Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The last line of the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor states that "I will always uphold the constitution, my community and the agency I serve."

During his 34 years of life, Boston police officer John Moynihan has done service in all three areas with honor and dignity.

After high school, he joined the United States Army, went to Ranger school and served in Iraq during 2006-07.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

At first glance, recent headlines in a series of unrelated stories appear ominous.

"Nesquehoning police discover heroin in traffic stop."

"Meth lab found in car in Hometown."

"Tamaqua traffic stop nets marijuana stash."

But in the larger scheme of things, what appear to be alarming stories are actually a pronouncement of positive steps taken in the local war on drugs.

Of course it's no secret Pennsylvania has an illegal drug problem.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Two 7-year-old elementary students, one in the Midwest and the other in the Southeast, were punished last week at their respective elementary schools over infractions that many considered an overreach by school officials.

The Missouri case involves Kylee Moss of Belton, who came home with a letter from her teacher stating that her body mass index was too high.

The BMI is controversial because it does not distinguish between muscle mass and fat mass.

The letter said Kylie's BMI is "not healthy for 7-year-olds."

Friday, March 27, 2015

During arms control negotiations with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan used the words "trust, but verify."

Now, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry continues negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, Reagan's strategy needs to be front and center.

March 31 is seen as the date for a final agreement with Iran, but announcing a deadline just plays into the hands of Islamic extremists, who are never governed by a calendar or time clock.

There are very good reasons to be suspicious of any deal forged with the Iranians.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A quote attributed to legendary Coach Knute Rockne indicates the high regard college coaches had for coal region football players.

Rockne said that when recruiting, he would ask the farm boy how far it is to the next town. If the boy pointed his finger, Rockne said he drove on. If he picked up the plow and pointed with it, Rockne said he would sign him up.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Although Norman Rockwell's classic painting of Rosie the Riveter fetched $4.9 million at auction in 2002, it's hard to place a monetary value on something so iconic in American history.

After the image appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1943, the government used it to encourage women to volunteer for wartime service in factories working jobs previously done by men and to raise money for the war bond drives.

It was later used as a symbol of feminism and women's economic power.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Drugs and the economy are two pressing issues that have been part of every state and national election for as long as we can remember.

The wars on both fronts are still being fought, especially in our economically troubled small towns and inner cities.

One sad case this week involved Jamel Brown, the starting point guard for Farrell High School's basketball team. Brown missed his team's semifinal victory over Kennedy Catholic on Tuesday because he was arrested the day before on charges of possessing crack cocaine.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The spending gap disparity between rich and poor school districts in Pennsylvania was exposed on both the state and national fronts last week.

Last Friday, during a conference call with reporters, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan reported that data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that high-poverty school districts around the nation spent 15.6 percent less than those in the group with the least poverty.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Everyone agrees that Pennsylvania has a funding problem with its two biggest public pension systems, the Public School Employees' Retirement System and the State Employees' Retirement System. They are in debt to the tune of about $50 billion total.

The problems began back in 2001. With the stock market riding high and pension funds rolling in profits, Gov. Tom Ridge and members of the state Legislature increased pension benefits for teachers and state employees by 25 percent. Legislators also gave themselves a 50 percent bump in their pension benefits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Don't just tell us it's wrong, tell us how to fix it.

That seems to be the advice given plaintiffs Wednesday in Harrisburg over the lawsuit that challenges the fairness in Pennsylvania school funding practices.

The quality of public school education in the state, it seems, is directly proportional to the value of real estate within the school district. That alleged problem spawned the legal action.