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.