The Curtain Rises, At Last

On an evening in early June, people lounged in camp chairs and blankets on the grass at Point State Park, lines formed at food booths on the edge of the lawn and people stood shoulder-to-shoulder, swaying to the sounds of blues rock and soul music performed by Celisse on the main stage. It was more …

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The Coming Missteps on Big Tech

If we thought that too many antitrust laws and enforcements were ineffectual at best and counterproductive at worst, matters are about to become even more dreadful: Most of the proposed enforcements will harm consumers without much denting the power of Big Tech. Previously in this series: “How to Handle the FAANGs: Antitrust Is More Interesting …

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The State of Higher Ed: WVU, Seton Hill, Washington & Jefferson

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? E. Gordon Gee, West Virginia University I believe that when our world …

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Region Adds Jobs, but Needs More

The Pittsburgh region welcomed back thousands of jobs in June but will need sustained gains to climb back to pre-pandemic employment levels. The seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area gained 57,800 jobs from June 2020 to June 2021, including 9,300 jobs since May 2021. “Jobs are up more than you would seasonally expect here for the …

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The Black-Throated Blue Warbler

The male is dark blue, white and black. The female is olive brown and grey with a white patch mid-wing, when folded. The contrast is called sexual dimorphism — two versions of the same species depending on gender. Look and listen for something spectacular. This is a bird you’ll want to find. My first encounter …

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The State of Higher Ed: Chatham, Robert Morris, Thiel

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? David Finegold, Chatham University The pandemic highlighted many of Chatham’s historic strengths: …

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How to Handle the FAANGs

“Consumers won’t thank antitrust enforcers for repeating the mistakes of the past.” —Jessica Melugin, Competitive Enterprise Institute Previously in this series: “Laissez-Faire vs. the Progressives: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part IX” The so-called Chicago School approach to antitrust enforcement has many fathers and they rarely agree on much. In addition, the school …

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Fit Facts: Hard Truths about Diet and Exercise

Question: “There’s so much information available about dieting and exercise. I’m not sure what to believe. How do I separate fact from fiction? I feel your pain! There is an enormous amount of material available through workout videos, diet and exercise books, health club promotions, fitness equipment companies and the internet. Sifting through information can …

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Just Askin’… Derek Shelton

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The wide variety of people I interact with on a daily basis. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you? A: To do your job right the first time. Not half-assed. Q: How do you start the day? A: I drink a lot of …

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The State of Higher Ed: CMU, Bethany, Grove City

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? Farnam Jahanian, Carnegie Mellon University The pandemic has accelerated many of the …

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The Blackberry: The Humblest Jewel

If you were tasked with designing a wild fruit to represent western Pennsylvania, you might come up with the blackberry. Its familiar, arcing canes spread over logged hillsides and reclaimed strip mines, beside railroad tracks and across abandoned farmland reverting to woods. Blackberries are an unplanned bonus from hard-used land. Such a luscious treat, blackberries …

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Laissez-Faire vs. the Progressives

From the date of enactment of the first antitrust laws during the Roman Republic right up to the present moment, there have really been only three theories that have addressed the proper role of a government in controlling anticompetitive behavior. Previously in this series: “Government Missteps: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part VIII” …

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We Need New Blood

Our region is thirsty for blood. On a typical day, Vitalant Pittsburgh (formerly Central Blood Bank) sees 250 blood donors. It needs 600 donors to meet the local demand for blood. “Our region collects less than half of what we need. People’s jaws drop when we say this,” says Mark Giaquinto, president and chief financial …

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Visiting Western Pennsylvania’s Wild and Beautiful Ohiopyle State Park

About 80 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh in Fayette County is the town of Ohiopyle and one of our area’s natural gems of rare habitats, dense forests, breathtaking scenic areas and whitewater for paddlers — Ohiopyle State Park. Over the past year, visitation to parks, nature reserves and forests has increased dramatically, as people have sought …

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Wactlar, Henderson, Figgins, DeFazio, Corry, Toker

Howard Wactlar, 77: During a career of more than 50 years at the National Science Foundation and Carnegie Mellon, where he arrived in 1967 and went on to hold positions in both the School of Computer Science and the Robotics Institute, Wactlar developed an impressive array of technology and software engineering systems. He helped to …

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Unemployment Falls and Labor Force Plunges

Unemployment fell sharply in southwestern Pennsylvania last month. But the good news is tempered by continued contraction of the regional labor force, which plunged to its lowest level since June 1991, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Labor data. Unemployment in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area dropped one full percentage point — from …

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Government Missteps: Let Me Count the Ways

By the mid-twentieth century, antitrust enforcement in the United States had become far more sophisticated than it had been for the first six decades after the Sherman Act was passed in 1890. Unfortunately, the ratio of success-to-fiasco remained roughly constant. Previously in this series: “The Weird Inconsistencies of Trust Busting: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than …

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95th Cinderella Ball Presents Ten Debutantes, Celebrates Service

The 95th Presentation of Cinderella Ball was held on Saturday, June 26, 2021 in Sewickley, Pa. chaired by Cinderella Women’s Committee members Mrs. Laura Kronk and Mrs. Lisa Keefer. For an event that has been held nearly every year since 1924, this celebration was especially poignant as much of the volunteering and events were held …

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Pandemic’s Disruptive Path Still Haunts the Unemployed

Fallout from the pandemic is discouraging a significant number of unemployed southwestern Pennsylvanians from looking for work, even as businesses reopen and COVID cases decline, according to a recent survey. Caring for children, dependent older adults and others was the most common reason for not looking for work that was given by unemployed workers who …

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Pittsburgh Philanthropy

Ask a person from Pittsburgh to define philanthropy and they’ll most likely mention an industrialist such as Andrew Carnegie, or a patriarch named Heinz or Mellon. These economic titans loom large in Pittsburgh. The word “Pittsburgh” and its Gilded Age bequests are so intertwined that some think these industrialists invented philanthropy here. Experiences at Carnegie’s …

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Brother’s Brother Foundation and Blood Science Foundation Host Inaugural Golf Event

On Monday June 21, 2021, Brother’s Brother Foundation (BBF) and Blood Science Foundation (BSF) jointly hosted their Inaugural Golf Event at the Fox Chapel Golf Club. The outing, despite challenging weather conditions, raised money to support local healthcare and educational programs. Brother’s Brother Foundation was established by Dr. Robert A. Hingson in 1958 to assist …

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On Inflation

So many people have asked about my views on inflation that I’m pausing my antitrust series to address the topic. Back to antitrust next week. “If [Biden] succeeds, the President will cast 40 years of economic doctrine on history’s ash heap. But that’s a big if.” — Michael Hirsh, in Foreign Policy In my day …

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