Please keep a wary eye on newsmakers

| Sunday, Feb. 25, 2001

If it's Sunday, then it must be time for another stream of unconsciousness. ...

Mr. Magoo inspired today's column. Jim Backus was born on this date in 1913. He was the voice of the near-sighted cartoon character. Laughing at the visually challenged was perfectly acceptable when I was a callow youth. This was several years before we had the Americans with Disabilities Act, laser surgery or a color TV.

Now however, I dare not even crack a smile in public just thinking about Quincy Magoo blowing the horn of his antique car while screaming 'road hog' at people or objects in his line of sight. Our society has become so sensitized that we've become desensitized to most politically incorrect humor.

Please keep a wary eye on the newsmakers in the following outbursts. If you gain any new insights, maybe you too will say ... 'Oh Magoo, you've done it again!'

  • That old carrot you see being dangled in front of you simply is Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy trying to win re-election by suggesting the Nordstrom department store chain seriously thinks downtown Pittsburgh can support another taxpayer-subsidized white elephant.

  • The following should give you a better idea of just how wrong Murphy's cockeyed economic predictions have been. Wouldn't you have thought he'd be releasing studies confirming his glowing predictions about the economic impact of the white elephant also known as the Downtown Lazarus store ... especially in light of Murphy's abysmal polling numbers•

  • Bob O'Connor, a city councilman and Murphy's main challenger, is apparently clueless. He admitted as much after confirming he authorized a letter recommending a promotion on behalf of someone he'd never seen - controversial city Housing Authority police Officer John Charmo (shortly after the Jerry Jackson shooting). O'Connor claimed he did the favor for some Democratic Party insiders.

  • You have to wonder, if O'Connor had been asked, would he have rubber-stamped one for Marc Rich, too•

  • In spite of the egg on O'Connor's face, if you were forced to choose between the two, wouldn't you rather see Pittsburgh run by a former restaurateur than a former Peace Corps volunteer•

  • Ahoy, all fat-cat contributors. If you'd like to experience what it's like being in a submarine without causing an international incident, consider calling the Carnegie Science Center and asking when you could board the USS Requin.

  • Um, do you think it's way past time to create a 30-day limit for any roadside memorial to crash victims•

  • Maybe the reason many local broadcast outlets haven't sent reporters to cover the Pittsburgh Pirates' spring training camp is because they know most viewers don't care about the virtually major league team.

  • Given the double standard of justice around here, is it any wonder disgraced former District Justice Gigi Sullivan was handed a slap on the wrist for her crimes by Judge Robert E. Colville Sr. instead of the possible prison sentence of between 50 to 60 years and a $250,000 fine•

  • A very personal observation: How a large institution such as 'Presby' (UPMC Presbyterian) can have so many caring employees with outstanding people skills is beyond me.

    Dimitri Vassilaros is the morning radio talk host on News Radio 1170 WWVA. His e-mail address is .

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