Thursday, November 30, 2006

Done and done

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Blast from the past

Hey, remember Tom Murphy? The mayor who presided over Pittsburgh's descent into state receivership? The guy who wanted to level Downtown and replace it with a glorified shopping mall? The guy whose bribe, er, I mean, contract, for the firefighters union ensured his third-term victory?

Well, as Mark Rauterkus discovered, some people still listen to what this guy has to say (from the San Jose Mercury News):

Tom Murphy, a senior fellow with the Urban Land Institute, was mayor of Pittsburgh overseeing the development of a stadium. Failure would have meant losing the Steelers. The odds were long that the team would stay in town and even longer that a new stadium could be built, but the city got it done.

``The referendum to pay for the development was defeated by 70 percent. But we decided we're going to do it anyway, because the Steelers were important to Pittsburgh in terms of our psyche and in terms of who we were,'' Murphy said. ``We were a Rust Belt, declining city and we were losing our Steelers.''

Murphy said $262 million was raised from the team, the state and hotel and sales taxes to build a baseball park, a football stadium and a convention center. The former mayor believes the development succeeded because it was incorporated into the city, rather than standing apart.

I drove around Heinz Field recently on my way to the Children's Museum. Seems to me there is still an awful lot of vacant land surrounding it. And I'm glad the article mentioned the convention center, which has consistently failed to live up to expectations since it was built.

The best part, though, is how Murphy practically boasts about defying the will of the voters. Then again, considering that he was twice re-elected mayor, maybe he's right to scoff. Maybe people truly do get the government they deserve.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Loose lips

I believe it was Michael Kinsley who said that a gaffe is when a politician inadvertently tells the truth:

Downing Street moved swiftly to play down an apparent admission by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the invasion of Iraq had been a "disaster," labelling his comments a "slip of the tongue."

In an interview Friday on Al-Jazeera's new English-language channel, broadcaster Sir David Frost suggested that the 2003 US-led and British-backed invasion had "so far been pretty much of a disaster." ...

But during Blair's trip to Pakistan for talks with President Pervez Musharraf, the prime minister's official spokesman told reporters: "It was a straightforward slip of the tongue... sometimes he does this when he's half-listening to the question and wants to get on and respond."

The spokesman insisted that Blair did not think Iraq was a disaster.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

And if ordered at Taco Bell, it's not even considered food

Those damn activist judges are at it again. And where else but Massachusetts?

SHREWSBURY— A Worcester Superior Court judge has denied a sandwich chain’s effort to block a rival from opening nearby in a ruling that ponders whether a burrito is a sandwich.

In fact, Judge Jeffrey A. Locke ruled in denying a preliminary injunction to a company that operates Panera Bread restaurants, a burrito is not a sandwich. Neither are some of the other dishes that would be served at the Qdoba Mexican Grill proposed for White City Shopping Center on Route 9.

“This court finds,” Judge Locke wrote, “that the term ‘sandwich’ is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas.” ...

Ultimately, Judge Locke turned to the dictionary for a definition of a sandwich as “two pieces of bread, usually buttered, with a thin layer (as of meat, cheese or savory mixture) spread between them.”

Using common sense, the judge continued, the term sandwich “is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice and beans.” Panera’s operators also included no definition of sandwiches in the lease, the judge wrote.

Once again the judicial branch is legislating from the bench. It should be the sole purview of state legislatures--or voters in a referendum--to determine what is and what is not a sandwich.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I can't believe these guys learned how to fly planes

So now al Qaida threatens to blow up the White House? Hello! I'm guessing it's the most heavily guarded building in the world. Are we supposed to be scared by this?

OK, I realize that their propaganda is probably directed at their sympathizers in the Arab world, but come on. They act like villians in a cartoon. (Remember the "South Park" episode when Cartman was Bugs Bunny to Osama bin Laden's Yosemite Sam?) Next thing you know they'll be trying to tie America's girlfriend to a railroad track.