Cutting Edge: New ideas / Sharp opinions

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Satire challenged

Mr. R offers these thoughts on the Obama New Yorker cover at Chad Hermann's local blog, "Teacher. Wordsmith. Madman":

"I am completely banjaxed by [the] frantic response to the New Yorker cover. It is proof positive that Americans are the lone species capable of hyperventilating without oxygen. The cover is an obvious satire ...

"It is an interesting window into the invented aspect of the American political identity. Because image is all-encompassing and public perception becomes the defined character of the aspiring leader, a cartoon suddenly takes on a talismanic magic, as if drawing a man that way materially makes him what is drawn. ... I mean, Thomas Nast's famous cartoons of Boss Tweed had their power in capturing in caricature what was there in substance. This is the inversion of that theory, and it is cause to worry about whether Obama has what the Brits would call 'bottom' and whether Americans can tell their aspirant from their elbow."

Born in the USA

As if Barack Obama didn't have enough PR trouble thanks to the New Yorker, Two Political Junkies reported calling into Mike Pintek's "Night Talk" show the other day to address yet another "Obama smear."

"The smear?

"Obama won't release his birth certificate. Only the birth certificate would prove that he was born in the United States. The (not-so) hidden implication is that Sen. Obama isn't born in the United States and so therefore ineligible to be president.

"When I called into the show to let them know that Pintek was mistaken, I was told that he was aware of the controversy surrounding the certificate and that parts were 'whited out.'

"Guess what? The campaign has posted the birth certificate" at

Protecting our pocketbooks

414 Grant Street applauds Dennis Yablonsky, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, for deciding that Pittsburgh city government still needs state financial oversight under Act 47:

"With upcoming labor negotiations with Pittsburgh's two largest unions -- police and fire -- the city stands a reasonable chance now of winning economic concessions and perhaps even regaining some long lost management rights because of the protections offered under Act 47.

... Our thanks to Secretary Yablonsky for putting sound fiscal policy and the health of Pittsburgh's finances ahead of politics and for rejecting Doug Shields attempt to sell us taxpayers down the river for the benefit of scoring political points with the city's union bosses."

No loin cloths, please

Pittgirl at is looking for suggestions for a good summer beach book:

"This year, I'm tossing around David Sedaris maybe, or one of the many good recommendations made by my Twitter friends ...My request is something funny, not loin-clothish, certainly no Danielle Steel because [she] can't write, and the cover cannot contain any of the following:

• "Fabio or any sketched male model;

• "Heaving bosoms;

• "Bursting bosom stitches;

• "The words 'Al Gore';

• "Fabio holding Al Gore whose bosom is heaving and about to burst its stitches."

The Olympics debunked

The Olympic Games were founded to bridge cultural divides and promote peace. But in Foreign Policy's July/August issue, John Hoberman describes how the games often mask human rights abuses, do little to spur political change and lend legitimacy to unsavory governments. In "Think Again: The Olympics," Mr. Hoberman debunks much of the conventional wisdom that surrounds the games and reveals the dark side of Olympic competition.

Let's drink to Dan

Keystone Politics at wonders whether the Allegheny County drink tax is going to hurt Dan Onorato's chances of becoming governor:

"If Onorato were any other pol, the new Whiskey Rebellion brewing in his backyard might be just another in a line of standard political headaches -- albeit one that comes complete with a lawsuit and a petition drive for a November referendum seeking to overturn the wildly unpopular drinks levy.

"But Onorato isn't just another pol. He's a Democratic golden boy and an all-but-declared candidate for governor in 2010. In a state where Yuengling and Iron City compose two-thirds of the trinity, any effort to mess with voters' favorite tipple is fraught with peril."


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