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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 14,378

Journal Archives

HUndreds protest over Michael Vicks at Steelers home game

Over three hundred animal rights protesters turned out Thursday before the start of the Pittsburgh Steelers last preseason game calling for Michael Vick's removal from the team.

Countless fans on their way into the stadium could be seen stopping, honking their horns and thanking members of the group for rallying against Vick, while other fans were heard saying that Vick should be forgiven.

The group gathered across from Heinz Field Thursday before the start of the game against the Carolina Panthers calling for Michael Vick's firing, with most saying the Steelers should not have signed Vick, who plead guilty for his role in a multi-state dog-fighting enterprise.
"It's hypocritical, Pittsburgh Steeler fans were the most vocal about the Philadelphia Eagles picking up, and here they are supporting him," said Pittsburgh resident Sherri Suppa, who turned out for the anti-Vick Rally. Vick played with the Eagles from 2009-2013 as a backup quarterback.

Vybrial said that she hopes tonight's rally also brings awareness to pending legislation that would stiffen the penalties for animal cruelty and make it crime to tie animals on a line outside their homes, which she said most people do, who are engaged in dog fighting.

Currently there are three pieces of legislation pending in Pennsylvania; House Bill 113, also known as "Angel's Law," would make it a misdemeanor, up from a summary offense, for first time offenders, while repeat offenders would face felony charges. Senate Bill 373 and House Bill 1469 would make it a crime for a person to tie their animals on a line for prolonged periods of time.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/sports/hundreds-protest-over-michael-vick-at-steelers-home-game/article/442837#ixzz3klZFHxUz

Check out the photos of the protest signs. I was particularly touched by the photo of the statue of Rocco, a Pittsburgh K-9 dog who was killed in the line of duty. The statue carries the inscription, "Ever Watchful" and has been adorned with an anti-Vick t-shirt.

Obama in Alaska: We Have To Save the Ice so We Can Break It.

The arctic is changing, as we know, and Russia has 40 ice breakers with 11 more on the way. And we only have two, and one is just for science. We have to catch up.

“The growth of human activity in the Arctic region will require highly engaged stewardship to maintain the open seas necessary for global commerce and scientific research, allow for search and rescue activities, and provide for regional peace and stability,” came the statement from the White House.

Read that again. We need “stewardship” to “maintain the open seas necessary for global commerce…” Gotta keep those seas open. Commerce and all that. Ice is the problem.

Remember those word problems you hated in elementary school math? This is like that, only worse.

If Russia has 40 ice breakers and 11 on the way, and the U.S. has 2, and it takes 8 years and $1 billion to build one, and we only have the facilities to build 2 at a time, and an ice breaker only lasts 25 years, and the arctic is predicted to be ice free by 2030, how long does it take to catch up to Russia?
Extra credit: How much money will we have wasted breaking something that is disappearing anyway, and how many college educations, cancer treatments, roads and bridges could you have bought? (Take your time and show all your work.)

Welcome to the Icy Cold War to nowhere, where everyone loses except the defense contractors that build the icebreakers, and those who will benefit for a couple years from the shipping routes. It reminds me of the famous quote from a US major during the Viet Nam War, “We had to destroy the town to save it.” We have to break the ice to save it. Or save the ice so we can break it…


Chinese Navy Ships Spotted Off Aleutian Islands

Source: Station KUCB, Unalaska, Alaska

As President Obama tours northwest Alaska, five Chinese navy ships have been spotted in the Bering Sea off southwest Alaska.

Three of China’s surface-warfare ships, a resupply vessel and a landing craft were seen in international waters off the Aleutian Islands, according to Pentagon officials.

“This is the first time we’ve observed People’s Liberation Army navy ships in the Bering Sea,” Commander Bill Urban, spokesperson for Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, said. “We do respect the freedom of all nations to operate military vessels in international waters in accordance with international law. So, no reason why they shouldn’t be there.”

Urban declined to say how long the U.S. military has been tracking the ships or just where they were located in the Bering Sea.

Read more: http://kucb.org/news/article/chinese-navy-ships-spotted-off-aleutian-islands/

Note to moderators re 12 hour time limit for latest breaking news. Although this report is datelined Wednesday, it was reported on the source's website approximately 6 hours ago, Unalaksa, Alaska time. This radio station is the westernmost radio station in the United States.

Pittsburghers against Michael Vick breaks the 20,000 mark.

"The silver lining in Vick coming to our beloved city is that we can use our voice to help prevent dog fighting here and to crack down on those people who are currently partaking in it. Did you call or email your representatives today? Tell them you would like them to support House Bill 113, Senate Bill B373, and House Bill 1469. Channel your disgust and outrage into something positive. Who knows how many dogs you could save? Keep sharing our posts to get the word out."


Here's a final parting image for you: (From The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant, senior editor of Sports Illustrated):

“As that dog lay on the ground, fighting for air, Quanis Phillips grabbed its front legs & Michael Vick grabbed its back legs. They swung the dog over their head like a jump rope, then slammed it to the ground. The first impact didn’t kill it. So, Phillips & Vick slammed it again. The 2 men kept at it, alternating back & forth, pounding the creature against the ground until, at last, the little red dog was dead.”

Vick has been interviewed saying he really wants to get a dog; he misses having a dog. Yeah. He wants a dog the way a pedophile wants a 2 year old child.

My latest email from Bernie's campaign manager.

Bernie Sanders for President

When the Des Moines Register polled the Iowa Caucuses before we officially entered the race, Bernie Sanders trailed Hillary Clinton by more than fifty points.

In May, shortly after we announced our campaign, her lead was right around 40 points. In June, we cut the margin to twenty-five. And as Bernie shared in his email this morning, we’ve now trimmed the deficit down to single digits — just seven percentage points.

This poll confirms what we’ve known all along: we can shock the political pundits and billionaire class and win the Iowa Caucuses. And from there, we’ll take off like a rocket on our way to the Democratic nomination.

But only if we keep up the progress.

Make a contribution to Bernie 2016 today and help ensure our campaign has the resources needed to beat the billionaires who are TERRIFIED of our momentum. (If you've saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately.)

There’s one more interesting note I want to share with you in the big Iowa Caucus poll. A full NINETY-SIX percent of Bernie backers say their choice is about him and his ideas, not because they dislike any other candidates.

Far too often, Americans go to the polls and feel as if they’re voting for the lesser of two or more evils. That is not the case here — people BELIEVE in Bernie. We know that you do, too.

All my best,

Jeff Weaver
Campaign Manager
Bernie 2016

Biden to visit Pittsburgh on Labor Day

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Vice President Joe Biden will be in Pittsburgh next Monday to participate in the city's Labor Day parade and other festivities, according to a news release from the White House.

Officials said more details would be available later about Biden's visit.

Biden is contemplating a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

He would join Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb in seeking the party's nomination.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/9009136-74/biden-labor-grant#ixzz3kPnDkNTn
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/9009136-74/biden-labor-parade#axzz3kNfVfkEp

Sestak: Time for U.S. to strenghten economic stance

Because Sestak is independent of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC and corporate lobbyists like Ed Rendell, he can timely advocate strong, solid policy positions consistent with progressive Democratic values - he doesn't have to get prior approval from campaign donors. He does not have to depend on or be controlled by position papers or PR releases spoon-fed to him by the DNC, DWS or a slick, glad-handing campaign manager. Here's an example, in explicit response to the recent China/stock market brouhaha.

Days of erratic Wall Street stock market activity, caused by uncertainty in China, provided yet another example of how the time is right for the United States to take an even stronger leadership role in the global economy, according to retired Adm. Joe Sestak, a candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2016 U.S. Senate race.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 800 points between Aug. 18 and Thursday, even when counting a record-setting, two-day swing of almost 1,000 points to the positive during the most recent days of trading. China’s economy has recently experienced turbulence, including when its currency was devalued earlier this month.

“I think this volatility, particularly with China, is indicative that this is our moment,” said Sestak, a Democrat, during a meeting at Holiday Inn Johns-town-Downtown. “China is now becoming a consumer nation,” he said. “It costs almost as much to produce something manufactured in China as it does here in America, for two reasons. “First, they’ve had double-digit increases in wages for the last seven years. Second, the shipping to transport it back is maxed out. There’s no more. The price of shipping has continued to skyrocket.”

Sestak offered a multi-point approach to improving the U.S. economy: expand domestic manufacturing, utilize the Export-Import Bank of the United States, keep economic protections in place and play a prominent role in global monetary institutions.

“If we are solid and producing and exporting, then now’s our moment,” Sestak said.
Pointing to a difference between himself and incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, Sestak talked about his support for the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that modified America’s financial regulations in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Posted in News, Local news on Thursday, August 27, 2015 10:42 pm. | Tags: United States Senate, Pennsylvania, House Of Representatives, Joe Sestak, Economy, Wall Street, Stock Market, Global Economy, China, Dodd-frank, Pat Toomey


"Tired of fighting w/Wolf, Penn. Dem. chair Burn to step down."

(This story is dated July, but for some reason just popped up on my FB feed - and it was news to me.)
Tired of fighting with Wolf, Pennsylvania Democrats chair to step down
In a video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Jim Burn said he'll submit a resignation letter at the party's Sept. 12 meeting in Gettysburg. (Dan Gleiter | dgleiter@pennlive.)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Democratic Party chairman says he's stepping down, a year after a fight with Gov. Tom Wolf over the job. In a video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Jim Burn said he'll submit a resignation letter at the party's Sept. 12 meeting in Gettysburg.
on July 21, 2015 at 11:25 AM, updated July 21, 2015 at 11:26 AM

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Democratic Party chairman says he's stepping down, a year after a fight with Gov. Tom Wolf over the job.

In a video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Jim Burn said he'll submit a resignation letter at the party's Sept. 12 meeting in Gettysburg.

Burn says he wants to move past the persistent questions and concerns over his decisions last year, although he didn't say what those decisions were.

Wolf had just won the party's gubernatorial primary when he sought to replace Burn with Katie McGinty.

But Burn refused to step down and was re-elected by committee members to serve another four-year term. As a result, Wolf started a political action committee headed by McGinty called that fulfilled many of the coordinating activities the party normally undertakes during an election year.


This comment following the article really lays it out as to the incompetence of the Old Guard-controlled state Democratic party. There are far too many state and local committeemen and women whose involvement is limited to attending parties/state conventions and obtaining political patronage and other favors for themselves and their friends and families.
They do nothing to get out the vote. They don't welcome newcomers and get them registered. They don't go door to door campaigning. They don't put together lists of places for candidates' yard signs. They don't phone bank. They don't find/encourage other Dems to run for local offices. And they don't even work the goddamn polls on election days. No wonder that even though Pennsylvania Democrats have an approximate 1.1 million registration edge (as of 2012), the GOP controls both chambers of the legislature! http://articles.mcall.com/2012-01-19/news/mc-pa-republican-voter-gains-20120119_1_voter-registration-registration-gap-new-voters

The ineptitude of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party would seem to suggest that changes do need to be made. Imagine a party with a substantial registration edge being unable to get their people out to vote in off year elections and losing the PA legislature time after time again, this time to the point where the GOP has the largest House margin since 1958. The Democratic Party in PA seems to be going in reverse instead of going forward. The record is appalling and pathetic. They have allowed the minority Republicans to rule the legislative roast because somehow they cannot even inspire their constituency to get off their duffs and go to a polling station. Something needs to be done fast, because this PA Republican Party is no longer the moderate Republican Party of your father's day where people like Bill Scranton and other GOP moderates from SE PA's philly suburbs ran things. The radicals of the far GOP right are now filtering into the state party (people like Daryl Metcalfe) and there is no one to stop them in this blue state except Democrats. Yet, this party continues to display breathtaking incompetence in legislative politics. No wonder the Governor started his own organization.

PA 12 candidate Erin McClelland - pro Union, not pro Wall Street/1%

As a responsible citizen and a progressive Democrat, I support candidates based on their abilities, their demonstrated ethics and values & their political and personal history, but never, never because they happen to be the same sex as me. That said, as a woman, I am truly delighted when I find such a candidate and they happen to be female.

Meet Erin McClelland, candidate for the United States Congress from Pennsylvania's 12th District. Her first run for any political office was back in 2014, against uber-conservative, incumbent Keith Rothfus. She was outspent 10 to 1, but she campaigned hard, getting her name out in the most gerrymandered Congressional District in the U.S. - it stretches like one of those dancing dragons in a Chinese New Year's Day parade, across from the Ohio border in Beaver County southeast into part of Somerset County, patching together bits and pieces of FIVE counties - Beaver, Allegheny, Cambria, Somerset and Westmoreland. Building on her work in that first campaign, she's back to challenge Rothfus again.

In that 2014 campaign, a civic group to which I belong invited her and Rothfus to debate at our meeting (as Rothfus had done in a prior campaign). We offered Rothfus FIVE different dates, but his office kept declining and finally told us there was no way he would appear before the election - a subtler pre-twist on that, "I'll tell you my position AFTER I'm elected." So we offered Ms. McClelland the entire program and she accepted.

With my background in local and state politics, including 10 years as staff attorney and executive director for the Democratic caucus in the state House of Representatives, I was skeptical of anyone running for national office without some prior experience as an elected official. I have to tell you, her detailed, issue-rich presentation, for an hour, without a single note, and her effective responses to a barrage of audience questions, blew me out of the water. I went up to her afterwards, told her of my initial concerns, and told her I was glad she was running for Congress, because with her abilities, she was too good for and would be wasted in Harrisburg (PA state capitol) and she was ready for D.C.

You can read the back story on her 2014 campaign here. http://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2013/08/26/Democrats-hopes-rest-on-Erin-McClelland-against-Rothfus/stories/201308260099
Mrs. McClelland, 38, was raised in the Natrona Heights section of Harrison, graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1993 and from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 with a degree in psychology. In 2003, she received a master's in counseling and industrial organizational psychology from Chatham University.

That year she also worked for the Institute for Research Education & Training in Addiction, where she studied methods by the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative.

She founded Arche Wellness in 2006, a rehabilitation center that uses conventional and alternative treatments to treat substance abuse, depression and other maladies.

Mrs. McClelland has deep union ties: Her great-grandfather organized for the Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO, while at Pittsburgh Plate Glass; her grandfather was a steelworker; her mother was a nurse at Citizens General Hospital in New Kensington and a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers; and her father and brother are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 29.

Here are some recent posts from her FB page:
"This picture posted by USW Local 1219 President Jim Johnston took my breath away. Jim and his local have been incredibly supportive of 1196 and the other Locals effected by the ATI lock out. Now he is facing a similar situation with US Steel. Please support the working families of US Steel who continue the fight for real family values and America's middle class. Thanks Jim! - In solidarity my brother, Erin"

"I just got home from a shift of standing on the picket line with some of the brothers of USW 1196 at ATI in Brackenridge (and I am actually freezing!!) It was cold out there!
When I signed in the log book for visitors, it was so wonderful to see all the names from the Teamsters and AFSME that were there earlier today. Thank you so much for supporting our working families. They really need you. And thanks to Ian, Charlie and Bobby O for a great night!
I made a nice big plate of bacon and eggs and then I'm off to get a little sleep. In solidarity, Erin"

She's also making the obligatory rounds of the myriad Democratic county groups' picnics/fish fries/ barbecues, etc. I only hope that for once, the staid, regressive state Democratic party will actually give her some support, rather than supporting a crap primary opponent. In the 2014 election she had to waste precious resources in a primary battle with a political hack/rifle range operator dredged up to run against her. (In 2009, Hugya used campaign money to buy a rifle at an NRA meeting. In that same year, Murtha's Republican challenger, Bill Russell, accused Hugya of threatening to have Russell recalled to active Army duty. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hugya

So, if any of you happen to be in the 12th PA District, please reach out and contact her campaign and offer your support. Or if anyone else reading this is looking for a progressive candidate to support with a donation, please consider helping her campaign. She would be a hella representative of TRADITIONAL Democratic values in Congress.

Sen. Pat Toomey is failing veterans

Letter to the Editor - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Sen. Pat Toomey has a very disingenuous and inaccurate political TV ad with a very pleasant woman who says she is a naval veteran. Her message is that Sen. Toomey has supported veterans while in the House and the Senate.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Some examples from his record:

He voted against 12 Veterans Affairs budgets.
His answer to the falsification of VA records was to send the low-level workers to jail instead of providing additional funding and manpower to do the job right without any consequences for upper management.
He voted to send troops to war but blocked the Veterans Job Act.
He voted against bankruptcy protection for National Guard and Reserve members sent to Afghanistan and Iraq.
He voted against a program that gives child-care assistance to veterans.
He voted to defund Veterans Business Outreach Centers at the Small Business Administration.
He voted against the Comprehensive Health and Benefits Bill of 2014, which would have expanded treatment for traumatic brain injuries and veterans job training,

If this was looking out for veterans I’d hate to see what he would do if he wasn’t.

Retired Army Major
Squirrel Hill
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