Story of the day: Pennsylvania awaits the decision of Commonwealth Court Robert Simpson in the Voter ID case. Judging from media accounts, Simpson is looking for a compromise in which people without IDs can vote by provisional ballot ... but rather than requiring them to produce ID after Election Day, as the law requires, Simpson would allow any ballot cast by a registered voter to count. So ... now the elections could depend on how many provisional ballots each polling place has on hand? I guess the number of ballots cast could be an interesting experiment, to see where people have the most trouble getting hold of IDs. But otherwise, it sounds like the kind of judicial compromise that will satisfy nobody: It basically strikes the ID requirement at the polls, while leaving it place in the law. I think? I just don't even know anymore.
Bill Peduto has essentially announced his intention to announce plans to run for mayor ... with a big ol' check from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. Technically, he could still change his mind, but right out of the gate, Peduto has shown that, unlike two previous runs for the office, he's got some heavy hitters behind him. Don't look for this to be another reprise of the abortive 2007 race.
Speaking of that mayor's race, here's a storyline you can expect to hear more about in the future: The Pittsburgh Promise, perhaps Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's most lasting achievement, seems to be paying dividends for city students whose grades allow them to qualify. More than three-quarters of Promise scholarship recipients have returned to school after their first year -- a higher percentage than the national average.
You may have been wondering: What ever happened with Seeds of Peace, the collectivist traveling food kitchen that was harassed by police during the lead-up to the G-20 convention? They and another group, Three Rivers Climate Convergence, have settled a civil rights lawsuit, to the tune of $143,000. It's one of those "admit no wrongdoing" situations.
Democrats are drooling over Gov. Tom Corbett's weak approval ratings, and though the next gubernatorial election isn't until 2014, there's already buzz over who'd be the best Democratic challenger. One name in the mix: Our very own Dan Onorato ... who lost to Corbett in 2010, but who probably looks better and better to people every day.
Today marks the inauguration of what I'm sure will become a much-beloved exercise in corporate PR: the Marcellus Shale Coalition 3 Rivers Challenge. Pro and amateur anglers alike will be casting their lines into the water, and it's all for a good cause: demonstrating the gas-drilling industry does too care about the environment.