From the monthly archives: September 2013

On Saturday The Columbus Dispatch published part of an interview with Gary Mohr related to the two recent, high-profile suicides in Ohio’s prisons, including the death of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro on September 3rd.   Mohr, John Kasich’s prisons director,  told the paper that he did not think all suicides could be prevented in Ohio’s prisons and that overcrowding and understaffing likely had nothing to do with the recent suicides.

“Would more staff have prevented it?”, Mohr asked rhetorically. “I don’t believe that’s the cause for the loss of life.”

While it’s still unclear what, if anything specific, is to [...]

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Tomorrow is the first day of open enrollment in Ohio’s health insurance exchange at www.healthcare.gov. Even if the government shuts down tonight, Obamacare will still be fully funded (it’s a law, it’s not part of the discretionary budget) and the exchanges will be fully functional.

Well, largely functional. Here’s what to do, and then what to watch out for.

What To Do

Like I said, just go to www.healthcare.gov and provide the required information. It’s basically address/income/age type of stuff. You won’t have to give a health history.

You’ll get a list of health care plans that [...]

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Kasich Spokesman Rob Nichols is well known for giving obnoxious quotes to reporters, like the time he accused State Rep. Debbie Phillips of wanting everyone in Ohio to live “on a collective farm cooking organic quinoa over a dung fire” when she questioned the Governor’s involvement in removing an Ohio EPA employee who tried to protect Ohio’s waterways from excessive polluting by the coal industry.

It turns out Nichols is just as obnoxious in his private communications.

According to The Examiner’s John Michael Spinelli, Nichols sent him a late night email threatening to take away his access to the [...]

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A yet-to-be-published poll by an anonymous survey firm reports that a majority of desperate Americans wants the United States to secede from Texas. Although it will prevent the Dallas Cowboys from ever again being called “America’s Team”, people now feel secession would be the only way to stop Ted Cruz from seeking the presidency – a welcome trade-off that is driving the secessionist mood.

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Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder showed up at the annual Medina County Republican  ice cream social last week – and  let me be the first to say there is nothing untoward about a political leader casually spending  Sunday afternoon schmoozing with his Republican friends and contributors.

But according to the Medina Gazette,  his hometown paper, he didn’t let the opportunity pass without damning President Obama on count after count, hitting more of his constituents’ sweet spots than a triple dip chocolate sundae.  (The paper reported  60 of the party’s disciples were there to greet him,which seems like a spare number in [...]

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In August 2011 the Toledo Blade reported that Josh Mandel’s senate campaign had received over $100,000 in questionable donations from Ben Suarez and his wife, along with employees of Suarez’s company.  A PAC associated with Mandel also received $30,000 from the Suarez’s

By late May, almost 10 months after finding out the money was tainted, and with the FBI now investigating Suarez, Mandel reluctantly returned the $100K.

Saurez was finally indicted this week on nine counts including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws and witness tampering.

And suddenly – over two years after [...]

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According to the website for Ohio’s Joint Legislative Ethics Committee (JLEC), there are 465 active lobbyist registrations related to JobsOhio, Kasich’s secretive, public-private development organization.  Kasich’s long time friend Don Thibaut is personally registered to lobby JobsOhio for 9 different organizations.

Which leaves me scratching my head.

If JobsOhio really is a completely private organization, as the Kasich administration claims, then why do lobbyists have to register with a state ethics group in order to communicate with the organization on behalf of their clients?

Don’t get me wrong, given the amount of money we’re giving JobsOhio – $6+ Billion in public [...]

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Good news, so-so news, bad news, and a path forward.

The good news is that Obamacare’s base premiums are 16% below projections. That means that the Congressional Budget Office, when it has estimated the federal cost of the program, has been overestimating the expenditures.

The HHS report at the link is a sign that Obamacare will likely reduce the federal deficit far more than originally thought.

The so-so news is that these federal savings don’t translate into consumer savings. 88% of the currently uninsured will qualify for premium support or Medicaid; only 12% of people will pay the [...]

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In a victory for the city and the state, Pure Romance has announced that they will move forward with a relocation to downtown Cincinnati, despite being rejected for tax credits by a prudish Kasich administration.

The company has outgrown their suburban warehouse facilities and is looking to expand operations. They were initially approved for $108,000 in incentives from Ohio to match $353,000 from Cincinnati, but JobsOhio nixed the deal when they found out that Pure Romance markets relationship enhancements to women.

The new management positions, according to the Enquirer, will pay 41% more than the average job [...]

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Reacting to a Harper’s Index report that 58 pct. of the cats in America are overweight (Honest!), Republican leaders are urging their plump elected officials to avoid contact with their fat-cat contributors at fancy eateries until the potential image crises blows over. Explained one hefty county chairman, “It won’t look right if we are seen stuffing ourselves at the better restaurants with our big contributors while we are at the same time cutting food stamps.”

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We reported back in May that the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB), under pressure from the Kasich Administration, was planning to implement tighter security at the Ohio Statehouse – including screens of almost every very visitor with security wands prior to entering the building.

The security wand initiative was presented as a compromise to an earlier proposal by Kasich to install metal detectors at every statehouse entrance.   Kasich’s proposal came shortly after he tried to lock large crowds of protesters out of the Ohio Statehouse during an anti-Senate Bill 5 rally.

Under [...]

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