Friday, March 20, 2009

Best News I've Heard All Day: Capt. 36% Endorses Portman

Maybe Portman will get 36% of the vote, too. From OPENERS:

Republican former Ohio Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell endorsed Rob Portman for U.S. Senate today.
The former Cincinnati congressman and Bush administration official "is a principled and experienced leader with a solid conservative record," said Blackwell. "He has been a strong voice for sound fiscal policy, and we need him in the U.S. Senate in these tumultuous economic times."

Jimmy Dimora Plans to Run for Re-Election?

Ha ha ha ha. Haaaaa! You're kidding right?

The Professor over at Political Science 216 has the scoop
Dimora’s “reasoning” goes like this, say sources – Cuyahoga County will never elect any Republican County wide, no big name Democrat will challenge him in the primary, the FBI won’t be done with its investigation anytime soon, people have short memories, and hell, the Plain Dealer might not even exist by then.
Personally, I can't believe that there isn't a single Demcorat in Cuyahoga County that wouldn't want to challenge the FBI-agent dodging Jimmy Dimora. Under his leadership, Cuyahoga County has lost 110,000 residents since 2000, Metro Cleveland has had the third worst population loss of any city in the country, and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. And there won't be, until we can see the end of Dimora. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blue Ohio Blog Now on Twitter

Blue Ohio Blog posts are now being fed on Twitter. Just follow "blueohioblog" to receive my posts on Twitter.

Quiet Bunch Today

Okay, so in the Ohio leftysphere right now, you have:
  • Anthony from Ohio Daily Blog on jury duty
  • Tim from BI has a new job (congrats)
  • Eric from Plunderbund is on the couch watching the start of March Madness
  • Clips and Comment has disappeared, and
  • Jill from WLST is currently on a doctor prescribed blogging break
This makes for a very, very quiet day on the Ohio leftysphere, and it shows in the last of activity in my inbox and RSS readers. This is despite three big pieces of news today:
  • The release of the U.S. Census Buearu's population estimates as of July 1, 2008 show that the five-county Cleveland metro area has lost 60,000 or so residents since the start of the decade, that being the 3rd worst population loss of any metro area in the country. Only New Orleans and Pittsburgh have fared worse. Three other Ohio metros made the top 10 list in terms of population loss: Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown. Good news? Columbus is still growing like gangbusters.
  • Marc Dann was found guilty by the Ohio Elections Commission today of misusing campaign funds for personal use. He was fined $1,000 for each violation and his campaign fund will have to pay a $2,000 fine.
  • Steve LaTourette disgraced Ohioans everywhere with his inappropriate speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives describing anal sphincters. Seriously, Steve. You're in the homophobic party, remember?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Whoa! Obama Won OH-15 by 9, OH-12 by 7

Thanks to this article over at the Swing State Project, we finally have a breakdown of the 2008 Presidential vote by congressional district, and it reveals some surprising facts.

The most surprising, in my opinion? President Obama won the Ohio 15th, in which Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy eked out a victory that wasn't decided until at least a month after the election, by 9 points, 54-45. In the neighboring Ohio 12th, in which first-timer David Robinson had a respectable showing against entrenched incumbent GOPer Pat Tiberi, Obama won by 7 points, 53-46.

Here is the full list:

District Vote Split Winner
Ohio 1st (Driehaus) 55-44 Obama
Ohio 2nd (Schmidt) 40-59 McCain
Ohio 3rd (Turner) 47-51 McCain
Ohio 4th (Jordan) 38-60 McCain
Ohio 5th (Latta) 45-53 McCain
Ohio 6th (Wilson) 48-50 McCain
Ohio 7th (Austria) 45-54 McCain
Ohio 8th (Boehner) 38-60 McCain
Ohio 9th (Kaptur) 62-36 Obama
Ohio 10th (Kucinich) 59-39 Obama
Ohio 11th (Fudge) 85-14 Obama
Ohio 12th (Tiberi) 53-46 Obama
Ohio 13th (Sutton) 57-42 Obama
Ohio 14th (LaTourette) 49-49 TIE
Ohio 15th (Kilroy) 54-45 Obama
Ohio 16th (Boccieri) 48-50 McCain
Ohio 17th (Ryan) 62-36 Obama
Ohio 18th (Space) 45-52 McCain

So, what can we learn from this? There seems to be an awful lot of people in and around Columbus who voted for President Obama but still voted for a GOPer for Congress. We need to go out and find those people and get them to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket. If we do that, then Mary Jo should have no problem holding on to her seat, and can put into play some State Senate seats that the GOPers currently have locked down.

Ted Strickland on Lou Dobbs Last Night

Watching this interview of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight last night, I thought our governor acquitted himself well. Lou Dobbs seemed to be generally positive about the governor and about Ohio. And then I saw that the screen was referring to Gov. Strickland as (R-Ohio). Was Dobbs nice to Strickland because he thought he was a Republican? Or was the fact that Dobbs was nice to Strickland enough to make Dobbs' staff think he was a Republican? Interesting either way. 

Passenger Rail Survives in GOP Transportation Bill; Let's Pass It

The GOP controlled Ohio Senate has passed its version of the Transportation bill that came over from the House. After my analysis of it, I'm glad to see that the signature provision of the bill -- applying for federal stimulus money to start up a passenger rail service between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati -- survived. 

The GOP made some other changes to the bill. Surprisingly, I liked most of them. The changes include:
  • Scraping Ohio's split speed limits and allowing trucks and school buses to also go 65 MPH statewide just like they can on the Ohio Turnpike.
  • Requires that at least $15 million in stimulus money be spent in each of ODOT's 12 districts.
  • Scraping a plan to allow speed cameras to be placed in construction zones.
  • Removing a provision that would have allowed police to pull over motorists for no other reason than that they aren't wearing a seat belt.
Let's pass this puppy. After having to make a down and back on I-71 last night to attend OYD's St. Patrick's Day fundraiser, I'm more gung ho then I was before about 3-C passenger rail.

Quinnipiac Poll: Obama Approval Rating in Ohio at 57 Percent

In a poll released this morning, Quinnipiac University finds that President Barack Obama has a 57 percent approval rating in Ohio with 33 percent disapproving roughly two months into his term in office.

These numbers are down from last month, where Quinnipiac found a 67-16 approval rating. A lot of the movement has come from self-described Republicans, who last month disapproved 31-42 but this month disapprove 22-68. IMO, this is to be expected as the honeymoon period wears off and President Obama begins rolling out an agenda not exactly calculated to please GOPers.

One of the items on that agenda is President Obama's $75 billion mortgage rescue plan. In a development I consider stunning, 63 percent of Ohioans say the plan is unfair to those who make their payments on time, but 55 percent of Ohioans support the plan anyway because they think its necessary to stablize the housing market. 

In the red-hot race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by George Voinovich in 2010, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher leads former Bush Administration official Rob Portman 41-33, and Auditor of State Mary Taylor 41-31 in hypothetical matchups. In a Democratic Primary, Fisher takes 18 percent to 14 percent for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, 12 percent for Rep. Tim Ryan, 10 percent to all other candidates and 46 percent undecided. 

More Quinnpiac analysis later. For now, read the full poll results yourself here.


Wither Clips and Comment?

Wow, has Ohio's lefty blogosphere lost another blog? During my morning tour of the blogosphere, I noticed that Clips and Comment is appears to be down, replaced by an art piece with the words "bye bye" on it. You can follow the link over on the right to see for yourself. 

Hopefully Pelikan is just on a temprorary break. Maybe he's moving elsewhere? We'll have to find out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Work Memo: Bigger Paycheck Thanks to Obama

Just received a memo from corporate HR that our take home pay would be increasing thanks to the tax cuts that were included in the Stimulus Bill. You never seem to hear GOPers talk about how the stimulus bill was basically the largest tax cut in history. Since my company is on a salary freeze right now, this is likely to be the only increase in pay I'm going to see this year. So, I'll take it!

PS Apparently Modern's firm sent out the same memo.

GOP EPIC FAIL: Palin Doesn't Know About Dinner She's Speaking At!

EPIC FAIL. That's all I can say. From Political Wire:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) spokesman said that congressional Republicans "were mistaken" in announcing the governor would headline the biggest Republican fundraiser of the year, reports the Anchorage Daily News.

The governor's office said Palin has not even confirmed she would be attending the event. 

Said spokesman Bill McAllister: "I communicated with the governor directly and she did not know anything about it."

Monday, March 16, 2009

AIG Bonus Money: Don't We Own These F---ers?

Here's what I just can't figure.

I may have some of the details wrong because I was working out on the West Coast when this whole thing went down (anyone remember Late Night from the Left Coast on BSB?), but it was my understanding that in exchange for the massive federal bailout of AIG, the federal government took 80% ownership in this enterprise. 

Which leads me to this question: don't we own these f---ers? And if we own then, it really ought to be a simple exercise to prevent the payout of the $165 million in bonuses that has the country up in arms. Just call a vote of the board of directors and that should be that. What's the problem here? I just don't get it. 

One more thing. If the reason we had to bailout AIG instead of letting them go kaput is because they were "too big to fail" without causing massive damage to our economy, then why isn't the government trying to break up not only AIG, but other firms that are "too big to fail?"

What to Expect Here

Those of you familiar with my writing from the 11 months or so I spent co-editing BSB with Dave Potts will see some changes now that I've moved over to running my own blog. BSB is more of a community site, a la Daily Kos, whereas Blue Ohio will be modeled on Nate Silver's, with in depth deep dives into certain issues important in Ohio as well as coverage of certain political events. 

You can expect less frequent posting, but longer posts. You can expect a handful of front page contributors. You can expect me to be out and about using my camera and Flip video device. And, I hope you'll visit frequently!

Still Time to Submit A Question Over at BSB

There is still time to submit a question to Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher over at BSB this afternoon.

Mea Culpa

Well, welcome everyone to Blue Ohio Blog. Today is the re-launch of Blue Ohio after about 18 months of dormancy, but given the circumstances surrounding the re-launch I feel its appropriate to start off with an apology. I'm even borrowing the puppy picture that David used over at BSB to do it.

It has become clear to me that in the circumstances surrounding my interview of Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, I had misplaced my priorities. My priorities should have been with Modern, David, all the other BSB front pagers, as well as Buckeye State's valued readers. Instead, they were with the Fisher campaign. I allowed them too much control over all facets of the interview. For that, I apologzie. It won't happen again. 

Quinnipiac Poll Coming Tomorrow

Just received a press release from Quinnipiac University saying that they are releasing a new poll on the Ohio Governor's race tomorrow morning at 10 AM. Stay tuned for results.

What We Should Have Been Blogging About Last Week, Part I

Last week while the whole mess was going down, State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, who deserves a "nick"name of some sort that I haven't determined yet, flew under the radar to propose apportionment board reform. (H/T WMD)

Coughlin Set to Propose Apportionment Board Reform

COLUMBUS-State Senator Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls) will introduce legislation next week that seeks to bring more balance and fairness to the state's method for redrawing legislative districts.
The resolution, jointly sponsored by Senator Gary Cates (R-West Chester), would amend the Ohio Constitution to change the membership of the apportionment board to the Governor, the Auditor of State, the Secretary of State, the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, the House Minority Leader, the Ohio Senate President and the Minority Leader of the Senate.
Currently, the membership on the board includes the Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, a person chosen by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, who is a member of the Speaker's political party, and a person chosen by legislative leaders in the minority party. The board meets every 10 years to redraw districts after U.S. Census figures are released.
Coughlin's resolution would increase membership on the apportionment board to seven and require that five or more members agree to the district lines.
"This is a practical solution to the ongoing debate about redistricting in Ohio," said Coughlin. "This critical decision should be made by those who were elected by the people as part of a fair and balanced process."
Sen. Coughlin will detail the proposal next week be available to answer questions.

Let’s review. The GOP controlled Ohio’s governor’s mansion from 1990 until 2006. The GOP completely controlled all facets of our state government from 1994 to 2006. And they did absolutely nothing during that time to reform redistricting. Why? Because they liked how the process gave them complete control to draw the lines. Now, however, faced with the prospect of Democratic control of the apportionment board, all of a sudden reforming the apportionment board is a priority.

I can’t believe we let these guys get off the hook last week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ron Silver Passes Away

Ron Silver, better known as Bruno Gianelli to those of us who are fans of the West Wing, has passed away tonight from cancer at the age of 62. Silver was a life long Democrat who became a hard-core GOPer after the September 11th terrorist attacks on his hometown, but seemed to swing back to Democratic side of the fence during the 2008 election cycle.

Here is one of his most memorable moments from the West Wing. RIP, Ron Silver