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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

20141104bwWhiteLocal01-erJesse White, his wife Eileen and their son Atticus last year. (Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)

1) We honestly don't know what to make of the latest Jesse White news – it's not every day that you get sued by your mother, right? Charlene Watazychyn says her son, the former state representative, ran up charges on a credit card he opened in her name; Mr. White responded by saying his mother is seeking payback after he and his wife cut back on the time they allowed Ms. Watazychyn to spend with her grandson.

2) We're less confused by this one: Twanda Carlisle is considering a run for her old Pittsburgh City Council seat – you know, the same one she gave up just before she was convicted on corruption charges in 2008 and sentenced to prison.

3) The fact that both Lyft and Uber are still both operating in Pittsburgh after a year loaded with pushback from the state is impressive. But we're wondering if the ride-sharing services are a little too successful, as our Kim Lyons writes, drivers for both services say they're not making the trips – or the money – that they used to.

4) Despite a persistent rumor to the contrary, state Sen. Dominic Pileggi is one of the few politicians in the state who isn't considering a run for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Mr. Pileggi, who was just ousted from his post as Senate majority leader, is interested in becoming a judge; he announced last week he would run for a vacant seat on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.

5) The chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court has ordered probate judges in the state to ignore the ruling of a federal judge and refuse to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In asserting that the federal courts don't have jurisdiction to overturn Alabama's constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions – states' rights, anyone? – Chief Justice Roy Moore is setting himself up for another fall; he was removed from office in 2003 after defying a federal court ruling to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from Alabama's Supreme Court building. Note: Chief Justice Moore isn't going to get any help from the U.S. Supreme Court; over the weekend, it said it would not overturn the federal court order.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

(Associated Press photo)(Associated Press photo)

1) Being president means you're always a target for criticism, even after a seemingly innocuous thing like an address at the National Prayer Breakfast. Conservative media types quickly fixed on President Obama's remarks during Thursday's address that "people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ," and that "in our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ." Rick Santorum, our former U.S. senator and likely Republican presidential candidate, was especially vocal; in a statement released through his Patriot Voices PAC, called the remarks "insulting to every person of faith."

2) We'd have to guess that the Enterprise Fund, a Pennsylvania-based PAC, doesn't care one way or another what Mr. Obama said at the prayer breakfast. Instead, they're scrounging up money for a fine for filing financial information -- about a donation to Rob McCord, no less -- in a tardy fashion.

3) As a name, Gov. Tom Wolf sounds ... fine. But we'd like Governor Go Time much better.

4) Ronald Castille's brand may never be hotter; the tough-talking former chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court spent a lot of time making headlines last year as he juggled the investigation into the state's pornographic email scandal. But it seems like the retired justice is happy to be retired; he's turned down a push to have him run as a Republican candidate for mayor of Philadelphia.

5) We're not huge fans of country and/or western. But we have plenty of friends in low places.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Ken Gormley, left, speaks with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third District. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)Ken Gormley, left, speaks with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third District. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)

1) Gov. Tom Wolf has nominated two people to short-term stints on the state Supreme Court, one of whom should be familiar in these parts: Ken Gormley, dean of Duquesne University's law school. Mr. Gormley, a Democrat, would serve alongside Republican Thomas Kistler, president judge of in Centre County, assuming both nominees are confirmed by the state Senate. Both would serve on the court through the end of the year in the places of former justices Ronald Castille, who retired in December after turning 70, and Seamus McCaffery, who stepped down from the court because of his involvement in last year's pornographic email scandal.

2) If Tom Wheeler has his way, there will be no fast or slow lanes on the Internet. Mr. Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has announced his plan to re-classify Internet service providers as utilities, which would give the FCC greater leeway to apply tougher regulations to the industry – and, we'd hope, ensuring net neutrality for all.

3) An amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution that would give lawmakers more flexibility to define and regulate nonprofits, won't make it on the ballot in the spring. And there are questions about whether the language of the amendment is specific enough to allow the General Assembly to make substantial changes if the amendment is adopted.

4) Remember Mitt Romney and the 47 percent? If Jeb Bush runs for the presidency in 2016, he won't make the same mistake.

5) We spent a little time on Wednesday checking out Pittsburgh's new Fiscal Focus website. In short, we're impressed. This is what open government should look like in 2015, boys and girls.

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Hampton resident announces run for district judge

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Mike McMullen

Hampton resident and longtime Republican activist Mike McMullen will seek Democratic and Republican nominations in the May primary election for the district judge's post serving Hampton, Richland and West Deer.

Mr. McMullen, 44, graduated from Deer Lakes High School and earned a political science degree from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown in 1992. He is self-employed in sales and marketing; he has also worked as a soccer official at the high school, college and professional levels. His political experience includes time as a Republican committee member at the township and state levels and three stints as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

Mr. McMullen also said he's a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown and of the National Rifle Association.

"I will work with the local police departments and everyone will be treated will dignity and respect who enter the courtroom," Mr. McMullen said in a statement. "I will not legislate from the bench at all. It will be equal justice under the law. I will bring a conservative approach to the office as District Judge."

The seat is currently held by District Judge Suzanne Blaschak, who has been a district judge since 1984. A clerk in Judge Blaschak's office said she was not seeking re-election.

 

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Hearing on Arneson's employment postponed

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Erik Arneson (Morning Call photo)Erik Arneson (Morning Call photo)

Attorneys for Erik Arneson -- the man named by former Gov. Tom Corbett to head the state's Office of Open Records -- and Gov. Tom Wolf -- the man who fired Mr. Arneson from that office because, he maintains, the appointment process wasn't transparent enough -- have agreed to postpone a hearing over the dispute until both sides can testify before the full Commonwealth Court. That hearing is scheduled for March 11, our Karen Langley reports.

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