Saturday, February 28, 2009

In Ye Old Garbage Can, Part II

Once again, I'm going to rip off this Blog's polished, hand crafted, Corinthian leather finish, and expose the dark, festering, underbelly of bad ideas, half posts, and things I just got bored with.

Mid October, as the Presidential Election Season was reaching critical mass and John McCain was floundering more than a Disney's The Little Mermaid convention, I was going to comment about McCain's repeated attempts to juice up his campaign in a post tentatively entitled "McCain to Jumpstart Campaign 'Sometime Tomorrow'":

(Reuters) Phoenix AZ - John McCain announced from his couch today that he will begin a jumpstart of his campaign sometime tomorrow.

"My friends, I think that the vast majority of you are sick and tired of the lies coming out of that other campaign. We are beginning a massive overhaul of our message, probably sometime tomorrow, maybe after we watch [The] Simpsons reruns."

The McCain campaign has languished in recent weeks. According to national polls, McCain is behind Obama by as much as 10 points. Anonymous staff persons have pointed to a lack of enthusiasm within the campaign hierarchy and a lack of enthusiasm within the

And that's when I gave up. Who know what I could have written next. "GOP"? "Party"? "Enthusiasm"? The world may never know, and frankly I can't remember where I was going with this.

I think I decided that it wasn't funny enough, so opted to go for something a little more Faustian later in the month.

In late November, I started cobbling together a list of potential cabinet nominees for the newly elected candidate. I opined that "[with] the ongoing housing, financial, energy, weak dollar, auto industry, and overall economic crises, President-elect Obama believes that the country needs someone with a level head who can project confidence in the market and reassure investors."

My nominee for Treasury Secretary was, therefore, Walter Cronkite.

The post had potential, but I got bogged down in the minutiae of cabinet posts, trying to determine if U.S. Trade Representative and EPA Administrator were merely cabinet level posts and should be excluded from the farce.

And, frankly, there's nothing funny about the Secretary of the Interior since Gale Norton.

I tried to start and put a positive spin on City depopulation in April 2007:

So the P-G had an editorial on the recent announcement from those fact-ists over at the Census Bureau that the Pittsburgh Region is continuing to hemorage population. Related commentary can be found here, here, and here, where all the authors miss one key point: depopulation is awesome.

Now what these population pimps will tell you is that the size of the region means a larger share of the tax burden will be borne by fewer people, or it is indicative of the relative health of the region, or

Or something. If nothing else, a loss of population means that there will be fewer and fewer people in the City that know how to spell "hemorrhage" correctly.

An interesting headline that probably had potential: "Cooper Ravenstahl Abducted". It probably would have devolved into some sort of Lindbergh Baby parody, which, in retrospect, would have been in really bad taste. Forgive me for even bringing this up.

And finally, a few weeks ago I nearly posted a Housekeeping item:

So as you can see, the City of Pittsburgh BBI (Bureau of Blog Inspection) finally approved our permit to add a third column onto this site. We're very happy now, as we have more storage for all the miscellany that we've collected over the years and also a second bathroom, which is very convenient for when guests come over.

Of course, we figure that while we're at it, we might as well go a little cleaning, especially on that Blogroll over to the right there, which has been collecting more and more dead links over the last year. That being said, we're putting out a general call for (a) blogs that you folks recommend and (b) attention whores.

I suppose that all of that could have been posted, but for some reason I decided that it was too self-promoting. I don't know what I was thinking: we are still looking for blogs you folks recommend. And whores.

Ah! Catharsis!

rm -i oldjunk

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside

You know, the more my conspiracy laden parts of my mind think about it, the more I wonder if Gov. Bobby Jindal's statements about volcano monitoring were an oblique reference to Scientology, and its founder L. Ron Hubbard's belief (and I'm paraphrasing here) that the image of a volcano is ingrained into human consciousness and will immediately produce an inexplicable gutteral reaction... Which is why, of course, copies of Dianetics and those insufferable 3 AM commercials feature vulcan imagery so prominently.

Or maybe Democrats really are just in line with Xenu.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Steele to Give Urban Response to President's Address to Congress

In order to extend his party's appeal among urban voters, RNC Chairman Michael Steele to give his party's rebuttal to President Obama's address to Congress in jive.

We here at ADB have managed to procure a draft version of the speech.

De plain trud be we is spendin' mo'e dan we gots in de bank. Ya' know? We've all heard it said dat we is mo'tgagin' our children's future. You know th' President ain't gonna lay no mo' big rap upon you man! We is now mo'tgagin' our grandchildren and great grandchildren's future. When some "bridge t'nowhere" receives millions uh dollars in fundin', we know Wuzhin'ton gots lost touch wid reality; and until Congress places real prio'ities on spendin', deficits gots'ta always be some pressin' concern. 'S coo', bro. Chump don wan no help, chump don git no help. Jive ass dude don got no brains anyhow.
No word on whether Mr. Steele will get "jiggy" with anything.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I've got a Bad Feeling About This...

Jim over at R2P: Return To Pittsburgh has an unsettling little article out of Newark, NJ:

... "Newark needs people living downtown to realize fully its burgeoning revitalization," Goldman tells "Throughout the country and the world--in places like London, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh--arts centers have led the way in transforming cities. There is every reason to believe that Newark can be the next major urban success story."
Jim adds, "For better or for worse, Pittsburgh is clearly a best-practice model for a number of struggling cities throughout the country."

Frankly, that's the most disturbing thing that I think I've read on the Burghosphere recently: Newark wants to be Pittsburgh.

Perhaps it was the Superbowl, but it seems like we've seen a lot of publicity recently about Pittsburgh being a, well, great place to live. Now, don't get me wrong: I love this place and I do, in fact, think that this is a great place to live.

Articles like the one above, however, seem to imply that what we're doing is part of a consistent, planned strategy, instead of an ad hoc grouping of interests and piecemeal policy decisions. Indeed, certain policy decisions *cough*assessments*cough* would seem to be really, really... well, bad and not conducive at all to redevelopment.

All I can figure is either (a) Pittsburgh is hiding its incompetence really well, (b) we're actually doing something right, (c) other Cities are doing exceptionally bad, or (d) we've been down so long in Pittsburgh, we don't know which way is up.

I hope it's (b) or (d), but I'll wager it's (a).

Hugo Chavez Named "Venezuelan Idol" In Perpetuity

Mr. Chavez shown here singing his rendition of Beyonce's "Single Ladies"

Despite calling Simon Cowell "The Devil" during early rounds, the Venezuelan leader has a two record offer from Sony Records.

Local Bureaucrat Waiting Desperately for Stimulus Money

Arthur Bridges has worked for the state for nearly 30 years, and he says he's never seen conditions this bad.

"It's bad. Really bad," said Mr. Bridges, "We used to have money flowing in, but with the economy drying up, we're really worried. We need some of that stimulus money fast."

Mr. Bridges is the South West Regional Sub-director of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

"You think those scratch-off tickets just show up at the 7-11? No, it takes working men and women several hours a month to deliver all those tickets. If no one is buying them, I have to lay them all off."

The conditions described by Mr. Bridges are echoed throughout the Commonwealth. With less people driving, fewer roads need to be repaired, leaving PennDOT workers standing idly by the side of the road. Costs driving have also reduced the need for tellers at the Department of Motor Vehicles, forcing them to close all but one line. In the Agriculture Department, high wheat prices have stopped farmers from growing crops that they otherwise wouldn't grow except to get the subsidy to throw them away. This has forced the lay off literally five State inspectors. All of these agencies are looking for money from the stimulus bill.

"The Economy is tough," says Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, "We'll muddle through somehow, but the money from the Obama administration will not be a panacea for every department. Although, it will help us audit the State's extensive fish hatchery system."

Large chunks of Stimulus Package are already dedicated to school renovations, energy efficiency, housing, and health, with a sizable percentage going to tax cuts. The bill was tailored to be narrowly focused on certain key areas.

Still, Mr. Bridges remains hopeful.

"There's not much money earmarked for the Lottery in the bill. I did see that there was some money to go towards education. I'm thinking we could get a grant to promote our product as a class in probability. Or maybe we could couch this as 'supplementary risk based bonus food stamp allocation funds'. That should probably work."

Money from the stimulus bill is not expect to flow to the States for at least six months.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reflections on the 2008 Pittsburgh Mayorial Race, or "Dowd or Dowd not; there is no Try"

Whether you want them or not, here are some thoughts on the Pittsburgh Mayoral Race. I advise readers to save these in a shoebox under your bed and perhaps over the years, they will appreciate in value, allowing you to exchange them for cash, or gold, or food stamps, or ammunition, as the economy seems to be heading that way.

The announcement by Patrick Dowd that he was going to run was really no surprise. Once Peduto was out, then Wagner, then Sheilds, the path to challenge the Mayor was pretty much down to Dowd alone; no other remotely viable candidate is really out there.

The advantage that Dowd has is that he already defeated a very connected incumbent once (Len Bodack, who had the distinction of being present at Council meetings), so Dowd definitely has some experience with long odds. The secret to his win was a strong ground campaign and an extensive get out the vote effort, which got more voters out from the pro-Dowd areas of the Council District (Morningside, Highland Park) than the other areas (Lawrenceville). If Dowd expects to win, his ground game needs to be near perfect.

Additionally, there is still pent up campaign energy from the November election, especially in the African-American and "Progressive" areas of the City. Dowd could use both the momentum on the ground and the experienced campaign workers to create a fairly strong anti-establishment machine.

Another advantage that Dowd has, if you can call it that, is that voters don't necessarily like the Mayor. They aren't whipping off their shoes to fling at him, that's for sure, but there's this general malaise about the voting public. Voters don't hate Ravenstahl, and he's the default option, but outside a small base no one is really gung ho. Dowd, with a little work, could flip enough people to supporting him instead of blindly voting for the Mayor.

That being said, there are enough problems to make the Dowd campaign a long shot:

(1) Right now it's a three way race: Ravenstahl, Dowd, and Robinson. Dowd and Robinson split any anti-Ravenstahl vote and Ravenstahl wins.

(2) Luke has $1,000,000 in his war chest. Dowd has $31.27 and a bit of string.

(3) No incumbent Mayor has ever been defeated in the history of the City of Pittsburgh since the dawn of hyperbole.

(4) Voters in the other parts of the City hate politicians from the East End.

(5) Ravenstahl has the bully pulpit and the office to make rain prior to the election. Expect a news conference every day announcing a new program that will benefit residents of the City of Pittsburgh and which will be forgotten about by May 31, 2009.

(6) Ravenstahl needs the job. It's not like there's anywhere else for him to go right now, and with a wife and kid at home, he needs the money.

(7) Dowd was on the Pittsburgh Public School Board - a body so historically incompetent that it makes City Council look like a bunch of Philosopher Kings.

(8) The "Progressive" movement in the City seems very localized. The Southern and Northern neighborhoods are much more conservative, and probably reflect more of the voting public, in general.

So, Dowd, in my estimation is a long shot. If he can mobilize a strong GOTV effort, especially outside his East End base and in African-American neighborhoods, he may have a slim chance.

I'm not betting my food stamps or ammunition on it, though.

Sen. Roland Burris Admits to "Questionable Activities"

(Newswire) Washington D.C. - On a day which he asked his critics to stop hounding him, Illinois Junior Senator Roland Burris has publicly admitted to a series of questionable activities that put his senatorial seat in jeopardy.

In the wake of ongoing investigations, Burris has already admitted that he talked to several people in the Blagojevich campaign, including the governor's brother and finance chairman, who asked for help in raising money for the governor. New statements by Burris, however, have indicated that other, more sinister activities may have also taken place.

In a written statement to the Illinois State Ethics Commission, Sen. Burris admitted to a series of activities including,

- Actively soliciting campaign contributions for the former Governor;
- Approaching the Obama administration on behalf of the Governor for some sort of Federal Appointment;
- Failing to file Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner's tax returns correctly;
- Giving the Governor advice on hair products;
- Being responsible for canceling Arrested Development;
- Greenlighting multiple Razzie award winner The Hottie and the Nottie;
- Certifying the location of WMDs in Iraq.
- Shooting himself and distant cousin Plaxico Buress in the leg in a crowded night club with his own, unsecured weapon; and
- Being the long lost Lindbergh Baby.
When asked why these things were not revealed during previous state inquiries and affidavits, Sen. Burris responded that "No one had asked."

Burris has spent 30 years in Illinois politics, including a term as attorney general, and unsuccessful runs for governor, senator and Chicago mayor. Detractors have criticized his recent statements by saying that no one with his experience could be this naive to think these events would never come to light.

Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald refused to give specifics, as the Blagojevich case remains an open investigation, but said that the new revelations were "troubling."

In a followup written statement, Senator Burris said that he "didn't understand what the big fuss was all about," and that everyone should just "drop it" and let him be Senator.

Both Chicago news papers and all five fans of Arrested Development have called for Burris' immediate resignation.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside

Methinks that arresting politicians is far more efficient than an California-style recall elecection, plus with the added benefit of a perp walk.

However, before we encourage this type of behavior, one must ask: do we have the prison space for the detrious of 130 municipalities?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Sports Aside

You think Mike Tomlin would be interested in coaching the Penguins?

The Pirates, perhaps?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside

The bad news is that because of the economy, large Pittsburgh area non-profits have not yet made their voluntary payments in lieu of taxes to the City.

The good news is that because of the economy, there are going to be a lot more large Pittsburgh area non-profits to pay into the system. "Non-profits" like, say, PNC Bank.

Bush Spends Presidents Day "Being a Dick"

(Reuters) Dallas TX - Enjoying his first Presidents Day without responsibilities for the last eight years, former President George W. Bush spent the Federal holiday being a dick.

Neighbors of the former President say that Mr. Bush woke up early on Monday morning and fired up the leaf blower at 6:30 AM. After he swiped the newspapers from other front porches, he then walked his dog Barney on neighbors' lawns and left without cleaning up the mess. Later in the day, he barbecued some foul smelling piece of meat, while drinking and hurling empty bottles of Schlitz at delivery men.

Former Chief of Staff Andrew Card said that this type of behavior should be expected from an Ex-President.

"You see, the man's been the leader of the free world for the last eight years. He's had to deal with 9/11, terrorism, war, 9/11, economic collapse, corruption, 9/11 and 9/11. Those kinds of things can really grate on a person. He's just finally getting a chance to let out his inner asshole."

Neighbors in the private community were not so forgiving.

"I voted for the guy, you see," said next door neighbor Montgomery L. Hibbert, "But what he was doing to Laura was just unforgivable. You could hear a loud 'thththblat' and then Mr. Bush shout 'Hey Laura! Did that one smell like the Prime Minister of India to you?' It was disgusting. In the evening he came out dressed only in his boxer shorts challenging anybody who came within earshot to a fight. You could see the whole butcher shop just swinging around."

Mr. Card, however, had a further explanation. "I suppose that after eight years, he figures that he's earned his own President's Day, which apparently involves things like turning the hose on children that get too close to his flower bed."

Friends of the former President say that this kind of behavior should not last long and will lose enthusiasm within a few weeks. His father, former President George H.W. Bush is helping him find a baseball team, oil company, or other first world nation to play with for the time being.

Shit Canned

The Trib is getting its collective panties in a bunch over a bunch of trash cans.

[The Mayor's] office used $252,500 from state grants to buy 250 steel trash receptacles that display "Taking Care of Business" above Ravenstahl's name and title on black-and-gold metal placards.

The slogan emblazoned on each $1,010 garbage can heralds Ravenstahl's seven-month-old campaign to beautify 50 city business districts. Some question whether it's ethical to deploy expensive, taxpayer-funded endorsements on curbsides, months before the May 19 Democratic primary...

Tim Potts, co-founder and president of nonprofit government watchdog group Democracy Rising, said Ravenstahl's campaign committee owes taxpayers a refund.

"It's plain self-promotion. It's not promoting the city, it's promoting him," Potts said.
The article points out, of course, that Ravenstahl isn't the first Mayor to attach his name on public works projects. Tom Murphy put "Mayor Tom Murphy's City of Pittsburgh is Picking Up" or something like that on all the garbage trucks. Pete Flaherty emblazoned trash cans with "For Pete's Sake" as part of his anti-litter campaign; Sophie Masloff put "Sophie's Choice for a Clean City" on all of her trash cans, seemingly trying to equate garbage with the Holocaust.

Even Bob O'Connor tried to co-opt the Redd Up campaign with "reminder" billboards peppered with his image, which was later picked up by his young successor.

Richard Caliguiri put his name on the Great Race, while Mayor Joe Barr managed to get his name on U.S. Currency for a time.

While not Mayor at the time, David L. Lawrence managed, as Governor, to have Smith County renamed "Lawrence County" in a brazen display of political bravado.

Cornelius D. Scully made all City employees wear buttons with his picture on their lapels.

William A. Magee rearranged the streets in the Lower Hill District to spell out his name. The street grid was later destroyed by the building of Civic Arena.

James Blackmore insisted that every cobblestone in every street bear his name. (Every sewer line was similarly carved with the name of his rivals on City Council.)

Ebeneezer Denny mandated that every child born in the City be named "Ebeneezer," regardless of sex. This was systematically ignored by the residents.

So, as you can see there's a history of this kind of crap; let's just be thankful we're just labeling trashcans and not, say, feral cats.

Déjà Vu Squared

They say those that don't learn history are doomed to repeat it.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership this morning announced a $5 million plan to remake Market Square into a more pedestrian-friendly area with less traffic and wider sidewalks to encourage more outdoor dining.

The design, which was unveiled at the partnership's annual meeting, will stop all through traffic on Forbes Avenue, eliminate all bus traffic and send cars around the perimeter of the square. Instead of raised planters that are the centerpieces of the four quadrants of the square, the site will become a level area with trees, tables and a decorative stone surface.
This all seems strangely familiar to me... almost as if there was a place in the City of Pittsburgh that tried to do this whole walkable pedestrian area thing before to great acclaim and with rapturous applause, only to see said neighborhood collapse, necessitating massive redevelopment efforts 30-40 years in the future, nearly completely reversing the original plan.

Of course, Market Square isn't East Liberty, nor is Allegheny Center, so I'm sure that there will be plenty of other new and creative ways someone can mess this all up. Again.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Business Casual Saturday

For all of you damned Gen X whippersnappers and who those of you that don't have a clue about what all the hubbub was down in D.C.:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Obama Appoints Spinal Tap Drummer as Secretary of Commerce

Image Hosted by

John "Stumpy" Pepys expected to die in a horrible gardening incident or choke on somebody else's vomit, but in a more respectable way than either Gov. Richardson or Sen. Gregg.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Question

So, how many candidates do you have to have in a city council race before it ceases to be a race and just becomes a clusterfuck?

And who exactly is the "power bottom" in this race?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

$838 Billion Bailout Passes Over GOP Calls for More Witchburning

(Reuters) Washington D.C. - Three Republicans joined all the Democrats in the Senate to pass a modified economic stimulus bill that now moves on to a Congressional Conference Committee, despite GOP demands to increase funding to "Witch burning," "Humor-letting," and "Divination."

"This bill is a bloated, unnecessary waste of take payer money," said Minority Whip Senator John Kyl on the floor of the Senate. "Time and time again and throughout history we have seen that witch burning, humor-letting, and divination are the only solutions to economic problems.

Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell was on Fox News later in the day echoing a similar theme.

"The Democrat party thinks that spending money on health care, energy, education and infrastructure -- investments that they say with 'save jobs' and 'create new jobs'. But this is just a misguided pork-barrel bill. What America really needs are things that will put money back into the consumer's pockets. Witch burning is just what we need for this economic crisis."

President Obama brushed off such comments calling them "antiquated" and "heathen."

Republicans have pointed to the rise of the world economy at the end of the Middle Ages, which was a high point for so called "black economic arts" and foreshadowed an increase in wealth over the next century. In the 1970s, the Austrian school of economics perfected this theory, which came to include such spells and incantations massive tax cuts and minimal government oversight. Practitioners are said to keep the spirit of the late President Ronald Regan in an amulet hidden in the mountains of Transylvania.

Nobel Prize winning Economist Paul Krugman called the use of witch burning as a stimulus to the economy "laughable."

"Some people argue that the burning of witches will create jobs, first, by creating which burning technicians and, second, by removing people, that is witches, from the job pool. The problem, of course, is that there aren't nearly enough witches or even practitioners of Wicca out there to burn. You'd have a bigger impact if you started burning Episcopalians or Presbyterians."

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, in a statement to the New York Times rebutted Krugman's claims saying, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu Rl'yeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!"

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down over 380 points, driven mostly by collapsing Wizard related industries and the Banking sector.

And now...

Image Hosted by

Monday, February 09, 2009

Doug Shields Bows Out of Mayor's Race

In a fourteen hour press conference today, Pittsburgh City Council President Doug Shields laid to rest rumors that he would be seeking to challenge the incumbent mayor in the upcoming election.

"A lot of people encouraged me to take a shot at a run at the mayor's office, but after careful review and consideration, my staff and I, with the consultation of many in the community, my district, and elsewhere... Including Jim Czechowski.... Say Hi Jim... you all know Jim, he runs a small deli down in the 31st ward, and he's been hit hard by this economic downturn. And Jim, he says to me 'Councilman, I'm concerned about the state of the street outside my house. It hasn't been fixed in a hell of a long time.'... So, I give a call to Guy Costa... Nice guy, that guy is, if you'll pardon the pun, I mean the whole family's a bunch of really great people. They really know how to treat a fellow good. And that Dom Costa, he's a great guy too... Just the other day Dom and I were talking about off road biking. You wouldn't think that Dom would be a peddle-head, but you'll see him down on the Eliza Furnace trail at least every weekend in the spring and every other weekend in the winter, unless the roads are bad, which they usually have been this winter. I've gotten a whole lot of complaints from my constituents whose roads haven't been plowed at all this year, and I try to be understanding, especially when they can't even get out of the house to get a jug of milk down at the Giant Eagle, but with the city still under Act 47, we've had to cut costs across the board, from salaries to deferred maintenance. And We on council have tried our damndest to work with the ICA and the Act 47 people to get us out of this mess, but it all just keeps coming back to the pension legacy costs, that the Commonwealth just won't help us with. And we've talking with our friends in the legislature, especially Chelsa Wagner and Jim Ferlo. Jim's a hell of a guy, by the way. I remember this one time just before he left Council, him, Joe Edlestein and a young Pat Ford went on a three day hooker and booze bender, or at least they thought it was booze. Turns out it was children's cough suppressant. And we all know that there's been a problem with children's cough suppressant in the schools today. That's why we on Council have been working closely with the Mayor on the Pittsburgh Promise so that every child in the City of Pittsburgh has an opportunity to go to a university. Preferably around here, like Pitt or CMU or even CCAC. Now I know that a lot of people make fun of CCAC, but I took an amateur astronomy class there last year, and boy I can tell you that the things that I learned in that class where just unbelievable. Did you know that Pluto is now classified as one of the minor planets. Not Pluto the Disney character, of course. Pluto was always disturbing for me. I mean, Goofy can talk and wear clothes, but Pluto is stuck in the doghouse. Probably for the best, if you ask me; I don't think that I could handle seeing a six foot anthropomorphic dog walk down the street. We have enough problems in this city with feral cats, coming up onto our porches peeing on everything. Like last year, me and Twanda Carlisle, who is doing quite well, by the way, learning a very valuable trade, I believe. Of course, in the movies, people in prison are always making license plates, which, as I understand it is so that they can catch any dirty phrases that slip out onto the license plate, like A55 ORG, which would be a pretty funny one, I suppose, but not one that you'd want your grandmother to see. Grandmothers and grandfathers are, of course a vital part of our community fabric, and as Council President, I worked with the county to extend the senior exemption to cover, not only seniors but middle aged and youth homeowners. Not young adult homeowners, however, mostly because their creative capital must be harvested in order to increase the tax revenue, not only for the region but for the City as well. It's that kind of spirit of regional cooperation that will really drive the City forward into the next millennium. Not the one we're in, of course, I mean the year 3000 A.D. when, hopefully we get a flying car. They have those things on the Jetsons, along with talking robots and food in pill form, but you don't see ADM working on some sort of grain supplement that you can take with your morning coffee instead of a bowl of Wheaties. That's the Breakfast of Champions you know, not to be confused with book of the same name by the late Kurt Vonnegut..."

[Ed. Note: It continued this way for another 13 hours until the Council President broke into a 30 minute drum solo at which time P-G reporter Rich Lord stabbed him.]

Friday, February 06, 2009

Praeterea censeo Carthaginem esse delendam...

Here's a story that makes me all giddy inside:

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato said today that consolidating the state's 501 school districts into 100 -- as suggested by Gov. Ed Rendell Wednesday -- might be a bit extreme, but he would favor consolidating the county's 130 municipalities into 43.

"There are probably 20 or 30 municipalities that are financially bankrupt and probably shouldn't exist," Mr. Onorato told the Airport Area Chamber of Commerce during a breakfast address this morning. "I think we should just wrap them into the school districts. There's no reason we shouldn't have 43 municipalities."
Wilmerding? GONE!

Braddock? GONE!

Haysville? Wait. Where's Haysville? Doesn't matter: GONE!

Mount Friggin' Oliver? GONE!

Watch the County go from this...

Image Hosted by

To this...

Image Hosted by

And while it's not perfect, it's certainly a nice 66% decrease in useless municipalities.

Sadly, however:
Mr. Onorato's statement was more of a concept than a plan...
Boo! Here I was sharpening my pitchforks and lighting up my torches. Shame on you Danny for getting my hopes up.

You'd still better sleep with one eye open Mt. Oliver. I'm coming for you.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

About That Special Election...

So there's 25,071 eligible voters in Council District 2... and (unofficially) 2,609 of them decided to show up today for its special election. That's a turnout of about 10% if anyone's counting.

More people read this blog.

Congratulations to Theresa Smith who, I hope, will show the same kind of leaderhip as Dan Deasey.

Breaking News: Mayor Changes City's Name to "Sixburgh"

After changing his name from Ravenstahl, Mayor Luke "Steely" Steelerstahl has officially renamed the entire City of Pittsburgh, partially to honor the Superbowl Champions but mostly to defraud City creditors.

In a proclamation City Council, "Commended the Rooney Family to the devotion to the City," and officially announced that "all debts public and private that were assumed by the City known as 'Pittsburgh' were null and void.".

Moody's gave the new City of Sixburgh an AAA rating, based on it's outstanding debt history.

Councilwoman Tonya Payne offered up a competing proclamation that would have renamed the city "Jeff". The resolution was defeated by council by a vote of 7-0 with one abstention.

Creditors have been asked to forward all mail to Youngstown, OH.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Reflections on 2nd District Special Election

Special elections are pretty much like the Special Olympics: even if you win... well, yeah, you know how the joke goes.

Couple thoughts though:

(1) Whoever wins here has a pretty good leg up when they have to run again for the regular election, which is scary because...

(2) No one shows up for special elections except the exceptionally dedicated or insane. Your target demographic, therefore, is the hardcore nutjob segment, the kind of person that calls her cats her "children," but...

(3) A good GOTV effort could get you enough temporary nutjobs voting for a particular candidate. We're probably talking about a (relative) handful of voters, except...

(4) No one cares about this election, or this District for that matter, even though it accounts for 1/9th of City Council.

(5) Tomorrow's forecast: Snow likely. Snow accumulation 1 to 2 inches. Highs in the upper 20s. Northwest winds around 10 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent. That's hardly the weather that would encourage voters to get out, and not particularly great weather for working the polls.

So, my predictions: this special election will be one by a fairly narrow margin with a very low turn out. And no matter who wins, the winner is still... well, you know.

Steelers Pull Themselves Out of Hole

Ben Roethlisberger Sees His Shadow

Image Hosted by

Six more months until training camp.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Special Announcement From The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat

The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat died tonight as the result of a major heart attack, brought on by a 64 yard run. He was revived with under 2:00 left in the 4th quarter. He is expected to make a full recovery.

He will be billing Dan Rooney for his medical expenses.

Go Stillers!