for human trafficking by the Polaris Project, a national organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking. In a 2012 report from Polaris, Ohio was ranked one of the "most improved" states of 2012, thanks to the passage of the Safe Harbor Law. However, in January, anti-human trafficking organization Shared Hope International gave Ohio a "C" for its human trafficking legislation, up several points from a "D" in 2012. In Ohio, two high-profile trafficking cases, including that of captor Ariel Castro, who kidnapped three young girls and locked them in a basement for nearly 10 years, and the four Ashland, Ohio, residents who enslaved a mentally disabled woman and her daughter into forced labor, have recently made international headlines. In Cincinnati, City Council recently approved a four-pronged set of initiatives to battle local issues with human trafficking and prostitution, which are especially prevalent along McMicken Avenue and in the neighborhoods of Camp Washington and Lower Price Hill.Ohio House Bill 130, which was recently approved unanimously by the Ohio House, would, if passed, further increase penalties for sex-trafficking and prostitution related offenses involving minors and disabled persons and also establish a spousal notification requirement for convicted trafficking and prostitution offenders. It will now move to the Ohio Senate for consideration.
 
 

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