Friday, April 28, 2006

Cue Nelson Muntz

Ha HA!

From the AP:

Rush Limbaugh arrested on prescription drug charges
Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Rush Limbaugh was arrested Friday on prescription drug charges, law enforcement officials said.

Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities on a warrant issued by the State Attorney's Office, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office.

The conservative radio commentator came into the jail at about 4 p.m. with his attorney Roy Black and bonded out an hour later on a $3,000 bail, Barbera said.

The warrant was for fraud to conceal information to obtain prescription, Barbera said.

Black said his client and authorities reached a settlement on a single count charge of doctor shopping filed Friday by the State Attorney will be dismissed in 18 months.

Prosecutors seized Limbaugh's records after learning that he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion. They contend that Limbaugh engaged in "doctor shopping," or illegally deceived multiple doctors to receive overlapping prescriptions.

Limbaugh has not been charged and maintains he's innocent. He has acknowledged he became addicted to pain medication, blaming it on severe back pain, and took a five-week leave from his radio show to enter a rehabilitation program in 2003.
I shouldn't mock the man. I shouldn't revel in the misery of others, nor make fun of someone with an addiction problem. I shouldn't sink to the depths of some of my compatriots.

I shouldn't.

But I will.

I just imagine Rush and Habay sharing a cell... maybe toss in some WorldCom and Enron executives, Scooter Libby, Duke Cunningham... Yeah. That would be a good episode of Oz.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

That Hacking Sound You Heard Was Me Coughing Up My Lung

CBS has posted the American Lung Association's State of the Air Report for 2006, measuring particulate pollution including ozone.

Cheyenne WY has the cleanest air... probably because no one lives there.

Pittsburgh ranks too... but not on the clean side:

    1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
    2. Bakersfield, Calif.
    3. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pa.
    4. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
    5. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
    6. Detroit-Warren-Flint, Mich.
    7. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif.
    8. Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, Ohio
    9. Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, Ala.
    9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Ga.-Ala.
    11. Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.
    12. Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio
    13. York-Hanover-Gettysburg, Pa.
    13. St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, Mo.-Ill.
    13. Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.
    16. New York-Newark-Bridgeport, N.Y.-N.J.-Conn.-Pa.
    16. Lancaster, Pa.
    18. Merced, Calif.
    18. Canton-Massillon, Ohio
    20. Charleston, W.Va.
    21. Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va.
    22. Reading, Pa.
    22. Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Md.-W.Va.
    24. Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, Ind.
    25. Louisville-Elizabethtown-Scottsburg, Ky.-Ind.
Yikes. How did we get paired with New Castle? What a shame.

Anyway, from the press release:
“In the eastern United States, where dirty power plants have been polluting the air for decades, efforts to control particle pollution are making a difference in the lives of people at risk from exposure to unhealthful air,” said Janice Nolen, director, national policy at the American Lung Association.
Kinda makes you wonder how bad it would have been if smoke control hadn't been implemented back in the day.

If you're a real self-loather, you might want to check out the County's air report card.

Bobby O's First 114 Days in Office

So, let's summarize Bobby O's first 114 days in Office:

    *Piatt & Downtown
    *'Redd Up'
Did I miss anything?

Right now, everyone is settling into their groove. Appointees and new staff have started to feel out their jobs and are getting into a rhythm. Everybody has a good little head of steam and, so far, no one has made any real mistakes. Everyone's feeling good.

That is about to change. The Mayor is beginning to implement new policies and the rubber is about to hit the road. Councilpersons will oppose him. Community groups will oppose him. People will backtrack. Stories will be published. Bloggers will get snarky.

It happens and is to be expected as part of the circle of political administrative life. I'd say there are about 4-5 different stages: (1) Warm up, (2) optimistic implementation, (3) defense/sustaining, (4) electoral push, and (5) carry on/carry out. [The subsequent terms, by the way, don't have the same kind of warm up phase.]

My point is that we're quickly reaching that point in the Political Office lifecycle where capital has to be spent before the voters have to go to the polls again. Congressmen have a year; Senators have five years. The President has either a year or three. The Mayor, however, needs to start putting in place real policies so that he doesn't have to rush around 3 years from now. That's going to piss people off.

It's coming. I can feel it. Should make for better postings.


By now you've seen what was the lead story was on the print edition of the Post-Gazette:

Sex ranking list of high school girls has Mt. Lebanon abuzz

Really? Really? That was it? That was what the editors decided to go with? Somebody though, "Gee, I know what'll win that Pulitzer Prize in journalism: a story about teenagers who think their classmates are whores. Yeah, that's it." Somebody skimmed over all the wire stories from the AP and Reuters, the bombings in the Sinai, the rebellion in Nepal, the floods in Southern Europe, or even the conflict with Iran and decided that those stories were too "mainstream" for the PG. Or perhaps, instead, somebody thought: "You know what'll sell newspapers? Teenage sex."

But, more to the story: back in my day, teenagers were hormone driven, sex addled, insecure, pimply faced, cliquish, idiots. My guess is that things have not changed much. The technology may have changed the lawyers may have gotten involved, but this is still just, basically, graffiti in the bathroom. I hope the perpetrators' punishment is swift and brutal; but that's just mostly because I favor swift and brutal punishment for teenagers.

Does this story mandate a banner headline? No.

Fortunately, the Trib has a more sensible important lead story:

Diven sends birthday card to deceased voter

The sound you heard was my hand smacking against my forehead. This is not news either. Some dead schmuck was never deleted from the local database, rolodex, call sheet and some intern slapped a label on a card. Fin


Come to think of it, I should just go with the flow on this one; here's my next blog post title:

Local Blogger Publishes Pantsless, Again

Yeah, that'll work. I know you care.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jane Jacobs Dead at 89

Scranton's own author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and most recently, Dark Age Ahead, was 89.
Obituary via CBC.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Even More Thoughts on Plywood, Metals, and Concrete

It's been awhile, but I thought I'd go back to looking at the Producer Price Indices for Plywood, Metals, and Concrete, partially because I'm a fun loving masochist, but mostly because I feel this trinity of parts is indicative of housing construction more broadly.

And I believe that if there is a bubble, it's about to pop (if it hasn't already).

Anyway, look at the Consumer Price Index since December '03:

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OK, so we can see by that graph that inflation has increased by about 8.41% since December '03, which sort of gives us a base to judge the rest of this data.

Here's the results for plywood, architectural & structural steel, and concrete and cement:

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And just to put this into some sort of perspective, here's the rate of change from month to for all three PPIs and the CPI:

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I think it's safe to say that plywood flip flops more that the Republicans think John Kerry did... and as much as George W. Bush actually does.

Anyway, the cost of concrete and cement and steel have consistantly risen over the last few years, driving the cost of construction up. The change in plywood has been driven by, among other things, Hurricane Katrina (9% jump in Sept. '05), and has added instability to the ability of contractors to accurately quote a price. Since December 2003, plywood has only increased about 3% since 2003, while steel and concrete have increased 20 and 24% respectively.


Friday, April 21, 2006

We Apologize for the Inconvenience

Sorry folks, blogging has been slow recently as my computer slowly pulls a HAL 9000... without the whole "trying to kill me through asphyxiation in deep space" but with the slow rendition of "Daisy".

I've had to resort to posting manually, which involves taking the ethernet cable and putting the 1s and 0s in with a pin and a nine volt battery. My last post was made entirely of 0s.

Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to replace the logic board before the inevitable death. At that point I'll be holding a virtual wake; you all will be virtually invited.


Job Creation in Pittsburgh Pt. I

Dueling posts in the Post-Gazette regarding two job expansions in the Pittsburgh Region. Here's the first article:

Real estate and financial management giant Jones Lang LaSalle plans to locate its national call center operations in Pittsburgh, a move that could bring 150 jobs Downtown in the next five years...

Mr. Rendell said Jones Lang LaSalle has signed a lease for about 23,000 square feet of new space in 525 William Penn Place, formerly known as Three Mellon Center. The company is moving from the Union Trust Building, where its lease, like those of many other tenants, expires next month. Fifty employees occupy 6,000 to 7,000 square feet there, and another 20 work at other sites.

Pittsburgh was one of three finalists being considered for the move and won the bid because of its "high quality work force, central location and strong public-sector investments in business development," said J.C. Pelusi, managing director of the company's Pittsburgh office...

Mr. Rendell presented Jones Lang LaSalle with a check for $487,600 from the state's Department of Community and Economic Development to help fund the expansion...
OK, so far so good. Now, here's the second article:
Four hundred assembly line and office workers stood in the sun and celebrated yesterday as officials from the German electronics and equipment giant Siemens AG told them the news: The company is investing $7.2 million to expand the former Robicon factory in the Westmoreland County-owned Upper Burrell industrial park.

By March of next year, Siemens will hire another 145 full-time workers, pushing employment to 480, and finish work on a 30,000 square foot facility next door...

Production now is "bursting at the seams," he said, as the little factory rushes to meet demand for controls for huge industrial motors, fans, and pumps that run pollution control systems, mostly in Asia and Europe. Siemens also owns a development lab in nearby Plum.

Pennsylvania offered Siemens several incentives to upgrade the plant, including a $2.5 million government package that includes low-interest loans and $300,000 in tax credits.
So... which one is the better value here: (a) a call center or (b) a manufacturing plant? Which one will perform better in the region, attracting additional jobs and talent... and which one is just neo-smokestack chasing?

I don't really have an answer yet... but I hope to as soon as I get my friggin' data sets in order and as soon as I remember how to do long division.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Peduto Does Downtown Development

One of ADB's nine most favoritest current councilpersons* has introduced an "alternative approach to aiding Downtown development". From the P-G:

Mr. Peduto wants the city to waive property taxes on new Downtown housing for 10 years and on new Downtown offices and hotels for five years...

It also calls for tax credits for redevelopment of historic property, for construction of environmentally friendly buildings, and funding for public art. It would plow an unspecified percentage of new city revenue from Downtown development into citywide property tax relief.
No further details have been forthcoming, as of yet but the 'Gazette promises more details tomorrow... or yesterday if you're reading this two days from now in the future.

Anyway, my interest has been piqued here as I've been conceptually in favor of using deferred tax income as incentives for development. Actually, the government does this all the time on a broader scale: deductions on mortgage interest, student loan interest, child credits; the government is saying "buy a house, go to college, and pop out children." Sort of a mixed message, if you asked me, but it sets a good precedent for the use of tax policy to influence both moral and economic choices.

That being said, here's my initial take on this concept:

I'll be the first to say that I don't know a damn about housing development, but I have some serious questions about the effacacy and implementation of this proposed idea.

(1) Taxes are a long term development expense; construction is an up front expense. In order to capture the full benefits of this tax waiver, developers must be able to either (a) receive the full value of the tax at the beginning or (b) be willing to be in it for the long haul.

(2) If "b", for-sale housing becomes particularly problematic as the full benefit of the tax waiver accrues not to the developer but to the end buyer.

(3) The Feds already has and the State has proposed (and, I believe, passed) historic tax credit programs. Both programs exchange a certain percentage of the value of the historic renovation for tax credits, which are then purchased by equity syndicators at a given rate. In my scant research, I'm seeing $.90 on the dollar as the going rate for Federal Tax Credits; I would assume that State Credits would be worth less (as there are less opportunities and places to apply them). Similarly, I can see City of Pittsburgh Historic Tax Credits being worth even less.

(4) Tax credits are a programatic nightmare to administrate, or so I've been told.

(5) The City is not fully in control of it's taxes; the County is the one actually applying the assessments (or lack thereof). It is also up to the County not to reassess properties that would be in these types of programs.

(6) It seems that the City already has a program called the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Abatement (LERTA), which is a tax credit on improvements to existing buildings and new construction that is available in selected areas of the City. In these select areas within the City of Pittsburgh an accelerated tax credit is available for the conversion of commercial buildings and land to residential use and hotels. I hate duplication of effort, so I'm assuming that the proposal is to expand the scope of this program.

(7) Are we talking City & School taxes or merely City taxes?

(8) This could create a perverse incentive for residents currently renting downtown to "upgrade" into new condominium spaces, if the cost of renting is greater than the cost of a monthly mortgage payment. The result would be merely a shift from one project to another.

(9) The environmental component is intriguing, but it sounds like a rehash of Bill's plan from last year.

(10) I'm nervous about the funding for Public Art. If we start funding that kind of thing, eventually we'll end up with a giant inflatable moose taking a dump. Won't somebody please think of the children!

(11) What happens at the end of the program(s)?

Anyway, I have some other thoughts on the matter as well... but I'll wait for the official story to come out before I go any further.

Otherwise, I'm just being reckless.

* Also voted "Councilperson Most Likely to Have Actually Read This Blog" two years running.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mind the Income Gap

If you believe the Post Gazette, the City of Pittsburgh's per capita income is better off in relation to its suburbs than other cities' relation to their suburbs. Confused? I am. Here's an excerpt:

University of Virginia professors William Lucy and David Phillips, co-authors of the recent book "Tomorrow's Cities, Tomorrow's Suburbs," say their analysis of 22 cities' census data for per capita income shows that most made gains early this decade, relative to their suburbs. They suggest that income data can be a better indicator of a city's appeal than population changes, a category in which Pittsburgh regularly ranks among the worst in the country.

In 2004, city-dwellers' income in 22 places analyzed was 89 percent of what residents of their regions earned, compared to 86 percent in 2000. In Pittsburgh's case, their data suggested city residents averaged 91 percent as much income as residents of the region overall, up from 90 percent.

That would mean if the average resident of the seven-county Pittsburgh region earned $50,000 in 2004, the average city-dweller made $45,500. It has long been typical for people outside of cities to be more affluent than those inside, but the gap between them fluctuates and is of interest to professors Lucy and Phillips.

Pittsburgh's strength, they note, is it has a smaller gap between city and suburban incomes than is typical of cities in the Northeast and Midwest, plus a stability in that proportion throughout censuses and slight improvement in narrowing the differences. Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas and Houston are among cities the Virginia study showed as trending negatively, with widening income gaps.
Now, at this point, you're probably asking yourself, "Self, is The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat unmoved by these statistics?"

Well he is, for three reasons:

(1) Per capita. Bill Gates walks into Pittsburgh and the per capita income of the City of Pittsburgh skyrockets, although it's probably insignificant in terms of policy. A higher median income than the surrounding environs would mean (ha!) more.

(2) Remember, Pittsburgh's suburbs are not just Cranberry and Robinson, but Duquesne and McKeesport as well. I don't have the statistics in front of me, but I'm guessing that Pittsburgh out performs a lot of the rust belt, Mon Valley suburbs no matter what. Ergo, the gap between the City and the Suburbs should be smaller.

(3) The City is still on the wrong side of the gap; 2nd place is still the first loser. We may be doing "better" than other cities, but that says more about the state of City/Suburbs relationships in this Country. That, ultimately, is a bad thing in my opinion.

But then again, I'm cranky today.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Kermit Was Right: It's Not Easy Being Green

The Green Guide has posted it's list of top ten Green Cities. Guess who's #1.

Go on... guess!

It's Eugene, OR. But guess who's #2!

Well... it's Austin, TX.

But guess who's really high on the list...

OK, it's not Pittsburgh.

Actually, we don't really make the list:

1. Eugene, OR
2. Austin, TX
3. Portland, OR
4. St. Paul, MN
5. Santa Rosa, CA
6. Oakland, CA
7. Berkeley, CA
8. Honolulu, HI
9. Huntsville, AL
10. Denver, CO
11. Boston, MA
12. Lexington, KY
13. Springfield, IL
14. Irvine, CA
15. Cambridge, MA
16. Anchorage, AK
17. Syracuse, NY
18. San Francisco, CA
19. Minneapolis, MN
20. Milwaukee, WI
21. Rochester, NY
22. Albuquerque, NM
23. Ann Arbor, MI
24. Seattle, WA
25. Kansas City, MO
Yes folks, we were beaten out by Albuquerque.

So the criteria was based on the following: Air Quality, Electricity Use and Production, Environmental Perspective, Environmental Policy, Green Design, Green Space, Public Health, Recycling, Socioeconomic Factors, Transportation, and Water Quality. If you wanted to pick a set of criteria that would be more weighed against Pittsburgh, I don't think you could pick a better one.

My guess is that we score pretty well on Green Design, Green Space, and Recycling, and do bad to worse on everything else. Lord knows we probably get F minuses on water and air quality, and I'm sure that, in the face of all of our other problems, Environmental Policy is not the City's #1 priority. This is a shame, as Environmental development would be a great opportunity for the City of Pittsburgh to make its niche, if only a way could be found to do it.

Anyway, I hope that we at least got a "Participant Certificate" or an "Everybody-Gets-An-Award Award."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Allegheny County Reassessments Rechallenged Reagain

When we last left our heroes, the Allegheny County Assessments that were challenged, thrown out, revised, thrown out again, re-revised, accepted, rejected, reduced, folded, spindled, mutilated, and challenged were upheld. Tune in today where we join our story, already in progress:

An attorney representing four taxpayers who are challenging Allegheny County's assessment system charged today that the county's attempt to use 2002 property values as a base year should be declared unconstitutional and thrown out.

Attorney Ira Weiss said in an amended lawsuit filed today that using 2002 property values illegally freezes values despite substantial changes in neighborhoods from year to year. That means people in poor communities pay more taxes than they should and wealthier people pay less because properties are not valued properly.

This violates the state law that requires taxes to be applied uniformly to all taxpayers, the suit said.

In addition, Allegheny County's attempt to file appeals on behalf of taxpayers who saw their assessments rise since 2002 as a result of previous appeals by school districts or municipalities should be illegal, the suit said. Such appeals would result in illegal "spot assessing," where only some properties in an area are reassessed.
Unfortunately, Mr. Weiss may be correct: despite the "more accurate" assessment of 2002, there will be a inequitable share of the tax burden being paid by those areas that have depreciated in value.

The question, however, is whether the system is fundamentally flawed (i.e. the sum ratios of all assessment values to actual prices is within a reasonable error margin, normally +/- 15%), which would go back to prove Mr. Weiss' contention that assessments are not uniform.

But that's only the intellectual, academic point, albeit one which is well argued are persuasive. For the County (and the subsidiary municipalities) there is a true political and policy crisis at stake:

First, no one wants to be the one to be blamed for raising taxes when revenues fall short. It's much easier to act outraged than to actually do something about it.* You're never going to find a politician who will say, with a straight face, "let's effectively raise everyone's taxes as it'll be better for all of us in the long run, despite what it'll do to me, personally, at the polls."

Second, if potential revenues are constantly in flux, there is no discernible way to allow a municipality to project the actual taxes that are to be collected in a given year. I'm sure the borough manager of Crafton tears his hair out every night trying to guess. I have no doubt that is a contributing factor, small though it may be, to the ongoing financial problems of the city of Pittsburgh.

My point is: the system is currently fundamentally screwy and I doubt that anyone actually has the political will or capital to fix it.

Although, it means that Ira Weiss is guaranteed full employment until 2010.

*Which is, ironically enough, one of the reasons I write these damned posts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Special Election: 30th District... Part II

And now, Part II of our critique of the Web Pages of the Candidates for the 30th District of the Pennsylvania State House; this time with even more prepositions. If you're reading via RSS feed or even on the webpage itself, this actually appears to come before the Part I, which is weird.

Mike Dolan

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Mike's name is an anagram of "I'm an OK LED," which probably would have some cosmic significance if he was a Radio Shack employee, but in this case makes no sense whatsoever.

Time to meet Mike.

If you notice Mikey's signature, you'll notice that he's actually Michael A. Dolan II, which was a less exciting sequel, along the lines of Dumb and Dumberer but not Leonard Part 8. He's received the endorsement of Sen. Jane Orie Strikes Back and Rep. Mike Turzai the Wrath of Kahn.

Actually, this quote was pretty funny: Mike invites you to join this grassroots campaign for change!

Pardon me Mike but (1) isn't your party in power and (2) is O'Hara Twp "grassroots?"

The Leadership Agenda

I may be a dyed in the wool tax and spend liberal, but as near as I can figure the "Agenda" is summarized as follows: reduce taxes and spend more. Yeah, I get the Laffer Curve and everything, but something about this doesn't seem right.

It's probably me, but try not to step in the Leadership.

Support Mike

Here's some of the big name people that are supporting Mike:

Rep. Mike Turzai;
Sen. Jane Orie;
State Attorney General Tom Corbett;
Allegheny County Councilwoman Jan Rea;
Former Pittsburgh Steeler Mel Blount...
To be fair, Shawn Flaherty did have the endorsement of Dwayne Woodruff.

You can also submit your own endorsement. Here's mine:
I heartily endorse this product and/or service.
I'm un original.

Actually, the most important part of this whole page is in the picture. If you look carefully, you'll notice that Mike is sportin' a 12" Apple 1.5 Ghz Titanium Powerbook. And I swoon ever so gently.

On the Road

Check by soon for upcoming "On the Road" events with Mike Dolan.

He has 3 1/2 hours.

In the News

This "webcenter" seems "devoid" of actual "news" and "blows goats." The Executive Editor of The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat says "seems 'devoid' of actual 'news' and 'blows goats.'"


If you think that $50 is a small contribution to a State Representative campaign, you might be grassroots campaigning in Fox Chapel.

By the way, the "wife" and "child" in the homey picture on this page are on loan from the Mike Diven for State Senator Campaign Collection.


Look, it's about 5:30 PM the day of the election... if you're from the 30th District and you've been putzing around reading blogs all day, you probably shouldn't be voting.

Unless you're still looking for a reasonable, fair and balanced assessment of the candidates and were desperately awaiting my opinion... in which case: WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING READING THIS SENTENCE! GO OUT AND VOTE DAMMIT!

Unless you were planning on voting wrong... in which case I'll go post some shiny objects for your amusement.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Special Election: 30th District... Part I

Obviously, I was not paying attention over the last month(s), else I would have done this posting awhile ago:

If there's anything good that will come out of tomorrow's special election for PA 30th House District, it will be that the winner will not be Jeff Habay. No matter who wins tomorrow, you can be sure that I will be celebrating by mailing myself white powder and blaming it on my rivals.

Both Mike Dolan (R) and Shawn Flaherty (D) had signed a clean campaign pledge. Fortunately, the ADB was not a party to that agreement... and is free to scuriously mock their respective websites, as is my style. Here we go...

Shawn Flaherty

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OK, I know it's Fox Chapel and everything but good lord is the website white. White, white, white. Any whiter and the damned thing would be translucent. It's like the J. Crew catalogue went into politics and threw up everywhere. The closest thing there is to diversity on the front page is Dan Onorato.

Shawn promises to introduce an Open Government Bill of Rights to bring integrity and trust back to Harrisburg, oppose midnight pay raises, promote lobbyist accountability, and push to cut the size of our Legislature. Ha HA! Such hilarity! Stop it Shawn, you're killing me!

I give him a week and a half.

Interesting note: while the 30th District does not represent any portion of the City of Pittsburgh, Shawn's front page picture is taken from the West End Overlook.

Moving on...

Shawn, as you may have expected, is the scion of the Flaherty political dynasty:

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No, not that Flaherty; this Flaherty:

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Although, I can see where people could be confused. Ironically enough, Pete Flaherty campaigned as "Nobody's Boy;" Shawn Flaherty is Pete Flaherty's boy.

Interestingly enough, Shawn's biography was written by Tiffany Tupper, President of the Hampton High School Young Democrats. Tiffany also likes ponies. OMG! LOL!

Shawn has a plan for property tax reform, which he has entitled The Shawn Flaherty Plan for Real Property Tax Reform, proving that originality and creativity are not necessary in politics. If it was me, I would have entitled it Professor Nutzo O'Flaherty's Crazy Revenue Stream Enhancer-mattazer, but that's just me.

From the site:

The fundamentals of property assessment law are solidly grounded within the Pennsylvania State Constitution.

Taxes must equally and uniformly be distributed.

The Shawn Flaherty Plan for Real Property Tax Reform is designed to totally fall within the purview of this document.
Totally. Fur sure.

But geez... it's a long plan. Loooooong plan. Sooooooo looooooong!

[How long is it?]

So long that it has both a prelude AND an introduction.

That's not a joke, by the way.

Anyway, the nub of the plan for property tax relief is basically (1) gambling and (2) not paying for things. Although, one of the things he's proposing cutting is the State Legislature, which I can't see as a bad thing... unless you were a legislator, then you might be opposed to this kind of thing.

I wonder who votes on this stuff anyway.

Interesting fact: The Treasurer for the Flaherty campaign is "Noah Fardo" and his name elicits giggles from me.

Maybe not Habay, but totally, totally white. [Snicker... "Fardo"]

So, I hope this helps you folks up north of the river make your decision. Although, if you're taking your political advice from a short, stocky, balding, career bureaucrat in a bad suit, you have serious problems. Get help.

Part II coming soon...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bobby O getting the 4-1-1 from His Shorties on the West Sidee

Our first big mistake was believing that the children were our future.

I mean, look at 'em: bunch of ritalin addled, short attention span, over worked, over parented, internet & video game junkies. So, it makes me sad when The Overlord of Pittsburgh stoops to their level to ask their "advice."

"Open up a couple of the rec centers," said Davon Magwood, a Schenley High senior and the state's elected Youth Governor, "so more kids have more things to do in the summer."

"It sounds good, but a lot of times people don't use them," the mayor said of the centers, many of which were shuttered in 2003 due to the city's budget crisis.
Boo yah! Adults: 1; Children: Zeee-ROH!

I mean, children aren't like they were back in my day. Back then playground slides were twenty feet off the ground over solid concrete. We lived with the very real and very palpable fear of massive brain trauma should we slip, and we LIKED IT!

We were a generation that actually new what good music was, and that it came on vinyl.

We knew what WIN meant and why Gerald Ford was so gosh darn funny for wearing those little buttons.

Back then Cookie Monster was a representation of pure nihilistic id and that "C" was, in fact, good enough for me.

This was a generation that believed that a little dot bouncing around a screen was real video game entertainment.

This was a generation where MTV actually showed friggin' music videos.

[Deep breath]

Anyway: the Youth Commission better stay the hell off my damned lawn, or I'll take their "frisbee".

MSM on ADB et al.

Second time in two weeks that the Main Stream Media has recognized The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat, lumping us in with such local Blogging "Old Favorites" as Froth, Fester, Jonathan Potts, Anti-Rust, Mike Madison, Wrongful Convictions, Powerblog, and Overheard in Pittsburgh.  The majority of these are blogrolled to the right there, which just goes to prove that either I have good taste or I am Bill Toland.   
Actually, on further examination of the tag in my underwear, I am not Bill Toland.  On further, further examination, this is not my underwear.  On further, further, further examination, I'm apparently going commando.
Little known fact: we minor titians of the local "Blurghosphere" actually go fight crime as a masked vigilante supergroup.  This week we're going as The Traveling Willburys.   
So, mad love to the P-G for the shout out.  I guess this means I need to do a substantial posting this week. 
P.S. Bill... it's "Drunk" not "Drunken":
drunk (adj.)
1. (a) Intoxicated with alcoholic liquor to the point of impairment of physical and mental faculties. (b) Caused or influenced by intoxication.
2. Overcome by strong feeling or emotion: drunk with power.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Flotsam and Jetsam

Just some random junk that's been floating around in my absurdly sized cranium:

I saw Fareed Zakaria on The Daily Show the other day talking about the immigration debate and then I saw this commentary in the WaPo. The weird thing is that the commentary is pretty much exactly what he said on TDS, almost as if it had become a place to air a policy matter prior to release to the MSM. Weird.

Speaking of immigration reform: where'd that come from? It's like the powers that be were rummaging through their giant box of issues (abortion... terrorism... taxes... affirmative action...pocket change...lint...) and decided to pull out one that they hadn't used in awhile.

It seems that my only mission in life is to create paper and move it from one side of the desk to the other.

If you look at this article and this article, you'll see who's on what side on City Council.

It's interesting to see, from all the talk that's been going on about "revitalizing" downtown the move by Point Park University to expand their campus. It's also neat to see all the students that are in that section of the neighborhood during the middle of the day, mixing with business people, and bureaucrats.

OK, that's enough for now. I promise a more cognet, substantive post at some point in the near future.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

156,250 episodes of Arrested Development

I saw this link on another site that's not news, The Awesome Deferred, or what the $250 Million spent on the Iraq War could have bought us.

Site is NSFW, but funny.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

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