Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Don't ask, don't tell

Looks like the commander-in-chief has been spending quality "manhours" with our esteemed contributor, Dain Pascocello, the creator of the dubious manhug.
Why the grimace, Mr. President? Did you smell something rancid in the midshipman's armpit, or did his embrace just threaten the sanctity of your marriage?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Saint Paul

Paul Skoutelas, "visionary" director of the Port Authority who left Pittsburgh for greener pastures, had pretty damned good timing. Since his exit, two projects he headed up have been tanking.

The first of which is the T link to nowhere, connecting the vacant North Shore to Downtown. Over budget, underfunded, and of dubious merit, this thing aint goin nowhere.

The second is upgrades to the Overbrook line, including a massive pay-to-park garage at South Hills Village. The 2,000+ 7 story garage sits mostly vacant inspite of its $2/day fee. PAT is bragging about 200 lots to be leased to Giant Eagle, boosting daily occupancy to 25%. In real estate, we call that a Vacancy Rate of 75%, but who's splitting hairs?

At this rate, the garage can probably service only $5 million of its $21 Million price tag. Like I said, who's splitting hairs?

Inspite of evidence to the contrary, Skoutelas may have been simply implementing the plans of brain-dead elected officials who were ignoring the region's truest needs. But soaked riders waiting for the 71D along 5th Avenue in a driving rain probably won't be too sympathetic to that argument.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Call the Cops

In a dramatic stand on behalf of the voters of Allegheny County, Rich Fitzgerald and Jumpin John DeFazio stood athwart a plan to eliminate the elected sheriff's office in a larger consolidation of politically and functionally anemic county row offices. Spewing half-baked logic from his shit-eatin mouth, Jumpin John saved his brother Pete DeFazio's job saying the not-so-connected row offices need to go in the name of progress, but our 18th century Sheriff gotta stay. Why Pete DeFazio, you ask? Who else but a man dressed up like Marshall Tito can save us from the next Injun scalping party!

Since then, three top dogs at the Sheriff's Office went to jail for corruption, the office has shown an inability to carry out its core functions, and Sheriff Pete DeFazio stands guilty of gross negligence, or incompetance, or worse. DeFazio's praying for an Injun Raid or better before the next election... otherwise, he's cooked. Hopefully, he takes Rich Fitzgerald and his flunky brother with him.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Last Refuge...

The stock market is in its 3rd straight day of steep decline. Efforts in Afganistan and Iraq are worsening, and Samolia is promising to replace Afganistan as the next state sponsor of Terrorism. What to do amidst such a seemingly insurmountable crisis? When the road gets tough, the tough torch gays.

If Patriotism is "...the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel," morality at least provides good cover along the way. Bush protoges in the PA House are following in kind, voting yesterday to ban gay marriage. Can't pass tax reform? Just got caught with your hand in the taxpayer's wallet? Lets string us up some gays!

Saddest part of this whole affair is that so many legislators will err on the side of expediency; fearing the zealot's wrath more than their own tenuous grip on responsible governance. Republicans are salivating over the political expediency of it all. Rendell will veto this bill, because that's what a gun grabbin, gay lovin baby killer from Philadelphia does. At last! An issue Daryl Metcalfe and God-Lovin Butler County can use to rally around Lynn Swann. Hell, this might even be enough for them to look past the fact Swann is black.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Take a Look, Its in a Book...

What is a Carnegie Library worth? How about Ohiopyle State Park or a tidy business district? France, perennial economic loser but global champion of chic cultured life, believes quite a bit. The cities of France are heralded as the most beautiful in the world; their gilt facades and baroque design polished to a high gloss by 300 years of public subsidy. From the Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia to the lavishly appointed buildings in Oakland, Pennsylvanians have tried their hand at instilling a Parisian touch on cities otherwise developed a la lazziez faire. But in the great Anglo tradition, we did it on the cheap. The beauty of our grand boulevards is marred by filthy streets, sickly trees, and empty flower beds. I need not invoke Paris as a clean counterpart; Radnor, Ardmore, Mt. Lebanon and Sewickley will do just fine. The clean streets and manicured public spaces so meticulously guarded by healthy communities are all that stands between Oakland and... well, somewhere you'd want to live.

In the wake of the Congressional pork-binge, every oversized check photo-op looks like a vote-buying stunt. But is this too cynical an approach? A fitting question following an article entitled "Riding the White Elephant": have we become so phobic of government spending that we can’t recognize the difference between a sorely needed investment and a bridge to an uninhabited island in Alaska? As our cultural and physical infrastructure crumbles around us, we end up cash rich but civically bankrupt.

This week Ed Rendell stood in the drab interior of the Carnegie Library in East Liberty holding a check for $7.5 million. Rendell challenged the community to match the grant dollar for dollar to build our neighborhood a new library, while promising less subsidy for the development of Fifth & Forbes downtown. Both projects speak to imporant issues- both are deserving of some public support. But Rendell's approach, of challenging investors and neighbors to ante up, will help even those most squeamish of public spending to sleep at night.