Back . . . in (the) Black (?)

I've been away (again): we drove to Minnesota, and back, for a wedding. The land of Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.

Unlike Pittsburgh, where the news couldn't be worse: The Mayor signed the Act 47 recovery plan, which is clearly the right thing to do, but the public political whining about the plan shows that the City is nowhere near the road to recovery. We can't even find the on-ramp. The last week has been like an episode of "Firefighters Behaving Badly."

The Mayor is hardly blameless. Talk about a failure of leadership. The ship of state has been sinking on his watch; the rescue crew arrives with a plan to bail her out; and the captain . . . is nowhere to be found. Was I missing something, or was the Mayor's voice all but absent from public debate over the last week?

And our new County Executive, Dan Onorato . . . signs pink slips for 110 people, then hides from the press. Geez.

The news only gets more depressing.

We're going to fix the region's tax problems (meaning: there are too many entities with the power to tax) . . . by installing slot machines around Pittsburgh. The deal isn't done yet, but I'm not exactly doing cartwheels over the possibility that my real estate taxes in Mt. Lebanon might be lowered because other folks like to gamble.

And still worse. The Superintendent of the Pittsburgh schools, John Thompson, is being let go as his contract expires because . . . he has the audacity to fix the district's budget and to push bold new ideas. Board members hate that! It's not the Pittsburgh way! Said board member Jean Fink, "I'm a Pittsburgher and he's not."

My view: John Thompson should stick around, and we should elect him to the Mayor's office.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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