What do you hope our state legislature is working on? It's almost certain they're not doing so.
This week, my state senator and two of the three state representatives in her district held a couple of public meetings to talk about what is going on down in Columbus.
The picture that these three bright, hard-working and compassionate ladies — Senator Sandra Williams and representatives Janine Boyd and Stephanie Howse — painted was bleak. It was one of dysfunction, mean-spiritedness, non-transparency, time wasted on superfluous and unpopular initiatives while punting on important issues. And they offered a ray of hope, a proposal that could begin to change the lopsided and unrepresentative makeup of our legislature, which has led to this dysfunction.
It’s hard to know where to begin with the bad stuff. What do you want to hear about? How a measure to begin to rein in wasteful, failed charter schools and make them accountable was kicked down the road with no action? How the budget bill rips more money out of the hides of public schools and local communities, especially urban areas, while actually rewarding smaller townships where only a sliver of the state’s population (but many of its legislators) live? How little Taxin’ John Kasich’s much-touted income tax cut benefits someone with an income of $50,000 (about $20) while lavishly rewarding someone with an income four or five times that with a tax cut that could be as much as hundreds of times more? How the perilous state of Ohio’s infrastructure is one more thing this investment-averse legislature is just ignoring?
Taxin’ John Kasich is out on the campaign trail, trying to spin his rudeness and arrogance as being “direct.” He hasn’t learned that being “direct” means being open and honest about your policies and what you are doing, and has nothing to do with insulting people or being condescending. He’s confusing the two.
It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Kasich, believing he’s on a special mission from God to impose his alleged religious beliefs on others and save “babies” until they can be born and suffer from his endless cuts to education and other services, would not veto the absurd and irrelevant regulations written, inappropriately, into the budget bill.
These had nothing to do with health or safety. They were simply hoops to jump through, intended to close clinics and make choice and freedom a joke for the women suffering the most from Kasich’s miserable, backpedaling economy.
What was also a foregone conclusion, alas, was that he would not stand up and be open and honest about what he intended to do and why, even knowing how strongly his opposition felt and how many women would be badly hurt by his actions. For a man who allegedly has such strong religious beliefs, he’s a coward. A bold man of true belief would have stated publicly, “I know you disagree with me, but I feel I have t go through with this because of my beliefs.”
But Kasich is not such a man and he made a mockery of his claims that he is so “direct.” He’s indirection incarnate. I’m actually looking forward to his presidential campaign because I think it will expose him for the dishonest charlatan that he is.
If you’ve been thinking that Ohio has been refreshingly free of bluster and hot air lately, it’s not your imagination. Our governor, Taxin’ John Kasich, has been out of state trying to win over Republican power players and donors to his presidential aspirations. He’s expected to announce at THE Ohio State University on July 21.
Most recently, like yesterday, Taxin’ Johnny has been in Washington D.C., meeting donors, lobbyists and congresspeople, trying to persuade them that he’s the candidate to back. While most of the people he served with during his time in the in Congress from 1983-2001 are gone now, he’s got the support of three of Ohio’s least illustrious current officeholders: slimy banking lobbyist Steve Stivers, Mr. Delaware County Pat Tiberi and Mike “Who?” Turner.
Kasich, of course, is trying to dupe people with his continued insistence that he brought the Ohio economy from the brink of disaster to boom times. Never mind that Ohio has lagged the country’s recovery for something like three years, that he hasn’t replaced all the jobs lost in the Bush recession, and that, while many of the lost jobs were middle-income, virtually all the replacement jobs are low-wage. And the income of the average Ohioan as declined. (The average income at Kasich’s brainchild, the privatized job creation engine JobsOhio, on the other hand, has shot up dramatically. And lack of transparency means the luxurious compensation there may be even higher).
Kasich also continues to push the idea that he is a “fiscal conservative” who is in favor of cutting spending. What I wouldn’t give for one bold reporter to ask him publicly why, if that’s the case, his current budget is nearly 40 percent higher than the one Ted Strickland left him with. Kasich is a spending addict in deep denial.
The legislature crammed more irrelevant anti-choice stuff into the budget bill yet again, rules for clinics that have nothing to do with health or safety but are solely intended to make it prohibitive for them to stay in business, and put abortion as a choice out of reach of women who are not affluent (and please keep in mind this is a class issue. The women for whom there would be no choice at all are primarily poor and working women).
The governor has to sign the budget by the end of the day. He can line-item veto anything, and has done so in the past, although not with anti-choice clauses. But he CAN and he should, especially if he thinks he's running for president (word is he announces on July 21).
He doesn't even have to say it's about abortion, which he opposes. He can say that such items don't belong in the budget bill — and it's true. It's just a backdoor way of stripping some of their rights. If our legislature and governor believe so strongly in this, let them put up a stand-alone bill and publicly debate it, allowing for testimony, and making their position as conspicuous as possible. Otherwise, they're nothing but misogynistic cowards.
The number to call is 614-466-3555.
Also protest at the statehouse this evening at 6:30pm if you are in Columbus::
Go here for more information: http://prochoiceohio.org
Those of you who are still on a high from the Supreme Court's Friday decision on marriage equality should read this column, written by the named plaintiff in the case, Cincinnati's Jim Obergefell. He propelled the case when he asked to be recognized on his dying partner's death certificate as the surviving spouse and our good "Christian" attorney general Mike DeWine said "uh uh."
This is a very eloquent tribute to Jm's late partner John and how their fight propelled Jim into a role he never expected to have. DeWine should read this and feel shame, although that's doubtful.
Here's just a little piece of it:
What I didn’t expect on my way to that courtroom was to discover how much our story and our fight resonated with people across the country. People stop me to say thanks, to tell me their story, to talk about a loved one, to offer condolences, or to simply hug me. One young man told me our story gave him the courage to come out. An evangelical Republican shook my hand and thanked me. A mother told me, on the day her daughter came out to her, that hearing me speak made them both cry and gave them hope. Two friends told me that my fight for the commitments I made to my husband changed their opinions on marriage equality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth thank me for helping create a world in which they feel safer, more hopeful, and more valued.
Read the rest here:
With two huge and impactful decisions coming out of the Supreme Court late last week, it was easy to miss one that slipped in right after that could have even more far-reaching effects.
The Supreme Court decided 5-4 (of course!) that citizen redistricting panels were indeed constitutional.
This was being disputed by Republicans from Arizona where a nonpartisan redistricting panel has kept the blood-red state from being even more lopsided in favor of the GOP, giving everyone a voice. They insisted the Constitution meant that only legislators — politicians — had the power to set the districts.
Now, some observers said that if the court found the other way, it would have also nullified the nonpartisan redistricting process in California, opening the door for Democrats to do some major damage to the GOP in that enormous and enormously Democratic state. That may be true, but it’s not a good way to look at it.
Drawing fair district lines is one of the cornerstones of fair elections, along with removing the money flood and making voting for difficult, especially for certain groups of people. With lopsided districts, voters essentially have no voice; the result is preordained. Incumbents are rarely threatened.
When that happens, forward movement on issues like health care and marriage equality, among other things, is infinitely more difficult. John Boehner, for instance, has vowed to continue the time- and money-wasting charade of voting MORE times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Open, fair, competitive elections are the gateway to everything else. That’s why it’s my main issue.
How else would one interpret this tweet?...
Not in 2016, but shortly after @ccmck38
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) June 28, 2015
So many, many people made today's historical decision happen. Certainly Cincinnati's Jim Obergefell, whose name will be associated with it for hundreds of years in the future, was a key player. And nothing this big happens without advocates of every stripe.
A lot of people are jumping up to take credit, but I would like to take a moment to credit a couple of Ohioans whose vision got the ball rolling in Ohio and whose work was made joyously moot by today's decision: Ian James and James Winnett who started Freedom Ohio and first got in touch with me some three and a half years ago.
They began the work on collecting signatures to get marriage equality — and the repeal of the "Defense of Marriage" amendment on the ballot. They encountered roadblocks like Mike DeWine — Ohio's Roadblock General — and skeptics who said Ohio wasn't ready, that we needed a housing/jobs nondiscrimination bill first, that polling wasn't good enough. Later they encountered the efforts of Johnny-come-latelys who .... well, whatever. It's water down the drain. But Freedom Ohio was there first, when there wasn't any money or credit or glory, when it was just determined volunteers like the amazing Gwen Andrix of Bowling Green, who was out at any event she could find in any weather ready to get that one last signature.
I am sure that none of them minds that the work they did has been rendered irrelevant but the Supreme Court — and yet it really wasn't. They knew from the beginning that there were a lot of hearts and minds that needed to be changed and so they set to work doing that. And while the threats of some Republicans to push a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality to overturn the Supreme Court decision are really so much hot air — history is a fast-moving stream in the other direction — it never hurts to have an extra layer of protection.
Good work, guys. And to all our Cleveland LGBT friends and their allies: happy Pride this weekend! What timing!
Wow - in a 5-4 decision that came down this morning the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Being the pessimist that I am, I didn't think this was possible. I actually had to check multiple news sites and then I emailed a couple of people to make sure what I was reading was correct and not some joke.
I am so happy for so many people I've met through Democratic and Republican politics. (there are gay Republicans). I know this decision means so much to them - words cannot describe. I personally am looking forward to attending several gay weddings in the near future.
I know for some this decision does not bring the elation that some of us are feeling, but I'd ask them to look a little deeper and just see the happiness - share our joy. Love is love and this decision today is what so many have been waiting for to enjoy a lifetime of happiness. Let's celebrate.
We always like hearing from candidates for the state legislature. God knows they don't get enough coverage in the mainstream media, adding another layer of unresponsiveness to that gerrymandered body.
We received the following op-ed from Adam Harrison, who is running in Ohio Senate district 8. It's in northern Hamilton county and it's the seat currently held by Bill Seitz (who is term limited) so you can imagine! But you should get to know Adam in his own words.
MY SOLUTION FOR OHIO
By Adam Harrison
How would I change the culture of Ohio politics? What do I think should be done by our leadership? Simply put, Ohio needs better.
Ohio was built by blue-collar union manufacturing. My grandfather worked for both Frigidaire and GM, ultimately retiring from GM. He bought a house in a great, safe town. He always had a nice car. My grandmother was able to stay home with the kids. Jobs like his made up the bulk of the middle class workforce.
Gone are those days. High-paying and readily available GM jobs have been replaced by low-wage Target and Walmart; Frigidaire by McDonalds. We need better jobs; jobs that pay a wage adequate for the rising cost of goods. The minimum wage is a great example. Most new jobs created since the recession only pay minimum wage. If it was increased to stay on par with inflation it would be over $10 an hour. Companies are increasing outsourcing, hiring freelance/contract, and shrinking their workforce as new technology makes some workers obsolete. Ohio politicians need to be protecting the American worker and his/her job, not playing bedfellow with Fortune 500 America.
In a decision that has many people I know heaving a giant sigh of relief the Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 that subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare are legal and what was intended in the legislation that created the ACA. If things had gone the way of the three dissenters — Scalia, Thomas and Alito — millions of people would have been unable to afford their insurance, costs would have skyrocketed and the ACA would have died by attrition, the long-time goal of the heartless Republicans in Congress who would willingly destroy the lives of millions of Americans just to prevent President Obama from accomplishing anything.
The decision is also a defeat for Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine who pandered to far-right extremists during his 2010 election campaign by saying his first act on his first day in office would be to file lawsuit to overturn Obamacare. He kept that promise, thinking more of his personal ideology than the good of Ohio’s citizens.
The problem is that he didn’t pay for this out of his own pocket. He paid for it out of ours. As with his fights against the right of LGBT people to marry, the right of women to access affordable contraception and the right of citizens to vote without undue obstacles, he has used our own money to attack us.
Regular readers of this blog know that I have called for DeWine’s resignation. As Ohio attorney general he has been a disaster. I don’t know if it’s possible for him to change course. I’m dubious. But he should take a serious look at using the tax dollars allocated to his office to do something useful for Ohioans rather than chasing quixotic anti-rights lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court.
Leader of Racist Group That Inspired Charleston Shooter Funded GOP Candidates — Including Two OhioansSubmitted by Anastasia Pantsios on Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:02pm.
After the tragic shootings in Charleston, South Carolina last week, it came out that the young punk who killed nine churchgoers in a Bible study group wrote that his “eyes were opened” to the validity of virulent racism by online postings at the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
The background and agenda of this group has never been secret. I recall when I first heard of it. It was during the Clinton impeachment hearings of the late ’90s when a Georgia congressman named Bob Barr had a prominent role in that misbegotten episode. Barr had close ties to the group but later on claimed he had no idea — none whatsoever! — that the group grew out of the White Citizens Council and existed to promote racist attitudes.
“A spokesman for Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.) acknowledged yesterday that Barr was a keynote speaker earlier this year at a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization promoting views that interracial marriage amounts to white genocide and that Abraham Lincoln was elected by socialists and communists,” write the Washington Post in December 1998.
But his spokesman also responded to criticism by saying he wasn’t going to take time out from his laser focus on the bogus attack on Clinton to “respond to groundless attacks.”
(An aside: it turned out that Barr, like Newt Gingrich, was cheating on his second wife with his soon-to-be third wife at the time he was going after Clinton).
The Washington Post cites a post on the Council of Conservative Citizens’ website site at the time that said,
So — they’re doing it again. With as much haste and secrecy as they can muster, our legislature is back to attacking women’s reproductive freedom.
The anti-woman crew in the Ohio legislature can muster up some crocodile tears and some pretty but deceptive words about “protecting life” and “saving the unborn” but don’t believe a word of it. THEY don’t believe it, as their attacks on contraception and their maternity care and their refusal to provide support for women and child has made clear. It’s nothing but contempt for women, especially lower income women, who stand to be impacted most by their pointless, unwarranted and in some cases flat-out cruel restrictions on abortion.
Many of their assaults have centered on placing picayune requirements on abortion clinics that bear no relationship to the quality and safety of the services they provide But this time, they’re going for the cruel and nasty.
In an email this morning from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s Kellie Copeland, we learned that the state senate scheduled a surprise full floor vote today, Wednesday June 24 at 1:30 — just about now.
“The Ohio Senate is pushing retaliation legislation, following the removal of abortion restrictions from the budget and a court decision in Toledo that kept the Capital Care Network abortion clinic in operation. The bill sacrifices the health and reproductive rights of women at their most vulnerable moment: most women targeted by this bill are suffering from medical complications to a wanted pregnancy. They are facing losing a pregnancy due to severe birth defects, and Statehouse politicians are forcing their way into the operating room to handcuff the doctor. This vote is scheduled to go down in two hours. Call now.
Here’s where to find your senator’s phone number to give them hell:
Anyone still remember when Jeb! Bush was referred to as “the smart Bush,” a reference to his brother’s slightly goofy, bumbling aura. In contrast, and in contrast to the rest of the frothy-mouthed wingnut GOP presidential field this year, Jeb!, (or Jeb!ya — the exclamation mark comes courtesy of his own campaign), was supposed to be the sane, level-headed, competent candidate in the field, the one who had the aura of a confident, clear-thinking leader.
Many people, me included, are now wondering if Dubya was really “the smart one,” and his younger brother is the bumbling doofus. So far in his campaign, he appears to be.
Start with his bungled campaign rollout. With eight or nine candidates already off and running, Jeb! was playing it coy and not exactly running, but in fact really running, as he slipped and told one audience last month. In fact, his campaign was being coordinated by a superPAC which can raise money in larger quantities than an actual declared candidate, but cannot actually run a campaign. Let’s just say Jeb! was getting dangerously close to breaking campaign finance law, and he finally had to give up the fiction that he was not officially running and announce his candidacy.
Then of course, he was famously asked about his brother’s biggest liability — the Iraq war, which now finds little favor in any political circle. He was asked, “Knowing what we know now, would you have gone to war in Iraq?” Well, knowing what we know now, it’s hard to imagine anyone would except maybe Dick Cheney.
Sure, said Jeb!. Then, I didn’t heard the question properly, said Jeb!. Then, maybe I…I …I dunno, said Jeb!.
Conservative Catholics, including some very vocal conservative Catholic Republican politicians, like to present themselves as exemplars of consistent morality and unchanging, absolute values.
Back in 2004, when then-Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict) was encouraging U.S. bishops to try to sway the presidential election by making public statements about how they would deny communion to pro-choice candidates (virtually all Democrats), these conservatives made it clear you could not pick and choose which dictates from the Vatican you adhered to. You were a heretic if you rejected any of the churches dictates, never mind that virtually every Catholic today is a pick-and-choose “Cafeteria Catholic.”
As these conservatives have now exposed themselves to be.
Pope Francis has proved to be a huge disappointment to them. He simply doesn’t blindly endorse the entire Republican Party platform. Bummer.
And he has, to their chagrin, been a leading voice in the call to address climate change and the despoiling of the environment. Worse, in doing so, he has attacked greed, overconsumption and what he has called a “throwaway” culture.
To a party whose mantra is so-called “free market” capitalism and whose slogan could be “greed is good,” this is inconvenient indeed.
The unpleasantly judgmental martinet Rich Santorum, in his second run for the presidency, was the first to basically tell the Pope to shut up and mind his own business.
"The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science,” he said. “We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.”
Yes, Ricky, leave the science to the scientists, virtually all of whom say the Republican stance on climate change is wrong. But that's a REALLY inconvenient truth for your friends the Koch Brothers, who built their fortune on fossil fuels.
What? You thought they were going to stop pushing their pathological contempt for women in sneak attacks they hope the public won’t notice? Nope.
Just as they inserted a whole bunch of anti-choice garbage into the last budget bill while our dishonest, cowardly governor signed into law late on a Sunday evening and refused to talk about it, they’re doing it again.
They continue their attacks on abortion by hamstringing clinics with so many onerous, expensive and totally unnecessary regulations that they’re forced to close. And then, for lower income women, safer, legal abortion is for all practical purposes outlawed.
In the last budget they required clinics to have a transfer agreement with a non-public hospital. In areas where the only options are a public hospital or, increasingly a Catholic hospital as that system expands its reach. That severely limited the choices. Now they have added language that the hospital would have to be within 30 miles of the clinic, yet another petty rule that has no basis in need or safety. This would close the only remaining clinic in Toledo which was forced to go out of state for a transfer agreement, with the University of Michigan health system in Ann Arbor, itself a sad commentary on the backwardness of Ohio and the malignance of its legislature and governor.
If anyone still thinks the New York Times is the “liberal media,” they should read the credulous hooey served up in the paper today by a reporter who followed Taxin’ John Kasich on the campaign trail to Michigan.
Kasich, of course, is running for president — God help us — even though he’s being all coy about it right now. And the media is trying to pretend he’s a candidate who can go all the way, willingly swallowing the spin Kasich partisans are putting him and adding a little of their own.
First of all, there’s this idea that Kasich is a “rebel” with “unorthodox views.” No, he’s a doctrinaire extreme conservative who said during his first campaign for governor that he wanted to use Ohio as a test lab for conservative ideology. And while he hasn’t gone as far as Kansas’ Sam Brownback or Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, he’s done a lot of damage. And what exactly is so rebellious about serving the interests of the wealthy over those of ordinary citizens? Republicans do it all the time. Sure, they hold out a handful of positions Kasich has taken that aren’t popular with the radical Tea Party base, like expanding Medicaid or not being QUITE as extreme on immigration. So he’s a “rebel” for occasionally showing common sense?
What is saddest is that the reporter dutifully records the credentials Kasich claims for himself without ever asking or indicating if they are true or not — more “he said” journalism where the reporter can copy down the most egregious lies and let them stand because, well, somebody said them.
The Republican Party has an interesting dilemma. Large swaths of voters — younger voters, black voters, Hispanic voters, single women voters — won’t give them the time of day. And yet, on the surface, the GOP does a better job of recruiting candidates from such diverse demographics than the Democrats are currently doing.
The operative phrase is “on the surface.” Looking at the GOP presidential field, we see a token woman and African-American. But as usual, these candidates are fringey and underqualified, seemingly recruited mainly to put a diverse face on the field when lined up on a debate stage. There are two declared Hispanic candidates but both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are of Cuban descent, a group that represents only 3.5 percent of all the Hispanics in the U.S.
On the youthful end, they smoke the Democrats, especially with the elderly Bernie Sanders in the field. He’ll be 75 when November 2016 rolls around. Hillary is 67 and will be 69 then. And in Ohio, the national Democratic establishment has already anointed 73-year-old Ted Strickland as its endorsed U.S. Senate candidate, in a seeming attempt to push 30-year-old P.G. Sittenfeld out of the race.
But of the six already declared GOP presidential candidates, Rubio and Cruz, are in their 40s; Rand Paul is just past 50. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, widely considered by Very Serious People to be a frontrunner, is also still in his 40s.
So why do younger voters flee from the GOP? Um … maybe it’s their positions on issues and their attitudes, which diverge from those of most younger voters.
For instance, take 26-year-old Joseph Gergley, who topped a five-candidate primary field in what was technically a nonpartisan race for governor of Gahanna, a town of 33,000 just outside Columbus. He’ll be in a runoff with city council president Tom Kneeland in November, who will hopefully smoke his ass but you can never be sure. Gahanna is very high income and very white.
Marriage equality is winning. That’s the long and short of it. Whether or not the Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell vs Hodges, due this month, ends up legalizing it across the country, it is coming and no, Ted Cruz is not going to be successful in getting that constitutional amendment banning it that he wants so badly for some reason. (Pandering? Ted? Nah!)
This, of course, has totally unglued the usual self-appointed guardians of what they like to think of as “Christian” values. And you know when that list is made, second-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be somewhere near the top. When it comes to being an unpleasantly narrow-minded judge of other people’s morality, he can always be counted on.
On a conference call last week, Santorum told undoubtedly enthralled admirers, “If the Court rules on that, that is in fact that law of the land, but just like on a lot of other things that I don’t agree with the Court on what they do, that doesn’t mean we won’t fight and try to push back both as the Congress should and as the president should as a co-equal branch of the government. We would certainly make sure that we are protecting children and that we are creating an optimal atmosphere for every child, as I said, that have their birthright, which is to be raised by their mother and father.”
Listen here if you can stomach it:
Meanwhile, crazy chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore — he of the Constitution-violating Ten Commandments display — said of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, “They’re toying with something that’s like dynamite and will destroy our country. What the Supreme Court is about to do, if they do it, is not redefine marriage but destroy the institution of marriage.”
We’ve heard a lot of gushing media hype about Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential bid — how he’s youthful, fresh, has a compelling rag-to-riches back story and is sure to appeal to Hispanic voters (never mind that he’s Cuban and most Hispanic voters are Mexican-American — which is not the same thing, believe it or not).
Of course, those who have seen and heard him known he’s a trainwreck like all the other GOP candidates — awkward, confusing and prone to switching positions, sometimes in the same sentence, to try to appeal to all factions of the weird coalition that is today’s GOP while not saying anything too damaging for a general election.
Last month, he had an anchor thrown to his campaign. He was endorsed by none other than Ohio’s not-so-beloved state treasurer Josh “The Empty Suit” Mandel. There could not be a clearer message that Rubio must be a pretty terrible presidential candidate. In fact, these two callow, clumsy officeholders sort of seem like two peas in a pod.
But this endorsement could be causing some, um, trouble for Mandel. As the media gets all excited about the possibility of Taxin’ John Kasich announcing his own presidential bid — hey, they haven’t lived with him for six and a half year and watched him wreck Ohio — Mandel’s Rubio endorsement is apparently striking some Ohio Republican leaders as straying off the reservation.
ORP chair Matt Borges didn’t just condemn the endorsement, the Plain Dealer reported. He also put down Mandel.
"The smart political move would be to wait and see if [Kasich] decides to get in," said Borges said. "I don't think that not having the support of a bit player is going to impact that decision one way or the other."
“Bit player,” eh? The guy they thought could take out Sherrod Brown in 2012? LOL.
The Washington Post this weekend added some unwelcome attention to that already received by Ohio’s failed, wasteful charter school system.
The widely read education column by Valerie Strauss was headlined “Troubled Ohio Charter Schools Have Become a Joke — Literally.”
Alas, this isn’t an especially funny joke, given how it is costing tens of thousands of kids their educations and their futures and costing Ohio taxpayers ultimately billions of dollars flushed down the toilet, or into the pockets of vulture operators of these schools like David Brennan (White Hat schools) and William Lager (ECOT schools). Pretty much the same thing if you ask me.
Strauss recounts this passage from a Plain Dealer story in March:
“Ohio, the charter school world is making fun of you.
Ohio’s $1 billion charter school system was the butt of jokes at a conference for reporters on school choice in Denver late last week, as well as the target of sharp criticism of charter school failures across the state.”
That these schools are still being promoted in Ohio as the answer to ANY educational issue is a flat-out sin, particularly since it seems like virtually every week we’re reading another story about the mismanagement of yet another Ohio charter school and the disappearance of funds which nobody seems to know anything abut about. Those are OUR funds — and they were taken away from children in traditional public schools, which are overwhelmingly doing a better job of educating their students.
There are ten announced Republican candidates for president. Six more announcements are expected within the next few weeks.
And yet, they’re hurting for an actual qualified candidate, and one whose record and pronouncements don’t terrify sane voters. And the media is hurting for someone — anyone! — they can depict as appealing to voters and with the potential to be competitive with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
One of the people they’ve been circling is Taxin’ John Kasich. And he can seem like an attractive candidate — until you know something about him. And since his national name recognition is in the single digits, for him to have a shot, voters need to find out something about him — unfortunately for him.
And some reporters and pundits are starting to notice that he’s not all that pleasant a guy. NBC’s Perry Bacon Jr is the latest.
“He could be a top contender for the GOP nomination,” writes Bacon. “But first, he might want to get people to stop calling him a jerk.”
That’s tough if you ARE a jerk.
“Republicans both privately and publicly say that Kasich's style is grating, and they are skeptical of whether it can be effective in a long presidential campaign,” says Bacon. “In private settings and sometimes even in public ones, Kasich is known to be brusque, confrontational and dismissive of others' views, even fellow conservatives.”
Well, yes. Virtually any Ohioan who has had to deal with our arrogant, self-absorbed, self-righteous governor has mentioned that.
Bacon quotes conservative journalist Fred Barnes as saying Kasich could be the party’s nominee if he stops being a jerk. That’s like saying “if he stops being a male” or “if he stops being five-foot-ten” (or however tall he is). It’s baked in. It’s who he is.
Something I always find fascinating is the concept of donor and “taker” states when it comes to who gets more (or less) back of the tax dollars they send to the federal government. Figures have been kicking around for years showing that Republican states are the ones most likely to be sponging off federal the government
Now we have some additional figures that confirm it: the conservative states that squawk the most about government dependency, cutting federal spending and shrinking the role of government (and often about seceding from the U.S.) are MAJOR “takers” — in words they’d recognize, lazy welfare leeches.
The site WalletHub ranked states by how much they depended on federal money to shore up their state budgets and it was Republican-leaning states who collected the most welfare. The site calculated how much each state got back per dollar it pays in federal income taxes, the percent of state spending that comes from the federal government and the number of federal employees per capita.
The MOST dependent state is actually a swing state: New Mexico. It gets $2.19 back for every dollar it pays in federal income taxes. Mississippi is #2, Kentucky is #3, Alabama is #4 Montana is #5, West Virginia is #6, Arizona is #7, Louisiana is #8, South Dakota is #9 and Maine is #41.
Except for Maine, those would all be considered safely Republican states.
The least dependent on federal dollars? New Jersey is #1, Delaware is #2, Illinois is #3, Minnesota is #4, Kansas is #5, California is #6, Connecticut is #7, Massachusetts is #8, Nebraska is #9, and Ohio is #10, Except for the Republican states of Kansas and Nebraska and the swing state of Ohio, it’s a parade of Democratic strongholds.
Anyone who knows me knows I have been less than enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. But I sure did a double take when she launched her campaign with a full-on attack on Citizens United and the way money has polluted elections. And she has kept up the attack. The corruption of elections in my #1 issue because, in my opinion, it’s the gateway to everything else.
“We need a Supreme Court who cares more about the right to vote of a person than the right to buy an election of a corporation," she has said, and most Americans of every ideological stripe agrees with her.
Now she’s followed that up with still more good stuff. She went right to the heart of the beast — aka Texas — last Thursday, where she spoke at the historically black Texas Sothern University about the right to vote — a right Republicans have made it all too clear they don’t want “those people” to have.
She came out in favor a couple of ideas that give Republicans the vapors but where they’ve been tried, they’ve helped increase voter turnout: automatic registration of all 18-year-olds unless they specifically opt out and a guaranteed minimum of 20 days of early voting including evening and weekend hours. Ohioans will remember how hard our attorney general Mike DeWine fought against the latter!
Of course, increased turnout is the LAST thing Republicans want. As most of us well know, one of the big advantages Republicans have in off-year elections is that Democrats, while more numerous, don’t show up at the polls. That has given the country a cadre of the most awful, rich-favoring, anti-average person governors we’ve seen in ages, with Taxin’ John Kasich at the head of the list (a crowded head, I might add).
That’s why Republicans have to convince Americans that these ideas to make voting easier are very VERY radical.
The Columbus Dispatch has been sold by the Wolfe family after a century of single-family ownership that was famously right-wing and Republican. It was purchased by a large national company, the New Media Investment Group, that owns more than 100 dailies cost-to-coast.
Anyone who has followed their adulatory and reality-challenged coverage of Taxin' John Kasich knows why many of us have dubbed the paper the "Disgrace." You'd have to look long and hard to find it putting Kasich's feet to the fire about his lavish promises and claims that don't line up with reality. Giant front-page headlines about swollen state budgets? Only if a Democrat did it.
How low could this paper sink? It endorsed josh Mandel for treasurer — twice.
(To its credit, it could not bring itself to endorse Mandel for the U.S. Senate in 2012).
What is this likely to mean? Chances are, with such a large portfolio, the company will favor less biased political coverage, since they don't have a long historical loyalty to the Ohio Republican Party like the Wolfe family did, and probably less — and less informed and — local political coverage in general.
I wouldn't be surprised if the new owners go for lighter, more "digestible" coverage of cultural, celebrity and sports-related "news" — lots of so-called clickbait with a focus on a splashy web presence. It's the way media is going. And it's too bad, but it is what it is.
Still, this sale is definitely a loss for Ohio Republicans. They have lost their most faithful lapdog in the state.