Today is the Harrison Rally for the Arts in Perrysburg (Wood County).
"Harrison Rally Day is a community arts festival with an annual attendance of over 10,000 people. Co-sponsored the Perrysburg Chamber of Commerce and the Perrysburg Area Arts Council, this event offers a large selection of fine arts and crafts, parade, live musical entertainment, children’s art activities, and “Taste of Perrysburg” food vendors."
You know who else is going to be there? People with petitions to repeal HB 194!!! They will be there all day, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It takes place in downtown Perrysburg so look for them,
Meanwhile, I just got back from Cleveland's three-day interactive arts fest Ingenuity, taking place on the former subway level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge — an amazing space if you haven't seen it. They had a bunch of tables with vendors, businesses, and organizations — including one for the HB 194 repeal, where three young women were doing boffo business. People were piled up at the table eager to sign. Some were thanking them for being there. One of the young women said they just regretted they only had petitions for Cuyahoga, because people were coming from other counties, and they plan to have additional petitions from nearby counties tomorrow (noon-1 a.m.) and Sunday (noon-5 p.m.). The festival is technically free, although they are requesting a $5 donation at the door if you feel you can afford it. There's a ton of hands-on stuff for kids to do too. So they'll be entertained while you are signing a petition to protect their future voting rights.
People in the Chillicothe area can sign the voter suppression repeal petition tomorrow, Saturday September 17 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Ross County Service Center on Western Avenue in from of the Central Center shopping mall.
Coming right up this Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mentor Christian Church, 8751 Mentor Ave. (corner of Jackson St. and Mentor Ave.) in Mentor (naturally!)
We need you desperately, as you can see the kinds of games our politicians are playing with our votes. Please get on down there.
Well, the Republicans in our legislature once again ignored input from citizens and their Democratic colleagues and, in a mere 48 hours, rammed through a new congressional map that will impact and exacerbate political divisions for a decade (Are these the same people who whined constantly that the Democrats were "moving too fast" on health care, a debate that dominated the better part of a year?)
Input from citizen "hearings" they held around the state was clearly ignored; alternative maps drawn by serious students of congressional map-drawing and submitted to DrawtheLineOhio.com were clearly not even considered, if indeed they were looked at. It's fairly obvious that partisan hacks hunkered down behind closed doors and devised a map that tears counties and towns apart, throws voters into confusion, tosses together communities barely aware the others exist and with which they have few common interests, and dismantles groups who have historically worked together on projects.
The map doesn't even give Republicans much advantage over the edge they have now (which admittedly is already extremely unbalanced since they've drawn the maps for the past 20 years). It's just mischief-making being wreaked on the electorate with the likely goal of amping up confusion, ignorance and cynicism and decreasing participation in the election process. How very democratic. How very respective of our representative system.
In fact, the map and the process by which it was designed and passed were about as pure an example of mocking voters as can be found anywhere.
Circulators will be at the Root Cafe, 15118 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood, from 26 p.m. this Sunday, September 18 with petitions to repeal the voter suppression bill. Plan to stay for some good fair-trade coffee and vegetarian food made from locally sourced ingredients. This place is cool: check it out:
Among the crimes committed by uninformed voters last year was putting good solid advocate for regular working people Mary Jo Kilroy out of Congress in the Columbus area in favor of slimy banking lobbyist Steve Stivers, no friend of those who do actual work rather than move abstract money around in the ether. Kilroy beat Stivers in 2008, but last year was a bad one. And the old 15th district is difficult territory, as it parsed up Columbus in several directions, diluting Democratic voters.
But the new map packs Columbus-area Democratic voters into one district, creating a safe Democratic seat there (Unfortunately, it turns around and does even worse damage to Cuyahoga County). Kilroy has announced that she will run for that seat:
"I have exciting news to share. I plan to seek the Democratic nomination for the new congressional seat in Franklin County, Ohio. I am running because our community needs a strong voice in Washington, who will remain focused on jobs, and will work to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from Republicans.
I have fought for working people in our community throughout my career as a school board member, county commissioner and Member of Congress. I have a track record as a Member of Congress that demonstrates that I have the right priorities to represent this district. I pushed for vital health care reform, pushed to protect us from big predatory banks and pushed for a real jobs plan to put our community back to work.
I will demand more accountability from Wall Street and better protections for consumers, like my work on the Wall Street reform bill and my votes to protect you from abusive practices of credit card companies.
I will stand up for LGBT rights and fight to end discrimination wherever it may exist. I was proud of my many votes in Congress to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and other pieces of legislation to promote equality.
Virtually the very minute the new congressional map for Ohio was revealed and the travesty that is the new 9th district (currently based in Toledo and represented by Marcy Kaptur) became clear — extending from Toledo to Lakewood — Dennis Kucinich jumped in to claim the district, announcing it was his and that he would challenge Kaptur in the primary. Personally, I think it would have been more seemly to wait until the map passed in the legislature and he had talked with Kaptur and other Democrats – but that isn't his way.
Today Kaptur released a statement about the new district. She says,
"Representing the interests of all of the people of our district, particularly during tough economic times, is the highest privilege afforded to any citizen. I intend to keep fighting hard for them and will run to represent them in the newly-formed Ninth Congressional District.
The Republican map is all about incumbent protection. The very same Republicans who are trying to take away the rights of policemen, firefighters and teachers with State Issue 2 are turning around and giving lifetime job security to incumbent Members of Congress. How unfair.
In a state that votes 50-50, they have eliminated competition and produced three Republican members of Congress for every Democratic member. Such rigging sacrifices representative government in the cause of incumbent protection."
Contrast that to Kucinich's statement. You be the judge of who would better represent this absurd new district:
"We have a district! The race is on! In a stunning development, the redistricting gave most of the Republican part of my old district to three incumbent Republican congressmen and left most of the Democratic part of my district intact.
Governor John Kasich (accompanied by Curly and Moe aka Bill Batchelder and Tom Niehaus) isn't the only one who can indulge in political theater (his press conference where he invited labor to negotiate on an already-passed bill and they understandably failed to show up).
Progressive talk show host Ed Schlutz brought his MSNBC show, the Ed Show, to Ohio this week. In Toledo last night, he featured pro-issue 2, anti-SB 5 workers and politicians, as well as Kasich toadie, Toledo mayor Mike Bell. (Bell hilariously said he's not opposed to collective bargaining, yet he is a vocal supporter of SB 5, which eliminates it. Whatever, jerk). But he also challenged Kasich himself to come on and explain why he is attacking Ohio's public sector workers via SB 5. Just as Kasich did for labor, Schultz left an empty chair for Kasich. Needless to say, Kasich did not show up.
Yet Kasich managed to get himself to Sean Hannity's Fox "News" show earlier in the week. Figures. Schultz shows a clip of that appearance and Kasich comes off like a nasty, pushy, tone-deaf bully.
Toledo-based congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who will apparently be representing Cleveland's northern suburbs from Lakewood west after next year's election, spoke strongly about the need to support President Obama's American Jobs Act and to rectify the trade imbalance that has outsourced jobs.That's a pet topic of Senator Sherrod Brown, who will be Schultz's guest on the taping of his show today, along with Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern and congressman Dennis Kucinich, who has gracelessly already said he's going to try to knock Kaptur out of Congress, even before the redistricting bill that pits him against her has passed the legislature. (Schultz said he will again leave a seat for Kasich).
Today in Columbus, Democratic legislators held a press conference about the new congressional map which the Republicans threw out yesterday and apparently plan to put to a vote tomorrow. They included minority leader Armond Budish from Beachwood, and reps. Kathleen Clyde of Kent, Teresa Fedor of Toledo, Ronald V. Gerberry of Austintown, and Matt Lundy of Elyria.
It's an ugly map, clearly designed to confuse voters, split communities and and punish those who don't generally support Republicans. All the citizen input they claimed to be interested in getting appears to have been ignored or tossed out because every principal of fair districting has been violated.
And one of the worst is the speed of the process. This is coming from a party that whined like babies about "slowing down" a health care debate that lasted for a year. Yet they want to rush through a congressional map, drawn without a real public process, which will impact the state's political makeup for a decade, in 48 hours.
""We are moving at high speed towards complete legal chaos as this map is being rammed through in less than 48 hours," said Clyde, who represented the Democrats at several of the field hearings allegedly held to consider public input. "Failure to do this right will create protracted legal battles, public confusion and uncertainty for voters and candidates across the state. ... Republicans have created chaos because they refuse to work with us."
While people are being urged to call committee chair Matt Huffman at 614-466-9624, it probably will have no impact on this group of Republicans whose standard operating procedure is to push through an ultra-extreme agenda at top speed without consulting the people it impacts. This is more of the same that gave us union-busting SB 5 and voter suppression bill HB 194.
One of the saddest losses last November was when Florida congressman Alan Grayson got defeated by an ignorant teabagger. Grayson was excoriated by the right and its lackeys in the "mainstream" media for saying that the Republican health-care plan was "Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly."
Well, the Republicans showed that was undeniably true when they cheered the idea of an uninsured person dying at the Tea Party travesty of a "debate" on CNN (aka Conservative Nattering Nabobs) Monday.
Last night, Keith Olbermann interview Grayson who is making a bid to return to Congress. (You should sign up for his email list. His missives are powerful, inspiring, and entertaining, not simply money begs).
Go here to sign up: http://congressmanwithguts.com/
Here is a transcript of that interview. I think he says what needs to be said very clearly, dismantling the hypocrisy and pious pretense of the so-called "Christian" right. Here's video for those who would rather watch:
Keith Olbermann: In 2009, my next guest anticipated last night's Tea Party call to let the uninsured drop dead without medical care. Alan Grayson, then a Florida congressman, got on the floor of the House and said, "The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick." To say he took a lot of criticism for that understates the case just a little bit. And as last night proved, he was right. I'm joined now by the former Florida congressman Alan Grayson. Good evening sir.
Alan Grayson: Good evening.
Olbermann: Your immediate reaction to last night?
Dennis Kucinich sent out an email today saying "We have a district1 The race is one!" Frankly, it kind of confuses me, and he's not straight up in acknowledging which district he means and the fact that he's going to try to put a colleague out of Congress.
"In a stunning development, the redistricting gave most of the Republican part of my old district to three incumbent Republican congressmen and left most of the Democratic part of my district intact."
As a result, about 57% of registered Democrats in the new district come from my old district. With your help I clearly have a good chance to be able to continue to serve the people of Ohio and to remain a strong and outspoken voice for jobs, peace, clean water and clean air, education and civil rights."
I guess he would have to mean the new 9th district where people who have done the breakdown say that 43 percent of the voters (overall, not just Democrats) are currently in his district, while 36 percent are in Kaptur's. 20 percent are currently in Sutton's district and would presumably be up for grabs between Kucinich and Kaptur.
I have no idea what he means by "the most Republican part of my old district" being given to three Republican congressmen. I haven't actually looked at the map in depth, but have looked at other people's breakdown of where voters have been shifted. Kucinich lost about a quarter of his voters to the district currently represented by Renacci (hopefully by Betty Sutton after next year), so that accounts for one district. His next biggest bloc of voters – 12 percent — went to Marcia Fudge's district. Last time I looked she wasn't an incumbent Republican and those Cleveland voters don't tend to be Republican.
No, the new Republican congressional map doesn't have Youngstown's Tim Ryan representing a hunk of Columbus (How did they EVER miss that?) But the 17th district congressman will be in Columbus tomorrow night (Thursday, September 15) at an signing event to repeal voter-suppression bill HB 194.
It takes place at the Short North Tavern, 674 N. High Street from 6-8 p.m. Signatures will be gathered starting at 6, and Ryan will be there at 7 p.m. He is eager to meet and greet anyone involved in the repeal effort, even those who have already signed. So come on down and show your support for a fair, open elections process, not the one HB 194 imposes on the state.
True to form, the Ohio Republicans who drew the new congressional map didn't look for consensus or accept input. They threw out a grotesquely gerrymandered map that divides communities and moves voters around willy-nilly, and they apparently plan to do what they have done with all their other extremist legislation this year: ram it through on their super-majority and tell everyone else to go to hell. The problem for them is I believe there is going to be hell to pay, thanks to this approach, which doesn't even pretend to be fair or to benefit the actual people of Ohio they purport to represent.
The legislators involved in redistricting held "hearings" around the state. I went to one at Cleveland State University at which good-government types, ranging from League of Women Voters members to map-drawing geeks, talked about drawing balanced, compact districts that kept communities of interest, towns, and counties together as much as possible. Several people I know who were there agreed with me that it felt like a pro forma charade. Much was made of a site called DrawtheMapOhio.com, where citizens (especially map geeks!) were invited to try their hand at drawing a map and submitting it according to certain guidelines. That now looks like a little playtime activity, designed to make people feel like they were participating, but they really weren't.
State House minority leader Armond Budish had made an agreement with House Republicans about the process of studying and approving the map — a process he feels the GOP violated. He now says the Democrats won't deliver the votes the Republicans wanted to move the primary from March to May.
In a letter to House Speaker Bill Batchelder, he says,
West Side Voter Suppression Event
Thursday, September 15
7:00- 8:00 p.m.
UAW Hall, 5615 Chevrolet Blvd, Parma
Evening with Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown
Friday, September 16
6:30- 8:30 p.m.
Solon Community Center
35000 Portz Parkway, Solon
Shaker Square petition circulating
Saturday, September 17
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Organizing for America office
13100 Shaker Square, Cleveland
Speaking of taking partisanship out of elections, as I just was, there's an opportunity for folks in Trumbull County to sign that petition tomorrow evening from 4-6 p.m. at a drive-thru event. It's at the McMenamy’s Restaurant and Banquet Center parking lot,
325 Youngstown-Warren Rd. (Route 422) in Niles. I'm sure they'll have signs and everything so just look for them, drive up, and they'll hand you the petition.
Last spring, I asked Betty Sutton at the Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus luncheon if she would consider moving if they put her house in Tim Ryan's district. She lives in a little finger of Summit County that is currently wedged between Ryan's district on the east and Jim Renacci's district in Medina to the west. They could have gone either way, but I figured they'd be nasty and pit her against the popular Democrat Ryan.
Today many pundits are saying that by placing her in Renacci's district instead, she's a goner. I am not so sure. It's entirely possible that without the Tea Party wave that swept him to victory in 2010, Renacci could be the goner. They've given him a swath of southwest Cuyahoga that has a lot of active Democrats — and a lot of public-sector workers and union people who may be looking for Republicans to blame without Kasich on the ballot. I think they did Betty Sutton a favor.
My read is different. I think the GOPs partisan plotting in Northeast Ohio goes a lot deeper than this one or that one being out of a seat, or being safer. While I see they have conceded that Columbus is a community of interest and created a district there, they have gone 200 mph in the opposite direction in Cuyahoga. Cuyahoga currently contains two districts entirely in the county — Marcia Fudge's and Dennis Kucinich's. It also contains slivers of two others — Sutton's and Steve LaTourette's to the east. Given the population loss, there is no reason for those slivers to remain in Cuyahoga — or for the county to contain any more than two districts.
Instead, this map gives it big swaths of FOUR districts, effectively breaking up the county into small pieces and severing communities that have always worked together, shared organizations and projects, and have close-knit common interests.
As fracking mania sweeps the Republican Party more information is finally coming out about the true nature of its harmful effects. Not only can fracking destroy clean drinking water it can also destroy clean air.
The mayor of a small town called Dish, Texas, literally quit his job and moved out when his children began experiencing ill effects from being exposed to fracking wells. The Huffington Post reports on the plight of former mayor Calvin Tillman:
”Dish, Texas is a town consisting of 200 residents and 60 gas wells. When Tillman's sons repeatedly woke up in the middle of the night with mysterious nosebleeds, he knew it was time to move”
The Huffington Post continues:
”Last Memorial Day was the final straw. Tillman's 5-year-old son awoke in the middle of the night with a severe nosebleed. As Tillman describes to HuffPost, "He had blood all over his hands, blood on the walls -- our house looked somewhat like a murder scene." In the weeks prior, both of Tillman's sons had experienced severe nosebleeds. At the same time, the town was surrounded by a strong odor from their natural gas facilities.”
The Huffington Post reveals a main chemical used in fracking that seeps up through the ground and into the air:
”The air over the Barnett Shale near Dish was found to contain high levels of the toxic chemical benzene, shown to cause cancer.”
In another report:
We got this from West Side Cleveland activist Rosemary Palmer:
Tonight (Tuesday) is a call to action for Westside Democrats! Bring your calendar to the 7 pm meeting at Church of the Redeemer, 23500 Center Ridge Rd. (near Clague Road), Westlake, so you can schedule the times you can volunteer to pass petitions to put HB 194 (Voter Suppression) on the ballot or to participate in the campaign against SB 5 (November issue 2). Speakers from both issue campaigns will be present.
Show up so you're not sorry later! You know, like all those people who didn't show up last November and are now wondering why we have an arrogant bully for a governor.
Following are some excerpts from a great editorial by a GOP operative who recently quit the cause. He clearly saw the lies and his conscious would not allow him to be misled by them anymore.
”A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.”
”The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel - how prudent is that?”
An extremely important point he makes:
”It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.”
That’s a Republican operative writing that. America is in deep deep trouble and it is startling to see many (Tea Party People) literally scream for more oppression.
The entire article can be found here, it’s well worth the read:
Don't know how the weather is looking in Toledo today — it looks like rain in Cleveland — but regardless, grab an umbrella and head over to the University of Toledo. Starting at noon by the fountain near the student union, there will be someone there will petitions to repeal the voter suppression bill. Great way to start your week! (I got about 50 signatures here in Cleveland over the weekend, including some for Stark, Summit and Lake counties).
During the 2008 presidential race, candidate Joe Biden summarized Rudy Giuliani's campaign by saying that every sentence he uttered contained "a noun, a verb and 9/11." He was talking about the way former New York Mayor Giuliani was exploiting both people's emotions around the event and glorifying his own, actually fair impressive role (People may not remember, but while President George Bush basically said and did nothing for a couple of days, Mayor Giuliani waded into the void and displayed leadership).
Biden's comment spoke to the knee-jerk response too many people had and still have to the events of 9/11/01. I've received some of them in the past few days in pious, high-flown emails from some of the politicians whose email lists I'm on. Others have been focusing on the role of the first responders, a clean, simple response that dodges the complexities the attacks evoked. Getting into why first responders are getting sick, what their needs are and who is ignoring those needs evokes more complexities a lot of people just don't want to deal with.
I recall in the days following 9/11 being dismayed and depressed by the display of mindless jingoism masquerading as patriotism. It was as if the attacks served as an excuse to put our brains on autopilot and revel in an atavistic bloodlust. And of course they led to a pair of expensive, lengthy wars that have our country teetering on the edge of economic collapse — possibly one of the goals of the attackers. We didn't learn any lesson from the Soviet Union's costly foray into Afghanistan.
Fear of being perceived as unpatriotic led our mainstream media to doing the most unpatriotic thing possible: not providing viewers/listeners/readers with dispassionate and accurate reporting. They became lackeys and water carriers and cheerleaders for those in power. Can we forget "journalist" Judith Miller disgracing the New York Times by parroting government information on the invasion of Iraq and calling it "reporting"?
For those of you in the western suburbs or west side of Cleveland, there'll be a drive-thru HB 194 petition signing tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 6229 Pearl Rd., Parma. You don't even need to get out of your car; they'll hand you the petition, you sign, and then you can be on your way to Target or Home Depot or wherever you were going.
The Ross County Movement Builders, OEA, & AFL-CIO IBEW 575, are hosting HB194 petition signing events in Chillicothe and Richmond Dale. Volunteers are collecting signatures as part of the effort to put this bill on the ballot for a citizen’s veto in 2012.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
8 AM to Noon Ross County Service Center at both entrances of parking lot near Farmer’s Market
475 Western Avenue, Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, September 11, 211
10AM to 4PM Salt Creek Festival
Richmond Dale, Ohio
September 1 to September 27, Monday through Friday
9AM to 4PM IBEW Local 575 Hall, 35 North Bridge Street next to Domino’s Pizza
What better way to honor 9/11 than to sign a petition to protect voting rights and our democracy? "They hate us for our freedoms," George Bush? Then why are your party compatriots fighting so hard to take our freedoms away?
Saturday, September 10, 2011
9 AM - 12 Noon
accross from the Clintonville Farmer's Market
in front of Cover to Cover Books
3560 N. High Street
(please do not park in the bookstore parking lot)
Sunday, September 11, 2011
2PM - 6PM
3296 N. High Street
(corner of Longview and High St., 2 blocks South of N. Broadway)
Rolling Stone wrote a great article detailing the Republican’s war on voting rights. In a blog post the author of the article, Ari Berman, writes:
”In the current issue of Rolling Stone, I examine how Republican officials in a dozen states have passed new laws this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process. It's a widespread, deliberate effort that could prevent millions of mostly Democratic voters, including students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly, from casting ballots in 2012. Congress is, belatedly, starting to pay attention, and yesterday afternoon Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, held a hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot?"
Notice the "widespread, deliberate effort" part.
The legislation to restrict voting rights in America comes from the far right organization the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). They produced this “model” legislation as well as hundreds of other pre-written bills for Republican cog legislators who mindless introduce them at different levels of government doing the bidding of their corporate masters.