Tim Ryan Officially NOT Running for Senate

It seems like Youngstown Congressman Tim "The Good" Ryan's name getting mentioned any time there's a race for Senate or governor being discussed. Some people were bandying his name around again to face Rob Portman, who comes up for reelection in 2016.

Ryan has put the kibosh on that, sending out an email that says,

I appreciate your continued support and I wanted to reach out to let you know that today, after much thought and deliberation, I am announcing my decision not to run for the United States Senate in 2016. With my new and growing family, I feel now is the time to be close to home. It is an honor and privilege to serve the people of Ohio in the House of Representative and I look forward to continuing to use my position on the Appropriations Committee and the Budget Committee to increase investments in manufacturing, promote wellness in our health and food policies, and protect American jobs by fighting against unfair trade practices. Thank you again for your support while I made this important decision.

So far, the "clearly interested" list includes two names: former governor Ted Strickland, who has only expressed interest, and Cincinnati city councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who has said he is running. I know nothing about Sittenfeld. Hopefully he gets his butt up to Cleveland soon. But as good a governor as I think Strickland was (and he certainly wasn't addicting to throwing around our tax dollars recklessly like Taxin' John Kasich), I just don't think we should go backward.

As for Portman, I have heard people say he will be difficult to beat because he's pleasant and doesn't say crazy stuff so he has been spun as a "moderate." Maybe by the standards of today's batshit crazy GOP but in terms of supporting what most people want to see happen and what would benefit the average person, he's far right.

Ohio Republicans' Deep Antipathy Toward Women's Freedom Is Massively Increasing

No, this isn't about "unborn children" or "killing babies." I know it, you know it and all the right-wing anti-lifers know it. It all about punishing the sluts i.e. any woman they perceive as not being obedient to their extremely rigid view of how women should behave.

Almost two years ago, the legislature and our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, stuffed some anti-choice stuff into the budget bill — a probably illegal and definitely inappropriate move — that instantly plummeted Ohio to the basement as far as women's reproductive rights go.

But they're not happy, no. Ohio's neanderthal misogynists are proposing still more mean-spirited intrusive, super-big government measures to limit women's life choices and assure that more Ohio women and children fall into poverty.

What do they want to see happen?

First they want to ban ALL abortions at 20 weeks — the ones overwhelming sought due to tragic medical complications by women who really really wanted a baby. This would cause a massive amount of suffering and probable deaths. In addition, due to the obstacles already put in the way of abortion for poor and working women, more and more women are pushed into later abortions.

Then they want to make sure that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Ohio can be first out of the box to return to the "good old days" of coathangers and back-alley abortions by banning all abortions. They want to put in place a law that will automatically ban ALL abortions if Roe is overturned. Watch young people flee the state in even greater numbers.

Why Cops Can't Get Respect

Guest Column by Michael Uth
Member, ACLU of Ohio Board of Directors

Memo to the police nationwide: You say you want respect, but you don't seem to have even a hint of a clue on how to earn it. Here are some suggestions:

Show Respect and It Will Be Reciprocated. This starts with the mayor of your city. Don't ever turn your back on him in anger when you're in uniform. It's insolent and uncomfortably close to mutiny. When you disrespect our elected representative, you also disrespect us. We elected him, not you. Arrogant, contemptuous behavior toward our chosen leader will not make us respect you.

Embrace Accountability. You spend your days helping to hold other people accountable, but remember, accountability, like respect, is a two-way street. You know when you have bad behavior by officers on your force. Stop protecting them. Admit when they make mistakes. Report all police shootings to the FBI. Start keeping accurate records of all those SWAT team raids—especially the botched ones. Stop opposing meaningful oversight by independent civilian review boards. We can't respect you if you continue to scorn accountability.

Honor the Bill of Rights. Among other things, this means laying off the peaceful protesters, dialing down the stop-and-frisks and putting the brakes on no-knock search raids. Smashing through people's front doors in the middle of the night without warning to execute routine search warrants for non-violent crimes does not make us respect you, especially when you get the wrong address, which happens more often than most people know. (See accountability above.) Our founding fathers started a revolution over less egregious law enforcement abuses than this; King George's men at least had the decency to knock and announce themselves before entering colonists' homes to search for contraband. And they didn't use flash-bang grenades.

Oh.My.God. $72.3 BILLION???????

I was sitting in a meeting tonight scrolling through my Facebook feed when a post popped up from someone I knew with a fact so incredible, so stunning and so outrageous, I assumed it must be either a joke or a mistake.

Taxin' John Kasich just submitted his proposed 2016-2017 budget for Ohio, which has to be passed by June 30. As people who know me or follow this blog may know (but people who get their news from the Cleveland Plain Dealer or the Columbus Dispatch would have no way of guessing), Kasich's endless self-congratulation about his budgetary genius is simply a lie.

His boasts about have done amazing feat of balancing the state budget is, of course, ridiculous. It's required by law and every governor has done it.

But in his last two budgets, this self-proclaimed thrifty money manager increased state spending radically, making his claims laughable. Ted Strickland left him with a budget for 2010-2011 of $50.5 billion, cut from an earlier $56 billion due to the Bush recession which hit Ohio so hard. Kasich's first budget called for restoring spending to $56 billion. But his 2014-2015 asked for a huge increase — to $62 billion.

Think that was extreme? You ain't seen nothing yet. Kasich is now proposing a monstrous, bloated elephant (how appropriate!) of a budget, racking in at $72.3 billion. Ohio has never seen spending on this reckless, bankruptcy-courting level. We should take up a collection to send Kasich to rehab for his spending addiction.

How's he going to pay for it, you ask? Ha! What do you think Taxin' John is going to do? While he's making a big public deal of his proposed 23 % income tax cut and some additional proposed deductions, you're not going to see much in your bank account, unless you are among Ohio's 1 percent.

Strickland Thinking of Challenging Portman?

That's the buzz going around today. While some people are jumping up and down in excitement because it's a Name They Know, all I can say is "Please — no."

Look: I am not among those (primarily more left-leaning Democrats) who think he was way too conservative a governor. He had a very Republican Senate for his entire term and a Republican run House for half of it. And yet he got a lot done, much of it by consensus. Compared to our current governor, he was a governing genius. Any idea how his last budget compared to Kasich's current one? Since the big self-important mainstream media won't tell you I will. Strickland's last budget was $50.5 billion. Tax-and-spend Kasich's is $62 billion.

But Strickland's time has come and gone. He didn't lose (by a mere 2 %) in 2010 because it was a Republican wave year or even because the economy was still staggering from the Bush recession, although he needed to be more aggressive and frame it better. He lost because he ran a defensive campaign and made some moves that alienated some of the Democratic base. Not all of those people have forgotten. After the election, the ODP campaign strategists admitted that they were short volunteers to get the job done and that was why: Strickland alienated them.

I don't want to rehash bygones in detail but a lot of it boiled down to his support for former state representative Jennifer Garrison for a slot on the statewide ticket, despite the fact that she was anti-choice and anti-gay (read more here if you must: http://www.ohiodailyblog.com/content/jennifer-garrison-unacceptable) and his (or his staff's) crossing some ethical lines in support of Lee Fisher's primary candidacy for the U.S. Senate against Portman — a seat either he or his primary opponent Jennifer Brunner should have won.

Jill Miller Zimon and Beth Sebian launch OpenNEO - ...

Well known blogger and activist Jill Miller Zimon along with Beth Sebian an activist in progressive issues and politics have launched a new initiative. The initiative is OpenNEO. OpenNEO is an effort to bring the open data movement to northeast Ohio. What is open data? This video will explain...

This is a great and important initiative Ms. Zimon and Ms. Sebian are bringing to northeast Ohio. I've become aware that there is too much information hidden behind paywalls or is unaggregated making it too difficult to find in its fractured state. Some research databases have annual fees of up to $30,000 to access timely quality information and studies. I believe that as individuals we are all suffering from some kind of digital divide. Even high net worth people would have a difficult time keeping up with access fees if they had to do it all on their own. I think all professional people rely on the institutions they work for to pay for access and membership fees.

But if the internet is to really fulfill its promise of being a great equalizer where anyone can logon and educate themselves in a variety of subjects, then this issue has to be addressed. Perhaps the Opendata movement is an initial step in doing that.

The OpenNEO web site can be found here: www.openneo.org

You can follow them on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/openneo

P.G. Sittenfeld Throws His Hat in the Ring to Challenge Portman

We have our first official candidate stepping up to offer himself as the Democratic Senate candidate for 2016 to challenge Rob Portman.

This is an important race and no Democrat should be throwing up their hands at this point and announcing that nice-guy Portman is not beatable.

Oh yes he is.

Portman is another of those guys who fronts as a moderate. At another time in history, he might actually BE a moderate. He doesn't go around saying blatantly crazy things like Joni "Welfare Queen" Ernst or proposing nasty, heartless, soulless ideas like Ted "The One-Man Death Panel" Cruz. He's pleasant and smiles a lot.

The problem is he VOTES just like Ernst and Cruz for the same sort of extremist legislation designed to benefit only the ultra-wealthy and keep down everyone else.

With a good, focused campaign, he's beatable, especially in a presidential year when more Democrats turn out.

We've heard rumors of other names who might step up, including perennially rumored-for-something, Congressman Tim "The Good" Ryan, and former Governor Ted Strickland, whose time frankly has passed and who alienated many core Democrats during his 2010 for reasons we have documented in detail (see: Jennifers, Garrison and Brunner)

We don't know anything about Sittenfeld yet, so we can't parse his press release. We're looking forward to learning more.

P.G. Sittenfeld Announces Campaign for United States Senate

Calls for new leadership that works for the middle class

CINCINNATI – P.G. Sittenfeld, Cincinnati City Councilman and Assistant Director of the Community Learning Center Institute, today launched his campaign to represent Ohio in the United States Senate. The Cincinnati native – who won his last election by the highest percentage and widest margin of victory in the city’s modern history – has been nationally recognized for his work to transform neighborhood schools into after-hours community centers.

Connie Schultz - Language Matters - ...

Not long after The Ohio State University won a national championship, Connie Schultz, wrote a pretty thought provoking article. Her article focused on the language journalists used to describe the actions and people who took to the streets after the win. She contrasted it with other recent situations where people took to the streets and simply asked why there was a disparity in describing OSU crowds and other crowds. Her article was aimed at journalists, but her question is an important one for all of us. As consumers we should be questioning our media, their motives, their fairness and objectivity, because the better job they do, the better our society will be. Anyway, Connie Schultz's article starts...

"Various members of my family have roots at Ohio State University, from college degrees to employment, so my husband and I were plenty happy to watch the Buckeyes defeat the Oregon Ducks for the national championship.



Yes, we're those people.

I state this upfront because I don't want anyone misunderstanding my motives here. This column is driven by my disgust with out-of-control students and fellow journalists who cherry-pick vocabulary depending on what kind of people they see flooding into streets and setting fires.

Within an hour after Ohio State's victory in Dallas on Monday, more than 5,000 people — most of them young white students, many wearing OSU garb — flooded into the street in Columbus. It is safe to say the majority of them started out in a partying mood.

Unfortunately, things turned ugly fairly quickly. Columbus police said Tuesday that emergency responders had to put out 89 fires. Many of the fires were in dumpsters; at least three couches were dragged outside and set on fire, too. One of these couch fires was caught on video, with someone yelling "Dude!" in the background. But of course.


Matt Borges, Ohio GOP Chairman - ...

This tweet from Matt Borges... Mmmm, feel the compassion. Beyond that, how did Matt Borges get his job again?...

ODP Chairman David Pepper in Cleveland Tuesday night

This may not be the best evening for a meeting of Democrat since President Obama is delivering his State of the Union address tomorrow night (and I can hardly wait to see which Republican makes some audible rude remark that would have been branded as unpatriotic and beyond the pale if a Democrat had done it to President Bush‚ oh wait, yes I can)

But this Tuesday January 20 at 7pm the Westside (Cleveland) Democratic Club will be hosting new Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper to talk about the way forward for the party and the Main Street initiative he and his political director Nina Turner announced last week.

It takes place at the Western Cuyahoga Lodge, FOP Hall 25 (26145 Center Ridge Rd., Westlake. Parking and entrance at rear of building. There is additional parking at adjacent lot. The meeting is free and open to ALL Democrats. In fact, if you are a Democrat concerned about the party's future, this is a great chance for you to hear and talk to the man responsible for guiding its direction instead of sitting on Facebook and whining to your friends about how much the party sucks.

The President speaks at 9 so there may be time to rush home and catch his address, depending on where you live.


Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy - ...

From NPR...

"What Does Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy Look Like To A 5-Year-Old?

It's morning meeting time. "When Dr. King was little, he learned a golden rule," sings a class of 4- and 5-year-olds with their teacher, Carolyn Barnhardt.

John Eaton Elementary School, a public school in Washington, D.C., is unusual. It sits in one of the District's wealthiest neighborhoods, but the majority of students hail from different parts of the city, making it one of the most racially and economically diverse elementary schools in the nation's capital.

Barnhardt, who has been a prekindergarten teacher for 25 years, remembers a time when schools were not so diverse.

"I am part of the Dr. Martin Luther King era," she says, explaining how she grew up in the segregated South. "I experienced the white-only water fountains, the colored section in the bus station. The lunch counters — I remember not being able to sit there to eat lunch. And I went to the colored-only schools, it was all — everything was segregated.

"I was 6 years old when the Rosa Parks episode happened, so I kinda sorta remember the beginning of the civil rights movement as a little girl," she says.

Today, Barnhardt teaches in a classroom she could have only dreamed about at that age, one where black, white, Asian and Arab children sit shoulder to shoulder."

Complete article can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/19/377794772/what-does-martin-luther-kings-le...

Ohio Democratic Party already highlights two races for Main Street Initiative - ...

A couple of days ago we wrote about a new program the Ohio Democratic Party launched. The program called the Main Street Initiative is an idea for the party to get involved in local races during off-year election cycles. The purpose is to provide money and resources to local candidates, which would help build a base of elected officials and bring the kind of better/fairer government Democrats feel they can provide.

Not to waste anytime, the party has already highlighted two races that should benefit from the initiative. The two candidates for the races seem to have very good credentials and both races would flip executive leadership of two cities from Republican to Democrat if the candidates win.

Taking a look at the two candidates, the first is Luke Feeney. Mr. Feeney is running to be mayor of Chillicothe. According to the Chillicothe Gazette (www.chillicothegazette.com), he's 34 years old and was appointed city auditor in 2013. The paper also reports...

"He thinks his leadership qualities — including helping to create the United Way's Earned Income Tax Coalition, which assists people with filing income tax returns, and serving as board president for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Ohio — would serve the city well if he is elected.

However, even more important, he said is his experience in city government and in dealing with the city's budget on a daily basis.

"I'm in a unique position because of my experience in this office and my understanding of city finances, in addition to my leadership abilities and my abilities to bring people together to accomplish goals," Feeney said."

Entire article can be found here:

Let's #leadonleave

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without any paid family leave law. Let's end that.

Ohio Democratic Party launches Main Street Initiative

Wow - I'm a little stunned as the Ohio Democratic Party seems to have launched a program with real promise.

The program named the Main Street Initiative is a plan for the party to help local candidates compete in races in 2015. I had wanted to see the party do something like this, but figured they wouldn't, because, well, they're the Ohio Democratic Party. They generally don't do anything.

But this initiative seems to be well thought out with some funds already committed to it. In the press release announcing it new party chairman David Pepper states...

""Everything in politics starts at the local level—good candidates, good ideas, critical services,” Pepper said. “This strategy and fund represent our commitment to build this party from the local level, where it all begins. I’m proud to personally make the first contribution today to a program I believe will produce great results this year and beyond.""

In addition, Nina Turner who is heading up political engagement and John Patrick Carney former statewide candidate had this to say...

""As Democrats, it’s our responsibility to care about the welfare of ALL Ohioans, and our Main Street Initiative is an opportunity to put our values into action,” Turner said. “It’s great to have Democrats in the U.S. Senate and the White House, but if we don’t support and cultivate our leaders at the local level, those of us living on Main Street from Cuyahoga County to Butler County are in real trouble.”"

“"Having a strong bench of local elected officials is key to ensuring Democratic values are enacted in communities all over our state,” said John Patrick Carney, who also committed to support the Fund. “I’m excited to be a part of this important investment in those communities.""

Thanks for the response Sandy Theis - ...

Thanks for the response Sandy Theis, concerning the post I did about ProgressOhio. It was a pretty weak one in which you yourself omitted facts by picking and choosing what you'd respond to. Sad. But here's my response to you...

First, I'm a member of ProgressOhio. Why would I, as you suggest, have to do a Google search to find out about leadership changes at the organization? Why wasn't that communicated to members?

Next, I never meant to say ProgressOhio wasn't currently funded, but are you really going to try to say that there wasn't a change in funding for ProgressOhio? Because I do remember a distinct email from the organization that said just that. And I remember getting a bunch of fund raising emails after that.

Continuing, my comment about ProgressOhio's staff wasn't if they were talented or not. My comment was about the organization's size and that it was shrinking not growing. Does the organization still have this many people...

Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director

Dave Harding, Director, Online Communications

Grace Cherrington, Fiscal Manager

Joyce Patton, Fundraising and Development Manager

Bret Thompson, Policy Director

Coby Williams, Ohio Outreach Coordinator

Denise Gastesi, Outreach Coordinator - Health Care, Data Targeting

Sam Briggs, Progressive Legislative Caucus Coordinator

Kyle Earley, Outreach Coordinator, Cleveland Office

Are any of these people still employed with ProgressOhio? Does it still have two offices?

I didn't mention anything about the redistricting reform because I think it stinks. I don't see it as any big change. There's a lot of other people I know who aren't impressed with it either. Beyond that, Democrats need to learn how to compete. There's no reason why people living in rural parts of Ohio should feel the Democratic Party doesn't represent them. Because it does. But the Democratic Party has abandoned those areas and this was expressed during a recent listening tour.

Response From ProgressOhio Interim Director Sandy Theis

We received the following response to Derek's earlier post speculating about what is going on the ProgressOhio. Although the group has been going through a transition period, Sandy tells us that it is indeed still very active, and that founding executive director Brian Rothenberg left to pursue a new opportunity.

By Sandy Theis
Executive Director

I am writing in response to the Jan. 14 blog post by Derek K, “ProgressOhio still exists, I guess.”

Derek’s post shows a remarkable and reckless disregard for reality. He opens by confessing that he has not “directly” confirmed any of the information he is about share but goes on to say that Brian Rothenberg, ProgressOhio’s long-time executive director “quit. Or something” amid financial problems for the organization he founded.

A simple Google search would have turned up news stories showing that Brian left to become senior adviser for communications for the United Auto Workers. He landed a big job and the chance to help one of the globe’s premier labor unions and work in an industry vital to Ohio’s economic success.

Despite difficult times for Ohio progressives, Brian left the organization with a talented staff, sound finances and game plan for continued success, not the mess Derek suggests.
Among the few accurate facts contained in his post is that I am the interim executive director and formerly served as “a state house bureau chief for the Plain Dealer.’’ (Statehouse is one word, my friend.)

Other simple searches would show that despite Brian’s exit, ProgressOhio has continued its mission of success on important issues such as redistricting reform. ProgressOhio partnered with Opportunity Ohio, a leading free-market think tank, to issue a joint statement urging adoption of a bipartisan redistricting reform plan. We were so overwhelmed by the response that we launched a formal coalition that helped win legislative passage of a plan now headed for the November ballot. Congressional redistricting reform is on tap next.

ProgressOhio pushed back on Gov. Kasich’s clearly unqualified director of the Ohio Department of Health. Our ground-breaking, 2014 work on the need for charter school reform will continue. Stay tuned.

As a former journalist, I have some advice for Derek: Whoever peddled this incorrect information is either uninformed or has some sinister motive in peddling lies. Either way, I suggest you refrain from using this unreliable source in the future. It not only hurts your reputation, it also hurts the well-regarded, established bloggers who post on this site.

Ohio Democratic Party Priorities

For the last couple of months, conversations among Ohio Democrats have centered on "What is it we need to do now?" A change in party leadership, with Chris Redfern stepping aside after nearly a decade and our former attorney general candidate David Pepper taking the helm, along with Nina Turner, who ran for secretary of state. Both ran hard, good campaigns and should have won.

Why they didn't is the best case for "what we need to do now." I've heard a lot of conversation critiquing "the message" and saying "We need a better message." "The message" just seems t be a code word for everything that's wrong because few people at the meetings I've been to could really point to what the meant precisely.

Personally, I thought most of our candidates had a great message. Certainly Turner did. If there was a problem with Pepper's campaign, it may have been that he tried to convey too many messages and many of them were small, administrative issues not issues of philosophy of what the attorney general's office should be doing for Ohio citizens. But he did touch on that too.

No, Pepper and Turner pinpointed the problem in this Cincinnati Inquirer op-ed:


Two months ago, with the most important offices in Ohio up for grabs, along with every congressional seat and most of the seats in the Statehouse, more than 60 percent of registered voters chose not to vote at all.

That's right, fewer than 40 percent of Ohioans registered actually voted – the lowest turnout since 1942 (and in 1942, folks had a whole lot on their mind that might excuse not voting that year).

There are a lot of reasons for that. Pepper and Turner think it's because "political conversation in Ohio feels less and less relevant to what Ohioans believe is important to their everyday lives."

ProgressOhio still exists, I guess - ...

I've not been in touch with anyone directly to confirm any of this, but it seems like ProgressOhio had hit some hard times. I believe it lost its original funding some months ago, forcing its former executive director Brian Rothenberg to try to do some grassroots fundraising. That didn't seem to work out and Rothenberg quit. Or something.

Rothenberg's departure brought about new leadership with Sandy Theis, a title-driven conundrum, taking over as executive director. Sandy Theis was a state house bureau chief for the Plain Dealer. One would think she would be pretty good at writing informative articles, researching issues and creating informative communications. But she doesn't seem to be.

I don't believe I'm that great of a writer. Actually, I think I'm a pretty weak writer overall. But Sandy Theis sends out some of the strangest communications I've ever seen. She sent this out a few weeks back regarding HB 234...

"He could make his decision today. That means we've got precious little time to make sure that as many Ohioans voice their opinion on the bill that would expand concealed carry.

Add your name to the dissent! Urge the Governor to VETO HB 234.

HB 234 is on Governor Kasich's desk and he could sign it today. Under Ohio law, he has up to 10 days to sign, veto, or do nothing and allow the bill to become law. The gun lobby is mobilizing their supporters to urge the Governor to sign the bill. Let Governor Kasich know that you are paying attention!

He could make his decision today. That means we've got precious little time to make sure that as many Ohioans voice their opinion on the bill that would expand concealed carry.

Make sure to add your name to the dissent! Urge the Governor to VETO HB 234."

And the ProgessOhio's website is filled with strange bulletpoint-filled "articles" (I guess), that in the end really don't say much of anything.

Frankenmedia Fails Again

I have a question, and I am asking in all sincerity: are there any editors over at the Northeast Ohio Media Group (NEOMG), the digital wing of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which I’ve dubbed Frankenmedia because it’s almost impossible to sort out who is responsible for what?

No, seriously.

The blunders keep piling up. We know about the videotape of the interviews with the candidates for governor that was mysteriously removed from website, followed by a week and a half of stonewalling from “vice president of content” Chris Quinn, who then got all huffy and blamed people for speculating about something he refused to explain.

We all know the outrageous hit job NEOMG did on the parents of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was murdered by Cleveland police November 22, a naked attempt to shift the blame to the boy before the video was released that showed the cops were lying.

Unbelievably, it got worse.

In mid-December, NEOMG published a story containing an inflammatory contention with the potential to rip open the city’s racial wounds and inject more poison into the already toxic community/police relationship. In the midst of all the conflict and debate about police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland, the story contended that a Cleveland-based gang had made a pact to start killing white police officers in retaliation.

Boy, that’s an incendiary claim. I sure hope you have rock-solid proof.

It’s the kind of story that once upon a time, when there was actual journalism being practiced, editors would have had multiple meetings about, agonizing over what was the right thing to do considering its potential to do damage, and how to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts. They would have sent the reporter out again and again to back herself up with even more sources. They would have demanded that it be ironclad.

Public Square Police Rally Left Bad Taste

It did little to improve my attitude about Cleveland to return after the Christmas holiday to learn about the ill-timed and deeply insensitive rally by police officers on Public Square Saturday December 27.

One of my Facebook friends dubbed it a “Blue Klux Klan” rally. While I would not go that far and I don’t believe every one of the participating officers is overtly racist, every one who participated was rallying in support of racism and a racist system. That rally was like dumping a truckload of salt into the city’s racial divide and likely setting back efforts at reform and reconciliation.

The problem the officers aren’t seeing is that support and respect cannot be demanded. They must be earned. And one of the things that’s clear in the recent belligerent pushback by police on public protests is that they want automatic support and respect without earning it through accountability. It’s a one-way street with them. There’s no give-and-take. They expect the citizens they work for to do all the giving.

I’ve heard over and over — and I’m sure you have — from police officers and people who know them that most officers are “good cops.” But are they truly “good” if they openly or tacitly support lack of accountability for those who are not?

To me a “good cop” is one who stands up and says, “We need to hold accountable those among us who act in violation of public trust.” A “good cop” is one who won’t tolerate officers who do their job badly and urges that they be encouraged to leave the profession, not protected. A good cop is one who would be saying, “It appears procedures may have been violated in the shooting of Tamir Rice. We need a thorough investigation before saying anything about what happened.” And a “good cop” would understand that after due process, if an officer is found to have acted wrongly, they should be terminated not defended.

Republican Congress is four days old and .... oh boy.

It’s going to be a bumpy two years.

Congress has been back in session for four days and already we’re seeing special interests and extreme ideology put on the front burner and rushed through without much debate by the same Republicans who whined that the Affordable Care Act was rammed through in a mere — what was it? 14 months?

So the House voted today to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Senate is voting Monday. It will pass and it will be the first bill on President Obama’s desk, as Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell promised. Obama has said he will veto it, and there don’t seem to be enough votes to override his veto.

This is the perfect example of a bill that serves only a tiny special interest and is of no value to anyone else — and it showcases the dishonesty of Republicans in Congress.

Approval would clear the way for a Canadian company, TransCanada, to complete a pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to the gulf to refine and export. There’s virtually no benefit to anyone in this country. All of the benefits accrue to a foreign company.

The pipeline has the potential for spills and leaks that would not only destroy farmland and rangeland, but also possibly contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water and agricultural irrigation for the entire Midwest and much of the Southwest. Given TransCanada’s record of oil spills, it’s probably a matter of when, not if.

The Republicans and others who support the pipeline (alas, too many Democrats) had several big lies they were using. One has been blasted to smithereens: that it would lower U.S. gas prices. It would have no impact on them because of the nature of where it was being shipped. But the precipitous drop in gas prices has rendered that argument toothless.

Erick Trickey's excellent article on Michael Brelo - ...

Journalism as I remember it - - Erick Trickey has been on a roll as of late producing some very thoughtful in-depth articles. I wish I had more time to highlight them. His latest article is on Michael Brelo. Don't know who Michael Brelo is? The article (link provided below) will explain in complete detail. It starts off...

"The voice squawked from the police radio, terse and staccato, a mix of alarm and calm.

"Old Chevy just popped a round as he passed by the mobile support, Justice Center. Westbound on Superior. Old Chevy."

It was seven hours into Cleveland policeman Michael Brelo's patrol shift on Nov. 29, 2012. At 10:31 p.m., driving north on West 25th Street, he heard the transmission from downtown, switched on his lights and sirens and hit the gas. He and his partner for the night, Cynthia Moore, sped past the West Side Market toward the Detroit-Superior Bridge.

"Two black males. Shots fired," the radio voice reported. "Popped a round right as he drove by us."

Though only age 28, Brelo had spent five years as a Cleveland police officer."

Please consider reading the entire article found here:

You can follow Erick Trickey here: https://twitter.com/ericktrickey

Pretty much any thoughtful intelligent person would find his article worth reading. It's also the kind of article all journalist should be writing if they really cared about journalism. It's certainly not worthless click-bait shit about key card swipes that the bots at NEOMG seem to get their jollies writing about.

Plunderbund scoops stories on Ohio Right to Life's protected relationship with Kasich Admin -...

Plunderbund (www.plunderbund.com) has two good articles on the Kasich administration's stonewalling public records requests. The public records requests filed by Ohio NARAL Pro-Choice could reveal preferential treatment by the administration to Ohio Right to Life. In the first article John Michael Spinelli writes...

"The news Tuesday that NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation filed an amended mandamus action in the Ohio Supreme Courtasking that the Court order the Ohio Department of Health to produce public records revealing the extent to which the department has been working with the special-interest group Ohio Right to Life to restrict Ohio women’s access to reproductive health care likely didn’t bring smiles to the second-term governor or his administration."

Link: http://www.plunderbund.com/2015/01/06/pubic-records-linking-kasich-admin...

The second article written by David Dewitt touches on a subject I had written about all of the summer of 2014. And that is the very strange and close relationship the Kasich administration has with the Northeast Ohio Media Group (NEOMG). David Dewitt writes...

"The email exchange reveals that ORTL was able to obtain records from the ODH in real time, publishing them 3 hours later online, culminating in a Plain Dealer story just one day later, on Aug. 1, before the clinics themselves had even received via U.S. postage the ODH letters regarding adjudication of their own administrative hearings."

Link: http://www.plunderbund.com/2015/01/06/ohio-right-to-life-appears-to-get-...

Chris Redfern's final ODP email filled with lies and half-truths - ...

On December 31, 2014 Chris Redfern sent out his last email from the Ohio Democratic Party. It was his farewell message, I guess. It continued his delusion that the Ohio Democratic Party enjoyed great success under his tenure. He starts off with...

"Over the last nine years, I have had the honor of leading one of the great political organizations not just of our state, but our country. The Ohio Democratic Party remains one of the strongest state parties in the nation, respected by our colleagues and feared by political adversaries."

The part "one of the strongest state parties in the nation", I guess this could be one of the explanations Democrats got shellacked nationwide. Also, "feared by political adversaries". Is he kidding? I think it's more like barely acknowledged by adversaries.

He then goes on...

"When I became chairman in December 2005, the ODP had fewer than 10 employees, and we hadn't won a statewide election in years. But with hard work, generous donors, and the best political team anywhere, we won and won again."

Does having tons of staffers really matter? It really doesn't seem to, I mean the party hasn't won anything on its own in years. And the part about "won and won again". Won what? Delusional.

We then get to the lies and half-truths...

"We elected the president twice with 50% of the vote and elected a senator twice. We won four new congressional seats and gained a majority of GOP drawn seats in the State House. That is something that has never been achieved by ODP, ever. At the same time, our friend Governor Strickland was swept to victory in 2006 and Senate Bill 5 was repealed with record turnout. Thank you for helping make history!"

The Ohio Democratic Party elected the President and US Senator twice. Two federal elections - - one with a nationwide presence.


Same to you Sheila Bair - ...

Sheila Bair (R), former FDIC Chair New Year's wish...

Thanks, Ms Bair. And Happy New Year to you too.

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