August 24-30: Worst Week Ever!

Talking to scientists is always kind of crazy — you know they’re smarter than you but the slightest amount of eye contact makes them start talking so fast you can’t even pretend to be following. The AP today checked in with a group of extremely enthusias

Aug 31, 2011 at 2:06 pm


Most people know what it’s like to run into someone you know at a place you’re embarrassed to be, thus exposing something weird about you that you had been trying to hide (frozen pizza aisle, any department in TJMaxx, in line by yourself to see a romantic comedy, etc.). Steve Chabot today attributed his Monday night seizing of cameras at a public event to a similar concern over privacy, as if the few Chabot supporters in attendance were worried about it becoming public knowledge. The event was actually a town hall meeting in North Avondale where most of the 100 in attendance, two of whom had their little video cameras confiscated even though news outlets were filming the event, were there to protest Chabot’s policies. A Chabot spokesman later argued that media cameras are more respectful of the public’s privacy and would likely be censored should anyone refer to Chabot as a “(expletive) with a (adjective)-looking (noun).”


The state of Ohio is facing some pretty big problems these days, with all the recessions and joblessness and

selling of public utilities

budgetary issues going around. That’s why it was nice to learn today that one Ohio Republican is taking on a major issue facing the state: poor people smoking weed. State Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Some Small Place Nobody Cares About) today introduced legislation requiring anyone seeking unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to drug testing in order to assure that taxpayer money isn’t used for illegal drugs instead of what it’s meant for (the unhealthy foods available in low-economic areas?). The policy would require applicants to pay for the drug test up front and be reimbursed by the state if they pass, with the cost evening out as long as the number of people on drugs is as high as Grendell assumes based on what he’s seen in Rap videos.


There are times when it seems like the people who run Cincinnati have really strange concerns, such as a rich guy’s chili restaurant renovation or where homeless people may and may not go to the bathroom (aren’t you glad Jeff Berding is gone?). Nevertheless, today’s announcement of 22 individuals filing City Council candidacy papers offered much to feel optimistic about, as the field includes many lawyers, financial planners, ministers, former cops and even a lady who works for a “family fence company.” The most common campaign promises among the group are public safety, lower taxes and stopping the mayor from doing anything a single constituent doesn’t approve of.


It’s one thing to rip on the Tea Party for being unoriginal, disingenuous or so stupid it took the Pepsi challenge and chose Jif (thanks Jesse Jackson today took criticizing the easily criticizable group to another level, suggesting that the people who somehow made it a relevant movement are the same type who resisted integration. Speaking in Washington at a dedication to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackson noted the similarities in state’s rights philosophies between segregationists and today’s Tea Party, calling it a “new name for an old game.” Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips said the comparison is inaccurate, noting that the newest versions of Monopoly have black people on some of the Chance cards.


Talking to scientists is always kind of crazy — you know they’re smarter than you but the slightest amount of eye contact makes them start talking so fast you can’t even pretend to be following. The AP today checked in with a group of extremely enthusiastic scientists on their own terms (by phone), reporting the details of a black hole eating a star 3.8 billion light years from Earth and then shooting matter out of its center at 80-90 percent of the speed of light (I know, right?!?). It gets better, via a NASA scientist: “As a star falls toward a black hole, it is ripped apart by intense tides. The gas is corralled into a disk that swirls around the black hole and becomes rapidly heated to temperatures of millions of degrees” (!!!).


People who have kids have a lot of stuff to worry about — lead-based paints, any small object, the longterm effects of partially hydrogenated soybean oil on little developing brains. A local woman recently expressed her concerns about a childcare center in Blue Ash in an online review, writing that she wouldn’t even send a pet to such a “horrible” school, a comment that likely led to the resultant lawsuit for defamation. The suit, according to the AP, is one of several that have been filed by Blue Ash Educational Building, which is asking for the removal of the online postings, monetary damages and a thorough reevaluation of the First Amendment and/or a new business idea.


The Cincinnati Enquirer recently spent some time analyzing the rates of “gifted” students in affluent neighborhoods compared to city schools and found that rich kids are generally identified as gifted at a higher rate. The analysis suggested that because gifted students come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, the disparity in identifying gifted students is largely due to the screening process and not the fact that rich kids often go to Europe and have cell phones with the good Internet.