Birth anniversaries tomorrow include Marlon Brando (1924), Sally Rand (1904) and Washington Irving (1783).  Tweed Day Anniversary, although it’s his birth anniversary, it is also the day to recollect the effect of corruption in government.  It is estimated he stole between $30M and $200M from NYC.  Also, tomorrow is the anniversary of the Inauguration of the Pony Express (1860), blacks were ruled eligible to vote in 1944, it is the anniversary of the Fall of Richmond (1865), the Marshal Plan (1948) and the premier of 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968).

OK, I sent Mr. Negativity packing.  🙂

The Rose Society experts are giving rose trimming classes at Renziehausen Park Arboretum up on the hill above McKeesport April 9 and 16 starting around 1 p.m. and are free.  My old haunt Trax’s Farm is hosting a series of  Master Gardener lectures.  On April 9, from 9:30 to 2:45 they will be talking about Designing Your Landscape, Containers by Design, Vegetable Gardening and Let’s Try Something New.  Then on April 10 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. the lectures will be Bees, Butterflies and Hummingbirds and Tired of Being Held Hostage by Hostas.  The cost is $15 for April 9, $7 for April 10 and $20 for both days.  Proceeds goes to the Penn State Master Gardener Program.  Details 412.473.2540.

There’s a doll show at the Four Points by Greensburg Sheraton from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on April 10.  All kinds of Victorian bride dolls, barbies that have never been out of their box, doll cloths, etc.  Admission is $5 adults, $1 kids with info at 724.882.0282.  And while we’re on the outskirts, the Westmoreland County Botanical Society is planning several field trips to identify wild flowers and native plants.  Hikes start at 1:30 p.m. April 10, May 1, May 15 and May 22 from various starting points.  Check the Botanical Society’s web side for details.

Very cool, Little Earth Productions are metal smiths that find new uses for things like license plates.  You can have your favorite or a vintage plate you have made into a purse, jewelery or an object d art.  Rob Brandegee and Ava DeMarco founded Little Earth in 1993 over on the Southside.  Check out their web site.

This year is the 75th anniversary of Fallingwater.  The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which operates Fallingwater is celebrating with several symposiums, the release of a new book, a pair of exhibits and a gala in the Fall (details on this still being worked out).   The first symposium is being held this Tuesday at Carnegie Museum of Art theater this Tuesday from 9 until 4:30 p.m., it is open to the public, but space is limited, call for reservations 724.329.8501.  Admission is $30.  There’s a second symposium on June 11 celebrating the release of a new book on Fallingwater.  There are two exhibits planned for the visitor’s gallery at Fallingwater “Kaufmann’s:  Pittsburgh’s Purveyor of Culture June 24 through August 28.  And a second one from September 9 through November 13 will be “Design Competition:New Cottages at Fallingwater.  There is a whole host of things inside these events like special presentations and speakers.  Check their web site for details.

Pretty good with Mr. Negativity put away,

ed 🙂


Tomorrow’s birth anniversaries are Giovanni Giacomo Girolamo Casanovq (1725), Emile Zola (1840) and Sir Alec Guinness (1914).  It is the anniversary of Ponce De Leon discovering Florida (1513), the founding of the US Mint (1792) and the anniversary of the first White House Easter Egg Roll (1877).

I woke up this morning and Mr. Negativity was lying in my bed.  He said “You let Mr. Positive rule Wednesday and it’s my turn today”.  Move over Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.  🙂

I guess politicians have short memories, or maybe they just don’t care because WE don’t always follow through.  Pennsylvania’s bloated, self serving and corrupt Legislature passed an illegal and immoral pay raise for themselves in the middle of the night several years ago.  Unfortunately, WE didn’t throw them all out, but a number bit the dust and a few have had to face corruption charges.  So John Kasich, the governor of Ohio (notice I did not give him a title of respect before his name, I assigned a job to him after his name), passed his union busting legislation in the middle of last night.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I am not “pro-union”, I’m anti “sneaking, illegal and arrogance”.  I strongly believe in the concept of unions and what they have done for the middle class in the past.  But to use the word “brother”, that implies certain responsibilities I feel I owe my brothers.  Growing up in a blue collar family, I was brought up strongly supporting unions.  Being from Pittsburgh and studying local Civics, I’m well aware of the role the Homestead Strike played in organized labor.  My big disillusion with unions came when I was a manager in the casinos in Atlantic City in the 80’s.  I caught a bartender red handed stealing.  This was a problem employee that always was pushing the limits on everything.  During our meetings with the union, the representative representing Local 54 and the bartender admitted the bartender was stealing and that he was a habitual problem, but my “bust” was not in the form recognized by the collective bargaining agreement and no witness.  I could live with this, if the union took the stance that stealing is wrong, we’ll save your job this time, but the next problem you are no longer my “brother” and are out.  But their stance was “Management didn’t follow collective bargaining agreements to the T and he gets his job back, period.”

In the first few months of this year, our City Firefighters Union has fought for the jobs of their “brothers” that have been charged with DUI, Domestic Violence, Conspiracy, Criminal Mischief and Public Drunkenness.  And their response?  Offering their members free cab rides and counseling.  Admirable, but not enough.  If my brother was beating his wife, driving under the influence repeatedly and other criminal behavior, I’d do a lot more than offer him a cab ride.  There was a lieutenant that was fired after three DUI’s in a year.  His union “brothers” fought for his job on all three occasions.  Then there’s the drunk Firefighter that stole a Rivers Casino electric cart and was driving the wrong side of the street when a Police Officer pulled him over.  When the Firefighter asked for “professional courtesy” and not be booked, the Officer refused and the Firefighter spat in the Officers face.  And his “brothers” fought for his job.  OMG  My biggest problem with unions is giving a blank check to all their members.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.  We all learned that from our parents, schools and churches.  Because we are adults we don’t have to abide by right and wrong anymore?

Then we have Walker, the governor of Wisconsin (notice I did not apply a title of respect here again?).   He was caught on a recorded phone conversation that he was doing union busting!  I am not going to go into all the illegal an immoral tactics he used in his union busting (like telling the State Police to arrest the missing democratic senators on sight).  He and his Attorney General ignored a ruling by Judge Maryann Sumi TWICE.  What arrogance.  Judge Sumi doesn’t seem to be taking this lightly.  🙂  Good for her.

We need to deal with the legacy costs we are racking up for future generations, since these are going to be paid for by our descendants.    In particular ALL government legacy costs have to be addressed.  Lifetime Golden Cadillac health care for our legislators and double pensions from serving as a legislator and then a cushy second job on some authority after they retire or are driven out of office. These are just two of the most glaring inequities our power elite need to address.

The legacy costs of our unions need addressed as well.  We are becoming a country of very rich who don’t need or care about retirement costs, very comfortable ex-government employees, there rest of us workers and the poor.  The “golden years” are hard enough, we don’t need to make it any harder for “the rest of us workers and the poor” than it is already going to be by subsidizing the government class.  We need public servants and they should be compensated for their service.  By far, most do a great job and work very hard and also deserve a comfortable retirement.  I have a problem promising one thing and then turning around and changing the rules.  I think current retirees should keep what they have, it was promised.  Current employees need to negotiate a compromise and new hires should be in a new tier.  Something fair, but when they start, they know what to expect.

That’s been my recommendation for Steve Bland with the Port Authority.  I see so many empty full sized buses going past my Inn.  If Port Authority doesn’t know when they have full buses and when they have empty buses, someone should be fired.  Through attrition, hire new people at a lesser rate and benefits to run the newly purchased, money saving mini buses so we provide service during non peak times, just not at a premium rate.  Through seniority and a rating system (like no DUI’s, spousal abuse and other illegal activities) let the newbies bid on the premium pay positions.  Not rocket science.  But I’m sure Port Authority can spend another $250K on another study and then bury it somewhere.  Damn my head hurts.

OK, I promise Mr. Nice Guy will be back next time,