Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mayor asks for Resignation from Himself

Just over a month after he fired 11 high level City administrators, three days after firing all of the City's Middle Management, and hours after expelling all of the City's Residents, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today asked for a resignation letter from himself as part of his ongoing mission to "move Pittsburgh forward."

In a statement, the mayor said he was "not satisfied with the condition of city government" and will conduct a nationwide search for the best candidate to run the City as Mayor.

He asked for a resignation letter from himself at an early morning working breakfast and asked that he continue to serve the city in an acting capacity. He encouraged himself to reapply for his position "in order to prove he is the best person for the job." Also fired was the entire staff of the Mayor's office, including Chief of Staff Yarone Zober.

The move came as a surprise to those in City government, still reeling from the mass firings of June 15th, but not unexpected to those that are closest to him.

A Mayor's Office employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told this blog that the Mayor, who has not been seen in public since June 30th, had been acting unusual over the last few weeks.

"At first it was the bathrobe. That wasn't too unusual as he had been putting in some long nights with Jim Motznik working on this Cat Licensing bill. But when that started to collapse, he started to act a bit peculiar."

Other anonymous sources say that the Mayor had begun to wear tissue boxes on his feet, had grown out his fingernails, was collecting his own urine in water bottles in his office, and had started to call everyone "Admiral".

Grant Street observers have also detected what can only be described as paranoia, delusions of grandeur, and Napoleonic Complexes coming out of the Mayors office. Rumors swirled in February when it was alleged that Mr. Ravenstahl forced out his press secretary Dick Skrinjar after Mr. Skrinjar refused to worship him as "Zeus on Earth."

Mr. Skrinjar refused to comment on the matter.

The Mayor would not comment on whether the Mayor had agreed to offer his resignation to himself or whether the Mayor would accept it. He said he may use a professional head-hunting firm to find candidates for the position.

The Mayor has until November to fill his own office.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mayor Tells Pittsburghers "Get the Hell Out"

Just over a month after he fired 11 high level City administrators and immediately following a reported announcement firing all middle management, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today asked all City of Pittsburgh residents to leave.

In a statement, the mayor said he was "not satisfied with the condition of the City" and will conduct a nationwide search for the best candidates to become new Yinzers and move Pittsburgh forward.

He asked for resignation letters from the nearly 350,000 residents and asked that they continue to live in the city in an acting capacity. He encouraged them to reapply for their residencies "in order to prove they are the best persons for the job."

The statement, which was read by Chief of Staff Yarone Zober, told Pittsburghers "you just don't get it do you? I mean, seriously, you don't. Get the hell out. Just go."

Residents of the City were confused by the order. Jeff Zellerman, 46, a computer consultant from Point Breeze asked, "Can he even do that?"

When questioned, George Specter, the City's Acting Solicitor responded by saying "How the hell should I know? I'm just the acting Solicitor. I'm apparently dumber than a box of rocks. Seriously, I don't really care anymore."

While the City Home Rule Charter lays out broad discretionary powers for the Mayor, there is no explicit expulsion power.

Duquesne Law Professor Robert Fillip postulated that this was a pre-emptive salvo in the upcoming November election.

"If the City has no population, other than Ravenstahl supporters, Luke will easily win over [Republican challenger] DeSantis. He must be really worried that DeSantis is going to poll over 30%... or else he's nuttier than Mr. Peanut's family reunion."

The Mayor's Office would not issue comment on why he was taking such an extreme step nor clarify how the Mayor intended to enforce the eviction decree.

Wilkinsburg, Plum, and Mt. Oliver have already begun setting up refuge camps, while an armed group calling themselves "The People's Army of the 14th Ward" has secured and is holding the Squirrel Hill business district.

Mr. Ravenstahl said some of the denizens may be asked to stay and he refused to discuss any specific individuals, although County Executive Dan Onorato was refused entrance into the City early this morning. He said he may use a professional head-hunting firm to find candidates for some positions.

The Mayor has until January to refill the City population.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mayor asks for further resignations

Just over a month after he fired 11 high level City administrators, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today asked for resignation letters from all department deputy and assistant directors and all middle management as part of his ongoing mission to "move Pittsburgh forward."

In a statement, the mayor said he was "not satisfied with the condition of city government" and will conduct a nationwide search for the best candidates to assist in the running of city departments.

He asked for resignation letters from the nearly 500 employees and asked that they continue to serve the city in an acting capacity. He encouraged them to reapply for their positions "in order to prove they are the best person for the job."

The move came as a surprise to those in City government, still reeling from the mass firings of June 15th.

No City employees were willing to make a statement on record, although several anonymous civil servants expressed anger about the move.

An employee who would only identify himself as "Mr. F" called the mass resignations "ludicrous."

"After 30 years of loyal service, this is the thanks I get? With all positions still unfilled from [the Murphy Administration] firings... this is b------t! Utter b------t! Does the Mayor's Office have any clue what they're doing?"

The conservative Allegheny Institute issued a generally positive statement, calling the mass firings a "good step towards the development of a government that can be drowned in a bathtub."

Still up in the air is the fate of the remaining 2,500 City non-management level employees who will have to take up the responsibilities of their fired colleagues. Rumors have begun to circulate around Grant Street than the balance of City employees will also be asked to resign.

Mr. F was less optimistic about his future.

"I'm leaving. I can get a job anywhere else. I don't have the time or energy to deal with this stupid crap. Call me when somebody competent is in charge."

Mr. Ravenstahl said some of the deputy department heads and managers may be asked to stay and he refused to discuss any specific individuals. He said he may use a professional head-hunting firm to find candidates for some positions.

The Mayor has 60 days to fill the positions before the City goes straight to hell.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wethrinaer jagh Gonzales

I'm a fun loving masochist, so I spent all last evening watching clips from Alberto Gonzales's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary committee. When that got too painful, I started hitting my head repeatedly with a frying pan.

The frying pan was a whole lot more fun.

Watching the Attorney General give testimony is like watching Tom Green's "comedy": it's painful, unfunny, stupid, and at the end you wonder why this guy still has a career. Alberto's logic is so tortured, you can see why he argued for keeping Git-mo open.

I keep waiting for Sen. Leahy to leap over the bench and bash his head into the witness table shouting "I DON'T RECALL MOTHERFUCKER!". This is, coincidentally one of the series of snuff fantasies that I have about the Bush administration.

Some of the more pornographic fantasies involve both indictments AND impeachment?

Anyway, the more I think about it and the more I watch his miserable, miserable testimony, and the inevitable slouching towards a constitutional crisis, the more I think there's only one way for Abu to avoid lying to Congress: Alberto must become born again and start speaking in tongues.

Next time every time that Leahy, Biden, Durbin et al. ask a question, Alberto needs to respond with "Eeeeeeooooohhhh taaaaaaah veqlargh lasta lalaithamin squirlokel." He can claim that he's a vehicle for the voice of God and, when the Senators invariably ask him to respond in English, Alberto can claim that his religious beliefs are being suppressed.

Now, my understanding is that Gonzales is a Roman Catholic, and they're not too big on the whole "speaking in tongues" thing. Alberto's more into the whole "blindly obeying a supposedly morally infallible guy far removed from the real world", and as a Catholic he follows the Pope too. That kind of thing is hard to give up.

The hard part is if the Committee asks him to put his answers in writing. In that case, Alberto is going to have to "pour out his spirit" through indecipherable Gothic Runes. If they ask him to type, he'll have to use his head and bash it against the keyboard.

The last one is dangerous: he may be mistaken for your run-of-the-mill blogger.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pgh hires mgr 2 imprv f'ishincee

From the mouthpiece of the godless communist oppressors, the P-G:

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has hired a former Pittsburgh Public Schools official and charged him with improving the efficiency of city services.

Chuck Half, 60, of the South Side, will start Aug. 6 as manager of the city's Management, Accountability, Performance and Strategy program. He worked as the school district's coordinator of program management and quality from 2002 through 2006, when he was let go in a round of budget cuts. Since then, he has worked as a consultant implementing business management software...

He said he'll first look to improve the flow of information in city departments, and then work on making performance measurements transparent to the public...

As an example of projects he may work on, Mr. Half cited the city's pavement program. He said better information management could help the city take into account the traffic, wear and tear, history, and even development nearby each street when deciding which get repaved.
Now, I hope Bob's... er, Chuck's firings go really well, but "performance measurements" and "street repairs" are small potatoes when it comes to efficiency in this day and age. Here are some other suggestions for him to mull over:
* The purchasing process of the City of Pittsburgh is, for the most part, duplicative of both the School District and the County. If the three could pull their resources, we'd collectively save bunches when we go to Staples.

* Similarly, the City, County, School District, and related Authorities all have their own pension and insurance plans; bulk purchases of insurance and/or pooling of pension funds would spread the costs out over more people. That, or everyone could just agree to shoot the sick and the old on sight when they become a bother.

* Pittsburghers already drop the infinitive case in everyday speech. So, rather than saying "the car needs to be washed," we say, "the car needs washed." That's a savings of 15% (including spaces) right there. I suggest that we further drop all language and focus on developing some form of yinzer telekinesis.

* Keep the Department Director and all of the other vacant city positions empty until CMU can develop some sort of sentient RoboRueaucrat, to process picnic grove reservations and find Sarah Conner.

* There are too many council districts. We should eliminate 4.

* Better yet, 9. It'll be more efficient to let the mayor do what he wants.

* While we're at it, let's eliminate some of the more useless and redundant neighborhoods. I mean, do we really need "Chateau" or a Squirrel Hill North AND South? And why are there three Homewoods?

* And, most importantly of all, the City of Pittsburgh should just take over all the suburbs, by force if necessary, uniting Western Pennsylvania into what the Germans call a Grosse Yinzerreich.
So I hope Bob... er, Chuck has good luck with this management, accountability, performance and strategy program thing. Lord knows that the mayor doesn't have time for any of those things if Ron Burkle comes calling again.

Oh, and by the way, there's this squirrely looking guy, mumbles a lot down in the basement looking for his stapler threatening to set the City on fire; you might want to look into that.

Monday, July 23, 2007



Zober: Jerry-- you were always interested in politics -- and history.
I remember you calling about Weinroth back in '02.

Dettore: I'd still be alive -- I did good stuff in there.

Zober: You were around the old timers -- and meeting up on how the
family should be organized. How they based them on the old Roman
legions and called them regimes -- the capos and the soldiers. And I

Dettore: Yea, it worked. Those were the great old days you know. And
it was like the Roman Empire. The City of Pittsburgh was like the
Roman Empire.

Zober: It was once. Jerry-- when a plot against the Emperor failed --
the planners were always given a chance to let their families keep
their fortunes.

Dettore: Yea -- but only the rich guys Yarone. The little guys --
they got knocked off and all their estates went to the Emperors.
Unless they went home and uh, killed themselves -- then nothing
happened. And their families -- their families were taken care of

Zober: That was a good break -- nice funeral.

Dettore: Yea -- they went home -- and sat in a hot bath -- opened up
their veins -- and bleed to death.. And sometimes had a little party
before they did it.

Zober: Don't worry about anything Jerry Five Angels.

Dettore: Thanks Yarone-- thanks.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

U.S. Senate Launches MacGuffin Inquiry

Washington D.C. (AP) - Flanked by Senate colleagues of both parties, Senate Foreign Relations Chair Joe Biden (D-DE) announced a special inquiry into the Bush Administration's use of MacGuffins in US international policy.

"It is time that the American people are made aware of the Bush MacGuffin policy: the use of MacGuffins at any time, any where for soley political interests. Not since the Vietnam War have we seen such a brazen display of executive arrogance in this regard."

Speaking from the Old Senate Chambers in the basement of the Capitol, Biden lobbed harsh criticisms at a White House which had previously denied any MacGuffin usage.

Biden was joined at the podium by Indiana Senator Dick Lugar (R), who had previously, albeit privately, chastised the President for his MacGuffin usage. Speaking openly for the first time, Sen Lugar repeated his criticism of the administration:

"Mr. President, since launching the invasion of Iraq, you have repeatedly told the American people that you know where the MacGuffins are or that the MacGuffins will justify your actions. But it's time to face the facts: there are no MacGuffins, there were no MacGuffins, there will be no MacGuffins."

Democrats were much harsher in their critique, charging that the Bush MacGuffin policy has infiltrated not only international, but also domestic, policies. The Committee report, due out tomorrow, will document the role of Senior Political Advisor as "MacGuffin Czar," who has used his position within the White House to create MacGuffins in order to advance a political agenda.

White House Spokesman Tony Snow denied the charges saying that MacGuffins have never been created by the administration, adding that "the MacGuffins out there are real and should be taken seriously by the American people."

North Korea has long been at the top of the United Nationtions Commission on MacGuffins' (UNCOM) list of MacGuffin producing states, however, since September 11, 2001 the US has surreptitiously doubled MacGuffin production under the PATRIOT Act. Some critics of US foreign policy even go so far as to say that a US backed MacGuffin was involved in the events during and/or following 9/11.

According to Senator Biden, this administration has "be the worst abuser of MacGuffins since the Great Spanish-American War MacGuffin... and the most blatant user of MacGuffins since the Falkland Islands war."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will begin issuing subpoenas shortly, with the expectation of holding formal hearings before the August recess.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dog Cat and not Fish Licenses

Fluffy and Mrs. Whiskers are going to do something secret in Bodack, Carlisle, Payne and Motznik's shoes: From the P-G:

A tentative Pittsburgh City Council vote on licensing cats ended in a tie today, setting up a final vote Tuesday that could go either way.

Council members Len Bodack, Twanda Carlisle, Tonya Payne and licensing bill sponsor Jim Motznik supported the bill. Members Dan Deasy, Darlene Harris, William Peduto and Doug Shields voted against. Councilman Jeff Koch abstained, meaning he's the swing vote on what has become a controversial issue.

"A lot of pressure on Mr. Koch next week," quipped Mr. Deasy after the vote.

Mr. Motznik argued that a $7 annual fee for cats that have been spayed or neutered, and $12 for those that have not, would allow the city to pin responsibility on owners of cats that cause property damage, and make it easier to return those that become lost and are captured.

"To me, it's a no-brainer," said Mr. Bodack. "It's something that's been needed for a long time."

Council President Shields countered that there's "a much lower level of concern" about cats than dogs, because the latter can cause injury.

Ms. Carlisle said that's an outdated perception. "That was yesteryear," she said. "In 2007, cats are more aggressive than they used to be."

Ms. Harris said she would prefer a one-time fee rather than "something you're paying over and over again."

"Twice in the last couple of weeks I've gone out to get my newspaper, and seen a cat on the porch," said Mr. Deasy. Nonetheless, they are not a big problem in his neighborhoods.
So, I ask you: where are these Council people living that they are frequented by cat attacks? Yellowstone? The Serengeti? Yusuf Islam's house? Is there a half-crazed Adam West standing outside their houses with a cat gun?

Council is wasting its time worrying about phantom cat attacks when it could be dealing with issues that are far more pressing and pertinent to the health and safety of this City: licensing lawyers.

Just yesterday, my neighbor was set upon by a pack of vicious litigators as she went outside for her mail. The pack would have chewed her wallet off if I hadn't had the good sense to turn the hose on them.

As I was riding to work, I saw two lawyers debriefing. On the street! Where children might see them! And there was another one digging through the trash looking for some pro bono work.

And if you go down to Legal Friends, you can see whole cages of them, disbarred and left to go feral. Those that can't be placed with a loving firm are forced to be euthanized.

This is truly a tragedy that we, as a society, should be able to fix.

Although, cats are waaaaay cuter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Live From New York: It's Dickie Miami

Thanks to a Chris Briem post, I was forced to be aware that erstwhile CMU professor Richard Florida was on The Colbert Report hawking a former research assistant's gay index his 2005 book. The cover looks less pretentious now, although that's a bad way to judge the book.

Interesting to hear that he recently relocated to the University Toronto from George Mason University, which is still probably still too close to Pittsburgh for our own good, but probably means that the endowment for the P.T. Barnum Economics chair at GMU dried up.

My longstanding animosity with Dr. Oakland* is well known. Basically the disagreement boils to this: Florida believes that the "Creative Class" is a local and national economic generator to be supported by governments, whereas I believe that Economists should be spending more time researching and less time mugging for the cameras.

You can see the conflict.

On the plus side, my degrees of separation from Steven Colbert is way down.

*From Gertrude Stein: The trouble with Oakland is that when you get there, there isn't any there there. Pretty much sums up my feelings around Dr. F's theories.

Unattended Salad Raises Terror Alert

From the Post-Gazette:

A salad left unattended in a bag under a restroom sink prompted the closing of the Grant Street entrance to the Allegheny County Courthouse and the evacuation of county Chief Executive Dan Onorato's office for about an hour this afternoon.

Bomb sniffing dogs were sent into the ladies room after a paper bag was spotted about 1:20 p.m.

Officials said a salad was found in the bag, and the alert was lifted by 2:20 p.m.

Officers said their actions were a precaution. Other entrances remained open and courts remained in session, but a second office, that of the controller's payroll division, also was evacuated.
The County Police Department has been on high alert for suspicious plant related terrorism since hiring a new self defense instructor (pictured below), who has trained the force in how to defend themselves against passion fruit, oranges, apples, grapefruit, pomegranates, greengages, grapes, lemons, plums, mangoes in syrup, cherries, and bananas.

County Executive Dan Onorato has launched and inquiry as to why more training has not been done regarding pointed sticks.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rule #26

I haven't done this in awhile, so I'll cut to the quick:

Rule #26: Sometimes you just have to say 'Fuck the Rules'.

There are times when you just have to see the forest and the trees at the same time.

I'll clean that Rule up later for the FCC.... maybe use 'screw' or 'diddle' or 'squrlookal'.

Chertoff: "Gut Feeling" about Terrorist Attacks

Mars, Inc. suggests: "Grab a Snickers."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tough Questions

The Trib gave Mayor Luke Ravenstahl quite a tongue lashing in its pages today:

Ravenstahl, 27, of Summer Hill, won't explain why he did not want to reveal his whereabouts.

"What I was doing and where I was at has no reflection on me not being there," he has said.

That answer is "ridiculous," said Gloria Forouzon, whose Lawrenceville company runs candidate-training workshops geared toward women.

"If he won't answer questions like that, then the media shouldn't cover him when he's out at some ribbon-cutting," she said.

Mayors must face the press, even when the news is bad, said former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff, 89, of Squirrel Hill.

"I was the mayor for 24 hours a day -- that came ahead of everything else," said Masloff, who served from 1988 to 1994. "When I had appointments I couldn't keep because I went somewhere, I always said where I was, and members of the media checked up on me. That was fine."...

Ravenstahl has had trouble with tough questions.

For months, he denied being arrested outside Heinz Field on Oct. 31, 2005, when he was a city councilman.

On Jan. 18, the mayor admitted police handcuffed and detained him. He dismissed the incident as "much to do about nothing" and blamed reporters for only asking if he had been arrested, not if he had been detained. Ravenstahl denied shoving the police officer who cuffed him, but he acknowledged shouting profanities at the officer, whom he criticized for aggressively charging into a crowd of people waiting to enter the stadium.

On March 13, Ravenstahl flew to New York City with billionaire Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle, a longtime Democratic fundraiser. The trip on Burkle's private jet -- dubbed "Ron Air" by former President Clinton -- came shortly after local officials and the team announced a $290 million deal to build a hockey arena Uptown to keep the Pens in town.

Ravenstahl denied traveling to New York when asked about the trip early March 19, but he changed his story later in the day.
And so forth...

But really, the local media and the local Blurghosphere, while asking the simple questions that the mayor won't answer, hasn't been willing to ask the difficult questions that the mayor won't answer. Par Example:

  • Given the state of the City's poorly funded pension system and given the newly proposed near city-wide property tax abatement, does Luke want a waffle?
  • If the mayor could give a bicycle to any member of the Constitutional Convention, with the exception of Gouverneur Morris, who would it be and why?
  • A train leaves Chicago at 12:30 PM and travels at a speed of 40 mph. A second train leaves Des Moines at 2:45 PM and travels at a speed of 25 mph. Assuming that the distance is 333 mile, when will the two trains cross?
  • Mr. Mayor, have you stopped all the illegal activities in your administration, yet?
  • Given the recent flap over your attendance of the Mario Lemieux Invitational, are you prepared to release your final score after two days of play?
  • Do you like gladiator movies?
  • Who would win in a fight: Guy Costa and Ron Graziano with their legs tied together or seven midgets, one of which has a hammer?
  • Please discuss the historical role of streets, roads, avenues, and boulevards within the context of art and power using examples from the ancient, medieval, and modern ages. How does the creation of roads in the post-modern age differ from previous ages and how is it similar? (500 words max)
  • Who was the first United States president?
  • Do you think David L. Lawrence would kick your ass if he saw you on the street? Do you think you'd lose a fight to a dead man?

    And so forth...

    I mean seriously folks! Where is the local media? Where are the bloggers? Why aren't these pertinent questions being asked by anyone? What the hell is wrong with you people???

  • Speshul Edookation

    The Post-Gazette is reporting today that the Pittsburgh Public Schools is considering dropping the work "Public" from the name. From the article:

    Superintendent Mark Roosevelt's staff unveiled the policy at a school board Education Committee meeting last night.

    Under the policy, the district simply will call itself the "Pittsburgh Schools." The district's logo -- a pattern of circles, triangles and squares -- will still be used...

    School board members offered little reaction to the policy, which does not require board approval.

    By dropping "public" from its name, Randall Taylor said, the district might be able to avoid the negative attitude often associated with public schools.

    Ms. Fischetti noted that suburban districts don't have "public" in their names, and a marketing consultant who helped develop the policy...
    Personally, I think this is a far better plan the original proposal which would have just dropped the "L".

    Still, it doesn't really go far enough. With the recent Act 47 unpleasantness, the mayoral gaffes, and the Pirates not being able to cobble together a friggin' season above .500, it may behoove the Pittsburgh Public Schools to drop the "Pittsburgh" part as well.

    Moreover, with the No Child Left Behind debacle, school shootings, and physical collapsing at Schenley High, the word "Schools" ain't looking too positive either.

    Might I suggest that the Pittsburgh Public School system just change its name to an unpronounceable symbol: ə.

    Still, if they're going to start eliminating words with negative connotations, they should have started with "Board of Education"... reducing the name of that venerable body to "Of".

    And there's your "ə".

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Executive Power

    In Washington this week, we have seen a push by the current administration regarding the expansion of Executive Powers and, more specifically, the scope of Executive privilege. From Reuters:

    The White House on Monday dared the Democratic-led Congress to fight it in court by refusing to provide information and testimony demanded in an investigation into the firing of federal prosecutors.

    White House counsel Fred Fielding, in a letter to two congressional chairmen, called their demands "unreasonable because it represents a substantial incursion into presidential prerogatives."

    Congressional leaders disagreed and made it clear they were prepared for a court battle unless they reach a compromise with the White House on access to documents and witnesses.....

    Bush is relying on a legal doctrine known as executive privilege, which has been invoked with mixed success to shield presidents and their aides from having to answer questions or turn over information to Congress.

    White House spokesman Tony Snow brushed off the threat of a possible congressional contempt citation, saying, "It's up to them."

    "What we do believe is that we are on perfectly solid legal ground," Snow said.
    More important, although not explicitly stated in any official reports, are rumors of a more disturbing expansion of executive powers. Justice department insiders report that the Administration is preparing an Executive Order naming Bush as the earthly manifestation of the Egyptian god Ra. Ra, of which all other gods and goddesses were aspects, manifestations, phases, or forms of the god, has long been of interest to the current President who publicly claims to be a devote Christian. The order, according to anonymous sources, would place supreme executive and spiritual powers in the hands of Bush.

    Capitol Hill insiders aware of the proposed power grab have already denounced the move as being antithetical, not only to the principal of constitutional checks & balances, but also to the separation of Church and State. Republican apologists have countered that while Bush may be setting himself up as a god or god like figure, he is only providing a conduit by which the faithful can more fully worship his being. Supporters add that Bush-Ra is not constrained by the mortal powers elucidated by a mortal sheet of parchment.

    Monday, July 09, 2007


    Our day long national statewide nightmare minor irritation is over (for now)!


    Governor Rendell Names Self Dictator

    Parts of Harrisburg Ablaze

    Whereabouts of Katherine Baker-Knoll Unknown

    (AP) Harrisburg, PA - At 12:01 this morning, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that his administration and the State Legislature were at an impasse over the 2008 Commonwealth budget and, as a result, the Government of Pennsylvania would be formally dissolved.

    "This is not a step I relish taking," said Rendell, "I recognize that the Democratic process has strong roots in this Commonwealth, but desperate times call for desperate measures. As such, I am investing myself with full executive, legislative, and judicial powers for the foreseeable future."

    Immediately, all streets in and around the Capital were barricaded and the Harrisburg police department was dispatched to enforce a nighttime curfew. Members of the State Police force were sent out to roundup fugitive members of the State House and Senate.

    Around 12:30 AM, gunfire from an armed Legislative militia was heard from across the Susquehanna River. The Governor's staff, assuming a counteroffensive by the remaining Legislators, immediately evacuated the Governor back to his stronghold of Philiadelphia, where they have reestablished the Commonwealth Capitol at the City Hall.

    Remaining bands of Loyalists held back the Legislative offensive led by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati until around 3 AM, when the invaders began to set fire to most of the structures abutting Front Street. The Loyalists retreated to the former Capitol building before setting it alight as well. By 5 AM nearly half of the historic City Center was in flames.

    In Philadelphia, the Governor appointed Dan Onorato as Regent for the Western District and Christopher A. Doherty as Regent for the Eastern District. Despite mandatory curfews, riots have broken out in Pittsburgh, Erie, Wilkes-Barre, and much of the Lehigh Valley.

    House Republican Leader Sam Smith reportedly barely made it to a Private Corporate Jet and has established what he has termed a "Government-in-Exile" in Binghampton NY.

    Speaking on Voice of Pennsylvania airwaves: The destiny of the world is here. I, Sam Smith, currently in Binghampton NY, invite the officers and the Pennsylvanian loyalists who are located in our Commonwealth's territory or who would come there, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the special workers of armament industries who are located in Commonwealth's territory or who would come there, to put themselves in contact with me.

    Large streams of refugees have already been reported making their way to Maryland and West Virginia for cheap liquor and gambling.

    An unidentified group calling itself the People's Front of Pennsylvania have allegedly captured Lt. Governor Katherine Baker-Knoll. Their leader, who identifies himself as, "Il Hunky" has demanded the release of prisoners taken by the Pennsylvanian People's Front. The group has already reportedly beheaded Secretary of Community and Economic Development Dennis Yablonsky. The Pennsylvanian Popular Front released former Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer after realizing that no one really wanted him anyway.

    Approximately 30,000 New Jersey troops were quickly marshaled early this morning in an attempt to stem the spread of violence into the neighboring state. Ohio and Maryland have made similar moves this afternoon and are setting up massive Red Cross refugee camps in Akron and Cumberland. New York has threatened retaliatory airstrikes against any incursions into its territory.

    When asked for comment, Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security was quoted as saying, "We consider this matter to be an internal matter for Pennsylvania and will not get involved at this time."

    Leader Rendell has offered rebel leaders a chance to comply with his orders stating it is they "that are mistaken about a great many things."

    Friday, July 06, 2007

    Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

    The Post-Gazette once called this blog "less anti-Ravenstahl than most [Pittsburgh Political blogs]", which, I'm sure, was intended to be some sort of compliment. I don't think this place is particularly "anti-Ravenstahl" as much as it is "anti-stupid"; indeed, I think I am being particularly impartial when I say that I think all politicians are a bunch of yutzes, although some more so than others.

    I'm not a rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth zealot or anything. I like to think of myself of radical with a pension and a mortgage, for what it's worth.

    More often than not, however, the anti-politician streak and the anti-stupid streak sort of mashup in a disgusting orgy usually reserved for the dance floors of clubs in the Strip. The local Mayoral Golf outing fracas seems to be one of those cases.

    Look, I don't know much about geometry anymore, but I remember this much: (1) a point is a point, (2) two points define a line, and (3) three points define a plane. I also remember from my rhetoric & logic classes that 3 examples are a good foundation for an argumentative proof, and that three examples set up a joke.

    You seek what I'm getting at here: we are beginning to define what I'm defining the "Ravenstahl Stupid Plane argument-joke", which is a needlessly cumbersome way of saying that the Mayor seems to be taking actions that are consistently not well thought out. Take for example his sluffing off of a Hill District Community meeting in March to go drink on a plane with Ron Burkle and now his decision to go play golf instead of addressing the controversy of the promoted police commanders. [I'm sure that loyal, more focused readers can fill in a third event to complete the trifecta, if they wish.]

    But, It's not that what Ravenstahl's decisions were particularly "wrong" or "evil" but more "boneheaded" and "not-at-all well thought out". It's like the mayor is deliberately peeing on the electric fence or sticking a fork in his eye: not wrong, just unnecessarily stupid.

    Now, when I was his age I would have totally gone drinking with Ron and golfing with Mario. I mean, seriously: how awesome would that have been? But I wasn't the mayor of a major metropolitan area at the time either. Heck, I'm not a particularly religious person nor am I a big fan of St. Paul, but even I get1 Corinthians 13.

    If the mayor wants to last the next two years, let alone the next four months, somebody on the 5th floor had better start keeping him on a short leash... or at least keep him away from sharp objects.

    Thursday, July 05, 2007

    Libby & Whatnot

    I have nothing substantial to say about the Presidential commuting of the Libby sentence except for the following:

    1) When the news broke, I had been incommunicado for about a week after having perfected my Henry-David Thoreau impression. This was the first actual news I had heard for what seemed like an age.

    2) But it was immediately drummed out by the cacophony that is cable news, forcing the item to share equal time with such nonsense as "is chocolate good for you?" and "woman gets face blown off by illegal fireworks." That's sad.

    3) The events have me furious in ways that make it difficult to type. As a bureaucrat, I am the willing servant of the rules and am compelled, nay, required to use my skills consistent with and pursuant to those rules. The arbitrary breaking of rules based on what I want or to protect my own interests would be grounds for termination, and with good cause. Of course, I'm not the President and cannot willingly ignore the law at a whim.

    4) In the Olbermann clip that has been floating around the Internets, he mentions that "Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign." I would take issue with his characterization that the current administration is akin to Nixon's... with the incompentancy and the cronyism, I would say it was more like Harding.

    Of course, Harding had the good sense to die in office.