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.
by German Lopez
Anti-abortion agenda on hold, court upholds redistricting, blacks falling behind in school
The Ohio Senate will not take up the heartbeat bill and a
bill to defund Planned Parenthood in the lame-duck session. The
heartbeat bill was called the most radical anti-abortion legislation in
the country when it was first proposed. It sought to ban abortion after a
heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into
pregnancy. However, there have been some rumblings of bringing a new
version of the heartbeat bill to the Ohio legislature, and recent moves
by Ohio Republicans show a clear anti-abortion agenda.
In a statement, Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio cautioned the
bills will come up again next year: “Make no mistake about it, the
threat to women’s health may be delayed, but it remains. We fully expect
anti-choice forces to reintroduce these dangerous attacks on women’s
health when the legislature reconvenes in January.”
In a 4-3 ruling,
the Ohio Supreme court upheld the state’s redistricting map. Democrats
claimed the Ohio House and Senate districts were unconstitutional, while
Republicans insisted the map was fine. The Republican-controlled
government redrew the districts in a way that favors Republican
candidates for public office. The Ohio Supreme Court is skewed heavily
in favor of Republicans; six justices are Republicans, while only one is
a Democrat.Ohio high schools have a bit of work to do, according to federal data. Apparently, the state has worse graduation rates for blacks
than all but five other states and the District of Columbia. Ohio did
manage to improve its graduation rates by more than 2 percent over four
years, as required by the federal program Race to the Top.
To avoid an estimated $18 billion in fuel and congestion costs, a coalition wants to speed up the Brent Spence Bridge project.
If the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition is successful, the project
will begin in 2014 — four years ahead of schedule. But the organization
is pushing a public-private relationship that would likely involve
tolls, and Kentucky lawmakers oppose that idea.
Cincinnati and Hamilton County were picked to participate in a program that puts the long-term unemployed back to work.
The program was originally started in southwest Connecticut in 2011 by
WorkPlace with some success. It placed 70 percent of participants in
jobs, with 90 percent moving to full-time employment.
Tourism is boosting Greater Cincinnati’s economy.
An impact study from the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network found
tourism is responsible for one in 10 local jobs. Visitors to Cincinnati spent $4.1
billion in the area last year.
Another good sign for the economy: Personal income went up in Greater Cincinnati and nationwide. In Cincinnati, personal income went up by 4.6 percent in 2011, lower than the nationwide rise of 5.2 percent.
Unfortunately, Greater Cincinnati still has a lot of vacant homes. On Numbers ranked the area No. 31 out of 109 in terms of vacant homes.
The Cincinnati Police Department is encouraging fitness through intra-department competition.
The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning is one of the five best design schools in the world.
Councilman Chris Smitherman was re-elected to the presidency of the local chapter of the NAACP.
Seven AIDS activists protested nude in U.S. House Speaker
John Boehner’s office yesterday. The protesters were part of ACT-UP, and
they were protesting federal budget cuts to HIV programs that are set
to kick in next year.
The bill regulating puppy mills passed the Ohio Senate. Animal advocates claim lax regulations and oversight have made Ohio a breeding ground for poor practices. CityBeat previously covered puppy mills and how they lead to Ohio’s dog auctions.
The Ohio inspector general released a report
criticizing the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) for
mismanaging stimulus funds going to southwest Ohio. The findings echoed a
lot of what was found in previous reports for other regions of the state.
The Earth’s core may have clues about our planet’s birth.
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.