John Boehner's Very Bad Fortnight

Politicians’ Tears

I'll bet you wouldn't like to be John Boehner right now. I suspect he is going to leave the capital this evening and start his long weekend off right away.

We've seen a couple of weeks of posturing, showboating, and reckless ignorance coming from the far far far right, while to his left, the Democrats just want to keep the government functioning and aren't interesting in enacting under threat radical right-wing policies (such as the repeal of Affordable Health Care) that couldn't be passed through the normal legislative process.

It's been 17 years since the Republicans shut the government down under President Clinton — and in 1996, we had a strong economy as we were heading into the digital/Internet boom.

This time, with the economy already struggling, thanks in large part to the Republican-demanded sequestration and failure to do anything about creating jobs because they're way too obsessed with women's sexual activities, the impact will probably mean an extended period of slow growth.

Meanwhile, the far right Tea Party types were ready to do something that has never happened in the history of our country: default on the national debt. If that had happened, we'd mostly likely have gone into another depression and the economy probably wouldn't have recovered in our lifetimes. It's hard to tell HOW far-reaching the effects would have been, but they would certainly have been far-reaching.

Some of these radicals were going around saying it wouldn't have been so bad; others, like the crafty but cruel Ted Cruz, just seemed not to care.

Josh Mandel — Royal Screw-Up

Let's recap.

First Mandel received over $100,000 in suspicious large donations from employees of the Suarez Corporation who'd never made any political contributions before.

But Mandel's hands were clean, we were told, because he didn't know anything about how or why he got the donations.

Still, he gave them back. For no reason because they were perfectly legal donations from true supporters, or something.

Then in September Suarez Corporation owner Ben Suarez is indicted for allegedly using his employees to illegally funnel donations to Mandel as well as congressman Jim Renacci

But Mandel's hands are still clean, we're told, because how could he have had any idea what was going on?

Then we learn that Mandel had ASKED Suarez to raise this money shortly before the donations came rolling in.

"Mandel has not been accused on any wrongdoing," the newspapers assured us, even while reporting the story.

Then we learn that Suarez's lawyers son works for Mandel. Maybe a coincidence, hmmm?

And now this:

"California treasurer's office surprised by Josh Mandel's letter on behalf of Benjamin Suarez"

Each paragraph is more jaw-dropping than the last.

And once again

Mandel has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and a treasurer’s office spokesman said Mandel doesn’t remember writing the letter to Lockyer or a second letter to U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, a Wadsworth Republican, on Suarez’s behalf.

But the story speaks for itself, and it speaks louder than the reporter's assurance that "Mandel has not been accused of any wrongdoing."

Wrongdoing bursts from every paragraph of the story. Whether he is legally culpable of anything or not, he's certainly skirting the edges of some highly unethical behavior.

ACLU Sues Over Last-Minute Abortion Additions to the State Budget

And not a minute too soon.

As most of you know, the legislature stuffed a batch of anti-choice provisions into the biennial budget bill back in June, stuff that had nothing to do with the budget. These thing were added without warning 48 hours before the vote was taken. There were no hearings. Despite thousands of Ohioans contacting the governor, asking him to line-item-veto them as extraneous to the budget, he signed them in the dead of a Sunday night surrounded by six other middle-aged white men.


*Seven white men taking away women's rights. Photo by Karen Kasler*

The ACLU is saying this is bullshit.

“To put it simply, none of these amendments have any place in the state budget bill,” said Susan Scheutzow, ACLU cooperating attorney and partner at the law firm of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. “This massive bill is not intended to deal with new policy; the single subject of the budget should be the appropriation of funds for existing government programs or obligations.”

The provisions being challenged include the one that ban public hospitals from making transfer agreements with abortion clinics, the one hat requires doctors to look for a fetal heartbeat and recite a script written by religious fanatics in the legislature intended to "help her bond with her 'baby'" according to one of them, and one that redirects state family planning money to organizations forbidden from talking about abortion.

Josh Mandel Going Up in Flames?

We can hope!

But it's sure looking more and more like it when you see headlines like these in the COLUMBUS DISPATCH:

"Josh Mandel asked Benjamin Suarez to raise campaign cash"

"Attorney Links Mandel, Suarez"

Oh what a tangled web Josh Mandel seems to have woven for himself.

You may recall this story from two weeks ago:

Nearly two years ago, reporters spotted unusual high-dollar donations being funneled to Mandel and Congressman Jim Renacci from the Canton-based Suarez Corporation. They were being made to these two favorites of company owner Ben Suarez by employees who had never made ANY political contributions before and whose job titles seemed to indicate they weren't in a position to make such large donations.

Two weeks ago, Suarez was indicted for using his employees to basically launder his donations. That's illegal.

Papers like the Dispatch have been breathlessly proclaiming Mandel's (and Renacci's) innocence from the beginning. After all, they had no way of knowing what was behind these generous contributions.

Or did they?

A few days later, we hear Mandel leaned on Suarez to raise this mountain of cash. And it's reported in the DISPATCH.

And now, also from the Dispatch:

Photos: These People Will NOT Go Back

*Lana Moresky fought this crap before & she's not going back!*

I promised more on Wednesday's We Won't Go Back rally in Columbus, and here you go.

Anyone who wants to see even more photos, there is a slideshow posted here:

At least 500 people and probably more (the Plain Dealer definitely lowballed it at 350) turned up outside the statehouse for the rally which was organized by Cindy Demsey and Lana Moresky, and Kathy DiCristofaro from Trumbull County. Women of all ages — as well as many men — were in attendance.



Speakers included Planned Parenthood Ohio's Stephanie Kight, Kellie Copeland from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Sarah Hutchinson from Catholics for Choice, Petee Talley of the AFL-CIO, Terry O’Neill of the National Organization for Women, and Ellie Smeal of the Feminist Majority.


Cleveland ob-gyn Dr. Lisa Perriera came to the podium holding her 2 ½ week old son and talked about how angry it made her that legislators were trying to dictate the kind of care she could give to her patients. After she spoke, the MC, former congressional candidate Sharen Neuhardt, presented her with a “onesie” that said “This is what a feminist looks like."


A number of state legislators came by to show their support, including Kent’s Kathleen Clyde, Columbus’ Tracy Heard, Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, Dan Ramos of Lorain, Bob Hagan and Capri Cafaro of Youngstown, Chris Redfern (also state Democratic Party chair) from Catawba Island, Athens’ Debbie Phillips, and Cleveland area legislators Mike Foley, Nickie Antonio, Kenny Yuko, Sandra Williams, Nick Celebrezze, and Nina Turner. There was quite a stir when Turner arrived. I think she's going to make a big impact in net year's elections. Look out, Jon Husted!

Frances Strickland was there too.




Also present were a number of candidates including Michael Wager, running for Congress in the district east of Cleveland, and Jill Miller Zimon, Michael Houser, and Anthony Fossaceca, all candidates for house seats in Cuyahoga County.


Hey, GOP, take your Heartbeat bill and shove it, OK?



We Won't Go Back! Rally in Columbus Today


What an amazing day at the Statehouse!

A huge crowd of women and supportive men (I heard people bandying around 750-800) gathered to let our governor and legislature know that stomping on women's rights and expecting us to make like the Duggars and be baby factories is NOT acceptable.

There were some great speaker, including Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Terry O'Neill of NOW , and Ellie Smeal of the Feminist Majority.

A whole gaggle of state legislators were there in support, as well as candidates. Even former Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland was there.

I took something more than 500 photos so I'm still sorting and processing. More later. But here are a couple of crowd shots.


What's Going on in America


Obamacare enrollment starts today!

So you've probably heard by now that the radicals holding the Republican Party and the country hostage went ahead with their reckless scheme to push the country down the path toward anarchy and economic disarray by refusing to fund the government and shutting it down.

Despite what some pundits and quivering "centrists" are saying, there's no "both sides" in this or any rational "compromise" available. The passage of this funding, free and clear of conditions, has pretty much always been automatic. Now it's not because these radicals have seem a path to force-enact an extreme agenda that even a large number of Republicans probably know is ill-advised.

When some describe what's going on as "extortion" or "hostage-taking," that's accurate. These extremists have basically said "In return for passing a routine funding bill, we're demanding a laundry list of rejected policies that are unpopular with and damaging to average Americans be enacted by fiat — no bills introduced, no hearings held, no votes taken. Just do it or else."

Most conspicuously this includes delaying the start of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed, signed, and upheld by the Supreme Court. Does anyone seriously think that a group of people who have spent four years demonizing health care reform with lies plan to let it go into effect without complaint a year from now? That's laughable.

But they've demanded a bunch of other things they cannot get legislatively, including the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, allowing any employer to deny women contraception coverage just because, and the elimination of regulations that prevent Wall Street from damaging the economic health of Americans even more than they have.

Are Things Getting Tense in the Governor's Office?

Recently, we wrote about how Governor Kasich’s spokesperson Rob Nichols responded testily about state rep. Debbie Phillips’ request for correspondence surrounding the dismissal of the state official responsible for overseeing water quality, allegedly because he offended one of the governor’s Big Coal donors.

In an email to the Columbus Dispach, he sniffed,

If she had her way, we’d all be living on a collective farm cooking organic quinoa over a dung fire. So I think we’ll take her views in context.

A month later, we get a story from John Michael Spinelli, an independent reporter who has been covering state government — better than most of the state’s big dailies, we should add — for over a decade.

It seems Spinelli was on the same teleconference with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald and state reps. Lou Gentile and Nick Barborak last week that I was. That was the one where they talked about how the governor and legislature had put in place a fairly low income limit on eligibility for the property tax discount for seniors.

Recapping the topic, Spinelli put a pin on his Pinterest page that said,

Funny. Ohio's governor said the state shouldn't take the Medicaid expansion deal because the feds couldn't be trusted to pay their promised share into the future. Making seniors pay more property tax because the state decided to stop paying its share to fund tax cuts for people who don't need them is called transitioning to job creation. Really?

Read Spinelli’s whole story here:

The next morning he got an email from Nichols that said,

Why Newspapers Have Lost Credibility, and Increasing Property Taxes on Seniors

So Tuesday I get this email that Cuyahoga county executive/Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald and Columbus-area state representatives Lou Gentile and Nick Barborak were doing a telephone press conference later that day about a provision in the new state budget that limited the property tax discount for seniors 65 and older to only those making $30,000 or less. (Currently, there is no income cap).

I had nothing going on at that time so I decided to jump on the call and see what they had to say.

This means-testing of the property tax relief at such a low income level is one of a number of travesties in the recent state budget process that increases taxes on ordinary working people while providing lavish breaks to the wealthiest Ohioans.

And that was what FitzGerald focused on — appropriately. As a still largely unknown challenger, he is working on getting out his ideas and policies in ways that are clear and easily for people to understand.

"The budget is a statement of priorities, what you really value," he said. "One of what I thought was most egregious and regressive portions was what amounts to a tax increase on seniors that are trying to stay in their own homes and happen to make more than $30,000 a year. I think eliminating a policy that helps senior citizens stay in their homes is not humanitarian."

Then came the Q&A portion. And both Henry Gomez of the Plain Dealer and Joe Vardon of the Columbus Dispatch appeared to be playing “gotcha” with FitzGerald, pushing a predetermined narrative and agenda.

They pressed him on the issue of whether, if elected, he would roll back the income tax cut, which primarily benefits the wealthy, and roll back the sales tax increase, which falls heaviest on the poorest people.

When he responded that his overall philosophy is to target tax relief to middle- and lower-income Ohioans, not the wealthy, Vardon accused him of being evasive, of refusing to respond to the question.

The Chickens Come Home to Roost for Josh Mandel & Jim Renacci

Anyone remember THIS story from the last election cycle:

"Canton Firm's Workers Making Unusual Donations"

It was about Canton-based Suarez Corporation, a direct marketing firm owned by Ben Suarez. It seemed that many of his employees were giving maxxed out donations to certain candidates Suarez supported — specifically Congressman Jim Renacci and U.S. Senate candidate Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel. Sometimes their wives maxxed out too.

The Blade calculated, based on their job titles and home values, that these weren't people who could afford to be giving $5,000 or $10,000 or even $20,000 to political candidates. And something else interesting: these big donors, pitching in for their boss' favorite candidates, had never made ANY political donations before.

Since it is illegal to pass donations through others, Suarez of course denied that these employees were reimbursed in any manner.

That claim, alas for Suarez, was not shared by a federal grand jury. Today the Canton Repository is reporting,

A federal grand jury has indicted local businessman Benjamin Suarez on charges accusing him of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws and interfering with a subsequent FBI investigation. ... Prosecutors say Suarez, Giorgio and others funneled almost $200,000 to campaigns during the 2012 election.

According to the indictment, Suarez agreed to raise $100,000 for an Ohio candidate for the U.S. Senate and $100,000 for an Ohio candidate for the U.S. House. ...
Giorgio, under the direction of Suarez, told potential contributors the money would be reimbursed by the company, according to the indictment.

The Worst DCCC Fundraising Letter Possible to Send to a Democratic Woman in Ohio

Hey, Steve Israel! (chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee)

Do you want to see Ohio Democratic checkbooks remain tightly closed? Just keep sending out stuff like this. Maybe you want to explain to us why on EARTH, after several years of relentless attacks on women's reproductive rights, you seriously think women (and most Democratic men as well) would want to contribute to an anti-choice candidate?

No, no and NO.

I really wish, instead of pissing in the wind on this one, the DCCC would get solidly behind the electable PRO-CHOICE Michael Wager, who is in swing district Ohio 14 and COULD beat freshman David Joyce with a little muscle behind him.

Since Steve Israel and the DCCC are off on some little cloud of unreality, I ask YOU to look at sending contributions to Michael instead.


Maybe Steve Israel should read this:

And stop sending emails like this:

Anastasia --

As Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, it’s my job to find the best candidates to run for Congress.[Then please do so and dump this one]

One of our top races is Jennifer Garrison in Ohio’s 6th district -- this seat is CRITICAL to winning a Democratic majority.[If this is your "top race," you have insulted the women of Ohio. What good is a Democratic majority if we start to beef up the decimated Blue Dog Caucus again?]

National Republicans know it too. That’s why shady special interest groups will be targeting Jennifer, ready to spend HUGE amounts of cash to buy this seat.[Yeah yeah, they target everybody. Jennifer's main problem is that Democrats know she's anti-choice and don't need shady special interest groups to tell them]

Jon Husted: A Rising Star of Sabotaging Democracy


*"Is Jon Husted sincere when he says he's just trying to prevent 'voter fraud'? Let me think about that. No."

So our secretary of voter suppres ... I mean STATE .... Jon Husted is out and about, trying to raise his profile, undoubtedly preparing for a run for governor in 2018 after getting himself elected to another term in his current office.

He was featured this week on Fox "News," which dubbed him a "rising political star," and gave him a platform for his mendacity in pretending he is an advocate for fair elections.

Yup, the same Jon Husted who was ready to allow Republican counties longer early voting hours than Democratic ones across the state, until it was exposed and he started getting tons of bad publicity. The same Jon Husted who went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to shut down voting the weekend before the election.

And the same Jon Husted who publicly said Ohio's voter I.D. laws need to be more "onerous," and the legislature is now following up on his recommendation, introducing a bill that greatly narrows the acceptable forms of I.D. even though not ONE SINGLE CASE of voter fraud in Ohio has been identified that could have been stopped with tighter I.D. laws. NOT.ONE. None. Zip. Zero. Nada.

(Husted says it wouldn't have mattered in a majority of cases, but he hasn't produced any where it would have mattered, so obviously he has no such cases).

This is all about slashing the number of people who vote, who are able to vote, a shameful goal for an elected official in a democracy.

NOW Is the Time to Stop Whimpering and Get Serious

I imagine that you, like me, have seen people shake their heads when a Republican advocates for something that's going to hurt a majority of his constituents and ask "Why do people vote against their self interest?"

That's an interesting question, but I have another: why do WE so often WORK against our self interest by pre-assuming defeat?"

I know you've heard me talk about this before, because nothing on our side annoys me more than the tendency to impute unstoppable power and brilliant strategy to their side and hopeless ineptitude to OUR side.

Yes, someone else told me the other day that Kasich was 100% sure to be reelected.

I asked why, pointing out that he has at least a dozen negatives that should be an anchor o his reelection campaign, only one of which Ted Strickland shared when Kasich beat him by a hair in 2010: a struggling economy that was recovering too slowly for most people to feel.

IN 2010, when Strickland pointed out that Ohio wasn't immune o the problems of the national economy, Kasich's campaign pooh-poohed him, dismissing that as an excuse.

Now that Ohio's economy is back on the ropes — despite the improvements it made thanks to Srickland's final days in office — with rising unemployment and poverty and stagnating wages, Kasich's administration is, of course, making exactly the same excuse.

Instead of assuming somehow it'll work his time, we should be grinding his face in it and yelling "No excuses!"

Find some fight, people.

I address this not only to the defeatists but those who feel they're not "excited" by our very solid roster of excellent candidates. How excited are you about right to work for less, more tax increases on working people and more tax breaks for the wealthiest Ohioans, more attacks on education, and more restrictions on women's lives?

Sounds great, eh?

Jennifer Brunner to Speak at Geauga Dems HQ This Sunday

Jennifer Brunner with Ted Kennedy

Hey you Northeast Ohioans who appreciated the work Jennifer Brunner did as secretary or state and/or supported her campaign for U.S. Senate.

After leaving office in January 2011, Brunner returned to private practice as an attorney, and wrote a book about her campaign experiences called Cupcakes and Courage. She hasn't been out and about on the political circuit much.

But she will be at Geauga County Democratic Headquarters (12420 Kinsman Rd., Newbury) at 2 pm this Sunday September 22.

She'll talk about her book and her work since leaving office. Maybe she'll even offer some thoughts on the voter suppression bills being proposed in our legislature to try to legally stop more people from voting. She'll have her book available for sale, and I'm sure she'd be glad to autograph it.

Go here for complete info and to RSVP:

Depraved Congressional Ghouls Vote to Starve Americans

In case you hadn't heard, this evening the House of Representatives voted to slash food assistance to poor Americans by $40 billion over the next decade. Previously their heartless, mean-spirited proposal was to cut $20 billion, but apparently they felt that not enough children, elderly, and disabled people would go hungry as a result (a huge majority of household receiving food assistance have an individual in those categories).

Can you tell I'm angry?

I don't understand how we got to a place where more than maybe a dozen extremely fringe members of Congress think this is OK. But 217 members of this Congress so morally bankrupt they would support this?

I don't want to hear the feeble excuses about "fraud and waste" in a program that has less than most government programs. Who was proposing to cut off Blackwater and Halliburton and Kellogg Root Brown due to the MASSIVE fraud in defense contracts? Nobody.

Just as empty is the claim that people are "lazy" and should be working. First of all — a huge number of these people are — as I said — children, elderly or disabled. Second, there are no jobs! Third, many of the recipients ARE working and their wages are too low to provide for their families.

Both of these "reasons" are nothing but sops to guilty consciences for people who can't admit they hate poor people and think it's OK that in a country as rich as ours, millions go hungry.

I also do not want to hear EVER again that there is "no difference" between Republicans and Democrats. Sure, there are some Democrats I am not enthusiastic about but not a SINGLE ONE voted to starve fellow Americans. 217 Republicans did. Only 15 Republicans did not. Sadly none of those 15 was from Ohio. All 12 of Ohio's Republicans made it clear that their cruelty and lack of compassion knows no bounds.

Kasich Sneaking More Charter Schools for his Buddies

This sad story is from early last month, but it illustrates the danger of trusting Taxin' John Kasich and believing he's sincere when he says he wants to help out big urban schools filled with poor minority kids.

Who would have guessed his real goal was helping out his buddy, major Ohio GOP donor, David Brennan, of the mostly terrible for-profit White Hat charter schools?

Well, me, for one.

Mayor Frank Jackson says he feels betrayed that the Ohio Department of Education is allowing two new charter schools to open in Cleveland this fall without any review by a new panel he fought last summer to create.

Oh come on, mayor. I think many of us saw this coming when funding charter schools out of local property tax money was slipped into the enormous property tax increase passed by Cleveland taxpayers last year.

"Right plan, right now," they were told. Transformation!

It sure was the right plan for somebody. Just not the schoolchildren of Cleveland.

Five new charter schools - schools that are funded with state tax dollars but are privately-run - will open in Cleveland this fall. Of the five, four are new versions of Hope Academies run by the controversial White Hat Management. The fifth is a spinoff from one of the academies.

If a school is called Hope Academy or Lifeskills Academy (also Brennan/White Hat schools), it probably should be considered child abuse to enroll your kid. These schools do not exist to educate. They exist to make David Brennan richer.

Connie Pillich Shares: Today Is the 66th Birthday of the Air Force


Which of course Connie was in. That's Air Force Captain Connie Pillich above.

She says,

Today marks the 66th birthday of the United States Air Force, in which I had the great honor and privilege to serve. To this day I strive to uphold the Air Force's core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. Thank you to all the men and women of the Air Force for your hard work and sacrifice over the past 66 years!

"Service before self," hmmm? Would that be like showing up for work at the treasurers office instead of heading out of state for high-dollar fundraisers on a weekday? I guess we should ask incumbent treasurer Josh Mandel, if we can find him.

Contributing to Connie's campaign would be a great favor for the state of Ohio.

I actually just ran this post because I like the photo and bashing the weasel Mandel never gets old

Another Country Heard From

Missed him?


We Have a 2014 Ticket!


Tuesday morning, state rep. John Patrick Carney from the Columbus area announced, to no one's surprise, that he will be running to take on state auditor Dave Yost.

This means we now have a complete ticket — nearly 14 months before the election.

That is a virtually unprecedented gift, and we should be making maximum use of it, not wasting a day of those 14 months.

While Carney was announcing, voters around the state were flocking to the polls to vote in local primaries.

Well, actually, they weren't FLOCKING. More like dribbling. Here in Cleveland, city council primaries were attracting barely 1,000 votes for all candidates combined.

Over in Toledo, sadly, their awful, conservative, anti-union, Kasich-cozying-up-to mayor Michael Bell, finished in first place — with only 27% of the vote. Another "independent" finished second with 24.5% and will take him on in November, giving Toledans little chance to oust him. Both Democrats finished out of the running with less than 23% apiece. A very sad outcome for Toledo.

But only 15% of registered voters turned out. Bell got only 6340 votes in a city with almost 165,000 voters. That is just pathetic.

We have heard it said endlessly that turnout was the reason we lost in 2010 — that Democrats are less motivated to turn out in non-presidential years.

That cannot happen again. Women's rights, voter rights, labor rights, the health of our public schools and local governments, the very economy of our state, depend on tossing out Taxin' John Kasich and his buddies.

Governor Kasich: Spinnin' and Lyin'

Our governor, Taxin’ John Kasich, sure love to pat himself on the back.

He loves to do this so much he’ll pat himself on the back for things he didn’t do — like cutting your taxes.

He sent out an email to his subscriber list the day before Labor Day — and you can bet it wasn’t about the role of labor in building the state of Ohio.

Nope, he was proudly announcing that his tax cuts had just kicked in.

What tax cuts, you say?

Well, the miniscule ones to our state income taxes that most of us won’t even notice unless we have a six-figure income.

Of course, he failed to mention that his INCREASE in the state sales tax, which also kicked in, will just about wipe out the tiny cut in the income tax for most of us.

He also didn’t mention the glut of levies on the ballot in November — each a tax increase driven by his policies and state cuts to local governments and schools — and the fact that they would cost more than in the past because he repealed the 12.5% contribution the state has made for the past four decades.

Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald has put up a calculator so you can input your income and figure out how much Kasich’s tax “cut” is going to net you — or cost you. For instance, if you make $35,000, Kasich’s cut will save you $9 — but his sales tax increase will likely take that $9 away.

Meanwhile, let’s say you own a house in Cleveland Heights worth $100,000. You are already paying a property tax increase of over $200 due to a school levy passed in November 2011. And the city has ANOTHER school levy on the ballot this November for a similar amount.

Meanwhile, the county wants an increase in its Health & Human Services levy that will cost you another $100. So if they both pass, you will have seen a Kasich property tax increase of well over $500 in two years.

Good luck offsetting THAT with that lavish $9.

Pressure Getting to Kasich Spokesman Rob Nichols Too

If you are a public official, or represent one, and you are hit with questions to which you have no good answer, what do you do?

Well, if you are Governor Kasich's spokesman Rob Nichols, you resort to childish, unprofessional, condescending ad hominem attacks — and fail to respond convincingly to the subject of the questions.

State rep. Debbie Phillips inquired about a recent situation in the Kasich administration that had evoked suspicions among Ohioans concerned about the safety of our water supply. The administration had apparently forced the resignation of the state Environmental Protection Agency person charged with overseeing the Division of Surface Water. It appeared this employee had gotten on the bad side of Big Coal, a Big Donor to Ohio Republicans.

Uh oh.

Says the Athens News,

Rep. Phillips specifically requested that correspondence between the Gov. Kasich's office, the Ohio EPA and coal industry officials regarding Mr. Elmaraghy be made available under Ohio's public records law. ...The release further provided information showing that Ohio coal companies have given Kasich nearly $130,000 in campaign contributions. The Dispatch reported that, based on an analysis of data from the Ohio Secretary of State, Ohio coal interests have given over $1 million in campaign donations to statewide and legislative candidates since 2009. The majority of them have been Republicans.

So, did Nichols deny the charges in a straightforward, professional and respectful manner?

Nope. He responded like an arrogant frat boy who thinks everyone else is beneath him.

In an email to the Columbus Dispatch, he wrote,

The Pressure is Getting to Kasich

The following video shows a bit of a testy moment when a reporter asked John Kasich about a recent poll. The poll showed John Kasich losing to Ed FitzGerald by three points in the race for governor. John Kasich, clearly irritated snaps back an answer to him. It looks like the pressure is getting to Kasich.

(Video is courtesy of Marc Kovac, of Ohio Capital Blog,

JobsOhio a Dazzling Success — NOT

Our governor Taxin' John Kasich is out there making his case for re-election based on the piles and piles of jobs he claims to have created, even though he hasn't

Will you look at this?

"Bank of America lays off 1,000 in Beachwood; bank closes 3 mortgage offices in Ohio."

And it doesn't stop with those 1,000 either. There's another 55 laid-off people in Independence, another hundred in CIncinnati.

Now, of course, these job losses are due to national changes in mortgage servicing — but you will recall that Kasich refused to buy that from Ted Strickland and insisted that no matter what the national picture, he, John Kasich, would be a job-creating miracle worker.


State senator Nina Turner, who spends her time being productive despite being in a tiny minority, issued a statement that said,

"I am extremely disappointed by Bank of America's announcement to eliminate more than 1,000 jobs in Cuyahoga County. This decision is incredibly unfortunate, and will have a ripple effect in these workers' families, their neighborhoods, and the community at large.

"I am committed to working with Bank of America and leaders across the region to keep good jobs in Ohio. It is critical that we come together and ensure that these families, our communities, and our state remain strong."

It's looking increasingly like Kasich will have to find something to run on beside the amazing work JobsOhio is doing to bring back the economy.

Maybe expanding women's reproductive choice and making sure they have prenatal and pregnancy care to give birth to healthy babies?


Protecting voter rights?


Making government, including JobsOhio, more transparent?


Supporting workers right to join unions and negotiate better working conditions?


Gee, this is getting tough!

But supporting Ed FitzGerald for governor gets easier every day.

Oh Joshie, We Can't Leave You Alone For a Minute Can We?

Republican Josh Mandel has kept two traffic accidents quiet since becoming Ohio treasurer in 2011 - including one that raises a potential violation of federal campaign finance law.

Oh no! Really????

During the late-night March accident, Mandel was riding in a vehicle owned by his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, months after he'd lost his high-profile bid against Democrat Sherrod Brown. Under federal campaign finance law, Senate campaign property can't be used for personal use or to campaign for a different office, such as treasurer.

Mandel's state treasurer campaign says it rented the vehicle from the federal campaign. The rental check cleared June 30, more than seven months after Mandel had lost the Senate race and almost four months after the accident, which totaled the vehicle.

Well, we know he has a track record for playing fast and loose with campaign finance regulations, which seem to bore him to the point of ignoring them. After all, he's Josh Mandel! He's special.

Perhaps you remember this from November 2011:

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s long-waited federal disclosure statement shows that he and his wife have as much as $7.4 million in assets. Mandel, a first-term Republican and former state legislator, filed the report today, nearly six months after its due date, May 15.

This guy cannot shake his reputation as a weasel. When I Googled this story, I saw that it had gotten coverage as far away as Anchorage Alaska, where they are certainly familiar with weasels (weaselettes?) in public office.

Education "Reform" Dishonesty Keeps Getting Worse

I'd like to say the assaults on public education in Ohio have reached rock bottom. Unfortunately I don't think we're even close yet.

There's been a lot of talk about the new state "report cards" for schools and how badly many schools that seem to be excellent in many respects based on their results are getting dismal grades, thanks to some tricky formulas that seem intended just to make the schools look bad and in need of "reform."

But on the other hand, the "reformers" and some of our office holders in Columbus are real, real invested in seeing charter schools — pretty much a failed experiment that drains public school money — appear to be successful.

Even to the point of this:

"Dropout Recovery charter schools exempt from state report card"

As Innovation Ohio explains, this would be like eliminating the 25% worst performing schools in a district — yet charter schools STILL perform worse than the public schools which are being besieged. Why anyone thinks for-profit charter schools in particular — which fail at a much higher rate than other schools and which divert a huge chunk of our tax dollars away from education into private profit — should exist is baffling, isn't it?

Well, no, it's not.

Innovation Ohio reminds us,

This special treatment of dropout recovery schools was the result of intense lobbying by political financier David Brennan, whose chain of dropout recovery schools – Life Skills Centers — form the bulk of his considerable taxpayer funded Charter School operation. Brennan’s received over $800 million in taxpayer money since 1999 without ever testifying before a legislative committee. That’s apparently what $3 million in campaign contributions buys you these days.

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