Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

California has nearly 39 million people, making it the nation's most populous state by a fat 12 million. It has 120 members in its legislature.

Texas is No. 2 on the people meter, with nearly 27 million. Its House and Senate have a combined 181 lawmakers.

Florida, third in the 2014 census with roughly 20 million people, has 140 full-time legislators. No. 4 New York, also with nearly 20 million, has 213 representatives and senators in Albany.

Illinois, fifth on the census chart, has 177 state lawmakers.

And then there's Pennsylvania.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Growing up a Philadelphia sports fan, we spent many hours of summer vacation listening to the Phillies' broadcasting team of Bill Campbell, Byrum Saam and Rich Ashburn on our transistor radio.

Before the dawn of ESPN and 24/7 television sports, Pennsylvania fans in the 1960s and '70s were fortunate to hear some of the legendary play-by-play voices or all time.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Citizens Against Government Waste released its 2015 Congressional Pig Book last Wednesday, and the promising news is that the number of earmarks dropped from 109 in 2014 to 105 in 2015.

The bad news is that the cost jumped 55.6 percent from $2.7 billion in earmarks in 2014 to $4.2 billion in pork for 2015.

CAGW, the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in government, found wasteful pork in at least 12 appropriations bills.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What some consider a harmless, end-of the-school year pranks may seem funny at first but can often cause harm to the innocent, unsuspecting people they target.

Last Friday, four Ohio teenagers were arrested and charged with felony vandalism and disrupting public service after damaging 24 school buses as part of a senior prank. Police in Springfield, just west of Columbus, say the teens removed valve stems from tires on the buses, forcing authorities to cancel all classes in the 2,000-student district.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It was difficult for many local residents to get their heads around details in serious charges filed last week against a part-time Nesquehoning police officer.

Patrolman Steven Homanko, 26, of Beaver Meadows, is accused by Pennsylvania State Police of causing a crash that killed Carola Sauers, a physical therapy assistant, and severely injured her husband Michael, a second-grade teacher.

Police say Homanko's police cruiser soared up to 113 mph in a 55 mph zone on Route 209 in Nesquehoning on May 12, 2014.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Major media outlets have been quick to jump on stories involving white police officers versus black suspects, evidenced by the in-depth reporting of the Baltimore anti-police riots last month and Ferguson, Missouri, last year.

Lost on the editing floor are the numerous police cases where officers put their lives on the line every day. The public needs to understand that every call, from a traffic stop to a domestic violence, is potentially life-threatening for an officer.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Last Sunday's attack at a "Draw the Prophet" Muhammad art show contest in Garland, Texas, failed but that didn't keep the Islamic State terrorists known as ISIS, which took responsibility, from claiming a victory.

Their strategy is to use social media to recruit and spread fear by showing beheadings and posting intimidating messages.

The terrorists have pronounced a death sentence (fatwa) on Pamela Geller, one of the organizers of the cartoon contest in Garland, and anyone who shields her.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Slowly but surely state legislators have recognized the danger of distracted driving due to cellphone use.

Hand-held cellphone use is now banned in 14 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia ban all cellphone use by teen or novice drivers.

School bus drivers are prohibited from cellphone use in 20 states and in the nation's capital.

Pennsylvania legislators got on board three years ago by enacting a text-messaging ban.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

We'll be hearing many lofty promises of accountability from candidates over the next 17 months leading up to the 2016 elections.

Once they get elected, however, words like accessibility, full disclosure and openness often get shuffled into the attic or basement with other political promises.

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf's administration reported it's now posting details of the expenses claimed for reimbursement by his top staff and cabinet officials.

The website breaks down the expenses into 12 different categories, including airfare, hotels, parking and train fare.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Affordable housing is an issue everywhere. But Pennsylvania has managed to confine an effective program to produce it to only those counties that have Marcellus Shale wells.

In 2010 the Legislature passed the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Act, making the state the 38th with a trust fund to help stimulate housing rehabilitation.