Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday: The Deft and the Inept

The ALCOSAN public meetings are characterized as thus far not exactly rising to the level of a Green Revolution. (P-G, Don Hopey)

City Controller Michael Lamb suggested increasing the Homestead Exemption on property taxes. A smart person once thought this to be a good idea. Hey, look, Ravenstahl's office is also working on increasing the Homestead Exemption! IT BEGINS.

The City is on track to get its first "green bike lane" in the coming months. No, it's not made from broccoli and compost, it's literally colored green. They're all the rage. Bicyclists be voting, when they're not getting run down. (WESA, Emily Farah)

I wish I had more advice for County Council as it explores ways to generate revenue with cell towers and billboards. Be selective. Do some of it, not all of it. Maybe levy a billboard tax while you're at it; regional consistency is important. (P-G, Len Barcousky)

In a School District wherein the majority of students are African-American, it does not look like its school board map will be able to maintain a ratio of one-third "majority-minority" districts. We could hold out hope that some white people will vote for some black people, but for some reason nobody ever seems to mention that outside of Presidential politics. (P-G, Eleanor Chute)

Sugar Top is Schenley Heights, and it has middle-class bones. I learned something today. (P-G, Diana Nelson-Jones)

As I was struggling to understand what the embassy attacks were all about, in this short article it suddenly struck me. In Muslim nations, we (the US) are abortion. We are abortion and gay marriage. That is who we are. Well, that plus the culture is quite a bit more accustomed mob violence as an everyday fact of politics. Pittsburgh should count itself lucky. (Albawaba via Daily Star, David Ignatius)

Image source: Trib, Chaz Palla


  1. Bram, as regards what the U.S. supposedly represents to predominantly Muslim countries, you leave out the last decade of state sanctioned torture of many hundreds of innocent civilians, indefinite detentions without charge or trial of thousands, sexual humiliation, massacres, thousands of drone attacks, economic extractions of their resources, punitive use of debt to the point of abject poverty, and consistent funding of the regions worst dictators, including Mubarak, Gaddafi and Saddamn Hussein.

    We are also the country which preaches freedom of speech and rule of law, and yet not only closes down Iraqi newspapers and TV stations when they write or broadcast information or opinion we don't like, sometimes we also bomb Al Jazeera's offices and send their journalists to Gitmo for years of torture with no evidence of any wrongdoing at all. I'm at work so I can't provide all the links to those stories now, but will do so later.

    I just want to speak out to any of my Muslim and Iraqi neighbors, friends and/or former colleagues who might be reading this post, who in many cases have sacrificed so much for the U.S. or for their fellow citizens here and in return have lost their jobs, their limbs, their homes, their children to the toxic Islamaphobia that has fueled our butchery and theft around the world, that has led to so much terror, violence, suffering, loss, and outright murder in Muslim communities, including right here in Pittsburgh, too - I am deeply distressed and concerned for you, and I am deeply ashamed of the xenophobia and cruelty that Americans so often demonstrate in word and deed

  2. These facts all certainly paint a sobering backdrop to the conflict between civilizations. However in the coverage I've read (and I'm preparing to be inundated with counterfactuals) nobody in Cairo, Benghazi etc. cited torture or drone strikes as rationales for the recent incidents. They cited religious insults.

  3. Most of the Middle East doesn't have free speech... and really doesn't have enough knowledge of the world to understand that we *do* have free speech.

    The concept of something vastly insulting to their religion on a local internet server not immediately being removed by their government would be unthinkable.

    So the United States not arresting the people who made the video and the people hosting it? Relatively unthinkable, from that viewpoint.

  4. So, why should a school board map maintain a ratio of one-third "majority-minority"? Sweet Jesus, times change.. why do we continue to try to FORCE something that does not and cannot exist? The population has changed.

    You liberals never 'effin cease to amaze me.

  5. @Helen.. Move to 'effin Iran if you don't like it here. Try expousing your concerns there, sweetie.

  6. @Mountaineer - "Sweetie"? Are you a parody account?

  7. @Conservative Mountaineer:
    Thanks for posting that. Usually, to get such an articulate presentation of right-wing thought one must pay $50,000 a plate (or have someone smuggle a recording device into a Romney fundraiser).

    I also would have expected a West Virginian to be cautious concerning derogatory labels. Could be an education issue?

  8. Mayor and billboards equals bad
    Fitz and Peduto and billboards equals good
    No wonder the lefty East End hypocrites can't beat the mayor.

  9. It's not hypocritical at all. Billboards and no attempt to maximize revenue equals bad.
    Billboards and attempts to maximize revenue equals maybe good (depending on where the billboards are).

  10. Helen true colors are showing! if she was living in most of those aggrieved Muslim countries she'd be wearing a Burka, had suffered genital mutilation at a young age, and been married to a stranger 30 years her senior! It's a shame I never hear the progressives express their support for the women in these male dominated Sharia lead countries!

  11. How does dropping bombs on the women in "male dominated Sharia-led countries" support them?

    Have we ever asked the Burka-clad, genitally-mutilated women in forced marriages how THEY'D like us to be of assistance? Drone strikes, torture and the propping-up of US-friendly dictators might turn out not to be top-of-list. Seriously, we should ask.

    1. ask away ... a ban put in place by Mubarak and pushed by his wife was recently rescinded by the Obama Brotherhood who call the genital mutilation a religious "prophetic" act... haven't bombed Egypt in awhile have we...neither did Rushdie who hid for 10 years...and we did what to provoke 9/11...placing the blame for Islamic fascism on America is like blaming the franks for he Battle of tours

  12. You, sir or madam, should have a role in Mitt's campaign ... the "Obama Brotherhood" is inspired. I do wonder if democracy ever flourishes in Iraq or Iran whether similar things will happen. I guess I'm just trying to underline that the "freedom agenda" or doctrine was always pablum for plebes.

    The causes of the gripe seem to transcend national and sectional boundaries. I think the idea of "blame" is well past the point of diminishing returns as we can also go back to Mossadegh or even Balfour, but it certainly complicates asserting any moral highground to seek to conclude bloodshed, which I hope is the goal, seeing as how the alternate conceivable strategic goals in the region would be pretty nasty.