Fox News "Hopes" Someone Murders Obama

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.

Here are some other posts about this disgusting display of anti-americanism at Fox News:
Daily Kos and
Jeffery Feldman at Huffpost

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):


Memorial Day Donor Bomb - Bill O'Neill Wins! Please Donate.

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.

Ohio Superdelegates: The Time to Show Leadership Is At Hand

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
(614) 221-6563
E-Mail

State Rep. Joyce Beatty
(614) 466-5343
Contact page

Sen. Sherrod Brown
1-888-896-OHIO
Contact page

Rep. Marcy Kaptur
(800)964-4699
Contact page

Rep. Dennis Kucinich
(216)228-8850

Rep. Charlie Wilson
1-888-706-1833

Rep. Zack Space
1-866-910-7577

OH-14: Vote for Bill O'Neill in "Memorial Day Donor Bomb Poll"!

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.

To help Bill O'Neill just go to the contest diaries at Swing State Project AND DailyKos and vote in the polls. The votes will be counted on Sunday.

Thanks - and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Sen. Brown Statement on Memorial Day

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.

Vigeurie: McCain "Trying to Get Conservative Support On The Cheap"

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?

OH-16: Boccieri (D) Gives Democratic Weekly Radio Address

Air Force Reserve pilot and Iraq veteran State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) has recorded the Democratic Party's weekly radio address to be broadcast tomorrow (5/24).

[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.

Ohio Democratic Party Reaches Out to Veterans and Military Families

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).

Obama Leads McCain by Nine Points in New SUSA Ohio Poll

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%.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

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.

Ohio News & Opinion Roundup

A quick look at what's going on:

* The Akron Beacon Journal criticizes Strickland for ignoring the objections of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association, and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to the gun lobby's bill to roll-back firearm regulations.

* The Ohio House passed the bill authorizing the Cuyahoga County Commission to put the Hagan-Husted county government reform plan on the November ballot, but it's probably moot because such authorization requires the vote of two commissioners and the other two (Peter Lawson Jones and Jimmy Dimora) have signaled that they won't approve it because it is directed at Cuyahoga County alone.

* Joseph at Plunderbund whacks away at the anti-immigrant English-only bill that passed yesterday.

* The Blade reports on an event in Toledo yesterday, one stop on a tour of swing states, at which military veterans and representatives of the SEIU slammed John McCain for taking the side of the Veterans Administration in disputes with veterans about health care services and benefits.

* Ted Strickland endorsed the idea of a joint Obama-Clinton as "unbeatable." I'm thinking he is too close to the Clinton camp to be making that statement without a green light, signaling that the VP slot is indeed what Clinton wants.

* Jill highlights a good list of ten compelling reasons for women to support Obama.

* Listen here to the radio ads that the DCCC is running this weekend, attacking Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) and Rep. John Boehner (West Chester) for voting against supporting our troops with education benefits like WWII vets got.

* Paul points out the hypocrisy of Angry Old Guy slamming Obama as one "who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform" while embracing a certain frat boy whose family connections got him a cushy Texas Air National Guard gig so he could avoid serving in Vietnam.

Service members and the new G.I. Bill

As we head into Memorial Day...

My wife's oldest is active duty Navy (E-6.) He LOVES the new GI Bill.

And it has made a HUGE impression on him that it is a Democrat and veteran (Webb) who authored this legislation. That impression has been STRONGLY re-enforced by the the fact that the GOP has officially fought the bill and that the Shrub plans to veto it.

Basically what the Republicans are doing, is to turn an entire generation of young people into lifelong Democrats. More and more of them are beginning to see that the GOP will waste billions on defense contractors and their K Street lobbyists, but will fight to their last breath to deny benefits to service people.

And this Fall, there is going to be a price to pay. We'll flip three or four U.S. House seats right here in Ohio. Just imagine how this will play for a candidate like Maj. John Boccieri?

Across the Nation, maybe TWENTY seats? I used to think that was tinfoil hat material, but now, I could see it.

So you say ya wanna "support the troops?" Well then:

VOTE DEMOCRATIC.

OH House-28: Pillich Memorial Day Message - "We Must Do More"

Air Force veteran Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery), who fell just 1,592 votes short of beating State Rep. Jim Raussen (R-Springdale) in 2006 and is off to a fast start in this year's rematch, wrote in a n op-ed piece in the Community Press that veterans need more than parades and flag-waving:

When deployed for long periods of time, [National Guard personnel] leave behind the remnants of their civilian lives. Abandoned leases, child support issues, job security - these things haunt our guard members and their families for a long time.

... We need laws that help these volunteers. We need to allow any military member to be able to terminate a lease upon receipt of military deployment orders. We need to assist the families left behind by ensuring child support is properly handled.

We need a veterans hiring preference for state jobs so our veterans have an edge up when returning to the work force. We need to extend low-cost health insurance for those veterans abandoned by the VA medical system. We need to penalize employers who fail to keep a job open for their deployed employee.

Finally, we must stop letting bills that benefit our veterans and their families languish in committee ... Partisan political behavior is the single greatest insult to the many men and women who volunteer to put it all on the line to protect us.

We need to honor our vets every day, not just on specified weekends. ... By honoring and improving the lives of vets every day, we give them the most sincere "Thank you."

Pillich will be marching in the Blue Ash Memorial Day Parade with OH-02 candidate Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) on Monday (5/26) and invites supporters to join her. (Line up is at 9:30 a.m. on Reed Hartman Highway at Malsbary; campaign tee shirts will be provided.) This year she will have a special Veterans contingent in the parade -- all veterans and their friends and family members are invited wear their military medals and commemorative ribbons as they walk.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Second installment today, because too much is never enough:

OH-02 - Challenger Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) made a strong statement the other day about Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland) supporting warrantless wiretaps and wanting to provide retroactive immunity to the telecoms that donate to Schmidt's campaign, as quoted by blogger Howie Klein on Huffington Post:

"The Bush Administration has run roughshod over the Constitution and now they expect the American people to pay for it by granting retroactive immunity to big corporations that illegally violated their customers' privacy. Congress cannot not let itself be bullied into giving away the civil liberties that belong to every American, and I promise that as a congresswoman I will never put the interests of corporations before the rights of the people."

Dr. Wulsin will make appearances on Sunday (5/25) at 3:30 p.m. at the Aberdeen parade and at 6:30 p.m. at Taste of Cincy (meet at 5th and Vine), and will march with OH House-28 candidate Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) on Monday (5/26) in the Blue Ash Memorial Day Parade (line up is at 9:30 a.m. on Reed Hartman Highway at Malsbary).

OH-12 - Challenger David Robinson (D-Columbus) will be at "4th Friday Westerville" tomorrow night (5/23) from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at on East College Avenue and will march in two parades over the weekend, the Utica Ice Cream Festival Parade starting 11:00 a.m. on Saturday (5/24) at Church and Jefferson Streets and the Powell Parade starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday (5/26). *** You can also meet the candidate at a house party next Saturday (5/31) in Columbus, $25 suggested donation, email rdoersam-at-robison2008-dot-com for details. *** Emily Kreider, the Democratic candidate who ran an inspiring race for the 3rd Ohio Senate District seat in 2006, has send out an email thanking her supporters and urging them to continue to work for better representation in government by volunteering for Robinson.

OH-14 - Challenger Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) has made a swift recovery from his heart bypass surgery two months ago. With clearance from his doctors, he is registering for the 32nd Annual Blossom Time Run, a 5.25-mile race preceding the Blossom Time Parade this Sunday (5/25) at 2:00 p.m. in Chagrin Falls. “My goal is just to finish before they take down the timer,” O’Neill joked. “I’m just so happy that I’m healthy and ready to continue this O’Neill family tradition – run the race, then march with the veterans in the parade.” He also points out that his experience is a reminder of the critical importance of health insurance and preventive care:

“As a nurse I see every day how our system needs serious reforms. Thanks to my health coverage, I pursued preventive care and, without it, I’m not sure I would have had the check-up or the surgery that may have saved my life. We need to take a long, hard look at our system and ask, ‘Why doesn’t everyone deserve this access to affordable care?’”

OH-16 - Today the Ohio Senate approved Am. Sub. S.B. 289, which incorporates legislation by State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) to protect the jobs of National Guard and Reserve troops while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan under state law. Such protection exists under federal law but the cost and delays involved in federal litigation make it hard for veterans to enforce their rights. “Often veterans walk away from the fight,” Senator Boccieri said. “What veteran can afford to fight for years for their job in federal courts while needing to put bread on their family’s table? Enactment of this bill will provide one more layer of protection for our Ohio soldiers while they are protecting us."

OH-17 - This is the most information I have found anywhere about longshot contender Duane Grassell (R), so just for the record:

"Grassell is a self-described life-long student of the Constitution. The purpose of his candidacy is to vote against unconstitutional bills that previous Congresses have passed. Grassell is a high school math teacher who has been teaching since 1979. He taught 12 years in Youngstown on the eastern end of the 17th district, and he taught 12 years in Akron on the western end of the district. He has been married to his wife Ruth for eight years and they have a seven year old daughter."

OH-18 - Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) will give the Keynote Speech at the Chillicothe Memorial Day Service at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday (5/25) at Veterans Park on Yoctangee Blvd. (behind the YMCA) and will march in the Coshocton County Memorial Day Parade begins at 10:00 a.m. on Monday (5/26) at Main and 8th Street, followed by a ceremony at the Coshocton County Court House.

Fun Electoral Map Tool

I just tumbled across this excellent site that allows you to create your own hypothetical electoral vote map by clicking on the various states. For example, suppose you notice today's SUSA poll showing Obama ahead of McCain in Virginia by 7 points, and you wonder what the EV map would look like if Obama carried all the Kerry states except New Hampshire and also picked up Virginia and blue-trending Colorado. Click a few states and you get:

Obama wins with 270 electoral votes, without Ohio.

How cool is that?

H/t to Steven R for this diary on DailyKos.

Expanded G.I. Bill Passes Despite Voinovich "NO" Vote

The Webb-Hagel measure to strengthen the G.I. Bill for troops who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan passed 75-22 in the form of an amendment to H.R. 2642, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2008, which George Bush has promised to veto if it contains the G.I. Bill provision and other domestic spending measures. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Cleveland) was among the minority who refused to support our troops.

Quinnipiac Poll Shows McCain Slightly Ahead of Obama in Ohio

A poll released today by Quinnipiac University shows Barack Obama trailing John McCain by four points, while CLinton leads McCain by seven (numbers in parens are from May 1st and April 2nd):

40% (42%, 43%) Obama
44% (43%, 42%) McCain

48% (48%, 48%) Clinton
41% (38%, 39%) McCain

The margin of error is 2.8%.

Other numbers in the poll show a political climate that is not unfavorable to Obama. Approval for George Bush is at a dismal 26%, Obama's favorability rating (44%-38%) is about the same as McCain's (43%-36%), and 86% say they would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with an African-American president while only 59% would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with a president who is 72 at the start of his term. 56% say that the Rev. Wright controversy does not affect their likelihood of voting for Obama, while 40% say otherwise.

A bump in Obama's numbers is to be expected when the nominating process is resolved, so this poll should be interpreted as showing a close race that is likely to get closer.

N.B. - A Rasmussen Poll on Tuesday showed Obama and McCain statistically tied in Ohio (44% Obama, 45% McCain), and a SurveyUSA poll will be out shortly.

There Have Been Many Attempts to Reform Cuyahoga County Government

David Jones wrote a piece yesterday in the News Herald outlining a dozen failed attempts to reform county government in Cuyahoga County, stretching all the way back to the 1920s. Such attempts either failed in the General Assembly, failed to get onto the ballot for voter approval, or were rejected by the voters. Most recently, in 1995, a committee on reform appointed by the county commissioners recommended an elected executive and a seven-member county council, but the commission didn't put the issue before voters. Fifteen years earlier, Cuyahoga County voters rejected a county executive with veto power and a nine-member county council.

It's natural for reformers to be frustrated by this long litany of failure, but that doesn't mean that the currently proposed plan should be pushed through just for the sake of getting something passed. While it's undeniable that Cuyahoga County has suffered from poor government in a lot of respects and that consolidation and reorganization could save money and promote good governance, this hastily conceived scheme to eliminate a slew of elected positions (devised by a single commissioner and seized upon by the GOP leader of the Ohio House as a political expediency) is not the answer. It concentrates way too much power in the hands of the three county commissioners, and in any event having a single executive would be far preferable to this cumbersome system of government-by-committee.

Also, any reform action taken should be equally applicable to all counties across the state (or at least the larger ones), not specially created for one county, an approach that smacks of political manipulation.

UPDATE: Aaron Marshall reports on Openers that the House Finance and Appropriations committee has pushed through a measure to allow the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to put Tim Hagan's government restructuring plan on the ballot if two commissioners vote to do so. An amendment by ODP Chair Chris Redfern to apply to provision to other counties was rejected along party lines.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Due diligence:

OH-01 - Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) will be targeted in ads by both Americans United for Change and the DCCC for voting against the bill to enhance G.I. benefits.

OH-04 - That's My Congress has more on H.R. 598, co-sponsored by radical reactionary Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana). The resolution calls for “supporting the goals of the Ten Commandments Commission” and also calls on the federal government to urge “obedience to the commands of God.” The Ten Commandments Commission, it turns out, has a statement of principles that includes “Remind our fellow citizens that we are One Nation Under God, not Allah" and “America is about to be destroyed by secular humanism and Radical Islam -- Together we can make a stop to this.”

OH-09 - More buzz for Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) as a running mate for Barack Obama. The blog Politizine calls her "a champion of worker's rights and an anti-NAFTA activist that Naderites and Perotistas could get excited about" and says selecting her "might just be enough to pull the election off ..." *** Meanwhile, as to her status as a superdelegate, Kaptur says that she is truly undecided and might wait until the convention.

OH-10 - The blog News Hounds gives this appearance by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) to talk about gas prices as an example of why Democrats shouldn't go on the Fox News Channel -- the report was following by a reading of viewers emails ridiculing the congressman.

OH-15 - Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) will be marching in the Grandview Memorial Day Parade (First Avenue between Cambridge Blvd & Oxley) this Saturday, May 24th from 10:00 to about 12:00 a.m. The campaign will be giving away T-shirts and carrying Mary Jo's message of change out into the community and they'd love for you to come out for the parade. Info here. *** The ABJ reported yesterday that those candidate-specific issues ads that Ohio Right to Life wants the federal courts to permit would be used in part to promote State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) in this race.

OH-16 - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) gave sponsor testimony on Tuesday for a bill to rename parts of Interstate 680 in Mahoning County for "America's Schoolmaster" William Holmes McGuffey (the educator, lecturer and author whose work became the standardized text for school children in the 19th Century) and IBEW worker Peter J. DeLucia, who was killed while working on construction of Interstate 76. *** As with OH-15, the candidate-specific issue ads sought by Ohio Right to Life would promote the GOP candidate in this race, State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton).

OH-18 - Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) had to fend off Hillary Clinton to stay neutral in the presidential nominating contest yesterday. Clinton called in to the Lanigan & Malone radio show on Cleveland's WMJI while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) and Space were guests. According to The Hotline:

[Space] praised Clinton, saying it is clear she speaks from the heart and is passionate about the issues. "Can I assume this is your superdelegate endorsement?" Clinton joked. "Seventy percent of the people who voted for me in your district would be so happy to hear that." Space demurred, saying only that there were two great candidates.

OH House-58: YDS Chat With Tom Heydinger

Newly appointed State Rep. Tom Heydinger (D-Norwalk) has a jam-packed first day on the job but I had the opportunity to ask him a few quick questions on the telephone just now.

I asked him about the process of going from retirement to seeking this position in the General Assembly and what motivated him to step forward. "It just seemed like a good fit," he replied. "I was happy with what I was doing [i.e., sitting as a visiting judge around the state], but serving as a legislator seemed like a good challenge."

Heydinger said that retirement was slower than he wanted ("the energy level was too low") and he feels that he has a lot to contribute in the legislature. "It is interesting to see the law from the other side," he commented, after having been for so long a judge applying laws after they are passed. "I often wondered about the process of how laws come about. I have good practical experience from applying the law that I can now bring to the process of making it."

A native of Plymouth, Ohio, Heydinger says that he has lived in Huron County since April Fools Day in 1974. I asked him to describe the needs of the 58th District and he said it has "largely the same needs as other parts of Ohio -- improved education, better public services, and infrastructure like roads and bridges." He said that the economy and children's health care are issues of particular concern in the area. "If you take care of your children, you take care of your region," he said.

I noted that judges are prevented by their role from taking much public role in politics, but internet records show that Heydinger donated money to John Edwards and John Kerry in 2008 and 2004. Is he a good solid Democrat, I wondered? "Oh, yes," he said. "I was a Young Democrat for Lyndon Johnson at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City in 1964. I might be a little older than you." (Not that much, I was an avid eight-year-old Johnson supporter that year and watched the convention on television.) Edwards was Heydinger's initial favorite in the current presidential nomination contest, he said.

I wished him the best of luck in the legislature and with his campaign. He said that he isn't especially conversant with the internet but will make sure that he is kept informed about what's happening on the Ohio blogs.

Ohio News & Opinion Roundup

What's up:

* Lisa Renee has posted this week's Carnival of Ohio Politics, featuring descriptive links to political blog posts around the state and across the political spectrum.

* Brad Dicken of the Chronicle Telegram reports on newly installed State Rep. Tom Heydinger (D-Norwalk), praised in the news report by various people including disgraced predecessor Matt Barrett (who hasn't yet filed the notice to take his name off the fall ballot - get on it, please).

* The NRA's proposed legislation to gut various gun regulations, a topic of discussion on this blog yesterday, gets slammed by the editoral board of the The Dispatch today:

"[Gov. Strickland] has given far too little consideration to the ramifications of this bill and the amendments. [His spokesman said he is] not concerned about the opinion of police officers, police chiefs, prosecutors and county sheriffs [but] as the state's highest official in the executive branch of government, which is charged with law enforcement, he has a duty to put the interests of a majority of Ohioans ahead of those of a special-interest group."

New reporting by Jim Siegel on the matter here. [UPDATE: DaytonOS has a thorough (and scary) point-by-point description of the law.]

* The Enquirer reports that area gas prices have surpassed $4 per gallon, and an editorial calls conservation the answer.

* The Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal are thrilled about the state's new $143 million program to attract world-class scholars along with their grants and staff to Ohio universities through coordinated economic development and higher education funding. More detail on the program here.

* The Toledo Blade echoes the Dayton Daily News in an editorial defending the California decision on gay marriage equality and the "civilized impulse to live and let live."

* Gov. Strickland (D) is cool to a proposal by Ohio Faith United Against Tobacco to continue funding Ohio anti-smoking programs through a $0.75 per-pack tax.

* Your Professor smacks down the Cuyahoga County government "reform plan" over at Politic Science 216. Meanwhile, the Plain Dealer reports that County Auditor Frank Russo (D) has hired numerous people who left the "prior felony" line on their job application blank, two of whom had such.

* The Great Lakes Water Compact appears to be headed for passage in Ohio after opponent State Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) got backing for his ballot initiative to amend the Ohio constitution to guarantee property owners "reasonable use" of water.

* Electoral map fever: I reproduced a couple yesterday, and Chuck at The Chief Source argues why everything's going Obama's way. A much less rosy picture presented here.

We Paid for the F'n Pizza!

Oh my.

Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann ate out on his donors' dime more than 300 times between Jan. 2, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2007 — dining out at places as disparate as McDonald's, where he once put 35 cents on his campaign's debit card, to $330.45 at an Akron eatery.

There were sushi bars in Washington, D.C., and frequent trips to Bob Evans in Ohio. More than 80 restaurant tabs were from the Youngstown area, where Dann lives and the attorney general has an office.

I don't think I would mind it so much if I felt the priviledge wasn't being abused. That Mr. Dann appreciated the hard work his campaign contributers expended to be able to give him that money. But, evidence shows Marc Dann used the money recklessly, staying out at Columbus bars till 2 in the morning and then there is the little bit about the pizza....

One debit charge — $31.23 for Domino's Pizza — was posted Sept. 13, three days after Dann aide Anthony Gutierrez brought a colleague, Cindy Stankoski, for pizza to the apartment Gutierrez shared with Dann and a third colleague. Stankoski accused Gutierrez of sexually harassing her — a scandal that ultimately cost Dann his job.

Thank goodness the Ohio Democrats forced this guy out. What a jerk.

OH House-58: Meet State Rep. Thomas Heydinger (D)

Former judge Thomas E. Heydinger (D-Norwalk) was sworn in this afternoon.

The press release indicates that Heydinger, 67, was born in Plymouth, Ohio and served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and military lawyer during the Vietnam War. He was a Crawford County Court judge, an Assistant Attorney General, and a Huron County Assistant Prosecutor before he was appointed to the bench in the Huron County Common Pleas Court’s Probate and Juvenile Division by Gov. Jack Gilligan, where he served for 28 years until he retired in 2003.

Both of the statements in the press release allude to the moral and ethical meltdown by Heydinger's predecessor. The statement by the new State Representative:

“I am humbled and honored to continue my service to my home state by becoming the 58th District’s Representative in the Statehouse. I have built my career on integrity and protecting people, and I am excited about the new opportunities this office will bring to serve the people of my district.”

The statement by House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus):

“Tom Heydinger is a man of unquestionable ethics and amazing accomplishment. I am happy he is joining our Caucus, and I look forward to working with him to provide quality education, affordable health care and economic opportunity to Ohioans.”

An intriguing person for this office at this time. I look forward to learning more about him and following his campaign.

Obama-McCain Electoral Vote Maps

New polling data from several states means new maps.

Bowers' new map:

Obama 242, McCain 220, Toss-up 76

Poblano's new map:

("To win [Obama needs to maintain his current lead in all Kerry states except New Hampshire and] 1) Win Ohio (while holding Michigan and Wisconsin), or
2) Win two or three of the Western 'four corner' states (NV, CO, NM) and either Ohio or Michigan.")

Strickland Yields to Gun Lobby

This is outrageous. I realize that Gov. Strickland (D) has a well-deserved reputation on supporting the right to bear firearms, but supporting the evisceration of reasonable gun restrictions in the face of objections from prosecutors and law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police is unacceptable.

The NRA is a power-mad, out-of-control special interest that will never stop pushing no matter how outrageous its demands become. That means that the Governor, whether a gun supporter or not, has to draw reasonable lines and put his foot down or we're headed for the shoot-em-up madness of the old Wild West.

At issue is the latest legislative wish-list from the NRA, about to be wrapped in a package and festooned with a bow by the House Criminal Justice Committee with little or no public testimony. Among the changes dictated to the GOP-controlled General Assembly by the all-powerful gun lobby:

* Anyone, licensed or not, can carry an unloaded gun in their car -- not in the trunk or in a locked case as now required.

* A sheriff doing a background check on an applicant for a concealed-carry license can't consider a sealed or expunged conviction.

* Landlords can't prohibit tenants from keeping handguns.

* Law enforcement can't seize legal guns during an emergency.

Some law enforcement officials are protesting against the changes, as you can well imagine -- those unloaded guns in cars are way too easy to load, and the guns that would be allowed include things like sawed-off shotguns and rifles. Letting people get concealed gun permits when they have prior convictions is just plain outrageous, and not letting the police seize guns when a situation is spinning out of control is unthinkable. But Strickland is not deterred. "As a gun-rights supporter, the governor believes these are reasonable and appropriate protections for gun owners," spokesman Keith Dailey said.

Perhaps the scariest part is the eerie silence of the highway patrol on this -- here is how Jim Siegel puts it in his Dispatch story:

The State Highway Patrol, which has been very vocal in the past about concerns over guns in vehicles, is now, under Strickland, declining to talk about the issue.

So is Strickland not only failing to object to these outrageous changes to the law, but strangling criticism from within the executive branch?

This is going too far.

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