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.
by German Lopez
Election year causes GOP candidates to downplay rhetoric, but legislation remains
Jobs, jobs, jobs. That is what
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said would be priority No. 1
for Republicans after sweeping the House of Representatives and many
state legislatures in 2010. This, Republicans said, was why they were
elected: People wanted to see changes in the economy fast.
But, apparently, there was one other
Almost immediately after coming into
office in 2011, Virginia Republicans set the national stage for vital
women’s health issues. House Bill 1 — the first bill Virginia
Republicans chose to take on — was a personhood bill, a bill that
define life beginning at conception. Not only would the bill have
banned abortion, it would also have banned the birth control pill,
which sometimes prevents birth by stopping the implantation of a
An impartial observer might wonder why
a personhood bill would be a top Republican priority. After all, the
same election that put all these Republicans in power also had a
personhood bill overwhelmingly rejected in Mississippi — a state so
socially conservative that 46 percent of Mississippi Republicans want
to make interracial marriage illegal, according to a recent poll from
Public Policy Polling.
Nonetheless, this was the issue
Virginia Republicans decided to give serious attention. In an economy
with a 9 percent unemployment rate at the time, this was the most
important issue to Virginia Republicans.
Ohio wasn’t much luckier with its
crop of Republicans. Five months after inauguration, the Ohio House
passed its “heartbeat” bill, or H.B. 125. To this day, it’s the
most radical anti-abortion bill in the country. Not only would it ban
abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, but the bill makes no
exceptions for rape, incest or life-threatening circumstances.
Ohio and Virginia were not alone.
Republicans were pushing anti-abortion, anti-contraception bills all
around the nation. Pennsylvania, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas all
made national headlines with their own bills. In more than 20 states,
bills have been introduced to restrict insurance coverage of
abortions, according to ABC News. At the federal level, Republicans
have made funding for Planned Parenthood a top issue time and time
again, and insurance companies covering contraception recently became
such a big issue that the White House had to step in.
So much for keeping the government out
of health care. The same political party that clamored for small
government now couldn’t wait to regulate women’s health care.
Apparently, the economy is too much for the government to handle, but
every woman’s uterus is fair game.
There has been some backlash. After
Virginia tried to pass a bill that would force doctors to give
patients seeking abortion a transvaginal ultrasound, women’s health
advocates in states across the nation organized protests, leading to
governors and state legislatures beginning to back down in their
rhetoric. Even Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican who
originally supported the transvaginal ultrasound bill, has been
downplaying his involvement in Virginia’s anti-abortion,
Now, Mitt Romney, the likely GOP
nominee for president, is facing some of the backlash. In a recent
Gallup poll, women came out severely against Romney. In the category
of women under 50, Obama held 60 percent of voters, while Romney held
only 30 percent. That’s right, Obama now leads with women under 50
by a two-to-one margin.
But while that may stop some rhetoric,
the bills and laws are still coming forward. The Ohio heartbeat bill
is still being pushed by some Republicans in the Ohio Senate, and a
personhood initiative could show up in Ohio’s 2012 ballot after a
stamp of approval from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Mississippi also plans to reintroduce its personhood initiative in
the 2012 ballot, and other states are beginning to pass around
petitions for their own initiatives as well.
In the end, one is left to wonder what
could stop social conservatives. Public backlash and poor polling
don’t seem to be enough to stop the Republican war on women, and in
some cases it might have actually emboldened them.
by Kevin Osborne
To help avoid a $43 million deficit, the Cincinnati Board of Education voted Monday to cut 40 staff positions for next year. The positions affected are central office staff and administrative employees. The board said some teacher layoffs are possible later, but it wants to see how many people plan on retiring after the school year ends.A retired local judge told WCPO-TV's I-Team that his dismissal from a United Nations tribunal was the result of a “purge” because some U.N. officials disliked the reforms that he and his colleagues were implementing. Mark Painter, who is a former municipal court judge and appellate court judge in the Cincinnati area, served three years as the only American on a new tribunal that makes final judgments on internal United Nations disputes. But the committee that selects judges chose not to renominate him for a full seven-year term. Painter said it's because the tribunal made its decisions binding, but U.N. officials denied the allegation.About 40 people attended an event Monday night at downtown's Piatt Park to mark Occupy Cincinnati's return to the plaza. As part of a deal signed last week with the city's attorneys, Occupy members are now allowed to remain in the park overnight as long as they are quiet and don't erect tents. Less than 10 people chose to stay until this morning.In other protest-related news, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati gave permission for a Catholic priest in a Dayton suburb to perform an exorcism outside of a medical clinic that performs abortions. The Rev. Tim Ralston of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Kettering performed the rite Sunday at the Women's Med Center. About 300 anti-abortion activists attended the event.Gov. John Kasich is trying to force out the leader of the Ohio Republican Party before November's elections. Party Chairman Kevin DeWine announced Sunday he wouldn't seek reelection when his two-year term expires in January, but Kasich wants DeWine gone now. Kasich wants to name his own appointee, and hopes to oust DeWine when the GOP’s newly elected 66-member central committee meets April 13.In news elsewhere, public outcry has prompted the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation into the shooting of a black teenager by a neighborhood watch captain who escaped arrest. More than 435,000 people signed an online petition calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin, 17, was unarmed when he was killed Feb. 17 while walking home after buying Skittles and iced tea at a nearby store.More details are emerging about the past of the Norwood native who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree. Before he enlisted in the Army, Robert Bales' career as a stockbroker came to an end when a court arbitrator ordered Bales and the owner of the firm that employed him to pay $1.4 million for taking part in “fraud” and “unauthorized trading.” The client, Gary Liebschner, a 74-year-old retired engineer, told The Washington Post that he “never got paid a penny” of the award.Meanwhile, the shooting spree may lead to Afghan President Hamid Karzai winning a major concession from the United States. Officials are mulling whether to modify the use of controversial night raids by troops and giving Afghans more oversight. The Obama administration is discussing options with the Afghans including a warrant-based approach or possibly allowing Afghan judges to review raids before they took place, a U.S. official said Monday.JP Morgan Chase is closing the Vatican bank's account with its Italian branch based on concerns about a lack of transparency at the Holy See's financial institution. Italian newspapers reported JP Morgan Chase informed the Vatican bank that its account was being closed because it had failed to provide sufficient information on money transfers. The institution has been accused of tax fraud and money laundering in the past.The man who killed four people at a Jewish school in southwestern France on Monday had a camera around his neck and may have filmed the scene, France's interior minister says. Police have linked the attack to two shootings last week in which three soldiers of North African descent died. The same gun and the same scooter were used in all the attacks, they report. French schools held a moment of silence today to remember the victims.
by Kevin Osborne
Group wants sex strike to protest GOP's 'war on women'
If you’re a horny little bugger, you might want to get as much sex as you can during the next six weeks.A left-leaning advocacy group, Liberal Ladies Who Lunch, is calling for a nationwide sex strike from April 28 to May 5. It says all “women and people who want to join in solidarity should withhold from having sex with their partners.”The protest is in reaction to recent attempts by Republican lawmakers to overturn a new federal rule that requires all insurance companies to provide contraceptives to women free of charge beginning in August.“This will help people understand that contraception is for women and men, because men enjoy the benefit of women making their own choices about when and if they want to get pregnant,” the group states on its website.“Once Congress and insurance agencies agree to cover contraception, we will then resume having sex,” it adds. “Until then men will have to be content with their hand.”Meanwhile, the wife of a Virginia lawmaker already has begun the strike. Rita Von Essen Albo, who is married to State Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax Station), recently refused him sex due to his support for the state's transvaginal ultrasound bill. The lawmaker complained about his wife’s action on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates.On the Facebook page for Liberal Ladies Who Lunch, the group lists several similar strikes in recent years including ones in Colombia in 2006, Italy in 2007, Kenya in 2009 and Belgium in 2011.
by Hannah McCartney
at 11:58 AM | Permalink
The Susan. G Komen for the Cure foundation had the clout to monopolize the color pink to enhance their brand; now, it's showing off its political power and coming under serious fire for it.It's only been a few days since Susan G. Komen announced it would no longer be providing grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood that were mainly used to support lifesaving breast cancer screenings, but the division between the two organizations is sparking serious controversy.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The Enquirer’s Cliff Radel
informed readers today that not all of the historical lore out there
about the devastating Ohio River flood of 1937 is true. Apparently, it’s
not really true that houses floated down the river and came to rest
elsewhere completely intact, despite many tales told by locals over the