Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fwd: Hamilton, the musical

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "John H

It was just announced this week that the Broadway musical, Hamilton, the Musical, will be coming to Pittsburgh soon – and I assume to much of the rest of the nation.  This musical has become perhaps the most popular musical ever to play on Broadway and is a must see for everyone who is anyone in politics and business.  However, as the attached article states, it is also a powerful piece of propaganda which substantially misrepresents both Hamilton himself, his policies and his impact upon the nascent nation.  The musical has been adopted by the Democratic Party elite as their defining and confirming ideal – and this is not without merit as the article demonstrates.  But it is important that people who are about to attend this show understand what Alexander Hamilton actually stood for and just how this relates very closely to what is transpiring in the country and the world today.  Much of it represents the very heart and soul of neoliberalism and financialization now impoverishing people around the world, while making the financial wizards of Wall Street modern day kings and queens.  I have added the bold emphasis in the article.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Public Statements: March 20, 2017 to PPS Board and Administration:

Mark Rauterkus, Varsity Swim Coach, Obama Academy.

I lead Swim & Water Polo after-school programs at Westinghouse (Mondays), Obama (Tuesdays & Thursdays), Allegheny (starting on Wednesdays), Arsenal (starting Fridays). Our Saturday Swim School (Oliver HS pool on the Northside) continues from 9 am to 1 pm (most weeks). At 6 am I'm at Sci-Tech three days a week. I coached Manchester Academic Charter School at the Sarah Heinz House and help with Pittsburgh Masters Water Polo and, of course, PPS Summer Dreamers. This year PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim & Water Polo is at King and U-Prep.

These activities are open to new participants, especially the Saturday Swim School. See my web sites at for details. CLOH = Creating Literate Olympians Here.

As we look to the summer, I'm going to be creating a new swimming, water polo and TRIATHLON team, on the Northside on Charles Street with The Pittsburgh Project.

Kids, adults, teachers, … we're hiring. Some of the varsity swimmers help, but we need about 35 as swim instructors, junior captains, guards, and coaches. Much of this work happens with the help of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, and I'm activity recruiting employees.

Applyat the link at

News flash:

Earlier this month, an Obama Swimmer, Sead Niksic, junior, set a new WPIAL Record in the class AA 100-yard backstroke. This is the first time a PPS student in any sport broke a WPIAL record. That news got a mentioned on the PPS home page.

All-in-all, our swimmers performed in brilliant fashion at the WPIAL and PIAA meets. After the snow storm, I took three of the Obama students to the PIAA meet. The Obama boys team finished in the top 20 in the state. All of the swimmers set personal and school records.
This was the 9th consecutive season our PPS kids from Schenley / Obama went to states.
Sead was second in the back and third in the fly. Noah scored 13th in the 500 free in his first trip to states as a sophomore. Amila, a freshman, dropped an additional 1-second in her backstroke, after getting 2nd at the WPIAL championships, having been seeded 10th.

Next news flash:

You, your spouse, coaches, swimmers, lifeguards, PE teachers, and all community members are invited to join in at a seminar and demonstration as well as post-game social to be held in Pittsburgh's South Side starting at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at the historic, Citiparks' Oliver Bath House. Out of town guest include aquatic experts with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance ( and Kevin McCarthy of Washington state, inventor of the aquatic game, SKWIM. Bring your swim suit and towel as we will put our PA friends into SKWIM games with opponents from around the nation. We'll learn about this terrific game, talk swimming, and find out what you might want to do to help get our kids swimming, more fit and safer in the water. We need to better utilize our facilities too.

After our time at the Oliver Bath House, all are invited to walk to a post game social starting at 9 pm at our home / office at 108 S. 12th Street, South Side, Pgh 15203.

October Reminder
In October 2016, I came to speak. My specific ask was for PPS support for WATER POLO instead of GOLF. The Obama golf team had one kid this year and none have made it to the final city-league match in the past two years. We have dozens of water polo players, and we own the pool. This would be a tremendous help for the students, programs and district in many ways. And, as a switch, it can be “budget neutral.”
I made that request to the board and the top administrators because you are the ones that will have to make it happen.
I find it sad that I have heard nothing about this issue from any of you since then.
Let's fix this for fall 2017.

New & Old Issues:
Furthermore, other matters, not well suited for public comment, need some attention. As we talk about district supported water polo, (we mainly need money for officials, some bus transit to matches and practice times at the school pool), we can share that list. This focused list of suggestions has many repeated requests from the past.  

Fwd: The inner sanctum

---------- Forwarded message
From: John H

This is a bit long, but anyone wanting a glimpse into Trump's inner sanctum will find it to be of interest.  Enjoy!



Monday, March 20, 2017

Fwd: There may be hope, with youth

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John H

For those of us who are prone to giving up hope in this era of despicable political creatures running roughshod over the American landscape, there is a small bit of hope in the recognition that most Americans recognize the corrupt political landscape for what it is.  More importantly, the youth of the nation seem to be motivated for the first time in decades to join in the battle for a better life for all.  The Bernie Sanders Town Hall in West Virginia is but one telling example, but a great one, indicating that given the right direction the American people will rise up to change the system.  Unfortunately this direction will not be found within the leadership of either major political party.  Read the attached articles and see what is happening.



Becoming a Libertarian

Nice read.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Heather Lyke

New Pitt AD.

Fwd: All too common practice

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John H
The article below recounts a sad but all too common story these days – a story tied to desperation and despair in many, particularly rural and depressed urban, areas of the nation.  If anyone saw the Bernie Sanders' Town Hall in West Virginia on March 5th, you will recall the attorney talking about the three drug companies listed in the article distributing  4,194,000 opiate pills to Kermit, WV, a town of only 400 people.  This overreach of corporate greed and moral depravity is beyond unconscionable – it is, or should be, criminal.

naked capitalism
March 19, 2017 | By Sarah Anderson, who directs the Global Economy project at the Institute for Policy Studies and is the author of the new report Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage WorkersOriginally published at Alternet.
Lambert here:  I have no quarrel with going after Big Pharma CEOs (sadly, well after the fact).  I do quarrel with medicalizing "deaths from despair," which the focus on treatment does, and erasing workplace and community issues (which the story hook of "sport-related injuries" does).  I mean, this is a story about the Teamsters, and are there no truckers in pain, at home if not on the road?  That said, it's good to see some action from a union, since either news of the problem hasn't reached the Acela Corridor (Amtrak's New York to Washington service), or they don't want to hear about it.
Travis Bornstein never told his friends about his son Tyler's drug problem.  He was too embarrassed.
Then, on September 28, 2014, Tyler's body was found in a vacant lot in Akron, Ohio.  The 23-year-old had become addicted to opioid pain killers after several sports-related injuries and surgeries.  Unable to afford long-term treatment, he ultimately turned to a cheaper drug — the heroin that killed him.
"Now I have no choice but to speak out," the elder Bornstein, president of Teamsters Local 24 in Akron, told a crowd of thousands at the union's convention in 2016.  As he shared the unvarnished tale of how a middle-class, star athlete wound up in that vacant lot, Bornstein lit a fire under the 1.4-million-member organization.
The Teamsters pledged $1.4 million for a nonprofit organization the Bornstein family set up to expand treatment for addicts in Ohio.  They're also going after the drug industry CEOs who've been profiting off a national opioid problem of epidemic proportions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription drugs and heroin) has quadrupled since 1999.  In 2015, opioid deaths in the United States hit a record-breaking 33,000.
The labor union is targeting the three largest U.S. prescription drug wholesalers — McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen — for flooding hard-hit areas with the highly addictive pills.
Between 2008 and 2012, for example, these companies shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone opioid doses to West Virginia — 433 for every man, woman, and child in the state.  During that time period, 1,728 people in the state overdosed on the painkillers.
The companies deny any wrongdoing, pointing the finger instead at corrupt doctors and pharmacists who sell pills directly to addicts and dealers.  But as West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin recently told the Charleston Gazette-Mail, "Obviously, they had to know, with a state this size, and that many pills coming in, that something wasn't right."
The Teamsters are using their clout as pension fund investors to demand that drug wholesalers take responsibility for their role in the epidemic, conduct full investigations of their distribution practices, and hold CEOs accountable.
At AmerisourceBergen, for example, CEO Steven Collis hasn't coughed up a penny of the tens of millions of dollars he pocketed as the firm was reaping opioid windfalls — even though the company has paid $16 million to settle a West Virginia case over their negligence.
The Teamsters are demanding that some of the CEO's pay be "clawed back," in the same way that Wells Fargo executives involved in last year's bogus account scandal had to forfeit some of their compensation.
They've made similar demands on McKesson, where CEO John Hammergren's compensation has amounted to an astounding $368 million over the past five years.
Part of the problem with accountability at McKesson, according to the Teamsters, is the fact that Hammergren serves as both CEO and chairman of the company.  The union is filing a shareholder resolution urging the board to appoint an independent chair.
Meanwhile, Travis Bornstein is continuing to speak out, telling his son Tyler's tragic story to students, policymakers, and others as he works to expand the availability of drug treatment for communities ravaged by the opioid crisis.
Since Tyler's death, he's learned that opioid addiction isn't a moral failure, but rather a disease, like cancer or diabetes.  "Now my son is my hero for everything he was able to accomplish with such a gut-wrenching disease," Bornstein said.  "I was the fool."


Friday, March 17, 2017

Fwd: Wikinews-l Digest, Vol 102, Issue 1

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: Friday, March 17, 2017
Subject: Wikinews-l Digest, Vol 102, Issue 1

Send Wikinews-l mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Wikinews-l digest..."

Today's Topics:

   1. We invite you to join the movement strategy       conversation (now
      through April 15) (Wikimedia Movement Strategy)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2017 02:36:40 -0400
From: Wikimedia Movement Strategy <>
To: Wikinews-l <>
Subject: [Wikinews-l] We invite you to join the movement strategy
        conversation (now through April 15)
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1; format=flowed

Dear Wikimedians/Wikipedians:

We are starting a broad discussion to define Wikimedia's future role in the world and develop a collaborative strategy to fulfill that role. You are warmly invited to join the conversation.

There are many ways to participate, by joining an existing conversation or starting your own:

        ·       Track A (organized groups): Discussions with your affiliate, committee or other organized group (these are groups that support the Wikimedia movement)[1]

        ·       Track B (individual contributors): On Meta[2] or your local language or project wiki[3]

This is the first of three conversations, and it will run between now and April 15. The purpose of cycle 1 is to discuss the future of the movement and generate major themes around potential directions. What do we want to build or achieve together over the next 15 years?

We welcome you, as we create this conversation together, and look forward to broad and diverse participation from all parts of our movement.

Nicole Ebber (Track A Lead), Jaime Anstee (Track B Lead), & the engagement support teams [1][4]

PS. A version of this message is available for translation on Meta-Wiki:

[1] Organized Groups:
[2] Conversation on Meta:
[3] Individual Contributors:
[4] Track B support team:

* Find out more about the movement strategy process:
* To learn more about volunteering to be a Discussion Coordinator:


Subject: Digest Footer

Wikinews-l mailing list


End of Wikinews-l Digest, Vol 102, Issue 1

Mark Rauterkus
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim & Water Polo Camp Executive Coach
Varsity Boys Swim Coach, Pittsburgh Obama Academy
Recent Head Water Polo Coach, Carnegie Mellon University Women's Club Team
Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo Team

412 298 3432 = cell

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

code fest

Newsletter for states

Dear Fellow Swim Coaches:

Your opinions, feedback and participation are welcomed, at your leisure, as you are able. Thanks for the consideration.

#1. You, your spouse, other helpers with you team, and even a few of your varsity swimmers are invited to join in at a seminar and demonstration as well as post-game social to be held in Pittsburgh's South Side starting at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at the historic, Citiparks' Oliver Bath House. Out of town guest include aquatic experts with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance ( and Kevin McCarthy of Washington state,  inventor of the aquatic game, SKWIM. Bring your swim suit and towel as we will put our PA friends into SKWIM games with opponents from around the nation, learning about this terrific game that you might want to deploy in your facilities too. Then walk to post game social at 9 pm at our home / office at 108 S. 12th Street, South Side, Pgh 15203.

Tickets / RSVP at

#2. This past season EVERY high school swim meet we hostedin the city had to begin at 2:30 pm, due to officials shortages. Ugh. 

#3. Because we need more community engagement, and officials, I am most interested in starting a wide reaching ALUMNI SWIMMING effort. Sure, there is Masters swimming, Tri swimming, Masters Water Polo and Underwater Hockey. All happen in Pittsburgh. Plus, a few of the largest districts have annual alumni events too. Great. But, I think this is the right time to launch a PA and WPIAL SWIM ALUMNI organization. I will be happy to do the heavy lifting and get this started, but would you be willing to serve on a steering committee and participate in a few conference calls? If so, send an email to 

#4. Another way to expand and improve swimming in PA, that I think we should address, comes with the formation of another CLASS beyond the existing AAA and AA. Let's ponder the possibilities and ramifications of making a legitimate JV Swim Classification. We have city schools, big and small, that do not have swim teams. Plus, we have teams that are fielding teams that are struggling to survive. A new, "JV designation," within the rules, with a few JV focused meets, could be most welcomed addition for the sport in many settings. Ideas? 

Thanks again. Best wishes to you and your teams.

Mark Rauterkus
Pittsburgh Public Schools' Obama Academy

Mark Rauterkus
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim & Water Polo Camp Executive Coach
Varsity Boys Swim Coach, Pittsburgh Obama Academy
Recent Head Water Polo Coach, Carnegie Mellon University Women's Club Team
Pittsburgh Combined Water Polo Team

412 298 3432 = cell

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fwd: Breaking: State Dept Extends Petition Challenge Deadline

Stupid, silly, pond scum moves from jagoffs and jokers. 
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Sy Snyder" <>
Date: Mar 13, 2017 8:56 PM
Subject: Breaking: State Dept Extends Petition Challenge Deadline
To: <>

  PoliticsPA                                             Breaking News
Good evening politicos, hope you are hunkered down for the storm.

Candidates will have to sweat for a little bit longer. 

In light of the incoming weather, Gov. Tom Wolf this evening signed an executive order pushing back Tuesday's 5pm deadline for challenges to nominating petitions.

"Tuesday's potentially severe snowstorm has caused the closure of the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg, PA, including the Department of State's Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, and is likely to cause the closure of courts and county election offices across the commonwealth," his office wrote Monday evening.

Read the full story here.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
PoliticsPA, 300 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg, PA 17101
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Fwd: Is FOMO Ruining Youth Sports?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John O'Sullivan <>


Please join us for our Way of Champions Coaching Conference, to be held June 2-4 in Princeton, NJ! You will be joined by John O'Sullivan from Changing the Game Project, Dr. Jerry Lynch from Way of Champions, and other top coach educators. Act now and you can save $100 on your registration fee! Click here to check it out:


I remember the day I coached my son TJ's first soccer game. He was only five, and I was so proud, so excited, and couldn't wait for him to play the game I loved.

There was one problem.

He didn't want to play.

When the game was about to start, he said, "Dad I don't want to play today." I was OK with it and the game went on. That week he went to practice, had lots of fun, and I thought all was right in the world. The next weekend, I was equally as excited for TJ to play his first game. Sadly, he was not.

As I set starting lineup he again said: "Dad I don't want to play." I don't think he liked the screaming parents and coaches from the previous game, as well as all the hustle and bustle that is five-year-old soccer.

This time I was angry. I was embarrassed. I was this A licensed, "all-star coach" and my own son refused to play. TJ, on the other hand, found a cricket to play with over by the fence. He was content. I was a mess.

What is wrong with my son? Why won't he play? What if he doesn't like soccer? Isn't he going to fall behind?

On the car ride home, I felt the need to address this issue, (likely to make myself feel better, as he was fine.) "So TJ…" was all I could say before my wife, who was in the passenger's seat, karate chopped me across the chest.

"What was that for?" I asked her incredulously.

"Really, didn't you just write a whole book about this?" she said with a stern look.

Indeed I had. But I was scared. I was afraid TJ was missing out on a game I loved. I suffered from FOMO: the Fear Of Missing Out!

On that day, and many days since, I've had FOMO moments watching my children play sports. I saw other kids their age who were better players, and wondered "what have I failed to do?" I still see other kids who play only one sport, improving quicker than mine, and worry mine will fall too far behind. I see kids attending additional skill training sessions and summer camps that mine do not. And I worry that my kids may be missing out.

I know I am not alone in feeling this way. I hear from parents all the time who feel stressed and anxious about their child's sports experience. Are my kids falling behind? If they don't do extra training now, will they make the travel team? Will they make the high school team? Will they have a chance to play in college? These are very legitimate concerns for the modern day sports parent. They might even keep you awake at night.

But here is the thing: they are just kids. They are fine. They need to want to do these things, not be forced to. Your child's path is not supposed to be every other child's path. Yet the Fear Of Missing Out is such a persistent feeling it scares me. It makes me feel inadequate as a parent. It makes me worry I'm letting my kids down. You too?

I should know better. I have seen too many times how too much, too soon ends in injuries or burnout for kids who are forced down a path they didn't choose, or who were never asked: "do you want this?" I have seen too many 12-year-old zombies walking around fields, with no joy in their step, and their love of the game long gone.

FOMO is one of the primary drivers creating a toxic youth sports atmosphere and making so many children walk away from sports far too soon.

We must overcome the fear.

As parents, we love our kids and we have great intentions, but FOMO causes us to focus only on the present, and not the long term. FOMO compels us to make all the decisions and steal ownership of their sporting experience. FOMO leads us to suck the enjoyment out of the sport in pursuit of dreams of stardom and scholarships. FOMO drives many sensible folks to take kids away from playing with their friends, search out the winning team, and make them specialize in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. FOMO makes us feel that we are letting our kids down by not providing them with every single opportunity, regardless of costs, time commitments, and the stress endured by our family.

Parents, I give you permission to take a deep breath, look at the evidence, and choose a different path. I give you permission to love your kids for where they are today, and not what they could be tomorrow. I give you permission to love yourself, even when you say no to a coach or a great opportunity because you simply cannot add one more thing to your plate or that of your child. I give you permission because the fear of missing out is ruining youth sports. It is time for all of us well-intentioned, well-educated parents to put a stop to the FOMO.

How? Answer these questions:

What do kids want from coaches? Sure, kids like to be on successful teams and have chances at scholarships, but what they want most according to research are positive role models who care about the person, and not just the athlete. They want coaches who respect and encourage them, who provide clear, consistent communication, who teach them the game, and who listen. Are you evaluating your child's next coach on that, or simply wins and losses?

Why do they play? Kids play for enjoyment and social aspects of sports. As they get older, they may define enjoyment and fun a bit differently than an 8-year-old, but one thing I can tell you is the day college, professional and Olympic level athletes stop loving what they do, they stop playing. So will your child. Ask your kids "why do you love playing, and what makes you love playing even more?" Then do more of that!

Are sports an extension of the things we value as a family? I am amazed how many times strong-valued families turn a blind eye to the values epitomized by their sports coaches and organizations. People who would never let their child lie or disrespect an authority figure consistently allow sports coaches to do those things, and are afraid to speak up because of FOMO, or because they are afraid their child might get blacklisted (and at times they are right, what does that say about an organization?)

Do we have sport/school/life balance? One day there will be no more practices to drive to, then what? Will sports still have provided your child and family with worthwhile, lifelong lessons in character, overcoming mistakes, working with others, and more? Did you spend any quality time with your spouse the last fifteen years, or take a non-sports, family trip? Do we question the coach who tells us we have to choose between grandma's 90th birthday or a league game? I'm not criticizing the families who make incredible sacrifices to allow their kids to play sports. I'm merely asking, "should we?"

These questions are far more important than asking ourselves "is my kid missing out on a scholarship?" or "Is my child going to make the high school team?" These questions are all driven by fear.

As Sophocles said, "All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride." We cannot be too proud to admit the current environment is based on fear, and while it serves the needs of many, the athletes are rarely at the top of that list.

Here are a few thoughts on how to remove FOMO from your child's youth sports journey.

  1. When in doubt, ask your child: What should I say on the car ride home, or on the sideline of your game? Do you really want to work with a private coach, or spend summer weekends at tournaments instead of with friends? Do you want to play multiple sports, or only one? How can I support you on your journey? If you are unsure, ask your child what he or she wants. The answer may surprise you.
  1. Read the research: It is a lot easier to combat your fear of missing out when you know you are standing on a foundation based on solid, scientific research rather than conjecture and "keeping up with the Joneses." I am amazed by many so-called "professional coaches" who've read no books or research, nor attended a coaching course in years (or ever), but who pontificate about getting to the next level. It's up to parents to know right from wrong and hold coaches accountable as we would school teachers. Start learning from experts in the sport. Here are some links to articles we have written on various topics with plenty of links to more research (CLICK HERE TO READ):
  • Early sports specialization
  • Talent identification
  • Scholarships and Recruiting
  • What kids want from coaches
  • The importance of enjoyment
  • The Car Ride Home
  1. Demand more from your youth sports organization: Don't look at the coach's win/loss record. Dig deeper. How does he treat the players? Does she invest in them as people first? How many quit the team every year without good reason? What happens to all the kids who don't get a scholarship? Would the parents on the team recommend this coach to other close friends or family? What are the organization's core values, and do they hold everybody accountable for them or do they turn a blind eye to poor behavior by parents and coaches and "just win baby"? What are they willing to compromise to win? What will your child get out of this experience if they don't win everything or get a scholarship? The answers to these great questions will speak volumes about the organization and coach. They reveal true intention.
  1. Be part of the solution: If you don't like the direction of your youth sports organization, be part of the change you wish to see. Coach, or run for the board of directors. I am convinced the vast majority of parents are great people, and if we'd ban together and start asking our youth sports organizations for the right things, great things will happen.

The next time FOMO sets in, take a deep breath. When you start to worry your child cannot miss this one weekend opportunity, or if he doesn't go to the all-star camp at age 10, or he is falling behind, take a moment and reassess. Is her career really about to come to a screeching end for taking a few weeks off? Even Mia Hamm took a season off from soccer as a child because she was burned out, and it worked out OK for her.

We cannot allow the Fear Of Missing Out to be the primary driving force in youth sports. We cannot let the small percentage of charlatans in the coaching, camp and sports facility world continue to manipulate us with fear, and convince us we are bad parents if we don't go to every event, play year round, or get in front of college scouts in middle school. If your child has the talent, drive, and love of the game, he or she will play long enough and hard enough to get noticed. The only thing for certain is that all kids who quit or have career-ending injuries before high school do not play in college!

Please, everyone, take a deep breath and let's reclaim sports for our kids. Let's ignore the FOMO. Ask your kids what they want, and support the things they are passionate about. If they want to do certain things, and they are within the realities of your family budget and time, by all means, try to make them happen. But if your child looks at you and says "I really want some time off, I really want to take a break from soccer," then let him do it. Let her be with her friends.

Don't let the Fear Of Missing Out in youth sports be the cause of your child missing out on his or her childhood. That would be the greatest tragedy of all.


Upcoming Speaking Events: (email to learn how to host one on your community. We are now booking Summer and Fall 2017 events, so if you are interested please get in touch)

March 14-15: Massachusetts Rec and Parks Association (John)

March 16-20: TOVO Academy Coaching Course, Barcelona, Spain (John)

April 6: Live Active Summit, Edmonton, AB (Glen)

April 7: Edmonton Youth Lacrosse, AB (Glen)

April 8-9: Calgary Youth Lacrosse, AB (Glen)

April 11: Highland (IL) Parks and Recreation District (John)

April 20-21: City of Midland (TX) Aquatics (Reed)

We hate to see you go, but if you no longer want to receive these emails, please let us know why so we can serve you better next time. You can go to the link below to stop all emails. 

Changing the Game Project 61662 Thunder Rd. Bend, Oregon 97702 United States (541) 977-5494

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fwd: For what it's worth . . .

From: John H

Ian Welsh

The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Arctic Permafrost defrosting And the Age of War and Revolution

2017 March 10 | Ian Welsh


For well over a decade I have written that we are past the point of no return on climate change.  My reasoning was that hothouse gasses already in the atmosphere or which were for sure going to enter the atmosphere given our lack of action, were enough to trigger massive carbon and methane releases.

Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon…

We've seen that methane, which accounts for only 14 percent of emissions worldwide, traps up to 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 5-year period. This means that even though carbon dioxide molecules outnumber methane 5 to 1, this comparatively smaller amount of methane is still 19 times greater a problem for climate change over a 5 year period, and 4 times greater over a 100 year period.

It is even more potent in the short run.  Meanwhile, the arctic circle was about 30 degrees warmer this year than normal, and permafrost is un-perma-ing.

Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers.  A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama…

…Similar large-scale landscape changes are evident across the Arctic including in Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia

There is no way we are avoiding near worst case scenarios for climate change without aggressive geo-engineering (completely unproven, and requires political willpower).  We will see temperature increases in some parts of the world which are currently highly populated make those places uninhabitable outside of air conditioning.  We will see changes in rainfall patterns which will cause large areas which are currently agricultural powerhouses to fail; an effect which will be compounded by the fact that we have vastly drained and polluted our groundwater in prime agricultural areas.

Later on we will see vast rises in the ocean level.  Virtually every city sitting on the seashore today will be gone in a hundred years, some a lot sooner.

This stuff is baked into the cake.  It is essentially unavoidable.  It has been effectively, politically, unavoidable for quite some time now.

Do not expect political, economic and social arrangements you favor to survive this.  The waves of refugees will be magnitudes larger than those currently shaking the Middle East and Europe.  There will be water wars; people will not sit still while they are dying, they will fight.  Some of those wars will involve, at the least, the use of tactical nukes.

Capitalism, Democracy, the Chinese Communist Party, etc. … any system and group of people who can reasonably be blamed for this, will likely be on the block.  When hundreds of millions to billions start dying, they will not go easy into that long dark night, no, they and those they leave behind will look for people and ideologies and organizations to blame, and they will find them in plenty, because everyone and everything in power has failed to prevent an entirely foreseeable and largely preventable disaster.

Our failure will not be considered acceptable to those who pay the bill, and our "capitalism" and "democracy" and "corporations" and "free trade" and everything else you can think of will be on the block, liable for destruction.

This is coming on faster than many expected.  Added to ecosphere collapse, the current cyclical capitalist sclerosis, and vast arsenals, it is going to be immensely damaging.

If you aren't old, or sick, you're going to suffer some of this.  If you're young, you're going to suffer a lot of this, assuming you aren't an early casualty.

So it is.  So it shall be.  We were warned, we chose not to act, because corporations needed profits or something.

So be it.


Fwd: The fruits of hubris

From: John H

Attached are two articles from Consortium News that are tangentially related but should each get your attention in a very visceral way.  The first is particularly chilling in that it describes a peculiar state of mind, which is apparently spreading through the defense department, in which senior military and political officials are convincing themselves that it is conceivable that the US could 'win' a nuclear war with Russia if we strike first.  More importantly, there is at least the suggestion that the sooner such an action can be taken the greater the likelihood of success.  This is clearly an insane premise.  Unfortunately, the second post, written by ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke, describing in some detail Steve Bannon's worldview makes the premise of the first article much more likely.
I have to say that one, of the many, reasons I opposed Hillary's ascension to the presidency was her long-standing antipathy toward Vladimir Putin and Russia, along with her almost constant willingness to have the US engage in senseless wars all around the world.  Trump at least offered the case that he believed this to be foolhardy; and, while I was not in any way a Trump supporter, this at least seemed a more rational worldview.  Now we know that a Bannon-inspired Trump is no less a risk to the survival of the world than neocon-inspired Hillary.  Trump, on the other hand, has always been a greater threat to the social structure of the nation even though Clinton was no bargain herself.



  1. Dreams of 'Winning" Nuclear War on Russia, PDF
  2. Steve Bannon's Apocalyptic Unravelling, PDF 

Fwd: Pittsburgh Public Schools Update - March 2017


Dear Mark,

We are pleased and honored to be named one of the nation's first-ever 'Great Districts for Great Teachers.' We join just seven other districts chosen for this distinction based on the excellence of our system in developing, valuing, and supporting our best teachers. The award affirms how our teachers, principals, administrators, and other members of our district family have collaborated on effective policies and practices that make our district a great place for great teachers to work.
The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has created this award to recognize and celebrate the districts doing the most to attract, support, and keep great teachers. NCTQ is a national nonprofit organization committed to modernizing the teaching profession so that all children have effective teachers and every teacher gains the opportunity to become effective.
NCTQ designed the Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative using its extensive experience analyzing district policies and teacher issues. It created the initiative's categories and criteria with the assistance of veteran teachers and key school administrators.
Unlike other accolades, this is not based on test scores. Instead, it recognizes that our teachers say PPS is a great place in which to work, that we listen to teachers' concerns, and that we go the extra mile to help teachers become better.

We became a Great District for Great Teachers after a careful evaluation. As part of a rigorous 18-month process, we provided NCTQ's analysts with extensive materials and answers to over 100 questions. They conducted surveys and focus groups with over 300 teachers to learn their private opinions about PPS and how we treat teachers. They compared our policies to what research has proven helps teachers the most -- compensation, professional support, effective management and operations, career and leadership opportunities, and support services for students. 

This recognition would not have been possible without the leadership of former superintendents Mark Roosevelt and Dr. Linda Lane, and the collaboration they built with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, more than seven years ago, to transform our teacher growth and evaluation system.  
We hope we can help lead the way for other districts in the same way that our great teachers have become inspiring role models and leaders for the entire teaching profession.  
This is the first year the National Council on Teacher Quality has named Great Districts for Great Teachers. More details about the program can be found at 
Dr. Anthony Hamlet
Superintendent, Pittsburgh Public Schools

On a recent visit to Pittsburgh Brashear High School, I had the opportunity to hear from students regarding the positive impact the school's new STEAM program is having on their learning.  

Code of Student Conduct Community Forums

As part of the process for updating the District's Code of Student Conduct, we will host three community forums.  The Code of Student Conduct outlines the expectations for student behavior in school, at school sponsored activities and on District transportation.  We want to capture broad input from parents, students, staff, and community as we work to foster positive school-wide cultures and climates in all of our schools and accelerate approaches to discipline that are progressive and restorative. Help inform our recommendations to the Board of Directors in April by sharing your voice at an upcoming community forum.

Miller African Drums
School Spotlight
Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5

Take a look inside Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5. Nestled in the historic Hill District, Pittsburgh Miller is the only African-Centered Academy in the city of Pittsburgh.  Watch this video to learn more.

PPS in the News
Hamlet hears from the community 
New Pittsburgh Courier - March 1, 2017 

Just because Pittsburgh Superintendent of Schools Anthony Hamlet has already held multiple meetings with parents, education advocates and stakeholders from across the city and incorporated the feedback into the district's visioning, it doesn't mean he's stopped listening. 

During a recent forum in Homewood, Hamlet said he will continue to gather community input for as long as he is superintendent.

"I've said this before. I want this to be my first and last Superintendency," he said. "I want to be here 10-15 years because you can't create consistency if every two or three years there's someone new in charge."


PPS Student to Watch!
Natalia Hajlasz Named Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist 
Join us in wishing Pittsburgh Allderdice student Natalia Hajlasz well as she heads to Washington, D.C. this week to undergo a rigorous judging process as part of the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.  Natalia and 39 other finalists were selected based on the scientific rigor and world-changing potential of their research projects.
Natalia's project models the molecular dissociation of magnesium and water.  This work helps scientists better understand protein folding and DNA interactions.
Natalia will receive at least $25,000 from the Regeneron Science Talent Search for being named a finalist, upon completion of finals week.  She previously received $2,000 for being named a scholar. Pittsburgh Allderdice also received $2,000 for Natalia's achievement. 
This year's finalists will compete for more than $1.8 million in top awards - more than half of the Regeneron Science Talent Search total annual award distribution of $3.1 million. The top 10 awards range from $40,000 to $250,000 for the first-place winner. Winners will be announced at a formal awards gala at the National Building Museum on March 14.

High School Training for Emergency Services Careers 

With the cost of college so high, there have been conversations about adding more vocational training in high schools. The Pittsburgh Public School District is doing that with a new program that began this school year.

The "Emergency Response Technology" program trains high school students to be police officers, firefighters and EMT's, or emergency medical technicians. This program is in its first year and is already getting huge support from the c
ommunity, businesses and the students.

Five-Year Strategic Plan Update 
Community Schools Steering Committee Presents Phased, Tiered Plan to Board.
District representatives from the 26-member Community Schools Steering Committee shared its report and timeline for establishing community schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, using a national best-practices model. Under a phased approach to implementing community schools, PPS will invest in all schools to increase holistic support for all students.   Learn more.
Dr. Anthony Hamlet, Superintendent
341 South Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh PA
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"Instruction ends in the school-room, but education ends only with life."

- Frederick W. Robertson
Pittsburgh Public Schools, 341 South Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213