Sunday, December 31, 2006

Auld Lang Syne

This will most probably be the last post of this year.

I will not miss 2006. It will not stand out as a red letter year as my hair has become greyer, my knees ache a little more than they used to, and this horrible pain in my back has yet to resolve itself. This year, I managed to fail at each and every one of last year's resolutions. Twenty-Oh-Six has sucked another precious year of youth out of me, replacing it, rather clumsily, with aged curmudegeonliness. By most measures, the year sucked.

I can't help but look at the passing year as a monumental failure on most levels, and I can't shake the feeling that we are all are not just on the wrong track, but at the wrong station in the wrong town and riding on, instead of a train, Gary Busey in a Kayak. (That metaphor was probably close to the high point of the year, which gives you an idea how bad of a year it was.)

I will not miss the corruption, the death, the Great War on Terror, politicians, The Vice President shooting people, Mohammad cartoons, the Winter Olympics, the slow decline of the housing market, false outrage, African baby adoptions, Brad, Angelina, Britney, Linsday, Paris, vacuous celebrity worship, the continual decline of popular music, mindless partisanship, television "news", Lebanon, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, torture, and soul crushing political campaigns. I will not miss one bit of any of that.

It's a pity that so much of won't actually be gone for me to miss it throughout 2007.

So, I will toast the year's passing and dance on its grave. And yet, this time next year, I will wistfully pine for 2006, as I complain how much 2007 sucked.

Here's to all things past!


Friday, December 29, 2006

If It Weren't For the Last Minute...

Today is the last day of the year.

If you are a Bureaucrat, that is.

...well unless, you're a Federal Bureaucrat; then the last day was September 30th.

...and unless, you're running, on the Fiscal and not Calendar year; then the last day was June 30th.

...and unless, of course, you're Jewish; then the last day ended the 9th day of Tishrei.

BUT! If those things were not true, this is your last chance to get to any government office and have anything you need signed, stamped, filed, recorded, numbered, entered, catalogued, approved, denied, requisitioned, indexed, transferred, regulated, allocated, disbursed, administered, cited, appealed, implemented, briefed, debriefed, reviewed, committed, postponed, tabled, decided, voted on, adopted, or paid before 2007.

You'd better hurry: you have one minute left.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford, Augusto Pinochet, Saparmurat Niyazov, and James Brown Die at the Age of 323

Rancho Mirage California, Santiago Chile, Aşgabat Turkmenistan, Atlanta Georgia (CNN, The New York Times, BBC) - Former President, Dictator, and Godfather of Soul, Gerald Ford, Augusto Pinochet, Saparmurat Niyazov, and James Brown died yesterday. They were collectively 323, making them the oldest former president, dictator, and radio pioneer combination, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004, by just over 231 years.

Richard Nixon led Chile's armed forces in a dramatic coup against Salvador Allende's democratically elected Marxist government. The violence of the uprising and the oppression that followed shook the world. In September 1973, thousands of so-called subversives were rounded up in Santiago's national football stadium. Some of them were executed.

Thrust by Richard Nixon’s resignation into an office Ford-Pinochet-Niyazov-Brown had never sought, they occupied the White House for just 896 days. But they were pivotal days of national introspection, involving America’s first definitive failure in a war and the first resignation of a president.

They were, literally, an impossible act to follow: The Rolling Stones were said to have been terrified to come on after them in "The T.A.M.I. Show," a 1964 concert that appeared on film the next year.

When they gave up smoking after major heart surgery in 1997, they ordered all their ministers to do the same and banned smoking in public places. They later declared a ban on young men wearing beards and long hair. Opera, ballet, listening to car radios and the playing of recorded music on television and at public events was forbidden.

Their influence was broad and deep. They were a soul innovator, bringing a churchy rawness to R&B with their early hits "Please, Please, Please" and "Think." They essentially created funk with mid-'60s songs such as "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Our Long National Nightmare Is Over." Their grooves were sampled by rappers and hip-hop artists.

Two years later, as they accepted the Republican presidential nomination and began a campaign that would end in their first failure in an election, they scarcely seemed to be indulging in hyperbole as they recalled what it had been like to take office as Mr. Nixon’s heir.

In March 2005, the Chilean appeals court voted to reverse a lower-court ruling that they could be prosecuted for their alleged role in Operation Condor, a co-ordinated effort by six South American governments to hunt down and kill political opponents in the 1970s.

Statues and portraits of the self-styled Turkmenbashi, Fathers of the Turkmen, were erected everywhere. Cities, airports and even a meteorite were named after them.

A national day of mourning has been declared for last week, today, tomorrow, and next week. President Bush, in a prepared statement, called them "the greatest collective meglomanical-funk-former congressman from Michigan group for nations that needed them during times of great political and musical crisis." Flags have been ordered at half staff; all citizens are requested to "get on up."

They will be buried in California, Turmenistan, Chile, and shot into space.

Tag(s): , , ,

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On the Seventh Day of Christmas the City GOP gave to me...

Having finally recovered from my three day nog-bender, I was intrigued at this story about a proposed reduction in Pittsburgh City Council backed by the Pittsburgh Republican Party (Official Cure Song: Maybe Someday). From the P-G Article:

The Pittsburgh Republican Committee today announced plans for a month-long petition drive to reduce the size of City Council from nine to seven members -- including two to be elected at large, a move that could open the door to the first GOP seat on council since the 1930s.

"Over the years the population of the city has decreased but not the numbers of our elected officials," explained an announcement by the group.

City Republican Chairman Robert Hillen today described the drive as non-partisan and said he hoped to gather 12,000 signatures to put the question on the ballot in next year's elections.
Now, I'm of course of mixed minds on this: my innate distrust of politicians versus my innate distrust of the GOP. But here are some thoughts:

First, Council President Jim Motznick Doug Shields notes later in the article If it's a cost-reduction matter, I don't know that it makes sense. We're less than four-tenths of 1 percent of the budget." If the GOP is looking to save money, you would think there would be more effective places to do so.

Second, even if you were going to see some up front savings in salary reducing from 9 members (plus staff) to 7 members (plus staff), you're going to have to cover the increase in workload somehow. You'd probably have to hire extra staff anyway... unless you believe in Dilbert Logic where work that can be done by two can be done by one at half the cost. So if you're not a sociopathic lunatic, you'll realize that the cost saving thing will probably be, at best, a wash.

Thirdly, and this is tangentially related that point #2: something tells me that the "floating" council persons would be less effective for constituent services than the district council persons. Something tells me it will be hard for a floater from Regent Square to give a rats ass about what's going on in, say, Windgap or St. Clair Village.

Fourth, there is a good chance that certain districts will be over represented. It is certainly more likely that the East End will have the lion's share of Council Persons as residents with an at-large scheme. Or, alternatively, you could have a very small, non-geographic ideological core group of people with a pocket Council Person. In either case I can see an inequitable amount political capital allocated to a smaller constituency.

Fifth, there is a good chance that certain districts will be under represented under this scheme. Right now, 2 of 9 districts represent primarily African-American constituents. Is there a chance that 2 of 5 districts will represent primarily African-American constituents, or will they be squeezed out into primarily white districts? Remember back in the day when the City had no minority representation?

Sixth, and finally, setting all this aside, it is pretty obvious that the scheme is merely a way for the City GOP to get a seat on Council. If you look at the proposal carefully, it would be set up like County Council, where the at-large seats are split between two parties. As the Constitution and Green Parties have yet to make significant headway in this area, that other at-large seat will probably go to the GOP. Again, a very minor percentage of the elctorate will be over represented in council.

Call me cynical, but that's just a cynical ploy to lower the GOP loss percentage in the City.

Back to the nog.

Merry Christmas (Take 2)

All I want for Christmas is a blog creation and hosting service that won't randomly eat my posts.


So anyway, Boxing Day. Here's your box:


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Casino Winners and Losers

It's hard to be concise about this topic, as there are so many factors at play here: economics, sustainability, traffic, tax generation, development, lunatics, idiots, etc., etc., so I'll try to be brief, although it is, as I said before, difficult with all those factors mentioned above, which, of course, hinder brevity and conciseness.

Anywho, without further delay, here's the post-game recap on today's Casino winners and losers.

WINNER: PITG Gaming - The Little Casino That Could, pulls a major coup. Virtually ignored by the chattering classes, despite it's high projected early return, accessible location, and waterfront view. Now while the kids are off romping through the Science Center, Grandma can blow her pension check. That's convenience right there.

LOSER: Isle of Capri & Forrest City Enterprises - The big dogs go down and down hard, despite promising everything short of world peace, forty acres and a mule that gives hummers. Word of advice: if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. If you don't believe me, I have a Nigerian business friend I'd like to introduce you to.

WINNER: The Hill District Neighborhood - Despite what others are saying, the casino was not going to be a giant economic development panacea for "troubled" neighborhoods. It didn't work with the Civic Arena either, folks. Why should it work this time around?

WINNER: The South Side - Carson Street didn't need any more traffic. Period.

LOSER: The Pittsburgh Penguins - Without their IoC sugardaddies, the Penguins are left with no other alternative but to blackmail the City and State for a new arena. This can only end in tears. More about the arena over here.

WINNER: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board - The sonsofbitches actually made a decision based purely on the criteria they were supposed to. Good on them!

LOSER: Tonya "The Black Stabber"* Payne - The Councilwoman was "Totally shocked" that she backed the wrong horse in this race. I wonder if her constituents feel the same way about her...?

LOSER: Pittsburgh First - In many eyes, this group basically sold out their neighborhood to IoC, only to walk away empty handed. That's just dumb business right there. At least they could've held out for some complementary T-shirts.

LOSER: Penguins Fans - If Bill Toland was editing his comments for profanity, libel and bad grammar and deleting the nonsensical ones, I'd hate to see what the unvarnished hockey lunatic letters looked like. Actually, I think I would like to read the unvarnished truth. Bill, send us the reject letters; we have no journalistic integrity over here!

LOSER: The City of Pittsburgh - Not a loser for the obvious reason that the casino will bring ruin and destruction on the City, but because they would have made a windfall profit selling off all the publicly owned land around the IoC site.

LOSER: Land Speculators - Ditto.

LOSER: Every Western Pennsylvanian Politician - Guess who now has to figure out a way to fund a new arena for the Penguins now that the "free" money from IoC is gone? Lord knows that if they don't make good, they will face the wrath of dozens of drunken, semi-literate hockey fans WHO WRITE IN ALL CAPS.

LOSER: Pundits, Prognosticators, and Bloggers - Wrong, wrong, wrong! Everyone of you! Never has so much was written on stuff we knew so little about. Obviously everyone "knew" that IoC or Harrah's was going to get the casino, and yet everyone was absolutely wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG! What can you say but "Oops"?
Well, that's my first take on it. Lots of Losers, I've noticed. Can't imagine why that would be.


Lemon... Lemon... Majestic?

If you aren't continually connected to teh internets all day like I am, the announcement that PITG Gamings's Majestic Star Casino won the Pittsburgh slots license isn't old news yet.

For those of you that just heard about this, you live under a technological rock, and might want consider upgrading to 500 baud.

I'll have more reaction on this developing story later, but I think it's interesting how quickly the story has switched to "OMG WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PENGUINS NOW!!?!1!" so quickly.

Check out what Bill Toland's Casino Journal for real time developments and ridiculously irate emails.

Tag(s): ,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Last Call

This will probably be my last post before they announce the winner of the big slots license for Pittsburgh on Wednesday. I can't say that I was ever a fan of the slots proposal, so you won't read any fawning praise for any of the plans here. If it were up to me, I would have bought the slots license myself and either thrown it into the trash or sold it to, let's say, Wilmerding and let them deal with it.

No matter who "wins" tomorrow, it will be very likely that the City of Pittsburgh will lose in the long run. The proposals talk glowingly about the number of jobs that the casinos will create, the tax revenue that will be generated, the property tax relief that will happen, a brand spanking new arena, and so on and so forth. They also talk about social cost mitigation, traffic flow, gambling addiction, and all the nasty parts of the business.

In the end, however, the assurances will not be adequate, the projections will be wrong, and we'll be left with the short end of the stick.

I base this prognostication on nothing more than a cynical understanding of human nature and politics, so take it for what it's worth.

But here's what really worries me about the slots parlour: there is no foreseeable exit strategy.

Think of the steel mills. Imagine, if you would, that the State gave beaucoup money to fund the steel industry. In the process of creating revenue and jobs, the mills polluted the air, the ground, and the water. Then the mills collapsed leaving the pollution, unemployment, and loss of revenue for others to deal with.

Yeah, imagine if something like that had happened.

Now, consider these questions: Can the casino go out of business? What happens if it does? Who cleans up all the crap at the end of the day if they go bust? Is this a long term sustainable solution to generating tax revenue and improving the quality of life in the City? In 50 years, when the parlour is either a Trump Megacasino or an over glorified bingo hall, will we be ready for the consequences of today's actions?

I'm thinking the answers are: yes, bad stuff, the tax payer, no, and no.

So, the battle will be over tomorrow, but the war will linger for a long while.

I'm not optimistic, but you can check out Fester to see how he skinned this cat.


Ol'Froth Meets Rule #7

I don't usually take pleasure at the suffering of others (except maybe Jeff Habay), but Froth had a bit of problem with the General Public today, which I found to be amusing and had to mention herein.


Monday, December 18, 2006

"...Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days..."

So, as I was doing background research in preparation for the big casino announcement,* I came across this article in the Trib's "Whispers" .

Council President Doug Shields, O'Connor's top aide when the late mayor served on City Council, reportedly has all but decided to run for controller.

And if that happens, O'Connor's youngest son, Corey O'Connor, already has indicated he would seek the council seat his father once held.
Now, I had heard the Coery O'Connor rumor before, but this is the first time I've heard it from a reputable media source, or even the Tribune-Review.

Now I mean no offense... well... actually I mean a lot of offense, but seriously, does Corey really have any qualifications for the Fifth Council District seat other than being his father's son? I'm sure that you can learn a lot at your father's knee, but c'mon! Is the 5th district devoid of nebbish Jews, aging hippies, pretentious BoBos, or Public Works employees that could run for the seat? Is they really that desperate that they would merely elect the scion of a politician on name alone?

Or should I ask the Flahertys, the DeFazios, the Ravenstahls, and the Wagners?

* Official Motto: Worst Policy Decision since Napoleon thought Moscow would make a teriffic winter home.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Media Matters: Pittsburgh Economic Development Edition

Mark Belko was up late on Tuesday night filing a story for Wednesday's edition of the Post-Gazette about a URA meeting to be held on Thursday. That's ambition for you. I can't even get my Wednesday posts out before Thursday.

Anywho, the story goes as such:

The city's Urban Redevelopment Authority is poised to sell old G.C. Murphy's store buildings and other properties to a Washington County developer for $2.5 million -- another key step in the redevelopment of the downtrodden Fifth and Forbes corridor, Downtown.
So far so good, but scroll down to the bottom and you'll find this:
Also tomorrow, the URA is expected to sell three parcels, one on Fifth Avenue and two on Market Street, to a subsidiary of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation for $257,000.
Now the Tribune-Review did not have the ambition of Mr. Belko, so it's no surprise that they didn't run this story yet. When they do cover the meeting, however, will the Trib devote as much ink in their paper (specifically their editorial page) for the Milcraft project as they do for Landmarks Development Corporation, a known arm of the Scaife leviathan? Will they be as generous with their laurels or as stingy with their lances?

Tune in tomorrow...

Tag(s): ,

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

By Popular Demand...

OK, for those of you that ended up at this site by searching for Pauly Shore Punched in the Face, I don't want to disappoint you, but I can't seem to find the video either. Everywhere I've been (including the above link) has yanked it, sorry.

So, you might as well kick off your shoes and stay awhile.

UPDATE: Get it while it lasts.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Everything You Wanted to Know about the City Lien Buyback (and were forced to find out)

Rich Lord made an attempt at it here, and there are discussions going on here and here about what it all means. I was going to make a substantial post at these places, trying to sort the whole discussion out, until I realized that I was exceeding my 10,000 characters post limit. So, I went and bugged my Real Estate, Economic Development, and Tax cronies and tried to pry as much information out of them as I could over several cases of beer. Anyway, I'll try to be as susinct as possible and answer the questions as best as I can.

Question: What the hell is going on here?

Answer: The City is buying back $64,000,000 worth of tax liens that it sold to Capital Assets Research Corporation (CARC) back in the late 1990s.

Question: Um... OK, what the hell is a lien?

Answer: Well, to be simple, in law, a lien is a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation.

Question: Can you dumb it down a bit?

Answer: OK, the primary lien you'll usually see is a mortgage, which is held against a property by a bank or some other lending institution. The bank, essentially, owns a portion of the property until it is repaid. Usually the transfer of property is held up until the lien is paid off, or satisfied.

Question: So, wait, the City owns my mortgage?

Answer: No, other things are "lienable," like criminal judgements, publicly undertaken demolition, water & sewer bills, and property taxes.

Question: OK, so what does CARC have to do with this?

Answer: Ah! Here's the big question. Think of a lien as a source of income for the City. It is, in effect, an Accounts Receivable and, for that reason, has some worth. Like most things, if you can assign a value to it, you can sell it, which is what the City did. In exchange for $64,000,000 (which was needed at the time), the City gave the right to collect these back charges to Capital Assets.

Question: Wait, why'd CARC want to do that?

Answer: Because CARC thought they could make money off the collection of these liens and any interest that accrued.

Question: Did they?

Answer: No.

Question: Ah.

Answer: Yeah, see usually when a company does something like buy a portfolio of liens for $64,000,000, they should expect to get at least $64,000,001 (NPV) back. In the world of liens, that means that Capital Assets thought that it could collect more than the amount it paid to the City, thereby making a profit. It couldn't and it didn't.

Question: So basically, CARC made a bad investment. Boo friggin' hoo. Why does this matter?

Answer: Well, put it this way: they want their damned money and their not releasing their lien until they get paid.

Question: So?

Answer: CARC hasn't been willing to get less than what they're owed on these liens, but the value on these liens are so high that it discourages developers from satisfying these liens and purchase the properties.

Question: So basically rather than getting something for the properties, CARC has opted to take nothing until it gets everything?

Answer: That pretty much sums it up.

Question: Isn't that bad business?

Answer: Well, yes, but what makes it worse is that CARC's parent company MBIA, Inc. used the portfolio to secure, in part, a huge bond issuance.

Question: Meaning...?

Answer: Meaning that it's worse than just not getting revenue for MBIA; it means that they could default on debt.

Question: OK, so why is the City doing this then?

Answer: This is the long part. You may want to make yourself comfortable.

Question: I'm all comfy now.

Answer: Basically, the portfolio that CARC pick up was "non-performing", meaning in this case that the revenues didn't actually come in to the Corporation. What's worse, however, is that the current taxes (not sold to CARC, and still due to the City) aren't being paid either. I suppose people figure that either (a) there's no way to pay them off, (b) they don't care about them being paid off, or (c) they're dead.

Question: Dead?

Answer: It's very hard for the dead to keep current on their taxes. Now stop it, you're interrupting.

Question: Sorry.

Answer: Anyway, across the City, you have all these tax delinquent properties that the City could make available for development via Treasurer's Sales (i.e., they'll sell your property to themselves unless you pay up), but it can't because Capital Assets won't allow the transfer to happen until they're paid up.

Question: Wait, so my bastard neighborhood Jim who always dumps his leaves in my yard can have my property taken by the City and get it sold to him?

Answer: You're interrupting again! And no. You need to be several years delinquent, you need to be notified, there are advertisements in the newspapers, and you'll ultimately have a chance to repay the taxes or get on some tax plan. Although, if you think you're at risk, you may want to consider, you know, paying your taxes. Where was I?

Question: Treasurer's Sales.

Answer: Oh yeah, so eligible, non-profit community development corporations (CDCs) can apparently request that the City acquire tax delinquent properties through the Treasurer's sale process if the CDCs can prove that they will be using this property to improve it and make it income generating again.

Question: And CARC is stopping that transfer?

Answer: By Jove it think you've got it! Now put it together...

Question: Because CARC is holding off the satisfaction of these liens, Community Development Corporations haven't been able to assemble vacant property and return them to productive use?

Answer: There you go!

Question: So is the $6.4 Million price tag worth it?

Answer: Pardon?

Question: Is the $6.4 Million price payoff to CARC worth it?

Answer: Well, that is the $6.4 Million Question.

Question: That's a really lame pun, you should be ashamed.

Answer: Sorry.

Tag(s): ,

I found this over at Crooks & Liars while scouring the 'net for something funny to write about. 

From the site:
A tribute to the 75-minute period where Tom Delay actually received feedback from America.


Friday, December 08, 2006

David McCullough wins Medal of Freedom

I saw the above captioned story in the Post-Gazette today and wondered what the hell did McCullough screw up in Iraq to deserve this?

Or perhaps maybe before McCullough got finished narrating it, Ken Burns' PBS documentary was just called The War.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rule #24

The One Eyed Fat Man and I got together recently to share a drink, toast the electoral demise of certain Pennsylvanian politicians, and generally bullshit about Government.

So, this one's from him, more or less:

Rule #24: A Bureaucrat must be able to explain and justify his/her actions to laymen without resorting to the phrase "because the Rules say so."

A Bureaucrat's appointment and job placement are dependent upon his technical qualifications and he must exercise his judgment and skills on behalf of the faithful execution of his official duties, and not just resort to "because the Rules say so."

And I recognize the irony of including this amongst the other Rules, yes.

Tag(s): ,

Monday, December 04, 2006

John Bolton Bought out by Bank of New York

Announces Candidacy for Mayor of Pittsburgh and a Return to the Moon

(AP) Pittsburgh, Cape Canaveral - In a surprise joint announcement by NASA, Mellon Bank, the Bank of New York, and the Bush Administration, John Bolton will be bought out by the Bank of New York, run for Mayor of Pittsburgh, and be blasted off to the Moon.

"This is, indeed, a moment of great significance for me, my family, the shareholders, the scientific community, and the people of Pittsburgh," said Mr. Bolton from prepared remarks at the United Nations building in New York City.

The announcement came as a shock to Washington, Pittsburgh, Financial, and Space insiders. The normally recalcitrant Bolton was seen by many as a liability for the Bush administration, with his brusk tone and confrontational nature, but is now being greeted by all parties as a positive asset.

"Early indications are that perhaps this is a good thing for the region," said Mr. Ravenstahl, himself also a candidate for Mayor. Early polls indicate that Mr. Ravenstahl is ahead of Mr. Bolton in a theoretic matchup 64% to 13%, although Mr. Bolton leads Mr. Ravenstahl in a theoretical "left on the moon" scenario 54% to 46%.

The move, if approved by regulators, the Federal Elections Committee, S.E.T.I. and shareholders, would create an interstellar money mustache powerhouse. The Bank of New York has more than $16.6 trillions in assets under its purview, Pittsburgh contains over 250,000 residents, and the moon contains 12 billions tons of what is being described as "Green Cheese."

With the return of control of both the House and the Senate to the Democrats, it seemed unlikely that Mr. Bolton, a recess appointment, would be confirmed by a hostile Congress. In recent days, it became apparent that the only solution was to blast the current Ambassador to the United Nations to the Moon, after concluding a leveraged buyout, and running for mayor of a mid sized US City.

Mr. Bolton's Chief of Staff and mission manager stated that he would run on a simple platform of: "Redding up the City of Pittsburgh, lowering taxes, providing free mustache rides, and burning up upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere."

Mustache rides were down on Wall Street to $10/share on the news; shares of Wilfred Brimley were up by $.25 to $12.35.

Bank of New York CEO Thomas A. Renyi will serve as chairman of the board of Directors in the new Bank of New Bolton, as well as chairman of the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority, and will get to do the countdown.

The liftoff is schedule for January 2008.

Tag(s): , , , ,

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Costas, Costas, Everywhere! [I think I'll have a drink]

Now typically I don't read the Trib except for the really important stuff, so you'll forgive me if I missed this. I was beat to the punch over here and here and all around. Anyway...

A bullet in the brain might have cost Dominic J. Costa his job as Pittsburgh police chief, but that hasn't stopped him from considering a run for mayor...

Costa, 55, said he has a pool of potential backers with money, but declined to name them. He referred to Ravenstahl as a "temporary mayor" and said he believes voters have serious questions about Ravenstahl's lack of experience...
Now, the Trib goes into a nice digression on why Dominic Costa is a contender for Mayor:
Dominic Costa's sister, Debra Costa, is a Penn Hills councilwoman. He has two cousins in the state Legislature -- Sen. Jay Costa, of Forest Hills, and Rep. Paul Costa, of Wilkins. Their brother, Guy Costa, is Pittsburgh's Public Works director. Another cousin, Ron Costa, is a district judge in Bloomfield...
Here's my theory: there's got to be a cloning facility out in Penn Hills where they're mass producing Costas* by the truckload. There's probably a whole horde of super secret Costas that have mutant abilities like the ability to grow facial hair really, really fast. Or perhaps they're preparing to form a Grand Army of the Republic for Supreme Chancellor Dennis Regan to beat back a threat from Darlene Harris. Or, most probably, this is taking ballot box stuffing to a whole new level: rather than creating scads of fake votES, the COSTAs are creating a horde of fake voteRS!


Anyway, by the looks of it, Dom must have been the runt of the clone litter:

That being said, first person to Photoshop the above picture with Dom wearing a "Vote For Pedro's Dad" T-Shirt will get a shiny nickel from me.
*COSTA must be some sort of acronym: Cloned Operational Sociological and Technological Anthromorphs. Or perhaps Cynically Organized Sycophants Toadies and Ass -Kissers

Oh, and this is post 500 for me; I really wish it was better.

Tag(s): ,, ,