Morning News: DNC gets wild, Teamsters endorse Portman, Ohio prison spending growing 166 percent faster than ed funding

Yesterday was the first full day of the Democratic National Convention, and following the big email scandal that befell the Democratic National Committee, supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders were all riled up.

click to enlarge Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach
Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach

Good morning all. Things are cray today so let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Now, normally we’d start with some local stuff and then get around to national news, but since we devoted days and days to the Republican National Convention (because it was in Ohio, but yeah), it seems only fair to chronicle front-and-center the mirror-image shitshow that is the Democrats’ big shindig this week. Fair and balanced, etc.

And shitshow it is! Yesterday was the first full day of the convention, and following the big email scandal that befell the Democratic National Committee (no, not that email scandal. A different one), supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders were all riled up that the former independent didn’t win the primary and that the convention would be nominating his opponent, Hillary Clinton. They handled this like any well-reasoning and perfectly sane adults (or Donald Trump supporters) would: They booed anyone who came up to the podium. That included U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Cleveland, the convention’s chairwoman. Hell, it even included Sanders himself when he expressed support for Clinton.

• About the only person who probably didn’t get booed was Michelle Obama, and that was because she dropped an atomic bomb of a line in what is so far this election’s greatest speech. “I wake up every morning in a house built by slaves and watch my daughters, two intelligent and beautiful black women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.” Damn.

• All the rancor was awkward, to say the least. Also probably awkward: the fact that Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach, a three-time convention delegate, is a deputy whip for a group of delegates including Mayor John Cranley. I’m not sure if you’ve heard this hot bit of gossip, but the two don’t like each other that much.The deputy whip directs delegates on voting and schedule stuff during the convention. That's probably fun for Cranley.

• OK. So let’s go back to the other side of the aisle for a minute.

Get those open-carry assault rifles ready and strap on your "Make America Great Again" hats. GOP presidential nominee and golden-maned hyper tweeter Donald Trump will be in Ohio again this week for a campaign appearance. Trump is scheduled to appear in Toledo Wednesday at the Huntington Center, according to Lucas County Republican officials. Ohio is a vital swing state in the election, as you probably already know, and we’ll probably be seeing a lot of the orange-hued orator here over the next few months.

• Not everyone in the Republican Party is thrilled with their nominee. A local precinct executive for the GOP is resigning in protest of Trump’s presidential nomination, for example. George White of Wyoming wrote a letter to Hamilton County GOP Chair Alex Triantafilou submitting his resignation, saying “I cannot support our presidential nominee, and therefore cannot encourage others to do so.” White said he would still be promoting other, down-ballot candidates. Triantafilou has shrugged off the resignation, saying there’s enough support for Trump to find a quick replacement.

• Further down ballot in Ohio’s Senate race, things are a movin’. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman scooped up a big and surprising endorsement yesterday from the Ohio Conference of Teamsters union. That union has supported Portman’s opponent, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, in past elections, but has joined the United Mine Workers of America in the rare move of backing a Republican. Strickland’s camp points out that he has won the endorsement of other major unions like the United Auto Workers, AFSCME and the AFL-CIO.

• OK, so do you remember when you used to see those commercials telling you to cash out by refinancing your home mortgage? I barely do because I’ve never owned a home because of the shrinking middle class, etc. But that’s neither here nor there, and what I’m trying to tell you is that the Hamilton County is poised to do roughly the same thing, refinancing about $376 million in bonds on its notoriously shaky stadium deal while interest rates are favorable. The money could be used to shore up funds for the stadiums and to help the county make good on a promise to roll back county property taxes. The refinancing could save the county as much as $65 million, but only if they call now and speak to a certified mortgage expert.

• Finally, I have a feeling some of you come here solely because I have a seemingly never-ending well of depressing statistics to share with you. Well, fear not, for I have not failed you today. Fun fact: did you know that Ohio’s expenditures on incarceration have increased roughly 166 percent more than the state’s spending on public education from 1980 to 2013? State and local expenditures per student in that time have fallen by 50 percent. Meanwhile, expenditures on prisons and the like have increased by about 50 percent. Nationally, education expenditures by state and local governments increased by 107 percent, while incarceration-related spending rose by 324 percent, according to a new study by the Department of Education. Like I said. Depressing.

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