A lot of bloggers and media types picked up this morning's LA Times report that Hillary Clinton's campaign debt is about $31 million, but there was a mathematical error and the report will be revised to indicate debt of about $20 million. Still a lot, but not so much.
Not his best soaring oratory but a good and appropriate speech. Doesn't declare victory but registers the sense of his impending victory and points all of his artillery at McCain.
Something I've been wanting to try - a quick daily wrap on the day's stories and rants:
* The Blade reports on the hearing chaired by Sen. Sherrod Brown yesterday on strengthening the WARN Act, which requires advance notice of pending layoffs but is rife with loopholes and weakly drafted provisions. Brown's FOREWARN Act, supported by Obama and Clinton, would lengthen the notification period, increase penalties, broaden the businesses subject to WARN, and authorize Department of Labor investigation and enforcement.
* The Ohio Right to Life Society has filed a first amendment lawsuit in federal court to overturn the Ohio ban on issue ads that mention candidates by name within 30 days of an election. Joseph reports that this is just the latest maneuver to exploit issue ads for the purpose of influencing elections on the part of GOP lawyer and failed mayoral candidate Bill Todd.
* The feud between The Plain Dealer and Cuyahoga County Commissioner and Democratic Party Chair Jimmy Dimora (D) has escalated, with Dimora blasting the county government reform plan supported by Commissioner Tim Hagan (D) and House Speaker Jon Husted (R) and accusing the newspaper of conspiring with the local GOP, and the paper firing back in an editorial blasting Dimora for resisting reform.
* Jill and Eric debate the appropriate response to over-50 white female Clinton supporters who resist supporting Obama: what is needed, direct action by Clinton to rally her supporters to Obama or constructive listening by Obama to the concerns expressed by Clinton's militant followers? [And Pho also weighs in.]
* The Ohio House passed the final version of the payday lending law 70-24 and Gov. Strickland expects to sign it next week. Three big payday lending outfits have announced plans to shut down, another says it will stick around. Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris pointed out the other day that while payday lending entrapped a lot of people, it also helped people out of jams with those short-term emergency loans - where are they going to turn? There is work to be done on making sure that lawful, non-predatory options are available.
* The Dayton Daily News opines that the air has gone out of gay marriage as a political issue -- it has lost its shock value and isn't likely to affect the November election.
* Aaron Marshall of The Plain Dealer details the committee action (spurred by legislators from northern Ohio) to cut the Ohio Turnpike's cash contribution to the new economic stimulus plan in half and ensure that the rest is spent on road projects; also reported in the Blade. Nick D at BSB likes the compromise, Lisa Renee calls it a semi-win.
If you didn't realize it already - Ohio Republican and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner is well, a self-centered hypocrite.
Like most Republicans and especially Ohio Republicans, he firmly states that he deserves privileges and protections that we, average Americans citizens, don't deserve.
Case in point - his stance on illegal wiretapping which basically boils down to "it's illegal when it is done to me, and therefore - I deserve $1 million dollars because my privacy was violated but you little guys "screw you," you deserve nothing, the telecoms have every right to spy on you and deserve immunity." Even the Politico points out his stunning display of hypocrisy:
"When a federal judge ordered Rep. Jim McDermott to pay House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and his attorneys more than $1 million in damages and legal fees for leaking an illegally taped phone call to the media, Boehner said he pursued the case because “no one — including members of Congress — is above the law.”
Why, then, is the Ohio Republican trying to squash similar lawsuits against telecommunications companies who cooperated with the government in warrantless electronic surveillance, ask the attorneys behind the class action suits.
And what did Boehner call the people defending the American citizens right to privacy ?
When ordinary Americans were being wiretapped, Boehner's attacked them and their right to privacy, claiming "I believe (phone companies) deserve immunity" from the law. But when Boehner himself was being wiretapped, he had no hesitation to claim his own right to privacy, claiming "no one is above the law."
When ordinary Americans are victimized, Boehner's taken every opportunity to caricature their representatives at EFF and ACLU as "unscrupulous trial lawyers" who are "trying to find a way to get into the pockets of the American companies." But when Boehner himself is the victim, suddenly defense attorneys don't seem so unscrupulous to him, and he has no problem employing his own litigators to receive a $1.1 million reward.
Please some one, please - tell me who votes for these tools? What does the modern Republican party stand for? If you believe actions speak louder than words, then by now, you have to comprehend that they only stand for their own self-centered greed filled interests.
Just a few bits from here and there:
* April fundraising numbers reported on DailyKos have Obama raising $31.9 million, Clinton about $20 million, and McCain about $18 million. As Anastasia P asks in a comment, "McCain. Ouch. Is he really a viable candidate?"
* Seriously, if McCain didn't have the RNC war chest to fall back on, you'd have to wonder. Meanwhile, Chris Cillizza calls Obama's haul "a staggering amount that suggests his vaunted fundraising machine continues to churn."
* Kentucky is at 65% Clinton, 30% Obama with 97% reporting. I guess the suspense now is whether Obama can stay out of the 20s. Even if he drops a little, he won't be losing by 41% tonight like he did in West Virginia.
* Via email: Obama isn't declaring victory tonight, he's declaring "major milestone," as in "[w]e have won an absolute majority of all the delegates chosen by the people in this Democratic primary process." But he didn't quite get there with the 14 delegates he won in Kentucky, so it isn't really official until the Oregon results come in.
* With 97% reporting, Huckabee (8%), Paul (7%), and Uncommitted (5%) are capturing 20% of the Kentucky GOP vote without having campaigned at all. See above about McCain's fundraising.
* Nursery home operator Bruce Lunsford (D) defeated the more progressive Steve Fischer (D) in the KY-Sen primary and will take on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lunsford had party backing but has issues with allegations of Medicare fraud. Bizarre. Later tonight we'll find out who wins the close contest between party-backed Jeff Merkley (D) and the progressive alternative Steve Novick (D) in the OR-Sen primary. At least Merkley doesn't have Medicare fraud issues.
* Meanwhile, a piece in Politico today suggests that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester) isn't out of the woods yet ... not with a GOP insider saying:
“This has all become about Boehner now, how he runs things. If Boehner isn’t seen as shifting Cole, then it will hurt Boehner’s standing with members. The story becomes ‘Boehner can’t run the House Republican Conference.’ It’s a bad spot for him to be seen in.”
Laura Scher of Credo Action calls on Ohio progressives to meet with Sen. George Voinovich (R) at his Cleveland district office at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, May 27th, to call on him to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Lilly Ledbetter worked 19 years at Goodyear before she learned the men at her level were earning far more. Eventually she sued and Goodyear fought her all the way to the Supreme Court —- where five male justices ruled her claim invalid because the pay disparity resulted from discrimination that occurred more than 180 days before her lawsuit was filed. This ruling gutted the Equal Pay Act, since unlike terminations and other overt employment actions the situation of unfair pay tends to develop slowly and silently.
HR 2831, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, will restore the ability of plaintiffs to seek redress for unfair pay when the unfair pay occurred within the statutory 180 day period, without regard to whether the discriminatory action occurred earlier. This bill passed the U.S. House by 225-199 last July, but Republican prevented it from reaching the floor of the Senate on a 56-42 cloture vote on April 23rd. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) voted to bring the measure to a vote, Sen. George Voinovich (R-Cleveland) voted against.
Laura Scher says that the Lilly Ledbetter bill may come to a vote in the Senate again soon, and asks for your help in pressuring Voinovich to vote for this important social justice legislation. Click here to take action. The meeting at Voinvovich's district office will be at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, May 27th, at 1240 East Ninth Street, Room 3061, in Cleveland.
Action Alert: Call on State Rep. White (R) to Advance HB 512 on Vehicular Homicide by Unlicensed DriversSubmitted by Jeff on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 3:59pm.
Last June an unlicensed driver crashed into John Barr on Route 250 and Barr was killed. The Tuscarawas County Prosecutor tried to charge the driver with involuntary manslaughter and discovered that she can't -- the poorly written statute only allows a misdemeanor unless the driver is licensed, or if alchohol is involved which was not the case. The driver was an unlicensed illegal immigrant, who had been in a previous single car crash and was not charged then because he was expected to be deported, but the situation could occur in connection with any unlicensed driver whether an immigrant or not.
Last fall William J. Healy, Jr (D-Canton), then a state representative and now the Mayor of Canton, introduced House Bill 512 to close the loophole and permit unlicensed drivers being charged with felony involuntary manslaughter if they cause a crash that kills someone. State Rep. Allan Sayre (D-Dover) took over as sponsor of the bill when Healy left the legislature. Democratic representatives Stephen Dyer (D-Green), Jennifer Brady (D-Westlake), Edna Brown (D-Toledo), Joseph Koziura (D-Lorain), Lorraine Fende (D-Willowick), and Mark Okey (D-Carrolton) all support the bill. But it has been sitting in the GOP-controlled Criminal Justice Committee since March 20th with no timetable for any decision.
There have reportedly been two more such incidents involving unlicensed drivers in fatal crashes on Route 250 since the episode that prompted introduction of this bill. This is a bill that should be passed, and I suspect easily would be if the sponsor belonged to the party that controls the legislative process.
The Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee is State Rep. Jon White (R-Kettering). Please contact Rep. White and let him know that this bill must move forward:
Telephone: (614) 466-6504
Fax : (614) 719-6966
UPDATE: Since Rep. White is term-limited and therefore somewhat insulated from political pressure, express your displeasure to his boss and neighbor, House Speaker Jon Husted (R-Kettering) as well!!!
Telephone: (614) 644-6008
Fax: (614) 719-3591
Senator Kennedy is an inspiration for millions of Americans and a courageous fighter for working families across the country. I am honored to call him a colleague, a mentor, and a friend. He is more than a visionary member of Congress; he is an exemplary human being. My wife Connie and I send our thoughts and prayers to Ted and Victoria and the Kennedy family.
Very, very sad news as to the cause of Saturday's seizure, which was thought at the time to be a possible stroke symptom.
Technically the diagnosis is a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe. Kennedy is reported to be in good overall physical health and not to have suffered any repeated seizures.
UPDATE: We don't have much specific information about the tumor yet, but the prognosis for this type of tumor is not good. This is from an article at MedScape.com:
The prognosis for patients with malignant glioma, which is the most common primary intracranial neoplasm, remains dismal despite significant progress in neurooncological therapies and technology. This is largely due to the inability of current treatment strategies to address the highly invasive nature of this disease. Malignant glial cells often disseminate throughout the brain, making it exceedingly difficult to target [with] the result that tumor recurrence is inevitable despite aggressive [surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy] ...
2nd UPDATE: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a closed friend of the stricken leader: "Ted Kennedy has spent his life caring for those in need. Now it's time for those who love Ted and his family to care for them and join in prayer to give them strength."
3rd UPDATE: Here's what the AP story says about the possible prognosis:
Malignant gliomas are a type of brain cancer diagnosed in about 9,000 Americans a year — and the most common type among adults. It's an initial diagnosis: How well patients fare depends on what specific tumor type is determined by further testing.
Average survival can range from less than a year for very advanced and aggressive types — such as glioblastomas — or to about five years for different types that are slower growing.
I'm sure that the community of Ohio Daily Blog readers and contributors all join me in holding the Kennedy family dear in our hearts and wishing for them to have peace and strength.
The biparisan group Ed in 08 launches its national education reform campaign in Ohio tomorrow (5/21) at 10:30 at the Center of Science and Industry, 333 W. Broad St. in Columbus.
Details after the flip.
All the news that didn't fit into last night's catch-up roundup, plus a few new items:
OH-01 & 02 - Americans United for Change is blasting Reps. Steve Chabot (R-West Wood) and Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) for voting against the amendment to the Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental last week that would provide up to 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits to workers exhausting the 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits, legislation that would extend benefits for 118,091 Ohio workers. "Rep. Chabot and Rep. Schmidt think that more Bush tax cuts for millionaires is the only prescription for the ailing economy – tax cuts that never manage to ‘trickle-down’ to the people who really need it,” writes spokesman Jeremy Funk. “In fact, extending unemployment benefits is one of the most cost-effective and fastest-acting ways to help stimulate an economic recovery because the money is spent quickly ... How many more Ohio workers have to lose their jobs before Rep. Chabot and Schmidt realize that their ‘trickle-down,’ ‘Voo-doo’ economic policies never fail to fail?”
OH-02 - State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) is having a Pavilion Party with food, fun, music, and dancing on Friday, June 6th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Donauschwaben Pavillion, 4290 Dry Ridge Road in Colerain Township. Minimum suggested contribution is $25 per person and the special musical guest is Robin Lacy & DeZydeco.
OH-04 - Last week's vote against the Farm Bill by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) didn't sit well with Jason Dagger, organization director for the Ohio Farm Bureau for Champaign, Clark and Madison counties, who told the Urbana Citizen on Friday that the bill is long overdue (the 2002 Farm Bill expired in September of 2007). The piece has a good recap of Sen. Sherrod Brown's conference call about the bill.
OH-10 - The American Iranian Council has published a lengthy interview with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) on U.S.-Iran relations. Among other things, Rep. Kucinich calls for normalized relations, says that he'd like to visit Iran, says the next U.S. president should do so as well, says that Iraq could be used as a pretext for Bush to attack Iran, and calls generally for direct talks with Iran without preconditions.
OH-11 - Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) said on MSNBC yesterday that she'd like to see Obama and Clinton run together, but The Hill reports that Obama backers in Congress don't like the idea -- they see Clinton as having run a divisive campaign and not as desirable as a "fresh face" and/or someone with really strong foreign policy and national security credentials.
OH-13 - The Farm Bill incorporates provisions from the Dog Fighting Prohibition Act, H.R. 3219, that Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) introduced last year, which among other things make it a crime to knowingly possess or train animals for fighting. "I am pleased that this Democratic Congress is continuing to crack down on the horrific practice of dog fighting," said Sutton. "[These provisions] will close loopholes in current animal welfare laws to enable police and prosecutors to help eliminate what has become a malicious and lucrative gambling business." *** Sutton's congressional staff will be conducting "Congress in Your Community" sessions from Tuesday through Saturday of next week in eleven locations - see below the break for details.
OH-14 - Trouble for Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp) with his base over his vote in favor of the Farm Bill? Conservative CWRU Law Professor Jonathon Adler wrote on The Corner at National Review Online:
My own Congressman, Rep. Steve LaTourette, joined the pork parade by supporting the farm bill... [T]his is the last straw. I'll never vote for him again. I'm sick of big government guys like him giving the rest of the party a bad name.
OH-15 - Nick D at BSB details the flip-flop by State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) on factory farms.
OH-16 - Dispatch columnist Ann Fisher wrote a column last Friday praising the bill introduced by State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) that would provide state-level protection to the jobs of National Guard and Reserve troops serving overseas, and suggesting that opponent State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton) is helping to hold up the bill because of this congressional race. *** Boccieri said of the Dann mess that it's "time to close this dark chapter in Ohio's history," but the the Canton Rep fires back with the easy retort that it ain't over until the Inspector General sings. *** After a 14 year record of supporting charter schools and vouchers, State Schuring voted against the bill to create special education vouchers a few weeks ago. But Gov. Strickland has pledged to veto the bill (a stand he reaffirmed last week last Thursday). Was the flip-flop a political gambit to create a more moderate image, using a vote not likely to be remembered by his right wing base because the bill won't become law in any event? *** Although Boccieri didn't win the Pick a Progressive Patriot contest at Sen. Feingold's Progressive Patriot PAC, he nevertheless received a $1,000 contribution from the organization.
OH-17 - London-based documentary producer Journeyman Pictures uploaded its 52-minute-long video about the the election of Rep. Tim Ryan to to Congress to YouTube a couple of weeks ago. It's a terrific and often hilarious film, with lots of great footage of the campaign. Watch it here. *** Kos has Rep. Ryan taking out George Voinovich in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. *** Voinovich *** I think that the thing of preventing Alaska from returning Mt. McKinley to its former Native American name of Denali, an effort long carried out by retiring Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) and now taken up by Rep. Ryan, is ridiculous. However, Ryan does have a connection to McKinley to which he can point -- he lives just up the street from McKinley’s birthplace, which also is home to the McKinley Memorial Library.
OH-18 - The Veterans Emergency Care Fairness Act introduced by Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) is expected to pass in the U.S. House today. The law would ensure that hospitals receive compensation for the care of veterans when the VA medical system is unable to accept new patients. As things are now, the admitting hospital is stuck with the cost or bills it to the veteran, an especially large problem in rural areas where VA facilities are far apart.
Here's a strong new ad from VoteVets targeting Sen. John McCain on the Webb-Hagel bill on modernizing the G.I. Bill, which is up for a vote in the Senate this week and which Bush & McCain, Inc. opposes:
Donate here to help keep it on the air.
Random bits about today's primaries:
* As CQ Politics points out, the 103 pledged delegates at stake today are about evenly split between Oregon (52) and Kentucky (51). Polls point to a huge win by Clinton in Kentucky (perhaps by 30 points) and a closer but probably double-digit win for Obama in Oregon.
* Obama won't explicitly declare victory tonight but doesn't have to. The news coverage will focus on him getting to a majority of pledged delegates rather than Clinton getting more pledged delegates out of today's contests. Clinton has been complaining the last few days on the stump in Kentucky about Obama presumptuously declaring victory prematurely, but it is media and pundits who are doing the actual declaring.
* Poblano, who has relies more on population demographics than polling and has been very accurate, projects Obama to win Oregon by 13.8 points, with turnout at 661,470. Kentucky projections will be up shortly.
* Kentucky should be declared immediately after the polls close in the western part of the state (7 pm EST). Oregon could be declared quickly as well, but polls close much later (11 pm EST), so Clinton will get the first share of the national spotlight and the glow of victory.
A Rasmussen poll released yesterday shows Obama gaining ground in the general election in Ohio, now polling in a statistical tie with McCain (numbers in parens from 4/08 and 3/13):
44% (40%,40%) Obama
45% (47%,46%) McCain
Clinton outperforms Obama against McCain in this poll, now leading 50% to 43% after trailing McCain in the previous polls by margins similar to the Obama-McCain matchups.
There are a variety of issue questions that reveal support for several conservative positions in Ohio, but the bedrock concern of voters is the economy (55%) and Obama leads McCain in that group by 53% to 35%. And look at these numbers on the direction of the country and approval ratings for Strickland and Bush:
Just 13% believe that the United States is generally heading in the right direction while 81% believe the nation has gotten off on the wrong track. ...
Forty-eight percent (48%) of Ohio voters say Governor Ted Strickland is doing a good or an excellent job. That’s up three percentage points from a month ago. Just 16% say he is doing a poor job.
President Bush receives much lower grades—only 33% say he is doing a good or excellent job. That’s down seven points from a month ago. While Bush won the White House by capturing a majority of Ohio votes four years ago, most Buckeye State voters (51%) now say the President is doing a poor job.
Rasmussen ranks Ohio as a toss-up state.
Here are a trio of interesting electoral vote analyses, with the bottom line on Ohio: Karl Rove's maps, obtained by ABC News (Obama down in Ohio by 3%, Clinton up by 5%), blogger Poblano at FiveThirtyEight (Obama has a 44% chance of winning Ohio, Clinton has a 79% chance), and Democratic pollster Paul Maslin writing in Salon (Strickland as running mate "may be the only way to prevail" in Ohio). Ohio is close, Ohio is critical, and things can go either way from here. Hang on to your seats.
OH-01 - James Lambert did a interesting post on Swing State Project yesterday, responding to the victory by Travis Childers (D) in red but 27% African American MS-01 last week, about the possible effect of sky-high African American voter turnout (with Obama as the nominee) in various Republican-held districts. His charts shows that OH-01 is the eighth-most African American GOP-held district in the nation at 28.4%, and he describes challenger State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) as one of several "strong candidates waging credible campaigns" who are in a position to benefit.
OH-03 - Challenger Jane Mitakides (Washington Twp) flew to Washington DC this morning for a special two-day session sponsored by the DCCC, including meetings and strategy sessions with top consultants. Later in the week she will join Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover), Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-03) and others as honorees at an international conference of Greek-Americans and Cypriot Americans. *** DaytonOS called out Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville) on Saturday for flip-flopping in his haste to distance himself from Bush -- he voted in favor of the farm bill last week after voting against the house-passed version last July.
OH-04 - Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) has released a column calling for "bold new ideas" on energy -- the central component of which is the predictable right-wing canard about attacking "radical environmentalists" over drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and "burdensome environmental regulations" that he says discourage building new oil refineries, where the unemployed could go and get new jobs. Scary. *** Challenger Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) got a nice write-up by Managing Editor William Laney of the Wapakoneta Daily News on Friday:
“I don’t understand how we keep sending people to Congress, who wrap themselves in the U.S. flag, stand by God and say they are for families — but his voting record doesn’t support that,” Carroll said after reading a roll call of issues on which Jordan cast a “no” vote. “I am a Christian, I am an honorable discharged veteran of the Ohio Air National Guard — I can wrap myself in the flag, but I am running because the working class needs a representative in Washington."
OH-06 - The blog Buckeyenewshawk reprints an excellent letter about gas prices that Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) sent to his constituents on Friday, which reads like a point-by-point rebuttal to Rep. Jordan (see above). As to the long term solution to gas prices, Wilson refuses to oversimplify and blows apart the GOP talking point that drilling in ANWAR is the answer:
[I]t’s important we start cutting through the smoke and mirrors and not swallow the old argument that this is simply a situation where supply is not keeping up with demand.
The Energy Information Agency (EIA) says just the opposite is true. In January-March 2008, the EIA reported that gasoline supplies outpaced demand. In January and February 2008 we imported more gasoline that we did in January and February 2007. At the same time, U.S. gasoline demand was down by .8% compared to spring 2007. With higher inventories and reduced demand, how can prices still have shot up to nearly $4 a gallon?
... [A]s our truckers are hurting for diesel our refineries have been shipping 93,000 barrels a day to Western Europe and 182,000 barrels a day to Latin America. Why are we shipping it overseas when we need it here?
He also attacks the notion that government regulations have deterred the construction of new oil refineries, citing internal documents from oil comparnies that specifically advocate limiting domestic refining capacity in order to drive up prices. The bottom line for Wilson is that more oversight over the production of energy is needed.
OH-10 - Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) is holding a subcommittee hearing at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday on the effect of the foreclosure crisis on neighborhoods:
It will examine differences between strong housing markets and weaker ones, as well as local strategies to mitigate the effects of and prevent vacancies, estimates of the size of the national problem, and new federal legislation aimed at addressing the problem: HR 5818.
Among those testifying will be Daniel Kildee, Treasurer of Genesee County, Michigan, whose land bank program is a model that Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis seeks to emulate. This hearing will be webcast here.
OH-12 - David Robinson (D-Columbus) has completely overhauled his campaign site with a complete new look, two videos and a photo gallery, and a new campaign slogan: "A New Energy for Ohio, A New Voice in Congress". *** OH-12 is the 12th most African American GOP-held district in the nation at 21.6%. *** The Robinson campaign will have a kick-off fundraiser on June 5th, details to follow.
OH-18 - The office of Rep. Zack Space reported today that there are already over 100 participants signed up for the Economic Summit in Zanesville this Friday, the culmination of his RENEW Ohio-18 series. “I am really looking forward to not only this meeting, but more importantly, the promise it holds for our region,” Space said. “Ohioans have a long history of picking ourselves up by our bootstraps and solving problems on our own. I am confident that this meeting will be yet another example of that drive.” The chairs of the working groups in Broadband and Technology, Agriculture, Advanced Energy, and Health Care will present papers for discussion. Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to contact Congressman Space’s district office toll free at 866-910-7577.
Unable to do much blogging today - a few quick notes:
1. Assertions by frustrated women Clinton supporters that they will work against Obama and vote for McCain are front-paged on the New York Times, particularly highlighting such sentiments expressed by Ohioans. This revolt has been the subject of much discussion on the Ohio blogs and off. I wish I had more time to write on it today but let me say three things:
* Male Obama supporters (and bloggers are overwhelmingly male) who dismiss, ridicule, or doubt the authenticity of these protests, or act as though these women are not entitled to think and act as they choose (even to the extent of working against their party) are attempting to engage in precisely the pattern of paternalistic control and disrespect that is the essence of sexism and misogyny in this country and underpins their complaints.
* Sexism and racism are both pervasive and have influenced the nominating process, and attempts to prioritize the two or dismiss either are counterproductive.
* This conflict within the party is a huge opportunity for Barack Obama, whose greatest need is to establish credibility for his principal appeal to voters -- that he is a leader who can heal and unite. He has the ability and insight to handle this situation well and doing so will strengthen his message going forward.
Redhorse, who has called on Clinton to drop out, has a good post in which he concludes that Clinton should be given the space to seek a graceful and dignified finish.
2. The plan for replacing Dann that appears to be shaping up is Governor's legal counsel Kent Markus (or perhaps former Cleveland Law Director Subodh Chandra or former Ohio Senator Ben Espy) as interim AG and Treasurer Rich Cordray to run for the seat while remaining in office. The rationale for not appointing Cordray now is that the job of restoring order and confidence at the AG's office requires full-time attention, not someone running a statewide campaign, and that Cordray has such stature as an excellent Treasurer that he doesn't stand to gain much from running as the incumbent AG.
3. The Dann pain is far from over. The lawyer for the two sexual harassment complainants in the AG's office was quoted over the weekend as saying that two to three dozen other potential plaintiffs have come forward. Nick D on BSB alludes to rumors of possible drug use, something I had also heard and mentioned. There are a lot of rumors flying around and this one may well be untrue, but whatever is out there to be found is not likely to be missed in the ongoing investigation by the painstaking Ohio Inspector General. The political terrain for Ohio Democrats has already shifted and may shift much more, and the time to adjust our thinking and efforts is now.
4. The Plain Dealer broadened its assault on the one-party-dominated government of Cuyahoga County this weekend, with critical front page news story and an editorial pushing the hastily conceived reform plan pushed by Commissioner Tim Hagan (D) and Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted (R). I'm well aware of the problems that tend to result from single party government on either side, and I see the potential benefit of consolidating bureaucracy and reducing the number of elected posts in local government, but I have big problems with the plan being advanced, particularly as greatly empowering a three-member commission instead of a single executive, and it doesn't make sense to rush into a radical change with no study or analysis of the proposal. It also reeks of grandstanding and piling on, in my opinion.
Courtesy of Cliff Schechter, Robert Greenwald, and Brave New Films, the second YouTube video on revealing The Real McCain:
From the Late Night Ministry of Kultural Affairs:
This was the highlight of St. Patrick's Day for me this year. Enjoy!
Yesterday the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation issued a statement hailing the passage of the Farm Bill by veto-proof margins in both houses (318-106 in the House, 81-15 in the Senate), and "encourag[ing] Congress to override a veto with the same bipartisan support the bill has already received."
On Thursday I participated in a conference call with Sen. Brown about the bill, which call was briefly interrupted while he went and cast his vote. The day before, all of Ohio's Democratic members of the House except Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) voted for the bill. Seven GOP members of the House voted "no" (Chabot, Jordan, Hobson, Boehner, Tiberi and Pryce), four voted for for it, and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) did not vote. Sen. George Voinovich voted against it.
Sen. Brown played a huge role in moving the bill along, as the first Ohio senator on the Senate Agriculture and Nutrition Committee in four decades. In the conference call, Sen. Brown pointed out that the Farm Bill "supports Ohio farmers and invests in rural communities" by funding rural infrastructure, providing new incentives to protect natural resources, developing local markets for family farmers, helping struggling families put food on the table, and promoting healthy diets. Much of the cost of the bill is for food stamps, food banks, and nutrition programs rather than expenditure relating direcctly to farming.
Sen. Brown consulted widely with farmers and farm groups while working on the bill and he is especially proud of working with them to produce a reform called the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, which allows farmers to switch from current safety-net programs to a forward-looking policy that better protects against volatile crop prices, natural disasters, and rising production costs. He expects ACRE to save taxpayers more than $1 billion over five years.
A reader alerted me to this news story from yesterday, reporting that the head of a charter school in Cincinnati, Willard Willson, has been indicted for a scheme to defraud the school of $15,000, just the latest in a long series of irregularities and outright banditry at Ohio's publicly-funded charter schools. Then he provided this list of legislation to bring more oversight to charter schools and asked if I could see the pattern:
Senate Bill 331 (Community School Evaluations)
Sponsor: Roberts (D)
Co-Sponsors: Fedor (D), Miller, D. (D), Morano (D), Sawyer (D), Miller, R. (D)
Senate Bill 332 (Public Records Law..as it pertains to charter schools)
Sponsor: Roberts (D)
Co-Sponsors: Fedor (D), Miller, D. (D), Morano (D), Sawyer (D), Miller, R. (D)
Senate Bill 333 (Sale of public school property to charter schools)
Sponsor: Roberts (D)
Co-Sponsors: Fedor (D), Miller, D. (D), Morano (D), Sawyer (D), Miller, R. (D)
House Bill 552 (The cap on start-up community schools)
Sponsor: Luckie (D)
Co-Sponsors: Yates (D), Foley (D), Williams, B. (D), Okey (D), Yuko (D), Brady (D), Szollosi (D), Koziura (D), Skindell (D), Strahorn (D)
Yeah, that would be it.
As my reader phrased it in the note, public school educators should be thankful for these legislators who are trying to get a handle on the lack of accountability currently exhibited by Ohio's charter schools. I could not agree more.
UPDATE: In the few minutes it took to type and publish this post the news has spread all over. Kennedy had preventive surgery for a blocked artery in his neck last October, so he has a relevant medical history for strokes.
Ted and Caroline Kennedy, JFK's brother and daughter, are the last living links to a legendary era in America and in Democratic politics. This is a frightening moment in the history of the country and for one of its leading families, already beset by far too much tragedy, and our hopes and prayers are focused on his swift recovery.
UPDATE: Just for the record, the incident is now being described as a seizure, which may or may not be the result of a stroke; Sen. Kennedy talked on the telephone hours after the incident began; and Kennedy family members are expressing guarded optimism that he will make a full recovery.
I love this takedown of John McCain's "dreamcasting" speech in Columbus yesterday, cleverly (and successfully) devised to produce media headlines suggesting that he is some sort of moderate, and in particular that he intends to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2013 (one of many wishful fantasies in his remarks). The piece is written by Matt Welch, the author of McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, and deserves to be read in its entirety. But as for the gauzy notion that McCain has any plan or intention of getting out of Iraq in four years, here's this:
[T]he 'never surrender' candidate has pledged to stay the course in Iraq until 'the establishment of a generally peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic state' -- a perfect recipe for the 100-year occupation he's so furiously back-pedaling from -- while vowing to use force against Iran if the mullahs develop nukes. ... Will President McCain draw down combat troops from Iraq by 2013? Only if Iraq becomes the kind of [democracy] that few if any humans are predicting will happen in the foreseeable future. In other words, when cows fly. Americans who vote for McCain based on that promise will surely get the president they deserve.
As for the rest of McCain's rosy predictions, suffice it to say that McCain has voted for Bush's failed policies 95% of the time, resists helping consumers even in a crisis like the mortgage meltdown, and is generally much more of a neo-con than even George Bush.
UPDATE: Also, he says that a lot of our economic problems "are psychological":
An abbreviated edition as I'm totally pressed for time:
UPDATE: OH House-14 - State Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) reports in a comment at Callahan's Cleveland Diary today that his bill H.B. 138, which would accelerate the filing of deeds following sales of homes in foreclosure, will get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "By having the Sheriff file the deed we end the problem of the ownership mystery which occurs all too often when the purchaser holds onto the deed and doesn’t file it," Foley writes. "Not only does it lead to the sheriff and county not being paid, but the Treasurer ends up sending tax bills to the old owners, building inspectors end up citing the wrong people, and angry neighbors have no idea who to call to board up the house or complain about yard maintenance." Rep. Foley is hopeful that the bill will become law before the summer recess.
UPDATE: OH House-19 - I see that Marian Harris (D-Columbus) will March in the New Albany Founders Day Parade tomorrow (5/17) along with Nancy Garland, as previously noted below. Harris says that the parade starts at Resurrection Roman Catholic Church, 6300 E Dublin Granville Road in New Albany, with the meeting time at 9:30 a.m. and the parade stepping off at 11:00 a.m.
OH House-20 - Bonobo reports that Nancy Garland (D-New Albany) will be walking in the New Albany Founders Day Parade tomorrow (5/17) and invites supporters to join her. You need to be at the staging area at 10:30 a.m. -- email zach-dot-roberts1-at-gmail-dot-com for more information.
OH House-43 - State Rep. Stephen Dyer (D-Green) will a town hall meeting from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Monday (5/19) at Edinburg Township Town Hall, 6856 Tallmadge Road in Rootstown, to discuss legislative matters including education funding, budget issues, and legislative initiatives with constituents.
OH House-59 - State Rep. Ron Gerberry (D-Austintown) doesn't have a campaign site now, but the doman "RonGerberry.com" has been reserved. *** Gerberry announced yesterday that the Mahoning County Solid Waste District’s Recycle Management, Inc. will receive $250,000 in state grant money for a recycling operation that will pay for the construction of a new Material Recovery Facility and related equipment and will also create an estimated 12 new jobs. “This is an Earth-friendly, economy-building grant, and I could not be happier that its positive impact will happen in Mahoning County,” said Rep. Gerberry.
UPDATE: OH House-85 - Ray Pryor (D-Chillicothe) hosts his 3rd annual campaign golf outing at Forrest Everhart Memorial Golf Course tomorrow (5/17) and invites supporters to join him for a steak dinner at The Sunroom at The Brick, 113 E. High Street in Frankfort, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. next Saturday (5/24), $50 per person.
UPDATE: OH House-90 - Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard) is having a Taste of Ohio fund-raising event from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday (5/18), hosted by Penny Rauzi and Pat Henderson at their home in Apple Valley (443 Crabapple Drive). The party will feature Ohio wines, cheeses, and bread. (Featured cheeses include Guggisberg Cheese, which is made in part from the milk produced at Duane’s own Grassydell Farms.) Bread will be provided by Asetta Bakery of Mount Vernon, and wines will come from all over Ohio.
OH House-92 - Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) has added the endorsements of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, International Brotherhood of Electoral Workers (Local 972), and Service Employees International Union (Local 1199) to her important endorsement from the AFL/CIO. She reports that she is knocking on doors and is encouraged to hear the people talk about their support for Gov. Strickland and their readiness to see more change in Ohio government. And there's this:
Just this weekend in Pomeroy, I met a 19-year-old mother who wasn't registered to vote, and was surprised when I asked her if she wanted to vote in the next election. She was so excited that a candidate would knock on her door and she immediately told her mom, "I'm going to VOTE!" It's stories like this that make the campaign such a rewarding experience.
OH House-94 - Jennifer Stewart (D-Zanesville) is hosting a fund-raiser breakfast tomorrow (5/17) at from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Jerry’s Great American Restaurant, 275 S. Whitewoman Street in Coshocton. Suggested donation is $15 per person. For information or to RSVP call 452-4558.
OH House-99 - State Rep. Deborah Newcomb (D-Conneaut) plans to introduce legislation to increase horsepower limits on Pymatuning Lake to 20 hp for all watercraft. “The aim of this legislation is to remove the confusion surrounding the Pymatuning Lake Compact, which is the agreement between Ohio and Pennsylvania to govern Pymatuning Lake,” Rep. Newcomb said. “This will welcome more boating opportunities for residents in Ohio and Pennsylvania so they can enjoy this wonderful resource.” Public comment is invited via email at district99-at-ohr-dot-state-dot-oh-dot-us or call (614) 466-1405.
WKYC-TV, which has been way out ahead on the O'Malley resignation and guilty plea story, reports today that Warrensville Heights Mayor Marcia L. Fudge (D) is the leading contender for appointment to the vacant position. Fudge was a chief of staff for Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) before being elected as mayor and is a close ally of the influential congresswoman. Fudge also has served as Deputy County Auditor, Director of the Cuyahoga County Budget Commission, and Director of Budget & Finance for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, so she is very familiar with county government, and she has an undergraduate business degree from Ohio State University and a law degree from Cleveland State University. The vote will be made by Democratic Party committee members across the county.
I have heard a variety of local state legislators mentioned as possibilities but I don't think any of them are likely to want it or get it. The other genuine contenders appear to be city government types like recently installed Clerk of City Council Patricia Britt (D-Cleveland), 10th Congressional District primary candidate and city council member Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland), and City Council President Martin Sweeney (D-Cleveland).
As I commented yesterday in connection with the NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsement of Obama, "[s]witching from Clinton to Obama is going to be painful for women and feminists solidly in her camp ... and for good reason, having waited so long for representation in our highest elected office and having such a powerful champion get so close to that goal." That was confirmed immediately and dramatically by the announcement in Columbus yesterday by the new group called Clinton Supporters Count Too that they are prepared to campaign against Obama in November in protest of sexism inflicted on the Clinton campaign. And that is followed by a report today that a newly formed PAC called WomenCount has raised $170,000 in jsut 48 hours to run ads in major newspapers to call on Hillary Clinton to stay in the race until all women's votes have been cast.
There are active discussion threads about Clinton Supporters Count Too around the Ohio blogosphere, including here and here. The tone of many of the comments is alarming. Sexism is real and prevalent in our society, as is racism, and both have been on display in the Democratic presidential nomination contest. [UPDATE: Thanks to Jill for alerting me to this column by Marie Cocco in the Washington Post, recounting examples of misogyny directed at Clinton from all sides.] Yet a number of commenters are responding to the anger and frustration of Clinton's disappointed supporters by minimizing or ridiculing their objections.
This is a time for healing. The message of these women must be heard and respected, because their concerns and their frustrations are real. It is true that the Democratic Party is clearly superior to the Republican Party in elevating women to positions of power, and that electing John McCain would be a disaster for women's issues. That is not the point right now. The Democratic Party isn't free of sexism and must re-commit to eradicating it, and it must take part in confronting the sexist coverage of Clinton in the media, and it must otherwise rise to the occasion by listening to and respecting what these Clinton supporters are saying. That is what is required for healing and unity among Democrats.