Sunday, October 31, 2004

Trib & AP story on Track Star, Congressal Stars from Kansas

Nice story in the Sunday paper about track star, KS, Jim Ryun. This is an AP story and I couldn't find it in the archives of the Trib. Ryun was a brief part of a book I published, Time Out! I Didn't Hear You. And, he and his wife have been active in the hearing health world. Ryun took part in an online chat at the offices of the News Center. (searching Google) When will Pittsburgh candidates and politicians be invited to online chats?

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wilburn's concert invite for folk

I invite you to our opening of the Calliope Legends Concert 2004-2005 Season.

Kate Long & Robin Kissinger performs, Friday, November 5, at 8 pm at the First Unitarian Church in Shadyside, the intersection of Morewood and Ellsworth. They lead workshops in Story Telling and Flat Pick guitar on Saturday, November 6 from 2-5 pm at the church.;;;

Future dates:

Mindy Simmons, January 29, 2005

Kreg Viesselman, February 19, 2005

Mojo Collins, March 19, 2005 with Workshop: Folk and Blues Roots

Steve Gillette & Cindy Mangsen, April 23. 2005

Rachael Allen, May 14, 2005

Calliope Legends Concert is our small venue concerts. Wilburn, a true running mate, chairs the committee and takes complete responsibility if you are not pleased with each performance. So mark your calendars. Don't forget that Calliope main concert series is bring Doc Watson, a fellow North Carolinian, to Pittsburgh, November 19 at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland. There are a few single tickets left: Proartstickets.oro or 412-394-3353.

Answer sought on parks

How would it feel if you went on a trick-or-treat voyage and knocked on 25 doors and nobody was home. I can live with 1 in 5 being home. But, to have a complete shut out sorta stinks.

Trib story: "They also complain that they get only vague answers or no answers at all from Onorato on what progress has been made. "

Folks, the parks budget for 2006, according to one oversight board, is set to $0. Zippo. We need to jump start this parks and recreation discussion ASAP. How about November third?

The non-profit is a bad idea. Moving parks to a new, public entity is a fine idea. Chatter is welcomed.

Wishing for Gov and PCTV 21 coverage

Rob Owens, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - A & E - TV/Radio, I really wish you'd look into the story unfolding about the RFP for the city cable television breau.

I had called Penn State University and tried to coax them into putting a proposal together for the RFP. They considered it at many levels. However, when they got their techie invovled, as they should, a tour request was made and denied by the city. The PSU folks asked to see the TV facilities and equipment. They missed the one tour date as the RFP was hardly visible.

The worse part, the city said it would be showing "favortism" if they gave a tour to a possible RFP participant. Get out!

When you are going down the tubes -- anyone who comes to save you is welcomed.

Dale, Rodney, Tom.... Thanks for proving again just how well you don't play with others.

Bogged down for Bloggers Touchdown

Sorry I could not make the recent bloggers function.

I asked for a copy of the "minutes" and got this reply... via email ... if you peek at the comments.

Net movie with political impacts

Some trusted friends aquired the rights to freely distribute Stolen Honor on the internet,

There are no ads, no banners, no sign-ups. It's a 100% gratis download. Bandwidth should not be an issue. Back-up site

Friday, October 29, 2004

Any techies out there willing to be "mapmaster?"

We've got blogs, a Wiki, web server (just upgrading), mailing list, fax on demand,, a parks position paper, campaign song, and an ambition of a book or two. But, what I really want, besides the database management part (right Bob), is a concpet mapping tool such as Cmap Tools,

See the comments to learn more and see their latest news release.

Interested, email me. We've got the server space.

Do hit all the blogs

  • Transportation

  • eVote

  • Sunnyhill

  • This is my main blog, but there are others, listed above and along the blog roll to the left side.

    A weakness of Blogspot and Blogger (same company) is the lack of a feature that tags each article with different topic areas. When you have a lot going on, it doesn't all fit into one blog.

    I think that the eVote effort could explode with election day. We knew this wasn't going to be resolved. The fix was in and it wasn't what we wanted to see. Marilyn Davis, Ph.D., a net friend and from Northern California was there at ground zero. She saw the people from the US Senator's office. See could see what was what.

    I won't tell you what you are missing if you don't go there too -- just do it.

    Mom's rally and Saturday's walk in the park

    I've done a good job at staying OUT of the national race. For myself, I've been putting a focus on local issues and staying neutral otherwise. However, my oldest boy is gung-ho for Kerry. Perhaps I'll satisfy his political fix by taking him to this event this week end.


    Mothers across the country will gather in a demonstration of unity and support for John Kerry and our children. Special guest: Geraldine Ferraro. It is slated for Saturday, Oct. 30, 2004, at 3:00 pm at Frick Park, Braddock & Forbes.

    By the way, Erik's mom, my wife, is in DC working and will be home late Saturday. Perhaps my wife has more in common with Geraldine. I might connect better with the moms and kids.

    I do like the park setting too. I bet not many of the moms or dads there will be aware that the Citiparks budget for 2006 is slated to be $0.

    Come to think of it, if we have great weather, perhaps we could go early and set up some badminton. We could "ruffle feathers" and collect email contacts.

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    Liquidation Signals Lord & Taylor's Final Days - News: "PITTSBURGH -- Four years ago, hopes were high when Lord & Taylor announced it was moving into the old Mellon Bank building on Smithfield Street.

    Today, the shelves are being cleared and a liquidation sale has begun at the latest major department store to leave Downtown and take taxpayer dollars with it.

    Indeed, the times have changed in terms of hopes and perceptions being put forward by the media. The mayor was on a high in 2000 and 2001, in some circles. The new stores, the big roof at the convention center, and all the other corporate welfare deals. The city was flush with building jobs too, earning support from the construction trade unions too. Jobs were being filled by out of state workers.

    But to the ones who were watching with more attention to detail and better senses of forcasting, things were not so good. Some knew that these projects were going to flounder and fail.

    The African-American Workers Union picked for the first weeks of construction at PNC Park. PNC Park would open just weeks before the 2001 primary.

    Heinz Field was to be home to the Pitt Panthers, but the lease to use the pro stadium was not signed until after Pitt's home stadium was demolished. Some knew it wasn't smart to take college football off of the campus every day of the year. Pitt would turn into a J.V. program to the Steelers. Heinz Field's first season was the same fall season of Mayor Murphy's re-election.

    The Convention Center would open too, but someone forgot to build the darn hotel. So, we've got an expensive white elephant that can't ever be put to use at capacity as we can't accomidate the convention goers. Then came the pass-throughs.

    Shop to you drop has new meaning in downtown these days. Four years ago, the media got drunk on the Mayor's costly bricks and mortar efforts. But for those of us who cared to stay involved, we knew big-time trouble was at our doorstep.

    City's credit rating dips below a rock, at bottom of river

    PG: S&P rates city's credit as 'watch' While supporting the nonbinding plan, Councilman Sala Udin still voiced worry about it, saying defaulting on the pension payment could have 'very serious consequences.


    The curse of one party rule is next

    Reverse-the-curse Boston had its woes vanquished with the 2004 World Series. Poof.
    Thanks to Dave's dad. See his blog post from Oct. 27.
    Pittsburgh has its woes too, from nearly the same era. Our problem is one-party rule. The trend is starting. Pittsburgh, too, can vanquish its prime hang-up.
    Who else among us are here to make history, and not be a slave of it.
    Artwork above occurs on a t-shirt, for sale with the link that follows.

    As the Sun, Earth and Moon align

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    City Council Overrides Mayor's Tax Discount Veto - News - City Council Overrides Mayor's Tax Discount Veto October 27, 2004 -- Pittsburgh City Council voted to override Mayor Tom Murphy's veto of a plan to offer an additional one percent discount to those who pay property taxes during the first week of January...
    Council President Gene Ricciardi's early tax payment plan is designed to increase the city's income in the first part of the year, which would reduce the amount of money the city would need to borrow to pay bills.

    Craig Kwiecinski, the mayor's spokesman, isn't saying if Murphy will implement Ricciardi's plan.

    Ricciardi and Councilman William Peduto said they're willing to withdraw the discount plan if Murphy offers better strategies for funding the city budget next year.

    Flip-flopping at City Council had another highlight. First, the early bird plan gets passed. (Votes were 8-1.) Second, the mayor gives the plan a veto. Third, the veto is overcome (6-3). But, the mayor says he won't actually do the plan. Or, I should point out, the mayor says he won't follow the law.

    City council sets the laws. City council is the legislative branch. Meanwhile, the mayor is the administrator and he chooses to NOT follow the law.

    Furthermore, City Council President won't insist that the Mayor follow the plan. The early-bird plan won the hour, came into being, but it won't happen. It's official. But, it's to be ignored.

    The plan's prime sponsor, City Council President, Gene Ricciardi, won't hold the mayor's feet to the fire on this. Rather, Gene said he won't be an obstructionalist and press for its enactment.
    There is some question if this new bit of legislation is something that would be trumphed by the oversight bodies, such as the Act 47 Coordinators. However, much can be said that a discount period is not really another form of lowering taxes.

    So, the Mayor gets off the hook as none are going to hold his feet to the fire. And, should there be a real plan from the administration, those that passed the law would issue a flip-flop.
    Impacts on home owners

    City home owners are still facing a real threat of a 34% increase in property taxes. Even if the budget gets a final hour switch (another flip flop) the expected tax increase on property is set for 5%. Other taxes are going up too, of course.
    If you have your mortgage with a holding company, by law, so I understand, the company needs to take advantage of any discounts. Taxes are often a portion of the payments home-owners to be make as part of their home payment, interest, and such. If the bank holds the note to the house, and if the bank pays the taxes as well, the banks are forced to take advantage of the savings for the extra discounts.

    Blame game

    From time to time, I think it is fine to fix blame on certain problems and people. As an outsider, I should play the blame game more often and with greater intensity.

    See the comments to find out who is being blamed for the national debt.

    Elizabeth, come on home now, please

    A 16 year old Carrick High School Student she is missing. This is Veronica Norman's (active parent at the South PERC) niece. A police report was filed last evening. Elizabeth is known to frequent the Allentown, Mt. Oliver, South Side Slopes, Arlington, and Carrick area's of Pittsburgh.

    If you see her please contact the police immediately or Veronica Norman at 412-488-1423.

    The full name of the kid isn't on the blog, and her last name it isn't the same as above. Let me know when this is resolved and I'll take down the posting.

    Look Up

    Today's blog has mentions to look ahead, as in the political future, but also to look within (see the prostate cancer detection post) and to look up.

    Clouds might obscure tonight's lunar eclipse. The moon will be covered entirely by the Earth's shadow. It starts at 8:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time, Wednesday, through 2:03 a.m. Thursday morning. The total portion of the eclipse will be from 10:23 to 11:45 p.m.
    Some predict that the moon will look like a glowing pumpkin during the event, just days before Halloween.

    Glenn's news release

    The eclipse of the moon will be enjoyed by most of the people in the Western Hemisphere. Wonder what its ratings will be? Wonder if TV executives are ever asked to flash a ticker on the bottom of the TV sets -- go look outside as you'll see an eclipse of the moon -- right now. Do it. Get off your lazy bottom and walk outside and look up.

    Now I just need to stop blogging at those times.

    Big St. Louis fans....

    St. Louis and Pittsburgh have a few things in common. Both are with rivers, are gateway cities, and top Medical Centers with universities. My wife is at UPMC and a friend is in St. Louis. He is suffering the wrath of the Bo-Sox 3 game lead in the World Series, but also has shared some insights into his health and makes some strong, first-person suggestions on having more aggressive wellness.

    See the comments of this post for Hints on Diagnosing Prostate Cancer, by Michael Valente. He is glad it might help someone else. He also writes to say he looks forward to seeing the end of my misery with my beloved Cardinals!

    What's preventable and what's inevitable -- humm. Life, science and shifting borders.

    A step toward a commuter tax, a step toward victory

    PG coverage: A step toward a commuter tax City Council voted yesterday to lay the groundwork for a commuter wage tax.

    The victory, in this headline, is NOT with the pending arrival of the commuter tax. I feel that the commuter tax is wrong. It isn't prudent. There are many other ways to solve these problems and the commuter tax is not anything near an ideal solution.

    The victory goes to the fact that every Pittsburgher, except those in Bethel Park and Penn Hills, (see below), now has some skin in this fight.

    In the past, it has always been the conventional thinking that those in the city are on their own. Those in the suburban areas are on their own. An iron-curtin has kept the city and the suburban folks away from each other.

    The people in the burbs have had a "hands-off attitude" about the political life in the city. This is about to end now that the city's hands are reaching into their wallets.

    A few people on city council want to tax the suburban workers. They want a bail out, and the tab for the bail out, in their opinion, should be the responsibility of those who live beyond the reaches of the city's borders.

    Wake up suburban Pittsburgh. What happens in the city, its folly and all, is now your business.

    If you live in Penn Hills or B.P., have no fear. You're not going to pay the city anything. The taxes in those suburban locations are already at the limit.

    If you live elsewhere, your taxes are about to shift. The income tax is going to go up in your neck of the woods so that the money doesn't flow into the city. You might expect a slight dip in the property tax to offset the new funds from the other source.

    Meanwhile, the city is going to be a grand looser in one instance, and a grand victor in another. In time, say two or three years, the suburban municipal governments are going to do the tax shifting and the city is going to be left without any viable revenue stream from the commuter tax. It will be worthless.

    On the upside, the city is going to win big as the suburban folks have grounds to entertain, study, donate, politic and energize the political landscape in the city.

    For example, four years ago I was on the agenda as an invited speaker to a candidate's night in a suburban location. I understood clearly that none of the people in the audience would get to vote for me. However, I wanted to go and speak to that audience. Even three minutes would be worth the trip and the evening I told the organizers. At first, they said fine. Then they called and took me off of the agenda a day before the meeting. "We don't talk about city politics here," I was told.
    Guess what. I'm back. And, now you will.

    If you are associated with any suburban political group, of any party, I'm willing, able and eager to get invites to come to speak to your groups. The city needs you to care and be aware. And, the city is about to start taking your money.

    City snubs retail suitors

    Great lead.
    Trib's Erik Heyl: Nature abhors a vacuum, but city officials are embracing one ...

    Meanwhile, my goals are to embrace the "free markets." I'm a "free market" candidate.

    To be really honest, we don't need to embrace the free markets, as that will take years if not a generation to occur. However, we need to turn to the free market approach and apply it everywhere. Its embrace of Pittsburgh will come soon enough, after we've changed the mindset and made bold moves in those directions.

    This embrace is much like being married. One can't be a little married. It would be great to at least flirt with the Free Market Ways from time to time. Meanwhile, Murphy is married to doing nothing.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    Murphy says developers put off by ban on slots Downtown

    Murphy oversteps again and injects burdens on property ownership to soil deals for downtown "Samuel Jemal, president of J.J. Operating Corp., said, 'We had a different philosophical approach on the future use of the building and did not wish to dispute it with the city.'"

    The anchor of Tom Murphy and his administration is getting heavier.

    Monday, October 25, 2004

    Mayor Vetoes Early-Bird Discount To Taxpayers - News - Mayor Vetoes Early-Bird Discount To Taxpayers Mayor Tom Murphy has vetoed a plan to offer an early-bird discount to taxpayers next year.

    Hurry up and wait. Do nothing. Let's chase our tails. We are only running out of money next month. Here we go again, doing too little, too late.

    If the early bird gets the worm, then that explains the Tom Murphy veto. The mayor is in vulture mode. The city is still crashing into a deeper decay.
    Trib quote for Ricciardi:"'If we implement my plan, we will be on the road to picking ourselves up by the bootstraps.' "

    Hardly. This early bird is but a worm of a plan. This isn't even a caterpillar.

    The early-bird tax discount for an extra 1% discount is worthy. However, it is more like a cup of warm tea on a cold winter day while at the hospice. To sooth is sweet. But to say this plan and overrive of the veto puts us on the road to recovery is foolishness.

    Simply put, the plan keep us on the road of malingering. The city is floundering and bumbling. We all know that the Mayor's agenda can't be advanced. Now is another test to see if the agenda of City Council President can be advanced. And if it does squeek by, this isn't a cause for celebration. It is a worm of a plan.

    Coming Post-Election Chaos

    FindLaw's Writ - Dean The Coming Post-Election Chaos:A Storm Warning of Things to Come If the Vote Is as Close as Expected By JOHN W. DEAN

    This next presidential election, on November 2, may be followed by post-election chaos unlike any we've ever known....

    Not Howard Dean.

    Amy Carol Webb, our dear friend and singer from Florida, also predicts that the election won't end on November 3.

    The Storm Warning concept is fitting. In 2000 I called for international observers to our elections. Roll eyes. Shrug. This was posted before we came to understand "hanging chads."

    Another friend said it could be Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve before we know the real outcome of the election. Provisional ballots are bad. Furthermore, voter fraud might be such that the court system could set back for months trying to bring trials against those who vote while dead or vote more than once.

    The RUNNEL -- chunnel -- Pgh big dig -- and cranks

    I've been speaking for months and months about the sillyness of the under river tunnels for a light-rail extension to the stadiums on the North Side. The idea needs to be taken off the tracks and stopped. Some editorial folks at the Trib, especially Bill S., agrees. Link.
    ... railed on about how pitifully few people the 1.2 mile boondoggle would carry. How badly its construction would tear up both banks of the river. How the idea would never even be considered if it weren't for that "free" 80 percent federal contribution.

    And how, except for a few cranks and free-market ideologues at the Trib, everyone was so gung-ho to build it - including Specter and his allegedly conservative comrade, Rick Santorum.

    Great news, except the part about the "few cranks." I could resemble that remark. And, what good does it do?

    The cranks, the "naysayers," -- we citizens -- are the ones who know best.

    Why would he do this?

    To me, the Trib and this friend of the "free market" is p*ssing in his own breakfast cereal.

    Comments about the treatment are welcomed here. Comments about the meat of the transportation elements should flow into the transportation blog.

    Sunday, October 24, 2004

    Talented Women

    Mark Rauterkus, (Union Maiden) Anne Feeney, and Amy Carol Webb at our South Side home.

    On the radio for an hour.

    Amy Carol Webb and the gentleman from Oklahoma, Chris Moore, while in KDKA radio studios.

    KDKA Radio, 5 to 6 pm on Sunday

    Amy Carol Webb and I are slated for the Chris Moore radio show for 5 pm this Sunday. Please tune in. I won't do any singing.

    Rather, a broken record might be more fitting

    Trib whispers "... see Mayor Tom Murphy come dressed as the Invisible Man. Given the mayor's increasing reclusiveness, he won't even need to buy a costume."

    Yard Sign: "This is campaign trickery," said Hoeffel

    Another reason to avoid yard signs comes from the brotherly love folks to the east:
    Birds of a feather? Well, they only have left wings -

    Those "Kerry & Specter for Working Families" signs that began popping up in eastern Pennsylvania last week were not disingenuous attempts by the senator to link himself with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democrat presidential nominee.

    Actually, it was a disingenuous attempt by Republican political consultant Roger Stone to link Specter to Kerry.

    Suburban Republicans do their best to kill city

    Suburban Republicans do their best to kill city

    My letter to Brian

    Hi Brian,

    I saw the news of the 18-page letter in the Trib on 10-20-04 --- and that same day I went to the election office and changed out of the GOP party.

    Amy Carol Webb, a singer/songwriter and friend from Florida, and I are to be
    on KDKA Radio's Chris Moore show, 1020 AM, from 5 to 6 pm today - Sunday.

    I'll share some news for you and the listeners then.

    For fun, here is one of here songs:
    "Be careful punching ballots if you can't find the hole."

    Give a listen.

    She has a new verse about electronic voting machines, paper trail and voting

    Very clever.

    But I'm also prepared to cover some ground about local politics too.

    As for the money points --- you're too old school and too media centered in hopes of selling soap. Why spend $1-million to get a risk in the chance to get a $90K job as captain of a sinking ship? We don't really want a mayor's race with those costs as the debt is an anchor and the candidate is beholden to others then.

    Saturday, October 23, 2004

    This week's event pointers


    Western Westmoreland Republican Club invites you to a showing of a film by by Dick Morris, Fahrenhype 9/11, a rebuttal to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 at 7 pm on Thursday, October 28 at Lincoln Hills Country Club. Join us for an evening of truth, unity and a tribute to the American Soldier past, present and future! The Public is Welcome! Admission is Free.

    Michael Moore was headed to Penn State University as well.


    Friday, October 29, starting at Washington's Landing at 6 pm to 9 pm, Cost: $20 Bike Pittsburgh & Venture Outdoors Members, $25 others. Sign up: (412) 255-0564.

    This easy-paced ride and fundraiser will take us all over Pittsburgh to various haunted buildings. We'll be making plenty of stops to tell stories and give local haunted history. A fully supported ride with treats and drinks provided along the way, participants are encouraged to ride in costume, but please make sure that you wear something that will not get caught in your wheels or chain, and that does not impair your normal field of vision. Helmets are required, but you can decorate them! Benefits Bike Pittsburgh.

    Trying to keep the streets from getting too "scary" when it's not Halloween. Come out and enjoy a pleasant evening of stories and legend while helping to support an important local cause. Please bring a bike light if you have it; loaners available with advance notice.

    If you have an event, send it me, Mark -at- Rauterkus -dot- com. I'll give it a mention in this blog.

    Friday, October 22, 2004

    World Series

    Boston (think Tea Party) vs. St. Louis (hometown of the famous Anheuser-Busch Brewery).

    Boston (J.F. Kerry's home) Red Sox win. Triumph bring tragic death to student shot by police while in a mob. Now the Boston Mayor sabre rattles about a prohibition. The overly rash reaction by the Mayor to a tragic death following the game gives an opportunity to make a point to the blog world.

    "If you shut down the bars, the problem will get worse," said Alan Eisner, executive director of the Massachusetts Hospitality Association. "At least in a licensed premise you have supervision."

    Another decent quote from a blog in Pittsburgh, "Unless the cop was drunk, alcohol had nothing to do with her death."

    Presidential candidate, Libertarian, Michael Badnarik could put out a call to create web ads for sports blogs. With a press release, some eye candy and computer code, sober baseball fans and political junkies who crave a free world and an end to the war on druges would be able to inject messages in alternative avenues to drive home some points and buzz for the final innings of the campaign.

    Yard sign: Politics is compliated. Democracy is messy. Voting is simple.

    Politics = Complicated (but) Voting = simple

    Bush vs. Kerry: Candidates more alike than different on tech issues

    PG: Bush vs. Kerry: Candidates more alike than different on tech issues

    I am going to offer strong distinctions next to my opponents on tech issues in 2005. Sadly, some on Grant Street today have been there long enough that I'm not sure that they can even spell email. And for me to point to spelling as a strong suit is fiberglasting. Many on Grant Street need to move to the private sector for a while so the city can retool.

    On copyright policy:
    Most of my content is put into the public domain. I was one of a few who helped to push Netscape to the Eureka Squared! concept for putting its web browser code (remember the browser wars) into a tar ball into the public domain and to release under a more liberal Mozilla public license. Later, Mozilla changed its license policy. I also pushed for the DSL (Design Science License) years before there was any Stanford based Creative Commons. Now the CC is moving too far back into the corporate sphere with too many options and restrictions.

    While the trade group will not comment on either candidate's platform, at least one high-powered member has expressed annoyance with the candidates' silence on tech issues.

    Intel Chief Executive Officer Craig Barrett told a crowd of tech workers earlier this week that the country is losing its global competitive edge and that Bush and Kerry, in their debates, virtually ignored the country's declining tech infrastructure.

    Pittsburgh has lost its tech advantage. We should have 80 wired senior centers, rec centers and community outlets with cable modems. These factors are part of the city's cable franchise agreement that are now being squandered by Tom Murphy's administration.

    We should have the parental dashboard functional for all the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Then parents can check on real-time matters at schools -- like if the kids are in class or not.

    Wiki kick-off this week

    Help elect Mark Rauterkus

    Thursday, October 21, 2004

    A fantastic evening with Amy Carol Webb and political presentations

    The 2004 Voter Education and Concert Showcase with Amy Carol Webb was held on Thursday, October 21, 2004, at Sunnyhill.
    Order of events in PDF. Archives to be posted at S6.CLOH.Org.

    The Sunnyhill blog links to two of Amy's songs. Amy Carol Webb, visiting Pittsburgh
    If You Can't Find the Hole
    Be careful punching ballots
    If you can't find the hole
    Or you could see your civil rights
    Jerked out of your control
    You could find your chad left dangling
    In some partisan unknown
    So be careful punching ballots
    If you can't find the hole

    The early concert features Amy Carol Webb from Florida, and a new verse to the song that included touch-screen voting machines and the desire for a paper trail. The other two songs were, Oh Abraham and my favorite, Think Again.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    When does the curse vanish?

    Red Sox ... how sweet it is. The Sox are, after all, one of the big-league teams that employ Pittsburgh Pirates. Wish we could send Boston a new toll-taker for the Mass Pike, i.e., Tom Murphy.

    We lost our soccer game tonight by the score of 11-1. So, in a small way, ever so small, I share the same feelings of the Yankees. Isn't it great how sports can unite?

    But music has the power to unite as well, perhaps more so than sports. We are really excited about the visit from Amy Carol Webb. She is so good. Hope to see many of you there. Don't miss it.

    State court tosses fire union's referendum

    AP Wire | 10/20/2004 | State court tosses fire union's referendum Commonwealth Court Judge Joseph McCloskey rejected the referendum on Wednesday - less than two weeks before the Nov. 2 election - saying that the petitions that 24,000 city residents signed were unclear.

    This judgement is another golden invitation to 24,000 citizens to pack up and leave town. The judge and the mayor are telling the world that they know better than the rest. The voice of the citizens has become meaningless in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh nears meaningless status too.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    Earn $100 on Nov 2

    Details on the recruting of poll watchers follows. Pick up some cash, insure democracy.

    Dan Schwartzbauer:
    Randy Vulakovich:
    Jason Davidek:

    The Republican State Committee is recruiting individuals to assist at the Polls on Election Day.

  • Be a registered voter in Allegheny County

  • Work at a designated polling location from 7 am to 8 pm

  • Watch to make sure votes are cast by legal, registered voters only

  • Attend one of the 1-hour training sessions

  • You will receive: $100, meals, an invitation to the Victory Party that evening in Downtown Pittsburgh, satisfaction that you made a difference for your country this election day.

    Assignments will be handed out at the mandatory training session you attend.

    Training Session Locations and Dates

    Only attend one session.

    Thursday, October 21, Holiday Inn, Oakland, University Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 from
    4 to 5 pm.

    Thursday, October 21, Moon Township, for location information email from 7 to 8 pm.

    Monday, October 25, The Great Hall, Ross Township, 1001 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
    7 to 8 pm.

    Anyone interested, please email NAME, PHONE NUMBER and E-MAIL ADDRESS to Okay to pass this message on to others. Use the link that looks like an envelope to send to friends.

    (FYI, I'm not involved with this effort. I'm just passing along the info. You are free to decide.)

    That could leave a mark

    Ball goes over the wall in Yankee stadium, hits a fan standing in the front row right in the tummy. The fan is wearing a black pull-over hoodie. Not a flinch. Umps, at first, think the ball hit the top of the wall and the batter only got a double. That guy or gal is going to be on the AM shows. The score went to 4-0 for the Sox after a huddle with the men in blue.

    Kwel. Teamwork. Doing the right thing.

    At least the fans in NY know how to keep their hands in the pockets. Such poise and discipline. That's a great example of how culture becomes progressive.

    Chicago's lesson was understood. Going under cover and fearing for your life for days is a poor artifact of going to a playoff baseball game.

    Let's get to game seven.....

    Well, it's time to re-blog at 11:42 pm as the riot geared police empty onto the field and line its edges. One more inning. My little Sox fan has been sawing logs since the 6th inning.

    New book: Good to be King

    Good to be King book by Badnarik
    Author: Michael Badnarik The book has just been released on Oct. 19, 2004.

    One of my standard slogans and stories is, "All the king's men and all the king's horses can't put this city together again." So, I like the title, Good to be King. For Pittsburgh, a slant would be, "Good to have Authorities."

    Monday, October 18, 2004 - Cities find Wi-Fi future - Cities find Wi-Fi future - Oct 18, 2004: "Jumping on the Wi-Fi bandwagon?"

    I've been jumping on the tech bandwagon, and that includes wi-fi, for some time. This is a major campaign plank. I'm not sure many on Grant Street today even know how to spell email.

    Present mission, saving the city's cable television services.

    Check out the WORD file is on this page, down a screen or so. It details a RFP (Request For Proposals) for a firm / operator to handle the duties of putting the two city council meetings onto cable.

    Yesterday at the PIIN public action, County councilwoman, Brenda F., told me that she was not going to vote for the county to spend money to put their meetings onto a cablecast.

    Heavy Or Not

    More political events this week

    Voter Education

    No charge entry, great music, Mt. Lebo Church, pan-partisan, 7 pm, Oct 21. See article elsewhere in this blog.


    Candidate debate for US Congress hosted at CCAC - Boyce Campus, with East Suburban UU Church, Debate. Sadly, this event falls on the same date and time as our event at Sunnyhill. Otherwise, I would have done my best to attend. Their event is a real debate, and it seems to be the only one that features the two candidates.


    -- John Kerry and some special musical guest will be at CMU on Wednesday. You have to have tickets but they were being passed out at the PIIN meeting.
    IMNSHO (In my not so humble opinion), the special musical guest, Bon Jovi, won't be as good as the music you'll be able to take in on Thursday night with Amy Carol Webb.

    -- General Wesley Clark, (did you know he is a swimmer, besides a frequent CNN guest), is coming to town on Thursday too. I think he's slated for the VFW post 5008, East Pittsburgh, 401 Drapper St, 412-829-1377. at 1:15 pm. Please try to be there by 12:30 pm so we can get settled. Contact: uz2bface - at - comcast - dot - net


    A Attorney General, Allegheny County native, Tom Corbitt, is holding a special event for $100 on Thursday, Oct 21 from 5 to 7 pm. Happy Hour with A.G. candidate

    The Republican Committees hosts a council for a Fall Candidates Sunday Brunch at the Wildwood Country Club (McCandless) from 10 am to 12:30 pm on Sunday, October 24. Meet many of your local elected officials and candidates. All Republican federal and state candidates have been invited and many are expected. The brunch is $25. To join, contact Cindy Kirk at 724-935-0596, cptkirkb - at - stargate -dot - net.

    Media meeting

    TV 4 Town Hall Meeting

    Tax plan for city in a haze as Nov. 30 deadline looms

    Pittsburgh is dead in the water as long as Mayor Tom Murphy is at the helm. Not only are people not willing to help, but people are not willing to meet, nor are people not clear as to what to do. With Murphy on the scene, Pittsburgh's lack of trust, phony budgets, and numbness just creeps into more facets of life.

    Murphy is going to need to quit for the good of the city.

    House Democratic Leader H. William DeWeese of Waynesburg is going to need to ask Murphy to resign.

    State Senator Shean Logan, D, is going to need to ask Murphy to resign.
    Tax plan for city in a haze as Nov. 30 deadline looms: "'At this point I'd say it's only 50-50 at best'' that the Legislature will aid Pittsburgh before the session ends, said Sen. Sean Logan, D-Monroeville."

    Sunday, October 17, 2004

    PIIN = Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network

    PIIN is an interesting organization. I was greatly involved at PIIN's first public action as we put a demand forward from the Youth & Recreation task force.

    Trib: .... Wheatley was not booed. That treatment was reserved for Mayor Tom Murphy after Nancy Fitzgerald, a PIIN executive committee member, told the crowd Murphy had not agreed to meet with the group and did not send a representative to the event. ....

  • Trib: Coalition wins pledges from officials

  • PG coverage Notice the smirk on Tim V's face as he watches the PAT Exec. Director.

  • In many ways I've got mixed feelings about the group and the meeting on Oct 17, 2004.

    I feel very good about the efforts we put forth in PIIN's frst public action. The demand we made was a failure -- due of course -- as you might guess, to Mayor Murphy's fumbles. We wanted to put a bunch of computers into some of the rec centers in the city. But, the city didn't want that to occur. Mayor Murphy would move to close the rec centers some months later. We knew it was coming.

    A big salute to Jack M and the others from Sunnyhill and the UU Churches in the area who helped with yesterday's PIIN meeting. The UUs are now, seemingly, not only the driving force to PIIN, (we've always been that), but a bigger bulk. I still think a Pgh UU Network, PUUN, would and could be a far more effective force for change in the region. Oh well.

    Raising a racket over city spending

    PittsburghLIVE.comHorgan might have been concerned that if word got out, this tennis fiasco might prompt even city residents who don't play the sport to raise a racket.

    The tennis courts and bubble were paid for with an American Express card. And, there is a decent return on the investment. And, the bubble went up nearly 5 months late and snow and slush was on the bubble as there was snow and slush on the ground at the time. So, the new bubble needed to be washed, before its opening. And, this last summer, they didn't even take it down. To much work. In the summer it is way to hot to play in there. So, air-conditioning is hoped for in the future.

    This all makes some sense -- but no sense for Citiparks. We should have a park district and we could spin Citiparks out of the City of Pittsburgh. Then managment and oversight of park things can occur with democracy and real leadership that does not have to worry about the ghosts of the city creeping into every move.

    Tennis, without a tennis pro, happens here too. I don't just want the courts. I want coaching of the kids. I want an overall program. That is where the real benefits resdide. Parks are not just a bricks, mortar and bubble experience. I think that they should be much more.

    Another article at a later date: More topspin on tennis facility -

    Saturday, October 16, 2004

    Spotlight on Jack Wagner

    Observer-Reporter: "If elected auditor general, Democrat Jack Wagner says an analysis of the state's economic stimulus programs will be among his first projects.

    Jack is a State Senator who should be able to champion a analysis of the state's economic stimulus programs. He didn't. He should have. He is waiting until he gets his next job. He is all "indie" but what does he have to say now about these spending plans.

    Let me sum it up:Jack has said little or nothing.

    Gov Ed Rendell is spending a lot of money. Jack's been doing too little and too late. Leaders do their best from the positions they hold. Leaders can aspire to other positions, but that is no excuse for a lack of action now.

    I have asked for Jack Wagner's help on matters about Pittsburgh, as he is my state senator. But he is always too busy running for an office other than the one he is holding now. He ran for 'Lt. Gov.' He runs now for Auditor General. But he can't come to grips with being a State Senator so as to help the citizens now. Run. But run and chew gum at the same time. Do both.

    I want it all. I want Jack to run for another office. And, I want Jack to do the heavy lifting for the office he is in now too.

    Being a watchdog as in the role of being auditor general is hard work. Jack is going to have good perspectives as he's been around the state. But, his watching and barking and actions are in a slumber. His yard sign placement skills are sharp, no doubt. But so what.

    Tell me, what does Jack Wagner say about Pittsburgh's conditions? What does he say about a merger of Citiparks and County Parks & Rec into a new Park District? Would Jack support the liquidation of the Park Authority -- or -- was he here when it was created?

    Say mate, and "Momma Spell" -- get well soon

    It's not fun once your wheels go. Note and fan mail in comments.

    Friday, October 15, 2004

    Tony Norman tells all his true colors

    PG writer, Nader may be right, but the time is wrong ... would I be a Democratic stooge?

    Not only does Tony paint himself as a stooge but also a liar. Ouch.

    Another lesson: two wrongs still don't make a right.

    Politics is complicated. Democracy is messy. However, voting is simple, and same too should be the process of getting onto the ballot.

    email blast for 412-Public-Remarks

    The 412-Public-Remarks 2004 Archive by date

    My email contact list is at 8,270. I don't want to "pester" but do want to stay in touch. And, mostly, my announces are invites. The link above shows illustrates the other types of blasts I've sent in the past.

    [412] Concert and Pan-Political Gathering -- Thurs, Oct 21, 7 pm in Mt. Lebo at our church

    Hi Friends,

    The greatest singer, songwriter, performer I have ever heard -- no joke --
    is slated to play at our Voter Education event at 7 pm on Thursday, Oct. 21,
    2004 at the UU Church of the South Hills,

    You're invited. Please attend.

    Our casual, friendly venue makes a splendid setting. You'll enjoy and
    remember this night for years to come. Amy Carol Webb is a dear friend from
    Florida. She's recorded seven or more CDs in recent years. I've begged her
    to come to Pittsburgh and this is the night.

    Her song about the hanging chads from the Florida vote for the last
    presidential election is a hoot and a half. "Be careful punching ballots if
    you can't find the hold..."

    More at

    Voter registration has ended. Now it is time to gather and celebrate in a
    diverse setting. Amy will make us all laugh as she can spread joy like few

    I can't say enough about her and the concert she'll provide. Get a baby
    sitter. Do whatever it takes to be there. Save this time and be there for
    yourself. She is a star.

    Thursday, October 21, 2004 -- 7 pm sharp.
    UU Church of the South Hills, 1240 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon

    The price is right as well. Because it's a 'pan-political voter education
    effort' there is NO GATE CHARGE. It's free to those who can behave as you
    should at an inspiring concert.

    My favorite of her original songs: "Think Again." You gotta hear it. It
    makes so much sense, especially for the City of Pittsburgh.

    As always, thanks for the consideration. And, of course, thanks for voting
    and all that you do for our shared community.


    Mark Rauterkus xCoach at
    412-298-3432 = cell

    Thursday, October 14, 2004

    Free Linux Basics Tutorial October 16, 2004

    [wplug-announce] Geeks, pizza, PCs, CMU setting

    Hurry up and wait

    PG Council rejects plans for commuter taxMembers choose to wait for support from Legislature

    In some parts of city life and goverment we need to rush to do nothing. We should tell the world that this city isn't going to do any more bone-headed deals that give millions of dollars away to downtown department stores. The city has been hyper-active in terms of putting poison into the well of the marketplace. Heavy handed interventions in the market need to end -- quickly.

    Case in point: We rushed to give the land control of the North Shore to the Steelers and Pirates. But, their time expired. And, we rushed to be Johnny on the Spot and give away another $4-million from the state to build an auditorium for the Rooneys.

    But on the other hand, there are many places where we need to be hyper-active and work to help heal this city. We need to gather people about swim pools and rec centers. We need to explore options with public safety and citizens in honest, frank, open discussions.

    We need to make sure we have a budget that makes sense, rather than being phony and filled with massive taxes that have no intentions of being enacted. This administration rushes to fake and push deceptions.

    An honest discussion about the commuter tax should happen now. I'm glad that some are not okay in waiting around. The city's funds are going to go below zero in a few short weeks. Waiting isn't prudent.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    Everyone should go and get version 1.1.3

    Open Office Logo
    Open Office has 4th Birthday, Oct 13, 2004 is the most important open-source project in the world. These words, spoken by founder of GNOME and Novell Ximian CTO, Miguel de Icaza, on the occasion of the first anniversary of, are more true now than ever before. Today, four years after Sun Microsystems released the source code of its popular StarOffice to the open-source community, is widely seen as the future of open-source development and the key to its future.

    As an international and multilingual project, gives everyone the freedom to participate in, learn about, and contribute to the project. And as a product, runs natively on Windows, Linux or Solaris, as well as every other major platform, and is available in over 44 supported languages. Usable by all, it is the invaluable tool in the modern office.

    Tens of millions use the application daily; millions visit the project website monthly; thousands contribute to the project. There have been at least 31 million downloads since the project began. That volume does not count the millions registered by Red Hat, SuSE, or Mandrake Linux, which include in their distributions.

    In the last year, city governments, such as that of Munich, Germany, to name but one of many, and federal administration offices, such as the French Ministère de l'Economie, des Finances et de l'Industrie (MINEFI), chose for its technology, flexibility, and future, not
    because it is free (gratis). Is the ministry happy with their decision? Representatives gave a keynote at the recent OOoCon, where they advocated and looked to a future with open-source software.

    And what is that future? An application that bridges not just the closed- and open-source world but that also bridges the digital divide from Amsterdam to Zanzibar. An application that uses an internationally standardized file format and an open production process to give users perpetual right over their property.

    The file format, an XML based implementation, is the open standard recently approved by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). By using the format, vendor lock in is impossible. People will choose or its commercial
    derivations, such as StarOffice, on the basis of value, not because they have no choice.

    That value is extensive, and it is set to grow. This spring, 2.0 will leap over every other office suite. For those users clamoring for an Access equivalent, it will have it. It will be more interoperable. And for those developers wanting more modularity and more responsiveness, 2.0 has that, too.

    This coming year will be remarkable, and our door is open. is both a open-source project and product. It is free. As one of the leading open-source projects, combines the worldwide efforts of developers and endusers to produce a complete office productivity suite that runs on all major platforms and in over 30 supported languages while being compatible with Microsoft Office. is sponsored by Sun Microsystems, Inc., and hosted by CollabNet.

    Dismal Democrats

    PG Letter to editor Wake up, Cleveland and, for that matter, Pittsburgh too. This political philosophy has seen its day. If you don't take this opportunity to change, by supporting a Republican administration, then you are destined to more poverty while the rest of the country prospers.

    The gentleman from Moon, Benjamin Bonham, is on the mark that we can't have one-party domination.

    To maintain fire safety in the city, vote YES on this referendum

    Letters to the editor, 10/13/04

    Letter in the comments....

    Editorial: City tale / Romance novels, photo frames and other frivolities

    PG Editorial A man with a broom swept up the mess and presented Mr. Ricciardi with the bill. 'Don't give it to me,' the councilman said. 'Send it to the taxpayer.

    Hilton El Conquistador

    Tucson AZ One of the top resorts in Tucson, Arizona, the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort is set at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountain range in Northwest Tucson, AZ.

    I'm staying home this weekend.

    Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group

    Boycott Sinclair Broadcast GroupThe Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) will interrupt its normal schedule days before the election to air an anti-Kerry propaganda film. Truly the only way to make ourselves heard is by hitting SBG where it hurts -- in the pocketbook. The means to accomplish this is through staged letter writing to both SBG and their advertisers.

    No brainer -- of course -- and count on it with me

    Mark A. Nordenberg, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, and Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University, rant about effective partnerships.
    Perspectives: Partnering for Pittsburgh: "One key to this continuing success story is our shared institutional commitment to forging effective partnerships. Neither of our universities, as strong as they are, could have attracted support for these national centers alone. But as each of these examples so clearly demonstrates, when we join forces, we can compete with anyone.

    This kind of cooperation is essentially unique in the world of higher education. Unfortunately, it also is all too rare in southwestern Pennsylvania. However, if this region is going to advance, we must increasingly view our neighbors as potential collaborators and not as competitors. If we can overcome a long tradition of fragmentation and begin to work more effectively with each other, there is no reason that we cannot move this great region forward together.

    All the king's men and all the king's horses can't put Pittsburgh back together again. This revival is going to take open teamwork and effective partnerships. We've got to play well with each other. We don't now -- because -- the mayor is in the way. Nor can we play well among all of our friends and neighbors when all of the leadership is of the same party.

    One day, soon I hope, the leaders at Pitt and CMU are going to wake up to the fact that they have a serious role in the stewardship of our democracy. The governmental outreach at these institutions have been old-school. So, to take the conversation out of the elementary grades and move it to middle-school or high-school discussions, we need academic leaders to advance themselves and the overall discussions.

    We've got some of the greatest minds around the world. But they are specialized and clueless, by in large, in terms of civics 101 in Pittsburgh in 2004. Pitt's School of Public Health is a cancer to local democracy.

    The faculty senate at Pitt would not approve of the plan to put a merry-go-round between the two libraries, removing parking, and spending millions. The folly that happens here does so behind some serious smoke agents, such as the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. There is little or no partnership for execllence in these neighborhood ways. Many strive to cloak the truth and short-change accountability.

    On a department by department basis, those at the universities need to wake up, for the sake of the city.

    But, on the upside, that potential is there and waiting and willing. Once we make Grant Street in tune with the rest of the city institutions, we'll be able to soar. That's, to use George W. Bush's words, "hard work." We'll have to come in on Saturdays. Hard, difficult, talking with professors, it's confusing, hearing big words, headaches and a challenge.

    Ad: Printing

    Take 25% off all of your custom printing needs

    Shut down: Idle minds and idling buses

    The Allegheny County Health Department announced enactment of a new air quality regulations to reduce emissions from school bus idling. Buses can't unnecessarily idle longer than five minutes, with some exemptions.

    Idling is okay when the temperature is less than 40 degrees, above 75 degrees, and to operate a lift or other equipment designed to ensure the safe loading or unloading.

    Report suspected school bus idling violations at 412-687-2243.

    On Thursday, Oct. 14 at 9:30 am (301 39th St., Building # 7, Pittsburgh 15201) ACHD will present new, proposed anti-idling regulations for diesel powered motor vehicles and diesel powered locomotives at its Regulation Subcommittee meeting. Your attendance and input at this or future subcommittee meetings could have significant impact on how anti-idling regulations in Allegheny County look. To learn more or become involved in anti-idling efforts, contact GASP.

    Planners sack North Side parking plan

    PG coverage "During yesterday's meeting, City Councilman Jim Motznik detailed his proposal to allow advertising on fences at city-owned ballfields to help raise money for the cash-strapped city. The Riverlife Task Force spoke in opposition, saying parks would become venues for advertising."

    Once again, I'm feeling like a dead-skunk in the middle of the road. Motznik's plan for ads at baseball fields is lame. I call it a turnip. However, to have the Riverlife Task Force show up to be against the plan is even worse.

    The Riverlife Task Force, started by Tom Murphy, is a booster group for Tom Murphy. The group has gone way out of bounds on matters that it should not concern itself with. Meanwhile, the Riverlife Task Force has fumbled on matters where it should be most focused upon.

    The Riverlife Task Force is bad news and unjust. That group needs to be put in its place.

    In recent months the Riverlife Task Force came to speak strongly about the Route 28 plans. That's highways, hillsides and not riverlife.

    Former Alcoa boss, Paul O'N., was a co-head of the Riverlife Task Force. When he was with the group, the group was in the back pocket of certain interests as well.

    The other big deal leader from Riverlife, John Craig, former boss of the PG. I don't expect the PG readers to ever seen a story about the Park's Position Paper, released in May, 2004. Craig and I email one another after the paper's release and I urged him to read the position paper and assign it or editorialize about it himself. And, advertising in the parks is part of the plan. We had better not hold our breath.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Proud Dads

    A fellow stay-at-home dad, Hogan Hilling, visited Pittsburgh a while ago. He spoke at a national convention held at the Hilton. Hogan is from San Diego and wrote a great little giftbook as well.

  • part 1 - 31 megs

  • part 2 - 29 megs

  • I've never relased these audio files as there has been a pinch for web server disk space. I'm with a little elbow room now, so enjoy. However, this isn't going to last. I'm looking for some audio data warehouse that would accept these audio files for long-term storage. Pointers and ideas welcome. in past years I might have used Mark Cuban's Audio Net, but that sorta dates me.

    Audio blast from the past

    In 2001 I ran for Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, in a contested GOP Primary. KDKA TV did a profile on me and my loyal opponent, Professor James Carmine. Here is the audio in an mp3 file for history's sake.

    A 1.5 meg file, audio of KDKA TV profile with Ken Rice on Mark Rauterkus from May, 2001.

    Replies Elsewhere

    I'll post some of my comments put onto other blogs in the comment section below. I do put my $.02 into the comments on the blogs of others.

    Major Buhl Planetarium Artifacts Unaffected by flood


    Three major historic artifacts of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science were unaffected by the major flood of September 17 and 18, according to a September 24 letter from The Carnegie Science Center to Pittsburgh General Services Director Dale Perrett. However, the letter did not indicate the condition of other City-owned Buhl Planetarium artifacts, which were moved to The Carnegie Science Center in 1991 or 1994.

    Among the other artifacts are eleven paintings including "The Old Astronomer" by Pennsylvania artist and architect Daniel Owen Stephens, which has been published in Astronomy textbooks and in a 1961 filmstrip for schools called The Race for Space, and portraits of Astronomer Nicholas Copernicus (commissioned by the Polish Arts League of Pittsburgh) and Henry Buhl, Jr. and his wife Louise.

  • Entire news release

  • List of city-owned Buhl Planetarium artifacts stored at the Carnegie Science Center

  • Letter to CITY COUNCILMAN Peduto
  • Greater scrutiny

    Plan gets legal OK - "Bob Strauss, a professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Oakland, said missing the payment to the pension fund could draw greater scrutiny from lending institutions and the bond market. "

    Greater scrutiny, as in scrutiny squared!

    Bring on the greater scrutiny. Let's welcome exposure to this situation from the likes of USA Today, WSJ, Phili, NYT, Newsweek, etc.

    Monday, October 11, 2004

    Newsgroups and Blogs

    In the past, I had periods as an active participant in various newsgroups. In recent seasons, I've not been there at all. But since the Olympics, via a new service, "" I gave them a peek again.

    Presently, I can't seem to post. Techie issues elsewhere. Time to take plenty of fluids and check again in the morning.

    The newsgroups are more vile than the blogs. Flamewars, ... those were the days. And, they still seem to occur.

    Over at Pgh.General it is nice to see that one reader would think I'd win the mayor's race, even spending $1 per voter. That's just $20 K to $30 K.

    Are there others here that lurk or post in newsgroups still? Are the audiences split? Did bloggers cut their teeth in the newsgroup realm? What are your favorites?

    Who controls the city? Asking and telling in next breath

    Trib ANALYSIS "But that's not really the issue. Pittsburgh voters will be answering a much more fundamental question: Do they want to break the grip unionized employees have had on the city's government for decades?

    I love Jake Haulk's perspectives and work, most of the time. He is strongly against corporate welfare. He was timid a bit on the parking situations when I would instead move to remove the entire authority over time. But on this matter of democracy and the November referendum, he seems to be flat out wrong.

    Some want us to think that the The Nov. 2 ballot question is about getting a fire truck to the flames in four minutes. Others think it is about Pittsburgh's future.
    "We are speaking for the 88 communities" in Pittsburgh, King said. "If you're concerned about fire safety, about your children, about your home, about your property, this is the way to voice your opinion."

    Exactly. Democracy is what is really at stake here. This is rather simple. Politics is complicated and full of weirdness. However, democracy is rather straight. Some people think that they know what's best for all the other people. Other people think that the general population, in America, gets to have a right to decide important issues for themselves at the polls.

    I hate to see the Tom Murphy's administration take a legal ballot question to the judge to get it ruled invalid. Tom Murphy does not want real democracy. Tom Murphy is scared of the people's collective choice.

    I hate to see other people twist democracy into something that it isn't. This isn't a complicated question about some control of the city. That's smoke of the highest order. Fear, uncertainty, doubt works for the analysis pushers.

    David Miller's quote about people voting based on who they think their friends are is lame. The vote in a ballot question avoids a personality as it is a question, not a candidate.

    This weekend I talked to a gentleman on the street who said he loves our city council president and wished he had him as a son-in-law. But, he also said that this politician was terrible and had to go. He is wrecking the city. There is no way that guy is ever going to vote for this councilman again. But, he'd call him a friend.

    David Miller, perhaps the newspaper got the quote wrong. Otherwise, I'm red-faced for you.
    Moreover, the firefighters union does not have an organized adversary, said Joseph Sabino Mistick, a Duquesne University law professor who worked in the administrations of mayors Richard Caliguiri and Sophie Masloff.

    Wrong! The organized adversary is Tom Murphy and his administration. Other organized opponents might be the Act 47 coordinators, the I.C.A. (oversight board) and analysis writers such as the Trib's Andrew Conte, PG editors and Jake Haulk. That sounds like a potent team of loyal opponents. They buy ink by the barrel and control the purse strings.
    "We know the firefighters are in a position to wage an effective public relations campaign," Mistick said. "Will the forces that support these cuts be in a position to do the same? Where do they get their money? They don't have any real constituency."

    Joe. I know that the mayor doesn't have any real constituency left, but, he does have those oversight pals and Gov. Ed Rendell. And, he'll be calling up KDKA TV and others to get his message out as he so desires. Presently he is doing his best to hide in a hole with the "no comment comment." But, that will pass.

    Head's up: Overcoming poverty is a religious and moral issue that must be addressed in this election year.

    Call to Renewal's Rolling to Overcome Poverty Bus Tour will be coming to Pittsburgh Friday, October 15 and McKeesport, Saturday, October 16, 2004. See the comments for details.

    Mrs. Edwards visited the South Side Market House

    We caught a bit of the presentation. Photos to come.

    As for the rest of the blog - you nail it.

    A City Councilman's comments to me in an email:
    I believe that Act 47 Recovery Plan will keep us from bankruptcy and will help to put us on a course where we can "survive" for the next few years. Forcing the Mayor to resign might make some feel better, but the problems will still be here. As for the rest of the blog - you nail it. Lots of talk about what we should do, but not 5 people to take action and do something.

    This came in as a result of last week's rant called, "Resign Already" posted on the web, with blog pointer.

    Note, my goal has not been so much to survive. I don't want band-aid solutions. My aim is for Pittsburgh to thrive. We need to soar in our actions, in our community life and in our decisions about public policy. To soar, it takes an extention of wings to both the right and left as well as tail feathers.

    Those who have an aim to just survive, nobel as it is, are going to fail us all. We don't need any more turnips or survival food. If we only look at ways to survive, we'll never look at ways to prosper. Sadly, the survival seekers are not interested in looking into ways to thrive. They seem to wear blinders to the big picture.

    If you think that there are but only five here to take action, let me first ask you to entertain these thoughts before I dispute the notion.

    More people left the city of Pittsburgh since Tom Murphy was mayor than voted for him to continue his tenure in the last election. There are tens of thousands of people who are packing their bags, selling their homes, relocating elsewhere. They are uprooting from this city in large numbers and at fast rates. That is hard work. Those people are voting with their feet. That is called, "taking action."

    So, we have plenty of folks around here that are taking action on these serious problems. However, that isn't the type of action that you'd like to see, nor I, but at least I've been aware of it and giving that movement the credit it deserves. We can't pat ourselves on the back because those folks are not here.

    We need to get the flood-gates to open in the other directions. We have a polorized leadership that sends people to scramble the other way. As soon as the mayor's reach is seriously discounted, his forces are neutralized, his sway is made meaningless and these folks don't rush out of dodge.

    I think that the call for the Mayor's resignation is a seed of hope.

    I think that the threat of a 34-percent rise in property tax is a strong poke in the eye that tells the citizens to bail from the city as fast as possible. Tom Murphy's budget and personna is inflicting pain and worry to all of Pittsburgh's citizens.

    Those that don't feel Tom Murphy is part of the problem are sure to join him in the parade of dispair.

    The ones who are going to feel better upon hearing serious talk of the Mayor's resignation include the one's who have left already and all those who are still hunkered down. Not everyone, but a vast majority of people are going to be uplifted by the overthrowing of the Murphy Administration. The Rooney family might cry the blues, but at least they'll be in a new musical venue soon.

    Furthermore, i understand that one citizen, one pack of citizens with "Fire Mayor Murphy and City Council" t-shirts, and even one newspaper nor one city council member can force the mayor to resign. We can't force his resignation. No way. But, we can make the public request. "He should resign." The times and these situations call for bold talk and bold leadership.

    We watch. I've heard the grumbling and mumbling. I'm not okay to watch as others just kick the dirt and say, "Sucks, we just shrunk the city by half and took its public funds to nothing." Pittsburgh deserves better. Pittsburgh's mayor has lead the city poorly. Pittsburgh deserves a better mayor, ASAP. Its time to clean house.

    Bi-partisan is not non-partisan

    (update in comments)

    The October 8, 2004 debate is to feature the second head to head between Bush and Kerry. And, as a sideshow, Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's 2004 presidential nominee, pledges he'll either enter the debate, or else he'll be going to jail.

    "A majority of Americans say that I should be included in the events sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates," says Badnarik, 50, of Austin, Texas. "And the CPD, as a non-profit, has received special treatment from government on the requirement that they be
    non-partisan in their activities. Bi-partisan is not non-partisan.

    "Unless I am allowed to participate, the debates become a massive campaign contribution to two of the candidates, illegal under the very campaign finance laws those two candidates have passed and signed as Senator and President."

    At 8 p.m. on Friday evening, Badnarik, along with the demonstrators expected to assemble in protest against his exclusion, will proceed to the police line erected to keep himself and the other legitimate candidates out during broadcast of the "bi-partisan campaign commercial."

    And then he will cross it.

    "We'd have preferred to see John Kerry and George Bush stand up like men to debate the issues facing America," says Badnarik's communications director, Stephen Gordon. "However, they have interposed the machinery of government between the American people and the honest debate which must precede any honest election. Now it's up to patriots like Michael Badnarik to force the issue." In Arizona, the Libertarian Party is taking the state university to court to prevent the expenditure of state money on a similar event.

    Badnarik has previously debated David Cobb, the Green Party's candidate; Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party; and Walt Brown of the Socialist Party. Kerry and Bush, as well as Independent Ralph Nader, declined to participate in those debates. Tomorrow morning, he
    will proceed from a New York taping with Bill Moyers to St. Louis, ready to take on the Republican and Democratic machines in defense of American democracy.

    Voters in 48 states and the District of Columbia will be able to vote for Badnarik on November 2nd. More than 600 Libertarians currently serve in public office across the United States.

    Ground Zero:

    The protest will proceed from Northmoor Park on Big Bend Ave., just south of Washington University to the corner of Big Bend and Forsyth, where the police line is expected to be arrayed. Badnarik's crossing onto the Washington University campus will take place at that point,
    some time between 8 and 8:15 p.m. Badnarik and Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb plan to cross the police line together.

    Quote Thoreau, and intended to apply to the US occupation of Iraq:

    "In other words, when ... a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so
    overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army." -- Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

    Bowyer call in

    These debates in Cleveland and St. Louis are being held in cities much like Pittsburgh with swift population decline, corporate welfare, one-party domination.

    Sunday, October 10, 2004

    Leg helmets

    Click Here for Eurosport's Soccer Shinguards!

    CMUer Rocks the House to Jeopardy Victory

    Winning one for geeks everywhere, a Kentucky native and CMU student won at the Pete on Pitt's campus in a two-staged final of College Jeopardy.

    A good time was had by all, especially Erik and buddy, Stuart.

    A number of years ago, George Lindley, a PSU undergrad moved to study with Catherine and company at Pitt as a grad student. George earned his Masters and Ph.D. in Audiology here and was on Wheel of Fortune. He had tried out for the college game, but the game-show organized put him as a contestant for a regular show. George won, of course. But in the $25,000 round, he couldn't uncover "whirlpool." To this day his friends never let him forget it. George is now in eastern PA with a great job and family and the money he did earn on the show was spent to buy a pick-up truck. The truck is long gone too, but the memory remains, .... whirlpool, whirlpool, whirlpool.

    No Sweatshops Bucco!

    The Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance = PASCA

    Saturday, Oct. 16, 2004
    Duquesne U. - Pappert Hall - 2 to 4 pm (more in comments)

    Voters' swell ranks

    Allegheny County ACORN is taking credit for more than 25,000 new registered voters. Many wonderful groups were in a scramble and registered many new voters. Three cheers for the efforts to all.

    See the comments area for more info on a number of different fronts.

    Pittsburgh cutbacks don't cut into City Council's spending

    e-books for free for Twanda
    PG coverage "The sessions always begin with the reading of nonbinding resolutions and proclamations, followed by speeches and photographs. Last week, for instance, council read proclamations for firefighters, Lincoln-Lemington Democratic Ward Chair Dock Fielder, deaf children and Squirrel Hill philanthropist Elsie Hillman. "

    I ranted about the gift to band-aid philanthropist, Elsie Hillman. I think that the city was prudent in getting the two, framed, ring toss floaty gifts by nicking them off of one of the boats that dry-docked in Point State Park in the recent flood.e-books for free for Twanda

    As for the books, my advice to Twanda, study more with Project Gutenberg.
    Roddey's quote:

    Former county Chief Executive Jim Roddey, a Republican appointee to the city's fiscal oversight board, has long criticized the all-Democratic council, and this spring wrote preliminary recommendations to the state to dissolve the council and replace it with a part-time body.

    The miscellaneous spending "is unfortunately symbolic of the attitude of some council members, that they really have no intention of changing the way they operate, and have no appreciation for the crisis the city is under, and are not responding to it," Roddey said last week.

    "They don't get it. They simply don't understand what it means to be frugal."

    Roddey is both right and wrong. Sure, he knows and says council is overboard in its spending and clueless in its intentions. But, in terms of the solution, Roddey is off the mark. Cutting all of council is too radical. He floated that idea and it went over like a lead balloon.

    Rather than change the rules and structure of our government, we need to change the people who are in government. With new people and new thinking on council, and in the mayor's office, we'd be much further along.

    The mayor could cut those budget elements to the bone in his proposals. He doesn't. And, council, with its final authority on budget matters, could cut those budget items to the bone too, and they don't.

    Those frames and books are not needed as expenses. And, the stroking and boosterism for the council proclamations are not needed either. But, the ploy is to be "ceremonial" and "build alliances" so as to make more friends and schmooze more votes.

    But all in all, parchment paper and gold-leaf seals are cheap. The expenses for generic city-clerk duties where as the members of city council get to kiss up to the do-gooders among us are not the real issue and sticking point with me. Rather, I despise the grandure and patronage that wraps up the entire package.

    To be knighted, photographed, and put into the inner walls, like the imperial city, is another way we make Pittsburgh a feudal city. The glass slipper ordeals are not going to fix this city. All the king's men and all the king's horses are of no help. Not in this age.

    Saturday, October 09, 2004

    Link to this blog and use this digital yard sign as you wish

    Visit for Pgh Mayor's race info

    Might help protect your bike

    Banner 10000007

    Lord & Taylor's shut down The agreement to terminate May's obligation to keep the store open included a restriction that prohibits the use of the building for gambling.

    URA Chairman Tom Cox said he is unaware of any interest in turning the former bank into a slots parlor.

    'We wanted to put any speculation to bed,' he said. "

    Say what???? I'm not understanding. What's in that "agreement" to terminate May's obligation? And, why would it have anything about a slots parlor?

    URA officials who voted unanimously to allow May to close the store without penalty praised Gumberg's pending deal to buy the site.

    This quote proves how some must look up to see the curb: "It's not the ideal situation," said city Councilman Sala Udin, a URA board member. "It's the best of all possible worlds."

    Their game of musical chairs and corporate welfare needs to unravel. I sense a lot of back scratching of each other and pointing elsewhere for excuses. The bottom line on the deal is we shouldn't be doing deals like this. And, the next most important concept is that Tom Murphy, Sala Udin and their cronies shouldn't be in office any longer as they have always fumbled the interests of the public in their dealings.

    I.D., cyber security with local, Ray Brannon

    Super article for low tech readers and parents
    What's a 'blog?'

    It stands for 'biographic web log,' and means a sort of online journal any Internet user can post.

    Brannon said many teenagers post all sorts of sensitive, confidential information in their blogs, which then can be read by anyone in the world with Internet access--including potential sexual predators.

    Such heedless use of blogs, along with unsupervised online instant messaging, is one of the most dangerous practices by kids on the Internet today, according to Brannon.

    Classes and programs such as these are part of the vision for progams among 9x9.CLOH.Org and Summit.CLOH.Org.

    Turning Ten on Ten Ten

    Our oldest son, Erik, turns 10 on 10-10. Our happy birthday weekend is here.

    Red Sox gave an early gift with their win last night. Erik loves the Sox. Cousins are over for a sleep over tonight. Then laser tag on Sunday followed by his trip to the Pete to see -- College Jeopardy. He's going there with another friend, but I'm very good at laser tag!

    We played laser tag at Grant's birthday in an early snow storm last December. The owner came to my wife and talked to her asking if I would be interested in playing on their traveling team. I was so impressive in battle with the 6 year olds.

    On 10-10-10 Erik turns 16!

    Fiscal picture gets even worse

    PG article: City of Pittsburgh's fiscal picture gets even worse

    File under, "I told you so." The healing hasn't begun. The population bounce isn't happening. Ending the gloom and doom comes with the hindge of the doorway. Tom Murphy's tenure ends and the rays of hope will start to shine.

    Frank Lloyd Wright's design all wrong

    MSNBC & Biz Times- Frank Lloyd Wright's design all wrong for new Grandview When famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was asked about how he'd go about improving Pittsburgh, he is known to have said, 'It would be cheaper to abandon it.'

    Frank Lloyd Wright was right if you search for the reinforcement through the lives of many in suburban Pittsburgh. There have been scores and scores to vote with their feet and leave and/or abandon Pittsburgh.

    One interesting challenge, and some might call it more of a pipe-dream, is to engage those in the burbs and get them to change the abandon it mentality. Folks are not going to flood back into the city. But, folks in the burbs can care to come to grips with what is really happening here.

    One way to change the tide in this abandonment of Pittsburgh is to interject sports competitions among city and suburban kids, schools and communities. The WPIAL should absorb the Pgh Public Schools' city-league.

    MSNBC - Grandview battles over bulk

    MSNBC - Grandview battles over bulkZONING AND MOANING

    Grandview Avenue resident Joyce Renne, who helped spearhead the restrictions with her husband, Paul, argues otherwise.

    'What they did was listen to what the community wanted,' she said of the council members' vote. 'That's what it's all about.'

    Another great quote that hits the nail on the head:
    A brand-new mountain could probably be built at this point from the mud slung between the two opposing sides of the development debate on Mount Washington.

    Friday, October 08, 2004

    Volunteer Job Opportunities: Moodle master, Wiki masters

    A platform wiki is brewing, but there is some heavy lifting to be done in the months to come. Moodle - A Free, Open Source Course Management System for Online Learning: "Moodle over other systems is a strong grounding in social constructionist pedagogy."

    Pippy's bill exits PA Senate and heads to House

    ... the highest ethical and professional standards are applied to slot machine gambling in Pennsylvania.
    Yeah, right.
    Keep pushing onward.

    Want to help, get on line

    Two guys of different generations and parts of the city came to me recently and asked about helping with the mayor's race in 2005. Simply put, get on line. Send me an email. The to-do lists and everything else for now is brewing on line. To be effective, we'll need to be efficient and utlize the web. No way around the net. So, plug in the computer. That's where the help is going to start. We'll have little time for phone conversations, personal hand-holding and the like. We'll need help, but it can't be an anchor either.
    November Computer Learning Schedule for Goodwill is taking registration:

    Mondays: Computer Basics from 3-5pm - No Cost!
    Tuesdays: Internet Explorer from 1-3pm - $30
    Tuesdays: Intermediate Excel from 3-5pm - $50
    Wednesdays: Intro to Word from 1-3pm - $50
    Wednesdays: Intro to PowerPoint from 3-5pm - $50
    Tue and Wed Evenings: Intro to Excel from 5:30 to 7:30pm - $50

    As always, job seekers pay half price for any workshop.

    Soccer - group mandates youth protective headgear

    Sports Illustrated N.Y. group "For the first time in the nation, a New York regional youth soccer association will require the mandatory use of protective headguards, affecting nearly 35,000 players 14-years-old and younger.

    I'm in favor of this new twist for the sport of soccer. It was some time in the making.

    Soccer is great. And, it's dangerous as hell.

    The players put their heads on the ball. The grey matter in our hard outter shells gets a jolt. Too many and we get dolts.

    We play sports to learn, grow, and better ourselves. When a sporting artifact takes us in the wrong direction, it isn't worthy of my time nor the participation of my kids.

    I'd like to see the entire rule book text. I'm a stickler for rules and have poured over many rule books and crafted team handbooks as well as text books. Generally, the rules are written by officials, attorneys or coaches. Some are people people others are just techies in a specialization. Hence the NCAA Manual is bigger than the Pittsburgh phone book and it changes greatly each year.

    Another reason to change the rules is that the rule-breakers are generally smarter than the rules. Criminals don't fear handgun laws before armed robbery. Things evolve.

    So, it is time to get out your old Knute Rockney hat / helmet. I hope the shells are soft, like the older football helmets. Perhaps we'd blend the style with that of the soft bike helmets of Europe's pros.

    Speaking of which, I'm missing Lance's visit to Pittsburgh. Oh well. For the record, I'm all in favor of fixing cancer too.

    Pittsburgh is blessed to have a flock of experts in all matters of the brain, heads, bodies, and senses.

    'Bounty' out on city official "The finance director, Ellen McLean, began a vacation Wednesday, according to the mayor's office. She is said to be on a trip to Egypt."

    If you ever go into a South Side shop on East Carson, The Bead Mine, ask the owner/manager there to tell you about her trip to Egypt. She spend a couple of weeks a boat on the Nile.

    You know the locks and dams that are on our rivers. Well, they've got something similar, but different. When she was there, days were spent in one place, stationary. Canal and lock work halts river traffic. Dead in the water. Hot. No breeze. Deisel engine. Get the details from her if you can. You might need to be a customer too.

    Denial, not the Nile, comes to mind when thinking about the budget director and an ill-timed vacation.

    President Ricciardi, tell her, "Don't come back!" Heave Ho!

    A city council president only hires and fires the staffers of four employees (or so) in his/her office. But, a council leader could tell her (and in turn show us you telling her) via the newspapers, newsreleases, (or blog even), that you WOULD fire her if you could.

    It's okay when people move into other jobs, like in the private sector. She is an employee that works for us, the residents of the City of Pittsburgh. She has no right to assist in the devistation of our city. The proposal on the table that she can't address aims to save $1-million, give or take a few $100K. Take her $80K job and eliminate it. A professional wouldn't be absent in a crisis. Nor should the call for resignation, if not termination, be absent.

    What is that, only Nixon can go to China?

    Jerry Bowyer said on this radio show yesterday, "Only Nixon can go to China." I think it had to deal with Nixon be a Republican. Would a Dem just look too much like a pinko?


    Should we go or should we stay?

    We'll be staying in the city. That isn't the question we face. Some have been bailing on their city homes, i.e., John Pierce and Jim Roddey.

    This weekend we're pondering a trip to China, again. Last year the whole family went to China for five weeks, mostly in the southwestern city, Chengdu. Catherine, my wife, has been invited back to teach a more advanced course.

    So, should we go, again, or should we stay?

    As we go, we'll be able to skip over the tourist places in Beijing. And, perhaps we'd stop off in Thailand were there are only three seasons: hot, hotter and hottest. And, we'd not need to be gone for five weeks. But, I'd expect it would be four.

    I've not even gotten all the photos from the last trip organized and online.

    Advice welcomed. And, the trip to New Zealand isn't going to happen this year. So, that's not a factor.

    Despite all of his faults, ...

    PG's Anderson: Harris deserves better: "There's growing and passionate sentiment for Pitt to fire football coach Walt Harris."

    I'd prefer we focus all of our anguish on ousting Tom Murphy first. Then we can start the ball rolling for others to follow, i.e., Walt, Sala, and more to remain nameless today.

    Perhaps we can make a "package deal." We'd be able to trade a good football coach with excellent QB mentoring skills and a multi-term Mayor with a propensity for retail to any willing city for, say, their municipal bond rating status.

    I'm with the collumnist, Shelly Anderson, too in that I'm not so angry that I revel in berating and belittling. Not Murphy nor Harris. Not anyone. We're civil. We're grown-ups.

    Not only does Tom Murphy deserve a warm handshake and thank you, but I've said before that I will be the first to start a petition and try to rename the Liberty Bridge and Liberty Tunnels in Murphy's honor. I want a vital landmark named after him, and I want to do it soon. That would be a fitting tribute to his departure.

    Final question: Shelley are you bragging or complaining when you say you were the only reporter at every practice? For me, I'm the one 'naysayer' who was at most of Tom Murphy's political events as a candidate among other candidates. I've heard it all from Bob and Tom in the last go-around. And, that's nothing for me to brag about. I'm complaining.

    Red Sox -- Friday night win in first series

    We're home, not Fenway, but our odd-shaped cozy confines, to watch the Sox tonight. The Sox are in Fenway. We enjoyed a game there last season with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Pat.

    I love the series games when the starting time is at a decent hour. Today's game begins at 4 pm EST. Major League Baseball is foolish when it plays most, if not all of the World Series games at such late hours. Our bed time for the kids is 8 pm. Baseball needs the kids to get into the games. Baseball is lagging as baseball is past the kid's bedtime.

    Thursday, October 07, 2004

    Greece braces for Olympic-sized bill - More Sports - Greece braces for Olympic-sized bill - Thursday October 7, 2004 8:29PM Figures as high as $9.9 billion and $12.4 billion have been suggested. We are talking about a serious overrun, since the initial budget was about $5.7 billion.

    Meanwhile, LA's city council wants to host the games again.