Pittsburgh Metro Loses Jobs in July

The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area had 7,700 fewer jobs in July than what employers had on their payrolls a month earlier, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “In normal years, a little bit of decline in the middle of the summer is pretty normal,” said Chris Briem, a regional …

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Policing Perils

Towards the end of my checkered career in the Army, I found myself stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison, a large Army base located outside Indianapolis. I was the Traffic Sergeant for the 226th Military Police Company and we served more like a civilian police force than like a traditional MP company. The reason was that …

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The State of Higher Ed: Pitt, Penn State, La Roche, IUP

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? Lina Dostilio, University of Pittsburgh (Associate Vice Chancellor) The pandemic has heightened …

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The Last Word

“In the last few weeks, the [FTC] has repeatedly changed policy direction without giving the public any real notice or right to be heard.” —Noah Phillips, FTC Commissioner Previously in this series: “Academics and Europeans: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part XIV” I intended to end this series of posts with part 14, …

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This Johnstown Mob Story Is Business and Personal

The gangster has long stood as an outsized figure in America’s 20th-century mythology, ranging from the brutal Al Capone to the fictitious Tony Soprano. “The Godfather Part I” and “Part II,” as well as “Goodfellas,” rank in the American Film Institute’s Top 100 American Movies of all time, while several others deal in mob tropes. …

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A Short Raucous Party

At night, like us, they stop making noise. Tired, I suppose. All day long they scream for a mate among the millions nearby. They don’t have much time, a few weeks at most, to ensure their brood will arise again. Perhaps their screaming is about that particular problem, a coordinated audible insect protest about what …

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The Many Benefits of Functional Fitness

Question: “I’ve read that ‘functional fitness activity’ can help maintain a healthy body weight and provide additional benefits as well. However, I am not sure what functional fitness is all about. Can you explain?” “Functional fitness” activities relate more to a person’s lifestyle than what we consider to be formal, structured workouts. The term generally …

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The State of Higher Ed: Allegheny, Clarion, Waynesburg

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? Hilary L. Link, Allegheny College Allegheny College has been fully open all …

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I Am Everyday People

“When I was in college I had an incredible teacher named Mr. Pfaff. He thought I was really good at photography and he encouraged me. He really went the extra mile to make me feel I was special,” Renee Rosensteel remembers. Turns out he was right. For the last 20 years, Rosensteel has built a …

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Academics and Europeans…

I ended last week’s post by mentioning that Francis Fukuyama has proposed a novel way to control Big Tech, using so-called “middleware” companies to break the FAANGs’ control over Internet content. Previously in this series: “A Different Take on Big Tech: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part XIII” As I understand what Fukuyama …

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A Different Take on Big Tech

We are evaluating a variety of complaints about Big Tech to see whether our ramshackle antitrust laws represent an appropriate remedy. So far, we’ve learned that antitrust action is a clumsy approach at best. But let’s look at one more major complaint against Big Tech. Previously in this series: “The Ridiculous Instagram Case: Antitrust Is …

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You in the Mountains

We ate thick waffles glazed with sugar, our tongues tasting the last of it from our lips, and the sky ran a pink river through its middle behind the trees growing black with each new firefly. Now, the plants in their clay pots disappeared into dusk. The red ashtray left with its pile of Marlboro …

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Arthur Ziegler: The Power of Community

When I was growing up, my parents used to take me by trolley to East Liberty for a Saturday night treat, dinner at Gammon’s restaurant. In those days, East Liberty was considered our “second downtown” in Pittsburgh, and so I had a vague affiliation with the area. Many years later, I would learn what the …

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Few Workers Added to Weak Workforce

The labor market in the Pittsburgh region remained largely stagnant, and unemployment rose slightly in June, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data. Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area rose from 5.7 percent in May 2021 to 6.3 percent in June. Despite the uptick, unemployment has significantly improved from a year …

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Celebrating 75 Years at the CLO

In order to bring life in Pittsburgh back to normal, we need leaders with the courage to make bold decisions even when conditions may not yet be perfect. And that’s just what the Pittsburgh CLO did this winter and spring in deciding to move ahead with its 75th anniversary season and bring entertainment back to …

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Neighborhood Academy to Host Author and Candidate Wes Moore

On Sept. 29, The Neighborhood Academy’s Nancy and Paul O’Neill Speaker Series will feature Wes Moore: best-selling author, combat veteran, social entrepreneur and former CEO of Robin Hood — one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation. Moore recently announced his run for governor of Maryland in the 2022 elections. His book, “The Other …

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Living the Wright Way

Fallingwater is arguably Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous design and was named the “best all-time work of American architecture” by the American Institute of Architecture. With 160,000 visitors annually, it commands awe and reverence — no touching, and stay behind the velvet ropes. But drive about 23 miles from Fallingwater to Polymath Park in Acme, …

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The Ridiculous Instagram Case

As I noted last week, virtually everywhere we go and everything we do is subject to surveillance by government and private citizens. And the person they are looking at is actually us, not some random number linked to our computers. Previously in this series: “The Coming Missteps on Big Tech: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than …

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The Perfect Antidote

Bob Phillips was in Chile fly fishing with a group of clients in early March of last year. For 10 days, he’d been in places that the news of the world didn’t reach. It wasn’t until he boarded the plane for home that he knew something wasn’t right. “Everyone was wearing masks,” he said. “What’s …

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The State of Higher Ed: Slippery Rock, Westminster, Saint Vincent

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? William J. Behre, Slippery Rock University The pandemic has confirmed something that we …

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The State of Higher Ed: Point Park, Duquesne, CCAC

We asked the presidents of the region’s colleges and universities to answer this question: As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have become more apparent to you for your institution than they were pre-pandemic? Paul Hennigan, Point Park University When faced with a challenge that seems …

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Virus Still Seen as Threat; Consumer Optimism Slows

Southwestern Pennsylvanians don’t believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but continuing to wear a mask is something fewer and fewer are willing to do, a new survey suggests. Meanwhile, consumer confidence in the local economy dipped in June and optimism among residents about their personal financial situations fell for the first time this year. …

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