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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Ohio Gov. John Kasich answers questions from reporters following a tour of the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire July 13, 2015. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)Ohio Gov. John Kasich answers questions from reporters following a tour of the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire July 13, 2015. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

1) He's from McKees Rocks and he lives just next door, so we're going to go ahead and call John Kasich, who will officially become the 385th Republican candidate for president this morning, a hometown guy. The Ohio governor is pretty much the last big name to jump into the race, and that poses some problems in and of itself; Kasich's name recognition numbers are low and he's barely registering in recent polls, and that's probably going to keep him off the stage at the first GOP debate – which is being held in Cleveland, meaning the governor won't be participating in the debate in his own state.

2) Besides starting well behind the pack, Mr. Kasich has another well-known issue to overcome: his temper. Supporters say the governor's tendency to be direct is "refreshing." Those who have been on the receiving end of his outbursts may have another name for it.

3) And Issue No. 3 for Mr. Kasich: He's a more moderate guy than most of his opponents, and while that could be a helpful thing in a general election race against a Democrat, it's not going to do him any favors in the primary, where it's the more conservative, the better.

4) From fivethirtyeight.com: "Trolls operate on the principle that negative attention is better than none. In fact, the troll may feed off the negative attention, claiming it makes him a victim and proves that everyone is out to get him. Sound like any presidential candidates you know?"

5) Despite some recent conciliatory discussions, state Democratic Committee Chairman Jim Burn and Gov. Tom Wolf have never been tight. The apparent result? Mr. Burn announced this morning that he'll step down in September.

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Nader attorney questions Reed Smith's Harvard presence

Published by Tracie Mauriello on .

Ralph Nader (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)Ralph Nader (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Ralph Nader hasn't been able to get relief through the courts so now his attorney is turning to one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, warning its students about Reed Smith, the corporate law firm in Philadelphia that was involved in Pennsylvania's "Bonusgate" scandal several years ago.

The attorney, Oliver Hall, wrote an opinion piece published Monday in the Harvard Law School record, an independent campus newspaper.

In it, he questions why Harvard allows Reed Smith to participate in its on-campus job interview program for law students despite the Philadelphia firm's role in the Bonusgate scandal.

He says that he is certain Reed Smith "engaged in conduct which – knowingly or not – enabled a criminal conspiracy to succeed and evade detection."

Reed Smith's role in the scandal was helping House Democratic staffers challenge signatures on Mr. Nader's nominating petitions in an effort to get him tossed from the presidential ballot in 2004. A Commonwealth Court jury later found that many of those staffers had been on state payroll while they were working on petition challenges, violating a law prohibiting campaign work on state time.

Reed Smith was never held accountable for its role, said Mr. Hall. He explores why in the opinion piece, which is available here.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. (Jim Young/Reuters)U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, United States, July 18, 2015. (Jim Young/Reuters)

1) Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars aren't exactly the most ardent supporters of President Obama, but we're going to bet the president will get a better reception when he speaks to the VFW's national convention in Pittsburgh than Donald Trump would at the moment.

2) It was nice to see pretty much the entire slate of Republican candidates jump on Mr. Trump for his comments about John McCain's service in the military. And we're certain that a similar apology to John Kerry for the Swift Boat attacks is coming any day now.

3) A bipartisan legislative task force could be ready to release a compromise medical marijuana bill later this week, and the Inquirer says it'll be similar to the proposal that's dying a slow, painful death at the hands of state Rep. Matt Baker, the Republican chairman of the House Health Committee who has singlehandedly decided he knows better than the vast majority of the state's adult population. The thing to watch: will House Speaker Mike Turzai, also an opponent of medical marijuana, assign the new bill to Mr. Baker's committee?

4) A law that would have eliminated the registration stickers we affix to our Pennsylvania license plates every year – along with the associated bureaucracy and expense – may not ever take effect, as a bill to repeal the measure makes its way through the legislature. What happened? In spite of studies that show the elimination of the stickers have no impact on registration compliance or enforcement of drug laws, police in Pennsylvania say cutting out the stickers takes away one method of establishing probable cause for a traffic stop.

Ku Klux Klan members stage a demonstration on the steps of the state capitol building on July 18, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. The KKK protested the removal of the Confederate flag from the state house grounds, as law enforcement tried to prevent violence between opposing groups.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Ku Klux Klan members stage a demonstration on the steps of the state capitol building on July 18, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. The KKK protested the removal of the Confederate flag from the state house grounds, as law enforcement tried to prevent violence between opposing groups. (John Moore/Getty Images)

5) Could someone please explain one more time how this is about heritage? Thanks.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum addresses a legislative luncheon held as part of the "Road to Majority" conference in Washington June 19, 2015. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

1) Rick Santorum this week gained the support of Pennsylvania's Republican leadership, which is a fairly optimistic bet that Mr. Santorum will still be a candidate by the time our primary rolls around in April.

2) But that didn't stop Mr. Santorum from throwing bombs at Scott Walker's wife, who – unlike Mr. Santorum – somehow isn't a strident opponent of same-sex marriage. You know, like most of the rest of us.

3) In announcing hundreds of charges against former Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane also took questions about her own legal standing. Among the responses? She has no idea if or when charges against her might be filed in Montgomery County and she has no intention of resigning if she is charged.

4) Noted immigration hawk and birther Donald Trump will meet today with everyone's favorite Canadian candidate for president of the United States Ted Cruz to talk about stuff and the irony is so delicious that we can hardly stand it.

5) But as crazy as that sounds, this is even crazier: a Suffolk University/USA Today poll has The Donald leading the Republican field.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement about the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six major world powers with Vice President Joe Biden at his side during an early morning address to the nation from the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 14, 2015. (Andrew Harnik/Reuters)U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement about the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six major world powers with Vice President Joe Biden at his side during an early morning address to the nation from the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 14, 2015. (Andrew Harnik/Reuters)

1) Which will turn out to be a tougher chore for President Obama, reaching a deal to monitor nuclear power in Iran or convincing Congress that the pact should be approved? Oh, right – there's a presidential campaign going on.

2) It looks more like Katie McGinty is leaning towards a run for Pat Toomey's U.S. Senate seat; she even spent a recent weekend on Martha's Vineyard meeting with the folks who run the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Worth noting: Joe Sestak, the only current Democratic candidate for the seat, skipped the Martha's Vineyard trip, although his campaign said he was invited.

3) Ms. McGinty's boss – you know him as Tom Wolf – visited the Pittsburgh area on Monday to push his budget-related agenda. And judging from his comments, as well as those from GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher, there might – might – be the possibility of progress soon.

4) National Rifle Association money talks. Which is why, we're betting, that a Perry County state rep has re-introduced the sketchy legislation that allows the group to sue municipalities over gun ordinances.

5) It's apparently a dicey time to be a mayor – or a former mayor – in Pennsylvania. You know about the FBI investigations that appear to involve the mayors of Allentown and Reading; this morning, we've heard about corruption charges against Stephen Reed, Harrisburg's former mayor.

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