Monday, March 31, 2008

Petition for the Community Benefit Agreement for the new arena development

Are you going to sign?
The League of Young Voters: "I support Community Benefit Agreements!

The Community Benefit Agreement process between One Hill CBA Coalition and the new
Pittsburgh Penguins arena is important for the health of our city and region."

UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections

Pittsburgh big-screen premiere of the new feature-length documentary...

UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections
A Film by David Earnhardt
"...powerful and persuasive..."
Howard Zinn, Author, "A People's History of the United States"

"A vital and important work...Uplifting, encouraging, optimistic..."
Brad Friedman, Investigative Journalist,

"Very powerful. Clear and succinct. This film is urgent viewing
if you care about democracy and the integrity of the electoral process."
Robert Koehler, Syndicated Columnist, Tribune Media Services

Watch the Trailer

PITTSBURGH FILMMAKERS - Melwood Screening Room
Thursday, April 3, 2008 - 6:30 pm
Includes Q&A with filmmaker David Earnhardt,
special guest Marybeth Kuznik, and others,
and a bite or two to eat, too.

Hosted by: VoteAllegheny and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, benefiting VotePA, a 501(c)(4) organization

UNCOUNTED is an explosive documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 - and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. This controversial film examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S.

UNCOUNTED is a wakeup call to all Americans. As we approach the decisive election of 2008, UNCOUNTED will change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America.

Please forward this invitation to others who may be interested in seeing UNCOUNTED.

For more information about the film, visit:
Suggested donation $10, seniors/students $7.

Final Notes and Quotes from Federal Way Notes and Quotes from Federal Way Penn State slung shot up the team standings as junior backstroker Patrick Schirk made his first appearance in either a championship or consolation final and became the first ever Nittany Lion to stand atop the podium at the NCAA championships.

More quotes on growing up a Penn State fan and the meaning of winning this title for PSU:

"I grew up a Penn St fan all my life, being from Pennsylvania. All my family is Penn State alumni so it feels great and start to make the first steps to build a tradition at Penn State that we never really had before. So it feels great to be part of a first step in the direction of building a tradition like a Michigan or Texas."
Pitt had a diver make it into the top 8.

Entrepreneur finds possibilities problems are vast when doing business in China

Entrepreneur finds possibilities problems are vast when doing business in China: "Entrepreneur finds possibilities problems are vast when doing business in China

Ron Paul may visit Pittsburgh on April 3

Thursday, April 3, 1:00 AM

Where: (A location for this meeting hasn't been chosen yet)

Meeting Description: Rumor has it that Ron Paul will be visiting Pittsburgh (Oakland) on April 3, 2008. The exact time and location is unknown. Keep your schedule clear.

A request for the Olympic Team from Mark Schubert, Swimming

This letter is going out from the US Swimming's top coach to the network of other swim coaches in the USA. It was sent to the director of the American Swim Coaches Assn, John Leonard.
Dear John:

I am a STRONG believer in positive visualization. I KNOW that the Olympics will be GREAT.

Since China is a totalitarian government, any protests will not be seen. The American government and the USOC will not allow our team to go into an unsafe situation. The pollution will be handled by the Chinese government, totalitarian. The nutrition will be monitored by the USOC. Our team will not focus on the cheaters, only on our own great performances.

The only time that my positive attitude has ever let me down was the 1980 Olympic boycott. On second thought, my attitude didn't let me down, Jimmy Carter did.

My only concern about the current "Doom and Gloom" press coverage (boycott, pollution, Tibet, human rights, steroids, new swimsuits) is the possibility that our less savvy coaches and athletes might believe what they hear from the media as fact. This will cause them unnecessary stress in what is already an inherently stressful situation.

The biggest gift that The American Swimming Coaches Association can make toward our Olympic effort is to KEEP THE CHATTER POSITIVE. It is infectious and believable!

Thanks for your help in passing this forward John.

Mark Schubert
National Team Head Coach
The boycott is more about the 'opening ceremonies' and NOT about the Olympics, thankfully.

Candidate Obama said that he does NOT favor any boycott.

The pollution is what it is. Rather, the pollution is what it will be. Beijing is a large city in a huge country with billions of people. It is spotless in some areas. It is dirty in others. The air quality at the Olympics will be equal for all as everyone sucks oxygen from the same environment.

I have good faith that the air quality will be good as I have seen how the air quality after the May 7th, weeklong holiday changes. When the factories shut for vacations -- the air clears. They will shut down the factories in that region for that month.

The LZR Racer swim suit from Speedo is another matter. It might be buzz that is okay. Our swimmers and coaches can have some control on that front. That discussion should occur, with research, with vision, with the intensity of the 'doom and gloom media' to bring resolution and solutions for the sport for both short and long-term.

Tibet. Dafur. The best we can do is pray and ponder. Become aware. That is the best approach. Be smarter. Be open minded. Think again. Don't trust the sources of propaganda. Those are deep concerns and need deep understandings. Care. Seek insights as you are able. This is a time to 'study' as time permits.

Steriods -- humm. Stay clean. Eat well. Don't be ignorant there either. Nor should it be our position to be finger pointing.

Center for Creative Play remembered

Center for Creative Play remembered: "Today the Center for Creative Play is shutting its doors. Sad doesn't even come close to the emotions I feel.
This is a day of blogging 'equity.' Well, the kids are not equals.

Kids do NOT vote. Seniors do.

The link above points to a new blog. Check it out.

The fight to have a new center for creative play is an important struggle.

Parents need help. Pittsburgh should be known as a great place to raise a family.

When you have a baby -- your life changes. When you have a baby and child that isn't easy -- life gets very different. For most, this "change" isn't just different -- but it is difficult. Even with an easy child, there are difficult moments.

Thanks Mara.

Let's put another "Center for Creative Play" together -- or ten of them -- within our communities in the months and years to come.

That place was 'sacred' -- 'valued' -- 'timeless' -- and 'caring.'

It should NOT go away forever.

Super Suit’ Could Be Banned From Swimming Competitions - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News

Of course the suit needs to be banned. Boycott Speedo -- not the Olympics. - ‘Super Suit’ Could Be Banned From Swimming Competitions - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News A new, faster competitive bathing suit is the buzz of swimmers worldwide, but the revolutionary athletic attire could be banned from the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

Mary Griffin goes over the top in slamming Hillary

Marty Griffin of KDKA Radio has been tossing lots of dirt in Hillary Clinton's direction. Today he said that she should "give it up" in Pennsylvania now.

The election is in three weeks.

Her opponent, Barack Obama, thinks that Hillary should run as long as she wants to run.

But Marty made up his mind and thinks that the voters don't need to vote.

Furthermore, Griffin calls himself an 'independent.'

Let the voters decide.

Swimmer faces charge after nightclub fight - Monday March 31, 2008 2:06AM

Swimmer faces charge after nightclub fight: Swimmer Nick D'Arcy was charged Monday with assault following a nightclub altercation several hours after being named to Australia's Olympic team for Beijing.
After the swim meet, before the Olympics, a hockey game broke out down under.

In some cultures, sports is just an excuse to drink. I bet, and I'm not a betting type, drinking had a role in this fray. It is bad when the people in the sports get into the celebrations and drinking.

It will be interesting to see what the Australians do about this. And, it will be interesting to learn of more of the details.

In China -- drinking behviors and public intoxication is NOT often seen. You just don't do that there.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Creative Commons Expands Documentation Project

San Francisco, CA, USA -- March 24, 2008

Creative Commons today announced the expansion of a documentation project to explain various facets of Creative Commons licensing. The initiative includes links and PDF downloads to information on critical CC specifications, recommendations, research studies and tutorials. Some of the topics covered include the CC+ and CC0 projects, a simple licensing how-to, and best practices for integrating Creative Commons licensing in websites. The documentation project also offers posters, flyers and other creative media such as the "Sharing Creative Works" comic book. These documents may be downloaded directly from the Creative Commons Documentation page ( and are suitable for high quality printing and display.

Alex Roberts, Senior Designer at Creative Commons, explained the benefits of the documentation initiative. "We're always trying to make Creative Commons licenses easier to understand and use. From the beginning, CC has championed human-readable copyright licenses. Our documentation project works to extend this practice by offering short guides and explanations to a variety of CC topics." All of the documentation is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license for redistribution, reuse and remix.

In addition to the documents created by staff, Creative Commons called upon the larger community to help build a rich documentation portfolio. Jon Phillips, Community & Business Development Manager at Creative Commons, said that user participation is crucial in the documentation process. "There are so many interesting projects using Creative Commons licenses. We need to be able to draw upon these innovative organizations and talented individuals to help define and share their best practices. We've provided the framework and source files for many of our documents to get this process rolling." Creative Commons also asked for help from the broad community of CC adopters and open content supporters to help translate the PDF documents into other languages.

Visit to learn more about the project and get involved.

About Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, that promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works, whether owned or in the public domain. Through its free copyright licenses, Creative Commons offers authors, artists, scientists, and educators the choice of a flexible range of protections and freedoms that build upon the "all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to enable a voluntary "some rights reserved" approach. Creative Commons was built with and is sustained by the generous support of organizations including the Center for the Public Domain, the Omidyar Network, The Rockefeller Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as members of the public. For more information about Creative Commons, visit

Jon Phillips
Business + Community Development Manager
+86 1-360-282-8624
Creative Commons

Press Kit

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chelsea Clinton campaigns on South Side - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Chelsea Clinton campaigns on South Side - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Clinton was introduced by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who noted that he and Clinton are both 28 years old were born 21 days apart, he on Feb. 6, 1980, and she on Feb. 27 of that year.

Ugly News: Center For Creative Play is closing

This is bad, bad news.
Swissvale's Center For Creative Play is closing MondaySwissvale's Center For Creative Play is closing Monday
I took my kid to this place often. We went when it was in Station Square. And, we went when it moved out by the parkway east in Swissvale. Of course, as our kids grew, we didn't go.

My one boy held a birthday party there. It was one special place for lots of great reasons.

I hope the media sticks on this story and finds out why it is closing. What went wrong? What are the bills? Did the nonprofit weenies just fumble their duties?

Tell us! We really want to know. We want to be certain that this does NOT happen again.

Update, a new blog:

Pittsburgh mayor, council trash 'truce' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh mayor, council trash 'truce' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Don't throw stones when you live in a glass house, and that's what they've been doing,' Ravenstahl said."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Our Rights: ACLU Sues Over High School Dropout Rates

WireTap Magazine - Our Rights: ACLU Sues Over High School Dropout Rates.. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Palm Beach County School District in Florida over what it claims is a violation of its students' basic right to quality education as promised in the state constitution.

Dogs chase tails, the next round. Kraus' non-solution spins in place.

Spin. Productivity's arrival is seldom -- if ever. Spin around and around and go only around.
Council cancels meeting with solicitor on billboards Council President Doug Shields said yesterday that he nixed an executive session that had been set for Monday. Instead, moratorium sponsor Councilman Bruce Kraus and Mr. Specter will work privately to resolve concerns about the resolution's legality.
Kraus says that the sign technology is moving like lightening. Therefore, he calls for a break to take a deep breath.

That is an approach of failure.

The closed door sessions are also NOT welcomed.

It must be dizzy for them to be in the middle of their folly.

Birmingham Bridge lane closings planned for tomorrow

Birmingham Bridge lane closings planned for tomorrow: "Birmingham Bridge lane closings planned for tomorrow
Friday, March 28, 2008
By Joe Grata, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The single, temporary northbound lane on the Birmingham Bridge will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon tomorrow while crews remove conflicting lane markings.

Traffic will be detoured to the Hot Metal Bridge. Southbound traffic will not be affected at that time.

However, the on-ramp from Forbes Avenue to the Birmingham Bridge in the southbound direction will be closed from noon to 5 p.m. when the work moves there. Traffic will be circled through South Oakland via Craft Avenue and Fifth Avenue and back to the bridge."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Russ Diamond says, "I await your response."

This letter is sent to his opponent in a race for the PA House.
March 21, 2008

Mrs. Gingrich:

Over the last four weeks you have made numerous remarks in the media regarding your desire for me to address "the issues." Although I believe integrity is the Number One issue in this race, I am more than willing to discuss any other state government issue you believe is important to the people of the 101st legislative district.

Because you have not yet enumerated any of the particular issues you wish to discuss, I am writing to suggest a few.

1. Article II Section 8 of the PA Constitution states: "The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise." I believe this language is quite plain, and I have already pledged to accept only the salary and mileage allowed by this section, if elected.

Perhaps you could explain why you are the only Lebanon County legislator currently participating in the taxpayer-funded pension and health care programs. Perhaps you could also explain why you believe these perks are not in violation of the plain language of Article II Section 8.

2. The Pennsylvania State Education Association's political arm (PSEA PACE) recently asked candidates for legislative office to fill out a questionnaire in anticipation of garnering the PSEA's endorsement. Frankly, I found the questionnaire to be incredibly taxpayer-unfriendly and was stunned that the PSEA would keep our answers from the public, as indicated on its cover page.

I believe secret questionnaires fly in the face of the transparency and openness that Pennsylvanians have been demanding over the last three years. As such, I have posted my answers at I challenge you to make your answers public as well so we can discuss any differences we might have on these particular issues.

3. Our very own state Senator recently introduced SB1290 to enable a constitutional convention of the people to provide a vehicle for Pennsylvanians to exercise their "inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government" as enumerated by Article I Section 2 of the PA Constitution. If this bill was currently before the House as written, would you vote in favor of it? If not, what particular changes would you make to the bill to make it acceptable to you?

4. The House State Government Committee, of which you are a member, recently held a hearing in Philadelphia regarding altering the method we use to redraw legislative districts after each decennial federal census. Many reform-minded people believe this particular issue should be the next priority for the legislature to tackle. Did you attend the hearing? If so, what is your opinion of the testimony presented? How do you feel we should alter the redistricting system to make it more fair to all Pennsylvanians?

5. Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts recently held a press conference in the Capitol announcing pending legislation to create a "merit selection" system for appellate court judges in Pennsylvania. Do you support merit selection? If not, what particular steps would you take to improve our current system of electing appellate court judges?

6. You recently voted against a plan that would have put Pennsylvania on track to eliminating school property taxes. Instead, you voted for former Speaker John Perzel's proposal to dedicate gaming proceeds to only addressing the property tax situation for a select few. I believe Pennsylvania's working class homeowners and families deserve property tax relief as well. What in particular would you do to further address the property tax issue in Pennsylvania?

These are just a few items off the top of my head to get our discussion of the issues started. As I've been knocking on doors across the district, Republican voters have brought up many other topics that are currently on their minds. There are likely some issues that you feel are important, and I would welcome any you might suggest.

In 2004, I publicly challenged you to participate in three separate debates on the issues. That challenge was widely reported by the media but went unanswered by you. Instead, you claimed at the subsequent League of Women Voters forum that it was the only debate to which you were invited.

This year, I will allow you to name the time, place and method of discussing these and other issues important to the people of the 101st district. We can meet face to face, create a joint blog, appear on television or radio, conduct a written correspondence series in the spirit of the Founding Fathers, or utilize any other public forum you choose.

I await your response.

American E -- sizing up a potential Bomb Thrower

Ron Morris, The American Entrepreneur, rips the honeymoon rug out from under the new boss of Pittsburgh's High Tech Council.
The American Entrepreneur - Newsletter Articles So, Do We Have a Bomb-Thrower, or Not?
Hon, get to work. Burn the midnight oil. Nose to the grindstone. We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

PA Gaming Control Board Announces Public Input Hearing Schedule For Category 1 And 3 Slots Casino License Applicants - Pennsylvania Gaming Control Boa

Speak up friends in PA.
PA Gaming Control Board Announces Public Input Hearing Schedule For Category 1 And 3 Slots Casino License Applicants - Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board: "PA Gaming Control Board Announces Public Input Hearing Schedule For Category 1 And 3 Slots Casino License Applicants"

County To Use Non-Lethal Method To Control Geese

Never say never. - County To Use Non-Lethal Method To Control Geese: "County To Use Non-Lethal Method To Control Geese

Hogan got a National Parenting Award for his book!

The National Parenting Publications Awards have named “The Modern Mom’s Guide to Dads” ( authored by my friend, Hogan Hilling, as a 2008 Gold Award recipient. NAPPA Parenting Resources winners are considered to be the best in books, CDs, baby gear and other innovative products that make parenting easier and more enjoyable.

Way to go Hogan.

Hogan came to Pittsburgh a while ago and gave a talk to a national meeting at the Hilton. I have a copy of that presentation and should make it available with a new interface some day. I often give it to new parents as a gift on 2 audio CDs.


Pittsburgh could and should brand itself as the ideal place to parent.

When the economy sours -- playing with your kids is in one great activity. It is cheap. And, it is rewarding too. We have a good culture of parenting here, in this region. With some attention, outreach and devotion -- it could be a GREAT CULTURE for parenting and community!

Upgrade or get OpenOffice. 2.4

he Community is pleased to announce the release of 2.4, the latest version of the leading open source office productivity suite. 2.4 includes new features, enhancements, and bug fixes to all its core components. 2.4 is available for immediate download from

New features:

Users will appreciate changes such as usability improvements in printing, and further enhancements to PDF handling ( creates PDF files 'out of the box' to ISO standard). The default font is now DejaVu, which supports more languages/localisations than the previous BitStream Vera -part of a raft of localisation improvements covering languages from Hiligaynon to Quechua. Mac OS X users will appreciate the use of the native Quicktime player and spell-checker.

Writer,'s word processor, now has easier selection of the language for spellchecking; users can set options for printing hidden and place holder text and for following hyperlinks; text selection and 'find and replace' have been improved; and 'power users' will appreciate new extra keyboard shortcuts for paragraph styles.

Regular users of Calc,'s spreadsheet, will appreciate the streamlining of data and formulae entry. Other new features include a 'smart move and copy' for blocks of cells; the ability to transform data into columns; and improvements to printing, data filtering, and the Data Pilot.

Usability improvements have been made to Draw, the drawing and diagramming module, and Impress,'s application for creating presentations. Both applications have enhanced PDF export capabilities. In addition, Impress now has a new range of thrilling 3D transition effects supported through an extension.

The Chart module, used throughout, continues to evolve rapidly. Novice users benefit from more intelligent default choices from the graphics engine; advanced users have more options allowing them to fine tune a chart exactly the way they want it.'s database application, Base, now supports MS-Access 2007 (accdb files on MS-Windows), and has enhanced capabilities for MySQL, Oracle/jdbc, and native (HSQL) databases. The Query Designer is also improved. 2.4 is the eleventh release in the 2.x series (launched in October 2005) and demonstrates the Community's commitment to continuous and regular improvement of its software. The next major release - 3.0 - is planned for the autumn/fall this year. If you would like to help us, please visit

The Community

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This is how they stop UNIVERSAL Health Care

Looks good on the outside. But, these types of groups, (Chambers, etc.), have been the ones who offered up a great deal of push back to universal health care. The organizations sell insurance. They know that they'll die if all the members are insured.
Announcing a Health Care Plan for the Arts Community

The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council is proud to announce the arrival of a health care program for local individual artists and part-time and seasonal employees of local cultural organizations. This is not a traditional health insurance program, but a limited benefits medical plan that was designed based on input from the arts community about desired benefits and pricing. Eligible Arts Council members will have the opportunity to choose from three tiers of coverage. Starting at under $60 per month, the HM Care Advantage plan includes benefits for physician office visits, annual wellness tests and screenings, ambulance and emergency room coverage as well as discounts on pharmacy, vision, fitness and wellness services. Some plans also include an additional critical illness component. Coverage will begin on July 1, 2008.

First Information Meeting
Monday, March 31 at the New Hazlett Theater

The first informational meeting about the program will be held on Monday, March 31 at 6:15 pm during Last Days Café at the New Hazlett Theater. Last Days Café is a casual happy hour held the last day of each month from 5:30-8:30 pm that features time for networking, complimentary refreshments and a brief program. The New Hazlett Theater is located at 6 Allegheny Square East on Pittsburgh’s North Side. If you cannot attend, visit the Arts Council’s website after April 1 for dates of upcoming meetings and webinars and to download an informational brochure.

Questions? Interested? Contact us at 412.391.2060 x 234 or

With the introduction of this plan, the Arts Council has taken an important first step towards making health coverage available to everyone in the local arts community who needs it. We look forward to taking more steps forward in the future!

Best Wishes,

Mitch Swain, CEO
Tiffany Wilhelm, Director of Development and Membership
Ryan Freytag, Development and Membership Coordinator

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
707 Penn Avenue, 2nd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-3401

All British athletes to be tested before Olympics - Wednesday March 26, 2008 12:26PM

Wonder if this was a 'no bid contract?' The bill has to be heavy. - More Sports - All British athletes to be tested before Olympics - Wednesday March 26, 2008 12:26PM Every British athlete going to the Beijing Olympics will be drug tested at least once in the run-up to this summer's games.

UK Sport announced plans Wednesday for the country's most comprehensive pre-Olympic testing program, with more than 1,500 tests set to be administered on the athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Frank Deford: Pollution, politics have turned the glory of the Games into disrepute - Wednesday March 26, 2008 11:09AM - Writers - Frank Deford: Pollution, politics have turned the glory of the Games into disrepute - Wednesday March 26, 2008 11:09AM: "in many respects the IOC and China are good bedfellows.

Chatham University to play Varsity Water Polo next year -- this weekend club games at CMU

CMU is hosting a water polo tournament this weekend.
Chatham University - Chatham Athletics - Water Polo: "“By adding Water Polo we are building on the strength of our Swimming/Diving program and utilizing our athletic facility in a new way,” said Buxbaum. “This team wouldn’t be a possibility if it weren’t for the addition of the AFC to campus in 2005 and we look forward to recruiting from a new group of students looking to compete in collegiate-level women’s Water Polo.”

The Blog of Burgher Jon: FIGHT!

The Blog of Burgher Jon: FIGHT!: "# Councilman Kraus says 'liar liar pants on fire.'
# Mayor Ravenstahl says No, you're the liar.'

Good back up:
The Busman's Holiday: Notes & Quotes -- Alleged Mayoral Threat Edition

Closed for executive session. Moratorium pending. Death eminent.

Local politicians seem to be hell bent on shutting down this once thriving town.

In other news: Rev. Burgess (city council member) asked a question where he didn't know the answer.

A bill proposed about 'signs' by Bruce A. Kraus is headed to 'executive session.' Then I expect it will hit the meat grinder.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Legislative Search gives the details of the bills from Motznik

Legislative Search: "2008-0238 Resolution In Standing Committee 3/25/2008
Resolution amending the City Council and City Clerk's Office 2008 Operating Budgets to comply with the Act 47 Plan of 2004."
Come and get it.

You'll notice resolution 2008-0238. That sends you to a PDF file.

The other is 2008-0239.

Looks like a resolution amending the 2008 operating budgets.

Vote: aid the U.S. Olympic Hall Of Fame

- U.S. Olympic Hall Of Fame -: "Vote now for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008."

Swimming is on FIRE with 11 World Records since Feb

Speedo has a new swim suit. It is getting blamed for the recent rash of broken world records. Eleven have been set in the last month or so.
SWIMNEWS ONLINE - Swimming News, Swim Meet Results, Swimming World Rankings, Swim Links, Calendar: "11th world record to be set since February 16
The debate is started.

When is a swim suit really a speed boat?

Are two propellers the limit?

Can suits be worn in a second meet -- or do they have to be thrown out because they wear out?

I would never post anything on my blog about naked swimming -- nor the use of ONLY spray on suits. But, it should be part of that debate.

updated (repost of what I had in the message boards at collegeswimming forum):


In WEIGHTLIFTING, when new suits arrived, they made a big impact upon performances. There is a bit of history there. The discussion about wraps and such is sorta similar. Those suits were (are) expensive as well.

In GOLF, many on the tour use clubs (now it is the putter) that are NOT available to others.

In CHINA, they have a great culture and work ethic -- if you can call it that -- of doing 'knock off products.' Trademarks and the copyright of designs, logos and such are given only fleeting attention.

It will be interesting to see how the suits are 'cloned' by the 'tailors' in the east. Fake wristwatches, fake Gucci bags, and soon, the fake LZR. Looks like a $800 suit -- but -- performs like a nano-impaired swimmer from the 1960s.

And as for these coaches that have contracts with other (non Speedo) brands. Does it really matter in helping or hurting the swimmer as to what suit the coach is wearing?

Finally, I'm holding out and waiting for the $10 swim suit that comes from a spay-on (aerosol) can! You can only wear it once. But, each can has dozens of applications. All are custom fit.


Told ya. A 'good coach' can position (the suit) as a positive.
SWIMNEWS ONLINE - Swimming News, Swim Meet Results, Swimming World Rankings, Swim Links, Calendar: "The way I think about it for the Canadians is that while others will have already had a chance to wear it and swim fast, the Canadians will have a little extra mental edge knowing that they have not yet worn it. A good coach can position it as a positive.'"

Drug War Explosion to Expulsion

The Aid Elimination Penalty of the Higher Education Act is a federal law that denies student loans and other education assistance to students convicted of a drug law violation. Tens of thousands of students have been kicked out of college because of it, mostly for simple possession of marijuana. Momentum is building to repeal this unfair law this year, but we need your help.

A few months ago, Rep. Barney Frank (MA) introduced legislation (H.R. 5157) to repeal the Aid Elimination Penalty. It now has 80 co-sponsors, more than enough to show House leadership that there's support for ending the draconian penalty this year.

On the Senate side, Sen. Christopher Dodd (CT) has introduced legislation (S. 2767) that would give judges the option of letting students keep their school loans as part of a sentencing agreement that ensures they finish college. If enough senators co-sponsor S. 2767 we believe we can pass it this year--and that's where you come in.

Please take a few minutes today to call your two U.S. senators and urge them to co-sponsor S. 2767:

Phone calls will make the biggest impact in this campaign. But if you can't call, you can look up the email addresses and fax numbers for your two U.S. senators at

It is vital that all members of Congress--Democrats and Republicans--hear from you. Congress needs to know that the American people want this law repealed. People shouldn't be discriminated against simply for what they choose to put into their own bodies absent harm to others, and people convicted of drug law violations shouldn't be denied opportunities to finish school and put their lives back together.

Thank you,

Bill Piper
Director of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance

More Information:

In 1998, Congress passed an amendment offered by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) to the Higher Education Act (HEA) that bars people with drug law convictions--no matter how minor--from receiving student
financial assistance for specified periods of time (a year to life depending on the severity and number of drug law violations). More than 200,000 people have been denied student loans and other assistance because of the law.

In 2006, Congress passed a partial reform of the penalty. This change amended the HEA to allow some students with past offenses to receive aid, but it still retains the penalty for those whose offenses were committed while they were enrolled in school and receiving aid. In other words, tens of thousands of students are still being kicked out of college for minor drug law offenses like simple marijuana possession.

Source: Drug Policy Alliance mailing list at or 202.216.0035.

Hits close to home: Speaking of voters moving out of the "R" party for the chance to vote on the "D" side, well...

The bump from the 2001 primary has ended.
Republicans switching sides at voter registration deadline Republicans switching sides at voter registration deadline
My wife, a voter in the R party since my campaign for mayor as a 'free market republican' in 2001, finished the paperwork to become a D party voter.

I'm still NOT eligible to vote in the April 22, 2008, primary as it is closed to Libertarians.

My wife had been staying in the "R" party to give the vote to Ron Paul. But, the buzz with the D candidates was too much for her to ignore. She wanted her vote in that primary and we got the papers into the election office last week.

When I ran for mayor, as a Republican, I was able to get more than 100 others to join me and be "Rs" and vote for me in the primary. I don't have the exact amount. But I personally helped more than 100 become Rs then. My wife was in that boat too, until Friday.

We still have the Ron Paul sign in the window. She wishes, as do I, that votes could be devoted to Ron Paul, R. Oh well.

2 Political Junkies has been a nice source of events of late

Some cool events are being promoted at another blog.
2 Political Junkies EVENTS!
Those dates are now merged into the 'running mates public calendar.'

Here is a peek in agenda view:

Give Jim Motznik a BIG GOLD Star! He is the man today

Jim Motznik just stole the thunder from Dan Desey's car expense amendment.

I was working on a new complaint to the ETHICS HEARING BOARD that goes to the heart of the matter of what Motnik put onto the table.

City Council has 'encumbrances' and 'pre-encumbrances.'

I got to get the text of this measure.

Well done Jim!

He is attacking the 'slush fund' of city council.

But, he is pegging the money to public safety.

It is $140k or so.

Rev. Burgess is now a sorry camper. The firestorm is something he caused, so he thinks. Motznik is an instrument of brutality, so says the un-sorry Rev.


Seems that the ghost writers of the new measures from Jim Motznik have been from the same ones that lost their cars. The Rev calls it 'mean spirited.' Another level of antagonistic behaviors is expected.

Rev Burgess said that he won't get a response because it would take an act of 'masculinity.'

Hell yes, the city should live up to what Act 47 says.

They do what Rev. Burgess wanted us to do, says Mr. Motznik.

Bruce Kraus: I was threatened from the mayor at a fundraiser last week. From his lips to my ears.

Mr. Motznik: It isn't a threat, is is reality. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Re-opening the budget is welcomed, in its entirety.

Peduto: Don't be drawn into the muck.

Right on Bill.

Update from the City Clerk, LJW:

The Bill numbers for the two sponsored pieces of legislation introduced by Councilman Motznik are Bill 2008-00238 – Amending the 2008 budget of Council and Clerk’s offices and Bill 2008-0239 – Liquidating certain pre-encumbrances. The bills will be available on the Council Information Center web site of City Council at the end of the day. You will be able to search by bill number to get the legislation in its entirety.

Sarkozy: Boycott can't be ruled out - Tuesday March 25, 2008 11:10AM

So, the French President might conduct a boycott -- of himself -- of the OPENING of the Beijing Olympics. - More Sports - Sarkozy: Boycott can't be ruled out - Tuesday March 25, 2008 11:10AM French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday that he cannot rule out the possibility he might boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics if China continues its crackdown in Tibet.
Jeepers. The world can go back to sleep now. Stay home Sarkozy. Just be sure to send the athletes of France.

A Frenchmen, just within the week, set a new world record in swimming in the 100 free and 50 free.

Freedom Corner is a mess. Get the broom!

From clean-sweep


Freedom is frail. Freedom Corner is in need of repairs.

Sala and Tonya don't like each other.

Audit Freedom Corner!

From clean-sweep

Freedom Corner is owned by the URA, so says Doug Shields. Give Mr. Ford the broom the next time. As of today, Freedom Corner is broke.

Sala Udin says that Freedom Corner got valdalized twice in one week. Seems a computer display screen got smashed recently. Council (other than Peduto and Shields) voted to de-fund the upkeep of Freedom Corner.

Libertarian Party nominates candidates at Pennsylvania state convention

Pennsylania Libertarians energized by successful convention

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania

3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release: March 25, 2008

Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) or
Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS /

Malvern, Pa. – The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) and the New Jersey Libertarian Party held an action-packed joint convention March 14-16 in Malvern, PA.

Nine LP Presidential candidates attended the convention, presented their views on the issues to more than 100 attendees and took part in a lively debate.

Attendees also participated in a series of workshops. The workshop on ballot access was particularly important as Pennsylvania has very restrictive ballot access regulations. Despite requiring 24,666 valid signatures to be on the ballot, the LPPa is determined to provide Pennsylvanians with the choice to vote for a Libertarian for President in November.

Delegates nominated two statewide candidates: Betsy Summers for Auditor General and Berlie Etzel for State Treasurer.

Betsy Summers is a graduate of Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ, and has 25 years of business sales experience. She has volunteered with numerous organizations, and served for two years as an elected member of the Luzerne County Home Rule Study Commission. She also served as President of her local chapter of the American Business Women’s Association. Ms. Summers was the LPPa candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004.

Berlie Etzel is a retired math and science teacher. He graduated from Clarion State College and served as a Lieutenant in the US Navy. He has been active in politics for 45 years, and a member of the Libertarian Party for almost 30 years. He served as LP of Delaware State Chair for several years before moving to Clarion County. He served as Ashland’s Township Auditor and is currently the township’s Constable. Mr. Etzel is the Western Vice-Chair of the LPPa and a delegate to the LP National Convention. He and his wife, Rochelle, have three children and six grandchildren.

LPPa Chair Mik Robertson commented, “This year our convention demonstrated that the Libertarian Party has numerous Presidential candidates every bit as capable and competent as those in the old entrenched parties if not more so. I am confident all of our nominees will present the best choices for the voters to promote individual liberty, personal responsibility, and a return to the ideals upon which American government was founded.”

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Pennsylvania and the United States. More than 200,000 people across the country are registered Libertarians, and Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices. Please visit or for more information.

Additional Information – link to the LP Presidential debate -

Monday, March 24, 2008

School District on Board for Roosevelt Design Charette � ERIE CENTER FOR DESIGN AND PRESERVATION

This is what the nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh, A+ Schools, should be doing with the conversation about Schenley High School as well as other now empty facilities -- such as South Vo Tech High School.

I wish they would. We need to 'learn' and we need to 'dream' together. And, we don't.
School District on Board for Roosevelt Design Charette - ERIE CENTER FOR DESIGN AND PRESERVATION A nonprofit organization dedicated to saving historic buildings is saving the Erie School District some cash in the debate over the future of Roosevelt Middle School. The Erie School Board has informally agreed to let Harrisburg-based Preservation Pennsylvania conduct a free, in-depth study of how the now-closed Cranberry Street school could be renovated.The study, called a charrette, will bring together three architects — two from out of town, and one based in Erie — along with members of preservation groups and other interested community members for a day-long brainstorming session and a tour of the school.

The group will hear comments from the public during an open meeting at the end of the day before issuing a report with recommendations to the School Board, said Mindy Higgins Crawford, executive director of Preservation Pennsylvania.

The final report, which likely would take several weeks to complete, will include architectural sketches the board could use a basis for renovating the building as a school or for some other use, and the estimated cost of those projects, Crawford said.

Pittsburgh Dish: Mail Call - hits at home with St. Pat's madness and South Side

Pittsburgh Dish: Mail Call: "Non-family zone?

When Mayor Luke Ravenstahl decided to close Market Square early on March 15 to preserve the 'family' orientation of the St. Patrick's Day parade events in Downtown Pittsburgh, he had decided that since many St. Patrick's Day revelers went to the South Side after the parade, they could just go there several hours earlier to drink.

When he unleashed all the St. Patrick's Day drinkers on us, I can only conclude that he thinks there are no families in the South Side and, hence, no need to preserve a 'family' orientation there.
Then comes the reply from the dish.

My reply to her reply to the above letter follows:

We did buy our property before there was the massive bar influx. Our house and our move came in 1990.

When we arrived, there were many church and schools. They've torn many of them down or closed them since. And, we had a lot of seniors too. Women who lived decades beyond their husbands. Sadly, these folks are fewer and fewer too.

Things change. I'm okay with that.

The main point is St. Pat's Day being a 'family friendly' event, so wished Luke. What a joke.

I saw lots of police at 8:30 am -- to protect the candidate and such. Few were around at later parts of the day, but they were here.

More can be done. Creativity is needed. Advance planning is welcomed.

And, the events are piss poor for those who come to visit as well as those who live here.

Letter of recommendation for Mark Rauterkus from Deer Lakes Aquatic Club

Deer Lakes Aquatic Club

March 24, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

As members of the board of the Deer Lakes Aquatic Club, we are pleased to highly
recommend Mark Rauterkus to your organization. Our competitive swimming club was
formed in 1999, is a member of Allegheny Mountain Swimming, and takes pride in
promoting fitness, self-motivation and sportsmanship in our competitive swimmers.

Mark has been involved in the sport of swimming for over 30 years. Recently, when we
found ourselves without a head coach Mark, upon hearing of our predicament,
enthusiastically offered to step in and help with our competitive swimming program for
the remainder of our season. He jumped in with both feet to assist our club, and over
the last several weeks has imparted upon our swimmers his enthusiasm and dedication
to this sport. He is professional and reliable, and is well — liked by our swimmers and
parents alike. We are confident in his abilities and know that he would be a great asset
and bring tremendous leadership to any endeavor he pursues.

Club Leadership


County finds public parks answer in Wheeling -

County finds public parks answer in Wheeling - County finds public parks answer in Wheeling

Sunday, March 23, 2008

back and forth on the blog -- Legal Advice -- two ears, one tongue

I agree that it is desired for those who are making laws and spending public money to act in competent, legal ways.

If the legal advice provided from the city's law department is suspect -- then -- we are at a cross-roads.

Here is where we (perhaps) split on our decision tree (s).

First, I feel that smart people can act in competent and legal ways without the advice of lawyers.

Second, when poor performance comes from the law department -- what outcomes should occur (next). Hire or Fire? Add or Subtract? Expand Staffing/Costs or Contract?

I understand a fact of life: The next move is NEVER the last move. So, my solution: NUKE the Law Dept's budget, (for instance) is NOT the LONG TERM -- forever -- solution.

So, back to the front of the circle. Yeah, the city needs a law department. But, not this law department. And, not two or three sources of legal advice at the same time, either.

So, who is smart enough to see what's what?

The mayor?
What council member?
What next step legislation?

Should D.Haris or J.Motznik invite Mr. Specter to the table again, (set a snare), one could object.

Heads should roll.

Self inflicted cuts would work for the people of city. If not, those who we hire (elect) to do the job of controlling the purse strings can be replaced.

Greek organizers kindle backup Oly torch - Sunday March 23, 2008 12:52PM

Let's talk about 'focus.'

They try to use a lense to focus the rays of the sun to light the Olympic torch -- and it was hidden behind the clouds.

Others want to use the torch lighting as a way to focus on other parts of the world -- today. - Olympics - Greek organizers kindle backup Oly torch - Sunday March 23, 2008 12:52PM: "'The image is very important,' Greek IOC vice president Lambis Nikolaou said. 'The younger the girls, the prettier they are.'"
The irony....

Go to the sun gods and antiquity -- but only admit those who are under 40.

Furthermore, the monks of Tibet, call for a peaceful protest. How else would they conduct themselves. Seems that the Olympics in ancient Greece, unfolded during a 'sacred truce.'

Go figure.

Where to begin?????

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Butterfly winner Cavic suspended for remainder of Euro meet - for a political t-shirt

ESPN - Butterfly winner Cavic suspended for remainder of Euro meet - Swimming: "A Serb swimmer was suspended Friday for the remainder of the European swimming championships for wearing a T-shirt proclaiming 'Kosovo is Serbia' at a medal presentation ceremony.

Blair's goal is to be a hometown hero

Blair's goal is to be a hometown hero: "It's that the kid is proud of where he comes from.

He talks up Pittsburgh every chance he gets. He talks up The Hill District. He talks up Schenley High School.
It sucks that Schenley High School is NEVER going to be anything like it was when Blair was a student there.

Overlords are expensive and have attorneys

The city's law department is not worth a wooden nickel. City council should lean upon the OVERLORDS for NECESSARY legal advice.

In a longer blog thread at the BurghReport I posted:

This discussion on the different branches of government -- admin vs. council -- seems to ignore the HUGE elements that don't fit within the city charter nor tradition: OVERLORDS.

Pgh has Act 47 and ICA teams. Double trouble. New to the landscape when talking tradition.

The killer talk that came this week was about 'PARTNERSHIPS.' The city admin acts as 'partners' with the OVERLORDS, so we heard from Mr. Specter.

Well, I don't want to see the OVERLORDS in "partnership" with the city's administrators. The OVERLORDS are here to insure that the city's elected leaders TERMINATE their overspending ways of the past.

The ONLY partnership from the OVERLORDS should land on the side of being prudent with finances.

Mr. Specter: Don't 'hijack' the state OVERLORDs and try to sell them as partners in a power struggle.

SEA pays $5.5 million for synagogue's Hill property - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Well, eminent domain was NOT used, thankfully.
SEA pays $5.5 million for synagogue's Hill property - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review The only synagogue serving Downtown will move for the second time in 50 years, to accommodate a new hockey arena in Pittsburgh.

The city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority voted Thursday to pay $5.5 million to buy and relocate the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Synagogue, the last of 13 buildings the authority needed to acquire before building a $290 million arena to be used by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Talk of being 'illegal" has surfaced once or twice this week

Walking Pittsburgh proves the point of the tail chasing

Walking Bluff � Walking Pittsburgh... guys in kilts passed us by, and then we turned left onto Boyd Street. We turned left on Forbes and passed some drunken Duquesne Students, then ran into city councilman Bruce Kraus, who was on his way back to the Southside to tackle constituent complaints about rowdy revelers on the other side of the river.
Kraus is in the wrong job. His job isn't to tackle rowdy revelers. And, he isn't doing a good job of it anyway.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events

Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events: "How far will Pitt (mens hoops) advance in the NCAA brackets?"

Pitt looked great, again, today in Denver.

Log into the poll at the top left of the blog to tell where you think Pitt ends its season.

Clayton Contract Continues... but ...

Ira Weiss, PPS Solicitor, says he would NOT want to discuss that matter in a public forum.

We've got 250 kids at Clayton and the district is paying for 450.

Say what????

Good Job Theresa Colaizzi.

Two board members deride city schools' proposed code of conduct

Two board members deride city schools' proposed code of conduct: "The Pittsburgh school board is considering a code of conduct that supporters described as a move toward better government and critics called an effort to curb criticism of Superintendent Mark Roosevelt.
There is NOTHING that should be in the zone of "confidentiality of privileged information" with a school board member -- other than that of a specific student. And, the board should NOT be dealing with specific students, unless that student is the son or daughter of that board member. Then the board member is a "parent" and not really operating as an elected official as a steward of a public institution.

Privileged information does exits in other very small corners of the duties of board members. There are employee matters and land deals where it would make sense to NOT blab. But, these are tiny elements of the jobs.

They want to make more and more be called privileged. Then they can call for 'marshall law' and make a smack-down to those who object with their voices.

Schools have been closed and then re-opened. Fine. Likewise, tests have been failed and then taken later and passed.

You can't get to third grade and forget everything that happened in first grade. What is past is past. But, it is still something that can be talked about.

Where is that "proposed" code? Can it be sent to me via email or else posted in this thread?

Posting from another blog thread -- I think:

I'm going to pick on Bram again. He wrote, obviously you've (city council critters) got to do both. The the overall city stuff and the neighborhood stuff are both important.

WRONG Bram. Neighborhood stuff is NOT the job of council members. That is the micro-management stuff that council should NOT be doing. That is the political plowing.

In the past, the city and council got turned on its head by the likes of Tom Murphy and Tom Cox. That (past) administration did NOTHING for neighborhoods. So, the members of council had to do the over reaching.

Those ills got the city into trouble. The Neighborhood Needs money $1M to each council member/district was the last big blunder that finally put the city into its OVERLORD status.

As council does neighborhood stuff -- then they are inefficient. Lapses in accountability are easier to make as a legislative body does administration's work. They have made purpose fuzzy -- and accountability shrinks.

Lapses in legality should not be tolerated by voters. Pittsburgh should NOT elect anyone who can't write legislation and understand what's what in those realms.

Even in this present mess and folly -- it boils down to members on city council turning over the crafting of legislation to the wish/whim/work of the Director of the Law Department. The city's attorney should NOT be crafting the city's laws. Shame for council for going down that road. Now council is heartbroken because the lawyer changed his tune.

Who is the piper and who is doing the dance? (council chases its tail, again)

Council members and staffers need to have their noses personally stuffed in legal books for days at a time, trying to fix the problem.

The rub comes in that the brains behind those noses are not of the capacity to understand what's in the history, present and future so as to navigate the city's legislative positions.

Bram says, "Free Council! Let 'em hire a lawyer!" I say, "Lawyers are not free. Council members should be able to write their own ordinances on their own. The boss of the city's law department should not hamstring council. Council's folly makes it easy for them to be snared. If council can't can't write legislation then council members should QUIT.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ogonowski for Senate

Ogonowski for Senate JIM OGONOWSKI: 'I Am Running For US Senate!'

Blogdigger Acquired by Odeo - ReadWriteWeb

Exclusive: Blogdigger Acquired by Odeo - ReadWriteWeb Blog search engine Blogdigger will be announcing shortly that it has been acquired by SonicMountain, parent company of Odeo - the podcast network that is currently being rebuilt as a full-fledged platform for digital media. Blogdigger's aggregation and media search technology is being integrated into the new Odeo, and Blogdigger founder and CEO Greg Gershman is joining Odeo full time as its Vice President of Search and Engineering.

Speaking of Rutgers, again. I wonder if RMU's Women Hoops team has this on the board for motivation?

Go RMU. Shock the shock jocks and the women's brackets with a speechless win over Rutgers! - Obama Defends Rev. Wright, Blasts Imus: "It took Barack Obama more than a year to repudiate his former pastor's racially charged anti-American tirades, but when it came to denouncing Don Imus for his racial slurs against the Rutgers girls basketball team, it took Obama only a week to demand the shock jock be fired, Fox News notes.

In a major speech Tuesday, Obama condemned the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's shocking verbal assaults against the U.S. dating back to 2001.

But in April of last year, Obama was quick to demand Imus' ouster for making a racially insensitive remark.

�There�s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude,� Obama told ABC News in an April 11 interview demanding Imus' resignation.
Really, I have little to say about Obama and Hillary. I just thought I'd send out a go, team, go cheer to the locals as they play the underdog's role and head to the 'big dance.'

Advice: When they run -- you gotta run with em -- if not ahead of them at most instances!

So, -- it is time to chase your tail. Do it with a blue ribbon pointer!

Journal-Pilot Online Kraus wins two pointing titles

Ponder this for Good Friday. Best video of the moment.

Dear Friends of Democracy Rising PA,

Top Line
VotePA, , has issued an important alert. If you registered to vote online this year, your registration may not be valid. The only way to guarantee that you can vote on April 22 is to check with your county voter registration office. That office must have a signed, paper copy of your registration form by the close of business next Monday, March 24.

You can download a registration form from the state web site ( CLICK HERE ), but you must get the signed form to your county voter registration office by Monday's deadline.

More of the Story
A security flaw with the online registration form made it possible to change the names on registration forms that voters already filed. The state Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation has disabled the page where the form was located.

It is entirely possible that the problem was discovered before any harm occurred. But it's also possible that your registration was changed. We don't know. So check with your county voter registration office.

But this isn't the only problem. According to a report in the Allentown Morning Call, some voters believe that filling out the online form is enough to register. But it's not. To register, voters must also print the completed form and mail it, or take it, to their voter registration office. CLICK HERE for the full story by reporter Scott Kraus.

VotePA's Marybeth Kuznik says that when you are registered correctly, you receive a registration card with your party and precinct on it within a few days. If you registered some time ago and have not received your registration card, check with your county voter registration office.

Bottom Line
Make sure you are properly registered to vote by close of business next Monday.

Also, make sure you know where your polling place is. Sometimes they change.

And please forward this alert to others. If you have trouble forwarding, please copy and paste the text into an email.

Thanks. Keep up the good work. And remember: Only you can keep democracy rising!

Signs of time: Digital ad fight spreads across city

This is a good reason to NOT try to impose a moratorium. Dumb non solutions can backfire.
Signs of time: Digital ad fight spreads across city: "Lamar Advertising submitted applications to transform many of its signs, including 10 Downtown, from vinyl to light emitting diode technology late Monday, just in time to beat a moratorium Pittsburgh City Council imposed yesterday.
I'll blame Bruce Kraus for this.

Kraus is counter productive.

Kraus needs a speech coach. Or, he needs to speak only about his feelings and nothing else.

Kraus wants a cooling off. He should bit his lip and say little to nothing.

People on council don't get to 'cool off the marketplace.' To govern isn't to tell those in the private sector what to do. Kraus wanted Lamar to remove its permit -- as part of a 'will of council' statement that he didn't have the moxie to bring to a vote.

I fear to ask what it is that Kraus is trying to 'accomplish.'

There is a hearing tomorrow. Watch the Pitt game instead. The fast breaks will be quicker there. Some seeding.

Amid heated debate, council supports take-home car limits

Great recap article. Must read.
Amid heated debate, council supports take-home car limits: "Amid heated debate, council supports take-home car limits"
The city's attorney, Specter, needs to quit, retire, or else be fired.

Heads need to roll. His should be soon.

Ohio voting machines declared an official crime scene - The INQUIRER

Ohio voting machines declared an official crime scene - The INQUIRER: "Ohio voting machines declared an official crime scene

My comment at another blog thread

Recap: Some say we need two sets a legal advisors, not one. Then some predict that the mayor's lawyers might battle the lawyers of city council.

Then Ed also suggests that we get legal help for the ethics hearing board too. Then we'd have three.

Folks, that is a pathway to FOLLY!

When the Solicitor is being told what to do by people who are only interested in serving themselves, Council needs to

WRONG: --> have its own attorney.
RIGHT: ---> budget adjust the LEGAL DEPARTMENT to ZERO.

Purse strings is the pressure point of council.

Don't grow government by hiring more lawyers.

Get to the roots of the problems by getting rid of the lawyers we already pay for that are NOT helping the situations at hand and have hurt the city greatly in the past.

We have 1 now. The fix is NOT to go to 2 or 3. The fix is to go to ZERO.

Council is trying to put a moratorium on 'business' (no billboards). Rather, I want a moratorium on paying piss-poor lawyers with taxpayer funds. Moratorum the growing of government. Stop hiring bureaucrats. Stop hiring others to fix ills of those who should have been fired.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Netherlands Blast Women's 400 Free Relay World Record

Lane 9 News Archive: European Championships: <font color=red>Flash!</font> The Netherlands Blast Women's 400 Free Relay World Record The Netherlands Blast Women's 400 Free Relay World Record -- March 18, 2008

EIDNHOVEN, Netherlands, March 18. THE Netherlands blasted the world record in the women's 400 free relay at the European Championships held in Eindhoven.

The foursome of Inge Dekker (53.77), Ranomi Kromowidjojo (53.61), Femke Heemskerk (53.62) and Marleen Veldhuis (52.62) clocked a blistering time of 3:33.62 to demolish the 3:35.22 set by Germany's Petra Dallmann, Daniela Goetz, Britta Steffen and Annika Liebs in 2006.

Council Getting Lawyered Up! (hat tip to comet)

Bram talks about city council. I offered my opinions and solutions there, repeated below.
The Pittsburgh Comet: Council Getting Lawyered Up! Council Getting Lawyered Up!

Repeat after me: Purse strings.

If council is upset with the present city attorney -- and I called for his head years ago as he is nearly worthless -- then council needs to nuke that department's funds. Starve em.

Meanwhile, our council would NEVER spend less. They'd rather spend DOUBLE. Pay those that don't do the work. And, pay new sources to do work you want, even if it amounts to little.

The needs of the city will not be realized upon the hiring of more lawyers.

I say the city could move ahead more quickly after it fires a bunch of lawyers. Move forward and fire all the lawyers.

My solution: I'd love to see city council go to the OVERLORDS and get their lawyers to do the necessary legal wranglings for the super majority will of city council. But, council doesn't have a super majority. And, council is still going to be paying for the mayor's attorney. And, council does not have a clue as to how to navigate its way out of a wet paper bag.

Marty G on KDKA Radio is playing the song from the Wiz of Oz, "If I Only Had a Brain."

Jim Motznik comes on the show and objects to the song. Then Motznik defends the mayor's.

Jim Motznik says: Jim's Aunt goes to different doctors until she gets the diagnosis she wants. We have a law department. We should not be wasting taxpayer money to get our own attorney.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Making a Recession Great

Making a Recession Great House Democrats recently adopted a budget with massive tax hikes, many of which are directed at those Americans who can least afford them. By allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2010, this budget will raise income taxes not only on those in the highest income brackets, but raises the lowest bracket from 10% to 15% as well. Estates would again be taxed at 55%. The child tax credit would drop from $1000 to $500. Senior citizens relying on investment income would be hurt by increases in dividend and capital gains taxes. It's not just that the Democrats want to raises taxes on the rich. They want to raises taxes on everybody.
This is why I'm of a third party.

Ds want to tax and spend.
Rs want to borrow and spend.

Ron Paul says policing the world is expensive. The D's budget gives the President all the funding he needs for foreign policy.

In another blog elsewhere I asked a fellow blogger why he took off his candidate campaign button while standing with others at a peace rally. Wars are all about the break down of the political process. Today's wars that Americans are funding are the result of too many willing Ds and Rs.

Of course people want to take off their campaign buttons and stand for peace, hoping that an end of war is going to be nonpolitical. Dream on.
Many so-called "Iraq War critics," criticize this administration rather than truly opposing the decades old policies that led to war. They claim they will eventually get the troops out of Iraq, but the danger is that they simply plan to move them around to other countries, not bring them home. The American people want peace.
I agree with Doctor Ron Paul. Americans do want peace.

Excellent: Swimmers speaking and wishing for further education: Schoeman wants Oly Comm. to speak on human rights - Monday March 17, 2008 11:30AM - More Sports - Schoeman wants Oly Comm. to speak on human rights - Monday March 17, 2008 11:30AM: "He said Dutch swimming star Pieter van den Hoogenband 'made a valid point' when he called on the IOC to make a statement to China about human rights on behalf of all athletes.

But Schoeman said he was not ready to make a decision about possibly skipping the games to protest China's rights record.

'That's something I'm going to have to educate myself further on. I'm a firm believer in human rights, always have been, always will be,' he said. 'It is something I have to educate myself in before I can make a rational decision on it.'

Schoeman said Olympic organizers should have acted earlier -- when China was awarded the games in 2001 -- to discuss human rights.
We all need to stay or become more aware.

Doing too little and too late isn't helpful either.

Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships - New York Times

Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships - New York Times: "the average N.C.A.A. athletic scholarship is nowhere near a full ride, amounting to $8,707. In sports like baseball or track and field, the number is routinely as low as $2,000. Even when football and basketball are included, the average is $10,409. Tuition and room and board for N.C.A.A. institutions often cost between $20,000 and $50,000 a year.

Going Irish

Anne sent this. I also suggest you hook up with Johnsmith, singer of the tune, "Don't Put Me In a Box."
Happy St Patrick's Day!

I know that sometimes you're too busy to read the Fellow Travelers' Advisory from cover to cover. If you've missed this invitation in past newsletters, I hope that this St Pat's Day you'll take a second to learn about the three fabulous tours of Ireland that I'm organizing for this summer...

If you found yourself somewhere this past weekend swilling green beer and listening to a band singing "McNamara's Band" you may be asking yourself if that was an authentic Irish experience.... How I'd love to show you what Ireland is REALLY about...

Music, culture, politics, poetry, history, scenery ... (not to mention Guinness Stout!) ... Ireland has it all... and I'd love to show it to you. And now, thanks to my wonderful Irish partner, Tom Pigott, of Enchanted Way Tours, I can...

I'm leading small tours to the west of Ireland this summer on:

June 10-19 (filling up fast!)
August 15-24 (only one seat left!)
September 30- October 9th

The $1750 cost of this tour includes ALL ground transportation, ALL accommodations, ALL breakfasts, THREE dinners AND admission to many many special events... making this an extraordinary value, not to mention WAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much fun!

Tom and I will show you the 'best of the west' -- the real Ireland. I really hope you can join us ... if not this year, then next...

Thanks for your interest in my music -- I hope your St Pat's
celebrations are lots of fun. I'll be wearin' the green today and
doing two shows in Ft Myers, FL (but I won't be singing McNamara's

All the best


PS - For all three of these tours, I'd expect the weather to be San Francisco-like... warm in the sun, cool in the shade, chilly by the seaside... light layers, a fleece vest, a snuggy sweater, windbreaker & a pair of good walking shoes ... and you're packed! these trips will be casual, filled with wonderful adventures - and you'll travel with the coolest people in the world - activists from all over the US, Canada, Sweden & Denmark... I really hope you'll come along!

and if my dates don't work for you, take a look at Tom's website... other wonderful artists are leading similar tours all summer long...

April 15 - 24 - Chuck Brodsky
May 27 - June 5 - Dana Cooper
June 10 - June 19 - Anne Feeney
July 5 - July 14 - Brian Mallon
July 16 - July 25 - Johnsmith
July 29 - Aug 7 - Johnsmith
Aug 15 - Aug 24 - Anne Feeney
Aug 26 - Sept 4 - Kate Mc Donnell
Sept 6 - Sept 15 - Johnsmith
Sept 17 - Sept 26 - Johnsmith
Sept 30 - Oct 9 - Anne Feeney
Oct 14 - Oct 23 - Montgomery Delaney

Tom's website is full of great information about the tours as well..

Hope to see you in Ireland!

Fantastic show: "Black Magic" on ESPN. Part 2 tonight from 9 to 11 pm -- without commercials

Hats off to State Farm Insurance and Russell, sponsors, for the ESPN show, Black Magic. The show ran last night (part 1) from 9 to 11 pm. Part two is tonight. Tune in. It is very good.

The show looks at blacks in basketball from high school, to college, to pros and even some mentions of Olympic Teams and the Globetrotters.

It fits well with the Hollywood movie I saw a couple of weeks ago about the fictional team -- Flint's Tropics, an ABA Team. The movie was humor, rated R. Okay.

But the TV show was historical. Lots of first person interviews with lots of game changing players and coaches. Lots of talk about the Black Colleges: Grambling, Southern, Tuskegee, Tennessee A&I, etc. Lots of talk of the stars we all know -- and many we don't.

Historical context too to with the teacher who invented basketball, Springfield's Dr. Naismith. He went to Kansas later and hated to see half-court basketball.
James Naismith
Powerful historical video too of celebrations in 1963 after the killing of JFK.

The Pipers were mentioned -- with Cleveland roots. There was a Pittsburgh Pipers. The team must have moved? George Steinbrenner was the owner. Humm... Lots of talk of city players going south for college.

The show aired without commercial break. Wish I had it on tape to show my kids. It was just too late. Hope it is put onto Google Video soon.

My $.02 comments got air time via Marty G on KDKA Radio

I sent in my reactions to the St. Pat's Day madness on the South Side to Marty G at KDKA Radio. He was asking how things went throughout the parade and day of parties.

I didn't save my exact words. I hit submit nad sent them to Marty and he read them on the air.


Our front door was broken. Open containers, urine on the street and goofy behaviors were everywhere. Called 911 for a girl-fight at midnight. Enforcement was fleeting.
St. Patrick's revelers cause heaps of litter: "St. Patrick's revelers cause heaps of litter
A caller to the show suggested that the St. Pat's Parade was not different this year from past years.

The contrast between this day an other days with parades is huge. There are not drunks at 9 am at the Christmas, Labor, Memorial nor flavor-of-the week parades. People like to go downtown. But, do the drinks need to flow as often?

If I'm mayor, I'd give serious consideration to ending the St. Pat's Parade -- just as the South Side Summer Street Spectacular was ended. The SSSSS was a drunken stumble for many years and its ending was a blessing.

People involved with the St. Pat's festivities need to look in the mirror. Shame and guilt seem to work in some quarters. Guess that is why God invented hang-overs.

Home Schooling Article

Article strongly recommend from Joel:

While home schooling may not be on your radar screen, the central principle imposed here -- "that states may insist not only that all children receive an education, but also that the education they receive must satisfy reasonable state standards" -- deserves close attention by all people involved in any kind of education.

That "reasonable state standards" thing has been a minefield for decades, and the cases mentioned in this article may have very broad implications down the road.

Signs of the times: Council is right to call for billboard pause

A moratorium is NOT a fix. A moratorium is another layer of red tape. A moratorium is two-steps backward before there is any hope of going forward.

Again, Bruce Kraus offers a blunder of a solution. This isn't a solution. Likewise, his measure on the billboard with a will of council that was then put ahead with "a hold" from its sponsor was NOT worthy of the sink of time.

Again, we see folly. Again, we have council acting like a dog that chases its tail.
Signs of the times: Council is right to call for billboard pause: "Councilman Bruce Kraus has called for the moratorium while the disagreement is resolved. Further, council has drafted a remedy that would give council a vote on any sign replacement agreements. That fix, in the form of a short amendment to the zoning code, may not be quite right. The solution must be consistent with other parts of the code, and that blanket power for council does not seem to be.

None of this is to suggest that a moratorium on billboards should be permanent. A group in Lawrenceville, for instance, wants two new digital signs in the neighborhood in exchange for Lamar removing more vinyl versions.

The challenge will be finding a way that continues to allow advertising that enlivens the cityscape without cluttering it up.

Council has more work to do.
Of course council has work to do. And, the real work of getting to the roots of our problems are far into the distance of a hope of a dream of a vision that is but a seed from those on council now. That seed for attacking the roots of problems is wrapped in red tape and within an apple core in some circular file on Grant Street in an office around a smoke eater. Progressive victories lay there. Oh so close.

Pitt says fatigue is not factor

I agree. Fatigue at NYC's MSG wasn't much of a factor.

The officials were more of a factor. Foul line performance is going to be a MUCH, MUCH bigger factor. Pitt's players have to sink the foul shots to advance deep into the tournament.
Pitt says fatigue is not factor: "Pitt says fatigue is not factor
The other 'fitness factor' that is worthy of some serious consideration -- Denver is at altitude.

Pitt has good bench strength. That's great.

However, the arms are going to feel very heavy much more quickly. The pace of the game and the use of subs -- while making those foul shots -- is going to be huge.

Oral Roberts has played at altitude many more times than Pitt.

And, if the team (and it should) advances to play Temple, the breakneck speed of the game is going to take a serious toll on the team.

They need to run like crazy -- then step to the line and swish those foul shots. Then run crazy again and NOT foul. Run into positions, away from the ball, preventing the back-door dunks/lay-ups.

Running in Denver isn't like running in NYC. Well, to be honest, the running is the same, but the recovery and the thinking while running isn't.

I'd worry more about the recovery after the first round victory and the second round game.

If Pitt makes its shots and stays out of foul trouble -- it can just crush Oral Roberts. Play subs freely. Stay fresh. Rotate in and out and get into the game in two heart beats.

Hail to Pitt!

Sex-ed topics too narrow, group says

Education is about awareness. Education is to open eyes and eliminate blind spots. Ignorance is the enemy of education.
Sex-ed topics too narrow, group says Sex-ed topics too narrow
It makes sense to fight against narrow outcomes and narrow-minded leadership, especially when it comes by design.

Parents are needed to push and pull both the educators and educational administrators beyond their 'comfort zone.'

Our kids are not be be short-changed. Our kids are advanced -- and advance beyond 'comfort zones.'

I don't want 'dumb' leadership and lesson plans that are incomplete.

Personally, in our family, I understand that the topic of sex-ed, is too important to trust to our children's teachers. We have plans for getting our boys these lessons concerning their whole lives -- not just the narrow slice of life that the school might teach. Our Whole Lives, also known as OWL, is a program offered within our church community for our young teens. Other versions are for younger groups too.

Regardless of what we do in our faith community and our family -- we need to insure that the other kids are enriched with an understanding of the whole story of how and why human biology and life unfolds.

"In Pittsburgh Public Schools, teens aren't receiving the information they need to make healthy and responsible life decisions," reads the petition at
I signed the petition.

I would NOT say that "abstinence programs are ineffective." That has to be bad reporting. Rather, I fully endorse abstinence for the behavior of the youngsters. Abstinence is effective if the aim is to avoid babies. However, "abstinence programs" are not holistic educational programs. Let's not advance educational lessons that contain glaring blindspots that ignore many aspects of the human condition.

I know how a nature unfolds and, say, a lightening bolt occurs. Lightening, thunder, and forces of nature are understandable, teachable and respected. For example, I don't need to get hit by lightening to comprehend its meaning and get an "A" in my high-school science class. If I should get hit by lightening, I'm dumb enough to NOT get an "A" in science class.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I voted. How about you? Go for the Pittsburgh based choice. And, I also mean STBD.

The web video/TV series, "Something To Be Desired", is currently up for a Yahoo! Video Award for Best Series. The winner is determined solely by online voting. The Pittsburgh show is currently in third place. So, to put it quite simply, in this election year, I am asking for your vote. Here's all you have to do:

Go to

Click the little circle next to "STBD: Pittsburgh"

Tell everyone you know to do the same.

I'm very proud of my involvement with this show, and it could really use the attention that winning this award would bring. Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated.


Erik Schark
- husband of Gwen Walker
- former NYC actor and casting director
- current Pittsburgh actor
- PR dude for PodCamp Pittsburgh
- all-around great guy

Community Benefits Agreements: Another CBA in Pittsburgh?

An entire blog about Community Benefits Agreements with a NY author:
Community Benefits Agreements: Another CBA in Pittsburgh? Another CBA in Pittsburgh?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

IOC chief opposes�boycott of Beijing Olympics - Saturday March 15, 2008 1:14PM

Let's state the obvious from the ones with the largest self interest. - Olympics - IOC chief opposes�boycott of Beijing Olympics - Saturday March 15, 2008 1:14PM: "IOC president Jacques Rogge opposes a boycott of the Beijing Olympics over China's crackdown in Tibet, contending such action would only hurt 'innocent athletes.'
Now that that is out of the way, let the games begin.

American Gas -- or non Saudi Oil

This came from a church friend. I'm not sure if it is true or not.


Gas rationing in the 70's worked even though we grumbled about it. It might even have been good for us!

Are you aware that the Saudis are boycotting American products?

Shouldn't we return the favor? Can't we take control of our own destiny and let these giant oil importers know who REALLY generates their profits, their livings? How about leaving American Dollars in America and reduce the import/export deficit?

An appealing remedy might be to boycott their GAS. Every time you fill up your car you can avoid putting more money into the coffers of Saudi Arabia. Just purchase gas from companies that don't import their oil from the Saudis.

Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling that every time I fill up my tank, I'm sending my money to people who I get the impression want me, my family and my friends dead. Don't you think it might be of interest to know which oil companies import Middle Eastern oil and which do not?

These companies import Middle Eastern oil:

Shell = 205,742,000 barrels

Chevron/Texaco = 144,332,000 barrels

Exxon /Mobil = 130,082,000 barrels

Marathon/Speedway = 117,740,000 barrels

Amoco = 62,231,000 barrels

And CITGO oil is imported from Venezuela by Dictator Hugo Chavez who hates America and openly avows our economic destruction! (We pay Chavez's regime nearly $10 Billion per year in oil revenues!)

The U.S. currently imports 5,517,000 barrels of crude oil per day from OPEC. If you do the math at $95 per barrel, that's over $524 million PER DAY ($191 BILLION per year!) handed over to OPEC, many of whose members are our confirmed enemies!

Here are some large companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:

Sunoco = 0 barrels

Conoco = 0 barrels

Sinclair = 0 barrels

BP / Phillips = 0 barrels

Hess = 0 barrels

ARC0 = 0 barrels

Maverick = 0 barrels

Flying J. = 0 barrels

Valero = 0 barrels

All of this information is available from the U.S. Department of Energy and each company is required to state where they get their oil and how much they are importing.

But to have a real impact, we need to reach literally millions of gas buyers. With the help of the internet, it's really simple to do. Now, don't wimp out at this point....keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Ja!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Ja!: "Hannibal Hopson, a freshman at Pittsburgh Schenley High School, has taken German since he was in kindergarten.

He said he had chances to change languages, but said, 'I actually like the language personally. I want to be at the highest level I can get.'

He likes the pronunciations and the fact German is close to some other languages."
The language instruction in the city schools in some situations is wonderful. Sadly, it isn't always nearly as good as it should be -- and could be.