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Smith ad hits Casey on China

| Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

It wouldn't surprise us if U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has begun eating his meals off paper plates.

He has to be sick of references to China.

Casey's Republican opponent in November, Armstrong County businessman Tom Smith, began airing a campaign commercial on Tuesday that disputes Casey's recent TV-ad contention that he stands up for Pennsylvania.

Casey “didn't stand up for us when he voted for the failed stimulus that paid for jobs in China,” Smith's commercial states. “Or his support for an energy tax that would cost even more jobs. Or when he failed to offer one single solution to create jobs.”

Expect Smith's spot to begin airing soon in the Philadelphia media market, the state's largest. Smith's campaign on Wednesday announced a major purchase of commercial time there, giving Casey additional reason to continue avoiding the Pfaltzgraff.

WATSON WOWS US WITH PITTSBURGH PRAISE. Call Emma Watson the anti-Sienna Miller.

You might recall that in 2006, Miller, an English actress of little renown and even less tact, came to our fair city to film — appropriately enough — “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.” She forever drew the wrath of Pittsburghers with her disparaging remarks about the city in an interview with Rolling Stone.

Watson, best known for her work in the “Harry Potter” franchise, was in town last year to film the soon-to-be-released “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” She holds the 'Burgh in much higher regard than did Miller.

“It worked out perfectly,” she said of her time here, in the latest Entertainment Weekly. “Who knew Pittsburgh was going to become one of my favorite places in the world?”

Emma, you're welcome back anytime. The Primanti Bros. sandwich is on us.

As for you, snooty Sienna, we wouldn't put coleslaw and fries on your cheesesteak if you begged us.

MYSTERIOUS INFINONYMOUS. Anyone out there know what became of the anonymous local political blogger Infinonymous?

The blog is still accessible online but hasn't been updated for six months — and no explanation has been offered as to why. We're curious about Mr. Infy's absence and current whereabouts.

BRENNAN BEHAVES BADLY. Proving once again how difficult state legislators find it to keep their noses clean, state Rep. Joseph Brennan managed to get himself arrested on Wednesday.

Police charged the Lehigh County Democrat with assault and drunken driving after he allegedly punched and choked his wife on the porch of their home. He was arraigned and released on $7,500 bail.

Even in the dog days of summer, it seems, our lawmakers take no vacation from misbehaving.

GAINING INFLUENCE. State Rep. Tim Krieger, R-Delmont, has been appointed to a bipartisan House committee created to study property taxes.

“I share the concern of many of my constituents who fear that the American Dream is slipping away,” Krieger said. “Home ownership is at the center of this dream, but rising property taxes are crushing our people and snuffing out their dreams.”

Krieger said complaints from residents struggling to bear their property tax burden — “folks, who despite years of hard work, feel as if they don't own their own homes” — are commonplace.

The committee, as directed by a resolution, has members from the House Education, Finance, Urban Affairs, Local Government, Environmental Resources and Energy, and Transportation committees.

Krieger maintains that any property tax reform must be considered along with “spending reforms.”

SWEET TOOTH. One thing became clear during last week's lengthy selection of the jury that will decide whether confessed killer Melvin Knight lives or dies: He likes sugary stuff.

In April, Knight pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the Feb. 11, 2010, torture slaying of Jennifer Daugherty, a mentally challenged 30-year-old woman from Mt. Pleasant. Investigators described her death as one of the most brutal in recent memory.

During breaks last week as Westmoreland County prosecutors and defense lawyers worked for more than three days to choose jurors who will consider the death penalty for the 22-year-old Knight, he munched on mints and other candies that Judge Rita Hathaway keeps in a bowl in the conference room where jurors are selected.

— compiled by Tribune-Review staff.

Whispers now appears every other week.

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