by German Lopez
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
In case you missed it, CityBeat is hosting a party
for the final presidential debate at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. There
will be live tweeting, and Councilman Chris Seelbach will be on-hand to discuss this year's key issues. Even if you can’t come, make sure to live tweet during the
presidential debate using the hashtag #cbdebate. More info can be found
at the event’s Facebook page.
A new study found redistricting makes
government even more partisan. The Fair Vote study says redistricting
divides government into clear partisan boundaries by eliminating
competitive districts. In Ohio, redistricting is handled by elected
officials, and they typically use the process for political advantage by
redrawing district boundaries to ensure the right demographics for
re-election. Issue 2 attempts to combat this problem. If voters approve
Issue 2, redistricting will be taken out of the hands of elected
officials and placed into the hands of an independent citizens
commission. The Republican-controlled process redrew the First
Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati, by adding Warren
County to the district. Since Warren County typically votes Republican,
this gives an advantage to Republicans in the First Congressional
District. CityBeat previously covered the redistricting reform effort here.
Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican
challenger Josh Mandel will face off in another debate for Ohio’s seat
in the U.S. Senate today. The two candidates met Monday in a feisty
exchange in which the men argued over their records and policies. Brown and
Mandel will face off at 8 p.m. The debate will be streamed live on
10TV.com and Dispatch.com. Currently, the race is heavily in Brown’s
favor; he is up 5.2 points in aggregate polling.
Cincinnati is moving forward with its bike sharing
program. A new study found the program will attract 105,000 trips in its
first year, and it will eventually expand to 305,000 trips a year. With
the data in hand, Michael Moore, director of the Department of
Transportation and Engineering, justified the program to The Business Courier:
“We want Cincinnatians to be able to incorporate cycling into their
daily routine, and a bike share program will help with that. Bike share
helps introduce citizens to active transportation, it reduces the number
of short auto trips in the urban core, and it promotes sustainable
Cincinnati’s school-based health centers are showing promise. Two more are scheduled to open next year.Echoing earlier comments by Ohio Secretary of State Jon
Husted, Ohio Senate Republicans are now talking about using the lame
duck session to take up a bill that would set standard early voting
hours and tighten voting requirements. Republicans are promising broad
consensus, but Democrats worry the move could be another Republican ploy
at voter suppression. Republicans defend the law by saying it would
combat voter fraud, but in-person voter fraud isn’t a real issue. A recent study
by the Government Accountability Office found zero examples of in-person
voter fraud in the last 10 years. Another investigation by News21 had
similar results. Republicans have also justified making voting tougher
and shorter by citing racial politics and costs.
A Hamilton County judge’s directive is causing trouble. Judge Tracie Hunter sent out a directive to
hire a second court administrator because she believes the current
county administrator is only working for the other juvenile judge. The
county government is trying to figure out if Hunter has the authority to hire a new
This year’s school report card data held up a long-term
trend: Public schools did better than charter schools. In Ohio, the
average charter school meets slightly more than 30 percent of the
state’s indicators, while the average traditional public school meets 78
percent of the state’s indicators, according to findings from the
education policy fellow at left-leaning Innovation Ohio. The data for
all Ohio schools can be found here.
Some in the fracking industry are already feeling a bit of
a bust. The gas drilling business is seeing demand rapidly drop, and
that means $1 billion lost in profits. CityBeat wrote in-depth about the potential fracking bust here.
Ohio student loan debt is piling up. A report by Project
on Student Debt says Ohio has the seventh-highest student loan debt in
the nation with an average of $28,683 in 2011. That number is a 3.5
percent increase from 2010.
What if Abraham Lincoln ran for president today?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could soon be reality. Scientists are developing a drug that removes bad memories during sleep.
by Ben L. Kaufman
Media musings on Cincinnati and beyond
• Look at the rare collection of Enquirer photos at the National Underground Freedom Center. They’ve been reprinted and for many, reprinted copies of original pages are nearby. The show is part of the much larger Fotofocus at many venues. Unfortunately, the Enquirer chose the Freedom Center which charges $12 admission; many Fotofocus displays are in admission-free venues such as the YWCA or UC’s Gallery on Sycamore. I think the oldest photo is from 1948, a one-legged veteran leading a parade to commemorate the end of WWI 30 years earlier. Many are by photographers with whom I worked and whose images I displayed large on local pages during weekends when I edited. Some are recent, by photographers I admire but know only from their images in the paper. To its credit, the Enquirer exhibit includes unpublished photos of which the photographers are justly proud. First among them is Gary Landers’ image of a homicide victim illuminated by an officer’s flashlight behind Landers’ home. Missing are two images that remind me of what photojournalism is about. One is Gerry Wolters’ stunning — and in its time, controversial Pulitzer contender — of a dead African-American lying in a pool of his blood on the Avondale street where he’d been shot by a bailbondsman. Standing over him is the dead man’s young son. Some readers said our photo would ruin the child’s life. No, I told callers, if anything would it was his father’s killing. The other missing photo was one that wasn’t published by the paper: Glenn Hartong’s firefighter carrying a toddler from a burning house. I’m told that editors flinched because they didn’t know if the child survived. So what? That faux humanity illustrates Enquirer execs’ fear of readers tossing their cookies into the Cheerios. Such touchy-feely screening sanitizes what can be a nasty, brutish and short life and lifestyle in our region. Life Magazine published Hartong’s photo across two pages and someone posted it in the Enquirer newsroom coffee alley. It doesn’t get better than that. In the Good Old Days, before self-inflicted sensitivity, the Enquirer had a unapologetic double standard for violent images. If the victim were local, the photo might be spiked to avoid upsetting readers. An example was the half-excavated body of a recognizable young construction worker suffocated in a trench cave-in. Distant victims — executions, genocide or bodies in floods/earthquakes — were likelier to be displayed. And even before the Good Old Days, Ed Reinke’s iconic photo of a line of shrouded bodies from the 1977 Beverly Hills supper club fire gave a sense of magnitude to the disaster that our best reporting couldn’t. It’s the first photo in the exhibit, preceded by a warning that some images could be troubling. They should be. I don’t know if Reinke’s photo would be used today. • Ohio’s Sherrod Brown is among the Democratic senators targeted by out-of-state billionaire GOP donors. He’s an unapologetic liberal and the Progressive monthly made Brown’s re-election battle its latest cover story. A point I’d missed elsewhere is the unusual state FOP endorsement for a Democrat but Brown stood with officers against Republican legislation stripping them of most of their bargaining rights. The Progressive story includes a Mason-area jeweler whose health insurer refused to pay for an advanced cancer treatment. Husband and wife say Reps. Jean Schmidt and John Boehner brushed off their pleas to intervene with the insurer. A Brown staffer — who said she didn’t care what party the Republican couple belongs to — spent the weekend successfully persuading the insurer to cover the potentially life-saving $100,000 procedure. More recently, reporters on Diane Rehm’s public radio show estimated SuperPACs are spending $20 million to defeat Brown and suggested it might not suffice. As a DailyBeast.com columnist notes, polls show Republican Josh Mandel probably won’t even carry his home Jewish community in Cleveland.• That same Progressive names 26 billionaires and their known donations to Republican and other rightwing causes in this election year. No Cincinnati-area men or women made the list but it’s reasonable to infer that some of the men listed donated secretly to Super PACs opposing Ohio’s Sherrod Brown’s re-election (see above). • As one of that dying breed — an Enquirer subscriber who prefers print — my morning paper is missing a lot. Customer service provided a free online copy and promised to deliver the missing paper paper the next day. Next day? Another customer service rep said only replacement Sunday Enquirers are delivered the same day. Message? Don’t stiff advertisers. • The ad on the top half of the back page of the Oct. 11 Enquirer Local section invited everyone to a Romney-Ryan “victory event” on Oct. 13 at Lebanon’s Golden Lamb. The bold, black ad headline on the bottom half of the page was “The #1 dishwasher is also a best value.” • Want to know more about Sarah Jones, the former Ben-Gal and school teacher who admitted to sex with a 17-year-old student? Among others, London’s Daily Mail has enough to satisfy anyone who doesn’t need to see a sex tape. • Don’t piss off Turks. That’s a lesson lots of people have learned to their pain over the generations. No one will be surprised if Turkish forces invade Syria to end Syrian shelling of Turkish civilians. Turkish troops have gone into Iraq to deal with threatening rebellious Turkish Kurds seeking sanctuary there. Turkey is a NATO member and NATO says it will defend Turkey if required. A couple English-language websites can complement the snippets about this aspect of Syria’s civil war: aljazeera.com from the Gulf and hurriyetdailynews.com from Turkey. • The New York Times stepped back from the slippery slope of allowing subjects of news stories to say what news is fit to print. It allowed some sources to review and possibly change their quotes before reporters used them. In July, Times reporter Jeremy Peters blew the whistle on the Times and other major news media. The alternative to quote approval often was the threat of no interview. Initially, the Times defended the practice. No longer. Jimromenesko.com reported the change. Times executive editor Jill Abramson told Romenesko that quote approval “puts so much control over the content of journalism in the wrong place . . . We need a tighter policy.”Romenesko quoted a recent Times memorandum that said “demands for after-the-fact quote approval by sources and their press aides have gone too far . . . The practice risks giving readers a mistaken impression that we are ceding too much control over a story to our sources. In its most extreme form, it invites meddling by press aides and others that goes far beyond the traditional negotiations between reporter and source over the terms of an interview . . . So starting now, we want to draw a clear line on this. Citing Times policy, reporters should say no if a source demands, as a condition of an interview, that quotes be submitted afterward to the source or a press aide to review, approve or edit.”Good. Here’s my question: What happens when a beat reporter can’t get an important interview after citing Times policy? Access is everything. Few people who want media attention will turn away the Times, but editors can get weird when reporters can’t get a desired interview. • Daily papers own and are members of the Associated Press. In their rush to be first, AP reporters used social media to get out the news and scooped member papers whose editors hadn’t seen the stories yet. That went over badly in today’s breathlessly competitive world. AP promises it won’t use social media until after breaking news is sent to members and non-member subscribers. • It’s time for the news media to abandon “reverse discrimination” when the purported victim is white and English-speaking. It’s an issue again because the U.S. Supreme Court is reconsidering university racial admission criteria. A young woman claims the University of Texas rejected her because she is white. Discrimination is discrimination; someone is favored and someone is rejected. I won’t anticipate the court’s decision but the ethical issue is whether the community’s or the individual’s compelling interests are paramount when discrimination becomes policy and practice. Moreover, demographic trends could make “reverse discrimination” obvious nonsense if Anglos become a minority among newly-hyphenated and darker-skinned Americans and immigrants from Latin America, Africa and Asia. • We’ve seen three debates, two presidential, one veepish. The third was Tuesday or last night if you’re reading this on Wednesday. I missed it; I was fishing in Canada. Other journalists will tell you what you heard really means. I’ll catch up when I get home. At least the Biden-Ryan contest was lively and the moderator asked smart, sharp questions and kept the politicians under control. • The vice president and challenger had disturbingly weird expressions when they listened. Biden’s smile recalled a colleague’s remark after waterskiing with me: “I saw Ben smile and he wasn’t baring his teeth.” Worse, Biden’s expression could appear to be a smirk. Ryan’s intensity reminded me of a predator wondering about its next meal. Neither appearance had anything to do with the substance of the debate but it’s how we tend to judge people we don’t know. My question: Is this really how we choose the man one heartbeat away from leadership of The Free World (whatever the hell that means)?• Viewers — and these performances are TV events — worry me. Too many tell reporters and pollsters that their votes can be influenced by how the candidates came across in the debates. The president and vice president do not belong to debating societies. This isn’t Britain’s House of Commons. The ability to “win” a televised encounter has little or nothing to do with the job for which the men are contesting. Winners won’t debate until and unless they seek office again. • News media would be in doldrums if there weren’t stories to write before and after each debate. They burn space and time when little else is happening - if you discount the economy, pestilence, war, famine, etc. • Stories I didn’t read beyond the headlines. One’s from HuffingtonPost.com: "Lindsay Lohan Reveals Her Pick For President"The other is from the Thedailybeast.com:"LINDSAY LOHAN PICKS MITT! & OTHER TOXIC ENDORSEMENTS"
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
State Rep. Alicia Reece, a Democrat, is not happy with
what she sees as another attempt at voter suppression. Reece claims a
new billboard, which reads “Voter Fraud is a Felony,” is meant to
intimidate voters — particularly voters in low-income and black
neighborhoods. The company hosting the billboards says there are 30
billboards like it in Greater Cincinnati and the sponsor of the
billboards, who chose to remain anonymous, did not ask to target any
The second presidential debate is tonight at 9 p.m. All
eyes are on President Barack Obama to deliver a better performance than
he did in the last debate against Mitt Romney. The media was quick to
jump on the post-debate bounce in polls Romney experienced a mere week
after the debate, but political scientists say debates typically don’t have much political significance
in the long term. Still, the debate will be a good opportunity for
Obama and Romney to flesh out their positions and show their abilities to reach out to the public. The full schedule of the remaining debates
can be found here. The agreed-upon rules to the debates were leaked
yesterday. One notable rule says the candidates may not ask each other
any direct questions during any of the debates. Both the Romney and Obama campaigns made a fuss about tonight's debate moderator possibly asking follow-up questions.
But the debate isn’t the only important presidential test
this week. While in Youngstown, Paul Ryan, Republican vice presidential
nominee, tried to show he can pass the dish washing test, but little did
he know that savvy media outlets were ready to call him out on his
dishonesty. Brian Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De
Paul Society, said Ryan was only at the group’s soup kitchen for the
picture and didn’t do much work. The visit apparently angered Antal, who
said his charity group is supposed to be nonpartisan. The race for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat saw its first of
three debates yesterday. At the debate, Democratic incumbent Sherrod
Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel agreed on very little, and
they did not have many kind words for each other. Mandel criticized
Brown for the auto bailout, liberal economic policies and inability to
get a budget through the Senate. Brown criticized Mandel for alleged
cronyism in the state treasurer’s office, dishonesty on the campaign
trail and support for trickle-down economics. The next debate is in
Columbus on Thursday, and the two men will face off one last time in
Cincinnati on Oct. 25.Ohio is still weighing options regarding a Medicaid
expansion. Critics of the expansion are worried the expansion would cost
the state too much money. However, previous research shows Medicaid
expansions can actually save states money by lowering the amount of
uncompensated care. Medicaid expansions in other states also notably
One analyst says Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble will see stronger growth in the future.
A controversial ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court is
sparking some local debate. The ruling said juveniles are not entitled
to an attorney during police interrogations preceding a charge or
initial appearance at juvenile court. Under state law, juveniles are
allowed to have attorneys during “proceedings,” and the Ohio Supreme
Court interpreted “proceedings” to mean “court proceedings.”
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced 6,665
new entities filed to do business in Ohio in September. The number is up
from September 2011, when 6,143 new entities filed to do business; but
it’s down from August 2012, when 7,341 entities asked to do business in
Ohio. The numbers show a steady economic recovery.
The Ohio Turnpike may get a few changes soon. A new Ohio
Department of Transportation (ODOT) study shows a few options for Gov.
John Kasich’s administration: lease the turnpike, give it over to ODOT
or leave it alone. If the turnpike is leased or handed over to ODOT,
tolls will likely rise to keep up with inflation and two maintenance facilities will shut down. However, the revenue generated could be used
for new transportation projects — a goal for the Kasich administration.
Kasich is set to make his decision in about a month.
In other Ohio Turnpike news, Turnpike Director Rick Hodges
announced turnpike tow truck companies will soon be paid less but
allowed to charge customers more.
Scientists want to measure human consciousness. The technology could gauge whether vegetative patients retain any awareness.
by German Lopez
U.S. Senate candidates argue over records, economy, social policy
In the first of three debates for Ohio’s seat in the U.S.
Senate, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh
Mandel agreed on little and clashed on a lot. Each candidate mostly focused on the opposing candidate's record, but the debate today did move to substantial differences in policy at some
points.The debate started with opening statements from a
noticeably feisty Brown, who criticized Mandel for calling his vote for the
auto bailout “un-American.” On the other side of the aisle, Mandel began his
opening statement with a joke about shaving before he turns 36. The joke was
the last time either of the men spoke with a light heart.
The candidates blasted each other mostly for their
records. Mandel touted Ohio's and the nation’s higher unemployment rate since Brown
took office in 2006, energy prices and the U.S. debt. He also said the Senate had
not passed a budget in three years, although Congress has actually passed
budget resolutions in that time.
Brown fired back with claims Mandel had filled the state treasurer’s office
with cronies. He also criticized Mandel for running for four different
political offices in seven years. In his closing statement, Brown said Mandel
is “too concerned about running for his next job” to be trusted.
On substance, Brown and Mandel criticized just about
everything about each other. Brown claimed Mandel signed away his “right to
think” by agreeing to lobbyist Grover Norquist’s pledge to not raise taxes
while in office. He said the pledge makes it so if Mandel does take office, he’ll
never be able to close tax loopholes for big corporations.
Mandel defended the pledge by saying, “I’m proud to stand
for lower taxes in our state and lower taxes in our country.” He added, “I will
do everything I can to advocate for lower taxes across the board for the middle
class and job creators as well.”
The term “job creators” is typically used in politics to reference wealthy Americans, who Republicans claim create jobs through the theory
of trickle-down economics. The economic theory states that wealthy Americans
will hire more lower-class Americans if they have more money and freedom, essentially
creating a trickle-down effect on wealth from the rich to the poor. Although
Republicans still tout the theory, some economists, including Nobel Prize
winner Paul Krugman, say the financial crisis of 2008 and the deregulation that
led to it prove trickle-down economics do not work.
The candidates also debated their positions on the
auto bailout. Mandel said he would not
have voted for the auto bailout if he was in the Senate in 2009. In his defense, he cited the experience of Delphi workers, who lost part of their pensions as part of the deal auto companies made with workers after the federal bailout. Mandel then said, “I’m
not a bailout senator. He’s the bailout senator.”
Brown responded by saying, “These are real jobs and real
people.” He then cited examples of people helped by the growing auto industry.
Brown’s arguments are backed by economic data, which has repeatedly credited
the growing auto industry for the nation’s growing economy. In the first
quarter of 2012, the auto industry was credited for half of the nation’s
When he was asked about higher education, Brown established the key
difference between the candidates in terms of economic policy. Brown said his policies in favor of government investment in higher
education are about supporting the middle class to create growth that
starts in the middle and spreads out, while Mandel supports tax cuts that emphasize a
trickle-down approach. Mandel did not deny the claims, and instead blamed Brown’s
policies for the high unemployment rate and debt issues.
The men continued to show similar contrasts on the
budget, taxes and economy throughout the entire debate, but there seemed to be
some common ground regarding energy independence. When the topic came to hydraulic fracturing —
or “fracking” — Brown said becoming energy independent would have to involve
all possible energy sources. In substance, Mandel agreed, although he also
praised fracking regulations recently passed by the Ohio legislature and Gov.
As far as energy issues go, the agreement stopped there.
When Brown was asked about President Barack Obama's alleged “war on coal,” Brown said there was no war
on coal and claimed there are more coal jobs and coal produced in
Ohio than there were five years ago. Mandel disagreed and claimed there is a war on coal. He added if
Obama is the general in the war on coal, Brown is Obama's “lieutenant.” Brown previously supported federal regulations on mercury that some in the coal industry, including the Ohio Coal Association, claim will force coal-fired power plants to shut down. The regulations go into effect in 2015.
On abortion, Mandel proudly claimed he was
pro-life, while Brown said, “Unlike Josh Mandel, I trust Ohio women to make
their own health care decisions.” Brown also criticized Mandel for not
establishing exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother in his anti-abortion stance.
Many more issues, from term limits to Middle Eastern
culture, were covered in the debate. The candidates drew sharp contrasts in all
these areas with Brown typically holding the liberal position and Mandel
typically holding the conservative position. But despite the feisty language
and deep policy contrasts, when the debate ended, the candidates smiled, shook
hands and patted each other on the back. They will meet again in Columbus on
Thursday and Cincinnati on Oct. 25.
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
The first of three debates for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat is
today. Incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh
Mandel will meet for the first time to prove who has the better vision
for the state. Democrats have repeatedly criticized Mandel for
dishonesty and dodging questions. Republicans have criticized Brown for
supporting President Barack Obama’s policies, including the auto bailout
and Obamacare. A more substantive analysis of the candidates’
differences can be found here. In aggregate polling, Brown currently
leads by five points. The debate will be at 12:30 p.m. on C-SPAN.
Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice president,
will be in Cincinnati today. Ryan’s event will take place at Lunken
Airport at noon. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, was
in Lebanon Saturday. With the second presidential debate between
President Barack Obama and Romney tomorrow, both campaigns are turning
up the events in Ohio, a state that is widely considered a must-win for both candidates. According
to aggregate polling, Obama still holds Ohio by 2.2 points despite a
nationwide post-debate bounce in the polls for Romney. Bicyclists rejoiced Saturday as McMillan Street was
converted back into a two-way street. William Howard Taft Road will
undergo a similar transition Oct. 20. The conversion of both roads came
thanks to the approval of Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who pushed the
motion in order to revitalize the business sector in the neighborhood.
The rest of Ohio’s school report card data will be
released Wednesday. The report card data grades schools to see how
school districts are doing in a variety of categories. The release for
the data was initially delayed due to an ongoing investigation by the
state auditor that’s looking into accusations of attendance reporting
fraud at some school districts. Previously, the state auditor released
preliminary findings criticizing some school districts and the Ohio
Department of Education for some findings regarding attendance fraud.
A new report found Cincinnati still has a lot of work to
do. The city ranked No. 10 out of 12 similar cities. Cincinnati excelled
in job creation and housing opportunities, but it did poorly in
categories regarding migration and age.
Bob Taft, former Republican governor of Ohio, is going
green. The Ohio Environmental Council is rewarding Taft for
standing up for the environment during his gubernatorial term.
Ohio’s stricter laws for exotic animals convinced one pet owner to move her two tigers to Indiana.
Some guy broke the sound barrier with his body yesterday.
by German Lopez
Senatorial candidate fails to give answer to important economic issue
Josh Mandel avoided directly answering a question about
the auto bailout for five straight minutes during a recent meeting with the
Youngstown Vindicator editorial board.
In a video released today by Democrats, Mandel, the Republican opponent to
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown for Ohio's U.S. senate seat, says he would
have “trouble” voting in favor of the federal bailout of Chrysler and General Motors. He cites the case of
Delphi workers, who lost part of their pensions as part of the deal auto companies made with workers after the federal bailout.
But Mandel, who is also Ohio's treasurer, refused to give a straight answer on whether he would vote for or against the bailout. After five minutes of phrasing the question in different ways, the Vindicator editorial board gave up in clear
Mandel had a similar encounter with a WDTN reporter in August. In that encounter, Mandel refused to give a straight answer to the same question. After the reporter pressed the question, Mandel smiled and quipped, “Great seeing you.”But the dodgy encounters are not Mandel's only problem with the media. Media outlets, including CityBeat, have also criticized Mandel for his dishonest campaign tactics. Cleveland's The Plain Dealer gave Mandel the “Pants on Fire” crown for Mandel's consistently poor scoring on PolitiFact Ohio.Mandel is currently down in aggregate polling by 4.8 points.The video of Mandel dodging the Vindicator editorial board's questions can be seen here:
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
The first presidential debate took place last night. Most of the
“liberal media” says Mitt Romney beat President Barack Obama, but the
impact of the relatively dull debate is probably being overstated as the
media tries to sensationalize some sort of comeback narrative for Romney. Although
the debates are important for capturing a candidate’s policies and
speaking ability, they don’t matter much in political terms.
Policy-wise, it seems Romney ran to the center last night. If last night’s debate wasn’t enough debate for you, here are the three most awkward presidential debate moments in history.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus held
a conference call with Ohio reporters yesterday in response to Vice
President Joe Biden’s comments that the middle class has been “buried”
in the past four years. Priebus claimed the
Republican ground game in Ohio will “crush” Democrats. But that’s going
to require a lot of work. As it stands, Obama and Democratic Sen.
Sherrod Brown are beating their respective Republican opponents pretty
badly in aggregate polling.
PolitiFact says Republican claims that Issue 2 will create
a redistricting commission that will “have a blank check to spend our
money” are false. While there is no cap on spending designated in Issue
2, that does not mean the redistricting commission will get infinite
funding. If Issue 2 is approved by voters, redistricting will be handled
by an independent citizens commission. If Issue 2 is rejected by
voters, redistricting will continue being handled by politicians that
commonly use the system in politically advantageous ways. A Republican
majority redistricted the First Congressional District, which includes
Cincinnati, to also include Warren County. The new boundaries give
Republicans an advantage by putting more emphasis on rural voters, which
typically vote Republican, instead of urban voters, which typically vote
Democrat. CityBeat previously covered the redistricting process and Issue 2 here.
An analysis by the Ohio Office of Budget and Management
found Issue 2 would cost the state about $11-$15.2 million over eight
years. That’s about $1.4-$1.9 million a year, or about 0.005-0.007
percent of Ohio’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year.
To put the cost of Issue 2 in further context, state tax revenues were $39 million above estimates in September.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the Ohio
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and the
Cincinnati-based Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC) have settled out
of court in a case involving health care in prisons. OJPC brought the
case forward with a lawsuit in 2003, arguing that inmates were not
receiving adequate health care as required by the Ohio Constitution.
Courts agreed in 2005, and they created an oversight committee to ensure
medical standards rose. Today, health care in prisons is much better. With the
settlement, OJPC and ODRC will continue watching over medical policies
and procedures for the next two years, but courts no longer have an
City Council unanimously approved six projects for historic tax credits yesterday.Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank reclaimed its top spot
for local bank deposits this year, although data released by the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) shows it might never have lost the
top spot to U.S. Bank.U.S. service firms, which employ 90 percent of Americans,
grew at their fastest rate in six months. The boost was brought about
due to rising consumer demand.
Ever curious about why politicians use similar body
language in all their public appearances? The New York Times has an
explanation.A new, strange dinosaur was recently identified.
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.Josh Mandel, state treasurer and Republican U.S.
senatorial candidate for Ohio, is denying he physically confronted a
campaign tracker. According to Mandel, the tracker approached and
confronted him, not the other way around. But the video of the
confrontation shows Mandel approaching and getting really close to the
tracker first. Ohio Democrats, who said Mandel’s campaign is a “campaign
of unending dishonesty,” were quick to jump on another example of
Mandel possibly being dishonest. CityBeat covered Mandel’s notorious
dishonesty here. Mandel is running against Democratic incumbent Sen.
The presidential debates are tonight at 9 p.m. A full
schedule of future debates can be found here. Whoever does better, keep
in mind debates rarely influence elections.
Michelle Obama was in town yesterday. She spoke to a crowd
of 6,800, asking them to take part in Ohio’s early voting
process and encourage friends and family to do the same.
Grocery store competition could soon be bringing lower prices to the Greater Cincinnati area, according to analysts.
JobsOhio chief Mark Kvamme is stepping down. The
high-profile venture capitalist, who was originally from California, was
originally recruited by Gov. John Kasich to lead the Ohio Department of
Development. But soon
Kvamme hopped onto JobsOhio, a nonprofit company established by Kasich
and the state legislature to bring investment into Ohio. Under Kvamme’s
leadership, JobsOhio, which is supposed to replace the Department of Development, has brought in 400 companies to invest in Ohio,
leading to $6.1 billion in capital investment, according to a press
release. But the nonprofit company has been heavily criticized by
liberal groups like Progress Ohio, which say JobsOhio is
unconstitutional. Lower courts have generally legitimized Progress
Ohio’s claims, but the Ohio Supreme Court recently turned down a case
dealing with JobsOhio. The court said a lower court would have to give a
declaratory judgment first.
William O’Neill, former judge and Democratic candidate for
the Ohio Supreme Court, is asking Republican justices Robert Cupp and
Terrence O’Donnell to “recuse or refuse.” O’Neill says the Republican
justices are sitting on cases that involve FirstEnergy, an Akron-based
energy company that has contributed to the re-election campaigns of Cupp
and O’Donnell. O’Neill says the conflict of interest diminishes faith
in the highest court of Ohio’s justice system.
A new study on Taser use in Hamilton County found local
law enforcement have some problematic policies on the books and in
practice. The study was put together by a local law firm that’s
demanding policy reform.
Americans United for Life (AUL) is celebrating a federal
court ruling against Planned Parenthood that maintains Ohio regulations on an abortion drug. The
regulations require physicians to administer the drug in a clinic or
physician’s office, and the drug may only be taken within 49 days of
gestation. AUL says health groups like Planned Parenthood want to avoid
sound health regulations, but Planned Parenthood argues the regulations
make it too difficult for women to use the drug.
Natalie Portman is in a new commercial in support of President Barack Obama. In the ad, she touts Obama’s support of women’s rights.
It seems most Americans are avoiding or can’t afford as many trips to the doctor as before.
One of the most lucrative criminal enterprises in the world is wood.It turns out the vampire squid is not a lethal ocean predator. Still, who wouldn't run away from that?