Monday, November 26, 2007

NFL Players and Guns: A Novel Pairing

You know what sucks about stalking defenseless animals in the woods with firepower that would make a Mujahideen shudder? No Stillers.

What's the only way that a Sunday afternoon swilling 'ahrn and watching Big Ben could be improved? Guns, of course.

Thankfully, WTAE has created the perfect celebration of the first day of hunting season and the Steelers' appearance on Monday Night Football. "Go Hunting with the Steelers" is downright porny in its mash-up of two Pittsburgher pursuits, combining the men who enact fun ritualistic violence on their opponents every week with the sport of bringing the pain to Western Pennsylvania's wildlife. It's too bad that they have to wear Browns colors while out on the hunt.

From the looks of WTAE's promo, the players involved have plenty of experience with firearms. But who is the Dee-N kidding? Based on the fact that they play in the NFL, the players have plenty of experience with firearms. Too bad the Black and Gold didn't pick up Tank Johnson.

This story was written before Redskins safety Sean Taylor was critically injured by a bullet fired by a home intruder last night.

'Hit' Piece

On fine newsstands everywhere, the latest Newsweek magazine profiles presidential candidate Rudolph GIULIANI and casts stark light on his formative years as an Italian-American student, Italian-American son, and Italian-American stereotype.

Of note to DN readers: 1) In addition to having a scary foreign last name, Rudy GIULIANI listened to opera with other swarthy, meatball-sucking Mediterranean-types while attending high school in Brooklyn. (Brooklyn? That's in New York!!!!)

2) Did you know that Rudy GIULIANI is collaterally related to people reputedly linked to the mob in some fashion? I did; all Italian Americans are natural criminals who enjoy nothing so much as cheating the system and fire-bombing the homes of those who question their methods.

3) Despite a record of prosecuting Mafia leaders and breaking the back of New York City's criminal rackets, Rudy GIULIANI secretly intends to hand over the country to La Cosa Nostra once elected. The United States will be renamed "Heeey, Shutta You Face Town" and will be presided over by a revolving door of subliterate dagos and wops, starting with Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, as well as the former Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Peter Pace.

Bravo, Newsweek! Your unbiased klatch of WASP writers and straight-shooting editors has once again ensured that the presidential winner of 2008 will re-confirm the highest standards of eighteenth-century race theory and irrational xenophobia.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Things To Hate #420: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Caption Contest

"Bad dog! Next time, bring both slippers and my newspaper. You know, the one with the awful Caption Contest on page A-2."

Dear Reader,

Your help is urgently needed. Together, we can inundate the editors of the PG with hate-filled e-mails about their lousy, unfunny caption contest. For fifteen months, the page 2 editors have published the lame and dated one-liners of illiterate yunzers.

This must end, if only for to save the integrity of page-2 neighbor Brian O'Neill.

I once had high hopes for the Caption Contest. A year and a half ago, I opened my Sunday newspaper with expectations of merriment and joviality. Sadly, the Caption Contest has run its course. The talented merry pun-sters of Pittsburgh have eschewed the Caption Contest and now add their unfunny remarks to blogs like this one.

Their departure has left a void in the Caption Contest, which has been filled by the following losers:

EARL L. BROWN, MORNINGSIDE

BRIAN AGNEW, HERMITAGE

CELIA BARLOW, SHALER

MIKE FOLEY, SHALER

HARLAN CLARE, ROSS

RON GAUPIN, NEW KENSINGTON

MOLLY HELLMAN, EAST LIBERTY

JANE PHILLIPS, McMURRAY

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hey, Frank LaGrotta: Keep a Bed Warm for Bill DeWeese


I'm an avowed ageist. I believe people over the age of 35 should be restricted from forwarding emails and should be prohibited from operating a cell phone while driving. For more evidence that the middle-aged have little concept of how the internets work, see the case of deposed state representative Frank LaGrotta.

State prosecutors are charging LaGrotta
with two felony counts of violating the state's conflict of interest law. It seems LaGrotta added his sister to the state payroll for a sinecure position, then back-dated her start date so they could receive lump sum payments of $19,329. He also hired his niece, Alissa Lemmon, whom work sparingly before leaving for an secretarial post at the Pittsburgh Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Here's the most memorable exchange between LaGrotta and his niece:

In a series of e-mails on Jan. 18, 2006, grand jurors found Mr. LaGrotta explaining a state check Ms. Lemmon received after leaving state employment. Mr. LaGrotta later told investigators the exchange was an attempt at humor, an explanation the grand jury rejected.

"Did you ever figure out the paycheck thing?" Ms. Lemmon wrote her uncle.

"They kept you on benefits through Jan. 31 and mistakenly kept you on payroll. Just keep it. They don't want back," Mr. LaGrotta replied.

Ms. Lemmon: "Well, isn't that nice of them :)."

Mr. LaGrotta: "You may get one more too!"

Ms. Lemmon: "Isn't this illegal? Not that I'm complaining!!!"

Mr. LaGrotta: "Not illegal. Mistake. You can pay it back if you choose -- but no one here is asking that. Besides, it is like your severance pay."

Ms. Lemmon: "Eh -- works for me!!!!!"

'Niece' to know ya, Frank. Keep a bed warm in Western Pen for Billy DeWeese!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tancredo: Because There's No Hope

Congressman Tom Tancredo has created a stir with his first and last ad, a Jerry Bruckheimer thriller his flacks have labeled "Before It's Too Late." See the commercial that's recently been flagged by YouTube as "desperate":

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Porn: Irrational Exuberance Over Fox's Money Honeys


Can there be anything sexier than unattainable women talking about obscene wealth while putting a positive spin on exchange-draining trade deficits? Fox Business Network, a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch and Bob Guccione, provides us with the answer.

In economics they call it revealed preference theory: making decisions based upon past consumer behavior. Over at the DN, we simply know it as the "hot-chicks-plus-swooping graphics-and-loud-yelling-equals-cable-gold" equation. Good on ya, Mr. Ailes!

We especially love the fetching Jenna Lee (at top right), anchorcandy for the channel's a.m. zoo program, "Money For Breakfast." Don't miss Fox Business Network's other shows, including "Cash Brunch," "Bikinis 'N Securities," and "Market Wrap w/ Jenna Jameson."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fred Thompson's Gone Hollywood On Us

Jowly Tennessee senator and human tryptophan Fred Thompson has debuted a pair of television advertisements (this is the 60-second version; there's also a 30-second fun-size), carried nationally over Fox News Channel airwaves.

So the next time you tune into Fox to watch a blond bombshell rail against the capital-gains tax as an assault on freedom, do stick around through the commercial break.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Election By the Numbers: East End

I only do the East End, because I'm one of those damned effete East End mocha yuppies. But here it goes...

Luke's victory in Wards 1-15 relied heavily on (surprise) Old People! Straight Democratic Voters accounted for 55% of his total take East of the Point.
  • TOTAL VOTES WARD 1-15: 36,235 (100%)
  • TOTAL STRAIGHT D 1-15: 11,480 (32% of all Votes Cast)
  • TOTAL RAVENSTAHL 1-15: 20,791 (57% of all Votes Cast)
  • TOTAL DESANTIS 1-15: 13,510 (37% of all Votes Cast)
If that's not depressing enough, consider this. DeSantis barely won his 'strongholds' in Ward 7. Not that it really matters when Ward 7, with turnout at 25%, was less than 7% of the votes cast in the East End.
  • TOTAL VOTES WARD 7: 2,521
  • TOTAL STRAIGHT D 7: 388 (16% of all Votes Cast in 7)
  • TOTAL RAVENSTAHL 7: 889 (37% of all Votes Cast in 7)
  • TOTAL DESANTIS 7: 1,508 (58% of all Votes Cast in 7)
All the fluff about Ward 7 being a voter powerhouse is shit. Two hundred more votes were cast in the 12th Ward Ghetto (Lincoln Larimer), and twice as many votes were cast in the 11th Ward, (Highland Park / East Liberty). Shadyside is a transient neighborhood where college students and short-term homeowners don't bother voting: A Gap and a Coffee Tree Roaster does not a neighborhood make.

The 14th Ward left us equally disappointed. Voter turnout, at 39%, was better than average; and as usual, the 14th Ward produced 1/3 of all votes cast in the East End. However, the breakout wasn't overwhelming for DeSantis.
  • TOTAL VOTES WARD 14: 9,965
  • TOTAL STRAIGHT D 14: 1,485 (16% of all Votes Cast in 14)
  • TOTAL RAVENSTAHL 14: 3,808 (38% of all Votes Cast in 14)
  • TOTAL DESANTIS 14: 5,613 (56% of all Votes Cast in 14)
Though its easy to be disgusted like CapitolMan, it is important to note that the key ingredients to Ravenstahl's victory in the East End are those most at risk demographically. Ravenstahl was heavily reliant on poor, ill-educated, old, rag-tag neighborhoods to secure his victory. The Straight D was absolutely critical to his success.

Those people are dying off, and fast. Meanwhile, neighborhoods like Squirrel Hill and Highland Park, where DeSantis did well, continue to grow. One need only note the electoral victories of Pat Dowd and Bruce Kraus, and the continued defection of all of Homewood, Lincoln Larimer, etc. into Penn Hills, to read the writing on the wall. A Republican may not win, but as DeSantis said, a solid 1/3 of Pittsburghers are demanding change.

Ravenstahl will likely outlive the machine that brought him to power; and thus his utility as a politician. Ask Len Bodack how that feels.

Pittsburgh and Luke Ravenstahl...because there's no hope

Dear Pittsburgh,

I thought we might actually vote for a qualified and intelligent leader yesterday. But alas, the man-who-would-be-mayor is a registered Republican. Perish the thought!

Feel free to mock my naivety, but I'll gladly - and arrogantly - consider myself a denizen of the embittered, cynical Burghosphere.

Congratulations, Yunzers. Your blind partisanship has ensured two more years of economic stagnation, suburban flight, and high taxation.

In a few months, I'll depart for Cali. If you make it to Left Coast, feel free to stop by for an IC Light. I'd love to hear about my corrupt and mismanaged homeland.

Suck it,

CapitolMAN

Monday, November 05, 2007

Make This Your Best Guy Fawkes Day Yet!


Guy Fawkes Day is once again upon us, gentle yinzers. For those of you without a subscription to The Economist, the holiday commemorates the foiling of the infamous "Gunpowder Plot" by English authorities, a scheme which allegedly targeted the British Parliament for destruction by a group of Catholic extremists and its number one bomb-thrower, Guy Fawkes. Britons typically celebrate November 5 with bonfires and smoldering effigies of the revolutionary, but this is America, a-hole; the DN always goes bigger. As a service to our reader(s), the following is a list of things you can do to mark the first victory in the 17th century's War On Terror:

1) Torch a Catholic's house. Have no fear: The papist that lives there will most likely not be home, but off counting gold in a subterranean hideaway and burning potions to appease his Roman masters.

2) Enjoy a typical English afternoon of tea, brittle food, and latently homosexual recreation.

3) Sing the Guy Fawkes Day anthem, "Nearer, My God, To Thee (But Only the Protestant Kind)."

4) Take a moment to consider the policy implications of using conventional military force to fight endless wars against stateless entities driven not by territorial conquest, but ideology. Then, invade Iran.

5) Remember that as long as we have religion people of weak character will continue to kill other people based on their interpretation of what a magic tree said 5,000 years ago.

Ravenstahl: "Diiip, diiiip Bush"


CMU Professor Chad Hermannn pointed out a curious political handshake that's gone unreported. As you may recall, President Bush gave the commencement address at St. Vincent's College this summer. While not in Pittsburgh (or even Allegheny County), Boy Mayor was third in the receiving line (you can spot Boy Mayor by looking for his bald spot).

Why would a boy man who has spent the last month of the campaign demonizing Republicans want to greet the country's his rival party's titular leader?

As I've stated before, for Luke Ravenstahl, winning the mayor's race is about satisfying his insatiable ego. It's not about Pittsburgh. It's about Luke.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Porn: Danika Wukich, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's Spokescandy



Congratulations, Danika! You're about to join the prestigious club of women who have been disrespected by The Darn News.

Your public status as the Ravenstahl campaign spokesperson makes us envious (we're roughly the same age, and yet here we are scribbling in our diary about you), and your tan-in-a-can hotness just screams "I'm a young, ambitious, professional woman. You edit a blog about politics and boobs. Why am I talking to you again?"

And allow us to point out that in the photo to your right Danika strikes the same pose as Joe Hardy's new concubine, Danielle Golden.

With a mouth "piece" like this, all the lonely yinzers will soon be shouting, "Two more years for our Boy Mayor!"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ravenstahl - a homophobe (maybe a racist)...but sure knows how to feed 'em red meat

Quote of the night from Luke: “[I've had the opportunity] to touch and feel every city employee so they got the chance to understand me as mayor”

They're talking about it over at the Pgh Comet.

I met David from 2PJ at the debate. Nice fella.

PG calls the final debate milquetoast. Ravenstahl harps on DeSantis' Republicanism, says the Trib.

Onto debate coverage:

Too bad we can't say the same for Mark DeSantis tonight. About the red meat issues, not the homophobia.

Mark DeSantis missed his opportunity to win the black vote. Luckily for him, the debate aired on QED. Given ample opportunity to distinguish himself as the responsible candidate who understands black issues, DeSantis chose to highlight his wonkiest positions on entrepreneurship, broken-windows policing, and school board appointees.

Everyone knows Mark DeSantis is more intelligent, responsible, and honest than Luke Ravenstahl. But Luke’s a bare-knuckled politician. He’s willing to be gruff, amiable, and angered when it suits him. Citizens like emotional mayors, and Luke is emotional. He’s also sly. He willfully misleads the audience about DeSantis’ Republicanism, the FOP endorsement, and the residency requirement.

On Election Day, it will not matter if the discerning, college-educated East Ender connects with DeSantis. Hell, it won’t even matter that DeSantis failed to connect with the pro-file, homophobic Brookliner. But what will matter is that DeSantis had an excellent chance to win the black vote in Homewood, East Liberty, and the Hill District. But he blew it.

On the issue of police residency, Ravenstahl has adamantly said that police should live inside the city’s boundaries because property ownership means police have a stake in the their city’s quality of life. Fair enough, but we all know police don’t live in Homewood. Instead of pouncing on Luke and calling him a racist (like I might have suggested), DeSantis sonorously remarked that policemen are only required to live within the city, but not specific neighborhoods.

Excellent point, but where’s the gravitas? Shout, jab, and gesticulate wildly! Say which neighborhoods are getting the short end of the stick. Tell the audience that Luke’s protecting the white yunzer at the expense of the black yunzer.

DeSantis needed to talk to the black voter who feels threatened by the punks and miscreants that smash glass bottles and peddle crack on the street corner. He needed to be livid of the crime in Homewood, the decay of Uptown, and the indifference of the Mayor’s administration. He should have been outraged about the indignity of being a decent person living amongst hoods and thugs.

While DeSantis’ micro-loan program for minority businesses is fresh, altruistic and much needed program in a city that ranks last in entrepreneurship, it’s a pipe dream to the decent families who witness friends and cousins killed by drug and senseless identity wars.

DeSantis will never likely lead the repelling of English infidels, but to be the change mayor one must display verve and outrage. He hasn’t done that, and for that reason, the black community will sit out this election. And if Luke’s right, all of Pittsburgh will be worse off for it.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:

In an audience of 50-60 people, more than half were campaign supporters and only a handful were under the age of 30.

The Mayor’s press secretary, Danika Wukich, is a very attractive young woman [pictured here]. The Dee-N was especially pleased she chose to wear a pair of sex-me boots.

After reading the PG’s profile of Luke a few weeks ago, we learned he could tell time at age three. Did he forget? Twice in this debate did Mayor Wunderkind lose track of how long each candidate has his answer and rebuttal.

Les Ludwig was handing out cards seeking write-in votes for mayor. Take up golf, Les.

Ravenstahl is opposed to gay marriage AND civil unions. Who knew there were 27-year old homophobes in the Democratic Party?

DeSantis goes to great lengths to explain that he donated to the current president in 1999. Read between the lines and what he’s saying is that he did not donate to Bush in 2004. Yo, Mark. If you oppose the war, say you oppose the war. The entire country is anti-war right now. Later in the debate, you said the goings-on of Washington were irrelevant to Pittsburgh. If that’s the case, distance yourself as far as you possibly can from GWB and Rick Santorum. Don’t remind us – ever - that you did in fact donate to them.

Luke’s been blaming Washington and the Republican Party for the city’s fiscal woes. DeSantis should have boisterously called him out. Washington is not responsible for the city’s precarious pecuniary position. For a city still in receivership, the Mayor’s blame-someone-else mentality is not only disingenuous but it’s also frightening.

I have a stream of consciousness that I’ll consider posting tomorrow.

Throw Another Waxlike Secretion On the Barbie

Autralian opposition leader and putative future prime minister Kevin Rudd eats his own ear wax. Especially enjoyed the bit at the end when he leans back in his chair, visibly sated after scraping clean his cochlear duct. America, can you believe we're actually friends with this country?