Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It Sounds Bad, But It Could Have Been Worse

He could have been studying
in Hillman Library
on a Friday night.

If Not For Dan, Luke Would Be Getting Lonely (Ravenbergs Divorcing; University Gets Kids)

Several sources report that the debate regarding the Siege at Schenley Plaza, and in particular how to handle its aftermath, has become heated and is boiling down to the city and county (left) vs. every other person or authority inhabiting the planet Earth (right). And I mean every.

Any wagers on when Dan begins to step away from that podium?

The lawsuits should be a hoot.

Pitt Police Chief Tim Delaney: Serial Do-Gooder

A second development today (here is the first) that reflects well on Pitt police chief Tim Delaney:
Pitt students now welcome to bring lawyers to meetings with University representatives.
I am told Chief Delaney (in white shirt, at center, surrounded by substantially lesser men) pushed for this welcome change in policy.

Revealed: Police Standoff . . . Against Police

I expect a series of jarring revelations concerning the Siege of Schenley Plaza. Like this one.

University of Pittsburgh: Helping Students Since . . . Well, I'm Sure It Will Start Sometime

I recently noted that Pitt students should get the hell out of Pittsburgh within minutes of graduation (number nine on the list). Recent events indicate I could reconsider that point. New evidence indicates at least some Pitt students -- those desiring to acquire a useful law degree -- should leave sooner.

It has long been obvious, to anyone who compares Pitt's announcements of home football attendance with a 10-second scan of the stadium, that the University lacks a functioning Department of Mathematics. (Bob Smizik, I believe, once noted that if Pitt's attendance claim for a Halloween-week game were true, at least half the fans came to the game dressed as empty seats.)

Yesterday, the dysfunction spread to the School of Law (which has been declining for two decades, and recently fell from 57th to 71st in the U.S. News ranking).

Pitt has invited students confronting criminal charges consequent to the Siege of Schenley Park to tell their stories to the University -- and its police department -- in hopes the school (which has failed its students at every step of this situation so far) might grant indulgences (did everyone else miss the statutory change requiring the district attorney to answer to Pitt?). One catch: Pitt method of "helping" a student will include barring the student from bringing a lawyer.

ACLU legal director Vic Walczak, who attended a good law school, flunked Pitt's legal reasoning, calling it unconstitutional, insidious, and for a student, "dangerous."

(In fairness to dean Mary Crossley of Pitt's law school, it is possible she was so busy attempting to rehabilitate the law school's ranking that she and the rest of the faculty were unavailable to help the University arrange a legally defensible position.)

Were I a Pitt student, I'd listen to Vic Walczak (and my lawyer). Were I a Pitt law student, I'd consider calling Vic for a recommendation about a top-50 law school to which I could transfer.

UPDATE: Major change, thanks to chief.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Global Infinonymity (Post-G20 Edition)

It doesn't offset the losses sustained by downtown businesses, the Kent State-with-a-(rubber)-bullet weekend at Pitt, or the to-be-hidden millions in security costs, but the Pittsburgh G20 Summit generated at least two good things -- a smokin' soundtrack and Global Infinonymity.

These foreign sources have sent visitors after the G20's conclusion:
Japan - Canada - Norway - Romania - Bahrain - Brazil - Lithuania - Belgium - Iran - Netherlands - Palestinian Territory - Israel - Philippines - Sweden - New Zealand - Finland - Puerto Rico - Belgium - Guatemala - Pakistan - Italy - Switzerland - Australia - Germany - Estonia - France - India - Singapore - Macedonia - Ireland - Mexico - Denmark - United Kingdom - Saudi Arabia - Okatie, S.C. - Louisiana (Halliburton)

Visitors from Singapore were drawn to this. The Japanese sought this.

These Google/Ask/Yahoo searches delivered Intertubers:

pittsburgh pirates funny g20 sign
equate 1 5 6 12 in to 4
margaret poplawski pittsburgh
g20 event pittsburg pa
chris neverman
ravenstahl loser
Mrs Pancake number bonds to 20
can you drink alcohol at palace theater greensburg
who is infinonymous
and, my favorite this week:
who the hell is infinonymous

How Dumb Can A Republican Prosecutor Be?

A Mississippian refuses to let Mary Beth Buchanan be the uncontested answer to that question.

Sometimes Headline Says More Than The Story

Monday, September 28, 2009

Attention University of Pittsburgh Students: Don't Get Mad . . . Get Even (With Luke)

Dear Pitt students:

"We have an old saying in Delta House," D-Day told Flounder in the finest motion picture achievement in American history: "Don't get mad . . . get even!"

Luke Ravenstahl, mayor of Pittsburgh (which shows what could happen if you wash out of Pitt and get stuck at a school like W&J, so study hard!), today pronounced the G20 a success and in particular said police acted "admirably."

Luke will be running for reelection in five weeks. What better way to respond to the Siege of Schenley Plaza than by voting this joker out of office?

First, the math (this is where we lose the boy mayor even if he is trying to follow along). In 2005, 60,000 votes were cast in Pittsburgh's mayoral election; the winner received 40,000 votes. In 2001, 53,000 votes were cast; the winner had 40,000. Before 2001, there are no records available because yinzers were not yet connected to the Intertubes. But Pittsburgh has been losing population for 40 years (that whole "hellhole" issue), so the long-term trend should be toward fewer votes cast.

Roughly 27,500 students are currently enrolled at Pitt's Oakland campus. I suspect that 22,000 are (or could become) Pittsburgh residents. Anyone living in a dorm (nearly 7,000) can register to vote in Pittsburgh. Anyone with a bed in Squirrel Hill, South Oakland, Shadyside, North Oakland, Point Breeze, East Liberty or any other part of the City of Pittsburgh can register. Anyone whose parents have a residence in the city can register.

Pitt has approximately 11,000 faculty and staff members. I estimate 4,000 reside in the city.

That's 26,000 potential Pitt votes. Of course, not one of the College Young Republicans can be expected to participate, so subtract seven. But I estimate that at least 2,000 parents of Pitt students are eligible to vote in a city election. So that makes 27,993.

And that, even a W&J kicker would recognize, is enough to deny Luke the mayor's office in a town as small as Pittsburgh.

The deadline for registering to vote in the November 2009 general election is Tuesday, October 5. One week. But registration is easy; information is here.

(Your elders also must do their part. Dok Harris and Kevin Acklin, the other two guys on the ballot, need to become a single opponent . . . by flipping a coin, if necessary. I will work on that.)

I call on Pitt's Student Government Board, the Pitt Democrats, every fraternity and every sorority (girls Luke is currently dating are excused), the cheerleaders (ditto), the dance team (ditto) and every other recognized student organization to participate in a massive voter registration drive during the next week. Register students, faculty and staff in class, in the cafeterias, outside the Cathedral, at the Union, at bus stops, in bars, at workout rooms and on campus buses.

Oh, and someone needs to visit the Allegheny County Division of Elections tomorrow to pick up 25,000 registration forms. Coordinate with the Acklin and Harris campaigns; if you move slowly enough, they'll keep up.

Luke thought it was cool to use a sonic cannon, pepper bags, rubber bullets, tear gas and nightsticks against innocent Pitt students this week. I think it would be cool to hear the entire student section, just before the fourth quarter of the Syracuse game begins, substituting "We beat Luke" for "Let's Go Pitt" during Sweet Caroline.

One mayor to take down, one week to go.
Let's Go Pitt!

UPDATE: Gloria advises that a student can download a registration form here, and deliver or mail the form to Allegheny County Division of Elections, 542 Forbes, Suite 609, Pittsburgh PA 15219. So long as the form is RECEIVED by the Division of Elections by October 5, 2009, the voter will be eligible to vote against Luke Ravenstahl in November.

Cop After Cop: 'How Were We Supposed To Know Pitt Teaches Those Damn Kids How To Turn Cell Phones Into Goddamn Movie Cameras?'

Although the Pitt News still has the best Siege of Schenley Plaza coverage, pixel for pixel, in town, the Post-Gazette's news coverage has improved greatly. (The P-G's Allegheny Conference advertising insert editorial page is spewing chunks, though.)

iReport and YouTube demonstrate that students with cellphones + rampaging police officers = video that should be handy in court or at police disciplinary hearings.

The Trib, meanwhile, seems paralyzed, likely by cognitive dissonance ('attack Ravenstahl and Onorato' vs. 'police beating lefties always good').

But the biggest local media news is that the Post-Gazette obviously has acquired a Google-compatible Intertubes apparatus.

Did I miss the telethon?

Prevaricators-In-Chief, Beware

Before Chief Tim Delaney and Chief Nate Harper get too attached to their lies stories about how the 'innocents' had been permitted to and had dispersed, and that all of the Pitt students rounded up by police had been 'there for a [culpable] reason,' they should consider this:

Reliable reports -- which, I am told, university employees can corroborate -- are emerging that a number of students studying in a library were aggressively rousted by police, forced outside (where they were promptly gassed), and physically assaulted with nightsticks and shields.

Oh, and one such student's parent is a trial lawyer.

And he's pissed.

Any chance that guy's name might be on a pink message slip on Nordenberg's desk first thing Monday morning?

It will be interesting to compare Pitt's treatment of students involved in Friday's festivities with Pitt's traditional treatment of varsity athletes who kick the hell out of other students, 12-year-old paperboys, or police officers. So far, it doesn't look good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Today's G20=Apocalyse Sign, With Revelation

The first sign: After the city's repressive misconduct and Judge Lancaster's weakness indicated that the First Amendment would be suspended in Pittsburgh during the G20 summit, Jeff Reed botched two field goal attempts and Chicago's Bears kicked a last-minute field goal to claim come-from-behind victory against the Steelers.

The second sign: After Pitt responded to abuse of its students with silence from Chancellor Nordenberg (although, to be fair, he might have been busy) and a 'no reason to question the police' statement from jackass mouthpiece Robert Hill, Pitt became defenseless in the second half of a come-from-ahead loss to North Carolina State.

The confirmatory revelation: After Pittsburgh police trampled students and the Constitution in Oakland, and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl praised the police bureau for a job well done, the underdog Cincy Bungles converted two late fourth downs during the determinative drive in a come-from-behind victory against the Steelers.

Someone with a divine sense of justice, one could surmise, knows how to hit yinzers where it hurts.

Complaint? Tell The Citizen Police Review Board

Citizens may file complaints asserting misconduct involving the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in state court, in federal court and with the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board (created by citizen referendum during the period in which Pittsburgh police brutality precipitated a consent decree involving federal court/ACLU supervision). The first two avenues require a lawyer; the CPRB must respond to a direct complaint from a citizen. (The CPRB -- which Dan Onorato opposed -- accepts online complaints; I recommend a supplementary submission in writing.)

CPRB rules require that a complaint be filed within six months of the relevant police conduct. Complaints may be directed to:
Elizabeth C. Pittinger, Executive Director
Citizen Police Review Board
816 Fifth Avenue, Suite 400
Pittsburgh PA 15219
Telephone: 412-765-8023

I believe Beth Pittinger also would accept submissions from citizens concerning admirable police conduct. If an officer engaged in conspicuously noble conduct -- and was not among the cowards who concealed identity -- reward that gallantry.

Pittsburgh's G20 Soundtrack: Complete

It isn't over -- the bills will come due, the barricades must be dismantled, imported police are still driving back home with their trophy photos, some students must still sort through the aftermath of being arrested (for less commotion than Luke Ravenstahl creates at a Steelers game after consuming "some alcoholic beverages") -- but it is nonetheless time to complete the soundtrack.

The G20 summit was a major splash (Bill Flanagan, who apparently studies American History Since World War II exclusively, this morning called it "the first time this region mattered") but as it recedes Pittsburgh is still Pittsburgh -- a once-mighty region of great men and women reduced to a second-rate town of lessers who mistake running on fumes for progress.

Pittsburgh could be a jewel, but it is not. People with resources, talent and opportunity have left. Of the residue, those who succeed do so despite the dysfunction, the civic leadership vaccuum and the self-inflicted wounds of today's Pittsburgh. Written by Pittsburghers Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen, the final song of Pittsburgh's G20 soundtrack celebrates a once-proud region's golden era, and its survivors: Homestead.

I was born in the corn fields of Kentucky
I moved north in '73
The war was still going strong so I found a job
Rolling steel in a foundry in Homestead

I worked beside a guy named Grzbowski
Who taught me how to keep safe
He said 'there's many a man
who lost the fingers from their hands'
You could wind up crippled or dead in Homestead

And the steel glowed in the white-hot chambers
The furnace spit fire and smoke
And the sunlight came through the cracks in the roof
The dust was so thick you could choke

I heard all the old stories
about the twelve-hour shifts in the mill
All the union brothers the Pinkertons tried hard to kill
Heard about Frick and Carnegie and the day the river ran red
How the union caved in, in Homestead

It was more than a job it was my family
I got married, settled down, bought a little home
And in the bars down the street, in the late summer heat
You never had to feel alone

I got work tearin' those old mills down
Until there's nothing left but the sweat and blood in the ground
At night we tuck our little babies in bed
We still pray to the red, white and blue in Homestead
I'm still livin' in Homestead
I'm in Homestead
Right here in Homestead
We're livin' in Homestead

A solo version from Joe Grushecky:

Every song on the soundtrack is a damn good song. Please listen. I'll leave 'em up for a while.
1. Homestead (Joe Grushecky/Bruce Springsteen)
2. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
3. One Trillion Dollars (Anti-Flag)
4. Highwire (Rolling Stones)
5. Teach Your Children (Crosby, Stills and Nash)
6. What's So Funny 'Bout (Peace Love Understanding) (Elvis Costello)
7. For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
8. Code of Silence (Joe Grushecky/Bruce Springsteen)
9. Before The Deluge (Jackson Browne)
10. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan)
BONUS TRACKS (Oakland remix): Know Your Enemy (Green Day), Ohio (Crosby Stills Nash And Young), The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob Dylan), My Generation (The Who)

NOTE: I do not know why comments are unavailable, or how to fix it.

A Dose Of International Justice, Obama-Style

Motion picture director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland yesterday on an international warrant issued by the United States, which proposes extradition to hold him to account for feeding alcohol and quaaludes to a 13-year-old girl before raping her in 1977. Thanks to the current United States Department of Justice, Polanski, a proponent of accountability, may receive a chance to make amends for fleeing after pleading guilty.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All Quiet On Oakland's Streets, At Least So Far

Excellent (and technologically impressive) coverage by The Pitt News describes a small, quiet protest, a circumstance most likely explained by either (1) the irresponsible pansies commanders don't work weekends (seniority, I assume) or (2) stomping students and the Constitution just isn't worth the effort unless at least 50 students are available to pick on.

Tips For Pitt Students Preparing For Round 3

Tips for Round 3:

(1) Do not deface or damage property, especially not in plain view of any police officer or within range of any surveillance camera.

(2) When determining whether to expose yourself to risk in the defense of University property, consider the level of support students have received from Pitt (which has basically thrown its students under the heavily fortified black Humvee).

(3) Under no circumstances should you establish secure positions from which to taunt anyone with organized chants such as "you should have gone to a real college," "bad cops get no donuts" or "who pissed on your donut?"

(4) Do not wear distinctive clothing.

(5) Never rely on the City's, or any police officer's, or the University's, familiarity with or respect for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, especially the part about the right 'peaceably to assemble.'

(6) Do not harm any local, independent businesses.

(7) Eat pancakes
at Pamela's.

(8) Drink margaritas at Mad Mex. Not when eating pancakes, though. (Unless you're trying to clear room for more alcohol.)

(9) Get the hell out of Pittsburgh as soon as you graduate. I mean within minutes.

(10) Listen to the Pittsburgh G20 soundtrack (center column). It's better than anything you've been listening to, other than Green Day or your parents' Stones albums.

Good luck. Stay safe. Stay strong.

Pitt Welcomes Dropouts Back To Oakland; Ravenstahl, Harper Hail A "Great Success"

Pitt apparently scheduled a "back to campus weekend" for dropouts to coincide with the Pittsburgh G20 summit. The Pitt News (Chris Neverman) has the photographs:

To emphasize the "back to school" theme, the returning dropouts were transported to campus by school bus.

Each dropout was assigned to an orientation group, and each group was assigned a real student "mentor" to explain how college is supposed to work.

The dropouts then enjoyed a walking tour of the lower campus.

During a special journalism class, dropouts (with clipboards) conducted a mock interview of a student concerning civil liberties.

Male dropouts were offered the chance to relive memories by chasing coeds they never, ever had any shot at.

Student traditions have changed, so undergrads volunteered to demonstrate the proper way to raise their hands while chanting 'Let's Go Pitt' during Sweet Caroline.

Former Pitt football player and campus fixture Chuck Bonasorte, pictured at the back of his "Pitt Stop" truck at Forbes and Bigelow, donned a special "dropout" costume in a fruitless effort to try to sell Pitt t-shirts and hoodies to the dropouts. "Buncha cheapstakes," he muttered. "All they want is donuts."

For those who regretted never being able to make varsity, athletics director Steve Pedersen created a special "Pitt synchronized bicycling team" for the weekend.

After an exciting day on campus, the dropouts marched west on Forbes to get 'O' dogs (while real students returned to their dorms, rubbing their eyes and screaming). Then, most of the dropouts ended their campus experience by conducting a mass search for a Dunkin' Donuts or a Krispy Kreme.

NOTE : This material was provoked not by line officers but rather by the command staff. This donut's for you, Chief Wiggum Harper.

The Pitt News Schools The Tribune-Review

How bad is the Tribune-Review? Not just inept, but inexplicably pathetic.

Wildly successful inheritor Richard Scaife wastes millions on a faux newspaper for no apparent reason other than to snipe at liberals and Democrats, yet the Tribune-Review is ignoring a hundred arrests of innocent college students consequent to a Democratic city administration's transformation of a university campus into a police state (left; photograph by Allison Joyce). The Pitt News, meanwhile, provided minute-by-minute updates, using Twitter to supplement website coverage.

The New York Times had a report of the police conduct and arrests published by 2 a.m. The Trib? Still snoozing eight hours later.

For Pitt News journalists nearing graduation: Don't even think about sending a resume to the Trib. It would be a demotion.

UPDATE: Agent Ska surveils incompetent local media.

UPPERDATE: The Trib published a story -- and, of course, labeled it "breaking news" -- at 12:26 p.m. I assume it's just a rewrite of the Pitt News reports. CORRECTION: It is unusually well-written.

UPPERERDATE: Disturbing reports suggest police targeted journalists, confiscating or destroying cameras or digital images, arresting several (two from Pitt News, one from P-G), gassing others (including several from Pitt News, Dennis Roddy of P-G).

Friday, September 25, 2009

So . . . What's Your Excuse Tonight, Bitches?

Whomever is calling the shots for Pittsburgh police in Oakland has ordered deployment of gas, rubber bullets, smoke grenades and sonic weapons against students in Schenley Plaza.

Last night, the pretext was protection of the world leaders at Phipps Conservatory. Tonight, however, there is nothing inside Phipps except shrubs and flowers -- tulips, roses, petunias, daisies, orchids.

No pansies, though. All of the pansies are outside, in the street. Wearing command staff uniforms (left) and issuing orders to use weapons against college students for standing in a public park.

If you look closely, you'll see that all four -- Bochter, Harper, Trosky and Donaldson, as best I can tell -- are frowning. I guess they're just miserable human beings pansies.

UPDATE: The Pitt News and Post-Gazette are embarrassing the Trib . . . and Channel 4 . . . and Channel 2 . . . and Channel 11.

UPPERDATE: If Nate Harper and the guy who gave the order to attack aren't fired by Monday, Pitt students should boycott every business that doesn't display a "Fire Harper" or "Dump Luke" sign.

UPPERERDATE: If the plan is to ensure that Pittsburgh's gene pool dilution continues (because the educated and talented leave, creating a Yinzer residue), I am confident it is working.

Pitt To Students: More Mayhem Expected

With the "wheels up" signal from Air Force One, I was preparing to still the citywide suspense by revealing the closing number to the Pittsburgh G20 soundtrack (center column). Then I received two messages indicating that Pitt, using its campus-wide safety alert system, has warned the university community that trouble is expected in Oakland tonight. (Query: Will that alert send more students inside or onto the streets?)

This one will be hard to predict. The civilians will be riled from the beginning (rather than starting out merely curious before turning angry). They will have a better understanding of police tactics and demeanor (and vice versa). Everyone will know from the start that property destruction is in the cards. Students may be supplemented by anarchists perceiving a last chance to pandemoniate; the police presence should be more substantial. Not sure which side would take a tactical advantage into round two, unless the civilians splinter into Shadyside (which city officials seem to value more than Lawrenceville, Bloomfield or even Oakland) and Squirrel Hill.

Time to pop some corn.

UPDATE: Another Pitt alert, describing "deteriorating" situation. If the message I received from a student is any measure, the alerts do not appear to be having the intended effect.

Pittsburgh's G20 Soundtrack, #2

"It's like they want to go back to the '60s," one man who disliked G20 protesters told the Post-Gazette.
Probably the guy's best idea in weeks.

The '60s had so much great music that even the protest song category overflows. Ohio, Fortunate Son, The Times They Are A-Changin', Chicago (We Can Change The World), For What It's Worth, What's Goin' On, Eve of Destruction . . . every one outstanding. And they not only could change the world, but did.

I probably should have saved For What It's Worth for today, but Bob Dylan is always appropriate, especially today. One of the best protest anthems songs, period, you will ever hear, a lyric as timeless as the wind, at #2 on the Pittsburgh G20 soundtrack: Blowin' In The Wind.

How many roads must a man walk down,
before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail,
before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly,
before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
How many years can a mountain exist,
before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist,
before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
How many times must a man look up,
before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have,
before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows,
that too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Today G20=Apocalypse Sign, With Pancakes

Go to Pamela's for pancakes. Especially if you usually find yourself far from the nearest Pamela's. Good pancakes made by good eggs.

Between Riots, Oakland's Streets Contain More Shards Of Our Constitution Than Of Windowpane

The boy mayor (in the photograph, he's the middle child) just pronounced Pittsburgh police conduct a "great success."

He's half-right. Which, for him, is a personal best.

Individual officers conducted themselves in an effective and professional manner, with admirable restraint and honor. They deserve gratitude.

The city's decision-makers, however, continued to fail, along a counterproductive trajectory that has become as predictable as it is unlawful and objectionable. They deserve contempt.

Marty Griffith, on KDKA radio, just lamented yesterday's events because "people started breaking things." You're about a week late to that party, Marty.

The first thing broken was the law, more than a week ago, when the city unconstitutionally abused the permit process and engaged in viewpoint discrimination. Next, the city violated citizens' rights by exhibiting disdain for permits issued to protesters who had attempted to comply with the rules. Then, the city used pretextual stops and incessant bullying to roust people wielding braised tofu and plastic sporks. Against that background, the city deserved a few black eyes.

Yesterday, a group of students (Pitt and CMU, and I acknowledge the point of e-mailers who noted my omission of CMU students in the "Hail to Pitt" posting) gathered at Schenley Plaza as the G20 leaders gathered a half-mile away, at Phipps Conservatory. Mostly, they were inquisitive, understandably excited and consequently well-behaved. City authorities responded to this benign circumstance by advancing on the students and demanding they disperse. I suspect few of the students have studied Constitutional law to the point of detailed familiarity with the term "peaceably to assemble," but their innate sense of justice (still youthful enough to resist corrosion) seems to have sufficed. A group of peaceful onlookers and protesters became righteously indignant.

The students stood their ground for a time, then broke into two principal packs -- one headed toward CMU (Craig Street), the other toward Oakland's Fifth-Forbes business district (right).

The results included shattered glass, dozens of arrests, vivid evidence of the authorities' folly, and a thorough refutation of the City of Pittsburgh's strategery.

For amateurs, the students did pretty well. They hit a couple of PNC bank branches; Jim Rohr is head of the region's ossified and ineffectual power structure the Allegheny Conference, a guy who can be on the telephone with Ravenstahl or Onorato in 15 seconds, and a confirmed enabler of those two jokers. They struck a couple of Subways (predatory franchisor owned by reprehensible people) and a BMW dealership (who could have seen that coming?). My hunch: Walnut Capital (whose Todd Reidbord and Gregg Perelman are big the biggest Luke fans, and vice versa) might be visited today.

I would prefer to see more outrage at shattered Constitutional rights and casual brutality than criticism of some broken glass, but that regret is easily offset by the students' concerted display of a sense of right and wrong. Especially if no one gets hurt and targets are chosen deftly. Somebody needs to teach Luke Ravenstahl and the others calling the shots in Pittsburgh a lesson, and I give students credit for the old college try.

I hope those criticizing the students and ignoring the city's misconduct will reconsider. If not, they are welcome to kiss my Infinonymass.

UPDATE: Thanks to The Pitt News and photographers Diana Connor, Vaughn Wallace and Chris Neverman for the art. The Pitt News website is the place to go for a telling video account of poor police judgment.

Let's Hope Pittsburgh Police Learned A Lesson

After observing how Pitt students responded to police tactics in Oakland, I call on all Pitt students (and everyone else) to do the right thing -- and refrain from damaging independent, local businesses.

I wish I could buy a beer for the student who responded to a police directive to 'go home' by pointing out, "We are home."

Were I the owner of a newly open-air chain restaurant in Oakland -- or the landlord of any potentially open-air chain restaurant anywhere in the East End -- I would be calling the mayor's office to request a revised approach for Friday's festivities. If students wish to assemble peaceably, a strategy of provoking them to riot seems to have been discredited.

You kids be careful out there. Beware surveillance cameras. No distinctive clothing. And it's only good if no one -- on any side -- gets hurt.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pittsburgh's G20 Soundtrack: #3

Tonight's event at Phipps Conservatory is billed as a "working dinner" for leaders of the world's largest economies.

An apt dissertation on finance with a Pittsburgh flavor comes not from the obvious (Pitt, CMU, city pension fund advisors) but instead from local-gone-worldwide authors who appear to have spent 15 years doing little other than writing a G20 soundtrack. From Glenshaw native/Pitt graduate Justin Sane and his bandmates, song #3 on Pittsburgh's G20 soundtrack: 1 Trillion Dollars

One trillion dollars can buy a lot of bling
One trillion dollars can buy most anything
One trillion dollars buying bullets, buying guns
One trillion dollars in the hands of killers, thugs

One trillion dollars in Africa, Iraq
One trillion dollars and it’s never coming back

One trillion dollars could make the fat lady sing
One trillion dollars, what a bullshit useless thing

Infinonymous Welcomes The World! (Vol. 2)

Today, we added these guests to the list of foreign visitors:
Finland - Pakistan - Croatia - Puerto Rico - Latvia - Switzerland - Greece - Ireland - Estonia - Spain - Austria - Iran - Belgium - India - Slovakia - Denmark - Thailand - Hungary - Salt Lake City

Plus, we have one ISP whose nationality is, curiously, identified as "Europe" (complete with EU flag). User indicated as someone from Cargill Dow bv.

If The Capital Grille is preparing for massive global expansion, I think I know where I'd put my advertising dollars.

Did The Anarchists Just Psyche Pittsburgh's Capitalistic Imperialists Out Of $20 Million?

If G20 protests turn out to be a dud -- and at this point the only chaos card left for the anarchists to play in Yinzerland might be to stand at Liberty and Grant and start screaming "the Steelers suck!!!" -- that $20 million rent-a-police-state bill might turn out to be the biggest waste since expulsion led Bluto to lament, "seven years of college, down the drain."

How great would it be for protesters -- late Friday, as the world heads for the airports and the cops wait in six-hour lines to collect their overtime checks -- to unfurl from the Ft. Duquesne Bridge a giant banner with a single word: PSYCHE!!!

NOTE FOR OUR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS: The fellow pictured at left is not a punk practicing to incite a riot, but instead is the mayor of Pittsburgh. And that shot is not 25 years old, but the mayor is. We use that photograph a lot. But maybe not as much as this one:

I assume this makes the impulse to open manufacturing facilities in Pittsburgh for some of your country's businesses irresistible.