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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

rating cleveland judges
Many voters, when they glance over the long lists of unfamiliar names in judicial races, throw up their hands and skip the whole thing. That’s actually not a bad choice — far better than voting for every Irish name you see — but there’s an even better one for conscientious voters:

With the May 4 primary looming (and early voting already started), the four bar associations active in Cuyahoga County have again cranked up their judicial rating website. Judge4yourself is sponsored by the Judicial Candidates Ratings Coalition, comprising the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, the Norman S. Minor Bar Association and the Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers.

At the site, the JCRC posts each organization’s rating of the candidate and assigns each a composite score from 0-4. It also indicates which candidates if any have been endorsed by the Plain Dealer or the Call & Post. Candidate bios detail their educational and professional backgrounds. Ratings for the candidates in the five judicial seats that have primary contests have been posted. That includes a common-pleas judgeship that has seven applicants, so it’s clear that the information provided is helpful in thinning the field. — Anastasia Pantsios

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Seven years ago, Fairview Hospital needed more electrical power. The only way to get it was to string high-tension wires down Lorain Boulevard to the power station at the corner of 150th and Lorain, something that didn’t go over well with city council members. Instead, local politicians proposed a street-scaping project that would allow for the heavy-duty power lines and simultaneously bury all the street’s other power lines. The project broke ground two years ago and will enter its penultimate phase on May 15. To mark the event, the neighborhood is throwing a bash they’ve called the Hooley.

“When we were casting around for a name, some people were saying ‘Taste of Kamm’s Corners,’” explains West Park Development Corporation Executive Director Steve Lorenz. “This being an Irish neighborhood, I just Goggled different words on the computer and 'hooley' popped up as Irish slang for party. Around here, it seems about half the people know what it is. Once you get outside of the neighborhood, it seems like about a quarter of the people know what means. We feel like the name will stick and people will want to go to the Hooley.”

The ribbon cutting with Mayor Jackson will take place at noon and local bands Cats on Holiday, the Mighty Tigues and Marys Lane will play on a large stage on Lorain Avenue, which will be closed to traffic. Perhaps the most important ingredient to the entire affair will be the introduction of Kamm’s Lager, an exclusive brew (concocted down at Akron’s Thirsty Dog) that you’ll only be able to purchase at Kamm’s Corners bars. Kamm’s Lager will be introduced with plenty of fanfare on May 15, delivered via horse-drawn wagon.

“It’s a custom-made beer, and no one else is using the formula,” Lorenz says, adding that the idea came from Heidelberg Distributing, a regional craft beer distributor. Locally based cabinet company Wood Dimensions will carve the tap handles, which will bear an image of the the clock on the side of the Fifth Third Building.

“The Hooley will be a full day of events and we’re hoping people will go back into the bars and hang out and have a good time,” Lorenz says. — Jeff Niesel

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Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 8:00 AM

For a first-time candidate, Chris Ronayne sure knows how to turn a political opponent's gaffe into campaign fodder.

Ronayne, president of University Circle, Inc., is running for a seat on the new Cuyahoga County council. On March 24, Cleveland Councilwoman Dona Brady — wife of Dan Brady, Ronayne's chief rival for the Ward 7 county council seat — tried to bar Ronayne from speaking at a Democratic ward club meeting. He then posted video of the confrontation on YouTube.

The video shows Dona Brady justifying her decision by noting that Ronayne has not filed his petition for candidacy. Ronayne points out that county executive candidate Georgine Welo — who hasn't even pulled petitions — is in the room. Brady reluctantly admits that, but won't back down.

"The minute she was on film, she realized that she had gone too far," says Ronayne. "It went well beyond spousal loyalty. It was just downright uncalled for."

Neither Brady could not be immediately reached for comment. — Damian Guevara

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Monday, March 29, 2010


Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Senator Voinovich wants you to know that he does not approve of politically motivated violence:

voinovich tea party hypocrite
The national debate on health care has been at times frustrating, heated and tense. While I am absolutely opposed to what the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have done — on both the policy and process — I cannot condone any action of violence or threat of violence against anyone who holds views different from my own.

Our country is looked upon around the world as the beacon for fair and free elections; a democracy unparalleled in history. Voters spoke in 2008 and this is a clear illustration that elections have significant consequences. For those who have concerns, I would urge them to circle November 2, 2010, on their calendars — the day their voices can and will be heard the loudest and clearest. That is the way Americans express their dissatisfaction with elected officials whose decisions they disagree with. Violence against any person in public office or their family is reprehensible and shall not stand.

Voinovich was responding to news that a gas line was cut at the home of the brother of Congressman Tom Perriello, a Virginia Democrat. "[A] tea party activist incorrectly posted the address of Perriello’s brother on a local blog — believing it to be the congressman’s home address — and encouraged readers to 'drop by' to express their anger of Perriello’s vote in favor of the health care bill," Politico reports. And so now Voinovich, the self-styled moderate, is anxious to distance himself from the ugliness.

Sorry, Senator, it's far too late for that.

Where was your outrage when a man carried an assault rifle to an Obama rally? Where was your concern when your colleague from Ohio, Minority Leader John Boehner, lent credence to the odious, fearmongering charge that healthcare reform would "start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia”?

tea party sign violence
When did you ever once speak disapprovingly of the tea party activists who giddily compare the President of the United States to Adolf Hitler? And who routinely cite the Thomas Jefferson quote about watering the tree of liberty with blood — which also appeared on the t-shirt worn by Timothy McVeigh the day he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City? Where were the chastisements when they bestowed hero status on Joseph Stack, the scumbag who flew a small plane into an IRS building in February, after writing in his ranting, self-important suicide note that "violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer"?

You've not only remained mute throughout this increasingly dark period, you've contributed to the fear and ignorance fueling the extremism with breathtakingly hypocritical and misleading predictions of economic ruin if Democrats are allowed to do what voters sent them to Washington to do. Like that other phony moderate John McCain, you've recalibrated your principles — indeed, your sense of decency — so many times in recent years that you don't even know what you stand for anymore.

In other words, you have given aid and comfort to the American-born terrorists whose actions suddenly shock you.

You can't claim that you didn't know. A Department of Homeland Security report stated: "Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propoganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning."

That was year ago. Since then elements of the so-called tea party movement have been openly and loudly mobilizing for civil war, and you've said nothing. And now you expect to be taken seriously when you self-righteously declare that you "cannot condone any action of violence or threat of violence"? Sorry, Senator. To do nothing is also a choice, and you clearly lack the moral clarity and backbone to make up for lost time now. — Frank Lewis

UPDATE: Frank Rich of the NYT got into this in his Sunday column:

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.

UPDATE 2: Media Matters reports on a Glenn Beck appearance in Florida:

Frequently accused of relying on apocalyptic fear-mongering to build ratings and get attention, Beck provided details of the fictional political thriller that he's planning to publish in June — called The Overton Window, according to online catalogue listings — that will do little to dispel those complaints, as the tome will portray America sliding into a civil war.

"It's a story of America at time much like today where the people are confused and they're being lied to and they're not sure what's right-side-up and upside-down," Beck said. "And there's one part...there's a group of people that plays a role called the Founders Keepers...This leads to a battle and a civil war, and life is upside down planet-wide. There's a group of people that just won't give up."

On Saturday, Beck continued to weave his characteristic apocalyptic warnings in between a series of self-help-flavored anecdotes and repeated appeals to religious faith.

"If we don't face the truth right now, we'll be dead in five years — this country can't survive," he said at one point. During his keynote speech, Beck also advised his fans to stockpile food. "I am incredibly prepared," he said.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

The Melt Grilled Cheese Challenge: I Lived to Tell About It... Sort Of

Posted By on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 12:37 PM

melt grilled cheese challenge

GURGLE, GURGLE GURGLE. The cheese begins to bubble in my stomach as I struggle to chew. Another sip of water. GURGLE GURGLE GURGLE. I can’t go on any longer. More water. Where's the water?!

To most people, eating is a way to sustain existence. At Melt it’s a challenge, and that's just to finish one of the regular sandwiches. Then there's the "Melt Challenge," a feat not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. With 13 types of cheese, 3 pieces of garlic toast, fries and coleslaw, this behemoth weighs in at close to 5 pounds. It's the blistering blitzkreig of carbs and bubbly cheese that Man vs. Food's Adam Richman tackled while he masochistically ate his way through Cleveland on a recent visit. (The Melt episode will air in June.)

The rules are simple: Finish it all without any help or trips to the bathroom.

A brief foreword: I enjoy eating, obviously. And I may enjoy eating more than the regular Joe, because the regular Joe doesn't get too excited about the idea of consuming a chunk of food that, in a pinch, could be subsistuted for a dumbbell. They may tell themselves they could do it, but then logic steps in (or the girlfirend, or the wife) and smarter heads prevail. Not me. Whether it was hubris, ego, machismo, or watching too much Adam Richman, I pointed my finger at the menu and brazenly told the waitress to bring on the challenge.

And that's about when the fun ended. What followed was not an enjoyable experience. Forcing yourself to go on even though you know that you can’t is something that drives elite athletes. Apparently, I don’t have that. On the other hand, my buddy Andrew Ratcliff did have the necessary gastro fortitude — the marathon runner and cancer survivor got the best of this monstrosity of a meal.

The key to besting this challenge, as with any other, is strategy. I chose to eat the fries and slaw first and then the sandwich. The strategy he took was to eat the cheese first and then move on to the bread, fries, and slaw. Half way through the sandwich I was done. An hour and a half later so was Andrew, but he had defeated the sandwich.

This is not a race to see who can finish first. It is a quantitative endeavor. I was confident I could do this but once again my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Perhaps if I had planned better and not eaten three hours earlier then I quite possibly could have accomplished this ridiculous feat.

I have never felt so full in my entire life. Eating so much that the food actually wants to come back up — nay, is demanding to come back up — is not something that I would like to repeat any time soon, but having witnessed a friend taste the thrill of victory I know that I must not give up on the dream. — Adam Toporowski

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Posted By on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM

OK, this is it, we promise: the final post regarding the Lust Survey (see also this, this and this). And we saved the … best? OK, most creative and/or disturbing … for last. Unfortunately this person did not provide a name.

How often do you think about sex? What’s the role of sexual fantasy in your life?
I think about sex easily two or three times a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Usually, I think about sex when I'm doing dishes, because the soapsuds remind me of slick vaginal secretions. If I were to start using a dishwasher, my sex life would disappear.

What attracts you to someone first?
The uncontrolled twitching and spontaneous verbalization.

What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever tried or heard? What was the best?
Worst: I'm having a party in my pants, and you're invited. Best: I have a puppy in my van. Would you like to see it?

Do you use porn? What types? Do you watch alone, or with a partner?
I do use porn. Anything involving fruit or vegetables. My favorite is with stewed tomatoes. I do tend to watch alone, after I've been to the grocery store and hung out in the produce section. If I watch with a partner, it will be a pumpkin, or perhaps an aubergine.

Define cheating. Have you ever?
Cheating is, like, when you have the bottoms of the pockets on your trenchcoat cut out such that you can pleasure yourself on the subway without opening up the coat. I mean, what's the point, right? Did I cheat? Well, I did engage in a little frottage with a summer squash once, in my Mom's vegetable patch.

Do you consider yourself a good lover? Explain.
No. I'm a good "liker", 'cuz I like lots of things, but I don't think that people are really capable of loving inanimate objects, even if they are nice and ripe.

What are you most afraid that a partner might think about you?
That I'm going to give up being vegetarian.

After sex, have you ever asked yourself, How did I wind up here? How did you?
Usually, if I have to ask how I wound up there, I can attribute it to alcohol. On the other hand, several of my partners wound up with me because I bought them at a cattle auction.

Do you have something you’d like to say or confess, to a past or present lover?
Nice doggie. Sit. Roll Over. That's right, there you go.

What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had while getting it on?
That some types of plants are hermaphroditic.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known earlier?
How to make a good Potatoes au Gratin — and how inexpensive produce is at the West Side Market.

What’s the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done?
Well, there was this time at band camp, and a lonely bassoon...

What's the kinkiest thing you'd try if the opportunity arose?
The percussion section of the Cleveland Orchestra

Describe a sex dream you remember vividly.
Well, there was this time at band camp, and a lonely bassoon, except there was also a slightly jealous oboe, and a silver flute with a really, really difficult embouchure.

Oddest random thought you’ve had during sex.
This would be tasty with some fava beans and a nice Chianti!

What’s the best music for getting it on?
Anything by John Philip Sousa

What’s your favorite sex scene from a mainstream movie? Why?
I'd have to say the dancing Hippos in tutus from Walt Disney's Fantasia, followed closely by the scene in The Day of the Jackal where the assassin tests his ordnance on a watermelon.

Sexiest novel?
Either Bleak House by Dickens, or Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. He was blacklisted, you know. Probably for writing such filth.

Committed folks: What’s your advice for keeping the passion alive?
Cryogenics. Freeze it until it can be revived and fixed.

What’s the most important sex-related lesson you’d like to teach the world?
A cholera ward is not the greatest place for anal sex.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 1:14 PM

When health and environmental advocates meet in Cleveland next month to discuss the impact of pesticides on people, food crops and the environment, one focus of conversation will be the gradual disappearance of honeybees throughout the United States.

On Thursday, the PD carried an Associated Press story indicating that that many more honeybees died this winter, and that pesticides are a prime suspect:

Two federal agencies along with regulators in California and Canada are scrambling to figure out what is behind this relatively recent threat, ordering new research on pesticides used in fields and orchards. Federal courts are even weighing in this month, ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overlooked a requirement when allowing a pesticide on the market. …

Scientists are concerned because of the vital role bees play in our food supply. About one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees, which means everything from apples to zucchini.

The 28th National Pesticide Forum — titled "Greening the Community: Green Economy, Organic Environments and Healthy People" — takes place April 9-10 at Case Western Reserve University. Featured speakers include scientific researchers, health-care professionals, entrepreneurs and other environmental advocates from around the country. One scheduled keynote speaker is David Hackenberg, a Pennsylvania beekeeper who has linked pesticides to the disappearance of honeybees and who was featured in the 2009 documentary Vanishing of the Bees. — Damian Guevara


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