In a 4-to-3 decision, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Republican-controlled state legislature to redraw the lines of Pennsylvania's congressional district map by Feb. 9. It's a move that will reset the districts in time for the state's May congressional primaries and potentially give a boost to Democrats in the process. Republicans have said they plan to appeal the decision. But as it stands, the decision holds huge ramifications for upcoming elections. According to the Washington Post, less partisan districts could give Democrats a chance this November to win back as many as half a dozen seats that had been lost to them over the past decade through Republican-led gerrymandering.
Today, voters in the 35th State Legislative District in Allegheny County will take to the polls for a special election to determine who will replace former state Rep. Marc Gergley, the White Oak Democrat who resigned after pleading guilty in August to two misdemeanor charges related to his role in an illegal gambling machine ring. There are two candidates, Democrat Austin Davis and Republican Fawn Walker Montgomery. Both arrived on the ballot after being nominated not in traditional primaries but by members of the Allegheny County Republican and Democratic Committees. It's the latest example of the committees' growing influence in a political season full of Pittsburgh-area special elections. In no less than three of these races, one with national implications and President Donald Trump's attention, the committees have decided nominees through a process relied upon in similar cases. But how do these votes work? How do the committees work? And how can interested individuals become members? We answer those questions here.
Alex Hribal, the Franklin Regional High School student convicted of stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard there when he was just 16, was sentenced on Monday to 23-60 years in prison. Hribal's sentencing caps a years-long legal saga that saw his lawyers unsuccessfully argue that Hribal — who used a pair of eight-inch kitchen knives to attack students in the hallways before the start of classes on April 9, 2014, critically wounding four — should be allowed to plead guilty by way of mental illness and afforded a lesser sentence. At his sentencing on Monday, Hribal's father said the case was about bullying, mental illness and teen suicide, TribLive reports. But the judge involved said the facts don't support bullying as a contributing factor. Hribal, now 21, will be middle aged by the time he's released.
Pitt's Humanities Center is hosting a lecture titled "How Can the Stateless Be Free? The Concept of Liberty in a World of Porous Borders." John Christman, a Penn State professor and director of the university's Humanities Institute, will speak. His lecture will shed new light on the complex concept of social freedom as it applies to those whose political, economic or social circumstances have moved them to leave (or flee) their home culture and seek escape, protection and ultimately relocation in new and reconstructed circumstances.
Where: 602 Cathedral of Learning (Oakland)
When: January 23, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.
The Incline Likes
Pittsburgh was on Stephen King's mind on Monday. Inexplicably, the author tweeted out his praise for the city's distinctive dialect to his 4.5 million Twitter followers, setting off a frenzy of affirmation and validation here, as KDKA reports. "I liked listening to the Pittsburgh accent when I was there working with the late great George Romero," King tweeted at 9:27 a.m. "Only Pittsburgh people know what you mean when you say "I'm going to Jaunt Iggle." For the record, "Jaunt Iggle" is Pittsburgh talk for Giant Eagle, at least according to King. And while Pittsburgh's accent has been called the ugliest in the United States, we now have one of the world's premier wordsmiths on our side. In the meantime, we're holding our breath for a Pittsburghese translation of Misery.
Last week's news that Andrew McCutchen would be traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the San Francisco Giants set off a lot of feelings. There was (and still is) anger at Pirates management and the front office troubles many fans felt the McCutchen trade epitomized. In response, McCutchen, penned a letter that appeared in The Players Tribune thanking the city and Pirates fans for everything, while nervously anticipating his return to Steel City in a new uniform next year. "If you see me, say hey — and maybe throw a 'Cutch!' in if you’re in the mood," he writes to Pittsburgh. "I’ll be the guy who looks familiar, walking around like he knows the place — with a few fresh tears, and a big ol’ smile. With San Francisco on his shirt. And Pittsburgh in his heart." In unrelated news, we're not crying, you're crying.