Thursday, July 8, 2010

Animal Blogging

First item:

"They panic when they see these things," said Wildlife Conservation Officer Beth Fife of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. "I've had calls where people say, 'You have to remove wildlife from the Pittsburgh area. They don't belong here.' Well, they do belong here, it's their home, too, and when they're not bothering anybody, we say just leave them alone." (P-G, John Hayes)

But once again:

Thanks for drawing attention -- with the news story "Fowls foul River Walk for pedestrians" (July 1 and -- to the problem of geese in Pittsburgh and the negative effect of excessive numbers of geese in terms of cleanup costs, landscape damage, lost recreation and safety (remember "Capt. Sully" landing on the Hudson?) issues.

Pittsburgh has gone to great lengths to beautify its shorelines and parks and remove negative images, but this isn't helping. I disagree with the assertion in the story from Mark Johnson, Sports & Exhibition Authority facilities director, that permanent solutions are hard to come by. We're not talking about oil gushing from an uncontrolled deep-sea well here. We are talking about geese, in unholy quantities -- and as far as I can tell, these geese are not laying golden eggs. (Trib letters, Barry Fraser)

The political implications are ginormous.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Week in CPRB: Nothing Happens. (*-CORRECTION)

Things didn't go as anyone expected, much less predicted, in terms of the process of confirming or rejecting the Mayor's questioned nominations to the Citizen's Police Review Board -- even though lots of folks obviously spent a lot of time arranging their Stratego pieces across the board.

When Mrs. Harris announced she had decided to delay a confirmation vote on the nominations, council members Bruce Kraus, Bill Peduto and Doug Shields challenged her authority and demanded that council take a vote on postponing the confirmation proceedings. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

Right. What?

At 2:43 in the PM -- after a long procedural debate and discussion featuring Yvonne Schlossberg from the City Law Department (pictured) -- Councilman Daniel Lavelle moved to read the Mayor's nominations to the Board into the Council record, and then to postpone (not table) the vote (and the discussion) upon them until Tuesday, July 27th (after Council possibly fixes the nominating process). Councilman Bill Peduto seconded this arrangement. It passed 8-0, and *-CORRECTION: Burgess, though off-camera, voted aye; someone else was absent or abstained.

Councilman Burgess then moved that a public hearing be scheduled on the CPRB issue now, so as not to further extend the process. Councilman Shields made sure to recommended this be broadcast on Pay Per View cable television. This passed by unanimous assent.

I suppose it's worth mentioning also that Shields and Lavelle each introduced bills seeking to fix up the nominating process, and that Burgess has legislation already on the table which among other things would affect that board's powers.

If it weren't for the G20 -- and the notable lengths to which Chief Harper appears willing to go to defend either the City's legal liability or the discretion of his riot officers -- very few of us would be contemplating the CPRB let alone obsessing over it. Nobody ever accused it of being an overly consequential organization until just now.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Tom Corbett: Goes with what he Knows

Elections news:

HARRISBURG — With state government facing multibillion-dollar deficits, Attorney General Tom Corbett won't be able to keep his promise not to raise state taxes if he's elected governor, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said today. (Trib, Brad Bumstead)

...and that's coming from a fire-breathing Republican.

If Pileggi is right, the next governor would have to cut almost one out of every five dollars from the budget just for the state government to stay afloat in 2011-12. Corbett is not saying yet where those cuts might fall. (AP, via Trib)

"This kind of 'Read My Lips' crowing is great when you're trying to collect votes -- but frankly the breadth of the ignorance involved here scares me in someone who is supposed to know something about Pennsylvania's budget." Is what I would say if I were running against Mr. Corbett for something.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Have a happy and safe Independence Day, Pittsburgh!


RELATED: In the Post-Gazette, Prof. Andrew J. Bacevich.

I'm not sure whether our movie, which Bacevich references by association, provides any satirical support for his train of thought so much as suggests an answer to the dilemma he presents. Gary's famous speech to the U.N. would seem to recommend something in the direction of full mobilization (that is if we want to listen to Matt and Trey's puppets).

Sometimes I think that without this film giving Americans pause, they'd have insisted upon the U.S. leaving the Iraqis and Afghans to their joss by now.

SEE ALSO: In his weekly "radio" address (LINK), POTUS insists we will get through all this like always -- after accusing his partisan opposition of intransigence in opposing his liberal domestic agenda, and announcing $2 billion in new development deals in Arizona, Colorado and Indiana.

Do you feel the clash?

I'm not sure it makes sense to try and transform our energy economy, fight two wars, and assertively defend the public welfare all at the same time -- but I'm not terribly sure even this president can inspire us to "truly mobilize" for successful diplomatic counterinsurgency warfare. To my imagination it'd be like, think Peace Corps on a massive scale, only eventually an IED gets you and they send in someone else. That'd be our beaches at Normandy. I'm pretty far from draft age, but I do get dispatches from OFA so along with others I could get fired up and... yeah, that'd make for an interesting presidency. Certainly historic! Or we could all stop listening to Matt and Trey's puppets and walk away with an appropriate amount of shame. Also historic only less so. Jeez, I don't know.

Are we beyond the point of no return? Maybe we're an empire now, like it or not. And though our nation is a glorious 234 years old, this empire is only 9 and there's no reason to believe it can get through anything.