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Friday, February 15, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Feb. 15

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 9:01 AM

All kinds of shaking going on in Pittsburgh's business community. Legendary Pittsburgh franchise Heinz is going to get purchased by an investment group lead by Warren Buffett. US Airways is going to be subsumed into American Airlines, creating the world's biggest airline, but perhaps jeopardizing an operations center that taxpayers sunk more than $16 million into just a few years ago. And PNC Bank head Jim Rohr is retiring. The Heinz deal in particular has prompted yet another look-at-Pittsburgh's-resurgence-blah-blah-blah piece from The New York Times, which you'd think would be sort of bored with this stuff by now.

Meanwhile, the drumbeat of criticism of Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper continues, with mayoral candidates Bill Peduto and Michael Lamb calling for his removal in light of an ongoing federal investigation. Which, by the by, has apparently just launched into a new direction with FBI agents examining Harper's bank account at a police credit-union.

State police are still using a Breathalyzer test for drivers suspected of DUI, despite a recent court ruling casting doubts about the device's accuracy. Not sure this is quite the travesty some may think, though, because the judge's ruling was not that Breathalyzers gave false positives, but that they can't reliably distinguish between people who are drunk and those who are rip-roaring drunk.

State Attorney General has thrown a wrench into Gov. Tom Corbett's bid to privatize the state lottery, ruling that Corbett's bid oversteps his authority and violates the state constitution. She also faulted Corbett's political gamesmanship, saying it was "disingenuous" for Corbett to stuff his proposed 2013-14 budget with additional revenue expected from the sale. This move has cheered Democrats, while Corbett says he's "deeply disappointed" by Kane's verdict. He can appeal it to Commonwealth Court if he wishes.

Missed this one yesterday: The state legislature's LGBT Caucus is up to 58 members ... including three Republicans. And so the march continues.

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