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TUESDAY'S presidential election loomed over all other news last week, but while the result elated or depressed the rival party faithful in Pennsylvania -- which went for President Barack Obama 52 percent to 46.8 percent in unofficial state returns -- something that didn't happen is also notable. With a high percentage of registered voters participating (67 percent in Allegheny County), polling places were often crowded and some voters had to wait. To add to the stress, a few machines malfunctioned and some voters complained about being asked for ID (when a court order said they could vote this time without one). None of this amounted to the calamity that might have occurred had the state's controversial ID law been in effect. Thank Commonwealth Court for that; it suspended implementation of the law because the state did not have time to guarantee that all qualified voters could vote. Next time, IDs will be needed by everyone.

WHEN IT COMES to politics, pop artist and material girl Madonna is not like a virgin but more like someone in bed with her party, the Democrats. On Election Night, she performed at Consol Energy Center, her first visit to Pittsburgh since 1985, and when she found out that "my baby, Barack" had been re-elected, she led the crowd in a profane chant of enthusiasm. PG reviewer Scott Mervis said she apologized for her partisanship but was unrepentant. When she heard boos, she said: "I love you, too, but I want a president with a moral compass." This might strike some Republicans as an irony-free statement, considering that she soon stripped down to a bustier and thong, which she'd said she would do if the president won. Well, she was exercising her right to free speech, but she should have remembered that gloating is always unattractive, even when it's supposed to be sexy.

AMERICA is not out of the woods yet and a moral compass might help everyone. But what is needed for the real woods in five Pittsburgh parks is an app, a smartphone application that can provide navigational mapping for visitors who might otherwise become lost among the trees. As the PG's Diana Nelson Jones reported, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is working with the city and design firm Deeplocal on the project with financial help from UPMC Health Plan. The app, which is being designed to recognize the features of Schenley, Frick, Highland, Riverview and Emerald View parks, should be ready by spring. Perhaps they could produce an app that could get members of Congress out of the thicket and back onto the best path.



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