Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend: Honoring Ancestors, Family, Friends, Fun!

Hey World Family,
Falcon here, wishing you all a great weekend, and a happy Memorial Day weekend to our U.S. family, and Victoria Day to our Canadian Brothers and Sisters!

There are plenty of things to do this weekend, outdoors and in: movies (Terminator: Salvation opens and is a magnificently terrifying trip), get out to many festivals (eat all those foods you never allow yourself to have the rest of the year, in moderation), get out to the park, pool, or just clean up the yard (like Falcon), and remember what Memorial Day is for: honoring our war dead, and those who served who have passed on. Falcon and Dove honor all ancestors during this period, and we hope you will have some reflective time to do the same.

One important point about this weekend is history. Our holidays frequently honor our history, yet many don’t really know that much about why we honor what we celebrate. Keeping up the places that help remind us of our wonderful, tragic, mournful, and triumphant history is something that goes overlooked frequently. Falcon and Dove love history, so we are going to do our part to support organizations that support education us all on the history that has brought us to where we are...and reminds us to remember the lessons of that past lest we repeat the most challenging lessons our that past due to inattention to those lessons.

Falcon visited the Derry Area Historical Society this week, for a wonderful presentation and screening of Andy McAllister’s important film, Out of the Ground”, which we have told you is an extremely moving and important film. Again, it will be shown as part of the Film and Wine Festival in Johnstown, PA on July 11, and we hope you can come out and see it, meet the director, and have some serious fun!

DAHS is in a wonderful cabin in Derry, PA of course. It is a wonderful trip back into history, and is in great hands with John Matviya. He is warm and thoroughly informed about the history of the region. Get out this summer, visit Pennsylvania and make sure you stop there and say hello. The region is so stunningly beautiful (this is the shire, after all), you may never want to leave. Can get here, but still would like to help out, here is a way to help. Falcon got this fine invitation from John:

357 Pittsburgh Street
P. O. Box 64
New Derry, PA 15671
724 – 694 – 8808

This is the fourth year that our historical society has been able to conduct its business and maintain the historic Fulton House without continual fundraising efforts due to the great success of our Innkeeper Patron program. The “Innkeepers” are a generous group of people and businesses who have each donated $175.00 to cover the monthly costs of running our society during the course of the year. Our 2009 Innkeepers, listed on the back, agreed last year to fund our general operating expenses in 2009 allowing our general membership dues and other donations to go directly into outreach and educational activities in our community. Because of their generosity, the DAHS Board of Directors does not have to waste time worrying about how to pay the utility bills each month!

Our historical society continues to be very active and involved in numerous exciting initiatives. This year we have expanded to the corners of the Derry Area with the relocation of our Family and Community Research Center to the New Alexandria Public Library. The relocation allows us to be open and available to our members and visitors 5 days a week, every week, while freeing up the Fulton House to provide more historical exhibits throughout the warmer season. A separate fund drive, when completed, will fulfill our dream to reconstruct the Fulton House’s fireplace, encouraging better use of that facility in the cooler months.

Without our 2009 Innkeepers none of what we have accomplished could have been undertaken. We sincerely thank them and appreciate their interest in our society’s mission. It is now time to sign up to become one of the 2010 Innkeepers. If you would like to help by being a 2010 Innkeeper, please send your tax-deductable contribution of $175 by June 1st to the address below. If you have questions, please contact me, John Matviya, via email at A fantastic Innkeepers’ Dinner awaits you! Thank you!!
357Pittsburgh St.
P. O. Box 64
New Derry, PA 15671

General meetings are held the fourth Monday of each month at 7:00p.



Has had a fierce week! They have signed with Grape Juice Records, and are recording right now with J. Robbins! There will be a tour, beginning in June! Stay tuned. There are some amazing new pics on their My Space page! Check it out!


They did an amazing Internet live concert performance for two hours and are now immersed in a major tour. Check out their My Space for some additional information:


On May 28th, BROTHER will return to the Waterfest Concert Series at the
Riverside Park in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
It's been a couple of years since the fellas have played in Oshkosh and the guys say they are looking forward to it.

Keep in touch by visiting the band at, on myspace,
Twitter, and the BROTHER blog.

Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye, Alan White

TODAY-release of CIRCA : Overflow! These are 7 previously unreleased songs that did not appear on either the debut or on Circa: HQ CD. It is on iTunes now! Search ‘circa overflow’. Sweet!!! BTW, CIRCA :LIVE DVD is also available on iTunes. They do a killer version of the Yes anthem, “The More We Live”.

Rik Emmett

Has been a busy guy: new album coming out with co-troub Dave Dunlop, Push and Pull, available beginning May 26 in CD form (Tuesday), but can be preordered now through Maple Music (, socially networking for new peeps ‘cause he is now on Facebook and Twitter, in addition to the My Space page and his website, There’s a new contest for members and friends. Details on the blog:

Push and Pull harkens like their debut project of Strung-Out Troubadours, and has a similar mix of instrumental and vocalized pieces. One tune, “A Deeper Kind of Blue” appears both as a dueling guitar instrumental and as a p.s. version with Rik’s emotional tenor conclusion. Most of this project is fun stuff, with extremely impressive pieces like “52 Pick Up” and “Red Hot” burning up the axes like only Emmett can. Dave gets a more balanced presentation and the load seems more evenly split on this project, including his surprising lead vocals on “Only Time Will Tell” (original, not an Asia cover; I only mention this because three people have already asked me that question). “Way, Way Kooler (a nod to Way Cool from the late 1990’s Swing Shift) actually is, and “Declaration” seems to be an anthem-like affirmation of daily renewal. “Miracle of Love” is a nice piece that would make a good mainstream rock single, although Falcon has to admit that the version done with Orchard Studios live from Brampton on the Internet broadcast with just Rik and Dave is more favored that the retro background vocals on the studio recording. The first single from this project, “Why, Baby” had been out since December, and it is now joined by these and one more masterpiece, “And The River Still Runs” which thematically has its origins in the same vein as “Dos Arroyos” from the debut Troubs (“Two Streams”, although this piece flows like water or consciousness, depending on your mood) which also brought about the construction of “State of Grace”, from the same project- which was one of the most elegantly constructed songs Emmett has written in his solo career. Overall, Push and Pull should be added to your collection.


I received this message from our Sister Julie, the President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network:

You’re making a difference.

Through your continued support, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is making progress on several fronts. One of the areas where we have had the most impact is heightening awareness among elected officials about the urgent need to do more about fighting pancreatic cancer. Due to our advocacy efforts, Congress is now considering the first-ever substantive bill regarding the disease: The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act, H.R. 745. This landmark legislation will dedicate more federal funding towards research and finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Although we are moving forward, much remains to be accomplished. If you have not already done so, click on this RAISE THE CURE campaign link and make a donation to become a part of finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.
Your contribution to RAISE THE CURE will be put to work on two fronts. You’ll be directly funding more private research to ensure the development of early detection diagnostics, improved therapies, more clinical trials, finding key biomarkers and expanding the scientific understanding of pancreatic cancer. You’ll also help us ensure that Congress passes The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act, H.R. 745. Once enacted and fully funded it will provide a greater focus on this disease and will provide the National Cancer Institute with the tools it needs to develop the diagnostic methods and treatments that are currently lacking for pancreatic cancer patients.

Jai Pausch, the wife of the late Carnegie Mellon University Professor Randy Pausch, PhD, whose fight against pancreatic cancer inspired millions through his book, The Last Lecture, remains committed to our mission. "Through research, patient support and advocacy, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and all of its supporters are making a real difference in the lives of pancreatic cancer patients and their families,” she said. “Together, we can raise the cure and make every day matter in the fight against pancreatic cancer."

Please join Jai and support the effort to find a cure. Your generous donation will provide real hope for pancreatic cancer patients and keep progress moving forward in the fight to find a cure.
Best regards,
Jason Kuhn, Board Chair
Julie Fleshman, JD MBA, President and CEO

To donate by phone, please call Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at 877-272-6226

Falcon has to run, it is time to put her talons into the dirt for some serious gardening this weekend (yes, Falcon and Dove prefer our own organic fruits and veggies when we have them). Stay strong, World Family; have a great weekend!

Falcon and Dove

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Slumdog Millionaire Child Actor Homeless

Hello World Family,
Falcon here with a story that just boggles her mind. Two young stars of the OSCAR award winning Best Picture. “Slumdog Millionaire” Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and their families are homeless after police evicted them and tore down their homes right in front of them. Ali’s father was also beaten and hospitalized. These children came from the slums of Mumbai, and have been returned to those conditions, and now have no place to live.

There is a trust fund for the young actors and other children in the slums called Jai Ho, but it is for homes and education in their adulthood, not for living expenses right now. They are in school for the first time in their lives, but without a place to live, it seems a bit ridiculous that something cannot be done about their circumstances.

Okay…that was my really nice presentation of the facts: Here’s how I really feel: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Why in the hell can’t someone do something to improve the overall conditions for these families? These children are in an Oscar winning film that has made in excess of $300 million, and NO ONE can help these families?! COME ON!

It makes no sense to me that in the midst of all that success and affluence, people can live in Mumbai and simply ignore the abject poverty around them. It is equally grotesque that those who are making millions in part because of the artistic contribution of these young people cannot step up and help their families and bring them into a tolerable human condition.

I know personally of cases (too many to mention) where individuals and/or groups have made lot of money at the expense of/or from direct intellectual property of contributions made by people who are completely uncompensated and frankly, I don’t know how they sleep at night. Probably, they don’t sleep well. I am sure that there is some human metaphysical malfunction that allows them to reason through their indifference that it is somehow not their responsibility or that they are actually entitled to their prosperity, while others are simply doomed to their misfortune. Again, sleeping at night must be difficult, if they still have enough connection to human compassion to realize their arrogance. Here’s the facts: those that feel most separated and entitled to their feigned prosperity are the most responsible. Your deeds are built on the backs of those who are exploited in your presence, or as a result of your inaction. If you have prospered while someone you know has faltered and you used their energy to garner your spoils, you are on the pathway of despicable and reprehensible contribution to those less fortunate.

Rectification can be somewhat achieved by the following actions: do what you can as a person who has more than others to improve the condition of others in whatever way you can. Those sitting in the high-rise towers looking down on the slums of Mumbai must have a higher tolerance for pain than I do; I couldn’t look down on that situation and do nothing. So do something. Help those in your community to empower themselves more profoundly. Take a meal to an elder in the community; donate to the food bank, volunteer at a shelter, regularly. Work in the community to improve conditions for everyone. I know, we are all busy, but anytime that you can spend will be more rewarding to your soul than you realize, and it will make someone else’s life better, sometimes in ways you can’t foresee.

Second, pay it back and forward. If you know where the contributions to your quality of life come from, make sure to let people know that they are appreciated every day. Be kind to service workers, and those who serve you, usually without thanks. Give an extra tip to a maid, waiter, service-worker at the holidays who may just be planning simply to get by, rather a lavish celebration of a given day. Give it where you owe it. Pay it forward where it can do an expanded good. Pay it both ways, because that’s how you got where you are.

It would be easy to make whole cultures responsible, and that blanket doesn’t put individuals in the position of becoming activists to change intolerable conditions within a system that is clearly depraved. There is no excuse for lack of courage when so many are suffering. There are so many atrocities around the world every day; this is a microcosm.

These children got a taste of life away from that poverty, and did a job that has earned them the opportunity to be out of it, along with their families. These young people need to be fairly compensated the way a union actor would have been and give them a quality of life that anyone would be proud of today for the same amount of work.

I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to live where I live, and do what I do. I am committed to spending time doing more for those who cannot, teaching those to fish so that they can be fishermen, as it were. I hope that we all do that in our lives. This example is making me more aware of how frequently (or infrequently) I participate in paying it back and forward.

Falcon and Dove

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tell Congress: Protect Children from BPA

Hello, World Family,
This is a message from Falcon concerning our U.S. based Brothers and Sisters to take action concerning pending legislation on BPA, a nasty chemical additive that is in children's drinking cups that can cause some serious problems. Moms Rising sent this out this morning, and it is so important that everyone know to contact your Congress-person and ask them to co-sponsor this legislation.

There is a sample letter below that you can modify for you:

I urge your support of the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009 (H.R. 1523/S. 593). Sponsored by Rep. Markey and Senator Feinstein, this important measure would eliminate the use of the toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) from food and beverage containers.

MomsRising members are committed to eliminating BPA from products that pregnant women and children are exposed to on a daily basis. Over the last several decades, children have faced an increasingly challenging time making it through what should be normal stages of growth and development. Incidences of reproductive defects, childhood obesity, early onset puberty, learning disabilities, and many other chronic health problems are on the rise. Many of these problems have been linked with exposure to toxic chemicals.

BPA was first synthesized as an estrogen replacement therapy in the 1930s but was discarded in favor of other therapies. In the 1940s, chemists discovered they could use BPA to make plastic. Now BPA can be found in baby bottles, water bottles and food storage containers. It is also used the lining of metal food cans, including infant formula cans.

BPA is of particular concern to moms because even minuscule amounts--parts per billion or parts per trillion--have been shown to cross the placenta and disrupt normal prenatal development. Early life exposure to BPA has been linked to a host of developmental problems, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, early onset puberty, abnormal brain development , hyperactivity, and the genetic defect that causes Down’s syndrome. The CDC found BPA in 93% of all Americans and the scientific literature points to food as being the major route of exposure.

There are more than 200 studies that document the adverse impacts of this extremely toxic chemical on human health. This is why Canada has announced it will ban BPA in baby bottles and has signaled its intent to regulate it as a toxic substance. Recently Suffolk County, New York banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. In addition Minnesota became the first state in the nation to ban BPA from consumer products and similar legislation to regulate BPA-containing products has been introduced in more than 20 states.

State action is not enough, however. Congressional action is needed to ensure all food and beverage containers are free of BPA to protect the American public, particularly children, from this toxic chemical.
I urge you to co-sponsor and support the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009.

(your name here)

If you are in a hurry, just to to this link:

Thanks, World Family!
Falcon and Dove

Sunday, May 17, 2009

QUEENSRYCHE Live in HD on the 'Net 5/19!!! Full Show!

Hello Brothers and Sisters,
Falcon here with a big announcement! We couldn't let this one go by:


Fans Worldwide Can Access High Definition Live Stream Of Complete Concert From Clearwater, Florida On May 19

Band Will Play Suites From Rage For Order, American Soldier, and Empire During Two Hour Performance

LOS ANGELES -- Queensrÿche will take their acclaimed American Soldier Tour online by broadcasting an entire show live in high definition at When the band takes the stage at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida on May 19 at 8PM ET, fans worldwide can watch a high definition stream of the performance live as it happens. Fans can gain access to the show by purchasing an e-ticket at for the cost $5.95 for an advance ticket or $7.95 for a ticket on the day of the show. The show can be viewed virtually worldwide in high definition clarity via premium content delivery access systems featuring 43,000 servers in 17 different countries. For more details and technical information, please visit

As with all shows on the American Soldier Tour, Queensrÿche will be performing three separate suites during the two hour performance, each focusing on a different album. The show opens with a suite from the band's 1986 gold album Rage For Order, including some tracks the band has not played live in over 20 years. The second suite focuses on the new epic concept albumAmerican Soldier, which was released on March 31 from Atco/Rhino. The Soldier suite features guest vocal performances by Navy rescue swimmer and Blue Angels crew chief A.J. Fratto on the intense set opener "Sliver" and lead singer Geoff Tate's daughter Emily on the moving ballad "Home Again." The final suite revisits 1990's triple platinum opus Empire with performances of some of the band's most beloved tracks including "Jet City Woman," "Silent Lucidity," and "Best I Can."

For additional information and technical questions about the May 19 live stream, please contact David Gans at at (727) 470-9971 or is in a technology partnership with Akamai Technologies for worldwide delivery of high definition Internet broadcasts.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Good News from Frito-Lay, Cancer Research Grants; Bad News about Poverty in PA

Hello World Family,
What a busy week it has been! Falcon has a variety of stories for you this weekend.
Good news for chips, bad news for PA; research money for Pancreatic Cancer. Read and enjoy! Oh, there have been some updates in previous posts, so make sure you check them out. Have a fantastic weekend!

Falcon and Dove

Frito-Lay Introduces Compostable Snack Chip Bag

Frito-Lay’s popular line of multigrain snacks, announced today that in 2010 it will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from plant-based materials. The change is designed to significantly improve the environmental impact of its packaging.
This month, the SunChips brand is taking the first step towards this transformational packaging. The outer layer of packaging on 10 ½ oz size SunChips snacks bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable material, polylactic acid (PLA). By Earth Day 2010, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division plans to rollout a package for its SunChips snacks where all layers are made from PLA material so the package is 100% compostable.
“We know environmentally-friendly packaging is a priority for our SunChips consumer,” said Gannon Jones, vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “Today’s launch of packaging made with 1/3 renewable materials is an important first step towards having a fully compostable chip bag in market by Earth Day 2010.”
Current snack food packaging has three layers: a printed outer layer with packaging visuals/graphics, an inner layer, which serves as a barrier to maintain the quality and integrity of the product, and a middle layer that joins the other two layers. When the packaging is 100% compostable, it will fully decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost pile or bin. NatureWorks LLC is providing the PLA, which is trademarked under the Ingeo name.
“Packaging is clearly the most visible interaction consumers have with Frito-Lay’s brands,” said Jay Gehring, vice president, packaging R&D, Frito-Lay North America. “To make packaging that would interact differently in the environment we had to change the composition of packaging and invent key technologies. Using plant-based renewable materials, we have a promising solution that will transform packaging and significantly impact the billions of snack food bags produced annually.”
Once the 100% compostable bag is introduced, the company anticipates the switch will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the production of the packaging and the elimination of petroleum-based packaging material.
Over the past few years, Frito-Lay’s packaging initiatives have made some significant strides. This includes reducing the amount of plastic in packaging by 10% over the last five years, and thereby eliminating 12 million pounds of materials annually used to make the snack bags. In addition, Frito-Lay will be the first snack food company to fund the collection and upcycling of its used packaging through a program in conjunction with TerraCycle.
To inform consumers about the new packaging initiatives, the brand will be communicating through traditional marketing efforts, including print, TV and digital advertising. As part of the current packaging change, the front panel of the current 10 ½ oz size SunChips package features a callout, “Renewable materials make up 33% of this bag.” To communicate the next improvement, the digital strategy includes a video showing how the bag decomposes over 14 weeks. Also, samples of the 100% compostable material will be distributed at major retailers across the country and as part of a special People magazine ad.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Research Grants

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network combines its push for increased federal research funding with direct research support of Fellowships/Young Investigator Awards, Career Development Awards, and Pilot Grants for pancreatic cancer research through a peer-reviewed grant system.

Fellowship Award: One-year grant totaling $45,000 that is awarded to a postdoctoral or clinical research fellow at an academic facility, teaching hospital or research institution who is sponsored by a mentor. The intent of the award is to attract young scientists to a career in pancreatic cancer research.

Career Development Award: Two-year grants totaling $100,000 per award that are provided to junior faculty at academic and medical institutions. The intent of these grants is to support and encourage young scientists to establish a career path in the field of pancreatic cancer research.

Pilot Grant: Two-year grants totaling $100,000 - $200,000 per award that support innovative research in pancreatic cancer. This research may be basic, translational, or clinical in nature. Particular consideration is given to projects that are non-duplicative and have the potential for national application.

In 2009, nine grants were awarded, totaling $1.2 million in research funding. This year’s portfolio includes three Fellowship Awards, two Career Development Awards, and four Pilot Grants. Collectively, these grants support junior and senior scientists and provide funding for research in diverse fields of inquiry, including: the origin and causes of pancreatic cancer; the biology of the disease, including underlying physiological and biochemical processes; discoveries in detection, staging and diagnosis; and novel therapeutic strategies.

Since introducing the Research Grants Program in 2003, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has provided nearly $5 million in funding for research. This includes nine Fellowship/Young Investigator Awards, 25 Career Development Awards, and 13 Pilot Grants.
2009 Grant Recipients
Fellowship Awards
Philippe Foubert, PhD
Eric Humke, MD, PhD
David Ting, MD
Career Development Awards
Maxence Nachury, PhD
Marina Pasca di Magliano, PhD
Pilot Grants
Qingshen Gao, MD
Brian Lewis, PhD
Jiayuh Lin, PhD
Kapil Mehta, PhD

FALCON and DOVE say kudos to these fine winners!

Poverty In Pennsylvania, new report

One in Four Pennsylvania Families with Young Children Can't Afford Basics

A surprising 535,000 Pennsylvanians live in working families that have one to three children under age 12 and do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities such as food, housing, child care and health care. Even in this period of national prosperity, that is 24 percent of such families, roughly one out of every four.
"Hardships in America: The Real Story of Working Families", released yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC and analyzed by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Research Center, shows that the majority of families that can’t afford basic necessities are two parent families, often with one or more workers, and for the most part earning incomes above the official federal poverty level.
The report examines the cost of living in every community nationwide and determines separate basic family budgets for each community.

In Pennsylvania, basic family budgets for a two-parent, two-child family range from $33,193 in Erie, to $39,312 in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. In all of Pennsylvania’s communities, two-parent two-child family budgets are within range of the national median of $33,511, which is roughly twice the official federal poverty line of $17,463 for such a family.

"The official poverty line is a grossly outdated yardstick of what’s needed to keep a family afloat, as this report powerfully shows," says Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center. "Families need to be well above the poverty line to cover the cost of the basics." Nationally, two-and-half times more families fall below basic family budget levels than below the federal poverty line, according to EPI.

The report documents the kinds of hardships faced by these low-income families
Nearly one-third of families with incomes below twice the poverty threshold -- a close proxy for the basic family budget level -- faced at least one "critical hardship," such as going without food, getting evicted or having to "double up" in housing with another family, or not having access to medical care during an acute illness.

Nearly three-quarters of families below twice the poverty threshold faced at least one "serious hardship," like worrying about food, failing to pay rent, using the emergency room as their main source of health care, having the telephone disconnected, or having children in inadequate child care arrangements.
Food insufficiency is the most common hardship. Eighteen percent of families below twice the poverty line missed meals involuntarily. Forty percent worried about having enough food to keep from going hungry. For single-parent families, food insecurities were experienced at rates of 23 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
Of families with incomes below basic budget levels,

• half include a parent who works full-time;
• nearly 60 percent are two-parent families;
• more than three-quarters are headed by a worker with a high school degree or more; nearly half are headed by a worker over the age of thirty; and
• about one-third live in the suburbs, one-third live in cities, and one-third live in rural areas.

"Our safety net is full of holes," says KRC Research Fellow David Bradley. "We phase working families out of supports for health care, child care, housing and other basic necessities well before they can afford them on their own."

"Work alone doesn’t ensure a decent standard of living," said Heather Boushey, an EPI economist and lead author of the study. "This report provides strong evidence of the need for policies that strengthen our social safety net and boost wages."
The EPI report includes policy proposals for raising the earnings of low-income and poor families, including a minimum wage hike, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, more comprehensive job training programs, and stronger pay equity policies that help to ensure that women are paid as much as men.

Policies to boost income, however, are only part of a plan to ensure that all American families can afford a safe and decent standard of living, according to the report. Families that earn enough income to be ineligible for Medicaid, for example, are still often unable to afford private health insurance. These experiences indicate that Americans at all income levels need a stronger social safety net, including:

Universal health insurance.
Families that lack private health insurance are far more likely to face other kinds of hardships. They are over twice as likely to miss meals and fail to pay housing or utility bills, even after accounting for income. The problem becomes a cycle when, for example, poor nutrition leads to other health problems.

Federally funded child care for children of all ages.

Families at all income levels have a hard time finding day care centers with the adult-to-child ratio recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 49 states, child care costs are greater than the tuition to public colleges.
Affordable housing and economic development. Affordable homes must be closer to work. One way to accomplish this is through "transit lead development," where mixed-use, high-density developments are built near transit hubs. Increased funds for affordable housing should also be made available, since national housing policy is biased in favor of middle-income homeowners.

"Even high school graduates working full time may not be able to support a family," said Boushey. "If the American Dream is to become a reality for all Americans, then there is a role for government in helping working families meet their basic needs."
The Keystone Research Center is a Harrisburg-based research and policy center dedicated to improving economic performance and economic opportunity in Pennsylvania.
20% of the 3.4 million households lack income to meet basic needs

6% receive public cash assistance

75% spend more than 30% of their income on housing

Fayette and Somerset counties hardest hit

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Ultimate Battle

Hello World Family,
The Ultimate Battle, penned by Falcon

There are many sports playoffs going on right now: basketball, hockey, track is thriving; baseball and softball are well under way. The ultimate battle is not on a field or on a court, but, as Bobby Jones once described where competitive golf is played, “ on a five inch square space between a man’s ears”.

The ultimate battle for mankind is not in a space ship or on a battlefield: it is where the mind rages against its own fears.

There are only two motivators in the universe: love and fear. Both can coexist at the same time as propellers, sustainers, or forces of absolute stagnancy, depending on the circumstances and ratio of love to fear, or should I say, fear to love.

Love is accepting, patience, understanding, and all that stuff. Love increases our capacity to expand love, to sustain in troubled times, to emerge from impossible challenges, and to grow in strength and positive action when negativity and doubt are spiraling all around us.

Conversely, fear (unless you are escaping from a life threatening situation) increases anxiety, worry, stress, reduces creativity, and most importantly, mutates desires.

This last point is the most dangerous. Fear can create undue paranoid feelings, and those can translate into jealousy, arrogance, rage, and violence. Internalized fear can result in illness and take even the most sacred forms of love and alter them in a viral way into something that cannot be reasoned with.

What is fear, really? I came upon an epiphany on this subject while spontaneously talking to someone who was clearly on the negative side of the balance sheet in their personal balance of love and fear. I will be the first to say that I am absolutely sure I did not come up with this answer, but it came from somewhere outside of me much more connected to The Divine than I am. Fear…is self-doubt. Doubt that I will survive against the mountain lion about to attack me; doubt that I can provide for my family after being laid off, doubt that I will be loved in return and end up alone. While the mountain lion thing means we better run much faster, and that is a good thing to do in that situation, the others can wear on the body and the soul, causing a series of events to trigger more negative decisions based in the ultimate battle that is between fear and no doubt.
So what is no doubt? No doubt is when you can say to yourself: I can handle whatever happens. “ If I lose my job, I will get another one; if one relationship doesn’t work out, I will find someone else who I can share my world with, or not…I will be fine regardless”. That is the direct result of self love.

Self love means that you love yourself when you are right and wrong, fat or thin, light or dark, employed or unemployed, rich or poor. It is kind of like the vows two people take to marry, but should be spoken to the soul of the self. Why? Because if you don’t love yourself, honestly and truly, fear will become your closest friend. It will alter the way to do your job, relate to those you try to love (because if you don’t love you, how does that translate in to how you share your affection with others?), and impact (and often poison) every single other emotion you think and feel. This is no small matter.

When you love yourself, you become more confident. You are not afraid to go for that higher goal, you share yourself more openly and honestly with others, you garner greater opportunities, and you are more patient, tolerant, and truthful with others. If you are exposed by other threatened souls, you don’t care, because you are comfortable in your own skin. Does that mean you will always do the right thing? Well, no, it doesn’t. You will still make mistakes, maybe laugh at them more easily, not be so hard on yourself, and let go of blame and anger of yourself and others and move on. This is not lip service to those emotions, but real surrender.

When you don’t love yourself, fear takes hold. You begin to doubt your worth and value to the world; you question others’ affections toward you, and you show signs of dissatisfaction in your work, play, and how you relate to others. Everything becomes a chore, and nothing seems sacred. As those feelings grow, more negative emotions can emerge like prejudice, judgment, bullying, self-deprecation, and alienation. These feelings can spiral until there is no real perspective on the balance of love and fear; indeed the love can now become a reinforcing element of the fear: For example: “I better do this, or they won’t love me, no matter how much I don’t want to do it”. Or…
“I have to hide my secret or others will judge me, and I will be hurt.”
“I have to protect my reputation, no matter what the cost”. “If I don’t go to that school, then I am worthless!”

Friends, this is the time of year when these emotions may fly higher and farther than usual. Many high school students are dealing with college acceptance decisions, prom, jobs, the military decision, etc. They can be overwhelmed, and it is hard when you are a teenager to feel self worth when all those pressures are upon you. If you know a young person who is dealing with all that drama right now, give them a hug, a break, and a laugh, even if they look like they are handling it all well.

Many companies are nearing the end of their fiscal year, and may realize that they need to lay off more employees. If you lose your job, do not despair. Network, and remember that you have friends, family and coworkers who can sympathize. Don’t assume that all will be doom and gloom. This may be the change you need to do something you never thought possible. Ultimately, this loss may become an opportunity.

Break ups happen all the time, but so do new relationships. Out of the ashes may come something completely different, or not. What is actually wrong with being single and unattached? Don’t think of being lonely, just alone. Is that such a bad thing? Maybe it is a time to do some introspection work. Maybe you are getting an opportunity to get out of a relationship that was no longer working and into one that will do more for you than you imagined. With someone else…or with yourself; this may be a sign of a type of graduation of sorts for you.

When love doesn’t triumph over fear, trouble brews. It is only a matter of time before things get ugly. Don’t let them. Remember the Commandment: Love they neighbor, as Thy Self. Love yourself first.

Good things happen when you love you. It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer, or have losses, or challenges, or disappointments. It will mean that you have a beautiful way to handle them: let go. Surrender and let that old stuff fall away. No matter what is on the horizon, rest assured you will handle it. Love combined with self acceptance gives you a whole new result in the equation: peace.

That is what I will leave you with…
Falcon and Dove

Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek Rocks; Mother’s Day Thoughts; Update of Coal Film, “Out of the Ground”

Hey World Family, Falcon has heard from the Johnstown Area Heritage Association. Shelly Johansson said this:

We plan to show it as part of the Johnstown Film & Wine Festival, which is held July 8-11; although it's too long to be part of our film shorts competition, Andy McAllister has agreed to be part of a panel discussion for new and aspiring filmmakers. We are arranging for a showcase of films by our panelists, and "Out of the Ground" will be part of that. Schedule has yet to emerge, but stay tuned -- you can follow the Johnstown Area Heritage Association on Facebook, or go to, or sign up for e-mail updates at

Thank you, Shelly! We are thrilled that Andy will get an opportunity to share his insight on his journey making this extraordinary film. Falcon and Dove will see you there!
Please join us this July!

Falcon is still recovering from last night’s midnight screening of Star Trek. Here’s the quick review…

J.J. Abrams is a master filmmaker! This is his genre and he did some extraordinary work on this project! It is wonderful to watch, and may, just may be the best Star Trek movie. I know, that is tough, but see it for yourself, and you be the judge. I am talking cinematography right now, although the rest is pretty stellar, too.

Pittsburgh Native Zachary Quinto is marvelous as Spock. Go Central Catholic! Many, many people I talked to over the past many months doubted that he could do the job, not because of his acting, but because so many people saw him as Sylar from the hit television show, Heroes. He stepped right in as an intelligent, emotionally complex, completely authentic Mr. Spock. He had some very difficult scenes that could have fallen away under lesser thespian hands, but he completely claimed every glance, every eyebrow, and every near-tear. Nice job, Zack! You have shown tremendous versatility and flexibility. I hope you continue to advance your resume; you certainly have a future as a Vulcan for some time to come.

This entire cast was strong, right down to Karl Urban as Bones (who would have thought?) and Chris Pine as Capt. James T. Kirk (very well done for this young growing actor), Eric Bana as Nero (Eric, you are normally in roles where you are so hot; this character was nastily disturbed), Zoe Saldana as Uhura, (beautifully developed, smoldering, brilliant characterization), Simon Pegg as Scotty (I love Glaswegians, and he is no exception; reminds me a bit of Billy Boyd’s comic relief as Pippin in Lord of the Rings), John Cho as an extremely well-skilled Sulu, and Anton Yelchin channeled the voice of Ensign Chekov. He was a fey younger version of the classic character; simply adorable.

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman should be commended for putting together a plot that had strong continuity and fascinating nuances. The material was handled with taste and reverence in spots where it was required, but could easily have become contrived. It didn’t.
This is a strong film, and the first great hit of the summer movie season.

Don’t forget Little Ashes, which is getting much more attention than I originally thought it would, but Robert Pattinson has exploded on the pop scene because of his role in Twilight. He is a strong, imposing actor, and portraying historic Surrealist Dali is not easy, yet he does it, and is doing another challenging film, How to Be. He is much more talented than he likely to get credit for right now. I hope the press gives him a break, and begins to talk about his versatility as an artist rather than who they think he is dating at this second.


It is that time of year again: honoring our mothers; your mom, sisters, daughters, cousins, friends, and of course, Mother Earth, and Mother Nature. Even if you don’t have a woman in your life to honor as a mom, please do something that honors the only mother that nurtures you from birth to death without question or judgment: the earth.

Do some clean-up project, help on a community garden, do some recycling, volunteer in your community…you know, something that honors the spirit of nurturing.

Many Race for the Cure events happen on Mother’s Day around the country. You can register right up until the day of the event, so go ahead and get involved. Spend the morning of Mother’s Day with others honoring the spirit of sacrifice and survival. Let’s keep moving toward a cure, and support the cause.

The typical flowers, chocolates, and brunch and dinner events are also nice, but thing about gardens instead of just cut flowers. First Lady Michelle Obama has embraced one of my passions: the organic garden. Everyone, whether they just have a couple of window sills, or some steps to place potted plants should have some sort of living botanical growth in their lives. Get together with family and friends and give a neighbor a container garden. Seriously, as little as $10 in plants and a couple of containers from the local dollar or thrift store and a little dirt can change someone’s whole outlook. Look around you; do you see anyone who needs a little emotional lift? Go for it!

Most importantly, say what you feel. Or don’t say it, and just give them a bug hug. Sometimes, what you don’t say can be even more powerful than what you do. There are emotions that defy description, and a hug can go a long way to convey it.

Mothers are not the only ones who should be honored on Mother’s Day. Teachers, mentors, those who have taken care of others in lieu of raising their own children should be honored. Yes, those who adopt are moms (I am amazed how often this comes up; of course they are moms), and don’t forget those that have lost their children. I know, that is a sensitive issue, and everyone handles this differently. I know one thing: they are still moms. They are probably still doing things to nurture others in their lives. You don’t have to bring up the loss; simply let them know how much you appreciate them in your life.

Have a great weekend. To all the moms out there: thank you for all that you do, and continue to do for others. Let’s help improve the condition of women al over the world. Let’s take care of the planet. That is the greatest way to give back on Mother’s Day.

Falcon and Dove

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tony Award Nominations Announced:‘Billy Elliott’ Garners 15 Noms!

Hey World Family,
Falocn here will your Broadway news! Here are the Tony Award Nominations, and there are some surprises, but also some expected delights.

First of all, Billy Elliot: The Musical got a whoping 15 mons, and I am personally delighted since this musical rocks! The three young boys who play Elliot are immensely talented and the show is a winner. Let's see how it does on the big night.

A new version of Mary Stuartgot a nomination, and there are also some Shrek: the Musical noms. In the Revival of a Musical category, there are some real heavy hitters: West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Hair (Falcon actually has been in all three of these at different points of her high school and college youth), Pal Joey rounds out the category.

The big surprise to us was the nomination of You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush . We saw this and it was extremely entertaining, we just didn't think it would make the final cut.

Equus also got 2 nominations. Rock of Ages, The Norman Conquests, Blithe Spirit, and 33 Variations also made strong appearances in nomination.

"Dividing the Estate" - Author: Horton Foote; Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, Bernard Gersten, André Bishop, Primary Stages
"God of Carnage" - Author: Yasmina Reza; Producers: Robert Fox, David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers, Stuart Thompson, Scott Rudin, Jon B. Platt, The Weinstein Company, The Shubert Organization
"Reasons to Be Pretty" - Author: Neil LaBute; Producers: Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, MCC Theater, Gary Goddard Entertainment, Ted Snowdon, Doug Nevin/Erica Lynn Schwartz, Ronald Frankel/Bat-Barry Productions, Kathleen Seidel, Kelpie Arts, LLC, Jam Theatricals, Rachel Helson/Heather Provost
"33 Variations" - Author: Moisés Kaufman; Producers: David Binder, Ruth Hendel, Goldberg/Mills, Latitude Link, Arielle Tepper Madover, Bill Resnick, Eric Schnall, Jayne Baron Sherman, Wills/True Love Productions, Tectonic Theater Project, Greg Reiner, Dominick Balletta, Jeffrey LaHoste

"Billy Elliot, The Musical" - Producers: Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films, Old Vic Productions, Weinstein Live Entertainment
"Next to Normal" - Producers: David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Second Stage Theatre, Carole Rothman, Ellen Richard
"Rock of Ages" - Producers: Matthew Weaver, Carl Levin, Jeff Davis, Barry Habib, Scott Prisand, Relativity Media, Corner Store Fund, Janet Billig Rich, Hillary Weaver, Toni Habib, Paula Davis, Simon and Stefany Bergson/Jennifer Maloney, Charles Rolecek, Susanne Brook, Israel Wolfson, Sara Katz/Jayson Raitt, Max Gottlieb/John Butler, David Kaufman/Jay Franks, Mike Wittlin, Prospect Pictures, Laura Smith/Bill Bodnar, Happy Walters, Michele Caro, The Araca Group
"Shrek The Musical" - Producers: Dreamworks Theatricals, Neal Street Productions

"Billy Elliot, The Musical" - Lee Hall
"Next to Normal" - Brian Yorkey
"Shrek The Musical" - David Lindsay-Abaire
"[Title of Show]" - Hunter Bell

"Billy Elliot, The Musical" - Music: Elton John; Lyrics: Lee Hall
"Next to Normal" - Music: Tom Kitt; Lyrics: Brian Yorkey
"9 to 5: The Musical" - Music & Lyrics: Dolly Parton
"Shrek The Musical" - Music: Jeanine Tesori; Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire

"Joe Turner’s Come and Gone" - Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Bernard Gersten
"Mary Stuart" - New Version: Peter Oswald; Producers: Arielle Tepper Madover, Debra Black, Neal Street Productions/Matthew Byam Shaw, Scott Delman, Barbara Whitman, Jean Doumanian/Ruth Hendel, David Binder/CarlWend Productions/Spring Sirkin, Daryl Roth/James L. Nederlander/Chase Mishkin, The Donmar Warehouse
"The Norman Conquests" - Producers: Sonia Friedman Productions, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Dede Harris, Tulchin/Bartner/Lauren Doll, Jamie deRoy, Eric Falkenstein, Harriet Newman Leve, Probo Productions, Douglas G. Smith, Michael Filerman/Jennifer Manocherian, Richard Winkler, Dan Frishwasser, Pam Laudenslager/Remmel T. Dickinson, Jane Dubin/True Love Productions, Barbara Manocherian/Jennifer Isaacson, The Old Vic Theatre Company
"Waiting for Godot" - Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Harold Wolpert, Julia C. Levy, Elizabeth Ireland McCann

"Guys and Dolls" - Producers: Howard Panter and Ambassador Theatre Group, Tulchin/Bartner, Bill Kenwright, Northwater Entertainment, Darren Bagert, Tom Gregory, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., David Mirvish, Michael Jenkins/Dallas Summer Musicals, Independent Presenters Network, Olympus Theatricals, Sonia Friedman Productions
"Hair" - Producers: The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Andrew D. Hamingson, Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Gary Goddard Entertainment, Kathleen K. Johnson, Nederlander Productions, Inc., Fran Kirmser Productions/Jed Bernstein, Marc Frankel, Broadway Across America, Barbara Manocherian/Wencarlar Productions, JK Productions/Terry Schnuck, Andy Sandberg, Jam Theatricals, The Weinstein Company/Norton Herrick, Jujamcyn Theaters, Joey Parnes, Elizabeth Ireland McCann
"Pal Joey" - Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Harold Wolpert, Julia C. Levy, Marc Platt
"West Side Story" - Producers: Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Jeffrey Seller, Terry Allen Kramer, Sander Jacobs, Roy Furman/Jill Furman Willis, Freddy DeMann, Robyn Goodman/Walt Grossman, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller, The Weinstein Company, Broadway Across America

"Liza’s at The Palace - Producers: John Scher and Metropolitan Talent Presents, LLC; Jubilee Time Productions, LLC
"Slava’s Snowshow - Producers: David J. Foster, Jared Geller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Judith Marinoff Cohn, John Pinckard
"Soul of Shaolin - Producers: Nederlander Worldwide Productions, LLC; Eastern Shanghai International Culture Film & Television Group; China on Broadway
"You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush - Producer: Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Steve Traxler, Home Box Office Inc., Gary Sanchez Productions, Bat-Barry Productions, Ken Davenport, Ergo Entertainment, Ronald Frankel, Jon B. Platt, James D. Stern, The Weinstein Company, Tara Smith/b. Swibel, Dede Harris/Sharon Karmazin, Arny Granat

Raúl Esparza, "Speed-the-Plow"
James Gandolfini, "God of Carnage"
Geoffrey Rush, "Exit the King"
Thomas Sadoski, "Reasons to Be Pretty"

Hope Davis, "God of Carnage"
Jane Fonda, "33 Variations"
Marcia Gay Harden, "God of Carnage"
Janet McTeer, "Mary Stuart"
Harriet Walter, "Mary Stuart"

David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Gavin Creel, "Hair"
Brian d’Arcy James, "Shrek The Musical"
Constantine Maroulis, "Rock of Ages"
J. Robert Spencer, "Next to Normal"

Stockard Channing, "Pal Joey"
Sutton Foster, "Shrek The Musical"
Allison Janney, "9 to 5: The Musical"
Alice Ripley, "Next to Normal"
Josefina Scaglione, "West Side Story"

John Glover, "Waiting for Godot"
Zach Grenier, "33 Variations"
Stephen Mangan, "The Norman Conquests"
Paul Ritter, "The Norman Conquests"
Roger Robinson, "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone"

Hallie Foote, "Dividing the Estate"
Jessica Hynes, "The Norman Conquests"
Marin Ireland, "Reasons to Be Pretty"
Angela Lansbury, "Blithe Spirit"
Amanda Root, "The Norman Conquests"

David Bologna, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Gregory Jbara, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Marc Kudisch, "9 to 5: The Musical"
Christopher Sieber, "Shrek The Musical"
Will Swenson, "Hair"

Haydn Gwynne, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Karen Olivo, "West Side Story"
Martha Plimpton, "Pal Joey"
Carole Shelley, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"

Dale Ferguson, "Exit the King"
Rob Howell, "The Norman Conquests"
Derek McLane, "33 Variations"
Michael Yeargan, "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone"

Robert Brill, "Guys and Dolls"
Ian MacNeil, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Scott Pask, "Pal Joey"
Mark Wendland, "Next to Normal"

Dale Ferguson, "Exit the King"
Jane Greenwood, "Waiting for Godot"
Martin Pakledinaz, "Blithe Spirit"
Anthony Ward, "Mary Stuart"

Gregory Gale, "Rock of Ages"
Nicky Gillibrand, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Tim Hatley, "Shrek The Musical"
Michael McDonald, "Hair"

David Hersey, "Equus"
David Lander, "33 Variations"
Brian MacDevitt, "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone"
Hugh Vanstone, "Mary Stuart"

Kevin Adams, "Hair"
Kevin Adams, "Next to Normal"
Howell Binkley, "West Side Story"
Rick Fisher, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"

Paul Arditti, "Mary Stuart"
Gregory Clarke, "Equus"
Russell Goldsmith, "Exit the King"
Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone"

Acme Sound Partners, "Hair"
Paul Arditti, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Peter Hylenski, "Rock of Ages"
Brian Ronan, "Next to Normal"

Phyllida Lloyd, "Mary Stuart"
Bartlett Sher, "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone"
Matthew Warchus, "God of Carnage"
Matthew Warchus, "The Norman Conquests"

Stephen Daldry, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Michael Greif, "Next to Normal"
Kristin Hanggi, "Rock of Ages"
Diane Paulus, "Hair"

Karole Armitage, "Hair"
Andy Blankenbuehler, "9 to 5: The Musical"
Peter Darling, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Randy Skinner, "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas"

Larry Blank, "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas"
Martin Koch, "Billy Elliot, The Musical"
Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, "Next to Normal"
Danny Troob and John Clancy, "Shrek The Musical"

Jerry Herman

Signature Theatre, Arlington, Va.

Phyllis Newman

Shirley Herz


"Billy Elliot, The Musical" - 15
"Next to Normal" - 11
"Hair" - 8
"Shrek The Musical" - 8
"Mary Stuart" - 7
"The Norman Conquests" - 7
"God of Carnage" - 6
"Joe Turner’s Come and Gone" - 6
"Rock of Ages" - 5
"33 Variations" - 5
"Exit the King" - 4
"9 to 5: The Musical" - 4
"Pal Joey" - 4
"West Side Story" - 4
"Reasons to Be Pretty" - 3
"Waiting for Godot" - 3
"Blithe Spirit" - 2
"Dividing the Estate" - 2
"Equus" - 2
"Guys and Dolls" - 2
"Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" - 2
"Liza’s at The Palace" - 1
"Slava’s Snowshow" - 1
"Soul of Shaolin" - 1
"Speed-the-Plow" - 1
"[Title of Show]" - 1
"You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush" - 1

Monday, May 4, 2009

Coal’s Powerful, Tragic History:New Documentary Film “Out of the Ground”

Hello World Family,
Falcon here wishing you a happy week. We hope you had a wonderful weekend. It was wonderful here: Kennywood Park opened, the Pittsburgh Marathon was a HUGE success, the Pittsburgh Symphony had another stellar performance, and the Concert for the Homeless, as well as John Fetterman’s (Mayor of Braddock) event were well received.

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to travel to Johnstown for a wonderful documentary film premiere at the Johnstown Heritage Center (which is about to open its new Children’s Museum!).

Out of the Ground is a stunning documentary film journey by first-time film maker/biologist Andrew McAllister. Once again proving that science and art should never be compartmentalized, McAllister delivers a historical perspective that is wise, reflective, sometimes raw, and painfully honest about the tremendous sacrifices made by Americans in Southwestern PA of all ethnic groups as they struggled to build a better life on the surface of the earth by harvesting coal in an unimaginable Hades, bringing prosperity to the Industrial Age and a modest way of life to families in the region.

Andy is Watershed Coordinator for The Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, but did this film truly as a labor of love. His research and interviews with experts and treatment of archived material brings to life the sacrifice and trials of the industry from the late 18th Century through the 1950’s. It is unflinching in its examination of the greed in the U.S., ignorance or inattention to safety and xenophobia in the treatment of some workers. It honors the sacrifice of our ancestors, and shows their courage, willingness to work hard, and their sorrow in incomprehensive loss.

The film was encouraged with support from Andy’s boss, Bruce Golden, Regional Coordinator for WPCAMR. The intoxicating music was performed by the extraordinary guitarist Ken Bonfield, a self-taught artist who uses themes found in Celtic, American Folk, Blues, Jazz, Classical, even Rock and Roll. His pieces flow effortlessly around the archived footage and images of ancestors that are now personal and emotional again. This is not nostalgia, but a humble honoring of our troubled origins, sometimes the first jobs held by our predecessors, and in some dangerous instances, their last.

Every part of the film moves graciously, yet deliberately through the aristocracy and the abject poverty. The history is framed well, and covers the largest bituminous coal region of southwestern PA very well. McAllister presents the work and play of families of the period. It all at once leaves you feeling proud, awed, and sad at our enjoined history.

The film is the perfect length for most competitive film festivals, and should be seen by many people as soon as possible. Falcon and Dove will keep you updated on when and where this extraordinary project can be viewed. Stay tuned…
Falcon and Dove

No Money for the Arts?! Senate Bill 850 in PA; Act NOW!

Hi World Family,
Falcon reporting; I just got this email this afternoon from Brother Charlie Humphrey of Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Please give this your fullest attention if you are living within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Falcon and Dove

Constituents of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts,

Senators Corman, Pileggi and Scarnati have now introduced Senate Bill 850, and it appears that it eliminates all state funding for the arts for the upcoming year.

There is no mention of grants to the arts or the PA Council on the Arts in the bill. The only funding listed is funding from the NEA.

To read the current bill, visit:

We can expect a vote on the bill in the next few days and your action on this issue is needed TODAY!

To find your legislators easily, please click the link below.

For a sample letter, please read on, below.Thank you for your ACTION today! Yours,

Pittsburgh Filmmakers and
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Executive Director, Charlie Humphrey


Dear Senator/Representative __________ ,

I am writing to you on behalf of Pittsburgh Filmmakers / Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the community we serve to urge you to support the proposed $14 million budget for Grants to the Arts for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and to oppose any bill that eliminates this funding.

In an economy where corporate and individual support is declining quickly, Pennsylvania's arts organization cannot afford to lose any other support. Before the economic downturn, there were 6,837 full-time equivalent jobs in the arts in Allegheny County alone. A significant number of those jobs have already been cut. Without PCA funding many, many more will be lost.

Through its innovative re-granting program, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, the PCA works with 17 organizations to provide grants of state funds to a wide variety of local and community arts activities. Funding through the PCA enables arts and culture organizations to bring the arts to citizens throughout Pennsylvania, improving their quality of life. Many of these projects reach under-served communities and engage people who would otherwise not have access to artistic opportunities and experiences.

For years, Pennsylvania has lagged far behind neighbor states in per capita support for the arts, including Maryland, New York, and New Jersey, but also West Virginia. By supporting the proposed $14 million budget for Grants to the Arts you’ll be making a powerful statement about the value of the arts in our commonwealth. Please help us continue to provide services to our fellow Pennsylvanians and bring the jobs, local spending, pride, and vitality to our communities that comes from an investment in the arts.

In closing, I would like to again urge you to support the proposed $14 million budget for Grants to the Arts for the PCA so that the organizations and jobs that this funding supports can continue to offer valuable artistic experiences to Pennsylvania citizens. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Pfinfo mailing list

Sunday, May 3, 2009

VERITAS: Truth Will Out

Hello World Family,
Falcon, here.

This is a serious post, with not a lot of humor, because we are at a point collectively where the proverbial party is long over. Those of you who have read my personal My Space bio know the quote from Orwell about truth being a truly revolutionary at during times of universal deceit. Well, I cannot think of a better time to use this quote in our history than right now.

During the past few weeks many of you know that I attended some pretty heavy events. Visiting Congress again was heavy duty work, but some things had to be put forward. It was an important moment, because just a couple of days before the climate change lobby began on the part of we outdoor enthusiasts, the EPA sided with the Supreme Court and stated that climate change is in fact a global health hazard. This is a massive decision because it puts to rest those who have been living in the land of make-believe that global warming was myth.

This was one of those preposterous arguments that as a scientist I always thought was insane. We had solid evidence in the early 1970’s that CO2 and other trapped gasses were warming up the atmosphere and would have catastrophic consequences. Although most models were not able to predict the swiftness with which our proverbial manure hit the fan, it was all there. But, there was a campaign of deceit, and that was such a solidly well run masquerade that many were fooled by it, and as a result, are having some serious problems coming to grips with the reality of our situation.

The time for amazement is over, action is needed. Contact your elected officials and do everything you can to make sure that they understand that ACES is extremely important to the entire world, not just the U.S.

The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act isn’t perfect. It does have a chance of passing Congress, which won’t happen if people are still arguing about whether climate change is real or not. In the not too distant future, we will be put in the unenviable position of simply going through the motions because the tipping point will have passed, and we will all be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to start with something, and this is the something most can agree on. Let’s get it done.

I know, there’s a lot going on, and back to veritas…truth seems to be lacking in some respects in a variety of corners. Many people are just proverbially punch drunk about what is going on around them. Their 401K has been cut in half or worse from where it was just a year ago.

Another example of universal deceit: markets built on leveraged goods and exotic financial bundles along with Ponzi schemes bankrupt many around the globe. Most of that was built on absolute lies and misinformation. Bernie Madoff ran a simple Ponzi scheme for years. There were those who spoke out and said that this investment firm could not be playing by the rules and producing the results it claimed. Yet, the lies continued, and people were told the lies again and again. Some of those people lost their entire life savings, some lost whole scholarship funds that were putting thousands of students through college.
All the while, Madoff kept on lying; to himself, to his investors, and to his conscience. Many people thought he was a good man. He was a good man with a greedy undercurrent and a very bad plan.
Truth telling was absent from the room, and many have had to come to grips with the fact that someone they knew and trusted for years lied to them. It is a bitter pill, and its consequences are far reaching.

I have seen interpersonal demonstrations of this as well. For example: A man defending to the last a position of a friend he believes he knows well…and not knowing that this guy has suppressed, repressed, lied, and denied his way through his life, right in front of him. This man believes he is acting on good cause for his friend, but he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. The friend has failed to take responsibility for actions that are farther reaching than he thinks, and the friend thinks he is a good man…and he is: a good man with perhaps a poor plan.

Now, concerning Environmental Justice...
The DEP (Department of Environmental Protection in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) held its first annual Environmental Justice Conference in Harrisburg April 26-28, 2009. Drexel University along with a host of sponsors brought neighborhood activists from EJ communities, scientists, doctors, EPA, DCNR, and other officials together to discuss what the DEP could begin to do to correct some of its approaches in certain communities. Don’t get me wrong, there have been successes, but the DEP itself realized it needed to inquire about how to improve what to do. I am glad they asked.

First, the DEP needs to issue a moratorium on the use of chloramine in drinking water across the state. I know, you want to reduce cancer risks caused by agents that form with leaf and debris with chlorine, but chloramine has some serious problems. It dissolves rubber (not good for infrastructure in any neighborhood, much less disadvantaged ones), eats pipes and will leech lead, iron and other heavy metals into the drinking water at the faucet. Now, you can get a relatively inexpensive pitcher with a filter that will remove impurities, but that doesn’t solve the problem with the whole house. Children have to bath in this lead infested water, and testing at the plant does nothing to counteract the problems from aging pipes in the hook up to the house. It is kind of ironic holding an Environmental Justice conference while allowing something that could be potentially devastating to hundreds of thousands of households go through without due pause.
Here’s the big blow: in cities where chloramine was employed, the lead levels went up in those tested by 72%!!! This is completely unacceptable. The science simply doesn’t support putting this in to municipal systems. More research and some lucidity is called for. The PUC (Public Utility Commission) should hold additional hearings and put the brakes on this implementation.

Second, the permit fees must be raised extensively on oil and gas well drilling, particularly those employing horizontal well drilling in the Marcellus Shale. In addition, liability and risk must be determined at every stage of the process, and right now, that is not being done. What happens if there is a leak in the system, and a land owners sink faucet becomes an inferno? They are drinking and bathing in water that could have contamination from the wells being drilled. It could effect the neighbors’ water. Who is going to be responsible for the contaminated wells? What if there is a runoff from the on-site pool in a downpour into municipal pipes? Municipalities do not have the capacity to effectively clean up those messes! There are only 3 facilities in the entire state of PA that remediate brackish water. Where is the acid water going to be processed for thousands of additional wells?

Let’s talk about water: it takes over a million gallons of water per frack, up to 10 fracks per well to run this drilling process. That is FRESH WATER! Where is it coming from? Lakes and streams whose levels will fall dramatically, TDS levels will rise to unacceptable levels, and communities will suffer. One in 20 jobs in the state come from outdoor recreation and enjoyment. What will happen to those communities that cannot tolerate any additional risk or burden?

The DEP has moved too quickly and must slow down to put rules into place that will protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources and put to rest concerns of contamination and liability for land owners and municipalities.

Lastly, additional inspectors for well must be hired immediately. Right now, there are a mere 16 inspectors for the entire state. We are at 16,000 wells and counting. Money must be set aside to do that, and that funding should come from companies doing business in that field.

By the way: those companies carbon footprint will be the size of sasquach if they don’t begin to employ more progressive technologies. Cap and trade is coming. What will make oil, gas, and coal companies more competitive in the global marketplace?

This is my open proposal to the industry. I was happy to be able to share this with the U.S. Congress, and now, I am sharing it with you.
Pass it on and make sure that those who need to know that there are many working alternative fuel and remediation technologies available get the truth.

After all, that is what it is all about now. Love comes with it, but truth must lead.

Have a great week!
With much love,

Sensible Progressive Action for Industry
Climate Change Initiatives
Coal, Natural Gas, Fossil Fuels
A hard truth must be faced concerning the fossil fuels industry: the cost to all shareholders (investors, public, environment, risk) is simply too high, and companies will not be able to support the full burden of their industry, regardless of what measures are taken to begin to control, cap, and reduce the flow of carbon into our atmosphere. Operations as they currently stand are going to fade, and they must if we are to survive beyond the next 100 years with a quality of life to which we are accustom. How do we continue to employ practices that keep industry going, while mitigating the harmful and costly side effects that we collectively can no longer bear? That is the challenge we must rise to meet. Please see some suggestions below.

Land Use
Companies who hold the rights to coal, natural gas, etc. also have control of millions of acres of land. Land in protected areas will continue to be such, but land that these industrial giants own, some of which is contaminated and not suitable for expanded energy interest must be converted safely, cost-effectively, and in a way that increases the business’ ability to make a profit while reducing their carbon impact. There are several options that exist today to assist these industries with this conundrum

Land that is currently contaminated (especially with coal ash and coal waste) can be phytoremediated on site to reduce risk to workers and community, environment and labor. Plants that phytodegradate (degrade, metabolize and/or attenuate) waste can be placed on these waste fields and mounds to mitigate its impact on the environment and improve land quality. Further, since degradators will be employed (rather than hyperaccumulators or phytovolitalizers), there is no need for on site incineration, saving money and risk associated with ash disposal. These botanical products are suitable for use in biofuel production, since phytodegradators are not in and of themselves, capable of transmuting contaminants in their mature state. That means that companies can now clean up sites with significantly reduced cost and risk, while creating a cash crop to reduce their carbon footprint, thereby saving them millions of dollars.

Water Use/ Water Quality

Those that also have contaminated waterways may employ the same techniques, only a combination of phytoremediators will have to be used for maximum benefit in a minimum amount of time. Hyperaccumulators in aqueous tracks are quite different than their land counterparts, and make excellent biofuel sources, since there are ways to remove their contaminants and still use their biomass for fuel. This will reduce overall risk for regional waters and keep TDS levels low. The Improving quality of both land and air can be achieved in most planting zones (6 or higher) in approximately 3 years. Most sites can be remediated in a shorter time. Each site would have to be examined for its particular types of contaminants and area of remediation, but overall, this is an excellent plan for reducing risk, cost, waste, and increasing benefits to the environment. It is a prime opportunity for these industries to become genuine friends of the environment while helping their industry stay viable and successful.

Gas drilling through Marcellus Shale is not cost effective if proper permitting standards, water quality concerns and compensation to municipalities, as well as charges for water use are included. Gas companies can now use biofuels on land sites that they control to make profits by benefiting communities and the forest. These are careful plantings of course, but profitable ones. It is far better than 10 fracks per well using approximately a million gallons of fresh water per frack, with high possibilities of leakage, contamination, and runoff problems. Horizontal drilling has always had high risk, and right now, Pennsylvania has not put in place regulation and guidelines to protect landowners and municipalities from litigation in mishaps. A smarter way to proceed is to begin to convert the industry to bio-collection and biofarms.

Additional Benefits

There is an additional benefit to utilizing this strategy around operating mines and sites. Phytodegradating plants also have the ability to absorb not only carbon, but particulate matter, including heavy metals from the air and metabolize and/or attenuate those metals in their root system, keeping that matter out of the air, improving air quality without contaminating soil. Green roofing can also be employed at plants and offices, along with strategically placed rain barrel systems to mitigate stormwater runoff and decrease the likelihood of aquifer contamination at critical areas.

There is extensive research on this science, done for thousands of years by Native Americans and now being done world wide by other countries. The U.S. lead research on phytoremediation in the 1990’s and is now playing catch up to the rest of world. It is now time to put solid science to work improving environmental quality of our most challenged industries so that there will be benefits for all.

Steel Industry
United Steelworks of America has been a partner in green consideration and innovation for the steel industry for nearly 40 years. A new era of partnership and innovation is now available to keep plants working and simultaneously reduce carbon and particulate emissions.

The steel industry (as well as cement plants) can benefit by employing phytoremediating plants on their property. Different plants can mitigate particulates in different ways, and aggressive hyperaccumulators combined with specially chosen degradation plants will provide an opportunity for mills to reduce their carbon footprint, improve air quality and participate more competitively in the global marketplace. This would be a new way to use a technology firmly in place worldwide. Pittsburgh and partners in the region can be on the cutting edge of this opportunity. Our region already has many challenges with air quality and health concerns. It costs PA millions of dollars per year to treat children, seniors, and sensitive populations for health related problems that arise directly from exposure to particulate matter and heavy metals produced by some of our most popular industries. Phytoremediation could improve 10-fold the health and well being of shareholders in our region, improving air, water and soil quality.

Job Creation and Innovation for Pennsylvania
Putting more people to work in areas where botanical remediation is employed means more quality work with fair pay in areas with less risk, more benefits and greater ways to advance without a lot of previous work experience. There are a variety of levels that can employ individuals from entry level to engineering. Natural resource graduates can quickly be used in this field to survey, plant, monitor, and maintain sites in partnerships with various industries: steel, coal, natural gas. I know everyone wants to know where the money will come from. Congress must work with the president to make sure that those businesses that are trying to put money into carbon reduction receive assistance in funding: tax breaks, reduction in their portion of Cap and Trade payments, and assistance in capturing the attention of venture capital.

Small Business Creation, Support, Venture Capital

There are so many small businesses in PA that have patented green innovative techniques and products that one can lose count. This provides opportunity for employment and expansion. All that is needed is assistance by politicians on a local, state, and national level to help on every level to improve regulations and zoning for opportunities to use these cutting edge technologies. If ideas are mired in red tape, innovation is stunted. Green zoning is way behind the curve, and local governments need the federal government to take the lead in helping them change antiquated rules and regulations. Encourage venture capital investment in the region by making sure that those in investment films know that Western PA has innovations worth investing in for future profits.

Small businesses need consultants who often have more expertise in areas in progressive sciences than they may have in-house. A network should be established to keep those in need with those who have the proper training and/or products.

Start-up capital is increasingly hard to find for even the largest and most stable of firms, but it is particularly difficult for small businesses in a new frontier. Organizational capacity for Environmental Justice Communities is a constant struggle. For women and minorities and those who have businesses in economically hard hit areas, banks are even more reluctant to lend. Something must be done or there will be a chasm that will be very hard to fill for decades to come. It is critical that those from historically disadvantaged areas be given access to more information and yes, capital to become more self enfranchised. They are more likely to hire within their own communities and expand there as they continue their success.


Education partners are critical to creating more opportunities in this green economy. CCAC is a leading partner, along with many unions in the region, but we are behind the proverbial eight ball when it comes to making sure high school students are ready for what is to come. Education curricula support must begin at pre-school if we are going to provide young people with the base to become life long learners and have a living wage. Flexibility will be the key for the future; things will change too quickly for anyone to become complacent. Companies like Bayer that provide Scientist in the Classroom, and the Carnegie Science Center in its education outreach programs (the latter I have worked with personally) are doing what they can, but so much more is needed. More funding and more scientists to spend a year periodically doing presentations and labs in the classrooms gives students inspiration and information necessary for the future. Educators cannot be expected to keep up with it all; we are all partners in our children’s education and enrichment. More saturating programs in science, math, and the arts are necessary in every classroom to improve readiness for 21st century work.

Additional information about the options discussed in this document are readily available. Please feel free to contact me about any abstracts concerning these techniques, as well as businesses and governments already employing the science discussed. It is critical that we collectively not only think outside the box, but dissolve the concept that there ever was one. This is the new frontier, and our future fate is tied to our courage to embrace our most innovative, creative, and environmentally sound concepts.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Beltane: A Day of Decisions,College choices, a Fertile Season

Hello World family,
Falcon, here. Happy May Day, Beltane, or whatever you call it.

College D-Day

It’s the day high school seniors who have been accepted to colleges pay them the big matriculation fees to say “YES” to attending that particular college. It is a hard decision, but make one today. That way, you have a school to attend, even if it isn’t your First Choice School.

Wait-listed? Write a very nice letter letting them know that you really want to attend that school. Accept elsewhere and send the money in, but write the letter to your fav anyway. It may be just what you need to get in the door.

Remember: most colleges over-accept. That is, they have sent acceptance letters to more students than they can really handle. They assume about 20% will probably attend elsewhere (note: these are averages; if you are accepted to an Ivy, it’s more like 10% over).

Want to attend a really nice “new Ivy”? You know, CMU, Rice, Drexel…or a highly competitive art and design school…RISD, SCAD, Emerson, Columbia College…better accept. It is hard enough to get in, much less wait past May 1. If you aren’t sure if you can pay for it, send the fee, and tell them you may need more scholarship money (merit money). Many schools have lots of ways new students can qualify. Reality check: This will be a very hard year. Many scholarship organizations disappeared after the evil Bernie Madoff and other Ponzi schemers put the funds of many into a black hole of oblivion. Yet, colleges are sympathetic, and receptive. If they have accepted you, they want you. Let your admissions counselor work with you and your family to find a resolution to the gap in funding. You are not out of options. Say yes, and keep working to fill that gap.

They are plenty of scholarships available for summer, too. Go to:

Check out what may be due right now that could take the fear out of the ‘payment due’ date.

Arlen Specter: Jedi

Okay, not quite. He clearly had a wake-up and dream experience, though. It was coming for awhile. Serving the Republican Party all these years and watching it become a mockery of itself was very painful for him. Eventually, he realized that he had to go with self-preservation. He had to go with the things that mattered. He had to see his legacy through…and that meant a change of party. So, now Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is a Democrat. He is a new man, and it’s a new day. That’s because he knows that now that he is in the latter years of his life, every day matters. He has stared death in the face with illness, and defeated it. Death will come to us all, but this is a new Arlen that recognizes that he has days numbered to make a difference that will crown his legacy. It wanted to make sure he could still make a real difference to Pennsylvanians. Thank you, Arlen. We appreciate that. Wow, I guess that does make you Jedi! Yes!

Oh, and to the Republican Party, this word of advice: grow up. This was once the party of the enfranchising everyman, who embraced the opportunity to move the country forward. Not any more: fear mongering, and xenophobia is the call of the day. This was once the party of less government and taxation and more American freedoms. Now, it is the party of inflated government, debt, and tax everyone but the rich guys. Freedoms? This is Big Brother on steroids, eroding the Constitution except where owning an automatic weapon is concerned, then it’s freedom for all! Whatever happened to real Republicans? Individuals who never feared that justice would prevail because a just and fair republic was the goal of the party? Now it is the party of misinformation and rumor-mill. Want to change things? Grow up, suck it up, and turn it up for real, and people will follow genuine leadership coupled with sensible science for the new frontiers. Stop looking for a new spin on the same old song: write a new song. See the world without boundaries and boxes; without an ‘us and them’. Come to the proverbial table like grown ups and see the wonder of cooperation and bipartisanship shine through.

The Pittsburgh Marathon is back! Fundraiser for the Homeless

Everyone in town from everywhere…WELCOME! We are glad to have you! The weather should be ideal, not too hot or cold. It may be a little rainy, but not awful. There will cheerleading squads from various Pittsburgh schools to cheer you all on, so have fun, be safe, and go for it! They had a huge waiting list for this race, and that is a wonderful sign for the future of the event.

Don’t forget the Concert for the Homeless on Saturday, May 2 from 1pm-11pm in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. There are a ton of great bands performing, including Falcon and Dove friend, Jack Knight.

Movies this weekend

The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is hysterical! Great, genuine acting by Jennifer Garner and Matthew Mc Conaughey make this film work well. The script is well written and well shot.

Wolverine is intense. Does it work? The action is so good, no one will care.

May 8, Star Trek for all those fans (go Pittsburgher Zack Quinto), Little Ashes for those into independent films who may want to see Robert Pattinson doing something besides Teen oriented material. He plays Salvador Dali…magnificently!

Have a great weekend!
Falcon and Dove