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
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Anyone who frequents the downtown business district knows that certain local celebrations guarantee a less-than-diverse collection of visitors to our fair city (try yelling “Go back to Mason!” to random people at Opening Day, Taste of Cincinnati or Oktoberfest and you’ll be surprised at how many people think you know them).
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Most people who have seen even just a preview for an episode of Two and a Half Men have an opinion on why some people think it’s funny to watch Charlie Sheen’s character talking about women’s boobs in front of a teenager (because they’re stupid). That’s why it was ironic today to learn that the show has been canceled due to Sheen’s increasingly crazy real life.
Proposal to city council could restrict access to abortions and birth control in certain neighborhoods
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Cincinnati might soon be Ground Zero in an unconventional effort to potentially restrict access to abortions on a neighborhood-byneighborhood basis. A member of a Catholic order is lobbying city officials to change Cincinnati's zoning laws and allow the creation of 'life peace zones' aimed at prohibiting certain types of activities.