Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Football Aside

I'll admit that he's a talented reciever, but I never really thought of Plaxico Burress as a team player. It takes a special kind of stupidity to shoot oneself on the thigh.

One can only hope that the No Fun League (NFL) fine him for shooting his team in the foot and at least as much as they've fined other players for shooting their mouths off.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Bureaucrat's Aside

I'm trying to decide if the Treasury Department's move today to purchase an additional $800 billion in loans is akin to (1) robbing Peter to pay Paul, (2) cutting off your nose to spite your face, or (3) building a castle in the middle of a swamp, having it sink into the swamp, only to build another castle that will burn down, fall over, THEN sink into the swamp.

If #3, we can only hope that someone comes to rescue us in their own particular...uh...idiom.

---
No singing!

A Bureaucrat's Aside

This inane and self indulgent post was created without compensation to the author, and is provided free of charge and without any editing.

Critics of this post will have their names attached to one excretory organ or another.

A Bureaucrat's Aside

Is the city's transfer tax on property sales really what's driving young folk out of the City of Pittsburgh, as suggested by the Propel Pittsburgh Commission or, as I suspect, (a) a zero sum game to be played with the rest of the region, which itself is losing youth and (b) a tragedy of misguided groupthink?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Open Letter to the People of the Pittsburgh Region

In the morning and probably throughout the coming days, you will probably notice a phenomenon that may leave you worried, scared, or even panicked. I am here to reassure you that this phenomenon is nothing to worry about, as it has been an annual occurrence for this region, although its impact has seemed to diminish over the last few years leading some to forget about it. Indeed, there were years when this phenomenon was a threat to life and limb, whereas today it is merely an annoyance.

I am, of course, referring to snow.

For those of you that appear to be unfamiliar with the concept, snow is frozen water crystals that fall from the ground in the form of precipitation. This occurs primarily in the winter months, but generally whenever the conditions are cold enough to support this weather event.

A typical snow event is not on par with earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, or giant squid like aliens from another dimension. It's more like rain that's cold and hangs around longer on the ground.

Many people from the region, however, seem to believe that every time it snows, the world is coming to an end. So, in an attempt to assist the populace, here are some simple rules for the upcoming winter:

(1) Drive carefully. This means that you can't drive 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. Well, I mean, I suppose you can, but I cannot guarantee that you will be able to stop before you crash into a snow drift, bank, or plow.

This also means, however, that you don't have to drive 5 mph in a 35 mph zone, riding the break wherever you go. Crank the car down to a lower gear and let the car work for you. If you can't do that, stay home.

(2) Shovel your walk in front of your house. I don't mind traipsing through fresh snow on my way to wherever, however, if snow hasn't been cleared in days it turns into that other water form: ice. You may not care that I slide past your home at 25 mph, but my lawyer does.

(3) If you even utter the phrase "the white stuff" in reference to snow. I will find you and cut you. I'm looking at you Jeff Verszyla. You better watch your ass.

(4) Yellow snow is to be avoided. At all costs. It does not taste like lemonade. Trust me.

(5) You can go for 1 day without milk and toilet paper. Please, for the love of God, you are not stocking up for the end of civilization. If you can't go without milk for a day, you'd better be a calf, and if you can't go without emergency toilet paper, you'd better be on an all Taco Bell diet.

So, those are five points for dealing with this "snow" thing. If I have to explain it to you again, me and my Eskimo posse are going to show up to your house with a Polar Bear on meth.

It won't be pretty; Polar Bears on meth are mean.

Sincerely,

O
The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PAT, Union Agree to Thunderdome

Following increased pressure from dozens of business and community groups, both the Port Authority and its drivers' union leader agreed to a tentative plan set forth by a federal arbitrator to resolve their dispute in a post-apocalyptic "Thunderdome".

The negotiated mediation resolution was pushed forward by the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the African American Chamber of Commerce; and the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, and Australian actor Mel Gibson.

The authority's board accepted the terms outlined by PA Labor Relations Board mediator Jan Rigler, which recommended that one union leader and one PAT board members be placed into a steel cage and fight to the death. Participants will be tied with bungee cords so, and weapons placed around the cage. Two men will enter, one man will leave.

PAT Board Chairman John A. Brooks, in a statement to the media said "Listen on! Listen on! This is the truth of it: fighting leads to killing and killing leads to warring. And that was damned near the death of us all.... but now when we get to fighting, it happens here. And it finishes here."

Union leaders have criticized County Executive Dan Onorato, who had initially proposed the Thunderdome plan, as merely wanting to beat the crap out of a couple of random union guys.

The original fact finder's report was officially rejected by the union because of proposed changes to healthcare coverage, however, union members have unofficially said that the rejection was the result of a lack of stabbing and fire.

In case of a service shutdown, Pittsburgh residents have already begun to plan carpooling rides, alternative modes of transportation, and have devised post apocalyptic vehicles made to traverse the vast expanses of the Australian desert.

The cost of the structure is expected to result in a fair increase of $2 per trip. The Thunderdome will be built on a vast unoccupied stretch of uninhabitable land inside of Parkway Center Mall.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Business Casual Friday

In case you were in a cave, with your fingers in your ears, on Mars last week, here's the 2 minute summary of Election Day.

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.


Enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Ye Olde Garbage Can

You may not realize this, but there are sometimes posts, half posts, quarter posts, and single sentences that I start writing, give up on, get distracted on, or throw the computer across the room and never actually finish.

For example, I started writing this post which I tentatively entitled "Big Yellow Taxis" in June 2005:

OK, so they're not ripping out the parking lot to regrow paradise, but the WaPo has an article on the proposals to bring the sprawling Tysons Corner development down to a human scale. For those of you unfamiliar with the site:

Route 7 is one of the central traffic arteries of Tysons Corner, a place that has most of the raw ingredients of a traditional city -- it's the Washington region's second-largest jobs center -- but lacks a city's physical setup. Buildings are separated by berms, side yards, parking lots and wide roadways that sacrifice pedestrian ease for vehicle convenience.

The vast drive-through operation at the McDonald's on Route 7, for example, is a marvel of auto-oriented convenience: To keep the cars moving at lunchtime, five headset-wearing clerks roam the pavement outside, taking orders and delivering food.
The biggest problem, of course, is that Tysons Corner was originally designed for the automobile, not the human being. The set up is one that encourages driving, while punishing pedestrians. This is quite literal; two pedestrians were killed in January and April 2004 trying to cross the roads.

Of course, the broader philosophical discussion is whether the Automobile actually has caused us to redesign our entire way of life. Now, I'm not one for technological determinism


And that's as far as I got. Not sure where I was going with it. I could have been heading towards how the automobile effects our way of life, or I could have been setting the stage for the Transformers movie.

Other half posts are bizarre. The following was a "Metablogging" post (August '05), that I didn't really have a punchline for:

I like to see how people find my site. A lot of the references come from the fine folks over there on your right. A few people get here via Pittsburgh Webloggers. Some people seem to have me bookmarked. Othertimes, I just seem to be in the queue on Blogger.

And then there are the Search Engines. I often wonder about some of these searches:

"steve gutenberg" silver "one piece"

breeders o cinamon point breeders


I must admit, however, "breeders o cinamon point breeders" is pretty funny.

With all the flack from the AP, regarding bloggers quoting the AP *gasp* for free (shock and horror!), I wrote this post:

(AP) New York - The Associated Press is reporting
The Associated Press is reporting
The Associated Press is reporting
The Associated Press is reporting
The Associated Press is reporting
The Associated Press is reporting
The Associated Press is reporting
The concept, I think was better than the execution.

And then there are those posts that have no content, just a title. For example from the last 12 months or so, "Do You Feel Lucky, Fluffy?" and "Peduto Action Committee". Frankly, my friends, your guess is as good as mine on those.

You all should feel lucky that most of the really shitty posts do, in fact, get deleted with extreme prejudice.

And From the "Who Didn't See That One Coming" File

Looks like Mario Lemieux and Mary Conturo are going to be passing around the hat:

The city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority Board came together Thursday to agree on a final cost for the new Penguins arena and settled on a figure $31 million higher than previously estimated.

The original budget for the project was $290 million, a 2005 estimate. On Thursday, the Authority board, the Commonwealth and the Penguins approved spending $321 million to open the venue for the 2010-11 hockey season.

The additional funding will be split between the Penguins’ $15.5 million contribution, the state’s $10 million kick-in and $5.5 million from the sports authority.
Some of you may remember from back in March of '07 when the P-G nicely laid out how cost overruns were going to work:
Mr. Rendell said public officials agreed with the team that the previous $270 million construction cost estimate might be too low, and the funding calculations were increased to consider a $290 million pricetag.

The team and the state will split the costs of any increase in construction cost between $290 million and $310 million. The team will cover any cost overrun above $310 million.
So, I'm confused: The Penguins are to pay anything over $310 million, which would come up to $11 million, plus they're kicking in an additional $4.5 million, which leaves $15.5 to be paid for by the Public bodies. That doesn't seem very well "split" to me. Perhaps it's a philosophical thing, but I think I would have liked to see the Penguins share in the marginal cost increases until they got up to the $310 million mark.

Be that as it may, however, it should come as no shock that the budget for this project is all messed up. What with increased fuel surcharges, a financial sector in the crapper, and an economy that is generally going all Tom Joad on us, the Arena project is in dire straits.*

The SEA is saying, apparently, that part of the sports authority’s contribution, due in 2010, may come in the form of two equal-part loans from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the county’s Redevelopment Authority. Which is fine, except that with the stifled economy, you sort of wonder where these organizations are going to get the borrowing capacity to make these kinds of loans.

And the project still has a negative return on investment... that is, unless the Penguins win about ten Stanley Cups in a row.

---
* Strike that. "Money for Nothing" is the absolute opposite of the Arena situation.**
** Or is it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Katherine Baker Knoll

The Governor's Office has announced that Lt. Governor Katherine Baker Knoll has succumbed to cancer at the age of 78.

We have no wish to speak ill of the dead, but it seems appropriate for us to roll out our chance encounter with the late Ms. Knoll from back in 2006.

We had just finished voting in our nondescript polling place in Pittsburgh and pushed the door open, only to find an elderly tiny woman, who had obviously just stepped out from the stretch limo that was parked in front of the senior center, with a rather large body guard right behind her.

"Oh! Hello," we said holding the door for the Lt. Governor, "Nice to meet you."

She returned our greeting, with a mixture of shock and surprise that anyone in this Podunk polling place would recognize a Lt. Governor if she came up an bit them on the ass.

And that was that. We went on our way and the Lt. Governor went in to visit the poll workers.

It's not much of a story, but it is our brief brush with the Lt. Governorship.

Our Senator Carper (D-DE) story is far superior.

In a more cold, calculating vein: Ed Rendell will not be accepting a position in the Obama administration until his term is up, lest Republican Joe Scarnati, now Lt. Governor, take his office.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget


They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hot Air from the HACP

The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh is digging itself into a giant hole,it seems:

Big drills roared at Northview Heights last week, their truck-mounted bits boring 300-foot-deep wells in the rocky earth, seeking neither oil nor gas, but only access to the subterranean temperatures that promise to warm, cool, and save money.

The drilling of geothermal wells is part of the transformation of the 501-apartment Northview, plus its 91-unit high rise, into models of energy efficiency.

Eventually, the Pittsburgh Housing Authority's 3,300 occupied apartments, plus 200 that are now empty, will get an energy overhaul. It's a $25 million project run by Minneapolis-based Honeywell that involves everything from weatherstripping to new refrigerators, and is guaranteed to pay for itself.
OK, fine so according to the report (and unless I'm reading this wrong), this translates into $800,000 a year in savings -- or up to $9,600,000 in today's dollars -- for the geothermal wells. Now, that means that the rest of the savings, or a maximum of $28,800,000 is from other mechanisms, like weatherstripping, new refrigerators, low flow toilets and shower heads, etc., etc. There's no indication in the article how much money it costs to dig and operate geothermal wells and how much it costs to do low tech solutions.

My question, therefore, is whether the geothermal heating actually is providing a net benefit to HACP or whether it only works, financially speaking, if it is wrapped up with the low-tech stuff. And, if the latter, why are we going out of our way to do the geothermal work... unless it was the only way that Honeywell could make money off of it.

Our good buddy Fester argues,
Geo-thermal air conditioning will significantly reduce peak demand for expensive summer time electricity and geo-thermal heating provides a much higher and thus cheaper temperature base for winter heating. Maintenance will be needed, but ongoing costs for fuel for these base heating/cooling needs will be massively lower. And it is damn hard for an apartment to lose access to the earth for non-payment of a bill, so it provides for a bit of a fiscal cushion for some tenants.
Ah, and you'll notice that I emphasized a bit there, what does that all mean in the context of HACP's long term public housing strategy?

It means, quite frankly, that Northview, Homewood North and Arlington Heights aren't going anywhere. This means that communities that are currently cut off from the rest of the neighborhood and away from jobs and services, will continue to be cut off from jobs and services for the foreseeable future. It means that there is no indication in HACP's plans that there are even considering anything else beyond the current isolation model of public housing... models that they are taking equally great pride in destroying up in the Middle Hill and West Oakland. It means that we've quite honestly given up on integrating public housing into the larger community, and are OK with segregating people in low-income ghettos.*

And this all says nothing, by the way, about the waning and waxing need for public housing in this city, and how that plays a part in HACP's long term facility needs.

So, while I appreciate what HACP is trying to do, I get the feeling that it's fundamentally messed up.

---
*Too much?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama to Reverse Bush Executive Orders

The Washington Post is reporting today that now-President Elect Barack Obama had secretly ordered teams of lawyers to review Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.

"The kind of regulations they are looking at" are those imposed by Bush for "overtly political" reasons, in pursuit of what Democrats say was a partisan Republican agenda, said Dan Mendelson, a former associate administrator for health in the Clinton administration's Office of Management and Budget. The list of executive orders targeted by Obama's team could well get longer in the coming days, as Bush's appointees rush to enact a number of last-minute policies in an effort to extend his legacy.
The team discovered several Executive Orders that were found to be objectionable:

- Executive Order #4518 which changed the definition of a "human" to include a fetus, an embryo, a dog, and several types of lawyer.

- Executive Order #831 which removed the E before I except after C rule in the Department of Commerce.

- Executive Orders #34 and #9305 which revoked Dick Cheney's death certificates.

- Executive Order #746 which renamed the Department of Education "The Department of Fancy Book Learnin'".

- Executive Order #24601 which called for the arrest of an unidentified French fugitive who was accused of stealing a loaf of bread and his immediate transportation to Guantanamo Bay.

- Executive Order #8675309 which ordered Jenny to not change her number.

- Executive Order #8008135 which banned dirty "l33t-speak".

- Executive Order #7895 which sold Yosemite National Park to Halliburton in exchange for $24 of beads.

- Executive Order #6723 which canceled Arrested Development.

- Executive Order #68903 which renewed, in perpetuity, The World According to Jim.

- Executive Order #1293 which correctified certain stratergeric minunpronouncementations of the President.

and finally

- Executive Order #4769 which makes everything the President says truthful, if he has his fingers crossed.

"Barack Obama" Enters Spell Check Dictionaries

Barabbas Obadiah, Barrack Obadias, Backtrack Bamako, and Bareback Alabama disappointed.


Above: A disappointed "Bareback Alabama" courtesy of Hustler.com.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Coming Out From Under That Bureaucracy You've Been Living Under

I don't know what the Wicked Witch of the East did to those poor Munchkins, but the sudden application of a Kansas domicile to her person certainly seemed to bring out the best in them.

The WaPo had an interesting article on the potential effects of an Obama Administration on the culture of the Washington Bureaucracy. In short, the last eight years or so haven't been that great for Federal employees in the same way that being forced to cut off you own fingers does not improve ones overall body image.

Federal employees said that they are not a passionately partisan group, but some are hopeful about an Obama presidency, assuming that their lot will improve. Several took heart from Obama's campaign trail statements that he wanted to make federal government work "cool again."

John Kamensky, a senior fellow and transition expert at the IBM Center for the Business of Government, said that in tracking the Bush administration's recent work and searching for any new initiatives, his center noticed the business of government had slowed to a near crawl over the last year.

"We've been saying that for a year: the administration checked out early," Kamensky said. "I am hearing people [civil servants] are demoralized and waiting for some leadership."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said regulatory agencies have a bias in favor of more regulation, and he suspects workers voicing frustrations with the Bush administration's opposition to excessive regulation are now those clamoring for new leadership. "There's no support in the surveys for a demoralized workforce," he said noting that 58 percent reported being satisfied with their agencies and 68 percent with their jobs overall.
To be fair, old G.W. Bush wasn't the first President to undermine or destroy the Federal Bureaucracy and its Public Servants, but he certainly seemed to be very effective at it. Whether it was the mismanagement, the spate of early retirements, or even just the Conservative predilection towards subcontracting pretty much every job to private contractors (read: Haliburton), Georgie done screwed things up might good.

Of course, at the end of January next year, Senator Obama will become the boss of over 2,000,000 employees. There seems to be some hope, to use a word that has almost been rendered trite by the last two years of campaigning, that the Federal Government could once again be populated by smart, civicly minded individuals that take pride in their work and their profession... or as I like to call them: adults.

Or Munchkins. Either is appropriate.

Stephen Hess and the New Obama Administration

Noted presidential organizational historian (as if that title somehow can be purchased with a handful of cereal box tops from ASU) offers the incoming President some advice on his transition team and how he should form his administration. [It's an interesting read, and one too long to quote.]

Now, I've mentioned Stephen Hess in other contexts, but I'll repeat one of his major themes: Republican Administrations are hierarchical (which are efficient but don't always allow for full dissemination of information) and Democratic Administrations are collegial (which allow for multiple points of view, but can get bogged down in decision making).

So far, what we know is this: (1) Obama ran a very tight ship during his campaign, (2) the appointment of Rahm Emmanuel indicates the desire for a very strong hand to manage this Administration, (3) as a community organizer, Obama would have embraced consensus building techniques, and (4) anecdotally, we've gears that Obama felt the need to challenge his staff on things like striking Hillary off the VP shortlist.

Does any of this mean anything? Well, it certainly seems to indicate the possibility that Obama's organizational style could go either hierarchical or collegial.

Now, that being said, the only modern President that was able to pull off a hybrid hierarchical / collegial model was another Democrat that faced economic troubles at home and a two front war.

Methinks that Obama needs to look closely at FDR's example here... that is, apart from the whole dying in office on vacation with your mistress thing.

Yeah. Note to the President-elect: don't do that. Or get polio.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

FEC to Break up Republican Party

(Reuters) Washington D.C - Fresh on a resounding crash at the polls, the Federal Elections Commission has ordered the breakup of the Republican Party on the grounds that it is "too big to fail".

The announcement came after a surprise early meeting of the independent regulatory agency. FEC Chairman David M. Mason said that the party situation was "untenable" and that "drastic measures must be taken."

"The GOP has had a long and dignified history in this country, but current circumstances dictate that we must both protect individual investment and the nation's political economy by controlling what would otherwise be a disastrous free fall."

The Commission has proposed dividing up the party into three distinct parties: the Theocratic Party, the Neo-Conservative Party, and the New Republican Party. Another share of the existing party will be bought out by the Libertarian Party, who will receive Ron Paul.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader of the Senate, said that the move was "positive" for the country. "The United States can ill-afford a party set against itself. With yesterday's crushing defeat, it is time to start afresh with new ideologies."

In the 1990s, the GOP had attempted to nationalize the party, but had met with stiff resistance from competitors. Massive speculation during those years had led to a political bubble, which suddenly popped in 2006.

The former Republican Party had found itself in a precarious internal position even before this most recent election. The Party has heavily invested in emerging markets such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Shareholders in the Bible Belt, however, believed that the management was not diversifying its investments enough, by investing in anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion funds.

The selection of John McCain over rivals Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, or Rudy Guilliani was seen as a compromise between various shareholder factions, who were promised a return of over 270 points. The inclusion of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin in the management team was seen as a positive move towards alleviating shareholder consternation.

In recent weeks, however, it was revealed that the Company had wasted large amounts of money in things like $150,000 wardrobes for senior management, at the expense of turning out production in their facilities across the country. Over 56 Million voters suddenly found their investments in peril.

The FEC proposal will reduce the individual voter's return on investment, but it should stabilize the returns over time.

The proposed break up should be finalized within the next thirty days. No word yet as to which persons will be appointed to lead these new parties.

And from the Dead Tree Media

These may have not been the best front pages in this country today...









...but they certainly felt like the most satisfying.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Countdown...

Like most of the folks round these parts, we will be glued to the TV Tuesday night with giddy (or if you voted for the losing candidate, dread) anticipation. As of this moment, Obama seems to have a pretty sizable lead in most of the important tracking polls in the critical swing states. Of course, that don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing... er... that is, if people don't go out and vote.

Iowa and Virginia are the two big keys to an Obama victory at this point. These two states, combined with the states that Kerry, er, carried in 2004 would be enough to secure a victory. Everything else would be gravy.

Much has been made about McCain trying to take Pennsylvania, but we seem to be firmly enough in the Blue column. We don't think that he'll make a dent in the Commonwealth, barring some sort of shenanigans.

Here's what we'll be looking at over the course of the evening:

During the 7 PM hour, we'll see the results of Georgia, Virginia, and Indiana coming in. Virginia should be an Obama win, Georgia should be a McCain win, and Indiana would usually be a McCain win, but has vacillated back and forth. The way we see it, if Obama wins Virginia, we're going to relax for the rest of the evening; again, if you take all of Kerry's 2004 states plus Virginia and Iowa you have an Obama victory.

Indiana, as everybody has said, should be a reliably red state, but over the last few weeks, it has gone back and forth. If the folks in Lake County (who are primarily Democrats) turn out en masse and the Republicans in the state pretty much stay home, you could see this state swing blue. We think the state will go red ultimately, but if it doesn't or if it is close, Obama will ultimately win the night. We'll crack open another beer.

Now, Georgia should be a reliable red state, but if you have a very high African-American turnout, you could have a swing to blue. We doubt that this state's going to swing, but in the unlikely even that it does go, the evening is over. We're opening up a case and coming in to work sometime next Wednesday.

Officially, if things go badly and Obama loses most of his swing states, we won't find out until after 11 PM when California puts him over the top. If things go well (and Indiana is in the blue column), we'd have an official win around 9-9:30 EST when Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York and/or Rhode Island gives him +270. Without Indiana, Wisconsin is needed to go over 270 between 9 & 10PM.

Chances are you're not going to hear a real announcement declaring a winner until after 11 PM EST, after California closes

We'll be watching the Coleman/Franken, Chambliss/Martin, Dole/Hagan, and McConnell/Lunsford Senate races. Wins here would pretty much guarantee a 58 Democrats + Sanders + Lieberman majority.

Of course, locally we'll be looking at PA-18 (Murphy), PA-3 (English), and PA-12 (Murtha). Murtha's going to be the tough one. Personally we think, if you're a strategic voter and if you really want to bring home the bacon to your district, you may want to opt for a very senior Congressman in the majority over a very junior Congressman in the (presumptive) minority. Of course, you could also be a bitter redneck outside of Johnstown.

So, those are our hotspots.

Our final electoral vote prediction is 338 Obama and 200 McCain. We're giving McCain Indiana and North Carolina. We're giving Obama Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and, of course, Pennsylvania.

In 2004, we were wrong: we had Kerry taking Ohio, probably out of some sort of misplaced optimism. We hope our predictive prowess is better this time around.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Special Message from the ADB: Voting and Whatnot

I've been encouraged by the 12 people that read this blog to say something a bit more serious in regards to the upcoming election. Now, as I purport to be an employee of the Government, I try to stay clear of actually telling people who they should vote for. If you're a regular reader of this little bit of foolishness, however, you can probably guess my political leanings and could therefore assume that I would encourage you to vote for that person.

With that said, I seriously encourage you to vote for that person.

Seriously. Get the fuck out there and vote.

More importantly, however, you should get out and vote period. Elections are one of those kinds of things that we certainly take for granted, this being a mature democratic republic and all.

If you're reading this, though, I'm hoping that you're one of those people that are already engaged in the political process, and will dutifully vote on Tuesday (or before, if you were so lucky). If you're not going to vote, however, I've always maintained that you're absence at the polls means that you've lost the right to complain about the direction of the country/state/city/school board for duration of the term. I figure if you're involved enough to hold an opinion, you should at least put your opinion where your mouth is and go cast a ballot.

Even if you go out and select no one, at least you've done your civic duty.

I would encourage every voter out there to make sure that they make sure that their friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and random acquaintances vote. [And if they vote for the guy that I'm supporting, so much the better.]

So, don't make me come over to your house and drag you to your polling location. 'Cause I will, and I know where you all live.

[ Find Your Polling Place | Voting Info For Your State | Know Your Voting Rights | Report Voting Problems ]

McCain Releases Devistating Attack ad on Obama

With only hours left until election day, John McCain has unleashed a blistering attack ad on his opponent Barack Obama.

The ad, which is running in several key swing states, attacks the Senator from Illinois for his ongoing relationship with a controversial and embattled Senator, John McCain:

In times of crisis, people are known by the company they keep. Barack Obama has had a long term relationship with John McCain, a Senator who was involved in one of the biggest financial scandals of the 1990s.

Senator Obama and Senator McCain have appeared together in public no less than 4 times in recent months, despite Senator McCain's underhanded, spurious, and duplicitous attacks on his opponent. Does Senator Obama support Senator McCain's tactics?

Senator McCain even called his wife a c*nt in public. A c*nt. Can you believe he called her a c*nt?

Is this the kind of person that Senator Obama should be "palling around with"?

John McCain is different: he's palling around with a gifted, articulate, Harvard educated lawyer, and famous charismatic Senator. That's the kind of person you want a President to be around.

On November 4th, vote for John McCain: the right choice for America.
No word as of yet as the the effectiveness of this ad, although internal polling by the McCain campaign indicate that it has gained traction amongst those with grade school education and those with recent blunt force trauma to the head.

Monongahela Incline closed for computer problems

From the P-G:

The Port Authority's Monongaghela Incline between Carson Street and Grandview Avenue is closed today due to computer problems.

A Port Authority spokesman said shuttle buses are being used to transport passengers who normally take the incline.

The incline also is expected to be closed on Monday and shuttle service will be provided.
I can only assume that the Port Authority is using this time in an attempt to resurrect Charles Babbage in order to have him help clear some jammed punch cards.

But computer problems? Seriously? This thing used to run on friggin' steam, right? This is basically the same amazingly complex principle as a wheel and pulley, right? Where exactly are the computers entering into this?

Does this mean that there's some evil HAL 9000 like computer managing some complicated "car go up/car go down" program that the mission is too critical for humans to be in charge... or is it more likely that some PAT employee downloaded some sort of malware program while surfing for porn on the machine that's supposed to log their time sheets?

If the latter, I'd recommend not touching anything when you ride that thing next time.