Friday, March 15, 2013

The Artist: Kelly Clarkson

Uploaded to YouTube: September 2006

SPOILER ALERT: She nails the all-important high note at 2:40.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: What would you ask at the non-televised Mayoral Debate on Sunday in the East End?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday: Shaping Up! ***

While a geographic analysis of the campaigns for mayor (the Seven Kingdoms of Yinzeros?) is indeed fairly interesting, we wonder whether the major split in this election isn't going to be demographic and cultural. Perhaps even the "culture wars".

Jack Wagner's status as war hero is going to mean something among this mature electorate from Brighton Heights all the way to Lincoln Place, and mean something for the other more mature candidates. Bill Peduto's emphasis on the potential of technology meanwhile is going to inspire young voters under 50 -- or indeed may attract Ravenstahl default-voters still enchanted by the rhetoric of Tomorrowland.

We are finding out more about misspending at the Police Bureau, but remember: this isn't an election about the past, or about the present, or about how the past turned into the present! Don't be hateful. This is an election about the future, which has nothing to with learning from history, or with demonstrating a personal history of reacting appropriately to what were then current events.

Blogger Thomas Waters has some thoughts on the City Council proceedings on the acquisition of a new Chief of Police. What is it about people who have computers?

Broken people movers, dingy carpets, and an understaffed and harried Airport hotel. Is this the way the D.C. and New England elites think and speak to each other about Pittsburgh thanks to its Airport? How many people are hanging up when told their only option is a connection in Pittsburgh? Could Rich Fitzgerald have planted a better article to illustrate the need to frack the airport for economic development out there?

Tom Corbett's bad poll numbers continue to dog him, with Joe Sestak seeming to be in the strongest starting position among Democrats. The Governor's refusal to implement a Medicaid expansion voted by two houses of Congress, campaigned on by a President and upheld by a conservative Supreme Court could be costly, especially if it can be shown the state will not be saddled with costs in out years any more than death panels.

*-UPDATE: Eight members of the PA Turnpike commission will be charged with conspiracy, commercial bribery, bid rigging, theft, conflict of interest and participating in a corrupt organization, including Joseph Bremneirermner of our very own Port Authority. Interviews for new corrupt officials will begin on Monday.

**-UPDATE: Ardent Ravenstahl partner Jim Ferlo basically admits to the City Paper that he didn't file papers with the Dept. of Elections in order to lead our City, but rather because he doesn't trust Pittsburgh to make a wise decision among its sincerely interested candidates without first manipulating "the dynamics".

***-UPDATE: Jim Ferlo withdraws. I guess the moral of the story is that if you know what running a campaign requires from vast experience, and you are getting on the ballot mainly to run interference for another candidate, then don't let Chris Potter zap you with his laser armbands.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday's Thoughts on Our Precious Region: Little China Girl

In an enchantingly wrought prequel to the MGM classic, Oz the Great and Powerful is shown to have been a carnival magician and a small-time rogue in 1880's Kansas, who, upon escaping a circus in a hot-air balloon, gets caught up in another one of those dang tornadoes.

Oscar "Oz" Diggs, played by James Franco who we should really all give a chance despite everything, lands smack in the middle of the chaos and intrigue of total cosmic warfare, where he comes to rely on his prestidigitation skills. Fortunately he has a good heart. Witches tend to have a thing for him, anyway, and SPOILER ALERT: he makes solid choices.

The Pittsburgh Penguins can do no wrong. Establishing a true and harmonious marriage of Sidney Crosby to Evgeni Malkin amongst the team, line mates included, is all that is standing between this team and the very pinnacle of impervious hockey -- given a consistency of passionate, well-practiced team wide effort.

They released Debo. It seems cool.

The Allegheny County Jail is breeding variously nightmarish headlines, and that may be no surprise because across Pennsylvania, jails are breeding nightmarish headlines. Surely we can do something about this. Perhaps the right honourable Allegheny County Executive can set aside an intensive week to get to know things well and truly intimately over at the jail dahn there on 2nd Ave. Nothing precipitous should be implied to follow -- no rash decisions anyway, heaven fore fend!

Nick Tubach
Yet perhaps ACE Fitzgerald could apply a heaping helping of concern to the issue, suggest some priorities, gather a public table. If Fitz wants to get fancy, I'm sure the Alliance for Police Accountability, the Black Political Empowerment Project (or B-PEP), the Allegheny County District Attorney and the "new" US Attorney as well as others would be happy to contribute their broader perspectives on the pregnancy of the issue.

The logistics of oversight alone -- chaos. Uncharted?

Getting around in Pittsburgh will never be the same, now that amateurish yahoos can grab a public bicycle and piddle around.

"Bike-share programs like this are critically important to attract and retain the talent that we have here," Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. "To have that cool, young, vibrant, hip city that young investors want requires projects like this." (P-G, Moriah Balingit)

There will be at least 50 "solar-powered stations" for point-to-point travel. There are obviously a lot of unanswered questions. Will there be a public bike-share station near the corner of Rt. 28 / East Ohio St. and 16th St., or won't there be? How and for what purpose is Walnut Capital harnessing the power of the sun? And finally, will Ravenstahl capitalize on this momentum and do another Mayor by mentioning traffic calming as part of what is becoming his very broad, deep commitment to road-sharing culture?

Rescue Me (Lance Mannion)
The South Side Intoxication District bliztes are moving forward, though it is hard to say whether or not the Pittsburgh Sociable City Plan is also. There is some verbiage about "code compliance" with respect to "bar inspections" that deals with the "occupancy code," and some other qualified verbiage regarding "loitering." I'm sure the Dept. of Public Safety and the Police Bureau is under a world of stress right now, especially with respect to how security at commercial hot spots is maintained.

That's why I have this genius idea. Can't municipal firefighters get active in enforcing occupancy and "fire" codes and safety violations? What do you think is better for business -- a bunch of jaded, stern-looking police officers filing in the doors like it's prohibition, or a bevy of fire men and women concerned with caring for your safety? The loudest drunks on Carson Street will be manning the doors to help them get proper head counts, "to do their duty!"

If we need more recruits, we'll get more hired. Pittsburgh will be rolling in increased dinner and entertainment receipts and expanded and higher-paying job diversity once young and older adults get also to partake of the South Side again.

Controller Michael Lamb earned the Democratic party committee endorsement, and Councilman Bill Peduto earned that of the Steelworkers. State Rep. Jake Wheatley has checked in to the race, as has Michael Larkin, who funnily enough works for the ACJ.

That's it for today. Remember: if you don't have swift service, you can't have any transit. How can you have any transit if you don't have swift service?

A/V EXPERIENCE: David Bowie - China Girl (Live); We're off to see the wizard...; Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall (live)

Scrabbling together Monday's post...

It will be one of those fancifully curated link assemblages, and now with those two out of the way, most will be related to other, under-appreciated matters. Does anybody have any special requests?

In the world of political data, Civic Science has been one-upped by Keystone Analytics. Who's next? And what will it indicate?