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Huffy over Arianna

| Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011

Leftist news maven Arianna Huffington was a little too liberal with her BlackBerry use on a commercial airplane last weekend.

The New York Post reported that Huffington, 60, who runs the online Huffington Post, was about to take off from Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C., when she ignored the captain's command for passengers to turn off their electronic devices.

"She wouldn't turn off her BlackBerry, even when we pushed back from the gate," one passenger told the Valleywag website. "We took off, and it became apparent that the phone was still on."

Huffington's casual disregard for the instruction prompted a man to rise from his seat and angrily protest her continued chatting and texting, a source told the Post.

"Hey lady! Don't you speak English?" the man allegedly heckled Huffington.

The ensuing battle resulted in Huffington and the other passenger, Ellis Belodoff , 53, of Plainview, N.Y., being hauled off the plane for questioning when it landed at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Both were released without being charged.

KERRY'S PRIVATE NEIGHBORHOOD BARS PUBLIC. Man of the people John Kerry obviously doesn't like to mingle with commoners.

A recent Boston Herald piece spotlighted the fact that the house owned by the Democrat U.S. senator from Massachusetts in that city's private Louisburg Square community is fenced off from the rest of the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Kerry's neighbors are upset that landscapers and contractors servicing the private square, which has other residents besides Kerry, park on their tiny, narrow public street.

"It is weird that there is a gated community for multimillion-dollar homes in a city neighborhood," Beacon Hill resident Paige Demeter said as she walked her dog past Louisburg Square's "Private Parking" signs.

The Herald also noted that Kerry and his wife -- Pittsburgh pickle heiress Teresa Heinz -- paid to have a fire hydrant moved on their private street to accommodate a more convenient parking spot.

"I realize John Kerry lives here," East Boston resident Kim Fultz said. "But should millionaires own city streets• That doesn't seem right."

STILL SAYONARA FOR SHIELDS• Despite the impending elimination of the seat he was targeting, scuttlebutt is that Doug Shields still plans to leave Pittsburgh City Council and run for a magisterial district judgeship.

Shields had been expected to attempt to succeed retiring Magisterial District Judge Nathan Firestone of Squirrel Hill. But the state Supreme Court is expected to approve a consolidation plan that would merge the districts of Firestone and Magisterial District Judge James Hanley , whose territory includes Greenfield and Lincoln Place.

Shields would have to run against Hanley for the judgeship, but as former council president, he has considerably greater name recognition than the incumbent.

Carefully monitoring these developments is Corey O'Connor , son of the late Mayor Bob O'Connor . O'Connor, an aide to U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle , D-Forest Hills, would be the heavy favorite to win if Shields vacates the council seat. Former Trib staffer Chris Zurawsky also is running for it.

THE LITTLEST ZOBER. They seldom share baby pictures at Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority meetings.

But at the URA's meeting on Thursday, an assistant operating a PowerPoint presentation put up a photo of Isabel Erin Zober . She's the new daughter of Tiffany and Yarone Zober , the URA board chairman and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl 's chief of staff and chief enforcer.

Isabel arrived Jan. 9, weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Our congratulations to the Zobers.

(MARRIED) COUPLE OF CORBETT APPOINTMENTS. A husband-and-wife team will be key components of Gov.-elect Tom Corbett 's administration.

Corbett on Wednesday nominated Philadelphia attorney Stephen Aichele to be the commonwealth's general counsel. He's married to Chester County Commissioner Carol Aichele , tapped by Corbett to head the Department of State.

It's not easy to live with someone with whom you also work. We hope the Aicheles don't get tired of spending so much time in each other's company.

GIVING THANKS. Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak will return to Westmoreland County today to thank local Democrat leaders for their support in his unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate last year.

Sestak, of Delaware County, knocked off Arlen Specter in the Democrat primary but was unable to pull off the same feat against Republican Pat Toomey in the general election.

Sestak is scheduled to arrive at Greensburg Hose Co. No. 1 on McLaughlin Drive, near Greensburg Salem Senior High School, around 4 p.m. The event is open to the public and refreshments will be available, according to Harriet Ellenberger , vice chairwoman of the Westmoreland County Democratic Party.

Sestak lost the county to Toomey, carrying 39 percent of the vote to Toomey's 61 percent.

FLOOR SHOW. U.S. Rep. Mark Critz of Johnstown, who won a full term in November, was among Democrats in a bipartisan group of 135 lawmakers who took turns reading from the Constitution on the House floor.

Critz told The Hill newspaper that he thought the Jan. 6 reading was "pretty neat."

He didn't get a choice passage to read.

According to Critz's staff, he read from Article I, Section 3:

"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

-- compiled by Tribune-Review staff

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