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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.

-LC

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 …..it 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).

-SWB

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.

Cheers

-SWB

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.

-SWB

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

-SWB

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.

-SWB

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 http://www.sophisticatedpittsburgh.com.  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 ….

Thanks

-Karyon