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From my latest:

When we’re talking public bodies, who gets to say, “enough’s enough” and then ban public dialogue at a public meeting?

This being the United States, intuition might tell you that no one does. If it’s a public body and a public meeting, then the public gets to talk. But, for starters, you’d be wrong here in Ohio where the law provides for a right to attend public meetings, but it does not provide for the public to have a right to participate or comment.

Punctuating the (perceived mis)use of a similar power, but in this case in New York, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy have sued the town of Sanford’s board for its September 2012 resolution that bans public comment on fracking:

The resolution said: “It is the determination of this Board that hereafter no further comment will be received during the public participation portion of this or any future meeting regarding natural gas development,” until the state’s environmental review was done.

Not so unreasonable?

Read the rest and start a conversation about it. Should electeds get to ban the public from what they can discuss?


By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:57 pm February 17th, 2013 in Debates, democracy, Ohio, Politics | Comments Off 

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At my day job:

As if we needed any more evidence as to why the Civic Commons wants its users to agree to be “civil” before engaging online, a Columbus Dispatch editorial declared last week, in regard to a social media incident involving the state Board of Education president, “This H-bomb is a dud: Invoking Hitler is unlikely to be a winning political strategy” and a highly regarded expert on online politicking likewise wrote of the same incident, “…dropping the H-bomb pretty much destroys the intellectual credibility of the dropper…”. That H-bomb, and many other words and utterances of name-calling, are the nuclear bomb equivalents of destroying any chance for meaningful, useful dialogue.  And that is the opposite of what the Civic Commons seeks to promote.

Of course, linguistic laziness in unpacking and examining controversial topics isn’t committed solely by people in the poltiical arena. Last year, a food industry CEO apologized for comparing President Obama’s health care reform efforts to fascism because, as he admitted, the word “fascism” has “…so much baggage attached to it.” He went on to say that he thinks we need a new word to describe what he sees as the country, “…no longer hav[ing] free-enterprise capitalism in health care…[because t]he government is directing it.

Read the full post here.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:06 pm January 31st, 2013 in Courage, Culture, Debates, democracy, Politics | Comments Off 

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Did you know that working moms who don’t watch Fox are socialists? Neither did I.

But then I asked some folks on Twitter, who were beating up on a friend of mine who is a left of center lady, not unlike myself, and was on Fox this morning (the national cable version, not the local), if they could link to the clip about which they were razzing my friend, since, being a working parent, I don’t watch the morning news shows because, well, I’m working – and parenting. (I know – many of us have the television or radio on in the background while parenting and working but that is not the norm in my home at all – way too distracting; I can parent & work at the same time, but add cable morning news shows to the task list and I’m on overload.)

And their response to my simple and, if I might say so myself, civil request (intended to allow me to make an actual judgement on the razzing they were giving my friend which included them saying that the way she said the word “privilege” regarding Ann Romney was in a perjorative way) was to tell me that, for saying I was working, parenting and not watching Fox, I spoke like a “true Socialist.” Later tweets included mentions of their belief that I envy male anatomy and some other things that have nothing to do with anything, except to demonstrate perfectly how the motherlode of all linkbait is the often-called always-maligned Mommy Wars.

If ever there was a subject in need of being limited to civil discourse-only, this has got to be it.

Read the rest at the Civic Commons (where this working mom works, from home and from wherever civic engagement takes me).

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:44 am April 13th, 2012 in Debates, Diversity, Gender, Parenting, Politics, WH2012, White House 2012 | Comments Off 

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I did little research before this eighth (yes, eighth! and that doesn’t even include the Twitter debate) Republican presidential primary candidates’ debate. Check out this list for videos of each of them.

Luckily, I keep myself pretty immersed in news on a daily basis between online, radio, newspapers, a senior in high school who wishes he could vote and a sixth grader who made it onto student council and now wants to be vice president (of his grade, that is).

But to those who did bone up a bit before watching, it may surprise you to read my very first reaction, as transcribed by me while watching the debate live online:

Sitting at table with Charlie Rose?

Looks like it is a very serious group behind Rose

Yup – I didn’t know about the table thing.

Read my somewhat random impressions and more at the full post at

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:21 pm October 13th, 2011 in conservatives, Debates, Politics, Republicans, WH2012, White House 2012 | Comments Off 

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When I wrote about June’s New Hampshire debate, I wrote that answering the question of what I want in a candidate has two parts: first, the policy part, and second, the competency part. Neither takes precedence over the other in any absolute way, but I defined the competency piece as going “…to overall experience, dedication, integrity, sincerity, thoughtfulness, consistency and respect for all voters, not just the ones that will vote you in, once you are in office.”

Last night? During the Iowa debate with eight Repubican candidates? (Review the live-blog of the Iowa GOP debate here, the entire debate video here or the debate’s transcript here.) I can honestly say that listening to what they had to say made me feel as though former Utah governor and ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, was the only one who had a clue that being president means making decisions for hundreds of millions of people who didn’t pick you.

But wait there’s more – here at my full post on BlogHer.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:36 pm August 12th, 2011 in Campaigning, Debates, Elections, Politics, Republicans, WH2012, White House 2012 | 2 Comments 

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Follow the action with me and Emily Zanotti (aka American Princess and avowed conservative) here starting at 9pm!

By Jill Miller Zimon at 2:35 pm August 11th, 2011 in Campaigning, conservatives, Debates, Elections, live-blog, Media, Republicans, WH2012, White House 2012 | Comments Off 

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Each of my Moms Clean Air Force posts includes a reminder that asks you to please consider joining the Moms Clean Air Force and help fight for clean air for our kids. I remind you, as I so often do in even my city council work, that every voice counts and is needed.  But now, this will be the last call for you to email the EPA and show your support for the new Mercury and Air Toxics rule because you have just through July 5th to do so.  It certainly would be a patriotic thing to do over this holiday weekend, and I’ll thank you in advance.

If you’re wondering, just how big is this Mom’s Clean Air Force thing, in my opinion, it’s pretty darn big when you look at who is blogging on behalf of the effort. Frankly, it’s a pretty intimidating group of voices, both in terms of their writing, their passion, their credibility and their longevity as voices, particularly in print but also online and as speakers.  Here’s a sample of their posts, all from just this week but we’ve been doing this since late March: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:59 pm July 1st, 2011 in Debates, Energy, Environment, Government, Moms Clean Air Force, Politics, Science, Social Issues, Tech, Utilities | 1 Comment 

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Taped it this morning – many thanks as always for the opportunity. It airs on WVIZ at 8:30pm tonight and 11:30am on Sunday, then on The Ohio Channel on Monday at 2 and 10pm, and again there at 6am. The details:

Newsmaker:  Bill McKeown, Avon landowner—the owner of a landscaping supply business is one of dozens the city of Avon will force to help pay for a planned I-90 interchange at Lear-Nagel Road.  The state of Ohio, the city and the Jacobs Group, owner of several hundred soon-to-be-prime acres, are chipping in money for the project, slated to begin this summer.  City officials want smaller landowners to pay a share too, since their land values will be enhanced.  But owners like McKeown say they’ll fight.

Roundtable:  Brian Tucker, publisher and editorial director, Crain’s Cleveland Business; David Arredondo, vice-chairman, Lorain County Republican Party; Jill Miller Zimon, blogger, Writes Like She Talks.

Avon Interchange—the roundtable continues discussion of the controversy over the tax assessments for the I-90 interchange.

Diebold to Stay—leading maker of ATMs will build its new corporate headquarters somewhere in northeast Ohio.  The company credits the Kasich administration for putting together inducements worth as much as $100-million.  Otherwise, the company may have moved to another state where it has factories.  Diebold has over 1000 employees in the Akron-Canton area.

No Dogs or Smokers Allowed—Cleveland may join a list of American cities banning trans fats from restaurant menus.  Ordinances calling for the trans fat ban and for barring open-air smoking near the entrances to city-owned buildings and in public parks were recently introduced as part of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative.  Trans fats have been implicated in heart disease and obesity.

Compact Fluorescents Return—FirstEnergy is again flipping the switch on a CFL give-away that was a public relations disaster two years ago.  The company is delivering up to six energy-efficient bulbs to customers who ask for them.  Customers are paying for them through a rate increase whether or not they receive bulbs.  Compact fluorescents deliver light at a fraction of the energy cost of incandescent bulbs and they tend to last longer.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:55 am April 15th, 2011 in Business, Debates, Energy, Environment, Government, Health Care, Joe Cimperman, Ohio, real estate, Taxes, Transparency | 2 Comments 

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From The Fix:

The first 2012 Republican debate in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire has been scheduled, with the GOP contenders slated to face off on June 7, 2011.

CNN, WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader are jointly hosting the debate. The timing of the debate is nearly the same as the one the three organizations held in the 2008 cycle; that debate took place on June 5, 2007.

Politico and NBC News announced last month that they will co-host the first debate of the primary season at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in the spring of 2011. The Reagan Library also plans to sponsor a second debate on the eve of Super Tuesday.

So does this mean that Politico-NBC’s will be before June 2011?

Regardless, who’ll be on stage in June 2011 for the GOP?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:01 pm December 15th, 2010 in Debates, Media, Politics, Republicans | Comments Off 

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Yesterday, the founder of Media Matters for America, David Brock, urged celebritician Sarah Palin to consider détente (not sure if he defined it for her first but if she can see Russia from Alaska, then I’m guessing she knows about détente).  Here’s what he wrote and here’s the ask:

Sarah Palin — who in 2008 infamously implied that Barack Obama was “palling around with terrorists” — owes it to our country to use her enormous influence with her devoted base of followers to call for an end to actual terrorism, no matter what its source. Byron Williams, inspired by Beck, endangered the lives of Tides employees and two California cops. Sarah Palin– you have the platform to condemn such calls to violence and you should use it to call Beck on his dangerous extremism that endangers lives.

Visit the latest Matter of Opinion survey, A Peace-Loving Sarah Palin Would “Refudiate” Glenn Beck, to see what others think about this bold move – was it a ploy? Should Beck be asked to chillaxe (chill and relax)? And do you think his rhetoric is in fact dangerous?

Personally, I want to know what on earth ever happened to one of John Boehner’s favorite pieces of legislation in 2007 – Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, which he pursued with such vigor when George Bush was president.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:34 pm October 27th, 2010 in conservatives, Debates, democracy, Ethics, intolerance, leadership, Media, peace, Politics, Social Issues, social media, Women | Comments Off 

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Many thanks to Lisa Renee Ward who contributed a live-chat transcript for the debate. You can watch and/or read here.

I’ll just note that Iott continues to be tone-deaf about why the reenactment interest might make some people uncomfortable, in particular, US Rep. and Young Gun co-founder Eric Cantor (R VA), who is also the Minority Whip.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:56 pm October 11th, 2010 in conservatives, Debates, Ohio, Politics, Transparency | Comments Off 

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Very unfortunate news that he follows the lead of Republican candidates Jon Husted (Secretary of State) and Mike DeWine (Attorney General) who also will be skipping the Citadel of Free Speech’s traditional, well-respected and well-attended debates.  And this is Mandel’s home turf as outgoing state rep for the Ohio House 17th.

How is it possible that participating in the debate would be a worse decision for Mandel than skipping it, especially with it occurring in practically Mandel’s home district?

Bad message, just a very bad message and poor form.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:11 pm September 29th, 2010 in Campaigning, Debates, Government, OH17, Republicans, Transparency, treasurer | Comments Off 

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You can view the schedule either at the City Club site, this list from or after the jump.  Note that two of the Republican statewide candidates, Jon Husted and Mike DeWine, have both decline to participate, and Tom Ganley is listed as only having been invited. Additionally, on the City Club page, only Ohio Treasurere and Democratic candidate for re-election Kevin Boyce’s name appears here and it’s in bold here – making me think that his GOP opponent and my outgoing state representative, Josh Mandel, may skip his debate also (neither he nor a surrogate for him showed up in an open forum last night at the Pepper Pike Civic League).

I don’t know about you, but I hate when that happens.  No excuse. As for the governor’s race, which has seen Gov. Ted Strickland catching up to John Kasich for days and now is being shown as leading, it doesn’t appear that John Kasich has spoken at the City Club since 2009 – can that be right?  Ohio Governor Ted Strickland last appeared on June 24, 2010.
Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:30 am September 29th, 2010 in Debates, democracy, Elections, Ohio | 1 Comment 

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:01 pm April 13th, 2010 in Cleveland+, Debates, Democrats, Jennifer Brunner, lee fisher, Ohio, Politics, senate | 2 Comments 

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From Greenville today:

South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, in perhaps one of her last official duties as first lady, says not enough women are involved in politics in the state.

Sanford told a state GOP luncheon featuring three former first ladies on Thursday that during her two decades in the state she has seen great strides for women in business and the political world.

But she told an audience of about 200 there is still a long way to go. She said very few women are elected to office in South Carolina and not enough are involved in the system.

Additionally: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:04 pm January 28th, 2010 in Campaigning, conservatives, Debates, Elections, Gender, Government, leadership, Politics, senate, Sexism, Statehouse, Women | Comments Off 

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The Ohio House schedule indicates that the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee (see members here) will be taking opponent and interested party testimony regarding the issue of oil and gas drilling regulation, and specifically SB 165, on this Wednesday, January 26, starting at 9:30am in Room 018 in the basement of the Statehouse.  For those interested, the suggested way to prepare testimony is to describe your story, keep it to a very few minutes and review the testimony given last week by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (which you can see in the Scribd document below) in addition to SB 165 itself.

If you don’t feel familiar enough with the issue, listen to this WCPN Sound of Ideas show with pro and con representatives here.  I also suggest watching this short trailer video about the pervasive expansion of drilling throughout the country as covered in the documentary, Split Estate, which will be screened this Friday, January 29, 6:30 p.m., at Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Dr., Room T129, Kirtland. Hattip Cleveland Scene.

Do you have an experience related to this issue to share? Please do. It can make a difference. Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:58 am January 25th, 2010 in Cleveland+, Debates, democracy, Energy, Environment, Government, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Science, Statehouse, Utilities, WCPN/SOI | 1 Comment 

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Just received this (and you can read more here):

January 07, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sarah Saheb, 513-508-4737 (mobile) or

Decision 2010

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner or Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher

Who Will Get Your Vote?

Event:     Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher will come
together at this candidates forum hosted by the Hamilton County Democratic
Women’s Caucus, Hamilton County Democratic Party, and Hamilton County
Democratic Forum.

Date:             Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time:             Doors Open to the Public @ 6:00 p.m.
Start Time @ 6:30 p.m.

Location:     20th Century Theatre
3021 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45209

Details:    Two Ohio Democratic Party heavyweights will come together in Hamilton
County for their first ever statewide candidates forum. Secretary of State
Jennifer Brunner and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher will be fielding questions from the
audience in a discussion lead by Cincinnati City Councilmember Laure Quinlivan.

The intent is to educate voters on the candidates’ priorities and platforms.
This is not a debate; rather it is an educational forum to deliver candidate
information to the voters in a neutral setting.

Contact:         Sarah Saheb, 513-508-4737 (mobile) or

Now, if they will live-stream it, we’ll be all set. I would definitely live-blog that. Okay, yeah – no – I wouldn’t unless they tape it or start exactly at 6:30pm and end by 7:30 because folks, that my first City Council meeting of my term (next week I’m sworn in and there’s a meeting of the whole kind of thing at the Road & Safety/Finance & Planning meeting, but 1/20 is the real deal at 8pm).

Okay – let’s see how techie Hamilton County’s Dems will get so I can be mobile and follow for as long as I can.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:05 pm January 7th, 2010 in Announcements, Debates, Democrats, Jennifer Brunner, lee fisher, Ohio, Politics, Primary | 5 Comments 

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Maria is right – you probably haven’t seen clips of this townhall or read about it anywhere else, certainly not in as well-written a  description as she offers.

Go read the whole entry.  Again, just because we can engage in ways that push the envelopes of decency and legality, doesn’t mean we should.

I also think that the lesson of the Massachusett’s Democrats who thought they were outsmarting former Gov. Mitt Romney by changing the law so that he could not appoint anyone to a U.S. Senate vacancy should be a lesson to everyone who makes stands on pure personal politics, rather than on reason and what’s best for the stability of our social and political contracts.  Difference of political ideology is one thing.  Setting law that could exist in perpetuity solely to gain or maintain political advantage will come back at you in the end.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:17 am August 28th, 2009 in Civil Rights, Debates, democracy, Democrats, Government, Health Care, leadership, Mitt Romney, Politics, Social Issues, Statehouse | 4 Comments 

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If only pipsqueak dust was as magical as fairy dust.

Two pipsqueaks sitting around talking

Hattip to Jay Rosen and Chris Geidner for the heads up about this video, posted this morning and featuring Plain Dealer news impact editor, John Kroll.  Kroll responds to reactions to Reader Representative Ted Diadiun’s video from last week, which was about reaction to Connie Schultz’s column from the week before that. (I’ll have a separate post about today’s video.)

To recap: Connie wrote about a plan suggested by proposals written by a First Amendment lawyer and his brother, who is an economist.  Their last name is Marburger.  John Temple, former editor and publisher of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News, has several blog entries posted with links to primary sources and first-person exchanges with lawyer Marburger, in chrono order:

Before journalists go too far lobbying Congress…

Connie Schultz v. Jeff Jarvis…

Lawyer central to Connie Schultz column speaks out… (primary documents attached)

Read how the lawyer central to Schultz’ column has to say about what happened, what he thinks…

In an extreme nutshell, the plan involves the re-assertion of copyright in a way that some readers (including journalists) found to be unacceptable and overreaching, but also of limited value to the plight of newspapers and provocative to the work and passion of many who produce content for the Internet.  The best place to start, for seeing reaction to Connie’s column, is at her columns (the first and the follow-up) in the comments and at Jeff Jarvis’s post.  A google search on “Schultz Marburger” gets you more.

My reax to everything before today’s video:

At a minimum, bloggers can’t do it all (I give credence to the expense, need and value of investigative journalism, particularly overseas) and online-only outlets aren’t accessed – still and will not be for the foreseeable future – by significant portions of the U.S. population.  A time of transition in news gathering, production and consumption started more than fifteen years ago and will continue for the foreseeable future – but news doesn’t stop happening and news gathering and production and consumption doesn’t stop either.

However, other than saying that Dick Feagler’s December 2005 column about blogs was the meanest thing I’d ever read (he eventually had me on his television show twice so I think that’s kind of a retrenchment in itself), I’ve refrained from name-calling.  And Ted should have too.

I don’t have a problem with newspapers looking to shore up their enforcement of copyright statutes and case law.  Rather, I look to why they’re doing so only now, after decades of pushing rights-grabbing freelance contracts that no doubt have in fact given them all kinds of rights they could be aggressively enforcing successfully.

If I worked on the business or legal side of newspapers, I’d be looking for and deploying every tool I could craft to prop up, save, modify and move forward the business of newspapers.  I don’t blame Connie for putting the Marburger’s plan out there in defense of that perspective, though I think others have made interesting points about whether or not she is the best messenger for mainstreaming the Marburger plan.  There are just so many other ways it seems that could have been done – maybe even a way to get online journalists vested in the concepts too without igniting truly distracting flame wars.

I don’t know any blogger who isn’t as interested in news as people in the bricks and mortar newsrooms.  The sooner and tighter that fact is grasped and used as a basis for saving whatever parts of traditional news gathering and provision are in danger, that deserve to be saved, the better for everyone.

And it can all be done without calling anyone a pipsqueak.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:58 am July 13th, 2009 in Blogging, Business, Cleveland+, Debates, democracy, Economy, Ethics, Law, leadership, Media, Ohio, Politics, Social Issues, social media, Tech, Writing | 5 Comments 

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My main comment is: be careful what you wish for. The Republicans will be in the majority again, some day. Of course they will. And then, there will be this kind of line-up to have set precedent for the kind of line-up the future minority Democrats will want to follow to play these same games. For a contingent that has made relentless fun of President Obama’s use of the word, “empathy” in relation to the kind of humans he would like to see comprise our country’s highest court, you’d think they’d have come up with a very different strategy. Instead, they play right into and over it.

From U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman:

American Bar Association Witnesses

Kim Askew, Chair of Standing Committee
Mary Boies, Primary Reviewer

Majority Witnesses
(Biographies Below)

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, City of New York
Chuck Canterbury, National President, Fraternal Order of Police
David Cone, former Major League Baseball pitcher
JoAnne A. Epps, Dean, Temple University Beasley School of Law, on behalf of the National Association of Women Lawyers
Louis Freeh, former Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Michael J. Garcia, former U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York
Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Patricia Hynes, President, New York City Bar Association
Dustin McDaniel, Attorney General, State of Arkansas
Robert Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York County, New York
Ramona Romero, National President, Hispanic National Bar Association
Congressman Jose E. Serrano, New York 16th District
Theodore M. Shaw, Professor, Columbia Law School
Kate Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Minority Witnesses

Linda Chavez, President, Center for Equal Opportunity
Sandy Froman, Esq., Former President, National Rifle Association of America
Dr. Stephen Halbrook, Attorney
Tim Jeffries, Founder, P7 Enterprises
Peter Kirsanow, Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
David Kopel, Esq., Independence Institute
John McGinnis, Professor, Northwestern University School of Law
Neomi Rao, Professor, George Mason University School of Law
Frank Ricci, Director of Fire Services, ConnectiCOSH (Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health)
David Rivkin, Esq., Partner, Baker Hostetler
Nick Rosenkranz, Professor, Georgetown University School of Law
Ilya Somin, Professor, George Mason University School of Law
Lieutenant Ben Vargas, New Haven Fire Department
Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:28 am July 10th, 2009 in Civil Rights, Courts, Debates, Government, Law, leadership, Politics, senate, Whitehouse09, Women | Comments Off 

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