Monday, March 31, 2008

Free Parking

Lordy! Lordy! Lordy! Guv'ment workers are getting reduced parking! Hide the women and children!

More than 500 City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County employees get a perk other Downtown commuters can only dream about.

Almost 200 City of Pittsburgh workers pay $70 a month -- and about 340 Allegheny County employees pay $60 a month -- to park in some surface lots and garages Downtown, government records show. That translates to about $3.50 a day for city workers and $3 for county employees.
Be still my beating heart!
"I have to pay more than ($60) just to park my car at home," said Ashley Walters, 26, of Shadyside. "It's kind of insulting."
How about you take a bus, you young, hip urbanite?
City officials defended the preferential parking passes.

Finance Director Scott Kunka said lower parking costs offset employees' "low" salaries.
Of course, the Trib then goes on to blur the difference between "average" and "median" salaries:
The average city worker makes $44,000 a year, according to city records. The estimated median household income in Pittsburgh was about $31,800 in 2006, according to U.S. Census figures.
Of course, there is a voice of reason in the article:
Susan Hansen, a politics professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said reduced or even free parking isn't out of the ordinary for government workers.

"The salaries aren't that good, contrary to popular belief, and the people can make piles of more money in the private sector," Hansen said. "If you want to get good employees, you need to offer them something."
But that doesn't stop members of the all wise general public from casting aspersions:
"They're public servants. They shouldn't get that kind of perk," said Sean Reid, 64, of the South Side, who pays $225 a month, or about $11.25 a day, to park near his job Downtown. "My taxes shouldn't be going toward subsidizing their parking."...

"I pay nearly $300 a month to park a few blocks from where I work (Downtown)," said King, who declined to identify where he works. "Maybe they should pay less. But they should probably be paying about the same as everyone else."
But you know what, if they really want cheap parking, I'm sure there are dozens upon dozens of people in City & County Government that will be willing to trade places with Messrs. Reid and King.

Some of them even have blogs where you can here them rant about how wonderful local government is.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

And You Thought the Pittsburgh Housing Authority Was Bad

Here's a little diddy about Alphonso Jackson:

Alphonso Jackson, the Bush administration's secretary of Housing and Urban Development who has drawn criticism from members of Congress for alleged cronyism and favoritism, is expected to announce his resignation Monday, according to a media report...

Jackson's problems stem from his refusal to answer questions about his role in a Philadelphia redevelopment deal, according to the report, which added that Philadelphia's housing authority has filed a lawsuit alleging Jackson tried to punish the agency for nixing a deal involving a friend. The friend, identified by the Journal as Kenny Gamble, is a music producer turned developer.

Separately, a report by HUD's inspector general found what it called "some problematic instances'' involving HUD contracts and grants, including Jackson's opposition to money for a contractor whose executives donated exclusively to Democratic candidates, the Journal said...
Those of you not familiar with the details of the story may be shocked and horrified to learn that a Bush appointee may have tried to yank federal funding from Philie's Housing Authority after the head of the Authority refused to turn over a $2 million vacant city lot to Kenny Gamble, a friend of Jackson's.

Jackson has been giving the Senate the runaround, by the way, pissing off a whole bunch of Senators.

All of this should surprise no one who's been paying attention to the current administration for the last 7 years.

Friday, March 28, 2008

70 Year Old Tortoise at Pittsburgh Zoo Dies

Allegheny County Democratic Committee Seeks New Mascot

Business Casual Friday

A little late today, but, as you know, I have a life outside you folks. Enjoy!


Senator Bob Casey Endorses Obama

Stuns Pennsylvania by Offering "Opinion"

(AP) Pittsburgh - In a surprise announcement today, Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) announced his support of Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, which also came as his first official position on anything since being elected to the Senate in 2006.

Casey, who appeared with Obama at a rally in the university district in Pittsburgh, was surprisingly forceful in his endorsement, calling his Senatorial colleague: "a Democratic Candidate for President."

"There are those that say that we should change, while others say that we should remain steadfast. There are those that want to move forward and those that want to step back. There are those that are content with what we have done and there are those that believe that there is much more that we could do. To all those people, I say, the answer is Yes.'"

He added, "For that reason, I acknowledge that Barack Obama is running for President."

The Senator from Pennsylvania was conspicuous in his decision to wear a dark gray suit with blue tie, a drastic departure from his signature beige suit, with beige ties, and matching beige shirt.

Professor Wenfeng Finkle of the University of Pittsburgh Political Science Department called Casey's announcement "a big moment" in the Senator's own personal history.

"People close to Casey were surprised by this announcement considering his previously announced intentions to remain neutral throughout the campaign and term of office. The Senator has been routinely ranked near the bottom of Congressional Power rankings due to his limited tenure and his "don't make waves" policy. It was expected that he would endorse Senator Hillary Clinton, who continues to hold a lead in the polls in this generally conservative Democratic State. The fact that he's making a decision, any decision, is remarkable, but considering the divisiveness of the electorate, this particularly decision is extraordinary."

Insiders believe that this bold move by Casey may be related to the 1992 incident when the Senator's father Gov. Bob Casey, Sr. was denied a speaking role at the Democratic Convention . After the convention, the senior Casey went on vacation rather than campaign for candidate Bill Clinton in Pennsylvania, which was a key swing state.

The former Governor was unavailable for comment.

Senator Casey is currently the Junior Senator from Pennsylvania. He is in his second year of office, following his defeat of Senator Rick Santorum, who had propounded a controversial position regarding "man-on-dog" sex.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bush Arrives in Pittsburgh for Republican Fundraiser

Expected to raise $1 Million for the State Republican Committee.

That's 633,213 632,255 Euros
Or 498,651 498,164 Pounds Sterling
Or 4,023,768 3,948,234 beads and other trinkets

Monday, March 24, 2008

I suppose it beats the DHS Yukon?

Well, there's this late breaking news from the combined Politics/Autonomous Robotic Automobile Department at the Trib:

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl plans to take a ride in Carnegie Mellon University's self-driving SUV on Tuesday, the mayor's office said today.

Boss, a robotic 2007 Chevy Tahoe, won the $2 million Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Urban Challenge robot race in California last year.

Ravenstahl will ride in the vehicle while visiting Robot City, located on the former LTV Steel Co. site in Hazelwood.

Boss was developed to meet the federal challenge for driverless vehicles that could deliver goods in dangerous situations.
I was assuming that this is just a safe way for the Mayor to make it home after the more, shall we say, rambunctious Steeler games and other community meetings.

BUT PERHAPS I AM WRONG! From Unpopular Mechanics'* more popular sister publication Popular Mechanics:
But here in Robot City, Boss is a well-trained circus animal, and when the call comes over the walkie-talkies that the 30-mph run is about to begin, I'm loaded into the back seat for what I assume will be a leisurely ride. Boss has other plans.

As heat cascades from the hardware stacked behind me, the truck lurches forward. Invisible hands wrench the wheel back and forth with surprising violence. Boss brakes hard ahead of every turn, then guns the engine halfway through, oblivious to the humans bouncing like crash-test dummies in the cabin. When Boss slams the brakes at the intersection, my face collides with the headrest in front of me, and I finally get it. Boss isn't trying to drive like a human. It is utterly singleminded. It moves without grace or half-measures, with a cold, binary confidence. And no matter how much it beats me up, I feel safer than when most people are behind the wheel. Not that Boss cares, of course. It wasn't built to chauffeur humans. Boss was born to outrun other robots, and until someone flips it back to manual mode, I'm just along for the ride.
So, perhaps the Mayor might want to (a) reconsider this ride before someone makes the obvious metaphoric connection between the the robot and his administration or (b) wear a helmet.

* Most Popular feature: Do-it-yourself automated feces producer.**
** No, it's completely unlike a "blog," smartass.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Business Casual Friday

Here we are, once again working for the weekend. To get you over the last few hours of miserable, miserable work week, we present the following:

LOL Together

If you get all the references, you're a sad, sad person... pew, pew, pew!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Organizational Design

Both Bob Mayo and The Burgh Report had posts today which uncovered the purported organizational design of the Mayor's Office.

Both are wrong.

Our super secret spies* in the Mayor's Office managed to purloin a copy of the *real* org chart.

Free Image Hosting at

No word on where Ron Burkle, the Penguins, or Whirl Magazine fit in.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ADB Invests in Gold, Canned Foods, and Tin Cups

I'm not an economist; believe me, if I was, I would have called this site "The Angry Drunk Economist" or "F.A. Hayek, FU" or "The Invisible Hand Job."

Anyway, this whole recent economic... erm... shitstorm, has me nauseous, scared, and frankly trying to figure out how to capture and eat squirrels from my neighbor's yard.

The Dow surged today on news of a cut in the Fed Rate, of course, the same thing happens when heroin addicts get another fix, so this should be unsurprising. It does, however, raise two questions:

(1) How does this affect the ARM freeze enacted a few months back? Are early adopters screwed?

(2) Now that the Fed Rate is down to 2.25%, should the economy continue to tank, what other tricks do they have left in their sleeves?

And the bonus third question:

(3) Do you really think that this is over yet?

Again, I'm not an economist, but I think I'm going to start trying to figure out how much I can get if I melt down my gold fillings and my Sharper Image Stock.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Onorato, Ravenstahl Endorse George Clinton

In what is being billed as "a cunning political stunt," the Mayor of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Chief Executive have thrown their weight behind funk rocker George Clinton in the 2008 Pennsylvania Primary.

Speaking at a hastily assembled press conference, Mayor Ravenstahl said that Mr. Clinton was "the energy that this party needed to turn this mother out."

"This is a chance to dance our way out of our constrictions... Ready or not here we come, getting down on the one which we believe in. One nation under a groove, getting down just for the funk of it," adding, "Can I get in on my good foot? Good God!"

Mr. Onorato concurred, calling Mr. Clinton's proposed health care and foreign policy proposals "Supergroovalisticprosifunkstic".

Clinton, who is regularly cited as one of the most important funk musicians in that genre, did not return phone calls.

Clinton associate Bootsy Collins, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Funk at Princeton University, called the endorsement an opportunity to bridge the rhetorical divide between races, classes, and parties and an unparalleled chance to "blow the roof off this mothersucker."

Thousands of Clinton supporters today rallied in Market Square, chanting "We want the funk! Give up the funk!"

Candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (no relation) released brief statements to the media. Ms. Clinton expressed disappointment, and, referencing her strong polling numbers, called on Ravenstahl and Onorator to "Give the people what they want, when they wants, and they wants it all the time." Clinton surrogate Geraldine Ferraro, on MSNBC today, repeated the claim that Parliament-Funkadelic was not even a legitimate political party.

Mr. Obama's statment merely stated that it was his campaign that could give the people "what they were funking for."

The Pennsylvania Presidential Primary is scheduled for April 22nd.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Small Victory for Arena Foes?

I suppose very few people noticed this article buried in the back of the Trib:

The Pittsburgh Stadium Authority on Friday gave a North Side developer 45 days to meet with labor unions and social services groups before it would be willing to approve construction of a $27.5 million, 178-room Hyatt hotel...

Barry Ford, Continental's president of development, agreed to "have a dialogue" with the union-backed group North Side UNITED, which is seeking a community benefits agreement with the private developer that includes support for youth education programs, environmentally friendly design and jobs...
If you've been paying attention, this group is part of the umbrella group Pittsburgh UNITED, which has been at the fore front of the opposition to the new arena and casino, demanding similar concessions from both the Penguins and Don Barden.

So, is this just a small victory for the Pittsburgh UNITED group or is it a portent of things to come?

An Open Letter to Out of State Primary Pundits

Dear Out of State Primary Pundits:

I realize that this is a rare opportunity for you to spend time in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Usually by this time in the Presidential campaign, a nominee is all but selected, and you can spend the next 5 or so months pontificating about which candidate is more "manly" or which is speaking "with his heart" and other such bullshit.

This year, obviously, you are forced to continue onwards from New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, to backwater Podunks like California, Texas, and (the Horror!), Pennsylvania. It must make you sick to have to spend time in places like Hanover, Erie, or (ugh!) Wilkes-Barre.

Now, as we have another long 6 weeks together, I would like to set a few things straight about our 328 year old Commonwealth.

First, please stop saying that Pennsylvania is "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in the middle." Yes, it was cute when Gollum James Carville said it, but now it's just old and trite. Try mixing it up a bit. Personally, I've reformulated the description as "One foot on the East Coast, one in the Midwest, and two buttcheeks planted firmly in the South."

That's far more descriptive.

Second, please do not think that you're some sort of "expert" on our Commonwealth just because you've taken an Amtrack Train from New York to DC and just *happened* to cross into Phillie. That doesn't make you an expert on Pennsylvania any more than watching ER or House makes you a surgeon.

Third, do not think that we're going to make this easy on you. Pennsylvania has the old folks of Florida, the crankiness of Iowa, and the bat-shit insanity of Ohio... anybody who's ever been to a Steelers or Eagles game can attest to this. We can, and we will, make this election as difficult for you to predict as possible.

Fourth, for the love of God, please don't think for a moment that Philadelphians and Pittsburghers are anything alike. That mistake will just result in you getting pelted with batteries or yelled at by little old ladies in babushkas. (Each is unpleasant in its own way.)

Fifth, and finally, we gave this country things like religious freedom, steel, oil, coal, Bill Cosby, Gettysburg and, oh yeah, INDEPENDENCE and a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Don't come around here strutting around like you're "real Americans". We've been here longer than most of you, so don't try to pull any fucking shit and tell us how we're "supposed" to act. We're the fucking Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and we'll do as we fucking please.

And you're welcome for the Independence and everything, you ungrateful bitches. Now get off our lawns.


The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat

P.S. Pittsburgh has an "H" at the end. God help you if I see anyone refer to it as "Pittsburg".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Business Casual Pi Day

Yes, it's true. For you mathematicians out there, March 14th is Pi Day. So here you go:


Bah! To hell with it! 3! Pi is exactly 3!

But, if you care, here's Pi to a million digits.

And now I'm hungry for pie... square pie, because, you know... Pie are squared.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Luke Ravenstahl Declares Victory in "War on Snow"

"Mission Accomplished" Proclaims Yarone Zober
Frosty the Snowman Found in Spider Hole, Executed
Insurgent Weather Seen Regrouping Near Seven Springs
Critic Lament Failure of "War on Potholes"
Old Man Winter Declares Fatwa, Jihad

Pennsylvania - America Starts Here (2008 Edition)

We're only less than a week into the 2008 Democratic Campaign for Pennsylvania and I already want to stick an ice pick up through my nostrils so that I might bring on the sweet, sweet relief of death. Although, with my luck I'll end up in front of the Pearly (or Infernal) gates with St. Peter (or Satan) wearing a Ron Paul sticker (or a Ron Paul sticker).

I have completely lost all tolerance for national political campaigning. I don't watch a whole lot of TV (well, US TV that is), so I haven't seen a lot of ads, and I know that the candidates haven't been in town yet, so I haven't seen any of them in person yet, but there's just really something that is completely off-putting about this campaign season.

Take a look at the rancor on the local political blog seen if you want a hint of what I'm talking about.

Here's the thing: I think, in the grand scheme of things, Pennsylvania is just going to be a drop in the bucket in the delegate hunt.

The way the NY Times is seeing it, both candidates still need over 500 delegates to win. Now, there are 566 delegates left to claim (excepting, of course, those bastards in Michigan and Florida), which means that if each candidate got, say, 50% of those delegates, no one would be able to claim the nomination in the first round.

This may make for exciting convention politics (and it does), but the agressive campaigning leaves the Party worse for wear.

This is a classic Prisoner's Dilemma for Obama and Clinton: if both attack each other, the GOP gets more ammo for November and both lose (0,0); if Obama attacks Hillary, Obama wins (10,0); if Hillary attacks Obama, Hillary wins (0,10); if neither attacks each other, the result is, at best, uncertain, but the party remains strong (5,5). Both candidates not pressing an advantage results in a second best outcome for both candidates, but a far better outcome than if they tried to.

So, I propose a moratorium on intra-party attacks while both candidates are in the Commonwealth. This is not to say that neither candidate is not allowed to attack another candidate, but rather that both candidates should be attacking their presumptive rival: John McCain.

John McCain right now is lurking like that slow, fat kid in dodgeball: back, way behind the line, cowering in a corner, waiting for one of the final two players to off the other so that he can sneak up an hit the winner with a sucker shot.

I assume that most Democrats in PA are like me: they have their preferred candidate, but if their preferred candidate does not win, we will all go to the polls and pull the Democratic lever in the booth.

(Hmmm... I suppose that description is out of date. How about: "Go behind the partial partitioned booth/screen and hit the Democratic electronic button.")

If nothing else, a gentleman's (gentleperson's?) agreement between the candidates will save the paramedics from having to try to pry an ice pick from my skull on or before April 21.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Election 2008: Pennsylvania (Coming Soon!)

Despite the hoopla, the Democratic campaign for W. PA hasn't really begun yet.

How do I know this?

Well, the little storefront on 3rd Avenue, near the Ross Street Corner and right next to the New Chinatown Inn, and directly across the vacant lot from the City County Building remains empty. This has (for as many elections as I can remember) been the official headquarters for the ACDC endorsed candidate in the City of Pittsburgh: Ravenstahl, Rendell, Casey, etc., etc.

As of today, it's still empty.... except for computers from the early 90s and some Orwellian Luke Ravenstahl campaign posters.

Which is, when you look at it, really kinda creepy.

Ravenstahl: "I feel like the prettiest girl at the ball"

The Post-Gazette is reporting that both the Clinton and Obama campaigns are a-courting our young mayor for his endorsement going into the April 22nd primary, which is, I suppose, somewhat akin to divorcing parents fighting over the love of their only child. Lord knows, if Hillary gives Luke a Wii, Obama's going to give him a PSP; if Obama takes him to the beach, Hillary's going to take him to Disney World. And much like all broken marriages, the kid will make his choice only to be abandoned by the "winning" parent some months later, and eventually show up on Jerry Springer as a transvestite prostitute with mommy/daddy issues.

I think it important to note here, that I am in no way suggesting that Mr. Ravenstahl wears women's underwear*... as far as I know.

The funny thing is, of course, that because Lukey has become a rather polarizing figure in Pittsburgh Politics, and that whoever he endorses will be laden with the baggage of being "Ravenstahl endorsed." That is, if you don't mind being linked with what some voters consider an underqualified, politically and nepotistically connected, accident to the seat of power.

You know, like George W. Bush.

Anyway, I think Luke's obvious choice for endorsement is going to be Clinton, mostly because she's already gotten the nod from the ACDC... and not because she's affiliated with that guy that took Luke to NYC.

I'm Luke Ravenstahl and I'm OK!
I sleep all night and I work all day...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

"Take the 42L Through the Angry Drunk Bureaucrat River Hole..."

Let me just say that I believe that the Port Authority of Allegheny County is begging to be mocked:

Port Authority CEO Steve Bland said the agency is looking into selling the naming rights to the 1.2-mile light-rail link between Downtown and the North Shore.

If the agency is successful, the deal could recoup part -- maybe all -- of the $12.7 million the county has allocated to the project.
Now, before it gets renamed "The UPMC Connector" like we all know it's going to be, I figure I'd take a stab at a couple of my own suggestions:

"The Luke Ravenstahl Memorial Police Skirmish Tube"

"The Wabash Tunnel Part 2"

"Ass AND Hole-in-the Ground"

"The Holland Tunnel" [Editor's Note - to make this name truly effective, we're going to need a little Dutch boy who's willing to stick his fingers in the leaks.]

"The 'Fare Increases My Aunt Fanny' Tunnel"

"The Pittsburgh Pirates Tunnel of Shame" with the sign "Warning, the Light at the end of the Tunnel is a Pirates Home Game"

"The Tailgate Tube"

"The I'm Too Lazy to Walk Tunnel"

"The I Paid PAT $1.2 Million and All I Got Were These Lousy Naming Rights" Tunnel

"The Sophie Masloff Memorial Connector"

"The Alternative to a Bridge"

"The Claustrophobia Experience"

and finally...

"The White Elephant Express"

Business Casual... er... Saturday

We've been busy trying to right the world and what not, mostly from zombies and paperwork.

Check this out:

And the follow up:

Pretty cool... especially if you happen to be a zombie and are looking for a place to lurk so you can eat the flesh of the living after the apocalypse.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bureaucratic Observation #3

It is ipso facto impossible to have more than one #1 priority.

Bureaucratic Observation #2

Despite startling advancements in theoretical physics, scientists still haven't figured out how to put more than 24 hours in a day.

My clients have yet to figure this out.

Bureaucratic Observation #1

There are too many special and unique snowflakes out there.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Barden, Riverlife Reach Impasse on Garage, Goat Raping Room

Officials representing both Don Barden and the Pittsburgh Riverlife Task Force announced that they have yet to reach agreement on several key features of the proposed Northside Casino.

Critics blasted Barden's plans for a 3,800 space garage which would tower over the casino, as well as a here-to-fore unmentioned room to rape goats.

"The proposed garage would completely dominate Pittsburgh's beautiful skyline," said Riverlife Executive Director Lisa Schroeder. "This is totally counter to what the City has tried to do with its river fronts. Plus, he's advocating raping goats."

Joseph Weinert, senior vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group, defended Barden's position.

"What Barden is proposing is completely reasonable according to industry standards. You really need at least one parking space per slot machine and everybody knows you need at least one goat for every fifty machines."

Forest City Enterprises had also planned for over 3,000 parking spaces, but had opted for an Anthrax handling buffet in lieu of a goat raping room. Isle of Capri had about 2,400 spaces planned and a pit of deadly snakes.

Todd George, the casino general manager and vice president, said it's not uncommon for the spaces to fill or reach near capacity at peak times, particularly Friday and Saturday evenings. He does not believe the 3,800 Mr. Barden is planning is unreasonable.

"I think it's always better to have too many than too few, honestly. It's one of those things where going in you want to be successful. The goal is to drive as many people as possible as often as possible. If you have enough parking to satisfy them, that takes one variable out of the equation," he said. "Besides," he added, "every now and then while you're playing the slots, you really need to rape a goat."

Mr. George fended off criticisms that the parking garage and/or the goat rape room should be scaled back or eliminated entirely.

"Look, these features were in the initial plans. We're already well into construction drawings right now. To eliminate either would result in serious delays in getting the casino under operation and delay vital tax relief to residents of Allegheny County."

The City Zoning Board of Adjustments is still reviewing Mr. Barden's proposed "Kathy Lee Sweat Shop", "Chamber of Horrors", and "Kitten Punching Amphitheater". A ruling is due out within 8 months.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

1,2,3 Meme (with apologies to Fiest)

Dammit all Fester!

look up page 123 in the nearest book
look for the fifth sentence
then post the three sentences that follow that fifth sentence on page 123.
From Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew:
Even if you miss some and they have extra time to grow bigger (up to 18 inches long), you can still cut them off without hurting the parent plant. In fact, you can root any large side branch in moist sand, vermiculite, or just plain water. In two weeks it will have sprouted roots, and you'll have a new tomato plant!
I hope this information is useful to my gardening readers.

Spork & Sherry... you're tagged.

Gold (Energy) Star to the URA

There's an interesting article buried in the back of the City Paper, which I'm surprised hasn't attracted more attention from the more mainstream print media:

Residential construction financed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority must now meet certain federal energy-saving standards...

The URA is asking developers to meet the standards of the Energy Star program, a joint federal effort by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to establish standards of energy efficiency in products and buildings...

Right now there are 226 Energy Star-qualified homes in Pittsburgh and the surrounding suburbs, according to the EPA's Jon Passe. Of those, 180 were built in 2007.

[URA sustainable-design coordinator Matt] Smuts says that the URA provided funding to the construction of 50 stand-alone houses and between 300 and 600 multi-family units, apartments or attached condos in 2007...
This seems to be a really big deal to me, and I can't decide if the URA is being uncharacteristically progressive in its thinking or if the tide of energy conservation has fully engulfed even the most stalwart of conservative institutions in Pittsburgh. [Or perhaps everyone is just sick of paying $800 gas bills.]

In any case, this may be one of those things that really puts Pittsburgh on the map in terms of Green Design and development. Already there are architects, schools, supporting institutions, foundations, and contractors in the region that are starting to specialize in this type of work. The added weight of the URA, as both a governmental and funding organization, will give a terrific boost to the industry, making energy efficient homes more than just commonplace in Pittsburgh. Could it be possible that the Region is on the verge of developing its own self-sustaining environmental industry cluster?

Moreover, if the URA is helping to producing 650 houses/apartments a year and all of them will have to be Energy Star compliant, that will triple the number of Energy Star Homes in the City within the first year.

More importantly, however, with mortgage prices completely out of whack, it only makes sense for homeowners to reduce the cost of their energy usage in order to minimize their risk of default or foreclosure. This is particularly necessary for areas where there is need for more affordable housing.

So kudos all around, I suppose.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Today in Technology

It is with much sadness that today we announce the death of Netscape Navigator.


That is all.