Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Early Returns pokes Fitzgerald with its Golden Quill

... by publishing a January e-mail from the County Exec candidate to Marcellus Shale industry doyenne Katie Klaber. Excerpted:

It is critical for my viability in eyes of the politucal [sic] world to have money in the bank and have it early. City Councilman Doug Shield's wife, Bridgit, is making calls to the energized moratoriom [sic] crowd for Mark Flaherty by telling them that Mark Flaherty will support a moratorium. The next Chief Executive of Allegheny County will either be me or Mark Flaherty. If you want the leader of this region to be someone who is clueless about natural gas and your industry, continue to sit on your hands that is exactly what will happen. (P-G Early Returns, Tim McNulty)

McNulty strikes again. What are we going to do with him? He's like a little devil who fits perfectly on the shoulders of less widely-read, derivative bloggers.

For the record, Mark Patrick Flaherty's proposed public-private partnership with the drilling industry sounds unnecessarily risky to the Comet all the same. In an ideal world, I'd prefer the County to go into the drilling business on its own land on its own terms all by itself, do all the hiring (locally), and keep all the profits. However I seem to recall something about public entities being barred from competing with private industry -- at least in certain circumstances.

EDITORIAL: Bottom line, it's starting to sound like Allegheny County might just as easily survive whether we elect Rich or Mark. With the former, you get some better adherence to traditional Democratic party values, especially in terms of social issues. (I do profess to disdain "single-issue voting", but when push comes to shove I do tend to use reproductive choice as a litmus test on whether public officials trust and respect me.) On the other hand, Flaherty has employed more reasonable rhetoric on issues from property tax assessments to wariness of drilling, and generally has been the cooler cucumber, which I find reassuring. Finally there is the issue of whether having a Mayor of Pittsburgh and an Allegheny County Executive who are more naturally simpatico with one another will result in practical, ideologically neutral, day-to day benefits.

Tell you what -- and this golden rule will serve for all Comet endorsements this year, so cut, paste, print and iron on your t-shirts for Election Day. We endorse all incumbents without exception, and in cases where there is no incumbent, we endorse the candidate with the tried-and-true legacy last name. If you reside in Magisterial District 05-2-35, you'd better write in Nathan Firestone for another term against his will, or else draft Brittany Caliguiri. Although we look forward to working with whomever wins, unless they are a Republican.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trib is Succinct, Eloquent on Topic of Liberty

Can I just use this as my Blog for Equality Day post?

Lance: To state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. The Cranberry Republican wants to codify discrimination by amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to deny legal "marriage" to same-sex couples. And the proposed wording of his amendment goes a step further, appearing to not even recognize any other "legal union." But constitutions are not for denying rights; they're for enumerating them. This is poor form, the antithesis of liberty, and the effort should be rejected. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Editorial Board)

This is what progress looks like.

But we do this dance with Metcalfe every year, and it is time for the cohorts of liberty to take to the offensive instead. There is a civil right enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution known as equal protection under the law. How then does Pennsylvania get away with not recognizing civil unions? If the Commonwealth is in charge of a regime of matrimonial incentives furthering familial stability, it better pony up and get on the business side of the bendy arc of history by passing HB 708 sponsored by Philadelphia's Mark Cohen.

It also makes me wonder. Have two Pennsylvania partners of the same gender ever applied for a marriage license in modern times? Upon being turned away, have they ever just tried suing?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ricky Burgess and Rachel Maddow on Homewood, Gun Violence and the NRA's Influence.

You have to admit, this is something you just don't see every day:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Makes me think of this:

Police Chief Nate Harper yesterday asked for the public's patience as the city's Office of Municipal Investigations investigates, while members of the city's Fraternal Order of Police praised Officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak as the city's most effective at getting guns off the streets. (P-G, Gurman and Lord, 1/27/10)

Police leaders honored Officers Michael Saldutte, Richard Ewing and David Sisak with eight citations for their work in 2009, including rescuing trapped motorists from a June flood, taking illegal guns off the street and helping to identify a man who was snatching purses from elderly women in Bloomfield. (Trib, Jill King Greenwood, 3/20/10)

The trio were patrolling in what police call a "99 car," assigned to aggressively rid the city's rough spots of drugs and guns. In that capacity, they were known as some of the police bureau's most skilled officers, leading the bureau in firearms arrests. (P-G, Sadie Gurman)

So we have a torrent of unregistered firearms making their way into some poor and neglected communities due in large measure to our refusal to enact any sort of policies to counteract the illegal deadly weapons trade -- quick and easy violence ensues for about a generation, increasingly being the surest perceived path to respect for many -- a terrified populace sends specially trained officers into these neighborhoods with orders to "aggressively" get the guns off the streets, ranking and rewarding them for how many they can collect annually -- I guess I can only say that I hope the Police Department doesn't somehow wind up selling these collected guns at gun shows after they're done with them as evidence? This is what I meant in the last post by suggesting it's possible these three officers can't intelligibly be tried as criminals by The People, their own co-conspirators -- though the absence of any findings of misconduct whatsoever would be a little hard to understand. There's almost assuredly a bit of wounded pride and fearful litigiousness clouding matters right now.

For the record, I watched the above clips with Comet Senior Political Analyst Morton Reichbaum, and his only critique of the discussion was, "How could they have talked about guns and killings for that long and not talked about drugs?"