Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wikileaks Pittsburgh

If you are familiar with the Internets, which, if you are reading this I'm assuming you probably are, you have already heard about the nearly 92,000 pages of Afghan war documents posted to Wikileaks just the other day. What you probably aren't aware of, however, is that Wikileaks has also just posted a full 37 1/2 pages of potentially damning information about the City of Pittsburgh.

Most of it is unsurprising, but there are some shockers revealed:

• Yarone Zober and Steely McBeam are the same person.
• There is no "Bon Air" neighborhood.
• Bill Burns is secretly alive under 1 Gateway Center and is being used to power Ken Rice's eyebrows.
• That horrible smell in the Recorder of Deeds office is found at DBV 142368 p 150.
• The Balance of the pension fund is made up of Pets.com stock and jellybeans.
• Darlene Harris once killed a guy for complaining about her screensaver.
• CitiParks Director Duane Ashley secretly hates trees.
• DPW is hiding all the snow from February's snow storm in vacant public housing.
• The Act 47 overseers are figments of a collective imagination.
• Joanna Doven is sick of your shit.
• The Morlock problem in the closed off passage under Ross Street still hasn't been solved.
• The Mayor drinks Bud Lite.
The Mayor's Office downplayed this release of information, saying that it was "unsurprising."

More as this story develops.

BP Names New CEO

The Board of Directors has named Creighton Armus, Vice President of Alaskan Coastal Operations, as CEO. Mr. Armus has 25+ years of experience in oil, but has been dogged by a 1988 scandal in which a lieutenant needlessly died under his watch.

The outgoing CEO Tony Hayward, as part of his compensation package, will be abandoned on planet Vagra II.

BP stock rose 10 points in early trading.

Monday, July 26, 2010

City Council to Sell Free Parking Space on Monopoly Board

In preliminary meetings today, Pittsburgh City Council tentatively agreed to sell the Free Parking space on its monopoly board in order to pay for incurred pension liabilities.

Councilman Doug Shields, who chairs the Committee on Land Use and Economic Development, said that the decision was a hard one, but needed to be done.

"For years, we've had this asset sitting there and no one really knows what to do with it. Most people just pass by it to get to Kentucky Avenue in Shadyside, or on their way to S. Atlantic Avenue in Friendship. It's there and we need to do something with it."

The Free Parking fund has been historically underfunded and has been the subject of debate between council and previous administrations. Former mayor Tom Murphy had long diverted payments of fees and taxes into development funds, while council had mandated that those payments go directly into the Free Parking fund. During the brief O'Connor administration, the Mayor sided with Council, and this arrangement has not been changed.

The Murphy Administration also sold the City of Pittsburgh waterworks to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, in order to develop both the Park Place area of Point Breeze and to fund a pedestrian boardwalk along the North Shore. Rents in those areas have quadrupled since the development of two new hotels.

R.U. Pennybags of Parker Bros. L.P., a financial consulting firm, said that the move is shrewd, but involves some risk.

"Basically, the City Council is offering an outside agency the opportunity to collect fees for the City. Ironically this would be more in line with the Murphy arrangement, than Council's. Still, there may be push back from citizens who have been dreaming for a home on Pennsylvania Avenue and are counting a roll of the dice to get some extra funds. The Mayor will have to explain why these people won't be able to afford a place for their Scotch Terrier, to hang their hat, or for their oversized boot."

Final passage of the bill is expected next week after the Mayor passes "Go" and collects his salary.


In other news, former Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle has successfully thrown her third set of doubles, and will be released to a halfway-house on Baltic Avenue in Arlington.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Important Announcement from the ADB

I just wanted to take a moment to respond to the video that was posted a few days ago on a certain Right-wing "news" site, which purportedly showed me giving a talk in which I relayed a story in which I boasted about denying services to a couple "because they were white."

This "news" site took this truncated clip out of context, and, for whatever their motives may be, made me look like I hated white people. Their actions are shameful at best.

If you watched the whole, unedited, clip, you will clearly see that I denied this couple services, not because they were white, but because they were Dutch.

Damn dirty Dutch.

I hope this clears up matters.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Shop 'n Save Announces Plans for Vacant Store

Hill District residents could be shopping at a South Side Aldi's grocery by Thanksgiving 2015.

That was the timeline advanced by representatives of the Shop 'n Save Board of Directors today as they announced that they had secured a developer to to build a 29,500-square-foot full-service grocery on city-owned land at Centre Avenue and Heldman Street.

"We fully expect that within the next five years that this store will sit vacant," said SuperValu Senior Vice President and CFO Donald R. Chappel, "The site will be an excellent building for, perhaps, a sporting goods store or a pet store."

The supermarket chain, once owned by owned by SuperValu until early 2006, has generally found itself unable to compete with Wal-Mart entering the Pittsburgh Market and decided to sell or close many of their stores. Shop 'n Save used to be the 2nd largest supermarket in the Pittsburgh Region, but has since dropped to third place. The brand still continues to struggle, however, and many former locations are now dark. Supervalu still supports Shop 'n Save's store inventory.

Victor Roque, Hill House president and CEO, said the agency hopes to assist SuperValu in closing its store by late summer or early fall, with the goal to have it completely shut down by Thanksgiving 2015 if not sooner. The store is expected to lose money because of poor inventory selection and substandard management.

Owner/Developer Jeff Ross, who has signed a lease agreement with the Hill House EDC, will own and operate the store with his family. He currently has difficulty competing with area Giant Eagle supermarkets and other discount grocery chains.

Aldi's has also announced plans to build a store in Pittsburgh's South Side, which will attract customers from the Hill District.

Mr. Chappel was very optimistic about his company's goals.

"We're confident that with this deal, Shop 'n Save will position itself to be another Ames or, God willing, Hills Department Store."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Bored of Review

And in the center ring between the World's Fattest Nun and the Rare Two Trunked Elephant, we have this:

Pittsburgh City Council today delayed a confirmation vote on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's nominations to the Citizen Police Review Board until it can take up legislation clarifying the nomination process.

The decision came after about 20 residents demanded council take action to protect the board's independence -- and after a debate over Council President Darlene Harris' authority.

When Mrs. Harris announced she had decided to delay a confirmation vote on the nominations, council members Bruce Kraus, Bill Peduto and Doug Shields challenged her authority and demanded that council take a vote on postponing the confirmation proceedings.
Strangely enough, her Authority is entire made up of Ravenstahl Appointees, including the Mayor's Brother, Cousin, Former Brother-in-Law, his Chief of Staff's second Wife, and his Realtor
Council recessed its meeting for discussion with the city solicitor's office. Afterwards, council voted to delay the confirmation proceedings until July 27.

Mr. Kraus, Mr. Peduto and Mr. Shields shared Mrs. Harris' desire to delay confirmation but objected to her unilateral approach.
Mr. Kraus preferred a bilateral approach, Mr. Peduto a trilateral approach, and Mr. Shields a dodecahedronical approach.
"Where did you find that authority?" Mr. Shields asked her. "I'd like to see where it's written that you have the authority to do that."
"And moreover, where did you find Waldo," the Councilman continued, "And Bobby Fischer? And Mr. Goodbar?"
On June 18, Mr. Ravenstahl proposed replacing five of the board's seven members. He proposed nominating two members to new terms.
He also proposed nominating three to five, a quarter past six, and 25% off with a purchase of equal or lesser value.

More tomorrow if I'm still loopy from the heat.

ADB's Guide to the 2010 Heatwave

If you're like me, you spent your 4th of July Weekend trying to pry a melted laptop from your thighs. While Dell has marketed this as a new "security feature" to compete with the Apple MacBook, it probably left you irritable, sweaty, and, above all, hotter than an Eskimo hunting a dragon in the Sahara desert. So, with that in mind, we've come up with some simple tips to help you beat the heat, or at least slightly maim the warmth.

- Stay out of the Sun. The Sun, you may be surprised, is one of the largest contributors of "heat" to this planet (the others being lava and Al Pacino/Robert De Niro). The Laws of Thermodynamics quite clearly state something that I can no longer read because I've sweated all over it and caused it to smudge. I think the gist of it, however, is "it's hot as hell outside."

- Drink lots of water. The human body is roughly 95% water, with the other 5% being carbon, nitrogen, and nougat. While one would think that we have more than enough water to sustain us during these hot days, in reality every minute you're sweating, expiring, and crying out about a gallon of water, according to research that I just made up. It is therefore vital that you continue to drink water until your bladder explodes or you wet yourself during important presentations.

- Avoid drinking alcohol. This only goes for Red Wine, Porters, and Jaegermeister, which make you sweat and/or think that you people are secretly laughing behind your back and that you need to give them a piece of your mind. To be fair, however, Jaeger should be avoided at all times. Feel free to continue to drink Wittbiers, Mojitos, and anything with an umbrella in it.

- Take the umbrella out of your girly drink before you drink it. The number 2 cause of emergency room visits during heat waves is eye injury because of girly drinks.

- Crank up the A/C to maximum level and open all the windows. The only way that we're going to make it cool outside is to harness the power of every single Air Conditioner on earth. There is no possible flaw in this plan.

- Check on the elderly. This is not for their safety, but rather because they always seem to be cold. Try to figure out how they do it.

- Avoid Councilman Doug Shields. The Councilman vibrates at such a high rate that he produces 10,000 BTUs of heat over the course of a council meeting. Prolonged exposure will result in your face melting off like that Nazi guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

- Seductively rub ice on your nipples. This will only work for some and work in a completely different way for others.

- Repeatedly mention to others how hot it is. Acceptable phrases include "How about that heat," "Gosh! It's hot out today," and "Hot enough for you?" This will not actually help you beat the heat, but it'll make others feel hotter and you, by comparison, feel colder.

- Hang around with Arthur Fonzarelli. Man, that guy's cool.

- Eliminate unnecessary clothing. Avoid wearing wool sweaters. If you work in an office, consider buying an "Executive Speedo" for meetings.

- You know that guy that was making "Global Warming Jokes" back in February? Punch him in the crotch. This will not prove or disprove anthrocentric climate change, but it'll make you feel pretty good for about 10 seconds.
Now, if the rest of you would kindly remove yourselves from my neighborhood pool, I think we'd all feel a whole lot better.