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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

| Friday, Feb. 3, 2006

Here we go: After two solid weeks of wall-to-wall international coverage, what more can be said as the Pittsburgh Steelers finalize their preparations to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL on Sunday• Not much, other than good luck. Oh, there is one more thing. Should the Black and Gold prevail in Detroit, all eyes will be on the reinvigorated City of Champions to see how we celebrate. Celebrate we shall. But we must remember that good sportsmanship is not confined to the field of play.

Lance: To Mellon Financial Corp. Departing CEO Marty McGuinn reportedly will walk away from the banking giant with about $43 million. Let's put that into perspective: $43,000,000.00 . And all those zeros for what some critics say was a pretty zero performance. It's this kind of deal that gives corporate America a black eye. We can only wonder what kind of obscene sweetheart parachute incoming boss Bob Kelly has.

A first observation: The occupancy rate for hotels in the six-county Pittsburgh area dropped by seven-tenths of a percentage point in 2005 to 60.1 percent. So, taxpayers -- through the outlandish and heavily public financed Three PNC Plaza, Downtown -- are going to subsidize even more hotel rooms and very tony ones at that• It's time to page the head doctor; this is the kind of nutty "economic development" that makes us all poorer.

Lance: To The Block Bugler. The Pittsburgh edition of one of Toledo, Ohio's, newspapers editorializes that the U.S. Supreme Court "enters a troubling era" with the ascension of Sam Alito to the bench. If you're an embarrassing and unrepentant supporter of socialist precepts that you have the audacity to call "rights" -- as The Bugler is and does -- then, yes, we suppose you would be troubled.

A second observation: The long primacy of KDKA Radio could be over. Ratings are slipping. Staffing and program shake-ups have been the order of the day. Gimmicks appear to be replacing programming. There's even a big question mark about the KD continuing as the flagship station of the Pittsburgh Pirates. What's next, Fred Honsberger replaced by a radio version of the Home Shopping Network•

Lance: To the Bauerstown Four. Post-AFC championship, these volunteer firefighters decided to celebrate the Steelers' Jan. 22 victory by taking a quarter-million-dollar firetruck on a siren-blaring romp through Shaler. In the process, they smashed up a parked car. The joy ride, of course, was against regulations. Punishment should be swift and severe.

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