Faulty logic drives standoff

While ridiculous and unnecessary, the ongoing impasse over a new state budget has exposed anew some of the underlying problems with Pennsylvania’s highly expensive and under-achieving state Legislature. One of those principal problems is legislative caree

Downsizing U.S. prisons

American taxpayers themselves are in a sort of jail due to the nation’s policy of mass incarceration. Due in part to draconian mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and mandatory life sentences for multiple offenses, the federal prison

Eliminate surprises on medical bills

Due to an ongoing impasse between the Scranton-based Delta Medix group and Highmark, the big Blue Cross insurer, many patients in Northeastern Pennsylvania have had to deal with their medical specialists suddenly being “out of network.” That’s a growing p

NCAA still has amateurs

That breeze you felt Wednesday was the collective sighs of relief flowing from NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis and big-university athletic departments across the United States. Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a

Impasse gets very costly Shell abandons Alaska project

Gov. Tom Wolf properly has vetoed a “stopgap” budget passed by legislative Republicans, which would have funded a few things as they wanted them funded and diminished pressure to pass an actual budget. Meanwhile, the absence of an actual budget has begun

Cold market for Arctic oil School district borrowing surges

Environmentalists who have waged a long campaign against Shell’s plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska naturally celebrated last week when the Anglo-Dutch company abandoned the project. But Shell folded due to economics and geology rather than envi

CORRECTION California tax issue misstated

A Sept. 29 editorial advocating review of nonprofit tax exemptions in Pennsylvania misstated a tax at issue in a California case. The California Court of Appeals is reviewing a lawsuit that claims Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are requir

Med school impact beyond money

Officials from the Commonwealth Medical College this week quantified a widely recognized point that the facility has an important impact on the region’s economy. The school contributed more than $65 million to the area’s economy in 2014, according to a st

McCarthy’s Turzai gaffe

Journalist Michael Kinsley once said that “a gaffe is when a politician tells ... some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” Such an utterance is known as a Kinsley gaffe, but it might well be named for Mike Turzai, speaker of the state House, who brou

State should illuminate dark money

Astronomers have strived mightily for generations to cast light on “dark matter,” the mysterious substance that comprises most of the universe. Despite the magnitude of their task, their chances are better than that of taxpayers who want to know the sourc

More guns, more deaths

The gun lobby long has held that public safety is enhanced by widespread gun ownership, in that it supposedly serves as a deterrent. A growing body of research points to the opposite result, however. A Boston University study in 2013, for example, found a

Scrutinize nonprofit exemptions

In a decision that should resonate in Pennsylvania, a California appeals court has upheld a state agency’s decision to strip the state’s tax exemption from nonprofit health insurer Blue Shield of California. As in Pennsylvania and other states, California

Pope returns to challenges

Any reticence that Pope Francis had about the United States and American Catholics seemed to dissipate in the bear hug in which the country wrapped him during his six hectic days here. The pope proved a diplomat. In speeches to Congress and the United Nat

Rein in law on forfeiture

Under the umbrella of fighting drug crimes, state governments have created a profitable if nefarious business from seizing the assets of people who are not responsible for the crimes. Pennsylvania’s law is among the most draconian. If the government can s

Fix state’s email rules

No one in Pennsylvania’s government routinely would destroy paper correspondence about important public business just a few days after receiving it. Yet that happens all the time when the documents are digital, emails, rather than paper. There is a great

Editorial: Pope’s vision as state policy

Critics of Pope Francis’ view that humanity has an obligation to protect the planet can’t seem to get their heads around the notion that there is a moral dimension to environmental stewardship.

Boehner’s lost chances

House Speaker John Boehner’s impending resignation from Congress indicates that he feels the same frustration as everyone else over the paralyzed institution. Unfortunately for Mr. Boehner, a good man, his legacy is that he failed to do anything about it.

It's English, official or not

As Pennsylvania nonprofits and school districts continued to suffer from the absence of a state budget, lawmakers in the state House this week took an opportunity to accent their distance from reality. Republicans held a hearing on a bill that would requi

Get drones under control

Commercial airline pilots regularly report seeing recreational drones while taking off or landing. Unmanned aerial vehicles have interfered with aircraft fighting wildfires in several western states. Drones have crashed on crowded highways and in busy pub

Editorial: Francis lives up to namesake

Pope Francis cares deeply for the marginalized, but did you realize that his compassion bridges the species barrier? He suggests that animals will go to heaven and that the Virgin Mary “grieves for the sufferings” even of mistreated livestock.

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