Friday, June 28, 2013

Quote of the Day - The Constitution's permanent construction

To all those who believe the Constitution is a 'living' document subject to the whims of the day:

"Temporary delusions, prejudices, excitements, and objects have irresistible influence in mere questions of policy. And the policy of one age may ill suit the wishes or the policy of another. The constitution is not subject to such fluctuations. It is to have a fixed, uniform, permanent construction. It should be, so far at least as human infirmity will allow, not dependent upon the passions or parties of particular times, but the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." ~ Joseph Story

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bill to put Ohio into multi-state health care compact introduced

Press release received today via email:

Reps. Retherford and Boose Introduce Health Care Compact Legislation

Proposal will give Ohio more control over costs and health care outcomes

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) and Terry Boose (R-Norwalk) recently introduced legislation that would enter Ohio into a multi-state health care compact.

Rep. Mark Romanchuk, Rep. John Becker,
Rep. Wes Retherford, Rep. Terry Boose
A multi-state health care compact would allow Ohio to have full control over the federal health care dollars spent within the state, which in Ohio alone would equate to $35 billion annually. Additionally, states within the compact have the authority to craft their own health care systems and regulations to best suit their individual needs, rather than relying on centralized control by the federal government.

“Entering into an interstate health care compact would have tremendous long-term benefits for the state of Ohio,” said Rep. Retherford. “It will allow us to retain local control over tax dollars and help us to reduce waste, increase efficiency and provide better health outcomes for our citizens.”

“We need to allow our health care system the flexibility to provide sustainable, quality health care for Ohioans,” said Rep. Boose. “With health care decisions made at the state level rather than by unaccountable, distant federal bureaucrats, Ohio could tailor its own systems to address its needs.”

Eight states have passed health care compact legislation. The compact would go into effect with the approval of the U.S. Congress.

The legislation will be designated a bill number and assigned to a House committee in the near future.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ohio House passes red light/speed camera ban

This post went up earlier today at Ohio Watchdog:

Are red light cameras essential safety tools that save lives or part of local money-grabbing scams that ignore due process while giving politicians more spending money?

It depends on whom you ask, and in this case political party affiliation has little to do with it.

H.B. 69, legislation that would prohibit cities and the Ohio State Highway Patrol from using a “traffic law photo-monitoring device to determine a violation of either the state traffic light or speed limit statute,” was approved 9-4 by the House Transportation Committee Tuesday.

Late today, the measure was approved by the full House by a vote of 61 to 32.

Continue reading...

Toledo gets $2.4 million rebate from BWC

The City of Toledo, like many other employers in the state, is getting a refund from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation...the question, though, is what they're going to do with it. Spend it, is my guess, which is confirmed by a press release issued by the city. The bigger question is this: once you spend the money on increased safety forces, how will you pay them in the future?

Press release:

City of Toledo receives $2.4 million rebate from Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

Toledo Mayor Michael P. Bell today accepted a check in the amount $2,498,478.33 from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The funds come as a rebate announced by Bureau as a result of greater than anticipated dividends on investments.

Mayor Bell thanked the Bureau and Governor John Kasich for their efficiency in managing the agency and for returning the dividends to the municipalities and businesses required to purchase the state provided insurance.

“This rebate will reduce the amount of money allocated to our workers’ compensation fund from the general fund and provide additional funding to increase manpower in our safety forces,” said Mayor Bell.

Thanks in part to the BWC rebate, the city now plans to hire a class of 50 firefighters in August. The original 2013 general fund budget called for a class of only 30 recruits. A class of 65 police officers is budgeted to begin in October 2013 as well. Since taking office, Bell has hired 142 firefighters and 115 police officers. The 2013 classes will bring those totals to 192 firefighters and 180 police officers hired during his inaugural term as mayor.


'Free' soccer clinic vs. roads or shooting ranges

I received a press release from the City of Toledo touting their latest recreational program for kids:

Free soccer clinic to be offered at Smith Park

The City of Toledo Division of Parks, Recreation and Forestry and the Toledo Celtics Soccer Club will sponsor a free soccer clinic from 1-3 p.m. this Saturday, June 29, 2013 at Smith Park, 910 Dorr St..

The clinic will be open to boys and girls ages seven to 14 years to learn the game of soccer and build basic soccer skills with instruction from local and international coaches. Participants will have opportunities to win soccer balls and tee shirts. Coaches will also offer a ball juggling demonstration featuring advanced footwork and agility skills.

For additional information about this free event, please contact the Division of Parks Recreation and Forestry at 419-936-3887.


Here's the thing: the city doesn't have any money.

Don't you remember last year when Council members Lindsay Webb and Steve Steel were pushing a 1-mill recreation levy because there just wasn't enough money to cover the costs of maintaining parks?

So where does the city get the money to host a "free" soccer clinic and give away "free" soccer balls and "free" t-shirts? Red light cameras?

And it's definitely NOT free. Our tax dollars have gone to provide this at no cost to participants, instead of paying for essential services like roads. Our street had two places where the road was falling in. One was finally repaired - very nicely - but the other, not one house away, is still a disaster. When will that become a 'necessity' like the soccer clinic?

And how many kids do you think will actually participate?

Like city pools, the politicians are catering to the extreme minority while telling all of us that our quality of life is enhanced when they do so.

But what I really want to know is this: If Toledo can do a 'free' soccer clinic, hwen do I get my "free" shooting range?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quote of the Day - racism is collectivism

As a conservative, I'm often lumped in a group the left/progressives/democrats accuse of being racist. I think, however, that it is the left/progressives/democrats who are the real racists in that they (as a group) tend to delineate people by the color of the their skin rather than the "content of their character."

In fact, I once voted against an individual for appointment to the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library board. He was a union officer whose only qualification was that he was a union officer. There were several business leaders with experience in running organizations whom I preferred for the post, but I was the lone Republican on the Board of County Commissioners and the union guy was appointed.

I received a phone call from a local minority newspaper to ask about my vote. I explained the difference in qualifications between the individuals I supported and the one selected. I was then asked if my vote was because the union guy was black.

My response was, "I don't know what color his skin is - it's irrelevant to the position and has nothing whatsoever to do with the ability to do the job."

The reporter didn't know what to say, because clearly, the external, visual pigmentation should have been the ONLY consideration - at least to him.

The union guy was later convicted of embezzling.

Here is the quote:

"Collectivism is a doctrine that holds that the individual has no rights, and the ultimate standard of value is the group to which 'he belongs.' Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors. Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas -- or of inherited knowledge -- which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men. Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination." ~ Ayn Rand

Monday, June 24, 2013

Still catering to the 2%, Toledo opens city pools today

The City of Toledo will open its publicly-funded pools at noon today. Six pools and a splash pad will be available for residents.

They are: Willys Pool, Roosevelt Pool, Wilson Pool, Jamie Farr Pool, Navarre Pool, and Pickford Pool - along with the Savage Splash Pad.

View City of Toledo Pools Map in a larger map

You'd think that since the public has already paid for the pools with their tax dollars that they'd be free, but you're wrong. It will cost $1 for those 12 and under and $2 for those 13 and older - except for the Savage Splash Pad, which is free.

Here's the thing - they don't make sense economically.

I did an analysis of pool usage in 2008 and found that Toledo pools really don't have that high of attendance with maybe about 2% of the city's population actually utilizing this 'service.'

Based upon census data and cost at the time, I found it was costing the city about $120 per person served. As I wrote at the time:

It would be cheaper to buy every kid in the city a membership to the Boys and Girls Club ($5 per year for 16-18 year olds, but only $3 for 7-15 year olds) which would give them access to ALL activities, not just the pools.

In 2009, I updated the figures and pointed out the warped priorities of our city government:

The total amount to be spent this year (three ordinances are on the agenda) is $136,398. The problem is the number of children to be served.

As I've highlighted in previous posts, the pools serve less than 2% of the population and less than 6% of the children in the city. And the number of users has declined over the last three years.

As calculated in my previous posts, the pools serve roughly 4,700 unique visitors. At that number for this year's funding, it's about $28 per person. For the same amount of money, the city could purchase a year-long membership at the Boys & Girls Club for 27,000+ kids (calculated at the 16-18 year old membership rate of $5, not the 7-15 year old rate of $3). If we really care about kids, why aren't we providing them with year-round activities instead of just a couple of months (depending on weather) of pool access?

But if the city told you that they were going to purchase memberships for kids to a club, would you support the expenditure of those dollars while we're laying off police and not planning on residential road improvements? Probably not.

It's an issue of priorities and Toledo government doesn't have a track record of setting good ones.

As the Occupy Wall Street groups gathered last year to complain about the 1%, I again examined the issue of the public pools and how they cater to the 2% all the while claiming that everyone's quality of life was enhanced by providing a service to only 2% of the population:

But on a principle basis, the claim is that these types of programs provide "quality of life" for residents. The problem is, they provide a certain benefit for some, at the expense of all. And simply saying that "all" have the "opportunity" to take advantage of them doesn't negate the fact that my quality of life is diminished by having to pay for recreation/entertainment I neither like nor want, but that is forced upon me by a significant few.

An analysis I did in 2008 showed that even under the best of scenarios, the city pools serve less than 7% of the youth population and, since we know that adults also visit the pools, less than 2% of the total population of the city.

Why are we spending money to serve less than 2% of the residents? And why would council members claim that the entire city's quality of life is enhanced by a 'service' that caters to less than 2%? Certainly the taxation of 100% in order to serve 2% isn't logical and doesn't enhance the 'quality of life' of the remaining 98%. As many of the same council members who promote this logic also supported the OccupyToledo group, you'd think they'd understand this concept.

These same council members also talk about how pools and other youth entertainment help reduce crime. However, I have yet to see a single one of them provide a single study or shred of evidence that such is the case anywhere, much less here in Toledo.

The bottom line is that they want to provide pools, so they do. That the vast majority of the public doesn't want our limited tax dollars so expended is countered by an emotional appeal to our 'quality of life.' Yet even that attempt at logic falls short with just a cursory examination.

My quality of life is negatively impacted so that council can - maybe - enhance the quality of life of the 2%. Sadly, Toledo city council members don't understand that providing a quality of life service for some means a lack of quality of life for most.

So here we are in 2013, still spending public monies to cater to a few at the expense of everyone else. And the same politicians who decry such actions when the few who are catered to are banks, or rich people, or Wall Street, will willingly embrace the concept and become hypocrites in the process.

If you want to 'take advantage' of the 'service' being 'provided' by your tax dollars, here are the regular hours and admission costs:

Willys Complex Pool
1375 Hillcrest
Tuesday – Sunday
Noon till 6 p.m.
Admission $1 for 12 years and younger
$2 for 13 years and older

Roosevelt Pool
910 Dorr St.
Tuesday – Sunday
Noon till 6 p.m.
Admission $1 for 12 years and younger
$2 for 13 years and older

Wilson Pool
3253 Otto
Noon till 6 p.m.
Admission $1 for 12 years and younger

Jamie Farr Pool
2000 Summit St.
Noon till 6 p.m.
Admission $1 for 12 years and younger

Navarre Pool
1001 White
Noon till 6 p.m.
Admission $1 for 12 years and younger

Pickford Pool
3000 Medford
Noon till 6 p.m.
Admission $1 for 12 years and younger

Savage Splash Pad Water Play Park
645 Vance St.
Noon till 6 p.m.
Admission free

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Humorless Ohio AG mugs ‘prescription’ coffee cup

This opinion piece was originally posted at

By Maggie Thurber | for Ohio Watchdog
Has Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine helped get a potentially dangerous product off the shelves or does he just have no sense of humor?  Maybe he should be heeding Alcoholics Anonymous’ famous Rule No. 62: “don’t take yourself too damn seriously.”
COFFEE MUGGED: Urban Outfitter’s Prescription Line coffee mug that 22 state attorneys general believe is ‘not in any way fun.’
Here’s the issue:  does a coffee mug that mimics a prescription bottle and says “Prescription Coffee, RX#: VRY-CAF-N8D, Drink one mug by mouth, repeat until awake and alert” make fun of prescription drug abuse?
DeWine thinks so.
“People die from accidental drug overdoses in this state every day, and these products make light of the problem,” DeWine said in a May press release.   “We don’t find these products funny at all.”
“These products” referred to the Prescription Line produced by Urban Outfitters, Inc., a national company listed on NASDAQ with revenues of $2.8 billion and three locations in the state.
May was when DeWine and 22 other state attorneys general asked the company to pull the Prescription Line of glasses, coasters, mugs and drink holders.  On June 10, theAmerican Association of Poison Control Centers and 57 local poison centers wrote a similar letter asking that the products be removed.
The letter from the AGs, addressed to Richard Hayne, CEO and chairman of the company, said: ”These products demean the thousands of deaths that occur each month in the United States from accidental overdoses. These products are not in any way fun or humorous but make light of this rampant problem.”
The Partnership at went further and categorized them as “prescription drug paraphernalia products.”
Urban Outfitters, in a statement issued earlier this week to CNN, gave in to the political pressure and announced they were pulling the products:
“In the 20,000 products that comprise our assortment, there are styles that represent humor, satire, and hyperbole.  In this extensive range of products we recognize that from time to time there may be individual items that are misinterpreted by people who are not our customer. As a result of this misinterpretation we are electing to discontinue these few styles from our current product offering.”
Politicians and anti-drug groups rejoiced and issued statements of praise for the decision.
Like beauty, humor is in the eye of the beholder and I thought the mugs were quite humorous, and nothing at all like drug paraphernalia.
I loved the hyperbole, especially since I’ve relied upon coffee as just ‘what the doctor ordered’ as a solution to a bleary-eyed, tired morning.  I’m sure others have felt the same way.
Drug abuse is a problem, whether it be prescriptions, alcohol or illegal substances.  It hurts not only the abuser, but their family and friends as well.
Most people probably don’t see the connection to the product.  I don’t think this mug makes light of the problem.  In fact, I see nothing whatsoever related to drug abuse, and I can’t understand how a mug could “undermine” government efforts to stop such abuse.
One could ask why that is the role of government in the first place – but will any of the products in the line really cause millions of people who use prescription drugs correctly to suddenly turn into addicts or abusers?
The News Herald in Panama City, Fla., one of the states whose AG signed the letter, opined:
“These public officials are going after jokes. That’s no laughing matter. Is there ANY evidence that hipster humor actually costs lives? Do people really see these jokey items as permission to break the law and engage in self-destructive behavior? If so, maybe the attorneys general also should look into persuading Urban Outfitters to stop selling Che Guevara posters, lest impressionable minds get the idea that Marxist revolution is romantic.”
When I was little we had candy cigarettes and bubble gum cigars.  They were popular for the fun of them, though the ‘cigar’ had more bubble gum than a regular piece did so it was a way to get more chewing pleasure for the price.
I didn’t grow up thinking I should smoke the real things as a result of these candies — and neither did any of my friends.   Peer pressure and parental habits had more to do with the decision to smoke — or not — than any candy ever did.
While I haven’t checked, I’d be surprised if those two candies did not come under similar pressure and are now outlawed.
Heaven forbid that we let children pretend about anything that might possibly harm them, like playing with a toy gun, drawing a picture of a gun or making a pastry into the shape of one.
Yet we have a government that believes a child should be able to get an abortion pill — a medical treatment with potential negative side effects both physical and psychological — without a prescription or even their parent’s knowledge.
What’s next? Forbidding jokes or even references to “what the doctor ordered” or “good for what ails you” in case someone might (inaccurately) perceive it as making light of people abusing prescriptions?
This isn’t really about prescription drug abuse — it’s about control.  Urban Outfitters will lose income and many individuals who liked the product will be deprived of its use.
But politicians and anti-drug groups will be able to claim a win, and the root problems that cause someone to begin abusing in the first place will continue.

Friday, June 21, 2013

GOP budget raises Ohio sales tax, goes after Internet purchases

There's a lot to like in the Republican budget for the state of Ohio - but there are some disturbing items as well: a sales tax hike and Internet taxes.

The first thing you should know is that Ohio's income went up last year. The Dayton Daily News reported in April:

The Buckeye State experienced big increases in sales taxes, personal income taxes, hospital-related taxes and corporation licenses in fiscal year 2012, the Dayton Daily News found.

Ohio’s tax receipts grew by $905.9 million in fiscal year 2012, which ended last June 30, compared to the previous fiscal year, according to an analysis of 2012 Census of Governments data released Thursday.

A new income source came from one-time licensing fees of $50 million paid by two of Ohio’s new casinos.

The state got $100 million in fees from the opening of casinos in Cleveland and Toledo in May 2012. While that’s a one-time occurrence for each casino, the state will add another $100 million in the current fiscal year for the casino in Columbus, which opened Oct. 8, 2012, and one in Cincinnati, which opened in February.

Ohio tax receipts increased by 3.6 percent in the last fiscal year.

The GOP budget fact sheet, provided by Gongwer Ohio, is titled: "Putting More Money Back in Ohioans' Pockets" and says:

"The House & Senate Majority Caucuses have said from day one that we need to shift towards a consumption-based tax structure and away from our current income tax structure, which penalizes success. Additionally, we have said from day one that you want to ensure that we are not playing a "shell game" where $1 of taxes are cut, but raised by $1 elsewhere."

They are proposing a 50% small business tax cut on the first $250,000 in net business income and a 10% income tax cut, which is a on the personal income tax rate over the next three years.

But there are tax increases in the plan:

* In the future, the Homestead Tax Exemption will be means tested and only apply to seniors earning less than $30,000. It applies to all seniors now. They will grandfather in anyone currently getting the exemption.

* The state has been subsidizing property taxes from local levies - at a rate of 12.5%. That will end for any new levies. The rationale is that with a lower income tax rate, property owners won't need the state subsidy.

* Gambling losses will no longer be deductible. You'll pay taxes on gambling gains, but won't be able to deduct losses.

* All cigarettes will be taxed at the same rate, which will be a bit lower than what is paid on regular cigarettes.

* If you purchase a magazine at the newsstand or grocery store, you pay sales tax on it. This tax will now be applied to magazines purchased through a subscription.

But the big one is the sales tax, which is increased from 5.5% to 5.75%.

Additionally, in a move they describe as "streamlining" and part of "modernizing our overall tax structure," Ohio will become a full member of a multi-state compact in order to expand the collection of sales taxes due from catalog and Internet purchases.

Another bullet item says they will be "equalizing sale of digital goods with their already taxed hard copy counterparts."

Since the actual language is not yet written, this could mean a number of things but the general consensus is that they are going to require the sales tax on Internet purchases.

All these plans to raise taxes are supposed to be offset by the decrease in income tax. But that assumes that the additional sales you end up paying is actually less than the cut in the income taxes. That may be true for some, but not for others. The good news for purchasers is that you don't *have* to continue purchasing things like magazines and clothes and cigarettes, etc... so you can see an overall reduction in the taxes paid.

I guess I'm just not convinced this will give Ohioans "more buying power and help create jobs."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

ICYMI - links from around the web

There's been so much going on this week that I thought an ICYMI (in case you missed it) column was in order ... so here we go:

* Did you know that school officials have an "obligation" to ensure that property taxes that fund schools are "fair"??? Nope, I didn't realize that was in their job description either. But that's exactly what a representative of school administrators and boards told an Ohio senate committee this week.

The premise is that they *must* challenge the values of properties in order to ensure that fairness, but is that really the case? As Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez says, if that were true, wouldn't they also challenge property values that are too high? Turns out, they don't.

Read the whole thing at Ohio Watchdog

* If you were asked to describe a political action committee, would you include a group of people who get together to talk about politics? How about if one of the people in the group was a blogger? Probably not your idea of a PAC - but that's exactly what Ohio thinks is a PAC and they want a Cleveland-area blogger to register and follow all the rules associated with being a PAC - and pay the fines/fees for not already doing so.

This could have ramifications for any group in the state that discusses politics, regardless of political perspective. So the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review what it calls the "nation's strictest PAC regulations."

Read more at Ohio Watchdog

* The Farm Bill - though since it's really 80% food stamps so the name is quite misleading - is pending before Congress. Here's some really interesting information you need to know, especially since the bogus 'food stamp challenge' is back. Funny that this ridiculous challenge seems to be a regular event every time the bill is up for vote...but I digress.

Take a look at this chart. Do you really think we should borrow even more money to fund a 56% increase in spending for the Farm Bill?

* If you think George Orwell got it right in his book 1984, you should read this article about Herbert Spencer who wrote The Man Versus The State - in 1884.

There are some really terrific quotes from him and his book like:

Regulations have been made in yearly growing numbers, restraining the citizen in directions where his actions were previously unchecked, and compelling actions which previously he might perform or not as he liked; and at the same time heavier public burdens … have further restricted his freedom, by lessening that portion of his earnings which he can spend as he pleases, and augmenting the portion taken from him to be spent as public agents please.

The more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them, and nothing by them. Every generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies.

and in a nod to the 'you didn't build that' meme:

It is not to the State that we owe the multitudinous useful inventions from the spade to the telephone; it is not the State which made possible extended navigation by a developed astronomy; it was not the State which made the discoveries in physics, chemistry, and the rest, which guide modern manufacturers; it was not the State which devised the machinery for producing fabrics of every kind, for transferring men and things from place to place, and for ministering in a thousand ways to our comforts. The worldwide transactions conducted in merchants' offices, the rush of traffic filling our streets, the retail distributing system which brings everything within easy reach and delivers the necessaries of life daily at our doors, are not of governmental origin. All these are results of the spontaneous activities of citizens, separate or grouped.

You might not have time to read the whole book, but this article about it will give you a good overview - and might surprise you at how predictable the move to tyranny is.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bill authorizing warrantless searches of Ohioan's cell phone activity derailed

Email from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law:

Bill Authorizing Warrantless Searches of Ohioans' Cell Phone Activity Derailed

Stalled in Committee after 1851 Testimony, Bill would permit sharing of "any information" to law enforcement, if not amended

Columbus, OH - The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today took action that stalled passage of Senate Bill 5, legislation that, if enacted, would permit warrantless acquisition, by state and local law enforcement, of Ohioans' travels and cell phone communications.

The fast-tracked Bill, which passed 32-1 in the Ohio Senate and was poised to be voted out of its House committee today, voted on by the entire House on June 19, and enacted into law within a matter of days, received almost no public or media scrutiny until the 1851 Center's involvement today.

In his testimony before the House Committee on Transportation Public Safety and Homeland Security, 1851 Center Director Maurice Thompson explained the following:

  • The Bill authorizes wireless service providers to break their voluntarily-agreed-to contracts with Ohio customers, to whom they've promised privacy, and strips Ohioans of their right to enforce these contracts, or sue for damages (Cell phone carriers are granted absolute immunity for sharing information with law enforcement).
  • The Bill is broader than the controversial federal NSA program, in that it authorizes searches not related to foreign communications or terrorism, including activity related to petty crime such as driving infractions, or no crime at all.
  • While the Bill's initial requirements of an "emergency" are well-defined, later division of the Bill place no limits on local law enforcement's authority to acquire cell phone records of any Ohioan for any reason.
  • Cell phone companies have considerable incentive to share this information with Ohio police, to whom they can sell this information without liability (under the Bill) at up to $2,200 per search.

"We were shocked to learn that this Bill had overwhelmingly passed the Senate with such speed, and that there was previously no opposition," said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center. "Ohioans should be free from warrantless searches of their phone records except in the gravest of emergencies, if at all, and they should be free to contract with carriers that will not sell their information. This Bill would violate those constitutional principles, accomplishing the very thing the Fourth Amendment was written to guard against. That is why we have taken this action."

After an hour of testimony by Thompson today, which sometimes included tense exchanges with state representatives, the House Committee agreed to table the Bill and field the 1851 Center's proposed amendment - - which require a search warrants before any non-emergency acquisition of cell phone information may occur - - before taking further action on the Bill. The next Committee meeting on the matter is not yet scheduled.

Upon review of 1851 testimony, several Senators who voted for the Bill have indicated that the Bill was misleading, and that their support, at the behest of Senate leadership, was too hasty.

Read The 1851 Center's testimony on proposed Senate Bill 5 HERE.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Batchelder: House won't act on Medicaid bills before recess

Gongwer is reporting that the Ohio House will not act on any Medicaid overhaul bill before their recess. House Speaker Bill Batchelder said he doesn't think the House can pass the legislation before they take their summer break beginning June 30.

"My sense is that at this point in time, we cannot complete that work (before June 30) but we will continue the work,” he told reporters. “We can’t do anything before the break, in my opinion, just given the dynamics..."

Food insecurity - reality or hype?

You've probably heard the commercials numerous times - one in five kids in the country are going hungry - usually recited in a sad little girl's voice. Now it's one in four.

I heard a blurb on the radio this morning talking about food insecurity. I’m not sure if it was a news item or an advertisement, but the premise of the message was completely wrong.

First it said that one out of four children in Ohio live in a home that is “food insecure” – that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Having looked at various food insecurity questionnaires and polls, I could find no single common definition of food insecurity. In some of the forms, the one in four or one in five results come from a question that asks ‘can you afford the food you want to buy?’

Who wouldn’t answer that question no? I’d love to eat lobster and freshly-caught salmon and oysters on a regular basis – but I can’t afford to. So if that is the primary question that results in being ‘food insecure,’ then my household would qualify.

Other questions are more realistic in terms of assessing the status of families in terms of their ability to feed themselves. And I’m certain there are families that are having a hard time, but do we really think that 25% of kids in the state are actually going hungry on a regular basis?

The blurb continued saying that 800,000 children “depend” upon the free lunch program in schools.

There is no way that can be accurate – because they cannot know for sure.

I’m certain the number is correct in terms of participation in the free lunch program and how many children are both eligible and participating.

But participation doesn’t mean that the children are dependent. There are families who could provide lunches for their kids, but choose to participate in the program because they can. Again, this is certainly not all of the kids, but probably a good amount of them.

So without actually evaluating each family to know their status and ability to feed their children, it’s disingenuous to assume that participation means dependency.

It then said that only 1 in 10 of those kids participate in summer lunch programs designed to continue the feeding of children who get free school lunches.

It implied that all those children must be going hungry during the summer since they’re not enrolled in a summer lunch feeding program.

But there’s another conclusion that is just as valid as an assumption: that the kids not participating in the summer lunch program are being fed by their family.

And if kids are being fed by their families during the summer, maybe they don’t *need* to be fed by the government during the school year.

I have no idea if either conclusion is accurate, but the possibility exists that either is true – though it is more likely that the truth is somewhere in between.

My problem with the blurb is the assumption that participation in free school lunch program equals dependency and the conclusion that lack of participation in summer lunch program equals going hungry.

But how many people will actually think through the alternate possibility instead of reacting emotionally to the blurb and the appeal to either enroll in the summer feeding program or help support it?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Quotes of the day - liberty vs. safety and the presumption of being right

It's a beautiful day and I decided to stop working and enjoy it. You may not have that option, but I hope you'll have time before or after your work to enjoy the delightful sun and weather.

So here are two quotes to tide you over until tomorrow when I ask, "Why does The Blade and Joe McNamara only want McNamara and Anita Lopez in a debate, excluding all the other Toledo mayoral candidates?"

"I cannot accept, your canon that we are to judge pope and king unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against holders of power ... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." ~ Lord Acton, [John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton] (1834-1902), First Baron Acton of Aldenham to the bishop of London in 1887

"Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity's liberty!" ~ Samuel Adams

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flag Day 2013

Today is Flag Day - fly it proudly today and always!

(and DO NOT use it as a tablecloth!)

It's also the U.S. Army's 238th birthday, so Happy Birthday!

From National Flag Day Foundation:

The “Stars and Stripes”, the official National symbol of the United States of America was authorized by congress on that Saturday of June 14, 1777 in the fifth item of the days agenda. The entry in the journal of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 Vol. Vlll 1777 reads “Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”


On June 14th, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand, a 19 year old teacher at Stony Hill School, placed a 10 inch, 38- star flag in a bottle on his desk then assigned essays on the flag and its significance. This observance, commemorated Congresses adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. This observance was also the beginning of Cigrand’s long years of fervent and devoted effort to bring about national recognition and observance of Flag Day. The crowning achievement of his life came at age fifty when President Wilson, on May 30, 1916, issued a proclamation calling for a nation wide observance of Flag Day. Then in 1949, President Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day. On June 14th, 2004, the 108th U.S. Congress voted unanimously on H.R. 662 that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.
Some interesting flag locations and flag facts:

* In 1909 Robert Peary placed a flag, sewn by his wife, at the North Pole. He also left pieces of another flag along the way. It is the only time a person has been honored for cutting the flag.

* In 1963, Barry Bishop placed the flag on top of Mount Everest.

* In July 1969 the American flag was "flown" in space when Neil Armstrong placed it on the moon. Six US flags are currently stationed on the moon. They were put there by Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17.

* The first time the American flag was flown overseas on a foreign fort was in Libya, over Fort Derne, on the shores of Tripoli in 1805.

* Old Glory actually refers to a specific flag owned by Captain William Driver. Old Glory was made with 24 stars and 13 red and white stripes representing the original 13 colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. Old Glory traveled with Driver on his ship and circled the globe twice before retiring with Driver in Nashville. The flag was hidden away inside Driver’s bedspread in Nashville, when Tennessee seceded from the Union. When the war was over, Driver joyously ripped open his bedding to an astonished group of patriots to be proudly displayed for all to see. Sadly, due its fragile state and incredible historical and sentimental value, Old Glory’s last show was at the Tennessee State Museum in 2006. It now lives in the Smithsonian.

* The red, white and blue stripes are strictly defined as Dark Red (Pantone 193 C), White (Pantone safe), and Navy Blue (281 C).

* The current version of the US flag was designed by an 18 year old high school student, who only received a “B-“ for his efforts. Robert Heft, took exception to this grade, and issued his teacher a challenge: if Heft’s design proposal was accepted by Congress, he would deserve and receive an “A”. Heft earned his “A”, and by presidential proclamation in 1958, his design was officially adopted as the nation’s flag.

* Flag Day is always June 14th.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ohio considers property tax credit for home schooling

This post went up at Ohio Watchdog yesterday:

The Christian Home Educators
of Ohio support the idea of a property
tax credit but have some concerns
about the pending legislation.
Since the beginning of the home-schooling trend, parents have noted that they pay double to educate their children — once for the education they’re providing at home and again in the property and other taxes they pay to the local school district for public education.

That double payment will stop if S.B. 127 is approved by the Ohio General Assembly.

“Home-school students are taught with no financial assistance from government,” said Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Ostrander, the bill’s sponsor. “I think that (it) is only right to allow these families to keep more of their hard-earned dollars to make up for the cost of educating their children.”

The Christian Home Educators of Ohio support the idea of a property tax credit but have some concerns about the pending legislation.

Under the terms of the legislation, a home-school parent would make application to the county auditor for a reduction equal to the school district property taxes that are levied on the parent’s home. Reductions would begin in the 2014 tax year for taxes paid in 2015.

The applications would require information necessary to establish eligibility for the reduction, but must include a certified copy of the papers filed by school district superintendent showing the qualifications of the person conducting the home schooling.

If an application is denied, the reasons must be provided and the parent may appeal the denial to the county’s board of revision.

Jay Smith, a lobbyist with the Ohio School Board Association, said the OSBA does not support the bill.

“We see public education as a benefit for society and this just siphons away money that would be used for public education,” he said. “We will definitely participate if there is opponent testimony for the bill. We usually do when there is an issue that generates money for public education.”

Smith also said there were concerns about how such a provision would actually function.

“If there was lost revenue due to a tax credit — or any bill — we’d want to see that replaced,” he said.

Melanie Elsey, the legislative liaison for the nonprofit Christian Home Educators of Ohio, said her group supports the idea of a property tax reduction, but has some concerns about how the language is constructed.

“We’re working with Sen. Jordan and the Home School Legal Defense Association to address those concerns and expect that there will be some willingness to make changes to ensure there are no unintended consequences,” she said.

The bill is pending in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Mark Stevenson left the following comment on the article:

Ohioans for Educational Freedom supports this bill. OEF is a statewide Political Action Committee for home schoolers and advocates for home school freedom in Ohio. the web site can be found at

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quote of the Day - taxes

A lesson for all politicians and those who would seek government funding for anything:

"But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime." ~ Frederic Bastiat

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

'Operation Wipeout' to remove graffiti in Toledo

Press Release from City of Toledo:

Mayor, public service department unveil “Operation Wipeout”

New arsenal combats graffiti in Toledo Neighborhoods

Toledo Mayor Michael P. Bell and representatives of the city’s Department of Public Service today unveiled its new arsenal to combat graffiti in Toledo.

Named “Operation Wipeout,” the self contained unit features a generator; paint supplies, and chemical removers, and can be accompanied by a power washer. The vehicle is staffed by two Neighborhood Beautification Action (NBA) team members who scour the city in a converted 1986 GMC box truck that has been vinal-wrapped in colorful, but intentional graffiti of its own to wipeout unwanted tagging across Toledo.

The task force also now uses environmentally-friendly, biodegradable chemicals to remove surface graffiti. By spraying the affected area, brushing it or wiping with soft cloths and then power washing it, graffiti can be quickly removed from a variety of surfaces ranging from concrete and brick to smooth metal. Previous efforts to remove graffiti relied mainly on the use of sandblasters or painting over tagged surfaces. In 2012 the NBA team abated nearly 450 instances of graffiti.

The Department of Public Service has been engaged in a benchmarking initiative since 2010 to bring best practices in public service to Toledo’s service divisions with the goal of improving efficiency and delivering greater service to Toledo taxpayers. The graffiti removal unit was inspired by an industry best practice learned from San Francisco, California.

The NBA team is funded primarily through the city’s Community Development Block Grant funds to eliminate slum and blight. The team’s annual budget is approximately $700,000 and is used to combat tall grass and weeds; clean up of vacant lots, alleys and illegal dumping, board up of vacant and abandoned homes and removal of graffiti. The graffiti removal unit has been supplemented with additional sponsorship from Sherwin Williams and Kuhlman Corporation.


Not-Business-Friendly Post #21 - Ohio bill mandating paid time off for parenting

Tomorrow the House Commerce, Labor & Technology committee will hear sponsor testimony on a bill that purports to be 'for the children,' but is really an expensive mandate on employers.

H.B. 179, introduced by Democrat Rep. Heather Bishoff, is titled "Parenting Time." How nice does that sound?

But here's what it will do:

To enact section 3109.054 of the Revised Code to require certain employers to allow a parent to exercise court-ordered parenting time without terminating the parent's employment, reducing the parent's pay, or taking other similar action against the parent.

So an employee who takes time off work in order to participate in court-ordered parenting cannot have their pay docked, even though they're not working?

Why must any employer pay any employee for time not worked?

What makes this particular court-ordered participation any different from any other court-ordered participation - the fact that it has to do with kids??

Will we soon see laws that require a company to pay an employee who has to do court-ordered drug testing?

Why not require employers to continue to pay people who are sentenced to days in jail? If it's 'for the kids' won't the kids be negatively impacted if the parent is no longer earning pay?

See how easy it is to appeal to the emotions when kids are involved?

You might think there are significant differences between being sentenced to jail versus being required to do a twice-weekly drug test versus spending time with your kids, but really, they are all court orders and the emotional appeal shouldn't result in extra cost to an employer simply because this particular court-order has to do with children.

Employer organizations across the state need to object to this - as should every Ohioan.

No one should be forced by state law to pay people for time not worked. That should be up to the individual business owner and their own judgment about what is in the best interests of their company.

Besides, the last thing our state needs is additional costs on employers or a 'not-business-friendly' law that makes them think twice about their decision to be an Ohio company.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Quote of the Day - what to do about a tyrannical government

The instructions have been around since our nation was founded:

Portrait by Ezra Ames

"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify." ~ Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Toledo's $5 million surplus is really a $4 million deficit!

On Thursday, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell announced that the city had a $5.08 million surplus at the end of 2012.

But the 2012 budget called for $12 million to be transferred from the Capital Improvement Program fund (CIP) into the General Fund to pay for the yearly expenses.

When the budget was finalized, that transfer amount was increased to $13 million.

According to Jennifer Sorgenfrei, the city's public information officer, the total amount actually transferred into the General Fund was $9 million.

So - $9 million raided from the CIP to cover yearly costs and $5 million left over means that the city actually had a $4 million deficit.

Despite taking in more $3 million more than they expected and having $6 million less expenses than they planned, they still had to raid the CIP to cover their overspending.

And overspending it is when the outlay is greater than the income.

So, they've got $5 million left over - but that's just money that never should have been taken out of the CIP in the first place.

What will council do with this $5.08 million???

They should return it to the CIP - and plan to replace the $59 million total they've taken out of the fund that is supposed to pay for long-term projects likes roads and buildings, vehicles and infrastructure.

But they won't. They'll spend it, of course.

Faced with a choice of returning the money to the CIP or spending it on their own pet projects, our council members have shown that they always choose their own pet projects over the interests of the taxpayer.

Only in Toledo is an actual deficit characterized as a budget surplus and only here is that cause for even more spending.

Can you say 'stuck on stupid'???

Toledo claims $5.08 million budget surplus for 2012

According the following press release, the City of Toledo has completed their books for 2012 and is showing $5.08 million in surplus as of the end of the year.

What is not mentioned is whether or not any funds were transferred from the Capital Improvement Projects Fund (CIP) as planned in the original budget. The city originally budgeted a transfer of $12 million from the CIP into the General Fund to cover everyday expenses. If they transferred the full $12 million, it would bring the total amount diverted from the CIP to $62 million.

So if there is $5.08 million left over and the DID transfer $12 million, then they spent $7 million more than their income.

If they did NOT transfer any funds out of CIP and they've got $5.08 million left over, then they need to put that money back into the CIP to replace a small portion of the $50 million they've taken from the fund in the past several years.

I've emailed the city's public information officer to inquire about the CIP transfer. I'll let you know when I hear back.

Now that the year-end financials are finished, the auditors will review it and issue a final report.

Here is the press release:

Mayor Bell announces 2012 year end financials, $5 million fund balance anticipated

Mayor Michael P. Bell today announced the 2012 year end financials that have been sent to independent auditors for review and certification. Those figures include a report of income tax revenues totaling $158.5 million and an anticipated positive General Fund balance of $5.008 million.

“We’ve come a long way from where we started when I took office in 2010,” said Mayor Bell. “This city faced a $48 million budget deficit and that required us to make a lot of difficult and unpopular decisions over the last four years. If we had done nothing we would be in the same position as Detroit or Cincinnati. Instead we are seeing growth, increasing our safety forces, cleaning up neighborhoods and paving roads.”

The city faced a $48 million budget shortfall as Bell took office in 2010. Since that time, the city has worked to balance the budget and to restore the rainy day fund. Additionally, 165 police officers and 172 fire fighters will have been hired between 2010 and the end of 2013, more than the previous 12 years combined. The city in 2012 built a new fire station #6, and in 2013 will renovate fire station #3 and build a new fire station #12. More than 1,150 blighted structures have been demolished since 2010 to eliminate nuisances in Toledo neighborhoods.

In contrast, Detroit is facing bankruptcy and layoff of significant numbers in their safety forces. Cincinnati recently narrowly avoided police and fire layoffs after a one-time budget fix. Columbus in 2009 increased their income tax by 0.5% in order to restore services and forestall layoffs among safety forces. Toledo has not increased taxes or enacted mass layoffs under the Bell Administration. Unemployment in Toledo in January 2010 was 13.8% but has dropped to 8.4%; a net gain of approximately 4,500 jobs in the city.

The 2012 financials mark only the second time in a decade that the city’s General Fund ending balance has increased two years in a row. The city ended 2011 with a General Fund balance of $326,000. The strong financial position at the close of 2012 is attributed in part to income tax revenues coming in above budget and expenditure levels below budget.

In addition to the fire station construction, part of the City’s 2013 capital plan includes 61 lane miles of street repaving and reconstruction. Major street reconstruction is already underway on both Secor Road in west Toledo and Collingwood Boulevard in the central city. In total, $45 million will be invested in Toledo streets in 2013. Residential streets will comprise $10.5 million of that, or 22.8 lane miles. Due to the positive fund balance the Mayor has requested the Division of Engineering Services to compile recommendations for additional streets that could be addressed as part of the 2013 plan.

The 2012 financials have been submitted for review and await final confirmation from the independent auditor and the Ohio Auditor of State. Once certified they will be made available through publication of the comprehensive annual financial report. The city is projecting $163 million in income tax revenues for 2013, up from a 2009 low of $141 million, but still lagging from a 2007 high of $169 million.


Should the IRS take a lesson from Ohio's Boards of Election?

This post went up yesterday at Ohio Watchdog:

scales of justice R and DThe recent scandal of the IRS targeting conservative, tea party and patriot groups for unreasonable and ridiculous scrutiny in their tax-exempt applications, has renewed calls for abolishing the behemoth structure.

I'm all for that, but don't think it will ever happen. There just isn't the political will to eliminate the agency that implements the special favors and deductions created by politicians through a complicated, unknowable tax code.

Efforts to implement a flat tax or fair tax - where every person pays the same percentage of tax regardless of income - have also far. A major obstacle seems to be that poorer individuals would end up paying more than they do now and richer individuals wouldn't pay 'enough' - though 'enough' is never actually defined.

So absent its complete elimination, what can be done to ensure such targeting doesn't happen again - regardless of who the target might be?

The solution isn't easy, because the problem in inherent in the structure and culture of the agency - and government in general, as Monty at Ace of Spades explains:

The IRS is not supposed to be a partisan agency. The federal bureaucracy was explicitly designed to be non-partisan so that it would impartially enforce the tax laws and regulations passed by the Congress and approved by the Executive. But the IRS like many other federal bureaucracies tends to be staffed by people -- especially at the management level -- who believe in robust, activist government. In other words: it is staffed mainly by Democrats. And however nonpartisan the organization is supposed to be, it cannot help but reflect the culture of the people who comprise it. The IRS, being led by and staffed with activist-minded Democrats, cannot help but reflect that worldview. The culture reinforces itself because adherence to the culture is the only way to move up. Dissenters and contrarians do not last long in an organization like the IRS (any more than they do at the FBI or EPA or DoJ).

It's no surprise to hear that Lois Lerner's husband is a high-priced lawyer with an affinity for liberal activism. It's no surprise that Douglas Shulman's wife heads a liberal group dedicated to campaign finance reform. You'll find the same pattern repeated throughout the organization, no doubt. Like seeks out like. The culture reinforces itself. Everybody's kids go to the same schools, everybody knows everybody else's first name, and no one has to discuss politics because it's simply understood. The same thing happens at college campuses. Liberal politics, statism, the primacy of the regulatory state: it's just the water these people swim in.

This is the basic danger of a government that has grown too large. The federal machinery will trend Democrat no matter who happens to occupy the White House, Senate, or House of Representatives. And this is because the ideology that drives people to vote Democrat is also the ideology that makes them want to work for federal bureaucracies. The organizational culture in American federal service has become not just partisan but positively messianic during the age of Obama -- they're doing it for your own good, whether you know it or not! -- and the urge to suppress those with "wrong" opinions is becoming too strong to ignore. The tacit approval of Barack Obama and other powerful Democrat politicians removes any vestige of unease. It explains the near-complete lack of guilt or remorse shown so far by IRS management. In their minds, they are doing nothing wrong.

So what solution could possibly be suggested to address the inherent bureaucratic mentality of bias that permeates the IRS and other government agencies like the EPA, Department of Justice, etc...?

It's not non-partisan functioning the public seeks, but impartiality.

Maybe Ohio's structuring of the Board of Elections is the way to go.

Because of their obligation to conduct fair and impartial elections, and in order to ensure the sanctity of the vote, all BOEs are staffed equally by Republicans and Democrats. Every time a ballot or voting machine is handled, a Republican and a Democrat must be present and perform the function together.

The individual county offices are governed by a four-member board of two Republicans and two Democrats, nominated by the local parties and appointed by the Secretary of State. There is a director and assistant director to oversee the staff. The director is the opposite party from the chairman of the board and the assistant director is the same party.

By requiring both parties to be present and forcing a balance in the organizational chart, you ensure impartiality in a clearly partisan office.

Why not require that equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats be hired in all government agencies?

With equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats watching each other and ensuring the fair administration of election laws, you eliminate the type of one-sided internal culture that results in scandals like the IRS is currently experiencing.

Many state and federal boards and commissions require bi-partisan representation in their makeup. Why should the employees be any different?

This is not to say that problems won't arise or that such a system is without potential flaws:

* People are human and will make mistakes.
* Third parties won't like the two-party structure.
* Identifying individuals by party and then deciding who goes in order to ensure equal numbers is problematic (and doesn't address the potential for current employees to just change their party affiliation in order to keep their job).

But wouldn't a federal government comprised equally of Republicans and Democrats be better than what we have now?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Update: Secor Rd., I-475 closing June 6

Press release from the City of Toledo:

Secor Road access to I-475 to close beginning Thursday, June 6

The 10 day, I-475 ramp closures are now scheduled to begin at 2:00 AM Thursday, June 6th. The portion of Secor that has been under construction will have all lanes re-opened to traffic. Traffic between Queenswood and Kroger will be narrowed to one lane in each direction while crews reconstruct Secor Road at the on and off ramps.

The work was previously scheduled to begin June 4th but was delayed due to rain. 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.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

BREAKING: Gee out at OSU

Gongwers Ohio is reporting:

Gee On Way Out As Ohio State President Following Publication Of Critical Statements

Days after news reports of derogatory statements that he himself described in an apology as a “misguided attempt at humor,” Ohio State President Gordon Gee has announced his retirement effective July 1.

Mr. Gee announced his plans in a joint release with Robert H. Schottenstein, chairman of the OSU Board of Trustees. Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph A. Alutto will be named interim president. Details on a search for a permanent replacement are pending.

“I recently returned from a vacation with my family, during which time I had a chance to consider the university’s phenomenal achievements and the road that lies ahead for it. Ohio State now has a richness of new opportunities that would be the envy of most universities,” Mr. Gee said.

“During my days away, I also spent some time in self-reflection. And after much deliberation, I have decided it is now time for me to turn over the reins of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted to grow. It is also time for me to reenergize and refocus myself.”

President Gee served as OSU president for two terms, from 1990-1997 and 2007 to present. His latest stint came to an abrupt end following the outcry over reports that he had disparaged Catholics, the Southeast Conference and others during a meeting of the Athletic Council in December.

Could George Orwell have imagined what's going on today?

Saturday marks the 64th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's book 1984:

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian novel by George Orwell published in 1949. The Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc) under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thoughtcrimes. Their tyranny is headed by Big Brother, the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record always supports the current party line. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.

With what's been going on lately, I can't help but wonder if we're there yet.

We have a media that is more interested in protecting their favored politician than in actually reporting the truth, often ignoring what should be major stories because they reflect negatively on their object of affection.

We have people calling for greater gun control as a means of preventing gun violence, yet Chicago - a city with gun-control laws these individuals would love to impose upon the rest of the nation - has one of the highest gun violence records in the country. How do these people not see the correlation?

We have children being expelled from school and even arrested because they have a toy gun or just drew a picture of one!

We have a monstrous government so completely out of control that the even President Barack Obama's former senior adviser David Axelrod says it's too big:

The government is simply too big for President Obama to keep track of all the wrongdoing taking place on his watch, his former senior adviser, David Axelrod, told MSNBC. “Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast,” he explained.

The IRS targeted tea party and patriot groups. The Department of Justice bugged the phones of the press.

Now comes this from the Washington Free Beacon:

Contracted employees at an Environmental Protection Agency warehouse in Landover, Md., used surplus equipment to set up a gym and personal television spaces, a report by the agency inspector general released Monday said.
“The warehouse contained surplus gym equipment arranged to create exercise space for warehouse employees,” the report states. “The weights, machines, exercise equipment, and overall exercise area appeared to be well maintained. The exercise space was in excess of 30 by 45 feet. Carpet tiles from EPA inventory were placed on the floor in the gym area. This area has electrical power through an EPA power strip and provides music through other agency inventory items. Agency steno pads were used for recording workouts.”

That wasn't the only EPA story to make the news. How gargantuan does an agency have to be to give a fake employee numerous certificates of award?

“Richard Windsor” may have only been an alias for former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, but that didn’t stop him from being awarded numerous certificates for ethics and records management.

The EPA awarded certificates naming Jackson/Windsor a “scholar of ethical behavior.” Jackson, under her secret alias, was also awarded certificates for completing training modules on email records management.

Jackson set up a secret email address under the pseudonym “Richard Windsor.” The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Chris Horner first discovered it in November.

Thank goodness for non-traditional media so we can know about these things, because we aren't going to get it from what passes for today's press corps - especially when you consider the latest from Erick Erickson.

The Democratic National Committee issued a memo saying Republicans were 'overreaching' when it comes to the IRS and other scandals. That was Friday - and by Monday that was the term being used by the press and others defending Pres. Obama and his administration.

We know the majority of the main stream media parrot whatever the Democrats want repeated, but apparently they're oblivious to how transparent they've become.

Add to this the recent court ruling that police can take a DNA swab of arrestees because it's just like taking fingerprints. And another court ruled that Google must turn over customer records to the FBI upon demand and without a warrant:

A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI's warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company's argument that the government's practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

Maybe it's not 1984 at all. I'm not sure that even Orwell could have imagined all this would become the norm.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

ICYMI - a round-up of things from across the Internet

A collection of interesting things I came across that I wanted to share.  Th fact that I'm sharing these doesn't mean I agree or disagree with any of it - just that I found it to be an interesting article.

I'll probably do a post like this every weekend throughout the summer, especially when the weather is nice and I'd rather be outside enjoying - or on the lake!

So when you can, click through as you probably won't see these articles or topics in any of the main stream news coverage.  Enjoy!

Yep, now that you've clicked through and seen that, have a great day!
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