0 Comments · Tuesday, November 20, 2012
One week after the major Democratic
victories of Election Day, Ohio’s Republican legislators Nov. 14 pushed
HB 298, a bill that will keep federal funds from Planned Parenthood,
through committee and into the Ohio House of Representatives floor.
by German Lopez
Council approves raise amid deficit, GOP versus Planned Parenthood, puppy mills regulated
It’s official: Cincinnati’s budget proposal will arrive Nov. 26.
The budget will seek to close a deficit estimated to be between $34
million and $40 million. Part of the budget plan was revealed when the
city manager’s office suggested privatizing parking.Despite the deficit the city is facing, City Council pushed forward a $21,000 raise and a one-time $35,000 bonus
for City Manager Milton Dohoney in a 6-3 vote. It’s the first raise
Dohoney is getting since 2007, but some are unhappy with the decision in
light of the deficit, which could lead to job cuts. “The city manager
is a good man, he is a hard worker, but to me this just feels out of
touch with the economic reality that we are in right now,” Councilman
P.G. Sittenfeld told Fox 19. “You don't give the highest paid employee
in the city a raise, a significant raise, when you're facing a
potentially huge budget deficit. Plus, you know, there's a very real
possibility of layoffs.”Ohio Republicans are pushing forward
with HB 298, a bill that cuts funds to Planned Parenthood. The
organization has become a popular target for Republicans
because it provides abortions, but abortion services only make up 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood offers. The move is just one of many recent moves in the Republican agenda against abortion rights.
They recently advocated renewing the heartbeat bill, and Gov. John
Kasich recently appointed two anti-abortion advocates to government
positions.The Ohio House overwhelmingly approved a bill
that will put large-scale puppy mills under more scrutiny with new
state standards and yearly inspections. Animal rights activists have
argued Ohio has become a haven for bad breeding practices due to lax
laws and regulations. CityBeat previously covered the puppy mills issue and how it enables Ohio’s dog auctions.But that’s not all
the Ohio legislature got done. The Ohio House passed a bill that
further regulates “pill mills” — doctors, pharmacies or clinics that
distribute narcotics inappropriately or for non-medical reasons — and a
bill that cracks down on “cyber stalking.” The Ohio Senate passed a bill
that essentially lowers taxes for companies that increase payroll by 10
percent.A new study
highlighted the success of some Ohio schools, including Robert A. Taft
Information Technology High School in Cincinnati. The research found the
schools succeeded despite high poverty and tight budgets. The study
indicated some key attributes of success: principals play pivotal roles,
teachers and administrators are obviously engaged and invested, school
leaders provide major incentives to teachers, data is used to measure
progress and teachers and administrators do not see a lack of parent or
community engagement as an insurmountable barrier to success. The report
also made some recommendations: establish clear transitional protocols
in case a principal leaves, engage teachers, hire teachers that are
on-board with the school’s goals, leverage great reputations and
celebrate success.Hamilton County could issue securities to raise revenue.
County commissioners are currently working on ways to close a $20
million deficit. The securities idea comes from Todd Portune, the lone
Democrat on the Board of Commissioners.The investigation into U Square worker payments is ongoing.
A City Council committee wants to see if the workers are being paid
what they are supposed to be paid. Under Ohio law, workers on
city-funded projects must get a prevailing wage, which is equivalent
to the wage earned by a union worker on a similar project. But City
Solicitor John Curp argues developers do not have to pay prevailing
wages for parts of the project that aren’t getting public funding. City
Manager Dohoney also argued that overzealous requirements could drive
businesses out of Cincinnati.Despite the pleas of more than 500,000, it does not look like Cincinnati-based Macy’s will dump Donald Trump.
The billionaire has gained recognition as a big-name Republican and
“birther” — someone who ignores all facts to call into question
President Barack Obama’s country of origin. Brian Williams, news anchor
at NBC News, described Trump aptly during election night: “Donald Trump,
who has driven well past the last exit to relevance and peered into
something closer to irresponsible here, is tweeting tonight.”Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is leading a new efforts to stop the use of synthetic drugs, including bath salts.To fill a vacancy, a new interim chair has been named at the Ohio Board of Regents: Regent Vinny Gupta.
He will be replacing James Tuschman, who successfully pushed a ban on
smoking in Ohio’s college campuses. Gupta’s term will run through March
2013.Meet the loneliest planet of them all. It’s an orphan that drifted away from its parent star.
by German Lopez
Committee hearing filled with protesters, chants
One week after the major Democratic victories of Election
Day, Ohio’s Republican legislators are pushing HB 298, a bill that will keep federal funds from Planned Parenthood. In a Health and Aging
Committee hearing at today, Ohio Republicans voted to push the bill
through committee and into the Ohio House of Representatives floor.
If the bill passes the Republican-controlled General
Assembly and is signed by Gov. John Kasich, it will block $2 million in
federal funding from Planned Parenthood and prioritize other family
services. In the past few years, Planned Parenthood has become a popular
target for Republicans because the organization provides abortion
services. But that’s not all Planned Parenthood offers; a chart released
by the organization in February demonstrated abortions only make up 3
percent of its services.
Another criticism leveled by Planned Parenthood supporters
is the federal funding is legally barred from being used for abortions.
Instead, the funding would go to other health services within Planned
Parenthood, which provides general women’s health services to poor and
Some Democratic lawmakers say the bill shows an out-of-touch Republican Party.
“For the life of me, I cannot understand why Republicans
are so intent on taking away from women the right to make their own
choices about their bodies,” said Ohio Sen. Nina Turner in a statement.
“Voters soundly rejected the foolishness of the radical right on
Election Day in favor of the dignity of American women, but some
lawmakers must not have heard.”
She added, “While Republicans rail against women making
their own choices, they are cutting funding for education and critical
social services that children need after they are born. They want small
government, all right — small enough to fit into a woman’s womb.”
The strong words showcase what was a loud, feisty exchange
between Planned Parenthood supporters and Republican lawmakers. At the
committee hearings, supporters and opponents of HB 298 testified. Some
opponents cited their personal experience, including an emotional account from one
woman regarding her own rape at age 13. She said she was glad young women like her can turn to
Planned Parenthood for help. Ohio Rep. John Carney, a Columbus Democrat,
pointed out that throughout the hearings, no health care provider
testified in favor of HB 298. One doctor testified against the bill. Carney also pointed out that no tax dollars that go to Planned Parenthood pay for abortions.
The bill isn’t the only action Republicans have recently taken against women’s health rights. Ohio Senate President Tom
Niehaus told The Cincinnati Enquirer about the possibility of a
renewed heartbeat bill on Nov. 8. In October, Kasich appointed two anti-abortion
advocates to government positions. In this week’s news commentary (“Ohio
Republicans Continue Anti-Abortion Agenda,” issue of Nov. 14), CityBeat covered the ensuing Republican campaign against abortion rights.
5 Comments · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Here they go again. With recent
appointments and renewed legislation, Ohio Republicans are once again
taking aim at women’s health rights. Gov. John Kasich recently appointed
two anti-abortion advocates, a new version of the heartbeat bill is set
to appear in the Ohio legislature and a bill that will defund Planned
Parenthood is getting renewed attention.
by German Lopez
Planned Parenthood could lose funds, Husted loses again, puppy mills regulations
Abortion-rights supporters pushed against
a bill that will kill some funds for Planned Parenthood in Ohio yesterday. The bill would shift $2 million
in federal funds, which legally can’t be used for abortions, from
Planned Parenthood to other family services. An Ohio House committee will hold hearings and
possibly vote on the bill later today. Planned Parenthood has been
a target for anti-abortion activists all around the nation in recent
years, even though abortions only make up 3 percent of its services.
The election is over for us, but it’s not quite over for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. A court ruled yesterday that Husted was in the wrong
when he directed a last-minute change to Ohio's provisional ballot rules. U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley wrote that the rules,
which shifted the burden of identification for provisional ballots from
poll workers to voters, were “a flagrant violation of a state elections
law.” Husted will appeal the ruling. For many voter activists, the
ruling comes as no surprise. Husted and Republicans have
been heavily criticized for how they handled the lead-up to the election.
The Ohio House will vote on legislation
to regulate puppy mills. Ohio is currently known as one of the worst
states for puppy mills and regulations surrounding them. The Humane
Society of the United States supports extra limits on Ohio’s puppy
mills. CityBeat previously covered the issue and how it enables Ohio dog auctions.
John Cranley is running for mayor.
Cranley, who served on City Council between 2001 and 2007, promises to
bring “bring fresh energy and new ideas to the mayor's office.” One of
those ideas could be opposition to the streetcar, which Cranley has been
against in the past. Former mayor Charlie Luken will be the honorary
chairman of Cranley’s campaign, which will officially launch at an event in January.
The Ohio Department of Development and Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority will meet on Dec. 14 to discuss how to finance the Brent Spence Bridge. The Port Authority suggested tolls
to help pay for the bridge project, which has been labeled the region’s
top transportation priority; but critics say an unelected agency should
not directly impose costs on the public without some recourse.
The city of Cincinnati might buy Tower Place Mall and its neighboring garage.
An emergency ordinance was submitted to buy the mall and garage, which
are currently in foreclosure, for $8.6 million using the surplus from
the Parking Facilities Fund 102.
The third RootScore report for Cincinnati’s cell phone market found Verizon to be far and away the best. AT&T, T-Mobile and Cricket followed. Sprint did the worst.
Ohio will let the federal government run the state’s health care exchange.
Under the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — states must
decide by Friday to self-manage or let the federal government manage
exchanges, which are subsidized markets that pits different insurance
plans in direct competition within a state. The move comes as no
surprise from Gov. John Kasich and his administration, which have
opposed Obamacare since it passed in 2010. But support for repealing Obamacare is plummeting, a new poll found.
A state legislator introduced a long-expected plan to reform Ohio’s school report card system.
The bill will shift school grading from the current
system, which grades schools with labels ranging from “excellent with
distinction” to “academic emergency,” to a stricter A-to-F system. A simulation of the new system back in May showed Cincinnati Public School dropping in grades and 23 of its schools flunking.
After a strange bout of Ohio Supreme Court races that
continued a trend of candidates with Irish-sounding names winning, some
policymakers are considering reforming campaigning rules for the Ohio Supreme Court. The proposed reforms would allow candidates to speak more freely and show political party affiliation on the ballot.
A true American hero: A Hamilton man took personal injuries from a car accident to avoid hitting a cat.
Ever wish political pundits were held accountable for their completely inane, incorrect predictions? A new Tumblr account does just that.
Canadian doctors claim they managed to communicate with a man in a vegetative state to see if he’s in pain. Thankfully, he’s not.
by German Lopez
Governor, legislature criticized by pro-choice group
Here they go again. Republicans are renewing their
anti-abortion agenda in Ohio. Two of the governor’s October appointments
have been criticized by a pro-choice group, and the state legislature
is now considering a new version of the heartbeat bill.
Yesterday, Senate President Tom Niehaus told The Cincinnati Enquirer that the Ohio legislature, in cooperation with anti-abortion groups, is giving another look at the heartbeat bill.
When the heartbeat bill was first suggested, many on the left labeled
it the most radical anti-abortion bill in the country. If it became law,
the bill would have banned abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is
detected, which is typically visible in ultrasounds by the sixth week of
pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the
Legislators and anti-abortion groups aren’t offering
specifics on the new bill. Ohio Right to Life opposed the heartbeat bill
when it was first suggested because the group believed it was too likely to fail in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld
abortion rights in Roe v. Wade in 1973. The new version of the heartbeat bill will likely be retooled to sustain any court challenges.
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice
Ohio, says Republicans haven’t taken the right lessons from the Nov. 6
election: “It’s clear that they didn’t get the memo. Pro-choice Ohioans
overwhelmingly voted to re-elect President Obama and reject this war on
women. Here we are, we haven’t even made it to the weekend, and our
senate president is resuming attacks on women’s reproductive health
care.” She added, “I think they didn’t care what Ohio women thought
before the election, and it’s clear they don’t care now either.”
In response to questions about whether the governor will
support a new heartbeat bill, Rob Nichols, spokesperson for Republican
Gov. John Kasich, said in an email, “We are watching the Senate’s
A few appointments from Kasich have also come under
scrutiny. On Oct. 12, Kasich appointed Marshall Pitchford, a board
member at Ohio Right to Life, to a committee in charge of filling a
vacancy in the Ohio Supreme Court. On Oct. 29, Kasich appointed Mike
Gonidakis, Ohio Right to Life president, to serve a five-year term on
the State Medical Board of Ohio, which is in charge of the state’s
In a statement, Copeland criticized the appointment to the
Supreme Court committee: “Because legislation promoted by Ohio Right to
Life is likely to come before the Ohio Supreme Court, it is
inappropriate for Pitchford to be placed in a position where he can
cherry-pick a justice to serve on that court.”
She also criticized the appointment of Gonidakis to the
State Medical Board. Copeland says she’s “concerned” that he’s on the
board to regulate and restrict access to abortions. “No group in the
state of Ohio has done more to interfere with the private medical
decisions of Ohio women,” she says. “For their leader to now be on the
State Medical Board is completely inappropriate and disturbing.”
She added that the two appointments show Kasich is “playing a more active role in the war on women than Ohioans realize.”
According to Gonidakis’ biography on the Ohio Right to Life website, Gonidakis went to school for law at the University of Akron. No professional medical experience is noted.
Nichols said in an email the appointments should come as
no surprise: “The governor believes strongly in the sanctity of human
life, so it's a surprise that someone would be surprised that he
practices what he preaches.”
by German Lopez
Ohio may get anti-abortion law, city budget proposal soon, state ponders health exchange
If Tuesday's election was supposed to be a strong message from social progressives, women and younger voters, Ohio Republicans are not getting it. Instead, they are continuing their pursuit of the heartbeat bill. That’s what Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus told The Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday. At the time the heartbeat bill was originally suggested, it was called the most radical anti-abortion bill in the country.
Yet Republicans, in cooperation with anti-abortion organizations, are
pushing a version of the bill once again. Ohio Republicans have also
shown interest in continuing their crusade against Planned Parenthood,
according to Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice
Cincinnati’s budget proposal is coming later this month.
Specifically, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls says it will arrive Nov. 26.
City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. and his budget team are currently
working on a budget to close a $40 million general fund deficit. One idea that
was suggested recently in a memo was privatizing parking services,
but it faces skepticism from Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.
The budget will first go through Dohoney, then the mayor and then City
Council. However, this calendar year’s budget will only cover six months, and then the city will transition into
filing budgets based on fiscal years on July 1.To match some of Obamacare’s requirements, Ohio officials are considering a hybrid approach to health care exchanges.
The exchanges are federally regulated insurance markets. As part of
Obamacare, states have the option of creating their own exchange
programs, which have to be approved by the federal government; setting
up a hybrid approach, which is what Ohio is looking into doing; or
putting the responsibility on the federal government.
During the lame duck session, the Ohio legislature will
take up legislation to regulate puppy mills and election reform. Regulations on puppy mills were previously covered by CityBeat
when a group tried to get dog auctions banned in the state.
Election reform could mean a lot of things. The current
Republican-controlled legislature previously tried to restrict and limit
in-person early voting before repealing its own rules. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has also suggested “more strict” voter ID laws.
In other election news, an upset federal judge demanded
Husted’s attorneys explain a last-minute directive that changed rules
on provisional ballots. U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley told
the lawyers, “You have a lot of explaining to do.” The directive, which
Husted sent out Nov. 2, shifted the burden of providing identification for provisional ballots
from poll workers to voters. Voter advocates argued the directive was
against Ohio law and would lead to more provisional ballots, which are
ballots filed when a voter’s eligibility to vote is uncertain, being
wrongly rejected. Husted and Republicans were heavily criticized for alleged attempts at voter suppression in the run-up to the election.
City Council approved a $750,000 tax break for the E.W. Scripps Company. As part of the deal, Scripps will hire for 125 new local jobs and retain 184 current employees.
The Wall Street Journal covered
Cincinnati’s “pie war” between Frisch’s and Busken Bakery.
CincyTech, a nonprofit venture organization, has invested $14.3 million since it began five years ago.
Its investments, which focus on information technology and life
sciences, have helped create more than 360 jobs, according to company
As part of a national movement, Cincinnati-based Kroger will be making an effort to hire more military veterans. Republican Gov. John Kasich is focused on his re-election bid for 2014.
When asked about whether he will run for president in 2016, Kasich said
he has not made any announcements. The news came shortly after the
Ohio Democratic Party began printing signs that say “Kasich... you’re
next” on one side and “2014 can’t come soon enough” on the other.
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel won’t be leaving state politics any time soon. He says he’ll be running for re-election in 2014.
Mandel is the Republican who led a failed bid for U.S. Senate
against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown. His campaign was notorious for its dishonesty.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, may take up running the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2014. That would put him in charge of managing the Republican Party’s senate campaigns for the year. Republicans are expected to make gains in the U.S. Senate in 2014
because 20 Democratic seats will be up for grabs, in comparison to 13
Republican seats, and 12 of the Democratic seats are in swing or red
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives won the
popular vote, but they ultimately lost the House. The culprit for
the discrepancy seems to be politicized redistricting.
In Ohio, the Republican-led committee redrew congressional district
boundaries to give Republicans an advantage. The First Congressional
District, which includes Cincinnati, was redrawn to include
Republican-leaning Warren County, which slanted the district in favor of
Republicans and diluted the say of Cincinnati’s Democratic-leaning
urbanites. On this year’s ballot, Issue 2 attempted to tackle the redistricting issue, but Ohio voters overwhelmingly voted it down.
Some scientists are really excited by the discovery of “Super Earth.”
What doomed the Mayans? Climate change.
3 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Like any political convention, the
Republican National Convention was filled with little substance and
mostly vague platitudes. But one piece of policy was made very clear in
the Republican Party’s political platform, which was officially unveiled
at the convention: The war on women is still marching along.
by Hannah McCartney
at 12:23 PM | Permalink
One of nation's harshest anti-abortion bills still stalled in Ohio Senate
"WE ARE ABOUT TO END ALMOST EVERY ABORTION IN OHIO!" proclaims the heading at heartbeatbill.com, the brainchild of the bill's most staunch supporters. That's a terrifyingly bold statement, and it's one that's not entirely true. What is true, though, is that the longtime movement by steadfast anti-abortionists to pass a bill with the power to overturn Roe v. Wade and prevent the majority of abortions within the state has grown steam and caused pro-choicers around the country to perk up and say, "Really?"If you don't know much about the bill, here are the basics: If passed, the legislation would effectively outlaw just about every abortion in Ohio. That includes no exceptions would be granted due to rape, incest or threats to the mother's health. If a heartbeat could be detected in the fetus, an abortion would be halted from moving forward. To be exact, the proposed bill, HB 125, would do three things: 1.
It requires the abortionist to check to see if the unborn baby the
pregnant woman is carrying has a heartbeat. Sec. 2919.19(C).2. If the child has been found to have a heartbeat, it requires the abortionist to let the mother know this. Sec. 2919.19(D)3.
If the baby is found to have a detectable heartbeat, that child is
protected from being killed by an elective abortion. Sec. 2919.19(E).Keep in mind that a fetus's heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks after conception; a point in time when many women won't even know they're pregnant. Heartbeat bill advocates recently ran a full-page ad in The Columbus Dispatch, which features a letter from Dr. Jack Willke, a proponent of the bill at the forefront of the movement, pleading Republican senators to bring the bill to a Senate vote. "Tell the Ohio GOP Senate to pass the strongest Heartbeat Bill now — or we will work to replace them with people who will," says the ad. A poll released by Quinnipiac University in January suggests that the issue does hold steam among a marked amount of Ohio voters; 50 percent of Ohio voters say abortion should be legal in all or most cases while 44
percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Those are fairly staggering numbers, considering Roe v. Wade has been around since 1973 protecting women's right to choose what to do with their bodies (until viability, that is — when a fetus could sustain itself outside a mother's womb). Jezebel.com just gave Cleveland, Ohio a spot on its not-so prestigious list of "The Ten Scariest Places to Have Ladyparts in America." Even with the anti-abortion supporters in the minority, it's a bit terrifying that the gap is so slim. And if voters are really as evenly divided as the statistics suggest, we've got some major reform to do. "The law's bullshit and will likely be blocked from ever being enforced
by a judge with some damn sense, but, like most crazy abortion laws,
it's the thought that counts," says the Jezebel article. So it's true: The atmosphere regarding reproductive rights in Ohio is one that is markedly unforgiving. What does that mean for Ohio women? Right now, the bill continues to stall in the Senate, as it has for more than a year. Even if the bill should somehow go before the Senate for a vote, there's a strong likelihood it would be struck down, perhaps even weakening the pro-life movement, should a precedent further supporting Roe v. Wade be set. Still, the anti-abortion force in Ohio is one to be reckoned with, and it champions a voice that's had a pervasive presence since Roe v. Wade days. Certainly crazier legislative changes have happened; what if, by some chance, the bill was passed? Only time will tell. Faith2Action, a staunch pro-life organization driving much of the support behind the bill's passage, has organized the "Final Push" rally on May 19 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to assemble support for the bill's approval in Senate. The event will commence with a worship and prayer session, and conclude with a rally to get the Senate's attention.
by Kevin Osborne
It took awhile, but it's finally out. Firefighters battled a huge blaze at Rumpke's recycling plant in St. Bernard for 26 hours, finally clearing the scene around 8 p.m. Wednesday. In all, 150 firefighters from 10 departments responded to the fire at the massive Vine Street facility. Officials think a truckload of recyclables contained something hot that ignited the surrounding trash, although the exact cause remains under investigation.Judge Robin Piper has recused himself from ruling on Ryan Widmer's murder conviction appeal that will be argued next week. Piper was assigned to hear the case in the 12th District Court of Appeals but decided to step aside because he is a former Butler County prosecutor. Widmer is serving 15 years to life in prison for drowning his wife in their bathtub after he was found guilty in his third trial. Defense attorneys have filed an appeal for a fourth trial, stating that errors were made that violated Widmer's constitutional rights.Three students were caught vandalizing an anti-abortion display at Northern Kentucky University, and a fourth student later turned himself in. The students allegedly cut a display, erected by National Right to Life, that consisted of baby clothes on a line with a red "x" through every fourth one. Campus police have charged the students with criminal mischief, and college officials will hold a separate hearing to determine whether further discipline is needed.Ohio's largest gay rights group isn't supporting a ballot initiative that would overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriages. A representative for Equality Ohio said he's concerned there might be problems with the language proposed by the amendment's backers and that more analysis is needed. The ballot issue would ask voters to repeal a 2004 amendment that says Ohio recognizes only a marriage between a man and a woman. Supporters must collect about 385,000 valid voter signatures for the issue to appear on the ballot. Some critics believe the amendment is designed to increase voter turnout among conservatives in a presidential election year.A Butler County man who was convicted in the 2010 beating death of a baby alpaca is in trouble with the law again. Marcus T. Miller, 19, has been charged with receiving stolen property in Middletown Municipal Court. Miller was sentenced to 14 months in prison in January 2011 for his part in the theft and beating death of a baby alpaca from a Browns Run Road farm in January 2010.In news elsewhere, media is abuzz about the second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman that was announced Wednesday evening. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26. Although Zimmerman alleges he acted in self-defense, special prosecutor Angela Corey said facts in the case prove otherwise. Zimmerman is in a Seminole County jail cell, and will appear today at a 1:30 p.m. court hearing.A Republican congressman from Florida told a town hall meeting audience that "he's heard" up to 80 U.S. House Democrats are Communist Party members, but wouldn't name names. U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-Plantation), who made the remarks, is a Tea Party candidate first elected in 2010 and is being pushed by Sarah Palin as a potential vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney.In a significant setback for so-called “ex-gay” programs, Dr. Robert Spitzer is repudiating his much-criticized 2001 study that claimed some “highly motivated” homosexuals could convert from gay to straight. His retraction occurred in an American Prospect magazine article published this week. Spitzer’s rejection of his own research, which originally was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, is a devastating blow to “pray the gay away” organizations because it eliminates their claim that homosexuality can be reversed through therapy and prayer.Meanwhile, a new study has found a link between conservative ideology and "low-effort" thinking. The study's lead author, University of Arkansas psychologist Dr. Scott Eidelman, cautioned that the findings don't necessarily mean conservatives are lazy thinkers. "Our research shows that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism, not that political conservatives use low-effort thinking,” he said.A baby that was born prematurely in Argentina was declared dead and spent nearly 12 hours in a coffin at a morgue before the parents, opening the coffin to say their last goodbyes, discovered the girl was alive. A health ministry official said five medical professionals involved have been suspended pending an investigation.