Our First Official State Candidate for 2014

DSC_0153*

No surprise here:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 (TONIGHT)
Coalition of Democratic and Progressive Organizations Central Ohio Meeting
State Senator Nina Turner will formally announce her candidacy for Secretary of State at this meeting
7:00 PM
Ohio Democratic Party, 340 E. Fulton Street, Columbus, OH 43215

Can she become the first African-American Democrat elected statewide? I think she can. I don't want to hear all the doomsters deciding far in advance that she can't.

Is she going to scare some Republicans because she's very dark-skinned and has a big mouth? Whatever. Those people are impervious; they aren't listening.

Nina's message is one that should resonate with anyone who IS listening: making elections fair, transparent, straightforward and equal. Any right-winger who wants to raise the specter of "voter fraud," which so far has proved virtually nonexistent, should be challenged to provide evidence, and I don't think Nina is afraid to do this. That canard needs to be blown up and exposed as a flimsy pretext for voter suppression.

In the photo above, she's doing an interview on the Ed Schultz Show as part of her sleepover in front of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to draw people's attention to the fact that early voting starts the next day. Nina Turner knows how to attract attention, and hopefully she'll be effective at attracting attention to the ways in which Republicans in Ohio have tried to silence the voice of the voters.

Hilariously Hypocritical Press Release of the Day, Week, Month and Maybe Even Year

Ladies and gentleman — your state treasurer.

The same one who fought tooth and nail against public records requests for his office's (and his own) activities.

The same one who published a list of the salaries of public employees on his website — much of it wrong — but left off top lieutenants in his own office.

Yes — the pants-on-fire empty suit who spent two years campaigning for U.S. Senate instead of doing his job.

THAT one.

Obviously, he's burnishing his tattered reputation for his next run.

Read it and laugh.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2013

Representative Roegner, Treasurer Mandel Announce Legislation to Increase Transparency of Government Bond Issues

COLUMBUS - At a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse today, State Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced legislation that will increase transparency for taxpayers as local and state issues are placed on the ballot. Rep. Roegner will introduce the bill tomorrow and it is co-sponsored by Reps. J. Adams, Blair, Duffey, Hood, Lynch, Terhar, Thompson and Wachtmann.

The bill, a collaboration between Treasurer Mandel and Rep. Roegner, would require that political subdivisions disclose information such as their total outstanding debt and debt service, the per capita obligation of that debt, and the total estimated amount of debt and per capita obligation if the issue were to pass. This information would be required on enabling legislation, ballot language, and all notices of the bond issuance.

Ohio state senator Bill Seitz thinks renewable energy is like Stalin

Another of Ohio's backward-thinking politicians has made a national laughingstock of himself. State Senator Bill Seitz said in a Wall Street Journal article that he now opposes Ohio's renewable energy standards, which he supported in 2008, because the remind him o Stalin's five-year plan.

http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/ohio-senator-opposes-renewable-...

Does anyone still wonder if Republicans are racing rapidly to the far far far far extreme right? Any vestiges of rationality they may once have had are being stomped out.

The press release at the link above, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, reminds us

Seitz served on the board of directors for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is urging states to water down or repeal their renewable energy standards. ALEC’s energy policies have been formulated in consultation with coal companies and oil refiners, such as Peabody Energy and Koch Industries.

But of course. Seitz is willing to foreclose on Ohio's future and put us behind economically by opposing something that's inevitable, and positive for both the environment and the economy. He's willing to let other states and other countries race past us while Ohio sits on the sidelines.

And since it would not, shall we say, persuasive to admit that he's carrying water for fossil fuel companies, he offers a completely bullshit non-argument. He sits there and basically yells "Commie! Commie! Commie!" like some little kids on the playground calling another kid names.

He's a perfect example of what's wrong with governance today — bought-and-paid-for politicians (especially on right) resorting to name-calling rather than providing any sort of credible rationale for their position. I mean, you could just as easily compare JobsOhio to Stalin's 5-year plan (only JobsOhio is less productive!)

Once a Special Interest Puppet, Always a Special Interest Puppet

Well, we have been blessedly light on news about state treasurer Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel this year. He's undoubtedly been licking his wounds over the fact that an epic deluge of money and lies was not enough to steal Sherrod Brown's U.S. Senate seat, while letting the teabaggers know that he's willing to be their puppet too and position himself waaaaaaaay to the right of our far right governor.

That and probably planning his next political move. You didn't think defeat was going to put a damper on his outsized, unearned ambition, did you?

Josh Mandel is one of the first politicians in the U.S. to get money from Citizens United for the 2014 election cycle -- and it was quite a bundle for both parties.

http://dispatchpolitics.dispatch.com/content/blogs/the-daily-briefing/20...

The PAC, which lent its name to one of the most damaging things to occur to elections in the U.S. in recent years — the U.S. Supreme Court decision that led to floods of secretive corporate and billionaire money attempting to game elections in their special-interest favor — gave a full 10% of the money it gave to 2014 candidates around the country in the first quarter to Mandel.

This is clearly about more than helping Mandel keep his job as state treasurer, a job he's made it clear he could not be less interested in. But it's his stepping stone, and if he's hoping to move to higher office, he has to keep it.

Poor Josh. Unless he wants to try something really nervy, like primarying Governor Kasich or moving to another state, he's got to cool his heels until 2018, when Sherrod Brown is again up for reelection or when Ohio will not have an incumbent Republican governor (Kasich's two terms will be up if he is reelected; if not, Ohio will have a Democratic governor Mandel could challenge — if he can avoid having Jon Husted's knife plunged in his back).

But hey — maybe he can be the first person in history to jump from a state treasurer's office to the White House!

Our Governor Is an Idiot. Still.

Our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, appeared at the City Club of Cleveland today. He was asked whether he agrees with attorney general Mike DeWine's little crusade to allow private employers — not religious institutions — deprive women of access to reproductive health care in insurance provided through the employer.

Thanks to the Ohio Democratic Party for this transcript of the exchange. Ohio needs a new governor desperately.

Questioner: Last week AG Mike DeWine sent a letter to the Federal government asking for an exemption to the ACA for employers to limit health care coverage for women due to the employers personal beliefs. This would jeopardize essential health care services such as cancer screenings, vaccines and contraception for women. Do you agree with the requested exemption?

Gov. Kasich: I’ve never heard of this before so ... I don’t... I don’t know... Do you know what it is John?

Off screen: Yeah I do. The requirement under the ACA to cover those services.

Gov. Kasich: Well you know ma’am. I don’t know what this I don’t want to get into answering something until I have full knowledge of what’s being talked about, so ... One thing I have learned in this job is when I make a comment .... See ... It used to be an entire speech they criticized. Then it got down to a story. Then it got down to a Paragraph. Then it got down to a sentence. Now it is a word. So can I get back to you on that?

Questioner: I would appreciate it, but I think your spokesman commented on it so you could ask Rob Nichols.

John Kasich: OK. Well you know he not here right now and you know what I don’t always agree with my spokes people too so. In fact I find out I seldom agree them. No. No Scott Milburn is here I have to be kind to him.

What an embarrassment to the state this man is. There's video if you can stand listening to the man babble.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrQckVVFJ1A

Wall Street Journal — and Kasich — Full of It on State Income Tax Cuts.

Rightwingers who espouse "coddle the rich" capitalism love the idea of state income tax cuts — just like the ones our governor is proposing.

But of course, you can't come out and say that your "philosophy," to use Governor Kasich's word for what's behind what he does, favors stuffing money in the pockets of those the best off and making those struggling to get by pay the freight for essential services.

So you fall back on that old claim that it creates jobs. Old and DEBUNKED claim.

In a Wall Street Journal editorial that Kasich is probably sending out (I haven't checked by Kasich folder yet), author Arthur Laffer (yeah, him) and Stephen Moore trot out the hackneyed idea that such cuts are bait for companies and individuals to move to states that have low or no state income taxes.

Only they don't.

http://www.offthechartsblog.org/economics-of-risky-tax-proposals-dont-ad...

Here's some analysis that refutes the governor's "philosophy." The author of this analysis says,

Taxes aren’t a primary reason why people move. People mostly move from one state to another due to job prospects, housing costs, family considerations, and climate, our analysis found. Studies that take into account the wide range of other factors show consistently that taxes have little if any impact on migration.

I'm willing to bet the sky-high property taxes in many cities, including mine (Cleveland Heights), prevent people from moving there. And the reason many cities have such high property taxes is because the state of Ohio has STILL not come up with an equitable school funding formula — just cuts in order to direct more money into the pockets of Kasich's pals who run for-profit charter schools.

Maybe the Great Philosopher of Westerville should think about for a bit.

Governor Confused. What Else Is New?

Thanks to Innovation Ohio for calling this to our attention:

http://innovationohio.org/2013/03/28/baffling-new-video-shows-kasich-con...

"Baffling new video shows Kasich confused about impact of his budget."

Not that this is any big surprise. As Kasich said last month when his allocation of education money was questioning, he's all about "philosophy," not numbers. And that "philosophy" leads to some thinking that looks fuzzy and irrational in the REAL world — you know, the one most of us live in.

Here's what Kasich said:

Interviewer: When you talk about cutting the state income tax, but then if there are cuts that go down to the local level and local communities have to start raising their taxes, isn’t that a problem?

Kasich: I don’t know what you mean by that. What does that mean?

Anyone want to step up and explain to the governor what this means? I'm guessing most grade school children could explain to him what it means?

It means people like me getting maybe $100 back in state income tax cuts and paying $250 more — or maybe $500 more if another levy passes this year — in property taxes. It mean local fee hikes. It means citizens having to pay for services that their municipalities previously provided for free but can't anymore because Kasich snatched away their money.

Personally, I think Kasich knows exactly what it means. But it's part of his "philosophy" — the part that says his wealthy friends get thousands more stuffed in their pockets, while beleaguered local governments charge ordinary people more and more and more just to maintain a decent quality of life.

The Arc Is Bending Toward Marriage Equality

There's a saying — often attributed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., although it was around well before his day — that "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice."

The whining weenies on the right complaining that Senator Rob Portman is allowing himself to be led off the proper path by supporting his gay son look increasingly like a shrinking band of irrelevant tantrum-throwers. The arc is bending and they're getting left behind. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is shrinking in your rearview mirror.

Portman may be the first prominent Republican to voice his support for marriage equality. But many of the others seem to be a bit less, shall we say?, vehement than they have been in the past. As Republicans ponder how to keep their party viable in the face of increasingly unfriendly demographics, they have to face the fact that younger people don't consider marriage equality a big deal.

And here in Ohio there's this:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/03/24/poll-ohio-marri...

The far-right Columbus Dispatch polled the issue and ran the results this weekend. It found

Ohioans’ sentiments have shifted dramatically since voters overwhelmingly supported the 2004 ban on same-sex marriage.

It found 54% of Ohioans favoring marriage equality and 40% opposed — less than a decade after 62% voted in favor of the "Defense of Marriage" constitutional amendment in 2004.

While speakers from Equality Ohio and the Human Rights Campaign talked last week at a Cleveland Stonewall Democrats meeting about how your percentage of supporters needed to be at least 57% to have a good chance of passing marriage equality, I'm hearing rumors that these groups are becoming more enthusiastic about revving up the campaign in Ohio. That's good news indeed.

Ohio Republicans Kick Voters in the Teeth, as Gov. Signs HB 47

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/bi...

Apparently still pouting that union-busting SB 5 was repealed by an overwhelming margin in November 2011, the Republicans in the legislature successfully rammed HB 47, which limits the time period for collecting signatures for such a referendum, and our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, has signed it into law.

It's just another arm in the Republican drive to limit voter rights and give the public less oversight into what they do.

They're making all kinds of noises about how they really truly want to protect the right of citizens to go to the ballot — they're just making it fairer and "more uniform." Suuuuuure, they are. As with Secretary of Voter Suppress ... I mean STATE Jon Husted's claim that he only wanted to make early voting "more uniform" by limiting it to business hours, you've got to ask, why is it they always want to make things more uniform by limiting rather than expanding access?

Hmmmm.

It's unclear what happens next. There have been some noises about a referendum to repeal it but I wonder if the energy and enthusiasm would be there. There have also been noises about challenging it as unconstitutional under the Ohio constitution, but it's unclear to me whether anyone is prepared to undertake this or whether they would have solid grounds.

What is crystal clear is that the Republicans in power in Ohio want to make sure citizens have as few avenues as possible for responding to the things they are doing in Columbus.

Another Democratic Challenger for John Boehner (Oh-08)

After a year in which he was unchallenged, a Democrat has stepped up to take on Congressman John Boehner in Ohio's west central 8th district. His name is Andrew Hounshell.

He introduces himself on his Facebook page thusly:

I am an Army Veteran, steelworker, husband, father of triplets and a native son of Ohio. In 2014, I will bring a new face to Washington D.C. that is the heart of Ohio - giving the 8th District the representation it deserves.

https://www.facebook.com/AndrewHounshellForCongress

Good luck to him. He's going to need it.

I keep reading posts on progressive political blogs from people outside Ohio whining that if only the Democratic Party worked hard enough and poured enough resources into the race, Boehner could be beaten. Many of these people act like it's some sort of travesty that last year, the party focused on potentially more winnable districts.

All the whiners can donate money to Hounshell here:
https://rally.org/friendsofandrewhounshell/donate

In 2010, Boehner drew his strongest and most determined Democratic challenger yet in Justin Coussoule who raised more money than any of Boehner's previous opponents and quit his job after the primary to focus on campaigning full time. Yet, in an admittedly terrible year for Democrats, he did worse than some of Boehner's previous opponents who barely campaigned at all.

Now redistricting has made the solidly Republican district even MORE Republican.

Districts like this, where people seem to vote like robots by party ID, are very frustrating. Democrats can recruit good candidates like Coussoule, or like Wayne Powell in Eric Cantor's district in Virginia who have great credentials, a down-to-earth, straight-talking manner, and populist policy proposals that would really benefit most of the people in these districts.

Sutton Out: Governor's Race Field Narrows

Yesterday former (unfortunately) congresswoman Betty Sutton, who had said earlier this year she was mulling the race for governor, said that she would not be running.

http://atr.rollcall.com/ohio-former-rep-betty-sutton-not-running-for-gov...

She sent out the following tweet:
BettySuttonTwitter

https://twitter.com/bettysutton/status/315130423934083073

With Congressman Tim Ryan nixing the race earlier this month, that leaves it looking more and more like Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who has already formed an exploratory committee and booked a bunch of events around the state, will be our candidate.

The only wild card out there now is Rich Cordray, and it remains to be seen whether he will resign his job in the Obama administration and come home to run. He can't wait much longer.

Why The Right Is Losing Ground on LGBT Issues

For the last week, Senator rob Portman's change of heart on marriage equality has been a hot issue.

He's now just about the only conservative Republican who has come out in favor of it, after having revealed that his 21-year-old son is gay.

From the left and middle, he's been both congratulated for becoming enlightened and attacked as an opportunist. From the right, he's been condemned, as politicians like John Boehner rush to assure the insane extremists on the far far far right who call the shots in the GOP that they would NEVER do the same thing.

But you know how classy those extremists on the far far far right are — not.

So now they're attacking Portman's SON.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/will-portman-criticized-conserv...

Jackals like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (branded a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center) and Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association are again making hateful comments gay people, with a focus on Will Portman's sexual orientation.

Unfortunately for them, fewer people every day agree with them that being gay is some horrible "choice." And shifting the focus to Will Portman is only going to make them look meaner, more intolerant, and more out of touch.

Good luck with that.

Cleveland Stonewall Democrats Talk Non-Discrimination, Marriage Equality

DSC_0102small

*l to r: Antonio, Holford, Harris, Smithson, Rivera*

Tonight at the offices of the AIDS Taskforce of Cleveland, four panelists presented their take on the hot issue of marriage equality as well as the status of nondiscrimination laws in Ohio that would protect LGBT people from being denied housing or fired from jobs simply for being gay (also known as an equal housing and employment act).

They included State Senator Nickie Antonio, executive director Elyzabeth Holford of Equality Ohio, executive director of the LGBT Center of Cleveland Phyllis Harris, and Michael Smithson of the Human Rights Campaign board of directors and steering committee.

While Antonio gave an overview of the way things are trending in Columbus, Harris brought her ground-level view based on the input she gets from the people the center serves. Holford and Smithson talked about the campaigns to win equality on both levels, describing the patterns efforts in other states had followed.

Both mentioned that all the states that have passed marriage equality had a nondiscrimination law in place first, suggesting that it was a sort of de facto prerequisite for a marriage equality campaign.

That idea was challenged by several in the crowd, including East Cleveland attorney Leslye Huff. She asked why Ohio couldn't follow a different course and wondered if the legislature’s failure to pass a nondiscrimination bill was a way of fending of marriage equality and that perhaps conservative legislators knew LGBT groups would not work on the latter until the former was in place.

Franklin County Dems Rev Up Their Blog

It's always disappointing to me that there aren't more Ohio political blogs.

I completely understand why. We've seen excellent bloggers come and go over the years as real life has robbed them of the time needed to collect information and comment with insight on the political doings in our state.

That's why it's nice to see the Franklin County Democratic Party pick up the pace of their postings and solicit some thoughtful content from their members.

http://www.fcdp.org/index.php/blog

Currently, it's leading off with a post by the county party chair Greg Haas asking "Governor Kasich, What Are You Afraid of?" He's addressing Taxin' John's reluctance to open the JobsOhio books and show us exactly HOW he's squandering our taxes. This is a subject that can't get too much attention.

Also this week: commentary on Senator Portman's change of heart on gay marriage. Last week, county commissioner Marilyn Brown contributed a post on the equal pay act called "Chromosomes Shouldn't Determine Compensation." It contains a detailed analysis of what women bring to the workplace and what they DON'T get in return.

If you're looking for something to read that's not as dreary and GOP-ass-kissing as the Columbus Dispatch or the Cleveland Plain Dealer, bookmark this blog.

People Ripping Rummy a New One on Twitter

I dont know why former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld felt it was a good idea to go on Twitter and "celebrate" the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by congratulating himself and his buddies for it.

Want to see people's response to this?:

Screen shotRummy 2013-03-20 at 4.53

Go here:

https://twitter.com/RumsfeldOffice/status/314021125283790848

Dennis Kucinich tries to fund raise off the start of the Iraq war

I’ll start this by saying that I’ve supported Dennis in the past. I’ve voted for Dennis. I’ve given money to his campaigns. I did positive posts about him and was sorry to see him leave Congress. (see this link: http://ohiodailyblog.com/content/why-dennis-kucinich-will-be-missed)

It’s not that I thought Dennis was the greatest person in the world. It was more that I thought he was an important voice to have in Congress. There are so many far-right voices, I thought it was important to have at least one far-left voice.

But as Dennis Kucinich transitioned out of public office he started to lose me. One of the main head scratchers was his Action PAC and how it operated. As we wrote about here, the timing of the PAC’s endorsements in 2012 was, let’s just say; odd.

http://ohiodailyblog.com/content/kucinich-action-pac-announces-support-c...

Based on conversations I had with a lot of other people we weren’t the only ones confused.

Then there was Dennis’ decision to become a Fox News contributor. Based on YouTube clips I’ve seen of him, he’s awful. He is more than willing to play the weak stupid liberal who they beat up on, and even worse, he works in little bits of praise to the network. Seriously, just watch the video below.

Now I get an e-mail from him where he’s basically trying to fund raise off the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The e-mail starts off…

”This is an anniversary not to be celebrated, but observed:”

Really? I’m glad I got that; because I was about to head out to the bars and celebrate my butt off. I mean it’s March, one normally thinks of going out for St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness and of course celebrating the invasion of Iraq.

For Your Monday Morning Amusement: More Republicans Eating Other Republicans

http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2013/03/18/Stainbrook-aims-to-oust-G...

Thanks, Innovation Ohio, for sharing this hilarious story from the Toledo Blade about dissension among members of the Lucas County Board of Elections. One of its members, Jon Stainbrook, is demanding another, Tony DeGidio, be removed.

Mr. Stainbrook says in the filing with the Ohio secretary of state that Mr. DeGidio is not a valid member of the board because he does not live in Lucas County and because he has an ethics charge pending against him by the Ohio Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel

Usually, you expect that Republican members will look for things to attack Democratic members with an vice versa. In this case, it's the two Republicans ripping each other's throats out.

DeGidio has fired back that Stainbrook has a romantic relationship with the board's director Meghan Gallagher (also a Republican) who is under fire and whom the board is attempting to remove, along with her deputy, at the recommendation of secretary of state Jon Husted.

Stainbrook and Gallagher have denied this relationship.

Go read the article. It's a hoot. Even the photos are funny. I don't know either f these guys but Stainbrook looks like a prissy little corporate climber and DeGidio looks like the kind of guy who would disrupt a meeting with his big mouth. I mean, I could be totally wrong but they look like two guys who would not get along.

www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2013/03/18/Stainbrook-aims-to-oust-GOP-boar...

When You've Lost Brent Larkin

It's transparent that Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin is a shill for the Republican Party. Especially embarrassing were the continual paeans he wrote to former congressman Steve LaTourette. He sounded like he was going to need grief counseling when LaTourette announced his retirement last year.

This weekend, however, he published a column titled "Kasich suddenly faces a lot of Republican resistance." And it's not too laudatory of what's going on in Columbus.

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/03/kasich_suddenly_faces...

He writes,

Columbus -- The circus comes to town May 8.

But whatever acts Ringling Bros. brings to Value City Arena for its weeklong engagement here won't hold a candle to what's going on around Capitol Square.

No need to send in the clowns. They're already here.

He's referring to the multiple disagreements going on within the Ohio Republican Party, starting with "Kasich's budget is toast."

Anyone remember when Governor Ted Strickland got his budget through the Republican-controlled legislature by a huge majority? Ah, those were the days!

Of course, Strickland didn't explode spending while cutting money to local governments and public schools, or propose cutting the state income tax (which primarily benefits the wealth) and make it up by expanding the sales tax (which primarily hits the less well off).

And of course, the Tea Party and its minions in the legislature oppose one of the positive things Kasich has done — support the expansion of Medicare. These fools want Ohio to be less healthy and more impoverished.

And then there's a JobsOhio clash, in which Republican auditor Dave Yost wants to see the books and Kasich wants to keep secret how tax money is being spent on this quasi-private bureau, which has never really started to function.

Says Larkin,

If Kasich and Yost can't cut a deal, the dispute heads to court.

The Depressing Spectacle That Is CPAC

I don't know how many of you have the iron will needed to follow the doings CPAC — the annual conclave of conservatives — this weekend.

It's not just that the purity demanded is off the charts — so off the charts that sitting governors Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, and John Kasich, conservative extremists every one, were not welcome because each in some way violated that conservative purity (Kasich offended them by advocating for the expansion of Medicaid, one of a handful of reasonable things he's done). In other words, the people who could actually get elected were barred, while among the star speakers were Donald Trump (never elected to anything) and Sarah Palin (never will be again after quitting as governor of Alaska halfway through her only term).

No, it's that The Crazy is also off the charts — and probably a little beyond that. The event has been a cavalcade of lies and hate, and any attempts by anyone on the far far far right, such as Karl Rove, to suggest maybe they should dial it down is met with derision.

Probably the most infamous panel this year was one sponsored by the "Tea Party Patriots" (a real contradiction in terms) called “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?”

Since the entire raison d'etre of the Tea Party is hating the President because he's black, you knew this one was waiting to blow up — and it did.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2013/03/15/how-not-to-sou...

It featured, among other things, a guy dressed as a colonial soldier (forward thinking, these Tea Party types!), complaints that white people are getting short shrift, and to top it all off, a claim that slaves showed insufficient appreciation to their owners for giving them food and shelter.

You think it can't get crazier? It always can with this bunch!

More About Portman's Shift on Marriage Equality

There's quite a debate raging now about how to respond to Senator Rob Portman's shift on marriage equality now that his son has been revealed to be gay. (Portman knew this two years ago, which factors into some of the debates, and many are speculating this is why he wasn't tapped to be Romney's running mate, even though he was very active on behalf of Romney and would have been a safe choice).

I think there's no question that his shift is commendable, and it echoes the general shift on this issue. The feeling that who marries who is nobody's business except the couple's is becoming more widespread.

But many have used this to talk about why it is that so many Republicans cannot think outside the box of their own experience and lack empathy for those whose lives they don't share.

This column by Matthew Yglesias, "Rob Portman and the Politics of Narcissim," was particularly on target:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/03/15/rob_portman_and_the_polit...

He brings up the example of Sarah Palin who wanted to cut all federal spending to the bone, but was incensed at the idea of cuts to service for disabled children — because she had such a child.

He says,

If Portman can turn around on one issue once he realizes how it touches his family personally, shouldn't he take some time to think about how he might feel about other issues that don't happen to touch him personally? Obviously the answers to complicated public policy questions don't just directly fall out of the emotion of compassion. ... The great challenge for a senator isn't to go to Washington and represent the problems of his own family. It's to try to obtain the intellectual and moral perspective necessary to represent the problems of the people who don't have direct access to the corridors of power

Meanwhile, John Boehner was quick to assure the world that even if one of his kids was gay, he wouldn't change HIS position.

Ryan Won't Run for Governor

Congressman Tim "The Good" Ryan has announced that he will not be running for governor in 2014. He has long been rumored to be looking at jumping in this race. He follows former governor Ted Strickland in removing himself from contention, winnowing the field early. That's a good thing. The sooner we have a candidate, the sooner we can start going after Kasich tooth and nail.

Ryan will stay in Congress to be the polar opposite of the other Ryan, Paul "Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver" Ryan.

Here's the statement Ryan released:

Statement from Congressman Tim Ryan Regarding the Race for Governor

This is the most exciting time in the history of Northeast Ohio and it has become increasingly clear to me that I will be able to do more for the region, state, and country by continuing to serve in the House of Representatives rather than running for governor. For decades, our young people have yearned for more opportunities, and now those opportunities are growing everyday. By continuing to lead that effort from my current position in Congress, together we can continue to build upon those accomplishments.

We have already accomplished much in our region, from the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, to the Kent Central Gateway project, to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute and a new billion dollar steel pipe factory in Youngstown. We have made great progress because of regional cooperation including Tech Belt, a vibrant 21st century mega-region that stretches from Cleveland and Akron over to Youngstown and Pittsburgh. Our region's success has been recognized as a model by national and international publications, as well as the President of the United States in his State of the Union.

Senator Portman Comes Out in Support of Marriage Equality — Because His Son Is Gay

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/breaking-news/portman-supports-...

This is a bit of a bombshell. There are probably teabaggers gnashing their teeth right now and muttering threats to primary him under their breath.

But it demonstrates what a different it can make when people come out to their friends, family and neighbors — if they can. Making family aware that someone they love and want to have a good life is gay can open eyes and minds, if that person is willing to be changed. Obviously, Rob Portman was a big enough person to look at his son and think "Why shouldn't he have the same options as anyone else?"

Unfortunately, it isn't always like this. I recall the case of Alan Keyes' daughter, who took a semester off to work for her radical conservative father when he was the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois in 2004. When she came out after the election (after her dad had taken a historical shellacking from someone named Barack Obama), he threw her out and refused to continue paying for her college.

Clearly, Portman is a bigger — and saner — person than Keyes.

Who Would Have Guessed That JobsOhio Would Become a Trainwreck?

I guess pretty much all of us.

It's been nothing but a 100-car off-the-rails catastrophe almost from the beginning. The questionable funding, stolen from the Ohio State Liquor Commission. The questions about the eligibility of Governor Kasich's handpicked crony Mark Kvamme to head it up — and questions about his conflicts of interest and his qualifications to do so. The questions about its very constitutionality. Questions questions questions. Not many answers answers answers.

Not just no answers, it appears, but deliberate attempts to keep from the public what is being done with its own tax money.

Now the governor is trying to keep JobsOhio's financial records a secret even from the Republican state auditor Dave Yost, whose job is to make sure tax money is being deployed appropriately. He's had to subpoena the records. Kasich, of course, is acting like subpoenas don't apply to him. Same old story.

Of course, Kasich has already started his bid for reelection by boasting about all the job creation Ohio has seen, thanks to JobsOhio, which is hilarious considering JobsOhio isn't actually functioning yet.

What's kind of pissing me off though is that — Yost aside — Republican elected officials and the state's rightwing media — aren't making a bigger clamor about this. Republicans are always screaming about spending and "waste." And who else thinks that if this were Ted Strickland doing this there would be outraged headlines day after day on the front page of every daily, not just prissy little editorials suggesting politely that the governor ought to let some sunshine in?

And probably no spin like this from Columbus TV station FOX 28:

COLUMBUS — The showdown with JobsOhio is not over as Democratic lawmakers continue to fire shots at Governor John Kasich and what they say is a lack of accountability in the program.

Kasich School Board Appointees Pick Kasich Crony for State Superintendent

This really doesn't give me much faith than anything good is going to happen for Ohio's schoolchildren:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2013/03/ohios_new_education...

The new Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction will be Richard Ross, who is currently serving as the education adviser to GOP Gov. John Kasich, the Associated Press reported March 12. Ross was selected to the post by the state board of education by a 10-6 vote over other candidates that reportedly included former West Virginia superintendent Jorea Marple.

Now here's a big surprise(not):

[He] received support for taking over the job permanently from several of the state board members, 11 of whom are elected by the public and eight of whom are appointed by the governor (one at-large seat is vacant). Not surprisingly, Kasich appointees weighed in heavily for Ross.

As Kasich's education advisor, he was instrumental in developing the governor's reviled school funding plan, which doesn't even begin to address the inequities that the Supreme Court identified 15 years ago when it struck down the current system of school funding.

If that's not bad enough,

[he] has also been involved in implementing a new A-F school grading system in the state, as well as a proposed expansion of the state's private-school voucher program.

Many are skeptical about the former, and the latter is simply a flagrantly inefficient and wrong-headed use of scarce education funds that harms public education as something that serves all children.

Kasich has used every trick in the book to control the state school board and bend it to his very misguided will. Until he is voted out of office, Ohio's students remain at great risk of having the rug pulled out from under them.

Blogger Says: Let's Draft Sherrod Brown for President 2016

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/12/1193570/-Draft-Sherrod-Brown-fo...

DailyKos blogger Stephen Wolf says,

This diary is about a true, bona-fide progressive stalwart with a knack for running tough campaigns and winning a Republican leaning constituency while being a progressive fighter. This diary is about a liberal hero who remains popular in the nation's most essential swing state of Ohio and won by a larger margin than Barack Obama despite facing an onslaught of $40 million dollars from corporate special interests.

As far as I know, our senior U.S. Senator has no plans to chase the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. But this blogger at DailyKos thinks he would be an ideal candidate. Naturally some of the commenters disagree. Check it out and see what you think.

I'll bet Josh Mandel already has his eye on the 2016 Republican presidential nomination! Sickening thought.

Wolf concludes his diary,

If Sherrod Brown runs for president I will quit my day job and work day and night to send this great man to the White House. So join me and let's support a true liberal hero for president in 2016.

Sherrod, write that down if you are thinking of running!

Sponsored Post

The Views Expressed In Reader-Contributed Comments, Forums And Posts Are Not Necessarily Those Of OhioDaily Or Its Management.