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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Heads Up: Morning Headlines for Sept. 18

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Story of the day: Mitt Romney steps in it -- again. Turns out the Republican presidential nominee thinks you and I and everyone else who supports Barack Obama is merely a parasite seeking to preserve our government benefits, while not paying taxes. Also, he wishes his parents were Mexican -- have I got that right? Naturally, these claims turn out to be absurd for a variety of reasons, not least among them that the highest concentration of people not paying federal income tax live in the Republican-heavy South. But whatever. I confess that stories like this always leave me a bit bemused. This stuff, and the attendant hypocrisy, are hard-wired into the Tea Party belief system -- witness remarks from such raving loonies as Gary Bauer. And anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh for 5 minutes knows that it long ago went beyond demonizing Democratic candidates as un-American, to demonizing anyone who supports them. That's not to say I won't enjoy watching another round of Romney's squirming, though.

Looks like you can include state officials among those who are dependent on government largesse: Gov. Tom Corbett and other state officials want to shield local military bases from closure, citing the loss of jobs. C'mon guys -- free those folks up to contribute to stand up on their own two feet, rather than suckling at the government's teat.

Turns out that a huge state pension fund has fallen far short of its projected investment returns, meaning its pension shortfall has gotten worse. A fund to benefit retired teachers earned a 3.4 percent return last year -- not bad, but less than half of the 7.5 percent it projected. Worth thinking about, considering city leaders recently decided against reviewing whether Pittsburgh's projections of an 8 percent return might be too optimistic.

Pittsburgh police are excited about new personal cameras, which police expect will be "an aide to the officer when we have civilian complaints." According to one police commander, "in 95 percent of cases that if the information is captured on tape, it’s beneficial in clearing the officer." Makes you wonder why law enforcement resists taping other aspects of police operations.

Today in engaged citizenry: This evening at 7:30 p.m. in the first-floor conference room at 200 Ross Street, a commission charged with redrawing school district lines holds a public meeting. As we first reported last week, there are racial implications a-plenty. And running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., demonstrators from the AFL-CIO, voting-rights groups and a certain famous Steeler running back will be on hand to raise awareness of the state's voter ID bill. The event takes place at the Department of Motor Vehicles office Downtown, at 708 Smithfield Street. We'll have a bit more on that later this a.m.

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