Worst Week Ever!: Aug. 14-20

SATURDAY AUG. 17: The Akron Beacon Journal today reported that a state representative named John Becker, who is apparently from suburban Cincinnati (how many [expletive] state reps are there, for real?), proposed an expansion of Ohio’s deat

click to enlarge More exclusives, less editing
More exclusives, less editing


It’s not like local anti-transit conservatives regularly enjoy reading The Atlantic — too many long articles, zero coverage of St. X football, bunch of pencil-drawn cartoons that don’t make any sense, etc. — but today’s online version touched on a subject that’s going to make them even angrier than if they read the magazine’s latest feature on how efforts to defund Obamacare have pretty much failed (“What?!? But I’m still mad about that!!!”). Today’s story, titled “Public Transit Is Worth Way More to a City Than You Might Think,” looked less at typical local questions about public transit (Will there be many black people riding it?/Could I have run faster than it during my high school years?), instead focusing on how drastically it changes how people live, resulting in way more money for everyone. Rutgers University researchers believe they are close to determining why investment in public transit leads to economic development — anywhere from $1.5 million to $1.8 billion a year depending on a city’s size, they say. By studying agglomeration — people clustering in one place — researchers were able to see how factors such as job density, population growth and higher average wages lead to economic growth and innovation, especially in places where auto traffic is slowing growth. Researchers will now work create a cost-benefit analysis that will help people in large conservative cities explain these benefits in a way that makes billion-dollar highway projects seem dumb even when they’re only taking place on the freeways poor people use. 


Sometimes news organizations have to change stuff in online articles, maybe a correction noted at the bottom of a story or a quick clarification to help the reader better understand some context. An Enquirer online story today had to undergo a similar update, this time to one of the newspaper’s trademark ALL CAPS story identifiers it uses to note which stories are EXCLUSIVE, IN-DEPTH or WATCHDOG and not just shitty regular ones. CityBeat noticed around mid-morning that the Enquirer’s story on shady out-of-town tea party groups funding a local effort to overhaul Cincinnati’s pension program was labeled EXCLUSIVE even though our article about the same stuff was sitting on the street — IN PRINT, REPRESENT! — for a full day. (Plus, CityBeat reporter German Lopez knew about this like a week earlier because he’s

a nerd like tha

t very smart.) The story (which, for the sake of accuracy, should really have been labeled something like TEA PARTY BULLSHIT) was about how no one affiliated with the proposed measure will say what out-of-town entity paid $70,000 to super quickly gather the necessary signatures to put it on the November ballot here. The story is still active at cincinnati.com with EXCLUSIVE in the URL (stupid Internet!) even after CityBeat published an online story labeled WE’RE NOT SURE IF THIS IS REAL (PROBABLY NOT) describing Enquirer editors yelling into the newsroom for someone to change the label from EXCLUSIVE to WATCHDOG and hearing a chorus of enthusiastic dog barking sounds in response.


There aren’t many things scarier than the possibility of coming into contact with an alien who either doesn’t like you, is instructed to do something bad to you or is just mean on its own. BBC News today reported that the CIA has finally acknowledged the secret American test site known as Area 51, a part of Nevada where people have been afraid E.T. was practicing flying a scary-ass ship above their homes for decades. According to recently declassified information, the CIA and Air Force moved into the area in 1955 to test the secret U-2 plane used to spy on Russia. Around that time, nearby residents reported seeing unidentified flying objects because the plane was tested at altitudes much higher than anyone believed planes could fly, leading more paranoid people to think aliens were on their way to earth to stick things in their butts. A senior fellow at the National Security Archive said the program’s declassification must have been approved at a high level of the federal government, likely because President Obama already heard most Americans on the phone saying they knew about it and weren’t scared anymore. 


Many Ohioans wouldn’t mind if the state moved forward with an Old Testament-style punishment for Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man recently convicted for holding three women captive for more than a decade — even some liberals might shrug off the sanctioned poisoning of a citizen for what that guy did. The Akron Beacon Journal today reported that a state representative named John Becker, who is apparently from suburban Cincinnati (how many [expletive] state reps are there, for real?), proposed an expansion of Ohio’s death penalty law to cover some sex-related crimes. Becker says he thought of the idea after hearing about the Castro case, although his proposal allows the state to kill people who commit these crimes only if they have a previous sex crime conviction, which Castro did not. When asked if this made sense, Becker mumbled something about the first season of Game of Thrones and declined further comment. 


Cincinnatians are hyped for this year’s Bengals season after the team drafted some good dudes in April and started doing funny things viewers can see on HBO’s Hard Knocks training camp documentary series; the on-field discussions over which superpower different players would choose if they could have only one was particularly humorous (safety Taylor Mays: “If you can fly, how fast can you fly?”). Because this is America and nothing is free — not even freedom — Hamilton County taxpayers are likely to soon see a $10 million bill from their beloved Bengals for a new scoreboard. The Enquirer reported today that 21 NFL teams have high-definition scoreboards, more than enough to kick in a clause in the Bengals’ contract that states once a majority of NFL stadiums have a technology that the county must get it for the Bengals, too. According to Bob Bedinghaus, the Bengals’ director of business development and the guy who negotiated the terrible lease for Hamilton County before being hired by the Bengals, the team is at a point in time where a new scoreboard needs to be considered. The comment unfortunately was not caught on film by HBO because it probably would have included linebacker James Harrison in the background flipping Bedinghaus off. 

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