CityBeat Blogs - 2011 Election http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-34-136.html <![CDATA[Flynn Elected as Charter President]]>

He might not have won in November’s Cincinnati City Council elections, but Kevin Flynn has scored a victory elsewhere.

Flynn, who ran unsuccessfully as a Charterite in the 2009 and 2011 council elections, has been selected as the president of the group that endorsed him. The Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati announced today that Flynn has been elected president of the organization, taking over for Dawn Denno, who didn’t seek reelection.

Flynn is a real-estate attorney from Mount Airy who also teaches at the University of Cincinnati's law school. He has been confined to a wheelchair since a serious automobile accident in 2002.

During his first campaign in 2009 Flynn placed 13th among 19 candidates in council elections. The top nine vote-getters are elected to the group.

Last year Flynn finished in 11th place — ahead of three incumbents who lost reelection — among 22 candidates.

Flynn is excited about the new position.

“When we see the high level of partisan politics in our national and state governments, I appreciate the independent, creative leadership Charter fosters in our city,” he said in a prepared statement. “The Charter Committee will continue to focus on bringing the best governance to Cincinnati, including thoughtful changes to the city’s Charter, and to support a budget and budget process which serves the best interests of the citizens of Cincinnati.”

Formed in 1924, the Charter Committee helped end the corrupt political machine operated by “Boss” George Cox, a Republican who dominated City Hall and local politics, arranging tasks like fixing tax rates for friends and contributors.

Charter successfully pushed to create the city manager form of government, which was designed to depoliticize the daily administrative tasks of municipal government.

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<![CDATA[Resident Files Complaint Against Smitherman]]>

A resident has filed a complaint with the city's Law Department, alleging that Christopher Smitherman’s dual role as a Cincinnati city councilman and president of the NAACP’s local chapter constitutes an abuse of corporate powers.

In his complaint, resident Casey Coston states that the NAACP’s status as a 501(c)(4) organization under the federal tax code allows it to lobby City Hall and participate in political campaigns and elections without jeopardizing its tax-exempt status. Such activities are a conflict of interest with Smitherman’s council duties, Coston alleges.---

The letter was sent today to City Solicitor John Curp by J. Thomas Hodges, Coston’s attorney. It asks Curp to review the matter and also seek an injunction preventing Smitherman from serving as chapter president. Further, it wants Curp to seek an advisory opinion from the Ohio Ethics Commission.

In a statement from Coston attached to the letter, he writes that Smitherman’s dual roles “raises serious questions of irreconcilable and impermissible conflicts of interest as it relates to his duties on City Council. Moreover, to allow him to continue in this capacity would represent an abuse of corporate powers and may be contrary to the applicable provisions of the Ohio Ethics Law, ORC 102.01(A)(1) et. Seq., and other governing laws, ordinances and regulations.”

Also in the letter, Hodges wrote, “The NAACP is an important institution in our nation and the city of Cincinnati. My client holds such (an) institution in the highest regard and has the utmost respect for its mission and role in the community. Neither the city of Cincinnati nor the NAACP’s integrity or authority should be compromised by conflicted leadership. Therefore, it is imperative that the city of Cincinnati investigate and take action to alleviate my client’s concerns on behalf of all citizens of the city of Cincinnati.”

Smitherman served a single term on City Council from 2003-05 as a Charterite, but was defeated in his reelection bid. He was elected president of the NAACP’s local chapter in April 2007, after an election fraught with controversy. He has since been reelected to that position several times.

Smitherman rejoined City Council as an independent after November’s election, finishing in eighth place to win a spot on the nine-member group.

A financial planner, Smitherman, 44, lives in North Avondale. In recent years, he has forged an alliance with the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), an ultra-conservative group, and has tried to block the city's streetcar project.

In 2009, Smitherman collected enough signatures to place an issue on the ballot that would've required a public vote on any streetcar expenditures; it failed 56 percent to 44 percent. Last year, he placed an issue on the ballot to block all passenger rail projects in the city for the next decade; it failed 52 percent to 48 percent.

CityBeat called the NAACP’s national office in Baltimore for comment. A spokesman referred the inquiry to the Rev. Gill Ford, the NAACP’s national director for unit capacity building. A message left with Ford hasn’t been returned.

In an online article from August, writer Ishton W. Morton stated that the NAACP’s rules allow that “when Smitherman is elected to council, he will tender his resignation to the Cincinnati NAACP Executive Committee for them to accept or reject. If they reject his resignation, he would be able to resume his role as president.” He has since resumed the role.

Smitherman has garnered much controversy for his actions during the past few years, including for the threats he made to people attempting to photograph him at a public hearing in council’s chambers last May.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]> The Hamilton County Commissioners' stadium funding failures have caused County Auditor Dusty Rhodes to describe a “dream world” where politicians think their inaction doesn't affect anybody. Today's news that the stadium fund will be bankrupt by March without additional funding has not deterred Republican Chris Monzel and Democrat Todd Portune from giving property owners the tax credit that convinced them to vote for the 1996 sales tax increase.

"It would be the height of irresponsibly to commit funds they knew were not there," Rhodes said. "I've long criticized various governments for living in dream world.

"This takes it to a whole new level," Rhodes said.---

Things aren't much better over at the congressional supercommittee, which former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has described as disastrous.

"If anybody understands the consequences of the failure of the committee of 12, they're horrendous," O'Neill said. "It's basically the consequences of an institution that's found itself unwilling to set priorities, which is what we elected them to do."

UC-Davis students have set up an Occupy camp on school grounds in response to university police casually spraying protesters with pepper spray after Chancellor Linda Katehi requested that they be removed. Now the chancellor is asking the DEA to investigate the department's use of force.

Headline: “GDP revised downward; corporate profits up.” Awesome.

Two new studies suggest that smart kids grow up to be heavier drinkers, with unscientific attempts at explaining the trend including evolution, boredom and “dealing with morons.”

The average number of people on Facebook separating any two people in the world is 4.74.

The University of Cincinnati basketball team had a couple funny quotes come out of its postgame press conference last night after defeating Northwestern State 71-43.

Yancy Gates on the attendance of 4,505: “I guess when Big East play starts, they’ll come to see the other team. It’s their money. They can spend it like they want to.”

Mick Cronin on the embarrassment of losing to Presbyterian on Sunday: “I have slept four hours in two days. I have taken more stomach pills in four days that they might have to pump my stomach. I haven’t left my house. I’m embarrassed to stop and get coffee.”

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

It's deadline day for the Congressional super-committee charged with reducing the federal budget by $1.2 trillion, and talks are not going so well. The defense and national security budgets are going to face the majority of automatic spending cuts if the two sides can't make a deal.

Disagreements have centered on whether tax increases should form part of the budget reduction measures, with Democrats in favor of such rises but Republicans opposed.

A last-minute proposal that included some new taxes raised hopes in the final week of negotiations, but could not muster enough support. …

Republicans had also demanded cuts in entitlement programs, such as social security, Medicare and Medicaid — something that Democrats had shown willingness to permit, but only in return for tax rises on the rich that were not forthcoming from the other side.---

City Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan sued the city of Cincinnati last week for treading on her to the tune of 13 cents.

The state of Ohio has banned Michigan-hating license plates due to the more creative Ohio State University football fans trying to use plates such as "KILBLU," "HATEMI" (HATE M-I) and "UMH8ER" (U-M HATER). Time to go back to the Calvin stickers, football fans.

University of California placed its Davis campus police chief and two officers on leave after video of the pepper spraying of Occupy protesters went viral over the weekend. The school's chancellor, Linda Katehi, says the school needs her too much for her to resign in the wake of outrage over how she handled the pepper-spraying incident.

Katehi gave the initial order to campus police, who wore riot gear during the standoff, to dismantle the UC-Davis Occupy encampment because camping on college grounds is officially forbidden. ...

The UC-Davis faculty association called for Katehi's resignation Saturday, writing in a letter there had been a "gross failure of leadership."

Tablet demand is high this holiday season. Up 130 percent, actually, due to the sweetness of Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Hackers remotely shut down A Central Illinois' water supply pump by turning it off and on until it broke. Federal investigators are looking into it.

Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and JLo reportedly “rocked” the American Music Awards last night.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

The Rev. Jesse Jackson addressed Occupy Cincinnati yesterday at Piatt Park. Later in the day 15 individuals were arrested for staying in the park past its 10 p.m. closing time, the first arrests in weeks, as protesters have challenged the legality of the park closing at all. Jackson was reportedly scheduled to return to the park at noon on Wednesday to again speak with Occupy Cincinnati.---

A new study says Ohio's school ranking system is "an illusion or cruel hoax." An advocacy group called the Ohio Association for Gifted Children has argued that the state's expectations for schools are too low and based too much on standardized test scores than preparation for college. Ohio's rankings of Excellent or Excellent with Distinction rankings (the equivalent of A or A+) have reportedly quadrupled during the last nine years while other measures rank Ohio schools below national averages.

Looks like Cincinnati officials were preparing for the defeat of Issue 48, as the city in October applied for $56.8 million in federal funds to restore the uptown and riverfront segments of the Cincinnati streetcar plan, which were originally defunded by Gov. John Kasich.

Chris Monzel is apparently following through with his promise to enact MacGyver-style solutions for the county's stadium deficit. Monzel and Democrat Todd Portune have promised to lower property taxes as was detailed in the original deal that allowed the burden of the stadium costs to disproportionately fall on poor and middle class people.

“I am adamantly opposed to using the (property tax rollback) to stabilize the stadium fund,” Monzel said. “It’s a promise I made to the voters and it’s a promise I will keep.”

Portune and the third member of the commission, Republican Greg Hartmann are up for election next year.

The commissioners were no more decisive in their response to a Monday deadline to decide to allow more public housing in the suburbs, risking millions of dollars in federal grant money. By refusing to even vote on the issue, commissioners avoided being sued for voting “no.”

A 30-acre section of the Mill Creek, once called "the most endangered urban river in North America," has been cleaned up and turned into a park, thanks to $2.1 million worth of work.

An Ohio charter school can't account for more than $250,000 public dollars, and the state wants it back. The total includes about $105,000 from school debit cards, about $85,000 in cash withdrawals and wire transfers and about $33,000 in checks made out to cash. Good job charter school program!

Here's some information on what Warren Buffett is up to investment-wise, because he's apparently doing things that are surprising for him.

Headline: “Newt sure can talk a lot but is he smart?” Ha.

U.S. retail sales are up again. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Players in the National Basketball Association are planning on disbanding their union and taking the labor negotiations to real court rather than playing basketball on courts this year (probably).

And ex-Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky on Monday admitted to showering with boys but said he's not a pedophile and that they were just “horsing around.”

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]> One of the judges overseeing the Occupy Cincinnati trespassing cases says there's nothing in the city charter that gives the Park Board the authority to dole out misdemeanors.
Several other municipal court judges either declined comment or said they would consider the point Stockdale makes in his letter if it is raised during the hearings.

Attorneys for the protesters said they intend to do just that. They already have asked judges to dismiss the charges on grounds the park board rules violate the free speech rights of the protesters.

They say Stockdale’s letter raises another weakness in the city’s case against their clients.

“Whether it’s a violation of the First Amendment or an over-reach by the park board, they are clearly relevant questions,” said Rob Linneman, an attorney for the protesters.
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Oakland Police arrested 25 Occupy Oakland protesters this morning and reportedly removed all the tents outside City Hall. The Oakland Tribune has a live blog covering it here.

Members of Occupy Cleveland have staged a sit-in at the soon-to-be-foreclosed home of a mother of two.

The 46 parents with vacation days to burn entered their second week of camping out in front of Fairview-Clifton German Language School in Clifton, hoping to score one of the 38 kindergarten spots for next year.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Clifton, a late-night explosion blew out the front of the Jerusalem Cafe restaurant and is being investigated by the Feds.

The Enquirer recanted Chris Seelbach's election and his efforts in repealing Article 12 back in 2004. Voters in Indianapolis and Charlotte repeatedly elected their first-ever openly gay candidates last week.

60 Minutes last night aired a report on Congressional insider trading, which is apparently legal.

Herman Cain's wife says he “totally respects women” even though that's not what all the accusers of sexual harassment are saying.

Starbucks has been charging a hidden $1.50 fee on bags of coffee less than 1 pound, but now that Massachusetts has fined it, the company says it will stop now.

JC Penny posted a third-quarter loss after high restructuring costs and low sales. Maybe it will stop making stupid commercials like this one:

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

It's been a wild couple of days in local politics, with most of the names on East Side yard signs losing in Tuesday's City Council election. The newbies: Democrats P.G. Sittenfeld, Yvette Simpson and Chris Seelbach. The new Council will include only one Republican, Charlie Winburn, although Chris Smitherman acts like he's from all sorts of political parties. For the first time ever, the Council will be a majority African American, and Seelbach's win marks the first election of an openly gay candidate to Council.

Four members of the conservative majority that spent most of last year either blocking the mayor's initiatives or Twittering — Chris Bortz, Leslie Ghiz, Amy Murray and Wayne Lippert — were ousted, paving the way for Mayor Mallory and the seven Democrats on council to things they want to do. Congratulations “environmentalists and people who use health clinics!”---

Republican state Sen. Bill Seitz last year warned his fellow Republicans about trying to jam their on the state, saying “When you have a win this big, you have to guard against getting too cocky. You start to think you’re Superman and can forget that in politics, there’s always some kryptonite around the next corner.” Too bad Ohio Gov. John Kasich was saying things like, “That train is dead” and giving away $400 million in federal grants for high-speed rail.

Xavier political science instructor Eugene Beaupre respectfully explains how much of a jerk Kasich was being at the time, according to The Enquirer:

“When people get elected with the kind of narrow margin he had, the day after, they typically speak of their gratitude,” Beaupre said. “But he had his sword out the next morning.”

Students at Penn State University last night protested the firing of longtime football coach Joe Paterno, whose 46-year legacy at the school has been tarnished by allegations of university officials covering up sexual abuse by a former assistant coach. The details are ugly. And college students are dumb.

Rick Perry made a real ass out of himself in a Republican presidential debate last night, forgetting the third of the three federal departments he wants to eliminate once he'd not elected president. Today Perry went damage control, at least as as far as “This ain't a day for quitting nothing” is considered damage control.

A new drug has proven to kill fat cells in monkeys. Me next! Me next!

Kanye West and Nicki Minaj reportedly “rocked the 2011 Victoria's Secret Show.” Whatever that is.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Happy Election Day! It looks like SB 5 is headed for a big defeat even though Gov. Kasich last night told a bunch of East Side Tea Partiers how cool it would be if Issue 2 passed, while a union representative told opponents of the bill that it was about to get “shoved down the throats of John Kasich and the Republicans.

The Hamilton County Administrator yesterday said “sorry homeowners, but our stadium deficit will not allow us to offer the tax credit Republicans said would make up for your part of the stadium sales tax.” Commissioners Todd Portune and Chris Monzel today said they're going to include the credit even though they don't know how yet. Hopefully they can figure it out soon so they can work on adding public housing to the suburbs before the county gets sued by the Feds.---

Cincinnati Public Schools' yearly “Occupy the Good Schools” campaign has begun, with parents setting up tents outside Fairview German Language School more than a week ahead of the first-come, first-served application date of Nov. 16. No word on whether police plan to arrest anyone for trespassing, as no local business leaders care.

Parents line up earlier and earlier every year to enroll their children for limited numbers of open seats. They pitch tents and bring Frisbees and barbecue grills. Some don't mind the process. They say it fosters a deeper commitment to the school and a stronger camaraderie among parents. But the process has long been criticized as unfair because it shuts out those who can't camp out due to work, child care or transportation constraints.

President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are looking dumb after talking shit about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of a microphone that journalists weren't supposed to be plugged into (first rule of journalism: plug into anything a president tells you not to). According to the BBC, Sarkozy said "I can't stand him any more. He's a liar” and then Obama was like, "You're sick of him. I have to deal with him every day!" And then a journalist quietly said, “Yessss.”

First he said he didn't know anything about accusations of sexual harassment, then he said he did, then he said he wasn't going to talk about the accusations anymore. Now Herman Cain says he's going to set the record straight. Make up your mind, Herman!

A federal judge yesterday blocked the implementation of a law that would have forced tobacco companies to put scary and gross images on the packages of cigarettes to warn consumers about how seriously they'll mess themselves up if they use the product. The judge cited “First Amendment rights against unconstitutionally compelled speech as a factor in his 29-page decision.

Penn State sex abuse scandal chips at Joe Paterno's Legacy.” Ya think?

OPEC says the world's CO2 emissions will rise 43 percent by 2035 if we keep using so much coal.

Justin Bieber has agreed to take a paternity test to prove he didn't get some 20-year-old pregnant. And then she might be charged with statutory rape because Bieb was only 16 when the alleged boot-knocking occurred.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

An organization called Citizens' League Against Subsidized Sports is gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would add a tax on Reds and Bengals tickets. Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann says he knows that the county's lease doesn't allow it to institute a ticket tax but that it doesn't say anything about a citizens' initiative.

Police costs are rising even though the force is shrinking, partially because it hasn't hired any new officers since 2008 while the top ranks have held steady.

The SB 5 debate is expected to draw a high voter turnout, which could bode well for school levies as voters come out to vote "no" on Issue 2.---

A Columbus-based pet store chain has decided to stop selling puppies in response to a national campaign by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ “No Pet Store Puppies” drive. The company instead will allow local organizations to display puppies up for adoption inside its stores.

“It never was the bulk of our business, but it was a good business,” said Paul Kamm, vice president of sales and operations for Jack’s. “But we decided there are so many other puppies in the community that need homes that we’d start working with local organizations to find homes for their puppies."

This writer believes the do-nothing Republican Congress will hurt the GOP's chances in 2012 when Obama notes that it blocked every one of his attempts to create jobs.

Not only has the GOP refused to support Democratic measures to put Americans back to work, their alternative "jobs program" features no direct, measurable job creation whatsoever. Instead it relies on the same "trickle down" economic theory that didn't create one net private sector job in the eight years before the Great Recession - and the same unwillingness to rein in the big Wall Street banks that led to the worst financial collapse in 65 years.

Then there's this: “Census: Age-Wealth Gap Soars in U.S.”

A former Penn State University assistant football coach has been charged with sexually abusing numerous young boys, and university officials are accused of covering it up. From the AP:

Penn State's athletics director and one of the university's senior executives are to report to a Harrisburg judge today to answer to charges that they lied in the investigation of a series of sexual assaults on young boys.

Accused as the predator: Jerry Sandusky, one of college football's most visible and well-respected assistant coaches before his retirement 12 years ago, a defensive maestro who helped turn the school into Linebacker U. and once was the presumed heir apparent to Nittany Lions icon Joe Paterno.

Even in the sullied world of major-college athletics, the weekend news was stunning.

A fourth accuser is expected to go public with allegations of sexual harassment by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. Too bad Cain says he's done answering questions about sexual harassment.

President Obama says the government doesn't know about any aliens but will continue to look for them just in case.

CBS commentator Andy Rooney died Nov. 4 after complications developed after a scheduled surgery. The best-selling author and syndicated columnist was 92. Here's a collection of typical Ronney lines, compiled by CNN Entertainment.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

The Ohio Elections Committee dismissed a complaint against COAST for allegedly making false tweets about Issue 48, but it was only because the complaint, filed by pro-streetcar group Cincinnatians for Progress, improperly named a COAST political action as a defendant or something. Streetcar advocates say they'll refile the complaint, and COAST lawyer Chris Finney says he'll win again. (“HAHAHA!”)

Youngstown Vindicator is a cool newspaper name. It reports that Ohio Democrats walked out of a vote on the new Republican redistricting map after Republicans failed to gain enough Democrat support to pass it. Lawmakers reportedly yelled at each other, too.---

The ALCU of Ohio plans to investigate the arrest of a Toledo man who was barred from a Toledo City Council meeting for carrying a sign. The man, who was reportedly carrying a handwritten copy of the First Amendment, was denied access and then arrested outside for trying to force his way back in.

Pete Rose is apparently being sued by a Los Angeles dentist. 4192.

The crazy Texas judge who beat his 16-year-old daughter seven years ago will not face criminal charges because too much time has expired.

Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams likely would have been charged with causing injury to a child or other assault-related offenses for the 2004 beating of his then-16-year-old daughter, but the five-year statutes of limitations expired, Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe said.

"We believe that there was a criminal offense involved and that there was substantial evidence to indicate that and under normal circumstances … a charge could have been made," Jayroe said. He said the district attorney determined he couldn't bring charges, and that police would discuss the case with federal prosecutors even though he doesn't believe federal charges would apply.

Hillary Adams, now 23, posted the 8-minute clip on YouTube last week that shows her father viciously lashing her with a belt and trying to force her to bend over her bed to be beaten despite her wails and pleas to stop. The clip had received more than 2.4 million hits as of Thursday, and police began investigating Wednesday after hearing from concerned citizens.

Herman Cain has tied Mitt Romney in the latest virtual poll after a couple weeks of defending past sexual harassment allegations. Maybe because “seven of 10 Republicans surveyed in the Post-ABC poll said the controversy surrounding Cain made no difference in their choice of a candidate.”

Justin Bieber says he never met the woman accusing him of being her baby-daddy. Typical excuse, Bieber!

The National Basketball Association season won't start on time, and some players are considering decertifying their union. At least the UC Bearcats will soon be jamming it in the hoop! (Enjoy the video; please don't judge Darnell Wilks for jamming on Weber State like that — still a good jam.)

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Cincinnati has the third-highest rate of childhood poverty in the country, and The Enquirer's Mark Curnutte tells the story of an East Price Hill family and school system struggling to keep up.

Hamilton County for the fourth straight year dipped into its rainy day fund instead of instituting major cuts or raising taxes.

National non-profit teacher training program Teach For America has offered to work in Cincinnati Public Schools, possibly as early as next year. CPS has yet to commit to the partnership, noting that there are laid-off veteran teachers in the region.---

A New York Times analysis found that members of Congress miss many votes even though it's the basic function of their jobs.

Mr. (Don) Young, the second-longest-serving Republican in the House, has missed 16 percent of all votes so far in the 112th Congress, making him the member of the House most often absent, excluding those recovering from serious illness or Representatives Ron Paul of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, two Republicans who are running for president.

According to an analysis of House attendance, nearly 20 current members have missed more than 10 percent of the votes this year. Most said they were ill or were tending to sick family members. Representative Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado, missed several weeks of votes during what might have been the first paternity leave for a gay member of Congress.

Ohio is ranked seventh for student load debt among 2010 graduates, who left school with 7 percent more debt than the 2009 class.

Occupy Oakland protesters closed the Port of Oakland this morning, dragging fencing across a major entrance and blocking trucks from getting in. The longshoreman reportedly generally supported the protest, though some truckers were angered by being stuck in traffic for a while. A smaller group of protesters had gotten buck wild overnight, barricading a city block and starting a 15-foot-high fire before clashing with police.

Islamist Jihad is reportedly ready for all out war with Israel.

Apple says it will fix your iPhone 4S battery in a few weeks.

A new study thinks it was climate change that killed all the Ice-Age mammals.

And an Ohio State study says the “Freshman 15” is just a myth.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Occupy Cincinnati protesters have asked a judge to throw all charges against them, arguing that the park rules are unconstitutional which means their punishments shouldn't exist. The cases are expected to be delayed until the constitutional argument is figured out.

Two county commissioners say they want to help the county's Job and Family Services agency after an Enquirer analysis detailed massive funding, technology and staffing shortages that might have contributed to the deaths of three toddlers during the last 10 months. Republican Greg Hartmann and Democrat Todd Portune have suggested the agency use money from a reserve set aside for an expected bookkeeping penalty while they vote on a budget that will stay the same as last year.---

Interstate-471 is slated for a complete overhaul, as long as COAST doesn't try to block its $40-$50 million price tag (right?!?). Northern Kentucky residents have requested noise-reducing pavement after being surprised at how loud thousands of cars driving down an eight-lane highway can be.

State Republicans believe they're close to appeasing black Democrats enough to pass the new congressional map, which will still have 12 solidly Republican districts.

Hermain Cain apparently has remembered allegations of sexual harassment after initially denying they ever occurred. Cain yesterday told an audience that he was unaware of any financial deal given to his accuser and then told Fox News that it was two to three months salary.

"All day today, as I've been getting beat up, I've been trying to recall what some of those things were and haven't been able to recall a lot of them because that's why they got dismissed," he said, referring to the questions thrown his way after Politico broke the story Sunday.

"But here's the one incident that I recall as the day has gone on. She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying, Oh -- and I was standing close to her. And I made a gesture, You're the same height as my wife, and brought my hand -- didn't touch her -- up to my chin and said, You're the same height of my wife because my wife comes up to my chin, my wife of 43 years," he told Van Susteren.

Yoga will make your back feel better.

Uh oh, Apple's iPhone 4S battery is dying too quickly. At least schools will have more iPads than computers in five years.

A new study details how soft drink makers market their fizzy corn syrup to kids, with blacks and Hispanics the major targets.

Here's a video of a Nashville Scene reporter being arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest while attempting to explain to police that he's a member of the media.

What you will hear, very clearly, is a trooper telling another officer to book Meador for resisting arrest. You will also hear, very clearly, audio evidence of Meador's contention: that he was simply doing his job as a reporter and tried to get off the plaza to comply with the law — but the troopers wouldn't let him off that easy.

What you will not hear, in any form or fashion, is the slightest mention of public intoxication — the specious charge against Meador the THP has broadcast to the world. If that charge was made up later to discredit Meador — or even more appallingly, to divert attention from what a Metro Night Court judge last night told officers was a blatantly unconstitutional overstepping of government and police authority — nobody who cares about their First Amendment freedoms should sleep in Tennessee tonight.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

The Cincinnati Enquirer announced its endorsements over the weekend, and four incumbents were left thinking, “What the [expletive] did I do?!?” The current councilpersons who the paper decided not to endorse are Republican Wayne Lippert, who was appointed in March, and Republicans Leslie Ghiz and Charlie Winburn, along with Democrat Cecil Thomas.

Ghiz was described as having a penchant for starting arguments that have been “personal, petty and nasty,” while Winburn's “unpredictable behavior” was noted along with Thomas' problems fully grasping budget and finance issues.---

Apparently the international businesses located in Cincinnati are having problems with our region's lack of bilingual speakers. Chiquita has reportedly cited the issue as one of the factors causing it to consider moving its headquarters to Charlotte or Florida.

A really good story by The Enquirer's Sharon Coolidge in response to last week's death of a toddler after intervention from Hamilton County social workers. It was the third such death in the last 10 months:

No one is saying Job and Family Services' budget woes led to those deaths, but an Enquirer examination of the agency - based on ride-alongs with social workers, public records, and an interview with the agency's boss - revealed an overloaded system that lacks oversight, support staff and the technology that workers need to do their jobs.

Even before Damarcus' death, outsiders and the agency's workers acknowledged that children's safety could be at risk.

President Obama is calling on the FDA to curb drug shortages. Come on, Obama! Give us the drugs!

Occupy Oakland is working on a general strike across the city on Wednesday and plans to march to the Port of Oakland to shut down the nation's fifth busiest port before the 7 p.m. night shift.

More Occupy news from Sunday, according to USA Today:

• Police in Portland, Ore., arrested about 30 anti-Wall Street protesters, dragging and carrying them to waiting vans, after they refused to leave a park in an affluent district.

• In Nashville, about 50 demonstrators chanted "Whose plaza? Our plaza!" in defiance of an official curfew. As people danced to keep warm on a chilly Sunday morning, police monitored the activity but made no arrests.

State troopers began enforcing the curfew at Legislative Plaza on Thursday night, three weeks after protests began.

• In Phoenix, city officials said the demonstrations cost the city $204,162 in overtime for police, firefighters, parks employees and prosecutors since the protests began Oct. 14. Councilman Sal DiCiccio suggested charging protesters for the costs.

Herman Cain is facing some issues that might be even bigger than his blatant disdain for poor people: “POLITICO reported Sunday night that Cain was accused of inappropriate behavior by multiple employees at the National Restaurant Association; the trade group reached financial settlements with several women who also left their jobs.”

Cain is now being asked directly about his past “inappropriate behaviors” by women's rights organizations, including right-leaning women's group Concerned Women for America.

From The Christian Science Monitor: “As world welcomes '7 billionth' baby, UN says empowering women is key to stability: The United Nations estimates that the world population will top 7 billion today. Key to stabilizing that rapid growth – and creating a sustainable future – is closing the gender gap and empowering women.”

Macy's plans to open at midnight on Black Friday, its earliest ever start time.

Google is going to give TV a second try.

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is taking heat from all over the place after the Detroit Lions beat the crap out of the Broncos and then called the starting of Tebow “embarrassing.” Here's an awesome site mocking the little prayer Tebow does on the sidelines during games: tebowing.com.

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<![CDATA[Group Files Complaint Against COAST]]>

A group working to defeat Issue 48 filed a complaint today against a conservative group with the Ohio Elections Commission.

Cincinnatians for Progress, which is urging a "no" vote on Issue 48, filed the complaint against the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST). It alleges COAST knowingly and repeatedly has made false statements in its campaign in support of the ballot initiative.

The complaint cites 20 instances in the past two months in which COAST allegedly made false statements in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 3517.22. Most involve allegations the city has taken funds away from fire services to fund the streetcar project.---

On its Twitter feed, COAST has made multiple allegations on a daily basis of blaming the "browning out" of certain Fire Department companies on the streetcar project. It has made similar claims on the campaign trail. “Companies” is firefighter lingo for a ladder track, a pumper or a heavy rescue unit and the four people who work on each. During a brownout, those workers are transferred to other duties. City administrators have said the actions are needed to reduce the department's soaring overtime costs and help avoid a projected deficit for 2012 that could reach $33 million.

The brownouts are unconnected to the streetcar project, administrators added. The project is funded through state and federal grants, along with construction bonds from the city's Capital Improvements budget. But the brownouts are needed to cut costs in the city's General Fund budget, which covers daily operations.

Neither Chris Finney nor Tom Brinkman Jr., two COAST leaders, responded to an email seeking comment.

Under Ohio elections law, anyone found guilty of making false statements could face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

In its press release announcing the complaint, Cincinnatians for Progress stated, "COAST has conducted a relentless campaign of deliberate misinformation about Issue 48 in the face of definitive evidence that their statements are wrong. Not only are the facts widely available in local media and city records, they have been provided directly to COAST officials by the city."

The release added, "Our goal in filing this action to to assure that city voters can cast their ballots based on accurate, authoritative information."

If approved by voters, Issue 48 would prohibit Cincinnati from building any streetcar system through Dec. 31, 2020. Because the initiative also prohibits any design or planning work for a system, it likely blocks any such project for at least 15 years, urban planning experts have said.

Issue 48 is being pushed by COAST and the NAACP's local chapter.

The two groups backed a similar ballot initiative in 2009. It sought to require a public vote before taxpayer money was used for any rail-related project within Cincinnati; voters rejected the amendment, 56 percent to 44 percent.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Streetcar proponents have spent considerably more on their campaign than the anti-streetcar people, probably because Issue 48 is so wide-reaching it has brought out people concerned with things way more important than the streetcar such as regional planning, commuter rail and making Cincinnati not look like it totally sucks.

Also being outspent are the SB 5 supporters, who have seen support decline dramatically in recent weeks as people look around their neighborhoods and see a bunch of regular people whose rights would be taken away. And Building a Better Ohio does unethical things like this, which makes people think they are meanies.

Here's a blog about City Council candidate Chris Smitherman arguing against all the legal experts who say Issue 48 will block all rail construction through 2020. ---

Members of Occupy Cincinnati held a candlelight vigil last night at Piatt Park to honor a Marine injured in the recent clash between police and protesters in Oakland. Sixteen people reportedly showed up at Piatt Park at 10 p.m. and were granted by police a few minutes to speak on Scott Olsen's behalf. According to The Enquirer, the group then marched around the park and to the justice center.

The Ohio Supreme Court said “sorry Democrats, y'all screwed” today in ruling that it will not restart the 90-day clock for Dems to collect the 231,000 signatures needed to put the crazy new Republican Congressional map in front of voters.

And if that wasn't bad enough, Consumer Reports says a mislabeled seafood scam has affected millions of people.

The world's largest independent product-testing organization Friday will reveal that 22% of the seafood it tested at supermarkets, restaurants, fish markets, gourmet stores and big-box stores in three states was either mislabeled, incompletely labeled or misidentified by store or restaurant employees.

"Consumers are getting ripped off when they buy fish," says Kim Kleman, editor-in-chief of Consumer Reports.

This is no small matter. Americans spent $80.2 billion on seafood last year, up $5 billion from 2009. Mislabeling can be a serious health issue. Some consumers have allergies to specific types of fish, and pregnant women can end up eating fish they shouldn't — with high concentrations of mercury. Others trying to purchase more sustainable fish are being sold cheaper, unsustainable species.

Apparently Rick Perry might not take part in all of the Republican debates. Wonder why.

Pundits are wondering how Herman Cain continues to gain support.

Chevron profit doubles as oil prices rise” -- Nice work, Chevron!

Charlie Sheen's new sitcom Anger Management has been picked up by FX and will air in 2012.

The St. Louis Cardinals won a crazy Game 6 over the Texas Rangers to force a deciding Game 7 tonight.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

City Council conservatives made Mayor Mallory real mad yesterday, blocking his appointment of Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan to the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District. An initial vote actually allowed the appointment until appointed Republican Councilman Wayne Lippert heard that the other Republicans and Chris Bortz voted against it for various trivial reasons. Lippert asked for a re-vote and swung it the other way.

Mallory reportedly called out the conservatives, referring to them as "extremely unprofessional" and "horribly non-functional." According to The Enquirer, the normally even-tempered Mallory responded to their suggestions that they'd like to see someone else receive the appointment by saying, "that person's not getting appointed” and later adding, "I appoint a lot of people to a lot of things. And this will be remembered."---

A collection of gay-rights groups has planned a Nov. 5 rally for gay marriage at Fountain Square. Its listed organizers include Reformed Catholic Church, NKU Equality Now! and GetEQUAL OH. City Council candidate Chris Seelbach is scheduled to speak at the event, which will take place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Ohio Republicans are working hard to secure enough black Democrat support to pass a compromise of their ridiculous redistricting map, which Democrats have temporarily stalled and are working to overturn.

A new poll suggests that Hillary Clinton would crush either Mitt Romney or Rick Perry if she were running for president against them. Obama only leads the two by 3 and 12 percent, respectively.

Too bad Romney “may be haunted by Massachusetts health care costs.

Meanwhile... "As Cain Promotes His Management Skills, Ex-Aides Tell of Campaign in Chaos"

San Francisco Police reportedly called off a scheduled raid of Occupy San Francisco late last night, though they haven't said why.

Why it's not your fault you can't keep the weight off even though you worked so hard to lose it.

U.S. Senators are now involved in the crazy world of NCAA athletic conference realignment.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday popped in on a local pro-Issue 2 and Issue 3 call center and then refused to publicly endorse either Republican initiative. “Yes” votes on Issues 2 and 3 would keep Senate Bill 5 and allow Ohioans to opt out of mandatory health care passed by Congress last year, respectively. From CNN:

"I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues," Romney said, only after repeated questions from reporters. "Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party's efforts here."

Both topics are tricky for the Romney campaign.

He is no stranger to health insurance mandates, having passed one of his own in 2006 while governor of Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, the Republican-backed union legislation remains deeply unpopular in the state, which is all but certain to be a swing state once again in 2012.

Romney also doesn't want to make his tax returns public. Too modest.---

There were right-wing pigeon from outer space sightings at Oak Hills High School and Miami University yesterday. Reports suggest that they were unable to able to destroy the human race, though one can assume they have recently bought guns and watched TV. #deadmilkmen

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport is considering tearing down two of its three terminals after the downsizing of Delta Air Lines created lots of extra space. Administrators say operation and maintenance of one terminal costs $1.5 million per year alone.

Facing opposition in Northern Ohio from people who would rather Gov. John Kasich not sell their roads to private companies, Kasich today promised that most proceeds from the leasing of the Ohio Turnpike would be spent near the people who will have to pay someone else to manage it.

A Sept. 27 Quinnipiac poll found that 56 percent of Ohio voters thought that leasing the turnpike was a bad idea and only 32 percent considered it a good idea. In Northeast Ohio, 64 percent panned the idea, and in the Northwest, 65 percent were against it.

Oakland Police used tear gas during an arrest of Occupy Oakland protesters last night.

Higher education costs continue to soar while Republicans slash state funding and send their kids to private schools. Obama says he's trying to help.

The U.S. has dismantled one of the most powerful nuclear bombs ever built: the B53, which could deliver a 9-megaton blast about 600 times more powerful than the one that smashed Hiroshima.

A chain of boutique hotels has trained its staff to study guests' body language and treat them accordingly:

A body language expert trained employees over the summer on what cues to look for. A guest who makes eye contact while walking down the hall, for instance, may be open to conversation. A corporate trekker constantly tugging on an ear is probably stressed and may be interested in a yoga kit — or perhaps a therapeutic pillow from the hotel's pillow menu...

Employees were taught to mirror a guest's volume and rhythm of speech to put him at ease, Moser says. They learned that if guests are constantly touching their faces, it's a likely sign they're anxious after a long day of meetings or travel. "They'll grab their chin or pull on their ear," Moser says. "Those are cues that maybe I should be doing something to get them to their room quick or make them feel comfortable."

UK scientists have grown some super broccoli.

Game 6 of the World Series might be postponed due to mass rain expected in St. Louis tonight. The Texas Rangers lead the series 3-2 and can finish it off by winning either of the next two games.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Leave it to The Enquirer to publish a story analyzing local school district spending vs. academic success only to ignore the existence of private schools while drawing the conclusion that “a district that spends more doesn't necessarily produce higher test scores and graduation rates.” The story, titled “Big-spending districts net mixed academic grades,” doesn't include the qualifier “public school” or the possibility that local private schools spend even more per pupil than Indian Hill, Sycamore Township, Mariemont and Norwood, each of which spent $11,958 to $15,209 per student last year and earned Excellent or better ratings.---

Westboro Baptist Church will be in town today to protest at Oak Hills High School and Miami University for “what the queers are doing to our soil.” Or something.

Mitt Romney will be here today to back Issue 2 even though the latest polls show Ohioans increasingly supporting the opposite.

The state of Ohio has built its first “superstreet” — a 6-mile bypass in Fairfield that can now allow up to 60,000 vehicles rather than 53,000. See ya there!

Forbes likes Rick Perry's new “flat tax” plan. Whatever that means.

The European Union's debt situation is looking “grimmer by the minute.”

Netflix shares are down 36 percent. The company has lost $12 billion in value during the past 104 days. Reed Hastings, Netflix's chief executive: “It's like everyone's sitting at home using [expletive] VCRs.”

DuPont has raised its full-year forecast after higher than expected third-quarter numbers for its chemicals, thanks largely to prices surging for “titanium-dioxide pigment.”

Gas pumps are really dirty.

The Texas Rangers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the World Series to take a 3-2 series lead back to St. Louis on Friday.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

After three nights of arrests, Occupy Cincinnati protesters Sunday night chose to leave Piatt Park at its 10 p.m. closing time and march on the sidewalks around the park. Eleven members were arrested Saturday night for staying on the square after a rally past the 3 a.m. time allowed by its permit. The group is still waiting for a federal judge to rule on whether or not Piatt Park's 10 p.m. closing time is a violation of the First Amendment.

Chicago Police arrested 130 Occupy Chicago protesters over the weekend, and the group plans to picket Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office in response. Protesters described harsh treatment by police, with some spending more than 24 hours in jail. The picketing at City Hall will reportedly include a nurse's union in response to two nurses and a union organizer being arrested while volunteering at Occupy Chicago.---

Mitt Romney is coming to town on Tuesday to extend his support for SB 5 and Issue 3, which would undermine President Obama's health care plan.

Here's the latest on Obama's attempts to fix some of America's problems despite Congressional Republicans' unwillingness to be part of any Obama idea that might succeed.

Wikilinks has suspended publication while it tried to figure out how to raise funding after banking bans tied up most of its money.

A web hacking group called Anonymous has targeted child pornography sites, taking offline 40 sites and publishing the names of 1,500 people it claims used the sites hosting images of child sexual abuse.

A chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) commonly found in some plastics and the liners of food cans has been found to cause behavioral problems in children.

McDonald's is bringing back the McRib but only through Nov. 14, so if you're looking for a “boneless patty, dressed with onions, pickle slices and barbecue sauce” that checks in at 500 calories and 26 grams of fat, you know where to find one.

JLo apparently broke into tears during a performance of her song, “One Love” at a Montville, Conn., casino on Saturday. Here's her explanation for that happening.

Former Bengal Carson Palmer's debut with the Oakland Raiders didn't go so well. Palmer replaced Oakland's starting quarterback after three first-half interceptions only to throw three INTs in the second half himself.

The World Series is tied at two games a piece, as Albert Pujols jacked three home runs to lead the Cardinals to a Game 3 victory, but Rangers pitcher Derek Holland shut the Redbirds out in Game 4 to tie the series. Game 5 is tonight.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

Cincinnati Police arrested more than 20 Occupy Cincinnati protesters last night. Here's a recap of the events, which notes that a parade to honor local billionaire Carl Lindner was scheduled for this morning.

Here's an impressive collection of reports that back up nearly every grievance articulated in its first official press release. The research was done by a young woman in Boston who runs a Congressional watchdog website called C-SPAN geek. You can follow her on Twitter here.---

And here's an awesome story about a mortgage CEO getting a 40-month sentence for a $3 billion fraud, while a homeless man gets jammed up for 15 years for taking $100.

The extra primary that Ohio will probably have next year due to ridiculous Republican Congressional redistricting will cost the state $15 million.

Groupon scheduled its initial public offering for Nov. 4, when it expects to raise about $600 million and bring its value up over $11 billion. McDonald's saw its net income raise for the ninth straight quarter, this one good for $1.51 billion, a 9 percent raise.

New climate study deals blow to skeptics

The Centers for Disease Control tracks thoughts of suicide by state, with the highest rates in the Midwest and West.

“This report highlights that we have opportunities to intervene before someone dies by suicide. We can identify risks and take action before a suicide attempt takes place," said CDC director Dr. Thomas M. Frieden in a statement. “Most people are uncomfortable talking about suicide, but this is not a problem to shroud in secrecy.”

The Texas Rangers scored two runs in the 9th inning to win Game 2 of the World Series last night 2-1. The series is tied at a game a piece and will resume in Texas on Saturday.

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