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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Darlene HarrisDarlene Harris (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photo)

1) Pittsburgh City Council is expected to vote today to make changes to the commission that's in charge of naming public property or facilities, much to the chagrin of Councilwoman Darlene Harris, who may never get to use that Luke Ravenstahl plaque she's been stowing in her office – the $2,100 one, paid for by city taxpayers, that was to have been placed at a Riverview Park soccer field. The trouble is that no one – not the commission, not the council – approved of the name change or the expense of having the plaque made. And there is no better illustration why the city must have guidelines for this process. Mrs. Harris accuses Mayor Bill Peduto of playing politics with this issue; what she's really upset about, through, is that it's not Pittsburgh Politics As Usual, as in the good old days when we scratched the backs of our favorites with taxpayer-funded $2,100 plaques that no one approved. It shouldn't work that way any longer, Mrs. Harris, and it's good that those days are apparently over.

2) Want to learn more about the details about Gov. Tom Wolf's budget proposal? You can ask Governor Go Time himself, when he holds a Facebook town hall meeting at 1:30 this afternoon.

3) Ohio Gov. John Kasich hasn't publicly made up his mind about a 2016 presidential run, but it's pretty clear that he's got presidential stuff on the brain; he's just scheduled an appearance at next month's First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit, a New Hampshire event that is expected to feature each of the GOP's potential presidential candidates.

4) The one man who has declared himself a candidate, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, has been so busy running – officially or otherwise— that he's been neglecting his day job. Politico reports that Mr. Cruz has bothered to attend just three of this year's 16 Senate Armed Services Committee hearings.

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5) Newspapers reserve Page 1 editorials for only the most serious of issues; we'd agree with the editorial board of the Indianapolis Star that Indiana's adoption of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – without accompanying legislation that outlaw discrimination people based on sexual orientation or gender identity – is serious enough.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Ron Castille (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)Ron Castille (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)

1) Given the extraordinary run of problems for state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, it probably should be a little surprising that there isn't already a queue of Republicans ready to run against her in 2016. But the one who has mentioned that it could be a possibility is substantial: Ron Castille, the recently retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court chief justice. Justice Castille, a former Philadelphia district attorney, also told the Associated Press that he'd be interested in filling in if Ms. Kane wasn't able to complete her term in office.

2) Joe Sestak completed the start to his campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey last week, as he reached the Ohio border after walking 422 miles across the state. But as our James O'Toole points out, the fledgling campaign promises to be an even longer slog.

3) The protests of Republicans over Hillary Clinton's email scandal are growing louder, but so far, the din hasn't done much damage to Mrs. Clinton's (not quite declared) campaign.

4) When he announced his resignation earlier this month, Illinois U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock said at least one thing that rings true: if we took hard looks at the reimbursement statements filed by other lawmakers, we would find many other members of Congress with similar problems. That's prompted the House Administration Committee to review rules for expense reimbursements for members and staff. Here's a suggestion: billing us for 170,000 miles when your car has just 80,000 miles on it might be a bad thing.

5) Outside of races where candidates may cross file, there is at least one Democrat seeking nomination in 16 Allegheny or Pittsburgh races in the upcoming primary election. Republicans are on the ballot in just three of those races. Sure, a clear Democratic majority in the city makes for a tough general election for Republicans, but this isn't how the two-party system is supposed to work, boys and girls.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

 

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1) Our friends at Franklin & Marshall College have some good news and some bad news, via their latest poll of Pennsylvania voters. The good news? That's reserved for Gov. Tom Wolf; 38 percent of those participating in the poll said Governor Go Time is doing a "good" or "excellent" job so far. Those first results put him below the early results for former governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell, but well ahead of Tom Corbett.

2) The bad news from the F&M poll? Former congressman and repeat candidate for the U.S. Senate Joe Sestak is close to wrapping up a walking tour of the state – he finishes on Saturday in Beaver County – but 63 percent of the state's voters don't have a handle on who he is.

3) Harry Reid will not seek another term in the U.S. Senate, the Nevada Democrat announced this morning.

4) Say what you want about Act 89, the transportation funding bill adopted by the state legislature in 2013, but it's doing one of the things it was intended to do: raise money for transportation infrastructure projects, this year to the tune of $214 million on projects in Allegheny County.

5) There are a handful of noisy true believers when it comes to the presidential candidacy of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, but most Republicans agree that Cruz is a divisive figure who has little chance of winning the GOP's nomination.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Marcus Brown (Baltimore Sun photo)Marcus Brown (Baltimore Sun photo)

1) It could be that the latest twist in the controversy over the nomination of Marcus Brown to lead the Pennsylvania State Police shows exactly why a reformer like Mr. Brown is necessary. Even though he's a career cop – including a stint as the commissioner as Maryland's state police department – Mr. Brown drew immediate criticism from retired troopers here for his decision to wear the uniform. That spilled over to someone placing anti-Brown signs around his neighborhood – and Mr. Brown's boneheaded decision to remove them. But the latest development in the scandal shows why Mr. Brown – who was nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf in part because of his history of diversifying the agencies he's run – might be necessary. Someone dropped off a letter in Mr. Brown's mailbox earlier this week; the letter said no "(racial epithet)-lover will wear my uniform." Congratulations, Mister Letter Writer. You are exactly why Mr. Brown should run your beloved department.

2) State employees, you're on notice – come July, things might be a little tight financially. Sen. Jake Corman, the Senate's majority leader, said there will be no 2015-16 budget until the state approves a fix for its pension problems. And, he added, that could very well mean the budget will be adopted late this summer.

3) Our friends at the Patriot-News came across a poll that shows 50 percent of Pennsylvanians expressed full or partial support for Mr. Wolf's moratorium on executions in the state, while 44 percent oppose the ban.

4) The campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has already started to veer to the right, which means the approach of South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham – a realistic approach to government that includes working with the folks on the other side of the aisle – is unfortunately likely to be drowned out before Mr. Graham's campaign ever gets started.

5) Speaking of loud Republican campaigns: We probably don't need news of Ted Cruz for a third day in a row, but this is worth noting. Because his wife, Goldman Sachs Managing Director Heidi Cruz, is taking an unpaid leave for the duration of Mr. Cruz's campaign, the Cruz family suddenly finds itself without health insurance coverage. The solution? The senator has signed up for Obamacare.

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Cruz doesn't master his domains

Published by Mike Pound on .

(Associated Press photo)

Ted Cruz doesn't Internet so well.

Unless the U.S. senator from Texas decided late Sunday night that he was going to run for president on a whim, we'd have to assume that Team Cruz has been considering a presidential run for quite a while. And part of that means being prepared – to include a healthy presence on the web, something that's been a requirement pretty much since Howard Dean raised a bazillion dollars through his site in 2004.

(Mr. Cruz would do well to ignore the other Internet-related thing that Mr. Dean pioneered: Becoming a meme.)

Part of that preparation? Make sure that you not only have the domain name you want, but also that you own the domains that might become a distraction. Sure, you can do everything in your power to direct people to tedcruz.org, the campaign's official page (although doing a better job with that would help too; as of this morning, the official site doesn't show up in the first three pages of returns for a "Ted Cruz for president" Google search).

But what if they go to tedcruz.com instead? They're going to see this:

cruzdotcom

Or what if they head towards tedcruzforamerica.com? Surprise!

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that someone who so completely misunderstands the concept of net neutrality wouldn't quite grasp the importance prepping for the digital side of a presidential campaign. But as someone who regularly bashes the mainstream media – and one, we would think, who would court coverage from the more conservative outlets that exist almost exclusively on the web – Mr. Cruz and his team should have a basic working knowledge of this part of the media world.

Instead, Team Cruz kicked off a presidential campaign with those two domains in the hands of someone else. And that's a campaign that is unaware, unorganized and unprepared.

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