TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Congress trails cockroaches

- JOE WOJCIK PHOTO FOR DAILY - This cockroach, nearly two inches in length, crawls on the floor of a stall in the men's public bathroom located in the basement of the City-County Building Tuesday, August 20, 2002. JOE WOJCIK PHOTO. Slug: JW-BATHS-2-26
JOE WOJCIK PHOTO FOR DAILY - This cockroach, nearly two inches in length,  crawls on the floor of a stall in the men's public bathroom located in the basement of the City-County Building Tuesday, August 20, 2002.   JOE WOJCIK PHOTO.  Slug: JW-BATHS-2-26
Getty Images - NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: Donald Trump attends the crowning ceremony of the new Miss USA at Trump Tower on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09:  Donald Trump attends the crowning ceremony of the new Miss USA at Trump Tower on January 9, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
AP - Nickelback arrives at the 39th Annual American Music Awards on Nov. 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Nickelback arrives at the 39th Annual American Music Awards on  Nov. 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
REUTERS - U.S Senator and Nominee for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) (D-Massachusetts) stands on the sidelines with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft before the NFL AFC Divisional playoff football game between the Patriots and the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Massachusets January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>REUTERS</em></div>U.S Senator and Nominee for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L)  (D-Massachusetts) stands on the sidelines with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft before the NFL AFC Divisional playoff football game between the Patriots and the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Massachusets January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review - Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle address the crowd at the Allegheny County Democrat election party at IBEW in the South Side Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>   Jasmine Goldband  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle address the crowd at the Allegheny County Democrat election party at IBEW in the South Side Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
AP - CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO HASLAM, NOT HASLAN - Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, left, presents a jersey to FirstEnergy president and CEO Tony Alexander after announcing that the team's stadium will be re-named FirstEnergy Stadium at an NFL football press conference in Cleveland, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Since it's completion in 1999 the Browns' home field has been known as Cleveland Browns Stadium. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO HASLAM, NOT HASLAN - Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, left, presents a jersey to FirstEnergy president and CEO Tony Alexander after announcing that the team's stadium will be re-named FirstEnergy Stadium at an NFL football press conference in Cleveland, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Since it's completion in 1999 the Browns' home field has been known as Cleveland Browns Stadium. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

This surely ought to bug members of Congress: They're less popular than cockroaches.

That's not all. A recent Public Policy Polling survey also revealed that people prefer the following to Congress: root canals, head lice, Genghis Khan , used-car salesmen, Brussels sprouts, colonoscopies, Donald Trump , traffic jams and the simply dreadful Canadian rock band Nickelback .

“We all know Congress is unpopular,” said Dean Debnam , president of the North Carolina-based polling firm. “But the fact that voters like it even less than cockroaches, lice and Genghis Khan really shows how far its esteem has fallen with the American public.”

Capitol Hill lawmakers can take some solace from the fact that they did outpoll gonorrhea, Fidel Castro , former U.S. Sen. John Edwards , the Kardashians ,LindsayLohan and the Ebola virus.

But really, how tough is it to be more popular than the Kardashians?

Kerry holdings pose ethics problems. That'll teach them to invest in a Canadian fertilizer farm.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and his wife, Pittsburgh pickle heiress Teresa Heinz, have numerous international investments that could pose potential conflicts of interest if Kerry is confirmed as secretary of State.

The Boston Globe reported that the potentially troublesome investments include shares in a Canadian oil company that is lobbying for the Keystone XL pipeline, a stake in a Brazilian energy concern that has been accused of flouting United Nations sanctions against Iran, a significant investment in a California private equity firm that focuses on Asia, and the aforementioned fertilizer farm.

Government watchdog groups said such holdings could create conflicts for Kerry when advising the Obama administration on trade deals, diplomatic agreements or decisions that impact international economics.

A federal ethics review is under way, but public interest groups already are warning that the couple's holdings are problematic.

“There is every reason to be concerned about this,” Craig Holman , chief government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, told The Globe. “The Kerrys' property is so extensive we are going to see conflicts arise with a series of issues.”

FITZ SEEKING RICHES. The timing certainly is curious.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald has been in office for just 12 months, but he's holding a big-ticket fundraiser on Jan. 29 at Downtown's Rivers Club. Tables cost $10,000, half-tables go for $5,000 and individual tickets cost $1,000.

The move has to irk Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto , Fitz's best bud. Peduto, along with city Controller Michael Lamb , is challenging Mayor Luke Ravenstahl — all Democrats. With a finite amount in political donations available, Peduto undoubtedly would have preferred that Fitz put off his little party until after the May 21 primary.

Why now? Is Fitz thinking of challenging Republican Gov. Tom Corbett , who is up for re-election next year? Is he getting a jump on his own 2015 re-election bid? Or is he merely amassing a substantial war chest so he can become Western Pennsylvania's political kingmaker?

We can't say for sure. About the only thing we can state with certainty is that the fundraiser comes with a pompous title.

It's billed as the “First Annual Inauguration Anniversary Celebration in Support of Allegheny County Chief Executiv e Rich Fitzgerald.”

No ego there.

POWER PLAY. The Cleveland Browns and FirstEnergy have entered into a stadium naming rights deal.

Formerly known simply as Cleveland Browns Stadium, FirstEnergy Stadium will bear the name of the Akron, Ohio-based parent company of West Penn Power Co., which serves Western Pennsylvania.

New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who until recently held a minority interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tony Alexander, FirstEnergy president and CEO, announced the deal. Terms were not disclosed.

SOLICITOR, YES; JUDICIAL CANDIDATE, NO. Jeannette attorney Scott Avolio has privately told reporters that since he has been named solicitor for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, he will not run for Common Pleas Court judge.

Authority board members hired Avolio to replace Ken Burkley ,who held the solicitor job for 11 years.

Avolio will earn $120,000 a year as solicitor for the authority, plus additional pay for other work on such matters as the authority‘s $140 million bond issue for capital improvements, which is expected to be completed later this year.

LAID-BACK. Semi-retirement has been good to former Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman.

He ran a no-nonsense courtroom when sitting full-time on the bench, where he often could be heard angrily chastising victims and defendants alike when they ran afoul of his rules.

Now retired and working part-time as a senior judge, Warman has taken a kinder, gentler approach that has not gone unnoticed by veteran courthouse visitors and employees. During a recent nonjury trial, Warman raised his voice only once, when an unruly defendant repeatedly interrupted the proceedings.

Warman ultimately booted the man from the courtroom as the morning session was ending, but let him return for afternoon proceedings.

Many courthouse observers remarked that had the same events taken place when Warman was still serving full-time, the defendant likely would have faced a gag order for the trial's duration or a trip to jail for contempt of court.

— compiled by Tribune-Review staff

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
  2. Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
  3. Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
  4. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  5. After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
  6. Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally
  7. Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
  8. Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
  9. Biertempfel: Players, MLB agree logic of season’s setup needs to be examined
  10. Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
  11. Rainy summer delays paving projects in New Kensington