Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Macy's puts Downtown building on the market

Macy's puts Downtown building on the market: "Macy's joins a growing list of buildings for sale Downtown. They include the Gateway Center complex, the Oliver Building, the Regional Enterprise Tower, the EQT Tower, and the American Red Cross building."

Put the Civic Arena on that list too. Also, PA wants to sell the State Office Building, right? The Downtown YMCA's old building went to Point Park recently too. Then there is the sale of the Ft. Pitt Museum.

Fw: DR News: Accountability & Hypocrisy, Part 2 - Today's Budget

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: Democracy Rising PA <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2010 13:15:29 -0400 (EDT)
To: <>
Subject: DR News: Accountability & Hypocrisy, Part 2 - Today's Budget

Democracy Rising Pennsylvania


Accountability & Hypocrisy, Part 2 - Today's Budget

Today the legislature is expected to suspend the rules and vote to approve a budget that makes deep cuts into nearly every part of state government except the place that already has a $180 million surplus – the House and Senate. What did you expect?

According to a printout of the budget proposal obtained from the House Democratic Caucus:

  • The House takes a cut of just 0.6% ($1,049,000 from a budget of $184,630,000)
  • The Senate takes a cut of just 0.1% ($119,000 from a budget of $92,075,000)
  • Legislative Service Agencies take a cut of just 1% ($93,000 from a budget of $9,268,000)
  • "Legislative Miscellaneous," however, increases by 19.3% ($2,520,000 on top of a $13,053,000 budget for this year).

The increase is due almost entirely to $2.4 million in new spending for the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. This commission, consisting of four legislative leaders and a fifth person of their choosing, will re-draw legislative districts in 2011, following this year's census. Ten years ago, this commission gave PA the second-most-gerrymandered legislative districts in America. Since then, lawmakers have rejected every attempt to improve upon this tawdry performance.

Missed Opportunity for Savings

As the 28th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury revealed, the legislature easily could reduce its budget by at least a$60 million through staff cuts and streamlined operations. Click here  for the May 25 edition of DR News.

The Surplus

In fact, with such small cuts to their operations, the House and Senate are on track to increase their surplus from $180 million to more than $200 million by this time next year if they enact any significant reforms recommended by the 28th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury (below). That's what they did last year, when they over-budgeted for themselves so that they could restore $67 million of the $87 million they spent during the budget impasse. In other words, rather than spending down their surplus, they added to it. And so it continues this year. Click here  for an edition of DR News about that.

The Budget Process

No one can be surprised that lawmakers waited until the last possible minute to negotiate the budget and now will suspend the rules to pass it before citizens can object to the most profligate legislature in America feathering their own nests again while others suffer.

In part, this is because the budget process doesn't apply to them. Each year after the governor presents a proposed budget, lawmakers hold public hearings where cabinet officers and others must defend their budget requests, line item by line item. But there never is a time in the budget process when lawmakers have to discuss and justify their own budgets to the public.


  • Why do voters allow the legislature continue to hoard at least $180 million while cutting programs that benefit citizens?
  • Why doesn't the budget of the legislature have to undergo the same scrutiny applied to state agencies in the executive branch?
  • What do gubernatorial candidates Tom Corbett and Dan Onorato think of this display of fiscal arrogance and hypocrisy? Will they make budget reform a key part of their campaigns and service in office?


Please support DR's work with a tax-deductible contribution.

Click here  to donate online or find our mailing address.


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PA, you break my heart. Stroke, stroke, stroke.

Regular Session 2009-2010 House Bill 816 P.N. 3316 : "Establishing State funding for the Heart Disease and Stroke Program within the Department of Health."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Starting to figure out the local bike race scene

Erik rode in the Tuesday night bike race at the oval tonight with the Juniors and Women's race. He got 22nd in a field of 31. But, he was only 7 seconds behind the winner. He was wise and didn't sprint at the end. He didn't even shift in the entire race. He was on my bike and at the start line was asking for the seat to be lowered. He left the race with all his skin -- and for that I'm very happy.

There is more. One toe clip was never made tight, blah, blah, blah.

He did great.

In a season, he could own that race.

We have to upgrade our equipment. Only one of our bikes has drop bars and Grant's bike isn't legal with its staight and forward part extension.

I've got to get in shape and ride too.

Cassidy: Linux could ease schools' tech crunch - San Jose Mercury News

I wish PPS would use Linux. I think it is absurd that the Sci Tech School does not use Linux.
Cassidy: Linux could ease schools' tech crunch - San Jose Mercury News... The answer for local schools facing daunting technology challenges lies with the penguins.
You know, penguins — those who worship free and open-source software, including Linux and the operating system's mascot, a penguin named Tux.
I've been hearing from the penguins since I wrote recently that if Silicon Valley CEOs want the state to improve K-12 education, then they should take a bigger role in helping those schools deploy classroom technology from this century.
Furthermore, everyone should be using software and tossing out Microsoft Office.
Here we go!


Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

-----Original Message-----
From: "Tom Schatz, President, CAGW" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 16:17:22
To: <>
Reply-To: "Tom Schatz, President, CAGW" <>

Citizens Against Government Waste

Dear Mark,

President Obama is refusing to allow the use
of state-of-the-art equipment that could dramatically help clean up
the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and save the fragile Gulf Coast
marshlands and beaches.

I need your help today to force him to
act. Let me explain.

Within days of the explosion on BP's
Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch, who have
worked in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina, offered the services of
their high-tech oil skimming ships. The Dutch government has
particular expertise in cleaning up oil spills,and they require
oil rigs off their coast to respond to any leakage within 12 hours.

In addition, the Dutch, who are the most
experienced people on earth in building dikes, offered President Obama
assistance in building sand barriers to protect the pristine Gulf
coastline, sensitive marshlands, and wildlife.

However, in response to both offers,
President Obama said NO!

Why would he say no? Because it would
require him to waive the Jones Act.

The Jones Act is a 1920s-era law that
protects the U.S. domestic merchant marine industry -- and its unions
-- from competition by mandating that all cargo and passengers shipped
between U.S. seaports be carried on U.S.-flag vessels using U.S.
crews. Even without the spill, this protectionist measure costs
our economy an estimated $3.1 billion per year.

If President Obama would waive the Jones Act,
as President Bush did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, millions
of gallons of oil and sludge could be swept from the sea and miles of
beaches and marshlands and their birds and fish could be protected,
ultimately helping preserve commerce and American jobs along the Gulf

Yet, back in April when the spill occurred
and again on June 15 when President Obama delivered his Oval Office
address to the nation on the oil spill, he bowed to the wishes of his
union supporters and refused to even consider issuing an Executive
Order to suspend the Jones Act. Instead, the President exploited
the disaster to once again push for his job-killing cap-and-trade
energy tax that would devastate the economy and do NOTHING to solve
the immediate crisis in the Gulf.

In short, President Obama andBig
Labor's union bosses care more about protecting a few union maritime
jobs than the environment or the millions of Americans who are losing
their economic livelihoods due to this environmental disaster.

So the Gulf, its residents, environment, and
wildlife continue to suffer while President Obama cozies up in
Washington with his union boss buddies!

Mark, CAGW is launching a
national effort to shame the President into waiving the Jones Act to
dramatically accelerate the Gulf clean-up efforts, and I need to ask
you to make an Emergency Waive the Jones Act -- Save the Gulf
contribution to support this drive today


I believe if hundreds of newspapers and radio
and television stations start running stories about how President
Obama is more concerned with protecting labor unions than he is with
preserving the environment and livelihoods of those living along the
Gulf, the pressure to waive the Jones Act will become

Your contribution of $25

, $35,


, or even$100

today will enable us to feed the facts and figures to the media
about how waiving the Jones Act can dramatically help clean up the
Gulf. For example, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen has stated
that more than 2,000 skimmers, including foreign-flag vessels,
are currently operating off the coasts of the United States and
could be used in the Gulf, yet Florida officials have reported that
just 32 skimmers are deployed off their coastline.

Further, your financial support will help us
publicize how President Obama is not doing all he can to help the
residents of the Gulf Coast and is putting the interests of his union
supporters first.

Mark, last week, millions of
more gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico after an undersea
robot bumped a venting system and forced BP to remove a cap that had
been containing some of the crude. Still, President Obama never
once mentioned waiving the Jones Act!

Your contribution is vital if we are to
generate media interest and build the overwhelming public outcry
necessary to force the President to buck his union supporters and
waive the Jones Act. So please, make an Emergency Waive the
Jones Act -- Save the Gulf contribution today

. With your help, we can win this all-out battle to save the
Gulf Coast. But the clock is ticking, the oil is flowing, and I
need to hear from you today.


Thomas A. Schatz

P.S. Mark, CAGW is not the only
critic of President Obama's failure to waive the Jones
Act. A number of Gulf Coast lawmakers have publicly called for a
waiver, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently told FOX
News' Bill O'Reilly: "The Dutch, they are
known, and the Norwegians, they are known for...dikes and for
cleanup water and for dealing with spills. They offered to help
and yet no, they...can't even get a phone call back, that is what
the Norwegians are telling us and the Dutch are telling us." To
generate massive media coverage and rally the millions of Americans it
will take to overcome the powerful unionsand force President
Obama to waive the Jones Act, I urge you to make an Emergency Waive
the Jones Act -- Save the Gulf contribution

of $25

, $35,


, or even$100


Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation's largest taxpayer
watchdog group with more than one million members and supporters
nationwide. It is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit
organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and
mismanagement in government. Contributions to CAGW are
tax-deductible as charitable contributions to the extent permitted by
law. For more information about CAGW, visit our website at

. Makea contribution to help us force President Obama to
waive the Jones Act!

Please helpus spread the word about how suspending the Jones Act
could help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf and get residents that
depend on the Gulf back to work.Forward this message to a

Unsubscribe from receiving email, or change your email preferences.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bicycle Sizing for Mark Rauterkus

Inseam: 83.8cm 33.0"

Shoe: 10.5

Torso: 154.9 cm, 61.0"

Arm: 60.9cm 24.0"

Category: Mountain Bike Sport

Frame Size: 78.1cm or 30.7"

Top Tube: 58.0cm or 22.8"

Stem: 105.0mm - 130.0mm

Intial seat height: 34.6" - 35.4"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Yes! Barbie is a Libertarian?

Is Barbie a Libertarian?

Where do I sign up? I want to be a member of "The BEST Party."

Inspired political video.

The Saturday Profile - Icelander’s Campaign Is a Joke, Until He’s Elected - Biography - "Last month, in the depressed aftermath of the country’s financial collapse, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner in Reykjavik’s elections, with 34.7 percent of the vote, and Mr. Gnarr — who also promised a classroom of kindergartners he would build a Disneyland at the airport — is now the fourth mayor in four years of a city that is home to more than a third of the island’s 320,000 people."

Do watch the video to the end and read the full article.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : U.S. Soccer: Technically Czar-Free, and Winning

The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : U.S. Soccer: Technically Czar-Free, and Winning: "Here's something I didn't realize in '06: some countries really do have soccer czars. Not just the Chinas of the world, either, but free and soccer-crazed countries. For instance, while reading this New York Times article about France's World Cup experience devolving into nation-wide racial discord (really), I was surprised to learn that France has a 'Sports Minister' and a 'junior sports minister,' both of whom Sarkozy called on the carpet and ordered 'to rapidly learn the lessons of this disaster' after France's ignominious World Cup exit."

This is very funny to me. Just look back at the success with Team USA in the recent winter Olympics in Canada. The USA leadership has been in storm after storm in the past years. There has been a merry-go-round with USA's top leadership -- and -- the team thrived in terms of medals and overall victories.

We don't need any czars in America. They don't work, generally.

Post-Gazette NOW - Polls - single gender school question

Post-Gazette NOW - Polls

Q: Do you think single gender schools will be good or bad for students?

I voted EXCELLENT, but, and that should be a much bigger but, ... the students must want to attend a single gender school. Then it would be and is and will be 'excellent.' Otherwise, not so much.

And, I'm not very fond of the idea for anything other than high school and college as an option. Not in middle school nor grade school.

Do you think single-gender schools will be good or bad for students?
Category: Education
Voting began on 6/25/2010
Voting ends on 6/27/2010

A.Excellent idea - 122 (37%) B.Maybe a good idea - 70 (21%) C.Neither good nor bad - 15 (4%) D.Definitely a bad idea - 116 (35%) E.I'm not sure - 11 (3%)334 Respondents

Read more:

Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project is right around the corner!

On Aug. 13, 2010 through Aug. 15, 2010, you can join hundreds of filmmakers and make a movie in 48 hours! That’s right… write, shoot, edit and score a short film in 48 hours. Then see it premiered up on the big screen! Registration will begin at 12:01 am on Tuesday June 29, 2010.

The 48 Hour Film Project is going to eighty cities spanning all six continents this year. Which one of you will make the best short film to represent Pittsburgh against teams from around the world vying for the title of "The Best 48 Hour Film of 2010"?

We hope to see you in the cinema!


Kahmeela Adams
Nina Gibbs
Pittsburgh Producers
48 Hour Film Project

Education Week: NCAA Proposes End to Early Scholarship Offers

Education Week: NCAA Proposes End to Early Scholarship Offers: "Prep players may have to wait a little longer to start accepting scholarship offers.

An NCAA committee announced Thursday that it will back a proposal to prohibit making scholarships offers to recruits before July 1 in the summer between their junior and senior years in high school. If passed, it would apply to all sports.
Coaches also would have to receive high school transcripts documenting at least five semesters or seven quarters worth of academic work for a young recruit before they can offer a scholarship.

It is the first recommendation to come out of the Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet, which is reviewing recruiting conduct. Committee chair Petrina Long acknowledged it would be a difficult rule for school compliance officers to monitor."
Sounds right. If the NCAA can make more trouble for the student athletes then it will.

I think it makes more sense to have the rules have a stipulation that gives a little peace of mind to the student-athletes and their families as soon as possible. These are the same athletes that are about to be exploited for the next seasons of their lives. A bit of peace in that realm, while they are still in high school, makes perfect sense to me. So, the NCAA nixes that.

Appeals court rejects challenge to city's lost-gun law

Appeals court rejects challenge to city's lost-gun law State Commonwealth Court today affirmed a ruling that dismissed a lawsuit challenging Pittsburgh's lost and stolen gun law, deciding that the National Rifle Association and four individual plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to bring the case.
If a person does not have the legal standing to challenge a law in court, then I guess that that law has no standing to apply to any individual.

You all are invited!

Open Invite: 4th of July and our annual party. Celebrate the passing of the 10,000 milestone in blog postings!

6pm Badminton in the park by our house (12th n Sarah St). There's also room for Ultimate Frisbee. Plus swings, etc. If you don't want to play in the park, plan to show up at the house (108 S. 12th Street) any time after 7pm.

We'll have the usual arts and crafts and some "water" games.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How is that REGISTRY for gay couples in the city of Pittsburgh doing, really?

Bruce Kraus was keen to start a registry for gay couples in Pittsburgh a while ago. He had helpers in city hall. It began. How about an update?

I didn't think it made sense to start such a registry for a few reasons. It is an expansion of government. It is not really governement's business. The best benefit was to save a family of 4 some money on city swim pool passes. It would save them $300 over a ten year period.

Nazi Germany used records to hand out yellow, six pointed stars and pink triangles. I'd rather not have those source documents.

I had heard that the registry one year after being formed had six couples listed. But, that's not confirmed, just hear-say. So, I wonder.

Councilman wants audit of fund tapped for parking study

Councilman wants audit of fund tapped for parking study: "Council found the $250,000 in old capital accounts dating to the 1990s. The ICA and Mr. Burgess want to know why the money was just sitting around, what its proper use would be and whether other pots of unused money exist."

Dude, be sure to look in the laundry basket of Doug Shields too.

Coach talks about the next USA opponent, Ghana

Wandering: "African teams are killing me. I am still convinced they have the talent to compete with any team. Ghana and Ivory Coast showed lots of immaturity in not getting the results they needed in their last matches. I respect having a certain style. I understand pride and holding on to certain values. Every athlete dreams off making certain plays and scoring goals in big moments. But at some point all those things need to be put aside, or at least in the right place, to win a match. Ghana was casual and selfish against Australia, they played like they were gonna win just cause they are better. This happens all the time in all sports, but you don’t do it here when you have three matches to qualify."

On Special Education - Education Week

On Special Education - Education Week: "Schools Could Use Guidance on Physical Education for Disabled Kids"

Then go here:!_I_Didn't_Hear_You

Sustain the embrace

Education Week: Study Finds Success in NYC's 'Small Schools' ... a major study of New York City high schools has found that students are more academically successful in smaller, more personal high schools that they choose for themselves than they are in larger, more traditional schools.
Here is the point I'd love to make, "Different strokes for different folks."

We should have some small schools. We should have some big schools. We should have some flavors of schools that are unlike the flavors of others. Even a girls public high school campus would be welcomed -- if the boys had their own all city public boys school campus too.

43rd post at the Pure Reform Blog

"When freedom enters, the slaves are the ones that benefit the most. Yes, the poor get richer."
Bank on it.

I wrote and posted in a thread at the PURE Reform Blog about school choice within Pgh Public Schools so as to make ALL of our high schools magnet schools so as to end all feeder patterns for high schools in the city.

Here is the whole post, placed here, slightly out of context. Sorry about that.

When freedom enters, the slaves are the ones that benefit the most. Yes, the poor get richer.

Same too with "open enrollment."

It is CRAZY to say that the rich will get richer with choice among schools in PPS. CRAZY.

Presently, there is very little balance. Balance isn't the goal anyway. Fight for balance and then find all at the bottom.

BTW, the real rich (as a class) are not in PPS at all.

With this plan, (well, there isn't much to point to in "THIS PLAN" other than to say the end of all feeder patterns for high school students in PPS) ALL the KIDSs are put into good schools. NOBODY will go to crappy schools. Now plenty are forced to go to bad schools and with choice, the bad schools will need to do a better job -- or else die.

There will NOT be a large group of parents who choose to send their kids to NO SCHOOL -- for whatever the reason. Think again.

The REAL nasty cycle that is very hard to end is FORCE. We end force with CHOICE. We end slavery with freedom.

BTW, we do do single race schools in USA -- its often found in suburbia. The dangerous territory is silly talk that makes little sense.

Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable

A Post-Gazette news article featured expert quotes from Catherine, my wife.
Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable

Hearing loss has little to do with the source of the sound and everything to do with the dosage, or the level of the sound and the amount of time spent listening to it, said Catherine Palmer, audiologist and director of UPMC's Center for Audiology and Hearing Aids. MP3 players don't cause hearing loss, and it's not any more dangerous to listen to music from an iPod than it is to listen to music from a stereo or car
speakers, experts said.

'Sound is sound. The ear doesn't care how it got there,' Dr. Palmer explained.

The problem with MP3 players comes when people listen to them for too long at levels that are too high.
The greater the exposure, the greater the chance of hearing loss because it builds up over time, Dr. Palmer said."

Have you checked out the Mount Vernon Statement yet?


We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.
These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people. They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the world. They are our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere.

New Meetup: Tsunami planned after golfers depart Oakmont

From: Mike Cornell <>
Announcing a new Meetup for Pittsburgh Kayakers (ka-"yack"-ers)!

What: Tsunami!

When: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 9:00 AM

Where: Allegheny River, Harmarville

What happens when a huge bridge falls 100' into a river? Tsunami! Gather up your nerve and your sense of adventure for an all-new way to experience a dynamite-packed implosion. Tuesday July 13, the the old PA Turnpike bridge at Harmarville will drop into the Allegheny River like a sack of potatoes, and we'll be there, bobbing on the water, 1000' away, watching it go down!

Bring food and drink, noisemakers, video cameras, marine radios & police scanners, flags, crazy hats, Frisbees & beach balls; it's a goofy event, so come prepared!

We'll launch from Oakmont or Harmarville, no more than a mile away, and then hang out on the river, waiting for the big moment. When will that moment be? I don't know yet, but I assume that the Turnpike will be closed during the implosion, and all Turnpike closures are publicized in advance. Probably mid-day; for safety, they wouldn't do it at night, and they'll probably avoid rush hours. I'll update the listing as I get more information.

Thrills! Spills! Mayhem! Destruction! Isn't THAT worth a day off work?

Learn more here:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Heart Health in PA

American Heart Assn sent this. I've got a reply at the end.
Urge the PA Senate to bring House Bill 816 up for a vote in Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee!
Dear Mark,

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Pennsylvania, killing more people than the next five leading causes of death combined. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and is the leading disabler among adults. Beyond the toll in suffering and death, these two diseases place a tremendous burden our health care system. And yet, Pennsylvania invests ZERO resources to the prevention and treatment of these diseases!

Urge the Senate to take the next steps to support heart health!

The good news is there is a solution to significantly reduce the impact of these diseases through House Bill 816. House Bill 816 would lay the foundation to expand the Heart Disease and Stroke Program at the state level when implementation funds become available. The bill was voted out of the House unanimously in March, but has yet to see movement in the Senate!

Urge the Pennsylvania Senate to bring this bill up for a vote in the Public Health and Welfare Committee to keep the bill moving!

Thank YOU for all you do to help improve the heart health of Pennsylvania!

Jennifer Ebersole, PA Advocacy Director
American Heart Association

Melissa Brown, Grassroots Director
American Heart Association
Isn't an investment into Physical Education in schools count for SOME spending heart health?

Death generally means that one's heart stops beating. Not always, but often. So, it isn't a real shocker (PUN) that failure of heart beating is a leading cause of death.

We need to do plenty more for fitness in PA, of course. Now I'll go find the bill.

Oversight board balks at funding parking study

Oversight board balks at funding parking study

The OVERLORDS speak! Quick, check for a pulse.

Don't pay $250,000 for a study. That's like paying someone to do your homework. How about if members and staffers of city council do their own homework and only took a paycheck for doing their job -- and NOT paying the consultants a nickle.

Canada-based earthquake felt here

Canada-based earthquake felt here: "An earthquake centered in Canada could be felt by some people in the Pittsburgh area this afternoon.
Reports of buildings shaking came from Carlow University in Oakland and from the South Side."
I felt it. No doubt. Felt like the boards on the floor were moving as a football team marched in the next room. No noise, but the gentle wobble of the floor. I was checking my voice mail.

Nobody cares. Now back to your regular World Cup Victory Party Celebration. Cheers and here is to your face paint gets a touch-up soon!

South Africa may bid on Summer Olympic Games

Rogge plans to discuss possible SAfrican bid with President

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- IOC president Jacques Rogge will discuss the possibility of a South African bid for the Olympics when he meets with South African President Jacob Zuma next month.

Read the full story at

Fw: Big Phone. Big Cable. Same $ellout.

From: "Josh Silver," <>

The Wall Street Journal just revealed that the FCC has been convening secret backroom meetings with phone and cable lobbyists to cut a deal on Net Neutrality.
The closed-door meetings have included a small group of lobbyists from AT&T, Verizon and Google. The goal, according to insiders, is to "reach consensus" on rules of the road for the Internet.
This is outrageous. The FCC can’t ignore the public's demand for Net Neutrality and then quietly give control over the Internet to a few massive corporations.
President Obama pledged to "take a back seat to no one" in his support for Net Neutrality. To head the FCC, he appointed Julius Genachowski, the man who crafted his pro-Net Neutrality platform in 2008.
But even after millions of people joined Obama’s call for Net Neutrality, FCC staff is huddling with industry lobbyists in secret to cut a deal that could leave the free and open Internet in jeopardy.
This plot is all too familiar. We've seen it before, during the BP oil disaster and the subprime mortgage meltdown, when government officials put the interests of big business ahead of those of the public.
Now, the same thing is happening to the Internet. We can’t let the one agency tasked with oversight of communications strike secret deals that undermine Net Neutrality.
Sign our letter to President Obama and the FCC to end the secret meetings and guarantee that the public -- including the tens of millions of Americans who use the Internet every day and in every way -- is given a seat at the table.
Thank you,

Josh Silver
President and CEO
Free Press
P.S. Be sure to sign the letter to Obama and the FCC. Then forward this e-mail to your friends in Pennsylvania and share the action via Twitter.
P.S.S. Check out our full-page ad protesting the secret meetings, which ran in today’s Washington Post.

Fw: College Opportunity for students ages 17-20 with a high school diploma or GED

From: Jacqueline Lyde

Dear Friends,
Do you know someone between the ages of 17-20 years old with a high school diploma or GED in Pittsburgh, PA who would like to go to college or could benefit to going to college.  If so please contact Donielle Owen ( and/or Deborah Hayes ( at the the Center for Urban Biblical Ministries.  There are approximately 10 spots available for interested students.  The program starts on July 6th so contact them today!
Please share this information with other groups and organizations for which you are affiliated.
Thank you for your assistance.
God Bless,
Jackie Lyde

Minister Jacqueline Elisa Lyde, M.Div.
Associate Minister and First Lady
Baptist Temple Church
7241 Race Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
(412) 241-1624 - church
I invite you to visit Baptist Temple Church for our Sunday Worship Services at 7:45am and 10:45am!   It is my hope that you will visit with us soon.

Public talk on bikes today at Point Park

Allegheny County will be looking at ways to enhance people powered transportation opportunities over the coming months.

Here's the information you need to participate: If you live, work, study or play in Allegheny County – or even just pass through the County, we encourage you to use your local knowledge to help us make the County a more accommodating place for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and others.

See links below for more information. 

Allegheny County has partnered with PennDOT's Bureau of Public Transportation to develop a comprehensive active transportation plan. The primary objective of the "Active Allegheny" Plan is to accommodate and encourage walking and biking as an integral part, and common means, of getting around Allegheny County.

To receive input from the public, the following public meetings will be held in open house format: 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 4:30—7:30 pm Point Park University Ballroom 201 Wood St., Pittsburgh, PA 

Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:30—7:30 pm Carnegie Borough Building One Veterans Way, Carnegie, PA 
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Public Schools' parents wary of realignment when Peabody closes - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Public Schools' parents wary of realignment when Peabody closes - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Kelly Howze is worried about how her sons will be affected by the Pittsburgh Public Schools' proposed reconfiguration of East End schools.
'We are strictly opposed to it. I don't think our children would survive in Westinghouse,' said Howze, 30, the outgoing president of the Lincoln K-8 parent-teacher organization.
The plan, presented to the school board yesterday, would relocate Pittsburgh Peabody students to Westinghouse High School or Milliones. Milliones, which houses the university preparatory magnet, is a 6-12 school."

My plan would 'fix' this objection. Do not force the kids to go anywhere. Allow the students and families to choose where to attend.

If space is limited in the other schools -- then performance requirements might be necessary too.

If you don't do your homework at Allderdice, and there is a waiting list, then you'll be asked to leave to make room for students who are going to do their assignements.

If you want to get into a popular school and have missed 20 days of school in the 8th grade -- forget it. That school may not need to take you.

One of her sons is a sophomore at Peabody and the other is in seventh grade at Lincoln K-8. "I think it should have been thought out a little better when they forced us into K-8, and now they're turning around in less than five years (and) forcing us into another transition."

People do not like to be 'forced.' People don't like to be yanked around. And, when they see that happen to others, they vote with their feet. They depart. They leave the city. Or, they stay in the city and go to charter or private schools. Or, they don't move into the city.

If we had a new attitude of closing schools only over time and of giving all kids a choice of where to go to school -- the new pittsburgh pledge -- then we'd have hope of seeing more people keep their students within the PPS -- and even some to move here as well.

Some kids at Pittsburgh Obama, headed into grade 11 for the fall of 2010, will have attended three high schools (buildings) in their four years of high school. That's yank, yank, yank. That's reactionary. That's unpleasant.

So, the move to Peabody could occur in the fall of 2012 for their benefit.

And, end feeder patterns.

And, don't allow kids to enter Peabody as 9th graders in the fall of 2010 -- as they'll be another 'lost class.' Phase out the school starting as soon as possible.

End all FEEDER Patterns for High School Students in Pittsburgh

The PPS does not need feeder patterns any more. Let the kids and the families choose the school of their choice, as space permits.
City school board discusses high school reorganization: "Sherry Hazuda echoed Mr. Sumpter's sentiments as she proposed that the board consider extending open enrollment to all schools, which would allow students from any part of the city to attend any school in the city, if they meet the admission requirements."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fw: [kayaking-129] Call for safety boaters - 2010 Search for Monongy1.2 & 2.4-Mile Open Water Swim

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From: Mike Cornell <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 22:28:38 -0400
To: <>
Subject: [kayaking-129] Call for safety boaters - 2010 Search for Monongy 1.2 & 2.4-Mile Open Water Swim

Event: Call for safety boaters - 2010 Search for Monongy 1.2 & 2.4-Mile Open Water Swim
Date: Sunday July 11, 2010 9:00 AM
Location: Heinz Quay (North Shore @ Heinz Field)

OK 'yackers, time to put your paddling skills to work! Our Meetup group is going support an endurance swimming event - the 2010 Search for Monongy 1.2 & 2.4-Mile Open Water Swim. It's put on by the U.S. Masters Swimmers (USMS) Allegheny Mountain Masters chapter here in Pittsburgh. The course runs between Heinz Field and the Clemente Bridge on the Allegheny River. We will be part of the safety crew, monitoring the swimmers, keeping them from going off-course and calling in help if one of them has a problem.

No special skills or gear are required. All you need is your kayak, PFD, paddle, and basic paddling skills. We will meet at Heinz Quay, the same place as we launched for Paddle at the Point. Please arrive at 9:00 AM. This will give us time to stage our gear, and then meet with the safety coordinator for instructions. Swimmers start warming up at 10:00, and the first swimmers are off at 11:00. The last swimmers will be off the water by 1:30. There may be special perks for the safety boaters, details to follow.

I'm an endurance runner. I really appreciate all of the selfless volunteers that come out to support the trail races that I compete in. So I know how much YOU will be appreciated if you can help out for this event.

By the way, what is "Monongy"? Legend has it that Monongy, the man-fish lives in the river. There are records that go as far back as the French and Indian War that describe encounters between British soldiers and strange aquatic creatures. The local Indian tribes referred to this creature as "Monongy". There was even a Monongy craze in the early 1930's through the late 1950's. Sightings occurred on a weekly basis and the police department created a task force whose sole purpose was to investigate sightings of the creature. No evidence was ever produced to lend credence to the claims until May 12, 2003 when a privately owned fishing vessel was the first to take photos of the creature. The photos were available on line for a short time until they were inexplicably taken down. Speculation persists that the government has procured the photographs and are covering up the existence of Monongy. Crypto zoologists from around the world still frequent the Monongahela every year to catch a glimpse of the elusive water beast.

This Meetup listing will be updated as more details come available. I expect our group to have a big turnout, and I'm sure we'll have a great time. Hope to see many of you there!

For the full listing, see

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Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York 10163-4668 |

Fw: [Locals] Final questions?

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-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Clift <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 16:32:36
To: <>
Subject: Re: [Locals] Final questions?

I'd definitely like to hear more experiences about online leading to
greater connections in-person. What works?!

This definitely happens across our network - particularly at the
neighborhood level-, but we really don't know if it is a once a month
rare occurrence or something we could design to make happen more
often. I often contemplate what the "Do Something" button might look
like or what tools we might offer/recommend for small groups to take a
discussion from the forum, get into a small online group, meet in
person or facilitate some lighter time effort mix of MeetingWizard
with FreeConference to make telephone group calls easier to promote
AND then importantly report back to the full forum on their progress,
need for larger group input.

Offline Connected Examples:

1. Community garden group launched from online discussion - interest
discovered online, people met offline many many times and reported
back online from time to time - See our recent webinar for story:

2. Powderhorn Park - Response to violence - No forum is better at
sharing written notes on public/neighborhood meetings. In response to
recent shooting and gang violence, folks used the forum to promote a
number of in-person gathering including some "Talking Circles":

3. Event recruitment - The Experimental College group used our Cedar
Riverside forum to recruit new participants:
They even included a Somali version of their announcement. Someone
with their confirmed with me directly that a handful of new people
came based on the forum posting.

4. Regular gatherings - For the first six months of the rural Cass
Lake Leech Lake forum they had monthly get togethers to chat local
issues and celebrate the birthdays of the month. They even had their
own inaugural ball fostered by the forum:
This participant noted that because of the forum she was interacting
with more non-Native folks since moving to the reservation (this is a
major Native American area) over a decade ago:

5. Park Design Input - We used my neighborhood forum to encourage
people to attend a planning meeting on a new splash pad. When no one
reported the highlights, someone who went did and I tracked down the

Steven Clift -
Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.Org
Follow me -
New Tel: +1.612.234.7072

Steven Clift
Ericsson, Minneapolis
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Commonwealth Foundation - Lay Off the Private Sector with Public Sector Layoffs

Commonwealth Foundation - Lay Off the Private Sector with Public Sector Layoffs

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plans for schools

Hi Mr. Roosevelt:

So, any update on getting our kids into our swim pool this summer?

My insight into the PPS changes for Monday news is:

Do open single gender high schools as distinct campuses and;

Westinghouse H S as an all city PUBLIC boys or girls school makes sense. And then use another building - such as Langley or Gladstone or Oliver or old Schenley or Reizenstein - as the school for the other gender.

Eliminate all feeder patterns for PPS high schools.

Do not force single gender public education nor prohibit other families from around the city to not have the option choose it as an alternative to Central Catholic / Oakland Catholic / Ellis. A forced single gender 6 - 12 is not ideal nor E4All-ish.

Mark Rauterkus

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fw: Taking Back Government, One Politician at a Time!

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Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 09:42:15 -0400
To: Mark Rauterkus<>
Subject: Taking Back Government, One Politician at a Time!

Taking Back Government, One Politician at a Time!
By Debbie Morgan, Staff Writer, Take Back Washington, June 14, 2010  

The early demise of Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Arlin Spector, Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett, the Kentucky victory of Rand Paul and the recently faced run-off of Blanche Lincoln cannot be better news to those of us seeking "change we can believe in."  Many other incumbents are facing increasingly difficult elections this year, as well.  While pundits and other "experts" try to explain what is happening during these ever-increasing rounds of status quo political blows, the people are quite pleased.  The obvious question to those in D.C. is "Can you hear us now!?!"

We-the-People, tired of waking up to more losses of liberty, never wanted this kind of  "change" and are sending a very loud message to the buddy network at the federal level...Protect our rights or get out of our House!  In a recent Washington Post/ABC Poll, only twenty-nine percent of Americans continue to support their present Congressional representatives.  That says a lot about how Americans feel they are being represented (or misrepresented!), as it is an all time low for incumbent support.  Bloomberg is reporting that a late-May Gallup poll shows that sixty percent of those polled would prefer a candidate that has never run before as opposed to the thirty-two percent of people who would like to see someone with at least some legislative experience.   

A Washington Post article states, "This sour mood has made for nervous politicians, as candidates from both parties have tried to figure out what voters want -- and don't want."  Really?  That means that our REPRESENTATIVES are still not listening!  In an effort to enlighten them, let us take a look at a few key things.  

First, what does representative mean?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as standing or acting for another especially through delegated authority, constituting a government in which the many are represented by persons chosen from among them usually by election.  And to represent means to act in the place of or for usually by legal right, to serve especially in a legislative body by delegated authority usually resulting from election.  The first line of the United States Constitution tells representatives whom they will be representing: We-The-People.    

What incumbents need to know is that the people are fed up with their utter lack of representation.  These politicians do not get elected to go to Washington DC so THEY can decide what is best for us and then cram it down our throats.  Let me put it in plain English...Stop deciding for us and just go to DC and protect our rights!  THAT is what we elect and pay you to do!  Is that so hard to understand?   

We know our representatives actually do understand us.  The New York Times reported that Democrats are skipping Town Hall meetings this summer because their constituents are still fuming and they don't want another repeat of last year's devastating get-togethers.  Why would their constituents still be angry?  Because last year's Town Hall meetings saw irate voters livid over the Healthcare debate, and yet, our representatives passed the catastrophic healthcare legislation, anyway.  They can be absolutely sure that we remember their lack of concern for our views.  Now, is that representation?   

The article says that Democratic Party leaders had advised their members to hold "controlled" events, do not engage in unscripted Q&A-type meetings, and get active in the community.  The question for these Congressional representatives is, how are you going to know what the people you represent want you to do for them if you are not going to engage them in conversation?  While a handful of these elected officials said they thought the meetings last year were informative, they are not repeating their Town Hall meetings this year.

So, what happens now?  From the looks of it, the people may get some much-needed new representation in DC.  Incumbents are finding it harder and harder to hold on to their seats, as those who have had enough of their Congressmen and women's do-what-we-will attitude are stepping forth and getting involved.   

The new film, Don't Tread On Me, has become an invaluable tool to educate the masses as to the role government should play in our lives and the duties of our elected officials.  Our country's Founding documents are clear, yet our Congressional representatives continue to let us down.  Congress derives its power to govern from the people, not themselves.  Their duty is simple...Protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies...ALL enemies.  And, for those who may be unsure just who those enemies are, they would be any person or country who would deny us our unalienable right to life, liberty and our pursuit of happiness.  

Just to be sure we understand what we are talking about, let us take a look at a few other important terms.  Liberty, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary means "the quality or state of being free, the power to do as one pleases, freedom from arbitrary or despotic control and the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges."  The root of the word simply means free.  Life, in old English, comes from the word that means to live.  Pursuit means the act of pursuing, and to pursue means to engage in.  The obsolete definition of Happiness may be the most telling.  Happiness used to mean good fortune or prosperity.  The present meaning is still good for our purposes, though; the state of being content...well-being, to experience satisfaction or pleasure.

What does all of this tell us?  It tells us that our Founding Fathers wanted the inhabitants of this new country to have the inherent right to be free to live our life in good fortune and to be able to experience pleasure and satisfaction or enjoyment in our social, political, and economic rights and be content in our free lives.  Simple enough!

We have all heard "Constitutional Experts" and others tell us that the Constitution, along with other founding documents, is unclear with regards to what our rights actually are.  We have heard it over and over again, it just says you have these "rights," these "inalienable rights," that cannot be taken, but they are not defined.  I beg to differ!  The Declaration of Independence clearly states that we are given certain unalienable rights.  What rights?  "That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  The Constitution says in the opening line that it's stated purpose is to "secure the Blessings of Liberty"...To whom?  "To ourselves and our posterity."  How much more clearly can this be made?  

Since our infamous Congressional representatives cannot understand it, how do we achieve this?  Our forefathers laid that out for us, as limiting the central government and retaining as many rights as they could for the State governments and the individual people of the United States.  Where can we find this bit of information?  Don't Tread On Me poignantly points out that this most important information is listed in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights: most especially our Ninth and Tenth Amendment rights.   

I am not Ivy League educated (maybe that is the problem!), but I can tell you this; it took me a couple of afternoons of reading through some of the debates during the writing of the Bill of Rights to understand exactly what our country's framers had in mind for their fellow countrymen and women.  So what was that, exactly?  To have a section of the world's population who is actually free to be happy and pursue their own interests, unencumbered by government intrusion.  This bit of information coincides with the information in Don't Tread On Me, and has brought about a major shift in the consciousness of Americans who are frustrated with the utter lack of their Congressional representation.    

The people are getting it as they are beginning to understand what has gone wrong and what it will take to make our country great again.  They are forming new groups or joining others that have been around for a while.  The Campaign for Liberty, the TEA Party and Restore the Republic comes to mind.  They are getting involved with old groups, all in an effort to make a difference. They are paying attention to alternative news...they are waking up and getting involved!  

In the face of harsh criticism on the federal level, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has promoted legislation that will protect her state against the onslaught of illegal immigrants.  Citing that the Federal Government would do nothing to secure the Arizona/Mexican border, she took matters into her own hands and asserted her state's right to take care of itself.   

In Maine, the Republican Party, at the hands of many dedicated individuals, showed backbone this past May when they rewrote their political platform, returning their State Republican Party to it's Constitutional roots, with an emphasis on retaining its Tenth Amendment rights.  Montana and Tennessee were among the first states to tell the federal government that guns manufactured in their respective states, with parts manufactured in their respective states, and that do not cross state borders, are off limits to federal gun laws.  Many other states followed suit.

Many states, in fact, are seeing the benefit of asserting their Tenth Amendment right to govern in the manner to which they see fit, without federal strangleholds on the issues that their citizens find important. The Tenth Amendment Center reveals that several states are introducing or passing legislation to re-establish the Tenth Amendment on the state level.  From the Firearms debate to Medical Marijuana to Health Freedom to Real ID to Cap and Trade and anything in between, the states are taking charge.   

This election cycle is proving to be a very interesting one, as mainstream politicians are realizing that we do, indeed, want that illusive "change we can believe in" and that we were deadly serious during the Town Hall meetings back in 2009.  Politicians better start representing the people they serve or they will face a loss of their lucrative little political careers or, for the newcomers, they better represent the people who chose them or their political careers will be VERY short-lived.  Let it be known now that we, the people of the United States, will be watching every move you make, and if you plan on representing us, you had better know OUR Constitutional rights and protect them.  After all, that IS what we elect you to do!

End Notes:

Don't Tread On Me

Voters' support for members of Congress is at an all-time low, poll finds  

Lincoln Wins in Arkansas; Angle to Face Nevada's Reid  

All definitions are from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary  

Democrats Skip Town Halls to Avoid Voter Rage  
Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration  

Platform of the Maine Republican Party  

Tenth Amendment Center
3149 Dundee Rd #176
Northbrook, Illinois 60062, USA

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Fw: [Locals] Quality Online Engagement Brainstorm

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-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Clift <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 07:22:12
To: newswire<>; <>
Subject: [Locals] Quality Online Engagement Brainstorm

Very useful list!

From: Susanna Haas Lyons to NCDD-DISCUSSION

Hi folks,

Last weekend at Vancouver Change Camp I hosted a session on what is
good quality online deliberation, inspired by the conversations we're
having here, the upcoming NCDD confab, and my ongoing work to explore
the use of digital engagement tools in public participation. (note, we
used engagement, deliberation and participation interchangeably while
also noting that they are very different things!)

Below are the bullet point notes from our session. Three top take aways:

* good quality online engagement has many of the same qualities of
face to face participation
* incorporate a tool to quantify degree of support (gradients) or
dislike to feed into ongoing participation and offline actions
* the question of anonymity, privacy, and legitimate public
representation are contentious and highly relevant to conveners and
participants (we had lots of discussion but nothing close to
resolution on this one!)


What is good online engagement?

* diversity of opinion and people
* star power, hook, reason to get involved
* ladders of engagement for people to be involved at different
time / commitment levels
* process is designed with end-product in mind; clear focus /
direction for the dialogue
* expectations are clear for how and why to participate, and what
to expect from reporting back / responses by conveners
* Designed technically and in structure for receiving / using input
* well organized, tagged entries to support easy navigation, avoid
duplications and facilitate building on each others' ideas
* set up for ongoing reporting and easy analysis at back end
* time to explore ideas before making decisions
* people feel heard
* good facilitation
* ground rules are clear
* value-add for participants, not just conveners
* collaborative
* low technical barriers to entry
* collaborative tone

How to improve online engagement?

* have tool to quantify degree of support (gradients) or dislike,
to measure feedback and feed into offline actions
* limit anonymity to certain levels of engagement (scale up based
on willingness to ID)
* need to protect privacy if want to identify contributor in some way
* need language that reflects people submitting ideas are not
usually those who are making decisions (dialogue, deliberation,
* use principles of adult learning
* geolocate attendees to ensure their voice should be counted as
reflective of community priorities
* have strategy to drive people to the dialogue
* have meaningful content
* be clear: what is your goal? Is it really dialogue?
* custom settings for privacy?
* Use software to collate input
* can't remove need for facilitator
* ensure the structure is iterative and responsive to the
dialogue, and allows branching
* people using forum should set boundaries for appropriate participation
* remember the digital divide – and that some people distrust govt

Tim Bonnemann Added:

Here's a couple of things I'd really like to explore further (maybe
starting with the upcoming Confab call):

* How can we enable participants to help with some of these
activities (e.g. outreach, learning, facilitation, content
synthesizing etc.)?
* How can we design online processes so as to better support the "low
commitment" participants?

Susanna Haas Lyons
Public Participation Consultant | AmericaSpeaks Network Associate
MA Candidate 2011, Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, UBC
Board Member, Canadian Community for Dialogue & Deliberation

Steven Clift -
Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.Org
Follow me -
New Tel: +1.612.234.7072

Steven Clift
Ericsson, Minneapolis
Info about Steven Clift:

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arts festival spawns free-speech challenge

Arts festival spawns free-speech challenge: "After state rangers at Point State Park recently stopped two Green Party congressional candidates from soliciting petition signatures and twice told a balloon artist that he needed a permit, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote to the state claiming that it was violating First Amendment rights."

Open Bounties

The Documentation project and the Community Council are now offering bounties for some specific Development documentation projects. These bounties will cover tasks from collecting and sorting development information and documentation, to producing and publishing documentation detailing how you can contribute as an developer.

For more information on what bounties are available and how you can apply for a bounty, please visit
Need a summer job?

Southpointe sport fields fill growing local need

Nice for the suburban kids. Meanwhile, in the city, we get what?
Southpointe sport fields fill growing local need: "With World Cup mania at a fever pitch this week, local entrepreneur Matt Giglotti is thrilled that he decided to take the leap and start his own soccer-related business six months ago.

Mr. Giglotti, 32, of South Fayette, opened the Southpointe Fieldhouse in December after he saw the need for a large, indoor practice field to accommodate the burgeoning number of local soccer and lacrosse teams.

'There was nothing like this in the Pittsburgh area,' said Mr. Giglotti, a longtime boys lacrosse coach and former lacrosse player at Upper St. Clair High School and Penn State University."

East end invite.

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-----Original Message-----
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 13:12:20
To: Tom Kawczynski<>
Subject: East end article

Join us for the East End Partnership Focus Group

Thise that live in the East End of Pittsburgh are invited to a discussion about what your neighborhood and community. Please join us for the East End Partnership Focus GroupProject. They want to hear what you have to say to get a sharper picture of how residents feel about the East End and how they identify themselves within the larger fabric of the neighborhoods. Seeking a diverse group of people who have something to say; all are welcome and encouraged. All races/ethnicities, ages, genders, and property holders (business owners, property owners, and renters) are expected.

The focus group will be held at the Penn Fairmont Apartment's 1st floor conference room (5461 Penn Avenue) at 6 pm on June 30 and July 1, 2010.

Food and refreshments to be provided. Contact Rebecca Adelsheim at 412-441-6147 x1 or if interested in participating. The East End Partnership of Pittsburgh promotes more livable communities in Pittsburgh's East End through collaborative planning, programming, and investment. The Partnership is an alliance of non-profit community organizations that work in the East End neighborhoods of Bloomfield, East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, and Lawrenceville.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fw: [FTL-Updates] Thinking Liberty Interviews Mark and Ian

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-----Original Message-----
From: Free Talk Live <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2010 19:44:37
To: FTL-Updates<>
Subject: [FTL-Updates] Thinking Liberty Interviews Mark and Ian

Last night we joined Bile, Tennyson, Bosco, and Darian on their show,
"Thinking Liberty" for an interview. Hear it here:

Also, Thinking Liberty is the newest show in our lineup on the Liberty
Radio Network, at http://LRN.FM Visit their website at

Thanks for listening!

Want to help FTL? AMP at and shop with us at !

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Swimming skills lacking in minority communities | SCNow

Swimming skills lacking in minority communities | SCNow: "Their hair. Their skin. They weren’t allowed. They can’t. They’re black.
There are many reasons — some stereotypical, others downright untrue — for the disparity between blacks and other cultures when it comes to the ability to swim.
A 2010 study conducted by the University of Memphis found that 70 percent of black children have no or very low swimming abilities compared with 40 percent of white children.
And it’s not only African-Americans. The study shows as many as 58 percent of Hispanic children have little or no swimming abilities.
Not knowing how to swim is not a recreational issue, but one of safety, said Sue Anderson, director of programs and services for USA Swimming, who commissioned the university’s swimming study.

USA Swimming partnered with black Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones to offer the Make A Splash program, which aims to reduce the risk of drowning among minority children.

Statistics show three times more minorities drown than Caucasians, she said.

“Our whole thing is messaging. The first thing is making people aware that this is a huge issue. It’s sort of a silent epidemic,” she said. “Seventy percent — that’s seven out of 10.”

Lack of swimming skills among blacks is well known in the African-American community. But what isn’t widely known are the real reasons why.

Until the 1970s, many public pools were segregated and there were few or no ample facilities for blacks.

“I think we can definitely look back to a time in our history where minorities weren’t welcomed at swimming pools,” Anderson said. “And the best place to learn how to swim is in a pool. I think we have to look back and say, ‘What about all those years minorities weren’t welcomed at swimming pools?’”

Now that there are swimming pools available to everyone, there are still generations within families of people who don’t know how to swim.

Black and Hispanic children are six times more likely to be members of a family with no swimmers, according to the study.

“You can say that’s cultural, but it’s mostly because the parent’s never learned to swim, and so it keeps repeating itself,” Anderson said. “If you don’t teach your children how to swim, your grandchildren are at risk of drowning.”

Children with parents who don’t know how to swim often don’t get enrolled in swimming lessons, she said.

In white communities, it is customary and considered the norm for children to take swimming lessons, Anderson said. This, she said, is one of the reasons for the disparity between the groups.

But there are signs the tide is turning, Anderson said. USA Swimming works with competitive minority teams in Detroit, Anderson said.

Many of the team members have parents who cannot swim, but yet those same parents allow their children to take swimming lessons, she said.

“That was sort of bucking the trend, which is awesome. But I said, ‘You need to go talk to your brothers and sisters and your neighbors and make sure their kids can swim,’” Anderson said. “Parental encouragement is hugely important. Most kids don’t bring themselves to a pool for swimming lessons.”

Florence resident Josie Little doesn’t know how to swim, but has enrolled her 7- and 3-year-old children in swimming lessons at the Florence Family YMCA.

“I’ve tried swimming lessons as a child, but I always feared the water, so when I had my son, I felt the need for him to learn how to swim, just in case there’s a problem and I can’t save him. I want him to be able to take care of himself,” she said.

Statistics show fear is the main reason why many minorities never learn to swim.

“I think about (learning to swim) every summer, I’m looking at my son and I’m really impressed,” Little said. “I don’t know of too many African-Americans that can truly, truly swim in water.”

Anderson said there are other reasons besides fear, such as cost and pool availability and even hair, which many black women said is a huge factor.

In the study, many African-American’s said they never learned to swim because of their hair and skin.

Florence resident Krystle White, an African-American, agrees with the study’s findings.

“For black women, it’s not as easy. When we get our hair wet, it’s a long process … a lot of us don’t like going through that,” White said.

Sherry R. Bess, a hair stylist and cosmetology instructor, said many of her black clients have expressed concerned over swimming and their hair. Many black women choose to use a chemical process, called a relaxer or perm, to straighten their naturally tight curls.

“The chlorine and the relaxer don’t agree,” she said. “It can lead to dryness in the hair and damage.”

Each person’s hair is different, but spending just a few hours in a pool can adversely affect relaxed hair, Bess said. Taking regular swims will most certainly damage hair, she added.

“If you swim every day, you won’t have any hair to worry about,” White said

Bess said many black women believe exposure to water or sweat will cause the relaxer to leave their hair and their curls to return.

“I don’t know where that information comes from. You can’t sweat it out. Once it’s in there, it’s in there,” she said. “Some clients ask me after they get a relaxer when they can shampoo their hair. I tell them you can shampoo your hair today if you like. Your relaxer isn’t going anywhere.“

African-Americans who swim with their natural curls and no chemicals still have their own battle to fight.

Using flat irons and blow dryers daily to straighten curls after a swim is damaging, Bess said.

“I wouldn’t recommend applying heat daily. That’s like sitting out in the sun with no sunscreen. It’s too much heat,” she said.

Many blacks believe their hair is “different” from that of whites and somehow more delicate.

In general, that’s not the case, Bess said.

“Hair is hair. It’s all in how you take care of it,” she said. “If you want your hair to do right by you, you have to do right by your hair.”

Chlorine is no friend to hair, period, no matter the race, and it must be removed as soon as possible after swimming by washing, Bess said.

Many black women find this time-consuming and difficult, as many are in the habit of just washing their hair once a week, she said.

“I have clients who wash their hair every two weeks, and that’s really stretching it,” Best said. “Caucasians wash their hair every day and I recommend that my clients wash their hair twice a week.”

Bottom line, Bess said, if you swim, you must wash the chlorine from your hair, preferably with a shampoo and conditioner designed to remove chlorine.

No matter the reason, it is important for all children and adults to be taught how to swim from a certified swim instructor.

USA Swimming has partnerships with many agencies cross the country to bring reduce-cost swimming lessons to communities.

For more information on swimming safety, visit , and for more information on Make a Splash, visit
This summer, again, I'll be teaching swimming at the Kingsley Association. We'll be making swimmers out of people!

Time for a dip in the pool.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Work to begin on E. Liberty Target

Work to begin on E. Liberty Target: "The URA supplied $14.1 million for site development, including a $10 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loan and a $2 million HUD grant."

Pittsburgh councilwoman pushes revised capital spending plan

Have you ever put on a seldom worn sports coat or pair of slacks and found a $20 bill in your pocket that you didn't know was there?

That is a nice feeling.

What Pittsburgh city council does is not the same. Different feeling for the taxpayers. Different outcome for our governement. Different flavor of folly for the day.
Pittsburgh councilwoman pushes revised capital spending plan: "In a classic example, council recently decided to pull $250,000 from capital accounts dating back to the 1990s to fund a study of the city's parking assets.
Ms. Rudiak said her bill would establish a 'reconciliation committee' to periodically review capital accounts and redirect unspent funds to the general fund or other capital projects."

Fw: [school-discuss] Free Technology Academy Announcement: "Study Programme 2011 published and registrations open"

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

-----Original Message-----
From: Franco Iacomella <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 03:37:34
To: <>
Subject: [school-discuss] Free Technology Academy Announcement: "Study Programme 2011 published
and registrations open"

FTA Announcement #7: "Study Programme 2011 published and registrations open"

The Free Technology Academy does not only continue after the initial
period supported by the EC's Lifelong Learning Programme, we also
expand the number of courses available! We hope to keep growing and
are working towards a complete International Masters Programme. In
this newsletter the tentative programme for 2011, our discount
policies, news on the fascinating lecture by Jon 'maddog' Hall and an
introduction to our future plans.

== 1. FTA Programme 2011 ==

The Free Technology Academy offers three rounds of courses in 2011.
Registrations for these courses are now open! The programme is
tentative and subject to changes. Should a module be cancelled by the
FTA, tuition fees will of course be fully refunded. In the following
list you will find all the courses available:

 * The Concepts of Free Software & Open Standards
 * GNU/Linux Basic
 * GNU/Linux Advanced
 * Free Software Utilities
 * Network Technologies
 * Web Applications
 * Software Development
 * Implementation of Free Software and Case Studies
 * Economic Aspects of Free Software
 * Legal Aspects
 * Software Architecture
 * Assessment of Free Software Projects (Quality Metrics)
 * Free Software in Public administrations
 * Software Engineering in Free Software Environments

For the full details, including trimester starting dates, please

== 2. Discounts available! ==

To facilitate the participation of a great number of students, we
offer a range of discounts that are described below:

 * Course Package deal:
register now for at least 3 courses of the 2011 programme and you get
1 course fee waived for a course in 2010 (for the third trimester,
i.e. from September till December 2010). We appreciate it if you
already commit to follow FTA courses next year and in return we offer
you this special package deal. We hope you like it!

 * Early bird registration:
10% discount for registrations up to 2 months before the scheduled
start of the FTA 2011 courses.
If you want to participate in the third run of 2010, you can register
now and receive 25% discount on available courses: "The Concepts of
Free Software and Open Standards", "Legal aspects of the Information
Society" and "Network Technologies". The discount counts for completed
registrations up to 2 months before the scheduled start of each

Notice that different discounts are not cummulative. See for more
details the General Conditions:

== 3. Jon 'maddog' Hall lecture and interview ==

The famous Jon 'maddog' Hall recently popped in and gave a really
interesting lecture for the FTA students. Now we present the lecture
to you and anyone is able to watch it and re-use it.

Jon 'maddog' Hall is the Executive Director of Linux International, a
non-profit organisation of computer vendors who wish to support and
promote Linux-based operating systems. The nickname 'maddog' was given
to him by his students at Hartford State Technical College, where he
was the Department Head of Computer Science. He now prefers to be
called by this name. According to Hall, his nickname "came from a time
when I had less control over my temper".
The video lecture is available to watch and download from our site,
under a Creative Commons BY-ND-NC 3.0 license. You can access the
material by visiting:

We have also published an interview with Jon in which he
gives us his opinions on the "Open Source" term, Free Software
specialists, markets and the future. Read it and spread it!

== 4. Working towards a complete International Master Programme ==

The FTA has as a long term goal to offer a complete International
Master Programme in Free Software. For that purpose it has recently
set up a taskforce with representatives from Universitat Oberta de
Catalunya, Open Universiteit Netherlands, Universitat Rey Juan Carlos,
University of Agder and the Free Knowledge Institute. The study
programme for 2011 has been established in collaboration with the
taskforce and forms an important step towards a complete programme.
See for more information:

== 5. About the Free Technology Academy ==

A Consortium formed by the Open University of Catalonia (Spain), the
Open University of the Netherlands and the University of Agder
(Norway) and led by the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI), the FTA has
received the support from the EC's Lifelong Learning Programme to set
up an international educational programme on Free Software. The
courses are taught completely online in a virtual campus based on the
Campus Project interoperability framework.
Following the Open Educational Resources movement, all learning
materials are freely available through the Internet. The use of Free
Software (also referred to as Open Source software or Libre Software)
is rapidly expanding in governmental and private organisations.
However, still only a limited number of ICT professionals, teachers
and decision makers have sufficient knowledge and expertise in these
new fields. The Free Technology Academy aims to address this gap by
providing high level courses that fit into larger Master Programmes at
the participating universities.

 * More information:
 * Contact information:
 * Digital version: