Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whether the guy strapping their kid into a carnival ride has a criminal past likely isn't on the minds of most parents as they chase their child from one amusement to another. And it shouldn't be.

Criminal background checks are a pretty standard part of the hiring process these days. So parents shouldn't have to worry about the histories of the mostly transient individuals who work at community fairs and church carnivals, which are both common and popular over the summer.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Those who are crying over the veto that Gov. Tom Wolf used last week to dispose of a controversial bill to privatize the state-controlled sales of wine and liquor are shedding what we would call crocodile tears, with apologies to the crocodiles.

On Friday, a commentator for the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative-libertarian policy organization, cried foul over Wolf's action, which the governor said was because of his objections to it as a business proposition.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Toss a paper bag full of trash out your car window and you could be fined up to $900 by the state of Pennsylvania. Kill a bald eagle, and you'll pay just $200.

That measly penalty would not deter most poachers, so the Pennsylvania Game Commission proposes to increase the fine to $2,500.

That, combined with the punishment set out in the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, is a penalty that commands attention and one that will ensure eagles in the commonwealth will continue to thrive.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Because "electronic cigarettes" don't deliver tobacco, they are excluded from even the Food and Drug Administration's authority to regulate tobacco products.

That should change as data accrue regarding the use and effects of the devices.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat liquid nicotine that is delivered as a vapor.

The liquids often incorporate flavors such as fruits, mint or coffee.

"Vaping," as the practice is called, has fostered a $2.1-billion-a-year industry that rapidly is growing.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gambling revenue has declined almost everywhere in the East for the obvious reason that the enterprise has hit its saturation point.

Even though gambling is a major industry, generating more than $3 billion a year in Pennsylvania alone, there are only so many gamblers and they only have so much money.

Yet the response of lawmakers is to give those same gamblers more options to spend the same amount of money, rather than recognizing that the saturation point is not a bluff.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "compromise" as "a way of reaching agreement in which each group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute."

There in a nutshell you have the prescription for ending the Pennsylvania budget stalemate. Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled General Assembly must back off their respective hard-line positions and realize that neither can get all that each wants.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

President Barack Obama's effort in 2014 to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation was one of his top achievements on immigration.

The program should have rolled out this year, but zealots who are determined to block any immigration reforms are fighting to ensure that his order will remain tied up in legal battles.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's time for Pennsylvania to belly up to the bar and reform its antiquated liquor laws. Better yet, it is time for the state to get out of the liquor business and turn it over to entrepreneurs who know how to satisfy customers rather than kowtow to heavily entrenched lobbies and other special interests.

The General Assembly has tried to change the system. In fact, a Senate bill has just been released from committee which will ultimately get the state out of the liquor business. Here are the highlights of the bill:

Ÿ Removes Pennsylvania as the wholesaler of wine and liquor

Monday, June 29, 2015

The far-reaching story of fraud by Municipal Energy Managers continues to play out in Pennsylvania towns and townships.

Bankrupt MEM is being liquidated and Nesquehoning taxpayers stand to lose monies the borough paid back in 2008 when MEM was wooing municipalities with an offer that sounded like a bright idea.

In fact, the deal seemed so good that Nesquehoning jumped at the opportunity, as did just about everybody else.

The borough would buy streetlights from PPL while MEM would do maintenance.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Many critics of Pope Francis' stirring encyclical on the environment protested that he is not a scientist, which is true but beside the point. His call for a global cultural revolution to foster sound environmental stewardship is a moral framework for the climate change debate and, more broadly, a demand that technology be used to improve the human condition.