Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
For those of you that desire a more in depth analysis of last night's SOTU speech (rather than just some drunken fool randomly yelling out "FREEDOM" or "TERROR" or "ZIMBABAWHEY!" or "SHOW US YOUR WANG!" while carelessly spilling a glass of 2005 Pino Noir all over the carpet and the cats who are already scared of the frightening, no lipped monkey man on the television), you might want to check out these dirty, filthy, long-haired, beatnik, liberal communists who haven't even given me my totebag yet.
Posted by O at 2:19 PM
Monday, January 28, 2008
Stupid Blogger crashed. Dammit all. Here are my live comments, tape delayed.
Is it sexist to say that Nancy's hair looks nice and purple looks good on her?
Hmmm, they aren't showing Nancy or Dick.
Earmarks are awful, evil even... but only when the other party does it.
NCLB results can't be denied alright... suck is suck.
Peru? Colombia? W's dealer caught a bit short?
False populism! Ha!
Nancy got a Post-It note?
Bush says that 116 million American taxpayers would see their taxes rise by $1,800. Is that Middle income Americans? I don't think so.
Trusting scientists? Didn't he veto stem cell funding twice? Who is this guy?
Oh, there's the divisive Bush we know and loathe: the monkey hybrid fearing Luddite.
Health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans? Isn't this the guy that vetoed health care for kids twice?
Judges who follow the letter of the law! From this guy? Which letter? Which law?
Oh, we're back on the Faith based, crap. Terrific. Funny to see how he's co-opting New Orleans and all.
Border security! Ariba! Ariba!
Afghanistan? We still there? Who knew?
And this section brought to you by The Surge, the most awesomest policy ever since Jesus.
The troops are wonderful and puppies are cute. If you think otherwise you're a goddamned Commie.
Ah! Osama bin Laden. Glad to see he's pulling out the old stuff. Classic Bush was so much better before he sold out to Ticketmaster.
Bringing home the troops? In a thousand years, right Johnny Mac?
Iraq parliamentary bills? How about the "Let's not blow up other people" Act of 2008?
A free Iraq will charge us $150/barrel for oil. And $11 billion a month.
BOO! Al Qaeda is going to attack Washington!
This generation left behind a steaming pile of crap.
Israel! And Joe Lieberman blows a nut.
You say Iran, I say Eerahn. No one actually says "nukular". Some people listen to the NIE. Everyone loves oil.
Flot to ply?
TERRORISTS! TERRORISTS! BOO! YOU WILL BE SCARED DAMMIT! NOW GIVE US YOUR PHONE RECORDS!
Way to step out on a limb on that whole genocide in Sudan thing. But where is Zimbawhey?
We increased veteran funding? Really? Really?
W is single handedly responsible for more distraught military families since... well... I think LBJ.
I get this feeling that W is laughirking (laughing + smirking) the same way a child at a school play laugh/smirks when he steps on stage.
OH! The state of the Union is strong. Could've fooled me.
A local arts organization is expected to announce at an early morning press conference tomorrow that it has attracted a world renowned Broadway musical to Pittsburgh's Hill District.
The Pittsburgh Opera has been in negotiations with an unnamed third party for the last three seasons. Late breaking news indicates that the musical is, in fact, Lerner and Loewes' 1960 classic Camelot.
The Pittsburgh Opera General Director Mark J. Weinstein said that the organization had been working for "quite some time" and independently of the City, County, Penguins, the One Hill Coalition, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and the August Wilson Center to bring quality musical theater to the Hill District. One of the minor demands of the proposed Community Benefits Agreement has been ongoing theatrical entertainment, in order to complement the planned Penguins hockey arena.
Hill District leaders expressed reservations about Camelot. One Hill Coalition Chair Carl Redwood said "it's a good start, but it is probably not what the community wants... especially since both Richard Burton and Robert Goulet are dead."
Dan Martin, Director at Carnegie Mellon's Center for Arts Management and Technology, says that the community's expressed desire for quality musical theater may not be met by Camelot.
"I mean, you have a community looking for and demanding Les Miserable or a Phantom of the Opera, but based on market forces, chances are they'll be lucky if they can get Taboo [a Boy George inspired musical] or the Pittsburgh Center for the Deaf's performance of The Sound of Music."
The Hill District has been under-served by the musical theater community since the departure of Shop 'n Save's long running productions of the complete Rogers 'n Hammerstein catalog. Attempts were made to replace these shows with Rogers 'n Hart, Guilbert 'n Sullivan, and even George 'n Ira Gershwin. Despite such efforts, musicals in the Hill died approximately 10 years ago.
In any ironic twist of fate, the Mellon Arena, the destruction of which has been the source of contention for the Hill, was originally supposed to be used to house the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
A recent study by the Pitt School of Drama shows that the community is currently being served only by back alley recitations of August Wilson's plays and the Kuntu Repertory Theater.
Mr. Redwood, however, remained adamant in the community's desire for quality musical theater. "The Hill deserves The Producers or, at least, Monty Python's Spam-a-lot."
Representatives of the community, City, County and the Penguins have been invited to tomorrow's press conference.
Posted by O at 12:21 PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Optometrists report a sudden increase in blinding by the Obvious.
In other news: water is wet, the sky is blue, fish do not live in trees, yesterday is two days before tomorrow, and Generalissimo Fransisco Franco is still dead.
Posted by O at 9:20 PM
Monday, January 21, 2008
Last week, if you were paying attention, you would have heard that the City is embarking on a new unified development plan:
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said that, in the past, the city usually dished out development dollars based largely on prior years' funding levels. "Maybe they're not being allocated the way they should be," he said. "We need to make decisions based on real, hard numbers."We here at the Angry Drunk Bureaucrat, at great personal peril, have managed to sneak out a copy of the Mayor's first draft of this plan.*
Click picture to embiggen.
Many Bothans died to bring us this information.
*We apologize that the image is sideways, but our intern "Z" couldn't figure out how the friggin' scanner works.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
It's that time of the week again when we kick off our shoes, crack open a bottle of scotch, and vomit till we pass out on our desks before noon.
In that spirit, my I present your Business Casual Friday selection: the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain playing the Theme from Shaft.
They say this clip is a bad motha- Shut your mouth!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Detroit (Reuters) - The race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination was turned on its head Tuesday night when darkhorse candidate Uncommitted placed a surprising second in the Michigan Primary.
Speaking in front of supporters in his downtown Detroit campaign headquarters, Uncommitted said he was proud of the results of the vote.
"I came to Michigan with the belief that the voters here were Uncommitted voters, and Uncommitted Voters you are. I promise you that we may or may not continue this campaign right on to the general election... or not, I'm not quite sure."
Uncommitted came in behind Hillary Clinton by 3 percentage points, but bested nearest competitor Montana Representative Frank Akickintheass by over 10 points.
Other more well known candidates including Barak Obama and John Edwards, chose not to participate in the primary because of a conflict between the Democratic National Committee and the state government. The DNC has said that it will not seat the state delegates of the winner of the Michigan primary.
Uncommitted remained undeterred:
"We will take this fight to South Carolina, and maybe New Mexico, and possibly Nevada, and perhaps, if we get around to it, New York, and then, if we don't have better things to do, because, you know, we have our cousin Cindy's wedding coming up and our Mother would kill us if we missed it like we did my uncle Larry's, but you know it was his third marriage and, we're all, like, 'Mom, his wife's barely old enough to drink and you know that she just wants him for the Corvette in the garage,' the White House!"
Uncommitted's next biggest primary challenge is in Florida, which may or may not have voted substantially for him in the 2000 General Election.
If you haven't done so already, go check out the City Controller's release of the Financial Disclosure forms for some of our most upstanding city officials and Bill Peduto.
Twenty-Four hours ago, I would have never known...
- That it's hard to follow written directions when you're a politician;
- The home addresses of every City Council Person;
- The Mayor has an account balance at both Best Buy and Orrs Jewelers;
- Several elected officials aren't very good at paying down their credit cards;
- Michael Lamb, Tonya Payne, and Ricky Burgess are all still paying off student loans (and at a ridiculous interest rate, I might add, Rev. Burgess);
- Lukey has over $470 THOUSAND DOLLARS left over from his campaign, and 14 ounces of blow;
- Jim Motznik won't tell you how much money he has;
- Darlene Harris has obviously be ostracized from every board in the Region, including the School Board;
- Dan Deasey is a trustee for the Carnegie Museums, Library, and Hall;
- Doug Shields is the President of the Hairclub for Men;
- Patrick Dowd is receiving royalties from some amateur porn he directed back in graduate school;
- Bruce Kraus' campaign war chest consists of $500 and an opened bottled of Pabst Blue Ribbon; and
- Michael Lamb is actually a genuine, bona fide attorney-at-law.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Fresh off a seven year tour of the United States, George W. Bush kicked off a new Middle East comedy tour. The six country event dubbed "The Original President of Comedy" tour, launched from Tel Aviv, Israel to a sold out, kvetching room only, house.
These extremists have hijacked [a] noble religion, and seek to impose their totalitarian ideology on millions. They hate freedom and they hate democracy -- because it fosters religious tolerance and allows people to chart their own future... adding "You know how rough Bingo games can be, heh heheh heh heh."
The best routine of the night came towards the end:
Iran is today the world's leading state sponsor of terror. It sends hundreds of millions of dollars to extremists around the world -- while its own people face repression and economic hardship at home. It undermines Lebanese hopes for peace by arming and aiding the terrorist group Hezbollah. It subverts the hopes for peace in other parts of the region by funding terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad. It sends arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shia militants in Iraq. It seeks to intimidate its neighbors with ballistic missiles and bellicose rhetoric. And finally, it defies the United Nations and destabilizes the region by refusing to be open and transparent about its nuclear programs and ambitions.The normally reserved Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was seen falling out of his chair in laughter.
The jokes come at a time when newer, fresher comedians are coming on the scene. With the 2008 Elections coming up, but with the WGA strike continuing, many new faces have had difficulty with breaking into the Political Comedy scene.
Opening for Bush was Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, who performed his famous "launch CS gas into the audience" routine, which left those in attendance in tears.
Critics were disappointed, however, that much of Mr. Bush's material was rehashed from previous tours.
"I mean, he's doing his whole 'Iran is an imminent threat' thing again," said Stewart Cleveland, comedy reviewer for Entertainewsweekly. Five years ago when he told it it was 'Iraq' instead of 'Iran', and the joke is kinda getting old. You almost expect him to lead with 'what's the deal with airline food?' I suppose that at this point, it's more of a greatest hits tour than anything."
Tickets for the rest of the tour, which will include Riyadh, Cairo, Baghdad, and the Funnybone Comedy Club in downtown Kabul are available for $100/barrel. Please be advised that there is a no drink maximum.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thirty-eight hours into a marathon negotiating session, representatives of the City, County, Penguins, and the One Hill Coalition announced that they have reached an agreement relating to the proposed community development agreement which will outline the development of the area around the new arena.
One Hill Chairman Carl Redwood, in a prepared statement, said "we are happy to report a major break through that, we hope, will result in a deal that will be better for the entire Hill District. Truly, this is a momentous day for our community."
Details of the agreement have not been publicly released, but a source close to the negotiation, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, says that the groups have agreed on "two large pizzas, one with pepperoni, one cheese, one medium pizza with peppers and olives, an order of crazy bread, and four liters of pop, to be determined." This agreement marks the first common ground reached between the disparate parties.
The substance of the negotiation has been confirmed by several other sources: Ravenstahl's initial offer to the group was Chinese, which was backed by Onorato. This was soundly rejected by One Hill who complained that they "just get hungry an hour later."
One Hill countered with Indian, but negotiators representing the Lemieux Group said this was impossible due to their acid reflux. The Mayor's Office said that the group could order "a three or four", but the Lemieux Group remained adamant that without their medication, Indian was impossible.
Ravenstahl suggested fried chicken, which was immediately met with cries of racism by residents of the Hill, who suggested that maybe the mayor would like bologna on Wonder Bread instead. Both suggestions were immediately withdrawn with appropriate apologies exchanged.
After 27 hours of negotiations, Dan Onorato suggested pizza, an idea that was met with general approval from the room. The remaining eleven hours were devoted to toppings, with Ravenstahl's suggestion of "ham and pineapple" rejected during the first round. The group quickly reached consensus that anchovies were unacceptable, although Lemieux pressed for cheese curds and gravy for several hours.
The decision will be ratified by the full One Hill Coalition ahead of Monday's planning commission meeting, although some other members say they will protest the vote saying that the agreement does not represent the true needs of Hill: tapas.
The food will be brought to a planning meeting for the outlining of a timeline to plan for meetings at which the agenda for the Community Benefits Agreement will be discussed.
There are few things in Western Pennsylvania public policy that I get as angry about as the Mon-Fayette Expressway: a heaping, hulking stretch of highway that is supposed to stretch from Downtown Pittsburgh to the the grand metropolis of Morgantown WV, thereby spawning economic development, freeing up transportation opportunities for the Mon Valley, and otherwise launching a wave of unsubstantiatable goals and accomplishments.
Oh, and it'll probably cost a zillion dollars, rip through a whole slew of communities, contribute to the destruction of undeveloped greenfields to the south, aid in urban flight, and bring on the thousand year reign of the Antichrist.
Well, maybe not the last one, but you get my drift.
Of course, Gubernatorial Candidate (né Allegheny County Executive) Danny Onorato is now throwing his weight behind this Public Policy equivalent of a fruitcake: something no one really wants, but everyone, for some inexplicable reason, decides that they have to give away.
On Friday, Chief Executive Dan Onorato convened a meeting of 60 state, local and county political and business leaders to develop a plan to finance the $3.6 billion section of the project that would run through Allegheny County...Maybe back in the 1970s, right as the United States steel industry was on the verge of collapse and as a preemptive measure for the reuse of old brownfield sites, this policy may have made some sense. Now, it's like closing the barn door after the horse has left, run down the street, gotten on a plane, flown to Hollywood, and married Matthew Broderick. Today, with oil prices rising, the home construction industry collapsing, and the economy on the brink of full on recession, the MFX makes as much sense as the entire female population of Nome, Alaska screaming Thursday's lottery numbers at composer Philip Glass.
"The expressway and Squirrel Hill bypass are critically important regional transportation and economic development projects," Onorato said.
"The Mon-Fayette will provide linkages and open up old industrial sites to jobs and commerce in the south, and its Squirrel Hill bypass will provide important traffic congestion relief to Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs."
And just how bad is this idea, you ask? Well, Luke Ravenstahl seems to be supporting it, if that gives you any indication.
Of course, should he want to make a go at running for Governor, Danny O is going to need some generous contributions from people with disposable cash on hand... let's say, perhaps, people in the construction and building trades. So, you can see how important this policy is to the regional economy and has absolutely, in no way, has anything even remotely to do with anything relating to campaign contributions.
The sad part about this whole thing, however, is that the longer this bad idea stays alive in people's minds, the less people are going to invest in these communities, in anticipation that the Turnpike commission is just going to buy them out anyway. No one wants to buy a house (or even fix up a house) that may just be taken by eminent domain in the near future. Steel Valley municipalities and neighborhoods will keep going down the toilet and the tax payers will, once again, be subsidizing new construction in previously undeveloped areas...
That is, until those areas need a bypass too, and we start all over again.
So, you know, well done Danny, Luke, and everyone. Well done.
I heard somewhere once that the average blog lasts for 33.8 months, or roughly 2 1/2 years. American Humans, by comparison, live an average of 79.1 years (female) to 72.2 years (male).
If this blog were a person, it would be between 94.92 and 86.64 years old today.
Now get off my damned lawn.*
This post brought to you by a generous donation from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and by Viewers Like You.
*Especially you, Ravenstahl.**
** You too Zober!
Friday, January 11, 2008
A community development friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Walking Pittsburgh, a nice little site that I'd heard about but hadn't taken the time to explore. I thought I'd pass it along to you folks, so check it out.
I must say, however, that I wait in rapt anticipation of the tours of California-Kirkbride and New Homestead... albeit for differing reasons.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
New Hampshire primary changing subject laughed circumspectly, pie frankly lost balance on the north side of the hill. Oh! How I left all, naked, while the others on every brussel sprout clamcake money:
Hoping to revive her chances in the final hours of campaigning in New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton invoked the memory of former Vice President Walter Mondale's battle back against the insurgency of former Sen. Gary Hart in 1984.All knowing walrus feet, apparently, on the lookout for G.I. Joe paraphernalia on the sixth day. The classic interface is still present, however. That is great. Tool public evaluation as a moose. No punishments. Now, the log jam is broken.
Gorbachev sings tractors! Turnip! Buttocks!
Members of the One Hill Coalition today met with members of the media, as part of a tour of the Hill District, outlining the desired development outcomes from the community benefits agreement. The media tour was supposed to publicly press the case for a binding agreement between the Penguins, the City, County, and the residents of the Hill District.
This news was overshadowed by news that mayor Luke Ravenstahl personally battled both Godzilla and a UFO, saving, not only the Hill District, but also the entire City of Pittsburgh.
Mayoral spokesperson Joanna Doven produced a photo showing the City under attack adding that "shortly afterwards, the Mayor transformed into "Jet Luke" and defeated the monsters with "Robot Mayor Attack."
Ms. Doven commented that since 1990, the City has been saved no fewer than 240 times by certain destruction from giant monsters by the Mayor's Office.
Critics of Mr. Ravenstahl pointed out, however, that most of those attacks predate the current administration and that the mayor has little to no experience in actually defeating monsters.
One Hill CBA Coalition chair Carl Redwood added, "Besides, the photo's totally a fake. I mean, seriously. It looks like some amateur just got Photoshop and started sticking shit into a picture."
Ms. Doven brushed off such criticisms. "Mr. Ravenstahl is already prepared to fight both Mothra and Mechagodzilla sometime next week. Mayora Luku: de Panchi Panchi Panchi!"
Monday, January 07, 2008
Metropolis (AP) - Despite a late push by the Ravenstahl administration, the Legion of Doom elected Councilman Doug Shields to the presidency of that auspicious body.
The vote came early today after the swearing in of several new members: Patrick Dowd, Ricky Burgess, The Riddler, Captain Cold, and Bruce Krauss. The vote came in at 19-1, with only Bizarro voting against Mr. Shields. Both Councilwoman Tonya Payne and The Toyman were absent.
Shield's election came as somewhat of a surprise to Grant Street as it was largely assumed that Jim Motznik had the backing of both Luke Ravenstahl and Lex Luthor. The schemes of the Supervillian were thwarted, however, when Gorilla Grodd switched his alliance late in the day Sunday; Luthor was likewise foiled by his inability to find support for the continuation of the Act 47 oversight and his Kill Superman agenda.
In a released statement to the press, Mr. Shields thanked his colleagues for their support and vowed that all will tremble before the Legion once their giant laser on the moon is complete.
Solomon Grundy, a frequent ally of Mr. Shields was ebullient about the vote.
"Me Solomon Grundy, is impressed with Doug's leadership on the Finance Committee and hopes that he will crush Green Lantern." Sinestro and Darlene Harris agreed with Mr. Grundy's Green Lantern policy, and will introduce legislation to that effect later this year.
Still, the lone hold out on Council, Bizarro, remained adamant in his opposition to Mr. Shields.
"Doug is worst candidate for Council. Me hate him so much. Doug need to learn how to speak up more often."
In a later statement, Mr. Shields reminded the press, "The Council President assumes the office of Mayor, should the Mayor die or leave office," adding "BWHAHAHAHAHA! HA!"
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
(AP) Des Moines, IA - As the Iowan caucuses come to an end, voters across this farming state have reached an unanimous agreement to fuck with America for another four years.
Speaking to caucus delegates in the State Capital, Chet Culver (D) told fellow Iowans to keep with their quadrennial tradition of dicking over the Country:
"They come here, they trample all over our corn, they throw up ridiculous ads on the television and now, I say, it's time to have our revenge. Go to your caucuses! Rally your friends! Tell them 'let's fuck with America!'"
The Iowan caucuses have a long history of jerking the American political establishment around by the short and curlies. In 1976, an obscure Southern Governor captured the hearts of these simple prairie farmers and later went on to become the 39th President of the United States. Four years ago, the front runner Howard Dean was bested in the caucuses by a man who eventually lost to the most unpopular president in history. This year, Iowa has continued this tradition, and voters have agreed to cast their ballots for the candidates that make the absolute least sense.
Candidates appeared calm today during last minute politicking, although several had retooled their messages to match the wave of dickishness.
Barack Obama, the apparent front running, confidently asserted that he was actually in last place and that anything short of absolute failure was a clear sign that the Iowans had chosen him as their candidate.
Mike Huckabee, in a speech in front of the River City 4H club derided rival Mitt Romney's health care plan which, according to Huckabee's campaign, would put thousands of doctors out of work and kill millions of orphans. Huckabee's own plan, he said, would kill half as many orphans.
Hillary Clinton officially changed her name to "Corney McCorn" in an attempt to woo the average Iowan.
Both Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich showed no apparent change in their strategies.
Still, most Iowan voters were unimpressed by the frantic race to the bottom.
"I'm still not sure who I'm going to pull for," said Kent Clarkson, a corn farmer and local ward chair. "I think that I'll pulling towards Dodd, but I've been hearing some good things about a Bowl of Waxed Fruit, which, I think, could put up a hell of a fight."
The Iowan Caucuses are five days ahead of the New Hampshire primary. Voters in that state have already pledged to vote for "whoever pisses off those damned hippies in Vermont."
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I've been mentoring some young bureaucrats over the last few months. They're all basically kids, fresh out of school, wide eyed, looking to make "a difference" in the world. And, while I look forward to the world crushing them into cynical oblivion, at this point they're still pliant enough to work for 60 hours a week on projects that will be crumpled up and filed in the little round container next to the Assistant Deputy Director's desk.
Ah! To be young again!*
The mentoring thing, however, makes me think back to when I was a young, naive bureaucrat, just learning when to leap over the stick or creep under the stick. When you're new it's amazing to watch your seniors and how adept they are at leaping and creeping, and you wonder how long it'll take you to develop those skills.
You never notice it, but eventually you find yourself saying loudly in meetings "Well, that's a #2757B... you need form 7F which needs to be signed by Jim, Margaret, and Ray and submitted to Council by next Thursday...", and watching the novices around the table sit there, scribbling like mad, jaws agape.
Rule #30: If you hang around long enough, eventually you will become an expert in something.
If you hang around even longer, you might even get a pension... but you'll also develop rickets, so there's a trade off... and at the rate we're going I wouldn't actually hold my breath about the pension.
* Before you ask, no, I'm not mentoring these kids in cynicism. My master class in Bureaucratic Cynicism is only available at an advanced level.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Happy frickin' New Year and dammit all.
Allegheny County bars and restaurants will... be ringing up an extra 10 percent per drink they serve...I'll never get used to it.
County Treasurer John Weinstein says he may let the businesses pay the tax based on estimated sales for the first month until they get used to collecting it.
On an unrelated note, my lunch plans have now been permanently changed.
In a totally unrelated note, this blog is being changed to The Angry Drunk Bootlegger.
In a further, totally unrelated note, does anyone know if bathtub gin is supposed to make you blind?