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As fit citizens, neighbors and running mates, we are tyranny fighters, WPIAL and PIAA bound, PPS Summer Dreamers, wiki instigators, sports fans, liberty lovers, world travelers, non-credentialed Olympic photographers (Aug 08), UU netizens, church goers, open source boosters, public school advocates, South Siders, retired and not, swim coaches, waterpolo players, ex-publishers and polar bear swimmers, N@.
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1. FIJA Demonstration of April 26, 2010
It was raining heavily in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Monday, April 29, 2010, so that the FIJA literature distribution at noontime was cancelled. However the weather cleared at about 3:00 pm, so I went to the U. S. District Courthouse at 299 E. Broward Boulevard. I arrived shortly after 4:00 pm and stood on the city sidewalk about 1 foot in front of federal property. There were almost no pedestrians, but I stayed to see what would happen.
Within two minutes Officer Wright from the Security Protective Service approached me and told me that it was illegal to distribute literature without a permit. I said that I had a permit and showed him my pocket U. S. Constitution. He said that was not sufficient, butI did not leave. He asked my name, but I would not provide it. He left.
Soon thereafter, Officer Wright returned with another officer from the Security Protective Service, whose name I did not get. They asked me to show a picture identification, but I did not have any identification with me. They agains asked my name, so that they could address me as a person. I told them to call me “Honey.” Officer Wright said he could not do that, because it was a girl’s name. He would call me Bill. From now on I am known as Bill of Wright’s.
They said that since I was standing on city property, they had no jurisdiction and that I was not their problem. They informed me that there was a city ordinance requiring everyone to carry picture identification, and that the city police would confront me. Then they left.
I decided to stay where I was to see what the city police would do. I stayed for about 1/2 hour, but the city police never appeared. Not even a squad car drove by. I left at 4:55 pm. Altogether I passed out 11 FIJA pamphlets (including the one to the security officers) entitled “A Primer for Prospective Jurors,” along with my insert which reads:
THE JUDGE WILL INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT IT MUST UPHOLD THE LAW AS HE GIVES IT
HE WILL BE LYING
THE JURY MUST JUDGE THE LAW AS WELL AS THE FACTS
JURIES WERE INSTITUTED TO PROTECT CITIZENS FROM THE TYRANNY OF GOVERNMENT
IT IS NOT THE DUTY OF THE JURY TO UPHOD THE LAW
IT IS THE JURY’S DUTY TO SEE THAT JUSTICE IS DONE
2. Musumeci files lawsuit
Antonio Musumeci, the photographer arrested for photographing me at the FIJA demonstration of November 09, 2009, submitted a civil complaint against Homeland Security on April 27 or 28, 2010. The New York Civil Liberties Union is representing him. The filing was noted on WNYC.
3. Lost judge’s case appeal
My appeal of the U. S. District Court’s dismissal of my civil complaint to sue Several New York judges, clerks of court, the city Comptroller, and the New York County district attorney was rejected by the Circuit Court on April 20, 2010. My pleadings are given on my web page at http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/p/jph13/Judicial_Failure.html . A more complete discussion will appear in my forthcoming book “The Non-Trials” to be published early in 2011.
4. FIJA Demonstration of April 29, 2010
Seven of us gathered at the U. S. District Courthouse at 601 Market Street in Philadelphia, PA at about 11:30 am on Thursday, April 29, 2010. It was a beautiful warm sunny day, though a little windy. The participants were Jim Babb, George Donnelly, Jim Allen, Rich Schwarz, Thomas Marinelli, Michael Molloy, and myself. Rich, George, and Michael had cameras. Later we were joined by William Faust and Donna Ward. Before the demonstration, I was interviewed by Jim Allen for his TV show. We started passing out the Fully Informed Jury pamphlet "A Primer for Prospective Jurors" with my handout at 11:45 am in front of the courthouse. No police officers of any sort appeared all day here.
Jim Babb, George Donnelly, Richard Schwarz, and Tom Marinelli went to the courtyard on the side of the building at about 12:00 noon to distribute the pamphlets there. They were soon joined by me. About 12:30 three security guards appeared and asked us to identify ourselves, which we did not do. We asked them to identify themselves, but they refused. They informed us that we could not pass out literature or take pictures on federal property. Thomas and George demanded to know the laws involved, which the officers refused to tell. It appeared that they probably did not know them. A scuffle ensued when the officers interfered with the picture taking, in which George received a cut finger.
The officers said that we were on federal property and had to comply. I responded that I was the owner of federal land and that they were my servants. The aggressive guards that assaulted George were ordered by another person to stand down and go inside the building. The three of them left, never to return. However several Homeland Security officers were on the premises, but did not approach us. We continued to pass out literature and take pictures until 1:35 pm when we left for a nice lunch in a Thai restaurant.
Pictures of the event can be found at blog of bile (http://blogofbile.com/) as well as at the following websites:
video • http://vimeo.com/11354762
and writeup http://georgedonnelly.com/libertarian/jury-rights-philly-two
5. Recently, I have updated the following links on my web page at:
Fully Informed Jury Demonstrations
NY City Police Crimes as of 10–19–09
NY City Police Civil Lawsuit as of 04–01–10
Judicial Failure as of 03–24–10
Homeland Security: The U. S. Gestapo
Speeches of Julian Heicklen since March 31, 2000 (Last updated 04–01–10)
Freedom Links (Posted 04–03–10)
6. Future Plans
a. On Monday night, May 3, 2010, I will be interviewed on Bill Sihr’s Common Sense Radio Show (WJNC 1360 AM) between 6 and 7 pm. The show will be about First Amendment rights.
b. On Monday, May 3, 2010 I will be attempting to distribute FIJA literature again at the U. S. District Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street in Manhattan, NY. Please join me . Bring cameras if you can. Our experience now has been that the more people participating, the less the harassment.
c. On Saturday, May 8, 2010, I will give the sermon at about 10:30 am entitled “Who are the Jews” during sabbath services on the entrance floor at Congregation Beth Shalom in Teaneck, NJ. At least one of you expressed an interest in attending. Men must wear head covering. There are two services occurring simultaneously. The more traditional is upstairs. The singing service, which has the flavor of a southern Baptist black church, is on the ground floor in the rear to the right. I will be at the singing service, which also has a bunch of little kids playing in the back to add to the flavor.
d. I am planning FIJA demonstrations at the following dates and locations:
Monday, May 3, 2010, 11:45 am–1:15 pm: Manhattan, NY, 500 Pearl Street
Monday, May 10, 2010, 11:45 am–1:15 pm: Trenton, NJ, 402 East State Street
Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 8:00 am–9:30 am: Allentown, PA, 504 West Hamilton Street
Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 11:45 am–1:15 pm : Reading, PA, 400 Washington Street
Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 8:00 am–9:30 am: Johnstown, PA, 319 Washington Street
Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 11:45 am–1:15 pm: Pittsburgh, PA, 700 Grant Street
Thursday, May 13, 2010, 11:45 am–1:15 pm: Harrisburg, PA, 100 Walnut Street
Friday, May 14, 2010, 8:00 am–9:30 am: Philadelphia, PA, 601 Market Street
Friday, May 14, 2010, 11:45 am–1:15 pm: Wilmington, DE, 844 North King Street
Please notify me which events you can attend.
7. Your Assignment
Your assignment is publicity, publicity, publicity. Try to get more people to join the tyranny fighters Email list. Also keep me informed of any demonstrations that you are involved in or planning.
Let me digress and discuss our illegal immigrant problem. The state of Arizona has just passed a law making it a misdemeanor to be in public without picture identification. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor is usually one year. It varies some from state to state.
Arizona’s solution to the illegal immigrant problem is to catch the illegal immigrants, who do not have legal identification, and put them in prison. That will teach those Latino bastards, who love our country so much that they risked their lives to sneak into our country illegally and work for slave labor wages.
Of course they are undesirables, because they are taking jobs from REAL Americans. They do not pay taxes because they have no legal income. Furthermore their children cannot legally attend school, so that they roam the streets in gangs. Also their income is so low that they live in slums, thus destroying neighborhoods. They have the annoying habit of speaking Spanish.
Arizona will teach those bastards a lesson by putting them in prison. They will receive free food, clothing, housing, medical care, legal advice, an hour of health club every day, and around the clock police protection. Their children will be even more unattended. The prisoners will not be allowed to work, because that was their crime.
However now REAL Americans will be able to get the slave labor jobs. The unemployment problem will be solved, since, in addition to the available slave labor jobs, the number of prison guards, parole and probation officers, court personnel, medics, and legal advisors needed will increase dramatically. Unemployment will end, and the economy will boom.
Of course taxes will increase dramatically to pay for all of this government care. The courts will become clogged so that there will be no resources to deal with real crime. Medics will be so busy that REAL Americans will get less medical care.
After a stint in prison, the Latino bastards will be returned to their native countries, so that they can again risk their lives and sneak back into the United States. When the word gets out in their home countries that going to the United States will provide free food, clothing, shelter, medical and legal care, and health club, the number of bastard Latinos that will love the United States and sneak into our country will increase dramatically, especially since they will not be permitted to work. Instead of 10 million, we will have 50 million of them. Eventually they will get control of several states and maybe even the whole country.
Meanwhile what will happen to the rest of us? We will have to show our picture identifications several times a day. This will become a nuisance, so we will start wearing them on our outer garments. The fashion industry will realize that a market exists for designer clothes, some (or maybe all) of which will have your identification inscribed in a yellow Star of David.
We will now be supporting millions of Latino bastards in our prisons. Real criminals, including the Latino teenage gangs will roam our streets. However we will have the satisfaction of showing these people that they cannot fool around with REAL Americans.
If this solution does not appeal to you, we have the option of cutting off the hands and feet of everyone without a picture identification and leaving them to die in the streets. However this may not help the economy.
A third possibility is to follow the biblically suggested route: “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. The stranger that soujourneth with you shall be unto you as the homeborn among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself” (Leviticus XIX 33-34).
Provide the immigrants with work permits, so that they can make more money, pay their income taxes, clean up their homes, and increase consumer consumption. Let their children go to school to get an education and keep themselves off the streets. The immigrants may even continue to love the U. S., rather than to distrust, and ultimately despise, it.
Ah, but this is very unfair to the respectable people who wish to immigrate legally. This is so, but we have no obligation to foreign nationals. No system is perfect.
Warning: You should know that The Federal Protective Service, and possibly the FBI, is intercepting my e-mails. Another violation of our civil liberties. Be prudent if you write to me.
Mike Benoit has written a book entitled “Sham and Shame of the Federal Income Tax.” You can purchase it directly from him for five dollars. His E-mail address is in the header of this E-mail.
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE
THE PRICE OF JUSTICE IS ETERNAL PUBLICITY
Yours in freedom—Julian
Russ was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania and raised with four siblings in rural Lebanon County. After graduating from Northern Lebanon High School and Lebanon County Vo-Tech in 1981, he entered the work force in a manufacturing facility. Seven years later, he chose to pursue a career as a musician.
His experiences as a musician led him to open a recording studio in the Lebanon area in late 1992. The business subsequently gained regional acclaim and has been transformed into the nationally known CD and DVD manufacturing and duplication service known as Raintree.
Russ founded PACleanSweep in July 2005 in response to the infamous midnight pay raise enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The organization fielded more than 110 candidates for legislative seats during the historic 2006 election cycle and helped turn over 24 percent of the General Assembly.
Along the way, the group was instrumental in the first-ever ouster of a sitting state Supreme Court justice at a retention election and the stunning repeal of the pay raise. PACleanSweep was awarded the "Golden Dot" for the Best PAC or Non-Partisan Internet Campaign of 2005 by George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet.
In January 2006, Russ was named one of three "Citizens of the Year" by the Philadelphia Inquirer - along with activists Gene Stilp and Tim Potts - for their collective efforts in helping to force the pay raise repeal in November 2005. In July 2006, the three were recognized - along with fellow activist Eric Epstein - with the "Public Service Achievement Award" from Common Cause/Pennsylvania.
The four were recognized once again in November 2006, receiving the "Communicator of the Year" award from the Harrisburg chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.
A licensed private pilot since 2001, Russ serves as president of the Annville Flight Club.
He resides in Annville, Lebanon County in a home his great-grandparents built.
Those Who Benefit Should PayMore: http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100429153420/fixpa/images/6/67/No_Drink_Tax-Brochure.pdf
A drink tax to pay for alcohol-related problems might make sense. Using it to pay for transit makes no sense at all. However, access to transit increases urban land values by many times what a land value tax would cost.
Taxes Should Not Burden the Poor
It is a myth that a drink tax falls on the rich. Wealthy people are more likely to entertain privately and escape the tax. Property tax occasionally falls on the poor, but land value tax almost never falls on the poor.
Taxes Should Not Drag the Economy Down
Drink taxes make the county less attractive to tourists, vacationers and conventioneers who bring money into the county and stimulate the economy. Land value taxes make the county less attractive to slumlords, speculators and absentee landlords who take money out of the county and hold back the economy.
Even property taxes prevent speculation and real estate bubbles. Cities with the lowest property taxes had the worst housing bubbles and now have the most foreclosures. We can stop taxing people’s homes, but we must never stop taxing the value of land if we want stable land prices.
A Tax on Restaurant Customers is Worse Than a Tax on Restaurant Owners
Most restaurant owners will pay more under a land value tax than under a property tax. Still, the ones we have talked to don’t mind paying more if it allows their customers to pay a lot less. Restaurant owners view their customers as partners in trade. You give them something, and they give you something; what robs you, robs them.
Political developers and land speculators, on the other hand, view taxpayers as victims to be fleeced. They do not understand that nobody wins when working people and honest businesses are overtaxed.
The following organizations worked together to co-sponsor the visit by Kalpona Akter of the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity and Zehra Bano of the Home Based Workers Federation of Pakistan to the August Wilson Center on April 27, 2010:Great events Ken!
Pittsburgh Industrial Workers of the World
Black Political Empowerment Project
State Senator Jim Ferlo
William Robinson Consulting
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
National Labor Committee
Western PA Jobs with Justice
Lauren Sukal • Barney Oursler
Steel Valley Printers/USW Local 3403
Battle of Homestead Foundation
Indiana University of PA Labor Center
Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
Three Rivers Community Foundation
Communities in Action for Peace
Iron Workers Local 3
PA State Federation of Labor AFL-CIO
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Additional individual donations from Joel Woller, Michelle Gaffey, Kim Miller, Celeste Taylor, Tim Stevens and more… please email Kenneth if you have been accidentally omitted here.
$150 was raised by passing the hat, the Pirates Pill Box Cooperstown Collection "Made in Bangladesh" hat, at the August Wilson Center event.
The money is explicitly for Dennis Brutus to be remembered at the Bill Mazeroski Statue PNC Park. It will be unveiled on September 1, 2010.
A special thanks goes out to everyone who participated in the City Council Post Agenda Sweatshops discussion - especially, Natalia Rudiak, Bruce Kraus - and most of all, City Council President Darlene Harris.
Please email you ideas and insights and discussion about this event, and any photo graphs to email@example.com
It was such a pleasure and honor to work with so many serious Human Rights activists to prepare for this event. I've learned so much from working with all of you. Thank you for your inspiring commitments and vision. Tell yourself again, the story of Dennis Brutus and his shot heard around the world, practice telling it to one other. Anti Sweatshop Organizers tell Stories. Tell the stories of Kalpona Akter and Zehra Bano… they visited so that we could hear their testimony. We got it. No Sweatshops Bucco!
Kalpona Akter and Zehra Bano are on their way to Harrisburg where they will be meeting with the PA Secretary of Labor and Industry early this afternoon. They will speak in Philadelphia tonight. I am especially pleased that they will be in Baltimore on May Day to participate in Our Harbor Day - a HUMAN RIGHTS ZONE - being erected at the Inner Harbor by the workers there, our friends, and 2006 Anti Sweatshop All Stars, the Maryland United Workers Association. There is no better place for them to be on May Day, the International Workers Holiday.
Kenneth Miller, 412 867 9213, firstname.lastname@example.org
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South Fayette school board to reconsider facility fees Following an outcry from extracurricular sports groups and community organizations, South Fayette school directors Tuesday night agreed to re-evaluate the district's schedule of fees for using the gym, auditorium, sports fields and other school facilities.These facilities are owned by the public.
Board members voted 8-0 to suspend the facility fee schedule -- developed by administrators and board members and adopted last month -- and to temporarily reinstate the previous guidelines.
About 35 people attended the board meeting to protest the fee schedule, saying it was unclear, unfair and unaffordable.
'I feel like you're picking on the little guys now,' said Bob Antoszewski, president of the Lady Lions recreational basketball program.
The district plans to form a new committee, including members of the public, to reconsider the issue. Residents interested in joining the committee may e-mail Superintendent Bille Rondinelli at email@example.com.
Should Student Scores Be Used To Evaluate Teachers? - Bridging Differences - Education Week Wherever I go, I meet many teachers who say virtually the same thing: They have never been more demoralized in their professional lives. They feel that they are scapegoats for everything that is wrong in American education. Arne Duncan and Barack Obama, even more than Margaret Spellings and George W. Bush, are giving credibility to the idea that 100 percent of students should be proficient, that teachers are to blame when test scores are not 100 percent proficient, that teachers use students' poverty as just an excuse for their bad teaching, and that firing teachers is laudable and courageous. Teachers say that they worked hard to elect Obama, and they now feel betrayed by his negative attitudes about teachers. They say, 'If only Obama or Duncan would spend a few days in my classroom...'
Can ads put end to wild South Side behavior? Somebody affixed a big 'L,' for 'Loser,' to the back of his shirt.
An electronic publication of
The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy
April 27, 2010 Volume 10, Number 22
Pittsburgh’s Financial Watchdogs Lose Their Bark
Pittsburgh City Council recently enacted a prevailing wage bill and is now considering a living wage bill. Both measures will almost certainly increase City spending either directly, by raising the wage rates of its employees, or indirectly, as contractors push the costs back to the City through higher bids. The question that cries out for an answer is; where are the Act 47 coordinator and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (the oversight board)? Why are they silent about these legislative efforts?
The prevailing wage bill, passed in March, requires all City contractors and subcontractors to pay its building service and food service workers a prevailing wage for those occupations as determined by the City Controller. It also requires that “(b)uilding service, food service, hotel, and grocery employees shall be paid at least the prevailing wage according to their job classification for all work performed on or related to projects that receive a City subsidy…” While firms feeding at the public trough get no sympathy from us, this law will have two unintended consequences. First it will cause firms to ask for greater subsidies to compensate them for having to pay higher wages and secondly it will throw up one more signal to any firm looking to locate in the City that Council is willing to meddle in the private market and mandate wage rates.
Now a living wage ordinance is currently under consideration by City Council. An earlier version was introduced and passed nearly a decade ago. It was to go into effect only after Allegheny County enacted a similar law, which at the time County Council was unable and unwilling to do. Apparently City Council is now willing to go it alone. The proposed new version of the law states that “…City employees, employees of City service contractors, subcontractors, and employees and contractors of City financial assistance earn an hourly wage that is sufficient to live with dignity and to achieve economic self-sufficiency.”
This law will directly increase the City’s personnel costs. When the bottom rung of the wage ladder is raised, higher wage earners will expect some increase as well.
Contractors forced to pay higher wages and benefits will ask for an upward adjustment in their contract payments to cover the mandated compensation increases. The City will have to shoulder some of that burden. If the City refuses, contractors could be forced to lay off workers and cut services. Then too, there is the effect on other wage earners below the “living wage” and their employers who are not covered by the by the living wage law. A two tier wage system will develop for comparable jobs and skills, one for jobs with a City government connection and another for comparable jobs with no City government connection. Eventually, the lower tier wage workers will press for wages beyond what employers can afford and unnecessary workplace tensions will develop—yet another City created worsening of the City’s business climate.
Which brings us back to our original question: where are the Act 47 team and the ICA in all of this? Why haven’t we heard their opinion on what these bills will do to the City’s budget?
In its 2009 Plan, the Act 47 team had this to say about Workforce and Collective Bargaining: “With almost 74 percent of the annual budget allocated to employee-related expenses, workforce costs are a critical factor in the City’s fiscal condition. If workforce costs are not maintained at affordable levels, the results can not only erode the City’s budget health, but can also have adverse impacts for municipal employees and City service levels.” So the Act 47 team has stated in writing the City needs to be mindful of its workforce spending, but is now strangely silent in the face of two bills that will almost certainly raise employment costs.
Furthermore the 2009 Act 47 Plan states that “(g)oing forward, the City’s primary workforce challenges are twofold:
1) Continuing to contain overall personnel cost growth at levels that can be sustained within the City’s fiscal resources;
2) Actively addressing the longer term, $1 billion legacy cost crisis.”
Have the City’s fiscal resources improved while no one was looking? It wasn’t very long ago the Mayor was proposing a tax on post secondary tuition on students in the City—
evidence the City’s fiscal situation has not improved, certainly not enough to shake free of financial oversight.
The living wage legislation will almost certainly increase the City’s personnel costs. And since pensions are based on worker pay, legacy costs will rise as well. Yet not a peep from the state appointed overseers.
Has the City promised financial overseers it will make expenditure cuts to offset the higher personnel costs arising from the living wage bill? Has the City promised to find revenue to cover the higher expenses? If the City has done neither, the oversight panels should be very vocal in opposing any legislation that increases City spending. Otherwise they are not fulfilling their responsibilities.
Frank Gamrat, Ph.D., Sr. Research Associate Jake Haulk, Ph.D., President
For updates and commentary on daily issues please visit our blog at http://alleghenyinstitute.org/blog.
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For more information on this and other topics, please visit our web site: http://alleghenyinstitute.org
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Thank you for your support.
How the Internet is Changing Politics in Great Britain techPresident The British media is overwhelmingly owned by right-wing billionaires who order their newspapers to build up the politicians who serve their interests, and marginalise or rubbish the politicians who serve the public interest. David Yelland, the former editor of the Sun, bravely confessed this week that as soon as he took his post, he was told the Liberal Dems had to be 'the invisible party, purposely edged off the paper's pages and ignored'. Only a tiny spectrum of opinion was permitted. Everyone to the left of Tony Blair (not hard) had to be rubbished – even when their policies spoke for a majority of British people.
OOoCon 2010 Call for Papers
The OpenOffice.org Community Celebrates Its Tenth Anniversary!
This year's meeting will be held in one of Europe's most beautiful cities, Budapest, Hungary, from August 31st - September 3rd, 2010. We hope you will join us in our celebration and conference!
Whether you are a dedicated developer, a contributor of any measure, or just interested in the Project and its technology, such as the OpenDocument Format (ODF), we want to hear from you. Please note the conference language is English, and all presentations must be delivered in that language.
We particularly welcome proposals from developers and other contributors with information to share with their fellows, from how to get started with simple extensions, through to the deep, dirty, and downright fun aspects of hacking the OpenOffice.org codebase. We urge creative, ambitious ideas. This is the place for those!
Papers are also welcomed on any topic of interest to the Community: to the thousands of people who have joined one of our projects and design, develop, maintain, translate, test, document, support, promote, or in any other way help us bring OpenOffice.org's products and services to the world. We especially encourage local communities to submit papers for a special feature on local success stories.
Submit your paper at http://www.ooocon.org/
We look forward to seeing you at our 10th anniversary conference to celebrate our achievements and show the world what we offer in his next decade.If you don't use OpenOffice.org software, shame on you. Go get it now. http://www.openoffice.org/. It can take the place of PowerPoint and Word and Excel and even has a database!
The deadline to submit papers and posters to the 4th International Conference on Concept Mapping has been extended to Wednesday May 19. Because of the earthquake in Chile, universities and schools in the country have started late their school year. This has resulted in that colleagues in Chile have requested more time to prepare and submit their papers. We are extending the deadline for paper submission until May 19, and making the extension available to everybody. We hope this will result in a larger participation from the Chilean (and international) Cmappers community.
We look forward to seeing you in Viña del Mar in October / Esperamos verle en Viña del Mar en Octubre.
CMC 2010 Organizing Committee / Comité Organizador
http://cmc.ihmc.us email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Study: Chocolate and depression go hand in hand - CNN.com According to a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who feel depressed eat about 55 percent more chocolate than their non-depressed peers. And the more depressed they feel, the more chocolate they tend to eat.
Libertarian Party of PennsylvaniaMalvern, PA – The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) elected a new Executive Board at their annual convention in April. Elected to the Board were
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109
For Immediate Release: April 26, 2010
Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) at Media-Relations@lppa.org or
Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS / email@example.com
• State Chair: Michael RobertsonMichael J. "Mik" Robertson is a geologist and a township supervisor. He and his wife Maggie along with three-year old daughter Claire have a farm in Clarion County where they raise certified naturally grown produce. Mik is vice-president of the Clarion County Association of Township Officials. He formerly served on the multi-municipal planning committee which prepared a comprehensive plan for the future of their township and adjacent borough. He is Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Clarion County.
• Eastern Vice-Chair: Louis Jasikoff
• Western Vice-Chair: Jim Fryman
• Treasurer: Kat Valleley
With regard to the Tea Parties, I'm glad that people are at least finally beginning to take an interest in their own governance. After decades of indefensible apathy, it's a start. Despite the consistent misrepresentations of the mainstream media, however, the Tea Parties did not originate in 2008 as a response to banker bailouts or the election of a so-called "socialist" president. The movement was born in 2007 to organize independent protests against taxation without representation. Only in the last year or so has it been hijacked by corporate PACs and "anti-Big Government" Republican hypocrites. Having fallen under the spell of these manipulative forces, the Tea Parties have already lost sight of their real enemy.
While there's been no essential change in my positions, I too was guilty of some flawed semantics when railing against Big Government in my blog. It wasn't because I thought there was anything inherently wrong with government, but because our current system of ever-expanding government is a creation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Corporations, most of which are transnational and have no interest in what's good for America. Lately, though, I've been coming to the surprising realization that, while the Feds are definitely "Big," they cannot be correctly defined as "Government." I'm reaching the rather ironic conclusion that I'm not so much opposed to Big Government as I am to the fact that Americans have no real government at all.
In an age in which drug addicts spend half their lives behind bars, but Wall Street CEOs get away with grand larceny and presidents get away with treason and murder, how can it be said that we live under any kind of government, big or small? Americans are not living in an era of Big Government, but rather in an era of orchestrated anarchism in which our corporate-owned "leaders" ignore the Constitution whenever it's convenient, and only enforce our laws against those who have no effective means of defending themselves. I wouldn't want to discourage Tea Partiers from voicing their opinions, but I do hope that they will 1.) return to their independent roots and 2.) wake up to who the real enemy is--not the puppets in the White House and Congress, but rather the global bankers and war industry executives who pull their strings.
Athletics News Chatham University Chatham finished their season this year with an overall record of 4-18 in competition. “I am extremely proud of the way that these young women competed, not only this weekend, but all season long. They worked hard and never quit,” says head coach Mike Meyers.Yes!
As most of the teeming masses that read this blog know, I'm a fan of high school sports. I help moderate the PA Sportsboard on teh interwebs which deals heavily in local, statewide and national high school sports. On that board, my handle is City League Advocate. I chose that name because of my love for a particular brand of high school sports. And that is the league that includes the nine public high schools in the City of Pittsburgh that are part of the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS).
This league is commonly known as the Pittsburgh City League or PIAA District 8.
Background info: I'm a City League guy. Born and raised and still live in the City of Pittsburgh. Attended PPS schools from K-12. Contrary to popular belief, I strongly believe that a quality education can be found in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, if one is willing to put in the time, legwork and dedication necessary to make it happen. The tools are there, you just have to pick them up and use them.
The City League goes back to the turn of the 20th century. And over time it has produced many great athletes that have gone on to have outstanding pro careers. One only has to mention the legendary Westinghouse Bulldog football teams under Pete D'Imperio and George Webb that ruled not only the City League in the 50's, 60's, and '70's but also proved to hold their own against the best of the WPIAL and even statewide. The Perry Commodore teams of the early 2000's that made its mark on the local high school football scene. And who could forget the 1988 Commodores that won the City League's only state title in football. The great Schenley Spartan basketball teams that won state titles in the '60s and '70s with such headliners like Maurice Lucas, Kenny Durrett, and Robert "Jeep" Kelly, and even today with San Antonio Spurs rookie DaJuan Blair. The City League has produced great athletes as well as great human beings that excelled both in and out of the classroom as well as in life.
But these days, the City League isn't what it used to be. The reasons are many and varied. The ongoing flight to the suburbs that started in the 50's as well as the collapse of the steel industry in the 70's and '80s, among other factors caused many families to move out of the city decreasing the enrollment of Pittsburgh Public Schools from a high of over 50,000 students in the '70s to its current number of approx 26,000. That had an effect of cutting tax revenues that could be used for facility maintenance and equipment purchases as well as shrinking the talent pool for athletics.
And because the majority of the high schools were built over 80 years ago, they were landlocked in tightly confined neighborhoods with little room for expansion. To this day there are schools in the Pgh. City League that do not have an athletic field on campus. Only one high school was built in the last 35 years, Brashear, which was completed in 1975. As a result, most City high schools lag far behind their suburban counterparts in terms of facilities and athletic amenities. If you go to a typical suburban Western PA high school which was built in the last 50 years, you'd see a large wide-open campus built back in the days when land in the suburbs was cheap and plentiful and the planners accounted for the inevitable need for expansion. Many of today's biggest campuses rival some small colleges in terms of their physical plant. Having such luxurious amenities also contributes to the number of reasons many families who are coming into the Pittsburgh area and are looking for a place to buy a home often prefer the suburbs to the city. That and also the perception of a better education, a safer learning environment, better coaching and also the benefits of living in a smaller tighter knit community.
As a result of all these factors, the Pittsburgh City League lags behind the WPIAL in terms of overall success on the athletic field. Now before I go further, let's take a little time out to educate you, the reader on how high school athletics works in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
High school athletics are governed in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic Association or PIAA. This body sponsors state-wide championships in 20 boys and girls sports. It also sets the standard rules of conduct for players, coaches, staff and fans. It also licenses referees and event officials and insures that the rules of competition laid down by national and local governing high school sports bodies are followed. All participating high schools (membership in the PIAA is not mandatory) are divided by location into 12 districts. For this essay's sake we are concerned with only two. District 7 and District 8. District 7 covers nine counties in Southwestern PA as well as all private and parochial schools in the City of Pittsburgh. District 7 is governed by the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League or WPIAL.
There are approximately 130 school districts that are members of the WPIAL. It is the largest athletic league in Pennsylvania as well as one of the largest in the country.
District 8 covers the public schools of the Pittsburgh Public School district. It is the smallest PIAA district in the state and one of only two districts in which all the schools are members of only one school district, the other being District 12 which covers Philadelphia. In terms of relationships between District 7 and District 8, please check this map. District 7 surrounds District 8 on all sides.
Now back to the essay. With very few exceptions, most City League schools do not fare well against WPIAL schools in most sports. The most glaring examples of the disparity between the two leagues are in football and the so-called "olympic" sports (tennis, swimming, golf, soccer, hockey, etc.) In football, the best City League school would most likely end up in the middle of the pack of their equivalent enrollment class in the WPIAL.
An example. The Schenley Spartans, last season's City League championship football team in the PIAA Class AAA, go manhandled in the first round of the AAA playoffs losing by 32 points to Erie Cathedral Prep 44-12. In baseball, the AAAA City League champion, Allderdice, who had won most of their games against City League opponents by double digits, and had a number of games ended prematurely by the ten run rule was beaten by Pine-Richland of the WPIAL 9-0 in the first round of the 2009-10 state playoffs. Perry, the 2009-10 City League wrestling champion, did not score a point in an 84-0 drubbing by the #2 seed in the WPIAL, Kiski Area.
It is rare for a City League team in any sport to make it past the first round of state playoff competition, much less make the result respectable. Even the disparity between schools within the City League is just as disturbing. The larger more affluent schools like Allderdice, Brashear, and Carrick are more equipped to compete against WPIAL schools. Schools like Langley, Peabody, Oliver, and Westinghouse would be hard pressed to compete at best against the middle to lower half of WPIAL schools and often forfeit games against City teams.
Using my alma mater as an example. Allderdice is not a traditional football power in the City League and has only won a handful of games against WPIAL schools. They have fared better in basketball. But in sports like tennis, soccer, swimming, baseball and others, Allderdice can compete on a more or less equal basis against some of the better schools in the WPIAL. On the whole, in most sports, Allderdice would fare in the middle to upper half of the WPIAL. Brashear would be a solid middle of the pack contender overall as would Carrick.
Other than a lack of quality facilities and coaching, the City League also suffers from a discernable lack of community support. One advantage that schools in the WPIAL have is that they enjoy support in their communities that City League schools could only dream about. One reason for that is that with the public school districts of the WPIAL, those districts have a few elementary schools, a couple middle schools and with very few exceptions, one high school that serves a particular community or in some cases, a small number of communities. The local high school has the total support of the community that it serves. In those small towns and municipalities, the high school is the major local source of community pride and identity. Go into any suburb around Pittsburgh and you'll see much evidence of support of the local high school teams especially if that school's teams are in the playoff hunt. These communities rally around their local high schools and they know that the kids that represent that school come from that community and are "home-grown."
The City League does not have that support in abundance. There are nine high schools in the Pittsburgh City League and while the neighborhoods those schools serve may support the athletics of the local school, they do not do so to the extent of the schools in suburban districts. A lot of that can be attributed to the fact that compared to a city the size of Pittsburgh that has many other activities that compete for the scarce time and resources of high school students, smaller suburban communities tend to have fewer impediments that compete with the local high school as the center of local youth activity. The existence of booster clubs run by parents that support various sports at the high school also plays a significant part.
Also, with the ability of kids to essentially attend any school in the district regardless of that school's location, the sense that the kids are home-gr0wn and part of that local neighborhood is diluted. This happened because of the creation of the city-wide magnet schools that concentrated on a specific theme or course of study rather than a specfic location. these schools were created in order to comply with the desegregation order that was placed against the Pittsburgh Public Schools in 1989 by the PA Human Relations Commission.
It is questionable as to whether the order actually succeeded in desegregating the schools because there are still at least three high schools in the PPS that are in excess of 80% African-American population. But the creation of those magnet schools did allow kids from anywhere in the city to attend them rather than be forced to attend the local high school in their community. The magnet programs have been largely successful in the educational sense, but in the athletic sense have hurt the City League because some students may transfer out of their neighborhood schools to a magnet school primarily to play on a better football or basketball program. There were numerous accusations that Perry Traditional Academy on the North Side had used this approach to lure top athletes from other city schools to play for its football and basketball teams. And during the late'90s and early 2000's those accusations had a tinge of merit as Perry dominated both football and basketball during those times. But the effect has since worn off as Perry has not won a City football title in the last 4 years and has only won one basketball title 3 times since 2002. Although Schenley winning 4 straight basketball titles between 2004-2008 might also appear to add some truth to this premise because Schenley is a magnet school, but it must be said that the Spartans won using mostly local talent from North Oakland and the Hill.
But the magnet schools seem to have taken away the attitude that many of a schools athletes playing in the so-called marquee sports of football and basketball are representative of the neighborhood where the school is located.
Also at least in football, the centralizing of all football games at one stadium has negatively affected the level of community support for City League athletics. In most suburban districts, the students, alumni and staff of that school district go out of their way to maximize their home field advantage. Go to a game at Aliquippa's "Pit" or Woodland Hills "Wolvarena" and there is no doubt where you are and who plays at that stadium. The local community knows that stadium is their baby and they get behind their team with great passion. You'll see signs and posters in the school's colors. The myriad of traditions and pageantry that makes high school football what it is in this region.
The City League, by having all their games played at one location eliminates that "home field advantage." To be sure, the reason for the move was a practical and necessary one. Only 5 of the current city high schools have on-campus or near-campus athletic fields, and in most of those cases, the fields were well short of the state and national requirements for safe play and a decent viewing atmosphere. Some of those fields didn't even get grass on them until the late '80s. Also in the era of games played on campus fields, only the home team's fans could go to the games due to incidents involving fights between opposing school's fans. And each field had its own security issues and plans of ingress and egress in case of emergency, so in the early 90's it was decided to have all football games played at Cupples Stadium on the South Side. The advantages were that Cupples was the best maintained stadium in the city having been the second stadium in the Pittsburgh area to receive artificial turf back in the mid 70's. Cupples was also centrally located, had easy to control ingress and egress and was able to accommodate fans from both schools with a minimum of incidents. And because the field was artificial turf, maintenance costs were lower.
But the negatives are that there is no true "home field" advantage. The only advantage that the home team gets at Cupples is that their fans get to sit on the side of the field with the press box and their band performs at halftime. The midfield decoration is a generic 'Pittsburgh Public Schools' logo. The cheerleaders will hang signs on their side of the field in the colors of the school urging theor team on, but the effect is not the same. Crowds at City League football games can range from less than a hundred in the case of two bottom place teams playing to over a thousand if two good teams are playing or if it's the championship game. If Perry and Brashear are playing for the overall lead in the league and both teams are good, Cupples jumps as much as any high school stadium in the region. But put two teams like Langley and Westinghouse who are winless and no chance at the playoffs and just playing out the string, you might see more people on the field than in the stands.
You go to most City League football games and there's no life and little excitement. The crowds are sparse, in some cases, it seems like even the players don't want to be there. The stadium is largely empty, I've been to games where not even the home team's band bothered to show up much less played at halftime. Someone described the typical City League football game as like watching two prison teams playing. There are those who call for returning the City League games back to the neighborhoods, but that won't happen unless the PPS is willing to invest millions of dollars that it doesn't have in renovating the current campus fields to the point where they could be comparable to even a modest stadium in the WPIAL.
Because all nine teams have to share the stadium, that makes for games being played at non traditional times. Currently, the City League plays games at 7pm on Thursdays, 3:30pm and 7:30pm on Fridays and either 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:oopm, or 5:00pm on Saturdays depending on the schedule. In most WPIAL schools and also in the majority of the state, high school football is played at 7:30pm on Friday nights, except for those few stadiums that don't have lights and their games are played on Saturday afternoons. In the WPIAL, there are a few Thursday night games mostly to accommodate local cable television, but in Pennsylvania, 7:30pm Friday night is the traditional time for high school football.
The effect of having multiple times for playing games tends to play havoc with City League teams and fans. Most parents can't always make the 3:30pm Friday games and the students are just getting out of school an hour before and can't or won't travel the distance to the South Side to take in the game. The 7:30 Friday night games get the best crowds, but even that depends on the two teams playing, and often the schedule makers will put the two worst teams in that prime spot. The numerous different playing times also cause headaches for the coaching staffs in preparing for the upcoming games. In the WPIAL, teams know that, by and large they will be playing at 7:30 on Friday night. The coaching staffs have their practice and game preparation routines laid out to that time. In the City League, teams can have anywhere between five and nine days between games to prepare and practice. It is not uncommon for a team that played on noon Saturday to turn around and be ready to play again the following Thursday. Conversely, a team that played Thursday can be scheduled to play again the following Saturday week. And because there are an odd number of teams playing in the league, the bye week adds an extra seven days leaving some teams with up to 16 days between games, if they didn't schedule a non league opponent. City League coaches and players take it all in stride because they know that is the way it is in this league.
I could go into a lot more stuff that causes those from outside the City to wonder how this crazy quilt system works in spite of every logical conclusion that it shouldn't, but I have to close this piece as it's getting very long.
The question is now, what is the future of the City League? The answer is...who knows? The PPS school board and superintendent are working on reforming the high schools of the district to maximize efficiency and to cut down on the excess capacity that exists in the district's buildings. Schenley High School will be no more at the end of the 2010-11 school year. There is talk of closing Peabody and merging their students with Westinghouse, which should be interesting given the long time rivalry between the two schools. There is also talk of possibly closing Langley and/or Oliver.
There are to be more magnet and specialty high schools coming on line. Too many to cover in this piece. I'd suggest going to the Pittsburgh Public Schools website and rooting around there for the details. But it seems to me that while the board is restructuring the schools for educational purposes primarily, the question is, how will this affect the City League? Does the board even care? I'm of the opinion that the PPS board tends to put athletics on the back burner in terms of priorities. They're more interested in doing what it is they do and leaving the athletics to the Athletic Director. There are many questions to be asked. How will the upcoming specialty high schools be dealt with in terms of athletics? Will they sponsor their own teams or have co-op arrangements with existing high schools? What high schools are next on the chopping block? It's not a question of when, but what. How many high schools will the new PPS and City League have left? And can the result continue to be a viable PIAA district and if not, will the PIAA say something?
One premise that has been floated on occasion, but has never received much traction is the merging of the City League into the WPIAL. There has been talk going back at least 10 years about the City League and the WPIAL coming together and so far it has just been that...talk.
The road to a merger would take several steps. First the City League would have to come to a consensus that it wants and needs a merger. Then they'd have to approach the WPIAL and petition them for membership. The WPIAL would then have to vote on accepting the City League and then petition the PIAA to allow the merger. If all of that is approved, the City League and all its traditions would then be swallowed up by the WPIAL akin to a minnow being swallowed up by a whale. It is also possible that the PIAA might tell the City League that an eight school district is too small to be viable under the PIAA district structure and might put pressure on the league to merge with the WPIAL. At this point, there isn't much interest on either side to engage in serious merger talks. In fact the Executive Director of the WPIAL, Tim O'Malley told the City League Athletic Director, Michael Gavlik that he should fight any attempt by the PIAA to phase out the City League and merge them into the WPIAL. In this article in the Post-Gazette, He maintains that with few exceptions, the City League would not be able to compete equitably with the WPIAL in most sports. In the current climate, he would be right. But as the PPS continues with its plan to close and consolidate high schools, the choice of whether to merge may not be made by the City League or the WPIAL, but by the PIAA.
Initially, any merger between the City League and WPIAL would be to the WPIAL's benefit. They would have the entire Southwestern Pennsylvania region including the City of Pittsburgh under their thumb. The disparity between the City and WPIAL schools would pretty much give WPIAL schools more or less easy wins in most sports until the City schools catch up. And they will be forced to catch up, otherwise they will be an even bigger embarrassment than they already are. The disparity between the City League and the WPIAL in most high school sports has never been wider. On the City side, a City-WPIAL merger would benefit the larger schools like Allderdice, Brashear and Carrick because they are the most "WPIAL-like" schools in the City in terms of the number of sports sponsored, and the level of success those schools have had against WPIAL competition. They would stand the best chance of having immediate success in the "olympic" sports as well as basketball. Football, however is a very different story because the disparity between the WPIAL and the City League is greatest there. It would take at least five years before the best of the City League would be able to hold its own against the best of the WPIAL on the gridiron. Schools like Allderdice, Brashear, and Carrick already schedule numerous WPIAL teams in the sports they are strong in because the compeition in the City League is just not up to standard. So it stands to reason that those schools would be able to have immediate success. The smaller City schools probably would have a tougher road to hoe.
For the record, I happen to support the merger of the City League into the WPIAL. While there will a period of adjustment when City League schools will face a very difficult learning curve in adapting to the higher level of competition as well as playing in front of audiences that are much more used to the concept of "home field" advantage, as the old saying goes, "Competition improves the breed." Or as Ric Flair says it "To be the man, you've got to beat the man. Woooo!!" It has to be done either way, better to get it out of the way now.
I feel that the PPS board will have to face this matter sooner than later because the pressure to merge could very much come from the PIAA who feels that an eight school district is too small to maintain. I would like to see the City League remain in some kind of tipoff or holiday tournament structure especially in basketball, because even though they would be part of the WPIAL, they are city schools at heart and those rivalries and traditions don't deserve to be flushed away. I don't know how it can be done, but I want to see something that allows the City schools to retain their common identity and traditions. There's too much history that would be lost and I don't trust the WPIAL to respect those traditions and memories that have been forged over the years in the City League.
But I do not want to see the City League ghettoized into some kind of City Conference that is part of the WPIAL but consists of City League schools, because all that does is repeat the problems the City League is presently facing but instead of being part of its own playoffs as it is now, they'd be part of the WPIAL playoffs. It's much better for the City schools post-merger if they were placed in their respective enrollment class and in geographically based conferences with other WPIAL schools in their location. Now that does produce some scary situations. For example, in football Allderdice, who is classified in the PIAA as a Class AAAA school, if it were merged into the WPIAL and placed into a conference that is geographically based would be in the same conferences as such traditional powerhouses as: Penn Hills; Central Catholic; and Woodland Hills.
Most of those games would be painful to watch, but if Allderdice wants to get better and compete, they will have to do what is necessary in terms of coaching, training and getting quality players out for football in order to be respectable. Brashear would be placed in a conference with Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, and Canon McMillan. No doubt that the first years would be very tough to stomach, but I think that most City League teams would be up for the challenge and would make the upgrades needed to compete respectably in the WPIAL. The exposure to real home field advantages would compel the student bodies of City League schools to raise their game to avoid embarrassment.
So what is the future of the City League? I think that the question of a merger is not whether it will happen but when. If you put a gun to my head and made me predict when a merger will go down, I'd say within the next five to seven years, the City League will merge with the WPIAL not necessarily because it wants to, but because it cannot afford not to.
Posted by Pierre R. Wheaton at 12:03 PM