Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kids in Cities - Learning Network

CEOS for Cities - Newsroom - News & Events: "08.24.07
Kids in Cities Learning Network

CEOs for Cities will convene urban leaders from New York, Akron, Chicago and Portland for its first-ever Learning Network on Kids in Cities, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. before the kick off of our national meeting.

Learning Networks bring three to four member cities together to collaborate on a particular project over an 18-month engagement. Topics of the Learning Networks are driven by members’ interests and needs and participation in the Networks is driven by a delegation’s own decisions about its priorities. Learning Networks focus on a single pressing theme and are aimed explicitly at producing action on the ground.

The Kids in Cities Learning Network will help urban leaders understand, support and scale the behaviors of pioneering urban families. Researchers from the IIT Institute of Design studied parent concerns of safety, space and schools, developing concepts to counter them through density, public space and using the city as a classroom.

Participants will apply concepts from our research in new initiatives in their cities with the aim of achieving real local gains and refining ideas and strategies that can then be shared among our national network.

To learn more about the Kids in Cities project, go to

You may download the report on Kids in Cities by clicking here."
I've been talking about this for years. Good to see it begin to get a little attention elsewhere.

The Tax Foundation - Pennsylvania's State and Local Tax Burden, 1970-2007

The Tax Foundation - Pennsylvania's State and Local Tax Burden, 1970-2007: "Pennsylvania's State and Local Tax Burden, 1970-2007
What do you make of this?

Penn State Swim Coach: Bill Dorrenkott Hired at Ohio State Hiring Official Dorrenkott Hiring Official
Great move by Ohio State. Great loss for us in Pennsylvania.

PSU needs to get a new indoor 50-meter swim pool.

In Ohio, the recent news was that the NCAA Division III program, Denison, is getting a new swim pool too.

Ohio has dozens of indoor 50-meter swim pools. Pennsylvania is lacking, greatly.

In other OSU vs. PSU matters, the Men's Volleball squads face off with each other in the final four this weekend.

Myron's dead. Now public parade of his son begins.

Meet Myron Cope's Son Danny
Myron Cope's son Danny was the inspiration for the Steelers Terrible Towel. Danny is autistic and attends the Allegheny Valley School. Channel 11's Peggy Finnegan talks to Cope's daughter and introduces 40-year-old Danny to the public for the first time.
Some serious parenting issues swirl around this local media story.

Correct me if I'm wrong. But, Myron was keen on keeping his son out of the public eye. So, would his wishes be honored with this display?

Did Peggy Finnegan press for the story? Did the sister? Did Danny? How did it get 'pitched?' Was a need need generated from Allegheny Valley School and its development people?

Is this 'news worthy?'

What is the long-term angle of this story?

Frankly, I think it is sad to put Danny in the spotlight. I feel that it would be against the wishes of his father. The media is making another mistake. Go figure.

Furthermore, I feel that the 'Terrible Towel" has a life of its own. That 'legacy' can be managed and it should be championed in a number of different ways so as to keep the revenue stream viable. However, the excitement and mystique of the Terrible Towelis tightly associated with sports and on-field momentum. That is where the efforts should be targeted.

I'd suggest a Terrible Towel baptism or vo-do spirit de-jinxing for the Steelers' draft choices -- with guys that are paid millions for a signing bonus. Put them into the limelight. Or, recycle Terrible Towels and install bits of these good-luck charms into motorcycle helmets of drivers on the region's roads.

Marty Griffin -- Pin headed Turncoat who says do as I say -- not as I do.

I sent Marty G an instant access message while he is ranting on KDKA Radio. I posted to him:

Of course people let go of their faith -- all the time.

Marty said, "Never let go of your faith at any time."

Get out!!!!

Taliban holds onto faith at all costs too.

To BAIL (Marty's words) on 'crazy' is 'common sense.'

Marty says, "Bad, bad." I say, "It is human to grow, change, move, improve, and better themselves."

To 'think again' even in matters of faith, is okay. Otherwise, you'd be a 'pin head.'

Marty bailed on Obama too. A couple of weeks ago Marty was pulling hard to get Hillary Clinton out of the race saying she didn't have the credit to be on the ballot.

Marty is a turn-coat. I just wonder if Marty is doing the dance against Obama because his listeners and the voters of PA went more with Hillary?

Five-month study on Pittsburgh housing market to be a guide -

Five-month study on Pittsburgh housing market to be a guide - PITTSBURGH (Map, News) - A five-month study on Pittsburgh's housing market will serve as a guide to investors and city planners as they look for the best places to develop in a shaky economy.

East Liberty Development Inc. project manager Kendall Pelling says until now politics drove what areas of the city were developed.

Now, investors and developers can rely on the interactive map that will be posted online by the Philadelphia-based nonprofit, The Reinvestment Fund.
Oh my gosh.

How about if the city's investors do anything they wish while the city's agencies, city authorities, elected leaders of the city and all other public bureaucrats do NOTHING. Leave it alone and allow the free market forces do whatever.

The public acts need to be with a tight focus on public needs: Police, fire, roads, water, sewer lines, bridges.

Hacker Teen -- Comic Book

Competitive Bid raises its head -- again -- but winks, blinks and nods prevail

Pittsburgh's water authority ups debt - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: After meeting with PNC and authority representatives, council members questioned why the financial work was not competitively bid.

'I don't think that it's been the policy to bid these out,' said State Rep. Don Walko, the authority chairman. 'I think you just try to find the best team.'

Walko said PNC and JP Morgan assembled the authority's separate $25 million bond refinancing in 2007 and that using the firms again would save money.
City Council had them right where they wanted them. City Council folded.

Well, there is always next time. But next time in this instance is in 2042, give or take a decade.

City council blew it. None even asked a question on the day of the final vote. It was a slam dunk to get more debt.

The 'consent decree' to fix the storm water run off calls for certain measures to be made. Little has happened. Why?

Stewardships. Management. Accountability. Solvency.

The PWSA came about when Tom Murphy hatched an idea for a one-time fix of cash. All the Dems when along with it then. All the Dems sustain it now. Meanwhile, the water main breaks around town are everywhere.

Will this be the last musical at Schenley?

Will this be the last musical at Schenley?: "The future of Pittsburgh Schenley High School is up in the air, so this week may (or may not) be the last chance to see the famed Schenley musical on the Schenley stage in Oakland."
Yes. This is the last chance to get to see a real Schenley Musical.

But the P-G ariticle fails to say a peep as to the greatness of this year's show talent. There wasn't a sour note the entire night. The show is a "MUST SEE."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

IzeaFest in Orlando in Sept. 08

IzeaFest: "How to become a well-rounded blogger."

[412] This weekend -- you gotta make time to see the Schenley High School Musical -- historic and fantastic!

[412] This weekend -- you gotta make time to see the Schenley High School Musical -- historic and fantastic!:
Find time this weekend, at 8 pm on May 1, 2 or 3 (Thurs, Fri or Sat) to go see the Schenley High School musical, "All Shook Up." It is fantastic.

My son saw "Hairspray" when the professional production was in town this winter and he thinks the local high school kids presented a better show.

Furthermore, Schenley High School, as we know it, is GONE after this school year. This gives residents from around the region to see a top flight program in a classic, city setting. Suburban friends need to see this show too. I don't want to dwell on the politics of the school closure and how wrong that decision is because the message is all about the kids, the music, the teamwork and the fun you'll have watching them perform.

If you like Elvis music, live theater, poking fun at the mayor, wonderful singing, and a splendid community time -- go. Take your kids. Take a date. Go alone. We didn't need to reserve our seats, just show up at the door and plunk down seven bills.

See other blog postings and comments.

Lee Jenkins: Kosuke Fukudome Tastes Good - MLB -

Love it.
Lee Jenkins: Kosuke Fukudome Tastes Good - MLB - The notoriously rowdy fans in the Wrigley bleachers not only hang signs of tribute to him in Japanese, but they also chant in the rightfielder's native tongue. Their efforts are flattering, if occasionally puzzling, to Fukudome. Placards with the Cubs' slogan IT'S GONNA HAPPEN in Japanese have been read by Fukudome to say IT'S AN ACCIDENT. And one well-meaning bleacher bum keeps yelling a phrase that translates as, 'It tastes good!'
This comes at a perfect time with my next venture.

Also, Baseball and Softball are in a fight to get back into the Olympic Games come 2012.

Dr. Dan -- asking for a raise.

University of Pittsburgh: News From Pitt: "When I came to Pitt as a freshman, I had two goals. One was to be the starting quarterback. The other, I made a promise to my mother that I would graduate just like all of you today. I accomplished both goals. I was very proud of that, and all of you should be very proud to be Pitt graduates.

But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine receiving a doctorate in broadcast journalism. Now that I have one, I’ll be sure to let my colleagues at the CBS NFL Today show—Shannon, Boomer, James Brown, and Coach Cowher—know that I will demand that they now call me “Dr. Dan.”

Chancellor, thank you for the honor. I think I’m going to ask CBS for a raise!"

Where are the petitions?

Vox populi: Opponents of the 10 percent tax on all poured alcoholic drinks in Allegheny County are ready to put their efforts where their wrath has been. Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation, or FACT, say it's seeking a November referendum that would repeal the very unpopular levy. They'll begin gathering petition signatures in June. At least 25,000 are needed; FACT says it will seek 50,000 signatures just to be safe. Ah, democracy in action.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ron Paul Hits it out of the Park on CNN American Morning�-�

Ron Paul Hits it out of the Park on CNN American Morning - "Ron Paul Hits it out of the Park on CNN American Morning"
The are agents of change, but are not specific.


Free market medicine.

Federal Reserve system creates the bubbles.

We pretend to police the world and are going bankrupt.

They are about $400 haircuts.

Without fail, I'm a member of the Republican party, said Dr. Paul. (Take that John K.)

Get the book. It is a great read.

Men’s Volleyball: #4 Buckeyes Face #1 Penn State in the NCAA Semifinals Thursday at UC Irvine - The Ohio State Buckeyes Official Athletics Site - Ohio

Men’s Volleyball: #4 Buckeyes Face #1 Penn State in the NCAA Semifinals Thursday at UC Irvine - The Ohio State Buckeyes Official Athletics Site - The seventh-ranked Ohio State (20-7) men’s volleyball team will face top-ranked Penn State (28-1) Thursday in the NCAA Championship semifinals at UC Irvine. The Buckeyes, seeded fourth in the championship, received the MIVA (Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) automatic bid by winning the MIVA Tournament with a 3-0 (30-19, 30-24-30-21) victory over Ball State (21-10). The Nittany Lions, seeded first in the championship, received the EIVA (Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) automatic bid by winning the EIVA Tournament with a 3-0 (30-24, 33-31, 30-23) win over George Mason (20-8). The second semifinal has third-seed Long Beach State (23-7) facing second-seed Pepperdine (16-10). The 49ers received the at-large bid to the championship while Pepperdine won the MPSF (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) automatic bid by defeating Brigham Young (25-5), 3-2 (28-30, 28-30, 32-30, 30-27, 15-8) in the championship match of the MPSF Tournament. The semifinal winners play Saturday for the NCAA Championship

Paul has a novel idea for his campaign leftovers | - Houston Chronicle

Paul has a novel idea for his campaign leftovers | - Houston Chronicle: "Ron Paul failed to translate an impressive fundraising operation into widespread support for his 2008 bid for the presidency, but the Lake Jackson Republican still may end up hitting pay dirt."

Slots Parlor: Felix asked a great question in another thread, at the Burgh Report blog

Worthy read, in full. Pointer:
... Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that $150 million in funding for Don Barden's casino comes from the two troubled public pension funds of the City of Detroit?

Last week S&P rated Barden's Pittsburgh casino project at B- with a negative outlook -- that's quite bad, and his other Majestic Star operations (in Gary, Indiana; Tunica, Mississippi; and Colorado) were rated a nearly-insolvent CCC+. What on earth are two drastically underfunded pension funds doing investing in a project like that? Isn't it an obvious use of political favors by Barden in his home town of Detroit?

Am I crazy in raising these questions, which have garnered no coverage in the Detroit media from what I've seen, and bare-bones coverage here? Shouldn't someone be investigating and reporting on the deeper stories -- if any -- behind these pension boards' decisions? Did money or favors change hands, and if so, where?

This is not chump change, folks, it is $150 million in savings that are supposed to benefit long-serving city workers in a distressed Rust Belt city. It may not be our own city, but the guy who benefits from it is building a casino in our city with that money. Is there anyone out there with the time and inclination to look into this further?

Felix Dzerzhinsky

Challenge, call: Pittsburgh area film creators


The 48 Hour Film Project is coming to Pittsburgh In a wild, sleepless weekend, you and a team will make a movie--write, shoot, edit and score it. From scratch. In 48 hours.

On Friday, June 6th you'l get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in your movie. By Sunday, June 8th the movie must be complete. It will show at Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall at a screening on June 17th or 18th. The best 12 Films will screen again at the awards ceremony on June 20th.

There are many ways to be involved:

1. Come out to a MEET AND GREET scheduled for Wednesday May 14th at 7:00. We will be holding a meet and greet session at Cefalo's Restaraunt in Bridgeville. Any person who wishes to be involved in one way or another may come out and introduce yourself to the many Producers, Actors and DP's who are wishing to be part of this MANTRA!

2. FORM A TEAM. If you can rustle up enough folks to make a movie, great! The project is open to pros and amateurs alike. Just put together a team and register on-line at …and then meet us on Friday, June 6th, ready to go. There are only a limited number of slots, so apply soon...

3. JOIN A TEAM. If you're interested in participating, but can't form a team, you can still definitely be involved! There will be happy hours where folks can meet team leaders and join their teams. Get your information to team leaders at:

...and get your ear to the ground by signing up for the Pittsburgh 48HFP
yahoo group at:

…or the Pittsburgh myspace page at

4. WATCH THE MOVIES. Come on by to the see the movies! They will be showing at the Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall on on June 17th or 18th. . (Each night is a totally different set of movies.) The best 12 Films will screen again at the awards ceremony on June 20th.

Meet other filmmakers, spend 48 hours in intense movie making, and have your film screened at the Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall ! And compete to represent Pittsburgh at the 48HFP national screening!

The winning Pittsburgh team will compete against other films to represent Pittsburgh at the 48 Hour Film Project's national screening (2008 films screened at South by Southwest film festival), and will compete for additional prizes. Entry instructions can be found at

So come on out and make a movie!
Are you game?

Help Kick Childhood Obesity: Join Sneakers for FIT Kids Photo Petition!

Tomorrow is You’re the Cure on the Hill- the American Heart Association’s federal lobby day, and hundreds of You’re the Cure advocates will be on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to pass legislation to help counter the childhood obesity epidemic we presently face.

With the event now only hours away, I wanted to remind you to take part in our Sneakers for FIT Kids Photo Petition, so we can demonstrate the widespread support for the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act (FIT Kids Act).

Remember, the FIT Kids Act would amend No Child Left Behind to ensure the quality and quantity of physical education begin provided in our public schools is prioritized. Tomorrow is an important step in our efforts to see that this important bill is passed, and your participation today can have an invaluable impact on the outcome.

There is still time for you to take part in the Sneakers for FIT Kids Photo Petition. All it requires is that you take these three easy steps:

1) Take A Picture Of Your Well-Used, Stinky Sneakers – Whether they are high tops, tennis shoes or cross trainers, just snap a photo of your sneakers or of you being active in your sneakers. And get creative- create a sign expressing your support to include in the shot!

2) Send Your Picture To Take a look at the hundreds of sneaker pictures we have already received. We would like to add your photo too so we can demonstrate to Congress that ensuring the health of our kids is an important priority.

3) Wear Your Sneakers April 29th – Even if you cannot join us at You’re the Cure on the Hill in person, be sure to wear your sneakers tomorrow to raise awareness of the issue and show your solidarity with our cause.

In closing, I would like to thank you on behalf of the American Heart Association – and the millions of kids whose lives you can make healthier – for supporting our campaign.

Clarissa GarcĂ­a
American Heart Association

Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.

P.S - Exciting news! You’re the Cure on the Hill will be featured on C-SPAN tomorrow. An interview with AHA President Daniel Jones, M.D. will take place on “Washington Journal” on Tuesday, April 29, 8–8:30 a.m. EST, and include the topics of the FIT Kids Act and federal funding for research and prevention programs. “Washington Journal” has a call-in format, so we encourage you to dial in to participate and support our legislative priorities.

Pittsburgh Pist-Gazette: Luke's Legacy

A trend, perhaps.
Pittsburgh Pist-Gazette: Luke's Legacy: "Luke's Legacy"
One calls it unaware. The other calls it 'brain dead.'

Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community

B-B-Q is slated for Saturday, May 3, from 3-8 p.m.

Worship is scheduled for 11 am on Sunday, May 4.

All of this happens at the new space: 2700 Jane St. in the South Side.

Heads are rolling at WVU


Players bash sloppy ice in Pittsburgh Players bash sloppy ice in Pittsburgh Players bash sloppy ice in Pittsburgh
Global warming.

What if they just finished the hockey season by the end of April.

Perhaps Pittsburgh fans can push to make the first game of the next series, rather than a 'white out,' be 'topless.' A beach party might be good enough for the dropping of the puck. Then as the game continues, fans go shirtless.

Sturla finance records subpoenaed - Topix

Someone feels that this short news story has big ramifications.
Sturla finance records subpoenaed - Topix Sturla finance records subpoenaed

State Rep. Mike Sturla's campaign finance records have been subpoenaed as part of a grand jury investigation into a Scranton millionaire casino owner's alleged mob connections.
If we had "Transparent PAC Accounts" -- this type of stuff would NOT need to be the subject of a subpoena. The records to the PAC would be visible for all to see at any time, as they unfold.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents :: Bruce Kraus: Excerpts from his testimony

Another "over-languaged" example of folly from Bruce Kraus.
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents :: Bruce Kraus: Excerpts from his testimony: "In the year 2008, would you dare to legislate to deny marriage or civil union based on race, creed, age or ethnicity?
Look at the blog, there, for my reactions to his HYPE.

Bruce, get an editor. And, if you have one editor now, get 10 additional ones if they should be of the same quality.

Meet Chuck Baldwin, candidate for President of the United States

Constitution Party chooses talk-show host over Keyes for presidential nomination

By STEVE KRASKE The Kansas City Star

Meeting in Kansas City on Saturday, the Constitution Party tapped talk show host Chuck Baldwin over former ambassador Alan Keyes as its 2008 presidential nominee.

The pick was seen as something of an upset, given Keyes’ higher national profile. Known for his fiery stemwinders, Keyes is a two-time GOP presidential candidate who abandoned the Republican Party this month to join the Constitution Party, which stands for limited government and is committed to ending abortion and bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq.

But Baldwin’s roots in the Constitution Party run deeper. He was the party’s 2004 vice-presidential candidate, and party members said his stands were more in line with party thinking.

Still, the two waged a fierce battle in the days leading up to the vote, described as the most contentious in the party’s 16-year history. Baldwin wound up winning easily, 384-126. The Missouri and Kansas delegations basically split their votes between the two.

“They just rejected the most qualified man to be president,” said Tom Hoefling of Lohrville, Iowa, who is Keyes’ national political director. “Chuck Baldwin will have no impact on this election whatsoever.”

But Baldwin backers said the party was committed to remaining true to its values and growing itself from the inside. That approach will better sustain the party over the long run, said delegate Thom Holmes of Chandler, Okla., even though Keyes might have drawn more votes.

In his acceptance speech, Baldwin said his presidency would be committed to halting abortion and illegal immigration, the streamlining of the federal government, the tapping of oil reserves in Alaska that would lead to a return of $1.50-a-gallon gas prices and withdrawal from Iraq.

Baldwin pledged not only to pull out of the U.N., but also to push the international organization out of the country.

He said he would phase out the Internal Revenue Service and end the paying of personal income taxes. He said the country should return to the gold standard.

Boing Boing - Physics of participation like weather, not surplus

Boing Boing: "The physics of participation is much more like the physics of weather than it is like the physics of gravity. We know all the forces that combine to make these kinds of things work: there's an interesting community over here, there's an interesting sharing model over there, those people are collaborating on open source software. But despite knowing the inputs, we can't predict the outputs yet because there's so much complexity.

Schenley Musical, All Shook Up

I just got home from the Schenley musical All Shook UP and I would strongly urge you to see it next weekend if you haven't already. The talent of the Schenley cast is amazing (and the crew who make everything work)! I have been a season ticket holder of the CLO for about 25 years and have never wanted to see a show twice; I am planning to be at Friday's performance and might even go again on Saturday! (Thursday is the last home volleyball game and senior nite so I will be at the gym watching our Schenley Spartans defeat Gateway).

I think the show is especially moving this year because of the death of legendary director, Mr. B. and because of the uncertainty of the program for next year. I think it would be a good idea for all of us to contact our board members along with Mr. Lopez and Mr. Roosevelt and encourage them to see this show. Maybe the MAGIC can continue at another location but it will take the efforts of many to keep it alive.

amy moore

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Former Pittsburgh schools chief hired in Georgia

We miss you Dr. Thompson!
Former Pittsburgh schools chief hired in Georgia: "A troubled Georgia school board voted unanimously this morning to hire former Pittsburgh schools chief John W. Thompson as its 'corrective superintendent.'
Take care of those kids. Good luck with the new job and responsibilities.

Dr. Thompson cared about the kids. Dr. Thompson cared about the parents of the kids too. And, Dr. Thompson did listen.

Meanwhile, today, we've got a school boss and a few in the higher administration who don't care to listen, interact and consult with the parents of the students in Pgh Public Schools. Mr. Roosevelt and his right-hand man for high school reform seem to think that they know it all.

The population loss in Pittsburgh is in a steep decline. It is getting steeper. Parents are pulling their kids out of the schools because of doubt and uncertainty.

Furthermore, we can deal with board turmoil. Board turmoil is NOT a bad thing. What they have in Georgia is NOT what we had. We always had members on the board. We never had people with votes bail out.

The solution to board troubles is an overhaul to the political landscape. That is something that was lost upon Dr. Thompson.

Point State Park is STILL CLOSED -- and work has not occured there in months

Do you know how to confuse a bunch of Philly baseball fans?

Put a big frickin fence around Point State Park -- for no reason.

This week the Philly fans are in Pittsburgh -- wishing to take in the sights. I saw dozens of the fans pressing their faces against the cyclone fences at the edge of Point State Park.

Meanwhile, nothing has happened there in months.

Joggers are blocked from the park. Cyclists are out of luck. Citizens are given the bird -- and this bird has nothing to do with geese -- every day that the park remains closed.

Meanwhile, new parks are opening.
'Disneyland' comes to Baghdad with multi-million pound entertainment park - Times Online Mr Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland. “The people need this kind of positive influence. It’s going to have a huge psychological impact,” Mr Werner said.

Jen's email update about schools

I will be going to the Schenley Musical tonight, Saturday.
Hey all --

Sorry for the lull, I've been busy, but also, we're just waiting to see the fate of the building.

Tonight, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of next week you can go see the Schenley Musical, All Shook Up. 8 pm, tickets are $7. I'll be there every night! If you know a school board member or adminstrator, try to drag them along.

Meeting planned for May 4th at 2 pm, Panera on Blvd. of the Allies just to see where people are, what the latest news is, etc. both about the building, plans for next year and overall reform plans. If you think you can make it (we've already found quite a few people will be out of town that weekend), let me know, in case we need to try and reserve the room there.

In the meantime, if you're the parent of a Frick 8th grader and either aren't sure what you're doing next year or have made other plans, please drop me a reply. I've got a reporter request for parents meeting that description.

I know that some of us with an older child at or through Schenley strongly want to believe that something of the Schenley experience can and will be saved. But, I also know of many kids with alternate plans already in place, at Central Catholic, City High, Ellis, etc. It may well come down to the quality (and quantity) of the teachers remaining at "Schenley at Reizenstein" and those teaching the 9th graders at Frick. Also if numbers in the program fall it will, of course, affect staffing and then future recruitment. The latest enrollment numbers district-wide certainly aren't a good omen.

Researchers at Duquesne University are giving a survey and asking for parent input about the effects so far of HS reform and parents' opinions of where it should be headed. They'll be at every HS, but I think you can fill out the survey regardless. Let me know and I'll try to hook you up with them. Not sure that our input makes a lot of difference, but I still feel compelled to give it!

A+ Schools meetings are coming up too, free childcare and food included, with RSVP, click here for more info and to RSVP:

University Prep 6-12 meeting is Thursday, May 1, 2008 at The Hill House Association Kaufmann Building, 1835 Centre Avenue

Creative and Performing Arts 6-12 – Thursday, May 15, 2008, Downtown (free parking)

International Baccalaureate 6-12 –Tuesday, May 20, 2008 Downtown (free parking)

Science & Technology 6-12 – Thursday, May 29, 2008 Downtown (free parking)

All meetings will be held from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Meetings will take place on the 31st floor of the Regional Enterprise Tower (formerly known as the Alcoa Building), 425 Sixth Avenue, Downtown. Dinner and childcare (for children over 1) will be provided to registrants. A+ Schools will validate parking tickets to the Mellon Square Garage for the meetings taking place at the Regional Enterprise Tower.

Let me know if you're hearing anything --

Jen Lakin

Ron Paul Delegates Forced out of Republican Convention�-�

This is bad. This is one reason to NOT be a part of the Republican Party.

Furthermore, this is but a sign of things to come at the national conventions for the big parties.

You'd think that McCain Republicans, with delegates already locked up, would not be so illegal and underhanded and corrupt.
Ron Paul Delegates Forced out of Republican Convention: You’re not going to believe this audio - Nueces County Texas Republican Convention

Great job guys! This is how Revolutions start!

Ron Paul Delegates Forced out of Republican Convention

At the Nueces County Republican party convention, March 29th, in Corpus Christ Texas, Ron Paul supporters walked out in protest and held their own emergency convention in the parking lot. Republican party Chairperson Mike Bertuzzi grossly violated party rules by announcing new delegates to the morning's roll call who were never elected as precinct delegates on the night of the Republican primary, then again by ignoring repeated objections by party delegates, which he is required to recognize..

Mr. Bertuzzi claims that he avoided a 'party takeover' by unruly Ron Paul supporters, but a recently released audio tape of the event clearly shows otherwise. As a blatant violation of convention rules is underway by the Chairperson, many delegates can be heard rising to voice objections with no avail until a local man, Paul Hunt , is escorted out by the Sergeant at Arms..

If anyone has any doubt that we're in a dictatorship, please watch this video.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Recumbent Exercise Bike to good home with $300, firm

Update: SOLD!

Firm is the price of the bike -- and firm will be your body after using this very affordable recumbent exercise bike for the next period of your life.

This bike was used by a little old grandma (no joke) and is low miles. She used it to recover leg strength from a pedestrian accident (she was hit by a car). It proved to work for her -- and it can work for you or those you care for.

I love the handle grips on the side by the seat with the ability to read one's pulse rate. And, this bike has its own drink bottle holder!


Model R-15, Recumbent Exercise Bike, like new, purchased by G&G Fitness in Monroeville in July 06, cost more than $1,000. This is designed for home use, maximum user weight, 300 pounds. Console data displays with time, RPM, distance, calories, level and heart rate DOT MATRIX WINDOW indicates workout profile. Summary of total distance and total calories burned. Workouts: quick start manual mode, interval, random, manual, peak, slope, challenge. With 16 resistance levels. Pedal size is 4.5 inch. Drive type is Poly-V belt drive. Black and pewter metal, charcoal plastic shrouds. Has a user manual.

You'll need to pay cash and pick-it-up with your own car/van/truck from the South Side Flats.

Email me, Mark -at- Or, call 412-298-3432.

Photo slideshow.

The FAIL Blog has some good ones

The FAIL Blog: "The FAIL Blog"

Single Payer Health Care is good for business

Investigated the "Family and Business Healthcare Security Act" (HB 1660/SB 300).

"No policy response other than the Single-Payer Solution offers so great a reward in terms of health, wealth, and self-determination" writes Chuck Pennacchio, Ph.D.

Good for Pennsylvania; Good for Business

Why Single-Payer Healthcare is a Winner for Business:

• Eliminate administrative costs to businesses, doctors, hospitals, and patients

• Stop high annual increases in health insurance premiums

• Allow more reliable budgeting: predictable, affordable healthcare costs

• Eliminate annoying negotiations with insurance companies

• Attract new business to Pennsylvania

• Make Pennsylvania businesses more competitive

• Keep small businesses from being hit with higher premiums

• Enable the Commonwealth to leverage its buying power for Prescription Drugs

• Cover all employees at a cost that is affordable to them and to you

• Create a healthier, happier, more productive work force

"This year, our premiums went up 74%, which our agent thought was a mistake. We have a woman who is terminally ill with cancer, and the insurance company stated this had nothing to do with our increase. No company, large or small, can absorb that kind of cost increase. So, what, drop her coverage? And how do you live with yourself?" Scott Tyson M.D - CEO Pediatrics South, Pittsburgh, Pa. (60 employees)

"We work very hard to try to insure our employees because we feel that is our obligation. Every year we sit down and look at our health plan. We make choices based on what should we cover; what should we not cover; what should the deductible be; how much should we charge employees when they go the doctor's office. We make all those decisions. Our employees end up just being along for the ride. It's not right, but it's the way it is. It's my obligation to do that to try to protect our plan and get the best, cheapest plan I can for our employees so I can continue to offer health insurance.

"We work with the system that we have, but it is broken, and it seems like single-payer is the way to go." Alan Jacobs - President of Isaac's Restaurant in South Central Pa. (700 employees).

"We have, in the past four years had our insurance rates more than double. We are paying 20% over our existing payroll just for health coverage, and at budget time you don't know what to expect. When you've had 25% increases you pretty much have to say we're going to expect it's going to be 35% higher. We are a for-profit organization, and we can't really afford to pay that and still make money. Under single-payer we'd save at least $50,000 which I could use to hire more people. This past year we increased the deductible... and it was very painful for us to do that. If we pass single-payer we're going to attract businesses. There is no manufacturer that won't want to locate in Pennsylvania because you can predict your expenses year over year. You have stable costs. And everybody's in and nobody's out." Charlie Crystle - Owner and CEO of Mission Research, a Software technology business in Lancaster, Pa. (20 employees)

"I believe it's a moral obligation to provide healthcare for my employees. Six years ago I was paying $176 a month per employee for their healthcare benefits. Last year it went up to $577. This year it went up to $627. They're telling me next year it's going to go up another 20 or 30%, and it's not going to stop. It doesn't make moral sense. It doesn't make political sense. And it doesn't make business sense." Mike Stout – President of Steel Valley Printers, Pittsburgh, Pa. (7 employees)

Join our conversation about Campiagn Finance Reform on FRIDAY.

Call has ended.

Meeting at at 11:30 on Friday to talk about Pittsburgh's version of Campaign Finance Reform.

Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 3181

We had a 8 minute conversation. Then it ended. You can listen. After the massive noise begins, it is over. ???

I'm calling support now.

A promise fulfilled: Kudos, Mark DeSantis - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A promise fulfilled: Kudos, Mark DeSantis - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "A promise fulfilled: Kudos, Mark DeSantis
Mark DeSantis has good PR with the Trib, still.

I'm waiting for the Trib editorial board to do its endorsement of any political race for public office I'm involved in. Oh well.

I got to speak to Mark DeSantis today. We talked about Pat Ford. DeSantis thinks that if he should go under the bus, kicked there by Luke Ravenstahl, that Pat will fire back with a few zingers of his own. Pat won't go down easy, DeSantis thinks.

I beg to differ. I love talking to DeSantis, but in the end, we don't agree on many issues. In my humble opinion / prediction, Pat Ford will NOT get his job back. By the way, he is still getting paid for doing nothing. And, Pat and his wife, the PR maven, will go into the sunset without dishing out a few zingers. They'll depart without much of a peep -- because -- they both want to work in the future.

There are a number of people that can be pulled together now to write a professional letter of reference for the two today. Pat Ford gets good mentions from peers and tiny people alike if he goes in peace, without slinging mud.

Pittsburgh does not like the flashy players. Those that are too big for their britches are on a quick timer with their welcome. Pat Ford was sizzle, and perhaps some stake, if not raw-hide.

Pittsburgh can live with a Barry Bonds, Yags, or Kordell, if the productivity is at the top of the league -- and they walk as gentlemen beyond the lines. But we'll flip out and drain a person's mystique who offers us a show-boat mentality and loose cannon loyalties.

Pat Ford and A.S. need to bite their tongues and ride the paychecks for months to come. Then they can land on their feet with good vibes from certain quarters in city hall in the days, months and years to come -- as they re-establish themelves in Fort Wayne, Scranton, Syracuse, Nashville, or Atlanta.

DeSantis and I talked a bit about the 2009 mayor's race too. Who runs against Luke? DeSantis feels a vibe that Luke might bail out of that job. I say no way. Luke will have a lot of good buzz in the months to come -- as something is in the oven. But, Luke could bolt to the State Senate, as that job would be a hell of a lot easier.

DeSantis thinks Bill Peduto is still the favorite for mayor, but I don't agree. There are folks in the city that won't give Peduto the latitude to be their mayor. Peduto is great these days for city council, same as Patrick Dowd.

Now, if Peduto and his crew pushed a Dem in the primary as a challenger -- and then Peduto jumped to Indie for the fall -- then we've got a pathway to victory.

I don't think Peduto can win the D primary. But, Peduto needs to back a challenger that can rumble with Ravenstahl. And then Peduto needs to be jumping into the race right as the primary closes -- as an Independent.

What about Chelsa Wagner?

Dan Frankle is just a tall Tom Murphy, I say.

I ask, what about Sal Sarabella? Perhaps Catherine, his boss today, can be his campaign manager.

Yes, Rev. Burgess is doing okay. But the best thing for him to do would be to drain "his" "neighborhood needs money" by putting it back into the city's general fund. The WAM money from past year's budgets is a slush fund that should NOT be given to a nonprofit. He did good, but he ducked the best possible solution.

Sell the Convention Center to Don Barden

Sell the Convention Center to Don Barden. Put the "slots parlor" into the Convention Center and open next month. It is NOT too late to do a win-win deal for EVERYONE's benefit.

Convention Center is white elephant that has huge debt and always goes way over budget.

Existing conventions and Visit Pgh can be accomidated and managed by Don Barden's outfit -- not public ownership.

Pittsburgh is NOT getting a casino. IT MUST be called a "slots parlor."

To do table games we'll need another $500-M (or more) to the state for that license upgrade.

Sent to Marty Griffin at KDKA Radio via Instant Message.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tabled: Lamar's watch-dog bill

In other acts of council, Lamar Advertising is given some room. The city council bill was a distraction.

Peduto, Shields and Kraus said no. Others said yes.

Moving the city forward.

Campaign Finance Reform -live blogging

Patrick Dowd:

Campaign donations are a good thing.

Campaign investments by donors are not a good thing.

Spending caps are not a good thing. Presents opportunities to allow for others to spend money and allow the candidate to be without accountability.

Tonya Payne: What are we talking about? The Senator of NY was out spent 3 to 1. Does spending really matter?

Worried about what we are allowed to spend upon. She wants to have no worries about what she spends upon out of her own pack. That is way off topic on this amendment.

Doug Shields: Candidates often indicate that they are going to run, but then they don't. An individual who publicly announces an intention to run for office. ???

What is the definition of a candidate?

A candidate is one who files papers. A candidate is a candidate that states so in public.

I (Mark Rauterkus) says a candidate is anyone who files papers to open up a PAC. Bill Peduto agrees.

Doug has not 'dug into' these amendments. Forgive me.

Doug, do your homework!!!!

Patrick reviews his concepts. Patrick is against and removes 'spending limits.'

Doug wants to take it in whole.

Darlene Harris is confused. Dog ate her homework. She just found out that this is coming to the table. Everything is all over the place. No time. She needs hand holding. She is confused. She doesn't have a copy of what she should have since January.

Jim Motznik does not have a copy of the original bill either.

Digest time...

Peduto went with deliberate and slow steps. Public hearing, post agenda, etc. I'm not going to make this into a personal thing. This means far too much for me.

Some asked for this to be held.

This is too much. We can agree to disagree. Keep on keeping on and then we can hold it.

Darlene Harris: Are we getting a copy?

Gosh. It is there.

Darlene Harris: I didn't know. We didn't sit down and talk.

She feels 'jilted' -- perhaps.

Rev. Burgess: I may offer an amendment myself. Let's go through the amendment process today. These are friendly amendments. Then we can bring back the bill.

T.Payne: No problems -- however... If, .... (wrong) ....

Patrick Dowd goes back on track.

First Amendment: 198.01 -- Remove spending caps.

02 -- more Removal of spending.

Top of 198.02 -- contribution limits.
Was $2,500 and $5,000 cap. Was without moving limits.

That was unacceptable to have a flat number. Inflation.

Individuals may make political contributions to candidates based upon the federal limits. So, if the amount shifts at the federal level, then it shifts locally. The limit is the federal guideline. Applies to both individuals and PAC contributions.

198.06 - Most important. Public record of reports! This is of value. It has to be out there, accessible and searchable. The info is there. But, it is difficult to get. It is not 'searchable' (today).

The role of the County Dept. of Election. And, this should not be housed in city clerk, council offices, controller's office. So he wants it within the Pgh Ethics Hearing Board. The papers need to go to two places. Do nothing different.

The Ethics Hearing Board have their own worries. And, he wants electronic filing. But, that will be their efforts.

Effective DATE is the other point of an amendment. This would not take effect until Jan 1, 2010.

Candidates could volunteer in 2009.

Bill Peduto: Rehash.

Bruce Kraus: Question about .06, the capacity of Ethics Board to handle this. Didn't know if $10,000 went through. ??? What bill comes first.

Patrick Dowd: He spoke to Sister Patrice. She thinks that they can begin to discuss this.

Folks, to keep an up to date database costs little or NOTHING. I can do it in Google Documents (spreadsheets).

Peduto: We are talking about 2010. There are two budget cycles.

Kraus: He wants a letter from Sister Patrice. This is 'on-going.'

Kraus: This is to take politics out of this upcoming election cycle. (giggle)

Motznik: Share concerns of Kraus as to the cost of Ethics Hearing Board.

Motznik: If you want to do it in 2010 -- take the volunteer realm out of it in 2009.

Patrick Dowd wants a beta version. Get the kinks out of it.

Tonya P: ... All candidates running for "city" elected office. Done.

Ethics board keeps in their database? Just names? Just amounts?

Everything needs to be reported, even a person's address.

T Payne: If each of us have 20,000 donors. That is a lot of data entry.

Yes, there will be some work. But, it needs to be smart. We might have to create special software, or, Google Documents could handle it.

Tonya pulled a joke. Nobody laughed.

Bill's mentions: PA has a searchable database too.

Harris: How is this enforced?

Peduto: It is enforced by the courts.

Harris: You do have honest candidates. Those that are not honest just give their money to someone else.

Peduto: Injunctive Relief explained. If you are a candidate and your opponent is bending the rules, you can take them to court.

Harris: What is the enforcement?

Peduto: Candidates already share the data among city and county.

Harris: A lot of the campaign papers are not notarized. ... It will be the same court action as we have right now.

Motznik: Wants to delete the volunteer element in 2009. He wants to set a date and live by that date. 198.09 section 2.

Dowd: He wants the system to be 'operational' by Jan 1, 2009. No zingers is the goal.

Dowd wants the pioneer pathway to be paved and with clearly marked Kennywood signs. Where is the Ethics Hearing Board office? Test drive. Dry runs.

Shields: CIS. Spur the county? Get this out of our hair. No problem with controller.


Burgess: Wants a flag with Authority Board Members and spouses. Disclose info by simply listing contributors and how much they gave. Special interests influence should become clear.

Checklist of the contributor. Spouse, child, etc. Responsibility is for the person that gives the money.

Burgess is over-reaching. He is diving into intent being transparent.

I didn't hear the whole thing.

Patrick Dowd like it. "I think this is a great amendment. I think this is excellent."

Shields complements Burgess. However, it is the language. Talks about "party of interest." ?? More to come. Extended family chart. ??? Looking for firm and fast rules to grand nephew. Shields is concerned about architecture. Some "B-contract areas" are not easily seen, such as a contractor for alternator/generators with the garage. Gets dicey. What is the penalty if there is non-disclosure?

Shields does not want to have a SAT test before getting onto the ballot. Candidates get bounced because of a faulty form.

Burgess talks too much.

Kraus wants to thank Burgess too. It goes to the heart. There are some things that he is not too comfortable with. Does business with city in excess of $x.00 might help to clarify and take pressure off the candidate.

Kraus: Responsibility and penalties. He goes to H&R Block. Defraud is -- under the best of intentions -- etc. What legal responsibilities the candidate has. This is defiantly a struggle. This is why we are at the table. Fully agree with the intent.

Harris: How would I remember the jobs we did with the last five years?

Burgess: The thought is for the 'contributor' not the candidate. He wants outlines of quid pro quos. Perhaps Dowd's sister in Florida gives another member of council gets $5,000. That should be out in the open. Perhaps the link is to a dollar amount. Perhaps if the giving is over $250. This is the elephant.

Peduto: Check box if you do business with the city. Direct links of vendors and contractors. The 'interested party' is defined. Peduto wants a hold.

Burgess wants to put it in even if it is half baked.

Dowd: Train leaving the station. This bit should be on the train.

Dowd: Burgess' amendment to the amendment is exactly what the pledge means -- as signed in Feb with all members of council, mayor and controller. Pledge #5.

Motznik: This is too vague to approve. (voted no, and only no)

Harris: Current state of Pgh because they don't contribute to campaigns... ??? If you are having a problem, call her office. Bid on projects, etc. 255-2135. She'll be glad to give assistance, even if you ran against her. Equal assistance and level playing field. And, the city has a print shop.

Burgess: Thanks Mr. Peduto for his hard work on this topic for several years. He is greatful for fruitfull. Move to hold for 2-weeks.

Motznik: "I'm all for campaign finance reform. I think it needs to be done at the state level."

Peduto: Does not want to have others feel 'left out.' This bill means a lot to me. Refuses to make it personal. Proud of the conversation.

See ya in 1 day on -- or in 2 weeks at the table.

Break a leg

Schenley's musical All Shook Up opens this evening (Thursday) at 8 pm and continues with performances tomorrow (Friday), Saturday, and next week, Thurs., Fri., and Saturday. Schenley has a tradition of great musical performances and I urge everyone to try to see this show which will be the final one at Schenley for at least several years.

A heads' up on the Frick musical from Joan:

"Frick is getting ready to do the spring Musical. the dates are May 15,16
and 17. It is called "Gone with the Breeze" Tickets are $3. I am not sure when they go on sale I just got the final information yesterday."

I will try to get more information on tickets and times, etc. Taking your elementary school kids to see the Frick Middle School musical is a nice way to introduce them to the middle school experience.

And an update from Liz Oderoff from Fulton from April 16:
Fulton news: Kids just finished two weeks of PSSA tests and are worn out, so principal really responded to kids. They had a line dance two periods "to let it all out." And today, they are spending the whole day to see classes, dorms, campus of IUP with their (twenty) student teachers. The principal put it in terms of where your hard work can get you. Kids were very excited to see where their teachers hung out when they weren't with them.

We have an excellent program with IUP, Student teachers teach half a day and have classes at Fulton half a day at the first semester. Second semester, they spend the whole day in the classroom, but still have a faculty member at school for any questions that come up. It's a great program and very helpful to have two teachers in each classroom. The kids also love the young collegians.

If you have anything to share with the rest of the IS schools, please send it and I will include it with the next email.

amy moore

Campaign finance reform vote possible today in city council

Campaign finance reform vote possible today in city council: "Councilman Patrick Dowd wants an amendment that would have the Ethics Hearing Board log all contributions into a searchable online database.
Another reason for me to get an appointment to the Ethics Hearing Board.

I'd love to see the Ethics Hearing Board get its act together. And, if this only goes into effect in 2010 or later -- then okay. There is some time. But, I have only a tiny bit of faith that it will come together as it should.

Heck, the Citizens Police Review Board has been around for a while and it is still without institutional cooperation from the brass in the police force. (See the City Paper.)

I am in favor of real time access to all campaign transactions in an online format. That can be managed by the private sectors with help from the banks.

I am in favor of campaign finance limits too.

These limits do NOT impact free speech of an individual. The individual can still say what he or she wants. But, they can't toss loads of money at candidates.

New gifted program to begin next year at five city schools

This sucks.
New gifted program to begin next year at five city schools New gifted program to begin next year at five city schools.
Here we go again.

They aim to break something that isn't broken.

Gifted education in the city works just fine.

Thank goodness, and this is a selfish attitude that I generally do NOT like to champion, the pilot program leaves my kids behind. Great. I want them to do what they've been doing. It works well.

Our school is NOT on the list. So, life in Gifted Education for our kids will change only slightly. Programs everywhere will suffer due to the economy of scale.

The other bit of good news is that the pilot program's duration. It is going to continue for three years. By then, my youngest will be stepping out of the grades that are currently well served in the existing Gifted Program.

If the aim is "gifted instruction" for five days a week, then there should be a 'Gifted School.'

Many other "gifted schools" exist around the nation. Did the PPS task force go and look at those situations?

I'm in favor of a 'gifted high school' for Pittsburgh.
"I think five-day-a-week enrichment is going to do more for those young people," Mrs. Fink said.
Mrs. Fink talking about 'gifted education' is a hoot in itself. The use of 'logic' and 'common sense' at the board and administration level will do more for the young people of Pittsburgh than anything else.

Five-day-a-week enrichment means a school within a school or a gifted only school.

I agree, again, with board members Mark Brentley Sr. and Randall Taylor. But, I wish they did more than only vote to "abstain." Of course the quality of instruction will vary from school to school. Lots of schools have lots of problems. And, lots of the classroom teachers have bad attitudes to specialized gifted education.

This should unfold on cable TV tonight. I've got a snip of video as well. Look for a future post.

Fiorina as McCain VP? He 'could do a lot worse' - San Jose Mercury News

Technology is everywhere. Even in politics.
Fiorina as McCain VP? He 'could do a lot worse' - San Jose Mercury News With the top of the Republican ticket settled, the vice-presidential sweepstakes game is on, and one name coming up is former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tortue and the FBI investigations of CIA acts that are illegal

RW = Congressman, Robert Wexler.

RM = Robert Mueller, FBI
RW: Alright, Mr. Director. An LA Times article from October, 2007 quotes one senior federal enforcement official as saying quote “the CIA determined they were going to torture people, and we made the decision not to be involved” end quote. The article goes on to say that some FBI officials went to you and that you quote “pulled many of the agents back from playing even a supporting role in the investigations to avoid exposing them to legal jeopardy” end quote.

RW: My question Mr. Director, I congratulate you for pulling the FBI agents back, but why did you not take more substantial steps to stop the interrogation techniques that your own FBI agents were telling you were illegal? Why did you not initiate criminal investigations when your agents told you the CIA and the Department of Defense were engaging in illegal interrogation techniques, and rather than simply pulling your agents out, shouldn’t you have directed them to prevent any illegal interrogations from taking place?

RM: I can go so far sir as to tell you that a protocol in the FBI is not to use coercion in any of our interrogations or our questioning and we have abided by our protocol.

RW: I appreciate that. What is the protocol say when the FBI knows that the CIA is engaging or the Department of Defense is engaging in an illegal technique? What does the protocol say in that circumstance?

RM: We would bring it up to appropriate authorities and determine whether the techniques were legal or illegal.

RW: Did you bring it up to appropriate authorities?

RM: All I can tell you is that we followed our own protocols.

RW: So you can’t tell us whether you brought it; when your own FBI agents came to you and said the CIA is doing something illegal which caused you to say don’t you get involved; you can’t tell us whether you then went to whatever authority?

RM: I’ll tell you we followed our own protocols.

RW: And what was the result?

RM: We followed our own protocols. We followed our protocols. We did not use coercion. We did not participate in any instance where coercion was used to my knowledge.

RW: Did the CIA use techniques that were illegal?

RM: I can’t comment on what has been done by another agency and under what authorities the other agency may have taken actions.

RW: Why can’t you comment on the actions of another agency?

RM: I leave that up to the other agency to answer questions with regard to the actions taken by that agency and the legal authorities that may apply to them.

RW: Are you the chief legal law enforcement agency in the United States?

RM: I am the Director of the FBI.

RW: And you do not have authority with respect to any other governmental agency in the United States? Is that what you’re saying?

RM: My authority is given to me to investigate. Yes we do.

RW: Did somebody take away that authority with respect to the CIA?

RM: Nobody has taken away the authority. I can tell you what our protocol was, and how we followed that protocol.

RW: Did anybody take away the authority with respect to the Department of Defense?

RM: I’m not certain what you mean.

RW: Your authority to investigate an illegal torture technique.

RM: There has to be a legal basis for us to investigate, and generally that legal basis is given to us by the Department of Justice. Any interpretations of the laws given to us by the Department of Justice….
(talking over each other)

RW: But apparently your own agents made a determination that the actions by the CIA and the Department of Defense were illegal, so much so that you authorized, ordered, your agents not to participate. But that’s it.

RM: I’ve told you what our protocol was, and I’ve indicated that we’ve adhered to our protocol throughout.

RW: My time is up. Thank you very much Mr. Director.

Call to action: Decriminalization at Fed Level gets put before Congress

The first federal marijuana decriminalization bill in 25 years was just introduced in Congress. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.R. 5843, the "Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008," which would decriminalize possession of marijuana for personal use. Please urge your representative to support this important legislation:

A deluge of messages from constituents will help members of Congress feel more confident in declaring their support for the bill. We don't expect the bill to become law just yet, but it will help us find out which members of Congress support marijuana decriminalization and which do not. The more representatives who co-sponsor it, the more support we can show for marijuana law reform.

Take action now:

Last year alone the police made almost 830,000 arrests for marijuana law offenses in the United States. 89 percent of those arrests were for posssession for personal use. Those arrested were seperated from their families, branded criminals, and in many cases fired from their jobs and denied school loans and other public assistance. The arrests cost taxpayers billions of dollars and consumed an estimated 4.5 million law enforcment hours (that's the equivalent of taking 112,500 law enforcement officers off the streets).

H.R. 5843 would make it legal under federal law for adults to possess up to 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of marijuana for personal use. It would also allow not-for-profit transfers of up to one ounce of marijuana between consenting adults. Please urge your member of Congress to support this bill:

Our executive director, Ethan Nadelmann, made a powerful case for ending marijuana prohibition in a 2004 cover story in National Review:


Bill Piper
Director of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance


-- In 1972 a special commission formed by Congress and President Richard Nixon concluded that punitive marijuana laws do more harm than good. Among other things, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse urged states and the federal government to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Twelve states eventually did, but most states and the federal government ignored the report. You can read the National Commission's 1972 report here:

--Since 1972 twelve states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and Oregon. Decriminalization generally means people caught possessing marijuana for personal use are not subjected to imprisonment for at least their first offense, although they may be subject to a small fine.

--A 2001 Zogby poll found that 61 percent of Americans oppose arresting and jailing nonviolent marijuana smokers. A 2002 Time/CNN poll found that 72 percent of Americans think people arrested for marijuana possession should face fines and not jail time.

--A study that examined arrest statistics for smoking or possessing marijuana in public in New York City from 1980 through 2006 found that blacks were four times as likely as whites to receive jail time for possession of marijuana. Hispanics were three times as likely. In 2002 about 2.4 percent of all marijuana users were arrested for marijuana possession. The arrest rate for blacks was 94 percent higher.

More ethics problems -- go figure

This is an issue of ethics in Olympic circles.
IOC backs Bach against possible conflict of interest - More Sports - 'Dr. Bach was in contact with the ethics commission and got advice. There is no reason to believe Dr. Bach broke the rules of the IOC ethics code,' IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said.

Flashback -- Flashforward -- Cambodia -- Godspeed Anga

Last year at this time our family traveled to New Zealand. Catherine was a visiting professor and taught a course. We adhere to "no child left behind" -- so we bring our kids with us for the international exerience and applied education.

We love to travel as a family -- but make it a point to go abroad and bring along two graduate students from Pitt's audiology program. It has become a bit of a 'custom' and one we cherish.

This year year, Anga, seen in the photo at our house at meal time (last year), is headed abroad again. She left yesterday for a month of service in audiology in Cambodia.

Be safe. She is going solo. I hope we have tons of interesting photos and stories to share -- either while she is on the road -- or upon her return.

Personally, it is weird to be here, in Pittsburgh, in the spring. Last year we left Pittsburgh as winter was closing, and we returned to summer. While away, we enjoyed New Zealand's mild fall weather. So this year it is a treat to enjoy spring see the trees and flowers in bloom and the greening.


Poynter Online - Can a Reporter Trade a Newswriting Career for a Song?

Nice feature. Blends music and journalism.
Poynter Online - Can a Reporter Trade a Newswriting Career for a Song?: "Can a Reporter Trade a Newswriting Career for a Song?"
His MySpace has six songs for free listens. Creative.

Casino financing remains unsecured - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This causes concern and the alternative solution is still valid.
Casino financing remains unsecured - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Two top Majestic Star officials said Tuesday the casino operator doesn't have enough money to build the North Shore slots palace, but will soon."
Move the slots parlor -- it isn't a 'casino' -- into the Convention Center. The Convention Center is already built. The Convention Center is a white elephant. The income from slots is not flowing yet. Prime the pump. Kill two major headaches with the same stone.

Yearly costs to operate the Convention Center and pay for past debt makes a huge weight upon the backs of the public treasury. Sell the Convention Center to Don Barden.

The Conventions that are already booked won't need to be screwed -- as Don Barden can also absorb the Vistors and Convention folks and he can put them on private payroll. They can manage the space as necessary.

More Morning After the PA election

I didn't vote! Couldn't. Now, for some of the rest of the story.
Democratic voters set a record by a huge margin yesterday. Capitolwire's Pete DeCoursey reports that yesterday's Democratic vote total of nearly 2.3 million voters shattered the old record of 1.53 million in 1980. Only 710,000 Republicans voted...

GOP nominee John McCain, who locked up the nomination months ago, nevertheless saw 27.3 percent of Republicans vote for Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee. What does this mean? Will these voters stay home in the fall? Will the Paul supporters vote for the Democrat in November because both Obama and Clinton share Paul's commitment to ending the Iraq War? Will the Huckabee voters stay home because McCain is too inconstant and not conservative enough in their eyes to be trusted? Were these voters asking McCain to consider Paul and Huckabee as vice presidential candidates? Or does it mean that a lot of mainstream Republicans just stayed home to avoid the hordes of Democrats at the polls?
Snip above and below from Democracy Rising Pennsylvania.
There were several winners who didn't get a majority of the vote yesterday. Rob McCord, a finance professional from Montgomery County, placed first in a four-way race with 43.5 percent of the vote for PA Treasurer.

Multiple candidates were in a few house and senate races: Cumberland County's 88th House district, for example, saw seven Republicans on the ballot. The winner, Sheryl Delozier, received just 26.5 percent of the vote but is virtually guaranteed a victory in November in a very heavily Republican district.

Such results beg the question of whether to continue a system in which someone wins despite most voters choosing someone else. Instant Runoff Voting is one way to deal with this problem without making voters return to the polls for another election.

Not only does IRV ensure that the winner is the candidate most voters want, it prevents the divide-and-conquer strategy in which incumbents get straw candidates to take votes away from challengers. It may be that most voters don't want the incumbent, but because their votes are divided between challengers, the incumbent wins anyway.

Look for a discussion of this at Pennsylvania's Constitution Convention, whenever it happens.

In Pittsburgh's west, the three way race had a city council member as the winner. Ex-state rep aid got third. The outsider challenger got 2nd. Perhaps a 2-way race would have hurt John Paul Jones the most.

JOHN PAUL JONES --> 4,328 = 31.96%
RYAN L. DOUGLASS --> 4,068 = 30.04%
DANIEL J. DEASY, JR. --> 5,136 = 37.92%
WRITE-IN --> 12 .09

I would LOVE to see John Paul Jones begin his campaign for city council in the next couple of days.

In L-ville land, the ex-city councilman, Len Bodack lost. (Whew.) And, the ex-member of county council, Brenda Frazier, lost. She helped to bring Allegheny the drink tax as per Dan Onorato's wishes. Voters went with the ex-policeman, for years on disability. Tight race. Tough decision. All Dems.
DOM COSTA --> 4,940 = 34.62%
LEN BODACK --> 4,703 = 32.95%
BRENDA FRAZIER --> 4,595 = 32.20%
WRITE-IN --> 33 = .23%
I'd love to have Libertarian candidates on the ballot in both of those races this fall. Anyone want to run?

Next point of interest, watching Brenda Frazier wiggle her way back onto the Allegheny County Council. She wanted to have her husband appointed to her seat after she departed, so I have heard. Then, in case she lost her race to become a state rep, she'd be able to return to county council. But, that isn't what happened.

Ohligarchy: There's Got To Be A Morning After

Ohligarchy: There's Got To Be A Morning After There was a choice for President! As I promised, I voted for Ron Paul. Voting for Ron Paul makes Rauterkus happy. That's a positive thing. Why would you want to upset the man? Also, there was the delightful symbolism of voting for Ron Paul in the very church in which he was married, way back in 1957. Call it a belated fifty-first wedding present.

Allegheny County Returns for Ron Paul

These are the numbers in the city of Pittsburgh among Rs:
Allegheny County Returns
Huckabee 444
McCain 3,423
Paul 1,020
Went to one polling place and they had 4 Rs vote and more than 100 Ds.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

DeSantis delivers on micro-loan pledge - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This story was the buzz at some polling places today.
DeSantis delivers on micro-loan pledge - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Even though he wasn't elected, DeSantis is making good on a campaign promise to develop a micro-loan program.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Blog of Burgher Jon gives me some mention in the quest for open gov on TV -- Lebo style

I got some ink at another blog.

Jon, I'm always glad to help and offer up solutions. I'm glad you noticed too.
The Blog of Burgher Jon Until local governments get a clue we're going to have to keep waiting for good old Rauterkus to video tape his TV. What do you suppose it cost him to put that video together? about $28,000?
My price tag won't be as high as theirs.


RIP: Buck Dawson, 87, Promoter of Swimming, Is Dead - New York Times

From canada-ak-o-mak
Buck Dawson, 87, Promoter of Swimming, Is Dead - New York Times: "Buck Dawson, 87, Promoter of Swimming, Is Dead
Buck was a great, great man. He will be missed by thousands around the world, including our family.

I was very honored and happy to introduce my sons, both swimmers, to Buck in the summer of 2006 while in Canada at Camp Chikopi and visiting the friends from the other side of the lake at Ak-o-mak.

Rest of story:
Buck Dawson, the first executive director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a leading promoter of the sport, died on April 4 in Fort Lauderdale, where he lived. He was 87.

The cause was heart failure and complications of Parkinson’s disease, the Hall of Fame said.

From 1964 to 1987, Dawson helped build the Hall of Fame into an attraction that now enshrines such celebrated inductees as Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, Mark Spitz, Gertrude Ederle, Eleanor Holm and Esther Williams. Spitz is now the hall’s chairman. By his own admission, Dawson himself was a poor and infrequent swimmer.

“Buck did more for swimming than any nonswimmer in the world,” the Hall of Fame said in announcing his death, adding: “He made the Hall grow from an idea to a shoebox collection and ultimately a million-dollar operation as the showcase and archives of swimming.”

Dawson was credited with bringing to Fort Lauderdale national championship events in swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo, and he persuaded college teams to train there during their spring break. He traveled throughout the year promoting the sport.

For years, in Ontario, he and his wife, RoseMary, a swimming coach, ran the first known competitive-swimming camps, Camp Ak-o-Mak for girls and Chikopi for boys. He wrote or was a co-author of 18 books on various subjects, including swimming, volcanoes, the Civil War and World War II.

William Forrest Dawson was born Oct. 31, 1920, in Orange, N.J. His father, Cecil, was president of the Dixie Cup Company. Buck Dawson attended the University of Michigan, where he was a top sprinter on the track team. He left college during World War II and served as an officer commanding glider troops in the 82nd Airborne Division; he was later a public information officer. He wrote the official history of the 82nd Airborne.

After the war, he returned to college and graduated in 1948. Returning to the Army during the Korean War, he damaged one eye in an automobile collision and wore a black eye patch afterward.

His wife died in 2003. Their daughter, Marci Williams, died in 1999. Dawson is survived by a stepson, Bruce Corson, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; two stepdaughters, Connie Corson of Colorado Springs and Marilyn Whitney of Savannah, Ga.; two step-grandchildren; and three step-great-grandchildren.
Buck is also survived by hundreds, if not thousands of once young swimmers.

From Grant

That's Buck in the middle of the big hug. Grant, my youngest, is the guy off to the left of the photo. I took the photo from a canoe before the start of 3-mile swim race.

Buck isn't in this slide show, but it gives a peek at 'camp'.

Cheruiyot, Tune win Boston Marathon - More Sports -

Great day for a marathon.
Cheruiyot, Tune win Boston Marathon - More Sports - Among those in the event's second-largest field: seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who finished 488th in 2:50:58.
Nice run Lance.

A runner from the USA got into the top ten -- 10th.

Election Protection's final push to ready for vote tomorrow

The Freedom Unlimited Building is at 2201 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 -- and the training is slated for tonight from 6 to 7:30 pm.
PRESS CONTACT: Celeste Taylor, 412-670-0937
Stacey Gates, 240-274-5400/

Election Protection Coalition Operates Statewide Hotline for Pennsylvania Voters in Primary

Poll watchers to be deployed in Allegheny County

Election Protection Volunteer Training, Monday, April 21, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

On April 22, the nonpartisan Election Protection (EP) coalition will operate its national hotline, 1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683), to provide live assistance to voters in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary. The EP coalition is working with allies across the state to dispatch poll monitors in key precincts, and PFAWF is coordinating these efforts for the coalition in Pittsburgh to help solve problems that may arise on Election Day.

We invite you to cover the Election Protection coalition's volunteer training:

When: Monday, April 21, 2008, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Freedom Unlimited Building, 2201 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (next door to the NAACP Building in the Historic Hill District.)

The toll-free voter assistance hotline will provide voters with live, free legal and general assistance to help them vote. Volunteers trained in election law will assist voters with questions such as:

- where and when to vote

- what kind of ID may be required

- whether to vote on a provisional ballot or emergency ballot

- what to do if their names have been removed from the voting lists

- what to do if they have since been directed to the wrong polling place

- what to do if they are challenged at the polls

The hotline will be available to all Pennsylvania voters on April 22, and will collect reports about voting problems that arise. The data will inform efforts to improve the election system before the general election in November, and the information will be made available to the news media and the public. In addition, on-the-ground poll monitors and roving attorneys will be deployed in Allegheny County as a pilot project for the November election.

PFAWF has been engaged in on-the-ground poll monitoring and voter education in Pennsylvania since 2004. Allegheny County has continued to experience problems that have the potential to disenfranchise thousands of vulnerable voters including poll worker recruitment and training; the availability of voting machines and polling place resources; improper use of provisional ballots and emergency ballots; the statewide voter registration database and voter registration problems; and voter education and voter outreach.

The EP coalition includes People For the American Way Foundation, NAACP National Voter Fund, B-PEP - The Black Political Empowerment Project, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, PA League of Young Voters Education Fund, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Young Professionals, PA Common Cause, PA Disability Voter Coalition, VotePA, VoteAllegheny, Voter Action, PA Voice, League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, Freedom Unlimited, Spiritual Progressives, and Everybody VOTE.

EP works year-round to safeguard the right to vote of historically disenfranchised voters, including Hispanic, African-American, youth, disabled and low-income voters. For more information about Election Protection, visit or call Celeste Taylor at 412-670-0937 or Stacey Gates at 202-467-4999.

Vote for these people for R deligates to Convention

Suggested Delegates to the Republican Convention:

Robert Tamburo (3rd on the ballot)
Andrew Maul (5th on the ballot)
Crystal M. Jones (7th on the ballot)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mainstream Media gives this guy the willies

YouTube - GillettePhenom's Channel

YouTube - GillettePhenom's Channel: "Create a video of 90 seconds or less showcasing your skill in a ball sport. Your video may include the biggies—basketball, baseball, soccer, football, golf, tennis—the lesser obvious ones— volleyball, water polo, cricket, rugby, croquet—and even the fooseballs and Super Balls of the world.

You can kick it, throw it, shoot it, catch it, juggle it, dribble it, heck do a dance with it if you like. If you're phenomenal enough, you could win."
Tiger is there.

OLYMPUS: Event, WED at 3:30 pm at CMU

OLYMPUS: Events Olympus Show and Tell 5 (Poster, 322 KB)
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Collaborative Innovation Center
Carnegie Mellon
Reception Following @ Apple

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wi-Fi gets one city $3-M windfall

A few years ago, I went on many rants about Wi-Fi efforts in the city. Well, if I had had my way, the city would be richer and with a new system. Instead, the suckers in city hall did an insider deal with the PDP (Pgh Downtown Partnership).
No money will change hands in the reacquisition of the network and the city estimates that it has netted $3.19 million on the deal.
Corpus Christi, Texas, got paid more than $3-million from EarthLink. Now EarthLink is getting out of the municipal, consumer Wi-Fi business, by design and by its own choice. So, that city gets the services and the cash.

Pittsburgh gets nothing, yet again.

Great clean-up, redd up, etc.

County Events Page: "Scheduled Events for Allegheny County"

Fix Up Parade

Good news:
New signs of the times: Hit the riverfront trail.

From playground - usa

Thanks for the new nets on the basketball courts.

From playground - usa

Thanks for the attention to the ground cover in the parks too.

Bad News
Going to the paint has different meanings when the pavement is cracked to such conditions.

Fast break has different meanings:

The court in our park has a regular 3-point line -- and a NBA 3 point line as outlined by the cracked pavement.

From playground - usa

The fences in the parks need minor touch ups so this does NOT happen.

From playground - usa

As the fence gets destroyed, the cost for replacement is much greater.

From playground - usa

From playground - usa