Sunday, June 28, 2009

Addendum: A G-20 Idea

I would just like to reiterate for the folks from the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, et al who regularly visit this site, that the previous post was satire, and I am, in no way, advocating the kidnapping and brainwashing of G-20 leaders.

Everyone knows that the Illuminati, the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Catholic Church, the Lizard People, and Colonel Sanders (before he when tits up), really run the world.

A G-20 Idea

I did not have time to go to the G-20 Idea Roundup that was held last week. Sadly, real life intervened; although from the sound of it, no really decent, interesting, or otherwise good ideas were presented. For example:

The city should send journalists a YouTube video showing how Pittsburgh has gone from "rustbelt to sparkling jewel."

Because YouTube (especially the comments section) is a bastion of intelligent public discourse.

We should have signs in multiple languages on the way in from the airport saying welcome to Pittsburgh.

Including signs in "Yinzer" I suppose.

And then there was something about a Wizard of Oz video juxtaposing old steel Pittsburgh with new, munchkin filled, Pittsburgh, which I didn't quite get. I mean, Dorothy still wants to go back to Kansas at the end... which probably subliminally says something about our post-industrial hangups.

No, if the Region wants to do something for the G-20, it needs to do something BIG for the G-20. I mean, we have a chance here to cause a real international scene and we should avail ourselves of that opportunity and try to draw out this publicity as long as possible.

So, here's my little proposal: kidnap all the attending foreign heads of Government and pull some sort of Manchurian Candidate-style brainwashing on them. Once they are released, they go back to their respective countries and start directing business to Pittsburgh.

Now, obviously this type of plan has been floated before by the Allegheny Conference; back in the early 2000s, somebody proposed a visit to a "mystery city" for out of region young folks... or what amounts to a jackbooted, Border Guard Bob. Once in Pittsburgh, the tour guides would show the victims how great Pittsburgh was, and the young people would go back to... um... do something. Anyway, I don't think this plan made it past the "straight face" test, but that's because they weren't thinking BIG enough.

Kidnapping 20 world leaders is a big plan and it has some major benefits.

First, as this would probably take nearly 440+ days to resolve, international media would be staying in the Region long enough to produce a slew of human interest stories, Regional boosterism video, and generally spend money. All of this is a positive benefit to the City & Region. True, the undertone of the reports may be something along the lines of "Pittsburgh is a beautiful place, but the people are genuinely psychopathic", but that's going to have to be a risk we're going to have to take.

Second, the international outrage would be immense. At least 6 of the countries are nuclear armed and the combined military force would crush us like insignificant bugs. Don't worry, the fight will be short and painless, however, the occupation could take years. This is actually a good thing. Chances are, about 5 countries would be involved, occupying different sectors of the Region without regard to municipal boundaries. The result, of course, would be a quick and effective municipal consolidation.

Of course, for this to take, we'll need to be occupied for about forty years and chances are either Luke or Dan would be set up as some sort of puppet Dictator in the interim... but we could always oust them in the future with some sort of coup (bloodless or otherwise).

Third, in the wake of this chaos, a lot of things are going to get blown up, destroyed, or otherwise rendered functionally useless. During the occupation, we're going to have the opportunity to rebuild the Region, meaning that we can create jobs, new manufacturing sections, housing, and basically do whole damned thing right this time. (And frankly, if we burned down bits of the more distressed parts of the City on our own, I doubt anyone would question it.)

Now, I'm sure that there are people out there that would consider this to be "illegal" or "seditious" or "a really, really bad idea," but these people are either small minded or work for any of the dozen or so US security agencies. "Videos" and "signs" quickly slip from the public memory; an international kidnapping conspiracy will be remembered forever.

But, think about it folks: one small band of dedicated nutcases could single handily change the course of Pittsburgh and direct us to a brighter future. I think the Allegheny Conference is just nuts enough to do it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Governor's Mistress Identified

(Reuters) Columbia, SC. - Fighting pressure to resign, new revelations emerged yesterday about the mistress of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and her involvement in a major international criminal organization.

The two term Governor had apologized to his cabinet and the State for his marital infidelity, but lingering questions remain regarding his deceiving his staff after breaking away from a state-funded trade mission to South America last summer to rendezvous with his mistress. Sanford had told his staff that would been hiking the Appalachian trail during the Father's Day weekend, where, again he visited his mistress. The Governor's disappearance spend several days in the news cycle.

New details about the mistress have emerged which indicate that the woman, only identified as "C.S.", is the head of Villains' International League of Evil (V.I.L.E.), a criminal organization whose agents either assist her in committing outrageous thefts or else commit thefts on her behalf.

Anonymous sources close to Sanford say that the Governor had first became aware of "C.S." after her associate Patty Larceny had stolen Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night from the New York Museum of Modern Art. Sanford followed Larceny and other associates of "C.S." throughout the world, identifying them through hair colour, favourite foods, and favourite author. Sanford had tracked his future mistress to the country of San Marino after she stole the Eiffel Tower from Paris, but, after becoming enamored of her red hat and trenchcoat, he let her go.

The couple later spirited away to Buenos Aries, Argentina, where they plotted to steal all the Beans from Lima.

The Governor refused to comment on these rumors, although he was spotted with a copy of The World Almanac and Book of Facts in his back pocket.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Train of Thought

The Burgh Diaspora has a nice little post about the Amtrak high-speed rail plan and how it relates to the Burgh.

Pittsburgh is increasingly isolated. The historical geography of the region lends itself to a particularly fierce form parochialism and is partly to blame for anemic in-migration. Pittsburgh desperately needs to improve its inter-urban connectivity, especially with cities outside of the United States. Domestically, which high-speed rail route would best benefit Pittsburgh?

Paz chips in his two cents:
No one is going to admit it, but Cleveburgh is probably a more important line than the Keystone corridor (and this is coming from someone who goes East far more often then he goes West). A Cleveland-Pittsburgh line is more in keeping with the major city-paring lines like the Hiawatha in Milwaukee or the Lincoln service in Illinois. Keystone makes more sense politically, but I think Cleveburgh makes more sense from an economic and cultural standpoint.
Actually, it's surprising that Jason Altmire is pushing the Cleveland/Pittsburgh corridor.

No, wait... what's the opposite of surprising? Yeah: obvious.

I mean, Altmire gets that there's a Regional connection between Cleveland and Pittsburgh... and that if this rail line is built, PA-04 is going to benefit enormously, not just from the construction itself but also from the competition/collaboration that can result between the two Regions.

Amtrak, of course, believes that because we are in Pennsylvania, we're obviously to be lumped in with Philadelphia.* While to some extent there may be some truth to that, there will probably be less Regional cross-pollination.

What Altmire has the opportunity to do, however, is make Pittsburgh a major transit node, linking Chicago and the Midwest with Phillie, D.C. and the East... you know, like Switzerland.

Or Breezewood.

* Amtrak is obviously unaware of the existence of the Great Pop/Soda War of '19, between the East and Midwest, in which the loser got Pittsburgh.**

** This is a joke. The loser got Toledo.***

*** This is also a joke. It was the Toledo War.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside re: Politics

Back in the late 90s early 2000s, my bureaucratic mentor the One-Eyed Fat Man, when faced with the milquetoast-eries of the upper management of the Federal Government, was fond of saying that he held no political allegiances and that his boss was the U.S. Constitution.

I think that's important.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside

You'd think that certain Department of Public Works employees would be familiar with the below clip from Mythbusters and wouldn't mind saving the City a couple bucks by doing something simple.

Rep. Chelsa Wagner Gives Birth to Baby Boy

Thadeus Wagner Mosley (9 lbs 15 oz) expected to run against Luke Ravenstahl in the fall, despite rampant rumors perpetuated on certain blogs regarding ties to erstwhile Beechview developer Bernardo Katz.

The young Mr. Mosley is expected to garner at least twice as many votes as Mark DeSantis in the General Election.

*We kid, of course. Congratulations to the new family!

Voting Irregularities Reported in Iranian Elections

(Reuters) Tehran, Iran - Amid increasingly violent protests in Tehran, reports are coming out of Iran's southern Hormozgan Province that thousands of ballots were improperly counted in the presidential battle between right wing candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and centrist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Early indication are that so-called "butterfly ballots" in the heavily Jewish province were confusing, causing many elderly voters to cast ballots for Pat Buchanan by mistake.

"The ballots were confusing and difficult to read," said one elderly voter who refused to be named. "And Pat Buchanan? Is he even Iranian?"

The closeness of the return in this province has triggered an automatic recount, per election law. Supporters of Mr. Mousavi, however, point out that the Secretary of State for the Hormozgan Province, Khathri Neharisa, is also the chair of Ahmadinejad's re-election committee, and have sent in swarms of lawyers to challenge the vote count.

Both campaigns knew by late last week that the votes in the Hormozgan Province would be very close. Election night returns confirmed this fact when major Iranian news networks called the election for Mr. Mousavi, retracted the projection, called the election for Mr. Ahmadinejad, and then retracted that projection. Mr. Mousavi has also rescinded his election night concession to Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Observers speculate that the election could be thrown to Iran's Guardian Council, should the election crisis become drawn out.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside Re: Beer

You know, I'm probably going to get my Yinzer Card revoked for saying this, but I don't really mind Iron City moving out of Pittsburgh. If nothing else, the average quality of the City brewed beers will increase by at least 1000%.

Of course, it will rob locals of an easy opportunity to simulate sex in a canoe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Many Roads?

OK, this pisses off my highly honed sense of order:

The Parkway West from the Fort Pitt Tunnel to Interstate 79 has been redesignated as Interstate 376, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced today.

Its former designation as Interstate 279 now applies only to the Parkway North.

I-376 now stretches from the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Monroeville to the I-79 interchange in Robinson. Eventually, PennDOT will extend I-376 along Routes 22, 30 and 60 on the Airport Expressway and Beaver Valley Expressway to Mercer County,
And here's why. From der Wikipedia:
Auxiliary Interstate Highways are circumferential, radial, or spur highways that principally serve urban areas. These types of Interstate Highways are given three-digit route numbers, which consist of a single digit prefixed to the two-digit number of a nearby primary Interstate Highway. Spur routes deviate from their parent and do not return, with a few exceptions; these are given an odd first digit. Circumferential and radial loop routes return to Interstate Highways, and are given an even first digit. Due to the large number of these routes, auxiliary route numbers may be repeated in different states along the mainline.

So, if you caught all that, PennDOT has assigned a circumferential route number to what will now be a spur route and a spur route number to what will eventually (I presume) be a circumferential route. Really the numbers should be changed to I-379 and I-276! They could have at least kept it I-279/I-376 to the I-79 interchange, rather than making a complete switch.

I mean, what the point of a system if you're just going to throw out numbers willy-nilly! Might as well just call the damned things "Interstate Sunday in the Park with George Wentz" and "Interstate Be like the seventh level donkey in space: PING!".

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Joe the Plumber waits Patiently by the Phone for the Media to Call

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Mr. Wurzelbacher has reportedly tested the phone several times to make sure that there's a dial tone. The phone company has requested that he stop calling them to see if calls aren't making it through.

The former plumber's assistant has reportedly taken off several days from work "just in case" NBC's Mark Murray tries to reach him.

Cyril Wecht Guilty of "Loving Too Much"

In front of a packed courtroom today, former Allegheny County coroner, noted pathologist, and self-described "shrinking violet" tearfully admitted that he was guilty of loving too much.

"Over the last two years I've been hounded by a Federal prosecutor for crimes that I did not commit. It has drained every penny from my bank account and every drop of blood from my heart. But I never gave up. I didn't give up on myself, I didn't give up on America, nor did I give up on this great concept we call Justice," Wecht said in front of the assembled.

"But there was a crime committed here, one that I was not accused of, but, which, now I must fully come clean. That crime? Loving too much. I am guilty of such a crime, and I intend to serve my sentence without delay or reservation." Wecht's bond was set at $30,000 and he was then led out of the courtroom to a holding cell.

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, who has doggedly pursued Dr. Wecht, remains unsure if she can prosecute for this crime.

"Well, usually Loving too Much is a class two misdemeanor, but with such a high-profile target... that is, defendant, we're probably going to seek the death penalty."

Legal scholars differ on whether Wetcht can be successfully prosecuted. In Michaels v. The People of California, former Wham! frontman George Michaels was found guilty of loving too much in a hotel bathroom stall. The charges, however, were lessened to public indecency, and Michaels was placed on parole.

On his way out of court, Wecht shouted to reporters, "You'd better start building a second prison, because there's not a prison in the world big enough for me and my ego!"

Wecht's attorney's have asked for a complete and total media whiteout of the upcoming trial.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside

Did you ever notice... No, wait. That's stupid.

I'll start fresh tomorrow. Return to what you were doing.