May 21, 2013
By Melissa Chea-Annan Chilling remarks about press freedom in Liberia have led to a standoff between the government and the media. At a ceremony on May 3 marking World Press Freedom Day, Othello Daniel Warrick, the chief security aide to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, referred to journalists as "terrorists. " The threatening remarks by Warrick, the head of Liberia's presidential guard, the Executive Protection Service (EPS), also included a vow to arrest journalists if they continue to report negative stories on the president and her administration.
May 21, 2013 |
Councilman William Greenlee hopes not to get burnt Thursday when his indoor-tanning bill comes up for a vote. Citing what he called "a preponderance of evidence" that indoor tanning greatly raises one's risk of developing skin cancer, Greenlee has introduced a bill that would restrict minors from using indoor-tanning facilities in Philadelphia without parental permission. The measure would also prohibit those younger than 14 from using commercial tanning beds and other ultraviolet-emitting equipment without a doctor's permission.
May 20, 2013 |
It must get confusing in the IT department at the Associated Press: Are you talking about the hackers who hacked our Twitter account or the Justice Department hackers who hacked our phones? Monday, the Associated Press reported that the Justice Department had secretly obtained two months of records of phone conversations by its reporters. Meanwhile, the Washington Post revealed that the IRS's targeting of conservative groups was more widespread than first reported. Someone at the IRS also leaked information about conservative groups to ProPublica.
May 13, 2013 |
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Nawaz Sharif, who twice served as Pakistan's prime minister in the 1990s, has decisively garnered enough seats in Parliament to give him an unprecedented third term in the post, analysts said Sunday, as election results continued to pile up in favor of the industrialist's center-right party. "He will not have any problem in forming the new government; that is very clear," said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political expert in Lahore, long the stronghold of Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N.
May 5, 2013 |
The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex. - James Madison Federalist 48 But under today's regulatory state, the legislature, although still a source of much mischief, is not the principal threat to liberty. Suppose a federal executive department flagrantly abused its regulatory powers to suppress truthful speech that annoys the government. If you assume the Supreme Court would rectify this assault on the First Amendment's core protection, you would be mistaken.
April 30, 2013 |
HERE ARE three things the Obama administration has done that you probably didn't know about: Ever struggle with those accordion-style rubber sleeves on nozzles at the gas station? The sleeve - technically a "vapor recovery nozzle" - was required by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep gasoline vapors from leaking into the air. But most cars and trucks now have technology that does the job better, so last year, the EPA abolished the nozzle requirement. Because each sleeve-equipped nozzle can cost as much as $300, the change will save gas stations thousands of dollars.
April 30, 2013
THERE'S SOME semigood news and the usual bad news regarding needed reforms in Pennsylvania government and politics. As we end the first quarter of 2013, let's review. Keep in mind that in the Land of Low Expectations anything approaching progress deserves notation. Yes, there is still reluctance to run to the light after the darkness is shown. Take, for example, criminal charges filed last month in a huge, costly "pay-to-play" scandal involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike. If you missed it, shrugged and already forgot about it, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced charges stemming from evidence that pike contracts routinely were rigged in favor of campaign donors and those giving graft to pike officials.
April 29, 2013 |
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea said Saturday that a detained American allegedly tried to "topple" its government and would soon be put on trial, a potential complication as Washington tries to ease tensions stemming from Pyongyang's recent weapons tests and threats of nuclear attack. Kenneth Bae, a tour operator from Washington state, is the sixth American detained by the North since 2009, but he faces more serious charges than the others. The North used several previous cases as bargaining chips with the United States, drawing rescue-mission visits from former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
April 28, 2013 |
ROME - Center-left leader Enrico Letta forged a new Italian government Saturday in a coalition with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservatives, an unusual alliance of bitter rivals that broke a two-month political stalemate from inconclusive elections in the recession-mired country. The daunting achievement was pulled off by Letta, who will be sworn in as prime minister along with the cabinet Sunday. Letta, 46, is a moderate with a reputation as a political bridge-builder.
April 23, 2013
LATELY AND ironically, I'm wondering whether good government is bad for governing. I say lately because of that gun vote in Washington last week and coming votes in Harrisburg on transportation. I say ironically because I'm a drum major for good (or at least better) government. But a piece in the Washington Post last Friday caught my attention. Headlined "How the ban on earmarks killed the gun bill," it strongly suggests that the 2011 moratorium on earmarks - those delightful goodies Congress handed out to make things happen - stopped stuff from getting done.