Monday, October 30, 2006

Ohio Becomes Comedy Central as Daily Show Pays a Visit

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2006 at 12:35 PM

Jon Stewart: Actually in Ohio.
The Daily Show -- the funniest TV show on television or anywhere else -- begins its exclusive "Midwest Midterm Midtacular" tonight in Columbus. The Comedy Central program is spending the week in Ohio as part of its "Indecision 2006" election coverage; tonight's guest is basketball legend-to-be LeBron James, who appears to have absolutely nothing to do with election coverage. As the Comedy Central site promises, it's "the most fun you can have without actually going to Ohio." -- Erich Burnett
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ESPN Radio Returns; a Sports-Talk Geek's Dream?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2006 at 10:39 AM

Mike and Mike make a joyful noise.
ESPN Radio is back in Cleveland . . . now maybe better than ever. AM-1540 WBKC began broadcasting under the ESPN banner over the weekend. The new station goes head to head with Fox Sports Radio affiliate WKNR, which dumped ESPN earlier this month. The new lineup seems a win-win for Cleveland sports geeks: 1) The dueling broadcasts of Fox vs. ESPN offer virtually commercial-free sports talk for those willing to toggle incessantly between the two stations. Or so we're told. 2) WBKC airs the entire four hours of ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning, featuring Cleveland native/apologist Mike Golic and pretty-boy cohost Mike Greenberg. When WKNR aired the program, the final hour was whacked each day in favor of local talker Greg Brinda, who has nothing to say and three hours to say it. -- Erich Burnett
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Message from an unemployed Dad

Posted By on Sun, Oct 29, 2006 at 2:28 PM

August West, an unemployed father from Elida, Ohio, sent us a rather poignant video on Ohio politics, which can be viewed here. Here's his explanation for his creation: Here in Ohio, working families are sick of all this crap. Out-of-work families are even more angry. I am laid off two years now, so I have a lot of time on my hands. The video I've posted at YouTube has all real headlines from Ohio newspapers. I started with a photo of the Lima Correctional Insitute, which Taft shut down and put one of the final nails in the coffin of our local economy. From there, it kind of just produced itself. I apply for jobs when they advertise, but there just aren't enough to go around. My wife works for just above minimum wage, so we are really hurting. We lost our house. Today we rent, but we'll soon have to move to a small apartment in a worse neighborhood. My son is in first grade, but we don't know how we'll ever afford to give him what he deserves. He's a smart and happy kid and I cannot even sleep at night, thinking about all this. We need jobs with real benefits and my boy deserves to go to college. I don't see ANY politician helping any of us stuck out here in Hell. I think Issue 2 (minimum wage hike) and Issue 3 (slots to pay for my boy's college) make sense, and I like the fact that we can do it without entrusting any more dough to these lousy politicians -- especially the Republicans in charge in Columbus. So, up late with insomnia, I made this video while my wife and boy slept in the next room. When I was stuck for what to do next, all I had to do was open the bedroom door quietly and look at them, sleeping soundly. I'd get choked up, then mad, then hit the computer again. Please know I borrowed this song -- "Puttin' People on the Moon" -- from the Drive By Truckers. Many people emailing me compliment me on my musical talent, but it is just my musical taste (or I'd be working!). I am also afraid of payback for this video, so I do not use my real name. Here in little Elida, OH, the religious right seems to control just about everything. If they knew, I couldn't get pizza delivered -- even if I could afford it -- and my boy's upcoming birthday party would be a lonely event. That's how they do.
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A word from a bartender

Posted By on Sun, Oct 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM

I am a bartender. I do not smoke; I quit July 4, 2002. Every morning after I work I wake up with a stuffy nose and a cough. I have toyed with the idea of quitting, but I really enjoy every other aspect of the job. Besides, there are not very many non-smoking bars where I could look for a job. I can think of three total in the Cleveland area. I have decided to hold out on quitting until after November 7th to see what happens in the polls. I support Issue 5 for many reasons. First and foremost, my health is very important to me. I take good care in what I eat, and choose organic as often as possible. I find it very difficult to accept that other people can have such an influence on my health. I find it hard to understand how the health department can approve my working conditions as acceptable. If the air quality were to be measured on a given night, I am sure that it would be appalling. Last night I was a witness to an event that overshadows all of my previous reasons for supporting Issue 5. About halfway through my shift (probably between 8:00 and 9:00 pm) a young couple walked through the door, and I noticed them because they had a baby stroller with blankets piled on top of it. My first instinct was to be grateful for how diligently they were protecting their child from the smoke by the bar. Shortly afterward, I turned around to notice that they had chosen to sit in the first booth directly next to the bar in the smoking section. They had pulled the stroller up to the end of their table and were both smoking. At some point they were each drinking alcohol; he had quite a few, but I believe that the girl only had one or two. After a while the girl took the baby out of the stroller, held it for a couple of minutes and put her back. She was probably 6 months old. I felt so bad for the helpless little thing, as I was so overwhelmed by the amount of smoke by the bar. They finally finished and paid, and I felt so grateful that I would not have to be a witness any longer. They stood up and walked around the bar to the game room. The game room is in spitting distance from the bar. Bar patrons can go in there to play pool, darts, or video games. It is not a large room, and it is not closed off from the rest of the bar. At about 10:30 pm the couple pushed the baby and stroller off to the side of the game room and played pool. The male came up to the bar several times to buy drinks and shots. There were several people in the game room smoking with the couple, and very loud rap music was playing over the speakers. I asked my manager if there was something that he could do. He said that there was not. The couple left after midnight. This is not the first instance of adults having small children near the bar in the smoking section. I have even had to tell children, in front of their parents, that they cannot sit at the bar. I do not expect to change the IQ of the general population. I do feel that my health deserves to be protected. More importantly, I feel that the health of all people who choose not to smoke should be protected, regardless of age, profession, or any other factor. I do understand the addiction; I used to smoke. I constantly regret smoking around my younger siblings, my friends, and the servers who had to be subjected to my cigarette smoke. I wish I could take it back. Unfortunately I was very young, not very worldly, and had grown up in a smoking house. This is our opportunity to set an example for the younger generations. Smoking has been banned on airplanes, in classrooms, in malls, and many restaurants; these are all places that were once acceptable smoking zones. Our most advanced cities and fourteen states across the country have already taken the next step. This is where our future is headed. I hope that we, as a state, are strong enough to be leaders instead of followers. We have a chance to make a statement about our health and the health of our friends and family. Protect your loved ones and yourself. Protect the loved ones of those who cannot protect them themselves. Vote yes on Issue 5. At the very least, vote no on Issue 4. Lauren Rocky River
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Endorsing Sutula and Saffold?

Posted By on Sun, Oct 29, 2006 at 2:14 PM

In Cuyahoga County, deciding which judge to vote for is a lot like buying a pair of jeans -- it's all about the name on the ass. With so many Russos and Corrigans on the ballot, it's hard to tell the genuine article from the real McCoy. And since the Common Pleas bench has never been confused with the Oxford faculty, the right choice may mean the difference between electing a true legal mind, or getting some guy who won his law license in the 50-50 raffle at a CYO basketball game. "People really guess," says Jim Robenalt of the Judicial Candidate Rating Coalition, which offers rankings of our robes with help from the county's five bar associations. The Plain Dealer also tries hard to break the confusion, spending considerable time and ink on its endorsements. But it has to worry about political considerations well, of appearing too biased to its readers for one party, creed, or color. So Punch wasn't at all surprised to see the paper endorse two of the county's worst judges. For the last five years, Kathleen Ann Sutula and Shirley Strickland Saffold have kept appellate courts busy. They've had to review 247 from Sutula's court, and 233 from Saffold's, good for first and third, respectively, among the county's 34 Common Pleasers — and each suckingly close to double the average of their colleagues. Saffold, meanwhile, is the gold standard for having her decisions reversed. The second-term Democrat is first with 46, twice the number of any other judge. More than half came from criminal cases. In a 2003 drug case, Saffold pressured a defendant into representing himself at trial when he hadn't been officially assigned a lawyer, had never waived his right to one, and was still considering a plea. That same year she allowed unauthenticated medical records to be admitted as evidence in a domestic-violence case. And last year, in another drug case, a defendant was linked to the crime only because Saffold permitted the testimony of a detective who spoke for his alleged accomplice. All three convictions, of course, were reversed. "She has her own mind," says Robinalt. "Lawyers think she can be arbitrary." Sutula's racked up 29 reversals. "She has a temper," says Robinalt, "and that interferes with fairness." Just last month, over repeated objections from the lawyer of a man on trial for assault, she allowed prosecutors to grill the man for details of a previous similar conviction. The case is going back for a new trial. Though he defends Sutula's work ethic, PD editorial-page chief Brent Larkin concedes her temperament. "Does she perhaps need a personality transplant? Yes." He admits neither was an easy pick, especially since Saffold is being challenged by Republican Mike Blumenthal, who has no criminal experience. Still, it could have been worse. Even after all five bar associations dissed Democratic candidate Christine Russo, and Larkin called her "an unqualified candidate with a ton of baggage," Russo won endorsement from The Call & Post. "We are horrified by that," says Robenalt. -- Jason Nedley
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Rodney Bowling's new scam

Posted By on Sun, Oct 29, 2006 at 2:10 PM

Look out Cleveland, it seems Rodney Bowling is back with a brand new scam. When last we saw the charming con artist ("Reality Bites," December 21, 2005) Bowling was promising to make television stars out of local actors and businesses. Now he's got a new scam, charming businesses into buying false sales leads. In April, Josh Domo, the sales manager for IGM copy products, received a call from Bowling, who claimed to be looking to buy some office equipment. Before the conversation ended, Bowling, being quite the salesman himself, decided to pitch Domo on his own company. Bowling said he was running a business in local malls, asking consumers to fill out surveys for the chance to win $100,000. For $750, businesses could pay to get their own questions in the survey. Domo thought this was a good way of generating names of potential customers who might be in the market for office equipment. He paid Bowling $750 to ask shoppers whether they were in need of office supplies. Two months later, Domo had no customers' names and Bowling was nowhere to be found. He contacted the Better Business Bureau, who put a notation in Bowlings' file. But that wasn't enough for Domo. He decided to google Rod Bowling and see what came up. The first reference was Scene's article on Bowling's scams. Domo slapped his head. "Holy shit this is the guy," he thought. "And I read that story, too." Just like Bowling's other victims, Domo doesn't think he'll be seeing his $750 back any time soon. -- Rebecca Meiser
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jimmy Carter really had lust in his heart

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 at 4:38 PM

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