Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exposing InsolvenCity's Cop Succors

Bothered by a longstanding impression that a badge provides practical immunity from accountability for misconduct in Greater InsolvenCity?

Troubled by a persistent inability to rid the mind of a disturbing image featuring District
Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. as Javert a habitual cop succor?

Ever wonder why representatives of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (up to and including the level of commander) and Fraternal Order of Police (up to an including the union's executive leadership) can run interference for crime-ridden nuisance bars in several InsolvenCity neighborhoods so brazenly?

Clarification of these points is available in the Post-Gazette
at the Tribune-Review website
from one of our FCC-licensed newsrooms
from that new hotshot journalism enterprise in town
at 3MurkyRivers.

Equally rare insight (concerning the Commonwealth's most important maitre d') is being served over at Rick's Place.

Infytune: Highway Patrolman, Johnny Cash (sound improves)
Infytune: Highway Patrolman, Johnny Cash (audio version)
Infytune: Fight To The End, Immortal Technique and Sabac Red

Monday, August 29, 2011

Invoking The Moral Authority Of Chris Rock

Agent Ska today wishes Michael Jackson a happy birthday. On behalf of Infinonymous, Chris Rock responds:

Infytune: Zombies Ate Her Brain, The Creepshow

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What In Hell Is Wrong With People?

Among the 32 searches that delivered readers to Infinonymous most frequently today, substantially more than half involved these at least one of these elements:

1. joanna doven
2. someone holding a 40 of captain morgan / lambs navy rum
3. hogtied man / woman / lesbians
4. ashlie hardway
5. sewerology [??]
6. handcuffs blonde
7. virginia montanez
8. carrie prejean [redacted]
9. pittsburgh police garrett brown
10. be like a dancing bear
11. natalie gulbis [redacted]
12. where to buy sixpacks in pittsburgh
13. luke ravenstahl rumors / carson street / blonde

What in hell is wrong with people?

And, because we are pretty sure we never use "sewerology," what in hell is wrong with Google?

Infytune: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Six Years Of Child Rape = Two Years Of Probation?

The InfiLawyer says how law school works is that the A students become professors, the B students work for big firms, the C students become multimillionaires, and the D students become judges.

Maybe in some places, but not in Westmoreland County, which obviously has looser standards.

Infytune: Dazed And Confused, Led Zeppelin

The Naked City Infytune

When shameless boardroom greedheads misappropriate civic institutions and dodge taxes, someone -- usually at the margin -- gets short-sticked. A well-placed beam of light can be an appropriate and effective response.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome, Luke-Gazers In Government Offices!

Our recent observations concerning InsolvenCity Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's refreshingly responsible flood-related conduct have generated an uncommonly large wave of visits, especially from government-related IP addresses.

The usual suspects -- City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County of Penn, Pennsylvania legislature (House and Senate), Alcosan -- have been joined by a broader crew, including a number of Commonwealth agencies, the United States Department of State (sherman and clayton branches), county authorities, several courts, and various local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

The relevant page has also been popular among Harrisburg lobbying firms, Pittsburgh law firms, and Chicagoans.

A substantial number of recent visitors have ventured into The List-Makers' List (far right column); especially interesting, apparently, are Lamb/Lord, Wecht/Infinonymous, Brabender/Fitzpatrick, Acklin/Peduto, and Orie/Murphy.

The readers who linger longest tend to be enjoying these corners of Infinonymity: the underpass, the office, and the warehouse.

Welcome to all, and . . .

Infytune: (We're) Having A Party, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes with Bruce Springsteen (The Agora, 1978)

It Is Time For Bashar al-Assad To Die

When the soul-starved regime you inherited rather than earned reaches the "mangling cartoonists' hands" stage --cousin to the "crushing children's testicles" stage contemplated by the type of unhinged ideologues who engage in torture by proxy -- it is time for the citizens of the society you have hijacked to remove you from power, by killing you if necessary.

Die soon, President al-Assad.

Infytune: See You Later, Alligator, Bill Haley & His Comets

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Refreshingly Responsible Life Of Luke

Although his administration's reaction to the Washington Boulevard flood faltered out of the blocks, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has recovered nicely, responding responsibly in comments and conduct.

Correcting an early exhibition of deflection and delusion, the mayor acknowledged that the relevant government officials' dissemblings were inadequate and declared what should have been obvious from the start: "Something has to change on Washington Boulevard."

While others adopted a helpless stance, the mayor proposed policy suited to the circumstances: "If we have to close down a road, perhaps prematurely, perhaps unnecessarily, we will do that." That is nothing of which InsolvenCity should be proud, but it is the sole prudent course unless and until a reliable engineering solution is implemented.

The mayor properly described a point some subordinates had proposed as a defense -- that they perceived no flaw in operation of the stormwater management system -- as evidence not of vindication but of inadequacy: “If in fact their conclusion is accurate, then we clearly have bigger issues on our hands than we may have anticipated.”

Returning to his city after another awkward invocation of what must be the most uncannily effective subconscious early-warning system in human history, the mayor added an appropriate grace note by attending the funeral of a woman his city had failed.

Rejecting the dodging and defensiveness of others, Mr. Ravenstahl acknowledged, deftly, that the municipal breakdown raised issues of accountability for many public officials, including the mayor: "Certainly we'll take a look at it and whoever bears responsibility, and we all do in some way, for the events will certainly take it."

Mayor Ravensthal's performance since the catastrophe occurred has been nearly as good as the precipitating failures were bad.

Infytune: Redemption Song, Bob Marley

The In-Over-Her-Head Life Of Joanna Doven

Chronicling a series of silly statements from the inadvertently entertaining public life of mayoral mouthpiece Joanna Doven has been primarily amusement, but we were struck nearly speechless recently when her chuckleheaded commentary veered from daft to dangerous.

In the wake of unspeakable tragedy -- "unspeakable" being an important cue, in this context, for someone with Ms. Doven's record -- came two of the dumbest statements we have ever encountered, comprising a single sentence:
"The road is open, therefore the road is safe," Ms. Doven said.

It is difficult to determined which of those reckless, dangerous assertions is worse.

The road is safe?

Many words could describe a situation in which nine feet of poorly managed water drowns a mother and her daughters inside a vehicle on a paved city street (while an elderly woman is swept to the river and her death in a storm sewer). "Safe" is not among them.

Asking whether Washington Boulevard is safe resembles Pulp Fiction's Butch the Boxer (Bruce Willis) asking Marcellus Wallace 'You OK?' -- right after Wallace had been beaten unconscious, hogtied, ball-gagged, raped, and rescued moments before an ugly death in a sadist's dungeon. Joanna Doven deserves the response Wallace gave at 8:00 of this clip. (One difference, of course -- and it does not work in Ms. Doven's favor -- is that Butch had just saved Wallace's life in an altruistic manner.)

To paraphrase Marcellus Wallace: Washington Boulevard is pretty . . . far from safe.

"The road is open, therefore the road is safe?"

At the time that claim was advanced, "the road is open" did not mean "the road is safe." It meant solely 'the same knuckleheads who observed and ignored a recent series of escalating flash floods in an area known to flood for at least a half-century still encourage you to put your family on Washington Boulevard during rush hour.'

While her colleagues in government were claiming to be powerless to prevent a recurrence, and that they had no idea how this calamity occurred, Ms. Doven (right) was assuring the public with an unqualified declaration that the flood plain was safe. This goes beyond hackery and flackery, straight to reckless endangerment.

Even by the customary standards of Ms. Doven's mindless defend-deny-deflect approach to her work, the performance in Monday's Post-Gazette established a new mark. The only generous explanation we can conjure is that for Ms. Doven, a new mother, the horrific image of two young girls drowning with their mother was enough to short-circuit every functioning synapse in her system.

Infytune: Our Lips Are Sealed, The Go-Gos (lip-synch version)
Infytune: Our Lips Are Sealed, The Go-Gos (girls can play version)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It Is Time For Muammar Gaddafi To Die

As Libyan citizens bent on revolution reach Tripoli, it appears to be time for Muammar Gaddafi, who chose to maintain his power until its bitter end, to die. (Again.)

Rebels reportedly captured one two of Gaddafi's sons reportedly today, while a cowering Gaddafi implored Libya's women to take arms and save him. Gaddafi is said to have spent recent days transferring funds to a safer location (likely Algeria). The fighters currently encircling Gaddafi's residential compound should kill Gaddafi before he is able to join those assets in exile.

Infytune: Talkin' 'bout A Revolution, Tracy Chapman

InsolvenCity Welcomes New Voice As Infrastructure Decline Precipitates The 'Killer Raindrops' Era

At a time when the list of grave threats imperiling InsolvenCity (and baffling its overmatched leaders) is revealed to include rain, a promising new voice -- the 3MurkyRivers blog -- observes that the precipitating problem might be the thicket of scandal that appears to involve everything (and everyone) associated with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

(In fairness, we note that although the PWSA was unable to prevent an August rainstorm from drowning four people on a paved InsolvenCity street, the PWSA's stormwater pipe was adequate to transport the corpse of a 72-year-old woman from Washington Boulevard to the bank of the Allegheny River.)

The PWSA scarely needs another scandal, and there is no apparent reason to believe any revelation would incline the relevant prosecutors or the Ravenstahl administration to address the problems at PWSA, but has anyone attempted to connect dots between this story and the PWSA?

Infytune: Drowned, Pete Townshend
Infytune: Who'll Stop The Rain?, John Fogerty
Intytune: Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It Ain't Rocket Science. It's InsolvenCity.

Shorter Cometary:

It's InsolvenCity. Run by imbeciles and chiselers chosen by morons elected by a concentratedly inferior gene pool. Approaching predictable, avoidable collapse. Following traditional, failed trajectory.

Not exactly rocket science.

Infytune: Space Oddity, David Bowie (strange version)
Infytune: Space Oddity, David Bowie (stranger version)

When Government Fails, Children Drown In Cars And The Elderly Are Swept Away In Storm Sewers

The lethal flooding along Washington Boulevard (much like the recurrent problems along Girty Run in and near Millvale) seems likely to be the product of improper runoff management (related primarily to selfish and careless development practices) upstream, negligent maintenance of stormwater systems, or -- our guess -- both.

The flash flooding in Highland Park did not surprise some public officials (such as those working in Pittsburgh council member Patrick Dowd's office, who have been monitoring the situation for some time) and should have surprised no one. That stretch of road has flooded several times in recent months, dismissing any thought that the recent deaths may be attributed to a freakish, unpredictable act of nature. These catastrophes have been caused by the acts and omissions of people, primarily public officials and developers.

It is easy to view the petty corruption and pervasive ineptitude in many corners of Greater InsolvenCity's municipal life, such as the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Alcosan, as an abstract issue or a tolerable inadequacy. The bodies of two pre-teen girls drowned with their mother inside a car, and the corpse of a 72-year-old woman carried to the river in a storm sewer, are tangible reminders that InsolvenCity's crumbling infrastructure and municipal dysfunction are serious problems with grave practical consequences.

The public should demand to know how the relevant decision-makers responded to earlier flooding, and how those officials (or, better, their successors) propose to avoid more predictable, man-made tragedies along Washington Boulevard and Girty's Run.

UPDATE: From failure, heroism. Reports that seem reliable indicate that a number of emergency responders engaged in heroic conduct that saved lives. Their ingenuity, professionalism and altruism deserves enormous credit.

Infytune: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Straw Poll Voters In Iowa (30 Bucks A Straw) Emulate Straw-Filled Scarecrow From Kansas

The Republican Party conducted a straw poll in Iowa this weekend. Because it was conducted by Republicans it featured a poll tax; because it was conducted by Republicans in Iowa the voters were primarily superstitious whites fattened, feed-lot style, with deep-fried butter (on a stick, naturally -- with icing).

Paying customers Eligible voters could base their decisions on a debate in which the Republican candidates provided lockstep pledges on public policy positions disfavored by most Americans (involving issues such as taxes and abortion). You might be a redneck party if Ron Paul is the only one on stage who rejects conservative dogma and makes sense on issues such as Iran past (the history of America's anti-democratic intervention), Iraq past (the blunder toward invasion), Iran future (the prospect of bombing Tehran), and the enduring Constitution (concerning treatment of "enemy combatants" and states' rights).

Or, Iowa's paying "voters" could have gotten their thirty bucks worth by writing in the name of Colbert Super PAC-endorsed candidate "Rick Parry" (right).

Early reports ascribed hundreds of write-in voters to "Rick Perry," with no indication how many of those votes included the "A for America" suggested by the Colbert political action committee. If anyone sees a reliable account of "Rick Parry's" performance in Iowa, please send it along.

Michele Bachman won the straw poll, Ron Paul finished second, Tim Pawlenty third. This would mean much if the United States were populated primarily by superstitious, bigoted, resentful, selfish, xenophobic white males. Gov. Pawlenty appeared to recognize this point when he celebrated his bronze medal by promptly quitting the race entirely.

Infytune: That Don't Impress Me Much, Shania Twain

Question From Null Space: If A Drip-Drip-Drip Occurs In InsolvenCity, Does Anyone Fix It?

The ostensible bewilderment at Null Space concerning numbers that do not add up at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority seems likely to be feigned wonder.

We not only
believe that there exists within Null Space a working theory that would explain the devastating bond debacles, remarkably one-sided Iron City Brewing dealings, unlawful insider confidence schemes, and -- most important at the moment -- inexplicable lack of curiosity (and signatures on courtroom complaints) from the principals of that authority, but we will also state that theory: The current decision-makers have no desire to investigate or illuminate these transactions and revenue streams because disclosure of facts would (1) embarrasse people -- including themselves --they wish to protect and (2) expose those people to criminal prosecution or civil claims.

These circumstances generate a need for new decision-makers, and in a context of functional government would invoke the local prosecutor. The local district attorney, however, is beholden (and, as has become familiar, related) to likely suspects.

This directs the spotlight toward the relatively new United States Attorney, David Hickton, whose early record suggests he is either not interested or too interested in the denizens of the sewers at which local politics, public money, and profiteers intersect.

Many months have passed since federal agents interviewed a series of local elected officials and other witnesses with respect to the conduct of other local elected officials and associated cream-skimmers. Iron City Brewing took millions of taxpayer dollars to preserve jobs, destroyed those jobs, and moved brewing operations from New York to Wisconsin to Latrobe in less time than it has taken the appropriate officials to impose some accountability at the Water and Sewer Authority. Maybe the public should hire the Iron City operators -- who are available, having sucked the last of the marrow from local taxpayers' bones -- to go after the Water and Sewer Authority again, except this time they'd be working on behalf of the citizens of InsolvenCity and Allegheny County.

Infytune: Beer Bottle Boogie, Koko Taylor
Infytune: Bring Me Some Water, Koko Taylor

Friday, August 12, 2011

Images From Batman's Pittsburgh Sets Give Fans An Early Thrill -- And The Film A Bitter Critic

One somewhat surprising element of Batman's visit to Pittsburgh has been the relatively open set. (It was tempting to write that the set must be open because no imbecile would permit the entirety of downtown Pittsburgh to be turned into a closed set, but then we remembered the identity and judgment of InsolvenCity's current decision-makers . . .)

Anyway, ample accounts of sightings of Tumblrs, Batpods, Batcycles, and Batwings have been circulating among the Intertubes, giving fans an early taste of that which will descend upon theaters next summer.

The amateur videos are often accompanied by panting and squeals of hyperventilating fans. Many websites are drooling over the glimpses of Bane, a camouflaged Tumblr, Selina Kile's riding leathers, and the like.

Not everyone, however, has liked what he has seen.

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from around the nation and across the globe! There are plenty of excellent BatPhotos available on the Intertubes (all, apparently, taken moments before fake cops in real uniforms could bully amateur photographers), but please be sure to check the video linked at the preceding paragraph. If you like Batman, you need to see that video.

Infytune: Batman Theme, Nelson Riddle
Infytune: Batman Theme, The Who

Onorato, True To His School, Tosses Taxpayer Dollars Into North Catholic Collection Basket

Dan Onorato's administration claims (as it must) that no favoritism was involved in the otherwise inexplicable decision to sink more than a half-million taxpayer dollars into a first-rate football field used primarily by a private religious organization (which happens to be the high school he attended).

We will set aside for the moment the issue of whether funding an institution that produces the likes of Mr. Onorato and Luke Ravenstahl constitutes a prudent public investment, and suggest this experiment:

A number of public schools and community groups -- located, perhaps, in communities on the short end of Mr. Onorato's cynical, regressive, unconstitutional property assessment system, with school districts that can not afford artificial turf or a new press box or luxurious locker rooms -- should submit applications to use the fancy new field for practices (football, lacrosse, soccer) and especially, WPIAL football games. The Onorato administration's response to those applications would provide an empirical foundation enabling taxpayers to conclude whether Mr. Onorato's decision to direct scarce taxpayer dollars toward this project was (1) a reality-based attempt to benefit Allegheny County residents or instead (2) a faith-based effort to provide a free magic carpet ride to North Catholic.

Infytune: Magic Carpet Ride, Steppenwolf
Infytune: High School Confidential, Jerry Lee Lewis
Infytune: Be True To Your School, The Beach Boys

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dan Deasy May Look Like A Dancing Bear, But He Actually Is Goldilocks In This Production

WPXI (as noticed at Null Space) has produced the "Baby Bear Porridge" version (not too long, not too short) of one story from the still-unraveling Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority insurance program warranty program scam concerning water line maintenance.

We hope the "Papa Bear Chair" version -- a lengthy, detailed, thread-gathering piece of enterprise reporting -- emerges. Until then, here is the "Baby Bear Chair" (condensed) version:

A bunch of scammers were interrupted mid-scheme, leaving an unexpectedly disheveled situation and preventing some people from getting out when the getting was good -- which explains why Dan Deasy (far right) looks so foolish trying, as a bit player suddenly thrust center-stage, to answer questions he never expected to confront.

Infytune: Some Like It Hot, Robert Palmer

Monday, August 8, 2011

You Know What Really Bugs Us About The South Side Drinking District The Mayor Is Protecting?

What is most disturbing about this Tribune-Review report that a bar in Pittsburgh's South Side Intoxication District has been ordered closed by Allegheny County health officials for operating without hot water or gas but with clogged sinks and an insect infestation?
1. The same establishment was ordered closed by the health department two months ago, but had been operating recently nonetheless.

2. The same establishment was cited nearly 10 years ago for failing to operate a legally sufficient restaurant.

3. The insect infestation reportedly featured insects inside "numerous liquor bottles."

4. Because no one has been reported to have been killed or severely injured as a result of this bar's operation, this joint doesn't even make honorable mention on the South Side's "worst bars" list.
Happy Hour special: When cited by the Liquor Control Board a couple of years ago, this fine establishment was represented by the law firm that employed InsolvenCity's current solicitor (whose current job, of course, is to devise legal strategies to combat the public nuisance created by many of his former South Side clients). How's that coming along, counselor?

Infytune: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, The Animals

Pitt's High-Octane Talk: 40 Points Per Game

Pitt's footballers are talking big, particularly with respect to an offense that is discussing the prospect of 40-point-per-game productivity. That pace would constitute a substantial improvement over the 2010 offense's record -- indeed, such accomplishment would be remarkable, for at least two reasons:
1. Jonathan Baldwin, Henry Hynoski, and Dion Lewis are gone.

2. Tino Sunseri is not.
If the no-huddle, go-for-broke offense were such a sure-fire winner, for a program with the type of personnel recruited by Florida Texas Alabama Buffalo, Youngstown State, and Toledo, why -- in a world in which a proven promising college football coach commands an annual salary of $2 million -- are not more teams adopting it?

Pitt's answer to that puzzler will begin to emerge in four weeks.

Infytune: Talk Of The Town, Pretenders

Sunday, August 7, 2011

American Troops Are Coming Home From Afghanistan, One Way Or The Other (And The Method Is Unlikely To Change The Outcome)

The United States could have, during nearly a decade of drift and dysfunction in Afghanistan, arranged several ways to bring its troops home.

Any of the other methods would have been better than the manner in which 30 soldiers are returning to the United States today.

Infytune: Masters Of War, Pearl Jam

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Poorly Selected PLCB Chairman Resurfaces, Again Peddling Questionable Wine Deals

Jonathan Newman, a failed political candidate with no apparent experience in the liquor industry, landed a politically inspired appointment to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board consequent to a family fortune sculpted from nose jobs performed for Philadelphia's well-heeled but poorly proboscissed (Dr. Julius Newman's cash also paved the route Newman's mother followed to a spot on the state Supreme Court). Young Newman then complained about "heavy-handed politics" at the Board while quitting consequent to a dispute over another political appointment.

As a PLCB member, Newman ignored the public interest -- and in particular did nothing about the emergence of Pittsburgh's South Side as a deadly, liquor-soaked cesspool -- because he was too busy "cultivating relationships and friendships" with liquor industry players, who rewarded him with a nice set-up in the wine business after Newman quit the PLCB. (Newman's wine industry friends had profited handsomely from misleading "discount" pricing practices, introduced by Newman, that probably would have generated a consumer fraud investigation had the scammer not been a government agency.)

Newman is back in the public eye, peddling the liquor store privatization program pushed by Rep. Mike Turzai. Reasonable arguments support closure of the Commonwealth's monopoly on wine and spirits sold by the bottle. They would be easier to swallow if the loudest voices in the debate so far -- Turzai, Newman, the Post-Gazette editorialists, hackneyed ideologues masquerading as experts, buggy whip peddlers -- were not so distasteful.

While awaiting a voice for the public interest to join the table, Pennsylvanians should stick with a glass of water, or perhaps have a beer.

(Speaking of taste, some wine fanciers seem unimpressed by Newman's nose for vintages.)

Infytune: Spill The Wine, Eric Burdon and War

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grandmaster Mitchie McC Disses T-Part Clan: Some Of These New Gangstas Just Be Crazy

A breathtaking observation concerning Tea Partying members of Congress -- from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Relative Sanity):
“I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”
Until Republicans demonstrate sobriety by acknowledging the need for substantial cuts in military expenditures and a return to sensible tax rates, they're just irresponsible, graffiti-spraying street punks in Brooks Brothers khakis.

Infytune: Gangster's Paradise, Coolio with Stevie Wonder

Request For Information: Current Standards Of Conduct For Pittsburgh Police Bureau

We would welcome an e-mail (infinonymousatgmail) from anyone who knows whether these two standards of conduct (or similar standards) currently govern Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers:

3.55 Prohibited Associations
3.55.1 No member shall knowingly commence or maintain a relationship with any person who is under criminal investigation, indictment, arrest or incarceration by this or another police of criminal justice agency, and/or who has an open and notorious criminal reputation in the community except as necessary to the performance of official duties, or where unavoidable because of familial relationships.

3.54 Entering, Visiting, Loitering In Establishment/Locations Which Adversely Affect The Bureau Of Police
3.54.1 No member shall enter, visit, loiter, work an off-duty detail or be found in any establishment or location wherein the activities are not in accordance with law or where the reputation of such establishment may destroy public confidence, and so adversely affect the morale and efficiency of the Bureau of Police or cause such controversy as to affect the neutrality of law enforcement.

Infytune: Every Breath You Take, Sting with Bruce Springsteen
Infytune: Watching The Detectives, Elvis Costello with The Police
Infytune: King Of Pain, The Police

Monday, August 1, 2011

There Is One Member Of Congress Who Deserves Congratulations Today (Probably The Only One)

Only something extraordinary could have created a bright spot amid the recent dysfunction of Congress.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' return to the House floor for her first Congressional vote in more than six months was extraordinary.

Infytune: Fighter, Christina Aguilera
Infytune: I Am Woman, Helen Reddy