Other Commentaries

County jails housing wrong people

It may shock you to learn that county jails have become the largest mental health facilities in America. County jails and taxpayers dollars are increasingly being used to detain pre-trial offenders and house inmates who suffer from serious mental illness and developmental disabilities; the ...

Seeing both sides of Betsy DeVos

People hate Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. When she spoke at the Kennedy School of Government, students held up signs calling her a “white supremacist.” When she tried to visit a school, activists physically blocked her way. The haters claim DeVos knows little about ...

Draining food stamp swamp

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is high on the Republican list of programs targeted for reform — and justifiably so. The program has gone from 17 million enrollees in 2000 to about 43 million today, with outlays up from about $25 billion to more than $70 billion. The Trump ...

Post-high school education good for kids, state

For most students and their families, it’s not just a matter of which college offers the best education, or where the college is located, or which has the most beautiful or well-appointed campus. The deciding factor — or at least one of the deciding factors — may be which college ...

Graduates: remember your ‘peeps’

This year’s graduates have come of age during two decades of the most intense change this planet has ever known — in all its billion years imagining and reforming itself. For this year’s graduates, change isn’t just constant. It’s both constant and exponential — happening so fast ...

Address campaign finances

PennLive.com Late last month, Gov. Tom Wolf, joined by his Democratic allies in the state House and Senate, rolled out a comprehensive suite of reforms aimed at restoring public trust in the electoral process and limiting the influence of special interests in state politics. Included among ...

Educational fraud continues

Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation’s Report Card, was released. It’s not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 ...

On gun laws, Legislature is ‘waffle’ house

State legislators characteristically did nothing in 2012 after John Walton, of Butler Twp., Luzerne County, retrieved a gun that a court had ordered him to surrender and used the weapon to kill his estranged wife and himself. Under state law, Walton was allowed to surrender the gun to his ...

Ryan decision satisfies his supporters

Finally, House Speaker Paul Ryan edged President Donald Trump out of the nation’s attention. The Wisconsin Republican’s astonishing announcement that he would not seek another term rocked Washington in a way that almost nothing Trump has done, said, threatened or tweeted. That is a ...

Erie bishop sees light on church’s shame

The list of names is lengthy, and the damage done by the people on it is incalculable. It’s an especially egregious and enduring form of damage, done to children by betraying their innocence and trust. Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico last Friday released the names of 51 people ...

Wear blue; children need champions

T.S. Elliott famously described April as the cruelest month. For child victims of abuse and neglect, that description is only partially apt. This month, Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance marks the national observance of Child Abuse Prevention by planting 4,416 blue ribbon flags near ...

No, Hillary: Red states dynamic

Hillary Clinton is being universally panned by Republicans and Democrats for her recent rant against people who voted for Donald Trump. While giving a speech in Mumbai, India, Clinton boasted that she “won the places that represent two-thirds of Amer­ica’s gross domestic product.” ...

A plan is needed for safer prisons

The Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) has always made the safety and security of Corrections Officers our top priority. That’s why it was so heart wrenching to lose one of our own when a hero, Sgt. Mark Baserman, was murdered at SCI-Somerset by an inmate with a ...

Students show their resolve by walking out

They sure aren’t settling for thoughts and prayers. High schoolers who walked out of class around the country last Wednesday to protest gun violence were demanding action. Thousands of young people — because while it is tempting to see them as children, these were not the actions of ...

‘Together we can grow Pennsylvania’

For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for the citizens of our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I have had the real pleasure of spending time in every part of our state and have met and listened to the stories of countless Pennsylvanians. Through these conversations, this much became ...

Puppy mill bill helps, but only part of solution

We realize that Pennsylvania lawmakers could and should be grappling with issues that many residents would deem more important than puppy mills — taxes, education, passing a budget on time for a change, to name a few. But for Pennsylvania, and Lancaster County in particular, this is an ...

This day was made for ‘Billy Boys’

By James F. Burns Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, and the Billy Boys. The first two Billys were evangelists, Graham well known, Sunday less so. But who were the Billy Boys? They were followers, admirers, virtually worshippers of “Good King Billy,” King William III whose victory over ...

In finest hour, Trump stands for Pittsburgh

President Donald Trump’s affirmation last week that he will indeed attempt to place U.S. workers and industry first and that he does, in fact, believe in trade protection for American workers and their jobs, has caused near apoplexy within New York-Washington commentariat. We are told that ...

Trump is right to impose tariffs

Washington is certainly a contentious place these days, and President Donald Trump has undoubtedly been a lighting rod for partisan squabbling. But despite the rough ride in the nation’s capital, the American people may find reasons to agree with at least one effort undertaken by the Trump ...

Tougher state lobbyist law ups tranparency

Here’s something we wish we could say much more often: Score one for transparency and accountability in Harrisburg — thanks to a new measure that stiffens Pennsylvania’s lobbyist-disclosure law. House Bill 1175 was passed in bipartisan fashion, with overwhelming House and Senate ...