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China: The New Normal

“All is flux, nothing stays still.” –Heraclitus (540480 BC). China in 2017 only vaguely resembles the China I described in a 2006 overview for Pittsburgh Quarterly. Few countries have ever changed so much in such a short period. Sit back, because it is time to rethink what you need to…

Aftermath of a Strike

When Melia Tourangeau joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as President and CEO in July 2015, she immediately faced a problem she hadn’t anticipated: massive debts from a nearly insolvent pension program. Last fall, the PSO endured a 55-​day strike that ended when two donors made one-​time gifts and musicians agreed…

The New Apartment Dweller

East Liberty-​Shadyside is the epicenter of Pittsburgh’s new apartment wave, featuring both Bakery Living and the three-​building Mosites Co. complex known as Eastside Bond. Together, these developments, only a stone’s throw apart, have introduced more than 700 rental units over the past few years.

Real Estate Tug of War

The holiday revelers, about 150 strong, gathered at East End Brewing Company to enjoy a different sort of Christmas celebration, neither family gathering nor office party. Rather, this soiree was hosted by Walnut Capital for the tenants of its trendy Bakery Living apartment complex at Bakery Square in Shadyside.

Going It Alone

Most of the women who trust their children to Jamie Tabb’s cottage childcare business in Turtle Creek are struggling to get by under circumstances she knows well. She’s a single woman raising children on her own, as they are. She’s been employed and poor at the same time. She’s had…

The Region’s Top 10 Air Polluters

Although the region’s air has improved dramatically from the height of Pittsburgh’s industrial past, southwestern Pennsylvania remains home to factories and power plants that release millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data to track toxic chemicals released…

Inconspicuous and Dangerous

The heavy smoke is gone. But particulates 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and gases formed by the reaction of sunlight and fossil fuels exhaust remain as the region’s most widespread, stubborn and dangerous air quality problems.

Up in the Air

Southwestern Pennsylvania and air qulity have long had a complicated relationship. For the better part of a century, the region had been a place so polluted from the soot of industry and homes heated by coal that street lamps were lit in the afternoon and walking a single block could…

A Shrinking Resource

Not that long ago, the state Department of Education was a robust repository of expertise for 500 Pennsylvania school districts, offering curricular guidance ranging from math to art to best practices for improving school effectiveness and education outcomes. Those days, however, are largely gone as a new environment has taken…

Despite Lull, Pittsburgh Poised to Grow Faster

Greater Pittsburgh’s economy is in a precarious situation to start 2017. The seven-​county region’s unemployment rate rose sharply through the second half of 2015, nearing 6 percent — a level not seen since 2014 when the recovery was just gaining real momentum. Prior to the 2008-​09 recession, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate mirrored national…

Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless? Part IV

by Greg Curtis
We began this series of posts by examining the sorry state of value investing. We then moved on to making unfashionable arguments on behalf of hedge fund fees and performance. We’ll close the series by looking at the important role hedge funds — and, for that matter, value investing — play in the long-​term…

Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless? Part III

by Greg Curtis
We’re talking about nobody’s favorite subject, hedge funds. Last week we dispensed with the ugly topic of hedge fund fees, and this week we’ll take a deep breath and tackle the even more noxious topic of hedge fund performance.

I Am Homeless

Back in 1988, I wrote a series about Pittsburgh’s homeless, based on my living on the streets for 14 days and nights, undercover, with long hair and a beard. I was 26, and the Pittsburgh Press series changed my journalistic trajectory, won national writing awards, and later became part of…

Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless? Part II

by Greg Curtis
In my last post, we discussed the sorry state of value investing following seven years of rigged markets courtesy of our central bankers. In this post we’ll turn to another category of investing that sits right near the top of so many investors’ Sh*t Lists: hedge funds.

Is Everything That Didn’t Work Worthless?

by Greg Curtis
For reasons best known to themselves and their (not very robust) consciences, America’s central bankers concluded that the best way to drag the US economy out of the Financial Crisis was to make rich people richer and poor people poorer. They therefore adopted policies — QE1, QE2, QE3 — that drove up the prices…
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