Still Here. Just Kickin' Back

Our posting has been light here lately, as the last election cycle is over and the year winds down.

Never fear! We are not abandoning you readers (We have continued to update our Facebook page with relevant headines and story links). It's just that we've been out of town, busy, and need an occasional break. And there's no better time to do that than now, when most people's attention is not yet focused on next year's elections, and even our candidates, who have mostly been out on the road all year, are slowing down a bit.

But we'll be back in the thick of things next year for what is promising to be an interesting, hard-fought and probably close election.

Incredibly, I'm still hearing from the doomsters out there who believe Kasich has the election all locked up and we might as well give up now because Ed FitzGerald is such a shitty candidate and why can't we find a candidate with 90% name recognition and almost as high approval to swoop in and save us?

Please.

We have hard begun to fight and polls are showing either the race almost tied — some have FitzGerald in the lead while others show him eating away at Kasich's margin. And we have hardly begun to fight. People are not paying attention yet. Just wait until they are.

There's been a lot of doomy talk around Eric Kearney. The media loves crap like this. They love to write handwringing pieces about how Fitzgerald's path to election has now gotten so much steeper and ... who's Eric Kearney, most everyone you know is asking?

Right. Precisely. He came and he went. His tax problems were unfortunate and overblown by the media. But he is not going to be remembered come January — few who are not political obsessives will recall that FitzGerald's lieutenant governor pick had to step down because of the fuss surrounding his back taxes.

Inexorable.

Last week, Equality Ohio announced that it was hiring Michael Premo as campaign manager to direct its campaign toward marriage equality. Interestingly, it's a campaign the group has said doesn't quite actually formally exist yet except as a fledgingly educational and outreach effort called "Why Marriage Matters.

According to their email,

Veteran political strategist Michael Premo, who most recently led the successful campaign to win marriage equality in New Jersey, now leads Why Marriage Matters Ohio’s historic efforts to move marriage forward right here in the Buckeye State.

There's more background at Equality Ohio's website, Premo says,

I’m responsible for managing our outstanding team of to ensure that all marriages in Ohio are respected. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the campaign (making sure the lights stay on), I’m working to hone and deliver our message in the press, raise the money we need, and give our organizers all the support they need as they educate the people of Ohio of the importance of allowing all loving and committed couples the freedom to marry.

http://www.whymarriagemattersoh.org/premo

This is good news. Many have pointed to the part about raising money as a key sticking point in the campaign — a campaign that in Ohio has far pre-dated Equality Ohio's involvement.

In fact, that campaign, dubbed FreedomOhio, was launched nearly two years ago now by a couple of political consultants as a grassroots effort. Its volunteers have been on the ground since then, collecting signatures to put the repeal of Ohio's 2004 anti-marriage equality amendment on the ballot and doing exactly the sort of educational work Equality Ohio points to as essential.

https://freedomohio.com/

This is what we've become?...

There is an outdoor, open air shopping center in a suburb of Cleveland called Crocker Park. It's a cheesy place to shop. It's designed to, I guess, give a feeling of shopping in a downtown city area. Its pho architecture could only give the shallowest minded of people an idea that they were anywhere near a community space. Well, for some reason these creators of corporate controlled space have found that people actually want to live in their fake-scape. They are going to build apartments for people to live in their mall.

The owners of Crocker Park have spared no expense in their fakeness stating they will build new fake warehouses to emulate old real warehouses. They're going to make trendy loft apartments for their small minded cheesy clientele. According to the Plain Dealer...

"One of the buildings is designed to evoke the feeling of lofts in a converted warehouse with a water tower on the roof and a floor-to-ceiling glass clock face at one end of the top floor that will be the focal point of someone's apartment."

http://www.cleveland.com/westlake/index.ssf/2013/12/crocker_park_in_west...

WTF?!

Right. Or people could just live downtown in a real loft apartment, with a real water tower, living by real people, surrounded by real old buildings and a real cityscape.

This is what we've become...

GOP claims racism ended with Rosa Parks' bold stand

So apparently the GOP tweeted out that racism ended when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on a bus.

Wow, I hadn't realized that! Someone should tell Trayvon Martin. Oh wait, you can't do that... he's dead.

Huffington Post has the story...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/01/gop-rosa-parks_n_4368211.html

Ed FitzGerald Doomed! Marcia Fudge Won't Support Him!

Well, that's what the doomsters keep telling me. They keep saying the black community won't get behind him, it's a sign of disaster for his campaign that Marcia Fudge hasn't endorsed him yet etc etc.

Hey, what's this in my email box? Hmmmm....

CONGRESSWOMAN MARCIA FUDGE JOINS ED FITZGERALD FOR SPECIAL CAMPAIGN EVENT IN CLEVELAND

CLEVELAND – Tomorrow morning, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge will join Cuyahoga County Executive and Democratic candidate for Governor Ed FitzGerald for a special campaign announcement in Cleveland. Congresswoman Fudge, who has served the greater Cleveland area in Congress since 2008, is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Details of the event are as follows:

WHO:
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald

WHAT:
Special Campaign Announcement

WHERE:
Memorial-Nottingham Library
17109 Lake Shore Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44110

WHEN:
TOMORROW, November 29th 10:00 AM EST

Maybe she's just announcing she's going to loan him some staplers and paper clips from her office. I guess we'll see.

I think one of the things the doomsters aren't getting is just how damned early it is in this campaign. In 2006, we did not come close to having a candidate yet. People take their time and do things in their own way.

And with 33% of the state ticket African-American, there's plenty for that community to get excited about.

Polls differ on who's leading and by how much. But taken together, the bottom line of all the polls is that the governor's race next year is going to be close and hard fought, and nobody — NOBODY — is a "shoo-in" right now. Ed's got just as good a chance of being our next governor as Kasich does of retaining his job. (oh and speaking of jobs, Kasich ... yeah, I know,never mind)

It depends on you and me. So go to his website — donate, volunteer.

http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

Ed FitzGerald & Eric Kearney in Cleveland

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Ed FitzGerald just wrapped up a two-day barnstorming tour of the major Ohio markets, introducing his newly named running mater, state senator Eric Kearney.

They stopped in Cleveland at Laborers' Hall this afternoon where they were greeted enthusiastically by local Democratic activists. Kearney said he got a warmer welcome than he got in Cincinnati, although he was probably joking.

DSC_0405*

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who was in town for an early morning arts forum at the Beck Center in Lakewood and a late morning ceremony honoring John F. Kennedy at the Irish Cultural Garden in Rockefeller Park, stopped by and introduced Ed who introduced his running mate.

MarcyEdEric

Secretary of state candidate Nina Turner was there, and of course, there's no way you want to leave her in the audience — they called her up to join them on stage.

DSC_0468

Here's Ed chatting with activist Wynne Antonio:

EdWynne

Here's the crowd:

DSC_0464

Ed FitzGerald Chooses Kearney

EK-250x300

Ed FitzGerald's campaign sent out an email yesterday about another "big announcement" today in Cincinnati.

But this one turned out not to be an endorsement, but a really early announcement of his running mate. He tapped state senator Eric Kearney from the Cincinnati area.

http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/uncategorized/2013/meet-eric/

By comparison, Ted Strickland announced both his running mates, Lee Fisher in 2006 and Yvette McGee Brown in 2010, in January. (Kasich picked Mary Taylor in January too).

That's in keeping with the Democrats' getting a running head start on next year's campaign; the entire ticket was solidified after John Patrick Carney officially announced his run for state auditor after Labor Day (although it was common knowledge a couple of months prior that he was going for it).

It's an interesting choice, one that seems to be drawing a lot of praise. It means the ticket has two African-Americans out of six candidates. It also includes two women. That's as diverse as an Ohio statewide ticket has ever been. By contrast, the entire GOP ticket — the incumbents — is white men, except for Taylor, and who knows where she is these days. They've pretty much disappeared her. They'll probably trot her out for the campaign.

Also interesting is the geography of the ticket — a radical shift from 2010. That year, five of the six candidates were from Columbus. One — David Pepper, then running for auditor — was from Cincinnati. None was from northeast Ohio, although the U.S. Senate candidate, Lee Fisher, was. And he underperformed most of the ticket in his own home county.

The "abortion is murder" lie & the hypocrisy of some state legislators

I landed in the middle of a thread online about (of all things) boycotting Austin music conference SXSW because of Texas' backward, rightwing policies. It ended with one of a couple of ranting rightwingers proclaiming dogmatically "Abortion is murder!"

Now, from NARAL Pro-Choice ohio, we get this release about an Ohio state legislator who undoubtedly would claim he believes "abortion is murder" because what other possible reason could there be for this other than sheer depraved meanness:

Yesterday, State Representative John Becker (R-Union Twp.) introduced legislation that would ban both public and private health insurance policies (including Medicaid) from covering abortion care and many of the most commonly used forms of contraception. Health insurance plans would only be permitted to cover abortion care in the cases ectopic pregnancies. Insurance coverage for abortion care in the case of rape or incest, fetal anomalies or to protect a woman’s health or life would be illegal.

This legislator wants government to put restrictions on what PRIVATE insurance can cover, no matter what the demand for the service. What could his justification be for such big-government intrusion into private decisions? Well, it would have to be that "abortion is murder," otherwise why would a "small government" Republican want to do this?

On top of this, he wants an exception ONLY for ectopic pregnancies — far from the only situation in which a pregnant woman's life could be in danger.

At least brutally punishing women who have been raped, or are suffering health crisis or might give birth to a severely deformed fetus that has no chance at life is somewhat consistent with this ultra-extreme belief.

Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel Still Looking Vulnerable

ConniePillichLanaMoresky371*
*Our next state treasurer Connie Pillich (left) with Ohio Democratic activist/fundraiser Lana Moresky*

Well. Well. Well. Someone isn't excited about our state treasurer, Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel. A lot of someones actually.

You know that PPP polling I wrote about in my last post?

They also polled the treasurers race. And Connie Pillich continues to lead Mandel.

http://action.ohiodems.org/page/-/PPP_111213_OhioPoll.pdf

Pillich leads Mandel by four points, 47-43. She earns more of the GOP vote, at 18%, than Mandel does of Democrats (12%), part of the reason she holds her party together (85%) considerably more than Mandel does his (72%). Pillich has a 12-point lead with women (50-38), helping to counteract Mandel’s slight lead with men (48-45).

While the numbers are close and there are obviously still a lot of undecideds, I don't think I'd like to be in Mandel's position. It seems like in all the previous polls we've seen, including last year's Senate race, that the more name recognition Mandel gains, the more people disapprove of him. To know him is to not like him.

If I were Mandel (and thank goodness I'm not), I wouldn't be too comforted by having Connie as my opponent. She's more dynamic, more energetic, a much better speaker, has clearer and more appealing positions on issues, and she has more military experience and a higher rank.

That means he's got to find something to build his campaign around other than "I was a Marine." Based on his record, you know what that's going to be: his old reliables — smear and lies.

Want Kasich Gone? Three Ohio Women Leaders Host Columbus Fundraiser for Ed FitzGerald Sunday

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This week, Public Policy Polling (PPP) released the results of their latest polling of the Ohio governor's race. It shows our governor, Taxin' John Kasich tied with Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald 41-41.

http://action.ohiodems.org/page/-/PPP_111213_OhioPoll.pdf

Like PPP's last poll of the race in August, which had FitzGerald with a slight lead at 38/35 with a huge number of undecideds, it showed a competitive race too close to call.

http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/08/kasich-approval-down-oh-...

FitzGerald is still relatively unknown. The race is a year away, plenty of time for people to feel the sting of Kasich's policies and for more scandal to ooze out of JobsOhio, as it inevitably will.

And while some in the state media are making a big deal out of how this poll was commissioned by the Ohio Democratic Party, PPP has a track record of accuracy and what it's showing intuitively feels right: that right now, there is no clear leader in this race and anything could happen. There's little to back up the doomsters, like the person (a Democrat) who announced online last week that Kasich was a "shoo-in" for reelection. That's bunk. Clearly, no one is a "shoo-in."

The poll also showed a drop of five points of approval for Kasich, although the doomsters like to fixate on the old June poll that showed his approval in temporary resurgence.

So here's the thing of it: as things look now, either Kasich or FitzGerald could win next November. That means we have work to do — lots of it — unless we want a governor who will continue attacks on women, voters, labor, taxpayers, public schools, local governments, and government transparency and accountability.

Marcia Fudge & Colleagues to Announce Bill to Protection Women's Reproductive Freedom

Tomorrow, Wednesday November 13, Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, two of her House colleagues, and three U.S. Senators will be holding a press conference in Washington to announce the Women's Health Protection Act.

Maybe it should be called the "Stop Politicians From Practicing Medicine Act."

So are all the Republicans screaming about getting government out of health care going to support this?

Uh — no. I don't think so.

According to the press release,

The Women’s Health Protection Act would protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion by preempting restrictive regulations and laws—such as those in place in states including Texas and Wisconsin—intended to curtail reproductive health services for women. This legislation would prohibit laws that impose burdensome requirements on access to women’s health such as requiring doctors to perform tests and procedures that doctors deemed unnecessary in their professional opinion.

Yay! Not allowing politicians to dictate what tests and procedures a woman should have simply to shame and inconvenience her because she doesn't adhere to your ideology? Priceless!

Not that this is going anywhere for now. John Boehner will be locking his office doors. He's not going to allow this anywhere near the floor of the House, no how, no way. Just one more reason we have to work our butts off to take back the House next year, even though it's a long shot.

Meanwhile, if you are in the Cleveland area, come out to the First Unitarian Church in Shaker Heights next Tuesday November 19 at 7 pm. The Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus is hosting a panel of the ACLU/Preterm challenge to the anti-choice legislation that's been passed by our legislature and signed by our governor.

Go here for more info and to RSVP. It's free and open to all.

http://www.cuyahogadwc.org/id5.html

Ohio Labor: Celebrating and Looking Ahead

Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the landslide repeal of John Kasich's signature initiative, SB 5.

Just as he blindsided us by ramming the bill through his compliant legislature almost immediately after getting elected, despite never making limiting union negotiating right part of his campaign, we blindsided him by repealing his bill by a 22 point margin.

This week, we dotted the "i" by turning out of office some of the most vocal supporters of this bill, which purported to give local governments a "tool" to balance their budgets in light of the destructive cuts he was soon to reveal to them. That "tool" involved being able to cut wages and benefits for public workers, including firefighters, police officers, and teachers, without their input.

It would have exacerbated the economic problems Ohio is currently facing by shrinking the amount of money flowing through the middle class communities of which such workers are the backbone.

The biggest victory was the defeat of Toledo's mayor, Michael Bell, a former firefighter who stabbed his brothers in the back.

Kasich has a sad about this.

http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2013/11/08/Governor-pledges-to-work-...

{{{sniff sniff boo hoo hoo}}}

According to the Toledo Blade,

Governor Kasich said he had not “spent time going over statistics” to determine if Senate Bill 5 contributed to Mayor Bell’s loss Tuesday.

We'll help him. Yes, it did. Not that Kasich is particularly reflective or open to anything that conflicts with his ideology. He just shuts it out.

And this is hilarious:

Asked whether Senate Bill 5 would be an issue in his own re-election campaign next year, Mr. Kasich said: “I would hope in the election next year that the campaign is about issues and not what we’ve been able to see in the past.”

Newsflash, Kasich: SB is what you call an "issue." A BIIIIIG issue.

Defying the Cruelsters, Sherrod Brown Advocates for Social Security Expansion

One of the more depressing themes of the last couple of years is the rise of the fake narrative that the national debt and the deficit are the most looming threats to our very existence, and if we don't start slashing programs that benefit ordinary working people, the country will be (or in some particularly malign Fox "News" narratives, already is) "bankrupt."

And the cruelest and most depraved members of Congress — looking at you, Paul Ryan — have advocated getting the rapidly falling national debt (it does that when fiscally responsible Democrats are in office) under control by slashing "entitlements", like Social Security.

Social Security is a separate fund and not part of the national budget. If it were eliminated entirely (and don't think there aren't some particularly sociopathic Republicans that would like to see this happen — looking at you, Ted Cruz), it would have no impact on that.

A constant them of the last several years has been "Omigod, Obama's going to placate the Republicans with cuts to Social Security." I get these "Sign the petition!!!!!" emails on a regular basis. Most of the proposals revolve around something called "chained CPI," which links cost-of-living increases to an index of inflation that has little relevance to seniors, and raising the age to collect Social Security.

Both are terrible ideas that would increase poverty among the elderly, but both are being presented as sane, "centrist" solutions.

Now along comes a small group of Senators who have dubbed "liberal" proposing something supported by a majority of Americans and therefore genuinely "centrist": increasing Social Security.

Our senator Sherrod Brown is among these voices.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/11/05/liberal-push...

He told the Washington Post's Greg Sargent,

A Good Night Last Night in Ohio

With only the scantest handful of exceptions, every candidate I knew or was rooting for won last night.

Statewide, the picture looked great for Democrats going into next year's elections.

One bellwether was the loss – by a fairly substantial margin — of Toledo's execrable mayor, Michael Bell, in "independent."

This race was interesting because four candidates were in the nonpartisan primary, and both Democrats lost, leaving only Bell and fellow independent Michael Collins.

Bell's lost was significant not just because he had the backing of the local Republican party, not just because he had cozied up to Kasich but because of his strong support for SB 5, which voters repealed by a better than 60-40 margin.He called it "crucial for our survival." Obviously, it was "crucial" for his political survival — but in the opposite way from what he claimed.

Another Kasich buddy went down in Cuyahoga Falls, the northside suburb of Akron. Thirty-year mayor Don Robart was ejected from official, narrowly defeated by councilman Dpn Walters.

Robart didn't just enthusiastically support SB 5, calling it "unbelievably good," and "one of the best pieces of legislation I've seen in my 27 years on city council," but laughably called Kasich "the best governor we've had in my lifetime." (He's obviously prone to hyperbole).

He's not the most open-minded, progressive dude anyway. He came off like a fuddy-duddy, and made his town seem lost in time, when he expressed a fear a couple of years ago that the town was being overrun by kids wearing black and sporting piercings.

You'll hear a lot of cynics and doomsters on our side wail about voters' "short memories" and how SB 5 is already forgotten and won't be a factor next year. Bell's loss says it will be. If the rightwingers succeed in getting right to work for less on the ballot, it will be an even bigger issue and fuel Kasich's potential defeat. Altogether now: awwwwwwwwww.

ENDA is on a roll in the U.S. Senate: Portman Votes to Proceed

The issue of the last day or two is ENDA: a bill that would prevent workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the last 24 hours, I've gotten emails from Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Tammy Baldwin, Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, and Jeff Merkley supporting it (Yeah, I'm on a lot of mailing lists).

And this evening it passed the procedural vote to let debate proceed — the place where Republicans have been blocking most of the business of the last several years with their pretend filibusters — will support from eight Republican senators, in addition to all Democrats.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/04/enda-vote_n_4214682.html

One of them was Rob Portman, for which we Ohioans should say a big "thank you."

Of course, we don't know how he — or his seven GOP colleagues — will vote on the final bill later this week.

Unfortunately, we do know what will happen in the largely useless House. John Boehner has already said that he's against it because of "frivolous lawsuits" that might cost businesses money. Well, they could always try not discriminating. This means he probably won't even bring it up for a vote because in what world is Congress actually expected to vote on anything?

People like Boehner and his fellow Republicans who aren't happy unless they are allowed to discriminate against someone are likely to get run over in the next couple of years.

The movement toward marriage equality is gaining momentum. That makes failing to protect LGBT people from being fired for their sexual orientation look even more petty and out of date. Boehner and his crew are on the wrong side of history, and I think we will see the results of that in next year's elections.

Dispatch's Joe Hallett Thinks Mandel "Could Be in for a Battle." Let's Make It Happen!

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2013/11/03/1-mandel-c...

In today's Columbus Dispatch, editorial columnist opines that Democratic candidate for treasurer Connie Pillich could give incumbent Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel a tough race next year because she "has a sense of humor, a military record to match Mandel’s, and she is a very determined woman."

He points out correctly that "Mandel has made himself a flashpoint for controversy."

Mandel gained a lot of name recognition in his campaign for U.S. Senate last year against Sherrod Brown. But he gained just as much disapproval. It seems like each additional person who learned who he was was another person who didn't like him.

Throughout that campaign, he just couldn't stop himself from lying. He earned a record combined 11 "falses" and "paints on fires" from the Cleveland Plain Dealer's PolitiFact feature. When he wasn't lying, he was trying to dodge the public and the press.

Connie Pillich doesn't dodge anyone.

And throughout 2012, when he was campaigning for the Senate, Mandel's absences from the treasurer's office on days when most public officials whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers are working were frequent; he was usually out of state at a high-dollar fundraiser. His disinterest in the work of the treasurer's office merely continued from the previous year when he missed every single board of deposit meeting, the monthly meeting where treasurer's office officials decide where to invest our money. You'd think he'd be curious to drop in at just one. Apparently not.

As Hallett says, "He spent about 10 minutes in the treasurer’s office before deciding he wanted to be a U.S. senator." So his eye was on a bigger prize, not in doing good work as treasurer so that he'd have credentials for higher office.

Kasich Continues His Creep Toward JobsOhioGate

Well, isn’t this special?

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2013/11/ohio_states_50_million_i...

“Ohio State’s $50 million investment in Mark Kvamme came despite concerns from top official”

Our governor’s idea to privatize the state department of development and create shiny new miracle agency JobsOhio has been plagued by missteps and questionable ideas/actions from the start.

From his dubious idea to fund it by leasing the profits from the state liquor agency, to his choice to lead it of out-of-state crony Mark Kvamme who had to bow out because he was ineligible, to his pushing the legislature to pass a quickie bill putting its books off limits to the state auditor, JobsOhio has produced one ominous headline after another — or would have if most of these state’s newspapers cared as much about massive potential corruption in the governor’s office as they care about little diddly things some local Democrat did.

Oh, and apparently, it’s not creating jobs — Kasich’s number one campaign promise. Jobs, jobs and nothing but jobs. Ha.

Now of course, there’s more. And this is an even more depressing story, given the rising cost of higher education and the state’s steady disinvestment in it. And Kvamme’s back with his hand out to accept our tax dollars again!

In yet another incident of dubious cronyism, Kvamme’s new venture capital firm came to THE Ohio State University looking for it to invest some of its money in a venture other university officials recommended against because it was unproven. But the wheels were set in motion to do it anyway by another of Kasich’s good buddies, former THE OSU president Gordon Gee. (Remember Kasich’s 2012 state of the state free-associative word extrusion he called a speech, in which he mentioned Gee 13 times?)

And even more dubiously, Kvamme was still the head of JobsOhio when he came to THE OSU to open conversations about potential donation to his fund.

DeWine Continues to Waste Tax Money Taking Away People's Rights

Apparently our attorney general Mike DeWine doesn't get that he's supposed to be the lawyer for ALL of Ohio's citizens, the way his predecessor Rich Cordray so doggedly was.

He doesn't seem to realize that women, LGBT people, and voters pay the taxes he's squandering to advocate against their rights.

We all know he's been a good partner to secretary of voter suppress .... I mean STATE ... Jon Husted to trying to limit voting opportunities.

He's diligently pursued the "right" of private employers to deny women contraceptive coverage if it offends their sense of patriarchy, disguised as "religious beliefs."

He tried to prevent the state of Ohio from recognizing the marriage in another state of a dying man and his partner who just wanted their relationship to be a matter of record.

Now there's this:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/10/30/1030-ohio-joins...

"In brief to Supreme Court, DeWine backs abortion limit"

He's joined an appeal of a federal court decision that overturned an Arizona law that banned abortion after 20 weeks.

In fact, this is the cruelest ban, and the exact place government should butt out, since virtually all of these abortions are due to tragic medical circumstances. Government should have zero say in these late-term abortions.

Could Ohio GOP Congressional Districts Be Vulnerable Next Year?

The gerrymander following the 2010 census — the redistricting directed by consultants working for John Boehner — divved up Ohio’s 16 congressional districts into four safely Democratic districts, 11 safely Republican districts, and Ohio-14.

Ohio-14 in the northeastern corner of the state is Ohio’s only real swing district. For ten years, it was represented by the invincibly popular Steve LaTourette, who retired in January. Now it’s represented by anonymous first-termer David Joyce who’s trying to pull the old LaTourette shtick of looking like a moderate and voting like a conservative.

He’s got a strong challenger in Democrat Michael Wager. If you are looking for a race to support where your money could make a different, this is a good one to take a look at.

http://www.michaelwagerforohio.com/

Now polling done by respected pollsters PPP for progressive advocacy group MoveOn is suggesting more Republican-dominated districts may be in play.

Dare we dream?

It’s claiming that Oh-01 (Steve Chabot), Ohio-10 (Mike “Who?” Turner), Oh-15 (slimy bank lobbyist Steve Stivers) and Oh-16 (the execrable Jim Renacci) could be flippable.

http://front.moveon.org/polls-of-61-districs-show-dems-could-win-sizable...

Except for Turner, each of these congressmen has a disapproval at least ten points higher than his approval. Turner's approval is one point higher than his disapproval, and the polling shows him four points ahead, so he's in the best shape. The polling puts Chabot a couple of points ahead of a generic Democrat and has both Stivers and Renacci trailing.

Steve LaTourette's Hopeless Job: Promoting Republican "Moderates"

Steve LaTourette was the inexplicably popular congressman from Ohio’s 14th district — the state’s northeast corner — for a decade.

Last summer, he suddenly announced his retirement from Congress and his withdrawal from the 2012 ballot.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/retiring-rep-steve-la...

He complained that Congress had become too extreme and said,

I have reached the conclusion that the atmosphere today and the reality that exists in the House of Representatives no longer encourages the finding of common ground.

Well, duh.

There was much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth over at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, especially from columnist Brent Larkin who’s made a career of strewing LaTourette’s path with rose petals.

LaTourette was never actually any sort of “moderate.” He was a solid conservative. But he was correct that the ground was shifting under him, and his party was becoming more extreme.

Apparently, LaTourette wants to keep tilting at the same windmills, only outside of Congress and probably with better pay.

He’s now president and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a job he landed in immediately after leaving Congress. Its mission is as follows:

The Republican Main Street Partnership was founded in 1993 to promote thoughtful leadership in the Republican Party and to develop and advocate for pragmatic common sense solutions to the challenges our country faces.

JobsOhio Not a Raging Success, Says Policy Research Group. Go Figure!

I downloaded and have been perusing a study just released by D.C.-based policy research Group Good Jobs First titled "Creating Scandals Instead of Jobs.'

Oh my. It doesn't contain much good news for Ohio about John Kasich's alleged job-creating miracle entity JobsOhio.

The group, whose mission is "to make economic development subsidies more accountable and effective," finds that JobsOhio is not doing that. Who would have guessed!

Download and read for yourself:

http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/scandalsnotjobs

Subtitled 'The Failures of privatized State Economic development Agencies," the report is a followup to one they did in 2011 that warned about the potential for lack of transparency and corruption in such "public private partnerships." It finds that these agencies are fulfilling that potential.

They begin,

Three years ago, newly elected governor in several states, most notably Wisconsin and Ohio, decided that the best way to create jobs was to transfer economic development business-recruitment functions to "public-provate partnerships." The experiments in privatization have, by and large, become costly failures.

They continue,

We concluded in 2011, as our title suggested, that the real agenda behind these PPPs was not to make economic development efforts more effective but rather to more tightly concentrate the control over—and credit for— job creation events in the hands of governors and their appointees.

NO! Really?

The study dissects five such agencies, in Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, and of course, Ohio. It opens with five and a half damning pages outlining the mess that John Kasich created which, says Good Jobs First, "has been plagued by accountability and transparency problems since the start."

Cats Unhappy With Obamacare, Says Congressman Darrell Issa (R, of course-Ca)

Darrell Issa has an obsession. As head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he's going to find something —anything — damning on President Obama. Even if he has to make it up, which he pretty much has so far. Benghazi! Baeghazi!

Apparently he doesn't remember what happened the last time Republicans pulled this, back in the ’90s. Bill Clinton became the most popular politician on Earth.

Noe he's spending his time and our tax dollars posting pictures of cats (as in "felines") who are unhappy with Obamacare. Yes, you can see this on his official, taxpayer-funded website:

http://issa.house.gov/district-blog/2013/10/8-cats-who-called-1-800-obam...

This has really taken the right wing attacks on the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare to new comedic lows, although the cats are cute, as cats always are. But cats don't give a shit about Obamacare. Just get that can of Fancy Feast in the bowl ASAP.

Republicans are so desperate to sink this program, despite its benefit to millions of Americans and to the economy, that they'll do and say anything, even co-opt man's and woman's best friend.

Right now they're flogging the idea that because the website rollout was glitchy, then the entire underlying program must stink. Funny. They didn't say that when Medicare Part D, a Bush program, rolled out in 2005 — and Internet access was a screwed-up mess.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/11/the-last-time...

When it comes to car-stealing, probable arsonist Darrell Issa, we here in Ohio can be grateful for one thing. He's not ours anymore!

Born in Cleveland and raised in Cleveland Heights where he dropped out of high school he fortunately removed himself to California in 1985, only three years after this incident, described in WikiPedia:

Far Right Legislators, "Right to Life" Groups File Lawsuit Against Medicaid Expansion

How predictable. How disgraceful. And when it comes to these "right to life" groups how revealingly hypocritical.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/10/22/Medicaid-tax-cu...

They say the state Controlling Board, which passed the expansion yesterday, has no authority to do so. The four state reps filing the suit are a clown car full of extremists: Ron Young, Ron Hood, John Becker, and Matt Lynch. For many years, Lynch had a big sign in front of his house on Rte 306 in Chagrin Falls which he changed periodically to carry different anti-Obamacare messages. The guy is a dedicated crusader against giving people access to affordable health care.

Hood and Young have been in the forefront of stripping women of their freedom. Becker is the guy who wanted to impeach the judge who ruled that a man's marriage to his dying partner could be legally recognized in Ohio (By the way, we got word earlier today the man's partner just died. I'm sure Becker won't be fondly discussed at the funeral).

And then there's the "right to life" groups. While Ohio Right to Life actually Medicaid expansion, Right to Life Cleveland and Right to Life Cincinnati have jumped right into the fray, exposing them as the woman-hating baby killers they are.

Baby killers, you ask? Yes, baby killers.

This expansion covers single adults with incomes up to 138% of the "official" poverty level. This group includes many pregnant women — who will now have access to prenatal care. And prenatal care is the most effective way of preventing premature births. And premature births are one of the main factors in infant mortality.

Baby killers.

Of course they're saying ABORTION ABORTION. Because apparently these self-described "Christians" don't take the commandment about bearing false witness seriously.

Controlling Board Votes to Expand Medicaid. Will Legislature Add a Poison Pill?

By a 5-2 vote today, the controlling board voted for the expansion of Medicaid that Governor Kasich was requesting.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/10/21/Medicaid-expans...

Don't crack out the champagne and start the toasts yet. Read the article at the link above.

You can find the poison pill at the very top, in the second sentence.

Ending months of debate, a legislative oversight panel approved spending $2.56 billion in federal money today to expand Medicaid coverage to about 275,000 low-income Ohioans. 

Almost immediately after the bipartisan 5-2 vote, Senate Republicans said they planned to use the expansion to offer a $400 million income tax cut, about 4 percent, with money largely coming from Ohio hospitals that would see additional federal funds from the expansion.

I don't know what that sounds like to you. But to me it sounds similar to the fast one they played with the Lottery. Remember how it was going to produce all this new money for education? And remember how the state then took away money from the general fund to make up for the new money so schools didn't really gain anything at all?

It sounds like they are proposing to subtract state aid from hospitals in proportion to the new money they get from Medicaid. And maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't more patients mean more demand for services — and higher costs? The Medicaid expansion would cover the new patients but now are these hospitals going to be struggling to serve the patients they already have?

So instead of upgrading the health services the state can provide, it appears our legislature wants to convert this new federal money into tax cuts for the wealthiest Ohioans — since income tax cuts benefit middle class and average working people very little — using hospitals as pass-throughs. That's both reckless and inhumane.

Josh Mandel's Buddy Ben Suarez Turns on Him — Says Mandel Is Not a "Person of Very Good Character"

You know what they say about "no honor among thieves"?

Ben Suarez is showing us what that means in Ohio Republican politics, which has no shortage of thieves.

You remember Ben Suarez of Canton's Suarez Corporation, Josh Mandel's good buddy who raised buckets and buckets of cash for him, and is now under federal indictment because his fundraising scheme may have been illegal?

We wrote about this here:

http://ohiodailyblog.com/content/josh-mandel-—-name-sure-become-synonymous-corruption-ohio

And here:

http://ohiodailyblog.com/content/josh-mandel-going-flames%3F

And here:

http://www.ohiodailyblog.com/content/josh-mandel-—-royal-screw

Mandel has already returned the cash — under some pressure — and claimed he knew nothing about the dubious circumstances of its origin. Recent stories have cast doubt on that.

Now Suarez is claiming it's all Mandel's fault, and he doesn't really know Mandel, and doesn't like him anyway (join the club!)

http://www.ohio.com/news/local/ben-suarez-says-he-and-employees-were-vic...

Suarez told the Akron Beacon Journal he has "no relationship" with Mandel or with Congressman Jim Renacci, the other recipient of enormous sums of Cash from him and his employees. Yeah, he just happened to shower each of them with more than $100,000 in donations in a couple of days because he barely knew who they were.

Additionally:

In fact, he said he probably wouldn’t even cast a vote for Mandel, who currently is state treasurer.

“I just don’t consider him to be a person of very good character,” Suarez said of Mandel.

News flash!!!

Most of us came to that conclusion years ago,. But most of us didn't make a donation to his campaign, let alone serve as a conduit for over $100,000 in donations to this "person of not very good character."

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