WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.22.2012
 
 
kentucky

Morning News and Stuff

The Kentucky Speedway and state of Kentucky will find out soon whether the $10 million they spent on highway infrastructure improvements in response to last year’s traffic mess at a NASCAR race was worth it. The Speedway and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will hold a news conference today to outline plans to actually get all of the race attendees into the venue to watch the race rather than sit in traffic all day and get super mad. A Cincinnati police officer with a long record of wrecking police vehicles was arrested on Monday and charged with assaulting a woman who he’s already been charged with assaulting once before. The Enquirer detailed the disciplinary history of officer Kevin Jones, who was also charged with two counts of assault from an incident that occurred May 19.  Politico says President Obama’s recent announcement of a new immigration policy that allows many young immigrants who have never been in trouble with the law to stay in the country, and even travel across its borders, was a really smart move. The policy is not permanent, which leaves Mitt Romney to answer the question of whether or not he would repeal it if elected. The idea is reportedly similar to legislation that Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a potential Romney running mate, has been considering introducing. “This is a stroke of political genius,” Bruce Morrison told me. A former Democratic congressman from Connecticut, Morrison was chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, a member of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and House author of the Immigration Act of 1990. He’s now an immigration attorney and lobbies on a wide variety of immigration issues. “Obama has taken Rubio’s idea and put it into action,” Morrison said. “He has given these people a work permit, the ability to remain in this country, but no permanent status.” Their legal status can be terminated at any time. “But it won’t be terminated by Obama,” Morrison said.A breast cancer survivor who has undergone a double mastectomy has been allowed to swim topless by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation after stating that wearing a bathing suit over her chest causes pain. (Jodi) Jaecks opted against reconstructive surgery. "I don't see a need to fake having breasts," she said. "My ultimate goal is to change policy at beaches and pools, to increase people's awareness of cancer and the realities of the human condition," Jaecks told Reuters.LeBron James and the Miami Heat won the NBA title last night, completing a 4 games to 1 series victory over the Oklahoma Thunder. It is the first title for James, who has been widely mocked for stating that he’d like to win more titles than Michael Jordan’s six. James, who is 27, won his first a year younger than Jordan did, thought Jordan then won the title in six of eight years.  Two alien plants planets around the same star apparently rise in the night sky of each other, looking like a giant full moon. The planets, Kepler-36b and Kepler-36c, are 1,200 light-years from Earth and 1.2 million miles apart, the closes two planets known. 
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.19.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

The ever-debated, never implemented property tax increase will continue to be nonexistent, as will a new police station, playgrounds, some public pools, Music Hall renovations and certain street repavings and building demolitions, according to The Enquirer. Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan will make the deciding vote against City Manager Milton Dohoney’s proposed tax increase, which would add $46 to the owner of a $100,000. Also against disproportionately taxing rich people are Councilmen Chris Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld, Christopher Smitherman and Charlie Winburn. Quilivan says the government isn’t the right size and that the government should make the tougher changes before asking for more revenue. Here are two ways to report the latest news regarding potential Duke Energy rate hike connected to streetcar construction: • From The Enquirer:  “Duke customers could face streetcar tab” • From The Business Courier: “Cincinnati, Duke making progress on moving utility lines” A 15-year-old girl was killed in Over-the-Rhine around 11 p.m. last night. She was reportedly standing with a group of people, though Police haven’t released any details about the shooter. A new poll shows support for President Obama’s shift on immigration policy. More Asians are immigrating to the U.S. than Hispanics these days. Adult humans are 16.5 million tons overweight, which researchers say will threaten the world’s food security and environmental resources. Approximately half of all new AIDS cases are occurring in the South, and the region is severely short on HIV specialists. Attorneys for the Penn State football coach who showered with a bunch of boys are starting their defense by painting him in a positive light. Spotify will stop charging $10 per month for use on mobile devices. Free now. Facebook acquires Face.com. Ha. Former baseball player Roger Clemens was acquitted of perjury charges, the latest in a bunch of wasted time by the federal government investigating athletes who can afford really good lawyers.
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.14.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Ohio political season will be in full force today as Mitt Romney visits a manufacturing company in Carthage to discuss the manufacturing industry and trade, Barack Obama will be in Cleveland talking about the economy and Rob Portman, a candidate to be Romney's vice presidential running mate, will be in Washington D.C. telling the Faith and Freedom Coalition that it's still really important to have religious freedom. Some Columbia-Tusculum residents are upset about the proposed design of new apartment buildings on the corner of Delta Avenue and Columbia Parkway. The 76-unit Delta Flats' design was apparently supposed to fit into the nearby business district, which includes the Precinct restaurant. China doesn't want to have sanctions on Syria, and Russia is reportedly still selling Syria weapons. OPEC has decided to keep oil output on hold, meaning Saudi Arabia gets to decide if gas costs go up. A new poll suggests that Americans blame George W. Bush more for America's economic issues than President Obama. HBO and showrunners for its new medieval show Game of Thrones have apologized for using Bush's head on a stake in a scene where one of the dudes shows someone a line of traitors' heads on stakes. Surgeons replaced a 10-year-old girl's has blood vessel with one grown with her own stem cells. The vein was taken from a dead person, stripped of its cells and then coated in the girls' stem cells. Doctors says there has been a “striking” improvement in her quality of life, according to the BBC. Nokia will cut 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013 after being hit hard by both expensive competitors like the iPhone and cheaper Android models. San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game against the Houston Astros last night. It included an awesome diving catch by outfielder Gregor Blanco in the 7th inning.
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.13.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Mitt Romney will visit the Cincinnati area this week: tonight at a private fundraiser at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, Thursday at a Carthage manufacturing comany and this weekend to hang with Rep. John Boehner up north and probably with Sen. Rob Portman at some point. President Obama plans to be around soon, too. Economists say Romney's job creation claims need more specifics before they'll be believable. On the other hand, Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has saved or created 1.4 million to 3.3 million jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and the American Jobs Act would create 1.9 million, according to Moody's. From NPR: +11.5 million — that's how many jobs Romney claimed last September he would create in the first term of his administration. But true to form, Romney never said how he would create that many jobs, nor has any reputable economist backed up his claim. "Nowhere in the 160 page plan could I find a stated job creation number," wrote Rebecca Thiess of EPI. "The math doesn't just appear to be fuzzy — it appears to be nonexistent." Added David Madland of the Center for American Progress: "It is a plan from the Republican candidate for president designed to maximize corporate profits. What it doesn't do is help the middle class or create jobs." Even the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal called Romney's 59-point economic tome "surprisingly timid and tactical considering our economic predicament." Democrat Ron Barber won the congressional seat left by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt and resigned to focus on her recovery. The win gives Democrats hope for taking control of the House in November. California could become the first U.S. State to require that genetically modified (GM) foods be labeled as such on the package if a November measure, “The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” passes. What makes the referendum in California different is that, for the first time, voters and not politicians will be the ones to decide. And this has the food industry worried. Understandably so, since only one in four Americans is convinced that GMOs are "basically safe", according to a survey conducted by the Mellman Group, and a big majority wants food containing GMOs to be labeled. This is one of the few issues in America today that enjoys broad bipartisan support: 89% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats want genetically altered foods to be labeled, as they already are in 40 nations in Europe, in Brazil, and even in China. In 2007, then candidate Obama latched onto this popular issue saying that he would push for labeling – a promise the president has yet to keep.Retail sales were down for the second month in May. Go buy something. More than 2,000 proposals for new internet suffixes have been proposed, including ".pizza," ".space" and ".auto." Scientists have figured out why woolly mammoths went extinct: “Lots of reasons.”
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.08.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

County Commissioner Todd Portune's idea to borrow more money and extend a half-cent sales tax in order to keep up with stadium costs has been shot down by a Bengals lawyer who used 15 bullet points to demonstrate that Portune's plan “proposes to breach one or both leases.” Duke Energy is asking state regulators if it can bump customers' rates up again. Duke says the increases are to pay for infrastructure investments. The change would increase customer costs of electric service by $86 million and for natural gas by $44 million. A federal appeals court on Monday reinstated an antitrust lawsuit against Duke Energy that accuses the company of paying kick-backs to corporations opposing a 2004 rate increase. A rally for “religious freedom” will take place on Fountain Square today in response to federal health care legislation requiring women to have abortions employers to provide insurance that covers birth control. The law includes a religious exemption, which bishops have said isn't enough. A group pushing to ban dog auctions in Ohio has halted its effort to put the issue on the November ballot due to lack of funding and time. CityBeat in February reported the group's efforts to ban the sale of dogs through auctions or raffles, as well as all trafficking in dogs from out-of-state auctions.New York City officials, including Brooklyn Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke, are arguing that the city's “Stop and Frisk” policy is racist. The policy allows police to stop an individual and pat him or her down for contraband if they suspect illegal activity. From USA Today:Clarke says the program, known as "Stop, Question and Frisk" or "Stop and Frisk," amounts to racial profiling. It is based on a 1968 Supreme Court ruling that police could stop people on the basis of "reasonable suspicion." Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin approved class-action status for a lawsuit that alleges the practice subjects people to race-based illegal searches. President Obama's health care law helped 6.6 million young adults stay on their parents' plans during the first year and a half. Rick Santorum has formed a new conservative organization aiming to recruit 1 million supporters to help get Barack Obama out of the While House. No word on how Santorum's “Patriot Voices” group will differ from the tea party patriots. NASA says it has spotted the universe's first objects. Black members of the Netherlands soccer team were subjected to racist chants at their Euro 2012 practice facility in Krakow, Poland. The team says fans were making monkey chants at the players. LeBron James scored 45 points to lead the Miami Heat over the Boston Celtics last night, forcing a deciding Game 7 for the Eastern Conference championship. The Oklahoma Thunder await in the NBA Finals.
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.07.2012
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

The Enquirer today broke out its Freedom of the Press Card, pressing the city to release details of the bids to build the streetcar's five vehicles. Enquirer Editor and Vice President Carolyn Washburn says the newspaper is being a good watchdog by investigating all the redacted parts of documents released by the city, which reportedly include typical streetcar parts, performance data and personal information of employees. A firm called CAF USA, which won the bid for more than $20 million, is trying to block the release of the data, along with two losing bidders who claim the information is trade secret. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear are considering a private-public partnership that includes tolls to fund renovations to the Brent Spence Bridge. President Obama enjoyed an enthusiastic welcome from Los Angeles LGBT supporters at an event in Beverly Hills. Republicans are saying Obama is being all glitzy in California so he's out of touch with Americans' struggles. Russia would like Iran to be involved in forcing a political transition in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Syrian President Bashar Assad should quit and roll out. The U.S. is losing patience with Pakistan, too. George Zimmerman's bond hearing has been set for June 29. He returned to jail on Sunday after a judge revoked his bond for failing to disclose $135,000 in funds raised for his legal defense. Thousands of homes in the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at high risk for hurricane damage, and New York City has the highest risk of losses. Do you use LinkedIn or eHarmony? Well, you shouldn't. Also, both sites were hacked and had user passwords breached. A car called the Honda Fit EV has earned the highest ever miles-per-gallon equivalency rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — 118 mpg. More than 80 lawsuits by former NFL players have been consolidated and filed in a Philadelphia federal court, accusing the league of hiding details that linked head trauma to permanent brain injuries. The NFL denies culpability. The Reds are still in first place.   
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.06.2012
 
 
zeng

Morning News and Stuff

A local music teacher says Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy offered him a job and then rescinded the offer after asking him if he is gay. Jonathan Zeng says he went through the school's extensive interview process, was offered a position and then called back in for a discussion about religious questions in his application, during which he was asked directly if he is gay. Zeng says he asked why such information was pertinent, and an administrator said it was school policy not to employ teachers who are gay because they work with children and something about the sanctity of marriage. When contacted by local media CHCA released the following statement: CHCA keeps confidential all matters discussed within a candidate's interview. We're looking into this matter, although the initial information we have seen contains inaccuracies. We will not be discussing individual hiring decisions or interviews.Cincinnati's deficit isn't going to get better any time soon, according to a new report. The Reds drafted high school pitcher Nick Travieso in the first round of the MLB draft on Monday. Here's a rundown of their other picks Monday and Tuesday. Senate Republicans yesterday blocked a Democratic bill calling for equal pay in the workplace, and the Dems are going to stick it in their faces during this year's campaigns. From the AP: As expected, the pay equity bill failed along party lines, 52-47, short of the required 60-vote threshold. But for majority Democrats, passage wasn't the only point. The debate itself was aimed at putting Republicans on the defensive on yet another women's issue, this one overtly economic after a government report showing slower-than-expected job growth. "It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families," Obama said in a statement after the vote. "Even Mitt Romney has refused to publicly oppose this legislation," added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "He should show some leadership." The Washington Post wonders whether Mitt Romney can use Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's template for surviving a recall election to try to win the presidency. It involves “big money, powerful organization and enormous enthusiasm among his base.” Exit polls in the state suggest Obama is ahead, however. China wants foreign embassies to stop releasing reports and Tweeting about its poor air quality. Gonorrhea growing resistant to antibiotics? Rut roh. Dinosaurs apparently weighed less than scientists previously thought. Adjust paper-mache Brontosaurus as necessary. Facebook is considering letting kids younger than 13 use the site. The Boston Celtics took a 3-2 series lead over the Miami Heat on Tuesday and could send Bron Bron and Co. back home on Thursday.
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.04.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Hamilton County has been killing people more often than Ohio counties of similar size, despite actually asking for the death penalty less often. Today's Enquirer takes a look at the growing opposition to the death penalty in other states and recent legislation and task forces aimed at either studying its effectiveness or stopping the practice altogether. Prosecutor Joe Deters says he's going to kill all the people who deserve it because the law is still the law. Would you like to pay tolls or higher gas taxes in order to have a new Brent Spence Bridge? No? Then you're like a majority of people who take the time to respond to Enquirer polls. City Manager Milton Dohoney plans to ask City Council to raise the property tax rate in response to a projected $33 million 2013 deficit that everyone knows was coming. The Community Press on the East Side says Norfolk Southern is willing to consider selling the Wasson Way right of way that some would like to see turned into a bike trail. CityBeat in March found the proposed trail to have support among cycling enthusiasts but some resistance from light rail supporters. President Obama hooked up an 11-year-old kid with a note excusing him from class on Friday. “He says, ‘Do you want me to write an excuse note? What’s your teacher’s name?” Sullivan told ABC. “And I say, Mr. Ackerman. And he writes, ‘Please excuse Tyler. He was with me. Barack Obama, the president.'" Fortune magazine has taken exception to Mitt Romney's recent criticism of Solyndra, the solar panel company that went out of business despite a $500 million Department of Energy loan. So last Thursday Romney held a surprise press conference at Solyndra's shuttered headquarters. During his prepared statement, Romney said: "An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the Administration had steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors." Romney then repeated the claim later in the press conference. Small problem: No inspector general ever "concluded" such a thing, at least not based on any written reports or public statements. Wisconsin Gov./Union Crusher Scott Walker holds a slight lead over his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, according to a recent poll. George Zimmerman is back in jail after what his attorney is calling a misunderstanding over telling a judge that he had limited money even though a website set up to fund his legal defense raised more than $135,000. Legal issues will be involved in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to ban giant sodas. Jason Alexander has released a lengthy and quite thoughtful apology for referring to the sport of cricket as "a bit gay" during a recent appearance on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Why do people on the West Coast get to see all the cool stuff that happens in space? First the eclipse and now the Transit of Venus, when Venus will cross paths between the sun and earth. Next time it will happen is 2117. And Australia got to see a partial lunar eclipse the other day, too.
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.01.2012
 
 
kenwood

Morning News and Stuff

The FBI has been investigating the long-stalled Kenwood Towne Place development for the past year, and a grand jury will determine whether crimes were committed involving the improper use of funding for the project, according to The Enquirer. CityBeat on May 16 reported that Nathan Bachrach, host of local radio show Simply Money, was among those in heat over the development's debt. The city of Cincinnati used eminent domain to secure a piece of Over-the-Rhine property to build its streetcar maintenance facility. So, uh, Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan rewrote the lyrics to John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary” (“Rolin' on the River”) as part of a promotion for the World Choir Games. Celebrities such as Bootsy Collins, Nick Lachey and Jerry Springer participated. Cool? Awkward? The city does look pretty nice — shots were filmed at Fountain Square, Great American Ballpark, Findlay Market, the School for Creative and Performing Arts and the Serpentine Wall.John Edwards is basically off the hook after jurors returned from nine days of deliberations believing that the government did not prove its case. Edwards was found guilty one one charge of accepting illegal campaign contributions to hide his pregnant mistress, but a mistrial was declared on five charges. President Obama and Mitt Romney reportedly spoke on the phone yesterday. Romney says they exchanged pleasantries and congratulations. Obama apparently gave Romney some credit for his health care bill, which sounds kind of passive aggressive. The nation's unemployment rate is up to 8.2 percent; apparently a third month of disappointing payroll led to the addition of only 69,000 jobs. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being called “Nanny Bloomberg” in response to his proposed ban on extra large sodas by people such as 18-year-old Johnny Ojeda of Kansas City, who reportedly pounded a 21-ounce soda and its 240 calories in front of Kansas City Star reporters. “A lot of teenagers get them,” said Ojeda, On the other hand, today is National Donut Day. And cancer is expected to increase worldwide by 75 percent by 2030, partly due to poor nations adopting unhealthy Westernized lifestyles. DC Comics' Green Lantern is revealed to be gay in an issue that comes out next week. Green Lantern is one of the comics' oldest heroes and the latest in a growing number of out superheroes. From the San Jose Mercury News: In May, Marvel Entertainment said super speedster Northstar will marry his longtime boyfriend in the pages of "Astonishing X-Men." DC comics has other gay characters, too, including Kate Kane, the current Batwoman. And in the pages of Archie Comics, Kevin Keller is one of the gang at Riverdale High School and gay, too. Some groups have protested the inclusion of gay characters, but Robinson isn't discouraged, noting that being gay is just one aspect to Scott. "This guy, he's a media mogul, a hero, a dynamic type-A personality and he's gay," Robinson said. "He's a complex character."
 
 
by Danny Cross 05.25.2012
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Morning News and Stuff

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has returned more than $100,000 in campaign contributions in response to an FBI investigation into 21 donors who had no record of giving to federal campaigns and many appearing to have low incomes. Mandel, a Republican, is running against incombent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown. Mandel's campaign treasurer Kathryn Kessler sent a letter to donors explaining that any contributions appearing to be under investigation would be refunded. From The Toledo Blade: Although the campaign provided a copy of the letter to The Blade, it would not explain the timing of the decision or how long it has been aware of the federal probe. The Blade revealed the unusual pattern of contributions in August. The company's owner, Benjamin Suarez, and 16 of his employees (plus some of their spouses) gave about $200,000 to Mr. Mandel and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Wadsworth) last year. Each of those donors gave $5,000, the maximum allowable amount, to one or both candidates. The Ohio Senate yesterday passed new fracking regulations, and the final version caused some environmental organizations to change their stance on the bill. The Ohio Environmental Council and the Sierra Club had both been neutral on the legislation until changes were made forcing anyone suing over chemical trade secrets to show current or potential harm, according to The Enquirer. The regulations are part of Kasich's new energy bill and easily passed both the Senate and House and is expected to be signed by Kasich soon. Cincinnati Public Schools says it will apply for the latest available federal education grants, which amount to nearly $700 million. The grants are geared toward helping schools proceed with reform and innovation. According to a new poll, President Obama leads Mitt Romney in Ohio by six percentage points. Wonder if Obama's “cow pie of distortion” speech had anything to do with his lead. The John Edwards trial has entered day six of deliberations. United Nations inspectors have reportedly found uranium in Iran enriched beyond the highest levels previously reported. One diplomat said the measure could actually be a measurement error, though the reading could also mean that Iran is closer to producing bomb-grade uranium than previously thought. Scientists might be one step closer to creating birth control for men after U.K. scientists found a gene used to enable sperm to mature. From USA Today: “Profits at big U.S. companies broke records last year, and so did pay for CEOs.” Facebook's initial public offering didn't go entirely as expected, and some investors are getting refunds after technical problems and other issues marred the company's first week of trading. The Reds completed a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves last night, winning their sixth in a row and overtaking the St. Louis Cardinal for first place in the NL Central.
 
 

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