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Hit It Toomey takes Keystone series lead

Published by Mike Pound on .

er casey toomey sbSens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey during Monday's Keystone Cup softball game. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Toomey's office)

Pat Toomey has a more important contest coming up in 2016 -- and no, we're not talking about an appearance on Family Feud -- but that doesn't mean the Republican U.S. senator doesn't take the annual Keystone Cup game seriously.

Mighty Toomey at the bat. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Toomey's office)Mighty Toomey at the bat. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Toomey's office)

Toomey and a team of his staffers -- called Hit It Toomey -- took an early lead on Penn Is Mightier -- the team fielded by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and his staff -- and held it to win this year's edition of the all-Pennsylvania sofrball game, 19-7. The game was held Monday on the National Mall.

"During the workday, our offices work together in a bipartisan fashion for the people of Pennsylvania. But the Keystone Cup softball game is for bragging rights," Mr. Toomey, his team's second baseman, said in a statement. "We take this game seriously and we've been preparing since the unfortunate outcome last summer. I am extremely proud of our win and look forward to squaring off again next year."

Monday's win gave Team Toomey a 3-2 series lead.

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Breakfast sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

President Obama speaks at the VFW national convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. (Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette)President Obama speaks at the VFW national convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. (Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette)

1) He was speaking to a group that's probably a bit more conservative than he's used to, but President Obama got warm reception for his speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention Downtown. The president took the opportunity to boost the newly minted Iran nuclear deal; he also seemed to score points while pushing Republicans in Congress to ensure programs for active military and veterans escaped the constraints of budget sequestration.

We hope Mr. Peduto doesn't mind us using this image, which he posted on Twitter Monday.We hope Mr. Peduto doesn't mind us using this image, which he posted on Twitter Monday.

2) The president's visit also meant Mayor Bill Peduto got a once-in-a-lifetime chance. After greeting Mr. Obama at Pittsburgh International, the president invited Mr. Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to ride into town in his limo. Twenty five uninterrupted minutes with the president of the United States? Priceless.

President Barack Obama speaks with Jon Stewart during the taping of a segment of "The Daily Show” in New York, July 21, 2015. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)President Barack Obama speaks with Jon Stewart during the taping of a segment of "The Daily Show” in New York, July 21, 2015. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

3) As if a visit to Pittsburgh wasn't enough for one day, Mr. Obama wrapped up his busy Monday by making his final appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" before the departure of longtime host Jon Stewart. There was some joking around and some serious political talk; we're hoping that the president wasn't joking when he said he would issue an executive order barring Mr. Stewart from leaving the show.

4) A trend that we hope to see more of: Candidates and officials taking – and answering – questions directly from us (even if "us," as it turns out, includes a couple of sneaky reporters).

5) And finally: the latest from the circus. We think Senator Graham's assessment is probably correct.

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Toomey plays the Feud

Published by Mike Pound on .

It's certainly true that there seems to be a lack of exciting Democratic contestants vying for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Pat Toomey; they seem to be unpopular with party leadership (Joe Sestak), possibly under investigation (Ed Pawlowski), still trying to figure things out (Kathleen McGinty) or either uninterested or unavailable (this portion of the list is long). So the idea of a Democratic Family Feud campaign commerical from the Toomey Camp is actually a decent one.

One quibble, guys -- everyone knows the buzzer never sounds when an answer is displayed. The sound effect you're looking for is the bell.

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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.