A Pittsburgh police officer stands in a downtown Pittsburgh intersection Sunday, May 31, 2020.

If not police, what? Part II

This week in Critical State, a foreign policy newsletter by Inkstick Media, Sam Ratner takes a deep dive into the history of Freedom House, a Pittsburgh-based Black-led nonprofit hired in 1968 to offer ambulance services in some of the predominantly Black neighborhoods around the city.

Red and white trucks flank a tall drilling well pictured against the sky

Trying to measure fracking’s toll on human health

Police officers stand guard near the site of a shooting

Racially and ethnically motivated terrorism rose alarmingly in 2018: US State Department

Faces of holocaust survivors

This Boston Holocaust survivor offers a warning: It starts slowly

Arts, Culture & Media
Kenton Ganster, left, stands with his mother, Kathleen, with a drilling rig used for fracking visible in the background off of the Rachel Carson Trail north of Pittsburgh.

Drilling rigs used in fracking found along nature trail irk some hikers


As American as Andy Warhol

Arts, Culture & Media

Handpicked by President Obama as the host city of last week’s G-20 economic conference, Pittsburgh may finally be getting its due. While most news coverage of the event was more concerned with the art of global financial negotiations than with the artwork hanging on the walls of the city’s museums, a different kind of story […]

The percentage of parents who refuse to give any vaccines to their children remain at one to two percent of the general public. There is a much larger group of people who have doubts and concerns over certain vaccinations, experts say.

Despite dozens of recent flu deaths among US children, vaccination skeptics remain — and their numbers have grown


Vaccinations have been around for more than a century. So why is the vaccination rate so low in the United States?

A woman sits on sofa across from man and woman, who each hold infants in their arms. Papers on the table.

Residents fled gun violence at a Pittsburgh public housing project. But refugees are still moving in.


Former residents of Northview Heights in Pittsburgh remember marching bands and days at the recreation center. But that was before shootings and drugs became commonplace for some 1,600 residents of the public housing project.

Clairton Coke Work

Residents sue US Steel over air pollution in Western Pennsylvania


Tiny particles and acid-forming chemicals from industry can affect the air of an entire town or region and the health of its residents. So some people who live in or near Clairton, PA, about 15 miles south of Pittsburgh, are suing US Steel to force them into compliance with clean air standards.

Pollution from US Steel's Edgar Thomson steel mill

Air pollution is as unhealthy as secondhand smoke, a new study says


Children living near sources of pollution have virtually the same risk of developing asthma as those exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, according to early results of a study in western Pennsylvania.