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.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pre-MidPoint X-Mas, MOTR, and Rambling

So, it is a mere few hours before MidPoint starts and I am sitting in a coffeehouse on the hottest September 23rd in Cincinnati history. I am excited. I feel like it is Christmas morning and my parents are not up yet, meaning I only get to see what Santa brought me in my stocking. The piled up gifts under the tree will wait until my parents awake. You can't rush this. My older siblings are on duty to keep me occupied while we wait. My Dad was up late last night putting one of my gifts together, and I need to let him sleep.

I snuck a peek at that gift Dad had to assemble last night: MOTR Pub, the newest original music venue in Cincinnati. It's on Main Street where MidPoint began and lives where Cooper's once resided. Having a Hudy Amber as I stood by the stage, I felt wave of nostalgia flow over me. I remember seeing a for Algernon show there with a huge line-up that forced the keyboardist to set up in front of the stage. It was the best I've heard them play. I don't remember what year it was, maybe 2005 or 2006, but was a time before Main Street really died. It was dying, but had not gone cold. Well, what felt good last night was that it was clear to me that Main Street has risen from the ashes and along with the rest of Over-the-Rhine it will be a cultural beacon for Cincinnati this weekend.

I know those who have not been to Over-the-Rhine since the Main Street Brewery closed last century will make dumb jokes. I don't really care anymore. The jokes have been fewer and fewer the last couple of years, as OTR and Downtown have started to return to their rightful place as the center of culture for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. They never stopped being the actual center of culture for the Cincinnati region, but those who live where chain restaurants and watching American Idol pass for culture are beginning to see how a vibrant urban care brings the most cultural value to a society.  The tide has turned.

OTR will have a permanent up-tick from MOTR and with its success will help keep MidPoint and local original music going forward in Cincinnati.

Now it's time to tweak my Day One MidPoint schedule for the 11th time.  If you are out tonight, say hi and buy me a beer!

More MidPoint Picks

Still not sure who to see at MidPoint this year? Well, Classicgrrl at has her out of town must see bands as well as local picks.

UrbanCincy's Dave Rolfes has some advice on Midpoint, which includes info on the Fest extras and some band picks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mayberry Foodstuffs Coming

I'd heard rumors of this a while back, but haven't posted so that the news could break in the traditional media first. As reported by today's Business Courier, World Restaurant Group's Josh Campbell will open an "urban grocery store" at Seventh and Main this November. Josh is currently playing with Mayberry Foodstuffs as the business's name. It'll cater both to downtown residents and to downtown workers who want to take dinner home.

Josh is clearly quite excited by the idea. (And when Josh gets excited, good things happen, as anyone who's been to one of Mayberry's supper club events knows!) The store will be open until 10:00--a blessing for downtowners. Right now, if I want a loaf of bread after 7:00, I have to leave the neighborhood to get it.

I'll definitely have a review once the store opens, but this is obviously a positive step forward for downtown.

And as long as I'm saying nice things about Chef Campbell, I ought to offer two other tidbits:

First, Mayberry's lunch menu changed last week to a fall offering. I haven't tried everything yet, but can recommend both the turkey hot brown and the "Menage a Trois." (The latter is recommended only if you schedule an immediate visit with your cardiologist. The sandwich is the ultimate homage to pork: pork loin, pulled pork, and bacon hot slaw, along with brie cheese and Josh's spicy beer mustard.) The mashed potatoes are also very good--unsurprising, given Mayberry's skill with carbohydrates.

Second, next Thursday (September 30th), City Cellars will host a beer and foodie event from 7 until 10. The beer portion of the evening is dedicated to the 175th Anniversary Hudepohl Amber Lager. On the culinary menu will be dishes from Josh Campbell, including spiced lamb burgers and baby back ribs. Fifteen bucks gets you dinner and three beers. I have to teach that night, or I'd be there. Reservations required.

ENS's Guide to MidPoint 2010

The team over at Each Note Secure has the most comprehensive Indie music coverage in the City and released their guide to MidPoint which includes a two good selections of local bands to see and new hot out-of-town bands. Check it out if you are going to MidPoint.  If you read ENS why would you not be going to MidPoint?

Metromix Lists 20 Must See MidPoint Acts

The Enquirer's Metromix has listed its list of 20 acts to check out this weekend at the MidPoint Music Festival.  I am again pleased with the level of coverage the Enquirer has been given MidPoint in this being the third year that MidPoint is run by CityBeat. A large portion comes from their blog network, but there have been other good articles in Enquirer itself.  I hope to see more reports during the festival.

MidPoint Picks - Imports

I spent quite a bit of time listening to all of the MySpace/Facebook samples for this year's MidPoint line up and I've got my listing of artists I am going to try and see. No, I will not get to see all of these. I purposely skipped the Southgate House, not because the acts over there are not good, they are, I am just going to stick with OTR/Downtown venues for convenience. I also left off local bands. I usually don't go to MidPoint to see local bands, but I hope that doesn't stop others from going to out see them. Since I tend to not see full sets in order to see as much as I can, I'll catch other bands, especially local ones, that's just how MidPoint rolls. I also left off a few of the bigger acts, I figure you don't need me to tell you to go where the crowds are really big, if you want to see the popular bands.

Some groups will be great, some good, some will have off nights, and some just will not sound like their sample tracks. The most important thing everyone going to MidPoint should remember: have fun! The second thing they should remember: applaud the hard work of these musicians and make them feel welcome in Cincinnati.

So Here are my takes by day in order of appearance:

Male Bonding Grammer’s 8:30 PM Dalston, United Kingdom
Karate Coyote Mainstay Rock Bar 10:30 PM Columbus, OH
Van Dyke Parks Blue Wisp Jazz Club 10:30 PM Pasadena, CA
Shonen Knife Contemporary Arts Center 11:00 PM Osaka, Japan
Astro Fang Courtyard Café 11:15 PM Dayton, OH
Holy F*ck Cincinnati Club 11:30 PM Toronto, Canada
Loto Ball Show Main Event 11:30 PM Chicago, IL
Caribou Grammer’s 9:30 PM Dundas, Canada
Aaron Daniel Segway Room 10:30 PM Seattle, WA
The Front Bottoms Below Zero Lounge 10:30 PM Bergen County, NJ
Royal Bangs Know Theatre 11:30 PM Knoxville, TN
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir Main Event 12:30 AM Chicago, IL
+/- ArtWorks 8:00 PM Brooklyn, NY
Caravan of Thieves Grammer’s 8:30 PM Bridgeport, CT
Natural Child Main Event 10:30 PM Nashville, TN
Love in October ArtWorks 11:00 PM Chicago, IL
Phantogram Know Theatre 11:30 PMSaratoga Springs, NY
Cults MOTR Pub 12:00 AM New York, NY
Kinetic Stereokids FB’s 12:00 AM Flint, MI
River City Extension Arnold's Bar & Grill 12:15 AM Toms River, NJ

WOW! WCPO Has a MidPoint Guide

Way to cover Local Music WCPO! They have a special MidPoint Music Festival section on their website with the schedule and other events during the festival, even some feature articles.  It appears CityBeat provided the copy, but I'm glad to have more coverage. I really hope to see TV cameras from WCPO and other TV stations out each night during the festival, along with lead features during every broadcast during MidPoint.

Hat Tip: Kate the Great via Twitter.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

90 Minutes Left to Buy You 3-Day MidPoint Passes...Hurry!!!

You have 90 minutes left to purchase your 3-Day MidPoint passes online. Click there now, and BUY! $39 is cheaper if you are going more than one day, so save money and get more music.

UPDATE: 3-Day Passes are still on sale at Retail Locations, while supplies last.

Metromix MPMF Survival Guide

The Enquirer shares some help and hits about the 2010 MidPoint Music Festival, including places to get food during and after the showcases each night.

Each Note Secure Interviews MPMF Artist Shonen Knife

30 years of Japanese Pop music is coming to the Midpoint Music Festival and Each Note Secure has an interview with the band.

Monday, September 20, 2010

MidPoint to Offer Single Day Passes

The MidPoint Music Festival will offer single day passes for $20. These passes will be available at the door of each venue.

3-Day pass on-line sales WILL STILL END tomorrow(09/21/2010) at 5PM, and will NOT be for sale at the venue doors. A 3-Day pass is the only way you can go to the Secret Show. A 3-Day pass will also get you free rides on the Metro Midpoint route. If you are going more than 1 day, a 3-Day is still your cheaper route. So Get your's NOW.

Savvy Journalists Can Spin a Story Too, Kevin

Kevin Osborne of CityBeat wrote an attack on the Enquirer and Joe Deters last week over the way he claimed they spun the Washington Park incident where a police officer accidentally ran over a person allegedly sleeping under a blanket. Kevin ended his column with this paragraph:
"Savvy politicians know how to spin a story, and all too often media outlets are willing to play along in search of an “exclusive.” In this case, the public wasn't well served by the prosecutor or the local daily newspaper of record."

I guess what's good for the geese isn't good for the goose, at least not to Kevin. The public was not served by Kevin Osborne's article.  The family of victim was served with a set of  "facts" spun in such a way to help with a civil lawsuit more than likely to be filed in the near future. In the process of attacking the Enquirer and Joe Deters for drawing conclusions from an incomplete investigation, Kevin did the same thing, he just spun the case, and maybe a civil trial jury pool, with the "facts" that he cherry picked out of the more detailed, yet unfinished, report. Kevin made it clear in his article that the investigation was not complete and no-conclusions had be finalized. So Kevin's doing just what the Enquirer did, but goes way farther in spin-doctoring.

Publishing the statement about what drugs someone alleged was taking for medical conditions and then reporting the manufacturer's list of POSSIBLE side effects was un-journalistic.  Drawing conclusions and declaring what those possible medical conditions might mean in a court of law is irresponsible and damaging to the the focus of our justice system: Truth.  Spinning the facts to fit a story-line that helps activists push an unrelated cause against progress in redeveloping the city, well that's a reason why I am sad that Kevin's column is one of the few sources of news in the City.  I am sad because it is not news, Kevin is giving opinion that is being interpreted by much of his readers as at least a semi-objective news article. Kevin and City will not claim to free of bias, but when you use conjecture for a column, and hide behind have more information than the Enquirer, that doesn't mean you are right about your claim, that means you have more data, some of which might very well be irrelevant.

It was also very troubling when Kevin 'reported' this statement in his article:
Witness Tony Ferrell told troopers, “The word on the street is that the cop was chasing a beer drinker.” Yes, folks, it could be that Burton died as Polk pursued someone for a minor misdemeanor, which carries no jail time under Ohio law, only a $150 fine.
Word on the Street? Seriously, he is going to report that as relevant? Did another witness happen to mention that it was actually 3CDC driving the car and the cops are covering for them? Someone said is was Marge Schott. How about Spiderman?  Kevin makes this bad journalism by using the statement of  a person who was telling police of the rumors as the basis to draw a conclusion and attack police. Kevin picked out that quote because it gave him the opportunity to attack a police officer and the power structure and gave him a cheap and hollow political point. That is what we call spinning and in this case he jumped to conclusions with the purpose of making his readers distrust the police and be mad. Well, Kevin made me mad, but not at the police, I am mad at him for judging a case before the final report is completed, one that will be analysed by trained officials. I am mad at him for using a tragic case to push his political viewpoints.  I am mad at him for not serving the public, and instead serving the needs of those he wants to get a big settlement from the City.

Deters may have read a preliminary version of the same information Kevin read, and more, since Deters is the Proscecuting Attorney. The Eqnuirer's lack of research is, well, common, but when you are running a daily instead of a weekly paper, cutting corners is what you are going to do. Blame them for not writing a follow-up story after getting more information.  Don't blame them for not cherry picking the facts on the case as you may want.  This was a tragic accident, but doing your best to making it into another police brutality case is not going work. The cop screwed up.  Thinking there is a criminal offense here is not about this case, it is about bias towards police.  Let the family sue and settle for a large sum of money.  It does no good trying to use this sad case for political causes that don't relate to the facts.  We need calm and sensible journalism.  We don't need yellow-journalism from CityBeat.  Leave that to the kooks who wear capes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

MIAMI 31, CSU 10

Love and honor to Miami,
Our college old and grand,
Proudly we shall ever hail thee,
Over all the land.

Alma mater now we praise thee,
Sing joyfully this lay,
Love and honor to Miami,
Forever and a day.

Read about it here. I have more hope of bringing the Bell back to Oxford this year. October 9th is coming up!

Friday, September 17, 2010

MidPoint 3-Day Passes Will NOT Be Sold During the Festival!

For all of you procrastinators out there, you better get your Midpoint 3-day wrist bands for 3 days full showcase access before 5 PM on Tuesday September 21st, when online sales will end.  Retail locations will continue sales while supplies last.  To repeat:
  • 3-Day Wrist Bands ($39) for Midpoint will not be sold at venue doors during the festival.
  • There will not be any single day all venue passes. This detail may change.
  • You will have pay the cover ($10-$20) for each venue without a 3-Day Wrist Band.
Get your pass TODAY! The Festival takes place September 23-25.  Some retail locations to try: Neon's, Coffee Emporium in OTR, CAC, Park+Vine, Grammer's, Shake-It and more.
To buy online: GO HERE.

Update: Details may be changing.

Effective Protest? I Say Yes

Two protesters were arrested and two others were thrown out of Great American Ball Park yesterday afternoon for holding large banners over the outfield wall with anti-racist/pro-immigrant messages during the Reds game against Arizona.  No one was hurt, the message got out to good sized crowd, and media coverage was pretty positive.  The two will likely plea out and take what should be very light punishment.  As far as protests go, this was effective.  It's not going to change the world mind you, but it hopefully will change some minds.

Monzel Is Grasping At Something, But Doesn't Seem To Know

During a mini-debate at the Enquirer with fellow Hamilton County Commission Candidate Jim Tarbell, Canidate Chris Monzel was just pulling every thought out of his ass he could grab.  All he came up with was straw.

Chris Monzel wants to sell the Bengals and Reds Stadiums to solve the county's budget crisis.  He fails to say how this might be accomplised.  He fails to say how it could be completed in time to affect this years or even next year's budget.  He fails to say he has a better idea than Commissioner David Pepper tried when he brought up the the idea to sell the stadiums previously.  He actually contacted a group of bankers who turned him down.

Monzel is failing to say because he doesn't know.  He doesn't know what he would cut, he just says everything.  He doesn't say who will be buy the Stadiums because he has no clue and is ignorant of the County study the Enquirer cited stating that there isn't a market for the Stadiums with the level of debt the County holds on them.

Monzel doesn't know much of anything, except what the anti-government nuts he has hitched his wagon to want.  He knows he will not raise taxes.  He knows he will never say what he would want government to do, because that would piss off his base, who hate having a government do anything.  He knows he can't do anything that will piss off the crazies he is courting because that is all he has.  He has no plan for the future, he has no ideas to make this a better place to live.  All he has are trite social concerns that don't have any inpact on County Government.  If you hear him talk about abortion, know that he is pandering.  When you hear him talk about being a son of the suburbs, know that he is pandering.  When you hear him say he will do "what ever it takes" to lower crime, know that he is pandering.

You can know this because he has done nothing as a council member to address the same problems the County is facing.  The City has a budget deficit, but he has not provided a plan that will reduce all or even a noticable fraction of that deficit, even though he claimed to have done so. Why?  Why hasn't a sitting Council Member come up with a plan to help the city?  He can't.  He knows he can't.  He can't fix the City budget without cutting the police and fire departments, and he knows the the FOP and Fire Fighters union members live in the County, as opposed to the City, and will vote against him without a hesitation if he agrees to cuts that layoff unneeded members of their unions.

Monzel seems to know who will vote for him if he panders to them, but don't seem to know hot to actually fix the problems facing the City and County.  Why would anyone vote for him?

Check out more from the Daily Bellwether.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Constitution Party & Tea Party Candidate Indicted for Sex With a Minor

Eric Deaton, Constitution Party and Tea Party endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio was indicted last month for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in a Montgomery County court.

The New Lebanon man is claiming this is politically motivated. He is accused to allegedly having sexual contact with a female 15 years old during 2006 and 2007.

Sorry Mr. Deaton, Grand Jurys are not known for political motivation.

The man out to "Restore moral citizens to office" didn't appear to actual mean himself, which seems to make his third party candidacy even more futile.  The Tea Party sure can pick 'em.

More here.

Opening Day On Thursday?

The 2011 Reds Schedule was published yesterday and Opening Day is on a Thursday. Yes, it normally is on a Monday, but MLB has decided that games need to start earlier to avoid playing the World Series in November. The time of the game has not been published, but local support would be for an afternoon game, preceded by the traditional Findlay Market Opening Day Parade in the morning.

It feels kinda of cheap to move the day, but since the Reds lost the right to play the first game every year, this may be an opening to gain back that tradition.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Winburn Supports Qualls for Mayor in 2013

I don't know if Roxanne Qualls is happy that Republican Charlie Winburn is the first known endorsement of her yet unannounced 2013 mayoral campaign, but she got it yesterday via this Twitter post from Jane Prendergast of the Enquirer:
Winburn: I don't want to be mayor, I'm supporting Qualls. "I already told her that."
At this point, would there even be a Republican candidate to opposee her?  She got more votes than the sitting mayor got last year as Councilmember, and is the clearly leading candidate at this early stage. I find it laughable for an elected Republican to give her an endorsement, even this early and even off the cuff.  I am blogging this in part to make sure that he can't deny it wasn't published, but I'm sure Charlie Winburn wouldn't have much qualms about changing his mind a few years down the road.  He's not known for being unfungible.  Just so the search engines don't miss it: Republican Charlie Winburn has endorsed Democrat/Charterite Roxanne Qualls for Mayor of Cincinnati in 2013.
We have a big election coming up this November, next year we have Cincinnati City Council to go through, so the Mayor race seems like it isn't even a consideration.  I don't expect we'll hear much about this until late November 2011.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Get Ready It's Oktoberfest Week!

Get you beer steins cleaned and work on your beer fighting weight. This weekend is Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. The world of beer and brats will be centered on Cincinnati's 5th Street for 2 full days. Don't miss a second, unless you need to relieve yourself, which after a day's worth of beer drinking, you will need to do. Bring your grandma and your dancing shoes.

Local 'Tea party' Opens an HQ: Guess Where?

If you thought about it for all of Five seconds and then blurted out loud: "West Chester, of course," then you would be correct. There's nothing really surprising that the TPers GOTV efforts would focus in West Chester, home of the Conservative Republican base. The local group is nothing but a Republican organization, and anyone denying that is clearly not worth all of the tea bags in China you can buy at the West Chester Walmart.

Is Justin Jeffre a Plagiarist?

Well, if you read The incinnati Man then the evidence is there that Jeffre did plagiarize a book by Ralph Nader. The "Dean" appeared to defend Jeffre on The Cincinnati Man Blog and then the post on the Cincinnati Beacon was updated to include a citation of the original source.

So bottom line: Jeffre ripped a lengthy citation from a book, didn't cite it as a quote, got caught doing it, then added a citation after the fact. That's not good journalism, but I've never considered him much of a journalist.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

More on MOTR on Main

Soapbox has a nice article this week with some of the details of the new bar opening on Main Street later this month, MOTR. Hightlights include a courtyard, food, basement rooms, no cover, and eventually there will be music seven days a week. The last one is the biggest challenge. I welcome it.

Seven nights of music is something that only happens with coverband venues, like J-Hall in Newport. Original music venues like Southgate House and Northside Tavern come close to seven nights a week, but they don't adhere to that model, and use alternate programming to fill big holes: think Dance MF and Karaoke. Using genre themes on "off nights", something the owners plan to do, is a good idea to target wider audiences and make the seven day model more attainable.

MOTR as defined in the article is the type of cultural attraction OTR needs. Success will necessitate the owners put a lot out there to get the fans to make it a destination. There is not natural parking immediately near-by and OTR does not currently have as many live music fans living with in walking distance as Northside does. This would mean they need to capitalize on the proximity to Downtown and the new casino and draw in people who on any given night are looking for something interesting to do. There is risk, but I for one will have fewer reasons to go to Northside for live music.

The Streetcar Will Flow Uptown on Vine Street

The Enquirer is reporting that the City announced yesterday the route for the Northern leg of the Streetcar will flow up Vine Street. West Clifton Avenue was the other choice.

The Vine Street route will cost less and with the lower grade incline would on paper be easier to construct.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Texting While Driving

Cincinnati City Council is now poised to pass a ban on texting while driving. According to the Enquirer, it will have the support of at least 2 of the 3 Republicans on Council (and there's no mention of opposition from the third, who simply isn't on the committee from which the ordinance originated).

On the bright side, the ordinance apparently specifically permits the use of GPS devices.

I still don't understand how an officer will differentiate between a driver dialing his or her phone to make a call and using the cell phone to send a text message. Council was told by CPD that (a) this isn't an area in which CPD is noticing a significant problem, and (b) enforcement could be problematic.

One thing is certain: I don't ever want to hear another Hamilton County Republican ever complain about the so-called "nanny state." Ever.

Here's my previous post on this.

Seelbach For Council Publishes First Online Ad

First time Cincinnati Council Candidate Chris Seelbach is out early with his first online advertisement:

An early endorsement from former Vice Mayor David Crowley is strong showing for the very early days of the 2011 race. Raising money is the key now through next summer. An early start is the only way for a first time candidate to fare well in the election, and Chris has begun earlier than anyone.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Big Dog is Coming to Town

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Cincinnati to raise money for Ohio's Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher's Senate race.

The conservative zombies can already smell him and will rise from the dead to blame him for everything going on. They will blame him for the Reds losing 2 of 3 in St. Louis over the weekend. They will blame him for UC's embarrassing lose to Fresno State. They will also blame him for the Streetcar!!! Lock up your conservative middle aged women! A crisis is brewing! Conservatives can only blame President Obama for so much, they need to fall back on Bill for everything else.

Monday, September 06, 2010

BC, We Hardly Knew Ye....

I have no problem admitting that the Cincinnati Blog is not the best blog in town. That's not because CityBeat says so or because some other site gets more daily hits. It's because I read most of Cincinnati's blogs (with varying frequency), and I know what's out there.

In my opinion, the award for "Best Blog" in town over the last couple of years should go, hands down, to Building Cincinnati. (And I've said that before.) That's not to put down the quality of the work here or at other political blogs or other niche blogs (be they foodie blogs or diary blogs or sports blogs). But everything that Kevin LeMaster writes at BC is well-sourced, well-analyzed, and well-written. I lack the time (and probably the ability) to do those things as well as he does.

Unfortunately, putting together a blog the caliber of BC takes a lot of time. So much time, in fact, that Kevin can really only do it if he's able to make a living from what BC brings in through its partnership with the Enquirer and advertising. There's only a handful of blogs (none local, so far as I know) that generate this kind of money. So it looks like Kevin will have no choice but to leave the blogosphere and enter the "real world."

The loss of Building Cincinnati is a sad thing for Cincinnati.

Hopefully, Kevin will find another forum to write. Given the strength of his sources and his writing ability, surely someone in the print media must have a spot on staff for him? Cincinnati Business Journal? Cincinnati Magazine? Time for someone to take a chance....

Number 5 is Alive....

Bengals fans (including me) had better hope the offensive line provides Secret Service-like protection for Carson Palmer this season. Jordan is the backup? Really? Most people assume he only gets a roster spot because of some rider in Carson's contract. And now he's #2 on the depth chart.

There aren't many Frank Reich's in the league. But a playoff-caliber team has to have a viable backup QB to get through a couple of games if the starter goes down. Does anyone think the Bengals can win any of the games on their schedule if Jordan has to play the second half, much less start a game?

Someone better be making sure Carson is eating his Wheaties....

All Smoke, No Fire?

The Enquirer lists the major property owners along the most likely streetcar routes. There's a name that's notably absent: Towne Properties.

Certainly, Towne properties has an interest in the streetcar. The Uptown Commons project represents a pretty big financial gamble for the company, and they'll net a ton of money if it succeeds. And there can be no doubt it's more likely to be successful if a nearby streetcar connects it to downtown.

But vocal streetcar opponents insisted that Towne Properties had land all along the streetcar route. They made it sound as if the streetcar were a pet project of Towne Properties. Clearly, that's not the case.

And clearly, some people owe Chris Bortz an apology. I'll admit, I gave him grief in a post this past May, but that was over the really bad judgment required to request--and then ignore--an Ohio Ethics Commission opinion. And I stand by that assessment. But it now seems as if maybe some of those most vocally against the streetcar were pushing the Bortz conflict issue to distract from the merits of the question.

Shame on them.


That's the magic number for the Reds. The Enquirer now has a permanent spot for the magic number on its sports page. Wish I had seen it before removing my socks and shoes to do the math myself.

Barring some sort of historic breakdown, the Reds will be in the playoffs this year. But this weekend's series against the Cardinals has to give us some concern about how they'll do once in the postseason. Those two losses (3-2 Friday and 4-2 Sunday) looked like playoff games will look. Big, hostile crowds. Great pitchers. Low scoring, grind-em-out games. Can the Reds win these games? Colin Cowherd is a blowhard, but he usually has a point. Maybe he does this time, too. Maybe we're just a pitcher or two away (or a season or two away for the pitchers we already have) from the Reds being ready to go deep into the postseason.

None of this changes the following: the Reds are a lot of fun to watch this year, and I'm going to be a little sad when the season ends, whether that comes following the regular season or at the end of the World Series.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Gameday Predictions

Some of the games have already started, but (I promise!) I haven't looked at any scores. Just wanted to offer some opening week predictions. (I'm putting them on the blog because, quite frankly, I'd privately predicted the Reds would go 6-3 on their last road trip (exactly what they did), but only two friends heard me, so I'm having trouble getting credit for my Rainman-like sports instincts.)

The Redhawks will lose. Big. Their loss will be so earth-shattering they might disband the football team after the game. (How many fans tuned into the game thinking it was the real Miami playing Florida?)

TCU and Boise State will both lose, causing a major shuffle to the polls after Week 1.

My Penguins, sadly, will not prevail.

Brian Kelly starts off the Notre Dame season with a win. It'll be one of just 5 his team gets all season, leaving the Irish ineligible for post-season play.

But my Bearcats will win their first game--a trap game, quite frankly. It'll be high-scoring but close. Local media will start dreaming Zach Collaros Heisman dreams. (Has he finished his diversion yet?)

Michigan will win, but barely.

That's just about all the football I care about this weekend. Anyone else?

Training Day

For a few minutes of diversionary delight, go check out Kate the Great's post with embedded clips of Wendy's training videos. These are classic early '90's employment videos, set to music in order to capture the attention of their teenage new hires. The two-minute video on how to serve hot drinks is particularly instructive. Tips on how to pour a cup of coffee include the lyrics:

Gets a lid
Every time.
Wendy's coffee
Tastes so fine.

And from the segment on serving hot tea:

If they want lemon
It's very nice, don't think twice
Give the guests
Their juicy slice.


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Bhati Tops Speculation List for Coroner

Dr. Anant Bhati is the only name being mentioned in public by Democratic officials to fill the position of Hamilton County Coroner O'dell Owens who is leaving for Job as President of Cincinnati State.

Dr. Bhati sounds like a very compelling candidate. This is a job that gets little attention, unless someone dies or someone forgets to lock the doors of morgue. If Dr. Bhati can keep the door locked and oversee the team investigating all of the deaths in the county, he should do well. Job requirement #1 appears to be just being diligent. I don't know how a well respected doctor can NOT be diligent.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

CEA Winners Announced: Know Theatre Wins 5 Awards

The last Theatre CEAs awards program took place Sunday evening and the hosts of the event, the Know Theatre, took 5 awards, 3 individual performances and 2 production awards.

The list of winners for all categories are listed here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Well Said: Please. Shut. Up.

I'm not sure that I've every been in such heartfelt agreement with an Enquirer commentary.

Continuum of Care Decision: YWCA Should House Homeless Women

The Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless has announced that following a request for proposals and a review by a panel of national experts, the YWCA has been selected as the agency to a women-only emergency homeless shelter. The "competition" for the responsibility was between the YWCA and the Drop Inn Center.

The Enquirer's coverage is here.

The announcement, frankly, raises more questions than it answers. According to the Enquirer, the shelter will not be housed at the YWCA on Walnut (where that agency presently has a shelter for victims of domestic violence). I'm not aware of funding having been secured to create a new facility, and there's no mention of where the new shelter will be. But CoC says that all funding for emergency shelter services for women will be directed toward the YWCA. The Enquirer puts that at about $42,000 annually (obviously, not enough to start a new shelter), which it appears DIC will lose in its 2011 budget. DIC, meanwhile, says it will continue to provide emergency shelter for women for years to come.


  • Where will the new shelter be?
  • When will it open, and from where will the money come?
  • How will the need for emergency shelter for women be met in the meantime?
  • Is this connected to Pat Clifford's dismissal earlier this month?
  • Is this just the first in a planned series of moves designed to eventually make DIC so small as to be meaningless and eventually de-funded out of existence?

We'll see.

Main Street Cooperation Will Help Reduce Crime

The Main Street area will get a boost from efforts of local business owners. Some minor changes to the type of products sold will help reduce crime. If local corner markets stop selling just a few products or certain items in single quantities, the minor street crime will start to go down.

The key is vigilance. Keep an eye on what happens outside your business or residence and report crimes, all of them, no matter who is responsible. If all residents did this all over OTR, the drug trade and the theft rings would dry up in the neighborhood. The drug trade has in the past used intimidation of some residents, so standing up to them requires police to lead the way and patrol the area.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Harang Back on Tuesday

With the troubles for Leake and Volquez, along with continued inconsistency from Bailey, it might be a relief to see Harang getting his first start since July on Tuesday.

His two rehab starts for the Sluggers, though, were terrible. He was 0-2 with an ERA of 9. (On the bright side, he had 10 strikeouts to just 2 walks.)

Let's hope for the best.

Hate Crimes in Covington: Victim Speaks out

A local woman was interviewed by the Huffington Post about one of the worst incidences of an anti-gay hate crime to occur locally. Good reporting, but I wish we never had to have this kind of story written about Covington or anywhere in the Cincinnati area. I really wish the local media had the connections or were given the resources to get this type of interview, but alas they don't have the enough reporters to do the shoe leather work needed.

For a rash of crimes like these it should not take that big an of effort to track down the individuals or groups responsible, as long as the police are aggressively investigating the crimes. The story indicates that Covington Police have some work to do on how they react to such crimes. Time for the CovPD to get to work.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Local Ballet School Launches Website

During the first week of our first semester, when we learned that one of our classmates had been a "dancer" before coming to law school, we all knew what that meant. A couple of chuckles and elbow nudges later, we found out that--as is typical of law students and lawyers--our minds had been in the gutter for no apparent reason. Our friend was a ballet dancer (and teacher) before law school. Plans to install a stripper pole in the law library were hastily--albeit sadly--abandoned.

Rather than plie-ing her way through courtrooms after graduation, Amy Tevlin returned to her first love. She spent a few years teaching ballet in the northeast and eventually came back to Cincinnati to launch, with her husband Michael, Tevlin Ballet. The West Chester-based enterprise boasts a school, a pre-professional company, and a professional company.

Tevlin Ballet is hosting an open house next Friday and Saturday, and registration for fall classes is ongoing.

So if one of your kids is dreaming of growing up to be a ballerina (or whatever it is they call male ballet dancers), this looks like a good place to start....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Miss Print Blogs on her Last Game of the Season

"Miss Print" of the Cincinnati Roller Girls (also known as Lauren Bishop of both the Enquirer and Cincinnati Imports) tells of her last game of the season. (CRG has two games left on the West Coast this weekend.)

Miss Print may have been disappointed with the way the game and her season ended, but I finished reading Lauren's post with the same thought I often have after reading her stuff for either her blog or the paper: Damn, that woman can write.

Conservative Poll Has Chabot-Driehaus Even

The Enqurier's Carl Weiser reported on the Politics Extra blog yesterday that in a Conservative Group's poll Chabot was leading Driehaus 47% to 45% with a +/- margin of error of 4.9%, making the race a dead heat.  This is something of a surprise.  Conservative polls are almost always going to lean towards the conservative candidate, usually based on the structure of the questions or the population based used for the sample.  A dead heat here goes against the conventional wisdom of this race, which in national press outlets was giving Chabot a big advantage.  This poll would sound to me on the surface to be good news for Driehaus, but there is a long way until November, and the economic news will drive this race.
This poll isn't a fair indication of much, but some of the internals are very interesting about people in the 1st district:
68% of those polled were age 50 or older.
45% of those polled make $75K or less per year.
71% of those polled are white.
50% are Male and 50% Female
51% are "Pro-Life" and 40% are "Pro-Choice"  (I thought this would be a much wider gap)
Steve Driehaus won:
17% of Conservatives
61% of Moderates
83% of Liberals

Is the Theft Related to the Lawsuit?

A tenant, Ramdake Lewis, of the Metropole is accused of stealing documents from a company in charge of the Metropole transition. There are many questions on what this all means, but I've get several initial inquiries that raise this incident up a bit. What are the documents and how do they relate to any of the lawsuits or complaints made on the Metropole renovation? Could any of these documents be evidence in the lawsuit filed against HUD and 3CDC? Could the motive for the alleged crime be that the man in question was looking for information he could give to attorneys in this case? Is this what some would call spying?

Was Mr. Lewis spying on the Model Group/Brickstone? Spying is a big word, but was the guy snooping around? Did he "steal" the documents as he is accused? If he did this, was he acting alone? Was he advised by anyone to obtain this information? The facts of the case are not known, but if this goes to trial, more details will emerge.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Give the Daily Show an Emmy For This NOW!!!

Jon Stewart is brilliant and this looks easy, but it is so well done, I almost peed. Yes, me, crusty blogger, Brian Griffin, almost peed my pants in laughter. The Daily Show summed up the fundamental problem with FOX News in a 9 minute gut busting segment. Watch and enjoy:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
I learn towards Team Stupid, but Team Evil makes really good points.


UPDATE: The above embedded video seems to be updating with newer episodes. To see the clip I referended, check out the full show from Monday August 23rd.

Is Smitherman a Political Whore?

Who won't Chris Smitherman, local NAACP chapter president , suck up to? He's reportedly going to have a big public meet and great with the local Tea Party. Who is next on his list? Chris Monzel? Phil Burress? Westwood Concern? I'll keep my eyes peeled for a Smitherman press release that calls for the repeal/amendment of the 14th Amendment in support of a "Birther" issue. Smitherman's been in bed with COAST for a while, and his screed against Cincinnati Public Schools seems to be a left flank attack that does nothing but hurts students and provides Chris Finney a way to demagogue public schools without lifting a finger.

It wouldn't be, I don't know, normal of Smitherman to be working with people like the Mayor of Cincinnati or...I don't know...the President of the United States instead? These men are, oh, I don't know, elected officals who happen to This fact seems to be lost on Smitherman. Has the NAACP become colorblind or has Smitherman become blind of everything but his own ambition?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CEAs and Acclaims Combine

Rick Pender reports that CityBeat's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater will join forces with the Enquirer sponsored Acclaim Awards. The Acclaims will go forward with Pender and Jackie Demaline serving on the organization's Executive Committee. This year's CEAs will be the last. Next May's Acclaims will be changed to include public voting awards. More details on the merger likely will come out over time, but hopefully the Acclaims process will be updated overall.

I'm disappointed that we can't sustain both awards programs, but the decline in support for arts in the local (and national) media I believe has forced this move. The biggest theatre production that lose out will be the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which this past year did not get any acclaim awards, so stand to not get any nominations next year. The Enquirer gave limited coverage of the event and it wasn't clear how many Acclaim representatives were at the festival in an official capacity. Hopefully, that can be remedied inside the organization. Having an alternative category is critical to preserving part of the CEA's superior structure.

I am going to be sure to head to this Sunday's last CEA event at the Know Theatre. I hope all Cincinnati Theatre fans come out and say farewell to this awards program which has provided strong support for local theatre.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun Campaign Event

As a criminal defense attorney, I get invited to judicial campaign events all the time. They're pretty standard fare: pay $150 for entrance to some restaurant or bar, have a couple beers, and eventually listen to a judge or judicial candidate say a few words thanking everyone in attendance.

Judge Nadine Allen, running to retain her seat on the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, does things a little bit differently.

On Sunday, August 29, beginning at 4:00 at the Evendale Amphitheater, her campaign will throw a concert. Those scheduled to perform include Eliot Sloan of the Blessid Union of Souls. Bootsy Collins will make a special appearance, and the judge herself will take the stage with the Supreme Courtettes. (Judge Allen and the Courtettes won the Cincinnati Bar Association's "Idol" competition late last year.)

Admission is twenty bucks and includes food and beverages.

MPMF it ain't. but it'll probably be the most interesting campaign event I've been to in a really long time.

Legal Question of the Day

This story raises the following important question:

What are the feds going to do with all that Jamaican gold?

And a tip: if you're going to ship pot through CVG, don't use a really cheesy-looking tombstone to do so.

Clifton Ave or Vine St? Which Shall It Be?

Cincinnati Officials face a tough choice on where to put the Northern leg of the Streetcar: up West Clifton Avenue or Vine Street. I don't envy City Manager Milton Dohoney on this decision. I see merits on both plans. I think the key factor must be expansion. If either of these plans would make expansion of the Streetcar further North cheaper or more efficient, then that should be a big consideration. I am slightly less concerned about who is more ready for development now. If there was a way to serve both Clifton Heights and Corryville, that would be the ideal.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Metropole Lawsuit: Not So Fast, 3CDC

As the Enquirer reported earlier this week, the Metropole Tenants Association filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to halt the efforts of 3CDC and others to turn the Metropole into a luxury hotel. The tenants are now represented by preeminent Cincinnati civil rights attorney Jennifer Kinsley, as well as Terence Brennan (formerly Lead Organizer with the AMOS Project). And they've filed a lawsuit that is compelling. I thought many of our readers would be interested in an explanation of the allegations in the lawsuit, and why it could be a major impediment to 3CDC's plans for the Metropole.

Last November, I expressed skepticism that the tenants had a viable legal claim. Back then, according to published reports, the tenants (then represented by Legal Aid) seemed to be arguing only that 3CDC was engaging in race (and perhaps disability) discrimination. At the time, I wrote:
Ultimately, the question comes down to this: once a landlord accepts federal housing money, does that act as some sort of covenant that runs forever against the building, regardless of ownership? Certainly, that cannot be the case. Property owners must be free, assuming they follow the law, to opt out of Section 8.

I've reviewed the tenants' 50-page complaint, and there's more to the story than simply a landlord accepting rent subsidies. According to the complaint, back in 1988, the owner of the Metropole--609 Walnut Ltd. (which, in turn, is owned by Showe Builders Inc.)--executed a mortgage with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A HUD mortgage--in this context--is a federally-insured loan that gives the building owner an extremely low (1%) interest rate in exchange for using the building subject to the mortgage for multi-unit, low-income housing.

While the lawsuit doesn't go into the history of Showe's acquisition of the Metropole, this decision from the Sixth Circuit does. Showe bought the property back in the late '80's when the previous owner, Mid-Towne Associates, was in bankruptcy. Showe paid $675,000 and assumed a $2.9 million HUD mortgage. I'm guessing that was quite a deal: according to the Auditor, Azeotropic (a creation of 3CDC) bought the building for $6.25 million last year.

When Showe took over the mortgage, it signed a "regulatory agreement" with HUD. According to the complaint, one of the provisions of this agreement was that Showe could not, without the prior approval of HUD, prepay the mortgage. Prepayment is a big deal. As long as the mortgage exists, the property must be used for low-income housing. If the note is paid off, though, the building owner is subject only to the ordinary requirements of Section 8, which means that the owner can cancel its participation in the federal rent subsidy program one year after giving notice to its tenants.

Congress hasn't given HUD unfettered discretion in deciding whether to approve prepayment of a mortgage. Instead, when a HUD mortgage prepayment is subject to HUD approval (not all HUD mortgages require such approval), acceptance of an offer to prepay may only be given where the HUD Secretary decided that the building no longer meets a need for rental housing for lower income families in the area; the Secretary agrees that the tenants have been notified of the request for approval of prepayment; and the Secretary ensures that a plan exists to provide relocation assistance to displaced tenants.

Back to the lawsuit: the tenants say that HUD didn't do its due diligence before approving the mortgage prepayment, and have challenged the decision under the Administrative Procedures Act. (In some respects, this case is analogous to those where an environmental group challenges an EPA decision permitting the construction of an allegedly polluting factory.) It's hard to see how one could conclude that the Metropole doesn't meet a need for rental housing for lower income families in the area. In fact, with the closure of the Metropole, no low-income housing will exist in the central business district. (And the only other low-income housing downtown I can think of is Page Tower--and that may technically be in the West End, since it's on the west side of Central.)

I'm no expert in HUD mortgage regulations. But on its face, the lawsuit raises serious, non-frivolous claims that will not go away quickly. Stay tuned, folks: this promises to be an interesting legal battle.

T.O. vs. OchoNoShow

For the last few years, at the beginning of every season, Bengals fans wonder which wide receiver will take the field this year: Chad Johnson, or OchoNoShow. If the preseason is any indication (and I agree, you've got to take the preseason with a huge grain of salt), it looks like the latter will be wearing number 85 this year.

OchoNoShow may have the best hands of any wide receiver in the game. At least, that is, as long as no one is touching him. As a wide receiver gets older, he gets a bit slower. (Especially one like OchoNoShow, who by all accounts hasn't changed his diet or his workout routine to account for the fact that he's no longer 22.) So they have to run crisper routes and be better at catching the ball in traffic.

I went to last night's Bengals game. OchoNoShow's two most notable plays were two interceptions. The first was on a play that looked like Ocho ran the wrong route--or just failed to "come back to the ball." Palmer looked upset at the time; after the game, he took the blame (probably to avoid some inevitable OchoNoShow pouting).

The second interception was a ball thrown to Ocho over the middle, and Chad got hit. Hard. Replays showed that the ball had actually bounced away from him before he took the hit. (That hit, by the way, should have been penalized, as the defender launched himself at a defenseless Ocho. Look for a fine on that one.) And what did OchoNoShow do? Whine about the hit on Twitter from the bench:
Man Im sick of getting hit like that , its the damn preseason shit! 1day I'm gone jump up and start throwing hay makers , #Tylenolplease

Do the math on the time stamp. Yup, that was during last night's game. (Look for another fine next week.)

T.O. is a different story. From the first three games, it's clear he knows where he's going to make his living: over the middle. He hasn't whined about getting hit. And he's caught most of what's been thrown at him. He had a great, down-the-field catch late in the first half. But that was only after he'd run several short routes. He set up the deep route.

I think NFL fans will finally learn the difference between T.O. and OchoNoShow this season. T.O. can hang onto a ball in traffic. Ocho can't. Or at least, he won't.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nice Letter From Terrell Owens To Bengals Fans

New Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver Terrell Owens has written a very positive letter to Bengals fans. Yeah, it sounds like something a good PR person would write for him, but even so, I'm glad to see a professional athlete making a point to reach out to fans. Let's hope this attitude remains through the season, no matter how many wins the Bengals have.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Will Be The Next Hamilton County Coroner?

Current Hamilton County Coroner Odell Owens is leaving his position to become the President of Cincinnati State. The HCDP will get to pick his replacement to finish his term, who gets it?

I really have no idea. This job requires a license to practice medicine, so the candidates are not as plentiful. It likely would be a pay cut for many doctors, so that may rule many out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We're Number 1!

Unfortunately, the category is bedbugs.

Great Day for OTR: Welcome SCPA Students and Teachers!

The waiting is over for students and parents alike, the new SCPA opens for the school year today. I hope this school provides a great education to every student that enters its doors. I also hope the school can bring OTR, teachers, and parents together to make the school and everything around it better. The arts are the cultural core of society, and institutions like SCPA are critical to enriching that culture and giving it value.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Friday Night

There's lots to do this coming Friday night.

If you're hip enough, you can head up to Northside for the Greenhornes concert at the Comet. I'm not sure if this is properly termed a reunion or a revival, but lots of people are excited that the group is releasing a new album and playing again.

Then there's Fountain Square, where you can hear Bad Veins and the Harlequins. If the weather stays reasonably nice, anybody into Cincinnati's indie music scene who can't get into the Comet will be on the Square.

If indie music isn't your thing, then the Bengals play their final home pre-season game at 8:00. This is their third game, so there's a good chance the first team plays most of the first half. And it could be interesting to see exactly how bad a McNabb-less Eagles team is.

The Details On How Lakota Schools Will Worsen

The ramifications of the failure to pass a school tax levy in the West Chester area Lakota School District were outlined yesterday.

Gone are music, art, and physical education teachers in elementary schools.

Why would they not cut all high schools ports, instead of cutting the junior school programs? Why also would any parent pay any fee for their kid to play a sport, and not agree to a modest increase in their property taxes? This is an example of one of the problems with modern America. The heightened value placed on team sports and the devaluation of public schools is a sign that willful ignorance is manifesting itself as a lifestyle choice, not just a political philosophy.

I don't know if this levy will fail causing the beloved exurbanite paradise of West Chester will lose. We do know what will be cut if it does fail. Let's hope that West Chester voters will support public education again. If they want to cut the fat of their school, team sports would be the place to start.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Classism in McMansionville

The fight for maintaining your property values doesn't shield these Miami Township home owners when they fight to keep less expensive homes out of their subdivision. The situation has a group of home owners with houses the cost at least $300,000 fighting a developer from taking over an unfinished subdivision and completing it with $100,000 homes.

Keeping out middle and working class people is the goal. They can claim it is about property values, but that's not what it is about, it is about class, specifically keeping the lower classes out. I use "class" here to mean money/wealth, but part of what people with $300,000 homes mean is lower social status. To most people "class" refers to both the socio and economic distinction a person has, but in this case the prejudice is blatant and more importantly intentional. What these homeowners are telling us is that anyone who can't afford the $300,000 home has something wrong with them, and will degrade their lifestyle if they live near by. Segregation isn't going to make anyone stronger.

Look to OTR. We have Section 8 apartments a block from $250,000 condos next to $100,000 condos, all a block from market rate apartments. Go another block and you can find even more expensive condos. Except for the "activists" who are against any development anywhere, you are not going to find people complaining about mixing classes. You'll find more people seeing strength in this mix.

Let the lots go empty in Miami Township. Let the $300,000 homes lose value without adding more sprawl to the area. They may lose value slower, but less sprawl helps society more. Build more $100,000 homes in OTR or the West End or Pendleton. We'll be happy to have them in our neighborhood. We have neighborhoods, by the way, not subdivisions.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Random MPMF Thought of the Weekend

I can't stop giggling at the thought of a group called Holy F*ck playing at my office building during this year's Midpoint Music Festival. (It's just not quite what you expect of the building that previously hosted the law office of William Howard Taft.)

And while I'm on the topic, I'm confused: is there a difference between a "three day pass" and a "three day wristband," or are they the same thing?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pat Clifford Fired From Drop Inn Center

The Enquirer is reporting that Drop Inn Center Executive Director Pat Clifford has been fired by the board of the organization. Clifford told the Enquirer he has no idea why he was dismissed.

I will speculate that the DIC board may have determined that a new direction must be taken and that Clifford was an obstacle to change. This I would surmise is connected to the offer 3CDC gave the DIC to help it relocate. Clifford in my view was against the move, and fell in the lot of other 'activists' who are bent on using the homeless, mentally insane, and drug addicted as a political tool.

I honestly hope the board of the DIC can find a new director who can help the homeless inside it's doors, but also help the whole community deal with the problems it attracts outside its doors.

The Greenhornes Return: August 20th at the Comet

Local music heavy weights, The Greehornes, are reuniting while The Raconteurs are on hiatus and launch a tour at the Comet on August 20th leading up to a new album to be released in October.  Their FB page seems to be the place for the most up to date information, as their website appears to be under construction.

They would make a great guess for the MidPoint Secret Show at this point.  I have zero inside information, but their tour schedule has a big gap that leaves plenty of time for some MidPoint love.  Let the rumors fly!

Monday, August 09, 2010

It's the Baseball, Stupid

With the Reds beginning a three-game series against the Cardinals this evening (right now, in fact!), nothing else really matters in Cincinnati this week. Not the streetcar, not the City's budget woes, and certainly not that other team that plays its games on the river (no need to pay attention to them until September 12).

So feel free to talk about the Reds generally, but in particular the following:

1. What do you think about the Dickerson-for-Edmonds trade?

2. What should Dusty do about Cordero? (Remember that he's sitting on 30 saves. And if not him, who would you bring out in the ninth to shut things down in a close game?)

This is the first time since I moved to Cincinnati that baseball has mattered in August. It's awesome!

Oh--is anyone going to Wednesday's game?

Sheriff Rick Jones Needs to Set Priorities

Butler County Sheriff Rick is complaining about budget cuts that laid off deputies:
In the news release, Sheriff Rick Jones, who was forced to lay off about two dozen deputies last month because of a county budget crisis, said, "the effects of the recent budget cuts became painfully clear" in the Beissinger Road incident.
So to be clear, the Enquirer article reports that Jones said only eight deputies (four patrol and four detectives) were available to work this case. This screed comes from the guy who views illegal immigration to be the biggest concern in his county, but is worried about having only eight people to investigate one case. Sounds like someone needs to put his priories straight. Firstly, Mr. Jones, worry about crimes with actual victims: murder, rape, theft, etc. Secondly, Jones might rethink how many people he keeps in the field. Does it actually take more than 8 people to investigate a crime that will involve the help from Hamilton County, likely to include either the CPD or Hamilton County Sheriff's Department?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

2010 Midpoint Venue List

2010 will be a big year for the Midpoint Music Festival with 25 venues: 13 in OTR, 11 in Downtown, and 1 in Newport. Not all of the venues are hosting bands every night. Here's the list:

VenueStreet AddressNeighborhood
Arnold's Bar & Grill210 E 8th Street Downtown
ArtWorks20 E. Central Pkwy Over-the-Rhine
Below Zero Lounge1122 Walnut Street Over-the-Rhine
Blue Wisp Jazz Club318 E 8th Street Downtown
Cincinnati Club30 Garfield Place Downtown
Contemporary Arts Center44 East 6th Street Downtown
Courtyard Café1211 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
FB’s126 West 6th Street Downtown
Fountain Square5th and Vine StreetsDowntown
Grammer’s1440 Walnut Street Over-the-Rhine
Inner Peace Holistic Center708 Walnut Street Downtown
Jack Potts Tavern1150 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
Know Theater1120 Jackson Street Over-the-Rhine
Madonna’s11 E 7th Street Downtown
Main Event835 Main Street Downtown
Mainstay Rock Bar301 W 5th St Downtown
Media Bridges1100 Race StOver-the-Rhine
Mixx Ultra Lounge1203 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
MOTR Pub1345 Main StreetOver-the-Rhine

Mr. Pitiful’s1323 Main Street Over-the-Rhine
Neon’s Unplugged208 East 12th Street Over-the-Rhine
Segway of Cincinnati1150 Vine Street Over-the-Rhine
Southgate House24 E 3rd Street Newport
The Original Tax Place1335 Main StreetOver-the-Rhine
Washington Platform1000 Elm Street Downtown

For the full schedule and all up to the minute Midpoint information, go to

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Blues Fest and Blues, Brews, and BBQ

The Reds are out of town this weekend, but that's OK: it's time for the annual Cincy Blues Fest. With over 40 bands spread over four stages on Saturday and Sunday, there's lots of choices.

Blues Fest is at Sawyer Point and is on Friday from 5:00 to midnight and Saturday from 2:30 to midnight. Admission is $10 on Friday and $15 on Saturday. Kids 13-18 are five bucks each day, and children twelve and under (accompanied by a parent) get in free.

And if you don't get your fill of blues on Friday and Saturday, head on over to Findlay Market on Sunday from 11:00 to 4:00 for the Fifth Annual Blues, Brews, and BBQ. The Christian Moerlein will be flowing in the OTR Biergarten. Mayberry's Josh Campbell and Virgil's Matthew Buschle will be working the grill, and rumor has it that Molly Wellmann will be serving some sort of alcoholic, BBQ-friendly concoction. (She probably won't have the ingredients on-hand for it Sunday, but one of these, days, I've got to try her Manhattan, for which I've heard a great deal of praise).

Just one more weekend of nothing to do in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Wussy, The Dukes, Yo La Tengo, and Molly Wellmann

I'm not feeling very politically motivated these days, so I thought I'd share a snapshot of my weekend.

Friday, following a late night at the office, I decided to stop at Mainstay on the way home. I'd heard that (a) Cincinnati's favorite mixologist, Molly Wellmann, was tending bar that night, and that (b) there was no cover charge. So I moseyed on up to the bar and, trying to be heard over the band, asked Molly what she was mixing up that night.

I just assumed that anytime Molly's behind a bar, she's working on some awesome craft cocktails. But based on the look she gave me, I'm pretty sure she was just filling in for one of the bar's regular bartenders, and didn't have much up her sleeve. But after a couple seconds' hesitation, Molly went to work, grabbing a bottle here and a bottle there, finally setting something in a martini glass in front of me. She made me a variation on a Martinez, which, as Molly explained (I could listen to her talk about liquor for hours!) was a precursor to the martini. I'd never heard of it before--much less had one--but, as seems to be the case with everything Molly makes, it was delicious.

Now, away from the booze, and on to the musical part of the post. Playing at Mainstay that night was The Dukes. I hadn't heard them before. I'd characterize them as a garage rock band, and from what I heard, they're really good. Good enough, in fact, that I'll look for another opportunity to see them perform.

Saturday night took me across the river to Southgate House. For some time, I had that night marked on my calendar for Yo La Tengo, a group I'd first seen in concert several years ago on the East Coast. It was great to see them again, and the concert was marked by moments of brilliance. Unfortunately, it was also marked by long stretches of self-indulgence: stuff that probably is fun for them to fool around with during a practice session, but frankly, isn't much fun to listen to. Lots of reverb and distortion, coupled with some riffs reminiscent of '70s psychadelic rock. I'm not sure if they were aware that those sections kept sucking the enthusiasm out of the crowd.

Wussy opened for Yo La Tengo, and their set alone was worth the price of admission. I've seen Wussy a couple times and a friend who was there has seen them more, and we agreed it was the best we've heard them.

Finally, Saturday was my first time at a smoke-free Southgate House. It was a tremendously better experience than the smoke-filled version (I was actually able to see the ceiling!). Should northern Kentucky communities choose to enact smoking bans, I don't think they have to worry about it hurting business.

And (really finally this time) what a great weekend downtown! Friday and Saturday night, downtown Cincinnati was wall-to-wall people. (Yes, I grumbled about traffic, although I felt bad about doing so.)

BC Update on Community's Efforts on Casino Planning

Building Cincinnati has a great update on the Community efforts to address issues and concerns about the Casino.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The City Needs Money, So Buck Up!

The Enquirer reports on the parking meter rate increase which takes affect today and breaks out the everyman knee jerk quotes from the public:
"This country's going to hell, ain't it?"
Seriously, anyone who owns a car is going to say something this ludicrous about a $1 per hour increase to parker charges? I suppose that when the Bengals signed T.O. this same person hailed it as greatest thing ever to happen in the world, so far. People need to face facts and start pulling their weight. It would be nice for the Enquirer to pick more intelligent and relevant quotes than this gem.

Ugh! The City needs money. We need to pay for essential services, and since a majority of council lacks the courage to stand up to the FOP, they have to make revenues go up somehow. Even with this change we are still heading to another show down over the budget gap. I wonder how much grandstanding will occur from Council.

Speaking of grandstanding, I'll be waiting to see what Councilman Chris Monzel has to say on the budget. Last year he didn't issue any type of plan that would make the needed cuts or raise revenues, so I would expect nothing from him this year, even though he is running for County Commissioner, where the budget woes are just as bad as the City's.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Cincy Douche-Bag Anthem

Dear Cincinnati douche-bags, you know you are. You hang out at douche-bag bars and generally possess the intellect of a plate of Goetta. Well, I have found something for you. This "remix" was made for you and you alone. It is your Anthem.