America the lost

This is just sad: the following is a story from NPR about America's aging infrastructure. The story came about in the wake of the I-5 bridge collapse in Washington. It starts out...

"As you head out for summer vacation, ponder this: There's a 1 in 9 chance that the bridge you're crossing has been deemed structurally deficient or basically in bad shape by the federal government."

One in nine bridges on America's highways and byways have been deemed structurally deficient.

Then there's this, which, is quoting, Barry LePatner, a New York real estate and construction lawyer...

"LePatner says for decades the nation has starved its roads and bridges. The federal gas tax, which provides the bulk of the funding for the Highway Trust Fund, hasn't been raised in two decades. And the trust fund, which pays the federal share of road and bridge construction, is expected to go broke next year."

Nice.

We could solve these problems if we were just honest about the situation. But there are some in our society who allow themselves to be brainwashed into believing some mythical spend-monster is a bigger threat to their livelihood than failing infrastructure they traverse everyday. They are content to live with less, live amongst decay, because they are too stupid to demand better from their "leaders."

Entire article can be found here:

http://www.npr.org/2013/06/01/187599868/many-bridges-are-unsafe-but-few-...

Ed FitzGerald calls on Kasich to veto JobsOhio secrecy bill

The Dayton Daily News reports...

"Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, a Democratic candidate for Ohio governor in 2014, has called on Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich to veto a bill that would prevent any state audits of JobsOhio."

They quote FitzGerald as saying...

""Clearly, Governor Kasich wants to shield his underperforming JobsOhio program from scrutiny, but he should do the right thing and veto this misguided bill. This bill was rammed through the Legislature and seems to confirm Ohioans’ fears that their government is working for the wealthy and well-connected, and not on their behalf,""

There's this response from Republicans...

"Republicans who pushed the amendment, with the support of some business groups, say it helps clarify that JobsOhio and other private groups don’t make themselves subject for a full state audit just because they accept government money. JobsOhio would still be audited annually by a private firm, selected with input from the Ohio Auditor."

Let me highlight part of a sentence here...

"JobsOhio would still be audited annually by a private firm,

Hmmm... like Arthur Anderson?

...Oh wait, they don't exist anymore. Private auditing firms never help cook an organization's books. They never collude to make financial situations seem better than they really are.

Entire article can be found here:
http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/ohi...

What Many Democrats Won't Give to the Big National Groups like the DCCC

No.

Just NO, DCCC.

http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/may/31/two-democrats-consider--run-for-co...

It appears that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — the D.C.-based group charged with filling congressional races with Democrats — is actively recruiting the woman who was a key factor in Governor Strickland's loss to John Kasich in 2010.

That's right. Welcome back to the political stage anti-choice, anti-gay "Democrat" Jennifer Garrison, whom the DCCC apparently would like to see run for the 6th district congressional seat.

Lots of progressive Democrats can recite a litany of why they would never give a penny to the DCCC. But this really takes the cake.

Sure, it's a conservative district represented by teabagger Bill Johnson, who beat the late Charlie Wilson in 2010. Johnson beat Wilson last November in a district drawn to be more Republican. It was said Wilson was considering a comeback when he died of a stroke in April.

Wilson was a Blue Dog — a conservative Democrat. But many of us believe that this tactic — trying to be as conservative as possible and as much like the Republican as possible in a right-leaning district — is a loser's game.

After all, why would conservative voters choose a candidate from a party they perceive as liberal who expresses many conservative positions when they could just have a pure conservative from a dyed-in-the-wool rightwing party you can trust to always support the furthest right position? Why would conservative voters vote Conservative Lite when they could have the Real Thing?

Meanwhile, voters hungry for something else, whether it's the silent liberals in the district or just those people tired of divisive social issue and guns guns guns all the time and longing for a candidate who addresses the economic woes which are massive in this southeastern Ohio district, don't have anywhere to turn. They have a choice of eeny and meeny.

The Poverty Creators... WalMart: Always low wages

The Huffington Post has a report on a study released by the Congressional Democrats. The report found that just one WalMart could cost tax-payers as much as $900,000. They state...

"The study uses Medicaid data released in Wisconsin to piece together the annual cost to taxpayers for providing a host of social safety net programs, including food stamps and publicly subsidized health care, to workers at one Supercenter in the state.

According to the report, Walmart had more workers enrolled in the state’s public health care program in the last quarter of last year than any other employer, with 3,216 people enrolled. When the dependents of those workers were factored in, the number of enrollees came to 9,207.

"When low wages leave Walmart workers unable to afford the necessities of life, taxpayers pick up the tab," the report says."

The entire article can be found here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/walmart-taxpayers-house-report_...

Unions and their multiplier effect: helping to build wealth in our communities

Working America (an affiliate of the AFL-CIO) has a great read about the multiplier effect unions have on local economies. It offers additional proof that economies don't grow from the top-down (forcing us all to pray to a bunch of elitist Job-gods), but from the middle-class out. They state...

"Manufacturing has long been a cornerstone of our national economy. This crucial sector is central to the creation and retention of good jobs and a good standard of living for working families. In both larger cities and smaller communities, manufacturing jobs – especially unionized jobs – offer powerful economic benefits. As a sector, manufacturing firms are especially valuable to the economy because, when they export goods, they bring back to their communities much of the wealth earned from sales around the country and the world.

The positive effects of a healthy industrial sector spread far beyond manufacturing itself. Reports from the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) indicate that each dollar’s worth of manufactured goods creates another $1.43 of activity in other sectors, twice the $.71 multiplier for services. Also, two thirds of U.S. research and development capacity is concentrated in manufacturing. Manufacturing has long been a dynamic economic sector, registering remarkably sustained productivity growth. The Industrial Union Council of the AFL-CIO points out that, "Annual labor productivity growth in manufacturing averaged 2.57 percent in the 1980s and 3.51 percent in the 1990s, compared with .57 percent and .71 percent, respectively, in non-manufacturing sectors."

They also state...

Site went down

Our site went down and we lost a post. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I'm told everything is running smoothly now. The lost post was about ModernEsquire's reporting on SB67. His reporting can be found here: www.plunderbund.com

Michele Bachmann is leaving Congress: maybe there is a God

Well this was welcome news, Michele Bachmann, probably America's loudest Theocrat, is leaving Congress. She made an announcement late last night that she won't seek re-election
in 2014.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/us/politics/michele-bachmann-wont-seek...

Hallelujah! Can I get an "Amen!"

Michele Bachmann, the person who seemed to think every clash of thunder was God communicating to us his anger about gay marriage. (somehow, I imagine God to be a little more articulate than that)

Michele Bachmann, who seemed to think anyone who looked slightly Middle-Eastern walking around Washington DC was part of the Muslim Brotherhood trying to infiltrate America.

Michele Bachmann, who ran for President declaring she had a "titanium" spine...

is quitting.

Many people are speculating the reason why she is quitting is because she's facing a House ethics investigation. I'm sure she believes what's happening is just some politically motivated ploy by Satan.

Whatever the reason, it's good news.

Huh... maybe I'll go to church on Sunday.

Emily's List Endorses Connie Pillich for Ohio Treasurer.

Emily's List, the national group which supports pro-choice women candidates, has jumped into the relatively obscure (from a national viewpoint) Ohio treasurers race early, endorsing state. rep. Connie Pillich.

http://emilyslist.org/news/releases/emily’s-list-endorses-connie-pillich-ohio-treasurer

They said,

"As a decorated veteran, attorney, and member of the Ohio State House, Connie Pillich has proven herself to be an extraordinarily qualified leader who is dedicated to fighting for women and families,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “And with her dedication to helping small businesses, expanding access to quality education, and protecting seniors and veterans, it’s clear she has what it takes to help Ohioans succeed in a 21st-century economy. The EMILY’s List community – now more than two million members from coast to coast – is excited to support her campaign for Ohio Treasurer."

Hmmmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with it:

http://www.progressohio.org/blog/2012/10/video-josh-mandel-confirms-that...

"Josh Mandel Confirms That He Does Not Support Exceptions For Abortion Even In Rape Cases"

Or this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/23/foster-friess-josh-mandel-ohio-...

"Foster Freiss Backs Josh Mandel, Ohio GOP Senate Challenger" (the "best method of birth control is a woman putting an aspirin between her knees" guy)

Or this:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/25/1150241/-Josh-Mandel-says-Richa...

"Josh Mandel Says Richard Mourdock Is a 'Class Act'"

Josh Mandel wants to defund Planned Parenthood. Josh Mandel supports the "Heartbeat" Bill. Josh Mandel will support any anti-woman position that big-money donors like Freiss want him to take. And Josh Mandel is the opponent Connie is taking on.

Jon Husted's voter fraud investigation: Shouldn't he have reported himself?

Well this is just hilarious: and sad.

Jon Husted, Ohio's illustrious Secretary of State decided to do a voter fraud investigation following the 2012 Presidential election. In his very serious investigation he concentrated on...

"County boards of elections have referred voters to local law enforcement for double voting, voting for other people (including for those who had passed away before Election Day) and for voting from an address from which they were not eligible."

Source: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/mediaCenter/2013/2013-05-23.aspx

Let me highlight part of a sentence here...

"and for voting from an address from which they were not eligible."

Jon, buddy... that's you.

To refresh people's memories, back in 2009 Jon Husted was at the center of a residency controversy. Essentially, Husted was living in one city (Upper Arlington), but had his voter registration and residency declared in another (Kettering). He was also technically the state senator for the area he was not living in. There was an investigation by the local board of elections and the evidence against him was overwhelming. From pulled water meter records that showed no usage, to neighbors who stated they never saw him, it was clear Jon Husted was not living at his Kettering residence. During the investigation, Jon Husted, gave some of the strangest quotes to explain his situation; like this...

"Husted, a candidate for Ohio secretary of state, has said the demands of his job in the State Legislature keep him in Columbus so he sometimes lives with his wife and kids in her Upper Arlington home. But he said his legal residence is in Kettering, where he intends to return when his term in public office ends."

Source: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/state-regional/husted-sues-brun...

Real costs of war: caring for those after they have served

The following is from a New York Times article written in 2011. It starts...

"WASHINGTON — Though the withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan will save the nation billions of dollars a year, another cost of war is projected to continue rising for decades to come: caring for the veterans."

It covered the Republican's nutty cries of "cut spending! cut spending! cut spending!!!"

"Though there is currently strong bipartisan support for veterans programs, some budget proposals, including from Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, and Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, have called for trimming benefits for veterans and military retirees.

“Those proposals have been batted back so far,” said David Autry of the Disabled American Veterans. “But we’ve got more vigorous budget hawks today. If they are willing to bring the nation to the brink of insolvency, who knows what else they might do?”

In contrast there was this quote from Senator Patty Murray...

"No one is thinking about the lifetime costs this country is responsible for,” said Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat who is chairwoman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee."

Yes, we really do need to think about what war means in the long-term for our country. About a year ago, I read a statistic that almost half of those who served in Iraq will need some kind of treatment. It's possible the percentage could go up.

Republicans seem so eager to start wars, but seem to lose interest when managing the details gets too complex.

What exactly do you call those kinds of people?

The entire article can be found here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/us/28veterans.html?_r=0

Join 520 Scientists by signing statement to maintain humanity's life support

Via www.Dailykos.com...

"Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point. Human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet. As scientists who study the interaction of people with the rest of the biosphere using a wide range of approaches, we agree that the evidence that humans are damaging their ecological life-support systems is overwhelming.
We further agree that, based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path.

Science unequivocally demonstrates the human impacts of key concern:
Climate disruption—more, faster climate change than since humans first became a species.
Extinctions—not since the dinosaurs went extinct have so many species and populations died out so fast, both on land and in the oceans.
Wholesale loss of diverse ecosystems—we have plowed, paved, or otherwise transformed more than 40% of Earth’s ice-free land, and no place on land or in the sea is free of our direct or indirect influences.
Pollution—environmental contaminants in the air, water and land are at record levels and increasing, seriously harming people and wildlife in unforeseen ways.
Human population growth and consumption patterns—seven billion people alive today will likely grow to 9.5 billion by 2050, and the pressures of heavy material consumption among the middle class and wealthy may well intensify.

By the time today’s children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth’s life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent, and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future.

John Kasich's pay-to-play politics

John Kasich has a serious problem with pay-to-play politics. Here at Ohio Daily Blog we're going to start writing about it (or re-writing about it), because it's important in understanding his character and how he is governing Ohio. For our first installment we'll go back and look at Mark Kvamme.

Mark Kvamme, was John Kasich's first chief to head up development in Ohio. It's still a mystery as to how he got such a critical post. He had no experience. During his tenure he did nothing besides get a divorce, start dating someone 16 years his junior, knocked himself out while dirk bike riding, stalled programs like the Ohio Third Frontier project and then left the state.

What Mark Kvamme, did do prior to his appointment was donate a ton of money to John Kasich and the Ohio Republicans. As we wrote in 2011 base on information reported by MedCityNews...

"It’s reported that Mark Kvamme met John Kasich, while Kasich was in D.C. Later, they worked together when Kasich was at Lehman Brothers. According to MedCityNews Kvamme contributed over $44,000 to John Kasich’s gubernatorial run. He donated another $24,000 to the Ohio Republican Campaign Committee. Mark Kvamme by his own admission has no public policy experience. This is all brand new to him. So a BA in French Economics and Literature, a somewhat murky past where he emerged as a partner at one of the largest venture capital firms in the world, no public policy experience, no real time spent in Ohio; but he donated over $68,000 in campaign contributions. This apparently is the background that made him the best and most qualified person to head up economic development in the State of Ohio."

Source: http://www.ohiodailyblog.com/content/mark-kvamme-jobsohio

Seriously, if you take out all the money that Mark Kvamme donated, would he come across anyone's radar to be the top economic development official for a state?

Springboro, Ohio school board pushes to teach Dino-Jesus in public schools

Well it figures, as education declines in America, the answer seems to be to run from bad to worse.

It's being reported that in Springboro, Ohio, the school board is debating to allow creationism to be taught in schools.

What's wrong with these people? Why are they so adamant about teaching religious beliefs in public schools? Why do they believe it's the only venue for these beliefs to be taught? Haven't these people ever heard of... Sunday School?

For years that's the way these beliefs were taught. People, ya know, went to church. They took their kids where they could be educated in religious beliefs if that's what the parents wanted. I know, because this is how I grew up. Don't these new wacky White Jesus "Christians" go to church? Why are they so desperate to use the public sphere to teach their nutty views?

The more you study what these people believe, the clearer it becomes how wrong they are. Their interpretations of the Bible are abysmal, and their reliance on mysticism is sad.

There are amazing discoveries with understanding the natural world. There are unbelievable cures found, incredible feats of engineering, and overall progress that have benefited all people. If these indoctrinated Christians are so weak in their beliefs that a little bit of science destroys it, then maybe they should question what they are really following.

Article about the Springboro board can be found here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/springboro-creationism_n_333304...

Protesting Wal Mart with "Ride for Respect"

This information comes to us via Hillbilly Report, which is a blog in Kentucky.

They report...

"James and Trina Vetato knew about the freedom riders from history books.

Next month, the Paducah, Ky., couple expects to join a civil rights movement-style protest by OUR Walmart, an employees group, against the world's largest retailer."

They continue...

"Called the “Ride for Respect,” the demonstration at Walmart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., will be modeled on civil rights volunteers who rode buses into the South in the 1960s to protest Jim Crow racial injustice, James Vetato said.

Busloads of OUR Walmart members will converge on Bentonville from across the country. They will be in town for the annual shareholders’ meeting, which is June 7.

Vetato said he expects 300 or more OUR Walmart members to begin arriving the week before the meeting. Most of the protestors -- including Trina Vetato -- will be on an unfair labor practice strike, her husband said.

The Vetatos are activists in Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart for short.

"The protest will go on the whole week before the meeting,” he said. “We especially want to draw national attention to Walmart management's threats and retaliation against workers who speak up for better pay, more hours and respect on the job."

I wonder if anyone from Ohio is going?

The entire report can be found here:
http://www.hillbillyreport.org/showDiary.do;jsessionid=E59FFF7B21F730F18...

You can learn more about the OUR Wal Mart movement Here:
http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/

Dr. Jill Biden Pens Op-ed to remember what simple acts of kindness can do this Memorial Day

Via Huffington Post Dr. Jill Biden writes...

"From a big initiative to a small gesture, Memorial Day is the perfect time to offer a simple act of kindness to our veterans and military families. You can send a message of thanks to our troops or a military family. Or pledge hours of service. Or even start your own volunteer project. And afterwards, please share your story -- we want to hear about it!"

The entire op-ed can be found here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jill-biden/this-memorial-day-a-simpl_b_...

With bridge collapse in State of Washington: Republicans call for impeachment of President

The Republicans have another sure fire conspiracy to investigate. In the state of Washington a bridge collapsed and the fact that it did surely leads back to the Obama Administration.

Ohio Daily Blog heard from Republican Hill staffers who said the connections were clear. In the past President Obama has said the words aging infrastructure and bridges, so it's clear, he knew this bride was going to collapse and did nothing.

Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has promised a full investigation. He is sure to find links to Benghazi and the fact that there were US military personal somewhere nearby who could have been dispatched for... something.

Mitch McConnell stated the bridge collapse is worse than Benghazi, which of course, is worse than Watergate.

Michele Bachmann blamed gay marriage and sex, and the fact that human beings are born with genitals, which just makes them evil and gross. She of course has none.

The Plain Dealer's Politifact rated this all as "True" not based on any facts, but because someone somewhere might believe it all to be true, so that's enough for them.

Article about bridge can be found here:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/24/bridge-washington-s...

Study released back in February by Innovation Ohio found Charter Schools cost State twice as much

Back in February Innovation Ohio (a Columbus based think tank) released as study that showed Charter Schools costing taxpayers twice as much as traditional schools. What's even worse is that the Charter Schools perform worse in terms of educating students than traditional schools. Just check out some of these highlights Innovation Ohio found...

"◾In FY 2012, charter schools received $7,141 per pupil in state money — more than twice the $3,399 traditional public schools received from the state after charter deductions;
◾Charter school funding is based on the cost of educating kids in a traditional school, despite the fact that charters have far lower actual costs. Charters pay teachers less, have no student transportation expenses, and are exempt from some 270 legal and regulatory requirements with which traditional schools must comply.
◾The resulting overpayment to charters comes at the expense of traditional school students. In FY 2012, for example, the $774 million transferred to charters gave traditional school children, on average, 6.5% less funding than the state said they needed.
◾Although proponents of “school choice” often cast charter schools as superior to traditional schools, 85% of those who transferred in the 2011-12 school year left districts with better state performance results than the charters to which they went."

In just looking at the highlights from the report I think the phrase "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention" fits well.

The entire report can be found here:
http://innovationohio.org/2013/02/14/report-unfair-funding-how-charter-s...

Study finds unionized schools to have higher graduation, retention rates

The Daily Nebraskan reports on a study that found unionized schools had higher graduation and retention rates than non-unionized schools. Their reporting states...

"Mark Cassell, an associate professor of political science at Kent State University, conducted the study, which includes more than 23 years of data and took a year to finish. He found unionized schools tend to have higher graduation and retention rates and lower budgets than non-unionized schools."

Ouch, John Kasich, with his Right-to-Work mumbo-jumbo can't like hearing that.

The entire article can be found here:
http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/article_ec0b31a6-a646-11e2-882d-0019b...

The real Ohio Miracle is that John Kasich is still Governor

Policy Matters Ohio has been tracking job growth (or lack there of) for the last few years and their latest findings is that it's not been good. Their latest release starts off...

"Ohio added just 7,600 jobs in April, nowhere near the growth needed to fix Ohio’s slow-growth economy. The state needs 235,000 jobs just to make up for losses in the last recession. If the current job growth rate becomes Ohio’s new normal, the state is in deep trouble."

Some "miracle"

When John Kasich, ran for governor he made it sound like Ohio would be awash in jobs. But as we get a clearer picture of the results from his efforts to create jobs, it's clear he's been a failure.

The entire report from Policy Matters Ohio can be found here:
http://www.policymattersohio.org/jobwatch-may2013

Hey Oklahoma! Kick Out Some Politicians and THEN We'll Talk Disaster Aid.

I'm sure you, like everybody, are getting hit with a wave of pleas to donate to the victims of Monday's tornado in Oklahoma. Give to the Red Cross! Give to United Way! Blah blah blah.

I hate to sound hard-hearted, but it seems like the waves of victims are coming faster and faster, and ordinary people are expected to pick up the slack left behind by the anti-government types who want to defund everything.

And at the head of the list are the two senators from Oklahoma. I know, I know — don't punish everybody, because not everyone in Oklahoma voted for them, just the vast majority. Is that majority paying attention?

You have Tom Coburn who's busy channeling that sociopath Eric Can'tor and saying there should be no federal disaster aid unless money is cut elsewhere from the budget. And you can bet he's not talking about cutting oil subsidies.

Then you have James Inhofe who voted against aid to Hurricane Sandy victims (as did Coburn) but he says Oklahoma is different somehow because they'll use it properly (unlike, he seems to be saying, those lib'rul northerners and dark-skinned people).

I'm sorry, Oklahoma, but these clowns hurt everybody and they should go.

Now let's focus on your legislature.

They were in session today. I guess they spent all that time talking about how to rebuild the storm-ravaged areas. I would imagine there's a ton to discuss.

Nope. Not at all:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/oklahoma-planned-parenthood_n_3...

"Oklahoma Senate Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood Two Days After Tornado"

Honestly, I thought this was an Onion story at first. But nope, it's for real.

It really is time to storm your statehouse and call out these assholes. Conveniently for the storm victims, the state capitol is in Oklahoma City so they don't have to go very far. If our legislature did this following a disaster in Ohio — and I wouldn't put it past them — I would be in my car heading to Columbus right now.

Connie Pillich Is In! Time for a New Ohio Treasurer

ConniePillichMedium

No Ohio political observer was particularly surprised by this morning's announcement that southwest Ohio state representative Connie Pillich is officially running for state treasurer.

This move has been rumored for quite a while, and Connie has been traveling around the state, introducing herself to the Democrats groups that provide the campaign worker bees. Last month at the Cuyahoga County Democratic Women's Caucus luncheon, she was accompanied by her finance director and made reference to her scheduler.

When asked if she was officially running , given that she was so staffed up, she said she still had a few official steps to take before she was ready to announce.

In this morning's press release, she said,

“I’m running for Treasurer because working families, small business owners, and seniors need someone who will fight for them. Ohioans deserve a Treasurer who will do the job she was elected to do and will make sure our tax dollars are protected and used wisely.

“Whether as a captain in the Air Force, a lawyer and owner of a small business, or a representative in the legislature, I’ve dedicated my career to listening to concerns, creating a plan of action, and working hard to deliver real results. I will continue to do that as Treasurer.

“And frankly, it’s about time we had a real leader in the Treasurer’s office. Ohio needs someone who actually wants to be Treasurer, someone who will show up to do the job and put qualified people to work with her.

Josh Mandel Attacks Ohio's Working People — Again

Failing to catapult himself to higher office last year, Ohio treasurer Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel is running for reelection next year, never mind his transparent lack of interest in the office as anything but a steppingstone to something else.

Now obviously, Mandel’s best course of action would be to keep sending out those self-congratulatory emails I'm always getting about how what a great treasurer he is, because he (well, his employees actually) hasn’t done anything horrifically wrong.

As treasurer, he doesn’t need to speak out on controversial issues, and he could follow the John Kasich playbook and obfuscate his positions. Given that he has offered himself up as a plaything for billionaire donors who will pour money into his campaign, that would give him a fairly good shot at reelection.

But Mandel has decided his future lies in being Ohio’s poster boy for the far far far far far far right. A few people have even wondered if he’s looking at a primary challenge to Kasich. And now he’s done it again.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/05/16/fund-leaders-fi...

Dissatisfied with state pension reforms enacted last year that affect 1.8 million current and former government workers, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel says without more changes “there will be nothing left at the end of the rainbow” when public employees retire.

These changes were enacted last year with bipartisan support.

A representative of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System said

The changes necessitate sacrifice by a majority of public workers, who will have to work longer to receive comparatively less when they retire.

And Mandel isn’t too good with numbers, kinda scary for a treasurer. The Dispatch says “The treasurer said he is particularly concerned about ‘unrealistic’ investment earnings expectations, an annual 8 percent for most systems.”

Sleazy Ohio GOP Voter Suppression Tactics Attract National Attention

This week, USA Today ran an article about the latest attempt by Ohio Republicans in the legislature to rig elections.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/15/ohio-gop-tie-tuitio...

Currently, college students can vote in Ohio if they apply for residency documentation issued by their schools. Now the legislature has inserted an item in the budget that says if a student gets such documents, he or she will pay in-state tuition rates, no matter where he or she is from.

Great deal for students! As a student quoted in the article says, why wouldn't every out-of-state student apply for residency documents when they can save thousands of dollars?

This would cost Ohio colleges and universities tens of millions of dollars and of course, in recent years, state support for higher education has shrunk, throwing more of the tuition cost on students.

And naturally, the Republicans proposing this haven't said a word about replacing the lost money. So it's natural to be suspicious that their hope is that schools will refuse to provide residency documentation. So far they haven't but who knows what they will do if their income shrinks dramatically?

Says USA Today,

University officials clearly are uncomfortable in the debate about voting rights. They say losing tens of millions of dollars of revenue would endanger other services and that it's inappropriate to use in-state tuition as a mechanism in a voting bill.

Yeah, it's kind of suspicious, isn't it? Anytime Ohio Republicans start talking about tinkering with voting eligibility, history tells us we should beware. Even state rep Ron Amstutz, who's pushing it say, "It puts everybody in a kind of awkward position."

So tell us again why it was even put in the budget then, Ron.

And then of course, there's John Kasich who appears to be trying to win re-election by standing for nothing and being as vague as possible about everything.

Senator Pusillanimous (R-Ohio)

I've loved the word "pusillanimous" ever since I encountered it when I directed John Osborn's "Look Back in Anger" in college.

And it's the perfect word for Ohio's spineless, obfuscating, vacillating Republican senator, Rob Portman.

I kind of sympathize with his change of heart on gay marriage after revealing his son is gay, although others have grumbled that it exposes the problem Republicans have in dealing with any issue that doesn't impact them personally.

It's harder to sympathize with his attempt to make it sound like he supports stronger background checks for gun purchasers when he voted to expand gun ownership.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/05/rob-portman-gun-background-ch...

He responded to Peter Shulman, a constituent from Cleveland Heights who wrote disapprovingly of Portman's vote against expanded background checks by saying he DID support this.

Shulman, an assistant professor of history at Case Western Reserve, isn't buying it.

“He’s absolutely obfuscating his position,” Shulman told TPM by phone on Tuesday afternoon. “I think it’s completely misleading. And it seems designed to mislead.”

Gee, you think?

Although he claimed to support background checks, Portman admitted in his letter to Shulman that he opposed the main background check legislation, arguing that while it would have “expanded background checks for most private sales and private transfers of guns,” it would have “done nothing to stop the Newtown tragedy.”

So what? It could have easily prevented hundreds of other tragedies.

it sounds to me like Portman is trying to pull the old Dewine/LaTourette trick of presenting a false moderate face while maintaining a rightwing voting record, and hoping constituents don't notice.

And while the NRA is blustering about targeting senators who vote for even a modicum of sane gun legislation, Portman should take a look at their record last November. The NRA was the LEAST successful single-issue group in getting the candidates it supported elected and the ones it didn't defeated.

Let's See What The Fetus-Worshippers Do On This Bill

This just arrived from my congresswoman, Marcia Fudge (D-11), about a bill she and some of her colleagues are introducing.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate, and Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Susan Davis (D-CA) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) in the House, joined by the leaders of women’s advocacy organizations, unions, and business groups from across the nation, introduced critical legislation – the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – to ensure that pregnant women are not forced out of jobs unnecessarily or denied reasonable job modifications that would allow them to continue working. Currently, pregnant working women around the country are being denied simple adjustments – permission to use a stool while working a cash register, or to carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated, or temporary reassignment to lighter duty tasks – that would keep them working and supporting their families while maintaining healthy pregnancies.

Gee, no fetus-loving GOP'ers wanted to co-sponsor? Oh, I guess they were just in the restroom when the call came. I'm SURE they can't want to force women to be pregnant against their will but then deny them the jobs they need to take care of their child. It just couldn't be, could it?

Her email contained a link to a letter sent by a coalition of supportive groups.

http://nadler.house.gov/sites/nadler.house.gov/files/documents/Organizat...

I skimmed them and noticed something odd.

I don't see any conservative groups, the very groups who claim to be SOOO concerned about the welfare of "unborn babies." I see the flaming liberals at the Unitarian Universalist Association are behind this, but I don't see the fetus-worshipping Southern Baptist Convention. Where do the think this "unborn baby" is being protected, if not inside the mother?

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