Friday, May 31, 2013

How many gun buybacks does it take to 'end gun violence'?

No - the headline is not an intro to a joke, but it might as well be.

photo from Andy Hoag |
The City of Toledo is holding a gun buy-back program from 10-4 on June 8th. They'll pay $50 for each firearm you turn in, though they'll accept only two handguns per person. They'll also take your ammunition. The money will come from the Toledo Police Department’s law enforcement trust fund.

When it's over, they'll destroy all the weapons they collect.

Why? Why would they destroy any workable firearm in good condition? Couldn't they resell them in one of their forfeited property auctions and make some money - maybe even replenish the fund they're depleting?

Remember Pres. Barack Obama's 'cash for clunkers' program where they paid off people who turned in an old car and bought a new one? The old cars were destroyed and individuals who would have normally purchased a used car had less of an inventory and higher prices. It was an economic and environmental failure, accomplishing none of the things Obama claimed it would.

So is the guy buy-back the same? Will it really do anything to reduce gun violence? Is it likely that a gang member will bring in two weapons they don't like, get $100 and then go buy a more powerful gun? If you were a gang member, wouldn't you?

"Statistically speaking, guy buy-backs don't work," TPD Chief Derrick Diggs told 1370 WSPD news on April 30th.

So why are we doing it? Well, according to the Chief, they're going to do it because it doesn't hurt and their community partners "believe it works."

Clearly - appearances are everything.

Here is the city's press release on the event - note the details about what they will and will not pay for.

City, community partners to hold gun buy back, safety education event

The City of Toledo will partner with community groups from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., June 8, 2013 to offer a gun buy back program at People’s Missionary Baptist Church, 1101 Heston St.

The “no questions asked” program will offer $50 per firearm and accept up to two handguns per person. Weapons must be unloaded and money will only be exchanged for operable firearms. Officials will also accept unwanted ammunition as well as shotguns; rifles; BB guns; starter pistols; pellet guns, and visibly inoperable firearms that citizens wish to properly dispose of, however no payment will be offered for these.

The event will also feature education and prevention programs regarding gun safety. Gun locks will be available at no cost. Community partners will provide information about programs available in the city to reduce violence and provide economic and educational opportunities as an alternative to gangs and violent lifestyles.

Event participants include the Re-entry Coalition of Northwest Ohio; Toledo Police Safe-T-City; City of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods, City of Toledo Youth Services Commission, City of Toledo Board of Community Relations; Toledo Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (T-CIRV); Mayor’s Coalition for Hope, and Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

Funding for the buy back will be provided from the Toledo Police Department’s law enforcement trust fund. The collected firearms will be destroyed by the Toledo Police Department.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Point Place Days Parade and Events

It's that time again - parades, festivals and wonderful events are coming our way this summer. One of the best events is the Point Place Days Parade which takes place Saturday, June 1, at noon along Summit Street in Point Place.

It's part of the kickoff for a month of events celebrating and highlight our great Point-Shoreland community.

The day starts at 7 a.m. with a Pancake Breakfast at the Harbor Light Lodge #746, 3024 131st Street The Placers Car & Truck Show begins at 10 a.m. at Friendship Center, 2930 131st, and runs through the afternoon. The Dress Your Pet Contest and Decorate Your Bike Contest is at 11 a.m. at Messiah Lutheran Church, 4731 N. Summit, and participants are invited to walk in the parade. The American Legion Post #110 opens their chicken barbeque at 11 a.m. and they will do to-go boxes so you can eat while you enjoy the parade...they're at 5110 N. Summit.

On Tuesday, June 11th, the Point Place Library hosts an outdoor concert beginning at 7 p.m. Bring your own chairs or blankets.

The annual Canoe Race and Chicken & Ribs BBQ at Cullen Park is Friday, June 14th from 4-8 p.m. June 14th is also Flag Day, so at 9 p.m. there will be a Flag Ceremony/Lantern Walk from Cullen Park to the Lighthouse. Always a nice way to end the day.

June 22nd is the huge and fun Washington Township Summer Fest from 2 - midnight at Shoreland Park. My favorite event (and by fare one of the best in the entire county) is the Fireworks Display hosted by the Washington Township Fire Department at 10 p.m. They launch the spectaular explosions from the Fred C. Young Bridge which covers the Ottawa River on Summit Street between 131st and Shoreland. Expect heavy volumes of traffic before and after as well as the closure of the bridge.

There are tons of fun things going on all month long, so come on out to the Point and enjoy with us!

To see a complete list of events, times and locations, go here.

Quotes of the Day - Humor and taxes

Actually, taxes really aren't funny, but some funny (ironic - not ha ha) things have been said about taxes and taxation:

"Tax reform is taking the taxes off things that have been taxed in the past and putting taxes on things that haven't been taxed before." ~ Art Buchwald

"Three groups spend other people's money: children, thieves, politicians. All three need supervision." ~ Dick Armey

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Tradition 2013

We moved into our current house in June, 2002. Each Memorial Day since, a small U.S. Flag has been placed in our yard - and in the yard of every house on our street.

Flags line 117th Street in Point Place.

I do not know the name of the man who places them, nor do I know his story, though I would like to. He puts them out early in the morning - early enough that no one is usually awake to see - on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

In 2010, I met him - sort of.

I was in the middle of a project with my hands full when Sam came in and told me that the man who gives us the flag was coming up the street. By the time I got my hands cleaned up and got outside, he was already on the other side of the street (we're the last house on one side) and about 3 houses I called out to him.

Either he didn't hear me - or didn't want to acknowledge me.

As I walked quickly after him and he didn't answer my hails, I wondered if he didn't want be thanked for what he was doing. If maybe my recognition of his act might embarrassment him in some way.

But even as these thoughts were going through my mind, my feet continued in his direction. Despite so many of his generation believing they require no thanks for the service they performed, I believe we owe them a lifetime of gratitude and that any opportunity to say 'thank you' should never go by without those words being said.

So as he placed another flag and I approached, I said, "Excuse me, sir," and he looked up at me. I offered my hand and he grasped it firmly. I was struck by how large and strong his hand was, but how also by how gently he took mine. He was wearing both a hat and shirt with military markings, but all I could see where his eyes. I don't even remember the color, just the fact that they were clear and kind.

I told him that I always wanted to know whom to thank for our flag and now I could do so in person.

He didn't say anything - just nodded and gave my hand an additional squeeze.

Then he turned and began walking back up the street, placing flag after flag...

And still I do not know his name - but I know his heart.

So to our neighbor who does this in honor of those made the ultimate sacrifice, thank you!

We will never forget.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day 2013 - American Military cemeteries around the world

It's Memorial Day weekend and many are starting the holiday early, including me. But it's more than a holiday for eating burgers on the grill - it's a time to reflect upon all that we have and remember those who died to ensure our freedoms and liberties.

I always tear up when I think about brave men and women willingly joining our military services, leaving family and friends and heading off to places unknown because they believe our nation and our way of life is worth defending - with their very lives if necessary.

So I thought I'd share with you some photos of the various military cemeteries around the world where those brave individuals found their final resting place.

The photos and information come from the American Battle Monuments Commission which is an agency within the executive branch of our government. It was established in 1923 to be "the guardian of our nation's overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials."

ABMC administers, operates, and maintains 24 permanent American burial grounds on foreign soil. Presently there are 124,905 U.S. war dead interred at these cemeteries, 30,921 of World War I, 93,234 of World War II and 750 of the Mexican War. Additionally 6,237 American veterans and others are interred in the Mexico City National Cemetery and Corozal American Cemetery.

We will never forget.

Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in France: contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne Valley in the summer of 1918.

Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium: contains the graves of 5,323 of our military dead, many of whom died in the 1944 Ardennes winter offensive (Battle of the Bulge).

Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in France: contains the remains of 4,410 of our war dead, most of whom lost their lives in the Normandy and Brittany Campaigns of 1944.

Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial in England: contains the graves of 468 of our military dead.

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial site in England: contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead; 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing.

Corozal American Cemetery in Panama: contains the remains of 5,424 American veterans and others who contributed to the construction, operation and maintenance of the Panama Canal.

Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France: contains the graves of 5,255 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the campaigns across northeastern France to the Rhine River and beyond into Germany. The cemetery was established in October 1944 by the 46th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the U.S. Seventh Army as it drove northward from southern France through the Rhone Valley into Germany. The cemetery became the repository for the fatalities in the bitter fighting through the Heasbourg Gap during the winter of 1944-45.

Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium: at this site rest 368 of our military dead, most of whom gave their lives in liberating the soil of Belgium in World War I.

Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy: contains 4,402 of our military dead, arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. They represent 39 percent of the U.S. Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting that occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines Mountains shortly before the war's end.

I'll add more from the website tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is new Sears bill another version of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion for Ohio?

I'll admit to not being an expert on the Medicaid expansion that Gov. John Kasich proposed for Ohio - as part of Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare - but this new bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Sears sure sounds a lot like it.

The House, after significant public pressure from conservatives and tea party groups, removed the Medicaid expansion from the budget bill (H.B. 59) earlier in the year. Rep. Sears was extensively criticized for her role in pushing the expansion and for what some considered was a violation of the Health Care Freedom Amendment overwhelmingly passed by Ohioans. She responded to those allegations, saying she did, in fact, support the Health Care Freedom Amendment, though she believed a pending bill would conflict with that amendment.

Speaker Bill Batchelder told reporters that a bill separate from the budget could be passed by the House before the end of June.

The press release below details some of the provisions of her legislation:

Rep. Sears Introduces Medicaid Reform Legislation

COLUMBUS—Today, State Representative Barbara Sears (R- Monclova Township) introduced legislation requiring the Director of Medical Assistance to implement Medicaid reforms that will identify ways to lower costs, reduce uncompensated care, and extend coverage to Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens.

The legislation would extend coverage to Ohioans under 138% of the federal poverty level and will provide critical health care services to Ohio’s poorest citizens. New enrollees in the Medicaid program will be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years. The bill provides protections for Ohio should the federal assistance percentage decrease below the specified amount after the third year.

Additional provisions of this legislation include encouraging personal responsibility through cost sharing, promoting employment-related services, and ensuring those who abuse narcotics receive proper treatment.

“Ohio’s Medicaid system has made substantial improvements over the past few years and this legislation furthers that effort,” Rep. Sears said. “By providing a ladder up and out of poverty through quality care, we are allowing for citizens to achieve greater self sufficiency and creating a healthier Ohio.”

The bill also includes requiring the Medicaid director to present a report to the General Assembly on the progress being made and specifies that the Joint Legislative Committee on Medicaid Technology and Reform consider and review the reforms implemented by this legislation.


The bill will be assigned a number Tuesday, but here is a link to the language submitted, as provided by her office.

Quotes of the Day vs Ohio laws and regulations

As part of my writing for Ohio Watchdog, I cover a lot of the proposed laws and regulations coming out of Columbus, primarily from Republicans because they're in the majority.

I'm working on a story now about the proposed revisions to the precious metals dealer license. Apparently, criminals used to use pawn shops to liquidate their stolen goods and now they're using businesses that buy and sell gold and other precious metals to do the same.

Of course, that means TOTBAL ... there ought to be a law.

With this on my mind, I opened my daily email from Liberty Tree and find these two quotes which seemed so very appropriate.

"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

"It used to be the boast of free men that, so long as they kept within the bounds of the known law, there was no need to ask anybody's permission or to obey anybody's orders. It is doubtful whether any of us can make this claim today." ~ Friedrich August von Hayek

I can't help but wonder how we got to this point and whether or not we even realize how much freedom we've actually lost.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Grassroots" protest sponsored by the GOP?

I received an email this morning noting a 'grassroots protest' outside the headquarters of the Ohio Democratic Party.

I couldn't help but wonder just how 'grassroots' is a protest when it's put on by a political party? Isn't this the astroturfing we've been accused of doing all along?

And doesn't the OHGOP know that the tea party groups have scheduled a protest against the IRS at their offices for the exact same time?

I really don't like it when my party does things like this, but have to point out that if the OHDems were doing the same thing the OHGOP would be having a field day with it.

Perhaps this protest at the Dem party headquarters is part of the national tea party event? Perhaps the GOP just issued the media advisory on behalf of some 'grassroots' citizens? Perhaps....

But if that is the case, then the media advisory should say so.

Come on, GOP - aren't we better than that?

As an aside, though I consider myself a tea party member, I don't support the protests scheduled by the tea party groups. I believe it will take the focus away from the actual scandals and give some Democrats and the media a new story to focus on instead of digging to get to the bottom of who told the IRS workers to target the tea party/patriot groups in the first place.

I think that when your 'opponent' is self-destructing, you don't get in the way.

But that's just me - what do I know?

At least I'm not alone in that opinion...

Here is the email:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         Contact: Katie Eagan
May 21, 2013                                                                    (614) 477-9113


COLUMBUS - Tuesday, May 21 2012 there will be a grassroots protest outside the headquarters of the Ohio Democratic Party by citizens demanding answers from Ohio Democrats regarding the mounting failures of the Obama Administration.

WHEN: 12:00 p.m.: Protest Begins

WHAT: Citizens' Protest of Ohio Democratic Party

WHERE: 340 East Fulton Street
Columbus, OH 43215


Monday, May 20, 2013

Secor Road access to I-475 to close for 10 days in June

Press release from City of Toledo:

Secor Road access to I-475 to close for 10 days in June

Closure will emphasize safety, limit congestion during reconstruction

As work progresses on the Secor Road reconstruction project, it will become necessary to close both east and westbound on and off ramps to interstate 475 for 10 days beginning June 4, 2013. During this time Secor Road at the base of all four ramps will be reconstructed.

Representatives from the City of Toledo, project contractor Geddis Paving and the Ohio Department of Transportation District Two office met to determine the best way to reconstruct the road at the base of on/off ramps with minimal impact to businesses and motorists. The major concerns for all parties were issues involving safety for motorists on the interstate, motorists on Secor Road and workers involved in the construction project.

View Larger Map

“Slowing cars from exiting the off-ramp by restricting lane access can lead to traffic back-ups on the expressway which can become dangerous,” said Robin Whitney, City of Toledo Commissioner of Engineering Services. “Additionally, restricting the access of on-ramps at these particular intersections increases the difficulty for large trucks making turns and again causes safety concerns both for workers and passing motorists. By closing all ramps for a 10-day period we are able to maintain traffic on Secor Road and the result is much safer for all who are traveling and working in the area. We can also complete this phase of the project much faster than would be possible by only reconstructing the road one lane at a time.”

During the ramp closure, the city is suggesting eastbound travelers on I-475 use the ProMedica Parkway exit as an alternative to Secor Road. Westbound motorists are able to exit the interstate at Douglas Road, Monroe Street or Talmadge Road. Surface street detours will direct traffic from those exits back to Secor Road.

The city will work through its ombudsman to give businesses along the Secor Road corridor advanced notice of the impending closure. City engineers continue to work with the project contractor to ensure that a strict timeline is met to ensure businesses are able to plan for the impact throughout the project.

“Secor Road is a major commercial thoroughfare in west Toledo and we want to be sure that while we’re investing in the infrastructure to improve this area of town, we’re also investing in the businesses that have committed to our local economy,” said Mayor Michael P. Bell. “This is the first time we’ve used an ombudsman on a major road construction project and I think its helping us to communicate better with businesses and ensure their concerns are both heard and addressed. Construction is never without its headaches, but I appreciate the patience of the businesses as we work to improve the road.”

The Secor Road reconstruction project began in March 2013. To date the northbound lanes of the road from Central to Queenswood have been removed, the water line replaced and the road reconstructed. Currently the southbound lanes are undergoing reconstruction. The road from Queenswood to just north of the I-475 access point will be reconstructed during the 10-day closure in June. Work in late summer will include reconstruction of the Central Avenue and Secor Road intersection. The entire reconstruction project is anticipated to be complete by November 2013.


Rep. Pillich to run for State Treasurer in 2014

Cincinnati Democrat Rep. Connie Pillich has announced her candidacy for state treasurer in 2014. She'll face incumbent Treasurer Josh Mandel.

“I’m running for Treasurer because working families, small business owners, and seniors need someone who will fight for them. Ohioans deserve a Treasurer who will do the job she was elected to do and will make sure our tax dollars are protected and used wisely,” her press release stated.

Pillich, is an attorney and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

Guess who introduced one of the most expensive bills to Congress this year?

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) routinely scores legislation based upon how much money the bill will spend or save. During this 113th Congress, more than 2800 bill have been introduced in the House and Senate.

They recently did a top 10 list of the bills that would enact the largest spending increases - and guess who ended up on the list?

Our very own Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

Her bill, H.R. 188, to create a new Civilian Conservation Corps, comes in at $16 billion, making it the sixth most expensive bill introduced so far. She introduced it on January 4th and it was referred to the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training on March 23rd.

The official title:

21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act: To authorize the President to reestablish the Civilian Conservation Corps as a means of providing gainful employment to unemployed and underemployed citizens of the United States through the performance of useful public work, and for other purposes.

So Kaptur wants the federal government, which is trillions of dollars in debt, to spend another $16 billion each year to hire people to do work like planting trees, clearing paths and trails in parks and preventing forest fires. Oh - and while they're doing the work, the government will provide housing and transportation for them as well.

Why don't we just hire a bunch of people to dig holes and fill them up?

This would not 'solve' the unemployment problem. It just takes more money from the productive people (those individuals and businesses who are paying taxes) and diverts it to the government for 'busy work.'

And what happens when companies and individuals have less money? They don't hire people to do work for them.

It's a vicious cycle: the more the government takes, the less the people have to spend on purchasing, which means the less demand for products which means the less need for new employees to create the products which means less hiring.

Some would say that government can stimulate an economy by creating a demand. While that is technically true on a temporary basis, it doesn't lead to real growth. We've seen that in the green energy boondoggle where the companies fail the minute the government subsidies (fake demand) end.

So, given the facts of history, why would we spend $16 billion a year for the next four years to pay people to do busy work when we know it won't address the real problem of a lack of jobs?

Economist Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, has the answer (emphasis added):

Back in the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration hired more young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps than there were in the U.S. Army. But that never brought unemployment down into single digits at any point during that entire decade. As late as the spring of 1939, the unemployment rate was 20 percent.

Government-created jobs did not mean a net increase in jobs then -- or now. But this is only mundane reality. What makes a great political talking point is government coming to the rescue of the unemployed by creating jobs. That talking point helps politicians get reelected, even if it does nothing for the economy in general or for the unemployment rate.


Here's what NTUF said about the bill:

In 1933, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as one New Deal solution to mass unemployment during the Great Depression. Through 1943, when it was disbanded, the public program employed a total of 2.5 million men to develop natural resources in rural areas (on government lands) and to build infrastructure for conservation purposes. The CCC provided workers with food, clothing, medicine, and barrack-style housing. Workers received a monthly stipend and the the majority of an enrollee's wages would be sent to their families back home.

Now, almost eighty years later, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) has introduced legislation to reestablish the CCC. H.R. 188 would employ an unspecified number of jobless citizens to construct and maintain public works. The bill authorizes the President to provide enrollees with "subsistence, clothing, medical attendance and hospitalization, and cash allowance, as may be necessary, during the period they are so employed." Workers would not only labor on projects similar to the original CCC but also on control of plant disease and pests. There is also a provision that would allow the President to assign tasks not explicitly outlined in the bill as he sees fit, as long as it employs otherwise unemployed people.

Here is the complete list of the top 10 most expensive bills introduced to Congress so far:

* H.R. 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act
Sponsor: Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Cost: $1.16 trillion

* H.R. 1200, the American Health Security Act of 2013
Sponsor: Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Cost: $824.5 billion

* S. 627, the Medical Innovation Prize Fund Act
Sponsor: Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
Cost: $108.5 billion

* H.R. 870, the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act of 2013
Sponsor: Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Cost: $100.5 billion

* H.R. 1617, the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act
Sponsor: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Cost: $45.6 billion

* H.R. 188, the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act
Sponsor: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Cost: $16 billion

* H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013
Sponsor: Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY)
Cost: $10.02 billion

* H.R. 808, the Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2013
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Cost: $10 billion

* H.R. 974/S. 387, the MOVE Freight Act of 2013
Sponsors: Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV)
Cost: $5.6 billion

* S. 108, the IDEA Full Funding Act;
Sponsor: Senator David Vitter (R-LA)
Cost: $5.4 billion

*** Bills are scored as introduced. The NTUF scores are preliminary, subject to change, and annualized.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment certified to Ballot Board

Press release:

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today certified the petition for the proposed constitutional amendment submitted by the Ohio Rights Group.

On May 7th, the Ohio Attorney General's Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution by adding the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment. The submission was certified today as containing both the necessary 1,000 signatures from registered Ohio voters and a "fair and truthful" summary.

"Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred,…I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment," DeWine stated in a letter to the Ohio Ballot Board.

Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of United States President at the last presidential election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of president at the last presidential election.

The full text of today's letter and of the amendment petitions submitted can be found at

IRS covered up 'tea party' policy in response to FOIA requests

Well, well, well...this gets more interesting day by day...

In 2011, The 1851 Center for Constitution Law made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the IRS asking for any "tea party" related policies. They were told there there no such documents. But the Inspector General's report showed specific policies were in place in 2010.

So they kept the information from Congress and the public.

Oh - and they also closed their FOIA reading room and locked the door..and no one had a key. Apparently "there's nothing worth reading in the FOIA public reading room anyway."

This article from Ben Domenech really goes to the heart of the matter:

The point is that these scandals cut at the core conceit of Obama’s ideology: the healthy and enduring confidence of big government to be good government. As technological capabilities advance and the scope of government expands, the types of domestic scandals we’re seeing here are only going to increase in frequency and invasiveness, with personal information shared more frequently, easier for even low level bureaucrats to acquire and manipulate. At the same time, Americans are becoming increasingly skeptical and cynical about their public institutions, with their trust in the federal government at historic lows. They distrust the agencies and bureaucrats even as the politicians of our age are investing more and more power in them.

Today, the media, the Obama administration, and David Axelrod are undertaking the task that conservatives could not: illustrating with each passing day that the progressive approach to modern governance and policy is inherently flawed and that vast governments are ripe for abuse. What we are seeing from the IRS and the DOJ is not something new, nor does it represent a perverse approach to benign bureaucracy: it is the inevitable consequence of an approach which puts mechanisms in place and then assumes they will not be used for ill. You should expect government to go as far as it can, whenever it can, in any ways that it can, toward the full exploitation of the power made available to it. Expecting government to behave otherwise is to expect the scorpion not to sting the frog.

The progressive answer to this is more rules and regulators, more agencies and safeguards and accountability projects. Republicans should recognize this intervention for the ridiculousness it is – creating more federal entities to watch over federal entities – and focus their arguments instead on the only solution which will actually work: removing power from the federal government and returning it to the states or the people. The only way to ensure that government doesn’t abuse a power is to make sure it doesn’t have this power in the first place.

Here is the press release sent out by the 1851 Center. It's written by Lynn Walsh.

IRS Covered Up "Tea Party" Policy in Response to FOIA Requests

In 2011 FOIA response, IRS denied existence of records that Inspector General found clearly existed at the time

Columbus, OH - The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today released a 2011 Internal Revenue Service response to its Freedom of Information Act request denying the existence of any "tea party"-related policy - - a policy that the Inspector General for Tax Administration has found to have clearly existed at that time.

Suspicious that the IRS may have been employing an "anti-tea-party" policy, the 1851 Center, through investigative journalist Lynn K. Walsh, submitted a June 2010 Freedom of Information Act request to the IRS for all documents related to this policy. In its 2011 response, the IRS headquarters, through "Disclosure Manager" Marie Twarog states as follows:

You asked for documents relating to any training, memos, letters, policies, etc., that details how the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division reviews applications for non-profits, 501(c)(3) and other not for profit organizations specifically mentioning "Tea Party", "the Tea Party", "tea party", and "tea parties".

I found no documents specifically responsive to your request.

However, in its May 14 Report, the Inspector General specifically finds that "[t]he first Sensitive Case Report [identifying tea party groups] was prepared by the Technical Unit" in April of 2010 (See Page 32). The Report's Appendix goes on to chronicle the existence of a series of 2010 policies and related documents targeting "tea party" and other conservative organizations.

"Either IRS Headquarters was entirely incompetent in maintaining awareness of prominent policies and documents within the IRS, or it deliberately covered up the existence of anti-conservative IRS policies. Either is terrifying," said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center. "Legal action is necessary to ensure that the IRS does not lie to taxpayers in this manner in the future."

The released documents constitutes the most prominent evidence of either a cover-up or lack of institutional control related to the tea-party policies, and are the only example of the IRS specifically denying the existence of such policies in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Importantly, the IRS did not claim that the requested documents were exempt from FOIA; it instead claimed that the documents did not exist.

Yesterday, the 1851 Center released that in its May 20, 2010 response to the 1851 Center's application for tax-exempt status, the IRS demanded that, in order to receive approval of its application, the 1851 Center must: "Please explain in detail your organization's involvement with the Tea Party."

Read the IRS FOIA Response HERE.

Read the FOIA Request made to the IRS HERE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

IRS harassment not limited to 'tea party' groups

Looks like Tea Party and Patriot groups weren't the only conservative targets the IRS went after.

This via email:

IRS Targeting of 1851 Center in May of 2010 Demonstrates Broader Corruption

IRS harassment was not limited to "tea party" organizations, and began earlier than many believe

Columbus, OH - The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today emphasized that Internal Revenue Service harassment of groups advocating for limited government extends as far back as early 2010, and includes organizations exclusively dedicated to protecting constitutional rights, including the 1851 Center.

In its May 20, 2010 response to the 1851 Center's application for tax-exempt status, the IRS demands that, in order to receive approval of its application, the 1851 Center must:
"Please explain in detail your organization's involvement with the Tea Party."

The 1851 Center explained that it provides legal representation to Ohioans whose constitutional rights have been aggrieved, including tea party organizations and members, and ultimately received tax exempt status. However, this instance is significant because it reveals infractions beyond what even the Inspector General for Tax Administration's May 14 Report reveals:

  • While the Report focuses on 501(c)(4) political and/or lobbying organizations, the 1851 Center applied for status as an educational and/or civil public charity under Section 501(c)(3) (the 1851 Center is a public interest law firm that litigates civil rights cases without engaging in politics).
  • While the Report indicates that "[t]he Determinations Unit developed and used inappropriate criteria to identify applications from organizations with the words Tea Party in their names," the 1851 Center made no reference to "tea party," nor "patriot" or "9-12," in is application, much less in its name.
  • IRS harassment of liberty-oriented groups, and intent to root out "tea party" activities, even through non-tea party sources such as 1851, has been in full force for a minimum of three years.

In its IRS filings, the 1851 Center indicated that its mission was "to defend constitutional rights and human rights through legal action." The Center supplied no information that would have indicated any particular relationship with any particular tea-party organization.

"As with demands made of other organizations, the IRS demand to the 1851 Center was at minimum, irrelevant, and appears to have been calculated to do political opposition research on organizations opposing the President's policies through, ironically, doing nothing more than enforcing the United States and Ohio constitutions." said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center. "Investigators must acknowledge that the breadth of this scandal extends to not just 'tea party' groups, but to conservative and libertarian think tanks and public interest law firms across the nation."

The 1851 Center has been a steadfast opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act since March of 2010, having initiated the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment, service as amicus counsel on the lawsuits opposing the individual mandate, and counseling against a state-based Obamacare exchange and more recently against Medicaid expansion.

Read the IRS Demand Letter to the 1851 Center HERE.


Toledo City Council Meeting - May 14, 2013

Notes from Sherry:

Toledo City Council Meeting
May 14, 2013

In attendance: Councilwomen Webb, Hicks-Hudson, Councilmen Collins, Enright, Steel, Riley, Sarantou, Ludeman, Craig, Martinez, Waniewski, McNamara, Deputy Mayor Herwat, Mayor Bell.

Item 230 – Appointment – Board of Building Appeals – confirmed – all voting yes.

Item 231 – Appointments – DPU Performance Audit Advisory Committee – confirmed – all voting yes. Webb – they all met today – went good.

Item 232 – Appointments – Police Civilian Review Board – Held for 2 weeks.

* Webb – Busy with Mother's Day – didn't review the packet.
* Hicks-Hudson – hold till later meeting.
* Herwat – I'm not in a position to answer at this time.
* Riley – will have information on this by Thursday. Webb – Meetings were canceled, need proper notice.
* Webb – hold for 2 weeks.
* Collins – What is the role of the board?

Item 199 – Accept 39th Year CDBG Funds from HUD, $6,839,464

(There was an extended discussion/argument because the deadline for submitting the CDBG plan to the feds is Friday; council wanted to remove several portions of the plan from the document but were told the plan had to be submitted in its entirety. Several council members took exception to the process, complaining that they weren't involved, but Mayor Bell noted that all council members were given a memo detailing the dates and times of the meetings to discuss the plan. One council member noted that a 'memo' isn't an 'invitation' while others didn't like that the Administration had determined the plan and they were just being asked to approve it, rather than make changes/modifications to the recommendations. They complained that they needed more time to basically duplicate the process the administration went through and were angry they couldn't have that time due to the Friday deadline)

* Martinez – Every year, more need than funds – accept one year action plan – accept funds, don't give dollars to 3rd party partners – put in right bank account I spoke with Columbus CDBG – acceptance of home dollars, don't advance Item 201 – meeting Thursday on this, better defined – next meeting more clear on this amendment.
* Herwat – we do not submit our plans – it will be now.
* Collins – HUD says we will lose.
* Santiago – Hold authorization -not to accept this would jeopardize the funds.
* Collins – no funds?
* Santiago - submit plan in entirety.
* Collins – revisit 2012 funding – the entity that received the most money, doesn't need it. Less transportation than last time – I requested a record - the report was sent to the Director and I received a draft (verbal fight ensues between Council Members and the Director of Neighborhoods)
* Hicks-Hudson – make this meeting on Thursday a Committee of the Whole.
* Santiago – it was OK – come at 4 PM and say the opposite.
* Collins – Council understands the process.
* Martinez – Submit funding.
* Santiago – Submit by the 17th, deadline. Santiago – Council submit the dollars.
* Webb – Council knows its position!
* Martinez – Accept dollars, do not authorize the Department to spend – has to pass.
* Santiago – we have to judge what is needed for the Community.
* Craig – Point of Order! (upset, Santiago and Craig shouting to be heard)
* Hicks-Hudson - (bangs the gavel a few times) The only person we need to take advise from is the Law Director – we are here because of last year – what is proper and not – meets action plan.
* Craig – can't believe the argument from the Director of Neighborhoods – not enough time – four members on this Council to review – this is about citizens, not accepting benefits for the Director of Neighborhoods.
* Steel – What is our role? Not to lay down and take it – budget was already appropriated - $1,000 might not sound like a lot, but for some it would make or break a food budget – this is not the way we should communicate – we could go a certain way – doesn't understand either way – the Administration doesn't want to work without dollars.
* Mayor – if you payed attention, you chose to come to this meeting – if we aren't using the format HUD exposed here – no Council Member questioned cuts in in funding – makes everyone happy – move this forward to Thursday, deadline is Friday.
* Hicks-Hudson – don't have to be to be flippant...
* Mayor – I'm not being flippant.
* Hicks-Hudson – We are going to meet this Thursday, this was already established.
* Mayor – make this an all day meeting, why not?
* Martinez – Table till this Thursday 1 – 3 PM – decide then – we shouldn't lose 6 mil – don't let them suffer – why are we using the homeless? Book this room for a length of time – make a decision.
* Hicks-Hudson – We will make a decision.
* Craig – refer this back to Committee.
* Collins – move to 11 AM on Thursday - 24 hour notice.
* Hicks-Hudson – we will work on the time.
* Webb – Do the opposite of what the Mayor said – lead us to a place we won't agree – not so – this Administration is forcing the issue down our throats.
* Steel – Item 168 – budgeting of line items by Thursday.

Item 200 – Accept 22nd Year HOME Funds from HUD, $1,682,898 – Committee of the Whole.

Item 201 – Accept 27th Year ESG Funds from HUD, $610,343 – Committee of the Whole
Item 195 – Appropriation to demolish 17 brick columns at Roosevelt Pool, $63,950 Parkland Replacement Fund

* Steel – Asked for update from Riley on this (not pool).
* Craig – Not a good way to spend money – pool is 50 years old – you could fund 70 baseball teams – all of Toledo, all year – this expense does nothing for the pool – not going to vote for this.
* Riley – They were there for a roof – legitimate use for the funds – supports.
* Collins - $120,000 left in this fund – is this a want or a need? Deputy Mayor will not have this done – what is it, a want or a need? This is dysfunctional.
* Riley – The Administration dictates what we should or shouldn't do – this is legitimate, supported by the community.
* Steel – Brings up the distrust – Administration will veto – (goes off on a rant about Government – he thinks we are a Democracy).

No – McNamara, Sarantou, Waniewski, Craig. Yes – Martinez, Ludeman, Hicks-Hudson, Steel, Collins, Enright, Webb, Riley.
Motion passed.

Item 196 – Amend TMC Sec. 933.02(i) to create Utility Appeals Board – To Utilities, Public Service.

Item 197 - Amend TMC Sec. 933.07(c) to allow tenants to pay public utility arrearage of landlord property owner - To Utilities, Public Service.

Item 198 - Amend TMC Sec. 933.10 to establish a Public Utility Customer Bill of Rights - To Utilities, Public Service.
* Webb – Meeting for these is on the 28th at 2 PM.

Item 233 - Amend TMC Sec. 187.34, Local Preference – passed – all voting yes.

Item 234 - Amend TMC Sec. 1706, Dogs, to mirror Ohio Revised Code – passed – all voting yes.

Item 235 – Contracts for spent time removal at Water Treatment, 3 years, $1,000,000/year Water Operating Fund – passed – all voting yes.

Item 236 – Appropriation for Barnum Ditch Ph. 2 improvements for Monroe and Harvest area, $850,000 Storm Water – passed all voting yes.

Item 237 – Re-appropriation for Engineering Services, from Matches/Planning to General Resurfacing, $371,455 CIP – passed – all voting yes.

Item 238 – Expenditure to Ed Kelley & Sons for emergency sewer repair at 1946 Greenwood, $15,051 Sewer Op – passed - all voting yes.

Item 239 – Agreement with QBE Insurance Corp for stop loss insurance coverage, 1 year + 1 option, $404,008 allocated – passed – all voting yes. Sarantou – spoke to VP of QBE – they have covered people in cities of our size before. I am voting yes.

Item 240 – Authorize disposal of obsolete City property; ladder truck, traffic light covers, NSP staging, and misc. - 1st Reading.

Item 241 – Expenditure for expansion & infrastructure installation at Forest Cemetery, $250,000 CIP – passed – all voting yes.

Item 242 – Contract for 2013 professional maintenance of swimming pools, $35,000 General Fund – passed – Waniewski, no – rest yes.

Item 243 – Accept Lucas County EMA grant for additional surveillance camera trailer for Police, $68,994 grant & LETF – passed – all voting yes.

Item 244 – Expenditures to Lucas County for 2013 criminal justice services,$5,398,190 General Fund - 1st Reading.

Item 245 – Landbank Sale – 117 Machen St. to Jim Ross for additional parking and green space, $150 – passed – all voting yes.

Item 246 – Resolution – Vacate alley near Monroe & Rushland – adopted – all voting yes.

Item 247 – Resolution – Vacate Kury Dr. south of Dorr at Westwood - 1st Reading.

Item 248 – Vacate streets and alleys west of Upton and north of I-475 for ProMedica Parkway – passed – all voting yes.

Item 249 – Vacate streets and alleys east of ProMedica Parkway and south of I-475 for ProMedica Parkway – passed – all
voting yes.

Item 188 - Resolution – Support creation of Dedicated Domestic Violence Docket at Toledo Municipal Court – passed – all voting yes.

Last Call:

McNamara – There is a meeting on June 3rd at 4 PM for street repairs and tree removal. Thanks for the support from the Law Department on jobs.

Riley – Would like the name of the business on the corner of Horce/Detroit Streets. They seem to have taken over; do they have a permit to operate.

Waniewski – Question for the Administration on a tree in the 3600/3700 block of Wycliff. Is the area at 3501 Queensbourgh a landbank? And Point of Order is not freedom to talk.

Webb – I used the word wisely (Point of Order). Had a meeting on bridge lighting, Suder Ave. - side walk on one side, rocks on the other. Bridge could use finishing touches.

Collins – Last Saturday there was a funeral for Dr. King, emphasized health care. He continued to serve the City, provided guidance.

Ludeman – Still waiting for answer on Firetruck.

Martinez – Hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day. CDBG not enough dollars – polarizing – get this done Thursday.

Hicks-Hudson – This issue (CDBG) is important to whom we were elected to represent. Please get information before then. Tomorrow in these chambers there will be Police Awards at 9 AM.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

IRS - Tea Party scandal timeline or deleted scenes from Idiocracy?

ABC News has obtained a (leaked) copy of a timeline created for the Inspector General report on the IRS - Tea Party scandal. It's more than just a documentation of the actions taken to target tea party/patriot/conservative groups for screening before giving them tax-exempt status. It's a damning indictment of the bureaucracy of this massive government agency that has control over all Americans.

As the introduction to Appendix VII says:

"The following chart illustrates a timeline of events from Redacted through July 2012 involving the identification and processing of potential political cases. It shows that there was confusion about how to process the applications, delays in the processing of the applications, and a lack of management oversight and guidance."

The timeline references multiple acting managers, replacement of managers and supervisors, changes in personnel over a two-year period of time. What the timeline doesn't indicate is if these changes were normal movements of personnel or if they were a result of the lack of progress on reviewing the cases.

It gets a bit confusing with the titles and departments, but basically, a Determinations Unit, a Technical Unit, Rulings and Agreement, lawyers and directors were all involved. It appears the Determinations Unit asked numerous times for guidance and direction from the Technical Unit. As the issue began to get public attention, the internal actions escalated.

If you look at the September - October 2011 entries you'll see the Determinations Unit asked the Technical Unit to 'triage' the cases to see what actions the Determinations Unit should take. They did and sent back a spreadsheet. But the Determinations Unit, which was looking for a recommendation about whether to close or further develop the cases, had no idea what to do with the information on the spreadsheet because it didn't answer the question. So back to the Technical Unit they went.

By November, they all decided that "the guidance developed would not work in its present form – it was “too lawyerly” to be
useful and needed the Determinations Unit input."

Then there was this on Feb. 29, 2012 (emphasis mine):

The Director, EO, stopped any more additional information request letters from being issued on advocacy cases until new guidance was provided to the Determinations Unit. In addition, the Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements, discussed with the Determinations Unit Program Manager, about having specialists print out website information and asking the organizations to verify the information instead of asking for applicants to print out the website information.

Yes, you read that correctly. They had to tell the specialists to go to their computers, print out information from the groups' websites and then verify the information rather than mail a request asking the groups to print out their website information and mail it back to the IRS.

I had plenty to say about this in February 2012 when I first reported on the Ohio Liberty Coalition's own experience with the IRS. I especially took issue with the demand that this tea-party group predict the future.

Isn't that something you'd expect to see in the movie, Idiocracy?

In the end, it took almost the full two years to get instructions and directions clear so that the Determinations Unit, charged with actually deciding if the various applications met the proper criteria, could actually determine if the applications should be approved or denied.

Even without the "lack of oversight and guidance," how in the world did we let any agency get so big - or laws so complicated - that it takes two years just to decide something like this???

And remember - this is the taxation agency, something I'm certain our founders would never have envisioned when they used the rallying cry of 'no taxation without representation.'

And if that's not scary enough, this is the same agency that's going to oversee your compliance with Obamacare.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quote of the Day - Freedom

It was a fun, but late night with fellow bloggers at BlogCon2013 and I've got a lot of great notes from yesterday's panels which I need to work on. But today is another jam-packed day with sessions beginning at 9 a.m., so here's a QOTD to start your week:

"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." ~ Thomas Paine

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Deneen Borelli at BlogCon2013

I was at my first BlogCon in Denver in 2011 when I first heard Deneen Borelli speak - and I was inspired! I immediately ordered her book, "Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation".

Sadly, being a Kindle version, when I saw her again at BlogCon2012, she couldn't sign it for me. But it is one of the few books I return to again and again for inspiration.

She spoke to BlogCon2013 yesterday and began, as she usually does, proclaiming "America is an exceptional country."

"I am living proof that America is an exceptional country where anyone can succeed," she said. And her story is definitely one of living the American Dream.

But it wasn't easy. She said she lived for a while on Ramen noodles because that's all she could afford. In the end, she got an education, wrote a book, is a Fox News contributor and the Director of Outreach for FreedomWorks, sponsor of BlogCon.

"When can someone like that end up as a Fox News contributor, author … you can’t tell me that America is not an exceptional country because it is," she emphasized.

She promotes herself as a living example of how the principles of freedom and liberty can appeal to everyone, especially minorities. She grew up in a Democratic household, but found that the messages of that political party didn't reflect what she learned and came to believe.

"If I can adopt these principles, anybody can - and boy do we need more Americans to adopt the principles of freedom."

Building on the theme of her book, she said that our tax dollars are being used to create a dependent class who will always vote for their masters. She contrasts that with the conservative view:

"We’re not telling people what to do. We want them to be empowered and be the boss of themselves."

She explained that President Barack Obama believes in the power of the government - not in the power of the individual. She advised to use his own words against him and show how his policies are hitting minorities and the poor disproportionately - especially his energy policies which unnecessarily raise the costs of gasoline, heating and cooling and his opposition to school choice which traps primarily minority children in low-performing schools.

He - and others - promote victimhood, she said.

"Blacks are victims who need special help to get by…this message is coming from black media, preachers, liberals, ... and that (message is) Blacks are victims of the white guy with the only hope being government."

Borelli has a powerful message: " The liberty message is about empowering individuals – especially those in the Black community who are under the cloud of the Black liberal establishment," she said. "There are some you won’t be able to reach…but if I can do it and understand it and come to my own conclusion and not be told, anyone can."

"It’s liberty, not government, that allows us to pursue our dreams," she emphasized.

But in order to reach others and spread the message, it takes a relationship. We can't just reach out to people at election time and expect them to pay attention to us, much less hear and understand the message.

While she said the common message of liberty is appealing regardless of what color you are, there are challenges in outreach to minority communities. "In a perfect world, it shouldn’t matter who the messenger is – this isn’t a perfect world," she said.

She gave us some tools to help start the conversation, telling us we can ask questions like "Why does Obama oppose school choice, trapping your kids in failing schools while sending his own to an elite, private school?" and "Why is Al Sharpton rich and you're not?"

She also encouraged everyone to support conservatives who are also minorities in their efforts and to welcome into our groups and tea party organizations the Black conservatives who "come out of the closet." We need to engage them and incorporate them into our regular activities and work with them to spread the message that:

"America is an exceptional country – an exceptional country - and our country does not guarantee you success, but it is liberty that guarantees you the opportunity to succeed."

Deneen Borelli, and her husband Tom, will be in Toledo on May 21st for a dinner event sponsored by the Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition.  Information and tickets are available here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I'm heading to BlogCon 2013 today. We'll have sessions this afternoon and all day Sunday and Monday.

Attendees will also be in the audience for a taping of Glenn Beck's show, but I'll be on my way home at that time. :(

There will be great panel discussions and many of them will be streamed live here.

BlogCon is sponsored by FreedomWorks which has provided scholarships for many of the bloggers who will attend. I received a partial scholarship that will cover the cost of my room while I'm there, and I'm very grateful for the assistance will which allow me to attend.

So look for blog posts and/or twitter comments from me over the next several days.

And happy 22nd anniversary to the man of my dreams!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Teen Job Fair in Toledo

Press Release:

Youth invited to teen job fair

Opportunity to meet local employers, apply for summer jobs at one stop shop

Toledo youth ages 16-21 are invited to attend the 2013 City of Toledo Teen Job Fair. The event offers local teens the opportunity to meet potential employers, learn about summer job opportunities, and apply for openings with local business owners at one centralized location.

Online pre-registration is strongly encouraged, though walk-ins are welcome. Registration can be found at For more information call the City of Toledo Youth Commission at 419-936-2051.

What: 2013 City of Toledo Teen Job Fair
When: Saturday, May 11, 2013 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: SeaGate Convention Center (Hall C) 401 Jefferson Ave

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Quote of the Day - self defense and self reliance

"[O]ne who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or grievous bodily injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to rely solely on others for his safety...." ~ Jeffrey R. Snyder

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Arguments in favor of Internet Sales Tax are all wrong

I've been listening to the arguments being made in favor of the Internet sales tax - a bill passed by the Senate and now headed to the House that would mandate the collection of sales tax for any on-line purchases from a company with more than $1 million in gross sales.

The claim by large, national corporations is that it will 'level the playing field' when it comes to collection of the tax because most of them already do this.

The problem is that the sales tax varies by jurisdiction with 9,646 different jurisdictions and a tax that is dependent upon where the purchaser lives.

Under current law, sales tax is collected by the merch ant based upon where the merchant is physically located and charged on on-line purchases only when a merchant has a physical location in a state.

It's a regulatory nightmare and companies with $1 million in GROSS sales might not have the NET profit to be able to afford the cost of the mandate. Then is also the possibility of purchasers giving a friend or relative's address in order to avoid paying a higher tax rate. What's to prevent someone from Toledo (with a 6.75% sales tax) from using an Erie, Michigan address (6%) in order to save the .75% difference?

The bigger question that bypasses all the arguments is this: why are merchants being used as a tax collector for the government?

The government is the person to whom the tax is owed. They are the ones who want the money and they are the ones who have the authority for penalizing the non-payment. Why is there even a middle-man in the first place?

Many entities use a company that specializes in collecting past-due bills. Those companies are paid for their services, either in a set fee or contract or by a percentage of what is collected.

But merchants don't get paid or compensated for collecting the government's bill of sales tax.

Ohio has a law that requires individuals to report on-line orders and then pay the appropriate sales tax on them. The state uses the yearly income tax form for doing this.

So why not just expand that procedure to all purchases?

Clearly, it's because government can't rely upon self-reporting of purchases and it may be unrealistic to expect individuals to keep track of the taxable vs. non-taxable purchases they make.

In fact, it's because the government doesn't trust individuals to self-report that they're not trying to expand their tax collection to entities that don't even live within the state.

Because certainly if individuals can avoid paying taxes, they do, regardless of how much they may support taxation in general or additional taxation on 'the rich.'

So we have a conversation about how merchants can be forced to be bill collectors for the state.

Anyone else see anything wrong with this?

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Marcy Kaptur thinks Obama is "worst socialist ever"

This was a tweet from Rep. Marcy Kaptur, preserved by the Sunlight Foundation:

Marcy Kaptur (D) @RepMarcyKaptur

Barack Obama is the worst socialist ever. Dow Touches 15000 on Jobs Data via @WSJ

Deleted 1 day ago after 8 seconds, originally posted via Tweet Button

You'll note that it only stayed up for 8 seconds before it was deleted.

So what does she mean by this?

Well, the article, S&P Tops 1600 on Jobs Data, says this:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 142.38 points, or 1%, to 14973.96, after touching an all-time intraday high of 15009.59. It closed at a record.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, meanwhile, pushed through the 1600-point level, 13 years after it surpassed 1500. The index rose 16.83 points, or 1.1%, to 1614.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 38.01 points, or 1.1%, to 3378.63.

So clearly, socialists do not want individual investors to have wealth or get wealthier, right?

In order to be the 'worst' socialist when the stock market rises, what other conclusion could there be?

And who are those investors?

Well, they're not all 'evil rich white guys,' that's for sure.

They're you and me. They're union workers with pensions invested in mutual funds and various stocks.

They're public employees like teachers, and fire fighters and police who all rejoice when their funds gain money and provide a return on their investment for those funds will cover their costs after retirement.

They're the young entrepreneur with a start-up company who relied upon venture capital funds that came from investors who made money from this very stock market.

The question no one ever seems to ask Rep. Kaptur is why she so identifies with socialists?

But with this tweet, why is she so disappointed with the stock market doing well? Doesn't she like that her constituents and their retirement accounts are making money?

What kind of a representative wants her constituents to LOSE money?

And did she really just criticize the president for a good stock market? Is the president really responsible? Or is it that she believes his actions can NEGATIVELY impact the market and result in a loss for all her constituents?

Does she want President Barack Obama to be a 'good' socialist as opposed to the "worst" one? She must obviously believe he's a socialist if she's grading him as the "worst" ever.

Why does she think the president is a socialist?

And since she supported him and encouraged others to vote for him, why does she want a socialist as the president of the United States?

Was it meant as a joke as some are implying? Is she making the claim that he's not a socialist with the stock market doing so well?

You know they say some of the truest things are said in jest...

Regardless, there's a reason why the website detailing the the deleted tweet is called "politiwoops."

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Opening Day for Blair Museum of Lithophanes

Today is the opening day for the Blair Museum of Lithophanes at the Toledo Botanical Gardens. Their season runs through Oct. 27th.

In case you have no idea what a lithophane is, their website explains:

Lithophanes are three-dimensional translucent porcelain plaques which when backlit reveal detailed magical images. First created in Europe in the 1820s, the largest collection of this 19th century art form in the world is now on view at the Blair Museum of Lithophanes.

Lithophane is a term derived from the Greek litho meaning stone and phainen meaning to cause to appear. This Greek derivation has proven confusing to people who might know some basic Greek, but do not know that lithophanes have nothing to do with stone or a stone product, but are made of porcelain.

This is one from their collection that made me smile:

The museum is open weekdays from 1-4 .m. and during special events at the TBG. Kelly Sheehan, the museum's director, is the individual to contact if you want to arrange special visits or tours. You can reach her at 419-245-1365.

The current exhibit is called "Captured in Porcelain."

Friday, May 03, 2013

AG sues Toledo firm Making Home Affordable USA

Press Release:

TOLEDO, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against N.M.M.S.R. Incorporated, doing business as Making Home Affordable USA, and its owner Jason Keating of Maumee. The lawsuit charges Keating and his business with multiple violations of Ohio's consumer laws.

"Too many consumers have lost thousands of dollars, or even their homes, because of loan modification services that did nothing to help them," DeWine said. "We are continuing to target foreclosure relief businesses that mislead consumers, and we will continue to take action when we find them."

Making Home Affordable USA is located at 120 10th Street in Toledo. It offers loan modification and foreclosure assistance services through its "National Mortgage Modification Stimulus Home Saver Program." Although the business' name and website closely resemble that of the federal government's Making Home Affordable program, Making Home Affordable USA is not associated with the federal government.

According to the Attorney General, the business instructed consumers to stop making their mortgage payments (even if they were current on their payments) and stated that banks and lenders would not negotiate unless consumers were behind on their payments. Consumers paid 60 to 65 percent of their current mortgage payment to the business after the business assured them that the funds would be held in escrow and submitted to their lenders once a modification was reached. Consumers' lenders never received any of the funds placed into the accounts.

Approximately 30 consumers have filed complaints with the Attorney General's Office, the Better Business Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission. Their losses total around $75,000. Many additional victims likely have been affected.

The lawsuit charges the business and its owner with violations of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act and Telephone Solicitation Sales Act. Specific counts include failure to deliver, encouraging consumers to default on their mortgages, and failing to register as a telephone solicitor. The Attorney General seeks consumer restitution, permanent injunctive relief, and civil penalties.

"Don't trust a business that tells you to stop making your mortgage payment in order to get a modification," DeWine said. "Not only is it bad advice — in Ohio, it's also illegal."

Attorney General DeWine offers consumers the following advice:

* Do not pay up-front fees for help avoiding foreclosure or obtaining mortgage relief. By law, companies are prohibited from charging and accepting fees for mortgage assistance relief services until consumers receive and accept a loan modification offer from their lenders.
* Research a business before providing any money or personal information. Check to see if consumers have filed complaints with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and check a company's reputation with the Better Business Bureau. Don't use a loan modification business that charges upfront fees.
* Contact Save the Dream Ohio if you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments. Call 888-404-4674 or visit for free foreclosure assistance.

Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly in any transaction should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at or 800-282-0515.

A copy of the lawsuit is available on the Ohio Attorney General's website.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Petition for school prayer amendment rejected for technical deficiences

This Press Release seems pretty ironic considering today was the National Day of Prayer:

Photo courtesy of the
Saturday Evening Post
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—The Ohio Attorney General's Office today rejected the petition for the proposed "Amendment to Return Prayer to Our Public Schools" because the petitions contained technical flaws which prevented the submission from being approved.

On April 22nd, the Ohio Attorney General's Office received a written petition from a group called Coalition to Return Prayer to Our Public Schools seeking to amend the Ohio Constitution by adding "The Amendment to Return Prayer to Our Public Schools." The submission was rejected for two reasons: 1) the individual part-petitions signed by various individuals do not contain the language of the proposed constitutional amendment and its summary, and 2) the individual part-petitions do not contain the signature of a circulator, signed under penalty of election falsification attesting to witnessing the number of individuals the circulator saw sign the part-petitions.

Petition signatures were not reviewed because of the petition deficiencies requiring the Attorney General to reject the submission.

Initiative petitions are many times rejected for technical reasons related to the petitions or summary language. The Ohio Attorney General's Office sends petitioners a letter outlining how they can correct deficiencies and be compliant with Ohio law.

In order for a constitutional amendment to proceed, an initial petition containing summary language of the amendment and 1,000 signatures from Ohio registered voters must be submitted to the Ohio Attorney General. Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board would determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of president at the last presidential election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of president at the last presidential election.

The full text of today's letter and of the initiative petitions submitted can be found at

Kasich Announces $1 Billion In Workers’ Compensation Rebates

Gongwers is reporting:

Gov. John Kasich announced plans Thursday to give Ohio employers a $1 billion rebate from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and another $900 million credit as the agency revamps its payment system.

“I would call this one of the most important economic stimulus measures that you can see. We’re actually going to do cash rebates,” he said during a news conference at a small T-shirt shop in Columbus.

“Being able to give $1 billion in cash means there’s going to be a heck of a lot more money floating around inside the state of Ohio and it will be of significant benefit to the employers, particularly the small business people,” he said.

Gov. Kasich and BWC Administrator Steve Buehrer said they would submit the rebate proposal to the Board of Directors for approval at its next meeting in late May.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

AG releases 1st quarter Concealed Carry stats

Press Release:

First Quarter Concealed Carry Statistics Released

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today issued concealed carry license statistics for the first quarter of 2013 indicating that more than 37,000 concealed carry licenses were issued in Ohio, a dramatic increase over the same period in 2012.

According to statistics reported to the Attorney General's office, county sheriffs in Ohio issued 31,407 new licenses and 6,354 renewal licenses, or 37,761 total licenses, between January 1 and March 31. In the first quarter of 2012, 16823 new licenses were issued, and 64,650 new licenses were issued in all of 2012. The 37,761 new licenses issued in the first quarter were more than in all of 2005 (22,457), 2006 (15,751), or 2007(22,103).

"The increase in law-abiding Ohioans seeking concealed carry permits to exercise their Second Amendment privileges is a noteworthy trend" DeWine said. "I look forward to continuing to work with Ohio's county sheriffs to provide information to Ohioans on this law's usage."

The Attorney General's Office compiles an annual report as required by law about the number of licenses issued each year. Each sheriff must report concealed handgun license statistics quarterly to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission within the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Those quarterly statistics are published on the Ohio Attorney General's website once compiled and verified.

To learn more about Ohio's concealed carry laws, please visit

Statistics for Lucas County:

614 issued
130 renewals
14 suspended
6 revoked
24 denied

How long will Republicans tolerate such incompetence?

I just want to know how long Republicans in Lucas County are going to tolerate such incompetence from Jon Stainbrook, the chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party?

We have a chairman whose only success is getting enough of his supporters elected to the Central Committee and then getting them to show up to vote for him as chairman. In all other aspects of the job, he has failed miserably.

The top three priorities of a party chairman are:

1) raise money for the party and its candidates
2) recruit and elect good candidates
3) be the voice of the principles of the party

Stainbrook has done none of these.

When, if ever, have you heard him quoted in the news expressing support for the core principles of the Republican Party - or opposing any action promoted by the left?

When he is in the news it's usually because he's suing fellow Republicans or bashing fellow Republicans. Or he's doing something ridiculous like ignoring the Secretary of State's recommendation to fire the Board of Elections director and assistant director and, instead, making a motion to keep them and fire everyone else in the office.

Or he's voting AGAINST a motion to prohibit secretly recording conversations in the BOE. Seriously? What kind of party chairman votes against something like that?!?

(obviously, one known for secretly recording conversations...)

When there was a vacant Toledo City Council position, he threw in the towel - before the fight for the seat even began:

"...there isn’t anything the Republican Party can do to derail the appointment."

Actually, there was. Stainbrook could have been all over the news demanding that a placeholder - someone who wasn't going to run for the seat - be appointed until the election this year. I laid out a comprehensive strategy that would have set the stage on an important issue for our candidates this November.

Sadly, Stainbrook missed a wonderful opportunity for Republicans and demonstrated, again, his utter lack of understanding of the role of the 'loyal opposition' in a Democrat-dominated Toledo.

As for recruiting and electing Republicans, well, the lack of success is pretty telling.

Yes, they have had candidates, but many of them complain that the party did nothing to help them.

It used to be that you could rely upon the party for some initial funds - perhaps enough to get a small postcard or flyer to hand out. The party would compile and events calendar so candidates wouldn't miss an important opportunity to meet-and-greet. They would hold weekly candidate meetings to plan the upcoming week and ensure that two candidates didn't hold press conferences on the same day. They provided advice strategic planning on everything from press releases to message development.

None of that happens under this chairman. Not all candidates complain about the lack of party support, but the new ones don't know what they don't know. They've not seen a fully-functioning GOP and don't know what they're missing in terms of potential support.

And where are our candidates for this year??? This is a local election year. City council, mayoral and school board seats are on the ballot for November. There is absolutely nothing on the party's web page about being a candidate, screening potential candidates or...well...anything whatsoever related to the upcoming election.

As for the county website...He can even keep the LCRP website current! Here's a link to a screen shot of As you can see, it's been at least three months since it was update as the only item on the page is the advertisement for the Lincoln Day Dinner - which was on Feb. 21st.

I wonder how long the web page will remain like this? In 2011, the Lincoln Day Dinner was April 7th and on August 29th, they still had that notice up. That's five months without updating their web page!

He hasn't raised any money and what money he does raise from events like the annual Lincoln Day Dinner go toward paying for his own personal campaign for state central committee. Just how much party money did he spend on his own PERSONAL campaign for State Central Committee? His personal mini-billboards were also paid for by the LCRP. And why would you need mini-billboards for a state central committee position in the first place? Certainly other candidates on the ballot have not received such support for their races that Stainbrook provided for his own.

He's paid for a parliamentarian (usually a check for $1,000), security, lawyers, numerous reimbursements to himself, Meghan Gallaher and other known FoS (Friends of Stainbrook) - often without detailed accounting of what they are for. The amount of money spent on candidates is negligible compared to the amount spent on himself.

The Oct. 25, 2012 campaign finance report showed the party had just over $2,000 and, despite showing three different purchases of yard signs, showed only one of those purchases as an in-kind contribution to a commissioner candidate. But you should know, $614.46 doesn't go very far when you're purchasing yard signs for a county-wide race.

The Dec. 14, 2012 Post General Report showed about $7,000 on hand. Interestingly, the party raised just under $9,000 between the pre-general and post-general report, with over half the amount ($5,395) coming in on Nov. 7th, the day after the election.

How did the party spend that money? Most of it went to the costs of the headquarters, but they did purchase $744 worth of signs, though it doesn't say who the signs were for. Oh, and Stainbrook was reimbursed $1,208.04 - again, without online documentation for what was being paid.

The finance report also shows the party owes $6,000 for a loan from Jim Brennan, Jr. It was a $10,000 loan taken on Jan. 20, 2011 and they've owed $6,000 for quite a while now. So it's essentially broke.

There was the previously mentioned Lincoln Day Dinner with Gov. John Kasich and we won't know how much was raised or spent until after the semi-annual reports are filed in July. But my guess is that any money raised will not go primarily to candidates - or be saved for candidates for this year's election.

So on the the primary duties of a chairman, Stainbrook's performance is dismal at best.

But that's not all.

He's a hypocrite.

Without consulting with the party, he took it upon himself to demand the resignation of the state party chairman and signed a letter stating he was speaking for all Republicans in Lucas County.

He's had numerous issues with signatures that don't match on various legal filings, including campaign finance reports for the party and in one of the races for state central committee.

Then there is his dereliction of duty to the voters of Lucas County.

There is a vacant judge seat on Common Pleas Court. The other judges are handling increased case loads and the citizens of the county are being deprived of a judge all because Stainbrook has not scheduled a screening for the known applicants for the position. The local party needs to screen the applicants and then recommend at least one of them to the governor for him to appoint. These applicants were told in early February by Stainbrook that the screening would take place after the Lincoln Day Dinner, but so far - nothing.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. So how long are Lucas County Republicans going to tolerate such incompetence?

Google Analytics Alternative