Thursday, September 29, 2011

Worst political website ever. Update: Fixed, but still an eyesore.

With Issue 2 receiving almost all of the political and media attention, it can be easy to forget that there is another petition driven ballot issue on the ballot this November. Issue 3 is the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment. It will amend the Ohio Constitution to state that the government cannot compel you to buy health insurance. Unlike the million-dollar paid circulator drive that the unions funded to get Issue 2 on the ballot, Issue 3 had a much higher signature requirement, and the vast majority of it's signatures were collected by true volunteers in an actual grassroots campaign.

Knowing that the Obamacare mandate is hugely unpopular, the liberals over at ProgressOhio tried to stop Ohioans from having their say on the matter, and sued to prevent the amendment from being placed on the ballot. The Ohio Supreme court unanimously rejected their suit.

So, now Brian Rothenberg of ProgressOhio has to try to convince you to vote against the amendment, so that liberal bureaucrats can continue to take over the health care system. This week, they unveiled their website. What. A. Mess.

First off, what's with the black and red? Are they trying to mimic the White House's "Attack Watch" site, which has become a huge laughing stock on social media? VoteNoIssue3 is even worse. It literally hurts my eyes to look at it, and I got a headache after a couple of minutes.

And what about those dice? See how clever they are? The dice say "NO". But what do they have to do with healthcare? ProgressOhio was against allowing casinos in Ohio back when that was up for vote. That was ALSO Issue 3. Did they actually recycle an old webpage from the casino initiative?

Want a chuckle? Check out the "Who We Are" link. They didn't even change the stock web page template instructions! And it still has a link to a page that explains how to customize the image on the site. Hysterical! Here is a screenshot in case they change it.

Want to contact them? Oops! "This page does not yet contain any content."

Want to donate money to the cause? Too bad! That doesn't work, either!

Hilarious. It's almost as if ProgressOhio read our post about beclowning themselves, and then decided to play along by launching this horrible website.

Don't forget to get out and vote YES on Issue 3!

Update 10/3/2011: Looks like ProgressOhio saw our post and fixed all the embarrassing errors we pointed out. It's still ugly. And I'm betting the amendment passes easily, despite Rothernburg's vague scare tactics.

OEA President: "They need to live in our economic world"

Before an Ohio Education Association (OEA) staffer wiped the content from the official Professional Staff Union (PSU) blog, emails from OEA leadership played a starring role on its “Hall of Shame” pages. Apparently OEA decided the public shouldn’t see what union bosses think of their own employees.

OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks, paid $190,000 in 2010, crosses her employees' picket line
Here’s part of an email from OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks:
I can say that in my opinion PSU is excessively aggressive in its rhetoric, almost outlandish in its rendering of the OEA positions, and very close to the vest about what their members make relative to what contract raises they’ve negotiated for US in the past two years.
Surely Ohioans aren’t expected to treat OEA employee talking points as gospel except when they disagree with OEA bosses – right?
Also–note that some PSU people are more vocal and adamant than others–of course they have a strategy–they’re the folks who teach us how to negotiate.
Here, the OEA president sounds like the OEA vice president: Frost-Brooks accuses OEA staff of putting on a show, while affirming that OEA does the same thing to taxpayers. “Of course they have a strategy” – berate the evils of management until management caves.
but [sic] they’re also the same folks who’ve gotten our locals 0-2% contracts for the past year. They need to live in our economic world, in my opinion.
In OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks’s economic world, you’re paid $190,000 a year to pat yourself on the back for demanding unsustainable compensation while demonizing reforms that would reward the best educators. Speaking of excessively aggressive rhetoric:
In a message to her members, Ohio Education Association President Patricia Frost-Brooks called the bill’s passage a “final stamp of approval on an attempt to silence your voice as an advocate for Ohio’s children.”
She said SB5 was “a clear attempt to gut the ability of educators, nurses, firefighters, police and all public employees to have a voice on the job,” adding that it “does nothing to create jobs and instead gives politicians free reign to cut public education in Ohio.”
“An attempt to silence your voice” – like, for instance, by deleting an official staff blog. Is this sort of transparent class warfare what Ohio teachers have in mind when they fork over hundreds each year in OEA dues?

As a graduate of an Ohio public school, I can say without a doubt that handsomely-paid, wildly hypocritical OEA bosses do not speak for all Ohio teachers. On November 8, vote for sensible reforms that will empower taxpayers instead of professional agitators: Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ohio's Message to Obama: "Go Away"

There's more news from Quinnipiac's poll of Ohio, as President Obama's approval rating hit a new low in the Buckeye State.  Just 42 percent of Ohioans approve of Obama's performance as President, down from 46 percent in July and 49 percent in May.

As his approval rating plummets, an even more alarming number to Democrats is rising: for the first time in Quinnipiac's polling of Ohio, a majority of Ohioans say Obama does not deserve to be re-elected.  51 percent said that, up 4 points from just two months ago.  That majority includes 53 percent of independents, and nearly 1 of 6 Democrats who feel their own party's President doesn't deserve a second term.

Things are just as bleak for Obama and his teleprompter in Pennsylvania.  There just 43 percent of voters approve of his job as President, and the same 51 percent majority of Pennsylvanians say Obama does not deserve a second term, including almost 1 of 5 Democrats.

It's a critical situation for the campaigner-in-chief.  It's been over 50 years since a Presidential candidate lost Ohio but still won nationally.  The never-ending visits by the President and Vice President Biden to Ohio underscore the fact that Obama likely cannot be re-elected without winning Ohio.  Despite four visits by the Obama-Biden duo to Ohio this month alone, he is more unpopular than ever.  With more visits to try and save a failing Presidency almost a sure thing, today's poll shows Ohioans have a message for Barack Obama:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ohio Democrats and unions new "Jim Crow" ad reaches a disgusting new low

Democrats have never been afraid to use the race card, but this is a new one. Senate Bill 5 and HB194 have nothing at all to do with race. But the union front group "We Are Ohio" and their Ohio Democrat lapdogs are airing a new radio ad that suggests that it is all about race.
As Democrats work to place Ohio’s Republican-backed elections law on hold through a referendum, they’re arguing that the measure is akin to poll taxes, grandfather clauses and other footnotes from America’s Jim Crow past.

But does the same argument apply to Senate Bill 5, the GOP-sponsored limits on collective bargaining for public employees that is currently subject to a referendum as state Issue 2 on the November ballot?

Democratic, labor and African-American leaders say yes.

We Are Ohio, the organized labor coalition seeking to repeal Senate Bill 5, is airing a radio ad that says “Gov. John Kasich and the Columbus politicians have passed two laws to take us back to the days of Jim Crow.”
Remember when we told you how the unions will say ANYTHING to hold onto their power? You're witnessing that right now. Listen to some of the ridiculous justification for this outrageous ad.
Today, numerous African-American community leaders defended the ad’s content.

“Collective bargaining was the voice people used to gain a voice in government,” said Rev. Harold Hudson of Calvary Tremont Missionary Baptist Church. “In a way, Senate Bill 5 does promote segregation because it takes away those rights. Both bills are Republican-designed programs that will hurt people who are underprivileged.
Public employees are NOT underprivileged, Reverend Hudson. They earn 43% more in total compensation than private sector workers, for one thing. They pay much less for their health care, and most have guaranteed pensions that private sector workers only dream of. So, explain to me just how public sector workers are "underprivileged." You can't. You just enjoy stoking the flames of racism.

Regarding HB194, you would think it was overturning women's suffrage or something, the way the Democrats talk about it. It reduces early voting to three weeks. For that, they call the bill "voter suppression" and now refer to it as a Jim Crow law, because three weeks is just not enough time to vote or something.

This ad is repugnant, and Ohio Democrats and unions should be ashamed that they have sunk so low. If they have to resort to these disgusting, negative and false attacks, how can anyone believe what they are saying about the bills at all?

State Senator Shirley Smith moved out of her district, still ran for reelection

With all of the scuttlebutt we are hearing from Democrats about new legislative districts, there's one Ohio Senate Democrat who isn't worried about the issue at all.

Why? Because Senator Shirley Smith doesn't seem to care about the law stating that you must live in your district. She moved out of hers a long time ago. From WKYC in Cleveland:
CLEVELAND -- State lawmakers are supposed to live in the district they represent. It's the law.

But a Channel 3 News investigation found State Senator Shirley Smith living outside her district.

Records show Smith owns a home on Woodworth Avenue in Cleveland in District 21, the district she's represented as a state senator for almost five years.

But Channel 3 news hidden cameras found her living at a much more expensive home in South Euclid in District 25.

Smith was seen on three randomly-chosen days in July and August relaxing on her front porch and entering and exiting the home, which is located in a subdivision with homes valued near $300,000.
Why would the Senator do that? Well, I used to live in Smith's district. A lot of it...ain't so great. South Euclid, however, is a very nice place to live. Watch the video for a good comparison between the two neighborhoods.

After trying to dodge the issue the whole time, she finally admits to Tom Meyer that she lives in the South Euclid house. Not the house that she told the Board of Elections she lives in. Not in the district she is required to live in. NOT among the people of the 21st district, who she is supposed to be live among, as their representative.

On her website, Smith says her "committment to the 21st district is unchanging." Really, Senator Smith? It seems that it certainly IS changing, seeing as you couldn't even stand to live there!

And while South Euclid is certainly a lovely place to live, the 21st district also has some beautiful and upscale neighborhoods as well. Cleveland Heights and University Heights are great suburbs with good schools and low crime. Why didn't you move there, and you'd still be in the correct district? Dumb, Shirley. Dumb.

Hey Chris Redfern, why don't you get your people to actually live in their districts before you go off whining about how they are drawn, eh?

Support is Building for Issue 2, Governor Kasich

Quinnipiac University released its latest poll on Issue 2 today.  Their poll found that the gap in support has been cut almost in half from their numbers in July.  The margin is now 38-51 for/against Issue 2, down from the 32-56 results Quinnipiac found two months ago.  This 11 point swing comes after less than two weeks of advertising by Building a Better Ohio to support the reforms.  While this result shows momentum for retaining the reforms of Issue 2, a closer look at the poll makes it clear the numbers are even closer than the published results.

Quinnipiac polled any registered Ohio voter, as opposed to likely voters only.  Off-year elections like the one this November are noted for having far lower turnout than elections for President or Governor, and people who aren't likely voters tend to stay home in these elections.  It's an important distinction, as Republicans are more likely voters than Democrats.  That isn't just an opinion, it's a statement that proves itself in polls routinely, and would almost certainly narrow the results Quinnipiac released today.

Going along with that factor is that Republicans were under-polled.  Exit polls from 2010 showed that Republicans and Democrats turned out in even numbers last November.  Given the already mentioned higher tendency of Republicans to vote one would assume that Republican voters would make up an equal or greater part of the electorate this year.  But Quinnipiac's sample was only 27% Republican, 10% less than the 37% GOP turnout seen in 2010. There is zero reason to assume such a decline in Republican turnout, and it skews the results further against Issue 2.

There's also a clear support for the main reforms of Issue 2.  Even with Republicans under-sampled, Quinnipiac found overhelming support for most reforms.  On asking government employees to contribute 15% toward health-care and 10% for their pensions today's poll found 59 and 56 percent support, and instituting performance pay had nearly 2-1 support, 60-31 percent.  It's more proof that the more Ohioans find out what's actually in Issue 2 the more likely they are to support it.  Informing people of the real reforms of Issue 2, as Building a Better Ohio has begun to do, is critical to building the momentum.

There's also growing support for Governor Kasich.  Forty percent approve of his performance as Governor, a 5 percent increase from July.  Just as with Issue 2, support for Kasich is increasing as people are beginning to see beyond the left's rhetoric to the actual actions the Governor is taking to repair Ohio's budget and economy.

Today's numbers show just how important it is to continue reaching out to Ohioans with the facts behind the reasonable reforms of Issue 2.  While the numbers have improved, the wide gap between the overall support for Issue 2 and the issue-by-issue breakdown shows that far too many in Ohio are still being misled by the big union fear mongering We Are Ohio continues to engage in.  Today's numbers also seem to guarantee that the lies and distortions from the left will become more divisive and desperate as they try to hold on to a lead.  With 5 more weeks until Election Day (and even less before early voting & absentee balloting) it's more important than ever to get involved and help Ohioans separate the facts of Issue 2 from the the fictions told by the left.

OEA Vice President: "I don't take the rhetoric and posturing to heart"

Before some Ohio Education Association (OEA) staffer pulled the plug, the official Professional Staff Union (PSU) blog featured a number of emails from OEA bosses. As OEA employees represented by PSU fought for their contract demands, the bosses of Ohio’s largest government union reassured concerned members.

OEA VP Bill Leibensperger:
Paid $186,471 in 2010
Here’s one of OEA Vice President Bill Leibensperger’s September 2009 emails, which figured prominently in the now-defunct PSU Blog’s “Hall of Shame”:
As your representatives, we value the contributions of our professional employees as well. I don’t take the rhetoric and posturing to heart.
By “rhetoric and posturing,” Leibensperger is referring to the complaints and criticisms of OEA employees against OEA. Interesting, since OEA uses the same “rhetoric and posturing” when fighting elected officials for taxpayer dollars! From another Leibensperger email (view source as PDF):
You know the negotiations process and understand posturing and rhetoric.
This seems awfully close to an admission that OEA’s entire business model is founded on cynical theatrics. Here’s yet another email from OEA’s vice president:
It is unfortunate that some of our professional staff use only one technique with these kinds of issues, and that is to gin up the emotions and play fast and loose with the facts. It seems especially cruel these days.
Hello there, Kettle; haaave ya met Pot? I wonder what the OEA Vice President Leibensperger from late 2009 would have to say about the OEA Vice President Leibensperger from March 2011:
“This is a real war. I am not overstating it,” said William Leibensperger, vice president of Ohio Education Association, during an informational meeting for OEA members at the United Auto Workers Hall in Bath Township.
Or this Vice President Leibensperger:
“These amendments really shine the light on what this bill is all about, which is silencing the voice of people who collectively bargain on behalf of their members and, in our case, on behalf of the children we work with,” OEA Vice President Bill Leibensperger said.
Or this one:
Another teacher said the bill leaves them with no protections.
Leibensperger agreed. “SB5 is all about removing any and all protections. You’re vulnerable,” he said.
Take it from Leibensperger himself: when the union bosses behind We Are Ohio engage in rhetoric and posturing to gin up emotions, we shouldn’t take it to heart.

Need more proof We Are Ohio doesn’t deserve your trust? There’s plenty of it. On November 8, Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Critical Union Staff Blog: "Page not found"

How much can you learn from a 404 "File not found" error? Plenty, when it replaces content critical of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) - written by OEA employees.

When I stumbled across the official blog of a union representing more than 100 OEA staff, I could hardly believe how its authors reamed - over the course of 2+ years - the selfish, dishonest, hypocritical leadership of We Are Ohio's biggest in-state donor.

In late August I began sharing quotes and context with readers of the Ohio sites I write for in my free time. By early September, years of union employees' entries had vanished down the memory hole. Like this gem from 08/29/2009, which used to be at the web address above:
OEA apparently does not care that it is rife with hypocrisy, adamant in taking positions it tells its local affiliates to fight at all costs, and shortsighted.
Unfortunately for We Are Ohio, I printed every page of the OEA staff union's blog to PDF a month ago. Here's the full source for that quote. And here's another example of what We Are Ohio doesn't want you to see (view PDF):
The truth of the matter is that OEA failed to bargain in good faith with PSU.  In fact, they wasted five bargaining sessions before even responding with a written counter-proposal.  Does that sound like collaborative leadership?
Like the first quote, this OEA staffer insight was publicly visible until I began asking why Ohio voters should rely on union bosses who can't be trusted by their own employees. Now...

Imagine, if you would, being paid heaps of public dollars to stand between elected officials and the voters who fund their operations. You don't actually do any of the things taxpayers need, but you have considerable power over how much those services cost - and how they are (or aren't) delivered.

The obvious brokenness of current Ohio law is why the unions created "We Are Ohio" in a desperate effort to market themselves as reg'lar folk. Senate Bill 5 threatens their cozy arrangement, and they plan to block reform using the usual tired lines about "solidarity" and "speaking for working people."

What do you think - should Ohio voters buy what We Are Ohio is selling?

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Solyndra board member thanks Sherrod Brown with a $2500 donation

This morning, I tweeted out a mock thank you to Senator Sherrod Brown for voting for Barack Obama's original stimulus bill, which provided over half a billion dollars of our federal tax dollars to Solyndra.

As it turns out, though, I'm not the only one thanking Sherrod Brown. Thomas Baruch also thanked him this year, and his thank you was real. $2500 real.

Who is Thomas Baruch? He sits on Solyndra's board of directors. He was no doubt very pleased to see Sherrod Brown support the stimulus bill so strongly. After all, it led to Solyndra getting the $535 million.

When asked about the donation, Sherrod's communications director responded:
"Sen. Brown has not received a contribution from any employee of Solyndra."
Nice way of dancing around the subject. Of course, Baruch is not an employee. He sits on the board!

Sherrod Brown told us that the stimulus bill would bring Ohio and the country into recovery, and create millions of jobs. As we all know, that didn't happen. Instead, the money was horribly wasted, and in some cases, like Solyndra's, corruptly directed to Democrat's pet projects in return for campaign donations.

And now Sherrod Brown is urging us to support another stimulus plan, promising that it will deliver the jobs this time. Are you kidding us, Senator?

What we need is to kick Sherrod Brown out of office. At the very least, he should give his $2500 Solyndra donation back.

The Campaigner-in-Chief Visits Ohio...Again

For the second time in the last 10 days President Obama came to Ohio to promote his reelection his "American Jobs Act".  Fresh off a month with zero jobs added to the economy, Obama came to Cincinnati continuing his effort to convince America he has the right ideas to recharge the economy.  The backdrop for this photo op was the Brent Spence bridge which spans the Ohio River connecting Cincinnati with Covington, KY.  

Like he has so often, President Obama wasn't about to let facts get in the way of his rhetoric.  Obama said that Boehner, McConnell, and the GOP needed to pass his bill to help rebuild bridges like the Brent Spence, only his own press secretary would be forced to admit that the bridge won't qualify for funding under the Obama plan.  Even if it did, attacking Boehner and McConnell over this bridge is ridiculous since both support the current project to build a new bridge alleviating the excess traffic.

So if the bridge doesn't qualify and the preexisting plan to repair it is supported by the two Republican leaders he called out, why did Obama give the speech he gave at that site?
President Obama, fighting for a proposal that will do nothing for the bridge behind him.

  It's all about the image for this administration.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What did Sherrod Brown say about the Brent Spence Bridge before Stimulus 1?

As we commented earlier, today President Obama made a campaign speech for a second "stimulus" bill on the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. He says that it is an example of a project that would be funded by the new bill. Of course, in our earlier post, we dispelled his notion that the bridge was a project that would start putting people to work anytime soon.
Making it worse, Obama is going to be speaking at a bridge over the Ohio River. He says his new stimulus jobs bill will renovate the bridge and provide much needed jobs to jump start the economy. You know, what his original stimulus bill was supposed to do, and didn't. But the facts are, that work on the bridge can't be started for at least four years from now. That's quite a different story than Obama has been telling us. He has been claiming that his "jobs bill" would "get the economy moving now."
At the end of our post, we also asked why our own Senator Sherrod Brown wasn't with the president today. He supports the president's plan, after all.

Could it be because of a claim he made on MSNBC's Morning Joe program before the first stimulus bill was passed? On January 28, 2009, he said the following on the program:

"We do need to do direct spending on job creation. That means shovel-ready projects for water and sewer systems, whether it's the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, that will put a lot of people to work and help with economic development."
Well, its getting close to three years later. And we know how that stimulus bill worked out. Close to a TRILLION dollars in additional deficit spending, and it didn't create the jobs, or the recovery, that Sherrod Brown promised. It was one huge failure.

Senator Sherrod Brown indicates how many jobs were created on the Brent Spence Bridge project he said would be started with the first stimulus bill. AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski
 So, maybe he didn't want to show up anywhere near the Brent Spence Bridge today because he had already told the people of the region once before, that a huge government spending program was going to start the project and put them to work.

It was probably a good idea that you stayed in Washington today, Senator.

UPDATE: Obviously, we added the video of Sherrod. Too bad that original stimulus money didn't go to the Brent Spence Bridge as Sherrod promised, and went to Solyndra instead. But at least the Solyndra part worked out a little bit for him, right Senator?

How much will Obama's latest campaign stop in Ohio cost taxpayers, Chairman Redfern?

A few months ago, we wrote a post about Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern and his silly criticism of Governor John Kasich's use of the state airplane.
Never missing an opportunity to put his diarrhea of the mouth on display, get a load of what Redfern says about the two planes owned by the state for its governors to use to travel around Ohio: The governor should stop using the planes to travel around Ohio.

“I think we ought to sell the damn planes,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said. “The governor loves privatization. He ought to drive down to Port Columbus Airport and fly coach like the rest of us.”
Ridiculous. The plane is there for the governor to do his job. Ohio is a large state. No matter who the governor is or what party they belong to, that's exactly what the planes are there for. For the governor to use in pursuit of the state's business.


Not only is it the stupid political hackery that we're used to from Redfern, it would actually cost the state more money if we followed his suggestion.

So it cost $2200 to fly the governor and a number of his staff to Cleveland. The DDN piece mentions that for this particual trip, the group was large enough that they used two planes. Since each plane can carry 10 passengers, lets conservatively assume that there were 10 people in the group total.

That comes out to $220 per person, round trip. That's a bargain, folks. Go do a search on a round trip commercial flight from Columbus to, er...Cleveland. They start at $800.

Well, since Chris Redfern is so concerned about how much taxpayers are spending on air travel, he might want to check in on what President Obama's campaign stops to Ohio are costing us all. Last year he made a 10 minute speech in Columbus. How much did it cost?
The trip Columbus probably cost taxpayers between $500,000 and $1 million.
Air Force One alone bills out at $100,000 per hour, and the round trip is nearly two hours. Adding to the cost are military aircraft to carry limos and secret service vehicles, Marine One on standby, Secret Service, local police and other factors.
Was Obama here to help Ohio, or to conduct business for the nation? No. He was here to campaign for then-governor Ted Strickland, and to defend his own failed stimulus plan.

Just two weeks ago, Obama was in Ohio again. This time his speech was a full 17 minutes. Using the same standards as above, we paid another $750,000 minimum for Obama's campaign stop.

And of course, Obama is here again today. Everyone knows how important Ohio has become in the electoral college mathematics, and Obama is already campaigning for his reelection in Ohio at full tilt. Another million dollars of tax money spent by Obama.

Making it worse, Obama is going to be speaking at a bridge over the Ohio River. He says his new stimulus jobs bill will renovate the bridge and provide much needed jobs to jump start the economy. You know, what his original stimulus bill was supposed to do, and didn't. But the facts are, that work on the bridge can't be started for at least four years from now. That's quite a different story than Obama has been telling us. He has been claiming that his "jobs bill" would "get the economy moving now."

And even if you believed him about the bridge project being part of his jobs plan, why is he visiting Ohio? The bridge is owned by Kentucky!
Nope, no politics involved here! None whatsoever!

So, lets compare. As of August, WKYC did an "investigation" that shows that total cost of use of Ohio's state planes, was $64,000.

$64,000 for 8 months worth of travel to conduct state business beneficial to Ohio.


At least $1.5 million for the President to conduct his reelection campaign in Ohio for a couple of minutes-long speeches, just in September alone.

I'm sure we'll being seeing a statement from Redfern condemning the President's wasteful travel spending hit the wires any minute now. Right, Chairman? We're waiting! Someone let me know if he responds to me on Twitter. Like the grownup that he is, he blocks hundreds of people from following him if they aren't Democrats, including yours truly.

One last note. Why isn't Sherrod Brown with the President? He wasn't with him at his last Ohio trip either. Sherrod Brown has already gone on record supporting the new stimulus bill "jobs act". Why wouldn't he want to be with the president to support it? Hmmm...

OEA Retiree: "OEA is once again wasting time and member goodwill"

OEA employees on strike
The Ohio Education Association (OEA), Ohio's largest government union and We Are Ohio's biggest in-state donor, has quite the history of strife with its own employees. Since OEA takes hundreds of dollars a year from public teachers in return for "organizing" and "solidarity," this should be a huge red flag to Ohio taxpayers.

Here's one of many revealing blog posts from the Professional Staff Union (PSU), which represents more than 100 OEA employees (note - union staff have deleted or blocked access to content critical of OEA; view a PDF copy):
The following message is from PSU's brothers and sisters at CORE:
Our PSU Brothers and Sisters are in a stranglehold grip by OEA management--or so OEA management would like to believe. For OEA staff retirees, well, we've "been there, done that!" In what appears to be from the playbook of previous OEA management contract-gutting-proposals, OEA is once again wasting time and member goodwill (as well as public PR) on another impotent showing of bad management.
Why the bitterness from a retired OEA employee?
Remember the impact of the 1997 strike when dozens of retirees--including former OEA Executive Director Glenn Darr--descended on the OEA headquarters building when OEA was proposing take-backs in insurance and retiree health insurance (yes, post-65 insurance). We not only carried signs and created a huge crowd, but we spoke on TV about OEA's two-faced management stance. Who can forget Glenn Darr speaking to the press about OEA's mantra to members of "no take-backs" in support of continuing our lifetime health-care benefits bought and paid for in previous negotiations.
Fast forward to 2009...PSU and OEA negotiations opened with a take-back proposal that would have had a local association on the street and OEA management crying "foul." But as we know only too well, OEA management can forget who they really represent and what they stand for when THEY go to the bargaining table with hard-working staff...the very ones who keep local membership dollars coming in to OEA coffers.
If you need it, there's a whole lot more proof We Are Ohio doesn’t deserve your trust or your vote.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some lamer wants to drop what on Kasich?

This is about the lamest and weakest "attack" on John Kasich I've seen yet.

Some loser created a Twitter account called @kasichliarforhire.

Wow. It rhymes. But the clever doesn't end there! Check out the name. Kohn Jasich! Get it? He switched the J and the K, and that's hilarious, or something...

I went to check out his web page, for more hilariousness. Sadly, you get a "not found" error.

OK, well, never mind that. Because he has bigger plans! A plan so audacious, that it will bring the governor's office to it's knees!

He tweets to the Ohio House Dems:
@OhioHouseDems wanna start a "where's da jobs Kasich!?" tweetstorm? Try to get 50k tweets to Kasich this week?

Wow! This guy is a genius! Surely the Ohio House Democratic caucus will jump right on board.

Or...not. But our boy, he doesn't give up that easy. He's got another trick up his sleeve.
@FakeCinEnquirer wanna start a "wheresdajobsKasich" tweetstorm this week? 50k tweets to Kasich by Friday?
And then he enlists the Plunderdumbs.
@plunderbund Everyone join me in dropping a tweetstorm on Kasich. Send #wheresdajobskasich to John Kasich, Let's drop 50k tweets on him
Amazingly enough, this clown got the dumbs to RT it.
He started his crusade on Sunday, and is now begging people.
@innovationohio please help us drop a tweetstorm @JohnKasich #WheresdajobsKasich.
So, how many people have used the hashtag to tweet Kasich? Including Plunderbund, two!

Maybe someone needs to inform this goof that under Strickland, Ohio lost some 400,000 jobs, and Ohio has actually gained about 48,000 jobs during Kasich's short tenure so far. We have a long way to go, but turning this state around from the mess it was left in won't happen overnight. So, wheres da jobs, Kasich? There you go, dude. Duh.

Maybe he wants to take a 39 MPH train back to the Strickland days, where he could ask, Wheres da jobs going, Strickland?

The left in Ohio. Very strange.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plunderbund now fabricating their own Kasich quotes, reporting them as fact

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a piece about how the left-wing Ohio blog "Plunderbund" has such a burning hatred for Governor John Kasich, that they will use any and every piece of news about him to launch an attack. Even when he makes a decision that is an act of compassion, they write some scathing critique, portraying him as evil incarnate. When he reduced Kelley Williams-Bolar's crimes to misdemeanors, even the most reliably liberal Ohio personalities agreed he did the right thing. We summed it up as follows:
And yet they attack anyway. Personally, I could go either way on whether Williams-Bolar deserves leniancy or not. But I bring it up to show that when you're this rabidly hateful of someone, I guess you will use every single possible thing he does as a reason to attack him. Even an act of compassion. Even if it means contradicting yourself.
Yesterday, however, they hit a new low. Even for them. Check out this headline, "Kasich on public employees: “we are at war with these people”.

Wow. That's a pretty fiery statement by Kasich. Except, they have no proof he ever said it! Zero.

Do they have the governor saying this on video? No.
Do they have audio of Kasich saying this? No.
Are they quoting a piece from a reputable news source who was at the event where this supposedly happened? No.
Want to know where they got this supposed quote from? You aren't going to believe this.

One of those viral emails that gets forwarded around by hundreds of different people. You know, the ones where, when you get it, your first reaction is to check Snopes to see if it is a hoax or not. One of those emails. Some school superintendent named Mike Shreffler wrote an email saying "Kasich said this!" and all the We Are Ohio lefty clones forwarded it to each other as if it were rock solid fact.

Let's look closer into Plunderbund's own post to see even more.

1. There are multiple versions of the letter. Yes, apparently people took to changing it as it was forwarded around. From the post:
I spoke with Mike this afternoon to verify that he did, in fact, write the letter. Supposedly, there may be multiple, slightly different versions of the letter floating around, but the one I’ve included below is the original.
Hey, it must be true! I got an email saying so!

2. For as many people were at this event, they can't find ONE other person to corroborate Shreffler's story. Not one. Again, from PB's own post.
Right now we don’t have video to back up Dr. Shreffler’s story and we don’t have another invitee to corroborate it. But knowing Kasich, and having heard many similar stories over the past few months, I’m going to take the word of this local school superintendent ...
Really!? They actually justify not having any hard evidence by saying "yeah...but...knowing Kaisch, it MUST BE TRUE."

He actually continues with this unbelievable line of logic.
Right now we don’t have absolute proof that Kasich said “we are at war with these people (i.e. public employees)” or that he promised to bring back parts of SB5 after it’s defeated, or that he promised to use the legislature to “ram it through”, but these statements are consistent with things Kasich has said in the past and it seems highly likely that Kasich would say something like this again, especially in a room full of people he thought were friendly to his agenda.
Well, thats it! I'm sold. Call the local news. That's proof enough.

3. PB refers to an article by the Dayton Daily News. Yet, nowhere in the DDN article does the author repeat the supposed quote. Why? Because the DDN is a real news outlet, and has some standard of ethics. They wouldn't dare quote Kasich as saying something so volatile on the word of one person, let alone make it their headline.

Let's look beyond the PB post, and at some other reporting on the incident. At the Daily Record, Marc Kovac and Amanda Rolik interviewed 2 people that were at the same event. And they say Kasich said no such thing.
Sharon Ray, community service director at Wadsworth Municipal Court and a former Medina County commissioner, said Kasich did not use the kind of language or say the kinds of things Shreffler claims.

"I don't have a clue what this guy's talking about," Ray said. "He talked very little about Issue 2 at all. ... There was not a lot of time spent on it."

Tom Decker, a retired police officer from Parma also attended, agreed.

"I think this guy's a pundit for the teachers' union ...," he said. "What he's saying here is really attacking Kasich without cause, because Kasich didn't say some of those things. ... I really think this individual who wrote this letter, his attendance at the meeting gave him the opportunity to get his agenda out."
Then they talked to Shreffler himself. Here's what he said.
He added, "This is my personal opinion of what I heard. ... This letter was in no way, shape or form intended for either side of the aisle to use for their advantage or disadvantage. It was not intended for someone against Senate Bill 5 to use me or use my words."
Yet, that's exactly what Plunderbund is doing.

They post lies. They know they are lies, but they don't care. Because their readers retweet them, and quote them, as if they are a real news organization reporting facts. And the damage is done. They are using classic Alinsky tactics. They get their followers to repeat their lies often enough, that they become the truth.

This isn't the first time they've done this, and then refused to correct their story when facts come out that refute their lies. GOHP Blog caught them at it last week.

Seriously, go read the Plunderpund post. There is no evidence at all to support their inflammatory headline. None. The guys over in Plunderland should absolutely be ashamed of themselves. Their hate has driven them to abandon even a shred of credibility they might have once had.

Sandy Theis seems confused

Sandy Theis is a former advisor to Ted Strickland and Jennifer Brunner, and currently is a principle at Ted's consulting firm, Midwest Gateway Partners.

Looking at her Twitter stream, she is obviously an advocate for the union front group We Are Ohio, and puts out tweets that she believes are supportive of WAO in their effort to overturn the reasonable public-sector collective bargaining reforms contained in Senate Bill 5. Yesterday, she tweeted this:
DOL: pvt sector pays $2.12/hr toward health benes; public pays $4.72/hr #SB5 #Issue2 #WeAreOhio

The link she posted is to a Dayton Daily News article about the upcoming vote on Issue 2. Let's take a look at the actual quote from the article, instead of Sandy's abbreviated version.
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March that private sector employers paid on average $2.12 an hour toward employee health care coverage compared with $4.72 an hour state and local government employers paid toward worker health insurance.
Yes, that's right. Health care benefits paid by public-sector employers, meaning you and me as the taxpayers, cost over twice as much as what private sector employers pay.

Gee, thanks for the information, Sandy! I think I'll forward that statistic over to the good folks at Building a Better Ohio. They might find it useful in educating Ohioans about the reasons why collective bargaining reform is a financial necessity. I'm glad you're helping out both sides of the Issue 2 debate by putting out facts that both sides can use.

Oh wait. What? She wasn't trying to help the "Yes on Issue 2" side? You mean, she actually thought that the article was talking about what the costs are to the employEES, not the employERS? That can't be, can it? Sandy is "a master at media relations and message development!"

Doh. Ohio Democrats. Reading is hard. (And thanks again for highlighting the high cost of public sector benefits!)

Update: Sandy deleted her tweet. But she can't delete the ones from her followers who also noticed that she had trouble reading.

OEA Employee: "OEA has chosen not to bargain fairly with its own employees"

The past two years have been rocky for the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and its employees represented by the Professional Staff Union (PSU). Why should you care? Because OEA is Ohio’s largest government union, and the chief in-state donor to union front We Are Ohio.

Opposition to the reforms in Senate Bill 5 means support for the status quo, with union bosses wielding vast power over public funds. Would you hand a blank check to an HR consultant with miserable people skills? That is the effective result of Ohio’s government union law, passed in 1983 on a party-line vote.
OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks is taunted while crossing the picket line
OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks is taunted while crossing the picket line
OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks is taunted while crossing the picket line
OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks is taunted while crossing the picket line

The above photos are from a 2010 PSU strike against OEA – which is hardly the only recent example of conflict. Here’s an excerpt from an August 18, 2009 PSU blog post (note that union staff recently deleted or blocked access to content critical of OEA; here’s a PDF copy):
“We are picketing the OEA building today because we are concerned that bargaining a successor agreement does not seem to be a priority with the management of OEA. We urge the OEA to go to the bargaining table with the serious intention of negotiating a fair agreement with which both parties can agree. It is extremely ironic that the state’s largest advocate of school employees in collective bargaining has chosen not to bargain fairly with its own employees, ” said Bill Pearsol, spokesperson for PSU.
The informational picketing was done to draw attention to the lack of progress made at the negotiations table thus far.
“Ironic” is one word to describe OEA’s behavior with regard to its employees. Another would be “pathetic”union bosses tell locals to “bargain hard” when taxpayer dollars are at stake, but suddenly care about saving money when it comes to their own cut. Wonder why?

On November 8, vote for sensible reforms to the power of union bosses who demand that taxpayers meet their terms... but won't deal honestly with their own employees. Vote Yes on Issue 2!

If you need it, there’s plenty more proof OEA should not be trusted.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Monday, September 19, 2011

PD Columnist Connie Schultz resigns after we expose her engaged in political activity. UPDATE: ORP asked PD to keep Schultz off politics

It has just been announced that Plain Dealer Columnist Connie Schultz has resigned from the Plain Dealer.

Recall that we posted a story a couple of weeks ago, with video of her filming Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel at a tea party event. Mandel is the likely opponent for US Senator Sherrod Brown, who is also Schultz's husband. Schultz was at the event to write a story about the tea party for the Plain Dealer, when she put the Plain Dealer into an awkward situation by creating a clear conflict of interest when she filmed Mandel.

This was an exclusive story to Third Base Politics. Schultz wrote a column apologizing the next day after our post. Before that happened, 3BP was the only source for the story.

More often than not, we disagree strongly with her, but let's give credit to Connie Schultz for doing the right thing here. She clearly recognized the situation she was creating for the Plain Dealer.
In recent weeks, it has become painfully clear that my independence, professionally and personally, is possible only if I'm no longer writing for the newspaper that covers my husband's senate race on a daily basis. It's time for me to move on.
Below is the video that started it all.


Third Base Politics has obtained a copy of a letter from the Ohio Republican Party to the Plain Dealer. Last week, they wrote and asked the PD not to let Connie Schultz write any more stories of a political nature, due to the obvious conflict of interest. They agreed to meet about the matter this week, but with today's resignation, it appears that the matter is settled. Here is the letter:
The Plain Dealer
1801 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-2198

September 14, 2011

Dear Ms. Simmons:

I respectfully request that Connie Schultz not be allowed to write about political matters for the Plain Dealer as her conflict of interest does not pass the most basic test of journalistic fairness and integrity.

I’m sure you would agree the first priority of any journalist is to avoid instances which the public may regard as a real or perceived conflict of interest with the subject matter they’re covering.

On September 3, 2011 Connie Schultz, a columnist with the Plain Dealer, and the wife of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, attended a political rally sponsored by the Tea Party Express at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

On September 7, 2011 Ms. Schultz wrote a column about the Tea Party event. She decried many things about the event, and interestingly called into question the integrity of the editor of the Lorain Morning Journal by linking a column he wrote last spring to how the newspaper reported attendance at the event.

Later on September 7, it was reported by Third Base Politics that Ms. Schultz not only attended the event, but when her husband’s potential political opponent for the U.S. Senate in 2012 began speaking, she took out her camera and began filming his speech.

On September 8, Ms. Schultz posted another column offering a highly suspect explanation for her actions. She said “When I held up my camera, I thought the journalist in me was making an in-your-face point about public forums.” With all due respect why didn’t she mention this episode in her September 7 column before she was caught red-handed performing a blatantly political act? I think we all know the answer to that.

In fact, Ms. Schultz’s actions run completely counter to thoughts she offered in her 2007 memoir, entitled “…and His Lovely Wife”:

On page 49, Ms. Schultz writes, “I have to avoid even the appearance of conflict, and that list of topics is growing too long.” On page 51, Ms. Schultz writes, “I had stopped attending newsroom meetings about political coverage, to avoid even the appearance of scouting for the campaign.”

Oftentimes it is print media which serves as the lens through which the general public views information, and in turn ultimately renders its judgments. The faith the public places in the media stems directly from the ability of reporters to remain free from bias. Your readers not only value this relationship, they depend upon it.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.


Kevin DeWine
Chairman, Ohio Republican Party

Open Letter to Ohio Education Association Staff

Professional Staff Union Members,

I'm writing to express concern over the recent lockdown and deletion of content from the official PSU Blog. I find it troubling that more than two years' worth of entries written by your members - Ohio Education Association employees - are now hidden from the public or gone entirely.

Have you been pressured by OEA bosses into removing content critical of their leadership? As PSU has said, the OEA executive team is "rife with hypocrisy," which casts doubt on their dedication to making workers' voices heard. I've also noticed that Larry Wicks and other union leaders tend to slander their opponents when trying to make a point, so I can understand why you may want to do as OEA bosses say.

Was content on the PSU Blog not reflective of PSU's beliefs? The PSU Blog is linked prominently on the PSU website, so it's inconceivable how posts from 2009-2010 would only now be deemed inappropriate for public consumption. At any rate, the abrupt disappearance of so many entries is inconsistent with OEA's alleged support for collaboration and open discussion. I hope PSU has not "abandoned its Core Values," as one OEA member accused OEA of during last summer's PSU strike.

Are PSU members no longer proud to fight for their pay and benefits? I suppose some would consider it unseemly to publish complaints about compensation, since average pay for OEA employees was more than $95,000 in 2010. But, if it's good for the Ohio Education Association to fight taxpayers for more money, it's good for their employees to make similar demands of union leadership. Especially since OEA has, in the words of a PSU member, "failed to bargain in good faith."

In closing, allow me to reassure the Ohio Education Association employees whose voices have been muted by the removal of PSU Blog content. I planned ahead for this sudden disappearance of content, and am doing everything I can to guarantee the writings of OEA employees are read by voters across Ohio.


Jason A. Hart

Cross-posted at that hero.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Union Workers Silenced!!!

This belated attempt at discretion – why would a union try to explain hypocrisy when they can purge records instead? – made my day:

Last month I stumbled across photos from last year’s strike against the Ohio Education Association (OEA), posted to Facebook by OEA employees. Suddenly remembering the ridiculous situation – OEA bosses crossed the picket line for days while roughly half the union’s employees protested – I did a little more searching.

What did I find? The website and blog of the Professional Staff Union (PSU), a union representing more than 100 OEA staff. On 08/24, I started posting quotes from OEA employees and members that should devastate any chance of We Are Ohio preaching down to taxpayers about what callous cheapskates we are.

Coincidentally, PSU blog content that hasn’t been deleted outright is now locked to members-only. Three words for OEA bosses and the leftist hacks who have been sniping about what a boring, irrelevant series my PSU posts have been: Print to PDF. I have copies of everything. Go ahead and move on to “Hart’s a liar and this stuff is all made up” at your leisure, because I’m not nearly out of content.

Readers, refer to “” in The Wayback Machine or Google cache. I’ve updated posts at that hero, Third Base Politics, and the Columbus Tea Party site to include the quotes in PDF screen caps.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Another ad, another deception from We Are Ohio

On Wednesday the big union-backed We Are Ohio released its second TV ad entitled "Loopholes".  The claim they make is that the Governor and legislators found some way to prevent the collective bargaining reforms of Senate Bill 5 from applying to them.  This "loophole" applied one set of standards to them, and another to everyone else is their assertion.

What they won't tell the people of Ohio is what they're actually referring to.  The so-called loophole is actually the original law permitting collective bargaining.  The language in question, found on page 32 of SB5 that exempts elected officials and a host of other government employees maintains the same classifications of bargaining/non-bargaining units found in the 1983 legislation that Democrats wrote and that unions are fighting to maintain today.

While I have no doubt many on the left would love to unionize the thousands of government employees who aren't in bargaining units, the fact is that this so-called loophole is just common sense.  Applying modifications to collective bargaining to people who aren't in bargaining units makes as much sense as applying banking regulations to restaurants: banks and restaurants are both part of the private sector but no one would argue they should be regulated in the same way.

We Are Ohio wants you to believe that applying the law properly constitutes a loophole, but the truth is that the reasonable reforms of Issue 2 apply to the same people the original collective bargaining law covered 28 years ago: no more, no less.  We Are Ohio and the unions behind it would rather continue their campaign of deception and distraction rather than address the truth of Issue 2.


Like a bad penny - or a good boomerang - President Obama keeps turning up in Ohio, transparently campaigning in what the White House hopes will still be a battleground state this time next year. After Tuesday's Columbus visit demanding more deficit spending, the big guy is making a stop in Cincinnati next week... to demand more deficit spending.

Comin' around again
As right-wing kooks warned long before Obama's inauguration, the president has nothing to offer besides unsustainable government dependency. His latest spending bill is another case study in how to be Campaigner-in-Chief: a huge pander to unions and public employees, with just enough temporary tax relief to provide a centrist veneer.

In Ohio and throughout the country, local governments are grappling with the reality that governors can't continue shoveling money their direction, because Washington can't keep throwing money at the states. We can barely argue about spending public funds on "guns" versus "butter": years of butter-budgeting have us buried in debt.

On this key issue, the Obama administration has been an abject failure. Congressman Paul Ryan, a Miami University alum, sets this fact into stark relief in a series of videos discussing his Path to Prosperity budget. Check them out, if you haven't already - the third was just released this week:

Compare the GOP plan with Obamanomics, which hinges on complete denial of the most avoidable financial crisis mankind has ever seen.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sore loser Ohio Dems threaten yet another union-funded ballot referendum

Here we go again, Ohio.

After being swept out of every statewide office, and losing the Ohio House last November, Ohio Democrats don't think that that election has any consequences.

First, of course, they and their union allies spent over a million dollars to pay people to collect signatures and force a referendum to repeal Senate Bill 5, which contains reasonable reforms to government employee collective bargaining laws. That is now Issue 2 on the November 2011 ballot.

Next, they started a drive to collect signatures to repeal House Bill 194, which enacts common sense election reforms. It would eliminate the current loophole allowing someone to register to vote, and actually cast their vote on the same day, thus reducing the propensity for fraud. It also reduces the early voting period to 21 days. Somehow wanting you to believe that three weeks is not enough time to cast a ballot, Ohio Democrats call the bill "voter supression" and have again enlisted labor unions to finance and organize a petition drive. They have until September 30 to submit the required number of signatures.

Now, they are threatening another petition drive. This time, they are unhappy with the new Congressional districts drawn up by Republicans. It hasn't even been voted on yet, let alone signed, but Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern is already weighing legal action or even another referendum drive. They are shocked and appalled that Republicans drew districts favorable to Republicans.

You may remember Redfern from when he referred to the majority of Ohioans who oppose Obamacare as "these f***ers". Here are some things to remember when you consider Redfern's newest source of outrage.

As a result of almost zero population growth over the past decade, Ohio loses 2 seats in Congress. The proposed bill eliminates one current Democrat district, and one current Republican district. The lost seats were split between the two parties.

The results of that split means that Ohio's Congressional delegation would be 12 Republicans to 4 Democrats, because we currently have 13 Republicans to 5 Democrats. That current 13-5 ratio isn't the result of an evil Republican plot. It was the will of the voters from last November's elections.

Last year, when Ohio's governor and secretary of state were both Democrats, they would have had the majority on the Ohio Apportionment Board. Maybe thats why they were completely uninterested when bipartisan groups and then-Senator Jon Husted, a Republican, were urging a change to Ohio law to create a more non-partisan redistricting process. The Democrats also controlled the Ohio House at the time, and could have introduced legislation to do so. Husted would have provided the GOP vote the Democrats would've needed to pass the reform in the Ohio Senate. But Democrats thought they were going to keep control of the governorship and the secretary of state's office, and thus have control of drawing the new districts. So they declined to act on the proposal. Husted reminded Democrats of this yesterday.

Finally, even Ohio Democrats admit that if they were in control, they would have done the same thing. On whether Democrats would have drawn districts favorable to their own party, Democrat Rep. Ron Gerberry replied "We would too if we were in control."

Very revealing. They would have done the same thing, had they had control. But when their opponents do it, they hold press conferences, threaten legal action and throw an all out hissy fit. Incredible.

And therein lies the problem with Ohio Democrats. They aren't in control. Ohians were unhappy with them, and voted them out of office in large numbers last year. But they refuse to accept the results of the election. Voted out of office and not liking the results, they now just go to their union pals to get huge sums of out of state money to finance hundreds of paid circulators to go around and get signatures to repeal laws they don't like.

That's an abuse of Ohio's referendum system. But Ohio Democrats don't seem to care. They demand to have things their way, even when the voters have demanded otherwise.

OEA Employee: "OEA apparently does not care that it is rife with hypocrisy"

A year ago the Ohio Education Association (OEA) forced more than 100 of its employees into a strike. Why should you care? Because the OEA is Ohio's largest government union, and the primary in-state donor to union front We Are Ohio.

Opposition to the reforms in Senate Bill 5 means support for the status quo, with union bosses wielding vast power over public funds. Would you hand a blank check to an HR consultant with miserable people skills? That is the effective result of Ohio's government union law, passed in 1983 on a party-line vote.

OEA Employees on Strike, Summer 2010

Though OEA employees most recently went on strike last summer, fights between the union and its staff represented by the Professional Staff Union (PSU) seem to recur each time the PSU contract expires. Here's what one OEA employee had to say in an August 29, 2009 PSU blog post titled "STRIKE VS. RESOLUTION: WHY DOESN'T OEA 'GET IT'?" [Update, 09-16-2011: Here's a PDF copy, since union staff have blocked access to the website]:
OEA apparently does not care that it is rife with hypocrisy, adamant in taking positions it tells its local affiliates to fight at all costs, and shortsighted. Perhaps the only interest of OEA's Bargaining Team is to "bring PSU to its knees". Be forewarned, those legs and knees are CARRYING OEA. If the work performed by members of PSU ends, OEA will undoubtedly topple very shortly afterward.
If the OEA management team truly cares about its members and the stability of the organization, it will bargain a fair settlement with its professional employees prior to September 1.
These are not my words, folks, or a quote from some sca-aa-ry Right to Work advocate. "OEA apparently does not care that it is rife with hypocrisy" - according to one of the union's own employees! On November 8, vote for sensible reforms to the power of government union bosses. Vote Yes on Issue 2.

If you need it, there's plenty more proof that OEA should not be trusted.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Public employee union bosses won't allow their members to be asked questions

More video from Friday's union protest, this time from Christian Hartsock

He asks a SEIU union member why they are protesting. She said that because of our new governor, they "will soon not have any seniority benefits and insurance benefits will go out the window."

Apparently in this lady's world, the definition of "going out the window" means only a mere 85% of your health care costs will be paid for. Funny. Only 75% of my health care costs are paid by my employer. I wonder how she would describe that.

Then she says that they won't have any rights to "bargain for safety." Which is an outright falsehood. In fact, Senate Bill 5 specifically grants collective bargaining power for safety equipment, something that they do not even have under current law. The interviewer then asks about this being part of the new bill. Watch what happens.

A union muckity muck comes along, blocks the camera and insists that their members are not allowed to answer questions.

Which makes one wonder...why?

I think we saw the answer to that question in the woman's answers before her union boss came to save her. When you get past the overly generic, misleading and vague talking points such as "Stop attacking the middle class!", and start asking specific questions like "what exactly is so bad about this bill?", the unions don't want you to hear the answers.

Because the answers that come from members' mouths are either outright lies, such as this lady's. Or even worse, the unions are afraid that their members might actually tell the truth!

How much worse would it have been if she had answered, "Because they want me to pay 15% of my health insurance. Can you believe that? Why, that's more than halfway to being a...private-sector worker! It's an outrage!" How well would that go over playing on the six o'clock news?

Of course, there's another possibility as well. Maybe it's not about what the interviewer might learn from the members, but what the members might learn from the people asking the questions. Perhaps they know that many of their members will not bother to read the bill or learn about it, because the bosses have told them The Truth. They wouldn't want this lady learning that Senate Bill 5 actually GIVES them the right to bargain for safety equipment now, would they?

So, in retrospect, you can see why it's much better to train them to just go out and shout simpleton sayings like "Where are the jobs!" (umm...since they are are union members, don't they already have jobs?) and "Save the middle class!". Because the last thing the unions want, is for you to know what they are really trying to protect.

Their privileged status and their power.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The New Ohio Congressional Map

Thanks to Ohio Capital Blog for the map. Of course, this is just a proposal right now. But with GOP control of the legislature, it probably will remain as is.

Go to Ohio Capital Blog's post to see each individual district close up.

My initial reaction to the new map was "whoa". Its more aggressive than I expected.

They had to get rid of 2 seats. I figured they would eliminate one current Democrat and one current Republican seat. They did that. But the new map solidifies the districts and makes them much less competitive. They did this with Democrat seats as well as the Republican ones.

For example, a new district has been created that is wholly within Franklin County. Being a completely urban district, it will obviously be a Democrat seat for the next 10 years. How does this help Republicans? Previously, there were 3 districts that had portions of Franklin County. By removing the blue, urban portions from these 3 districts, they become much easier to defend for Republicans. This is especially good news for Stivers and Tiberi, as their districts are almost completely suburban and rural, much friendlier to Republicans.

Its not so good news for Steve Austria, however. His district was merged with Michael Turner's. They will have to face each other in a primary.

Another example is my current district, the 9th, represented by Marcy Kaptur. It was already deep blue. Kaptur has held the seat for 30 years, is the longest serving Ohio representative, and the longest serving woman in Congress. Now, however, its even more impossible for a Republican to win.

It currently includes Toledo, but also rural and suburban areas to the west (most of Lucas county). Plus it includes the blue counties of Ottawa and Erie, and finally, western and southern Lorain County. Lorain County is also very blue, but NOT the western and southern parts that Kaptur represents. These areas of Lorain County are suburban and mostly rural. With the exception of the smelly hippies in Oberlin, its conservative territory. In 2010, Rich Iott actually beat Marcy Kaptur in Lorain County. But she clobbered him in Lucas, Ottawa and Erie.

Now, look at the NEW 9th. It runs along northern Lorain County, then is connected to the west side of Cleveland by a tiny strip. Also, the rural and suburban areas in Lucas County around Toledo have been removed, leaving only urban Toledo. I predict this district will vote Democrat by a 30 point margin for the next 10 years. It doesnt even include the western suburbs of greater Cleveland. Those were put into Republican Jim Renacci's new district.

Of course, this means Dennis Kucinich would have to run in a primary against Kaptur if he wants to keep his seat. He would beat her in Cuyahoga County, but she would kill him in the rest of the district. Seeya Dennis.

Currently Ohio's delegation is 13 GOP to 5 Democrats, after a red wave election. Of the current 18, 6 or 7 were competitive and could swing either way. I think this new map leaves 2 or 3 realistically contested districts. The rest are solid red or blue. We're probably looking at keeping a Republican to Democrat advantage of 12-4 or 11-5 for the next 10 years. 10-6 at the worst.

And, of course, that was the whole idea. Is it gerrymandering? Of course. Is it partisan? Of course. Would the Democrats do the same if they had control? Don't doubt it for a second. Nationwide, both parties do it. Illinois has some crazy shaped districts, and I don't have to tell you what party controls things in that state.

Elections have consequences. They have even more consequences in years that are divisible by ten.

P.S. On a purely personal note, I did get my wish. Southern Lorain County was drawn out of Marcy Kaptur's district. Her district has been really stretched thin, all the way into western Cuyahoga County, meaning Dennis Kucinich would have to face her in a primary to keep his seat. My new rep is...Bob Gibbs? Didn't see that coming. Seeya Marcy!