29 September 2006

Voter's Guide to Judicial Elections

Courtesy of the League of Women Voters, this page outlines the Hamilton County court system for voters.

Whether judges should be elected or appointed (or some combination of the two) is an issue I've thought about ever since my interest in government began in college. My college girlfriend (the most amazing person I've ever known, btw) went on to law school and we'd talk about judicial elections now and then. We never could figure out a definite answer.

I think it's one of the tougher issue out there to resolve. There are clear pros and cons both ways.

I'll be in beautiful Detroit for my cousin's wedding this weekend, so no posting until after the weekend. Go Bengals!

28 September 2006

John Boehner Still Comfortable in Parallel GOP Universe

We were right to go to Iraq, the Democrats will make us less safe, we have to stay and fight, blah blah blah...

Ohio's John Boehner is a good trained parrot.

Squawk! Johnny want a campaign contribution? Squawk!

Newspapers Suddenly Hushing Up About Iraq

Shhhh! Iraq is a failure. But don't tell the people... they might not vote Republican.

Number of front page articles about Iraq for the period Sept. 1 to Sept. 21 in major newspaper around the country:

The New York Times, 12
The Washington Post, 17
The Boston Globe, 0
The Charlotte Observer, 3
The Chicago Tribune, 5
The Columbus Dispatch, 4
The Hartford Courant, 0
The Houston Chronicle, 0
The Miami Herald, 6
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 0
The Seattle Times, 1
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 0
USA Today, 1

Hmmm... why the sudden loss of interest around election time?

27 September 2006

It's Official: Bengals Roster Has One Less

Sports radio 1530 reported that the NFL has officially suspended O'Dell Thurman for one year (without salary). They also said Marv had already cleaned out Thurman's locker by the time the league made the announcement.

Bleak Football News

Firstly, from the WTF files: T.O. hospitalized after attempted suicide.

Secondly, Chris Henry's troubles still continue. His fourth arrest earlier this year was for providing alcohol to underage girls. Apparently, part of the condition of his bond was that he was not supposed to drink alcohol.

Which means he has to explain what he was doing with drunk teammates at 3:30 a.m. after winning the big Steelers game (earlier post). When O'Dell Thurman was pulled over, he said he was driving because everyone else had drunk more. Well, "everyone else" includes Chris Henry, who then opened up the window and threw up.

If Henry had not been drinking, wouldn't he have been the designated driver? So Thurman is lying or Henry was drunk.

This is getting out of control. We might lose Thurman for the season and Henry could get sent to jail for violating his bond. And it's not like the courts have to respect the NFL season and wait until it's over for Henry to start serving time.

26 September 2006

Google Searches That Led to This Blog

Some recent Google! searches that returned the Clark Street Blog:

Worst Movies Ever
Marijuana Blogs
Jack Atherton Is He Black

The Most Amazing Thing You'll Read Today...

...is this version of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.

Full refund if you're not blown away.

(via Zeroth Order Approximation)

25 September 2006

Bengal Gets Arrested, vol. XXIV (UPDATED!)


Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman was arrested early Monday on a drunken driving charge. Thurman, already serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, registered 0.18 percent on a blood-alcohol test - more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, police said.


Coach Lewis: "I think for Odell, it's disappointing, for me, it's disappointing for our program, for all of our fans," Lewis said. "He just obviously doesn't understand the privilege and right to play in the National Football League. This will probably be dealt with very severely ... no question by the league."

Thurman was driving with at least two teammates in a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe when he was stopped by police in the East End at 3:05 a.m. The vehicle is owned by Bengals rookie wide receiver Reggie McNeal, who was a passenger, said a source at the scene. Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was a passenger and threw up out a window of the vehicle.

The NFL Substance Abuse Policy is clear: If a player under a four-game suspension (Stage 2)is found to have violated his treatment program, he automatically advances to Stage 3. A third violation carries a minimum of a one-year banishment from the league.

Three observations:

(1) Thurman is already under suspension, and under NFL rules he is not allowed to be on the field during games. But he's still part of the team and was in Pittsburgh for the game on Sunday. So even though he didn't play, he still partied hard in celebration. Just seems funny to me to celebrate when your only contribution was making sure you couldn't contribute. If it were me I would have gone home alone and ashamed that I let down my team, my coach, my family and my friends. And so would most of the athletes I've known, I'm sure.

(2) Thurman led the team in tackles last season and made 5 interceptions. He's a valuable player we're about to lose.

(3) Chris Henry in the middle of things again. He opens a window and throws up after being pulled over. In the future I might take a stab at an philosophical perspective on Chris Henry but for now I'll just open it up to suggestions.

Medical Mystery Monday

I've put up a couple of posts about strange medical/scientific occurences and predicted that we'll see them on CSI someday (the Sheboygan cactus assault and the quadripedal Turks).

Well this time I really mean it. This is the surest bet of all: people born without fingerprints.

I am not making this up. Rare genetic mutuations in the protein keratin 14 (there are 23 different keratins) can result in the absence of fingerprints.

Start typing, screenwriters!

(hat tip 3 Quarks Daily)

24 September 2006

Week 3 Super Bowl Prediction

First of all, I'm excited about today's Steelers-Bengals game. Houshmanzadeh and Chris Henry are "probable" for today's game but Tab Perry is out. Earlier in the week I heard that new safety Dexter Jackson was questionable, but I can't find the latest word on that. I certainly think the Bengals would be far better off with Jackson at safety than Kaesviharn (who got burned badly on last year's gadget play).

And now my week 3 Super Bowl prediction. It means practically nothing, of course, but at this point I'm thinking Bengals vs. Bears. Remember that the Bears went 11-5 last year mostly on the strength of their excellent defense. Now that they have a QB they can rely on they're an even more solid postseason bet.

22 September 2006

This Just In: Only Two Kinds of People in the World

The sad reality of religious brainwashing is revealed in the new documentary, Jesus Camp.

Here's the movie trailer ("There are two kinds of people in the world, people who love Jesus and people who don't.")

Brainwashing is well underway in this little girl. Note the beginnings of self-righteousness.

Here's "Pastor" Becky Fisher explaining the world to us ("Excuse me, but we have the truth!"). Note the Manson eyes.

Here's a young Christian warrior in a moment of rapture. How normal does it look to you? Would you like to see her in political office someday?

21 September 2006

'Most Corrupt Members of Congress' List Released

Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington has released its 2006 list of Congress' most corrupt members.

Last year's list included such luminaries of ethical transgression as Randy "Nuke" Cunningham and Bob "Tee time" Ney. Unfortunately, they didn't make the list this year because they've both been indicted. Several other members on the list are also being investigated.

The 2006 list includes Senate leader Bill "cat shelter" Frist as well as party bigshots Rick "love cats, hate gays" Santorum and Roy "mini me" Blunt (a DeLay protege who, along with Boehner, was considered a top candidate to replace DeLay as majority leader).

The surprise? Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha is on the list. But he's probably insulated from attacks because most of the names on the list are Republicans (21 of 25). Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson types might try, but it will only confirm that no one cares what they say.

20 September 2006

County Republicans Put Kibosh On Good Idea

County commissioner Todd Portune and Hamilton County auditor Dusty Rhodes want the county to study the idea of a luxury bus service to take people to the airports in Dayton, Columbus, Indianapolis and Louisville.

Hmmm... interesting. Especially when one remembers that CVG has had some of the highest fares in the nation for many years. I'm sure most readers have taken flights from other cities for price reasons. I've flown out of Louisville and Dayton myself.

But the idea isn't going anywhere:

But the two other county commissioners, Pat DeWine and Phil Heimlich, rejected spending any public money on it, saying it's not for the government to decide.

First of all, DeWine and Heimlich ARE the government, and they ARE deciding. It is not for them to say what the government can and can not decide. That is the people's decision, not theirs. And if the electorate's opinion is any indication of what the people want, then the people want ideas from Todd Portune. He got more votes in Hamilton County than anyone else for any office (including President) in 2004.

Regional airport shuttle service is definitely worth considering. It would serve the needs of non-wealthy county residents who would benefit from better access to competitive fares. In other words, it's not the kind of thing Phil Heimlich would be interested in. He is a special interest politician of the worst kind; his sycophancy to a few wealthy residents has been well noted (e.g. the recent Harvest Home Parade ballyhoo).

The county would probably take bids for the shuttle service and then contract out the job. The county could even reimburse itself by taking a percentage of the profits for X years, so the taxpayer cost could end up being zero.

I commend Rhodes and Portune for coming up with a good idea and for demonstrating a commitment to all residents, not just party loyalists and special interests. Fortunately, we can get rid of some of the latter by voting out the churlish Heimlich and putting in the infinitely more preferable David Pepper, as more people are realizing.

19 September 2006

Bush : Clinton :: Poop : Pooper-scooper

The Clinton Global Initiative conference is going on this week in NYC.

In case you forgot: Clinton is one of the most highly rated Presidents ever and Bush is one of the lowest rated Presidents ever.

Started last year, the conference brings together government, business and nonprofit sectors to work on the global issues of poverty, religious and ethnic conflict, energy and climate change, and public health.

Participants are expected to make a specific commitment toward advancing the solutions to the problems identified during the conference. Last year's conference resulted in 300 commitments totaling about $2 billion. Organizers hope to match that this year.

Religious and ethnic conflict?
Energy and climate change?
Public health?

Typical left-wing leftiness from the far-left radical liberal agenda of the liberal left. What's next? Environmental protection? Starting school without a Christian mass? Saying the President can't speak in tongues during the State of the Union? When does the madness stop?

Willie Nelson Has the Best Pot

The Bad News: Willie Nelson busted for possession.
The Good News: He wasn't in Over-the-Rhine.

Police say they were making a routine inspection — and as soon as the door was open the strong stench of marijuana was unavoidable despite it being early in the morning.

Officers in Louisiana then say a search of the bus also found "magic mushrooms" as well as marijuana.

Nelson has not been shy of his drug use. Jackass star Johnny Knoxville recently recalled trying to keep up with the country music superstar — and failing.

The country legend gave him a token that left Knoxville feeling like "I was on [bleeping] acid. ... And I had to do interviews that day. I called him later to say, 'Thanks a lot, Willie. I was on [bleeping] Mars for six hours.' Nothing could have made him any happier."

In another interview, he said that Nelson's "s**t is a commitment. I honestly don't see how he functions - people pass out smoking that.

"He had a crew with him shooting a documentary, and one of the camera guys keeled over while filming."

18 September 2006

What Can American Automakers Learn from Jesus?

When the going gets tough, the tough get mergers and acquisitions. That's the latest idea from the boardrooms of Ford and GM:

Senior executives at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have discussed a merger or alliance, industry newspaper Automotive News reported on Monday.

So let me get this straight: two struggling companies that are consistently behind the curve in terms of quality, engineering and technology are talking about merging? Interesting. Isn't that like one stupid person deciding that the best way to conceive an intelligent child is to couple with another stupid person?

It sounds more like a plan to pad boardroom bonuses than a plan to save the the companies.

And in bitterfunny irony, the Ford-GM story is followed by this about Toyota:

Toyota Motor Corp. is quickening its quest to unseat ailing rival General Motors Corp. as the world's biggest automaker and widen its lead over Ford Motor Co. with reported plans to boost overseas production by 40 percent to 5 million vehicles by 2008 and blueprints for higher output in North America.

Tough times, indeed. Maybe Ford and GM should take a page out of the evangelical marketing plan and inculcate consumers when they're young and brainwashable:

Speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, praying for an end to abortion and worshipping a picture of President Bush -- these are some of the activities at Pastor Becky Fischer's Bible camp in North Dakota...

This camp is, by many accounts, a small -- and perhaps extreme -- slice of what some say is a growing, intensifying evangelical youth movement.

Over the past decade and a half, enrollment at Christian colleges is up 70 percent. Sales of Christian music are up 300 percent. Tens of thousands of youth pastors have been trained.

You see? THAT'S how you get people to buy a product that doesn't work.

15 September 2006

Plea Agreement Rejected in Workers Comp Scandal

Two investment brokers accused of bribing a former state workers' compensation official have rejected plea deals offered by federal prosecutors.

The charges against O'Neil and broker Michael Lewis are part of a yearlong political scandal that has shaken the state's Republican-dominated government.

O'Neil, 54, of Chesterland, and Lewis, 71, of Willoughby, have pleaded not guilty to federal charges that they bribed Terrence Gasper, the former chief financial officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Gasper pleaded guilty in June to federal and state charges that he accepted bribes in exchange for doling out agency business. He's expected to testify against O'Neil and Lewis.


The decision to go to trial seems odd. It's not as if the case against them is thin. I'm not an attorney but the only rationale I can think of is that the defendants believe the law and the spirit of the law are two totally different things. And they're hoping a jury of their peers will believe the same thing.

"I did not have fiscal relations with that man, Mr. Gasper..."

"Ambassadors of Pork" Does Not Refer to Politicians for Once

Ah, yes... it's late summer again, when Ohioan's thoughts turn to keeping cool, going back to school, and pork.

A 36-year tradition will continue the weekend of Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 16-17, when thousands of craft and pork chop lovers will converge on the Preble County Fairgrounds for the annual Pork Festival.

From racing pigs to the famous pork chop smorgasbord, musical entertainment to pig-shaped sugar waffles, the Pork Festival promises something to suit every taste.

Pageant fans please note: there will not be a "Miss Pork 2006" this year as organizers have revamped the coronation system. Instead there are Pork Festival "Ambassadors" (ambassador, teen ambassador, junior ambassador and youth ambassador). Congratulations to all of the 2006 Ohio Pork Ambassadors!

14 September 2006

Science Links of the Week

Four great sites for curious minds, two for inner space and two for outer space:

NOAA's Ocean Explorer site. The world of ocean exploration.

Mission to the Abyss. The world of deep ocean exploration. Check out the outrageous creatures that live in the deep ocean!

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Lots of cool stuff about space and space exploration.

SpaceWanderer... take a virtual space flight through the solar system and beyond.

There's a lot of content on these sites; I've been exploring them for days now. The more time you spend, the more you'll find. Great stuff for any age.

12 September 2006

If Shakespeare Titled Jean Schmidt's Biography

A Midsummer Night's Nightmare
Liar's Labour Lost
Mismeasure for Mismeasure
The Scary Wife of Windsor
Hating of the Shrew
Tahoe and Cressida
The Tempestuous
Two Undergraduate Degrees of Verona
As You Lie It
Much Ado About Lying

and #1... The Comedy of Errors

11 September 2006

Five Years Ago

I was in the shower, listening to NPR as per my usual morning routine. It's kind of hard to hear the radio clearly in the shower, but I keep in on anyway because I like to be surrounded by the white noise of news on radio and TV. It was just a few minutes after 9 a.m.

It was clear that they were focused on a single news event, but I didn't know what it was. They didn't say the words "World Trade Center" for a while. After my shower I turned on the TV and saw the live footage of the burning towers and the subsequent collapses.

Normally I would have finished my morning routine and been at work for an hour or two already, but this morning I needed to make a trip to the surplus furniture warehouse before going in to the lab. The warehouse didn't open until 10 a.m., so I pushed by schedule back that day.

I skipped the warehouse, instead watching the TV for an hour or so. I wondered about my 2 cousins who work in Manhattan. One of them worked in Rockefeller Center. I didn't know where that was relative to WTC. I tried to remember the building where the other cousin worked... was it "World Trade Center" or something similar like "World Financial Center"? I wasn't sure.

I called an ex-girlfriend who recently moved to Chicago and worked downtown. Her office was abuzz with the news and I advised her to forget about what everyone else was doing and go home. Her office building was just a few blocks from the Sears Tower, which I suggested was a likely target. She stayed in her office, wanting to do whatever everyone else did. I said I thought that was stupid but good luck.

(A year or two later, agents would find early versions of the terrorist plot which included the Sears Tower as a target)

When I got to work there was very little activity in the hallways. People were working, but that day work was something we did in between updating each other on the latest from the TV, radio and internet. I remember the internet was very slow and many sites had shut down or were difficult to access.


A few years later I attended a lecture by a visiting professor from the Middle East. I think he was from Jordan but I can't remember for sure. After his lecture someone asked him if he could share how his colleagues in academia reflected on 9/11. In other words, we had a pretty good idea that anti-Americanism was fomenting in the streets, but what about in the minds of educated professionals?

He put it this way: When 3,000 Americans died, America made the world stop. But when a million people die in Sudan, the U.S. does nothing. The Middle East doesn't trust America, he said, because America only cares about America.

08 September 2006

Curbing Crime Requires New Ideas

Crime in Cincinnati is a hot topic. On Wednesday, the Enquirer quoted police chief Tom Streicher saying "an inaccurate picture of the city is painted in the media, because of over-zealous reporting of crime." He's absolutely right, and coincidentally enough I listed the news stories for a couple of recent WCPO and WKRC broadcasts just a few days ago so you can see the data yourself.

But Streicher said something else: “This is the fourth straight year we’ve had a decrease in (serious) crimes. We have one of the safest cities in America.”

That's interesting, because on the same day, WCPO.com reported that "Homicides are way up in Cincinnati and city leaders are trying to do something about it." And the next day the Enquirer reported that "the reality is that the number of homicides has been increasing... The city has had 59 homicides this year, and has experienced a 9.1 percent increase through the first seven months this year."

Someday I'll figure out how to post a graph, but for now here are the homicide numbers in easy-to-read format:

2001: 63
2002: 66
2003: 75
2004: 68
2005: 79
2006: 78 (extrapolated)

The homicide rate is 24% higher now than in 2001. The only way I can think of for Streicher to state that there has been a decrease is his use of the words "serious crimes", which I presume means that serious crimes overall have gone down but murders have gone up. Still not that comforting.

Curbing crime requires a new direction, one that focuses on prevention rather than maintenance. By prevention, I mean preventing a person from becoming a criminal in the first place, not preventing a criminal from commiting a crime.

Increasing police presence may prevent crime, but it does not prevent criminals. Same thing with arresting small time dope dealers. In fact, the entire criminal justice system is antiquated and ineffective. It maintains crime, it does not prevent it. Unfortunately, there are too many politicians and citizens who insist on being defiantly ignorant about crime, so they adopt a "tough on crime" stance that should really be called a "stupid on crime" stance.

What factors lead to a person becoming a criminal? How are these factors best addressed? Citizens and officials need to start thinking about crime from a new perspective, one that considers causative sociological and psychological factors.

For example, lack of education is associated with criminal behavior. Why not sentence juveniles to school? Why not build a "jail school" instead of a jail? Instead of sentencing criminals for X years, why not sentence them to learn a trade or get a diploma/degree? If it takes 2 years, fine. If it takes 10, fine. But they don't get out until they can demonstrate ability to be part of civilized society and make a contribution.

Doing something like this would address multiple factors associated with the path to criminality. First, it would remove the person from an unhealthy and counterproductive family and social environment. Second, it would provide some level of education or vocational training and (thirdly) the economic opportunity that comes with it. Granted, it's forced down their throats but their parents didn't do their job so society has to pick up the slack.

And let's not overlook this: criminals use up taxes. Workers pay taxes. Preventing criminality would be a bigger tax cut that anything else you could come up with. So don't be whiny wussies about forking over a few bucks a year to pay for new methods of crime prevention. Preventing crime saves money; maintaining crime wastes it. Remember that, because politicians won't back it unless citizens understand it.

07 September 2006

Who's Afraid of a Big, Black Governor?

Charles Barkley gives us a reason to move to Alabama.

Charles Barkley insists he's serious about running for governor of Alabama, but he's got to move back there first.

"I can't run until 2014," he said. "I have to live there for seven years, so I'm looking for a house there as we speak."

And he said he is an independent, not a Democrat as previously reported.

"The Republicans are full of it," Barkley said. "The Democrats are a little less full of it."

America's divided by economics. If you're born poor, whether you're white, black or Spanish, you're going to be in a bad neighborhood and you're going to a bad school. That's not right."

"I've been really blessed in my life," he said, "and if I was just to be rich and famous and have a big house and a big car and live happily ever after, I think I would let the big fella down who gave me the gift to get to the Hall of Fame."

He makes a lot more sense than Ohio's big, scary black man, eh?

Worst Movies Ever

The Poor Man Institute blog is listing the 100 worst movies. Since I brought it up, here's the movie I advise you to never see: Blow Up.

You might have heard of the movie. It's from the 60s. You might have even seen it on some "Best Movies" lists, like the NYTimes best 1000 movies. That's where I saw it, and that's why I rented it.

Let me be clear: this movie is bad. Very, very bad. It made me want to do something more fun, like coat my tongue with quinine.

The "plot" (I'll explain the quotation marks in a moment) is as follows: a photographer takes some pictures in a park, and when he develops the pictures, he notices something unusual and thinks he may have photographed a murder.

Sounds intruiging, doesn't it? And it would be, if the plot actually developed. But it doesn't. Not at all. There is no mystery, no suspense, no culprit, no motive-- nothing. I am not making this up. This movie goes nowhere.

Here is the entire storyline of this movie: a few days in the life of an unlikeable character in the 1960s.

Even that makes it sound more interesting that it actually is. Do not see Blow Up.

(So why is it on "Best Movies" lists, you ask? Apparently, critics like its portrayal of 1960s society-- sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. I guess it was cool at the time.)

Andy Roddick: Man on a Mission?

Damn, Andy Roddick looks good. He just steamrolled Hewitt in 2 hours. I can't remember the last time I saw him play this well.

Oh, actually I do remember... it was a year ago, when I wrote my fourth post:

In addition to superior athleticism, he’s got a strong head and fights every minute of the match. Coaches love athletes like that because it’s one of the things you really can’t teach. He’s a competitor in the best sense of the word and it’s been great for fans and the game.

My prediction is that at the end of 2005, Roddick will talk to some coaches and former players and run his situation by them. He will not accept that he must take a backseat to Federer, no matter how great Federer is. Roddick will be on a mission to be the world #1...

Did I say 2005? I meant 2006. This time, let's hope he doesn't part with coach Connors like he did with Brad Gilbert. Roddick's game took a dive immediately after he got rid of Gilbert. And it came back up immediately after he brought Connors on board. It's great to see him back on track.

Based on what I just saw, I gotta believe he'll beat Youzhny and get to the final (and hats off to Youzhny, by the way). My hope is that he'll play James Blake, who I still think has a good chance against Federer.

06 September 2006

Gambling Lobby Continues to Deceive Public

Ohio Learn & Earn, the deceptively named front group for Ohio's gaming lobby, has a new TV commercial. The commercial is new, but the tactic is the same: lots of shots of precious kids and concerned parents. No mention of gambling or slot machines.

Click here to see the new commercial.

Click here to see the truthful OL&E site.

05 September 2006

Cheez Whiz Report: WKRC

Below are the topics covered by WKRC on Tuesday evening. To repeat the questions in my last post, how many of these stories give you information that you consider important to your daily life? How many enhance your understanding or appreciation of our city and region?

13:05 of WKRC's news was taken up by commercials (43%). This compares favorably to the WCPO broadcast I profiled yesterday, which was 36% commercials.

Child hit by truck.
FBI works with local & state police to investigate local terror threats.
Man charged in hotel robbery.
Man sentenced for phone harassment.
Dad accused of hitting son who wouldn't stop crying.
Crocodile hunter did not provoke sting ray.
Comair co-pilot taken off life support, breathing on his own.
Chad Johnson book signing at 7 p.m.
Rumpke wants to expand landfill.
"Thomas the Tank Engine" returns.
Edgewood, KY seeks vendors for fall festival.
Katie Couric starts new job today.
Weather (3:20)
Hoxworth blood donors will get Reds tickets.
Work to widen 12th St. in Covington finally begins.
Children's Services reviewing Marcus Feisel case.

Local Stations Offer Poor Excuse for News

When I think of local news, I think of "cheese whiz", the processed compound that is not cheese but considered edible enough to put on store shelves. Cheese whiz is to cheese what local news is to real news.

A couple of examples from the past couple days:

Yesterday FOX19 televised a piece about the district 1 (Cranley vs. Chabot) election. The piece consisted of Chabot denigrating Cranley (i.e. the usual negative campaigning we've come to regard as normal). No questions were asked of Chabot. He was not asked to comment on an issue. There was absolutely no substance to his comments whatsoever. In fact, an uninformed viewer would not even be able to determine that Chabot was a member of Congress. His remarks were entirely devoid of anything relevant to government, policy or legislative affairs. Isn't the point of news to educate the uninformed viewer?

What FOX19 broadcast was not news, it was a video press release.

And speaking of press releases, WCPO has basically turned into a press release service. If WLWT is the worst local news, then WCPO has to be the laziest. This morning WCPO reported ("mentioned" is a better word) the decreasing price of gas and then immediately segued into telling viewers that Chrysler is offering special financing on most of its models.

News? Or advertising? It's getting hard to tell the difference.

And I'm not so sure it would really matter if we could tell the difference. Here's a list of the stories WCPO reported during one broadcast last week. How many of these stories do you consider important to your daily life? How many enhance your understanding of our city and region?

Local Bishop dies.
Man charged with murder.
Two people shot.
Driver sentenced in fatal accident.
KY lawyers suspended for poor accounting practices.
Progess in Comair negotiations.
Reds doing great.
Poll: Reds will make playoffs.
Anti-abortion group to fly banners.
Hamilton County has unclaimed funds.
Taste of Blue Ash festival.
Germania Society has Oktoberfest.
"Don't waste your money" segment.
School shooter held in mental health facility.
Tornado in Minnesota.
Oil tanker explodes in South Dakota.
Cincinnati is 16th drunkest city.
Marcus Fiesel still missing.
Two year old nearly drowns in Butler County-- local crew dispatched.

Ugh. Somebody get this taste out of my mouth.

01 September 2006

Hello, I'm Ken Blackwell and I'm a Dumbaholic

Welcome, Ken! It's good to have you in the group.

The first step in your treatment is to stop saying things like this.

The next step is to understand why. We suggest starting with the links below. With a little practice, you'll soon see that the world of facts and reality is not so scary after all!

Mercury pollution can be a serious health threat, especially for children and pregnant women.
(You have women and children in Ohio, don't you, Mr. Blackwell?)

New Study Shows Impact of Mercury Pollution: $8.7 Billion Lost Annually Due to Poisoning in the Womb.
(You're concerned about the economic impact, aren't you, Mr. Blackwell?)

New Study Finds Upper-Income Fish Eaters Exposed to Dangerous Levels of Mercury.
(You know a person or two in the upper-income bracket, don't you, Mr. Blackwell?)

And while you're at it, you might also think about not saying any things like this, too.

The Funny Thing About Tennis

Two things happened 21 years ago: Andre Agassi played in his first U.S. Open, and Marcos Baghdatis was born.

It's a funny thing about tennis: great tennis can be boring to watch, and lousy tennis can be exciting to watch. I'd say pretty much every Wimbledon from 1993-2003 was the former, and tonight's Agassi-Baghdatis match was the latter.

To be blunt about it, there is no excuse for Agassi to not have won this match in 3 straight sets. I would further add that there is no excuse for Baghdatis to not have blown Agassi away in final 3 sets. Here's how I figure it:

Baghdatis played poorly in the first two sets. You may not have noticed because Agassi's level of play was not much better, but Baghdatis made enough errors to become an honorary member of the Bush administration. Agassi didn't win the first two sets; Baghdatis lost them.

But then Baghdatis pulled himself together and took control. Agassi, the veteran, didn't change anything. He just stayed back and played like a practice partner, trading baseline shots and-- this is unbelievable-- falling prey to his opponents drop shots. Agassi has been hitting the best drop shots for two decades, and yet here he is being toyed with by a 21-yr old. Unbelievable.

So Baghdatis wins sets 3 and 4 (don't even get me started on Agassi blowing a 4-0 lead in the 4th). Then he cramps up in set 5. What does Agassi do? Pretty much everything except close out the match. He serves slower, he misses first serves, he blows shots wide, long and short-- all against a limping, injured player. Unbelievable.

Luckily for Agassi (and I really mean luckily), Baghdatis lost enough physical ability that he couldn't close out the match, either, and in a fitting end, Agassi won on a Baghdatis error.

Baghdatis deserves a lot of credit for the way he played. He fought hard and he was very well spoken and gracious at the end. It says a lot that he stepped onto the court as the "bad guy" but in the end he endeared himself to the NYC crowd (see KatieG, I told you he was a good guy!).

I'm glad Agassi will be around to play at least another round, but if he keeps playing like he did today, I'm almost scared to watch...