1. Remember last year's blurghosphere-wide (and then some) Community Human Services or CHS Holiday Gift Drive to provide individuals and families with unique challenges practical gifts for the holiday season? It is launching earlier and more ambitiously this year, with the Pirates vs. Marlins game on Saturday Sept. 10th at 7:05.
Those who consent to watching the Pirates live at PNC Park alongside web-loggers like myself, Virginia Montanez, Jennifer England, and Kevin Acklin (his campaign was basically a five-month long blog post, right?) in the special Roberto Clemente section will enjoy the view from the lower left infield, fireworks and a Clemente t-shirt all for just $20. Register now! Please join us.
*-UPDATE / INSPIRATION: For those of you familiar with CHS's work and who don't care to join us at this ballgame -- how about getting your Christmas donating out of the way now, while your credit card bill still fits in an envelope?
2. Professor Briem points us in the direction of a couple interesting articles in the most recent Pittsburgh Business Times. Go read them through his portal -- or read as much of them as you can without a PBT subscription. We'll wait right here. Dum de do.
3. Back again? Good. Now, a serious request. Can somebody quickly remind us why it is crucial to prevent our pension fund management from getting "taken over" by PMRS? We understand why the local pension board itself would be anxious to prevent a takeover by a statewide investment cooperative with a far superior track record. Very clear on that. We just need a quick refresher course on why Pittsburgh At Large ought to be persuaded to "all row in the same direction", towards what is in any event the same waterfall around the next bend.
4. If two or more providers of similar products or services operating in the same area are by definition in the same "market" -- and this state of affairs necessarily entails "competition" among the two "competitors" -- and this "market competition" absolutely mandates the cessation of cooperation between competitors to further efficiency in delivery of these products and services -- how can we possibly be discussing institutions of purely public charity, or non-profits?
Some cry in cowardice, bad judgement or bad faith, "Don't kill the goose that lays golden eggs!" Health care is the new steel, the new coke, and the new coal combined. Health care is one of the few consumables guaranteed never to go obsolete or out of style. Those remaining in charge of it -- only the most aggressive and methodical practitioners of corporate piracy, the monopolists -- have obviously given up any pretense of being motivated by compassionate instincts. Watch any old telephone company commercial -- "We bring mothers and daughters together, over distances! Communication! Aren't we the sweetest things?" This is the very self-same self-serving non-sequitor. Extravagant claims about "charity care" have never been audited. Taxpayers entirely underwrote the construction and evolution of one of these two self-involved "competitors": the University of Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, a ridiculously high volume of tax exempt land is slowly but now noticeably strangling this city in particular, just as it's struggling to rebound. The center cannot hold.
Tax these deluded phony plutocrats. Tax them no harsher than all the other duly celebrated profit-seekers in this vibrant working world must be taxed. Tax them whether they agree to play nice with each other or not.
Who knows? We might actually be able to hire some teachers for our schoolchildren, or update some critical infrastructure to keep us from drowning in the rain.