Archive for the ‘political’ Category

“Power”‘s That Be

May 21, 2018 Leave a comment

“Aging Power” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

Power … it’s an amazing and amazingly useful thing.

From a simple think like electricity that give us the easy life – heating our homes, cooking, keeping food fresh … it’s wonderful. I think if people went back to the old days where you had to go to market daily or, well, kill a chicken here and there on your farm for food, etc people would very much appreciate how much less than simply power is – when applied in its correct context.

Then there is the other “power” – political and otherwise. Many times it’s a power that starts out for good – freeing people and otherwise, many times from tyranny.

So, why many times does that good power “go south”, get rusted, and eventually possibly become what it was initially fighting to correct?

Here is what I think:

Power is useful when used with good guidance. When that guidance is ignored or no longer sought out, it becomes like an older part of a power grid – the rust takes over and no longer efficiently transfers electricity across that part of the grid (holding back services from those that need it).

Lot’s of time checks and balances are in place, the rusting is noticed, and replaced with new sections – and the power flows again to those that need it.

The other reason … we just don’t to even start discussing a subject like this because people are “tired of dealing with it”.

Well, sometimes you have to deal with things … in a positive manner.

Sometimes those dealings take time.

Sometime with baby-steps so small that you may never see the end result in your life time.

So, next time you want to vent on Facebook on another popular social media venue – maybe take a day to cool down and email or write to someone that can get that rust that is impeding whatever power problem you have removed or remidiated. It may not happen that day … but maybe your children will have a much brighter future because you took a few minutes to put somthing in motion.

Save the world — talk to someone, write a letter, care. Baby-steps are still steps.


Just something to think about.


Praying to the aliens

April 29, 2018 Leave a comment

“Pointing to the sky” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

No, I’m not trying to steal from a Gary Numan song (right now I’m imagining at least 60% of the readers say “who is Gary Numan?”. Search on the name … you’ve probably done a bit of finger tapping to his tunes).

Notice, I didn’t say “Google” the name … I’m tired of “Googling” – it’s getting irritating.

Anyway … back to praying to the aliens.

Oh, for ^&%^%*%^^$% …. here’s the words. It’s a book now too ….

Ya happy now ….. I’ve proven I’m not trying to redo his song, and gave you a book to read.

Getting on getting on …

For all the people who talk the talk, there is maybe .0005% that at least try to walk the walk (no matter what walk it is). You know the people that quote about everything they believe in (I’m not pointing out any belief in specific … this is a generalization), but never really have any understanding about what the are saying. Think about it … if we’re not even checking out what we believe in, or what we say we believe in – we might as be praying to the aliens.


Well, if we that profess we believe in something, don’t even at least brush the dust off the books that document what we believe in … why would anyone else believe us about the things we are saying about our beliefs, and/or actual be interested in getting involved in the same beliefs?

Which is why people take Gary Numan more seriously about “praying to the aliens” than they do someone who says that they are praying to God, etc.

Think about it … very few people can defend, even in the smallest way, what they believe in – so they yell, and scream, and start lawsuits over words.

How does this apply today? Since many have gotten to the point where they are becoming ignorant to any words being produced by their vocal cords … it has created a culture where nothing is verifiable, hence “fake news”. Even legitimate news take a chance on becoming fake news due to many not believing any news.

To come soon: Legitimate cults and fake religions. Oops …. sorry, too late.

Our society, at times, does a very good job of dumbing itself down, and history repeats itself.

Read a little …. it doesn’t hurt that much. Besides letting you learn, it validates what you believe in (or not) to you and others, and legitimizes the words coming out of your mouth (or being written your postings).

Once people understand what is going on in their own heads … they will stop taking offense to every other word coming out of another persons mouth.

Cheers. To a better future – with more understanding.


Cops N Coffee

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

SWBSoStupidHow did “Cops N Coffee” and up in “so stupid it could actually happen”?

Well, read on ….

But, let me bore you first by filling you in on a little bit about the writer (me): First, I was never military or a copy, or basically anything of legal authority recognized by a uniform. I did grow up for over twenty years next door to the Deputy Sheriff of Allegheny County and his sons. Some of his children became local officers and mayors of our community. The community I grew up in was Brentwood, similar to the one I live in now (Glen Osborne / Sewickley Area). Originally my wife and I did a little stint in Leetsdale after we were married, but opted to move into the Glen Osborne / Sewickley community next to us – not for status, but simply it reminded me of my old neighborhood (many people knew each other, the law enforcement and people in the local government were integral parts of the community, and it was a safe place where you want to raise a family … whether you owned a mansion or BMW or a small house and a Dodge {BTW, a little trivia note — there were more BMWs in the Brentwood/Whitehall area than in the Sewickley area when I grew up}).

Again …. I love my community because it was safe, the same as I love the one I live in now.

I also respected the police officers and other officials not because of uniform, but because they were tightly integrated with the community – there were no false arrests, or brutality, or abuse from police officers or other government officials towards people in the community … incidentally, the people in the community rarely ever had run ins with the law or otherwise.

So why did this work out so well?

Community … the officers were your friend’s dads or moms, your parents friends, your friends, your neighbors – yes, even the ones that lived outside of the community became part of it. The most effective safety system in a community is everyone in that community becoming an integral part of it and accessible in it – this it most critical with government representatives and officers of the law.

Why the long-winded explanation?

When I look at a community and see the local cops congregating at a local diner, convenience store, coffee shop, etc it communicates one thing to me … this place is safe – I would raise my family here.  Why? They are completely accessible to the members of their community, of which most communicate with them daily. This also shows me the connection created hampers things like police brutality (ie. why would you harass your neighbor if you just had Christmas dinner with them or simply shared conversation over coffee?), government corruption, etc. When I see officials from the local government hanging out in the local places being accessible, it lets me know I really can have a voice in the community (and a better chance to have their actions in governing reflect what the community really wants). When I watched this disappear from other communities I’ve lived in I’ve watch crime, police brutality, and political corruption become rampant and take over those communities … some being very well established, very wealthy communities. I not longer live in them because I no longer feel safe in them. Many left those communities feeling the same.

Why did this happen?

Complaints: “The cops aren’t doing their jobs because they are hanging out drinking coffee and eating donuts”, “The government officials aren’t doing their jobs because their hanging out talking to people in the communities”, “They should be out fighting crime (even when there isn’t any)”, “They should be cutting costs – not sipping coffee”, etc.

The summary after all of the boring rant:

When your community is safe because your police officers and government representatives are hanging out in your local businesses you don’t complain about their presence or the $3.00 they spend on a cup of coffee or take up parking spaces when these actions bring complete accessibility in your community simply because this brings to them the knowledge of the people they are protecting and representing – this is a gift, not a liability, nor an expense.

For the simple:  You don’t hinder your officers, borough managers, mayors, clerks, etc from hanging out together in your local businesses … because them being on the community’s payroll isn’t what makes your community safe – it’s those people becoming an effective, integral, and accessible part of it that makes your community safe.

Share this out if you support your local police offices, local government officials, and local government workers hanging out in the community and becoming part of it instead of folks you know see in the papers or on the news. In other words, share this out if you want “Cops N Coffee” to continue in your community or start in it.

So, why did this make “So Stupid It Could Actually Happen?” …. simply because it does, and then people in communities wonder why the cops can get away with abuse of power, local government clerks can steal, mayors can waste a community’s money …. all because those people that were initially accessible in the community are eventually pushed out of it into inaccessible offices and cars.


The Art of Photography While Driving and How it Pertains to Politics

September 17, 2016 Leave a comment

roadway091716A great low-res pic of the roadway in from my car.

As you can see, my fancy new windshield wipers are working flawlessly.

… or maybe you can’t see.  It’s taken with my fancy $10 Vivitar key chain camera bought at Rite Aide 5 years ago. Beats my $2400 Fuji Pro2 any day 🙂

So why post a really bad photo from a camera where it’s in high debate that it actually has a lens in it?

Well, a bit of nostalgia … really capture images like those very crappy film camera you bought in the gum ball machines in the 70s and 80s – a really distorted, although recognizable view of what’s really there.

BTW …. before we go further, a little clarification for the thin-minded: I really didn’t take this while I was driving the car, I was stopped in a legal area to do so with someone behind me for safety. Why do I have to clarify that? … Well, because I’ve been around long enough to know if enough people read this, some of the more dim-witted will buy a few key chain cams and start taking pics around the ‘burgh in their cars while forgetting to actually drive their cars. I would feel bad about any accidents(well, not that bad … they’re the stupid idiots taking pics while driving their cars), considering I’d already have to deal with dumb questions like “how do I get the pics off the cam, it doesn’t have a screen”. I get the same question from people that buy modern day film cameras, failing to realize they bought a film camera (you can’t make that one up).

Ok … now past the incoherent babble, what does this even have to do with modern day politics??

Well, it’s exactly the same thing … a view that looks like what our founding fathers created, blurred a bit so you can’t see the details, but cheap enough you’ll but it anyway (when I did an art project with keychain cams I sold some of the pics at shows for $30 a piece … more than I ever sold with shots taken with my pro camera).

It’s sort of like reality shows (I’m REALLY hoping you don’t think any part of those shows are real), which our elections are starting to get like – well produced marketing with enough blur so you think you are really getting what you ordered until you actually open the box and find a really crappy picture of a road taking with a camera that cost three times less that what you just paid for the picture.

The art of photography and how it pertains to politics … it’s really an unsafe stupid way to get a really crappy blurry image of reality.

Realize what’s around you, look at what’s around you, make informed decisions, don’t let modern day marketing make the decisions for you.

This is our political contribution to the 2016 reality show (ooops … I mean election).


Out Of A Coma

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

We’re back …. or at least out of a coma.

Slightly after our little stint of “help” from the folks at Sophisticated Pittsburgh on upping our number of blog writers, they in fact lost many of theirs.  In other words people got real jobs, go married, or just disappeared of the face of the earth at SP.  As a result, we are coming back to our original self.

So, about our original self. The blog experimentally started in 2005, and was moved to .mac via the Apple iWeb.  We started writing around the time that PittGirl, CafeWitness, and others started and gained one of the top growing blog rankings ending up with 2000 readers per day, across 15 countries while on the .mac site.

That actually scared us, considering the amount of vomit we spewed out in those days along with the other rant blogs.  I’m not sure we’ll be as harsh these days, but we’ll try.

BTW – while we were hosting on .mac, Apple kindly asked us to move our site due to their product not being originally made for the amount of throughput we were getting.

So, around Spring of 2008 we moved to WordPress.

The Weasel is back, and we will be blowing word chunks as far as possible.



PowerUp Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Jobs

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Here we go again …. another program destined to make Pittsburgh great.

PowerUp Pittsburgh (click here to learn more from the Post-Gazette article), will supposedly spider out the successes of the technology and health industries in Oakland.  Some of that has already happened, but PowerUp is supposed to help fill in dying area (where businesses have moved out, etc).  We encourage you to really read the article as it explains the project much better than SWB possibly could.

We are not going to bash the program at all, but in fact we are going to thank Mayor Luke and all involved to get this ball rolling.

Why are we thanking them?  Well, it’s because they aren’t starting with a completely written-in-stone plan.

Why is this good? Because Pittsburgh residents and workers (or more likely ex-workers) still have the time to try and influence it.

So why should ‘Burghers think about trying to influence the program and why did we initially say “Here We Go Again” like we were going to blast the program? One simple reason … we’ve done this before and by the definition of those programs they’ve been wildly successful.

For example, programs to bring industries into Pittsburgh have brought companies like Google, Seagate (now gone, but they came), and other prestigious names into the area … but there is one problem with the available jobs from those companies – they require a Masters or Phd.  So basically the people in the that have lost jobs in Pittsburgh cannot re-acquire employment with the education and skills that they already have because they don’t have that new shiny piece of paper.  Keep in mind many of these people are like me and have 25 years of tech experience with up to date technologies and have massive management and professional skills gained over 25 years of employment.  What people like me don’t have is another $100k to land an entry level position for about $40k.  If you want a decent job today, you are looking at $120k to possibly $250k by the graduation time.  Do the math on that one.  If you gain a decent job (even $50k/yr starting) once you subtract your financial aid payments, you are lucky to make rent payments in a low income housing project (but you aren’t allowed to live there because you now have a good job making $50k/yr).  The chances you have of making a life event remotely close to the quality of the one your parents had is slim and next to nil. Even with the great education … that is until your schooling is paid off, around the age of 65.  So what’s left if you can’t affored the re-ed? … the $8 to $12/hr jobs that still leave you homeless, but with enough money to at least buy clothes so you don’t get arrested for lewdness when you are dumpster-diving at your local McD’s because you can’t even afford to eat there.  So let’s get to your children’s education … it ain’t gonna happen.  Even if you wanted them to go to college you’ve already blown their higher education savings for yourself so you can get back to work.  Nothing left …. sorry kid.

So why do we rant about the above …. isn’t any jobs coming in good jobs?  Yes, and don’t stop supporting the programs that get in place and attract jobs, everything helps.  What people do need to do though is remind those doing the programs that they need to remember those skills already in the area (not the skills they want to attract to the area) so that the people already losing homes, families, and hope can get back to work and recover.  It’s great when new things appear (I lived in SouthSide Words when it was being built, and then the Cork Factory) and that was a wonderful experience.  but now, like many others in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas we watch program after program that helps people come into the city, gain skills, and take them back out … but programs continually totally forget those skills already in place.

I no longer live in the new places because we all forgot to fight to keep our jobs here, and allowed greed to move them out. There is this new re-outsourcing thing.  India, Russia, and others are so overloaded with tech jobs that they no longer have enough skilled persons to do them that they are bringing the jobs back to the US … at their pay levels.  So that job you were paid $30/hr for is not at a rate of about $11 to $13 per hour.  Most of those jobs were illegal to obtain by foreigners that moved to the US, unless there were no US citizens to do them.  So we forgot about our own, and never did any of these new programs address that.

The one key thing that all these wonderful programs forget is that this city at one time was made into and international wonder simply because everyone here supported each other and didn’t forget where we came from.

We’re forgetting … and we are allowing those running programs to forget also.

Don’t let them forget why Pittsburgh was what it was and could be greater if we once again rely on that key thing … building each other up.

Why was Steve Jobs so revered?  He never forgot, and he never stopped pushing those below him to be as passionate as he was.  We need to relearn that.


The Weiner Effect – and the lacking of spines in the world

June 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, this was a hard one (no pun intended ….. and if you thought it was, get your head out of the gutter!).  We had a difficult (better choice of word here) time figuring where to put this.  Should it be under Rants?  Should it be under Clueless Awards? Not sure …. hmmmm.  Finally we decided on “So Stupid it could happen”.

Are we going to get on Mr. Weiner (click here to read the related USA Today article if you are clueless on Mr. W) on his apparent bad choices in lack of appropriate coverage?  Nope …… got enough tabloids doing that (and they’re all thanking Anthony for providing the photos they don’t have to take hours photo-shopping).  So what are we going to do, you ask with a confused smirk on your face?

Get to the root cause, as SWB loves to do (we said we were going to clean up the blog a bit when Sophisticated Pittsburgh took it over, but we didn’t agree to look the other way when someone places a six-foot diameter lit up neon bulls eye on their own head).

The polititio’s (new word created by SWB this second … we’ll trade you for a BMW for the rights to the word once it gets popular), have been quiet around the world except for standard stuff … so we’ve been quiet. But …………. courtesy of Mr. Weiner (my wife giggles every time she’s hears his name …), we now have a reason to write.

Well, Mr. W (or whatever you are calling him now) made a mistake many are making.  That’s right, he’s human and made a mistake.  Unfortunately he didn’t have the common sense to realize that he’s under the view of a 3000 watt spot light at all times.  See …. we’re getting to a root cause of the problem, or at least a secondary root cause at this point … common sense.

Why is common sense only the secondary root cause to the problem of Mr. W having none of it to use while texting semi birthday suit pics on himself to someone other than his wife? Weight … lots of it.  The problem with weight is its controlled by gravity.  The only thing that keeps the weight of common sense from crashing to the ground and turning into a pool of single-celled useless sludge is a spine (of as us Americans like to call it … backbone).

A spine …. it’s that thing that keeps your body from collapsing to the ground.  Backbone … it’s that thing that keeps you life from crashing to the ground due to mistakes you make in life because they are corrected or contained by the common sense that the backbone holds up.

Where is one place we get that backbone?  School.  Yup. Early on in life many things started to build up our backbone, and one of then was our experiences in school. You made mistakes in school, whether it be to slander another and have to pay for it later.  You may have been made fun of and reacted in a bad way.  You may have done something inappropriate (which is the PC word for “you did something some parent of some kid didn’t like and complained about).  But …… you handled it, you learned from it, you build up a backbone from it, because those adults in charge around you guided you – but didn’t handle it for you.  You learned how to treat those around you with respect and courtesy and began to learn what was right to do and what was wrong to do by trial and error. That’s how a backbone gets built.  Nobody can build it for you … it has to be left to form by itself with guidance.  Forming a good solid backbone is not always meant to feel good.

So where is this going?

We may be wrong, but we’re going to say that Mr W is the product of one of those schools where students are meant to “feel good about themselves all the time” and every issue is handled by the adults in charge to make sure that the students know how to act appropriately and not make and other student not feel bad.  Yep … the “if Johnny goes home crying for one day, he’s going to be scared for life” attitude.

Great idea, but when a backbone is not allowed to develop because any learning via the normal “pain, hurt, and general unpleasentries of the world” is removed, a backbone will not be built, and if by chance it does get built, it will have so many holes in it the result will be eventual collapse. The collapse of a backbone leads to the definite collapse of a spine.

Where is this going? Well, if Mr. W had built up a better backbone early on in life, maybe he wouldn’t be bringing such shame to his family, spouse, political party, and adding to the shame of the country he is representing.

Our country a great one, not just because of the freedom, but because of the unique peoples it creates via the being the melting pot of the world. You get the development of top-notch technology, top-notch health care and more because of this.  Unfortunately many are beginning to see low-life politicians leading to the view of this country by others are a land now void of backbone … what people know and recognize as what built America, and one of the few things that can sustain it.

“So Stupid It Could Happen” is not the fact that Mr Weiner was dumb enough to do what he did, but the fact that people like him with a lacking of common sense to correct or contain the mistakes they make (in his case, the lack of ability to “Man Up” and deal with your mistakes before getting pushed into the corner and forced to do it).

Do we thinks that Mr. W is correct is apologizing and staying in his position so he can now try to build up a backbone?  Yes … second chances are necessary to build up character and even a backbone.  We’ll see where it goes.

Take a look at Mr. Weiner and you get an in your face welcome to the what is most likely the product of the now in fruition product of America’s new “feel good” education.

‘Nuff Said


I *WILL* picket that funeral ….

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

… even if I drive a whole family just trying to grieve into an endless spiral of depression.  I DON’T CARE how they feel.

Read The Tribune Review’s coverage on the courts giving the OK to picket military funerals and basically that is the underlying message from the people taking those actions.

Personally I am a huge supporter of free speech even when I strongly disagree with what is being said.  It’s how people get their opinion’s stated, work things out, and reason we don’t have a dictator as a leader. It is America.

But …

When you use the excuse of free speech to punish a family that only wants to bury a dead son or daughter, etc with respect, you are now into a level of hate crime – not free speech.  If you want to speak out against the military, you take that to the government that can do something about it, not the grieving family that has absolutely no power to do anything.

There are two main points to prove where these people are going wrong in what they are doing (and I make these point while saying I am not in total agreement with the wars we are in also):

1. For a Christian, turning someone away from God is the worst possible outcome of the use of your faith.  If you turn up at someone’s funeral picketing with hateful messages about the loved one that just got buried because they were in the military, you are doing exactly that – turning people away from God.

2. From a free speech perspective.  You’ve just opened the door to hate crimes being condoned due to free speech court decisions. This is a quote from the Tribune-Review:

“First Amendment advocates praised the decision, saying the right to free speech must be supported no matter how hateful the message.”

That statement is the key to showing this who attitude towards picketing a military funeral is simple wrong and completely against the grain of our country.  It’s an attitude you would expect in a place like China, not America.

So now with the statement above you’ve actually opened up the Pandora’s box on the issue.  You’ve now opened up arguments that it’s OK for someone like a white supremacist to say that a statement like “All Blacks Need Killed”, etc is free speech, not pre-hate crime talk.  Did the first amendment advocates think of this before being happy that they have now cleared the way for slander to rein over this country, and for hate to quickly consume our actions??

Probably not.


This was written to get you to think about your actions before you take action.  Free speech is a true gift that NO OTHER COUNTRY HAS.  If we, as American’s drive it into the ground just because one group wants the “we are right, the courts say so” trophy – our country will be ruined (and the right to any type of free speech will be ruined).  Our parents were right when they constantly said “think before you do”.

** SWB was allowed to write this response to the Trib’s article as an editorial, etc.  The site that now sponsors the blog is not responsible for this posts content.

Karyon Nightly

Hello SWB readers, I’d like to introduce myself.  My name is Karyon Nightly, one of the writers for the website  Since we are taking control of SWB, I wanted to let you in on what we are planning on doing to move the site into something that can accompany S.P. as a blog.  SWB has a strong sarcastic and cynical side to it as most of the rant blogs did that started out around the mid 2000’s.  SWB will be that part of S.P. for those little sarcastic articles that we want to have fun with, but may not want to publish on the main site.  Here is what we are planning so far (there are many minds at work, so this may change from time to time):

  • We will be deleting any blog entries from SWB that may have too strong of an opinion, or quite frankly don’t any longer apply to issues in the city.
  • We will be toning down the sarcasm and strong opinions – we are not censoring, but challenging our writers to be as effective as SWB was, but with more creativity and good writing.
  • Although sarcastic, cynical, and a little ranty … we want to try to make our articles readable by all Pittsburghers and outsiders.

Keep in mind, just because we are making SWB a little nicer to fit in with Sophisticated Pittsburgh, that doesn’t mean if you deserve a slap to the face we won’t give it anymore.

We’ll still cover things like Pittsburgh politics, The Steelers, The penguins, enjoyable moments from the council, the Strip District, the wonderful roads, etc, etc.

more later ….




Changes To SWB

January 24, 2011 2 comments

Our New Owners

Yup, we being taken over.

This is for the good.  After being inactive for a while, another site has inquired about taking over Screaming Weasel.  There will be changes, it will retain some of  the sarcasm, but will lose some of the “rantiness”  and negativity that it had when it started around 2005-2006 and rant blogs were the fad – although we will gripe a little through it,  and SWB will be the occasional guest writer.

We think you’ll like it … and what it will present about Pittsburgh.

If you want to check out our new owners, Click Here

Here is their future WordPress Blog (Click Here)

Please welcome Karyon Nightly (sophisticatedpgh) as  the new main writer.


Civic Arena, Mellon Arena, The Igloo and Fate

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

This issue has been in the news for a while – the fate of the Igloo in Pittsburgh.

Everyone is trying to get their two cents in …. some want to tear it down and recreate the street plan as it was before the arena was there.  Some want to turn it into housing and shops. Some want to turn it into a skating park, etc, etc.

Has anyone considered asking the people of the Hill District what they want???

Consider this: when the arena was built – people were kicked out of their houses, whether they wanted to sell/move or not.  Some of those people were not given options to go to and some were actually left homeless.  Do you think maybe we OWE these people the right to make  the decision on the arena’s fate so that they may consider their own fate with their own decision?  Maybe it shouldn’t be about what the city wants or for the benefit of the AES.

Think about this: maybe since the land was technically stolen or taken from those that originally lived there (not to mention killing off the BEST jazz area that *ever* existed), maybe we should consider “giving” that area back to the Hill District residents to do with as they please, develop as they wish, maybe even with an apology from the city for originally doing what they did to get it where it is now.

If the city develops that land, or tears down the arena I can almost guarantee the use of that area or living in that are will be an unobtainable goal for most of that people in the Hill District – or even some of us outside that area that are considered “well off”.

If that land isn’t going back to the people of the Hill District … at least give them the right to decide it’s fate.  It’s their time – it should be their decision.

… or or we again just going to forget the forgotten?


Stupidity, 9/11, and the Quran Burning

September 9, 2010 1 comment

Photo from Associated Press article (click here).

After 2001, I never thought I’d put the words “Stupidity, 9/11, and the Quran Burning” all in once sentence.  I was wrong.

I also thought that never in this country would one man’s selfishness for his own free speech cause him to position our country to where it looks like Americans are inviting themselves into a holy war with the Middle East. I was wrong.

I also thought that it would take more than one man to make American look like the picture that others paint when they criticise us. I was wrong.

What’s wrong with the fact that this minister wants to burn the Quran in protest of the radicals he believes it represents?  From a a free speech point of view – nothing.

Is it this minister’s right to voice his views via his free speech rights in this country? Yes.

Is is his right to indirectly cause harm to others via his use of his free speech rights? **NO**

That is this issue with this.  It’s not that people believe he does not have the right to do what he wants to do, but the free speech rights we have in this country (and the same rights that other countries are trying to acquire) come with great responsibility.

For the simple minded – that means that you have to be responsible enough in the use of your free speech rights to not put others in danger, get them killed, or cause unrepairable damage to a society as a whole.  Terry Jones has stepped over those lines and abused his free speech rights.  Sadly to other countries this becomes a reflection of Americans as a whole.

So, our vote is to keep our free speech rights and shut down Terry Jones from doing what he is doing.  If not, there is a good chance that he could start a holy war with the Middle East that will never end, and also initiate a domino set of actions that will eventually curtail our free speech rights as Americans.


PS – We won’t even offer this guy a “Clueless Award”, we set that for those who have at least a minor inkling of hope ……. but we will say that Terry is a definite candidate for the new set of Dawrin Awards.

National Tea Party Part 2

April 16, 2010 Leave a comment

When people start flying the flag upside down, get quoted as saying “My grandparents didn’t come over here for this”, and now refer to the government as a “two party dictatorship” … there is something going wrong or has gone terribly wrong with out system of checks and balances. (BTW – some of these things are quotes from Craig Smith’s National Tea Party article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Please Click Here to read it).

In my opinion, the worst and best things to happen at the same time is the health care reform.

Does it need done? Yep.

Was it smart to building in on the foundation of wet sand that is the current health care system in America? Nope.

Health care needed reformed, better yet, just scrapped and recreated.

But is that really the main issue? No.

When you have lobby orgs big enough to inject thousands and thousands of dollars into election coffers, etc just to influence what they want, you now start completely ignoring what Americans want … thus pushing the “power of the vote” off to the side – along with the Americans behind it.

If your not smart enough to figure out that that’s a big slap in the face to those that have died fighting to protect our freedom.

Even having someone quoted as saying our country is now a “two party dictatorship” (a totally bipartisan statement) is a huge red flag that something needs fixed soon. People quickly forget that last two times people were this fed up with a situation in American and took action because they so strongly were against it were the Revolutionary War, and The Civil War.  Neither of those actions were pretty.

This is not condoning or stating any physical action needs done by the National Tea Party or anyone else, but simply stating that if Americans are starting to protest in the same ways and same levels as the people that actually live in countries with dictators, maybe the politicians in charge (who tend to forget they work for us) need to uncover their ears and actually listen a bit to the general public (the ones that actually formed and continually form this country).


PS – Ok, I think that’s my bit of political rant for the month.

Famous People That Tried To Avoid Taxes

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Just a quickie post here to bring your attention to a really colorful article by Bill Toland on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the more famous folks in the region that have “tried” to avoid paying taxes.

Click Here for the article.

Considering that we are becoming worse that the tax hording dolts we moved away from and revolted against, you gotta give these people credit for trying.


PS – we’re not the anti tax types, but when you start borderlining 40% of a person’s income simply because politicians are worse than new wife on a Macy’s sale day with a brand new empty credit card … you gotta weigh in with a word or two.

American Education And The All Consuming PSSA

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m not sure this will be a true “Rant Files” post, but we’ll run with it anyway.

Now, like everyone else in America we have a student involved with some form of testing used to rank the schools they go to.  In Pennsylvania, it is the PSSA (Click Here for the Wiki definition).

Unfortunately, this has resulted in schools teaching to prepare for those tests, and pride in higher rankings in those tests that it has adversely affected the quality of learning in out entire country.


  • The schools teach to test … they no longer teach to learn and apply the knowledge learned.
  • We teach quantity, not quality … our schools in this country teach quite a bit more than schools in other countries, but our students retain less overall than students in other countries.
  • There are others, but those are the main two we will discuss at this time.

What are the results of this?

  • Our own colleges and universities value international students heavily over American students because the international students bring the rankings up, bringing in more tuition to those colleges and universities. Scan the net, you’ll find many articles supporting that.  If you don’t believe that, go to the individual establishments and look at their push to gain international students.  They don’t bring in international students because it’s “cool”.
  • Our jobs are going to international individuals (not just offshore, or outsourcing … companies are moving people to this country to take over American jobs). They are not always getting our jobs because they are cheaper, but because they are better educated, more confident in what they know, and more capable to get the job done.  **Reality check here**
  • The hopes of the current generation to even have a little taste of “The American Dream” without having to move to another country are diminishing quickly.

How can I make these accusations, and what is my background?

  • I worked in a fortune 100 companies where I had the ability to communicate with people from about 60% of the countries on this planet.  Although my job was technical, part of it was discussing daily life and smalltalk to get the customer to calm down and be able to work a problem with me … or at least to get me the information I needed to do so.  Many of those people were parents, so education was always a top topic.
  • I still have family in both Italy and Germany.  That family includes farmers, business owners, and university professors.  I’ve talked with them enough to know where education stands in their countries.
  • I was educated with the basics well enough that it allowed me to get to a place that others only get to by attending college for six years, after only going to a tech school in the 80s. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had teach that instilled such a good foundation of basics and a capability of learning that at the age of 7 I was learning analogue electronics, at the age of 8 leaning how to program computers, at the age of 9.5 learning digital electronics and computer upgrades, at the age of 12 had written and sold my first full accounting package that remained in use until 1999, and at the age of 16 was working in an electronics sales job making the same part time as the full time adult sales people did.  I was a product of the education system at that time.

What are the differences?

  • Well, as I said before our schools now teach to test – not teach to acquire a solid foundation of basics that can be built upon. Teaching how to effectively apply the knowledge gained is also a lost art form in out schools.
  • Other countries teach much less in their schools than we do in America, but they teach it well.  When those students go on a holiday break they have effectively been educated with a good foundation of basics and knowledge of how to apply them that when they come back from even a longer holiday break they take very little time to get back on track compared to the time it takes our students.  They also retain what they have learned, and have the capability to quickly and solidly learn new things on their own – many times after education, our students who should be self sufficient still need hand holding in the workplace.  I know that because I’ve worked with the current generations of workers. “Taking off running with something” is NOT in their resume’ of capbilities anymore as it was with previous generations.

Who is to blame?

  • Everyone:
  1. the teachers for not keeping with the basics to provide a good learning foundation.
  2. the parents for not reinforcing to the schools what their children need to learn. (the customer is always right – unless they keep their mouths shut because they don’t want to make waves).
  3. the politicians for putting into place a system that both forces schools to pay more attention to rankings, and allows them bragging rights about their rankings – both causing them to put students second.
  4. etc, etc, etc.

My foundation:

It wasn’t that it was my being a “geek” that go me my knowledge and abilities, but the foundation and work ethic that my teachers, family, and mentors put in to me through my education that gave me the confidence, knowledge, and know-how to do anything I needed to.  I still retain that capability.  Sadly I don’t see that in many students today (they still need mommy to hand hold them most of the time) … unless you give them a written test – but if you make them apply what was on a test or remember it even shortly after a test, many, sadly, can’t.