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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Posted By on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 4:02 PM

Photo courtesy of Shervin Lainez
Here it is: a playlist featuring all of the artists in the music section of tomorrow's issue. In it, we're covering new music from Regina Spektor, Pere Ubu, Paperhaus, Turkuaz and more. Listen up!

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 2:56 PM

Each week we post a song from a local artist online for free. This week, it’s “Phone,” by LoFi Delphi. It’s an irresistible ear-worm with a criminally catchy hook and bouncy rock feel. Stream or download “Phone” for free below.

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Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 12:31 PM

The Allegheny Cemetery began as a 100-acre burial ground in 1845, but today it spans 300 acres and is home to more than 124,000 "residents." For many people, the cemetery is a place of mourning and remembrance, and for others it’s simply a great place for walks, runs, wildlife-spotting and impromptu history lessons. This guide focuses on just a few of the cemetery's highlights.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 2:14 PM

Since 2010, more than 20 million people have obtained coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 10 million of those people obtained coverage through the ACA health-insurance marketplace.

But due to significant cuts to resources allocated to informing the public about the ACA, many people may not know that the marketplace enrollment period is starting — and ending — soon. The enrollment period is shorter than ever this year, beginning on Nov. 1, 2017, and ending on Dec.15, 2017.

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Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 12:22 PM

click to enlarge The 49th annual Bloomfield Halloween Parade on Thu., Oct. 26 - CP PHOTOS BY JAKE MYSLIWCZYK
CP photos by Jake Mysliwczyk
The 49th annual Bloomfield Halloween Parade on Thu., Oct. 26

When the Bloomfield Citizens Council (BCC) announced on its website last month that this year's annual Halloween parade was canceled, residents of the neighborhood protested. An online petition to save the parade was created, an emergency meeting was held and, on Thu., Oct. 5, the BCC posted a press release announcing that an anonymous donor had donated funds, and the 49th annual parade was back on.

We were there last night as marching bands, politicians and lots of excited kids in costumes made their way down Liberty Avenue. Check out our photo highlights below.

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Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge Keith Rothfus
Keith Rothfus
On Oct. 24, President Donald Trump, in a White House statement, applauded the passage of House Joint Resolution 111, which will eliminate a proposed rule that would have stopped financial institutions from forcing legal complaints to be settled out of court. Every indication points to Trump signing the bill into law when it reaches his desk. If and when that happens, customers will be barred from joining class-action lawsuits against big banks and the ilk, and instead will be forced to negotiate with financial institutions, and their powerful legal teams, one on one in arbitration.

And while this appears to be just another Trump action negating a rule created during President Barack Obama’s tenure, this roll-back was actually proposed and sponsored by Pittsburgh-area U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley). In an Oct. 24 statement, Rothfus said of the Obama-era proposed rule, “Plain and simple, this rule will harm consumers and line the pockets of trial lawyers—something that contradicts the very mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is yet another example of an out-of-touch Washington mandate handed down from this unconstitutional and widely unaccountable agency.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created in 2010 to shield consumers from unscrupulous practices of financial institutions and has been championed by tough-on-Wall-Street politicians like U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). And while Rothfus, who represents Pennsylvania's 12th U.S. Congressional District, claims that rolling back the rule will help consumers, the change comes at an odd time, considering the headlines made by Wells Fargo bank, and its fake-account scandal, and the security breach at credit-monitoring firm Equifax.

The Atlantic Monthly points out on Oct. 25 that consumers could suffer and companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax could actually benefit from the Rothfus’ rule change. It writes: “The nullification of the CFPB’s rule means that people who suffered financial harm or identity theft as a result of either of these large companies’ lapses may not have the right to take them to court.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a 17-page report before the vote, criticizing the CFPB rule. The Treasury report said the rule costs businesses “extraordinary” fees without providing many benefit to consumers. (It should be noted that the Treasury Secretary is Steven Mnuchin, the former executive vice president of financial giant Goldman Sachs, a company criticized for contributing to the 2008 financial crisis due to shoddy mortgage-lending practices.)

Also of interest is while Rothfus claims that the CFPB rule was an “out-of-touch” mandate, most Americans actually support the work of the CFPB. According to five years of surveys conducted by the Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending, 74 percent of voters support the CFPB, with 85 percent of Democrats backing the organization and 66 percent of Republicans supporting it.

Even a 2016 Morning Consult poll of Trump voters found that a plurality of 41 percent of respondents believe the Trump administration shouldn’t alter the CFPB.

Rothfus received a lot of negative reactions on Facebook from constituents after he announced his bill cleared the U.S. Senate. The bill easily cleared the U.S. House mostly along party lines, but received a 50-50 tie in the U.S. Senate. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

Earl Lynch, who is listed as a constituent on Facebook, commented on Rothfus’ page: “You could have given the consumer the freedom to choose between litigation and mediation when a conflict arose. But you decided to protect the big boys and screw me. You’re not a Republican. You’re a Corporationist.”

Another constituent, Amanda Surratt, wrote, “Thanks for making it impossible for regular folks to stand up to ultra rich & powerful corporations.”

Some constituents even insinuated that Rothfus’ push to change the CFPB is tied to campaign donations he receives from financial institutions and banks. It’s impossible to determine if donations influence Rothfus’ actions, but the congressman has received significant backing from big banks and other financial organizations.

Dollar Bank, the Pittsburgh region’s largest community bank, has given Rothfus $13,700 since 2013, according to campaign-finance-tracking website and 2017 campaign-finance disclosures. Since 2013, Goldman Sachs has given $10,500 to Rothfus' campaigns, and Equifax even gave $2,000 to Rothfus' campaign this year.

Since 2009, Rothfus’ campaigns have received more than $140,000 from commercial banks. Overall, the finance, insurance and real-estate industries have been among the biggest contributors to Rothfus’ campaigns, funneling about $865,000 to him over the years.

A request for comment from Rothfus' office went unanswered as of press time.

Rothfus currently has four Democratic opponents challenging him for his seat: Aaron Anthony, of Shaler; Tom Prigg, of McCandless; John Stolz, of Shaler; and Beth Tarasi, of Sewickley. Rothfus will face re-election in 2018.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 5:49 PM

click to enlarge Mandy Leon - PHOTO COURTESY OF RING OF HONOR
Photo Courtesy of Ring Of Honor
Mandy Leon
Mandy Leon is a professional wrestler, broadcaster, behind-the-scenes runner for Ring Of Honor wrestling. CP caught up with Leon before the ROH/NJPW's Global Wars event at Stage AE on Oct. 13 to chat about her time in Japan, developing the Women of Honor Division and what's next.

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Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Day Bracey had had enough. Earlier this month, the well-known Pittsburgh comedian and co-host of the Drinking Partners craft-beer-focused podcast had been engaging in some social-media back-and-forth with another area comedian, Zach Hudak. Bracey took offense at some of Hudak’s posts, which often included racist and homophobic memes, and responded to some of the posts on Facebook.

Then Hudak took the discourse to another level. He responded to Bracey days later with a video he made and posted to Twitter on Oct. 16, tagging Bracey, who is black. The video (shown above) features Hudak, who is white, in black face, imitating Bracey, using a minstrel-like voice, and saying, “Hello there, this bes Day Bracey, when I sees the racist, sexist, Eskimo-phobic, peckerwood motha fucka Zach Hudak, I am gonna be curb stompin’ his ass.”

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Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 3:04 PM

click to enlarge Some spooky stock-art smoke
Some spooky stock-art smoke
There's a neat article in the New York Times this week that hailed 2017 as "the biggest year in horror history." This wasn't hyperbole or opinion. The piece cited numbers from Box Office Mojo, "the most comprehensive box office database on the Internet," and found that horror films have pulled in a record $733 million in 2017. And that's with two months and several potential heavy hitters to go (Happy Death Day and Jigsaw). It and Get Out scored the biggest returns, accounting for roughly $475 million of the year's total.

That's an impressive feat, though the growth wasn't exactly overnight. The Witch, Creep, It Follows, Cabin in the Woods, It Comes at Night and The Babadook are all excellent entries from the 2010s (just to name a few). October, and this week specifically, is a great time to relive those greats and dig back into the history of the genre. Personally, I've been watching a horror movie more or less every day since Oct. 1, including my first-ever viewing of Carrie (excellent, as expected) and The Breed (a phenomenally awful vampire flick from 2001 featuring Bokeem Woodbine, Adrian Paul and the brilliant William Hootkins). But for out-of-the-house viewing, there are plenty of options as well.

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Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 10:50 AM

That troublesome Stephen Foster statue, it seems, is coming down.

Capping decades of racially charged controversy over the 117-year-old bronze memorial to the famed songwriter, the city's Art Commission voted unanimously to remove it from public view and seek a new home where its 19th-century stylings might be given some context.

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