Sunday, November 30, 2008

End The Fed interview slated for WDUQ for Monday AM w Dave Powell

Listen for a phone interview about the End the Fed with Katherine Fink that should air Monday morning sometime (no idea when).

We're gearing up for the pending trip to Southern California

End the Steelers at Patriots game at end of 3rd quarter and turn on 60 Minutes and Michael Phelps interview

The game in Foxboro, Mass is wet and getting ugly. End it now. Let's turn on the 60 Minutes show and watch Michael Phelps interivew. Run it twice. We don't need to see it eight times -- but we don't need to see Cassel drop balls again either.

I'll either LIVE BLOG the interview -- or else follow Twitter.

Cafe Witness: PittGirl and the Trouble With Being Anonymous

Cafe Witness: PittGirl and the Trouble With Being Anonymous: "PittGirl and the Trouble With Being Anonymous"
My posting in that thread is repeated here:

esides the fact that I was part of the persona that was PittGirl -- I am also Mark Rauterkus and NOT Anonymous.

Great post Justin.

Folks, the "blow-back" situations in this town are "real." I dare say that they are not "everywhere" -- but I'm sure that they are strident here.

It is hard to be yourself on the internet. But, it is nearly impossible to get people to do other things -- such as run for public office. There are a few "cancers" in our greater community -- and the "blow-back" cancer needs to be buffered.

Since, "being boring" can't count as a "secret" (i.e., all harbor some secrets) -- Justin should know that I have no other secrets -- other than the one at the top of this reply. But that cat was let out of the bag a while ago.

This should be a topic of further discussions as there are some long-term, deep-rooted, important concepts that need community-wide understanding. When we wash away the need to be anonymous, many of the other hang-ups that cripple our region are sure to diminish greatly.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Agency OKs loan for arena overrun - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Agency OKs loan for arena overrun - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The total cost of the arena is $321 million, up from $290 million when city, county and state officials announced a deal in March 2007 to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh by building an arena to replace Mellon Arena, the National Hockey League's oldest venue.

The city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority agreed Nov. 13 to contribute $5.5 million to the $31 million increase in the cost of the arena. The state will contribute $10 million and the Penguins will pay $15.5 million."

Lessons From A Capitalist Thanksgiving -

Lessons From A Capitalist Thanksgiving - "When we remind them that their ideas have been tried--and found wanting--in the past, they cavalierly deny history, clap their hands over their ears and cry even more loudly for 'change.' If we listen to them, we deserve what we will get."

Postal Service stops anti-graffiti painters in Mt. Washington - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Postal Service stops anti-graffiti painters in Mt. Washington - Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewSandy Fundy thought she was battling vandals while sprucing up her neighborhood.

Turns out, she and other Mt. Washington residents unknowingly were breaking federal law.

Fundy said she asked for and received permission from a station manager at the Mt. Oliver post office in June to paint over graffiti on a green relay box near her home on Wyoming Avenue.
Under no circumstances can residents legally paint Postal Service boxes, despite what Bruce Kraus on others on city council might say.

Well, there are ways to fight back. This is a time to be creative.

Under no circumstances can a postal truck park on my sidewalk.

Under no circumstances can postal boxes with graffiti go without a phone call to mulitple postal service offices -- on the hour.

How about a wrap around the boxes. A tent could be put up so the view is of another object, not the box.

Perhaps the boxes can be covered pretty fall leaves.

How about if the postal service paints the boxes with black chalk board paint and then little chalk murals be allowed on the boxes. Not paint -- but chalk!

How about if we do a bailout with Obama's administration and change the federal law. We could get a re-painting holiday. Or a Keystone Repainting Zone designation -- a BID -- or whatever.

How about if we put the phone numbers of the paint crew for the post office onto the web. Then we can all call these folks directly.

How about if we put the work schedule of the paint crew on the web and we can see where they'll be day to day and hour to hour.

How about if those homeland security cameras are pointed at the mailboxes and the one's that are doing the late-night vandalism are caught on tape and then arrested. Then they can have, in part, as their punishment, a duty for the next 30-years to keep the boxes clean, or else.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Song: Twist to the 12 Days of Christmas

On his twelfth day in office
Ron Paul could’ve given me
A restored Constitution,
Second amendment,
All of my earnings,
Choice in my healthcare,
Border protection,
Property rights,
Restored pri-va-cy!!!
US sovereignty,
Sound money,
Real integrity,
And renewed faith in liberty!

Some Happy Thoughts at Thanksgiving

Ron Morris gives a bunch of points.
The American Entrepreneur - Newsletter Articles - Some Happy Thoughts at Thanksgiving: "We did a little research at Pittsburgh Renaissance Radio (my thanks to Brittany Strobel) and the results of that research were both interesting and exciting. Here are some things that we learned:"
Wife and kids are back from some Black Friday money spending. Crowds were no problem. In-store help was great.

Way to go Pitt and #25, Shady! We have no furniture to spare. I saw a bed on East Carson Street on the opposite side of the street from the Post Office. It might be a loud night, here on the South Side.

Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down - Yahoo! News

Stay safe out there.
From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events
Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down - Yahoo! News: "A worker died after being trampled by a throng of unruly shoppers when a suburban Wal-Mart opened for the holiday sales rush Friday, authorities said.

At least three other people were injured.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in Bentonville, Ark., would not confirm the reports of a stampede but said a 'medical emergency' had caused the company to close the store, which is in Valley Stream on Long Island."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gun Ordinance Letter to City ...

Gun Ordinance Letter to City ...: "The purpose of this letter is to follow-up on my testimony during the November 20th public hearing regarding the proposed lost and stolen firearms ordinance. I would also like to respond to contentions made by others at both that hearing as well as the November 18th post-agenda hearing.The purpose of this letter is to follow-up on my testimony during the November 20th public hearing regarding the proposed lost and stolen firearms ordinance. I would also like to respond to contentions made by others at both that hearing as well as the November 18th post-agenda hearing."

How China's slowdown could crimp our bailout plans - BloggingStocks


How China's slowdown could crimp our bailout plans - BloggingStocks: "Why should you care what's going on in China? It makes many of the products we buy -- particularly the ones sold at Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT). And it has been recycling the profits it makes due to its relatively low labor costs into buying American debt. In fact, without its willingness to purchase our Treasury bonds, we would probably not be able to afford the $8.2 trillion worth of bailout plans that we've created so far -- or the additional $20 trillion we might need in the future."
Twitter is making me much smarter! 
But, there seems to be some factual errors. The bailout is at $4-trillion. Not $8.2 T, nor $20T. (yet) The economy in China has been at 10-12% growth per quarter for the last few years. 

China's GDP growth can not include the "construction of houses." Housing, okay. But, a while ago China outlawed the building of any new single-family houses. That isn't happening. Perhaps the building of apartment buildings is another matter.

The cutting of one steel plant's production by 15% does not mean that global suppliers fo commodies -- such as iron ore, copper and cement -- around the world are suffering. That's a stretch, to say the least.

It is hard to see so many goofs in the first part of the article and then assume that the conclusion about US debt is valid. 

I agree that the decline is scary. I agree that the solvency of the nation is at the brink. But, this mess of a bailout with the US markets and Fed was created by the US politicians. The US is hooked to China. Fine. But, let's fix ourselves first and fix blame within the halls of our governmental offices.

Amazing: Thai Protests Strand Thousands of Tourists

From thai mix
ABC News: Thai Protests Strand Thousands of Tourists: "Thai Protests Strand Thousands of Tourists
Grounded Tourists Were Left to Sleep on Airport Floors While Demonstrators Held a Rally Outside"
Wonderful read. Check it out.

Democracy is not always a contact sport in Thailand.

From Thai boxing at Lumpinee

More fuel for the calling of The Zombie as a new mascot for new Pgh Public High School

The Zombies -- now taking the field -- with its own initial theme song as well.


Zombie Nation PSU blog. A blog for PSU (Penn State) calls itself the Zombie Nation PSU.

Always point to Wikipedia for insights:

The first Zombie Nation five track EP was released in the spring of 1999 on DJ Hell's label, International DeeJay Gigolo Records. A remix of the song Kernkraft 400 on this debut release landed in high chart-positions all over the world.

Since 2001, Florian Senfter has released tracks on different labels under Zombie Nation and his other pseudonym John Starlight. In 2002 he did not renew his contract with International DeeJay Gigolo Records and started his own label, Dekathlon Records, where he released the second Album "Absorber" in 2003. In early 2005, the new sublabel UKW Records was launched with John Starlight's John's Addiction Part 1 followed by Paeng Paeng 12" by Zombie Nation which was recorded a few months later. Sven Väth realized the potential of that song at first glance and licensed it for his Cocoon Recordings imprint. The the 3rd Album "Black Toys" which was released in 2006 on UKW Records Zombie Nation is a bass dominated soundscape [1] from tech-hop [2] to funk-laden house[2] . In 2007 Zombie Nation collaborated with Tiga under the pseudonym ZZT on the recording "Lower State of Consciousness".

Zombie Nation is also known today as electronic music liveact. Different from a DJ he uses musical hardware on stage to create sounds. The main instrument is an Akai MPC 4000[3] Music sequencer which he uses in combination with a mixing console and several effects units to do a live arrangement and Mix of his music.

Hear the title track - Tune:

Steel mill and all!


As I've posted before, it would be great if the new sports mascot for the new Pgh Public Schools at the new Science and Technology school (combined with UPREP) would be called "The Zombies."

414 Grant Street calls Joe Mistick a jerkoff

414 Grant Street: "When Trib columnist Joe Mistick was Sophie Masloff's top aid, he would have fired anyone who suggested that Sophie give all the proceeds of a campaign fundraiser to charity. In fact, it seems fair to ask how much money he convinced Sophie to donate to charity from her political fundraisers while he was running the city? Hmmm...we're guessing $0. Why would he think anyone else should be held to a different standard? What a jerkoff.

Panda attacks man in Chinese zoo

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Panda attacks man in Chinese zoo A man has been attacked by a panda at a park in southern China, after he climbed into its enclosure hoping to cuddle the creature.
The 20-year-old student had ignored warning signs and scaled a two-metre (6.5ft) barrier to get into the pen.
State media say the panda bit him on his arms and legs, and he had to be rescued by the animal's keepers.
Speaking from his hospital bed, the injured man said the panda had looked so cute he had just wanted to hug it.
The incident happened on Friday at Qixing Park in Guilin, a popular tourist attraction in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which houses a small zoo and panda exhibit.
If you want to hug a cute panda, buy one of these stuffed animals.

From china - bike - more

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Derrick - South Side neighborhood walk

Picasa Web Albums - Derrick - South Side neighborhood walk: "South Side neighborhood walk"
A project with a neighborhood walk has plenty of snapshots of the South Side Flats. Our house is "featured" - sorta. I went in the tour and left a bunch of snarky comments. You can do the same.

On Tap - Flouting the Rule of Law

Great read. Must read. Even Bruce Kraus should read this.
On Tap - Flouting the Rule of Law: "There are two outrageous philosophies at work here. The first is the philosophy of “do something, even if it’s meaningless”. Councilwoman Payne knows darn well that this ordinance isn’t going to reduce violent crime. Yet she and five other members of the City Council cast their vote in favor of this ordinance yesterday because (in my opinion), they want to be seen as doing something about violent crime. If you’re only interested in appearing to be effective, rather than actually being effective, I don’t want you as my elected representative. Period. Don’t give me soundbite solutions that play well on the evening news but don’t actually make the city any safer."

PURE Reform: Sports Proposal from Mark Rauterkus

PURE Reform: Sports Proposal from Mark Rauterkus: "Sports Proposal from Mark Rauterkus"
I'm getting some ink / or recycled electrons at another blog about the Zombies and Olympians -- in a call to participation for the community in our schools.

The Libertarian Moment: Despite all leading indicators to the contrary, America is poised to enter a new age of freedom. - Reason Magazine

Hard to read, but here is his summary in the middle.
The Libertarian Moment: Despite all leading indicators to the contrary, America is poised to enter a new age of freedom. - Reason Magazine: "The Libertarian Moment is based on a few hard-won insights that have grown into a fragile but enduring consensus in the ever-expanding free world. First is the notion that, all things being equal, markets are the best way to organize an economy and unleash the means of production (and its increasingly difficult-to-distinguish adjunct, consumption). Second is that at least vaguely representative democracy, and the political freedom it almost always strengthens, is the least worst form of government (a fact that even recalcitrant, anti-modern regimes in Islamabad, Tehran, and Berkeley grudgingly acknowledge in at least symbolic displays of pluralism). Both points seem almost banal now, but were under constant attack during the days of the Soviet Union, and are still subject to wobbly confidence any time capitalist dictatorships like China seem to grow ascendant in a time of domestic economic woe. Though every dip in the Dow makes the professional amnesiacs of cable TV and the finance pages turn in the direction of Mao, there is no going back to the Great Leap Forward.


Understanding the Libertarian Moment is fundamental to understanding the 21st century. Power — economic, cultural, political — will accrue to those people who recognize that it’s over for existing power centers. The command economy, the command culture, and the command polity have all been replaced by a different model — that of a consultant, a docent, a fixer, a friend. The individuals and groups that will flourish in the Libertarian Moment will be those who open things up, not shut them down.

Pittsburgh's renaissance holds lesson for Cleveland - Metro -

Pittsburgh's renaissance holds lesson for Cleveland - Metro - "Pittsburgh's renaissance holds lesson for Cleveland"

RMU Trips Abroad for 2009

Want to go on vacation and study with RMU in May and June of 2009. Check out this line-up of trips.

See the link under the heading, "Insights" here.

Are we going to be looking for this button next week?

So, what is happening?

And, what's going to happen?

Push for transit button.

Does PAT shut down next week?

An alternative to the bus -- the arrival of the bikes.

Pittsburgh, and the USA as a whole, should turn to golf carts as a way of mass transit. Anyone could drive them. Just leave them at various places downtown, and take em for a spin along certain streets. If you drive, you have to pick up the others that are going in the same direction as yourself.

Otherwise, we might as well try bumper cars.

From Grant

Big Bailouts, Bigger Bucks = Must read on cost of bailouts

You gotta see this.
Big Bailouts, Bigger Bucks | The Big Picture: "That is $686 billion less than the cost of the credit crisis thus far.

The only single American event in history that even comes close to matching the cost of the credit crisis is World War II: Original Cost: $288 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $3.6 trillion

The $4.6165 trillion dollars committed so far is about a trillion dollars ($979 billion dollars) greater than the entire cost of World War II borne by the United States: $3.6 trillion, adjusted for inflation (original cost was $288 billion).

Go figure: WWII was a relative bargain.

End The Fed - rally and message in Pittsburgh - End The Fed

City still can't ope ice rink -- but a drunk tank is being talked about

"There is some discussion of using the current Zone 3 station, once it is vacated, as a drunk tank."
Oh my gosh.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Going to the pool

Posted by Picasa

Dog missing 5 years reunited with owner

Dog missing 5 years reunited with owner: "Tootsie, the adventuresome dachshund who went missing more than five years ago, is on his way back home ...

Then there is the story of the recently lost dog / puppy.

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events

Ricky Burgess makes sense on gun measures in the works with city council

Council passes controversial bill on stolen guns The lone no vote was by Councilman Ricky Burgess, who argued that it would be a 'false cure' that would be 'particularly cruel' to his violence-plagued northeastern Pittsburgh district.
'This legislation will not strike a blow to straw purchasers,' he said. 'This ordinance will not be enforced, no loopholes will be closed and no lives will be saved, because no municipality can legally regulate firearms of any kind, at any time, for any reason.'
Right on Rev. Burgess.

Of course Tonya Payne does not give a concern about the constitution.

City council is up to its regular folly of over-reaching. They are only going to make for a new windfall for the lawyers to bill the public and nothing is going to be accomplished -- except a battle with the constition and the rich getting richer.

I also like the quote from Mr. Dowd. He said that in passing the measure council is "not really effectively changing the situation on the ground," and is inviting a lawsuit.

Doug Shields has it right with one technical point his quote in the Post-Gazette. Yes, go to courts to make arguements. Likewise, you go to the funeral home to cry for the dead and the hospitals to mend the injured. Going to the courts to make your arguements isn't going to fix anything when it comes to those injured and killed. And, the more they wish to run to the courts to fuss over arguements -- the longer it is going to take to get some sanity in the neighborhoods so as to divert the rushing to hospitals and graveyards.

Swim meet warm-ups

Turkey talk reminds me of these peeps.

Turkey talk is in the air. President Obama is on the radio talking about his 'economic team.'

But, I'm reminded of these peeps in the photo above. We encountered this woman was outside a school selling the chicks -- either in green, yellow, red or white.

As for my peeps, there are 237 folks who are now following me on twitter. My blog gets fewer updates since I've been sending notices to twitter.

August photos are still being found

Erik, Mark, Catherine, Grant in foreground. In the background is the Olympic Softball Stadium in Beijing and the teams from Japan and Australia are shaking hands after the game. Australia picked up the bronze medal and Japan won in extra innings. Japan then played the USA for the gold and silver medals.

Sports Fan Trivia -- what's going on here?

Game time:

Can you tell what's going on here? I took the photo. Tip: click image for a larger view.

Prize to the one in the comments that gets it right.

What are these folks watching?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

26 cited for underage drinking at Heinz Field - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

26 cited for underage drinking at Heinz Field - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "State police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers cited 26 minors for underage drinking Saturday at Heinz Field throughout the WPIAL football championships."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Said this before: Japan is upset that Obama won the election.

Four cities bidding for 2016 Olympics get to make their case - More Sports - "It's also the first bid presentations since the election of former Illinois senator Barack Obama as U.S. president, a potential major boost to the bid from his hometown of Chicago.

A video message from Obama, taped since his election victory, is expected to be included in Chicago's 20-minute delivery.

'There's heightened interest and excitement in the presentations,' Hickey said. 'People are wondering if the Chicago presentation will include something from President-elect Obama. It's an added dimension.'
But, Tokyo has its own secret weapon. The Prime Minister of Japan is an Olympian. He was a shooter in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

So, I guess Madrid, Spain, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, must be the ones that are the most mad -- since Obama won the election.

Obama goes into office in Jan 2009, he should still be in the White House and seeking re-election in time for the London 2012 Olympics. If he serves eight years, he'll be in the White House as the 2016 Summer Olympics are staged in his home town of Chicago.

Outfield of women's softball at Beijing Olympics had the Olympic rings. The team with the yellow and green is Australia. They lost to Japan and then got 3rd place -- in extra innings. Softball is due to get the Olympic ax -- as in baseball. Perhaps with the Chicago bid -- we'd get to see softball played at the home of the White Sox -- or the Cubs.

Delivered this letter to Pittsburgh Public Schools -- today

Pittsburgh Public Schools
Office of the Superintendent
Office of the Athletic Director
Office of the School Board

Dear PPS Board Members and School Administrators,

I care about sports and fitness. And, I want to be involved to the highest degree in these programs and their leadership.

It would be great if the new athletic booster groups could begin to gather as soon as possible. I'd be willing to get this started.

Furthermore, I feel that the new mascot for the combined sports teams with students at U-Prep and Science and Technology should be called, The Zombies. Pittsburgh has a rich tradition and history with the Zombie. That mascot choice alone will account for lots of buzz and schools-wide spirit. Kids will want to go there to be known as a “Zombie Athlete.”

As to the I.B. High – or I.B. World – or whatever it becomes, the mascot should be: The Olympians. It might be okay to be The Globetrotters – but that is used with a certain basketball team in Harlem – and it is for an all-black team. So, that has good and bad hangups. If not the Olympians – and if not the Globetrotters, then perhaps the team mascot could be The Wikipedians. That is a combo of Wiki (quick) as in Wikipedia. And pedestrian. A person who edits – is a Wikipedian.

I offer the last suggestion as a toss away option. Some folks just need to say 'no' and object to one option. Then there is good feelings to the others – Zombies and Olympians.

Visualize it now – the Olympians and their annual 'Toga Homecoming.' The school could use the wreath as a special award for activities. The name, “Olympians” could be a mascot name – but the five Olympic Rings and the name “Olympics” should be avoided for trademark concerns. Plus, the Olympians would be a good replacement for to the existing mascot, the Spartans.

Call me when we can meet and get started in more 'formal' dealing as to getting our community better engaged with our schools via the avenue of its sports teams.

Thanks for your consideration,

Suit forces eHarmony to offer gay dating service - Yahoo! News

Sorta weird to be forced to open a new web site.
Suit forces eHarmony to offer gay dating service - Yahoo! News: "Online dating service eHarmony has agreed to create a new website for gays and lesbians as part of a settlement with a gay man in New Jersey, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General said on Wednesday.
Isn't eHarmony all about the match of answers to specific questions? That is where the 'magic' comes with the suggestions for date partners. Will the same metrics apply? Is that able to be built off the same body of knowledge. I think that a pun is hidden in there somewhere.

New Poll Question -- on the left margin. What should Russ do? Next challenge could be...

A political friend from the center of Pennsylvania, Russ Diamond, founder of PA Clean Sweep, is the target of the new poll put on this blog.

He is wondering as to what comes next for himself and his network of friends, associates and comrades in reform.

I think that the call to end property tax is strong -- but -- it isn't my cup of tea. As to a policy, I think we should get to a land-value tax. That would requre an end to property tax as we know it. But, it would be a shift back to just taxing the land. The property tax also hits upon the value of the buildings. We should push for a return to the land value tax in Allegheny County. The land value tax works well in urban areas. However, it isn't, perhaps, the best solution for rural areas. So, I feel that it isn't going to work well as a state-wide issue.

Furthermore, I think it is good to have local taxes so locals can do self government.

The other polling option is the call for a Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention. That is very exciting. I think we should have a Constitutional Convention and I want to be a part of that process.

Some are sure to say that if a Constitutional Convention would unfold, there would be a swarm of 'special interest lobbyist' attempt to take over the convention. That would be true. However, we've got to prohibit that from happening.

I'm in favor of a Constituional Convention. I'm willing to take that risk. And, I feel that the existing Constitution is pretty darn good. However, it is abused today. So, one of the items that needs to be put into the next document is a punishment to those who would challenge what is constitutional by making illegal laws.

Lend your opinion to the poll with a click or two. Thank!

Logic Emotion: My Blogging "Secrets" Revealed

Logic Emotion: My Blogging "Secrets" Revealed: "The thing about people who write blogs (notice I didn't say bloggers) is that we don't have a ton of secrets to our 'craft'. If you choose to follow what we do, you'll pretty much figure it out for yourself. That said, Steph Grenier has put together a book called Blog Blazers where 40 indivuduals including the likes of Seth Godin, Steve Rubel and Rohit Bhargava share their tips. I'm in it too. Here's what I said:

USOC reorganizes staff to focus on starting TV network - More Sports -

USOC reorganizes staff to focus on starting TV network - More Sports - "The U.S. Olympic Committee reorganized part of its management team, a move that will allow chief operating officer Norm Bellingham more time to focus on starting an Olympic television network sometime in the next few months.

When the USOC hires a new chief marketing officer to replace Rick Burton, who resigned earlier this month, that person will report to CEO Jim Scherr instead of Bellingham. Bellingham is in charge of developing the TV network. Last month, he said the long-planned network could be up and running in 100 days."

It all depends upon what "is" is. The numbers are only numbers.

By: Chris Young - November 20, 2008
A drastic one-year increase in disciplinary problems in Pittsburgh's middle schools has some education experts wondering whether public school officials should be teaching the district's code of conduct along with...
Where do you begin with this quagmire?

Once upon a time, there was talk that next year was to be the year for "discipline." That was to be the year-long focus. Then that year came and passed and not much changed -- except a lot of new schools were hatched and other priorities trumped the notion of "discipline" being the top worry.

To be certain, discipline is a hard thing to witness and see. It isn't as obvious as test scores nor new windows that won't open because they've been screwed shut. Discipline is hard to witness from the outside, most of all. Those that are in the schools can see it. But those who are 'educational advocates' or on nonprofit boards have to be lucky to hear what's what.

Be safe. Push where you can. Pull when it makes sense. Get others out of their comfort zones and into positive acts of growth and learning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Convention Center park ready to move ahead

Convention Center park ready to move ahead: "Officials are hoping to get started next summer on an $8.5 million riverfront park at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
The project, overseen by the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, would feature a 25-foot platform that would extend over the Allegheny River and provide docking for the Gateway Clipper fleet, water taxis, and other boats. The park also would be the last piece needed to provide a continuous trail link from the Strip District to Point State Park."
Put in a shower and changing room there too, so I can swim in the Allegheny River. A bike rack and kayak racks -- with a hose and smooth access to the roof of cars would be swell too. But the swimmers access part is a must.

Convention Center park ready to move ahead

Convention Center park ready to move ahead: "Officials are hoping to get started next summer on an $8.5 million riverfront park at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
The project, overseen by the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, would feature a 25-foot platform that would extend over the Allegheny River and provide docking for the Gateway Clipper fleet, water taxis, and other boats. The park also would be the last piece needed to provide a continuous trail link from the Strip District to Point State Park."
Put in a show and ladder so I can swim in the Allegheny River and then take a shower. A changing room would be swell too.

In the hoop: Cities that score and others that don't.

The NCAA has selected five cities to host the Men's Division I Basketball Final Four from 2012 to 2016 -- and Beijing was not tops on its list for any of the years.

New Orleans for 2012
Atlanta for 2013
North Texas for 2014 in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington
Indianapolis for 2015 (7th time to host the NCAA Men's Finals)
Houston for 2016

Finalist cities that were not picked are Detroit, Minneapolis, Glendale, Ariz., San Antonio and St. Louis.

Pittsburgh and Philly didn't even show up on the radar as they're both city's are putting a focus on getting events for NASCAR, golf, handgun deaths and BassMasters fishing.

This won't be the Zombie Christmas -- but next year might be

Perhaps the new high school in Pittsburgh could use The Zombie as its mascot.

Who wants to help me get that campaign started.

Pgh Public Schools is to open a new Science and Technology High School in the fall of 2009. It will be located in the existing Frick Middle School, in Oakland. That school will team up with the new University Prep High School, just opened the fall of 2008.

Presently, the U-Prep kids play with the Schenley Spartans -- a school that has been split up last year. We all know that story.

But, for now, the Schenley legacy is still alive. But it is getting phased out.

In the year(s) to come, new teams and mascots and high school names are going to be crafted. The I.B. High / I.B. World is going to need a new name and mascot. Plus, the Univ. Prep and Science and Tech Schools are going to field joint sports teams.

Well .... here is the plan.

Let's make the mascot for the U-Prep / Science and Tech high school the Zombie.

The Zombie would play to Pittsburgh's roots. And, required reading for all athletes and boosters could be WWZ.


Should we start a petition?

What about the colors? Should they be orange and purple? Orange was a color of South Vo Tech -- now defunct. Orange is the color of Halloween, of course.

Photo credit: Byron Dazey

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another one bites the dust -- PittGirl

So, PittGirl is done?

What's up with that?

She -- or he -- is the latest in a long string of folks who have pulled the plug and gone empty.

There was some chatter on FM 102.5 this morning, but I didn't catch it all.

The archives from PittGirl's blog have been nuked.

Winter Sports get underway

Mid November -- the start of the winter season for high school athletes. Coaches are getting ready to make cuts. Players are gearing up for their first competitions.
(click for larger view.)

Love the Adidas advertisement / illustration. This poster was part of the ad campaign used in China for the Olympics. Notice the player is walking with the help of thousands of people in support. She is wearing the red and yellow of China. The people are in black-and-white. Such a sea of humanity doing everything from holding the basketball hoop to giving lift to the player's feet over their heads.

This is a sports twist to the theme of, "It takes a village."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ironic twists: Restricting Freedoms and Choices

....Congressman Ron Paul - Restricting Freedoms and Choices - Texas Straight Talk: "news from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that many health care facilities under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church may be shut down as a result of the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” for refusal to perform abortions.

Not only does this Act seem to have growing support in Congress, the President-elect and his Administration have indicated support for this legislation. Since many people cast their votes in a way that they believed would help to improve and increase availability of health care, this is an ironic twist.

Of course, the government takeover of health care began a long time ago, but we should be wary of how far that takeover will go if more private providers are forced out of the marketplace....

Mon River solids are a threat to machinery, but not health

Mon River solids are a threat to machinery, but not health: "State Department of Environmental Protection tests show levels of microscopic contaminants are high again in a low-flowing, 70-mile stretch of the Monongahela River that serves as the water source for 350,000 people.

Although most of the customers of the 11 public water suppliers drawing water from the river will notice only the 'hard water' problem when they see the spots and cloudy residue on glassware emerging from their dishwashers, industry and utility companies are experiencing significantly higher water treatment costs.
There was a time when the captains of the steam ships that ran along the rivers here would not use the river water for their ship's engines. They would only use 'fresh water.'

Meanwhile, at the same time, there were seven beaches along the banks of the rivers here for swimmers -- all within the city limits.

Here we go again. We'll give the coal-fired power plants cleaner water than we'll serve ourselves and our kids from the tap. Likewise, we build more expensive places for the Penguins in the PPG Zoo & Aquarium and the Penguins in the National Aviary to swim within -- as opposed to places for our kids to swim.

Schenley student missing since Friday - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Schenley student missing since Friday - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Pittsburgh police are looking for a Schenley High School senior who hasn't been seen or heard from since Friday.

Joseph Harris, 17, of Sheraden, was last seen Downtown boarding a Port Authority bus bound for Brighton Heights, where he told friends he was going to meet a man named 'G,' city police Lt. Kevin Kraus said.

Harris friends and relatives told investigators they don't know who 'G' is or why Harris was headed to meet him. Harris' cell phone has been turned off since friends saw him boarding the bus at 9 p.m. Friday, Kraus said."
A photo at this site:
Parents Plead For Return Of Missing Schenley High Student - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh police are asking for the public’s help to find a 17-year-old Schenley High School senior who has been missing since Friday. ...

Bailouts are bad, so says a Libertarian or two about the

Talking bailouts.

Andrew Davis Director of Communications of the Libertarian Party wrote of the big three:
Friend of Liberty,

This week, the main buzz is sure to be about possibly bailing-out the automotive industries in Detroit, known as the "Big Three." The Big Three consist of the three major automotive manufacturers: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.

Politicians looking to appease their nervous constituency, interest groups (both from the United Auto Workers and those representing Big Automotive) looking for a handout and know-nothing political pundits looking for a juicy story will all tell you this is necessary for the economic well being of the nation.

In this time of economic turmoil, it's easy to suggest government has the answers, especially when it is backed by sweet-sounding rhetoric and promises of better times. For those that don't know the historical failures of government intervention in the market, it just might sound good enough to swallow.

However, like most government programs, the reality is far, far different from the rhetoric.

Bailouts are ALWAYS bad for the taxpayer, for the economy, and for business. Why? Because rewarding the mismanagement of American corporations with a taxpayer-subsidized lifeline does NOTHING to encourage reform or fix the problems that pushed the companies to the brink of failure. As we said in a recent statement, these bailouts do nothing but prolong the inevitable collapse of companies suffering from extreme mismanagement and poor investments.

This is especially true in the case of automotive companies.

Detroit auto manufacturers have failed to keep up with trends in the automotive industry, locked themselves into destructive union contracts and demonstrated a complete lack of initiative in automotive innovations that make their products enticing to consumers.

Why are taxpayers being used to reward this mismanagement?

This is why Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at The Cato Institute, said the bailouts were like "giving an alcoholic the key to a liquor cabinet." Mitchell went on to list three important reasons why bailouts are bad news:

• A bailout will hurt the overall economy by misallocating resources. When politicians grant special favors to a certain industry or a particular union, such decisions necessarily mean that market forces are being replaced by special-interest deal-making. This type of interference with free markets is why nations such as France, Germany and Japan tend to grow more slowly and enjoy less prosperity.

But if America goes down this same path of government intervention, it is inevitable that we will suffer the same fate of stagnation and higher unemployment.

• A bailout will encourage other industries to seek taxpayer handouts. The Wall Street bailout was a disaster in many ways, most notably as measured by the weak stock market and economic volatility. But another negative aspect of the bailout is that other industries have now decided that it is OK to stick their snouts in the public trough, as well.

First Wall Street's high fliers get a bailout. Now the inefficient management and union at the Big Three want a handout. Who will be next in line to pillage taxpayers? Giving handouts in exchange for political support is akin to getting high. Once politicians decide they like the buzz of campaign contributions, they'll turn into junkies with ordinary Americans footing the bill.

• A bailout is a perverse transfer from poor taxpayers to rich taxpayers. America's Founding Fathers surely never envisaged that the federal government would take money from one group of Americans and give it to another group. Yet much of the federal budget is devoted to redistribution programs.

So, if the government can't bail-out these companies, what should happen to them?

Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is by no means a no-hassle "way-out" for companies that have made bad decisions in the past, but it is by far preferable to taxpayers footing the bill for these companies struggling to stay afloat.

Bankruptcy will allow these companies to restructure to a more cost effective format, and it will allow them to "trim the fat" from their overhead so that they may once again become productive (and profitable) without risking trillions of dollars in taxpayer money. With court-oversight, these automotive factories may also redo expensive and entangling contracts with the Unions—a major reason why these automotive companies have become so costly to operate.

Overall, letting these companies go into restructuring, instead of preserving the status quo with taxpayer funds, is best for the long-term economic stability of both these companies and the nation.

There is no magic bullet for the current economic situation. However, we can learn from our mistakes, and refuse to repeat them—that is, don't run to the government to solve the problems that the marketplace should be taking care of itself.

At the beginning of the financial crisis, before government decided it would bailout these firms (by the way, check out how your money is being spent), other companies were looking to buy up their devalued competitors. Then, government rushed in to do a patch-job, and ended what could have been a very healthy market work-out without the government's help. Instead, government made the problem worse, with your money on the line.

Unfortunately, both Republicans and Democrats were behind it, leaving the taxpayers with no representation while your money was at stake.

Only the Libertarian Party is the true friend of the taxpayer, and we want you to know we are working night and day to maximize your economic freedom by limiting the power of the government to get involved in the economy. You've heard of the separation of Church and State, well, we'd like a separation of economy and State.

Hopefully you can use what you've read today to help battle the collective wisdom that bailouts are good for the economy, and we'll check back in next week with more for you about liberty and freedom in the United States.

Live free,

Andrew Davis
Director of Communications
Libertarian Party

Pittsburgh IB World, also known as "I B High"

Pittsburgh IB World: "Welcome to The International Baccalaureate 6–12 website*. Welcome to The International Baccalaureate 6–12 website*."

At least I. B. High is better than Weir High.

Today, my son, Erik, 13, 8th grade, young jedi, is at I.B. World HS -- or what's to be that next year. He's with a 10th grader on a 'shadow experience.' We'll de-brief later.

Libertarians and Corporate Power: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Cato Unbound » Blog Archive » Libertarians and Corporate Power: Actions Speak Louder Than Words The economic distortions and inequities created by government granted patent and copyright monopolies are enormous.

While there may be areas in which patents are an effective policy for promoting innovation, the abuses associated with patents for prescription drugs should be libertarians’ poster child for government policy gone crazy. The country is projected to spend almost $250 billion for prescription drugs this year (more than $800 per person). In the absence of government patent monopolies, we would spend close to one-tenth of this amount. Those generic drugs that Wal-Mart can profitably sell for $4 a prescription are not chemically distinct from the brand name drugs that can cost several hundred dollars.

Okay. Let's make a few libertarian-friendly bailouts for the sake of the economy.

Close the patent office for the next 10 years.

End all copyright protection cases and all allow for copyright infringement for the next 10 years. That might help the newspaper and media industries -- including the sale of flat-screen TVs.

From NZ dump

Another huge problem brewing is the cost of malpractice to doctors and the resulting loss of doctors in Pennsylvania. It OBG Docs are few and far between. They might all flee if something isn't done soon. Cap all medical harm cases to >$200,000 plus the cost of care into the futute.

The EPA, the FDA, the War On Drugs -- are all costly and different changes can be made with a new category of governmental saction. Outlaw all drug company advertisements to consumers for 10 years.

If you really want a stimulus package -- we can do that.

Allow those that suffer from the pollution to sue those make the pollution.

Wild haired suggestions are flying around like crazy. The pigs are in heaven. Let's get a grip on what really matters.

Stop investing in bombs.

Just sent to KDKA-Radio's Marty G:

Marty's comments about fixes from the bottom up do NOT wash as his target isn't really the bottom.

Helping the poor isn't what is being suggested with offered-solutions.

Say, "From the middle-up" is okay.

"From the bottom-up" is a lie.

The poor can't, won't and should not benefit from a tax credit for the purchase of a new car nor for hosting, yet alone attending, an office christmas party.

Honesty works.

The one solution he does speak of that is more for the poor is for the bailout to the poor municipalities such as Clariton and the Mon Valley.

Tim's Letter to Editor @ Obama's win to the Tribune Review

From Tim Stevens, Chairman, The Black Political Empowerment Project
Letter to the Editor

From Tim Stevens, Chairman, The Black Political Empowerment Project

Co-convener, Coalition Against Violence, November 10, 2008

As an African American who in 2009 will be celebrating forty (40) years as a community activist, I along with millions of African Americans throughout this nation, and millions of others of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds, were brought to tears, and near tears, with the election of Barack Obama as the President-elect of the United States of America. Many Americans at my age and older wondered if we would ever live to see such a day in our lifetimes. Tears of so many millions of voters were because what we had all been told all of our lives…that anyone could possibly grow up and become President of the United States. We were moved to tears because on November 4, 2008 that oft repeated belief had indeed become a reality with the landslide victory of Barack Obama. Instead of celebrating the record turnout of U.S. voters and the fact that Senator Obama, by winning several so-called “red states”, had in fact already begun to make this nation more of a “united states”, The Tribune Review chose to belittle the accomplishment of a candidate for whom many gave no chance when he first announced almost two years ago. He beat the odds and he beat them BIG!! The Tribune Review chose instead to ignore the comments of very impartial and even conservative pundits who clearly stated that Senator Barack Obama ran the superior campaign of anyone of either party, from beginning to end, and one which will be studied for years to come because of its excellence, effectiveness and efficiency. Barack’s campaign created new thresholds and new approaches, ones which will be emulated by many campaigns in the future. The nation was not, as the Tribune suggests “blinded” by the call for change, it embraced the need for change, stimulated by an exciting and inspiring candidate and by the fact this nation, during this current administration, is currently in its worse financial crisis since the Great Depression and still dealing with a war that millions, including many conservatives, agree should never have been launched. Neither of these unacceptable realities were under the supervision of an Obama administration. If there was any President of the United States “dangerous to all”, as the Tribune seems of accuse Sen. Obama of becoming, it should be the individual who has been sitting in the Oval Office during the past nearly 8 years. The reason why millions of German citizens waived those U.S. flags in front of Sen. Barack Obama when he spoke to them months ago, was because he represented to them what the United States of America has represented to the world historically, and what it could represent once again. The euphoric reaction to Mr. Obama’s election from so many parts of the globe should not be something belittled, but something embraced by all Americans.

As an African American who for the past year and one half has co-convened with Valerie Dixon of the Coalition Against Violence, approximately 65 meetings, it would have been great to see the Tribune Review boldly state that the election of a Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States could create a whole new sense of pride in Black youth, and particularly in Black males, hopefully leading to a new and more peaceful climate within the African American neighborhoods currently reeling from senseless deaths of young people. It would have been great to have the Tribune Review state that though they opposed his candidacy his election does seem to bring about to many millions a sense of hope not felt by many in this nation since possibly the election of Sen. John Kennedy to the Presidency. Instead of wishing the nation “the best of luck…for they’ll need all the luck that can be”, maybe the Tribune Review should have been saying that because of the youthful passion and intensity of a Barack Obama, his soaring and inspiring eloquence, his obvious ability to pull diverse people and sections and segments of our country together, his obvious brilliance and organizational skill, the Tribune should have been instead been saying “WE lucked out as a nation, now let’s get behind this inspirational leader and let him lead!”

Tim Stevens

c/o The Hill House Association

1835 Centre Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Moon School board takes action regarding swim coach

Moon School board takes action In a private meeting yesterday morning, Moon's school board decided to remove Jamie Morton from his position as aquatic director but to retain him as a middle school social studies teacher and as the varsity swim coach.

Mr. Morton, 41, had been faulted by the State Ethics Commission for using his position as aquatics director to enrich himself in private businesses. He has taught in the district since 1996.

There was 'shouting and arguing' during yesterday's meeting, said board member Benjamin Bonham.

'I'm very disappointed that the administration and the board lacked leadership to deal with a very obvious problem,' he said, adding that he believed that Mr. Morton deserved a harsher punishment. 'This is a terrible example to set for our children. Ethics obviously don't matter.'
This has been and remains a crazy ride.

I've got a lot to say, but will use guarded words, when I have the time to further investigate what's what. Until then -- you tell me (us), by leaving a comment in the blog post below.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Free Ian Freeman | Is 93 Days in Jail Just Punishment for Having a Couch on your Lawn?

Free Ian Freeman | Is 93 Days in Jail Just Punishment for Having a Couch on your Lawn?: "When Ian failed to sit down fast enough at 'trial', the 'judge' sentenced him to 30 days for contempt of court, moved him to a back room, sentenced him for another 60 days and, finally, 3 days for refusing to pay the couch-related fine.

Ian is currently incarcerated, serving a 93 day sentence - for refusing to bully his tenant into removing the couch and for sitting down too slowly. Is that just punishment?
What would Jim Motznik do - if he was the judge? What about Gene Ricciardi?

Could Bruce Kraus make a law to enforce about this too?

BarCamp Pittsburgh is a "Go" -- next weekend


I've confirmed a small space at the Wilkins School Community Center
for BarCamp Pittsburgh next Saturday, 22 November, 2008. The BarCamp will
be colocated with the WPLUG November meeting. Full details are
available at:


I could use your help to forward these details to any discussion
groups, mailing lists, or blogs. A blurb about the event is included
below, though feel free to create your own. If you have any
suggestions on who else I should contact about BarCamp, please forward
me their info.

Also, I'm still looking for a few other organizations to help sponsor
the event. I'm covering the costs of the venue for the day, but could
use other sponsors to provide food for lunch, t-shirts and badges (all
optional, but very nice to have). Finally, if we could get one or two
digital projectors to use for the day, that would also help out.

Thanks so much!


BarCamp Pittsburgh launches Saturday, November 22

The first BarCamp Pittsburgh will be held next weekend on Saturday, 22
November at the Wilkins School Community Center in Swissvale. The
event will be co-located with the Western PA Linux User Group’s
November members meeting. However, you don’t have to be a kernel
hacker in order to attend BarCamp. Everyone is invited: programmers,
hackers, engineers, bloggers, artists, musicians, designers, writers,
poets, creators and makers of all stripes and colors.

Pittsburgh has already held a successful PodCamp for three years
running. Like PodCamp, BarCamp is a participant created event. The
schedule and agenda is determined by the attendees at the opening
session. Unlike PodCamp which has a specific focus on new media,
BarCamp is completely open to any topics. Typically sessions have a
creator/maker bent with everyone from designers to engineers showing
off their creations and teaching others how to do the same. For more
background on barcamp, read the wikipedia article or check out the
barcamp wiki.

Event Details

Date-Time: 22 November 2008, 9:30 AM for registration
Location: Wilkins School Community Center, 7604 Charleston Ave, Swissvale, Pennsylvania 15218
Web Site:

J Aaron Farr [US] +1 724-964-4515
馮傑仁 [HK] +852 8123-7905

Campaign Kick Off for Theresa Smith for Pittsburgh City Council -- today

Friends to Elect Theresa Smith for City Council Campaign Kick-off Event!

On Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 5 pm at Guardian Angels Church, (Formerly Saint Martin’s) 1030 Logue Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Event Will Include: Beer, Light Food and Refreshments, Door Prizes, D.J. and Dancing, Chinese Auction and More!!!

For Additional Information, Please Call: Theresa Smith C: 412-969-4991
Be there if you care.

I'm a big fan of Theresa Smith. She may get my endorsement. Time will tell, of course. But for now, Go, Theresa, Go. I'll be there!

Three teens die in river in Illinois

The Teens, so the radio report said, snuck out on an trip at night. Took to some boats that had been "winterized." That means that the floor plugs on the bottom of the boats had been removed. Hence, they would have sunk.

So sad.

Looking for more details. Know anything, feel free to post in comments.


PodCamp Community UnConferences / PodCampEDU: "PodCamp for educators and those interested in education and multimedia!

Wish I was there.

Friday, November 14, 2008

OMGPittsburgh has a face lift and looks nice

Rauterkus Archive at OMGPittsburgh: "OMGPittsburgh is a grassroots group blogging project, born of...

With a nice new look!

It might snow this weekend!

We have a new furnace, (pump and boiler), new chimney liner, and I know how to bleed the system and use a hand pump -- a bike pump -- to restore pressure in the line after bleeding. So, we're getting ready for the colder weather.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New arena's cost rises $31 million

New arena's cost rises $31 million: "The cost of the replacement for Mellon Arena has soared to $321 million, forcing the Penguins, the state and the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority to pony up more money to complete the project."
No worries. The Pens just beat the Red Wings in a game this week. The $31 M looks like a pimple next to those other bailouts.

My Facebook Blub at Keep Brandeis Swimming & Diving Alive!!

Facebook | Keep Brandeis Swimming & Diving Alive!!: "The swimming pool is like a classroom -- or better yet -- a lab. Chem labs, Physics labs, Computer labs, swimming pool. And, in the swimming pool lab, one gets to study human performance that stands a test of time, space and, of course, relationships. Keep the pool -- as you want to keep great places for learning. Keep the team, as you want to keep scholars fit. Keep the program, because you want to keep (and keep attracting) the institution competitive with the best and brightest around the east and around the world.

Mark Rauterkus

PS: students from Pittsburgh apply to and attend Bradeis -- and we were impressed with them and their prep that allowed them to enter Brandeis.

Brandeis Future In Limbo

Anyone with a connection to Brandeis and/or swimming is asked to speak up ASAP. Future In Limbo As many of you have heard, the Linsey Pool has been closed indefinitely due to major mechanical issues. I have been in close contact with Coach over the past 2 weeks as the team has been training off campus. Although no announcement has been made, all indications point to the very real possibility that the program will be cut after this season.

This decision will be made by senior university administration – not the athletic department. We have a tiny window of opportunity to express ourselves so our efforts must be unified, and directed through the proper channels. Our most immediate primary objective is to prevent senior administrators from announcing that the program has been cut. Once an announcement has been made it will be even more difficult to convince them to reverse course.

Election Frauds - Views - Potter's Field - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh

Splendid reporting and story telling!
Election Frauds - Views - Potter's Field - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "In Allegheny County, Republicans -- the 'family values' party -- challenged emergency ballots filed by several pregnant women who were in labor on Election Day. Unless their claims of pregnancy were notarized, Republican attorney Ron Wicks told WTAE-TV news, 'We don't know if there's really an emergency.'
Seeking notaries for an emergency-ballot request is proper procedure. But if Republicans were willing to go toe-to-toe with pregnant moms ('Oh, and thanks for choosing life, ladies!') you can be sure they'd have trumpeted any fraud they discovered. Their silence is telling."

Fine Mess - News - News - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh

Open up a business in Pittsburgh and have to deal with this treatment. Then the business closes. Go figure.
Fine Mess - News - News - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "In 2005, Milton Barr used lots of green paint to cover the exterior of 1020 East Carson St. with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mural. But he may need a lot more green -- about $200,000 more -- to erase the fines he incurred by doing so.
Barr, 21, closed his South Side arcade and video-rental store, MIB Ninja Entertainment, in August. The lime-green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mural has since been covered with dark-red and brown paint. But although the mural is out of sight, it's still very much in the city's mind."
We used to shop there. We miss them. But, we don't miss them worth $200,000.

If South Siders have been complaining for years about the mural, whey is this the first I heard of the complaint? Was there ever an informational picket? Was there ever a letter to the editor? Perhaps there was and I just missed it -- stuck in my turtle shell.

And it isn't only the video store that is gone. MDI, the computer consultants that have been business people for the past decade or more are gone too. I noticed that the business was vacant a few weeks ago and it caused me to wonder. Now the answer is out, it seems.

By the way, our house in the South Side is just outside of the historic district. Perhaps he would like to buy the outside of my house for $200,000. Let's negotiate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CBK, a big friend to the South Side

CBK, a women with grand hats, a warm approach and many friends on the South Side, was like none other. Peace to you and your family and your countless friends.

Swim tip: High hips in fly

The images above are from the 2008 Olympics, men's 200-meter fly, a semi-final heat. Sorry, I don't have the swimmers' names. Do you?

The important instance on this photo is the high hips with the black suit in the middle frame. See how much of the swimmer's body is above the surface of the water. The lower back, the bottom, the hips, and even a large bit of the top of the back of the legs are clearly in the air.

To get the hips high, the kick has to be deep and downward. Plus, the head needs to be low. It is impossible to have high hips when the head and feet are up. Everything can't be UP.

With the high hips, the feel for the swimmer is to drive over the water, dolphin style. Don't sink along in the water.

Finally, some say it is very hard for the rookie swimmers to swim butterfly in a slow manner. Swim fast. Swim fly as fast as you can. Get moving as it is not possible to get high in the water when the total speed is more rock-like.

HEAL Alabama

Nice video at HEAL Alabama. I wonder how the program is progressing?


Nice photo of The Water Cube in Beijing.

We've got four days of shadowing -- starting today. Grant, 5th grader, is visiting a middle school, Frick, today.

Frick is the same school his brother, Erik, has attended for the past three years. But, Frick is changing next year. Frick moves out of Oakland and into a Reizenstein -- and it becomes a school with grades that span from 6th to 12th grades. Frick is a good school and we're sad to have it change in such a drastic way.

He'll also visit Rodgers, the creative and performing arts middle school on Nov 21. Rodgers isn't going to be where it is today next year either. Rodgers moves downtown and it gets merged into the CAPA High School -- making another 6th to 12th grade school. Grant's first natural talent, violin, won't be put on display there. Rather, he'll go for his other talent -- creative writing.

The present 6th grade creative writing group of students at Rodgers is without any boys. There are 11 slots for next year.

Meanwhile, Erik has a choice to make for schools for next year too. He'll visit Allderdice tomorrow, Nov. 13. Then on Monday, Nov 17, Erik goes to the I.B. High -- Reisenstein -- and tags along with a guy in 10th grade. The present 9th graders are in the basement of Frick Middle School. Next year they'll have a new flux of students at Reizenstein.

Tweets from @cameronmoll

So, the government and Fannie/Freddie want to help homeowners with overpriced mortgages stay in their homes.

Suzanne and I have been renting for 2+ years specifically to wait until homes come back down to reasonable purchase price.

Where's the government *home buying* program for those of us fiscally responsible enough to have avoided an overpriced mortgage?
The rich get richer, it seems.

Next up the American auto industry that has been pimping Hummers and SUVs for way too long.

For people to be free to have success there also needs to be a freedom to fail.

Flag quiz: Can you name them?

Click for a larger image.
Post your answers in the comments of this blog post.
It is a big world, isn't it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

At least five eye City Council seat - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

At least five eye City Council seat - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Theresa N. Smith, 49, of Westwood, a special education coordinator;"

Neighborhoodwalk Salute to Vets

For some reason, 11-11 was picked as a day to do this joint project for a "neighborhoodwalk." This gives good cause to offer up a walk that is a salute to all veterans. Honor, peace and wellness to all. Thanks for your service, in the past, present and future.

Let's hope -- as in HOPE -- that the United States does a great job in giving care to all our vets in the future with a robust VA Medical System. That is where the healthcare discussion should always begin.

And, let's HOPE that few men and women are injured and killed in service in the weeks, months and years to come.

Walls Are Bad - Outdoor Recreation in Southwestern Pennsylvania - Home Page

Walls Are Bad - Outdoor Recreation in Southwestern Pennsylvania - Home Page Talking about this on 3:15 pm and beyond today at AM 1360.

Neighborhoodwalk -- p1

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events
Taking a long walk on a long pier.

As we get into winter, those here, are getting set for summer. Tonight, we feel a bit too much like those in Christchurch -- as we're without central heat.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Flag quiz: Name those flags, if you can.

Posted by Picasa

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) regains party status

Auditor General candidate, Betsy Summers, leads LPPa in vote total

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2008

Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) at or
Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS /

Harrisburg, PA – More than 170,000 Pennsylvanians voted for Libertarian Auditor General candidate Betsy Summers, thereby enabling the Libertarian Party to regain political party status in Pennsylvania.

With party status, the LPPa can participate in special elections and voter registration forms will include the LP as a pre-printed option. Unfortunately, the LP is still subject to Pennsylvania’s restrictive ballot access laws. According to State Senator Mike Folmer, “No state makes it more difficult for minor party and independent candidates to run for public office than Pennsylvania.”

In other state-wide races, LPPa candidate Marakay Rogers captured more than 105,000 votes for Attorney General and Berlie Etzel received more than 116,000 votes for State Treasurer. LP Presidential candidate Bob Barr received just 19,000 votes in Pennsylvania but over a half million votes nationally.

Per Media Relations Chair, Doug Leard, “We are happy to have regained party status and encouraged by the election results. Pennsylvanians cast 440,502 votes for Libertarian candidates. Betsy Summers received the second highest vote total in LPPa history. Berlie Etzel received the third highest total. Nationally, Bob Barr did the best of all our presidential candidates since Ed Clark in 1980.”

“We are also very optimistic about our future” continued Leard. “The big spending, big government, big bailout path of the Republican and Democratic parties present a significant opportunity for the Libertarian Party to become the standard bearer for Americans who believe in small, limited government.”

In other races involving the LPPa, James Fryman received 2.2% of the vote in the 5th Congressional District and Mary Lea Lucas received 15.5% of the vote in the 21st State Senate District. In General Assembly races, David Posipanka received 11.1% in the 35th district. Michael Robertson received 2.3% in the 63rd district. Vance Mays obtained 13.2% in the 64th district and Erik Sanchez received 1.8% in the 180th district.

LPPa Chairman Michael Robertson stated “I would like to thank all of our candidates and their supporters in this past election. The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and its candidates bring perspectives to the political discourse that others do not. We will continue to promote the fundamental American principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government.”

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Pennsylvania and the United States. More than 200,000 people across the country are registered Libertarians, and Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices. Please visit or for more information.

Rust Belt Neighborhood Walk - to happen in one day

Contact: Cynthia Closkey, 724-602-2332, cynthia -at- mybrilliantmistakes -dot- com


They’re using cutting-edge technology to revitalize Rust Belt cities

The problems of post-industrial cities seem so complex, intertwined, and entrenched, it’s hard to imagine how to start restoring these places to their former glory.

But a group of bloggers says that getting started can be as simple as taking a walk.

The Neighborhood Walk is a chance for individuals throughout the Rust Belt of the U.S. and Canada to recognize the place they live, work, or call home — and to introduce it to the world. The project is the inspiration of a social network called Rust Belt Bloggers.

On November 11, 2008 (11/11/2008), bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, photobloggers and others throughout the Rust Belt region will each take a walk around their neighborhood, make media about it — a blog post, photo gallery, video, or whatever you prefer — and post it on the web.

More info.

Visit Rust Belt Bloggers at:

From Mark Rauterkus
I expect to have a tour of my neighborhood soon, so as to play along with the joint proect.

Ravenstahl calls for unity in Pittsburgh budget address

Ravenstahl calls for unity in Pittsburgh budget address: "Ravenstahl calls for unity in Pittsburgh budget address
When I hear the "UNITY" word, I get worried. When it is in a headline, it is worse.

Of course Luke Ravenstahl wants unity as he approaches a city election year. Duhh. He doesn't want competition.

Plus, he is trying to be 'family' centered -- as he is now a dad, for the first time.

Parenting can change your life. There is always a promise that it should.

Sounds like Philly is doing just what Pittsburgh did already. Cut recreation. So silly.

Sports Illustrated is one of many with job cuts looming

Sports Illustrated needs 40 bodies gone within two weeks, says managing editor Terry McDonnell:
For the reasons outlined in Ann Moore’s reorganization announcement of 10/28/08, the Sports Illustrated Group will reduce the size of its staff across all properties. At the magazine, we will reduce staff in the following guild-covered categories:
copy editors,
photographers, designers, photo equipment technicians, picture catalogers, picture researchers, reporter-researchers, research assistants, writer-editors, writer-reporters.

A number of jobs not covered by the guild will also be eliminated at the magazine and across the group. Approximately 40 guild and non-guild volunteers are needed over the next two weeks to avoid involuntary job eliminations. If the number of volunteers falls short by Monday, December 1, involuntary layoffs will begin.

Like Disney's parade -- but yet different

On the Olympic Green, they had a parade. I got to stand next to the gal who was representing the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The dates were July 19 to August 4, 1996, as shown on her wings. All of the Olympics were with a different angel, of sorts. The main float is seen in the photo just over my head.

It was an interesting parade. And, it was fun to be on the subway home that day as all the dancers were boarding just as we were.

As for remembering, 18 years ago, today, we got married. I tweeted about our 'gift.'

The 1984 girl.

Have you been to jail for justice, recently?

Peace activist John Dear to speak here today: "The Rev. John Dear, a peace activist and Jesuit priest, will discuss his book 'A Persistent Peace' today at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, South Side.
He has been arrested 75 times for protests, but most recently made news because a former Guantanamo Bay prosecutor sought Father Dear's counsel before resigning over concerns about the fairness of the war crimes tribunals there.
A song title from Anne Feeney is, "Have You Been to Jail for Justice?"

Mayor writes himself a ticket to court

Mayor writes himself a ticket to court Mountain or molehill? There are, of course, two sides.
No. There are more than two sides. Even a coin has three sides, as you've got to count the edge.

First, the elected official needs to be honest. Don't use the ticket book and scratch another person's name on the citation. That's a lie. That's not honest and not 'transparent.'

Second, the elected official needs to do his or her job -- and not "over reach." The purpose of government needs to be understood and followed. As wires get crossed, things get ugly, very quickly. And, in turn, solutions are hard as hell to develop.

When city council becomes a developer, then the developers become the law setters.

If everyone did what the role called for them to do, then we'd be much better.

Our bus system builds a tunnel. Our housing authority sells air rights. Our stadium authority, from the time of Three Rivers Stadium, still exists.

Third, I have no problem with citations being delivered by folks other than the police -- if that policy can be passed by the people.

It would be great if the citizens could slap a ticket onto a parked car that blocks an intersection. We don't need the police to do that, all the time. If a dog drops a stinker on the sidewalk that isn't picked up -- it could result in a ticket for the dog owner, without police intervention. But, we'd need to adjust the regular mode of operations to allow that to occur.

If there is a will, there is a way. Some checks and balances need to be established. Some evidence of credit needs to be earned by the one who has the authority to deliver the ticket.

Judges will decide in the end. Fines need to be modest, if not minimal.

This theme, taken with a larger view, is much like a pollution case getting handed to a corporation from a neighbor rather than the EPA. Damages done can be collected in court between private parties.

We all have standing with air polution, illegally parked cars, and dogs crap on sidewalks.

"Our position is that in order for a parking ticket to be issued it has to be issued under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, and only a police officer has the power to do that, to issue a citation."

That's B.S. Is a ticket a criminal procedure? And, what became of the notion that everyone is responsible for fighting crime?

I'd love to see expanded operations of the school crossing guards. They should be given the ability to write tickets. If a car speeds by a bus stop and the crossing guard takes notice of the license plate -- a ticket could / should be mailed to the car owner. I'd much rather have those powers in the hands of people rather than automatic stop-light cameras.

Try the Politics of Sports. -

Missing the Campaign? Try the Politics of Sports. - By Dave Zirin
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page B05

It's a long-standing lament of the political activist: 'If only people devoted the time, effort and attention to politics that they apply to sports, we could change the world.'