Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today's USC Lesson: Alleviation By Multiplication

The Upper St. Clair School District has released a letter designed to "alleviate some of the concerns parents might have" with respect to an alleged rape in an alleged school stairwell (whose alleged victim claims she was being used as "bait" by an alleged school principal the second time she was raped, and whose alleged perpetrator has pled guilty).

The district's explanation is described as an attempt to "somewhat respond to the reports" of the incident, in which another student alleges she was raped.

The district also indicated it believes the lawsuit filed by the "bait" victim should be dismissed . . . as should the lawsuit filed with respect to a third (and related) rape alleged to have occurred on school property.

(The district apparently is not offering current comment concerning a fourth student's allegation that she was sexually assaulted in a school hallway.)

The Upper St. Clair School District -- which wants everyone to understand that it ""remains committed, first and foremost, to the safety and well-being of its students" -- appears to have an exceptional amount of alleviating to do.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Story That Will Make You Stammer

Upper St. Clair's school district, which had been distinguished among pretentious suburban districts by a goofy curriculum battle involving mission-from-God school boarders, has become even more distinguished.

Onorato, Corbett Each Move Up One Notch

The lack of Infinthusiasm for Pennsylvania's governor's race might be cured were's Tennessee campaign to travel north:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Syria Mosque: A Redevelopment Lesson

The Nullity's humorous musing concerning re-use of local icons prompts recollection of a worthwhile point about InsolvenCity's redevelopment projects: Oakland's Syria Mosque, a wonderful concert venue that still has not been replaced, was demolished on an expedited basis to clear prime land for a rush development project involving developers long on political connections but short on performance.

That was in 1991. Twenty years later, the site is a surface parking lot.

It could have been worse (East Liberty; Allegheny Center; etc.). But Pittsburgh lost a gem, and still doesn't have a good, midsized concert hall for anything more energetic than a Marvin Hamlisch-interprets-ABBA show.

Bonus Question: Was Jim Ferlo arrested while protesting the Syria Mosque's demolition?

Infinonytune: Soul To Soul, Stevie Ray Vaughan (Syria Mosque soundcheck, 1986)

Good News For State's 45th Senatorial Distirct

The announcement that Pennsylvania Sen. Sean Logan is resigning to take a huge cash-in community relations job at UPMC generates two immediate thoughts: Mildly good news for 45th District and Pennsylvania constituents, bad news for any community that needs relations with UPMC.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is 'No More Fun Of Any Kind' Still A Viable Political Platform In America? We'll Know Soon

Ever wonder how many cranky old-timers who idolize Dean Wormer and mutter about "race music" are still around?

California's taking a poll.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The 12-Kids-Still-Stuck-In-Orphanage Angle Is Apparently Less Newsworthy Than 'Pittsburghers Save Haitian Earthquake Orphans ' Story Was

Reporting news that local newspapers seem unwilling or unable to cover, the Associated Press today revisits the unsettled lives of a dozen Haitian children still living in a local institution six months after being transported to Pittsburgh -- in sketchy circumstances that have created a problem for the United States Department of State -- in the wake of Haiti's devastating earthquake. (Early Returns mentions the AP report.)

If any local newsgatherer wishes to begin to cover this story, it might check whether religious discrimination tainted screening of prospective adoptive parents; whether any false declarations were made in attempting to arrange clearance to depart Haiti; or whether Haitian authorities have threatened criminal charges.

Infinonytune: Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty

Making Drug Dealers Look Good: War Profiteers

Other consequences of the United States' recently military misadventures (attacking the wrong country, botching the invasion, allowing Afghanistan to drift into chaos) are far more serious and troubling, but the cultivation of obnoxious war profiteers should not be overlooked, especially as they are unmasked in court.

Your (borrowed) tax dollars at work, folks.

Masters of War deserves another spin on Infinonytunes (center column).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pat Toomey Questions Kagan's Impartiality After Swallowing Roberts' 'Balls And Strikes' Story

Pat Toomey informs Pennsylvanians today that he would vote against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan because he questions her "impartiality." Yet he would be an enthusiastic supporter of Chief Justice John Roberts, who told Congress he would act as a dispassionate caller of "balls and strikes," then took a Court that had been tilted 7-2 or 6-3 toward Republican nominees for many years and pulled it to the right. Toomey's position on Kagan is roughly as convincing as his campaign's claim that the nightclubs his brothers operated (with Toomey as an investor) were 'family business restaurants' that gave Toomey 'small business experience.'

Could InsolvenCity Be Serious About Addressing The City's Youth-Related Crime Problems?

It is unlikely Joanna Doven would recognize the irony in her comments concerning a local crime-prevention initiative "reaching out to young people who want to change their path," but she could come up with the name of one 30-year-old Pittsburgher -- currently being investigated by federal law enforcement officials, and therefore a natural candidate to be steered "in a positive and progressive direction" -- without letting her thoughts stray too far from her office.

Drink Tax: Busted Bars And Broke Buses

Anyone who didn't understand that a 10 percent tax -- coupled with a recession -- was going to generate economic casualties probably doesn't belong on county council (or in the governor's office).

Remember when those who enacted the drink tax claimed they were doing it to save Port Authority transit? A few years -- and a number of casualties -- later, PAT is collapsing financially, begging for a "reliable funding source."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Great Day For The Truth, Bad One For A Bunch Of Failures Who Lied, Killed, Maimed, Betrayed (And Too Often Made A Pile Of Cash Doing It)

Knowledge is good.

When the going gets weird . . . the weird turn pro.

Infinonytune: Masters of War, Bob Dylan (lyric)

Sunday Reading: Back To The Future Edition

Harrisburg: Inquiring minds understand.

One First Street N.E.: Obama 2012.

Morality: Re-Elect President Obama.

Pittsburgh, 2015: Coming to a city near you.

Bell, CA: The $800,000 city manager (with $600,000 public pension).

Fallujah: American record in Iraq just keeps getting better.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Today's Chapter In Municipal Misadventures

Sending on-duty police on debt collection runs for a used car dealership sounds like the type of municipal practice only a plaintiffs' lawyer could like.

For a small-time public official in a nondescript town, Thomas DeRosa appears to generate more than his share of headlines, none of them flattering.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Highly Predictable Life Of Joanna Doven

Mayoral mouthpiece Joanna Doven dismisses as "predictable" the criticisms recently aimed by several Pittsburgh councilors at the parking concession proposal advanced by her boss the people manipulating her boss' strings. That criticism is likely to continue until a rickety majority of councilors -- some well-meaning, some not, all clueless -- approves the InsolvenCity Parking Garage Sale.

Here are some other things that are predictably a part of Ms. Doven's future:

1) She will join the list of those interviewed by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents concerning events associated with the mayor's office.

2) She will write a resume describing work for a "Mayor of Pittsburgh" but omitting identification of that mayor by name.

3) She will wonder why people keep mentioning Kevin Bacon's final scene in Animal House (on the sidewalk: "All is well"), and chuckling, as she walks away from them.

4) She will receive an invitation to her college graduating class' five-year reunion, at which gathering she will ask the recent law school grads to explain "qualified immunity."

5) She will encounter less competition for space on downtown sidewalks, for tables at InsolvenCity restaurants (suggested press release: "Why wait 45 minutes for a table in the suburbs when you can be seated at any downtown restaurant immediately"), and for parking spots in city business districts as Pittsburgh empties out.

Infinonytune: Shout, Otis Day & The Knights

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tale Of Two Prosecutors Unfolding On KDKA Now

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala -- perhaps celebrating the rare day not spent finessing the interaction of a family member (or members) interaction with the criminal justice system he helps to administer -- has already begun the prosecution of accused (and seemingly depraved) murderer Tushon Brown, just one day after the arraignment. The jury preparation and public pandering segment of the prosecution is being conducted as this is being written by the D.A.'s mouthpiece, Marty Griffin, on KDKA-AM.

Looks Like Pittsburgh Gets Left Off This List

If Carnegie Mellon's "defense campus" didn't make this installment, the Post probably is going to collect its Pulitzer without explaining how Lawrenceville became the best place in town to get cut in half by submachine gun (or to find a super-kitted, "top secret" laptop in a bar parking lot).

It Isn't The Pirates' Solution, But It Is A Start

The still-hijacked Pittsburgh Baseball Club has identified a surprising simple method that enables its undermanned band of Pirates to defeat a major-league team by two runs:

You start by scoring nine runs in the first inning, then . . .

Infinonytune: Centerfield, John Fogerty

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Connect-The-Dots (List Makers Edition) News: Post-Gazette Scooped By ... Post-Gazette Blog

The forces able to cause the Post-Gazette news desk (and editorial board) to continue to refuse to play Connect-The-Dots (List Makers Edition) appear to be unable to influence the proprietors of Early Returns.

How Republicans Broke Our Country, Chapter 2

The next time a conservative starts yapping about the size, cost, competence or accountability of government, show that person this article about the overpriced outsourcing of core government functions to inappropriately motivated contractors by overmatched and frightened federal officials in the wake of the September 11 attack, then show him the color-coded deficit chart, then ask whether that conservative has anything to say other than, "I apologize -- for everything Republicans inflicted on this country and our world in seven disastrous years."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why Pay To Watch A Big Hollywood Production When The Original Inspiration Is Here And Free?

Ever wonder what Hollywood would do with a script obviously inspired by a session in which Pittsburgh's mayor addresses council?

It opens July 30.

(That must be Luke on the right; could that be a young Doug Shields on the left?)

Why Wait For Pulitzer Announcements When You Can Watch A Prize Be Forged Day-By-Day?

Ever want to watch a Pulitzer Prize be forged day-by-day?

You can start this morning.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Reading: Refudiate This! Edition

The Periodic Table: An elementally interesting series.

Afghanistan: It ain't over, but we lost, but that's O.K.

Holywood: The Passion Of Mel Gibson, the Sequel.

Wasilla, AK: A Shakespearean call on Muslims to refudiate.

Rock Bottom, AK: Fighting over a Jerry Springer star?

No Word On Whether Nutting Tossed The Kid For Failing To Overcharge On PNC Park Premises

Bob Smizik points to a story (Corey Giger, Altoona Mirror) indicating that not everything -- well, nearly everything, but not everything -- that occurs at or near PNC Park is ugly.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In This Jurisdiction, The Best Defense Is A Good . . . Relationship With The Right People

No disrepect intended toward Robert Del Greco, but the combined efforts of local police and a local judge (no indication yet of whether a phone call was involved) have produced a remarkably pleasant criminal justice experience for a well-connected local man, an outcome even more striking for occurrence in the courtroom of Jeffrey Manning, commonly perceived to be unsympathetic toward defendants.

(Of course, it isn't the first time. Or the second. Or the third. Or . . .)

Infinonytune: It Wasn't Me, George Thorogood / Delaware Destroyers
Infinonytune: Cocaine Blues, George Thorogood / Delaware Destroyers
Infinonytune: I'm Wanted, George Thorogood / Delaware Destroyers
Infinonytune: Wanted Man, George Thorogood / Delaware Destroyers

Friday, July 16, 2010

News From The Inbreeding Desk: Datelines McKeesport and Charleston, West Virginia

McKeesport's school directors apparently have concluded that their district is excellent, and that the best way to maintain that excellence is to begin continue a program of inbreeding.

The synergistic effects of Dan Onorato's regressive assessments and the school directors' inbreeding system produce two obvious Infinonytips for McKeesport residents:
1) Move.
2) Now.

UPDATE: Breaking news from the Inbreeding Desk: West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin reportedly has overcome the instinct to appoint his daughter -- creative resumeist Heather Bresch -- to the United States Senate, instead choosing his 36-year-old former mouthpiece, Carte Goodwin.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Harrisburg's Corrupt Cronies Dodge Magic Bullet

Leading a "bipartisan effort to scour the corruption and cronyism from Harrisburg" still seems the ideal public service assignment for Sen. Arlen Specter as his admirable Senate career approaches conclusion, but it appears Sen. Specter has chosen to tackle a less-difficult task: arranging peace in the Middle East.

Infinonytune: I Fought The Law, Bobby Fuller Four

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lacking The Courage Of Their Conniptions, Iowa Tea Partiers Scrap Hitler-Obama-Stalin Billboard

Too early to tell whether it was the Infiscrutiny, or perhaps a case of the merely unhinged pulling rank on the genuinely daft among right-wing outliers, but that Hitler-Obama-Stalin billboard commissioned by Tea Partiers in Iowa was papered over this morning.

The stain, however, remains.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Safe To Say Their Message Is Getting Out . . .

A billboard commissioned by the North Iowa Tea Party:

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Fine But Sad Day For Journalism In Pittsburgh

Journalism is a noble and (for those who prefer a decent society) indispensable craft; Pittsburgh's newspapers display two of good journalism's better features today.

First, the Post-Gazette recounts information concerning a competitor without slant, slight or rancor.

Second, the woman recounted was the type of person who makes some journalism admirable.

Infinonytune: Daily Records, The Who

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Reading: Small-Town Edition

A century ago: Sam's still the man.

Court of Common Pleas: More bush-league "justice."

Grant Street: The inept bamboozling the gullible.

The Nine-Ring Circus: Dysfunction, as usual, reigns.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bad Day On The Bench For Judge Rangos = Great Day For Lethally Negligent Gun Nut

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jill Rangos had a bad day at the office today.

Michael Lanese -- who asked his nine-year-old twins to clean his guns without supervision after he attended a gun show with them, then fled the country after one child blew the other's brains out -- was before Judge Rangos for sentencing after police arrested him in Vietnam.

Judge Rangos sent Mr. Lanese home this afternoon, "time served," after observing:

"The damage here is done and it's not repairable."

That description covers merely 99 percent of criminal prosecutions and defendants (100 percent of homicides). Unless Judge Rangos has a soft spot for lethally negligent gun nuts with a lengthy reported history of poor parenting, today's decision is inexplicable.

Judge Rangos, never among the county's better judges, should not count today among her better on the bench.

A similar courtroom performance:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Disaster Looming Along Riding Trail Lane?

The Post-Gazette website has for more than 12 hours featured a skeletal report concerning a substantial fire at an unidentified home along exclusive (two-acre homesites) Riding Trail Lane in Fox Chapel. Why no update? Is the Post-Gazette waiting for confirmation of whether the situation qualifies as a disaster -- for example, if the affected property were insured for its assessed value instead of its actual value?

Infinonytune: Burning Down The House, Tom Jones