Opinion

TRM on Your AM Dial: The Podcast

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 06:08 PM Written by

(and your computer)

Here, as promised, is a link to the podcast for Monday afternoon’s Roundtable Discussion on Pittsburgh Business Radio.

With commercials and news breaks edited out, the show clocks in at thirty-eight pleasantly meanding minutes, as Anna Dobkin, Melissa Walters and I join host, former mayoral candidate, and man-about-town Mark DeSantis to discuss the G-20, the mayor's race, Hillary Clinton, Arlen Specter, Ed Rendell, and drunken karaoke in Harrisburg.

Enjoy.

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A Simple Plan

Tuesday, 14 July 2009 05:09 PM Written by

(for a simple commute)

Here's a suggestion for people who like to whine and moan and complain about detours and construction on Route 28 and accidents and construction on the Parkway East and lane closures and construction on the Parkway West:

Live in the city.

You'll have to dodge buses and bicycles and a few public works projects every now and then, but you won't be sitting in traffic for an hour or two (or more) every weekday, you won't be offsetting those precious property-tax savings in gas and mileage and wear-and-tear on your car, and you won't be (literally or figuratively) driving yourself crazy with thoughts of your lovely house and even lovelier family rotting away out there in the suburbs or the exurbs or the blah-de-blah-burbs, forever waiting for you to get home.

If you don't want to do that, great. Your choice. But then I suggest you shut up and suck it up -- even if John Shumway shoves a microphone through your driver's side window -- the next time Jersey barriers or tunnel traffic or of those damned orange PENNDot cones stand between you and the rest of your restless life.

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Full Disclosure

Monday, 13 July 2009 07:19 AM Written by

(and a moratorium. from now until november.)

Regular readers of TRM should by now have surmised that I am no fan, no supporter, no half-accepting, apathetic tolerator of The Mayor. Regular readers of TRM who once were regular readers of TWM will have long ago — probably around the time I first suggested he is Pittsburgh’s answer to George W. Bush — reached the same conclusion.

And you’re right. All of you.

I am no fan, no supporter, no half-accepting, apathetic tolerator of the Mayor.  I am no give-the-kid-a-chance enabler, no he’s-a-Democrat-so-we-oughta-vote-for-him party hacker, no my-brother-or-my-cousin-or-somebody-I-know-has-a-city-job-or-a-city-contract-so-I-better-not-show-up-on-his-campaign-finance-report co-dependent of The Mayor.  I’m a guy who loves this city, who thinks it can be run a hell of a lot more smartly and ethically than it is right now, and who wants to see it lead by someone whose courage and compassion extend beyond the fealty of his supporters, and whose conviction and commitment run deeper than the prospects of his next re-election.

I’m also a guy who, unlike most of my fellow bloggers and broadsiders and equally disgruntled electoral kibbitzers, welcomes the chance to put his talents and passions on the line to try to do something about it.

Two years ago, I worked as a speech coach, speechwriter, debate-prepper, and all-around communication consultant for Mark DeSantis. This year, I’ll be doing all of that and more as Communications Director for Independent mayoral candidate Kevin Acklin.

Kevin is a good man who loves this city, who knows more about its neighborhoods and its community groups and the ins and outs of its government than most people who work on Grant Street, and who genuinely wants to do what we so desperately need to do: throw partisan politics out the window, bring people together, find a rational (or maybe even radical) middle, and get down to the good, hard work of making a better Pittsburgh. 

End of mini-acknowledgment. Thanks for indulging me. Now...

...you'll never have to read that, or anything like it, again.  

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TRM on Your AM Dial

Monday, 13 July 2009 02:45 AM Written by

(with mark, anna, and melissa.)

It’s time for another Roundtable Discussion on Pittsburgh Business Radio.

Tune in this afternoon from 5-6pm to hear your Radical Middle correspondent punditize on all things Pittsburgh and beyond. Listen to WMNY Money Talk 1360 AM, catch the live stream online, and/or participate in the accompanying real-time TalkShoe chat.

If you miss it — if you’re, say, stuck in a meeting, or trapped under something heavy, or just gently admiring all the Hallmark Christmas ornaments you bought over the weekend — I’ll post a link to the podcast later this week. 

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The In-Laws

Monday, 13 July 2009 02:30 AM Written by

(part one.)

On a personal note...

...TRM wishes a sunshine, blue-sky, green-grass, big-woods, lush-garden, good-book, cold-beer kinda birthday to all-pro father-in-law Ralph Moeslein.

Happy Birthday, Dad. May your day be as great and as genuine as you.

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Yesterday's Sign of the Apocalypse

Sunday, 12 July 2009 05:53 AM Written by

(it's the most wonderful time of the year)

Spotted in the window of a Hallmark store at Pittsburgh Mills, one week after the 4th of July, while a soft summer rain fell outside...



Only 165 shopping days ‘til Christmas!

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Here Come da Judge

Saturday, 11 July 2009 05:35 AM Written by

(after one more year)

On a personal note...

...TRM wishes a sunshine, blue-sky, big-laugh, good-joke, great-movie, lemon-pie, perfect-pizza, Frank-Rizzo, Dalai-Lama kinda birthday to the great Tim Murray.

May your day be as smart and as funny and as richly rewarding as your friendship.

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(Nothin' But) Notes From a Friday Afternoon

Friday, 10 July 2009 10:57 AM Written by

(watching the tram cars of my mind)

For your consideration: another curious collection of thoughts, reactions, and observations that didn’t make it into a full-length post this week...

•  KDKA led off last night's 10 o’clock news (on Pittsburgh's CW!) with this story, so I thought I would too: Pittsburgh Police say at least a dozen boats were burglarized at a marina in the Strip District. It happened overnight. Items stolen included electronic equipment, life jackets and even a remote control toy boat. Boats are vulnerable and easy to break into. So far, police do not have any leads. And it was, I assure you, all down hill from there... 

• I heard a rumor that something might have happened to Michael Jackson. Can anyone confirm that? I haven’t seen anything at all about it on the news.

This may be the most depressing and/or infuriating piece I’ve read in a long, long time. (I’ve been wanting to link to it since I first read it on vacation — talk about a downer after a great day at the beach — but I kept forgetting to do so.)  Rolling Stone’s great Matt Taibbi does some of his best and most incendiary work, detailing how one investment bank always seems to have its tentacles simultaneously in the sewer and in your wallet. It’s all compelling stuff, but here’s the one-sentence summary: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain.

Here’s another link I’ve been meaning to get to for a while: a New York Times piece that explains how the research grant system may be undercutting the possibility of major advances in the cure for cancer.

• Playing it safe so they can keep their jobs and keep their donations flowing? What are they — cancer researchers, or congressmen?

•  Just when you thought the two-week-long Michael Jackson Media Frenzy couldn’t get any more over the top, along comes this little gem of a photo link yesterday on MSNBC. I’m sure that’s not Michael Jackson’s real brain — it would likely be smaller, and no doubt bleached white by now — but knowing the often leering, lurid lengths to which NBC and MSNBC will go to milk every last morbid detail out of an already rotting, festering story, it really wouldn’t surprise me if it were. 

• Here’s a new one: at the intersection of Wilkins and Shady Avenues this morning, the light turned green, and the first car in line did not pull out. The driver of the next car grew impatient and, after a few seconds, beeped his horn. Which prompted the driver of the first car to lift his cell-phone-holding hands from his lap, wave them in the air, and then thrust the device back toward the honking driver, as if to mime, Hey, give me a break, I’m texting here!

• Which, besides giving me a good and bitter laugh, makes this news item seem all the more timely.

• Earlier this week, a Facebook friend updated his status with nominations for the most perfectly formed rock albums of the past three decades. Not the best, not the most influential, not the most popular. The most perfectly formed. A great concept and a great challenge. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the 80s or the 90s yet, but my nominee for the 70s came to me in a nanosecond: Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run.

• Yeah, I know. Not exactly a shock coming from me. And yet it really is perfectly formed: the 8-song cycle, stretching from morning all the way back ‘til dawn; the 4-song-per-side symmetry, with the run-away anthems at the top, the dark, brooding epics at the back, and the brighter side/darker side pairs in between; the musical ebbs and lyrical flows, with characters who would have been at home in a Martin Scorsese picture inhabiting landscapes so full and rich they could have come from a John Ford film. It really is 40 minutes of rock & roll perfection.

• As you start thinking (I hope) about your own nominations — 70s only, please; we’ll cover a new decade each week — this seems like a good time to recall one of the many great and memorable distinctions I learned from Duquesne’s late, great Dr. Al Labriola: To say that something is perfect is not to say that there is nothing better. It is only to say that the thing can not possibly be improved.

• Though I wouldn’t call it perfect, Wilco’s new — and cheekily titled — Wilco (The Album) is the band’s best and most beautifully formed work since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Though it lacks the searing high points of A Ghost is Born and Sky Blue Sky, it also lacks those albums’ tangents and excesses. It’s compulsively listenable (and hum-able, and strum-able) from first track to last.

• Joe Sakic was a class act, a hell of a hockey player, and one of my all-time-favorite non-Penguins to watch. Enjoy your retirement, #19; we’ll see you in the Hall of Fame.  

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