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Monday, October 1, 2012

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Oct. 1

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 7:17 AM

Story of the weekend: It's Highmark's second busted-up marriage of 2012, as the West Penn Allegheny Health System, calls off its plans to affiliate with the insurance behemoth. Some have suggested may have been Highmark's plan all along, but at this point, that may be crediting healthcare executives with more intelligence than any of them deserve.

OK, now it's personal: The voter ID law could prevent Sophie Masloff from voting. But as you'll see from the comments section, some folks think her case proves why voter ID is necessary: Had it only been in place sooner, it could have stopped an 18-year-old from voting the better part of a century ago.

Here's a shocker: Turns out that when state officials spend public money defending themselves from criminal charges, the taxpayers are rarely reimbursed, despite a law that says they can be. Gov. Tom Corbett, the former attorney general, takes some knocks here. But the takeaway line might be this: "[T]axpayers paid $134,000 to hire defense attorneys for just one state representative. In contrast, Philadelphia caps the legal defense for indigent murder defendants facing the death penalty at $17,500."

Terrance Williams, who was slated for execution this week, was granted a stay of execution, with a Philadelphia judge requiring another sentencing hearing. The judge accused the Philly DA's office of suppressing evidence and "gross prosecutorial misconduct." But the machinery of death will remain more or less in place.

Our friends at PublicSource have the curious story of a crumbling "paper street" in the East End. Bikers use the street to avoid altercations with deranged drivers, but the street has been at risk of disappearing inside a sinkhole -- and a legal morass.

Here's one I missed late last week: an area professor steps down from her advisory post counseling the state's parks department. The reason? The Corbett administration, she says, discourages public input on things like gas-drilling police.

And finally, congratulations to the Pirates on yet another losing season.

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