Insurers focus on own health

Given that the Affordable Care Act requires just about everyone to have health insurance, there would seem to be enough business to sustain the nation’s five biggest insurers. Yet two huge mergers would reduce the Big 5 to the Big 3, significantly reducin

Let ruling stand to open ballot access

The Founding Fathers who gathered in Philadelphia 237 years ago to devise a system of governance for the new republic regularly warned of the negative influence of “factions” — organized political parties — on representative democracy. They likely would b

Council gets clear picture, holds deal

Scranton City Council wisely has prevented the Courtright administration from doing what several of its predecessors have done — blithely renewing the city’s cable franchise contract with Comcast without examining how to improve it in the interest of cons

Helping kids across aisle

The United States infamously is the world’s leading jailer, with 4.4 percent of the world’s population and 22 percent of its inmates. Much of that results from political pressure to treat drug addiction primarily as a law enforcement matter rather than a

Roads can’t be fixed with complaints

News that a national advocacy group has ranked Scranton-area roads as being the sixth-worst in the nation carries about the same surprise value as the sun setting in the west. And just as the relative motion of the Earth and sun is governed by the immutab

Protect all borrowers

The Obama administration announced new rules last week to protect armed service members and their families from predatory lending, further enhancing similar measures that were signed into law by President George W. Bush. After the Military Lending Act cap

Land bank would honor HNA effort

A fine collaborative effort to revitalize some distressed property in Scranton’s Hill Section is not only a tribute to community activism but an illustration of why Lackawanna County’s impending creation of a land bank is a crucial piece of public busines

Don’t isolate United States

In 2003 the United States foolishly plunged into supposedly “preemptive” war in Iraq without the support of many of its closest allies. Unlike the broad U.S.-led coalition that justly and quickly ousted Iraq from Kuwait in 1991, the thin 2003 alliance cam

Clean power goals realistic

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to finalize a plan to substantially reduce carbon pollution, state-by-state. Because of its traditional reliance on coal for power generation, Pennsylvania is the third-highest carbon pollution producer among t

Prescribing honest ads

The health care industry is in a state of constant transition. Pressure has mounted to control costs while the Affordable Care Act promises greater access to care even as the industry struggles to produce and retain more physicians. Part of the cost-conta

They can’t drive 65

For about a year, drivers on Interstate 380 have been legally entitled to dash the 21 miles between Interstate 84 and Interstate 80 at 70 miles per hour. But, apparently, they haven’t been dashing any faster, on average, than when the speed limit was 65 m

Witch hunt unjustified

As the state budget stalemate grinds through its third week, Republican leaders in the Legislature have found time to ask Pennsylvania’s attorney general to assist them in a witch hunt. Sen. Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and House Speaker Mike Turzai sent a le

Unwritten ‘rule’ ensures state gridlock

Pennsylvania’s government still is without a budget in the third week of the new fiscal year. And, thanks to a legislative rule that’s so cynical that its devotees won’t even set it to paper and formally adopt it, gridlock on the budget and a host of rela

Delaware sheds light

Delaware lawmakers decided in 2012 to cast some light on cascades of “dark money” that flowed into political campaigns following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. The Supreme Court allowed unfettered spending on political campaign

Investigate nonchalant ‘enforcement’

Roaring Brook Twp. is zoned, at least on paper. But, apparently, there is no zoning unless someone complains. Incredibly, as reported Sunday by Jim Lockwood of The Times-Tribune, township zoning officer Paul Kozik and the township supervisors looked the o

Picturing better safety

Pennsylvania’s $2.3 billion transportation law finally has provided some of the money needed to address a deep backlog of highway and bridge repairs and reconstruction. That’s good news by itself but the program also will boost direct employment of constr

Extend benefits for needy kids

In Scranton, 36 percent of families with children under age 5 live in poverty, Census Bureau data show. Poverty afflicts one-fifth of Lackawanna County families with kids younger than 5 and almost one-fourth of Luzerne County households in the same catego

Get warrants for DNA tests State power expansion unjust

A strong majority of Pennsylvania’s state Senate firmly believes in unreasonable searches and seizures, despite the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of those practices. For the third consecutive year, the Senate has passed a bill that would allow police to

Don’t abolish property tax

More so than any other state, Pennsylvania is overly dependent on local property taxes to fund public education. Of the $27 billion spent on education across the state, more than $12 billion comes from local property taxes and nearly $5 billion more comes

Pass Senate education bill

Once Congress realized that the No Child Left Behind Law would not meet its goal of universal grade-by-grade reading and math proficiency by 2014, it allowed the law to expire. That was back in 2007. Its mandates have remained in place, even though the ad

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