Erick Trickey's excellent article on Michael Brelo - ...

Journalism as I remember it - - Erick Trickey has been on a roll as of late producing some very thoughtful in-depth articles. I wish I had more time to highlight them. His latest article is on Michael Brelo. Don't know who Michael Brelo is? The article (link provided below) will explain in complete detail. It starts off...

"The voice squawked from the police radio, terse and staccato, a mix of alarm and calm.

"Old Chevy just popped a round as he passed by the mobile support, Justice Center. Westbound on Superior. Old Chevy."

It was seven hours into Cleveland policeman Michael Brelo's patrol shift on Nov. 29, 2012. At 10:31 p.m., driving north on West 25th Street, he heard the transmission from downtown, switched on his lights and sirens and hit the gas. He and his partner for the night, Cynthia Moore, sped past the West Side Market toward the Detroit-Superior Bridge.

"Two black males. Shots fired," the radio voice reported. "Popped a round right as he drove by us."

Though only age 28, Brelo had spent five years as a Cleveland police officer."

Please consider reading the entire article found here:
http://www.clevelandmagazine.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=E73ABD6180B44874871A...

You can follow Erick Trickey here: https://twitter.com/ericktrickey

Pretty much any thoughtful intelligent person would find his article worth reading. It's also the kind of article all journalist should be writing if they really cared about journalism. It's certainly not worthless click-bait shit about key card swipes that the bots at NEOMG seem to get their jollies writing about.

Plunderbund scoops stories on Ohio Right to Life's protected relationship with Kasich Admin -...

Plunderbund (www.plunderbund.com) has two good articles on the Kasich administration's stonewalling public records requests. The public records requests filed by Ohio NARAL Pro-Choice could reveal preferential treatment by the administration to Ohio Right to Life. In the first article John Michael Spinelli writes...

"The news Tuesday that NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation filed an amended mandamus action in the Ohio Supreme Courtasking that the Court order the Ohio Department of Health to produce public records revealing the extent to which the department has been working with the special-interest group Ohio Right to Life to restrict Ohio women’s access to reproductive health care likely didn’t bring smiles to the second-term governor or his administration."

Link: http://www.plunderbund.com/2015/01/06/pubic-records-linking-kasich-admin...

The second article written by David Dewitt touches on a subject I had written about all of the summer of 2014. And that is the very strange and close relationship the Kasich administration has with the Northeast Ohio Media Group (NEOMG). David Dewitt writes...

"The email exchange reveals that ORTL was able to obtain records from the ODH in real time, publishing them 3 hours later online, culminating in a Plain Dealer story just one day later, on Aug. 1, before the clinics themselves had even received via U.S. postage the ODH letters regarding adjudication of their own administrative hearings."

Link: http://www.plunderbund.com/2015/01/06/ohio-right-to-life-appears-to-get-...

Chris Redfern's final ODP email filled with lies and half-truths - ...

On December 31, 2014 Chris Redfern sent out his last email from the Ohio Democratic Party. It was his farewell message, I guess. It continued his delusion that the Ohio Democratic Party enjoyed great success under his tenure. He starts off with...

"Over the last nine years, I have had the honor of leading one of the great political organizations not just of our state, but our country. The Ohio Democratic Party remains one of the strongest state parties in the nation, respected by our colleagues and feared by political adversaries."

The part "one of the strongest state parties in the nation", I guess this could be one of the explanations Democrats got shellacked nationwide. Also, "feared by political adversaries". Is he kidding? I think it's more like barely acknowledged by adversaries.

He then goes on...

"When I became chairman in December 2005, the ODP had fewer than 10 employees, and we hadn't won a statewide election in years. But with hard work, generous donors, and the best political team anywhere, we won and won again."

Does having tons of staffers really matter? It really doesn't seem to, I mean the party hasn't won anything on its own in years. And the part about "won and won again". Won what? Delusional.

We then get to the lies and half-truths...

"We elected the president twice with 50% of the vote and elected a senator twice. We won four new congressional seats and gained a majority of GOP drawn seats in the State House. That is something that has never been achieved by ODP, ever. At the same time, our friend Governor Strickland was swept to victory in 2006 and Senate Bill 5 was repealed with record turnout. Thank you for helping make history!"

The Ohio Democratic Party elected the President and US Senator twice. Two federal elections - - one with a nationwide presence.

Sure.

Same to you Sheila Bair - ...

Sheila Bair (R), former FDIC Chair New Year's wish...

Thanks, Ms Bair. And Happy New Year to you too.

NBC's Meet the Press features Ken Blackwell as panelist

Good gravy, in the continuing death of any decent political debate in this country NBC's Meet the Press show featured Ken Blackwell as a panelist for their "serious" roundtable discussion.

Ken Blackwell - who as Ohio Secretary of State thought it was a good idea to serve as Co-Chair for George W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.

Ken Blackwell - who then used his authority as Secretary of State to disenfranchise voters by stating voter registration forms had to be on a specific weight of paper. (80-pound stock). Made it as hard as possible to count provisional ballots. Oversaw a presidential election that had unusually long lines to vote. And in the end made Ohio a laughingstock when it came to elections.

Ken Blackwell - who lost to Ted Strickland by over 20 points in his bid for governor in 2006.

Ken Blackwell - who George W. Bush called a "nut" according to Bob Woodward in his book State of Denial.

Ken Blackwell - who recently blamed a mass shooting on gay marriage. http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/05/29/pundit-who-blamed-ucsb-mass-murd...

Good gravy Meet the Press, why didn't you all just fill out the panel with other thoughtful intellectuals like Orly Taitz. There's a reason why I and so many others stopped watching the show after Tim Russert passed.

Here's David & Nina on their vision going forward

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
— Harriet Beecher Stowe

This is a defining moment in the history of the Ohio Democratic Party, and the decision we make on Tuesday will set in motion the path for our future. We get it. We know how important this decision is and how much work needs to be done in order for us to restore confidence, rebuild our infrastructure and win elections.

Individually and as a team, we’ve both had the honor of being elected to office and serving our communities, and are proud of results we’ve delivered in our years of service. And as candidates, we’ve been to every corner of this great state -- from union halls in Parma and Rossford, churches in Dayton and Columbus, coffee shops in Akron, and VFW halls in Marietta -- to the brick streets of Athens, picnic shelters in Hillsboro and Sandusky, the homes of supporters in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo -- and so many other incredible places in between.

We’ve had the opportunity to learn, to listen, and to grow, as officeholders, candidates, as Democrats and as Ohioans, and it’s each one of these experiences that serve as our inspiration and motivation to use our collective talents and resources to lift our Party to the next level. And we are humbled by the strong support we have received in our quest to lead the party.

Leading the Ohio Democratic Party, our number one responsibility and goal will be to win elections.

Here's Sharen Neuhardt's withdrawal letter.

Dear Fellow Democrat:
Since November 4, Democrats around this state have been engaging in spirited conversations about the future of our party and how best to move us forward and take the Ohio Democratic Party to the next level. I have been proud to be part of that conversation, along with David Pepper, Janet Carson, Antoinette Wilson, and Bob Hagan, the four other fine candidates who expressed an interest in being the next Chair of the party. We have participated in listening tour meetings held throughout the state, including two held yesterday in Dayton and Cincinnati, and there have been countless personal conversations and emails about the best way forward for our party.
Each of the five candidates for party Chair has written about his or her vision for the party, and our statements are in large part perfectly consistent with what we have been hearing on the listening tours and from fellow Democrats, including each of you on the Executive Committee. Just yesterday, David Pepper and Nina Turner released a statement of their vision, which I thought was an extraordinary document.
Apart from our vision, however, I have also wanted to discuss why the party desperately needs to adopt good governance policies – the kind of governance policies that any well-respected business or nonprofit entity would have had in place for years, but which the ODP has neglected to adopt. As a result, we hear again and again about situations like these:
Over the last several years, contracts for consulting, campaign, and other services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars being entered into between the party and companies owned directly or indirectly by party officials or members of the Executive Committee.
The party being burdened with nearly $2.0 million of debt that few, if any, Executive Committee members even knew exists.

Sharen Neuhardt Withdraws From Party Chair Race

With the executive committee election for a new Ohio Democratic Party chair taking place in Columbus tomorrow, it looks like David Pepper is a lock to be new ODP chair. The other primary contender, Sharen Neuhardt, has withdrawn from consideration.

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/15/david-pepper-ex...

While some Democrats have grumbled that both David and Sharen lost their races in November and hence should not be considered, that standard pretty much eliminated every potential Democrat since the year was a bad one for Democrats across the country. In fact, both Sharen, who was Ed FitzGerald's lieutenant governor running mate, and David, who ran for attorney general against Mike DeWine, worked tirelessly, crisscrossing the state and getting to know voters, activists and party leaders. Both were strong candidates for chair. Hopefully Sharen will remain involved on some level.

I'm sure the usual complainers and whiners will announce they are now dropping out because the party is doomed, it's time for those who really care about Ohio's future to step up and let the new chair know what they consider to be the priorities and to let him know what they will contribute to make their goals a reality.

Obviously, for me, women's issues and fair election issues — ending gerrymandering and voter suppression — are primary, as well as economic issues, a top priority for probably most Ohioans. Lots of people have talked about the lack of economic opportunity, the lack of living-wage jobs, shrinking salaries, job loss — all the things Kasich lied his way back into office about. It's up to the Democrats to really slam it to Kasich and rip away his false front of caring about ordinary people even while he dumps more and more of the cost of government on them in order to reward his wealthy friends.

Here's More Good News from Our Clown Car Legislature

In my previous post I mentioned anti-woman extremist Matt Lynch of Geauga County and how — after the Heartbeat Bill failed to gain the needed momentum as a stand-alone bill in the last few weeks — he tried to stuff it into a bill on infant mortality.

The ploy failed.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, writes:

After a series of sneaky maneuvers during lame duck session, including trying to hijack a measure to combat infant mortality, the Ohio House rejected the Heartless Abortion Ban. Although we are elated that this dangerous bill has failed to be enacted again, the games that anti-choice politician have been playing have had a chilling effect on Ohio women and their physicians. ”

Sadly, we know that defeat of this legislation is not the end of the threat to women’s health. Anti-choice forces already have more restrictions on access to reproductive health care ready for introduction when the legislature returns in January. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and our supports will continue to stand up for the rights of Ohioans to make their own reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians.

These misogynists are ruthless in their contempt for women and their determination to restrict women's lives and drive more women and children into poverty — and incidentally probably increase the already appalling infant mortality rate, which has reached third-world proportions in some parts of Ohio. Keep in mind — these anti-choice restrictions primarily working and poor woman. Affluent women will still be able to choose — to go to another state or even another country if something like the Heartbeat Bill, which bans abortion as early as six weeks, is passed. So in a real sense, trying to insert the Heartbeat Bill into a bill to address infant mortality is a conflict of purposes.

Ohio Legislature Agrees on Something Good, Finally

I just am having a hard time keeping up with the crap that's going on in the lame duck session of the legislature — and the emphasis really should be on "lame."

There's the usual assaults on public education, beyond depressing, which you can keep up with by following Greg Mild over at Plunderbund.

http://www.plunderbund.com/author/greg/

So far, they've dropped the minimum wage scale for teachers and replaced it with ....? Because you know paying teachers $18,000 a year is going to accomplish their alleged goal of having an excellent teacher in every classroom. They've followed up by dropping requirements for schools to have a certain number of support personnel like school nurses, librarians, counselors, social workers and art and music teachers claiming this gives districts "flexibility." Yes, "flexibility" to deal with the legislature's and Governor Kasich's heartless and destruction slashing of education funding by providing fewer resources for their kids. And of course the districts that will be forced to support these positions will be the poorer ones where the kids need them most to even remotely dream of being competitive with their more affluent peers.

Then there's the cynical action taken by teabagger Matt Lynch who likes to advertise his mean-spirited, inhumane, far-right opinions on a big display sign in front of his house out on Route 306 near route 422 if you really need to have a look. He's managed to corrupt a bill on infant and early childhood mortality —the high rate of which is the shame of this state — by trying to insert the Heartbeat aka the Heartless Bill into it. The utter amorality of people like Lynch — who love to front as "Christians" but are nothing recognizable as such — is shown in the fact that if they cannot get what they want by being upfront and honest, they sneak around and try to trick and deceive people.

Who Does Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Work For?

If you answered “the people of Ohio,” guess again.

States attorneys general are often called “the lawyer for the people.” But in Ohio and way too many states where Republican attorneys general hold office, the correct answer is “unofficial counsel for big corporate interests.”

Yeah, I know — big surprise.

But the extent to which AGs like Mike DeWine go to bat for the interests of big-money corporate donors over the interests of the citizens who elected them is shocking and dispiriting.

In an article in the New York Times this weekend called “Energy Firms in Secret Alliance With Attorneys General, writer Eric Lipton lays out just how completely bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry Republican AGs are. He tracks how a giant flood of money from these interests and others elected an unprecedented 27 incoming GOP AGs, almost all of them coming into office to use tax dollars and the power of the office to front for frackers and coal plant operators, among others.

Worse, they are coordinating across the state lines to push an ideological agenda focused on trying to cripple anything President Obama does or has done, whether it’s on health care or immigration or environmental regulations. Under the banner of “states right,” this coalition is looking to destroy the power of the federal government to act on behalf of citizens and increase their own power to act on behalf of corporations.

And near the top of the money list, according to the NY Times, is our very own Mike DeWine, the second largest AG beneficiary of fossil fuel industry money among AG candidates in the 2014 election cycle. He was second only to Ken Patton, who won office in Texas in November.

PIcking a New Democratic Chair

On December 16, the executive committee of the Ohio Democratic Party will gather in Columbus and elect a new state chair.

If you haven’t been following the situation, Chris Redfern, who was recently reelected as ODP chair, offered his resignation following the election in November in which Democrats lost all statewide races and Redfern lost his own seat in the legislation to a man who was recently indicted. Although I think the people blaming Redfern entirely for the losses are off the mark — he had his strengths and shortcomings — it was an appropriate move and he deserves thanks for understanding that it provides the party a chance to start afresh and move in a new direction, perhaps shedding some baggage.

There was an immediate flurry of action in the few days after the election when Sherrod Brown announced he was supporting an old friend, ’80s state legislator David Wojtanowski, and then Wojtanowski withdrew days later, perhaps prodded by the negative feelings aroused in weary activists not prepared to have a candidate forced on them so quickly. Certainly, his unsuitability was clear when it was revealed he had made a sizable donation to John Kasich’s 2000 presidential campaign, something that almost certainly would have crippled him as Democratic Party leader.

In the weeks that followed a couple of things happened: multiple other candidates emerged, and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and president of the association of county chairs Janet Carson organized a series of “listening” events around the state. So far they’ve been held in Toledo and Cleveland with others to come in other parts of the state.

More Brickbats for Frankenmedia aka Northeast Ohio Media Group/Plain Dealer

That bizarre Frankenmedia creature known variously as the Plain Dealer or the Northeast Ohio Media Group took yet another hit in the national media this week. It comes on the heels of its national shaming for yanking the video of its endorsement interviews with the candidates for governor and subsequent repeated fumbling of the aftermath.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/12/02/clevelandcoms-very-bad-month-att...

Now, despite heightened racial tensions in the wake of the failure to indict cop Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August, the NEOMG decided to pitch a tanker full of gasoline on the flames. A week ago Saturday, two days before the Ferguson decision, a 12-year-old boy, playing with a toy gun at the Zone Rec Center at West 65th and Lorain, was gunned down by a police officer and subsequently died. Video released early last week revealed that officers had rolled up on the boy and shot him instantly with no time for the warnings they initially claimed they had given.

NEOMG’s response? Print inflammatory articles about issues the boy’s PARENTS had with the law, suggesting that this somehow provided context why officers had killed a child clearly in violation of proper policing procedures. And once again, NEOMG’s “vice president of content” Chris Quinn and its “reader representative” (management apologist) Ted Diadiun offered tone-deaf, insensitive justifications for this unilluminating and (probably) unintentionally racist coverage.

Respected media critic Eric Bohlert has posted a piece at Media Matters for America titled “Cleveland.com's Very Bad Month: Attacks Parents of Dead 12-Year-Old After Covering Up GOP Gov's Odd Interview” that shreds the tottering media group for its flagrant lack of journalistic responsibility.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/12/02/clevelandcoms-very-bad-month-att...

Riot Shaming, Family Blaming and Ferguson, America

The exoneration of police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of the unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August is on everyone’s mind. It’s weighed heavily on mine too. But it’s hard to know what to say right off the top of your head. It's something you really need to mull over at the risk of saying the sort of shallow things you're probably seeing on Facebook.

The decision of the grand jury Monday night to — incredibly — not indict Wilson comes on the heels of the killing of a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun by a police officer at the Michael Zone community center in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood Saturday.

It almost goes without saying that the victims were black, the police officers were white. That it almost goes without saying is only one of the depressing factors surrounding the shootings and the reactions to them.

One of the most depressing reactions was the amount of kneejerk victim blaming coming from every direction. Friends you would not describe as racist and who were clearly trying to sound reasonable were blaming 12-year-old Tamir Rice and his family, smearing them with secondhand information, as if that would somehow excuse his death — when we still had few facts about the circumstances. (We have more now since the release of the video this afternoon and they deepen the tragedy).

Too many tried the dead boy and his family and found them guilty in their minds. Just as many have given an automatic pass to the officer, again with no facts about the circumstances, insisting an officer’s first duty is to his own safety (no, it’s not) and he was clearly in danger or thought he was. We've now found out he probably acted with reckless haste.

Columbus Is a Finalist for the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Yesterday it was announced that Columbus is in the running to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, along with Brooklyn, NY and Philadelphia. Columbus has never hosted a national political convention by either party.

It was announced a few months ago that the Republican National Convention would be in Cleveland for the second time (the first was in 1936), and there has been much conversation and speculation about what this might mean for Cleveland, for creating a favorable climate in Ohio for the GOP and how it might impact Governor Kasich and his alleged presidential aspirations, which should be dead in the water by then.

In fact, in recent years, the idea that holding the convention in a particular state helps that party's candidate carry that state has pretty much been shot out of the water. The last time the Republicans did so was 1992 when George HW Bush was the candidate and the convention was in his backyard — Houston. But the location of the convention would seem to have little bearing on the fact that he carried the state that year (despite losing the election). Many of the GOP conventions since have been in blue states like California and New York but the last one was in competitive Florida, which they lost.

That alleged advantage didn't work out for the Democrats last time out either when they held their 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C. and lost the state narrowly in the general election. But their schedule as well for the past several decades has been heavy on blue states like California, Illinois and Massachusetts. Before 2012, the last time they lost the state where they held their convention was in 1988 when it was in Atlanta, and Michael Dukakis did not carry Georgia.

This Week in Women’s Rights in Ohio: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In the last few years here in Ohio, we’ve seen a narrow-minded, mean-spirited, misogynist bunch of men (and a few judgmental women who probably see themselves as better than those sluts who accidentally get pregnant) trying to inject government into women’s life-changing reproductive choices.

Among other things, they inserted provisions into the budget bills limiting women’s access to abortion, provisions that had no business being there. Among them was the requirement that abortion clinics have transfer agreements with hospitals — after making it illegal for public hospitals to make such agreements. Since Catholic hospitals won’t make them, that threatened the existence of many clinics, and clinics in Toledo and Cincinnati were closed down.

One clinic remained in the Cincinnati area — the Planned Parenthood clinic in Mt. Auburn —and it was in danger of being closed. According to the Cincinnati Inquirer, that would have made Cincinnati the largest metro area without an abortion provider. The clinic had filed a lawsuit in a federal court to challenge the state law. However, this week, it was granted a variance by the state health department when it lined up four doctors who agreed to accept patients in an emergency, and it has dropped the lawsuit.

“This is an important victory for the pro-choice activists in Ohio that have fought to protect women’s health,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland. “We are relieved that abortion will remain safe, legal and accessible in the Cincinnati metro area. We call on the Ohio Department of Health to also grant a variance to the clinic in Dayton whose request has been pending for over a year.”

That was the good news. Now for the bad AND the ugly.

Affordable Health Insurance for Ohioans Hangs in Balance as Supreme Court Considers New Obamacare Case

Last week we learned that the Supreme Court will hear yet another challenge to a critical provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The central question raised in the case, King v. Burwell, is whether those individuals who purchase health insurance plans on exchanges run by the federal government’s web portal, healthcare.gov, are eligible for the federal subsidies that make those plans affordable. In Ohio, according to The Dispatch’s Ben Sutherly, the average monthly premium for plans purchased on healthcare.gov is about $121. But this price is reached only after federal subsidies of about $250 per month are applied. King’s supporters seek to ban these subsidies.

The central question in King arises out of a textual dispute over the meaning of the phrase “established by the State,” which appears some nine times in the ACA’s statute. King asks whether “established by the State” is meant to restrict federal subsidies to those situations in which states have opted to run their own exchanges, or whether “established by the State” is meant to include federally-run exchanges as well.

Not Ready for Hillary

I may have mentioned before that I am not “Ready for Hillary.” I thought hyping Hillary’s potential presidential candidacy before the midterms was distracting and premature.

Now we’re past the midterms and it’s gotten worse. It’s like the Hillary supporters are trying to lock her in before we have a chance to recover, so we’ll just go along meekly, convinced she's "inevitable" and that we have no voice in the matter. In one 24-hour period a few days ago, I got three emails from Ohio Democrats titled “Ready for Hillary.” Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Columbus, Congressman Tim Ryan of Youngstown and State Senator Nina Turner of Cleveland all sent out these dispiriting, choice-robbing missives.

While the result of the midterms wasn’t exactly some unanticipated bolt out of the blue, there’s a lot of conversation, both in Ohio and nationally, about how we turn things around — not just electorally but in terms of promoting progressive policies that focus on lifting up the average person in contrast to the ever more extreme Republican policies of handing rapacious corporations completely control of everything. And, with a lot of Democrats are demoralized by the losses in the midterms and the bloodthirsty extremism of the victorious Republicans, I am sensing that an increasing number of Democrats are ready for someone other than Hillary.

In many ways, Hillary represents the past — when the results of corporate-favoring policies, bank licentiousness and bad trade deals weren’t yet so obvious in part because of the fortuitous timing of the Internet bubble, in part because the housing bubble had not yet burst. The prosperity gap between the ultra-wealthy and pretty much everyone else had not yet widened into the almost unbridgeable chasm it is now.

State Rep. John Barnes Suing Democratic Party Because It Didn't Endorse Him After He Cozied Up to GOP

Oh dear God. I’ve been reading about poor, put-upon Cleveland-area state representative John Barnes Jr. and how he’s all sad at his fellow state Democrats for not endorsing him in his primary and at his fellow state House members for not giving him a plum committee assignment because RACISM RACISM. I haven’t stopped laughing for hours.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/11/11/chris-redfern-d...

So now he’s suing the Ohio Democratic Party claiming he’s the powerful independent voice for black people who deserves the support of a party he has dissed just because … well, I don’t know.

Barnes loves to tout his “independence” from the Democratic Party and the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus as if he is some brave and daring free thinker. He seems to think going against your own party and aligning with Republicans on significant issues is somehow heroic because hey, you’re your own man and not beholden to party leaders. (Whether he is truly his own man or Bill Patmon’s mini-me is an issue we won’t take up here).

Barnes is upset that the party endorsed his challenger in last May’s primary. He thinks they should faithfully endorse the incumbent, never mind that that’s one of the things that has led to stale thinking and a closed system that shuts out new blood.

Earth to John Barnes! The reason you were not endorsed is not because you are black but because you are not a good Democrat. It’s not because you are so bold and independent but because you violated some of the party’s core values.

We’ve been hearing lots of talk since the election about whether many Democrats lost because they were timid about expressing those core values, coming off like watered-down Republicans. Maybe, maybe not. But there are certain principles you have to stand up for to be counted as a good Democrat.

What I'd Like To See Nina Turner Do

DSC_0278

There was another Plain Dealer headline I happened to see on my way to the one I just sliced and diced in my last post. It said, “Nina Turner vows to stay involved in politics after election loss.”

I didn’t bother to click on this one. I’m guessing it probably said Nina plans to focus on her teaching for a while and that she says it’s too early to say what she might run for next but she’ll definitely run for something. And then a few digs at Ed FitzGerald and another mention of the drivers license. Am I right? (OK, they probably didn’t mention the drivers license because that would verge on parody at this point, but I’ll bet I’m right about the rest).

Whatever elected office Nina is thinking about running for in the future, here is what I think she should do next, where she can help change the face of Ohio politics.

Her entire platform was absolutely terrific. It would have been a benefit to Ohioans of all stripes and, if properly executed, made Ohio a shining example for elections around the country instead of a shameful mockery. But the most powerful thing she proposed was using the office to promote the very act of voting, in every forum in every possible way in every corner of the state, to help drive up turnout and make Ohio a voter participation a model for other states.

Republican Legislator Proposes "Sweeping" Redistricting Changes for Ohio? Uh — Not Really

I try my best not to read the Plain Dealer’s trashy, heavily spun political coverage, but I couldn’t resist clicking on a link someone posted on Facebook that said “Top GOP lawmaker proposed sweeping changes to Ohio’s redistricting process.”

But, of course, the PD’s breathless hosanna of a headline didn’t match reality. And something about this plan seemed oddly familiar …. Oh yeah … it’s basically the same plan Secretary of State Jon Husted has been shopping around since HE was in the state legislature — slightly larger apportionment board, require one minority vote to pass a map, blah blah blah. To call it “sweeping” is laughable.

The plan, being proposed by House Republican Matt Huffman of Lima, is an incremental improvement over the current winner-take-all system but not by much. It proposes a seven-person apportionment board to draw the state legislative districts instead of the current five-person board. It includes (as now) the governor, secretary of state and auditor, but instead of one member of the legislature appointed by each party, there are two. And yes, there has to be at least one minority vote to approve a map. If the current system is a 10 on a scale of 1 to 100, this is maybe a 20.

But it still leaves politicians — current sitting officeholders — in charge of drawing the districts, including four out of seven members with a direct interest in how those districts are drawn. And with legislators drawing their own districts, it’s too easy to imagine a situation where a minority member goes along with a bad map drawn to favor the majority because they give him a favorable district.

This isn’t hypothetical either. This is the very reason Dennis Kucinich was pressuring legislative Democrats to go along with the Republican’s lopsided congressional map that essentially disenfranchised every Ohio voter by giving them a non-competitive district: it benefitted him personally.

Ohio's Direction on the Environment Is the Shame of the Nation

Today environmental justice group Earthjustice released a pretty cool interactive map. It's called "Coming Clean: The State of U.S. Renewable Energy."

http://earthjustice.org/features/map-coming-clean-state-of-u-s-energy

On it, you can check how your state — or any state — is doing on a bunch of environmental measures. It tells you what the state's top three power sources are and by what percentages (it's really interesting to track which states are dominated by gas, which by coal, which by nuclear power and in which ones renewables are starting to sneak in). It tells you what the emissions reduction goal set by the EPA's clean power act is and what each state's own is, if they have one. It gives you a whole bunch of ways to look at a state's progress toward clean, renewable energy.

And then there's Ohio. The EPA set a goal for Ohio to reduce its carbon emissions by 11 percent. Ohio's own goal is 12 percent. Sounds good. Oh, but wait ... what's this asterisk doing here?

*"As of 2014, Ohio's Renewable Portfolio Standard has been frozen due to political interference."

It continues:

The Buckeye State has become a battleground where the fossil fuel industry has been spreading false information and flawed analysis claiming renewable energy sources are more expensive than fossil fuels," it continues. "The state was on track for a clean energy future, but was derailed in 2014 by a bill that halts Ohio's renewable energy standards for two years. Unfortunately, Ohio has also joined 11 other states in suing the EPA to block the Clean Power Plan.

BOTTOM LINE: Ohio can serve as a cautionary tale of the power of dirty energy interests successfully halting its clean energy progress.

Rob Portman Will NEVER Be President, Says the National Organization for Marriage

We've been hearing a lot of media hand-rubbing over the possibility of a John Kasich 2016 presidential run. I've already been over why I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell of that happening. Without a media to destroy what will be many opponents and unable to rely on being invisible and not showing up for debates, he'll falter right out of the gate, as it becomes obvious what a rude, petulant, arrogant bully he is.

But then there's our senator, Rob Portman. He's not so easy to dismiss. He was mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick in both 2008 and 2012. If McCain had not fallen for the caribou-whisperers who told him to pick a certain Alaska half-governor and gone with Portman, he probably would have closed the gap by a couple of points. And unlike Kasich, Portman known to be cordial, warm, well-spoken and interested in people. Democrats I know who have met him at parades and festivals really like him, even though they disagree with his positions on virtually everything.

Not the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM)! This secretive "group," which seems to consist of a handful of activists and funders, is devoted to promoting what it calls "traditional" marriage in the most aggressive and hysterical manner — kind of like "Reefer Madness" for homophobes.

And they HATE Rob Portman. And they will make SURE he never runs for president because last year, he revealed his son is gay and he supports the right of his son and others like him to marry. He openly reversed his previously held position without qualification.

So NOM has declared: over our dead body will Rob Portman be president!

Brian Brown, NOM’s president, said,

The PD/NEOMG/Frankenmedia Keeps Digging

So after Plain Dealer “reader representative” Ted Diadiun finally — after a week— made a series of convoluted excuses for why Cleveland.com pulled down the video it had posted of the three candidates for governor at the endorsement interview they hosted, Northeast Ohio Media Group “vice president of content” Chris “The Silent One” Quinn went and poured gasoline on the fire.

No one was really buying Diadiun’s fancy footwork trying to explain why the video vanished and why Quinn made like a stone statue for almost two weeks — until appearing last Friday on WCPN’s The Sound of Ideas to make the reasoning behind removing the video sound even less credible.

Quinn did so by resorting to the most tired and defensive of tactics — ad hominem attacks and blaming critics for pointing out your screw-ups. In doing so, he strongly suggested that the widespread speculation that the deletion was done as a favor to John Kasich was indeed accurate. No one who was confident of his reasoning would react as Quinn did.

I know I keep referring you to Jill Zimon’s blog Writes Like She Talks. But Jill has a way of getting to the heart of the matter.

http://writeslikeshetalks.com/2014/11/08/on-chris-quinns-assertion-that-...

She explains how Quinn, rather than providing a sound, straightforward justification, engages in delegitimization, the tactic of claiming your critics have no grounds to criticize you because they are tainted or coming from a biased position.

Jill writes,

In this instance, Mr. Quinn wants to delegitimize the sources of the criticism over the takedown of the video and his failure to explain the takedown in a timely manner. If he can portray the sources as not legitimate, and he can persuade readers and listeners that they’re not legit, then his reasoning will be preferred and more acceptable, or at least less challenged.

The Case of the Vanishing Video Continues

There is still so much to process in the story about the Plain Dealer/Northeast Ohio Media Group/Frankenmedia disappearing video from their endorsement interview with the candidates for governor. Obviously they were going to videotape it and post it because that is what they DO. It was virtually a given considering NEOMG’s focus on multimedia.

We know they took it down the day after they endorsed Kasich— a nervy move after Kasich not only acted like a sulky child in the interview, but also refused to return their questionnaire clearly stating his positions. That simply should have disqualified him from getting the endorsement.

But things got stranger and stranger from there. As the national media picked up on the removal and wrote about it, NEOMG vice president of content Chris Quinn refused to answer questions from journalists. The paper’s "reader representative" Ted Diadiun had nothing to say except basically "Ask Chris Quinn." Never mind that explaining the paper's more inexplicable moves is supposed to be his job.

And when Quinn and Diadiun finally did talk, it got even stranger. Each of them performed an awkward minuet of conflicting and irrational excuses, with Quinn adding a dose on insulting demeaning ad hominem attacks — demonstrating that he knew how badly he screwed up and was looking for scapegoats — so blame your critics. It’s straight out of the Republican campaign playbook.

Diadiun’s column appeared the day AFTER the election, once the massive victory the PD helped engineer for Kasich was a done deal. And his overarching attitude was “move along, nothing to see.”

He opens this nearly 1,500 word non-mea culpa with the truest thing in it:

“This is a column I should have written a week ago.”
He admits the lost video was something voters should have seen, acknowledging Kasich’s petty arrogant behavior:

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