The Civil War is in my Capitol

The Pennslyvania Past Players visiting in Philadelphia and the Union League on June 16, 2007. (LB Philly on Flickr)

Trying to work near the Harrisburg Capitol’s Main Rotunda around lunch time on a Wednesday in Summer? Do you hear the simmer of a patriotic song or the baleful cries of a country in turmoil!

Of course you do, because the Pennsylvania State Museum dispatches their Pennsylvania Past Players from the Civil War to the Capitol every Wednesday from noon to 1 P.M. from June 18 until Sept. 10.

Assuming you’re missing their show today, looks like you have just two more chances to see the group interact with children, parents and grandmothers, all wearing their respective central Pennsylvania uniforms – cameras dangling, sweaty Penn State football tee-shirts and style from 1992.

…Yes, I just criticized someone’s style.

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Best sports cities in the country

Looking for the best city to cheer for the blue team over the red team?

Forbes magazine begged for attention as it often does with a new list. This gets personal, ranking 29 sports metro areas in the country by winning percentages and ticket prices compared to cost of living.

What do sports fans spend the most time grousing about? Above all else, it’s lousy teams or high ticket prices.

Woe is the fan forced to put up with both at once. Who wants to pay premium prices to sit in the stands and watch the losses mount? Fans in Miami know about that. Over the past year, the city’s four major sports teams–the Dolphins, Marlins, Heat and Panthers–have combined to win just 40% of their games while fans have forked over money for tickets and accouterments at the seventh-highest rate among 29 major sports metros.

As the Inquirer points out today, Philadelphia was neither among the 10 worst nor the three best – no others were ranked.

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There's a baby with beer on my news story

A photo of an infant clutching a beer is currently paired with a story of mine on Google News, as seen above.

Google’s news aggregation tool couples top ranked news stories with photos from related stories that are similarly rated. So, while my story on college presidents calling for a dialogue on underage drinking ran with the Patriot-News, at a particular moment, the top rated photo came from the story covered by eCanadaNow, which chose its image to be one of a sleeping baby holding onto a bottle of Miller Genuine Draft, at right.

That can’t be great for my professional product, eh?

Still, these pairings change continuously, so we can hope it won’t last long.

Hey, you looked bored, check out an array of photos with children comically – read: irresponsibly – placed with alcohol.

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Patriot-News: Brief on drinking age discussion

This brief ran online Thursday for the Patriot-News, prepping for yesterday’s front page story:

Some college presidents who recently asked for a national dialogue on the 21-year-old drinking age say the focus of their effort has been lost.

Some 123 university and college chief executives, including 15 in Pennsylvania, signed on to the Amethyst Initiative, a public statement urging a discussion since they say the 21-year-old drinking age is not working. But instead, much of the debate has turned to their suggestion that possibly the drinking age should be lowered… More.

See it on PennLive here.

Photo courtesy of 101.

Number of Views:1386 nothing without me, follows my story

I had a cover story on Tuesday’s edition of the Patriot-News about a Muslim airline pilot who says he was unfairly placed on a federal watch list, costing him his job.

Yesterday, picked up on the story – even featured it on the front of its Web site, as seen above – without any love for your boy Chris Wink, or even the Patriot-News. What gives?

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Patriot-News: Dialogue on drinking

Photos by Dan Glider

Front-page story for the Patriot-News:

This isn’t about lowering the drinking age. That’s what Dickinson College President William Durden will tell you.

This is about watching parents follow their freshman sons and daughters into dormitories with beer in tow.

“We have a societal problem towards the attitude of alcohol that we have to fix,” Durden said. “It’s not just have a drink. It’s drink until you’re unconscious.”

More than 100 other college presidents agree. They’ve formed a group, numbering 123 at last count and growing, that has come together to encourage a public dialogue about altering the country’s drinking laws.

The Amethyst Initiative is a petition of sorts. These college chief executives say the current drinking age isn’t working and is creating a dangerous culture of intoxication on college campuses… More.

See the rest on See the front-page placement at Newseum.

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10 people on TV I don't hate

Photo from Akira's Flickr:

*Addition amended (9/5/08, 7 P.M.)

PEOPLE ON TV ARE OFTEN VILIFIED, criticized and laughed at by others. I have been known on occasion to do the same, considering most less than those in the print news tradition I so admire. As penance, after the jump, in no particular order, are the 10 people on TV I like most.

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Patriot-News: No-fly list keeps pilot grounded, he claims

Erich Scherfen, right, and his wife, Rabina Tareen, listen as Witold Walczak of the ACLU of Pennsylvania describes the effect of a federal flight restriction on his career as a pilot. (Photo by Chris Knight of the Patriot-News)

Erich Scherfen, right, and his wife, Rabina Tareen, listen as Witold Walczak of the ACLU of Pennsylvania describes the effect of a federal flight restriction on his career as a pilot. (Photo by Chris Knight of the Patriot-News)

This on Page One of today’s Patriot-News:

Erich Scherfen developed a love for flying early. Growing up in New Jersey, he would play outside and watch airplanes fly toward John F. Kennedy Airport.

After military service, he became a commercial airline pilot. Today, the Gulf War veteran is fighting to keep his professional life in the clouds.

He was suspended without pay in April after being placed on a federal watch list.

“My livelihood depends on getting off this list,” Sherfen said.

On behalf of Scherfen and his wife, Rubina Tareen, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and attorney Saul Ewing filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday claiming the federal government unfairly placed the Schuylkill County couple on a government list that limits their commercial flight access.

The suit hopes to answer two questions, lawyers said: Why would a couple with no criminal background or ties to terrorism be put on such a list, and how do they get removed? More

See the rest on See today’s front page on See the breaking Web brief I wrote right after a press conference yesterday.

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Patriot-News: Muslim airline pilot, wife file suit

This Web brief for the Patriot-News, officially filed one minute after Associated Press Harrisburg correspondent, PLCA president, and Pennsylvania Capitol legend Peter Jackson filed his own to the wire:

A Gulf War veteran and his wife say they’ve been unfairly placed on a federal list that limits their commercial flight access. To fight back, the Muslim couple filed a lawsuit against a host of U.S. government agencies on Tuesday.

“We don’t know why they’re on the list. They don’t know why they’re on the list. The government won’t tell us why they’re on the list,” said Amy Foerster, an attorney with Saul Ewing who is providing pro bono counsel and working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Schuylkill County couple on the case, which was filed in U.S. district court. More…

See the rest on Full story tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Boydston.

Number of Views:1766

Capitol Ideas: Interview with state Senate reading clerk

A Q&A session for the Allentown Morning Call, posted last week on Capitol Ideas, the state government blog by John L. Micek.

Name: Rob Green
Reading Clerk, 1994; Assistant Director of Pages, 2006
Alvernia College, Communications, 1990

Q: What are your favorite parts of the job?
A: My favorite part is when they’re going at it and they’re really getting into the debate. I don’t mind staying late mostly because that’s when the action is. You get to see things first hand. You pay attention more. I didn’t have a lot of government classes in college – they were all early [laughs]. But in this job, you see things happen so closely and get to know the personalities.

Q: What is your least favorite part?
A: Well, [laughs] I guess … No. No least favorite. … Oh, I know… I don’t like when I have to read the long resolutions, like when someone retires. You usually get them cold, and they’re always long, so it gives you more of a chance to screw up.

Number of Views:1351