WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Bill Sloat 11.29.2012
 
 
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Ohio Democrats Push for Puerto Rico Statehood

State Rep. Alicia Reece only local legislator listed as co-sponsor

A group of Ohio House Democrats wants Congress to move quickly and grant statehood to Puerto Rico, which has been a U.S. possession since the Spanish-American War ended in 1898.  The Ohioans do not say where the star should go on a redesigned American flag, but they said statehood would “respect the rights of self-governance through consent of the governed of our fellow United States citizens residing in Puerto Rico.” The chief sponsor of the resolution, H.C.R. 57, is State Rep. Dan Ramos of Lorain, a northern Ohio city where about 25 percent of the 64,000 residents are Hispanic. Lorain is considered the most Hispanic city in Ohio, and nearly 20 percent of its population claims Puerto Rican descent. The resolution urging statehood was introduced this week in the Ohio House where it likely faces an uncertain future. The current term of the legislature is scheduled to end in December, and it has no Republican co-sponsors.  The GOP controls the House, which means that Democratic proposals often get bottled up or receive short shrift.Earlier this month, a slight majority of Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood for the Caribbean Island. It was the first time a statehood referendum has won there, and the non-binding vote was seen as signaling that many Puerto Ricans appear ready to end the island’s status as a U.S. commonwealth. The move by the Ohio House Democrats also appears aimed at cementing the party’s support among Hispanic voters. Some 70 percent of Hispanics backed the Democrats and President Obama on Election Day, and Hispanics are emerging as a key bloc with increasing power at the ballot box.     With the exception of State Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat, all of the other House Democrats backing the statehood resolution are from Columbus or further north in Ohio. The resolution urges Congress to take swift action “towards admitting the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to the Union as a State.” Statehood decisions are up to Congress. The Ohio resolution points out that Puerto Ricans are already U.S. citizens (although they cannot vote in presidential elections), and that many serve in the U.S. military. A 1917 law granted residents U.S. citizenship. There is a historical footnote involving Cincinnati in Puerto Rico’s fate. Former GOP President William Howard Taft, a Cincinnatian who went on to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1920s, delivered a major legal decision in 1922 that helped keep Puerto Rico separate. Taft said the congressional act that conferred citizenship on the islanders did not contemplate that they would be incorporated into the Union. He ruled the U.S. possession had never been designated for statehood. Taft gave the island a unique status that has been described as a commonwealth, or as it is said in Spanish, “Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico.”
 
 

The Evolution of Equality

Are Ohioans ready to recognize my gay marriage?

4 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
In 2004, while most Democrats around me reeled from the defeat of John Kerry, I had other post-election problems: Gay marriage and same-sex civil unions had been officially banned in Ohio. I was devastated. I was 14 back then. If I had been 14 in 2013, it’s increasingly looking like my story of that age would have been very different.  
by Danny Cross 11.07.2012
Posted In: Media, Republicans, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Poverty at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
 
 
sorry2

Dear Lebanon Tea Party: We Are Sorry

We didn’t mean to help re-elect a socialist

During the past year CityBeat has spent a lot of energy reporting on countless Republican screw-ups, from typical shortsighted policies to legislation that is straight-up offensive to women, minorities, gay people and the poor and working class. But we didn’t realize that by pointing out how offensive and irrelevant the country’s GOP leaders were acting, that we were inadvertently killing America. That's why we would like to formally apologize to the Lebanon tea party in Warren County. The email you sent to The Enquirer today hit us pretty hard — the fact that you’re literally wearing black and mourning America because “socialists, welfare and unions took over this country” is super sad. In our haste to ask questions of elected leaders, fact check their statements and put their beliefs and policies into perspective over the past few months, we forgot how badly people in Warren County wish America could be like the 1950s again, when women knew their place and black people had to operate the elevators and never say anything whites didn’t want to hear. Mad Men is a great show.  We didn’t mean to be tricked by President Obama’s stimulus bill — we (stupidly) believed the economists who said it staved off a depression caused by under-regulation of the housing and financial industries (we tried to believe Mitt Romney’s concept of further reducing regulations so the job-creators can stimulate the economy in the private sector thus giving our wealth back to us, but it was maybe too complicated for us to understand?).  Some people we know kept their jobs when the president didn’t allow the American car companies to go broke even though they’re the ones that decided to max out profits on SUVs with truck beds on the back. Other people we know spent time last year without health care, and this country’s health care costs are somewhere around twice as much as any other country’s so we were like, “Yea, reforming that system sounds about right.” But we admit that we don’t know what it’s going to be like for the 15 percent of this country living in poverty to all of the sudden have access to preventative care. Someone in Cincinnati died of a tooth problem last year, and we don’t even know if that’s covered.  We realize that it wasn’t Mitt Romney who used the term “legitimate rape,” but it made us want to throw up, which slowed down productivity that might have allowed us to figure out that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was the only thing keeping our country’s military from turning Afghanistan into a European-style gay disco.  We thought it was kind of gross when the president killed Osama bin Laden, but everyone was really happy about it so we focused our attention on the results of the president’s home buying and refinancing programs that helped stimulate the economy and saved people’s houses, even though we’re all a bunch of renters who don’t even know how to use a level.  So we’re clearly at fault for your expectation of the downfall of this country, and we realize that you’re upset and probably right about America becoming a socialist nation within months. We messed up bad this time, but we want you to know that we’re not blind to it — your press release has put our actions into a perspective that we wish we had yesterday or, even better, several years ago before we learned how to do our jobs the right way.  At least you have the local daily newspaper to publish your emotional reactions to historical election results and to continue endorsing GOP candidates no matter how ill qualified and misguided they are. Please don’t mourn long — there’s still hope for the type of social regression you’re looking for, especially in Warren County. 
 
 

Lessons Through the Grapevine

Former Oregonians produce award-winning wines in Ripley, Ohio

1 Comment · Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The leaves and temperatures are falling in mid-October, and red grapes varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon are ripe for the picking.  
by Andy Brownfield 10.10.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, Social Justice at 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Nuns Hop on Bus to Tour Ohio

"Nuns on the Bus" tour to encourage voters to pick candidates that will provide for poor

A group of Catholic nuns kicked off a 1,000-mile, six-day tour across Ohio on Wednesday, during which they plan on telling voters to elect candidates who will do the most for the state’s poor. “In democracy, the role of government is to represent all of us and show us how we work together,” said Sister Simone Campbell, a Catholic nun and executive director of Catholic lobbying group NETWORK.   “So that when some politicians want to tell us that there is no role for government, that government is only there to let individuals take care of their individualistic selves, I want to say, ‘that’s not democracy. That’s not our Constitution, and that’s not our faith.'” The “Nuns on the Bus” tour started Wednesday in Cincinnati and will travel through Dayton, Lima, Columbus, Toledo, Fremont, Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, Athens and Marietta before ending back in Cincinnati on Oct. 15. The trip features Catholic nuns from across Ohio who will be urging Ohio voters to examine what the Bible says about caring for the poor. Dominican Sister of Hope Monica McGloin said voters should choose the candidate who would best embody those teachings. McGloin said the tour would not support any political party or candidate. “We certainly don’t want to be partisan, because that’s not what we’re about,” she said. “The fact is, neither candidate is talking about the poor.” While the bus tour kickoff was nonpartisan – speakers avoided mentioning either candidate by name – a number of attendees had their jackets or cars adorned with buttons or bumper stickers supporting president Barack Obama. McGloin said she had a list of things she’d like to see from the next president: access to health care for all Americans, more jobs, a focus on education and programs that help people meet their basic needs, like housing. This isn’t the first bus tour for Campbell, who planned on heading to work in Washington, D.C. after the first Cincinnati stop. She organized the original nine-state “Nuns on the Bus” tour over the summer. The earlier tour was in protest over the budget proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, himself a Catholic. Ryan’s budget would gut many social programs relied on by the poor.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 10.03.2012
 
 
reincepriebus

RNC Chairman Addresses Ohio Strategy, Biden Comments

Priebus tells Ohio reporters GOP ground game will "crush" Democrats in Ohio

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus held a conference call with Ohio reporters Wednesday morning in response to Tuesday comments by Democratic Vice President Joe Biden that the middle class had been “buried” in the last four years. “Obama and Biden have buried the middle class, and now they want to bury them some more,” Priebus told reporters.  “I mean, just imagine what Barack Obama would do. He buried us economically in this country knowing that he would have to face re-election. Just imagine what he would do with nothing but daylight in front of him. Just imagine where this economy would go.” Biden made his comments before an audience of about 1,000 in Charlotte on Tuesday. He said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax cuts for millionaires would raise taxes for the middle class. “How can they justify raising classes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years?” Biden said. Biden tried to clarify that he meant they had been buried by policies supported by Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. Republicans, however, jumped on the comment immediately, with Romney tweeting, “the middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November.” Priebus said despite polling showing Obama pulling ahead of Romney in Ohio that the state would be very close. He said Republicans have a better ground game and would “crush” Democrats.  “I think we’re going to crush the Democrats on the ground,” Priebus said.  “I just don’t think they’ve got a very good ground game. I’ve looked through it, I’ve seen it. It’s all smoke and mirrors.” Priebus said if Romney were to lose Ohio, he was still optimistic about Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. “We’ve got it all on the table. Ohio is, of course, extremely important. It’s nothing new, but I also see avenues to 270 (electoral votes) opening up for Mitt Romney in places that weren’t there in ’08.”
 
 
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 Andy Brownfield 08.22.2012
Posted In: Democrats, Government, Governor, State Legislature at 01:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Question Time for the Governor?

Group of Democratic state lawmakers wants Ohio governor to face legislative Q&As

Some Democratic lawmakers want answers from Republican Gov. John Kasich. A group of Democratic state representatives has put forth a bill that would require Kasich — and every governor after him — to come before the Ohio House of Representatives 10 times per year for 45-minute question and answer sessions where the governor would have to take at least five questions from each side of the aisle. Rep. Mike Foley, D-Cleveland, is the bill’s sponsor. He did not return CityBeat’s call for comment as of Wednesday afternoon. Cincinnati Democratic Rep. Denise Driehaus is one of the bill’s co-sponsors. She said Foley had the idea while visiting Canada, where their parliament has a similar procedure. “I think it’s a great idea where the governor interacts with the legislature and we have the opportunity to question him and really engage on some of the issues and get his opinion on things,” Driehaus says. She said the Legislature doesn’t currently have a whole lot of opportunity to interact with the governor, except for the State of the State address, but even then they can’t really engage Ohio’s chief executive. The Ohio Democratic Party has recently filed suit against Kasich for what it says is a failure to comply with open records laws for redacting parts of his public schedules when responding to a public records request. The ODP has called Kasich opaque and secretive for failing to respond or only partially responding to records requests. However, Driehaus said the bill isn’t meant to apply only to Kasich, but would apply to every governor after him. She said she didn’t think it was in reaction to her party’s spat with the governor. “This is much broader and much more forward thinking than that,” Driehaus says.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 08.14.2012
 
 
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Ohio Democrats Sue Kasich Over Public Records

Suit claims governor is intentionally ignoring public records requests

The Ohio Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit against Gov. John Kasich — who they claim is improperly using his office to campaign for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — to get the governor to release his schedule of public events. The ODP’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, contends that Kasich’s office either ignored or only partially fulfilled the request. “It’s unfortunate that this Governor is so opposed to transparency and public disclosure that we have to ask the Court to force him to follow the law,” ODP Chairman Chris Redfern said in a statement. “Serious questions remain regarding whether the Governor has improperly used his office for the benefit of Mitt Romney, and it’s deeply disappointing Kasich is so secretive he won’t even tell the public what he’s done or where he’s gone.” Kasich press secretary Rob Nichols said the administration doesn’t comment on litigation, but dismissed the Ohio Democratic Party’s allegations. “We release public records in accordance with the law, and in fact have already publicly released the governor’s schedule six times, including a schedule request to the ODP,” Nichols said. “This is predictable election year politics from the same people who were just rebuked for using public records demands to interfere with the Auditor of State’s investigation into possible data manipulation in some school districts.” Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jerid Kurtz said Kasich’s office did respond to one of the seven requests for the schedule, but some of the information in the records was redacted — including an entire week that was blacked out with no explanation. “Ohio law is very clear, and it states you have to give a specific excuse when you redact something,” Kurtz said.  According to the lawsuit and court documents, the ODP requested on July 2 Kasich’s public schedule from that date through Aug. 27.  According to a letter to the Ohio Democratic Party from Mehek M. Cook — assistant chief counsel to Kasich — the information about the governor's future plans was blacked out because that information could put him at risk. “The governor and his office receive threats on any given day and the release of his whereabouts increases security issues surrounding the governor’s safety,” Cook wrote. Cook wrote that any information in the records used by the Executive Protection Unit assigned to guard Kasich constitutes a security record and was redacted. He also wrote that some information that would reveal confidential business meetings and trade secrets that would harm Ohio efforts to court businesses was blacked out. Additionally, information not relevant to the request was redacted. Kurtz said it’s important that the public have access those schedules because voters have a right to know what their governor is doing on the public dime. The schedules include where the governor is and with whom he meets, but they also show scheduled phone calls and media interviews. The Ohio Democratic Party worries that Kasich is improperly campaigning for Romney while receiving a taxpayer-funded paycheck, or using public money to have his staff do so. The concerns stem from statements made by Kasich both in public and on his Twitter account either praising the presumed Republican presidential nominee or slamming President Obama.  For instance, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported that when Obama visited Ohio on Aug. 1 the governor tweeted “On the occasion of the President's latest visit to Ohio, we have a question for him,” with a link to a graphic asking “If the President's policies are behind Ohio's success, why is the rest of the country trailing us?” Democrats claim that Ohio’s success relative to the rest of the country are due to efforts by President Obama, while Republicans say Governor Kasich is behind Ohio’s faster-than-average recovery. While the Ohio Democratic Party is suing to have Kasich release his public schedule (Kurtz says Attorney General Mike DeWine and Auditor Dave Yost complied with similar requests in a timely manner) the state Republican Party has also submitted similar requests to Democrats throughout Ohio. Kurtz characterized the GOP requests as being sent by Kasich’s “hand-picked lieutenants in the Ohio Republican Party,” though Nichols told The Plain Dealer that the governor had no involvement. Ohio GOP executive director Matt Borges told the newspaper that the requests were routine. Still, Kurtz called Kasich’s refusal to release his own schedule “hypocritical.” “He’s a bully and the only way you can deal with a bully is fighting back.”
 
 
by German Lopez 07.27.2012
Posted In: Oil, Environment, News at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
news1_fracking

ODNR Gives Out Record Fracking Permits

Agency authorized 36 permits in June, up from 20 in May

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is not being slowed down by critics of hydraulic fracturing. ODNR in June authorized 36 new permits for horizontal drilling wells used for the process also known as fracking, a record for ODNR, according to Friday's Hannah Report.Carroll County was at the top of obtaining new permits with 11 total. Columbiana County followed with seven new permits, and Harrison County was third with nine. Chesapeake Energy Corporation obtained most of those permits, a total of 22.CityBeat spoke with Carroll County Commissioner Jeffrey Ohler, a Republican, in June about the impact of fracking on his county. Ohler was generally skeptical of how many domestic jobs fracking had created in the county, and he said he was cautious about the long-term economic impact the influx of fracking activity could have in the area.Critics claim fracking is too dangerous and its risks are too unclear. In a June 17 rally, environmentalist group Don’t Frack Ohio took over the Columbus statehouse asking state officials to put a stop to fracking. More than 1,000 attended the rally, according to the organization.But some state officials, including Gov. John Kasich, say the process can be safe with regulations in place. In June, Kasich signed into law S.B. 315, which added new rules and regulations to the fracking process. Following that, Kasich signed an executive order on July 12 that strengthened state regulators with the ability to stop and impose new requirements on wastewater injection wells deemed risky or dangerous.The wastewater injection wells were the most likely cause of recent earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio around New Year’s Eve. In response, Kasich placed a moratorium on deep wastewater injection wells in the area.Fracking is a process in which millions of gallons of water are pumped underground to release oil and gas from rock formations. The water is then recycled and deposited in underground facilities known as wastewater injection wells.
 
 

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