WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 10.09.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, News, Bailout at 03:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Mandel Dodges Auto Bailout Question for Five Minutes

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 exasperation.   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 10.04.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

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 oversight mandate. 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 10.03.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, News, Economy, Republicans, Democrats, Courts at 08:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Morning News and Stuff

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. Sherrod Brown.  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?
 
 

Cincinnati vs. The World 10.03.2012

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Ohio Democratic Party sent Ohio Treasurer/Senate candidate Josh Mandel a new pair of pants on his birthday, poking fun at Mandel’s PolitiFact Ohio record for most “Pants on Fire” ratings, which evaluate the honesty of politicians’ public statements. CINCINNATI +2   
by German Lopez 10.02.2012
Posted In: News, 2012 Election, Education, Economy at 08:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
milton dohoney

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting begins in Ohio today. Find your nearest polling booth here.  Cincinnati could change how it gathers trash in the future. City officials, under the request of City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr., are looking for a way to make trash collection more automated and reduce the amount of manual labor required to pick up trash. Michael Robinson, director of public services, described the possible changes to WVXU: “Implement a new cart system using semi-automated trucks as well as automated units to reduce our workers compensation claims.” The changes would save the city money.For the second year in a row, statewide college enrollment declined. The two-year drop is the first time college enrollment has dropped since the 1990s. Casinos are popping up around Ohio — including the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati — but Ohioans do not have a gambling problem. A new survey, which seeks to establish a baseline to find out the impact of new casinos around the state, found problematic gambling is fairly uncommon in Ohio with about 250,000 Ohio adults, or nearly 3 percent of Ohioans, reporting problems.Cincinnati-based Macy’s will be hiring 80,000 new employees for the holidays. Several Ohio testing centers will be partnering up with the GED Testing Service to allow taking GED tests online. The GED test, which is accepted by most U.S. employers and colleges, gives a second chance to adults who did not get a high school diploma. JobsOhio, Gov. John Kasich’s privatized economic development program, suffered a serious setback Friday when an Ohio Supreme Court ruling dismissed efforts to clarify the program’s legal status. Critics of JobsOhio say the program is unconstitutional and illegal, and their complaints have often been legitimized by lower courts. State officials hoped the Ohio Supreme Court would put the issue to rest, but the court said a decision would have to be given by lower courts first. Josh Mandel, state treasurer and Republican U.S. senatorial candidate, doesn’t seem to be handling the stress of the campaign very well. In a newly released video, Mandel is seen on an elevator in an awkward confrontation that gets a little physical with a campaign tracker. The tracker’s story was confirmed by a reporter at The Columbus Dispatch, who was also on the elevator and can be seen and heard in the video. The amount of abortions in Ohio is down 12 percent, according to a new report by the Ohio Department of Health. A Xavier study found trust in government and business is on the rise. The increase is typical in a growing economy. About 60 percent of doctors would quit their jobs today if given the chance. Not a good sign for a health-care system that was expecting a doctor shortage even before Obamacare was passed.  U.S. home prices rose the most they have in six years. The year-over-year increase of 4.6 percent is a potential sign of a recovering economy. Want to increase your productivity? Look at cute kitties.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.01.2012
 
 
Michelle Obama

Morning News and Stuff

It’s October. Tomorrow is the first day of in-person early voting in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth at the secretary of state’s website here. Michelle Obama will be in Cincinnati tomorrow to support an in-person early voting push in Ohio. The state is considered vital for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign against President Barack Obama, but while national polling is close, Ohio is looking very bad for Romney. The Romney team seems to be banking on the debates to regain momentum, but, historically, debates have little electoral impact. The first debate is Wednesday at 9 p.m. A full schedule of the debates can be found here.  In more good news for Democrats, a recent poll by The Columbus Dispatch found Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is leading Josh Mandel, state treasurer and Brown’s Republican opponent for the U.S. Senate seat, by 10 points. The last Dispatch poll found the two candidates tied. The poll shows a long-term trend seen in aggregate polling of Brown gaining momentum and Mandel falling behind.   A former Republican Ohio state representative came out in support of Issue 2. Joan Lawrence came out for the initiative as part of Women for Issue 2, claiming the current system is rigged. If Issue 2 is approved by voters this election cycle, Ohio’s redistricting will be handled by an independent citizens committee. Currently, elected officials manage Ohio’s redistricting process, but the process normally leads to corruption in a process known as “gerrymandering” in which politicians redraw district borders in politically advantageous ways. In the First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati, district boundaries were redrawn by Republicans to include less of Hamilton County’s urban population, which tends to vote Democrat, and instead include the more rural Warren County, which tends to vote Republican. CityBeat previously covered the issue and Republicans’ losses in court regarding Issue 2 here. Margaret Buchanan, The Cincinnati Enquirer’s publisher and president, left the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees Friday to avoid a potential conflict of interest in the newspaper’s reporting on the UC Board of Trustees. CityBeat and other media critics mentioned the conflict of interest in the past, particularly when former UC President Greg Williams suddenly resigned and Buchanan refused to comment on speculation around the resignation.  Cincinnati’s economic recovery is in full swing. For the second straight month, the area’s manufacturers expanded. The Cincinnati Purchasing Management Index, which measures manufacturing, went up from 54.6 in August to 58.8 in September. The index must be above 50 to signify growth; below 50 shows contraction. Cincinnati’s women-owned businesses are doing a lot more than some may think. They are responsible for 3,500 local area jobs. Ohio’s attorney general is devoting more money toward solving cold case homicides. Cold cases are old cases that have not been the subject of recent investigations but could be solved in light of new evidence. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be filmed in southern and northeast Ohio. Nintendo’s Wii U is already looking like the top Christmas toy. Artificially intelligent gamer bots convinced judges they’re human more often than actual humans.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 09.27.2012
Posted In: Humor, News at 01:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Ohio Dems Buy Mandel Pants for His Birthday

Senatorial candidate holds PolitiFact Ohio record for most statements rated "Pants on Fire"

Happy birthday to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel! The treasurer and GOP candidate for U.S. Senate turns 35 today, and the Ohio Democratic Party celebrated the occasion by delivering a new pair of pants to the treasurer’s office. “If anyone needs a new pair of pants for his birthday it’s Josh Mandel, who has earned more ‘Pants on Fire’ ratings from Politifact Ohio than any politician in state history — hopefully he will get some use out of these before his next lie about (Democratic U.S. Sen.) Sherrod (Brown),” Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker wrote in a statement. Mandel has earned six “Pants on Fire” ratings — the signifier given to an outright lie by the fact-checking agency run by The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, PolitiFact Ohio. Mandel holds the most “Pants on Fire” rulings of any politician reviewed by the group. Mandel doesn’t have a monopoly on lies: In a Wednesday fact check, PolitiFact Ohio ruled a Brown campaign advertisement that claimed Ohio’s investment fund has not improved under Mandel was “false.” Zucker told CityBeat Mandel’s staff seemed surprised by the gift (American Apparel trousers size 34) and promised to deliver it, but said the treasurer wasn’t in the office. The pants were folded and tied with ribbon. They contained a note reading, “Josh — So many of your pants have caught fire from Politifact’s ratings that we thought you could use a new pair. They’ll look great for your next fundraising trip to the Bahamas! Happy Birthday, The Ohio Democratic Party.” Mandel’s press secretary has not responded to CityBeat’s call and email for comment as of this posting. This blog will be updated if we hear back.
 
 
by German Lopez 09.27.2012
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Morning News and Stuff

In an ad accusing Josh Mandel, a Republican, of lying, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign team may have lied, according to PolitiFact. The U.S. senatorial campaign for Ohio’s senate seat has been filled with dishonesty, but it usually comes from Mandel. The dishonesty seems to be hurting Mandel more than Brown; Mandel is currently down 7.5 points in aggregate polling numbers. Mandel is being taken to court by liberal blog Plunderbund. The blog claims Mandel has made it extra difficult to get public records.Preliminary data for Ohio schools was released yesterday. Some data is still being held back while an investigation into fraudulent reporting from some schools is finished, but the data gives some insight into how schools performed during the 2011-2012 school year. The data can be found here. From a local angle, the data shows Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) did not meet “adequate yearly progress,” a federal standard that measures progress in student subgroups, such as minority groups; but CPS did meet standards for “value-added growth,” which measures the expected progress in state testing for all students between the third and eighth grades. City Council approved the $29 million financing plan for the streetcar yesterday. The plan will use $15 million from the Blue Ash airport deal to move utility lines and pipes. The city claims the $15 million, which was originally promised to neighborhood projects, will be reimbursed by Duke Energy once the city settles a conflict with the energy company. Duke and the city are currently arguing over who has to pay to move the utility lines and pipes. An Ohio state representative is asking the federal government to monitor the election more closely. Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat, is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to send monitors to the state to ensure no funny business goes on in voting booths on Nov. 6. The request is partly in response to a recent court ruling that forces Ohio to count provisional ballots if the ballots were brought around by poll worker errors. Ohio’s ability to stop political lies was upheld yesterday. The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) tried to put an end to the government power, which COAST claimed was censorship, by taking it to court, but a U.S. judge upheld the ability. The judge, who is a former chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, said COAST did not properly display that its speech was held down by the law. Considering some of COAST’s tweets, the judge is probably right. E.W. Scripps Co. will host a job fair in Cincinnati Oct. 10 to fill 100 digital jobs. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the rights of lesbian ex-couples to set visitation times. The court said non-parents are allowed to participate in visitations during child custody proceedings. Ohio might expand Medicaid, but not to the extent asked for by Obamacare. That’s what the state’s Medicaid director said yesterday, anyway. A previous study found Medicaid expansions improved and might have saved lives in other states, and other studies have found Medicaid expansions may save the state money by cutting uncompensated costs. Pundits really dug into Mitt Romney the past few days over his poor poll numbers in Ohio. The Business Courier asked if Romney has already lost Ohio. Politico said Romney’s biggest hurdle to the White House is Ohio. The New Republic ran an article with six theories as to what led to Romney’s losses in the state. The Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out both presidential candidates were stumping at a pivotal time in northern Ohio yesterday. Aggregate polling paints a consistently bad picture for Romney in Ohio; he is currently down four points. But Romney probably isn’t helping matters. In an Ohio rally Tuesday, he admitted President Barack Obama didn’t raise taxes in his first term. Gov. John Kasich signed a series of bills shoring up Ohio’s public pension system yesterday. The laws will cut benefits and raise eligibility requirements, but state officials insist the new laws will mostly affect future retirees. NASA wants samples from Mars, and it has a plan. The new plan may require a robot-to-human hand-off in space.
 
 
by German Lopez 09.24.2012
 
 
sherrod brown

Morning News and Stuff

Newspapers all around the state — including The Cincinnati Enquirer, which labelled its article an “Enquirer Exclusive” (both The Toledo Blade and Columbus Dispatch ran a story with the same angle as The Enquirer) — are really excited about a new poll that found Sen. Sherrod Brown leads Josh Mandel in the U.S. senatorial race for Ohio’s seat by 7 percent. But the poll only confirms what aggregate polling has been saying for a while now.  Mayor Mark Mallory fired back at Commissioner Greg Hartmann Friday. In a letter Tuesday, Hartmann accused Mallory of failing to stick to his promises in support of a city-council committee that would have established greater collaboration between Cincinnati and Hamilton County governments. But in his letter, Mallory said the committee was unnecessary and Hartmann was just playing politics by sending a letter to media instead of calling the mayor on his cell phone. Contrary to the claims of Mitt Romney’s campaign, President Barack Obama does care about the work requirements in welfare-to-work reform. In fact, Obama is disapproving of Ohio’s program, which his administration says has not enforced work requirements stringently enough. However, most of the blame is going to former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, not Gov. John Kasich, a Republican. The University of Cincinnati received a $3.7 million grant to increase the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. The grant comes from the National Science Foundation, a federal entity that funds science. The grant could help current problems with science research. One recent study found scientists prefer to hire male students over female students, pay male students more and spend more time mentoring men over women. Local homeless groups managed to get a hold of a $600,000 grant to aid homeless military veterans. The grant will provide financial assistance and job training for the currently homeless and vets at risk of becoming homeless.The Cincinnati Enquirer is raising subscription costs by 43 percent — from $210 a year to $300 a year.City Council will host a special session today to get public feedback and work on the new deal meant to prevent further streetcar delays. The meeting will be at 10:30 a.m. at City Council Chambers, City Hall room 300, 801 Plum St. Ohio is a swing state, which means we get a lot of political ads during the campaign season. Are you tired of them? Well, politicians don’t seem to care. In 2008, both parties ran a combined total of 42,827 ads between April and September. In the same time period this year, the parties have run 114,840.Citizens for Common Sense was formed to support Issue 4 on the November ballot, which changes City Council terms from two to four years. The initiative would let political candidates worry more about policy and less about campaigning, but some critics say it would make it more difficult to hold council members accountable.Research shows random promotions may be better for business. The study verifies the Peter Principle, which says many people are eventually promoted to positions beyond their competence.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 09.07.2012
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Investigation: Secret Ohio Group Supporting Mandel

Investigation finds Super PAC headed by Columbus lobbyist running ads attacking Brown

An investigation by nonprofit journalism group ProPublica has uncovered the identity of one of the secret super PACs funding advertisements attacking U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and promoting his challenger, Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel. The group is the Government Integrity Fund and is headed by Columbus lobbyist Tom Norris. Norris’ lobbying firm Cap Square Solutions employs former Mandel aide Joe Ritter. Ritter declined to comment to ProPublica about his role with Norris’ lobbying firm or whether he is involved with the Government Integrity Fund. The race between Brown and Mandel is considered vital to Republicans who want to take control of the Senate and Democrats who want to hold on to their majority. It has turned into Ohio’s — and the nation’s — most expensive race. The Associated Press reported in August that outside groups — like the Government Integrity Fund — have spent $15 million supporting Mandel, while similar groups have spent $3 million for Brown. It’s unknown where the money is coming from because federal regulations and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United case allow the groups to spend unlimited amounts of cash on political ads without disclosing their donors. Such groups are classified as non-profit “social welfare” groups, which don’t have to release donor information or register with the Federal Election Commission. They’re supposed to be “primarily” engaged in promoting social welfare. Super PACs aren’t supposed to coordinate with campaigns, but it is common for them to hire politicians’ former aides. According to ProPublica, Ritter was first hired by Mandel as an aide when the candidate was in the Ohio Legislature. He was then the field director for Mandel’s state treasurer campaign and then became a constituent and executive agency liaison when Mandel won that race. He left the treasurer’s office after six months to work for Norris’ lobbying firm. Ritter was part of an ethics complaint filed after a Dayton Daily News investigation into Mandel’s practice of hiring former campaign workers for state jobs. Ritter has contested the charges.Norris' ties to the Government Integrity Fund was discovered by ProPublica through documents filed with Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT. The Federal Communication Commission requires TV stations to keep detailed records about political advertisers.
 
 

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