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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Oct. 17

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Story of the day: President Obama came out fighting in last night's debate, and made Mitt Romney pay for overreaching on this somewhat pointless question of whether the Obama Administration used the word "terrorism" early on enough. (As if ANY politician fears to toss the label around.) Snap polls suggest that Obama won the debate, but by fairly narrow margins -- this wasn't the kind of blowout that Mitt Romney enjoyed two weeks ago, because Romney didn't lay down the way Obama did. But Democrats are happy, and they should be. If you still can't tell that there's no daylight between Romney and Bush on issues like taxation, for example, then there's no hope for you.

Oh, now here's a sad tale. Remember those malicious ads claiming Democratic AG candidate Kathleen Kane enabled child predators? Turns out the real victim, according to her Republican rival David Freed ... is David Freed. Because, see, they made him look like ... like ... a candidate who benefits from spurious attack ads on his rival. I'll give you a moment to dry your tears.

John Wetenhall, the outgoing head of the Carnegie Museums, gets a kick in the ass on the way out the door from today's Post-Gazette. Lots of unnamed sources slagging the guy, with varying degrees of seriousness. (He wore jeans one Friday, for God's sake! And failed to handle himself well during a party at Toto Fisher's house. Can you stand it?)

The state Senate passes a charter-school reform bill that is nowhere near as disastrous as it could have been. The bill would make it easier for charter schools to appeal a school boards' decision to reject it, and would allow charters to go for longer without having to renew their license to operate. But some of the dumbest provisions -- like exempting the charters from Right to Know laws -- have come out.

Today the state Supreme Court, which is convening here in town, will hear arguments over the extent to which local municipalities can regulate natural-gas drilling. Keep it tuned here: Our very own Bill O'Driscoll will be on hand to follow the proceedings. In the meantime, the court heard another shale-related case yesterday, this one turning on what the definition of "mineral" is. Sounds stupid, but if the phrase "mineral rights," commonly used in property deeds, doesn't include natural gas, then there's gonna be a lot of confusion over who has the rights to deal with the drilling companies. (My prediction, totally uninformed by anything except the depth of my own cynicism: The court will find some way to ensure the gas industry gets its way.)

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