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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Jan. 24

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Wait a minute ... you mean charter schools aren't the answer to our dreams after all? You mean the administrators who run these schools think they deserve a break because their student population has high turnover, and includes many kids from troubled backgrounds? I swear I've heard that somewhere before ... But of note is the fact that, while state officials have continually called for stricter standards and more testing in the traditional public schools, they've bent over backwards to ease standards for the alternatives they prefer.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cenozoic Era) proffers yet another silly bit of right-wing grandstanding disguised as a bill -- this one making it a crime to enforce federal gun restrictions -- and attracts a crowd of 150. Advocates of gun control hold a Harrisburg rally the same day, and turn out "several hundred" participants. Guess which demonstration gets the lion's share of attention in this Tribune-Review story?

Tom Corbett has been giving some previews of his upcoming budget address -- including a promise to spend more money on mental health. But I smell a trap in in this proposal to hold education funding steady -- if the state does some sort of pension reform. Seems like it has the potential to shift blame for funding problems from Corbett himself to pension-fund recipients in the public sector. Though I'm sure I'm just being paranoid.

Missed this New York Times story about yesterday, but it's a tale of two Pittsburgh waterfront redevelopments -- the Buncher Company's controversial Strip District proposal, and a foundation-run plan for the old Hazelwood LTV site. City Councilor Patrick Dowd, a staunch opponent of the former proposal who appears in the story, notes some sharp contrasts between the proposals ... but I'm struck by the last couple paragraphs -- namely Ravenstahl staffer Yarone Zober's assertion that the absence of a tax subsidy that Dowd was holding up would "probably affect public amenities, like a proposed piazza and a trail."

And finally, the Colbert Report mocks a plan proposed by Pennsylvania Republicans to allocate the state's electoral college votes by congressional district. During a segment of "The Word," host Stephen Colbert touts the plan as "a win-win" -- though a screen caption adds, "Except for the guy who won." PoliticsPA notes, however, that Colbert got a few of the details wrong.

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