Following two separate incidents over the last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that the Season of Winter will be fined $25,000 for "unsportsmanlike" conduct.
"This is a serious matter for the League. Seasons cannot behave in a manner that jeopardizes the health and safety of players. We are a serious league. This is a serious matter.
A winter snow storm caused the collapse of the Metrodome on December 12, relocating the Minnesota Vikings to temporary venues and another storm required the delay of the Vikings-Eagles game this weekend. Mr. Goodell's office maintains that such flagrant actions will not stop unless appropriate penalties are meted out.
Critics have recently complained that the NFL has issued fines and suspensions in an inconsistent manner. The most recent fines against a season will probably not do much to quell such critiques.
League officials did not say how, exactly, they were planning on enforcing the fine, although it is expected that they withold the Superbowl from any places within its icy grasp. Some have suggested that either Santa Claus or Jack Frost be fined in Winter's stead; it has been pointed out, however, that these are fictional characters and fining them would be ludicrous.
Mr. Goodell, however, remains firm on his position.
"I'm serious here people. Stop laughing at me!"
Monday, December 27, 2010
Following two separate incidents over the last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that the Season of Winter will be fined $25,000 for "unsportsmanlike" conduct.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Faced with increased pressure coming from the President and his Democratic allies in the Senate, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) mounted a rare 8 1/2 hour filibuster of a proposed tax package crafted by the White House and Senate Republicans.
He began the marathon speech at 10:25 AM, railing against the proposed tax plan. In short order, however, it became clear as to what his true intent was.
"Now, I had some pretty good coaching last night," said the Senator, "and I find that if I yield only for a question or a point of order or a personal privilege, that I can hold this floor almost until doomsday. In other words, I've got a piece to speak, and blow hot or cold, I'm going to speak it."
Senate Sanders, who was not technically engaging in a filibuster as no legislation was being blocked, spoke for the next eight hours, railing against a plan which extends "unaffordable" Bush era tax cuts for the next two years.
By 7PM, his voice audibly hoarse, the speech reached its climax,
"You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked. And I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if the room gets filled with lies like these, and the FoxNewses and all their armies come marching into this place."
With that, the Senator collapsed in the Senate well.
Amidst the confusion, the Senior Senator from Vermont Joseph Harrison Paine rushed to the floor.
"I'm not fit to be a senator! I'm not fit to live! Expel me!" said Senator Paine, "This tax plan is a fraud! It's a crime against the people who sent me here - and I committed it! Every word that boy said is the truth! Every word about FoxNews and me and graft and the rotten political corruption of my state! Every word of it is true! I'm not fit for office! I'm not fit for any place of honor or trust! Expel me, not that boy!"
More as this story develops.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
The Pennsylvania Pythons were dealt a serious blow to their playoff hopes today when they lost to the Alabama Aardvarks 57-40. Despite having rung up 17 more points than the Aardvarks, archaic NFL rules stipulate that a winning team must score at least two thirds of the points on the board.
The Pythons were hampered by a fumble by center Jonah Cenim, allowing the Aardvarks to retain possession during a late 4th Quarter drive. Overthrown passes to Wide Receiver Sam Ilurowski and Welsh Tight End Otto Scrwbn also doomed the Pythons.
Despite a late, and some say "unnecessary," field goal by kicker Olli Suscanns, the Pythons saw another defeat in what appears to be a season of defeats for the team.
Many fans considered this a symbolically important game against their long time rivals. Many commentators saw a Python win as "inevitable."
"We went out there and gave it our best," said head coach Ryhard Eri, "if it weren't for these damned rules, we would have won this thing."
Many fan have blamed Eri this season, however, for not running a strong ground game, the historical strength of the Pythons franchise.
The Aardvarks maintained a strong defense throughout the game, barely giving ground despite the overwhelming crowd noise. Throughout the season, the team has shown an astonishing resilience, in the face of an inability to score points, continually lining up on the wrong side of the field, and instances of massive head trauma. Their best success, however, has come as the result of penalty flags based on arcane NFL rules.
The 2/3rds rule dates back to the founding of the AFC in the early part of the century, when the majority of players were acquired from college football teams. Originally, it was considered "ungentlemanly" to win by a close margin, and the 2/3rds rule was established to ensure that teams would be evenly matched and that individual players could be fully utilized. There has been talk that the NFL may consider changing the rule, as well as provide for instant replays.
As the Pythons close the 2009-2010 season with a better than .500 season, they face a loss of several players due to retirement and free agency.
"It's going to be a tough upcoming season," said Irish team President Mack A. O'bara, "This loss is disappointing, but fortunately, I'm also betting the spread."
Friday, December 03, 2010
Looks like someone didn't have their knuckles wrapped hard enough by the nuns:
UNIONTOWN, Pa. -- Police are searching for a vandal who knows Latin -- or at least one famous phrase of the language -- after about a dozen cars were damaged at a Fayette County car dealership.Actually, the phrase is ""Nemo me impune lacessit." "Nemo me inpune lacessit" would mean "I have a small computer animated fish that needs it's shoes tied." That doesn't make any sense.
Uniontown police say nearly two dozen tires were slashed and about a dozen cars had their paint scratched with a key or another sharp object Monday at Five Corners Auto.
The scratching on one of the cars spelled out "Nemo me inpune lacessit." The phrase means "No one attacks me with impunity."
The quotation, in fact, comes from Edgar Allan Poe's classic horror story "The Cask of Amontillado." It is the family crest of Fortunato, the unfortunate victim of revenge by his neighbor, Montressor. The narrator lures the drunken Fortunato to the basement of his Italian villa during carnival where he chains him to a wall that he then bricks shut, leaving the man to die in the darkness.OR, if you're historically literate....
It's the the Latin motto of the Order of the Thistle and of three Scottish regiments of the British Army, and has been used by the British Monarch in Scotland since at least 1707, predating the use by Poe by about 150 +/- years. And who am I to question the Queen of England? The "me" in the phrase refers to the prickly thistle, the emblem of Scotland. No words if vandals' attack was on a Toyota Highlander.
Alternatively, and ironically for the vandals, the phrase can be translated into English as "No one can harm me unpunished."
My family Latin motto is slightly longer:
O Sibili, se ergo,
Fortebus es inero.
O Nobili, demis trux
Si vatsinum, causan dux.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
(Reuters) Hollywood - Standing next to some of his bitterest foes in Tinseltown, presumed future Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced that the Republican party had reached a deal with 20th Century Fox Productions to develop nationwide Grapes of Wrath reenactments.
"I'm a big John Ford fan," said Boehner, "I loved The Quiet Man and How Green Was My Valley, but nothing even comes close to his masterpiece with Henry Fonda. Let me assure you that the Republican Party will do everything it can to make sure that the American people can relive that movie."
Eric Cantor, current House Minority Whip, announced that when the GOP took control of the House in January they would be advancing bills which would defund anti-climate change initiatives to create agricultural wastelands in the Great Plains, allow mortgage companies to more easily seize family farms, encourage strike breaking by non-union farms and factories, and stem the flow of cheap illegal immigrant farm labor and encouraging more Americans to take those jobs.
"Can you imagine the fun kids are going to have playing Ma & Pa Joad while their parents hunt for work," said Cantor.
News Corp, who owns 20th Century Fox, pledged to do its best to help the Speaker-elect advance his dream.
Boehner described The Grapes of Wrath as an uplifting story about how a Christian, nuclear family comes together to explore the West and enjoy the fruits of unbridled capitalism, although he admitted that he regularly doses off during some of the more dialogue heavy bits.
Mr. Boehner also remarked that he was a fan of that Mr. Potter character in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and would be looking to recreate Pottervilles as well.
This spoiled my breakfast this morning:
Since their enactment in 2008, Allegheny County's taxes on alcoholic drinks and car rentals have done virtually nothing to ease the Port Authority's chronic financial problems.What? What? WHAT?
Here's why: The new taxes were intended to help the county's budget, not the Port Authority's.
The taxes are generating less than $2 million per year in extra revenue for the authority while producing $30 million to $40 million windfalls that county government has used to avoid raising property taxes.
"That is very clearly a point of confusion," [Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie] said. "People to this day just don't understand that this was not new money."Now, that's an understatement. Did I just miss this? Was I not paying attention? Were there squirrels outside my window going at it like... squirrels, I guess, in heat? Was I so hopped up on NyQuil and ground up Flintstone Vitamins that I was delusional?
Please, someone tell me that this was hidden somewhere in the fine print near the bottom, like where the credit card rate jumps from 3% to 4 Gillion % if you don't buy milk on Wednesdays!
I mean, *I* used the might and majesty of this blog to argue that the drink tax was a sensible way of funding mass transit. I severed friendships over this. I burned down an apartment building in a Sambuca fueled haze for the Drink tax. Now I find out that it was just another way to suck money out of Joe Six Pack so that Dan Onorato and the folks on County Council wouldn't have to raise property taxes?
I ruined my liver for the busses, Dan, not so that some estate in Fox Chapel could save a mill or two off their taxes.
I feel dirty now.
Dirty and sober.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Now if you have access to the Internets, you're probably already well aware that the folks at Wikileaks have published a metric assload of Department of State dispatches and communiques, detailing everything from a future reunification plan for the Koreas to Col. Gaddafi's fear of upper floors. It's a fascinating little peak into a world of diplomacy that most U.S. citizens never really come in contact with.
That being said, I have a bit of a confession to make.* You see, back years ago before I was a local bureaucrat, I was an employee with the State Department assigned to several countries that were, shall we say, less than Club Med quality. Seriously, I had the runs for like 2 1/2 years. As I'm reading through the database of Wikileaks, I realized that I actually wrote a good number of these cables. So, I'd like to clear the air a bit and/or retract a few statements I made.
*I did say that Francois Mitterand got "more ass than a bidet," despite being dead, but I did not call him a "Frankish twunt."I hope this all sets the record straight. I can only hope no permanent damage was done to U.S. Diplomatic efforts... except for the Dutch thing.
*Gorbachev's head should not have been referred to as "the bullseye", that was insensitive.
*Slovenia and Slovakia are in fact different countries, I know this now.
*Not everyone in Togo eats humans.
*Kim Jong-Il is not a very tall man who stands very, very far away from the cameras. He is, in fact, a troop of megalomaniacal dwarf-acrobats.
*Margaret Thatcher is not and never was a looker.
*I once referred to Pope John Paul II as "Funny Hat Man," but I wasn't aware of other priests playing with their "funny hat men" in front of other children.
*The Dutch are not all potheads, just very tall and awfully white.
*The Germans don't like to be referred to as "Hitlerians" or even "The People Formerly Called Hitlerians." Other than that, they are very hard to insult.
*The EU headquarters are not located in a Virgin Records store in London.
*Drinking contests with Russians should be avoided.
*The Vatican is a good place to try to score some strange.
*A misprinted comma on my part led to the break up of Yugoslavia. Don't ask.
*All of this is a lie, but an entertaining lie, I hope.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
(Reuters) Seoul - Faced with an overwhelming economic disaster, Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Il has pledged to invest 10 megatons in its neighbor to the south.
The official North Korean news agency said early today that "the Dear Leader was planning to provide ample opportunities for South Korea to begin a massive re-building program." The South Korean government did not respond to the announcement.
The move by North Korean came as a surprise, as the won has recently decreased in value from 1000: $1 to 1000: a Zimbabwean dollar. Kim Jong-Il had invested heavily in Arizonan real estate up until 2009, when the bottom fell out.
Most recently, the North Korean Government had to seize and shut down 1/2 of its banks, specifically the 2nd Bank of North Korea, which was only open from 10-3 anyway. It's total holding upon seizure amounted to $100 million in dirt and one rock. The rock, however, was later withdrawn by Mr. Jong-Il to make several smaller rocked on arbitrage.
The rock is now owned by the US Department of Treasury following in exchange for several thousand shares of GM stock.
Despite these problems, however, the North Koreans see eager to help solve the global financial crisis through a massive government sponsored make work program.
More as this story develops.
And so while I was hung over from turkey (and about three bottles of Bordeaux), Jon Schmitz wrote a nice little positive article on the North Shore Connector in the PG. I wouldn't go so far to say that this is a fluff piece, but it is comparable to what I regularly find in my bellybutton.
It's not that I have a problem with the North Shore Connector, in concept. Indeed, high speed dedicated mass transportation should be provided to as many Pittsburgh neighborhoods and outlying suburbs as possible in order to enhance interconnectivity between communities. The NSC (as I will now call it after a further bottle of Bordeaux), however, goes about it in a rather ham-handed way.
To the points raised in Senor (because my computer won't let me put a "~" over the "n") Schmitz's article:
(1) Is this a subway train to nowhere?
Schmitz argues no: this is a line that complements development already underway. While this may be true, the NSC seems to half ass it.
First, while the line does reach into the North Shore, it doesn't reach into the North Side. The City has already invested many millions of dollars in the adjacent neighborhoods of Manchester, Allegheny West, and Central North Side, but they don't get to appreciate a T-stop unless they walk under a highway, down a cavern, past the river Styx, fight a legion of rabid monkeys... etc. While they train doesn't go nowhere, it doesn't exactly go *somewhere*.
Second, if you look at the flyover ramp next to the casino, it seems very difficult to imagine how this line will eventually go *somewhere*... like, say, to the airport. I mean, if it went underground, paralleling the Northshore Expressway or event the CSX lines, servicing Manchester, Marshall-Shadeland, Brighton Heights, etc., I could see opportunities for future expansion, but it sort of stops and runs right into the casino. And, while I am no expert of Real Estate acquisition, I would think that this would be a problem.
It's like PAT is planning on a 100 year time horizon in which the Morlocks have risen from under the earth and have destroyed everything in their path, at which time the Port Authority can extend light rail service to Findley Twp. Unless you're a forward thinking Morlock, this doesn't make a lot of sense.
(2) Can they afford it?
The question is wrong. It isn't really "Can PAT afford it" but rather, "does it provide a net benefit to the region?"
I would say no.
Rather than connecting, say, the two of the most commercially developed areas in the state (Downtown and Oakland), PAT has decided to connect the 2nd most commercially developed areas in the state with a slight outlying area to the 2nd most commercially developed area in the state.
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, especially considering that the East Busway was designed to be eventually converted into light rail and could relatively easily be repurposed to that end.
Now, I may be completely hammered on a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sam Adams, but it doesn't really seem that the Port Authority is really keyed into the long term economic development plans of the City of Pittsburgh. While service to the Northshore is nice and all, (as built) it doesn't really serve a long term economic development strategy. Rather it seems to advance a bureaucratic fetish to build stuff because money is available and stuff needs to be built.
I mean, I hope that I'm proved wrong and that come April Steve Bland will announce an multi-billion dollar project to connect the airport to Oakland. I will not, however, be holding my breath.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Just wanted to give a run down of all the things certain folks are thankful for this year:
*Mayor Luke Ravenstahl - Lawyers who will still sue for innuendo. Twitter.Happy Thanksgiving
* Mayoral Chief of Staff Yarone Zober - The Dark Side of the Force and impressionable young Jedi.
* Council President Darlene Harris - Dogs, Puppies, Pups, Pooches, Mongrels, Mutts, Canines, Cats, Kittens, Kitties, Pussies.
* Councilman Doug Shields - Staff, Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill, Hazelwood Greenfield, parts of Oakland, rain, sun, trees, streets, houses, friends, family, cartoons, radio, radio ships, Israel, Jacobian architecture, buildings, Legos, Eggos, pancakes, butter, milk, cows, goats, chickens, 10 out of 11 herbs and spices, Colonel Sanders, Bernie Sanders, sandblasting, vodka, cigarettes, cigars, Topic Bars, lawyers, the pay level for District Justices, Antonin Scalia, Tony Soprano, Tony Bennet, spelling mistakes, televised Council Meetings, the Town of Temperanceville, Susan B. Anthony, Lebron James, NBC, TSA, CIA, NKOTB... (and so on for three hours until we got tired of transcribing)
* County Executive Dan Onorato - Missing the opportunity to be a one term Governor.
* State Rep. Paul Costa - Being a Costa. Weed.
* Senator-Elect Pat Toomey - A new government job that allows him to eliminate other government jobs.
* Ex. Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin - Certain Americans born every minute.
* Former President George W. Bush - That black guy and the short attention span of the American Public.
* President Barack Obama - The hopes and dreams of the American people and their unwavering determination in the face of adversity. And that Presidential elections are held every four years.
* The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat - Squash
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The City planning commission today approved the demolition of the 49 year old Mellon Arena, but in a stunning move the Obama administration has appointed the structure as Ambassador plenipotentiary to Canada.
The move, orchestrated by the group Save the Mellon Arena, effectively prevents the demolition of the structure, which now has full diplomatic immunity.
"This is indeed a great victory for architecture," said Rob Pfaffmann spokesman for the group.
This afternoon, the State Department issued full credentials to the building, which is expected to remain in Pittsburgh for some time rather than travel to Ottowa to meet the Governor-General of Canada.
The Mayor's Office has already contacted John McClane, a noted specialist in revoking diplomatic immunity.
More as this story develops.
Look, I get it: the world is a scary, scary place full of people that want to kill us, blow us up, and generally make us stay at home in pants wetting terror. I know this because I've sat through several Michael Bay movies, and I can say without fear of contradiction: that man wants to hurt America.
But seriously, are you really protecting the country, or are you just overreacting in the hopes that doing something, anything will look better than doing nothing? The bad guys are always going to be trying to find new and exciting ways of causing mayhem. It's what they do; it's in the job description. That doesn't mean, however, that wildly flailing at "security steps to take" is going to solve anything.
As much as I love the choice between getting groped by a balding, middle aged agent or getting a cancer inducing picture of my junk, it's really a false choice. You can have security without having to be molested in public. It's in the Constitution... not the "junk" bit, they took that out... but the searching and seizing, yes. And, even though it doesn't say it, I would think that the "in public" bit has got to be implied.
I mean, even Michael Jackson and the Catholic Clergy had the good sense to keep that kind of molesting crap secret.
I'd like to believe that you don't want to do this. I know the deal with bureaucracies: some guy up in middle management has decided that everyone's doing Policy X now, and he's managed to convince his superiors of the same. Now you have to fondle the sweaty balls of some overweight tourist from Des Moines, and he's back in the nice, non-ball grabbing office trying to figure out if the TSA can get passengers to willingly stow themselves in 3 by 3 foot cubes... you know... for safety. I'd also like to believe that you hate this guy and would easily give him a *cough* more thorough examination if you ever had the chance.
But, of course, when you find that single 4 oz of Listerine that some housewife has kiestered in the hopes of having good, fresh breath when she lands, we'll know that all the violations of our persons were well worth it.
Until the bad people think of something even more clever.
Me, I'm taking the train.
The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat
Monday, November 22, 2010
(Reuters) Rome - In an upcoming encyclical to the Church in the United States, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to announce that hard tackles in the NFL are morally permissible when running a 3-4 defense.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl (SS), speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Pope was moved by the horrible penalty calling so far during the 2010 NFL season.
"The Bible says that we must love our enemies," said Wuerl, "It does not say that we have to ease up in the split second before the QB releases the ball. I mean, Christ! Tom Brady isn't Jesus."
This would mark a change for the Vatican, who had traditionally favored a West Coast style offense and had been keen on protecting its wide receivers. It also marks an incremental step forwards towards the full acceptance of blitzing as a football lifestyle, observers said.
The Pope had been criticized for not running the ball on 4th & goal during last Sunday's game against the Saints.
The encyclical Capras Goodell futuit is in its final final draft, according to Vatican insiders, who expect the Pope to also come out against the use of artificial turf.
(Reuters) Washington D.C. - Transportation Security Administrator John S. Pistole has announced that the TSA will begin random pat-downs of drivers of U.S. drivers for "security purposes."
"We're clearly concerned about weapons, bombs, poisons, water bottles, lipstick, and nail clippers being brought on board civilian aviation craft, but until now, there's been a blind spot in our terrestrial transportation security. This blind spot ends today."
Changes are the result of a routine traffic stop in West Hackensack NJ, when a driver was pulled over under the suspicion of carrying a 4 ton nuclear warhead in his Mazda Miata. Mr. Pistole said that, while the resulting strip search and grope-fest resulted in nothing more conclusive than a three year old Malo Cup, this doesn't mean that the American public shouldn't be terrified.
"Sure, there's one guy in Hackensack that didn't have a bomb... this time. But there are hundreds of other automobiles that could potentially be carrying something lethal: a bomb, anthrax, gasoline... We need to search ever car. You know: for safety."
Road checks will be placed at random intervals along major US highways. Drivers can opt for a "backscatter" radiation scan or a mechanic can disassemble your car by the side of the road. Delays to drivers are not expected to exceed 12 hours per check. Drivers will also be subjected to personal examinations, the results of which will be forwarded to your primary care physician at no extra charge.
Local reaction was mixed to the news.
"I'm not sure how I feel about this," said Betty Cunningham of Blawnox. "Sure, I think that it's a dehumanizing violation of our civil liberties, but on the other hand, I'm really scared of Muslims."
UPDATE: Drivers should be aware that a man in a white tank top and blue cuttoffs seen lurking at the North Somerset rest stop is not an authorized TSA agent. Drivers should not allow him to perform pat downs, no matter how many badges he shows you.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Looks like the City found a bunch of public art hidden away in some secret vault somewhere:
Five sculptures that were stored for years in a public works warehouse are being put back on pedestals four years after one artist's persistent queries led to their discovery.All of which makes me wonder is there some position in CitiParks or City Planning that involves someone wearing a fedora, carrying a whip, and battling Nazis in a hunt for lost Pittsburgh Treasures or is it more like a giant warehouse where Yarone Zober is hiding the Ark of the Covenant? Either way, how do I apply for that job? And where do I get a good quality whip*?
This morning, a crew from Mangery & Sons hoisted Peter Calaboyias' stainless steel sculpture "Five Factors" into place on a concrete slab behind the baseball field in Mellon Park, Shadyside....
"Five Factors" was one of four sculptures chosen in a 1971 public art competition and placed atop the garage at the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library. They were among the first contemporary sculptures to be displayed as public art in the city. At the time, the city required that 1 percent of the construction budget for a public building be spent on art.
Also, is that warehouse place that the City is hiding my generous donation of a priceless portrait on velvet of Luke Ravenstahl taking a #2? I really think that should have been put on public display. I mean, I don't know much about art, but I know what people like.
*That question's directed at you, Zober.
The Pittsburgh Housing Authority may demolish the 734-unit Addison Terrace development in the Hill District and replace it with a social and architectural gulag designed to strike fear in the hearts of Pittsburghers for the next several generations.
The authority board voted this morning to seek federal approval to demolish the existing units for low-income residents and to seek architectural certification from the Le Corbussier School of Unspeakable Abominations.
The authority's executive director, A. Fulton Meachem Jr., said the new housing would not be based on any preconceived design notions, except that they will not fit in to the surrounding neighborhood, will be isolated from public services and business districts, and will generally try to avoid making the experience better for anyone involved in the project. The authority will strive to avoid innovation in Public Housing, choosing instead to plop housing units down on HACP owned property in much the same manner as a dog does its business on the neighbor's lawn.
"We estimate that the project will take 5-8 years for HUD to review, then 3 years for us to review internally, and then another 10 years for us to screw it up and have to go back to HUD for a waiver."
No cost estimate was available because the planning is in the early stages, Mr. Meachem said, although it's projected that a huge request for additional funding from the City of Pittsburgh will be made at the last minute.
Mr. Meachem said the new development would mirror projects in Garfield, in that they will little public input from the surrounding neighborhood and force residents to remain isolated.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
There's probably many good reasons why I'm not the head of the Port Authority of Allegheny County... the most obvious of which is my well documented, if unusual, collection of Smurf Erotica... but slightly less well known is my ability to see an opportunity when it's staring me in the face. I, of course, am speaking about the proposed sale of the City's parking assets to fund the ailing pension system. Steve Bland is missing a golden opportunity here.
Now, if I'm head of PAT I'm doing one of two things:
First, I'm out in front of the public, news cameras, reporters, random people with nothing else to do, talking about how good this plan will be for you. And, of course, by "you" I mean "me". For, you see, I'd bet that despite the apparent elasticity of demand for parking, I'm guessing that increased parking rates are going to happen, and are going to drive(!) people to taking public transit, solving my own budget problem.
Or alternatively, instead of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority buying these garages and meters, as in the Lamb plan, I'm making a play to buy them myself. Now, you're probably saying "the Port Authority already has a budget deficit of it's own...I mean you just mentioned it in the last paragraph for Pete's sake." While that's true, and shame on you for pointing out my flaws, (1) this would be a capital investment on PAT's part, (2) there's already precedent for PAT owning parking garages, and (3) doing stupid shit has never stopped PAT in the past.
OK, so if PAT owned all these garages, what would they do with them? Well, if you've watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, you'll know the answer.
No, I'm not talking about wanting to nail the animated chick with the huge... bike racks. I mean the insidious plot of Judge Doom: buying the trolley line so he could dismantle it in favor of a cars and superhighways. Only this would be the opposite of that.
And there you go! Two problems solved: pension gets partially funded and PAT eliminates a competitor to it's business model. And maybe we'd rid ourselves of the cartoons in City Council while we're at it.
Of course, there's a big obvious flaw in the plan: something tells me that the Port Authority doesn't have a supervillain on staff.
"Yet," he says, twirling his mustache.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
And so Bram and Chris have been (musing? ... mulling?... one of those) over the threat of a boycott by the Marcellus Shale Coalition if the City of Pittsburgh doesn't allow gas drilling within its borders:
If Pittsburgh City Council doesn't want Marcellus shale gas companies drilling in the city, industry officials said they could take their non-drilling business elsewhere.All of which is like saying "If you don't give me the opportunity of raping you first, I'm not taking you out to dinner later."
City Council plans to decide Tuesday whether to ban the drilling. The industry could move meetings such as recent conferences to the suburbs or friendlier towns, said Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry trade group based at Southpointe in Washington County.
"The city is doing its best in its portrayal of this industry to say, 'We don't want hotel and meeting spaces to be filled with this industry,' " Klaber said. "And my members are saying, 'Why would we go Downtown?' "
The coalition brought $735,000 in direct spending to Pittsburgh in September with its first membership meeting, according to estimates by VisitPittsburgh. The group had several other smaller gatherings in the city.
Council readied its rape-whistle and passed the ban anyway.
Probably a good time to take a municipal self defense class.
Monday, November 15, 2010
(Reuters) Pittsburgh, PA - At a hastily convened news conference this afternoon, a local Anonymous Blogger today revealed that he can no longer tell satire from reality.
"I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on reality, but there I was watching C-Span and there's this Congressman from Oklahoma saying that we should take the babies of undocumented illegal immigrants and put them to work in fields until they're old enough to be shipped back to wherever they're from. And I'm thinking to myself: 'is he putting me on?' And then I realize, I wasn't sure. He may have been serious."
The Blogger was referring to recent comments by Representative Tom Cole (R) who faced a tough uphill primary battle against a TEA Party backed candidate who repeatedly called Representative Cole "Soft" on the immigrant issue.
Seeking to bolster his reputation as a solid conservative, Rep. Cole took to the airwaves today with his "Put Babies to Work" program. Rep. Cole has also proposed eliminating Medicare in order to pay for an elderly health program and eliminating unnecessary governmental intrusion through an extension of the PATRIOT Act.
The Anonymous Blogger's frustrations ran high during the press conference.
"I mean, you hear this stuff and you think, 'Naw, that's too crazy,' and then it turns out to be true. I mean when the line between satire and reality gets so blurred that you can't tell the difference, you got a real problem, right?"
Dr. Isaac Bickerstaff of Trinity College has written extensively on the use of satire in modern life and he shares the Anonymous Bloggers concern.
"You see," said Dr. Bickerstaff via a phone interview, "I could say that eating babies is a perfect way to bring back the American economy (indeed, given the size of American children, the nation would never go hungry again), but if someone goes out and starts gnawing on 2nd Graders, well, that's just not right. Tasty, perhaps, but not right."
The Anonymous Blogger was swift to point out that he wasn't sure what this meant for the rest of his blog.
"I don't know, really. I'm having trouble with understanding the ridiculousness of reality, I guess. I'm not even sure if this post is satire or not. I think it is. Most of it, anyway. I'm not even sure who that Dr. Bickerstaff was."
More as this story develops.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Posted by O at 12:01 AM
Saturday, October 09, 2010
We've been informed by colleagues traveling with the Pittsburgh delegation to China that Yarone Zober managed to narrowly avoid an international incident when he caught the Mayor of Shanghi attempting to put "pee-pee" in Mayor Ravenstahl's carbonated beverage.
The Office of the Mayor of Shanghi called the incident "a joke."
More as this story develops.
Posted by O at 2:09 PM
Friday, September 24, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
(Reuters) Pittsburgh, PA - A local anonymous blogger today announced that he was staging a "Basement-In" until the the Country is less stupid.
The Blogger, who writes for a well-known, if sporatically updated, electronic publication announced via email that "the current state of the country is too dumb to be a part of."
"I have my Netflix, I have several cases of wine and beer, I have a Wii... I figure I can last 12-18 months isolated away until our collective IQs break triple digits."
Sources close to the Blogger indicate that the recent kerfluffle over the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" were finally the straw that broke the camel's back.
"We were watching CNN," said his wife who refused to be named, "And then this report came on and he just started ranting. 'How can they be reporting on this,' he shouted, 'How can they... There's the First... I mean...' And then he just trailed off. I think the stupidity finally broke his brain."
No word on whether the Blogger actually intends on carrying through on his threat, although reports indicate that he has ordered 400 pounds of Cheetos, indicating a long seige.
If Doug Shields really wants to break down the will of those that are supporting drilling in the Marcellus Shale, he really just has to challenge them to an open-ended debate. By hour 165, the opponents will still be trying to get a word in edgewise.
Although, if subjected to Doug's notorious verbosity, methinks that the shale may frack itself, just to put itself out of its misery.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
If you are familiar with the Internets, which, if you are reading this I'm assuming you probably are, you have already heard about the nearly 92,000 pages of Afghan war documents posted to Wikileaks just the other day. What you probably aren't aware of, however, is that Wikileaks has also just posted a full 37 1/2 pages of potentially damning information about the City of Pittsburgh.
Most of it is unsurprising, but there are some shockers revealed:
• Yarone Zober and Steely McBeam are the same person.The Mayor's Office downplayed this release of information, saying that it was "unsurprising."
• There is no "Bon Air" neighborhood.
• Bill Burns is secretly alive under 1 Gateway Center and is being used to power Ken Rice's eyebrows.
• That horrible smell in the Recorder of Deeds office is found at DBV 142368 p 150.
• The Balance of the pension fund is made up of Pets.com stock and jellybeans.
• Darlene Harris once killed a guy for complaining about her screensaver.
• CitiParks Director Duane Ashley secretly hates trees.
• DPW is hiding all the snow from February's snow storm in vacant public housing.
• The Act 47 overseers are figments of a collective imagination.
• Joanna Doven is sick of your shit.
• The Morlock problem in the closed off passage under Ross Street still hasn't been solved.
• The Mayor drinks Bud Lite.
More as this story develops.
The Board of Directors has named Creighton Armus, Vice President of Alaskan Coastal Operations, as CEO. Mr. Armus has 25+ years of experience in oil, but has been dogged by a 1988 scandal in which a lieutenant needlessly died under his watch.
The outgoing CEO Tony Hayward, as part of his compensation package, will be abandoned on planet Vagra II.
BP stock rose 10 points in early trading.
Monday, July 26, 2010
In preliminary meetings today, Pittsburgh City Council tentatively agreed to sell the Free Parking space on its monopoly board in order to pay for incurred pension liabilities.
Councilman Doug Shields, who chairs the Committee on Land Use and Economic Development, said that the decision was a hard one, but needed to be done.
"For years, we've had this asset sitting there and no one really knows what to do with it. Most people just pass by it to get to Kentucky Avenue in Shadyside, or on their way to S. Atlantic Avenue in Friendship. It's there and we need to do something with it."
The Free Parking fund has been historically underfunded and has been the subject of debate between council and previous administrations. Former mayor Tom Murphy had long diverted payments of fees and taxes into development funds, while council had mandated that those payments go directly into the Free Parking fund. During the brief O'Connor administration, the Mayor sided with Council, and this arrangement has not been changed.
The Murphy Administration also sold the City of Pittsburgh waterworks to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, in order to develop both the Park Place area of Point Breeze and to fund a pedestrian boardwalk along the North Shore. Rents in those areas have quadrupled since the development of two new hotels.
R.U. Pennybags of Parker Bros. L.P., a financial consulting firm, said that the move is shrewd, but involves some risk.
"Basically, the City Council is offering an outside agency the opportunity to collect fees for the City. Ironically this would be more in line with the Murphy arrangement, than Council's. Still, there may be push back from citizens who have been dreaming for a home on Pennsylvania Avenue and are counting a roll of the dice to get some extra funds. The Mayor will have to explain why these people won't be able to afford a place for their Scotch Terrier, to hang their hat, or for their oversized boot."
Final passage of the bill is expected next week after the Mayor passes "Go" and collects his salary.
In other news, former Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle has successfully thrown her third set of doubles, and will be released to a halfway-house on Baltic Avenue in Arlington.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I just wanted to take a moment to respond to the video that was posted a few days ago on a certain Right-wing "news" site, which purportedly showed me giving a talk in which I relayed a story in which I boasted about denying services to a couple "because they were white."
This "news" site took this truncated clip out of context, and, for whatever their motives may be, made me look like I hated white people. Their actions are shameful at best.
If you watched the whole, unedited, clip, you will clearly see that I denied this couple services, not because they were white, but because they were Dutch.
Damn dirty Dutch.
I hope this clears up matters.
Posted by O at 9:36 AM
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Hill District residents could be shopping at a South Side Aldi's grocery by Thanksgiving 2015.
That was the timeline advanced by representatives of the Shop 'n Save Board of Directors today as they announced that they had secured a developer to to build a 29,500-square-foot full-service grocery on city-owned land at Centre Avenue and Heldman Street.
"We fully expect that within the next five years that this store will sit vacant," said SuperValu Senior Vice President and CFO Donald R. Chappel, "The site will be an excellent building for, perhaps, a sporting goods store or a pet store."
The supermarket chain, once owned by owned by SuperValu until early 2006, has generally found itself unable to compete with Wal-Mart entering the Pittsburgh Market and decided to sell or close many of their stores. Shop 'n Save used to be the 2nd largest supermarket in the Pittsburgh Region, but has since dropped to third place. The brand still continues to struggle, however, and many former locations are now dark. Supervalu still supports Shop 'n Save's store inventory.
Victor Roque, Hill House president and CEO, said the agency hopes to assist SuperValu in closing its store by late summer or early fall, with the goal to have it completely shut down by Thanksgiving 2015 if not sooner. The store is expected to lose money because of poor inventory selection and substandard management.
Owner/Developer Jeff Ross, who has signed a lease agreement with the Hill House EDC, will own and operate the store with his family. He currently has difficulty competing with area Giant Eagle supermarkets and other discount grocery chains.
Aldi's has also announced plans to build a store in Pittsburgh's South Side, which will attract customers from the Hill District.
Mr. Chappel was very optimistic about his company's goals.
"We're confident that with this deal, Shop 'n Save will position itself to be another Ames or, God willing, Hills Department Store."
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
And in the center ring between the World's Fattest Nun and the Rare Two Trunked Elephant, we have this:
Pittsburgh City Council today delayed a confirmation vote on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's nominations to the Citizen Police Review Board until it can take up legislation clarifying the nomination process.Strangely enough, her Authority is entire made up of Ravenstahl Appointees, including the Mayor's Brother, Cousin, Former Brother-in-Law, his Chief of Staff's second Wife, and his Realtor
The decision came after about 20 residents demanded council take action to protect the board's independence -- and after a debate over Council President Darlene Harris' authority.
When Mrs. Harris announced she had decided to delay a confirmation vote on the nominations, council members Bruce Kraus, Bill Peduto and Doug Shields challenged her authority and demanded that council take a vote on postponing the confirmation proceedings.
Council recessed its meeting for discussion with the city solicitor's office. Afterwards, council voted to delay the confirmation proceedings until July 27.Mr. Kraus preferred a bilateral approach, Mr. Peduto a trilateral approach, and Mr. Shields a dodecahedronical approach.
Mr. Kraus, Mr. Peduto and Mr. Shields shared Mrs. Harris' desire to delay confirmation but objected to her unilateral approach.
"Where did you find that authority?" Mr. Shields asked her. "I'd like to see where it's written that you have the authority to do that.""And moreover, where did you find Waldo," the Councilman continued, "And Bobby Fischer? And Mr. Goodbar?"
On June 18, Mr. Ravenstahl proposed replacing five of the board's seven members. He proposed nominating two members to new terms.He also proposed nominating three to five, a quarter past six, and 25% off with a purchase of equal or lesser value.
More tomorrow if I'm still loopy from the heat.
If you're like me, you spent your 4th of July Weekend trying to pry a melted laptop from your thighs. While Dell has marketed this as a new "security feature" to compete with the Apple MacBook, it probably left you irritable, sweaty, and, above all, hotter than an Eskimo hunting a dragon in the Sahara desert. So, with that in mind, we've come up with some simple tips to help you beat the heat, or at least slightly maim the warmth.
- Stay out of the Sun. The Sun, you may be surprised, is one of the largest contributors of "heat" to this planet (the others being lava and Al Pacino/Robert De Niro). The Laws of Thermodynamics quite clearly state something that I can no longer read because I've sweated all over it and caused it to smudge. I think the gist of it, however, is "it's hot as hell outside."Now, if the rest of you would kindly remove yourselves from my neighborhood pool, I think we'd all feel a whole lot better.
- Drink lots of water. The human body is roughly 95% water, with the other 5% being carbon, nitrogen, and nougat. While one would think that we have more than enough water to sustain us during these hot days, in reality every minute you're sweating, expiring, and crying out about a gallon of water, according to research that I just made up. It is therefore vital that you continue to drink water until your bladder explodes or you wet yourself during important presentations.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. This only goes for Red Wine, Porters, and Jaegermeister, which make you sweat and/or think that you people are secretly laughing behind your back and that you need to give them a piece of your mind. To be fair, however, Jaeger should be avoided at all times. Feel free to continue to drink Wittbiers, Mojitos, and anything with an umbrella in it.
- Take the umbrella out of your girly drink before you drink it. The number 2 cause of emergency room visits during heat waves is eye injury because of girly drinks.
- Crank up the A/C to maximum level and open all the windows. The only way that we're going to make it cool outside is to harness the power of every single Air Conditioner on earth. There is no possible flaw in this plan.
- Check on the elderly. This is not for their safety, but rather because they always seem to be cold. Try to figure out how they do it.
- Avoid Councilman Doug Shields. The Councilman vibrates at such a high rate that he produces 10,000 BTUs of heat over the course of a council meeting. Prolonged exposure will result in your face melting off like that Nazi guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Seductively rub ice on your nipples. This will only work for some and work in a completely different way for others.
- Repeatedly mention to others how hot it is. Acceptable phrases include "How about that heat," "Gosh! It's hot out today," and "Hot enough for you?" This will not actually help you beat the heat, but it'll make others feel hotter and you, by comparison, feel colder.
- Hang around with Arthur Fonzarelli. Man, that guy's cool.
- Eliminate unnecessary clothing. Avoid wearing wool sweaters. If you work in an office, consider buying an "Executive Speedo" for meetings.
- You know that guy that was making "Global Warming Jokes" back in February? Punch him in the crotch. This will not prove or disprove anthrocentric climate change, but it'll make you feel pretty good for about 10 seconds.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Bowing to pressure today from City Channel Pittsburgh and Comcast Cable, City Council approved a standing rule that would ban vuvuzelas in council chambers.
The move came in response to the increasing prevalence of the instruments during the public comment period. The request for the ban came from City Clerk Linda Johnson who complained that in the process of transcribing the meeting minutes from the recordings, her staff could not differentiate the monotonous droning buzzing sound from that of Doug Shields.
"This is a great move to preserve the decorum of Council," said co-sponsor Theresa Smith, "despite concerns about whether free speech extends to musical instruments". The legislation's other co-sponsor Mr. Sheilds added "Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."
City Channel Pittsburgh and Comcast had also complained to Council that the vuvuzela din was driving its viewer away to reruns of JAG.
The vuvuzela will still be allowed elsewhere in the City-County building and other municipal offices, however, any correspondence with PWSA by vuvuzelas must be followed up in writing.
The legislation is expected to be signed by the Mayor within the next two days.
Posted by O at 5:56 PM
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
And now a live report from our sports correspondent from South Africa:
*Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz* [Deep breath] *Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*
More updates tomorrow.
Monday, June 14, 2010
In a stunning turn of events, Council President Darlene Harris has ordered the maintenance staff of the City Council building to change the paint color of the 5th floor outside of council chambers from "off cream governmental white" to "official cream-white".
"I have been agonizing over this decision for the last seven months," said the Council President at an early morning press conference, "and I feel that this is will be the biggest decision that I will ever make as Council President."
The Council President had originally ordered the area outside of Council Chambers to be painted "off governmental white" several months ago, after an intense series of internal meetings. After a few months, however, the Council President had second thoughts and order her staff to re-examine the previous decision. After personal intervention from the Council President herself, the decision was rescinded and the "official cream-white" was re-established.
Total cost for both the change and the change back is expected to be three quarters of a million dollars.
The Council President says that she's pleased with the decision, and says that she will devote the next three months towards the re-laminating process of Council chamber, which she terms "her highest priority" for the foreseeable future.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Where was I?
After years of squabbling over unpaid bills, the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority today announced it had reached a settlement with Lawrenceville-based Iron City Brewing LLC.As part of the settlement, PWSA will retain the rights to "Piss Water", previously reserved for Iron City and will be allowed to dump the beer directly into the toilets, in order to eliminate the middle man.
The total value of the settlement is $750,000, above the $400,000 figure the authority originally agreed to, but below the $1 million sought by city councilman Patrick Dowd, a member of the PWSA board, whose district includes the now mostly vacated 148-year-old brewery in Lawrenceville now proposed for redevelopment.
I also heard from a leak that the whiz kids over at Iron City Brewing will be allowed to pass water bills onto new owners of the building.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Quick: What were Pittsburgh's development plans in 2004?
While you're thinking about that, there's this:
Pittsburgh Councilman Ricky Burgess unveiled today legislation that would require a six-year capital spending plan, potentially totalling some $200 million to $250 million, for the city's spending on roads, bridges, development and other infrastructure...While there's definitely something to be said for increased transparency in local government, there's something completely different to be said for planning for something 6 years out.
He cast the legislation as part of a push he launched in March to ensure that lower-income communities get not just federal development funds, but a fair share of locally generated city spending on paving and other infrastructure matters. He said that would be a change from 30 years of inadequate investment in struggling neighborhoods...
Heck, within the next 6 years Homewood, East Liberty, and Larimer could turn into fabulous new markets, and the West End could slide off into oblivion. Or the reverse could happen. In early 2008, people across the country thought that the housing market would carry the US economy to untold heights, instead of throw it down a well.
Projections are hard enough 6 months out, let alone 6 years out. Just ask Council members Harris and Shields about planning for business district improvements in their neighborhoods and how that all works out.
And, just to jog your memory:
In January 2004, Lazarus closed. In June, Pittsburgh Development Group II proposed a 175-acre horse track in Hays. In August, the SEA proposed a North Shore amphitheater. In October, Lord & Taylor followed Lazarus into oblivion. In November, Ebony Development proposed building a supermarket in the Hill District.
Notably missing from this list: any mention of a new Arena.
So much for foresight.
By now, if you are familiar with the Internets, you've heard all about this:
An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said Thursday his organization is helping two anonymous Twitter users fight an effort by prosecutors to unmask them after they tweeted criticism of a Pennsylvania attorney general who is running for governor...Poor Tom. Poor, poor Tom attacked viciously in some back alley Tweet by two guys using only their words. After the incident, Tom was barely able to get back to his office, and courageously used what little strength he had left from the savageness of the beating to issue subpoenas against, what I assume are, his two Cheeto-smelling assailants.
A Corbett spokesman said the subpoena was partly related to a Friday sentencing hearing for former Democratic legislative aide Brett Cott. He is one of three people convicted in March of public corruption charges in the ongoing investigation into the alleged illegal use of legislative employees and government resources to run political campaigns.
The grand jury on May 6 subpoenaed the identities and other information about the two users from Twitter Inc. Corbett's office has been using the highly secretive grand jury process for the past several years to look into allegations that government resources and legislative employees have been illegally used to run political campaigns...
On Twitter, both CasablancaPA and bfbarbie have been critical of Corbett and the Bonusgate prosecution.
In a tweet Thursday, bfbarbie called Corbett "an evil man," and CasablancaPA wrote that Corbett "should try reading the blog he wants to shut down a little more closely."...
Of course, Tom was dressed all politicians like; he was just begging to be blogged about.
You know, when stories like this (including the one where Luke Ravenstahl absolutely did not go on a five day coke and goat sex binge and will sue the ever living pants off of anyone who even insinuates the mere hint that he did anything of the sort) break, one can only respond with scorn and ridicule. But in this case we also have a list of other things that Corbett has (allegedly) done:
As a reward for being an adviser to the campaign of Tom Ridge, Corbett was appointed to several Pennsylvanian commissions.I think "Hussein" Corbett needs to answer these questions, don't you?
While he was a 9th grade teacher, students complained that he graded "unfairly."
He has two acknowledged children by a woman who is his wife.
He has publicly acknowledged that he is pursuing a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Government with Pennsylvanian tax payer money, which has little chance of succeeding, but may take years.
He became Attorney General after his predecessor was mysteriously indicted for mail fraud.
He is known to be involved with a known felon linked to the "suicide" of Budd Dwyer.
He has had involvement in Waste Management, the same field as Mobster Tony Soprano.
While he claims to have served in the Army National Guard, no one has stepped forward to corroborate his attendance.
Mr. Corbett wrote several explosive papers while attending Lebanon Valley College, but both Mr. Corbett and the College have refused to release them for examination.
And finally, Tom "Hussein" Corbett has refused to release his long-form birth certificate in response to growing concerns that he was actually born in Belgium.
Or maybe I should look into getting a Twitter feed and get into that hot 140 character action.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
If Onorato has, in fact, won tonight and beats Corbett in the fall, does that mean that Ravenstahl will make a run for County Executive? Or will Onorato at least take Ravenstahl with him to Harrisburg?
A fellow can dream, can't he?
By the way: on behalf of Allegheny County, I'd like to apologize to the rest of the Commonwealth.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
What's in a name?
The Grandview Scenic Byway Park that winds though Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights would be renamed Emerald View Park under legislation introduced in Pittsburgh City Council Tuesday.I find "Emerald Park" to be less than inspiring; it brings to mind poorly planned public housing, nuts or Winkies. Might as well just skywrite "SURRENDER DOROTHY" over the damned thing and be done with it.
Councilwoman Theresa Smith said in a news release that the new name for the 235-acre park created in 2005 is "symbolic both of Pittsburgh's growing green identity" and the "green rebirth" of the park itself, plus the spectacular views available there. The proposed name came from a community process run by the Mount Washington Community Development Corp., Visit Pittsburgh, and a renaming committee, and will be the subject of a council hearing prior to a vote.
I suppose it's better than the names they rejected:
Washington ParkYes, those are all terrible names.
Guy Lombardo Park
Karma Sutra Park
Doctor Richard Florida's Cavalcade of Flying Magical Mystery and Fantasmagoria Park
No Parking on the 4th of July Park
Luke Ravenstahl Memorial Park
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
There's this bullshit:
State Reps. Daryl Metcalfe and Harry Readshaw think Pennsylvania should follow Arizona's lead and "protect its borders and citizens" by giving local and state police more power to arrest, detain and eventually deport foreigners who have entered the state illegally and don't have proper registration papers.That kind of weapons grade stupidity needs to be outlawed by the Geneva Convention.
Now, let's set aside for a moment that "protecting the borders of the USA" is the job of, you know, the Federal Government and let's set aside the fact that this kind of legislation would open up the Commonwealth, not only to lawsuits by those that are unlawfully detained, but to requests by state and local police for things like training and resources to enforce this kind of law ("resources" that don't exist in the current $1 billion budget hole). Let's really focus on the fact that, if there are 140,000 illegal immigrants in the Commonwealth that's 140,000 people that *are being counted* towards things like, oh I don't know, the Census, which keeps us from hemorrhaging population.
So fuck Metcalfe and Readshaw: bring as many goddamn illegal immigrants to PA as soon as possible. Build towns, boroughs, cities. Drive up the population. Drive up demand for services. Increase the tax base. Increase the number of seats Pennsylvania has in the House.
... Unless, that is, Metcalfe and Reashaw themselves are illegal immigrants. Actually, now that I mention it, they've never actually released their naturalization papers, have they? What kind of name is "Metcalf" anyway. Sounds foreign to me. How do we know that they aren't in Harrisburg taking the jobs of good, hardworking Americans?
SHOW US YOUR PAPERS DARYL! SHOW US YOUR PAPERS HARRY!
You damned, dirty illegals. Don't make us deport you back to Guatemala.
OK so there's this odd little kerfluffle going on in Council which piqued my interest:
Pittsburgh City Council president calls URA allocation attempt 'sleazy'
That headline buries this piece of information:
Council President Darlene Harris said the measure to transfer money out of projects in East Allegheny, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights, Troy Hill and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods...So it sounds like the URA is asking Council to reallocate money to other (as they said about the stimulus) "ready-to-go" projects.
So what are these mystery projects? I can't make heads nor tails of it, but it's on page 281 of the .pdf, and it's labeled as a "new" project, whatever that's worth. That makes it sound like a special allocation by the Council to the URA for specific actions in specific neighborhood.
Could it be that someone on Council has tried to squirrel away money for her or his district's pet projects and is not willing to let it go to other districts? Any idea whose Council District contains East Allegheny, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights, and Troy Hill?
(Hint: I already mentioned her name.)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
By now everyone's already heard about Arizona's new xenophobic... I mean anti-constitutional... I mean anti-illegal immigration law, and if you're on the right or left, you're probably mad. If you're on the left, you're concerned about racial profiling, the usurping of Federal prerogatives to protect the border, and increased debt to the State Government. If you're on the right, you're concerned about brown people that talk funny.
Now, what this law effectively does is require anyone who seems to be "illegal looking" to present their papers proving that they are, in fact, a United States Citizen. While this may be an effective cliche in most WWII or Cold War movies, it's probably only going to be effective at driving illegal immigrants deeper underground.
I mean, it's not like the state would do anything sensible like, say, enforcing or enacting laws that severely punish employers that use illegal labor... but I digress.
But, there's only one way to fight this kind of stupidity: massive performance art.
I propose relocating the entire population of Puerto Rico to Arizona. Remember, Puerto Ricans, as citizens of a U.S. Territory, are citizens of the United States... even though they're brownish and speak some crazy fast moon people language. That's almost 4,000,000 (well, not "immigrants" and certainly not "illegal"... so "migrants" or "commuters", I suppose) to perplex and confound state police.
Trust me: I have deep suspicions that the average cop in Arizona knows that there's a *West* Virginia. "Puerto Rico" will blow their minds.
As part of Phase II of the plan, I'll start importing Canadians from October-March, returning them when the Great White tundra thaws out. That's right: illegal white people, legal brown people.
It'll be chaos and next thing you know, they'll elect a Senator who wasn't born in the United States.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
When I go for local transportation news, I got to The Pitt News:
The Bates Street bridge is a notorious traffic problem that causes tie-ups that can sometimes stretch for miles. Drivers of standard-sized, 13-feet-6-inch tractor-trailers, often realize too late that they can’t make the 11-foot-6-inch clearance and subsequently scrape the top of their vehicles. But after decades of commercial vehicle accidents, the city expects to replace the battered bridge this summer.Take that Joe Grata!
Using $3.6 million of city, state and federal funds, the city will replace the old railroad bridge with a taller, wider bridge, said Chuck McClain, the city’s project manager for bridges and structures. The new bridge will accommodate the proposed Mon/Fayette Expressway into Oakland — and 17-foot-6-inch tall trucks.
Bridge construction was supposed to start this spring, but conflicting requirements of two federal funding sources pushed back the construction. McClain said in a follow-up e-mail that he hopes construction will begin in mid-summer.
Now, not having seen the plans I can only speculate*, but the one thing that I'd really like to see is...well...
Awhile back I complained (or at least I think that I complained) about the Walnut Capital project along Brownshill Road, on the Pittsburgh side of the Homestead Grays Bridge. After all the work done by the City on Summerset to make it an "Urban Neighborhood", Walnut Capital threw up (pun intended) what amounts to a strip mall. To make matters worse, as part of a widening of Brownsville Road (obviously so that more "husky" folk can make their way to the all-you-can-eat seafood place in the stripmall), the City tore down the old stone retaining wall on the Eastern edge of the road.
I am by no means a luddite or a historic preservationist zealot, so I can appreciate that sometimes the old needs to get torn down and replaced with the new. However, in this case, and in the case of the West Busway along Carson Street, the decision to tear down these old retaining walls seems to detract from the City's industrial history. I mean, there's no way that anyone ever is going to build those types of walls again; the masonry skill alone is something that very few people have, with the exception of a few little old Italian guys in Bloomfield. That makes it all the more important to try to save these monumental walls whenever possible.
How does this tie into the Bates Street bridge? Well, at some point, in order to open up the Northern section of the ALMONO site a similar wall will have to be torn down. Across 2nd Avenue, you have a patchwork of block, concrete, and fake-block concrete holding back the Jail-Trail. While it may be more difficult, it would be great to find a way to reuse this old wall, and rebuild and refurbish the existing wall so it (1) reflects the historic character of that place and (2) makes it look less sad and pathetic. If the City is looking to rebuild this bridge, it should seriously take into account the historicity of the place.
* My guess is that, like the Hot Metal connecting bridge, this will be a prefab steel structure to hasten the demolition of the existing bridge and the completion of the new bridge.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Via the Pittsburgh Business Times: Pittsburgh ranks No. 12 on 'Fun Cities' list (full report here)... which, frankly, is a bit bizarre as I don't know anyone in this City that I would consider "fun".
Of course, my idea of "fun" is a night discussing Wiggenstein and eating packets of mustard in the back seat of someone's car.
Anywho, we scored high in "Food & Drink" (4) & "Low Impact Sports" (8); moderate in "Culture" (20), "Popular Entertainment" (20), and "Shopping" (21), and lowest in "High Impact Sports" (34) and -- get this -- "Gambling" (53). Obviously "Food & Drink" is buoyed by our ever so liberal drinking laws, and they didn't include "Pothole Dodging" or "Jaywalking" in High Impact Sports.
But, you have to compare it to the bottom five: Provo, Utah (last); McAllen, Texas; Modesto and Bakersfield, California; and El Paso TX. God, those places must be veritable suck-holes of fun... the place where clowns and toys go to die.
Now, back to contemplating das Senf an sich.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
In what surely is one of the penultimate nails in the coffin of the Mon-Fayette Expressway:
The Mon-Fayette Expressway might never reach Pittsburgh, now that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission no longer is pursuing private investors.And hopefully by "unknown" they mean 'buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighter', all of which is fine by me; the project (especially the last 10 miles) is beyond ridiculous from an engineering standpoint, would disrupt communities, and frankly bring little benefit to the Pittsburgh of the 21st century.
The $4.5 billion estimate for the remainder of the project includes connecting to the Parkway East in Monroeville and in Hazelwood, but the price tag is too steep for state funding, officials said. And three companies interested in "public-private partnerships" to build the remainder of the highway — in exchange for toll revenue — couldn't raise enough private funding either, said Frank Kempf, the turnpike's chief engineer, during a meeting Thursday in Washington County...
The turnpike decided in late January to stop pursuing partners for the project. Unless state or federal legislators find new funding to design and build the remaining links to Pittsburgh, the future of the project remains unknown...
The collapse of the housing industry only serves to undermine one of the main "benefits" of the project: the opening up of greenfields to the south of the City to more suburban subdivisions.
Anyway, here's a novel (or at least what passes for novel around these parts) idea, spurred by a musing by Rear Adm. Briem (Ret.):
[A]t the end of the day the foundation of the East Busway was engineered with the intent that rail of some sort could be built along the corridor... Once you take out folks who can't travel by car either because of income or for other reasons, folks who have a choice will take rail who won't ever consider taking a bus. Indeed, when the busway expansion was planned in the late '90s/early '00s, the folks in Edgewood raised holy hell that damned dirty buses would pass through their gentile community.
Now, I understand why PAT *lurves* its busway and while associated municipal entities/political mucky-mucks also *lurve* in a way that is frankly illegal in most countries, but there is a case to be made for (1) converting at least part of the busway to light rail and (2) using the existing CSX tracks to serve Oakland/Hazelwood/Homestead and eventually beyond. While the upfront capital cost may be high (and the negotiations with CSX may be ridiculous), a dedicated right-of-way would connect downtown, the universities, one of the largest brownfield development opportunities in the City, a fairly successful brownfield redevelopment, and a few muncipalities that really need improved transportation connections to all of them.
Peduto had pushed a somewhat similar heavy rail project back in '08, but it hasn't seems to have gone anywhere; the ACCD is pushing a fixed guideway (which would be a fourth mode of transit, for those of you keeping track). There's something to be said, however, about keeping with what you have and expanding a system.
While, yes, the SPC came out almost kinda-sorta-but-not-quite for this plan (warning: big file), the proposed alternative was, I would say, a bit grandiose and chose to build an extensive system from Etna to West Mifflin, creating a new line through the Strip District, rather than recycle what already exists. There's *big thinking* and there's *over thinking*. Interestingly enough, the major complaint was that they looked at the new line as something to help supplement existing transit oriented development, while ignoring the possibility that it could potentially help to generate transit oriented development. That seems to be *small thinking* or at least *narrow* thinking.
Of course, the benefits of this type of project would acrue, not to the suburbs, but to the City which could now easily connect future lab space in Hazelwood with the professors in Oakland and the banks downtown. That kind of forward thinking is something up with which the legislature does not put. And to make it worse, we'd be severely conveniencing people in the Mon Valley, making their trip to work or school easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. The horror!
If the MFX is well and truly dead (and I hope it is), now is really the time to start planning its alternative. Perhaps what PAT and the folks at the DoT really need is a big ol' money sink. If that's the case, I'm more than happy to amend my proposal to call for the boring of a giant tunnel under the Mon to waste a few billion here and there.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I'm sure you're secretly basking in the warm glow from the knowledge that you're not going to have to spend any time in court, and while that feeling may be reassuring, remember this: you got lucky this time.
Now, I don't know what you did (if you did anything), but an alleged victim that doesn't want to press charges and a District Attorney that doesn't have enough evidence to prosecute doesn't mean that you didn't probably do something that was really, *really* stupid.
Frankly, even if what was alleged to have transpired never even came close to allegedly transpiring, your Yinzer fans already know about your history of making some real boneheaded decisions. We're not even talking about you sticking your Dick LeBeau into some tight end here; you proved that you were perfectly capable of making non-sexual mistakes when you decided to ride your motorcycle without a helmet. Dumb move, Ben.
If my life long Steelers fan grandmother had been alive to see all the stupid things you've done, she would have slapped you upside the head with her ring hand, pointing side first. My guess is that there are thousands of other grandmothers in the Steelers Nation of ump-teen millions that would probably join her in kicking your ass. Get enough of them together, I think we could easily pay off the City of Pittsburgh's pension obligation with a "Smack Stupidhead in the Face" fundraiser, selling tickets for $1.
Had you had been paying attention, you would have noticed that, in general, Pittsburghers don't really like its sports heroes to act like assholes. I'm not just talking about Santonio Holmes or Plaxico Buress here either; I distinctly remember booing former Pirate outfielder Dave Parker after he got hooked on cocaine and started playing (better) for the Cincinnati Reds. We don't appreciate that kind of bullshiat.
So, here's what I would suggest: you need to chain yourself to one of the thousands of little old, black & gold babushka wearing grandmother (of which I spoke about earlier) in order to keep yourself out of any situation that could even possibly be potentially construed as a dumb, dumb move. Everywhere you go, whether that's to a charity event, to a bar, or to a strip club, you need to know that Grandma is going to whup you if you even think of getting out of line. And while you may think that this is a tad excessive, I'm sure that it's going to be better than being drummed out of the league or becoming bunkmates with Chris Henry in the future, if you know what I mean.
The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat
Monday, April 12, 2010
Friday, April 02, 2010
And then there's this:
The city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon Unviersity, and Community College of Allegheny County this morning announced that they're jointly seeking about $14 million in federal stimulus money to install 220 additional video cameras throughout the city.Security. Terror. Crime. Blahblahblahblah.
The cameras would operate on a wireless network and "dramatically enhance the city's public safety and homeland security capabilities" Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement.
The city, CMU, and CCAC are hoping to tap part of the $2.6 billion available in the second round of the broadband technology opportunities program. Applications were due March 26. The grant program is administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The only way that I think that I'd be comfortable with this is if the cameras were available for public viewing on the internet. Now, while I realize that this would open up the cameras to public mooning, I'd feel a lot better if I could see what Howard Stern was seeing alone in the dark of his office without wearing pants.
Not that I think that Howard's doing that, but I can't speak for all of his pantless staff. And by "staff" I mean his employees not his...
Anywho, I just want to have a group mooning of Pittsburgh security cameras that I can record and watch repeatedly in my basement away from prying eyes.
Is that wrong?*
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Back when I was growing up, my Großmutter, between the regular Bavarian beatings, used to make us grandchildren "Rueben Sandwiches" with all the leftovers that she had in her refrigerator. Unfortunately, because of the war, she had never really learned to cook anything other than grilled Hitlerwürst, so we just nodded and smiled as she served up another plate of German scheiss-spatzel.
Fortunately for us, none of her other recipes have been released by the Mossad.
14-ounce can sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry
Small bottle Thousand Island dressing
1 pound corned beef, sliced
1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced
4 to 6 slices rye bread, buttered on one side
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine kraut and dressing (couldn't find a small bottle so I used 1 cup from a regular-size bottle) in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Top with beef, then cheese. Place bread, buttered side up, on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Equally good the next day.
We never did tell Großmutter of the sandwich's non-Arian origins. That was probably for the best.
In response to last week's "Never Fails, Gets You Laid Lasagna" Recipe, regular reader Steve sent in his recipe for Chicken and Rosemary Crepes, which, he assures us will make panties damp:
I made this recipe for this one smoking hot chick and 9 months later we had a son. I wish that I had just taken her out for pizza like I had originally planned.
Must be a great recipe Steve!
Salt & Pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
Saute the Chicken in the olive oil and butter and brown at medium heat. Add the onion and continue sauteing. Add the rosemary, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt & pepper. Add the tomatoes and let simmer until the liquid is reduced. Turn the heat down to low and set aside.
Make a large crepe.
Put the filing on the crepe, add the cheese, and fold into a triangle.
Serve with more cheese on the top.
This is a great old recipe from my mother's P&T Cookbook which she had on the back of the shelf for years. I bring these cookies to card club every week, and it really makes the other ladies jealous.
You have to be really careful with the recipe and work fast, but not too fast, or the whole thing will turn into an inedible mess.
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. finely chopped blanched almonds
8 Tbs. baking soda
3/4 c. (packed) light brown sugar
2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. light corn syrup
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tsp. lemon extract
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter heavy baking sheets.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and almonds in a large bowl, and stir thoroughly.
Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cool. Stir the lemon extract, zest, and juice into the flour mixture, then into the sugar.
Drop the batter by 1/2 teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake just until they are lightly browned at the edges, 9 to 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
I've been inundated with emails about sourdough ever since last week's long bread discussion. I'm a big fan of sourdough bread, partially because of the taste, but mostly because I get to burden friends and relatives with starter. There's no better way to get rid of irritating people (while still putting up a front of being thoughtful) than to unload a cup or two of starter on the unsuspecting chumps.
It's like a case of herpes that has to be fed weekly.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active-dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
Mix the flour, sugar, and yeast together in a clean and sterile container (use only glass, glazed ceramic or crockery to hold your starter. No metal or plastic) that can hold two quarts. Gradually stir in the water and mix until it forms a thick paste (don't worry about any lumps, as they will disappear).
Cover the container with a dish cloth and let it sit in a warm (70 to 80 degrees F.), draft-free place. NOTE: Temperatures hotter than 100 degrees F. or so will kill the yeast.
The dish cloth will let wild yeasts pass through into the batter. The mixture should bubble as it ferments (this will foam up quite a bit so place it in a sink or on top of your tax forms in case it spills.)
Let it sit out from 2 to 5 days, stirring it once a day. The starter is ready when it develops a pleasant sour smell and looks bubbly. If it smells like your uncle Ray, throw it out and start again.
Once your starter starts bubbling, then start feeding it daily with flour and water according to the directions below.
Then stir it, cover loosely with plastic wrap (allow a little breathing space), and store it in the refrigerator.
Your starter should be fed every other week: one (1) cup flour and one (1) cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.). I let this site eight (8) hours or preferably overnight
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
And from 2PJs:
From the web site of Rep. Jason Altmire (D Health Care/UPMC Lobby-PA). Read it and weep, folks:Why is my bullshit detector going off?"I ran for Congress in large part because I believe we need to find a way to bring down the cost of health care. I also ran for Congress with a simple promise: I would do my best to represent my district and to give western Pennsylvania a voice in Washington, not the other way around.
"I regret that this year-long process of debating health care reform has resulted in a final product that I cannot support. The cost of inaction on health care is great, but it would be an even bigger mistake to pass a bill that could compound the problem of skyrocketing health care costs.
"Simply moving money around within the existing system, rather than enacting real delivery system reform, might change who pays the bill, but it does not improve the quality of care or reduce costs for families, small businesses, or the federal government. It creates a system of winners and losers, rather than reforming the system in a way that lets everyone win. It is estimated that after passage of this bill, federal health care expenditures would likely increase above what they would under current law.
"It has become clear that the vast majority of my constituents want me to oppose this bill. Particularly hard hit would be western Pennsylvania’s Medicare beneficiaries, which many experts believe would experience dramatic premium increases with enactment of this bill.
"I am acutely aware that my decision to vote against the health care bill will disappoint some of my constituents and alienate supporters of the bill. The politically easy vote would have been to vote with my party. But I was not sent to Congress to take the easy way out or to vote the way they want me to vote in Washington. I was elected to represent my district and give western Pennsylvania a voice in Congress. I strongly believe that a vote in opposition to the health care bill is consistent with the views of the district I represent, and is the correct vote based on the impact of the bill on my constituents and the overall health care system."
On one hand he's saying that he wants to reform health care, while on the other he's saying that he can't support the biggest (albeit far from perfect) reform to health care within his lifetime. Now, if he was disappointed that the bill didn't go far enough, I could understand and, while I would be vexed about his choice, I could at least agree that much more needs to be done.
But even the very liberal Rep. Kucinich eventually agreed that, in this case, half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.
The whole response smacks of a calculated attempt to retain a seat rather than doing what's right by the country. That's a shame. I mean, what's the benefit of having a Democrat in PA-4 if he's not actually going to, you know, vote for Democratic legislation; might as well have voted back in Missy Hart -- at least we would know how she would have voted.
Rousseau postulated that representatives should reflect the views of their constitutents, but Hamilton and Madison both argued that constituents are stupid as hell and could be ignored, less government descend into mobocracy. Both views of representative government are valid, but bear in mind, one out of three of those political philosophers is, and this is no insult to the people of France, a dirty, dirty Frenchman.
And so no Mr. Altmire, you were not sent to sent to Congress to take the easy way out or to vote the way the Democratic party wanted you to vote in Washington. You were sent to Washington as a small part of a larger hope that across this country we could elect people that weren't total ball sucking, bent-over, ankle-grabbing, twatwaffles.
I'm sad that we were wrong about former Representative Altmire.
If you're reading this, you probably already know about this.
And frankly, if you're reading about this on a Friday night, you most definitely already know about this.
And even more frankly, if you're if you're reading about this on a Friday night, you already know why this is important:
Seriously folks, can you imagine how many terabytes of porn the City of Pittsburgh will be able to download if Google installs high speed broadband access? We're talking about a ridiculous amount of ********, *********, double-*******, donkey ***** ******,***** ***** over **** with a *****, ********* ******** ********* watermellon, and *************** Cleveland ******. Let me put it this way: we'll guarantee that every elected member of city of government will *always* be at their desk.
Perhaps they won't be wearing pants, but they'll always be at their desk.
This is the most important high technology thing to happen to Pittsburgh in the history of ever... but don't take my word for it: