Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tales from the Crypt

And so I undertook this year's annual activity of handing out candy to neighborhood begger children, as is the tradition around these here parts.

Sometime around 8PM a child came and rang the doorbell, well past the designated Tick-or-Treating time period. He had a frightening costume. I assumed that he was a lizard or a zombie or something.

I asked him what he was and he said that he was "The Mayor of Pittsburgh." It was a very clever costume. I giggled at the thought of parents putting their child up to this act of political protest. So, I gave him some candy (*three* pieces, no less), patted him on the head, and closed the door.

Anyway, long story short: turns out is was actually Luke Ravenstahl doing door-to-door campaigning.

The moral of the story: Halloween is too close to Election Day and Luke really shouldn't be out after dark without his parents.

A Man, A Plan, A Consultant: Ravenstahl

Every now and then I get a little bit terrified but then I see the look in your eyes I read things in the newspaper that make me wonder if I've suddenly been transported into an alternate reality in which up is down, down is sideways, and sideways is a super-intelligent shade of the colour blue.* Other times, I wonder if I'm part of a fabulously ironic performance piece set on the stage of City Government.

I can't tell if this is all a brilliant study on the cognitive dissonance of the local populace or just some drooling Neanderthal slapping his genitals in my face. But Behold!

A Philadelphia-based consultant will start a study of city of Pittsburgh neighborhoods today, with the goal of providing detailed data and guidance on development investment.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl introduced The Reinvestment Fund at a press conference that announced the start of the $35,000 study funded by the city, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Surdna Foundation.

"We have to ensure that we are investing our limited resources wisely," said Mr. Ravenstahl. TRF's data will allow the city to rebuild "using hard data, instead of politics" to distribute limited funds.

Ira Goldstein of TRF said his organization will drive through every neighborhood, talk with community advocates, and comb data on housing, vacancies, abandonment, foreclosures and more. That "allows us to comprehend what's really going on" in neighborhoods.

That data will help local leaders answer a host of questions, he said. "In what way should [development] money be spent? Is that money for demolition? Is that money for infill housing? Is that money for a preservation program?"
Let's pause for a moment and consider the above statements.

(a)We're commissioning another study.

(b) And it will be based on real data...

(c) But we're going to really use it this time...

(d) And politics will not enter into it at all...

(e) We promise, cross our heart and hope to die.

Now, which part of the above statements do you think that I find most ridiculous?

If you said (f), "All of the Above" go raid your kid's Halloween Candy stash, 'cause you've earned it.

Let me first say that plans are good. I should know, as I've been involved in a lot of 'em. In fact, I would say that I generally use these plans every day. Why, right now, I'm using three of them as a footrest.

Plans are great... just ask Gen. George Custer.

And I think it's a great idea to bring people from Phillie to drive through every neighborhood, talk with community advocates, and comb data on housing, vacancies, abandonment, foreclosures and more. If nothing else, it'll increase the tourism dollars coming into the region.

Lord knows, no one in this city has ever driven through every neighborhood, talked with community advocates, or combed through data. The thought of this new "Re-Search" amazes me, and one day I hope that they will be able to tell me exactly how to make it through the day without pissing all over myself.

And I love "data". Data never lies**... analysts do, but no analyst would ever, ever, *ever* skew her data to meet predefined objectives and goals. Well, no analyst outside the current White House Administration, that is.

Most importantly, however, no politician is ever going to let something as flimsy as a plan or facts to stand in their way of providing walking around money to their district. What's more, no politician in their right (electable) mind is going ever let it be perceived that they are doing less than the absolute best for their district. What's even more, no politician that wants to run for office again is ever going to be stopped from grabbing as much of the pie as they can.

Sure, the plan is rational, but right before the spring primary, you'd better believe that the Plan will be thrown out in favor of "the best interests of the neighborhood."***

And by that we mean re-election campaigns.

*A "Hooloovoo"

** Or uses contractions.

*** I'm not even going to get into the whole "picking winners" vs. "addressing needs" debate (which sounds like what this is going to devolve down to) but I'm sure that there are other folks that will.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Special Guest Commentary from Sleazy Vacant Property Owner


The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat asked me to write a special commentary on today's announcement by the mayor that he is "cracking down" on nuisance properties.

Now, under the proposed legislation it seems that any property that is cited for drug, gun, drunkenness, noise, or building code violations three times in a single month will be declared "a disruptive property". After three disruptive property violations, I believe that the property is declared a "nuisance." After three "nuisance" violations, you receive a demerit. You don't want to know what happens after a demerit. (Hint: it begins with "c" and ends with "-itation.")

Frankly, and this is speaking strictly for me and not for any of the other thousands of other nuisance property owners, I don't really care what the mayor does. Sure, I own shitty properties but I'm in Boca Raton... or in Wilkinsburg... or I'm dead... and don't really have time to worry about the activities going on in my properties. And, if I was worried about what was going on in those properties, you would be damned sure that I would have done something about it already.

So, what, exactly is the City going to do about it? Take my property with all of its liens and judgments on it? They would be doing me a favor, I can tell you. And what will they be left with? Just another vacant property that they can't shift.

The City can go ahead and try to find me, but if they really think that they have the resources, let alone the staff time, to launch such an undertaking they're obviously crazier than a shit house rat. I mean, they can barely keep up with the building permits, what makes the mayor think that he's going to suddenly be able to enforce a whole bunch of new regulations?

Or is he just going to fire BBI's staff one by one until someone complies?

Well, until the City rustles up another 30-40 employees, we'll be doing eight balls with the hookers back at my place on Penn Avenue. Feel free to join us; they'll be guns, drunkenness, noise, and building code violations for all.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

City's Wi-Fi survives U.S. Wireless financial woes

Downtown's year-old experiment with free wireless Internet service will continue despite the rec

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ex-AG Thornburg Calls Wecht Charges "Baffling"

Ol' Dickie Thornburg making waves down in D.C. As covered in the Tribune-Review (for some strange reason):

WASHINGTON -- Public corruption charges against former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht are politically motivated, former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh told Congress on Tuesday.

Thornburgh accused U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, a fellow Republican, of abusing federal law to target his Democratic client. Wecht, 75, of Squirrel Hill is charged with 84 counts of theft and fraud, and he is accused of using his public office for private financial gain.

"It is not the type of case normally constituting a federal 'corruption' case brought against a local official," Thornburgh told members of the House Judiciary Committee, which Democrats control"There is no allegation that Dr. Wecht ever solicited or received a bribe or kickback."
Now, this witch hunt, and let's call it that, if nothing else shows the sheer foolishness of the Bush Administration... but not for the reasons you might be thinking.

First, they went after Cyril Wecht.

Think about it for a second: Cyril Wecht.

The Coroner.

The Guy who lost to Jim Roddey for County Executive.

The Guy who spent 178 hours a week on cable news during the OJ Simpson trial.



If the Bush administration was seriously trying to use the Department of Justice to undermine major Democratic Party strongholds, they could've gone after someone with a little more, you know, oomph. I mean, heck, they went after Cyril and Tom Murphy, two men that were so unpopular that even their supporters don't really like them. Was it under achievement day at the Justice Department, or is this what we should come to expect from Liberty University Graduates?

Second, now I recognize that Cyril is a big mucky-muck in the party, but it's not like the local Democratic establishment is lacking other felons... or was Ben Woods busy that day?

Third, seriously, do we really want to inflate Cyril's already ginormous ego by making him a feature of a national GOP witch hunt? Now, at every party we're going to be barraged with Cyril saying "Oh, did you hear that I'm so important that the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy wanted to take me out? No? Well, let me tell you..."

God! He's going to be insufferable now. I mean, MORE insufferable.

And that's the last things that anyone wants: a more annoying Cyril Wecht.

Thanks W. Thanks a lot. Putz.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ravenstahl Alleges Secret "Wink-Wink" with "You Know Who"

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said today that he was subjected to "You Know What" and offered a "little somethin'-somethin'" as part of "You Know Who's" endorsement process, prior to that "You Know Who's" decision to back his Republican rival, Mark DeSantis.

He drew comparisons and contrasts with "Some Guys You May Have Heard of But I Don't Know Their Names'" negotiations with then-Mayor Tom Murphy, in which the city agreed to "wet their beaks" weeks before the Democratic primary. "Those Guys" then endorsed Mr. Murphy, spurring a U.S. Attorney's Office investigation that ended inconclusively.

The hardball nature of his discussions with "You Know Who" "certainly brings up a lot of similarities with what took place [in 2001]," Mr. Ravenstahl said. "It was political, and it was right before an election, you knows what I'm sayin'?"

"You Know Who's" leadership asked him about whether members could win a "Wink-Wink," a "Nudge-Nudge", and a "Say No More", which starts Jan. 1, 2010, the mayor said.

But he added that there "wasn't necessarily a quid pro quo, you do this, I do that. ... I was unwilling to cave in to the pressure, I guess you'd say."

Mr. DeSantis said he made no concessions to "You Know Who", but just outlined his beliefs, which includes "a nod that's as good as a wink to a blind bat." He said Mr. Ravenstahl "accuses me of some kind of back-room deal, and I find that offensive."

When asked to respond, Mr. Ravenstahl said, "Hey, what do I know! You know? Bada beep, bada boom. DeSantis has his thing, and I have mine... and it would be a shame, if, you know, things happened to him, is all I'm saying."

The Mayor refused to be more explicit.

Monday, October 22, 2007

ADB Unveils Endorsement for Pittsburgh Mayor

We the Editors at The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat are usually above such petty things as "politics," or "elections," or "humanity," but we figured that we'd give it a miss this year and really boil down the Pittsburgh Mayoral Election to it's hard candy center, and get around to endorsing someone this year.

Unfortunately, as pointed out by our [now former] General Counsel, we are prohibited, under the Hatch Act to actively endorse or campaign for any candidate.

However, the Law has never gotten in the way of a Good Bureaucrat, who knows how to gracefully slide past a law in a manner completely unlike Katie Moss sliding by a line of coke.

According to our Brand New General Counsel, while we cannot actively endorse or campaign for any candidate, we can say that any candidate that we would support would be an avid reader of this blog.

And, supposing that all of the candidates read this blog [as they better damned well do] any candidate that would post on this site more than any other candidate would obviously receive more support.

And, supposing that all of the candidates left an equal number of posting on this site, the ones with the most well thought out, reasoned, and sensible policy proposals would obviously receive more support.

And, supposing all of the candidates had well thought out, reasoned, and sensible policy proposals, the ones that would make the most witty or clever comments would obviously receive more support

So, if any mayoral candidate happens to start leaving well thought out, witty, comments in these posts, they would, you would assume, have received more of an endorsement from us, if we were allowed to do that kind of thing.... which we aren't.

Now, we're not saying that we here have any political pull, but we are saying that it would be a shame to lose the endorsement of one of the paragons of the Pittsburgh Blogosphere.

That, and we did leave a flaming bag of poop on Les Ludwig's porch that one time.*

You've been warned, guys.

*Sorry Les

SCHIP on my Shoulder

Now that the brouhaha has passed, I can now say without fear of retribution, that I support the President's decision to veto the proposed legislation to extend health care benefits to millions of children.

I don't support his reasons for vetoing it. It seems a bit silly for a man who's spent bazillions of dollars in Iraq to complain about this nickel and dime crap. As the saying goes: penny wise, pound foolish... or in this case, merely, "foolish".

No, I support the veto of this bill for the simple reason that there are just too many damned kids, period. We need a good sickness to wipe a whole bunch of them out.

Everywhere I go nowadays, there are little 10 year old hoodlums with their skateboards and their rap music and their Pokemans, just hanging out looking for trouble. Just the other day I had to scare a horde of them off my damned lawn after they "accidentally" lost their ball in my yard.

You'd better believe that I kept that ball and put it with my collection of other various teenage paraphernalia that has landed in my yard or in my roof. Nasty little hell spawn are going to get what's coming to them one day. I'm sure the better parts of their personalities ended up on their parents' bed sheets.

Frankly, these kids are far too strong. A nice gap in medical coverage will be able to thin out the herd a bit. We need to think about the benefits of cholera, TB, and polio: shorter lines at the amusement parks, lower school taxes, and more dirty words on prime time television.

Of course, with the herd thinned, a new stronger breed of super children will emerge... which we can quickly put to work in our coal mines, cotton spinning factories, and hocking vegetables in the markets, where they belong.

Now, I can just hear the whiners say, "but the children are our future." These whiners are wrong; children are not our future, the elderly are. Have you ever known anyone in your life to grow younger? Indeed, we are plummeting headlong into old age, not youth. The Old are our future, even the children.

So, that's why I believe that children should not be given any free medical care at all. Annoying little brats don't deserve it.

Of course, none of this applies to my precious little snowflakes Kaitlyn and Cody. Any of you bastards say anything bad about our country's first astronaut/supermodel and President/Hall of Famer, I'll kick your head in.

That goes for your sugar addled, crotch fruit as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Massacre in Market Square

(AP) Pittsburgh - Several hundred civilians have been shot dead by the Pittsburgh Police army during a bloody military operation to crush a democratic protest in Pittsburgh's Market Square.

Tanks rumbled through the city's streets late in the day as the police moved into the square from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters.

The injured were rushed to hospital on bicycle rickshaws by frantic residents shocked by the Allegheny County Democratic Committee (ACDC)'s sudden and extreme response to the peaceful mass protest.

Demonstrators, mainly students, had occupied the square for seven hours, following an op-ed in the radical newspaper Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Associate Editor Dan Simpson.

Perhaps the most serious disease of a one-party state is that the ruling-party candidates feel no need to address any issues -- even the most serious issues -- that they don't want to address. In the case of Pittsburgh, one of these is consolidation of the city and county...

The most serious problem of a one-party state is that it does not offer the electorate dynamic leadership. It doesn't need to. Instead, it knows quite well that it can put forward the most mediocre of candidates and have them elected anyway.
Inflamed by these words, dozens of radical students from Point Park University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh descended on the center of the City. But as the hours passed, thousands of people from all walks of life joined in, angered by widespread corruption and calling for democracy.

Witnesses report protesters vandalizing the statue of Richard Caliguri in front of the City County Building.

Throughout the day the ACDC warned it would do whatever it saw necessary to clamp down on what it described as "social chaos". Secretary General Luke Ravenstahl, in a speech to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development vowed to maintain "law and order."

US President George W. Bush said he deeply deplored the use of force, and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "shocked and appalled by the shootings".

Amid the panic and confusion students could be heard shouting "fascists stop killing," and "down with the government".

Meanwhile reports have emerged of ACDC secret police searching the University of Pittsburgh campus for ringleaders, arresting those they suspect of co-ordinating the protests.

Lone protester defies Pittsburgh Police along the Boulevard of the Allies, disrupting rush hour traffic

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Peduto Supports Computer System to Help Pave Roads, Find Sarah Connor

For some reason, somebody forwarded me an email from People for Peduto on Pittsburgh paving practices and possible problems with public programs:

Today, City Council is holding a special meeting to discuss the idea of implementing a Professional Management System to determine which streets get resurfaced. In the 1990s, the city invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on a system that analyzes every street in the city. By 2000, the city had scrapped this system in favor of "eyeball inspections", opening the door for politics, rather than sound policy, being the driving factor in determining which streets get paved.
I swear, someone is secretly sending stupid submission, so that I seethe and snark scathingly.

[Whoa... better turn the Consonance and Alliteration down to a reasonable level.]

Anyway, as much as I support allowing objective criteria govern our policy making processes, I foresee a number of problems that will lead to this proposal being abandoned.

Please let me say again that I am in favor of this project, but have been in Government long enough to know when something is doomed.

(1) Objective Criteria - Establishing objective criteria is fine, but the criteria used will skew your results. In the streets case "number of pot holes" is just as objective as "alphabetical order of the street name".

(2) People are dumb - Well, maybe not dumb, but certainly irrational, misinformed, and lacking basic foresight. The angry woman down the street who thinks that the City is deliberately holding back street paving funds to her neighborhood is more likely to stand up in front of council and damn them all to hell than the rational woman who heard that PWSA will be replacing water lines in June.

Typically angry, annoying people are able to get their way, if for no other reason than people just want to see the end of them.

(3) Politics - On the other side of the coin, Politicians are not necessarily interested in the greater good for the Community. In general, they care more about getting re-elected than whether Garfield gets Penn Avenue paved... unless, of course, that happens to be in their district.

The first time process stands in the way of political expediency, process will go right out the window.

Until then, I'm setting my spam filter on high.

PA House Res 10345: Two Men Enter. One Man Leaves

By now you've heard about the failure of this attempt to reduce the size of the PA State Legislature from Eleventy Zillion Bagillion members to twelve.

I think the fundamental flaw in this law is that it doesn't capture the Public's attention, which admittedly has dwindled down to shaking the car keys at the Public and saying Oooooh! Shiny thing! until it giggles and claps its hands. Still, they are the Public and they are the ones that vote, 49.2% of the time... if it's not raining... or the TiVO is broken.

Now, I am in support of this bill, as it would force the State Legislators to get real jobs, like prostitute, snake oil salesman, or sewage maintenance artisan... you know: jobs that they've been trained to do. So, I suggest that the bill be made to be more *ahem* entertaining to the Public. Think of it:

Survivor: Harrisburg

Granted, the scenery wouldn't be as nice as, say Borneo or Palau, and, frankly, I don't really want to see any members of the Legislature in any advanced state of undress*, but the concept of a 253 person Battle Royale sends shivers down my spine. Hand to hand combat! Cage matches! Lisa Bennington / Cherelle Parker girl fights! Tribal Councils Caucuses! Mike Turzai surreptitiously making out with Lisa Baker when the cameras are off!

And think of the ratings!

That is, until Bill DeWeese tries to hunt and kill Mark "Piggy" Mustio or until CBS sues for infringing on the plot of Kid Nation.

*I'm looking right at you Sam Smith. Put your pants on for God's sake!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

I suppose I need to explain my week long absence from this place. So, let me begin at the beginning.

Last Thursday (10/4) I got a very polite email from a Dr. Hejskulle Dublåsa-Jag who identified himself as being the official representative of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, informing me that I had, in fact, been nominated by Berit Brørby, President of the Norwegian Odelsting for the Nobel Peace Prize for "actions relating to the better understanding amongst peoples."

My first thought was, "Well, it's about time."

Dr. Dublåsa-Jag further informed me that I was, in fact, the leading contender for the prize and, barring any surprise, I would win the prestigious award. He left his number and told me to give him a call as soon as possible as there were "many things to work out."

I called him back and introduced myself to him. He was very polite and told me that the balloting was nearly over and that I was well ahead of the next leading contender. I told him I was very excited about it and was looking forward to receiving the award. He told me that this was a very prestigious honor and that "even Mother Theresa" was flustered when he called her.

I asked him if there was any protocol that I needed to follow at this point, and he said no, except that I should get together the money for the "honorarium."

When I asked him what that was, he responded that there was no real equivalent word in English, but it could be thought of as a pay in to the Foundation in order to ensure that future awards could be made. Essentially, the interest earned on the honorariums earn enough interest for the recipients in 50 years. The money is invested in high risk securities for 6 months, or until the ceremony, and is then returned to the awardee. The typical payment is around $500,000.

I told him that I couldn't afford that amount.

He paused for a moment before asking if there was any way to get the money, as it is one of the oldest traditions of the award, dating back to Alfred Nobel himself.

I told him that there was no way that I could come up with that kind of money in such a short period of time.

Dr. Dublåsa-Jag remained adamant saying that if I couldn't come up with the money, I would have to forfeit the prize.

Now, my mother told me two things growing up: (1) wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a car and (2) never turn down the Nobel Prize. I asked if the Norwegian Nobel Committee would accept a lower amount.

He told me that they did make an exception for Jimmy Carter, who was allowed to come up with a $100,000 deposit and that he would look into it.

Several hours later, he emailed me back saying that the Committee would accept the $100,000 honorarium and that they needed the money by Wednesday the 10th at the very latest. Wiring instructions were provided for my convenience.

I went around to all my bank accounts, drew down my IRA, cleaned out my retirement fund, and pawned several valuable heirlooms to raise the cash. At the last minute, however, I realized that if I wired the money to him, I wouldn't retain my Internet Anonymity. Same deal if I had sent a check.

So, I came up with a brilliant solution: I would fly to Norway and personally hand him the cash, thereby paying the fee, retaining my anonymity and getting a jolly trip to Scandinavia out of it. I packed my ski mask (because it was sure to be cold) and my gun (stowed, not carried on) in order to protect me from would be thieves.

Flights to Norway direct from Pittsburgh are few and far between, but early Monday morning, I hopped on a plan from Pittsburgh to Detroit to New York to London to Brussels to Copenhagen back to London to Trondheim International Airport. When I arrived, it was late Tuesday night... possibly the week before I left.

Anyway, I looked up the address for the Nobel Committee in Trondheim at the corner of Holstveita and St Olavs Gate. Turns out there was nothing there, just a guy who claimed repeatedly that he didn't know anything. (I later found out that he was lying.) I asked around and it turns out that the Nobel Prize is given out in Sweden, not Norway.

So, I rushed backed to the airport, got on a tiny prop plane, flew into Stockholm and rushed into the main offices of the Nobel Committee. I couldn't help but notice, by the way, the number of particle board chairs and tables in the lobby.

Anyway, the lovely Valkyrie sized receptionist politely told me, as she surreptitiously fingered the alarm button, that the Nobel *Peace* Prize was actually given out in Norway. So back on the plane I went to Oslo, briefcase of cash in tow.

To make a long story short [Too late] Hejskulle Dublåsa-Jag is Swedish for "Heywood Jablome".

And so, yours truly ended up being interrogated by Homeland Security for the last four days after trying to board a plane with a ski mask, a briefcase full of cash, and a gun.

To top it all off, they gave the friggin' award to Al Gore... and all because I couldn't get my honorarium to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in time.

To top off the top off, I still reek of lutefisk.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More Rules of Bureaucracy...

Posted without further comment:

Rule #27: Change sucks.

And one more...

Rule #28: Sometimes the answer is "No."

Reading Comprehension and Local Politics

I read the headline "Ravenstahl takes blows at forum" and thought "Great, now the Mayor's Office has descended into Roman levels of debauchery...Caligulan if you would."

Then I re-read the headline and I thought "Hmmm... so Ravenstahl's on the White Pony, eh?"

Then I re-re-read the headline and thought "Oh."

This is what I get for cutting caffeine out of my diet.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

An Open Letter to Luke Ravenstahl (or The Importance of 1 Corinthians 13:11)

Dear Mr. Ravenstahl,

If you pick up this week's Entertainment Weekly, you'll find a special feature on TV's top cringe worthy moments. Topping the list is ADB favorite Ricky Gervais as David Brent in the BBC comedy The Office. Gervais, as always, plays Brent with a seeming disregard for any sense of normal social construct and a complete obliviousness to his own situation, which leads to endless awkward encounters between him and the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, because Mr. Gervais is so good at his performace, yours truly is only able to sit through one or two episodes at a time without feeling overwhelmingly awkward.

You'll understand, therefore, why your comments today may force me to take a break from you for awhile.

At first, I appreciated that you did sort of take responsibility for taking the City SUV out for fun. I know that have, in the past, encouraged you to take responsibility for the stupid shit that you've done. At first I was pleased, however...

Well, my Aunt Mildred had an old saying: "don't poke the bear with a stick." She told me that one at my Uncle Dan's funeral, who had been mauled by a bear he had poked with a stick. I'm sure that she was speaking about the recent ursine incident, but really that advice can be applied more universally. In essence, you should never needlessly exacerbate a problem needlessly.

Today, Mr. Mayor, you poked the bear with the stick:

"I understand I'm being held to a higher standard but at the same time I'm going to continue to be who I am, because that's the only way I know to be. Have I learned? Absolutely. Will I carefully consider decisions that I make? Absolutely," he said.

"But at the end of the day, I'm still going to continue to be who I'm going to be, and go to concerts like I always have, and go to have a drink with my wife in bars. That's what 27-year-olds do and I shouldn't be any different . . . I'm not going to change my life to appease the media or appease somebody who wants me to be somebody I'm not. I think the fact that I'm 27 is something the city should embrace and it's something that I've embraced."
I'm cringing hard here; I may need to walk away unexpectedly.

Look, back years ago I was once your age and, yes, I did act like a 27 year old... which, for me involved going out to bars, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and dancing on tables as people threw money at me.

I was not, however, mayor of Pittsburgh at the time.

Now, I realize that being mayor of Pittsburgh isn't as high profile as, say, mayor of New York or mayor of Chicago, but still, you now represent a major metropolitan area. The sad part of public life is that you are now no longer entitled to a private life in the same way that other civilians are. You are not just a 27 year old; you are the Mayor. You cannot expect people to treat you as a seasoned politician on one hand and expect them to forgive your "youthful indiscretions" on the other.

It's your choice: you can act like a 27 year old, or act like a Mayor, but not both. To make your choice a little easier, you should remember that you don't have to be elected to the illustrious position of 27 year old.

You have to choose soon, however. Otherwise, I'm afraid I'm going to be fidgeting awkwardly throughout the rest of your term.


The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat

Onorato Defends Use of Blackwater, Inc. in County Contracting Jobs

Pittsburgh (AP) - Responding to criticisms about employment practices in the Department of Human Services, Allegheny County Executive Director Dan Onorato today announced that he would be "scaling back" the work of embattled military contractor Blackwater USA.

The announcement comes amid a string of allegations involving Blackwater employees hired by the county to provide facilities management and human resources services.

In one case, a Blackwater employee facilitating a community meeting lost his composure and opened fire on a room full of grandmothers. The contractor was fired and fined; no charges have been filed.

Blackwater guards were involved in a Sept. 16 shootout at the Community College of Allegheny County that left 13 students dead. The FBI is investigating.

Most recently, several Blackwater accountants were involved with the ritualistic slaughter of 7 auditors because of supposed GAAP accounting policies.

Mr. Onorato said that he was "concerned" about the turn of events and would take up the matter personally.

"I have been in constant contact with the management [of Blackwater], and they have assured me that their contractors' responses were measured and appropriate."

That sentiment was not good enough for County Councilmember Susan Caldwell.

"You basically have a government under the control of a third party, interested in its corporate goals and the bottom line... [Blackwater] doesn't care about the interests of the County. Plus, they keep killing people."

A special County Council meeting has been scheduled for October 20, although technical difficulties may postpone the event until they can figure out how to clean the blood out of the copier.

Northside Demands Community Benefits Agreement, Spellcheck

Casino developer Don Barden offers anthropomorphic paperclip instead.

Wal*Mart Identifies Site for New Hamar Township Store

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

An Open Letter to the Residents of Versailles, PA

Dear Residents of Versailles, PA:
It is with heartfelt sympathy that I hearby apologize for the release of toxic gas in your tiny community.  In retrospect, the bean & cauliflower chili was not as good of an idea as it first sounded. 
I also apologize for blaming the dog when the leak was first reported and further apologize for using the "he who smelt it, dealt it" excuse when pressed. 
You will be happy to know that I am now on a healthy regime of Beano and cheese, and hope to make a full recovery soon. In future, I intend to limit my "crop dusting" activities to Newark N.J., where it won't be noticed.
Until then, I would like to offer you a scented candle and three bottles of air freshener to make this ordeal a bit more bearable.
The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pittsburgh's "Man Station" is no More

No, this post is not about the bathroom in the A basement of CMU's Doherty Hall or any other "wide stance" innuendos. This post is about the demise of the worst Pittsburgh radio idea since "Quinn & Masloff in the Morning": 93.7 "The Zone."

The Zone, marketed as "The Man Station," a short-lived talk format aimed at male listeners, is being dumped for a new format, which is set to launch this Friday at 5 p.m.

Until then, the station will play Christmas music.

WTZN debuted in April, with a lineup of local talk hosts that included Scott Paulsen and John McIntire, along with the syndicated Dennis Miller show.

CBS Radio Pittsburgh vice president of programming Keith Clark would not elaborate on what the new format will be.
Now, as much as we here at ADB Headquarters enjoy John McIntire, the last thing that this City needs is another talk radio station. I've noticed that the "Scan" function on my car radio tends to linger for far too long over these talk stations, and far too little over decent stations... or even WRCT's Dead Air Drive Time Block.

And, of course, Dennis Miller was as obtuse as [insert sufficiently obtuse item #1 here - Ed.] dancing with [insert sufficiently obtuse item #2 here - Ed.], if you know what I mean. So I can see how he can be insufferable to those of you with IQs less than 150.

Frankly, if I wanted to listen to an asshole's inane, misinformed or ignorant opinions about stuff, there's a better format than talk radio: it's called "The Internet." Perhaps you've heard about it.

The current all Christmas format is a bit off-putting (unless you're in the Lowes at the Waterfront), but I'm sure we'll survive to the point right before we feel compelled rip off each others arms after hearing "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time" for the 573rd time. If we're lucky, however, 93.7 FM may actually end up to be a real "Man Station"... which would involve songs of not less than 120 bpm.

And Cher. Lots and lots of Cher.