Monday, January 31, 2011

No (More) Sale: Bigotry On A Bun

Can't remember the last time we had a Chick-fil-A sandwich, but -- after learning that the chain considers marital status and church attendance in evaluating prospective employees, and doesn't like gays -- we are confident it was the last one.

Bigotry is a powerful force, strong enough to make a KFC Double Down sandwich look good.

It Appears Goodell Has Seen Enough Championship Quarterbacks To Avoid Being Star-Struck By One

Steelers players apparently told the truth about controversial Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roger Goodell apparently told the truth about that.

PittGirl apparently disapproves.

Infinonytune: Star Star, The Rolling Stones (they should know)

Did Someone Move City Hall To Seven Springs?

The Post-Gazetteers are devoting Pulitzer-polishing diligence to reporting every missing innertube, any pilfered piece of ski equipment, each stolen snowboard, every hundred-dollar heist in Somerset County, yet appear to lack the resources needed to cover the whereabouts of a mayor who works one or two days a week (three, tops) -- ditching events such as the Inauguration of a governor from whom InsolvenCity proposes to obtain at least one bailout -- and for whom the closest thing to a permanent residence appears to be a City-issued sports utility vehicle.

If law enforcement manages to restore civilized order along the Seven Springs-Hidden Valley corridor, might the Post-Gazette begin to cover the City of Pittsburgh?

Or, with another storm approaching, perhaps the Gazetteers figure stationing a reporter near the Foggy Goggle (left) is the best way to cover the mayor and public safety director as they address another snow-related emergency.

Infinonytune: Man On The Silver Mountain, Rainbow

The Real Miracle Is That Some People In Coraopolis Are Still Living In The 1950s

Should a community strangled by too many, too small municipalities celebrate the deployment of scarce resources to prop up a school with seven first-graders?

Minor note: It is surprising to see God taking credit for funding provided by Pennsylvania taxpayers. Isn't God bigger than that?

Some Things We Think We Think, And Quickly

Infinonymous has been scooped a few times lately while pondering ponderously over presention, so here are a few quick hits:
• Look for the Office of Municipal Investigations report concerning the Jordan Miles beating to surface soon.

• Look for the OMI report to be incredible. Literally.

• Look for an effort to reinstitute federal oversight of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

• Look for that effort to have a strong chance to succeed.

• Look for Mark Nordenberg to resign as chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh this year.

• Look for Nordenberg to leave with his record inexplicably intact: Not a single word of support for the Pitt students (and soon-to-be disaffected Pitt alumni) brutalized during the G20 siege of Oakland.

• Look for Pittsburgh council member Bruce Kraus' push to detoxify the South Side Intoxication District to start producing tangible results.

• Look for InsolvenCity mayor Luke Ravenstahl to continue to (try to) obstruct Kraus' efforts.

• Look for Kraus to employ some Luke-proof methods.

• Look for Paul McKrell to pass (as Lauren Byrne, who might be even closer to the mayor than McKrell is, apparently already has) on a chance to challenge Patrick Dowd.

• Look for Luke Ravenstahl's attendance record to become a point for public debate.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Reading: Understanding Edition

Our Mobile Telephones: Sen. Ron Wyden understands the Fourth Amendment.

Our Constitution: Prof. Garrett Epps understands the entire document (mostly, at least).

The Middle East: We must hope Pres. Obama understands our past failures.

Blawnox: George Miller and Peggy Albright understand the American way.

Our National Budget: Some people understand what must change.

Science: Rep. Jack Kingston doesn't understand it (although, in fairness, his statements -- and their attractiveness to his constituents -- suggest certain Congressional districts might inhabit an exception to evolutionary progress).

Steeler Nation: Neither Ron Cook nor Art Rooney understands morality.

Infinonytune: (What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding? Elvis Costello, Billie Joe Armstrong, The Imposters

The Tangled Web A Desperate Roddey Is Weavering As GOP Ponders A Tea Party Diva's Daffy Demands

Patti Weaver, one of the Americans who became vocal and strident about goverment spending and deficits when a black President was elected, has Jim Roddey and Allegheny County Republicans dancing on a string.

Weaver (left) is tantalizing Republicans with prospects of a county executive candidacy with enough Tea Party pizzazz to overcome the structural obstacles to any county-wide Republican candidacy (and the memories of Roddey's term as executive). The Tea Partiers position themselves as principled outsiders. It is an especially hollow claim in Weaver's case -- she is a member of the Republican state committee, and there is no available evidence of her activism while a conservative, white President was wasting trillions of borrowed dollars -- but local Republicans apparently see themselves in no position to quibble about substance.

Weaver reportedly is leveraging her Bristol Palin-like celebrity, demanding that Roddey guarantee millions of dollars in financial assistance from establishment sources for her grass-roots campaign and insisting of specified levels of party-supplied volunteer support. These negotiations are said to explain the on-then-off rally at which Weaver had been scheduled to announce her candidacy: When Roddey couldn't find enough spontaneously enthused political soldiers to populate the kick-off rally for Weaver's taste, she demanded that the Republican Party rescind the media advisories.

Weaver seems an unlikely candidate in several respects. She studied at Harvard but apparently avoided learning the definition of "socialist" and has exhibited weakness in mathematics. She proclaims civic passion but reportedly refrains from voting. Democrats claim to have identified other inconsistencies and flaws in her record.

She proposes barring from ballots candidates who have not passed an economics test. Her preferred economics professor? Glenn Beck. (You can expose a dogmatic right-winger to Harvard, but you can't make her think.)

Are Republicans desperate enough for Patti Weaver? We should know soon.

Infinonytune: Looking For A Love, J. Geils Band (with Magic Dick)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mubarak's Departure (By Death, If Necessary) Would Bring Justice To Egypt And End An American Mistake

The current friction in Egypt involves a 30-year dictator who has enriched himself (and his family and friends), at the cost of a reasonable opportunity for most Egyptians -- not including his son, being groomed for succession -- to build a decent life.

The United States has subsidized the selfish, brutal, inept, immoral and corrupt regime of Hosni Mubarak -- at a rate exceeding $3 million daily -- for many years. The United States has averted its eyes concerning the Mubarak government's use of torture, secret police, rigged elections, sham courts, and endless detention without trial in secret prisons. (Correction: American eyes weren't always averted concerning torture.)

Every American should be ashamed of this record, and grateful that the courageous Egyptians attempting to reclaim their country appear not to be venomous toward the United States, which funded and/or produced much of the weaponry currently being deployed against peaceful protesters in Egypt.

President Mubarak and his son, if they refuse to leave Egypt promptly, can not die fast enough. Kill the king, rail at all his servants.

Infinonytune: Street Fighting Man, The Rolling Stones

Fooled Again? Meet The New (PAT) Bosses . . .

Bravely resisting any temptation to implement mindless change merely for change's sake, and rewarding the architects of a trajectory that has crippled public transportation in Allegheny County, the board of directors of the Port Authority of Allegheny County has ensured cash will continue to flow in familiar directions re-elected every officer of the organization.

The List-Makers (and linchpins of a new financial flow, the Onorato for Auditor General campaign) continue, of course, to be prominently represented.

NOTE TO DISTRICT JUSTICE HANLEY, DETECTIVE GLICK AND VICTIM O'HARA: The image displayed with this post is not -- and is not intended to be -- an accurate, inaccurate, satirical, and/or misleading rendering of the Fraternal Order Of Police logo. We admit the depictions share the use of English words and the color blue, but we strongly object to any assertion that these similarities support the issuance of a search warrant, the use of a pre-dawn no-knock raid, or the deployment of a sonic weapon, imported riot police, or pepper-gas grenades.

Infinonytune: Won't Get Fooled Again, Pete Townshend

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Twenty-Something Short On Qualifications (Beyond Surname) Ready To Represent InsolvenCity

As InsolvenCity drifts toward BankrupCity, another CILNO (candidate invoking last name only), has announced a campaign for public office.

Tony Ceoffe Jr. -- whose campaign announcement lists a Central Catholic diploma, a position as ward chair for the city Democratic Committee, and a board position with a community group that was led by Ceoffe Sr. as his qualifications -- desires to replace Dr. Patrick Dowd in Insolvencity's Council District 7. If Ceoffe the Younger (26) has earned a college degree, held a real job, or accomplished anything beyond receiving a birth certificate with a politically connected surname, he apparently doesn't want to brag.

That Dr. Dowd should worry about competition from the likes of Tony Ceoffe Jr. is among the points that should incline the rest of the region to begin looking for an ice floe large enough to hold the City of Pittsburgh long enough to reach deep water.

Infinonytune: Fortunate Son, John Fogerty and the E Street Band

Monday, January 24, 2011

Looser Gun Laws = More Dead Police Officers

Among the predictable results of ever-less-reasonable laws concerning guns in America: More dead police officers.

People are entitled to advocate against reasonable restrictions on the availability and deadliness of weapons, but they are not entitled to duck responsibility for the foreseeable, lamentable consequences of their positions.

Pitt Loses, But It Could Have Been Worse

Pitt's second-ranked basketballers lost to Notre Dame this evening at Petersen Events Center, 56-51, but the good news is that it appears this Notre Dame victory was accomplished with no loss of student life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Reading: Eleventh Hour Edition

San Diego: Yet another guy who betrays the United States for discredited right-wing ideology (and, of course, a few bucks) . . . and is pardoned.

Afghanistan: Ten year in, still a hopeless quagmire.

The White House: Twenty-five years later, still creepy.

The Fourth Amendment: Good idea, if the first ones monitored are elected officials and the police.

An Open-G Telecaster:
Bringing a fretboard to life.

What Does WTAE Think About Ashlie Hardway's E-Mail To Police Showing Up In A Warrant Application?

The Slagger reports that a warrant associated with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police's intergalactic search for clues concerning what city authorities the police union appears to regard as the crime of the century hinged on receipt (from Channel 4's Ashlie Hardway) of a forwarded e-mail.

(Curiously, the WTAE report of the raid -- no byline -- states that "police didn't say what led them to the computer at the Dreaming Ant store," so the public should thank the City Paper for revealing that what WTAE omitted from its report was that it was a WTAE employee who led police to that computer.)

Was Ms. Hardway acting as a journalist (covering a story, seeking information from the police for the public) or as the wife of a police officer (responding to a police request for information from her newsroom) when she forwarded that message?

The answer could depend on whether she is a journalist. Whether there would be a place for her in a legitimate news organization could depend on the answer.

UPDATE: City Paper reporter Chris Young deserves credit for reporting the curious contents of the warrant application.

Infinonytune: I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Commenter Inquires: Are We Having Fun Yet?

This comment
Anonymous said...
You havin fun jagoff? That could change.
(which responded to this) deserves a prominent response.

This probably isn't as much fun as, say, breaking your girlfriend's jaw, or mistakenly attacking and shooting an innocent bystander in a blind, booze-fueled rage (might want to get some help for that, by the way), or putting a vicious three-on-one pounding on some innocent honor student along Tioga Street, or falsifying sworn testimony to (attempt to) conceal abuse of power, or drinking on duty (overtime!) with an elected official, or looking the other way when the drug dealer owns the bar that is paying you for moonlighting shifts, or abusing shackled college girls in a police van after playing soldier on campus.

Observing and addressing the current condition of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police isn't a particularly good time. (That may be part of the reason the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review appear to be sitting this one out.)

But so long as Luke Ravenstahl isn't up to keeping his police bureau in bounds, and Steve Zappala isn't inclined to do his job, and the police union leadership demeans honorable and admirable officers by defending the few rotten apples among them to ridiculous degree, and local judicial authorities impersonate potted plants . . . so long as citizens are being victimized rather than protected by law enforcement personnel, attempting to illuminate an ugly situation seems worthwhile, at least until federal authorities get a chance to impose some adult supervision on the overmatched yokels in InsolvenCity's police department, mayor's office, minor judiciary and district attorney's office.

(Cue: City council?)

On second thought, maybe we are trying to find some levity in a sad situation. If you can't make fun of bullies, liars, cowards, blowhards and fools, what's the point?

Infinonytune: Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker), Rolling Stones

Mission Even More Accomplisheder

George W. Bush is still trying to figure out what happened.

Tony Blair is still lamely trying to persuade people he was not a fool's puppet.

Joe Lieberman is still mumbling something about weapons of mass destruction, seemingly oblivious to the innocent blood on his guilty hands.

Saddam Hussein is still every bit as threatening to the United States as he was in 2003.

And, most important, Osama bin Laden is still "bringing it on."

Infinonytune: I'd Love To Change The World, Alvin Lee and Ten Years After

Friday, January 21, 2011

Behind The Scenes Of The Mini-O Campaign

Local politico Damon Andrews appears to have developed a niche: Managing campaigns for junior varsity candidates whose last names are bigger than their resumes.

Infinonytune: Teach Your Children, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Scenes From A Snowy InsolvenCity Afternoon

Simultaneous events at approximately noon today?

(1) Mayor's staff (taking a break from wondering where he is) renewing directive to Public Works establishing "every place other than East End" as top priority of snow-clearing crews, then laughing about how all the "four eyes and eggheads" Peduto voters must be slipping and sliding in their Mini Coopers, Smart Cars and rear-drive BMWs


(2) Bill Peduto tweeting:

Trying to get answers to why the major snow routes in the East End - Fifth, Centre, Baum, etc - have had such little attention.

Infinonytune: Slip Sliding Away, Simon and Garfunkel

How Many FOP Members Does It Take To Bring In A Router (Which, We Assume, Is Unarmed)?

Members of InsolvenCity's Fraternal Order of Police can be remarkably thorough about their work -- they apparently sent seven officers to a video rental shop to apprehend two dangerous suspects (described by police as a hard drive and a router, both said by authorities to have been "plugged in" to a worldwide web of criminal intrigue).

(For those who might question the number of officers dispatched to this particular crime scene, there was no assurance the suspects would comply with a police command to "come out with your antennas up.")

Pittsburgh police have assured the public that their myopic chase of an Internet prankster will not compromise their pursuit of the hundreds of murderers, rapists and robbers they have failed to identify and/or apprehend.

Here is one case the robbery detectives could investigate. Again.

Infinonytune: Murder By Numbers, The Police

The Reassessment Watchdog That Hasn't Barked

The Post-Gazette reports that West Mifflin (the municipality and the school district) intends to appeal a decision by Allegheny County's Board of Property Assessments and Review that halved the assessment of Century III Mall.

The report does not indicate whether an appeal would be joined by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, whose unconstitutional devotion to the "base year" system of ossified assessments has included sending county lawyers to defend homeowners in assessment hearings initiated by school districts (even when the homeowners did not request the county's help). The omission therefore seems odd, especially in light of Mr. Onorato's established record of rapid response to any threatened reassessment.

If Mr. Onorato does not appeal the Century III reassessment, the public will have cause to wonder whether "Democrat" Dan Onorato's reassessment rules include an exemption for properties worth at least $30 million, or contain an exception for property owners fortunate enough to be represented by attorneys who are Onorato appointees (page 6).

Infinonytune: Hound Dog, Elvis Presley

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pittsburgh Police Unioners Swiftly, Decisively Rid Streets Of Murderers Internet Pranksters

That was quick!

A few days after the Pittsburgh police union vowed to reform the shamefully brutal and cowardly practices of its members that led to years of federal oversight by consent decree to bring to justice the pranksters who cleverly needled the local Fraternal Order Of Police for reflexive defense of all misconduct committed by a union member, officers proudly announced they had seized a computer at a video rental store.

The derisive might wonder how much time and taxpayer money was devoted to this case by officers who can not catch roughly half of a city's murderers, but that reaction is tempered by the recognition that every minute devoted to this pursuit was one minute less that officers could devote to beating the hell out of an innocent honor student, falsifying a sworn affidavit, shooting an innocent citizen with a service handgun while drunk, or dislodging a girlfriend's jaw.

Obvious management tip for Chief Harper: The next time a murder is committed in Pittsburgh, don't tell the investigating officers they're looking for a killer; tell them the perp posted a wisecrack about Dan O'Hara on the Intertubes.

Obvious question for InsolvenCity's leaders: How did Officer Paul Abel avoid a drunken driving conviction after being apprehended redhanded by his fellow Fraternal Order of Police members?

Infinonytune: Benny The Bouncer, Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Santorum Dislikes Workers Who Send Money Back Home; He Prefers Taking Money From Back Home

It is difficult to understand why some observers found something worthy of note in Rick Santorum's recent statement concerning immigration:
"If you want to come here to work and then send your money back home, I don’t want you."
It has been obvious for years that Santorum sees it the other way; he is much more a "move elsewhere but use a sketchy scheme to continue to suck tax dollars out of the less affluent community you left behind" kind of guy.

Right: The $100,000 two-bedroom house in which then-Sen. Santorum claimed to reside with his wife and seven children for purposes of arranging for Penn Hills taxpayers to fund cybertuition.

Left: The $850,000 five-bedroom house (featuring library and au pair suite) in which then-Sen. Santorum's children lived while Penn Hills taxpayers were funding their six-figure tuition invoices.

Infinonytune: (Ain't Nothin' But A) House Party, J. Geils Band

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If At First They Fail . . . Pittsburgh Hires Their Kids!

Corey O'Connor, a 26-year-old with a middling education and thin resume, has announced that he considers himself prepared to help solve InsolvenCity's massive problems as a member of council.

Chelsa Wagner, a 33-year-old with a good education and promising resume, has declared her candidacy for county controller.

Mark Patrick Flaherty, after two terms as county controller marked most consequentially by plastering his name on every gas pump in sight, seeks election as Allegheny County's executive.

Adam Ravenstahl, a 26-year-old with a middling education and risible resume, was elected to represent northernmost InsolvenCity in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

The common attribute among these candidates is a politically prominent surname, a point that reliably trumps genuine qualifications among local voters.

The obvious question, given the condition in which public service from the Flahertys, Wagners, Ravenstahls, and O'Connors (and let us not overlook the Costas) has placed InsolvenCity and the greater Pittsburgh region: Why?

The obvious answer: Where most observers would see a swirl around a toilet bowl, some Pittsburghers see the makings of a victory lap.

Infinonytune: My Father's House, Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fitzgerald Launches Executive Candidacy By Asking Governor To Invoke Martial Law On Assessments

Council President (and county executive candidate, and inexplicably eager heir to Dan Onorato's legacy) Rich Fitzgerald intends to introduce a resolution imploring Gov. Tom Corbett to block a court-ordered property reassessment suspend enforcement of the Pennsylvania Constitution in Allegheny County.

Is this the best idea since Fitzgerald (right, admonishing Onorato for failing to direct sheriff's deputies to take Judge Anthony Wettick into preemptive custody) and Onorato invoked suspension of the law of supply and demand with respect to the drink tax, the most striking example of local leadership since Luke Ravenstahl's police invoked martial law in the Towers dormitory lobby on Pitt's campus, or both?

Infinonytune: I Fought The Law (And The Law Won), The Clash
Infinonytune: I Fought The Law (And The Law Won), Green Day

The Drug Warriors Generate Additional Victims (Beyond Freedom, The Fourth Amendment, Morality, Privacy, And Our System Of Justice)

Christina Korbe reportedly will plead guilty today in federal court after shooting someone who had broken into her home under cover of darkness. Her improbably accurate shot killed the intruder.

The people primarily responsible for the death of FBI Special Agent Samuel Hicks -- including the architects of a system that sends drug warriors to batter down the front doors of sleeping citizens -- will, as is customary, evade accountability.

UPDATE: The Post-Gazette has published some understandably heartwrenching letters associated with the sentencing of Christina Korbe, none of which addresses an important point: No one should should abandon an honorable and productive profession, teaching, to become a narc.

Infinonytune: The Naked Eye, The Who (with Scot Halpin -- 19-year-old audience member invited to replace the unconscious Keith Moon -- on drums, Cow Palace, 1973)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mike Kelly, Butler's Republican Congressman, Lives The Dream In A Self-Made Fantasy World

Mike Kelly of Butler, recently installed Member of Congress, might turn out to be an effective and sensible Representative. But only if he matures and recalibrates his language, his positions or both. Developing some self-awareness would not hurt, either.

For example, Rep. Kelly mocks Rep. Anthony Weiner as a guy who has "never had a job," despite Weiner's decade of service in the job for which Kelly is currently cashing paychecks from taxpayers. Before becoming a Congressman, Weiner worked as a Congressional staffer. Kelly is currently handing taxpayer-funded paychecks to his staffers, which seems incongruous given his obvious conclusion that none of them holds a job.

"You have never done anything on your own," Weiner was admonished by Kelly, who apparently never has worked outside an inherited business. Kelly also boasted he has "always paid for his own healthcare," overlooking the fact Kelly's health insurance was funded by Kelly's father until Rep. Kelly was nearly 50.

Rep. Kelly has displayed the diplomatic skills of a box of hammers, belittling Weiner and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as "kinda cute" and "entertaining to be around."

Not so cute: Kelly's claim to prize "liberty and freedom" and "limited government" while supporting government discrimination against gays, favoring government's jailing of citizens for using marijuana, and arguing government should enforce strident abortion and contraception policies. Not entertaining: Kelly's claim to oppose "wasteful spending" while endorsing the expenditure of billions on attacking the wrong country, proposing continued and endlessly expensive drift in Afghanistan, and embracing funding of the drug war.

Let's hope Mike Kelly overcomes his original missteps and becomes a worthwhile Representative instead of just another dogmatic, hypocritical blowhard.

UPDATE: The Early Returners also considered Kelly's inexplicably condescending remarks concerning "kinda cute" colleagues noteworthy.

Infinonytune: Born In The U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Toomey: My 'Fiscal Responsibility' Plan Includes At Least Six More Years Of Pricey Failure In Afghanistan

Sen. Patrick Toomey's ostensible commitment to smaller government and fiscal responsibility crumbles against Republican politics and conservative dogma with respect to Afghanistan: His hollow rhetoric confirms a disappointing appetite for at least fifteen years of costly failure.

Sen. Toomey (waving goodbye to campaign promises, right) will have other chances to vindicate his claims about devotion to limited government -- with respect to issues such as drug warriors, the Fourth Amendment, the military budget and regulation of abortion, for example -- but he has failed an early opportunity to walk his talk.

Infinonytune: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?, The Clash

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gun Extremists Renew Vows To Oppose Reason

The National Rifle Association, after a nearly one-week delay (perhaps attributable to efforts to get all the blood off those hands before using a keyboard), has responded to the Tucson massacre by vowing to oppose efforts to reinstate restrictions on huge ammunition clips or carrying concealed and loaded handguns in sensitive public areas.

The Tea Partiers will calm down when deficits subside the President is white, but the NRA seems impervious to all reason.

Special Super Bowl Infindorsement: Doritos

Some selectively pious right-wingers argue the righteous must choose Doritos or Catholicism (making an amateur's clever commercial an apparent corporate casualty of their outrage):

This Infindorsement is a snap: Enjoy your Doritos-and-Diet Pepsi combo platter throughout the playoffs!

Sunday Reading: The Future Edition

The Universe: The future: dilution and darkness (ask Einstein).

The Port Authority: The future: dilution and darkness.

Tea Partiers: The future: mangled history.

Liberalism: The future: abandoned history.

Conservatism: The future: dogmatic homogeneity.

Public Policy: The future: the recent past.

WikiLeaks: The future: more revelation, if we are fortunate.

Warfare: The future: keyboard warriors.

Batteries: The future: heavy (ask Einstein, even when he's wrong).

Infinonytune: In The Year 2525, Zager and Evans

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Still Right, Still Wise

If America has seen during the past century a better man than Martin Luther King -- who was so effective in improving our nation that today's ideological heirs of his contemporary opponents declare his success so great that no more work is needed -- hat better man hasn't been noticed.

Today would have been Dr. King's 82nd birthday, and a fine day on which he could have repeated his wisdom: "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

Infinonytune: A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke

Then Ask Whether That Was His Daughter You Just Saw Sitting Next To Big Ben In A Booth At Roland's

Hey, ladies . . . next time you are shopping at Pennsylvania Macaroni, ask the owner whether he thinks you should leave a tip for great service from the Cheese Lady, would object if you walked on your tab at the register, or would lift a finger to help if some scuzzy guy followed you into the restroom while some pals stood lookout.

His answers might help you decide how soon to visit Jimmy & Nino.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In Choosing Republican Candidate For Allegheny Executive, Might Roddey Turn To A Familiar Name?

[Editors' note: Refraining from following links before reaching the end will promote readers' enjoyment.]

Jim Roddey (left), whose misplaced focus and consequent lackluster performance as Allegheny County Executive squandered Republicans' best recent chance to disrupt Democrats' unearned electoral superiority in local politics, has indicated Republicans expect to pick from a half-dozen or so candidates who desire to succeed Dan Onorato, who replaced Roddey. From a field that large, Republicans should expect a candidate who checks most, if not all, of the boxes on the modern conservative wish list, spotlighting the question: Who in Allegheny County fits the current conservative profile?

Conservatives no doubt will prefer a candidate for whom safeguarding the interests of the wealthy -- even at the expense of those lower on the economic ladder, if necessary -- is unambigously an overarching priority.

If increased revenue is required, the conservatives' favored candidate would invariably choose a regressive method of revenue generation.

To survive a Republican primary or enthuse conservatives in a general election, a candidate must be anti-abortion.

Today's viable conservative candidate opposes living-wage laws and resists the homosexual agenda.

A strong Republican candidate would be expected to rail about government spending on low-level employees while arranging plenty of pinstriped patronage for big-firm lawyers, political insiders and the like.

To survive in today's conservative circles, a candidate must be reliably, and unreasonably, pro-gun.

A Republican candidate should villify "activist judges" (and argue that the failure of Robert Bork's nomination was a travesty) while, if possible, defying the courts (and, if necessary, the constitution) when convenient to the advancement of the conservative platform.

Against this background, the ideal Republican choice for county executive may begin to seem obvious.

Infinonytune: Watch That Man, David Bowie

Guns Aren't Nuts (But They Make People Nuts)

The progress reported with respect to the most prominent victim of the one-minute massacre in Tucson is heartening, but we should not overlook today's funeral of a child who was murdered as she waited to meet her Congresswoman, hoping with nine-year-old wonder to learn more about how our system works (and, perhaps, to see how an altruistic woman can contribute to that system).

We also should not miss the point that Christina Taylor Green is a victim of extremism with respect to guns, a casualty of the assertion that her murderer was entitled to purchase 30-bullet clips with which to equip a handgun he could conceal in a barroom, carry into a school or use to shoot more than a dozen innocents in less than a minute. Adults owed Christina Green better, and they ought to know better with respect to the manner in which America currently addresses the issue of weaponry.

Infinonytune: Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Avril Lavigne

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

50 Cent Worth $10 Million (On Moron Market)

Even in a world in which people devote attention to the Kardashians, find worth in Bristol Palin, buy Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus tickets, and consider Glenn Beck a reliable source, this is remarkable.

Infinonytune: I Played The Fool, Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul

Cookie Gilchrist's Tough Walk Made Others' Easier

The people who pine for the good old days ('taking our country back') probably never walked in Cookie Gilchrist's shoes (number 34, right).

They probably aren't strong candidates to fill 'em, either.

Infinonytune: A Change Is Gonna Come, Al Green

Yinzer Admission Test: Civics Section

4. When an InsolvenCity police union demands an FBI investigation concerning asserted criminal conduct, and the union president vows a "personal mission" to "bring down" those responsible for wrongdoing, the union representatives are referring to:
(a) the inexplicable, savage beating of an innocent, unarmed honor student by several men whose asserted justification relies entirely on a "perceived gun" (soda bottle) the assailants claim to have discarded;

(b) the unprecedented, misguided use of military tactics and weapons against innocent college students by swarms of rogue "security" agents;

(c) the discovery of a surveillance recording revealing that events recounted in sworn statements by government authors of affidavits underlying arrests and jailings never occurred;

(d) a clever but obvious Internet prank.

Please explain your answer.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Reading: Education Edition

Academia: Lesson misallocated.

History: Lesson explained.

Alaska: Lesson (apparently) not learned.

Law School: Lesson mislabeled.

The Pentagon: Lesson ignored.

Tucson: Lesson cancelled.

For-Profit Education: Lessons misappropriated, oversold, abused.

Pitt Athletics: Lesson learned? (Again?)

University of Pittsburgh: Lesson just about over.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

U.S. Government Shows New, Muscular Approach To Dealing With Our Real Enemies

We couldn't figure out who to attack after 9/11, we got beat by a bunch of rag-taggers in Iraq, we're in the process of getting run off by other rag-taggers in Afghanistan, and we apparently can't catch Osama bin Laden in anything less than a decade . . . but the United States government is going no-holds-barred on those damned WikiLeakers!

The take-away: You can kill thousands of Americans and get away with it, but embarrassing the United States government by revealing its incompetence and disingenuousness will not stand!'s Chickenhawks Renew Cowardice, While Palin Reveals Ignorance of 'Save This' Function

The cowards at have dismantled their 'weekend funnies' cartoon that earlier today had featured a gun range at which people (liberals, in their view) would shoot firearms at targets depicting a political figure (John Boehner, given their slant toward demonizing liberals). Nothing has changed since most RedStaters were revealed, years ago, to be chickenhawks (whose loud brand of warmongering is qualified by insistence that someone else do the dying and bleeding for their discredited right-wing ideology).

They're right in line with their pin-up, half-term (and half-educated) former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has removed from her website the U.S. map on which she had placed gunsight crosshairs over a number of Democratic elected officials.

UPDATE: This is not's first offense. From its managing editor, 18 months ago:
At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?

At some point soon, it will happen. It’ll be over an innocuous issue. But the rage is building.

Great News For Pitt From Alabama? (Oh, And The Panthers Whipped Kentucky In The Horri-Bowl, Too)

Reports circulating among high-level officials (and influential alumni) at the University of Pittsburgh (at Birmingham, Alabama, more geographically) indicate that Steve Pederson, the director of athletics whose most recent judgments have humiliated the University and wrecked its football program, is likely to be replaced. A source cautions that, although Pederson's departure seems likely, an additional formal "sign-off" from the University's highest authority would be required before the Pederson II era could be declared over.

We will know more, apparently, after Mark Nordenberg formally decides Pederson's fate reaches Jeff Romoff.

(Noted football experts Jerry Cochran, Donna Sanft and Mark Nordenberg, meanwhile, continue their attempts to revive the football program by interviewing prospective coaches.)

Infinonytune: Just What I Needed, The Cars

Arizona Congresswoman Shot At Town Meeting

To begin the day on which Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, was shot in the head at point-blank range -- by a guy carrying enough firepower to shoot roughly a dozen others (before courageous citizens wrestled him to the ground), most likely targeted for the offense of being neither a bigot, a xenophobe nor a gun nut -- this is the cartoon that a prominent right-wing website featured.

So long as the Republican Party -- once a force for fiscal restraint, competence and tolerance -- is the home of bigots, religious kooks, gun nuts, warmongers and low-grade populists, politics in our nation will suffer. Lathering up the lamentable likes of Richard Poplawski, Byron Williams, Scott Roeder, and the would-be assassin of Gabrielle Giffords is shameful and predictably dangerous.

Devote a kind thought to Congresswoman Giffords and her colleagues and, if you are a conservative or a Republican, resolve to reclaim your side for reason.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coach Kicks Junior High Basketballer Off Team For Hairstyle That Interferes With Ear Fetishes

Stacy Meyer, a junior high basketball coach and apparent ear fetishist in Indiana, tossed a student from the Greensburg Community Schools team for allowing hair to cover an eyebrow, ear and/or collar.

Coach Meyer had earlier exhibited his sense of fairness and embrace of American freedoms by telling the student, when warning that failure to submit to a haircut by a deadline would precipitate dismissal from the team, that a similar penalty would follow any attempt by the student's parents to protest the policy. The parents have sued the district.

School district officials are backing Coach Meyer, two years after those officials failed to discipline students whose "hijinks" (the superintendent's term) included slapping the faces of restrained classmates with their genitals. (Is it starting to sound like entrusting children to these Greensburg Community Schools employees is about as justifiable a parenting practice as sending a juvenile to a Catholic church?)

Deriving twisted pleasure from ogling pubescent boys' ears is ugly, but we won't say that someone who kicks a 14-year-old off a basketball team for concealing his ears is pond scum.

That would be unfair to congealed algae.

Who Needs Libraries When We Have Beer Bottle Labels, Tiger Tart Tweets and Bra Strap Tags?

The Cometeer, while recounting the curious course of certain library funding matters, is courteous enough not to mention that libraries are just not a major priority among people for whom reading focuses on beer labels, Rachel Uchitel tweets and bra strap tags.

Unless the List-Makers identify a library-related profit stream (an improving prospect in the wake of Barbara Mistick's departure), it seems unwise to expect substantial change.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who Knew Tea Could Get One Drunk Enough To Make Some Parts Of Constitution Invisible, While Causing Others To Appear From Thin Air?

Self-described fans of Constitution have arranged the reading the Constitution the parts of the Constitution they prefer to open the current session of Congress, and have demanded that each member of Congress wishing to introduce a bill to identify with precision the part of the strictly construed Constitution that authorizes the proposed government action, which provides a natural opportunity for one of them to identify the part of the Constitution that authorized a president to invade the wrong country attack Iraq and botch the aftermath spend five years attempting to occupy Iraq.

Webs Can Be Tricky, Even For WikiLeakers

The management of information under current circumstances seems complicated, and perhaps ultimately unmanageable, particularly when webs (of various types) are involved.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rooting For Ted Williams To Reach Home Safely

If there is a better story than this with which to begin a year, we haven't found have a hard time imagining it.

Infinonytune: Nobody Knows You (When You're Down And Out), Eric Clapton

'A Couple Things Went Awry'

Gee, ya think so?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And The Perfect Place To Shop For It: Dick's

For the girl who becomes engaged 10 months after her beau consorted with a semiconscious underager in a bar bathroom, eight months after the district attorney declined to prosecute, and three months after conclusion of his suspension from work, the perfect gift is an easy call:

An intervention.

Could be pricey, but her father would probably pitch in.

Infinonytune: I Knew The Bride, David St. Hubbins Nigel Tufnel Dave Edmunds and Rockpile
Infinonytune: From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come), Bruce Springsteen with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers (Flood Aid)

Sounds Like A Big Fracking Problem For Pennsylvania's Water-Based Life Forms

Read these two stories and weep.

Or quit being such a naysayer and look at the bright side, which is that the Marcellus Shale Coalition of Pennsylvania and its wholly owned subsidary, the Corbett administration, are sure to note the obvious solution: Just stop drinking water.

"Let them drink Coke" has a nice ring to it.

Infinonytune: Before The Deluge, Jackson Browne with Joan Baez
Infinonytune: Running On Empty, Jackson Browne with David Lindley

This Reader's Comment Deserves Prominent Display

A reader today left a comment concerning a month-old post that chided the Corbett administration for claiming that its transition team (whose ideological mix spans the entire range from vanilla to French vanilla) features a "mix of ideologies." We don't want that reader to miss the response to that comment, buried a few pages back by now, so here is the comment:
Anonymous said...
I'd rather have true diversity of thought anyday that just engaging in the sordid mess of seeking to assemble people who look differently. Diverse minds should be the goal and is the best guarantor of intellectual honesty. According to your thinking, it must be awfully hard for you to comprehend how a homogenous group of colonial planters, lawyers and businessman ever devised the Declaration and The Constitution. Keep up the good work with your narrow-minded bean-counting. Cheers.

and here is the response:

Before eviscerating your contribution to the debate, we want to ensure that we properly understand your position (because the most reasonable interpretation of the words seems daft): Is your argument based on an assertion that Tom Corbett's transition team features "true diversity of thought?"

Before you respond, please be aware that you should, if you are a Republican or other conservative, possess the decency to begin any public statement with "I apologize for the damage my ideological colleagues inflicted on our nation and our world by invading the wrong country; by squandering our country's morality, prestige and resources in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and other locations; and by turning a government surplus into economy-crushing deficits through implementation of discredited economic policies for political reasons."

If you are unwilling to exhibit that level of decency and accountability, please stop reducing the mean intelligent quotient of InfiReaders.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Forbidden Planet's Anne Francis Has Died (But Lives On Through Rocky Horror Picture Show)

Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet to this day (and beyond), thanks to the Rocky Horror Picture Show's opener, Science Fiction/Double Feature (soundtrack version, of course).

Infinonytune: Science Fiction/Double Feature, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (original film soundtrack)
Infinonytune: The Time Warp, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (original film soundtrack)

Ringing In The New Year By Agreeing With Luke

The New Year has quickly brought to Infinonymity a sentiment almost certainly shared with Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The InfiVisitometer indicates an unusually large number of arrivals today arranged by searches involving "Poplawski" (more Margaret than Richard, a switch from regular experience).

The Poplawskis' dysfunction -- a noxious mix of personal and familial failure, conservative extremism, racism, and gun nuttery (depicted by the imbecile at left) -- was largely responsible for the creation of this blog. Had the Poplawskis not exported their lethal poison through the doorway and window of their home, Infinonymity probably would not exist.

In those circumstances, we believe it would be a better world if Infinonymity did not exist. And that, dear InfiReaders, is where we and Luke Ravenstahl agree.

Didn't expect that to occur so early in the year, did you?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recruits Are Gone, But Wannstedt Might Be Back

This is more Infinference (from our Sports Desk) than anything else, because of conflicting evidence, but today's events in and around Oakland suggest the role of Dave Wannstedt (left, counting recruits who have bolted, or perhaps the days remaining in the Pederson era) with the Pitt football program might be experiencing a revival.

Representatives of the football program have asked several of Wannstedt's assistant coaches to suspend their job searches (informally, but with assurances); Wannstedt (not Steve Pederson) apparently will conduct a press conference soon; and questions being asked in the (figurative) upper reaches of the Cathedral of Learning seem unfavorable to the athletics director regardless of the answers.

Infinonytune: Back In The Saddle, Aerosmith

The List-Makers: Scenes From The Mayor's SUV And An Abandoned Warehouse In The Strip District

[Editor's Note: The Department of Homeland Security, surveilling an ostensibly abandoned Strip District warehouse while conducting a vital national security mission concerning unlicensed Penguins hoodies, unexpectedly recorded a New Year's Day meeting. An Infinformant within DHS provided a transcript, which is supplemented here by a routine FBI recording from within a city-issued SUV:]

Federal Bureau of Investigation Transcript, January 1, 2011, 4:43 p.m., City of Pittsburgh vehicle Hound One (Operation Mamaluke):
Target 1: Hey, wait ... shouldn’t you have made the left back there?
Driver (distractedly): What?
Target 1: The left ... hey, you should have gone left back there ... we need to turn around. The South Side, it's the other way, it’s behind us.
Driver: South what?
Target 1: South Side, Carson Street ...
Driver: You didn’t say South Side, Mr. Mayor.
Target 1 (incredulously): Since when do I have to say it?
Driver: Oh, uh, well, this time I thought we was headed to the Strip ...
Target 2: Strip? What are you, kidding, the Strip? That’s so 1995. I’m not sure Metropol is even open any more. Nah, you’re taking both of us to Diesel, then dropping me off at home, then heading back to Diesel for Luke .
Target 1: What do you mean, home? I thought you were coming out with me tonight, Yarone. (smiling) There's plenty of tail for both of us.
Target 2: No ... what? Who told you that? I thought you wanted me to stop by with you, just for a minute, to talk to Adam about that new place of his, then ...
Target 1: Why ... Adam got a problem? I thought I told you to take care of that thing with ...
Target 2: Hold on. (to driver:) Where are we going?
Driver: Right up here, on the left.
Target 2: Where? There’s nothing there.
Driver: Uh, I think it’s where you’re gonna meet that guy. He got a new place over here, a new club or something he's doin'. I don’t know. I’m just doing what I was told.
Target 1 (to Target 2): I thought I told you to take care of that thing for Adam.
Target 2: Yeah, well, Kraus is still busting his balls over that liquor license.
Target 1: I thought Danny was taking care of that license thing. Christ, you’d think that was the one thing the guy could handle.
Target 2: Yeah, well, not that easy, at least so far, but I think it’s gonna work out.
Target 1: You think? It’s gonna? (shakes head) What’s that the Justice always asks you?
Target 2 (uneasily): What? What do you mean?
Target 1: You know, that question he always asks you. Every time.
Target 2 (unconvincingly): I don’t know ... what? A question? What?
Driver: He says, “Remind me again why we keep you around?”
Target 1 (laughing): Yeah, that’s it, he says “Hey, Yarone, remind me again why we ... ” (stops laughing, turns toward driver) Hey, how come you know what he says? When we meet with the Justice, you always wait outside.”
Driver (scrambling): I don’t know, I mean . . . um, you’re right, how would I know? You musta told me about it.
Target 1 (puzzled, but just for a moment): OK, yeah, I must have told you.
Driver: Right. OK. We’re here.
Target 2: What? Where? There’s nothing here.
Driver (pointing out window, toward dark building): There.
Target 1: What there? What? It’s abandoned, for chrissake.
Target 2 (looking around): I think the URA owns this whole block.
Driver: Yeah, this is the place. I think it’s, like, another new place that guy Adam is involved in. I mean, it sure looks like a shithole, but that guy seems to know what the kids like. (looks up and down street) Hey, look, boss, uh, maybe I should walk you guys in ... you know, just ‘til we’re sure this is the place, make sure you get where you need to go.
Target 2 (warily): OK, but ...
Target 1 (opening vehicle door): C’mon, let’s go. I'm thirsty.

Homeland Security Transcript, Operation Protect Our Freedom, January 1, 2011, 4:51 p.m., abandoned warehouse (owner: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh):

Luke (as the three enter the building and follow a darkened hallway, moving toward a lit doorway) Hurry up, I’m thirsty.
Yarone (entering the room, finding it nearly empty): Wait a second, Luke, this ... this isn’t right ...
Luke (turning toward driver, who entered room behind Luke and Yarone): Yeah, you sure you got ... (notices that driver is no longer behind them, just as door closes and lock clicks) ... hey, what the hell?
Yarone (trying door): It’s locked, Luke.
Luke: You got the key?
Yarone: What? Why the hell would I have a key?
Luke: Well, when you said URA, I thought ... OK, that’s it, wait ‘til I get ahold of Mike. This is the last time this jackass drives me anywhere.
Yarone: Forget that, Luke, look around. (surveying a room with a couple of chairs and a table in the center of the room, a couple of burlap sacks in the corner, and a speakerphone in the middle of the table) Nobody here. What the ...
Voice 1 (from speakerphone): Good evening, gentlemen.
Yarone: What? Who is that? Who the hell are you?
Voice 2: (aggressively) Told you already! Do not speak to my father that way, you cliptipped little ... you’re lucky I ain’t there, swear to God!
Voice 1: That’s enough, son.
Voice 2: (chastened) Yeah, well. (louder) You two’s in enough trouble already, so ...
Voice 1: I said “enough,” son.
Voice 2: OK, Pop.
Yarone (as situation clarifies in his head): Hey, hello, sir, I mean, Mr. Justice, sir, I mean, Justice Z ...
Voice 3: Hey! Whoa! Pazzo!
Voice 2: No names, Smithers! No goddamn names! Pazzo! You nuts?
Luke (brightening): That you, Your Justice, sir? Hi, this is Luke!
Voice 2 (whispering): Mamaluke is more like it.
Voice 4 (whispering): Freakin’ moron. Told you we should have gone with Shields.
Voice 2: We get it, for the hundredth time. We know already. You were right. Kid’s a putz. Move on. For chrissake, for once can you just let that one go ...
Voice 1: (clears throat loudly)
Voice 2: OK, Pop. Sorry.
Luke: Sure, sure, no names. It’s just that you’re usually so picky about what we call you ...
Voice 5: Che cazzo! Fifty says this putz doesn’t make it through five minutes before Pop ...
Voice 3: Make it a hundred and you got ...
Voice 1 (sternly): That’s enough. (more evenly:) Luke, I . . .
Luke: Hey, sir, it’s really good to talk with you, ‘cause, you know, I been thinking about you the last couple of days, I been thinking, “Man, I sure wouldn’t want to be any of those council guys who fouled up that whole parking deal. You know, like, I was, like, “Good thing it was them that messed it up and not me,” because I know how you ...
Voice 5: Make it five hundred. And two minutes.
Voice 6: I’ll take a grand of that, too. Two minutes.
Voice 3: Nope, no bets. No bets. Not on this mamaluke! All bets are off.
Voice 1: Silence! (silence) Now, if we might proceed with our business. Gentlemen, please have a seat. Luke, I want you to focus very carefully on my questions and your answers. I need precision, and I need the truth. You need these things, too, Luke. Do you understand?
Luke: Um ... do I? I mean, I do.
Voice 1: Now, Luke, we all have watched with great disappointment as the parking transaction has, well, it has not gone as expected, nor as you were instructed.
Yarone: Yes, sir, but, sir, if I might ...
Voice 2 (whispering): Smithers ... coglione ...
Voice 1: Yarone? Well, young man, I was not ready to address you yet, but now that we are speaking, I must tell you that you, you in particular, because you seemed to have at least some intelligence, you have greatly disappointed me.
Voice 2: (whispering) Here it comes ...
Voice 1: Remind me again what your purpose is here?
Everyone except Voice 1 and Yarone: (snickering)
Voice 2 (to voice 4): You owe me a hundred.
Yarone (stunned by Luke’s snickering): Well, sir, I, uh, of course, what I ...
Voice 1: Rhetorical question, you putz!
Everyone except Yarone: (laughter)
Voice 2 (to voice 4): Two hundred.
Voice 1 (enjoying humor): All right, all right, that’s enough. Now, Luke, as I have asked myself, how could this happen? And as I have inquired of others, why did this happen? . . . something especially disturbing has come to my attention this afternoon.
Luke: This afternoon? Wasn't me. I didn't do nothing. I was barely in the office, 15 minutes tops, ask anybody, I'm never there for more than ...
Voice 1: Focus on listening, Luke. I have been informed that when representatives of our associates indicated that they wished to speak with council members, to ensure that our business would proceed smoothly, I am told that you told them it wasn’t necessary. You assured them that council would vote to approve our transaction, that five votes were ... (quietly:) What was that he said?
Voice 2: The doughboy said it was "in the bag," Pop. Exact words. (chuckling:) While he could still talk.
Voice 1: Oh, yes, "in the bag." They were told it was "in the bag." Said you had it “under control.” Indeed, I have been informed, you actually forbade them to speak with any member of council other than Mr. ... son, who’s that ... the preacher ... you know, Jeff Thomas’ guy ...
Voice 3: Reverend Burgess, Pop?
Voice 1: Yes, yes, Reverend Burgess.
Luke (beginning to understand the situation): Look, if that Mr. Lazerowski guy told you I said any of those things, anything like that, I wish he was here right now, because I'd straighten this out, tell him to his face he’s a lying sack of ...
Yarone: (nudging Luke, after noticing that one of the burlap sacks is moving slightly) Shhhh!
Voice 1: You were saying, Luke?
Luke (staring at burlap bag): Well, um, sir, I was saying that, um ... I was ... can you repeat the question?
Voice 2: What? You think this is some kind of joke? You don’t think I’ll come down there myself and ...
Voice 1: Please, son, I am ... this is important, it is essential that I understand what these gentlemen have to say for themselves, and I am sure that they want me to understand what happened. Am I correct, Luke?
Luke: Oh, yeah. Um, well, I can’t recall exactly, it was sort of a long time ago, and you know, being mayor and all, I have a lot of ...
Voice 1: Stop now, Luke. You remember when I told you I needed the truth?
Luke: Yes, your hon ... I mean, yes, sir. Sir, I remember, sir. I mean, I don’t remember about that stuff you said they said, but I certainly remember that you ...
Voice 1: Until you lie to me, Luke, we might be able to work together to resolve our problems. (sternly:) But if you lie to me, Luke, especially as I sit here with my family, my associates . . . surely you understand how that would change things between us.
Luke: I do?
Voice 1: If you tell me you do not remember, when you do remember, that would be a lie. As I told you, Luke, focus: Did you, or did you not, assure our associates that you had the situation under control, that the votes were certain, that they should not speak with members of council?
Luke: Sir, I ... I ... I ... (stops as muffled sound emerges from burlap sack)
Voice 1: Mr. Lazowski seems to recall quite vividly what was said. Would you like me to invite him to join our conversation, Luke? Maybe then we could get to the bottom of this.
Yarone: What Luke is saying, sir, is that we will do whatever we can, whatever you think is best, to try to ...
Voice 1: To what?
Yarone: To try to ...
Voice 1: To what?
Yarone: To try to ...
Voice 2: Hey, you freakin’ moron, don’t you get it? We ain't interested in ...
Voice 1: I will handle this, son. Gentlemen, we are no longer interesting in your “trying” to do anything. You should not be interested in “try.” You should longer even use the term. You must do. Not try. Do. You must deliver. You must conclude the transaction as agreed. That is all I ask, but I am insistent on this point.
Yarone: Well, strictly speaking, sir, we never agreed ... I mean, we never guaranteed ... I mean, I understand that you might ...
Voice 1: No, young man, I am confident that you do not understand. I do not hold you entirely responsible for what has occurred. It is for that reason that Mr. Lazowski and Mr. Verbanac have joined you this evening.
Luke and Yarone: (silence, as they observe both burlap sacks wriggling slightly)
Voice 1: But at this moment you must focus on yourselves, gentlemen, your personal responsibility. Because you will be most assuredly be held responsible for what occurs next . . . . finally responsible, gentlemen. Now do you understand?
Luke and Yarone: (silence, still staring at burlap bags, noticing wet, dark stains)
Voice 2: Hey, he asked you a question! Do you understand?
Luke and Yarone: (silence)
Voice 4: I think that’s dipshit for “yeah, they finally get it.”
Luke (voice quivering): Well, um, what is it we can ... what do you want us to do? I mean, how can we ... what should we ...
Voice 3: What do you think this is, scemo, you think you're back in class, Taking Care of Business 101?
Voice 2: We ain't here to tell you anything other than “get it done.” How it gets done, that's your problem.
Voice 1: The important thing, gentlemen, for us and for you, is the result. That is the message for today. Now, I think you should take some time to ...
Voice 2: Count your blessings, you pieces of ...
Voice 1 (sternly): As I was saying, you should take this time to confer with Mr. Lazowski and Mr. Verbanac, and focus very clearly on the task at hand ...
Yarone: You want, uh, should we get them out of those ...
Voice 2: No, pazzo, we want you to just freakin’ sit there and wait for them to chew through those knots with their teeth ... oh wait, they’re gagged ... or maybe just sit there while they untie themselves with the hands they got bound behind their freakin’ backs ... (louder) yes, you morons, you should untie them, ‘cause you ain’t got all day, and it’s gonna be pretty freakin’ difficult to have a productive conversation with a couple of guys with freakin’ rags stuffed in their mouths! (quietly:) Pop, please, I beg of you, when it’s time, please, I wanna be the one who gets to ...
Voice 1: This would be a good time to make them more comfortable, and to begin to determine how you are going to make this right. Your driver will be back in one hour to ...
Voice 3: And don’t you let us hear another word about you calling Mike, or anybody else, or trying to make any kinda move on your driver. Not one word. That guy will be your driver until we decide he ain’t. You got that?
Luke: Well, he only works five days, so what about the other ...
Voice 3: If he doesn’t drive, you go nowhere. Not ‘til this is done.
Voice 4 (quietly): Yeah, there goes Luke’s seven-day workweek.
Everyone except Luke and Yarone: (laughter)
Voice 1: OK, that’s enough. The driver will be there in an hour.
Yarone: Sir, uh ... when should we ... what about the deadline? The statute expressly stated that December 31st was ... I mean, I think ...
Voice 1: Again with the trying and the thinking from these two. (sternly:) No trying. No thinking. I will handle the legislature. And the unions. (as a question:) The oversight board?
Voice 7: Already taken care of, sir. It’s like I never left.
Voice 1: Excellent. So the legislature and the oversight are covered. So you need to focus only on getting the transaction done.
Voice 3: And that means a closing ... professional fees, placement agent fees, commissions, and everything else due and payable. I can see your dopey look from here, Luke, so we’ll let Yarone, Mr. Reed Smith there, explain the legalities to you. You just make sure the deal closes and everybody gets paid.
Voice 2: Plus, every one of our people in the deal has to stay in the deal, going forward. Got that?
Yarone: Yes, we understand, but, still, when does this need to get done by?
Voice 1: I am not here to speak of dates or times, or hows or whys. The time for trying, or thinking, is over. I will monitor this situation closely, and I am sure you will do your best, and maintain your focus, and so for now all I ask is that you accomplish our transaction. Now, if necessary, we could have another meeting ...
Voice 2: Trust me, you guys don’t want another meeting ...
Voice 4: Not unless it involves champagne and a bunch of wire transfers ...
Voice 1: Gentlemen, I want to hear from each of you, so we have no more misunderstandings: Do you understand what you must do, and that you must do it soon?
Luke: Yes, sir.
Yarone: Yes, sir.
Voice 1: Fine. I was hoping I could count on you. Now, start to work ... I am sure your friends there in the room with you are as eager as you are to start the discussion.
Voice 2: Knife’s taped under the table, to cut 'em loose. There’s some Band-Aids there, too.
Voice 1: Goodbye, gentlemen. Until our next meeting.