Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Reading: Last Of June Edition

Indecency: The P-G finds an apologist for people and institutions that systematically facilitate and conceal sexual abuse of children -- and provides a platform.

Academia: This is getting out of control.

Dixie: Southerners exhibit enlightenment concerning minority candidates -- so long as Nimrata Randhawa runs as "Nikki Haley" and Piyush Amrit Jindall uses the natural nickname "Bobby." (Texans are still traditionalists, though.)

Stupidity: "How stupid we are," indeed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Academic Solution To InsolvenCity Pensions?

When Luke hears about* this ingenious retroactive method of improving troublesome numbers, the parking garage sale from hell may go on the back burner.

At least until the List-Makers remind him, sternly, of the cream to be skimmed.

* A rhetorical device; Luke obviously already is aware of this, because the first thing he does each morning is to devour the entire New York Times, just before immersing himself in The Economist.

Zombie Tennis: Unabridged, Annotated Version

This ESPN report provides the news concerning yesterday's Isner-Mahut match at Wimbledon, but it does not tell the story.

Read the story.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Inspirational Stories With A Local Connection

Q: What do Kirstin Snow (left) and Leslie McCombs (right) have in common?
A: Both women have overcome the nasty stigma afflicting attractive, middle-aged blondes and nevertheless landed coveted marketing and communications positions with Pittsburgh-based healthcare systems.


This Makes Firing The Pierogi Look Like Genius

This story has but one reasonable explanation: Adam Ravenstahl's first project as a state legislator reached fruition before any of the adults knew what was happening.

If that isn't it, it's probably time to surrender to West Virginia.

Infinonytune: Spill The Wine, Eric Burdon and War

Please, Please, Please Make Him Oliver Onion!

For the first time in many seasons, someone Pittsburghers can root for in good conscience will be competing on the field at PNC Park.

If the Pirates don't start to announce the identities of pierogies, someone should develop an appropriate Twitterator. Andrew Kurtz seems destined to become a fan favorite.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Latest Good News: Experts Predict Imminent Arrival Of Bouncing Dead Cats, Mostly Downtown

After five decades of anticipation, experts encourage Pittsburghers to expect the imminent arrival of bouncing dead cats -- especially, it appears, in downtown Pittsburgh.

This phenomenon, experts counsel, should not be mistaken for an Arts Festival-related stunt, and is no cause for alarm. Instead, residents are encouraged to embrace this development as a hopeful sign for the region.

The Allegheny Conference is, no doubt, preparing a suitable press release.

Wayfaring 19th Warder Resigns; Issues Remain

The Slagger reports that Kimberly Cagni, woman-about-towns, claimed a city residence just long enough to get elected to a Democratic Committee position and vote in the surprisingly contested election for 19th Ward Chair -- and then took what appears to be the disingenuous coward's way out, resigning before the Democratic Party could resolve a challenge to her residential eligibility.

Does the resignation dispel any election (im)propriety issues, such as those related to the content of a sworn petition? That question might interest county election officials and/or the district attorney (can anyone else resist the conclusion that if Cagni's name were Orie she'd already be in stocks outside the Courthouse?); Anthony Coghill, or any Democrat interested in the integrity of the party's affairs, might want to help them find their Sherlock Holmes hats and magnifying glasses.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Can You Tell A Candidate Is Trailing?

A standard political theorem indicates that a candidate's likelihood of victory is inversely related to the number of debates his campaign proposes.

The Onorato campaign just challenged Tom Corbett to engage in 14 debates.

Which is approximately 14 more than overwhelming favorite Dan Onorato was willing to conduct with longshot opponent Rick Swartz a few years back.

NEWS FLASH: A Day That Shall Live In Infamy (At Least At Corner Of Grant St. & InsolvenCity)

The List-Makers have dropped the big one on any semblance of InsolvenCity Council independence.

Someone should check which bunkers Dr. Dowd and Council President Harris are currently occupying . . . and when they entered them. (Councilors Burgess, Lavelle and Smith were, no doubt, "lucky" enough to be far from the point of detonation at the appointed hour.)

The Post-Gazette should have the details shortly.

This development indicates the List-Makers believe they possess the votes to seal the deal with respect to the ultimate garage sale.

UPDATE: Post-Gazette; Tribune-Review.

If Pittsburgh's Residency Rule Makes Sense, Perhaps Protectionism Should Spread To Suburbs

The Post-Gazette editorial board has endorsed the protectionist policy that requires InsolvenCity's employees to live in that city, urging the state legislature to refrain from disturbing that arrangement because "If someone wants to work on behalf of the citizens of Pittsburgh, he or she should be willing to participate in the life of the city."

Would InsolvenCity and its leading newspaper take a similar position concerning corresponding protectionism that, for example, forbade other municipalities' employees from residing in Pittsburgh, or rendered City of Pittsburgh-based firms ineligible for other municipalities' contracts? If a Pittsburgh police officer can not reside in Ross, why should a Ross officer be permitted to live in Lawrenceville? If a City of Pittsburgh programmer can't live in Leet, why should a Pittsburgh resident or firm be eligible to be engineer for East McKeesport, attorney for Avalon, dogcatcher for Dormont or financier for Franklin Park?

InsolvenCity's residency rule is additional evidence that a government that must rely on walls -- literal or figurative -- to keep people within borders is rarely a good government.

Infinonytune: Living For The City, Stevie Wonder (with Ray Charles)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Please Step Away From The Screen

Plenty of free music is available to complement summer weather.

Glenn Pavone's scorching guitar (left) will perform with the Cyclones tonight at Hartwood Acres, beginning at 9 p.m.

Joe Grushecky (Tuesday) and Billy Price (Thursday) will play at Wilkins' Community Days stage (parking lot behind Sears at Penn Center).

Check "Please Step Away From The Screen" (center column) for details and more shows.

Father's Day 2010: The Wish

The piles are starting to form a landscape -- Ravenstahl, Corbett, Onorato, Nutting, Coonelly and others overdue for smacks -- but on Father's Day all receive a pass, a chance to spend a peaceful day with their children. There will be plenty of time, and material, another day.

The Infinonytune for Father's Day is not a predictable pick, unless you expected a Christmas song written for mom. But one line of the lyric -- "if Pa's eyes were windows into a world so deadly and true, you couldn't stop me from looking but you kept me from crawlin' through" -- distills fatherhood without blinking, which is fitting.

Even if you have every studio release, Bruce Springsteen has written and performed dozens of great songs you never heard of. The Infinonytune this Father's Day is one of them. Enjoy it.

Infinonytune: The Wish, Bruce Springsteen (guitar)
Infinonytune: The Wish, Bruce Springsteen (piano)

Sunday Reading: Father's Day Edition

The Supreme Court: Attempting to hide our discomforting, even shameful, past.

The Vatican: Could even the most gullible Catholics fall for this?

The Tea Party: Vampire candidates shunning all light.

The Hemorrhaging Gulf: BP's Tony Hayward is comically bad, but might not be the worst.

Dad's Backyard Grill: This is worth doing correctly. This, too.

Fairmont, W.Va.: Proud parent of Father's Day?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pintek Rides Off The Road (Not Against Type)

No one (at last, no one you'd ever want to be around) sifts the conservatives from liberals at age eight or nine, but hindsight reveals it would have been easy: The conservatives were the guys who constantly yelled at kids on bikes, "Keep off my sidewalk."

You can't blame kids for failing to recognize that conservatives are mostly hot air -- children should be more interested in bikes and playgrounds and candy than in becoming familiar with easements and rights of way and property lines, which establish that the sidewalks don't belong to those jerks -- but adults have no such excuse.

Which means any adult who is not outraged by Mike Pintek's recent "right of center" comments about bicyclists infringing on 'his road' (featuring violent fantasies of striking them with an automobile) is operating at a preteen level.

In other words, your average faithful Limbaugh-Hannity-Pintek listener.

Infinonytune: Bicycle Race, Queen

Big-League Writing About Bush-League Activity

It was the best of reports, it was the worst of reports:

Best: Post-Gazetteer Dan Majors' major-league wordsmithery: "There isn't a lot of dough involved in being a pierogi."

Worst: The Pirates terminate a non-management employee for telling the truth about the club in a non-work-related context. The Pirates' ownership and management suck. Genuinely low-quality people, dopes and/or liars. If you root for them, and are above the age of 12, please stop depressing the mean intelligence quotient of Infireaders.

InsolvenCity Taxpayers Confront Huge Bill As Their Boy Mayor Plays With New Set Of Puppets

Unless Luke Ravenstahl is able to fire Vic Walczak as legal director of the ACLU -- and he and mouthpiece Joanna Doven are sufficiently short on judgment and character that one can envision them making such an announcement -- it is difficult to believe the placement of five new marionettes at the Citizen Police Review Board is going to accomplish much.

One could catalog the specific reasons this maneuver is unlikely to shield the mayor -- or the InsolvenCity residents who elected him -- from accountabilty for the police brutality associated with the G20 event, but this segment of the Post-Gazette's report is sufficient to illustrate why the payout is likely to be measured in millions:
But Judge Wettick ignored that comment and instead repeatedly asked Mr. Krepps why the documents -- which generally contain public information like the name, date and date of birth of the subject -- were so heavily edited.

"Why would you redact something and then say you can't explain why it was redacted?" the judge asked.

Mr. Krepps said he was not prepared to address that.
Judge Wettick set argument on the contempt issue for Aug. 26.
Ravenstahl could appoint a dozen new CPRB members (or maybe he could not), or even disband the CPRB, and Stephen Zappala could ignore his duties for a decade, yet they still wouldn't slow (let alone stop) Vic Walczak and his co-counsel. This one seems destined to resemble the Sol Gross case, the Robert Swartzwelder case, and the Jordan Miles case, rolled into one fat payday for plaintiffs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

InsolvenCity's Human Centipede Can Speak!

The Ravenstahl administration, whose customary approach is to fight disclosure of public information (of all stripes, or patterns) to the death -- and then argue that death renders disclosure moot -- has loudly publicized its calculation of prospective carrying costs associated with the soon-to-be-abandoned Civic Arena.

This untested information is being circulated because it supports the storyline that Dan Onorato, Luke Ravenstahl and their "independent" consultant (Human Centipede component Chris Cieslak) are pushing: That anyone proposing illumination or examination of their plan to demolish the Civic Arena without delay (enabling Onorato and Ravenstahl to distribute pricey plums among campaign contributors already queuing at the site) is a history-hugging, progress-hating communist.

It's reminiscent of Tom Murphy -- without the charm and the smarts.

Onorato Aims Postcard At Visiting Republicans But Democrats' Positions (And Hopes) Take Hits

When Dan Onorato sent an email to local Democrats boasting about taunting visiting Republicans outside the Renaissance today with a sure-to-be-snarky postcard, recipients might have eagerly clicked toward the promised payoff, imagining the Democratic barbs Dan would aim at the convening conservatives:
'Welcome to the Pittsburgh region, where people who actually follow the Golden Rule elect Democrats like Dan Onorato, who act promptly and straightforwardly to make discrimination against gays a thing of the past, not part of our present ...'

'Welcome to Allegheny County, where Democratic elected officials -- like Dan Onorato -- reject the Republican principle of regressive taxation by ensuring that the wealthy never profit obscenely (and unlawfully) at the expense of the middle class . . .'

'Welcome to Allegheny County, whose citizens walk the walk on "loving liberty" by electing Democrats --including Dan Onorato -- committed to preserving a women's freedom of choice . . .'

Well, maybe a few Democrats with a particularly poor memories got excited, for a moment, while waiting for the image to load.

Infinonytune: Please Mr. Postman, The Beatles

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Iron City Deal: Kenney Urges Focus On Future (Especially The "Let's Not Dwell On Past" Part)

The recently announced settlement agreement concerning the decade-old Iron City beer water bill -- substantial discount, no money down -- apparently strikes Michael Kenney, executive director of the water authority -- as a good deal: "This will promote the productive reuse of the brewery site, and it clears the way for all to stop looking backwards and to begin working toward the future."

The "productive reuse" part finesses the manner in which several city administrations mishandled the brewery, which closed shortly after the Ravenstahl adminstration gave millions of public dollars to the brewery's owners to "save" the jobs there.

Mr. Kenney and the water authority have additional reasons to prefer that the public refrain from revisiting the past (especially if last week's reports of botched billing concerning already dubious insurance charges is categorized as part of "the past").

A list of people who hope the public will "stop looking backwards":

1. former free man Bernard Madoff
2. former Exxon Valdez captain Joseph Hazelwood
3. former family values scold Sen. David Vitter
4. former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner
5. Michael Kenney
Infinonytune: Walk And Don't Look Back, Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Good Old Days (Apparently Weren't)

Remember when the casino was going to be part of the solution to structural deficits in government budgets?

Remember when passing the "unpleasant," job-killing Allegheny County drink tax, a "lesser of the evils," was nevertheless necessary and worthwhile because it would save Port Authority Transit?

Remember when Luke Ravenstahl saved the jobs at Pittsburgh Brewing Company (an "achievement" for which he is still taking credit at his website -- although this mention ought to be enough to make it go away), just like the recently announced cave-in on water bills is going to "pave the way for redevelopment" of the former brewery site?

Infinonytune: Anticipation (The Good Old Days), Carly Simon

Green Day On Broadway: Broken Boulevard

When Broadway botched Tommy -- a great album --the result was grotesque.

When Green Day's American Idiot, another great album, becomes eligible for a Tony Award, that's just fucked up.

Infinonytune: American Idiot, Green Day

Sunday Reading: Local Guesses Edition

Wild guess: Jeff Romoff's compensation is not linked to customer satisfaction surveys.

Not-so-wild guess: This guy might know what he's talking about.

Lousy guess: InsolvenCity Solicitor Dan Regan still doesn't know what he's talking about.

No guess required: If you don't recognize the problem with the Big Ben P.D., you lack the judgment required of an officer.

Sunday Reading: Worldwide Edition

North Korea: Difficult to believe (or accept).

Freeganistan: Closer than you think?

The Pentagon: A trillion here, a trillion there . . .

Worldwide: Maybe the experience from this manhunt can be used to go after bin Laden?

The Gasoline Pump: Where price and cost diverge. (Credit: Sporker)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Less Than Meets The Eye In The Friendly Skies

Chris Briem, proprietor of Null Space, headlines a link to a glossy layout on Pittsburgh: "Delta Does Da Burgh."

All Delta did was sell advertising space for an airline magazine "insert" (in which even the "articles" are paid advertisements) that reflects nothing about Pittsburgh so much as its appetite for purchased publicity. Had Wilmerding sent cash, Delta would have published a 16-page tribute to the Airbrake Grill, the Station Brake Cafe, the Wilmerding YMCA and Wilmerding Renewed Inc. (with a sidebar featuring fun facts about the genuinely great George Westinghouse, left).

If a few local law firms and corporations want to underwrite insipid applause for Jeff Romoff, Jim Rohr and the (looking-for-tenants) Bakery Square project, that's their call. Pouring taxpayer and foundation dollars into such vapidity, however, is silly -- and standard operating procedure for the ossified, self-aggrandizing, counterproductive local power structure.

UPDATE: Why waste money on puffery purchased from Delta? Getting mentioned at Infinonymous works! Just look at Wilmerding!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who's Still On Team Roethlisberger? Just Dick's

Dick's Sporting Goods, still silent concerning whether it intends to continue to pay Ben Roethlisberger to represent that company, has received assistance with its deliberations from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which released a massive volume of information from its investigative files. It appears to be, for Dick's, a difficult call: Should a national retailer pay for the privilege of being associated with a man of Ben Roethlisberger's character and record?

The company deserves a reasonable period in which to examine the documents and recorded interviews. If, however, Dick's has not announced a decision within a week, the public -- especially the women targeted by Dick's marketers with respect to sports bras, cheerleader supplies and skorts -- should be entitled to conclude that the company's silence is a case of the guys at Dick's just being Dick's.

The Infinoffer to publish a Dick's coupon expires next Friday.

UPDATE: Welcome back, Infivisitors from Dick's Sporting Goods. In case Dick's hires so many people to monitor the Intertubes that you aren't the same corporate representatives who showed up here just as promptly the last time Dick's was in the Infinews, here's the standing proposition: If your company takes a stand that exhibits character, Infinonymous will publish a Dick's coupon -- your choice, no charge -- to thank Dick's for being a good corporate citizen. If Dick's remains mute and obsequious, however, expect to be mocked periodically. (Unless you use that chug-a-lug photograph in stores to promote joggers' bottles, in which case you will be, like, totally in the clear.)

Texas Billionaire Dan Duncan: Poster Boy (Oil On Canvas, Of Course) For Inane Public Policy

Texas billionaire Dan Duncan's lone deathbed regret: 'Never got around to buying property in that place where that Onorato fella controlled assessments . . . '

19th Ward Chair Pete Wagner Survives A Challenge: One of His Allies, However, Might Not

The City Paper (and only the City Paper, apparently) covered Tuesday's 19th Ward organizational meeting (conducted, fittingly, in a room customarily occupied by second-graders), at which Democratic Committee veteran Pete Wagner confounded (some) expectations by cruising to a 44-30 victory in voting for municipal ward chair.

Chris Potter's account lacks any mention of comically attired imposters but recounts a near-fistfight in the parking lot over the honor (to the extent it could be detected) of one elected committee member, Kimberly Cagni. Ms. Cagni filed a Division of Elections petition claiming a residence in the 19th Ward, apparently unmindful of the Intertubes, which indicate that Ms. Cagni is a Mt. Lebanon homeowner (a residence purchased by a couple named William J. Young and Kimberly L. Cagni-Young in 2003, for which the couple claims the homestead exemption).

The Post-Gazette cutline for a 2004 photograph:

Former President Bill Clinton greets Kim Cagni and her daughter, Marley Young, 2, of Mt. Lebanon during his book signing at the Barnes & Noble store at The Waterfront.

Ms. Cagni has declined to answer questions from a reporter concerning her residency, indicating she would address the issue with county Democratic Committee chair Jim Burn in the context of a filed challenge to her eligibility.

That Ms. Cagni was able to vote without explaining the apparent discrepancies in her committee membership reflects poorly on the county Democratic Committee's rules and leadership, and on Pete Wagner, who lauded her, by name, as "the greatest" in his pre-ballot speech. The Lincoln Elementary (Mt. Lebanon) PTA, for which a Kim Cagni has been a standout volunteer (page 5), shares that sentiment.

Some might argue that Ms. Cagni's entitlement to vote in a committee election, or serve as a committee member, is nothing more than an internal matter for the Democratic Committee to address. That perspective ignores the Allegheny County Division of Elections file drawer that contains a sworn petition, a false declaration on which might be construed as election fraud.

UPDATE: Hold the e-mails complaining about character assassination and judge-jury-executioner violations. Substantial evidence points toward Kimberly Cagni's ineligibility to pursue or occupy a 19th Ward committee position, but that evidence is not conclusive and she is entitled to an opportunity to explain. (That chance is overdue.) Perhaps she is separated and no longer welcome on Clokey Avenue; perhaps the county real estate records are incorrect; perhaps her child has attended a Pittsburgh public school since September; perhaps she can establish that her sworn declaration was accurate because she has overnighted in the 19th Ward for more than a year (and maybe an affidavit from Bill Clinton will establish that he has put her up in a 19th Ward apartment since the moment their eyes met in August 2004). Unless such an explanation can overcome strong evidence, however, she seems destined to be determined to be ineligible -- in which case her vote reflected serious character flaws in several people and systemic faults in Democratic Committee procedures.

Infinonytune: Our House, Crosby, Stills & Nash
Infinonytune: House Party, J. Geils Band (feat. Magic Dick)

Nationals' Strasburg Deemed Ready To Try Major-Leaguers After Striking Out 14 Pirates

Stephen Strasburg, 21-year-old pitching phenom for the Washington Nationals, struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday evening in seven innings, his final preparation for confronting big-league hitters.

Strasburg, a 5-2 winner against the Pirates and top pick in the 2009 draft, is scheduled to face major-leaguer batters for the first time in Cleveland on Sunday.

Strasburg -- whose changeup was recorded as faster than the fastball of the Pirates' starter, Jeff Karstens -- struck out the side four times in seven innings against Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

John Craig, Newspaperman

John Craig, a newspaperman, deserves a straight-news, non-PR account of his contributions to the Pittsburgh region:

John Craig was worthy of his place at the keyboard, despite being wrong about most issues (especially the important ones), because he cared about his community, tried to do the right thing and was not corrupt.

Big Burgh Plans: Treehouse, Shed, Armed Camp

Big plans for InsolvenCity:

Treehousegate: After what is reported to have been a civil, reasoned discussion, at a well-attended community meeting, of a proposal to place a memorial treehouse "children's outdoor learning and activity space" that "creatively interpret[s] the notion of a treehouse" in Frick Park, Intertubers are back on the (somewhat attenuated) rampage, at the back-in-business Comet and elsewhere.

• Until the entire cost of the proposed project (including a maintenance annuity) is in a dedicated account, there should be no hurry because any discussion is premature.

• The memorial's original proponent seems reasonable, which makes the fuseless fury of a number of her fans more difficult to understand (or accept).

• That the project is to be a memorial should have no bearing on any analysis of where or whether it should be constructed. That leaves plenty of legitimate factors -- traffic, parking, noise, finances, public benefit -- to consider.

North Shore Uglitheatre: The Steelers informed their marionettes the City Planning Commission that their needlessly subsidized shed will consist primarily of a 70-yard-wide (and illuminated, most likely) billboard for American Eagle Outfitters. For a vivid illustration of the value and results of public subsidies of North Side entertainment and dining facilities, check the vacant corner restaurant space (right) directly across the street from taxpayers' $200 million investment in PNC Park.

The School That Ate Oakland: Pitt proposes another 150 beds at Bouquet Gardens, with a "24-hour manned security station." Is that level of security needed to protect Pitt students from Oakland, Oakland from Pitt students, or Pitt students from out-of-control paramilitary forces commanded by Luke Ravenstahl and Dan Onorato?

Infinonytune: Ohio, Neil Young

Dan Appears To Have Made The List(-Makers)

Unless a certified List-Maker provides prompt and authoritative assurance that Dan Onorato does not possess List-Making privileges, revelation of The Listed will soon resume, with those Mr. Onorato considers enemies included.

(Severe challenge: Finding room for every Allegheny County restaurateur and waitress, every unconstitutionally overassessed Allegheny County homeowner, every goose in Allegheny County airspace . . . )

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two New "Next Stops"

Someone wondered why A Spork In The Drawer was not part of the "Your Next Stop?" blogroll (center column).

Former answer: Never heard of it.

Current answer: Dumb question.

Also added: CasablancaPA, chronicler of Tom Corbett's faults.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

1 Man + 4 Women = Traditional Marriage?

Family values advocate (and former McKeesport disc jockey, right) Rush Limbaugh yesterday set aside his big bag of contraband boner pills long enough to demonstrate his commitment to traditional marriage by ostentatiously issuing his fourth declaration of vows.

Limbaugh, 59, married Kathryn Rogers, 33, after a six-year courtship that commenced while Limbaugh's third marriage was unwinding.

The reception, at Palm Beach's Breakers resort, was lavish: The wedding singer, Reginald Dwight, collected $1 million.

The path to family values and traditional virture, as established by Mr. Limbaugh (left, with one of the women he has not married):

1) 26-year-old man marries secretary from his workplace, separates before second anniversary (no children).

2) 32-year-old man marries college student from his workplace, separates five years later (no children).

3) 42-year-old man marries 35-year-old aerobics instructor (who chased man online while she was still married and he was divorcing), maintains separate residences for 10 years, then divorces (no children) while he addresses legal consequences of his drug addiction (which eventually include arrest, a plea bargain and random drug testing).

4) Before third divorce is final, 53-year-old man begins open fornication with 41-year-old television anchor; relationship lasts 18 months (no children).

5) 59-year-old man marries 33-year-old VIP liaison.
Among Rush Limbaugh's "family values" admonitions:

"Marriage is about raising children. That is the purpose of the institution."

"The answer [to drug use] is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too." (mug shot, right)

"I don't buy into the disease part of drug abuse. The first time you reach for a substance you are making a choice. Every time you go back, you're making a personal choice. I feel very strongly about that."

"Let me tell you who we conservatives are: we love people."
Conservative leader Rush Limbaugh loves people so much, apparently, that he can't stop marrying them.

Sunday Reading: Oily Operators Edition

Emerging information steers Infinonymobiles away from BP pumps:

The Intertubes: Any BP hands available to do this should have been scooping tar from beaches.

API Well No. 60-817-44169: This was an act of man, not an Act of God (legal term).

New Orleans: Who's in charge? (The oil companies, until it is time for accountability.)

Alaska: The perspective from kindergarten.

5,000 feet below surface: What The Spill Will Kill

12,000 feet below surface: "Final" hope: Hitting eight-inch target at three-mile (through water and rock) distance.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Private Poling Claims Should Not Derail Haley

There is substantial reason to find fault with embattled South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley -- although that reason is not the claims of half of her state's political consultants that they have conducted private poling for Ms. Haley in hotel rooms.

Instead, her pandering as a "family values" candidate marks her as substandard. (Among South Carolina Republicans, substandard earns magna cum laude status: A state senator publicly argued that voters should shun Mrs. Haley because she is a "raghead" (or a "fxxking raghead"), then explained that the remark was merely part of a "freewheeling" radio broadcast.)

In an environment that enables the likes of Ted Kennedy, David Vitter, Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, John Ensign and Newt Gingrich to carry on in public office and in private debauchery, however, it is difficult not to root for Mrs. Haley to overcome rumors (even solid-sounding rumors) of indiscretion. Even if the current allegations -- and five more -- were true, could Mrs. Haley be a bigger dick than any of those guys, or hundreds of men in similar circumstances?

UPDATE: South Carolina's Republican Party chair has condemned state senator Jake Knotts' "raghead" remark; Sen. Knotts has apologized for an "unintended slur" (while claiming Mrs. Haley is "pretending to be someone she is not, much as [fellow raghead] Obama did."

Infinonytune: Here Comes Your Man, The Pixies

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pittsburgh Still Needs Him, Pittsburgh Still Feeds Him, When He's (Past) Sixty-Four

The managers of the new Taxpayers' Memorial Hockey Rink are crowing that they got their first pick to open the facility -- and, because the selection committee consisted of Vera, Chuck and Dave's grandparents 63-year-old slices of white bread, the first-round draft choice was a 67-year-old white guy whose band broke up 40 years ago.

Paul McCartney would have provided a fitting bookend to close the old arena, but perhaps a performer a few years decades more current might have been more suitable to christen the new building?

On the other hand, with admission at $250, Sir Paul will be just the ticket for the Allegheny Conference-Economy League-Aestique Cosmetic Surgery crowd that will inaugurate the latest chapter of Pittsburgh's future. Anyone know whether the (taxpayer-subsidized, natch) Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will be the backing band to rock the house Burgh-style?

Infinonytune: When I'm 64, The Beatles

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ricky Still Loves Lukey (Not That There's Necessarily Anything Wrong With That)

InsolvenCity councilor Ricky Burgess appears to be drawn to the extremes of the love-hate continuum.

For example, Rev. Burgess shuns proximity -- even figurative proximity -- with respect to some people.

An Infinonyfan notes that a recent advertisement (page 15) in a local publication endorsing "respect and tolerance" features the photographs of Pittsburgh's city council members -- with the singular exception of Rev. Burgess, who reportedly did not authorize reproduction of his likeness in Pittsburgh Pride, a publication commemorating a weeklong event (beginning tomorrow) for gay and lesbians.

Rev. Ricky has no problems with closeness, however, when Luke Ravenstahl is involved.

The latest episode of "Ricky Loves Lukey" featured a familiar but nonetheless entertaining storyline: When city council's other members debated spending less than one percent of a proposed transaction's cost to commission a study of whether that transaction makes sense, Rev. Burgess launched an animated overreaction, accusing his colleagues of using a "slush fund" to finance an "insincere" plot to derail his boss's mayor's plan to conduct a public parking garage sale without effective oversight along an inappropriately hurried timetable.

Public figures who stridently shun homosexuality have been revealed with remarkable frequency to have been motivated not by bigotry but instead by a desire to conceal their own orientation. Constituents and colleagues therefore might monitor Rev. Burgess' curiously bipolar relationships with his gay constituents and his boy mayor in hopes of discovering that his position with respect to gays is motivated by something other than bigotry -- not that there would be anything wrong with that.

Infinonytune: I Love Lucy theme, Desi Arnaz orchestra
Infinonytune: When The Whip Comes Down, The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Margaret Poplawski, Still Classy (Still Not Scum)

Margaret Poplawski, whom one could blame (or praise) for the existence of Infinonymous, is back in the news.

An apology? Expression of contrition? Condemnation of her opprobrious offspring?

How about litigation against the City of Pittsburgh seeking money for the damage caused to her house by bullets fired by police during the ambush-commenced siege in which her heavily armed, racist, gun-nut son murdered three officers? (Plus reimbursement of her living expenses since her call lured to officers to their deaths, naturally.)

Until the complaint is made public, it is impossible to know whether the Poplawski family -- which earlier accused police of stealing from them -- demands compensation for the stains caused by the slain officers' blood.

Even if that claim has been advanced, however, Margaret "what are those police officers doing to my boy" Poplawski is still not scum.

Luke: "Hey, Obama, My Man!"

Let us not forget the deft manner in which Mayor Ravenstahl (with help from Dan Onorato) set up today's big pitch for Pittsburgh with President Obama:

Luke's lines in next video:
"Wait 'til Obama sees us ... he loves us." (0:22)
Obama reaction to Luke: 0:42
"Hey, Obama, my man! (1:39)
Obama reaction to Luke: 1:42

Pres. Obama (right) experiences flashback of his ride into town with Mayor Ravenstahl before gathering himself and beginning prepared remarks at CMU today.

Infinonytune: Shout, The Isley Brothers

In Kentucky, Leonard Coleman vs. Jim Crow

Crow is still hanging on, but Coleman, one tough customer, has Crow on the ropes -- from the grave.

Pitching For Pittsburgh Today, Luke Ravenstahl

Beginning at approximately 1 p.m. today, Luke Ravenstahl -- inside a presidential limousine -- aimed a half-hour pitch for Pittsburgh at President Obama. (He had the President's attention because the Onoratos and Altmires and Doyles and Caseys had other plans.)

Two hours after addressing the clustermuck in Iraq (and Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and Yemen, and Iran, and . . . ) with Gen. Ray Odierno in the Oval Office, the President was stuck in a back seat for the length of the Parkway West with the substance and polish that is Luke Ravenstahl.

The Harvard Law Review editor and the accidental mayor. The constitutional law professor and the celebrity stalker. The Commander in Chief and the Homeland Security joyrider.

Plus, the President had been briefed on local politics by White House staff. And the presidential schedule indicates the Obamas have invited Paul McCartney to entertain at the White House tonight.

Good luck with that pitch, Luke pitcher, Pittsburgh.

Infinonytune: Centerfield, John Fogerty

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Adventures In Conservative Jurisprudence

• The United States Supreme Court has ruled, 5-4, that when a suspect refuses to speak, the police are entitled to infer from that silence that the suspect wishes to disclaim the Constitutional right to remain silent. (No, a law degree would not make that sentence sensible.)

Justices Sotomayor, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer dissented, arguing that forcing a detainee to speak in order to invoke his Constitutional right not to speak . . . well, you already get it, with or without a legal education.

• Federal judge Jay Bybee, who arranged a spot on the federal bench by signing discredited torture memos, has issued another precedent-shattering conclusion, holding that the Constitution that tolerates torture can not countenance rent control.

Mini-Rave Episode II: The Empire Talks Smack

The city desk must write editorials on holidays.

Burgess ... Lavelle ... Smith ... where are Mini-Rave's other two votes?

Unsolicited Advice Series: Onorato Campaign

You guys catch this? (It's a new spin on the old one about the ambitious AG, the former Rose Schmidt lawyer, and allegations of political employment decisions -- with the not-for-publication spin imparted by a former GOP treasurer and Federalist Societeer, left.)

You're welcome.

Programming Notes: InfiTweeting Commenced

• Infinonymous has established an InfiTwitter account. (More accurate: Agent Ska, holding an Infinonyhand, did it.) Twitterating, tweeting, twitting and other twit-related and twit-worthy activities have commenced.

• Revelation of The Listed will resume after resolution of an eligibility issue: Are vexers of Dan Onorato among The Listed? Surprisingly persuasive e-mailers have caused reexamination of this issue. Comments preferred to e-mails; opinions received by this Thursday considered timely.

• Until revelation of The Listed resumes, some may wish to try to enjoy this.

• Early lines on InfiTwitter followers are posted at the Propositions Board (far right column).

How Relentlessly Stupid Can You Get?

One woman, and her audience, pursue the answer.