Friday, January 28, 2011

Government Unions vs. Ohioans: Fight!

Guest post by j.hart. Cross-posted from that hero.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) represents a marriage between union bosses and Democrats that barely benefits dues-paying members, and thoroughly screws everyone else. Previously, on that hero:
The brokenness of Ohio’s current system cannot be overstated. When an agency votes to unionize – amid promises of unsustainable benefits – an extra layer of bureaucracy is permanently added between that agency and the taxpayers who fund it. Republicans cooperate with the union out of cowardice, and Democrats cooperate out of necessity; the AFSCME spends big, big bucks:

WSJ graphic

Wait, I’ve changed the subject! That outrageous Wall Street Journal chart uses national numbers, and it’s unfair to paint Ohio’s AFSCME affiliates with the same brush.

Maybe AFSCME Council 8 and AFSCME Local 11 truly exist to build solidarity among oppressed government workers. Maybe they’re not robbing Peter to pay Paul, while electing Pat to keep the scam running smoothly.

The latest available Department of Labor reports are for 2009. Campaign contribution data are from the Ohio Secretary of State.

Government UnionDemocrat campaign contributions, Jan. 1 2009 – Nov. 1 2010Staff/Officers with gross pay exceeding $70KStaff/Officers with gross pay exceeding $100K
AFSCME Council 8$435,152.86 *
AFSCME Local 11$518,327.86 *

* Updated 02-19-2011 to include contributions to Democratic candidate and Party committees

It’s possible that I’m clueless, but $70,000 is a lot of money for someone whose vocation is standing up for “the little guy.” Six figures is an amount of money that makes me feel a little sick, especially when I remember this is our money. Contrast their class warfare rhetoric with their paychecks, and it seems fair to conclude public union bosses treat dues-paying members less as clients than as convenient money-launderers.

Need more numbers to think about when you see sad-sacks on the news holding “Save the Safety Net” signs, complaining that Ohioans won’t give more of our hard-earned dollars for their gilded retirement accounts or their salaries untethered to reality? In 2009, 1,812 state employees pulled down $100,000+. In 2010, 1,813 public school teachers were paid $100,000 or more. If times are tough for members lower on the totem pole, they should look to their wealthy union brothers for a hand.

Or, I could establish a new union! We’ll start by targeting the members of AFSCME Local 11 — 30,870 workers, as of their 2009 annual report. I won’t give a dime of the members’ money to politicians or Policy Matters Ohio (“a Cleveland research group,” in the words of The Columbus Dispatch), and as a matter of fact I won’t take dues at all. There: instant 1.25% raise for everyone! As bonuses I also won’t offer a Ponzi scheme retirement plan, or lobby for selfish, short-sighted policies that will make Ohio financially weaker.

Public employee collective bargaining in Ohio should be defined down dramatically, or repealed outright. Does the Ohio GOP have the stones to do it? Call your state senators and representatives!

Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan leading the way to a balanced budget, possible Senate run?

Guest posted by Bytor

John Boehner isn't the only Ohio Congressman making national news these days.

This week, Rep. Jim Jordan introduced The Spending Reduction Act of 2011. Its total savings over a 10 year period is a massive $2.5 trillion. The largest cuts comes from returning to non-defense, discretionary spending back to 2006 levels and holding them there for 10 years.

It would reduce the federal workforce by 15% by attrition. Only one worker would be hired for every two that quit or retire. Existing workers would not receive automatic raises.

Any unspent money from the Porkulus bill would be canceled. High-speed rail boondoggles get the axe.

Other cuts are very targeted and specific, aimed at reducing or eliminating wasteful and unnecessary programs such as Amtrak subsidies, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

SC Senator Jim DeMint is introducing the bill in the Senate.

This is a show of leadership from Jordan, who many consider to be a top prospect for challenging ultra-liberal Sherrod Brown for Senate in 2012. DJ Tablesauce has already mentioned the large cash head start Jordan would have for the primary, should he decide to run.

Jordan's conservative credentials are unquestioned, and since he's working closely with DeMint, a tea-party hero, I would bet that DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund would almost immediately get behind him, bringing him more national exposure and funding for the race. Ask Senator Marco Rubio (I love saying that) what DeMint's support meant to his race.

Ultimately, if he does run for Senate, Jordan needs to raise his profile and name recognition among Ohio's GOP base to compete in the primary. I'd say he is off to a good start.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sherrod Brown: Porker of the Month

Guest posted by Bytor

Congratulations, Senator! For continuing to insist on funding* for GE to develop an engine that nobody wants, you've won a prize! Despite both the Obama and Bush administrations, not to mention the Pentagon, saying that this alternate engine project is a waste of money, you pressed on anyway.

With George Voinovich winning the award just two months ago, it seems this is becoming a problem for Ohio's Senators. For this reason, and others, not too many conservatives shed tears at Voinovich's retirement.

The news isn't all bad, though. Our new Senator, Rob Portman, voted for the GOP Senate caucus ban on earmarks.

Our federal government has a spending addiction that is a serious problem. Rob Portman gets that. Sherrod Brown doesn't.

*UPDATE: A new earmark is not the basis of CAGW award, as is usually is the case with CAGWs Porker of the Month. Rather, an insistence from the 3 Senators to Defense Secretary Gates that Congress WILL spend this money despite strong opposition from the Pentagon and the threat of an Obama veto.

It's still unnecessary pork spending, at a time when the electorate is clearly calling for measures to deal with the record trillion dollar deficits that we have had since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006.

Both parties are guilty of earmarking in the past. But one has almost unanimously sworn them off going forward in an effort to exercise fiscal restraint. The other doesn't see any problems and wants to keep running trillion dollar deficits for years to come.

Dennis Kucinich sues over "unfit sandwich" he ate 3 years ago. UPDATE: settled out of court.

Guest posted by Bytor

Just when you thought little Dennis could not be more of an embarrassment to Cleveland, he goes and proves you wrong. He is suing the operators of the House cafeteria for $150,000.

Apparently, on April 17, 2008, he bought a vegan sandwich wrap from the House cafeteria. He claims it contained an unpitted olive, and that he bit down on it and broke his tooth.

His lawsuit describes the incident as causing "serious and permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures." And it didn't stop there! Dennis went on to suffer "other damages as well, including significant pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment."

Wow. Now that does sound pretty bad. "Serious and permanent oral injuries." It must have been difficult to speak, and I bet when he did talk, it was obvious he suffered a serious oral injury, right?

Not so much.

Gawker found C-SPAN video of Dennis speaking on the House floor just 5 days after the big bad olive injured him.

He does not appear to have any oral injuries, and his voice has its usual healthy elf-like quality.

Also, as a member of Congress, doesn't Dennis have top-notch dental insurance? Perhaps that is why he has presented no expenses he incurred from the "multiple surgeries" he incurred.

Finally, why did he wait almost 3 years to make this claim? If he had been abducted by aliens, perhaps, he may have had an excuse for waiting so long. But as we know, he ran for President that year and was quite visible (talk about pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment!)

This all smells a bit fishy to me. I've broken teeth in a much more traumatic method than eating a sandwich, and it only took one trip to the dentist to fix the problem.

I guess, in retrospect, I should expect this from Dennis. He did vote "No" on the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004. Liberal Democrats always have to have someone to blame, and its usually some giant evil corporation. I'm sure he now fancies himself a champion, protecting vegans everywhere from the insanity of olive pits.

America's Most Courageous Congressman, indeed.

UPDATE: Dennis has settled the matter out of court for an undisclosed amount. He claims the pain was excruciating, despite what we saw in the video. He also says that the procedures he had done were not covered by any sort of insurance plan. Anyone know details of the dental plan that members of Congress get?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sherrod Brown on gas prices, then and now

Guest posted by Bytor

Sherrod Brown on high gas prices in 2006:
"The Bush Administration and Mike DeWine Are to Blame..."

And in 2008:
"The high gas prices are the result of eight years of Bush energy policies, and high food prices are the result of Bush economics."
At the time of that 2006 "report", the average cost of gas in Ohio was about $2.90/gallon. As we all know, gas prices came back down, even staying under $2.00 for a time.

But now, gas is back over $3.00 a gallon. Sherrod Brown and his Democrats have controlled Congress for 4 years, and Barack Obama has been in the White House for 2 years. Following Sherrod's logic, surely he and President Obama are at fault for the recent return of $3.00 gas, right?

Well, no. Now Sherrod doesn't blame the party in power. He blames those evil evil oil traders.

Apparently, Sherrod thinks that you can ban new drilling in the Gulf, a major source of the US domestic oil supply, and then act surprised when the market reacts to such a supply disruption.

We aren't buying that, or your tired class warfare politics, Senator.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hyprocrisy, thy name is Chris Redfern

This is a guest post by Bytor.

Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said Tuesday,

"when inflammatory language is used by political commentators and observers suggesting if you believe differently about health care or taxes that you are somehow un-American, or a socialist or a Marxist, you become a target for those who already have their own set of challenges."

Or perhaps, like calling people who oppose Obamacare "f***ers", Chairman Redfern? And this guy wonders why Ohio Democrats were slaughtered in November. I'm not sure why he still has a job, but just like Nancy Pelosi being minority leader in the House, I am thankful that Ohio Dems are keeping him as the face of their party.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cafaro joins Kasich

Ohio Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro helped create one heckuva great moment last night at Gov. Kasich's Inaugural Gala.
With one moment, we saw the Governor already bringing Ohio's leaders together in a way we haven't seen in a long time.

As she says, "we are all here together to make this state better."

This is a new Ohio.

A new way. A new day

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's a New Day!

You may have been sleeping when A New Day began.

Just in case, here you go, courtesy Marc Kovac:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Prayers for Rep. Giffords and her staff

Insanity. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and several bystanders, including her staff, were shot by some lunatic at an event in Tucson today. Details are still coming in. NPR is reporting that Giffords has died. The gunman was tackled by bystanders and arrested.

A senseless crime. Prayers go out from 3BP to all of the victims and their families.

UPDATE: Rep. Giffords survived but has a long recovery ahead. 5 people were killed, including a 9-year old girl. Awful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

We're back in business.

I'm sure Lisa-Patt McDaniel is a nice person.

As Strickland's last Director of the Department of Development, the lifelong bureaucrat wasn't exactly the most qualified person to understand what businesses need to thrive in Ohio.

Well, John Kasich has decided to go the opposite direction of Strickland and bring on someone who has made one helluva living creating businesses all over the world.

In a move of enormous proportions, billionaire venture capitalist Mark Kvamme is Kasich's new Director of Jobs Ohio, the Kasich effort to streamline the Department of Development in an effort for them to better understand how to bring jobs to the Buckeye State.

Here is Kvamme's bio from his current firm:
Mark works with enterprise data management software, consumer media and advertising services companies. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital in 1999, Mark was Chairman and CEO of CKS Group, an advertising agency that pioneered new advertising strategies by integrating marketing with technology. Earlier in his career Mark was a Director of International Marketing for Wyse Technology, the President and CEO of International Solutions, and was a founding member of Apple France. Mark has a BA in French Economics and Literature from the University of California at Berkeley.
Compare that to Patt-McDaniel's working history as an employee of the state of Ohio for her entire career.

With Ohio still in a major jobs crisis, Kvamme is intensely more qualified and with a salary of 1$, about 1,425% cheaper than Strickland's Director.

Make no mistake, Ohio's 9.8% unemployment rate is 81% higher than when Strickland came into office. In the most recent report, Ohio's labor force shrunk by 20,000 people and has shrunk by 50,000 in the past year.

It will be Kvamme's job to bring those people back to Ohio and into our job market. He'll do that by helping Ohio create a business environment that encourages businesses to give the Buckeye State a shot.

Ohio. We're back in business.

On his way out the door, Team Strickland tries to rewrite history.

In Ted Strickland's world, Ohio's budget is in the black and Ohio's job situation is one of the best in the country.

Unfortunately for Ohio, the reality is stark contrast.

With reports yesterday that Ohio is projected to have a $400 million surplus when the fiscal year ends in June, 2011, Strickland supporters sounded off about how the Governor is leaving the state in good fiscal shape.

First off, Governor, don't think Ohioans have forgotten that you raised their taxes last year by $800 million. With this supposed "surplus", one has to wonder if Strickland hiked voter's income taxes in an effort to ultimately enhance his legacy. After all, from a political messaging standpoint, a $400 million hike doesn't sound that much better than an $800 million hike.

But the most obvious and glaring fact staring Strickland in the face?

Ohio's next budget is facing an $8-10 billion hole.

In case you didn't catch that, let me scream a little louder...

Ohio's next budget is facing an $8-10 billion hole.

It's so real that the Columbus Dispatch went so far as to recently give their readers a chance at solving the fiscal crisis themselves. Click here to give it a shot.

Team Strickland's effort to refocus the media on this supposed surplus is their way of trying to extract Strickland from his true singular legacy. And that is this...

Governor Strickland is leaving Ohio with the single largest fiscal crisis in its nearly 208 years of existence.

And despite being given ample warning of it coming, by Mary Taylor, no less, he did nothing.

Back when the last budget was being debated and Strickland had his last real shot at taking steps to fix the already well known $8 billion hole, Strickland said the following:
"We're dealing with the budget for 2010 and 2011, and the standard that I'm being held to is, 'How are you going to balance the budget in 2012 and 2013?' It's still 2009. I just don't get it.
Truer words have never been spoken.

Governor, you were elected to make Ohio a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Not to simply make sure a biennial budget was balanced. Your singular focus on the present is causing Ohio to face greater pains in its future. You just don't get it.

No one expected you to fix the entire budget hole that you helped create by ingesting billions of one-time federal dollars into the budget, but as Ohio's leader you were elected to at least make an effort. You didn't.

Why? You were scared of losing your shot at re-election.

Everyone knows this next budget is going to require a number of politically unpopular decisions. But they are the decisions that must be made if Ohio's budget is going to be balanced as is required by law.

It didn't have to be this way. Ohio's leaders, both Democrat and Republican, could have done the responsible thing and curbed government growth when they had the chance.

Instead they chose to take all the necessary cuts at once.

Which makes me thank God Ohio elected John Kasich.

He's already repeatedly stated that he doesn't care if he's re-elected or not. This isn't about his own political future.

It's about making the tough decisions, no matter how unpopular, because it's the right thing to do.

Strickland never understood that. His term is marked with decision after decision that was based purely on politics rather than principle. And it's left us with an $8 billion deficit.

Thanks for nothing, Governor Strickland.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The debt ceiling debate. It's D-Day.

Guest posted by Bytor

I believe our national debt is becoming a national security threat. And while the debt has accelerated faster under the previous 4 years of Democrat control of Congress than at any other time, both parties are to blame.

Senator Tom Coburn's latest editorial in The Washington Examiner is definitely worth a read. He has some advice for the new Congress (emphasis mine).
It’s not about Republicans. It’s about the republic. In the past decade, experts on both sides have boasted about permanent majorities. The country has no time for such foolishness.

Our future is as uncertain and tenuous as at any point in our history. The perfect political moment to tackle our debt problem will always be a mirage just beyond the horizon of the next election.

The time for hard choices, and leadership that honors our heritage of service and sacrifice, is now.
The enemy is not the other party, the president or your colleagues but the idea that the federal government is at the center of our national life, the equalizer of all injustice and the provider of material wealth.

Ideas are much harder to displace than individuals. Running the table in 2012 will not solve anything if the country is not prepared to change their expectations of the federal government.

The left is betting that the public’s support for entitlements, once acquired, will trump their disgust with deficits. This is the real debate that will determine the future of our country.
Boehner has described the House as an “outpost in Washington for the American people and their desire for a smaller, less costly and more accountable government.”

I’d suggest the new members have a chance to secure not just an outpost, but a beachhead for freedom in a struggle as significant as any in our history.

For new members, this can be your D-Day against debt, and the dissolution of the republic itself. You can make history not with your words, but with your actions.

Go read the whole thing. I pray that the incoming freshman Congressmen and Senators share this mindset. While the election of dozens of new conservative voices like Rob Portman, Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio is certainly worth celebrating, lets hope that we, as a party, have also learned the lessons of the rise and fall of the Republican Revolution of 1994.

Let's see that again. And again. And again.

In case you want to relive the moment over and over again, I whipped this up for our fans.


If only...

I wonder what Ohio's budget situation would look like right now if the media went after Strickland about the impending multi-billion dollar deficit in the same way they went after Kasich about a swearing-in ceremony.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Our own John Boehner officially became Speaker of the House today.

On the road again.

No posting today.

3BP is back on the road to Columbus to witness the beginning of a New Day and a New Way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Antonin Scalia is smarter than you.

Revel in the awesomeness that is Antonin Scalia.
(Interviewer) In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?

(Justice Scalia) Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. ... But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don't like the death penalty anymore, that's fine. You want a right to abortion? There's nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn't mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.
Yes, everyone, it really is that simple.

And note, this isn't about gay or women's rights. It's about the constitution and how our republic works.

Scalia gets it. Unfortunately, many of our friends on the left don't.


Ted Strickland is still acting like a whiny, partisan hack.
Outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland says he hasn't yet decided whether he'll continue a recent tradition for Ohio governors.

Starting with George V. Voinovich and continuing with Nancy Putnam Hollister and Bob Taft, Strickland's Republican predecessors have carved their names into the bottom of the top right-hand drawer of the 150-year-old desk in the governor's Statehouse office.

Strickland, a Democrat who leaves office Sunday, said last month that he hasn't decided whether he'll follow suit.

"It's on the right-hand side of the desk, so if I were to do it, I'd probably move over to the left-hand side," he quipped.
Oh you silly, silly, Governor. The LEFT! Ha! Still partisan 'til the last. Soooo funny.

No. Not really.

One of my favorite memories while living here in DC was sitting at the desk in the ceremonial office of the Vice President. The individual I was with told me to pull out one of the drawers of the desk. There before me were carved signatures of Vice Presidents going back to the 1940s. Republicans and Democrats alike. As one.

During the campaign, Ted Strickland said he "believed in Ohio". Not a left-wing Ohio, but Ohio. As one.

Voinovich began his tradition with the same idea - that Ohio's Governors will carve their names in the desk. Not Republican Governors. All Governors. As one.

Being Governor is about leading Ohio. It's not about just leading those that agree with you.

Strickland's quip, however insignificant it may seem, says a lot about the guy.

For him, being Governor was about getting re-elected. He was a partisan to the last.

And I don't mind if he doesn't sign the desk.

Why? Because it will be like he never existed.

Ted Strickland was Ohio's absent landlord.

When the state needed leadership and bold choices, he hid behind that old desk in hopes the bad stuff would go away.

Fortunately for Ohioans, that's about to change.

UPDATE: Strickland etched his name into the leftside drawer, thereby permanently ruining a state treasure.

We are one Ohio, Governor Strickland. Your effort to turn this historic desk into yet another symbol of partisan hackery is another example of the shameful way you have left office.

Buckeye Firearms regretting Strickland endorsement?

Guest posted by Bytor

Ted Strickland made a big deal out of his pro-gun past in the 2010 gubernatorial election. John Kasich has a spotty record of defending gun rights, and while in Congress, Strickland certainly did vote on the side of gun owners and sportsmen.

It was a smart move and was very successful. Strickland managed to get endorsements from not only from the NRA, but Ohio's 2 largest pro-2nd amendment groups, Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA), and Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC), as well. No doubt, the closeness of the race was due in part to this strategy, as he undoubtedly pulled some voters over to his side who would normally have voted for a Republican.

Many of the rank and file members of these groups, however, were not convinced, and in fact, very angry over the endorsements. They pointed out that Strickland had done little as governor to promote their cause, and that no endorsements should have been given in the race. Quite a few cancelled their memberships. It became a very divisive issue within BFA and OFCC.

So how did Ted Strickland repay these groups, who almost helped to propel him to reelection against a massive red wave? He stabbed them in the back. On December 10, he appointed his running mate, F-rated Yvette McGee Brown, to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Of course, BFA feels betrayed. BFA Vice Chairman Chad D. Baus wrote,

"Despite a 100% pro-gun record, and despite having nearly ridden that wave of pro-gun support to victory once again, as one of his last official acts as governor, Ted Strickland made an unquestionably anti-gun political appointment. When gun owners needed a friend in the OSC appointment to ensure a qualified justice without a personal agenda, Governor Strickland looked the other way and appointed his former running mate and anti-gun advocate to the bench. Friends and politics have once again won out over principle."

And while OFCC has remained silent on the matter, their members have not.

At least we can finally put to rest the assertion that Ted Strickland was a pro-gun governor. He got a lot of mileage out of his congressional votes, earning himself those endorsements. But in the end, he turned his back on Ohio gun owners by refusing to publicly urge his own party to allow a simple vote on 2 pro-2A bills that were very important to the groups who endorsed him. Then, he flat out gave them the finger.

Thanks for nothing, Ted.

Monday, January 3, 2011

That was a close one.

When Ohio voters elected John Kasich as Governor, they also voted to end the 3-C passenger rail project.

And a recent column from Brent Larkin at the Cleveland Plain Dealer helped us realize just how close we came to making a huge mistake. a vain attempt to sell this project to the public, state officials changed their story so often it made the head swim. Truth is, one needn't be Nostradamus to project cost overruns totaling hundreds of millions of dollars -- with the money to cover those overruns coming directly from the pockets of Ohio taxpayers.

When the Obama administration offered Ohio $400 million for the rail project, Strickland administration officials essentially said, "Sure, that should cover it." But just months earlier, as part of the state's application to the feds, the administration placed the startup cost at $563.7 million.

It gets worse.

A Government Accounting Office study of transportation projects, requested by Congress, concluded in March 2009 that passenger rail projects "had the highest cost escalation out of all the transportation modes studied -- averaging 45 percent higher than estimated."

ODOT's ridership predictions called for an annual taxpayer subsidy of $17 million over 20 years. But that same GAO report cited a study of 27 rail projects that found ridership forecasts for 90 percent of the projects were overestimated, with 67 percent overestimated by more than two-thirds.
What a mess.

Members of the train cult will keep making up projections about jobs lost. Of course, these were the same people that said Ted Strickland's internal poll numbers had him up six points.

The fact is, it's easy to make numbers up.

But with an $8 billion deficit reality staring us in the face, we can't afford to play games with the exact kind of project that has been historically proven to be a net negative.

To solve the budget crisis Ted Strickland leaves behind, we need to go with what works - reducing government, not increasing its obligations.