Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
As in Pittsburgh, Scott Balice's promoter in Harrisburg has been the mayor (and a shadowy group of puppeteers). Harrisburg's council not only rejected Scott Balice but instead established a process to select other professionals to provide information and advice concerning Harrisburg's financial meltdown.
The league in which a city solicitor operates differs substantially from the world in which someone can, say, submit a sketchy liquor license application and, if anyone starts asking questions, simply withdraw the documents without further inquiry or penalty. City councilors -- who occupy a position from which they could teach that lesson -- should consider these points when dealing with InsolvenCity's law department, regardless of whether a city lawyer (a) claims to be offering legal advice to council or (b) acknowledges advocacy for the mayor's interests rather than those of the city.
Infinonytune: Eve Of Destruction, Barry McGuire
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
New Hazlett Theater, 7 p.m. tonight, thirty bucks.
Infinonytune: Back On The Chain Gang, Pretenders (Live Aid)
Monday, September 27, 2010
The examination on which hundred of federal law enforcement agents reportedly cheated tested their understanding of rules governing government surveillance of citizens.
Infinonytune: Your Cheatin' Heart, Hank Williams
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Harrisburg: Tom Corbett is going to need head-to-toe Depends by the time Signor Ferrari is through ripping him new ones.
The White House: We don't need no stinkin' Constitution.
The Molecular Level: Pentacene never looked so good.
China: What a country could do if it weren't trying to become the first invader since Genghis Kahn to tame Afghanistan.
Washington: More brilliance from the keeping-us-safe Department.
Chicago: The Morgan Stanley-LAZ connection.
It also should provoke prosecutorial scrutiny. That aspect of the situation is complicated, however, by the new United States Attorney's longstanding relationships with more than one interested party and by the district attorney's practiced disregard of corruption cases that do not benefit the List-Makers.
This might be another case for the Public Integrity Section.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Anyone else wondering whether Pennsylvania Democrats wish they'd nominated a Democrat to challenge Corbett?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Infinonytune: "You Know You're No Good, Winehouse/Ronstadt
But Dr. Stephen Colbert was willing to go slumming in the service of his grateful nation today, testifying formally on Capitol Hill concerning federal treatment of migrant field workers (after Colbert's day as a vegetable picker with the United Farm Workers):
Although Dr. Colbert's opening statement is impressive, his most insightful point might have been expressed later, during questioning, when Rep. Steve King (of Iowa's Lower Jesusland district) asked why a YouTube video depicted Colbert unloading (instead of filling) crates of corn. Colbert responded that he had indeed picked corn -- "I was a corn-packer, sir" before informing Rep. King: "I know that term is offensive, to some people, because corn-packer is a derogatory term for a gay Iowan."
Colbert drew applause -- in a room of Democrats (constantly attempting to hide smiles and giggles) and Republicans (easily maintaining their pursed-lip stoicism) -- with the conclusion of his opening statement to members of Congress: "I trust that following my testimony, both sides will work together on this issue in the best interest of the American people. As you always do."
UPDATE: Colbert answers Congressional questions (left). FOX's Megyn Kelly, meanwhile, shows why she is a pro (right), struggling to pull the stick out of her ass long enough to get through a probing interview of Rep. King concerning Colbert's testimony.
Infinonytune:Ironic, Alanis Morissette
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Marino, who vouched for a casino applicant (and soon-to-be employer) while serving as a federal prosecutor, has failed to produce a promised letter confirming his claim that the Department of Justice approved his unusual appearance in a casino application.
Why? Because the candidate is "not authorized" to release the ostensibly exculpatory document.
Why? Because "While I am confident that the release of certain documents would end this matter, I understand the sensitive nature of these documents and the important role that the Department of Justice has in keeping us safe."
That's right. Marino must respectfully refuse to dispel the impression he is a liar (if not worse) because . . . exoneration would threaten national security!
(A Department of Justice source has indicated that the department has no record of the asserted permission.)
But that unfortunate report from the east is more than tempered by other justice-related news: One of the two Luzerne County judges who accepted million-dollar bribes in the jailing-children-for-profit scandal has reportedly ended his silence, speaking with prosecutors to the point at which one source reports that the former judge was close-mouthed when pleading guilty but 'just won't shut up' while preparing for sentencing.
Those who desire justice will welcome an insider's testimony, but the former judge's sudden garrulousness could be bad news for anyone who benefited from the highly profitable but extremely repulsive scheme.
The forty-second name written by The List-Makers is Charles McCullough, at-large county councilor, listed as chronic jouster with Dan the Ambitious, frequent litigant against Dan the Tax Man, and vexer of Dan the Authoritarian.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
- It assumes the black hole of pension funding will be
solvedkicked down the road pointlessly for a year or two by The Great InsolvenCity Parking Garage Sale
- It envisions no major tax increase and no major service decrease
This development suggests rumors that this might be Mayor Ravenstahl's final term -- by choice, if not by verdict or consent decree -- might have substance.
Infinonytune: Fantasy, Earth, Wind and Fire
The three in-the-bag councilors -- Lavelle, Smith, Burgess -- have little to no influence over their colleagues. (Patrick Dowd has exhibited minor, tentative movement toward an alliance with Rev. Burgess with respect to certain issues but evinces no respect for Rev. Burgess' thinking or position on the parking transaction.)
That leaves three potential persuaders -- the mayor's office, the privateers and the public -- and six candidates for two votes. Four members of council -- Shields, Peduto, Kraus and Rudiak -- dislike or despise the mayor, for varying reasons and in varying degree. Patrick Dowd has moved from shouting details of the mayor's corruption on streetcorners to merely thinking the mayor a dullard controlled by objectionable puppeteers. Council President Darlene Harris doesn't dislike the mayor but is a fan of neither the mayor nor the proposed transaction.
Several councilors have been angered by the city administration's failure to seek an accommodation from Harrisburg that would enable the city to defuse the "it may be ugly, but it's the last chance to avert doomsday" deadline that appears to be the bulk of the privateers' argument. Several people -- in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg -- have expressed astonishment that a plea from InsolvenCity for reprieve was not advanced during Tuesday's legislative caucus meetings in Harrisburg. Pile that focused anger atop the general (and deserved) disdain for the Ravenstahl administration and it becomes difficult to see Luke or Yarone or John or Bill or anyone else persuading any councilor to vote to unleash parking hell.
As more details of the winning bid -- how rules were bent, which List-Makers are involved in lobbying and skimming -- emerge, the privateers are likely to become even less attractive to the skeptical councilors.
Public voices? City residents are demonstrably incapable of recognizing a logical argument, let alone advancing one, and emerging evidence that the Post-Gazette takes advice from a cog in the parking deal wheel should render the editorial page even more impotent than usual.
How, then, do the privateers secure the Dowd and Harris votes?
If an answer exists -- a seemingly big "if" -- it likely begins with a dollar sign.
Infinonytune: Have A Cigar, Roger Waters
Infinonytune: Money, Pink Floyd
Illyrias advances a worthwhile proposal about separating meters from garages in the Great InsolvenCity Parking Garage Sale.
The Returners recount a strange exchange at the conclusion of an ACLU press conference at the scene of last year's crimes at Schenley Plaza.
The Church Lady raps the Boy Mayor's knuckles for acting his age.
UPDATE: The dinosaur media (or, to Christine O'Donnell's fans, the "our great-great-great-grandparents' pets" media) also shows up, courtesy of an alert city councilor:
The Parsonage has early chapter-and-verse on a grand jury investigation of -- sitting down? -- a Ravenstahl-era city contract. (Hat tip to the producer who put the mayor in the video.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Anyone wondering how Frederick Frank might come down on that one?
Infinonytune: Sharp Dressed Man, Rick K. & the Allnighters
Infiquery: Can anyone confirm whether the drummer is Rich Fitzgerald?
Monday, September 20, 2010
G20, Jordan Miles, The Network . . . Mr. Hickton has quite a combo platter in front of him. Unless headquarters pulls rank.
Infinonytune: Only The Good Die Young, Billy Joel
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Philadelphia: What cluelessness looks like.
Washington: What weakness looks like.
Afghanistan: What a mission accomplished looks like.
Washington: What national intelligence looks like.
Chevy Chase: What good government looks like.
Afghanistan: What bad government looks like.
The English Channel: What triumph looks like.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The more that is revealed about the program to monitor non-violent dissenters, the more it appears that not only should DHS administrator James Powers join the contractor at the departure ramp, but also someone should be prosecuted.
By the way: Were anti-abortion protesters monitored, or was this surveillance list born exclusively of right-wingnuttery?
Infinonytune: "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," Marvin Gaye
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Infinonytune: Expressway To Your Heart, The Blues Brothers
(1) Sophie Masloff is being held captive in Iraq, forced to read propaganda at bladepoint?
(2) It is impossible to understand how the private sector has not snapped this woman up by now to evaluate complex financial transactions?
(3) Sophie Masloff is Mr. Bill's mother?
(4) Mr. Bill's mother has become Sophie Masloff?
(5) Pittsburgh is a really small town?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"Our Elevator Only Goes Up."
(or something similar).
"Our vehicles only turn right."
"Our lights only flicker intermittently."
"Our sun rises and sets in the east."
Monday, September 13, 2010
Extra credit: Identify the member of the List-Makers' List depicted at right before following the link.
Infinonytunes: Meeting Across The River, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
A lesser note along that fugue, however, involves the fine contribution of Christine Spolar to the P-G's Sunday op-ed page. Ms. Spolar's background (former Baghdad correspondent for the Chicago Tribune) is noted, but something is missing. Spolar . . . Spolar . . . that name seems familiar . . .
One might have expected recent events to reemphasize for Post-Gazetteers the importance of disclosing associations relevant to editorial work. Not all baggage is a problem, but all backage should be checked. That ought to be the law in a newsroom, right?
Getting led around by the nostrils long enough, apparently, can make one extremely sore.
A few questions prompted by today's installment (and a couple of sidebars):
- Who is Jeffrey Thomas, and will we be reading more about him (and his playmates)?
- After today's trip to the Lehigh Valley, could the next leg lead to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre?
- Was the Allegheny County Democratic Committee's recent removal of Edward Grattan's name (as finance director) from its website related to the Post-Gazette's inquiries?
- Was Grattan's name removed because he is no longer coordinating fundraising for county Democrats, or merely as window-dressing?
- Is Jack Cambest (currently listed as Democratic Party solicitor, and also currently starring in several of the Post-Gazette's investigative reports) next to be depixelated?
- How much longer will 225 Ross Street seem like a good place for Democratic Committee headquarters?
- Who is Scott Balice Strategies, and will Rich Lord be mentioning it (and The Great InsolvenCity Parking Garage Sale) before his work is done?
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The Post-Gazette's Cutting Edger today provides an example, however, of when the customary courtesy seems inappropriate, by "quoting" a billboard:
"Flight 93 -- Born Heroes -- Gave Their Lives to Save Lives / Life is a Precious Gift -- Save God's Unborn Heroes -- America Must End the Terror of Abortion."That is not, however, what the billboard's author wrote. This is:
Flight 93The author made a grade-school mistake, made it twice, made it in writing, and placed it on a billboard. Plus, some readers might wish to know that the formulator of that billboard's message lacks a seventh-grade education. In this case, accuracy seems more important than courtesy.
Gave Their Lives To Save Lives
Life Is A Precious Gift
Save God's Unborn Hero's
America Must End The Terror Of Abortion
Rich Lord's article (which is accompanied by excellent, but incomplete, art, plus a bibliography) is this Sunday's reading. Discussion will begin after everyone has had a chance to complete the reading.
The List-Makers have compiled a List (a small-town version of Nixon's Enemies List). An in-progress listing is available at the far right column; each name features a hyperlink to additional information. Rich Lord's was one of the first two names inscribed, following only that of List-provoker Michael Lamb.
(Revelation of The Listed -- which had been suspended as an unsolicited courtesy to examiners of List-Maker activities -- will resume shortly, consequent to the public confirmation that Charles Zappala's "rising star" Dan Onorato (left, with aide) is, indeed, a List-Maker.)
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Perhaps Miss O'Donnell could return the favor by offering some "family values" counseling to Bristol Palin (before Bristol and her Dancing With The Stars partner start doing the tango)?
Infinonytunes: I Touch Myself, Divinyls
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Among those questions to be answered is one that might appear, to the untrained eye, to have been answered already: Has the vacancy in the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania been filled yet?
Other questions Roddy deftly raises:
- Why would
big Pennsylvania casinos a former Supreme Court Chief Justicethe district attorney's dad wish to sue small Pennsylvania casinos?
- How many Zappalas did the funders of the Pennsylvania Casino Association hire?
- Did the district attorney disqualify himself from more than one prosecution by labeling people targeted by then-current investigations (targets with whose family his extended -- and complicatedly so -- family is engaged in a long-running political feud) as "evil" and mean" ?
- Are there any other ties -- other than money -- that associate the Zappala family with the Pennsylvania Casino
- What the heck does "whatever the heck that is" mean?
UPDATE (8:30 a.m.): For the moment, change the first sentence's "is" to "was." Mr. Roddy's article appears to have departed the P-G website. (It might not have vanished completely, however.)
Orie-Zappala go-between has central role in probes
Thursday, September 09, 2010
By Dennis B. Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UPPERDATE: The report is back at the P-G website.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
But Pittsburgh hasn't had an adequate mayor since . . . well, it suffices for current purposes to note that it was before Sophie Masloff's accidental ascension to mayor -- and her days of competence to opine concerning complex, high-stakes, long-term, politically sensitive financial transactions
So why send an incompetent out to shill for the administration? No points deducted for the obvious first thought -- "She's dating someone in the mayor's inner circle?" -- but the better answer is that the List-Makers figure many Pittsburghers are daft enough to be influenced by a Masloff endorsement.
And the List-Makers are likely correct. Most Pittsburghers are excited by the prospective arrival of Google Fiber, if they are aware of it, because they hope it will taste better than Metamucil.
Infinonytune: Bedrock Rap/(Meet The) Flintstones, Bruce Springstone (Live At Bedrock)
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
One of his predecessor's more serious mistakes involved mindless tax-cutting while buying wars on credit, effected in a way guaranteed to engender uncertainty at the conclusion of the tax holiday. Today's signal that President Obama intends to work to ensure that the budget-busting party is over for the nation's most affluent citizens is a welcome development.
The natural next step will be to fight to restore reasonable taxation of billion-dollar inheritances.
Rick's is almost always worth a visit, if only for the manacled midgets show.
Infindorsement: For governor, reload.
Infinonytune: As Times Goes By, Frank Sinatra
Tickets are inexpensive, so living in InsolvenCity is no excuse. You should go. Piercings optional.
Infinonytune: One Trillion Dollars, Anti-Flag
Monday, September 6, 2010
It should not surprise anyone that a citizenry that nominates Tom Corbett (left) and Dan Onorato (left) for governor would settle for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
The obvious solution to the Liquor Control Board's latest maneuver with its wine-and-liquor monopoly?
Infinonytune: Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw?, Jimmy Buffett
Sunday, September 5, 2010
The campaign trail: It appears Dan Onorato has his work cut out for him.
The classroom: Note to Duquesne Law's recently welcomed new dean: the curriculum needs work, in particular on making Constitutional Law a required course, because some grads appear to be unfamiliar with the Constitution.
The courtroom: Our society needs to do a better job.
Infinonytune: Homestead, Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen
If, as appears likely, however, today's detailed and highly educational examination of Pat Risha's friends-and-family approach to
Patrick Risha is not a big hitter (his influence on public affairs has been limited to the backwaters of the Mon Valley), and is past his prime, but he can work the count (an uncanny knack for 5-4 votes), get on base and set the stage for the sluggers at the middle of the order. Some of the names and themes from today's story may reappear as Rich Lord and the P-G wade past the small-timers and into the heart of the order.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
The more reasonable position, however, is that it is past time.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Someone should check on where the driver was drinking (to help InsolvenCity's public safety crew decide whether the South Side Intoxication District is a problem yet) and whether he was served while visibly intoxicated (to enable not only the victim's lawyers but also the Liquor Control Board to respond properly).
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Infinonytune: So Young And In Love, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Not that there would be anything wrong with that.
Even with such a lack of substance available to her, however, Ms. Doven's liberties with language went too far when she described the mayor's drunken groping of toasted tarts as "targeted public safety outreach."
Because Mayor Ravenstahl runs interference for
Ms. Doven ascribed Councilor Bruce Kraus' concerns to re-election considerations rather than to the steady stream of savage beatings, home invasions, shootings, drunken driving deaths (and maimings) and mob streetfights in his district.
Ms. Doven culiminated her performance with a complaint that Mr. Kraus -- who arranged an all-day conference conducted by the Responsible Hospitality Institute featuring national experts and local community leaders, and prepared a detailed, researched and comprehensive written plan to address the South Side's problems --"had not brought us anything by way of recommendations, solutions, a white paper . . ."
It shouldn't be this difficult to avoid spouting nonsense about the South Side. Doug Shields, for example, distills the issue to 25 words or fewer: 'Mr. Shields said Mr. Ravenstahl should stop "hanging out in the VIP lounges" of nightclubs and take responsibility for the South Side's problems.'
In fairness to Ms. Doven, she might not be as practiced as other city officials in handling liquor, so perhaps she was too hung over to speak coherently.
Infinonytune: Crawling From The Wreckage, Dave Edmunds (@ 2:30)