Scale back forfeiture rule

Appearing to be tough on crime has great appeal for politicians across the political spectrum. The result includes draconian mandatory sentencing laws that fill prisons without rehabilitating anyone and laws that allow authorities to seize property based

Even secrets get too old

The Obama administration is likely to release 28 pages of documents that offer insight into whether the Saudi government supported the 15 Saudis who were among the 9/11 hijackers. Although nearly 15 years between the event and the release of a document ab

Globe Store plans should go to hearing

Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O’Malley said recently that he favors restoring passenger rail service between Scranton and New York City, but in the meantime he’s doing some railroading of his own. He and Commissioner Laureen Cummings said Wednesd

For Trump, policy foreign

Donald Trump’s supposedly serious foreign policy pronouncement Wednesday was meant to elevate his credentials above those of the man who began his campaign by vowing to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it and, later, to ban any of the world’s 1

Farina’s contradictory advocacy

Voters Tuesday made state Rep. Frank Farina the second high-ranking local elected official to be tossed from office at least partially for a mealy-mouthed approach to the region’s pre-eminent environmental issue. Like former Lackawanna County Commissioner

End all doubt about ‘gifts’

Pennsylvania lawmakers probably took heart Wednesday over proceedings at the Supreme Court of the United States. In a hearing about the 2014 bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, justices questioned the degree to which prosecutors can

Is this best way to pick president?

Believe it or not, the Republican Party reformed its primary election system this year to avoid pitfalls that arose in 2012. It authorized fewer debates, altered some delegate rules and moved up the convention date. Now, with Donald Trump adding a few mor

Court helps to draw line

As dozens of U.S. House members and thousands of state legislators nationwide sleepwalk through their re-election campaigns because they don’t have opponents, the Supreme Court of the United States seems awake to such perils of gerrymandering. This year,

State stays relevant; who knew?

Last spring, before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in his namesake skyscraper in midtown Manhattan to announce his candidacy and turn the Republican presidential nominating race on its head, several Pennsylvania lawmakers had introduced bills to move

PUC Uber fine is excessive

Uber, the innovative ride-sharing service that makes life difficult for the regulated taxi industry, wrongly defied the state Public Utility Commission’s authority when it ignored a cease-and-desist order in 2014 and continued to operate. But the record-h

‘Clean slate’ opens doors for thousands

For someone seeking a job, educational opportunities and housing, there is no such thing as a minor criminal record. Especially in this era when companies advertise their ability to scour the Internet in search of records, even minor scrapes with the law

Poverty, health, hopelessness

A stunning increase in the national suicide rate also is a national tragedy, all the more so because it defies significantly increased efforts to raise awareness and recognition. The National Center for Health Statistics conducted a 15-year analysis from

Indispensable advocate expands reach

Rivers are not simply the water within their banks. They are the real-time, living records of everything that happens within their vast watersheds — the forests and communities upstream and the tributaries that drain them. It’s appropriate, then, that the

Email policy not enough

There is no secret as to why high-ranking public officials conduct public business through their personal email. It’s because they want to keep secrets. Public officials often complain that the risk in using private servers is that they are less secure th

At 150, city fights effects of old age

Scranton has a marvelous history to celebrate today, the 150th anniversary of the city’s charter in 1866 The city rose rapidly after its founding as Northeast Pennsylvania’s abundant anthracite coal helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution. The population

Energetic energy bill

The normally polarized Senate put some energy into compromise this week and passed a comprehensive energy bill. If it survives a reconciliation effort with a terrible House bill, the legislation will serve smarter energy development, conservation and the

Don’t act on sentiment

If a Kurdish militant kills Turkish citizens using weapons supplied by the United States to fight the Islamic State group, should the victims’ families be allowed to sue the United States for damages? No such case is pending, but the scenario is worth con

Cummings can’t defend indefensible Commissioner should renounce Facebook rants

Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings played every card in the deck except the personal responsibility card when she was called to task this week for her bigoted rants on Facebook. In her Facebook world, transgender people seeking to use public

State misses gas boom, absorbs bust

In Pennsylvania, rigid political ideology is the only commodity in greater supply than natural gas. That rigid ideology exacts a high price in lost opportunity. Because the Republican majorities in both legislative houses refuse to impose a fair severance

On the money

Alexander Hamilton is the hottest of the Founding Fathers, the only one who also is a Broadway star. The musical “Hamilton,” for which its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week, has elevated Hamilton to the heights of Ben Fra

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