Even now, it’s all or nothing

Gov. Tom Wolf recently called for passage of the state government budget by Dec. 4, which seems reasonable given that the actual deadline for the budget was July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. Remarkably, though, even as schools and social service a

Existential threat in Paris

Following a series of terror attacks in Paris, Mali, Egypt, Nigeria, Lebanon and elsewhere, it is a true statement of courage and commitment that global negotiations on climate change will take place this week, as scheduled, near Paris. It also acknowledg

Don’t promote payday loans

In some states, payday lending stores are as common as fast-food restaurants. And they are as bad for most borrowers’ financial health as fast food is for physical health. Pennsylvania does not have that problem because its usury laws are stronger than in

Context part of history

It is well-established that President Woodrow Wilson was an unrepentant bigot, in thought and in deed. He rolled back integration in federal executive branch offices and otherwise worked against the economic and social advancement of black citizens. Many

Senate takes side door

It is characteristic of the state Legislature that it is trying to use a side door to get rid of embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane rather than confronting the matter head-on, which would entail political risk. Pennsylvania, like every other state,

Drive for ethics reform

Most people speak metaphorically when they refer to members of Congress as being used-car dealers, which often can be taken as an insult to used-car dealers. But then, there is U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, a Texas Republican who actually is a car dealer, the

Glimpse at world should bring thanks

Like any regularly occurring holiday, Thanksgiving has an element of routine, its own rhythms and rituals. But looking around the world at this moment should give Americans pause to be truly thankful. Regardless of whatever problems individual Americans h

Hunger in land of plenty

Hunger is the last thing that will be on the minds of most people today as they tackle the traditional Thanksgiving feast with family and friends. But hunger in the land of plenty is real. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls it “food insecurity,” or

In Freeh case, don’t fight on Penn State

One of Penn State University’s football Saturday standards is a song urging the Nittany Lions to fight “on, on, on, on, on.” In contrast, regarding one of the most important governance matters in the university’s history, the institution has urged its alu

PUC Uber fine way over top

Apparently, Administrative Law Judges Mary Long and Jeffrey Watson prefer to travel by traditional taxi. Their recent recommendation that the state Public Utility Commission assess a $50 million fine against Uber, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing comp

Court’s woes beyond image

As one state Supreme Court justice lamented last week the public’s negative view of the institution, another demonstrated why it’s warranted. “It breaks my heart that the public’s view of our court is based on what happened in isolated cases,” Justice Deb

End inversion

The Obama administration has announced new rules to slow the method of legal corporate tax evasion known as inversion. But the ultimate answer is elusive because of the ongoing political paralysis in Congress. Under the most common form of tax inversion,

Hope emerges on pensions

Obsolete state law and negligent local management have driven many municipal pension plans to the brink of collapse. In Scranton and other cities, the gravity of the plans’ impending crash is like that of a galactic black hole, threatening to suck the ent

Letting voters pick winners

The popularity of unconventional political outsiders like Donald Trump and Ben Carson is said to be a result of voters’ disaffection with politics and governance as usual. Given the bellicose nature of the Republican presidential primary to date, it’s ref

All-in again on gambling

Say what you will about ineffective governance by the state Legislature. At least it’s consistent. By an 18-8 vote Wednesday, the House Gaming Oversight Committee advanced yet another bill to vastly expand gambling across the commonwealth — physically and

Urgent email to legislators

According to the Commonwealth Court, the public that pays for state computer systems has no inherent right to know how they are used. Thursday, the court ruled that the state Open Records Law does not require Attorney General Kathleen Kane to release porn

Banks held accountable

Regardless of benefits that banks might bring to the communities where they do business, they often are lousy stewards of foreclosed property. Neighbors of vacant, deteriorating properties with overgrown lawns or unshoveled sidewalks often learn that the

Antibiotics losing ground

Ever since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, humanity has been in an arms race against deadly pathogens that have evolved to resist antibiotics. The pathogens are winning. According to the British medical journal, The Lancet, researchers st

Yearning to breathe free

Terrorist attacks last week in Lebanon, Africa and especially, France, have ignited debates in the United States about global leadership. Conspicuously absent from the critics’ condemnation of the administration’s policy is the United States’ responsibili

Appoint Eakin investigator

It’s tempting to say that you have to follow the bouncing ball to understand developments in the grand-jury-leak-pornography-abuse-of-power-misogyny-racism-politics scandal that drapes Pennsylvania’s justice system like a shroud. But the problem is that t

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