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Rooney retreats

Two Political Junkies ( expresses relief that Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney backtracked from his initial explanation for keeping James Harrison on the team but firing Cedrick Wilson after both were charged with assaulting their girlfriends. As Rooney put it:

"What Jimmy Harrison was ... trying to do was really well worth it," he said. "He was doing something that was good, wanted to take his son to get baptized where he lived and things like that. She said she didn't want to do it."

A Steelers spokesperson later said "in no way do we condone domestic violence of any kind."

The junkies were grateful:

Thanks for clarifying that, Mr. Rooney!

Because your initial statement sure did sound like you were giving the message that it was OK for a Steeler to smack around a woman as long as it was for Jesus.

The romance of war

Fred Kaplan at offers as proof that President Bush resides in a dream world this quote from a videoconference the president recently held with U.S. military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan:

I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks.

Digitize me

Pittgirl ( weighs in on the digital billboard issue and comes down on the side of the current custom, which is to allow one digital billboard for every five or six old vinyl ones that are taken down:

If I have to choose between the old traditional wallpapered-on billboards that look extremely bad when the paper starts peeling off, sometimes left for months with half a Sheetz ad, a quarter of a Steidel and Steinberg ad and a quarter of an "Are you driving a lemon?" ad, or the high-tech ever-changing clean digital billboards -- my God, the digital billboards are the lesser of two evils.

... Do I think they should put a digital billboard right on Shiny Happy Cherry Tree Lined Drive in Big Brick Houses with Kids and Toys, PA? No.

Do I think if there's a street with six gross old billboards that they should take those down and put up one nice clean digital sign?

Well. Yeah, I do.

Take me to your leader

The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat ( posts what he claims to be the real Pittsburgh government organization chart. Among those hovering above Mayor Luke Ravenstahl are WalMart, Satan, The Illuminati and Col. Sanders.

The angry one also covers the announcement by Mr. Ravenstahl and County Chief Executive Dan Onorato that they are endorsing funk rocker George Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Onorato was quoted as calling Mr. Clinton's health-care and foreign policy proposals "Supergroovalisticprosifunkstic."

Sorry to say, the PG missed this story.

Thirsty China

In an article for the World Watch Institute (, Sandra Postel wonders how China could possibly find enough fresh water to sustain its rapid economic growth. The country holds 21 percent of the world's population but only 8 percent of the world's renewable water supply.

For at least a couple of decades, water tables have fallen by as much as a meter per year in the grain-growing north. Land is subsiding in the Beijing suburbs, and the Yellow River, one of China's two major river systems, has hundreds of kilometers run dry much of the year. China plans to try conservation, a massive project to divert water from the Tibetan plain and desalination of ocean water, but stay tuned for serious economic and social disruption.

Set sail for Taiwan

Across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China, Ian Williams finds a finely tuned single-payer health-care system that covers 99 percent of the population. Writing in the winter issue of Dissent magazine (, Williams reports:

[National Health Insurance] premiums cover Western- and Chinese-style medicine, both in- and outpatient, prescription charges, home care and dentistry. Almost all Western-style hospitals and 88 percent of Chinese-medicine clinics are in the system. Though dentists have been opting out of the British National Health dental system in large numbers, almost 95 percent of dental clinics are in the Taiwanese system. Health care is provided by a competitive mixture of municipal and public (about one-third of the beds) and privately owned hospitals that also offer comprehensive primary care.

Perhaps the 47 million Americans without health care should emigrate.

Compiled by Greg Victor. Please send contributions to .


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