Thursday, January 29, 2009

Evening minutia

NY Freakonomics Blog on: Ten Reasons to Like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Note the comments including one angry Seahawks fan. Time to get over it. Reason #3 no less is simply Myron Cope. Unsurprisingly Myron gets his own writeup in the NYT as well: For Terrible Towels, a Wonderful Legacy. For those who want more, remember NPR's audio piece on our great Neologist.

Not everyone loves us though. It's not a Forbes list per se, but they are reporting on what an anonymous commenter pointed out this afternoon. A new Pew Research Center report (online appears to be the embargoed draft) on what regions are perceived as better, or worse, places to live. Cleveland-doting and NYTimes article not withstanding the Pittsburgh brand still needs a lot of work.

That really is not so surprising. I am pretty sure that a lot of the positive PR the region gets lately results when someone out there learns a positive factoid about the Pittsburgh region and it strikes a chord of cognitive dissonance (apologies to E.H.) because it is so unbelievable. It just does not compute for a lot of folks out there, especially those who only know some past superficial. Note my blog filter today caught the well educated Pragmatic Pediatrician with this quote:

it's shocking to realize the numbers of people moving from industrial cities like Detroit, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh.

What do you say? Someone didn't get the memo, or read the NY Times. Old memories die hard.

Speaking of Detroit, or at least Michigan. It takes a lot to spook me, but in the "Northeast Lower Michigan" region the unemployment rate has gone from 12.1 in November to over 15% in December. see page 6. Detroit's regional unemployment has gone up by more than another full percentage point, from 10% in November to 11.1% in December.

and just in case we lose sight of some pretty important things between the cold and Super Bowl news. North Versailles is out of cash and that municipal workers "will not be paid for up to eight weeks", yet asks them to keep working in the hope they will get paid down the road. Is North Versailles even in Act 47 status?


Blogger EdHeath said...

Your post reminds me of a radio commercial I heard roughly twenty five years ago. It was Bill Cosby shilling for another perennially insulted area, New Jersey. He did the commercial sotto voce, saying that he and his wife were packing to go on vacation in New Jersey “yes, New Jersey. We tell our friends we are going there and they say ‘why’? So we are packing very quietly” (I paraphrase from memory, although I swear the packing quietly part at least is accurate).

Of course anyone who has driven in the western part of ‘Jersey has experienced the incredible vistas of the Garden State, just as visitors to Cleveland and Pittsburgh are surprised by how nice the cities are (although Sam Bennett suggests we are not that ambitious; Illyris in the comments sections describes at least her home neighborhood of Boston (!) as “backwater”). I think the internet is making it much easier to stay connected to any neighborhood in the US, eventually the world. I think curiosity is the virtue that will be most rewarded in our modern world.

Friday, January 30, 2009 6:56:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Gotta love Youtube.. was it this?

Friday, January 30, 2009 7:23:00 AM  
Blogger illyrias said...

An interesting tidbit to be found in the 44 page pdf -

Way down on page 39
"Percentage of group that said they would like to live in that city"
"By Age"
18-34: 29%
35-59: 14%
60+: 11%

In the young crowd, we leap past Baltimore and St Louis. And we're pretty much on par with Las Vegas.

In the 35-59 crowd, we're lowly bastards again in a 4-way tie with 3rd least preferred city. Of course, NYC ties us there, so it's hard to feel too bad about that.

Anyways, these stats tell me that maybe the perception is changing for the younger group? And/or maybe Pittsburgh is viewed as a younger/fun/fast-paced city more in line with New York's demographics than Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, they don't break down "Likely to move" by age, but I have a feeling that the younger age group is most likely to move.

Friday, January 30, 2009 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 35-59 crowd pays far more taxes than the younger bunch.

Friday, January 30, 2009 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger EdHeath said...

For my commercial, I remember hearing it while I was out running, so it had to be a radio ad. But the youtube ad is clearly a companion ad, part of the same campaign. I just remember the radio ad had this ironic twist, that Cosby tried to and then stopped telling his friends he was going to New Jersey for a vacation. I can't remember if Tom Keane also spoke on the radio ad.

I think that Pew report just illustrates that very few people would choose Pittsburgh if they left where ever they are now and could go anywhere in the country. I think the top fifteen or so choices make a lot of sense, although I am surprised by Portland's and New York's rankings, I would have expected to see them higher. But most people move for school or a job anyway, so if Pittsburgh can rebuild its economy maybe we can become one of the popular kids again.

Friday, January 30, 2009 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger n'at said...

There will always be transient beings in this country - it's written somewhere on parchment. However, many of the folks I know who are not in town, but are originally from the area would come back if there was work. Plus I don't particularly like polls that include twentysomethings. They tend to introduce falsepositives.

Friday, January 30, 2009 1:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to wonder about the methodology of the PEW study (it is there at the end of the embargoed report). It looks like a beauty contest to me. Frankly, I really like my adopted home of Pittsburgh. That said, everything being equal, yeah, I'd move to San Diego tomorrow.

But, everything isn't equal.

I'd have to put up with Californians.

Saturday, January 31, 2009 12:10:00 PM  

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