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Thursday, October 29, 2009


Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 4:30 PM

The Ohio Environmental Council is urging a no vote on Issue 2:

The OEC, an environmental conservation organization, is engaging on Issue 2 because of the threat to air and water quality that come from common industrial agriculture practices that pack livestock and poultry into confined spaces. These high-density practices are sometimes associated with: unhealthy air vented from crowded animal feeding facilities; water pollution from massive amounts of animal waste, which sometimes is over-applied to farm fields; and the misuse of antibiotics and other pharmaceutical drugs, which routinely are added to animal feed even though the animals are not ill.

… The wording of Issue 2 can potentially block new air, water, and food standards in the name of “affordable food supplies.” More rigorous environmental protections, such as increased distance set-backs between animal waste lagoons and stream and ground water sources, keeping pharmaceuticals out of waste water, air pollution controls to collect dust and particulate matter, come with a price tag. That could be enough reason for the politically-appointed livestock board established by Issue 2 to block such standards in the name of “affordability.”

… Issue 2’s vague language can lead to the adoption of food labels that restrict consumers from learning about the presence and possible human health affects of antibiotics and synthetic hormones in food products. Last year, the Ohio Department of Agriculture sided with Monsanto Corp. and other industry groups to thwart an effort by local dairy producers and processors to simply label as “RBST-free” any milk or dairy products produced or sold in Ohio without this synthetic hormone.

… Livestock confinement standards could be established by a law adopted by the legislature, just as the state of Michigan did earlier this month. This would allow a full public process and could provide for environmental issues to be part of the discussion.

… An estimated 70 percent of all U.S antibiotics and related drugs are used in animal agriculture even though the animals are not ill. When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the bacteria resistant to these drugs live to reproduce. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has declared antibiotic resistance to be one of its top concerns.

And let's not overlook who's really behind all this, ’cause it ain't Ol' Farmer Brown: "Campaign finance reports filed last week with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office reveal that more than $1.2 million of the $4 million in campaign cash raised by the pro-Issue 2 campaign has come from out-of-state pharmaceutical and animal agriculture groups, including Ely Lily Corp., the Arizona Pork Council, the Texas Turkey Federation, and the Hawaii Cattlemen's Council." — Frank Lewis


Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 3:18 PM

From a report on early education spending from the Pew Center on the States: "Despite facing historic budget shortfalls, the majority of states have elected once again to invest in evidence-based, proven pre-kindergarten programs. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia chose to increase or hold steady their pre-k funding for fiscal year 2010."

Guess which state's legislators were not so inclined?

Ohio lawmakers approved the largest percentage cut in the nation this year for pre-kindergarten funding — 33 percent. This cut, along with the elimination of Ohio’s Early Learning Initiative, will decimate the state’s pre-k system, according to a state-by-state analysis by Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States. What is left of Ohio’s early education system is expected to serve at least 12,000 fewer children from low-income families.

Oh, and that 12,000 figure? Highest in the nation.

Katie Kelly, director of Cleveland-based groundWork, comments: “Ohio lawmakers were faced with a number of difficult decisions in the most recent state budget. The cuts made to Ohio’s early childhood system will result in many of our most at-risk children entering school without the tools they need to be successful, an outcome that will cost our state much more down the line.”

Hey, whatever, as long as we get that income tax cut we were promised in sunnier times, right? Way to go, Columbus. — Frank Lewis


Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 1:54 PM

At the bottom of the table of contents in this week's print edition, we promised an online-only feature about Mayor Frank Jackson. Well, we've changed our minds. That piece is now being held for the November 4 edition. Sorry for the inconvenience. Complaints can be lodged with this guy. — Frank Lewis


Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Drawn, a cartooning and illustration blog, heaps love on Canton native and longtime Scene and Free Times contributor Matt Bors:

As a fan of cartooning as an art form, what I appreciate most about Matt is his critical eye and vocalness about the state of editorial cartooning. In the same way that Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show lampoons and takes a critical look at news media, exposing its shortcomings, so Matt does with editorial cartooning via his blog.

Matt warns us with a Crying Turd Alert when an editorial cartoonist phones in an obituary cartoon by drawing a fill-in-the-blank shedding a single tear. Then there’s the Excessive Labeling Award to cartoonists whose work is plagued with labels on every figure or element in the cartoon. And Matt’s not shy to call someone out on the lazy choice to use Photoshop in lieu of an actual drawing.

We'd add just one thing — there's a lot more on Matt's blog than just cartoonist shop talk. He's a smart guy who happens to draw. — Frank Lewis


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 4:47 PM

In this economy, it’s the sort of news that sends chills up your spine: A few weeks ago, employees of the Cleveland-based office-supply outlet InkStop learned that management was closing all 152 stores effective immediately, leaving them their last two weeks’ pay. To add insult to injury, the company had — unbeknownst to employees — stopped paying health-care premiums, making them ineligible for COBRA coverage.

In support of the jettisoned workers, the Jobs With Justice coalition will be staging an awareness-raising rally at 11 a.m. Wednesday, October 28, at the park in front of the plaza at 14871 Detroit Rd. in Lakewood, where an InkStop store was located. The event will featuring speakers — including former InkStop employees, social-justice activists and Lakewood city council member Nickie Antonio — as well as street theater. — Anastasia Pantsios

Monday, October 26, 2009


Posted By on Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Conservative pundit (and Ohio native) Hugh Hewitt attempted to have some fun at Democrats' expense over the White House's increasingly contentious relationship with Faux News. It was ham-fisted and really, really obvious, but somehow that didn't prevent several other righties from running with it like a breaking story. (Hey, if you only watched Fox, you too might have trouble distinguishing reality from bad humor.) Political Animal has the story. — Frank Lewis


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