Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Same Day Voting: Update

Earlier today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision (that is the subject of the post immediately below) of District Court Judge George Smith, denying the Ohio Republican Party an injunction that would prevent same day voting. The three-judge panel was comprised of Judge Karen Nelson Moore, Judge Richard Allen Griffin, and Judge Myron Bright, a judge of the Eighth Circuit who was sitting by designation. (A judge from another circuit sitting by designation on a panel is fairly routine.)

The panel had to decide two issues: first, whether to require the Secretary of State to force boards of elections to segregate ballots cast as a result of same-day voting, and second, whether to require the Secretary of State to mandate that boards of elections permit observers to be present during the same-day voting period.

On the first issue, the panel was unanimous: the GOP was deemed not entitled to the relief they sought. Interestingly, the Republicans appear to have shifted their focus once they reached the court of appeals. In the district court, they wanted to enjoin same-day voting altogether; in the Court of Appeals, they merely wanted ballots to be segregated. The Sixth Circuit held that because the relief the GOP now seeks was not presented to the district court, the court of appeals would not grant it.

With respect to the second issue, the panel split 2-1. The majority (Judges Moore and Bright) reversed the district court's decision requiring the permissive presence of observers, holding that no federal law required such a result. (The court explicitly left open the question of whether state law requires boards of elections to be present, as a federal court may not tell a state official how to apply a state law.) Judge Griffin, dissenting in part, would have affirmed the district court.

So judges from both sides of the political spectrum have now agreed (finally, it appears) with Jennifer Brunner that same-day voting is permissible under Ohio law.

For what it's worth, I agree (partially) with Judge Griffin: SOS Brunner should permit observers to be present for the thirty-five days prior to Election Day during which absentee ballots are turned in. (It's not clear to me, though, the basis to conclude that federal law requires this.) It is absolutely essential that the public's confidence in the integrity of our elections is restored, and disallowing observers is entirely contrary to that goal. Remember that because the General Assembly rewrote the election law after 2004, "observers" are not "challengers." Observers have no right to challenge voters or to attempt to intimidate voters. Thus, no harm comes from the transparency that the presence of observers would create, and people on both sides (both Democrats living in counties controlled by Republicans and vice-versa) would be assured of a fair process.

Same-Day Voting Permitted In Ohio

You may recall hearing about a controversy regarding so-called "same-day voting" in Ohio. When the Republican-controlled legislature rewrote our election law, it created a five-day window during which people could both register to vote and cast their absentee ballot. Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has interpreted the law to allow people to do both on the same day.

The Ohio GOP disagreed with Brunner, and has filed lawsuits to prevent same-day voting. The courts have now ruled that Brunner is right and the Republicans are wrong.

Yesterday, the Republican justices of the Ohio Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, dismissed the lawsuit that sought to prevent same-day voting. Its order is available here. The Republicans also have filed suit in federal court seeking to enjoin same-day voting. United States District Court Judge George Smith (appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan) has issued an order (available here) deferring to the judgment of the Ohio Supreme Court, but requiring that observors be permitted to be present. His decision has been appealed to the Sixth Circuit, which will almost certainly order expedited briefing and rule quite quickly.

The upshot: if you are not registered to vote, you can both register and cast an absentee ballot on the same day from now through October 6. So can your family, friends, and neighbors. So pass the word and go vote.

The Enquirer's article (albeit with a misleading lede) is here. For up-to-the minute coverage of Ohio election litigation, check the Election Law Blog, based at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.

CAC Diversity Training Spotlighted

The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center was singled out for work done over the sumer on a diversity program. Plans are being put into place to fully implement it in 2009.

NewsAche Blog Is No More

After 2 years of hard critiques of the Cincinnati Enquirer NewsAche signs off along with those leaving the Enquirer because of the buy out options. Often harsh, but consistent, Newsache will be missed. The lingering question is, who was the author? This departure suggests that the author, who is believed to be an Enquirer employee, is one of those leaving the company.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Downtown vs. OTR

If you were buying a condo or loft tomorrow (assuming you could find a bank willing to extend you credit prior to their reception of a 700 billion dollar bribe), where would you buy: Downtown or Over-the-Rhine? What are the advantages and drawbacks to each? If you were renting instead of buying, would your answer change?

The biggest, most obvious difference is probably cost: I expect people are paying less per square foot in OTR than in Downtown.

Obviously, I've chosen to rent downtown (in a building where I pay a shockingly low amount per square foot). Griff and Julie have bought in OTR. When (if) I buy, I'm more likely to buy a house, making either neighborhood an unlikely spot for me (unless I win the lottery--then I'll just buy Parker Flats, tear down a lot of interior walls, and make it my own downtown mansion).

What are your thoughts?

The Banks and Sawyer Point

The Enquirer's article highlighting the groundbreaking Riverfront Park in the midst of the Banks reminded me of a question that's been lingering in the back of my mind: once the new park is completed, what's to become of Sawyer Point? The target date is late 2010.

It seems to me that a lot of the things that currently happen at Sawyer Point may move to Riverfront, particularly as the Banks itself is completed. I would think the City and the County would pressure groups to put events at Riverfront. Party in the Park seems like a likely candidate to move to Riverfront. So, perhaps, do Blues Fest, the Fourth of July celebration, and the Black Family Reunion.

Anyone here privy to whether there's been discussion of how diminished Sawyer Point's role is expected to be in Cincinnati's cultural life post-Riverfront Park?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Parker Flats

I saw a moving truck outside of Parker Flats (the new condo building on the southeast corner of Fourth and Central) on Friday. For a second, I thought maybe the first resident was moving in, but I'm pretty sure it was just some things for the offices.

At any rate, the ownership was feeling sufficiently good about the building's completion that it made a few extra bucks today by opening the garage to Bengals parking.

(No, the link isn't to the official Parker Flats website. 5chw4r7z is just far more interesting than Middle Eart Development could ever be. And besides, he's about to be my across-the-street neighbor; may as well help his hit count.)

Bumble in the Jungle

Well, the Bengals have fallen to 0-4, defying even my own meager expectations for the team. Daugherty's column sums things up pretty well. He argues for sitting the injured Palmer again next week, to make sure he's healthy and stays that way (since the team doesn't have much of a chance of stopping the Cowboys defense from getting to the quarterback). I'd go a step further: why risk Fitzpatrick, who may need to play for several more weeks? Let's see what Jordan Palmer can do.

The bad news? Things don't get any easier. The Bengals travel to Dallas next week, New Jersey (for the Favre-infused Jets, who put over 50 points on the scoreboard today) the following week, and then return to PBS to play the Steelers. Oh-and-seven has to be viewed as a real possibility.

The Cincinnati Bengals are now on the clock.

In Memoriam: Paul Newman

I've been trying to find a Cincinnati link to justify noting the passing of Paul Newman here. I can't.

Nonetheless, here's an excellent piece describing what is, perhaps, Newman's real legacy.

I keep wondering why AMC or some similar cable station isn't running a Paul Newman movie marathon in tribute today. Truth be told, I've never watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and now I'm thinking I should.

Cincy Couture

The Cincy Couture Fashion Show went off superbly yesterday. The music list for the entire program can be on the The Conveyor.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last Night's Debate

Personally, I thought the debate was pretty much a draw and wouldn't change anyone's mind.  Of course, I'm perplexed by people who declare themselves to be "undecided" voters.  How can you not know which of the two candidates most reflects your values and policy judgments by now?

The professional punditry seems to agree about this being a draw.  Of course, the mainstream media probably wouldn't declare anyone a "winner" unless his opponent literally vomited down the front of his own suit during the debate, for fear of being accused of bias.

Then I found this clip from Fox:  their focus group of "undecided voters" had Obama as the clear winner.

Since most believe this first debate would be the toughest of the three for Obama, the reaction of the focus group is clearly a good omen for the Democrat.  And with so many states permitting early voting, the early debates may be the only ones that matter.

You can vote in Ohio beginning on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Speculation on the Secret Show

WOXY's boards have a bunch of speculation on the secret show set for the Know Theatre on Saturday night.

UPDATE:The speculation was correct, the band was Radio 4.

MidPoint Starts Now!

I am packing up my notebook, camera, comfortable shoes, and schedule for Day One of Midpoint.

I will have my detailed coverage of the event over at www.theconveyor.com, so check there for a recap of day one.

CityBeat has a big central page with all things Midpoint. They will have the official word on any schedule changes.

I hope to see a bunch of faces down at the opening show which is happing right now! (I had to run home first) If you have any recommendations on what bands to see, please send them on or comment below.

CAC Opening Tomorrow Night

The CAC has a vibrant opening tomorrow night: MARIA LASSNIG and Carlos Amorales: Discarded Spider.

The event starts at 8 pm. Admission is free, there's a cash bar, a DJ, a ballet performance at 10PM, and of course, wonderful contemporary art by two very significant artists.

If you need a midpoint break from Midpoint, get there, then afterwards hit more showcases!

20/20 Vision Kicks Off

CinWeekly has a nice artcle on the start of 20/20. For the full story on the 20/20 arts festival, check out www.20days20nights.com for more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Are They Thinking?

[UPDATE: 9/25/2008]: The post to which the following refers has been deleted from the Hamilton County GOP Blog without comment. Since Triantafilou is relatively new to the blogosphere, perhaps people will overlook this serious breach of blogger etiquette (generally, it is understood that one does not delete posts--updating or editing for typos is fine--in this manner). I've no idea whether our post here has anything to do with the deletion.

Via Alex Triantafilou's blog, we learn that the HamCo Republican Party is recommending a "no" vote on Issue 8, which would amend the City Charter to force voting by proportional representation in City Council elections. The official statement from the local GOP:

The Hamilton County Republican Party has historically stood against proportional representation as a method of electing members of city council. The most important factors identified by the Republican Party in opposing this measure is the confusion in how the system operates and the cost associated with implementation. After vigorous debate and discussion, our Party is urging a vote of "NO" on Issue 8.

(Emphasis mine.) Why on earth would the GOP highlight its "historical" position on PR? Whoever drafted this statement for the GOP should either resign his or her post or be asked to step aside. It's one of two things: it's either historically unaware at best, or extraordinarily insensitive at worst.

Before I explain why, let me make sure I'm not misunderstood. In November, people of various political stripes will take various positions on PR. That's why you see rather odd bedfellows like the NAACP, COAST, and the Cincinnati Business Journal supporting the measure. Some people will decide it's a great idea. Others will decide it's not. Neither decision makes a person or group inherently bad or good, inherently racist or not, or inherently democratic or undemocratic. People of good conscience can surely disagree over Issue 8. In fact, while I'm currently leaning towards believing PR is a good idea, I may vote against Issue 8 for an entirely different reason.

Having said that, the history of opposition to PR in this city is not pretty. According to the most complete account I've seen of the 1957 repeal, the motives for the repeal effort were downright racist. Here's how a paper posted on Mt. Holyoke's website describes the situtation:

In Cincinnati, race was the dominant theme in the successful 1957 repeal effort. The single transferable vote had allowed African Americans to be elected for the first time, with two blacks being elected to the city council in the 1950s. The nation was also seeing the first stirrings of the Civil Rights movement and racial tensions were running high. PR opponents shrewdly decided to make race an explicit factor in their repeal campaign. They warned whites that PR was helping to increase black power in the city and asked them whether they wanted a "Negro mayor." Their appeal to white anxieties succeeded, with whites supporting repeal by a two to one margin.

Let me be perfectly clear: I do not believe that today's HamCo GOP is motivated by racism in encouraging a rejection of PR. But why would the GOP embrace a history of which it should not be proud?

Neither of the two major parties in this nation has a terrific record regarding racism. While the Democratic Party now trumpets civil rights, this hasn't always been the case. Take the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Dems typically will be willing to talk about the shameful acts that occurred outside the convention that year. What we don't talk about, however, is the shame visited upon our party inside the convention. Just forty years ago, Democratic delegates from Georgia left the convention in protest because the DNC seated a racially integrated delegation from Mississippi. That happened within the lifespan of the majority of Americans. Have we--as a party and a nation--come a long way since then? Absolutely. But need we always be mindful of this terrible part of our history? Absolutely.

I'm not suggesting that anyone should vote against Republicans or Republican positions on the basis of things that happened 50 years ago. I am concerned, though, when party leaders--be they Republican, Democratic, or of any other stripe--make statements that demonstrate a lack of awareness of our roots, both as parties and as a nation. The historical opposition to PR is not something for anyone in this City of be proud of or to embrace, and I hope the local GOP will amend its position to make its current motives for rejecting PR clear.

MPMF Tomorrow!!!!

I realize there's a big banner at the top of this blog advertising Midpoint Music Festival (but for those of you who, like me, ignore banners) Midpoint is Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Complete schedule can be found here. I hadn't realized it was this week until I saw Griff's post about Javier's joining the fray, and went to check the full schedule.

At the very least I'll go to Javier's Friday or Saturday, and hopefully will do much more than that. This should be a great weekend downtown and across the river, so please support the bands involved and come on down.

Right Here in OTR

Jason at Somewhere Over-the-Rhine knocks it out of the park with his take on the ill perceptions of OTR perpetuated by the media and the ignorant suburbanites who haven't been near OTR or Downtown ever in their lives, outside of a Red's or Bengal's game. Jason hits on a topic that I've been seeing for a while and have had in the back of my mind for a long time as a topic to blog about. It deasl with where the perception problem of Cincinnati comes from. It comes from the Native Cincinnatians that never left Cincinnati and are now living outside of the urban core. They don't travel a lot, they spend time in their closed off social networks, socializing only with high school or maybe college friends. They are ignorant and allow themselves to be sucked in by what ever the media says. Hell, if we trusted the media, we would think no crime ever happens in West Chester. When crime does happen there, or in Milford, or in Morrow, we don't hear those areas labeled at all. I wonder why.

[Hat Tip to Just Past Central]

Rocking for Obama on Fountain Square

A huge event will hit the square next on Octber 16th, when The National and The Breeders will do a free show from 5 to 9 PM. This is a rally in support of Barak Obama, so look for other political speakers to appear. Also, since this is going to likely be open to the public, look out for the brownshirts trying to disrupt it or try to make it look like the Dems are being disruptive.

Driehaus--Chabot, Neck and Neck

The Blogging Pros at Talking Points Memo have the link to polling for the 1st and 2nd Districts in Ohio:
"A new set of SurveyUSA polls in Ohio show Dems poised to pick up two out of four contested GOP-held district. In the First District, incumbent Rep. Steve Chabot (R) is holding a small lead over challenger Steve Driehaus (D) 46%-44%. In the Second District, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) is holding an 8-point lead over challenger Victoria Wulsin (D) 48%-40%."
It has been months since a poll came out and this is great news for Driehaus. Look for money to be dropped into this race right now and for a big blitz to unseat Chabot by the Dems.

It looks like a much tougher hill for Wulsin to climb. The poll there doesn't mention the impact of the Independent conservative (Krikorian) in the race, however, which should be an impact to Schmidt, who has a very high negative with some conservatives.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Local TV Thread

Kate of KRM blogs on her favorite television shows. I have to admit, I kind of had a blog crush on her (there's a good definition of "blog crush" here) until I learned of her passion for Dancing with the Stars and Desperate Housewives. She may have won me back with her fondness for Amazing Race. And like her, I enjoy watching Christina Applegate in Samantha Who?, though I suspect for entirely different reasons (hey....I'm a 34 year-old American male....I grew up watching Married With Children! And having grown up in Buffalo, I have to love a woman who agreed to star in a sitcom set in that ill-fated city.).

All that is my long-winded way of introducing a discussion topic: what's your favorite local show or TV personality? And who's your least favorite? There is, of course, precious little local programming any more, but there's some. For that matter, who are your favorite all-time Cincinnati television personalities, including folks who aren't on TV anymore?

My own favorites? I like Newsmakers. I think Dan Hurley does a pretty good job. And even though I disagreed with him (and many of you) about the Bodies exhibit (he thought it was excellent), I thought he provided a great forum for both sides to be heard. Frankly, I wish WKRC would give him a full hour. Sometimes he jumps the shark on me (for instance, when he did a couple of shows on naturalism and showed pictures of birds the whole time...yawn). But overall, he's an asset to local television journalism. I also dig Bob Herzog, but that may just be my bias in favor of lawyers.

Least favorites? One name immediately springs to mind: Dave Lapham. Maybe I'd like him more if I'd grown up in Cincinnati and was a Bengals fan when he played. But seeing him on TV and listening to him on the radio fuels one reaction: change the channel!

Finally: I guess I shouldn't make fun of others' TV viewing habits too much. The other night, I found myself switching back and forth between two television shows: Live from Lincoln Center (the NY Philharmonic with James Galway) and The Ultimate Fighter, watching each with equal rapture. Yes, something's seriously wrong with me.

So please, weigh in with your local TV favorites, as well as you diagnoses of my psychological profile based on my confessed viewing patterns.

What's Ahead

Over the next few weeks, I hope to post on each of the ballot initiatives we'll see when we vote this year. There are five or six state-wide issues, as well as two proposals to amend Cincinnati's charter.

The most talked about of these are the casino plan, the payday lender reform proposal, and the local referenda on red light cameras and proportional representation. But there are a few others that haven't made many headlines.

To the extent anyone cares what I think, I'll be including with each post my view of whether the issue should pass. While I think I've made up my mind about most of these issues, I'm still very much up in the air on proportional representation. I'm emailing PR's backers for some additional information on the mechanism by which PR works (I understand it in its basic form, but I'm confused by how the redistribution of "over-votes" works.)

I'll also be staying away from national politics from now on, besides the extent to which the presidential race specifically impacts Ohio and/or Cincinnati. I don't think blogging the presidential race here is winning Griff many readers, and it seems to just trigger lots of comments from spammers.

Keeping Ohio's Water Safe

Earlier today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would protect water from the Great Lakes from being diverted to other states.

Here in Ohio's southwestern-most extremity, we sometimes forget that we live in a Great Lakes state. And there are those in dry regions of the country who want to require that Great Lakes water be shipped cross-country to slake their thirst. Under the Great Lakes Compact, which President Bush is expected to sign, that can't happen.

For what it's worth: both Senators McCain and Obama support the compact. (I had inititally thought that McCain, from the great, dusty state of Arizona, favored Great Lakes water diversion. I'm glad to see I was wrong.)

Will a Hotel Replace Condos in Phase 1 of the Banks?

The Enquirer is reporting the Banks condos may not be in the first phase and could be replaced with a Hotel next door to Great American Ball Park.

So, is this the first step in changes that will alter the purpose of the Banks? Is this going to be nothing but a tourist area? That is what the suburbanites and John Cranley are clamoring for when they spout off asking when they will get to drink a beer at the ESPN Zone.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Obama 273, McCain 265

Today's round-up of polls shows Obama leading in enough states to win the electoral college.

I don't put much stock in this, as this site's poll tallies have fluctuated daily. Instead, I've posted the map to make a broader point: Ohioans, we may not be as important as we think we are.

Obama's campaign has said all along that they can win the White House without Ohio. And if the election were to follow the results below, that's exactly what would happen. McCain needs to win here, but Obama can live without us. The real "battleground states" this year are more likely to be Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.

Just some food for thought on a Monday.

Click for www.electoral-vote.com

UC Riots After Victory Over Miami

I know they won pretty big over Miami, but did they need to riot after the win?

Midpoint Venue Change

Javier's Restaurant and Bar has replaced Ink Tank as a venue for Midpoint. Please adjust your schedules as needed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crime in Over-the-Rhine

The Business Courier has an excellent story this week about crime in OTR and the impact of the horrible mistake of keeping a centralized homing beacon for criminals to prey on victims has done to this neighborhood.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who's Bumblin' Now?

HamCo Republican Party Chair Alex Triantafilou has decided to blog about Joe Biden's purported tendency towards gaffes. The former judge is upset that Biden told a Delaware crowd that the Delaware Blue Hens (a div I-AA team) would beat the Buckeyes. Of course, the two don't even play against each other.

I had a lot of respect for Triantafilou when he was a judge. He's a really intelligent man, and he was a really good judge, in my opinion. But you'd think the local GOP chairman wouldn't be too interested in calling attention to a candidate's less-than-perfect oratory this week.

You see, John McCain announced earlier this week that he wouldn't meet with the president of long-time NATO ally Spain if he's elected. The most reasonable explanation for this is that McCain was confused about the nation to which that president, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, belongs: the question came after a discussion of a series of Latin American leaders who an American president probably wouldn't be willing to meet. But rather than admit this, McCain's campaign is insisting the septuagenerian senator meant what he said, even though this past April, McCain said he'd welcome such a meeting.

So who would I rather have leading the country: someone who pandered (admittedly) to his home state by asserting that its university's second-rate football team could take on one of the best in the nation, or a senator who's "bumblin'" may hurt American foreign policy and alienate our Western allies? You be the judge.

Finally, since Triantafilou raises it, let's deal with the Biden plagiarism myths. In 1987, when Biden was running for president, during a debate he borrowed extensively from a speech initially given by British politician Neil Kinnock. Sounds damning, right? On its own, sure. But not so much when you consider that Biden had repeatedly paraphrased Kinnock as he did during that debate, and on each previous occasion, he attributed it. During the more abbreviated format, he forgot to. There was no intent to mislead anyone into thinking the idea was his own: he'd told people on numerous occasions that it had originated elsewhere. And as for the allegations about what occurred during law school: he was fully investigated by his law school at the time, and a determination was made that he was guilty only of sloppy citation (lawyers are a stickler for citation), not intentional plagiarism. He'd pointed out the work (a law journal article) his ideas had come from, but had not sufficiently footnoted his assignment.

Joe Biden certainly is not a perfect candidate for national office. If I were a GOP leader trying to throw red meat to the base, I'd be talking about Biden's ties to the banking industry, given that this week all hell has broken loose on Wall Street (of course, then the Dems might start talking about McCain's role in the Keating Five . . .). The petty attack on the Blue Hens remark is, quite frankly, beneath our local GOP chair, and not what the voters of this or any other county will be focusing on in November.

1929 Redux --- Free Market Capitalism's Last Gasp

Since I have been without power since the freak wind storm on Sunday, it has felt a lot like what 1929 must have felt like on a lot of fronts. Let's see, where once there stood five major historic finance houses, now there are two. The government has nationalized the giant home mortgage loan companies and now has a majority equity stake in the largest insurance company in the world. Individual shareholders and employees at these companies who have seen their savings and their retirements and their lives wiped out in an instant have been told by the "inventor" of that great Canadian device, the blackberry, that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." (The inventor of the blackberry realized after conferring with his staff that no stupider statement could possibly have been made and tried again a few hours later.) The Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen almost 1000 points taking with it thousands of dollars that you and I have put away for retirement --- although likely the market will rally today with news of this societal bailout. Credit card companies overnight began slashing all of our credit lines, after decades of encouraging our profligacy --- they don't seem to understand that it is my right as an American to have stuff I can't afford, because it is not fair for people with money to live better than me.

No, the fundamentals of this economy are not strong. It is hard to know even where to begin the discussion of the events that have occurred over the last week that have led to the remarkable interference in the markets announced by Treasury Secretary Paulson and the SEC this morning.

First, the SEC and its UK equivalent announce that they will prohibit, at least temporarily, the short selling of financial company stocks, which means that no longer will these free marketers allow you to bet that the price of the stock will fall. Now you can only bet that it will go up --- hardly an unfettered market.

Treasury also will create a $50 billion fund to protect investments in some segments of the mutual fund market --- the market where most of us have our retirement money after the government's idiotic decision to drive retirement dollars to the speculative markets as a way of giving us all freedom --- freedom to be poor in old age (How much is in your 401K and how many years salary does it represent? Enough if you live to 80? Or are you counting on that "conservative" 8% annual growth?)

Next, the Congress and Treasury will work together to essentially create a "bank" to buy up and hold over a trillion dollars in bad toxic mortgage debts that financial institutions have created by putting individuals in houses and loan instruments that they could not possibly afford and then selling those loans off --- all the while knowing they were crap and that the whole system was built upon the false assumption that housing values would never fall.

So to all you free marketers out there benefiting from your government subsidized education with your money held in government protected accounts and living in your house mortgaged by a government protected entity, here's a toast to the week that the myth of free market capitalism crashed and burned. Unfortunately no one will be held responsible and we will be paying for this devastation for years.

So maybe this election will be about more than lipstick and pigs and whether McCain knows where Spain is and whether he invented the blackberry and whether Obama is a celebrity who chose hoops over troops, and whether Palin is a celebrity who had her brother in law fired because he was a cad or whether she can actually see Russia from Alaska and thus is a foreign policy expert on the Bush Doctrine --- maybe this election is about us and our children and our country and our future and what kind of country we will be and whether we will continue to be a country that tortures and one that honors its values.

Hope springs eternal, but today feels like 1929.

Map Out Oktoberfest

If you don't know where to go during Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, you'd best check out the map. Please be warned that during the peak hours, 4PM to 11PM Saturday and 3PM to 7PM Sunday (After the Bengals Game) you are going to have to fight the dreaded slow walking crowds. With that in mind, use the map to enter the 5th Street area near where you want to be. Get a beer and a brat, then just start the stroll.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Update to Ike Damage

A reader has an update on the damage from the falling street light Donald wrote about Monday. Here's the photo update:

BuyCincy Drinks Deep into Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

The Gents at BuyCincy have a nice article on Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.

Media Coverage of the Storm

While I didn't lose power, I still had no Cable or Internet at my house, therefore radio has been (and continues to be) my lifeline to the world. John Kiesewetter's piece on local news coverage during the wind storm illistrates how little news coverage we have. The public is oblivious to most of the world, but when they have a tree fall in their yard, they finally can take notice that no one is paying attention anymore. Hell, our entire storm here affected everyone in the tristate area and it barely got noticed in the national press. So, who is left to report on things locally? If you are saying not many, then you are correct. This is of course not unique to Cincinnati, but the storm here and our abundance of apathetic hyper consumerists show the cost of losing so many local news reporters. We have been abandoned by the corporate media. They don't see the profit in providing for the public good, instead they prefer to keep the Reds games on.

We have brought most of this upon ourselves. We want everything to be cheap, Wal-Mart cheap. With that kind of cheap, comes low quality and syndication. That is what most of the Cincinnati media landscape has become. We are left to rely on technology, which when the power goes out, doesn't amount to much. It would behoove us to start consuming media with a local focus. If you want more news coverage on WVXU, then give them money and they will provide it!

HYPE Haus Party - Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

Something a little different this year at Oktoberfest is the HYPE Haus Party. I am a little torn on this. I see Oktoberfest as more of a fest where you get out and mingle with the masses of people. If you are going to get drunk and dance a few polkas with an unsuspecting Suburban former fratboy, then you really should be out in the middle of 5th Street. If you are scared of crowds, then you might be more comfortable in this special area on Fountain Square. Tickets are limited.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2012 Olympic Chicken Dance Preliminaries

The London Olympics are four years away, but you can begin your Chicken Dance Training at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati Noon on Fountain Square along with thousands of your fellow Olympic hopefuls. To help with the training will be local Beijing Olympic vets Mary Wineberg and David Payne who shall lead the mid-day workout.

Please remember that the wearing of spandex during competition is strictly prohibited by the International Chicken Dance Olympic Committee. It is a safety concern, so please help prevent injury and wear something a little more festive.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Food For Thought

For most of us (well, most of you, as I'm enjoying my power-outage-free downtown apartment), losing a lot of perishable food because of the blackout is a minor inconvenience. A few minutes spent throwing out the contents of the fridge and freezer, some grumbling, and an extra trip to the grocery store.

But for many, it means the loss of food that was barely affordable in the first place. The storm probably came at the worst possible time--on a Sunday, after people had stocked up on groceries following the traditional Saturday of shopping.

I've not seen a public plea for help, but it seems to me that organizations like the Freestore Foodbank and other, smaller pantries in the Cincinnati area may well see an increased demand this week and through the end of the month.

So if you're so inclined, this would be an excellent time to donate food or cash to the food pantry of your choice.
UPDATE: This morning, we got a comment from someone who's obviously more in the know than I am, and I wanted to bump her comment to the body of the post:
I work with the FreestoreFoodbank and have to second what you said in this post. We opened yesterday on Liberty Street (despite a lack of power there...) and saw more than 550 households come through. That's more than twice the number of households served on an average day. We're estimating we served between 1,200 and 1,400 people through yesterday's distribution. So as you suggested, we're hurting - especially given the fact that our perishable foods were without power and therefore can't be distributed. Cash and non-perishable food donations are welcomed.And, if there are people who need emergency food assistance, they are urged to visit the FreestoreFoodbank from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. all week.

McCain Health Plan Again

Just an added note: the online chatter about health care has been fueled by Health Affairs (a nonpartisan journal) analysis of the candidates' plans. While the full text of the article is here, this is the conclusion the authors reach about the McCain plan (emphases mine):

Achieving Senator McCain's vision would radically transform the U.S. health insurance system. His plan would alter the nature, source, and financing of coverage for the nearly 160 million Americans who now receive health insurance through their employers. We estimate that twenty million Americans--about one in every eight people with job-based coverage--would lose their current coverage as a result of the change in the tax treatment of coverage. Initially, this loss of job-based coverage would be offset by an increase in coverage in the nongroup market (although not necessarily for the same individuals). Within five years, however, the net effect of the plan is expected to be a net reduction in coverage relative to what would have been observed if the tax treatment of employer-sponsored coverage remains as it is now. The decline of job-based coverage would force millions of Americans into the weakest segment of the private insurance system--the nongroup market--where cost sharing is high and covered services are limited. Senator McCain's proposal to deregulate this market would mean that people in it would lose protections they now have. These changes would diminish the security of coverage for most Americans, especially those who are not--or someday will not be--in perfect health.

The McCain Health Plan: Hold Onto Your Wallet!

Every cloud has a silver lining. Perhaps the silver lining of this week's economic crisis is that the candidates are once again talking about issues, rather than each other. So let's talk about an issue that McCain hasn't spent much time on: health care. And I don't understand why he isn't talking about it, as his plan will radically alter the healthcare landscape in this country.

John McCain's plan to provide health care to Americans is essentially reform of the tax code. If you receive health insurance through your employer, you don't pay taxes on the portion of your premiums that your employer pays. McCain would change that: this "income" would now be taxable.

Instead, McCain would offer a $2,500 tax rebate to all Americans for the purposes of paying for health insurance. But Americans won't get that money themselves--the health insurance company you select would automatically get that money to cover your premiums. And to incentivize cheaper insurance plans, if $2,500 exceeds the amount of your annual premium, you'll get the excess back. Of course, you can't spend it: it will be put in a Health Savings Account that you could use to pay deductibles or co-pays. (This is all detailed on the McCain website, here.)

McCain's theory is that if people are forced out of employer-provided insurance and into the insurance market, competition will magically drive prices down and make health care affordable for all. The New York Times' Bob Herbert has this to say:

This entire McCain health insurance transformation is right out of the right-wing Republicans’ ideological playbook: fewer regulations; let the market decide; and send unsophisticated consumers into the crucible alone.
You would think that with some of the most venerable houses on Wall Street crumbling like sand castles right before our eyes, we’d be a little wary about spreading this toxic formula even further into the health care system.

To me, the McCain plan is a bad idea on its face. But regardless of its merits, shouldn't Americans know that if they elect John McCain president, every person who has employer-provided health insurance will have higher taxes taken from their paycheck each week?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Don't Come To Work Smelly Tomorrow

Two fitness chains, Fitworks, and Urban Active, are offering free showers to the public, according to the Enquirer.

So if you're without power, stop at the gym before you go to work tomorrow.

Ike Damage

Question: What's missing from the following picture?

Answer: Check out the second pole in the picture. It's a street light, just like the others. Except it's missing its light; yesterday's winds blew it off. It was tossed, unfortunately, onto a parked car below. (The car was whisked away by the time I thought to take a picture.) No injuries, but the car was totalled.

(This is Fourth Street, standing at the intersection of Plum and facing west.)

Feel free to post descriptions of damage you saw.

Snarky aside: I still don't understand why WCPO needs two tickers to list school closings. I am amused, though, that on the larger (uppermost) of the two, they didn't find a way to get rid of the snow flurry graphics.

Oh Yes, It's a Chicken Dance Off

It's Oktoberfest Zinzinnati week so let's start things off with a Chicken Dance With The Stars.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ike Remnant Recon

If you're at home this evening reading this, then just stay there.  Don't go out before sunrise unless you have to.

I hadn't realized the power problem is as widespread as it is.  Downtown, power is mostly on.  There's a couple intersections with traffic lights out, but power never even flickered where I live.  Yes, I'd heard the big number of customers without power:  I'd simply, mistakenly assumed that most people without power were out in Clermont, Warren, and Butler Counties and across the river.

So I went out to find some fast food dinner.  Big mistake.

Power outages are, in fact, widespread in Bellevue and Newport.  (That meant that at the restaurants where power was on--McDonald's, Arby's, and Frisch's in Bellevue--lines were interminably long.)

Power in Clifton, at least as of 8:00 pm, is apparently non-existent.  And when I say Clifton, I mean Clifton, Clifton Heights, and University Heights (and even into Camp Washington).  Widespread outages.  There's probably some damage.  Police had blocked Ravine Road from Central Parkway, and also McMillan at Clifton.  I'm not sure what happened in either place.  

Things on the West Side didn't seem much better.  There were spotty outages in Queensgate.  Further north, power seemed to be mostly out at Harrison near Queen City.

Driving is tough right now.  People seem to be mostly remembering their long-forgotten traffic school lesson:  when approaching a traffic light that is out, treat it as a four-way stop.  The problem, though, is that if you or another driver is unfamiliar with a particular intersection, you might not, after sundown, realize that you're driving through a dead traffic signal.

To sum up:  stay home.  If you can't, be very, very careful.

And I've emailed family members who live in the Florida area, petitioning them to ensure that in the future, their hurricanes stay where they belong, in the Deep South and the Gulf Coast.  We don't send them our snow and ice storms, so they should extend that same courtesy and keep their damned weather to themselves. 

Good News, Bad News

The bad news: it's going to be a long, long season at Paul Brown Stadium. The next interesting thing to happen there likely will be the 2009 Macy's Music Festival.

The good news: following the next two home games (9/29 against the Browns and 10/19 against the Steelers), you'll probably be able to purchase tickets quite cheaply.

UPDATE: I just thought of more good news. Since lots of season ticket holders will likely be willing to part with their tickets this early in the season, we should see lots of hotel business from our friends in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

That raises an interesting open thread: whose fans are more offensive when they come to town, Browns or Steelers?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Downtown Strolling

This Summer I have rolled into morning walking rituals. Saturday I am off to Grater's for a doughnut then Tazza Mia for Coffee. Sunday morning I go right to Tazza Mia for a tasty breakfast Sandwich and coffee and off to the Yeatman's cove to sit for a while by the river. I've got to get back into the habit of going to Findlay Market on Saturdays this Fall.

Speaking of Tazza Mia, on September 17th they are having their official "Ribbon cutting Ceremony" at 8:30 AM. The first 50 customers in the door after the ribbon is cut will get a free pound of coffee. Also, you can get a free cup of regular coffee from 8:30 to 10:30.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Problemed Park

I got into a lively discussion about this last night, so Just Past Central has a better round up on the recent news on Washington Park's problem. I really have nothing good to say about the efforts of local social services who don't provide the base service to society to do everything to keep crime from happening on their doorsteps and in the surrounding areas where the criminals go who are not let in their doors.

When you attract crime, you can't stand in the way of others who are trying to fight it.

Yes, The Enquirer's Website Sucks

Everyone has known about it since it was relaunched with Gannett's Structure. Now Enquirer Management knows about it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Edwards Will Not Be Charged

The Enquirer reports that Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Deters announced tonight that he will not seek an indictment against Jodie Edwards, whose infant daughter died when left in an SUV for several hours.  The flood of comments attached to the Enquirer's story serves both as a compelling argument for why newspapers should be newspapers rather than blogs (and not permit comments on news stories) and a reflection of lots of confusion over why this case turned out as it did.

First, let me express some sympathy for Joe Deters (who, I'm quite sure, doesn't need me to defend him).  Nine times out of ten, I'd tell you that a defense attorney's job is much harder than a prosecutor's.  After all, a prosecutor has, theoretically, the resources of the entire State of Ohio at his disposal.  When cases go to trial, his principal witnesses are often uniformed police officers, which translates to instant credibility with a jury.  I spend most of my voir dire just persuading potential jurors that the mere fact that my client's been charged with a crime and sitting behind a placard that says "Defendant" doesn't mean he did anything wrong.

But the Edwards case represents the rare instance when you couldn't pay me enough to be a prosecutor.  My decision on whether to represent a client in a criminal case is easy:  either a judge appoints me or a client shows up in my office wishing to retain me.  But deciding whether to charge a person with a crime, particularly in this instance, is much more complex.  How does one weigh the shock and outrage over what happened to a defenseless child with compassion for a grieving mother, all while trying to fairly apply the applicable law to the provable facts?  I doubt Deters made this decision alone.  He no doubt consulted with the attorney responsible for presenting cases to the grand jury (to assess whether an indictment would be issued if the case were presented), some of his senior trial attorneys (to determine whether a jury would convict), and attorneys in the appellate division (to be sure a conviction would be defensible on appeal).  I know a lot of people don't like Joe Deters, but this had to be an agonizing decision.  And it's a decision with no political benefit on either side.  Either choice he made would have pissed off some very vocal, emotional people.

Second, some have accused Joe Deters of inconsistency when it comes to child endangering charges.  I don't think that's fair.  There may be some systemic unfairness, but the blame for that does not lay at Deters's feet.  Much of the inconsistency is because of the way various types of crimes are handled in Hamilton County.  Here's why.

A misdemeanor offense is initiated by the filing of a complaint.  All that's needed is for an officer to sign a complaint, warrant, and affidavit.  After an initial appearance where bond is set, the case will then be set for trial.  Prosecutors don't get involved (at least in 99.9% of cases) in charging decisions regarding misdemeanors.  Felonies, though, are different.  For those cases to proceed before a judge, a grand jury has to return an indictment.  Often, police officers will file charges and wait to see what happens in the grand jury.  But any time a death occurs, the police will consult with the Prosecutor's office prior to filing anything, and those cases will often involve "direct indictments," meaning that a complaint is never filed.  So while Deters had to make a decision in the Edwards case, he would not do so in a child endangering case that did not result in physical harm (such as a "dirty house" case or a case in which a child was left in a car for a few minutes).  Edwards would have been charged with a felony; the latter examples are misdemeanor offenses.

I've also been hearing a lot of talk about mothers charged with endangering for falling asleep or briefly leaving their kids alone.  I won't pass on the merits of those cases (suffice it to say that I believe we are over-using the endangering statute).  If the offense occurred inside the City of Cincinnati, then Deters's office never touches the case:  misdemeanors within city limits are prosecuted by the Cincinnati Prosecuting Attorney (really, the City Solicitor).  The HamCo Prosecutor has no authority or control over those cases.  

Maybe we should have some serious discussion about the way the system works.  Should we really permit charges to be initiated just on the signature of a police officer (or much worse, by "referral"--an officer giving a form to a citizen to permit the filing of a criminal charge, which means the officer won't be involved in the case at all, generally)? Edwards may have benefitted because she could afford to retain counsel early in the process.  An indigent defendant wouldn't be entitled to counsel until charges were filed.  Maybe we need to make counsel available at pre-filing stages.  But people who are complaining about unfairness and injustice are noticing symptoms of systemic problems, and shouldn't single out Deters as a scapegoat in this instance.

McCain's Strategery

A few days ago, the McCain campaign acknowledged that as far is it was concerned, the 2008 presidential election wasn't about issues; it's about personality.  Yesterday and today, we've seen how this philosophy will guide their campaign:  any time Obama or Biden attempt to engage on the issues, the Rove-advised McCain campaign will assert that they've attacked McCain or (more likely) Palin personally.

Yesterday, Obama repeated an old phrase he's often used in declaring the McCain, who's been in Washington for decades, can't seriously be considered a change candidate, saying "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."  McCain's campaign accused Obama of calling Palin a pig.  What?

At nearly the same time, Biden pointed out a potential inconsistency in Palin policy positions.  While she's promised to be an advocate for children with special needs, she opposes stem cell research.  Biden argued that one cannot be seriously committed to both positions.  While Biden's position is certainly subject to attack on its merits, the McCain campaign didn't do that; instead, it accused Biden of personally attacking Palin's family.

Obama has responded to the "phony controversy."  In part, he says:
I don't care what they say about me. But I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics. Enough is enough.

His full response, below, is well worth a couple minutes of your time.

concert:nova Season 2

The fresh chamber music ensemble concert:nova has announced their 2008-2009 season:

October: Where the Wild Things Are

December: Waiting for the End of Time: Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time and abstracts from Beckett's Waiting for Godot

February: Concert in the Dark

March: Demystifying Arnold Schoenberg

May: concert:nova and Beyond Ballet

June: The Mirror Project

Details are forthcoming, so keep checking out www.concertnova.com for updates.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'm No Journalism Expert, But . . .

The online Enquirer notes the arrest of 30 individuals accused of drug trafficking. This is the lede:

The Cincinnati Police Department is working hard to get trash off the street corners, especially when it’s the kind that sells drugs.

Really? This is considered acceptable news reporting--referring to people as "trash"? I'd understand this in an editorial or column, but a "news" article? And about people who aren't even indicted yet?

Judging from the grammatical errors in the body of the article, it appears the Enquirer had the second string editorial staff review this one. One more reason to miss the Post.

Mmm, Crepes

A few days ago, Julie blogged about the new place on Court Street, It's Just Crepes. Julie hasn't been able to make it since it's only open during the week (though that changes as of September 20th), but not having that problem, I had lunch there with a colleague today. It's in the space formerly occupied by Javier's, between Avril-Bleh and Servatii.

Yummy. (No pictures: real reviews are Julie's job; I just give my gut impression of places I like.) The waitstaff was extremely friendly and had our meals to us pretty quickly, even at the lunch rush. And their prices were very reasonable (you can check out the menu online at their website). I enjoyed watching them make the crepes, on large, circular, wall-less griddles designed just for that purpose.

I had the Hawaiian--ham, pineapple, cheese, soy sauce, and brown sugar--and my friend had the Santa Fe--chicken, swiss, mushroom, and salsa. The crepes were tasty, and the combinations that make up the fillings were good. There'll definitely be return trips for more lunch. I'm afraid to start eating the sweet crepes, though, for fear I'll never stop. So for now, I'll stick to the "savory" crepes.

Finally, let me give a "shout-out" to the Image Art Company, who apparently designed It's Just Crepes's in-store graphics and website. After visiting the restaurant, I was convinced that it must must be a locally-owned franchise of a national chain, based on how professional the menu board, window sign, and logo looked. So I Googled them. Turns out I was wrong: they were produced by Image Art Company, a local branding firm. I may have to give them a call to talk about a remake of my own firm's website and letterhead . . .

Monday, September 08, 2008

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

Get out your lederhousen and clean out the mold from your bier stein. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is less than 2 weeks away. September 20-21 on 5th Street in Downtown Cincinnati.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

On The Flannery Five

Warning:  Long post ahead.  Sorry.  This one's been building for a bit.  And I'm bending my rule on not blogging regarding courthouse news.

I'm about to rant about Streetvibes editor Greg Flannery and the four others convicted of trespassing in Steve Chabot's office a couple years ago.  (Here's the Enquirer coverage.  I refer to them as "five" because two were juveniles, and I'm not sure how their cases were resolved.)  But I've been taught that if you're going to criticize someone, you should begin with some praise.  So let's do that first (I've been meaning to make the point anyhow.)

The praise:  For a long time, I've bought Streetvibes each month.  I've always thought that the one-dollar contribution was a terrific way to help the homeless.  But the last few months, I've been buying the newspaper for another reason:  to read it.  The writing and reporting has been excellent--often, better than its weekly alternative counterpart, Citybeat.  So if you've not bought Streetvibes in a while, pull out a buck the next time you see a vendor.  And then read.

Now, for the meat of the post.

Back in 2006, Greg Flannery and four others were arrested for trespassing in the office of Congressman Steve Chabot.  Essentially, they staged a sit-in to protest the war in Iraq.  At the time, Flannery acknowledged the group was "repeatedly invited to leave" and stayed two hours past closing.  As is their right, four of the five, including Flannery, demanded a jury trial.  They were convicted.  They appealed.  They lost.  They filed a petition for review in the Ohio Supreme Court.  It was denied.  And they were sentenced to perform 20 hours of community service.  One of the group's members, Barbara Wolf, apparently told the court she wouldn't complete her sentence, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail instead.

I oppose the Iraq war.  In my younger, badder days, I could see myself being part of their civil disobedience.  In fact, one of my fondest memories of my teenage years is marching on Washington, DC, with my dad in 1991 to protest the Gulf War.  I also proudly addressed, on behalf of a Pittsburgh coalition of high school students, a peace protest.  So I applaud the sit-in and the Flannery Five's intentions.

So what's my problem?

The current issue of Streetvibes has two pieces that stand in ironic juxtaposition.  The first, a front-page story written by Flannery called "All The Justice You Can Afford," recounts the findings of the NLADA study of the Hamilton County Public Defender.  The second, on page two, is Flannery's page-long story of his arrest.

One of the criticisms of the Public Defender that Flannery echoes is an allegation that incarcerated, indigent defendants spend more time than necessary in jail because public defenders don't have the time to go visit them in jail before their court dates.  We'll leave aside, for a moment, whether that's actually true.

Flannery's piece on his trespassing conviction brags that his trial lasted six days.  Six days.  For a fourth degree misdemeanor.  In municipal court.

I wonder if anyone was forced to spend extra time in jail because of the trial.

I didn't attend the trial.  But from Flannery's account, it doesn't appear that the group's lawyers argued that they were factually innocent of a trespass.  Instead, it seems like they were hopeful that at least one of the eight jurors would decide to nullify the law.  He writes that "we tried to convince the jury to convict the war instead of us."  He brags of the "inconvenience" caused by the "long legal struggle."  (I suspect that the defense attorneys never openly argued for nullification; they wouldn't be permitted to.  My best guess is that they couched their efforts in terms of a "necessity" defense, arguing that the sit-in was necessary to prevent the imminent deaths of people in Iraq.)

But who was inconvenienced?  The judge and his or her staff?  Nope, they're there every day, whether there's a jury trial or not.  The prosecutor?  Nope, same thing.  But how about the other litigants who had appearances scheduled during the six-day trial?  Yep, probably.  You see, once a jury trial begins, it takes precedence over everything else until it's finished.  Judges will get through the rest of their docket as quickly as possible, usually handling only guilty and no-contest pleas; everything else will typically be continued, possibly weeks into the future.

Most people know that defendants have a right to a speedy trial.  For a misdemeanor, someone who's held in jail has to be brought to trial within thirty days of his or her arrest.  But there are things that can stop, or "toll," the speedy trial clock.  One of these is the unavailability of the court.  So guess what?  If you were poor, locked up, your case was assigned to the same judge as was Flannery's, and you had a trial scheduled during the Flannery trial, your case was continued.  Your speedy trial time tolled until the next court appearance.  And you stayed in jail.

Flannery and his co-defendants are fortunate.  They could afford to take six days off of work for a trial.  But what about defendants (and witnesses and victims) who were scheduled the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth day of the Flannery trial and who had to come back another time who work low-paying, hourly jobs?

I guess the issue really is one of how much justice a person can afford.

The Hamilton County Municipal Court is charged with determining whether people are proven guilty of misdemeanor offenses, and then settling on a sentence for those who are.  Whether it's good at that job is a determination for others to make (most days, I'm too busy hacking at trees to see the forest).  It is not, however, well-suited to determining whether a particular military intervention is justified.

The judges and prosecutors (and we defense attorneys) are at our best when we have the time to discuss, whether on the record, in chambers, or at side-bar, the appropriate resolutions to cases.  When a judge is trying to get a jury back in the box for a trial in progress, that time doesn't always exist.  Reading Flannery's article, I was thinking about some of the people I've represented in municipal court the last few months:

  • A woman in an abusive relationship, whose romantic partner figured out things might go better for him when she calls the police if he says that she assaulted him, too.  (We got the right result:  he was convicted, the case against her was dismissed.)
  • A man with no criminal record but a history of mental illness who, unable to afford his psych meds, committed a non-violent though serious offense due to his mental illness.
  • A young woman, initially convicted of a drug-related offense, who relapsed while on probation.

In each of these cases, the judges made (I think) the right call and declined to send my client to jail.  But I wonder:  if any of the cases had been called on a day when a judge was trying to get to a jury trial and was speeding through the docket, would s/he have been able to give the case enough thought to reach the same result?  I'd like to think so, but I just don't know.  It's a lot easier--and quicker--to impose a jail sentence than it is to fashion an appropriate remedy involving treatment and social services.

Greg Flannery and his co-defendants, aided and abetted by some of the best legal minds in Ohio, staged a six-day sit-in in municipal court.  Should we have launched a war in Iraq?  Probably  not.  Is a municipal courtroom the appropriate forum to litigate that issue?  Certainly not.  And doing so likely hurt only the people Flannery is usually busy standing up for.

Greg Flannery got all the justice he could afford.  How much did it cost those in the community who can't afford as much justice?

Open Thread: Where To Find "The One" In Cincinnati

Kate of Kate's Random Musings has recently been discussing her pursuit of a potential significant other.  It's reminded me of a thread I've been meaning to offer up for a little while.

Where should one go in Cincinnati to meet people of the opposite sex?  (For that matter, where does one go to meet people of the same sex, if that is what one is looking for?)  Obviously, we all know the legend of the Hyde Park Kroger, and how the store pumps lots of pheremones through the air conditioning system, ensuring matches made while perusing the sushi.

I remember that a few years ago, lots of people were consternating over an alleged perception that Cincinnati is a tough place to be single.  I never bought into that.  But I'm curious:  where should single people, post-college and -grad school (but not yet old enough to be a forty-something divorcee) go?

Please post your thoughts in the comments.  If you found your significant other in Cincinnati, let us know where (we promise, we won't try to steal him/her, we just want to know where to find others like him/her).

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Driehaus Blogger Meetup

I was able to rush order my passport and I am not sitting in the Front Porch Coffee House on the West Side. Wifi is working and the chicken salad sandwich is pretty good. I made this trip for a meet and greet with 1st District candidate for Congress Steve Driehaus. I'll try and update through out the event, but I'll give full report after.

Update#1: Steve started out with great introduction about himself and his background as to how it got into politics. He pointed out clearly that he no matter what Mrs. Palin might say, he is proud of having been a community organizer.

Update #2: The most interesting accept of Steve was that he came to this event directly from his kid's soccer game.

Steve's focus while in the statehouse was on community project and housing. Steve was originally asked in 2006 to run for congress by Rahm Emmanuel, but turned it down. He thinks now he should have said yes.

The Democrats has purchased a million dollars on behalf of him which will begin to air starting later this month.

Update #3: Should you exepect more from your Congressmen? That was Steve question about Chabot. Other than his hair, we couldn't say much about him. I didn't bring up the abortion issue, which Chabot is know for, but

Dreihaus believes the government can't allow FannieMae and FreddieMac fail, there is no other option.

Update #4: The complete and utter failure of diplomacy is one of the greatest failure of Bush Administration in the Iraq situation.

Chabot Misleads Public, Again

It should be a surprise, but Steve Chabot's campaign is airing a commercial that even the Cincinnati Enquirer agrees misleads the public about Chabot's opponent, Steve Driehaus.

Open Thread: Bengals Predictions

The last time I solicited predictions, it was on the vice presidential candidates.  And I'll admit, I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.  (In fairness, no one picked Palin, though others, obviously smarter tham me, picked Biden.)

This time, I'd like your predictions on a far more pressing issue.  Now that you've seen the Bengals and we know what their roster is, how do you think they'll finish the season?

My own prediction:  the Bengals finish 6-10, and I'll be able to ride to PBS in a streetcar before I can see an NFL playoff game there.

Big College Football Weekend

Two local schools have really, really big football games later today.

In the first, the Miami (OH) Redhawks take on the Big Ten's Michigan Wolverines.  Coverage of this nationally televised game begins at noon on ESPN2.  While the Wolverines aren't ranked this year, any time Miami placed against a BCS-conference school, it's a big game.  And while my heart is with the Bearcats, in the spirit of both intra-state and intra-blog unity, I'll be cheering for the Redhawks in the early game.  Because after all, beating back the forces of Michigan is the most important issue of our time, and we must put aside politics (and my distaste for J. Crew) and put our pride as Ohioans first.

In the second game, the UC Bearcats take on the Oklahoma Sooners, currently ranked fourth in the nation.  This is ABC's featured game this week, and coverage begins at 3:30.  There's no way to overstate how significant a win would be for the 'Cats.  They would beat a top-ranked opponent on a national stage--and Oklahoma is likely the toughest team they'll face this season, so it would pave the way for really, really high expectations for the remainder of the season.  

So....let's put our differences aside, come together, and cheer jointly for the 'Hawks and the 'Cats.  (After all, the better the two teams' records are, the more interesting the Battle for the Victory Bell will be on September 20!)

WLW Local Coverage?

I was pleased to read in my neighbor's blog Just Past Central, about a feature on 700 WLW about Christian Moerlein. I am happy to have Moerlein in town and actually pleased that WLW actually covered something kinda local. I look forward to the day when Moerlein is actually brewed here.

Some Fact Checking

Via a Facebook Status (Yes and Thanks Mr. A) we can get a semi-unbiased view on statements made by the candidates.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The McCain Acceptance Speech

Senator McCain just started his speech.  Two thoughts occurred to me.

1.  He's the first person to mention George W. Bush all week from the RNC podium.

2.  The background behind the podium is terrible.  The first tight shot looked like McCain was standing in front of a "green screen" with no superimposed image.  The second was a blurry mess until the long shot revealed it to be a corn field.  This blue screen isn't much better.

Umm, there was just some really weird disturbance on the convention floor.  Not quite sure what that was about, but apparently some protestor slipped through the cracks.

More tomorrow.  Comment away, but as always, let's keep it a) clean, and b) civil.

Again Bronson Doesn't Get It

Well, once again an aging Baby Boomer fears that 18 year olds might do what he did 37 years ago. Well, if drinking at age 18 were to cause everyone to group to be as ignorant as Peter Bronson is, then I might be inclined to want to do away with drinking all together.

Drinking is not the issue. The deification of drinking so much so fast that you can't stand up is the problem. I drank at age 18, illegally (thank Zeus for the statute of limitations!!) and I am just fine. What I don't get is that on one hand Bronson is in favor of allowing 18 year olds to own guns. He trusts them with that responsibility. He's not against them driving, as far as I know. But, 18 year olds can't be trusted with booze. It just makes no sense. This was a veiled temperance movement that never got off the ground. If Peter fears abusive drinking, then two things are key, don't make drinking such a vice and educate kids to be responsible drinkers. If there were a passing-out-condoms type method (one as proven as condoms to help keep people safer but takes in the reality of life that) then that should be taught in High School. I guess if it ain't abstinence,however, Bronson is not going to educate you on it.

Blah Blah Sarah Palin Blah Blah Blah

I didn't watch the speech last night. I don't like getting pissed off by hollow and pointless pontification, so I avoided the entire GOP Convention. I'm feeling like I need to get my hits up today, so I thought I bury this post and see how many comments I can generate without really commenting on anything.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Javier's open for Happy Hour

Terry and I swam our way (it felt that humid, anyway) towards GABP for our second-last ball game last night, but we got a little sidetracked-- I saw that Javier's was open AND they had a happy hour!

We were the first guests the bartender, Jonathan, had had for Happy Hour. Ever. Since both Terry and I love margaritas, we ordered two of his best.


They were good.

They were really balanced, and Jonathan doesn't believe in sour mix, so it was made with fresh orange and lime juice. This kicked the rear ends of Nada's 'ritas all over downtown. At $6 for their happy hour price and $8 for their regular price, it's a steal.

He has huge plans for the bar-- mojitos, margaritas and other beverages with fresh juices, both by the glass and by the pitcher. Me, I'm just excited about the lack of sour mix behind the bar. I hate that stuff. There's talk of half price appetizers as well-- not sure if that will include the really fascinating seafood selections-- but I'd definitely stop in. Right now, the only advertising they're doing for Happy Hour is a sign on a board outside the restaurant-- I'm serious. No PR, no advertising.

The menu looked pretty good too-- they're not quite open for full dinner yet. They have everything from ceviche to octopus tostadas, to barbacoa and chiles rellenos. The entree prices run from $18-25 (including a salad) and the appetizers from $3-11. Their soup is all in the $10-11 range-- which seems a bit high-- but the rest of the menu seems to be priced well. It's more than, say, La Mexicana and a lot less than Nada. I'll be really interested in trying it out. I've heard nothing but good things about Javier's food during the day-- I can't wait to try it for dinner.

Universal Grille Closed

As I walked past today, I noticed that the Universal Grille, formerly known as Hamburger Mary's, has closed its doors. There'd been a sign on the door (to which I was oblivious) announcing that this weekend would be its last. Its website also announces the closing.

I've not seen any plans for the space.

Borgman Takes Buyout

Is the Enquirer going to have anyone local doing anything anymore with word that Borgman has taken the buyout.

We can be assured that they will not replace him, and the opinion page will suffer with syndication.

Why a Cincinnati Dateline?

This Reuters article on the Sarah Palin controversy is dateline Cincinnati and I can't figure out why. Can anyone shed some light on this?

America Votes Meeting September 4th

Looking for a great volunteer effort to help get out the vote? Check out America Votes.

America Votes is the largest grassroots voter mobilization effort in the country today, and we will be introducing their volunteers to our political organizers in a discussion of how to make Ohio a greener state with better jobs and affordable health care.

The meeting is from 6-8 pm this Thursday (Sept. 4) at the America Votes office at 2300 Montana Ave (Suite 110). There will be a strategy session, followed by a short phone bank, then dinner and mingling.

RSVP by emailing Randy at mwilson@americavotes.org or calling 513.481.7108.

If you can't make it to the meeting but are interested in volunteering, they'll be phone banking every Monday and Thursday from 5-8 pm, and we'll be canvassing on Saturday, September 20, from 10 am-2 pm. The month of October will assuredly be ripe with volunteer opportunities.

America Votes is a permanent local coalition of some of the largest national progressive organizations; our partners include ACORN, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, EMILY'S List, and many others.

Cost of PR

WCPO is reporting proportional representation could cost the County 3 million dollars. Where will the money come from?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Holiday Weekend, Cincinnati Style

My parents (who presently reside near Tampa, Florida) were in town visiting over the long weekend. So we decided to enjoy ourselves, Cincinnati-style. Highlights of the weekend:

Ice cream (well, a chocolate soda for Dad) at the Fountain Square Graeter's;
A Reds game (Saturday's game, which the Reds won in more dramatic fashion than they should have);
A meal at Mitchell's Fish Market in Newport (all right, maybe that's too chain-y to be a Cincinnati meal);
Watching the fireworks from a Queen City riverboat;
Sunday brunch at the Greyhound Tavern in Ft. Mitchell (Julie: if you haven't been, you ought to give it a try);
An afternoon at the Contemporary Arts Center; and
(Without me) a meal at First Watch and some book-shopping at Joseph-Beth.

What did y'all do with your weekend? Feel free to critique my failures as a host (but remember, the folks have been to Cincinnati plenty of times, so we've done lots of other stuff previously).

Monday, September 01, 2008

Open Thread: Take That, Beijing!!!

Last night, I watched the fireworks from a Queen City Riverboat, moored just east of the Purple People Bridge. Pretty darned spectacular.

So here's an open thread. What did you like best (or least)? If you stayed home, was WLWT's coverage any better than last year?