Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mitt Romney Defeats Mitt Romney in PA Primary

(Reuters) Harrisburg, PA - A very nearly emotional Mitt Romney greeted rationally exuberant crowds in Pennsylvania's capital yesterday, who gathered to celebrate his victory against Mitt Romney in the state primary.

"Human people," said Romney to a relatively full Marriot ballroom, "I want to express my, what I'm being told is 'gratitude' for all of your work for me over the last few weeks. I intend to continue this campaign, fighting for what it is that I think you think I should believe in."

Candidate Romney faced a vigorous challenger in the person of Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, who many have found aloof, out of touch, and prone to waffling on issues. Governor Romney pulled within 3 percentage points in polling early in the month, but Candidate Romney managed to eek out a win nonetheless.

Republicans in the Commonwealth voiced their overwhelming acknowledgment of the primary.

"I went in there to vote for the best possible candidate," said Wenglebert McGrizzlebeard, a small arms dealer from Mars PA. "When I saw the list of candidates, I decided to vote for Mitt Romney anyway. I've been a registered Republican since 1978 and I figure, well, Candidate Romney is a Republican too, I guess."

Candidate Romney's campaign has been dogged in recent weeks by allegations from Governor Romney that he once supported many positions, including universal health care, abortion rights, among others, that he now does not. Governor Romney has promised to continue raising these allegations up through November.

Candidate Romney appeared to be unfazed by Governor Romney during his celebratory speech.

"I want to say that as much of what I am now, I was before, and may not be now unless you think otherwise. And I hope that in November you elect me President of the Human United States of America."

The next primary is Louisiana, which Governor Romney is expected to carry.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where Was I?

Sorry for the gap in posting as I've been quite occupied with work, Springtime, and... uh... other things. I was in Florida following a... uh... business transaction that went sour for my partner. Then I was trying working on... um... a project with Pitt regarding... uh... campus emergency readiness. After that I was in Columbia on a... erm... procurement assignment for the Secret Service. And... uh... After that I arranging... um... secret... meetings between Governor Corbett and a... prostitute. No, wait: lobbyist.

But all of those assignments are done now, so I should be ready to start fresh tomorrow.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Corbett Proposes Privatization of Governor's Office

Harrisburg - Governor Tom Corbett is seeking proposals from firms to privatize the day-to-day operations of the Governor's office in order to maximize savings to taxpayers.  

In a statement released today, Mr. Corbett said "For too long Government has been in charge of running its own operations at the expense of the taxpayer.  Today, we're taking a bold step in removing Government from, not only people's lives, but from Government itself."  

The Governor's announcement comes on the heels of a request for proposals for the private administration of the Pennsylvania Lottery, the Privatization of the PA Turnpike, the proposed privatization of the State Liquor Stores, the Privatization of Commonwealth Oil & Gas rights, the elimination of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the selling of the City of Du Bois to Range Resources Inc., and the purchase of the naming rights of the State Capitol (now known as the Comcast Capitol Center).  

The request for proposals covers nearly all aspects of the duties of the Governor's office, with the apparent exception of the Governor himself.  It is unclear if policy decisions will also be sub-contracted, or if they will remain with the State Oil & Gas Lobby.  

John Fogarty, Vice President at the Heritage Foundation, applauded Governor Corbett's actions.  

"Republicans have always said that Government just does not work; Mr. Corbett is proving that point.  The more that Government gets out of the business of government, the freer Pennsylvanians will be to chose a government that does not work for them."  

Among those firms potentially interested in the possibility of providing Governor's Office services are Xe, Accenture Ltd., Tyco International Ltd., and PwC Consulting Ltd., all of which have a long history of quality subcontracting services to other Government and Private agencies.  

Critics of the Governor in the State Legislature have voiced concerns that this proposal would unnecessarily add a level of management and open up the Governor's office for graft and corruption, or at least more so. 

Mr. Corbett, however, remains adamant about his choice of privatization.

"It doesn't take an idiot to see that by privatizing public goods, corporations can make money.  How anyone can be opposed to the freedom to make money, is beyond me."  

The Governor is also expected to announce the privatization of 4/10ths of what's left of his intellect and his immortal soul in the coming days.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Democrats Should Renominate Doyle for Congress

This is the first in a series of endorsements for contested races in the April 24th primary.

Mike Doyle has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 years, but his focus remains outside the Washington Beltway and on the hunting and killing of vampires in Western Pennsylvania.

Congressman Doyle, 58, of Forest Hills, faces political newcomer Janis C. Brooks in the Democratic primary and, if successful, will confront another neophyte in the fall, Republican Hans Lessmann, as well as vampires, zombies and some kind of mutant fish-person in the Spring. The boundaries of Mr. Doyle's 14th Congressional District long been a haven for the undead, since George Romero's film Night of the Living Dead documented the extent of the evil incursion into the region.

Mr. Doyle has been a hard-working slayer for Pittsburgh, defending the City against warlock and hell beast alike. His recent work with the League of Assassins to quel the sharp spike in demonic possessions in Friendship has won him state-wide acclaim, and possibly a movie deal. The Congressmen's work to rehabilitate Zombies and return them to productive society has also been recognized for its forward-thinkingness.

On the national level, he opposes the House Republican budget proposal and all other similar pacts with The Dark Lord, which Mr. Doyle said would "eviscerate" the country's social services and bring about the resurgence of the Beast, in preparation for a thousand year rule by the Anti-Christ. Mr. Doyle's has said publically that he opposes the subjugation of the United States to the will of Satan.

Mr. Doyle's seniority on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee means that he is well positioned to head the prominent House Evil and Undead Subcommittee, should the Democrats take control of the chamber in the fall. He has stood up to members of the Tea Party and has burnt their entrails on an altar of bones, in accordance with the Prophecy.

Ms. Brooks, who holds a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, but has no experience in defeating the Minions of the Gaping Maw of Evil, located just south of Bridgeville PA.

She said she agrees with Mr. Doyle on most issues but says if elected, she "would complete her Slayer training in record time." That's laudable but not enough to trump his record, experience, or dead shot with a silver tipped crossbow.

ADB backs Mike Doyle for the Democratic nomination.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rule #37

This may be Rule #37, it may not be... Frankly, I've lost count and need to go back and organize everything one day when I have a couple of minutes and I'm not fretting or flustered or other words that begin with "ph". Really, that's more of a lesson than a Rule: "Don't put off filing.".

(Maybe it is a Rule. I'll mull that over one of these days after a couple belts of Scotch.)


One of my personal trials and travails in the politics of The Bureaucracy is the omnipresent meeting. Meetings are horrible, simply put, and a poorly run meeting is even worse. Without structure, goals, agendas, and predetermined outcomes, a meeting is just an uncomfortable dinner without the food.

Unfortunately, meetings are where decisions are made, opinions are stated, egos are stroked, and information is shared. This does not mean, however, that the invitee list needs to include everyone even tangentially related to whatever you're talking about. I mean, I'm sure Mrs. Z would love to show up and complain about how the cats from next door are pooping on the lawn or Councilman Y to show up and talk at length about some such matter not even closely lated to anything that exists in reality to the point where everyone gets really uncomfortable and starts trying to make their way out the door to subtly give him the hint that he should shut up already, but really they're not needed if a decision needs to be made. If you want ego stroking or information, there are therapists and Wikipedia for those things.

So there's Rule 37 for you:

Not everyone needs to be invited to the meeting.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Breaking News: Sidney Crosby Assassinated on Ice at Consol Arena

In an unfortunate end to a promising career, Penguin's Captain Sidney Crosby was assassinated on the ice at Consol Arena by a mob of angry teammates.

Crosby, who had been planning his return to the ice following a long recovery from a concussion, was approached by a group of his teammates led by defenseman Deryk Engelland as he walked into the arena for a scheduled group skate.

Tempers flared as Engelland pressed Crosby not to return to play for the good of the team. As Crosby moved to adjust his equipment, he was stabbed in the back with a sharpened hockey stick, at first by Engelland and then by the cohort of conspirators. The final blow was laid by Crosby's own mentee, James Neal.

Sidney Crosby's reported last words were "You too, eh? The down goes The Kid."

Center Evgeni Malkin, who was delayed from coming to the skate by other members of the conspiracy, did not arrive on the ice until after Crosby was already dead.

Reports indicate that Crosby had been forewarned of the assassination attempt several days previously by a fan camped out in front of the arena, who was shouting at him to "Beware the 15th of March, n'at."

The conspirators later took to FoxSports Pittsburgh to explain that they murdered Crosby to prevent him from being a drag on the team, to free up money to hire new players, and to prevent him from declaring himself "Team Captain For Life".

The conspirators are expected to face a game misconduct each, and will be fined by league Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Malkin, for his part, hopes to persuade the NHL and fans that a more severe punishment should be meeted out. He hopes that friends, owners, and countrymen will lend him their ears tonight on ESPN2, where he hopes to defend Crosby's legacy.

More as this story develops.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Uteruses Could Be Seized for "Public Purposes" Under New Bill

Harrisburg - A bill currently making its way through the Pennsylvanis House Committee for Mining, Community Development, and Banking would extend municipal powers of eminent domain over women's uteruses if women were not making the highest and best use of their lady parts.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike Turzai (R-McCandles Twp) spoke at a committee hearing yesterday in support of the bill.

"Too often we find that women are using their sexual organs, not for reproduction in the service of the expansion of he human race, but rather for enjoyment and recreation. This kind of wanton behavior must be curtailed. This bill would expand the powers of the community to help women put their uteruses to better use."

Joining Rep. Turzai at the hearing were a half-dozen members of the clergy and representatives of religious organizations, including the President of The Catholic University of America John Garvey, who chastised women for their sexual wiles.

"I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men. Yet the causal arrow seems to run the other way. Young women are trying to keep up—and young men are encouraging them," said Mr. Garvey. "Frankly, if women don't know how to use their organs, we're going to have to tell them."

Under the bill, uteruses could be seized upon a finding of "blight" by the municipal planning department. Blight, under the bill, is defined as any uterus that is an "attractive nuisance, detractive nuisance, unsanitary, unsafe, vacant, abandoned, or tax delinquent". Women who do not put their uteruses to a "highest and best use" risk having hm seized by he local government and potentially conveyed to private developers or otherwise used for public purposes.

This bill is one of the most recent attempts by legislatures across the nation to regulate reproductive freedom, although it goes further than nearly every other proposed law, with the exception of Oklahoma's prohibition against interaction with menstrating women, which was backed by biblical scholars from Liberty University.

The National Organization for Women immediately denounced the bill as "setting back gender equality by decades" while Presidential candidate Rick Santorum called it "a good start."

State House Passes Dog Drivers License Bill

Harrisburg - State lawmakers today approved a bill that would mandate drivers licenses for all dogs within the Commonwealth.  The bill now advances to the desk of Governor Tom Corbett who has indicated that he intends to sign it.

The bill was narrowly approved on a near party line vote after a contentious debate over the last week.  Two Republicans crossed the aisle to join with Democrats to oppose the bill.

Beginning in July, dog owners will be required to prove that their pet is proficient in operating automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and most other motor vehicles.  Under an amendment from Rep. Dick L. Hess of Bedford County, dogs will not be required to have a license to operate ATVs.

After July, any dog caught driving in the Commonwealth will be fined, but given 30 days to obtain a valid driver license.

Democrats and the ASPCA have come out against the bill, calling it "frivolous", "a solution in search of a problem, and "grossly biased in favor of cats."

"What we have here is an overreach by the Majority Party in the State House," said Rep. Deborah Kula in an afternoon press conference.  "Instead of focusing on fixing roads & bridges, curbing drunk driving, or providing money to fund mass transit, the Republicans are passing bills that are fundamentally onerous to Pennsylvania's citizens."

In a written statement from the House Speaker, Rep. Sam Smith (R-66) said that "today the legislature has helped to solve a very real problem that has occurred and caused fatal accidents on Pennsylvanian roads not fewer than one times in the last twenty years.  Who could reasonably argue that unlicensed dogs should be allowed to dive on State roads?"

The Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania has indicated that it would file a lawsuit to block the implementation of the law if signed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Drinking Conservatively

Sadly, this is not satire:

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) — What do you get when 50 or so Republicans gather in a restaurant-bar? In American Samoa, you get a presidential caucus.

The U.S. territory, located about 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) south of Hawaii, gets its chance Tuesday to participate in the presidential selection process.

It's a decidedly local affair. Republicans will meet at Toa Bar & Grill.

They will choose delegates to the Republican National Convention in August and vote on a presidential candidate. The six delegates picked at the caucus will join three American Samoa "superdelegates" at the convention.

Only registered Republicans can vote in the caucus, and that's why so few attend. It's rare in American Samoa for anyone to officially register as a Republican or Democrat because local elected officials don't run on party lines.

In 2008, the nine delegates backed Arizona Sen. John McCain, who went on to win the Republican nomination.

Amata Radewagen, a Republican National Committeewoman and superdelegate, said Mitt Romney has "quite a bit of support" among local Republicans.

Last weekend, Romney captured all 18 delegates at caucuses in two other U.S. possessions in the Pacific — Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Like American Samoa, residents of those islands are U.S. citizens but are not allowed to vote in the presidential election in November.

So, there we are: as goes a group of drunks in a bar in the Pacific Ocean, so goes the GOP. Almost elegant really... Although (1) if they were all voting for Mitt Romney, shouldn't they be drinking Shirley Temples and (b) if they are drinking, don't you think they'd be voting for someone crazy... like Mitt Romney?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fitzgerald Taps Insider to Run Health Department

Wasting little time to name a replacement for longtime County Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dixon, Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald today announced the promotion of food safety mascot Browney the Burger to head the agency.

At a noontime press conference, Mr. Fitzgerald praised Mr. The Burger's long time service to the ACHD and called him "the right face for the future of the department."

Mr. The Burger was initially hired by the Health Department in 1990, as part of its "If it's pink in the middle, it's cooked too little" meat safety campaign. Following the completion of the campaign, he later became the spokesman for the "If it's brown flush it down" sewage awareness campaign, and then the early 2000 "Meat-like tumors are no humor" campaign, both of which were widely considered to be failures.

Pictured: Mr. The Burger in a 1993 photo with unnamed "Companions"
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mr. Fitzgerald has previously indicated that he was looking for a new executive director that could more easily respond to large, County wide health issues including combined sewer overflow & storm water management, air quality, and food safety. The outgoing Mr. Dixon had ruffled many feathers throughout the county, made little progress on these issues, and was generally seen as being a marked man. Mr. The Burger's resume would seem to indicate that he is an ideal candidate to replace Mr. Dixon.

The selection, however, is not purely a matter of qualifications, nor is it without its modicum of controversy.

Since 1995, Mr. The Burger has been the State Democratic Party treasurer, and instrumental in securing Mr. Fitzgerald's election to the the Chief Executive Office. Moreover, Mr. The Burger is widely recognized as a food safety expert, appearing on cable news frequently to provide expert opinions. He is generally known as a brash, outspoken, egotistical local personality, who personally threatened several several local reporters.

In 2005, Mr. The Burger was the subject of an investigation by the US Attorney's Office for stealing FDA rejected meat for use in a class he taught at the University of Pittsburgh food safety class.

Despite this checkered history, however, Mr. The Burger is expected to receive swift confirmation by both the ACHD board and County Council.

ADB Sr. Meat Related Mascot Correspondent MH contributed to this report

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A Bureaucrat's Aside Re: Night Terrors

I'd like to take a moment to thank the Post-Gazette and Oreo Cookies for providing me with nightmare fodder for the next several months:

It's like the eyes are saying "I'm going to rip you apart, dunk you in milk and eat you." 

And just as my therapist said I was making real progress regarding my abject fear of Steely McBeam.

Hot Polling Action

There are times that I think the online polling folks at the P-G are just trying to mess with us... or they're drunk.  I can see either really.

I mean, check this out:

That's sort of like asking: "Would you like an ice cream cone, do you want a zombie to eat your brains, or are you not sure."

("Well, I am lactose intolerant," says the mouth breather.)

I don't think there's anything more useless than an online poll, with maybe the exception of the results of an online poll.

(Our P-G results are in: 75% of respondents say the #1 issue facing America is "the lack of easy access to pornography", while 15% say "the proliferation of captioned cat pictures."  The remaining 10% said "Hold the pickles.")

I can only assume that there's some copy-editor pacing up and down Stanwix Street thinking to himself  "Gotta fill up the margin with something!  Gotta fill the margin up with something!  I know: radial buttons!"  And then there's some executive editor saying, "Yes, that's what our website needs!  More things for the young techno-savvy readers to click on, like their i-Pods or their SuperNintendo Wi-is. By gum!  This will save print media!"

(I suppose the alternative was to expand the obituary column, showing everyone who will not be renewing their subscription to the P-G.)

It's such a stupid idea, that it almost makes me want to put an interactive poll on this blog.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Quantum Candidate Surges in Poll Ahead of Super Tuesday Vote

(Reuters) Columbus OH - A Washington outsider has captured the attention of registered Republicans in nine states ahead of tomorrow's Super Tuesday primary, despite being an unknown and inside of a sealed box.

The Candidate, who's name remains unknown, has appeared at nearly 100 campaign stops from Ohio to Georgia, speaking on no issues and offering no policy positions. In a written statement, his or her campaign staff has said that the candidates "loves his county, hates his country's enemies, believes that kittens are cute and that this is the greatest nation on Earth." Such statements have vaulting the candidate in polls, leading Mitt Romney by 10 points.

The Quantum Campaign, as it's being called, was developed by University of South Dakota Political Scientists, who were seeking to explain certain policy positions that, if observed one way, seemed to contradict policy positions as fewer from another angle. The result of the experiment lead to a Candidate which, when observes, holds an infinite number of policy positions.

"You see," says Dr. W. Karl H. Eisenberg of USD, "as long as the candidate's views are hidden from the public, everyone can agree with him (or her). However, as soon as anything is known about the candidate, a segment of the electorate will be immediately turned off."

"This guy speaks to me," says retired plumber's assistant Sam Wurzelbacher. "He's strong against terror, stands against moral turpitude, and for a strong military. I'll gladly vote for him."

A local organic food co-op manager named only "Moon" had similar sentiments: "She's supports individual freedom, she's against corporate corruption, and she wants us to improve upon our social conditions. I'd gladly cross party lines to vote for her."

In response to the sudden challenge from an outside, the other GOP candidates have sought to counter the Candidate's strategy. Mitt Romney has begun to portray himself on both sides of every issue, being both in favor and against birth control, government healthcare, and corporate bailouts. Newt Gingrich has come our against everything, including civil rights, slavery, and gravity, while cynically supporting all. Rick Santorum has actually come out against the last 500 years of Western history, while Ron Paul only supports things he saw while hallucinating on mescaline.

The Quantum Candidate expects to go well in tomorrow's primary, unless someone opens his/her box or the cat dies.

Well, They Do Deal with Waste After All...

If you were reading the Post-Gazette this weekend, and not using it to make bio-degradable seed pots like I do, you would have noticed this article regarding a blast from the not so distant past:

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is preparing to hire another ex-member of Pittsburgh City Council.

Tonya Payne, who lost her 2009 council re-election bid to R. Daniel Lavelle and later sparked a police investigation into petitions he filed for another candidate, has been offered the vacant job of safety manager...
Makes you wonder what the job description was:
Reports to the Finance Director. Supervises employee health and safety issues to help the authority control workers' compensation costs. Applicants must have at least four years of City Council and abandoning community groups experience. Vendettas against former City Council members and members of the State Legislature a plus.
But wait! There's more:
If she takes the job, Ms. Payne may cross paths not only with Mr. Deasy but with another former council colleague, Len Bodack Jr., who lost his 2007 re-election bid and now is on the authority payroll.
What? Seriously? Is the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority the Pittsburgh equivalent of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds?* I almost expect Doug Shields to show up on the hold line while you're waiting to get account information.

Not the "the voice of the hold line", mind you. I mean, Doug will be talking to you for thirty minutes while you're waiting to find out you need a new automatic meter reader installed. For Doug, this would be termed "a short conversation."

Anyway, I guess it's comforting to know that PWSA is only hiring the best and brightest of people that couldn't get enough people to like them. If that's true, I can only assume that Tom Corbett is going to be up for the job of PWSA Executive Director in 3 years.

* This is an incredibly clever reference, by the way. You should look it up on Wikipedia. You'll pretty much hit yourself in the face and go "Gosh! That's clever." Go ahead, I'll wait.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pittsburgh City Planning Misplaces Neighborhood

In a secret memo obtained by The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat, the Director of the City of Pittsburgh Department of Planning admits that her department has "misplaced" the Neighborhood of Chartiers City.

The memo, written by Director Noor Ismail to Mayoral Chief of Staff Yarone Zober outlines a series of events over the last three weeks that led to the realization that an entire neighborhood was missing.

On January 16, 2012 City Planning Staff made an attempt to survey the basic conditions of the Chartiers City neighborhood as part of the overall PlanPgh initiative. The staff members, who are not named tried to access the neighborhood attempted to travel down Chartiers Avenue from Sheraden, however, found themselves in McKees Rocks, rather than Chartiers City. They made a second attempt, this time from Windgap, but again, found themselves in McKees Rocks.

Google Maps confirmed to City Planning that the neighborhood no longer appeared in any of their databases and had simply vanished. The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety has not reported anyone missing and has not fielded any calls out of the ordinary, leading City staff to individually question whether the neighborhood ever existed in the first place.

Ms. Ismail goes on to say that she believes the area to be a "space-time nexus where the normal rules of our universe simply cease to exist", much like the final act in the movie 2001. She advises the Mayor's Office to evade any questions from West Pittsburgh residents and simple respond that "they are aware of the situation." City officials are to contact paranormal researchers and any Scottish natives of the town of Brigadoon.

This would not be the first time the City of Pittsburgh has lost a neighborhood. In 1998, East Oakland vanished under circumstances that officials describe as "best not to go in to."

More as this story develops.

All of Our Buses Must Sail in the Same Direction

Ed. Note: This is a long, rambling post about Economic Development and the Port Authority, that contains nothing funny and no vulgarity except for one "shit" and a "twat"... and since you've passed them already, you can be assured that the rest of the post is G-Rated. There's an inordinate repetition of "two", however, which we can't account for, but it does provides for a nice Manichean dualism of sorts. We'll pause for a second while you go look up what "Manichean" means in an online dictionary and try to to figure out what in the name of holy hell we were trying to get at. Anyway, feel free to skip this entry and move onto the next post where we'll probably make fun of... let's say... Chartiers City.

With today's Big Ol' Transit Meeting and the impending opening of the Northshore Connector, I figured we'd take a few moments to discuss some more esoteric points of contention about the Port Authority, mostly because I enjoy playing with transit models in my head, but also because I feel the need to need to use the word "esoteric" in a sentence.

Before we begin, however, let's recognizing two things that are important in framing the discussions about PAT: money and money. I feel the need to repeat these points in my discussions about PAT, because they seem to be fundamental assumptions that most people are oblivious towards.

First, there is a difference between Operating Funds and Capital Funds. Operating Funds are those sources of money that allow you to pay for staff, supplies, rent, repairs, etc.; Capital Funds are those sources of money that allow you buy and build stuff. In the Port Authority's world, Operating Funds pay for drivers, advertising, mechanics, schedules and so forth, while Capital Funds get them buses, parking garages, and tunnels underneath the Allegheny River.

Second, these funds are always separate and by statute the twain shall never meet. You can't use Capital Funds to pay for Operating Expenses. Ever. So, for the people that complain "Oh they have money to build the Northshore connector, but why don't they have the money to keep my bus route?" the answer is: PAT was granted a large amount of Federal, State, and Local money to build the Northshore Connector and ONLY the Northshore Connector. If they tried to use the Northshore Connector money to pay their drivers, Steve Bland would be in jail right now. The complaint about service cuts is, at its heart, a complaint about fairs and state and local operating funding.

[As a side point, those in any Local Government know that if you tell the Federal Government that you no longer want the money that you had asked for, the Federal Government pretty much ignores you the next time you ask.]

Now with that out of the way, let's get back to today's meeting. The P-G reported

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald opened the all-day hearing saying the loss of transit service could reverse economic gains seen recently after decades of stagnation.
Let's dissect that for a moment, shall we?

I'd say that there are two major strains of economic development happening in Pittsburgh today. The first being the traditional bricks & mortar that the URA, County Economic Development Department, Allegheny Conference, et al. try to foster. The tools used are familiar: site development & remediation, loan interest loans & grants, TIFs and tax breaks, etc. Philosophically, this kind of economic development can range from lowering barriers to entry for marginal companies to outright "Smokestack Chasing."

On the other side, you have non-traditional economic development, typically coming out of the universities centered around technology transfer and knowledge in general. This is generally smaller scale stuff (the proverbial two man start up working out of some guy's apartment) and is fostered by the free exchange of ideas in and around the university community. These are incremental changes that start to build a wide base for certain industries, but often they result in big things: Google in Larimer, 31 St Studios in the Strip, or UPMC... well, everywhere. The Politicians have a tough time with the non-traditional economic development as there's no building, sewer line, parking garage, or other bricks and mortar "thing" to point to and say "Hey! I helped with that; vote for me."

Which leads me to my point about PAT and Economic Development.

There are two ways that I see PAT influencing Economic Development in and around Allegheny County. First is the traditional way -- new infrastructure, transit lines, and bus routes allow new areas to open up for development and allow old, built up areas to grow without getting choked. Consider the Northshore as a new area and Oakland as a built up area. Through the Northshore connector (arguably), the Northshore becomes more closely integrated with Dowtown, allowing for expansion of the otherwise congested Golden Triangle. Transit in Oakland, meanwhile, reduces the need for space wasting parking garages and impossible to find street parking, thereby allowing more people to come into Oakland on a daily basis.

Which brings me to the second way that PAT can influence Economic Development: moving people around. Think about the late 28X bus route for a second. This route helped commute high wage earners from the Western suburbs into Downtown, while moving low wage earners from the inner city to retail jobs out in the suburbs. So, if a business has a reasonable access to high skilled workers from downtown or low skilled workers in the suburbs, the cost of doing business goes down for the business owner and the cost of being employed goes down for the employee.

So, here's my question: is PAT leading in economic development or is it following?

Let's go back to the Northshore and Oakland again. While the Northshore Connector concept goes back to the days of Skybus, it didn't really get its legs until Stadiums (Stadii?) were already being built. Clearly, PAT was reacting to a development opportunity, rather than using it's resources to help make the site more attractive. Similarly, Oakland is bursting at the seams nearly 20 years after the Spineline concept was proposed. Because of the fear of the cost involved in such an expensive undertaking, PAT is proceeding down a more cautious "Bus Rapid Transit" model, instead of something more integrated with the existing T-Line or at least something off of the existing right-of-ways.

It seems to be a case of institutional myopia. PAT is, in a sense, the one Economic Development engine that straddles both the City and the County. Indeed, it's very presence has a huge impact on the flow of commerce in the region, its air quality, equal opportunities for employment access, physical linkages, site development, and so on and so forth. It is, however, run very much like a bus company. Which is a shame, as there's a real opportunity here to think of PAT as something more than just a conveyor of people and a place for smelly college students to complain.

What is to be done? I'm not sure. Certainly, one of the basic changes that need to be made is to try to see the Port Authority as more than a bus company at the State and Municipal level. Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Transit Revitalization Investment Districts (TRIDs - a type of TIF area around transit nodes) need to be integrated into the Port Authority's long range plans, rather than a mere afterthought. If this is already happened, PAT is certainly not keeping it a good secret.

In the end, a Port Authority that's thinking about more than transit, but how the Region develops around transit will be a better Port Authority.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day

As Presidents Day slouches upon us once again, it's time that we here at ADB pause for a minute to educate and enlighten our otherwise troglodite-like readership with facts about the 43 (44 if you count David Rice Atchinson, and I mean, who does?) men that held the highest office in the US of A.

George Washington - Known for being a Surveyor, General, Statesman, Farmer, Slave Holder, Whiskey Maker, and Father of His Country, Washington created the phenomenon known as "resume padding."

John Adams - 2nd President of the United States who was played memorably on the screen by the voice of KITT from Knight Rider and slightly less memorably on the stage by Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Thomas Jefferson - Roundly considered to be the most intelligent of the men to have held the office of President, Jefferson was the inventor of the lazy Susan, which makes you wonder who he named it after and how lazy *she* was.

James Madison - Holds the record for being the shortest US president. Also held the record for furthest tossed dwarf from 1810-1831.

James Monroe - Was voted "President most likely to be mistaken for James Madison by 7th graders in 200 years."

John Quincey Adams - Son of the other John Adams. First in a long line of reasons why nepotism in US politics is a bad idea.

Andrew Jackson - Called "Ol' Hickory" in popular parlance. Enemy of the British, Native Americans, and Banks, he personally foiled his own assassination attempt. Still doesn't deserve to be on the $20 bill.

Martin Van Buren - First in the long line of forgettable Presidents, Van Buren is frequently autocorrected as "Van Bureau".

William Henry Harrison - This entry is almost as short as his Presidency.

John Tyler - "His Accidency". Assumed the presidency upon the death of William Henry Harrison. The only President to be considered a traitor to his country, until the invention of hyperbole in the 1970s.

James K. Polk - 11th President and creator of the dance craze called "The Polka", which killed thirteen men and women in a freak accordion accident in 1848.

Zachary Taylor - "Ol' H.R. Puffinstuff" was a former Mexican War general known for his flamboyant kitschy attire and penchant for the wenches and dying.

Milliard Fillmore - Four times as funny as his eponymous right-wing comic strip and three thousand times as relevant.

Franklin Pierce - M*A*S*H doctor during the Korean War, known for his drinking, womanizing, and maudlin humor. Played by Alan Alda.

Jame Buchanan - The US's only bachelor President. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Abraham Lincoln - "The Great De-pantsinator" Guy on the penny and the $5 bill. Not a very big fan of live theater.

Andrew Johnson - Tennessee Democrat turned Unionist turned Vice-President. Impeached by radical Republicans for spurious reasons. Fortunately that kind of thing would never be allowed to happen again.

Ulysses S. Grant - "Ol' Drunkypants" made alcoholism into a national pastime. Probably not corrupt, but a favorite among corrupt people.

Rutherford B. Hayes - The nation's first black President and founder of the Polka Dot party in honor of James K. Polk.

James Garfield - Loved lasagna, hated Mondays like they were trying to assassinate him. Should have been more wary of crazy people instead.

Chester A. Arthur - Part man, part sea lion. Once wrestled with Queen Victoria for a fortnight over the correct pronunciation of the word "aluminum". Nearly expelled Michigan from the Union, "just because."

Grover Cleveland - "Ol' Non-Consecutive" fathered a child out of wedlock (maybe), which still did not hurt his showings at the polls.

Benjamin Harrison - Filled the nation's quota of Harrison Presidents until 2022.

Grover Cleveland - "Ol' Non-Consecutive" began the nation's fascination with poorly made sequels.

William McKinley - Always a slave to a trend, McKinley decided to die while in office.

Theodore Roosevelt - America's first certifiably crazy President. Not crazy "I'm hearing voices from my astrologers" crazy, but more "I'm going to go wrestle a lion, because I can" crazy. He's the guy that Chuck Norris makes jokes about... with the added benefit of most of the crazy shit turns out to be true.

William Howard Taft - So fat, when he sat around the White House, he sat around the White House. Had more Chins than a Chinese phonebook. Only President to need his own zip code.

Woodrow Wilson - Visionary who promoted the league of nations following WWI. Also a closet racist.

Warren G. Harding - Arguably the worst President ever. Not so much corrupt as incompetent, he had the good sense to die before anyone got around to indicting him.

Calvin Coolidge - The less said, the better.

Herbert Hoover - "Ol' Depressionator". Seriously, ask your Grand Parents what they thought about Hoover. See if they respond without spitting.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Less crazy of the two Roosevelts, probably because he was being held back by that metal chair. Led country through the Depression and WWII and was still getting a little tail on the side.

Harry Truman - Only President that could fire Douglas McArthur AND sell you a hat. Probably would have smacked you for looking at him funny.

Dwight "David" Eisenhower - The guy your parents, Granparents, and the GOP wistfully remember as presiding over the most idyllic time in US history.

John F. Kennedy - Like Theodore Roosevelt, but replace "Crazy" with "horny". Banged everything that wasn't nailed down, and then was banged himself.

Lyndon Johnson - Had largest penis of anyone in his cabinet. Used to wave his member around the halls of the White House and urinate on document, just because he could.

Richard Nixon - "Ol' Tricky Dick". Corrupt as hell, maybe more so. I understand that the Devil has some qualms. Resigned in disgrace when it was discovered that everyone really was out to get him.

Gerald Ford - Only President born a King. Known for the many things he stood for and for an equal number of things he fell over.

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter - America's only sweater wearing former nuclear submarine technician President. Introduced the word "malaise" into the political lexicon and became the whipping boy for the Republican party for the next generation.

Ronald Wilson Reagan - Depending on who you talk to, either the greatest President that ever lived, or a senile old man. Now an object of bizarre fetishism by the GOP, his name cannot be uttered unless in solemn reverence.

George H. W. Bush - Proof that a guy whose family worked with the Nazis can still make it in this country.

William Jefferson Clinton - "Slick Willy" presided over the longest period of economic expansion in the nation's history. Also presided over another expansion... in his pants. Impeached, but acquitted, but you knew that.

George W. Bush - A reminder of the reason the US doesn't allow dynastic succession.

"President" Ballrog HUSSEIN Sombrero Fartbongo II - Kenyan-Hawaiian Marxist-Facist Muslim-Radical Black Christian Community Organizing, ACORN sponsoring, arugula and brown mustard eating, teleprompter using, usurper-in-chief. Possibly the anti-Christ, but possibly worse.
Now, off to Wikipedia to make all of this true...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Local Man Doesn't Understand Why Government Project Isn't Done Already

Amid news that the Port Authority is mere weeks away from completing the much touted (and much maligned) North Shore Connector, local man Ron Seibert held a press conference today decrying the fact that it was taking so long.

Flanked by a contingent from the Pittsburgh Myopticon Society, Mr. Seibert vented his frustrations to reporters.

"The Port Authority has been working on the North Shore Connector since 1994. What's the friggin' hold up already? Why didn't this get done, like 10 years ago. Seriously, how hard is it to dig a hole?"

Mr. Seibert's views were shared by others in the audience.

"You know, for all the time they have spent digging the tunnel, they could have extended the light rail to where I live in McMurray," said a Mr. Rod Davis. "I mean, that's like a piece of cake; it's like right there".

The multi-million dollar project has come under fire since its initial planning phase in the 1990s, with many people referring to it as a "boondoggle" or a "tunnel to nowhere".

PAT project engineer Hubert F. Horder defended the project.

"These things take time. It's not like we have some sort of magic wand here at the Port Authority. We can't just make a wish, and suddenly plans and specifications and rights-of-way and materials suddenly appear. We don't have a genie that grants exceptions from EPA requirements or a fairy that gives us DoT fund. We don't pounce around on unicorns singing 'La-De-Da-De-Da-De-Dah!' nakedly dancing around a magic fire while elves and dwarves do our bidding! We're Engineers and Accountants and Bureaucrats dammit! We don't even know what magic is!"

Mr. Horder's explanation, however did not sway Mr. Seibert.

"Even though I have no idea how Federal funding allocations, geology, or transportation engineering works, I'll bet me and my brother Steve could have had that extension up and running in like a week and a half".

Luke Ravenstahl Still Waiting For Valentine's Day Card

Despite it being two days ago, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is still waiting patiently for a Valentine's Day card from someone.

The Mayor has been vigilantly watching his hand made Valentine Mailbox at his desk hoping that someone would drop in a card or perhaps some candy. Despite checking nearly every 15 minutes, his construction paper box remains empty.

Mr. Ravenstahl had earlier expressed an expectation that the Rooneys, Ron Burkle, and Snoop Dog would all send him a card. To that end, he made his mailbox twice as big as normal "to fit all the cards" he was going to get from all of his friends. As of 7 PM Thursday evening, however, it remained empty.

His Chief of Staff Yarone Zober expressed concern over the Mayor.

"We had a big party, you know, and everyone was passing around Valentines to each other and I guess we all just didn't get Luke a card. I kind of feel bad for him. I mean that's got to crush him to know that no one is willing to even get him a card."

The Mayor's Press Secretary Joanna Doven said that the Mayor is fine.

"OK, Luke's a weird guy, you know. We can see him picking his nose and wiping I under he desk. And there was this one time when he called Darlene Harris "Mommy" and wet his pants in front of Council. But, that doesn't mean we hate him... He's just not Valentine material. Now Ed Gainey? He's dreamy."

Other members of the Mayor's staff have secretly tried to persuade City Government employees to take pity on the Mayor and send him a Valentine, but to no avail thus far. Certain members of he Finance Department are still a little creeped out after Ravenstahl hung out in heir offices for weeks after they got him a Birthday cake last year.

"It's kind of sad and I'd like to do something for him," said Zober, "but I don't really like the guy that much.

Monday, February 13, 2012

PWSA to be Managed by Poo-Flinging Monkeys

Acting quickly following the decision Friday to seek a management company for the embattled Authority, the Board of PWSA today accepted a proposal from a troop of monkeys to manage and reorganize the agency for the next 18 months.

"This kind of radical shift in thinking is exactly what we need to right the organization's problems," said Board Member and Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd. "I'm hoping that the next few months will see better responses to developers, a a clearing out of institutional dead wood, a better customer service system, and, of course, the throwing of large amounts of feces."

The Board was initially impressed by the submission of the Monkey Troop, which had outstanding references from the John McCain Presidential bid and New York socialite King Kong. The Monkey Team has previously used shared grooming, patriarchal hierarchy, and the throwing of excrement to turn several Fortune 500 companies from the brink of bankruptcy.

The PWSA Board, however, failed to assert its dominance over the chief male "Coco" and agreed in the contract to limit their liability and indemnify them against all actions, including, but not limited to "Grizzly beheadings in Paris","Old Ronald Reagan films," and "sharp rate increases".

PWSA is still suffering from a failed water line insurance plan that was ruled in court to be illegal. It has been without an Executive Director for two years and without a competent Management Team for at least twice as long.

In recent months, Mr. Dowd had criticized his fellow Board members for dragging their feet on the replacement of the former Executive Director, arguing that "even a [expletive deleted] monkey could do this job better than what we got."

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, however, is reporting tonight that the selection of the new Primate Management team may actually be the result of nepotism. Rumors have begun circulating that one of the Monkeys is closely related to another Board Member, State Rep. Dan Deasey.

Run out of Town Without a Rail

If you're among the three people in the City of Pittsburgh that care about this kind of thing, this news story probably hit you very hard.

Harry Davis & Company announced plans today to auction off the assets of Maglev Inc., a McKeesport-based high-speed rail developer that filed for bankruptcy in July.

The auction is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 6 at the company's former research and development facility, located at 1905 Technology Center in McKeesport...

Maglev Inc., was created in 2003 to develop a high-speed magnetic levitation train that would link the Pittsburgh International Airport to Pittsburgh to Greensburg. But the company failed to secure federal money for the project. A $28 million federal grant announced in 2009 was never released.

Among the items to be auctioned off are industrial equipment, office furniture and intellectual property for the Maglev Positioning and Table Software.
Indeed, this should really come as a surprise to no one; after several starts, a competing "slow" MagLev planned between the Civic Arena and the USX building, and the general disinterest about new transportation ideas both in Western PA and across the Country, the only real surprise is that the company managed to hang on for almost 10 years before exploding, like I would assume, a Maglev train filled with TNT, crushed dreams, and puppies.

OK, maybe not the puppies.

But there's always a bright side: I for, one, am looking forward to scavenging the parts necessary for my own person Hoverboard.

Back in 1989 Robert Zemeckis promised us all Hoverboards by 2015 in Back to the Future II. Twenty-three years later, we're still waiting. What's up with that? Step it up Hasbro!

Anyway, I'm hoping to head down to the Maglev fire sale and pick up some industrial magnets, a pair of Nike Mags, and a slice of dehydrated pizza.

And God help them: the Hoverboard better work on water.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Red Square Protestors Evicted by Judge

(VOA News) Moscow, Russia - A Russian Federal judge has ordered the removal of several hundred anti-Putin protests after occupying Moscow's famous Red Square for the last four months.

Judge Kristina Vardanova had previously given the protestors three days to remove themselves from the space. The deadline passed today at noon as several protestors remained defiantly at the site.

The remaining anti-Putin protestors have braced themselves for a potential forcible ejection by Russian Police.

Protestors have protested ongoing anti-democratic action by the Federal Government, as well as undue influence of Russian mega-corporations, including energy concern Gazprom, which has already admitted collusion in manipulating the price of gas in Europe. Critics of the Russian Prime Minister have further alleged that his ties to national oligarchs have undermined the fledgling democracy in the country.

Pro-Putin and other non-aligned Russians have shrugged off the criticisms, saying that the system works for the vast majority of the Country.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has offered tacit support to the protestors saying that, "We are supportive of the rights and aspirations of the Russian people to be able to make progress and realise a better future for themselves". The Prime Minister denounced the statement as interfering with Russia's self-determination, adding that the protestors do not have a clear objective, and are merely naybobs of negativity.

As night falls on Red Square, the remaining protestors voice hope that the irony isn't lost on Americans.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Mitt Romney Realizes He's Reliving Stupid Comments

(Columbia News) Punxsutawney, PA - After what has seemed to him as being as upwards of 10,000 repetitions, Mitt Romney has come to the understanding that his is reliving the same stupid comments for eternity.

Having grown tired of the campaign season, Governor Romney has found himself endlessly repeating the phrases, "Corporations are people, my friends," "I like being able to fire people," and "I'm not concerned about the very poor".

Romney is not sure why he is continuing to repeat these phrases and why he keeps waking up to a Sonny and Cher tune every morning.

Experts indicate that the former Massachusetts Governor is suffering from an existentialist crisis, which may spiral down into long term depression and a loss in the General Election.

The only resolution to this problem seems to be an attempt as making himself seem at least somewhat human and possibly hooking up with Andie MacDowell.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

City Council Votes to Cut Off Nose to Spite Face

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to a bill that would assist itself in cutting off its own collective noses to spite its collective faces.

"There are days when we look in the mirror," said Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, "and we think, 'Gosh, we're just so dangled ugly; we need to punish our ugliness.' We believe that this bill will resolve our problems once and for all.".

Following the release of new City of Pittsburgh Beauty Standards, citizens have complained en masse that Pittsburgh City Council is just too damned ugly and that "something must be done.".

The bill was sponsored by new Councilman Corey O'Connor, whose father had successfully sponsored a similar bill back in 2001. As a result of that bill, Jim Ferlo lost a significant quantity of blood, which led to his run for state Senate the next year.

The legislation would offer a bulk rate deal to Council members and their staff who are angry about how how they look. In all, a team of nearly a dozen surgeons will be on hand to assist.

Council has budgeted $150,000 for the procedures.

A final vote is scheduled for next week.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newt Gingrich Wins Moon Primary

(NASA) Sea of Tranquility, North Shore - In the face of overwhelming odds and a bitterly divided electorate, according to exit polling results Newt Gingrich today won an overwhelming victory in the Republican Primary on the Moon.

"This is a great victory for our campaign today," said Gingrich to an audience of dozens in Cape Canaveral FL, "And with your help, we're going to get someone in the White House that really cares about the problems of the average Mooninite."

The Former Speaker of the House began polling well on the Moon last week when he promised a permanent Moon base by the end of his second term, which could be later annexed to the United States. This "Moonifest Destiny" advocated by Mr. Gingrich has found resonance in Florida, whose primary he also lost by 14 points today.

The Moon was not originally scheduled to have a primary this early in the season. In fact, by moving the primary ahead to the end of January, the RNC has stripped the caucus of half of its delegate count, bringing its total delegates count down to zero.

"No candidate has ever lost the Moon and gone on to win the nomination," said Gingrich making an obvious slight at his primary opponent Mitt Romney, who had avoided campaigning on the Moon due to a lack of Oxygen conflict.

The 2012 campaign moves on now to other barren, desolate hellscapes including Nevada, which votes in the next few weeks.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

State Supreme Court "Can't See Ship" in Legislative Redistricting Map

In a stunning rebuke to the state GOP and mall kiosks everywhere, the State Supreme Court threw out the proposed legislative redistricting map because it couldn't see the ship that was supposedly contained within.

"This court finds that the final 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Plan is contrary to law," the seven-member court said, in a 4-3 decision. "Plus, we've been staring at it for, like, five hours now and we can't see anything."

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Ronald Castille of Philadelphia said, "The Legislative Redistricting Commission keeps telling us to 'look past' the picture and let our eyes settle.  What the hell does that mean?  I'm not getting it, sorry."

The three minority justices, in their dissent, wrote "What do you mean you can't see it? It's so easy!  It's a ship, come on!"

Democratic legislators had argued that the proposal had gerrymandered districts to ensure solid Republican districts and had disenfranchised those with only one eye.

"This decision today is of historic proportion. I'm very pleased," a victorious state Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said Wednesday night.  "The Democratic party will continue its fight for the enfranchisement of Pirates, Cyclops, and Sandy Duncan."

Under orders from the high court, the Plan has now been sent back to the Commission where it is expected to be retooled as a Rorschach Test.

The map in question

Pittsburgh City Council Approves James Bond Issuance

Facing a rising threat from SMERSH, Pittsburgh council today approved an $80 million James Bond issuance, despite a outstanding concerns that the Double O agent is reckless.

The City wants to bring down notorious publishing magnate Richard Mellon Scaife, who's front organization The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has been funneling money into a scheme to hijack a Chinese missile to create an international incident.  City Department of Public Safety Director Mike Huss told council that Mr. Scaife's actions are completely insane and possibly even psychopathic with scant regard for any of the lives destroyed as a result of his media ambitions and also that he has a missile.

He predicted that with the use of an exploding pen, a Walter PPK pistol, an Aston Martin, and a suggestively named lady companion, Mr. Scaife could be brought down in a fiery, expensive (looking) explosion in the South China Sea.

MI6, which oversees the City's special agent program, warned that after the previous encounter with SMERSH mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Mr. Bond was in no condition to take on this task.  Director M had previously put Bond on a black list, for undisclosed reasons, but was widely suspected to some sort of sexually transmitted disease.

Mayoral Chief of Staff Yarone Zober disagreed with MI6's assessment of the situation, saying that, after proving himself by eliminating former URA Director Pat Ford, Mr. Bond is the finest City of Pittsburgh agent in the field today.

Mr. Scaife has already demanded the sum of $1 Million from the City of Pittsburgh, else he blow up the Mellon Arena.

James Bond will return in From Cleveland with Love

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Typo in State of the Union Creates Constitutional Crisis

(Reuters) Washington D.C. -- A typo in Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union speech caused mass chaos in the halls of Washington DC and across the globe today, when he misattributed the status of the country to an unknown.

As the President concluded his speech, which promoted economic equity, governmental collaboration, and manufacturing expansion among other items, he stated "As long as we're joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be Stan" [emphasis added].  What was initially regarded as a possibly mishearing of the President's words or a slip of the tongue by Mr. Obama, was later confirmed to actually be within the text of the speech given to the Vice President and the Speaker of the House, signaling that the apparent flub was not a mistake.

After the speech, a flustered White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was pressed for an explanation by Reporters, but declined to respond.

This led to mass speculation in many online "blogs" across the country that the President was secretly transferring executive authority to a man named "Stan" or "Stanley" or "Stanislav".  Commenters on the Right Wing Blog Freerepublic speculated that Mr. Obama was referring to "Pakistan" or "Afghanistan", fueling further speculation of his supposedly Muslim faith.  Posters on DailyKos also speculated that "Stan" was Stan Lee, creator of Spiderman; Mr. Obama is a known comic book fan. believed that "Stan" was hall of fame baseball player Stan Musial, while The Weather Channel purported to have information that Stan was referring to the 19th Hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic Season.

The reaction across the world was tumultuous.  The stock price of Standard Chartered PLC (symbol: STAN) soared in early trading on the London Stock Exchange, driving European futures up to near record levels.  Seth MacFarlane's animated prime time show American Dad, which features main character "Stan Smith", was renewed by Fox through the 2018 season.  In the UK, the graves of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and director Stanley Kubrick were opened as the superstitious lay next to the bodies.  In Toronto, armed guards protected hockey's Stanley Cup from looters.

Congressmen and Senators scrambled across the corridors of the Capitol trying to discover who this "Stan" was, whether he was a Democrat or a Republican, and how this would affect reelection chances.  All bills were held until "Stan" could sign off and the Chaplin of the House issued an invocation in "Stan's" name.

After several hours, the White House issued a statement saying that a fly had fallen into the computer, which had caused the typo, adding that a "Mr. Archibald Buttle" might want to lay low for a few days.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Allegheny County Changes Assessment Website Again

From the P-G:

Less than one day after Allegheny County re-posted new assessment numbers on its website it has modified the procedure for finding them.

The new real estate values, available now only for properties in Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver, were put back on line Monday, but they are on a separate page from the current base-year numbers. The change made overnight reduces the number of steps needed to find new values, but it appears to make it more complicated to find the old values for comparison.
The new values are posted on To find them click on the ship on the seal of Allegheny County in the upper right hand corner.  A new window will open with a prompt.  You will be in a dungeon.  There will be a KNIFE, a SHOVEL, and a GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL.  The only exit is NORTH, but the DOOR is locked.

Pick up the KNIFE, SHOVEL, and GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL.  Use the KNIFE on the LOCK and the DOOR will open.  GO through the DOOR into the HALLWAY.



You are standing in a room with a DRAGON, the dessicated corpses of property assessors surround his sleeping body.  There is light coming from an unknown source above you.


There is nothing to use GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL on


You begin, quietly, to dig a hole in the middle of the room.  Suddenly, you strike something hard.  It is a BOX.  The DRAGON stirs slightly.

Open BOX

BOX is locked in an overly complicated manner.


You jimmy open the lock on the BOX.  Inside there is a MAP.

Read MAP

The map is from FORMER COUNTY EXECUTIVE DAN ONORATO.  He apologizes for the problem with the assessments, but would like to remind you that he didn't raise property taxes while in office.  Also, your new assessment numbers are in THE CASTLE.


Yeah, I know, right?


There is a DRAGON asleep several feet away from you and a hole in front of you containing a BOX and a MAP.  Exit is WEST.

Take MAP.

You put the MAP into your inventory.


You are in a hallway.  Your Exits are NORTH SOUTH and EAST.


You enter a very dark room.


You enter an even darker room


You are eaten by a Grue


Monday, January 23, 2012

Legion of Doom Endorses Mitt Romney for President

(Reuters) Slaughter Swamp - In a surprise announcement today, the collection of super villains known as the Legion of Doom endorsed Mitt Romney for GOP nominee for President of the United States.

"We is very unhappy about Mitt Romney and we thinks he will do horrible job as candidate," said spokesman Bizarro, speaking from the Legion's secret headquarters outside of Gotham City. "We am sure that Mitt will fail in the General Election against the Communist Muslim usurper Barack Obama."

All candidates heavily courted Legion of Doom members for their endorsement. Ron Paul had previously received the endorsement of Sinestro during the 2008 election, and Rick Santorum had been campaigning with both the Scarecrow and Solomon Grundy over the last few weeks. In most circles, it was widely expected that Newt Gingrich, a former member of the Legion Of Doom, would lock up the endorsement. It seems, however, that Romney used his pull of the Legion's Chairman and his former Harvard classmate, Lex Luthor to sway over the remaining members.

The Legion of Doom's endorsement comes after several weeks of campaigning ahead of the Florida Primary, generally held to be the 2nd or 3rd most evil state in the Union. The endorsement is expected to help garner many votes from drug king pins, hypocritical religious voters, and people that drive 40 mph in the passing lane.

Pundits, however, are suspicious of the Legion of Doom's endorsement.

"You see, the LoD is evil and people know they're evil," said DC insider Alex Ross. "OK, they endorse Romney, right. But if people know that they are endorsing Romney, people aren't going to vote for Romney because they think he's evil, yeah? So they think they'll vote for someone who isn't as evil, namely, Newt Gingrich and *BAM* *POW* you have a evil guy in the White House. Classic Republic Serial Villain move."

Mitt Romney's campaign released a statement saying that he was appreciative of the Legion of Doom's endorsement, and would work with them to lower regulations on moon based death lasers, killing Superman, and lowering taxes for evil henchmen creators.

ADB Senior Comics Book correspondent Bob Kane contributed to this report.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mustard Sauce wins South Carolina Primary

(Food Network) Charleston, SC - In a surprise turn of events, Mustard based barbecue sauce rallied conservative South Carolinians to propel itself to a win in the state Republican primary, beating back challenges from East Carolinia Sauce, Memphis Sauce, and Mayonnaise.

"It's a great day for traditional barbecue values in the State of South Carolinia," said the candidate lto a mob of bibbed supporters. "We knew our combination of vinegar, yellow mustard, sugar and spices would appeal to the people of this state."

Mayonnaise pulled in a distant 2nd place finish, with Memphis Sauce and East Carolinia Sauce coming in second and third respectively. Texas Style Barbecue Sauce, initially expected to so well in this BBQ loving region, pulled out of the race and endorsed Mustard Sauce earlier this week.

Mustard based barbecue sauce had been considered an outsider going into South Carolinia, with many pundits expecting a strong showing from the inoffensive, nationally recognized Mayonnaise. Mayonnaise, however, faced charges during the last debate that it was not a true barbecue sauce and fought to defend itself against blistering attack ads from a Miracle Whip SuperPAC.

Mayonnaise has appealed to many eaters who want some sort of sauce on their food, but really don't like anything with too much flavor.

Tomato based Memphis Sauce polled well with traditional BBQ enthusiasts, who, according to exist polls, were concerned about allowing pork and hot beef to homosexuals. East Carolinia Sauce has continued to stay competitive in the race, even though many consider it to be a "cult candidate" for a national BBQ Sauce office.

Mustard based sauce now gains momentum going into the Florida Primary at the end of the month, but it faces challenges from a hispanic population which prefers an adobo based sauce and a Jewish population that complains that sauces make them "too gassy."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

And Now...

           , , , , ,
           # # # # #
         {_` ` ` ` `_}
       {_  H A P P Y  _}
     {_ B I R T H D A Y _}
(   `"""""""""""""""""""""`   )
Have some seven year old, poorly aligned ASCII cake...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tim Tebow Defeats GOP Field in Stunning Come-From-Behind Victory in New Hampshire

(Reuters) Concord, N.H. - Few people in this small New England town expected Tim Tebow to beat Rick Santorum, let alone Mitt Romney. Yet, during victory parties across the state, no one was surprised.

"We knew that he was a competitor," said Ron Paul who came in third in the nation's first primary, "We knew he was going to do that. We knew if we let him stay in there and kept him alive then this could happen."

Tebow pulled in a surprising 43% of the Republican vote, including the staunchly conservative towns of Whitefield and Conway.  After a three week blitz of the state and, despite the prevalence of attack ads against him, no competing campaign or PAC was able to land a solid critique to dissuade voters.

"He's a good campaigner," Governor of Texas Rick Perry said. "He bought time with his legs, his volunteers worked hard for him to get open to the public, and, uh... one other thing.  Oops."

After a poor start, Tebow replaced Tim Paulenty -- who later dropped out of the race -- and has been polling well enough in early voting states to become a national phenomenon with the way he routinely conflated his performance with the will of God.

It was the way Tebow finished that surprised the other challengers. Since his early political career in Florida in 2009, Tebow has been criticized for his poor grasp of the issues. As thrilling as his wins have been this campaign season, he was so bad the last two debates that some in the campaign suggested the GOP start backing Rick Santorum, who hasn't held public office since 2007.

"The Tebow campaign just made some strategic moves," former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said. "He opened up. We've seen many times where guys would actually drop the ball when they were wide open... think Gary Hart in '88. [Tebow] put the ball in tight places.  Like Bill Clinton in '98."

As far as Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney  was concerned, it wasn't Tebow that did the unusual. It was the rest of the GOP field.

"I'm surprised by the way the vote turned out today," said Romney, whose only hit on Tebow was a take on Gingrich's 'Moral Bologna' charge leveled at himself. "We ran our campaign in this state poorly. We didn't get pressure there at times. We let him scramble at times. We didn't cover well at times. It's a combination of everything. It's no one thing."

Asked his impression of Tebow's performance, Romney, as always, was vanilla. "He ran well enough to win, and we ran sorry enough to lose," he said.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Corn Wins Iowa Caucus

In an election season that has already been full of surprises, a majority of Iowan Republicans today threw their votes to a native son, Corn, who easily beat off a come from behind surge from Tim Tebow and Not Obama, who came in second and third in the statewide caucus.

Speaking at the downtown Des Moines Marriot, Corn thanked his legions of supporters who came out with their friends and neighbors on a frightfully cold night in early January.

"I just want to say to everyone out there that when you think Corn, you think Ethanol, you think Flakes, and now you're going to think President of the United States."

Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow pulled out a strong second place, after spending a great deal of time outside of the state.  Fundamentalist Christians, a powerful force in past caucuses, gravitated toward Tebow over the other self-declared Christian candidate Jesus of Nazareth, who came in a distant 6th behind a Half Dead Cat Who Barfs A Lot and John Huntsman.  Fundamentalists were disappointed that Jesus did not address their major issues of abortion and homosexuality, instead focusing on "the poor" and "the meek."

Not Obama also performed well, buoyed by support by Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Michelle Bachmann.  Not Obama's 3rd place finish puts him in a good place going into the upcoming New Hampshire primary.

Corn, however, is expected to do poorly in New Hampshire, where it does not enjoy much in the way of grassroots support.

Barack Obama, who was not running as a member of the GOP, also managed to sneak in at 7th, supported by conservatives in favor of low taxes, killing of terrorists, and indefinite detention.

Still, with what seems like many years before the November election, the 2012 Presidential race is anyone's to take.