Sunday, September 27, 2009

A New Day

When in the course of human events, more than half of your links don't work anymore and you're sick of looking at your own page design it becomes necessary to update your blog.

So, here it is - the new DebLite page I've been working on for a bit. Actually - I've been hanging on to the new template for sometime - wasn't quite sure I was ready to let go of the old and then today a miracle...

The Bengals beat the Steelers! WHO DEY! I took that as a sign - and it wasn't long after today's game that I actually got busy, implemented my new design (a lot easier than I thought it would be considering I've been putting it off for nearly a year now) updated my links and this is the result.

There are a few new faces in the Cincinnati Blogs area as well as my old friends and favorites.

Tavern Wench
Tagline: Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05
A delightful blog highlighting Cincinnati's local bar scene from the POV of a fem bartender.

Tagline: News Scores and Complete Local Coverage
Best blog I've found so far to get the real scoop on Cincinnati Sports. From basic info like the score of the latest game to some nice in depth commentary, this is my new go-to site for the local college and pro athletic scene.

Last but certainly not least - My very own Ye Olde Matey came to me one day and said: "So what's up with this blogging thing?" Before I could blink, he was up and running on his very own blog. What he says: "...on this site I will be giving tips on beats, production, music. Reviews of movies and my love for the 5 elements of hip hop."

What I may not have mentioned before (and I how I could not have up to this point is just crazy) is the Ye Olde Mate is a very talented music writer and producer. So now he has his own blog giving tutorials on recording software and his reviews of anything and everything to do with music related media from movies to the latest and hottest hip hop tracks.

A few new links have also been added under the Progressive Blogs and Around the Web sections. I'll be adding several more over the next few weeks, including a few that got lost while the site was under construction.

So, welcome to the new digs. It's a new day at Deb Lite!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bengals Win Against Green Bay - Steelers Lose to Bears

(The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger)
Odom sacks Rodgers

The Cincinnati Bengals haven't won a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2006. I'm a home team kinda girl so naturally this means I hate the Steelers with a passion (with a grudging admiration for Ben Roethlisberger who is simply an inhuman beast of a player who never says die). I simply cannot abide native Cincinnatians who insist on supporting the Steelers. If ya love 'em that much, seriously, move to Pittsburgh, 'kay?

All that being said, I was pleased with the Bengals win yesterday against the Green Bay Packers, although they could have spared me the nailbiting, heart sinking finish of worrying that they might still lose in the final 44 seconds, much as they lost their season opener against the Denver Broncos in the final 34 seconds last week. But they won. I was so cheerful that I stuck around to enjoy CBS Sports eye-pleasing camera work while watching and cheering on the Chicago Bears as they spanked the Steelers (who was that Steelers player who looked like he might cry?) and I was very happy. At least the team I love and the team I hate are both 1 and 1. I can live with that.

Ye Olde Matey and I are fairly new to football fandom. Before the advent of Marvin Lewis, our football viewing was limited to watching the commercials during the Super Bowl and the final quarter if we weren't too busy partying down with our family. It was an occasion to party, not to actually watch the game. When Marvin Lewis became head coach, Ye Olde Matey decided he was going to start following football "for real". I took the attitude, "you're not making a sports widow out of me" so I decided to watch too. As relatives newbies our conversations during games, between cheers and groans, are not particularly knowledgeable and tend to focus on players that once caught our attention as Bengals but, for whatever reason are no longer there. He tends to stick with the major players and know every single detail. I tend to focus on people who impress me with a play or two and then quietly (or not so quietly) disappear to other teams.

I always start it with my seasons-old lament about how we should have kept Kevin Kaesviharn. After a few years with Cincinnati (and doing pretty darn well), he moved on to the New Orleans Saints where he proceeded to bloody Carson Palmer's nose the first opportunity he got to play against the Bengals and as of this season, is now playing for the Carolina Panthers. I upped the ante wondering where in the world is Ethan Kilmer only to find out that he has retired from the NFL altogether after a brief stint with the Detroit Lions. I must not be the only person who didn't know that because the search words "Ethan Kilmer" continue to be the #1 search that brings people to this blog. Happy retirement Ethan. You may not have been in the NFL long but you have fans and you are missed. Speaking of the Lions and ex-Bengals, John Kitna who also went there for a bit is now playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

We didn't bring up the most obvious former Bengal because we'd had all summer long to discuss T.J. Houshmandzadeh's move to the Seattle Seahawks. My disdain for the Steelers has already been established, but it was mainly during the Steelers-Seahawks Super Bowl that my utter loathing for the Steelers were established. It was then that I was impressed by the Seahawks in general and Shaun Alexander in particular. However it seems that Alexander is now a free agent; so free that no team has picked him up and Housh, even to my untrained eyes, appears to be their hopeful replacement. Can't wait to see if Housh, who has already been said to have far "outplayed his draft status" becomes the superstar I believe him to be.

Our conversation finally moved onto the current roster. We discuss our now seemingly tamed wild-child Chris Henry and how well he appears to be doing, quickly moving on to how it's always good to see Robert Geathers STILL making players think twice about catching the ball and if they do manage to catch it and are still standing while he's on point, they scurry for the sidelines if they see him coming. Game after game, that's a guaranteed smile on a Sunday afternoon.

A couple of newcomers, Odom and Benson seem to be more than earning their keep. Odom gave both Greenbay quarterbacks a good view of the turf with an amazing 5 sacks. Benson, sporting Rudi Johnson's old number is doing Rudi Johnson's old gig of running up the middle and cutting through the chaff but somehow, seeming not to get beat up as much as Johnson used to. I don't exactly like how the Bengals appear to have treated Johnson. Let's hope Benson fairs better. Marvin Lewis also unflinchingly reassigned Housh's old #84, so no love seems to be lost there as well.

I'm not sure what his name is and I'm not going to look it up because #86 has earned a name from us - Big Butt Butterfingers (the linked thread suggests some other names). Seems we're stuck with him by default due to injuries and other circumstances but please, dear God, someone teach that guy how to catch and hold onto a ball. Please. We're begging you.

So, it's a new season, a new team. New promise, new hope. Even Big Buttt...I'll be cheering the Bengals on every yard of the way!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Chris Bortz: Lost in Translation

I spend quite a bit of time reading other blogs and engaging in discussions or jut adding my two cents in the comments section. It's a good way to get a feel for what other people think about the pertinent issues of the day and add my voice to the fray. Now and again, I google my posting name, "ThatDeborahGirl," as a way to keep up w/ what I've posted and to see who, if anyone has replied and then I reply back and so on.

So the other day, I'm doing my normal blog trackback using Google and I had the pleasant surprise of seeing my comments I left on another site quoted in a front page post on the COAST blog regarding the current streetcar debate here in Cincinnati. You can read what Bortz had to say and how my comments were used as a "translation" of what he said by clicking here.

COAST is an Ohio taxation watchdog group and they are currently they are fighting against the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar. I got all heartfelt teary-eyed that someone thought my words were what they needed to help make their point, especially since we were firmly on the same side of this issue. They even had my picture next to my quote which means they had to swing by here to get it - I don't think I have it as an avatar.

It also seems the person they were using my quote to "translate" was none other than Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Bortz. Hmmm...It seemed to me that this wasn't the first time Chris Bortz and I have been on the opposite sides of a debate. Googling some more to trackback, seems the first first time I took issue with him was over the jail tax, right here on DebLite.

Bortz, like many a republican, is all for law and order and locking up their neighbors - regardless of how many times it's proven that CPD is not exacty working to protect and serve Cincinnati so much as blackmail, blue flu, and slow down Cincinnati into getting what they want, when they want and how they want it on a silver platter. It's one thing to support your local police. It's another to let them bully the population and local government into subservience. At any rate, the marjority of voters felt the same way I did by an overwhelming margin and the jail tax was defeated.

Another time Bortz and I were not in agreeance over at the Cincinnati Beacon on whether City Council should engage in a private Executive sessions . Not exactly sure how that one turned out but I do know one thing. After my post there, Bortz was silent. It was a particularly satisfying take down if I say so myself (and I do).

Now it seems we're on differing sides of the streetcar debate. The Cincinnati Streetcar is another effort by City Council to focus on yet another "get 'em Downtown and they'll spend like crazy" proposal. Much like the Umpteenth Fountain Square rebuild, and the spanking brand new Sports Stadiums that are Soaking Us For Tax Money and the previously mentioned We Have to Build a Jail With Just a Tiny Tax Increase - the Cincinnati Streetcar is supposed to be a way for people to connect with downtown without having to ride the Metro or simply drive downtown and park.

Whenever Cincinnati wants to show that they're making progress, some genius comes up with a project that emphasizes getting folks downtown to spend money. The problem is, while everyone keeps dumping tax dollars into downtown, the neighborhoods suffer neglect. Viable business plans and neighborhood intiatives get lost in the cry to get everyone downtown.

The latest plan to spend a million dollars (as if that's all it will take) is the Cincinnati Streetcar. Now I can think of many other ways to spend a million dollars - homeless shelters, stocking local food pantries, build a neighborhood clinic, keep some cash around for the pools next summer. or just plain invest in local businesses (such as Mayor Mallory's small business owners intiative which is incredible!).

What I don't want, and many Cincinnati folks don't either, is to see the money wasted on a slow trolley that will basically put the crawl in pub crawl. It's supposed to start at UC which is basically giving the college students better access to the downtown bars as well as the ones already in Clifton. Further for all the miracles the streetcar is supposed to solve, other cities that have them find them more a nuisance that don't live up to the hype or the "feasability studies".

Untold in these "studies" is the fact that the benefits are the product of computer models and have never been achieved in the real world. For example, in 1978, planners in Portland, Oregon, forecast that by 1990 the city's light-rail ridership would be 42,500. In reality, it was half that. In Sacramento, light-rail ridership was initially projected to be 50,000 on an average weekday. By 1998, average weekday boardings were 28,000 (slightly higher than a revised projection made once local officials had committed to the project). Studies typically highlight the congestion-relief benefits of rail transit, even as transportation planners refuse to argue that these benefits exist. Indeed, in his 1998 survey of rail transit investments built since 1980, Jonathan Richmond of Harvard's Taubman Center for Local Government concluded that none had appreciably reduced congestion in cities. From the article: Ground Zero In Urban Decline by Sam Staley
My main problem with the Cincinnati Streetcar is that there is nothing in the proposals that explain how the streetcar solves any of our city's very pressing problems with transportation. If the money is to be spent on transportation, then how about working on, not getting people downtown, but out to the suburbs where the jobs are. Most people aren't traveling to work downtown in a place where even the Cincinnati Enquirer is located in the city of Blue Ash. White flight hasn't just meant families moving to the suburbs. It's business moving beyond Tri-County and Sharonville out to Blue Ash and West Chester.

If Cincinnati wants that to change, then we can't just keep rebuilding Downtown. The city must focus efforts on the neighborhoods for the people they don't want to admit are even there. The city cannot just cater to rich people and I'm not using "rich" as a euphemism for "white" either; working class majority white neighborhoods have been just as neglected - Hartwell and Lower Price Hill don't look much better than Avondale and Bond Hill when it comes to empty storefronts and boarded up houses.

Chris Bortz and City Council want to support a streetcar for the privileged few while so many go without while adding an additonal tax burden on people who are already stretched to the breaking point. I don't think it's too much to ask them to refocus their efforts and our tax dollars on a worthier cause.

Cincinnati Streetcar Website
Map of the Streetcar Route
Chris Bortz talks about the streetcar proposal