Thursday, July 31, 2003

Springer Postpones Announcement
RunJerryRun reports the following:
Jerry Springer will hold a news conference to announce his political plans on Wednesday, August 6 at 2:00pm in the "Senate" Meeting room on the 1st floor of the Hyatt on Capital Square hotel, 75 East State Street in Columbus.
Springer's postponement is also covered in the Enquirer, the Post, and WLWT-NBC.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Cincinnati IMC?
Well, more media the better, but the track record for the IMC has been one of crack pots with unedited conspiracy theories better kept on the usenet than on a supposed news website. IMC has been at the forefront of communist and faux anarchist movements all over the world. The opinions are on the surface individual, where the line between activist and journalist are gone, but in reality they are just as homogenized as the Christian Right. The only difference with the IMC friends is that they all want to be the boss. Organization by appeasement brings chaos. If this group starts up I will read their site, and over at XRay we might even overlap on content, but I for one will not hold back in pointing out their problems and unfair biases.
Renting ZipCodes?
Kathy Y. Wilson still is playing both sides in her latest CityBeat Column. She blames "blacks" and blames "whites." Blacks in America are not African enough and whites, well, are just white. The "African Diaspora™" is actually a good description of the attitude of some in the black community. I found that very perceptive. Kathy's balancing act must be difficult. Dancing on pinheads could be an Olympic sport someday.
Nate Livingston on Hannity's Radio Show?
According to Nate himself he and Amanda Mayes will be on Hannity's radio show today at 4:00 PM EST. Nate is trying to get Hannity to not break the boycott with a scheduled appearance here on August 8th. Now, Hannity will most certainly break the boycott. What is funniest is that Nate and company are using him as their future anecdotal claim that they don't just target "black" entertainers/celebrities for boycott. This is just a stunt and I am helping along his Press push, but the boycotters have been quiet lately, so I will be a sucker and listen.

UPDATE: Nate did make it on the air. It was what I expected, more of the same. What I find odd is Hannity's ignorance about Cincinnati, and his claim or attempted fishing expedition that Nate had been arrested on drug charges, which is false. That was amazing that he claimed such, when Nate's lengthy criminal and civil court file indicates he was clearly never arrested on those charges. Hannity could be sued for slander if Nate really wanted to have some fun. Insinuation of drug use is a fine line, and I think Hannity would win hands down, but I would love seeing the two square off in court. I think Hannity and his "Hannitization of America Tour" and Nate Livingston are just the opposite side of the same coin. That coin's demonication is one of bigotry. "Hannitization" sounds like pure fascism, but it is a stunt. It sounds like purification to me, which is disturbing, but that is the effect Hannity and his producers want.

Nate was actually very passive, for Nate. Hannity came across as the aggressor, while Nate did not seem his usual deplorable self. Hannity proves he is an ignorant cuss, so all in all I give Nate the nod over Hannity in the "debate."

Hannity, for the record, Nate will not get 22 protestors. If there are 22 protestors there, 6 to 10 might be from Nate's group.
Hello Enquirer Editorial Board?
Folks, what are you guys smoking? You start out with this paragraph:
Every time you fill up your car with gas in Ohio, you donate 11 percent of the federal tax on that gas to other states. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to tens of millions of dollars lost each year - money the Buckeye State sorely needs to fix the deteriorating roads we rattle over - and build new ones.
That basically means: federal gas taxes are bad and Ohio pays a boatload of them. Then you say this:
Meanwhile, Ohio struggles to maintain its roads, which handle the nation's fifth-largest volume of traffic. It isn't fair. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, has been complaining about it for years. He was in Columbus on Monday to push his current bill, which would increase Ohio's take from 89 cents to at least 95 cents, bringing in about $56 million extra a year. He also would raise the federal gas tax, now 18.4 cents a gallon.
So Voinovich wants to increase taxes and you applaud it, or at least don't challenge it. I am a bit perplexed. You advocate tax cuts and like Vionovich's steering of Bush to a light plan, but you don't seem to care about a tax increase that would be regressive and cause transportation costs to rise along with consumer prices. I don't see how this can square. Your tax cut endorsement relies on economic growth, but a gas tax increase would deter economic growth. How can anyone balance those positions?
Listening Skills
Does the Bush administration listen to anyone who does not support their predetermined positions? Yes, that ends up being a rhetorical question. If there was ever a more closed administration I would like a historian to correct me. What I don't understand is why does Bush not listen to people? Now, when I say listen I don't mean allowing people to talk to you. I mean listening to their opinions, and allowing their wisdom to sink in. Bush should start with Adeed Dawisha a professor at Miami University. He is an expert on Middle-East politics, often quoted and interview by various television outlets. The Enquirer had a nice story today where Mr. Dawisha warns, "Whatever goodwill we had when we went in has almost dissipated." Does Bush have the skills to listen when people give him bad news? I don't think so. The Bush ego is the Mt. Everest of politicos. Listening to him is just letting the words in to play with the hamster for a while, and then using them to line the cage.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

No Word From Springer on Race
My latest Polstate post is up: Jerry Springer's candidacy is in some doubt. His deadline looms, but he is out of the country. He might push back the deadline a bit. The issue he is likely concerned about is the level of support he is getting from the Ohio Democratic Party insiders. If they don't at least give him credibility in the primary race, he will hurt the Democrats more than help.

The macro benefits of a Springer candidacy is to bring new voters to the polls in 2004 and help the Dems win Ohio for the Presidency. Springer could loose, even loose big, but still could help give the Dems Ohio's electoral votes. Springer's way to win lies with turning out new, mostly young, voters and pulling some of the libertarian vote from the GOP. Springer's support of a conceal and carry law, in a modified form, is a sign of that type of strategy.
Gas Tax Man?
U.S. Sen. George Voinovich wants to increase the gas tax to improve federal roads. Ah, here is the problem, he just voted to cut taxes. He was partly responsible in reducing the amount of the Bush 2003 tax cut. What makes no sense here is that Voinovich could have paid for his roads if he had prevented the Bush tax cut, or at least tried to reduce it some more. Use taxes are regressive, not equitable as most in the GOP claim. Voinovich should be attacked for this by his fellow Republicans, but I wonder how long before they try and claim the Democrats are really behind it.
No Fuller?
Greg Korte is reporting that all indications point to Courtis Fuller not running for City Council in 2003, even though the Democrats actively encouraged him to run. Money is the issue. Courtis is late to the council game, and needs money not only to campaign, but also to support himself after having to quit his media jobs. Fuller may be biding his time until 2005 for a rematch with Luken. If he were running as a sitting councilman he would be a shoe in, but if Pat DeWine runs, then Fuller would lose the anti-Luken conservative vote and not make it beyond the first round primary.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Schlagetter on a Tear
Ethan Hahn has a post on email "exchanges" John Schlagetter is having with City Council and the Mayor on the Convergys deal. Ethan thinks this is a good issue for John. At this point, it might win him some support, but John had one positive/negative mix when on Friday he spoke at the special council meeting it was used a sound bite for local media reports, but he was not credited as a council candidate on air, often even his name was not mentioned. I hope John called up the local TV outlets to make sure the have his name next time.
It's Official: Boone and Bowden are Gone
Dave Miley will be interim manager of the Reds for the rest of the season starting tomorrow. A new GM replacement for Bowden has not been announced.

UPDATE: The Enquirer has more details.
Boone and Bowden Booted from Baseball's Reds?
The Post is reporting a story from the Sporting News that both the manager and general manager of the reds will be fired this morning.
Need a Second Opinion?
State Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Cincinnati, has introduced a bill to allow either party in a medical malpractice lawsuit to obtain the opinion from a screening panel before going to court. This panel would be allowed to review the case and make a non-binding judgment on the validity of the claim. This judgment would be then be admissible in court.

Is this a good idea? The concept is valid to explore, but likely operation would only benefit the defense. The make-up of the panel would be subject to abuse. Would they be an elected group? Would they be political appointees? Since their judgment would be admissible in court, it could become a de facto judgment that jurors could rely upon as nearly infallible, hurting both sides' ability to try the case.

What is lack in this law, at least in the press account, is the ability of the judge to rule on the admissibility of the panel's judgment. The validity of the judgment would have to be an element of the discovery process before the actual trial. Under current law that would be allowable, but would this new panel change that? Tort reform is a big issue, but up to know we only get the rhetoric, not the details. This bill will not bring down health care costs. All bill will do, and its purpose, is to help doctors and medical malpractice insurance companies.

This story came from the Dayton Daily News. Since the elected official sponsoring the bill is from Cincinnati, why is this story not in the Cincinnati Press? It might be on some of the broadcast outlets, but so far not anywhere on the Internet.
Thanks for the Memories
Bob Hope dead at the age 100. The King is dead, long live the King!.

I was in California on his 100th birthday and visited the Reagan Library's Bob Hope Exhibit. Hope was a simple comic, he did not break taboos, he was not cutting age. He was the establishment of Hollywood, but he was America. He was fun. He was kind. He wanted you to laugh. He will be missed.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Convergys Deal
It has passed City Council by a vote of 8 to 1, with only Alicia Reese voting against it. Cincinnati Bell is next in line according to this and this news report. Kroger got their garage, the sports teams got their stadiums, where is my hand out? I might have to move my blog to Northern Kentucky. NKYblog might be a good name? I would be willing to stay put right here in Cincinnati for chump change. I can get by with a mere $100,000.00. Hell, they wasted more than that on rebuild the Empire Theater. I would even guarantee to not move my blog for the next 100 years. How can anyone beat that kind of a deal?
The Gentlewoman’s Agreement
Life from the other side for Maggie Downs in her latest column. Does she now have the right to make blond jokes without reverberation? Blond women do get a bad wrap. The stereotypical person with light hair is no more likely to be a moron than a dark haired person, unless of course they dye their hair. It is a scientific fact that those who dye their hair, excluding graying hair, are complete idiots, without exception. Whigs are not a problem, well not intellectual, just emotional. Some grow so attached to their whigs they just can't let go when it starts to fall apart. Oh the horror of it, the fake hair in the shower drain, it is just tragic. Anyway..........

If anyone can get my reference with the title they get a gold star for the day.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Fishing for the Enquirer Weekly
So, how often do you get invited to mingle with the Staff from the Enquirer and many other young professionals at a very exclusive downtown club for drinks and high-class eats? Well, this was a first for me. I am not one to hobnob with the influential all in the name of trying to decipher the form of the Enquirer's soon to debut weekly publication geared toward Generation X. I felt like a fish out of water. I am not a social person. I can tend to be a recluse when not dragged out kicking and screaming by friends and family.

My purpose in attending was, along with many others, to provide some feedback to the Enquirer Staff with ideas on what I think their new publication should be, or should focus on. I was able to provide my thoughts to one reporter, but beyond the hosts from the Enquirer, I was not quizzed by any other Enquirer staffers. I did not notice many staffers mingling with the civilians much at all. I was left thinking that either the staff does not think much of the new publication or they are as clueless as I am as how to attract a mass audience of under 35 year old readers, and still make money doing it.

I did have a nice time. There were nice people there, several of which I chatted with, and free drinks can never be a negative. I did feel a bit over my head. I am not a socialite in the least, so rubbing elbows with city council members and owners of trendy nightclubs is just not my style. I have nothing against the people at the party, per see, I just would feel far more comfortable drinking a pitcher of beer at Crowley’s in Mt. Adams singing along with the jukebox at the top of my feeble lungs, all while theorizing on the value of infinity v. the subplots of Slaughterhouse Five.

Who will staff the new publication? Well I would say that the recently hired new young writers will make up the core of the writing staff. No information on the editor was announced or even discussed. Speculation was that the Enquirer would go outside the organization to find one, but depending on the independence of the publication, one might not need a separate editor. The editing duties could just fall upon on of the existing editors all ready on staff, in addition to their current responsibilities. What would add work is the level of local content the publication seeks to provide. This is key to its success. If they just recycle wire reports or syndicated articles as the core of the stories, with just a sprinkling of new content, then it will be nothing they can’t get on the Internet. The web should be a component of the publication. A “Dead Tree” publication has value, but will remain stale without a unique web presence.

Will the Enquirer Weekly amount to anything? I don't really know. I don't know what it is going after. Do they just want to sell advertising to Gen X targeted vendors (the Starbucks crowd) or do they want to pull in the intellectuals? I say intellectuals in the sense of those who are more concerned with ideas, and less concerned with image. I was at a gathering today of image makers, not idea makers, and image might sell like hotcakes, but will it will taste like cardboard.
More Burning Recall Questions?
In this week’s Burning Questions article from CityBeat Stephanie Dunlap writes about the methods in Ohio to remove Mayor Luken and Governor Taft from Office. In this article Stephanie states that the recall procedure never made it to the Ohio Revised Code or Cincinnati Charter. I agree this is the case for governor, but not for elected officers of municipal corporations, which I believe includes Cincinnati. The Ohio Revised Code § 705.92 “Procedure for removal by recall” appears to provide such procedures where elected municipal officials could be removed from office by the voters of the same municipality. The code section reads as follows:
§ 705.92 Procedure for removal by recall.
Any elective officer of a municipal corporation may be removed from office by the qualified voters of such municipal corporation. The procedure to effect such removal shall be:
(A) A petition signed by qualified electors equal in number to at least fifteen per cent of the total votes cast at the most recent regular municipal election, and demanding the election of a successor to the person sought to be removed, shall be filed with the board of elections. Such petition shall contain a general statement in not more than two hundred words of the grounds upon which the removal of such person is sought. The form, sufficiency, and regularity of any such petition shall be determined as provided in the general election laws.
(B) If the petition is sufficient, and if the person whose removal is sought does not resign within five days after the sufficiency of the petition has been determined, the legislative authority * shall thereupon order and fix a day for holding an election to determine the question of the removal of the elective officer, and for the selection of a successor to each officer named in said petition. Such election shall be held not less than thirty nor more than forty days from the time of the finding of the sufficiency of such petition. The election authorities shall publish notice and make all arrangements for holding such election, which shall be conducted and the result thereof returned and declared in all respects as are the results of regular municipal elections.
(C) The nomination of candidates to succeed each officer sought to be removed shall be made, without the intervention of a primary election, by filing with the election authorities, at least twenty days prior to such special election, a petition proposing a person for each such office, signed by electors equal in number to ten per cent of the total votes cast at the most recent regular municipal election for the head of the ticket.
(D) The ballots at such recall election shall, with respect to each person whose removal is sought, submit the question: "Shall (name of person) be removed from the office of (name of office) by recall?"

Immediately following each such question, there shall be printed on the ballots, the two propositions in the order set forth:

"For the recall of (name of person)."

"Against the recall of (name of person)."

Immediately to the left of the proposition shall be placed a square in which the electors may vote for either of such propositions.

Under each of such questions shall be placed the names of candidates to fill the vacancy. The name of the officer whose removal is sought shall not appear on the ballot as a candidate to succeed the officer's self.

In any such election, if a majority of the votes cast on the question of removal are affirmative, the person whose removal is sought shall be removed from office upon the announcement of the official canvass of that election, and the candidate receiving the plurality of the votes cast for candidates for that office shall be declared elected. The successor of any person so removed shall hold office during the unexpired term of the successor's predecessor. The question of the removal of any officer shall not be submitted to the electors until such officer has served for at least one year of the term during which he is sought to be recalled. The method of removal provided in this section, is in addition to such other methods as are provided by law. If, at any such recall election, the incumbent whose removal is sought is not recalled, the incumbent shall be repaid the incumbent's actual and legitimate expenses for such election from the treasury of the municipal corporation, but such sum shall not exceed fifty per cent of the sum that the incumbent is by law permitted to expend as a candidate at any regular municipal election.

HISTORY: GC § 3515-71; 103 v 767(785), Const Art VII, § 2; Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53; 146 v H 99. Eff 8-22-95.

* So in enrolled bill, division (B). The word "authority" appears in previous versions but was not officially struck out in HB 99 (146 v --), eff 8-22-95.
Under this section Mayor Luken could be recalled by the voters of Cincinnati if 12,937 registered voters residents of Cincinnati signed a petition under the above rules. The 12,937 comes from 86,249 x 15% rounded up, where 86,249 was the total votes for mayor in 2001.

ORC § 3.07 and 3.08 do cover the removal of office procedures for all officers which covers the means described in the CityBeat article. Those procedures still apply, but this above procedure would not be in conflict.

Now I have to once again notify you that I am not a lawyer. My understanding of the law is above average for the layman, but I am not infallible. My study of the ORC and Cincinnati Charter indicate that this law would allow a recall process for Mayor Luken, or any City Council member. I invite any lawyers out there to set me straight if I am wrong.

On the issue of whether Luken should be recalled, that is a complicated issue. Gray Davis should not be recalled. Under this law he would not be eligible to be recalled, since he has not served 1 year in the current term of governor. Luken would be open to recall at this point. Luken's actions regarding Issue 5 are enough for some to want him out. I can understand the anger and frustration. Kowtowing to the FOP is nothing but a political ploy for Luken, who is disliked by the GOP controlled FOP leadership as much as the boycott groups. Recall petitions are really not wise long-term choices, because you don't know whom you will get place of the person you want out. Thankfully, this law is not easy to execute. The requirements are much higher than California's recall law. 15% for recall and 10% to get on the ballot is vastly more difficult than what the foes of Davis faced. Luken has no fear of being booted from office, except in November of 2005.
Bronson's Bullshit
No other title can do justice to Bronson's latest column, or should I just call it Peter's Propaganda. Trying to put abortion and slavery on the same level is a trite OLD plank of the anti-abortion theocrats that have been pushing their FASCIST agenda in this city for decades. I know I throw the fascist term around a lot, but there is no other term that fits. This is simply a group of people who want to make women into chattel of their deity. Women are the property of the Pope or Jerry Fallwall, or whatever Christian fundamentalist you want to insert. The game is now saying an embryo is equal to a living breathing human being. Bush is trying to do this by Presidential fiat. Next they will say sperm is a living being, then any cell, putting anyone who does not have sex for procreation or elective surgery into jail for "murder."

This game must stop. A woman's body is not the property of the state of any group's religion; it belongs to her. She must make the choice what to do with her body. It usually is best that she has a man or partner in her life that she can talk over all implication of any choice she makes, but that is not a given that should be forced upon her either. Bronson and his band of theocrats can try and prevent abortions through non-violent persuasion, but not via legislation. If Peter and the bible thumper crowd really want to reduce abortion, they might spend their time and money to promote contraceptives. Make the pill covered by all insurance plans, pass out condoms. If they want the numbers to drop, preventing unwanted pregnancies are the way to go, not through ineffective and oppressive religious codes.

His partial birth abortion rant is a textbook red herring. If his buddies would just pass a law allowing for the preservation of the health and life of the woman, they would get it past the SCOTUS. Compromise works, religious crusades do not work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Boring Porn?
Would you fall asleep during the viewing of a porn video? A juror allegedly did just that in the Trial of Shawn Jenkins here in Cincinnati. Jenkins is the latest victim of the Simon Leis Crusade against porn. One of Leis's Brown-shirts purchased a porn video that Leis has decided is not fit for us to view.

The case went to trial, but the judge had to declare a mistrial because two jurors did not view the video. One was sleepy; the other allegedly did not want to pay attention to the video. Prosecutor Bud Greenberg takes the case with this from the article:
Prosecutor Bud Greenberg said he understood why the juror would turn her head: "This video is so disgusting that that is the natural" reaction.
Bud, what stick is up your ass? Or is that the issue, are you that homophobic that you fear "they" might come and make you gay? What a wuss. If you don't like porn Bud, don't watch it. Making it a crime is nothing but theocracy in action.

This is not the first time this case had gone to trial. I still want Leis to document that his department has solved every theft case in the county in areas he has sole jurisdiction. Simon Says, sell porn and go to jail, get robbed and you better be insured.

Local Coverage: Enquirer, WLWT, WCPO.
Corporate Censorship at the Enquirer?
Greg Flannery's column alleges that the Enquirer held a Maggie Downs column discussing the Convergys deal that "apparently clashed with the paper's endorsement of the Convergys deal." Greg mentioned the dozen or so people interviewed. I can speak as one of those interviewed. I don't know if my comments were used in the column, but I can confirm there was supposed to be one on that subject. My comments were not really opposing the Convergys deal; they instead were on ideas that could improve the downtown area for younger professionals, using the level of money in the Convergys deal.

So what's the real problem? Why would a newspaper want to manipulate the public? (Please stop laughing) Why can they publish a pro-deal editorial, but no alternative views? Is it a for a business reason? Is the business side of the paper intruding in on the editorial side? I can't think of another logical reason. The paper does, on occasion, have varied viewpoints, so why not now?

Update: Greg's column also confirms my contention that the Enquirer will be starting a weekly "tabloid" as he calls it, referring more to the physical size than the content. Greg reports that the publication will be starting this fall. I will have more to report on this new publication Thursday night.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Is CityBeat Toast?
"Sources" indicate, oh how it is fun to say "sources", that the Cincinnati Enquirer will be launching a new weekly publication. Specifics on its content have not yet been revealed, but all indications are that it will on some level be locking horns with CityBeat, the current leading weekly newspaper in Cincinnati. With prophetic accuracy Greg Flannery, News Editor of CityBeat, wrote this in his Porkopolis column just a couple of weeks ago:
And then there's the recent two-hour powwow organized by new Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan to hear what's on the minds of young urban professionals from such groups as Cincinnati Tomorrow, Give Back Cincinnati and YP Cincinnati. Attendees recommended ideas and changes to the paper, but one thing they might get in return is something they didn't ask for -- a free-distribution weekly paper published by The Enquirer and aimed at them.

Buchanan came to The Enquirer from The Idaho Statesman, a fellow Gannett paper, and during her tenure there she launched Thrive, a free weekly tabloid-sized paper that resembles an alternative weekly. If it materializes here, the local creative class can expect lots of articles on skateboarding, exclusive clubs, rock climbing and other entertainment options. But don't expect an alternative to The Enquirer's coverage of news and issues. After all, can Gannett be a real alternative to Gannett?
Greg may have known something, but I am sure the entire CityBeat staff will be none to happy with a revenue drain. The online version of Thrive is limited, but does seem to target much the same crowd as CityBeat. The website does bare more of Greg's predictions, this new weekly may be more arts/culture/entertainment based, leaving the "hard" news to the Enquirer.

I like competition. I would prefer both publications to thrive (bad pun). I just hope the Enquirer does not follow the Dallas Morning News and start a blog. If they do, I will not worry too much, but I would make a great consultant on how to do it. (Cough, Cough)

Monday, July 21, 2003

Convergys Deal Near Completion
WCPO is reporting the details:

  • $10 million dollars upfront to Convergys

  • $1 million paid after 225 jobs are added

  • $18.75 million paid over 30 months if Convergys purchases the Atrium One

  • $25 million as part of a job creation tax credit

The total would be $54.75 million. Only the $10 million would be upfront, the rest is conditional over time. The reduction is about $10 million from the original deal. This deal should get Pepper's vote, since he negotiated it, along with Reece and most likely Monzel. Monzel made the power play, but got what he wanted.

Other reports:
WLWT-NBC is reporting that the deal appears to be back on with at least 5 council members supporting the revised deals. No details were reported.
The Post indicates that the negotiations are still going on.
The Enquirer reports on the woes facing the Convergys Center if Convergys moves to the Atrium One.
Empire Theatre
What a complete waste. A historical building that on paper had a future now lies in rubble. This is mostly LaShawn Pettus-Brown's fault, but the Mayor and Council should take some blame too. No one has been brought forward to account for the stolen city funds. No plan to try and save the project or even just the building was made known. Yet another failure by the city. WKRC-CBS reports that the demolition of the building will cost around $40,000.00 to $50,000.00.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

No Vice Pepper?
In Greg Korte's latest article on the Convergys negotiations he lists this tidbit:
Luken's antagonist in this unfolding City Hall power play has been Councilman David Pepper, a 32-year-old first-term fellow Democrat who disagrees with Luken more often about the role of City Council than on politics or policy.
Does this solidify Alicia Reece's hold on the office of Vice Mayor? Pepper received the most votes in the 2001 council election, and under the old rules, would have been mayor, assuming no Luken in the race as competition. Pepper stands a good chance of being number 1 in the vote totals this year. This conflict, however, would logically put Pepper's chances in the dumper for Vice Mayor. Conventional Wisdom would have kept Reece in the role for PR reasons (race relations), assuming she is in the upper half of vote getters. Vice Mayor is mostly a ceremonial title, but it looks good on a resume when seeking higher office.
Washington Senator Maria Cantwell Boosts Springer
Current junior U.S. Senator from Washington Maria Cantwell (D) gave support to Jerry Springer's Campaign:
"I think people will be surprised by his intellect," the Washington state Democrat told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "There's much more to him than his TV show. He's an incredibly smart person."
According to the AP article, Cantwell was an unpaid campaign worker for Springer during his 1977 Council run. This would have been during Cantwell's time at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Cantwell is originally from Indiana.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Friday, July 18, 2003

10th Most Literate City?
Via reader Sam: A University of Wisconsin-Whitewater study has placed Cincinnati at #10 on the ranking of America's 64 largest cities. Say what you want about Cincinnati but we do have a wonderful library system, good local university, 2 local daily newspapers, a couple of weeklies and a great monthly.
FOX News Still in Court
The case goes on with the appearance by the former FOX News reporter who wrote the allegedly libelous article. FOX News still looks like it will do fine, unless the jury is really anti-FOX. I am surprised this issue is only getting local coverage. I can't find any report of it anywhere else. I would figure the right-wing bloggers would be all over this trial. I guess they don't pay much attention to Cincinnati, unless we have riots.
Wells: Bush Speak
I am glad there is no Uranium in Cincinnati. I don't know what is out at the Fernald Plant still, but at least that is 18 miles away. On Bush Wells is wrong. He is not wrong about the facts, he is wrong about the analysis, or at least does not go far enough in his analysis of the importance of Bush’s credibility on the reasons for war with Iraq. He is correct about what Bush stated here in Cincinnati v. the SOTU, but he is wrong on the importance of the reason we went to war. War was claimed to be justified because Iraq posed a serious and immediate threat to our Allies, our overseas assets, and the USA itself. Well, that is what we were sold on anyway. Iraq could not wait for inspectors, because Saddam was a threat. We could not wait to gain the support of France and Russia and the rest of the world because he was a threat now (meaning pre-war).

Would Congress have supported the War if we knew that there was no real nuclear threat? Would Congress have supported war if we knew there was no immediate threat from chemical or biological weapons? Would the American People have supported this war in the numbers that did if we knew that Iraq was really far less a threat to us than North Korea? The answer to all is No.

So it does matter about "16 words." Those words are the tip of the iceberg. The basis for this war was false. This war was about geopolitical positioning and personal vendettas, not about protecting America from a serious threat. Belittling the importance of holding Bush to truthful and honest statements is nothing but a diversion and rationalization. The ends still do not justify the means. No one, of consequence, wants Saddam back, that would be ludicrous. Claiming that those who wish to hold Bush accountable for his action are just anti-war liberals is just a head fake. If you can only defend Bush by saying he comments don’t matter, then you might as well just get rid of the Presidency. If his words don’t matter, then having a president must also be just as meaningless.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Cincinnati Reaction to Bush's WMD Manipulation
The New York Times has an article today giving a sense of the views of several local Cincinnati area residents. The article gets a wide sample of quotes from various local people from all sides of the political spectrum. Cincinnati is a bellwether for Bush's reelection. If Bush does not win big locally, he will loose Ohio and the overall election.

Steve Gilliard at DailyKos had this link and has comments discussing Bush's overall current predicament. I myself am disgusted with Bush. His performance in this exhcange from today's press conference with Blair illustrates the fault line of Bush's credibilty:
Q Mr. President, others in your administration have said your words on Iraq and Africa did not belong in your State of the Union address. Will you take personal responsibility for those words? And to both of you, how is it that two major world leaders such as yourselves have had such a hard time persuading other major powers to help stabilize Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: First, I take responsibility for putting our troops into action. And I made that decision because Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security and a threat to the security of other nations.

I take responsibility for making the decision, the tough decision, to put together a coalition to remove Saddam Hussein. Because the intelligence -- not only our intelligence, but the intelligence of this great country -- made a clear and compelling case that Saddam Hussein was a threat to security and peace.

I say that because he possessed chemical weapons and biological weapons. I strongly believe he was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program. And I will remind the skeptics that in 1991, it became clear that Saddam Hussein was much closer to developing a nuclear weapon than anybody ever imagined. He was a threat. I take responsibility for dealing with that threat.

We are in a war against terror. And we will continue to fight that war against terror. We're after al Qaeda, as the Prime Minister accurately noted, and we're dismantling al Qaeda. The removal of Saddam Hussein is an integral part of winning the war against terror. A free Iraq will make it much less likely that we'll find violence in that immediate neighborhood. A free Iraq will make it more likely we'll get a Middle Eastern peace. A free Iraq will have incredible influence on the states that could potentially unleash terrorist activities on us. And, yeah, I take responsibility for making the decisions I made.
Bold added.

I am sure partisan conservatives loved the confrontational response to the question. They like the brashness and defiance of the Press. Their "fearless leader" can do no wrong. They are overjoyed that Bush is "fighting back" against the "partisans."

Everyone else, I think, is either disgusted like me, or greatly disappointed that Bush failed to take responsibility for his actions. Instead of stopping the Buck, Bush refused to acknowledge it exists. His answer to a question of responsibility for his actions is a recitation of "ends justify the means." Swagger and defiance are great for John Wayne War movies, but Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart showed how real people lived with dignity, honor, and respect that had value, not just comic book drama.

What further makes me cringe is the continuing trail of Clintonesque semantics. Bush said, “I say that because he possessed chemical weapons and biological weapons.” He further revised his history with this exchange:
Q Mr. President, in his speech to Congress, the Prime Minister opened the door to the possibility that you may be proved wrong about the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q Do you agree, and does it matter whether or not you find these weapons?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you might ask the Prime Minister that. We won't be proven wrong --
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: No.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I believe that we will find the truth. And the truth is, he was developing a program for weapons of mass destruction.
Now, you say, why didn't it happen all of a sudden? Well, there was a lot of chaos in the country, one. Two, Saddam Hussein has spent over a decade hiding weapons and hiding materials. Three, we're getting -- we're just beginning to get some cooperation from some of the high-level officials in that administration or that regime.
But we will bring the weapons and, of course -- we will bring the information forward on the weapons when they find them. And that will end up -- end all this speculation. I understand there has been a lot of speculation over in Great Britain, we've got a little bit of it here, about whether or not the -- whether or not the actions were based upon valid information. We can debate that all day long, until the truth shows up. And that's what's going to happen.
And we based our decisions on good, sound intelligence. And the -- our people are going to find out the truth, and the truth will say that this intelligence was good intelligence. There's no doubt in my mind.
Note the “truth” we will find is that he (Saddam Hussein) was developing a program for WMD. What about the threat of existing WMD Hussein was alleged to possess? Will we find those? Is this some kind of game? Pin the tail on the Dubya? Who is actually buying this crap? I can’t imagine the level of rationalizing it would take to believe this administration’s statements on WMD. Ok, well, I can imagine it, but it gives me the creeps.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

FOX News on Trial
The FOX News libel trial has begun according the Cincinnati Enquirer. NKU professor Clinton Hewan is suing FOX News for libel. He is alleged to have made controversial comments in the aftermath of the Tim Thomas shooting back in April of 2001. The alleged comment in question was "I do not advocate any violence as an initiate. But in the case of willful murder, the family (of Thomas) should go out and get that policeman." This section from the article seems to damping Hewan's case:
Within a day, NKU President James Votruba confirmed that Hewan said those words by speaking with several administrators who attended the forum. In an e-mail to the campus, Votruba condemned the remarks as "indefensible."
I think FOX has little to fear in this case, which is most likely why it is going to trial and was not settled out of court.
More Irony
It appears on the surface funny, on the inside sad that the Boycott B group, the CJC, is championing a mention they received in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. The subheadline of the article is "Experts say clear goals are key for decades-old tactic." Here is the section involving the CJC:
Not all tourism and business boycotts are led by large groups such as the NAACP.

The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati -- which helped organize a boycott of city businesses after police shot a 19-year-old unarmed black man on April 7, 2001 -- and two other local groups pulled together the boycott without leadership from national organizations such as the NAACP. The sanctions have turned away Bill Cosby, Wynton Marsalis and the annual Coors Light Jazz Festival from the city, said coalition co-chairwoman Amanda Mayes.

"After the unrest in the streets, we decided we should have our issues addressed in a more structured and peaceful means," Mayes said. "People who had strong feelings about what was going on saw the need for an organized movement."
Now, the problem with this article is that they really fail to even scratch the surface. One can argue what is written is factually true, but the whole theme of the article is shot with the subheader. "Clear goals" are not an elements of the boycott(s) here in Cincinnati. The goals change, they twist in the wind, and they are cherry picked.

Seeing the boycott B plug their own shortcomings is most ironic, but in my opinion a form of justice.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Convergys Vote Cancelled
WLWT has reported that the meeting this afternoon has been cancelled, which cancels the vote on the Convergys deal. The Enquirer story linked below has been updated to reflect the cancellation of the vote.

UPDATE: Comments from Ethan Hahn.

UPDATE#2: The above Enquirer story has been updated again. Its first line is "The deal is off." Do we have our first major political issue of the campaign? This is a story that every candidate should have a position on.
GOP to Blame for the Possible Convergys Deal Collapse?
The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Republican Chris Monzel has changed positions on the deal:
"Looking at the whole deal, there was always something nagging me about this," Monzel said today. "It was the job retention tax credits that didn't sit right. It's bad public policy."
It is odd that Pat DeWine is against the deal and Monzel is also reportedly against the deal. That puts both GOP council members against a deal to help a major corporation. This is an strange position. The Democrats are divided on the issue, but the GOP stands with the more liberal side of Council.

There appears to be a majority on Council that wants some kind of a deal to keep Convergys in town, but not enough for this deal. WLW's Noon report reported that Alicia Reece had big doubts about the deal. Monzel has given her the cover to vote against the deal if the vote takes place. Luken may delay or cancel today's vote.
Media Opinions on Convergys Deal

Cincinnati Post: Vote is rushed, wait and study it more, currently deal is not good enough.

Cincinnati Enquirer: Supports the deal as is.

Mike McConnell of WLW: Mike supports the deal as is, and similar deals like it.

Queen City Soapbox - Ethan Hahn: "I'm not knee-jerk against this deal just because it's big - but I definitely have more questions right now than answers, and more suspicion than confidence."
Council to Vote on Convergys
Today is the special vote on the Convergys Deal and as of this morning the vote is tied with 1 undecided. This chart (pdf), kind of a "most wanted" list, in the Enquirer reports who is where on the vote.

For:
Cooper
Cranly
Monzel
Tarbell

Against:
Cole
Crowley
DeWine
Pepper

Undecided:
Reece

I will be shocked if Reece goes against the deal. If she wants to stay Vice Mayor, she just might support the Mayor. She is nearly no danger of not being re-elected so I would say the deal will pass.

UPDATE: Alicia Reece on 1230 the Buzz with Lincoln Ware stated she is out doing "research" talking to people and reviewing Convergys' financial profile. Lincoln Ware believes she will say no.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Bad Boys of the Buzz
Sean Darks, a regular panelist on 1230 the Buzz's Week in Review program has hit FOX News. His company, along with partner Ben Moore, have started CityWatcher.com, a crime prevention service utilizing video camera surveillance.
More Convergys
John Schlagetter emails me with a response from Councilwoman Laketa Cole:
From: Cole, Laketa [mailto:Laketa.Cole@cincinnati-oh.gov]
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2003 12:48 PM
To: 'john@foregenitor.com'
Subject: RE: Convergys Deal Comments & Queries


Dear John:

As always thank you for your email. Your questions are right in line with
me thinking. I wanted to let you know that I have some reservation with
supporting Convergys.

Sincerely,

Councilmember Laketa Cole
Cole has similar questions as Schlagetter.

Council Candidate Nick Spenser's, via his blog, comes out against the Convergys deal, calling it "corporate welfare."

The City of Norwood officials are upset about this deal which stands to draw away jobs from Norwood.

Enquirer colmnist Denis Smith Amos believes the "City's Convergys deal gives too much, gets too little."

More coverage from the Enquirer, and Post.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

A Shot Across the Bow
Council Candidate John Schlagetter has put the questions to City Council and the Mayor on the proposed Convergys Deal:
Subj: Convergys Deal Comments & Queries
Date: 07/13/2003 1:13:23 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: john@foregenitor.com
To: Charlie.Luken@cincinnati-oh.gov, laketa.cole@cincinnati-oh.gov, minette.cooper@rcc.org, david.pepper@rcc.org, chris.monzel@rcc.org, alicia.reece@rcc.org


Mr. Mayor & Councilors:

Am I the only person finding it odd that a company based upon leveraging
distance relationships via technology wants $200 million in public money to
co-locate its own employees?

Several questions come to mind that are not addressed in the City Manager's
Memo published today by the Enquirer:

1. What is the Net Present Value of this "investment?"

2. What is the Discount Factor used to calculate this NPV?

3. What is the total sale price for the Third Street parking lot? (plus
column)

4. What is the loss in annual parking revenues resulting from the sale of
the parking lot? (minus column)

5. What is the Fair Market Value of the easement being given away between
Hammond Alley & Third Street? (minus column)

6. What is the FMV of the air rights above same being given away? (minus
column)

7. What is the FMV of the Pedestrian Access Right of Way being given away?
(minus column)

8. Convergys' current demand is for 300 people from Norwood Plus 97 per
year for 15 years. I am curious about the options considered and rejected
to locate them in the Convergys Center and its environs such as the
Provident Bank Building at Seventh & Vine, any space in the old Enquirer
Building, etc.

9. What percent of Convergys' current & proposed employees will live in
jurisdictions with their own local tax, further reducing the City's
collection?

Using the Posts' figures, the 15 year NET earnings tax collections per
employee will by less than $4,600 (not discounted for inflation). There
appears to be tremendous economic friction involved in this deal. This is
not an economic growth strategy; it is simply re-arranging deck chairs on
the Titanic.

Net: Convergys is willing to spend $100MM on a new building; the City & the
State are willing to spend $200MM to keep them here. Is there a third way
wherein the City & State fund the parking decks at The Banks which we need
anyway thus giving Convergys a platform upon which to erect its new
design-to-suit building? This presumes a CBD-Riverfront location is the
only option; consider also Broadway Commons, Queensgate (hideously
under-utilized land), West End (Western, EZ, Freeman exits), et.al.

Based upon the information provided in the City Manager's report (and the
appalling amount of information missing which is necessary to make an
informed investment decision), I find it hard to believe this deal as
structured is in the City's and the citizens' best interest.

Regards, J.

John Schlagetter
"Schlagetter for Cincinnati"
A Charter Committee Candidate
707 Race Street Suite 800
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
513.652.3032 voice
513.929.0555 fax
www.john4council.com
These are valid issues that should have been published on the city website. Open deal making is the only way to assure a democracy.
Beating a Dead Horse
No, I am not talking about an equestrian snuff film. I am referring to my endless attack on the duplicitous Peter Bronson. His latest column starts off with an ironic twist I think was lost somewhere in Peter's gray hair. The irony begins squarely in the title: "Flynts' outrage just part of their fetish for ink." For those not familiar with newspaper terminology, should understand that "ink" is analogous to "coverage," more commonly used in the Broadcast media. Bronson's position is that the Flynts are just looking for more media attention, and Peter is providing that attention. If Pete wants the Flynts to just go away there is one simple solution, don't feed the beast!

In his column, Peter also displays elements of what can only be described logically as a physiological reaction to viewing the covers of porn videos/DVDs. I guess Peter has been taking Harry Potter to heart and has devolved the magical ability to know that a film is "explicit" and therefore violates the 1999 plea agreement without actually seeing the film. I guess not judging a book, or a video, by its cover is not an axiom popular in the Bronson household.

The most disingenuous comment from Bronson must be this:
When the store was busted by the sheriff last month for selling X-rated videos, Jimmy Flynt said, "I think this is a personal vendetta."

It may indeed be a personal vendetta - by the Flynts.
Who is Bronson trying to fool? It is plain and obvious that Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis is out to get the Flynts. There are thousands of other crimes with real victims in this city that go unsolved, yet Leis is out to get Flynt for selling a little porn. Peter seems to want to just gloss over the nearly 30-year crusade by the likes of Keating, Leis, and now Phil Burress to establish a theocracy here in Cincinnati.

Finally, Bronson is just being ignorant with this comment:
Here's the naked truth: The Flynts and their lawyers copped a plea bargain and paid $10,000 in fines in 1999 because they were about to get hammered for stinking up downtown like a sauerkraut factory in a hotel lobby.
Peter's condiment fetish aside, the real reason the Flynts took the plea was financial. Larry Flynt stated on WLW's Mike McConnell show recently the reason for the plea deal. A California law prohibits ownership of a gaming license by anyone with a felony. Flynt was facing a felony. He plead down and made the deal to keep a cash cow business going. Larry Flynt also has a good defense now; he does not own the store where the allegedly "explicit" videos were sold. Larry has standing to claim that he did not violate the 1999 agreement and it should still be binding for him. Jimmy Flynt will be the person fighting the new charges. His defense will likely be that the agreement was unconstitutional, on equal enforcement of the law grounds. The same type or even the same videos are sold through other outlets in the county. The basis for limiting Jimmy Flynts ability to practice a business, while allowing others to practice the same type business is a very valid and worthwhile legal fight.

As a footnote, I have to wonder if it is an editorial policy of the Enquirer's old guard to mount a campaign disparaging the entire Flynt family. Bronson has now brought Jimmy Flynt's son Dustin into the fold by quoting him in his column. Dustin is involved in the operation of the Hustler store downtown and is fair game to be quoted, but why hasn't the Enquirer looked at the Flynt family from a different perspective, namely from the Flynt perspective? Dustin Flynt lives in town and is a member of the community with what I would surmise is a unique and an interesting perspective on the situation. If Bronson can do a quasi-edifying column on Nate Livingston, a known hate monger, why is there not a least a balanced report on someone from the Flynt camp? It would not be a conservative bias now would it? Maybe it is a little personal prejudice too.
MAUREEN DOWD: National House of Waffles
Ms. Dowd is getting to the meat of it. Sorry to disappoint the followers of the Church of Dubya, but George is no better than Bill Clinton. Semantics is not a defense. Intentionally manipulating the public into a war by misleading them as to the gravity of the threat is unconscionable. It is my opinion that deception can be the only conclusion. Trying to claim incompetence is just a head fake. The question is traction. Does this have the legs to carry the media forward? Sunday's talk shows should be an indicator. If no high-ranking Bush officials are on to defend their stance, then the blood is in the water. The question still remains, will the media smell it?

UPDATE: Josh Marshall also advises checking the Sunday talk shows.

UPDATE#2: The Washington Post reports that the CIA had the Uranium reference cut from Bush's October 7th, 2002 speech here in Cincinnati. I love it when Cincinnati can serve a positive purpose.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

David Crowley in the Springer Camp?
Gene Galvin's post at RunJerryRun.com makes that implication with a picture of Cincinnati City Councilman Crowley and Springer at events surrounding the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers conference. I am sure both know each other from Jerry's time in town, but I wonder if Crowley will endorse him in the Democratic primary for U. S. Senate. Can Springer count on his Cincinnati connections to pull in the local primary vote?

Friday, July 11, 2003

You can call him Mini-Dean?
Adam over at the Nick Spencer Campaign Blog posted this interesting list:
5 Reasons Nick Spencer is the "Local Howard Dean."

1. Both campaigns are building a grassroots network of support that engages new voters and volunteers.
2. Both Spencer and Dean are strong supporters of GLBT rights. Spencer has taken a visible stand against Article 12, and will be an advocate for the GLBT community on Council.
3. Both are using the internet to mobilize support. The spencer2003.com site was modeled heavily after Deanforamerica.com, and we'll be adding even more content and features in the coming weeks.
4. Both support ending corporate welfare and focusing back on people.
5. Both Spencer and Dean are not afraid to criticize politically powerful special interests when they act against the best interests of the people.

Now, I don't mean to disparage Nick with the Mini-me reference in my title, but I would bet Adam would be dying to use it, if they were not in the middle of a campaign. Local or Mini, they both work, right?
Howard Dean in Cincinnati
Both Dean and Gephardt were in Cincinnati today courting union votes. Gephardt won. My coverage of the event is over at GoXray.com, including a photo.
Food on the Brain
In her latest column the Enquirer's Maggie Downs brings to the table a new group called Food Chain, dedicated to bring people together across cultural/ethnic groups through food. A cross section of people meet around town and sample different and unique foods at local ethnic restaurants. I was not surprised to see a little spillage of last week's column in this week's edition with this quote referring to the founder of Food Chain:
She even wants to head global with the Food Chain project. So, for example, if someone was taking a sky-diving trip to Europe, they could easily locate natives willing to grab a meal and share in conversation.
Ms. Skypunk has something on the brain.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Did the Worm Turn?
CBSNews has this headline "Bush Knew Iraq Info Was False" concerning the State of the Union the "Africa connection." Atrios has this story in depth. With Bush out of the country things are still fluid, but the CBS story appears very firm.

There are three options that come to a focus in the overall analysis of the issue of WMD. They are basic and simple, assuming the facts are known.

1) Bush Lied (or exaggerated depending on the semantics)
2) Bush and Company are incompetent and/or lack good judgment
3) Pray to Zeus that significant WMD agent stockpiles and warheads are located in Iraq.

Time passing and a lack of a full scale no holds bared search leaves #3 more and more unlikely. That leaves 1 or 2. One could argue both if lying is the outcome.

Kevin Drum has the line though most relevant: "What's the definition of 'is'?"
Springer to Run, Technically
Jerry Springer will file papers to run for Senate by Friday. Check out my posts on Polstate.com and GoXRay.com to read more.
Nick Spencer Hits the Blog Trail
City Council candidate Nick Spencer has introduced a blog to his campaign website. Nick, along with his team, plan to update the blog daily with news from Nick's travels. A campaign blog is a great idea. It is not only easy to update, it is a great way to keep people coming to your website. I am sure I will drop by most days, but I hope the blog keeps to the tone of most regular blogs: truth minus the dogma. Reading campaign slogans day after day will not keep me coming back. Listening to stories from Nick's adventures or just mentioning people he has met along the way, kind of a "shout out," will keep my interest. This will also be a great way for Nick to respond to the issues of the day with quick rapid response, while other candidates might have to filter their responses through an html editor. I wish Nick and his blogging crew good luck. I may have to keep them in line, hopefully only on blogging etiquette, not on the issues.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Fascists on the March!
I have been using the word a lot this week, so I will surely get grief again, but Phil Buress is back with a letter to the Enquirer, and his theocratic brown shirted movement fits the word. Burress writes:
"Citizens for Community Values agrees that adults should decide what is sexually explicit,..."
What he is not telling you is that the adults he is speaking about are the members of CCV, the local "Sheriff", Peter Bronson, and the Prosecutor’s office. The people be damned! We don't share his religious guidance, so I guess we know not what we do when we believe in the freedom of speech. Phil, the people have spoken. Most don't want to prosecute Larry Flynt. Most people believe porn is protected speech. They don't want it sold in the open on the street, but it can be sold. Let the individual adult decide what they care to buy or not buy, Phil, we can take it. We don't need you to tell us how to live our lives.
Bronson: Hypocrite
Peter Bronson's column today lambastes the voters for daring to control the police. Peter defends the police union from attacked from City Council and the supporters of Issue 5. I never knew Peter was a pro-union man. I thought Peter believed, as most conservatives do, that the employee should be grateful to his employer for having a job. Peter has repeatedly attacked Teacher's Unions for daring to ask for higher pay and stable jobs. I know expect to hear Peter’s defense of the next teacher’s strike when they expect fair pay and adherence to their contracts, even in the face of newly elected conservative school board members.

Peter has chosen to defend a perpetual contract with police. How is a contract valid when it is made after a new law is passed, dictating rules required in the contract? Why would anyone agree to a contract that violated the new law? Why doesn't Peter address this simple concept? Why isn't the police contract published online? This issue leads to the top. I will look at the role of the Mayor, City Manager, and Police Chief in this scandal in a later post. I might even mention the word "recall." Opps, did I just do that?

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

A Cowardly Lion?
The search for the Lion out in Deerfield Township has been called off. Police are not sure if there ever really was a lion. I am wondering if the person who claimed to have seen the lion have stopped smoking grass, and put a shirt on.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Old News From FOX News
FOX has caught up with Cincinnati's now 3+ week old ordinance requiring panhandlers to register. I wonder if they will cover Pete's Rose's suspension from baseball next?
Early Democratic Presidential Primary Politics
Donald at All Deliberate Speed has taken the latest 2004 American Presidential Candidate Selector quiz.

My results were as follows:
1. Kucinich, Cong. Dennis, OH - Democrat (94%)
2. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (84%)
3. Gephardt, Cong. Dick, MO - Democrat (82%)
4. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (80%)
5. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (79%)
6. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (76%)
7. Lieberman Senator Joe CT - Democrat (69%)
8. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol IL - Democrat (66%)
9. Graham, Senator Bob, FL - Democrat (63%)
10. Bush, George W. - US President (4%)

I would have guessed I would have been closer to Dean or Kerry, not Kucinich and Sharpton. I am for the record not a registered Democrat, and I will not be participating in the primary for president. I like my status as an independent liberal. I think this selector is not very accurate in its classifications. I would like to see how a conservative placed.
Queen City Soapbox Back
Ethan Hahn has commentary on Bush, Vietnam/Korea, and Iraq.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane....No, It's a Bronson
Ok, I was close with my very prophetic quip about Peter Bronson bungee jumping. In Sunday's column Peter describes his experience in a WWII era fighter.

I tried to find someway to use the classic "Underdog" opening, but I just could not find a good rhyme with Bronson.

Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
Fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!
Fascist
I seemed to have attracted a little attention from www.cincynation.com. I would only note this definition of "fascist" from M-W.com:
2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control
Last I checked when someone in power dictates what is considered "obscene", and then acts on that determination, I think using fascist as an adjective is most applicable.

Friday, July 04, 2003

The People & Larry Flynt Vs. Simon Leis
It appears now that a clear majority of local residents agree that the Flynts should be allowed to sell porn videos in their store in the county and that our fascist sheriff should not be pursuing his personal crusades against the Flynts, while hundreds or even thousands of crimes with real victims go unsolved.
Ms. SkyPunk
Maggie Downs has taken one small step for a columnist, one giant leap for all writer kind. I am impressed. That jump took guts. I could never jump out of a working plane. I don't even like roller coasters. I am amazed that Maggie has now become a skydiving enthusiast. She will be jumping from the Carew Tower in no time. She is already a virtually solo jumper, so people eating lunch on Fountain Square better keep one eye in the sky.

The video of her jump was funny. From the initial nervous tension to the Charlie’s Angels pose, a nice presentation. There was one major problem with the video, the soundtrack. I don't know who produced the video, or who chose the sound track, but it could have used some pumping up:

  1. Prodigy's “Breathe” would have captured some of the tension.

  2. ”Ride of the Valkyries” is always a crowd pleaser, and could have fit in as the plane took off.

  3. The Foo Fighters' “I'll Stick Around” might have fit in.

  4. Sly & The Family Stone's “I Want to Take You Higher” was simply a must use. It works on so many multiple levels.

  5. Jimi' Hendrix's “Gypsy Eyes just sounds cool, and should be used more often on video soundtracks everywhere.

Over all, the soundtrack could have used a little more fun.

Speaking of music, I have a great idea for the Enquirer promotions department. I propose they produce a TV commercial for Maggie's column. The commercial would be a spoof or take-off of the Musical/Movie "Chicago" and use the song "Roxie" with Maggie doing a Broadway style number around the city. They would have to go full boar on the production with dancers, and a re-recording of the song, replacing "Roxie Hart" with "Maggie Downs" in the lyrics of the song. The syllables work out perfectly. They could start with a newsroom shot, cut to the baseball stadium, Main Street, Mount Adams, the Zoo, UC, and end up on Fountain Square. It would be classic. Think of the opening sequence of the "Drew Carey Show" using Cleveland, but just insert Maggie for Drew.

You don't think they would go for it? I think it would work. If Maggie can skydive, she surely can do a Broadway number.

I do have to ask another important question. Why didn't Peter Bronson or Laura Pulfer skydive too? I want to see Peter Bronson try bungee jumping.


Note: In case you wonder whom the original Skypunk was, read this report of his unfortunate death last year and his history here in Cincinnati.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Lions of Summer
I don't know what to make of the supposed Lion on the loose out around Mason, Ohio. The credibility of the man who is the only person to have seen the animal is a bit suspect:
Andy Lawson said he first encountered the lion Sunday night, when it made a grunting racket outside his trailer. The lion returned, sniffing around his trailer, the following night.
Video of Mr. Lawson did not ooze with credibility. WLWT's story, including video, lists a poll asking "do you believe him." There is confusion on the actual name of the person who stated he saw the lion. The UPI story quoted above reports his name is "Andy Lawson", but both the WLWT and WCPO's stories refer to him as "Casper Lawson." The Post agrees. The Enquirer agrees with the UPI. WXIX's web sit took an early vacation, with no coverage of the story. WKRC’s article only referred to the witness as a "resident." Who is right? Well, according to a search of the Clerk of Courts Web site the man's first name is Casper and middle name Andy or Andrew. I would assume he goes by his middle name. I sure would not want to be called Casper.

A simple fact in a story could in the end cause an Andrew Lawson trouble if Casper Lawson's story does not pan out, and he is discredited. Imagine what happens with a story that is more serious and more complicated, like a murder for instance. How often does this kind of fact variation happen on that type of story? A little clarity by all outlets might make sense, especially when this story goes national with the UPI and Washington Times.
Porkopolis: Ham and Fat
Greg Flannery's Porkopolis column this week is worthy of praise and rebuke. First the ham: I praise Greg’s stance in regards to the Cincinnati Progressive Action's refusal to allow the Cincinnati Post's reporter into an alleged "community-wide meeting," while allowing a CityBeat reporter to attend. Double standards are often a problem with extreme left-wing groups like the Cincinnati Progressive Action (CPA). They do not want people discriminated against, except when it comes to something they happen to disagree with, like "Corporate Media." What does the CPA have to hide? Are they plotting a Marxist revolution and don't want any “capitalist pigs” knowing in advance? If a group is about inclusion, then including everyone, no matter their opinions, should be the goal. Why would any group starving for media attention keep an outlet out of an open meeting? Fascist tactics are fascist tactics no matter which side of the political spectrum you haunt.

The fat of Greg Flannery's column came in his screed against the Enquirer’s attempt to broaden its readership. It is, I think, a well-known fact the younger generations, say - those under 40, are not consuming news much, especially daily newspapers. Why shouldn't the Enquirer go after younger readers? I don't know if this method of gaining new readers will work, but it might break up the staleness the paper often exudes. Maggie Downs is still new on the block, and passing judgment on her after one column is a bit premature. I have to laugh a bit at Greg for making fun of the use of her term "Dude." I find it pretentious to find a commonly used idiom to be "so last year." CityBeat produces a great deal of well written stories, but it is not the "arbiter of style" for Cincinnati. If the Enquirer wants to try and get a little hipper, it will not hurt anyone. Fears of what new competition CityBeat might face is a battle better fought by its product on the page, than by cheap rhetorical shots at honest actions. CityBeat can get just as stale as the Enquirer. How many more times can we read Socialist diatribes blaming all of life's ills on either business or "persons not of color"? A little diversity would do some good for everyone. Why doesn't CityBeat have any regular columnists under age 30?

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Not Just Me
As a new editor I find it easier to proof read other people's work than my own. In My Miami University post below I did not proof read correctly, leaving a sentence unfinished. This is the Achilles’ heel of blogging: self-editing. When I read Peter Bronson's Column today, I was surprised to learn that I am not the only one with an editing problem. Review this paragraph from his column and tell me what is wrong:
Janet explained why gorillas walk on their knuckles - to protect their sensitive palms for food gathering - and Charlie rounded up a couple of kids to try on the "Gorilla Shirt" that has a 42-inch neck and 38-inch sleeves. They kids fit with room to spare.
In case you missed it, the last sentence seems to need some editing. If Peter wants to pay me, I would be happy to edit him. His problem would be that I might edit out many of his columns in their entirety. I am glad that I am not the only one who needs to improve on my proof reading. I would not want to be Peter's editor right now. I can sympathize. I truly can sympathize.
Miami University
I wish all of the sports reporters at the Enquirer would adopt a fair and consistent means of referring to Miami University as opposed to Coral Gables U. (University of Miami). I hope Dustin Dow starts by not referring to the University of Miami as simply Miami. The Enquirer offices are less than 90 miles from Oxford, Ohio, location of Miami University. Most readers of the Enquirer would know that Miami is in Ohio, and Coral Gables is in Florida. What could be confusing to some non-football fans is when his article headline reads: "Miami bolts, leaves Big East vacuum." I know Miami is not going to the ACC, Miami of Florida is going to the ACC, but I don't like the ignorant misinformed. This is a very simple request and a bit of respect they Enquirer could make to a local university. In the article the only references to the state of Florida are in reference to the University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Looking Forward and Looking Downs
This Friday's Maggie Downs column in the Cincinnati Enquirer should be interesting. Today's Enquirer had a "Looking Forward" promo in the editorial section highlighting several upcoming stories this week. The big push is for Maggie's column on her first time skydiving. They went to the length of showing her picture dressed in her skydiving uniform. She is smiling in the picture. I have to wonder, was the picture taken before, or after the jump?

She takes a good picture, even in the skydiving get-up. Ok, I am sucking up a bit, but I am usually nice to new people.
My Opening at XRay
I have two new articles up over at XRay. One is my first editorial, mostly just an introduction of myself to the Web site's readers. Myke Amend has a very funny satire flaming on the RIAA.