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Girl Scout Cookies: Which is best?

Written by Kim Lyons on .

When they kick off Girl Scout Cookie Weekend tomorrow in Market Square, Pittsburgh-area Girl Scouts will not only be sating the annual cravings of Pittsburgh cookie lovers, they will also be reigniting a debate as old as the cookies themselves: Which is the ultimate Girl Scout Cookie?

I admit to a strong Thin Mints bias. Others in my household are partial to Tagalongs and Trefoils. I hear many people are fans of Samoas, but those don't typically make our order form.

So we need your vote: Which Girl Scout cookie is your favorite, and why?

gscookies

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Franklin Graham blasts 'intolerant' gays, 'immoral allies'

Written by Peter Smith on .

Decision-Feb14-185x243The Rev. Franklin Graham, who is preparing to lead three days of revival meetings in Pittsburgh this August, wrote a cover story in his magazine this month decrying the backlash against "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson over his condemnations of homosexuality.

"Robertson’s orthodox, biblical view on the sin of homosexuality was immediately met with disdain from the intolerant gay community and its vast network of immoral, liberal allies," wrote Rev. Graham, who succeeded his father, the legendary evangelist Billy Graham, as head of the latter's evangelistic association.

Franklin Graham's used the "Duck Dynasty" controversy -- in which the A&E network suspended and then re-instated him from the hugely successful reality show about the Louisiana family behind Duck Commander, the hunting-gear merchandisers -- to illustrate what Rev. Graham termed a Satanic war against Christianity.

And Rev. Graham contrasted the backlash to Mr. Robertson's explicit comments favoring female to male anatomy to what he called the lack of outrage over an incident Rev. Graham said he witnessed involving President Obama and Vice-President Biden. Rev. Graham said he witnessed "crude speech by our country's second highest elected official, and a flippant dismissal by the commander in chief."

Franklin Graham is headlining "Three Rivers Festival of Hope" -- revival meetings held Aug. 15-17 at the Consol Energy Center. Like his father, he holds revivals at the invitation of local religious leaders, and Pittsburgh-area organizers of the event recently held an official launch for the revival with hundreds in attendance.

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There's a Rocco-inspired petition on WhiteHouse.gov

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

Rocco Pittsbugh police dog Bill Wade Post-Gazette

 

Pittsburgh police K-9 officer Rocco is taken out under Pittsburgh police officers' salute at the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Ohio Township on Jan. 30. (Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)

Updated, Feb. 5 at 4:13 p.m.: After we published a Pittsblogh post Tuesday (see below) about the Rocco-inspired petition on WhiteHouse.gov, the petition's author stepped forward.
 
His name is Adam Studebaker, and he's a 26-year-old paramedic, a dog lover, living in Summer Hill.
 
"I've had a chance to work along side these dogs just through my daily course of work and I know them to be gentle and loving animals," he wrote in an email. "What happened to Rocco is a shame and that is directly what fueled me starting that petition."
 
He acknowledged the petition's "vague nature," but said the White House's 900-character limit is what kept him from detailing more of his goals for any future legislation. Studebaker did say he has reached out to Sen. Matt Smith, who has co-sponsored legislation called "Rocco's law," and offered to help in any way he can.
 
He knows the 100,000 signatures threshold is a lofty goal, "but it is what I'm striving for," he wrote. "Rocco was a great loss for not only his handler but also for the entire City of Pittsburgh and its residents."
 
Original story, Feb. 4 at 12:39 p.m.: It didn't take long after Pittsburgh police dog Rocco died Thursday night for a petition to appear on the "We the people" section of WhiteHouse.gov, where citizens can post petitions ranging from law-making initiatives to civic engagement projects.
 
Pittsburgh resident "A.S." started and was the first signatory behind an online push to make the penalties for killing a K-9 officer more in line with the punishment for killing a human officer.
 
Precisely what those penalties should be is not clear.
 
The petition is ambitious in its scope: "change all federal and state laws" and had just over 2,500 signatures through Tuesday morning — well short of the 100,000 required to achieve an official response from someone at the White House.
 
As Pennsylvania law now stands, John Rush, who is accused in Rocco's stabbing and death, faces a maximum of 7 years in prison.

 

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Local anti-litter crusader gets national award

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

 

boriswBoris Weinstein, Pittsburgh’s leading Mister Anti-Litter Man, was honored by Keep America Beautiful at its national convention in Charlotte this evenning.
 
The Shadyside resident — a member of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission and founder of Citizens Against Litter — was chosen to receive the 2013 Iron Eyes Cody Award for his “exceptional leadership in raising public awareness about litter prevention, roadside and community beautification, solid waste issues, and the need for citizens to participate in activities that preserve and enhance natural resources and public lands,” according to KAB.
 
It has honored 20 men with this award since 1988. The national awards program honors women with the Lady Bird Johnson award among other categories.
 
Mr. Weinstein sent this statement to Walkabout:
 
"I’m overwhelmed that I have been chosen for the Keep America Beautiful Iron Eyes Cody Award. My life in retirement mirrors many of the Keep America Beautiful principals. I work to rid us of litter.”
 
“I work for a cleaner environment. I believe one person can make a difference. People who care must pick up for people who litter and don’t care.”
 
"Citizens Against Litter’s mission is to inspire residents of the Pittsburgh area to collect litter and connect neighborhoods. Keep America Beautiful sees millions of Americans who take small actions that bring about a world of change. I believe I am one of those Americans."
 

 

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The Facebook in Pittsburgh 10 years ago: PG covers new online phenomenon

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

The Facebook Ashleigh Kuhn Pitt 2004 Post-Gazette John Heller

Ashleigh Kuhn, then a Pitt student, sits at her computer in fall 2004 with a nine-month-old version of The Facebook on her screen. (John Heller/Post-Gazette)

Ten years ago, exactly on Feb. 4, Mark Zuckerberg and a group of his Harvard classmates founded The Facebook (as it was known until 2005).

Back then thefacebook.com was open to Harvard students only. Other Ivy League students were permitted to join in the summer that year and, soon thereafter, all college students could become members. Anyone with an .edu email address could sign up.

Pittsburgh-area students started getting access to it in the fall.

And to report on this exciting new phenomenon, the Post-Gazette assigned Bill Schackner to cover The Facebook locally.

His story from Nov. 28, 2004, began with an anecdote about Pitt senior Brian Kelly evaluating a friend request -- a novel concept at the time.

Kelly weighs the online request for all of two seconds, then uses a single keystroke to give his classmate the thumbs up. In the parlance of The Facebook, Kelly has just "friended" him. "He's a good kid. He was in my freshman studies class. I'm going to confirm it."

The article ran on the Sunday front page's top right column. The Facebook had clearly caught on by that point, even if high school students (and their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.) would not be able to join for another year or so.

Schackner described more of the nascent Facebook behavior that is now common.

Why, for instance, do people with seemingly endless chances to socialize face to face on campus flock to such a site? Is having half as many Facebook friends as your roommate any reason to think about moving back home?

And he noticed the already-shifting meaning of being friends with someone.

Adding a Facebook friend to one's tally doesn't necessarily imply intent to spend time with that person. At Pitt, Kelly has amassed 345 friends in just over a month [...] but a few he has never met. "Nobody really rejects friends unless you really hate somebody," he said. "It's all pretty non-committal."

Julian Dunn, a Carnegie Mellon freshman from Harmony, predicted one of its enduring purposes, saying he used it most often "when I'm on the Internet and I'm bored."

For more on poking and other outdated features of The Facebook, here's a copy of the page from that Sunday.

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