Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Just Under Two Dozen Votes

Yesterday, the Democrats in Pennsylvania claimed victory and the State House by just under two dozen votes. From the P-G:

The long-awaited results of a Chester County state House race, decided yesterday by 23 votes, swung control of the chamber to the Democrats for the first time in more than a decade...

If the results of the 156th House District race withstand any potential Republican court challenges, Democrats will have a 102-101 advantage in the new session of the Legislature. It will be the first time since 1994 that Democrats will be in charge of the House.

Chester County officials yesterday tallied about 300 absentee ballots that had been uncounted since the night of Nov. 7 and determined that Democratic candidate Barbara McIlwaine Smith edged GOP candidate Shannon Royer.

The unofficial tally, which still could be challenged in court, put Ms. Smith at 11,614 votes compared with Mr. Royer's 11,591. There were still 11 provisional ballots left to tally but that was not enough to change the outcome, Democrats said.
Think about that for a second:

A handful* of unelected, anonymous people from some backwater (suburban Philadelphia) part of the State have now completely upended the legislative agenda of House, effecting over 12,000,000 Pennsylvanians. Their votes counted at more than 500,000 to 1 against yours. More people actually read this blog** than have ultimately determined the fate of the Commonwealth!

Well, that's Democracy for you.

Or rather, that's representative democracy utilizing a plurality system of voting by district.

*Well, handful for me. I have large hands.

**I'm also a polydactyl; I can literally count the number of readers on one hand: 24.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sticks and Stones

And then, there were nine.

Darlene Harris was sworn in as the newest member of Pittsburgh Council today, completing the transformation from feisty school board member to city legislator.

Her speech to a full Council Chamber, marked by tears when she thanked her 77-year-old mother, was shorter than most inaugural addresses. "Those of you in the room know that I'm a doer, not a talker," she said.

The 53-year-old Spring Hill native will serve out the remaining year of the term won by Luke Ravenstahl, who ascended to the mayor's office when Bob O'Connor died Sept. 1. She decisively won a Nov. 7 special election to the post.
*snicker* "Dooer" *snicker*
*snicker* "Poo-poo" *snicker*
*snicker* "Ca-ca" *snicker*


Anyway, on council we now have the Book Thief, the Gas Thief, the Ditch Digger, the Other Ditch Digger, the Old School Hack, the Guy Who Won't Shut Up, Shadyside's Version of Otis, Tonya Payne and Darlene Harris.

The last two clearly do not convey the invective of the other noms de rigeur, and should clearly be abandoned in favor of epithets that fit Pittsburgh City Councilcritters.

I'm tentatively submitting for your approval "The Other Black Woman" and "The Troll", as possible monikers for these folks, but I'm willing to back down if more appropriate (and humorous) suggestions pop up in the comments.

Have at it!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


So they enter the fray with high hopes, a PR blitz, a good track record, and some initial success, only to be dragged into an unwinnable situation in which mortal enemies are taking advantage of their weaknesses and absolute defeat is assured, despite the protests of the partisan zealots.

The current situation in Iraq or the 2006 Steelers?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Live Streaming Bureaucracy

Obviously trying to cash in on this whole "Internet" thing, Allegheny County has, as of tonight, begun to post live streaming video of its County Council meetings. Now, you too can watch the thrills of Council Meetings from the safety and comfort of your couch, bed, or, in my case, toilet.*

So if you've ever wanted to see the first reading of "An Ordinance of the County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, amending and supplementing the Allegheny County Code of Ordinances, Division 2, entitled "County Government Operations," by adding a new Section 230-6, entitled "Backup 911 Call Center," requiring the continuous maintenance of a live backup 911 call center that can be rendered fully functional within minutes of a significant or catastrophic failure at the County's primary 911 call center," but just haven't been able to get into town, well, you are in luck now, friend. ("Luck", of course, is a relative term.)

Unless you're like me and Windows MediaPlayer crashes for you like a nearsighted drunk baby behind the wheel of a Kia Optima.**

Actually, I'm of mixed feelings on this whole eGovernment thingee:

By publicly posting and broadcasting this kind of information (as well as meeting minutes and agendas) the elected officials can be brought to task for the stupid things they say and do at public meetings, which would otherwise only be available to those of the public and press corps that bothered to show up and stay awake. I'm actually in favor of online posting of all public meetings in the City and County Governments from Zoning Board of Adjustments hearings through Sports and Exhibition Authority Meetings to City and County Council Meetings. This is mostly because I think I've thoroughly exhausted YouTube's Collection of drunk Orson Welles outtakes, but also partially because I like to know and have access to this type of information.

I'm also nebby.

I also have begun to loathe paper, but that's a discussion for later.

On the other hand, it does bring up the whole Grandstanding Asshole Politician who-doesn't-understand-this-thing-called YouTube Phenomena. [I'm looking at you George Allen!] I can see the gaffes of some of our local dunderheads being repeated ad nauseum around the world and I can see some of our local dunderheads actually trying to cause a ruckus in the hopes of making eBaum's World. I don't really want Pittsburgh to be the Big Brother of Government.

And yes, I recognize the head shattering incongruity of that last sentence.

For now, however, despite the best efforts of the City and County Information Systems departments, I think the llama song is safe from competition from regional eGovernment.

*Which is, let's be fair here, an apropos place for this kind of thing.
** Hint! Hint! Per I. Madsen.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Political Obituary

It is with great sadness that we announce the political death of retired Allegheny County Sheriff Pete DeFazio from complications resulting from a macing.* He was 36 years with law enforcement.

Recently retired Sheriff Pete DeFazio is expected to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count in federal court tomorrow -- the culmination of a more than five-year investigation into corruption in the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. DeFazio, who retired at the end of October, will plead guilty to macing. That charge is defined as denying a benefit to a government employee for not contributing to a particular candidate or political party.

The former sheriff is not accused of pressuring any of his employees to donate money to his fund-raising campaigns. However, he is believed to have known about such a scheme and benefitted from the efforts of other officers in the department who did pressure deputies to donate.
He is to be interred along side the recently politically deceased former captain Frank Schiralli, former Chief Deputy Sheriff Dennis Skosnik, and former State Representative Jeff Habay at a minimum security halfway house.** Visiting hours will be from 1-3, Monday through Friday with conjugal visits on Saturday from 2-6 (no dudes, please).

Friends, family, and coworkers have been told, in lieu of flowers, to give $50 each to the Ravenstahl for Mayor campaign... or else.

Pete is politically survived by his brother and LensCrafters sideshow freak "Jumpin'" Johnny DeFazio.

*We here at The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat were under the impression that a "macing" involved either a mishap at a Renaissance Faire or the culmination of a particularly unsuccessful date, as we have been involved in both.

**Mourners are invited to visit the currently under construction Cyril Wecht memorial designed to be the largest local monument to an indicted politician, ever.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

100 Hours

Between the whole election thingee and the Steelers actually winning a friggin' game, my mind hasn't actually been focused or coherent and stuff. It is now time to up my dosage of Ritalin... or cut it, I can't remember which.

Anywho, while I was smashed out of my mind on Bourbon and Vicodin, the soon-to-be-probably-Speaker-of-the-House-unless-she-gets-hit-by-a-bus-
oh-God-I-just-jinxed-it-dammit-dammit Nancy Pelosi outlined what the Democratic Majority will do in the first 100 Hours of taking power. Included on this list is:

  • Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation.

  • Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

  • Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step.
  • Actually, the list is pretty short... which, considering that it's only the first 100 hours means that Congress only has 7 short weeks to act on it; 5 if they start working full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    But, I did I little digging* and called up a few friends* on Capitol Hill* to see if there was anything else that soon-to-be-probably-Speaker-of-the-House-unless-a-plane-drops-on-
    her-my-God-I-did-it-again-what-is-wrong-with-me Nancy Pelosi had in the list that she wasn't revealing. Sure enough:
  • Jack Murtha will arm wrestle every son-of-a-bitch in the House, including the House Clerk;

  • House cleaning staff will spend 100 hours scrubbing the stench of hot sweaty page out of Mark Foley's former office;

  • A bill will be presented for the more effectual preventing clandestine Outlawries; simultaneously in the Senate, Harry Reid will introduce a bill for the better regulating of Select Vestries;**

  • Charlie Rangel will perform his 100 hour rendition of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida;

  • 95 Hours of panicked flop sweat from actually being in charge of something for once;

  • Mandate that all lobbyists grow a Snidley Whiplash mustache:

  • Find Senator Kennedy's pants;

  • Take Constitution out of the Men's room toilet;

  • Inform Sen. Lott that despite his new title, he will not be whipping any minorities;

  • Replace "Freedom Fries" with more accurately named "Freedom Grease Soaked Strips of Potato Like Substance and Salt;

  • Duct Tape Sen. Kerry's mouth shut;

  • Rewatch old episode of Schoolhouse Rock about Bill becoming a Law;

  • Bitchin' kegger;

  • Awkward Freshman Mixer;

  • Learn to stop giggling when the President tries to say "bi-partisan";

  • Impeach the President and maybe W, if they get around to it;

  • Three words: Electoral spanking machine.

  • So that's it. As for the remaining 1900 hours, well...

    *This is a blatant lie.
    ** Based on my readership profile, exactly one person laughed at this joke. I assure you, however, that it is very clever. Thanks for the pity laugh, Mike.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Amongst the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos

    I want to chime in on something that I saw here via this place, specifically, the following bit from the P-G on Bonnie Mayor Lukey's criticism of Councilman Otis' criticism of the Mayor's budget:
    "I'm not willing to sacrifice the city budget and use the city budget process to talk about political and personal agendas."  
    Seriously?  Am I reading this right?  Is a politician offended that another politician would take a political issue and turn it into a political issue against him?  I am shocked, SHOCKED that this could have happened under my very nose!   Think of the children!  Alert the media!  Quick!  To the fallout shelter: POLITICS IS INVADING GOVERNMENT!!!!11!! 
    The Horror!  The Horror!
    Here I was thinking that the politicians that we elect would hold hands, sing "Kumbaya", and set aside their personal ambitions for the common good.  I had no idea that someone could put political gain ahead of the good of the polis
    Of course, I've been living under a rock since 384 BC and had no knowledge of most of the canon of Western Political Theory, including Aristotle's Politics, Machiavelli's The Prince, Hobbes' Leviathan , or even the Federalist Papers and I also believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Elves, Magical Rainbow Farting Unicorns, and the presence of WMDs in Iraq that are an imminent threat to the United States. 
    Think of what this will mean to the Republic: Elected officials will start caring more about polls than good policy!  They will start trying to play up issues that appeal to the electorate!  They will become divisive against their colleagues, hoping to achieve marginal gains at their expense!  They will play to the electorate's basest fears and desires, hoping to gain votes!  They will even say things that aren't technically true. 
    I mean maybe you have to be as old and grizzled as me and you have to spend your career in public service to realize that politics is pervasive in government, so I'll forgive anyone with the naivete to think it is otherwise.  But seriously people, only the delusional or mildly retarded think that anyone in elected government is solely looking out for the common good and don't care a whit about upcoming elections. 
    I hope I didn't shatter anyone's illusions. 

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Christ, Not this Shit Again! - Spring 2007 Primary Edition

    The ink is not even dried on the forged ballots from 2006, and already the Post-Gazette is talking about the Spring Primary race for Pittsburgh Mayor.

    On the P-G's list are the following potential candidates for Mayor:

  • Luke Ravenstahl: Incumbent-ish

  • David Caliguiri: Son of Former Mayor

  • Mike Dawida: Ex-County Commissioner

  • Rich Fitzgerald: County Council President

  • Dan Frankel: State Representative

  • Michael Lamb: Prothonotary

  • Bill Peduto: City Councilman

  • Harry Readshaw: State Representative
  • In my opinion, the P-G isn't really thinking outside the box. There are dozens, nay, hundreds of potential candidates for the office of Mayor of Pittsburgh. Here are a smattering of potential candidates that they overlooked*:

    OK, the former chief executive no longer lives in the City and he's a Republican, but those things can be remedied with a quick trip to the Board of Elections. He's a known commodity and he didn't lose to that dope Cyril Wecht. Speaking of which...

    Cyril Wecht is still, as of the writing of this post, under indictment. Normally, this would be a drawback, but in a city where a viable candidate for the County Political Committee can be an ex-con, Cyril would be a step up. Plus, he'd be great entertainment.

    Death isn't the handicap it used to be in politics. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft lost his Senate seat to a dead Mel Carnahan and Republican Glenda Dawson ran for a Texas State Legislator seat even though she was stiffer than Bob Dole's member. Bob has the added bonus of being more charismatic than any of the other candidates that the P-G listed.

    Well, political death is terminal.

    Harvey is a 6 ft. talking rabbit that lives in Jimmy Stewart's head. Unfortunately, he's running on the Constitution Party Ticket, but otherwise he's the perfect candidate.

    So, get used to it folks, we have another 5 1/2 months of this bullshit.

    I have my space in the political fallout shelter reserved; first come, first served.

    Sorry, Woy I'm not running for mayor; I have some scruples, dude. Although, I will run for Supreme Overlord of Western Pennsylvania... again. [Damn Green Party!]

    Allegheny Conference on Community Development Review 2006

    Somehow my invitation to Thursday's 2006 Allegheny Conference on Community Development Annual Meeting got lost in the mail. I'm going to blame last year's posting on the event, in which I used the phrase "Bassmasturbation" 147 times. Undeterred, I forged a crude invitation using old Post-It Notes, some glitter, glue, and macaroni and slipped in disguised as a Coro Fellow. Using a technique I learned amongst Buddhist monks in the Tibetan Himalayas, I passed unnoticed by several security guards and disguised myself as seat EE 29 in the third tier. There, I waited for 23 hours in total silence until the program started.*

    And if you've never seen an Economic Development meeting begin with a musical number, you ain't never seen anything not like this before.

    No, I'm not joking. The conference began with "The Grass is Always Greener" the opening number of the musical smash Pittsburgh: Quit Yer Bitchin', which the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called "The feel adequate show of the Summer."

    And jazzhands!!

    Chairman & CEO of The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., James E. Rohr, made a very good MC for this event, with his penchant for stepping out from behind the podium and addressing his staff in the audience. It made the conference seem almost human for a few moments as he breezed through the same slides as last year with the same questionable statistics.** But he did try to get the positive energies flowing amongst the conference attendees.

    Contrast that to the other speakers, who were focusing on Taxes, Workforce Development, Government, Transportation, and Regionalism:

  • John P. Surma Jr., Chairman & CEO, United States Steel Corporation and graduate of the William Shatner School of Public Speaking,*** managed to make the already boring subject of corporate tax rates so boring that we could have made it all the way to the Earth's Core.

  • Not every speaker was a former member of Second City, and American Eagle President Susan McGalla was no exception. There is a script Susan; please try to follow it...even if it is about workforce development.

  • Thomas L. VanKirk, CEO of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, tried to rip apart the podium with his bare hands which, for those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, is a legal maneuver first made popular in the landmark Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.
  • Mr. VanKirk did get the opportunity to introduce two very important guests: Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and his kid brother Luke Ravenstahl, who spoke about governmental consolidation (especially the soon-to-be announce merger of the City and County Purchasing Departments) and really cool bikes. If you were hoping to drink every time Luke said "Moving Forward" would have been sadly sober, although you would have been blasted if you had chosen the word "Efficient."

    Also announced was a major investors trip to China who, apparently has $1 Trillion to burn. Don't know where they might have gotten that from.

    Michele Fabrizi, President & CEO of MARC USA, called on those in attendance to help "spread the word" about Pittsburgh. The conference provided a list of 10 Facts about the Region to be used, you know, in casual conversation with outsiders. For example:
    Sir, did you know that Pittsburgh boasts one of the largest collection of certified "green" buildings in the nation.

    I don't care asshole! If you touch the girls again, I'm going to throw your drunk ass out into the street.
    OK, perhaps it won't work in all situations, but here's some of the facts that YOU can use:
  • Pittsburgh's cost of living is 93% of the national average.

  • Our region lives within 3000 miles of 99% of the entire U.S. population.

  • The average cost of an existing home is less than or equal to 50% of the total cost of all the homes in the region.

  • All trees in the region take in Carbon Dioxide and release Oxygen, which is vital for life to survive.

  • Pittsburgh ranked 8th in the nation for made up facts per capita.
  • So memorize some of these facts and spread the word.

    Sadly missing this year, was Murray Gerber's tirade on Education, the general handwringing over the airport, and the word "Bassmaster". On the plus side, it did only run an hour and fifteen minutes, unlike the 2005 Conference Meeting which, I believe, is still going on right now.

    The best part of the conference, of course, is the meet & greet afterwards as everyone rushes the buffet. Conspicuous amongst the attendees were Councilman Bill Peduto, Congressman Elect Jason Altmire, Ex-County Commissioner and Weasel Impersonator Larry Dunn, and Ex-County Executive Jim Roddey (who bailed after 30 seconds). Conspicuously absent, however, was Luke who ducked out shortly after his bit, probably because it was a school night. Dan Onorato did hang out for awhile, pressing the flesh.

    The hors d'oeuvres were better this year, by the way, mostly because I was able to snag a few.

    The ensuing hangover, however, laid me out for three days.

    Perhaps next year, I'll be on the invitee list, and won't have to sneak out as an art history docent again.

    *This is all patently false.

    **The Pittsburgh Region, apparently, has more jobs now than it has ever had in its history.

    ***School Motto: Khaaaaaaaan!

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Election 2006 Fallout

    I woke up this morning as hungover and bleary eyed as I did two years ago, but with the added bonus of not being horribly, horribly wrong this time around.

    I can't say that it doesn't give me a smidgen of joy to know that at least on part of one branch of the federal government will be in the hands of not the Republican Party. This doesn't make up for 2004, but at least it feels like a huge burden has been lifted off our shoulders.

    Alternatively, I could be feeling like that because today's celebratory hangover has finally lifted.

    If you start poking around at some of the right wing sites out there, you may be amazed at how quickly some of these guys have turned on their own. For example, take a look at what this guy has to say:

    There hasn't been any ideology in the Republican Party, any conservatism, for at least two to maybe four years. You could argue Bush was more of an ideologue in the presidential campaign of '04, but in looking at what happened yesterday, it wasn't conservatism that lost. Conservatism won when it ran as a Democrat. It won in a number of places. Republicanism lost.
    In any event, someone lit The Decider Signal, and the POTUS immediately sprung into action by taking down his Secretary.

    I don't mean that in the usual Republican "choking your Peruvian mistress" sense, I mean, Rumsfeld went down.

    Wait... I mean he resigned. Or rather "Resigned."

    Between the incoherent ramblings of the press conference two things were clear:

    (1) Bush can't tell a joke.

    (2) Despite what he said last week about Rummy being onboard until the end of the term, he was planning on firing him. Which means, he was either lying last week or flip-flopping this week.

    But, best for the POTUS to get these types of changes out of the way now before the Senate switches over. He's already going to have his hands full with the House.

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Midterm Madness (pt.5)


    Did Altmire win?

    Oh my. Oh my oh my.

    Midterm Madness (pt.4)

    The pro-mistress constituency didn't seem to have helped Don Sherwood.

    Nor did the the pro-choking constituency.

    Midterm Madness (pt.3)

    And Santorum goes down like a gay man on a dog.

    What? Too soon?

    Midterm Madness (pt.2)

    Currently, approximately 88,000 people in Florida's 16th congressional district would rather vote for a pedophile than a Democrat.

    It is Florida, ya know.

    Midterm Madness (pt.1)

    Is Brit Hume's face melting on Fox News or is he passing a kidney stone?

    Midterm Election Spectacularrrrrr

    If you reading this post you're probably one of the few people in this country that thinks about politics and government for more than 5 minutes per month. Therefore the odds are very good that you're going to be voting today, and you would have done so anyway, so there's no reason for me to actually remind you to do so.

    But if you have a friend who doesn't read this blog why not (a) make them read it every day under pain of torture and (b) take them out to the polls?

    And for you who will be watching the poll returns with baited breath tonight, here's a little treat. Enjoy!

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Final Thoughts on Election 2006

    Roughly two years ago, I rolled out of bed bleary-eyed after a long intense night of return watching, pacing, and hard drinking. Unable to find my glasses, I staggered to the living room and switched on the TV, pressed my nose to the screen, and tried to read the blurry crawl on CNN.

    I had predicted early the day before a clear Kerry victory based on a couple common rules of thumb and a slew of polls that I had poured over in the days before. Needless to say, I was very, very wrong. And very hungover.

    Lost a good deal of money on that election pool, by the way.

    Now setting aside the fact that some people believe that the 2004 vote was rife with fraud and effectively stolen, you can see that my punditry skills when it comes to calling elections are not so good.

    That being said: this is what I'm seeing right now:

    In the Senate, 49 Democratic seats + 2 Independents vs. 49 Republicans. I see "Jim" Webb winning against "Macaca" Allen.

    In the House, 227 Democratic seats to 208 Republican seats, which is based on current polls, and a 50/50 split of some of the more contested races. I will admit that this is rather optimistic, which is why I backed down from the original superoptimistic prediction of 245 to 203.*

    The bell weather, however, is going to be in this part of this country with the Hart/Altmire race: if Melissa Hart loses, the Democrats will have trounced the Republicans all over the rest of the country.

    Me? I'm voting for gridlock. Hopefully, on Wednesday morning I will be as bleary-eyed and hungover, but significantly less wrong.

    * Oh good, two people got that joke. Horray for the public school system!

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    Midterm Election Bingo

    Saw this a few minutes ago as I was sitting home alone on a Friday night, in the dark, drinking a fifth of Makers Mark and yelling at my 12 cats.

    OK, that's not quite true; it wasn't that dark.

    Anyway, mark your card on November 7th when a seat goes from red to blue.


    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Midterm 2006 Victims (Part 4)

    Let's not beat around the bush here: what I'm about to present is probably the worst political website that I've seen thus far this year. I'm afraid that if I show it to you, I'm going to violate several child endangerment laws and perhaps several laws of nature. This site scares me and I was worried that if I looked at it too long, my face would melt off like at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    So if you're nervous and you feel the need to click on any one of those links to the right there before going any further, I'm not going to be upset.

    I'll give you a second to think about it...





    Don't say you weren't warned:

    You may have to click on the link to get the full, heady impact of the site.

    Let's start at the beginning:

    The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Mr. Ogden's picture is worth exactly 18 words: "I swear to Jesus, I will break your body with my moustache and eat your still beating heart." It also says to me "I saved a bundle at Sears Portrait Studio."

    Now, second, I realize that Mr. Ogden spent some money on his campaign [it says that the site was paid for WAAAAAAAAAAY at the bottom of the page] and I realize that he isn't a professional politician, but you would think that he would have chosen an email address a little better than gymowner777[at]yahoo[dot]com . I mean, he could have asked me for one of my gmail invites (I have 99 left... and no friends). And Yahoo? Are they even around anymore? I thought they were bought out by or something back in the late 90s.

    Third, it is very important for a politician, vital even, to make sure you know how to spell the names of the places that you are hoping to represent. "Sheraden" has an "A" in it, not an "I". Now, again, I realize that this is not Mr. Ogden's full time job, but you think some level of basic research could have been done on his part.

    Fourth: there is absolutely no reason to change the size the CASE or the color of your text for no good reason, especially in mid sentence. It is fairly distracting.

    Imagine no more property taxes! Imagine no more Sheriffs Sales. Imagine no more property assessments! Imagine making home-improvements without being afraid of Property Assessors! Imagine how much more valuable & safer our neighborhoods would be if homeowners were allowed to remodel their homes without being penalized for fixing them up!
    Imagine that a politician could make unworkable, irresponsible, and not-fully-thought-out promises. Imagine that you had a unicorn that farted rainbows and magical pixie dust! Imagine that this paragraph didn't sound like John Lennon if he was an economist on crack! Imagine that it wasn't all so green!

    Sixth, if you're going to endorse a program, make sure that the acronyms (S.T.O.P.) match the programs (Stop Taxing Our Homes?).

    But I'm going to stop here, as I fear that Mr. Ogden will, in fact make good on his threat and rip out my still beating heart.