Friday, February 18, 2011

BREAKING: WDUQ News Reports on Foundation-led Regional News Project

You'll be quick to peg this as unvarnished good news:

Using grants totaling $578,000, the Pittsburgh Foundation this summer will launch an on-line initiative "to preserve and strengthen the delivery of local news and information." Foundation President and CEO Grant Oliphant says the initiative will offer in-depth reports on "key issues impacting the Pittsburgh region and cultivating broad community involvement." (WDUQ)

Blast! Just when I gave up on journalism...

According to Oliphant, this venture will seek to work closely with regional partners in the mainstream broadcasting and print media, and initially will use a core of independent freelance journalists. (ibid)

It's about time. Partners, eh?

“Independence and impartiality are critical requirements for the successful and credible operation of our on-line news service and Pittsburgh Filmmakers is an ideal partner, providing a resourceful base from which this initiative will continue to develop and grow." (ibid)

Three cheers for independence and impartiality in the media. I heard this news story reported on 90.5 FM WDUQ in my car before I spotted it online. It happens to be pledge drive season, so before and after this news, pledge hosts were going on and on about the intelligent, non-agenda-driven, high-caliber news available on NPR and DUQ. Anyway, if the Foundation and the Filmmakers are embarking on a new regional news venture, they are to be congratulated and encouraged to roll things out on the best possible footing.

Speaking of WDUQ, it is in the process of being sold from Duquesne University to a new media venture, Essential Public Media. It could mean some changes for the station's programming.

WYEP, Mr. Cardamone added, has talked informally with local foundations to gauge interest in supporting the new public radio station.

"The foundations have been on the scene from the very beginning. We need to build a sustainable radio station," Mr. Cardamone said. (Marylynne Pitz)

Hmm, there again are the foundations. Might there be any connection?

Asked by WDUQ-FM staff member Kevin Gavin if the new station will offer jazz, Mr. Cardamone replied, "We don't really have specifics. We understand the legacy that jazz represents in Pittsburgh." (ibid)

So it was written. See, it's the jazz listeners here, who must make up a sizable portion of WDUQ's member base which is harvested from these very pledge drives, whom many see as potentially having the most to lose in this sale.

Well, who knows. Hopefully it will all work itself out, as good people with extremely laudable intentions have productive conversations which lead to to smooth processes and regional innovation based on sound grassroots principles.

*-SEE OTHER: Slag Heap, Chris Potter.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Forget teh Democrats. Three Republican candidates are now in the race for the office of Allegheny County Executive: accused elder fraud conspirator Councilman Charles P. McCullough, accused Tea Party organizer Patti Weaver, and Mt. Lebanon Ward 1 Commissionner Raja (P-G, Len Barcousky & Trib, Team Effort).

Learn about Raja the same way I did: from May 16, 2007's Pgh Hear & Now, P-G, Dennis Roddy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snapshot of the Police Transparency Public Hearing

I call it that because as I understand it, the police reform legislation which still survives in the immediate wake of the Jordan Miles incident would require the recording, compiling and making transparent of certain raw data pertaining to police interactions with the public (or at least with suspects) perhaps by means of wide usage of some form of handy tear-sheets, a data entry clerk and a website. It would be optimal to also have watched the Post-Agenda session last week, but it will be pretty good to watch Council deliberations on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

Introducing the hearing on his legislation, Councilman Burgess:

Many registered public speakers spoke for three minutes. To give you blog readers a taste, here is the bevy of one-minute unregistered speakers towards the end:

The status of when I will have any or all of the 3-minute speakers online is: Part 1 and Part 2 and more and more of that is available, the rest will be eventually. The audio for some was lacking. Note also the presence of a podcast at Here is one final one-minute speaker (Lucille Prater-Holiday), followed by remarks from those City Councilors present:

I pick up the end of Burgess's invitation to attend Feb. 23's Council meeting and the hearing's adjournment here. Thereafter by request he performed another bit of Reverendly duty here.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Battlestar Galactica, S4 EP4
"Love and Rocket"
The Valentine's Day Episode

Who is Appalling, Outragious, Abusive, Shameful and Monarchical?

As many of you know, this happened on Day 1 of this year's new session of the PA House of Representatives...

This video was circulated widely on the social media tip by House Democrats. One nice summary of the events can be found at Capitol Ideas by John L. Micek.

Democrats were offering 42 amendments to a reform package that had passed the chamber previously in 2010, when there were ironically even more Democrats. In apparent reaction, Republicans changed internal House rules to winnow minority-party representation on committees and change the way amendments are adopted. Rep. Mike Turzai (R-here) took a beating. Rep. Dan Frankel (D-here) guaranteed that "not one of these amendments was to be destructive" or "hostile," and challenged the media to delve into the contents of the amendments (a smart play). The Democrats seemed conspicuously well-prepared to holler about tyrrany. This is basically how our House of Representatives felt it best to kick off the new year. Morning Call reporter John L. Micek seemed to be of the expressed sardonic opinion that the reforms in question weren't all that necessary or important. What is the latest on this, and will it affect how Turzai & Company get, shall we say, state store privatization done? It seems like the Democrats may have had better stage presence, or have been hungrier to start off the year.

Early Spring Disclosure

Something of a noteworthy announcement. I am now doing a speck of research consulting for the City of Pittsburgh, through the office of Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith. I've been at it for a few weeks actually, but as a matter of routine the Council had to vote to approve it, which I understand it did with mercifully minimal discussion. Reckoning by the speed of proceedings that bill was signed.

It's part-time work, and temporary -- but obviously it means some changes for your Pittsburgh Comet.

What those changes shall be is not clear. Believe it or not the Councilwoman and I haven't talked about it terribly in depth -- I've received surprisingly few suggestions. Perhaps no suggestions at all? I know I have been encouraged to keep stating my mind. I know well enough on my own to redouble my aspirations to do so respectfully.

I think it's safe to say you're going to see more proportionally in this space about Harrisburg, about Allegheny County, about Cleveburgh, and maybe a bit about Baltimore. Just to be safe. There are other blogs for parsing Pittsburgh polemically.

Then again, I don't see myself not writing about the pensions crisis anytime soon. I don't see myself not writing about Hill District area planning and development (sorry, RDL). I don't see myself not writing about public safety here and there. So maybe nothing will change but the background. Who knows.

From time to time, it will become appropriate to again disclose this interest, although I feel as though my blog commenters will take care of that for me.

Let me just say in regards to the work, I am really excited and really optimistic. I can't say enough about the trust placed in me -- after all the agonized howling I've done over City of Pittsburgh resources in this space, I feel a tremendous responsibility. Onward and forward!

*-SUGGESTED DISCUSSION TOPIC: Egyptian helmets (Non-Standard).

See guided photo essay at Anyway, I Digress.... I don't see how it's "un-PC" as long as it's genuine; that photo has an AP stamp. It might be a little unsettling if you're into Mubarak.