Friday, June 30, 2006

What are you doing on the 4th of July? Anything for the sake of independence -- or to be more independent?

Murphy forced to get cozier with City Council

little.gif | late.gif
Murphy forced to get cozier with City Council: "Councilman Doug Shields, who asked for the investigation in 2004, said it 'is obvious now what happened. ... There was a conspiracy of sorts between [firefighters union President Joe] King and Mayor Murphy that each would get what they want and leave the city behind.'
The deal went down in the spring of 2001. We all knew what happened then. Why didn't he ask for the investigation in 2001?

Total Immersion Swimming - a marathon swim around NYC

Way to crow Terry. You're the man! Swimming is such a smart sport.
Total Immersion Swimming In June 2002, I swam the 28.5-mile Manhattan Island Marathon (MIMS), partially to celebrate completing a half century of life with a physical challenge. I also swam it to demonstrate how it was possible to easily complete a swim requiring considerable endurance by training for economy instead of super fitness. My first MIMS was a complete success. I enjoyed every mile, finished easily, took one-third fewer strokes than any other swimmer, and felt great the next day.
Meanwhile, we've got a relay meet in the AM. Got to be at South Fayette at 8:15 am check in for a meet at 9.

Boy, I hate this meet as I consider it a major waste of time. I didn't write up a letter to give to all the others on deck, as per my head coach's suggestion. I'll only offend. But I don't like to waste my time and go through motions -- like wasted strokes -- that don't really help in life.

Relays are an important part of swimming. Swimming isn't a team sport. But, a relay only event that is without real challenges is not welcomed.

Now, I post this the night before, not because I don't want a meet. No way. We really need a meet. But, so I can eat my words in less than 24 hours if I get it all wrong. If the meet experience turns out to be different, I'll blog about it. End of the pool. Corner of the world. This aint Manhattan pal.

Call for Speakers: Ohio LinuxFest

We get a "blog in" while I wait for a Youth Technology Summit and might need to trek to Ohio for a LinuxFest.
The fourth annual Ohio LinuxFest will again be held in Columbus, Ohio, and presenters are needed to deliver talks about Free and Open Source Software topics.

The event will take place on September 30, 2006, and proposals should be submitted by *July 10* using the on-line form available from

Once again, the LinuxFest will be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Over 700 people attended last year, and a larger turnout is anticipated for 2006.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available for companies and projects interested in having a booth on the exhibit floor.

Registration for attendees begins on July 1, and, as always, will be free. A conference pass may be purchased which will get you a t-shirt, lunch, and other goodies.

LinuxFest web site
More than 700 look west and attend the event in the west -- in Columbus, Ohio -- on technology with an open source foundation.

Most Americans Endorse Third Party: Angus Reid Consultants

Most Americans Endorse Third Party: Angus Reid Consultants: "(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States believe it is time to form a national political organization that could challenge Republicans and Democrats in different elections, according to a poll by Opinion Dynamics released by Fox News. 50 per cent of respondents think a third national political party would be a good idea.

In American presidential elections, candidates require 270 votes in the U.S. Electoral College to win the White House. In November 2004, Republican incumbent George W. Bush earned a second term after securing 286 electoral votes from 31 states. Democratic nominee John Kerry received 252 electoral votes from 19 states and the District of Columbia. As far as the popular vote is concerned, Bush garnered 51.03 per cent of all cast ballots, with Kerry getting 48.04 per cent.

In 1992, Ross Perot received 18.9 per cent of the popular vote as a third party candidate, but won no electoral votes. In 1996, Perot garnered 8.48 per cent of all cast ballots as the Reform Party nominee."

Blog In called for Sunday at Sq Hill Library

pittsburgh bloggers | Write here in Pittsburgh... The long-awaited Pittsburgh BlogIN Feel free to use this photo as a Blog In logo.

Nail on the head insight about media by Poynteronline media critic

E-Media Tidbits from Friday, June 30, 2006, posted by Amy Gahran is called, Let's Link to Legislation
News organizations routinely cover the legislative process -- especially about the real or potential effects of bills and laws. In most cases the full text of those bills and laws, and information about their status, are
available online.

Why, then, is it so rare to see an online news story that links to the bill or law being covered? Or that at least cites the reference number so people can look up and follow the legislation on their own? Why do most news organizations consistently cite the party and state/district of legislators, but omit brief citations and links to the products of their efforts on our behalf?

For example, today's Washington Post includes this story: House Passes Bill Ending Ban On Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling (
902078.html). Nowhere does that story cite the specific bill number, let alone link to the bill text and info via the Library of Congress' Thomas ( online database. (For the record, the bill discussed in that story is H.R. 4761 ( . There -- see how easy and brief that was?)

Similarly, an AP story
( which ran today on reports on the Penn. General Assembly: "School districts would have to conduct exit interviews with students who are dropping out or withdrawing from school, or who have accumulated more than 10 unexcused absences, under a bill passed by the House 164-28 and sent to the Senate." Which bill? Hey, statehouse legislative info is online too! I found this bill: HB 1729
( .

Here's why this common oversight bugs me so much.

The reason we report on the legislative process is to empower citizens to more easily follow what their government is doing. That makes it easier for citizens to get involved in the legislative process (something I discussed in my blog The Right Conversation (

In legislative circles, having correct reference numbers goes a long way toward helping you find the right people to deal with and knowing where to get involved in the process. This makes civic involvement more effective, efficient, and rewarding. Little links and citations in news stories can help make all that happen.

...And yes, I realize legislative documents are long and ugly. So what? If key portions of the text are buried way down in the document, link to the document and then also provide a separate window or page giving the relevant text, with section citations. That content isn't protected by copyright, after all.

This is an easy -- and important -- problem to fix. Looking up legislation online and crafting a link from the reference number shouldn't be considered a burdensome task or a luxury. I think these days it's essential for legislative coverage, especially in mainstream publications. And empowering your audience always enhances loyalty.

Maybe use the upcoming Independence Day holiday to launch a new policy of linking to legislation. You might be surprised how much your community will appreciate this service.
I have plenty to say about this type of thinking and actions in the real world. First off, the linking would be nice. Most of all, the linking needs to happen in the online editions, more so than in the print editions. So, I endorse the concepts of the above article.

Secondly, linking isn't the only step needed to get to the promised land of citizen engagement. This is why I've crafted and toyed with the wiki framework at A value added service, such as this local wiki, can go a long way to helping with clarity of thought for community-wide issues. But, this isn't an easy slam dunk proposition. Plenty of heavy lifting is involved. And, the journalists are a big part of the key, but so too are editors, management and most of all, citizen participants with specific issues and points of view to flog.

Thirdly, copyright, copyleft, public domain, deep-links, and many other "turf battles" can mount rather quickly in these efforts.
Books for sale on the streets in China -- where the freedom of the press needs to operate out of a container for the sake of mobility.

Furthermore, (4th) it would not be hard for the new state-house whip to wiggle the legislative agenda's digital dust by putting in aa new folder organization on a web site in Harrisburg. That might make hundreds, if not thousands of links go dead. That would suck for editors at newspapers.

Finally, I've been noodling on these issues for a few years now and I'm just steps away from releasing my more formal presentations to various players in our media spaces in the region -- and even some nationally. If you'd like to learn more, come on over to our 4th of July party and we'll chat.
I'm about to dive in -- and you could witness these spalshes.

Councilman cited for harassment

If I'm at a softball game, I want Jeff Koch in the stands.

Lending a hand -- not a fist.
Councilman cited for harassment Councilman cited for harassment

Thursday, June 29, 2006 By Jonathan D. Silver and Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

City Councilman Jeffrey Koch was cited by a Pittsburgh police officer for harassment and disorderly conduct during a girls softball game Sunday night in Brookline.

Mr. Koch will receive the citations in the mail from narcotics Detective Brian Nicholas.

The citations concern allegations that Mr. Koch used his chest to bump Detective Nicholas' brother, Joseph Nicholas, Brookline's softball coach, as he tried to break up a fight at the game, which took place at the Brookline Memorial Recreation Center in the 1400 block of Brookline Boulevard.

Joseph Nicholas, who is also a Pittsburgh police officer and is assigned to the Hill District station, was off-duty at the time.

In a statement released late yesterday, Mr. Koch said, 'Any citation given would be unwarranted. I did absolutely nothing wrong. It is my intention to zealously challenge any citations or allegations of wrongdoing.'
I don't know jack about this case. I've just seen media reports. But, I feel that Jeff did nothing wrong. Jeff is going to stand up to someone and step between trouble if it is on a field.

A bump of the chest, ... give us a break. Make Jeff citizen of the day.

In his statement, Mr. Koch described the incident as a "minor altercation that did not involve me. The only thing that I can say about this is that at no time did I act inappropriately, and at no time did I violate any law."

One of Mr. Koch's foes in the special election, Jason Phillips, of the South Side Flats, criticized Mr. Koch during the public comment period at council's meeting yesterday.

"I don't think a children's sporting event is the place to flex your muscle," Mr. Phillips said. "I believe you are guilty of at least bad judgment. ... When you do things like that, you put others at risk. You're supposed to be a pillar of our community. Please represent us. Don't embarrass us.
Phillips full statement should be made public. I didn't see it. Anyone got it?

However, a children's sporting event is a fine place to teach lessons and insist that we play well together. Bad judgement is running away. Bad judgement is closing the parks. Bad judgement is a do-nothing attitude. Bad judgement is swinging a fist.

It is hard to be a peace maker. It is easy to button your lips and hire an attorney. It is easy to pile on too, Jason.

Standing tall does NOT put others at risk -- it makes others more safe. Standing tall puts oneself at risk. Having our parks turn to violence is a sure way to have countless others risk their personal safety and peace of mind -- just going near a park.

Zone 3 tidbits

I noted that Tom L, frequent blog reader and regular running mate poster -- was elected to the zone 3 safety committee in some official capacity. Same too with Bob Hillen and the campaign manager for Bruce Kraus. Keep up the heat and good work guys.

Next, Zone 3 has been selected by The Pittsburgh Mediation Center, in conjunction with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court System to participate in “a neighborhood-based accountability panel, comprised of community members who volunteer to meet with first time juvenile offenders who ADMIT to a crime to discuss the offense, and hold the youths accountable for their actions to determine appropriate responses including community service, educational activities and/or restitution.”

The Pittsburgh Mediation Center will be present at the July Public Safety Meeting to do a brief presentation.

Interested panel volunteers should email our NAN leader at her cafe and she will compile a list for the center.

Around and about -- Schedule with Russ Diamond

Contact: Russ Diamond, Independent for Governor
Cell: (717) 383-3025
Schedule URL:

7/1/2006 6:00 p.m.
Ford City Heritage Days Parade
9th St & 4th Ave
Ford City PA 16226

Meet in front of the Hoagie Shop at 9th St & 4th Ave. Enjoy the parade with Russ Diamond!

Event Contact: John F. Czekanski, 724-763-8143,

7/2/2006 12:00 p.m.
Ford City Heritage Days
9th St & 4th Ave
Ford City PA 16226

Meet in front of the Hoagie Shop at 9th St & 4th Ave. Get signatures with Russ and the folks from STOP!

Event Contact: John F. Czekanski, 724-763-8143,

7/3/2006 2:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta
Point State Park
101 Commonwealth Place
Pittsburgh PA 15222

Join Russ and Mark Rauterkus at the Regatta and get signatures! Meet at the fountain at 2:00 PM!

Event Contact: Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432,

7/4/2006 8:30 a.m.
Brentwood Independence Day Parade
2900 Brownsville Rd
Brentwood PA 15227

Russ will be participating in this Pittsburgh area parade with friends from the S.T.O.P. group. It's time to ABOLISH property taxes! Let's make it "Independents" Day! See Russ off at the parking lot near Burger King (address above) and then cheer him on as he goes!

Event Contact: Nick Cenci, 412-881-1979,

7/4/2006 11:00 a.m.

Rosslyn Farms
Rosslyn Farms PA

Russ will make an appearance with Mark Rauterkus at Rosslyn Farms to shake hands with spectators!

Event Contact: Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432,

7/4/2006 12:00 p.m.
Meet 'n' Greet
Point View Hotel
3720 Brownsville Rd
Pittsburgh PA 15227

Shake hands with Russ Diamond and Mark Rauterkus!

Event Contact: Nick Cenci, 412-881-1979,

7/4/2006 1:00 p.m.
Meet 'n' Greet
VFW Post 1810 Brentwood
3801 Saw Mill Run Blvd
Brentwood PA 15227

Shake hands with Russ Diamond and Mark Rauterkus!

Event Contact: Nick Cenci, 412-881-1979,

7/4/2006 4:00 p.m.
Press Conference
Home of Mark Rauterkus
108 S 12th Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203

Press conference with Russ Diamond. Media are invited.

Event Contact: Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432,

7/4/2006 5:00 p.m.
1776 Fundraiser for Russ Diamond's Campaign!
Paparazzi Ristorante
2100 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203

Come join Russ for the 1776 Fundraiser! Cost is only $17.76 for this very special event for a great cause! Please RSVP in advance!

Event Contact: Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432,

7/4/2006 6:30 p.m.
Open House
Home of Mark Rauterkus
108 S 12th Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203

Come chat with Russ and view fireworks from the back deck (we ask that you do not bring your own fireworks - sorry.)

Event Contact: Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432,

7/5/2006 7:30 a.m.
Meet 'n' Greet
Tom's Diner
1715 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203

Come shake hands with Russ from 7:30-9:00 am!

Event Contact: Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432,

PA House OKs end to Kennywood tax

Kennywood -- and local officials seething RED thanks to Harriburg's nebbyness.
House OKs end to Kennywood tax Bars $1.5 million levy; W. Mifflin officials hot; Senate must vote on it

Friday, June 30, 2006
By Tom Barnes and Jan Ackerman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG -- The state House has angered West Mifflin officials by approving a bill to permit Kennywood Park to stop paying $1.5 million a year in amusement tax revenue to the borough and school district.

'This is a sweetheart deal for Kennywood,'' West Mifflin council President William Welsh said yesterday. 'Kennywood has tried to have the tax eliminated every year.''
Hummm.... Could it be another sweetheart deal?

How about if we gave Kennywood a slots license! That should fix em. I'd rather save Kennywood Park rather than the race horses and the PA race horse industry.

But seriously, I have advocated the ending of the RAD Tax. And, I think that the Allegheny County RAD Tax that is paid by Kennywood should end. That amount is less, I expect, than what it pays locally. But, the RAD Tax for Kennywood goes directly to other organizations that compete with Kennywood in a day-in-day-out basis.

Why should Kennywood subsidize the ballet? Or, why should Kennywood subsidize the Carnegie Science Center?

I don't want Kennywood to get any tax nor RAD money. And, I want Kennywood to pull its own weight. But, I don't think it is wise for Kennywood to charge its customers extra just to have that money flow to other nonprofits who are in direct competition with the park.

As for West Mifflin, and most of the Mon Valley --- well --- I don't know how much they are all on the up and up? That big bend in the Mon seems to match how staight the politicians operate in them thar parts.

We all love Kennywood, even standing in line for the Jackrabbit.

Scratch my back with a pink slip

Love him, but folks, getting fired is no big deal. And, M.L. is getting a radio job in the next breath.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Two Koreas struggle in meeting to create joint Olympic team - Thursday June 29, 2006 1:49PM

Sports are games of time, space and relationship, so wrote Kevin DeForrest, a friend and author. I fully agree.

The Olympics make a set of games with countless opportunities for interactions, relations and relationships. But, they happen in time.

Given this era, it is of little suprise that the North and South could get much established. - Olympics - Two Koreas struggle in meeting to create joint Olympic team - Thursday June 29, 2006 1:49PM North and South Korean officials struggled to make a symbolic dream become a reality on Thursday when they failed to agree on the details of a joint team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Asian Games later this year.

Delegates from the South and the North could not overcome major hurdles such as the composition of the teams and the selection criteria during a meeting, officials said.
Chairs at an art museum in Hong Kong. Each chair was made with different materials and texture. They are in a circle -- and empty.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Free and Open Source Software for K12 Schools

Free and Open Source Software for K12 Schools

[412] 4th of July -- Independent and a 1776 gathering

[412] 4th of July -- Independent and a 1776 gathering: "Dear Patriotic and Independent Neighbors! Our 4th of July schedule is listed below. I hope I can see you at our 16th annual open house or else at one of these events.

Come out as our special guest is Russ Diamond, Independent candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania. Russ and I are working to get ourselves on the November 7, 2006 general election ballot.

I'm running for PA Senate. Both of us are INDEPENDENTS, All registered voters in PA can sign the nomination papers. Your signature can help by presenting voters with a real choice on the ballot later this year. Assistance in the final weeks of our shared petition drive can be explained.

Russ and I are both reformers. I'm confident that Russ will shine brightly and dominate pending discussions on policies for Pennsylvania's future when contrasted with what is being offered by Ed 'Slots' Rendell and Lynn Swann.

Schedule for Independence Day:
8 am - July 4 -- arrival to the Brentwood Parade
Mid-Morning to the Rosslyn Farms Parade and Community Time
Mixer at Brentwood's historic Inn
Gathering signatures around town, including at Point State Park for the Regatta.

4 to 5 pm - Press / Media event with talks by Russ Diamond, Mark Rauterkus and others, including a progress briefing on the campaigns to any Allegheny County citizens, volunteers, and supporters at 108 South 12th Street, South Side. Pittsburgh, 15203 Call Mark Rauterkus, 412 298 3432 or email Mark at

5 to 6:30 pm - Russ Diamond fundraiser, $17.76 per person at Paparazzi Ristorante, 2100 East Carson Street, South Side, 15203 American cookout and softdrinks. RSVP necessary. Call Mark Rauterkus, 412 298 3432 or email Mark at

6 pm start - Mark Rauterkus & Family 16th annual Independence Day Open House. Meet and mingle with special guest, Russ Diamond, Independent for Governor. Early activites at the local park for badminton, crafts for kids, lemonaid, treats up to fireworks (visible from the deck). FYI, Sparklers and beyond are NOT welcome here.

Pre and Post 4th encounters with Russ include:

July 5, Dutch Breakfast with Russ Diamond at Tom's Diner at 1715 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh's South Side from 7:30 to 9 am.

July 3, an event is on tap for July 3 in Westmorland County. Ask for details if interested.

Notification of your expected attendance is desired.

Thanks for the consideration. Feel free to forward this message and pass the word. Stay safe!

Books as battle ground - by Bob Hoover

Scripps Howard News Service They've been arriving regularly since early spring, first in a trickle, now in a steady stream and by the end of August, a flood.

Inspired by the ongoing U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration's war on terror and domestic policies, the performance of the news media and the vicious partisan nature of today's politics, mainstream publishers are releasing an unusual amount of books on current affairs.

'Ten years ago, political books didn't sell very well,' said Patricia Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers. 'Now, in the last three or four years, the sales are off the charts. Look at the last election with the Al Frankens, Michael Moores, Bill O'Reillys. The publishers know this and they're responding.'

Schroeder, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives _ and a Democrat _ also brought up best-selling books by one-time Bush administration officials like former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Environmental Protection Agency Director Christine Todd Whitman.

'I call it their 'exit strategy.' These people are loyal until they leave the corral and then they can write a controversial book,' she laughed.

Park Place -- you all rock!

The voices of Park Place sounded off loud and clear against an effort to re-zone some housing. Well done citizens. Your messages were fantastic.

The city staffers got it wrong and that is not a suprise to me.

The speakers in the hearing were perpared and the plans now before city council should go DOWN with a big thud.

Few clamor for Murphy details

Few clamor for Murphy details - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ... but few others are interested in hearing from him.
I feel as if this lead speaks to me -- exactly. To put a spot light on Tom Murphy so as to hear his saga about his firefighters dealing is a waste of time -- unless it is before the courts in terms of him serving jail time or not.

Every dog has its day in the sun. The sun has set for Tom Murphy. His day is done. To look for that to happen again in the future is a waste of time.

I saw Tom Muprhy the other week while he was with his family and I was with mine among the booths at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. I passed along a "happy fathers day" mention and nothing else. I have nothing else to say to him nor do I care that we look in back when we should be looking forward.

So, it looks like Tom Murphy gets to stop paying his attorneys and will be a free man, still, next Fathers Day. Above all, he is guilty of being a jerk and doing great harms to the city and region.

But we live in America -- and this isn't a place where behaviors like those made famous with Stalin's iron fist should be tolerated. I don't need to see the city purge its past boneheaded leaders. Nobody needs to hang from the light posts. Move on.

If Mary Beth B, the attorney who should be pressing charges, won't press charges -- shame on her. But it is her job, for now. And, it is her job to press cases to the courts not do a shell game and try to re-legislate Act 111.

The Q for MBB is getting Murphy off the hook -- and not getting Act 111 on the hook in his place.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Living Large at PNC Park -- as Bucs drop the first dozen

Tonight was a great night for baseball -- in terms of the weather. Temp was 72 to 68-degrees. Good company and treats too as we were 'living large' in the WS 1903 BOX -- in left field. Grant, Catherine and I went along with a bunch of audiologist, speech, language, and hearing-concerned individuals who were in town for the just concluded Alexander Graham Bell convention that was at the Convention Center.

Splendid party. Our row was shared with a women from Western Candada who was a house mate, years ago, in Eastern Candada with one of our friends (Shirley) in Chengdu, China. Small world story. Another game-day fan was from Brisbane. She met both Grants now -- our Grant and Grant Hackett, Austranian swim star and Crafton Swim Star.

Lots of fun.

The Pirates were but a side-show. Might as well have been at a bull-fight. (giggle)

There was nearly a Grand Slam from the Pirates.... but the catch was a few feet from the edge of the top of the outfield wall. That would have put the Bucs in the lead.

Saw and interesting run-down. First baseman, Casey, took the cut off toss from the outfield behind the pitchers mound and the runner at second went too far. He pushed him back to 2nd and then the runner went farther off of third -- so Casey switched his attention to the guy that was flirting with home plate -- running him back to third -- diving for the goal line, sorta, tagging him out at third before his knee touched the ground.

The pressing question on my mind tonight is about our swim team photos in the morning -- and if I'm going to have bags under my eyes.

Hat tip to the Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates : News : Pittsburgh Pirates News The Pirates continued to be on the vanguard in unveiling a permanent exhibit at PNC Park that celebrates the legacy of the city's two famed Negro League clubs: the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Grays. The shrine, located just inside the left-field gate, is the first of its kind at a big-league park.
Way to go. Let's celebrate our history. Let's understand about the past.

If we don't know where we've been, it is hard to know where we're going.

If we don't know history, then run the risk of making the same mistakes over again.

I'm one who always wants to make new mistakes -- and despise it when I repeat old ones. I'm known for my more original mistakes.

Test Drive

Microsoft today announced the opening of a "test drive" so that people can see what Microsoft Office 2007 might look like when it finally goes on sale.

The Community invites potential upgraders to go one better - download the full 2 office suite today for a test drive, and if you like it, use it free for as long as you like. It's the ultimate no-strings-attached test drive - if you enjoy the test drive, keep the car!

As office software becomes a commodity product, Microsoft has been forced to make significant changes to the 'look and feel' of MS-Office 2007. Because of this, analysts now agree that migrating to Microsoft Office 2007 will be a major upheaval with a significant cost impact.

Unlike changing to Microsoft Office 2007, changing to 2 does not require learning how to use office software all over again. Indeed, reports have shown migration to 2 is 90% cheaper than migrating to Microsoft Office 2007.

For more information and references to the reports, please see
Sure, this is great. But, rather than just say it is like a test drive and keep the car, one would be correct in saying that you can also keep the FACTORY that the car came from as well. Take the car, the specs, the insights and be wed to the community.

Life is great when we choose freedom.

Report: Reroute buses, redo Market Square

Some online reading. How nice.
Report: Reroute buses, redo Market Square The report can be found online at;; or

Monday, June 26, 2006


The Carbolic Smoke Ball: PIRATES' SPECIAL ALL-STAR GAME CONSULTANT, MAYOR RICHARD J. DALEY, PUSHES JASON BAY INTO LEAD IN BALLOTING AMONG NL OUTFIELDERS Jason Bay found himself atop all National League outfielders in fan balloting for the All-Star game today, and he has one man to thank for it: the Pirates' special 'All-Star Game Consultant,' Richard J. Daley, former Mayor of Chicago.
We are going to go to the game on Tuesday night. That will be my first time in PNC Park since the City League High School Baseball Championship Game -- won by Langley!

I'd rather go watch a winning team anyway.

I have not been to a Pirate game in a couple of years, other than to protest.

July 4th and 5th event planning -- heads up -- assistants welcomed

We are planning for a number of events on and about July 4 with Russ Diamond in Allegheny County.

Brentwood Parade

(Some other stops in the daytime.)

4 pm: Press Event and volunteer briefing on the South Side of Pittsburgh at our home and office, 108 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh, 15203.

5 pm: A $17.76 fundraiser with food.

6:30 pm: Our annual open house

On July 5, Russ Diamond visits and mingles for breakfast from 7:30 to 9 am at Tom's Diner at 1715 East Carson Street for breakfast before heading back to his home.

If you can assist or attend, please let me know via email or phone call. Bring some friends too. Specific details shortly.

412 298 3432 = cell

Independent Candidate for PA Senate, 42nd district, November 7, 2006

It is all Greek to me.... Greek sprinters admit to doping at '04 Olympics - Monday June 26, 2006 4:18PM

If Tom Murphy is going to help with a reform of conflict of interest laws and setting up new rules for those who make contracts, perhaps we should ask these Greek sprinters who wreck motocycles after taking roids to give a few pointers on how to ride on the wild side to #7, Big Ben.

Their motocycle crash was one of the overlooked moments in sports. It put a black cloud on the early moments of the Olympics back in Greece. - More Sports - Greek sprinters admit to doping at '04 Olympics - Monday June 26, 2006 4:18PM Nearly two years after embarrassing the host nation on the eve of the Athens Olympics, Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou admitted they broke doping rules and accepted their bans from competition.

The runners dropped their appeals Monday before the Court at Arbitration for Sport. The International Association of Athletics Federations said they will be eligible to return Dec. 22 after completing their two-year bans, provided they pass the mandatory drug tests.

Finally a channel for Big Ten diehards | 06/26/2006 | Finally a channel for Big Ten diehards The Big Ten Conference is thinking outside the box. Beginning in August 2007, the conference will launch its own television network, which will be called -- drum roll, please -- the Big Ten Channel.

Well, OK, the name isn't much, but you have to admire the ambition.

'It will be a destination for all things Big Ten,' said commissioner James E. Delany, whose definition for 'all' is a little loose. Football and men's basketball games will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, as stipulated by contractual agreement. But all the other things -- you know, soccer, tennis, swimming, diving and wrestling -- you'll find them there.

The Big Ten Channel involves a partnership with Fox Cable Networks and will be available to satellite and cable distributors and through the Internet, iPods and cell phones.

Let's ask the FOX how to fix the Chicken Coop & Murphy off the hook

Edited slightly:
Federal prosecutors won't indict former Mayor Murphy: "the EX-mayor would be working with Ms. Buchanan primarily on reforming state Act 111, which governs the binding arbitration which applies to police and firefighters contracts. He said they might talk to state officials about ideas like preventing contract negotiations during election season, or giving city councils some say over what kinds of contract provisions are agreed to between the parties before arbitration starts.
Hold the phone. Replace, Redirect, Reform. I don't want to have those folks have any hand in any reforms. No way. Ex-Mayor Tom Murphy is the last guy I want to be in a role for REFORMING conflict of interest measures.

There is a time to hear from Mayor Murphy -- and there is a time to run away quickly from all that he does. Listen just to figure out which way he is moving -- then go the other directions.

Drive to shrink city council gains steam

A couple have emailed me asking about this proposal, not sure what to think.
Drive to shrink city council gains steamFirefighters, city GOP want council cut to size

A referendum drive to cut the size of Pittsburgh City Council from nine members to five may have unprecedented momentum, council members and their foes agree.
First, I love democracy and I think we need to use it or loose it. We need to flex those community muscles and that means we should be putting three to six referendum questions onto the ballot every election for the next few years. So, I like the use of referendums a great deal.

I also love the concept of ballot access. This means that questions should be put to the public and made available for a general vote without a lot of undo hardships in terms of signatures of voters.

So, direct, honest candidates and questions should get onto the ballot with reason. As many know, this isn't the case now. Statewide candidates get onto a ballot with 2,000 signatures while nearly 100,000 are needed for those who are NOT with the old party label, D and R. That has to be changed.

We don't even allow for citizen led ballot questions in PA. The 'growing greener' vote of May, 2005, for example, was put onto the ballot by the Governor and blessed by the legislature. We, as citizens, should have the right to put up ballot questions too. In the city, there is that possibility.

So, let's vote. Let's have the discussion. Let's get the question on the ballot.

But, I don't like that these questions are HATCHED behind closed doors and are no put out into the open before they are put onto various petitions. The wording of the changes for the city charter need to be "sanctioned" in a much better way. I'm not sure we are putting forth the very best questions for general vote.

I know that the 'row-office reduction' and debate was centered around a very bad question. The question that went to the voters was much weaker than what I would have done. I bucked for individual questions for each row office, YES - or - NO, rather than the package deal that was crunched into one question.

Before I get into the ins and outs of if council should be dropped from 9 to 5, I want to see who is calling and giving out black petitions? Where are they Joe King and Bob Hillen? Will this be another fruitless exercise? There isn't a good track record of getting signatures. And, are we going to be spinning our wheels again?

The deadline is August 8. Why is this just getting media coverage now? Did I miss something back in April, May, and June?

I drove past a firehouse today and almost pulled over to walk to the folks there and ask these same questions. Where are the black petitions? Can I get some? Let's go!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Garbage Workers, City Don't Reach Union Agreement - News - Garbage Workers, City Don't Reach Union Agreement Workers Threaten To Walk Out Before MLB All-Star Game
Oh no. The precious over-hyped All-Star Game might have serious talk of workers rights in the air -- to go along with the "No Sweatshop Protesters." And without wi-fi wireless, what will these red-carpet guests do?

Extras needed for a Pittsburgh Movie and Tailgate later

July 1 @ 5:00 pm - the Regatta at the Point
Join ths historic event to sing "It's a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood" with Mr. McFeely for the film "A Tale of Two Cities".

Pittsburghers who now live in Los Angeles and New York have all gathered together to sing the song and now Pittsburghers will have an opportunity to be a part of the movie!

Go to for more information.

If you come - look for the WIFMPIT Red Flag and wear red to show your support for our organization.

Check out the website for more information.

Pittsburgh Steeler Tailgate, August 19 @ The Best Western in Parkway Center

An all day tailgate party. Look for the WIFMPIT red flag and wear red to show your support.

Faith J Dickinson, Founding President, Women In Film and Media ~ Pittsburgh Chapter,, A Member of Women In Film and Television International

Edited slightly and nuked phone.

Pittsburgh needs a revolutionary Bishop

The Tribune Review ran part of my editorial today stating that the Pittsburgh Diocese should appoint a "young" priest to the position. Here's the rest. Most people agree with me...let me know your opinion. The entire letter to the editor is below:

Bishop Donald Wuerl has left his hometown of Pittsburgh for Washington, D.C. The post looks to be a promotion because of it is a higher profile in our nation’s capital. In actually, the constituency is much smaller.

The Pittsburgh diocese is at a cross roads. As reporter Craig Smith notes in his June 22 article (Challenges await Wuerl’s successor), our churches have trouble filling pews and our Catholics are either changing religions, or most appropriately, abandoning organized faith altogether.

At least eight different candidates were recently suggested. All of those mentioned in the article are accomplished; however, none seem to be a revolutionary pick for Pittsburgh. All but one are 56 or older.

What is needed in Pittsburgh is a young voice. Pittsburgh deserves a bishop who not only provides a young face, but a leader who espouses vitality, optimism and energy. The new Bishop needs to be from Western Pennsylvania. He needs to be young. He needs to be someone who can make Catholics from around the country stand up and take notice.

When Karol Jozef Wojtyla was appointed the 264th Pope on October, 16, 1978, he was seen as a "Rock Star" of sort, an impossibly young Pope who was outdoorsy and the leader of youth.

Roman Catholic churches and schools are closing all over Pittsburgh. Appointing a new Bishop who is incapable of relating to young people and families would be a grave injustice for Catholics. And such a choice would be unremarkable.

The diocese and those in leadership in Pittsburgh need to do something remarkable. They need to "lead" by doing something "out of the box."

The diocese needs to pick a bishop who is 45 or younger; someone who can serve for 20 years in Pittsburgh and make a “real” difference.

A new Bishop in Pittsburgh would need to be no-nonsense when it comes to scandals and controversies. And he would need to be able to serve for an undetermined, indefinite period of time.

Pittsburgh needs someone with the personality and people skills to lead and hopefully "grow" the faith in Pittsburgh.

Thomas Leturgey


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Coach Dick Bower, with Erik and Grant. We're gearing up for summer camp.

PennPatriot Online - another Harrisburg joke

PennPatriot Online: "Minuteman: Tax rebate ploy isn't fooling anyone

The verdict is in.

Even before Gov. Ed Rendell has had a chance to sign the compromise Senate-House tax rebate bill into law and stand before the TV cameras to pretend he's delivered on his promise to cut property taxes, just about everybody agrees the bill stinks to high hell.

Forget any political mileage Rendell and the legislators who voted for it anticipated to get. I've yet to come across a single person dumb enough to believe that House Bill 39 is anything more than a feeble attempt by career politicians to fool voters. Rendell and the Harrisburg bunch aren't fooling anyone but themselves.

The scheme has been panned by the Pennsylvania Taxpayer Alliance, an umbrella organization that represents a dozen grassroots citizen groups across the state.

Lynn Swann, the Republican candidate for governor, and Russ Diamond, the founder of PaCleanSweep and an independent candidate for governor, has also blasted the rebate plan. 'Call this bill 'relief' or 'reform' is a joke,' Diamond said."

Pitt wants building code enforced for off-campus student housing

Pitt wants building code enforced for off-campus student housing The University of Pittsburgh will ask the city and the O'Connor administration to start placing greater emphasis on building code compliance as it pertains to off-campus student housing, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said yesterday.
Here we go again. This isn't such a clear-cut request that will be greeted with open arms in many communities.

Nordy should be putting something on the table too -- beyond just a request.

Pitt is a big part of the problem in Oakland and throughout Pittsburgh. If the leaders of the University had a sense of their failures and really wanted to make conditions better -- then we should talk. There is a lot to do. And, there is a lot of healing that needs to be confronted and examined in an open way.

How about this as a starting suggestion.

Any Pitt Student that is caught doing vandalism -- such as grafitti -- to either public or private property -- will be expelled from the University for at least one year.

Furthermore, Pitt should join in a pledge with RMU, DU, Art Insitutute, and the dozen of other instututions of learning (from CCAC to CMU to cooking schools) to make this a valid, county-wide pledge.

Then we'll talk about parking issues and a community behavior focus that makes on-going education of students, staff and faculty something to be proud.

In due time, we need to tap into the academic brain trust when it comes to dealing with some of our nagging problems. The merger of EMS services -- in the city and in the county -- needs to the input of those at UPMC and Pitt's School of Rehab Sciences. The talents and insights of the academics are hardly ever leveraged in our dealings with these solutions.

Sure, there is a LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS, and sure, they hosted one debate on campus in the past six months. But where was the School of Public Health? Where is GPISA? Where is the board and its trustees? What about the commnunity access elements -- even from past deals such as the UPMC SPORTS MEDICINE Center on the South Side.

Pitt's spring football game should be played to a sold-out crowd at South Vo Tech's stadium (Cupples) with a weekend long celebration of all things academic, athletic and community. Parades of athletes with tailgates among departments and neighbor fans should be part of the mix here in Pittsburgh, at Pitt and with other universities.

There is a huge gap and dis-connect among community leaders, community participation and the institutions in this town.

And CMU -- thanks for the recent fumble of the golf course in the park. Thanks for the graceless, mindless exit.

Wikinomics needs a subtitle

Put in your feedback there.

I do love lots of these suggestions.

My entry is rather bland: Cooperation, Compeitition and Community. I'm fond of using three words all with the same first letter, as in Sports Support Syndicate. Or, Replace, Redirect then Reform.

Other suggestions:
# This Book is a Stub

# Why too many cooks don't spoil the broth

# (Your Input Needed Here)*

# Unleashing Collaboration for Competitive Advantage

# The Art of Digital Collaboration (or How to Get People to Make Money For You)

# Made Up Words & Overhyped Nonsense

# How Two Guys Blathered About Nothing And Suckered Folks Into Buying Their Book

A few of these would make good t-shirts too.

(See comments for many more.)

North Shore Garage

Bending over backwards for the All-Star Game again.
North Shore garage unused 'Our time frame was to get it open and running smoothly by the All-Star game and that's the process we're in now.
This garage, like so many other projects in the city, has some bad karma.

It is huge. It is going to take an entire weekend to get out of the garage after a special event.

In the city, we build garage space because we know how to build garages. But, it needs to be in areas that are simple, not where there is existing need. For example, we'll build too much garage space on Second Ave for the Pgh Technology Center because they have flat open space. But there are already garages there.

We really want "wet labs" and the North Side really wants a "amphitheater" -- but -- the pathway for Pittsburgh is to build those garages first and do nothing or little else. Then, their thinking goes, the projects that are much harder to plan, build, manage, tax and program are "jump started" -- hardly.

If you want diversity of use, such as a garage on the bottom floors, mixed with retail and housing in the top floors -- build it. This is a monster sized garage that has nothing else but parked cars.

People have felt the pinch with higher gas prices and in other cities (Denver, Dallas, LA, DC) mass transit ridership is increasing by leaps and bounds. Here, we build more parking in fringe areas that isn't organic to what a vibrant neighborhood should contain.

My knocks on the garage has little to do with it being "opening week" and no ribbon cutting. I don't care to see a ribbon cutting. I don't care to have advertisements run about the "grand opening." Those are but pimples in the real life of the project.

But, the Post-Gazette does care about the lack of "marketing for the garage." The P-G would like to see some full page ads in its pages, paid by the Parking Authority.

Tell us how many use the new garage in PNC Firtside. How many use the garages on Second Ave? What capacity are they? How about real evaluations, in ongoing ways, of parking throughout the entire Parking Authority system.

The Parking Authority should be liquidated. I've said that years ago and stick by that effort as a platform plank. However, at least this is a project that was done by the Parking Authority -- and not some other agency. Too often the URA or the Housing Authority or PAT are building garages and we get serious 'mission creep' and boondogles galore.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rob Mensching Openly Uninstalled : The WiX toolset presents the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office.

I'm a big fan of OPEN Souce solutions. I am also a fan of Open Office and public domain content. The Creative Commons elements are nice and have helped to move this type of publishing more into the mainstream. Here is the latest news insights from a techie blogger, FYI.
Rob Mensching Openly Uninstalled : The WiX toolset presents the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office. Essentially, the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office is a small piece of code that adds a 'Creative Commons' item to the File menu in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The 'Creative Commons' menu item brings up a dialog that allows the use to choose a Creative Commons license for their document. The cool part is that the license is fetched from the Creative Commons web site via a web service exposed by Creative Commons. This web services allows the add-in to stay current with licenses should they change.

You can read a bit about the add-in in the news here and here.

But what does this have to do with software installation?

Well, that's the interesting part of the story. You see when it came time to deliver the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office, there were some installation hurdles. First, the add-in is managed code that integrates with both Office XP and Office 2003. To integrate with Office via managed code you need the Office Primary Interop Assemblies (PIAs). To make things even more complicated there are PIAs for Office XP and PIAs for Office 2003. This means we need a boostrapper/chainer to handle the multiple MSI packages.

35 Boy Scouts Sickened At Camp; Health Officials Investigate - News -

The first report was in my blog -- and it was a few weeks ago. Our 5th grade camping trip ended with a number of kids and an couple adults getting sick. My son had his head in a garbage bag on the front row of the bus on the trip home to school. A classmate lost it in the third row of the bus. Then... after we landed, there were reports of another 20 or more getting sick over the weekend, including one of the teachers. We were gone from WED to Friday and had a bumpy landing.
35 Boy Scouts Sickened At Camp; Health Officials Investigate - News - 35 Boy Scouts Sickened At Camp; Health Officials Investigate

WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. - Dozens of Boy Scouts got sick at a camp conference in Westmoreland County and now health-care workers are trying to find out why. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported about 35 Scouts began having gastrointestinal problems Tuesday at Camp Twin Echo in Fairfield Township.
Next call, Dept of Health.

TV Reporter: Higher Calling

Wuerl to be installed today Wuerl to be installed today
On the 11 pm news last night it was reported that the ex-Bishop of Pittsburgh now has a "higher calling."

I don't think so.

He is still reporting to GOD. Isn't that his real calling? I don't think that changed in the slightest.

Trash Talking

Let's Redd Up Pittsburgh! It's time to Redd Up Pittsburgh, 'cause company's coming!' That was something I said referring to cleaning up the city for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. But, in reality, my goal is to make Pittsburgh one of the cleanest, safest cities in...
But, if reality said that the goal was to make Pittsburgh one of the cleanest and safest cities, say that at on the first pitch.

Don't put lipstick on a pig.

Don't fall into the hype trap. Or, pull us OUT of the hype trap, already.

You could NAG as Tom Murphy did and get the same results as Tom Murphy. No thanks.

Or, you could lead by example, something that Bob O'Connor has been doing with plenty of gusto. Fine.

The deck chairs on the sinking ship are sure to be boarded up some time soon. But, it costs the city a lot to board up a property, to take it over, to maintain it, to do the title clearing and so on and so forth. The budget has 300 houses set for demolition -- but the list is presently at three to five -- if not more -- times that.

And, in two more years, the list is going to be even larger.

The Redding Up effort makes for a 'no win battle.' Rather, some big ideas are needed to turn the tide. Rather than walking away from properties, we need to see a rush to Pittsburgh from near and far. That's what I wonder about -- and what Bob O'Connor has not been able to deliver.

Moon high school plan nixed again - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Moon high school plan nixed again - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Relying on Web sites, blogs and e-mail, community activists are finding they can reach more people more efficiently than ever before -- posting their positions instead of repeatedly recounting them or printing them in fliers and mass mailings.

John Broderick didn't know how many people had clicked on to to learn about parents' battle to revive a plan to build a new high school in Moon, but he knows the Web site has been crucial to their fight."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lofty plans vie for cash: Leaders push ideas for urban research center

Hat-tip to Pittsblog.
Lofty plans vie for cash: Leaders push ideas for urban research center 'To build buildings using the available resources, without building the entrepreneurial and research culture, I think that's a mistake,' said TechStar director Lane Brostrom. 'We don't have the critical mass of resources yet, so the question is: Where do you start?'

Both Byrnes and Brostrom are seeking political support for their respective plans. Given tight public finances, both have potential to stir controversy with their ambitious spending plans. Authors of both plans met last month in an effort to reconcile their aims.

Assuming that a compromise can be agreed upon, the question remains whether the plan can complement other efforts under way in Milwaukee, or whether it will overreach the city's capacity to generate patents and start-ups.

'The more of these organizations we have, the better it will be. It will raise the profile of the city,' Byrnes said.
Where do you start? Start at home. Start with the local kids. Start with the schools. Start with open source software. Start with open source software in government -- as a mandate. Eat your own dogfood.

Then kick things into gear with a YOUTH TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT. Build easy steps for local companies to interact with the young job pool. Make stars among the high school students, among the community college crowd, and among the leaders of those populations.

To reach for patents as a benchmark is a wrong-headed direction.

In Milwaukee, I've noted that they are trying to hire 40 new police as well. pointer

There there is the 'profile of the city' bunk. Screw that. Worry more about the 28 shootings on Memorial Day Weekend. Police staffing there has been short by 200 for several years. That sounds so much like Pittsburgh. Go figure.

Sharp increases in testing results for a school after switching to Linux

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Brandon Elementary scored top in the District of Atlanta Public Schools and third in the state on the standardized tests in Georgia. William Fragakis and I (posted by Daniel) converted all the old, nonfunctioning PCs into Linux thin clients running K12LTSP, got more than 100 donated PCs from businesses, and bought more than 60 new NTAVO thin clients at $99 each. The ended up more than tripling the number of working PCs in each classroom.

Scores were up across the board, and math scores, in particular were up sharply this year. All of the teachers have told us how much having all the Linux PCs have improved things, but this is the first hard evidence. Not that I'm a complete fan of all the testing that goes on here lately, but test results are paid attention to by decision makers, many of the ones we want to convince of the benefits of open source software and thin client architectures.

Thanks to the group for all the support! Daniel

Voters -- citizens -- poll workers -- democracy lovers -- lend us your cycles



Vote on November 7, 2006: My Assigments

Humm.... New web goodie. Give this a whirl. See if you can log on and make sense. Feedback welcomed.
Vote on November 7, 2006: My Assigments: "My Assigments
recently closed | all tickets
Tickets I am Working On"

DemocracyFest, Education by Day. Celebration by Night

DemocracyFest, Education by Day. Celebration by Night

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Silver Eye's South Side Hike -- tonight

Silver Eye, Center for Photography, 412 431 1810 ext. 11 is holding a City of Bridges: Book Signing and Urban Hike, Wednesday, June 21, 7:00 p.m.

Bob Regan and Tim Fabian talk about their most recently published book: Bridges of Pittsburgh. An urban hike follows to nearby bridges. Members and Students: $10.00; Non-members, $15.00. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,

Silver Eye's South Side Hike -- tonight

Silver Eye, Center for Photography, 412 431 1810 ext. 11 is holding a City of Bridges: Book Signing and Urban Hike, Wednesday, June 21, 7:00 p.m.

Bob Regan and Tim Fabian talk about their most recently published book: Bridges of Pittsburgh. An urban hike follows to nearby bridges. Members and Students: $10.00; Non-members, $15.00. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,

The Sweatshop Stops Here

Are you aware of this??? You need to be. The All Star Game comes to Pittsburgh -- and we're going to send a statement to the world that Pittsburgh is a place were all workers are respected.
AlterNet: WireTap: The Sweatshop Stops Here

In the past decade, over 200 universities have adopted antisweatshop codes of conduct in response to student protest.

Student activists at the University of California have achieved a significant victory in restraining the forces of unregulated globalization. UC president Robert Dynes announced in May that the ten-campus system had pledged its 'full and enthusiastic engagement' with an antisweatshop policy advocated for the past year by United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), a national coalition.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Swim practices have been going well. Our hip position is getting better on backstroke too.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Inside Mac and Mac Minute to Deliver "Inside Mac Minute" Radio Program

Are there any Mac users out there in Pittsburgh? Of course. I'm still without OS X. Oh well. This looks like a nice production.
CARSON CITY, NV. June 19, 2006 - Inside Media Networks ( a new media broadcast, consulting, and digital production company serving entrepreneurial content producers, today launches a daily Macintosh technology radio news program and Podcast in partnership with Stan Flack's website. Inside Mac Minute will be hosted by industry veteran producer, Dina Orlando. Dina joins the Inside Media Networks team as Executive Producer of Inside Mac Radio & TV. She will also join Scott Sheppard, CEO and Executive Producer of all Inside Media Networks original content programs, as news anchor for the Inside Mac Weekly Radio program heard live on San Francisco Bay Area's 1220-KNTS station each Saturday and Sunday from 1-3PM Pacific Standard Time.

According to Scott Sheppard, "Mac Minute is the definitive source of Apple Mac Technology news on the web today, we are thrilled to provide a lively audio version that will keep our audience of over 250,000 up to date on the latest in Mac news, and product highlights. Dina Orlando brings a fresh approach and has a history of producing top-notch radio talk shows throughout the San Francisco Bay area including; sports-anchor Gary Radnich (680am - KNBR), Sports-Talk with ESPN and KGO-TV personality Carolyn Burns (1220am - KNTS), and was a principal creative director for (102.9fm - KBLX) and (810am - KGO) Radio."

"I'm excited about the opportunity to bring a new level of interactivity and new media to Mac Minute", says Stan Flack, the legend behind the #1 Mac news source online today. "I could not have chosen a more professional team or larger distribution base than Inside Mac Radio and TV, and look forward to the launch of the new program."

Inside Mac Minute daily news will begin broadcasting exclusively via Apple iTunes this week. Listeners can subscribe to the radio program via iTunes, to automatically receive your daily dose of the best in Macintosh technology radio news programming at ...

For more information about the Inside Mac programs, visit or

Report: Legal fees in pay-raise lawsuits top $1 million

The Associated Press has some expensive news for PA citizens. Not only did the pay raise cost a ton, as did its pensions. But now the total is in as to the amount it cost to defend that madness of the legislature that was signed by Gov Rendell -- as the legal bills are more than $1-million.
PHILADELPHIA - Defending state lawmakers, judges and Gov. Ed Rendell in lawsuits spawned by last year's short-lived, unpopular legislative pay raise has cost taxpayers more than $1 million so far, a newspaper reported.

The amount represents the total cost for outside lawyers working on five lawsuits stemming from the pay raise, one of which was thrown out by a federal judge last week, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday.

State officials said they were obligated to defend themselves, even though they consider the lawsuits frivolous since the law raising the salaries of lawmakers, judges and executive-branch officials was repealed in November.

"Do I like hiring lawyers to defend these kinds of suits? No, I hate to do this," said House Majority Leader Sam Smith, R-Jefferson. "I understand why people think it is a waste of money, but if we think we are right about the process, we have to defend it."

Six staff lawyers on the state payroll have been involved in the cases, plus at least 16 private lawyers from five law firms, including one who charges $625 an hour, the newspaper reported.

"They have robbed the bank," said Gene Stilp, a Harrisburg activist who filed three of the lawsuits, "and then used the people's money to defend themselves."

Stilp estimated that he spent $10,000 of his money on the lawsuits, mostly for copying fees and court costs.

The pay-raise law was passed without public notice or debate in the early-morning hours of July 7 before lawmakers recesses for the summer. The ensuing furor over the raises led to the repeal and has been widely cited as the reason for the ouster of a Supreme Court justice in the November election and of 17 sitting lawmakers - mostly Republicans - in last month's primary.

Three of the five lawsuits directly challenged the pay raise. The other legal challenges sought a state audit of legislative spending and asked the court to declare unconstitutional certain legislative benefits such as leased cars and per diems.

U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane on June 12 threw out a federal lawsuit that challenged the manner in which the pay-raise law was passed, saying the ispute belongs to the "political and electoral process." The other suits were filed in state courts.

Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause of Pennsylvania, a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, questioned why the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government did not rely solely on their own staff lawyers to defend them.

Stephen MacNett, chief counsel to Senate Republicans, said the staff attorneys "are not litigators" and added that outside lawyers are constitutional-law experts. He said most of the legal costs were incurred after the pay-raise repeal as the lawsuits continued.

The repeal "should have been the end of it," MacNett said, but the plaintiffs "are attempting to make a point - an expensive point."

"And unfortunately, it's not done yet," he said.

All-star baseball update

Just got this email about the All Star Game in Pittsburgh with Major League Baseball in a few weeks.
I just found your Pittsburgh Pirates blog entry at, and I think you may be of some help to me. I'm reaching out to you on behalf of Monster, Major League Baseball, and M80 regarding a chance to blog the MLB All-Star Game. From looking at your Pittsburgh Pirates blog entry, I think that you or your audience might really find the Monster MLB All-Star Game opportunity interesting. Monster and MLB are offering a trip for two to the All-Star game and all events, on-field press credentials, an all-star player interview, an official blog on and $2,000.

You can enter,

Anyhow, if you'd like to pass on the information via a post or banner on your blog, I can offer you a baseball cap for the team of your choice. Please let me know if you're interested and I'll get you more information. Thank you for your time!
Lauren, M80 Lauren - at- /


Does this guy know how to catch the headlines or what? I hope he doesn't mind being in the limelight when there is a football game too.

Here is a blog mention and 'toast' to 'smartness and wide eyes.' Be like an owl to better see trouble before it happens -- and even at night -- all in black and gold.

The image is a papercut.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Gather dot com home page hits two HOME RUNS on first blush

Welcome | GatherPeople share perspectives on everything from politics to parenting.
Would you look at that --- Parenting and POLITICS, both, right on the top of the home page. Was that a "fathers day fluke" or "for real?"

Big 33 Classic: Pa.-Ohio matchup needs a new contract

Wow #1: Big 33 Classic: This may be last Pa.-Ohio matchup History lesson: There has never been a Super Bowl without a former Big 33 player.

Wow #2: Way to go Pine Richland High School Baseball Team!

Wow #3: PIAA Class AA champions: Riverside Panthers win title, 7-4 The win pushed Riverside into an elite class. The Panthers are only the fourth team in PIAA history to win back-to-back titles, and only the second from the WPIAL to do the double take.

Open Thread: Happy Fathers Day -- and lessons from Dads

One life lesson from my Dad was, "Would-a, should-a, and could-a don't mean shit. It is the "do-a-s" that count."

Tell us something that you'd like to share about your dad or parenting in the comments section, or email Mark at and I'll repost.

Join Us at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for Fathers' Day

My family and I will be greeting dads and others at the zoo on Sunday, Fathers' Day. Dads get in for free when they are with a child.
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium: "Sunday, June 18, 2006
Verizon Yellow Pages Fathers Day
Celebrate Fathers Day at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Dads receive free admission all day when accompanied by a child.

In addition to free admission dads can check out cars from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and win a Golden Dad reward kit as the National Fatherhood Initiative spots 'Golden Dads' in action.

Editorial: All-star effort / The Pirates should speak up about sweatshops

From Saturday, June 17, 2006, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Would you mind if that Pittsburgh Pirates shirt you bought last week was sewn by a 14-year-old girl in Bangladesh during her 12th hour of labor in a factory that pays her in pocket change and certainly no overtime?

Polls have shown that most Americans do mind. And certainly Pittsburghers, with their long tradition of improving labor conditions through collective bargaining, are even more likely to balk at their hometown team's shirts being manufactured in sweatshops.
Major League Baseball, not the Pirates, signs the contracts with the companies that sell the stuff bearing team logos and arranges for its manufacture. The Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance has asked the Pirates to ask Major League Baseball to take the same measures that hundreds of universities across the country have to ensure that merchandise sporting their names isn't made by people trapped in grotesque working conditions.

The Pirates have responded by asking Major League Baseball to take a look at the issue of sweatshops -- not to resolve it, just mull it. Major League Baseball has assured the alliance that the players' uniforms and caps are made in the United States and that it requires companies contracting for manufacture of fan merchandise, almost always overseas, to "comply with all applicable labor laws."

Is it fine, then, if the local labor laws in Bangladesh allow 14-year-olds to work 12 hours for pennies without overtime?

Nearly 160 universities, including Duquesne, Penn State and Carnegie Mellon, deal with this by including a code of conduct for labor conditions in their contracts with these companies and by joining an organization that investigates workers' complaints.
It's not perfect. The group checks only a few of the thousands of factories around the world. Still, it's some policing.

The alliance plans to conduct a sweatshop information "carnival" on July 11, the day of the All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. The Pirates should head it off by asking Major League Baseball to make a real attempt at enforcement. It's not too much to ask.

CMU walks off tee of city golf course

We don't golf. But, that does NOT mean I do not care about this deal and this asset. I don't play hockey either -- but I also care about the closed, indoor ice rink -- another closed asset of the city's. We all need to care a bit about the assets of the city -- as these are owned by the PEOPLE -- and they can make our shared spaces vibrant, and in turn, a safer city.
CMU walks off tee of city golf course - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Carnegie Mellon University is quitting as the caretaker of Pittsburgh's only golf course.

The university has operated Schenley Park Golf Course since May 1993, but will allow its contract with the city to expire by May 2007 -- possibly sooner.

That means Mayor Bob O'Connor must find a new course manager or risk saddling the city with operating costs it would be hard-pressed to afford."
What is needed, above all else -- when this type of discussion begins -- is a PITTSBURGH PARK DISTRICT. We need park people, coaches, and users of all these assets to look at the landscape on more global ways.

Illinois has a different wrinkle in its style and method of government that is lacking in Pennsylvania. We can fix that.

The Whacky Business of Pittsburgh Politics

By Mike Ference, a.k.a. The Mon Dawn
I think Pittsburgh City Council should hold off trying to appoint an ethics committee. I’m afraid that too many elected officials in the commonwealth of PA can not accurately select such a person. One must only glance at recent headlines of former PA Gaming Commission officers, employees and thugs who have severely stained the agency’s reputation for many years to come with their alleged criminal behavior.

Similar headlines have also tarnished (albeit an already tarnished image of law enforcement and politics) Mon Valley Municipal Government’s ability to select Police Chiefs in at least two municipalities where they have been investigated and determined to be criminals (how many more Mon Valley police chiefs are under investigation or need to be investigated still remains to be determined).

Let’s not leave out the County Sheriff’s office that recently said farewell to two long-time, top-level police officers so they could learn the skill of crafting license plates. Not to mention Sheriff DeFazio’s refusal to answer questions in front of a federal grand jury, claiming the fifth amendment as a legitimate reason to do so. Last time I tried that fifth amendment stuff to protect an associate in the 12th grade I got whacked with a paddle. Perhaps, Sheriff DeFazio fears the same recourse.

So you see, maybe, just maybe Pittsburgh Council should adopt and wait and see attitude before launching into a search for an ethics committee. Sad to say, politicians just don’t seem to have a large enough network when it comes to finding decent human beings to help with the day-to-day business of keeping crime out of our government.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ethics panel -- not shakey start -- way worse!

Ethics panel off to a shaky start - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review According to the City Code, board members may not hold a public office, be part of a political committee or work for the city or state.

But that didn't stop Councilman Daniel Deasy from nominating Sheraden District Judge Randy C. Martini, or Councilman Jim Motznik from tapping Carrick District Judge Richard G. King. Both Martini and King are public office holders and state employees.

Councilman Jeffrey Koch nominated a member of his own office staff, former District Judge Eileen Conroy.

'How can you have someone who works for you sit in judgement of you? It's ridiculous,' said Joe Weinroth, vice chairman of the Pittsburgh Republican Committee. 'You're supposed to get unconnected, unaffiliated people that won't be under political pressure.'

Conservatism vs. Libertarianism

by Jacob G. Hornberger
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

The Conservative:

I'm a conservative. I believe in individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government, except for:

1. Social Security;

2. Medicare;

3. Medicaid;

4. Welfare;

5. Drug laws;

6. Public schooling;

7. Federal grants;

8. Economic regulations;

9. Minimum-wage laws and price controls;

10. Federal Reserve System;

11. Paper money;

12. Income taxation and the IRS;

13. Trade restrictions;

14. Immigration controls;

15. The postal monopoly;

16. Foreign aid;

17. Foreign wars of aggression;

18. Foreign occupations;

19. An overseas military empire;

20. A standing army and a military-industrial complex;

21. Infringements on civil liberties;

22. Military detentions and denial of due process and jury trials for citizens and non-citizens accused of crimes;

23. Torture and sex abuse of prisoners;

24. Secret kidnappings and "renditions" to brutal foreign regimes for purposes of torture;

25. Secret torture centers around the world;

26. Secret courts and secret judicial proceedings;

27. Warrantless wiretapping of citizens and non-citizens;

28. Violations of the Constitution and Bill of Rights for purposes of "national security"; and

29. Out-of-control federal spending to pay for all this.

The Libertarian:

I'm a libertarian. I believe in individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government. Period. No exceptions.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Riverlife Competition dot org

The winning California design team should have made a trip to Pittsburgh in the winter. The sort of curved ramp swinging way out from the bridge will be unwalkable in windy and cold weather and will also as positioned as a block the view to the Point for much of the drive over the bridge.

The rendering makes it look exciting but the reality in the cold dark of winter is much different. For women walking the bridge they would be feel unsafe and trapped by having them so far away from the the flow of traffic.

I'm confused about the walkway being on both sides of the bridge, upstream on the city side and downstream. Getting double the walkway woul drequire a considerably greater budget.

It would be much better to make one bridge span and then make another bridge span elsewhere. How about a bridge span under the Liberty Bridge? Or, perhaps we need better bikeways from Stuben Street through the West End Circle so one can get on a bike path at the foot of the West End Bridge. How can one get down from Mt. Washington or around on Rt. 51 from Brookline and zip onto that bikeway on the bridge. So, lets not cross the river twice where one functional bridge passing is necessary and the second is just silly.

Bike Tour -- No War

Dirt Rag {Web Rag: News} Darryl Purpose and Kevin Deame, the men behind the 2006 Coalesce Bike Tour for Peace, left Los Angeles on April 23rd and plan to pedal into Washington, DC on June 23rd to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament.

The purpose of the trip is to promote peace and an end to the war in Iraq. The ride is not a fundraiser for any organization, but rather an educational tour and 'a good way to get back in shape' according to the riders, although there will be several events to raise money for local peace and justice organizations. Coincidentally, the tour is visiting Dirt Rag's home town of Pittsburgh, PA on June 19th.

Rider Darryl Purpose is a musician and he is using the bike ride to promote his new live CD, Live at Coalesce. Darryl will be performing a free concert in Pittsburgh at a gig that runs from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on June 19th at the Union Project Great Hall, corner of Stanton and North Negley in the Highland Park section of town. The gig also includes additional musical acts and speakers. There will also be an opportunity to ride with Darryl earlier in the day. Click here for more info on Darryl's Pittsburgh visit.

The crew of the Coalesce Bike Tour for Peace are posting the gory details of life on the road on their official blog.

Tentative OK given to Lincoln-Lemington strip mall plan

Tentative OK given to Lincoln-Lemington strip mall plan - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Members Jeff Koch and Tonya Payne were not present for the vote.
Is this a trend or just my worst fears?

Jeff -- where are you on this vote? Do you side with the community groups? Or do you side with the developers?

Jeff was absent in the first moments of the revealing of the office expense accounts. But, then again, Jeff has hardly been there to spend any money in the office. But since, he has put up his sending in an on-line fashion so all can see -- so I was told.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Think again --- there they go again, using my 'slogan.'

Think again!
Pop City - Selling Pittsburgh: "Think it’s hard to recruit the best and brightest talent to Pittsburgh? Think again.

Have you heard the song, "Think again?" on my campaign CD -- by Amy Carol Webb?

Strip mall showdown

Strip mall showdown - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review A Squirrel Hill developer is trying to exclude a Lincoln-Larimer nonprofit it once partnered with from plans to build a new a strip mall anchored by a Family Dollar discount store.

Alex Enterprises and the Lincoln-Larimer Community Development Corp. have worked since 2002 to plan a 2.8-acre strip mall at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Deary Street, but a resolution proposed Tuesday by Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle would give Alex Development full control of the site.
So, is this an example of more cronie-ism, more backlashes for those that have gotten out of line, more sweetheart dealings?

It smells bad. It seems like another insider's deal.

The city shouldn't be working to cut deals that should be working in the marketplace. But, of course, the city has put in roadblocks in the marketplace.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Irreverent blogger to leave Microsoft

Could you picture anyone in Pittsburgh, with power, enjoying a 'naysayer?' Critics are outcasts here, sadly.
Irreverent blogger to leave Microsoft Robert Scoble, 41 said Sunday he's going to miss the company, which seemed to love him the more he criticized it.

For Nonprofit Organizations: How to Handle Online Criticism

For Nonprofit Organizations: How to Handle Online Criticism You must address the criticisms directly and promptly. If you cannot respond immediately, then at least immediately acknowledge that the complaint has been read by the organization and a response is coming promptly . A week or more is not prompt in online community conversations.
Great points.

Prisuta: Arena gamble - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

If everyone thinks that a new arena is needed for the region -- then whoever is doing the counting can't.
Prisuta: Arena gamble - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review The news last week that the state will lend the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority $25 million to $30 million to begin securing land for an arena represented another significant and positive step toward the realization of a project everyone from Gov. Ed Rendell on down agrees is needed for the region.
Then the notion of a "Plan B to Plan B" confirms my hunch about the lack of counting skills from the writer, Mike. Give us a break. Plan B for Plan B is called Plan C. That is the third letter of the alphebet.

To hear that Rendell, Onorata and O'Connor are betting on anything is great irony as they are the ones who are bringing us legalized casinos. There are no bets, however, with HOCKEY -- unless you do it on the internet and that can't be stopped.

The grass isn't always greener -- even with a new arena when the upside is with such a downside.

To take the $290 M from Isle of Capri is one thing. But, then I want them, or some other private company to OWN and OPERATE the new arena. I don't wan them to build it and give it over to the public. KEEP IT. Furthermore, I want the OLD ARENA to say put. Don't tear down the existing building for the new one as 1 + 1 = 2 and that is a net gain. Meanwhile +1 - 1 = ZERO.

Disney on Ice, Carrick's HIGH SCHOOL Graduation and a high school basketball tournament, or even college hockey game, does NOT need sky boxes. They can be played in the existing venue.

Monday, June 12, 2006

QB with a trademark

Jim McMahon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia He is also known for his trademark sunglasses. He wears them for medical reasons; in a childhood accident, a fork was stuck in one eye. While his vision was saved, the accident left that eye overly sensitive to light.

Rauterkus set to make run at state Senate seat in 42nd |

Rauterkus set to make run at state Senate seat in 42nd | Rauterkus set to make run at state Senate seat in 42nd

Michael Cristiano, Staff Writer, Thursday, June 8, 2006

South Side resident Mark Rauterkus looks to unseat incumbent State Sen. Wayne Fontana from his 42nd District perch in November.

Rauterkus, 47, a South Side resident and Penn Hills native, believes issues such as property tax, hefty tax incremental financing for large businesses and city and suburban recreational areas have been neglected by elected officials.

"The assessment system is a debacle," said Rauterkus, a swim coach with Carlynton School District. "If you fix up your home, they come out and punish you -- your taxes go up."

He favors a tax on land, based on square footage, instead of on homes, similar to the system Maryland has in place where assessment numbers would change over a three-year period.

TIFs are another sore spot with Rauterkus from the tax breaks for Lazarus to proposals to fund a new brewery in Latrobe.

"The government doesn't need to come in and spend millions of our tax dollars to open a new brewery," said Rauterkus.

The graduate of Ohio University and former candidate for mayor and city council also believes parks and recreational areas in the city have been neglected for too long. He criticized state legislator's attempts to fund repairs to Dormont Pool as short-sighted.

"We need to be looking globally at our resources not just worrying about one ... if we're going to put that much money into one place it should be used year-round," said Rauterkus, a married man with two sons.

Rauterkus, vice chairman of the Allegheny County Libertarian Party, who will run as an Independent cited disappointment with Fontana's policy.

He believes Fontana to be a vote for the status quo.

"He's been in there for more than a year and he hasn't done anything," said Rauterkus.

Fontana won a special election for the 42nd District in May 2005, beating out both Michael Diven (R-22) and Rauterkus, after Jack Wagner vacated the seat to become state auditor general.

Rauterkus, who holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, said he would work to bring accountability and transparency to state government if elected.

He needs 500 signatures to get on the November ballot.

"I think a vote for me is a protest vote. The guys in Harrisburg have abused the taxpayers."

The 42nd District encompasses parts of the City of Pittsburgh, Baldwin, Kennedy, Neville, Robinson, Scott and Stowe townships and Bellevue, Brentwood, Carnegie, Castle Shannon, Coraopolis, Crafton, Dormont, Green Tree, Heidelberg, Ingram, McKees Rocks, Pennsbury, Village, Rosslyn Farms and Thornburg boroughs.
The first interview and bit of press about the race for PA Senate, 2006, is out. Nice job Michael.

He won't be eating solids for months


For NBA owners, a contrast in style

Nice article about two people -- except the Mt. Lebo blue collar mention. How pedestrian and "blue devilish." | 06/11/2006 | For NBA owners, a contrast in style Mark Cuban, at 47 a decade younger than Arison, grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood of Pittsburgh. His ancestry is Russian. ``The name was shortened to Cuban [from Chopininski, a Texas newspaper reported] when my grandparents got to Ellis Island.''

Wuerl bids farewell - Fred gets some ink!

Fred gave the press some interesting quotes in today's newspaper, after the final mass of our departing Bishop.
Wuerl bids farewell - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Later, after the applause subsided and scores of people made their way across the street to a reception for Wuerl, Frederick Winkler remained seated in a pew 'just to soak it in.'

Winkler embodies the spirit that Wuerl cultivated during his time here -- he's of Lutheran faith, attends a Presbyterian church and considers himself a follower of the soon-to-be-departed bishop.

'As he puts it, we're all one in the body of Christ,' said Winkler, a South Hills architect who regularly tunes in to Wuerl's Sunday morning television show to learn more about the Catholic faith. 'He's done a lot to bring together all denominations.

'He has a very uplifting spirit. He's an inspiring kind of person.'

That inspiration was obvious, as people began filing into St. Paul an hour and a half before the noon service.

Pending bill -- drop the state-wide signature requirement to more realistic levels

INSIDE THE CAPITOL: "Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks, plans on introducing legislation that would lower the number of signatures required for third-party candidates to get on the November ballot. In a memo to lawmakers last week, Clymer said the law requires third-party candidates seeking a statewide office to obtain at least enough signatures to equal 2 percent of the most votes cast for any candidate in a statewide election. That sets the bar at 67,069 signatures. The number is based on 2 percent of the more than 3.3 million votes cast for state Treasurer Robert Casey Jr. in the 2004 election. Clymer proposed capping the signature requirement at 2 percent of the largest vote cast for any statewide candidate in the last election, or 45,000 signatures, whichever is less. He based the number 45,000 on the average statewide requirement for minor parties over the past 10 election cycles. Robert Small, founder of the Ballot Access Coalition, said the bar is still too high. 'While we appreciated Mr. Clymer working on it, the political reality is basically what we have right now are Cinderella candidates,' Small said. 'On Aug. 1, these candidates might be turning into pumpkins.'"

Sunday, June 11, 2006

'Trust us.' Yeah, right -- and fill out this test or else

Privacy takes another hit on the chin.
'Trust us.' Yeah, right - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Anyone with a history book knows it doesn't matter what governments promise. All governments, even American ones, have broken their word, ignored their laws or violated their constitutions at the drop of a hat -- or a bomb. Mining the data collected in ACS surveys will be inevitable -- and far more dangerous than collecting a few billion phone numbers.

City, developer eye single appraiser for Fifth and Forbes project

So much for the concept of two heads are better than one. Same too for bio-diversity. We're not getting stuck with big-plans from single sources that block the marketplace. This is what failed us in the past and what Tom Murphy was known for. Now we've got it again.
City, developer eye single appraiser for Fifth and Forbes project The value of 19 city-owned properties Downtown, to be sold to a Washington County developer as part of its plans for the Fifth and Forbes corridor, could be decided with the help of a single appraiser.

The city's Urban Redevelopment Authority and Millcraft Industries Inc. are considering the use of a mutually-agreed-upon appraiser to help set the fair market value of the parcels the URA has paid $13.8 million for over the last seven years.

The appraisal process likely will be part of a pending agreement between the URA and Millcraft to give the developer exclusive rights to the properties for at least a year, with options to extend those rights beyond that point.
This is a pet payoff.

All the king's horses and all the king's men won't fix Pittsburgh again -- just like they failed at Humpty Dumpty.