Ohio Legislature Escalates Its War on Women — Again

Is there any limit to the Ohio legislature's hatred of women and its zeal to place them under the total control of Big Government?

Apparently not.

You may have heard about other states who have introduced forced ultrasound bills, where it's mandated that a women seeking an abortion get an invasive transvaginal ultrasound and be shown the pictures, the only reason clearly to try to guilt-trip her into not having an abortion or feeling like shit if she absolutely must.

It raised such a stink in Virginia that it kind of disappeared there.

It surfaced in Ohio yesterday.

In a bill sponsored by Republican (of course) representative from Hocking County Ron Hood and cosponsored by more than 30 of his equally woman-despising colleagues (yes, even the women among them) HB 200 would not only force this procedure upon women, it contains a whole list of other mandated medical requirements, including forcing a doctor to lie to patients in a government-provided script.

It's truly vile. If you can stomach it, you can read this toxic piece of shit here: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB_200

if you don't want to slog through the whole thing, Innovation Ohio has a good summary.

http://innovationohio.org/2013/06/12/legislation-ohio-house-bill-200-abo...

Among other things:

it modifies the notification requirements prior to performing an abortion, requiring a physician to meet with a woman 48 hours, instead of the current 24 hours, prior to the abortion. The bill also requires additional documents to be provided to a woman considering an abortion including documents that outline the physiological and anatomical characteristics of the fetus. Among other changes the bill adds the requirement an ultrasound be performed and that the physician describe the fetus and its neurological development.

Innovation Ohio notices potentially big raises for Kasich Appointees

In Innovation Ohio's review of the state budget proposal they found some Kasich appointees could get a 30% pay raise. The raise could change their salaries from $102,960 to $134,056. Geez.

They report...

"Current law provides for five senior employees to be involved in policy implementation and development at each state agency. These positions are unclassified, meaning there is no competitive process to apply for them, they merely serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority – in this case the Governor or his cabinet members. They may even be employees who are paid by an agency but work directly out of the Governor’s office.

A provision in Kasich’s two-year budget — retained by House and Senate lawmakers — increases the amount these appointees can be paid from $102,960 to $134,056 annually:"

Full write-up can be found here:
http://innovationohio.org/2013/06/10/pay-raises-for-kasich-appointees/

John Carney, you're such a joker

We've written about the neat little set-up the legislature rushed through to put the books of taxpayer-funded JobsOhio off limits to auditing. And of course Kasich quickly and privately signed this into law — no surprise since it was probably done at his request.

State representative John Patrick Carney from the Columbus area is now demanding that state auditor David Yost audit the JobsOhio books before the law goes into effect.

http://www.ohiohouse.gov/democrats/press/carney-calls-on-yost-to-perform...

He sent the following letter to Yost today:

Auditor Yost,

I am writing to address the recent passage of Senate Bill 67, the bill that was rushed through the legislature to eliminate your ability to audit records at JobsOhio, a deliberate undermining of the Auditor’s responsibility to Ohio taxpayers.

After hearing your recent public comments, I am glad to see that you are as concerned as I am about the lack of transparency and accountability at JobsOhio. As you are aware, the Ohio Constitution requires that a full 90 days must pass after a bill is signed before it takes effect as a law. That means you have until September 3, 2013 to receive and audit the full records of JobsOhio, and restore some semblance of trust and understanding to JobsOhio, and its secretive use of millions of taxpayer dollars.

At the very least, I expect that your office will use the next 85 days to audit the subpoenaed documents that were handed over to you on March 19, 2013 from the Ohio Development Services Agency and JobsOhio before SB 67 becomes law and they are shielded from scrutiny. And if you have performed the audit already, Auditor Yost, will Ohioans get to see what you have found?

Nothing makes sense about Edward Snowden

In case you were unaware, Edward Snowden is a former employee of a government contractor who recently leaked some information about a government spy program. If you'd like more information you can read about it here.

Edward Snowden would like you to believe he's an honest guy. The people who "broke" the information he provided and then subsequently introduced you to him when he outed himself as a leaker certainly would. But when you dig just a little bit into his story - nothing makes sense.

I'll start out with a broad brush and note that according to Mr. Snowden, he outed himself, because, "I'm not going to hide."

Except he is in hiding. After he leaked all his information he took off to Hong Kong.

He then states that he's all about transparency. Except that he refused to disclose what party he supports or who he voted for in the Presidential election. When asked he just stated a third party, but really, why hide it? It's just going to make people dig, and that's exactly what they did. After Mr. Snowden's vague response, people found that he donated a few hundred dollars to Ron Paul in 2008.

After that you get into Edward Snowden's history, which turns out to be pretty murky. According to the Washington Post

"Some former CIA officials said they were troubled by aspects of Snowden’s background, at least as he described it to The Post and the Guardian.

The real outrage is the phony concern over government spying

I've been trying not to follow the latest "scandal" involving the Obama Administration. I put the word scandal in quotation marks, because the information that's being reported is nothing new. In fact, it's about a decade old. The information being, that the government is collecting a mass amount of data on people.

But ignoring this new "scandal" is getting pretty hard, because stories about it are everywhere. And as I read them, all I can think is, if this information is new to you - you're an idiot.

Seriously, if this is new to you, where have you been for the last ten years?

I remember reading about the mass collection of data on people back when the Patriot Act was being debated. The erosion of our civil liberties; this is what all those far-lefties were yelling about. There were articles and books written that specifically explained that the US government was working with telecommunications and internet companies to monitor citizens. I can think of two books off the top of my head that reported this. One was Robert O'Harrow's No Place to Hide. The book was written in 2005. Here's Amazon's intro of it...

"In No Place to Hide, award-winning Washington Post reporter Robert O'Harrow, Jr., lays out in unnerving detail the post-9/11 marriage of private data and technology companies and government anti-terror initiatives to create something entirely new: a security-industrial complex. Drawing on his years of investigation, O'Harrow shows how the government now depends on burgeoning private reservoirs of information about almost every aspect of our lives to promote homeland security and fight the war on terror."

You can buy the book here:
http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-to-Hide-ebook/dp/B000FCJYY6

Then there's also Angler by Barton Gellman. It's a book about Dick Cheney, but he also covers the fact that almost every American has been spied on (or "profiled") by the US government.
You can buy the book here:

Defunding Planned Parenthood denies access to affordable health care to both men and women

Great Letter to the Editor in today's Plain Dealer about the many health care services Planned Parenthood offers. While many people believe all Planned Parenthood does is abortions, it sets the record straight...

"Only 3 percent of their services have to do with abortion. Another 33.3 is contraception services. This includes vasectomies. Thirty-eight percent of its services include treating men and women for sexually transmitted diseases. Another 14.5 percent is for cancer screening and prevention. Other services include pregnancy tests, prenatal services, adoption referrals and a nutrition program for low-income families."

The entire letter can be found here:
http://blog.cleveland.com/letters/2013/06/planned_parenthood_does_more_t...

The effort to bring fairer wages and benefits to WalMart

Great write-up in the Huffington Post about OUR WalMart (Organization United for Respect) and their efforts to bring change to the world's largest retailer. It starts out...

"Earlier this year, Janet Sparks was called in to meet her bosses at the Walmart in Baker, La., where she works as a non-salaried supervisor in the customer service department.

Sparks, 53, had approached the managers earlier to complain about the treatment of some of her co-workers. Now, her bosses accused her of “creating a hostile work environment,” Sparks recalled. “They were not going to allow this.”

It continues...

"But Sparks had already become involved with a nascent labor movement seeking to organize people inside the world’s largest retailer, and she was cognizant that she had rights. She presented her managers with a government document that laid out the rights of non-union workers to organize. By the end of the meeting, she said, the bosses had agreed not to discipline her or her co-workers."

And then there's this...

"Many of Walmart’s 1.5 million workers earn close to minimum wage, placing them among the fast-growing cohort of American workers who earn so little that they officially live in poverty. Those who earn more often lack the hours they need to make ends meet."

We've heard it before, but it can't be said enough, WalMart and their low wage policies are helping to create mass poverty. We need to start working towards livable wages. People who have jobs and are working should not also need food stamps. The saying "united we bargain, divided we beg" couldn't be truer. Let's end the begging: this is America.

Entire article can be found here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/walmart-activism-change-organiz...

Josh Mandel = Male version of Michele Bachmann

I recently watched the following video from CNN. It's the one where Michele Bachmann is desperately trying to flee a reporter. As she's running the reporter does manage to get some questions in, but all they get in response is gibberish. The "titanium" spine woman evades questions about outright lies she told as she looks for a place to run and hide. And while I was watching it all I could think is, this is Josh Mandel. And then I really thought about it, from bizarre Muslim allegations (Kevin Boyce, Huma Abedin)to telling outright lies and then staring blankly when confronted about them, these two, are basically the same person. I mean think about it.

Hmmm... maybe, somehow, they actually are...

More Potential for GOP Scandal. Oh No! Not in Josh Mandel's Office! Can't Be

Apparently, our state treasurer, Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel isn't going to let our governor outdo him in setting up a situation ripe for abuse.

He has assumed ALL authority for deciding where state public pension funds are invested, with no input from the pension fund managers. He's getting some probably unwanted attention on this from the Columbus Dispatch:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/06/02/does-law-hike-p...

And the Youngstown Vindicator:

http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/jun/07/ohio-treasurer-plays-with-fire-by-...

Remember, this is the same Josh Mandel who, a few weeks ago in the Dispatch story, voiced the opinion that public workers had unrealistic expectations that their funds would not be able to deliver — but the figures he cited in the story were wrong, said the Dispatch.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/05/16/fund-leaders-fi...

In that story, Mandel expressed the opinion that the pension deals — hammered out last year and passed with bipartisan support — would have to be revisited, never mind that public workers had already increased their contributions and length of service to collect.

All this based on figures about the return the funds were showing that were way off and showed them to be in much better shape than Mandel was claiming.

Why on earth would anyone trust this guy to make decisions about where the funds would be banked?

Of course, why on earth would anyone trust this lazy, lying, unethical creep to begin with?

For the good of Ohio, the good of its workers and citizens, and the safety of its money, we need to elect Connie Pillich our state treasurer next year.

http://www.conniepillich.com/

Women Can Be Misogynists Too

From yesterday's Plain Dealer:

Republican Sen. Peggy Lehner said attacks on abortion are not attacks on women.

“I find the loss of 50 million unborn children as something we should all be concerned about,” Lehner said. “Life is something that is very precious. It’s not something that we own. I believe it is a gift from God. And with each and every abortion, we are rejecting God’s gift.”

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2013/06/ohio_senate_passes_its_v...

What a sanctimonious liar!

Peggy, the minute you use the word "God," it's no business of the government's and it should not be in the state "budget." It is not your concern what another person may consider a "gift from God," or if they think God exists at all.

But Peggy is a craven liar anyway — a typical woman-hater who could care less about "50 million unborn children" — or one.

Peggy Lehner's name doesn't come up among those fighting to expand Medicaid and retain funding for Planned Parenthood — two sources of access to maternity care to help keep those "unborn children" healthy.

I have never heard Peggy Lehner express dismay and outrage that in some neighborhoods in urban areas, infant mortality rates — and that's BORN children, not theoretical "unborn children" — are higher than in many third-world countries. And that those rates will likely increase with the redirection of Planned Parenthood funding to non-medical "crisis pregnancy centers," some of which are nothing more than religious propaganda outfits in disguise.

I haven't seen Peggy Lehner stand up on the floor of the state senate and denounce the cuts to education or the redirection of education funding to vouchers and for-profit charter schools — most of which are failing to provide adequate education to poor children.

Beating Up on Women Still Backfiring for Komen Foundation

http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/06/05/4912747/komen-cuts-half-its-3-da...

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is canceling half of its three-day charity walks next year because of a drop in participation levels, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based breast cancer organization said Wednesday.

Bye bye Cleveland 3-Day, one of the ones cancelled.

And bye bye, annoying and condescending ads framing breast cancer as an upbeat, uplifting, bonding experience full of joy and friendship and love and sunshine.

Ugh.

The foundation says participation in the event, which requires participants to raise more than $2,000, has been dropping since the economic downturn four years ago, but the drop was "a little more dramatic" last year. Still, their spokesperson Andrea Rader is sticking to the story that "other contributing factors for the last year were the economy and competition from other events."

That's known as "having your head in the sand."

We all know what happened last year. That was when it came to light that Susan G. Komen for the Cure had yanked its funding from Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening programs at the insistence of its then-vice president Karen Handel (now alas, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Georgia) who had no compunctions about nuking an established charity to dishonestly promote her radical anti-choice views.

And unfortunately for Komen, the people most likely to support breast cancer charities are those passionate about women's health — who tend to be Planned Parenthood supporters.

Rader laughably told the Dallas Star-Telegram that the "vast majority" of people have moved on from the controversy.

"There are some folks who will never be back and we know that, and we hope that they will support breast cancer charities because the work's important," she said.

National Attention for Ohio's Woman-Hating "Budget"

This is where gerrymandering and a legislature that does not represent Ohio lead: Ohio is becoming a national laughingstock and a poster child for using the biannual budget as a weapon to assault woman and strip them of freedom to control their own lives.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/06/06/2112481/womens-health-attacks...

ThinkProgress.org notes the disgraceful misuse of the budget bill by rightwing legislators who want to express their contempt for Ohio's woman:

Ohio’s abortion opponents are hijacking the budget negotiations to push an agenda that has nothing to do with the state’s economy — seizing the opportunity to launch several attacks on women’s health.

The anti-woman forces in the legislature have not only used the budget to strip funding from Planned Parenthood but have voted to redirect it to so-called "Crisis Pregnancy Center" that exist merely to beat women over the head with anti-abortion propaganda much of it false and much of it religion-based. These centers don't provide ANY of the services many women depend on Planned Parenthood for, such as mammograms, STD treatment, and contraception. And of course, the exact same women who would have benefited from the expansion of Medicaid, which the legislature rejected, are the women most likely to rely on Planned Parenthood.

They've also included other provisions intended to make it almost impossible to BE an abortion provider in Ohio, thereby putting poor women in an untenable position (Women of means will always be able to get an abortion, no matter what laws are passed).

Nancy Pelosi: "Congress is rigged against women"

Excellent story in which Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi tells it like it is:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/nancy-pelosi-congress-rigged_n_...

The day after Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and an all-male panel of his colleagues advanced a bill to restrict abortion rights across the U.S., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Congress is "rigged" to suppress the interests of women and keep their voices out of the discussion.

The worst part of it is that it's not just myopic men in charge who simply don't relate to what women deal with. It's men with some real issues about women acting out their hated disdain and disgust toward women to the detriment of the entire country.

Many of us recall Congressman Darrell Issa's all-male panel on contraception last year when he insisted women had nothing to add to such a discussion (but a Catholic bishop did!) That was emblematic of how many of the men in the House — men who now control virtually every aspect of its functioning — regard women — as having nothing to add to any discussion, even discussions about their own lives.

Pelosi also points out something man of us have seen in the last two years; the fundamental lie underpinning the anti-choice movement — that it's all about a deep compassion for "unborn babies."

"For 23 years, I have been saying to people, whatever you think about abortion, [Republicans] are against family planning and contraception. But they never believed it," she said. "The one satisfying thing for me last year was that at last the world could see they would shut down the government rather than fund Planned Parenthood. [I said,] 'Now do you see how extreme they are?'"

I think we do.

Trouble for Josh Mandel

Josh Mandel, as treasurer for the state of Ohio is in charge of deciding what banks Ohio's retirement funds will contract with. Has Josh Mandel entered into the most cost effective agreements? A new study finds he may not have. According to the Columbus Dispatch...

"Ohio’s public pension funds could be losing millions of dollars a year because of a little-known arrangement that allows the state treasurer to pick where their money is deposited and what bank fees the funds must pay.

A study last month showed that the obscure law might be costing the School Employees Retirement System more than $900,000 a year."

Yikes!

And that's just one retirement system. The potential for losses only gets worse. You can read about it here...
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/06/02/does-law-hike-p...

Freedom Ohio Shoots for 2014 Ballot

It's coming. You know it's coming. I know it's coming. The Ohio Democratic Party, which already endorsed it, knows it's coming. It's almost certain that thrice-married self-admitted porn addict Phil Burress of Cincinnati's Citizens for Community Values knows it's coming, and he's probably curled up in a ball in his closet whimpering.

We're talking about marriage equality.

Today the Freedom Ohio campaign put out a press release stating clearly they are going for 2014, not this year.

We have decided to be on the ballot in 2014 to allow for a continuing dialogue with voters across Ohio about why marriage matters. We will continue to build upon the hundreds of thousands of conversations we’ve had already, to identify supportive voters, and to raise the resources necessary to mobilize a full-on campaign.”

“We are also excited to announce that the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Ohio, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, National Freedom to Marry, the Gill Action Fund, the American Unity Fund and the BISC met today and discussed how to become involved in the campaign to bring marriage equality to Ohio in 2014.

This is super good news.

Previously there had been some tension between the snowballing grassroots movement Freedom Ohio and the "big boys" at the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Ohio, who tend to like to err on the side of caution. They had been saying that Ohio should be further down the list of states to prioritize because it has not yet passed a housing and jobs non-discrimination act, and because marriage equality was not polling high enough to guarantee victory.

Freedom Ohio has been saying, let's just do it — the energy and momentum is there.

This will place marriage equality on the ballot for the 2014. And undoubtedly some cowering doomster Democrats think this will kneecap our chances of winning the governorship (Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald is on board) and other statewide offices.

Yet Another Secrecy Scam to Steal Tax Dollars From Our Legislature

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130604/NEWS010801/306040159?nclick_...

Local governments could discuss economic development in secret under a change to the Ohio Senate’s latest version of the 2013-2015 budget.

The amendment, unveiled Tuesday in the Senate Finance Committee, would create an exception to the Open Meetings Law: Governing bodies could call closed sessions to discuss businesses’ requests for tax breaks.

Look: this is very simple. Businesses exist to make a profit, to enrich themselves. As we have seen, many of them are not particular about skirting ethics and legality to do so.

That's bad enough when their own money is all that's at stake. When tax dollars are involved, there should NEVER be secrecy and closed doors. And if these businesses are concerned about their privacy, a fear expressed by a representative of the Greater Cleveland Partnership in the hearings on the JobsOhio audit bill, then they should not take tax money.

Claiming that businesses should be coddled like this because of "job creation" is bunk. Most businesses will go out of their way to NOT create jobs if they can avoid the expense. We've already seen that with a couple of genius Kasich's big tax giveaways to businesses that then shed jobs.

Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association, told the CIncinnati Enquirer, "We learn again and again and again, unfortunately, that when things are secret, bad things can happen."

That's the understatement of the year.

Kasich Gives Corruption the Green Light

Yesterday Governor Kasich signed the bill that was rushed through the legislature last week prohibiting the state auditor from examining the books of JobsOhio — hardly unexpected since this bill was mostly likely at his request. With the stroke of a pen, he's turned tax money into his own private slush fund.

bhttp://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/06/05/bill-signed-to-close-jobsohios-books.html

The bill ensures that the $100 million a year JobsOhio will be getting from a lease of state wholesale liquor profits is considered private money and cannot be audited by Yost. The funds will undergo an audit by a private firm.

According to the Dispatch article, progressive advocacy group ProgressiveOhio and some Democratic legislators are suing to prevent this "investment." The arrogant and off-topic response from Kasich's spokesman: "ProgressOhio and the secret donors who fund it are fundamentally opposed to bringing innovation to job creation in this state.”

We won't even get into the "secret donors" who put people like Kasich into office — but ProgressOhio is not getting its mitts on $100 million of tax money and refusing to account for its spending. Its "private donors" are just as entitled to privacy as the Koch brothers.

And JobsOhio has not been shown to be "bringing innovation to job creation in this state." As far as anyone can tell — and they've muddied the record on this too — JobsOhio has brought next to nothing in the way of job creation to Ohio, unless you're counting more jobs for Kasich's cronies.

The Dispatch's Joe Hallett wrote a column about this over the weekend that began "I can't shake this premonition that JobsOhio is a scandal waiting to happen." DUH.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2013/06/02/1-jobsohio...

Study finds Cancer Patients twice as likely to go bankrupt

Via ThinkProgress this is sad...

"Cancer patients are much more likely to go bankrupt than Americans who aren’t faced with a cancer diagnosis, a new study finds. Even the Americans who have access to health insurance aren’t necessarily safe from bankruptcy, since the high cost of treating cancer can still put an untenable strain their finances."

Even people with health insurance are going bankrupt. It continues...

"Although the study didn’t specifically look at insurance coverage, previous research has demonstrated that the Americans who cite major health issues as the reason they filed for bankruptcy are actually often insured. One 2006 study found that more than 60 percent of bankruptcies in the United States are due to high medical bills, and in those cases, three-quarters of those Americans had insurance when they got sick."

And then there's this...

"That rings true for Janet Literski, 57, who had purchased health insurance as an independent contractor working in sales. When she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008 Literski discovered her insurance covered only part of her surgical costs and none of her diagnostic tests. Then there were co-payments and deductibles. By the time she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years later, she was about $150,000 in medical debt."

The entire article can be found here:
http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/05/16/2022881/cancer-americans-bank...

Boldly Ignoring Ohio Voters, Legislature Moves on More Union-Busting

Protestors gathered in Columbus today as the state House held hearings on two bills — HJR 5 and HB 151 designed to weaken the position of workers and depress wages in Ohio.

HJR 5 would limit private-sector employees' negotiation rights, which currently pale next to the power of employers. And HB 151 is right to work — it would place a constitutional amendment making Ohio a right to work (for less) state on the ballot.

That's pretty nervy. A right to work (for less) campaign would simply awaken the forces that opposed SB 5 in 2009 and remind them why they repealed it with 62% of the vote. It would certainly damage Governor Kasich's re-election chances.

That's why there's a good chance this will not progress to the end. Kasich is already in election mode, pretending he doesn't have opinions or positions on anything. It's very likely he doesn't want to revisit the SB 5 debate when he's campaigning for re-election.

House minority leader Tracy Heard of Columbus released a statement that said,

I sincerely hope that my friends across the aisle heard the millions of Ohioans who stood up and spoke out during senate bill 5, and that this will be the only hearing on these anti-workers’ rights bills. We have watched in other states as so-called ‘right to work’ legislation was quickly and quietly rammed through in the middle of the night, and we will work tirelessly to prevent Gov. Kasich from doing the same thing to Ohio’s working families, in an attempt to appease the extremist right wing.

http://www.ohiohouse.gov/tracy-maxwell-heard/press/leader-heards-stateme...

John Kasich Acolyte, Gordon Gee, to retire

Well, who would have seen this coming. Gordon Gee, the president of The Ohio State University (OSU), announced his retirement after sticking his foot in his mouth. President Gee had made some less than flattering comments about Catholics.

Hmm... imagine that, a Kasich, follower randomly flying off at the mouth. Were does it come from?

When John Kasich first got elected, Gordon Gee ran to embrace him. At some point early on, Gordon Gee had stated he thought John Kasich was the best politician ever. Gee, making millions as the highest paid university president in the nation, stood ready to embrace John Kasich's radical agenda. He was more than happy to look at ways to privatize all of OSU and I'm sure would've tried to monetize the students if John Kasich asked him to. If you followed some Facebook posts of students going there, you'd find some people who were not at all happy with him.

So, Gordon Gee is retiring, and I'm sure many are thankful. I'm sure if Gordon Gee wants, John Kasich can bail him out and find something for him to do. Gee is already on the JobsOhio board ,and I'm sure must be thrilled with their secrecy-is-the-only-way-we-do-things policy.

Making Change at WalMart: Protesting for decent wages and benefits

Previously, we had written about plans by past and present WalMart workers to gather at the world headquarters and protest for decent wages and benefits. The protest is to take place at WalMart's annual meeting, which is June 7. For the past two days protesters have been arriving and it looks like things are in place for a good peaceful demonstration. OUR WalMart (Organization United for Respect WalMart) an organization that is backed by the UFCW has been documenting the gathering. They write...

"What a week! After an action-packed journey, the six Ride for Respect caravans all arrived safely in Bentonville, Arkansas over the weekend. But the buses of #Walmartstrikers were not about to sit around until Friday, when Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting will take place–that’s for sure!

Yesterday morning, a group of 200 OUR Walmart members and supporters marched through the misty dawn to Walmart’s Home Office, and arrived just as the employees at the headquarters were filing into work. Quietly, the throngs of green shirts spread out in front of Home Office–many in the crowd had tape-covered mouths with “ULP strike” written across, symbolic of how many of the workers had been silenced by Walmart when speaking out on the job."

They also offer this real-life testimonial from a WalMart employee, Esmeralda Uvalle...

"I’ve worked at Walmart store number 2596 in Mount Vernon, WA as a cashier for 10 years. I make 12.70/hr, and have to live paycheck to paycheck. I find it hard to support my family, and even as a full-time Walmart associate, I’m still unable to afford health insurance for two my teenagers."

Ms. Uvalle, describes working conditions...

Jon Husted for Governor!

In reading some right-wing blogs it's become clear: John Kasich, is disappointing his base. His push for expanding Medicare via Obamacare goes against their brainwashing. It's bad, it's evil - - it's some ploy by Satan - - people shouldn't have affordable health care in the richest county in the world: that's communist radical Islamic thinking. Whatever.

So the right-wingers are looking for a new hero in Ohio. And based on comments I've seen, it seems to be: Jon Husted.

Alright! We're onboard with that.

Come on Jon Husted, you know you want to run. God's calling you. Kasich is weak. Go Rogue, like Sarah Palin. Who knows, maybe she'll come here and stump for you.

And you know John Kasich doesn't respect you. Everyone knows he thinks you're a little twirp. It's no secret in Ohio politics.

Are you going to take that? Or are you going to be a man and earn back some respect you've lost? Come on Jon, primary Kasich. We'll even donate to the challenge.

Andy Borowitz Ridicules the Shame of Cleveland Heights

I guess y'all know that my favorite satirist is that one-man Onion, Andy Borowitz. If you don't subscribe to his column, which appears in the New Yorker, you should. They'll send it directly to your email box.

Today he mocked arsonist/car thief/Cleveland Heights High School dropout, California Congressman Darrell Issa (R- of course), and his endless, baseless hearings into something or another he imagines President Obama is guilty of.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/06/issa-demand...

"ISSA DEMANDS HEARINGS INTO WHY NO ONE LISTENS TO HIM"

He said that he first became aware that people might not be listening to him when he read a recent poll indicating that Americans’ primary concerns are jobs and the economy.

“Anyone in his right mind would know that this nation’s No. 1 problem right now is Benghazi talking points,” he said.

The California congressman said that he also intended “to investigate the chain of events that have led to people changing the channel the moment they see my face.”

“There is a consensus out there that I am an odious, self-serving tool who uses congressional hearings to advance my own petty political agenda,” he said. “I think it’s important to know who created that impression.”

Well, I think we can answer that!

Go click on the article, and then sign up to get all his columns. His recent takedowns of Scalia have been brilliant. You don't want to miss his next one!

John Kasich seems to say, you can never retire

John Kasich apparently gave a speech to the Ohio AARP. It was covered by the Plain Dealer and based on their writing nothing he said made sense or seemed connected with reality. I think a very real headline for the article could have been: Theocratic Nutcase Spends Time Blurting Out Whatever Comes Into His Head. Seriously.

According to their report he started with...

"""We want to be able to communicate to all of our seniors that you can be such a great participant in improving our culture, for everyone,""

He never really says how he thinks seniors can kept participating in society. One would think that he was talking about volunteerism, but as the speech goes on it sounds like what he's really getting at is that you can never retire. Of course with the Plain Dealer (or Pain Dealer), reporting the reporter doesn't see the vagueness, so we never get a clarification, just a transition to this...

""We want to . . . convince our seniors to fight to be healthy,"" Kasich said."

And then Kasich rolls out this...

"And the state, he said, has a role in encouraging health and fitness to promote a healthier work force, better manage health costs and give people roles in society."

What?!!!

Doesn't this go against every bit of the Republican's "nanny-state" stay out of my life babble?

"better manage health costs"?

Like Obamacare? Universal health care coverage?

"give people roles in society"?

Does this guy know who he is or what party he belongs to?

And then there's this from his director at the Ohio Department of Aging, Bonnie Kantor-Burman...

"The view used to be "as we get older, we get frail," Kantor-Burman said. "Now we know that's not happening."

Innovation Ohio tracks changes the Ohio Senate makes to budget

Innovation Ohio (a Columbus based think tank) highlighted changes the Ohio Senate made to the budget last week. Some of it was reported in news outlets and some people might have gotten e-mails from activists organizations about it. The Ohio Senate included a misguided provision that would defund Planned Parenthood. Innovation Ohio did a nice wrap up of everything though making some good highlights. They reported...

"After weeks of deliberation, the Senate Finance Committee accepted the newest version of the state budget, on Monday. Highlights included:
◾Senate Republicans decided to swap the 7 percent income tax cut that House Republicans had inserted for Gov. Kasich’s original small business tax exclusions;
◾Gov. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion was not included but Republican leaders said standalone legislation could be introduced soon;
◾Republicans punted on changes to the school funding formula and plan to introduced their recommendations as an amendment to the bill next week;
◾The Senate dumped the contentious provision requiring universities to charge in-state tuition to out-of-state students who receive documents for proof of residency when registering to vote;
◾And, Republican leaders kept in language that effectively denies funding to Planned Parenthood here in Ohio."

They gave special attention to...

"The most noteworthy change is the decision to bring back Gov. Kasich’s small business tax cut. Originally touted as a job creation effort, the provision creates a new 50 percent income tax deduction on up to $750,000 of income for individuals who receive business income and who are a sole proprietor or a pass-through entity. Many of these individuals are lawyers, hedge-fund managers, or “passive investors” who have no say in the hiring decisions of the companies they invest in."

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