Family Unity in the Park Tomorrow! Meet the statewide candidates

Tomorrow Saturday July 26 from noon-9:30PM is an annual event in the east side Cleveland community called Family Unity in the Park at Luke Easter Park.

While you can tell by the musical headliners (the O'Jays, After 7) that the event attracts an older African-American crowd, people of all ages and races are welcome. (The local musical offerings include the mostly white swing/jump/blues band Blue Lunch and the Puerto Rican Sammy DeLeon Latin Jazz Ensemble so it is diverse!).

The event also features food, of course (you can also bring a picnic or a grill and have your own), a health fair, vendors, a voter registration booth, fireworks, and oh yes — why we're writing this – candidates!

All of the downticket candidates for statewide office will be there,

It is very very very VERY important that we get these folks elected, and this is a great opportunity to hear them speak, shake their hands, and see what god folks they are.

We need Nina Turner as secretary of state to protect our right to vote, something the incumbent Jon Husted isn't too diligent about.

We need John Patrick Carney to provide the kind of oversight of the spending of our tex dollars that incumbent Dave Yost isn't too keen about, maybe because some of the people squandering our money, like for-profit charter schools, are big GOP donors.

We need Connie Pillich for state treasurer because Josh Mandel is a weasel. Also because she's proven herself to be a hard worker and a good public servant during her stint in the legislature. Also, she's not a weasel.

And we need to elect David Pepper attorney general so we'll have someone who fights FOR the citizens of Ohio and not against them like Mike DeWine, who is spending tax dollars promoting his persona ideology and religious beliefs.

NIna Turner Featured at Netroots Nation Conference


Every year,, the largest progressive news/commentary website, holds a conference called Netroots Nation in a different city. It's going on right now in Detroit. I'm looking at the schedule and I see that as I am writing this, Elizabeth Warren is delivery the morning keynote address.

Guess who else is speaking today? That's right — Ohio's own Nine Turner, currently running for secretary of state against voter suppression advocate Jon Husted.

She'll be speaking this afternoon at 4:30pm with a program titled "#BlackWomenLead: Harnessing Black Women’s Political Power and Leadership Potential." If you've ever heard Nina speak, you know she's going to set the place ablaze. We're expecting to gear great reports!

It's being streamed live at the Netroots Nation website so you can listen in:

Of course, the best way we can harness black women's political power and leadership in Ohio right now is to elect Nina.

So go to her website to donate, volunteer or learn more!


Meet the Democratic Women Candidates in Geauga County

This year we have an unprecedented situation in our statewide races: half the candidates on the Democratic ticket are women.

This has never happened in Ohio in either party. Generally, there is a "woman's slot" on an otherwise all-male ticket. You kind of expect that from Republicans who manage to disappear the women they do elect (we were starting to think Mary Taylor had moved out of state until the campaign started up and she became a convenient photo op for Kasich). But we expect better from Democrats — and we finally got it.

We have three wonderful candidates. Dynamic defender of progressive values and working people Sharen Neuhardt is running for lieutenant governor. Nina Turner, a fierce advocate for protecting the rights of ALL voters regardless of age, race, socio-economic status, place of residence or ideology, is running for secretary of State. And state rep. Connie Pillich, an honest, dedicated, hard-working public servant, is running to replace a state treasurer who singlehandedly ups the sleaze factor in Columbus by 1000%.

All three will be at Bainbridge Town Hall (17826 Chilicothe Road) in Geauga County tomorrow evening, Thursday July 17, from 6:30-8:30, in an event sponsored by the Geauga Democratic Women's Caucus. There's a suggested donation of $15, which the campaigns will use to get their message out and combat the lies and whitewash of their GOP opponents. And there will be refreshments!

All are welcome. Bring friends and neighbors who are complaining about the way things are in Ohio right now and think there's nothing that can be done. We guarantee this evening will get them fired up.

It's crunch time. Let's get going.

Plunderbund ups their game with the addition of John Michael Spinelli

John Michael Spinelli is writing for Plunderbund. ( I don't know if this is a permanent arrangement, but it's certainly a major landing for the site.

Spinelli is an excellent reporter. A formerly credentialed statehouse journalist, he produces many well researched articles. For example, he wrote about Ohio Republican Chairman Matt Borges' criminal past...

I don't think any other Ohio news source wrote about it. It was definitely a shock to me when I read it.

Spinelli's articles were always difficult to find at his previous site: the Examiner. Writing at Plunderbund could help his reporting become more prominent. I for one hope that becomes the case.

Henry Gomez is a Politics Reporter. And I missed an article by Robert Higgs...

So I went on a rant a couple days ago about how Ohio news outlets had ignored new polling information on statewide races. The polls were done by Public Policy Polling (PPP), which is a very accurate polling company. I guess I did a really stupid thing to research this - - I checked the twitter feeds of most prominent Ohio political reporters to see if they linked to any articles. When I checked the feeds, no one had linked to anything, so I assumed there were no articles. But I was wrong.

Robert Higgs posted on a very good article concerning the polling. The article can be found here:

Robert Higgs is also the Columbus bureau chief for (or Northeast Ohio Media Group, or their seemingly 20 other names they go by).

I don't follow Robert Higgs for this information. I follow, I guess foolishly, Henry Gomez for this information. I follow him, because his title is Politics Reporter. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what that means.

I realize that there are a lot of stories to write. I realize that at times other reporters will have to pitch in to help out. (It is getting harder and harder though - - to figure out who is doing what at the ClevelandNEOMG.comDealer. ...Efficiency of the private sector! .or something)

What I don't get is why Henry can't at least re-tweet a heads up about a co-workers' work who is covering his, I guess, beat. Even if he is on vacation, he still found time to re-tweet this important article from Mark Naymik...

Party of "Personal Responsibility" is already edging $15 million of tax payer money for their convention... is reporting that Cleveland City Council has been asked to make a rush approval of $2.5 million to help pay for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

"Cleveland City Council is meeting Wednesday to discuss awarding $2.5 million to help pay for the 2016 Republican National Convention,

According to the article Cuyahoga County has already allocated $2.5 million for the event. In addition, it's been reported that JobsOhio an entity that doles out tax-payer money with little oversight, has allocated $10 million. So that's $15 million allocated. And it's July - 2014.

I wouldn't find this so disgusting if these people weren't the same ones who froth at the mouth in anger when you suggest tax money could be spent helping poor people eat. Or the money could be spent providing health care to the indigent. Or creating better public transportation systems that could open many more job opportunities to those that don't own a car. Or developing better energy systems that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create a cleaner environment. No, no, no, they scream to all of this. But for their convention, the Republicans will take every last tax dollar they can get.

To add a little more perspective, if the convention is supposed to cost $60 million, then we're already at 25% of it being publicly funded - - and it's July 2014.

I just don't understand why these people can't practice what they preach, show some "personal responsibility" and pay for their own damn convention.

Link to article with quote:

Link to background info on $10 million:

Hilarious email of the day

It hasn't been a good season for Ohio's state treasurer, Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel.

The trial of his benefactor Ben Suarez shone a light on his dubious activities. And even though Mandel was not charged with anything, and Suarez somehow skated on obvious campaign finance violations, being found guilty only on one incidental charge, there was still an unpleasant aroma around the whole thing that is undoubtedly lingering in the nostrils of Ohio voters and likely increasing Mandel's already high negatives.

It's gotten to the point where you can mention his name in any company — even among friends and acquaintances who are not politically engaged — and get a reflexive "YUCK" from everybody. An identity as the state's biggest weasel among officeholders has been indelibly attached to Mandel. Poor baby.

Then polling comes out showing that he's in the weakest position of any of the current GOP statewide officeholders, with the indefatigable Connie Pillich leading him by three points. And between now and Election Day, you know she'll be working her butt off while Mandel ... um ... sends out self-congratulatory emails for basically the fact that the worker bees in his office are doing the usual job that the state treasurer's office was doing long before Mandel arrived and haven't screwed anything up. I doubt Mandel has anything to do with that.

Watch out, Josh — you're going to break your arm patting yourself on the back.

If you want to find out what a stellar public servant Josh Mandel is (heh), read this — and laugh your butt off.

Treasurer Mandel Receives AGA Award for
"Excellence in Financial Management"

ORLANDO, FL - The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) today awarded Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel with an award for "Excellence in Financial Management" on behalf of the Ohio Treasurer's office. Treasurer Mandel was the only State Treasurer in the country to win this award.

Poll will likely be coming to discredit recent Public Policy Polling results

Ohio Republicans are no doubt working away trying to get new polling information that would discredit poll results released from the firm Public Policy Polling (PPP). The PPP results revealed bad news for Republican candidates. In the race for Governor, John Kasich, is up by only a point to Ed FitzGerald. (45/44). In the race for Treasurer, Josh Mandel, is losing to Connie Pillich by three points. (43/46).

Republicans would certainly like to stop any momentum these polls give Democrats. One way they can do this is to release contrary information from another firm. So it would not be surprising that new polling information comes out showing, for example, John Kasich leading Ed FitzGerald by 8 points. And if this happens, I feel I can almost guarantee that the Ohio media will report this information, even if it's a Rassmussen poll, because the Ohio media has moved so far to the Right.

What people are looking past, is that Pubic Policy Polling is a very accurate polling firm. If one follows their results year after year they're almost perfect in predicting who will win a race. And many times the races end within the margin of error PPP predicted. In 2011 Politico wrote...

"The Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling firm takes a fair amount of partisan flack for the mounds of data it produces in races across the country.

But in 2011, it is building the best defense possible: Getting it right.

In the three campaigns it has polled thus far this cycle, PPP has been within one point in one special House election, within two points in another and within three points of calling a gubernatorial primary.

It's a record that should make it more difficult for outsiders -- in most cases, Republicans -- to take shots at the North Carolina-based pollster when it unloads numbers that don't line up with their own desired outcomes.

What Henry Gomez and Joe Vardon aren't telling you part IV

Today one of the nation's most accurate polling firms released their latest polls for several Ohio statewide races. The firm is Public Policy Polling (PPP). The polls showed very good news for Democrats, including showing Ed FitzGerald just one point behind John Kasich in the Governor's race.

True to their biased selves Henry Gomez and Joe Vardon reported nothing about the polls. It is unconscionable that they would do this.

Public Policy Polling is one of the most accurate polling firms in the nation and there is no debate about it. Statistics students nationwide seek to get internships at the agency every year, but few ever do. It's a highly coveted internship to get. It is impossible not to take their entire body of work and not see an incredibly accurate polling company. There is nobody who can tell me I'm wrong about this and to act like the company is anything other than what I've written is to lie. Here's just a couple of articles on the firms accuracy...

There is no honest reason why Henry Gomez and Joe Vardon wouldn't report PPP's latest polls - - it's just another example of how off the charts biased they are. Following is what Henry Gomez and Joe Vardon aren't telling you...

Statehouse Reporter Karen Kasler Speaks to Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus

Remember this?:


That photo was taken a year ago, when Governor Kasich signed the budget bill — and signed away a large chunk of women's reproductive freedom in Ohio. A blowup of that photo, created by the Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus, has travelled to various events, spotlighting how a group of men celebrated the stripping of women's rights.

The photo was taken by Karen Kasler, a reporter for the Statehouse News Bureau.

Thursday evening, she spoke to a gathering of the CDWC at the Chocolate Bar in downtown Cleveland. Among other things, she revealed that the photo was almost accidental. "I"m not a photographer," she confessed. And yet she had the insight and vision to realize that this was a moment that needed to be captured.

She also talked about the state of statehouse reporting, which she said isn't in good health, with the cutbacks in media everywhere and fewer people doing more jobs. She says she's watched the Statehouse press corps shrink from more than 60 members to only around 35 today. And that allows legislators, who are already prone to not want some of their actions to be noticed, to slip even more under the wire. (Many in the audience also expressed a concern that so few reporters allows the bias of some publications — the Plain Dealer and DIspatch were mentioned — to dominate coverage from a rightwing point of view).

Is the Plain Dealer simply working in conjunction with the Ohio Republican Party?...

It seems in 2014 The Cleveland Plain Dealer has dropped all impartiality and decided to go all in for the Republican Party. They have produced biased story after biased story against the Democrats. And their politics "reporter" Henry Gomez acts more like a tracker for the Republican Party than a reporter.

One of the strangest stories the paper has created - and note this is their creation - is controversy over key card data for Ed FitzGerald. We've written about it. The Plain Dealer certainly has written about it. But in summary, earlier this year the paper requested information on how often Ed FitzGerald, uses his key card to swipe into a parking garage. The underlying assumption is they can tell when he's in the office.

The strange things is, there didn't seem to be any large public concern about FitzGerald's whereabouts. Ed FitzGerald is running for Governor so it's expected he's going to be out of his office a lot. It's the same with John Kasich. Further, FitzGerald doesn't have the kind of job where he'd be expected to be in the office all day long. From the Plain Dealer's own reporting, he's the second most powerful elected official in the state. If he was in the office too much, one could criticize him about that - - that he's not out meeting with people and getting deals done.

So why would the paper pursue a story where there was seemingly no impetus? A possible answer might be, if one follows the history of the paper's reporting, it follows a rubric they use to create negative stories about politicians. If one follows this explanation though, then all they really want to do is bash him. But why? Is this what a newspaper is for? It is if the paper has sold out to one political party.

The RNC will get to look at both of Cleveland's buildings...

Man Clevelanders (meaning their leadership) are dumb. The Republicans did NOT choose to hold their national convention in Cleveland, because they think the city is so cool. This is the reason they chose the city...

“A Cleveland convention offers our party a great steppingstone to the White House in 2016," RNC chairman Reince Priebus


And I know people will say that Republicans don't normally win states where they hold their conventions. But these are the same people who, in their dry elitist tones, scoffed at the idea of a Republican wave in 2010. These are the same who were so sure the Tea Party would die out in a year or two.

Cleveland in itself has to be one sad pathetic city. (and yes, I live in the area - I've been travelling a lot and haven't had to be around much, thankfully) But really, has any other city gotten this loopy about landing a political convention? If you've followed any of the weird "leaders" here, you'd think the Republicans are saving the city. The question would be, from what? Is the city really in that dire straights that it needs a convention to save it? Has anyone watched a convention on TV and thought, I should really visit that city? Since when has a national political convention been part advertisement for the place it's hosted at? And as far as tax revenue, has any other city's financial fortunes changed after hosting a convention? I don't think that's ever been the case.

Democrats in Cleveland cheering to host Republican convention remind me of this Simpson episode...


Face it: the amount of money the city will get is overstated. The multiple day PR blitz could broil an already heated swing state that has trended blue for Presidential campaigns. The best thing Democrats can do living in the area is just be honest and let it be known that they really would rather not have the Republican convention in Cleveland.

John Kasich plans to campaign all day Tuesday: where's the outrage?,.. is reporting that Gov. John Kasich will make a three city campaign swing tomorrow - a Tuesday. The Ohio GOP have been throwing tantrums wanting Kasich's Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald, to release key card swipes into an office parking garage. They want this information, because they think it will help determine how often he's in his public office - - but in reality the information they want wouldn't do this. The underlying accusation the Ohio GOP is making is that Ed FitzGerald campaigns on public time. They even went so far as to make ridiculous posters that make this insinuation. Now, in total hypocrisy the Ohio GOP's candidate will spend the entire day out of his public office, on the campaign trail.

Worse still, the article on that reports this was written by Henry Gomez. He has been just as nutty as the Ohio GOP in wanting FitzGerald to release key card information. Henry has - it seems - been working in conjunction with the Ohio GOP to make this an issue. In his article, Henry, never mentions the hypocrisy by both himself and the Ohio GOP. I can't image the outrage if this was Ed FitzGerald, but since it's John Kasich, where exactly is it?

Article being reference can be found here:

Ohio Officeholder, candidate, and Organization Responses to the Hobby Lobby Decision

Here are some of the responses we've received in the last couple of days from Ohio Democratic candidates and officeholder as well as organizations that work on freedom, choice, and equality issues. They're in the order received. Sherrod Brown (who responded almost immediately after the decision came down), Ed Fitzgerald, David Pepper, Freedom Ohio, and of course, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio all responded within about an hour Monday morning.

*U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

“Health care decisions should be made by women and their doctors – not by their bosses. This Court’s deference to corporations is once again all too apparent, and I’m disappointed that the Supreme Court opened the door so that corporations can make personal health care decisions for their employees. We must work to ensure that all employees affected by today’s decision maintain cost-free access to women’s health care. If religious freedom is to mean anything, Americans must be able to have their own beliefs, rather than their employers’ beliefs imposed upon them. Corporations are not people.”

*Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Ed FitzGerald

"Today's decision on the Hobby Lobby case is bad for both women and families across Ohio. Not only does this ruling inappropriately involve a woman's boss in extremely personal healthcare decisions, but it also hits at the pocketbooks of families who are already struggling to get by. As Governor, I will stand up against John Kasich's extreme restrictions on women's healthcare and fight for the health and economic security of Ohio's working families. John Kasich also needs to tell voters if he supports involving employers in women's healthcare decisions."

*Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

More About the Catholic Church and the Road to the Hobby Lobby Decision

There’s a lot of talk around the Internet pooh-poohing the significance of the Supreme Court’s finding in favor of Hobby Lobby and other companies that want to use the “religious freedom” excuse to get out of covering contraception in the health care plans they offer employees.

I’ve been seeing a tidal wave of this casual, unthinking sexism from people who should know better, insisting this isn’t such a big deal, that “women can just buy their own” or erroneously insisting it just applies to a handful of forms of contraception (the Supreme Court made it clear it applies to all), that are equivalent to abortion (they’re not). And anyway, why should someone have to pay for something that violates their “religious beliefs”?

But in fact, the road to the Hobby Lobby decision was paved by a single church whose opposition to contraception is driven by its underlying disregard for women and belief in their innate sinfulness. You know it, you may even be a (most likely contraception-using) member of it: the Roman Catholic Church.

Its response to this bitter truth, of course, is predictable: “Anti-Catholic! Anti-Catholic!” Back at you: “Anti-woman! Anti-woman!”

I talked in a precious post about the new book by Patricia Miller called Good Catholics about the history of the contemporary pro/anti choice battle in the Catholic Church. Her timing couldn’t have been better. It details exactly how the Hobby Lobby decision came about, even before it did.

While much of the story was familiar to me, I was not aware of the degree to which today’s anti-choice movement is entirely a product of the Catholic Church or that it has always included opposing contraception as part of that battle — something it downplayed because of the idea’s unpopularity. But it has long engaged in political lobbying to make contraception denial public policy for all, including non-Catholics.

And For Ohio Women, the News Gets Worse and Worse

The past three and a half years have been a disaster for women in Ohio in nearly every way, no more so than when the Republican legislature passed a package of cruel and pointless anti-abortion measures it crammed at the last minute without public airing into the budget bill and Governor Kasich, like a yellow-bellied snake he is, signed into law late on a Sunday night, surrounded entirely by six other middle-aged white men.

Women's rights activist Lana Moresky holds a blowup of Karen Kasler's famous photo of the occasion:


They've already signaled their intention to make Ohio even more anti-woman with even more restrictions on women's equality and autonomy, disguised as concern for the "unborn." That of course has been shown up to be an egregious lie by virtually everything else they have done. (Hey guys — what about funding education equitably so the BORN can have a future?)

Now as a result of their measures, abortion clinics are starting to close around the state. I personally am so tired of hearing "Oh, they'll never ban abortion because it's such a good fundraiser." In effect, they have and are banning abortion for women who are not affluent. They are making it functionally unobtainable.

I just got this email from Kellie Copeland who heads NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, with some not-good news coming on the tail of the not-good news from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Governor Kasich and Attorney General DeWine Move a Step Closer to Closing Hamilton County Abortion Clinic"

Welcome to the Catholic States of America

Welcome to the Roman Catholic States of America, where everyone is forced to live under the rule of Catholic Sharia Law whether they are Catholic or not. And that law, handed down by an exclusively celibate (in theory) male hierarchy is based on a centuries-old loathing of women in whom they have located all evil and sin, particularly connected with sex.

Today the Supreme Court which, by bizarre coincidence includes six Roman Catholics (all the conservative wing) and three Jews but no Protestants — the dominant religious strain in America — ruled that Hobby Lobby, run by a militant rightwing misogynist, does not have to pay for employees’ contraception under the Affordable Care Act. And in another of their stinky “This is blatantly ideological” moves, they said it ONLY applies to contraception so don’t go thinking that YOUR company can claim a religious belief against providing Viagra — or vaccines or blood transfusions.

There are exceptions to this ruling, but this is yet another step in the escalating war against women. It’s another step in exposing how little the virulent anti-abortion gang is actually about “unborn babies” and how much they are about their contempt for women and their desire to control and punish them.

And while people are quick to accuse the Republican religious right, which is primarily evangelical Christian and often even anti-Catholic, make no mistake: this is about codifying into law Catholic dogma — dogma even many Catholics disagree with.

While the Catholic Church has pushed its anti-abortion and anti-contraception positions for well over a century, becoming increasingly hardline over the years to the point where its positions on these issues have threatened to drown out everything else, there is no similar dogma on the decentralized and diverse evangelical side, which has multiple voices.

Why doesn't the Ohio Democratic Party...

Why doesn't the Ohio Democratic Party create some "What's John Kasich hiding?" signs and have people hold them along side these fine folks? Then every time the ORP took a picture of this stuff you'd get the same relevant and fair question turned back on them. Seriously, what is John Kasich hiding? Or Mary Taylor. Or Josh Mandel. Or what's Matt Borges laundering?

Interesting quote from Hillary Clinton's book Living History...

Here's an interesting quote from Hillary Clinton's book Living History (note this is not her most recent book Hard Choices)...

"I do believe there was, and still is, an interlocking network of groups and individuals who want to turn the clock back on many of the advances our country has made, from civil rights and women's rights to consumer and environmental regulation, and they use all the tools at their disposal-money, power, influence, media and politics - to achieve their ends."

(Clinton, Living History, P. 446)

The book was written in 2003. Foretelling.

So where are Laura Johnson and Heather Brandt

In case you had not been following Laura Johnson was Lt. Governor Mary Taylor's chief of staff. Heather Brandt was an assistant to Laura Johnson. Both of these women resigned from their positions in early June, because they forged time cards indicating they worked more than they did.

One might think that these two women resigned in disgrace - - that their careers were ruined. And this may be true. But I wouldn't be surprised if both these women weren't working away somewhere on some conservative organization's payroll. They could very well be working on the Kasich/Taylor re-election campaign. The positions might not be as glamours and the pay might not be as much as they were making, but there is a very good chance they're working somewhere for conservatives. It's a decent bet that they're still in the "Family". And if this is true, I'm sure part of their new employment is contingent on them keeping quiet. They'll avoid talking to the media at all costs.

You see in the conservative/Republican world a person never has to face up to wrong doing. Look at the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party Matt Borges. He orchestrated a money laundering scheme that he was found guilty of, and now he heads the state party. Ever heard the name Matt Damschroder? When you start looking into things the list goes on and on. So many Republicans are found guilty of so many infractions like this and they still rise through the ranks. Given the history and the pattern of how the Republicans operate, why would anyone not believe that these two are currently working for the Ohio Republican Party or directly for the Kasich/Taylor campaign? Has anyone bothered to check? Where are Laura Johnson and Heather Brandt? It might surprise you... or maybe not.

Cincinnati Inquirer Columnist Rips Josh Mandel a New One

It's astonishing to see a GOP officeholder so blatantly sleazy that even Ohio's cautious, right-leaning newspapers can't stomach him. But Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel has attained this exalted status.

Actually, he attained it some time ago and keeps upping the ante. Back in 2012, during his misbegotten U.S. Senate campaign against Sherrod Brown, the Columbus Dispatch, which is virtually the house newsletter of the Ohio Republican Party, shredded Mandel's claims of heavy crossover support from Democrats and then on its own, went on to shred the idea that he had strong support in northeast Ohio's Jewish community.

The Cincinnati Inquirer just ran this outstanding editorial titled "Mandel is the worst kind of politician."

You really don't have to go beyond the headline, but you should. It's a great piece of writing, and it nails everything that is repellent about Mandel.

Needless to say, there's a lot to write about.

Referring to the Suarez trial currently underway, the editorial says,

Whether or not a legal case can be made against Mandel, a picture has emerged of a politician who's all about money and naked ambition.

Ya think???

it refers to the flood of outside donations in the 2012 Senate race unleashed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and says "Dark money found Mandel like a homing pigeon."

The revelations about Mandel's dealings with Suarez add to the narrative that money is job one for our state treasurer – not properly collecting and investing taxpayers' money, as he was elected to do, but collecting what he needs to fulfill his political ambitions.

As the editorial says, "Let's remember in November."

Education Needed At Ohio State Board of Education

This story comes to us from Right Wing Watch, and believe me, the right wing needs a LOT of watching these days for its crazy, unconstitutional, un-American, and frankly, un-Christian schemes and ideas.

At the Road to Majority conference sponsored by (scandal-ridden religious right leader Ralph] Reed’s Faith and Freedom coalition last weekend, a member of the Ohio state board of education openly called on conservative Christians to take over the educational system and return it to a foundation of “biblical truth.”

Can we institute a 4th grade civics test on the Constitution as a requirement for running for state school board?

Mark Smith, who was appointed to the board of education by Gov. John Kasich last year, is president of Ohio Christian University and president of the Ohio Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Oh but of COURSE.

At Road to Majority, Smith sounded as if he’s been reading discredited “historian” David Barton’s claims about the Constitution being drawn directly from the Bible.

No doubt he has.

“America, for 60 years we have tried to deny the source of truth. But we as a nation must not forget that truth, biblical truth, is what we were founded upon. In fact, let me remind you, truth concepts like liberty, freedom, personal responsibility, law, justice, and hope are all words that came out of the Bible. They are words that our founders relied upon and they understood that biblical truth was our foundation.”

Markie, it’s time for YOU to go back to school but everything in that quote is FALSE. Most of the founders were NOT Christians at all. Many of them resembled a faith you probably hate: Unitarians.

No. Just NO.

I vividly remember the first time I ever saw Clevelander Paul Schroeder.

It was at an anti-war gathering at Cumberland Park in Cleveland Heights in the late summer of 2005. He was standing, head bowed and lost in thought, holding one of those triangle-shaped display boxes in which soldiers’ families display memorial flags. Paul’s 24-year-old son, Augie, was one of more than a dozen Ohio soldiers killed in Iraq in August of 2005.

I also remember the first time I saw the PowerPoint presentation Paul and his wife Rosemary Palmer put together about Augie. I don’t recall that date but it was at an event at Laborers Hall downtown. Augie really came alive in that presentation as the vibrant, valuable young man he was, with so much still to give to the world — so much unfulfilled promise. For what?

That’s what his parents asked when they formed Families of the Fallen for Change to explore ways out of the quagmire in Iraq.

It took years but eventually, we disentangled ourselves from this no-goal, no-win situation, with over 4,000 dead and nothing accomplished. Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld’s prediction that the war would last “Six days, maybe six weeks, I doubt six months” proved woefully off the mark. So did assertions by other members of the war-mongering Bush administration that the war would cost no lives and no American treasure — it would all be paid for by Iraqi oil.

In the end, it cost us our economy as well as the 4,000 American dead and uncounted Iraqi dead. (Our war leaders didn’t think Iraqis were important enough to keep a tally.)

Now, as sectarian violence, predictably, breaks out again in Iraq, the chicken hawks from the Bush administration are seizing the opportunity to beat their war drums again. These are the very same people who predicted the invasion of Iraq would be blood- and cost-free and that we would be greeted as heroes by the Iraqis.

Charter School Madness

*Parents Beware!*

It’s time for charter schools to be abolished. Entirely.

I know, I know, they offer all sorts of wonderful alternative opportunities because they’re free from “regulation” (and oversight), they offer “parental choice,” blah blah blah. Rightwing education groups like Michelle Rhee’s Students First aka Students Last If At All pour money into promoting these scams and issue state “education” ratings that are about adherence to a select set of rightwing education reform policies, not the accomplishments of actual students.

One of those fake rating systems crops up in this excellent article by Jeff Bryant at Education Opportunity Network.

The article highlights the rampant corruption, failure, and waste poisoning the charter school systems in four states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and, of course, Ohio.

He refers to something called the “parent power” ranking, issued by the rightwing Center for Education Reform, which ranks Ohio #3.

As Bryant notes,

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