Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Greatest Story Ever Told

I really need to just move to Japan.....

Friday, April 29, 2011

MoBo Bike Sale

Interested in bicycling but don't want to make a huge investment? Interested in bicycling but can't make a huge investment? In a world where "entry level" bikes are $400 - $600, it can seem daunting.
Living in Cincinnati has advantages, tho. MoBo Bicycle CoOp is having a sale 4/30 from 11AM to 5PM with refurbished used bicycles that will get you where you need to go without busting your wallet. Most bikes are priced from $40 - $100.
Head on down to 1415 Knowlton Avenue in scenic Northside & put some steel between your legs and feel the wind across your face!
Congratulations to the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge

NASA Astro Picture of the Day

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Kasich Kasino

It's not every day a ghost sign comes back to life. Back in December, I noted The Old Timber Inn had painted over their old mural that was pretty much a ghost sign at the time. Happily, it's back.
Now, will the people in the windows return?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Are You an Addict ?

Are You an Addict ?
Do you avoid going places because you can't smoke there?
Do you avoid going places because you can't drink there?
Do you avoid going places because you can't park a car there?
Cincinnati Streetcar Attracts Families

The goal of the Cincinnati streetcar is to facilitate & enable people to live in an area of the city that is not terribly amenable to an auto-centric lifestyle. While auto addicts call it an amusement park ride for elitists, one can clearly see from this video it is a boon for families. Herding kids in and out of buses & minivans can be a nightmare and on buses, a parent has to contend with impatient fellow passengers as well. The ease of entry & exit can help the harried urban parent immeasurably. Anybody who has ridden a bus knows the inconvenience of baby carriages. Modern streetcars with wider, lower doors and open space inside, make using a baby carriage a snap.
The allure of urban living for single YPs is ok but attracting more solid families is what the urban core needs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

CDC Predicts Smoking Bans in All 50 States by 2020

Fortunately, Ohio has John Kasich at the helm, who will deregulate us to prosperity. He knows the businessman needs freedom to choose whether to let people smoke in his establishment. Kasich, a hero of the TEAse, will give us smaller less intrusive government & get these onerous anti-smoking laws off our backs and out of our bars. States he wants to emulate, Texas and Mississippi, don't have smoking bans. Soon, Ohio will be on that list, too.
God save Kasich.

WCPO story here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flippity Floppity

Every year local liquor sales permits are reviewed by the city and recommendations are made by the city to the state as to objections for license renewal. Cincinnati has over 1,000 licenses and usually fewer than 20 merit objections each year (contrary to what the local media might have you think, most people are AOK). The state of Ohio makes the final decisions.
What flags establishments are frequent police runs and complaints from neighborhood groups, institutions or individual citizens.
This year, nutjob Chas Winburn has decided that the process is flawed, subject to a lawsuit & he wants to have a review of all the local licenses every year. This desire to burden the city with needless paperwork is probably why COA T endorsed the dumbass. If nobody's complaining, why bother?
What's strange is that last year Winburn wanted to implement a policy where, if anybody was shot in or around a licensed establishment they would receive an automatic license objection. Now he feels such incidents are being judged unfairly? Once again, he has wetted his finger & thrust it into the air to see which way his political fortunes blow.
Councilmember Wendell Young is concerned about who gets new licenses. Laketa's staff could have surely told him this.
An applicant for a liquor sales license submits paperwork to the state, provides personal info including criminal convictions & financial viability. He agrees to background checks and the state informs the local government, law enforcement & nearby institutions of the application. Other than law enforcement, they have 30 days to file an objection. In Cincinnati, the neighborhood community councils are informed, the applicant is urged to meet with the councils and city councilmembers can certainly arrange to attend those meetings.
The community councils' opinions weigh heavily on objections.
If the police see problems emerging with an existing permit holder, they work with the establishment to keep it open. I think there is some room for corruption there but I don't know There has been some strong arming of some places, The Phoenix Cafe immediately springs to mind. Some objections are frivolous & are usually tossed out.
Councilwoman Amy Murray summed it up nicely, that it is a subjective process but counclilmembers have to do their best. Winburn's concepts of introducing science are laughable. Laketa Cole's "matrix" idea was kinda helpful but poorly implemented by the police. It certainly wasn't science, tho.
Winburn's tergiversation & kooky ideas waste time, money hurt morale & slow the business of the city down. I see no evidence of success of his custom made Jobs Creation committee. The man should step down now.

How to apply for a liquor license here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Refurbished Macs for $39

Media Bridges is offering up some of their old Apple computers with a starting price of just $39. They will install Office for another $35 (Neo Office is free). They have iMacs, eMacs & G4x2 MTs.
An iMac G3 is, essentially, a doorstop. It might be fun to smash with a sledgehammer like the guy in the video is doing. You might use it as an iTunes computer but you will probably still want another drive if you have any kind of library.....
Forget about watching funny pet videos on YouTube.
Proceeds will go to fund their low power radio station WVQC @ 95.7 FM, which, if you don't live next door, you can listen to on your computer - like your new old iMac G3.
Media Bridges is at the NW corner of Race & Central parkway.
Ya Wanna Buy a Prison ?

Lately, people in Ohio have thought they had "done deals" with the state only to find it's "new sheriff" has decided to change the rules midstream. Will John Kasich's rewriting the contract with casino operators give pause to any private entity interested in taking over Ohio prisons? I would think so.
There are pitfalls in privatization to be avoided and a recent study indicates savings through privatizing 2 other Ohio prisons might not have actually occurred. If, after a couple years, Kasich decides he wants more, how likely is it he will toss out his contract & just concoct another?
Private prison operators (and I know you guys read this blog), take my advice - have an army of lawyers on hand if you do business with this guy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I live on a street that slopes down to the east. Around this time of year (and in another 6 months) the morning sun will shine in all my east facing windows. It also reflects off my western neighbor's windows & shines in through my western windows. With all the little sunny spots on the floor, I can only imagine the confusion this conundrum would cause a cat.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Keller's to Reopen

Keller's IGA, in Clifton, will reopen by fall under new ownership & possibly with a new name. Being Cincinnati, the name Keller's will probably still be used for years to come. The new owner, Steve Goessling intends to remodel the store & shift focus a bit. The last owner wanted to do pretty much the same but lacked funds. Goessling, with other IGAs under his belt, appears to be on sounder financial footing.
This store can't open soon enough.
Fishwrap story here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Documentary - TSA - Your Ass is in Our Hands

ok, it's not a documentary. It's a Hustler porn movie. But who better than Hustler to mock heavy handed civil rights violations for your protection?
I am assuming all the best stuff is in the trailer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Selling a Streetcar

Today and tomorrow, April 12 & 13 there will be an open house at city hall promoting the Cincinnati Streetcar. Having lost almost $52 million dollars in federal transit money through back room dealings by state level GOP extremists and the one sided and ill informed local media, one might think the plan was dead. Hell, WLWT even teased that it was before telling a snippet of truth.
While the open house may be informative and might even sway some skeptics, they won't go, so it won't matter. The media, on this issue, has been dominated by opponents. How certain people get all the quotes and others are completely ignored is beyond me. If I knew maybe more people than the 5 or 6 people from India hitting "next blog" every day would read this thing.
At a recent meeting in Columbus, Christ Hospital testified they had planned on a $352 development on the streetcar route if built. Proponents repeatedly cite that private investment along the route would dwarf the city's infrastructure investment. This one development was almost 3 times the public investment. Sibcy Cline testified that home owners in the area were interested & it was driving up values. Nobody reported on this. Even WVXU, an NPR affiliate - the right's pariah, ignored it choosing, instead, to report the antics of an Anderson Township comedian & the delusional fantasies of a guy too far gone to attend the meeting himself. TV stations interviewed Chris Smitherman but ignored any number of coherent supporters like John Schneider, Brad Thomas, Randy Simes, Jake Mecklenborg, Bob Richardson.... Are they just hoping to catch some crazy out of Smitherman? Are they hoping Finney will go off on another foul mouthed rant? Are they just gambling on catching something sensational like Evel Knievel breaking every bone in his body?
ONE local media host actually takes a serious & objective look at things. Unfortunately he doesn't deal in soundbites & catchphrases like "boondoggle" and "choo choo". So who wants to watch that?
The streetcar isn't an easy thing to grasp & can't be explained in a catchword (that I can think of). People will not research on their own. People want to have info spoon fed to them in pre masticated bites and they want them when they want them. The vast majority of people will not go to an open house or watch a boring presentation at a city council committee meeting. The see the morning news, They listen to the radio in their car to and from work. They might catch the evening news & probably catch some of the late news. If streetcar proponents cannot get their message into these venues (or anybody else) all the polite, genteel informative discourse is pointless.
It's not wether the plan is good or bad, it's just advertising.
PS- hey Atherton! It's the Gateway Quarter not Corridor!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Smitherman Announces Run

The Fishwrap reports that Chris Smitherman, cable TV & radio superstar, president of the local NAACP, master financial planner and prior 1 term city councilman is planning to run for council in 2012 but his imminent election will not preclude him from running for mayor in 2013 - another sure win.
Smitherman's clear mind & level head will give us the bold leadership & vision that the city needs. His broad support from the FOP, COA T, NAACP, the Greens & Westwood Concern will make for a real Can Do city! His productive relationship with Cincinnati Public Schools is just the plus we need to turn the city around.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ridgewood in the Country Club District

Tuesday April 12, Tamara K. Dallenbach will sign her new book Ridgewood in the Country Club District from 5 to 6:30 PM at the Clark County Heritage Center in Springfield, OH.
The Ridgewood neighborhood grew Springfield northward in the 1910s & was the brainchild of Harry S. Kissell. Kissel, a Wittenberg College graduate, civic leader & 33rd degree Mason, saw the need for better financing options to increase home ownership which he was convinced was the cornerstone to better communities. Standard home loans required 50% down & a 3-5 year payoff. Kissell worked with the feds to reform banking through the National Housing Act of 1934. He helped to establish the National Real Estate Boards, the Ohio Real Estate Board & Springfield Real Estate Board of which he served as president as well. He also worked to establish zoning regulations that would protect the homeowner's investment.

Kissell right of Theodore Roosevelt & the president of Wittenberg College on the far left

Ridgewood is an almost textbook example of what planners saw as the ideal suburban community. To make it work, Kissell needed to ensure the entrance was a grand and stately boulevard. To do this, he needed the zoning regulations to guarantee the setback of the houses. One of the best examples of the windy streets with staggered houses is probably Brighton between Sunnyside and Harding Rd.

Corner of Pythian and Brighton

People thought Kissell was nuts & the development doomed to failure but he persevered & ultimately moved the "millionaire's mile" from East High St. to North Fountain Blvd.

Kissell's house on Fountain Blvd 1927

another house on Fountain Blvd 1926

Ridgewood Elementary School

Access to the Ridgewood neighborhood required a streetcar and the gazebo type stops still exist altho the wooden seats have been replaced with metal seats. They were popular gathering spots for degenerate teenagers in the 60s & 70s.
The Kissell Company gradually moved away from real estate sales & development and into mortgage loans. It eventually became one of the largest financial institutions of it's kind. It was the first mortgage loan company to computerize mortgage accounting, escrow control, tax analysis & insurance records in the 60s. Eventually Pittsburgh National Bank bought the company and spun off the real estate division. It was purchased by Robert Christol, also a Springfield Real Estate Board president, who renamed the company eponymously. That company dissolved in 1991 after his death.
Kissell died in Cincinnati in 1946 where he was serving as Ohio Real Estate Board president.
The book isn't on Amazon, the Ohio Book Store isn't big on Orange Frazier, but the book is available at the Heritage Center & on Orange Frazier's website (with an outrageous shipping fee).

Noose Son story here.
UPDATE: Noose Son adds photo gallery including a rendering of aforementioned streetcar stops.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Remembering Riots

About 10 years ago Cincinnati was semi-rocked by rioting. While the cause cited is a young black guy getting shot while playing hide-n-seek with the police, the inability of the police to notify his next of kin, his mother, seems to have been the real catalyst.
Why had the police failed to inform his mom? She went by a number of names & aliases and her acquaintances were reluctant to help police find her. She blamed police.
Why was the guy shot? He had accumulated a string of arrests & warrants in just 19 years that most people don't achieve in lifetimes 3 times as long. When he fled from a policeman who recognized him & asked him to talk, a chase was on and the other officers joining in did not know the extent of his crimes. With just the number of offenses they assumed they were looking at trouble. When he & an officer surprised one another in the dark maze of alleys Thomas was using for his game of cat & mouse, shots were fired. Most of Thomas' offenses were related to driving & his not facing up to his legal obligations. A tragic waste.
A big issue brought up was the number of Blacks who had been killed by police officers in Cincinnati over the years. All the casualties racked up by the police had been black. Of 15 only a couple were questionable. Frequently the police were just returning fire. This was routinely glossed over. Article
I remember my white co-workers in Over the Rhine being almost terrified to come to work. The night shift workers needed letters citing their good reason for being out and about after the curfew. One guy was almost crying about how he couldn't risk his life there because he had a wife and children. Meanwhile I went out and stood at the bus stop looking down Findlay at an armed police line a block away. When the bus arrived it had a cracked window. The black woman sitting behind it looked tense but confident. Race relations on the bus were fine. Later, at the grocery, the mood was pretty upbeat. The clientele being about half black / half white generally had the attitude of people planning for a snowstorm or a Superbowl. People were preparing for the curfew buying soda, beer, chips, pizza, junk / comfort food, etc. The lines at the check out were long and chatty. That evening I sat on the front porch and enjoyed the quiet. My middle aged ass kinda liked this curfew thing.
Images of the riots & protests were interesting. The black people under 30 including teens & preteens seemed to look like what wealthy white college students would call a spring break. Unorganized vandalism & looting... The Over the Rhine Credit Union, established to fill the void left by traditional banks and to offer financial help to the neighborhood residents, was trashed. Meanwhile the black folks over 30 tended to march in an organized way protesting fairly specific issues. People traveling to Cincinnati to participate in something they knew nothing about? Priceless.
In the aftermath, the Collaborative Agreement was hatched. Mayors and ex-mayors from Boston & San Francisco offered to give Mayor Charlie Luken advice as they had dealt with similar issues in the past. They had claimed that dealing with socio-economic issues along racial lines would be a failure & that socio-economic issues need to be addressed as socio-economic issues (!). Luken, in typical Cincinnati form, said he would deal with it himself - as a race issue. The Collaborative Agreement was so called because it dealt with a number of Black advocacy groups that debatably even represented anybody and had various agendas. Too many chiefs? yup. Within a few years, Luken tried to end the whole thing because egos & interests of the Black citizens groups had led to their disolution, lack of cohesiveness & coherence.
A police monitoring system was established to find out if police were engaged in racial profiling. The surveying method was ill-conceived and when results were analyzed by the pros at UC, they claimed they couldn't really draw any conclusions since the surveys didn't ask the right questions.
A citizens complaint panel was established that finds 99.9% of complaints against police unwarranted.
To assume that all the police reforms of the last 10 years are the direct result of the Collaborative Agreement would be naive. Police policies were already changing in 2001 and continually evolve.
The biggest impact was probably the police slowdown in Over the Rhine. This allowed criminal activity to flourish in the area and provide a base to grow throughout the entire city. When Sheriff's deputies showed up, the area immediately changed for the better. We are still cleaning up.
A number of Black advocacy groups have engaged in establishing expensive & business crushing rules & quotas on various government projects. Liberal white apologists see this as a positive thing. The advocacy groups engaging their constituents & helping them better their lot as conservatives would prefer isn't happening much, but when groups like COA T, with their anti-government agenda can count on groups like the NAACP to help them antagonize government, it's unlikely to hear them speak up.
Another result was the "Boycott of Cincinnati". Among other things, black performers, after contracting to do shows, reneged & cancelled their contracts. In the case of Whoopi Goldberg, this unprofessional conduct mainly hurt local non-profit organizations.
What's changed? The biggest change in police work since 2001 has been a policy to "work smarter", video recording of stops & the use of tasers, non-lethal when used on relatively healthy people. The "black community" seems to be a little more cooperative with police in recent years. That's seems to be about it. The riots did reinforce the stereotype of the uncontrollably violent negro in the minds of many predisposed Whites.
Most people aren't exactly "where they want to be". They can blame others for their lot in life. They can blame classes defined by race, sex, religion, region.....
It's normal.
When others enable them to believe their prejudice a snowball effect ensues. Some people say we need to chat & dwell on past slights. It won't work. I cannot hate the Italians who tormented my ancestors. I cannot hate the crimes and oppression of Africans, English, Catholics, Swedes.... - that's about as far back as I can go - on my ancestors. Sorry. At some point you have to move on.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Did the Ohio Democrats Grow Some Balls ?

Not really. State legislators are crafting legislation that would allow for recall elections for members of the state government including the governor. Currently there is no such mechanism. Unfortunately, since Ohio is in the grip of single party rule, any such bill would be defeated, if not in the legislature then with an executive veto. Of course it would never make it through the legislature on the best of days. This is something that needs to be done by the citizens on their own. Maybe the Dem legislators can spark some interest in the voters, tho. NAH, that would be leadership.....

Noose Son article here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Kasich's Alcohol Problem

If Ohio's governor, John Kasich, really wanted to make the state a leaner, more business friendly place, a really good place to start would have been it's draconian liquor laws.
Ohio directly controls hard liquor sales & through a maze of laws & price controls manages to screw up beer and wine sales, too. While the state "allows" entrepreneurs to sell alcohol in retail outlets, everything up to that point is under strict control.
Kasich's hints at TEAism might have led one to believe he would want to embrace free markets and reduce government regulation, making it easier for Ohio entrepreneurs to realize the American dream. But, no, Kasich has decided to keep the cash cow under soviet-style state control and lease it to his semi-private, oversight-free JobsOhio outfit to fund their statist venture capitalist adventures.
The mandatory price markups will stay in place. The uncompetitive wholesale purchasing will go on - continuing to give Ohioans higher prices and fewer choices. The uncompetitiveness may not be an issue in Dayton & Columbus but border communities that must compete with the free markets in other states, especially Kentucky, are hit hard by these anti-competetive policies. Apparently, promoting competition & free markets seems pointless to Kasich's JobsOhio guru, Mark Kvamme & Ohio TEA doesn't seem to have a problem, either. Given TEA's constituency, they might prefer prohibition, anyway.
Ohio's path to corporatism marches on. Unfortunately, the trains won't be running on time.

Tooleedoo Blade article here.

Clevo Pain Dealer article here.
Buying a Bridge

Politicians are lining up with ideas to pay the $3 BILLION price tag for a new I-75/I-71/I-74 bridge over the Ohio river. The talk of tolls has got people freaked out. Proponents say bridge traffic will increase significantly but with higher gas prices, and stagnant to shrinking populations in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio & Michigan, that doesn't seem likely. To pay for the bridge in tolls, it would cost about $1.75 a trip to pay the thing off in 30 years, at which time it's estimated it will be in need of replacement. Dunno if a toll can be applied to an interstate but we need to be creative here.
First thing that comes to mind is advertising. Naming rights would be obvious. What company wouldn't want their name associated with traffic jams and bottlenecks? Billboards over the roadway & off to the sides might be tacky but these things don't pay for themselves. I'm thinking a metal structure could also be used as an antenna to broadcast radio ads at the cars while they are on the bridge. It could jam the entire frequency range for the limited area to guarantee listenership.
With the use of tolls, most commuters & professional drivers would use electronic "EZPass" type doohickies but a good number of people would have to stop & pay. We could rent out spaces around the waiting area to mobile vendors selling hot dogs, t-shirts, pizza, commemorative banners & such.
Random prizes could be awarded - a sort of lottery system. Poor people would drive back and forth all day long. Go Go dancers in cages along the bridge might bring in some repeat business, too.
Of course a reality TV show could promote the use of the bridge. D.O.T. Apprentice, anyone?
We are overlooking the obvious here, of course. Why even build a bridge? I am sure our local idea man, the illustrious Chuck Windbag is already working on a plan to use rubber floater pontoon ferries, operated by boy scouts, to transport cars across the river following a colored rope drawn from shore to shore.


Fishwrap article here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

New Jesus Due by End of Year !

I swear, these guys have the buffest vision of Jesus I have ever seen.
51' woot!
Noose Son story here.
Government Efficiency Tip

Politicians constantly cite the need to roll up their sleeves & get to work.
Save time - wear T-Shirts.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A First Look at Wayne Lippert

Outgoing Cincinnati Councilman Jeff Berding named Wayne Lippert his replacement. Berding stressed the three Is of his decision making process.
  • Integrity
  • Intelligence
  • Independence

In an interview with Dan Hurley, Lippert claimed to not remember the third I - Independence. Not surprising as he has voted straight party line since his appointment.
He is apparently supporting Chas Winburn's effort to take the streetcar off the table even tho, in the same Newsmaker's interview he couldn't come up with a valid reason to oppose streetcar development & furthermore went on to say that "nothing" was off the table. The Integrity I appears to be faltering.
Hurley asked Lippert about a number of issues that have been burbling about for some time & Lippert replied repeatedly that he would have to study the issues. Seems that if you actually want to serve it would be because you care enough to know what is behind these issues. I don't know if this falls under the I of Integrity or Intelligence. Maybe in George W Bush's idiot savant theory he thinks ignorance makes for a good representative.
Berding quipped that a major factor in his choice of a replacement was finding someone who would be a thorn in the mayor's backside. Maybe this is where Lippert will excel.

Fishwrap story here.

A Google search for berding, intelligence, independence, integrity here
Great Minds

While the Dove World Outreach Center's "trial & execution" of a C'oranne was juvenile at best, it also harkened back to the good old witch trials. At least they didn't hurt anybody this time. This, of course, set a gaggle of peace loving Moslems into another murderous frenzy. Because of Terry Jones' heresy (burning paper) a mob in Afghanistan stormed a UN headquarters & slaughtered, maimed and injured people. In typical riot efficiency, no Floridians fell victim. No Americans were killed. Does that matter to these kill crazed loons? Probably not.
These folks resent their country being occupied by the US. Lessee, why are the bastard Americans there? um, oh yeah, the Afghanistan people were harboring and supporting a terrorist organization that had murdered THOUSANDS of people around the world..
The bloodthirsty rioters have called for justice & want the Floridians to be punished to the full extent of the law. I agree. The pertinent law would probably have something to do with burning trash without a permit.

Florida Courier article here.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Time Capsule Found !

Well, apparently no singing frogs but a 96 year old time capsule has been found in the Clark County Veterans Memorial Hall cornerstone. It was unexpected, so partially damaged, but, otherwise, the contents are described as in excellent condition.
The Clark County Historical Society plans on exhibiting the contents as soon as possible.
Noose Son story here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Creating Jobs & Eliminating National Debt Made Easy

To hell with all the pansy-ass hand wringing liberals & "cut it and they will come" neo-cons, here's how we fix Amerika.
Foreign debt? Easy & step 1 - tell 'em we aren't paying. Done. If they don't like it, we bomb 'em. Since they will either not do business with us because their nations are nuclear wastelands or they just don't like us not paying them, we will have to start making our own stuff. Necessity is the mother of invention doncha know? Our manufacturing base will take off overnight & we will have jobs & a booming economy again. raw materials? We just take 'em. The rest of the world will think we are so bat shit crazy-violent, they will let us take whatever we need. Problem solved - Amerika is proud and strong again.