Tuesday morning, state rep. John Patrick Carney from the Columbus area announced, to no one's surprise, that he will be running to take on state auditor Dave Yost.
This means we now have a complete ticket — nearly 14 months before the election.
That is a virtually unprecedented gift, and we should be making maximum use of it, not wasting a day of those 14 months.
While Carney was announcing, voters around the state were flocking to the polls to vote in local primaries.
Well, actually, they weren't FLOCKING. More like dribbling. Here in Cleveland, city council primaries were attracting barely 1,000 votes for all candidates combined.
Over in Toledo, sadly, their awful, conservative, anti-union, Kasich-cozying-up-to mayor Michael Bell, finished in first place — with only 27% of the vote. Another "independent" finished second with 24.5% and will take him on in November, giving Toledans little chance to oust him. Both Democrats finished out of the running with less than 23% apiece. A very sad outcome for Toledo.
But only 15% of registered voters turned out. Bell got only 6340 votes in a city with almost 165,000 voters. That is just pathetic.
We have heard it said endlessly that turnout was the reason we lost in 2010 — that Democrats are less motivated to turn out in non-presidential years.
That cannot happen again. Women's rights, voter rights, labor rights, the health of our public schools and local governments, the very economy of our state, depend on tossing out Taxin' John Kasich and his buddies.
Our governor, Taxin’ John Kasich, sure love to pat himself on the back.
He loves to do this so much he’ll pat himself on the back for things he didn’t do — like cutting your taxes.
He sent out an email to his subscriber list the day before Labor Day — and you can bet it wasn’t about the role of labor in building the state of Ohio.
Nope, he was proudly announcing that his tax cuts had just kicked in.
What tax cuts, you say?
Well, the miniscule ones to our state income taxes that most of us won’t even notice unless we have a six-figure income.
Of course, he failed to mention that his INCREASE in the state sales tax, which also kicked in, will just about wipe out the tiny cut in the income tax for most of us.
He also didn’t mention the glut of levies on the ballot in November — each a tax increase driven by his policies and state cuts to local governments and schools — and the fact that they would cost more than in the past because he repealed the 12.5% contribution the state has made for the past four decades.
Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald has put up a calculator so you can input your income and figure out how much Kasich’s tax “cut” is going to net you — or cost you. For instance, if you make $35,000, Kasich’s cut will save you $9 — but his sales tax increase will likely take that $9 away.
Meanwhile, let’s say you own a house in Cleveland Heights worth $100,000. You are already paying a property tax increase of over $200 due to a school levy passed in November 2011. And the city has ANOTHER school levy on the ballot this November for a similar amount.
Meanwhile, the county wants an increase in its Health & Human Services levy that will cost you another $100. So if they both pass, you will have seen a Kasich property tax increase of well over $500 in two years.
Good luck offsetting THAT with that lavish $9.
If you are a public official, or represent one, and you are hit with questions to which you have no good answer, what do you do?
Well, if you are Governor Kasich's spokesman Rob Nichols, you resort to childish, unprofessional, condescending ad hominem attacks — and fail to respond convincingly to the subject of the questions.
State rep. Debbie Phillips inquired about a recent situation in the Kasich administration that had evoked suspicions among Ohioans concerned about the safety of our water supply. The administration had apparently forced the resignation of the state Environmental Protection Agency person charged with overseeing the Division of Surface Water. It appeared this employee had gotten on the bad side of Big Coal, a Big Donor to Ohio Republicans.
Says the Athens News,
Rep. Phillips specifically requested that correspondence between the Gov. Kasich's office, the Ohio EPA and coal industry officials regarding Mr. Elmaraghy be made available under Ohio's public records law. ...The release further provided information showing that Ohio coal companies have given Kasich nearly $130,000 in campaign contributions. The Dispatch reported that, based on an analysis of data from the Ohio Secretary of State, Ohio coal interests have given over $1 million in campaign donations to statewide and legislative candidates since 2009. The majority of them have been Republicans.
So, did Nichols deny the charges in a straightforward, professional and respectful manner?
Nope. He responded like an arrogant frat boy who thinks everyone else is beneath him.
In an email to the Columbus Dispatch, he wrote,
The following video shows a bit of a testy moment when a reporter asked John Kasich about a recent poll. The poll showed John Kasich losing to Ed FitzGerald by three points in the race for governor. John Kasich, clearly irritated snaps back an answer to him. It looks like the pressure is getting to Kasich.
(Video is courtesy of Marc Kovac, of Ohio Capital Blog, https://twitter.com/ohiocapitalblog)
Our governor Taxin' John Kasich is out there making his case for re-election based on the piles and piles of jobs he claims to have created, even though he hasn't
Will you look at this?
"Bank of America lays off 1,000 in Beachwood; bank closes 3 mortgage offices in Ohio."
And it doesn't stop with those 1,000 either. There's another 55 laid-off people in Independence, another hundred in CIncinnati.
Now, of course, these job losses are due to national changes in mortgage servicing — but you will recall that Kasich refused to buy that from Ted Strickland and insisted that no matter what the national picture, he, John Kasich, would be a job-creating miracle worker.
State senator Nina Turner, who spends her time being productive despite being in a tiny minority, issued a statement that said,
"I am extremely disappointed by Bank of America's announcement to eliminate more than 1,000 jobs in Cuyahoga County. This decision is incredibly unfortunate, and will have a ripple effect in these workers' families, their neighborhoods, and the community at large.
"I am committed to working with Bank of America and leaders across the region to keep good jobs in Ohio. It is critical that we come together and ensure that these families, our communities, and our state remain strong."
It's looking increasingly like Kasich will have to find something to run on beside the amazing work JobsOhio is doing to bring back the economy.
Maybe expanding women's reproductive choice and making sure they have prenatal and pregnancy care to give birth to healthy babies?
Protecting voter rights?
Making government, including JobsOhio, more transparent?
Supporting workers right to join unions and negotiate better working conditions?
Gee, this is getting tough!
But supporting Ed FitzGerald for governor gets easier every day.
Republican Josh Mandel has kept two traffic accidents quiet since becoming Ohio treasurer in 2011 - including one that raises a potential violation of federal campaign finance law.
Oh no! Really????
During the late-night March accident, Mandel was riding in a vehicle owned by his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, months after he'd lost his high-profile bid against Democrat Sherrod Brown. Under federal campaign finance law, Senate campaign property can't be used for personal use or to campaign for a different office, such as treasurer.
Mandel's state treasurer campaign says it rented the vehicle from the federal campaign. The rental check cleared June 30, more than seven months after Mandel had lost the Senate race and almost four months after the accident, which totaled the vehicle.
Well, we know he has a track record for playing fast and loose with campaign finance regulations, which seem to bore him to the point of ignoring them. After all, he's Josh Mandel! He's special.
Perhaps you remember this from November 2011:
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s long-waited federal disclosure statement shows that he and his wife have as much as $7.4 million in assets. Mandel, a first-term Republican and former state legislator, filed the report today, nearly six months after its due date, May 15.
This guy cannot shake his reputation as a weasel. When I Googled this story, I saw that it had gotten coverage as far away as Anchorage Alaska, where they are certainly familiar with weasels (weaselettes?) in public office.
I'd like to say the assaults on public education in Ohio have reached rock bottom. Unfortunately I don't think we're even close yet.
There's been a lot of talk about the new state "report cards" for schools and how badly many schools that seem to be excellent in many respects based on their results are getting dismal grades, thanks to some tricky formulas that seem intended just to make the schools look bad and in need of "reform."
But on the other hand, the "reformers" and some of our office holders in Columbus are real, real invested in seeing charter schools — pretty much a failed experiment that drains public school money — appear to be successful.
Even to the point of this:
"Dropout Recovery charter schools exempt from state report card"
As Innovation Ohio explains, this would be like eliminating the 25% worst performing schools in a district — yet charter schools STILL perform worse than the public schools which are being besieged. Why anyone thinks for-profit charter schools in particular — which fail at a much higher rate than other schools and which divert a huge chunk of our tax dollars away from education into private profit — should exist is baffling, isn't it?
Well, no, it's not.
Innovation Ohio reminds us,
This special treatment of dropout recovery schools was the result of intense lobbying by political financier David Brennan, whose chain of dropout recovery schools – Life Skills Centers — form the bulk of his considerable taxpayer funded Charter School operation. Brennan’s received over $800 million in taxpayer money since 1999 without ever testifying before a legislative committee. That’s apparently what $3 million in campaign contributions buys you these days.
There's been a lot of talk in the last several years about how today's Republicans are their own worst enemies.
If you'd looked at the Senate map for 2012 a few years earlier, there was every reason for Democrats to be anxious. Many more Democrats were up for re-election than Republicans, and many were in challenging states. Democrats should have lost control of the Senate.
Yet — thank you, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock! — they didn't. Not having learned 2010's lesson when the GOP gave away potential (in one case, guaranteed) pickups by going with Sharron Angle and Christine O"Donnell as their candidates, they surged right ahead with Akin and Mourdock, who gave away a couple more assured pickups.
You'd think they'd manage to put up more pleasant, bland candidates like Rob Portman who hide the extent of their extremism and don't say a lot of offensively wacky things. But apparently, if you're a Republican, you can't help yourself.
Congressman David Joyce got elected last year in Ohio's only real swing district, 14, because he inexplicably popular Steve LaTourette unexpectedly retired. And due to LaTourette's popularity and the need to put resources into other races, the Democrats didn't have a real candidate. So Joyce, LaTourette's replacement on the ballot, waltzed to victory.
Now you would think, given the moderate balance of the district and the way LaTourette always stayed 10 feet from The Crazy, that the infinitely weaker Joyce would do the same.
Last week, Joyce told the Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce,
"There's 3 million jobs every month in this country that go unfilled. ...And the trouble is, it's because they either can't find people to come to work sober, daily, drug-free and want to learn the necessary skills going forward to be able to do those jobs."
Well, I guess I've got to wreck the day of all the Democratic doomsters who have been clinging to a poll from last spring showing that Governor Taxin' John Kasich's approval rating hate risen to its highest point since he was elected.
Oh woe, woe, they have been crying. His popularity is etching in stone now. He'll win re-election in a landslide, 100% guaranteed. Let's give up now!
"Kasich approval down, OH-Gov looks like toss up"
PPP's newest Ohio Governor poll finds a toss up race, with Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald holding a slight lead over John Kasich at 38/35. The closeness of the race is more of a reflection on Kasich than FitzGerald. He has a negative approval rating with 42% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove.
Just like I have been saying.
A. No way he maintains high approval after attacking women's rights, trying to destroy labor, raising taxes, starving public schools and local governments, increasing government secrecy and lack of accountability, failing to create the jobs he promised to create at a much faster rate than former governor Ted Strickland, and presiding over a breaking scandal at JobsOhio aka RobsOhio, the agency that was supposedly going to do that but is now attracting unfavorable attention even from the right-wing Columbus Dispatch.
B. Of course, it's a toss-up. The idea that Ed FitzGerald is doomed to lose is stupid. He was locked in as our candidate over six months before Strickland was in 2006. It's EARLY. I don't get the doomster Democrat thing where things negative to us are eternal and unchanging, while things positive to us elicit "A month is a lifetime in politics." PPP's poll shows 61% of respondents don't have an opinion about Ed one way or the other.
As I mentioned previously, Republican members of the Ohio legislature, apparently feeling they hadn't angered the state's women enough, were planning to re-introduce the "Heartbeat" Bill, as well as their ultra-extreme, lie-filled, woman-killing HB 200.
Thursday, they had their little dog-and-pony show. And they brought the "20 is not enough" Duggar family, whose radical ideas about family and reproduction have made the reality TV show freaks, to be the showcase act.
It's easy to dismiss this as just more pandering to the right, but when you drill down it's a lot more sinister than that — and a lot more dangerous for Ohio's women.
By tying the Duggars into the introduction of these anti-choice measures, the Republicans are clearly stating that this is their desired outcome, the ultimate goal of these measures: that women are reduced to breeding machines. By putting the Duggars on display while touting these measures, they are saying this is what ALL Ohio's women should aspire to – and if you don't, we will try to force you.
It's been clear for a while that everything these people say about "murdering babies" and the "preborn" is a calculated lie. It's inflammatory language intended to emotionalize the discussion and stampede people into destroying women's rights. It's the kind of language used by demagogues. It was once found in the most extreme outposts of the anti-choice movement, but now it's moved to the mainstream and coming out of the mouths of elected officials.
In the last session of the legislature, it rammed through a bill, quickly signed by our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, to put the books of JobsOhio (aka RobsOhio) the governor's privatized version of the department of development, off limits to the state auditor. Never mind that it's funded with public tax dollars.
If you want to see where the next government scandal is going to erupt, look for secrecy and non-transparency. Even the most well-intentioned office holder — and yes, we have many; I refuse to be cynical about ALL our elected officials — could be tempted if they knew no one was watching and their actions were shrouded in secrecy.
We're already seeing the first glimmers of what is almost certain to become JobsOhioGate.
Information is starting to bubble up that state money and tax credits are flowing to cronies and donors of Kasich. Thestate.com says, "Ohio Ethics Commission Chairman Merom Brachman said he saw no reason for the panel to investigate the relationship between Kasich and Worthington Industries."
The company's subsidiaries received JobsOhio-broked tax breaks. And,
The company's founder and late chairman, the powerful John H. McConnell, was an architect of Kasich's political rise from state legislator to congressman to governor — joining family members and employees in giving hundreds of thousands to his campaigns and political committees over the years.
Kasich's spokespeople are of course dismissing this as a partisan attack — just as Republicans tried to dismiss Coingate in its early days. And "That is not an issue before us. It's a red herring," said Brachman, a generous Kasich campaign contributor...
The level of hatred for women in our legislature has reached nearly psychotic proportions.
it wasn't enough for some of our misogynistic legislators to stuff extremely stringent anti-choice measures into the budget bill at the last minute without any public discussion, or for our governor Taxin' John Kasich to arrogantly sign them into law surrounded by six other middle-aged white men.
No. Despite enflaming women (and many pro-choice men) and energizing them to a degree not seen in decades, their arrogance knows no bounds, and they have upped the ante almost immediately:
"Ohio Lawmakers Revive Radical ‘Heartbeat’ Bill To Ban Abortion After Just Six Weeks"
State Senator NIna Turner and Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio spoke about this Monday night at the meeting at Cleveland Preterm that I previously wrote about.
Ohio lawmakers will reintroduce a six-week abortion ban to criminalize the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur before some women even realize they’re pregnant. The legislature considered an identical measure last year, but it was so controversial that Republican leaders in the state decided to drop it.
These legislators — led by Lynne Wachtmann — apparently feel so invulnerable that they can get away with things that will damage women, damage the state, and are opposed by a vast majority of the state's citizens. As Nina said, we are a pro-choice state with an anti-choice government We are nor being fairly represented.
Oh, and this is just charming:
Wachtmann and some of his fellow Republicans will announce the legislation at a banquet sponsored by the anti-choice group Faith2Action. At the same event, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — the stars of TLC’s reality show “19 Kids and Counting” — will also appear as speakers.
We have GOT to get this woman elected secretary of state.
No, not just because she's wearing an amazing dress in these photos, although she is. Rather, because she is not afraid to boldly speak out on behalf of the rights of all Ohioans — including and especially voters and women.
Nina was the featured guest speaker at an event at Cleveland Preterm abortion clinic yesterday evening, and there was a packed house of women (and men) who are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.
While a handful of fanatics "prayed" out on the tree lawn, Nina pointed out what we all know now since they've expanded their fight to attacks on contraception and sex education: "They are not pro-life, they're pro-birth." She added that she's "pro-quality of life," which includes every child's access to a quality education "regardless of zip code."
She said accurately that the new abortion restrictions are "meant to demean and humiliate women and make them second-class citizens. It's about control."
Of course, she spoke about voter rights since she's running for secretary of state, and she made the connection between an unfairly tilted field in elections and the extreme abortion measures, saying that when legislators have districts drawn to favor them, they don't have to listen to constituents, let alone statewide voters who overwhelmingly oppose extreme abortion restrictions.
"It's going against the will of the people, but facts don't matter to them," she said."I wish there were moderate Republicans but in Ohio, there are not. So it becomes a partisan issue."
And with gerrymandered districts, the likelihood of electing moderate Republicans is slim.
Keep this close at hand for reference.
And maybe you want to thank state rep. John Carney, Democratic for state auditor against incumbent Teabaggin' Dave Yost (He hasn't officially announced yet but come on — he's traveling around the state telling people how Yost is falling down on the job).
Go here: http://www.votecarney.com/
Over the protests of Ohio Secretary of Voter Suppr ... I mean STATE ... Jon Husted who says it wasn't necessary because of course he is doing everything in his power to help people vote easily, Judge Algenon Marbley extended at 2010 court order on voter ID and provisional ballot voting that was set to expire this year through 2016.
It allows provisional ballots to be counted if the voter provides the last four digits of his or her Social Security number. This is important to help homeless people vote — not that we'd want them to, right Mr. Husted?
It also expanded the definition of what is acceptable I.D. We know Husted doesn't like that because he's on record expressing a desire for Ohio's voter ID regulations to be more "onerous." Never mind that there has not been one single case of voter fraud that could have been prevented with more "onerous" I.D. rules.
Secretary of State Jon Husted said there was no evidence that a single Ohioan would be denied the right to vote if the order expired. Husted’s attorneys argued that the decree wasn’t necessary, and Husted was committed to following the rules it sets out.
Oh yeah, he'll just do the right thing on his own. And I have a solid gold cat turd I'd like to sell you.
Husted's spokesperson said he "hasn't determined" whether he is going to squander more tax money appealing something he says he would do anyway out of the goodness of his heart.
To his credit,
Marbley noted that secretaries of state change frequently, and there’s no guarantee a Husted successor would make the same commitment.
“A citizen’s right to vote, however, cannot be at the mercy of the shifting legal interpretations of a single state officer, no matter how well intentioned he or she is,” he wrote.
Preferably "she." As in Nina Turner.
One of the most blithely blown-off stories Ohio media has ignored recently is the bill rammed through the legislature hat puts the books of Governor Taxin' John Kasich's JobsOhio aka RobsOhio off limits to the state auditor.
Funded by tax money, this privatization of the state's department of development was Kasich's "big idea" for job creation. Anyway, that's what he said. With all the challenges it's faced getting up and running, it hasn't created many (if any) jobs.
It sure is spending our money though. And it's looking increasingly like at some point it's going to explode into a big corruption scandal.
Already there's this:
— Six of nine members of the JobsOhio board of directors have direct financial ties to companies that have received tax credits and other assistance from state government or JobsOhio since Gov. John Kasich took office in 2011, public records show.
JobsOhio officially are explaining it away/ But once you've slammed the door shut on transparency, your explanations are no longer trustworthy. And secrecy is a great motivator to try to get away with things.
I've long been irritated by how he Cleveland Plain Dealer makes a major scandal out of local Democratic officials failing to reveal trivial things, like private discussions about who county council members favor for council president.
Now at a state level, we have legislatively mandated secrecy of a new, dubiously legal agency that appears to be using a large amount of tax money to reward the governor's associates while not doing very much for Ohioans.
The PD isn't making much of this. And given that it's just laid of a third of its editorial staff, we're likely to see a decline in its diligence in exposing boondoggles like this.
So former governor Ted Strickland was teasing that he was going to make a "big announcement" yesterday morning. To derail speculation from the dead-end nostalgists who apparently see no problem with blowing up out party and giving Taxin' John Kasich a smooth path to re-election,he said he wasn't going to get back in the gubernatorial race.
Instead he endorsed Ed FitzGerald, as he rightfully should.
See his endorsement video here:
In his straightforward, somewhat dry, style, Strickland lays out the simple facts Ed's background and why we should elect him — and why we as Democrats should get behind him.
We should realize we are lucky to have such a solid candidate his early so that we can start working on his behalf. Remember that Strickland himself was not set as out candidate until a month and a half into election year, 2006, when his challenger Eric Fingerhut withdrew.
Time is helpful. With time, you can raise name recognition and raise money.
And I want to say a few words to some of the Democratic doomsters I'm encountering down there who see some sort of nebulous liability in Ed, while openly wishing for another candidate who combines the movie star qualities of George Clooney, the fiery oratorial style of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the name recognition of Kim Kardashian (don't get me started!), and the rabble-rousing progressivism of Howard Dean or Paul Wellstone.
There is nobody like that.
But there is a strong, accomplished, articulate candidate in Ed FitzGerald. And I am getting sick of people on OUR side saying he can't beat Kasich.
The story of Detroit's bankruptcy is sad and has many causes that have accumulated over the years.
But nothing about this situation is making me angrier than the attempts by politicians, pundits and the media to use it to blame workers and suggest that retired public workers must pay for it by giving back some of their pensions – an average of $19,000 according to some sources. Remember they do not have Social Security. Take their pensions away and hey have nothing.
Oh wait — there is something that pisses me off even more. This:
"Michigan To Go Ahead With New Arena Despite Detroit Bankruptcy"
Seriously? Come on — SERIOUSLY?
Just days after Detroit declared the largest Municipal bankruptcy in American history, Michigan officials approved issuing up to $450 million in bonds to finance the construction of the new $650-million arena for the Detroit Red Wings. ...The 30-year bond issue would be backed by both private and public funding, including revenue from property taxes, as well as revenue from concessions and parking at the venue."
THose property taxes are being paid by the same retirees whose pensions are now being threatening.
The governor is boasting that somehow this new arena is going to increase the tax base and of course, jobs, jobs, jobs. Temporary construction jobs, that is. They will go away. The cost of the project will linger forever.
But the article continues — and remember, this is a live entertainment trade publication, not some liberal news outlet:
New jobs and tax base enhancement are very common justification for public financing of sports and entertainment venues, however, apart from studies by paid consultants, the majority of academic research strongly indicates that the economic development argument fails to stand up to scrutiny.
As I've mentioned before, in all the pious pontificating about the "unborn," the anti-choice crew down in Columbus has exhibited no urgency or alarm about Ohio's infant morality rate, despite a recent study showing that in certain Cleveland neighborhoods it was higher than in many third-world countries like Haiti and Rwanda.
Now that they've snuck a bunch of anti-women's rights stuff into the budget bill which will force many poorer women to give birth to babies they don't want and can't care for, there's a little flurry of concern about the fact that Ohio is ranked 48th in infant mortality — the third worst state in the country.
Democratic state senator Charleta Tavares may be sincere. But forgive me if I am less than impressed by Republican Shannon Jones' concern.
Jones is an anti-choice zealot. She's also chair of the Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee (which Tavares also sits on). From that position, she could have been tackling the problem in the most effective way: making sure that her anti-choice measures includes guarantees of quality maternity care. Her counterparts in the house voted this down every time such an amendment to one of their anti-choice bills was presented by a defender of women and babies like Nickie Antonio. I wonder if Jones thinks any differently.
I'm not terribly impressed by this:
The state has been taking steps to deal with infant mortality, including more than $3 million per year in the latest budget aimed at infant vitality, newborn screenings for immune deficiency and congenital heart defects, prenatal smoking cessation and an awareness campaign to have babies sleep alone, on their backs.
Good-grief. John Kasich has stuck his foot in his mouth again. In a recent visit to Cleveland he made a completely disconnected statement that he believes that poverty could lead people to become serial killers. His statement was made in response to the discovery that a resident of East Cleveland apparently went on a killing rampage. I guess his statement was supposed to be some sort of empathetic statement, which, makes him an even more pathetic person, because it wasn't.
I don't know, has John Kasich, ever heard of Jeffery Dahmer or Ted Bundy? I don't think those two came from terribly impoverished backgrounds. I think if anyone looks into the issue or has half a brain, they would find the problems that cause serial killing are probably deeper than living in poverty.
NBC's In Plain Sight reported on Kasich's statement...
They note Kasich stated...
"The best way to tackle poverty, Kasich continued, is to “give people hope by giving them a sense that they can get work.”
Ah yes, the Republican talking point of a job saves all.
The problem: there are millions of people who have jobs and are still living in poverty. Some of these people have two or three jobs. A job does not save all, but a livable wage... you'll never hear John Kasich, talk about that. Nope - being the disconnected person he is, he's actually in favor of creating laws that would make things worse with "right to work" (for less) legislation.
Then there's the reality that the current policies he's supported are exacerbating poverty in Cleveland. I'm glad someone called him out on it. The article states...
I was somewhere near Elkhart, Indiana last Thursday when I heard a news item on the radio that Texas Governor Rick "Oops" Perry had signed the package of anti-women's rights measures that state senator Wendy Davis so famously filibustered for 13 hours.
Unfortunately they played a sound clip of Governor Oops sanctimoniously and ludicrously contending, "Today’s signing definitely builds upon our continued commitment to protecting life in the state of Texas." (I was ready to turn the car south and head for Texas to punch him in the mouth!)
This is not true, of course. He has exactly zero commitment to "protecting life in the state of Texas." None. Zip. Nada.
Forget even that Texas executes more people than any other state in the union — by far. It's also got one of the highest rates of people without health insurance, some of the lowest wages, one of the highest poverty rates, and one of the worst "education" systems, which the state is constantly taking money from (sound familiar?)
Just as patronizingly and hypocritically, lieutenant governor David Dewhurst said, "“For those who may be outside chanting, for those who don’t agree with us, we love you. We love you just as much as we love those unborn babies.”
They don't "love unborn babies" — or born ones either. Among other things, the measures they signed will decrease already difficult access for many poorer women to prenatal care — one of the main factors in helping women to give birth to healthy babies and decreasing the infant mortality rate. The clinics they are shuttering don't merely provide abortions. They also provide a full range of health services to women that help them have healthy babies if that's their choice.
The situation in Ohio is not much different. The new rules will create new hurdles for women who need access to health care the most to have healthy babies.
The first thing I heard when I arrived in Chicago after my leisurely drive through Ohio and Indiana was that Detroit had declared bankruptcy.
Rifling through the Chicago Tribune on subsequent days, I read the "common wisdom," a narrative being parroted in many states and cities — that underfunded pension systems are behind government shortfalls, and retirees and future retirees must pay for whatever financial mismanagement has gone on.
Of course, there's talk that pensions for the already retired, who have no other source of income, must be cut, after they have paid their share for decades. It's always irritated me that contractual golden parachutes for CEOs are considered sacred — you always hear that even though so-and-so ran the company into the ground, he has a contract that must be honored — but contracts with ordinary workers exist to be broken.
I read this article on Salon today that crystallized a lot of what I've been thinking. It says that the average "greedy" union public worker retiree in Detroit is receiving $19,000. These are the people they want to extract givebacks from.
This article talks about HOW those pension funds ended up being underfunded, It won't surprise you that the money was extracted to give tax cuts to the wealthy and welfare to corporations.
And then there are the boondoggles.
It didn't help my mood any to read that Detroit is committed to building a nearly $300 million hockey arena.
At the same time, there came the news that Chicago's bond rating ha been downgraded, below Cleveland's even.
*Think Kasich Will Get The Message?*
Today around 100 women (and some men) of all ages gathered on the steps of Cleveland City Hall to send a message to our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, and our legislature, that we are taking notice of the anti-women's reproductive rights measures slipped into the budget bill without public discussion or hearings and quickly signed into law by the governor. And that they have not heard the last of this; in fact, it will snowball as more women become aware of what they did.
The event was organized by burlesque promoter and human dynamo Bella Sin who decided on the spur of the moment when she heard Kasich had signed the measures that opposition needed visibility. She enlisted NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio's Mallory McMaster Ullman and state representative Nickie Antonio, who has been a tireless advocate for reproductive health rights, as speakers.
*Nickie Talks to the Crowd*
The event was attended by seasoned activists like Cuyahoga Democratic Women's caucus chair CIndy Demsey, Shaker Heights Dems president Jane Buder Shapiro and candidate for state representative Anthony Fossaceca, as well as young people with homemade who said they'd seen a post online and felt the urge to be there.
Heh heh. CREW, Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington, has a new report out about governors with ethics issues. It comes up with a full 18 names! In the midst of so much competition — Scott Walker! Rick Snyder! Rick Scott! Rick Perry! Don't vote for anyone named "Rick"! — Kasich is only grouped with five others as a "sideshow," which appears to be the category for governors who should be watched like hawks because of their moves to be nontransparent.
Gov. Kasich will do whatever it takes to keep the public in the dark about the non-profit he created, and played partisan politics with his state’s voting laws.
In February 2011, Gov. Kasich replaced Ohio’s Department of Development with JobsOhio, a private non-profit exempt from public record laws. Gov. Kasich’s administration resisted efforts by the state auditor to procure JobsOhio’s financial records, leading to a subpoena. JobsOhio ultimately complied, but Gov. Kasich later fast-tracked a bill to strip the state auditor’s authority to examine the records.
That just is not likely to have a happy ending for the people of Ohio. Hopefully it will also have an unhappy ending for Taxin' John Kasich next November.
Tomorrow when he gets to work, he will be officially head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and not merely an interim recess-appointed head whose tenure expires at the end of the year.
He was confirmed by a 66 to 34 vote.
Finally, he can do the work many Republicans dread:
Mr. Cordray, 54, and the agency are now set up to regulate interactions between borrowers and lenders, from the largest banks to mom-and-pop payday shops, and the terms of mortgages and student loans among other financial transactions.
It's a great day for ordinary Americans. It's a sucky day to be a financial firm that wants o scam and mislead people.
Also, this puts to bed any speculation that Cordray might return to Ohio to run for governor in 2014. Some diehards were holding out for this, often citing declared candidate Ed FitzGerald's lack of name recognition.
However, this is exceptionally early for a challenger to be running, so that will change. And for Cordray to jump in so many months after Ed had launched his active campaign would have caused confusion and bloodletting that could have helped doom our chances of ejecting Taxin' John Kasich next year.
I wouldn't bet against Cordray running for office again in the future though. That Portman Senate seat, which comes up in 2016, could look mighty tempting to him.