Everything else out of the way first.
1. You know how they say, "Where's the outrage?" Well, the Tribune-Review provides it, while the rest of the world plays catch-up:
Gov. Ed Rendell's acceptance of two no-bid, below-market leases of state land for natural gas drilling is yet another example of how his penchant for awarding contracts behind closed doors costs taxpayers dearly. (Trib, Edit Board)
If business like this cannot be competitively bid out, so that (if nothing else) we can be assured of getting the best value for sacrificing what were protected lands, what hope is there in this world for the rest of us? One has to wonder what both PA gubernatorial candidates think of this maneuver. It leaves something of the vulgar taste of the Marc Rich pardon; one hopes Rendell will further discuss the quickee land deal before he moves on to Transportation.
2. Oh, I get it, it's "Opposite Day" at the Trib. The headline reads, "Economy dampens turnout at Pittsburgh's Labor Day parade" and...
"There's a lot of unemployment right now," said Dan Gilman, 29, of Fox Chapel, who watched the parade pass on the Boulevard of the Allies with his wife and two young children. "If the economy were booming, everybody would be out here celebrating. But a lot of people are disenchanted." (Trib, Chris Togneri)
Wow, I'm reading this online obviously ... but if they pinned an A-1 above the fold story on this hook I'm howling. *-CLARIFICATION: Different Dan Gilman, 29.
3. It's go time. You hear?
"No question, it's going to be a tough year," said Michael Lamb, the Pittsburgh controller. "But there's eight weeks to go; today's the day when this race really starts." (P-G, James O'Toole)
Expectations recalibration on my mark ... mark.
"It's a scary year for Democrats," said state Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Robinson, as he strode toward Grant Street. "It's not just what's happening in Washington. [Gov. Ed] Rendell is an anchor in my district. That's going to hurt Onorato as well," he said, referring to the Mr. Corbett's rival, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. (ibid)
There's a moment of opportunity here, clearly.
"The leadership of our party sometimes was more concerned with politics than policy," [Sestak] said, endorsing the widespread perception of an anti-incumbent mood among voters. (ibid)
The President (et al) is going to campaign for this guy. Makes sense. Sestak is sixish points down, it's a winnable enough seat for Democrats among some bad options, if Obama can help push him over the top (in PA of all places!) he could flip the post-election narrative no matter how bad it gets, at least as it relates to him. I imagine that will be sort of a Joe Biden relationship on the campaign trail but practicality works.
4. Whatever can be done to effectively help forestall the onslaught of widespread drilling and hydrofracturing in our general vicinity, that's super. All we have to do is hold out until the trickle of evidence arising from elsewhere grows to a torrent, and it becomes obvious that energy schmenergy, jobs schmobs, this is not the world's best idea. We don't want to become an exhibit ourselves.
The tests in Pavillion found that 17 of the 19 wells tested contained petroleum hydrocarbons as well as napthalene, phenols and benzene, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a report issued late on Tuesday. (Reuters, Jon Hurdle; h/t Fractracker)
This is the big thing that the industry has been maintaining can't possibly be happening. Everyone has been manipulated by a fringe avant-garde radical filmmaker, has been the idea. The goal posts will have to be moved accordingly.
4b. The Great Briemholio: Equitable Gas is angering his bunghole!
5. Here is supposed rendering of the Penguins' known short-term plans for the lower hill area, as provided by Reuse the Igloo!
I can't personally vouch for the accuracy of the "Yes or no, all surface parking through 2015?" question, I almost have to imagine it's in dispute. But I like this photograph for several reasons. First of all it really gives a sense of the canvas being worked upon, and how much land is developable with and without the arena, allowing for thoroughfares in both cases. Second, one has to wonder -- if this picture manifests, how much will it cool off the Downtown parking market? Do the lease bidders know about this? Finally, it reminds me of something Carl Redwood offered a while back-- he thought it appropriate that the community receive a tiny taste of parking revenue on this trapezoid. "At least they're bidding out the garages," he pointed out, so the city gets something in return. "They're just giving this one to the Penguins."
6. This just needs to be added:
As of Sunday, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl hadn't updated his personal Twitter account since Thanksgiving, and a reporter's request to be his friend on Facebook has been awaiting confirmation for months. (Trib, Adam Brandolph)
I'd have to ask that reporter: well? Are you his friend? If not, you're still welcome to like him.