November: Only the Dawn of Reason in Politics

We join our City of Champions already in progress:

Today I am announcing a major new initiative that will provide clear pathways for economic development across the city, from small residential projects to skyscraper construction.

It will create inter-agency cooperation among the Department of City Planning, Zoning, the URA, the Housing Authority, and what used to be called the Bureau of Building Inspection. BBI will be turned into a new Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections and be tasked with streamlining the city’s building permitting processes, proactively enforcing property maintenance codes, and ensuring the highest levels of building safety and performance. (Mayor Peduto, State of the City 2014)

But then, as quick as lightening: Continue reading

6 Opportunities to be Righteous Jews by Embracing a “Conflict Kitchen”

The most recent conflict demonstrated at Schenley Plaza in the Oakland corridor of Pittsburgh seems to be passing without serious incident — and for that, we should rejoice.

I don’t want to get caught up in the weeds of a geopolitically complex military entanglement. But can we all agree that wildcat threats of mortal violence in reprisal for academic speech are bad?

Such mishegas is mishegas. But in our own speech and politics, we should be mindful of danger in our capacity to be “led astray by our own heart and our own eyes”. That is why Jews are given to weaving blue fringes on our garments: it is to implore us to remember the Lord’s commandments.

Of the 613 “mitzvot” enumerated in the Torah Continue reading

The Film: Blazing Saddles

The Performer: Madeline Kahn


HERE: Whet your whistle…

Pittsburgh is interesting; it seems to have a certain “magic”.

Next question is, “But does it scale?”

Because it doesn’t scale in Congress, either.

So what does that mean? All glory to the Wolf pack — endorse, endorse! We have to manage for scarcity, but we can’t afford to stint ourselves.

And finally, R.I.P. Tom Menino, the great Boston mayor who loved his town in so many ways.


Police contention with City Hall reveals Soft spots

As residents protested “police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation” yesterday on the City’s front porch, upstairs a two-hour debate erupted in Council Chambers over whether to stay the course with Pittsburgh’s group-related homicide crime plan.

Councilor Theresa Kail-Smith of the west end accurately pointed out that the dramatic decrease in the homicide rate promised by proponents never materialized — and if anything is worsening. She also questioned whether City funding of the social service components of the crime strategy are an efficient use of taxpayer resources.

Councilor Dan Gilman, of Peduto’s old eastern district, noted that the mid-year stopgap funding measure was forwarded by a fellow Councilor (Daniel Lavelle of the Hill and Manchester, absent for the discussion) rather than the Mayor’s office — and not seemingly as part of any comprehensive or reformed strategy from new Public Safety leadership.

Councilor Natalia Rudiak Continue reading

Fax D.A. Zappala; Drop the charges against Ford

Telephone: 412-350-4400 or 4404. Facsimile:  (412) 350-3311

Here is the story. These facts are not much in dispute.

A kid was stopped by police as he was driving. Police suspected the guy was somebody else of a similar name and description — an alleged bad actor. Despite presenting three forms of identification, and after extended officer huddling and teleconferencing, he remained under suspicion.  At length, and contrary to police policy, an officer entered the young man’s vehicle. A confusing scuffle ensued, the car moved forward, the kid (Leon, his name is Leon Ford) was shot in the spine, Continue reading