Friday, March 20, 2009

Today's Oneword - Glow

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

The candle continued to glow through the evening. Then, like the night it lit, its life came to an end and its light gave way to the dawn.

Whitehall Hopes to Cop Stimulus Funding

Forget about roads, bridges, and infrastructure projects. Some of the federal stimulus money is being used to fund more cops, through the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, according to an article in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers.

The council for the Pittsburgh suburb of Whitehall council police Chief Don Dolfi to apply for grant funding through a newly created federal program that will allow the borough to hire two entry-level patrolman [sic].

The program will provide 100 percent of a new officer's salary and benefits for a three-year period.

Not that Whitehall needs new cops or can't afford them. The borough's financial solvency and low crime rate could limit the chances of being awarded any grant money. At the very least, we hope that this application doesn't get rubber stamped without a thorough review.

US Warships Collide - Crew Text Messaging Suspected

Two US warships, collided today in the Strait of Hormuz, according to the US Navy. The two vessels were identified as the nuclear submarine USS Hartford and an amphibious vessel, the USS New Orleans.

The collision in the early hours of Friday caused a 25,000-gallon oil spill. 15 sailors on the submarine were injured. "New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel tank, which resulted in an oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine," the U.S. Navy statement read, adding the incident was being investigated.

The Navy statement made no mention of speculation that navigators on the New Orleans were text messaging at the time of the incident.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Changes Needed In Public University Education

The New York Times ran a great article today on state university education, focusing on Arizona State University. Here's a great quote from it, which kind of captures my feelings on how many public universities have lost their way:

“Universities aspire to prestige, and that is achieved by increasing selectivity, getting a research mission and having faculty do as little teaching as possible, not by teaching and learning, and taking students from Point A to Point B.” - Jane Wellman, executive director of the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and Accountability, an organization that studies spending by colleges and universities.

According to Mark G. Yudof, president of the University of California, "Your first obligation as a public university is to treat the undergraduates right. That’s going to need a national attitude adjustment from leadership and boards of regents.”

Arizona State University President Michael Crow is in need of some of that attitude adjustment. ASU recruits National Merit Scholars nationwide with a four-year $90,000 scholarship, a package so generous that Arizona State enrolls 600 National Merit Scholars, more than Yale or Stanford. Through the cuts, Crow has kept that program, even while proposing to cut a scholarship for Arizona residents with high scores on state tests. Fortunately , the state's board of regents turned that proposal down.

It's time to focus on the public in public university education.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today's Oneword - Specific

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

I don't have a specific time when I check out the Oneword site. Usually it just ramdomly strikes me that I should see if there's a new word. Then I write something here and post it to my blog.

Western Pennsylvania Housing On The Brink

I snapped this photo between Canonsburg and Pittsburgh, either on I-79 or the Parkway West. The houses or townhouses on the right (see big red arrow) appear to be precariously situated. Our local real estate agents must have some awesome sales skills to be hawking these future piles of rubble.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pittsburgh Could Ban Porch Couches - Something That Could Never Happen in Morgantown

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers, Pittsburgh City Council has given its initial approval to legislation banning mattresses, box springs, sofas and upholstered chairs from city porches, primarily to prevent the celebratory burning of such items, as has happened repeatedly in Oakland.

The penalty for keeping upholstered furniture on a non-enclosed porch would be $200 to $500, plus court costs, per day, according to the article.

A couch on a porch "creates a health hazard. It draws pests and rodents and bugs," said Kelly Wawrzeniak, a community organizer with the Oakland Planning and Development Corp.

Mr. Kraus said he doesn't intend to restrict patio furniture that "is generally wrought iron or a vinyl composition" and is meant for outdoor use. Which is good because that furniture is usually lighter and is easier to throw through the windows of local businesses.

A final vote could occur next week. It is unknown how many Pitt students could transfer to West Virginia University as a result.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Self-Portrait Photo and Haiku

shrouded observer
focuses, records others
himself an unknown

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Today's Oneword - Skate

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

I was just in Pittsburgh for dinner and watched the people skate at the PPG Place rink. It was beautiful and I want to go down some other night and take my camera.