Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Good, The Bad, And The Somewhat Ominous

THE GOOD: For anyone with the impression that every young person in Pittsburgh is a drunken, in-over-his-head, celebrity-stalking, substance-free scandal magnet, two words: flash mob.

THE BAD: For anyone with the impression that Pittsburgh police had learned their lesson from a decade of court- and ACLU-supervised compliance with a consent decree concerning civil rights abuses, two words: "national security."

THE SOMEWHAT OMINOUS: I received an e-mail bitterly criticizing police "hassling" of protesters and congratulating me for this passage in my G20 survival guide:

If you venture downtown -- and I may visit just to watch -- patronize local, independent businesses instead of chain restaurants and corporate retailers. I suspect you will be less likely to have lunch with a pepperspray chaser at the Lemon Grass Cafe or Weiner World than at McCormick & Schmick's or The Capital Grille.

The e-mailer went on to ask whether I was aware than Dan Onorato had disregarded my advice, and instead has scheduled a "big fancy dinner" at the Capital Grille later this week. (Choosing a national chain in a publicly subsidized building over the locally owned and non-subsidized Common Plea, Eleven or the Carlton? Say it ain't so, Dan.)

The e-mail also suggested that several floors of the Cathedral of Learning would be "locked down" Wednesday night and stay closed until Michelle Obama had departed the building after conducting a tour of the Nationality Rooms for leaders' spouses on Thursday.

So far as I am aware, no such tour of the Nationality Rooms has been announced.

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