Pittsburgh Left: The answers to three burning questions | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Left: The answers to three burning questions

Would Deep Throat have kept quiet about Richard Nixon if he faced a $500 fine?

I’m starting to realize that one of the casualties of this past election season was my ability to write about things other than someone named Trump or Clinton. As I sat down to write about something germane to our city or state, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the ways to call Donald Trump an egomaniacal jerk-like asshat, or all the ways we might be screwed as a nation. 

But I can’t write that again this week (yeah, I know, I sorta did). But if I’m not thinking about the future of this country, my mind fills with a bunch of random thoughts. What thoughts? I’m glad I asked. Here are three burning questions that I’ve been mulling over:

Do woodland creatures have their own elected officials and, if so, do they spend time drafting laws that offer new and exhilarating ways to kill us like we do them?

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill allowing semiautomatic rifles and handguns to be used for hunting beginning next year. You see, the way it is now, if you shoot at a deer and miss, you have to pump another round into the chamber, re-aim and then shoot again. It gives the deer too much time to react and possibly run away. Where’s the fun in that? The new way, all you have to do is squeeze the trigger and before you know it, you’re showering the creature with a hail of bullets. Legislators say the new law will benefit sportsmen. But is it really that much of a sport if you’re the only one with a sporting chance? Currently, the only way the animals can fight back is to lay in wait and jump out at our cars to force us off the road. And while that works from time to time, the animals often lose out in that scenario, too. On a somewhat related note, I like to imagine that the governor of the woodland creatures is also named Tom Wolf, but that, in a strange twist of irony, he’s actually a fox.

Would Deep Throat have kept quiet about Richard Nixon if he faced a $500 fine?

Many a City Paper editor has taken shots at the way Darlene Harris legislates, both as a Pittsburgh City Councilor and, previously, as a school-board member. I used to slap my forehead in disbelief during her hours-long public hearings on the city’s animal-control policies, and wanted to scream when she brought her “housewives’ budget” to Pittsburgh public schools. Now, however, I find myself completely on her side. A few weeks ago, a majority of councilors approved a rule that allows council to fine and censure any councilor who leaks or talks about information from an executive session, claiming such communications would violate attorney-client privilege. It’s no shock that Harris, who has been one of the few voices of dissent against a council majority that usually backs Mayor Bill Peduto, voted against the measure. Harris, who was accused of sharing documents from an executive session in the past, said of the new rule: “It appears as if they’re putting in a gag order.” Take it from a journalist: Open-record laws in Pennsylvania already make it hard for us to do this job, and in a lot of instances, if we don’t find out, the public doesn’t find out. By council’s fine schedule, I’m sure I’ve gotten tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of information from documents and meetings over the past 23 years that wouldn’t have otherwise been available. That’s not even to mention the major stories from this country’s history that, if not for a whistleblower, would have gone undetected.

Fox News says the ‘War on Christmas’ has begun. Does that mean that if the P.C. heathens capture Bill O’Reilly, he can be sent to Guantanamo Bay?

Starbucks has released the red cup signaling the official start on the “War on Christmas,” and Fox News has you covered. Its website has a whole page dedicated to stories covering the frontline battles of this long-standing feud between people who think they are being infringed upon when a sales clerk wishes them “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” “Stop terrorizing people who like the holiday,” O’Reilly said recently. I’m still not sure how telling someone “happy holidays,” or having a “holiday party,” tramples your rights to celebrate Christmas or someone else’s right to celebrate Hanukkah. Luckily, this problem will soon end when our President-elect forces us all to say “Merry Trumpmas.” It’s going to be big. 

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