Monday, February 20, 2017

Fwd: I keep searching . . .

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Believe it or not, I keep searching for some good news to send around, but these are difficult to come by in this terrifying 'new world' of Trump & company.  However, if you weren't already frightened sufficiently, the two articles included in the PDF file attached from Consortium News should rattle your cage just a bit more.  It seems that ever since the election, Democratic Party elites are hoisting the banners for war just about anywhere it is not yet engulfing the world.  Not being satisfied with most of the Middle East and Afghanistan already in flames and chaos – with millions of people dead, wounded and displaced – the Democratic Party elites are calling for more blood and destruction so as not to be outdone by their Republican colleagues on this score.  Now legislation has been introduced in Congress, by a Democrat, to give Donald Trump unfettered authority, with no Congressional oversight, to attack and wage war on Iran any time he so pleases.  If this doesn't make you a bit uncomfortable, then you may want to check out the fires we are attempting to set in Ukraine, another of our favorite war charities – oh, and yes, China too.  It is true what the historians have said that dying empires are interesting places and times indeed. 

Good night and good luck!



Friday, February 17, 2017

Fwd: Three must read posts . . .

---------- Forwarded message 
From: John Hemington

For those of you who do not regularly check out Yves Smith's exceptional Web site Naked Capitalism, attached are three good reasons to do so regularly.  Naked Capitalism regularly has some of the best and most well-reasoned evaluations of economic and political activities in the nation and the world.  It also maintains a comment section where its posts are analyzed and debated in a rational, moderated and controlled manner by informed and intelligent readers.  I don't generally include the comments when I send out articles from the site as they can frequently be quite extended, but they are usually well worth checking out to get a full-throated discussion of the particular topic.  Yves Smith (pen name for Susan Webber) is a Wall Street veteran who understands well how things work economically to undermine both economic and democratic processes.  I do hope you will follow and support Naked Capitalism and when you find it appropriate contribute your reasoned comment whether pro or con as well as a donation or two.  It is an invaluable resource in this age of fakery.

Below is a particular example on one of the comments to a post, it's a bit long, but well worth your time:

January 27, 2017 | reader James F. Hoisted from comments
I, too, am worried by our descent into prewar hatred.  I had a friend from Dubrovnik in the'80s.  She was a typical Yugoslav – half Croatian, quarter Serbian, and a quarter Russian.  She was full of hope, smart, pretty, and heartbreakingly na├»ve.  If she survived the war, I'm pretty sure my friend lost what made her a beautiful human being.  She haunts me.  Civil wars seem implausible until they start and then they follow the devil's logic.  People like my friend tend to die in them or turn into something less than they were in order to survive.
I'm an old man now working on my doctorate through a senior citizens' scholarship.  I grew on the North-East Coast.  I live in the rural South now.  I know people from everywhere because I've been around a long time.  Comfortable people from the cities, Democrat or Republican, want to hit someone, hard… but they have by and large never worn a uniform or had a gun pointed at their heads.  They're frustrated which makes sense but they don't know when a bloody fight is coming.  You can smell it coming like folks down here can smell a tornado or like mothers smell death on its way and snatch their children off the front porch.
Here in Flyover Country things are bad, really bad.  I recently visited family in Northern California.  Things were pretty nice.  Not opulent by any means but the shelves were stocked.  Security guards in Target let the kids play around.  Around here – not so much.  Not so much as a Target.  We have long lines, empty shelves, and the kids, black and white, always seem aware that they're not safe.  Comfortable people in cities worry about reproductive health care.  We worry about getting a four-dollar antibiotic for pneumonia at Wal-Mart without having to spend several hundred bucks for the prescription (real life experience with insurance).  Our mean income is about a quarter of Northern California's.  Housing is cheaper but it's not cheap and it's a lot worse housing.  Food and utilities are a lot more expensive.  Everything including food and medicine is taxed.  We're dying here, slowly perhaps but we're dying none the less.
Even so, my Democrat and Republican friends and family from the coasts couldn't care less about my neighbors.  They couldn't care less about fifteen years of war or the kids we send to fight it or the kids our kids kill.  I understand.  It's only natural to look to one's own interests and what happens in Natchez or Mosul doesn't hit home.  However, they're all angry – angry at Flyover people for being sick and poor and tired of being cannon fodder.  And so I have to listen to why we don't deserve jobs or health care because we're stupid.  We should move or die because markets [rule].  I had to justify FDR, religion, the very idea of peace, and social solidarity.  I have to defend unions and explain why my state voted for Trump – sometimes to the same person.  I have to advocate for veterans, the majority of cops that don't murder kids and BLM while I'm trying to eat my potatoes.  It's exhausting.  It's depressing.
Statistics show that urban areas are 'bluer'.  They have better health care, better functioning government, and better opportunities.  However, not all urban dwellers are comfortable.  Chicago has world class hospitals, universities, and pizza.  It also has an astronomical murder rate and a police force that got caught torturing its citizens.  It has a deep blue machine that excels in privatization.  Blue cities are rough with their mostly black and brown poor citizens but poor whites suffer too.  I know.  I spent decades doing social work in city hellscapes.  I know what it's like to step over bodies and have people bleed all over me.  Crime isn't out of control when statistics say so.  Crime is out of control when you or people you love get hurt.  Likewise, cops shooting unarmed black people is a problem; cops shooting unarmed white people is a problem; people deciding to start an idiosyncratic revolution by shooting cops is a problem; criminals killing kids is also a problem.  Statistics and social theory don't really matter at a child's funeral.  Life is statistically better in blue enclaves but there is a difference between Compton and Hollywood, Brookline and Dorchester, Harlem and Manhattan.  That's a brute fact that uncomfortable people face every day.
Flyover people and the uncomfortable urban poor fight the never-ending wars.  We provide commodities like food and coal and oil and metals.  We provide cheap labor.  Comfortable people have decided that most of us aren't really needed.  Immigration, free trade, and automation have made us redundant but we're not going away.  At least we're not going away fast.  Flyover people and the uncomfortable urban poor have no real place in establishment –Democratic or Republican – thinking.  We are the establishment's problem and the establishment is our problem.
Where do we go from here?  Bernie had some good answers to some burning questions.  Trump has some very questionable answers to the same problems.  I don't know if the Anarchists on Inauguration Day had any answers but they recognized the problem.  The comfortable people who posed with pussy hats leave me questioning whether this country can or even should be saved.  The comfortable protesters certainly have the legal right to their comfortable lives and they have the legal right to advocate for war with Russia and they have the legal right to hate the President and wear silly hats.  They have a legal right to despise the Deplorables and to petition to have sleeping homeless people removed from their places of business.  They have the legal right to demand respect for their sexual choices.  They have these legal rights because the government guarantees them and if they tear down the civic peace of government, who will protect these rights?  I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see the postmodern farce of Madonna in an orange prison jumper.  Is she supposed to be King Christian wearing the Star of David during Nazi occupation?  Are Ashley Judd and Julia Roberts supposed to be our Red Emma and our pistol packing Connie Markowitz?  Is Lena Durham supposed to be our Marianne or our Greece Expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi?  What I really want to know is will those people drinking Starbucks die with us on the barricades because the differences between guerrilla theater and guerrilla war are getting really blurry.
I don't want to get too snarky but I am getting pretty cranky.  Revolutions, as Lenin insisted, are not tea parties.  In revolutions resisters get shot for showing courage; in films about revolutions actors get applause for making a courageous performance.  The Democratic Resistance may be as silly looking as Teapartiers dressed in revolutionary drag but it is much more dangerous.  In 2008, Obama was really popular and he had the support of his own party.  Obama failed to ram through his agenda because he refused to rally the people who put him into office.  By the time the Republicans hamstrung his administration, he had already lost his momentum.  Obama was defeated in the Massachusetts senatorial campaign and by his failure to support Wisconsin's unions.  McConnell's obstructionism and Trump's birtherism were obnoxious but they didn't destroy Obama's agenda.  Failure to push for card check, Medicare for all, voter registration, prosecuting Wall Street fraud and war crimes, new trade deals, authorizing the extra-judicial murder of US citizens, and overthrowing the government in Guatemala, Ukraine, and Libya were the real disasters.
In 2016, Trump is much less popular than Obama in 2008.  His most progressive polices (which he shared with Sanders) like reversing trade agreements, renegotiating drug prices, building infrastructure, and stopping a war with Russia depend on Democratic support.  His own party hates him.  Impeaching or (God forbid) assassinating Trump would throw the entire government into the hands of Pence and Ryan.  That would re-gear the war on Russia, reinstate the trade deals and guarantee the end of the New Deal and the Civil Rights era.  Does anyone on the so-called Left really think that's a good idea?  There'd be a real fight then; the kind where lots of people die in loud and messy ways.  Who is going to do the fighting and dying then?  I don't think it's going to be the people in pussy hats but I'm sure I'll be going to plenty of funerals if I live that long.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fwd: Every so often . . .

---------- Forwarded message
From: John Hemington

Every so often someone writes a column which cuts through the fog and clearly identifies what is really going on and what must be done in response.  This is the case by Peter Gaffney in the first attachment.  Gaffney understands just why the great risk we now face is organizing resistance in support of the failed Democratic Party policies which led us to Trump.  Read this article, it is important.

The second attachment by Ramzy Baroud presents the face of Israel as it has always been, one of destruction, devastation and dismemberment of the Palestinian people which will now clearly result in a purely apartheid structure in what will be known as 'Greater Israel' for those deemed suitable to remain in the 'Jewish state' – the rest will, as is ever the case, be uprooted and exiled or killed.  And, as always, Israel will do this with our blessing and our help.  Such is the state of the world these days.


Fwd: Registration for 2017 Codefest is Open

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Sara from Steel City Codefest" <>
Date: Feb 16, 2017 7:14 AM
Subject: Registration for 2017 Codefest is Open 
To: <>

Registration is Live for Steel City Codefest
View this email in your browser
Check out this story of Codefest 3.0

Registration is live!

Steel City Codefest: March 31- April 7 

Don't miss your chance to develop apps for real-world challenges and build relationships across sectors in Pittsburgh. Register today through ShowClix!

Are you excited to start forming your team? Join our Slack Channel and start connecting!

Copyright © 2017 Steel City Codefest, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you participated in one or more Steel City Codefests from 2012-2016

Our mailing address is:
Steel City Codefest
Urban Redevelopment Authority
200 Ross St. #13
Pittsburgh, Pa 15215

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Fwd: Oliver Bath House Nominated for City Historic Landmark Status

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From: "Preservation Pittsburgh" <>
Date: Feb 16, 2017 9:14 AM
Subject: Oliver Bath House Nominated for City Historic Landmark Status
To: <>

Oliver Bath House Nominated to Become a
City Historic Landmark

Earlier this month Preservation Pittsburgh nominated the Oliver Bath House to become a City Historic Landmark. This effort, supported by a plethora of community partners on the South Side, is the culmination of a months-long research effort, which uncovered the original blue prints for the building.

The Bath House had its beginnings on March 9, 1903 when a letter from Henry W. Oliver was presented to the Select Council of the City of Pittsburgh calling for the creation of a bath house.  To achieve this, Henry Oliver promised to provide a gift of $80,000 and deeded land provided "... the bath shall be free for the use of the people forever."

When construction began on the bath house in 1914 the Oliver Iron & Steel Company sat across 10th Street and the bath would go on to serve its workers and other workers of the South Side.  Upon its completion the bath house joined four other prominent public baths in the City, the People's Bath House (Strip District), the Public Wash House and Baths (Lawrenceville), the Soho Bath House (South Oakland), and the Phipps Baths and Gymnasium (Allegheny City).  Of these, three remain today.

Should the Oliver Bath House be granted landmark status it will be the City's first, and to date only, historic bath house.

For more information on the Oliver Bath House or to view the submitted nomination, please see our Resources Section.  To lend your support for the designation, please email the City's Historic Preservation Planner, Sarah Quinn ( or come to the Historic Review Commission's first hearing on Wednesday, March 1st at 1pm, 200 Ross Street.

If you'd like to help our landmarking efforts, please consider donating to our Landmarking Fund.

Preserving a world made of steel, made of stone,
Preservation Pittsburgh

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Fwd: American Red Cross: Important Information for Instructors

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "American Red Cross" <>
Date: Feb 16, 2017 9:31 AM
Subject: American Red Cross: Important Information for Instructors
To: <>

To view this email as a web page, go here.

February 2017



The New American Red Cross Instructor's Corner released February 15th, 2017, providing instructors with an enhanced platform for instructor resources, collaboration and support.

Read more.


On February 15, we released several important updates to the First Aid/CPR/AED program. These important updates include:

  • Release of Spanish Language First Aid/CPR/AED Classroom Program Based on 2015 Science Guidelines
  • Interim Program Guidance for Caring for Anaphylaxis following FDA Release of Updated Patient Instructions for Epinephrine Auto-Injectors
  • Enhancements to Simulation Learning Online Experience

Read more.






Spanish-language versions of our 2016 First Aid/CPR/AED program classroom materials will be available with the release of the new Instructor's Corner platform. With this release, we have incorporated the enhanced lesson plans, more dynamic and interactive course design, and updated videos and graphics that we introduced with the English-version release of the First Aid/CPR/AED program last year.

Read more.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made updates to the patient instructions for epinephrine auto-injectors focused on reducing additional injury or infection when assisting people suffering from severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). As a result of these updates, we have updated the Anaphylaxis video segments and course presentations for the First Aid/CPR/AED program and have created an "Interim Guidance: 2016 First Aid/CPR/AED Program," which details how to incorporate these updates into the Instructor's Manual lesson plans and Participant's Manual. This interim guidance document is available for download on Instructor's Corner.

Read more.


Based on user feedback, we have incorporated a series of enhancements to the learner experience for the First Aid/CPR/AED Simulation Learning online content. The enhancements include:

  • New home page and menu guide
  • Single, streamlined course completion path for all learners
  • Additional support documents including a tutorial and a resource center with FAQs and course reference materials
  • Streamlined mission experience removing unnecessary animation and graphics that caused loading issues
Read more.


The Lifeguarding Instructor Trainer Academy has been revised for the updated 2017 Lifeguarding program. This revision also now includes an online portion to complete prior to attending the Academy. The online course includes:

  • What to expect at the Academy
  • The science behind the Red Cross courses
  • Integrating science, research, and best practice into the Lifeguarding program
  • Benchmarks of the American Red Cross Lifeguarding program
  • Benchmarks for teaching the American Red Cross Lifeguarding program
  • Introduction to the Lifeguarding Instructor Trainer's Guide
  • Instructions on how to facilitate a practice-teaching session
  • Preparing to teach at the Academy and beyond
Read more.


A Review course is an abbreviated course that provides individuals the opportunity to review course content within a formal class setting. The format may include viewing video segments, practice and skills performance for evaluation and completing the written exam for the course, if applicable. To be eligible to participate in a review course, the participant must possess a current American Red Cross certificate (or equivalent) for the course being conducted. (There is a 30 day grace period in an expired certification to enter a review course but this does not extend the actual certification date, just the ability to enter the review course).

Read more.


With the revisions to the First Aid/CPR/AED, Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, and Lifeguarding this past year, the MARS concept of learning is back in the program. Red Cross courses are designed with standardized instructor outlines using activities and teaching strategies to enhance learning. Understanding the concepts of learning can help instructors address individual learning needs and characteristics through the use of specific strategies to enhance learning and overcome barriers. The mnemonic MARS (motivation, association, repetition and senses) can help you remember and employ the four concepts of learning.

Read more.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Welcome to Trumpland

John posted:
Justice of a political sort . . . and what it means for humanity. This is a question we will all have to wrestle with in the coming days.

Article in PDF.

Bad endings are in the cards, don’t look now but the Bannon presidency is focused on an ‘end-time’ war – and we will all be the victims.

Other article, PDF, Bannon wants a war.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

An ideal summer job with rewarding experiences awaits your application.

Apply to work with us this summer. 

Fwd: [New post] New Law Supports Computer Science Education in Pennsylvania

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Sarah Jackson posted: "In Pennsylvania, thanks to a law passed last summer, computer science coursework in all public and charter high schools can count toward either math or science graduation requirements. The state joins 19 others with similar policies, according to the Edu"

New post on Remake Learning

New Law Supports Computer Science Education in Pennsylvania

by Sarah Jackson

In Pennsylvania, thanks to a law passed last summer, computer science coursework in all public and charter high schools can count toward either math or science graduation requirements.

The state joins 19 others with similar policies, according to the Education Commission of the States. Several other states also allow computer science (CS) credit to count as math or science but without a law mandating it. notes that the number of states counting CS toward math or science requirements has nearly tripled since 2013. In large part these policies are responding to a rapidly changing workforce—and young people's lack of preparation for it.

Computer science and information technology jobs are expected to grow , even outpacing similar scientific and technical industries as a whole. Pennsylvania currently has approximately 17,000 unfilled computer science and software development job openings, notes the Pennsylvania Department of Education in its guidelines for implementing the new law. But in 2014, the state had just 2,820 CS graduates. Only one in five were women. Many times, these jobs go unfilled because students lack the requisite skills.

"We need to make sure our [students'] skill sets are aligned with workforce demand," Linda Topoleski, vice president of Workforce Programs and Operations at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, told Remake Learning last fall.

There are 17,000 unfilled computer science and software jobs in Pennsylvania.

There are many reasons students are not prepared for these positions. The legislators who wrote the new Pennsylvania policy believe that one reason is CS courses are not valued in schools. Many students have historically declined to take advanced placement computer science, for example, because it was counted only as an elective despite the heavy math and science content.

Yet it is important that public schools offer CS courses because they are the most accessible venues for many. Both people of color and women are under-represented in the tech and STEM workforces, and access to CS education early on can create a stronger pipeline for those groups.

Despite growth in the overall black and Latino college-going population (a 240 percent increase for Hispanics and 72 percent for blacks, between 1996 to 2012), their representation in the computing workforce has remained fairly stagnant, at 14 percent, according to Change the Equation. And at top, high-paying companies the portion of black and Latino employees is even lower. In 2016 blacks made up 2 percent of Google's U.S. workforce, and Latinos 3 percent. Female representation in the overall field has also remained unchanged and disproportionately low at 26 percent.

Representation of black, Latino, and female tech workers remains stagnantly low.

For many students of all demographics, all the access and encouragement in the world would still not make them inclined to pursue a CS job. But many educators and technologists believe all learners can benefit from coursework in the field, which can build problem-solving skills and allow for creative expression.

Take coding—"not just a set of technical skills," according to MIT computer scientist Mitch Resnick, who developed the programming language Scratch for children. "It's similar to learning to write—a way for kids to organize, express, and share ideas."

The Obama administration promoted computer science education for all students, saying the interdisciplinary, applied subject "allows students to engage in hands-on, real-world interaction with key math, science, and engineering principles."

Laws like Pennsylvania's help improve students' exposure to CS. But the policy only addresses schools that already provide that coursework. According to Change the Equation, the disparities in access to these classes start early: only approximately one-half of all black and Latino students attend schools with CS classes. Efforts like Pennsylvania's are steps forward in the longer road to addressing the root causes of these gaps.

Sarah Jackson | February 14, 2017 at 8:00 am | Tags: computer science, Pennsylvania | Categories: Blog Post | URL: