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Christmas takes

Allegheny County would not be mired in the reassessment mess it is had R. Stanton Wettick, the senior Common Pleas judge overseeing the repeatedly court-ordered process, found county officials who thumbed their noses at the rule of law in contempt of court and jailed them for their delay tactics. Pssst! There's still that option, Judge Wettick. ... Is there anybody left in the commonwealth who isn't wondering if the latest public corruption charges lodged against one of the Sisters Orie are a prelude to state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin being charged by Allegheny County prosecutors• Perhaps those named Orie but few others. ... Dan Onorato , the departing Allegheny County chief executive, has a new gig come Jan. 3 -- "chief external affairs and communications officer" for Highmark Inc. That's corporate jargon for "chief flack." Considering Dan, Dan the Tax Man's many verity-defying pronouncements as ACE, the axiom that the first casualty of public relations is the truth appears to be quite safe. ... We're not the biggest fans of Britain's Prince Charles. But Western Pennsylvanians so enamored with wind power should heed his recent remarks. The industry really exists only because of public subsidies, he says, and those insisting that wind power is one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy believe in "fairy tales." And that from a devout eco-wacko.

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