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Watergate on the Olentangy!

The next time you're in a conversation about how worthless and biased most newspapers are and how we'd be better off without them (believe me, I have this conversation all the time), and someone says "But how will we stay informed if we didn't have newspapers? Blogs can't do the same job!," show them this:

This is from Ohio progressive political blog Plunderbund. It's a story that ought to change the course of the governor's race — and it would if A. the party hurt by the story wasn't the Republican, and B. if the willingness of the two biggest state newspapers to be errand boys for illicitly acquired information wasn't a major part of the story so they won't cover it.

If it were a Democrat, this would be the front page for two weeks, and his campaign would be done. But the newspapers are working so hard to reelect Kasich that his campaign should declare their coverage a donation in kind. Now we're seeing there's an even more direct and corrupt link.

Read the story, but let me give you a little background first.

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I thought I'd take a break from reading all the diaries that are convincing me that today's Republican Party is some kind of weird performance art, and share some photos from this afternoon's Cleveland stop of the "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds" bus tour.

About 150 people of all ages — mostly girls and women — awaited the arrival of the bus from Columbus, while our congresswoman, the estimable Marcia Fudge (in the red jacket), got some line dancing going.


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Ohio's next governor Ed FitzGerald supports women as well as labor.

Too often, we repeat like a mantra that voters have “short memories.”

Here in Ohio many Democrats have inexplicably adopted the position that negatives-laden governor John Kasich is a shoo-in for re-election, giving up before even fighting.

They insist that his contentious union-busting SB 5, which was repealed by a better than 60-40 margin in November 2011, will be long forgotten by next November — is in fact already ancient history to voters.

Apparently not to voters in Toledo, where a nonpartisan primary process put both Democrats out of the finals, pitting incumbent Mayor Michael Bell against city councilman Michael Collins, both independents.

Well, in the case of Bell, that should be “independent.” During the SB 5 repeal campaign, Bell snuggled up to Governor Kasich, insisting that the new law would give local governments more options to keep workers on the job — by cutting their pay and benefits without their input. In return, Republicans backed Bell.

The labor-friendly Collins won a 57-43 race, with strong backing from the Ohio Democratic Party. According to the Toledo Blade, Collins spent election night “celebrating with supporters at the Teamsters Local 20 hall in South Toledo.”

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Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 07:14 PM PDT

Ohio Destroys Women's Rights

by anastasia p

Alas, there was no Wendy Davis to save us. Our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, has until midnight to sign the "budget" bill HB 59. He has now signed it.

Women across the state (and many men) were bombarding his office with phone calls, pleading with him to line-item veto a series of extremist anti-choice provisions that had no business being in the "budget" bill to begin with.

He ignored them and did not do so.

It was probably a bit much to expect since he has put anti-choice zealots in key roles in health agencies, including the head of Right to Life Ohio. Now he can puff himself up and pompously claim to the hardcore base that he has save thousands of babies from being killed.

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Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 09:39 AM PDT

"A Festering Turd"

by anastasia p

The brave stand Wendy Davis made in the Texas legislature Tuesday night against that state’s assault on women was epic and understandably attracted lots of attention.

But that same day, Republican legislators here in Ohio, who had already stuffed the biennial budget bill for 2014-2015 with attacks on women’s health and reproductive freedom, snuck in a bunch more anti-choice provisions, putting Ohio on track to be one of the country’s most restrictive states. And it’s all being done on the sly by loading up the "budget" bill with non-budgetary items.

Last night state representative John Patrick Carney from the Columbus area spoke to the Shaker Heights (Cleveland area) Democratic club. He was fresh from the statehouse and the final vote on the bill, HB 59, which he dubbed “a festering turd.”

That’s actually a diplomatic description. It’s one of the most horrific documents this horrific legislature has passed — with Republicans in a supermajority in both chambers, despite Democrats getting more votes for legislature last November.

Here’s the sorry thing if you want to read it:

This article might be a little easier to follow, although there are some minor errors about which provisions appeared when. It’s basically accurate.

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Today in series of events in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Ed FitzGerald made official what has been obvious for a while: he's going to take on Taxin' John Kasich for the governor's office.

He spoke to a packed ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Cleveland before heading off to similar stops in Columbus and Cincinnati, accompanied by his wife and four teenage children.

He was introduced by former longtime congressman Louis Stokes, nearly double his age. (Stokes retired in 1993 and was succeeded first by Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and currently by Marcia Fudge). Stokes' lengthy introduction ran through all the points of Ed's career — including his stints as an FBI agent and prosecutor, his terms as mayor of inner-ring Cleveland suburb Lakewood, and his role as the first county executive, coming in to clean up corrupt on the heels of a widespread scandal.

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Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:31 AM PST

"This Is Not What We Were Told"

by anastasia p

Ohio's governor, Taxin' John Kasich, revealed his new budget proposal this week. It's going over like a lead balloon. It's jam-packed with terrible ideas, revealing precisely why one should never vote in a governor who says they will make their state a test lab for conservative ideology.

Ohioans concerned about equity in education opportunities have been complaining for years that nothing has been done to fix the state's education funding formula, which was declared unconstitutional in 1997 by the Ohio Supreme Court in the DeRolph case and several times since.

We are coming up fast on the 16th anniversary of DeRolph. Now Taxin' John pretends to address the issue in his new budget. When news started to leak out last week, he earned some kudos. When details came out this week, he ... didn't.

This morning's edition of the right-wing Columbus Dispatch features a story headlined "Kasich's Funding Plans Draw Complaints From School Leaders: "This is not what we were told."

Yes, the story actually is in the Dispatch! That's how unfavorable the reaction to Kasich's plan is. Could their infatuation with him be nearing an end?

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There has been a lot of discussion here about the scheme being floated by Republicans to change the way electoral votes are allocated, distributing them by congressional districts — but only a swing states where congressional districts are heavily gerrymandered to favor the GOP. It has gotten a lot of attention, and that's good. Virginia Republicans are backing away. So did Ohio's secretary of voter suppress ... I mean STATE ... Jon Husted last November, after his mention of it at a post-election forum got unfavorable attention.

But did you know that one of the key players is a name that should be familiar to anyone who has followed the sordid history of election rigging and voter suppression schemes in this country in the last decade? Someone who should be in prison for his role in the re-election of George W. Bush and not running around loose promoting a system of doling out electoral votes that could elect a Republican who lost the popular vote in a landslide?

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Remember this?


That's the first of a slew of billboards erected in poor and minority neighborhoods in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and cities in other key swing states, courtesy of an anonymous coward who thinks poor minority folks should be scared out of voting.

Tonight the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Clear Channel has agreed to remove 30 such billboards across the Cleveland area, claiming they were put up in error.

Clear Channel had said it could not remove them because its client, a private, out-of-state family foundation, has a contract that keeps them in place through Nov. 6, Election Day. The contract also has a clause keeping the name of the family foundation anonymous.

The company has said it has a policy against putting anonymous political messages on its billboard and that it erred in agreeing to that contract.Well, that's sort of weasely, but at least they are taking them down.

These intimidating billboards were put up in neighborhoods where less educated and informed voters might believe that many innocent errors could constitute "voter fraud." Maybe they feel they just don't need more grief in their lives so they abstain from voting.  And Republicans have ginned up so much spin around "voter fraud" that anyone could be confused about what it is.

It's extremely rare, although it does exist. Here's an example:

Yes, more proven cases have voter fraud have been committed by Republican elected officials than by inner-city voters.

This is even better news:

Opponents had already negotiated with Clear Channel to have the company donate use of 10 billboards that will be visible Monday and carry the message "Voting Is a Right. Not a Crime!" Cleveland City Council will pay for five more to carry the same message.
Thanks have to go out to Phyllis Cleveland, the councilwoman for Ward 5, Cleveland's Central neighborhood, where the first of thew Cleveland billboards appeared. It was her picture that attracted national attention from groups like Color of Change, which launched a petition drive. She's the woman standing in front of the billboard in a widely distributed photo. She undoubtedly had a hand in stirring her colleagues into action.

Thanks, Phyllis!


Here's Phyllis at an event at our church's urban farm, which is in her ward. She's been a great supporter of us as well.


While Ohio continues its battle over the shrinkage of in-person early voting opportunities, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has released a study with hard numbers showing who is overwhelmingly disadvantaged by limiting such opportunities. You won’t be surprised to find out who it is.

The group, self-described as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity,” titles its study “Early Voting Patterns by Race in Cuyahoga County, Ohio: A statistical analysis of the 2008 general election.” Cuyahoga, where I live, is the greater Cleveland area.

Here’s their won’t-make-you-faint-from-surprise conclusion:

The results described in Section IV provide empirical evidence that African Americans have utilized at least one form of early voting at much higher rates than white voters. Specifically, relative to whites, African American voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio disproportionately voted early in person during the 2008 General election.
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Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:06 AM PDT

The Women From Ohio

by anastasia p

As many have pointed out, we can’t be content just to work on keeping the presidency out of the grasping hands of cinder-hearted Mitt Romney, who thinks half of Americans aren’t worthy to be served by the government and that government should be of, by and for rich people alone. We also have to keep the Senate and work like maniacs to try to reassert control of the House.

We’ve got a batch of races in Ohio that offer a lot of promise on that score, despite the damage that Republican redistricters did, carving out four Democratic districts and 12 Republican ones in a 50/50 state.

But in order to do so, they made moves that made some incumbents less secure. And a group of determined, dynamic women has stepped up to take the fight to these incumbents.

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Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:21 PM PDT

Labor Day in Cleveland

by anastasia p

Well over 30 years ago (I'm unsure of the exact number), Congressman Louis Stokes, who was representing a swath of the East Side of Cleveland then known as the 21st district, started the tradition of the annual Labor Day Parade and Picnic. It was the largest annual public event in Northeast Ohio's black community.

The tradition was carried on by his successor, the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who sadly died suddenly of an aneurysm in August 2008 at age 58. (Stokes returned to host the event that year as we were without a congressperson.) Now the tradition is being carried on by her successor, our estimable congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who today called what is now the 11th congressional district "the greatest congressional district in the country." Considering the overwhelming number of progressive Democrats and the inability of Republicans to dismantle the district because there are just too many black people and they will not vote Republican, she could be right.

Today's parade was an enormous one, featuring delegations from virtually every union you've heard of (and maybe a few you haven't), local businesses, social service groups, schools, churches, drill teams, high school bands, black fraternities and sororities (Fudge herself was once president of Delta Sigma Theta) and of course officeholders and candidates. They walked a lengthy route lined with enthusiastic people in Obama gear — way more than four years ago.

Below I've posted some photos just for the fun of it and because I took 600 of the darn things.

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