Monday, March 1, 2010

NC's Anti-Incumbent Mood

One of the more interesting developments during the candidate filing period in North Carolina this year is that 39 legislative incumbents- 28 in the House and 11 in the Senate- drew primary challenges.

The new crop of challengers will have some pretty strong anti-incumbent sentiments to draw on. Our last statewide poll found that generally speaking 31% of voters planned to vote for mostly challengers this year while only 13% were inclined to vote for incumbents. 56% said it would depend on the circumstances.

That anti-incumbent sentiment is particularly strong among Republicans with 42% of them saying they would mostly vote for challengers to only 7% leaning toward incumbents. Whether those feelings apply exclusively to Democratic incumbents or are also a warning sign for these Republican legislators being challenged in primaries remains to be seen.

More than likely the vast majority of these primary challenges will not end up being too serious- it's hard to raise money running against an incumbent of your own party and for the most part you can't win without money. But with an increasingly angry electorate some of these insurgent candidates will gain steam, and there probably will be an unusual number of incumbents losing in May.

Photo Gallery: Girls Basketball - Region II D4 Finals - Freedom vs. Liberty

Click on any photo to see the complete gallery ...


Pittsburghers help Chile

Pittsburgh area charities and organizations are once again turning to local residents to help send humanitarian aid to an earthquake-ravaged country. An 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chile Saturday killing hundreds and leaving thousand homeless. United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh has set up a special “box” to collect donations for Chile relief efforts. The UJF will send the funds to The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). The UJF used that group in the past including earlier this year in their effort to help Haiti.

Brian Eglash, Senior Vice President of Financial Resource Development for the UJF says the JDC has been in Chile for decades and has already begun relief efforts. The United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh raised nearly $100,000 for Haiti and Eglash says he expects there will be another outpouring of support for Chile. He stresses that the money will be used in a nonsectarian way. Contributions can be made to the UJF online.

Brother’s Brother Foundation has also begun its relief efforts in Chile. The Pittsburgh based group is partnering with ADRA (A Seventh Day Adventists organization) and B’nai B’rith International to send pharmaceutical, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief assistance. The group expects to make a shipment in the coming days. Donations can be made on the Brother’s Brother website.

Obama's Drop

Barack Obama now has a negative approval rating in every state he flipped from the Bush column to his in 2008. In each of those places his level of support is now in the 44-46% range. It's probably a good thing he doesn't have to run for reelection this year. He can only hope things start turning around for him once the midterms are in the rear view mirror, much as they did for Bill Clinton.

Here's the state by state rundown:

-In Colorado a recent Rasmussen poll found his approval at 45/53. Research 2000 found his favorability at 46/47 in January.

-In Florida Rasmussen found his approval at 45/54 and Quinnipiac's latest found it at 45/49.

-In Indiana Rasmussen has his approval at 44/54 and Research 2000 finds his favorability at 46/49.

-In Iowa Rasmussen has him at 45/54, and the latest Des Moines Register poll put his approval at 46%, though I can't find the disapproval number anywhere.

-In Nevada Rasmussen finds his approval at 46/54. We found 44/52 in in January.

-In New Mexico we found his approval last week at 45/48.

-In North Carolina our last poll put him at 45/51.

-In Ohio Quinnipiac's last poll put him at 44/52.

-In Virginia Rasmussen's latest has him a 48/51. SurveyUSA last had him at 44/54, and we put him at 42/52.

Photo Gallery: Youth Basketball by Nick Lutkins - River Bend vs. Eagle Ridge and River Bend vs. Belmont Ridge

Super photographer Nick Lutkins has put up two more galleries from sixth grade travel basketball. Check out the River Bend vs. Eagle Ridge and River Bend vs. Belmont Ridge galleries! Click on any photo to view the gallery. Tell your friends and family to check out the photos and take advantage of our affordable prices via SmugMug!
River Bend vs. Eagle Ridge




River Bend vs. Belmont Ridge


PPS Opens Enrollment for Summer Dreamers Academy

Pittsburgh Public Schools wants to keep students engaged over summer break and this year–thanks to federal stimulus dollars–they are offering the Summer Dreamers Academy, a literacy camp that aims to give other premier summer camps a run for their money. The camp is open to rising 6th, 7th and 8th graders and Project manager Allison McLeod says they held focus groups with hundreds of students to find out what they wanted in a summer camp, and their literacy coordinator poured through books trying to find ones that would fit the bill. McLeod says students will be able to choose between two themes: "McDonald's, Mars and Flying Cars: Spectacular Science" and "Let Your Creative Juices Flow: Exploring the Arts." Mornings focus on reading, discussion and comprehension. And McLeod says they have two curricula to meet students at their literacy level. Afternoons will be geared toward outdoor and creative activities like kayaking, drama, field trips and art. The camp takes place at six sites, is free and runs from July 12 through August 13. The enrollment deadline is May 1. More information can be found at www.pps.k12.pa.us/summercamp.

News: Paying for College Workshop Presented by CAMPUS and SallieMae Fund

(Mar. 1, 2010) - The SallieMae Fund, in partnership with Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) and the CAMPUS program, sponsored a free “Paying for College” workshop on Tuesday, February 16th, at the LCPS Administrative Offices in Ashburn.

Bill Brosseau, director of Mid-Atlantic Graduate and Professional Programs for the SallieMae Fund, presented information for LCPS parents and high school

CSRA Snowcross: Royal Distributing - Factory Recreation Rockstar Energy Sarnia Race Report

Round 6 Quick Draw Canadian Nationals - Snowcross Event // Feb 23, 2010

Sarnia, ON - Over 850 loads of snow were brought into the Hiawatha Park track in Sarnia to produce the huge and challenging track.  The track contained big jumps and very challenging rhythm section.  As soon as Pro Lee Butler saw the track, he got excited at the sight of the rhythm sections.

The Royal Distributing Rockstar team welcomed a couple of new faces for the weekend.  Fifteen year old ISOC junior standout Zak Mason rode one of the teams Factory Recreation XP’s for the weekend.  Zak showed absolutely amazing speed all weekend with a victory in CSRA Junior 14-15, and a second in CSRA Junior 16-17.  Zak overcame a first lap mishap in Sunday’s Sport 600 final to catch and pass the entire field, including a dramatic final lap in which he moved from fourth to first. 

Semi Pro rider Dylan Hall had an excellent weekend with podium finishes in both Saturdays stock final and Sunday’s Semi Pro Open final.  The outstanding rookie now sits in second place in the National standings in Semi Pro Open.  “I am so excited to be able to run up front every week, the equipment is awesome and I am getting more comfortable every week riding with the Semi Pro Guys.” quipped Dylan after a hard fought third place in the stock final on Saturday night.

Lee Butler came into the weekend tied for the National Pro Open championship race, and after two firsts in his moto’s and a valiant 2nd place in the final, Lee remains tied for the points lead with Iain Hayden.  In Saturday night’s Pro Open final, Butler overcame a poor start to chase down and pass into second place, but the laps ran out on Butler as he came up just shy of the victory at the finish line.  “Just ran out of laps there at the end, I knew once I moved into second place I could have a chance to reel him in, but time ran out.  Its gonna be exciting at the next National, that’s for sure!”

In Sunday’s Pro Stock final, Lee Butler holeshotted followed by ISOC Pro racer Steve Taylor, who was piloting Joey Sagan’s Royal Rockstar sled for Sunday’s CSRA Pro Stock action.  After moving out to a comfortable lead, the Rockstar Rev XP’s were setting sail.  Unfortunately, after an awkward landing, Butler was forced to pull off, after injuring his leg.  Steve Taylor continued on and notched the victory for the Royal team, to keep the Rockstar XP’s on the podium in every final.

Special thanks to Ski Doo, Rockstar Energy Drink, FXR, Kimpex, Ipone Oil, Studboy Traction, HMK Boots, Hercules Distributing/Fox Racing Shox, Oakley Eyewear, Jaws Performance, JR Hall Transport, C and A Pro Skis, OGIO and Manitoulin Motorsports.  Jackie Legge Photos.

From Mark Fries // mfries@royaldistributing.com

Hinchcliffe paces Firestone Indy Lights open test at Barber

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 - Four drivers who competed for the full season in Firestone Indy Lights last year have been projected to contend for the 2010 championship. During the series' only preseason Open Test. - they stood 1-4 on the time chart. James Hinchcliffe, driving for Team Moore Racing, posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 14.9714 seconds to pace the 13 drivers participating in the test Barber Motorsports Park - a month before the opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

"It was a great day for us on the No. 2 car," Hinchcliffe said. "I'm really happy, especially coming into a new team with new people. We are all working well together right off the bat and that translated into the speed we showed on the track. Everyone at Team Moore Racing deserves a huge pat on the back because there have been some long hours getting everything ready in time for this test. I'm happy that the hard work paid off."

Martin Plowman in the No. 27 AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport car was second-quick at 1:15.1319, while teammate Charlie Kimball was third at 1:15.1715. Sebastian Saavedra, who finished third in the 2009 series standings, was fourth with a best lap of 1:15.3817 in the No. 29 Bryan Herta Autosport car. All four are with new teams this season.

"I was pretty happy with today," Plowman said. "I'm never going to be truly happy unless I am P1 or on pole, but it was a solid day. We got a lot done with our testing program. We started off the day strong with a good base car and fine-tuned it the rest of the day. I don't think we showed a true potential today, but we did some long runs in the afternoon that leaves me very optimistic for when we come back."

The top seven were separated by only 0.6326 of a second. Veteran racer Jan Heylen made his debut in the No. 17 Team E entry and was fifth quick (1:15.5407). Stefan Wilson, who competed in six races in 2009, was sixth (1:15.5912) in the No. 28 Bryan Herta Autosport entry.

Another newcomer to the series, Frenchman J.K. Vernay, was seventh (1:15.6040) in the No. 7 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.

Fourteen drivers participated in the test with rookie Adrian Campos having the only major incident during the 1,074 laps recorded. Campos was uninjured. Drivers/teams return to the scenic facility in early April for their second of three in a row races on road/street circuits to kick off the season.

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

Charlie Kimball's car sported a new paint scheme featuring his sponsorship from Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care. Kimball will drive the No. 26 Levemir® FlexPen® car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport in Firestone Indy Lights.

"This is a big year for me and expectations are high," Kimball said. "I am fortunate to not only be part of one of the top teams in all of racing at AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport, but to have the support of Novo Nordisk, one of the world's leading healthcare companies that is committed to helping me live my dream."

Kimball, 25, is the only licensed racer with type 1 diabetes in the history of the Indy Racing League. Diagnosed in 2007, he monitors his blood sugar before, during and after each race, and uses Novo Nordisk insulin Levemir® (insulin detemir [rDNA origin] injection) and NovoLog® (insulin aspart [rDNA origin] injection). The partnership with Novo Nordisk includes primary sponsorship of Kimball's race car, racing suit and helmet. Kimball also will make appearances on behalf of Novo Nordisk throughout 2010.

"Charlie Kimball is the perfect example of how people living with diabetes can successfully manage their disease without letting it get in the way of their dreams," said Camille Lee, Vice President of Diabetes Marketing at Novo Nordisk.  "We are proud of our association with Charlie and we look forward to a successful year on and off the track in 2010."

***

Ana Beatriz, the first female to win a Firestone Indy Lights race, is slated to become the latest driver to graduate from Firestone Indy Lights to the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Beatriz, the first female to win a Firestone Indy Lights race, will compete with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the season opener March 14 on the streets of the most-populated city in South America.

"We are excited about going to Brazil for the first time with the IZOD IndyCar Series and putting Ana Beatriz in our car at Brazil adds another dimension to our program," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "We are happy to have her on board for the Brazil race."

Beatriz finished third in 2008 in the Firestone Indy Lights standings for Sam Schmidt Motorsports with one win (at Nashville Superspeedway), nine top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes. In '09, she won at Iowa Speedway in the No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car among seven top-10 finishes in 13 races.

 "It's great to be with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the Brazil IZOD IndyCar Series race," she said. "Hopefully we can get the rest together for the whole season. I think the team is very professional and I have great teammates with Mike Conway and Justin Wilson. I hope that I can learn a lot from these British drivers.

"This is very special for me doing my debut race at my home event.  It's also very special to be the first female Brazilian race car driver to race there and it will be a great experience."

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season begins March 14 with the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season opens with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 28 on the streets of St. Petersburg. The race will air live on indycar.com.

Media Contact:  Amy Konrath, Indy Racing League, (317) 492-6453, akonrath@indycar.com // World Wide Web: http://www.indycar.com

Video: ALMS Mosport 2009


ANOTHER LOOK: 2009 MOSPORT
A championship-winning day for Acura and history for Corvette Racing

Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport turned into a banner day for Acura. David Brabham and Scott Sharp drove their PatrĂ³n Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a to an overall victory and clinched the LMP1 manufacturer championship for Acura, the marque’s first in the American Le Mans Series. Luis Diaz and Adrian Fernandez won in LMP2 for the seventh time in eight races to wrap up the class’ drivers title in their Acura ARX-01b.

Brabham and Sharp drove a trouble-free race to beat the de Ferran Motorsports Acura of team boss Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud by two laps.

Lowe's Fernandez Racing and Corvette Racing each wrote their own history at Mosport.
Fernandez and Diaz grabbed the class driver championship after a fantastic battle with Dyson Racing’s Marino Franchitti and Butch Leitzinger. The Dyson Lola B09/86-Mazda coupe led by less than a second with 12 minutes left before the engine let go and forced Leitzinger to pull the car off track and to a stop at Turn 2.

Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen scored a historic victory for Corvette Racing with the team’s first in GT2. Magnussen crossed the finish line in his Corvette C6.R 0.331 seconds ahead of Risi Competizione’s Pierre Kaffer, who teamed with Jaime Melo.

The win at Mosport was the third straight at the venue for the O’Connell-Magnussen pairing and fourth in their careers.

From ALMS

Kawartha Durham Kart Club 2010 Preview

Preparations are well underway for the Kawartha Durham Kart Club 2010 Championship season. With new kart racers joining the club and many returning members, the upcoming season is shaping up to be another great year for the club. Classes offered are Novice, Junior Lite and Heavy, Senior Lite and Heavy, Honda Masters and TAG Junior and Senior.

Fees remain virtually unchanged at only $120 for club membership which includes banquet ticket. New for this year will be family discounts and multi-class discounts. Race day fees will be still be only $65 for first family member, $35 for each additional member. Want to do more than one class? Your race day fee for the first class is $65 and each additional class is only $35. Visiting racers pay only $65 and can race as many times as wanted with KDKC.

Changes for 2010 will focus mainly around the safety of the drivers. Kawartha Speedway will be moving a lot more of the concrete barriers and will create more safety barriers to be located in key positions. “Increased safety is paramount to the club’s success and we have listened to the concerns and comments of our members and guests. We will do everything possible to make sure your experience at KDKC is safe and cost effective.” Paul Evans, President KDKC.

To maximize exposure, the club participated in the Canadian Motorsports Expo and will be entering a float in the Peterborough St. Patrick’s day parade on March 14. The club will also take part in Family Day open house at Kawartha Speedway on Sunday, April 25 at Kawartha Downs. Everyone is welcome to visit for stock car, and horse rides. The club will once again be in attendance at most Friday night stock car races at KDS. More information to follow.

The annual KDKC spring meeting, open house and swap meet will take place at Kawartha Downs and Speedway on Sunday March 27. Meeting begins at 12:00 sharp with the swap meet taking place at 2:00. All are welcome and there is NO CHARGE for visitors or vendors. Please contact admin@kawarthadurhamkartclub.com if you would like to participate.

Saturday, May 1 will be the Novice and rookie training and general practice for all members.
The track will be open at 9:00am. KDKC race #1 will take place on Sunday May 2nd.

KDKC 2010 Championship schedule, 11 race series with 2 drops.
May 1 – Novice and rookie training and members practice
May 2 – Race #1
May 9 – Race #2
May 30 – Race #3
June 6 – Race #4
June 20 – Race #5 Fathers day special
July 18 – Race #6
July 25 – Race #7
August 15 – Race #8
August 22 – Race #9
September 12 – Race #10
October 10 – Race #11

Visit the club website for complete schedule, rules, membership forms and additional information. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with comments or questions.

www.kawarthadurhamkartclub.com

DIRTca: Danny O'Brien plays a waiting game

If you’re not prepared, you might just as well stay home.  Visit any race track and talk to the drivers.  They’ll all tell you that preparation is the key to winning at every level.  Whatever they race, wherever they’re racing you need to be prepared before you roll the car onto the trailer and head to the track.

After finishing no worse than 4th in the Mr. DIRTcar championship series in the past 3 years – with back to back runner-up showings in 2007 and 2008 – and 9 overall Brockville Ontario Speedway 358 modified track titles – including the last 4 in a row – Danny O’Brien and his team know a thing or 2 about being prepared.  In 13 starts, his 8 wins and a top 5 run every time he fastened the belts, O’Brien set a mark DIRTcar small block modified runners will find hard to equal.

“The guys and I are in the garage at least a couple of nights a week, even during the off-season,” said O’Brien.  “Sometimes there is a lot to do and sometimes we get the luxury of sitting around yakking about racing and relaxing with a pop.  When something on the car needs attention, my team is the best there is and I’m always confident in my equipment when the green flag waves.”

With the Kingston area racing preview – March 25th to 27th – at Frontenac Mall and Super DIRTcar 358 modified tour stops – April 9th  and 17th – at Fulton and Can Am Speedways – as well as a triple 50 program at Merrittville Saturday, April 24th the #7-Star Global Warranty/1000 Islands RV Centre/Pat’s Radiator/Stover Bus Lines/103.7 BOB-FM/Jackson’s Landscaping & Property Maintenance/Murdock’s Cement Finishing/Kendrick Racing team will need to get a pair of cars ready to start the year.  One for show and one for go.  O’Brien says one of the projects will be easier than the other.

“We can put the car in the mall with last year’s engine – or no engine at all if we want,” said O’Brien.  “When it comes to the early season races, we’re still waiting on the final version of the DIRTcar rulebook to be released to all the teams.  From a workload standpoint, we’re obviously hoping there won’t be too many changes compared to what we did last year, but we can’t be sure until we see everything laid out in black and white.”

At the end of each season, DIRTcar officials review the rulebooks from each division looking for ways to level the overall playing field and save money for competitors.  Changes in technology happen all the time and the sanctioning body is constantly looking for ways to keep up and make for better racing at all of its member tracks.

With some tracks still working on their 2010 schedules, the 42 year-old Kingston, Ontario racer knows things will eventually fall nicely into place.  Still, stock car drivers have never been known for their patience and Danny O’Brien is definitely one who doesn’t like to wait.

Photo attachment:  Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications
Danny O’Brien scored 13 top 5 finishes – including 8 wins – in 13 starts during Brockville Speedway’s 2009 season.

Prepared by:  Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications

Belatacept Advisory Committee: One Sign of the Times

Bristol-Myers Squibb is, as our colleagues at "The Pink Sheet" pointed out, facing a bit of an uphill climb during today's advisory committee review of the transplant drug belatacept.

But one item in the preview materials posted by the Food & Drug Administration caught our eye as a sign of the times for advisory committees in general: FDA issued a formal conflict-of-interest waiver for Richard Mann, who heads the kidney and pancrease transplantation program at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Under new rules set by the FDA Amendments Act, the agency is directed to review potential conflicts-of-interest of advisory committee members carefully, and issue waivers sparingly. (You can read more about this issue in The RPM Report, here.)

In this case, the agency wanted Mann to serve as a temporary voting member, but spotted a potential conflict: he was listed as a co-investigator on a trial involving "competing products to belatacept." The study drugs are not identified in the waiver document, but it does explain the circumstances.

Mann was listed as a co-investigator "as a matter of policy" by the medical school; he is not an active participant in the trial. In fact, he "has filed the appropratiate paperwork" to have his name removed from the study. Moreover, the size of the potential conflict is "$0-$50,000 per year."

However, FDA notes, the fact remains that his employer has an interest in competing products, and therefore Mann has an "imputed conflict of interest."

The agency considered 10 other transplant nephrologists for the committee. Four couldn't attend, one did not submit the paperwork for review, and the other five were "recused to conflicts of interest"--presumably more serious ones than Mann's.

In other words, Mann was the only transplant nephrologist available for the meeting who didn't have a direct conflict of interest. Waiver granted.

But that also means one less waiver for the agency to use later in the year. Under FDAAA, supplies of waivers are limited--essentially to a small percentage of committee members overall--so issuing this one means one fewer to use later on. And, as the standard applied to Mann shows, it will be hard to seat committees without using at least some of those precious waivers--especially for specialty products.

GOP, Dems Plan to Pick Candidates for Murtha Seat

Republicans and Democrats will select their candidates for the special election to fill John Murtha’s Congressional seat in the coming weeks.
Democrats from the 12th Congressional District will convene in Delmont, Westmoreland County on March 6th to recommend a candidate for the May 18th special election.
But, as State Party Chairman TJ Rooney points out, their choice won’t be binding.

"It is, at the end of the day, the responsibility of the executive committee. And members of the executive committee will receive and weigh information from a myriad of sources, including polling that’s been done in the district."

Rooney says Democratic party officials will make the final decision on March 8th.
A few days later, Republicans will convene in Latrobe, Westmoreland County, to select their candidate. Republican spokesman Michael Barley says the GOP conference will be made up of representatives selected by county parties.

"Their county party bylaws dictate. They do not need to be committee members at all. It’s up to the counties. Different counties have different ways of selecting conferees. Some, the county chair selects them. The only requirement we have is that they’re Republicans living in the district."

Unlike the Democrats, that session’s pick will be final.
When voting to fill Murtha’s seat May 18, 12th District residents will also select general election nominees for the next Congressional term.
Rooney says Democrats will try to make sure they have the same candidate in each race.
Republican spokesman Mike Barley says it’s too early to know whether the GOP will do the same.

Sestak, Specter Clash Over Pay for Staffers

Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak isn’t disputing the fact many of his staffers are paid salaries at or below the minimum wage, but he says Senator Arlen Specter’s campaign is only pointing that out because they’re worried about the incumbent Democrat’s approval ratings.
A day after Specter’s campaign put out a press release charging Sestak with paying several staffers salaries that equate to a bit more than eight dollars an hour, the suburban Philadelphia Congressman fired back.
He doesn’t dispute his campaign payroll, but said his staffers are making a “personal sacrifice” to change Washington.
Sestak says Specter is going negative because of bad poll numbers.

"I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all that Arlen Specter’s negative personal attacks came immediately after another poll that shows after 30 years, only 25 percent of Pennsylvanians think the Senator, Senator Specter, deserves reelection. And I think they’re panicking."

The recent Franklin and Marshall College poll gave Specter a 33-16 percent lead over Sestak, with 44 percent of respondents undecided.
Specter’s campaign manager, Chris Nicholas, calls the salaries “pathetically low,” and inconsistent with Democratic principles.
According to information provided by Nicholas, the lowest-paid Specter campaign staffer makes 23-hundred dollars a month.

While You Were Going to Overtime


Hockey fans, it doesn't get much better than yesterday's gold medal game. Canada took the gold, 3-2 in Overtime. To say it was exciting would be like saying the East Coast got a little bit of snow this winter.
Meanwhile, while you were going hostile (again) ...

image from flickr user Mary-Kay G used under creative commons

Debate over Hayden Nameplate Moves to Council

A small nameplate honoring Gen. Michael V. Hayden at the corner of Allegheny Avenue and North Shore Drive will be the subject of what could be a big public hearing today before Pittsburgh Council. Greg Barnhisel of Pittsburgh’s Park Place neighborhood noticed the nameplate while visiting the Carnegie Science Center. Barnhisel says he does not question the debt of gratitude owed to the general for his service in the U.S. Air Force but he does question the wisdom of honoring him for his work after leaving the military. Hayden left the Air Force as a four-star general to become the Director of the National Security Agency and then the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. While in those post Hayden became a lightening rod for the left when he helped to implement the Bush administration’s warrantless-wiretapping program and then helped defined the CIA’s interrogation program that many have equated to torture. Hayden is a native of Pittsburgh and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl honored him with the plaque but did not get it approved by the city council. Something he did not have to do but is customary. Barnhisel Gathered the needed signatures on a petition to get the hearing scheduled. He says the way the mayor posted the nameplate should be part of the debate at today’s public hearing and so should an examination of the appropriateness of honoring Hayden. What he does not want is to have the public hearing devolve into a debate about Bush era policies. The hearing begins at 9:00am in Council Chambers.