Monthly Archives: October 2011

What’s the Plural of Texas?

When Texas joined the Union in 1845, voluntarily giving up its independence, it was granted the right by Congress to form “new States of convenient size, not exceeding four in number and in addition to the said State of Texas.”

This would increase the total number of Texases to five, and enhance their political weight – at least in the US Senate, which would have to make room for 10 Senators from all five states combined, as opposed to just the twosome that represents the single state of Texas now.

Most Black Americans Sitting Out ‘Occupy’

“Young white Americans are finally getting a taste of the kind of hell black Americans have endured for generations,” said an unapologetic Shaun Rubinson during a discussion at Andre’s Hair Salon in San Bernardino.

Many of the O.W.S. protesters are upset with the current political climate that resulted because they didn’t bother to vote in 2009 or 2010. Protesting is cool and all, but the most important thing is that they actually start voting.

Maybe you are working class

A 2004 study by the Drum Institute for Public Policy put the middle class as [between] $40,000 and $95,000, even as people all over the income map also argued to be put in this category.

Yet:

If you have a household of 4, you can be classified as “needy” by the federal government and qualify for WIC if you make up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or $40,793.

The definition of “middle class” has expanded so much that the term is now mostly meaningless. That’s because most people want to think they’re in the middle class.

Ohio’s War on the Middle Class

In 1980, he got his first professional job with a high school diploma in Cleveland for $28,000 a year. In 2007, I got my first professional job with a master’s degree in San Francisco for $27,000. A hundred dollars in my pocket today was the equivalent of $274 in his then.

The Bank of Starbucks

Jason Kottke:

This should be a bigger story, shouldn’t it? Banks seem less and less interested in lending money to people as their primary business and things like Kickstarter and this Starbucks initiative are taking their place.

Shocker: COAST was wrong

In August 2009, anti-city group COAST claimed the city’s expanded recycling program would be a boondoggle and said Cincinnati had the “stupidest city council ever”:

A majority of the nine fine fools voted to spend $3.5 million to lease high-tech recycling carts with radio transmitters. We are not kidding. We could not make this stuff up if we tried.

The “radio transmitters” they are referring to are actually RFID chips that are used for the RecycleBank rewards program.

Now that RecycleBank has been up and running for a year, what are the results so far?

“We had a great first year,” said Larry Falkin, director of the Office of Environmental Quality. “We were able to grow participation in the recycling program by nearly 75 percent, increase the amount of recyclables collected curbside by nearly 50 percent, and save the City nearly $1 million through decreased landfill disposal costs and increased revenues from the sale of recyclables.”

COAST has a draconian anti-spending attitude toward any expenditure they don’t like. But the recycling program is a clear example of how a small upfront investment can quickly pay for itself and save the city a lot of money in the long run. Remember, COAST also claimed the renovation of Fountain Square would be a boondoggle — it’s actually been a huge success.

Update (3/20/2012): A new Cincinnati Business Courier article verifies that the city has saved $900,000 due to the expanded recycling program.

See also: Holding political groups accountable for their claims

Visit from President Obama raises political stakes surrounding the Brent Spence Bridge project

In summary:

  • The bridge is “functionally obsolete” — that means it’s over capacity, not that it’s in danger of falling into the river.
  • The bridge is being augmented, not replaced. Media should not be calling this the “Brent Spense Bridge replacement”. We will likely have the existing bridge for another 50 years.
  • The bridge is congested during rush hour, but is it so bad that we can justify spending over $3 billion to fix it?
  • Other ways to reduce traffic on the bridge include:
    • Encourage Downtown-to-Covington traffic to use the Clay Wade Bailey bridge instead of the Brent Spence Bridge.
    • Encourage/force non-local semi trucks to use I-275 to bypass the city.
    • Encourage carpooling and build better mass transit.

Lack of curiosity from our local media

Eastgate Highway ConstructionThe lack of curiosity from our local media is astonishing.

Several years ago, I was browsing the Eastern Corridor project website and came across the map above. It shows that the widening of OH-32 in Eastgate will require several businesses and homes to be demolished. As most of the businesses are chains like Starbucks, Blockbuster, Perkin’s, and Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburger in Paradise, I considered writing an Onion-style article to the effect of, “Route 32 Widening To Destroy Eastgate Cultural Landmarks.”

Now, The Enquirer has learned of the project by way of the closing of Cheeseburger in Paradise. They mention the restaurant “has closed its doors to make way for an ODOT highway project – a new westbound exit ramp for Ohio 32.” But not a bit of curiosity beyond that. (What is this highway project? Will other business have to close? What is the cost of this project?)

UrbanCincy published an article in January exposing what’s really going on: an $809 million extension of I-74 through Cincinnati’s eastern suburbs. Nine months later, the Enquirer has yet to make a peep about this.