Is this the picture that will entice anyone to think 'I want to locate a business in Pittsburgh?'
The Australians and Japanese will take one look around and think, 'The security costs alone make this economy uncompetitive.'
The Brits and Spaniards will see the heavy black fencing along both sides of streets, reinforced by Jersey barriers, and think, 'these Pittsburgh people are animals -- we only need to use such pens for visiting teams' soccer fans, not for general population.'
The Argentinians and Brazilians will see the attack helicopters, SWAT vehicles and snipers and think, 'the Chileans, so stupid, they think Pinochet is dead, but now we know -- he is in Pittsburgh.'
The Chinese will see the pointless repression of non-violent protesters and think, 'these photos very very handy next time Hillary witch start to lecture about freedom democracy crap.'
The Russians will see the heavily armed security chokepoints, and citizens being required by SWAT-outfitted officers to produce identification documents for no apparent reason, and think, 'What in the hell were they bitching at us about for all those years?'
The prime ministers of France and Italy will see police manhandling teenaged female Greenspeace protesters and think, 'I wonder whether they would let me help, especially with that blonde, the small one on the left, in the ripped jeans . . . '
The point is: none of what I have seen downtown resembles an invitation to commerce, or a flattering picture of Pittsburgh. (Although, to be fair, the Saudis, after seeing the military-style "law enforcement,"* and the delegation from Singapore, after seeing "special police" arresting people for chewing gum, spitting on the street or not spitting on the street, will immediately think, 'Hey, this feels just like home.')
Plus, we insulted the entire world by including a Pirates cap n the goodie bags. Even the Indonesians and South Koreans know the Pirates suck. What's next, Luke? Iron City Beer at the opening reception?
* It isn't really "law enforcement" if you are stomping the Constitution.
UPDATE: Someone who claims to work at the Convention Center has already e-mailed to claim that Iron City Beer -- the Pride of Rochester (and, I hear, LaCrosse, Wisconsin) -- is being served at the Convention Center. I refuse to believe it without photographic evidence.
On the Spot
5 hours ago