Yearly Archives: 2014

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


Ahem [clears throat] now that we have shaken the spambots…


Dollar Bank Holds the August Wilson Center (to keep it warm…)

UPDATE: Belay that headline. The foundations bought the Center from Dollar.

At length it has come to this:

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

The Strip District will have So Many Trees!

We all use the Twitter in different ways:

Oh are we. Pursuing what?     Continue reading

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Notes on the millage readjustment, or Taxes that is.

Once more:

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday proposed a 0.5-mill real estate tax increase to help cover a shortfall in the $505.9 million budget he plans for 2015. (Trib, Bob Bauder)

1) Allegheny County just underwent a once-in-a-decade property reassessment.

2) Due to generally rising property values, in 2013 tax rates were cut, so that by law the City’s and all other local governments’ total take would stay about the same.

3) The Ravenstahl administration said it was inclined to “err on the side of taxpayers.”  That’s a solid policy, given what we all knew at the time.

4) Once-in-a-decade property reassessments led to once-in-a-decade assessment appeals, Continue reading


Police Bureau Chief-Designee Cameron McLay at his introductory press conference. Good times.

C/o MBN, Don Carpenter

No, seriously:  isn’t this guy a little different than you would expect?