Archive for January 2007

Feds: ACLU Wouldn’t Know if It Were Wiretapped

January 31, 2007

A landmark legal showdown over how much authority the U.S. president has to wiretap the communications of American citizens without congressional or judicial approval played out this afternoon in a Cincinnati courtroom.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Security Agency (NSA) appeared today before a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals at the federal courthouse downtown. The ACLU wants the court to affirm an August ruling by a federal judge that the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Bush began the program after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said it’s a vital method for monitoring communications between terrorist groups overseas and their agents within the United States.

The appellate court’s decision will have national significance and constitutional ramifications involving the president’s wartime authority and separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government.

The courtroom was filled today with a capacity crowd of national media and legal observers, and the overflow was led to another room with a live video feed of the proceedings.

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Music Writing in Sports Column

January 31, 2007

Just a heads up to check out Bill Peterson’s sports column in this week’s CityBeat. One of the better writers going (in my opinion), Peterson takes a detour from what would normally be a pre-Super Bowl column to wax eloquently about the last ’80s/early ’90s Blues scene centered at Cory’s (now the Mad Frog).

He talks about how the recent deaths of James Brown and H-Bomb Ferguson made him recall and celebrate Cincinnati’s musical heydays, which most people in this city tend to underappreciate. In case any of you normally bypass Peterson’s CityBeat column, make sure you check out this one.

— John Fox

Blabbermouth Chris Comer Pushes Web Site

January 31, 2007

The hardest working man in Cincinnati radio/music/sound gear, Chris Comer, sent a postcard saying he continues to update his web site chronicling his interviews with the famous and the should-be-famous from recent years. Mike Breen first wrote about it back in October. I haven’t listened to all of them, but I assume most are from his Chris and Rob Late Night Talk Show on WAIF (88.3 FM) with longtime partner and husband, Rob Ervin.

Chris’ interviews are organized into three categories: music (the oldest is a 1997 conversation with the late great Buck Owens), talk shows and “other interviews,” where he has just one post (a 2005 interview with Marvel comics legend Stan Lee). Looks like there’s plenty more to come from the archive.

— John Fox

Poetry Instead of Prozac

January 31, 2007

(Photo: Benyei.com)

How difficult it is to screw up the courage to quit a job when you hate the one you’re in but you don’t have another one lined up!

What about the hassle, expense and hardship of leaving one home for another after the hard work of deciding to move, looking for a new place, going through the expense of the move and finally settling in? Don’t even start on finding the library or a decent Chinese take-out place.

Then there are really big things like having a family member diagnosed with a serious illness, accusations of incest and losing everything, maybe including a pet, in a house fire.

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Jail Vote Hits Roadblock

January 30, 2007





(Photo: Eatonvillenews.net)

Political in-fighting on Cincinnati City Council continued today when a council member blocked a vote to build a temporary jail sought by his opponents, saying he was unsure if Hamilton County officials approved of the plan — even though all three county commissioners attended a press conference at City Hall earlier this month to support the project.

Cecil Thomas, who heads council’s Law and Public Safety Committee, delayed a vote this afternoon on a plan proposed by council members Jeff Berding and Leslie Ghiz. The pair wants to spend up to $6 million to build a temporary tent-like jail structure made of aluminum and polyurethane, sometimes referred to as a “bubble jail,” to relieve prisoner overcrowding at the Hamilton County Justice Center.

County Commission President Todd Portune attended a Jan. 17 press conference organized by Berding on City Hall’s front steps and spoke in favor of the project. Also at the event were commissioners Pat DeWine and David Pepper, along with several city council members.

When the item went before council’s Law Committee today, however, Thomas postponed the vote. He said county officials should be involved and that any action possibly should wait until a county task force makes recommendations later this year on a host of criminal justice issues.

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City Hall’s Crime Victims

January 30, 2007


(Photo: Cityofcalabasas.com)
Underscoring the fact that crime can occur anywhere, the car of a city council aide was broken into at City Hall on the same day earlier this month that Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials stood on the front steps of the building to reveal plans for erecting a temporary jail.

Sometime during the day Jan. 17, an unidentified person smashed a window on the vehicle owned by Tracy Schwetschenau, chief of staff for Councilman Chris Bortz, and stole a Sirius satellite radio while the car was parked in the lot. The same lot is within view of City Hall’s northern windows and is used by Mayor Mark Mallory, all city council members and their staffs. It’s located about two blocks from police headquarters.

Schwetschenau had parked the car there around 7 a.m., just before sunrise. She discovered the theft as she went outdoors later that afternoon. Besides taking the radio, the thief damaged the dashboard console of the 2000 Lexus RX300, all without ever opening the door.

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Mallory to Council: Disagree Agreeably

January 30, 2007


(Photo: Hindu.com)
A day after a nasty debate between Cincinnati City Council factions about allegations that a budget deal was broken, Mayor Mark Mallory said Tuesday he would remind members of rules to keep decorum at public meetings.

At his weekly press briefing, Mallory said he didn’t like the tone of debate that occurred in Monday’s Finance Committee meeting. At the three-hour session, council members argued about how to spend a $1 million surplus from last year’s budget.

“I’m not happy with the way things turned out yesterday,” Mallory said at the briefing.

Although it’s understandable that council members express passion about their views, the mayor added, “As we display that passion, everyone needs to be aware of the rules … and the decorum I intend to maintain. There will be a reminder sent to council about those rules and strict adherence to them.”

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