Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How to Run -- or stand -- for public office, class on Jan 24

This is always a worthy investment of time. Would be nice to see Mark DeSantis attend.
The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh will present our biennial workshop on How to Run for Public Office on January 24. We do this in odd-numbered years because we believe that most candidates get started in local elections. We will focus on municipal councils, mayors, school directors, County Council and the district judiciary.

The workshop will be held at Point Park University Center, 414 Wood St., Rooms 212 and 213 from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. A continental breakfast will be included. The cost is $50 per person.

The workshop will cover the details of filing nomination petitions and other documents, working with the political parties, understanding the office sought, and running an effective campaign. There will be an opportunity for participants to interact informally with a person who has run for and served in the office sought. There is more detail and a registration form on the attached flyer.

Please forward this information to anyone you believe might be interested in attending or might know someone who would be interested. The wider it is distributed, the better.

The flyer is is also on the League's web site. We welcome any links to it. The address is
I would be interested in knowing about any links posted.

We look forward to seeing you or any of your friends and associates, their friends and associates, and anyone we can reach through this email at the workshop.

Thank you for your help.

Suzanne Broughton
President, League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh

Hey, you. Get onto my cloud.

Call out to artists in Pittsburgh. I'm looking for 3 others who MIGHT want to make/dabble w creation of a VIDEO wall w 12+ monitors. Ping me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008's Quick Diagnosed With Inoperable Cancerous Brain Tumor

Sad, sad news.'s Quick Diagnosed With Inoperable Cancerous Brain Tumor Auburn men’s and women’s head swimming and diving coach Richard Quick has been diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor. One of the most recognizable names in the swimming and diving community, Quick is a six-time United States Olympic coach who has directed 12 teams to NCAA titles.

The Conversation went dark too

With all the talk of burnout and bloggers going AWOL, don't over look the silence from Jonathan Potts.
The Conversation: "Good night and good luck"
His is another blog that I miss. His last post was in September 2008. He was around for four years. But, he had lots of years prior in other roles in the media.

If the burden of blogging is too much for you to bear -- send a digital wink my way and we'll see if it makes sense for you to tag along as a "Running Mate" and just blog under your byline here. But, if you do give-it-up --- do so without pulling the plug on the archives.

Now 2008 is nearly only a memory.

Firmware Verification - DRAFT letter

I'm going to send my own letter. This is a draft from David Powell, my party's chair. I'm the vice-chair. As such, I can be more of an attack dog. I hate it when a bureaucrat plays gatekeeper and closes volunteers, taxpayers, voters, citizens and experts from a watchdog opportunity.

David Powell
Chair, Libertarian Party of Allegheny County
924 Chislett St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206 
(412) 661-1135

Mr. Mark Wolosik
Manager, Division of Elections, Allegheny County
604 County Office Bldg., 542 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2953
(412) 350-4500

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dear Mr. Wolosik:

I have been informed that on Monday the 22nd the Division of Elections carried out a procedure to verify the integrity of the software contained within the iVotronic DRE voting terminals employed in Allegheny County. Though many members of my organization would prefer a voting system enabling voters to be sure their votes are recorded as cast, as long as the voters of our County must use paperless electronic voting machines we would certainly hope for any available assurances that they may be operating properly. So it is good news that the County is pursuing this matter.

Unfortunately, I have also been informed that the individual designated by our party to observe the process, Ronald Bandes, was not permitted to participate. Mr. Bandes is a graduate student studying Information Security, Policy, and Management at Carnegie Mellon University and has also served as a poll worker. As you may recall, in the November 2008 general election our party fielded candidates in the state-wide races for President, Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer, and also for the 35th district of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. We of course wish votes for our candidates to be accurately counted, and were looking forward to the informed observations which Mr. Bandes volunteered to provide.

I am not an attorney, nor otherwise intimately familiar with the Pennsylvania Election Code. As a layperson, it would seem only natural that all parties with candidates on the ballot in the November general election would be entitled to observe election procedures on an equal basis, in accordance with the requirement in Article 1, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution that elections be “free and equal.” So that we can plan appropriately for upcoming elections, could you please provide me with your understanding of which provision(s) of law govern who may appoint observers for firmware verification events?
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Dave Powell, Chair
Allegheny County Libertarian Party

The Marketing Student | Generation Y Marketing Insights � A Look At How Gen Y Communicates

The Marketing Student | Generation Y Marketing Insights � A Look At How Gen Y Communicates: "A Look At How Gen Y Communicates"
My $.02 about the article pointer above.

Frequency of email use is LOW, IMHO.

Facebook includes all blogs?


Blog comments = wall post?


What about conf call rooms such as

This is why I like Twitter -- pointers to clips like this, for car freaks

The new car is called, the 2012 Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sport Edition.

Rule change sanity in swimming

Effective January 1, 2009 at all North Texas Swimming, age-group defined, sanctioned meets:

* Swimsuits worn by females for all 14 & Under defined competitions shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor past the hip.

* Swimsuits worn by males for all 14 & Under defined competitions shall not extend above the hips nor below the knees.

Great rule above. Time for some video fun, however.

This swim suit, worn by Grant in his younger days, shown in the video below, is not going to be legal in a swim meet in Dallas in 2009.

How to qualify for the Ironman Championships

By Nathan Hangen
The Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii is the holy grail for triathletes looking to reach professional status. Just like the Boston Marathon, you have to qualify in a qualifying race to gain entry to the Ironman Champsionships.

Athletes may gain entry into the Ford Ironman World Championship by earning a qualifying slot at one of the 29 worldwide qualifying events - open to citizens of all countries - held throughout the year. Qualifier races vary in length, ranging from 70.3-distance (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) to full Ironman distance (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run). Each event awards Ironman slots to its top age-group finishers, with some races also awarding professional qualifying slots. Athletes may also gain entry by being selected through the Ironman Lottery. You can generally find a list of races at, as well as a list of current qualifiers.If you qualified last year and wonder if you are automatically quailfied for the current year, unfortunately only the age group winners and top ten professional athletes are invited to return. Everyone has has to re-qualify.

If you do not qualify outright, the Ironman does hold a lottery where you may have a chance to participate, however typically slots unknown until all qualifiers are completed. If your country does not have any qualifying races, the only alternative is to race in another country or apply in the lottery. Unfortunately, your chances in the lottery are extremely slim.

Before the race, you must declare your status, and race in that division. Professionals must hold a valid professional/elite card or a letter from their country's federation. This must be submitted with the application. If you qualified as an age grouper and want to race as a pro, you must re-qualify as a professional earning a pro slot. If you race as a professional athlete during the calendar year, you may not race as an age grouper in IRONMAN for that year and the following year.

There are cutoff times that can disqualify you. Currently, the swim is 2.4 miles and the cutoff is 2 hrs. and 20 min., the bike is 112 miles and the cutoff time is 10 hrs and 30 min from the beginning of the race and the run is a full marathon which is 26.2 miles and the cutoff time is 17 hours from the beginning of the race.

Typically, a triathlete trains for 20-22 hours per week to prepare for an Ironman, although you might need more time if you are new to triathlons or Ironman distances. A good rule of thumb when training for each event is:

Miles per week swimming: 7 (11.3 km)
Miles per week biking: 232 (373.3 km)
Miles per week running: 48 (77.2 km)

Lastly, here are the current and future dates of the Ironman World Championship:

2009: 10/10/2009
2010: 10/9/2010
2011: 10/08/2011
2012: 10/13/2012

To prepare for an Ironman or any other Triathlon distance, visit the Triathlon Training Guide. If swimming is your weak event, be sure to read about the Tri Swim Coach Program.

Article Source:

Will you stand

In other cultures, it is the common way to "stand" for public office. Here, we "run" for office -- sadly. There is little that makes me more upset than seeing a bozo politician run around seeking votes, like a chicken with his or her head cut off.

Song by Amy Carol Webb, a Florida friend who has played gigs for us in Pittsburgh. We expect and hope to see here in January.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Tonight -- we get to cheer for the guys in purple. Go Northwestern.

Pitt is in the Sun Bowl. As for the Rose Bowl, I'm not sure who I'll cheer for. I love USC and Pete Carroll. So, I might be joining the anti-Nit gang for this one.

NFL insights:

Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009:
Falcons at Cardinals NBC, 4:30 p.m. ET
Colts at Chargers NBC, 8 p.m., ET

Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009:
Ravens at Dolphins CBS, 1 p.m. ET
Eagles at Vikings Fox, 4:30 p.m. ET

Teams with a first week bye:
AFC byes: Titans, Steelers
NFC byes: Giants, Panthers

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bram falls off rocker

Just posted at Bram's blog. he seems to think that the field for the 2009 mayor's race is about to close. The race has yet to begin. He wants to put out a 'last call' for candidates, it seems.

My reply:

Last call, what a joke. You don't get to proclaim 'last call.' And, it ain't happening now, fur sure.

In the last go-around, Mark DeStantis was unknown until after he was a write-in, in MAY.

It wasn't until New Year's Day, Jan 1, 2001, that Josh Pollock came boldly onto the scene with a front page P-G article about his race. His ink was the first to spill in that year and there might have been 7 Ds in the race that year.

It is a long road Bram. Don't do what the others do and declare others the 'lamb' before it begins. Progressives are to be 'open minded.'

The 'done-deal mentality' has been killing Pittsburgh for many decades. That has to be outed and put to an end.

Those who wish to champion the status quo are sure to rush the last call and end before it even began.

Christmas Gift for all Running Mates Blog Readers and Twitter Followers

I wanted to purchase a Christmas gift for all the faithful readers of the blog and the 300 or so who follow on Twitter. But, I was torn at what to get for all of you. And, I'm on a budget. (My W2 for 2008 is going to have $0 income.) Plus, we've got this nagging problem with the global economic meltdown coupled with the news industry/journalism/newspaper meltdown. So, I need to be prudent. Finally, with our amazing trip to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, I felt it would be exciting to bring you back a gift from the Olympics. We did bring back more than 200 gifts for our family and closest neighbors and friends. But, sadly, until now, we didn't have the capacity to share a gift for all the readers and Running Mates.

The other day my wife and I were chatting about the arriving Christmas cards and letters. Then it struck me. She and I were both tickled by Steven's note. Steven is a chef. He wrote that he had been doing some cooking at home to ready his family for the holidays -- while crafting his letter. Cookies were coming out of the oven and rather than sending everyone a dozen cookies, he sent those on his Christmas list the recepit for his cookies. Bam! Within the letter we had the formula for Steven's Christmas Cookies, a wonderful treat.

Perhaps we'll test and then re-gift Steven's gift in the future -- but now on to your gift.

It's a hat.
It comes from Beijing. No instructions necessary. Great when the sun is high and the heat is around 30-degrees C. Works with all different newsprint, regardless of the language -- sorta multi-lingual. Easy to export and import and does NOT require a hologram insignia of a branded logo.

This is the official gift hat of this blog, Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates, given on 2008's Boxing Day -- a day when all 20 of the teams in the Premier League are in action.

The hat is not so good for the next Steelers games. But, other local blogs have that covered. You might find this a splendid hat for watching the next test match of the West Indies Cricket Team now playing in the southern hemisphere.


Read, Avoid Extinction

I've been thinking more about burnout and how many need to avoid it. Plus, how some are failing and burnout is winning. A rash of blogging burnout has hit within Pittsburgh. My top bit of advice to community participants is simple: "Don't burn out."

Couple this aim of survival in the community commons with another pressing, personal mission quest -- literacy -- and I'm like a pig in a mud-puddle.

Back in the day, I hooked up with Phil Yeh, a talent and ball of energy that this world has a hard time containing. His words work with a call to "Read. Avoid Extinction."

For our blogs to work, for our communities to work, for our schools to work, for our landscape to work -- from Kiwis to Mao to the Long-Nosed Gar -- we've got to work together, avoiding extinction.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Peace on Earth. How about Pittsburgh?

Man Shot In Homewood - "Police are investigating a shooting this afternoon in a Pittsburgh neighborhood.

A 19-year-old man was shot in the thigh at about 4:30 p.m. along Formosa Way in Homewood.
Christmas Eve brings another city shooting. Gives new meaning to "You better watch out."

Decision on Lamar Advertising from Zoning Board about the Electronic Sign on the Parking Authority Building on Liberty Ave

Bram sent me this huge PDF, more than 6 megs in size. It is uploaded to the web for your easy access.

I have not read it, yet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are girls' sports being cheated?

#2? Or, Peace?
Are girls' sports being cheated?: "Ms. Frietsche, senior staff attorney with the Women's Law Project, did some research on her own and found what the advocacy group called 'pervasive and severe' inequities in girls' athletic opportunities.

Instead of suing the district or filing a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, however, Ms. Frietsche decided to be a good sport and give the school district a chance to make things right.
Did Michael Lamb come out of the bottle to talk about an audit?

An audit is one of the last things the district needs when talking about its sports programs.

The score is like 85 to 3. We're getting smeared. We all are getting a good-old beating. The boys, the girls, the parents, the boosters, the coaches, the sports-minded citizens, the kids.

There are plenty of 'pervasive and severe' failures in all types of athletic opportunities in Pgh Public Schools when it comes to the overall sports and fitness programs. This spans parks and recreation in the city and the county. This covers engagement with club teams and general utilization of the facilities.

If the board pays $10K for only an audit of Title IX, they the board will have an audit of Title IX and nothing significant will unfold for the greater good of 'fair play' and 'sports participation.'

This quote goes to the top of the list for 2008 and might land Ms. Arnet as my nomination for Pittsburgher of the year. "We want to make sure our athletic opportunities in the Pittsburgh Public Schools are just as competitive as suburban districts," Ms. Arnet said.
But, I've never seen anything to back up that talk, until this audit.

Even with the audit, there won't be any changes. An audit is a way to buy time and wreck it for another season or three.

Athletes, not just female athletes, do much, much better in school and out of school than the non-athlete. This isn't a boy or girl thing. It is about being coached, being motivated, being pushed, being fit, being part of a team, being challenged, being pulled, being exposed to excellence, being put under the lights, being strong.

"... (A)thletes are less likely than other(s) to abuse drugs or alcohol, develop eating disorders or have an unplanned pregnancy and more likely to go to college. The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education says female athletes also have lower rates of breast cancer, heart disease and depression."

I love sports in schools. I love sports in life. I love it when guys and gals do sports. My prime sports, swimming and water polo, are great sports for everyone.

It is time to overhaul the sports programs in the city, big time!

Start with the formation of booster clubs at the I.B. High, Science and Tech and U-Prep -- and CAPA.

Pick a mascot, such as the Zombies and Olympians.

Join the WPIAL.

Get coaches accountable, along with the principals.

Open up the buildings.

Call me. Or, return my calls as I'm calling you -- again.

December 13, 2008: After school cuts stir fears of kids home alone, USA Today

As states and districts cut back on extracurricular activities, more children may be left at home while their parents work to make ends. Such unsupervised children and teens may be at greater risk for getting into trouble, potentially leading to higher crime rates, extracurricular advocates say. (Thanks to A+ Schools)

Year in Photos. Help with a caption.

From A for Athlete

That one got by. And, she's not so happy about it.

Baby You Can Drive My Car!

City Councilman's Car Stolen From Home Depot In East Liberty - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh

City Councilman's Car Stolen From Home Depot In East Liberty - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh: "Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shield's car was stolen from the Home Depot parking lot in East Liberty on Friday.
Shields had left his keys in the car to make a quick stop at a holiday party. When he came back, the car was gone.
The car was recovered on Sunday in Lincoln-Lemington. It was taken to the city pound to be checked for fingerprints.
Gosh. He'll do anything to get some media attention and into the newspapers.

Doug, if you're looking for fresh PR and media attention, figure out why the Overlords are meeting at 9 am today.

Ask why experts are being asked to depart the evaluation meetings of the electronic voting firmware.

Jump into the river with the Polar Bear Club on New Year's Day at 9 am at the Mon Wharf.

Ring a bell by a Salvation Army Red Pot for 48 hours, nonstop.

Find a lost dog of a well known rock star.

Offer to stand guard with a fire extinguisher for anyone in the city who is trying to thaw frozen water pipes with a blow torch.

Buy your car back at face value at the next city of Pittsburgh Auto Pound Car Sale.

Sponsor needed for FINA World Marathon Swim Event

Perhaps a social media star can pick-up this sponsorship. Chris Brogan could do it, if he wanted to.
3rd December 2008

New Zealand’s opportunity to host the FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup next year may fall victim of the current economic issues.

Swimming New Zealand has been selected to host a round of the FINA World Cup to be held in Wellington in March 2009.

Despite extensive marketing work, they have been unable to secure a naming sponsor while their costs have risen considerably with the drop in the kiwi dollar.

Swimming New Zealand CEO Mike Byrne said the event is an outstanding opportunity for the sport and the country and he is determined to do everything he can to find the money to stage the world cup.

“The prizemoney for the event is in US dollars along with some other costs, that has increased our budget by more than 20 percent,” Mr Byrne said.

“We’ve got an outstanding sponsorship package that includes television coverage to more than 30 million homes worldwide.

“We’ve been out in the marketplace working hard but there have not been any takers. We’ve had a lot of interest but in the current economic climate none have been able to sign on.

"We’ve got a fair bit of our funding in place and some excellent support from Wellington City but without that key component from a sponsor, especially now we have additional costs, then we will have to look seriously about whether we can stage the event.”

The FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup is a fast growing professional open water circuit which gained considerable significance with the inclusion of the 10km open water swim into the Olympic programme at Beijing. A number of high profile long distance pool swimmers have moved into the open water scene with the introduction of this professional world cup circuit.

The World Cup is being staged on Saturday 28 March as part of a Wellington Festival of Swimming which will also include a Junior Swim, Recreational Swim and an International Age Group Championship.

For interviews contact:
Mike Byrne, CEO Swimming NZ, Tel 021 2492162

Monday, December 22, 2008

For last minute shoppers feeling like they're up against a climbing wall.

When last minute Christmas shopping is getting you down, you might want to get a pick-me up here, in the middle of this mall. It is a climbing wall with modern tubes and lots of colored lights.

Next to the climbing wall is a half-court basketball area.

Interesting how sports are in the mix within a major retail setting.

Crazy Editors at the trib

A GOP LAMB FOR THE SLAUGHTER? With 2009 marking the 70th anniversary since Pittsburgh last elected a Republican mayor, speculation already has begun as to who the GOP sacrificial lamb will be in next year's mayoral race.

One possibility we're hearing is that Kevin Acklin may be the man to square off against Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Barring a comet striking his Summer Hill home, Ravenstahl almost certainly will be the Democratic nominee.

Acklin, 32, is a Squirrel Hill attorney who heads RenewPittsburgh, a volunteer group that focuses on neighborhood revitalization efforts.

You may recall Acklin lost to Chuck McCullough in the 2007 GOP primary for Allegheny County Council's at-large Republican seat.

Acklin hasn't made any public pronouncements about a mayoral bid. But he recently debuted a Web site,, which is blank save for the promise "Coming Soon!"


The Trib pounds against the Pgh GOP Committee for being morbid. Yet when a peek of a hope of a candidate might arrive in a race to contest for a seat that is already locked up by the one-party machine, the slaughter begins. Say what?


Kevin showed a good deal of hustle when he ran for the at-large seat for County Council.

Casting did an excellent job with this Baby Jesus

Our Baby Jesus was no 'doll' this year.

Election Machine, Firmware Verification Meeting at 9 am

Original posting at 8:50 AM. Update(s) below.

I just sent this letter via fax to the Allegheny County Election Department to insure that the Libertarians are going to be present at a firmware verification event at 9 am this morning on the North Side.

Mark Rauterkus
Libertarian Party of Allegheny County
924 Chislett St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 661-1135 = chair
(412) 298-3432 = vice-chair’s cell

Mr. Mark Wolosik
Manager, Division of Elections, Allegheny County
604 County Office Bldg., 542 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2953
(412) 350-4500
Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Mr. Wolosik:

As Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Allegheny County, I write this letter to inform you that we authorize Ronald Bandes, a qualified elector of Allegheny County, to observe on our behalf the verification of voting-machine firmware which will be carried out today. As you may recall, in the November 2008 general election our party fielded several state-wide candidates and also a candidate for the General Assembly, David Posipanka of Homestead.
Sincerely and Respectfully,

______________________________, Vice-Chair

Allegheny County

This letter was also faxed to the Allegheny County Department of Elections before 9 am today.

Update at noon.

At 12:15 PM I got an alarming call from our designated watcher, Ron. He was asked to leave the firmware validation meeting. He was there for a while, perhaps 90-minutes. But then when the task of getting into the process began in earnest, he was sent packing. The Libertarians were not invited, so it seems, according to the election official.

Nobody wants to go to jail on the eve of Christmas Eve.

Golly, what the hell are they hiding?

First point of keen interest. The process was described to those at the meeting. Then a chip was pulled from the board. And, according to Ron, the chip that was pulled was not the chip that they had talked about in the pre-process description. Another, different chip was pulled for the first test. Then it was time to show Ron the door.

So, I just called Dan Onorato.

Courthouse 436 Grant Street Dot Room 101 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 350-6500 Dot Fax: (412) 350-6512

I'll call the Election Department next. Then I'll call the media.

Mark Wolosik, Division Manager County Office Building 542 Forbes Avenue Room 604
Fax: (412) 350-5697 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Phone: (412) 350-4500

Called the Allegheny County Election Department. They got my letter. They faxed it to the North Side warehouse where Mark W, Director, was working. He got it. I understand it was Mark W, director, who asked the guy to depart.

Voiced displeasure and said that I'd like to have that decision reversed and would accept an invite and apology. And, said my next call was to the media.

Called the Post-Gazette, Rich Lord and then the Pittsburgh City Paper, Chris Potter. Both are looking into the matter, so I was told.

Getting kicked out of places is not so fun. This is worth a photo.

Older photo. Election Protection volunteer and Mark Rauterkus.

Constitution Study Lessons starting January 16, 2009. EVERY THIRD FRIDAY

Begins: January 16, 2009 7:00 PM in West View (North Hills).

Constitution Study Lessons starting January 16, 2009. EVERY THIRD FRIDAY OF THE MONTH at 7:00 p.m. at 305 Center Avenue, West View, PA 15229. Presented in a series of DVDs taught by Dr. Earl Taylor. Dr. Taylor’s study courses appeal to a wide range of participants, from high school students to state legislators. The materials used in the presentation are from the National Center for Constitutional Studies. It teaches the U.S. Constitution in the tradition of America’s Founding Fathers.

NCCS has taught thousands of families throughout America the original principles and ideas drafted by our Founding Fathers. The lessons acknowledge that American and the Constitution were established by the hand of God, and thus advocate morality and religious principles as the essential foundation of human happiness and freedom. To get a copy of the flier for this Constitution Study Lesson go to FILES and click onto CONSTITUTION STUDY LESSONS. For more information call Jim Barr at 412-931-5286

Learn more here:
Jim Barr has been a recent candidate for the PA House.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pgh Public Schools -- Two Hour Delay for MONDAY!

Sleep in!

Two hour delay for Monday.

UPDATE: School is OFF. Sleep all day!

After sleeping, it's time to get up and dance!


Same 20-minutes but on Viddler:

Where is the Mark DeSantis Micro Credit?

In 2007, Mark DeSantis ran for mayor after getting on the ballot as a write in candidate in a R party primary that was void of a candidate.

In his run, he promised he'd start a "Micro Credit" in the next year -- win or not. Well, it is now time to wonder what became of the candidate promise as 2008 is about to close.

In other news, the Trib is begging Mark DeSantis to run for mayor again.

And, Bram is going to be on the PRR radio show on Monday. Perhaps Bram can take the question to DeSantis -- or else he might be able to fill me in on this blog comments.

He might have started a Micro Credit -- and I just didn't notice. Or, he might have talked about it on one of the past radio shows. Let me know where to investigate those archives, as in the date. I'll listen to the MP3 via

The last thing Pittsburgh needs is more political hot air and promise makers on its campaign trails. Pittsburgh needs less in terms of 'idea factory' and more in terms of 'idea distillery.'

Photo shows Mark DeSantis, far left, Tony Oliva, Luke Ravenstahl and Ryan of the S party, at a Mayor Candidates Forum hosted by the Post Gazette. With all the cuts at the P-G, I wonder if such events will be hosted in 2009? This was a most welcomed, yet very rare event anyway.

Burgh Report political blog goes dark

The Post-Gazette sounds off about how another bites the dust.
Burgh Report political blog goes dark: "Burgh Report political blog goes dark
So, this article leads to the question:

What am I? Chopped Liver?

You're all luck it is Christmas and I've got some cute pagent video to upload. We had a real baby play the lead role / superhero in today's play. The baby was wearing Steelers' footsies too!

By the way, after the BurghReport went dark, Bram and I talked and made a podcast. Scroll down to hear our conversation or check out my site(s).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pull up a seat and let's watch the guys splash around the pool

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise...Dems Pick Another "Community Actitivist"

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette website: Theresa Smith of Westwood is the Democratic Party's official candidate in the Feb. 3 special election in Pittsburgh City Council District 2.

Why a guy like Rob Frank continues to let the Democratic Committee stomp all over him is anyone's guess.

I'm not sure if I ever heard of her before. PG: Ms. Smith crushed the competition in a vote by the district's Democratic committee members, taking 56 of the 75 votes cast. The 49-year-old community activist said she drew from her longtime volunteer experience in the city's western neighborhoods to make her case for the party's nod and plans to do the same with voters district-wide.
She has been president of the Crafton Heights Westwood Ridgemont Community Council and coordinator of the Parent Educational Resource Center for the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Rob Frank, originally from Mt. Lebanon, has been a long-time Democratic stalwart. At one time a Brookline community newspaper publisher, Frank has been championing the city's Democratic machine for about 20 years. Yet each and every time he tries to garner the back-room mafioso's support, they toss him aside faster than a proposed tax cut.

Frank has worked for area politicians including Gene Ricciardi and former Mayor Tom Murphy. He helped on Bill Peduto's last Mayoral campaign...perhaps the last time I'll ever switch parties to vote for a candidate...and many others. He's run for state Committee posts and everything else imaginable. Yet again, the establishment ignores the most "active" of the community activities.

Count this as reason number 11,873 why the city's Democratic committee cannot be trusted. I know, I know, the number is waaaaaayyyy too low.

Rob Frank, 40, will not be the city's next great leader. That's not a "slam," because the chance that Pittsburgh will ever elect an even remotely "good" leader is infinitesimal. There isn't a promising "Democrat" leader anywhere on the planet, let alone Pittsburgh. Rob Frank will probably take the job seriously and not look to serve the public for a heartbeat before finding another position to aspire.

This is only the Committee vote. Something like 85 people were eligible to cast their votes. The "real" election is in February. Vote for Rob Frank just for the fact that he'd be a devout community servant.

But seriously, Rob, if the Democrats snub you again, change your voter registration to Republican. Although you're probably not conservative, you'd get a lot more respect than you get from the oil cretins in the Democrat's back room.

We're in the fast lane to Bailoutistan | tax, make, new, kennedy, land - Opinion -

We're in the fast lane to Bailoutistan | tax, make, new, kennedy, land - Opinion - General Motors now has a market valuation about a third of Bed, Bath & Beyond, and no one says your Swash 700 Elongated Biscuit Toilet Seat Bidet is too big to fail.

America’s political Chucky.

America’s political Chucky. Congress shall have the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof and of any foreign coins. But that is not the case. The United States government has no power to issue money, control the flow of money, or to even distribute it - that belongs to a private corporation registered in the State of Delaware - the Federal Reserve Bank.
Birds of a feather and new twitter friend posted this.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to court they go.

Bitter pill. Some blowback is expected.
Zoning nixes controversial Grant Street billboard The electronic billboard that shocked city of Pittsburgh politics this year isn't allowed, according to a split decision from the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and likely will lead to a court fight between the city and Louisiana-based sign giant Lamar Advertising.
There could be a court battle. Or, there could be worse. Or, the push back could be aimed like a lazer right at the over-reaching members on city council. Or, the corporation might have got the message and might aim to try to clean up its act of rushing and bully-styled insider dealings. Or, now that Pat Ford is gone, it could all be blamed on him.

I wonder if Pat Ford is happy that the BurghReport is dead -- and -- nuked of all its archives. Perhaps they were pulling strings from Florida to see that occur?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blogs That Aren't Here Any More - Blogs - Slag Heap - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh

Blogs That Aren't Here Any More - Blogs - Slag Heap - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "You have to choose your enemies wisely because they will come to define you."
I'm searching for a grass-hopper moment. There is a teaching opportunity for someone to explain this to me.

Rather, I often say that it is your friends (or so called friends) who can inflict the worst hurt on you -- not your enemies. But, that 'deepest cut' theory might be a different lesson if not from a different course.

City passes on Army-Navy football game

Told ya.
City passes on Army-Navy football game: "Pittsburgh yesterday withdrew its proposal to host one of college football's biggest events -- the Army-Navy game.

The Steelers and the Pitt Panthers, primary tenants at Heinz Field, were worried about scheduling conflicts, said Craig Davis, a vice president of VisitPittsburgh, the promotional agency of Allegheny County.
If Pitt Stadium was still around, with its turf, then we'd be able to host high school football games there. And, we'd be able to host Pitt's minor games on campus as well.

This sucks that Pittsburgh won't be able to host the Army-Navy game.

I was talking to Mr. B at a school event last night. We talked about the Olympics and I gave him some of our first person insights from our trip to Beijing in August. He said, "I wonder if Pittsburgh would ever be able to host the Olympics."

I told him Pittsburgh isn't able to host the Keystone State Games.

He thought fondly of the time that Duquesne hosted a bit of the NCAA Tournament. I remembered Boston U being here. He Coppin State.

We've got the Arena, Polumpbo, Peterson. Would be nice to see some good multi-site tournaments.

Police: City controller's auditor rigged auto auctions - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Police: City controller's auditor rigged auto auctions - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review This is the second time police have charged a City Controller employee with theft in the past year.

Kim D. Platt, a clerk in the Controller's Office, pleaded guilty to stealing 18 city checks worth $5,100.91 and depositing them into his girlfriend's bank account from Sept. 7, 2007, to Dec. 3, 2007. Platt resigned Dec. 18, 2007; he has worked in the office since 1984.

Platt was sentenced in April to two years' probation and to repay the money he stole.

LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA - The Market Ticker


That's the sound of someone with their fingers in their ears making noise so they don't have to listen to the person talking in front of them.

The list includes:

London Banker: Deflation has become inevitable

London Banker: Deflation has become inevitable Anyone sitting on a pile of cash now is unlikely to want to either (a) place it in a bank, or (b) invest it in the stock market. As a result, the implosion of the financial and real economy must continue no matter how big the central bank’s aspirations for its balance sheet or the treasury’s aspirations for its deficit.

If US, EU and UK had substantial domestic savings to fund their banks (as in Japan in 1990), then perhaps the consequences would not be so imminently disastrous. Lacking sufficient domestic savings, however, their actions will likely make foreign creditors in Japan, China, the Gulf and elsewhere question whether it is worthwhile to keep pumping scarce savings into such flawed and reckless economies.

London Banker: Deflation has become inevitable

This is how money works -- and -- this is how you say goodbye to your blog.
London Banker: Deflation has become inevitable I have accepted a full time executive position which will take all of my time and passion going forward in 2009, so the blogging has to be suspended at year end. The job will enable me to put into practice the principles I’ve illuminated here, hopefully mitigating some of the impacts of financial instability. I’ll still lurk, and maybe comment on Professor Roubini’s thread from time to time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to kill time in Wal-Mart got my boys ROTFL

The other 14 are making the rounds in email chain letter.
Go into a fitting room and shut the door and wait a while; and, then, yell, very loudly, 'There is no toilet paper in here!'

Conversation about blogs in Pittsburgh with BurghBlog's sudden shut down.

Bram and I talk. We laugh, we cry.

The conversation has ended. You can listen to what we talked about.

9-1-1 Conversation on the closing of the BurghBlog -- due to start about... now!

We are going to -- and perhaps already -- talking about another blog closing.

Call: (724) 444-7444

Call ID: 3181

Six arrested in tow pound scheme

Six arrested in tow pound scheme: "Mr. Livingstone, of Mount Washington, was responsible for recording the winning bid prices on the slips, the complaint says. He is a 12-year city employee and earns $39,951 annually.

Controller Michael Lamb would not discuss the arrest.

'There's an issue, and we've been talking to the police about it, and they've asked us to hold off on saying anything,' he said.

'They're in the middle of making some other arrests,' he said, but they will not occur in his office. 'We've been cooperative from the time that we knew about it, but this has been an ongoing police investigation.'

In January, longtime Controller's Office employee Kim D. Platt was arrested for theft of checks and eventually pleaded guilty to forgery and was sentenced to two years' probation plus $5,101 in restitution."
In China, heads would roll. From time to time, in certain instances, I miss China.

A friend on the South Side wants to build a guillotine. He like to dream of the French, not too long ago.

Punishment is one issue to watch. Getting the pension is another.

CBS, Turner may make bid for Olympic TV rights - More Sports -

CBS, Turner may make bid for Olympic TV rights - More Sports - CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc. executives have discussed joining forces to bid on rights to televise the Olympics in 2014 and 2016, turning that competition into an even greater clash of media titans.

TV empires headed by incumbent NBC, Fox and ABC-ESPN have all said they expect to bid on the U.S. rights to the games. Because of the economy, the International Olympics Committee has said it is prepared to postpone its bid selection until after the host city is named next October for the 2016 Summer Games.
I'm for an open source Olympics. That way, anyone can broadcast the games.

Mixed Report - Views - Potter's Field - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh

Yep. The citizens have been getting screwed for a long time.
Mixed Report - Views - Potter's Field - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh By law, Allegheny County should already have been posting this information for the past two years. Which means that city employees, and taxpayers, are going to be shouldering a burden the county is supposed to carry itself. So much for consolidation of services!
However, Michael Lamb's efforts are not nearly as good, cheap nor effective as what I've proposed -- Transparent PAC Accounts.

The banks could easily -- or one bank could easily -- make an elegant solution.

Pittsburgh Council refuses to lower parking tax

The key phrase in the article about city council is LARGELY SYMBOLIC. City council is mostly just symbolic. I wish is wasn't so, but that is how the body acts most of the time.
Pittsburgh Council refuses to lower parking tax In a surprise move that may prove largely symbolic, Pittsburgh City Council today voted against lowering the parking tax from 40 percent to 37.5 percent, despite a state law that requires the reduction.

Though the state in 2004 set a schedule for the reduction of the tax, which was once 50 percent, the annual cuts require council votes. Today's preliminary vote of 4-4, with one council seat empty, if repeated at council's final meeting of the year on Dec. 30, would prevent the reduction.
My point about parking tax and the associated areas should be restated as the topic is being revisited.

I think that the tax should stay at 50% until the parking authority is liquidated and then the tax should drop to some minimal amount, from 0% to 20%. The key is to get rid of the public subsidization of parking downtown.

The Parking Authority can be liquidated and what remains can be a parking department within municipal government.

A schedule of liquidation of the lots can be hooked to the tax collected.

Selling the parking lots, especially the parking garages, is something that should occur. Allow for a union to bid on one. Stage the sell off for different months for a few years. Take open bids. Auction others. Make one a co-op for all I care. Make them all co-ops even.

The city has been using parking deals as a sweetener for other bone-headed deals.

A public parking garage was built at PNC Firstside. And, it is way too big and the top floor is hardly ever used.

More parking garages are being built on Second Ave by the suburban tech buildings. Rather, I'd like to see them expanded upwards if possible. And, that land has been TIFed TWICE. A big tax break came to get the first buildings and now there is not enough value to have it continue in growth unless more TIF (bribes) are put on the table -- ripping off the kids in schools today.

Parking was part of Lazarus. Parking was part of stadium deals too.

Public money should not subsidize parking for those in high-end condos either.

In a better world, car parking would be part of the sustainable solutions for property owners. Now, they just figure out who has the clout to bribe and bargain for parking needs with taxpayer money rather than private investment. Private money won't go into parking now -- as the 900 pound gorilla is government owned parking facilities that can give away free parking (twinkle season) and jack with parking taxes.

In 1935 the number one problem with downtown so reported on survey was parking. Then came the Parking Authority. To this day, one of the worst problems with downtown is parking.

There is plenty of poison in the downtown parking and city-wide parking issue. The way to get rid of it is to flush it -- liquidate. Unload the public-owned facilities. Get a fair price for them. Then the city can worry a bit about what really matters -- like government.

I think that the people in Harrisburg would be happy to hear the plan. The city will cut parking taxes to -- say 10% -- for all suburban and city people who park here. But, that price cut comes after the debt and burden of the Parking Authority is removed.

Finally, I'd not be shocked if the Parking Authority liquidation nets a profit. If it is done well, it could. That cash could go to debt reduction and/or parks -- rather than parking.

Why the city has a parking authority and not a park authority / park district is a sin. The city cares more about the parked autos of mostly suburban commuters than it does about the health and wellness of the kids who live in the city.

Finally, did you see how 'parking' in the 'parks' has turned into an issue at Schenley Park and also at Mellon Park. Contractors are parking in the park and not the job site at Baker's Square.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

That recent thud you heard was the trade show industry

This is like saying that the New York Yankees are going to not show up for the World Series. Wait. That has already happened. How about, the Yankees won't play Major League Baseball.

Or, how about the Rooney family won't show up for Steeler games.


The trade show industry will be seeking a bailout next. They might be bailout #9 or #10. We better get the case built to bail out the Pittsburgh Convention Center too, so as to pile on.

Apple Announces Its Last Year at Macworld: "Apple Announces Its Last Year at Macworld
CUPERTINO, California—December 16, 2008—Apple® today announced that this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote for this year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show. The keynote address will be held at Moscone West on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld will be held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center January 5-9, 2009.
Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.
Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone."

Pittsburgh Council turns down planned South Side bar/restaurant

Central planning is alive and well in Pittsburgh. Well, to be clear, the planning lives but the city isn't nearly as healthy as it could and should be.
Pittsburgh Council turns down planned South Side bar/restaurant Pittsburgh City Council declared it closing time for new South Side bars today, voting unanimously against allowing a new BaBa D's restaurant at 2126 E. Carson St. to serve alcohol.
Council based its decision on an ordinance passed last year that creates a 'saturation point' for alcohol establishments in large neighborhood commercial districts. Councilman Bruce Kraus said there are already 62 bars in the applicable part of East Carson -- nine more than the saturation level under the city formula -- meaning there can be no more.
At another blog, I just posted the following:

Time will tell. But, here we go again.

"Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to court they go."

The legislation was a way to protect the current tavern owners. The legislation puts a cap on something that is already not only full -- but over flowing.

However, once that casino, -- err, slots parlor, opens on the North Side -- err, North Shore -- then we'll have about 15 bars on the South Side go out of business. The weak will die as the times change.

Meanwhile, the dead should NOT be our kids, as was the case again last night at 9 pm on Brownsville Road, with a guy who just turned 16.

New Viddler Group: Competitive Swimming

I've just created a new group on a video service called, Viddler. It will be the place where I upload various swim races.

Here is a race #1, a 50 free.

One of the nice elements of Viddler is the ability to insert a comment within the timeline.

Another nice feature is the ability to download the video to your own computer.

Wiki Milestone: even if the article barely passed the reviewer's NPOV check, MSM files Wikinews article

Judy Rebick, a former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation host/commentator/columnist, has filed a report for Wikinews. Cary Bass posted a report, based on a first hand account of a Canadian political protest.

Will Joe Grata and others who have recently departed from the P-G pick up their craft with Wiki outlets, such as at and Wikinews?

Specter's ethnic jokes lay an egg

Specter's ethnic jokes lay an egg: "Blasted all over the blogosphere, the remarks drew predictable outrage from Polish fraternal groups, among others.

'I find it appalling,'' said Tim Kuzma, president of the Polish Falcons of America, based in Green Tree.
Just yesterday, while walking home from school with Grant, 11, an older guy on the street shared a couple of jokes. One was about the bailout. Then my son told the guy he had a joke or two for him.

Grant told two "blonde" jokes. Grant is with blonde hair.

Note to Senator Specter, perhaps you should only tell dumb senator jokes.

Did you year about the three construction workers on the high rise at lunch time? They all made a pact that if their wife packs them the same lunch tomorrow, (burrito, susi, peanut and butter sandwich) that they'd jump off the building.

At the funeral, the wife of the senator learned of this pledge and said, "But he packs his own lunch."

The joke's punch line isn't as funny with the senator telling it on himself, perhaps, as I can't see him eating P-B-&-Js nor doing it for himself.

Perhaps Senator Specter should shave his head and go to only a comedy routine that is filled with "bald man jokes."

Teen Shot To Death On 16th Birthday In Mt. Oliver - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh

This sucks.
Teen Shot To Death On 16th Birthday In Mt. Oliver - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh: "Teen Shot To Death On 16th Birthday In Mt. Oliver

The Collected Notes of Secret Agent Ska: Why City Council is not Millennial-friendly

The Collected Notes of Secret Agent Ska: Why City Council is not Millennial-friendly: "Why City Council is not Millennial-friendly"

Right on Agent Ska.

This boils down to "philosophy." That's an age old area of thought. They don't need the same philosophy -- they just need to be aware of thought and process that gives reason of it being grounded in a philosophy.

They act without logic.

Where they are coming from and where they are going is not tied to a greater picture of the landscape of Pittsburgh at this millennial-time.

Dave N is a friend. His brother's movie is now out of DVD too.

PS: Agent Ska, (in here blog post that I point to above) did NOT mean prothonatary, however. The word should be "Controller" (Michael Lamb). Lamb, who is not friendly to the cause as is city council, used to have that job with Allegheny County until it was removed with row-office reform.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Running Mate is with a new baby!

Way to go Dave Powell, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Allegheny County. Dave and his wife have a new member to the family.

Anderson Maxwell Powell born 12:30PM 12-16-2008. He's happy at 8 lbs 12 oz, and 21 3/4inches long.


Perhaps in a few years, this Powell child will be a classmate with a peer named Ravenstahl.

Libertarian Party and Green Party of Pennsylvania denounce court decision

Commonwealth Court holds that state indictments of illegal activity are not grounds for overturning earlier judgment against Ralph Nader

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA)

Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA)

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2008

Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) at
Michael Robertson (LPPA Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS /
Hillary Aisenstein (GPPA Chair) at 1-267-971-3559 /

Harrisburg, PA – The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and the Green Party of Pennsylvania denounce the recent Commonwealth Court decision against 2004 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his vice presidential candidate Peter Camejo (Mr. Camejo recently passed away after a battle with cancer).

A grand jury report, which led to the indictment of state House Whip Mike Veon and ten former state House Democratic staffers indicated that Veon led a statewide political operation that used commonwealth resources to run a “massive” effort to oust independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader from the 2004 ballot.

According to the report, as many as 50 Pennsylvania House staff members worked on a challenge to Nader's ballot petition, and more than half received state-funded bonuses, in part for their "Nader efforts.”

On the basis of the report and indictment, Mr. Nader challenged a court ruling holding him accountable for nearly $81,000 in costs to remove him from the ballot.
Although the original judgment appears to be based on a criminal conspiracy, the court ruled that opening or vacating the judgment was not justified and went further to say that Nader’s efforts to comply with Pennsylvania’s extremely restrictive signature requirements were “the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetuated” against the court.

"This decision drives yet another nail into the political coffin of challenger parties", said Ken Krawchuk, a two-time Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania Governor. "First they force us to collect thirty-three times as many signatures to get on the statewide ballot, then they fine us $80,000-plus for the trying, and now they say it's okay for our elected officials to break the law to crush free elections. It's bad enough being ground into the dust under the heel of criminal oppression, but the saddest part of all is that there is no public outcry, no disgust, no anger. Pennsylvania voters are letting them get away with it! It seems as if no one cares any longer about the rule of law. I fear for our future as a free people."

Hillary Aisenstein, GPPA Chair said "It's absolutely astounding to me that in the face rampant fraud and corruption by the Democratic Party, the Court is still ruling against Nader. If they want to see 'deceitful and fraudulent,' they should take a look in the mirror."

LPPA Chair Michael Robertson added “Not only should Mr. Nader not have been assessed fees at all, but it is a complete travesty of justice that he should be assessed fees as a result of the criminal activity against him. He was victimized by the criminals and then again by the justice system.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pgh Public Schools Elementary School Swim Championships

From Mark Rauterkus

This is me coaching warm-ups before the big meet.

Context later.

Making Music on Grant Street

From violin-gang

Erik and his school mates were making music on Grant Street at the home of the Allegheny County seat of government -- last week.

Today, the same building is closed.

Recap of our trip to Southern California

In early December, my wife had an invite to speak to a group of professionals in Southern California. The whole family went. The event and the resort (hardly a hotel) was in Newport Beach.

We arrived on Wednesday and went to the home of our host. He lives in the hills above Hollywood.

On Thursday, Grant's birthday, we started with a swim in the hotel swim pool and workout in the fitness center. Then, according to Grant's wish, we went golfing. Grant got turned onto the game recently. Oh well.

From Grantman

Thursday night, we took the boys to Long Beach and the Belmont Shore Olympic Pool, right on the beach. They joined in with Beach Swim Club for a workout. They did drylands right on the beach and some running. Then the swimming was in a six lane outdoor pool right next to this indoor, 50-meter pool.

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events

From people & vips

Friday, we went to Golden West Swim Club in Huntington Beach at Golden West College. GW is a Jr. College that has a great water polo team. Plus, the coach is a long time favorite inovator, Bob Gillette. Coach Gillette had been in Arizona with his own AZ Sports Ranch, but moved to Southern California a couple of years ago -- to retire. Giggle.

I have some video of Bob from that practice that makes a great lesson on swim meet warm-ups. The team was doing an easy practice as they had a swim meet set-up going on around them for the meet the next morning.

From Grantman

On Saturday morning, we got up and hit the 13-14 Blue practice with Mission Viejo and Coach A'dam.
MVN - Coaches: "Coach Ad'm Dusenbury
The workout was over the top for Grant, but a great match for Erik. The younger MVN kids were at a swim meet.

Warmup was an 800 and then 12 x 100 kicks.

The main set was 16 x 200s on
4 min each.

3 x 200 fly + 200 IM
3 x 200 back + 200 IM
3 x 200
breast + 200 IM
3 x 200 free + 200 IM

The final set was a swim with paddles, 8 x 100s, working on technique.

Erik, Ad'm and Grant at the end of practice.
From family - travels

We hit some golf balls into the net on Saturday afternoon and then headed to play on the water in Newport Bay on some kayaks. Grant did a bit of open water swimming. Then we watched USC beat up on UCLA in football on TV. That game was in the Rose Bowl. We toyed with the idea of going to the game, but it would have been too much.

All the swim folks were wonderful. Each club and situation is different. We were honored to participate in the practice and visit. We also got to visit with Karen, owner, of CAS. She has always been a great source of not only equipment, but skinny on the local swim scene.

On Sunday, we flew back to Pittsburgh, via the Twin Cities on MN, and its 4-degree temp. We arrived in town and went straight to the Pittsburgh Music Academy for the first rehersal of an orchestra that will hold a concert for Pittsburgh's 250 in the spring.

Videos to come later.

By the way, Catherine, as expected, was a hit at the event / professional meeting. She gave a keynote and provided a bit of buzz to the meeting. She talked about how to make a good evaluation of published research so as to help clinicians be more insightful consumers of published research / news thereby helping the patients.

SIG Alert on East Carson Street with 50 wheels and one truck

In Southern California they have "SIG ALERTS" when traffic is very bad. We had such a situation on East Carson Street on the South Side last week when a massive truck with 50 wheels got stuck. It was making a delivery to the mill site on the river's edge at 11th Street, Quality Rolls.

This truck carried a section that acted as a swinging hammock between two other sections. There was a back end controller that allowed the wheels to turn.

Two cars, parked legally, needed to be towed. Plus, a no parking sign nearer to the corner needed to be taken down.

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events

The truck had a state police escort and city police were on hand too.

Traffic was stopped for 45 minutes or so. Hope you knew how to get around the jam.

Tip to the world: When making a delivery to Pittsburgh's South Side, don't put the goods on a massive truck.

Tug: Consol Energy is not a public ice skating arena

CONSOL Energy is going to be the sponsor of the new Civic Arena in Pittsburgh.

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events


Got a better photo caption, let me know.

You can be a Limited Government Legislator

Reasons why you should be on your local council:

1. There is a high turnover on borough councils (no-compensation job!), and most candidates run un-opposed.

2. When elected, you get to take an oath to swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States!

3. Protect private property rights through granting/denying variances. You will know what to do.

4. Protect private property by denying or getting rid of historical commissions and controlling traffic.

5. Demand your borough live within it's means. Be the tax payer's best friend.

6. Keep taxes low and spending lower. Demand reasonable contracts with utilities and contractors.

7. Witness to finance committee and pension and general fund money managers about Keynesian/Austrian economics.

8. Gain access to your PA Senator and PA House Representative. Tell them you stand for limited government and make alliances accordingly.

9. Fight for/against PA Bills that affect our freedoms.

10. Have oversight of your local police and fire unit activity.

Fulfill the mission by C4L to become a community leader.

Not for you? Attend your next local council meeting and find out what's going on.

Interested? Here is the manual for PA borough council. Read it to find out more.

Petitions start circulating on Feb 19, 2009, to get on the ballot.

Marty Griffin is off the reservation

Marty Griffin, KDKA Radio, is pounding upon the unfolding story of the shooting death of the FBI agent in the early morning hours of her house.

Gross foolishness. Today, Marty is making Jim Motiznik look like a rocket scientist.

I don't care what you think about drug dealers, snitches, gun rights, home invasion, FBI, police brutality, ACLU, kid's safety, motherhood, whatever --- I'm talking about bad radio and bad conversations. Marty is clicking those that hold other opinions off the air. Marty is being a huge blow-hard. It takes all my will to not flip off the radio from KDKA.

Richard King reports on phantom ballots in Allegheny County with its election machines

Last week I heard the public comment from Richard King, Ph.D., concerning the recent election. He has seen strange results from a couple of polling places from the November 2008 election. In two places, there were more votes than voters. He only was able to check on ten places, so far.

For instance, in Wilkinsburg, one place he checked, the other is in the east end too, there were 10 extra votes beyond what could have happened. These are not the right numbers, but lets just use this as an example: The vote totals could have been 90 for Obama, 9 for McCain and 1 for Barr. That's 100 total votes. But, only 90 people are reported to have approached the polls to cast a vote. Something is goofy.

To get to the bottom of these numbers that don't add up, the public officials, the county, needs to unlock the machines and work with the citizens in a trustworthy manner to investigate and resolve the problem. There is only so much a volunteer from the outside can do.

Hence, the people need to be aware and turn up the heat -- as so far -- the county folks are not cooperative, as usual.

We apparently have voting machines casting phantom e-ballots in Allegheny County... please read on.

"Phantom e-ballots" were cast by Allegheny County's iVotronic voting machines in this past election. When more ballots were cast on these voting machines than there were voters allowed to approach the machines, its a problem. As many as 10 phantom ballots were cast in one polling place - and an initial review of 12 "problem reported" precincts has found 3 polling places which had cast phantom e-ballots.

In the "10-phantom ballot" precinct the voting machines were reported to be fading out and blinking back on all day and eventually two machines shut down in the afternoon. If a printout of this polling place's ballots finds that 10 ballots were cast without containing any votes, then the situation is reconcilable and not a big deal. However, if all the ballots have some votes on them, then we have a great opportunity federal funding for new voting machines with paper ballots and verifiable voting. Generally, we would also like the county to be transparently reporting on the voting machine problems, such as the prevalence of these phantom e-ballots.

County Council Meets Tuesday, at 5pm



If this link doesn't work, please email or call JOHN MASCIO, CHIEF CLERK : 412-350-6495

County Courthouse
436 Grant Street
4th Floor - Gold Room
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Councilman Chuck Martoni has offered to schedule a sense of council motion for
Tuesday Dec. 16th's meeting at 5PM:

County Council Resolves that the BOE (Board of Elections) and the Division of Elections should:
1) Print a hardcopy of the ballots stored in iVotronic memory in Wilkinsburg 1-6, under witness by election integrity and party observers as provided by PA law, (see Section 3154 of Purdons, PA Election Code).

2) Provide meaningful routine and standard reporting on election problems and lessons learned each election, to include items addressed in the 15 questions.

3) Make available for review, without resort to records requests or legal assistance all election reporting documents identified in the 15 questions.

4) Make public the report on the November 2007 election.

Election Report Questions for Allegheny County
1 - How many and what precincts have more iVotronic ballots than voters accessing the iVotronics?

2 - How many and what precincts have reports of machine problems by voters?

3 - HMAWPs have reports of machine problems by pollworkers?

4 - HMAWPs have machines which required service calls by rovers during the election?

5 - HMAWPs have lost or found voting machine equipment this election?

6 - HMAWPs still have outstanding lost equipment from previous elections?

7 - Were any irregularities reported at the warehouse regarding the iVotronic sleep overs at precincts?

8 - Were any irregularities reported at the warehouse regarding the security procedures for the iVotronics?

9 -Has any effort been made to talk with other iVotronic counties to correlate experiences?

10 - Is there a comprehensive list documenting the problems encountered in the canvass?

11 - Is there a comprehensive list documenting the problems encountered in the returns board?

12 - Is there a log of phoned in complaints to the county regarding election problems?

13 - Is there a log of "walk in" complaints registered at the Division of Elections Office?

14 - Is there a comprehensive list of percentage undervotes for each race?
- By iVotronic voting?
- By Absentee voting
- By Provisional and Emergency Ballot Voting?

15 - If more ballots were cast than voters present, were the individual ballots printed out? (and were they cast empty or filled)?

I've just made my call to John, the clerk, to put my name on the speaker's list. If I can't make it, so be it. But, I've put my name on the record as a citizen who cares and is watching. I will try to attend.

Due to some building troubles, the Allegheny County Office Building is closed today, Monday, Dec. 15. So, you might not get an answer if you call.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Schenley building removed from insurance, 2 others added

Schenley building removed from insurance, 2 others added'There is no hidden message being sent about Schenley,' he said. 'Absolutely none. Zero. Zilch.'

There is no hidden message -- as it is impossible to hide. The message is clear and i the open. What some value is what others say is worthless.

The next hidden agenda item begins as soon as Mark Roosevelt hand picks a new committee to look into the abandoned school building formerly known as Schenley.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Zealand Swimming finishes its summer championships

From signs
14th December 2008

Jan Cameron believes there’s plenty of exciting talent to carry the mantle in New Zealand Swimming based on performances at the national summer championships that finished in Christchurch tonight.

Ten New Zealand records were established this week with nine swimmers going over the key 900 FINA point mark at the meet, where Swimming New Zealand honoured their three retiring Olympians – Dean Kent, Helen Norfolk and Liz Coster.

Two further records were set on the final night, led by 21-year-old Glenn Snyders, arguably the star not only of the meeting but the most improved swimmer this year.
He took nearly four seconds off his previous best in winning the 200m breaststroke in a new record time of 2:06.45, after setting a new mark in the 100m breaststroke last night in the fifth fastest time in the world this year.

Taranaki’s Charlotte Webby established the other record tonight, going under the seven year old mark of Liz Van Welie in the 200m butterfly. Webby, from the Bell Block club, clocked 2:10.51 in winning the final.

Cameron, the new General Manager, Performance and Pathways, said she is encouraged by the performances this week.

“We’ve honoured three fantastic swimmers tonight but we have seen a number of young swimmers really putting their hands up here,” Cameron said.

They include Olympians Snyders, Melissa Ingram, Corney Swanepoel, Daniel Bell and Tash Hind. But importantly there were impressive showings from Penelope Marshall (North Shore), Michael Jack (West Auckland), Natalie Wiegersma (Waverley, Southland) and Cameron Stanley (North Shore).

Snyders was the star of the show.

“It’s been great. My expectations were just to come and do my best out of the heavy work I’ve been doing,” Snyders said.

“My training has been going well and my results this week are a good indication that I am on the right track.

“My time tonight in this sort of training is really pleasing. This year has been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better year.

“I’ve gained a lot and learned a lot. I can’t wait for next year. I try not to look at the big picture but with every major meet I want to do better and better. I have targeted medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.”

Bell edged Swanepoel in the final of the 100m butterfly while West Auckland’s Brett Newall scored an excellent win in the 400m individual medley and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett took out the 1500m freestyle.

Marshall scored an important win over club mate and Olympian Ingram in the 200m freestyle, Wiegersma impressed with victory over Hind in the 200m medley and Annabelle Carey (Aquagym) took out the 50m breaststroke.

The visiting Australian club team from Melbourne, led by world record holder Marieke Guehrer won three finals tonight with Guehrer just failing in her attempt to lower her own world mark in the 50m butterfly.
From signs

Branded demobocrats to raise money for needy this holiday season

From signs


Contact: Mike Ference, The Brand Shop, Inc.
817 Worthington Avenue, Clairton, PA 15025

Pennsylvania political activist, The Mon Dawn, is hoping to make the holiday season a little brighter for the less fortunate by offering limited edition, imprinted t-shirts featuring The Mon Dawn-coined term – demobocrats – to the highest bidder. All proceeds will benefit individuals, children and families who face difficult times during these scandalous and fiscally daunting times in our nation’s history.

“If an Illinois demobocrat can sell a U.S. Senate seat for his own benefit, then I can sell my limited editions, imprinted “Be a Snitch” and “Pennsylvania Dirty Dozen Demobocrats” t-shirts to raise money for folks hurting so badly during these tough economic times,” The Mon Dawn said.

While the t-shirts themselves make great holiday gifts for folks with true democratic beliefs and love for their country, the wearables also send a strong message as to what’s really ailing America. “There’s never been a better time to be a snitch, according to The Mon Dawn. “I’m tired of federal and state law enforcement officials devoting their time to rogue politicians responsible for all that is wrong with this once-great country of ours,” he sadly pointed out.

The toughest part of being a snitch may be finding a local law enforcement official who can be trusted to investigate alleged crimes. “I live in the Mon Valley section of Allegheny County in western PA where three former Mon Valley police chiefs were arrested, convicted and forced to trade in their police blues for inmate orange. Toss in former Allegheny County Sheriff Pete DeFazio and his three cronies forced to vacate their positions in disgrace,” The Mon Dawn adds, “and you have to wonder when and where is it all going to stop.”

The Pennsylvania Dirty Dozen Demobocrat t-shirt is the perfect item for anyone on your holiday gift-giving list. Students of all ages can use it as a show-and-tell project in social studies or history class or as a classic example of dysfunctional behavior for a psychology or sociology class in college,” The Mon Dawn proudly stated. “Political pundits on the right side of issues would find this t-shirt a welcome present under their Christmas tree, and a gift to enjoy for many years and for many occasions,” he adds.

The Pennsylvania Dirty Dozen Demobocrats t-shirt was created following the indictment of 12 political scoundrels named in the bonus scandal by PA Attorney General Tom Corbett. The prison time for all 12 scoundrels could conceivably total 1,892 years, if convicted on all counts.

The opportunity to sell approximately 100 limited edition t-shirts with 100 percent of the money going to needy individuals this holiday season will go to the first media outlet that shows an interest in adverting and marketing the t-shirts with an attempt to raise the most money for those in most need of help.

For more information or to receive a PDF file of what the t-shirts look like and an itemized list of sizes available, contact The Brand Shop, Inc. at 412-233-5491, or send an email to

From Older t-shirt designs.