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Friday, July 29, 2016

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Iyad Burnat, who heads a group that protests restrictions on the rights of Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank, gives two talks here next week. His visit is organized by the Pittsburgh BDS Coalition, part of an international movement that argues for boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Israel to protest its treatment of Palestinians.

click to enlarge Iyad Burnat
Iyad Burnat
Burnat's Bil'in Popular Committee, formed in 2005, has been joined by Israeli and international peace activists in "weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall and the encroachment of illegal settlements," according a Facebook page for Burnat's Pittsburgh appearances.

The demonstrators "have maintained a commitment to nonviolent resistance in the face of armed military opposition." The demonstrations were documented in Five Broken Cameras, the Oscar-nominated 2013 documentary by Emad Burnat, who is Iyad Burnat's brother.

Iyad Burnat was imprisoned for two years by the Israeli military, at age 17, and has since been arrested and imprisoned several times.

He will speak here twice. This Sunday's event at the Thomas Merton Center, co-hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace, runs from 4-6 p.m. and includes a potluck supper. The 7 p.m. Mon., Aug. 1, event is an author talk and discussion at the Big Idea Bookstore and Cooperative.

His topic will be stories of Bil'in and life in the occupied West Bank, and strategies for nonviolent popular resistance with the goal of peace and prosperity for all

An RSVP is appreciated but not necessary. RSVP to BDSpittsburgh@gmail.com.

The Thomas Merton Center is located at 5129 Penn Ave., in Garfield.

The Big Idea Bookstore is located at 4812 Liberty Ave., in Bloomfield. 

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Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 2:20 PM

House and techno music certainly haven’t lost their roots in the technology age. While many DJs use digital software to generate their sounds, some still prefer the analog tones of a true synthesizer, one with dozens of cables and hard circuitry. Think Bruno Martelli in the '80s hit Fame. And SoundCloud’s top synthwave, techno and house musicians prove there is a lot of uncharted territory waiting to be explored in electronic music.

click to enlarge Antenes at work
Antenes at work

Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizer, a developer of cutting-edge electronic instruments, and Lateral present an evening of synth music at Lawrenceville nightspot Cattivo. “A Night of Live Electronic Exploration and Hardware Investigation” kicks off with a chance to try out the instruments first-hand. Experts will be available to guide attendees through the Open Synth Playground and create a beat or two.

Next, Brooklyn-based artist Antenes will give a live demonstration on newly built synth equipment before performing her own techno tunes to close out the night.

DJ Paul Fleetwood, out of Denver, will also be on hand to pump up the club for a two-hour set of his deep techno mixes.

“A Night of Live Electronic Exploration” will take place July 30 from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Early events are free; ticketing, at $10, begins at 10 p.m. with DJ Paul Fleetwood’s set.

Cattivo is at 146 44th St., in Lawrenceville.







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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 5:01 PM

11 p.m.
Hillary Clinton takes the stage and the building is packed. The Bernie Sanders supporters have remained quiet, or maybe they are being drowned out...
10:30 p.m.
From City Paper staff

In one last oddity before Hillary Clinton speaks, CP reports about the confusion surrounding a card stunt that the participants are suppose to do at some point in the evening.

10:20 p.m.
From Rebecca Addison

On the floor of the DNC today, City Paper talked to local government officials in the Pennsylvania delegation about their favorite parts of the convention thus far.

"The Bernie Sanders and Mayor Bloomberg endorsements were so unexpected," says Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "I especially liked when Bloomberg was talking about how Donald Trump has been a con-man. That's important for people to know because now [Trump is] messing with the faith and credit of the United States economy."

"There's a stark contrast between this convention and the RNC last week in terms of inclusion, diversity, positive spirit and the declaration that this is already a great nation," says Pittsburgh City Councilor Bruce Kraus.

9:45 p.m.

From City Paper staff

The most powerful speech of the night so far came from Khizr Khan, a Muslim-American who's son died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Khan's passionate attack to Donald Trump got a resounding standing ovation from the crowd. 


9:15 p.m.

From News Editor Rebecca Addison

At the DNC delegates are making a statement...with their headwear. Hats, hats, hats. Whether covered in sequins or buttons, each one is even greater than the last.

Of course there are the traditional Wisconsin cheesehead hats and some Texas delegates have gone for their trademark cowboy hat, but there's also plenty of sparkle.

8:45 p.m.
From News Editor Rebecca Addison


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf knows a thing our two about business. Before he was elected in 2014, he served as CEO of Wolf Organization Inc., a building materials company.

And at the DNC he used his business background as a jumping-off point to question GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's business ethics.

"One of the keys to our success was that we recognized that in business, you are only as good as the people you have in your company, and thus, you had to treat everyone like they mattered. Because, the truth is, they do. Now, I understand that not all business people see it this way. When we contracted with a vendor, we paid them," Wolf said.

"Donald Trump? He stiffed hundreds of small businesses, from plumbers to painters, ruining their companies as he sought to enrich himself."

Wolf spoke during the "Stronger Together: An Economy That Works For All" portion of the final night of the DNC. The segment also included speakers advocating for gender equality in the workplace.

"At our company, like at many others across the country, we treated our female employees with respect. When they had kids, we celebrated them, and gave them paid leave," said Wolf. "Donald Trump said that pregnant workers are an 'inconvenience,' so it’s no surprise that he has put forward no plan for paid family leave."

Updated 7:55 p.m.
From Multimedia Editor Ashley Murray

Delegates for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are attracting attention tonight by wearing neon green t-shirts that glow in the dark when the convention lights dim with its signature Democratic blue hue.

"We're supposed to be glowing in the light, like Bernie Sanders. He was glowing in the light," says North Carolina delegate Stephanie Glosen, who plans to vote for Hillary Clinton despite her passion for Sanders' ideas. "We're not stopping the movement just because Hillary got the nomination."

Pa. delegate Susan Hall, of Scranton, says she is wearing it "to show solidarity with Bernie." Fellow Pa. delegate Dui Anthony, of Shenandoah, offered a sharper opinion on why he was dressed in neon green.

"I consider the nomination of Hillary Clinton an abomination to the party," Anthony says. "She has moved this party from the principles of FDR further and further to the right."
Speaking to delegates from several states, City Paper had a difficult time pinning down the source of the glowing shirts. Anthony says they are "union made" and that he got them "online"; New York delegate Virginia Ramos Rios says her delegation received them from the Colorado delegates. (Yesterday, CP reported how some Sanders supporters were wearing "Bernie" merchandise made in Honduras, Haiti and Nicaragua.)

According to a Facebook comment on the article The Hill posted tonight on the t-shirts, Sanders delegate Lauren Tenney wrote the shirts are union made and delegates paid "11 bucks" for them.

Delegates from Washington state — who took the t-shirts to the next level by painting "#DNCLeaks" on them — said they heard about the shirts from a Facebook campaign that had been organized weeks ago. They estimated that 700 people were wearing the shirts. (CP hasn't done an independent count.)

"We came up with adding the hashtag 'DNC leaks' to them because it's like the elephant in the room that nobody's addressing while they try to tell us it's our responsibility to get Hillary Clinton elected," says Washington delegate Dorothy Gasque.
Gasque and fellow Washington delegates for Sanders, including Joshua Trupin, told CP that the DNC was trying to counteract their t-shirt protest by filling their seats, and other state's seats, and not allowing them back onto the floor. The DNC says that allegation is "totally incorrect."

"They've [the DNC] just bee marginalizing us even as they won the [primary]," Gasque says. "So we decided to make this one last statement before we leave."

7:05 p.m.

From News Editor Rebecca Addison

The DNC showcasing yet another well-known, and well-loved celebrity. This time it's singer-songwriter Carole King.




6:35 p.m.
From News Editor Rebecca Addison
click to enlarge Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Katie McGinty - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Katie McGinty
Democratic Pennsylvania U.S. senate candidate Katie McGinty took the stage at the DNC this evening where she played to her Irish Catholic roots.

"I was raised here in Philadelphia, the 9th of 10 kids, in a big, loud, Irish family," McGinty said. "You see, we learned to love our God and our country, and we learned that success isn't a product of pedigree. No, if you want to succeed, you have to give it your all and give back."

McGinty took the opportunity to criticized both GOP candidate Donald Trump and her GOP senate opponent Sen. Pat Toomey, who she said are focused on scapegoating and fear mongering instead of solutions.

"Just blame the Mexicans. Blame the Muslims. Blame the government. Build a wall. For goodness sake, the Donald even blamed the Pope. My dear mother, God rest her soul, would be turning over in her grave," McGinty said. "And you know what these guys also say: 'Hand it all over to Wall Street.' Pat Toomey made his millions on Wall Street, and he's still selling us the same old trickle-down that benefits only the rich."

McGinty, who has been attacking Toomey throughout her campaign, upped her passionate criticism of Toomey this week, calling the Pennsylvania Senator an “asshole” during a minimum-wage campaign speech in Philadelphia on Monday. She later apologized for the remark.

6:05 p.m.

From News Editor Rebecca Addison
Another breakthrough at the DNC.
4:57 p.m.
From Multimedia Editor Ashley Murray
So what does Bill Peduto do all day at the DNC?
click to enlarge Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (third from left) at the DNC - PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
Photo by Ashley Murray
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (third from left) at the DNC
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is attending the Democratic National Convention this week as a Pa. delegate in support of Hillary Clinton. But what exactly does he do all day? And why does he feel his time spent here is worth it? City Paper examines:

According to his public schedule yesterday, Mayor Peduto ate breakfast with the Pa. Democratic party delegation around 8 a.m.; spoke on Politico's economy caucus panel around noon alongside Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, and Sen. Mark Warner, a Dem from Virginia; at 2 p.m., Peduto headed to the African American Museum of Art for a presentation featuring representatives John Lewis and Keith Ellison. At 2:30 p.m. the public schedule listed Peduto as being at "A Conversation with Uber" along with former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and Uber executive Rachel Holt. From there, he was scheduled to go to what sounded like a riveting municipal officials reception. But whatever the 3 p.m. reception lacked, perhaps the 4 p.m. Google pre-party in the Victory Beer Garden, or the 6 p.m. QVC Women in Retail reception at the Constitution Center, made up for it.

While City Paper couldn't follow Peduto all day, we did cover his panel discussion at the fancy Politico media center, where free coffee (even chewable coffee gummies) and snacks abounded.

Peduto, Dingell and Warner followed a panel that featured Neera Tanden, president for the Center of American Progress and who served in both Clinton and Obama administrations, and none other than economist Larry Summers — yes, that Larry Summers of the Department of Treasury and Harvard University (and, if you've read Lean In, Cheryl Sandberg's mentor).

Ok, so a tough act to follow, but Peduto did his usual selling of the 'burgh, calling it the "overnight success that took 30 years" and a city that "builds bridges not walls."

Peduto was asked about the Trans Pacific Partnership, how Hillary Clinton should distinguish herself from President Obama and how Clinton can lock down the Western Pa. vote.

"It's a very different dynamic than it was 20 years ago. Western Pa. has become red outside of Pittsburgh. And Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County, has become more progressive, so you're starting to see within the core area a new type of Democrat that's emerged other than the blue-collar, socially conservative Democrat that had been throughout Western Pa.," Peduto said from the stage. "Statewide, [Pa.] is trending Republican. On the other side of the state, you have progressive Republicans. It's a very weird dynamic that's been [developing] over the past decade. It's been the swing for Pennsylvania ... That being said, we have to get a plurality out of the city that then transcends through Allegheny County to offset any of the losses happening in the outlying counties in Western Pennsylvania."

CP had a chance to talk to Peduto one-on-one and ask why it's so important for him to be here and why it matters to Pittsburgh's local government who ends up in the White House. Peduto's response: the city uses federal money for pilot programs, and he wants to keep that partnership. He says money that the Obama administration has provided, "bypassing Congress," had gone to piloting things from autonomous cars and the My Brother's Keeper initiative, aimed to help young men of color.

"One of the reasons we really hit the ground running in the first two and half years of our administration is the partnership that we have with the White House," Peduto says. "We are in contact with them every week."

Last night looked to be a big deal, with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party celebration at the National Museum of Jewish History, where state officials like U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Gov. Tom Wolf and former Gov. Ed Rendell will get their party on. However, leaving the security perimeter was such a shitshow last night (CP reporters Rebecca Addison and Ashley Murray didn't get home until 3 a.m., with the road blocked to taxis and the subway shut down) that it's unclear if Peduto made it to the party. The mayor's office didn't reply to CP's request for confirmation this afternoon.


4:41 p.m.
From Rebecca Addison

While the main event of the DNC — Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech tonight — is hours away, First Lady Michelle Obama has won the contest for the best speech thus far, especially in the eyes of Pittsburghers.

"We came into this thing pretty divided and I think that changed after Michelle Obama," said Pa. delegate Michael Lamb, Pittsburgh's city controller.

That sentiment was also shared by Kimberly Ellis, a Pittsburgh-based writer and entertainer, attending the convention as a spectator. But Ellis also said a highlight for her has been the social justice movement momentum that has been generated during the election.

"I want to emphasize I really like the movement and energy inside and outside of the convention," Ellis says. "Bernie Sanders and the Black Lives Matter activists, they are helping to reshape our democracy beyond the election. We still have work to do and voting for Hillary Clinton is just one step."

Pittsburgh delegate Valerie Mcdonald Roberts, chief urban affairs officer for the city, says that in addition to First Lady Obama's speech, and the formal nomination of Clinton — the country's first female nominee — she was also impressed with Sanders.

"Looking at the strength of Bernie Sanders amidst his many supporters who didn't want him to do it, was inspiring," Roberts says. "His strength was a highlight. Finally we're going to have unity."

2:31 p.m.
From Rebecca Addison


"F U 2016." It's what a lot of people are likely feeling several months into this seemingly endless election cycle. But it's also the campaign slogan for Frank Underwood, the U.S. president in the Netflix original series House of Cards.

Earlier today, Philadelphia-native Einass Mustafa was handing out t-shirts with the "FU '16" slogan outside of the DNC as part of a marketing campaign for the show.
"I think it's pretty comical because it's like a subliminal message," Mustafa says. "They're promoting their show by being controversial."

When Pittsburgh City Paper interviewed Mustafa as she and two others handed out the shirts, several people mistook them for an actual election campaign and asked if she was running for office.

"We've gotten a lot of people who are like 'are they running for president,'" Mustafa says. "A lot of people are uninformed in a lot of different ways in this country."


2:30 p.m.
From Ashley Murray

Apparently the RNC delegates do not have a monopoly on those stereotypical Texas delegates in cowboy hats. Last night on the convention floor, a few DNC revelers proudly sported the Texas cowboy-cowgirl hat. (Only, this one was bedazzled.)



1:45 p.m.
From Rebecca Addison
click to enlarge Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans - PHOTOGRAPH BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photograph by Rebecca Addison
Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans
Last week, Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans was ejected from the Quicken Loans Arena for disrupting the Republican National Convention. During former presidential candidate Ben Carson's speech, she held a sign that read “No Racism No Hatred," before she was surrounded by a swarm of Republicans who covered her with American flags.

"In Cleveland people felt like they had the right physically touch me," she told Pittsburgh City Paper today at a Code Pink rally outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. "They were really rough. They tried to strangle me with my scarf."

Code Pink is an anti-war group that has been vocal on issues like drones, torture at Guantanamo Bay and conflicts in Israel and Iraq.

"Our mission is to end war and bring those funds home to our communities," says Evans. "We also have a campaign to demilitarize our communities."

Evans says Code Pink disrupts congress in Washington DC daily. Code Pink activists were present everyday of the RNC and have been present at every DNC evening session thus far.
"It's been completely different here than it was in Cleveland," Evans says. "At the DNC we've basically been escorted out after 10 minutes, and security hasn't been as rough with us. One man even thanked us."

And Code Pink activists aren't the only ones protesting on the DNC floor.

"Last night, the entire Oregon delegation disrupted by chanting 'No More War'," says Evans. "[The arena] just turned the lights out on them."


12:43 p.m.
From Ashley Murray
It was hard to miss Gretchen Baer's "Hillsuit" while in line for coffee this morning at the Old City Coffee kiosk in the Reading Terminal Market.

To say Baer, an artist from the border town of Bisbee, Ariz., loves Hillary Clinton is an understatement.

"This is a hand-painted Hillary jacket and suit. I've made a lot of them," Baer says. "I've traveled around the country in my Hill car. a painted art car covered in Hillary imagery, all sorts of gems and jewels and buttons and so forth. I traveled around in 2008 as well this year all over the country."

Baer says Clinton has inspired her work.

"I'm kind of an activist painter. One thing I do is I have a group called the border bedazzlers, and we paint with kids on the Mexican border," Baer says. "We're painting the world's longest kids mural. We've painted a mile so far with the Mexican kids on the Mexican side, It's actually inspired by Hillary, I love the kind of work she does, where she reaches out and tries to make other people's lives better."



12:14 p.m.
From Rebecca Addison
Robin Hood and his Merry Men have invaded the DNC. Or at least that's what you'd think after seeing the number of delegates wearing Robin Hood's trademark green hat.

The hats are actually a show of support for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Last year, the former presidential candidate proposed the Robin Hood tax bill, a tax on Wall Street financial transactions that would pay for free tuition at public colleges and universities in the United States. The Robin Hood bill would also cut interest rates on existing student loans.

"We wear the hats because they go along with Bernie's philosophy of more fair wealth distribution," says Minnesota delegate Delia Jurek.

On day four of the convention, Jurek was visiting Philadelphia's famous Reading Terminal market. She said she was happy to have the opportunity to come to the convention to represent the many Bernie supporters back home in Minnesota.

"Bernie didn't get the nomination but he did what he set out to do," Jurek says. " He started a revolution."

11 a.m.:
From Editor Charlie Deitch

Even though we are in the final leg of the political convention season, it's just the start of what is surely to be a long, grueling and painful finish to the General Election in November. So, let's review the DNC's third day as we get ready for Hillary Clinton to take center stage to
click to enlarge President Obama - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
President Obama
night to officially accept the party's nomination.

While tonight belongs to Hillary Clinton, Wednesday night belonged to Barack Obama. Say what you will, the man can give a speech and raly a crowd. Here's the full transcript of the speech, thanks to Newsweek, but here are some highlights and there were many:

"I’m here to tell you that, yes, we’ve still got more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years....

"And that work involves a big choice this November. I think it's fair to say, this is not your typical election. It’s not just a choice between parties or policies; the usual debates between left and right. This is a more fundamental choice—about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government.

"Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s precisely this contest of idea that pushes our country forward. But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican—and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems—just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.

"...And then there’s Donald Trump. (Audience boos) Don't boo—vote. You know, the Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated. Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, if you're really concerned about pocketbook issues and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn’t even close."

"Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix. It doesn’t matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they’ve been in decades—because he’s not actually offering any real solutions to those issues. He’s just offering slogans, and he’s offering fear. He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.

"And that's another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he'll lose it is because he’s selling the American people short. We're not a fragile people. We're not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that We the People, can form a more perfect union. That's who we are. That’s our birthright—the capacity to shape our own destiny."

****
From the "I'm with her, but he's not with me" department, I got a text last night from our Web Producer Alex Gordon calling my attention to this tweet:

We were both confused because we had no male reporters there yesterday and even if we did, he wouldn't be wearing a CP  t-shirt at a political convention. Sure we're the paper that recently brought you the "Shit List," but we do like to show a little more decorum than showing up at an event in our t-shirt. (Full disclosure, I am currently wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates shirt with a hole in the shoulder, but I don't plan on being seen by Hillary Clinton today.) I assured the commenters that whoever it was, he was not affiliated with our organization. We give out free t-shirts all the time.

Later, though I saw this tweet from our News Editor Rebecca Addison:

Now, I haven't found the video in question and I'm not sure if Jacob was the person they were talking about, but there's probably a fairly good chance it was. Jacob doesn't work for us, but we're glad he decided to go and check out the convention and that he's wearing our t-shirt. I'm not sure what the camera-crasher was up to, but at a political convention, could it really have been that strange?


 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:39 PM

11:30 p.m.:

11 p.m.:

10:36 p.m.:
10:27 p.m.:

10:13 p.m.:

10:02 p.m.:
CP's Rebecca Addison and Ashley Murray are on the floor at the Democratic National Convention this evening. Here's a roundup of their best tweets:


8:18 p.m.

While speakers and celebrities walk on and off the DNC stage, CP's News Editor Rebecca Addison found this endorsement in the concourse of the Wells Fargo Arena.


7:33 p.m.
From Multimedia Editor Ashley Murray

Earlier this evening, former Obama campaign manager and senior adviser David Plouffe — and now volunteer with the Clinton campaign — addressed about 15 Eastern U.S. regional reporters on a number of issues, including what President Obama's remarks at the Democratic National Convention will include tonight.

"I just think he feels passionately about her," Plouffe says. "And I think that's what you're going to hear tonight, that she is the right person at this time."

He said that much like former President Bill Clinton's speech last night and First Lady Michelle Obama's speech Monday night, Obama's will focus on details people often don't hear about Hillary Clinton.

"[He's] going to talk about her and remind America and in some cases inform America about her life story and her strengths," says Plouff.

But the moment isn't lost on him: "Tonight's going to be a really interesting night for those who've been on the journey. To have Barack Obama giving one the more important speeches of his presidency to make sure Hillary Clinton succeeds him, given all the history [past them]. "

ICY(somehow)MI, the race between Obama and Clinton got, as heated political races do, pretty ugly in 2008.

But Plouffe says a Clinton follow-up to the Obama presidency would be historic. "If you can have 16 years of Obama and Clinton, in my personal view, that's a very important era for the American people."

President Obama is scheduled to speak tonight at 10 p.m.


6:40 p.m.
From News Editor Rebecca Addison
click to enlarge Pa. Delegates and Pittsburgh residents Austin Davis and Kevin Carter - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
Pa. Delegates and Pittsburgh residents Austin Davis and Kevin Carter
Pennsylvania delegates Kevin Carter, a Pittsburgh Public Schools director, and Austin Davis, a legislative aide for Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, got into a h eated argument last year in the Abu Dhabi airport.

The two were on their way to the One Young World Summit when they started talking about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who were then the two front runners for the Democratic nomination for president. Carter was for Sanders and Davis was for Hillary.

At the DNC today, the two friends still support different candidates, but Carter says after the official nomination of Clinton last night, he's ready to throw his support behind her.

"Bernie ran a great campaign but he lost," says Carter. "Hillary is our nominee now and one day soon I'll wear a pin with her face on it like the one Austin is wearing."

This was the two Pittsburghers' first convention. And both agreed their favorite part was First Lady Michelle Obama's speech two nights ago.

"Michelle lit a fire under the party," Carter says.

"The convention has been overwhelming in a good way," says Davis. "It really gives you a sense of what we're fighting for."



6:28 p.m.:
From Multimedia Editor Ashley Murray
Protesters gathered all afternoon on the plaza between the Philadelphia Municipal Building and City Hall to air their grievances, both serious and whacky. While the majority were “Black Men for Bernie” demonstrators, across the way were Westboro Baptist Church members — or wackos as they’ve become known in pretty much every corner of the country, or people who were inspired by them. Then, on a concrete planter in robes, swishing his sandy blonde hair and waving a staff in one hand and a peace sign in the other, stood a man who would only identify himself as "Philly Jesus." We couldn't help but ask a couple questions. 
click to enlarge Philly Jesus gets his sermon on with Paper-Mask Bernie Sanders - PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
Photo by Ashley Murray
Philly Jesus gets his sermon on with Paper-Mask Bernie Sanders


What exactly are you doing?
I'm imitating Jesus.

Why?
To get people to think about it. The same way people bring Jesus to the movies or to a play, I bring it to the street.

I have to ask. Are you a serious Christian?
I'm sincere, but I like to have fun with it.

Are you with those guys [the Westboro people screaming not very far from him]?
No. They're speaking truth, but they're not doing it with love. They're doing it too blunt. They're too aggressive. They're supposed to be more gentle.

I saw you shake hands with the guy in the Bernie mask.
Yea, I'm friends with sinners. God bless you.





6:20 p.m.:
From News Editor Rebecca Addison

It's not Coachella or Woodstock, but PoliticalFest in the Pennsylvania Convention Center today provided a respite from the high temps and heated discourse outside of the DNC in
click to enlarge South Carolina delegate Jeff Mars - hall tries on a robe from Rocky - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
South Carolina delegate Jeff Marshall tries on a robe from Rocky
 Philadelphia. The nonpartisan festival with locations around the city celebrates the history of politics and government.

South Carolina delegates Jeff and Jennifer Marshall, a husband and wife duo, checked out the gift shop where Jeff tried on an American flag robe evoking Philadelphia-based boxing film Rocky.

"[The DNC has] been amazing," Jeff said with matching stars-and-stripes boxing gloves covering his hands. "I'm learning a lot about the delegate process and enjoy working with delegates from other states."

Also at PoliticalFest was Philly native Nakia Happli who traveled back to her hometown from California to visit family. She brought her two children to the festival today.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to be a part of the Democratic National Convention," Happli said as her son and daughter took turns playing red white and blue cornhole. "This summer I'm trying to teach them about history and politics."

The exhibit also featured word art by Dan Duffy who was creating a picture of Philadelphia made up of words visitors submitted to answer the question "What is liberty to you?" So far, the most popular words submitted have been freedom, equality and destiny.

"Some kid came in yesterday and wrote Pokemon," said Mark Berman who was helping facilitate the artwork. "We've also had a few people say cheesesteaks."


5:16 p.m.

4:40 p.m.
Reporter Ryan Deto is driving back from Philly but filed this story first comparing the protests at the to those at the RNC:

 
click to enlarge Thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters march down Broad Street in Philadelphia. - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters march down Broad Street in Philadelphia.

On the first day of the Democratic National Convention, thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters and Green Party backers filled the busiest street in Downtown Philadelphia and marched miles down Broad Street from city hall to the DNC site in South Philadelphia. Dozens of police officers followed along, some on bikes, some in squad cars, but some just stood on the corners, watching and chatting with passersby.

This march wasn't an isolated event. Hundreds of marchers paraded from Camden, N.J. to Center City the Sunday before the convention kicked off; and on Tuesday, Black Lives Matters protesters marched more than six miles from the rougher neighborhoods of North Philadelphia to the convention site. All the while, the police have been amiable.

During the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, in contrast, protesters were constantly surrounded by police, many donned in full riot gear. City Paper followed a march of a dozen protesters from the ultra-conservative Westboro Baptist Church, and they were fully surrounded by officers on bikes for the entirety of the march. Police even barred CP from speaking to the marchers.

Some demonstrators said the constant presence of officers, many of whom seemed on edge, created a “police-state” like environment at the RNC. As CP wrote this week, the protests at the RNC were far more timid than most expected and Cleveland, outside of the square-mile of the convention site, was a ghost town with many locals electing to take vacations during the week of the GOP shaos.

But the DNC has been different. Protesters have consistently praised the police for their behavior and the city is slightly busier than usual, since the streets are filled with the normal Philly locals, Democratic delegates, and protesters.
“It has been very peaceful, the police have been great,” said Lynn Dady, a protester from Florida who 
click to enlarge Lynn Dady (second from right) and her friends have been demonstrating in FDR Park all week for the DNC. - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Lynn Dady (second from right) and her friends have been demonstrating in FDR Park all week for the DNC.
has been camping out in the convention-adjacent FDR park since Sunday. “Totally different from what I saw at the RNC, this has been awesome.”

But, just because police in Philadelphia have been friendlier to protesters doesn't mean everyone has. DNC delegates seem to be giving them the cold shoulder.

Dady said on Monday, the first day of the convention, delegates walked right past the protesters demonstrating in FDR Park. But the next day, delegates entered the Wells Fargo arena site hundreds of yards from the gates, often with their view obstructed by buses.

“Apparently they did not like being harassed, and by harassed I mean listing to other people's opinions,” said Dady. “If they are going to put blinders on when they are here, that is not fair.”

In Cleveland, while the protest area in front of conventions entrance was very small small and police formed human barriers for delegates, the RNC participants were forced to walk directly past protesters on their way in.
click to enlarge Police observing the lead up to a Green Party march, some officers are on their cell phones. - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Police observing the lead up to a Green Party march, some officers are on their cell phones.
4:30 p.m.
From Editor Charlie Deitch
click to enlarge Members of "First Lady Bill, a pro-Hillary Clinton LGBT and gender equality campaign - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
Members of "First Lady Bill, a pro-Hillary Clinton LGBT and gender equality campaign
Earlier we posted a tweet from what we thought was an anti-Hillary Clinton group that featured a caricature of former President Bill Clinton in a dress. The group is called "First Lady Bill" and it's not anti-Hillary, in fact it's the exact opposite.

According to their website, www.firstladybill.com, it's an LGBT and gender equality campaign "to put a woman in the White House." 

"Hillary's campaign is all about breaking barriers," the website says. "Barriers that keep women stuck being paid less than men - for the exact same work. Barriers that have transgender people being targeted for discrimination in bathrooms across the country (this pisses us off). Barriers to equality that make it still legal in most states to fire people simply for being LGBT. Now, more than ever, we need a president who can break down gender discrimination barriers that hold back equality for all Americans. That's why we're with her!

"Sexist, homophobic and transphobic gender "rules" are a drag. And what better way to highlight the "herstoric" importance of putting a woman in the White House than having fun with her husband in drag as "First Lady"? We're all about making voters grin and putting a little more "party" in our political party. “Bill for First Lady” is a can’t-help-but-smile way to say “Hillary for president!" 

We're hoping to have more from the group in the day's ahead.



4:11 p.m.
From News Editor Rebecca Addison
click to enlarge Idaho Delegate Marcy Phillips - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
Idaho Delegate Marcy Phillips


Idaho delegate Marcy Phillips has traveled a lot of miles to give a gift to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 

When the Iranian-American came to the United States 40 years ago, she bought a notebook to write her life story in. Now that notebook is filled with signatures and notes from people from 50 states and she hopes to give it to Clinton.

In Philadelphia today she collected a few more entries from women wishing the country's first female presidential nominee luck.

"It's a present from me to her," Phillips says. "I'm proud to be an American."

3:41 p.m.:
From Rebecca Addison
For the past two weeks, protesters on both sides of the aisle have complained that the Democratic Primary system was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. The recent emails released by Wikilinks that cost the head of the Democratic National Committee her job has only bolstered those claims. However, the leaders of Emerge America are here to remind the country of one simple fact — the deck has long been stacked against women running for office.
click to enlarge Ayanna Presley shakes hands with a fellow female delegate - PHOTO COURTESY OF EMERGE AMERICA
Photo courtesy of Emerge America
Ayanna Presley shakes hands with a fellow female delegate
"Certainly in the women's community we are out of our minds with excitement about Hillary Clinton's nomination. And to have that overshadowed is disappointing," says Andrea Dew Steele, president and founder of Emerge. "I absolutely think that should be the main story. We're here in Philadelphia where women were not even a part of the founding documents."

Emerge is a training program for Democratic women aimed at increasing the number of like-minded females in public office. At the DNC they stressed the importance of their mission despite the negativity surrounding the presidential election.

"Many might be inclined to say the system is broken," says Ayanna Pressley, a member of the Boston City Council who was the first woman of color to be elected to the council in its 106-year history. "But we believe in the progress government can actualize...and we know the key to getting there is getting more women elected. The barriers that stand in our way are real, they are formidable, and we have earned our seat at the table."


3:07 p.m.:
From Rebecca Addison
click to enlarge Woman screams at pro-life activist - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
Woman screams at pro-life activist
Prior to the start or the We the People Restoration Rally, Texas native Keith Moore stood off to the side as people with varying signs and t-shirts milled around. His shirt, supporting the music group Anti-Flag was very anti-Trump.

"I've been anti-Trump for a very long time, but I live in a very conservative part of Texas," says Moore, who would only talk with Pittsburgh City Paper after checking out our Website to verify our street-cred. "For the most part people back home just look away when I wear my shirt, but I've had a couple good conversations, only a few confrontations."
click to enlarge Joel Bradshaw - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
Joel Bradshaw

An hour later, a confrontation erupted at the rally when a pro-life protester holding one of those gory pictures pro-life protesters are so fond of, tried to steal focus away from the speakers. Many in the crowd, who were there to protest Hillary Clinton's nomination, quickly attempted to block the man's sign and another tried to destroy it.

Unlike at the Republican National Convention last week, where the police presence was so thick officers sometimes outnumbered protestors, the confrontation didn't draw a mob of police officers into the fray. Instead the man and his opponents were allowed to have a frank discussion (albeit screaming at the top of their lungs).
click to enlarge Keith Moore - PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
Photo by Rebecca Addison
Keith Moore

Today's rally served as a space for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders to mourn last night's nomination of Hillary Clinton. Many Democratic delegates pledged to leave the party as a result and continued the "Bernie or Bust" refrain.

"The election was rigged for the coronation of Hillary Clinton," says Joel Bradshaw from Schenectady, New York whose hatred for the Democratic nominee mirrored sentiments spewed at the RNC last week. "There's going to be a mass Dem exit. If we have to bring the guillotine down on Queen Killary, we will because this is a democracy, not an oligarchy."


2 p.m.:

From Charlie Deitch

News Editor Rebecca Addison has been covering the "We the People Restoration Rally" in Philadelphia where she's seen altercations and no love for the Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.



12:44 p.m.:
From News Editor Rebecca Addison


If you want to attend Black Men for Bernie's "How Our Revolution Continues Social" tomorrow night, it will cost you anywhere between $2.70 and $270,000

For those earning "a living wage" the admission price on a sliding scale is $27. Tickets are $270 for "working families." But if you're really serious about the revolution, why not pay the "it's up to us" ticket price of $2,700 or the "not me us" price of $27,000?

"We're basically saying everyone can come," says Bruce Carter, founder of Black Men for Bernie, a Dallas-based group supporting former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Too often people are excluded from events. Right now, the events at the DNC, people are excluded from them."

Carter's organization has been hosting events in Philadelphia all week and today they're hosting "A Day for Bernie at the DNC" at the plaza at 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd.

"The message we deliver at every event is about people," Carter says. "There's a war between the classes right now. Everyone's focusing on race but it's really about class. It's starting to really frustrate people."

12:19 p.m.:


12:11 p.m.:


9 a.m.
By Ryan Deto
Bernie Sanders Supporters decry trade deals, but buy Central American-made t-shirts

click to enlarge Political Storm t-shirt sold for $2 and made in Nicaragua - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Political Storm t-shirt sold for $2 and made in Nicaragua

In 2007, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sponsored a bill to ban U.S. companies from purchasing products made with sweatshop labor. He has also been a staunch advocate throughout his presidential campaign for bringing jobs back to America that have been shipped overseas. Many of his supporters in crowds during speeches and at rallies hold signs up saying "no TPP" (Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, which critics say would cost many Americans their jobs).

So why then, are many of his supporters buying Sanders-related t-shirts that are made in Caribbean and Central American countries, which are notorious for manufacturing shirts in sweatshop-like conditions?

Many t-shirt hawkers and unofficial vendors have set up booths and roam FDR Park, the site of a demonstration camp against the Democratic National Convention. They are selling shirts with “Feel the Bern” emblazoned on the front for about $20. One booth selling tie-dyed Sanders shirts has sold more than 50 since setting up shop yesterday. Another salesperson on foot said he has sold two dozen shirts in about an hour. The shirts were made in Honduras and Haiti, respectively.

Canada-based clothing giant Gildan was listed on the tag of many of the shirts. Workers at a Gildan factory in Haiti have said they earn about $12 per day, and the company has been accused of many poor labor practices, according to the Washington Post.

Two young salesmen hauling around a suitcase full of shirts are trying to mix selling the shirts with spreading their message. Political Storm is a citizen-journalist website where everyday people can have their "voice heard and engage in respectful but passionate dialogue." The shirts costs $2 each and about five people bought Nicaraguan-made shirts in the vicinity of City Paper
click to enlarge Harvey Dosik, one of the few unofficial vendors selling American-made shirts - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Harvey Dosik, one of the few unofficial vendors selling American-made shirts
 at FDR Park. One woman commented how inexpensive the shirts were.

Paige Sheena, a Sanders supporter from South Carolina, bought two shirts. She said she supported Sanders for his focus on the woman's rights, racial injustice and for his criticism of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. She was not initially aware the shirts were made in Nicaragua, but said the “shirt is about the message, and she would have bought if the message was on a piece of paper.”

The shirts sold inside the Wells Fargo Arena, where the speeches take place, are all American made. But, the majority of shirts sold to the die-hard Sanders supporters outside were made on foreign soil. However, one vendor was selling U.S. made shirts.

“This shirt support American workers,” said Harvey Dosik from Santa Cruz, Calif. “American workers are pissed off, and that is why they support Sanders.”

Dosik is selling his shirts for $20 each, and while a protester did purchase one of his shirts, Dosik might have trouble competing with a $2 price tag regardless of where it's made.




click to enlarge Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Tuesday evening - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Tuesday evening
7:48 p.m.:
By Charlie Deitch

While he wasn't the keynote speaker on Tuesday night, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cam McLay made an impact at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Fortune Magazine points out that unlike the hard-line law-and-order, blue-lives-matter approach of the GOP and their nominee, Donald Trump, the Dems are trying to find a more balanced approach

McLay acknowledged the tough job facing officers while at the same time, recognizing racial inequities in policing.

"As a police officer that has served for more than 30 years, let me say this: We can respect and support our police officers while also pushing for important reforms. We can and must do both," McLay said. "... We must each fight our natural tendency to hide inside our narrow world view, and instead seek common ground with the objective of creating an America that truly provides liberty and justice for all. " 


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Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:53 AM

Every Wednesday, we make a Spotify playlist containing tracks from artists mentioned in the current music section. Grab a paper and listen along!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 10:36 PM

10:36 p.m.:

10:30 p.m.:



10:09 p.m.:

9:45 p.m.

By Charlie Deitch
Nerds come in all shapes and sizes and each one has the object of their nerdness. I've seen superhero nerds (everyday in the mirror); I've seen computer nerds; video game nerds and sci-fi nerds (Han Solo dies! Han Solo Dies). But CP's Ryan Deto may be the first Howard Dean nerd I've ever encountered: 

9:09 p.m.:


8:54 p.m.:

When words can't capture the excitement...Say it with GIFs


8:30 p.m.:
7:20 p.m.

After Hillary Clinton officially received the Democratic nomination for president, CP's Ryan Deto reports that Bernie Sanders delegates crowded the media tent, saying "we are not ok" with the nomination. "This is about the lack of media holding the DNC accountable," South Carolina delegate Michele Horne says.




click to enlarge Eastern Michigan University students Amanda Mayer and Eliza Tremblay - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Eastern Michigan University students Amanda Mayer and Eliza Tremblay

4:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh City Paper spoke to two young Bernie Sanders protesters, who came all the way from eastern Michigan to be a part of the commotion at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week.

"We are here to solve the problems of our young generation," said Eliza Tremblay, a student at Eastern Michigan University. "We want to focus on women and minority rights and the environment."

Tremblay and her friend Amanda Mayer, say they reject the idea that all people supporting Sanders or Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein have to now pledge to vote for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

"The only wasted vote happens when you don't vote," said Tremblay.

The two students were on their way to a climate change protest in Center City. Mayer said that Philadelphia has been a good host and a fair place to have her voice heard.

The only problem they have had, which is one of the most stereotypically Philadelphia problems of all: they got a parking ticket.

So before they continued on to the rally, they remembered to fill the parking meter.

1:30 p.m.
From Ryan Deto
: Today, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald spoke to delegates at a luncheon at the DoubleTree Hotel. 

click to enlarge Tina Shannon of New Brighton in Beaver County - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Tina Shannon of New Brighton in Beaver County
12:30 p.m.
Interview with Beaver County progressive
By Ryan Deto

On a night full of some inspiring speeches (New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and First Lady Michelle Obama) and some duller addresses (Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren), the most controversial issue ended up coming from comedian Sarah Silverman.

Silverman has been a long-time supporter of former presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but said to the “Bernie of Bust” people in the crowd: “You are being ridiculous.”

And Silverman's not the only one. Along with calls for unity and her endorsement of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, some other southwestern Pennsylvania Sanders supporters seem to be moving on from any “Bernie or Bust” notions.

Tina Shannon, a Progressive Democrats of America chapter leader from Beaver County, said she and her group will be pivoting away from the candidates and focusing on the issues in the run-up to the general elections in November.

“It is about the issues, that has been my experience,” said Shannon.

Shannon is a Sanders supporter and her husband is a Sanders delegate. She expressed some disappointment in Sanders losing out on the nomination, but praised some of the more progressive parts of the Democratic party platform.

“We are gonna take the Democratic platform and take the progressive message to Beaver County and the 12th congressional district,” said Shannon. (Pennsylvania’s 12th U.S. Congressional District is currently held by Republican Keith Rothfus, but he faces a challenge from Democrat Erin McClelland come November).

Shannon said she has had success over the years convincing many older, white and labor-friendly residents to support progressive causes and expects to do even better this year.

click to enlarge Cameron McLay
Cameron McLay

11:30 a.m. 
Pre-Convention News Roundup
By Rebecca Addison

Day two of the Democratic National Convention is underway. While today's schedule promises to be packed, last night's speakers lineup, which included First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Bernie Sanders, will be difficult to top.

"Tonight's convention confirmed that progressives have achieved a major victory in shifting the center of gravity in the Democratic Party. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and others showed the nation tonight that Democrats are unifying around big, bold progressive issues. After years of hard work, the party's center of gravity has shifted to a bold, progressive agenda that includes debt-free college, expanding Social Security, $15 minimal wage, public option and Wall Street reform," Kait Sweeney, press secretary, Progressive Change Campaign Committee said in a statement last evening.

Tonight will include appearances by President Bill Clinton, actress Meryl Streep, and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. But for Pittsburghers, one of the highlights will be Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay who will be speaking during the social justice portion of the evening.

According to a statement issued by the city: "Chief McLay is tentatively scheduled to address the DNC sometime between 8-9 p.m., and speak on Pittsburgh's efforts to adopt the best practices community policing. In March 2015 Pittsburgh was chosen as one of six cities nationwide to participate in the U.S. Department of Justice's National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. The initiative's goal is to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system, as well as to advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships"

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Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 4:49 PM

If you've never been to this remarkable historic site and history center just an hour west of Pittsburgh, — and plenty of Pittsburghers haven't — this offer of free entry is the perfect excuse.

click to enlarge Meadowcroft Rockshelter - PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN HEINZ HISTORY CENTER
Photo courtesy of John Heinz History Center
Meadowcroft Rockshelter
Meadowcroft, in Avella, Washington County, is home to what's touted as the longest continuous site of human habitation in North America: a massive rock overhang used as a seasonal shelter by Native Americans as long as 16,000 years ago.

In addition to interpretive exhibits about that attraction, Meadowcroft (part of the John Heinz History Center), also includes a replica of a 16th-century Eastern Woodland Indian Village and two 1770s-era structures like those European settlers would have inhabited in the Upper Ohio Valley.

Visitors can use an atlatl — a spear-throwing implement used by prehistoric hunters — watch a blacksmithing demonstration, and more.

Courtesy of the Jack Buncher Foundation, admission to Meadowcroft is free this Saturday and Sunday for all adults, children and seniors. 

Meadowcroft is open noon-5 p.m. on Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, see here.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 1:33 PM



Dexter Cummings, age six, and his friend Riley Estep, age eight, showed up to Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park on Sunday ready for battle — or a perhaps a pleasant slumber.

“I like smacking people with pillows,” the veteran Cummings said, who's been involved in the semi-annual pillow fights organized by Frank Halling since he was three. He grips his chosen weapon, a cushion with a red polka dot case, with knowledge.

Halling, a Pittsburgh native and U.S. Army veteran, took up the pillow fight — now in its tenth iteration — from a friend and folded it into his schedule of events as the organizer of Free and Almost Free in Pittsburgh Meetup, which as a rule hosts events “for five dollars or less.”

“I’m a believer in silliness,” Halling said. “There’s no objective, there’s no real organization ... no goal, it's cacophony.”

This desire for fun brought out about 120 people — and one alien — for 15 minutes of fluffy assault at a still sweaty dusk.

Ricky Smoove showed up armed with a typical white cased club and his niece, Sabrina Silver.

“We’re looking at it as we’re against everyone,” Smoove said. “[It’s] a team-building exercise.”

That didn’t stop Silver from playfully landing a few hits on Smoove as well.

The fight had only a three rules — no hits to the head, only attack the armed, and don’t hit someone who is down to get their plushy cudgel. This meant old and young faced off in combat on the hill top — not that it bothered Smoove.

“I’m not above hitting a little kid with a pillow,” Smoove said with a smile. “If they're old enough to step into the ring …”

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Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 1:17 PM

click to enlarge Left to right: DJ Goodnight, Gallo and G Vocals - PHOTO COURTESY OF ANASTASIA SNYDER
Photo courtesy of Anastasia Snyder
Left to right: DJ Goodnight, Gallo and G Vocals
This week's MP3 comes from rapper, Gallo. He teamed up with DJ Goodnight for the hot-weather jam “Summers Mine,” from a forthcoming EP which plays on DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince's He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper (Gallo, like Will Smith, makes a point of promoting positivity and not swearing in his rhymes). Stream or download the track, which also features G Vocals, for free below.

summers_mine.mp3


This download has expired, sorry!

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Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 12:13 PM

11:10 p.m. 
From Ryan Deto:
And now for the main event, former Hillary Clinton opponent Bernie Sanders has taken the stage. "Based on her ideals, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States," Sanders said. 

10:45 p.m. 
From Ryan Deto: Fan favorite, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren addresses audience at Wells Fargo Center.

10:10 p.m.
From Ryan Deto: First Lady Michelle Obama has taken the stage. 9:20 p.m.
From Ryan Deto: comedian Sarah Silverman, a longtime supporter of former presidential candidate  Bernie Sanders, is calling on Sanders' supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton.  8:45 p.m.
From Ryan Deto: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Scranton) is at the podium during night one of the DNC.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
8:15 p.m.
Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto says next president will shape Pittsburgh's future

By Ryan Deto

At a meeting of Democratic mayors from across the country, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto spoke about the future that cities will play in shaping our nation. Peduto was praised by other city leaders for his idea to use Section 8 housing vouchers to help low-income residents purchase homes.

When asked about future support from the federal government for cities like Pittsburgh, Peduto said the difference between a Donald Trump presidency and a Hillary Clinton presidency would be "night and day"

"One wants to invest in people, in cities, in programs, and believes that government has a role in making people's lives better, and the other is Donald Trump," said Peduto. "There is a very big disconnect that I worry about."

Peduto said there is a nonprofit in Pittsburgh seeking funding, and he could only promise them one year of funding because of uncertainty over who the next U.S. president will be. Some federal grant programs could be eliminated under Trump.

His message to Pittsburgh voters: be involved. "I am not gonna say who they should support, but look at the whole picture," Peduto said. "How will we advance as a group and how will we be perceived by he rest of the world."

4:15 p.m.
click to enlarge John Fetterman - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
John Fetterman
3:30 p.m.
Braddock mayor John Fetterman urges Western Pennsylvanians to vote for Clinton
By Ryan Deto

At a panel discussion for Keystone Progress, a statewide progressive political group, Braddock mayor and former U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman said not supporting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is a de facto vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“We have to defeat Donald Trump,” said Fetterman. “If you are not going to vote for Clinton, you might as well fit yourself for a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap… If you have been thinking about voting for anyone other than Hillary Clinton, you are playing Russian roulette with your country’s future. It is just that straight-up simple.”

At the discussion today, Fetterman spoke to the many progressives and Democrats voting for a third party in the presidential election. The event was part of Keystone Progress' participation in the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. 

Earlier this month, Fetterman officially backed Clinton, and said he got some “chin music” for the endorsement, considering his early endorsement of Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the primary elections.

Some in the crowd of 30 indicated that they would be supporting Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, since their first pick, Sanders lost out to Clinton in the primary elections. Fetterman urged them not to waste their vote, because of the potential chaos that could erupt if Trump were elected and since, he said, Clinton and Sanders are not different enough to justify a third party vote.

“Sanders and Stein agree on 99 percent of policies, but Clinton and Sanders are like 91 percent compatible,” said Fetterman. “You want to throw away your vote for 8 percent?”

Fetterman says Trump’s support in many Western Pennsylvania towns is growing. “I see three Trump signs for every one Clinton sign in Western Pa,” he said. He says many communities in the region have struggled over the decades and could be wooed by Trump’s claims to bring steel and heavy manufacturing jobs back.

“If you are thirsty in a mirage, you will drink the sand,” said Fetterman. “And Donald Trump can have a seductive quality because he says he is going to bring steel back and going to bring coal back. And nobody likes the economic misery that has visited that part of state, but the answer isn't Trump.”

He urged voters not to fall for the lure of Trump because he is already seeing many communities start to improve economically. But he also said that Trump’s visit to Monessen, Pa. should have been a wake up call for the Democratic Party to pay attention to the region. Fetterman said he is at the Clinton campaign’s service to deliver Western Pennsylvania for the Democrats.

And Fetterman could have some sway among Western Pennsylvania counties, considering he won Allegheny County in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary elections and also performed very well in other surrounding counties.

Fetterman also commented on the resignation of DNC chair and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz with humor. “Glad to see she finally listened to my campaign,” he joked. (Fetterman called for Wasserman Schultz to resign because of her legislative support for payday loans.) 

Fetterman also believes that Wasserman Schultz's resignation will help unify the democratic Party. “It can help the party heal and come together,” he said. 

click to enlarge Alyson Kennedy - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
Photo by Ryan Deto
Alyson Kennedy

1:15 p.m.
Conversation with Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party presidential nominee
By Ryan Deto


Outside of Philadelphia city hall, surrounded by pro-immigration activists and a group of former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters, a lesser-known presidential nominee pleaded her case today.

"The reason I am campaigning is because there has been an assault on the working class," said Alyson Kennedy, who is running for president on the Socialist Workers Party ticket.

Kennedy grew up in Indianapolis, Ind. and has worked to desegregate schools in Louisville, Ky. and also with coal miners in Utah and West Virginia.

She says that workers rights are tied to immigrants rights, since many immigrants work in fields that would benefit from labor supports.

"We should view [immigrant] workers as our brothers," said Kennedy.

Kennedy said removing the capitalist system from our economy will benefit workers and that "working people are the ones creating the wealth" in the United States.

In reference to the coal industry, Kennedy said coal mining could be brought back and provide electricity to third-world areas that don't have electricity. When asked about the effect on the environment, Kennedy said that better "scrubbers" could be used to clean plants and that increased investment could also lead to expansion of clean coal.

Kennedy will be visiting western Pennsylvania and meeting with coal miners in the run up to the presidential election.

12:13 p.m.:



11:27 p.m.:

Pennsylvania Senate Candidate Katie McGinty to speak at DNC Thursday
By Charlie Deitch

Pa. Democratic Senatorial candidate Katie McGinty's campaign has announced that she will address the Democratic National Convention Thursday night in her hometown of Philadelphia.

According to to a release McGinty said:

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to address DNC delegates and the nation at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening,” said McGinty. “This year’s Democratic National Convention is particularly special for me since it is taking place in my hometown of Philadelphia, a city that represents the values that make our country great: diversity, equality, hard work, and caring for each other. I look forward to highlighting the clear choice facing voters in this election between the Democratic vision of expanding opportunity and bringing people together versus the divisive, anti-middle class policies championed by the Trump-Toomey ticket.”

click to enlarge Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in Pittsburgh earlier this year - CITY PAPER FILE PHOTO
City Paper File Photo
Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in Pittsburgh earlier this year
10:a.m.:
Pre-Convention News Roundup
By Charlie Deitch

City Paper will be live in Philadelphia all this week starting today with staff writer Ryan Deto, who is driving across the state as we speak to attend Day one in Philadelphia. 

Today's major news is of course the fallout from the release of 20,000 emails by Wikileaks from the email servers of the Democratic National Committee. The emails outline a lot of things including the party's active attempts to discredit Bernie Sanders' campaign, when they were supposed to be neutral. At one point they plotted to attack the fact that Sanders is Jewish. So while Sanders'  endorsement of Clinton a few weeks a go was meant to create smooth sailing at the convention, his supporters are up in arms and protested yesterday, a day before the convention.

The email leak has resulted in the end of Debbie Wasserman Shultz's five-year run as DNC Chair. Wasserman Schultz resigned Sunday under pressure from the party to do so. Wasserman Schultz will step down after the convention and she is being permitted to gavel in the convention at 4:30 p.m. However, not everyone, or possibly anyone is excited to see her still around. Speaking to delegates from her home-state of Florida this morning, Wasserman Schultz was heckled and booed.


The controversy isn't something the Clinton campaign needed, especially after Republican Donald Trump's huge bounce in the polls on the heels of the RNC. Trump has taken the lead over Clinton in national polls. 

It was a rough weekend for Clinton, who on Friday named VirginaSen.  Tim Kaine as her running mate. More than one media outlet called Kaine, Clinton's "safe choice." Kaine is a moderate when many in the party's more liberal base had hoped she'd pick someone a little more left of center. As expected, Trump began attacking Kaine on Meet The Press this Sunday and Poltifact has already rated all of his claims against the Senator false or worse.

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