Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday: Dispatches from Beyond the Random***

The US Navy has a deal on the table** with Somali pirates that would free Capt. Richard Phillips of the private container vessel Maersk Alabama -- in exchange for a "small" ransom.

The process was postponed because “each group suspects the other one” of reneging, said the pirate, who identifies himself only as Daud. (Bloomberg, Hamsa Omar)

The Alabama has made it safely to Mombassa.

"The captain is a hero," one crew member shouted from the 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama container ship as it docked. "He saved our lives by giving himself up. (Reuters, Celestine Acheing)

**-UPDATE: Capt. Phillips jumps ship again and is rescued by U.S. Navy SEALS (CNN); President Obama issues statement (HuffPo)


Yeah -- the Tea Party was just stupid. (Slag Heap, Chris Potter)

It sounds bad -- and that's why we don't talk about it anymore. I'm pretty sure Pittsburgh's plan is to wage sort of a "pensions hunger strike" against State Government, while taking care of the debt side of the equation in the meanwhile. Yes there is a potential flaw in that plan but honestly, nobody has a better one yet. (NullSpace)

It's getting too easy to discredit certain aspects of "The Right". Not just Rick Santorum and not just this one 2PJs blog post, but in general. Tired of blowouts over there. (2PJs, Dayvoe)

Oh yes but this is disconcerting: is President Obama creating new state secrets in regards to wiretapping, or simply continuing to cover up Bush's old ones? (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

You all knew that Lamar Advertising is desiring to bring further information to the Court's attention in order to defend its legal position, and the City of Pittsburgh is arguing, like, "No!", right? (Busman's Holiday)

Pittsburgh: POOR INCOME GROWTH. Also: A cute post. (The Pittsburgh Conservative)

Do you feel like you're waiting for something? I'm starting to feel like I'm waiting for something. And I think that something may be justice. We probably are all waiting pending "a reflection of the serious and far reaching ramifications" of delivering justice. (Allegheny Institute)

*-ADDED: Street cred vs. human capital (Tube City Almanac)


Monday, April 13, 2009 - 10:00 A.M.
Public Hearing
- Bill No. 2009-1039 - Ordinance supplementing the Pittsburgh Code, Title One, Administrative, by adding a new section, Article XIII, entitled, "Campaign Finance Regulations." (CABLECAST)


The Northside Institutional Church of God in Christ is back, baby.

After the fire in January, city officials and community organizers offered assistance to restore the congregation. The church had never sought the limelight. But after laboring in what felt like obscurity for decades, the Thorpes were overwhelmed.

"We are so blessed. My parents served Pittsburgh for 45 years, and Pittsburgh said, 'Thank you.' We really have noticed and appreciated the outpouring from the city. It was something we had never experienced before, in any other situation," Ms. Thorpe-Vaughn said. (P-G, Ann Rodgers; photo Robin Rombach)

Hope everybody is having a wonderful Easter. I am eating crackers and being festive, thinking upon how the Jews got out of Egypt. It took ten plagues -- and even then, Pharoah changed his mind and came out after us. We cut him off at the pass, though.


  1. I'm on to Season 3 of West Wing-- finally.

    I see your point about Donna.

    Agent Ska

  2. Campaign finance doesn't work.

  3. Oh-Ok. Thanks for having the final word on that Matt.

    What I want to know is - If you know it will not work, what kind of sleeze ball politicians have you been hanging around with to give you that idea?

    I think Anthony would be better served with a lobotomized chimp for a campaign manager. Because you are surely not doing him any favors....

  4. I should have just commented.

    Matt H - Got anything to support that assertion? Or just felt like saying it? Philadelphia seems happy with what they did. So does Cleveland. So does Cincinnatti.

  5. There are always so many loopholes around any sort of legislation.

    I don't support reform anyway. I should be able to give a candidate as much as I want. If I believe in the candidate and his/her platform then I should be able to show that in whatever way I want whether it be $$$ or in volunteering.

  6. "I think Anthony would be better served with a lobotomized chimp for a campaign manager. Because you are surely not doing him any favors...."

    Thanks for your obsession with me. I love it.

  7. All right, Matt, you should be able to give as much time and/or money to the candidate of your choice. Because you think you should be able to, and your judgment is better than any one else’s. Or maybe because of the first amendment. Anyway, is it possible that someone else, call him Lamar Advertising, giving as much money to Luke Ravenstahl as Lamar wants to, might not want something in return? Are you sure that everyone who gives as much money as they want to to candidates never wants anything in return? It’s not possible that even one person wouldn’t ask for something in return, or that the candidate who gets elected won’t give one of his or her big donors some favor?

    Are you at least willing to have all donations recorded in a publicly accessible database? How about placing some limitation on what business people who donate to the Mayor can do with the city? Maybe prohibit giving no-bid contracts to donors who exceed the federal contribution limits? How about restricting the amount of bullets a rifle can have in a magazine (sorry, wrong topic)?

    You say flat out, without exception or modification, that campaign finance reform doesn’t work. Does unrestricted giving work for Pittsburgh? Is there no one else in the whole of the City who could do as good a job as Mayor Ravenstahl?

  8. In addition in reference to the language the home rule charter uses, is "lowest qualified " or "responsible" bidder in many arena's "townships." That is the language that is the catch-all. The township, or city would and could argue that qualified, or responsible if their reasoning carries substance, they still have to justify why they chose what may have not been the lowest bid. Transparency, and good and honest, reasoning as to why they chose what they chose, is the point of the whole system. I don't buy that any city or township is stuck with an inferior product, there is language to avoid that.

  9. I really, really hope everyone who voted for Obama is paying attention to his trend with respect to civil liberties. He's continuing the unbelievable bad precedent set by Bush. If he gets a pass on this because he's "our guy", we're in bad trouble.

    You know how Presidents and legislators always hand out money to their pet causes after they're elected? Well, imagine they also handed out secret phone taps to their enemies after they're elected.

  10. Ed, when you say it that way, Matt won't see the problem. You have to say, "Is it possible that someone running against Luke Ravenstahl might have a conflict of interest if he receives massive donations?"

  11. Jerry, we will see if Matt answers either of us.

  12. Like Luke, Matt is a very busy man. You must respect his time. He may not be able to answer quickly as most of his afternoon is spent taking staged pictures accentuating his bosses pelvic area. It's not something you can rush, you know.

  13. "Matt H said...

    Thanks for your obsession with me. I love it."

    Is that a banana in your mouth or is Anthony happy to see you?