Friday, September 27, 2013

Sen. Portman will vote to defund Obamacare

Gongwer is reporting that Sen. Rob Portman will vote to keep the defunding of Obamacare in the Continuing Resolution before the Senate.

Gongwer is a subscription news service so the link may not work without a subscription.

Here is their report:

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Terrace Park) said Thursday he would vote to keep as part of the continuing resolution a provision that would defund the Affordable Care Act.

The Republican also said he planned to reintroduce as an amendment his "End Government Shutdowns Act."

The CR that would keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30 is in the hands of the Senate, having left the House not only with appropriations moving forward but with language that would strip financial support from the health care law. The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to vote to remove the language.

"I think it's important for us to vote to repeal and replace Obamacare and defunding is the way to do it in this legislation," Sen. Portman said during a conference call with reporters. "I hope there are enough Democrat senators who are listening to their constituents and will use this opportunity to reverse a policy that's driving up costs in Ohio, hurting working families, forcing a bunch of Ohioans to lose their doctors, others to lose their jobs."

Mr. Portman said he does not support pairing defunding the ACA with the threat of government shutdown. "What I do support is defunding Obamacare; in fact I support replacing it with better policies."

If the defunding measure is removed from the resolution, the senator said his vote on the CR will depend on what else is in it.
On the whole, however, the senator said continuing resolutions are a poor way of governing. Only one of the past 48 appropriations bills to come before the Senate has passed before the Oct. 1 deadline under Democratic leadership.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quotes of the Day - union leader Samuel Gompers

Samuel Gompers, born January 27, 1850, was a cigar maker. He is best known as the founder of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), where he was president from 1886-94 and then again from 1895 until his death on December 13, 1924.

His take on labor unions, their purpose and their actions, is a bit different from today's and so I thought it might be interesting to share some of his quotes, especially in light of the many issues facing unions - and all of us - today.

While I don't agree with everything he said and stood for, there is wisdom and insight in much of what he said and stood for, especially in his support of America during World War I and his opposition to socialism as a unsound economic solution to the ills Americans were experiencing at the time. He opposed immigration without Americanization, something many labor leaders of today fail to address.

And he opposed loyalty to a particular party. Wonder what he'd think of today's labor movement?

The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.

I want to urge devotion to the fundamentals of human liberty – the principles of voluntarism. No lasting gain has ever come from compulsion. If we seek to force, we but tear apart that which, united, is invincible. . . . I want to say to you, men and women of the American labor movement, do not reject the cornerstone upon which labor’s structure has been builded – but base your all upon voluntary principles and illumine your every problem by consecrated devotion to that highest of all purposes – human well being in the fullest, widest, deepest sense.

There may be here and there a worker who for certain reasons unexplainable to us does not join a union of labor. This is his right no matter how morally wrong he may be. It is his legal right and no one can dare question his exercise of that legal right.

We want a minimum wage established, but we want it established by the solidarity of the working men themselves through the economic forces of their trade unions, rather than by any legal enactment. . . . We must not, we cannot, depend upon legislative enactments to set wage standards. When once we encourage such a system, it is equivalent to admitting our incompetency for self-government and our inability to seek better conditions.

The workers of America adhere to voluntary institutions in preference to compulsory systems which are held to be not only impractical but a menace to their rights, welfare and their liberty.

Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.

I have no word of censure for a man because of his views on political, social or economic questions, but I contend that trade unions are the natural form of organization for wage earners under existing economic conditions, and I propose (so far as I may be able) to keep them undefiled and free from alliance with any political party . . . . Factions who wish to dally with hobbies and fine spun theories . . . have no place in the ranks of trade unionism.

And what have our unions done? What do they aim to do? To improve the standard of life, to uproot ignorance and foster education, to instill character, manhood and independent spirit among our people; to bring about a recognition of the interdependence of man upon his fellow man. We aim to establish a normal work-day, to take the children from the factory and workshop and give them the opportunity of the school and the play-ground. In a word, our unions strive to lighten toil, educate their members, make their homes more cheerful, and in every way contribute an earnest effort toward making life the better worth living.

That which we call freedom, that which we call liberty, are not tangible things. They are not handed to any people on a silver platter. They are principles, they are questions of the spirit, and the people must have a consciousness that they not only have the term liberty and freedom, but they must have the power and the right to exercise these great attributes of life.

To strengthen the state, as Frederick Howe says, is to devitalize the individual. . . . I believe in people. I believe in the working people. I believe in their growing intelligence. I believe in their growing and persistent demand for better conditions, for a more rightful situation in the industrial, political, and social affairs of this country and of the world. I have faith that the working people will better their condition far beyond what it is today. The position of the organized labor movement is not based upon misery and poverty, but upon the right of workers to a larger and constantly growing share of the production, and they will work out these problems for themselves.

I do not think American labor is engaged in a class struggle and I do not think American labor believes it is engaged in a class struggle, because in our country we have no such thing and I hope never will have.

We are proud of the country which we claim as our own; we are proud of its history, proud of its heroes and proud of its traditions, and we hope as we struggle for its glorious future. But we maintain that patriotism does not mean the hatred of our neighbor. Nor do we believe that it is a wise policy, as some would advocate, that a foreign war might be a good cure for our domestic evils.

In the exercise of great powers often requisite under military control, the right of free meeting, the right of free speech, and free press is endangered. And when the smoke of battle is gone these rights, taken from the masses of the people under often necessary conditions, are seldom freely given back to the people.

That war transformed me from an ultra-pacifist to one willing to fight and sacrifice with my fellow countrymen in defense of the principle of living our own lives and working out our own destiny; and if there be a mad-man nation still, large or small, which will attempt to repeat that monumental crime I hope that the generations, perhaps yet unborn, of our self-governing civilized nations, may throw themselves with equal vigor in the battle to maintain the fundamental principles of freedom, justice and humanity.

[D]uring the years of [World War I] I was absorbed with the one object that it was labor's war as much as it was the war of any other group of our people; that labor had to make good in helping to win the war and to emerge from the war with freedom and democracy safeguarded and its honored name and high ideals maintained.

I want to tell you, Socialists, that I have studied your philosophy; read your works upon economics, and not the meanest of them; studied your standard works, both in English and German -- have not only read, but studied them. I have heard your orators and watched the work of your movement the world over. I have kept close watch upon your doctrines for thirty years; have been closely associated with many of you, and know how you think and what you propose. I know, too, what you have up your sleeve. And I want to say that I am entirely at variance with your philosophy. I declare to you, I am not only at variance with your doctrines, but with your philosophy. Economically you are unsound; socially, you are wrong; industrially, you are an impossibility.

You are mistaken in asserting that I am embittered against everybody or anything that savors of socialism. What I resent and what I have persistently opposed is any effort that will mislead the wage-earners and delude them with vain hope. There have been so many burdens and so much suffering and so much misery heaped upon those who are called the wage-earners, that I resent with every particle of force within me anything that would perpetuate their suffering or lead them into greater depths. Because I am firmly convinced that socialism is founded upon principles that will not lead out into broader liberty, independence and opportunity, I have done what I could to show men the fallacies of the doctrine of socialism.

There are people in the labor movement who seem to believe that success can only come by entrusting great, yes, absolute power in the hands of an individual or an executive officer. I warn you against a calamity none greater than which can occur to the labor
movement. Autocracy is as dangerous in our movement as in the state. Mistakes may be made by the masses but they learn to do better by reason of their mistakes. The individual, on the contrary, when having absolute power rarely makes mistakes, rather commits crime. The man who would arrogate to himself in the labor movement absolute and autocratic power would be a tyrant under
other circumstances and has no place in the labor movement.

One thing to be considered in discussing immigration is that the greater the number of immigrants the less American the United States becomes. . . . The American Federation of Labor believes that the foreigners now in this country should be assimilated before others are permitted to come except from such countries as Great Britain, France, Germany and Scandinavia.

America must be kept American. Those who would flood the country with hordes of immigrants from southeastern Europe care no more for America then do the Hottentots. Their desires are governed by greed.

The industrial field is littered with more corpses of organizations destroyed by the damning influences of partisan politics than from all other causes combined.

We deny the assertion made by some of our opponents when they say the American Federation of Labor is against political action. We are against the the American labor movement being made a political party machine.

I am very suspicious of the activities of governmental agencies.

We have been asked, or advised, to go for all the laws we can get. Save the workingmen of America from such a proposition! There are numbers of laws we can get, but prudence and defense of the rights and the liberties of the toilers are much more important than the effort to secure all the laws we can get.

Several times the proposition to form a labor party has been considered by the trade union movement, but after careful and thorough consideration it has been invariably decided that we can attain our purposes more quickly and more effectively by continuing our political policy of independent political action partisan to principles rather than to a party.

A law that is really a law, is a result of public thought and conviction and not a power to create thought or conviction. The enforcement of a law follows naturally because the people will it. To enact a law with the hope and for the purpose of educating the people is to proceed by indirection and to waste energy. It is better to begin work for securing ideals by directing activity first for fundamentals. Frequently, when the people concerned become mindful and eager for what will promote their own welfare, they find that they are much more able to secure what will benefit and adapt their methods to changing circumstances than is any law or the administration of that law.

There are a number of people who mistakenly charge me with being a Democrat. I never was a member of the Democratic Party. I was at one time, in my early years, a member of the Republican Party, and cast my first vote for a Republican President--U. S. Grant as soon as I attained my majority. I never did belong to the Democratic Party. In the pursuit of the Nonpartisan policy of labor in which I thoroughly believe, I supported Republican or Democrat or publicist as in the varying parties I believed that they would best serve the people without regard to party.

I love my liberty, and imprisonment would be, to say the least, very disagreeable to me; but there are some things that are even less desirable, among them one's loss of self-respect and the loss of inherent and lawful constitutional rights.

The meaning of America lies in the ideal she represents. That ideal is liberty and opportunity. But beautiful as any ideal may be, it becomes of practical value when it has effectiveness in the daily lives of men and women. Real liberty and opportunity mean a certain mental attitude toward life, certain standards of life and work, and possession of that which secures the enjoyment of opportunities. America the ideal -- the land of the free -- exists only when her people are American in all things.

By nature I am a non-conformist. I believe that restrictions dwarf personality and that largest usefulness comes through greatest personal freedom.

Note: Many of these quotes are from the Samuel Gompers Papers.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How much will Obamacare raise your health insurance premium?

I wanted to share this Independent Journal national map which shows the projected insurance rate increases under the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. This isn't a partisan map. It's produced from numbers crunched by the Society of Actuaries.

From the SOA website:

What is an Actuary?

An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs. They evaluate the likelihood of those events, design creative ways to reduce the likelihood and decrease the impact of adverse events that actually do occur.

SOA members work in life insurance, retirement systems, health benefit systems, financial and investment management and other emerging areas of practice. The majority of actuaries work within the insurance industry, although a growing number of actuaries work in other fields.

Their study reports the cause for the increases:

Taken together, the study predicts that shifts of currently insured people from high-risk pools, the employer market, and previously uninsured persons who must pay most or all the cost of coverage to the individual market, will overwhelm the expected lower costs anticipated by the influx of newly-insured persons in the exchanges receiving federal benefit and premium subsidies. As a result, the underlying claims cost of insurance in the individual market will increase by an average of 32 percent nationally, when compared to what it would have been without the reform law.

Note that Ohio is showing an 80% increase - the highest in the nation. They explain this for us:

“In simplest terms, the states that will see large increases generally have low current individual costs and those showing decreases have high current individual costs, with all states moving closer together but at a higher level overall,” Bohn added.

In some cases, the model projects that currently low-cost states, such as Ohio and Wisconsin, could see increases of 80 percent, while other currently high-costs states, such as New York and Massachusetts, may see double-digit decreases.

So with this - and the rest of the information that's been discovered now that the bill has passed - it's no wonder so many Americans are opposed to it. Defunding Obamacare is being debated as part of the continuing resolution to fund the operations of the federal government. You should call your members of Congress and let them know:

We really can't afford this.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Quote of the Day - common good

This quote comes from John Jay, author of several of the Federalist Papers and the first Chief Justice of the United States. It's a good example of what most people who advocate sacrificing individual good for the 'common good' forget.

John Jay was a founding
father and President of the
Continental Congress.

"[T]he government must be a weak one indeed, if it should forget that the good of the whole can only be promoted by advancing the good of each of the parts or members which compose the whole." ~ John Jay

Side note:  the title is Chief Justice of the United States, not Chief Justice of the Supreme Court....something that often trips up trivia contestants.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Toledo issues call to artists for new design following crash of city website

Press release:

City issues call to artists to help design look of new city website

The City of Toledo is looking to make lemonade out of lemons following the crash of its website due to a server meltdown at the facility of its hosting company. While functionality has been restored to critical content like job postings and bids for services and contracts, the city is still working with vendors to restore remaining content. While doing so, web programmers are taking the opportunity to improve the site with greater functionality and navigability.

And they’re looking for local artists to team up with them to give it a new look. Local artists, photographers and graphic designers are invited to submit digital art work to be used as an installation on the city’s website homepage. Entries must meet specifications outlined for digital compatibility and city use. All submissions that meet the requirements will be considered for temporary display on the city’s homepage and in a gallery showcasing all entries used from October 2013 through December 2014.

“This website is here for the community, so we’d like our community to have a hand in building it,” said Mayor Michael P. Bell. “We have a lot of local talent and there’s no reason we shouldn’t invite them to be part of the process and showcase their gifts.”

Specifications for submission and further details are attached. The deadline to submit entries is October 1, 2013.


Here is a link to the specifications.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Did state agencies learn nothing from dealing with defunct solar firm Willard & Kelsey?

This post went up yesterday at Ohio Watchdog:

THAT WAS THEN: Vice President Joe Biden, left, answers questions
 during his 2009 visit to Willard & Kelsey Solar Group in Perrysburg, Ohio.
The company has shuttered it doors and is being sued by the state
(AP file photo)
Willard & Kelsey Solar Group LLC isn’t just another solar company that couldn’t cut it, as details of two lawsuits against the company show.

But just what lessons did two state agencies learn from the potential loss of nearly $11.5 million in taxpayer funds? They can’t – or won’t say.

At first glance, the failure of Willard & Kelsey looks like just another in the long line of green energy companies that couldn’t find success. The company was established in 2007 by several men with extensive experience in the glass and solar panel industries.

In 2009, Vice President Joe Biden toured the Perrysburg, Ohio, facility touting it as a potential cornerstone of the area’s future economy. In February 2011, the company hosted then Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

But later in 2011, Willard & Kelsey idled most of its operations. In January 2012, it laid off most of its workers. On June 30, the company closed its doors without telling the state or the agencies that had advanced it millions in loans.

Today, WKS and its principles are facing lawsuits from the state of Ohio totaling $11,495,205.47 in loans and interest owed by the company, in addition to late charges, collection costs and attorney fees.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Constitution Day 2013 - how much do you know?

Today is Constitution Day.

It seems a bit ridiculous that Congress had to pass a law in 2004 to mandate the teaching of the U.S. Constitution in all publicly-funded educational institutions on this day, but they did.

You'd think that such an important document - unique in that it bound the actions of the federal government to specific, limited items - would be taught throughout a person's public education since it is the foundation of the principles of the nations. But alas...

If you've not read it in a while, you should do so - here.

And if you don't have your own pocket version, you can get one for free from multiple sources, including or Others charge minimal fees from $1 on up, or provide copies with a donation to the organization.

And if you think you know the Constitution, you can take this quiz from

Surprisingly, Washington, D.C., had 15.21% of quiz takers achieving perfect scores. I say surprisingly because you'd think with being the top in the nation in terms of perfect scores, they'd be following it a bit more, but (again) alas...

Sadly, only 15% get perfect scores. Also, sadly, Ohio doesn't make the top in terms of perfect scores or highest average score. California has the highest average score of 6.68 out of 10. They don't give individual state scores but the East North Central region which includes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin had an average score of 6.16, which is above the national average of 5.982.

But if you take the quiz, you'll see that the average score for people from Ohio is now 7.18 and the average score nationally is now 7.3.  That's probably because more people are taking it since today is Constitution Day.

So take the quiz and share it with your family and friends. I scored a 9 - comment here and let me know how you did.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Film explores why alternative medical treatments are shunned in health industry

I received the following press release and am sharing it...

‘Doctored’ reveals deception, criminality and greed in healthcare

Northwest Ohio chiropractic physicians are sponsoring a one-time showing of the eye-opening documentary film, Doctored, at 7 p.m., Oct. 10 at Maumee Indoor Theatre, 601 Conant St., Maumee.

Doctored follows surgeons, physicians, and patients ranging from Olympic gold medalists to people sent home to die, focusing how the current healthcare system fails many patients. Doctored also follows a 15-year legal battle (known as the Wilk case) where the American Medical Association’s (AMA) attempts to abolish non-drug providing therapies (including chiropractic care) are exposed.

“Although the United States only makes up five percent of the world’s population, we consume over 50 percent of the world’s pharmaceutical drugs, yet our health is worsening,” said Dr. Thomas M. Baur, chiropractic physician at New Life Spine Center, 1331 Conant St., Maumee. “For years, certain doctors have told their patients that medicine or surgery is the only way to go and they have belittled alternative therapies. We have decided to show this film to support the findings of this documentary and to open up a conversation in Northwest Ohio about true patient-focused healthcare.”

Director Bobby Sheehan and Producer Jeff Hays investigate the unseen “influencers” in the current healthcare system: those who stand to benefit financially from turning patients into compliant, pill-popping revenue generators. They bring forth shocking details of how the AMA worked for decades to denounce the chiropractic profession for their own professional gain. They go in the courtroom with five chiropractors who had been labeled “an unscientific cult” and document their fight and landmark win against “big medicine.”

“As chiropractors, we understand the importance and roles medicine and surgery play in patient care,” said Dr. Cindy Ratkowski, president of the Northwest Ohio Chiropractic Association and chiropractic physician at Advanced Wellness and Chiropractic Center, 3425 Executive Pkwy., Toledo. “But we also know that many patients are issued these solutions without exploring alternatives first. We promote whole-health care, prevention and a fully-realized continuum of care—and we feel patients are often herded in and out of doctor’s offices and issued medications and directives with no real desire on the physician’s part to really delve into the issues of what is causing the pain or illness, how to best treat it and even better, how to prevent it.”

“Ideally, patients should have a network of health professionals working for their betterment, whether it’s prevention or treatment,” said Dr. Jay P. Anderson, chiropractic physician at Anderson Family Chiropractic, 751 Michigan Ave., Waterville. “This film reveals the shortcomings in the current healthcare system and proves that not all medical professionals are working in the best interest of the patient. We want to educate patients about all their options and work to create a more cohesive healthcare system—because we know drugs alone are not working.”

Doctored will kick off with food, refreshments, and live music by the Linden Street Band at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and all profits benefit the Arthritis National Research Foundation ( Movie goers will be treated to organic popcorn, water and prize giveaways throughout the event.

Tickets to the showing, or $10 DVDs are available at local Northwest Ohio chiropractic physician offices. For more information about the movie or about chiropractic care, visit

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Guest Post: Perrysburg does not need to assess for street lights and trees

Sara Weisenburger was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Perrysburg council in May. Her term expires at the end of the year, but she is running to retain her seat and will be on the ballot in November. I think she raises some extremely valid points in this guest post and am happy to share it with you.

Why is Running the Government Like a Business So Tricky?

I’m a conservative. I own a small business and I budget conservatively. I run my household the same way and the result is at the end of the year, my revenue exceeds my expenses. Doesn’t it make sense that the government should function the same way? I’m finding it’s not that easy.

I have an accounting degree; I was an independent auditor of governmental entities; I know my way around financial statements. I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert though. I was recently appointed to Council in the City of Perrysburg and even before I was appointed, I was delving into the City’s financial statements.

One could get nit-picky and find faults in the way the City of Perrysburg has been run over the past decade, but by-and-large, the administration (with proper oversight from the mayor and council) have done a good job of stewarding the citizens’ tax dollars. If the administration in Perrysburg could be cloned and sent to the Statehouse and to Washington, this country would be in a far better position.

What have they done right? They’ve been running the City like a business. They’ve under budgeted revenue and over-budgeted expenses so that at the end of the year, there is consistently an increase in net assets.

What have they done wrong? They’ve been running the City like a business. In the normal course of a business cycle, it makes sense to have a plan to weather the storm during a bad year (which they did), plan for big projects for the future (the City implemented a new refuse collection system with a short-term loan), increase net assets (which is happening) and save a small sliver of pie each year so that we have a solid reserve fund balance (which they are working on).

So why is that such a problem? The problem is the local governmental entity is permitted to save some of the pie in a nice little container, which will help to plan for bad times and big projects, but because of ORC 4117 and a myriad of other State and Federal rules, the local entity is not permitted to put a tight-sealed lid on that container.

In 2009, the citizens of Perrysburg experienced their worst year in this recession. People were losing jobs, taking huge pay cuts and losing their homes. Businesses were losing revenue and many succumbed to the economy and had to shut their doors. Perrysburg wasn’t isolated. Income tax collections were down 17% and investment earnings were down 80%. The City had an overall decline in revenue of 13% available to operate city services (that’s $4.6 million).

What else was happening in 2009? - union contract negotiations. Through a number of meetings, tax dollars spent, fact finders and arbitrators, every union managed to negotiate a raise for 2009, 2010 and wage reopeners in 2011 (which some subsequently also went to fact finding). The City’s position was that the union employees have been and continue to be fairly compensated, economic times were bad, the future was unknown, so they were offering little in increased compensation. The unions had varying responses but it boiled down to the fact that there was a large enough piece of pie that they should be given some of that pie regardless of its intended future use. Because of the flaws in ORC 4117, the taxpayers lost the battle and there were raises across the board.

I’m not making note of this because I have an issue with the unions. They operated fairly within the confines of the State laws. The conciliators and fact finders clearly stated (although I find it insulting) that because of Perrysburg’s affluence, the citizens must pony up the cash for these raises. So why do I really mention this? Over the past nine years, the hardworking citizens of Perrysburg have gotten up every morning, gone to work and paid their taxes. The administration in Perrysburg has been such a good steward of those tax dollars that net assets have increased 423%. Through a combination of increased revenue, eliminating general fund debt, managing the growth of government and increasing assets without incurring debt, they’ve baked a pie so large, that there is no way the State will allow the City to put a lid on it. Success will be punished.

So what do we do about it? Lower taxes, lower taxes and then lower taxes. The City almost needs to stop being run like a business; it needs to be run closer to break-even. It is no longer safe to continue amassing funds because the City isn’t permitted to properly protect them for future use.

The current system is designed to reward failure and punish success. Councils have two options, neither of which are great choices and both have their risks.

Option one – collect a little more in taxes to properly prepare for future projects and unknown economic times BUT even if that is done properly, those reserves cannot be properly protected.

Option two – collect just enough taxes to break even BUT that will require loans for future projects and going into the red during poor economic times. Because the rules of the game do not allow a municipality to operate like a business, we have to stop trying to run it like a business. Neither option is good, it’s a no win situation and I will never pretend to have all the answers but what I do know is that allowing taxpayers to keep their own dollars is always best practice.

At the September 17th City Council meeting, the Council will have an opportunity to make a small but significant difference. The City assesses property owners for street trees and for street lights, both expenditures I would argue are important to our community and should continue.

However we do not need to be assessed for those two programs and are better funded through general fund revenues. The City managed to weather the $4.6 million drop in revenue in 2009, I have full faith they can weather a $270,000 drop in revenue in 2014. Besides, the citizens deserve a piece of their own pie.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

AFL-CIO: Obamacare 'highly disruptive' to union health plans

The AFL-CIO is holding their national convention this week and they have approved a resolution that says the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is being implemented in way that is "highly disruptive" to union health care plans.

At issue is how the regulations impact union-sponsored health plans. They also want the subsidizes for low-income workers who enroll in the exchanges to be available to low-income union members who participate in union-sponsored health plans.

Here is one report from Fox News:

The AFL-CIO approved a resolution saying that President Obama's health care overhaul will drive up the costs of union-sponsored health plans to the point that workers and employers are forced to abandon them.

In a strongly worded resolution released Wednesday, the federation said that labor unions still support the Affordable Care Act's overall goals of reducing health costs and bringing coverage to all Americans, but added that the law is being implemented in a way that is "highly disruptive" to union health care plans.

Some individual unions have complained about the law's impact for months, but the resolution marks the first time the nation's largest labor federation has gone on record embracing that view. Unions were among the most enthusiastic backers of the law when it passed in 2010.

A labor official told The Associated Press that White House officials had been calling labor leaders for days to urge them not to voice their concerns in the form of a resolution. The official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the conversations publicly and requested anonymity, said many union leaders insisted that they wanted to highlight their concerns.

Continue reading...

And here is the AFL-CIO post on the resolution where they identify it as calling for "fixes" in the act.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Defunct Perrysburg solar company sued by Ohio AG and state agencies

It's becoming fairly common these days, but another solar company that received taxpayer money is being sued. This time, it's Willard & Kelsey, a firm in Perrysburg, that is now defunct after not being able to cut it in the solar industry.

The Ohio attorney general filed suit on Sept. 6th alleging the company defaulted on $10 million in state loans.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis tours the Willard & Kelsey Solar Group factory in Perrysburg, Ohio, Feb. 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Here is the press release:

Attorney General DeWine, State Agencies Seek Recovery of More than $10 Million in State Loans to
Defunct Solar Company

(CINCINNATI)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, on behalf of the Ohio Development Services Agency and the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA), today filed two separate lawsuits against a defunct solar power company which defaulted on more than $10 million in state loans. The lawsuits against Willard & Kelsey Solar Group and its shareholders seek to recover loans made by the former Ohio Department of Development and the OAQDA.

A lawsuit was filed in Hamilton County Commercial court on behalf of OAQDA against Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, LLC, of Perrysburg; James M. Appold of Rossford; Michael J. Cicak of Perrysburg; James E. Heidner of Bowling Green; Gary T. Faykosh of Perrysburg; and other unknown defendants. The lawsuit alleges three counts of Breach of Contract, one count of Breach of Security Agreement, one count of Shareholder Liability, one count of Breach of Fiduciary Duty, one count of Civil Aiding and Abetting, and one count of Civil Conspiracy.

A separate lawsuit was also filed in Hamilton County Commercial Court on behalf of the Ohio Development Services Agency as successor to the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). Defendants include Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, LLC; Appold; Cicak; Heidner; Faykosh; E-Z Pak of McComb; and other unknown defendants. The lawsuit alleges two counts of Breach of Contract, one count of Breach of Security Agreement, one count of Shareholder Liability, one count of Breach of Fiduciary Duty, two counts of Fraudulent and Unlawful Transfers, one count of Civil Aiding and Abetting, and one count of Civil Conspiracy.

Willard & Kelsey Solar Group was a startup company in Perrysburg that was founded to manufacture solar panel products. Willard & Kelsey was granted loans in 2009 with ODOD worth $5 million and in 2010 with OAQDA worth $5.1 million on a $10 million line of credit. The lawsuits allege that Willard & Kelsey sought these loans despite the fact they were severely undercapitalized. Additionally, the lawsuits allege that the operators of Willard & Kelsey engaged in several improper business practices, including transferring $1.8 million from Willard & Kelsey to two other companies operated by Appold, E-Z Pak and Consolidated Biscuit Company of McComb. Other alleged improper practices include failure to maintain distinct checking accounts for Willard & Kelsey separate from the shareholders, failure of Willard & Kelsey to obtain the necessary certifications to legally sell its products, and failure of the shareholders to transfer promised intellectual property and patents to Willard & Kelsey. Appold is also alleged to have given Willard & Kelsey a loan from his personal funds at an unconscionable interest rate.

The lawsuits seek to recover the uncollected debt owed on the loans plus 10% interest, currently valued at $6,395,205.47 for the ODOD loan and $5.1 million for the OAQDA loan. The lawsuits also seek to recover equipment used as collateral for the loans, as well as late charges, collections costs, attorneys’ fees, and any future damages. The OAQDA loan also contains a liquidated damages provision, where the state is due damages for each promised job not created, valued at twice the expected salary of each promised job; the OAQDA lawsuit asks that these liquidated damages be awarded for all 450 jobs promised but not created, valued at more than $20 million.

Copies of the ODOD and OAQDA lawsuits are available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Quote of the Day - government growth

It's even truer today than it was then:

"The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Free dump day for Toledoans on Sept. 7

City of Toledo Press Release:

Toledo residents offered free dump day at Hoffman Road Landfill, September 7

The City of Toledo will offer Toledo residents free bulk waste disposal at the Hoffman Road Landfill at no charge on September 7, 2013. The landfill will be open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and proof of residency will be required in the form of a current utility bill and valid photo identification. This is the final free bulk waste event scheduled for 2013.

Acceptable bulk waste items include excess trash, furniture, carpeting, mattresses, wood waste, and scrap metal. There will be no free commercial dumping.

Appliances and items containing Freon; hazardous, chemical, toxic, poisonous, flammable or industrial waste; tires; batteries; paint and oil will not be accepted. For a complete list of prohibited items and information about hazardous waste disposal, please visit the Solid Waste page on the city’s website,

What: Free bulk waste disposal for Toledo residents

When: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday, September 7, 2013

Where: Hoffman Rd. Landfill
3962 Hoffman Rd.

Details: Proof of residency required in form of current utility bill and photo identification.
No free commercial dumping.

Visit for acceptable bulk waste items.


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Quotes of the day - individualism vs. collectivism

"Republicans don't know how to defend morally an individual's right to achieve wealth and to keep it, and that is why they fail. ... It's part and parcel with their ambivalence over the individualist heritage of the nation. ... One of the things that people have to understand is that the American Revolution was truly an epic revolution in the way individuals were perceived in relation to the rest of the society. Throughout history individuals had always been cogs in some machine; they'd always been something to be sacrificed for the king, the tribe, the gang, the chieftain, the society around them, the race, whatever, and the real revolution, in America especially, was a moral revolution. It was a moral revolution in that ... suddenly, with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the individual, his life, his well-being, his property, his happiness became central to our values, and thatis what really made America unique. People came here from all over the world to try to escape the kind of oppression they had and experienced in the past. They came here for freedom; they came here for self-expression and self-realization, and America offered them that kind of a place." ~ Robert Bidinotto

"If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?" ~ Robert Anton Wilson

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." ~ Hillary Clinton

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