by Danny Cross
Senator announces support for gay marriage two years after son comes out
Terrace Park isn’t the likeliest of neighborhoods for
Cincinnatians to mingle with diverse groups of people, so it wouldn’t be that
surprising if Sen. Rob Portman maybe didn’t have much experience interacting
with gay people before his son came out two years ago.
But boy what a difference a gay son and two years of
Portman had to prepare his own coming out speech yesterday,
this one to his GOP senatorial brothers and sisters, none of which support
same-sex marriage. Imagine how nervous he must have been, sleeves rolled up,
flag pin hanging slightly askew as he spoke to reporters in response to the
op-ed he published supporting gay marriage. If he stuttered at all it’s not
because he wasn’t earnest — he just really loves his son.
Two years ago Portman’s son, Will, was a freshman at Yale when he came home and explained that being gay “was not a choice,” which seems
to have resonated with Dad. Portman consulted with religious leaders and other men
who have been anti-gay even though they have close family members who are
homosexual, like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who probably said something
like, “Dude, it doesn’t matter anymore now that Obama is talking about queers
in the State of the Union and shit. Roll Tide.”
Portman explained his new found interest in respecting
millions of fellow humans this way: "[I
want] him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have
— to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.”
Portman says he would like to see congress overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a
redundant and discriminatory piece of legislation banning federal recognition
of gay marriage, which he helped pass in 1996. But he still doesn’t think the
federal government should tread on the states and make them recognize it if
they don’t want to.
in Washington Harbor, Md., Republicans at the Conservative Political
Action Conference yesterday discussed their bigotry during a panel called
"A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition." The featured speaker
was Jimmy LaSalvia, whose Republican gay-rights organization GOProud wasn’t
allowed to sponsor the conference.
While gay-rights leaders celebrate the support and the
possibility of other powerful Republicans realizing that they know and care about
someone who is different, the announcement brings attention to other
conservatives trying to remove yuckiness from the party’s official stance on
homosexuality and gay marriage.
NBC News today recapped a few other Republicans who have recently
come out in support of gay-marriage:
Jon Huntsman, a GOP presidential candidate in 2012 who had endorsed civil
unions, said this year that he supports marriage rights. Furthermore, he framed
it in conservative terms.
"There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the
ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love," he
And Theodore Olson, a former solicitor general for President George W. Bush,
has been one of the lead attorneys challenging California's Proposition 8, a
ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage in that state. (Portman fretted in
his op-ed that a court decision might hamper the political movement toward
legalizing gay and lesbian weddings.)
And Fred Malek, a Republican power-broker, told NBC News this week that
conservatives shouldn't feel threatened by gays and lesbian couples who wish to
"I've always felt that marriage is between a man and a woman, but other
people don't agree with that," he said. "People should be able to
live their lives the way they choose. And it's not going to threaten our
overall value system or our country to allow gays to marry, if that's what they
want to do."
Nearly a quarter of Republicans reportedly support same-sex
rights, leaving the door open for plenty more GOP leaders to search for gay family
members on Facebook who might offer insight inspirational enough to frame their
own stories of new found compassion and respect for other people.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown finds bipartisan support for bringing America’s biggest banks in line
1 Comment · Wednesday, March 13, 2013
In 1911, Standard Oil underwent what many
of today’s conservatives would decry as government and judicial
overreach; the petroleum giant — 41 years old and originally from
Cleveland — was taken apart by the U.S. Supreme Court.
2 Comments · Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Washington, D.C., is once again on the
verge of another manufactured crisis. On March 1, the sequester, a
series of mandated spending cuts, is set to kick in, threatening the
country with another round of austerity measures that will cut jobs and
bring down an already-fragile economy.
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 Danny Cross
Posted In: 2012 Election
, President Obama
, LGBT Issues
, Healthcare Reform
at 09:19 AM | Permalink
Leaders of the nonprofit Music Hall Revitalization Co.
seemed to have compromised last week when the group proposed a 99-year lease of
Music Hall as part of a $165 million renovation. But the lease included a
clause that would allow the group to acquire the historic building for $1 at
the end of the lease or at the end of a second 99-year lease. The permanent
sale of the building is what held up the initial plan to turn the renovation
over to the nonprofit group, which says its donors will not offer the financial
support without the city turning over ownership. Mayor Mark Mallory told The
Enquirer that the proposal will not be approved. “I don’t care if it’s 99 years, 198 years, 500 years or
1,000 years, the city should always retain ownership,” Mallory said. “That
should never change.”
George W. Bush Presidential Library denied a request by a Democratic super PAC
for documents related to Sen. Rob Portman’s work in the George W. Bush
administration. The library says it is not subject to the Freedom of
Information Act and that all are welcome to see the documents in 2014. The
super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, has been researching GOP candidates as
Mitt Romney moves closer to choosing a running mate.
you look at the roster of V.P. candidates, each of them is significantly
flawed,” American Bridge senior adviser Ty Matsdorf said in a statement. “For
Portman, it is his calamitous record on fiscal issues while working at the Bush
White House. It shouldn’t be a shock that he is going to want to keep that
under wraps for as long as possible, but unfortunately it’s pretty hard to hide
a record as terrible as that.”
is live blogging from the Supreme Court to see if there are any rulings on the
health care law or immigration.
Gay pride celebrations took place in New York, Chicago and
San Francisco over the weekend, and Obama organizers were there to recruit
Spain formally asked for European aid for its banks.
The sea level is rising faster along the Atlantic Coast than
other places in the world.
Facebook has created a new “find friends nearby” function
that will allow users to see friends and people they don’t know who are at
events or social gatherings. From some Facebook engineer’s comments on the
I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a
hackathon project. While it was originally called ‘Friendshake’, we
settled on ‘Find Friends Nearby’ for launch (the URL was a little bit of
a homage to the previous iteration).
For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one
where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met
and want to stay in contact with. Facebook search might be effective, or
sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides
a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people
with minimal friction.
HBO’s The Newsroom premiered last night, and this guy at the
Toronto Star said it kind of sucked while the New York Times says CNN could
learn something from it.
by Danny Cross
Sen. Rob Portman is
sitting on more cash than nearly all of his GOP colleagues in the
Senate, despite the fact that he’s not up for re-election until
2016. There has been widespread speculation that Portman is a
Republican vice presidential candidate, and only three Senators have
more money on-hand than his Promoting Our Republican Team PAC
(PORTPAC) leadership committee.
Companies upstream from
Cincinnati have been dumping pollutants into the Ohio River since the
1940s, and federal authorities have reached a $5.5 million settlement
to start cleaning it all up. Eighteen companies and several federal
agencies will collectively contribute to restoring the Ashtabula
River and Harbor in northeast Ohio. Here's the latest from Dredging Today (the authoritative voice of underwater excavation activity and other earth-altering digs).
Locals who have
recently “pimped their rides” might want to read up on a bill
passed by Ohio lawmakers yesterday that bans hidden compartments in
vehicles. Police don’t want to have to open those fancy
compartments to check whether there are drugs inside or just a
10th tiny TV. Hear that, Colerain?
Here’s what Obama and
his advisers do on Sundays (after the prez’s round of golf, of
course): size up Mitt Romney.
More insights from the
letters and notes released on Thursday by the Combating Terrorism
Center at West Point: “Bin Laden worried about legacy and sought to
U.S. job growth was
down in April, adding only 115,000 positions after seeing 154,000
added in March. The unemployment rate dropped .1 percentage point to
8.1 percent, largely due to workers leaving the labor force.
Republicans have some thoughts on the matter (Obama’s fault).
Ted Nugent is not
looking so hot these days. He’s also thoroughly offended at the
notion of not being a moderate. The following are comments he made today on
CBS This Morning:
"If you examine
how I conduct myself," Nugent said, "I don't think a day
goes by in my life for many, many years now that we don't do charity
work for children. ... Call me when you sit down across from someone
who has more families with dying little boys and girls who get a call
to take them on their last fishing trip in life.
Nugent continued in a raised, irritated voice, "when you meet
someone who does that more than I do. Because that's really moderate.
In fact, you know what that is? That's extreme. ... I'm an extremely
loving, passionate man, and people who investigate me honestly,
without the baggage of political correctness, ascertain the
conclusion that I'm a damned nice guy. ... And if you can find a
screening process more powerful than that, I'll [expletive]. Or
[expletive]. How's that sound?"
Headline: “Tech world
is out for blood.” Apparently Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s decision
to start a patent war was not such a good idea.
New York Yankees future
Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera tore his ACL during pregame
batting practice yesterday, putting the 42-year-old’s career in
jeopardy. There had already been speculation that Rivera would retire
after this season, and recovery from ACL surgery usually takes more
than nine months.
A true socialist, LaBotz runs for U.S. Senate seat
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Dan LaBotz understands his campaign to become Ohio's next member of the U.S. Senate is a bit of a curiosity. As Republicans and Tea Party members continue to throw around the term “socialist” as a sort of epithet, LaBotz, a Clifton resident, is one of just three national candidates from the Socialist Party, and the only one running for a Senate seat.
Gregarious Brunner, guarded Fisher face off in U.S. Senate Democratic primary race
2 Comments · Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Despite its impressive name, the "Courage Express" is actually just a 19-year-old retired bus from the Licking County School District. With its worn-out odometer and fresh coat of silvery paint, it's now a road-weary campaigning machine that supporters of Jennifer Brunner bought online for $2,000. In some ways, the Express mirrors her run for U.S. Senate: It's a low-budget, bumpy ride that just might be on its last legs, but it's still rolling along.
3 Comments · Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Molly Ivins, the late syndicated columnist from Texas, got it right when she wrote, “Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant — it tends to get worse.” For the truth of that statement, look no further than the agenda for an April 17 "Bringin' Back Conservatism: Doin' It Again in 2010" event planned by the Springboro Tea Party just north of Cincinnati.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Just weeks after winning his third term on Cincinnati City Council, Cecil Thomas surprised most political observers by announcing he would seek the Democratic nomination to run for the Hamilton County Commission seat being vacated by David Pepper. Party Chair Tim Burke is favoring Thomas over previously announced Democratic candidate Jim Tarbell, hoping Thomas will help mobilize African-American voters to provide a much-needed boost for U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill).