Posts Tagged ‘John Kasich’

I Scream For Ice Cream

June 17, 2018

One of the first more extensive voting polls since the May primary came out this past week. The Enquirer/Suffolk poll as well as the Quinnipiac University poll showed the Ohio governor’s race (4 months away) to be a statistical dead heat. Who is Rich Cordray? GOP pundits like to scoff that even vanilla ice cream is more interesting. At the same time Mike DeWine isn’t exactly Mister Charisma. Most do agree that Cordray is essentially an unknown (especially if one wants to “bank” on the post Parkland massacre young voter surge), while DeWine rivals reality TV with his preponderance of on stage appearances for “things that really matter.” Only no one remembers what he’s done. A bit of a Johnny-come-lately with the opioid addiction crisis, choosing to sue manufacturers and distributors only after witnessing the success other states were having at doing it (and making sure not to offend Dublin based Cardinal Health). Likewise way late on the ECOT scandal, and whatever happened with the Rhoden family massacre in Pike County when Mike’s best pugnacious face was on the news almost every night? Analysis finds the current race for governor to be very curious once you step away from the hype. It may actually revolve on policy and issues this time, something refreshing given the personality politics on the national level. How so? A recent cleveland.com article (6-15-18) is quite informative. Is Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s boast about jobs gains accurate? by Rich Exner covers the current Ohio Governor’s, and past presidential wannabe’s, recent boast that “Ohio is now creating jobs 48 percent faster than the national rate since the start of the year.” Exner immediately notes “Ohio jobs have increased this year at a faster rate than the country as a whole, for the first time since Kasich took office in 2011, cleveland.com found in reviewing the data.” He then goes on to quibble about the veracity of Kasich’s claim given it is about a half percent increase in job growth (whether that increase is 48% higher, etc.). In short, whether that half a point is itself 48% higher than previous lackluster performance. The pertinence to the excitement of our current “unknowns” vying for governor is buried at the bottom of the article. Exner includes the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics covering the Kasich years:                                                                                                           “2011 – U.S. 1.6 percent; Ohio 1.56 percent.

2012 – U.S. 1.6 percent; Ohio 1.5 percent

2013 – U.S. 1.7 percent, Ohio 1.5 percent.

2014 – U.S. 2.2 percent, Ohio 1.8 percent.

2015 – U.S. 1.9 percent, Ohio 1.1 percent.

2016 – U.S. 1.6 percent, Ohio 0.8 percent

2017 – U.S. 1.5 percent, Ohio 0.6 percent.

2018 (through May) – U.S. 0.7 percent, Ohio 1.2 percent.”                                                   Kasich, the made for TV personality, touted Ohio’s robust and vigorous job growth during his presidential wannabe years and beyond. After all, he was a commentator for Fox prior to his running for governor in 2010, as well as is currently much in demand as a foil for the Dear Leader. Had he not been a made for TV personality pre any of the elections, the veracity of his claims may have had some significance and bearing on the outcome. THAT is precisely the excitement of the current Ohio Governor’s race between two veritable bland as vanilla ice cream personalities.

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Inured To Work

March 20, 2018

In his final year in office Governor John Kasich has befuddled political news aficionados by actively promoting the consolidation of Ohio’s Department of Education with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Training (House Bill 512). He has denigrated the independence of the Education Department and called for control of education to be within the purview of the governor. Since he is in his final year, and his children are likewise in the last of their K-12 education, what is the intention or rationale behind such an aggressive position? Adrian Ma, reporting for WOSU, headlined Ohio School Board Opposes Education Consolidation Bill (3-14-18). “Members of the Ohio Board of Education [which the Governor dissed in his promotion] have approved a resolution speaking out against a bill being considered in the General Assembly.” “Both the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) released statements in opposition to the bill Wednesday.” “Speaking to the Board of Education, OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro said even though the bill’s intent is to consolidate to improve collaboration between the agencies, but K-12 officials have to collaborate with more than just higher education and workforce development. DiMauro said they also have to work with local districts, the state Medicaid office, mental healthcare and addiction specialists and many more.” 3-19-18 The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell headlined Computers are now grading essays on Ohio’s state tests. “No, not just all those fill-in-the bubble multiple choice questions. The longer answers and essays too. After Ohio started using American Institutes for Research in 2015 to provide and score state tests, Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs have increasingly taken over grading. Computers are now scoring the entire test for about 75 percent of Ohio students, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and state testing official Brian Roget told the state school board recently. The other 25 percent are scored by people to help verify the computer’s work.” “According to the department, some students copied large portions of the questions or of the passages that they had to read into their answers.  That led the computer to give them zeroes on the question – either as apparent plagiarism or simply because the student offered little original thought in the answer. That’s a sticky point because the tests ask students to show what parts of the passage led them to their answer.” “The most clear guidance so far: An update this month of all the ways students can earn a zero on a question. “A score of zero also is earned when there is a significant amount of text copied directly from the prompt and/or reading passage, with little to no original writing from the student,” that new guide states. “Copying limited text from the prompt is allowable but, as a rule, at least 30 percent of a response needs to be original to demonstrate understanding and earn points.”” Analysis can’t help but ask how the AI program determines writing to be original (since AI is based on data in/data out, that is past examples of “writing” determine the algorithm)? Wiki gives “In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an unambiguous specification of how to solve a class of problems.” Fair or unfair? We’ve all become captive to algorithm solving our problems, taken this to be “naturally” equitable. Is it? Speaking with Harry Shearer (Le Show, 11-26-17) Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons Of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threatens Democracy, explained how they are really rather biased, depending on how the plan is put together. Analysis would liken this to be analogous to routing a road map to a given destination by various sources – AAA, Google, Travel and Tourism Bureau, etc. Speaking with Guy Raz on the TED Radio Hour (1-26-18) she elaborated: “I mean, look – it’s really important to understand the difference between accuracy and fairness. So it used to be that life insurance companies made black men pay more for life insurance than white men simply because they were going to die sooner. That lasted for a long time before the regulators in question were like – wait a second – that’s racist. And it’s racist because we have to ask the question why. Why are black men living less than white men? And is that their fault that they should take responsibility for and they should pay for, or is that a problem that society itself should take on and fix? So it wasn’t an inaccurate fact that black men lived less time. But the question was, how should we deal with that? And that’s a question of fairness, and it’s a question that we all have to grapple with together. And many of these questions are of that nature. So yes, it’s true that people who live in this ZIP code are more likely to default on their debt. Does that mean we don’t loan them any money, or do we make a rule that people of this age who have a job, who finish college or whatever – what do we decide is fair? And that’s a really hard question. Data science has done nothing to address that question.” “This is Roger Ailes. He founded Fox News in 1996. More than 20 women complained about sexual harassment. They said they weren’t allowed to succeed at Fox News. He was ousted last year, but we’ve seen recently that the problems have persisted. That begs the question, what should Fox News do to turn over another leaf? Well, what if they replaced their hiring process with a machine learning algorithm? That sounds good. Right? Think about it. The data – what would the data be? A reasonable choice would be the last 21 years of applications to Fox News – reasonable. What about the definition of success? Reasonable choice would be – well, who’s successful at Fox News? I guess someone who, say, stayed there for four years and was promoted at least once – sounds reasonable. And then the algorithm would be trained. It would be trained to look for people to learn what led to success. What kind of applications historically led to success by that definition? Now think about what would happen if we applied that to a current pool of applicants. It would filter out women because they do not look like people who were successful in the past. Algorithms don’t make things fair if you just blithely, blindly apply algorithms. They don’t make things fair. They repeat our past practices, our patterns. They automate the status quo. That would be great if we had a perfect world, but we don’t. And I’ll add that most companies don’t have embarrassing lawsuits. But the data scientists in those companies are told to follow the data, to focus on accuracy. Think about what that means. Because we all have bias, it means they could be codifying sexism or any other kind of bigotry.” Which brings us back to the lame duck Governor enthusiastically promoting consolidating the Department of Education into the governor’s Office of Workforce Training, although his children (and grandchildren) will be unaffected. In A People’s History of the United States (pg. 73-74) Howard Zinn writes: “The philosophy of the Declaration [of Independence], that government is set up by the people to secure their life, liberty, and happiness, and is to be overthrown when it no longer does that, is often traced to the ideas of John Locke, in his Second Treatise on Government. That was published in England in 1689, when the English were rebelling against tyrannical kings and setting up parliamentary government. The Declaration, like Locke’s Second Treatise, talked about government and political rights, but ignored the existing inequalities in property. And how could people truly have equal rights, with stark differences in wealth? Locke himself was a wealthy man… As adviser to the Carolinas, he had suggested a government of slave owners run by forty wealthy land barons. Locke’s statement of people’s government was in support of a revolution in England for the free development of mercantile capitalism at home and abroad. Locke himself regretted that the labor of poor children “is generally lost to the public till they are twelve or fourteen years old” and suggested that all children over three, of families on relief, should attend “working schools” so they would be “from infancy… inured to work.”’

Pat Tiberi: What Are Your Priorities To Create Jobs?

June 9, 2017

6-6-17 LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero headline’s California’s Economic Boom Isn’t Helping L.A.’s Housing Shortage. Notable regarding the economic boom California is experiencing in the face of multi year drought, devastating natural catastrophe’s, etc. is “Seventeen percent of the nation’s job growth and 24 percent of its gross domestic product increase between 2012 and 2016 can be attributed to California, according to recent data parsed by Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “Those are very striking numbers,” he says. This week’s “Best & Worst State Economies” report found that the Golden State ranked fifth for startups, fifth for the percentage of high-tech jobs and second for “innovation potential,” which includes high-tech jobs and research and development investment. Last year the state became “the sixth largest economy in the world, boasting a GDP that’s comparable in size to the U.K.’s and even larger than those of France and India,” according to the report.” Romero also covers the income disparity: “Yet by one federal standard, about one in four people in the Golden State is poor. And L.A. County’s $2,600 median rent for a two-bedroom apartment far outpaces the ability of the average Angeleno (median individual income is about $28,000) to live indoors. Housing prices in the Bay Area are even worse. Thus, L.A. County this year has seen a 23 percent increase in the number of people living on the streets.” This is followed with “Economist Levy says, indeed, these conditions can and do coexist in California, a place of enormous wealth and nation-leading poverty. “A strong economy can’t by itself eliminate poverty or build housing,” he says.” On 5-24-17, in an article by Karla Lant, the World Economic Forum headlines How California Is Winning The Renewable Energy Race. Of note: “On May 13, 2017, California smashed through another renewable energy milestone as its largest grid, controlled by the California Independent System Operator (CISO), got 67.2% of its energy from renewables — not including hydropower or rooftop solar arrays. Adding hydropower facilities into the mix, the total was 80.7%. Sunny days with plenty of wind along with full reservoirs and growing numbers of solar facilities were the principal factors in breaking the record. The CISO controls 80% of the state’s power grid.” and “While California is certainly leading the nation, other states and cities are following suit. Atlanta will run on 100% renewables by 2035, and Chicago will power all city buildings with renewables by 2025. The Las Vegas government has them both beaten, as it’s already 100% powered by renewables, and Nevada itself has a goal of 80% renewables by 2040. Massachusetts will be 100% renewables-powered by 2035, followed by Hawaii in 2045.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch, on 6-7-17 Dan Gearino of the Dispatch headlines State Legislators Still Hope For Compromise With Governor On Clean-Energy Bill. “A proposal [House Bill 114] that would weaken clean-energy standards is now in the Ohio Senate, and a key lawmaker says he hopes to come up with a version of the bill that Gov. John Kasich would support.” This after the moratorium imposed on these standards. Locally connected: ““We are trying to come up with a compromise with the governor,” said Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.” Not mentioned in the economic news from California is that California is also not a Right To Work State.  Ohio, on the other hand… Jackie Borchardt for Cleveland.com on 2-13-17 headlined ‘Right-To-Work’ Bill Introduced In Ohio House. Of note: “Rep. John Becker, a Clermont County Republican, introduced the latest iteration on Monday with the support of 12 House Republicans. Under House Bill 53, public sector employees could opt out of joining a union or paying dues. Conversely, unions could opt out from representing employees who don’t join. Currently, employees cannot be required to join unions. But state law allows collective bargaining agreements to require “fair share” or agency fees. The fees are lower than union member dues payments and cannot be used for services beyond contract negotiations.” With the final line being “Last month, legislative leaders from both parties questioned the need for right-to-work legislation. Opponents say right-to-work laws lower union membership and wages and don’t lead to job growth as promised.” Which brings us to yesterday’s headline from the State House News Bureau’s Jo Ingles (6-8-17) New Bill Would Make Big Changes To The Ohio Bureau Of Worker’s Compensation. Ingles writes “State lawmakers are considering a new bill to reform the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. It would make key changes to the program, like reducing extended injured worker benefits for retirees. And it would also change the name of the agency.” The name would become the Office of Employee Safety and Rehabilitation. Ingles quotes Republican Rep. Mike Henne ““It’s about giving them the appropriate care when they are injured. It’s about getting them back to work, for the employee and the employer and it’s about getting them the appropriate benefits when they can’t return to work.”” Makes it sound like Ohio’s workers are just a bunch of slackers and the economy isn’t growing on account of this, doesn’t it?

“Lies, plain and simple”     James Comey

 

 

Encore (Non) Performance

April 19, 2017

“Ensuring that we have the basics in place — fiscal strength, lower taxes, proper regulation — opens the door for us to sell our state across the nation and across the world.” (Ohio’s current Governor John Kasich in his 4-4-17 State of the State address). Future Ohio Governor wannabe (but current Ohio Attorney General) Mike DeWine addressed the opioid epidemic in Pickerington recently (DeWine would require opioid education as governor Trista Thurston , Reporter for Gannett’s Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, 4-19-17). The current governor touted his Start Talking initiative as counter acting the opioid drug epidemic in Ohio. The wannabe governor touts a mandatory K through 12 “Just Say No” curriculum to counteract the epidemic (following the trail of tears footsteps of Nancy Reagan and Ohio’s DARE program). “”I don’t know any other way of doing it,” DeWine said. “It can be done without a great burden on the schools.”” Another unfunded mandate on Ohio’s public schools (sans charter/private) embraces the current governor’s three basics (fiscal strength, lower taxes, proper regulation). In addition, Thurston notes “The communities faring the best throughout the epidemic, DeWine said, are the ones where people have watched it get so bad and decided to do something themselves.” (without state involvement, or cost). DeWine sees the state’s role in terms of his recently begun pilot program, “Since about half of the children in foster care throughout the state are there because one or both parents are addicted to drugs”. “The pilot program will provide specialized services, like intensive trauma counseling, to children. It will also offer increased access to drug treatment to parents of children referred to the program.” “So far $5.5 million has been committed to the pilot.” In his State of the State Governor Kasich committed $20 million from the Third Frontier Commission to develop a high tech silver bullet solution [no pun intended]. “The current opioid crisis is different than other drug epidemics, DeWine said, because it’s impacting everyone.” Thurston concludes her report by quoting the wannabe governor: “”We have a crisis,” DeWine said. “If ten people were dying a day of some strange new plague, we would treat is as a health crisis.”” So why don’t you? What’s stopping you? Analysis finds that treatment for a public health crisis of this dimension would be in terms of beds in detox and rehab centers, beds that were immediately accessible. It would be in state budgeted funding for all the children affected by the loss of caregivers produced by this epidemic (essentially Ohio’s new orphans), not just a pilot enterprise. It certainly wouldn’t emphasize nor rely on high tech silver bullet solutions, K-12 curriculum additions, or Start Talking programs.

Underage Alibi

April 12, 2017

As previously posted, Ohio’s tax revenue continues to come in far short of the previous projections. Previous budget income tax cuts were passed based on the Reaganomics that income tax cuts will yield job growth, spur investment, etc. Analysis finds this logic to be disingenuous with the actual policies implemented by the GOP (whether legislative or executive). In a 4-11-17 Ohio Public Radio piece entitled “Lawmakers Scrutinize Kasich’s Proposed Tax Cuts As Ohio’s Revenue Miss Mark Again” Karen Kasler records the following interview observations: “The state says its March tax collections came in $203 million dollars below estimates. That brings the total shortfall for this fiscal year to $615 million – more than half a billion dollars. And it’s led by income tax revenues that are $448 million dollars less than had been projected. Budget director Tim Keen admits those numbers are a surprise, but says there are a few things that could be to blame – including the withholding growth rate, which he calls shockingly low. “Our withholding out of people’s weekly or biweekly paychecks is much lower than we expected, which is driving a good portion of the underage,” Keen said.” In answer to questions regarding the previous projections and the actual lagging economy by State Senator Vernon Sykes “Keen responded by saying that tax cuts have increased the state’s competitiveness. And he also said slow population growth has hurt revenues, but that lowering the income tax can help with that.” Also in Ohio news this past week is the deportation proceedings of Maribel Trujillo Diaz, a 41 year old Hamilton mother of 4 who sought refuge in Ohio 15 years ago and is an upstanding citizen (according to her church and fellow citizens). Indeed, this obsession with deportation has been national news for quite some time, 2016 as well as 2017. Analysis finds part of the GOP’s disingenuous logic to center on the justification of an improved economy as a result of various tax cuts and tax shifting while ““Our withholding out of people’s weekly or biweekly paychecks is much lower than we expected, which is driving a good portion of the underage,”” It is not rocket science to conclude that although the tax cuts may have spurred low unemployment numbers during the Kasich administration, the actuality that these jobs pay little accounts for the “underage”. Even more disingenuous GOP logic is the alibi that “slow population growth has hurt revenues” while actively hunting down those who contribute to the state’s population count as well as revenue in order to jail and expel them.

The State Of The State Of Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic

April 6, 2017

A blizzard of angst filled soul searching follows the presidential election, current administration, continuing to this day with “how did this happen?” Etc. Many are not so surprised, more bemused in that all of this was in plain sight. Intentions as well as actions today are simply a continuance of what was stated, promised, and actively displayed before. ‘Nuff said. Within his recent (4-4-17) State of the State address, Ohio’s Governor John Kasich’s lips pronounced “Ensuring that we have the basics in place — fiscal strength, lower taxes, proper regulation — opens the door for us to sell our state across the nation and across the world.” This mantra was repeated multiple times, even more through fragments. Sounds pretty clear. No mystification of priorities, intent, or course of action here. He also had this to say about Ohio’s Opioid drug epidemic, though he didn’t call it that (Name thing I guess. Been there, done that with the current pres’): “Last year, Highway Patrol troopers had their largest single heroin, meth and prescription pill seizures. Ohio was one of the first states to create prescribing guidelines for doctors. We’ve linked our medical providers into our pharmacy system to slow doctor shopping and for the first time we’re registering pharmacy technicians. We’ve expanded access to the overdose-reversal drug to first responders, pharmacies and families of those addicted. And we created Start Talking! to encourage more adults to talk to children about the dangers of drugs. In all, we’re spending nearly $1 billion a year.” And “That’s why today I’m asking the Third Frontier Commission to provide up to $20 million to help bring new scientific breakthroughs to the battle against drug abuse and addiction. These funds will target existing, proven ideas that simply need an extra push to be brought to the fight — ideas like using a simple device that connects to someone’s ear that can relieve pain and block the effects of opiate withdrawal.” Finally “We love our children and care about our neighbors, so we’ve got to deliver this message to them: “Don’t do drugs or you will destroy your life and you will destroy the purpose for which the good Lord created you.”” Not a word, or dollar, for rehabilitation. Analysis considers the implications of this abdication of leadership, the vacuum formed by Kasich’s overriding priorities, intent, and course of action. Indeed, historically US public health epidemics have been met by an equally public response of sanatoriums, recovery centers, and public health initiatives (all notably absent with the governor’s approach). History has lectured us extensively on what happens in a leadership vacuum (South East Asia, Syria/Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.). Add to that Kasich and the GOP’s historic preference (and reliance) on a religious response to education, social welfare and public health concerns. Here is some of what Kevin Lewis O’Neill writes in an essay entitled “On Hunting” (Critical Inquiry Spring 2017):

““We hunt men,” Alejandro said, “to save them.” Locked up inside a Pentecostal drug rehabilitation center for his use of crack cocaine, Alejandro participates in his pastor’s hunting parties or grupos de caceria. At the outer edges of today’s war on drugs, Christian vigilante groups scour the streets of Guatemala City with singular intent: to pull users out of sin by dragging them into rehab. And so, in the middle of the night, when the capital is an absolute ghost town, three or four recovering users drive with their pastor to the house of an active user.” “As a part of economic restructuring – which has included the privatization of state enterprises, the liberalization of trade, and the relaxation of government regulation [sound familiar?]– less than 2 percent of Guatemala’s total health budget addresses issues of mental health, with its hospitals flatly denying medical service to those patients seeking support for substance abuse.” “Pentecostal drug rehabilitation centers, when taken in the aggregate, have six thousand beds.” “Guatemala’s prisons sit at 250 percent capacity; the hospitals do not accept users; and Guatemala’s only mental institution understands drug use to be well outside the scope of its mission.” “More important than numbers, however, are the visceral truths that Pentecostal Christianity promises its people: Salvation is real; hell is eternal; and Jesus loves you. Another imperative also follows. Often stamped onto Pentecostal print media, with an allusion to sin as well as the hunt, it announces: escape for your life. One effect of this faith is a growing network of informal and largely unregulated Pentecostal drug rehabilitation centers. These sites warehouse users against their will inside of onetime garages, factories, and apartment buildings. Each has been repurposed for rehabilitation with razor wire, steel bars, and iron gates. Inside, pastors practice teoterapia, or theological therapy. This is a mix of Pentecostal theology, twelve-step programming, and self-help psychology. Its working assumption is that captivity will give way to conversion. It does not. Yet this bald fact has not slowed down the growth of these centers, and for good reason. Again, these centers provide a practical solution to a concrete problem. Drug use is up. State resources are down. And Pentecostalism is the discourse of change. [Sound familiar?] The net result is a shadow carceral system infused with Pentecostal imperatives about not just sin and salvation but also about who can be hunted and why. It is a theological construction that carries concrete consequences. Today more Guatemalans find themselves literally tied up in Pentecostal drug rehabilitation centers than locked up in maximum-security prisons.” Lest the reader think that, not being Pentecostal or Guatemalan, Ohio’s Governor along with the current US Attorney General are not in the hunt. Au contraire, “there are some thirty thousand men in Philadelphia alone with warrants out for their arrest.” (O’Neill)

Spiritual Break

March 14, 2017

Whatever became of all the statistics and figures that flooded the media after the financial meltdown of 2008? You know, the various accounts of who owns what, and how much of what is earned goes where, etc. Things like that 43% of all Americans have no net worth, perhaps even owe more than they can pay (“choosing” to make health insurance payments via credit card is akin to Pay Day lending). Or that the majority of wealth generated during the first (and following) years of the recovery went to the top 1% of Americans, mostly to the top .6% at that. Have they just ceased to be, gone away? Almost as a Trump precursor, Ohio still preferred the business first gospel of John Kasich, electing him governor although Occupy “occupied” much of the discussion around these matters in 2010. Six years later, as a presidential wannabe, John touted the “Ohio economic miracle” for getting out of recession. Come 2017 he engages his fellow Republicans with Ohio being in a recession. In or out, how are we to know? Today all is “leadership, predominant influence, or domination” by the GOP (the dictionary definition of “hegemony”). Representative government is determined by apportionment of voting districts through this party’s actions. Policies, agendas, and priorities are determined by their super majority legislature, executive and judicial branches of government. Ditto on the Federal level. Is it any wonder all talk of who owns what, and how much, has ceased? How can this be returned to relevance? Today’s news is that Ohio is only second to Nevada in terms of gambling population, yet in the past year the state’s share of revenue from gambling casinos and lottery tickets has dwindled. Also down has been the state’s revenue from income taxes (no mystery there as the governor and legislature have and continue to favor cutting income taxes). In addition, revenue from retail sales taxes has dropped, along with the commercial activities tax. Liquor revenue is the exception, but that is taken by JobsOhio. The recent report by JobsOhio shows a 10% decline in new jobs over previous years (which cannot be verified independently, even by State Auditor Yost, so the reader must take JobsOhio’s word for it). The party of hegemony continues to promote, advocate and act in accordance with cutting taxes and cutting services – locally, state wide and federally. Ditto was done drastically with the speed of business in Kansas, only to have failed miserably. Ostensibly “employers” are saying jobs go unfilled due to lack of skills (even though Skill Games parlors abound). The stock market is at all time record highs. Someone is generating wealth to purchase stock at those prices. Who is accumulating wealth from all these “economically sound and prudent” policies? (refer to above for a clue) The major manifestation of late term capitalism, enabled by the hegemony of “business first” government, is the overwhelming preponderance of positive attitude – if you contribute or support making lots of money, then you are amazing, fantastic, a quality American. If you inhibit or impede that through regulation, criticism or “quality of life” concerns, then you are worthless – demeaned and disparaged. Any wonder? (refer to above for a clue) In Mexico, along the border, are factories and workshops known as a maquiladora. Mass produced assembly line goods destined to fulfill US consumer desire originate there. Security is tight. Little gets out about workers, conditions and practices within a maquiladora. To speak openly is to invite personal hardship. “In another segment of the video [Yoshua Okon’s “Canned Laughter”, 2006], the workers are taking a break, holding hands and meditating. In case the viewer might be tempted to think that this is a union meeting, the counterpoint to the assembly line, Okon explains that the workers he interviewed told him about mandatory “spiritual breaks” in the maquiladoras; they are organized, in his words, for the workers to be “thankful for being exploited.”” (Even Laughter? From Laughter in the Magic Theater to the Laughter Assembly Line by Anca Parvelescu) Does hegemony likewise demand a spiritual break?

Opposites Attract

February 15, 2017

The popular colloquialism is that opposites attract. During the run up to the presidential election, and beyond, presidential wannabe and Ohio Governor John Kasich has consistently put on the armor of righteousness, of being the adult in the room (on the debate stage, on the ballot, etc.). He has and continues to present himself as the sensible alternative, the opposite of the ilk of our 45th president. But is this actually the case? Analysis finds “Kasich: Enough with the ‘Rust Belt’” by Julie Carr Smyth (AP 2-13-17) to reveal some mirroring appearing within this self-aggrandizing differentiation. “”We’re a big manufacturing state. But we also want to change the image of Ohio into something from the Rust Belt to the Knowledge Belt,” Kasich said during an Associated Press forum this month.” The following day (2-14-17) the AP headlined Study Ranks Ohio Near The Bottom For College Affordability (Ohio Public Radio Jo Ingles). “A new study ranks Ohio in the bottom five of all 50 states in college affordability. The study also shows just over 4 in 10 Ohioans have a post-secondary degree.” “William Doyle with Vanderbilt University says the state needs to make more need based aid available. “Families making less than $30,000 a year would need to pay 81% of their income to attend a public four-year research institution in Ohio. That’s including the grant aid they receive.”” None to be found with the Ohio Governor’s recent 2 year “recession” budget. It certainly doesn’t reflect that, or consider those findings (“The group says without making college more affordable, the state’s economy will suffer from a lack of skilled workers.”). What does the Ohio Governor propose to form this “Knowledge Belt” with? Chrissie Thompson, with Cincy’s The Enquirer, headlines Kasich: Teachers should job shadow with businesses to renew licenses (2-14-17). “Too many students, he says, leave high school to pursue college degrees that cost a fortune and don’t prepare them for realistic, good-paying jobs. “Are our schools preparing our students in a real way?” he [John Kasich] said at a recent event honoring innovative schools. “Never let the education get in the way of learning.”” Chrissie Thompson asks “How much money schools would get under John Kasich’s plan”? She considers the very real existence of school districts without a plethora of successful (and hiring) businesses, as well as teachers (like kindergarten) that would benefit more from successful business owners coming to their class and “teaching” the kids about what they do (rather than the teacher spending the day at the plant). But Kasich’s budget proposals doesn’t make large increases in K through 12 education. Indeed, he would like to see state financial backing cut to districts that have fewer students (no matter that the actual geographic district hasn’t shrunk). With the national election run up he touted the miracle Ohio economic recovery while post election it is Gotham City gloom and doom recession (shades of the presidential inauguration speech Batman!). Does he know something he’s not saying? “Where Have All The Young Kids Gone? Many Ohio Schools are Experiencing Enrollment Decline.” SHP Blog Dan Roberts (4-24-14). “The student population in Ohio is dwindling. In a recent story appearing in a Sunday edition of the Columbus Dispatch entitled, “Shrinking Environment,” written by Dispatch Reporter Charlie Boss, the student population in Ohio is expected to be reduced 2% by 2018.” A clever way to promulgate Ohio’s “responsible”, “performance based” K-12 education funding while at the same time cutting back on spending! Now about that “Knowledge Belt”, is this as a hold up or as a fashion accessory buy out from the 45th president’s daughter’s collection?

Bowling For Community Connectors

December 14, 2016

Language can be revealing. The extended presidential election of the past two years speaks eloquently to that. Words matter (though not always in color). Remember the brouhaha in Florida over whether the state employees were allowed to utter “climate change”, “global warming” or none of the above? Analysis finds it most revealing when words morph into other meanings than those intended. Case in point – the word “funding” has morphed into “investment”. The dictionary meanings are not at all the same. The primary meaning given for investment is “the action or process of investing money for profit or material result”. Secondary meanings all embrace return “worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future” and “an act of devoting time, etc. to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result”. Funding is simple “money provided, esp. by an organization or government, for a particular purpose.” [as well as the act of doing such]. Not complicated, but notice the shift in usage: Grow Licking County seeks additional investors in 2017 Kent Mallett , The Advocate, 12-14-16 – “Nate Strum, economic development director for the Licking County Chamber of Commerce and Grow Licking County, said he’d like to see about 50 investors in 2017.” “The organization received contributions from 31 investors in 2016, including $150,000 from the Licking County commissioners. Other top contributors were: Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, $25,000; city of Heath, $12,000; and $10,000 each from the cities of Newark and Pataskala, the villages of Hebron and Johnstown, Energy Cooperative, and the Newark campus of Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College.” Even GLC member and County Commissioner Tim Bubb got in a plug “”Grow Licking County should be invested across the county, from all sectors,” Bubb said. “It sends the right message. Early investors did so without a track record. This shouldn’t be that painful because the results are there.”” What Analysis finds painful is that over half the funding for GLC comes from sources that themselves are funded by, well, public funding. Is this a trend? In his 2014 State of the State address Ohio Governor Kasich spoke “And we’re going to launch a new initiative, Community Connectors. It’s an initiative to support the best ideas in our state for bringing together schools, parents, communities, community organizations, faith-based groups, business leaders, and, of course, our students in mentoring efforts based on proven practices. We’re going to ask you, the Legislature, to take the $10 million from casino receipts, and we’re going to ask you to create a program that will give these communities a $3 match for every dollar they put in to build these mentoring efforts.” June 2014 saw fruition of Community Connectors with Kasich signing House Bill 483. 12-14-16 The Dispatch’s Mark Williams headlines Kasich panel suggests ways to prepare Ohio kids for jobs. “Ohio Gov. John Kasich appointed a panel composed of legislators, business leaders, labor leaders, educators and others to examine ways to make students better prepared to enter the workforce. Business leaders could one day serve on local school boards in a nonvoting capacity. More internships and apprentice programs would help students learn about — and prepare for — careers. Teachers would have opportunities to spend time in the workplace to learn more about what their students need to know to be successful in the workplace. The ideas were among proposals released Tuesday by Gov. John Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board. The recommendations are meant to address, among other things, longstanding employer complaints that they can’t find people with the right skill set to fill jobs.” “One recommendation is for local school boards to appoint three nonvoting members to represent local business interests and for school officials to get involved in local business groups. The report suggests teachers could get credits as part of their license renewals for externships so that they could gain a better understanding of business needs.” Analysis notes the slippage from “funding” to “investment” by the expectations “for profit or material result.” But The Dispatch was too kind in its reporting of what those results were to be. 12-18-14 The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell headlined Schools need a religious partner if they want any of Gov. Kasich’s student mentorship money. “HB 483, as it went into law, makes faith-based organizations an option equal to “civic organizations” and business, but not a requirement.” But “Any school district that wants a piece of that state money must partner with both a church and a business – or a faith-based organization and a non-profit set up by a business to do community service. No business and no faith-based partner means no state dollars. “You must include a faith-based partner,” United Way of Greater Cleveland President Bill Kitson, told potential applicants at an information session the United Way hosted Thursday here in Cleveland. Kitson sits on Kasich’s advisory panel for the program, called “Community Connectors,” which is taking applications for grants now.” No matter the nitty gritty of the outcome or present status, “funding” has morphed into “investment” with the emphasis on “for profit or material result.” The old joke was about “revenue enhancement” being used to elide pronouncing the word “tax.” Last word, er, joke: “Kitson noted that $10 million is not a lot of money. The United Way, he said, is spending $2.5 million to service people in 25 Cleveland schools – about a quarter of the schools in the district. Doing that for the whole district would cost $10 million – the same amount available statewide for Community Connectors – so the state program will likely tackle single schools or just a few at a time.”

Stormy Weather

December 9, 2016

Flying under the radar this week was the Ohio Governor’s speech on the floor of the Ohio House 12-6-16. According to Cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer (John Kasich warns Ohio ‘on the verge of a recession’ 12-7-16) the former presidential wannabe “warned lawmakers Tuesday that Ohio is “on the verge of a recession” as state tax revenues continue to fall short of expectations.” “So far this year, the state has collected $259 million, or 2.8 percent, less in taxes than expected, according to preliminary data released by the Office of Management and Budget. In particular, state income is $153 million less than projected for the year and sales tax revenue is $109 million less.” Jeremy Pelzer prognosticates pithily: “In the past, Kasich has talked about the so-called “Ohio miracle,” touting the state’s economic resurgence along with tax cuts and building up a “rainy-day fund” of more than $2 billion – several times the projected shortfall this year – to draw upon during tough economic times. The governor has helped stock the rainy-day fund by slashing state funding for local governments across Ohio, forcing many cities and towns to raise taxes or cut services.” Analysis gleans that Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb’s poker face is beginning to show (see previous posts). But not showing this week was the news of JobsOhio Picks Up the $17M Cost for Prepping OH Cracker Site (Marcellus Drilling News 12-7-16). From that article (in the industry’s own words): “Clearing the site, which once hosted the R.E. Burger coal-fired power plant, was no small task. The power plant site, owned and (until 2011) operated by FirstEnergy cost $14 million for demolition, remediation and general cleaning up. An adjacent site (not owned by FirstEnergy) cost another $3 million to tidy up. All told it took $17 million to clean up the site and get it ready to begin construction. FirstEnergy is reported to have said they were “excited” by the opportunity to spend $14 million to clean it up. Wait, what? They wanted to spend the money? Well actually, no, they didn’t. FirstEnergy spent the money to clean up the site because they have been/are being reimbursed for the cost by JobsOhio” “What is JobsOhio and where does it get all this money? Glad you asked! JobsOhio is a private, non-profit with a board appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, which gets most of its operating revenue from taxes on liquor sales in Ohio. So raise a glass to the cracker, Ohioans. Your imbibing is helping to build it…” Back to Pelzer: “”There’s not going to be a lot of growth in any [state] program,” Kasich told reporters at the time. “It’s going to be tight. There’s not going to be an ability to give significant percentage increases.”” Gee Toto, I don’t think we’re in Oz anymore, just back in Kansas.