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Monday, September 10, 2012

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Sept. 10

Posted on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 6:33 AM

Story of the day: Last week's party convention may have solidified Barack Obama's lead. Pollster Nate Silver says the odds of Obama winning are four-to-one in favor, and Romney advisers acknowledge that Democrats have the advantage.

A proposal to overhaul countywide pollution regulations meets with opposition from business groups. Which wouldn't be surprising except for the fact that two of the businesses now opposing the proposal -- U.S. Steel and PPG Industries -- "were part of the 22-member Air Toxics Guidelines Task Force that ... unanimously recommend[ed] its approval."

Here's a reason to make the state legislature part-time: They already are. The General Assembly puts in a full two months of work in Harrisburg each year ... though legislators say that doesn't count all their work in the district. Best takeaway quote, from an aide to House majority leader Mike Turzai: "[Legislators] work 24/7, whether in church or synagogue, mowing their lawns." The idea that mowing your lawn counts as constituent service is fascinating -- it's a mindset that explains a lot of legislative behavior. (Can get a tax refund for the time I spent cleaning out the basement?) But if legislators are working inside houses of worship, it sounds like a violation of the separation of church and state. Call the ACLU!

Folks in North Braddock, like their next-door neighbors, are turning to urban agriculture to address chronic blight. It's a hopeful sign for a long-struggling community. With any luck, the next step will be landing an advertising deal with a major apparel company.

Hey, have you seen this exciting new ad about Voter ID requirements? In terms of style, it reminds me of nothing so much as a commercial for hemorrhoid treatment. Over and over again, we're told that if we care about this election, and our country, "it's time to show [your ID]." See, the voter ID bill is necessary because you haven't shown that you care about democracy enough. Some have criticized the ad for lacking substance; a state official says a 30-second ad isn't long enough to explain the intricacies of voter ID. Maybe that wouldn't be such a problem if the ad didn't repeat the same phrases over and over?

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