Thursday, May 31, 2007

No wonder New Zealand has a serious brain drain



See recent photos of our trip to Auckland. They say it a lot like we say "Oakland."

One island in Auckland's bay (harbor) is 600 years old.

They city is dotted with 48 volcanos. Some of the craters have been 're-developed.' But this is a famous one, called Mt. Eden.

The other in the distance is called "One Tree Hill." But, the tree is gone now. Grant stood on the stump.

More insights to come later. Running out to the pool for a trip on a bus to Dunedin for a weekend swim meet.

We got up at 5 am in Auckland. Grant called his classmates. Then today we travel to Christchurch and again farther south on a bus. So, we are going from North to South nearly the length of the country.

New Zealand Notes

We left Pittsburgh for Chirstchurch. Pittsburgh is again called one of America's most livable cities -- and I contend that Christchurch is one of the most livable in the world.

Well, news here is buzzing about the whales. New Zealand kids and others are putting heat on those from Japan to stop taking the humpback whales. Plus, I see a calf and mother whale have been swimming around the bay in S.F.

New Zealand has a political party that wants to have the nation go 'smoke free.' They said they want to ban tobacco from the entire nation.

Should the law hatch and get passed, and there is some opposition to this idea, New Zealand would be the SECOND NATION to ban tobacco and smoking. Quiz: Anyone know the first?

New Zealand was rated #2 nation in the world for PEACE. This is a new ranking. Australia got 25th. Quiz: Who got #1?

Meanwhile, nationally, and now with the BBC evening news, there is a bad story with a sub-contractor working for the electric company who went to a home and turned off the power. Some $168 was past due. The mom, 40-ish, was on a ventilator and died a few hours later. Not good. That happened in Auckland.

We're now in Auckland and had a wonderful time out with local guests an exclusive micro hotel -- one of the very best in the world. Molly's. Top shelf. Opera singing. We are not staying there, but had a wonderful evening there.

Today, the boys and I explored Parnell and the Auckland Museum while Catherine presented at Auckland University.

David C. Adams says the race for the 9th City Council District is FAR from over

Can you tell me why the media seems to think this race is over before it has begun?

It is far from it.

Mr. Burgess is not the only candidate for the 9th district. He did get 50% of the vote in the district, but 50% of what?

Don't be proud to throw those numbers around since only 23% bothered to vote at all. Wow! A whopping 11.5%. What's that? Laziness or apathy or stupidity. Doesn't sound like apathy.

You have to pay attention to the issues so you can say whether or not you are fed up. no one is interested in this boring race. Forgive me if I have a hard time believing that 11.5% voted for Mr. Burgess and the other 88.5% of the voters were conscientious objectors who chose to stay home.

City Paper was aware that a Republican, David Adams, was in the race as a "R" -- and he was in attendence at the last debate. But just after the debate, David changed parties and is still in this race as an Independent.

Plenty of people, from the district and throughout the city would like to see Mr. Adams be afforded the opportunity to discuss his plans for the 9th district. Let this be a fair and interesting fight.

The campaign manager for David Adams Sherbi Davis 412.242.8752/412.478.1526

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

DeSantis on Ballot: The Next Jason Altmire?

It was reported today that Mark DeSantis, a last-minute write-in Republican candidate for Mayor, received far more votes than needed for the November ballot.

DeSantis reminds me of another little-known candidate who was tapped for potential greatness: freshman Congressman Jason Altmire (D-North Hills).

Altmire was swept into office over one-time political juggernaut Melissa Hart. Hart was seemingly tapped by the GOP kingmakers a few years ago. Instead, she was derailed by a candidate few people knew of months before the General Election.

Could the same happen for DeSantis, if there's a definitive "Anti-Luke" sentiment that comes about sometime in this summer? The position of "Independent Candidate who could draw Money" was originally earmarked for Bill Peduto; however, he apparently decided that sitting on the sideline for the next decade with Ravenstahl won't be that bad. Peduto would only be 52 when Ravenstahl moves onto a bigger statewide or Congressional post, and that's plenty of time to run the city his way.

There might be "niche" candidates like our dear friend Mark Rauterkus, but only DeSantis will be in a position to raise funds. Don't go crazy now, I don't expect it.

That being noted, DeSantis has been described in some circles as "left of Ravenstahl." With incredibly strong ties to the unions, Luke is a typical city of Pittsburgh politician. That's not to be confused with Dan Onorato, who beat Jim Roddey by truly being fiscally more conservative than the first ACE. Surely, Onorato is tied into the unions as well, but he doesn't HAVE to be as tied to the hip to the region's most influential Special Interest Group. He can cater to the North Hills conservatives and the few that still remain in Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon.

Onorato has done a pretty fair job; Roddey speaks highly of him and the Allegheny County Republican Committee, rudderless for what appears to be an eternity now (Rich Stampahar was the last who initiated any kind of forward movement whatsoever), failed to provide even a viable write-in candidate. With Roddey now well into his 70's and a suburbanite, the city wasn't going to post a worthy candidate. I didn't even want to try it for kicks and giggles.

Ravenstahl is not without his political skeletons. He just hasn't made enough powerful enemies to derail his ambitions. A friend told me Luke's approval rating rivaled that of Reagan in the salad days.

However, Luke might be getting a little too cocky. He's started to snipe with City Council President Doug Shields over silly stuff. And City Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle's investigation/court case may still make an occasional headline this summer. IF I have my time line right, Ravenstahl was city council president when Carlisle was bankrolling her mother's boyfriend for plagiarised white papers.

What if something else embarrassing happens this summer. Power brokers won't nudge Ravenstahl aside and hand over the reigns to Shields, who was former Mayor Bob O'Connor's right hand man forever. The two apparently don't always get along.

Ravenstahl is a young man with a pretty wife and no children. What if he gets out of hand again like he did at the Steelers game a few years ago? There is the Casino flap looming like a dark cloud over the hillside (something tells me that Smokey Robinson might want to hold off putting a down payment on a downtown condo, he may not be Don Barden's headliner as soon as expected). What if Luke falls into the Mon after a night of checking out the South Side nightlife (on official business mind you)? WPXI's fabulous Katrina Owens might be able to narrate as Jeff Koch's buddies pulls Luke from the muck.

DeSantis could be the next Jason Altmire: a decent guy with no real credentials for the position. But the voters became sick of Melissa Hart's imposing height and linebacker shoulders and kicked her to the curb. If Ravenstahl stumbles, the same could conceivably happen.

If DeSantis starts to show up in the newspapers and on television, watch his donations. Do I expect him to be a player? No, not really. The classy Joe Weinroth was superior in the debates last time around and very few people gave him the time of day or dollars from their wallet.

Luke Ravenstahl won't be as dangerous to our fair city as Tom Murphy was for three terms. Murphy almost single handily destroyed Pittsburgh's 90 communities by looking only at the bells and whistles of Fifth and Forbes.

But if something unforeseen happens this summer, Mark DeSantis may just be the next Jason Altimire. But don't bet on it.

Opposition to Ravenstahl and More

Feel free to forward to others

In news coverage of write-in results of both the mayor's race and county executive race -- it is good jouralistic practices to be objective and tell the entire story. So, do make mention that the Libertarians have every intention of getting candidates onto the November 6, 2007, general election ballot.

Mark Rauterkus, presently in New Zealand, is an announced candidate for both Mayor and County Executive. His February 2007 announcement has since generated nomination papers in April at Elect.Rauterkus.com. A dozen candidate slots are being contested by Libertarians. The deadline for paperwork for ballot access for Libertarians is August 1, 2007.

My quote:

"If Mark DeSantis is interested in a serious campaign with talk about solutions and issues, then I welcome him to the ballot and into the communities for a race. I'll be happy to debate both Mr. DeSantis and/or Luke Ravenstahl. Now is the time for various local institutions, organizations and media outlets to make moves for hosting debates throughout August to October."

See comments for a re-print of a snip I put onto another blog.

Carey Harris gets a promotion to lead A+ Schools

Way to go Carrey.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hillary -- hands off -- until November 2007

I don't need help picking my campaign theme song. But, my only wish is that she not use the song(s) that I have picked -- until after the November 6, 2007, general election. But, that would be okay if she did pick the same song, musician and singers. What the hell, thse folks I choose are my friends and I'd love for them to strike it big again.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeking advice on "one of the most important issues" of her presidential campaign: picking a campaign theme song.

So far, more than 100,000 Americans have responded to her lighthearted call for help. Some have been inspired to compose original tunes. It's not exactly "American Idol," but the reaction is another example of the Internet's growing role in politics.
You'll need to get a copy of my latest CD, or dozens of them, to hear the tunes yourself. They are not out yet -- but wait a few more weeks.

Letter home

We've been away more than a month. Home in two weeks.

We fly today from Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world, to Christchurch, our home away from home, this afternoon. 4 pm flight. Only 30-minutes in the air. One runway airport here.

Then we leave for Auckland tomorrow. Spend a day or two there.

Catherine's talk was well received.

We really hit the tour bookings just right. So much to do -- but we did it perfectly.

Today Erik, Grant and Catherine went on a horseback trip. Erik's horse was in the Lord of the Rings movies! So cool. Crossed six or so rivers on horseback -- Catherine getting her feet wet -- while on the horse. Very wild and beautiful mountains and landscape.

I'm at an internet cafe -- but the only sign of a 'cafe' is the coke filled refrigerator behind the desk. Cost is $3 per hour to surf.

M got the right answer to a quiz about the swim pool, lane 9

New blog noticed. I'll need to read and study it later.

Pittsburgh Transit = http://pittsburgh-transit.blogspot.com/

Its author, Mathew, got a quiz question 'spot on.' (scroll down)

Quiz: When is the one day that you are SURE that you don't want to go "wire less" ???

We've been enjoying some magical times. Photos and movies to come. Presently I'm in a cyber cafe.

Early signs of winter have arrived where we are. Snow is covering many of the near peaks.

I ask this question, not for myself, but for the grad students in our party.

When is the one time that you are sure you do NOT want to 'go wireless?'

We'll have a first-hand report shortly.

Tonight we are going for an easy night -- to see the new Pirates of the C movie. In the AM, my wife and boys are going to ride horses.

Today it was a LOR tour. That can be the second quiz question. It was wonderful.

Yesterday -- stay tuned.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ron Paul was right on Iraq - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Ron Paul was right on Iraq - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Hearing Rep. Ron Paul recite the reasons for Arab and Islamic resentment of the United States, including 10 years of bombing and sanctions that brought death to thousands of Iraqis after the Gulf War, Rudy Giuliani broke format and exploded:

'That's really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of 9/11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I have ever heard that before, and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11.'
Meanwhile, what is this I hear about the USA and its small band of war hungry Rs in the White House doing with Iran? They (with CIA help) are going to mess with their currency. Say what!

Vicious Cycle - Recent incidents involving bicyclists are, sadly, nothing new - News - News - Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh - Vicious Cycle - Recent incidents involving bicyclists are, sadly, nothing new - News - News - Pittsburgh City Paper Although bicyclists say they are no strangers to passersby who taunt them or motorists forcing them off the streets, some cycling advocates are particularly disturbed by the latest string of incidents, which include at least two beatings, as posted on the electronic bulletin board of Bike Pittsburgh, a local advocacy group.

Bike Pittsburgh's membership and project director Erok Boerer says he was alarmed by the bikers' beatings, as well as two other accidents -- a hit-and-run and another car-bike accident -- that all took place within the last three weeks.
Lots of comments on this posting / article.

Antarctic Centre: Been there, done that

The Little Blue Penguins (also know as 'fairy penguins' in Australia) are the sweetest things. They are delightful says Catherine. The Antarctic Centre has 21 of them. They are all rescued animals. One is blind.

The ferret is not their friend.

http://www.iceberg.co.nz

There even was a ride in a Hagglund."

Before 1920, all exploration in Antarctic was done on foot. Later, helicopters and tractors were used. In 1985 the Hagglund all-terrain vehicle came onto the scent to improve the transporting of staff and materials on the ice. It is amphibious and does donuts on an outdoor adventure course. The retired guys who are the drivers have a kick out of leading the tours. It has caterpillar tracks but is designed to exert only half the ground pressure of a human footprint so as to leave almost no impression on the ground or snow, so it's very environmentally friendly.

Quiz: What is the one place in the world where an American can travel to without a passport?

Busy, busy, busy

There is a bunch of things to see and do in the days ahead. Three trips within the trip are brewing. So, the blogging is going to be a wee-bit behind.

Running mates -- come alive.

Speaking of running, Christchurch is home to a marathon. Pittsburgh doesn't have a marathon, but we'll be able to experience on in June, just before our departure. There is a 10K, half-marathon and fun run for the kids too.

If you'd like to come over to run the marathon, or just soak up some of New Zealand's winter days with us, feel free to drop in. We've got plenty of room, including an empty two car garage.

Home Page Sunday June 3 - 2007

Mayor Wants Crime-Watch Cameras On Street Corners - News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh

Mayor Wants Crime-Watch Cameras On Street Corners - News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh 'Have one centralized system that private business owners or businesses that have cameras, the city of Pittsburgh that has cameras, the Port of Pittsburgh that has cameras, all are integrated into one system,' said Ravenstahl.
No thanks.

We need cameras -- and the cameras I dream about are going to be pointed to the government officials. I want all the authority board meetings to be on camera, on the internet, on cable tv, as podcasts, with real minutes and agendas that have details.

We need an overhaul of communications within the halls of government so that they can be watched. They (government officials) are robbing us most of all.

I want figurative cameras in the form of TRANSPARENT PAC ACCOUNTS. As deposits are made, they should be visible to anyone, anywhere. Same too for spending of PAC funds.

Once we have our eyes on those that control our money in the form of public treasury -- then we can begin to turn our attention elsewhere, perhaps.

Donation to Ravenstahl's campaign sparks self-exam by panel - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Penny for your thoughts.
Donation to Ravenstahl's campaign sparks self-exam by panel - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review The husband of city Ethics Hearing Board member Penny Zacharias gave $1,200 to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's election campaign before the mayor nominated her for the post.

The donation doesn't violate Pittsburgh's ethical code of conduct, but it has prompted members of the newly seated board to examine prohibiting such gifts to protect their credibility.
As I campaign, I don't want $1,200 donations. I don't want $1,200 headaches showing up on my door, unless the donor is Ben Franklin or Tom Paine or someone of similar values and principles.

Rather than have Luke give back the $1,200, I have another suggestion. One can level the playing field and be "fair" a few different ways. One way is to use subtraction. So, Luke could give the money back. Or, another way to level the playing field -- and one I prefer -- is to use addition, not subtraction.

Why not ask the firm and Penny's pals for an extra $2,400 so as to make an investment into both the Republican and Libertarian opposition. Level the playing field by by addition.

This way the $1,200 that went to Luke's campaign will be 'de-valued' because the same amount goes to the opposition.

Sure, if the Greens and Socialists Parties get their act together and get into the mayor's race, they can seek $1,200 each as well.

Or, another way to make matters 'fair' is for Luke to give back the money but not to Penny and her lawyer buddies. Luke could take the $1,200 and send $500 to the city Republicans, $500 to the Libertarians, and $100 each to the Greens and Socialists.

To be 'fair' it is worthy to note that the city's Republicans had been hammering on the re-creation of the ethics hearing board for many months. They got Bob O'Connor to think again about its operation. For years, and even since I was in that party to lend more opposition to Tom Murphy's ways, Bob Hillen has been talking about the ethics hearing board. It isn't hard to be reminded of it as it is part of the city's charter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Foreign Policy of Ron Paul by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The Foreign Policy of Ron Paul by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. It doesn't take a game-theory genius to predict how this conflict works itself out in the long run. The left and the right agree to disagree on intellectual grounds but otherwise engage in a dangerous quid pro quo. They turn a blind eye to the government they don't like so long as they get the government they do like.

PPS and Kaplan talk about next year's learning

Pittsburgh Public Schools with Kaplan K12 Learning Services present. . .
A Sneak Preview of New Curriculum Beginning the Fall of 2007 for Parents of Students Grades 6-12.

What will be taught next year in:
* Middle School Science – Grades 6, 7, 8
* High School Science – Biology, Chemistry and Physics
* High School English – English 3 & English 4
* High School Math – Algebra II (including revisions to the current Algebra I and Geometry curriculum)
* High School History – African American, Civics, U. S. History, World History

Two opportunities to hear this information:

Thursday, June 7, 2007 OR Monday, June 11, 2007 at Reizenstein Professional Development Center from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact Dr. Richard Gutkind at 412-622-3955.

kdka.com - Audit Reveals Flaw In Allegheny County 911 System

kdka.com - Audit Reveals Flaw In Allegheny County 911 System.
Humm....

So there was a meltdown of 911 telephone service in October, 2007. An audit is due in at the end of May 2007. This, in turn will set the wheels of motion moving forward for the County Executive, Dan Onorato. So, he'll take it as positive and do something.

The quote goes as far as to say that Onorato will implement them as quickly as possible.

Humm...

We could put a note in a bottle and toss it off of the pier in New Brighton, Christchurch, New Zealand -- and have it wash up onto the North Shore of Pittsburgh faster.

From NZ dump
Quiz: In New Zealand you don't dial 911 in case of emergency. Who knows what number is to be dialed?

Hint, it isn't 3-1-1 either.

I don't think it would take anyone in the world (other than Pittsburgh's political leaders) eight months to issue a report to say 're-boot the system' when 9-1-1 phones stop ringing for an extended period of time.

The A.D. Bureaucrat has leaked a tank tip

One who knows you can only rent beer made us giggle on this posting at his blog.
The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat Pittsburgh, PA (Reuters) - Fresh on the heels of an agreement with ALCOSAN, the US Environmental Protection Agency has reached a historic accord with Pittsburgh City Council to stem the flow of human excrement coming out of 414 Grant Street. The agreement will result in the largest containment of fecal material in a incorporated municipality in the history of the Country.

Allegheny Institute and PA Turnpike -- asking Gov to be open

Blogger: Allegheny Institute Blog - Post a Comment... It is time for the Governor to share with the Legislature the letters of interest (concerning the PA Turnpike) he received last December (2006). There is no need for secrecy about this. That only breeds distrust and animosity toward moving forward with the lease plan.
Being open and honest is the way to be in government.

Up in smoke!

Allegheny Institute Blog This is no way to run a government. Passing ordinances that violate state law in hopes they can win in court does no credit to the Council.
Amen!

The Conversation and school funding

The Conversation An inconvenient truth

The Trib addresses what Ross Perot might call Pennsylvania's crazy aunt in the basement: an inequitable system for funding public schools. This is the reason why cutting property taxes is so difficult. Without reforming the school funding system--which puts the onus for funding schools on local districts, and thus local property owners--not only will you be unable to offer significant local property tax cuts, but you will continue to have vast inequalities among school districts.

Consent decree 'best deal' possible, Alcosan says

Consent decree 'best deal' possible, Alcosan says: The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority will pay a civil fine of $1.2 million for decades of illegal sewage discharges into Pittsburgh area rivers and creeks. That's much less than the $275 million fine it was threatened with in 1997.

The best deal possible would have been to fix these meag problems years ago. They didn't choose to engage and do the heavy lifting that was necessary. Lazy jerks would rather piss in the rivers for decades. And, then they'd rather run around and help to finance crack-pot development deals.

Lots and lots of sewer money has been piped into new development deals -- far beyond the cost of infrastructure. They've been off mission critical tasks. They've been passing on the hard jobs. They've been too quick to run to the courts and do nothing else.

Infrastructure isn't sexy. Infrasturcture doesn't get voters and politicians who are motivated by the handouts excited.

We went to the beach the other day.

From family - travels


We went to the beach yesterday. New Brighton, Christchurch, New Zealand. More photos, less leg, will be posted later.

It is 'off season' and the only ones in the water were us -- silly Americans. After a dip in the Pacific, we headed to an indoor swim pool with hydro slides. That was fun too.

From NZ - QEII

Quiz -- What's going on with this photo?

From signs


Can you tell us what's up with this photo?

Pittsburgh and Western PA Ron Paul 2008 Meetup Group (Pittsburgh, PA) - Meetup.com

Pittsburgh and Western PA Ron Paul 2008 Meetup Group (Pittsburgh, PA) - Meetup.com

CRAFTON CROCODILE SUMMER SWIM TEAM - info about the team's 41st season

2007 Summer Swimming at ITS best

The Crafton Crocodile Swim Team is an instructional swim team and takes pride in developing and enhancing the children’s competitive swimming skills while having fun during the summer season.

REGISTRATION WILL BE HELD AT THE CRAFTON PARK OR POOL AS FOLLOWS:

Saturday, June 2, 2007 from 9 am to noon and
Wednesday, June 6, 2007 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

** DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION IS JUNE 14TH 9:00a.m. – 11:00 a.m. **

Registrations will only be accepted during one of the above times. We expect parental involvement to help our program run productively. A Parent/Guardian must be present at registration and also sign up to work three (3) swim meets and a fundraising events (Busy Beaver Car Wash, Flick ‘n Float or Froggy Folic – team party)

FEES PAYABLE AT REGISTRATION: Registration fee covers insurance, team t-shirt, banquet, swimmer gifts and meet ribbons: $30.0 per child ($90.00 limit 3 or more children) + Pool Pass + $25.00 Raffle Tickets*

OR

$30.00 per child ($90.00 limit 3 or more children) + $25.00 Raffle Ticket + $35.00 per child

Borough fee **(non-pool pass holders – bring a separate check)

* Raffle ticket fund raising requirements (raffle tickets must be pre-paid at registration) $25.00 for raffle tickets for 1 swimmer, MAXIMUM of $35.00 for 2 or more swimmers.

(NOTE: **You do not need to be a Crafton resident to join the team, but swimmers are required to be pool pass holders or pay the additional $35.00 swim team only fee to Crafton Borough. Anyone eligible to purchase a Crafton pool pass, resident or non-resident, must purchase a pass as determined by Crafton Borough Council at the Borough Building during regular business hours. Swim Team only fee must be paid to us and we will forward to the Borough.

PLEASE NOTE A SEPARATE CHECK (payable to “Crafton Borough) WILL BE REQUIRED. Two checks will be asked for at registration unless a pool pass is shown. The swimmer has until July 1st to show the pool pass or the check will be turned over to the borough. Otherwise, the check will be returned to the swimmer No exceptions.

There is no official team suit this summer. Our team color is blue. Feel free to purchase a suit of your choice.

New swimmers must bring a copy of their birth certificate. Health information will be required for the swimmer’s safety.

Swim Team experiences are NOT the same as swim lessons. All swimmers must be 18 or under and be able to swim 25 yards. Over the years, many of our swimmers have found great success on their winter, h high school and college teams.

Daily practice will begin June 12, 2007 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Coaches Mike Schneiderlochner, Mark Rauterkus and Jenn Sweeney.

Unfair loopholes

kdka.com - Court Rules Against Allegheny County Smoking Ban They also claimed the ban would cause irreparable harm to their businesses and contains unfair loopholes for small bars.
The landscape in Pittsburgh is full of unfair loopholes. They are often seen as potholes. And, in far too many other areas of life, these unfair loopholes are taken for granted.

When people see unfair loopholes they take note -- and vote with their feet. They leave when the opportunity is presented.

Dan Onorato's central theme to his re-election campaign could be simply, "Unfair loopholes. Onorato delivers."

Pgh Public Schools HAD a firm to sell South Vo Tech

Firm to help sell vacated Pittsburgh schools: The Pittsburgh Public Schools tonight would move a step closer to selling 24 surplus buildings with a vote to hire a real estate company to market the properties and vet prospective buyers.
This is a big problem that is festering and I would have been on it years ago.

There used to be a firm that was hired to sell South Vo Tech. They had signs up a year ago.

The approach by the Pgh Public Schools and the city is all wrong on this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ron Paul got an endorsement from a California organization

The United Republicans of California (UROC) have unanimously endorsed Congressman Ron Paul for president of the United States.

In their official statement endorsing Dr. Paul, UROC called him "the leading advocate for freedom in our nation’s capital" and recognized that:

Ron Paul's voting record demonstrates that he has voted against:

  • raising taxes

  • unbalanced budgets

  • a federal restriction on gun ownership;

  • raising congressional pay; or

  • increasing the power of the executive branch.


  • His voting record demonstrates further that he voted against:

  • the USA Patriot Act;

  • regulating the Internet; and

  • the war in Iraq.


  • Dr. Paul is the only candidate with a record that matches the UROC’s platform.

    The group's leaders said others from "across the country should support Ron Paul for president."

    XM Satellite Host Talks GOP


    XM Satellite Radio host Ron Bennington of Ron and Fez today talked about Rudy Guliani's appearance on "The Late Show" with David Letterman. A caller phoned in to tout Ron Paul. To which Bennington replied, "RuPaul has more of a chance to be President than Ron Paul."

    Solid.

    St. Barts: Nun to lead Penn Hills parish

    Nun to lead Penn Hills parish In response to a shrinking number of priests, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has appointed a Penn Hills nun to be its first 'parish life collaborator,' a person who will oversee parish obligations that do not have to be performed by a priest.
    My roots go to St. Barts. I attended 8 grades of school there.

    Isn't there still a shortage in the realm of Bishop too?

    Homeownership gap called matter of gender -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY

    Homeownership gap called matter of gender -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY Single men, meanwhile, account for just 9 percent of home buyers, the same percentage as 20 years ago.

    Quiz: Why (or how) is this a 10-lane swim pool



    Quiz time: We went to a different swim facility the other day -- and made a return trip today. We had a great time at QEII swim pool. QEII is, of course, short for Queen Elizabeth the second. But the quiz question asks, why (or how) is this a 10-lane swim pool. The block clearly shows the end (block at the start) of the pool and the side of the pool. The number on the block is 9. Humm.

    You can post your answer / guess in the comments area.

    Uptown garage closed for good after beam cracks

    Uptown garage closed for good after beam cracks The garage, at 1200 Centre Ave., is slated for demolition later this year in conjunction with construction of the new arena. The structure was closed Friday night after a construction worker discovered the defective beam on the third level.
    Organized crime?

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Alex Peak - Thought Piece

    Alex Peak - Thought Piece - �Paul: 1, Giuliani: 0� - � 2007 by Alexander S. Peak Paul: 1, Giuliani: 0
    Alexander S. Peak

    Fla. governor signs law requiring P.E. in elementary schools - CNN.com

    Fla. governor signs law requiring P.E. in elementary schools - CNN.com Fla. governor signs law requiring P.E. in elementary schools

    The bill will require at least 2.5 hours of physical education each week (30-minutes a day) for k-5. Middle and high schools are encouraged to provide up to 3.75 hours of gym class weekly.

    "We're trying to create a culture of activity in our elementary schools," said state Republican Rep. Will Weatherford, the bill's sponsor.

    FL leaders hope to have gym class required through 12th grade by 2012, along with money from the state to help schools purchase necessary exercise equipment.

    All the on-going efforts on health care issues goes to nothingness when school nutrition and physical education, in particular at the elementary level, get ignored. America can't shove unhealthy children into our schools and expect to get ahead of the process. Unhealthy children grow into unhealthy adolescents and unhealthy adults. That overwhelms society and all health care efforts.

    In New Zealand, we've been impressed with the overall health of the kids and adults. They play sports. I understood this for decades and was most excited to see this devotion in practice for myself.

    However, New Zealand doesn't have P.E. teachers in most elementary schools. Same for art and music. The homeroom teacher runs these classes. Furthermore there are a lot of schools that do take-out for physical education. They'll subscribe the school to an outside agency / swim school for on-going services / contract. Then the kids get instruction from certified, qualified teachers in swimming at the swim school in the community -- not in the school.

    In Western PA, we've got plenty of swim pools in our schools. Here in New Zealand, the pools are not in the schools. But, there are still lots (if not more) of school kids in swim classes -- outside the school buildings.
    Rendell launching an effort to battle chronic diseases Gov. Ed Rendell plans to move forward today on his statewide health proposal by creating a commission aimed at improving care for patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases.
    This is nothing new or original. And, it is typical -- too little and too late.

    Wellness is a great thing. So, I dare not laugh too much at the lame ideas Gov. Rendell attempts next. But he is clueless as to fitness. And, I feel strongly that fitness is a major concern of ours for the present and the future.

    The missing link isn't government handouts and extended services from government to make everyone work out. No way.

    We need to begin this trek to fitness with an attitude adjustment. We need fit and responsible approaches with our lifestyles. Our philosophy, mentality, thinking, priorities and our grip on the challenges of today's society need honest reflections. We need to be nimble, healthy and see the big picture. That means, in part, blind spots are not tolerated.

    Fitsburgh!

    Giving tired, closed-minded, and in-flexible fits.

    Ron Paul on YouTube

    Lifeguard Jobs in the Pittsburgh area. Come and post them here

    Got a job. Know of a pool that needs to hire more guards. Get on the sub lists?

    Here is one:

    If you know of anybody who is licensed as a lifeguard and wants a cushy part
    time summer job. $9.00 per hour at Park Lane apartments in Highland Park.
    Starts Memorial Day weekend till Labor Day. Contact 412-682-7000

    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    Educating Rudy

    Party time: Democrats and Republicans have their say

    How much egg of the face will the P-G wear if the Pittsburgh bobble-headed Pierogie, championed by the Pgh City Paper, wins the GOP endorsement? Do you think that the P-G will print that news, should it come to pass?

    But, are there any readers of the Pgh City Paper who are GOP voters?
    Party time: Democrats and Republicans have their say When Tuesday's Republican write-in votes are counted, the city will know whether technology consultant Mark DeSantis will become Mayor Ravenstahl's GOP opponent -- a prospect we eagerly await, if only to give city residents a choice and a robust debate over the issues confronting Pittsburgh.

    Quiz:

     

    What's this?

    Today was a success. I'm just starting to edit photos and video.
    Posted by Picasa

    Taint of politics colors city's Redd Up work

    Taint of politics colors city's Redd Up work The politicization of public works is likely to emerge as a top issue in coming months, as Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration attempts to computerize city management, Councilman William Peduto pushes for reform legislation, and new council members take office.
    What department within the city isn't politicized?

    Heck, the Big League department was driven by politics.

    I can think of a few departments that are very, very good. And, I'm thinking of a few that are not -- to my knowledge -- driven by politics. So, part of my statement is an honest one. I don't want to paint with a huge paint brush -- or wallpaper with one arm in an out-of-date style. But, there is a ton of politics in and out of most departments within our fair city.

    Road paving, check and got MSM coverage.

    Public Work's Redd Up, check -- and now with MSM coverage.

    Firefighters. City Police Commanders. Controller's office. They bang on political fronts three different ways. The URA, oh my gosh, of course. The Parking Authority -- and its newest hire, of course. Legal Dept -- and its George Spector, still acting solicitor, yep.

    Saturday, May 19, 2007

    We'll have a whale of a tale to tell you tonight

    We're about to depart to catch a cab to a train to a bus to a boat to see some whales that live along the north coast of the south island of New Zealand.

    We're not even going to bring our swim suits.

    Stay tuned. Video at 11, our time. That's about 15 hours from now.

    Catherine is still raving about yesterday's swim meet. She had lots of fun visiting with the other parents in the stands.

    I understand it was 40-degrees there. It is 33 degrees in CT. Go Sox. Here it has been 24 degrees.

    The conversion, so goes conventional wisdom, is 2x the C temp plus 30.

    Losing casino bidder renews option on arena site

    Who is going to hold on longer, Len B. or IOC?
    Losing casino bidder renews option on arena siteA losing casino bidder has renewed its option to purchase the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob synagogue in the Hill District, complicating an authority's plans to buy the property as part of arena construction.

    Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. recently extended the option for a year, as insurance in the event the state Supreme Court overturns the December award of the city's lone casino license to PITG Gaming LLC.

    Quiz: New Zealand wildlife includes

    True or False. And, for bonus points, name it, if it exists.

    Lives to 300 years of age. Can get into a relaxed state so as to lower its heart rate to one beat per minute and one breath per hour.

    Could it be true?

    If so, what is it?

    Uptown landowner accused of opening illegal lots - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Uptown landowner accused of opening illegal lots - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 'What you're basically doing is gutting the neighborhood,' said Michael D. Eversmeyer, a Highland Park architect and former chairman of the city's Historic Review Commission. 'It's a purely individual economic decision made by a property owner with no concern for the community around him. You'll (eventually) get this scorched earth situation around Mercy Hospital and Duquesne University.'
    This guy has the right to do whatever he wants with the property he owns. Well, he should have those rights. But, we've put a bunch of zoning and red tape matters onto property owners.

    Not fair -- crys one parking lot owner.

    Well, the city has rewarded these types of behaviors with its regressive property tax policies.

    The land-value tax would help to fix this poor use of urban properties.

    Furthermore, this goes into the relm of proving that people just don't want to live right next door to a hockey venue -- if it is located in The Hill District.

    There is a lot to talk about on this type of story.

    Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Lance: To the Democratic and Republican parties. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was alone on the ballot and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato had only token opposition. As for Republicans, there were no ballot candidates for these offices; none to try to get some new ideas on the table. Now, if things were going swimmingly, maybe that would make some sense. But Pittsburgh is in state receivership and the Port Authority of Allegheny County is a mess. This was pathetic.
    Love the way the Trib editors drop the "swim" description. They'll spalsh about, lampoon both the old parties, but not give a mention to specific instances on the positive side. Dive in! Drop the "L" word. And, I don't mean "lycra."

    State selling its 50-year-old Downtown office building

    State selling its 50-year-old Downtown office building For sale: 16-story office building in great Downtown location. Needs some TLC.

    The State Office Building, overlooking Point State Park, is going on the market, the state Department of General Services confirmed yesterday.
    This was a Michael Diven idea. Diven wanted to turn all of the government building in the downtown area into loft / condo / apartments. Then he would have re-built the Fifth and Forbes area as a RIDC-like office park for all the government workers.

    Diven's idea was an eye opener -- but it would have killed the city. I didn't want any part of it.

    Generally, it is always a good thing to sell off governmental buildings and assets. But, is there a greater plan?

    I'd hate to see a move take place that unfolds much like the move of the PAT offices.

    Jack Wagner -- please look into what's what with these buildings and assets.

    Swim meets, swim practice, naps and a whale watching tour slated for tomorrow

    We've been swimming. Last night we had swim practice and then there was a warrior meet. I took the kids home on the bike and then went back to the pool to be a part of the meet -- held on Friday night.

    Saturday AM, I led the practice session. The national group did 20 x 200s. It was a 'world class set' and we took it into a world-class practice as well. Many of the kids here are real aerobic animals.

    Saturday afternoon there was a "Canterbury Junior Meet." Grant and Erik participated. Both did very well.

    I'll post the practices and the order of events for these meets soon. The concepts are mostly what we are used to. But, there are a few nice twists.

    For instance, with today's junior meet, the people show up and have their entry form (1/2 page) filled out. They are collected at the door by meet officials. Then the meet's heat sheet is made while warm-ups occur (45 minutes). Then the meet happens.

    No advance sign up. None. Show up. Fill out the form. Pay $1.50 per event. Swim the meet. Finish ribbons were given right at the lane by the timers with a time on it.

    Time standards exist and if you are too fast -- you can't enter that event. It is a developmental meet.

    Started with arrival at 3:45. Warm ups from 3:45 to 4:30. Meet ended by 6:30 pm.

    No relays. About 10 teams were there.

    The boys and girls and all the age groups swim in one event. There was one guy who was 42 in the meet.

    On Sunday, we'll get up early and catch a cab to the train station. It is just too far to walk. We could bike -- by Catherine doesn't have a bike. Then we'll take a train north, along the coast. I missed the last train ride as they went to the Southern Alps two weeks ago. We'll go see whales. After the train ride we're booked on a boat to see the whales. I understand that a colony of whales live there year-round. There, we only watch and take photos, no swimming.

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    Upper St. Clair attorney McCullough will accept GOP nomination - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Upper St. Clair attorney McCullough will accept GOP nomination - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Charles P. McCullough, the Upper St. Clair attorney at the center of a criminal investigation over management of an elderly widow's trust fund, said today he will accept the Republican Party nomination for its Allegheny County Council at-large seat.

    McCullough, 52, won Tuesday what analysts called a surprise victory over political newcomer Kevin Acklin, 30, of Squirrel Hill.

    McCullough said last month he was dropping out of the race. But his name appeared on ballots because he missed a deadline to withdraw. Yesterday he won 57 percent of the vote, election results showed. Acklin, who received roughly 43 percent, conceded to McCullough about 10:30 p.m.

    'Obviously, it was by the hand of God...
    Oh my gosh. Err, ... Oh My God.

    Another write-in joke seems to be hatching in the pages of the Trib.

    County Council does NOT need to have a D and a R in those seats. A Libertarian can fill that seat.

    Drunk Bureaucrat: Election DysFUNction

    The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Election DysFUNction Jeff Koch introduced a resolution in council temporarily renaming the City to 'VoteforKoch-burgh,' which was probably a violation of some campaign rule somewhere, ...

    For the record. I've been invited to coffee by Mark D

    I can't go to coffee at Starbucks on East Carson -- until June 10 or 11. But, it will be a priority of mine until then.

    I've been trying to meet with this other Mark for months. So, hey. Stay tuned.

    Carbolic Smoke Ball: CHUCK McCULLOUGH, ATTORNEY CHARGED WITH MISHANDLING TRUST, WINS NOMINATION FOR COUNTY COUNCIL -- EVEN THOUGH HE TRIED TO WITHDRAW

    Carbolic Smoke Ball: CHUCK McCULLOUGH, ATTORNEY CHARGED WITH MISHANDLING TRUST, WINS NOMINATION FOR COUNTY COUNCIL -- EVEN THOUGH HE TRIED TO WITHDRAW FROM RACE: "'I am humbled and honored by the voters' confidence -- not to mention their stupidity,' said the Upper St. Clair attorney."

    Sang song. Lost her cat. Next, counting chickens before eggs hatch.

    Didn't the fat lady just sing a song to Len? Hello. Testing one, two, three. Testing.
    Posting a lost puppy -- err -- cat sign.

    Lou's List: Primary roundup, part 1: A New Day for Pittsburgh

    Lou's List: Primary roundup, part 1: A New Day for PittsburghNone of these candidates seem likely to face any threat in November.
    This could not be further from the truth.

    All of these candidates are sure to face opposition in the fall.

    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    Michigan GOP leader wants Paul barred from future debates - NewsFlash - mlive.com

    Sure signs of sinking ships -- block access to debats. Or, don't hold debates. Or, hold debates and limit the participation. These are all red flag events that should NEVER be considered.
    Michigan GOP leader wants Paul barred from future debates - NewsFlash - mlive.com: "The chairman of the Michigan Republican Party said Wednesday that he will try to bar Ron Paul from future GOP presidential debates because of remarks the Texas congressman made"
    In the first debate at the Ronald R Library in Calif, Dr. Ron Paul won. He won the MSNBC Poll and a bunch of others.

    Dr. Paul's remarks and statements in the debate were on the mark -- and showed how the big-time, big-government, big-war Republicrats have failed the United States with their policies.

    If Paul's message gets out there -- and if voters come to understand his thinking -- he wins. That scares the status quo politicians. That scares those who don't want to change. That scares those who have pay-checks to protect.

    So, a Republican wants a debate ban against a Republican in the US Congress, Ron Paul, a guy who voted for peace his entire time in office.

    Meanwhile, we've got Allegheny County Republicans that want to field no candidate for the position of Allegheny County Chief Executive. And, that wing of the Allegheny County Party does active campaign work for Dan Onorato as a write in.

    How many TV debates did Dan Onorato hold with Rich Swartz? Were there any Onorato vs. Swartz debates by the MSM that were held -- say by by KQV Radio, On-Q, WDUQ, WTAE, WPXI, PCNC, KDKA Radio, KDKA TV, Pgh Business Times?

    What about PA's Cable Access station -- PCN? Did they care to show up or host a debate when what some call the third most powerful position in PA's political landscape is due to have an election?

    What about the major institutions in town? Did Pitt, CMU, Duquesne Univ., RMU, Point Park Univ., Carlow, Chattam, UPMC, AGH, Tech Council, or a single school district -- each with their own cable tv access -- host televised debates with real gravity and seriousness?

    Street lockdowns proposed for Baltimore - Yahoo! News

    Street lockdowns proposed for Baltimore - Yahoo! News A city council leader, alarmed by Baltimore's rising homicide rate, wants to give the mayor the power to put troubled neighborhoods under virtual lockdown.
    Lockdown. Might as well say ghost town.

    I've ranted about this approach in the past.

    When things are wild, I'd not want to close the bars. Rather, keep them open but shut off the serving of alchohol, turn up the lights, turn down the music. Open, dry, bright, and soft would give people places to meet their friends, sober up, go the bathroom, drink coffee, and hang for a spell. Otherwise, drunks are on the road, looting streets and being vandals to neighborhoods.

    The bars have security. When the bars close, the security goes away. So, there is less security in the overall area.

    Furthermore, the mayor and the zone police commander, and some neighborhood leaders should be able to call for a "voluntary peace period" -- not be forced with a mandatory lock down -- by orders of the state.

    The jails are not big enough, nor should they be.

    Liberties are not to be ignored enough, nor should they be.

    Police are not funded enough, nor should they be.

    Citizens should not be slaves.

    Laws like this mentioned generally compound problems. Doctors can't get to work. Individual protection can't be assured. The crisis grows worse.

    Some of the same type of thinking and reactions were displayed in legislation in Pittsburgh. Jim Motznik led efforts with some "knee jerk legislation" in the wake of the tragic series of events at a nightclub in Rhode Island where a number of people were killed. There -- a band with flames shooting in the background caught a curtin on fire and people swarmed to locked exit doors. That was bad and unfortunate. And, local laws were examined to prevent such measures.

    When an overcrowding situation exists -- don't close the bar and send in the storm troopers and kick everyone out. Then the bar becomes the safest place around while the rest of the neighborhood becomes a war zone.

    Take action. But, make it prudent.

    Tell the bar owners that they have to stay open until dawn -- without serving booze. Don't tell the bar owners and workers that just created a crisis to go home now.

    Curran said he modeled his plan after an approach advocated by Philadelphia mayoral candidate Michael Nutter, who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday. Nutter has called for declarations of a "state of emergency" in high-crime neighborhoods, where police would conduct aggressive stop-and-frisk searches and impose curfews.

    Curran, who also sponsored Baltimore's recently passed smoking ban, said he expects opposition.

    "Some of the critics of the smoking ban were telling me, 'If you want to save lives in Baltimore, do something about the murder rate, do something about the gun violence,'" he said. "I'm trying to stop the murders, to reduce the mortality rate from gun violence in this town."

    Fresh Faces To Fill City Council Seats - News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh

    Fresh Faces To Fill City Council Seats - News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh Now, Bruce Kraus has unseated him with a double-digit margin of victory. But like Dowd and Burgess, he credits a grassroots campaign with connecting with the people.

    'A lot of us are going to focus back in on the neighborhoods,' said Kraus. 'And focus on quality of life issues, public safety, abandoned houses, those kinds of things.'

    When Kraus joins City Council, he will become the first openly gay elected official in western Pennsylvania.

    'You know, it's just such a natural part of my life,' said Kraus. 'I really don't think of it in terms of being a gay candidate or a straight candidate. It's just very much who I am as a person. So, it just sort of comes with me.'

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Happy Birthday To Mark!!!

    I just noticed on the left hand side of the blog that today is Mark's birthday.

    Congratulations to the world traveler and world-class thinker!

    Enjoy some cake for me.

    T

    What of "Republican" Mark Brentley???

    I’ve been frantically looking to see results for Mark Brentley, the sometimes-quirky School Board Director from District 8 who ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election.
    He didn’t get much ink, as would normally be the case in these kinds of elections. That being said, a frustrated Brentley switched his party registration from ubiquitous Democrat to Republican a year or so ago.
    In the Post-Gazette’s Voter’s Guide, Brentley is officially listed as an (I) for Independent, but as is the case for School Board Director, he can run as a Republican AND Democrat simultaneously.
    Does this mean that the bow-tie-wearing African-American Brentley, who (I found some results) received more than 1,000 Democrat votes and more than 100 Republican votes in a predominately-D district, has left the Republican Party as well?
    The co-creator of the “Take Your Dad To School” festivities (along with one-time Republican Mayoral candidate Jim Carmine) in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Brentley sometimes champions fairly Republican measures, but he is also known to throw the race-card around in truly non-conservative fashion. That being said, I’ve considered Mark to be great addition to the Republican movement in the city.
    I’m disappointed if he’s changed his registration again, perhaps in a pre-cursor to a quiet return to Pittsburgh’s Democratic party that has often shunned him.
    Sure, the Republican Party within the city of Pittsburgh has stumbled in the past year, to the point in which we didn’t even officially field a candidate for Mayor—I did write in Mark DeSantis only after giving much consideration to touch-padding my own name—but having Brentley win as a Republican would have meant a lot to the Republican Party and to him. If he’s resorted to scrambling back to the Democrats, he goes back into a crowded field.
    If he stays Republican, he immediately becomes a leader.

    Told ya!

    Today's "told ya" goes to Mr. Jeff Koch.

    I told ya Jeff. I knew you'd have a very short honeymoon.

    As soon as Jeff won the special election on March 14, 2006, I knew that he'd need to make instant progress. He'd need to show results. He'd need to do something big. He'd need to be credited with doing a number of big somethings so as to hold onto that position.

    I felt that Mr. Koch won last time, in the special election, because Bob O'Connor made it so. Bob, in 2006, had weight. It was Bob's time. To make Bob's time smoother, it was time to put in Bob's people on council. That was logical. It played well to most voters' sensibilities.

    Times change. Bob's gone. Luke in 2007 isn't the heavyweight that Bob was in 2006. Jeff Koch's top supporter with political sway was gone.

    The other thing that slowed Jeff Koch was that he was alone on the campaign trails. Jeff Koch in a nine person race, as a newbie, isn't the same as him in a two-person race as the incumbent.

    Jeff Koch said some things in last year's special election that were silly. They were nearly -- well -- now sense in hitting a man when he is down. But, I'll give examples that come to mind.

    Flashback to early 2006: At a candidate's forum, Jeff was asked about the number one thing he'd do once he was on council. The question was directed to his HIGHEST priority. Jeff said he'd want to be certain that Arlington Avenue was re-paved. There were a lot of pot holes on Arlington Ave. The T goes up Arlington Ave, as do cars. The street isn't a typical asphalt road. It is cement, mostly. PAT owns it and PAT needed to maintain the road too.

    Another flashback illustration from the first time that most of the candidates got together, at UPMC South Side Hospital. The question of gambling came. Jeff thought it was good to have the new casino in town as people on the South Side couldn't gamble now. Lots of people from Pittsburgh drive to West Virginia to play the slots there. So, a casino would keep the locals here, not needing to travel. That was his general statement.

    I pointed out to Jeff and the rest of the audience, when it was my turn to speak, that there were a dozen places (or so) on East Carson Street where one could go that very moment, before the casino opens, to gamble. We already had gambling on the South Side and throughout Pittsburgh.

    People expect more from a guy who is in office. People can sigh and take a statement or two with a grain of salt from a newbie politician. Jeff was given a chance. Jeff was Bob's guy. Jeff would, we all hoped, turn out okay. And, most of all, with the nine way race, there was a circus of excitement with plenty of other statements that pinged the senses.

    Jeff's folly wasn't much to note or dwell upon then.

    Plus, with nine in the race, others could come down on the double-speak. Jeff could say nothing in combat mode and still score points as others were talking.

    In a two person race that only covers one party -- the dynamics of the discussion and the demographics changed.

    Face it, the Dems want things given to them. The Dems say 'we, ours, mine.' The Dems are old-school types who take. Envy drives much of their discussions when it comes to city hall. Most of these voters want sheet cake with ice cream served to them at their weekly bingos.

    In the one-on-one race, Jeff Koch got out-flanked by both the double-talk and the willingness to make sure that everyone who wanted seconds on desert had it.

    Jeff had a year to deliver big time results and he didn't.

    Jeff sits on council and says little in meetings. Jeff pulled together a request for proposals for the still closed indoor ice rink. That's a yawn. If I had been on council -- it would be opened by now. The RFP was progress -- but nothing to hang a career upon. The Bar Bill had some buzz and energy about it associated to Koch -- but the bar bill morphed into a do-over. And, the bar bill wasn't sold well by the bill's prime sponsor. Red tape got the best of situation so far.

    Jeff needed to fix the South Side parking problems -- and he didn't. If he only fixed South Side parking issues, and nothing else, Jeff would have won the nomination with the votes. But, he didn't.

    But, most of all, "I told ya" back in March 2006. I told Jeff that things could easily shift and break another way in May of 2007. Jeff needed to produce on council. Jeff needed to produce in the neighborhoods. Jeff needed to produce like a rock star in presentations. Jeff needed to bring his "A game" every day, every evening, every event -- because he was a 'rookie' in a time of crisis.

    Finally, I told Jeff that he needed to have a back-up as well. He heard me because I told him -- told ya -- and he didn't have a chance to ignore me. But, now what?

    I ask as I'm not too sure what's going to happen with him and the district in the months to come. I'll talk to Jeff in June. Until then, I'll ponder upon what words should be said after 'told ya.'

    Ohligarchy: Having Fun Is Never A Waste Of Time

    Here is a guy who has his a smile on his face and his marbles in the bag. Sharp post. Thanks for the vote and insights.
    Ohligarchy: Having Fun Is Never A Waste Of Time County Executive race was a joke, but my vote was not. This weekend, Councilman Matt Drozd -- whom I have heard speak on several occasions and is a very smart, impressive man -- encouraged Republican voters to cast a write-in for his young son and namesake, who doesn't even want the office but will act as 'placeholder' for anyone else who would want to step in and take his place. Naturally, I wrote in Mark Rauterkus. Of the many races in which he has thrown his hat in this year's ring, County Executive was the only one in my jurisdiction. I hope enough Republicans voted for him to earn him the nomination. He could teach them a few things about standing for office.

    Summer Swim Team registration -- info for Scott

    See the comments for more details. Scott has a nice swim team in the summers. They are in our league.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    To be honest -- report with some sense of truth -- Voters Head To The Polls For Primary Election Day

    kdka.com - Voters Head To The Polls For Primary Election Day Meanwhile, voters in Pittsburgh will choose a controller plus four city council seats are up for grabs.
    No they won't.

    Election day, May 15, 2007, is a primary. Voters are only going to choose party nominations for controller and city council slots. The seats are not up for grabs until the general election in November. The winner of the general election gets the seat. The winner of the primary only gets onto the November general election ballot.

    The election on May 15 is a closed, state-run, subsidizd primary for the old parties.

    There is plenty of "grabbing" going on in Pittsburgh political circles. Take, take, take. They grab with gusto. But on election day -- in the primary -- it is time to punish, not grab.

    The outcome of the votes on the primary is about the loyalists getting to measure their level of distain. Other loyalist are present trying to take the nomination so that they can be more loyal to the residents in taking more in the years to come.

    Grabs and clutching are key concepts for doing well in the Pittsburgh Democratic Party.

    There IS an election tomorrow

    There IS an election tomorrow 'One thing I would point out about filing a complaint with the Ethics Hearing Board is that it's a very lengthy process,' she said, estimating it at 'up to a year' if the allegation is complex.

    She repeated that all complaints are filed 'under penalty of perjury.' Translation: if the complainant is found to have lied on their complaint, they can find themselves on the wrong end of a prosecution.

    Under the ethics code, she said as a reporter sat a few feet away, the complainant is not allowed to make their filing of a complaint public. Mr. Phillips' concerns have already made newspapers and the TV news, but Ms. De Simone said that didn't necessarily bar him from pursuing a complaint -- as long as he doesn't specifically tell anybody that he has filed it.
    The Ethics Hearing Board has been around for longer than a year. It was hatching for more than a decade!

    Lord of the Rings tour was a big success. They came back with a four pack of beer -- 1% beer -- "SoberRing Thoughts"

    More than 100 photos of the tour and NZ country are now in the album. Erik and Grant should get more details and messages in due time.

    From lord of the r...

    From lord of the r...

    Write on: Republicans are on the right track in mayor's race

    Write on: Republicans are on the right track in mayor's race but for Republicans in the city, it should also be about restoring pride in their local party.
    Except -- what kind of pride does it show when the Allegheny County Republicans are telling people to vote for Dan Onorato?

    What does it say when County Republicans are pushing a guy who the City Republicans are not? Furthermore, he isn't pushing himself.

    Republicans would be better served to write in Pierogie rather than drive the wedge further between different factions of the GOP party.

    Oh, by the way -- so much for the 48 hour rule. Told ya, again.

    County GOP Party calls on Republicans to write-in Onorato, D

    Oh my gosh. This is the stuff of legend.
    OK, I’ll Vote For One Democrat | PAWaterCooler.com: The Republican Party of Allegheny County just called and asked me to write in Dan Onorato for Chief Executive tomorrow. The wimpy local GOP hasn’t even bothered to run a candidate, so the contest is between incumbent Onorato and some other guy named Rick Swartz.

    The in-fighting among Republicans is now everywhere. The move to put a son onto the ballot is getting opposition from the committee.

    Where is Roddey?

    I'd love to hear this call -- or read the script.

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    Advice to voters about the City Council District 3 primary race -- Kraus vs. Koch endorsement

    In the hours to come, voters of the D party from the South Side and throughout the nearby neighborhoods, are able to go into a private space and make a decision. They'll have the option of pushing one of two buttons.

    One is marked, Bruce Kraus. The other is marked Jeffrey Koch. These are the two options for the Dem party nomination for Pittsburgh City Council District 3 seat.

    Humm.

    Put on your thinking caps.

    I predict, but am not certain, that Jeff Koch will win.

    Meanwhile, in New Zealand, many of the toilets have two buttons. How nice. One is for a full flush. The other is for a partial flush.

    Or, I guess, you could choose to not even vote at all.

    THE NEXT PIG THING

    THE NEXT PIG THING:

    Then comes this:



    So, the next became the prior.

    Travel quiz: Name this bird. What are some of its behaviors?



    Another bird from another day -- but the same species. See the comments for more insights.

    Dunedin - We're going to a swim meet there. Entries are in

    Dunedin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Dunedin"

    The boys are swimming in a meet in Dunedin. This is going to be fun.

    The local team, Wharenui, is sending down a squad. We'll travel by bus. Stay in a hotel for two nights. The meet is pre-lims and finals -- but a different set of events than what we have in the US.

    The meet will be in a 25-meter pool.

    The 50-meter races are 'timed finals.' But, some of the finals are in the afternoon session. Most of the other events are pre-lims and finals.

    Catherine is going with us on the bus and all. However, she has already booked a tour for Saturday, while the meet is being contested. The meet goes for two days. She'll be looking for penguins and long-winged albatross. The only mainland Royal Albatross colony.

    Rauterkus, Erik (12) WHAREP101094

    # 7 Male 11-12 50 Free 32.80S

    # 12D Male 11-12 200 Breast 3:25.25S

    # 15D Male 11-12 100 Fly 1:34.34S

    # 16D Male 11-12 100 Breast 1:36.36S

    # 24 Male 11-12 50 Fly 38.10S

    # 42D Male 11-12 200 Free 2:45.00S

    # 44D Male 11-12 100 Free 1:13.30S

    # 53 Male 11-12 50 Breast 45.00S

    # 58D Male 11-12 200 IM 3:15.15S

    Rauterkus, Grant (9) WHARGP041297

    # 5 Male 10 & Under 50 Free 41.41S

    # 15B Male 10 & Under 100 Fly 2:20.20S

    # 16B Male 10 & Under 100 Breast 2:10.02S

    # 22 Male 10 & Under 50 Fly 51.41S

    # 30B Male 10 & Under 100 IM 1:49.49S

    # 35 Male 10 & Under 50 Back 51.40S

    # 43B Male 10 & Under 100 Back 1:51.20S

    # 44B Male 10 & Under 100 Free 1:30.90S

    # 51 Male 10 & Under 50 Breast 53.53S

    [412] Take the nomination papers to the polls with you today - gearing up for a fall day to come

    [412] Take the nomination papers to the polls with you today - gearing up for a fall day to come

    Hi,

    Today is the primary election day in Pittsburgh. I'm sitting this one out, sorta.

    Pennsylvania's voting laws include the hosting of closed primary elections. As a Libertarian -- a 'third party' -- I'm not voting. Today the Ds and Rs get to do their thing and the rest of the citizens do ours. Trust me, I'll be in the majority -- by a landslide.

    A recent push for write in candidates among the ranks of the GOPers is of interest to me. If you are going to the polls, you can always do a write in. And, if you'd want -- you could write in my name, "Mark Rauterkus." I've said I'll stand for office, raise issues and sustain conversations that impact our public lives Others are less interested in doing those tasks. Few are willing to worry about liberty and freedom as well.

    But more precious to the cause -- beyond a write in vote -- is your help in getting onto the ballot. I'd love for you to print out a copy of the nomination papers and get a few signatures for our ticket of candidates. Election day is a great time to gather signatures.

    http://elect.Rauterkus.com/papers

    The form needs to be printed on legal sized paper -- front and back.
    Various forms are for county residents and others for city residents
    by city council districts.

    County Voters sign:
    http://elect.rauterkus.com/papers/petition-county.pdf

    City Voters sign:
    http://elect.rauterkus.com/papers/petition-city.pdf

    City voters who reside in city council district 7 sign:
    http://elect.rauterkus.com/papers/petition-cc-7-pdf.pdf

    City voters who reside in city council district 9 sign:
    http://elect.rauterkus.com/papers/petition-cc-9.pdf

    City voters who reside in city council district 3 sign:
    http://elect.rauterkus.com/papers/petition-cc-3.pdf
    (and get page 2 here) http://elect.rauterkus.com/papers/2nd-page-petition.pdf

    Since I'm not going to the polls myself, I'm going to enjoy a wonderful fall day. Yes, it is fall here. I'm on the other side of the world presently, in Christchurch, New Zealand. I've already been to a swim practice and on a bike ride. More to come of both. My family is on a Lord Of The Rings tour today. We've been busy seeing wild birds including the kiwi, exploring different lands and appreciating different cultures.

    Thanks for your efforts so far on helping to get our ticket onto the ballot in November. Rest assured that when we get back to the states, we'll be we'll be in top shape and ready for additional action-packed adventures in our own community

    Ta.

    Mark Rauterkus Mark@Rauterkus.com
    http://Rauterkus.blogspot.com
    http://Elect.Rauterkus.com

    7-7-07

    Jerry Bowyer writes with an invite to ask
    Where will you be on 07-07-07?

    FreedomFest 2007!

    My good friend Mark Skousen is a financial economist with many wonderful books to his credit, including: The Making of Modern Economics[1] and The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin[2]. Many of you have heard him as a guest on my radio program and also as a guest on some of the shows that we produce on the Leadership Radio network. Dr. Skousen is also putting one of the most creative conferences imaginable, with 7 themes (investing, geo-politics, science & technology, philosophy, history, healthy living, and economics), with 77 speakers and over 777 attendees from around the world. It’s called FreedomFest, to be held July 5-7, in Las Vegas (where else would you want to be on 07-07-07?). You’ll find a link for more information below. I urge you to attend and enjoy the greatest show on earth in a fun city. It’s going to be unforgettable.

    Regards, Jerry
    http://m1e.net/c?30089296-FKJXyX2GqmXQ2%402465922-hX1ouKJZXDH/s
    Looks like a great event. I'll be coaching and gathering signatures, I expect.

    KQV Newsradio Pittsburgh

    KQV Newsradio Pittsburgh Does the local Republican Party have a solution? If it does, we have yet to hear about it!
    Mr. Dickey. The solution comes in one word, "Libertarian."

    The Pittsburgh May 15th Primary Ballot...Verifies That It's a One-Party Town!

    One of the saddest commentaries on our city of Pittsburgh is a review of the upcoming May 15th Primary Elections on a number of offices. If you want confirmation that it's a one-party town, just take a look at the offices that are in the mix.

    Here's how it shapes up...Mayor of the city - no Republican candidate filed...Controller -no Republican candidate filed...District 3 - no Republican candidate filed...District 5 - no Republican candidate filed...District 7 - no Republican candidate filed...District 9 - no Republican candidate filed!

    Are you getting the message? It's coming across loud and clear - Pittsburgh is a one-party city and unfortunately, we're all paying the price for the lopsided Democratic registration majority...6 to 1 and we've been paying the price since the 1930s. In our opinion, a tenured and dominant one-party control of a city, regardless of which party it may be, is a real prescription for trouble.

    Pittsburgh, of course, is not the only city in America with this problem, but we're certainly one of the major cities having this albatross around our necks for more than 70 years!

    In our opinion, without competition at the ballot box, there is no serious debate on the city's vital issues; no exchange of ideas; and no development of problem solution strategies or philosophies.

    Just take a look at the financial problems that have been haunting our city for decades and will be for decades to come. The root of many of those problems can be found in our city's one-party hang-up and its back room political cronyism.

    But our major concern - as reflected by the absence of Republican candidates on next Tuesday's ballot - is that nobody seems to care and no conscious effort is being made to rectify the problem. Over these many years, the Republican Party in Pittsburgh seems to have surrendered and shown the white flag.

    We think the Republican Party of Pittsburgh, if there is one, needs to get off its padded posterior and at least make an effort. Otherwise we're going to continue to sing this swan song forever while the city suffers the stifling consequences of one party dominance!

    Does the local Republican Party have a solution? If it does, we have yet to hear about it!

    Robert W. Dickey, President, KQV Newsradio

    Broadcast: May 11, 12, 13, 2007
    We have a ticket, a Libertarian line-up, that covers all the spots you mentioned above. Candidates have been recruited. Nomination papers have been drawn up. http://Elect.Rauterkus.com/papers. Now we need KQV to alert the public so signatures can be obtained.

    You can do a sack dance on the shell that was the GOP -- or -- you can help to make viable opposition elsewhere.

    Reason Magazine - Pittsburgh: Livable or Leavable?

    Reason Magazine - Pittsburgh: Livable or Leavable?: "Since 1985, despite bleeding people and slowly converting to a sluggish service economy based on health care and organ transplants, the region has always been ranked among the almanac’s Top 20 most livable cities. That’s mainly because the ranking system favors the area’s many priceless assets, which include an abnormally low crime rate, a populace of regular-guy, smart-ass Michael Keaton-types (Keaton's a native), great old city neighborhoods and big suburban homes so cheap they’d make a Washingtonian weep. Pittsburgh also has top universities like Carnegie-Mellon and Pitt, major league sports teams, and a beautiful green landscape of hills, hollows and wide rivers. Sure, pay scales are low and the populace can be a little bigoted, too Democrat, and too working class. The two unofficial regional religions—unionism and Steelerism—can be annoying. And pop culturally, it's at least 5 years behind L.A. But Pittsburgh is a good city to raise a family in, grow old in and die in."

    GOP puts up name to oppose Onorato

    Too little. Too late.
    GOP puts up name to oppose Onorato 'Not having a candidate in the fall does a disservice to all the people of Allegheny County, because it doesn't give them a chance to hear the issues,' he said.

    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    Pittsburgh City Council candidate brings honest cents to campaign - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Pittsburgh City Council candidate brings honest cents to campaign - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "YANKEE CLIPPED. California University of Pennsylvania has one of the top graduate athletic training education programs in the country, but don't tell that to the New York Yankees.

    With a slew of Yankees suffering muscular injuries this spring, General Manager Brian Cashman decided Wednesday to eject the team's new strength and conditioning coach, Marty Miller, 34, CalU class of 2004.

    The last straw was 12 days ago when the Yanks' phenom pitcher, Phil Hughes, suffered a left hamstring injury after keeping the Texas Rangers hitless for 6 1/3 innings.

    Miller earned a degree in exercise science from the Washington County school and is scheduled to appear at the university for two sports 'performance enhancement' camps in July. Miller had been in the position only a couple of months."

    Talking with ... The Riverlife Task Force's Lisa Schroeder

    I hope Antirust blogs about this article.
    Talking with ... The Riverlife Task Force's Lisa Schroeder She's helping to make her vision of city riverfronts a reality
    My quick reply: The international city that best uses its rivers: Vienna. Another good one, Prauge.

    I'm thinking and dreaming of a wake-board tow line in a big rectangle between two bridges.

    The Citizens Voice - City chooses Wi-Fi provider

    The Citizens Voice - City chooses Wi-Fi provider WILKES-BARRE - Telecommunications provider Frontier was selected to build and maintain a wireless Internet service throughout the city.

    Surrounded by Frontier employees on Public Square at a press conference Thursday, Mayor Tom Leighton and City Administrator and Wire-Free Wilkes-Barre CEO J.J. Murphy announced the wireless initiative will enhance public saftey.

    re-public: re.imagining democracyRe-public : re-imagining democracy - english version � Pete Ashdown - Open source politics

    re-public: re.imagining democracyRe-public : re-imagining democracy - english version - Pete Ashdown - Open source politics The Internet is blind to wealth, ability, race, creed, gender, and background. A good idea presented through collaborative technologies will rise to the top and be implemented, regardless of the source. That is good for all including the minority.
    I'm not okay with that statement. The internet isn't blind to ability.

    San Francisco WiFi agreement said to save internet users $9 to $18 million annually

    The Pittsburgh controller, as well as the Pittsburgh wi-fi deal, are poor. I've not been happy with either. Meanwhile, here is what they have cooking in S.F.
    San Francisco Sentinel � Blog Archives � San Francisco WiFi agreement said to save internet users $9 to $18 million annually San Francisco internet users stand to save from $9 milliion to $18 million annually if an agreement between the City and EarthLink is adopted, according to a study by San Franicsco Controller Ed Harrington.

    The agreement, proposed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, also would reduce the digitial divide by “helping to incorporate low-income and disadvantaged populations into the economic mainstream,” according to Harrington.

    Download YouTube Videos

    Download YouTube Videos: "Web based"

    Pokora: Tax-exempt UPMC, Pitt 'bleed' city of $23M - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Pokora: Tax-exempt UPMC, Pitt 'bleed' city of $23M - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pokora: Tax-exempt UPMC, Pitt 'bleed' city of $23M
    Bleeding -- bull.

    Well, to use the same expression, then, in my not so humble opinion, Pokora should call for a stop of the bleeding.

    The bleeding is expanding. The bleeding needs to be understood. Tony Pokora just wants to tax the bleeding.

    A study and inventory of all nonprofit properties and a call to halt to all growth of nonprofits is prudent.

    Tony wants to target the largest and most profitable -- an act that is similar to eating one's young.

    Tony should pile on upon the city and the property tax breaks that they get. The city's land is not performing, has never performed and is growing as well.

    Where is the list of the properties where the tax liens were acquired?

    City: Nonprofits pay fraction of tax rate of what their taxes would be

    Plenty of other places -- such as Evanston, Illinois, home of Northwestern University, have a larger percentage of its space devoted to nonprofit ownership. Pittsburgh has a bunch of nonprofits, to be sure. However, those nonprofits are nonprofits by design. The benefits of the nonprofits are too great to calculate -- by the likes of Tony Pokora.

    City: Nonprofits pay fraction of tax rate of what their taxes would be Large, cash-rich universities and hospitals are paying the city of Pittsburgh small fractions of what they would if they were taxable institutions, acting city Controller Tony Pokora said in releasing an audit yesterday.

    Mr. Pokora looked at the property owned by eight institutions of higher learning and 14 health-care concerns, in an effort to find out what they would be paying in taxes if they weren't exempt. Some are members of a group called the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund that channels voluntary contributions to the city, but has not agreed to do so beyond this year.
    Tony wants to tax the Cathedral of Learning. Tony is barking up the wrong tree.

    When I'm in charge, I'll change the tune.

    First, how much space is owned by nonprofits. I want to know the square foot space. Value doesn't matter. Value changes. Let's inventory the nonprofit space and make a list of the parcels and total the size of each.

    What is the nonprofit footprint of space in Pittsburgh and in each municipality of Allegheny County.

    With this research, we'll also begin to get a handle upon how much space and how many spaces are owned by governmental agencies. The city, the county, the URA, the Parking Authority, the Stadium Authority (they still are paying on Three Rivers Stadium I think) and others have lots and lots of space.

    Then the mission would be to greatly reduce the governmental ownership of land throughout the city and the county.

    Furthermore, at the same time, a moratorium on nonprofit land expansion must be put into place for the city and the county.

    UPMC should be able to grow all it wants -- if the growth is upward on land it or another nonprofit already owns.

    Lots of nonprofit space in the city and county are used poorly. That's the big crime. That is what needs to change. The nonprofit sector has been taking more and more space, year to year.

    Pokora doesn't get it. He needs to clean up from within -- and look at the city's holdings first and foremost. Then he can look at the bigger trends of nonprofit expansion.

    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    Super 14: Bulls defeat Crusaders 27-12 - International Herald Tribune

    Our team is the Crusaders. They lost. The theme has been infringements, rucks and mauls -- on the field and off. The night after their last home game -- a few of the players punched up a few others on the steets of Christchurch -- at a bar (of course) -- because of "cheeky" comments.
    Super 14: Bulls defeat Crusaders 27-12 - International Herald Tribune: "The Bulls were then able to take advantage of errors the opposition made in trying to break the stranglehold.

    Crusaders captain Richie McCaw was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes at the start of the final quarter for repeated infringements at rucks and mauls, and Hougaard kicked the resulting penalty to stretch the lead to 24-12.
    The game was played in South Africa and was on the air at 3:30 am (local time). It was on "sky tv" -- a station that we don't get here at the house. So, we didn't watch the game.

    I had offered to the swim coach to open up a swim team party and hold it at the swim pool in a 'lounge' -- where there is a TV. Then we could have had a half-time basketballl game and a morning swim practice. Martin said I was full of many 'wild ideas.' Then he pointed out how he isn't into rugby, much. He likes the world cup. His sport is soccer. And, he is from the UK.

    I asked a dozen kids on the team if they were going to get up to watch the game -- and none were psyched about the game and none were going to miss sleep to watch. A few parents or siblings were expected to watch.

    Whistleblower fired from campaign job

    Whistleblower fired from campaign job 'I'm the only person in this scenario who didn't break the law, but I'm the only one who loses their job,' said Jason Phillips, who on Wednesday showed media evidence of a political phone call made on city time from a city office by a member of Mr. Koch's staff.
    Bummer.

    Friday, May 11, 2007

    The Conversation: A foundering ship

    The Conversation: A foundering ship

    J.Potts talks about the void in Pittsburgh political circles among those now hired on Grant Street.

    Thanks for the mention at the end of the post. Read it on his blog.

    Steelers President Demands Casino Traffic Study, Threatens To Sue - Sports News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh

    Steelers President Demands Casino Traffic Study, Threatens To Sue - Sports News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh Sue-i!



    Art Rooney II -- you are a renter. You don't own Heinz Field. You don't have standing.

    At least the owners of Majestic Star Casino are going to buy the land and build the casino with their own money.

    If Art Rooney is worried about the land around the stadium -- he should start by buying the stadium. Take it off of the backs of the taxpayers. Make it his own.

    Then, let's talk.