Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Words Fail . . .

Jimi Hendricks?

Jezus Krist!

Infytune: Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
Infytune: Foxy Lady, Jimi Hendrix
Infytune: Are You Experienced?,
Jimi Hendrix
Infytune: Star-Spangled Banner,
Jimi Hendrix (interview)
Infytune: The Wind Cries Mary,
Jimi Hendrix
Infytune: Like A Rolling Stone, Jimi Hendrix
Infytune: All Along The Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix
Infytune: Wild Thing, Jimi Hendrix (flambe version)
Infytune: Hear My Train A-Comin', Jimi Hendrix (toothsome version)

Friday, September 16, 2011

UPMC, Children's Hospital, And "Charity;" Why Reason When Rants Win Awards?

Taking complex issues -- such as the contours of health insurance coverage (for example, UPMC's decisions with respect to what its insurance covers and does not cover), UPMC's finances and "charitable" nature, the relationship of Children's Hospital to UPMC (and the local community), and UPMC's wholesale misappropriation of community-minded donors' kindnesses -- and carelessly reducing them to simple statements and sentiments is work for, and by, simpletons.

Hey, Toto, why do we have the feeling we're back in Haiti?

Infytune: Don't You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds
Infytune: Over My Head, Fleetwood Mac
Infytune: Africa, Toto (check Jeff Porcaro)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Parsing Greensburg's "Democrat Party" Problem

Republicans and conservatives who are barely literate, are partisan jerks or (most often) are poorly educated and poorly mannered regularly mangle standard English by using "Democrat" (as an adjective) to jab members of the Democratic Party.

Some right-wing newsgatherers media abandon professionalism to adopt the liberal-bashing affectation.

An example in today's Tribune-Review is especially strange:
"It will be difficult to get Democrat votes if we do not do (legislation) in a comprehensive manner," said Rep. Michael Hanna, a Democrat from Clinton County.
By publishing this quotation, the Tribune-Review signals that one of these points is accurate:
  • Democratic elected official Michael Hanna was quoted properly, and has joined the right-wing fringe's adjectival assault on standard English and the Democratic Party

  • By-lined reporter Timothy Puko miquoted Hanna, perhaps by sacrificing his integrity at the altar of a Scaife-signed paycheck

  • One of the Tribune-Review's editors, perhaps bucking for a certificate for a free weekend at Doug's Motel the luxurious and renamed Huntingdon Inn Motel, revised Puko's account to enforce Scaife-flattering or -mandated dogma.
Infytune: If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right), Luther Ingram

Will County Provide Benefits To Domestic Partners, Or Must Gays Wait For A Democratic Executive?

The Allegheny County Human Relations Commission's most recent request that the county stick a toe in the Twenty-First Century by acknowledging that gays are human distills to a single question:

Will Dan Onorato extend benefits to county employees' domestic partners, or must those who favor equality wait until a Democrat occupies the office of Allegheny County Executive?

Tip to non-bigots: If you want help from Dan Onorato, join the North Catholic football team or buy a million-dollar house, and if you want to catch him in a smiling mood (left), you need to take him to the Duquesne Club.

Infytune: A Change Is Gonna Come, Rev. Al Green

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Republican Presidential Candidates March In Dogmatic Lockstep On Guns, God And Gays

A handful of Republican presidential candidates gathered in South Carolina yesterday to confirm that their lockstop devotion to right-wing dogma makes a Republican candidate the right choice for every American who
  • is convinced that America's three biggest problems are public employees, science, and gays;

  • is comfortable with torture but not with expanded access to healthcare;

  • considers evolution a Satanic plot;

  • fixates on deficits (but not on who or what generated them);

  • is among the minority of Americans who believe that most of their countrymen are cold-blooded killers for tolerating morning after pills;

  • figures George W. Bush was a decent enough leader but might have been a bit too intellectual; and

  • believes there is nothing wrong with America that more guns, tax cuts (particularly for the wealthy), and superstition can't fix
but for no others.

You can't blend religious nanny-state scolds (social conservatives) with educated, small-government pragmatists (fiscal conservatives), season that mixture with plenty of warmongering (militaristic conservatives), and expect a coherent result.

Infytune: Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order

One World Brown-Noser Summit Rewards Pittsburgh For Military-Style Brutality Against Young People During G-20 Siege In Oakland

When we first heard about the "One World Summit" (described as a Davos forum or G-20 event for the world's "young people of leadership calibre"), we suspected it might be another resume-padding product aimed at the world's emerging crop of obsequious, oblivious, insufferable self-promoters.

After learning that this group has selected InsolvenCity for it 2012 event -- disregarding the unnecessary and immoral police brutality directed toward young people at the immediately preceding international summit conducted in Pittsburgh -- our suspicions have become certainty. We expect InsolvenCity to resemble an assembly line for Santorum aides -- preppy clothing, immature moralizing, self-centered brown-nosing, and amateur-hour drinking exhibitions -- during October 2012.

Infytune: Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
Infytune: Once In A Lifetime, Talking Heads

Could A Move Kick-Start Local Donkeys?

Allegheny County Democrats are on the move! A postcard mailed to Democratic Committee members a few days ago confirms it.

Before local Democrats grumbling about the local party's lack of energy and achievement get too excited, however, they should read the fine print. What's moving is merely the county committee's headquarters -- literally, and for the second time in recent years. (The new address is 73 South 13th Street, 15203, near the heart of the South Side Intoxication District.)

We do not know what this development means, but a review of background seems worthwhile.

The county committee's performance has been generating complaints from important Democrats -- candidates, party workhorses, donors, fundraisers -- in increasing breadth and volume.

Candidates complain that the longstanding worthlessness of the party's endorsement in a primary election has been creeping into the context of the Democratic nomination during a general election. The candidates' complaints concern lack of financial support; spotty effort and loyalty from party leaders, including most municipal committee chairs; and declining campaign manpower. If elected, these candidates perceive neither respect for nor indebtedness to the Democratic Committee.

Party workhorses don't complain nearly so much; they simply work less or devote energy elsewhere. Fundraisers such as Lazar Palnick and Cliff Levine have been working independently, taking their donors with them. Street-level volunteers have been moving to Organizing For America and MoveOn, or switching to gardening, craft brews, the PTA, and Rachel Maddow.

The county committee's leadership seems poorly positioned to address these problems. Chair Jim Burn (right) is stretched severely, as county council president, chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and a husband and father who must earn a livelihood. His vice-chair, Nancy Mills, is no help; her backroom selection for the position baffled nearly everyone and has never been explained in word or deed. Ed Abes, the treasurer, has little to do because funds are scarce.

Whether Jack Cambest and Ed Grattan continue to occupy Democratic Committee positions (Cambest as solicitor, Grattan as finance co-chair) is open to guesswork. Their names were removed from the party website after Rich Lord illuminated The List-Makers, the organization that appears to command the primary loyalty of Grattan and Cambest. Grattan and Cambest are listed in some party mailings but not others. In any event, Cambest has always been a ceremonial figure, leaving the party's legal work to others, while Grattan (like finance co-chair Stephen Frobouck, whose public-private network includes Jeb Bush and the List-Makers) connects money and political figures more for private perks than for party benefit.

The result is that the Allegheny County Democratic Committee is bereft of bite and can barely bark. It labors to pull off the occasional rally, golf outing, candidates night, or Kennedy-Lawrence dinner. It can not arrange candidates better than lawyers declared unqualified by the bar association, the Ravenstahl boys, and the three-clown circus endorsed by the city committee for city council a few months ago. Nearly every major local Democratic official got Obama-Clinton wrong, a rookie mistake for which the region has suffered.

Luke Ravenstahl and Dan Onorato (left), the two top local elected officials, would be Republicans in most regions of the United States. Each is more likely to embarrass the Democratic Party than to generate enthusiasm among Democrats.

Some Democratic regulars gripe about these circumstances, but no one acts, perhaps because there isn't enough enthusiasm in the party to sustain a debate or challenge.

The best thing the county Democratic committee has going for it is that its Republican counterpart is weakened by registration disadvantage, afflicted by lame leadership and harsh infighting, and badgered (and to some degree tempted) by Tea Party nuttiness.

One interesting point -- and, for local Democrats who seek a strong party structure rooted in principle rather than patronage, reason for hope -- is that the move to the South Side involves a departure from 225 Ross Street, nerve center of a cream-skimming network that has sapped the strength of the Democratic Party in Allegheny County for many years. That point alone supports a bit of hope that the Allegheny County Democratic Committee can shake its shackles and become a needed force for good in InsolvenCity and beyond.

Infytune: Our House, Madness
Infytune: Our House, Crosby, Stills, and Nash

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Homeland Security Theater: Operation Saggy Pants

It appears an officious, white-bread-huffing Southwest Airlines employee chose the wrong saggy-pantsed American citizen to harass recently, inadvertently providing an apt illustration of how misguided so much of America's reaction to the September 11 attack has been.

Did Southwest address this situation sensibly -- Southwest contacted the customer promptly, and arranged carriage on the next flight -- because it recognized the impropriety of its employee's conduct, or because cultural treasure Billie Joe Armstrong has millions of dollars (and, probably, a lawyer) and a six-figure Twitter following?

Infytune: American Idiot, Green Day
Infytune: When I Come Around, Green Day
Infytune: Basket Case, Green Day

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some People Are Just No Damned Good

From observing the consequences of the reported conduct of someone such as Terra Jean Hill (right), it becomes apparent that some people are just no damned good.

Instead of focusing on the inexplicable and indefensible, however, please devote a caring thought to little Alizae Mosconi.

Infytune: Evil Woman,
Electric Light Orchestra

The Most Celebrated Speed Weapon In Pitt Football History Takes The Field For The Panthers Tomorrow

When Pitt's footballers compete against Buffalo tomorrow, they will feature a celebrated new reliance on speed. Indeed, the Panthers will exhibit speed never before observed by Pitt fans, speed that Larry Fitzgerald and Marshall Goldberg could barely dream of, speed that Curtis Martin and Dion Lewis lacked, speed that Darrelle Revis and even Tony Dorsett (right) could not match.

We refer, of course, to Todd Graham's mouth.

Graham's "high-octane" talk and "fast-acting formula" promises may have sold some tickets, and generated headlines, and might produce more success than Dave Wannstedt delivered -- but so far it is just talk, with no evidence to support expectations of improvement.

Today's Post-Gazette reports that an Allderdice athlete has committed to play football at Pitt. To become a Panther, Tyrique Jarrett rejected an offer from LSU Texas Alabama Akron. So long as Pitt fishes in waters shared by Miami of Ohio, Kent State, Youngstown State, and Toledo, it seems reasonable to remain skeptical concerning whether the arrival a $2 million-per-year mouth is cause to invoke memories of Johnny Majors.

Infytune: Talk To Me, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (with Bruce Springsteen)
Infytune: This Time It's For Real, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

The ACLU Is An Antidote To Drug Warriors With Craniums The Size Of Poppy Seeds

When a hospital repeatedly forgets the "do no harm" portion of its ostensible mission -- and becomes a mindless drug warrior chasing poppy-seeded spectres, trampling decency and common sense along the way -- Americans can be grateful the American Civil Liberties Union is willing and able to vindicate the Constitution and Americans' civil rights.

Infytune: Breakfast at Tiffany's, Deep Blue Something

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When Lack Of Self-Awareness Turns Surreal

It's not every day you can watch a guy whose entire belief system -- and every argument -- relies entirely on superstition-laced dogma chastise another debater for failure to meet an adequate standard of "proof" . . . unless you travel with former Senator and current Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Infytune: Would Jesus Wear A Rolex, Ray Stevens
Far Away Eyes, The Rolling Stones (Keith-Mick hug version)