Monday, March 30, 2009

Imagine the Allegheny Conference

Not to steal from Mike Madison or anything who's got the Allegheny Conference on Community Development stuck in his craw but...

Imagine Pittsburgh ... without the Allegheny Conference. Imagine the resources that go into the ACCD today ($12 million per year, give or take) being distributed instead upward -- to planning activities at the County level and downward -- to grantees and new (and some existing) businesses in the energy and infrastructure fields....

It is not a bad thing at all for Southwest Pennsylvania to have a regional planning czar. It is a strange thing for Southwest Pennsylvania to continue to outsource its regional planning to a 501(c)(3), with minimal accountability and transparency to area residents, businesses, and governments.
Actually, I have a bit of a bug up my butt about the ACCD as well. Take the sectors of the Conference: Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce (Business Advocacy), Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern Pennsylvania, LLC (Policy Research and Advocacy), and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (Regional Branding & Marketing), all of which is fine, but there's one big chunk missing there that the ACCD doesn't really seem to care about: the "Community" bit.

Now, don't get me wrong: I don't think that what the Conference is doing is fundamentally bad or anything*, but it ain't really "Community Development," it's "Economic Development." For an organization that's so fixated on the branding of the region, it seems that things would go a whole lot smoother if they just owned up to the fact that they're pushing a business agenda.

Again, there's nothing wrong with that, but even the Commonwealth has wised up to the fact that Community and Economic Development are different, yet interrelated aspects of whatever. They should either really try to integrate real community development into their programs, or just drop the damned word entirely and let someone else take the lead.

Perhaps it's just me, but I think that would definitely make us feel that this organization is more old men in monocles looking at their stock tickers and less old men in monocles trying to plan a region.

And maybe, just maybe, that would loosen a few craws.

* With the exception of their musical numbers at the annual meeting.

This Post is a Waste

From Dr. Goodhair, courtesy of the P-G:

Councilman Patrick Dowd outlined what he called $20.2 million in "wasteful spending" by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration today...

• $19 million in costs and fees -- mostly for insurance -- the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority incurred on a complex $414 million debt deal last year...

• $518,000 of the $977,550 the city is spending on ventilation systems for firehouses...

• $252,500 spent on 250 new trash cans.

• $91,000 that the Urban Redevelopment Authority could have received, but didn't, when it changed the rules after soliciting bids to manage parking lots.

• $337,000 in payments to police Commander Catherine McNeilly, former URA Executive Director Pat Ford, and former Operations Director Dennis Regan, each of whom were involved in thorny personnel issues...

• $45,000 in free parking along 4th Avenue provided to members of City & County Government that could have otherwise been used by the public.

• $500,000 in excess water bills from a faucet in the Mayor's Office that Luke never shuts off when he's finished.

• $757,385.68 in lost productivity from employees scanning local blogs for mentions of their names. $723,000 of that amount alone comes from Yarone Zober.

• $30,638 in mailings announcing mailings which will be coming shortly, all of which have Luke Ravenstahl's face on them.

• $38,345 in "Un-Deasying" Council Chambers.

• $150,000 for promoting city living to Pittsburgh residents.

• $450 in Doug Shields noise dampeners.

• $58,298 for the 2nd Council District.

• $.75 lost in that stupid vending machine that's always out of Fresca.
The Mayor's Office offered no comment to this report, except to say that it'll fix the Fresca machine during the next budget round.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside

Why do some elected officials think that they are "smart" merely by virtue of being elected?

And if they are so "smart" why do they keep getting arrested for such dumb things?

*cough* Veon *cough*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat Slams Dowd's & Ravenstahl's Half-assed Campaign Finance Proposals

‘Is there some sort of carbon monoxide leak on the 5th Floor of the City-County Building?'

Outlines reform agenda.

March 25, 2009 - In response to yesterday’s post agenda on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s campaign finance bill and Democratic Mayoral candidate Patrick Dowd "reform agenda" released today, "O", the pseudonymous Angry Drunk Bureaucrat, called both proposals "festering piles of dung, with dung dressing, dung on the side and a cherry on top, made of dung."

Last year, Ravenstahl vetoed a bill supported by a majority of council that imposed federal contribution limits, $2,300 per person per cycle, on municipal elections. Since his June veto, Ravenstahl has raised approximately $500,000 according to public filings. Mr. Dowd similarly backed these initial limits during previous council hearings, only to flip to a more stringent position after announcing his campaign.

“Both candidates sound like they were dropped on their heads as children," said O, "and then peed on by various neighbors."

Ravenstahl’s current proposal is a watered down version of the legislation he vetoed last year and places no restrictions on the awarding of no-bid contracts to contributors. Dowd's plan inhibits local labor contributions by restricting contributions by PACs, but does not address similar individual contributions by corporate executives.

In response to what he termed a “complete clusterf*ck” on campaign finance and eliminating the appearance of impropriety in contracting, O outlined his campaign finance reform agenda:

In an Angry Drunk Bureaucrat Administration:

1) I will introduce comprehensive, ridiculous campaign finance legislation that is tied to some defunct foreign country like Zanzibar or Des Moines;

2) I will end the practice of awarding no-bid contracts to campaign contributors and begin the practice of not awarding bid contracts to campaign contributors;

3) I will ensure that every contract over $25,000 will be broken up into smaller contracts of less than $25,000;

4) As an incumbent Mayor, I will not solicit campaign contributions from any firm that does business with the Dutch; the damned, dirty Dutch;

5) I will make all finance reports electronically available to the public, but the web site will be optimized for IE8 or Netscape Navigator v.5 and probably just redirect you to porn;

6) I will ensure the creation of and integrate searchable electronic databases of all city contracts and all campaign contributions of all city elected officials, their dealers, and their mistresses.

7) I will publish my public schedule on the city's website so that any Pittsburgher can see at which bar I'm currently drinking.

8) Given that you're a young man, hard man, shouting in the street 'gonna take on the world some day' and that you have blood on your face, you big disgrace, waving your banner all over the place: I will, I will rock you. I will, I will rock you.

9) I..................... will always love you.

10) I will survive as long as I know how to love I know I will stay alive. I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give, and I'll survive. Hey! Hey!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Re: Financing, Shitty Urban Mall

There was a day when Parkway Center Mall had "Gold Circle," "David Weiss," "CompUSA," and no carpet. My have times changed:

The developer of the long-struggling Parkway Center Mall has opted to transfer a majority interest to Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority as opposed to paying off the $6.2 million loan in full.

Green Tree-based Kossman Development Co. faced full payment of the loan on June 1 but opted to grant the URA, the city’s economic development arm, a 60 percent interest in the project, said Megan Stearman, a spokesperson for the URA.

Stearman said under the new agreement Kossman will pay 60 percent of the mall’s net proceeds annually toward the remaining debt.
Sounds like the URA is looking at the chance to try to get something out of this deal rather than get nothing. Of course, if the Mall goes totally pear shaped, than this 60% stake is worth 60% of nothing.

And National City Bank isn't around anymore to take over this vacant urban mall.

That being said, "Shakey" mall, is an awesome metaphor for today's real estate/financial market.

Re: Building, State Office

A quick back of the envelope calculation here:

Projected rent in the (now former) State Office Building: $15/square foot per year.
Size of the building: 273,000 square feet
Total Gross Rent for one year: $4,095,000.00

Purchase price: $4,600,000.

Even with repairs, asbestos clean up, creating new office spaces, utilities, taxes and so on and so forth, a two-to-three year projected payback is pretty damned sweet.

Now, I could go on about how silly it's now going to be to divide State services up between different buildings and how much it's now going to cost the State taxpayers in rents, but I feel those arguments will probably fall on deaf ears.

But well done Millcraft. Way to stick it to the man.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Re: Contracts

With the contracting brouhaha that surfaced in yesterday's Post-Gazette, the consenting opinion from the de facto leader of the opposition, and the rebuttal from the incumbent, I got to thinking. My sense is that there are those in the local political establishment that are suffering from some sort of cognitive dissonance, not quite understanding that, whether they mean it or not, when contributors to their campaigns receive lucrative contracts it reflects badly on them and implies that there has been some sort of a quid pro quo. Some of the people you've elected just don't get it.

Of course, in a disturbingly small city like this, it's sometimes very difficult to differentiate between one's friends, one's contributors, and other qualified professionals. So, when your circle of "experts" is limited by the people you are in contact with (and often contribute to your campaign), it seems only logical to you that they should be awarded government contracts and that you should be the one to help them.

Then again, there are the other times when there's plain outright corruption.

The immediate, shoot-front-the-hip response has been to stop non-competitive contracts, which is more of a pain in the ass for those in the Bureaucracy who have to administer the contracts than an actual remedy to the problem. The problem can't be solved with limiting campaign contributions either, however; contractors will just find something else of value to do for the elected representatives (name a building after them, fund a charity, lobby other similar contractors, etc.). You can shake up the box, I think, but there are always going to be some old school people trying to game the system.

So, I'm generally pessimistic about this whole thing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Business Casual Friday

We've been busy this week trying to make your elected officials look good (or at least less bad).

However, as that is a nearly impossible task:

Great Depression Cooking with Clara

In later episodes, Clara teaches you how to eat the rich. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Business Districts

Saw this in the P-G:

Mayoral candidate Carmen Robinson used her first major campaign news conference in Bloomfield yesterday to criticize development of neighborhood business districts.

Bloomfield is thriving, the Hill District attorney said, but business districts in Carrick, Homewood and elsewhere are not. She said fellow Democratic nominees Luke Ravenstahl and Patrick Dowd have pursued development policies that support big Downtown firms and corporate entities from outside Pittsburgh, deploying "carnival tactics in a desperate attempt to coax people from elsewhere to step inside our tent."

Ms. Robinson was asked about the Ravenstahl administration's tax abatement plan for more than 25 neighborhoods citywide, which is spurring home sales in East Allegheny, the Hill District, Hazelwood and elsewhere. "Gentrification," she responded, and then pointed to East Liberty. "I believe they're trying to turn it into East Shadyside."

Asked for a policy change she would make in that regard, she said she would form a Department of Neighborhoods to respond to small business needs.
Well, that was the whole article. Obviously the Post-Gazette has kind of cut back on in-depth reporting, printing, and subjunctive clauses. The Trib has a different article, based on the same event, but with a different tone... and a few more words.

Anywho, not to sound like I'm supporting the Mayor or anything, but I'm sort of concerned with what Robinson is suggesting here. Now, I recognize that many neighborhoods have an attachment to their business districts and there are certain amenities that local business districts provide to residents, still, in 2009 Pittsburgh the role of local business districts have diminished considerably over their role in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s. Indeed, the local neighborhood business district I grew up with, which included one market, a pharmacy, a florist, two pizza places, a hardware store, two barbershops, and a dentist is now down to a florist. There are some neighborhood business districts that have been winners, but there have been a whole lot more losers.

So, the question to a Mayor Robinson: is it worth pumping scare resources into 89+ business districts (some of which are doomed from the get go) or to put resources towards those few districts which are doing well in order to sustain them?

No offense, Carmen, but maybe Homewood should be allowed to fail and that other provisions can be made to provide local business districts resources to residents.

And, well, gentrification ain't all bad: it's instant equity for homeowners (although it is a pain in the ass for renters).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dan Rooney Traded to Ireland for Two Players to be Named Later

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Despite nearly surpassing Brett Favre's consecutive season record, the 76 year old Steelers owner feels that he still has "a couple more good years in him." Coach Mike Tomlin hopes the trade will add some much needed depth in special teams.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Architectural Aside

Cheers and Jeers on the Pittsburgh architectural and urban design front this week:

First, a big Cheer for the folks at PennDOT for their work on the Boulevard of the Allies bridge project. One of the things that I liked about the old bridge (other than the thrill that it may collapse at any moment) were the four concrete eagle medallions that graced the corners of the bridge. It was a nice little neo-classical public art detail from back in the early part of the last century. The eagles, however, had suffered from the ravages of time, and it appeared that a little bit of decoration to the bridge would be lost.

The folks at PennDOT, thankfully, have installed new eagles on the bridge piers of an even greater scale, still echoing the grandness of the original. If you drive up from Forbes Avenue from the Parkway, you can see these colossal additions to the project. It's a great touch that brings a good shot of public art to an otherwise dreary public works project.

A big Jeer, however, to the folks at Walnut Capital for their "Walnut Place" project at the corner of Browns Hill Road and Old Browns Hill Road. The new development is frankly the same kind of strip mall abortion that we've seen everywhere in this country: devoid of any real attempt at good planning and subservient to the automobile. Now, usually this kind of development would be ignored, but considering that it will be located on the Homestead Grays Briged side entrance to Summerset at Frick Park (a development that the City has gotten great kudos on for its attempts in creating a new Urbanist Community), you would have thought that the folks at the Planning Commission would have advised them to build something a bit... uh... less like somebody vomited shit onto a set of blueprints.

(Now, I'm not saying that there's any connection that City Planning Commissioner Todd Reidbord also happens to be the part owner of Walnut Capital, but...)

So well done for advancing the cause of mediocrity, Todd, but a big jeer from us.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slip Sliding Away

Please insert your "Walmart find replacement site for its failed Kilbuck Twp in City's West End" joke here:

A leaking water line apparently caused a mudslide that temporarily closed a West End street and damaged a vacant home, city officials said Tuesday.

Trees, mud and debris slid about 100 feet down the hillside between Elliott and Angle streets into the back of the three-story house.

The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority shut down the water main that runs parallel to Angle Street, said Operations Director Tom Palmosina. PWSA spokeswoman Melissa Rubin said only one home was affected and that it is unclear if anyone lives there.

Rubin said a leak somewhere in the line caused the slide, though officials could not say whether it was in the water main or the 2-inch-wide pipe that supplied the empty house.
So, let me get this straight (and please correct me if I'm misreading this article): this landslide was triggered by a PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE failure that serviced only ONE HOUSE that was probably UNOCCUPIED.

Does anyone else see a problem with this?

And no, by that I'm not suggesting that someone was accruing a private benefit for public services that was undeserved. What I am suggesting is that in an efficient system, this water line should no longer exist. Sure, in the 1940s that street probably had rows and rows of housing, but at that time, the City also had about 700,000 people. Today, the street is nearly empty and the City has closer to 311,000 people.

Now, we're spending more public money to resolve an emergency when we probably should have just severed and abandoned that line in the first place. This doesn't even include all the routine plowing and paving that has to occur on that road on a regular basis in the first place.

I doubt that this street is alone in the City, and I wonder what the cost is for the upkeep of its brethren and what the trade off is in abandoning, vacating, or just plain old forgetting about them all.

Amoto quaeramus seria ludo...

So there's this:

Ravenstahl kicks off campaign against potholes

And then there's this.

Almost a year to the day, would you believe?

For the record, I am not the Mayor's media relations person sent from the future to warn the City of impending doom.

What's next? A war on couches?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Bureaucrat's Aside

I'm not keen on this whole "family friendly" St. Patrick's Day thing the City is trying to foist on us.

Frankly, my family is a whole lot friendlier after about a fifth of whisky.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Metablogging Update

In case you care (and I know you don't), an update from this ancient post from 2006: The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat is now the #2 hit for "Certified Preowned Angry Squirrel."

C'mon folks! I need your help to bump me up to #1!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ravenstahl's 11 Point Plan

Kicking off his Mayoral campaign, Luke Ravenstahl today outlined an 11 point plan for his next administration. Our spies in the Mayor's Office managed to snag a copy of the plan, in advance of the points being posted to the campaign website:

(1) Solving the city's long-term costs;

(2) Boosting the healthcare and education industries;

(3) Create and implement a zero base-line budgeting process for the annual Budget;

(4) No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law;

(5) Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you;

(6) Floss everyday;

(7) No pooftas;

(8) A body persists its state of rest or of uniform motion unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force;

(9) There is no point 9;

(10) A batter shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place;

(11) Doc Dopey Shemp.
Something tells me the campaign was just phoning this one in.

Dowd Calls Out PWSA

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Councilman and Mayoral candidate calls Authority's inner workings, "full of crap."

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Zober Begins Work on Volume 5 of Enemies List

Word on Grant Street is that Mayoral Chief of Staff Yarone Zober is now starting on Volume Five of his extensive enemies list with the inclusion of all members of the Patrick Dowd for Mayor Facebook Group.

Zober is well known in City circles for remembering both real and perceived slights to both him and the Mayor. The first name on the list is, in fact, Post-Gazette theater critic Christopher Rawson, who gave a less than exemplary critique of Mr. Zober's performance during the Gene Kelly Awards in high school.

Notable names on the list include Bill Peduto, B.J. Leber, Paul Leger, Sala Udin, Franco Harris, the entire neighborhood of Shadyside, the Dutch, Sienna Miller, Les Ludwig, and the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The maintenance crew in the City Council Building has long complained to the Mayor's Office about the Enemies List, as it's size is apparently causing structural problems on the 5th floor. Ironically, however, for their efforts, the maintenance crew was also placed on the Enemies List, thereby increasing its girth and destabilizing the floor further.

Mr. Zober has been known to spend hours a day scouring local newspapers, magazines, television, blogs, pamphlets, and graffiti in bathroom stalls, looking for any hint of opposition to him or the Mayor. A source who wished not to be named told ADB that she slightly smirked at a joke made at the expense of the mayor and the next day the street in front of her house was torn up for "exploratory work" by the Water and Sewer Authority.

Those that are familiar with the contents of the List say that large portions of it are culled directly from Richard Nixon's famed Enemies List. The inclusion of Allard Kenneth Lowenstein, who died in 1980, seems to confirm this point.

No one knows what Zober intends to do with this list, but late at night staff members are said to have heard maniacal laughter coming from the Chief of Staff's office and cries of "You are dead to me!"

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Contractual Obligations

Back when I was an Angry Young Bureaucrat, the slide in our neighborhood playground was, by today's standards, a death trap. The slide was this giant red monstrosity: twenty feet off the ground, solid welded steel. If you weren't careful, you could get your tiny hand caught in the metal crevasses, and even if you were careful on hot sunny days, there was a good chance that you would burn yourself on the hot metal going down the slide. Of course, it goes without saying that this slide was built over the least kid friendly material in the world: concrete.

However, hundreds of children played on that slide yearly, and while some of us got hurt, we dusted ourselves off, learned our lesson, and went back to playing... more carefully this time.

Years later I went back to the old playground to find that, like all of the playgrounds in the City of Pittsburgh, it had been sanitized and pasteurized and euthanized for the protection of the children. Gone was the twenty foot rickety, death trap of a slide; it was replaced by a shorter, squatter, plastic abomination. Gone was the face shattering concrete; it was replaced by rubber foam and bark chip. Gone, it seems, was the death defying, but life lesson teaching, opportunities; it was replaced by a sad, safety.

I asked around why it had all changed. As it was relayed to me, some damned fool child somewhere didn't take proper precautions or thought he could fly or something and ended up smacking his head off the damned concrete. Rather than yelling at the child, as my parents did, the parents went off and sued. Cities across the country switched over to the new, safer equipment, and our culture lost a character building experience.

My point in that long rambling story is that it just takes one kid doing something stupid to cause people to overreact, and ruin something that wasn't doing any harm to begin with, if you weren't doing anything stupid.

That's kind of how I'm looking at this whole no-bid problem the City seems to be running into.

Public Works officials authorized spending $4,750 to create the 3-by-6-foot vinyl banners and $2,500 in wages and overtime to install them the week after the Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game Jan. 18.

Pittsburgh City Council members have received three invoices: $1,425 on Feb. 18, $1,425 on Feb. 25 and $1,900 on Wednesday to pay the bill from H.H. Seiferth Associates, a Strip District sign-maker...

According to the city's Home-Rule Charter, contracts worth more than $2,000 must be competitively bid. Smaller amounts can be awarded without bids, and council is permitted to make exceptions when purchases must be made quickly.

On Jan. 15, Ravenstahl signed an executive order requiring professional service contracts to be competitively bid. It takes effect April 15.
The overreaction has been that now everything has to be sent out to bid. If you like transparency, that's great... but if you want to actually have civil servants to something other than writing up bid forms (you know: like doing stuff), you might get a little miffed.

Fine, those of us in City government will get over it. We'll do the extra layer of paperwork and the powers that be upstairs on the 5th floor will bask in the glow of "Governmental Transparency," all the time criticizing the departments for not getting stuff done.

And by June, mark my words, it'll all be forgotten and we'll be back to the same old crap.

Methinks that there are some folk in the Mayor's Office that would have benefited from the life lessons imbued by a swan dive from that old metal slide.

Whither Pat Ford?

Found him:

From our friends in Hancock OH:

A new executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle (BDC) was introduced at Thursday's Hancock County Commission meeting.

Patrick Ford, who hails from Hardy County in West Virginia's eastern panhandle, stated that he is looking forward to his new position as executive director.
Best line in the article:
BDC Chairman William D'Alesio stated that the BDC Board feels "fortunate to have been able to attract someone with the education, background, and record of success" that Ford has demonstrated.
I don't know if "success" is the word you're looking for, Bill; "suc-" something, but not "-cess".

No word if Mr. Ford will be paid in stereo equipment.

h/t to "Energy Expert" who passed this along.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Business Casual Friday

While everyone else is standing in line, getting their $5 butter (flavored) popcorn to see something that Alan Moore would never, ever condone, you can always be thankful that it won't be like this:

Enjoy... Nerds!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Rule #34

Dilbert creator Scott Adams once postulated that "There is nothing more dangerous than a resourceful idiot."

This is patently false; resourceful idiots are not necessarily the people in power, ergo:

Rule #34:

There is nothing more dangerous than an elected, resourceful idiot.

Of course, we're the ones who vote for these yutzes, so I suppose that in a sense, an idiotic electorate is just as dangerous.

Breaking News: Compromise Reached on Street Lights

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Councilman Bill Peduto have reached an agreement over the replacement of 40,000 City streetlights. The Mayor had argued that Peduto's plan would be too costly.

As a compromise, however, Peduto convinced the Mayor that cost savings could be realized if the lights were only run at night.

The Mayor thanked the Councilman for his generous concession, and proclaimed this a great step in the process of moving Pittsburgh forward.

More details later, if we get around to it.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

GOP Frustrated in Attempts to Catch Obama

(NewsWire) Washington D.C. - Tempers seethed today on Capitol Hill today as the Senate Minority party expressed audible frustration that his party was unable to catch up with the new President.

"We nearly had him with the stimulus bill," said Senator Mitch McConnell at a closed door Republican luncheon. "We nearly had him with (Governor Bill) Richardson and with (former Senator Tom) Daschle. Heck, we even had old (New Hampshire Senator Judd) Gregg over there dress up as Commerce Secretary to lure him into our clutches. We even set up that anvil with the Obama seed underneath it, but we managed, somehow, to get squished into an accordion like shape. What's wrong here?"

Weeks after inauguration, President Obama still maintains high approval ratings across most of the country even with an ever worsening economic situation. The President seems detached and aloof from the ongoing problems in the opposing party.

Last week, Representative Michelle Bachman (R-MN) dressed up as a bat to swoop down onto the White House in order to catch the President unawares, but she managed to slam into a boulder instead, which subsequently plummeted with her to the canyon floor.

RNC Chairman, and self-proclaimed "Super Genius" Michael Steele purchased a pair of rocket powered roller skates, but, when activated, spun wildly out of control, sending him as well to the canyon floor.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor had devised a complex slingshot system, but, when activated, the sling flung Mr. Cantor into an oncoming train.

Faced with declining lobbying support after its failed K Street project and its loss of prestige, the GOP is relying heavily on the Acme LLC lobbying firm for advice.

Noted political commentator Isadore Freleng says that the problem is one of desire for the Republicans.

"You see, the GOP wants Obama. It desires to get Obama anyway it can, but there's some sort of subtle self loathing at play where they dream up these crazy, rocket powered, gun powered, giant metal spring, traps that inevitably blow up in their faces. It's almost as if they don't really want to get him, because they wouldn't know what to do if they did get him."

Senator McConnell laughed at that suggestion.

"We have a really great plan this time: we're going to paint a tunnel onto the side of the Lincoln Memorial so that when his motorcade goes through he gets squished. It's a fool proof plan."

Presidential Spokesman Robert Gibbs responded to McConnell's plan with "Meep-Meep!", before dashing off in a puff of smoke.

Folding, On

Here's a list of things that fold quickly:

(1) A poker player with a two and a seven of different suits.

(2) An origami champion.

(3) According to string theory, dimensions 6-10.

(4) A cocaine addled gas station attendant assigned to fix the map rack.

(5) Automated hall closet doors.

(6) A bank that invests only in Zimbabwe.

(7) Superman on laundry day.

(8) Michael Steele

Monday, March 02, 2009

An Observation

I was thinking random thoughts while walking by the Greyhound Bus Terminal, when it occurred to me that we haven't talked about the whole LED Billboard kerfluffle in awhile. It further occurred to me that we haven't talked about contracts, take home cars, Ron Burkle, street paving, media blackouts, purges, community benefits agreements, tax breaks for non-profits that contribute to the Pittsburgh Promise, Pat Ford, interdepartmental mergers, ethics boards, vacant "interim" positions, operating efficiencies, getting arrested outside Heinz Field, more purges, city sponsored campaign advertising, casinos, missing meetings, demotions, and Dennis Regan in awhile either.

Apparently "trashcans" are in now... until the next big thing comes around.

Or until we forget about that too.