CityBeat Blogs - Occupy Cincinnati <![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]> To help avoid a $43 million deficit, the Cincinnati Board of Education voted Monday to cut 40 staff positions for next year. The positions affected are central office staff and administrative employees. The board said some teacher layoffs are possible later, but it wants to see how many people plan on retiring after the school year ends.

A retired local judge told WCPO-TV's I-Team that his dismissal from a United Nations tribunal was the result of a “purge” because some U.N. officials disliked the reforms that he and his colleagues were implementing. Mark Painter, who is a former municipal court judge and appellate court judge in the Cincinnati area, served three years as the only American on a new tribunal that makes final judgments on internal United Nations disputes. But the committee that selects judges chose not to renominate him for a full seven-year term. Painter said it's because the tribunal made its decisions binding, but U.N. officials denied the allegation.

About 40 people attended an event Monday night at downtown's Piatt Park to mark Occupy Cincinnati's return to the plaza. As part of a deal signed last week with the city's attorneys, Occupy members are now allowed to remain in the park overnight as long as they are quiet and don't erect tents. Less than 10 people chose to stay until this morning.

In other protest-related news, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati gave permission for a Catholic priest in a Dayton suburb to perform an exorcism outside of a medical clinic that performs abortions. The Rev. Tim Ralston of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Kettering performed the rite Sunday at the Women's Med Center. About 300 anti-abortion activists attended the event.

Gov. John Kasich is trying to force out the leader of the Ohio Republican Party before November's elections. Party Chairman Kevin DeWine announced Sunday he wouldn't seek reelection when his two-year term expires in January, but Kasich wants DeWine gone now. Kasich wants to name his own appointee, and hopes to oust DeWine when the GOP’s newly elected 66-member central committee meets April 13.

In news elsewhere, public outcry has prompted the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation into the shooting of a black teenager by a neighborhood watch captain who escaped arrest. More than 435,000 people signed an online petition calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin, 17, was unarmed when he was killed Feb. 17 while walking home after buying Skittles and iced tea at a nearby store.

More details are emerging about the past of the Norwood native who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree. Before he enlisted in the Army, Robert Bales' career as a stockbroker came to an end when a court arbitrator ordered Bales and the owner of the firm that employed him to pay $1.4 million for taking part in “fraud” and “unauthorized trading.” The client, Gary Liebschner, a 74-year-old retired engineer, told The Washington Post that he “never got paid a penny” of the award.

Meanwhile, the shooting spree may lead to Afghan President Hamid Karzai winning a major concession from the United States. Officials are mulling whether to modify the use of controversial night raids by troops and giving Afghans more oversight. The Obama administration is discussing options with the Afghans including a warrant-based approach or possibly allowing Afghan judges to review raids before they took place, a U.S. official said Monday.

JP Morgan Chase is closing the Vatican bank's account with its Italian branch based on concerns about a lack of transparency at the Holy See's financial institution. Italian newspapers reported JP Morgan Chase informed the Vatican bank that its account was being closed because it had failed to provide sufficient information on money transfers. The institution has been accused of tax fraud and money laundering in the past.

The man who killed four people at a Jewish school in southwestern France on Monday had a camera around his neck and may have filmed the scene, France's interior minister says. Police have linked the attack to two shootings last week in which three soldiers of North African descent died. The same gun and the same scooter were used in all the attacks, they report. French schools held a moment of silence today to remember the victims.
<![CDATA[ReOccupy Starts Tonight]]>

One week after a landmark settlement was signed, members of Occupy Cincinnati will gather this evening in downtown’s Piatt Park to listen to music and discuss free speech issues.

The event, known as ReOccupy Free Speech Day, begins with a general assembly meeting at the park at 6 p.m. It will be followed by comments from various speakers at 8 p.m., and then a performance by “riot-folk” musician Ryan Harvey.

At 10 p.m., a soapbox session will be held for anyone to speak about issues that are important to him or her. Protestors are planning to stay in Piatt until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

If rain develops, the general assembly and other events will be moved to Occupy Cincinnati’s community warehouse, located at 2023 Dunlap St. in Over-the-Rhine.

After months of negotiations, Occupy Cincinnati and attorneys with the City Solicitor’s Office reached a deal drop all criminal trespassing charges against Occupy members in return for the withdrawal of a federal lawsuit filed by five protesters.

As part of the deal, about 100 square feet of Piatt Park as a 24-hour public space. The area is located on the park’s far eastern edge, near the statue of President James Garfield, adjacent to Vine Street.

<![CDATA[Occupy Settlement Grants 24-Hour Public Space, Keeps Rules]]>

The city of Cincinnati and Occupy protesters have reached a legal settlement that will erase criminal charges against protesters and designate part of Piatt Park a 24-hour public space for one year. The open space will still be subject to park rules, which include the “prohibition or restriction on noise, encampments, open flames, tents, and common law nuisance principles.”

The Enquirer reported today that the settlement was expected to be filed in court this morning. The settlement will end protesters’ federal lawsuit against the city, which was based on the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. The far eastern section of the park, which is where Occupy Cincinnati set up its encampment starting in October and where many of the arrests occurred, will reportedly be designated a 12-hour public space for one year beginning 10 p.m. March 19.

Should the city refuse to extend the Open Period, Occupy protesters are allowed to institute a new lawsuit challenging the park rules.

The city has agreed to install new signage at the park noting its modified closing time and will install signage or placards at least 14 days prior to the open time’s scheduled expiration at 11:59 p.m. March 18, 2013.

The city retains the right to terminate the Open Period should park rules not be followed. According to the lawsuit:

Consistent and persistent violations of Park Board Rules and/or generally applicable laws which constitute a public nuisance under Chapter 3767 of the Ohio Revised Code, including without limitation any conduct in violation of prohibitions or restrictions on noise, encampments, open flames, or tents, shall constitute a breach of this Agreement. As a remedy for such breach, the City may terminate the Open Period prior to the expiration date set forth in Section 3 above by obtaining an order from a court of competent jurisdiction enjoining any such nuisance and finding that termination of the Open Period is necessary to abate any such nuisance.

City Hall will appoint an individual to function as the liaison of the Park Board and schedule a public meeting within 60 days and another within 180 days to accept public input.

<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]> Here's some good news to help CityBeat readers start their week: Not only have city officials reached a settlement with Occupy Cincinnati protestors to drop all trespassing charges against them, but the deal also designates a portion of Piatt Park as a public space that's open 24 hours a day for one year. The settlement, which will be filed in court today, is believed to be one of the first in the nation resolving both a federal civil rights lawsuit against a city and local criminal charges against people connected to the international Occupy Wall Street movement. Protestors were arrested in November after camping overnight in Piatt Park for about 10 days.

Former Reds player Aaron Boone has been selected to be the grand marshal of the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. The parade, which will begin at 1 p.m. April 5, will wind through Over-the-Rhine and downtown before the Reds' season opener against the Miami Marlins. Boone played for the Reds from 1997-2003, mostly as a third baseman, before ending his Major League career with the Houston Astros in 2009. He is now an announcer for ESPN.

Staffers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are trying to explain why Ohio's request to be declared a federal disaster area was rejected last week. "We look at the total amount of impact versus the state. How much of what was insured? What other programs are available? It doesn’t talk about loss of life of homes destroyed. It refers to the impact to the state," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told WLWT-TV (Channel 5).

One man is dead and another is injured after what sheriff's deputies call a "domestic dispute" occurred at a Green Township condominium complex early Sunday morning. David Franks, 45, allegedly shot and killed his elderly father-in-law around 3:30 a.m. James Schobert, 76, died from his gunshot injuries before the Green Township Life Squad arrived on the scene.

The ongoing legal battle over a contested 2010 election for a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judgeship could cost taxpayers $1.4 million, or almost as much as the $1.57 million cost for the county’s entire November 2010 general election. The dispute hinges on whether 286 provisional ballots should be counted in the race between Democrat Tracie Hunter and Republican John Williams.

In news elsewhere, a U.S. staff sergeant has been arrested in Afghanistan after allegedly going on a shooting rampage and killing 16 civilians. Some Afghanis say more than one soldier was involved, and military officials are investigating. The deaths have prompted Taliban fighters to declare they will seek revenge.

The rampage is likely to increase the push to withdraw troops from Afghanistan ahead of the 2014 target date. About 60 percent of Americans now see the war as not worth it and 54 percent favor a U.S. withdrawal even if the Afghan army has not been adequately trained, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday.

Alabama and Mississippi will hold primary elections on Tuesday, but national polling companies have found a near toss-up among the GOP's three leading presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Political analysts said the results show the Republican Party's Deep South base isn't as predictable as it once was and might be fracturing.

A “right to die” case filed by a 58-year-old British man can proceed to a court hearing, a U.K. judge has ruled. Tony Nicklinson has "locked-in syndrome" following a stroke in 2005 and is unable to carry out his own suicide, the BBC reports. The syndrome leaves people with paralyzed bodies but fully-functioning minds.

Many people in Appalachia, which includes southeastern Ohio, are counting on new investments from energy companies seeking to extract natural gas from underground pockets as the way to offset job losses suffered in the Great Recession. During the recession, Appalachia lost all the jobs it gained from 2000-08, and personal and small business income is roughly 25 percent lower than the rest of the United States. With such a bleak outlook, many in the region are willing to overlook potential hazards involved with some extraction processes like fracking.
<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]>

If you're one of those people who enjoys relaxing in a public park, maybe eating a sandwich and enjoying the lush greenspace Cincinnati has grown proud of, that's all well and good. (Bring a blanket and some apples; enjoy yourself.) That is, until you get a little sleepy and want to lie down on the ground or a bench — that's illegal now.

The Cincinnati Park Board yesterday approved a no-lying down rule across all of its 5,000 acres of park land, likely in response to ongoing Occupy Cincinnati lawsuits over the legality of closing the park at night. People who lie down in parks are now subject to $150 fines for the misdemeanor offense.---

P&G will not be hiring any new employees for the next six months because it already reached its hiring goals and everyone loves it there too much to leave.

GE Aviation received an order for $900 million worth of whatever it makes. The press release subject line simply read: “BOOM!”

Ohio electric bills have reportedly risen 33 percent over the last five years, which energy companies attribute to higher coal costs and [expletive] environmental regulation.

Poll: Americans don't like what they see in 2012 race. Ha.

Mitt Romney says Newt Gingrich blew it on two key issues.

House Republicans are being their normally difficult selves while President Obama tries to extend a payroll tax cut.

Apparently melting permafrost is releasing greenhouse gases, and scientists are getting pretty scared about it.

The San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers tried to play a football game last night, but the power kept going out in Candlestick Park and scaring everyone. The 49ers ended up winning the game 20-3 after two delays.

<![CDATA[Occupy Group is Recharging ]]>

After two days of testimony, the criminal trespassing trial of some Occupy Cincinnati protestors has been continued until Jan. 30 while attorneys on both sides continue to negotiate a possible resolution.

Meanwhile, the Occupy Cincinnati group isn't resting; it will stage an event called “Recharge Weekend” on Saturday and Sunday, designed to boost the morale of participants and devise a more precise, clear agenda for moving forward.---

Occupy protestors camped overnight for 10 days in November at downtown's Piatt Park, before Cincinnati police arrested them and removed their tents and signs from the plaza. About 45 people were arrested on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing.

The protestors were arrested for violating park rules that state people must leave by 10 p.m.

Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Dwane Mallory, brother of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, presided over the initial trespassing cases Tuesday and today.

Another judge involved in the matter, Municipal Court Judge David Stockdale, stated in a letter to his colleagues and municipal prosecutors last month that the city’s charter lacks a section that codifies the breaking of park rules into a misdemeanor criminal violation. Further, he believes the city’s Park Board lacks the legislative authority to make the violations a criminal offense.

This weekend's events kick off Saturday with a rally and march for human rights around Over-the-Rhine and downtown. The rally begins at 1 p.m. at Piatt Park, with the march starting at 2 p.m.

During the rally, the Food Not Bombs organization will be sharing free free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry. Food Not Bombs works toward nonviolent social change through “the celebration and nurturing of life” by distributing free food.

The Recharge Weekend event will be held from 3 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday, and again from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Off the Avenue Studios in Northside. It's located at 1546 Knowlton St., near Jacob Hoffner Park.

“We’ll be recharging ourselves and rebooting our occupation, sorting through the biggest obstacles to being a cohesive and effective organization,” event organizers said. “As we speak, we are developing an agenda and entertainment and allowing ourselves to share some time together, just like we did before we were so rudely interrupted from our encampment.”

On Sunday a general assembly meeting will be held at 3 p.m. to try to reach consensus on a number of proposals being mulled by the group, including details of a winter occupation protest.

“We are reaching out to any and all interested folks for this powerful assembly, but we especially reach out to the many Occupiers that became disillusioned when our encampment was taken from us and those whose enthusiasm was squashed due to organizational and communication issues,” organizers said.

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

A new study has found high levels of arsenic in fruit juices that millions of kids are drinking because there's pictures of actual food on the label. Too bad government regulation is just a big waste of money that hurts the economy.

A full 10 percent of the juices tested by the magazine had arsenic levels higher than what is allowed in water by the Food and Drug Administration.

“What we’re talking about here is not acute affects,” Urvashi Rangan, director of safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports, told TODAY. “We’re talking about chronic effects. We’re talking about cancer risk. And so, the fact that 10 percent of our samples exceeded the drinking water standard underscores the need for a standard to be set in juices.”

Consumer Reports tested 88 samples of apple and grape juices sold around the country. Included among those tested were popular juices like Minute Maid, Welch’s and Tropicana.---

Details of the Southgate House's pending close are coming out, with a sibling court battle at the center of the controversy. Then Enquirer spoke to Armina Lee, who is the sister of Ross Raleigh, the man who had run the club for three decades. Lee and her husband reportedly bought Raleigh out of the building and plan to renovate and sell it. Raleigh has said he plans to find a new club and continue booking music. It is unclear which party will own the rights to the Southgate House name.

Meanwhile, over in Cincinnati, Mayor Mallory says he doesn't know why Chiquita chose North Carolina after Cincinnati offered it “$40 billion to stay.” The mayor is funny.

Kroger is pumped about some new Delta flights out of CVG. Still waiting to get that nonstop service to Paris back, though.

Convicts entering the Franklin County jail better come correct with $40. Sheriff Zach Scott proposed the new fee in response to commissioners asking him to generate revenue.

Los Angeles Police raided the city's Occupy camp, arresting 200 people. Fifty more protesters were arrested in Philadelphia.

Herman Cain's latest accuser — this one regarding extramarital affair rather than sexual harassment — says the affair was casual and that Herman still wouldn't be a good president .

U.S. companies added more than 200,000 new jobs in November. “Things are getting better for the economy,” said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact & Opinion Economics in New York. “It means the news we have on Christmas shopping and on an increase in consumer confidence may have some validity.”

And frequent soccer-ball headers could cause brain damage in frequent amateur players, starting with the good ones who score on headers a lot.

Google Maps is about to go streetview inside some stores and airports, although most people already know what a Macy's, Ikea or airport looks like on the inside.

Did a nude yoga class really cause Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries to breakup? Relationships are difficult.

<![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.”

<![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.

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

Guess there's a reason why Congress doesn't care much for the 99-percent movement: Eleven percent of Congress is part of the 1 percent. Fifty-eight members of Congress have $9 million or more in net worth, including Kentucky's own Mitch McConnell and John Yarmuth. Congress also includes 250 millionaires, so maybe they'll listen.

Occupy Wall Street celebrated its two-month mark by organizing a “day of action,” beginning with a march to the New York Stock Exchange.---

County Commissioners want to resolve their public housing debate with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but HUD says it can't actually agree to anything with the county and the talks need to be with the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, which is a problem because the commissioners don't like CMHA.

Commissioner Chris Monzel's MacGyver idea of selling Drake Hospital rather than raising property taxes in order to cover the stadium fund deficit isn't going to happen. Looking forward to seeing what crappy thing Monzel tries to fix it with next.

City Council yesterday voted to allow three new food truck stations near Fountain Square since 3CDC booted the everyday Skyline from the square.

You know what's delicious? Pizza. Know what's not delicious: overly burdensome and costly pizza regulations. That's why House GOPers have scaled back newly proposed USDA nutritional guidelines that would not have counted tomato sauce on pizza as a serving of vegetables. Keep your government hands off my medicaid pizza!

The changes had been requested by food companies that produce frozen pizzas, the salt industry and potato growers. Some conservatives in Congress have called the push for healthier foods an overreach, saying the government shouldn’t be telling children what to eat.

The Ohio GOP has reportedly questioned the need for a driver texting ban.

There's an ice cavern on one of Jupiter's moons that might have life in it. Go find out for us, Obama!

Tiger Woods is sucking at the Presiden's Cup but the Americans still won yesterday.

Some Golden Globes voters are upset about Ricky Gervais returning to host.

<![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.”

<![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.

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:

<![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.

<![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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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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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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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:

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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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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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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.