Pension Shark

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Pennsylvania is suffering under the crushing weight of its own oversized state pension. Pension reform is badly needed but politicians in Harrisburg are not reacting with enough panic over the matter. 

042715 Pension Shark 


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Penguins exit interview round-up - 04-26-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins held season-ending interviews with media today. Here's a round up:


Defenseman Kris Letang (right) discussed his a concussion he suffered March 29 when he was hit by Coyotes forward Shane Doan: “I'm better. We always have to go through a protocol. I skated a few times early in the morning. I'm better. … I was not going to play again this [season]. “

On the hit by Doan, Letang said, “He reached out to me. I had no problem with it. I think it was mainly that my skate got caught. I was surpised he hit me but the fact that I got caught in the ice and my head just banged off the wall.”

-Right winger Pascal Dupuis discussed his recovery from a blood clot which has sidelined him since November. He said, “It's been five months. It's behind me right now. Obviously I still have some more testing to do. I'm still on some blood thinners right now but I'm looking ahead right now.”

Defenseman Olli Maatta talked about his right shoulder which underwent surgery twice within a calendar year. He said. “I'm a couple weeks away from skating. I think it's going well. We keep progressing. It's feeling good but I don't want to rush it. Right now, we have a lot of time. A lot of time to do it. I'd rather do it right and be conservative than rush it. … I tried to rehab, get stronger. Tried to play with it but I couldn't' do it. I think it's kind of naive for me to to try and come back and not think about the future.”

Maatta was asked about how it was re-injured: “I have the same surgery I did late summer. I got hit and it got caught the wrong way. I hurt the same part. Kind of unlucky I guess. … I never had a season like this and I hope I never will [again]. It's been tough. “

-Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (right), who missed the last nine games of the regular season and all five playoff games addressed his health: “I'm still trying to get back from a concussion. It's been a long road back with the multiple concussions I had along the season. I was getting better and started skating with the team again and had some set backs. So I had to shut it down again. I don't really know where I am [healthwise]. Obviously I have some more time to get it really [healed]. But I wasn't really close.”

-Defenseman Derrick Pouliot did not reveal the nature of his “upper-body” injury which has sidelined him since April 7. Pouliot said the injury is not related to his surgically repaired shoulder. Head coach Mike Johnston suggested Pouliot could have been in the lineup if the Penguins had played Game 6 against the Rangers today.

-Right winger Blake Comeau said his left wrist wasn't as strong as it was before injuring it Dec. 23 but “it didn't affect how I was playing. It's just something I've got to rebuild this summer.”

-Right winger David Perron said he suffered a right rib injury in the regular season finale which forced him hit with his left side instead of his right side as he normally does.

Unrestricted free agents:

A number of Penguins' unrestricted free agent discussed their future.

-Center Daniel Winnik (right), “You don't think you ever really want to leave the team you're on. Hopefully it works out here.”

-Comeau said, “I hope [to return]. I love playing here. I love this city. I think it's an organization that wants to win and as a player, that's what I want to be a part of.”

-Ehrhoff said, “There's definitely interest [in resigning with the Penguins]. I haven't talked to my agent or [general manager Jim Rutherford] yet. That's something we'll do the next couple of days and see where we're at.”

Center Maxime Lapierre, “It's a great setup, a great city, a great group of guys. We're going to find a way to make it work.”

Right winger Steve Downie, Craig Adams, goaltender Thomas Greiss and defenseman Paul Martin did not speak with media on the record.

Restricted free agents:

-Right winger Beau Bennett, no stranger to injuries, proclaimed himself as healthy and is looking forward to getting a full offseason. When asked about his future with the team, he said, “I love playing in this city and I love playing for this team.”

-Defenseman Ian Cole said, “I would love the opportunity to come back for sure.”


-Defensemen Brian Dumoulin, Pouliot and forward Scott Wilson will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to help that team's in the Calder Cup playoffs. Defenseman Taylor Chorney, must clear waivers, before he can be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

IIHF World Championship

A few members of the Penguins could be candidates to participate in the IIHF World Championship which starts later this month.

Center Sidney Crosby (right) said he will play for Canada. He last participated in the tournament in 2006.

Center Evgeni Malkin said he still needs to talk with Penguins management before determining if he will play for Russia. There are typically immense expectations on Russian players to participate in the tournament. Russian president Vladimir Putin pays close attention to the tournament.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Perron said they have not received invitations from Canada.

Right winger Patric Hornqvist has not received an invitation from Sweden. He expressed interest in playing.

Defenseman Ian Cole has not received an invitation from the United States.

(Photos: Claus Andersen/Getty Images, Matt Kincaid/Getty Images and Elsa/Getty Images)

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Furious 7 keeps pedal to metal, Avengers in the wings

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


“Furious 7” holds onto the top spot for the fourth — and final — weekend in a row. That’s because “Avengers: Age of Ultron” will be No. 1  at this time next week, with the only question being how much it will make.
The seventh movie in the “Fast & Furious” series picked up an additional $18 million, bringing its North American gross to nearly $321 million, ahead of the “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” “The Age of Adaline” and “Ex Machina,” the latter playing on a third of the screens as “Furious.” 
Here are the top 10 estimates courtesy of Rentrak: 
1. “Furious 7” — $18,259,360, bringing its total to $320,536,125. 
2. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” — $15,500,000, for $43,948,184. 
3. “The Age of Adaline: — $13,375,000.
4. “Home” — $8,300,000, for $153,784,071 to date. 
5. “Unfriendedd” — $6,243,7850, or $25,157,515 since release. 
6. “Ex Machina” — $5,441,452, bumping its North American total to $6,919,883. 
7. “The Longest Ride” — $4,365,000, for $30,397,839.
8. “Get Hard” — $3,905,000, or $84,066,240.
9. “Monkey Kingdom” — $3,551,000, for $10,258,000.
10. “Woman in Gold” — $3,501,000, or $21,634,779. 
Above photo:  Director James Wan and Vin Diesel, below, it's autos away early in "Furious 7."


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Todd Rundgren goes 'Global' to mixed reviews at Stage AE

Written by Scott Mervis on .

toddWhile the Mavericks were rocking the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, Todd Rundgren was getting mixed results at the sold-out Stage AE on his "Gobal" tour:

Here are two different takes on the show:

Ben Alper: "Having never heard or seen Todd Rundgren before, I went to the show with a somewhat open mind, albeit expecting to recognize some songs from a lifetime of listening to WDVE. What I got instead was an aged rocker who seemed more interested in leading an aerobics class. His backing 'band' consisted of a synth player and two female singer/dancers wearing Afro wigs. When he chose to play guitar, it had a nice full tone and he certainly evinced a level of proficiency, but unfortunately for the majority of songs I witnessed, he was all too happy to leave the guitar on its stand while he jumped around trying to excite a bewildered crowd. After 5, 6 songs, we had had enough faux-jock jams and decided to call it a night."


Dave Hartz: "It's tempting to think that Todd Rundgren just likes to mess with the folks who show up waiting to hear his greatest hits. You knew something was up from the DJ setup center stage. The crowd got treated to TR's new electronica-infused 'Global' album in its entirety with Todd flanked by two female singers/dancers and backed up by DJ DamFunK. There were no guitars other than on the 4 or 5 songs on which TR strapped on a lucite Strat for some killer guitar solos. A finale medley of reworked hits 'Can We Still Be Friends,' 'Hello It's Me' and 'I Saw the Light' probably wasn't enough to satisfy the bring-me-the-hits crowd. You have to keep an open mind. My companions kept checking their phones and being relieved that their tickets were comps while I dug the show. His voice was in great shape and his guitar chops intact, even if I would have preferred seeing him front a four-piece rock band. Makes me think back to Neil Young's 'Greendale' show at Star Lake when everyone complained they hadn't been 'warned' that it wouldn't be a greatest hits show."





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The Mavericks take Homestead crowd to roots-rock heaven

Written by Scott Mervis on .

RaulIt's funny how Nashville keeps lavishing bro-country types with awards when one of the best bands in the land resides right in their midst.

The Mavericks -- that name should be country enough to get attention -- returned to the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead Saturday night to throw the sold-out crowd back into a state of roots-rock ecstasy.

Touring on "Mono," a second fine outing since returning from a decade-long long hiatus, the 8-piece band came out blending rockabilly, ska, Latino, surf, alt-country, etc., on songs like "All Night Long," "Summertime," "What You Do to Me." The merry music-making ricocheted around the stage from the horns to accordion to pianist Jerry Dale McFadden to the scorching guitar work of Eddie Perez. Kudos to drummer Paul Deakin for keeping it tight and driving it hard.

Of course, the centerpiece is masterful Raul Malo, decked out in black cowboy gear and sounding like the second coming of Elvis and Roy Orbison. The purity of his voice when he stepped out solo-acoustic for ballads "Oh, What a Thrill" and "Mona Lisa" (Nat King Cole) was jaw-dropping. The man can play a mean electric lead as well, and squared off with Perez a couple times. 

We hit it lucky because this felt like a true Saturday night party set from a band that revved the engine and then kept going and going, with 13 songs in the encore, one more fun than the next. "Every Little Thing About You" was drenched with drama, "Dance the Night Away" shipped us to an island and another gem was a mad-fun cover of the Sir Douglas Quintet classic "She's About a Mover."

MavsFor the grand finale, few bands have a better one-two punch than "Come Unto Me" and "All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down," a wild romp made all the crazy with the dancing of pianist Jerry Dale McFadden in his powder blue suit. 

They used to call Los Lobos "the greatest wedding band in the world." I think we can safely slide that title over to the Mavericks, who sent the crowd out the doors beaming and probably need a bigger room next time they come around.



All Night Long

Summertime (When I'm With You)

Stories We Could Tell

What You Do to Me

Fall Apart

Pardon Me

Sinners & Saints (?)

Crying Shame

Should've Been True

Foolish Heart

Out the Door

The Only Question Is

As Long As There's Loving Tonight


Oh What a Thrill

Mona Lisa

Let it Rain on Me

Everything Little Thing About You

Dance in the Moonlight

All Over Again

There Goes My Heart

Dance the Night Away

Nitty Gritty

She's About a Mover

I Said I Love You

Come Unto Me

All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down

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