Nobody Asked Me, But . . .

I've been all over this great land of ours over the last month, from the Pacific Ocean to Lake Michigan to the Atlantic and home. A few random thoughts on things that I missed but wish I hadn't -- and some that I'd glad I did:

The Post-Gazette launched a new website. Dull. And even more difficult to read than the version it replaced. It's a missed opportunity. I prefer the Post-Gazette Then.

Bill Peduto and friends launched "Reform Pittsburgh Now," one Web 2.0 website to save us all. Take the photo down, BP. It's not all about you. The enterprise has a real 2001 reverse-Oreo feel to it, fluffy distributed social engineering on the surface, concentrated political rhetoric on the inside. Want to use the Net to transform Pittsburgh politics? Think BitTorrent. What we've got is Napster 1.0.

Bacn? This is going to be Pittsburgh's legacy to tech culture? We can do better.

Regionalism and the brain drain. I keep waiting for someone in the MSM to write publicly about the multi-party political power-swapping soap opera going on just beneath the surface of things like Mayor Luke's close brush with ethics. Tim McNulty called one move by the Mayor "chillingly old-fashioned," which sounds to me like code for "cynically manipulative." Does the Post-Gazette dare to pick up its own gauntlet? Instead, the same heads deal the same threads.

In better news, Sam thinks that the Diaspora/Manifesto idea -- which is gradually morphing into something more robust called "Global Connect: Pittsburgh" -- may have a little traction. In Erie. Thanks for the shout out, Sam. Can Pittsburgh out-renew Erie?


11 Responses to "Nobody Asked Me, But . . ."

Jefferson Provost said... 8/23/2007 9:33 AM

Man, the new PG site blows. It takes like a minute to load a new page, if they load at all (I'm still waiting for one as I write this). And do you suppose any person involved in designing the site or approving the design has viewed it on a 1024x786 laptop screen? Just the header is 1000x210, most of which is empty space, then the next 150 vertical pixels are taken up by navigation bars and other content-free fluff. That's fully half the screen devoid of content when you first open the page (if it ever loads).

Tom Moertel said... 8/23/2007 10:22 AM

I've got problems with the design of PG's new site, but what's killing me is the slowness! Something must be wrong. The site can't possibly be that slow. Can it?

Judge Rufus Peckham said... 8/23/2007 11:10 AM

The PG is on a cost-cutting binge, and all that blue ink in the old site cost a fortune.

Good to have you back, Professor --we need you to blog more!

Anonymous said... 8/23/2007 12:22 PM

I never thought I would ever see anything worse than the Trib's site, until I went to the PG's yesterday.

Bram Reichbaum said... 8/23/2007 1:30 PM

I agree with you whole-heartedly on the Peduto site, the P-G site -- and especially on "bacn." The whole thing is such a cloying and facile publicity stunt.

What I'm asking about is "cynically manipulative" in re the Propel Commission. Care to explain? I read the whole thing as silly, but essentially harmless.

Mike Madison said... 8/23/2007 2:01 PM


I'm reading the same tea leaves as everyone else. Here are the facts, Jack Webb-style:

"Chillingly old-fashioned" is a calculated phrase. (Chris Briem will explain the history and politics of local brain drain obsession better than I ever could. The point, briefly, is that studying this stuff is a known dead end. Reviving it can only be a calculation in misdirection.)

The personal soap opera involving elected officials at both state and local levels, and their staff, is an open secret in the city but hasn't percolated into the MSM.

Since securing Onorato's endorsement last December, the Mayor has been running the City on a cult of personality, not policy. Look at the city's revamped website. The mini-flap over the U.S. Open. The purge of city directors. Mistick's column in early August pretty much nails this.

The P-G is covering the Raventstahl/Onorato feud, but when I add up the above, there's more to the story. My guess is that P-G writers are aching to write about it, but somewhere in the editorial hierarchy, the lid is being kept on. Thus McNulty used code, rather than blowing open a bigger story.

That's my speculation, anyway.

jet said... 8/23/2007 2:44 PM

I thought the Peduto site was supposed to be about him, as part of his political positioning.

Sure, they want to help PGH, but they want everyone to know whose idea it was.

Greg said... 8/24/2007 10:29 AM

the Pittsburgh post-Gazette website looks exactly like the onion, maybe if they receive enough complaints they will change it back..... not likely. I wonder who the rocket scientist is who decided to change the website? And is he or she's still unemployed?

EdHeath said... 8/24/2007 12:38 PM

My take on the PG website is that it is NYTimes lite, with some of the same menu strategies, and some of the same menu problems.

I wonder if there are not rumblings of dissent coming from below in the Ravenstahl administration as well as from above. Nate Harper's quote in the PG about a Mayor who needs overtime for his bodyguards because he works from 6am to 2am seems like he is trying to tell us something. The City Law Office reported the value the Mayor received from the Lemieux foundation tournament at just under $250, the entire amount the Mayor would be allowed to receive in Steeler's and Pen's tickets this year.

I'm just reading too much into things, I have no inside contacts even though this is a small town.

Anonymous said... 8/28/2007 12:32 PM

The PG site is a good update - much cleaner

Anonymous said... 8/28/2007 12:33 PM

Luke's partying will eventually go public

Search Pittsblog

About Pittsblog

Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

Comments are moderated.
Subscribe to Pittsblog comments


Blog Archive

Header Background

Header background images licensed from (left image) lemonad and (right image) plaskota under Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenses.


Copyright 2003-2010 Michael J. Madison - WP Theme by Brian Gardner - Blogger Blog Templates,