Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fair and Impartial News

I understand that the Post-Gazette doesn't want to be billed as the left-wing media, but give me a break. In an article regarding the recent passing of a bottled water limiting act by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (pure feel-good fluff with no potential enforcement or compliance) the Post-Gazette felt the need to end with this:

"On Monday, the International Bottled Water Association, a trade group that represents water bottlers worldwide, issued a statement calling the resolution erroneous and saying that it 'is not in the public interest and could discourage consumers from drinking bottled water.'"

By the way, I totally agree it's not in the public interest for the public to stop drinking bottled water. Those poor bottled water companies (like Coca-Cola) might end up going out of business and then our economy would truly be in a shambles. Everybody make sure to buy your bottle of water a day. Your economic stimulus check should cover it for this year.

Post-Gazette, next time, can you just talk about how much of a joke it is that this conference wasted their time on a resolution "encouraging" cities to do something that most of the mayors involved with aren't even acting on?

At least Mr Ravenstahl didn't feel the need to fly down to Miami for this golf outing of the mayors...


Friday, June 27, 2008

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

I'm having a hard time working myself into a rage about Barden today, but he still deserves mention.

I definitely can't work myself into a rage about Schenley high school, but maybe that's because I don't have kids, and I'm a newcomer to the area. I was psyched to see that someone else actually donated some money to the Pittsburgh Promise. Thanks Massey-Buick!

I'm just content and hungover. Don't worry. I'll be back in a rage shortly!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where's the Bus Fare?

I agree with the premise of having a secure funding source for public transit. I disagree with the premise that said source should be a 10% tax on every drink I have at the bar. Vehemently, I disagree with the premise that said source of funding not actually be given to public transit.

Why is Dan Onorato not giving money to the Port Authority that he's collecting from the drink tax? Why was this ego-maniac given the power to control when the money is dispensed to Port Authority? Why is the County Council not forcing this issue? Why, oh why, is the city considering merging with this craptastic council? Oh, yeah, Twanda Carlisle.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Where You Can Buy a House for $70,000

Today's rant is courtesy of the esteemed Pittsburgh Business Times.
How do you write an article whining about salaries being below average in Pittsburgh without acknowledging we have one of the lower cost of living in the nation? Oh, you don't have any journalistic integrity and you want to make people feel shitty about living here and drive away newcomers? Or you're too lazy to actually look up this data? Any other explanation?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thank You

Well, it seems like the powers-that-be in Harrisburg listened to me, or more likely, I was one voice of many who was sick of the joke that became the smoking bill.

So, thank you to the State Senators in Harrisburg. Special thanks to Senate Democratic Leader Bob Mellow of Lackawanna (say that three times fast) who led his 10 fellow Democratic Senators in a turnaround vote passing the ban 41-9.

I honestly do hope that Allegheny County is allowed to enact its previous ban if just because it would piss of Mr Barden because they originally prevented smoking in casinos and he's funny when he's angry.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What is middle class again?

Regarding the recent bill in the City Council regarding campaign reform, I noted this gem:
"The donation limits in the legislation would double if any candidate used $250,000 of his or her own money for campaigns -- a measure designed to give candidates without great wealth the chance to make up some ground if they face a well-heeled rival."

What candidate "without great wealth" can throw around $250,000 of their own money into running a campaign??? And why wouldn't this "well-heeled rival" do the same??

This is almost as ridiculous as saying someone making $200,000 a year is middle class. Maybe in Connecticut or New York City, you can get away with such assumptions, but in Pittsburgh, give me a break. If I run for an office in Pittsburgh, you can bet I won't be spending $250,000 to do it, and the reason is because I don't have it.

"The veto is 'hugely disappointing,' said Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause/Pennsylvania, which had hoped to use city campaign reform to help spur statewide action."
To Mr. Kauffman, I say, do you really think the folk Harrisburg care about what Pittsburgh does? They don't even care what Allegheny County thinks as evidenced by the recent smoking ban fiasco. Maybe if Philadelphia institutes some campaign reform, we'll see some action.

To Mr. Ravenstahl, I say, I do applaud you for taking a stand against problematic bills, but if that's really your new stand, I don't think any new bills will ever be passed under your reign...

To the people who are pissed at Mr. Ravenstahl and think he's corrupt for veto-ing this bill, do you really think he won his last election because he spent more money on his campaign?


Monday, June 9, 2008

Please please please please please!

Please just pass a smoking ban bill.

I don't necessarily agree with the infringements of people's rights in passing this bill (if I'm to objectively think about instead of selfishly thinking about it.) However, the reason senators aren't passing this bill isn't because they think it violates peoples' rights, it's because they want to be able to put Allegheny County on an equal level with Philadelphia. Literally, all that is stopping 10 democratic senators from voting on this is that Allegheny County doesn't have the right to make the law stricter but Philadelphia County does. Of course, why stop there?? Why just Allegheny County and Philadelphia (and maybe Scranton if we're feeling generous.) Since when does our government get run by the majority at the expense of the minority?? Isn't that the whole purpose of checks and balances??

I've gotten off track again. Please, State Senate and House, just pass a damned bill!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

I See Dead People

Pretty soon, I'm going to have to stop reading news about Harrisburg. I'll be like China's google ignoring that tanks ever rolled into Tiananmen Square. In the mean time, I have to rant about the Science Center and the "Bodies" exhibit and reactionary politics.

Yes, some NY judges decided that it's wrong to display human bodies without having a record of where these bodies came from because they clearly have existing laws in place governing the ethical treatment of dead bodies.

Yes, thousands and thousands of people have seen these bodies nationally waiting in line and paying ridiculous sums of money without blinking an eye and without thinking about their sources.

Yes, it was highly publicized that the source of these bodies was controversial and the group that presented the exhibit (Premier Exhibitions) only responded with vague jargon refusing to say where exactly the bodies came from, which is one of the many reasons why I personally declined to see this exhibit in Pittsburgh.

Yes, some angry man (perhaps Representative Mike Fleck himself) ignorantly visited the exhibit and then read that he had potentially looked at poor tortured human-rights-less bodies instead of just run-of-the-mill creepy dead bodies. Perhaps he thought that in China on your driver's license you get an orange sticker if you want to donate your organs or body after you die? Perhaps, he just ignored the facts until they were shoved down his throat by the New York court system. Now, he's even more angry and playing childish games in Harrisburg to threaten funding for an important educational institution, while attempting to add yet more red tape to our state government. New York clearly has a law or two that deals with dead people, and I'm sure Pennsylvania does too. Although, knowing Pennsylvania, those laws are exempt in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Damn you, State Senate!

In a world record of two days, a committee passed and the smoking ban went up for vote in both the state Senate and House of Representatives. The House passed the ban by an overwhelming majority (163 - 38) but the Senate decided (31 - 19) that because Allegheny County etc, aren't allowed to create a stricter smoking ban independently, that they would derail this bill for yet another undetermined amount of time! Government is not perfect, and it never will be. Isn't it better to have at least a semblance of a smoking ban in place state-wide than delaying a ban at all for years??


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Agenda anyone?

Sometimes, I like to read both the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the Post-Gazette on a subject to remind myself why I normally scoff at the Tribune.

Tribune headline: "Councilman Kraus wants to create registry of same-sex couples"
Post-Gazette headline: "City Councilman proposes domestic registry"

One is inflammatory and seems to be inciting a witch-hunt. One appears to be reporting the news. I'd like to chalk it up to just a difference in attitude about attention-getting headlines, but reading the articles further polarizes them. The Post-Gazette discusses the many groups that could benefit from such a registry with actual quotes from the people involved in the proposal and a thorough article. The Tribune-Review has a curt two paragraphs mentioning gays and lesbians in this ultra-important breaking news snippet.

Of course, that's probably my crazy liberal tendencies reading into things. At least the Tribune Review does stop short of condemning this proposal. I'll wait for the editorials for that icing on the cake.

It's about Time!

Those guys over in Harrisburg finally took their heads out of their asses and the state smoking ban is now out of committee. When I moved to Pittsburgh over a year ago, I was excited to see that a smoking ban had been passed for Allegheny county. Unfortunately, that ban was over-turned very rapidly. Now, after a year of the state discussing it, 6 people in a committee are finally ready to present a bill to the Senate and House of Representatives. Having seen the change-over to state-wide smoking bans while living in both Connecticut and New York and seeing that the sky didn't fall and all legitimate businesses continued to stay in business and do well, I'm a big proponent of these bills.

Frankly, it's been embarrassing to bring out-of-towners to Pittsburgh for one reason alone, the smoke when we go out to restaurants.

Unfortunately, it is a shoddy bill, but it is better than nothing. I would love to hear someone justify this exception as anything except pandering to constituents: "smaller 'mom and pop"'taverns where food sales don't exceed 20 percent of total revenue." Does Jack's count? Does the Town Tavern? Of course, there's the obvious casino exemption as well, so maybe the committee-members were just hedging their bets?