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Halloween Trivia

The Night of the Living Dead by George Romero was filmed in the Pittsburgh area.

You’re welcome!

What would Fred Rogers do?

The “President” seems intent on coming to Pittsburgh today. As Sarah Sanders says, it’s his nature to fight back when he’s criticized. We might well wonder why the most powerful man in the world feels like he has to strike back at others when his feelings are hurt. But this is not a man who understands the privilege of his position or can rationalize when vengeance or need for attention is inappropriate.

So, I look to Fred Rogers today. I saw his Neighborhood set when I volunteered during a fundraiser for WQED when I was a student at Pitt. The castle where King Friday and Lady Elaine Fairchilde lived stood out in my mind and I have a fleeting memory of seeing Rogers as he passed through the studio.

We are very proud that Fred Rogers called Pittsburgh his home. Here’s what I think he would have said about today. This is from his book The World According to Mr. Rogers.

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

Maybe it’s not possible to perfectly care for Donald Trump today. Maybe we should allow ourselves to struggle with that. But we can show him how we love each other and will not let manufactured resentment and hatred overcome us.

Hold hands, look both ways when crossing the street and watch out for each other. We are all Pittsburgh today.

Pittsburgh in Blue

Please make our logo go viral. Spread the words.

Guess who’s coming to Pittsburgh?

From WaPo:

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will visit Pennsylvania on Tuesday to commemorate the victims of last week’s mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue, the White House announced Monday, even as the mayor of Pittsburgh publicly requested that the trip be postponed until after the funerals.

The White House announcement comes as tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the president to refrain from visiting the city until he denounces white nationalism.

At a regular briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president and first lady will make the visit to “express the support of the American people and grieve with the Pittsburgh community.”

“This atrocity was a chilling act of mass murder. It was an act of hatred and above all, it was an act of evil,” Sanders said, adding that the president “cherishes the American Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country.”


I don’t think anyone wants him here. A Rabbi at Tree of Life Synagogue was gracious enough to say he was welcome but that’s kind of his job as a religious leader.

The prospect of him coming here, doubling down on his pro-gun rhetoric and blaming the media for the violence perpetrated on innocent people makes me sick to my stomach.

But I want you guys to know that Pittsburgh is full of tough and decent people. The whole world will be watching. So we have to make our message count and be meaningful enough for everyone to learn from it.

I think we can. And we can do it without any violence from our side. I trust Mayor Peduto and the city to lead by example.

I’ll be working tomorrow downtown but will let you know if anything important happens in my immediate vicinity.

We’ll be Ok.

Good Morning from Pittsburgh.

A few years ago, I was in dahntahn Pittsburgh on Light Up Night standing by the old Hornes building as Mr. McFeely lead the city in a singalong.

Everybody knows the words.

The Greatest Speech

Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator (1940):

The “President” threatens to visit Pittsburgh #neveragain

Somehow yesterday, he managed to eventually read words of sympathy for the Jewish synagogue members who were gunned down by a man who had his brain soaked in right wing conspiracy theories. The shooter was convinced that Jews are planning to replace white guys like him with refugees.

If that sounds familiar, maybe it’s because “Jews will not replace us” was what the neo Nazis in Charlottesville were shouting last year. And Trump called them “very fine people”.

If you want to understand why Trump would say that about Nazis, go back and read the post about what Virginia Heffernan wrote about him. He doesn’t have a core or values or any cause he would die for. He’s got about as much introspection and internal consistency as a shark.

So, why is he coming to Pittsburgh? The real reason could be really loathesome.

After redistricting earlier this year, part of Mike Doyle’s solidly blue district was pushed into the neighboring district of Republican Keith Rothfus. He’s the Republican incumbent for PA17, a new district that doesn’t even exist yet. What’s even more confusing is that this district actually has 2 incumbents. Democrat Conor Lamb’s Pittsburgh neighborhood of Mount Lebanon was also pushed into PA17.

As of this year, I am also in PA17. My very blue township is one of the factors that has made PA17 a “lean Democrat” district from what should have been a blow out for Keith Rothfus. Now, why am I bringing all this political crap up in the context of a shooting massacre?

It’s because Keith Rothfus is in trouble. Pennsylvania is going to be in the spotlight again come Election Day. The blue wave will take place here. We have more competitive house races than anywhere in the country right now. We don’t have early voting in this state. And we don’t have a voter ID law. There are no paper trails on our voting machines. I think the governor ordered trails earlier this year but I don’t know if that was implemented.

In other words, a lot of mischief could happen in PA next week. Especially if 2nd amendment gun owners are motivated enough.

This is why Trump’s visit may be coming to PA. Keith Rothfus R-PA17, has an A rating from the NRA. Rothfus is one of those hard right Trump Republicans that has been under the radar. But this tragedy may focus attention on this House seat. Conor Lamb is a pro-gun Democrat who supports sensible gun regulation.

So, my guess is that Trump will make a visit not to comfort the victims, because let’s face it, he isn’t capable of comforting anyone. No, I think he’s going to come here to comfort his 2nd amendment supporters. No matter how tragic the event, no matter how hate filled the perpertrator, it’s important for 2nd amendment voters to know that Trump is on their side. What better way to remind them of that than to tell them that Democrats want to take all their guns away. It doesn’t have to be true. It just has to be a winning message.

That’s why I think he’s coming. To which I say to the White House, Don’t.

Don’t come to my modern, future oriented, open and friendly city and desecrate the neighborhood where Fred Rogers lived.

We need helpers right now and Donald Trump is not a helper.

Shooting in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh #neveragain

You may have heard already about the shooting at a the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. I’m pretty familiar with the neighborhood. I lived in there as a student. It’s a Jewish area of the city. Beautiful. Close to CMU and Pitt. I’m really shocked and upset by this. Rabid and violent anti-semitism is NOT a Pittsburgh value. Our city song is “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” and everyday, I see thousands and thousands of Pittsburghers living that song. It’s one of the friendliest cities in the country. It’s progressive, diverse, environmentally conscience. All the good things.

We are not like this.

The governor, Tom Wolf, is headed here. And we are represented by Mike Doyle, the Net Neutrality champion. I trust that they will bring sanity to this awful situation.

Meanwhile, remember the residents of Squirrel Hill, whose ancestors migrated here from pogroms in Eastern Europe, who survived the holocaust and discrimination in Soviet Russia to find safety and sanctuary in beautiful Squirrel Hill. This shooting is unacceptable. #neveragain.


We still don’t know how many fatalities there were. We hear 8-10 but the people in charge are not confirming that number. They’re grim. It’s not a good sign.

Meanwhile, Governor Wolf issued this tweet a little while ago:

Freedom Tower, NYCB, After the Rain

This short pas de deux was choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon for NYCB using Arvo Part’s spare minimalist Spiegel Im Spiegel. The dawn performance commemorated and celebrated the resilience of New York City after 9/11.

It’s never just “bomb stuff”.

We will overcome.

An encouraging word from a presidential historian.

“’I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”

Hold hands, look both ways when crossing the street, take care of one another. We’ll get through this.