August 2, 2014
The recent fourth anniversary of the landmark Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law provides an occasion to remember why such aggressive legislation was needed. Fueled by years of lobbying and campaign donations from the finance sector, Washington politicians from both parties dismantled regulations intended to prevent a financial meltdown. The result, of course, was the worst such meltdown since the Great Depression. Millions lost their homes, and those who didn't saw property values decline as neighborhoods were abandoned.
June 12, 2014
The Senate has produced an unusually swift and welcome response to the Department of Veterans Affairs' disgraceful cover-up of its hospitals' failure to treat patients in a timely manner, which may be linked to more than 30 deaths. A bill by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.) has broad support and the potential to alleviate some of the department's serious shortcomings. A retired clinic director recently accused managers of the veterans' hospital in Phoenix of ordering employees to keep a secret waiting list to hide the backlog of patients, some of whom may have died while awaiting care.
May 8, 2014 |
IT TOOK A WHILE, but we finally know who's speaking at Rutgers' commencement ceremony. On Saturday, came word that former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had backed out amid protests from students and faculty over her involvement with the Bush administation's handling of the Iraq war. So the school has replaced her with - drumroll please - Tom Kean and Eric LeGrand, thus assuring a riveting, inspirational speech. From LeGrand, not Kean. Let face it, the 79-year-old Kean was governor of New Jersey before most of the graduates were even born.
February 6, 2014 |
It was like living aboard a floating city. There was recreation. Allen Polixa, a crew member on the USS Forrestal from 1980 to 1982, often took "swim breaks" miles out in the Atlantic Ocean, jumping into the water from just below the ship's top deck. There was order. Fight a colleague or steal from another crew member, said Jimmie Stewart, who served on the Forrestal from 1960 to 1962, and it was down to the brig. No questions asked. And there was chaos. In July 1967, a devastating fire and a series of chain-reaction explosions took the lives of 134 sailors aboard the Forrestal.
December 26, 2013
Always next year The current Congress finished its first year as the least productive and possibly least popular in history. Nowhere were the costs clearer than in lawmakers' failure to reform our broken, inhumane immigration system ("From hope to anger on immigration reform," Dec. 15). But while gridlock reigned in Washington, the movement for immigration reform grew stronger here in Pennsylvania and across the country. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants took days off work and put themselves at risk to fight for an end to cruel deportations that remove parents from children, for equal protection under labor laws, and for reform that promotes family unity and provides a pathway to citizenship.
September 11, 2013 |
It was only a matter of time before our polarized politics threatened to destroy a president's authority and call into question our country's ability to act in the world. Will Congress let that happen? To raise this is not to denigrate those, left and right, who deeply believe that the United States should temper its international military role. Nor is it to claim that President Obama's proposed strikes on Syria in response to Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons constitute some sort of "slam dunk" policy that should win automatic assent.
August 24, 2013
It isn't easy to be a moderate Republican these days. Witness the blowback Sens. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.) faced after they pushed for immigration reform. On other issues, they have gone out of their way to appease the GOP's tea-party element. Given this environment, it should be comforting to Pennsylvanians that their junior senator isn't afraid to reach across the aisle to the benefit of all Americans. For example, while Sen. Pat Toomey thinks the Affordable Care Act would be best repealed, he is working with Democrats to amend it instead.
July 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's hardest sell in his renewed push to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be members of his own party - moderate Senate Democrats facing tough re-election bids next year in the strongly Republican South. Obama has stepped up the pressure to shutter the naval facility, driven in part by his revised counterterrorism strategy and the four-month-old stain of the government's force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strikes to prevent them from starving to death.
June 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The dramatic Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is forcing Republican leaders to cope, in bright daylight, with something they would rather handle discreetly: the careful balance between placating their conservative base and reaching out to centrist voters crucial in presidential elections. Top GOP leaders showed notable restraint this week, while conservative activists fulminated against the court's decision, which requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage.
May 25, 2013 |
The Internal Revenue Service official responsible for the office that targeted certain organizations seeking tax-exempt status was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday, making her the second senior official to be disciplined in the scandal. Lois Lerner is the director of the IRS tax-exempt organizations division and was the first agency official to publicly acknowledge that employees inappropriately targeted certain conservative-leaning organizations. The IRS did not immediately return requests for comment Thursday evening.