Thursday, July 31, 2008

Steak with Black Beans, Hot Salsa, Sour Cream, and Cheese

Yes, most of Cincinnati is talking about the news that Ken Griffey, Jr. has been traded to the White Sox.

Whatever. I like watching him play, but it's not going to have an impact on my life. Or yours.

The bigger news of the day--the exciting news, the news that made me giggle with glee as soon as I read it--is about two of my favorite places: Fountain Square and Chipotle. And now they're going to be together. At last. I feel like the first person to taste peanut butter and chocolate together in the same bite. Can you imagine: sitting on the Square, eating a Chipotle burrito on a glorious spring day?

There are those who hate the encroachment by national chains into downtown. I wish I had comforting words of wisdom for them. I don't. I like Chipotle, and I'm not ashamed of it. I'm glad they're coming downtown. Now I can get a burrito, follow it up with a Graeter's ice cream cone, and wash it all down with a beer from Rock Bottom.

I might never leave downtown again . . .

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Week After

I posted a snarky dig at The Morning After blog from CityBeat. After a week of reading the rest of the blog, I need to give the blog props. It is a huge positive to see young people out having fun in Cincinnati. I hope they fight the urge to stay where they know, and instead branch out and see the rest of the city. People don't explore enough. Take the lead and just try something you know little about.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Open Thread: VP Predictions

With just a few weeks until the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, I wanted to provide everyone with an opportunity to predict the vice presidential candidates. If you're right, you'll then be able to have some concrete record of having been right, rather than just having to rely on your friends' memories. My own predictions:

For Obama: It's a little bit of a dark horse pick, but I really believe it's going to be Kathleen Sebelius, the governor of Kansas. That choice might be attractive to Obama for several reasons. First, her gender (female) may win over some of the PUMA's. Second, it puts someone on the ticket with executive experience who still doesn't overshadow Obama. Finally, her genealogical ties to Ohio (her father is fomer Governor John Gilligan) may win him some votes in the Buckeye State.

For McCain: I freely admit I haven't given much thought to this question. But as much as McCain likes to consider himself a maverick, I think he makes a traditional choice: a governor from a Southern state. My pick is Charlie Crist of Florida, with Bobby Jindal of Louisiana being a strong contender.

Oh, shoot, I forgot to use the one word that makes sure we gets lots of comments here. So let me rephrase the question: If you were able to get on a streetcar and meet the vice presidential picks of Obama and McCain, who do you think they'd be?

Fountain Square Magic

Last night, something pretty special happened on Fountain Square: two of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet became engaged to be married, all while being watched by people they knew, and some bemused onlookers who were no doubt surprised by the mini-drama.

Both the groom-to-be (the GTB) and the bride-to-be (the BTB) are friends of mine. I'm leaving their names off the post, so they can tell their friends and colleagues who weren't lucky enough to be on the Square Saturday night in their own time and in their own way. I've known the BTB for several years. She's one of the nicest (yep, said it again!), most intelligent, hardest-working people I've ever known. I've not known the GTB for nearly as long. But along with the BTB's other friends, I was happy for her when she got involved with the GTB--finally, a man who is worthy of her.

About a week ago, the GTB sent out an email to the couple's friends, informing us of his intention to propose. He invited us to sneak into Rock Bottom Brewery ahead of time (with warnings to be on-time, lest his subterfuge be foiled). He put together a video montage of their life as a couple, which concluded with his proposal, that was played on the Jumbotron. The camera operator then, in real time ("live") , zoomed in on the couple, as their body language made clear that the BTB had happily accepted. (We had snuck out of Rock Bottom to the far eastern edge of the Square, where we were able to watch without the BTB seeing us.) Both the GTB's and the BTB's families were present, as well. Most of the women present teared up.

It was a really nice moment on Fountain Square, and hopefully was a little bit of fun even for those who were just enjoying their weekend and had no idea what was about to unfold. And the men in the gathering were nice enough not to beat the snot out of the GTB, who has now raised the bar way too high for the rest of us single guys. (How do you top that? Get a marching band to spell out a proposal at half-time of the OSU-Michigan game?)

This certainly can't be the first wedding proposal in the history of Fountain Square, but does anyone know: is this the first time the Jumbotron has been used for that purpose?

And it's another sign of how much a part of Cincinnati's life, culture, and community the "new" Fountain square has become.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Do the Math

Another great addition for the Know Theatre arrives in their production of the National tour of Calculus: The Musical! The addition of Sadie Bowman as Education Coordinator for the Know is a good move. I don't know if that will bring her to Cincinnati full time or part time, but it will be great way to pump up the Know educational programs.

Friday, July 25, 2008

1st Annual Cincy Blogger Convention

A big thank you go out the folks at the Mercantile Library for hosting the Blogger Convention last night. It was a nice casual event were people got to put names/urls to faces.

I look forward to a repeat event next year. I think it would be great next year to have more of a discussion or activity that might spawn more focused learning about the best practices for blogging or for discussion as where blogging is going.

I was happy to meet several bloggers I've not met before and it was great catching up with friends.

For those where were there, would you say there are any overall traits you could perceive about those in attendance? Is there something that makes people become bloggers?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Will This Translate to Locals?

It was wonderful to read about the recption Cincinnati police received from the NAACP convention. Will this be repeated by local Cincinnati residents? Will it depend on where you live or what you look like?

We have not heard much about the state of CPD community relations for a long time. I don't know if that means the police are making progress in relating to the public or if there are other reasons. I am sure the police still have detractors, but they are getting as much attention. Articles like this will not fuel confrontations.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cincinnati's Blogosphere

Soapbox digs into the rich blog landscape in Cincinnati. Yea, you can read about me and see my picture, so don't complain here if you don't like it! Ha!

It is a nice article that gives a good base background on blogging in Cincinnati. It is, however, only one pass at the huge list of local bloggers. Many more blogs, most of which you can see on my blog roll to the left, speak to a great many ideas and topics. Are there other local blogs out there people have read and think should have been mentioned on Soapbox or be included on my blogroll?

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Great Downtown Video

Soapbox Cincinnati has produced a great video of Summer in Downtown Cincinnati.

A Trolley?

So, who in the anti-public transportation camp is going to come out and oppose this idea being considered by the City of Wyoming in Western Hamilton County? This wouldn't be considered a Green part of town, with the GOP holding a firm grip on Wyoming City Council, just in case someone wants to be "blame" this intelligent idea on the Liberals.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Sundae Battle

Brian's post below reminds me that I've been meaning to ask our intrepid readers the following question for some time:

Which ice cream is better, Aglamesis or Graeter's, and why?

This is, of course, one of the most important and divisive questions facing the Queen City.

I'll post my own opinion in the comments.

Iris Book Cafe Opening on Main Street

Last Weekend those who hit Second Sunday on Main were treated to preview of the Iris Book Cafe slated to open by this month's Final Friday. This wonderfully redone space at 1331 Main Street has a front and back room and courtyard out back. Offerings will include Coffee Emporium Coffee, Aglamesis Ice Cream, a lunch menu, a small amount of vinyl for the hardcore music buffs, and ton of great books. Hours I was told will be 7 AM to 11 PM! With Kaldi's closing, the evening hours should do gang busters with the coffehouse crowd. This is a traditional coffeehouse, so without the bar the vibe will not have the edge of Kaldi's.

Who Knew???

Did anyone else in the world know that young adults graduate from college (UC) and then get work out of town? I just assumed that everyone who went to college here stays in town. I mean, isn't Oxford's population something like 200,000 people by now?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

MidPoint Showcase Artists Announced

CityBeat's Spill It has a big updated on who is playing MidPoint this year.

The national acts confirmed so far are:

Robert Pollard and the Boston Spaceships
The Purrs
Why?
Backyard Tire Fire
The Swimmers
Headlights
Oh My God

The showcase list is also here.

Some local bands not on the list that are surprising: Wussy, Lion's Rampant, White Girls, Eat Sugar, Pomegranates, Straw Boss, and the Star Devils - what gives? Are these bands opting out of MidPoint?

Friday, July 18, 2008

McDowntown

Wow, I really would be so 'proud' of a downtown that you could put into the microwave and woosh! there it is, read to it. Who in this world values a home cooked meal anymore?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Broke As A Joke, But It Ain't Funny

The Hamilton County Commissioners have ordered all departments to cut their budgets by six percent for the last five months of the year. According to the Enquirer, Sheriff Simon Leis says he'll comply, but it's clear that he'll make sure we all notice:

Effective August 1, there will be less room in the Hamilton County jail, fewer deputies patrolling county communities and no one manning metal detectors at the courthouse or other county buildings.


Based on the comments linked to the article (I'm still not sure why it's a good idea for a newspaper--as opposed to a blog--to permit reader comments), a lot of people think Leis is whining, bluffing, or both.

I don't think he is.

We've already noticed one conspicuously absent guard in the Justice Center. For those of you who haven't been there, it's comprised of two buildings, connected to each other by a covered bridge at the second floor level. One of the buildings is connected to the courthouse by a covered bridge, as well. Typically, a deputy sits in a control room outside the secured areas of each of the buildings. Until this week. That's when Sheriff Leis eliminated the schedule for the deputy assigned to sit in the control room in the "South" building. So to visit inmates in the South building, attorneys (or probations officers, medical professionals, clergy, etc.) must now go to the North building, check in with the control room there, ride to the second floor, walk across the tunnel to the South building, and then take the South elevator to their final destination. This includes people trying to see inmates in the holding cells on the first floor of the South building, behind the courtrooms where defendants make their initial appearances.

I can't believe that Sheriff Leis is happy about this change. Visitors are all issued badges that show where they're headed. So if someone wanders away from the area to which their access is approved, it's always been easy for the corrections officers to tell at a glance. Now, though, the CO's will have to deal with people walking through the North building even though they have no business there--because it's the only way to get to the South building. The situation has to raise grave security concerns.

I've been interested by my own reaction to the announced elimination of metal detector coverage in the courthouse. I've always had a distaste for the increased security in government buildings over the past fifteen years, and have felt it unfair to have to subject one's self to a search as a condition of entry. But I'll admit: I'm unnerved by the thought of everyone entering the courthouse without passing through security. Lots of emotionally volatile things take place in our courtrooms every day. Once security is gone, lots of us will fear that an overwrought crime victim or family member will show up in a courtroom ready to exact his or her own form of justice.

The county is broke, folks. The question isn't whether it is, or whether to cut the budget. It's not even how we got here. (HamCo Republican Boss Triantafilou has decided to blame the Democrats. Apparently, he's forgotten that it's his Republican President's failed policies that have put our economy (and thus county revenues) into a death spiral, and Republican Bob Bedinghaus who was largely responsible for the terrible stadium deal.)

Now, we have to ask ourselves some real questions about revenue. How do we get more of it? How do we raise enough to provide at least a bare minimum of government services? I'm not sure anyone has the answer.

Flannery Attacked by Extremists

I don't think anyone would be surprised to find out that Mary Kuhl would try to stick it to CPS Board Member Michael Flannery over an email he sent regarding development in Westwood.

Does Westwood Concern (Mary Kuhl's micro-jingoistic organization bent on ridding Westwood of non-Aryans) oppose development everywhere, including in Westwood? Are jobs bad? Does opening a Bed & Breakfast attract the poor blacks too much for their taste?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Something Inside Of That Man Is Broken

With Sunday's column, Peter Bronson has finally jumped the shark. He's gone from merely being a conservative who often misses the point to revealing himself to be a man who displays a total lack of human empathy and whose venom towards people who he can't--or won't--understand is worthy of our condemnation.

Apparently, Bronson spent a few hours following Lou Strigari, the Hamilton County Public Defender, while Mr. Strigari handled felony arraignments for his office's incarcerated clients. Bronson's conclusion? Take a look:
Contrary to what you hear from people who talk a lot about injustice, these guys belong behind bars and they know it.

Keep in mind that Bronson is writing here about pretrial detainees--that is, individuals whose guilt has not yet been established. Moreover, I'm not sure which inmates Bronson talked to, but certainly not any of my clients. I've yet to sit down in the Justice Center or Queensgate (or any other jail, for that matter) and have a client say to me, "Mr. Caster, thanks for coming, but you know what? I belong in here." Instead, my clients--even the ones who acknowledge their guilt--are worried about how to take of their families, about how to change their lives so they're not back in the justice system again after they finish paying for the mistake they've just made, or about that their future will look like if they have to serve time in prison.

What makes Bronson's judgment particularly reprehensible is that he was around inmates and corrections officers long enough to find out that some of the people he met need help. Again, from Bronson's own poison pen:

The jails would be nearly empty without mental illness and drugs. The guards agree that two-thirds of the prisoners have mental health issues, and 75 percent arrive under the influence of something.


(Emphasis mine.) I'm not sure if those numbers are really accurate (they're obviously anecdotal and rough estimates). But for Bronson to write that "these guys belong behind bars" while at the same time acknowledging that the majority of them suffer from mental health issues seems beyond comprehension. Is that what "compassionate conservativism" is about? Incarcerating people who need treatment? I don't understand how to reconcile those two excerpts from Bronson's piece.

This is a difficult week for attorneys who provide indigent defense in Hamilton County. Everyone involved knew that the system wasn't perfect. But reading the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association's hundred-plus page assessment of the provision of legal services here and how much it differs from a lot of places around the country makes me want to go back to bed, pull up the covers, and not come out until the system is fixed. (I certainly don't agree with each of NLADA's findings and recommendations, but overall, they get more right than they get wrong. And remember: the report isn't done by a bunch of nosy outsiders who should have minded their own business; the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners requested and paid for this assessment.) But as tough as it is to read the NLADA's report, it's even harder to read Bronson's hatred of all things--and people--that aren't suburban and just like him.

Griff: sorry about this. I know it's your job to beat on Bronson, but I couldn't hold back on this one.

Obama a Hit on the Square


For the thousands that were on Fountain Square to see Barak Obama speak to the NAACP Convention it was an electric event. I have never been on the square with a bigger crowd, so if you have pictures from above, please post them on line and share the links.

The most entertaining part of the event was hear the WLWT announcers astonishment at how big of a crowd was on Fountain Square for the speech. They thought maybe a few hundred would show up. Instead it was a few thousand.

John McCain speaks tomorrow and I will be surprised if he gets this type of crowd, especially since he is speaking in the morning vs. the evening.

I was greatly impressed with the speech. It wasn't full of a lot of details, which needs to change when he gets to the Democratic Convention. The way the crowd was really interested in what he said was refreshing. People far too often seem uninterested.

As I walked to the Square last night, I was confident that Obama would carry Hamilton County. Afterwards, I am certain Obama will carry Hamilton County.

Chime in if you were there.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Reading

I know that Jack is our resident book reviewer, but I thought I'd commend two books (that couldn't be more different) for your summer reading needs:

1. Kafka Comes To America: Fighting for Justice in the War On Terror. This book is written by Steven Wax, a Federal Public Defender charged with representing some of those who have been held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay. He also represented Brandon Mayfield, the Oregon lawyer who was falsely accused of participating in the Madrid train bombings in 2004. It's a terrific insider's account of the process of defending accused terrorists. One of the details in the books that particularly surprised me: lawyers were permitted to bring food to their clients in Gitmo.

2. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. This is the debut novel of David Wroblewski that has taken up residence on the bestsellers' list for the last several weeks. The bulk of reviews will tell you that the novel evokes Hamlet and White Fang. But I also sense (though I'm far from a literary critic) the influences of Catcher in the Rye and John Steinbeck. It's a terrific story, wonderfully told, that you won't be able to put down until you're through. The last week, I literally haven't been able to wait to finish up at the office to get back home to the book. It's a must-read for anyone who loves either dogs or good stories or both.

Ted Strickland: Meet Clarence Gideon

Today's Enquirer summarizes a report just released by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association on the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office.


Full disclosure: I have not read the full report and cannot find it on the internet, so I take the Enquirer's summary as accurate. Further, a significant portion of my own law practice is devoted to indigent defense as an attorney contracted by the Public Defender to defend both felony and misdemeanor cases. So I operate in this area from a huge conflict of interest, which I both recognize and now disclose.


I'm not going to comment on the bulk of the allegations (at least one of which I find outright unbelievable) or NLADA's recommendations. But one thing is clear from both the report and the comments by those quoted in the article: the State of Ohio needs to step up to the plate with funds to guarantee that indigent defendants receive effective assistance of counsel. I'd hoped that once a Democrat took up residency in the Governor's Mansion we might see some real leadership on this issue, but so far, there's been nothing but silence from Ted Strickland.


This year marked the forty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, which held that the right-to-counsel clause of the Sixth Amendment required the states to provide counsel to those who could not afford to retain an attorney. (It had long been established that the federal government was required to do so in federal criminal cases, but Gideon was the first time the Court recognized that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated (that is, made applicable to the states) the protections of the Sixth Amendment.) It's clear that nearly a half-century later, we still have much work to do to protect those in our society who are most vulnerable to the loss of their liberty or life at the hands of the State.


A few months after the decision, then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy had this to say about Gideon:

If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in prison with a pencil and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court, and if the Supreme Court had not taken the trouble to look for merit in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed.

But Gideon did write that letter. The Court did look into his case and he was retried with the help of a competent defense counsel, found not guilty, and released from prison after two years of punishment for a crime he did not commit, and the whole course of American legal history has been changed.

The report of NLADA's assessment is in sharp juxtaposition to this article, also in today's Enquirer, which reports that Ohio's machinery of death is once again churning.

A final note: nothing in this post should be read to impugn the individual attorneys who toil at the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office, or at any other Public Defender's office in Ohio. The attorneys who work there are eager, bright, talented individuals (most of whom could practice in the private sector for far greater pay and far fewer headaches) who are tirelessly devoted to passionately advocating for their clients with too little salary, too few resources, and not nearly enough support. But we need to start thinking about whether--and if so, how--our Public Defender's Office differs from those held out as models of indigent defense, such as the Cook County (Illinois) and District of Columbia public defenders' offices. The answer starts with adequately funding the office charged with safeguarding the liberty of the people of this county.

Warm Up The Moving Trucks

Since moving to my Fourth Street apartment in September 2004, I've had a front row seat to a couple of impressive construction projects. My apartment is in the back of the building, which gave my a bird's eye view of the expansion of the Cinergy--err, Duke Energy--Convention Center. One of the coolest things about that was that during the fall, they'd work past dark, and the glow of their welding torches (I don't know if they were plasma or something else) after sunset was spectacular to see. It's hard to describe....just the solitary, brilliant glow a few stories above street level (and often at eye-level with my windows)....eerily wonderful, somehow.

Now, Parker Flats, right across the street, is in its final construction stages. I thought it was worth a picture today:

Obviously, there's still a lot of interior work to be done before the place is inhabitable. Still, it's hard to believe that last summer, this was just a big hole in the ground.

We've already seen the benefits of the expansion of the Duke Energy Center (the unexpanded version simply couldn't have handled events like the NAACP convention or the upcoming National Baptist Convention). Parker Flats is sure to bring more residents downtown and further helps to revitalize the western end of Fourth Street. Seems like things are looking up. I just hope no one steals my catalytic converter.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Watch Obama's NAACP Speech on the Square

Come on out and join local Democrats and Obama supporters to watch Senator Obama's NAACP live on the Fountain Square Giant LED Board. Obama is scheduled to speak at 8PM Monday night (July 14th). Large groups of local political campaigns will be there to watch, along with the local Obama campaign team.

Fountain Square will be a great national news location to get opinion on the speech, so be on the lookout for the media and be sure to show your support for Sen. Obama and show that he has great support in Cincinnati. Obama is going to win Hamilton County this year!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Good Idea: Let's Do More Of It

The City and County have been sprucing up downtown in preparation for the NAACP's national convention. If you've been downtown, you've no doubt noticed these stickers, about the size of manhole covers, on the sidewalks:

I've previously lamented the lack of readily available cartographical assistance for visitors downtown. These stickers are a clear sign that our leadership recognizes that problem, too.

Let's find a permanent solution. If we're going to continue to proclaim that Cincinnati should be a destination city, then we have to act like we expect to entertain people who haven't been to our fair city before. And helping them find their way around seems like a good start.
(I really, really hope that whomever is responsible for the stickers--whether it's the City, the County, or the Visitors Bureau--remembers to remove them once the convention is over. Since they're paper, they won't last long, and by mid-August they'll be faded, scratched-up eyesores.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

COAST Shows Its Anti-Gay Bigotry

In it's latest news letter the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) included the following:
Commissioners Portune, Pepper Proclaim Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Day

In yet a further waste of County resources, Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper proclaimed Saturday, June 14, 2008, as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day. COAST is just bursting with pride at this proclamation on behalf of our County. We are sure Simon Leis is also proud of his endorsed County Commission candidate. Read about the resolution here.
Yes, you'll want to pay attention to the link, which is to the CCV's website. I hate to link to it, but that is news I want to make sure people understand, COAST and CCV appear to be in bed together. To claim that this somehow wastes county money is laughable. These types of proclamations are common and cost virtually nothing. Where was COAST in 2002 when the Commissioners proclaimed May 2, 2002 National Day of Prayer in Hamilton County, Ohio.?

What's more important, however, is that the CCV article is full of bigotry. Will all COAST members stand by this bigotry? Will groups and individuals who work with COAST stand by them?

A Lesson in Media Bias

In this story you get a slanted spin on the situation. If you reordered the quotes and changed it around, you could have a totally different story. The headline could have read "Departure of Sheriff Deputies has not increased crime in OTR" I'd like someone at the Enquirer state who pushed this story and how much was it edited to fit a point of view?

Monday, July 07, 2008

What Do They Have That We Don't Have?

There's an interesting piece in the NY Times's travel section on Pittsburgh. It's worth a quick read.

I realize that as Cincinnatians, it's our sworn duty to hate all things black-and-gold. But I've always thought that Pittsburgh is a good point of comparison for Cincinnati. We're nearly identical with respect to population. Our weather and geography are very similar (Pittsburgh's is a little more challenging, since the rivers actually cut through the city). Both cities' residents are extremely neighborhood oriented. And our baseball teams play to approximately equal levels of futility (though more turn out to see the Reds).

The Times piece describes a pretty vibrant city. My question: could a similar piece be written about Cincinnati? And if not, then why not: what does Pittsburgh have that we don't have?

For what it's worth, the most significant difference I see between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh is the latter's Oakland area. It's a concentration of the city's colleges (chiefly, Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, but also Duquesne and some smaller schools). There's no equivalent in Cincinnati (though I'm not arguing that makes Cincinnati a "worse" city, just different).

There is one other difference that I keep raising that none of you seem to care about. Inclines. It's all about inclines, darn it!!!

Full disclosure: I lived in Pittsburgh for four years (1988-1992) and graduated from a Pittsburgh public high school. I have never, however, rooted for the Steelers.

Enquirer's New Website

Ok, so I have had some time to evaluate the Enquirer's revamped website and I must say I do not like it. I don't mind the general look of it, what I dislike is the new structure. I can't find where anything is supposed to be.

Other opinions?

A Theatre Bridge

In an update on the effort to move the Cincinnati Playhouse to Downtown we learn that the effort includes putting four theatre spaces over two structures with a shared lobby that spans Race Street. This is an ambitious idea, but one that sounds wonderful.

On a side note, I think I need to subscribe to the Business Courier.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Farewell, LOL Blog

Larry Gross has decided to end his tenure as a blogger, and CityBeat, in turn, has decided to terminate the Living Out Loud Blog.

I (and others at this blog) have taken issue with Larry's sometimes-too-pessimistic attitude about Cincinnati. But that hasn't stopped me from reading (and looking forward to reading) his work on a daily basis. When I do my daily blog reading, I generally check the Cincinnati Blog, the Porkopolis Blog, and the LOL Blog, in that order. (Please, no lectures about using a blog reader. I'm too old school to learn that trick.) I'll greatly miss my daily dose of Larry. (Lately, though, it's a good thing I'm my own boss, since the LOL blog is the epitome of "not safe for work.") Larry's posts always get a reaction--sometimes it's laughter, sometimes disagreement, sometimes just a frown and "What the hell was that about?" But it's a reaction, nonetheless. Larry is lots of things, but vanilla is not one of them.

The good news is that Larry will continue to write for CityBeat. He also reports that he's working on two books.

I may have to stop into Madonna's some afternoon and buy him a drink.

Change Is Needed

When are we going to see change from the usual apologists for the 'homeless'? Why don't people like Georgine Getty of the Homeless Coalition update their tactics? Centralizing every poor person into one part of the city does nothing but concentrate the misery and perpetuate people's problems. The mistake of locating mass numbers of social service agencies to OTR was a mistake made 30 years ago that has not improved in the least over those 30 years. What keeps people like Georgine Getty from changing? Why do they drag their feet on moving facilities that attract a culture of bums outside those facilities? Washington Park is not going to change if we don't do two things: 1. Better enforce the law by cracking down on the bums who hang out in the park and drink beer and do drugs. 2. Push organizations like the Drop Inn center to take responsibility for the illegal activity near their building, creating a horrible place in and around a wonderful block. This activity centers and exploits people who need help, but the activity is perpetuated by those who refuse help and live as bums, coddled and protected by many who think it is better to give a bum a sandwich than drug treatment or ven just saying no when they seek to abuse those agencies trying vainly to help.

The end for the bum haven along 12th Street must come to an end once the K-12 SCPA opens. Start your efforts now, don't play games with confrontations later on, just to get the publicity. Start the change and don't use people's drug habits to try and gain more donations.

So if the City is going to try and clean out the bums from Downtown to help make the city look a little nicer for big national event, I'm OK with it, as long as those getting cleared out are breaking the law. If they go after the bums sitting peaceably in a chair on Fountain Square at 9 AM on, then that is oppression.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The North? WTF?

The Enquirer's "The Street" Columnist Carolyn Pione recently asked the question in her column: "Are you one of those people who has a bias against the north?" When has anyone ever referred the Northern Exurbs as "The North?" I'd happily call it the land of the Milquetoasted SUV or maybe the place where free-thought goes to die, but "The North" just isn't going to make it out of my lips. Beyond being insulting to Dayton, where it would be "The South," I was left scratching my head when I read this column and thinking of who with any cultural foundation wouldn't turn their noses up at least a little bit when thinking about the blandness that is Bulter County. I don't mean to knock it, well I do mean to knock it, but I'm not trying to be overly mean to the people living in Hamilton or Middletown, but lets get real, the area between 275 and 675 may have a "growing population," but there is not a growing culture to champion. Life in the Exurbs is not designed to be culturally enriching, and certainly not newsworthy, outside of little league scores.

I'm more put off by the snotty anti-Cincinnati tone I feel from Ms. Pione. It is like she is sick of all of the reporters/staffers who live inside the 275 loop telling her that Butler county sucks. Well, outside of the IKEA, and Miami University (and other places that know they are cool), it kinda does, from the perspective of a person who likes a little more than cul-de-sacs, strip malls, ignorant Republicans, and a bigoted Sheriff. So therefore when I do finally make my way up I-75 to IKEA, I will back a cooler with rations for the long haul.

On the topic of her column, I firmly state that I am in favor of great medical care facilities, wherever they may be. I really think Carolyn needs to rethink the notion that anything in area, let alone most of Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky, will rival the world class medical facilities in the one and true "Pill Hill" in and around the University of Cincinnati.