October 3, 2013 |
As parts of the U.S. government shut down Tuesday, thousands of federal workers in the area were furloughed, hikers were barred from Valley Forge trails, and tourists eager to view the icons of American freedom were compelled to photograph the Liberty Bell through thick glass. The 46,880 federal employees in the Philadelphia and Camden metropolitan areas were asked to report to work Tuesday, with many furloughed without pay by the afternoon. But confusion in some federal offices remained, as several workers still on the job were not sure whether they would be designated as essential and told to report to work Wednesday.
October 2, 2013 |
YOUR SOCIAL Security check will still be in the mailbox this afternoon - but just don't try to log into the Library of Congress website, or go for a hike in a national park. The long-predicted shutdown of the federal government came at midnight as Washington's never-ending spat over the Affordable Care Act - a/k/a ObamaCare - prevented Congress from passing a budget bill that both houses could agree on and that President Obama would sign. The result is a bizarre mix of what's open, and what's not, of which government employees get paid, and which don't.
October 1, 2013
TALK ABOUT a government shutdown. From the local to the federal level, there are urgent issues that need to be addressed in intelligent ways. What do we get from our politicians instead? Welcome to the Age of Paralysis. It's the era where even the simplest matter becomes tangled in politics or personal differences, where the worst are filled with passionate intensity while the best lack conviction or the means to do the right thing. The result is a government caught in a permanent freeze frame - unable to advance on almost any issue.
September 28, 2013 |
CHERRY HILL The Township Council adopted a $64.7 million budget Thursday night. The seven-member council voted unanimously in favor of the spending plan, which ensures residents no municipal tax increases for the second year in a row, maintains township services, and comes in about a half-million dollars less than last year's budget. "This budget continues to give Cherry Hill taxpayers responsible and efficient government," Mayor Chuck Cahn said just before the 8 p.m. vote at Town Hall.
September 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a controversial plan Friday to fund government operations through Dec. 15 but eliminate all the money behind President Obama's signature health care law, helping set in motion a budget fight with potentially severe consequences. Each of the Philadelphia suburbs' Republican lawmakers voted for the plan. The tactic - essentially demanding that Democrats agree to slash Obamacare in order to keep the government running - has been pushed by some of the GOP's most combative figures, but opposed by many Republicans who worry that a government shutdown would backfire.
August 26, 2013
A CIA document describes it as a "strip of wasteland. " In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower added it to the Nevada Test Site, a nuclear-weapons proving ground within the Air Force's vast desert holdings north of Las Vegas. For the next half-century and more, a library's worth of fact and fiction attached to this patch of scorched earth next to a salt flat called Groom Lake. But the U.S. government refused to admit that it even existed. There were close calls, though. Responding to a lawsuit brought by workers allegedly poisoned at the site, Bill Clinton issued an official presidential determination that laws requiring hazardous-waste disclosures do not apply to "the Air Force's operating location near Groom Lake, Nevada.
August 2, 2013 |
The leadership of Rutgers University's board of governors and board of trustees has created a joint task force to find ways to improve the New Jersey state university's governance. The initiative, announced Thursday, follows a move by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) to abolish the board of trustees and transfer its powers to the board of governors. The new task force's chairman called the timing "coincidental. " In an interview Thursday, the Rev. M. William Howard Jr. said the seven-member panel was formed in light of the recent merger of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers, and the university's forthcoming move into the Big Ten athletic conference.
July 30, 2013 |
IT WAS JANUARY 2009, and the stars seemed to have aligned over Philadelphia, signaling what should have been a Golden Age of government transparency in our erstwhile corrupt-and-contented city. Pennsylvania's new Right-to-Know Law - with its key clause that all government records are presumed to be public - had just gone into effect. No longer must citizens prove why records should be available to the public. Under the strengthened law, government agencies must prove why not . And Philly had elected as mayor a reform-minded councilman, Michael Nutter, who was wrapping up his first year in Room 215. Open government is his thing.
July 15, 2013 |
When Houston was competing with a Brazilian city to be the site of a Japanese-owned plant, Houston could provide pertinent information about the educational attainments and other qualities of its workforce and the number of Japanese speakers in the area. The plant is in Texas partly because Houston had superior statistics, thanks to an inexpensive federal program currently under attack from some conservatives. They may not know that its pedigree traces to the Constitution's framers. These Enlightenment figures - rational, empirical, inquisitive - believed in the possibility of evidence-based improvements.
July 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - How much are your private conversations worth to the government? Turns out that it can be a lot, depending on the technology. In the era of intense government surveillance and secret court orders, a murky multimillion-dollar market has emerged. Paid for by U.S. tax dollars but with little public scrutiny, surveillance fees charged in secret by technology and phone companies can vary wildly. AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 "activation fee" for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap.