Lobbyists and Contractors Buy Access with Golf Memberships; the Latest on Russia
President Donald Trump’s most frequented golf clubs include at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. According to a USA Today investigation, two-thirds played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online.
Since membership lists at Trump’s clubs are secret, the public has been unaware of the potential conflicts these memberships could create. In an exceptionally creative investigation, USA Today found the names of 4,500 members by reviewing social media and a public website golfers use to track their handicaps and then researched and contacted hundreds to determine whether these golfers had business with the government.
Moving on to Russia, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s finances. Manafort worked closely with an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin – longer than had been reported.
This revelation came days after Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, which was seen as “a signal to anyone swept up in Mueller’s probe that the president would protect them, too.” However, Trump can’t pardon state crimes, which is why this investigative alliance matters.
Read a full recap and some analysis here.
On Wednesday, Facebook staff members informed the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees that more than $100,000 worth of ads were purchased by a shadowy Russian company with links to the Kremlin. Facebook has also turned over information to Robert Mueller.
UC Prof Study Showing Anger Linked to Conservative Views Angers Conservative Snowflakes
A study co-authored by a University of Cincinnati professor found a link between being a conservative and being angry. Some conservatives greeted the study with anger.
Authors UC Assistant Professor of Marketing Anthony Salerno and University of Manitoba Assistant Professor Keri Kettle reached the conclusion after running multiple studies that included more than 1,000 people.
“When you make people angry, you also make them more competitive,” Prof. Salerno explains. “If you think about competition, it’s about trying to win out over someone else, and it’s usually over some type of valuable or desirable resource. By making people more competitive, we think that people become more focused on acquiring resources.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on the study and its report includes some angry tweets.
Calls to Change Ohio Law That Allowed 14-Year-Old to Marry 48-Year-Old
Tessi Wright was 14 and pregnant, when her parents and Gallia County Judge William S. Medley gave their permission for her to marry a 48-year-old man. A Dayton Daily News investigation found 4,443 girls age 17 or younger were married in Ohio between 2000 and 2015, including 59 who were 15 and younger. Tessi said she’d do it all again.
Because of some loopholes, Ohio effectively has no legal minimum age for marriage.
Fraidy Reiss, executive director of Unchained At Last, a national nonprofit advocating for an end to child marriage, said the state’s marital laws put Ohio in the same company as Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Gov. Kasich Joins Other GOP Bigshots and Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Stop Partisan Gerrymandering
Apparently, he’s on a roll. Governor Kasich joined, among others, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – both Republicans – and Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur – a Democrat – in filing amicus briefs in the Gill v. Whitford case opposing gerrymandering.
Calling on the Court to rule partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional, moderate Republicans are doing what was once the unthinkable.
“Americans do not like gerrymandering,’’ the brief states. “They see its mischief, and absent a legal remedy, their sense of powerlessness and discouragement has increased, deepening the crisis of confidence in our democracy. We share their perspective.’’
Kaptur’s district illustrates the mischief. Ridiculed as the “snake along the lake,’’ it travels along the Lake Erie shoreline from Toledo to western Cuyahoga County.
If Gov. Kasich wants to lead by example, he can embrace a proposal to bring fair congressional redistricting to Ohio. More than 120,000 Ohio voters have signed petitions to put the proposal before voters. Lots more are needed. For more information, or to see how you can help, go here.
Reaction to Trump’s Call to Ditch DACA Swift and Severe
President Donald Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was met with strong condemnation. On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement and said the DACA program will wind down after six months to give Congress time to address the fate of the program’s participants.
While Sessions and some other Republicans criticized DACA, Democrats including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio strongly condemned the end of this program designed to protect children who were brought to this country at a young age.
“President Trump promised to go after violent criminals, not innocent children,” Brown said. “We should not be targeting young people who are working, going to school, paying taxes and contributing to this country – the country they grew up in and the only home they’ve ever known.”
Protesters pushed back all over Ohio and Gov. Kasich offered Dreamers a home here in Ohio. Medical students across the country authored an open letter regarding the impacts of ending DACA; read it here.
Hocking Technical and Yellow Springs Move Forward on Plans to Test Medical Marijuana
Hocking Technical College in southeast Ohio announced plans to create a curriculum around the science of testing medical marijuana and said it will establish an endowment to pay to renovate and equip a laboratory.
So far, Hocking College is the only applicant that has publicized its bid to test medical marijuana in Ohio. Universities and colleges have until Sept. 22 to apply with the Ohio Department of Commerce. Each applicant must pay a $2,000 fee, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
As marijuana cultivators await licensing approval from the state, the village of Yellow Springs has decided to spend money on an infrastructure study for its proposed grow site, reports the Dayton Daily News.
Cresco Labs LLC, an Illinois-based medical marijuana company, has a purchase agreement with the village to build a facility on eight acres at the site. The purchase agreement is contingent on the state granting Cresco Labs a license to grown marijuana in Ohio.
Toxic Algae and E. Coli Warnings Empty Lake Erie Beach – Again
Fewer beach-goers went to Lake Erie this past weekend, after officials reported high levels of toxic algae and E. coli bacteria in the water.
The Toledo Blade reports the beaches at Maumee Bay State Park were placed under a public health advisory after algae testing Aug. 28. Read more here.
Health Officials Mourn Loss of Federal Money for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
Recent cuts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program will harm local and national efforts to decrease teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates, supporters wrote in guest column of The Plain Dealer.
After the Trump administration quietly eliminated $100 million in funding from the 2018 budget for a program that tests evidence-based methods to reduce the country’s high teen birth rate, public health experts demanded an explanation.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ response: The federally funded effort was a failure.
But teen pregnancy researchers insist the body of evidence show the science-based program is more successful than teen pregnancy prevention programs favored by conservatives, which stress abstinence-only until marriage over other methods.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health receives funding for the program but learned that its funding will be cut two years sooner than promised.
Both Sides Prepare for Next Week’s Ohio Supreme Court Case That Could Close Another Abortion
The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments that will ultimately decide if Toledo’s last abortion clinic can remain open. Capital Care Network of Toledo brought the legal challenge after the state rejected its transfer agreement with the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. Clinics are required to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital, but the GOP-led legislature limited the clinic’s options by banning agreements with public hospitals in Ohio.
As a reminder, Justice Sharon Kennedy, one of the justices hearing the case, spoke at an Ohio Right to Life fundraiser event earlier this year, prompting a complaint with the Disciplinary Council. Read more here.
Looking Ahead to ‘18
If the early digital wars are any indication, Ohio Republicans are in for a nasty primary season. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, both vying for the GOP nomination for governor, are throwing digital bombs.
Since the Republican hopefuls wouldn’t all agree to a debate as the Democrats have, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor set one up all by herself. Read her facebook live Q & A here.
Former Congresswoman Betty Sutton landed a major endorsement on Labor Day from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who said, “She fought for the automotive refinancing that helped the companies restructure. She continues that fight every day. It’s my privilege to endorse her in the governor’s race.”
Jerry Springer is again making some news. We asked our readers for their thoughts on his candidacy. You can read them here.