Sunday, November 16, 2008

License Suspensions: A Primer

I'm always amazed: every time the Enquirer has the opportunity to educate the public about a criminal justice issue, it fails. Today's article on license suspensions is an excellent example. The article notes the number of individuals who drive despite having a suspended license, and quotes HamCo Municipal Court Judge Nadine Allen regarding the drag this becomes on the court system.

Judge Allen is right: we don't do a good job, either in Ohio or in Hamilton County, on dealing with the enormous number of individuals who are caught driving with a license in a non-valid status. In this post, I'll describe the problem in greater detail. In my next post, I'll lay out my suggestion to fix this.

Driving without a license or with a suspended license in Ohio is a first-degree misdemeanor, which means that it's an offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. (The exceptions are driving on a license expired for fewer than 6 months, which is punishable only by a $150 fine and no jail time, and repeat driving under OVI-suspension, which is punishable by up to a year.)

It's important to understand the types of license suspensions. I suspect the most common is an "FRA suspension." "FRA" stands for Financial Responsibility Act, the Ohio law that requires all motorists to carry car insurance. The easiest way to get such a suspension is to be cited for a simple traffic violation during a time when you don't have car insurance. The BMV suspends a motorist's license in this situtation. (The BMV also conducts random checks on motorists' insurance; if you fail to respond to a BMV notice requring proof of insurance, your license is suspended.)

Closely related to the FRA suspension is a "judgment suspension." This generally occurs when a person is an automobile accident and doesn't have insurance, and the other driver sues and gets a judgment. In those cases, your license becomes suspended until you've paid off the judgment or entered into some sort of payment arrangement.

Falling too far into arrears on child support can cause a suspension. This can be fixed only by paying a certain percentage of the arrearage and making other arrangements with CSEA.

All felony drug offenses in Ohio carry a mandatory driver's license suspension.

The above suspensions don't carry mandatory jail time. But there are two that do:

First, a twelve-point suspension occurs when you accumulate 12 points on your driver's license. It's done automatically by the BMV. If you're caught and convicted of driving under a 12-point suspension, you'll face a mandatory three days of jail time.

Second, driving under an OVI (formerly DUI) suspension carries mandatory time that increases with each offense (first three days, then ten days, then thirty days). If you're convicted of OVI, the court will suspend your license (your license is also suspended automatically upon testing at or above .08). Ignoring either the automatic (or "administrative") suspension (even prior to conviction) or the court-ordered suspension are treated the same under Ohio law.

Finally, there are a broad category of people who, if caught driving, would be charged with "failure to reinstate." These are people whose license was suspended by either the BMV or a court and whose suspension has expired, but who failed to go to the BMV and pay their reinstatement fee (and perhaps satisfy some other requirements). These folks don't have a valid license, but aren't technically suspended. Nonetheless, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Now that we now what the various license suspensions, if we're worried about the impact these motorists are having on the court system, what do we do?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Speaking of Food

It shouldn't be suprising that the Freestore Foodbank will be in high demand over the next two months. The Enquirer reports that they're predicting record demand.

For what it's worth, you don't have to donate actual food items; the Foodbank has a virtual food drive where you can donate cash based on what items you'd give had you actually gone to the store.

It seems there ought to be a way for all of the local blogs to have some sort of contest to see who can raise the most money and food for the Foodbank. I'm still thinking about how that would work and what the prize would be (other than bragging rights). For the time being, I'll be satisfied by challenging every other Cincinnati blogger to link to the Foodbank's virtual food drive on their blogs.

And if you're stuck deciding between an "Obama Victory" T-shirt and a donation to the Foodbank, go for the Foodbank. Barack will understand.

Whoops (Top Chef Spoiler Ahead)

Julie pointed out that this season of Top Chef would feature a Cincinnati contestant, Lauren Starling Hope of Jag's Steak and Seafood.

Unfortunately, she didn't even make it into the kitchen, being eliminated during the first episode's "quickfire" challenge.

The LA Times offers an episode recap and critique here.

Aside: Bravo's bio of Lauren says that Jag's is the "most luxurious and contemporary steakhouse in Cincinnati." Is this really true? Is it more luxurious than Ruby's or the Precinct?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Voted For Obama, And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

I donated both time (all day Election Day) and money (twice, both in small amounts) to the Obama campaign. It's no surprise that I was happy when he won. But after a two-year long campaign, I was looking forward to the end of emails and calls soliciting support.

A week later, and not so much. I'm still getting emails. Apparently, the DNC went into debt for the Obama campaign. So President-Elect Obama is still fund-raising. But I can get a T-shirt if I give $30 or more.
Woo hoo.

Pulse Ends Print Edition

In a surprise move last week Cincinnati Pulse (Formerly known as the Downtowner) haulted the printing of their weekly newspaper and launched a web only edition at

Web only news sites, as I can tell you personally, are difficult to profitable when you have reporters to pay. As a new source, the paper has greatly improved under the new owners. I hope they are able to make this model work, but without the print copy, they are losing a downtown niche that I think drove readership: available in local establishments. When you could pick up a copy inside Skyline and read it while you ate lunch, that provided a solid niche that will disappear with an online edition.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Silver Lining

Over at PepTalk, Commissioner Pepper notes an 8% increase in third-quarter revenue from the HamCo hotel tax over the same period last year. That's good news.

My guess is that a large portion of this increase is from the NAACP and National Baptist conventions downtown. Are there any indicators that can sort out convention traffic versus what I'd call "pure tourism" (someone saying, "Hey, let's go to Cincinnati for a weekend!")? Nonetheless, it's definitely a positive sign.

Of course, maybe HamCo just found a way to start taxing bedbugs.

(Sorry for the bedbug a downtown resident, I check my bed and body for signs of the critters daily, given the recent outbreak. They're been spotted everywhere, as has been widely reported, including 800 Broadway--the county building that houses juvenile court--and the courthouse.)

Is There Leadership In Local Government These Days?

Local government does a lot more than it did 150 years ago--or even 50 years ago. Thus, it's much more complicated and difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis. That means that our elected officials need the help of professional managers (some would call them bureacrats, which I think is fair apart from the pejorative sense the term has acquired). We want to elect ordinary citizens (Joe the Plumbers) to lead us. But they don't always have the necessary expertise to keep government functioning, and turn to professionals for assistance.

The City of Cincinnati, like many others, has a "City Manager." Previously, I've been critical of Cincinnati's mayor/manager government, and suggested revising the charter to give more power to the mayor.

Hamilton County has an "Administrator." Presently, Patrick Thompson fills that role. Like the City Manager, he proposes a budget (that's what we saw on Monday). After public comment and tinkering by our elected executives, some version of that is then codified.

Here's my problem: creating budgets is governing. It's policy-making. Non-elected government administrators like Thompson (or the City's Milton Dohoney) should stick with management, non-policymaking tasks. When we permit the professional bureaucracy to create budgets, we let our elected officials off the hook; we relieve them of the responsibility of the office we elected them to assume.

Over the last few years, we've seen a pattern with the City budget process. Dohoney announces a budget with draconian cuts, the public is outraged, and then Mayor Mallory swoops in with a plan to save some of the services axed by the Manager's budget. Presently, I'm cynical enough to believe we'll see some form of this with the County budget: now that Thompson has announced a scary budget, Todd Portune, David Pepper, or both will announce a plan that's less harsh--or at least less unpopular.

Why have we allowed our local elected leaders to delegate policymaking decisions to professional administrators? This isn't criticism of Patrick Thompson. (For those who don't realize it, he and his staff spent countless hours on this budget, and produced it only after soliciting and reviewing feedback from every county department head.) But when the President proposes a budget to Congress, it has the President's name on it. He doesn't have his chief of staff sign it, and then publicly review and revise it. Shouldn't we expect the same of our local leaders?

Our county, like local governments across the nation, is facing a dire financial picture. Frankly, if we had a majority Republican Commission, we'd see a sales tax increase this year. (It's an only-Nixon-can-go-to-China thing. Local Democrats won't raise taxes for fear that they'll be labelled "tax and spend liberals." Republicans in this mess would look at the budget and do what needs to be done.) Commissioners Portune and Pepper won't do that, though, so we're faced with the drastically reduced budget presented this week.

So how do we restore real leadership to local government? I'll renew my call to change the city charter, and add to it the suggestion that we look at the way power is delegated in County government.

UPDATE: Having re-read the post, I wanted to make sure I'm not giving the impression that I'm singling our county commissioners out for criticism. I think all three are good public servants working to do the best by the people of this county (albeit from three different perspectives); I think the same will be true of our incoming commissioner. (Of course, all of this could just be my fondness for lawyers.) The trend towards "managers" encroaching on governance is not unique to HamCo; I just want to raise the issue and discuss whether it's a good thing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Protest for Equal Marriage in Cincinnati, 11/15/08

From the wonderful Barry at QueerCincinnati...

A protest in favor of equal marriage will occur at Cincinnati's City Hall on Saturday, November 15 at 1:30p.m. Local students, activists, and community members lead this event as part of a day of national protests in reaction to the passage of Proposition 8 in California, re-banning equal marriage in that state.

The local movement is being organized by Cameron Tolle, a junior at Xavier University and Vice President of the Xavier LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, queer/questioning) Alliance, with the assistance of students from the University of Cincinnati and Miami University, along with several community members. Organizers state that the goal is not to overturn Proposition 8, but to create a national movement and create awareness for the effects that anti-gay legislation has on the local community. The protest will occur in conjunction with other groups from around the country at the same time as part of an initiative launched by; local organizers are in contact with many of these other coalitions as a way of building unity. In the first two days of organization, almost 300 people have stated they will be in attendance; 500 people are expected to attend the event.

"Last week, voters in California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas allowed hate to infiltrate into our political system and classified the LGBTQ community as second-class citizens," Tolle says. "We cannot sit back and watch this happen. We have to let our communities know that we oppose hatred under the law in all forms. In Ohio, we live in a state that has already declared inequality by banning equal marriage and failing to include crimes against LGBTQ individuals under state hate crime laws. We cannot let this hatred under the law perpetuate any further." is a national initiative that was created in reaction to the anger felt by many who believe in equal marriage rights after the passage of California's Proposition 8. It is a loose coalition of activists and organizations who seek to bring positive change in the fight for equality. The movement, less than a week old, is drawing hundreds of thousands of hits a day to its websites. Almost 40 localities have announced protests in correlation with the initiative. More are expected to join in the coming week.

According to the website, the goal is to "come together for debate, for public recognition, and for LOVE! ... [to] move as one full unit, on the same day, at the same hour, the United States of America that we too are UNITED CITIZENS EQUAL [sic] IN MIND, BODY, SPIRIT AND DESERVING OF FULL EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW."

Local organizers are hopeful that the protest will spur discussion and movement towards positive change in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana region. Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana all currently have laws banning equal marriage rights; Ohio and Kentucky have constitutional amendments, passed by voters in 2004, to the same effect.

Suggestion Box

HamCo Commissioner David Pepper is soliciting comments and suggestions on the proposed budget that was released today. While I hope we have a conversation about this issue in the comments here, I doubt that Commissioner Pepper reads our little ol' blog, so be sure to make your point there, too.

HamCo Administrator Patrick Thompson's recommendation (pdf) is available here. The Enquirer's coverage is here. I've read the recommendation; here's what I found notable:

  • Huge cuts to the Sheriff's Office. Patrols in Green, Anderson, and Colerain townships would end. Queensgate would close.
  • The Board of Elections gets a 24% budget decrease, but this is mainly because 2009 is an "off-year," in that no national or state-wide offices are at stake in elections.
  • The County Commissioners and Administration budget is slashed 35%. The County will no longer make any payment to SORTA.
  • The Recorder's Office's budget is reduced by 18%, the Treasurer's by 19%.
  • The Clerk of Courts would lay off one-quarter of its workforce.
  • Administrative functions of the Common Pleas, Municipal, DR, Probate, and Juvenile courts would be consolidated, resulting in 15 layoffs and $1 million in savings.
  • In all likelihood, Hillcrest Training School closes. This leaves juvenile judges with one institutional option: DYS.
  • For Municipal Court, a 20% decrease in funding to pretrial services and private complaint mediation and elimination of mental health funding (making ironic Commissioner Pepper's recent posts on the success of pretrial services and Mental Health Court).
  • The elimination of 22 positions in the Probation Department, including all MDO (mental health-related) probation officers.
  • In the Prosecutor's Office, the elimination of Project Disarm and the Witness Protection program.
  • In addition to the county budget cuts, DJFS is apparently facing a 300-employee layoff because of state cuts.
Let's be civil and polite in the comments. I know, lots of people will get excited about the prospect of making government smaller. But right now, hundreds of our neighbors are facing the loss of their jobs. The county's severance package is pretty lousy, as you'd expect: one week's pay per year of employment, with a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of eight.

Air Travel Bleg

I'm starting to think about making the trek to visit my parents for Christmas. (The really nice thing about having parents who live in Florida is that when you visit them, well, you're in Florida. Awesome in December. Not so great in July.)

Since we all know that CVG is the most expensive airport in the United States, I've been thinking about flying on a lower-cost carrier from Dayton or Lexington. And that leads to my question: does anyone have any recent experience flying on AirTran they could share in the comments?

All I know about AirTran is that they're the successor company to ValuJet. Valujet, of course, went out of business in the mid-90's after one of their planes practically exploded. I had travelled on that airline--on the same route as the flight that went down--about a week before that tragedy, and vowed I'd never travel ValuJet again (my own experience had been horrific, involving a delayed flight and a broken cabin door), and have thus far imputed that pledge to AirTran. I'm wondering if it's time to rethink that, given the really low rates you can get from Dayton.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Cincinnati 26, West Virginia 23

O Cincinnati, magic name
I proudly to the world proclaim
No sweeter word e'er charmed my ear
None to my heart was e'er so dear;
A fountain of eternal youth,
A tower of strength, a rock of truth.

Varsity, dear Varsity
Thy loyal children we will be.
Thy loyal, loyal children we will be!

A big win for the Bearcats against a Big East, Top 25 opponent.

I understand the folks in Knoxville are already talking about hiring Brian Kelly to replace Phil Fulmer, who announced that he will resign at the conclusion of the season. Let's hope Coach Kelly can resist Tennessee's siren song. Coach Kelly: do you really want to listen to "Rocky Top" a million times each season? And no one looks good in orange. Remember this: black is slimming. Orange makes you look like the Great Pumpkin.

And to my Vol friends: Wyoming? Really? You don't deserve Brian Kelly.

The Last Acceptable Bigotry

People from all parts of the political spectrum joined in lauding the election of our first African-American president this week. But casting a pall over our celebration is America's ongoing blind-spot with regards to civil rights.

Three states--California, Arizona, and Florida--passed anti-gay-marriage ballot initiatives on Tuesday. Arkansas went one step further, banning unmarried couples (which would, of course, include committed gay couples) from becoming adoptive or foster parents.

Markos Moulitsas, an important voice for progressives (though sometimes not as important as he thinks he is), argues that this is "the flashpoint in the culture wars." But this is precisely the wrong way to frame the issue. Permitting gay couples the right to marry does not wage a culture war: it does not threaten to change, in any way, the lives of those who have no desire to participate in a gay marriage. Protection of gay marriage would not mean that one's local priest would have to perform a wedding mass for a gay couple. Instead, it simply means that gay Americans would enjoy the same rights as all other Americans.

Particularly disconcerting is the tension between the African-American and gay communities. (We saw that locally when Rev. Shuttlesworth took part in the "Equal Rights Not Special Rights" nonsense.) Several reports suggest that California's Proposition 8 passed largely due to its support among African Americans. (See this column, though, for a contrary viewpoint.) I've never understood why such a high propotion of African Americans harbor anti-gay sentiments.

So while we should celebrate how far we've come, we must not lose sight of how much farther we still must travel if we are to uphold the rights and dignity of all Americans.

An Open Letter On Election Reform In Ohio

Dear Representative Mallory and Senator Kearney:

After the 2004 election, the Ohio legislature undertook significant reforms of its electoral process. While the 2008 election passed without the controversy of four years ago, there is still much fine-tuning to be done. With a Democratic majority in the State House and a Democratic governor, the time for further reform is sooner rather than later. Here are my respectful suggestions:

  • In implementing the requirements of the Help America Vote Act, remember that Congress's intent was that the statute be a shield to protect the right of citizens to vote. This year, the GOP sought to use it as a bludgeon to disenfranchise certain voters, and those efforts must be rebuffed.

  • The new system of "no-fault" absentee voting was a step in the right direction. Now is the time to complete the tranformation, and adopt what others states refer to as "early voting." A true early-voting sytem should require that counties open additional polling places in the fortnight (or longer) prior to Election Day. Moreover, early voting would entail the same identification verification required on Election Day. It is incongruous and incomprehensible that a voter walking into a precinct on Election Day is required to produce valid ID, while a voter who goes to the Board of Elections one day earlier need not do so. Such a compromise (easier access to the ballot prior to Election Day, but with greater safeguards) would likely be met with bipartisan support.

  • Eliminate Ohio's antiquated precinct-based voting system. In other states (Florida is one example), during the early-voting period, voters were permitted to visit any polling place throughout the state to cast a ballot. Once they reached the polling place, their driver's licenses were swiped through a magnetic card reader (our current licenses have this feature available should the legislature choose to make it useful), and their ballot was printed from laser printers in the polling place (since local issues would still vary even, in some cases, precinct-by-precinct). As you know, under current Ohio law, a voter could cast a ballot at the proper polling place but at the wrong precinct (in other words, the right building, but the wrong table), and his or her ballot would be discarded. In our technologically-driven era, there is no justification for such a requirement.

  • Standardize Ohio's voting mechanism. Ohio made a mistake in permitting each county to determine whether to adopt optical-scan ballots or direct-recording electronic machines (DRE's). Instead, all counties should be required to use optical-scan ballots (paper ballots that are filled out by voters and then scanned into a computer in the polling place). The advantages of optical-scan ballots are two-fold. First, voters have more confidence in a paper ballot. Given Secretary Brunner's report on DRE's, this sentiment may have some justification. (Regardless of whether such confidence is justified, the importance of the public's confidence in a clean election cannot be overstated.) Second, voting by optical-scan ballots is more conducive to high-turnout elections. With paper ballots, the number of voters who can vote at once is limited only by the space and number of pens in a polling place. The old-fashioned stand-up "booths" are not even required, as tables with privacy screens can be set up, or clipboards can be handed to voters. Because of the cost of DRE equipment, most precincts will have just a few machines. While alternative paper ballots are available, they are brought out only if a particular voter asks for them or if poll workers decide, in their own judgment, to bring them out. And voters may be wary about casting a ballot in a different manner than the standard method for the precinct. Thus, optical-scan ballots provide the most secure, most time-efficient manner of voting and should be mandated state-wide.
The new composition of the Ohio House provides an excellent opportunity for progressive legislation. There can be no more important issue for progressives than safeguarding the right of every citizen's voice to be heard and vote to count. I hope that you will act on these measures early in the next legislative session.


Donald R. Caster
A constituent with too much time on his hands on a Saturday afternoon

The New (Old) NAACP

This month's Streetvibes has an excellent article (written by Lew Moores) about the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP (so give a buck to the next vendor you see and get a copy!). Moores argues that the NAACP has experienced a "renaissance" under the leadership of Chris Smitherman, much as it did under the leadership of Marian Spencer several years ago.

Certainly, Smitherman (with whom I sometimes disagree, but for whom I have a great deal of respect) has revitalized the local chapter of our nation's foremost civil rights organization. Its membership is up dramatically, and over the last couple years, it has helped to shape our local political discourse in ways that it did not during the first part of this decade.

For Smitherman and the NAACP to advance their agenda any further, however, they must develop and put into action a solid get-out-the-vote strategy. Yes, of the three ballot initiatives identified with the NAACP (the "jail tax" opposition, red-light camera opposition, and PR), two passed. But (without diminishing the effort it took to place these on the ballot), these were layups. It's not hard to convince people to vote against the increase of a fundamentally regressive tax or the onerous red-light cameras, which no one seems to like.

This year's election results bear out the NAACP's GOTV failures. In the City of Cincinnati, turnout was just 58%, lagging well behind county-wide turnout of 66%. What's more, of the 134,000 ballots cast, 20,000 (or 15%) recorded no vote (meaning no vote at all, not a "no" vote) on Issue 8, which would have brought a return to proportional representation in City Council elections. Local races and issues always receive a significant undervote, but Issue 8's undervote is extraordinarily high: Issue 7 had just under 13,000 undervotes (about 9 percent).

Of the two NAACP-backed initiatives on this year's ballot, certainly Issue 8 would have had a greater overall impact on Cincinnati than on Issue 7, making it the more important of the two. (In fairness: Issue 8's undervote is likely due in part to extremely poor ballot placement, as it was the only contest on the last page of a four-page ballot. Some voters may not have even realized it was there.) With Issue 8 failing by just 8,000 votes and 20,000 voters participating in the election but sitting out the Issue 8 contest, the NAACP failed to either a) educate the public about the issue, or b) get its supporters to the polls.

While the Cincinnati NAACP still has some work to do, it's terrific to see the re-emergence of this important voice in our community, and it will be exciting to see the continued growth of both the organization and its president.

(Current vote tallies available here.)

Setback for Downtown

While we were busy talking about the election and Halloween last weekend, the Terrace Hotel (on Sixth between Vine and Race) suddenly closed its doors. This is a pretty prominent spot right in the middle of the primary business and entertainment district, so its disheartening to know that the building will likely be vacant for some time.

Anyone have any inside scoop on plans for the building?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Peter Bronson, Constitutional Law Scholar

With the election over, we can turn our attention to this blog's favorite pastime: exposing the foolishness of Peter Bronson.

Yesterday, Mr. Bronson published an essay on his most recent trip to Gettysburg. I'm not sure what his point was (civil war is bad?). This little nugget, though, caught my attention (emphasis mine):
The South's cause was tainted by the slavery they relied on to produce 60 percent of America's exports and 75 percent of the world's cotton. But their reading of the Constitution was correct: The states delegated powers to the federal government, and they had a right to file for divorce if the domestic abuse was intolerable.

So, Peter Bronson believes that the Constitution gives states the right to secede? Wow. Maybe the Alaskan Independence Party will invite him to introduce Sarah Palin at its next convention.

I pulled open my Constitution, looking for a Secession Clause. I didn't find one. And guys like Bronson believe that the only rights guaranteed by the Constitution are those specifically enumerated therein. So why does he believe in such a right?

What's more, Bronson's position--that there is a right of secession--was squarely repudiated by the Supreme Court. In Texas v. White, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase (near and dear to the hearts of Cincinnatians) held that Texas--which was once a sovereign republic--had no right to secede. Chase wrote:
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained "to form a more perfect Union." It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?

I'm not sure what prompted Bronson's miniature states' rights tirade. Perhaps he was thinking that if Obama won, he could lead Ohio to secede from the United States. But it'd be nice if someone at the Enquirer would "fact-check" Bronson once in a while before going to print.

Roses Are Red . . .

And Hamilton County is blue.

I hope to post some actual analysis later today, once I've recovered from a long day yesterday and had enough time to process what happened yesterday.

But one thing seems undeniable: Hamilton County has shifted, whether demographically, politically, or both. The Democratic candidate for President carried the county with just over 52% of the vote.

Steve Driehaus defeated Congressman Chabot.

And perhaps most surprising (and the biggest departure from recent tradition), Democratic-endorsed judges won two of three contested elections in the Court of Common Pleas.

Hamilton County saw relatively low voter turnout: less than 67%, according to the preliminary numbers from the BOE. Of course, this does not include provisional ballots. But this is lower than early state-wide estimates, and lower than the 2004 election.

There's much thinking to do about yesterday's election.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Know Hope --- President-Elect Barack Obama

I can only join with Satchmo --- as a child of the old South, as a descendant of slave owners, I have gone from seeing "Colored" restrooms and "Whites Only" restaurants all around me to this moment. It is an amazing moment.

More on the Campain Trail

Some more scenes from the Obama get out the vote efforts:

Early morning at the polls in Mt. Washington.

No language barriers for Obama supporters!

The After-Parties

In what I am sure will be victory parties, here's the list I've got on where to go to party an Obama/Democrat win:

1. Cadillac Ranch - Main Cincinnati Obama Party
2. Northside Tavern - Cincy Rocks Obama
3. Tickets in Covington - NKY Dems.
4. Sulley's - Driehaus Party
5. The Comet - America Votes
6. Below Zero - Human Rights Campaign

Any other locations?

UPDATE#1: Added the HRC's event at Below Zero.

UPDATE#2: While not a party per see, the big screen at Fountain Square will have on CNN starting at 6:30 PM with the election returns. No actual events are going on since they are putting in the ice rink.