by German Lopez
Republicans amend bill to prevent discussion, distribution of contraceptives in schools
With Republican support and Democratic opposition, the
Ohio House Finance Committee approved a budget bill today that would ban
comprehensive sex education, defund Planned Parenthood and fund crisis
pregnancy centers that pro-choice groups call “anti-choice.”
Citing the possibility of “gateway sexual activity,” the
bill would make it so teachers can be fined up to $5,000 if they
explain the use of condoms and other forms of birth control to high school
students. It would also prohibit individuals and groups from
distributing birth control on school grounds.
The bill pushes abstinence-only education to curtail any promotion, implicit or
explicit, of gateway sexual activity. To define such activity, the bill
cites Ohio’s criminal code definition for “sexual contact,” which is defined as “any
touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation
the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a
female, a breast.”
The bill would also redirect federal funding to defund Planned Parenthood and shift funds to crisis pregnancy centers, which CityBeat covered in further detail here.
“Today the Ohio House Finance Committee voted to send our
state back to the 1950s,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, in a statement. “The Ohio House is doing
everything they can to restrict access to reproductive health care and
medically accurate information that help Ohioans live healthy lives.
(Gov. John) Kasich can stop these dangerous attacks on women’s health
care. We need him to speak out against these budget provisions and to
line-item veto these dangerous measures when they reach his desk.”
Researchers have found abstinence-only programs to be generally ineffective. A 2007 study
published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found abstinence-only
programs have no impact on rates for teenage pregnancy or vaginal
intercourse, while comprehensive programs that include birth control
education reduce rates.
A 2011 study
from researchers at the University of Georgia that looked at data from
48 states concurred abstinence-only programs do not reduce the rate of
teenage pregnancy. The study indicated states with the lowest teenage
pregnancy rates tend to have the most comprehensive sex and HIV
When looking at three ways to prevent unintended pregnancies for a 2012 study,
the Brookings Center on Children and Families found the most
cost-effective policy was to increase funding for family planning
services through the Medicaid program. In other words, if governments increased spending on birth control programs, they would
eventually save money.
Still, a 2010 study
from a University of Pennsylvania researcher found abstinence-only
education programs may delay sexual activity. The study, which tracked
black middle school students over two years, found students in an
abstinence-only program had lower rates of sexual activity than students
in the comprehensive program.At hearings on April 12, anti-abortion groups praised abstinence-only education for promoting chastity.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 09:04 AM | Permalink
Tax Day today, city layoffs underway, Ohio Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood
Today is Tax Day, which means income tax returns have to
be filed by midnight. If you’re in a rush, there are a variety of online
tax filing services out there, particularly for state and federal
taxes. Cincinnati’s e-filing service can be found here.
Cincinnati is outlining the time frame
for police, firefighter and other layoffs that the city says it must
undertake to balance the budget. The layoffs are currently set for June
9, with layoff letters going out by then. The city administration says the
layoffs are necessary because the city’s plan to lease its parking
assets has been held up in court and a referendum effort, eliminating
the use of parking funds to help balance the budget in time for fiscal
year 2014. Opponents say there are alternatives, but Mayor Mark Mallory
and the city’s budget gurus recently criticized the suggestions as misleading and unworkable.
Ohio House Republicans are once again attempting to defund
Planned Parenthood in their latest budget plan, but this time they are
also throwing in support for crisis pregnancy centers, which tout
abstinence-only education, in a separate part of their budget proposal.
The moves have sparked criticism from pro-choice groups around the state
that say Republicans are trying to push their morality on women, while
anti-abortion groups have praised the budget for enforcing family values
and what they claim are more women’s health options.
The Medicaid expansion is uniting Gov. John Kasich, Ohio Democrats, mental health advocates and other health experts
against the Ohio House Republicans’ budget proposal, which rejects the
expansion. Supporters of the expansion point to studies that say the
expansion will save the state money, insure nearly half a million
Ohioans and help the state’s neediest, but Ohio Republicans say they’re
concerned the federal funding backing the expansion will dry up at some
point, even though there’s no historical precedent of the federal
government failing to meet its Medicaid commitments.
State officials are moving to reform
Ohio’s foster care system after several deaths were linked to poor
oversight and regulations. The Foster Care Advisory Group sent out its
suggestions last week, which include removing some rules to
“normalize” foster children’s childhoods and eliminating county-by-county
Internet sweepstakes cafes have been closed in California and Florida — a move state officials are looking to replicate in Ohio.
Ohio gas prices are low this week.
A new state license plate design is now available.
A new strand of the bird flu is here, and it’s already killed 11 people in China.
Scientists have reconstructed the ancestor that came between the human and chimp.
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Attorney General Mike DeWine says Obamacare infringes on religious liberty, but Republicans just want special economic rules for religious institutions.
by German Lopez
Posted In: Health
at 09:20 AM | Permalink
House reworks Kasich budget, pro-choice group criticizes budget, city asks for stay on ruling
Ohio House Republicans released their own budget proposal yesterday that does away with many of Gov. John Kasich’s proposed policies.
The budget gets rid of the Medicaid expansion, the oil and gas
severance tax and the sales tax expansion. It also reduces the state
income tax cut to 7 percent, down from 20 percent in Kasich’s plan. The
amount of schools getting no increased funding under a new school
funding formula decreased from 368 in Kasich’s plan to 175 in the House
plan, addressing issues that selective wealthy schools were benefiting
too much from Kasich’s proposed school funding formula. CityBeat covered Kasich’s budget proposal in detail here.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is criticizing the Ohio House’s
proposed budget for defunding Planned Parenthood and redirecting federal
funds to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). A study from NARAL
Pro-Choice Ohio, which is highly supportive of abortion rights, found 47
percent of CPCs gave inaccurate medical information regarding a link
between mental health problems and abortion, and 38 percent provided
false information about the connection between breast cancer,
infertility and abortion, among other findings.
The city of Cincinnati is asking Judge Robert Winkler to stay his previous ruling
so the city can use emergency clauses to expedite legislation. City
Solicitor John Curp says the city needs emergency clause powers in case
of natural disasters and to advance economic development deals that need
to be implemented before 30 days. The city previously used emergency
clauses to avoid a 30-day waiting period for implementing laws, but
Winkler ruled the clauses do not nullify the right to referendum,
effectively eliminating the use of emergency clauses because the city
now always has to wait 30 days in case of a referendum effort. The
ruling was given after City Council used an emergency clause to expedite the lease of the city’s parking assets
to the Port Authority to help balance deficits and fund economic
With the support of Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, City Council is looking to study
youth poverty, homelessness and other issues to better prioritize city
policy. The $175,000 study, which will be mostly privately funded, will
look at multiple factors affecting the city’s youth, including crime,
poverty, homelessness and educational opportunities. Simpson says the
study will be the first comprehensive look at the city’s youth.
Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s bill to end Too Big to Fail was leaked to the press Friday, and The Washington Post has an analysis on what it does here.
While the bill doesn’t explicitly break up big banks, it does severely
limit big banks in a way that may encourage them to downsize. Brown will
co-sponsor the bill with Republican La. Sen. David Vitter, making it a
bipartisan compromise. CityBeat covered Brown’s efforts in further detail here.
Ky. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign is complaining someone bugged a meeting
to listen in on staff’s plans for the 2014 election. Jesse Benton,
campaign manager for McConnell, said in a statement, “Today’s
developments ... go far beyond anything I’ve seen in American politics
and are comparable only to Richard Nixon’s efforts to bug Democratic
Party Headquarters at the Watergate 40 years ago.” During the meeting,
McConnell’s staff alluded to labeling potential opponent Ashley Judd as
“unbalanced” by bringing up past mental health problems. Meanwhile,
recent polling found McConnell is no lock for re-election.
As the media ramps up fears of another Korean war, many analysts feel there is no chance of war. Meanwhile, South Koreans seem more bored than concerned with the North’s threats.
Scientists discovered evidence of “dark lightning,” which may emanate from thunderstorms alongside visible lightning.
by German Lopez
Anti-abortion agenda could return, budget group speaks up, Green Cincinnati update
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, House Health and Aging Chairman Lynn Watchman said anti-abortion legislation could come back
in the current legislative session. That includes the heartbeat bill,
which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, and a
plan to defund Planned Parenthood. CityBeat wrote about the anti-abortion legislation last time Ohio Republicans tried to bring it up here.
One Ohio Now, a group focused on the state budget, has a few requests
for Gov. John Kasich. They don’t want an income tax cut when the
revenue could be used to expand Medicaid and raise school funding. In other states, a Medicaid expansion correlated with better health results, and one study found expanding Medicaid could save Ohio money. More school funding could also make up for the last budget's massive cuts to education, which are explained on a county-by-county basis at Cuts Hurt Ohio.
While the state government is tearing down solar power initiatives, Cincinnati is working to update
Green Cincinnati. Environmental Quality Director Larry Falkin told
WVXU, “We’re broadening the plan to be not just focused on climate
protection, but more broadly on all areas of sustainability.” He added,
“It’s going to show us how Cincinnatians can live a better lifestyle
using less resources.” The plan was originally drafted in 2007 and
adopted a year later to prepare the city for changing environmental
Last year was good for local home sales. The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors says home sales were at the highest levels since 2008.
A federal judge ended most of his court-mandated oversight of Ohio’s youth prisons
last Friday. The ruling shows how much progress has been made in state
youth facilities, according to Alphonse Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati
lawyer representing juvenile inmates.
Ohio Democrats are now calling
for Ohio State Board of Education President Debe Terhar to resign.
Terhar is facing criticism for comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf
Hitler when she posted an image of Adolf Hitler on her personal
Facebook page that read, “Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To
conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’ — Adolf Hitler.”
Amy Murray is running for City Council.
Murray was appointed to City Council in 2011 when Chris Monzel left and became Hamilton County commissioner. But she lost her seat in the 2011 election, which swept Democrats into City Council.
Cincinnati and Columbus airports saw a drop in traffic, but it seems Dayton International Airport more than made up for it.
The National Council of Teachers wants Ohio to make its colleges more accountable and selective.
An investigation into the massive accident on I-275 could take days. The accident, which is believed to have caused at least 86 cars to crash, led to the death of a 12-year-old girl.
Blockbuster still exists, and it’s shutting down stores and cutting jobs.
A smoke screen company wants to use its product
to prevent more school shootings. The smoke screens fill up a room with
non-toxic smoke on demand, which could obscure a shooter’s vision.
Update for any women looking to have a neanderthal baby: The Harvard scientist was only saying it’s a possibility someday.
2 Comments · Wednesday, January 23, 2013
We can wake up and be poor,
under-educated and -employed, invisible during the “conversation” around
representation in the rarified air in corporations, education, sports
management and ownership. Meantime, we’re constantly being objectified.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A Bangladesh woman was forced to remarry the man who
mutilated her by dousing her face with acid after she divorced him for
cheating on her. WORLD -2
by German Lopez
Ohio's fracking boom disappoints, war on babies declared, Cincinnati's economic triumph
Ohio’s fracking boom might not be living up to the hype.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources originally estimated that 250
fracking wells would be built by the end of the year, but only 165 have been completed and 22 are currently being built.
The disappointing results are being blamed on low natural gas prices
and a backlog in work needed to connect wells to customers. Maybe the
state’s claim had as much basis as Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s claim that the state’s fracking boom would be worth $1 trillion.
By killing the heartbeat bill and a bill that defunds
Planned Parenthood, Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus, a Republican,
apparently declared a war on babies,
according to anti-abortion groups. Niehaus is term-limited, so he will
not be in the Ohio Senate in the next session, which begins next year.
Incoming senate president Keith Faber already said the heartbeat bill
could come up to vote in the next Senate session. CityBeat previously wrote about Ohio Republicans’ renewed anti-abortion agenda.Between 2011 and 2012, Cincinnati had the 12th best economic performance
in the United States, according to a Brookings Institute study. Out of
the 76 metropolitan areas looked at, only Dallas; Knoxville, Tenn.; and
Pittsburgh have recovered from the recession, and 20 areas lost more
ground throughout the year.
Media Bridges, Cincinnati’s public access media outlet, is the latest victim
of the 2013 budget proposal from City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. The
budget plan suggests slashing $300,000 from the organization’s funding.
When coupled with state funding cuts, Media Bridges is losing $498,000
in funding, or 85 percent of its budget. Tom Bishop, executive director
of Media Bridges, compared the cuts to a “meteor” hitting Media Bridges’
budget. The city says cuts were suggested in part due to public feedback.
The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition is pushing the
public to speak out against $610,770 in cuts to human services funding
in Dohoney’s proposed budget. Mayor Mark Mallory and City Council have
already agreed to continue 2013 funding at 2012 levels, but homeless
advocates want to make sure the funding, which largely helps the
homeless and low-income families, remains. The group is calling for
supporters to attend City Council meetings on Dec. 5 at 1:15 p.m. at
City Hall, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall and Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at
the Corryville Recreation Center.
It’s commonly said Cincinnati is Republican territory, but after the latest elections, that’s looking more and more false.
The University of Cincinnati is stepping up safety efforts around campus.
The university held a summit to gather public feedback on possible
improvements in light of recent incidents in and around campus.
Beginning in January, UC will increase patrols by 30 percent.
Crime around Columbus’ Hollywood Casino has ticked up. Could Cincinnati face a similar fate when the Horseshoe Casino is up and running? A Washington Post analysis found casinos bring in jobs, but also bankruptcy, crime and even suicide.
Results equal funding. That’s the approach Gov. Kasich is taking to funding higher education,
but Inside Higher Ed says the approach is part of “an emerging
Republican approach to higher education policy, built largely around
cost-cutting.” Kasich’s approach is meant to encourage better results by
providing higher funds to schools with higher graduation rates, but
schools with funding problems and lower graduation rates
could have their problems exacerbated.
Josh Mandel, state treasurer and former Republican
candidate for the U.S. Senate, insists his big loss in November does not
make him a political has-been.
Mandel will be pursuing a second term at the Ohio treasurer’s office in
2014. Mandel lost the Senate race despite getting massive amounts of funding from third
parties — Democrats estimate $40 million — to support his campaign.
The auto industry is still chugging along with impressive numbers from November.
Gas prices moved down in Ohio this week.
One geneticist says people are getting dumber, but he doesn’t seem to have much to back his claims up.
by Andy Brownfield
Conservatives claim GOP Ohio Senate prez declared war on babies by killing anti-abortion bill
America is a country at war. While the war in Iraq
ostensibly drew down in December 2011, the United States has been
quagmired in a war in Afghanistan for more than a decade.
But we're also in the midst of a number of other wars — cultural wars. It started with Nixon’s War on Drugs, then quickly escalated.
President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations on coal
mining caused proponents to claim he had declared a War on Coal. The
Affordable Care Act’s mandate that companies pay for employee
contraception caused many faith groups to claim a War on Religion.
Statements from Republican politicians about “legitimate
rape” and “binders full of women” caused some Democrats to claim the GOP
had declared a War on Women.
And the ever-vigilant conspiracists news hounds at FOX
News have exposed a scheme by Jesus-hating liberals to wage a War on
Christmas for trying to remove constitutionally questionable dolled-up
trees and pastoral scenes of babies in unsuitable barn-life cribbery
faith-based displays from public property.
But by far the most heinous altercation being waged
originated with Republican Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus, who has
declared a War on Babies.
As first reported by The Enquirer, conservative groups
this week sent out a press release vilifying Niehaus for killing tons of babies in a
mass effort to wipe out the state’s youth population a 17-month old bill
that would give Ohio one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.
Niehaus moved the so-called Heartbeat Bill — which would
ban all abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat — from the
Health Committee to the Rules and Reference Committee to avoid a forced
vote on the legislation. He also removed staunch anti-abortion Senators
Keith Faber and Shannon Jones from that committee.
“I’m shocked by Tom Niehaus’ war on pro-life women,” wrote Lori
Viars in the news release. Viars is the vice president of Warren County
Right to Life and vice chair of Warren County Republican Party.
Viars called for Republicans to remove Niehaus from Senate
leadership. Niehaus is term-limited and will not continue on in office
after this year.
Niehaus blamed Romney’s loss for his decision to kill the
bill, saying that the Republican’s victory would have increased the
likelihood of a U.S. Supreme Court lineup that would uphold it against a
by German Lopez
Romney loss stops heartbeat bill, tougher report cards pass House, S&P criticizes Cincinnati
Mitt Romney’s big loss is finally getting to Ohio
Republicans. Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus made procedural moves to
block the heartbeat bill from a vote before the end of the lame-duck
session. Niehaus, a Republican, said his decision was largely influenced by Romney’s loss on Nov. 6.
When the heartbeat bill was originally proposed, it was labeled the
most radical anti-abortion bill in the country. It banned abortion as
soon as a heartbeat was detected, which can happen six weeks into
pregnancy. It made no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of
the mother. CityBeat recently wrote about the GOP's renewed anti-abortion agenda, but if Republicans begin taking lessons from the most recent election, the renewed agenda will never come to light.
The Ohio House of Representatives approved
Cincinnati’s tougher school report card standards. An early simulation
of the proposed system in May showed Cincinnati Public Schools would
drop from the second-best rating of “Effective” under the current system
to a D-, with 23 schools flunking and Walnut Hills High School
retaining its top mark with an A. The bill will also impose more
regulations and oversight on charter schools. As part of the overall
reform, the state is replacing its standardized tests, but some Democrats are worried the new tests and system will be too tough on schools.
Standard & Poor's is not optimistic about Cincinnati. The firm gave the city’s debt rating a negative outlook
due to structural budget problems. City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. says
ratings firms are looking for spending cuts or revenue growth from
Cincinnati to achieve structurally balanced budgets in the next two
years, but Dohoney’s most recent budget proposal
largely balances the deficit with a one-time source from privatizing
parking services. On the other hand, pursuing austerity during a weak
economic recovery is a bad idea.
The Cincinnati Fire Department says it doesn’t have enough personnel to man fire trucks. The problem is only getting worse as retirements increase, according to Fire Chief Richard Braun.
The University of Cincinnati’s campus was ranked among the most dangerous in the country.
Ohio has some of the lowest graduation rates in the Midwest. Low-income, black and Hispanic students are all much less likely to graduate than their wealthier and white peers.
Gov. John Kasich met with college and university leaders today
to discuss higher education. After the meeting, Kasich and the leaders
suggested attaching state funding to graduation rates, among other
It looks like Ohio’s financial institutions tax bill will make it through the Ohio Senate without major changes. The bill was already passed by the Ohio House. A memo from nonprofit research organization Policy Matters Ohio
recommended making changes so the bill cuts tax loopholes
without cutting rates on big banks. Zach Schiller, research director
from Policy Matters, said in the memo, “Big banks aren’t better banks,
as their role in the recent financial crisis made clear. It is
questionable policy for the state to favor them with lower rates.”
It’s official: Cincinnati is “cougar capital of Ohio.”
Heart-lifting story of the day: A New York City cop helped a homeless person by buying him a pair of boots.
Has the modern art world lost touch with its audience?NASA confirmed the presence of ice water on Mercury.