Five for Friday

Nov. 10, 2017

By Aaron Marshall


Gather round the fire barrel as we throw the big stories from around the state on the pile.

On tap this edition: Wild rumors haunt the Ohio House, John Boehner gets loose on Jim Jordan, gay Cincinnati Dem puts rival on blast, Ohio woman tells Trump he’s number one, and U.S. Supremes prepare to hear Ohio voting rolls case.


Wild rumors flew as House harassment records were turned over


Wednesday November 1st, was perhaps the greatest day in recent memory for Capital Square observers who were not members of the Ohio House.


All around town, ears were burning as the Ohio House session was delayed as reporters waited on their public records request related to sexual harassment claims made against House members.


Lurking off-stage like Banquo’s ghost: Sen. Cliff Hite who had resigned the week before after his tawdry come-ons to a Legislative Service Commission intern became a matter of public record. (“I need a #$@%-buddy,” the 63-year-old Hite had told the 20-something staffer as he badgered her for months for sex. “You’ll change your mind.” Really dude, that’s your “A Game” move?)


Were there more Hitesque reports to drop? Some rumors had hookers in the mix while others thought a male GOP House lawmaker had been caught chatting inappropriately on social media with youthful male pages.


In the end, the reports turned over to reporters were more run-of-the-mill than sensational. Republican Representative Michael Henne had received sensitivity training after making a lunch table comment that made a female staffer uncomfortable. What was the comment? Incredibly, Henne claimed he couldn’t remember the event or what group he said it to although he did somehow recall that “it wasn’t sexual in nature.”


See full report here from here.


Meanwhile, Columbus Democrat Representative Bernadine Kennedy Kent was being accused of firing her aide in an age-discrimination complaint and Representative Stephanie Howse, a Cleveland Democrat, supposedly said something race-related to someone.


All in all, a fun day to ride the rumor mill and blow off real work.


Ohio gal flies bird at Trump


A cyclist who got her 15 minutes of fame unexpectedly when a photo of her flying the bird on Donald Trump’s motorcade got a write-up in a Columbus Dispatch profile this week.


(See full story here.)


Worthington native, Juli Briskman told the paper she lost her job over the middle finger salute, but didn’t sound particularly repentant about what had happened.


“This is where I learned my values,” said Briskman of Ohio. “Every time I go back to Ohio, I feel good. I notice that people wave at you even when they don’t know who you are. It’s just much more of a friendly place, and I miss it. I do miss it a lot.”


Ohio: A friendly place where we flip the bird at the powerful to demonstrate our values. Come to think of it, that sounds about right.


Politico: John Boehner smokes, cries and nukes Jim Jordan


The rise and fall of John Boehner got the full treatment last week from Politico who published a lengthy takeout on The Tan Man from Ohio trailing around after him as he smoked up a storm and played golf with Fuzzy Zoeller.


(See full story here.)


Boehner used the thumbsucker piece to absolutely unload on the cabal of conservatives in the Freedom Caucus who pushed him out of the Speaker’s office including northwest Ohio’s own Jim Jordan.


“F@#$ Jordan. F@#$ (Jason) Chaffetz. They’re both assholes,” said Boehner. “Jordan was a terrorist as a legislator going back to his days in the Ohio House and Senate. A terrorist. A legislative terrorist.”


Uh, so tell us how you really feel, Mr. Speaker?


In the article, Jordan seems surprised that Boehner put him on blast. “Oh my goodness. I feel sorry for the guy if he’s that bitter about a guy coming here and doing what he told the voters he was going to do. Wow. I feel bad for him. But in the end, we were not doing what the voters elected us to do and what we told them we were going to do. We just weren’t. I would argue the same thing is happening now.”

Other highlights of Boehner Unplugged include discussion of an incident a when another GOP Congressman held a knife to Boehner’s throat during a backroom disagreement and Boehner’s description of Senator Ted Cruz: “He’s the most miserable son of a bitch I’ve ever had to work with.”


Perhaps the most shocking part of the piece? Boehner only cries once in it.  

Gay Democratic politician gets catty on the Twitter


Winning reelection wasn’t enough for Cincinnati City Council member Chris Seelbach who took to Twitter the morning after to troll losing Republican candidate Seth Maney. “I never responded to you. Because I was never competing for 16th place,” said the oh-so-gracious Democrat.


( has the full story here.)


The backstory: Both men are openly gay and Maney had jabbed at the Democrat for playing identity politics over the summer.


Seelbach’s classy tweet had even his supporters comparing him to an immature fifth-grader, and—even worse—President Donald Trump. Perhaps it has been a rough election night for Seelbach as he saw his homeslice Yvette Simpson lose her race for Mayor dashing his hopes of riding shotgun as her vice-mayor.


The snipes gave Maney plenty of space to grab the indigent high ground, which he availed himself of on The Facebook. “This is why I ran. I hope those on Council learn some graciousness going forward. Champion of Change or Champion Bully?”


Man can’t vote, makes it into federal case


A trip down to the polling station in 2015 by Larry Harmon of Akron has resulted in a federal voting rights lawsuit that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court soon, the New York Times reported last week.


At issue: Ohio’s move to lop voters off registration lists after they miss a single federal election and then don’t vote during the following four years. (And also fail to respond to a letter sent to them.)


“Ohio is more aggressive than any other state in the country in culling its voters rolls based on the failure to vote,” according to the Times article. (See full story here.)


In the article, Harmon sounded perplexed that he got bounced from the voting rolls. “I’ve been living in Ohio my whole life. I pay property taxes and income taxes. I register my car. They obviously had all the data to know I was a resident. They could have looked it up, but they were too cheap.”


Harmon said his experience has given him a new perspective on voter ID laws. “I never had a problem with voter ID because I’ve always had a driver’s license. But now I really feel like they’re trying to get rid of voters.”


You hush your mouth, Larry. That can’t possibly be true.