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Give thanks, 'Burgh notables

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Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009

Give thanks• You bet they should.

Sitting down Thursday to a platter of carved bird, some of the notable names who often appear in the Trib hopefully will realize they have quite a bit for which they should be thankful.

For some examples, just keep reading. Sure beats staring at the ol' Butterball while it thaws.

• Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl: That his staff came up with the novel idea of a 1 percent college tuition tax to balance the city budget (although the levy might result in the mayor being torn to shreds if he is spotted at any future University of Pittsburgh sporting event.)

• University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon and Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty: That they have a convenient boogeyman in Ravenstahl, and a nice distraction from the fact that students pay more in various university fees than they would ante up in city tuition taxes.

• Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato : That his gubernatorial chances shouldn't be harmed by the wildly unpopular countywide drink tax he successfully fought for in 2007, because most everyone has forgotten about it. (At least they had until that last sentence. Oops.)

• Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner: That he probably could persuade Onorato to polka in public and rechristen Hartwood Acres as Wagner Woods if Wagner agrees to drop out of the governor's race. That's some serious leverage.

• Former local U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan: That her recent resignation after eight years on the job finally might stop the snickering over her most celebrated case. In 2003, she put away the notorious stoner comedian Tommy Chong — not exactly Al Capone — for nine months for selling marijuana pipes.

• Port Authority of Allegheny County CEO Steve Bland : That he recently remembered to remind someone to remove that $15 million Romare Bearden mural from the old Gateway Center subway station before the station is demolished. (And that no one bothered to ask why the perpetually cash-strapped transit agency owns a $15 million piece of artwork in the first place.)

• Pirates owner Bob Nutting: That local baseball fans don't mind following the slapstick antics of a habitually atrocious team — as long as they are rewarded with frequent fireworks nights and bobblehead giveaways.

•Steelers President Art Rooney II and Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux: That Bob Nutting owns the Pirates, thus ensuring their respective franchises never will have to compete with the local baseball team for fans or attention.

• Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett: That he has such a steady stream of crooked Harrisburg politicians and their underlings to prosecute — and provide him plenty of publicity during his gubernatorial bid.

• Former state House Speaker John Perzel: That although he became the latest politician ensnared in Corbett's corruption probe, at least his arraignment picture looked nice. Too often, those things have the quality of a driver's license photo.

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