IT IS OFTEN said around Memorial Day that the right to vote is one of the freedoms for which America's servicemen laid down their lives. If so, the residents of Allegheny County can't take much collective pride in the sense of civic duty shown on primary election day last Tuesday. Just 21 percent of registered voters bothered to go to the polls. To be sure, the biggest race was confined to the city of Pittsburgh, where Mayor Luke Ravenstahl easily won the Democratic nomination for the November mayoral election. But council races in the city and other municipal offices, in addition to a long list of judicial candidates, deserved the attention of more voters. But it's hard to get the voters' attention when the races seem to lack excitement.
PITTSBURGHERS tend to look to sports for their excitement, but the political world and the sports world came together at the White House on Thursday when President Barack Obama honored the Steelers for their victory in Super Bowl XLIII. It was a happy Pittsburgh occasion all round, with local politicians mixing with the local gridiron stars and 50 wounded military veterans and their families. In a perfect pre-Memorial Day touch, the Steelers helped prepare 3,000 USO care packages for the real heroes who have taken up arms for their country. As Troy Polamalu said, “It’s an honor to be around real warriors, the president and the White House ....”
THIS MEMORIAL DAY weekend many an old grill will be fired up to mark the unofficial start of summer. So it is disturbing to learn that although the Steelers are No. 1 in football, and the Penguins are making an exciting run to be No. 1 in hockey, Pittsburgh isn't tops in grilling. In fact, Philadelphia was ranked No. 1 as the top cookout capital in Pennsylvania (and 22nd in the nation) in an annual survey done by Blue Rhino, a leading national provider of propane tank exchange. Pittsburgh finished fourth in the state (77th in the nation). It doesn't seem right that Pittsburgh trails Philadelphia. Hey, Blue Rhino, that's where Flyers fans live. They hurl abuse even at meat.