Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pittsburgh councilman seeks task force for South Side problems

Pittsburgh councilman seeks task force for South Side problems: "Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus this morning called for a task force to bring order to the South Side's party scene."

There is a task force already, Mr. Kraus. It is called GOVERNMENT. There is the City of Pittsburgh Police. Then there is BBI, Breau of Building Inspection. Plus there is the PA State Police and even city council itself.

The South Side party scene isn't the place for 'order.' Rather, it is a party. It is organic. It is government that needs to be tamed and turned into something positive. Government needs to be ordered to do its duty for the sake of public safety.

The Mayor doesn't need to take a hands on role. Nor does Big Ben. The hands on role is that of the police, parking enforcement, the LCB and even bar owners and business owners and their hired entities for clean up and such.

'Chasing 3000' arrives in Pittsburgh Friday

'Chasing 3000' arrives in Pittsburgh Friday: "Pittsburgh Filmmakers will open 'Chasing 3000' at the Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Ave., on Friday. The movie is about a road trip two brothers take in 1972 to witness Roberto Clemente's 3000th hit."

This looks like a fun movie.

Also on Friday night, they are trying to get a game of water polo at Woodland Hills. Arrive at 2:30 pm.

Sold em down the river.

Announcing a new Meetup for Pittsburgh Kayakers (ka-"yack"-ers)!

What: Ohio River Paddle & LST Ship Tour

When: Saturday, September 4, 2010 8:00 AM

Where: Westhall Street launch
2030 Westhall Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Come with us on Saturday for a rare opportunity to tour a World War II ship on the water in Pittsburgh! The LST (Landing Ship, Tank) was used to transport tanks, trucks and soldiers to beach landings in such battles as the D-Day invasion at Normandy and the battle for Okinawa. The 382'-long ship could hold 20 tanks. The ship is now a floating museum based in Evansville, Indiana, and is coming to Pittsburgh for a week.

Can a ship that big actually travel to Pittsburgh? Yes. more than 250 of the LST's were BUILT in Pittsburgh, at Dravo Corporation on Neville Island and American Bridge Company at Ambridge. They all sailed down the same river, and through the same locks, that LST-325 is sailing right now. The LST will dock at Clemente Park, between Heinz Field and the Ft. Duquesne Bridge.

We'll meet at the kayak launch at the end of Westhall Street on the North Side, next to Western Pentientiary. Please arrive a little early so we can get on the water at 8:00. A 3-mile paddle will take us up the Ohio to our landing spot at Heinz Field. We'll then carry our kayaks approx. 500', where we'll leave them in the grass adjacent to the ship. The cost of the tour is $10, which goes towards the ship's operation and restoration.

Yes, it's a holiday weekend, but we should be back before lunchtime. I hope many of you can squeeze this into your schedule!

RSVP to this Meetup:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hot days -- no school!

It is wonderful to NOT have school as the days are so hot. They're talking 90-degrees out there. We're going to the siwm pool this evening.

Lump camp rocks!

Erik slept like he had jet lag or something.

I had a great meeting today. Welcome to Pittsburgh Jake House. He helped to lead a meeting among a task force to reform athletics in Pittsburgh Public Schools. It was a most productive meeting. Everyone was there, even the union rep.

I did ask that someone from either the Mayor's office or else Citiparks be put onto the committee. That's one everyone that is still not at the table. But, this is still a great time to get their engagement.

Last night we attended a great welcome part for the new graduate students. The old and the new are in town and getting ready for another big year.

Lifeguard shortage shuts Mt. Lebanon pool

Lifeguard shortage shuts Mt. Lebanon pool: "Mt. Lebanon's swimming pool was closed today because of a shortage of lifeguards.
The municipality announced season passes will be accepted at Dormont Pool."

Exclusive: Obama to widen sanctions on North Korea | Reuters

Exclusive: Obama to widen sanctions on North Korea | Reuters President Barack Obama on Monday plans to impose fresh financial sanctions on North Korea by blocking the assets of three North Korean state-owned entities and one North Korean citizen, a U.S. official said.
Thanks President Obama for doing this hostile act against another nation and its people after our son has returned from visiting South Korea.

But, the sactions are punishments for an event that happened on March 26, 2010. That's a half-year ago. Not so fresh. And, it is a good thing to not act more swiftly as a full review of the situation from March was conducted and it stated that the North Korean's are NOT to blame for the sinking of the South Korean war ship. Go figure. North Korea denies responsibility. They say they didn't do it. The US President is the bully now, even worse than it has been.

President Obama, don't escalate to war.

The U.S. official said Obama was expected to sign an executive order widening the scope of existing U.S. sanctions -- which can now be imposed on entities involved in Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs

Under the order, the United States will now be able to target U.S. assets of entities that support North Korean trade in conventional arms and luxury goods, currency counterfeiting and narcotics trafficking, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity..

Perhaps, some defense contractor got in the mini sub and shot the torpedo so as to get additional contracts and get rich in the process. Some people make money off of war. Some people are bad.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

t r u t h o u t | Body Scanners in Courtroom, on Street, Continue to Raise Privacy Concerns

t r u t h o u t | Body Scanners in Courtroom, on Street, Continue to Raise Privacy Concerns: "'TSA is not being straightforward with the public about the capabilities of these devices,' said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Washington, DC-based EPIC. 'This is the Department of Homeland Security subjecting every US traveler to an intrusive search that can be recorded without any suspicion - I think it's outrageous.'"

Friday, August 27, 2010

We got a convoy -- to IUP for Saturday AM

Thanks to some gracious parents and ambitions on the part of the kids, swimmers and water polo players, it looks like our convoy of cars will wiggle out of Pittsburgh from many different locations and pass the road construction in the east and south -- and have ourselves a few water polo games at IUP on Saturday vs. the N.J. Prep School.

Thanks folks.

I think our team is set with only a few loose ends.

If you need a ride, speak up or get one!

City League preview: Title up for grabs

City League preview: Title up for grabs: "Schenley -- The defending City League champion must rebuild its offensive line, but coach Jason Bell has some talented skill-position players. De'Andre Black, who had 11 TDs last year at quarterback, will play running back, receiver and quarterback."

Fw: [Locals] 10 Must-Read Sites for Hyper-Local Publishers

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Clift <clift@e-democracy.org>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 07:56:20
To: <news-online@groups.dowire.org>; <locals@forums.e-democracy.org>; Journalism That Matters<jtmlist@googlegroups.com>
Reply-To: locals@forums.e-democracy.org
Subject: [Locals] 10 Must-Read Sites for Hyper-Local Publishers


From: MediaShift Idea Lab <interactive@pbs.org>
Date: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 7:20 AM
Subject: MediaShift Idea Lab
To: clift@publicus.net

MediaShift Idea Lab <http://www.pbs.org/idealab/>

10 Must-Read Sites for Hyper-Local

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 11:05 AM PDT

Here at NowSpots <http://nowspots.com> we're developing a new advertising
platform that will let local publishers sell and publish real-time ads on
their sites. In my last post here on MediaShift Idea
I explained why real-time ads are a better business model for hyper-local
bloggers and local publishers than AdSense or existing display ad solutions.

Since winning a 2010 Knight News Challenge award to kickstart development of
our new platform, we've been busy meeting with publishers to learn more
about their needs and problems. We've also been busy reading up on what's
happening in the hyper-local publishing space. This week I'm going to share
with you 10 sites I read on a regular basis for news, commentary, and
context about business models for hyper-local bloggers and local publishers.
At the end of the post are links to subscribe to them through RSS or to
follow them on Twitter.
Top Ten

*1. MediaGazer <http://mediagazer.com>*

MediaGazer is a semi-automated aggregator for media news. It's a
dead-simple, one-page site that lists the day's top media headlines from
around the web alongside links to related coverage. What's great about
MediaGazer is that their algorithm makes sure they get just about everything
interesting each day, while their editorial touch makes sure the front page
is always interesting. Not every story on MediaGazer pertains to the local
news game, but anything good that does will be there.

*2. Nieman Journalism Lab <http://www.niemanlab.org/>*

The Nieman Journalism Lab <http://www.niemanlab.org> is a blog covering
journalism's efforts to figure out its future. Moreso than any other blog on
the web, they are squarely focused on introducing new examples of "the new
news" and figuring out what they might lead to. My only complaint is that I
wish they'd post more. Just about everything they run is in my wheelhouse as
a news startup guy.

*3. Lost Remote <http://www.lostremote.com/>*

Lost Remote is focused on "hyper-local news, neighborhood blogs, and local
journalism startups." Originally started by MSNBC.com's Cory Bergman, it is
now edited by Steve Safran. Anything interesting that happens in the local
news space that could impact hyper-local bloggers shows up here. Lost Remote
is the TechCrunch of hyper-local bloggers. A must read.

*4. Local Onliner <http://localonliner.com/>*

Peter Krasilovsky's Local Onliner blog is a repository of analysis pieces on
the future of local online publishing that he writes for the Kelsey Group
blog. As a vice president at BIA/Kelsey, where he works on local online
commerce, Krasilovsky's perspective on hyper-local news, geo-targeted
advertising and the like is worth a look for anyone who wants to understand
the business behind local publishing.

*5. Mashable's local section <http://mashable.com/tag/local/>*

Uber-blog Mashable devotes a post or two each month to the local space, and
its coverage is picking up with the rise of group-buying sites such as
Groupon and location-based social networks such as Foursquare and GoWalla. I
filter down to just posts tagged "local" to sidestep the never-ending
onslaught of headlines about Twitter.

*6. Local SEO Guide <http://www.localseoguide.com/>*

Local SEO is a sharp blog from Andrew Shotland, an SEO consultant who
specializes in local. Every hyper-local blogger needs to be aware of how
findable their content is through search. Shotland's blog offers detailed
rundowns of topics such as why sites like Yelp do so well in
can help you better connect with readers through local search.

*7. Hyperlocal Blogger <http://www.hyperlocalblogger.com/>*

Matt McGee's Hyperlocal Blogger pulls together the latest news coverage of
the hyper-local blogging space and publishes regular commentary on issues
affecting neighborhood bloggers. For instance, McGee recently responded to
the news<http://www.hyperlocalblogger.com/philly-bloggers-feeling-overtaxed/>that
the city of Philadelphia is requiring city bloggers to buy a Business
Privilege License for $300.

*8. Chicago Art Magazine Transparency

A bit of a hidden gem, this series of blog posts by Chicago Art
Magazine's<http://chicagoartmagazine.com/>Kathryn Born covers a seven
month period in late 2009 during which she
launched a collection of websites focused on the Chicago art scene. In these
posts, which carry a bit of a confessional tone, she discusses how hard it
is to sell ads to local galleries, and her philosophy on creating quick
content for the web. They're a great recounting of the trials and
tribulations of starting a hyper-local web publication, and every
hyper-local blogger should read them.

*9. MediaShift Idea Lab <http://www.pbs.org/idealab/>*

The blog you're reading right now has been a favorite of mine ever since I
started Windy Citizen <http://windycitizen.com> in 2008. I love the site for
its great think-pieces about the future of news and updates from Knight News
Challenge winners. We're excited to have a spot of our own now, and we still
drop by regularly to see what's new. For hyper-local bloggers interested in
new ideas about the space, this should be a regular stop.

*10. eMedia Vitals <http://emediavitals.com/>*

eMedia Vitals has an old-school name and takes an old-school approach to
covering tactics and strategies for growing your digital business. Editor
(and co-founder of TechicallyPhilly.com <http://technicallyphilly.com>) Sean
Blanda turned me onto the site at SXSW last year and I've since found their
analysis to be relevant to people working in the local news space.
OPML File and Twitter List

These are the sites I'm reading on a regular basis to keep up with what's
happening in the hyper-local space. I'm sure you may have a few favorites of
your own that I omitted. If so, feel free to share them with me in the
comments below or via Twitter (I'm @bradflora <http://twitter.com/bradflora>

I've created an OPML file that you can import to add the feeds for all these
sites to Google Reader. You can find it

And if you prefer reading your news through Twitter, I've created a list
over on the NowSpots Twitter account <http://twitter.com/nowspots> that you
can follow to add these folks to your Twitter feed. You can find it

Happy reading!
You are subscribed to email updates from MediaShift Idea
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe
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Steven Clift
Ericsson, Minneapolis
Info about Steven Clift: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/stevenclift

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The last year for some -- Sorta like FOURTH DOWN for THREE

Three teams in the city league sports are going to go away next year: Schenley, Peabody and Westinghouse. All three are sure to be gone. So, this is the last year for them on the gridiron.

Oliver is a question. That school gets a major change, so it might be able to have a football team. Time will tell.

The P-G sports has a run-down of all the area teams on its web site now. Lsst year, Schenley won it all in a double overtime game against Oliver. This year's league play looks to be interesting.

Stay safe out there. Enjoy the new field at Cupples Stadium.

Predictions, anyone?

I say that teams that score the most points have the best chance of winning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fw: First Tee Coach Training

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: Firstteepitt@aol.com
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2010 15:21:46 EDT
To: <firstteepitt@aol.com>
Subject: First Tee Coach Training

Dear TFTP Friends,


Our chapter will be hosting two coach trainings, noted below.  Please share this with any friends or colleagues who may be interested in volunteering as a First Tee coach.  We also welcome board members and others who are interested in learning more about our program.


If you have previously had a Level I training you are welcome to register for Level II.  These sessions are free and there is no obligation.




Marc Field


Tuesday August 31st from 6 to 8:30 pm TFTP will be hosting a Level I training.

The purpose of Level I training is to better understand the Life Skills curriculum and The First Tee Coach Philosophy.  


Level I training is for all TFTP Members that haven't participated in a training previously as well as anyone interested in learning more on ins and outs of TFTP. 


Wednesday September 1st from 6 to 8:30 pm TFTP will be hosting a Level II Training.

Level II training is conducted for all TFTP members that have participated in Level I training and have coached at least 1 season.   

This Level II training will focus on the Empowering Youth building blocks and Continuous Learning.  (please bring your clubs)


Please RSVP to Eric Amato as soon as possible.

Finger foods and beverages will be provided.




Eric Amato

Director of Golf and Instruction




The First Tee of Pittsburgh is a United Way Donor Choice Agency. 

You may direct your United Way contribution to #1436656


Marc Field
Executive Director
The First Tee of Pittsburgh
5370 Schenley Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(412) 682-2403
(412) 682-2405 (Fax)


The First Tee of Pittsburgh is a United Way Donor Choice Agency.
You may direct your United Way contribution to #1436656

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Reveille - Swimmers volunteer with NBC’s ‘School Pride’

Daily Reveille - Swimmers volunteer with NBC’s ‘School Pride’: "“This semester we are going to pair with an elementary school close to campus,” Spears said. “Each swimmer will go there two times a month for an hour to read and mentor to the same kid for a whole semester.”"

Out of the pool: Philadelphia swim club faulted for bias

Out of the pool: Philadelphia swim club faulted for bias: "Since July, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has been investigating whether a private suburban Philadelphia swim club disinvited 56 minority kids from using its pool after some members of the all-white club complained.
This week, the commission released a report that won't be celebrated at the Valley Club in Montgomery County. The 33-page report identifies 'racial animus' and 'racially coded comments' by some members as probable cause for why the club revoked a contract with the Creative Steps Inc. day camp and returned its $1,950 payment after one visit.
The investigators recommended that the club pay a $50,000 civil penalty for discrimination, reimburse the family of the child whose parents filed the complaint for expenses and legal fees incurred and provide racial sensitivity training for the club's board members."

Speakers debate future of Civic Arena

I got my photo in the paper, standing in the background of this shot.
Speakers debate future of Civic Arena: "Nearly 50 people had their say over the future of the Civic Arena today, but in the end no clear consensus emerged as to whether the silver-domed landmark should stay or go."

Churn, baby, churn. That's all they offer.

Progress is 1 + 1 = 2.

Non progress is +1 - 1 = same.

Where is the promised "practice ice" that the Penguins want? Hey, let's use the Civic Arena as a practice ice.

Penguins, real penguins, are great parents. They treat their offspring with great care and loads of attention. Pittsburgh should be known as a great place to parent. And the Civic Arena, as a new civic center, can be a proud parenting place. We can go there to celebrate high school graduations. We can go there to watch high school scholastic sports, from basketball to ice hockey. We can go there with our kids and see "The Wiggles" -- so that there is a low-overhead venue, unlike the Peterson Event Center where the tickets are $77 each. I'm not that into The Wiggles at $77 per ticket.

Tractor pulls, monster truck events, circus acts, dirt-bike shows, and staging areas for G-20 whatnot can happen at the Civic Arena -- where we don't need to worry much about the leather seats and there is no demand for luxery box seating.

There are plenty of different uses for the 3 acres that presently occupy the civic arena footprint that are beyond what David Moorhouse can imagine.

The SEA board is like the hired real estate broker that the property owners employ to supervise the assets. The owner is the people, the public. The asset is much like an apartment in that a tennant can't move out of the rented space and tell the owner that the former space rented and occupied by the old tennant must be torn down. That's crazy. That's what Moorehouse thinks should be done. If the real estate broker, something that Wayne Fontana knows about, does not do a good job, -- then the owners are going to fire them. Senator Fontana knows a pinch about being a landlord as he hung out in office were business was done in the past. Perhaps he can make history by being such a poor stewart so as to give the ex-tennant the deed to the property after moving out.

The Penguins are done with the Civic Arena. They've moved on. Fine. But we have not said it is time to destroy the arena, the Penguins said it. We want to keep the Civic Arena. We want to put the asset to good use in the future. We want to take our kids and their kids there.

The Penguins don't want the Civic Arena around because it detracts from the value of the Consol Energy Park -- as they think a victory comes from subtraction. That's more crazy thought.

The Civic Arena can be a practice ice for the Pens.

The Civic Arena can be a place for over-flow crowds as the Pens hold community celebrations that expand beyond the walls of the Concol Energy Center.

The Civic Arena can be a place to go to watch Pens AWAY GAMES.

The Civic Arena can be a place to go to high school graduations, and other less important but still necessary community events. The Pens can collect money from parking, meals and entertainment for the patrons not directly associated with season tickets.

There are many hockey nights in Pittsburgh, but every night isn't a hockey night. And, some of those nights, days, mornings and even while hockey nights are in progress can be civic times at other places.

Fw: Pennsylvania voters deprived of choice in November

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: doug_leard@juno.com
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 17:34:37 -0500
To: <mark@rauterkus.com>
Subject: Pennsylvania voters deprived of choice in November

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) candidates forced from ballot
Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109
For Immediate Release: August 23, 2010
Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) at Media-Relations@lppa.org or
Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS / chair@lppa.org

Harrisburg, PA –  Marakay Rogers, Kat Valleley and Doug Jamison wanted to run for state-wide office on the Libertarian Party ticket.  They wanted to give Pennsylvania voters more choices in the election.

They collected 25,033 signatures to comply with Pennsylvania’s immense ballot access requirements so their names could appear on the ballot.  That’s 23,033 more than are required for Republican and Democratic state candidates.

Republican and Democratic power brokers do not want ballot choice for Pennsylvania voters and challenged the signatures of all third-party and independent state-wide candidates.

Marakay, Kat and Doug wanted to fight the challenge. They traveled to Harrisburg to fight the challenge.  In 2004 and 2006, the courts assessed over $80,000 in fees to a candidate who lost a ballot access challenge.   This year, our lawyer estimated these fees would run between $92,000 and $106,000. Using this leverage, the power brokers offered a deal – drop your efforts to be on the ballot and avoid exorbitant challenge fees or continue to fight and face the risk of fees that could easily lead to personal bankruptcy.  The potential cost of a loss was too great.  After deliberation, our candidates withdrew.
The Libertarian Party candidates are not alone. The old-party power brokers have used the signature-challenge process to remove all of the alternative statewide candidates who successfully filed to appear on the November 2010 ballot. 

Though the challenge provision of the election code has been in place since 1937, it was not used to remove a statewide candidate from the November ballot until 2004. Since then, the challenge has become standard operating procedure for the old parties.

Marakay Rogers, candidate for Governor, said "This type of dealing may signal the end of third-party campaigning in Pennsylvania, except for the rich or the brave.  Anyone can file a challenge and then threaten to clobber their opponent with outrageous and unaffordable legal fees that started accumulating long before any actual hearing.  Even for someone who does believe they have enough valid signatures after a challenge, the threat of the fees assessed is enough to force you to back out just in case you might not win."

Added U.S. Senate candidate, Doug Jamison, “I, and my fellow state-wide candidates, will continue our efforts as write-in candidates. At the same time, this challenge has effectively disenfranchised the great citizens of this commonwealth from their fundamental right of the democratic process of selecting the best candidate.”

LPPa Chair Michael Robertson concluded “"The unlevel playing field that alternative party and independent candidates face to be included on the Pennsylvania ballot has turned into a wall. We are calling on the General Assembly to tear down that wall, and allow the voters of the commonwealth the choices they deserve."

The LPPa has strongly endorsed the Voters’ Choice Act, or SB 252, which was introduced by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon).  The bill would equalize ballot access across all parties, not just the Democrats and Republicans.  Unfortunately, the bill has been sitting in committee for over a year, with little indication that it will be passed before the end of the year.

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 www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information.

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Value added

Value added: "When I think back on my days at college, I rarely, if ever, look at the nice diploma I was given at Westminster College. Instead, I reflect mostly on the lessons learned outside the classroom.
It's a difficult thing for most college presidents to admit, but a large part of a college education has nothing to do with professors, computers, social media or ivy. Much of how we prepare ourselves for the world outside the classroom is learned in the margins of college life. While students are busy using the classroom to make the 'other plans' John Lennon wrote so cogently about, they also absorb needed lessons on how to exist in the world."

New field construction brings excitement and controversy - The Tartan Online

New field construction brings excitement and controversy - The Tartan Online: "Last week, the university opened a new soccer field in place of the old intramural (IM) field. Carnegie Mellon had been hoping to build another field, for the purpose of hosting soccer, track, or intramural events, for the past four years. These ideas began to float around as early as 2006, shortly after the installation of new turf at Gesling Stadium. The turf helped tremendously in the logistics of organizing intercollegiate, intramural, and club events, but another field was deemed necessary."

Physical rigors, mental fortitude test SWAT recruits' true grit

Physical rigors, mental fortitude test SWAT recruits' true grit: "it was on to physical aptitude in a weight room at headquarters. They were to bench press 100 percent of their body weight, do 29 sit-ups in under a minute, and run 11/2 miles in less than 15 minutes under the heat of a midday sun.
Later in the day, they would hit a city pool, where they were to swim 200 yards and tread water for 10 minutes -- while wearing parts of their uniforms."

Good luck.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

GOP call ballot access effort fraud. They lie.

In an email by Victor Stabile, a Republican County Chair, he uses the word, "fraud." The loop size on a signature, the use of a middle initial, an brief of a townships such as Pgh instead of Pittsburgh, and other wingnut claims is not real world fraud.

From different sources:

If that name, Victor Stabile, is familiar, he was the person behind the effort to keep Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr of the ballot by, in essence, saying the LPPA can't substitute candidates from what's on the ballot access petitions. I can't vouch for the origin of the email below, but if it's really from Stabile, it's certainly in-character. Mark

PS -- Tell me again, what's the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats?--

Subject: Great News From: "Stabile, Victor P. (HB)"Date: Tue, August 17, 2010 2:33 pm To: "Stabile, Victor P. (HB)

"Dear Friends: I am very pleased to report to you that challenges to the Green, Tea Party, and Libertarian candidates for state-wide office have been successful and these third party candidates will not be appearing on the November 2010 ballot.

If you recall, I sent you last week an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review which blew the whistle on the Onorato campaign for staging a Tea Party candidate backed by Onorato's union friends in Philadelphia to run for Governor under the Tea Party label. We can now say it did not succeed.

I would be remiss in not recognizing the fantastic organizational job and resources devoted by our Republican State Committee through Luke Bernstein and his staff to organizing the challenges to these third party candidates. I also would like to recognize the number of counsel, including RSC Counsel Lawrence Tabas, Ron Hicks, Dauphin Chair John McNally, and, who like yours truly, devoted many hours and legal ability since last week to working in the Commonwealth Court to document the rampant abuse in these petitions. Voters do not get disenfranchised when fraud is uncovered. Unfortunately, this seems to be the process we are left with to deal with these situations until this type of impropriety is prosecuted.

OK, now that this is done, time to get out and elect our Republican candidates! All my best.

Victor P. Stabile, Chairman, Cumberland County Republican Committee

Another voice gives another opinion.
Un-American Republican and Democratic Cowards Steal Your Right to Vote
Posted by: "Regan Straley"reganstraley@yahoo.com

"Wisdom begins with calling a thing by its proper name."- Ancient Chinese Proverb

Un-American Republican and Democratic Cowards Steal Your Right to Vote for the Candidate of Your Choice . . . Again

Pennsylvania' s Electoral System is a National Disgrace which Demands Your Immediate Attention.

As of today, it appears that the rapacious two-headed beast known as the Demopublican party--which never tires of hoovering the livelihoods out of your paychecks and pensions and giving it to war-profiteering, bonus-addicted corporate executives who pocket most of the pillage and toss the pesky spare change out into clamoring throngs of starving Third World slave laborers--will once again be successful in making sure that you have no real options in the upcoming Fall elections.

Principled third-party and independent political candidates for statewide office in Pennsylvania were required this year to obtain 19,082 petition signatures from registered voters in order to appear on November's ballot alongside the soulless Republicrat sell-outs who are allowed on with a mere 2,000 signatures. Due to some anomalous twist in the cosmic wormhole which should keep Stephen Hawking busy for decades, they were all able to do it.

Early on the morning of Monday, August 9, a cadre of delusional young Doc Marten-wearing Republican and Democratic lackeys who think they will somehow be spared the consequences of their bosses' corruption, bloody froth oozing from their fanged pie holes and briefcases full of "legal" documents handcuffed to their quivering, alcohol-soaked wrists, could be seen camped out on the portico of the Pennsylvania Department of State eagerly awaiting their opportunity to deny your right to fair and free elections. Within hours, sleep-deprived but determined representatives from the state's Libertarian, Tea, and Green Parties would ascend the steps proudly carrying more than the requisite number of signatures needed to qualify their gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates, only to be met by a zombified cabal of recent Political Science graduates armed in all their ass-kissing Establishment glory with reams of superficial objections and inane technicalities.

Competition- averse, pseudo-conservative Republicans like our next unscrupulous governor, Tom Corbett, and U.S. Senate wannabe Pat Toomey have all but ensured that you won't be given the opportunity to vote for any Libertarian or Tea Party alternatives. The delicate little schoolgirls on the Democratic side who are afraid of a challenge, executive-mansion mongerer Dan Onorato and the phoney "outsider" lusting after the Senate meal ticket, Joe Sestak, have reduced their Green Party opposition to Mickey Mouse status and left progressives with nowhere to turn for real participatory democracy, sustainable economics, equitable healthcare distribution, or ecological sanity.

"Keeping candidates off the ballot is as bad, if not worse, than denying one the right to vote," said Lou Jasikoff, Chair for the Northeast Pennsylvania Libertarian Party. "Currently we have men and women dying in Iraq and Afghanistan to ensure free and open elections there and yet both the Democrat and Republican parties found it necessary – even in light of 'bonusgate' – to choke off access to the ballot and to give citizens less choice."

"We submitted over 19,000 signatures as required by law," said Mel Packer, derailed Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, "an accomplishment of major proportions for a grassroots campaign such as ours. Sestak is showing his cowardice with this challenge. Instead of competing with me in the marketplace of ideas, he's simply kicking me off the ballot.

"In 2004 and 2006 respectively, Pennsylvania' s well-greased Democratic machine successfully pulled this same un-American stunt on Ralph Nader's presidential campaign and Green Party U.S. Senate hopeful Carl Romanelli. The Democrats' concerted effort to restrict Green Party ballot access has since mushroomed into what we now refer to as "Bonusgate," in which Democratic officials have been caught red-handed using state employees on state time to comb relentlessly through Green Party petitions looking for names they can present to politically- appointed judges as possibly invalid, all on your dime.

Despite the recent convictions of former Democratic State Representative Mike Veon and a number of state Democratic staffers--as well as the promise of future convictions against former Democratic House Speaker Bill DeWeese and top aides-- Nader and Romanelli remain on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees they've been ordered to pay to the Democrats' shysters for their hard work in trashing the right of Pennsylvanians to vote for the candidate of their choice. The working-class Romanelli alone is in the hole for $80,000 and is in danger of bankruptcy, all because he had the unmitigated gall to run for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as something other than a Democrat or Republican.

Folks, I know you're busy trying to feed your families and pay your mortgages, and I know this can all be pretty confusing and difficult to comprehend at times, but if you have any interest at all in correcting the state's and the nation's nosedive into a bottomless morass of economic depression, government corruption, and never-ending illegal militarism, you really need to awaken from your corporate-induced stupors and start paying attention.

As for Libertarians, Greens, and Tea Partiers, please consider anew my tired and oft-repeated mantra to at least temporarily bridge the vast philosophical wastelands between you, pool all available resources, and slay the corporate dragon of Demopublicanism. A Coalition of the Sick and Goddamned Tired, if you will.

Only after thatwill real debate be possible.

Regan Straley  http://libyahill.blogspot.com/
I am on the side of Regan, not Jim Roddey and not Wayne Fontana, D, PA Senate district 42, who used his bonusgate efforts to run without any opposition in 2006.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Answer sought on parks group - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Another blast from the past. If I'm Tom C, I'm asking these questions of Dan Onorato because nothing has been done.

This article ran on Tuesday, September 7, 2004:

Answer sought on parks group - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato says he's working to create a nonprofit group to raise money for the county parks system. Some County Council members wonder why it hasn't been done yet.
They also complain that they get only vague answers or no answers at all from Onorato on what progress has been made.
Relations between council and Onorato have grown tense lately as the two have clashed over who holds the authority to merge city and county departments. Both sides expect to settle the dispute in court"

Former Chief Executive Jim Roddey and council created a Parks Department in October 2002. Roddey said the move was designed, in part, so the county could set up a nonprofit to raise money for and help run the parks, as the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has done since 1996.

It's a concept Onorato is familiar with: While serving on City Council, he co-sponsored the legislation creating the conservancy, and is a life member of the organization.

"Any foundation or corporation, they were all leery of giving the city money because they didn't think it would make it to the parks," Onorato said. Setting up a charity whose sole mission is bolstering the parks system makes it easier to get private cash to match the public's contribution.

As a result, he said, "the parks have never looked better. They leveraged all the public dollars, and it's more than the parks ever would have seen under the city's management."

The city parks conservancy has a 20-year master plan to protect and improve Frick, Highland, Riverview and Schenley parks. The plan, which is expected to cost $100 million, includes eventually connecting all four parks.

"I'm a big believer in it," Onorato said. "I think its one of the best things that ever happened to the (city) parks." Eventually, the county will follow suit, he said.

County Council's parks committee Chairwoman Joan Cleary said she's written letters to Onorato asking for details about what progress has been made.

"They told me they're working on it," she said. "They didn't give me a timetable."

Onorato said that's because he doesn't have one yet. He and Parks Director Andy Baechle, who got his job a couple of months before Onorato took office in January, are still trying to "get our hands around what needs to be done in the parks, and put a strategy together."

Councilman Vince Gastgeb, a Bethel Park Republican and avid parks proponent, said Onorato has had nine months in office to put a plan together. Until the nonprofit is set up, the Parks Department can do nothing about the $120 million in estimated repairs that are needed in the counties' nine parks, he said.

The Parks Department was created under Roddey's watch, and Onorato said his predecessor "punted" on the creation of the nonprofit.

Setting up a parks nonprofit "was one of the things we intended to do on the first of this year," Roddey said. "It's a relatively simple process, but there was so much going on, and with the election, it's just not something we got around to doing."

Mr. Onorato has been a failure in terms of parks management and growth. The parks are nice, but there isn't any growth except in terms of talk about drilling for minerals and geese.

Progress is .... ?????

Practice rink part of Penguins plan

Blast from the past: September 2, 2004:

Practice rink part of Penguins plan: "The Penguins' lease with the Iceoplex at Southpointe expired this week, and they are in the market for a new practice facility."

But that might not be a long-term concern.

Owner Mario Lemieux said yesterday that the team would like to include a practice rink in its proposal for a venue to replace Mellon Arena.

There is a similar arrangement in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets employ a rink adjacent to Nationwide Arena for practices and other events. Such a facility conceivably could be used for things such as public skating and amateur games when the NHL team is not there.

"If we ever get a new arena, we'd like that," Lemieux said. "That's a pretty good setup they have [in Columbus]."

The Penguins, who contend their survival in Pittsburgh hinges on getting a new building, hope to secure the city's stand-alone slots parlor license and have pledged to use money from that to help finance Mellon Arena's successor. But while the team's bid has garnered considerable political support, there is no guarantee the license will be awarded to Lemieux and his partners.

And despite speculation that whoever gets the license might be compelled to devote some of the proceeds to construction of a new arena, Lemieux said that simply having a new building would not necessarily be enough to keep the franchise in Pittsburgh if the slots license is awarded to another party.

"That's something we'd have to look at," he said. "I'd think that, at this stage, we'd need a little bit more than just a new arena for us to make it work."

Lemieux declined to elaborate on what those requirements would be.

The Penguins' lease at Mellon Arena expires in 2007. After that, the team would have no legal ties to the city, allowing Lemieux and his partners to sell the franchise to a buyer interested in relocating it.

First published on September 2, 2004 at 12:00 am

Dave Molinari can be reached at 412-263-1144.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04246/372180-61.stm#ixzz0xGC3mbWZ
So, where is the practice rink with the Consol Energy Center?

Okay -- how about we call the practice rink the CIVIC ARENA.

With the arrival of the Pittsburgh Power, where are they going to practice? With the game schedule of the Pittsburgh Power, why not keep the Civic Arena as a practice venue to the Penguins as the ice at the Consol Energy Center is going to be unavailable for practices when there are games with spectators for Arena Football.

Or, we could fix this. Then Penguins once practiced here.

That's the crushed roof of the only other indoor hockey rink. It went without use for many years and bit the dust -- err snow -- this past winter.

Bills push Title IX compliance - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Title IX, China style.

Finally, the Title IX article came out in the Trib. I had been peppering the reporter on this for many weeks.

Great to see the ink for Schenley too.
Bills push Title IX compliance - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review About 20 girls came out this week for the first day of volleyball practice at Schenley High School, but coach Peter Vitti said he would have liked to see more.

As it turns out, I'm not quoted. Oh well. Must have been cut from the article by the editors -- and that has happened in the past with the Trib folks.

I am against Senate Bill No 890. I have been with a copy of this since April, 2010. It was referred to the education committee on May 27, 2009. It landed in another committee along the way.

OBJECTION #1: Numbers do not tell the whole story. The bill should include a narrative section within the reporting. I want the folks at the schools to explain things. I want to hear the story of the school. I want text, be it one line or a dozen pages, to be able to be part of the public record as well as the numbers. This bill only requires numbers. Statistics lie.

Objection #2: The overall opportunities for the school need to be considered. This is about education -- not only about sports. We need to worry about afterschool. Within afterschool there is a sub-group called athletic teams. This bill only leans upon the sports teams and ignores all the rest of what goes on in the schools and district. That's shortsighted. That's wrong.

I'd love to hear about the number of kids in the bands, the choirs, the musicals, the dance teams, the cheerleader squads, the debate team, the Youth & Government club (props to Mr. Vitti, Angela and Anna of Schenley, all key in Y&G and mentioned in the article), and the rest. In Pennsylvania, we can do knee jerk reports that are with tunnel vision and don't tell the real story. Or, we can look to the whole landscape of opportunities. The bill should be changed so that the scope of reporting is made much greater than only the sports teams. Reporting can be done on the entire range of opportunities within the schools and the school district.

Objection #3: Use of public parks need to be blended into the narrative as to access to facilities at our schools. If the boys get the school gym and the girls get to practice at the Y, or else at the Civic Arena, or else at Kingsley Center -- then tell it like it is. We are going to have more, and already have many issues in Pittsburgh Public Schools about facilities because of the trend to schools that range in grades from 6th to 12th. The middle school teams and high school teams don't fit into facilities that are only built for high schools. I've already ranted about this. But, the narrative and a schedule of facility use would be most welcome to fix this serious concern.

Objection #4: What about joint teams? We play water polo in co-ed games, from time to time. The Cross Country teams train together. The swimmers train together, or at least the better teams do. Joint teams need to be explained.

Objection #5: The public access to the report from each school athletic director should be made available as the information is submitted to the department of education. A copy of the form can be sent to the light of day in a transparent way once it departs the school administrator's desk. This should all be done on the internet and not made available on paper in regular office hours for in-person inspection. As we have found on many instances, the 'right to know law' is weak as a twig.

Objection #6: Club sports, non-varsity sports, intramural sports, and emerging sports such as rowing, crew, kayak, field hockey, lacrosse, water polo and bowling need to be included into the mix.

Objection #7: Practice opportunities are not counted. What about the boys baseball team that has practice every day, rain-or-shine, while the girls softball team calls off when there is a cloud in the sky, starts three weeks later, and ends four weeks sooner? The two teams might have the same numbers on the squads on the first day of practice, but the team's opportunity for coaching is not similar.

Objection #8: Volunteer coaches are not in the mix. The other day the Schenley principal was telling of the boys basketball team that went to the state championships and she was shocked to see more than 15 adults on and around the team bench when the team got to the final playoff games. She asked, "Who are these men?"

Objection #9: Union bargained rates are dictated by contracts and these amounts can't be easily adjusted. But, in some districts they are out of the range of the union agreement. The narrative would help. Experience is also a factor that should be counted. If a first year coach gets $3,000 to coach the team and another that has 25 years of success as a coach, I see no problem in offering a different wage. That's how the real world works. The problem is when there are only first and second year coaches always filling the roles for the girls teams.

Objection #10: The total number of trainers per team by employment status, full time, part time, says nothing about the percentage of time devoted to guys vs. girls. I've been in athletic departments where there is one trainer. That trainer goes to all the basketball practices and games -- and never visits with the swimmers. The swimmers have a trainer -- but in reality, the percentage of time devoted to one gender can be much greater than that of the other.

Another solution: Let's get a conflict resolution expert in the state so that the education department and schools and families and students and coaches -- everyone -- can have an outlet to air troubles to before litigation comes. Let's get a gender equity educational ombudsman that is part of our state system. One person can be elected into this annual role to hold hearings about grievances.

Allegheny County Jail guard's fitness for job at issue - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Allegheny County Jail guard's fitness for job at issue - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Deputy Warden Bohn suggested to the warden and the Trib that for the good of staff morale and to remove any hint of impropriety, Pellecchia might return to the range to requalify — an annual event for those who will work the armed hospital details.
Leon said he had no problem with that, but the 'decision isn't up to me. It's up to the warden.'
'She's qualified,' Rustin told the Trib.
After the incident, Rustin ordered Leon to stay off the range. In e-mails to jail brass, the warden urged those alleging nepotism to let him handle the matter instead of taking the dispute to other agencies in County Executive Dan Onorato's administration."

Wrong. Some of these management decisions are stupid. A guard is having problems with the gun. Failed the test twice, even if it was good once. So the manager orders the empolyee off of the range. Say what? That's just dumb advice. Have the person practice more.

Work to begin on Penn Circle in East Liberty

Work to begin on Penn Circle in East Liberty: "A new stage in the transformation of East Liberty will begin Monday with a $5 million project to improve the Penn Circle South and East corridor."
Not a PEEP about the two schools that are in that area. Nothing. Zippo. There are more people headed to Peabody and Reizenstein than anything else in that area. I wonder if the newspaper just missed it or else if everyone in City Planning missed it too?

Ohiopyle to allow boaters to take plunge at the falls

Ohiopyle to allow boaters to take plunge at the falls: "The area receives more than 1.5 million visitors annually, though according to park statistics, only about 1 in 10 people visiting actually does any rafting or boating."

One in ten is really HUGE.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun night. Took an open water swim. Saw a beaver.

These are some of the swimmers. One guy took the photo and another was still in the water. A beaver joined us in the water and put on a bit of a show as we were finishing.

I swam to the bridge and back. Use the PBs from Steve and snorkel. Need some body glide under my left arm, but all is well.

I biked over from home (South Side) to the Rowing Center and did a bit more. The bike path extension on the other side of the bank is like an elevated expressway. It will be great when finished. I'm not sure how far the path goes beyond the skateboard park. It seemed to turn into a dirt road and less of a path, so I turned around.

They do this every week and it is part of the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club. I'll have to join. In the winter, I wonder if they'll be interested in being a part of our Saturday Swim School as part of the 4-H program? (New venture.)

On Facebook too, for better tagging. http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100821021518/aforathlete/images/9/95/Swimmers_Aug20_2010_PTC.jpg

Two Pitt football players leave training camp

Two Pitt football players leave training camp: "Woodland Hills freshman defensive tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith has been declared academically ineligible and has left camp.
He will likely enroll at a prep school and look to return to the Panthers for next season."

Prep School. Humm... To bad we don't have one here -- in the city.

Keystone Oaks seeks school consolidation task force

Say what?
Keystone Oaks seeks school consolidation task force The meetings will not be open to the public.
Director Thomas Nee, who cast the sole dissenting vote regarding the formation of the task force, said he believed the decision should be made by the board itself, not a task force.
'We are the elected officials,' he said. 'We have to make tough decisions on controversial issues.'
Mrs. Randazzo, though, said she was confident that the task force could be formed in a timely manner, and that the closed-door-meeting format would allow for a candid exchange of ideas among all involved.
'I feel it will be a more productive setting,' she said.

Thomas Nee is a man after my heart. He seems to get it.

Updated: We did find a pool for next week's water polo. YES!

Today, Friday, Aug 20, I'm going to check out the open water swim practice with the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club. That happens at 6:30 pm at Washington's Landing.

Saturday, Aug 21, we've got some fun planned. We'll play water polo on Saturday at North Park's pool, Allegheny County facility, from 5 to 7 pm.

Pay $5 for adults or $4 for juniors or $3 for kids 12 and under at the gate.

Hope to see you there, even rookies and those that have not yet played this summer. The water there is great. Go early and enjoy the pool and its slide too.

North Park Pool closes for the season after swimming on Sunday, this weekend.

The swim schedule for public hours at Highland Park Pool the rest of the summer to Sept. 6 is as follows:

Mondays to Fridays: 1 pm to 7:45 p.m.
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays: 1 - 5:45 p.m.

Citiparks pools will remain open through Labor Day as staffing levels permit. Meet at 5-6 pm for lap swimming and 6 to 7:45 for conditioning and tag.

Water Polo practice on WED, Thur, Fri, Aug 25, 26, 27, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm at Woodland Hills High School. Enter at the Athletic doors on the right side of the building. We'll be joining a group of kids at Woodland Hills as they begin their quest to form a water polo program. Woodland Hills has school on those days.

Early, Saturday, Aug 28, game at IUP vs. NJ Prep School. On your own.

Sto-Rox schools approve grade requirements for athletes

Sto-Rox schools approve grade requirements for athletes If Sto-Rox is going to keep up its tradition of athletic excellence, its athletes are going to have to be at least average students.
The Sto-Rox School Board last night approved a policy stating that students must have at least a C in all their core subjects to take part in sports and other extracurricular activities. Their grades will be reviewed weekly.
'We will not have a football team,' board member Luanne Schipani said, advocating that the board instead use the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League standard of a C average. 'You can have kid getting an A in English and an A in history, but maybe he's in trigonometry and he's struggling.'
Other board members said it was a matter of raising expectations -- and noted that with weekly reviews students who are struggling will get ongoing chances to raise their grades and regain eligibility. Ms. Schipani cast the only dissenting vote.
To be eligible under the previous policy, Sto-Rox students had only to be passing four classes total and three of their four core subjects.

I'm all about getting good grades. Academics are important.

But, it is also important to have opportunities. It is important to get and retain kids in activities that are motivational. Should sports be only for the smart?

Street gangs are happy with this new requirement as a set of kids are going to give up on school now. They will not be eligible. They'll skip. They'll not be engaged. They'll drop out sooner. They'll never go to tutoring. They won't hang with the right kids.

Then there is the matter of grade inflation.

And, another matter -- course selection. Why push yourself into the trig class when there is a chance that you won't cut it there so you won't be able to play basketball. So, the kids might graduate from high school having played sports but with out the challenges to advance to college admissions due to weak transcripts, weak SAT scores or else get into college and need to take remedial classes or else flunk out after one grading period.

What about the kid that is tossed into a family crisis and misses some school? Then he'll be off the team, out of the band, not able to cheer. That kid should be home with the books -- but what if home is the last place for that kid's time.

Then there is the problem of the kid that is a key player on the team -- and most teams have lots of those kids. Then he is wacked out of a game because of one class one week. That screws up the rest of the kids on the team too. The punishment is for all the kids and the entire program and the full school to feel. Hence, the pathway to not caring is accelerated. Not knowing who is in and who is out is not a way to build devotion. Devotion often starts with what is loved and then, later, can be applied to what is necessary. Sports teach transferable skills and valued lessons, as well as general fitness, can be absorbed by those who are getting a "D" or an "F" in one class this week.

Good luck with the program and new policy Sto Rocks. Let us know how it comes along for you.

Here in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, we've got a more aggressive grade and eligibility standard that what the PIAA rules enforce. Our teams are thin on participants, generally. Our drop out rate is too high. Our school spirit and the engagement is what it is.

Contempt exposed

Mark C of Plum wrote the intro and the following letter to the editor that is in the P-G:

Before our statewide candidates were extorted off the ballot, I had written a letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where Republicans were my focus. The PG printed my letter today ("Contempt exposed") and it still was relevant given the removal from the ballot.

I also had an interesting conversation with their letter editor yesterday about my LTE. She called about a grammar mistake she had corrected before she sent it along to press, but we then talked about ballot access and how (my words) it's now effectively illegal to run for statewide office in PA as a third party or independent candidate. She's not a political editor, but she said she would pass along a note about our conversation and the LPPA contact web page to their political editor.

I mention this to remind everyone that a letter can be an avenue leading into a newspaper's editors. While there's no guarantee of an editor calling our banished candidates or our state chair, there wouldn't even have been a phone call without the letter. She also said that I'm in the PG blackout period, but she encourages other letters from libertarians.

Here's the letter (and check the last letter on this page):


Contempt exposed

Pennsylvania's Republican Party proved beyond any doubt that it holds in contempt anyone sympathetic to the ideals of the tea party movement or anyone critical of the two-party monopoly.

On Aug. 9 GOP operatives filed last-minute challenges to ballot access petitions of the Libertarian and tea party statewide candidates (governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. senator). According to spokesman Mike Barley, the state GOP supports the challenge.

Petition signatures can be invalidated for reasons as innocent as omitting a middle initial. What's worse, the challenge is "loser pays." Deep-pocket Republicans are immune if too few signatures are invalidated. Challenger candidates, however, face devastating financial liability if just one too many is invalidated. In 2006 the Democrats' challenge cost the Green Party U.S. Senate candidate $80,000 for his crime of running for office.

Given Pennsylvania's decline from decades of incumbent party malfeasance, it's no wonder they require Bonusgate tactics, coercion and threats to protect their career politicians.

GOP claims of being a kindred spirit to America's grassroots awakening are a glaring falsehood. It would be more in character of the party to suggest banning third-party and challenger candidates.


Update: Letter from a Libertarian candidate that got bumped from the ballot:

August 17, 2010

I am saddened to announce that thanks to the blackmail forced upon the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania by the Republican Party of our state, I am forced to withdraw from the governor's race. The Republicans presented us wit...h a Hobson's choice of withdrawing our candidates from the ballot, incurring no costs assessed to us by the Republicans, or going on to court after the signature review and potentially bankrupting the Party and its candidates by fighting for the right to remain on the ballot, being assessed inflated costs and associated penalties should we lose, as have most third-party candidates in the past several years.

This blackmail, unfortunately for the public, extends to the voters of Pennsylvania as well and hurts them, due to Pennsylvania's draconian ballot access laws, even more than it hurts the LPPA. Hundreds of legally registered voters in this state had their names removed from our petitions due to an error of signature or a change of address within their voting district, among many things that ordinary voters do not realize will affect their franchise. Further, given that the Democratic candidate for Governor is as anti-female and anti-rights as his opponent, Tom Corbett, my absence from the ballot presents the voting public of Pennsylvania with a choice that is no choice, for either of two conservatives who are unlikely to provide the sweeping changes in taxes and in control of the legislature that the residents of the Commonwealth sorely need. There will be no debate of land use value taxes. There will be no discussion of reforming the legislative system in the state. Women's rights and minority rights in the Commonwealth will not be protected substantially.

I thank the members and candidates of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania for their hard work, the members of the Green Party and the Constitution Party, as well as many Tea Party activists, for their work and their support of the other third-party candidates who ran for statewide office this year, and I especially thank the members of Gertrude Stein Political Club in Pittsburgh for their support as well. My deepest gratitude goes to Mik Robertson, our state chair this year, for his efforts in coordinating the Libertarian defense to the signature challenge and for his sacrifice of time, money, and family in the process. I also thank the voters of Pennsylvania who responded to Libertarian solicitations to sign our nominating papers, especially those many whose names were struck from our nominating papers by the Republican Party due to legal technicalities designed to prevent their signatures from being counted.

I urge Pennsylvania's voters to rise up against a system that takes away their real choice in selecting candidates to be on the ballot, and to contact their state legislators to demand that the state electoral code be revised to provide a true chance for what is supposed to be provided for in the state constitution, free and equal elections.

Marakay Rogers
"Let's make history together!"

Here is an option:
Write-In "Samuel E. Rohrer, Berks County" November 2, 2010 http://www.SamRohrerWriteIn.org
Volunteer at http://www.PatriotsForSamRohrer.org

Thursday, August 19, 2010

With Arena Football -- Pittsburgh is going to be out of balance with Title IX

The sky is going to fall!

Ballot Access Press Event in Harrisburg

on the electoral process.

Pennsylvania is seen as one of the three or four most restrictive states in terms of the nominating procedure for candidates of alternative minority parties or who are independent. State law requires these candidates to collect a much larger number of signatures to qualify for the ballot than candidates of major parties need for their primary election ballot. That number varies widely from year to year under a complex formula based on voter turnout in previous elections.

The press conference will address the result of the recent actions, and will look at what can be done to address this increasing threat to the democratic process in Pennsylvania.
Senator Mike Folmer introduced the Voter’s Choice Act (SB 252) that would eliminate the current complex ballot qualifying formulas and enhance Pennsylvania’s democratic process by leveling the playing field for minority and independent candidates.

Those appearing at the conference will include:

Senator Mike Folmer, Prime sponsor of the Voters Choice Act (SB252)

Marakay Rogers, Libertarian Candidate for Governor

Kat Valleley, Libertarian Candidate for Lieutenant Governor

Doug Jamison, Libertarian Candidate for US Senate

Mik Robertson, Chairman, Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania

Bonita Hoke, Pennsylvania League of Women Voters

Marybeth Kuznik, VotePA

Tim Potts, Democracy Rising

Bob Small, Green Party of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Libertarians withdraw from statewide races

Libertarians withdraw from statewide races: "All three Libertarian Party nominees for statewide office in Pennsylvania abandoned their bids for the fall ballot today, leaving no third-party opposition to the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate.
Filing papers to withdraw were York lawyer Marakay Rogers, a perennial candidate who was running for governor; political newcomer Douglas Jamison, an engineer running for Senate; and Kat Valleley, a Bucks County homemaker seeking to become lieutenant governor. The action followed nearly two days of intensive scrutiny of their petition signatures.
We have Jim Roddey, and others just like him in the ranks of the GOP to thank for this. They think they know best. They think they can lawyer up to no end and then put the burden of their bill onto the citizen candidates. Jim Roddey thinks that in 10 to 20 years, his words, third parties are going to be big. Say what?

The action isn't after intensive scrutiny as much as it is about a calculated risk to pay more than $90,000 for the pleasure of NOT running for public office.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

North Korea is Now Itself a Twitter Account | techPresident

North Korea is Now Itself a Twitter Account | techPresident: "Perhaps drawing on Hugo Chávez's tremendous success as inspiration, North Korea has joined Twitter. The Guardian runs its translation magic on the country's regime's first tweet, and comes up with 'Website, 'our nation itself' is a Twitter account.' Okey doke."

We used Twitter while in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Could also use my blog, as per August 6, days before the Games began. But, only then. Never could use a wiki nor wikia.

48 Hour Film Project Screenings

Remember to celebrate your film and lobby for audience votes. Postcards, signs, costumes, and other promotions are encouraged.

Wednesday, Aug 18
The Screenings will take place at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave.
Group A will screen at 6:30PM.
Group B will screen at 8:30PM.

Thursday, Aug 19
The Screenings will take place at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave.
Group C will screen at 6:30PM.

Tickets may be purchased night of the screenings at the door. Cash only please.

$8 or $6 w/valid student ID per screening.
We will be offering passes for all 3 screenings. $20 or $15 w/valid student ID.
Sounds like a fun date.

Pennsylvania: School Vouchers - mcall.com

Pennsylvania: School Vouchers - mcall.com: "The head of Pennsylvania's largest teachers union said Thursday he needs to take a closer look at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato's new proposal to offer 'grants' to poor kids in bad schools so they can attend a private school.
But Jim Testerman, the president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, said the union won't withdraw its support for the Democratic nominee, because he also favors full funding for public education and other causes near and dear to the union."
Spoken like a real union leader.

Pittsburgh councilman wants to protect city against drilling

I feel the earth move under my feet. I feel the sky tumbling down. Not because of the drilling next door. But rather because of the talk of 'rights' from a member of Pittsburgh City Council.
Pittsburgh councilman wants to protect city against drilling 'Rights precede the state,' he said. 'Rights precede government. Rights precede state statues and are superior to them.'
Rights, liberties, freedom! Yes.

But, as usual, I'm not certain that this is what we really need.

It is very hard to give rights yet insure that government grow and block things from happening with blanket denials by law under all conditions.

If it makes sense to drill in the city, then let's do it. I do worry about the lack of rights for property owners to sue for damages when an industry causes harm to a neighborhood.

Mostly, on a basic level of city leadership, here they go again. People on city council are hell bent on pushing legislation that begs for lawsuits. Bubble bills, bar saturations, and now no drilling ordinances have put the city on the pathway of frustration where only the lawyers get rich while the residents and citizens are left to pay the bill.

In other news, City Council's Patrick Dowd is looking for a project so big that it will be impossible to pay for in 50 years, like NASA's space station, a Pittsburgh canal to link Homewood to Hazelwood, or else an underwater amusement park (think Kennywood at the Point but 100 foot deep).
Sale of parking could aid other projects: "Councilman Patrick Dowd said the money should be allocated to the pension fund, used to retire debt or spent on a capital project so big that it couldn't be tackled with a normal 30-year bond issue. In other words, he said, the project must be worth giving up parking assets for 50 years."

Another blog thread on same topic: http://pghcomet.blogspot.com/2010/08/gasburgh-exploring-no.html

Rebecca's Breastroke

The point that I stress is the timing. The feet come up to recover the kick as the arms pull apart. The legs recover as the arm provides power. Then the arms can recover while the legs give the propulsion.

To often in scholastic swimmers, the legs stay together as the pull begins and then when the legs do recover and come up the arms are in a recovery too. That stops the swimmer's forward movement as the recovery of the legs is matched with the timing of the recovery of the arms. That's a no-no.

Mostly, swimmers need to kick breastroke sooner. Or, put another way, swimmers need to hold the glide of the arms until the legs are ready to explode up into the recovery.


Same clip but posted on Viddler:

These highlights of the community meeting held last week at Westinghouse High School Library hit closest to home for my family. My kids go to Pgh Obama.

Their school is going to move from Reizenstein to Peabody. And Peabody has few windows and only slivers of natural light.

Plus, the sports elements are important to me too. I don't think that the new schools, with grades 6 to 12 are able to put the middle school sports teams into the same high school gyms without serious troubles. They don't fit.


The issue of sports is more than just a conversation between adults, unless those adults can fabricate more hours in the day or else have the basketball teams practice outdoors.

Beach, climbing wall in plans for Mt. Lebanon pool - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Beach, climbing wall in plans for Mt. Lebanon pool - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Mt. Lebanon is considering $49.1 million worth of improvements over the next five years, including some to make the township's swimming pool more fun.
Next year, it would spend nearly $4.4 million to renovate the swim center; $3.2 million on sanitary sewer upgrades; $1.8 million to reconstruct 1 mile of streets; and more than $1 million for turf and lighting at Wildcat and Middle fields.
'Our swimming facility is over 30 years old, and it's just in need of some reconstruction work,' said township Manager Stephen M. Feller.
He recommends some spray features, a poolside climbing wall, a heater, a family slide and the installation of a beach area."
What about the water polo stadium?

Pittsburgh Public Schools had a community meeting last week at Westinghouse

Last week there was a community meeting at Westinghouse High School's library with written questions delivered to Mr. Lopez about the Excellence for All plan for high schools.

A big school board vote is due in the next week or so. They'll be with a multi-prong plan to do many things to the landscape of the schools.

- close Peabody HS

- shift Westinghouse High School to include grades 6, 7 and 8 to go along with grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

- make the classrooms at Westinghouse split by gender so boys are in one class and girls in the other, most of the time. In the Vo Tech or CTE classes, they will be co-ed. And, we expect that some of the higher level classes will be co-ed too. But, time will tell.

- move the IB school, now at Reizenstein, called Pgh Obama, into the building at Highland and East Liberty Blvd known at Peabody. This move is slated for the fall of 2012.

- keep the robotics at Peabody, even when the school is devoted to IB.

- move the kids that go to Peabody into U-Prep or Westinghouse, based upon their address or upon a preference of avoidance of single-gender classrooms.

- Make one school that was recently made into a K-8 back to a K-5 so that the ones in grades 6, 7 and 8 can go to the Westinghouse school.

- Mess with another elementary school too.

- and a couple of other things.

Well, some of the meeting was captured on my video camera. That footage is being uploaded.

Part 1:

Part 1 but hosted on Viddler.com:

Part 2:

Part 2 but hosted on Viddler.com:

Highlights of part 1 and 2 for interested folks geared to Pgh Obama's move to Peabody and my question of sports fitting into the high school facilities with the arrival of middle schools as well.

This highlights clip is for all the Pgh Obama folks to see: