Friday, October 31, 2008

Net is nothing but bricks.

Time for some ping-pong politics. Our own Forrest Gump story.
Check out the net: bricks. The tables are made of slate (I think). They are outdoors all the time and don't warp or flake like plywood would. People arrive with their own balls and bats (paddles). And, some bring their own nets too. Otherwise, just line up the bricks, often slipped under the table.

Some parks are more geared to table tennis. Others are more for badminton. In this park the one's with shuttlecocks were relegated to the open area, without courts.
Posted by Picasa

Witches Parking

Valet parking for witches, perhaps.

From clean-sweep

Here is a way to get around. Brooms are so last millenium.

So, who is going to benefit, exactly?

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents :: Electile Dysfunction: Wagner and Peduto? I'm disappointed that Bill Peduto and Chelsa Wagner have still not identified the charity to benefit from tonight's Halloween party. I'm a little more disappointed that they seem to be affronted that I would ask questions of them about a political event (we all know it is a political event). I asked some folks in the know, including someone connected to another state level official, and it does seem that there is an 'understanding' that we who identify as liberal/progressive are supposed to sort of grant more wiggle-room (for lack of a better term) to our progressives allies whom we've elected when they are doing the political/pre-campaign thing. I violated a taboo when I shared my opinion with the 57 people who read this blog, most of whom are other bloggers and already knew.
The shocker in this posting is that there are 57 people who read the blog.

But, I'd like to know too.

Keep an eye on this page, PA

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bob Barr: The Liberal Case for Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party

Bob Barr: The Liberal Case for Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party: "The Liberal Case for Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party

Only one party has consistently stood up for the Constitution and against expansive executive power: the Libertarian Party. Only one party has consistently demanded a quick and full withdrawal from Iraq: the Libertarian Party. Only one party has demanded that all administration officials, legislators, and bureaucrats be held accountable for violating the law or the Constitution: the Libertarian Party.

Sen. Obama's impending big victory will tempt liberals to relax and celebrate. Yet the time of greatest danger will be the transition, when Sen. Obama will be deciding on who to appoint and what direction to take. The best way to safeguard our liberties is to let him know that his election victory comes with an important "but" -- in the form of a strong showing by Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party, who have placed the protection of American liberties and America's reputation in the world at the core of their campaign.

Bob Barr on NBC Nightly News

Bob Barr and Ralph Nader are in a debate tonight.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barr criticizes Dems, GOP for gov't abuse - News

Barr criticizes Dems, GOP for gov't abuse - News 'I'm conservative, and I don't feel like there is a good choice in this election,' he said. 'But I liked a lot of what I heard tonight.'
When a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, ...

YouTube - Rauterkus's Channel update. Now 22 subscribers

YouTube - Rauterkus's ChannelUser name: Rauterkus
Style: VLogging
On October 10, 2008, Bob Barr, candidate for US President, visited Pittsburgh. I sat in the front row and captured his talk with my video camera. I uploaded bits of it to YouTube and few came by to watch it.

I uploaded the entire talk to Google Video and Blip.TV, and few came by to watch it. Google video reports zero views for the month. Heck, I even watched it. With, 18 views. Only a couple of dozen were interested, it seems.

I've got 66 videos on YouTube. But, now, I've got 22 subscribers. Before there were less than 5.

Interesting. Either my videos stink. Or, people are not too concerned with what Bob Barr has to say. Humm....

I think that there is a bit of a problem when it comes to getting people to find and watch video content.

Former Penn Hills Football Coach Files Complaint Against District - Former Penn Hills Coach Files Complaint Against DistrictEx-Coach Files Complaint Against Penn Hills
PENN HILLS (KDKA) ― Neil Gordon has filed a grievance against his former employer charging the district with age and race discrimination.

The longtime Penn Hills football coach has filed an EEOC complaint against the district.

Among other things, the complaint alleges Gordon was not rehired after serving as coach for more than 20 years because of his skin color.
Push-em back, push-em back, waaaay back.

There is nothing like a good offense to take the pressure off a bad defense.

Other sports puns and jargon welcomed.

Invite in jpg for Nov 6, 2008

Click image above for a larger view.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Culture and sport

The Brits are putting in sport and taking away leisure. That's a sign that they're getting more serious. Given the outlook for 2012 Olympics, they might do much better in various sports -- beyond the one's where they have been tradition powers -- the sitting down sports.
Culture and sport: "Developing and delivering culture and sport opportunities is at the heart of a local community's interests. This importance is reflected in the shared priorities created by local and central government. The culture and sport resource provides materials relevant to policy and decision makers, as well as practitioners.

Culture and sport has replaced the 'leisure and culture' resource. For more information, visit the 'What's new?' page below.

City schools, programs receive Heinz grants

City schools, programs receive Heinz grants The Heinz Endowments this afternoon announced about $10.2 million in grants to the Pittsburgh Public Schools and some of the school district's community partners.
The gift includes $6 million over three years for the Pittsburgh Promise, which provides college scholarships for graduates of city high schools and charter schools; $2 million for the 'Fund for Exellence' supporting a number of school district improvement initiatives, such as new curricula and design of new schools; and $500,000 for the district's Culturally Responsive Arts Education Program.
Also included in the gift are grants to the University of Pittsburgh, Hill House Association and Beginning With Books Center for Early Literacy. The partners work with the school district on issues ranging from technology to social services.

Take it off in the West End

This meeting will be on Tuesday.
Proposed Strip Club

As most of you are aware, there is a proposal to open a strip club very near to the West End Circle. This being the gateway to all of our West End communities could have a negative impace on our region. After meeting with the developer/owner of this proposed establishment last evening, upon invitation by Sam Palombini he agreed to attend the Sheraden Community Council meeting tonight at 7:00 at the Sheraden Senior Center. Please try to come.

Intersteller messages from Bebo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm working on my latest business plan and uncover this news.
Bebo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Bebo is collaborating with the RDF Media Group to send 500 messages to the planet Gliese C which is more than 20 light-years away but the nearest good candidate for a neighbouring extraterrestial civilisation. Some have criticised this action because it might draw unwanted attention to Earth, provoking an attack or other inimical action.

Central Catholic football player dies

Central Catholic football player dies: "Central Catholic football player dies
Prayers too.

My call from Beijing is still getting some attention -- internet, wikis, China's Great Wall

We went to China for the Olympics. I did a lot of blogging and data collection there -- but could not put pages onto our wikis. The domain was blocked.

Back then I posted a simple message and it is still getting kicked around a bit in high-tech circles.

But the upside of this was that our blogs were visible in China for the first-time ever in August. When we departed the US, I had heard that the blogs were not visible in China. But, by the time we got to China, they were visible. The Olympic hosts had opened up a good bit of the net to those in China.

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 17:38:28 +1100
From: Victor ...
Subject: Re: [Wikia-l] We are now in Beijng -- and Olympics about to unfold -- without wikia
To: "Central Wikia Mailing List"

For the Benefit of Anupam.

This is the issue that was raised previously.

On Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 2:13 AM, Angela ...> wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 12:52 AM, Mark Rauterkus
> wrote:
> > Hi All,
> >
> > We can NOT see my wiki from Beijing.
> Unfortunately and other Wikia-owned domains have been
> blocked in mainland China for some time. Wikipedia was similarly
> blocked for many years, but recently unblocked for the Olympics along
> with many other sites, though certainly not all. It's something that
> KJ (Wikia's Chinese-language community manager) and Jimmy Wales have
> worked on reversing, though it's really not something we can control.
> We continue to look for solutions for this, but until then, you might
> want to read Wikipedia's advice on this at
> Angela
> _______________________________________________
> Wikia-l mailing list

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Song: They Lost My Vote!

Thanks to Ellen Bukstel!

Tune comes out of Florida, of course.

Ellen Bukstel, singer, songwritter, will be one of our Concert Hour acts this summer at SUUSI. Please watch her in this non-partisan break from the grueling campaign watch.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Imagine a community without violence; a community where business leaders and educators work with neighborhood residents to help families feel safe and secure. Statistics show a direct link between high school dropout rates and violent crimes in Pittsburgh and across the state. Research also indicates that simply increasing graduation rates by 10 percent will prevent 150 murders and almost 6,000 assaults in Pennsylvania every year. Channel 11 searches for more solutions in a one-hour primetime special, "11 In-Depth - Violence Among Us." The 60-minute special will be hosted by Channel 11 News anchors David Johnson and Darieth Chisolm and will air Saturday, October 25th at 9:00 pm.

The program will bring together concerned citizens, experts and elected officials to look at the problem of violence, its causes and possible solutions. Among the guests scheduled to appear are Pittsburgh Chief of Police Nate Harper, William Strickland, the President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, Director of the Black Political Empowerment Project, Tim Stevens and many others who are concerned about the rising tide of violence in Pittsburgh. Channel 11 News Reporter Vince Sims will file reports from the field and bring the street perspective to the discussion.

In the week leading up to broadcast, viewers will be able to take a "Channel 11 In-Depth" poll on The results of this poll will be used to guide the discussion as the causes of our current violence problem are debated. Viewers will also be able to submit questions to the panel of guests which will be answered during the program.

"11 In-Depth - Violence Among Us" is the latest in a series of WPXI "In-Depth" specials, a series of one-hour prime-time programs, each addressing an issue of vital community importance. Channel 11 Vice President and General Manager, Ray Carter, says the program is vitally important no matter where you live. "Unless we begin together, to solve the problem; violence and fear will only become more deeply ingrained into the fabric of life here in Pittsburgh. And that bleak view of our future is something we simply cannot accept."

"11 In-Depth - Violence Among Us," a one-hour prime-time Channel 11 News special, will also air Sunday, October 26th at 8:00pm and Friday, October 31stat 8:00pm on PCNC.


Imagine a community without violence; a community where business leaders and educators work with neighborhood residents to help families feel safe and secure. Statistics show a direct link between high school dropout rates and violent crimes in Pittsburgh and across the state. Research also indicates that simply increasing graduation rates by 10 percent will prevent 150 murders and almost 6,000 assaults in Pennsylvania every year. Channel 11 searches for more solutions in a one-hour primetime special, "11 In-Depth - Violence Among Us." The 60-minute special will be hosted by Channel 11 News anchors David Johnson and Darieth Chisolm and will air Saturday, October 25th at 9:00 pm.

The program will bring together concerned citizens, experts and elected officials to look at the problem of violence, its causes and possible solutions. Among the guests scheduled to appear are Pittsburgh Chief of Police Nate Harper, William Strickland, the President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, Director of the Black Political Empowerment Project, Tim Stevens and many others who are concerned about the rising tide of violence in Pittsburgh. Channel 11 News Reporter Vince Sims will file reports from the field and bring the street perspective to the discussion.

In the week leading up to broadcast, viewers will be able to take a "Channel 11 In-Depth" poll on The results of this poll will be used to guide the discussion as the causes of our current violence problem are debated. Viewers will also be able to submit questions to the panel of guests which will be answered during the program.

"11 In-Depth - Violence Among Us" is the latest in a series of WPXI "In-Depth" specials, a series of one-hour prime-time programs, each addressing an issue of vital community importance. Channel 11 Vice President and General Manager, Ray Carter, says the program is vitally important no matter where you live. "Unless we begin together, to solve the problem; violence and fear will only become more deeply ingrained into the fabric of life here in Pittsburgh. And that bleak view of our future is something we simply cannot accept."

"11 In-Depth - Violence Among Us," a one-hour prime-time Channel 11 News special, will also air Sunday, October 26th at 8:00pm and Friday, October 31stat 8:00pm on PCNC.

Watch this!

There is a splendid video that was shown for the first time last night that needs to be put on YouTube. But, this is just a slice of it.

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents :: Am I naive about the Wagner/Peduto pairing?

Good question. What charity?
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents :: Am I naive about the Wagner/Peduto pairing?: "I wasn't even going to blog about this until it became apparent that I could not get a straightforward answer."

Business teachers in universities using hard economic times as real lessons -

Business teachers in Alabama universities using hard economic times as real lessons - Stephanie Rauterkus, a finance professor at UAB, has begun modifying her freshman introduction-to-business course, along with graduate classes in investments and derivatives, to reflect daily events.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Q&A about PodCamp Pittsburgh

1. What was one thing you learned at PCPGH3 that you didn’t expect to learn before the conference?

I got to meet the founder and two other workers from Blip.TV. I discovered that they have less than a dozen employees. The founder leans to the libertarian side, as do I. We'll be voting for Bob Barr and I was happy to tell him Blip.TV is the best for things like this.

2. Podcamps are notorious for inspiring creativity and generating ideas. Did a potential project spring up for you as a result of PCPGH3?

You betcha. I'm going to file for a grant at Alphalabs. But, the idea had been brewing for some time.

3. Who is one person you met (out of the many, surely) that has moved into your Reader/RSS feed, and why?

I'm going to watch Jim at Rustbelt because he is a stay-at-home dad. We rule!

4. What didn’t you get out of PCPGH3 that you wish you would have? (Session, info, topic, etc.)

I knew that very few people would be interested in a session on politics from me. Same too with sports. This crowd is too Pittgirl in their content hungers. However, SNL and other trends point to a big spike in attention to politics. So, there seems to be some gulf that needs to be bridged yet. Our political blogging landscape has seen many die out in recent seasons. That's a shame. I had a wish that a new age could take root with PodCamp Pittsburgh 3.

5. What social media goals have you set for yourself to achieve before PCPGH4?
To not burn out.

I'll do the tour of my neighborhood(s) for the 11-11 RW project. I'll give $.02 as I can. I'll be happy to lead another session next time and perhaps do more to invite and include another population of possible participants, such as coaches, school teachers, church webmasters, folk singers or open water swimmers.

Candidate debate, today, 1 pm at Allderdice High School

Details in the public calendar called Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates.

Titus North, Mike Doyle. Plus others.

Pittsburgh's DePaul School - Sounds of Success - P-G article and 100th Anniversary!

Way to go DePaul, the Sisters of Charity, and all the others involved in a fantastic Pittsburgh institution.

Pittsburgh's DePaul School celebrates a century of helping hearing-impaired children: "Pittsburgh's DePaul School celebrates a century of helping hearing-impaired children"
This school and the various programs have made dramatic changes in recent times. That's progress. And, it is success.

We'll be at the gala tonight. My wife is on the board.

Catherine and I headed to a past DePaul gala.
Doing a dance for DePaul's 100th Celebration!
Originally uploaded by rauterkus

Council wants say on Allentown police station

We should save the Hostel. Screw the police station. Put the police station in the basement of South Side Vo Tech.

Why build into a building that isn't accessible?
Council wants say on Allentown police station Council wants say on Allentown police station
Friday, October 24, 2008
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A proposed police station move in Pittsburgh's southern neighborhoods faces delays and procedural questions as some on City Council demand a vote on the $1.7 million project.

Announced by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in July, the shift of the Zone 3 station from South Side Flats to Allentown was to occur by Jan. 1 but now seems unlikely to happen before late March, because of the need to get waivers on accessibility rules.

The administration's decision to run the transformation of a former youth hostel into a police station through the Urban Redevelopment Authority, rather than city government, also may complicate matters.

Councilman Patrick Dowd wrote to Mr. Ravenstahl saying the project 'clearly falls well outside of the scope of the URA's mission' and demanding that he 'immediately bring this question before City Council.'
Dowd is right. Ravenstahl is wrong, again.

Promises were made that can't be kept, as usual.

Sarah Palin Should Give Her Jacket To A Little Girl

I had to laugh today when I saw yet another smear attack on Sarah Palin. This time the "critics" took her to task for an expensive wardrobe.

Granted, the money spent on the clothes are astronomical. Everyone who donated to campaigns knows that's why they donating...incidentals, advertising, clothing.
Rush Limbaugh made a good point today (most of his points are correct, btw), in that most of the time, glamour girls are given the fanciest of duds.

Before Sarah Palin was ever on the national landscape, I was offended to see Michelle Obama's sense of style compared to Jackie Kennedy's. Normally, I couldn't give a cat's fur ball about style, but the comparison simply seemed to be a shallow attempt to but Michelle My Belle on a pedestal before she ever made it to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Michelle's $148 off-the-rack dress while appearing on The View was the only mention comparing the two (Obama and Palin) in the story featured in today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

What Sarah Palin needs to do is should have started at today's event in Beaver County, PA...about an hour north of the end of her speech, Palin takes off the jacket. She walks over to a young girl in the audience...hands her the coat...and says, "Keep it and wear it. Sell it. Whatever. It's yours." Palin then waves to the crowd which would be ruckus at this point...then walk away. End of discussion.

The whole wardrobe thing is bullcrap. Cindy McCain, who because of her father's wealth is probably the richest of all the players in this campaign, wore a staggeringly-expensive dress with matching jewelry. It wasn't taxpayer money that paid for the threads, so what.

Sarah Palin is the real rock star, the real cultural icon out of this campaign. Saturday Night Live won't touch Obama now. Don't think they ever did touch Michelle
Obama. Omarosa needs to join the cast just to play Michelle.

Anyhoo, the wardrobe "crisis" is anything but that. It's laughable.

Just do the right thing and vote McCain. I don't want the greatest country in the world to become just like Europe. Europeans still want to come here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A+ Schools does good job with a paper evaluation of the PPS Plans

There is a public review and evalution of a planning document with a bunch of weenie talk from the PPS educators concerning our schools. One group already did a fine job of laying out dozens and dozens of comments with plenty of open-ended questions and calls for more clarity, understanding, justifications and objective measures.

Another group, A+ Schools, released a paper that takes aim at the same planning document. The A+ Schools evaluation is very good.

A couple of the final points in the document get reprinted here:
Strategy 5.6: The Pittsburgh Public Schools needs a transparent, deliberate, and
accessible format for engaging the community. There should be protocols for
community processes that include criteria for decision making and other
accountability measures so that the public knows what to expect from the District
and knows where they can provide valuable information.

(Add) There was a community engagement plan for high school reform
announced recently and it does not appear in this plan. Stating it as a specific
strategy that PPS intends to use would reinforce the sincerity of the plan that has
already been presented and invoke more likely public support.
Sure, PPS needs lots of transparent elements throughout the entire system. Tons and tons would be a good start.

The problem with the high school reform task force that had meetings for more than a year are many. The group was hand picked. The group huddled without notes ever being released. Votes were not taken. And, the outcome of all of those meetings amounted to zip. Mr. Roosevelt said that all the planning was tossed out the window because of the Schenley excuse.

The members of the task force that asked hard questions were not invited back for additional meetings once the plans changed.

The high school reform task force was a joke. Its outcomes if not its total being presented opportunities to blow smoke and fiddle time and divert attention.

The high school reform task force can't be mentioned in the current draft of the plans as the work product would have to also be referenced. That work product and advice is nothing like what is being orchestrated at present.

The high school reform task force is like a bad rash that Mr. Roosevelt wants to forget as quickly as possible and never hint of prior connections. So, the high school reform task force of the not too distance past is like the re-write of the curriculum by the private firm (Kaplan) with accelerated payments at inflated costs that was later dismissed only to be re-written by in-house people in recent times.

Churn baby churn -- disco inferno!

Well done A+ Schools. Well done Pure Reform. Nice try PPS, but your homework isn't complete and it needs a do-over. Perhaps its grade is 50% -- as it is unfashionable to give any lower score.

Right now I'm probably going to vote for...

As for me, I'm sorta waiting to see the 3rd party debate. The tide to Bob Barr can switch for me if Barr does not get on the stage with the other candidates tonight.


Pittsburgh Council favors bill to garbage counseling for tenants
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
The vote was 5-1 with Mr. Kraus joined by Ricky Burgess, Dan Deasy, Darlene Harris and William Peduto. Tonya Payne voted against it, and Patrick Dowd ...

Changing diapers by flipping the radio dial

Just sent this as an instant message to KDKA Radio's Marty Griffin:

Crap or no crap?

Marty, you don't say it at home and would not accept it from your 1 and 3 year old children. Exactly.

However, your radio show plays in my home. I listen and my kids play here with me.

So, if you want an invite into more homes and have more parents tuned into the community news you discuss -- it needs to come without the "crap language." Cut the toilet talk, Not for your benefit, -- but for the kids ages 1, 2, 3, and older.

As a stay at home dad with the pleasure of parenting duties -- I hated the times when I needed to dive for the radio's station dial or radio's "off switch."

Parenting and citizenship is tough enough. Be a help -- not a hindrance.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hart vs. Altmyer Debate switched to next week

Penn State Beaver Student Union Building Auditorium event is on my Google Calendar. Click to the left.

The event was to be tomorrow, Thursday. Due to Pailin's visit to the area, the date of the debate has switched.

Greg Palast & RFK Jnr. - Rolling Stone Investigation: It's Already Stolen

>October 18, 2008
Investigation by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast released today

Don't worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election. According to an investigative report out today in Rolling Stone magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, after a year-long investigation, reveal a systematic program of "GOP vote tampering" on a massive scale.

- Republican Secretaries of State of swing-state Colorado have quietly purged one in six names from their voter rolls.

Over several months, the GOP politicos in Colorado stonewalled every attempt by Rolling Stone to get an answer to the massive purge - ten times the average state's rate of removal.

- While Obama dreams of riding to the White House on a wave of new voters, more then 2.7 million have had their registrations REJECTED under new procedures signed into law by George Bush.

Kennedy, a voting rights lawyer, charges this is a resurgence of 'Jim Crow' tactics to wrongly block Black and Hispanic voters.

- A fired US prosecutor levels new charges - accusing leaders of his own party, Republicans, with criminal acts in an attempt to block legal voters as "fraudulent."

- Digging through government records, the Kennedy-Palast team discovered that, in 2004, a GOP scheme called "caging" ultimately took away the rights of 1.1 million voters. The Rolling Stone duo predict that, this November 4, it will be far worse.

There's more:

- Since the last presidential race, "States used dubious 'list management' rules to scrub at least 10 million voters from their rolls."

Among those was Paul Maez of Las Vegas, New Mexico - a victim of an unreported but devastating purge of voters in that state that left as many as one in nine Democrats without a vote. For Maez, the state's purging his registration was particularly shocking - he's the county elections supervisor.

The Kennedy-Palast revelations go far beyond the sum of questionably purged voters recently reported by the New York Times.

"Republican operatives - the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics," report Kennedy and Palast, under the cover of fighting fraudulent voting, are "systematically disenfranchis[ing] Democrats."

The investigators level a deadly serious charge:

"If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat McCain at the polls - they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering."

Block the Vote by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. & Greg Palast in the current issue (#1064) of Rolling Stone. [Media enquiries - Dave Falkenstein, Sunshine Sachs & Assoc, via]

Note - Kennedy and Palast are releasing, simultaneously with the Rolling Stone investigative report what they call, the vote-theft 'antidote': a 24-page full-color comic book, Steal Back Your Vote, which can be downloaded or obtained in print from their non-partisan website,

For updates and video reports, go to, and

My good "church friend" sent me this video of a peek into the future

I got rid of the flash movie as it was set to autoplay. See link in the comments.

Invite for Running Mates

New media technology is becoming increasingly important to the jobs of political and government operatives, and even as responsible citizens. The work bloggers, wiki editors, and social media participants are doing is important to promote government transparency and to draw in more liberty-minded activists and citizen leaders.

In an effort to help generate new media based relationships, the Sam Adams Alliance is hosting a one-day event aimed at helping Pennsylvania bloggers network with each other and build a stronger community.

This invitation-only event is designed to bring activists of all sorts together to find out where their missions and goals align and create a community of liberty-oriented activists who will work together to amplify the pro-liberty message online and offline.

On Saturday (November 1st) we will host an all day workshop primarily for new and experienced bloggers where we'll help to build a more effective online community in the state of Pennsylvania.

Come participate in the new media revolution!

Please RSVP and direct questions to Ken Marrero at or call 615-589-4997.

Pennsylvania Samsphere Event
Comfort Inn Hershey
1200 Mae Street
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania 17036

Tentative Agenda

12:00p.m. Welcome to Samsphere! (Ken Marrero)

12:15 - 12:45p.m. Discussion: "Being a Blogger" (Ken Marrero)

Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

12:45 - 2:00p.m. State of the Pennsylvania Blogosphere (Panel of Pennsylvania Bloggers TBA)

Discussion: Analysis of the current situation in Pennsylvania

Discuss current strengths and weaknesses of state blogosphere, problems to be addressed, priorities for election day

2:00 - 2:15p.m. Break

2:15 - 2:45p.m. Dissection of community building/strategies from the Left (Eric Odom)

2:45 - 3:15p.m. Basics of using social media for online community (Eric Odom)

3:15 - 4:00p.m. SamSphere Game (Ken Marrero)

4:00 - 4:45p.m. Networking Dinner (Compliments of Sam Adams Alliance)

4:45 - 5:15p.m. Local Politics and the vital role bloggers play (Erik Telford of Americans for Prosperity)

5:15 - 6:00p.m. Investigative Reporting for Bloggers (Special Guest Trent Siebert from Texas Watchdog)

6:00 - Q&A and Networking Mixer (Compliments of Sam Adams Alliance)

**Dress code is business casual to casual.

Kraus is a big disappointment

I didn't even write this:
Councilman Kraus is a big disappointment to me

Now that I have had ample time to grade Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus' performance, the only thing that I can conclude is that he has been a big disappointment.
Let's huddle. My comments in plain. The letter-to-editor author in italic.

I worked on Mr. Kraus' campaign thinking he would do a better job than his predecessor Jeff Koch. Was I ever wrong!

To be sure, Jeff Koch was a good fit for a time when Bob O'Connor was going to redd up Pittsburgh. But, that era was so brief. Jeff was in deep trouble without Bob. And, the entire folly of City Hall would change. Same "direction" but different key and different tempo, for sure.

We now have the "great moralizer," "the guardian of community ethics," as a councilperson.

We need a guardian for the community -- in that we need a guardian of freedom, of liberty, of the purse strings. We need to guard our kids too, among a few other precious elements -- like the Constitution. But the guarding is not what he has in mind as to the values I have in mind. Let's elect one guardian of freedom on city council and I'll be much more "secure."

A "my way or the highway" approach to solving public issues.

They think that they have the 'right' now that they won to do what they wish. To the victor goes the spoils so they think.

An arrogance that comes about because only he has the ability to determine what's the right thing to do.

The right thing to do as a citizen and as a government are often much different. Bruce is not acting as an elected official should act. He is worried about a lost week in the fight on rubbish -- and costing us our due process. His behavior is the trash that we should put out for pick-up.

A "crusader" for the public good who assumes that the public good comes to him through some revelation from on high.

Church-going, God-fearing, anointed --- oh, never mind.

An elected official who presumably speaks for his entire constituency not just those who make the most noise.

An office holder, who is supposed to broker differences among all residents, not be a mouthpiece for a select few.

A man who has the time to prowl Carson Street at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning in search of a sidewalk pizza peddler while crime explodes in other areas of his district.

Bruce's "time" isn't the "problem." His investment of energy is what it is. But, he is batting at the leaves on the tree of suffering. He isn't getting close to the roots of our problems.

An otherwise articulate individual on most issues who remained sphinx-like on when it came to transferring the police station from 18th Street to the Hilltop, afraid to offend anyone.

If you get my point, he isn't articulate. Mush mouthed might fit.

A councilman, who, on his own, decided to sue a major advertising company without getting approval from a majority of city council and then expected the city tax payer to foot his legal bills because he feels he is a majority of one.

And he didn't really understand why or how it all went down around him on that saga.

A public servant who will not take a step across Carson Street to meet with property owners or shop proprietors to get accommodations on the problems that plague Carson Street, while those same business people tip-toe over a property line to sell goods.

Speaking of footwork -- understand that people often vote with their feet. Same too with investments. When projects can't be finished -- except with a lot of red tape navigation and finger wagging -- then the city gets closer to being a ghost town.

Great cities all over the world have tables and chairs on sidewalks; a vibrancy that comes with living in an alive city instead of the sterile suburbs; vendors or street performers providing variety and entertainment so that we all can enjoy the excitement all successful cities deliver.

Some politicians pontificate, some produce. Some are do-gooders some are doers. In each case I prefer the latter.

Great cities are great because they are places where people are free to be themselves and respect is woven throughout. Politicians have to give it to get it. And, acts from government to squash rights, such as property rights, are not to be tolerated.

From texture - misc.

Reminder: Tonight is both trash night and recycling. Let's all take our trash out at the same time as a protest.

Sports chat transcript: Asking for some on-campus football

Talk of Pitt is in the air. Wishing for a better on-campus option.
Jerry Micco's sports chat transcripttheWellHungarian: Also, if anyone else was in Annapolis, wouldn't it be awesome if the university could somehow, some way build a 35,000 seat stadium in the exact mold of Navy's Stadium. Heinz Field is great for NFL & Steelers but it is not College Football. I don't know how to do it, but may tear down some of the slums in South Oakland or buy some land from the city where Schenley Park is,, but it would be awesome

Jerry Micco: And that's probably a bit small, but a 45,000 to 50,000-seat stadium would be fine. And if you want a bigger crowd for WVU or when PSU comes back on the sked, use Heinz Field. Campus stadiums are much better for atmosphere, but the deal Pitt has with the Steelers for Heinz is a pretty good one.
I was in city council today, talking about some of the same things. More to come from me.

Larry Evans suggestion for Obama's campaign folks

This isn't the best place to reach Obama organizers, but, here is an interesting suggestion that makes sense to me. It comes from Larry Evans of Greater Pittsburgh.
Obama organizers:

At a recent Obama coffee at my home, our pool of supporters discussed briefly an idea that I think is worth tossing around with the campaign headquarters. It is important to be prepared after a probable election victory (also even after another possible narrow defeat) to give the army of Obama volunteers and supporters something creative and re-energizing to do after Nov 4.

To keep our grassroots interested and to grow its empowerment, here is my suggestion:

In every state, red or blue, Alaska or Pennsylvania, modestly fund each campaign office through December 31st to organize a symbolic Christmas Holidays activity (during the December 26-January 1 timeframe) that would benefit a local person/s or community organization in need.

An example of such an activity here in western PA could be the following:

Recently, the non-profit Carnegie Library of Homestead had to lay off workers because their funding took a dive due to investments gone south with the declining market. I talked to this historic library’s fitness center director Ed Child and we are considering holding at the Library’s gym, pool and lecture hall a week-long “Citizen-Athlete Sports and Music Festival” from Friday, December 26th through Thursday, January 1st where folks of all ages will contribute a fee to play basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, swim and run (on an indoor track), as well as attend concerts and public forums and participate in physical skill contests and intellectual games emphasizing sportsmanship and citizenship ideals.

This community organizer’s dream event could raise some money and a lot of publicity for this highly symbolic facility deep in the heart of Steeler Country and show the nation that this regime change is truly from the bottom up and will jump start an inspiring and hopefully on-going activism that we all know must be an essential component to a successful Obama presidency.

Glad to talk more on this idea at your convenience…

Larry Evans, Pittsburgh, PA 15243

Local Candidates Debate: Titus North, Green Party - vs. - incumbent D who voted for the bailouts

October 24, 2008 1:00 PM

League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh Candidates' Forum at Allderdice High School auditorium, 2409 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh 15217 on Friday October 24th from 1:15 PM to 2:40 PM.

Titus North (Green Party) and Mike Doyle (Democratic Party) from 1:20-2:00 PM.

Mary "Liz" Hughes (Green Party) and Dan Frankel (Democratic Party) from 2:00 - 2:40 PM.

Arlene Levy, Vice President of Voter Services for the League of Women Voters, will be the moderator.

The forum is an important public service to the voters in the 14th Congressional District and the 23rd Legislative District.


Coach Michael Lohberg' s 3K Walk/Run Fundraiser

Coach Michael Lohberg' s 3K Walk/Run Fundraiser
from ASCA
Michael Lohberg, respected and honored coach of Coral Springs Swim Club in Florida, and coach of numerous international Olympians as well as American Dara Torres, fell gravely ill in July with aplastic anemia, a rare and devastating disorder in which the bone marrow stops making enough red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. For weeks Michael received extensive treatments in Bethesda, MD and is now home in Coral Springs where he continues to receive treatments on an outpatient basis while he waits for a suitable bone marrow transplant. He has not been able to return to the pool deck since July. To help with the overwhelming medical costs the Coral Springs Swim Club and friends of Michael have organized a 3K Walk/Run Fundraiser on Nov. 16. You can read information on the Walk/Run here. To read information on making a financial donation visit the Coral Springs Swim Club Web site here .

Pull out firearms and insert handguns

Tonya Payne, D, member of Pgh City Council, was upset that news leaked from city hall that she was somehow against the proposed lost firearms bill now being discussed and voted upon.

Who leaked the false news? She has her opinions and hunches.

Doug Shields was the one who explained for the push to change the law from 'firearms' to 'handguns.'

A public hearing is expected as is a post agenda.

Question from 5th grader to visiting guest in civic's class: "Mr. Kraus, can you please take away the guns."

The answer should be, "No." It wasn't, I dare say.

Bill Peduto's intent isn't to saber rattle. He wants an enforceable law.

City council is again running out with an attempt with 'over-reaching legislation.'

At least this time, they are holding the proposed bill for community wide discussions. See you then.

More Pittsburgh council members sponsor stolen-gun bill
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
The sponsors are Council President Doug Shields and members William Peduto, Bruce Kraus, Darlene Harris, Jim Motznik, Tonya Payne and Dan Deasy. ...
Pittsburgh Council invites public scrutiny of firearm legislation
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
But Councilman Bill Peduto said that's not the idea. "It's not my intent to just saber rattle. It's my intent to have an enforceable law. ...

Citizens Police Review Board, $.02

We voted for the Citizens Police Review Board. Its failure costs us dearly.

The Citizens Police Review Board is a way to challenge power. It is a check and balance. It has never operated as it should and could -- because those in power have not seen fit to let it act on its mission.

The Citizens Police Review Board could bear fruit after we get people into top administrative and elected offices who are willing to do their jobs -- not just grab for all the power that they can leverage.
Also posted at Bram's blog,

Networks Police YouTube For Copyright Violations : NPR

Think again.
Networks Police YouTube For Copyright Violations : NPR: "The presidential campaigns have fallen victim to a common copyright problem on the Internet. News networks complained that campaign commercials were using their footage and they demanded YouTube take them off its site. Free speech advocates say this is a high profile case that's part of an ongoing problem.
The networks have lawyers. Ouch.

This is another great example of how it is nearly impossible to get a candidate to run for office.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Catherine's day with eye-candy and ear-protection

Catherine, my wife, goes to Beaver County on Wednesday to present to a classroom full of music educators for an in-service day. She'll present for three hours. It is a chance to teach the teachers. The students there must have a day off.

Kids and adults in musical classes could be exposed to sounds that are so loud that they're getting hearing damage. Drumming, brass instruments and other sounds can be so loud, especially in tighter quarters (like rehearsal rooms) with block walls that permanent damage could be a result.

We don't send our kids to school and expect them to get hurt. Furthermore, music teachers appreciate their sense of hearing.

The tiny hair cells in the ears, once damaged, do not grow back. The aim is to never loose them in youth or at later ages due to either very loud short bursts of sounds or with lesser volumes but for longer durations.

Catherine's wish, that ears would bleed. If blood came flowing out of the side of your head after noise (and loud music) exposure, most people would be more careful. Our ears go softly, sadly.

Those in chem class need to wear protective goggles. Play football and you'll need to wear a helmet. Well, march in band and you need to take care of yourself.

From Beijing 2008

In other news, Catherine has been formally invited from those in China to be on an advisory group. Sadly, she reports, there won't be any need to go back to China to fulfill these duties.

Government makes it easier -- giggle.

Chicago! Adolph Kiefer, my 2nd home town and my pal

Pittsburgh Promise Program Receives Big Funding - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh

In a Tuesday press conference, the Pittsburgh Promise program announced that it will be receiving $8 million in funding from two
Pittsburgh-area foundations.
The program helps parents and students afford their education after high school by helping students pay for college. The Pittsburgh Foundation awarded $3 million, and it has agreed in principle to give another $2 million over the next four years.

The Buhl Foundation awarded $3 million to Pittsburgh Promise over the next 10 years, equaling the biggest grant given in the history of the foundation.
Of the two grants, Grant Oliphant, Pittsburgh Foundation's CEO, said, “They will reaffirm this city’s commitment that makes Pittsburgh famous around the world.

Third Party Presidential Debate to Take Place on Thursday, October 23rd

Free and Equal Elections
Attn: Politics Editors, Campaign 2008 Editors, National Editors
Contact: Christina Tobin, 312-320-4101

This morning, Christina Tobin, Director of Free and Equal, announced an Independent/Third Party Presidential Debate, which will take place on Thursday evening at 9:00pm EST on October 23 in Washington DC at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel.

All six candidates who qualified for enough state ballot lines to be eligible to win the presidency on November 4th have been invited.

To date, two candidates have confirmed participation: Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader, and Constitution Party Presidential Candidate Chuck Baldwin, who have been endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul.

The debate will last for 90 minutes, and follow the below format:
-No opening statements
-There will be six of the following question and answer series: The moderator will pose a question. Each candidate will be permitted 90 seconds to respond. The candidates' preliminary answers will be followed by a 5-minute "discussion" period, during which the moderator will be permitted unlimited follow-up questions and the candidates would be encouraged to engage one another in actual debate. This will last about 60 minutes.
-After the above six question-and-answer series, each candidate will be permitted to ask a single question of one or more of the other candidates, with each candidate permitted 90 seconds to respond. This will last about 10 minutes.
-After this, submitted questions from the audience will be selected and presented by the moderator. This will last for about 10 minutes.
-Each candidate will be permitted a 2-minute closing statement.

School Board Transparency — Sunlight on Board-Union Contract Negotiations

New blog worthy of watching.
School Board Transparency — Sunlight on Board-Union Contract Negotiations: "School Board Transparency"

Monday, October 20, 2008

When do we get to talk about the next banner flap. We're still under marshall law regarding signs.

The Pens are back on the ice and I'm wondering when the next round of silly discussions and governmental finger wagging is going to kick up again about signs, banners, and other goofy governmental intrusions?

From ABCs of sports

Here is a hockey banner to make you blush.

And, it is a women hockey player too.

The Penguins might be able to put up a team banner if it is to include a lost kitten notice within the fine print. When do the Penguins play the "Panthers?" Who is going to 'be found' around here -- or not?

Hey - we won one. It feels good. Now go watch his Pittsburgh presentation so you know who you are voting for - and against.

It is unbecoming to vote with only half, or 2/5ths of your brain.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Affirms Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr

Republican Appeal to Strike Candidate from Ballot Fails

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2008

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

Harrisburg, PA – The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) is pleased by the one page per curiam order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Middle District issued October 17, 2008. The order affirmed the previous order of the Commonwealth Court, confirming Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr will appear on the Pennsylvania ballot. The Supreme Court order was in response to an appeal by Cumberland County Republican Chairman Victor Stabile of his lawsuit contending that the substitution certificate for Bob Barr should be set aside and the candidate disqualified from the November ballot.

The Commonwealth Court ruling from the Honorable Judge Johnny Butler, issued on September 15, 2008, dismissed and denied Mr. Stabile's petition to set aside the substitution certificate of Bob Barr as the Libertarian Party (LP) presidential candidate. This ruling and the Supreme Court affirmation have confirmed the practice of candidate substitution in compliance with Pennsylvania's election code.

LPPa Chairman Michael Robertson noted “It is disappointing that such a prominent member of the Republican Party would undertake this effort to limit the choices of Pennsylvania voters. The citizens of our Commonwealth deserve better than the misinformation offered by the Republican leadership during this episode.”

Former Republican county committeeman John Parks added "I just think that it is a shame that both parties want to disenfranchise the voters of Pennsylvania. If they believe that elections should be free and equal, they should be encouraging people to run, not running them off the ballot."

LP Presidential candidate, Bob Barr, represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, serving as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services. He now practices law with the Law Offices of Edwin Marger and runs a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with offices in the Washington, D.C. area. Barr works tirelessly to help preserve our fundamental right to privacy and our other civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

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.
By the way, screw you Republican leaders who see fit to take this type of sillyness all the way to the Supreme Court. And, it goes just as bad to the likes of Dan Onorato who wants to fight the ballot access for those who have obtained tens of thousands of signatures -- as in the drink tax question.

Didn't Colin Powell talk about this too on Meet the Press? If he didn't he should have.

So, Bob Barr is on the ballot in PA. It isn't only about Obama and McCain. If you have doubts about both Obama and McCain, do your homework and check this out. You might like what you hear. And, you might want to vote and feel good about doing so on November 4.

Fastbreak for Fathers, Nov. 2 at Carnegie Science Center

Dear Fatherhood Friends,

Please see the attached flyer and registration sheet for the 6th Annual Fast Break for Fathers and Families event on Sunday, Nov. 2nd. The event will be held at Carnegie Science Center this year due to the impending demolition of SportsWorks. Please forward this to those who may be interested.

If you are willing to volunteer for the event, please contact Evelyn Hines, Executive Assistant, National Fatherhood Initiative, Website:
See comments for her email.

Bonus pay for Pgh Principals gets some attention and heat

Where is the Act 47 to control the spending of the Pgh Public Schools asks a caller to the KDKA Radio show with Marty Griffin.

My message to him:

Pgh Public Schools' troubles spring from the other end of the spectrum. Bonus blahs for me.

Poor performing principals (and teachers, etc.) need to get the ax more quickly.

Downgrades and 'no pay' options need to be on the table as well.

Finally, Fed $ is still my taxpayer money.

Mark Roosevelt, superintendent of Pgh Public Schools, said that the bonus money was not taxpayer money. But, it is, as the host pointed out. The money is from a 'Federal Grant' so Roosevelt said.

Tranditionally, the problem has been with poor performing principals and other laggards in various roles. They have been allowed to stick around.

This gripe about poor performing teachers and principals are long-standing ones that might be less of a pressing problem now. I'm not sure how many bad performers are in the system this year. Pittsburgh schools could have a perfect staff in place this year where every employee is in a perfect role for his or her talents.

Often a failed teacher and/or a failed principal is a sign of a poor deployment -- not ill will on the part of the individual caught in a situation where there isn't a good 'fit' -- or else worse, in a no-win situation.

The deployment of the teachers, staff and principals needs constant evaluation and management. I've seen some movement and 'musical chairs.' Great. I hope that the moves are made for the right reasons. And, I hope that the right people are being supported in the right jobs.

The radio report says that only five principals got no bonus money. The majority of the principals got a bonus.

Punch her and catch a bullet

Wouldn't it be great if all bullies faced a similar fate.

I'm glad she turned herself in and I'm especially glad the police quickly let her depart.

WPXI is reporting the story as this:
Road Rage Incident On Parkway West Ends In Shooting

Sunday, October 19, 2008 – updated: 10:43 pm EDT October 19, 2008
PITTSBURGH -- Police said a man threw a punch and a woman turned the tables, pulling out a gun during a violent road rage incident on the Parkway West.

The woman, 24, of Pittsburgh, was pulling onto Interstate 376 from Route 28 when police said she cut off another driver.

Officials report the other driver, a male from Ohio, reacted by speeding in front of the woman and halting traffic, causing her to stop.

State Police said the man walked on foot to the driver's side of the woman's car and punched her in the face.

That is when authorities said the woman pulled out a licensed firearm and shot the man in the stomach.

The woman turned herself in to police after the incident. She has since been released.

The man drove himself to a nearby hotel, where he was transported to Allegheny General Hospital.

Officials have declined to name the parties involved until after the district attorney has reviewed the case.
Time will tell if this is the real story, or not. Hard to get too overblown as the names of those involved are not being released and being a bit skeptical is always prudent.

Since burnout hit Prof Madison and Pittsblog, here is something that he might have posted about:

Thornburgh Family lecture series

DisabiliTy law & Policy

presenter: I. King Jordan, former president of Gallaudet University

October 30, 2008 at Barco Law Building, Teplitz Courtroom, 1–2:30 p.m. with Reception to follow.

I. King Jordan was the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, the world’s only university with all programs and services designed specifically for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Jordan’s historic presidency came after a student-led protest in 1988 that today is called Deaf President Now (DPN). DPN was a turning point in the lives of deaf people worldwide, and Jordan’s term as president was a beacon of self-
determination and empowerment for deaf and hard-of-hearing people everywhere.

In addition to holding positions as professor, department chair, dean, and president, Jordan holds 11 honorary degrees and has been the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Presidential Citizens Medal, the James L. Fisher Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the Larry Stewart Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association for Community Leadership.

For more information, call 412-648-1373.

Lecture is open to the public.

The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy was created through the generosity of Dick and Ginny Thornburgh. As 2003 recipients of the Henry B. Betts Award, the Thornburghs donated the proceeds from the award to the University of Pittsburgh to establish this lecture series. The fund has been supplemented by grants from the Office of the Chancellor, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and School of Law.

This course has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for one and one-half (1.5) hours of substantive credit. Register at the door.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Richard sent a message about a techie gathering. Open Street Maps visits Pittsburgh

Email message says:
I'm organizing an OpenStreetMap mapping party for Pittsburgh on or about the weekend of the 15th or the weekend of the 22nd of November. And I need some local Pittsburgh knowledge as a reality check.

Can you tell if there are any advantages / disadvantages of the two dates in terms of Pittsburgh events that would conflict or enhance the event?

And could you suggest a venue for the event? Ideally we like to have a public-ish venue with free wifi and close to public transit and something cool to add to the map.

Do you know of some local technology sites / blogs that would be interested in promoting the event?

Can you tell me of any local cycling, hiking, mountain biking, running groups that might be interested?

And if you would like to help me organize the event beyond the very helpful answers to my questions, I would be thrilled to co-host with you.

Best regards,
Richard Weait.

You can also read the message at
and you can reply at

Chill out. You didn't miss the 3rd party debate. We get to watch game 7 without feeling guilty

Game 7 of a baseball series is tonight. It is do or die for both the Red Soc and Devil Rays. But for the 3rd party candidates for US President, it is like a snow day. They've seen their final exam washed out and have an extra week to cram before the big show.
Free and Equal: "Presidential Debate Rescheduled for October 23rd in Washington D.C.
The Independent/Third Party Presidential Debate to have been held in New York at Columbia University on Sunday Oct. 19th has been rescheduled, and will occur on Thursday evening at 9pm EST, October 23 in Washington DC.

Powell, Colin, not David, gives more than thumbs up to the Senator from Illinois

Post-Gazette NOW Powell endorses Obama, chides McCain campaign
David Powell, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Allegheny County, spoke last week and said he might have been able to vote for the Obama of 2005, but not of 2008, due to his votes on a few key issues in recent years. However, the other Powell, a guy who doesn't give endorsements, until today, had things to say.

I didn't watch the show, but my wife and mother-in-law did. She had it on tape and they rushed to see it after church this morning.

My wife said that there wasn't one thing from Colin Powell that she was in disagreement with. Wow. She said that what he said on Meet The Press was just what she has been saying for many months now.

It's over for McCain. The only thing that Obama needs to do from today forward is keep playing the statements from Colin Powell. Those are her reactions.

For me, I'll watch on Monday after I cool down from Sunday night swim practice with the Phillips kids and Podcamp Pittsburgh, PCPGH3.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Working on my PodCamp Pittsburgh PCPGH presentation

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events
I'm slated to speak tomorrow, Sunday, at Podcamp Pittsburgh. I'm working on the photos and slide show now. Should be fun.

From Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events

It is a small world.
From people & vips
Guess where we are when this photo was taken? (Find the answer in the comments.)

From people & vips

Friday, October 17, 2008

Print your badge, yet? Tonight's social on the South Side for a kick-off.

I'll be on the South Side for a PodCamp kickoff party tonight, after swim practice, of course. It is at AlphaLab (2325 East Carson Street, 15203). Called the official icebreaker. Tonight, on Friday, Oct 17, from 6–8 PM. Enjoy appetizers, drinks and the opportunity to meet your fellow social media explorers, all under the roof of ittsburgh’s new incubator for tech startups.

Still to Come, the Third-Party Debate - The Caucus Blog -

Still to Come, the Third-Party Debate - The Caucus Blog - Still to Come, the Third-Party Debate
By Leslie Wayne
If you haven’t gotten your fill of presidential debates after watching the McCain-Obama match-up this evening, mark your calendar for Sunday night.
That’s when Free and Equal.Org, a group formed to encourage third-party candidacies, is promoting a debate at the Columbia Political Union at Columbia University in New York for all six candidates seeking the presidency. The group is pretty much resigned to the fact that neither Senator John McCain nor Senator Barack Obama will be there.
But, others will show, they say. Amy Goodman, principal host of “Democracy Now!” a program of the left-leaning Pacifica radio, will host the event. C-SPAN will also be there to record it. Ms. Goodman, in a recent syndicated column, called for opening the current two-party debates, to more candidates. “It will not only make for better television,’’ said Ms. Goodman in her column, “it will make for better democracy.”

Just exactly who will be there is still murky, since certified letters have just gone out to all candidates, say event organizers. Ralph Nader, who is on the ballot in 45 states as an independent candidate, has indicated he will show up. Cynthia McKinney, former member of Congress from Georgia and the Green Party candidate, will also be there, according to her website. Ms. McKinney is on the ballot in 30 states. Also invited is Chuck Baldwin, running on the Constitution Party ticket in 35 states.

Mr. Baldwin is perhaps the least known of the group. He’s an evangelical minister and hosts a conservative talk show in the Florida panhandle region. He also has gained the endorsement of Ron Paul, whose bid for the Republican nomination garnered a loyal and enthusiastic following.

The only question mark is Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate. Mr. Barr has made it clear that he will only debate Mr. Nader and no one else.

Christina M. Tobin, an event organizer and a Nader campaign staffer, said that she “challenges” Mr. Barr to show up.

“Let him show that he is a true Libertarian,” said Ms. Tobin, who grew up in a prominent Libertarian family. “This is a golden opportunity to get exposure and for people to hear his views. For him not to show up would be denying his Libertarian principles.”

Ms. Tobin added that if this event, which will be held at 8 p.m. is successful, her group plans to hold another one a few days later.
If Bob Barr does not show up to this event, he'll be a jackass in my book. Of course he'll be there. Of course he is just inserting a little drama into the event. Of course he is not going to sink his and our principles and be cowardly.

It would be a hoot and a winning move if either Obama or McCain showed up for these debates. One could go on Saturday and then the next would need to be there when this was a success.

I can dream, can't I?

Bob, pack your bags.

Catherine's Cover Story has hit with the release of The Hearing Journal

Catherine and crew at UPMC/Pitt have a cover story in a professional journal that is now hitting mailboxes and the web (with a PDF).
Cover Story: Is it Real? Research Evaluation for Audiology Literature Catherine V. Palmer, Elaine Mormer, Amanda Ortmann, Dvid Byrne, and Lindsey Keogh October 2008 The Hearing Journal: "Cover Story: Is it Real? Research Evaluation for Audiology Literature
Catherine V. Palmer, Elaine Mormer, Amanda Ortmann, Dvid Byrne, and Lindsey Keogh

Cover Story: Is it Real? Research Evaluation for Audiology Literature
Catherine V. Palmer, Elaine Mormer, Amanda Ortmann, Dvid Byrne, and Lindsey Keogh
The cover illustration look sharp.

Nutshell without even reading the article: Modern life is about being a continual learner and critical thinker. Both are necessary for success.

Trust isn't a slam dunk as it once was. People can gobble up a bunch of mush and not have the skills, capacity nor value for the critical thinking and they'll be lost at sea, rudderless.

The sidebar of the article by Gus talks about how Catherine has been able to shape the field. Catherine's insistance that the product manufacturers present data with study design and depth not expected before -- shall we say -- raises the bar for the profession.

Critical consumers are great, as are critical voters and 'thinking again.'

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good giggles

Part 1:

Part 2:

Could this be Podcamp Pittsburgh

From Tech Pointers of Mark Rauterkus

They'll be huddled around some computers this weekend, just as they were in Beijing to watch and witness.

Dave Copeland is coming home

Running Mate News!
Dave Copeland: "Other news: I booked a flight and a hotel with plans of running the resurrected Pittsburgh Marathon on May3, 2009."
Great news David.

Plus, the trip to South Africa sounds great. You know, the football world will be in South Africa too. When is the world cup matched with your visit there?

If you are going to be there the same time, expect to pay about a zillion times more for hotel and air fare. Well, not a zillion, but five times at least.

What are you doing Sunday afternoon? Hope to see you at Pgh Art Institute.

This Sunday, I'll be presenting at Pittsburgh's Podcamp. One session is going to talk about this. The other will be more localized and talk about politics. Hope you can be there. See the link to the upper left side of this blog. PGHPC3.

City Paper covers the Rev Burgess, now on council

A big feature in Pgh City Paper covers a member of Pittsburgh's city council, Rev. Ricky Burgess.
Practicing What He Preaches - The Rev. Ricky Burgess tries to heal the wounds of District 9 - Main Feature - Main Feature - Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh Practicing What He Preaches
The Rev. Ricky Burgess tries to heal the wounds of District 9
My thoughts soon enough. What do you think?

Groups can't challenge Stadium Authority land sale, lawyer says

Residents don't have standing, so they think, unless they're already purchased and know their role as part of the status quo machine.
Groups can't challenge Stadium Authority land sale, lawyer says The city's Stadium Authority is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by two groups challenging the sale of land between Heinz Field and PNC Park for a proposed hotel development, claiming both lacked standing to press their claims.
This isn't a case of every night being a potential nightmare. No way. Rather, we want to save hopes of brewing a nightmare for government trasactions whenever it acts on behalf of special interests to rip off taxpayers.

Local government has too many bits of property. Much of this needs to be sold. However, it can't be done at prices that make the rich richer.

Insanity is selling property at $8 when it should sell at $58.

"It is outrageous for the Stadium Authority to claim there is no public right to question whether they are serving the public's interests," he said in a statement.

From Peking Duck to Chicken Licken -- or Chicken Little

I guess Chicken Licken is the UK bloke's name. We call him "Chicken Little" don't we?
BBC SPORT | Olympics/Paralympics blog From Peking Duck to Chicken Licken in just two months. No wonder the mood was a little muted.
The mood of the Olympics has shifted now that the world's finance crash has come.

See the link on this page: Uploaded a simple PDF slide show from our Beijing visit.

More to come.

Victory on the parking give-a-way

This is good news.
No Free Parking For Downtown Holiday Shoppers

PITTSBURGH -- There will be no free parking this year for shoppers in downtown Pittsburgh, according to the Tribune-Review.

Last year, free parking was available on weekends during the holiday season.

However, the parking authority will not be offering free parking this year due to increased budget costs.
For years, wrongly, the city has been giving away parking to a select few.

It is not good public policy to use bribes to get people to visit, come nor stay in Pittsburgh. Sweeten this and you still get this, if you know what I mean.

Trash day was this morning, but there is no pick-up for recycling until NEXT WEEK

In the South Side, we've got dozens of folks who put out the blue bags for trash pick-up for recycled waste on the wrong weeks. I'd hate to see you get a $500 fine.

Other areas of the city are catching up to us in other areas too, it seems.

Citizen alert:
Criminal mischief in the East end
Over the last several weeks we have had a large number of reports on someone damaging flower pots, trash cans, breaking into cars, and stealing from peoples homes. Please remember that there are few tips you may want to try;
1. Always remember to check your doors on your car to make sure there locked before walking away.
2. Remember not to leave anything that criminal might want in plain view. This small mistake could lead them to break into your car, and then to something more valuable that you may have hidden.
3. Leaving items on your front porch either secured or not, is not a good idea. these criminals are willing to take the risk of stealing off of your property.
4. Finally, look out for you neighbors and hope they will do the same for you. Become a part of your neighborhood blockwatch, or if you don’t have one call your zone Community Relations Officer to start one.

Internet Archive Link of Bob Barr

The 70-minute video of Bob Barr speaking at CMU has been posted to The Internet Archive:

Is Pennsylvania a Pro-Pedophile State?

You be the judge

By Mike Ference

PA State Rep. Lisa Bennington, D-Allegheny County, held a press on May 12, 2008, in Harrisburg, PA to discuss House Bill 1137, legislation known as the Child Victim’s Act of Pennsylvania, which addresses statute of limitations and identifying sex abusers.

If the bill passes, it would change the age at which a civil suit could be filed from until the accuser is 30 to 50, bringing the civil statute of limitations in line with the criminal statute. The bill would also suspend the civil statute of limitations for two years in child sex abuse cases in which the statute has expired so that people over the age limit could file a suit. And it would allow the filing of such actions against child sex abusers and their enablers in both public and private institutions.

According to Bennington, it’s the private institutions where offenders have been allowed to move on and continue with their lives. “Their victims have been left behind to pick up the pieces, never getting their day in court and or a chance to see justice carried out. They live with this horrific crime for the rest of their lives,” she points out.

A 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report uncovered 63 priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese who had abused hundreds of children over several decades. In some cases, archdiocese leaders intentionally concealed the abuse to protect the church.

And Bennington stresses, her bill does not target the Catholic Church. Rather, “it pertains to all religious institutions, public schools, youth groups and any organization where child sex abuse has occurred. This bill would give all Pennsylvania victims their fundamental right to hold those accountable that afflicted or allowed the abuse to occur.”

Sounds reasonable and seems like a good thing. Similar legislation has passed in California and Delaware in recent years. In California, about 1,000 victims came forward and 300 predators were identified. Yet, there’s one PA lawmaker who strongly opposes the legislation and doesn’t even intend to give the bill a hearing.

State Rep. Thomas R.Caltagirone D., (Berks County), the House Judiciary Committee chairman, says the proposed bill is driven by victims’ desire to win large legal payouts. Caltagirone goes on to say the bill is all about money, not about justice.

Ironically, Caltagirone was quick to vote with fellow legislators for a 50 percent increase in their pensions in 2001 and the infamous middle of the night pay raise in 2005. The state rep along with other lawmakers chose to take the self-induced pay grab immediately in unvouchered expenses. Many PA residents felt this made the elected officials look like money-hungry crooks, as it was eventually declared unconstitutional.

As expected, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference deplores the bill. Choosing to continue to protect perverted priests, rather than seek justice. Likewise, the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania is also against the bill. And while Caltagirone has officially declared HB1137 dead, his puppy-protection bill seems to be racing for the finish line.

Could the PA state rep be more concerned about protecting puppies than innocent children abused as sex toys by grown men and women? His recently unveiled, HB 2532 which would forbid dog owners from performing surgery on their pups went before the Judiciary Committee on May 14 and could be voted on as early as June 10.

As someone who has been investigating clergy abuse in Pennsylvania for almost 20 years, this writer can’t help but thing that something is amiss.

On the eastern side of the commonwealth of PA the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office issued a scathing report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the high level of sexual abuse among Catholic priests and the cover ups and the reassigning of credibly accused Catholic priests by Cardinals Bevilacqua and Krol and their aides. It should be noted that Bevilacqua first served as Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese before his transfer to Philadelphia. Insiders claim Bevilacqua left his successor, Donald Wuerl, quite a mess.

For example, while Bevilacqua was still assigned to the Pittsburgh Diocese he agreed to place Fr. John P. Connor, an admitted child molester first within the Pittsburgh Diocese and later, after Bevilacqua took over in Philadelphia Fr. Connor was assigned there. According to testimony in the Philadelphia Grand Jury the arrangement was based on a “tradition of bishops helping bishops.” Sadly, Fr. Connor went on to abuse others and Bevilacqua was found to be a liar according to the grand jury report.

One has to wonder why the Pittsburgh Diocese voluntarily settled with 32 alleged survivors of clergy abuse. $1.25 million for crimes the Pittsburgh Diocese will never have to admit ever occurred. The settlement would not tarnish the stellar reputation of Archbishop Donald Wuerl who never had to pay a dime to any clergy abuse victims during his tenure as bishop in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Oddly enough, an underling – so to speak – Auxiliary Bishop Bradley reconciled the situation, only weeks before Bishop David Zubik was to be installed as the new leader of the diocese. So it seems everything fell into place.

Thirty-two survivors received a few bucks, the diocese is off the hook for any future civil or maybe even criminal suits based on the settlement. Wuerl continues to do in Washington D.C. whatever it is that Archbishops do and Zubik was allowed to get a fresh start in the Pittsburgh Diocese without the interference of those civil suits that were resting in limbo for several years.

The settling of the civil suits certainly allowed for an impressive and dignified installation of Bishop Zubik, no hecklers or demonstrators from any groups with compassion for children sexually abused by Catholic priests.

And, although I have no proof, nor anyway to calculate, I would be willing to bet the farm that more money was spent on Zubik’s festivities than was awarded to 32 survivors of alleged abuse by Catholic priests from the Pittsburgh Diocese. No big deal, the worst is over.

Unless of course, somewhere down the road – maybe a year, a few months, a couple of weeks, or perhaps in the next few days – information turns up that the cases of sexual abuse actually occurred and that cover ups were the norm in the Pittsburgh Diocese just like cover ups and shifting priests from parish to parish was the norm in the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Anyone with a little common sense would be concerned that a man of the cloth might be tempted to hide crimes of clergy sexual abuse of young children only on the eastern side of the commonwealth of PA and not the western side as well.

That’s a lot of ifs ands or buts – only time will tell if Pennsylvania is indeed a pro-pedophile state. For now it’s three cheers for Rep Bennington and HB 1137 as for Rep. Caltagirone – one politician who obviously cares more about dogs than children – maybe it’s time for the law maker to rollover and play dead.
Mike Ference is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and amateur investigative
reporter who has been probing clergy abuse in Pennsylvania for almost 20
years. He’s currently sharing details about his investigation with
Pennsylvania State Trooper John Woodruff. Is a formal investigation
forthcoming? Only time will tell. Mike Ference may be reached at
412-233-5491 or email him at

Verify our voting software before November

Make sure that our voting software is the approved and authentic software!

Our county has never checked. They must do it before this November's election. The county isresponsible for safeguarding our voting software. Please, politely call Dan Onorato, D, Allegheny County Executive, 412-350-6500. He has blocked this request for months.

Voters of Allegheny County want our voting software verified. Authenticate our voting machines Dan. The public has a right to know that our software is authentic. No more excuses and delays. This was promised two years ago.


Oct 10, 2008 Bob Barr, Libertarian candidate for US President, gives a one-hour talk in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University on October 10, 2008.

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