WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 09.25.2012
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

City Council approved a $29 million plan that will shift $15 million from the Blue Ash airport deal to move utility lines and pipes in order to accommodate for streetcar tracks. The money will be reimbursed if a conflict with Duke Energy is settled in the city’s favor. The city is currently trying to resolve the conflict over who has to pay for moving utility lines and pipes. If the city wins out, Duke will have to pay up, and the money from the Blue Ash airport deal will be put back where it belongs. If Duke wins out, that money could be lost forever — a worry Chris Smitherman voiced in the public City Council session. Smitherman, Charlie Winburn and P.G. Sittenfeld voted against the plan, and Roxanne Qualls, Laure Quinlivan, Yvette Simpson, Cecil Thomas, Wendell Young and Chris Seelbach voted for it.CORRECTION: This blog originally said the entire $29 million plan will be reimbursed by Duke. Only the $15 million from the Blue Ash airport deal will be reimbursed if the city wins in the dispute.Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted received a failing grade from Voters First Ohio and the Ohio Unity Coalition for the way he's handled the 2012 election. The left-leaning groups criticized Husted for taking away in-person early voting hours that were available in 2008 and issues regarding provisional ballots, wrongful terminations and misleading language on the November ballot.Stan Heffner, former state superintendent of public instruction, won’t face criminal charges. Heffner stepped down after an investigation found he improperly lobbied legislators in favor of legislation that benefited a private company Heffner was employed under. Prosecutors claim Heffner acted inappropriately, not criminally.The Controlling Board unanimously approved $4 million Monday to conduct a study to determine possible funding for the Brent Spence Bridge. The study will look at tolls and the viability of various public-private partnerships to see how the bridge will be paid for.Jungle Jim's is opening an Eastgate location today, and people are apparently really excited for it.The state launched a new website to connect Ohio job seekers and opportunities in the energy industry. The website presents opportunities in advanced energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and gas and oil. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be in southwest Ohio today, and Obama will be in other parts of the state. The state is typically considered a must-win for Romney and Ryan, but aggregate polling has looked worse lately for the Republican duo.  Speaking of Romney, he indirectly admitted he’ll have to raise taxes on what he considers middle income. Remember when Republicans ran on tax cuts?Another problem with global warming: Hotter days make people less productive, which greatly hurts economic output. A Cincinnati research team found NFL players die often to Alzheimer’s disease and Lou Gehrig's disease. The two diseases kill NFL players four times more often than the average U.S. population, and other neurodegenerative diseases kill them twice as often as the norm.Having sex once a week instead of once a month is the “happiness equivalent” of making an extra $50,000 a year. Do not try that line at home.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 09.19.2012
 
 
amidala

Natalie Portman Supports Obama in Cincinnati

Obama campaign's Women's Summit appeals to Ohio women to vote, volunteer

Actress and acclaimed rapper Natalie Portman played up her Cincinnati ties in a Wednesday appearance at the Obama campaign-sponsored Women’s Summit at Union Terminal. The Academy Award-winner said her mother graduated from Walnut Hills High School and her grandfather — Art Stevens — grew Champion Windows in Cincinnati after starting as a door-to-door salesman. “Because of that, I see President Obama’s support of small businesses as so crucial to our economy,” Portman said, adding that Obama has cut taxes for small businesses 82 times since taking office. Portman said the Republican Party and their presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan did not have the best interests of women at heart. She pointed to attacks on the Affordable Care Act’s mandates that insurers provide birth control to women and ensure preventative care such as mammogram screenings for breast cancer is covered, as well a bill sponsored by Ryan and embattled congressional candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) that would eliminate all abortion funding except for cases of “forcible rape.” “We need to stand up for ourselves,” Portman told the packed auditorium that was crowded with an audience of mostly women. “Our mothers and our grandmothers made giant steps for us. We can’t go backwards. We need to go forwards.” Portman was joined by Obama Campaign National Women’s Vote Director Kate Chapek, former Ohio first lady Frances Strickland, Ohio Rep. Alicia Reece and Obama campaign volunteer Mary Shelton. An Ohio Romney rep said the campaign did not have a comment on the Women’s Summit, but is hosting a “Women for Mitt” call night featuring former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao in Kenwood on Thursday. “Ohio women believe in the Romney-Ryan path for America that will result in lower taxes, less spending, less government and more economic growth,” said a release from Romney’s campaign. The Obama event on Wednesday catered to women, with Chapek telling the audience she knew how difficult it was for women to get there with jobs and the challenge of getting their kids to school. She framed women’s role in the election as a conversation. “The conversation starts like this: women, turns out, we’re not a constituency,” Chapek said. “Who knew? Apparently Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, because they don’t realize that women are actually a majority in this country.” She told the women gathered to have conversations with their neighbors and friends and encourage them to volunteer at phone banks or knocking on doors. Strickland talked about the need to reconcile qualities traditionally seen as masculine — like power — with those seen as feminine — like love. She also took the opportunity to riff on a statement made by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who said political wives were heroes because while they’re husbands were on stage in the limelight, they were at home doing things like laundry. “I even did the laundry last night so I could come here today,” Strickland said. “Even (former Gov.) Ted does the laundry.” Summit attendee Ray Boston, a 67-year-old retired writer for AT&T, said Natalie Portman’s presence caught his eye. “I’m a celebrity photo enthusiast,” he said. “Nothing’s official until I’ve taken a picture of it.” Boston said he didn’t vote in 2008, but felt the upcoming November election was too important to sit out. He said he was leaning toward voting for Obama and liked his health care overhaul, but was opposed to the president’s views on gay marriage for religious reasons. Gwen McFarlin, who works in health care administration, said she was there to support President Obama. She supports his health care overhaul, but thinks it’s a first step to further changes. She said she was encouraged by the diversity of the women in attendance. “For me, I’m sure the women who are here represent all the world, not one issue,” she said. “We’re here as a group of women working to empower all the U.S. and the world.”
 
 

Shadowy Political Handbill on the East Side

2 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Last week, packets of anti-Democrat political literature tucked into plastic sandwich bags were tossed into East Side driveways. It’s apparently a broadside from some bag ladies bent on kicking President Barack Obama out of office, along with anybody who might possibly share his views. But they might be cheating.   

Obama Announces Trade Action Against China at Cincinnati Stop

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
President Barack Obama announced a new trade action against China during a Cincinnati campaign stop in Eden Park Sept. 17, where he also took the opportunity to attack Republican challenger Mitt Romney.   

The Courtship of My Ohio

1 Comment · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
It makes me nervous knowing the re-election of President Barack Obama rests partially in the hands of Ohio voters and in the trustworthiness of the shaky Ohio electoral process.    
by German Lopez 09.18.2012
 
 
120413_obama_romney_4x3.photoblog600

Morning News and Stuff

President Barack Obama announced trade action against China while in Cincinnati yesterday. Obama said his team had filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organization on the claim China is cheating in auto trade by offering “extensive subsidies” to its automakers and auto-part producers. China fired back with its own lawsuit for U.S. tariffs that raise the price on a variety of Chinese products — from steels to tires. Anti-China rhetoric has fast become the latest flavor of the month for the Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns, and China is not happy with it.But the presidential race raced back to gaffes over trade policy when Mother Jones posted amazingly candid footage of Romney speaking to millionaires at a fundraiser. In the videos, Romney straightforwardly outlines campaign strategy. In one video, Romney said he doesn’t care about getting the vote of the 47 percent of Americans that don’t pay taxes because he doesn’t believe he can convince them to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” The Obama team retaliated in a statement: “It's shocking that a candidate for president of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.” Ohioans love their local schools, a new survey shows. The survey also found Ohioans trust their local school boards of education with education-related decisions, but they really don’t trust the state superintendent, governor or legislature. Hamilton County courts want to go paperless. The move would save money and space and make the system more efficient.County budget meetings are still chugging along. Different department directors are still pleading for no cuts, but the commissioners insist cuts have to be made somewhere.Cincinnati police announced a new Taser policy. The new policy disallows the use of frontal shots except in situations involving self-defense and the defense of others, reinforces the fact officers need to make sure such force is necessary and points out people have been injured due to Taser use. The new policy was brought about due to findings Taser use can kill in rare situations.Cincinnati launched a national design competition for the decks over Fort Washington Way that will connect the Banks and Central Business District.A new Hamilton County initiative to improve neighborhoods will tear down 700 dilapidated homes.The streetcar’s yearlong delay got an explanation yesterday. A few issues are to blame, including the city’s ongoing conflict with Duke Energy over who has to pay for moving utility lines to accommodate for the streetcar.The amount of people on Ohio’s death row is shrinking. After Donald Palmer’s execution, Ohio will drop to its lowest death row population since July 1995.Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted launched a mailing campaign to clean up voter rolls. Using data from U.S. Postal Service National Change of Address Registry, Husted mailed 70,000 former Ohioans encouraging them to cancel their voter registration. The action is a lot tamer than Republican-led efforts to purge voter rolls in other states, which states like Florida, Iowa and Colorado have backed out of — at least for now.Duke Energy unveiled its new logo.A new meta-analysis found fish oil may not live up to its health hype.NASA is now saying faster-than-light travel may be possible and feasible. The technology would allow spaceships to travel to Mars in minutes. Still, the theory does have some problems.
 
 
by Bill Sloat 09.18.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, News, Taxes at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
mitt-romney

Romney Wrong About Obama Voters

Tax data shows Republican states more likely to pay less taxes

Well, surprise. Most of the Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes live in states that polls show are locked in for Mitt Romney. They are down South. Or out in the Southwest, according to Tax Foundation data.Mississippi has the most filers with no income tax liability. It has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980. When Obama was on the ballot there in 2008, he only got 43 percent of the popular vote. Yet 45 percent of Mississippi tax filers pay nothing. That tidbit certainly rips a hole in Romney’s contention that Obama voters don’t pay income taxes — Republican voters appear to be skating as well, and obviously in far larger numbers than Romney suggests.Our neighbors in Kentucky — who voted early 60 percent GOP over the past three presidential elections — are pretty good at not paying income taxes too. Fewer send checks to the IRS than in West Virginia. Alaska is the outlier — it votes Republican and just 21 percent of its filers don’t pay income taxes to Uncle Sam. You betcha, the vast majority of Alaskans do send money to the IRS. Perhaps they write their checks while looking at Russia from their porches.If you are wondering about Ohio, the state had 5.56 million tax filers. Of that number, some 68 percent paid federal income taxes. We’re a swing state that backed Obama in 2008. Clearly, not all the payers were Republicans.Here is a map with all the data: The Tax Foundation, a group based in Washington, D.C. that calls itself a nonpartisan research group, produced its state-by-state ranking of non-filers in May 24, 2010. It has been available on the Internet for more than two years, which means it was available long before Romney said Obama’s supporters don’t pay taxes. This insight gets right to the heart of the matter:“Nine of the 10 states with the largest percentage of non-payers are in the South and Southwest. In Mississippi, 45 percent of federal tax returns remit nothing or receive money with their federal tax returns; that is the highest percentage nationally. Georgia is next at 41 percent, followed by Arkansas at 41 percent, and Alabama, South Carolina and New Mexico at 40 percent. All of the top 10 ranking states have among the lowest median family incomes in the country.”
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 09.17.2012
 
 
barack obama 2

Obama Announces Trade Action against China at Cincinnati Stop

Local Republicans criticize president's record on deficit in counter-rally

President Barack Obama announced a new trade action against China during a Cincinnati campaign stop on Monday, where he also took the opportunity to attack Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The U.S. filed the case at the World Trade Organization on Monday and claims that China offers “extensive subsidies” to native automakers and auto-parts producers. The Chinese government filed its own complaint before the WTO on Monday, challenging tariffs the U.S. imposes on Chinese products ranging from steel to tires. The tariffs are meant to protect American manufacturers against what the U.S. government claims are unfair trade practices by China. “(The U.S. action is) against illegal subsidies that encourage companies to ship auto part manufacturing jobs overseas,” Obama said before an estimated crowd of 4,500 at the Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park. “These are subsidies that directly harm working men and women on the assembly lines in Ohio and Michigan and across the Midwest.” “It’s not right, it’s against the rules, and we will not let it stand. American workers build better products than anyone. ‘Made in America’ means something. And when the playing field is level, America will always win.” Obama went on to criticize his Republican challenger, saying Romney made his fortune in part by uprooting American jobs and shipping them to China. Obama accused Romney — who has criticized Obama’s foreign policy, saying the president apologizes for American interests — of talking the talk without being able to walk the walk. The Romney campaign countered with an email after the rally, saying that Obama’s economic policies were hurting the private sector and harmed manufacturing. “The President’s misguided, ineffective policies have hampered the private sector and allowed China to flaunt the rules while middle-class families suffer,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.  “As president, Mitt Romney will deliver a fresh start for manufacturers by promoting trade that works for America and fiscal policies that encourage investment, hiring and growth.” The email pointed to reports from Bloomberg finding that manufacturing and production have shrunk recently. Before the Obama rally several Ohio Republicans held a news conference behind a Romney campaign bus near Eden Park, where they focused more on the deficit than foreign trade. U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot said it was “laughable” that Obama considers himself a budget hawk. He pointed to the decline in budget negotiations between the president and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, saying Obama “walked away” from talks with Speaker John Boehner. “Basically as president from that time last August until now, it’s been all politics,” Chabot said. Chabot also attacked Obama on foreign policy, claiming the president has left Israel hanging in the Middle East and is not serious with Iran, who he says is on the brink of getting nuclear weapons. The president in his speech said he did have a plan to reduce the federal deficit, and would reduce it by $4 trillion over the next 10 years without raising taxes on the middle class. Monday’s visit to Cincinnati was Obama’s second of this campaign and his 12th trip to Ohio this year. Romney has visited the state 18 times during his campaign. Obama was scheduled to fly to Columbus Monday afternoon for a campaign appearance there.
 
 
by Bill Sloat 09.17.2012
 
 
sherrod brown

Shadowy Political Handbill on the East Side

Women for Liberty delivers sneak attack on Sherrod Brown

Over the past few days, packets of anti-Democrat political literature tucked into plastic sandwich bags were tossed into East Side driveways. Don’t assume it’s litter. Nope, it’s apparently a broadside from some bag ladies with an Indian Hill address who call themselves a “grassroots, conservative group.” They are new on the scene and bent on kicking President Barack Obama out of office, along with anybody who might possibly share his views. But they might be cheating, or tools of someone who is flouting the law. There are 16 political pieces in the plastic bags, including an ad for the anti-Obama movie You Don’t Know Him.  All but one are properly labeled with disclaimers that show who paid for each piece. For example, the Mitt Romney flier says it was paid for by the Romney campaign. The Sean Donovan for Sheriff of Hamilton County was paid for by Donovan for Sheriff. But a piece that attacks U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is a mystery — nothing identifies its source. You cannot discover who is behind it. The flier lists 10 reasons why Ohio voters should replace Democrat Brown with Republican candidate Josh Mandel. The piece concludes by saying, “This November 6, Vote for New Leadership for Ohio. Vote Josh Mandel for Senator.” The secret source of the handbill has the earmarks of a dirty trick. Laws and rules governing electioneering make it clear printed material seeking to influence voters must disclose where it came from. The mandatory disclaimer is what a person endlessly hears on TV commercials — “I’m so and so and I paid for this ad.” Print material has the same requirement — “Paid for by Save the Seahorses” or whoever is responsible. So whoever gave the conservative ladies the anti-Brown handbill for their plastic bags seems to have broken the law. Perhaps it was the coal mining industry, perhaps it was the Chinese government, perhaps it was Ayn Rand back from the dead. Without a disclaimer there is just no way to know who paid for the anti-Brown attack. You are left to guess.  All we know is that the writer didn’t have the guts to stand behind the attack. They preferred shadowy and sneaky over open and upright. The Federal Election Commission publishes the rules campaigns must follow. It says, “On printed materials, the disclaimer notice must appear within a printed box set apart from the other contents in the communication.  The print must be of a sufficient type-size to be clearly readable by the recipient of the communication, and the print must have a reasonable degree of color contrast between the background and the printed statement.” By the way, the group that is tossing the plastic bags into driveways calls itself Women for Liberty. There is no website for the group, although it appears to be an offshoot of another group with the same name that is based in a Washington, D.C. suburb and cites a libertarian philosophy.
 
 
by German Lopez 09.17.2012
 
 
obama

Morning News and Stuff

President Barack Obama is in town today. Expect some coverage from CityBeat this afternoon. Last time Obama was in Cincinnati, he discussed gay rights, small business support and girl scout cookies. Ohio is typically considered a must-win for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but he is currently losing in aggregate polls.Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati criticized the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees for former UC President Greg Williams’ severance package. She told The Enquirer, “It’s really disappointing that the trustees would make such a decision while so many students and families are struggling with rising tuition costs. As the trustees vote to needlessly spend over a million dollars, the University is trying to decide how to fund $10 million for the Cintrifuse project and students are taking out more loans to pay a tuition that was increased by 3.5 percent this year.” Williams got a package totaling $1.3 million after abruptly leaving the university, citing personal reasons. Despite the allegedly rocky past between the Board and Williams, the Board of Trustees insists it did not force him out.Local governments setting 2013 budgets are feeling big cuts from the state government’s Local Government Fund. Eligible residents could save $163 a year with natural gas thanks to a new aggregation program in Cincinnati. The city announced Friday it's working on the new plan with Duke Energy, and customers should get details about the deal soon. The city says the deal will reach about 64,000 residents and small businesses.Voter fraud is still not a widespread problem. A Butler County Tea Party group found zero complaints with sufficient proof to remove anyone from the voter rolls.As part of its expansion at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, DHL is adding 300 jobs.In case you missed it, the streetcar has been delayed to 2015. The city is now looking for consultants to help manage the project with CAF USA, the city’s preferred car manufacturer. The first phase of the streetcar will span the Banks and Findlay Market. The city is also trying to study a connection to the University of Cincinnati, Uptown’s hospitals and the Cincinnati Zoo.U.S. senatorial candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio claims he has seen a recent surge in the polls, closing a 13-point gap. But a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, which typically has a Republican-leaning in-house effect, says Mandel is still very far from Sen. Sherrod Brown in the polls with an eight-point gap. Aggregate polls show Brown leads Mandel by 7.2 points.There is a lot of criticism being hurled at public charter schools. While some charter schools are successful, some have serious financial and educational problems. Critics say the schools need tougher standards.Romney is facing criticism for saying middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less. However, Obama made a similar distinction in the past when he said income up to $250,000 is middle class. The reason for this strange distinction from both sides — most Americans would find $250,000 to be beyond middle class — is to protect small businesses. Typically, politicians try to bundle up small businesses with middle class protections, and taxing income between $200,000 and $250,000 as if it’s not middle class could potentially hurt small businesses.Dissatisfied with the lack of innovation in the iPhone 5? Apparently, you might be alone.Scientists can now levitate fluids with ultrasonic sound.
 
 

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