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?
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
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
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
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
Posted In: Humor
at 01:05 PM | Permalink
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
2 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Last week, packets of anti-Democrat
political literature tucked into plastic sandwich bags were tossed into
East Side driveways. It’s apparently a broadside from some bag ladies bent on kicking
President Barack Obama out of office, along with anybody who might
possibly share his views. But they might be cheating.
by Bill Sloat
Women for Liberty delivers sneak attack on Sherrod Brown
Over the past few days, packets of anti-Democrat
political literature tucked into plastic sandwich bags were tossed
into East Side driveways. Don’t assume it’s litter. Nope, it’s
apparently a broadside from some bag ladies with an Indian Hill address
who call themselves a “grassroots, conservative group.” They are new on
the scene and bent on kicking President Barack Obama out of office, along with
anybody who might possibly share his views. But they might be cheating, or
tools of someone who is flouting the law.
There are 16 political pieces in the plastic bags, including an ad for the anti-Obama movie You Don’t Know Him.
All but one are properly labeled with disclaimers that show who paid
for each piece. For example, the Mitt Romney flier says it was paid for
by the Romney campaign. The Sean Donovan for Sheriff of Hamilton County
was paid for by Donovan for Sheriff. But a piece that attacks U.S. Sen.
Sherrod Brown is a mystery — nothing identifies its source. You cannot
discover who is behind it. The flier lists 10 reasons why Ohio
voters should replace Democrat Brown with Republican candidate Josh Mandel. The
piece concludes by saying, “This November 6, Vote for New Leadership for
Ohio. Vote Josh Mandel for Senator.”
The secret source of the handbill has the earmarks of
a dirty trick. Laws and rules governing electioneering make it clear printed material seeking to influence voters must disclose where it
came from. The mandatory disclaimer is what a person endlessly hears on TV
commercials — “I’m so and so and I paid for this ad.” Print material has
the same requirement — “Paid for by Save the Seahorses” or whoever is
So whoever gave the conservative ladies the
anti-Brown handbill for their plastic bags seems to have broken the law.
Perhaps it was the coal mining industry, perhaps it was the Chinese
government, perhaps it was Ayn Rand back from the dead. Without a
disclaimer there is just no way to know who paid for the anti-Brown
attack. You are left to guess. All we know is that the writer didn’t
have the guts to stand behind the attack. They preferred shadowy and
sneaky over open and upright.
The Federal Election Commission publishes the rules campaigns must follow. It says, “On printed materials, the disclaimer notice must
appear within a printed box set apart from the other contents in the
communication. The print must be of a sufficient type-size to be
clearly readable by the recipient of the communication, and the print
must have a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background
and the printed statement.”
By the way, the group that is tossing the plastic bags
into driveways calls itself Women for Liberty. There is no website for
the group, although it appears to be an offshoot of another group with the same name that is based in a Washington, D.C. suburb and cites a libertarian philosophy.
by Andy Brownfield
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
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’
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.