On the Ground in Ohio

cross-posted from Sum of Change

COLUMBUS, OH: I am on the ground in Ohio, here to cover the protests for the couple days that I can afford to be away from DC. Today, despite a persistent rain, demonstrators lined the sidewalk outside of the Capitol Building in Columbus to voice their opposition to Senate Bill 5 which threatens state employees' bargaining rights. Today's protest was a lead up to tomorrow, when thousands are expected to descend on Columbus.

I also want to include the full interview I did with one of the teachers:

Some helpful facts about Ohio and collective bargaining (from the Examiner , not directly quoted)

• Ohio public employees make the same or less than their counterparts in the private sector (although a higher percentage of state workers have college degrees)
• In the last 9 years, state workers have taken 5 years of pay freezes (that's with collective bargaining)
• Budget gaps are higher, on average, in states that do not allow collective bargaining
• State employee payroll in Ohio equals only 9% of the state budget

We'll be here for part of the protest tomorrow too!

obama in columbus (pictures)

my cousins, sister in law and girlfriend - i got a LOT of jealous stares today, lol
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our vantage point (gov. strickland is speaking)
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facing north - the crowd was even larger directly behind
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northwest
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security was TIGHT - note the figures on top of capitol building
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high street (this was the crowd behind us)
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facing north on high street after rally ended
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McCain in Columbus: Epic Fail

The Straight Talk Express rolled into Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio tonight--literally. It was a stark contrast to Bush's appearance in the same venue in 2004, which was filled to capacity with adoring fans, many of them fundies. This time, half the arena was blocked off by a curtain, and only maybe half the seats in the other half were filled. Maybe 5,000 in attendance tops.

What people were there were very uninspired. Cheerleaders tried in vain to get the crowd to chant "Country First"--it would go for a couple of rounds among very few people and then die out. Same with "USA USA." Even "O-H-I-O" was a non-starter. What I saw was a lot of bored people. It's like they know they're doomed & were going through the motions.

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Obama/Biden in Dublin, OH (pics!)

I was at the Obama/Biden appearance in Dublin, Ohio (suburb of Columbus) last night. There was an insane number of people there, at Dublin Coffman High School's football stadium and astroturf playing field. Press estimates are 20,000+ attendance.

Introductory speakers were John Patrick Carney, running for the Ohio House, Rich Cordray, running for Ohio Attorney General, Mary Jo Kilroy, running for US Congress in the 15th District, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. John Glenn.

Here are some photos:

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Obama Republicans in Franklin County, Ohio

Using the unofficial precinct-level data for last week's primary released by the Franklin County Board of Elections, here is the distribution of Obama/Clinton votes across the county polling places (click for larger version):

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