In light of yet more questions about Nate Harper's Bureau of Police, the Post-Gazette calls for the police chief to resign -- or for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to oust him. I've sort of suspected that, barring an actual indictment, Harper's job was probably safe until at least one day after the May primary ... but hey, the Pope stepped down, so I guess anything is possible.
Who will be Tom Corbett's Democratic challenger in 2014? Politico suggests that Philly-area congresswoman Allyson Schwartz is strongly leading toward a run, citing testimony from her own chief of staff and the chairman of her own county's party. But PoliticsPa has the most convincing evidence of all: Schwartz was apparently buying free drinks for Democrats at their recent winter state-committee gathering.
When state Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced that she had closed the "Florida loophole" -- which allows gun-owners to get concealed-carry permits for firearms from Florida, even if they've been denied one here -- she made a lot of gun-control advocates happy. But she also alienated many gun-owners, especially those in Philadelphia. Eastern PA gun-lovers say the whole reason so many people get Florida licenses in the first place is that local law enforcement capriciously denies applications made by residents.
And as if to put the gun debate in context, we learn that Pennsylvania has the nation's second-highest rate of homicide with a black victim. A new study from the Violence Policy Center finds that more than 26 black Pennsylvanians out of every 100,000 are murdered -- a rate six times that of the national average. 84 percent of the victims were killed with handguns.
The gun debate itself has claimed a victim: Tim Benz, a morning drive co-host on 105.9 FM ("The X") has left the show in the wake of a spat with a local gun dealer. Mainstream news coverage suggests that Benz walked away because he simply couldn't detach himself from the debate. But there's been a lot of chatter online about an over-the-top Facebook post being attributed to Benz. Stay tuned.