Other Commentaries

Lincoln, King legacies intertwined

Abraham Lincoln is generally regarded today as one of America’s greatest presidents. But, that wasn’t always the case. It took more than half a century after his death before the memorial erected in his honor could be built. The bitterness of the Civil War he waged to preserve the Union ...

Readers sound off on death penalty

Whenever I write about serial killers, guns and the death penalty, my inbox blows up. Last week’s column about convicted murderer Dylann Roof and America’s policy of capital punishment — public support for it, the costs associated with it and its usefulness in deterring other criminals ...

No jackpot: Seniors should be taxed more

The Pennsylvania Lottery has always been a dubious proposition: It is at its heart a scam on the poor whose proceeds pay for programs for Pennsylvania’s seniors — some of whom are the Lottery’s most dedicated patrons. And after some record-breaking years, including $4.1 billion in sales ...

Altoona’s recovery under Act 47 strong

When I became mayor in 2010, Altoona was facing major critical problems. It was time to act to save our city from serious financial and internal structural matters. It was a daunting task hampered by a declining population and tax base. After intensive research during my tenure, I ...

More must be done to protect the Jersey Shore

At long last, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New Jersey are starting work on a comprehensive back bay flooding plan, but they are lumbering along waiting for bags of cash from the federal government and thinking about work as though they have the luxury of time on their side. They ...

Coal country eyes renaissance

With the Trump administration just days away from taking the reins of power in Washington, coal country rightfully waits with great anticipation. The Obama administration’s war on coal cut deep in a number of states that rely on the industry as a backbone of their economies. The ...

Transferring technology to blind

The special problems of the elderly blind in central Pennsylvania came home to me when I was a patient last year at HealthSouth’s Physical Rehabilitation Hospital in Pleasant Gap. I am a 69-year-old paraplegic. I was in the hospital because I broke my ankle. My ankle has since ...

‘Ground zero’ of VA struggles

Despite intense public scrutiny and leadership changes at the top of the VA, a whistleblower says patient care has not improved at a troubled Phoenix facility, which two years ago became the focus of criticism. A Department of Veterans Affairs employee, who initially called attention to the ...

Willing to receive, but not give

The holidays are gone for another year but were packed with shoppers seeking the perfect gifts for their loved ones. At a glance, it would seem that Pennsylvanians are truly embracing the sense of giving that comes with the holiday season. However, a recent survey found that many people are ...

Cooler heads prevailing after assassination

Last week’s assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara, Turkey, had the potential to destabilize already strained relations between the two nations, which back different sides in the Syrian war and have other points of conflict. To their credit, Russia and Turkey have ...

Both sides seeking more ‘normal’ Trump

Donald Trump was supposed to take over the Republican Party, but the question going forward will be whether the Republican Party takes over him. So far the early legislative agenda of Republicans after the Trump revolution is shaping up to be what you would have expected prior to the Trump ...

Make restoring civility top priority

We have just come off of the most acrimonious presidential election in modern memory. There are many distinctive aspects to the 2016 election: the first woman candidate for a major party, a shocking (to many) upset, a victory by a complete outsider to politics. Even the level of ...

Unions would do well to learn from Dallas

And just like that the Dallas, Pa., teacher strike is over. Residents endured a month of acrimony, and Thursday’s negotiation session showed no promise. The union insisted it had presented a valid case, the district begged to differ. Along with repeating the claim that there isn’t ...

Dam safety is very important

Dams provide a vital service to our communities and economy, creating reservoirs for our water supply, protecting us from floods, and providing clean, renewable energy through hydropower, and serving as recreational facilities. But as our population grows and more people live below dams, ...

Will Trump defy Rubio and McCain?

When word leaked that Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, a holder of the Order of Friendship award in Putin’s Russia, was Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state, John McCain had this thoughtful response: “Vladimir Putin is a thug, a bully, and a murderer and anybody else who describes him ...

Love helps ease hate crimes

Today’s headlines seem full of horrible crimes — teenagers committing gruesome and senseless murders; a young California mother kidnapped off the street while jogging, then tortured for weeks and branded by her captors; a young father in Georgia convicted of deliberately leaving his toddler ...

Senate should handle Paris climate accord

.com Reports that President-elect Donald Trump is backtracking on his skepticism of man-made global warming and his criticism of the Paris climate accord are unfounded, insists his incoming chief of staff. Rather, “He’ll have an open mind about it,” says Reince Priebus. Good. He can ...

John Glenn stood, and rode, above

If you were old enough to tie your shoes Feb. 20, 1962, then you almost surely remember Marine Col. John H. Glenn Jr. entering the history books by becoming the first American to orbit the earth. During that flight, Americans, watching on their black-and-white television sets, held their ...

Seeing the party of workers

In the course of a couple of tweets, Donald Trump may have ended the image of the GOP as the party of corporate America. After striking a Carrier deal to preserve about 800 jobs, the president-elect slapped the Indiana company Rexnord on Twitter for “rather viciously firing” its workers ...

Retiree’s honesty raises hackles

Many of us have been told that honesty is the best policy and the truth will set you free. Michael Stuban applied those tenets to his exit survey when he retired from his midlevel manager position with the Pennsylvania Turnpike after 35 years of service. He noted that he liked his ...