January 26, 2013
The courtroom drama that began playing out this week in Pittsburgh provides the perfect, though troubling, backdrop for a renewed push to reform how Pennsylvania's top judges are chosen. If any case were a primer on the need to remove the state's appellate courts from the hurly-burly of partisan elections, the corruption trial of a suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice just tops the bill. Allegheny County prosecutors contend that Joan Orie Melvin, while serving as a lower appellate court judge, used her taxpayer-paid staff to campaign for her Supreme Court seat in both 2003 and 2009.
October 31, 2012
By Jennifer Donahue President Obama and Mitt Romney have made their cases to the American public through grueling daily campaign events, three televised debates, and the conventions. The result is a tie, and voters on the left and right won't break it. That will fall to a small group of people who don't vote regularly, but will be moved to head to the polls next week. This race will likely be decided by a fence-sitting 5 percent of the electorate in just nine swing states. The key to these undecided voters' late-breaking decisions - and the election - won't be the campaign promises the candidates have made.
May 24, 2012 |
As the presidential campaign heats up, we should look closely at a faraway object for a lesson about polls. Billions of miles away from us, Pluto spins happily around the sun, ignoring all polls and surveys. We would be wise to adopt its attitude. In 2006, a poll of pocket-protector-wearing, hungover, disco-bobulated astronomers determined that Pluto wasn't a planet after all. (Officially, we now have only eight planets in the solar system; Pluto was sent to the kiddies' table.)
February 28, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - As violence continued Monday in Afghanistan over the accidental burning of Qurans by U.S. troops last week, American military officials and analysts are beginning to question whether the United States needs to change its mission of training Afghan soldiers and police, a key plank of President Obama's withdrawal strategy. White House and Pentagon officials said publicly that they weren't yet contemplating a major overhaul of the plan to build a force of more than 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers and hand over security of the country to it by 2014 or earlier.
January 29, 2012 |
Cramer Hill hasn't changed much in the six years since federal authorities say former State Sen. Wayne Bryant used the Camden neighborhood's hopes to line his own pockets. The community of about 10,000 residents that was promised an urban renaissance is still plagued by abandoned buildings, vacant lots, and high unemployment. It's a familiar story in many U.S. cities. Bryant's alleged role in that story, to be detailed in a corruption trial set to begin Tuesday in federal court in Trenton, also is familiar: Politics and power often trump the public good.
June 30, 2011 |
CAIRO - Two days of fierce street battles between security forces and protesters in Cairo show just how volatile Egypt remains nearly five months after the popular uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. More than 1,000 were hurt in the unrest Tuesday and Wednesday, driven by discontent over the slow pace of justice for old regime figures accused of corruption and of killing protesters. There were an estimated 6,000 protesters at the peak of the riots late Tuesday. The clashes in Tahrir Square, the worst since the 18-day uprising, add a new layer to an already painful and chaotic transition from Mubarak's regime to democratic rule under the supervision of the military.
February 9, 2011 |
The disclosure that Villanova University's law school altered admissions data that figure prominently in national rankings occurs amid ongoing concern that the rankings offer both a false picture of educational quality and create incentives to manipulate grades and test scores. The nation's most prominent rating service, U.S. News & World Report, for years has been the focus of scorn among college and university administrators who say that at best it gives an inadequate picture of educational quality.
April 9, 2010 |
The last time 38-year-old Chandra Gurung was counted in a national census was in Bhutan in 1991, and it led to the expulsion of more than 105,000 Bhutanese of Nepali descent. Authorities "wanted to know if your parents and grandparents were born in Bhutan," she recalled. "If they weren't, you were forced to leave. " Gurung said that she had met the parentage requirement but that her husband's family had not. She moved with him and his family to one of seven United Nations-run resettlement camps outside Bhutan, a small kingdom between India and China.
September 5, 2008 |
Mayor Nutter's promise of a "new day" in residential and commercial developers' often-frustrating and contentious dealings with city government appears to have given them hope that doing business with Philadelphia may get easier. Yet, despite assurances by city officials at a panel yesterday that changes are coming, a veteran of 30 years of development battles warned that change would not come if the average Philadelphian continues to distrust the development decision-making process.
March 4, 2007 |
Philadelphia's mayoral candidates face a populace distrustful of city government, dissatisfied with public schools, and remarkably ignorant about the candidates in the May 15 primary election. According to a poll released yesterday by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, residents are contemptuous of city government and sour on Mayor Street, who is barred from seeking reelection this year after serving two terms. Seventy-six percent said city government was "pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.