Thursday, May 29, 2008

If You See Anoyone in a Scarf, Shoot First and ask Questions Later

So the picture of Rachel Ray above was yanked from Dunkin Donut's website because Michelle Malkin said she looks like a terrorist, causing people to complain. I quote Michelle because I have neither the time nor the energy to make this shit up, "Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not-so-ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons" That's right, you've been brain washed by Hollywood actresses and other left-wing icons (including me on the cold days in Pittsburgh). We all thought we were just following a fashion trend dating back to ancient Rome, but actually we were promoting Jihad.

I have a theory about a fictitious conversation that happened over Brunch in New York a week ago:

Michelle Malkin: Hey Rush, how's it hanging?

Rush Limbaugh: Not too bad Shelly, what are you drinking?

MM: It's Dunkin Donuts, since PittGirl said Starbucks is so 2007, what are you looking at?

RL: This Print ad of Rachel Ray, do you think O'Reilley would harass her?

MM: Ha, maybe not in that little scarf, she looks like she's about to blow up a Dunkin Donuts

RL: That's a good point, think we could get that ad pulled, by saying it's extremist?

MM: Oh totally, our followers are that dumb. Which one of us should do it?

RL: I think it's your turn, I actually got Republicans to vote for Hillary in Operation Chaos.

Note: You do not find a link to Michelle Malkin's blog on here because I have no desire to promote it. There is a CNN article on this subject though.

Shout Out

Woah, so the Pensblog guys threw a link to my site as part of this post. That caused traffic to increase more then slightly on this site. I guess plenty of people have found out how well those guys cover hockey! If you happen to have come in from that link, while Hockey is not my specialty... you might enjoy these posts:

Also, if you happen to be a bit of a local newsie when you're not reading up on the Pens, bookmark the site. I mostly write about local issues but I sometimes can't resist showing off my fanhood.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I'm not the first to post on the mayor having a body guard from the Pittsburgh PD and ANOTHER one from the Detroit PD. It was referenced by Luke's Biggest Admirer, Mondessi's House and PittGirl, but in case you missed it, he had two armed guards to protect him in the cushy seats at Joe Louis Arena.

I've spent some time thinking about it, and it's absolutely absurd. The mayor of Detroit is one of the more famous (or in this case infamous) mayors in the United States and I (a modestly well informed newsie) couldn't pick him out of a line up. This is especially true if I was a little sloshed and not expecting to see him. Furthermore if I for some reason became so disturbed that I felt like hitting someone and I had the choice between the arrogant, trashed Detroit fan and the Mayor of Detroit, their mayor would be safe without a body guard. If the mayor's in any danger (and I'm not saying he is) it's because of people here who are pissed about the job he's doing, not "20,000 rabid Red Wings fans" who don't give a shit about him.

So I have a theory, the Detroit and Pittsburgh PDs sent "guards" to protect the city from a guy with a history of making trouble at sporting events. Let's not forget he's been "detained" for disorderly conduct before. It's either that or Pittsburgh had money to waste... take your pick.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sour Kraut

I'm back, and back small. A measly three sour kraut links, that you've probably already seen. The blog is suffering from neglect as life (both professional and personal) has been a little crazy. I should be back in the rhythm later this week. Anyway, without further adieu...
  • Great post from Two Political Junkies breaking down the local response to Clinton's Kennedy comment. Since nobody asked me, all I think she meant to do was point to another democratic race that lasted in to June. I think she was probably hoping to use a race that everyone would remember, unfortunately she and her staff did a poor job considering why/how we remember that race. In her defense, I think one of the reasons that national politics is what it is, is because SOOO many people read more in to it then was stated in the quote.
  • Char's post with the Dowd interview. Every thing's been said about it. Except this, he sure sounds like a mayor doesn't he? Wouldn't it be nice to see a mayor that recognized the value of the Burghosphere?
  • Any time Harold Miller makes a post, it's worth taking at least a scan over. This one about the drink tax and taxation in general was particularly good. Even if you don't read the whole thing, it's worth noting that there's a lot more to the drink tax issue then either Onorato's version ("If you take it back I have to raise property taxes") or the bars' version ("He wants us all to go out of business and you to have to drink by yourself").

That's all for today, as always, I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You've Got to Be Kidding Me

The Penguins want to put signs up (on their dime) showing star players and generally getting everybody excited about dancing with Lord Stanley. One little catch, the Mayor is afraid that City Council will accuse him of violating the billboard ban if he allows it. Sometimes it's a wonder that anything gets done in this city...

Additional thought added just to please Chad Hermann and Pensblog Nation, if Gary Roberts were mayor, we'd have signs already. Why? Because when Gary Roberts makes coffee he grinds the beans with his teath and boils the water with his rage.

Casino Funding Found

The Apollo Strategic Value Fund LP is apparently an investment fund that likes to gamble on gambling. They purchased Harrah's in 2006 (a deal that closed in January). Closer to home they tried and failed to team with Forest City for a Station Square casino and then yesterday dumped 150 million in to Barden's North Side Casino. It is overwhelming to me the amount of money that is floating around the city of Pittsburgh as a result of this Casino, simply overwhelming. 800 Million Dollars? I don't doubt that all that money will be flowing back in to the investors pockets followed by much much more... but I would love to see the math that is used to project Casino Revenues. For Example, how much, on average, do they expect each resident of Allegheny County to gamble and lose?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sour Kraut

Having spent as much time as I did looking in to the debt problem this morning it left little time for these equally worthy nuggets. So I provide them here in rapid succession, I think it's a particularly juicy kraut:
  • Chad Hermann still doesn't get it. Not everyone who blogs is attempting to do so with the authority, eloquence and frankly arrogance that you do. Some people, including the guys at Pensblog do it for their amusement and the amusement of those around them.
  • Bram thinks Dan Onorato is in trouble. Which makes me ponder three things... First, if the merger is just a political move it's a shame. Second, is Dan really as bad as the Burghosphere makes him out to be? Third, wouldn't having a governor who's a pittsburgher be a good thing, should we assasinate with words our only real candidate?
  • PittGirl tags "Street Artists" I enjoy PittGirl's posts as much as anyone else and this is one of her better issue rants.
  • Chris Briem gives THE BEST WRAPUP OF LAMARGATE yet. He asks the really pressing question, what is going to be the result of all of this? I think he's right to guess that it's going to be bad for everone involved. What started as mostly the mayor's problem now just makes all of city government seem petty. When I try to explain the situation to less politically active people their eyes glaze over in boredom just before they roll with disgust at local government. There's also video of the fateful day in city council.
  • My Blon'n'at has the best pic I've seen yet of my new favorite Mike Langism, "Polish up your shoes, we're going dancing with Lord Stanley!"


I posted a comment on Mike Madison's Pittsblog that I feel is worth restating in this space. The debt is an issue that many of us have been following for weeks, months or even years that appears in the last few days to have gained some steam. I firmly believe that it and the Merger are the two largest issues facing our fair city in the upcoming years. The text below represents essentially what I feel is a mission statement for this blog (and hopefully others) in covering the debt problem.

I’m glad to see so many blogs tackling this debt issue, I think blogs particularly ones penned by people who are authorities on what they discuss (for example say, lawyers (Peckman), Law Professors (Madison), Professors of Social and Urban Research (Briem) or even recognized amateur local political experts (Bram). I believe that it provides a forum for forcing this conversation with or without the policy makers. I further believe that if this conversation is forced, policy makers will have no choice but to join.

I think from this post and the several others scattered around the Burghosphere that this discussion is well under way. However, I find it lacks several key facets that will be necessary to force this issue with the public and the policy makers:

1. What is the danger? When we say “financial ruin” what do we mean? In cities that have gone bankrupt how have the citizens felt it? I would hypothesize and hope to confirm with research when I find the time (or if one of you do) that there are documented cases of cities not very different then our own that had to cut off funding for parks, street cleaning, commuting (though you could argue that is happening to us already) and other key services for both residents AND commuters. Even if such cases do not exist educated guesses from those of us with related degrees/expertise would be valued. With public policy the public has away of assuming that concerned citizens are claiming the sky is falling unless provided with concrete evidence otherwise.

2. An effort to define the scope of the problem. Yes we can sight the size of the public debt… but some debt is a good thing (or at least not a bad thing) for a municipality. Roughly how much of our debt is in the “too much” category?

3. What can be done short term and long term to curb the debt? Along with exploring the horrors we can avoid (point 1) and understanding the amount of debt that needs to be trimmed (point 2) how much sacrifice do we need to make now to avoid “financial ruin”? For example, if we live with a commuter tax, does that make this problem go away? Is it insufficient? Is it overkill?

The problem with debt is not unique to Pittsburgh, and it is also not independent of the financial problems of the country as a whole. However, this does not mean we can or should throw up our arms and give up. In business the company that weathers the recession with solid (if not glowing) financials rebounds quicker and stronger then companies that resigned to blaming the cyclical nature of business. When the country and the economy again find value in the rust belt cities, Pittsburgh can be the one that has the foundation to support it. If city officials are disinclined to engage this problem, I think it is important that bloggers (and anyone else with a public forum) constructively bring it to the general attention.

I will also be building a primer on the most current information available about the Pittsburgh debt situation in the coming days.

Monday, May 19, 2008

H-1Bs in the P-G

There has been an ongoing debate both here and in other blogs, particularly over in Cleveburgh about H1-B visas. Many people contend that there are countless foreign-born workers who are taking jobs from Americans, not because of qualifications, but because they will work for less. Sunday's Post-Gazette has a story detailing the otherside of the coin. A (apparently very gifted) young chemical engineer, a CMU grad, who wants nothing more then to live in the United States and lend his mind to an American company for the profit of American shareholders and American executives and to pay American taxes along the way has found that few are willing to risk hiring him because they are afraid they will not be able to get him a work visa.

Merging School Districts

I'm aware of three very interesting, very heated debates around schools in Western PA. I'm sure there are many others, but the three I am aware of are; the merger of the Monaca and Center School Districts, the construction (or not) of a new Mt. Lebanon High School and the destruction (or not) of Schenley High School. The press on these issues highlight several things that make doing ANYTHING in school districts hard:
  • There will always be VOCAL people who think the schools cost too much and that cost savings should be focused on.
  • There will always be VOCAL people who think that every advantage (no matter how irrational) should be given to their children.

There are also at least a few things that show how difficult it would be to do even a partial consolidation of school districts in association with the City/County merger.

  • These stories show there are at least three very different kinds of districts in Allegheny County (there are probably more like 5 or 6 that I can think of off the top of my head).
  • Even merging two small, similar school districts is proving very difficult. Regardless of how much sense it seems to make.
  • High School is not a level playing field (see previous post), and people paying to live in the Mt. Lebanon's of Allegheny County have no interest in leveling it.
  • Many of the schools in Allegheny County are old and in disrepair, even the ones of "nicer" school districts.

At the end of the day, I think (and I believe its a widely held opinion) that trying to include schools in any city/county merger would make it a sure failure as a referendum. So for now let's focus on the things that are win/win (trash collection, snow removal, supply purchasing, etc...) and then we can see where we are in 10 or 20 years when it comes to schools.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Brother Clayton (Brother of Burgher Jon) Graduates PSU!!!

I'm in State College for my brother's graduation, so you're not going to see a long post out of me... however I will give you a link. If any of you missed Char's post about Hillary, it is HILARIOUS. This first part is a "quote" from Hillary:

"Okay ….. You wanna know the bottom line here? I'm better than Barack because I'm white and he's black. Can't you people see this? It's so obvious! True, no Democrat has ever won the presidency without carrying the key state of West Virginia. But the most important historical trend here is that no person from any party has ever landed in the White House without being WHITE! Don't you people get it?"

A spokesperson from Hillary's campaign later explained that Mrs. Clinton misspoke due to extreme fatigue and the shock of losing to an unknown, skinny black guy with big ears.

A spokesperson for the spokesperson from Hillary's campaign later explained that the spokesperson misspoke due to extreme fatigue and the shock of losing to a black guy with a terrorist-sounding name and a wife so cold and pissy even Bill hasn't hit on her yet.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Burgher Jon is 25!

It's my birthday, so I'm not posting today... Unless somebody really pisses me off before the celebration commences.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


The Pensblog guys have really done some exceptional work this season, as I have documented frequently. They have taken the 41 year old hockey player and made him an Internet folk hero. Gary Roberts became "viral." All of a sudden he's a leading candidate for the pirate's all-star game spot (thanks to fan voting they even got Pittgirl interested), a cy young candidate (thanks to a text message) and superman wears his pajama's (according to Pensblog). Obviously no one believes any of these things, it's supposed to be FUNNY. The line between where Gary Robert's real hockey skills and the Pensblog team's exaggerations start is grey at best and I'm loving it. I've chuckled when seeing Gary Roberts for President posters around town and then I read this from Chad Hermann:

This undying obsession that Pens' fans -- by which I mean, casual fans and immature fans and bandwagon-jumping fans -- have with Gary Roberts borders on the absurd and fast approaches the insane. In a team and a season rife with heroes, a loud and increasingly annoying faction of people has latched on to -- and, worse still, Chuck-Norris-ified -- a guy whose on-ice contributions number two goals, one assist, a +/- rating of -2, a few intimidating stares, and an overblown, if admittedly awesome, bad-ass challenge to fight five Ottawa Senators at once.

Chad Hermann is one of three things:

  1. Too stupid to get it.
  2. Too old to understand a hilarious modern joke/prank.
  3. Too dense and or full of himself to appreciate good, low-brow humor even when he sees it.

Well, he's got a Phd and was hired by CMU to be a professor and he's certainly not old. I'll leave you to make your own conclusions.

For The Record: It's not like I have any intention of removing TWM from my blog reader. Some of his posts are absolutely brilliant. I just think it's a shame a decorated professor feels the need to pick on the fun loving guys over at Pensblog. So to restore some justice to the Burghosphere, I decided to take a shot at him.

Sour Kraut

Emphasis on the sour this morning. I had a long eloquent post explaining how I feel about gambling in Pittsburgh and the state... but Blogger ate it. So you get some short and sour kraut because I no longer have time for eloquense.

Short and Sour as promissed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sour Kraut

I don't really have time for two posts, but there were a few good stories out there I wanted to pass along.
  • I don't know how Chris Briem found this story about the company that was to build the Pittsburgh MagLev dissolving, but it's interesting. I've always doubted that it would ever happen, but doesn't the tunnel under the Allegheny signal a commitment to the subway?
  • I'm not going to say what the Pirates record is nor what it would be if they won their next game, but you should check it out.
  • Char of the Burgh Report discovered this article about the problem of Los Angeles billboards. It turns out that LA has over 4000 illegal billboards. Some of which were built within plain sight of the administrators who are payed to restrict their construction. The problem in LA is made pretty plain in the article. Politicians aren't going to do anything about they're losing more votes by not doing anything about it then they're gaining by buying ads with the billboard company's campaign contributions. That hasn't happened and doesn't appear to be on its way anytime soon.
  • The good news derived from the LA article is that we're NOT as bad as them. A fact, that while partly attributable to the smaller population (and there for smaller audience for billboards and smaller revenue for billboard companies), is largely attributable to a larger risk to politicians in Pittsburgh. That risk comes from a mix of conscientious voters, good news reporting and (I would like to think) an active and at times fierce Burghosphere.
  • While I have several friendly bets on the Pens/Flyers series, I have to admit... That crowd was INTENSE last night. Too bad they all went home disappointed.

West Virginia

When Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his home we get 6 more weeks of winter. When West Virginia Democrats emerge from theirs, we get 6 more weeks of CNN.

  • I'm not saying that every middle class white voter who says, "I didn't vote for Obama because he's an elitist." is a racist. I'm just saying that people who don't feel comfortable with a black president now have an excuse that doesn't involve stating the root of the problem.
  • I wonder if any of the political consultants that Obama has hired foresaw him, a black man who payed his own way through school, losing West Virginia (to an ex-first lady with degrees from Wesley and Yale) because he is too much of an elitist. If they did, HUGE gold star.
  • There is a lack of good ideas in the media as to why she might be running this campaign so long.
  • So here's my idea: What do you think history will remember as the end of this primary? Has the moment already passed? I think one reason for Hillary to keep running until the convention, even without a chance, is that history will forget that she was running without a chance and only document that she was running until the end. History might even be so kind as to forget this in less then 8 years, just in time to do it again.
  • There are good things about this primary continuing on. Even most republicans, know far more about Obama then they do about McCain. They have heard far more pundits call him presidential then they have McCain. McCain can't even make the front page by breaking with his party and admitting that Global Warming exists (as he did two days ago, in case you missed it).
  • Was there a republican primary? Doesn't it feel like it was a couple years ago?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why Can't They Just Ask for a Week

So an update on this morning's tidbit on City Council, the discussion was tabled because the 4 members of council whose legal bill is in question, left the room. This had the effect of not leaving a majority for or against the measure to refund the money. Depending on wether you take the Post-Gazette or Bram's word on it... The 4 council members who asked to have their legal bills paid either deliberately tabled the discussion by leaving or were so scared that anything they did in the room would be viewed as a conflict of interest that they fled the room.

Either way this whole bit of shenanigans amounts to a big waste of time. I can understand conceptually why parlimentary procedures must be so rigid. They Ensure that in times of extremely heated debate everyone plays by the rules. However, this is rediculous, we've been talking about this for weeks. I say we (unoffically) lock council and the solicitor up in an office and work out a compromise that's both fair and reasonable. Then have everyone leave the room and sign it in their official capacities. I'm 100% aware that that is not the way things work, I'm just saying, wouldn't it be nice?

Kraut Sour

There's been a steady diet of cabbage on this blog, that's only because there's too much going on to make one long blog post about anything. Maybe tomorrow...
  • Rendell is talking about Pens vs. Flyers at PSU again. I say, bring it. I watched games 1 and 2 in State College and can tell you the rivalry is INTENSE at PSU; chants, insults, the whole bit. An actual game up there would be even crazier.
  • Pittsburgh (AP) got money for new recreational docks on the Mon. As a boat lover who lives on the Mon, I'm pleased. It even sounds like this might be on the Southside, though it's hard to tell from this article. I couldn't find it in the P-G though. Someone also deserves some credit for finding us federal funding, but this article doesn't make it clear who... I'll try to find out.
  • VERY interesting primer on the 2009 Mayoral Primary. I'm excited to be a member of the blogosphere for the upcoming elections. In fact, I just created a new tag for the "2009 Election"
  • I don't normally do national news from the P-G, but I noticed this AP article. It has to do with McCain acknowledging Global Warming (in spite of his party's platform). I truly believe McCain does not want to be the next Bush, and I really think he wouldn't be if he got elected. However, the people who would have his ear do concern me.
  • Ed Rendell said that he won't support any state-wide ban on smoking that pre-empts the law in Philly. As an occasional cigar smoker, I'm all for a ban on smoking as long as there are some ways around it. Currently in Philly, smaller bars that have less then 20% of their revenue from food may allow smoking. That is good enough for me, I'm curious why the state legislators aren't interested in a bill that harsh.
  • I saved it for last, cause all the other bloggers have covered it so thoroughly, but there is all this business about the conflict of interest. I believe that the councilmen should not be allowed to vote on whether they are reimbursed or not. I further believe that they should be reimbursed, but with a very strict warning to all of council that this is not acceptable, future expenditures must be reviewed BEFORE they are spent.

I had yesterday off and BADLY need to get caught up, so I won't have a chance to provide anymore insight today. Tomorrow though, I hope to have a good rant for you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blame PittGirl

The Pirates had won 6 straight without PittGirl noticing. She kept calling them the Buccos of Suckitude and they kept winning. In fact earlier this afternoon they won the first game in a double header. Shortly after that this note from PittGirl pops up. Well apparently either PittGirl or one of her readers can't keep a secret because the Pirates lost the second game 8-1.

My personal suspicion, Bob Walk reeds the Burgh Blog and told the Pirates about it mid-broadcast.

Sour Kraut

Nothing like some Pittsburgh food at a time with so much Pittsburgh pride.
  • Of course, the first must-reed bit of cabbage is the Pensblog recap of the 4-2 victory yesterday. I was walking around State College bars, but thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the game that I caught.
  • The most exciting thing I found in the news this morning (even though I knew you thought it was the pens) is that the Marathon is back!!!! Way back in my in-shape days I trained for a marathon (never got to running more then 14 miles though). I really feel like it's the kind of event that Pittsburgh needs. So many people think poorly of our great town, and what better way to prove them wrong then to make them run through the picturesque neighborhoods that make it up. For all the criticism that Ravenstahl and Onorato have received the past few months it's nice to see they have done something that I think is a FANTASTIC thing.
  • Speaking of said criticism, here is a very interesting article in the Burgh Report about how corrupt Luke's decision to back consolidation MIGHT have been. I would rather not think that someone could buy his opinion that easily, but I do think it's worth keeping an eye out for.
  • There was a note in Null Space about the downtown wi-fi projects of Pittsburgh and Philly. I have things to say about this, but I think I have all post worth of them. I also need to do a little research, and call a fellow IT Architect who has more insight in to Telecom. Look for it in the next week or two.
  • I just finished listening to the Bucs put away the Braves for their 5th straight win. They can make it to .500 with a win in 10 minutes (the second game of the doubleheader).

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sour Kraut

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a condiment.
  • According to Yahoo, the Pirates are the worst franchise in (not baseball but...) all of professional sports. Ouch.
  • Good news though, we added a .207 hitter to our bench. Grumble grumble grumble.
  • The Post-Gazette runs two front page presidential politics articles. First, Clinton Not Slowing Down and second PA Superdelegate Backs Clinton. This all masking the real news, that Barack Obama took the lead in superdelegates. Does Hillary get the newspaper?
  • What the hell was Rep. Chris Carney thinking (the aforementioned PA Superdelegate). "I better hurry up and endorse Hillary before she concedes"
  • Sally Wiggin's back to blogging.
  • Ok, I'm out of time I've got to get up to State College. I'm not normaly a fashion person, but I found the PERFECT shirt for watching the game in a mixed crowd of philly and pittsburgh people. It's from Southside Steaks on Carson at 20th. It reads, "Southside Philadelphia Style Cheesesteaks, because not EVERYTHING from Philly Sucks."

Have a Good One Burghers, and forgive me if I can't fit blogging in this weekend between drinking, golfing and watching the pens.

Pens vs. Flyers by the numbers

The IMPORTANT stats from the 8 games between them this year, that's a total of 540 minutes of hockey:

  • 27 - Thee number of MAJOR penalties called on the two teams.
  • 16 - The number of MISCONDUCT penalties called on the two teams.
  • 104 - The number of MINOR penalties called on the two teams.
  • 431 - The number of minutes members of either team spent in the box.

Oh man, this is going to be a good time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Contending in 2008

An open letter to new GM Neal Huntington:


First of all, I wanted to say welcome to Pittsburgh, we're glad to have someone with your baseball pedigree working for our team. I'm the kind of guy you're not going to find many of in Pittsburgh, a baseball fan. I don't cheer for this team because they're good (clearly), because I owe them for the early 1990s or because there's a giveaway at every game (if I had a nickle for every bobblehead doll in my basement...). I root for the Pirates because one of the few things I love more then baseball is Pittsburgh. It's this love of Pittsburgh that makes the Pirates winning more important to me then getting Playoff tickets, I want to erase this period of embarrassment from the record of the City of Champions.

Sorry it's taken me so long to get a letter in to you, but I don't normally write letters until I'm upset and this from the Pirates Notebook upset me:
Others teams have called the Pirates to inquire about trading for outfielders Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, but management is not prepared to move either -- or any primary contributor -- until it rules out contending in 2008.
Until you rule out contending in 2008? Please tell me you're just trying to sell tickets? I know we didn't hire someone who can confuse this team with contenders. This 25 man roster is the exact same one that didn't contend last year. Not only that but we're already 7 games behind in the division and (even though it's way too early to point this out) 5 games back in the wild card. That's with several of our players playing out of their mind (I think we both know Xavier Nady will not be leading the league in RBIs come September, or even June).

Listen, I want us to win, I really do and I understand it's not impossible. However, I would trade our 2% chance of "contending" this season for a 50% chance of contending in 2 years. So answer that phone and get something good for the league leader in RBIs. I want to go to a playoff game someday.

Good Luck,

Burgher Jon
Partial Season Ticket Holder

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Maybe I'll Beet Chris Briem to This Post

I did, according to my Google Reader, Chris has not happened across this very interesting map at CNN. What it allows you to do is project the remaining races and the superdelegates to see who would win the democratic primary. I think that the media is tired of hearing from the Clinton campaign and its supporters that its being "unfair" by pointing out that this race is all but over. So, CNN decided to give us amateur newsies the chance to run our own scenarios and see what shakes out.

First, the facts/assumptions:
  1. 6 primaries remain at which "pledged" delegates can be captured. They are listed here in the order they occur with the number of delegates in parenthesis: West Virginia (28), Kentucky (51), Oregon (52), Montana (16), South Dakota (15), Peurto Rico (55).
  2. The way the democrats divide up delegates per state is REALLY complicated. First there is a delegate for each congressional district and then the remaining delegates are divided up based on percentage of the total votes collected in the state. CNN, has chosen to simplify this by giving us sliders to allocate the percentage of delegates, rather then the vote count, to each candidate. They've made this sacrifice in accuracy for the sake of a simple model, I'm willing to as well.
  3. There is also a slider for superdelegates, of which 277 have not committed to a candidate. Clinton got a vast majority of the superdelegates early on, but Obama has nearly recovered. He now only trails her by 14 superdelegates (he leads in pledged delegates by 169).
  4. For the sake of the math we'll assume that niether candidate insights mass chaos. So all of the pledged delegates vote for who they are supposed to vote for and all of the already committed superdelegates vote for who they have said they will vote for.

Now the scenarios for a Clinton victory:

  • Scenario 1: Clinton and Obama split the remaining superdelegates but Clinton wins enough states to get the nomination. In order for this to happen Clinton would need to win the remaining states by an unprecedented average of 86 to 14, that's a 72 point margin. For perspective, Obama is widely considered to have taken Clinton to the cleaners last night in North Carolina and only has a 14 point margin to show for it. So, I think we can agree this scenario is impossible. We can also deduce that we don't have to bother speculating what happens if Obama wins more superdelegates then Clinton, the math just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.
  • Scenario 2: Clinton wins 75% of the remaining superdelegates then does well enough in the states to squeak out the nomination. Ok, so given that Clinton has won 75% of the superdelegates, unlikely but possible, what percentage of the pledged delegates (delegates won in the primaries) would she need? 64%. So even if she gets 75% of the superdelegates Obama needs only to be (on average) within 28 points of her in the remaining 6 races.

Conclusion: Hillary needs a miracle. I'm not sure if it comes out in the next couple days that Obama's semen is on his intern's dress that she can turn this around. When they say Hillary can only win "by any means necessary" with a menacing tone, they don't mean nasty campaign ads. They mean she has to lie, cheat and steal every vote to have a chance. She has to talk pledged delegates in to ignoring the rules of the Democratic party and the people in the districts they are "representing." She has to promise who knows what to the superdelegates to get them to switch to her column.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Elivis is Still in the Building

The title references the Mike Lange expression, if you don't know it, watch some hockey. The post is about the November election. It seems one of Rauterkus' Running Mates thinks Obama (courtesy of Rev. Wright) is out of the election. If you ask some liberals, they'll tell you McCain already blew the election with his "100 Years in Iraq" comment. I'm going to settle it.

Not only is Elvis still in the building, he's not going anywhere for at least 4 or 5 months. Here's the comment I left on Rauterkus' blog:

Are we seriously saying that Obama has already lost the November election? He's lost the November election the same way he lost the democratic primary to Clinton back in January, according to a few short sighted "analysts".

On the other side, they're saying the same thing about McCain's "100 Years
in Iraq" comment. They'll say the same thing when the details of his divorce are
aired publicly. Short sighted analysts will call this election at least a dozen
more times in both directions.

The reality is two good men, men I actually respect are running against
each other for the first time in my lifetime. Instead of jumping to conclusions,
let's enjoy watching a Hero and a Inspiring Speaker debate on the greatest

I got so worked up about the comment I couldn't think of anything to post. So it's doing double duty today. I'll give you a nice long post tomorrow to make up for it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Merger Talks but no Merger Walks

I mentioned this briefly in the Sunday Kraut, but it appears that the closed door meeting with municipal government officials from around the city may have been more important then I expected. The trib covered some response to the meetings that I noticed this morning. I couldn't find it in the p-g, I'm not saying it wasn't there, just that I couldn't find it.

My first thought is that I like the idea of a police and fire first scenario. It makes sense to get some quick wins before discussing the complicated issue of full consolidation. I don't think you can forget that goal as an end goal, but I recognize you can't put it to a referendum tomorrow and win either.

My second thought, is that this progress was very limited and totally undocumented, but it was something and I like to see something. So keep working Dan and Luke and I'll follow it as close as I can.

Boy O' Boy

I don't normally take much space here to let you in on the life of Burgher Jon, but I can not resist this morning. Guess where I am writing this morning... Atlanta? New York? DC? No, PITTSBURGH. It turns out my next client, is one of Pittsburgh's own companies. Representing the first time I'll be in Pittsburgh 4-6 consecutive work weeks in almost 2 years. Better still, the client's office is downtown. So for the first time since an internship with half of what is now BNY Mellon in 2003, I'll be working downtown. So look out Burghers, there will be a noticeable difference downtown since I'll be there.

Also on the good news front... my brother is wrapping up his last week of under graduate education at my esteemed alma mater. This may not sound that significant to the untrained eye, but it is. You see that means that I will be in State College the next two weekends and State College (in addition to its normal charms) is host to the biggest collection of waring Pens and Flyers fans in the state! The bars will be electric and I'll be there for games 1, 2 and if necessary (but probably not) 5.

So either be jealous of my day or have a good one with me, depending on what type of person you are!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Sour Kraut Buffet

Sour Kraut tastes better on the Lord's Day, in fact it comes in three varieties!

Burgher Jon's Homemade Sour Kraut, two good reasons the Burgh ROCKS...
  1. I watched the last Pens game from the Atlanta Airport. I was one of about 8 people from Pittsburgh (or formerly for Pittsburgh) who showed up early for the 9:45 flight in hopes that the sports bar in terminal A would have Versus. They did and we crowded in a corner of Braves country to be all Pittsburgh. It's a shame we lost, but still, a cool moment that only happens (or happens more often at least) when you're from the City of Champions.
  2. My church hat its rummage sale yesterday and made like $1400 50 cents at a time. Pittsburgh has some of the best rummage/estate/garage sale shoppers in the WORLD.

Street Vendor on Grant Sour Kraut:

  • Where did the city/county merger go? The only thing I could find on it was this Trib piece which said just about nothing.
  • I follow Bob Mayo's blog... as he now knows from doing google searches. I wanted to applaud him for his latest contribution to the KDKA news. It is the kind of logical, fact centric, interesting news piece that I was beginning to doubt Pittsburghers enjoyed watching.
  • Good for Councilman Dowd not letting political operatives in to City Hall posts. What concerns me here though is this: If you view your political team and your government team as having separate skills, that necessarily means you were not elected to office because of your governmental skills. I'm not accusing Councilman Dowd of anything, he is a good Councilman who did what he had to to get elected, I'm more concerned with what this says about the system.
  • If I support Jim Russel and the concept of Cleveburgh politically, it doesn't mean I have to cheer for the Browns does it?

On that note, time for ball park Sour Kraut:

  • Both the Penn State Men and Women are National Volleyball Champs. I followed the girls team pretty closely when I was a student, no not just for the spandex pants (though they didn't hurt), the girls were damned entertaining. So I'm tickled pink to see THE Pennsylvania State University holding both trophies at the same time.
  • Interesting comments on yesterday's baseball game from the Buc's Dugout Crew. Paul Maholm's numbers are flabergasting (I don't care what spell check says, it's a word, I think)
  • Oh yeah, and one more little detail... Let's destroy the Rangers today and set up an all Pennsylvania Eastern Conference Championship.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bridging the Nerd to Nerd Gap

Alternative Title: From Nerd to Shining Nerd

I have a lot of political/newsy nerdiness in me and quite a bit of sporty nerdiness in me. Well today I'm introducing one to the other in this post. If you happen to be a non-sports nerd who's reading this blog... Educate yourself on what went down last night between one of the best bloggers in the sports world (the Deadspin guy) and one of the best journalists sports world (the guy who wrote Friday Night Lights, not the TV show, the book).

Now here's what I think... Since none of you asked...

Comment Sections
The comment section of a blog has little to do with the blog, no blogger should be held responsible for anything that's said there. Stupid people say stupid things, and even stupid people are welcome to read most blogs. I must admit though, I think more can be done by bloggers to make better use of the comments space. I don't think this is the bloggers responsability, but I think if I received even a quarter as many worthless comments as Deadspin does, I would moderate the comments and only show them if they added something to the conversation. For example, if I covered Sean Salsbury leaving ESPN, I don't think I would allow someone to comment, "Good Riddance you Fetus Faced Fuck." My reluctance has nothing to do with making the blog child proof and everything with making it worth reading, even the comments section. If the comment instead was, "I think ESPN had to do this because that Fetus Faced Fuck couldn't appeal to 35 to 38 year olds, a major demographic for ESPN's Monday Night Countdown" then I'd be happy to have it on the site. It's all a hypothetical game anyway, as I don't have the broad appeal of a deadspin, and so am free to leave comments wide open without having very many that don't add to the conversation.

I think the real problem with the comments debate in this clip is that both Costas and Bissenger have no idea how a comment section works. Costas even referred to comments as "posts" (quite the opposite, what you're reading now is my "post." Down at the bottom you or anyone else can provide "comments"). It is unfair to say that just because something appears at an address that starts with "", I am responsible for it, think it is well stated, or even agree with it. Yet both of them cited comments extensively and then asked poor Will Leitch to defend them. Furthermore, since most of Costas' audience has no idea what a comment section is either I'm sure they shut off their TV thinking Leitch said those things. You want to know what irresponsible journalism is? Costas and Buzz "the respected sports journalist" Bissenger did it in this clip, through their own negligence they allowed people to walk away with the wrong impression.

Public Figures and Cell Phone Cameras
Did sports figures in the 50s, 60s and 70s misbehave and not have every transgression show up on youTube or Deadspin? YES. Did they make the same money as guys do now? NO. Listen if Braylon doesn't want to be on Deadspin he can go catch passes in the Arena Football League or Canadian Football League and no one will bother to take his picture. As it is he makes about $8,000,000 per season or roughly 25 times what Lynn Swann made in his prime. They act like they can't control wether they're on the net, they can. There are other leagues that pay you to play football and don't have the publicity. You're living in a different era for football then the 50s, 60s and 70s, if you don't like it, give that $8,000,000 back cause you can't have one without the other.

Blogs and Traditional Media
There has to be room for both, this blog wouldn't exist if it weren't for newspapers. The P-G online is the source for half of the things that appear here, at least. This post itself wouldn't exist if Costas hadn't done his TV show. Might it distract some people from parts of the newspaper, particularly editorials? Of course. Might that lower readership, lower revenue, lower the number of newspaper writers and their salary? Yes. Deal with it. That's the price we pay for a new, faster, better world. I work in IT... do you think my salary has been helped by off-shoring? H-1b visas? Of course not, but I still argue in favor of both. If this country and this world are going to continue to get better we can't throw the baby out with the bath water when we look at technical innovations. If your column can't compete with blogs that are put up for free, in the words of one of Deadspin's commenters... "have fun managing a Denny's."

This Story and Non-Sports Blogs
The reason I decided to run this post is that I don't think it's a sports question alone. I believe that the partnership between traditional media and blogs is going to develop very similarly both in politics and in sports. I also think that Luke Ravenstahl could easily understand where Braylon Edwards is coming from. Who knows what Tom Murphy got away with in the days before Bram and MacYapper.