Ohio Democratic Party Says Debe Terhar Should Quit — And They're Right

A number of years ago — back in the dark ages of the Bush administration — the activist group MoveOn invited people to submit videos for a project. They got hundreds of entries, which were posted online. Among them was a suggestion that there might be something a tad Hitler-like about George Bush. It wasn't create by MoveOn, it wasn't featured by them, and it never became part of their message. It was just one of hundreds of obscure amateur videos. But right-wingers went into an uproar, vestiges of which you can still find online today, outraged that "the left" would be guilty of such a beyond-the-pale comparison.

What we've learned since then, however, is that while even a hint of such a message from someone on the left, no matter how insignificant that person may be, is cause for high dudgeon, when someone on the right slings it back — no matter how prominent that person is — it's fair game.

The latest of many right-wingers to use this tactic is Ohio school board president Debe Terhar, a confederate whom Kasich installed in the post via a series of back-room maneuvers in order to fire nationally respected superintendent Deb Delisle (currently an assistant secretary in President Obama's Department of Education).

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/01/22/state-school-bo...

Not understanding that her position is sensitive and maybe she should watch what comes out of her keyboard, Terhar jumped into the gun control debate (on the anti side, of course), posting a picture of Hitler with the message "“Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’ — Adolf Hitler.”

A Glorious Day!

Obamaoath

For most of US anyway.

Maybe not for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, minority leader of the U.S. Senate, who said back in 2010 that his top goal wasn't to put people back to work or make sure everyone had health care or that no child in the U.S. went to bed hungry.

No, he said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Today epitomized the complete failure of his drive to put GOP power before the good of the American people. And that's a good thing!

You can read President Obama's uplifting address here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/21/inaugural-address-...

He covered so many important things, including most what purity progressive whine he won't talk about, like global climate change. And there's so much to love in the following passage and so much for the angry old white guys on the right to hate:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. (Applause.)

Celebrating the Inauguration in Ohio

BarackObamaInaugPortrat23837_n

HAPPY! HAPPY!

Many of us can't get to Washington D.C. for the inauguration, even if we were able to get tickets. But there are some celebrations closer to home for those who want to be hanging with like-minded people while the President is sworn in for his second term.

The Franklin County Democratic Party is hosting an inauguration watch party Please Join the Franklin County Democratic Party from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday (the President takes the oath of office at noon) at Dempsey's Restaurant, 346 S. High St., Columbus. The $50 ticket includes lunch and a couple of drink tickets. RSVP to 614.469.7886 or colspolicyworks@gmail.com

The Hamilton County Democratic Party is planning to celebrate later that day with a party starting at 7 p.m. at Cincy's on Sixth, 41. E. 6th St., Cincinnati. They'll be replaying the glorious event from earlier in the day. The admission to this party is $20 which includes a light meal and a cash bar. RSVPs are appreciated for planning to caleb@hamilotoncountydems.org. You can pay at the door or send at check to Hamilton County Democratic Party, 6109 Webbland Place, Cincinnati, Ohio 45213.

President Obama Releases Inauguration Playlist

BarackObamaInaugPortrat23837_n

*The President's Official Second Inauguration Portrait*

It's that time again. The excitement is building! On Monday, the President's second public swearing-in and various special activities take place in Washington D.C. this long weekend (Monday is MLK Day).

A whole multitude of musicians is proudly taking part in the various balls and concerts.
And the President has released his official list of inauguration music, 16 tracks which you can enjoy with him here:

http://open.spotify.com/user/barackobama/playlist/3DYdRhM1VrOkNNPPaYnkLc

The first track is Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)," which anyone who attended a campaign event last year will pick up on immediately as one of the President's favorite tunes. Other tracks feature Beyonce, fun. Marc Anthony, James Taylor, Usher, Katy Perry and Jennifer Hudson.

Look at that portrait up top again. The presidency is normally conceded to be a heavy weight which wears down and ages its incumbents. But President Obama looks like he hasn't a care in the world, like he's refreshed and rejuvenated and ready for action. If I were a Republican, I'd be worried.

Ohio GOP Clown Car Elects "Leadership"

I know there are some in the Democrat party who grumble about Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern. They think he's too brash or not progressive enough or he's played favorites. Yes, but has he ever helped rig a presidential election or solicited bribes? No evidence that he has. On the other hand ...

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/01/18/bennett-elected...

The Ohio Republican Party just unanimously reelected Bob "The Thug" Bennett as its chairman. As you may recall, Bennett, a former chair, was called out of retirement to replace Kevin DeWine, who was basically shoved overboard by Governor John Kasich in a series of contentious maneuvers that even had the FBI called in. DeWine, understandably, quit in disgust, since it was he who helmed the party when it swept all statewide offices in 2010.

In case you can't place Bennett, in 2004, while chairman of the ORP, he was also chairman of the board of elections of Cuyahoga County, the state's largest bloc of Democratic votes. As chairman, he was ultimately responsible for the poorly run, poorly equipped polling places in Cleveland that had lines up to four and five hours long, likely preventing many inner-city residents from voting at all. Nice work, Bob.

But Bennett doesn't intend to stay.

Bennett said he will remain chairman only until a process to name his successor is put in place and the 66-member committee, the party’s governing body, names a new chairman. ... He said he wants to ensure that a new chairman is seated well before next year’s statewide election when Gov. John Kasich and four other GOP statewide executive officeholders are on the ballot for second terms.

Expressing interest in the post is the party's executive director Matthew Borges. This Matthew Borges:

Franklin County Dems Chair Speaks Out About PUCO Chief

Greg Haas, chairman of the Franklin County (Columbus) Democratic Party, issued a statement today regarding Publicity Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Todd Snitchler.

As you'll recall from my post yesterday, Snitchler's Twitter feed was found to be jammed with wild-eyed climate-change denial messages.

http://www.ohiodailyblog.com/content/puco-chief-has-climate-denial-buddies-—-what-surprise.

Whether Snitchler shares their views or whether he's just in thrall to big Republican donors in the gas and coal industries is unclear.

But as Haas points out, decisions such as the recent one shutting out a new solar energy company that would have created as many as 600 jobs, are costly for Ohio, positioning it as a behind-the-curve, backward-looking state rather than an innovative state of the future:

The PUCO has a critical role in ensuring consumers benefit from the most advanced energy technologies and solutions. Most observers agree that new and emerging technologies and sources must be found to address the states' long term energy challenges. That doesn't seem to be true for Chairman Snitchler. His contemptuous dismissal of virtually all green energy sources recklessly disregards the near unanimous view that it is reliable, affordable, and beneficial for our health, our economy, and our environment.

Haas then urges Governor Kasich to remove Snitchler as his appointment is "demonstrating a callous disregard for Ohio's best interests."

Today Is Michelle Obama's Birthday!

FE_DA_120904MichelleObamaDNCSpeech425x283

I thought I'd post something upbeat because reflecting too much on what our bully gov. and our neanderthal legislature are up to can get depressing.

Michelle is 49 today, and I want to wish my fellow Bryn Mawr Elementary School alum a happy birthday.

PB241286

"Dear Old Bryn Mawr School" (ha ha) at 74th and Jeffrey, Chicago. Nasty old pile of bricks. Can't you almost smell the crumbling green plaster inside? The ghosts of Miss Tittiger, Miss Gavin, and lavender-haired old Miss Frisbee probably still haunt the third floor west corridor.

The First Lady looks considerably more attractive:

michelle-barack-obama-670

PUCO Chief Has Climate Denial Buddies — What a Surprise.

You may have read stories in the last few days about how the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), which theoretically oversees utilities on behalf of Ohio citizens (stop laughing!), voted against a solar energy project that would have created 600 new jobs AND more clean, renewable energy. PUCO's staff, which studied the project, recommended it. PUCO board members, likely under the ideologically driven spell of our governor, vetoed it.

Now comes word that PUCO chairman Todd Snitchler has a Twitter feed jam-packed with messages that say things like "'green' religion is taking over from Christian religion."

You are known by the company you keep. I just looked in my Twitter feed and I've got nothing like that.

Ohio state representative Mike Foley (Cleveland) and Ohio state senator Bob Hagan (Youngstown) put out the following release:

Reps. Foley and Hagan Blast PUCO Chairman Over Anti-Green Energy Stance and Climate Change Denials

Chairman’s extremist views cost state 600 jobs
COLUMBUS- State Reps. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Robert F. Hagan had some harsh words for PUCO Chairman Todd Snitchler today after it was revealed his twitter feed is filled with climate change denials and anti-alternative energy rhetoric. His written communication was discovered after the Chairman voted against the Turning Point Solar project; an economic investment would have been the largest solar project east of the Rockies. The alternative energy venture would have employed 300 construction workers and created 300 manufacturing jobs.

Dennis Kucinich Joins Fox "News"

http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/fox-news-signs-dennis-kucinich-as-co...

No, it's not April Fools' Day yet.

No, the link is not from The Onion.

It's true.

Fox News Channel has signed former Congressman Dennis Kucinich as a paid contributor to FNC and Fox Business network. Kucinich, who was for years a liberal stalwart in the House of Representatives, will provide analysis and commentary across all of FNC and FBN’s programs, beginning with Thursday’s edition of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Response among progressives online is split between "What a sellout" and "Maybe he can change a few minds."

Personally, I say no to both those things. Obviously, he deserves to make himself a little money. But I'd have to think there must be as much of a market for him to appear at events and make high-dollar speeches at leftie events as there is for the air-headed, incoherent Sarah Palin on the right.

As for changing minds, Fox "News" is a little bubble world that has created its own reality and draws viewers who are all-in on that reality. Few minds there are likely changeable.

Fox "News" chairman/CEO Roger Ailes, the man who dedicated himself to using his media outlet to campaign for Mitt Romney, said “I’ve always been impressed with Rep. Kucinich’s fearlessness and thoughtfulness about important issues."

Odd hiring then, because the station that has featured such provocateurs as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck has never cared much about "thoughtfulness."

This could get interesting.

Gossip About Boehner Surfaces Above Ground

http://www.salon.com/2013/01/14/is_john_boehner_hitting_the_bottle/?sour...

This piece, which appeared on Salon this week, asks "Is John Boehner hitting the bottle?"

Stories about Boehner's drinking have been circulating for years, both in D.C. and back home in Ohio. This story brings those whispers out into the open.

It's actually a sad and sympathetic piece about the man's struggles, both with his own vices (which include heavy smoking) and with the ruthless, amoral "young guns" whose Ayn Randian creed of selfishness makes them impervious to the idea of compromise or even considering viewpoints other than their own.

I wouldn't want to be John Boehner for all the money in the world.

The Kasich Budget at Work

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130116/NEWS010801/130116001/

The man can bluster until he's blue in the face about saving taxpayers money — but he's doing the opposite. He's devastating local services unless residents want to pay more out of the own pockets. And those increases are many times more than what any state income tax cut is likely to save them.

This cincinnati.com article outlines some of the negative impacts the last Kasich budget has already had on communities, with more to come (The estate tax elimination hasn't kicked in yet). And this is BEFORE he slashes state income with his proposed income tax cut. Who's hide do you think he's going to take that out of? Not his buddies and cronies, that's for sure.

Kasich has already wrecked havoc with my budget thanks to the enormous tax increase he made necessary — with more to come.

Thanks, John Kasich — the biggest tax increaser in recent Ohio history.

Election 2012

Election 2012,
A Sonnet

For some Obama’s victory was sweet
Because the ultra-Right had been so proud
To think Obama’s end would be defeat.
The people spoke with voices clear and loud.

They gave the President another term.
Of candidates they knew he was the best.
Election Day made Right-wing pundits squirm.
They thought Obama’s win a cruel jest.

Tea Party members need to understand,
The group they represent is very small.
The citizens of our most blesséd land,
Desire a President for one and all.

So quench your anger now Tea Party friends,
And work with Democrats for noble ends.

Edward Taylor
Mount Gilead, OH

The Empty Suit: Heroic Underdog!!!

Here he comes to save the day!

Josh Mandel is now claiming he was the Ohio GOP's seventh choice to run against U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown last year.

http://cincinnati.com/blogs/politics/2013/01/14/mandel-wasnt-gops-first-...

But somehow, mysteriously, no one else wanted to do it, and whoooosh! here comes Josh 'The Empty Suit" Mandel stepping up to the plate to make a strenuous effort to save Ohio from being represented by someone who cares about regular working people and is actually working hard on their behalf.

It was entirely accidental he started having fundraisers about a month after being sworn in as state treasurer, two years before the election, and long before other candidates might have started exploring a run. It just happened that an exceptional amount of special interest big money was gravitating to Mandel. Wide-eyed little Joshie just never gave a thought to leapfrogging all the big names in his party and making a big push for an office he clearly wasn't qualified for. Not an ambitious bone in HIS body, nosiree.

According to Mandel, the party would have preferred former congressman Pat Tiberi, who was drawn out of a district; newly elected attorney general Mike DeWine who had previously lost the seat to Brown; lieutenant governor Mary "Who?" Taylor, newly elected secretary of state Jon Husted; former congressman Steve LaTourette who retired in January; and Ohio's mot radical right-wing congressman Jim Jordan, who would have pushed the Ohio party so far to the right it likely would have even increased President Obama's total here.

Current Ohio Republican Party chair Bob Bennett's response was "Josh said that? There was a consensus that Josh was the strongest candidate.”

Another Terrible Idea From Our Governor

(Are you losing count yet?)

Apparently, goaded by criticisms that he has basically ignored education except to steal money from schools and give it to his cronies at failing for-profit charter schools, Governor Kasich is making noises about presenting an education reform program to the legislature.

But, since he really obviously doesn't care all that much about education or it would have been at the top of his to-do list two years ago when he was suddenly unveiling SB 5 instead, his "ideas" are nothing but the weak fodder of the anti-public education "reform" crew.

One such idea he's ballyhooing is "merit pay" for teachers who perform well according to some unclear standard.

http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news/kasich-wants-schools-to-develop-bonu...

This is one of those ideas that kind of sound good in theory but has proved of questionable worth in practice. In areas where it has been implemented, it has often had no impact on teacher or student performance. Many teachers have made it clear this isn't a motivation, and they'd rather have the resources put into education.

The lack of clear, reliable standards for judging teacher performance is a huge obstacle, especially with the push by many "reform" groups to weigh standardized testing more — testing that wasn't designed to measure teacher quality.

But I don't see one of the biggest obstacles mentioned by education funding slasher Kasich — who is going to pay for it? Please draw my attention to this if I missed it. Is Kasich going to offer a significantly large new pot of money to make this anymore than a symbolic sop? HA! Or does he plan to pay for it by firing other teachers or cutting their pay? That would be terrific for morale. Or maybe he'll pay for it out of the profit David Brennan of the failing for-profit White Hat charter schools is making at the expense of Ohio taxpayers and kids, and the state's future? Double HA!

Perhaps I shouldn't be so suspicious, but this sounds like yet another of our governor's poorly vetted plans based more on ideology than on being a pragmatic and proven solution to a problem. It joins a long list of such ideas, like JobsOhio, prison privatization, and turnpike leasing/bonding, whose benefits to Ohioans would be questionable, if any of them were actually ever implemented.

Rootscamp Wrap-up

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The seventh annual Rootscamp in Columbus yesterday was a great experience as always, with a diversity of attendees from around the state who generated a wide variety of discussions/panels/presentations to attend.
And this year, instead of 9 a.m., it started at 1 p.m. so those of us driving in from around the state didn’t have to get up at dawn. Thanks, organizers.

The speaker at the opening session was Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald who is openly exploring running for governor. He made a strong case for why he would be a good choice, talking about how he convened county officials across northern Ohio to oppose Governor Kasich’s unpopular plan to privatize the turnpike, which would be devastating to the economy of northeast Ohio. He demonstrated that he has a couple of qualities Kasich lacks: the ability to collaborate and a focus on pragmatic solutions to problems rather than blind ideology.

FitzGerald133

Rhee Puts Ideology First, Students Last

I’m not a big fan of self-appointed education “reform” guru Michelle Rhee. Her three-year stint as chancellor of the Washington D.C. schools was marked by controversy, as she adopted a bullying, I-know-best attitude that alienated teachers, principals, parents, and much of the community. Since she left in October 2010, charges have emerged — documented in USA Today — that any gains in achievement were tainted by the possibility of cheating.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-03-28-1Aschooltesting...

Since leaving, she’s formed an organization called Students First that claims to care about kids so much more than those lousy, lazy, progress-blocking teachers who won’t knuckle under to her ideas. While she says she’s nonpartisan, she’s mostly been embraced by right-wing Republicans such as Governor John Kasich, who don’t seem to mind associating with an ethically tainted, dishonest individual — as long as she furthers the inroads of their ideology on education.

Last week, Rhee exposed just how absolutely she is driven by a rigid ideology and not by practical real-world reforms that have been proven to get results i.e. educating kids. Students First released education “grades” for each state.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2013/01/michelle_rhees_grou...

Most states did very poorly with none getting an A.

Sounds alarming, eh?

Don’t worry. It’s not. Rhee’s group wasn’t grading the states on how well their schools educated kids. It wasn’t looking at things like dropout rates, or how many kids go on to college, or even standardized test scores.

So You Thought the War on Women Was on Hiatus?

Not anymore! Look what 18 depraved fools introduced this week in Congress:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr23/text

They've dubbed this the "Sanctity of Human Life" bill (I can hear you groaning already). It's really "Personhood" — the most extreme anti-abortion proposal out there — in another guise. Never mind that a "Personhood" amendment was defeated in Mississippi (!!!!!) in a landslide in 2011. Never mind that Colorado voters have said "no dice" twice. These 18 congressional co-sponsors (all Republicans, of course) think massively huge, invasive government needs to be monitoring the reproductive cycles of every woman of childbearing age — what you'd have to do to even tell if an egg has been fertilized — to protect zygote "persons."

If even the voters in deeply conservative Mississippi rejected this, you know that the list of things wrong with it is very, very wrong. The problems with the idea that a fertilized egg enjoys all the rights of a born person start with the fact that your birthday would no longer be your functional "start" date. For record-keeping purposes, your conception date would be what everything from your school readiness age to your Social Security age would need to be counted by. And good luck figuring out when that is. The entire idea — even if it weren't invasive, cruel, and an attack on women's AND religious freedom (many faiths don't share the belief of extremist right-wing evangelicals that human life suddenly springs into being at conception) — is impractical.

Steve LaTourette's Next Career Move

Who didn't see this one coming 372 miles* away the minute Steve LaTourette announced he was retiring from Congress? I don't see any hands out there.

* Distance from Cleveland to Washington D.C.

That's right: Steve LaTourette's new career is — wait for it — LOBBYIST!

Oh, you're not surprised? Me either.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/moderate-republican-group-remove-repu...

"Moderate Republican group to remove ‘Republican’ from name, welcome Democrats"

I actually thought this article might be from The Onion when I first saw it, but no ... Stevie is going to continue his charade of being a "moderate" or a "centrist" or whatever they're calling far-right conservatives these days who aren't simply out of their minds (aka Michele Bachmann or Steve King or Darrell Issa or Jack Kingston or Virginia Foxx ... or way too many for a supposedly "advanced" nation to be sending to their Congress).

The organization's board of directors voted Tuesday morning to scrap party identification from its title and be known simply as "The Main Street Partnership." The group's new president, former Ohio Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette, told Yahoo News that he plans to begin conversations with Blue Dog Democrats and centrist groups in the coming months.

I wonder if that rules out his congressional BFF Dennis Kucinich?

He's certainly got a lot of Blue Dogs and members of former "centrist" groups which have vanished to chose from; they're a dying breed. They've lost seats and influence in Congress, and many such groups have slowly disappeared from public view, as people picked up on what they really were: conservative apologists for the bad policies of those non-batshit crazy Republicans, policies that put corporate welfare WAY above public welfare.

LaTourette demonstrates his skewed sense of the political scene in this quote:

Strickland Won't Run — YAY!

Strickland84

This morning, the Ohio Democratic Party released a statement from former governor Ted Strickland saying that he will not seek a rematch with Governor John Kasich next year. Strickland was a good governor but trying to mount a comeback didn't make sense to me.

While I'm sure it was tempting to go back and try to redo a race that he lost by only two points — with his opponent not even garnering a majority of the vote — Strickland carried some baggage from the last campaign that could have been a minefield going into a new one. Specifically, his allies' working to undermine Jennifer Brunner's U.S. Senate primary campaign and his embrace of the anti-choice, anti-gay Jennifer Garrison for statewide office dampened the enthusiasm of activist women (and probably some in the LGBT community as well) for his campaign.

I had heard much talk in recent weeks that Strickland either would not run unless the field was cleared for him or that if he ran, that would clear the field because other potential candidates had expressed a desire not to challenge him. I have heard some say — wrongly, I think — that Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald should not seek the office because he needs to stay another term in order to get more done in the county.

I don't buy that. It's not like he's only been in office a month and is already looking for higher office (not that any officeholder in Ohio would ever DREAM of doing that — oh no! Hi, Empty Suit!). FitzGerald has already amassed a solid record as county executive and has plenty to run on. He can certainly speak strongly about what Kasich's budget priorities have done to local governments and schools and how they have placed an increased burden on taxpayers.

The Impact of Gerrymandering on Women's Freedom & Health

The toxic effects of lopsided redistricting, cynically done to consolidate a single party's power no matter what voters want, go on and on in Ohio. The more one surveys the landscape, the more it's clear the worst choice Ohio voters made in November was to vote "No" on Issue 2, even though the confusion surrounding it made such a vote understandable.

Today, Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, sent out this email which vividly demonstrates what happens in the state legislature when the partisan balance is so out of line with how people voted.

She says,

Issue 2
Issue 2 would have created a nonpartisan board to draw the district boundaries, potentially ending the practice of politicians picking their constituents. Unfortunately, Issue 2 was plagued by confusing ballot language, placed at the end of a very long ballot, and was insufficiently funded to cut through the barrage of advertising and voter contact from the other races on the ballot. The measure lost, garnering only 37 percent of the vote.

Ohio House of Representatives

As a direct result of gerrymandering, despite receiving only 49 percent of the votes in Ohio House races across the state, anti-choice politicians hold 60 percent of the seats. Although NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio endorsed eight pro-choice incumbents for the Ohio House and eight pro-choice challengers, gerrymandering made only a few of these races competitive: out of the eight endorsed challengers, only Heather Bishoff was successful. Anti-choice lawmakers now have a super majority, allowing them to place measures directly on the ballot without having to go through the normal process of collecting hundreds of thousands of petition signatures.

The Impact of Gerrymandering on Stark County

One of the results of the gerrymandered maps that the Republicans drew is that most of the state's northern urban counties were shredded to pieces, destroying their coherence and unity. Don't think this negative result for communities wasn't deliberate. It was.

A piece in the Canton Repository, called "A County Divided Leaves Residents Confused," describes the impact of this crazy-quilt map drawing on one of northeast Ohio's urban counties, spotlighting while we need to continue the fight for redistricting reform NOW and not wait for a decade, as Republicans have suggested, so that they can enjoy their unfair advantage for that time. What was done to the Canton area was also done to Akron, Cleveland, and Toledo. It's an insult to democracy.

http://www.cantonrep.com/topstories/x1922387584/Redistricting-A-county-d...

Incumbents may have won every state representative and congressional contest in the county in November. But the majority of people here are experiencing a change in who represents them in the Ohio General Assembly or Congress because of a process that occurs once every 10 years.

It should be a requirement that as few voters as possible should be moved into new districts, given the necessity of moving some to account for population shifts. But of course leaving residents confused was very likely one of the desired results of new district lines. A confused voter is one who frequently makes uninformed choices — or fails to vote in a race at all.

This is shameful:

In Stark County, Democratic congressional candidates got 51 percent of the vote, but two of the county’s three congressmen ended up being Republicans. Republican state representative candidates got 50.9 percent of the county vote, and yet three of the county’s four representatives are Republicans.

That essentially mutes the county's voice in state politics, draining its influence.

Democratic women making gains in Congress.

Congresswmen

Republicans not so much.

When Jennifer Brunner was running in the primary to be the candidate for U.S. Senate from Ohio in 2010, one of hooks she was using was "18." If elected, she would have been the Senate's 18th women — out of 100 members. Very slight progress. But she didn't win the primary and in fact, the number of women in the Senate after the 2010 declined by one. No progress, just regress.

That number is now up to 20 — and 16 of those are Democrats.

Over on the House side, a record number of women were elected — 68. And 58 of those were Democrats. That's a pretty sorry showing on the GOP side, especially since they have more members in the House.

But the GOP is failing on the diversity front in general, struggling to attract anyone who isn't a straight, white, Christian male.

Meanwhile, the Democratic delegation has become more and more diverse. This recent Washington Post article talked about just how diverse it's gotten.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/113th-congress-has-more-women-min...

The photo above shows all the new Democratic women in Congress. Can you find Ohio's three congresswomen?

Marcia Fudge Sworn In as Chair of Congressional Black Caucus

CBCF_ceremony_1313_575cl

Well, after that last post, I think Ohioans need some good news!

Not every Ohio congressperson is embarrassing the state of Ohio and working against the welfare of its citizens.

In November, shortly after the election, it was announced that northeast Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-11) was picked to be the new chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus. This past Thursday she was sworn in.

http://thecongressionalblackcaucus.com/2013/01/03/cbc-chair-marcia-l-fud...

Now you might be saying to yourself, "What does this mean for me? I'm not black."

Quite a lot actually. The CBC has focused heavily on social justice and civil rights issues — justice and rights for everybody.

As she said in her remarks at the swearing-in,

Though we are not without our critics, there are millions of people around the world of all races and ethnicities who are reaping the benefits of our work every day. Whether it is a violation of human rights in Africa or the compromise of our civil or constitutional rights in America, we’ve worked across borders and boundaries on behalf of the voiceless in every corner of this country and around the globe

When the group has stood up for job creation, for expanding health care, for fighting foreclosures that destroy communities, their efforts don't just benefit citizens of a certain color.

Jim Jordan Gunning for Title "Ohio's Most Extreme Congressperson."

jimjordan

JIM JORDAN: He's all about "freedom"

Ok, so he's never actually ever been out of contention for the title. But these days he seems determined to hold off all competition. If there's a group of heartless dead-enders opposing some civilized and humane legislation, you're almost certain to find Jordan's name on the list. He was one of three Ohio Republicans to oppose aid to those devastated by Hurricane Sandy (I previously forgot newcomer Brad Wenstrup who primaried Jean Schmidt), all from southwest Ohio.

Then there's this:

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/rep-jim-jordan-no-ar-15-backgr...

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) says that gun buyers should face background checks for concealed carry handgun permits but not assault rifles because "it's about freedom."

Huh? Oh right, he's crazy.

"We've got to remember the Second Amendment is about freedom," Jordan opined. "And that's what we've got to focus on as we move forward. If there's ways outside of this [background check proposal] that we can help address the situation, fine. But we've got to remember it's about freedom. And, frankly, you've got to remember that bad guys aren't stupid, they're just bad."

Well, Jim, "bad guys" is a really loose description. If you base it on behavior, then I guess you've got to wait until 26 first graders are killed. If you base it on the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and policies espoused by an individual, then Jim, you are going to be added to a lot of people's lists of "bad guys."

Looking ahead: Congressional insanity and redistricting

Politicians’ Tears

*Someone hasn't been having a lot of good days recently*

It's time to end my self-imposed break, roll up the sleeves, and look at what's coming at us in 2013. I had a great time in Chicago — took a total digital break, looked at art, browsed in bookstores, made lots of chocolate chip cookies.

En route, I even saw a proudly racist trucker who displayed two sticker on the back of his trucker. One had the Obama logo and "= crap." (Such trenchant, witty commentary!) The other said "Don't blame me — I voted for the white guy."

Yeah, Tea Partiers, tell us again how racism isn't behind your absurd, fantasy-based attacks on the President.

Speaking of the Tea Party, here's my most favorite story of the past few weeks:

http://billmoyers.com/2012/12/31/the-recent-unpleasantness-at-freedomwor...

If you haven't read all about the meltdown and intrigue at the well-funded Tea Party parent organization Freedom Works, do so now. I guarantee you will laugh your ass off.

Then there's this:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/01/02/1175682/-A-delicious-roundup-of...

"A delicious roundup of conservative-on-conservative violence."

If you've been following the end-of-session lunacy in the House of Representatives, you probably know the slitty-eyed snake Eric Can'tor appears to be honing his knife to stick in Speaker John Boehner's back.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/01/02/1175633/-It-s-civil-war-time-fo...

He got no cover from outgoing Ohio congressman and fake "moderate" Steve LaTourette (R-14), who noted publicly that Boehner wasn't as good at keeping his party in line as former Democratic speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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