Early last week State Rep. Jeff Wagner (R-Sycamore) sent his Ohio House colleagues a shockingly ignorant and bigoted response he had written to a constituent concerned about H.B. 502/S.B. 305, the bill to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual preference or gender identity in employment and housing. (Dave noted the email on BSB last week.) Wagner shared his response with his colleagues because, he said, he believes "the only hope for this great country of ours is a return to the basic Judeo-Christian values that we were founded upon" (emphasis added):
Thank you for your e mail about HB 502. You are exactly right that this is a dangerous and misguided bill.
The bill is not really about people being denied rights to basic needs, but it is about promoting acceptance of an immoral lifestyle. As much as some people would have us to believe otherwise this country was founded on Christian principles. One of those long honored principles is the tradition of holy matrimony. One man and one woman joined together in a union that goes as far back as Adam and Eve. As our society has gotten further from that standard (not just homosexuality, but easy divorce, cheating on a spouse, etc) we see a continued collapse of the basic building block of society the family unit. As that traditional family erodes we see more sexually transmitted diseases, kids without parents, heartbroken people and I believe a host of mental and physical illnesses.
I thank you for your e mail and input on this issue, rest assured I can not support a bill in any way promotes or encourages the homosexual lifestyle.
So there you have it - banning discrimination in employment and housing is "dangerous" when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity, because that (even in the context of committed relationships, apparently) leads to "mental and physical illness."
I'm pleased to learn that twenty-four members of the House Democratic caucus were quick to respond. Here is the text of a letter to Wagner and Husted sent last Friday, reprinted yesterday by the blogger Miss Vicki:
It has come to our attention that you have sent an email to all Members and staff with language that we believe is inappropriate and unprofessional for the civil dialogue this august body normally upholds.
We, the undersigned Democratic Members of the House, stand united against any type of discriminatory speech. Discrimination against anyone for any reason is wrong.
We strongly disagree with your statements.
The letter is signed by Minority Leader Joyce Beatty, ODP Chair Chris Redfern, Ted Celeste, Bob Hagan, Mike Foley, Tom Letson, Ron Gerberry, Joe Koziura, Kenny Yuko, Peter Ujvagi, Dale Mallory, Sandra Williams, Dan Stewart, Barbara Boyd, Edna Brown, Michael Skindell, Stephen Slesnick, Armond Budish, Steve Driehaus, Tyrone Yates, Clayton Luckie, John Domenick, and Tracy Heard.
We probably all owe Wagner something for revealing so widely the ugly bigotry and ignorance that underlies opposition to equality for the LGBT community, something that supporters of social justice must never forget.
Wagner's email is being widely reprinted and reviled on blogs around the country. For example, the PFLAG Blog reprints the email and has this to say:
Those are words with real consequences for LGBT people in Ohio. And, as the Williams Institute points out in its research, Ohio is home to more than 335,000 LGBT people; nearly 30,000 same-sex couples; and nearly 27,000 gay veterans.
And those numbers just make Wagner’s words that much more outrageous and disrespectful.
Of course, Wagner’s rant is also a reminder, as one of our PFLAG supporters in Ohio pointed out, of just how much misinformation is out there when it comes to issues like this one, and legislation like H.B. 502.
In fact, one wonders if Mr. Wagner has considered whether it might not be more damaging to “family values” to have a family member fired from their job, or denied a home for them and their loved ones, simply because of who they are, or who they love.
More after the break.
State Rep. John Widowfield (R-Cuyahoga Falls) abruptly resigned yesterday after the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee began looking into allegations that he scalped for profit OSU football tickets that he had purchased with campaign funds.
Widowfield had decided not to seek re-election after losing a bid for Clerk of Municipal Courts last year. He is running against Paul Colavecchio (D-Cuyahoga Falls) for the open 3rd District seat on the Summit County Council, but according to Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted (R-Kettering) Widowfield was going to resign at the end of the month to take some other job. Presumably the GOP candidate for the open seat, Richard Nero (R-Hudson), will be appointed to replace Widowfield so he can run as an incumbent.
The Democrats have a very strong candidate in the OH House-42 race, attorney and city council member Mike Moran (D-Hudson). The district has a slight Republican lean (PVI R+4.2).
The Democratic Party chairs and secretaries from the four counties represented in Ohio Senate District 2 (Wood, Erie and part of Lucas, and part of Ottawa) have unanimously selected Ms. Jacqueline ("Jackie") Brown to campaign for the seat in the fall election. Brown replaces Maumee school board member Sylvia Washburn (D), who dropped out of the race citing family reasons.
Ms. Brown serves on the Rossford School Board.
Here's the official announcement from the Wood County Democratic Party:
A District Committee of Democrats chose Ms. Jackie Brown of Rossford Ohio to fill the vacated Democratic slot for the State Senate race, Second District. This spot became vacant after Democratic primary winner Sylvia Washburn vacated the race. Wood County Democratic Party chair Mike Zickar said, “We’re delighted to have Jackie as our candidate because she brings energy and ideas to the race.”
Jackie Brown is currently a member of the Rossford School Board who won election in 2007, after having been appointed to an earlier vacancy. While on the school board, Jackie has focused on improving school security and teacher contract negotiations. As a member of the grant-writing committee she has worked on a downtown revitalization grant application believing that the “plight of local schools and local communities goes hand-in-hand.” She is also on the Northwest Ohio Regional Committee for the Ohio School Board Association and has been a coach for local athletics.
Challenger Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) has a great event on rising gas prices set for tomorrow (5/29).
Starting at 1:00 p.m. at a local gas station at 30220 Euclid Avenue in Wickliffe [map], the former appellate judge and Vietnam veteran will take a symbolic stand against Big Oil and Big Energy and dramatize just how much support opponent Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp) receives from those profit-drunk special interests.
O'Neill promises that the first 113 customers will get the first $1.13 of their fill-up on him, drawing attention to the fact that gas sold for just $1.13 per gallon when LaTourette was first elected to Congress. (It sold for $2.26 when he was last re-elected in 2006, and now it's up to $4.00.)
While in office, LaTourette has received $275,720 in campaign cash from Big Oil and Big Energy, and LaTourette has been a reliable vote to help oil companies earn record profits while gasoline prices skyrocket. So, O'Neill will also present those 113 customers with this souvenir "check" from Big Oil to LaTourette:
As O'Neill says:
It’s hard to stand up to Big Oil and Big Energy when they’re helping fund your campaign. So let me be very clear: I have never taken a penny from Big Oil, and I never will.
And when you send me to Congress, I will never forget who I’m representing.
In a bit of great news for efforts to combat one aspect of the mortgage foreclosure mess, the General Assembly today approved Sub. H.B. 138 with overwhelming support in both chambers. The bill now awaits signing by Gov. Strickland.
The bill, sponsored by State Reps Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati), simplifies the process of identifying a property owner after a foreclosure by requiring sheriff’s departments – not the purchaser – to file the foreclosure deed with the recorder’s office and collect identifying information from people buying property at sheriff’s sales. This helps to fight the persistent problem of foreclosed properties standing neglected in legal limbo because nobody can identify who is legally responsible for them.
“This bill will bring transparency to the foreclosure process, help maintain and revitalize neighborhoods, hold people accountable, and create a more efficient procedure,” Rep. Foley said in a press release. “No longer will purchasers be able to foreclose and then hide from the various liabilities of ownership.”
The Ohio Senate added a few additional provisions, allowing for courts to perform mediation and for the holding of open houses on vacated or abandoned properties, which are all to the good. But this bill is really Foley's baby, and he worked hard to assemble the necessary support to get it passed. He lined up Rep. Blessing as a co-sponsor and worked with bankers, non-profits, sheriffs, mortgage brokers, attorneys, realtors, lenders, and consumer advocates to get the legislation through. In the press release Foley also thanks Blessing, Treasurer Richard Cordray, and Commerce Director Kimberly Zurz for helping to bring the bill to fruition. Zurz is chaired the Governor's Foreclosure Prevention Task Force, which recommended passage of the bill.
John McCain had a fund-raiser with George Bush last night, but McCain is so desperate to avoid photographs of the two of them together he moved it to a private venue and kept out the press.
Bush is McCain's biggest vulnerability in this election, so he wants to minimize the connection. So it's up to us to keep reminding the voters that McCain is running to continue the disastrous policies of the Worst President Ever. What better way than to display this bumper sticker:
MoveOn.org is giving away this sticker until June 4th - click here to order yours.
Found on the internets:
A 25-year employee of AK Steel in Mansfield, with a wife and two grown stepchildren, Carroll said he wants to fight for the working class, for people like himself -- some of whom can barely afford to drive to work these days. "It's finally happened," Carroll said. "The price of gas has crossed the $4 a gallon threshold. The year before my opponent, Jim Jordan, first ran for public office, the price was 92 cents." ... Carroll said he intends to make numerous stops throughout Allen County this summer, including the Allen County Fair, in hopes of rousing a grassroots movement to win the November general election. "I may not be able to match my opponent's money, but I promise I won't take a dime from the oil and energy companies," Carroll said. "Jordan's biggest contributors are the oil and energy companies."
OH-06 - Conservative colunist Bob Novak has a post at HumanEvents.com in which he complains bitterly that Blue Dog Democrats in Congress, including Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville), aren't voting with the Republicans very often on key legislation.
OH-09 - Here's a video clip making the rounds in certain parts of the blogosphere. It's Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) on the House floor denouncing "Super-Nafta," her name for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) being negotiated by the Bush administration without Congressional oversight:
OH-14 - Kyle Kutuchief published this photo of challenger Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) running in the 5.25 mile Motorcars Cherry Blossom Time Run in Chagrin Falls, proving that "the candidate and campaign are running strong" just 75 days after his heart bypass surgery:
OH-15 - CQ Politics had an extensive profile of this race yesterday, calling it a toss-up. Author Phil Mattingly notes the quick and dramatic denunciation of Marc Dann by Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) and quotes OSU political science professor Paul Beck as saying that Democrats will probably be successful in putting distance between themselves and Dann. Turnout among young voters at OSU for Obama could be a huge factor in the race. Blogger ohio06win disagrees that the race is a toss-up, listing six reasons why Kilroy has the advantage.
During the question and answer period at the press conference, Nancy Hardin Rogers was asked when she last appeared in a courtroom. She said that it was early in her teaching career and couldn't give a precise answer, although it was clearly a long time ago. Asked about whether she planned to pursue the aggressive litigation agenda of her predecessor in areas such as the mortgage foreclosure mess, she said (oddly, perhaps) that she is a Democrat, but declined to directly answer the question and said that she would be meeting with senior staffers to review such matters.
As Rogers demonstrated during the press conference, she is a respectable and likable person, and was not unduly nonplussed by the situation and the attention. However, she doesn't come across as a forceful or aggressive personality. Her legal specialty is dispute resolution, and she comes across as a problem-solver and consensus-seeker rather than an inspirational leader. She has just finished serving as President of the American Association of Law Schools, a position that requires riding herd over distinguished and wilful personalities, and this may be a key qualification.
ODP Chair Chris Redfern has issued a statement calling Rogers "an exceptionally capable steward of the public trust," and Gov. Strickland's remarks at the press conference seemed designed to emphasize her maturity and professionalism as an antidote to the recent damage to the moral authority of the Attorney General's office. (Strickland mentioned that Rogers would participate to serve with Judge Algenon Marbley in a non-profit program to encourage youngsters from underserved communities to seek careers in the law.) Clearly Rogers' role is to attract no negative headlines or political attacks while working diligently behind the scenes to restore respectability. And to be absolutely clear from the outset that she does not intend to stay in the office for longer than the next few months.
Treasurer Rich Cordray (D-Grove City) still seems to be first on the list to run in the special election on the Democratic side. The Dispatch says that the Republicans are "still scrambling" but the contenders include former Sen. Mike DeWine, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien, Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost, Rep. Deborah Pryce, and State Sen. Tim Grendell.
Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has appointed Nancy Hardin Rogers, who has served for seven years as Dean of the Mortiz College of Law at The Ohio State University, as interim Attorney General, saying that she has no interest in running for the office in the special election. She is expected to serve for six months and then return to the law faculty.
UPDATE: No waiting ... Attorney General Rogers is sworn in on the spot by U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley.
Here is an excerpt from Rogers' bio at the Mortiz College of Law web site:
Professor Rogers became Dean in August 2001, after serving for two years as Vice Provost for Academic Administration for The Ohio State University. She is the Immediate Past President of the Association of American Law Schools.
Professor Rogers received her bachelor's degree with highest distinction from the University of Kansas in 1969 and her law degree from Yale Law School in 1972. After law school, she served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Lambros in Cleveland and practiced law in the Glenville-area office of the Cleveland Legal Aid Society.
She began teaching at the Ohio State University College of Law in 1976. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College from 1992 to 1997. In 1995 she was appointed to an endowed professorship, as the Joseph S. Platt-Porter Wright Morris & Arthur Professor of Law. In 1996, she received the College of Law Alumni Association's "Outstanding Professor Award." During the spring semester 2000, while on leave from Ohio State, she was Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. In 2001 she was named the Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution. ...
Dean Rogers had a gubernatorial appointment as one of Ohio's five commissioners on the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws from 1998 to 2005, and was Reporter for the Conference's Uniform Mediation Law. She was a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools from 2001 to 2004, and 2006 to the present. She served on the planning committee for the ABA Seminar for New Law Deans from 2002 to 2007, chairing it for two years.
From 1993 to 2003, Dean Rogers served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation, a Presidential appointment that requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Strickland emphasized Rogers' maturity, demeanor, values, and competence. He also said that he thought it was important to appoint someone who would devote their full attention to restoring the office to good working order, not divide their energy between that and running in the special election. Rogers said that she was just approached about the appointment on Friday and has not yet made any decisions about changes in the senior staff.
A quick roundup of Ohio news and opinion:
* The Lorain Morning Journal reports that City Council member Dennis Flores (D-Lorain) intends to keep his seat and "turn his personal life around" after being arrested for soliciting sex from a police decoy prostitute last Friday. Flores, who has pleaded not guilty, reportedly said "This happened for a reason. I was headed down the wrong path. God made this happen for a reason and now I'm heading in the right direction." The newspaper has published an editorial calling on Flores to resign, and Roman at the Lorain-based Word of Mouth Blog agrees.
* The Plain Dealer reports that an Ohio Senate committee has stripped the Hagan-Husted plan to "reform" Cuyahoga County government out of the pending capital improvements bill, with Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) saying that the measure needs more study (and hearings, which it did not get). The newspaper also publishes a petulant editorial blasting the move. Meanwhile, Your Professor reports that sources say Strickland will use his line-item veto on the plan if it reaches his desk.
* The GOP-controlled legislature continues to sandbag Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus), with a Ohio Senate committee blocking most of her requested changes in an election law bill. The committee refused to consider her request to allow central counting of paper ballots in the November election, requiring several counties to acquire precint-level counting machines for which the General Assembly apparently won't provide any funds, and refused her request to allow the use of machines that have been properly tested but not yet certified by the federal government.
* Delaware attorney Robert Owens, a Republican, has filed to run for Attorney General as an independent candidate. Paul at Bring Ohio Home wonders if there is even an official opening at this point, since Strickland has not named an interim AG.
* Ford may cut it's domestic salaried workforce by as much as 12% due to slumping sales and rising gas prices.
* The blog Blue Ohioan is back after a four week hiatus, with Anthony picking up the reins following the abrupt departure of Susan. Anthony's first post is a defense of his steadfast support for Hillary Clinton as long as she is in the race, arguing that she is the stronger candidate and better leader.
* The Dispatch editorial board objects to changing U.S. currency to aid the blind, as ordered by a federal appeals court, saying it is a matter of convenience rather than of discrimination and would be too expensive to implement.
* Not affecting Ohio directly (yet), the Asia Times reports that a highly-placed source says Bush plans to attack Iran within the next two months, and that Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) are aware of the plan and intend to publicly object to it.
* The Akron Beacon Journal has an editorial giving guarded approval to the concept of making state officeholders more accountable by expanding the authority of the Inspector General, as proposed by GOP leadership.
* Another sign of malaise among the Republican base of donors and activists? The Blade reports that William Crist, winner of the GOP primary for a Seneca County commissioner race, has dropped out because he made an attempt at fund-raising and had “not received the support required to run the type of campaign needed to be successful in November.”
* The Dayton Daily News reports that an Ohio Senate committee has approved GOP plans to keep the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare facility in Dayton open for another six months, defying Gov. Strickland's intention to close it as part of his effort to plug a potential $733 million hole in the budget.
* The Enquirer reports today on a new study by the University of Cincinnati that links childhood exposure to lead paint to criminal behavior as adults.
Marc Armbinder reports that the Obama campaign has "as many as three dozen Democratic superdelegates [who have] privately pledged to announce their support for Obama on June 4 or 5," with the intention of using those new pledges to carry Obama over the top after the final state nominating contests just seven days from today.
I wonder if any of the uncommitted Ohio superdelegates are on that list? I published a post on Saturday calling on them to show leadership by stepping forward and making their intentions known. The seven uncommitted delegates are State Rep. and ODP Chair Chris Redfern, State Rep. and Ohio House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Charlie Wilson and Rep. Zack Space. If anyone is on the list of privately pledged Obama supporters I'd guess they would be Beatty and/or Kucinich, with Brown a close third.
Tomorrow morning (5/28) in downtown Cleveland, MoveOn members will be making sure making people know that John McCain is just like George Bush.
They will be doing that by replicating the old Pepsi-Coke Challenge, only now it's a Bush-McCain Challenge. The MoveOn volunteers will ask folks on the street to guess whether a quote or position is Bush's or McCain's -- and a lot of people will be surprised to discover just how indistinguishable they are.
It sounds like fun. If you'd like to volunteer, sign up here.
Bulletins from the front lines:
OH House-19 - Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray (D-Grove City) is hosting a fund-raiser for Marian Harris (D-Columbus) tonight (5/27) from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Club 185, 185 E. Livingston Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215 - suggested donation is $50.00.
OH House-24 - State Rep. Ted Celeste (D-Grandview) will hold a District Dialogue on Housing Issues from 7:00 to 8:30p.m. on Thursday (5/29) at Ashburn Youth Center, 85 Clarendon Avenue in Columbus (west of I-70 and West Broad Street in the Hilltop).
OH House-28 - Challenger Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) blasted the English-only bill in a press release issued last Friday, calling it pointless partisan grandstanding: "This bill wastes taxpayer dollars -- it has so many exceptions that it changes nothing. It is classic example of how our stagnant legislature continues to waste our money,” said Pillich. "This bill was designed purely to manufacture a wedge issue in a challenging political landscape. English is and will continue to be our official language, with or without this bill.”
OH House-31 - John Eby (R-Westwood), a two-time who City Council candidate mentioned as a possible opponent for Denise Driehaus (D-Price Hill), announced a few weeks ago that he will not run, in part because "he's friends with Driehaus and likes her."
OH House-57 - State Rep. Matt Lundy (D–Elyria) will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, June 5th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd. in Avon Lake. This “Lundy Listens” session, free and open to the public, will give Representative Lundy an opportunity to listen to the questions and concerns of his constituents as well as provide a brief progress report on his actions in the legislature over the past few months.
OH House-63 - Challenger Mark Schneider (D-Mentor) has his campaign site up. His "Meet Mark" page indicates that he has a B.B.A. from The University of Michigan and a J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law and has been an assistant county prosecutor (now in the Major Trials Unit) since 2000. His endorsements include two out of three Lake County Commissioners and labor groups such as the North Shore AFL-CIO.
OH House-91 - State Rep. Dan Dodd (D-Hebron) will hold a town hall meeting from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. tomorrow (5/28) at the Junction City Library.
Items of interest:
OH-02 - Challenger Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) will confront Hamilton County GOP Chair Alex Triantafilou on Thursday at Raymond Walters College, 9555 Plainfield Road in Cincinnati, in a "discussion" about energy, the economy, and the Middle East.
OH-04 - Challenger Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) has revamped his campaign website and invites everyone to visit and sign up. He will be holding a press conference today (5/27) at 3:00 p.m. on rising energy costs and energy policy, to be held outside a Valero Gas Station at on the corner of Allentown Rd. and Cole St. in Lima.
OH-09 - Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) is talking with the Camp Perry Military Reservation and James McKinney and David Fahrbach of the adjacent Lake Erie Business Park about bringing wind energy to the area. "To date our winds have exceeded the output of wind at Bowling Green, Ohio's only commercial wind installation," said McKinney. "So, we have a better source there, and we're hoping to integrate that into an opportunity whereby our clients, customers, and tenants can benefit from this wind source." *** Kaptur announced in a letter to colleagues a few days ago that the House Financial Services Committee will hold a field hearing about the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland on June 16th. Kaptur wrote that the hearing will "bring national attention to the barriers that homeowners and their advocates face when seeking loan modifications." [Callahan has more.]
OH-10 - A Canadian bookmaker puts the odds of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) becoming a vice presidential nominee at 16 to 1, somewhat better than the odds for Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) or former governer Mike Huckabee (R-AR).
OH-12 - Primary candidate Russ Goodwin (D-Columbus) has sent out an email message supporting his former rival David Robinson (D-Columbus), calling him a "great guy" whom Goodwin has "come to like and trust." *** Robinson will have his official campaign kick-off event from 5:30 to 8:00p.m. on June 5th at the Wedgewood Golf and Country Club, 9600 Wedgewood Boulevard in Powell.
OH-14 - Challenger Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) won the Memorial Day contest put on by Election Inspection to select a Democratic veteran running for Congress to receive a publicity and fundraising boost. Help celebrate by making an ActBlue donation here.
OH-15 - Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) posted this biographical ad on YouTube about three weeks ago:
OH-16 - The transcript of the Democratic Weekly Radio Address given by State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) was published in the Massillon Independent on Friday. *** Yesterday (5/26) Boccieri ran in the "Running to Remember" 5K Memorial Run & Family Fun Walk in downtown Canton, then rode with Vietnam Veterans in the Memorial Day parade over much the same route before giving remarks in a ceremony at the McKinley Monument.
What's going on:
* The Blade opines that George Bush's trip to the Mideast "sadly epitomized the failure of his policies toward the region."
* An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal points out that GOP-favored "health savings accounts" function well as tax havens for the wealthy and healthy but "offer little to no relief for American workers of moderate means who are uninsured and underinsured."
* The Enquirer reports on thousands of college graduates entering a troubled job market, and the Morning Journal asks whether the slumping economy will reduce the number of students entering college in the fall.
* Pho highlights three major national media stories over the weekend on the impact of the foreclosure crisis on Cleveland - one in Newsweek and two on public radio programs.
* The Dayton Daily News criticizes Sen. George Voinovich (R-Cleveland) for opposing the cap-and-trade approach to controlling harmful emissions that contribute to global warming.
* The Plain Dealer editorial board slams the Farm Bill over subsidies and giveaways, appearing to endorse the concept of a presidential line item veto to trim out such excesses.
* The Blade profiles the Dem's top targeted House races in Ohio and Michigan - OH-1, OH-15, OH-16, MI-7, and MI-9.
* Paul at Bring Ohio Home debunks the claim by Hillary Clinton that Bill didn't wrap up the 1992 nomination until "somewhere in the middle of June" ... more like April 8th.
* Jill reacts to a survey showing that more folks would like to sit down and drink a beer with Barack Obama (29%) than with Hillary Clinton (22%) or John McCain (20%).
* An informal poll by reporter Michael Sangiacomo of the Plain Dealer reveals that about half of Northeast Ohio lawmakers favors the casino proposal to appear on the November ballot.
Listen closely to this Fox News Commentary..
A few things to note:
1) Fox News repeatedly interchanges Barack Obama name and Osama Bin Ladins name, this is deliberate. The woman, in this video, actually pauses, afraid of tripping up under the pressure required to act likes she is making a mistake.
2)The fact that Fox News intentionally wants people to confuse the Illinois Sen and Presidential candidate with the terrorist Osama Bin Ladin (someone whose capture and death many Americans have fantasized about) and then, on public airwaves, openly wish for violence against the Senator - Are they trying to encourage someone to kill Obama? Are they openly inciting violence? Isn't that against the law - like yelling fire in a crowded theater?
At the very least, this is dangerous and irresponsible journalism. Laughing about murdering someone, an American Senator too, is a new low for Fox News.
If you'd like to complain here is the FCC's # 1-888-225-5322 (1-888-CALL FCC) Voice: toll-free.
UPDATE: Good job on registering complaints. Here is the apology (an awkward attempt to pass it off as attempted humor):
Great news! (promoted from the forums by czawadzki)
UPDATE: New DailyKos Diary - Please recommend if you are able.
Thanks to an outpouring of support from blogs like this one, Bill O'Neill has won Election Inspection's Memorial Day Donor Bomb contest. Now here's the hard part - we need you all to do three things:
1. Donate to Bill O'Neill.
2. If you are on DailyKos, Recommend this diary - and I'll be posting another one in the morning.
3. Tell anyone you can about this effort, and provide links on online forums.
Steve LaTourette is scum - he cheated on his wife with his chief of staff, who became a lobbyist, who LaTourette then remarried after getting a divorce. So he's literally in bed with a lobbyist, and she suddenly got all sorts of new clients. For example, she represents the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, while he's the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime, a part of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee. This isn't why the GOP removed him as chair of the Ethics committee, of course - they simply didn't like his toothless admonishment (with no penalties) of Tom Delay. LaTourette quickly fell in line after that.
Bill O'Neill is a Vietnam veteran who received a Bronze Star - that's patriotism that no flag pin can match. He's also been a civil rights lawyer, a small businessman, and a union organizer - a man who understands the economic challenges faced by Ohioans who've felt the brunt of the Bush Economy. Today, he's a judge - a man of integrity who can be trusted to make sure that no man, even the President of the United States, is above the law.
There are now only seven days until the DNC rules committee takes up the issue of seating delegates from Florida and Michigan, and only ten days until the last state nomination contest. The time for the seven remaining Ohio superdelegates to show leadership by helping to bring the nominating process to close is finally and unquestionably upon us:
State Rep. Chris Redfern
State Rep. Joyce Beatty
Sen. Sherrod Brown
Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Charlie Wilson
Rep. Zack Space
Here's a great chance for Ohio progressives to give a boost on Memorial Day weekend to the campaign of Vietnam veteran and Bronze Star-recipient Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell).
The blog Election Inspection is running a contest among five Democratic veterans running for Congress to select one that will receive a publicity and financial boost. Bill O'Neill, a terrific and deserving candidate, is the only contestant from Ohio. (The contest does not include candidates who are already on the DCCC "Red to Blue" list or who are already being supported by VoteVets, so John Boccieri in OH-16 is not on the list.) O'Neill also appears to be running ahead of the pack, so this is a contest that he can definitely win with your support.
Thanks - and have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) commended the service of Ohio's fallen heroes today as the Memorial Day weekend is about to begin:
On Memorial Day, we should take time to remember the courageous service of Ohio’s fallen military men and women. It’s important to show thanks to those who have literally put their lives on the line to protect us here at home. When we honor yesterday’s heroes and reflect on their passion for American freedom, it helps us to better appreciate the sacrifices of today’s men and women in uniform serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As a member of the Senate Veterans Committee, Sen. Brown is the voice in the U.S. Senate for Ohio's 1.1 million veterans. Since taking office he has worked to increase health and education benefits for veterans, including sponsoring the Veterans Education Tuition Support Act and advocating for additional research and services to combat the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
“We must continue to improve the medical, educational, and transitional services for our heroes from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War while finding ways to care for the new generation of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq,” Brown said in a statement. He also noted that the Veterans Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2007 passed the House of Representatives yesterday and is now set for a full Senate vote.
The Libertarian Party has commenced their five-day national convention in Denver, which will culminate in the selection of a presidential candidate on Sunday (5/25). The leading contenders are former GOP member of the U.S. House Bob Barr (L-GA), former Democratic U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel (D-VA), Wayne Allyn Root (L), and Dr. Mary Ruwart (L).
Today Richard Viguerie, called "one of the creators of the modern conservative movement" by The Nation and "one of the conservatives of the century" by the The Washington Times, gave the keynote speech at the convention, entitled "Conservatives are off the GOP Reservation: Will they find a home in the Libertarian Party?"
Viguerie declared in his speech that John McCain is "trying to get conservative support on the cheap":
Senator McCain has had the Republican presidential nomination sewn up for over three months and has done nothing to convince conservatives to come off the sidelines and enthusiastically support him. ...
Republican leaders have treated conservatives with utter disrespect and, in turn, conservatives have lost all respect for Republican leaders. Millions of grassroots conservative activists and donors have left the Republican Party and taken with them their volunteer time, their checkbooks, and their votes.
As to the Liberarian Party, Viguerie said that it "has a historic opportunity to provide leadership for America."
The complete text of Viguerie's speech is here.
Will large numbers of disaffected conservatives cast protest votes for the Libertarian candidate this year?
[To listen to the broadcast click here. The full text is after the flip.]
In the address Boccieri calls on George Bush and John McCain to rethink their opposition to the bill just passed by both chambers of Congress to expand the G.I. Bill for military service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. The expanded benefits would guarantee full college scholarships for those who serve three years, comparable to the benefit afforded to veterans of World War II.
"If our veterans want to go to college, they should be able to do so the minute their boots hit the ground," Boccieri said to the Akron Beacon Journal.
The Ohio Democratic Party is taking affirmative steps to establish a base of support among military veterans and military families, a group that has historically skewed Republican.
Today the party announced that it has formed a Veterans and Family Members Caucus. The stated goals for the caucus are providing a political voice for veterans and military family members in Ohio, organizing and mobilizing veterans and military families across the state, and aggressively recruiting more veterans and military family members to run for political office.
The ODP has hired Bill Rausch, a former Army Captain, Iraq War veteran, and native of Marengo, Ohio, as its full-time director, becoming only the second state Democratic party in the nation to have a person in that role. Rausch was awarded The Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service while assigned as the Operations and Assessments Officer for the Information Operations Task Force, Multi-National Force - Iraq. "Over the past decade I have been fortunate to be a part of so many great organizations, from the halls of West Point to the streets of Baghdad, and I am especially pleased to continue on that trend by joining the team at the Ohio Democratic Party," said Rausch.
Also today, Democratic elected officials confirmed their commitment to veterans by marking the establishment of the new Ohio Department of Veterans Services. Gov. Ted Strickland (D) signed the legislation today, accompanied by State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard and member of the Governor’s Transition Team for Veterans Services, and State Rep. Peter Ujvagi (D-Toledo), a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Veterans Affairs that recommended creation of the new cabinet-level department. The legislation was introduced by another Democrat, State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown), who is a U.S. Air Force Reserve pilot and Iraq veteran.
These efforts by Ohio Democrats to serve and reach out to veterans echo developments at the national level. Democrats led the charge on the new G.I. Bill, passed by overwhelming margins in both the House and Senate, which provides for full higher education benefits for 1.5 million American men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is widely supported by key veterans groups, including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern acknowledged the importance of veterans and military families as a political constituency in his remarks on establishing the Veterans and Family Members Caucus. "Veterans and military families will be a crucial swing vote in this election because the Republican rhetoric about 'supporting the troops' has not been supported by the actions of this president or his political party," said Redfern. "The historic, bipartisan G.I. Bill that recently passed both houses of Congress had the support of every single Ohio Democrat, but only one Ohio Republican. That is truly shameful." The only Republican member of Congress from Ohio to support the G.I. Bill was Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp), who faces a tough challenge from Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell).
The poll suggests that John Edwards is Obama's strongest VP choice in Ohio, a proposition to be taken with a grain of salt because it is apparently driven by Edwards' superior name recognition from his national campaigns.
Interesting how putting social conservative Mike Huckabee (R-AR) on the ticket raises McCain's stock more than the equally or even better-known Mitt Romney or Joe Lieberman.
UPDATE: Looking at the crosstabs, Obama leads McCain among men 45% to 42% and among women 50% to 37%. Obama leads in every age group except 65+, where McCain has the advantage 50% to 35%. Obama takes the 18-34 set by 59% to 33%.
Obama takes the white vote by 45% to 41% and the black vote by 76% to 17%. Ohio's relatively small Hispanic population goes big for McCain, 62% to 29%, a troubling result. McCain leads among independents 46% to 36%, but Obama leads among self-described moderates 57% to 28%.
Snap, crackle, and pop:
OH-01 - Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) voted against the English-only bill, saying that it is "yet another unfunded mandate aimed at dividing Ohioans rather than uniting them." *** Driehaus gets credit in this Community Press story for coming up with the idea of using the settlement proceeds from a lawsuit over property flipping to fund community improvement micro-grants in the Price Hill area. "We've taken the negative and turned it into a positive," said Driehaus. "This settlement money will enable Price Hill residents to make a difference themselves, and that's ultimately what we are trying to achieve."" *** Meanwhile, here is the Americans United for Change ad against Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) over his anti-G.I. Bill vote:
OH-04 - The Champaign County Democrats call out Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) for wanting America to be a theocracy by supporting H.R. 598.
OH-10 - Here's a recap of the first day of the subcomittee hearing hosted by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) on the need to help cities deal with the effect of the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Kucinich opened the hearing by pointing out that neighborhoods (as opposed to mortgage lenders and to some extent borrowers) are the "largely unrecognized and totally blameless" victims of the disaster.
OH-13 - Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) has been an active participant in questioning oil company executives at a hearing held by the House Committee on the Judiciary, grilling them on issues ranging from their secret meetings with Vice President Cheney in 2001 to their very small investments in alternative and renewable energy initiatives despite record profits. “In 2007, the oil industry recorded record profits of $155 billion, 75% of which was earned by the companies who are here today,” said Sutton. “It is the prerogative of the American people to know how these companies are possibly in need of the subsidies that the Administration has lavished upon them, while families across our country are suffering to make ends meet."
OH-16 - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) got some good press in the Tribune Chronicle for the passage of his vets bill "just in time for Memorial Day." In addition to creating state-level protection for the jobs of National Guard and Reserve troops on deployment, the law creates an Ohio Department of Veterans Services that consolidates existing programs under its director.
OH-17 - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) notes on his congressional blog that he was "surfing around a couple of well known blogs" and found a piece objecting to the failure of Congress to address the energy crisis, prompting him to respond:
I agree, we need to do more but at the same token you have to break ground on a construction site before you build the building. We’ve barely scratched the surface on what needs to be done to combat the rising cost of fuel, or our dependence on oil, but since taking Congress we have done ten times more than our counterparts. House Democrats have been leading the effort to help deliver gas price relief and encourage the use of renewable energy.