Wednesday, August 31, 2005

2007 Pan Am Games

The sports to be included in the 2007 Pan Am Games include: men's indoor football, bowling, water skiing, skating (artistic and speed), and karate.

My first question: Why not women's indoor football as well?

And bowling would be fun -- if it was of all the types and styles. There are many types of bowling games played around the world. Wouldn't it be fun to have a decathalon of sorts with each of the games? There is 10-pin, duck-pin, candlestick, and some other games that I don't even know the names of.

We went to a bowling and sports facility in the Prague and saw a weird to us bowling game. There were three balls per frame. The funky shirt / uniforms were the same, but with a few more logos. I tried to trade for a bowling shirt was without any valued goods myself at that instance.

Now the quiz questions:

What city is to host the 2007 Pan Am Games?

When and where did I get to go to the Pan Am Games? has an interesting site

A search for "Rauterkus" at turn up these hits: 5/17/2005 Search Rank: 936
Mark Rauterkus: Libertarian candidate for PA Senate in the Special Election, releases regional regrets. 4/1/2005 Search Rank: 304
Rauterkus: Open letter to residents of Western Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Archives) 5/1/2005 Search Rank: 152
Post-Gazette endorses Fontana for 42nd state Senate District, says he's a better fit than opponents Diven and Rauterkus. 4/15/2005 Search Rank: 152
Mark Rauterkus, candidate for PA Senate: Tax Day, April 15. Going from BAD to WORSE.

The Associated Press 3/31/2004 Search Rank: 123
Parents, nonprofits stepping in to keep Pittsburgh facilities open while officials debate funding.

Tribune-Review 5/1/2005 Search Rank: 101
42nd District state Senate election expected to set spending record. The showdown pits Rep. Diven, a Democrat-turned-Republican, against Democrat Fontana and Libertarian Rauterkus. From Saturday's edition.

The Associated Press 5/18/2005 Search Rank: 72
AP: Democrats hold onto both of two state Senate seats that were up for grabs in special elections Tuesday.

The Associated Press 5/16/2005 Search Rank: 57
Mayors' troubles draw crowded races in Erie, Pittsburgh and Allentown.

The Associated Press 5/16/2005 Search Rank: 48
AP: Election action in Tuesday's primary mainly local.

The Associated Press 3/25/2004 Search Rank: 48
Parents worry free summer meals another casualty of Pittsburgh's debt.

The links won't work, above, as the terms of the service are very restrictive. One can get a trial subscription for a few days at the site. Let me know what you think.

I'm far more impressed with an open-source approach as with the WIKI concepts. So, I'm not too excited to subscribe and see content that I can't link to and quote with liberal context and fair use understandings.

I've got more to explore there. Pointers and insights welcomed.

Superior writting contest rules and endeavor

This writting contest endeavor is a work of beauty in its construction and purpose.
It's an attempt to increase the story output on Wikinews across all languages, inspired by the English writing contest in April. The basic idea is simple: Each contestant needs to write a story a day, or use a joker if available. When one fails to write a story within 24 hours, and runs out of jokers, one drops out of the contest. The last three persons to remain in the contest will be the winners.

Prizes, judges from each language, and contestants are needed. The hope is to start on September 1, 2005.

This would be a great first day of school activity for a college communication class or a high school engligh, media, journalism class. Or, spring this to a reading circle for adults or a group in a congregation. See if you and a buddy can have a mini-contest among yourselves within the larger contest.

Breakdowns among the scope of issues: Global, International, Federal, Regional, State, Local

All politics is local, some might say.

Others might feel that everything is about "self-interest."

I don't have a HARD LINE rule of engagement for myself. Principles apply, of course. But I try to never say never. For the most part, the bulk of my attention goes to local (family, neighborhood, city, state) matters. Sometimes I raise an international comment or mention about the war -- but those are more rare.

Among my party, there is a discussion brewing about dealing or not dealing with national issues. Talking about the war in Iraq takes away from getting people on the ballot for state-wide office and fixing the more local property tax messes.

As a guiding goal, I strive to be open-minded, prudent and effective. There are zillions of instances when I lurk, stay aware, ask questions, and allow for time to figure and ponder among peers who agree and argue. Going with the flow is fine when there is hope of educational value. I might go to a rally or picket and won't hold any sign, but mingle so as to ask questions, gather perspectives, and dig for knowledge details and personal lessons.

I don't generally blog about the war, but I do visit blogs about the war.

People also understand and want to hire (i.e., elect) local leaders with the understanding that these people often change jobs and springboard to other roles. A city councilman becomes a state senator who runs for Lt. Gov and wins a state audior general position -- like Jack Wagner, PA's Auditor General. Not that everyone needs to run for every higher office -- but the future is always rolling along. So, people don't want to elect a local official who is small-brained, cosmetic on litter patrol for his or her ward and can't see the big picture in life nor in politics.

This hiring trend with voter mindset is both a curse and a blessing. I can't defend it but do understand. For instance, we might find a great candidate for "dog catcher" who would be splendid in that role but would stink at the art of crafting legislation. If great "dog catchers" would only aspire to the dog-catcher hall-of-fame, we'd be set. But, too often we see good dog-catchers running for other offices.

Mark C, a freelance running mate of sorts, wrote this letter to the editor (not yet published):
Lt. Governor Knoll's attendance at a local serviceman's funeral ignited a storm of controversy. Family privacy, the Iraq War, patriotism, political attacks and backpedaling, and political strategies were thoroughly reported in the Pgh City Paper ("The Crass-y Knoll", John McIntire, 8/3/2005). One compelling aspect, however, escaped detection.

Knoll allegedly said that the Rendell administration opposed the Iraq War. It's not my intension to debate this she-said vs. family-heard question.

Instead, imagine if state governments routinely showed a libertarian streak and issued formal, stated positions in direct opposition to imposed federal policies. Consider state opposition to:

** The Patriot Act.
** The surveillance state.
** Out-of-control federal spending.
** Federal laws regulating firearms.
** Federal laws regulating marijuana.
** Mandatory emissions inspections.
** The Endangered Species Act.
** The income tax, its compliance and the IRS.

The above list is a fraction of the growing federal intrusions into state operations and into the lives of citizens.

Maybe it is time to reject Rendell, Knoll and their Republican counterparts who either welcome the power that comes with these intrusions or can only whisper their opposition when masked by sobbing at funerals.

Mark Crowley, Plum

I value state rights. I would like to see more open discussions. I would like to see clear distinctions among candidates among various offices. I think Mark C is on the mark with this trend.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mark R of Pgh Public Schools -- visits in our future

The Urban League of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with A+ Schools, Greater Pittsburgh Alliance of Black School Educators, Leadership Pittsburgh, NEED (Negro Education Emergency Drive), New Pittsburgh Courier, Pre-college Component for the School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Chapter Links, Inc., WQED Multimedia, YMCA of Pittsburgh, and YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh present the ACHIEVEMENT MATTERS COMMUNITY FORUM featuring MARK ROOSEVELT, New Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools at 5 pm on Thursday, September 15, 2005 at Schenley High School, 4101 Bigelow Boulevard.

Parents, School Personnel, Business and Civic Leaders and the community at lartge is invited.

Program notes:

Introduction by Henry M. Thomas, III, President and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Thomas is a professional associate and friend of Mark Roosevelt. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education.

Question and answer with Mark Roosevelt, led by Esther L. Bush, President and CEO of the Urban League of Pittsburgh.

We expect to see the new Mark R at our neighborhood school tomorrow as part of a mini-open house to kick off the new school year. The first day of school for Pgh Public Schools for grades 1 to 12 is on Thursday. Grade K starts a week later.

Cookie Cruise with Bobby O

I went on the annual Bob O'Connor Cookie Cruise. Saw lots of people. Talked lots of politics. Had a great time.

Sadly, John M, the D.J., wouldn't play my requested song. He said, "No way." Jeepers. I felt that the song by Johnsmith, Don't Put Me In a Box, was fitting for both Bob and myself. It covers: Irish, Catholic, big family, grew up in the heartland, and all the colors of the rainbow too.

In other news, a number of candidates for the soon to be open seat for City Council District 3 were present as well. I count myself in that mix too.

Didn't see many other bloggers. But that might be par for the audience. A video crew or two were getting candid interviews.

The $25 donation was worth it. And, I stayed away from the hotdogs and cookies too!

And, the clincher: Bob O'Connor told me personally that he'll fix Pittsburgh once he's in office. So there. Guess I can rest my fears now.

Getting back to school means the return of music lessons too.

Tune up with the instruments too!

We had a good summer with music -- on our own. The teaching begins next week, as school schedules return.

Music lessons resume at the PMA (Pittsburgh Music Academy) on Tuesday with Jennifer. The PMA got three foot of water last year -- as it is in Carnegie.

Meanwhile, the Pgh Ballet is not doing the right things by holding its season with recorded music. We won't be going to the ballet anytime soon. Nor are they getting our donations. And we did go and did support them with modest cash gifts. Expect some pickets this fall as well -- from me! Posted by Picasa

Flash Quiz: Chickens

One of these chickens is not like the other. Which one and why? Posted by Picasa

These creatures are named Mable (white), Hurricane (black and white) and Violet (brown). They are the pets of my sister and her children in Quakertown.

We got to visit them before and after as we drove to New England on a weeklong trip.

Hint: The distinction for the one came as we traveled.

Finally, this posting is dedicated to all those "cat bloggers" among the reaches of the internet. Cat blogging has become popular. They won't be able to hold a candle to chicken posts.

Road Trip; Ohio Linux Fest, Oct. 1.

Ohio LinuxFest continues to grow and its 3rd event is slated for Oct. 1, 2005. Drawing from Ohio, the surrounding states, and Canada, the event has moved to the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Pittsburgh should have a YOUTH TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT -- and that event could be one of the biggest in the city every year. However, we've got candidates for mayor who might not be able to spell email.

And in the tech front, we have a push to make one organizer try to organize the tech organizations. One voice advocates are pin heads, in my book.
Bits & Bytes: Umbrella for tech groups gets less-than-warm reception Umbrella for tech groups gets less-than-warm reception

Made for Hollywood sports saga - Former Russian Olympic official, mob, fixed 2002 gold medal --> shot and killed

Most of the time, the real world provides all the drama we need in life. Here is a true story that has HOLLYWOOD movie written all over it. - Olympics - Former Russian Olympic official shot and killed - Tuesday August 30, 2005 2:09PM Former Russian sports official gunned down

MOSCOW (AP) -- A former Russian sports official allegedly linked to the fixing of figure skating results at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City has been shot and killed, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Tuesday, citing police officials.
Chevalier Nusuyev, former president of the Russian youth sports federation, was shot late Monday as he left his office in southwest Moscow and died shortly after being taken to a hospital, the report said. The unidentified gunman escaped by car.

Moscow police did not immediately confirm the killing. Nusuyev was allegedly linked to reputed Russian mobster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who in 2003 escaped extradition from Italy to the United States on charges of fixing the figure skating results.
Tokhtakhounov spent nearly a year in a Venice, Italy, prison until June 2003 on U.S. charges that he helped secure a gold medal

There is more.... Mob, etc.

The next winter games are to be held in Italy too.

Scoop: A "Green Mayor" in the 'Burg' is Demanded!

Sadly, this read is published in New Zealand, not Pittsburgh. And, that "demand" seems more like a "prayer" and less of a urgent need that is strongly requested.
Scoop: A Green Mayor in the 'Burg' is Demanded!: "A �Green Mayor� in the 'Burg' is Demanded!
Opinion: United States Green Party

By Ceci Wheeler, Green Party
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

If readers are not acquainted with the Green Party of America it is because a national two-party structure has managed to block its existence from the time it was born in the United States, 15 years ago.

The Green Party, the party of the issues, presents to its new recruites with its 10-key values which dominates its national platform. These values are based on the needs of all the American people, specifically the poor and the working classes.

I've always understood that I'd get press (both as a candidate and with other endeavors) from other outlets, other than those in the city, well before it would come from the established press here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

SuperDome leaks. Isn't Heinz Field with the same feature?

When is the next ballgame slated for The Super Dome?

Doesn't Heinz Field leak when it rains too?

How many people could bunk down at Heinz Field in the time of a major community crisis?

And, what about numbers for those other larger community facilities?

Fresh Laundry

Panhandling laws beg lawsuit

"Why, oh, why" comes to light in this post, again.

Think again.

Downtown's "economic vitality" is the reason given for expanding laws and shrinking freedoms under the concepts of new panhandling laws.

Some must think that downtown's economic vitality hinges upon the down-and-out who are homeless.

The Downtown Partnership has been gathering its forces, plus the mayor and city council so as to leverage "partnerships" and gang-up upon the homeless folks.

I think of the playground order: "Pick on someone your own size."

City's panhandling limits beg lawsuit - Civil rights advocates are warning that Pittsburgh's attempt to give the bum's rush to Downtown panhandlers could land the city in the same losing free-speech fight that has doomed anti-begging ordinances across the country.

In the name of economic prosperity, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is asking the city to limit when and where people can beg for money. Of particular concern are scraggly, unwashed homeless people who approach customers outside stores, restaurants and ATM machines. The partnership's proposal would outlaw begging at night and soliciting people as they enter many businesses.

Simply put: The keys to the revitalization of downtown's economic development don't rest with the homeless. Furthermore, those (i.e., PDP) that what to drive our partnerships on that pathway are not well suited for Pittsburgh's solutions.

Perhaps the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnerships is failing at its core mission of building partnerships and vitality.

SEA bills, debt and gambles miss. Place a better bet with a better direction. Sell the Convention Ctr as the Gambling Hall.

Tell me why! Why can't we kill off the debt of the SEA (stadium and exibition authority) by selling the Convention Center building as a stipulation of the new casino's opening.
SEA seeks help for center's bills - The city-county authority had counted on the slots money to cover operating losses at the convention center, to pay off debt from its construction and to repay a 2004 loan taken out to cover earlier losses at the convention center. The state has allocated one slots-casino license for Pittsburgh, but such a facility is at least a year away from opening.

These guys are doing it all wrong. They are barking up the wrong tree with the wrong tune.

The time is right for the debt to go away. To get rid of the debt, get rid of its source. Then everyone wins.

In perpetuity --- phoey!

Mayor Murphy and the others who have been at the helm of the city have put us into a deep, deep hole. Years will pass before the city is able to lift itself. Hope is measured in decades as the debt is a "long-term obligation." Hence, the notion of a deal set by them that goes forever is no kind of deal at all.

The last deal that was cut, at the state level, is with the letting of the $50-million gambling casinos. That deal NEVER expires. That blunder is something I tried to prevent.

To sunset deals and legislation is generally wise.

To trust those who have broken the city to fix it -- in perpetuity -- is foolish at best.
City council wants more from nonprofits - Council President Gene Ricciardi wants to make the charities' donations to the city a very long-term obligation.

'I believe it should be in perpetuity,' Ricciardi said. 'It should not expire in three years. If the nonprofits don't agree to that, then we need to go in another direction.'

New York's Power headed to South Central

We were charged on the highway today as we passed a convoy of eight cherry pickers from New York State headed south and west in Central Pennsylvania. They had EDISON Power logos on the doors and were chugging at moderate speeds (aprox 50 mph).

I told my sons to wave and give them a big salutes and thumbs up signs.

We are sure the men and machines with ample tools, road snacks and long-lists of jobs yet to do were headed to cover some of those in need in the wake of the storm.

Our prayers go out to them and they're families at home. Safe travels. Thanks for being so generous with your skills, energy and capacities.

OpenOffice.Org releases public beta 2

The second public beta release of 2.0 is now available for download, and techies everywhere should go get it. This beta release allows a broad user base to test and evaluate the next major version of, but is not recommended for production deployment at this stage.

I hope to press CDs with this program, and its source code, for handouts in the weeks to come.
This second public beta release is the result of many months' work
improving upon the first public beta announced in March, 2005. 2.0 introduces a new database module, implements the OASIS OpenDocument XML file format and a myriad of other new features and capabilities. The redesigned interface and enhanced document filters combine to make the application even more interoperable with other office suites and easier to use and learn, regardless of operating system. Conference - 2005 is slated for Koper - Capodistria,
Slovenia, from 28 to 30 September. is a fully featured open-source productivity suite available as a free download for major computing platforms in over 45 languages. Data is stored in an XML file format standardised for office documents by the international body OASIS. is developed, supported, and promoted by an international community of volunteers with its main sponsor and primary contributor being Sun Microsystems.

Soon to be held CMU events: College of Fine Arts

See the comments for full listings.

Carnegie Mellon's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Exhibition Animal Nature from August 26 - October 2, 2005, with opening reception September 2 from 5-8 p.m.

Cuarteto Latinoamericano concert at 7:30 pm on Thursday, September 22.

Philharmonic - Juan Pablo Izquierdo, Director of Orchestral Studies, conductor, September 28.

Drama Production of Lysistrata, the classic Greek “make love, not war” comedy, October 6 through October 15. See notes from Elizabeth Bradley, head of the School of Drama. "The notion that women, appalled by the cost of war, would rise together in protest to thwart aggression is an enormously .... "
BILL SEAMAN, lecture, 5 pm on September 6 to explore text, image and sound
through multiple technological forms, exploring the continuum between physical and virtual/media space. He holds a M.S. in Visual Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now heads the Digital Media Graduate Program at RISD.

And more.

Jerry's back

Jerry Bowyer promised you that he would be back on the Pittsburgh airwaves at the end of the summer, and he's true to his word!

Tune in this Thursday, September 1st at 3:00 pm to 101.5 WORD-FM. Jerry will do his show every weekday from 3-6 pm and looks forward to talking to his old friends on his new station.

Call the show and make Jerry feel at home at his new perch, as 412-921-TALK, (that is 412-921-8255.)

Cabela's -- Unreal.

What a store. Unreal. This one is in central PA near Rt. 78.  Posted by Picasa

This is a new development. Wonder what type of tax breaks were used?

The store is massive. Selection ranged from a trailer for six hunting dogs, log cabin for the hunting get-a-way, rods, guns, clothing and even flip-flops. The prices were okay. The selection is what is such an eye opener.

I guess one is a bit closer on Rt. 70 too.

While in Boston we went to REI and other fun rec shops.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Maine Street

We've been on our Maine visit. My two sons, 10 and 7, are now "surfers." They've been surfing, for real. I'm getting a burnt nose. And, the blog is idle, except for your comments.

Erik and Grant were both standing on the surf boards in the past two days. I was really proud of Grant for his last wipe-out, as he covered his head upon popping up for air. And, they're both good at it, too.

We're bunking down in Boston now -- and I guess we find ourselves in one of those 'hip' cities that Pittsburgh shouldn't try to become. See the comments for a new Allegh Institute report.

We'll hit a local UU Church on Sunday, Lexington and Concord tour and perhaps as side trips. Perhaps we'll bump into Dave Copeland there. :)

Twins are our in future. Not ours -- more family visits. We didn't snag Stones nor Sox tickets, but have tuned into many of the games. So, we're not too, too "hip."

Disclaimer: As always, we have house sitters watching our pets as we are on the road. Nuff said.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Summer Swimming Season Sendoff

We gathered this evening, with wonderful weather, at the Green Tree Swim Pool to celebrate a splendid year of summer swimming.

Here is a photo of myself and my two sons at one of this summer's swim meets.

Bill Straw, the head coach at Keystone Oaks High School, took the photo. He was our assistant coach this year.

I've got a lot of photos to organize and post in the months to come. Perhaps I'll start a "flashback" series and slip photos into the blog.


This site just came to my attention. What do you think?


What are Voter-Verified Paper Ballots (V-VPBs)?

Hardware for the kids

Green Tree Great White Sharks had its swim picnic and gives each participant a trophy. The ones on the team for five years get a special award. Medals were earned at the All Star Meet and the Championship Meet. Posted by Picasa

Possible Casino Operators have been buying politicians for years.

The Post Gazette article on gambling money that flows to political candidates is a nice summary.
Gambling interests leave nothing to chance Groups and individuals with an interest in securing a state license for a slot machine casino in Pittsburgh have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaigns of key state and local politicians during the past four years, with $137,550 coming after the gambling law was passed in 2004.

Gov. Ed Rendell has received $147,688 since 2002 from members of the development family that owns Station Square, a potential casino site. Since the gambling law was passed, he also has returned $15,000 from a license candidate.

He and other politicians who have received contributions from potential applicants say the donations will have no impact on who gets the lucrative license, which will be awarded by a state board appointed by Rendell and top legislative leaders.

The soft money is another major concern of mine. Untold millions have been put into various lobby interests and party interests too.

The state legislature has its own slush funds for the control of state-money, but there are other funds controlled by party that are for election efforts too. Real power comes as the various funds form a combination 1-2-3 punch. And on the bench sits a pipeline of addtional players who poised and perhaps poisoned with ambitions more giving to insure their sweetheart deals.

Some candidates have money. Some candidates have little. A great majority of candidates that have money did NOT get that money from the "support" of regular people who want "good government." Don't fool yourself. Most of the money came from people who want to buy off part of the system for their own benefit.

I am proud to say that I ran a campaign for state senate and was out spent 500-to-one by EACH of my opponents. Those guys spent money because the GAMBLING INTERESTS had given them money.

Goofy example: Gov. Rendell's money went to candidate Fontana, D, to be used to broadcast the message that candidate Diven, once a D now a R, voted for Gov Rendell's (D) budgets in the past.

The system doesn't make sense. And the scorecard used by the media to judge if a candidate is viable is not only worthless, it's harmful.

In 2005, I got 2,542 votes and raised $3,400. That means each vote cost about $1.33. In 2001 as a GOP candidate for Mayor, I got votes at $.60 each.

Meanwhile, in 2001 the big-boy Dems who ran for mayor got votes for $30 each. And in 2005, both of my state senate opponents raised nearly $1-million and got less than 20,000 votes for the victor and some 35,000 combined. They are in the range of $60 spent per vote, on average.

Reporters with newspapers and media should tell the public how much money the candidates need to spend to score a vote. What I'm talking about here is all election data that needs to be reported with different benchmarks. These numbers are easy to find and calculate.

Consider the other sums of cash that are spent in other ways from the operations of our governmental entities. Proclamations are given. Corporate welfare is given. Contracts are let without bids. So on and so forth.

Candidates who need to raise more than $10 a vote are not worthy to serve in public office.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Jerry Bowyer on Black and White Employment

BuzzCharts: Jerry Bowyer on Black and White Employment on NRO Financial The current black unemployment rate is at its lowest point since the recession year of 2001. Black unemployment is also lower than the average for the Clinton years.

I don't know the scope of those numbers. I image that they are nation-wide.

I wonder if the numbers for locals or for our region hold to the same outcomes?

At the end of the article, the author states "that African-American citizens tend to be closer to the Republican party on moral and cultural issues, but that they have been persuaded that Republican economics are detrimental to their interests." I'll not bicker with that statement. However, I'm not sure what Republican party he is speaking of. Some of the Republicans are heavy spenders. Gov. Ridge grew the government in PA while in office. The state house and state senate are controlled by Republicans and the budget and taxes are increasing too.

"... It could be game over for the Democrats."

Wishful thinking is always welcomed. Same too with educated thinking.

However, I don't expect to see a big outward migration of African-American voters away from the "D" and to the "R" side. That move is just too hard to make. Going from "BLUE" (i.e., blue state = Democratic Party) to "RED" is a massive jump. And, to get a massive amount of voters within a block to make that jump is a massive pipedream.

However, going away from "BLUE" and landing in a "middle ground" -- but not all the way to "RED" is a different saga and offers different outlooks. I think it is possible to get a large number of black-urban-northeast voters to leave the Democratic party. A major exodus is possible, should the right motivations be presented with gusto and reason. This is would be a major blow to the "new-deal alliance" that Bowyer mentioned.

But, I don't see massive number of people doing a switch like that of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin, a Star Wars character, went from Jedi to the dark side. Going from D to R is a massive shift that some can make -- but most won't. Sorry. That notion is just too radical, too bold, too much. Human nature and some issues about the present day Republicans are such that there won't be a massive parade of individuals joining the ranks of the GOP -- even if unemployment was set to zero.

A middle ground is needed.

I don't think that there are two sides. Even a coin has three sides: heads, tails and the edge. One can roll a coin or spin a coin on its edge better than if it is flat on heads or tails.

My political registration when away from "R" and I could not become a "D" -- because the top Democrat in Pittsburgh is Tom Murphy. I can't be in a party lead by Tom Murphy. The Ds have killed our city in many ways, politically.

I've found a home in a party that isn't "RED" nor "BLUE." It is more of a middle ground. It was an easy transition. It is well suited for me -- being a Libertarian.

Some Ds might become Libertarians. Some might be more at home in the Green Party. Some as Socialist Party Members. Some are okay to reject all parties and be an INDIE.

I think that the smartest Republicans can see the value in the exodus from the ranks of the Ds. But, insightful Rs can't expect the former Ds to join the Rs.

If Republicans worked to make ballot access, debate inclusion, and other political hurdles of free assocation easier to navigate, as expressed in the Constitution, then we all win.

Breakfast meeting with Mike T as a speaker.

Roges meet at the H.Inn near S.H. Village. That's State Rep, M.T., from the North Hills. He has family ties to the USC area. Posted by Picasa

Understanding the New Markets Tax Credit Program and Its Importance to the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Region

Hold onto your wallets. Here is the latest ploy. If some running mates want to go -- take good notes and report back to us all, please.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
8:00 a.m. until Noon
Buchanan Ingersoll PC, One Oxford Centre - 20th Floor, 301 Grant Street, Pittsburgh

Hosted by Congressman Mike Doyle, Allegheny County Councilman Dave Fawcett and the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area NMTC Community Development Fund Corporation invite you to attend a presentation on the New Markets Tax Credit ("NMTC") Program.

The NMTC Program has the potential to create both community development and financial rewards in Western Pennsylvania. Western Pennsylvania has been virtually ignored during the first three years of the NMTC Program. Congressman Doyle, County Council Member Fawcett, and the Corporation have taken the lead in an effort to change this and allow Western Pennsylvania to reap the benefits of the NMTC Program.

As a result, the presentation has been organized as a means of involving those persons whose professional and personal commitments lie in the community development area in support of an application for an award of tax credits under the NMTC Program that will be used solely for projects in Western Pennsylvania.

Prior to the presentation, program organizers encourage you to think of programs and projects within the scope of your organization's activities that are located in "low-income communities" and come to the meeting prepared to discuss the programs and projects and whether they qualify for the NMTC Program. Likewise, it would be helpful if would think about providing a commitment from your organization to support the Corporation's application under the NMTC Program. Your help will be of significant assistance to the Corporation in preparing a strong application for an allocation of NMTCs and increase its chances of success.

There is no charge for the presentation. Seating is limited.

Please RSVP at (412) 562-8437 or If you have any questions in advance of the presentation, please call John Previs at (412) 562-8957 or

Operation Clean Sweep askes: What to do about Judge CAPPY?

The Harrisburg Patriot News and concerned citizens groups are calling
on the Judicial Conduct Board to investigate Chief Justice Cappy's role in the recent pay grab by the Pennsylvania legislators.

It was recently discovered that Cappy met secretly with legislators. Cappy and all justices and judges also received a pay raise in the legislation. Following passage, Cappy publicly released a letter praising the "courage" of the legislators.

Cappy's problem stems from Articles 2 and 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which prohibits a judge from engaging in "political activity" and engaging in conduct that creates an "appearance of impropriety." Many believe lobbying legislators in secret is "political activity" and voicing approval of the legislators in a case that is sure to get to the Supreme Court creates an "appearance of impropriety."

OCS asks its members to join in on the call for an investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board by emailing a complaint to Let's keep the pot boiling!

Cornell: Conference on Language and Poverty in October, 2005

See the comments for details.

Software Freedom Day, Sept. 10, 2005. Coordinate or blab about your event(s) here

I'm a software guy, not a hardware guy. The mind leads and the body follows, in my humble opinion. With the tech world, the software represents the brains while the physical computer is more like the skin, bone and muscle. Our technology needs in the fast changing world are often met and best understood with software solutions.

The software decisions facing people, government, schools and businesses present an opportunity to choose among either "proprietary software" or "Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)."

My strong Information Technology stance is choose in favor of FOSS. When we choose to discover, investigate, install, deploy, network, promote and develop in the realm of open-source software efforts, we choose a kind of software that allows the users to view and adapt the source code and in turn, suit one's own needs. Open Source Software is real empowerment. And, it is a real community effort. In turn the public good is advanced.

A vast majority of Free and Open Source Software comes without charge, gratis. The open-source licenses put the utilities out and available or free, which means elininates software license fees. Open Source tools make technology accessible and affordable to small business, researchers, political activists and even those in Africa.

The high cost of proprietary software is responsible for higher incidence of software piracy, locally and globally. A Business Software Alliance put software piracy in Nigeria around 84 per cent. Hence, ligitimate business among computer vendors in Nigeria becomes problematic. Moves to Free and Open Source software and operating systems can be an avenue to make for legitimate business.

The celebration of Software Freedom Day (SFD) encourages grassroot efforts to promote alternative solutions. More especially, SFD celebrates the freedom, innovation and education FOSS presents to the global community.

Thousands of SFD teams are holding a range of events and celebrations for these concerns. Linux User Groups (LUGs), seminars, public square discussions, Linux road shows, confluence shows, sports, and music avenues are all part of the wide scope of activities.

Software Freedom Day (SFD) celebrations are slated for September 10, 2006.

Fund gets $ from nonprofits for bailout of city (too little, too late, too fictional)

Dream on Mayor Murphy. The budget worked upon last year at this time called for this money for this year. Too late. This $5-million was to be here for 2005. The deal is just being cut at the end of August and won't go to city council until September.

Mayor Murphy is making a three year deal as a lame-duck that has around three months of time in the office. Mayor Murphy is out of here, but his ills are going to cripple the region for generations to come. He can't cut a good deal for the citizens.

The deal is cloaked in secrecy. What's up with that. The mayor signed a public document and the public needs to have the wool pulled over its eyes too. We need a pledge as well as the courage to be OPEN and HONEST.

The real insult to injury is the fact that Mayor Murphy pushed the non-profits to expand in the past 12 years. The Mayor's efforts helped put UPMC Sports Medicine onto the South Side Works so that the nonprofit could take valued riverfront property that was to be an extension of the existing neighborhood and new jobs with light-industrial and flex-office space and housing. No.

UPMC is a nonprofit that rents to the Steelers, a private, for-profit company that already got a millions in a public subsidy with the new stadium on the North Side.

Pitt got to move some of its football operations out of Oakland into land that should be fueling the economic future of the region.

Solutions to follow.
New fund makes city rely on charity of nonprofits - Mayor Tom Murphy signed a preliminary three-year agreement Aug. 5 with the newly formed Pittsburgh Public Service Fund, which makes few cash guarantees and is cloaked in secrecy.

The nonprofits are not stupid. And, the nonprofit leaders know that they can't trust Tom Murphy. Furthermore, they know that the deal that they are all signing isn't going to hold up come 2006. The entire saga is shameful. That is why they all insisted that it not see the light of day. The secrecy lessens the blush factor.

Solution: Establish a moratorium on nonprofit footprint expansion. Insist that all nonprofit growth be UPWARDS, out OUTWARDS. Growth needs to be with taller buildings, not rolling wide patches of land in neighborhoods.

A real inventory of nonprofit land is necessary. Then those benchmarks need to be shrunk. News : Pay-raise foes claim harassment

Read how the Republicans are playing hardball with Young Conservative group. News : Pay-raise foes claim harassment: "Pay-raise foes claim harassment
Say Senate operative sent to intimidate them

Friday, August 19, 2005

Final Design For Arena Unveiled

Those in glass houses should not toss stones. - News - Final Design For Downtown Arena Unveiled The final design for Kansas City's downtown arena was unveiled Thursday.

KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that it is a seven-story multipurpose arena that will take up almost 8.5 acres. The outside walls are made of glass.

I spanked the KC Royals of MLB's basement the other day. Now let's ponder the new arena design.

One of the most pressing issues that Pittsburgh faces is the loss of the Civic Arena. If Mario wants a new arena, fine. Let him build it. If Fast Eddie Rendell, PA Governor, wants to see the new arena, let that be his mistake. But -- don't rip down the Civic Arena just to build a new one.

KEEP the Civic Arena.

1 1 = 2 = net gain.

1 - 1 = 1 = NO GAIN, no progress, no brains.

We can use the existing Civic Arena for the circus, Elmo on Ice, Carrick's graduation, and monstor truck pulls where there is NO DEMAND FOR LUXERY BOXES.

In other matters, Pittsburgh's Great Glass Building, beyond the H.Q. of Inspector Gadgett's villan and office space, should be on Pittsburgh's North Side. The Steelers' stage should REALLY be more like a Glass Cathedral. It can't be this big, but Pittsburgh's need is for a 3,000 seat, multi-purpose venue for many situations. Ask me about this some time in person.

S6 possible speaker: Keith Osik

S6 is a concept calling for a sports lecture series. Former Pirate, now minor-leaguer, college coach, father, Keith Osik, could give a good podium talk, I imagine.
PG's Anderson covers Osik's move to put coaching on hold He thought about his family. When asked for advice, 8-year-old Tyler suggested his dad should turn down the minor-league contract. So Osik did.

Wanted: A YOUTH Technology Summit. - deadline for international contest, Sept. 18

Okay, if we take the new Pittsburgh Convention Center and turn it into the casino, there are still many places were we can put the called for YOUTH TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT: Civic Arena, Hilton Hotel, PNC Park, South Vo Tech High School, Greenway Middle School, etc.

World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) program is an international Internet
competition. Organized in the framework of the United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in partnership with the WSIS Youth Caucus, it is a program aimed at empowering youth by creating digital opportunity.

More info at:

WSYA Overview

Are you under 27 with a cool emerging project on the web? Are you a young designer, web developer, social entrepreneur, music producer or artist looking for international exposure? Are you passionate about using technology for social change? Enter now at and showcase your project to the world!

Sponsored by the Internet Society, the World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) is an international competition for youth-led projects that bridge the content gap in the emerging Information Society. It is the first global “youth for youth” initiative; promoting best practice in e-content and technological creativity and demonstrating young people’s potential to create digital opportunities. WSYA is not only a showcase to the world for young designers, technologists and e-content creators, it also contributes on a global scale to reducing poverty, protecting the environment, sharing knowledge and empowering marginalized young people. We invite all local and
national chapters of the Internet Society to promote WSYA and support this dynamic, youth-led initiative.

Online projects may be submitted by all applicants less than 27 years of age until September 18, 2005 (by midnight, GMT) in three e-Content categories:

*Development: Rewards the best online platform for youth centred around issues of poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, social justice, health or peace

*Creativity and Culture: Celebrates the most innovative online platform highlighting young people’s potential for producing creative content, promoting multilingualism, creating new contemporary forms of culture and preserving indigenous knowledge and/or traditional culture

*Community Engagement: Showcases the most engaging online platform facilitating young people’s participation in global, national or local decision-making processes and sharing news/ideas to empower youth and build community

World Summit Youth Award finalists and category winners will be selected by members of the WSYA Jury. Comprised of 8-12 global experts in youth engagement, new media and social entrepreneurship, their creative minds bring diversity of perspectives and know-how to the WSYA. Projects will be evaluated on the basis of five criteria

*Content: Quality, comprehensiveness and impact of content

*Design: Usability and aesthetic value of site and graphics

*Innovation & Creativity: Demonstration of significant originality and initiative.

*Interactivity: Level of engagement and action offered by to site users

*Sustainability: Level of project sustainability over time.

WSYA is organized within the framework of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society in partnership with the WSIS Youth Caucus. WSYA is sponsored by the Internet Society, Siemens AG and Logitech and is operating under the patronage of Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. The WSYA Coordination Team is headquartered at the International Center for New Media (ICNM), an independent non-profit organisation based in Salzburg, Austria.

Value TRIPLES in last week at Blogshares. Explain that!

This blog's value has soared in the past week to triple its former self. This value score seems to be hotter than the price of crude oil.

I know, it's all just a game and for fun. But why?

Can anyone explain the upclick?

Click the "blogshares" button on the left-hand side of this page to get to the proper page.

What's tireless, nearly 30-feet in length and lives for the trash on Pittsburgh's riverfronts -- engagement tonight!

No, the riddle's answer is not a parade of rats.

What’s 28 Feet Long and Eats Trash In the Waters Around Pittsburgh?

In 2003, PA CleanWays of Allegheny County, other non-profit groups, private sponsors and volunteers got together to create "The Tireless Project" to clean up tires and other debris in the rivers running through and around Pittsburgh.

Volunteers started by retrofitting a 28-foot pontoon boat for what they called “mild-duty river cleanup” and in the first year picked up over 32 tons of debris.

Last year, thanks to the support of the Sprout Fund, Tireless Fridays were instituted as a way to build the volunteer base and create awareness about riverfront blight.

The special initiative included five after-work volunteer opportunities throughout the summer organized at illegal dumpsites within or near the city center. Volunteers cleaned a blighted area and once the work was done remained at the site to celebrate their accomplishment of restoring the riverbank’s beauty with a waterfront party complete with food, entertainment, and of course tiki torches.

Over 140 volunteers came together to clean over 12.5 tons of trash and removed 185 tires from the shores of the three rivers. In addition, crews of youth volunteers from the Student Conservation Association and Venture Outdoors Summer Youth Programs assisted in cleaning litter from the South Side Waterfront Park and an illegal dump at Duck Hollow on the Monongahela River.

Two Tireless Fridays remain! The next event is August 19th at Duck Hollow from 4:30 p.m. to approximately 10 p.m. Musical performances are being offered by John Hayes and Frets & Feet (Daphne & Charlie Anderson).

"The Tireless Project" is a collaborative effort of PA CleanWays of Allegheny County and Three Rivers Rowing Association. Supporting partners include Venture Outdoors, Friends of the Riverfront, the Student Conservation Association and Pennsylvania American Water Company.

For more information, visit The Tireless Project webpage or to volunteer, email or call 412-381-1301.

Courtesy, Holston & Crisci

This sounds like a drip problem, not a spill.

The Dormont Pool was evacuated on Thursday due to a chemical spill. Hazardous materials crews were called to the scene when workers at the pool spotted a tank that appeared to be leaking hydrochloric acid. No injuries were reported, and the pool is expected to be open the next day.

Rogues meet on Saturday, Aug 20 at Holiday Inn Select near S.H. Village

Original source: Herb Ohliger, herb138 -at-
In Chester County (population 500,000), at least two head trauma patients have died during the one-hour ride to Lancaster General Hospital. There are no full time neurosurgeons and no trauma center left in Chester County.

In Titusville, just north of here, the last orthopedic surgeon left earlier this year. Across the state, OB/GYN’s have dropped obstetrics from their practice.

And at present, only 4% of the doctors in Pennsylvania are under the age of 35.

High costs of medical malpractice insurance (and also the high probability of being sued) are driving physicians out of the state or into early retirement.

In 2003, though, the state legislature passed a reform bill which has had a positive effect. The 1,815 medical malpractice suits filed in 2004 were a 34% drop from the 2,751 average of the years 2000 to 2002.

The state representative who spearheaded that bill, Mike Turzai introduced another malpractice reform bill in June of this year and is coming to the Rogues breakfast on Saturday, August 20 to tell us about it. And to tell us how we may be able to help get it passed.

Rogues meet at 9 am, Saturday, August 20, 2005 at The Holiday Inn on Fort Couch Road in Bethel Park. Cost is $13. Please RSVP by Friday the 19th to 412 279.1222 or email me so that I can get a count for the Holiday Inn. You may still attend (PLEASE) even if you don't RSVP.

Please pass the word to people you know and invite them to join us this Saturday. This should be an informative session.

Fixing Pennsylvania’s Unconstitutional Election Code

The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania is seeking sponsors for Pennsylvania Election Code legislation.

Several sections of the Pennsylvania Election Code (Title 25) have been deemed unconstitutional in federal court. States Ken Crippen, chair of the Legislative Action Committee of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, “The PEC needs to be updated according to judicial rulings. We cannot allow Pennsylvania statutes to contain sections that are unconstitutional.” The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania has thus drafted legislation that deals with three of the main topics at issue: filing fees, affiants for signature petitions and fusion of candidates with major political parties.

Filing Fees

Under present law, candidates are required to pay a filing fee when submitting nomination papers or petitions. In the case Belitskus v. Pizzingrilli (343 F. 3rd 632; 3rd Circuit 2003), the court ruled that the mandatory filing fee, coupled with no alternative means to gain ballot access, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The LPPa bill proposes that the State add alternative means, in this case community service, for candidates to gain access to the ballot.

Affiants for signature petitions

Also, under present law, nominating petition affiants in Pennsylvania must be registered voters. In the case Morrill v. Weaver (224 F. Supp. 2d 882; 2002 U.S. Dist.), the court ruled that this unconstitutionally violates citizen’s rights to free political expression and association under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The LPPa bill proposes that the requirement that nominating petition affiants in Pennsylvania must be registered voters be repealed.

Fusion of candidates with major political parties

In addition, the present law permits major parties to fuse candidates (cross nominate candidates across party lines) for local offices but preclude minor parties from exercising the same right. In Patriot Party of Allegheny County v. Allegheny County Department of Elections (case citation 95 F. 3d 253 (3d Cir. 1996)), the court ruled that “Pennsylvania’s decision to ban cross-nominations by minor political parties and to allow cross-nomination by major parties constituted the type of ‘invidious classifications’ prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause… The court noted that the Pennsylvania statutes laws treated minor and major parties differently and placed a more severe burden on minor political parties’ rights.” The LPPa bill proposes to eliminate these additional burdens on minor political parties.

David Jahn, Chair of the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party, states “the courts have found several requirements within our election code that contradict our constitution. This bill proposes common sense remedies to alleviate those concerns. All we need now are some sponsors willing to do the right thing.”

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit or for more information on the Libertarian Party.

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or David Jahn (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Clarion County reaches major milestone for political organizational goals

The Libertarian Party of Clarion County (LPCC) is pleased to announce that it has reached the membership and organizational goals necessary to merit a seat on the Executive Board of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. The LPCC will now be able to convey the concerns of its members directly to the state level.

See comments for more.

Time to go home. Makes best sense to me.

Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan calls her mother's stroke a "devastating blow" that has forced her to leave "Camp Casey" temporarily.

Sure, the stroke is a devastating blow. But it is well worth the exit.

People need to keep up the fight and avoid burn out. Too many times I've seen advocates get into a battle and leave it all on the battle field -- and be wiped out. You've got to fight the good fight as best you can -- and LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY.

Keep some of the forces at home. Be reasonable with yourself and your family. Be prudent. Take care of yourself and your loved ones, first.

I think it was a wise move for Sheehan to retreat. Her message got out. Her time there had concluded. Move on, even.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

$7 Lawrenceville Rotary Corn Roast

Corn Roast with pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans and a drink are served on Saturday, August 20, 2005, from 11 am to 5 pm at the Arsenal Middle School Park at the corner of 40th and Butler Street.

Tickets available at Senator Ferlo’s office 3507 Butler (figures that there is PORK involved) and Slaughterhouse Gallery 5136 Butler.

Proceeds go to Lawrenceville Rotary scholarship funds, community fund and international fund.

Seeking candidates for County Council -- two special elections. Want to run as a Libertarian?

Two special elections are being held this November for two County Council seats.

One is County Council district 3, which contains: Aspinwall, Blawnox, Brackenridge, East Deer, Etna,
Fawn, Fox Chapel, Frazer, Harrison, Indiana, Millvale, O'Hara, Reserve, Shaler, Sharpsburg, Springdale, and Tarentum.

The other county council seat is for district 12, encompassing Dormont, Greentree, Ingram, and Pittsburgh wards 19, 20, 28, 29, 30, and 32.

We, the Libertarians, can put someone on the ballot without needing to gather signatures. As a Libertarian candidate, one would only expect that the candidate would be able to articulate reasonable libertarian positions that the county could adopt. Experts with reasonable issue positions, as well as experts with unreasonable issue opinions too, are on hand who'd be more than happy to help candidates hammer out two or three platform issues.

The Libertarians are looking through our database and contact lists to see if we can come up with one or two candidates for the ballot this November. If you're in one of these areas and want to apply for the job, please let us know!

If you know of a community leader who would be well suited for such a mission, tell us about him or her. I'll make a personal phone call to all leads provided by blogging's running mates and friends.

The filing deadline is September 12, 2005.

Just to be clear, I'm NOT running for any of these seats. I don't live in the districts.

The job of County Council Member is a part-time position that pays a nominal salary. Most members of County Council keep their regular jobs. Members of council can NOT run for another elected office while sitting on Council. And, we expect a few others on Council to migrate to other races in the near future. So, other openings in other council seats are expected.

KC's Royal Flush

It is 18 and counting.

At least our Pittsburgh flush was in the streets and not on the diamonds.

The KC Royals have lost 18 games in a row.

The ESPN news story made the KC team look worse than a Little League team.

Swim pool, one hour drive from Pittsburgh. Jay's swimmers go fast!

Somerset Area High School swim pool is where Jay O'Neil coaches. We visited, worked out, played and talked about swimming. When I coached a PLUM High School, Jay was a Junior and Senior. He has been coaching there for a few years now and is a dad to two children now. Posted by Picasa

Who wants to be "QUEEN for a day, week, month or even longer?" -- call Bob O'Connor

You could be QUEEN for a DAY too, if you are a woman, of course.

You could be elevated with the "authority status" and lifted above the citizens you'll rule.

Increase your power and get to rain down (pun) with new water authority lines to hither and yarn. Or, help make the unthinkable possible by parking the parking tax where no other less bold city dare to linger. Or, oversee the paper corporation that pulls all the strings with Three Rivers Stadium. Or, help count up the 7K, 8K or 9K of properties owned but sans inventory with the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Women sought for city posts - O'Connor, 60, has promised that women will make up 50 percent of city boards, authorities and commissions if he becomes mayor. The Squirrel Hill resident and Democratic nominee is the overwhelming favorite against Republican Joe Weinroth. Democrats hold a 5-to-1 advantage over Republicans in registered voters in Pittsburgh, which has not elected a Republican mayor in more than 70 years.

Take your turn at the helm of a sinking ship among a fleet of dispair in a sea of fog. Make it so that the next Pirates won't get blamed for calling the land lovers "wenches" and "naysayers."

Bob O'Connor, Michael Lamb and Bill Peduto all wanted to put more women in authority roles. I don't.

Rather, I want to end all authorities.

Rather, I want to take all the appointed kings and queens of Pittsburgh's tiny, fragmented, unaccountable domains and make them "democratic." That's a small "d" for "democratic" -- as in allow for elections of the people.

You'll only be on the board, given Bob's plan, with a "term limit." Expect to share the time in the spotlight. Mayor Murphy just had his court hog up all the time and slots for themselves. The stated promise is for Bob's group to be better at playing musical chairs.

These folks need to end the authority legacy -- and they are not.

The WATER and SEWER AUTHORITY is more interested in building another mall -- and less interested in taking care of the crumbling sewer lines.

The Parking Authority is more interested in turning the North Side into an entertainment complex and getting a better Greyhound Bus Terminal -- with a T-stop -- than real parking issues. Why take your car to the city and then get onto the T? Why take your car to the city, pay high taxes, then take a Greyhound bus? The bus might save some money -- if the taxes were not so grave.

The Port Authority wants to build a tunnel under the rivers for $400 million, despite bids that are 25% greater than expected. The extension is for 1.2 miles of new track. They don't want to really make a mass transit system work as it should. They are not talking about permanent funding. They are not accountable.

If these are the jobs for you -- then I dare say -- you're not a woman.

Good luck in the recruitment drive.

When there is an effort to build authorities with accountability and real democracy, they won't be called "authorities" and you'll have the world coming to our door to figure out solutions to matters such as hunger, homelessness, recreation, child-care, education and healthcare.

Real, experienced, management, leaders in Pittsburgh who are female know what happens when one puts lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.

In other news, it's official. Joe Weinroth's glory days are behind him. Notice the kiss of death, the "5-to-1" quote in the Republican daily. That qualifier goes around Weinroth's neck like an anchor.

The women who are demanding fair representation now are not calling for more authority posts. They are calling for an end to authorities. Representation doesn't happen with authorities, period.

My wife, my sisters, my mother-in-law -- all brilliant -- are like ten thousand other Pittsburghers in this regard. Most wouldn't even be motivated to hold their noses for the necessary ten minute return phone call to turn down an offer of consideration for the "privilage."

If Bob was smart, he'd cut the authorities and in turn make ALL THE WOMEN HAPPY, not appoint a couple more and just keep the status quo.

If Bob made an offer -- join the authority and take it apart in six months -- then he'd have a line outside his door of willing and able people.

Keep an eye on the brass ring: freedom, equality, opportunity.

When the tide rises, it lifts all boats. Meanwhile, when the downtown parking garages flood -- it soaks your car. We've got too much of the later and none of the global benefits.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Pgh Public Schools' Key Communicator Meeting Schedule

Representatives of Key Communicators, Head Start Policy Council and Title I District Wide Advisory Council are welcome to attend these meetings.

All meetings are from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Board of Education Building in Oakland in Conference Room A.

On Thursday. September 29, 2005, to Meet & Greet the new PPS Boss.

November 17, 2005, Discussion

January 26, 2006, Discussion

March 30, 2006, Discussion

May 25, 2006, Discussion

Please mark these dates and times for the Key Communicators’ Meetings. You are asked to RSVP if you plan on attending. This will assist in the planning of refreshments, materials and in the event of a cancellation, we will know who to contact! Either call Wanda Spencer, 412-622-3617; or e-mail Donna Vlassich at dvlassich1 -at-

Coalition criticizes cultural district proposal - in Milwaukee

JS Online: Coalition criticizes cultural district proposal" ... The Center for Housing Policy in Washington, D.C., reported that housing prices rose 10 times faster than average wages over the previous 18 months.

Get a raise in recent times?

Get a bump in home equity in recent times?

We've got weirdness with our Cultural District. Our Cultural District is getting into housing, but not low-cost homes. Rather, expensive housing. And, the Pgh Ballet is going to play recorded music. It lays off the musicians. So, we'll have a cultural district that is void of culture and becomes a place that musicans and actors can't afford to reside within.

Philadelphia - Report weighs sites for. slots parlors

In Philly, they've already got a 300-plus page report. While in Pittsburgh our appointed report writers have just asked Sala Udin for directions to the restrooms, obtained their parking spots in scab free garages, ordered their new town cars with burgandy interiors and lots of trunk space, and floated on the rivers from the Station Square docks.

Why rush into anything that lasts forever. Besides, in 2006 we'll be focused on the All-Star Game and won't want to read anything like a 300 page report before then.

Mayor Street did hit upon a point that I stressed in the past when those in Harrisburg wrote the legislation: The new license are sold at a fixed price and they go forever. We need to put "expiration dates" on these protected, state-granted limited opportunities that amount to monopoly status.
Philadelphia Inquirer | 08/17/2005 | Report weighs sites for Phila. slots parlors

'We only get one chance to do this,' Street said. 'They will be here forever.'

The city could make the most money, the report said, if it places a slots parlor along the Delaware River near South Columbus Boulevard and another near the Schuylkill Expressway and Route 1.
Under the state gambling law, the city gets 4 percent of a casino's gross revenue, which, under this combination, could be as much as $34 million. The city could also gain about 9,500 jobs, said Bernard E. Anderson, a professor at the Wharton School and cochair of the task force.
Among the financial benefits to the city would be a clause in the gambling law that calls for the casinos to help pay the operating costs of the Convention Center. That formula would save the city about $18 million a year. And the city is expected to gain $10 million to $15 million a year in city taxes on the casinos and their workers.

For example, why not sell a 15-year license to develop the Hays site with gambling. But, make it a stipulation that there will be NO GAMBLING within 5 miles of HAYES for the next 50 years. The "limited engagement" wrinkle is often known as a "sunset" in legislative speak. For the citizens, it can be powerful leverage. The ownership dynamics would change. Homeownership would rise. People would be okay with a buy-in on the coat-tails of gambling in the neighborhood if there was a guarantee that gambling would depart at a certain period.

Show us what Hayes is like today, with construction of a gambling site, as a gambling site, then as a non-gambling site. Then take a wider view and show the general area around Hays in all of these instances.

1. Presently, the Hays site is wooded hillsides. The area around Hays is suburban homes.

2. Construction brings bulldozers and natural resources extraction. Meanwhile the houses rattle.

3. Gambling casino enters. Another strip mall might come in the area, up from the Waterfront. Houses survive, we expect.

4. Gambling departs, new townhouses emerge, or a par-3 golf course, etc. The homeowners thrive.

The real estate investment prospects for present owners would be greater in the long-term if the gambling term had a limit in years. They are going to take a beating in the short-term given the truck traffic, the uncertain prospects, and the new jams sure to await.

Philly is also trying to pin some of the new gambling incomes to cover the costs of the Convention Center operations. The same formula is being considered in Pittsburgh too as the Stadium Authority is going deeper into debt and they await some windfall from gambling to cover the bills at the new Pittsburgh Convention Center.

I don't want to see the new gambling profits go in an ongoing basis to prop up the white elephant also known as the Pittsburgh Convention Center. The best way to solve all these ills at once is to force the new gambling casino to take ownership of the new Convention Center.

The citizens would then MAKE money off of the Convention Center and keep more of the money from the the ongoing gambling windfalls for other projects -- not the Convention Center.

Pittsburgh should insist upon the selling of the new Convention Center to the gambling license holders.

The best place to build a new Gambling Casino is within the Convention Center. That is a perfect location. The gambling operators would love the location.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

City owned hotels. Views from Baltimore and SC

Interesting industry article. See comments.

Dennis McKee, Indie Candidate from N. Sewickley Township

Letter to the Editor - Independents can run, too

Printed in the Beaver County Times.
In reference to the editorial "Point of attack" advising us that "heads must roll" but that it is not a practical goal to remove all the legislators.

I disagree. It doesn't have to be just the two parties removing them. Independent candidates have won elections all the way up to the governorship of some states, and some have even made some strong runs at the presidency.

The public has proven time and time again that if Independent candidates reflect their view, they will elect them. The truth is most people support some Republican ideas and some Democratic ones. An Independent candidate who provides the public with the proper mix of both parties' best ideas would be a formidable opponent irrespective of being an Independent.

And being an Independent is the only way to do this honestly. It is my intention to be an Independent candidate against state Rep. Mike Veon when he is again up for reelection. If elected, the first two things I will do is introduce a bill that makes it a mandate for the public to approve by referendum any increase in taxes with no exceptions and, to return these outrageous raises to the taxpayers.

Dennis McKee, North Sewickley Township

The legislative pay raise – how Pennsylvania compare to other states

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or David Jahn (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

With their recent pay increase, the Pennsylvania legislature is now arguably the largest and most expensive in the country. Salaries range from a minimum of $81,000 to a top salary of over $145,000 with base pay ranking second only to California legislators. Pennsylvania also has the largest number of legislators in the nation except for New Hampshire (a “citizen legislature” where legislators are paid $200 per two year term). As a result, the Pennsylvania legislature now ranks first in total amount of salaries paid to legislators, 22% higher than second place New York.

In addition to their hefty salaries, legislators' support staff was the second largest in the country in 2003 (the last year 50-state figures are available). Legislators also receive generous reimbursements and are entitled to a defined-benefit pension (whose cost is driven by salaries). According to the Pennsylvania Economy League, the 2005-2006 budget for the state legislature will cost Pennsylvanians over $460 million.

How do we compare with other states in terms of benefits?

Do we have low taxes? No - the Census Bureau ranked the states for 2004 on taxation. Pennsylvania is the sixth highest state in total taxes and the 20th in per capita tax.

Do our legislators control spending? No – Governing Magazine ranks Pennsylvania number four in terms of total state spending. Our legislators just passed a 6.1% increase in spending for next year.

Do we have a top notch school system? No - Pennsylvania ranks in the bottom 20% of states in SAT scores according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Are Pennsylvanians happy with their state legislators? The Pennsylvania Economy League published a 2003 survey in which over 70% of Pennsylvanians ranked state government’s overall job performance as poor or fair.

The bottom line is that compared to other states, Pennsylvania underperforms while legislators in Harrisburg pay themselves far too much!

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit or for more information on the Libertarian Party.

The dry look. I'm on board with Grant and Alex.  Posted by Picasa

Mama Spell @ the Pittsburgh CLO's Late Night Cabaret!

CLO Cabaret Theater
655 Penn Avenue,, Saturday, September 3, 9:30 pm


Momma Spell got back from performing three shows at the Knitting Factory NYC, as well one show at a new East Village venue called Scenic.

She has been busy with the Mofones and Hostessing events, this is the first offical Mama Show in Pittsburgh in a couple of years.

Did my best to remember everyone's email addresses for this evite. If I've overlooked an invitation to anyone for this event, please send the info along. And also, please do respond to this evite, but your official reservations for this show can only be made when you call 412-456-6666.

It's after hours in the Cultural District, and the Cabaret at Theater Square is the place to be! You can eat, drink and be entertained!

This is the Mama Spell spectacular you've been waiting for! Bring out your white shoes for their last hoorah this season!

CLO Cabaret Theater
655 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Tickets: 412-456-6666
$10 at the door, $8 in advance

When the under river tunnels to the North Shore turn out to be a total waste -- will we be able to squeeze a casino in there instead?

Most of my transportation chatter happens at another blog called, "Ratsburgh."

The bids open today for the tunnels.

What type of guarantee do we get that we won't get our own version of Boston's Big Dig?

But most of all, I want to have the tunnels to have a re-use after it is proven that they are a total waste. Can we squeeze a casino into them?

One T-stop by Heinz Field could be for food and drinks. The T-stop by PNC Park could be for table games and serve as a pawn shop for jewels and tokens. One tunnel works as the smokers' section and the other for non-smoking. Then the Gateway Center stop is for security, strip searches, and for renting bikes.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Arts Alive - Yes, Bob O'Connor is alive. There was a sighting of Bobby O' .

O'Connor, the local blogger, has better search engine rankings in Pittsburgh than our Dem candidate for mayor. But, there is an official sighting. Whale watching tours, submarine races and looking for Mayor candidates in Pittsburgh all net the same outcomes: Long on search, little on sizzle, lonesome on steak. Arts Alive - Birthday Bon Voyage: Nearly 50 years ago, savvy skipper John Connelly launched a river renaissance when he set sail on the Mon, Allegheny and Ohio with his Gateway Clipper Fleet. This past Saturday, some 200 family members and friends wished him a happy 80th birthday on a three-hour cruise that brought together well wishers such as grandson Terry Wirginis and Pam with great grandkids Alex, Nic and Hannah; Lt. Guv Catherine Baker Knoll; Anita and Ross Dacal; mayor apparent Bob O'Connor; Kamie Schoonhoven and Duquesne U. music dean Dr. Ed Kocher; Sophie Masloff; Dr. Ralph Affinito; and judge Alan Hertzberg.
Les Ludwig, 73, retired Sq. Hill biz man, and former candidate for mayor in the Dem primary, and I were chatting on the phone today. He too has seen Bob O'Connor, at least twice this summer.

Les is still pushing for "art advertising" solutions for Pittsburgh so as to raise some money for the empty public treasury. Les also visited with two County Council Members. The county did move on the issue and did put in a formal motion that passed with all in favor to do a serious look at art-advertising and sponsorships. The city's lack of ambition on this area is an ongoing frustration.

O'Connor isn't going to do anything, so the report comes from Les, until he is elected.

Well, Les is still upset with the political machine. But I begged him to NOT run for mayor again in the general election as a write in candidate. No Les. Move on. Get with the others who are ON the Ballot. Leverage those 500-votes he got and try to help someone else.

I told Les he'd be much less than 25 votes as a write in in November. But, he could take the 500+ votes and turn them into 5,000 if he would start now and work to unseat Dan Frankle, D, state rep. The D primary for that race is in the spring of 2006.

We need to throw the bumbs out. People like Les are decent candidate options as he'd not be in Harrisburg for much more than a term given his age.

In another conversation today, I spoke with Lynn Cullen, 1360 AM and PCNC TV. The first hour of her radio show is going onto the air as a TV show too, each night, and with a replay at NOON the next day. My call to her was at the start of the second hour of the show.

Lynn's rant against the pay raise was an hour long. But, she did meet with two callers who put cold water onto the issue. A women from the Mon Valley and a guy from Cannosburg were both NOT willing to vote against their existing state reps.

To bring home the bacon is very important to the Mon Valley. I say nuts to that. And, I said it well as a final statement in a debate this spring at Mt. Washington. We have a bigger duty to the consitution, justice, freedom and being AMERICAN than being a rain-maker for neighborhoods of the district.

Another caller did say that the action needs to rests in the primary season for unseating the money grabbers. True, some heat needs to come there. But there are other burners on the stove that all need to fire up and work as well. The primary and general elections are both important parts of the process.

This is the time to recruit candidates, consider options, build teams and organize in the open.

Education Innovations is looking for teachers, students, Pittsburgh

Education Innovations is looking for teachers, students, Pittsburgh
community members, and parents who would be willing to give their two cents worth on the ideal education experience for children. We are hosting a series of focus groups in mid to late September.

We are looking for specific feedback with each focus group so read the description before getting involved. All focus groups will take place at the Education Innovations, Inc. offices in the Kingsley Association at 6435 Frankstown Avenue, at the intersection of Frankstown Avenue and East Liberty Blvd.

Community Focus Group
*When: Wednesday September 14, 2005
*Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
*Location: Kingsley Association 6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
*Working Title/question: How does a school fit into the life of the community? What we are going for here is for your input on how a school goes beyond being located in a community, or how a school can be another friend in the community.
*Who we are looking for: Pittsburgh community members at large, parents, students, businesses, etc.

Critical Thinking/Workforce Forum
*Date: Wednesday September 21
*Time 6:30pm – 8:30pm
*Location: Kingsley Association 6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
*Working Title: "Critical Thinking: the foundation for a creative and productive workforce." What we are going for here is to gather expert opinion on the role of primary and secondary education in preparing students for the workforce. Further, we are looking for expert opinion on the role of scientific principles (inquiry, creative problem solving) in the creative workforce.
*Who we are looking for: workforce leaders, heads of science related companies, foundations who fund science/critical thinking initiatives

Teacher Focus Group
*Date: Wednesday September 28, 2005
*Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
*Location: Kingsley Association 6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
*Working Questions: What makes you /would make an innovative and creative teacher?
Who we are looking for: Teachers who teach in a school environment, whether charter school/public school, or private school, who would like to share their thoughts on how school systems (i.e., teaching, assessment, training systems etc.) make them./would make them innovative and creative teachers. If your child has had an innovative/creative teacher, feel free to nominate him/her by sending us their contact information. We will discreetly invite them to the forum.

If you are interested in participating in any of these focus groups, would like to be involved in the planning process, would like to receive an informational brochure on the Education InnovationsLAB Charter School, or would like to add to the list of potential, students, send email to: or call 412.661.8751 xt. 150.

Source: Salvador Wilcox, CEO, Education Innovations, Inc., 914 Heberton Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 412.363.7707

Backlash rolls against POLITICIANS in Harrisburg

Here is a nice effort. They have a fiddle MP3 knock off radio ad too. Critique follows.
YCOP Announces Multi-Media Campaign Targeting State Legislators Who Voted for Unconstitutional Pay Increase

HARRISBURG (Aug. 15, 2005)If the state legislators who voted themselves an unconstitutional pay raise thought the summer heat would evaporate the matter from the collective conscience of the taxpayers, they thought wrong.

Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania (YCOP) is producing a multi-media campaign comprising a web site, radio ads, billboards and bumper stickers to fan the flames of a grassroots brushfire across the Commonwealth and encourage repeal of the unconstitutional measure.

The first leg of the campaign begins this week with the launch of and radio ads that will air on stations in the portion of the state represented by State Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Jubelirer, who voted himself a whopping 34% pay increase.

Visitors to can hear the radio ads, view the billboards that YCOP will begin popping up later this summer, make a contribution for a "Remember The Pay Raise!" bumper sticker, or even sponsor another InformedPA billboard.

"Instead of defending the unconstitutional pay raise and ignoring the growing public outrage, legislative leaders should rush forward to repeal the measure," said State Chairman Chris Lilik.

For more information on this project please visit

For starters, I love the bumper sticker, "Remember the Pay Raise." Perfect. Get one if you wish. That's classic and gets two thumbs up.

A negative ad is a negative ad. I'm not fully against negative ads as I often rail against negative ads -- being negative myself.

The bluegrass fiddle music that plays in the background of the radio ad is over the top and hits me as "elitist." Stuffy republicans want to talk down to the people about a 30-year state senator and play hick music to score points is out of whack.

Background music is needed, for sure. But make it blend into the background. Make it pop, a solo rif or more like an orchestra.

Putting a photo on a billboard is POSITIVE -- even if it is a hit. The hit isn't strong enough. I think, in the end, it is going to be a help, not a hit.

I have questions about the motivation of the overall goal, but perhaps that remains to be proven and waits for another wave of postings.

For example, the voting record for the state politicians, with a listing of all their names, only goes an inch deep. No elected politician in Harrisburg raised a voice on the floor of either chamber to object to the middle of the night legislation. I think that the list is presented to give a lot of cover for a lot of people who need the cover.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Compendium Institute and its software: Anyone else in Pittsburgh fiddle with this?

Are there others in Pittsburgh doing anything with this open-source software utility? MeetUp, huddle, whatever?

Compendium Institute Compendium has three key elements: a shared visual space where ideas can be generated and analyzed, a methodology that allows the exploration of different points of view, and a set of tools for quickly and easily sharing data both within and beyond the boundaries of the group. The process enables people to negotiate collective understanding 'on the fly,' capture the discussions, and share representations of their knowledge digitally across communities of practice -- an approach crucial in keeping collaborative efforts on track and on time. More...

Happy Life without a law degree

Pittsblog has a thread and reactions to life in Pittsburgh as a lawyer. Sorry to take this out of context, but anyway... My $.02 posted over there includes:

The low risk mindset in business means tiny action in new/emerging business, and coldness to the entrepreneur spirit.

Hence, the upside is more like a rolling hill and less like a mountain peak.

Plus, we've got a FORTUNE 500 culture too. Heavy rewards are associated with staying within the box, protecting what you've got.

Finally, the fortunes around here came with a tightness to the goods, the carbon-based products and the raw materials.

Bankers were eager to give millions to six-color, perfecting, waterless, plateless printing press -- but wouldn't give a nickle for a book idea, brand building, or knowledge content delivery unless a dozen patents and a Fortune 500 sponsor was to co-sign.

Lawyers in Pgh are asked to play DEFENSE all the time. That ain't as much fun just for variety's sake.

Yet we are wired to work hard, build, make things -- and the lawyers have their noses to the other grindstone with lower satisfaction, frankly.

Jeepers, it sucks to be you. But it is fun to talk about your quagmire of gloom. =;0

The only thing worse than being a lawyer in a town with a Fortune 500 mindset is being a lawyer in the political realm in a town without an ounce of common sense in how to govern and budget.

Insights from Operation Clean Sweep on repealing the Pay Raise in Harrisburg

The latest news from Operation Clean Sweep, an effort to kick-out greedy politicians from public office brings this insight.

The proposed bill in Harrisburg to repeal the "unvouchered expenses" portion of the pay raise is sponsored by Rep. Will Gabig of PA's 199th District. Although it may seem like a good idea on the surface, we say to Rep. Gabig: "Not good enough!"

We demand a FULL repeal of HB 1521, the pay raise bill, including the salary increases for the executive and judicial branches. The wording could be very simple; something like "HB 1521 is hereby repealed andt his repeal goes into effect immediately. All unvouchered expense reimbursements already received by legislators shall be turned over to the General Fund within ten days."

What's curious is Rep. Gabig's reasoning that the unvouchered expenses are unconstitutional. We absolutely agree and have argued this point since July 7. But Rep. Gabig voted YES on the pay raise and initially stated he would accept the unvouchered expenses. Is Rep. Gabig admitting that he just wasn't sure what the PA
Constitution says and has personally violated it by voting for an unconstitutional bill?

That would be a severe offense for a member of the General assembly, as their oath of office swears them to defending and upholding the Constitution. We believe Rep. Gabig's actions are a clear violation of his oath of office. We also view his sponsorship of this bill as nothing more than disingenuous backpedaling.

We're going to see a lot of this kind of backpedaling over the coming months. We'll also have to withstand the incumbents' usual ploy of delivering those oversized novelty checks to try to buy our support. We say ignore them. We can't be bought. We have principles. If they `stick it to us' once, they'll surely do it again if they get the chance.

The Sunday PG had a story on the pay grab on its front page.

The Sunday PG also devoted a good chunk of its front page on the lack of news from the British tabloids. So, our front page news is about their lack of decent front page news? That's worthy and par for the course in Pittsburgh.

Blog Fest III coverage

My only quibble with the article and photo rests in perception of civility among the blog readers and comments at "political blogs."

My impression is that the folks in the real world as well as those online have been respectful on all most all instances.
City's bloggers actually get together face-to-face: Many of the roughly 30 bloggers at Thursday's 'Blogfest' at Finnigan's Wake bar said they have steered clear of politics lately -- writing about it often provokes a burst of brutally negative responses from one side or another, which are no fun to get.

'I never write about politics -- the conflict gets a little too hot,' said Robert, who did not want his last name used. Rather, on his new blog 'Gclectic,' he writes a lot about engineering and geek culture.

Central Park Bench: Skateboard park petition

Don't do it!
Central Park Bench: Skateboard park petition: "Skateboard park petition


There are a few other, much, much better ideas. I'd strongly suggest you DON'T do the skateboard park. Give me a call or email -- and I'll be happy to explain, in person, in detail.

I was at the opening of the skateboard park in Pittsburgh at McKinley -- just behind the Liberty Tubes. On opening day THREE kids went to the E.R. THREE on the first day.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Ranting on Republicans. Wanting urban votes for suburban candidates with D history. No thanks.

Letter sent to a Trib reporter and CCed as a LTE:


Harrisburg Republicans have serious problems. Money flows to NEW Republicans. They don't do anything to grow their own.

Hence, W.PA witnesses money to the former Dem to defeatt Alan K. and money to the turncoat Dem, Michael Diven, to loose to Wayne Fontana in MY State Senate special election.

I was in the Diven, Fontana race. That fact was failed to be printed in your article. Both the D and R out-spent me about 500 to one. Yet Diven only out-voted me five to one.

It would be best if you mentioned my name as part of the race on May 17, 2005. As a Libertarian, I got 2,542 votes from a base of 250 registered Ls on a PRIMARY election day. Those great numbers, and more than 7% in a three way race, can't be ignored.

I'll be back.

Would you like me to mail you a copy of my campaign audio CD?

Thanks for the article and for telling the whole story. Not a single Libertarian voted for the outlandish pay raise. I would HAVE not only voted with the people, but would have been objecting in the open all along.

Friday, August 12, 2005

KDKA: Pittsburgh Task Force Not Firm on Slots Money for Arena

Does anyone care to inform KDKA TV that Tom Murphy is NOT one of the two most powerful politicians in Pittsburgh. Mayor Murphy is a lame duck who was a marathon runner and he couldn't even keep the Pittsburgh Marathon alive.

If Murphy wants money from slots to go to the new hockey arena, then that is good enough reason to object to the concept.

KDKA: Pittsburgh Task Force Not Firm on Slots Money for Arena The two most powerful politicians in Pittsburgh agree that some revenue from a slot machine parlor to be located in the city should be used to build a new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But the task force charged with studying the idea says there's no consensus on how the money should be used.

Mayor Tom Murphy and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato are both pushing the new arena proposal.

But the Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force, which is studying the impact of the standalone slots parlor to be built in the city, says there are too many options on how to use the city's share of those revenues to commit to arena funding.

The group is supposed to issue its recommendations on the project -- and how to use the local revenues -- by November.

The standalone slots parlor should NOT be built in the city. Rather we should have the new parlor operators purchase the Pittsburgh Convention Center. Then the slots income could begin in earnest at the close of the 2006 MLB (Major League Baseball) All-Star Game.

It makes no sense to wait while a new casino is built. We have a suitable building that is sitting empty that can be a great site for the casino in the short-and-long term.