Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Challenger for 2011 City Council

Yvette Simpson announced last week that she is a candidate for the 2011 Cincinnati City Council race. By my tally, that makes her the second non-incumbent to announce. Her campaign's Facebook page is here.

Yvette is a 2004 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where I came to know her as an intelligent, hard-working, passionate individual. If she doesn't win a Council seat next year, it won't be for lack of effort.

I haven't seen news of this in the traditional media or on any of the local blogs, yet. (Griff's lack of coverage is surprising, since Yvette is a 2000 Miami grad and is currently the Director of Pre-Law Programs at MU.)

For those of you keeping a geopolitical scoreboard, she is (I believe) a downtown resident.

I wish my friend Yvette good luck in next year's race.

Preemptive Strike From the CFD in Budget War

Resolving the City of Cincinnati's 50 million dollar budget deficit will be a battle of wills and the Cincinnati Fire Department has fired the first volley in that fight. The Cincinnati Police Department will soon take a shot at countering the CFD's claims of critical need. Putting panic in the minds of the public is the biggest weapon in this battle, and both departments will fight until the last round is spent.

The question ahead: will city council be able to stick together and find an equitable deal? We're over a year from a city election, but is that far enough away for the conservative block to fend off the FOP's tar and feathering to come for those who vote to cut any FOP jobs? Or is the deficit big enough to force even the FOP to take some sort of cut to uniformed members? More to come. I'm wondering if anyone will try and rustle up some shock and awe. I don't think it will fly this time around.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thank You Cincinnati Reds!

If you had told me at the start of the season that the Reds would make the playoffs and lose in the first round, I would have been excited for a great season. Well, the Cincinnati Reds had a great season. They were not the best team in baseball, but they were near the top.

Last night I witnessed that loss in the first round from the upper deck at GABP and it was thrilling. The crowd was the biggest ever at GABP and they stood a majority of the game. It was what baseball is supposed to be. Our team was playing and that was enough to cheer about. We wanted the Reds to win, but it was just great being there.

The team played well this season and shows great promise. They made watching baseball fun. I want to thank the team for helping me find that fun again in baseball.

2011 will be a good year for the Reds. We have something in our baseball team most other cities don't: character. Let's build on that. Let's Go Reads.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bearcats 45, Miami 3

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!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Eddie Fingers Appears To Be Gone From WLW

Afternoon radio host, Eddie Fingers, appears to have been fired from 700WLW-AM. The long time FM morning host on WEBN switched to the higher rated AM Station within the last couple of years. His show on the "Big One" was getting good ratings. There is no official word on why he was fired. John Kieswetter, of the Enquirer, blogged last night that he sources indicate it may have been a contract dispute that got out of hand. That seems like a B.S. answer, but not totally false. There is always more to the story.

This all assumes the whole thing isn't a really bad hoax. WLW is known for pretending to fire people. If they did that here, and Fingers is on vacation, then this much lying is really pathetic. WLW is not above being pathetic.

I listen to either NPR or my ipod in the car both on the way to work and on the way home. The only value WLW holds is a breaking news outlet. If there is a tornado coming or snow storm, WLW does great work. It does pretty good work on 'news' but it devotes so little time to it, it is lost in the shuffle.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

No-Hitter Rant

I just posted the following to my facebook page. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.

Halladay was terrific yesterday, and what he did was historic. But let's not pretend that he joined Don Larsen. Larsen is still in a class of his own. Larsen pitched a perfect game, not just a no-hitter. And he did so in the World Series, not the league semi-finals. And finally (though not Halladay's fault), while I love my Reds, the 2010 Reds are not the 1956 Dodgers.


For the uninitiated, the playoffs did not even begin until 1969. Before then, the best team in the AL and the best team in the NL, based solely on season record, met in the World Series. Larsen threw a perfect game (27 batters retired consecutively, with none reaching first base safely) against the best team the National League had to offer. Halladay threw a no-hitter against the third-best team in the National League.

And with all due respect to Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto, I see no one with the stature of Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, or Roy Campanella on the Reds Roster.

Here's the box score to Larsen's perfect game. Here it is for the Reds-Phillies game last night.

Can Someone Tell Smitherman How Representative Democracy Works?

Did Chris Smitherman, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, ever take a civics class in high school? He was on city council for two years, so I would think he understands, at least superficially, how a representative democracy works, but I guess not. Instead he wants the public to vote on where the casino funding should go. We have an election in 2011. Someone might want to remind Chris about that. He should spend his time getting people to vote in that election. That is how our system works. His efforts to erode representative democracy have failed in the past and this will meet the same fate.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Clothing Line Re-Launch Has Local Roots

Remember those Hypercolor clothes from the '80s and '90s? You know, the shirts and windbreakers that started blue, and then turned pink with warmth (or was it the other way around)? Well, a duo that includes local attorney Vance VanDrake has bought the trademark (and, presumably, the technology) and is about to re-introduce the thermochromatic clothes to the public.

I met Vance in law school (he was two years behind me at UC). It looks like he and his business partner are taking a very smart approach to the re-launch, making full use of the web and social media. Hypercolor's Facebook page is here. This isn't the easiest business environment in which to launch a new business, and I wish the venture success.

Thanks Greg Hartman!

Greg Hartman, Hamilton County Comissioner, thank you so much for reminding me so clearly why I didn't vote for you.  Thanks also, Greg, for reminding me why I am NOT a Republican, since you're considered "mainstream" in your party.  Also, thanks for giving me another oportunity to make it clear why Chris Monzel would be terrible for our county, since Monzel is far more conservative than you.

Hartman is an idiot.  No one is forced to contrubute to these charities, and they are 501(c)3's by the way, so what is the issue? The groups he is out to hurt, are not political. They help people.  They fight AIDS, they fight violence. They provide food to the poor.  They help keep women healthy.  They help adults learn a new career. They provide music.  They give a the community a change to communicate. There are groups I wouldn't give money too, but anyone donating can pick which groups they want to fund, like the United Way does, so how is this in anyway a problem for anyone?  Is Hartman pissed he was consulted about it?

How many religious based groups are on the Unitied Way's list?  I think it is very reasonalble to consider the Roman Catholic Church as a controversial group and they are at least indirectly in control of the Catholic Charities SouthWestern Ohio, a group that received $949,000 dollars from the United Way in 2010. That is far more money than everyone from Community Shares got, combined x 3!

Also consider:
Crossroad Health Center
Diocesan Catholic Children's Home, Inc.
The Salvation Army of Greater Cincinnati
All three religious groups are funded by the United Way. More controversy, Greg!  Where's your anger?  This groups are controversial to some.  Why are religious groups not considered controversial?

Portune is right, Hartman is going to ruin this for everyone.  The United Way, Artswave, and Community Shares don't get much direct material benefit from the County's employer campaign, other than providing help in solicitation and processing of contributions if done by payroll deduction.  This is very much in line with what the government should be doing for 501(c)3 organizations. Hartman should, I don't know, grow a Heart?  Layoff the charities, the poor, and maybe think about finding a way avoid giving away more county money to the Bengals.  Just because you lose to the Browns, that doesn't qualify you for a handout.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Let's Go Reds!

With the playoffs about to visit Cincinnati for the first time since 1995, a couple quick notes:

ESPN's Howard Bryant has a terrific profile on Dusty Baker. Go read it. You'll learn a lot. (Did you know that Dusty was on deck when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run?) For those of you who still don't like Dusty, what will it take to get you on the bandwagon? He's probably the NL Manager of the Year. You say he can't manage young players. Really? Joey Votto had an MVP season a year after leaving the field with panic attacks. You say he can't handle a pitching staff. Right. On April 2, if I'd told you the Reds would make the playoffs but Harang wouldn't be on the playoff roster, would you have believed me?

Anyone who hasn't enjoyed watching the Reds this year just doesn't have a soul. The Reds have played baseball the right way. They're fun to watch, and easy to root for.

We're going to be ignored by the national media for a while. The stories will be all Atlanta Braves, all the time. The national media love the thought of Cox winning a ring in his last season. That's OK. Just smile and let the Reds take care of business, the way they have all season.

The Enquirer is asking what you're more likely to watch on Sunday: the NL Central Champion Reds or the barely .500 Bengals. (To me, that choice is easy.) I think local people will have a harder time deciding where to spend Friday: at home watching the Reds, or at a high school football game. (Again, to me, it's an easy choice, but I'm not so sure for alumni and parents from certain high schools.)

And finally, who do you think is a better leader of young men: Dusty Baker, Marvin Lewis, Butch Jones, or Mick Cronin?

ACLU on "Debtors' Prisons"

Today, the ACLU released "In for a Penny: The Rise of America's New Debtors' Prisons." (Hat tip: Enquirer Politics Blog.) The report looks at policies in Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, and Washington and concludes that indigent defendants are being incarcerated because of their inability to pay fines or court costs. Both the US and Ohio Supreme Courts have repeatedly held that such treatment of people who cannot pay is unlawful.

The ACLU's discussion of Ohio begins at page 43 of the report, and Hamilton County is mentioned at page 50. The report says this:
Renowned Cincinnati civil rights attorney Bob Newman notes that, at least in Hamilton County, he is not aware of any individuals who are serving time for nonpayment of fines. This is not because courts strictly follow the constitution and statutes barring the jailing of indigent defendants—it’s because the jails are already overcrowded. Courts simply have no room to incarcerate nonviolent offenders.

It's unclear whether the judgment that our local courts don't really care about the constitution is Bob's or the ACLU's. Either way, it's probably mistaken. Recently, the Hamilton County Public Defender has done an excellent job of educating our judges regarding its clients' constitutional rights in this area. What's more, earlier this year, the municipal court started sending unpaid fines and costs to a collection agency. For the most part, when a defendant fails to pay a fine (even if s/he fails to appear at a "stay-to-pay" date), a warrant no longer issues; instead, the case is "sent to collections." The result will be less crowded dockets and--if Montgomery County's experience is any indicator--increased collection of fines and costs (perhaps proving the conservative meme that the private sector usually does things better than the government).

This is overall an interesting report, and makes some points that should be considered. Of particular concern should be the abuse of the indigent in Ohio's mayor's courts. (At least one local municipality has an ordinance making it a separate crime to fail to pay a fine levied in a criminal case.) But Hamilton County is on the right track, and the report is, perhaps, unfairly critical.

Do The Mashed Potato

As the weather turns cooler, it's time for a return to comfort food. And right now, my favorite comfort food dish is Mayberry's mashed potatoes. Creamy and with just the right amount of pepper, they were the perfect side dish with lunch today. Lunch itself was the turkey hot brown, also a great comfort food item just in time for fall.

Cincinnati Film Festival Starts October 8th

Starting this Friday the Cincinnati Film Festival International Film Festival brings fresh short and feature films to venues across the Cincinnati area. Running from October 8th through the 16th, this festival (formally the Oxford International Film Festival) presents an ambitious schedule of events to complement the film screenings, including workshops on film making, a movie premier at the Hollywood Casino in Indiana, and a Gala at Memorial Hall.

Ticket information is here. More from the Enquirer.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Eric Deters Is Suing 'Whistleblower' Publisher

I really wanted my headline to read "Eric Deters is Suing an Asshole," but I didn't want to get myself personally wrapped up in a lawsuit, so I'll try to avoid it by saying I will not shed a tear seeing Jim Schifrin having to spend time or money to defend himself in court for allegedly making libelous claims about Eric Deters in the "Whistleblower" email newsletter.

Back in August Schifrin published an allegation that Deters was having an affair with Nicole Howell, the former teacher who was accused of having sex with a student. Deters was her attorney and successfully got her acquitted on those charges. According to the Enquirer article, she now works for Deters as a personal assistant.

I don't know and don't really care what Eric Deters does in his personal life. He is not someone I would say had a crystal clear persona before this allegation was made, but that comes with being a flashy defense attorney. If he ever thinks about running for office, well, then I might think otherwise. Investigating his actions as a lawyer or employer would be relevant in judging his fitness for public office. There is no evidence Deters has thoughts in that area, but in journalistic terms, that would be this kind of information something worth investigating. It is never good journalism to print rumors, especially rumors about sex.

I don't like the crap Schifrin writes. He is just a plain old fashioned asshole, and his many attacks on people based on race, religion, gender, etc are clear to anyone who reads his newsletter.

That being said, I hope Deters loses the case. I think he will, anyway. If his purpose is to bring some negative attention to the crusty old man, then good! If Deters is trying anything else, then he is wrong.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hamilton County Commission Candidates Forum

WVXU's Impact Cincinnati hosted both candidates, Jim Tarbell and Chris Monzel, yesterday for a forum (MP3) on the campaign.

Monzel still didn't give any details on what he would cut from the budget to make up the deficit. He won't cut the Sheffif patrols. He stated he has a list of of the budget items detailed in a spreadsheet, but doesn't know what he would cut. He blathered on about multiple HR departments. He wants to roll up his sleeves after he takes office, but he doesn't seem to have time to add up the numbers. He has a spreadsheet to know the numbers. 15 Million dollars can't be made up by reducing office supplies. If he wants to be trusted, he should say now what he would cut. 15 Million would require cutting a large number of staff. It means cutting the jobs of actual people who perform services for the County. Monzel should be honest with voters and tell us what services he would cut to make up the deficit, if elected. He has not proposed any revenue changes that will either be tangible or will close future gaps, so cuts are his only way to fufill his plan to have "less" government.

What people need to remember is that Monzel is currently a City Council member in a city with a 50 million dollar deficit. He has access to the City Budget. He has not rolled up his sleeves and found what can be cut to make up that budget deficit. What makes anyone think he will do that for the County? I think he'll follow Greg Hartman and shift money from indigent health services. If he is going to do that, he needs to make it clear. Give the voters full knowledge of his intentions. The code words are there. He wants "less government." He is against Metro government. He wants the power structure to remain the same, and the only place to cut where you don't hurt your political power is cutting the services for the poor.

Monzel has been a terrible Councilman, and will be a bad Commissioner.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too Much Time On Their Hands

After seeing some Reds players light up cigars to celebrate their clinching first place in the National League Central the other night, five people called the state anti-smoking hot line.


I was (and am) in favor of the smoking ban. But good grief, folks. Get a life.

Westwood Civic Association Acting Politically?

Is John Sess, President of the Westwood Civic Association, using a meeting of the organization to benefit Republican Candidates? Kevin Osborne at CityBeat has an article which alleges the meeting, to occur on October 5th, has two GOP candidates on the attendee list, but no Democratic candidates. The event, as Kevin details, was not publicized as a candidate forum. The question is, where Democratic candidates offered a direct special invitation. Will the GOP candidates be allowed to speak? If they do, the event should be seen as a partisan event. Something that will not go over well with the WCA's mission or status.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ignorance at the Enquirer on County Commisssion

If the Enquirer is going to endorse a candidate they might back up their basis for picking that candidate. Their basis for the Hamilton County Commission race was:
"But Chris Monzel (R) appears to offer a clearer opportunity for forward-looking solutions and creative thinking at the county, which faces tough choices with a looming stadium fund deficit and other challenges."
Appears? Might they cite something? They say he works at GE, but what good did that do him at City Hall?

The say he has a "penchant" for "provocative" propasals. How about naming one of them? Just ONE of them. Selling the stadiums? Is that it? Didn't see that in the article. Was it background checks on Ice Cream truck vendors? Didn't see that mentioned. There's nothing else he's put out there. NOTHING. If there was something, the Eqnurier would have printed it.

Instead of providing an actual basis for who they are endorsing they go on the attack with a quote from their fake debates. The Enquirer held mini-debates in front of the Editorial Board. That "appears" to be the sole reason for their choice. Or rather I would wager this was their justification for opposing Jim Tarbell, someone who isn't a favorite of the Enquirer.

I accept the reality that the Enquirer is Republican, it is, and it has been for a hundred years or more, but I really don't like them phoning it in. If you just don't like Tarbell, say that is why you are picking Monzel. Don't make stuff up about Monzel and then conveniently leave out the details. If he has solutions for the County, what are they? He had no solutions for the City, but I guess his past performance of doing nothing on council isn't something they considered relevant or I guess it didn't "appear" to be relevant. Jim Tarbell's past performance "appears" to be something they are holding against him. I wonder what Jim did to piss them off? Fighting the power doesn't win many friends on Third Street. It would matter more if Third Street was more relevant.

If Monzel wins and signs on to Hartman's plan to cut funding for indigent health care, I guess being lied to won't be relevant either.

On Twitter I read some's question asking how they made their endorsement choices. Well, having their head in the sand is part of it. Something that needs to change. At some point the Enquirer needs to break the cycle of ignorance, but it wasn't this year.

Friday, September 24, 2010

MidPoint Day One - Hot Smiles

Thursday nights at MidPoint are traditionally quiet nights. Most people have to work the next day. Most people are holding out until Friday & Saturday to really fill the venues. This year I'm happy to report that Thursday was hot, both literally and musically. If you didn't make it out, you missed out.

I hit Grammers first and that meant seeing a local favorite first: Wussy. Chuck and Lisa are steamy together and last night Chuck's distortion ripped through the opening song Rigor Mortis. The group was pumped and pushing the envelope a bit. Even as I poured through the PBR, the heat of the evening didn't end until the sun had long been set.

Male Bonding was good, but very rough. I wasn't blown away and maybe the fact that I was more interested in talking with several friends drove me from listening intently. Maybe it was the heat. Best Coast was much better and by this point the crowd had really swelled. So had the heat.

Let me say the Metro buses were great and are air conditioned, which came in handy. They were also the perfect spot to chat up others about what bands they were going to next. Some were on their way to see Shonen Knife, some You, You're Awesome and Holy F*ck, but a good sized number, along with myself wanted to see Van Dyke Parks.

My knowledge of Van Dyke Parks was limited to his MySpace page. His music was very different. Very-non-indie-rock, something that I want more of at MidPoint, which is one of the reasons I was pleased when I listened to their samples. The Group's picture was of a 65+ year old white haired man. I honestly thought this might be a bit of joke. Well, it turns out that I'm joker. Van Dyke Parks is famous. I mean Beach Boys famous. He's a well known composer arranger, most noted for working with Brian Wilson on his famed album Smile. He is the white haired man in the PR photo.  He's also very aware of this fact and didn't hide it, joking often about it.

Parks played the Blue Wisp. Where else would he play? He fit in there like a musical king and musicians go to the Wisp to praise other musicians. The Blue Wisp was packed when we got there, and thankfully the fire marshal was not around. Clare and Reasons were still on stage and their music blew me away. I meant to put them on my list of picks, but for some reason I screwed up. If I believed in it, I would say fate led me to the Wisp early, but I don't, so I will just share my joy at their encore song "He Needs Me" which was written by Harry Nilsson. It is such a beautiful song and Clare and Reasons invited Van Dyke Parks up on stage to play with them for it. I was humming along to it very loudly. It only took me a few seconds to remember where it came from: Robert Altman's Popeye. I had always assumed that it was an old standard. Today I wanted to look it up, see who the composer was, so I didn't just reference the movie and appear ignorant. Well, it turns out the song, along with the rest of the score for movie, where original, by Harry Nilsson. I dug a little bit more, and as I was reading I ran across the golden ticket to a musical version of the "Rest of the Story". The music to Popeye was arranged by Van Dyke Parks. So, there it was. It all came back to something near a point. It was charming, it was cute.  If had a girlfriend I would want her to sing this to me all the time. It maybe up staged Van Dyke Parks a bit to me.  Maybe it was the amount of beer I had, anyway, I was really moved by it. In case you don't know the song, here's a snippet from the movie:

If that doesn't put a smile your face, not much will. Clare and the Reasons version was better on a thousand levels, but tall skinny girls are more gracefully challenged, and make for better movie stars.

Day two of MidPoint is almost ready to being, so get out and find your own smile tonight.

Willie Cunningham Wants Bigger Government!

Don't anyone tell the 'Tea Party,' but local Conservative radio talk show host and chronic suffer of Say-Anything-For-Ratings Syndrome, Bill Cunningham, has publicly endorsed a Deer Park Schools bond issue. Mr. Cunningham graduated from Deer Park High School. I will be waiting for his negative calls climb like Mt. Rumpke, defining him as a socialist for supporting public schools. I may be waiting in vain, but I will still wait.

What happens all too often with Conservative voters is they talk a big talk, but when it comes to cutting government, they only want to cut programs that affect others, not ones they care about. Good government is the honest answer to how to run a country, state, or city. We don't always succeed, but we need the government to be there and public schools are one of the most important ways governments keep society from imploding, outside of the pesky Rule of Law thing, but that's not a big topic for Willie.