December 7, 2011 |
An old crime reporter once advised me that in the aftermath of a crime the guiltiest party is often the busiest party. Have you noticed how the Pennsylvania legislature has been scrambling lately? In the wake of Penn State's child sexual-abuse scandal, Harrisburg is alive with reaction as legislators scurry to ride the wave of public outrage and erase their own fingerprints. The same lawmakers who carved out a special exemption for the university when the state's open-record laws were liberalized in 2008 are now moving to repeal it. The same legislative bodies that watered down child-abuse penalties and whistle-blower protections now want to toughen them.
November 6, 2011 |
Now Joe Paterno, the increasingly frail 84-year-old Penn State football coach, must endure the greatest tempest of a legendary tenure that began when he arrived in State College as an idealistic Rip Engle assistant in 1950. Paterno's legacy as the much-admired conscience of college sports will be permanently tarnished by the criminal sex-abuse investigation that led to charges against longtime assistant Jerry Sandusky and expanded on Saturday to athletic director Tim Curley and another key aide, who were charged with perjury.
September 20, 2011 |
VIENNA, Austria - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu accused Iran of nuclear "denial, deceit, and evasion," warning Monday that Tehran's decision to move some uranium-enrichment facilities to an underground bunker brought it closer to being able to producing the fissile core of a warhead. Iran's nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, remained defiant, announcing that the subterranean Fordow facility was likely to start operating within six months. Abbasi blamed Washington and its allies for Tehran's decision to redeploy beneath the earth - a move, he said, meant to protect its nuclear program from U.S. attack.
August 21, 2011
Sunday Need to know The exhibition Burn This: Censorship, Secrecy, and Survival is a collection of books, manuscripts, and art defaced and damaged in efforts at censorship and secrecy or episodes of accidental destruction. Among the items is an erotic poem by John Donne (inked over, but now legible, thanks to infrared photography); a letter protesting a school's burning of Maurice Sendak's books; proof illustrations by John Tenniel for Alice in Wonderland , singed in a bindery fire; coded letters from the Civil War; and secret missives from a 19th-century politician, all marked "burn this" (evidently, instructions that were unclear)
June 20, 2011 |
Twice a week they meet at a secret location, the public barred from their inquests and deliberations. Most of us never will never know their names. Yet the 23 men and women who make up each grand jury in Pennsylvania can help shape public policy, clean up government, make streets safer, and put any of us on the path to prison if we break the law. Despite the media attention grand juries' reports may attract, Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney David Augenbraun says few people understand how the panels function.
May 14, 2011 |
The head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese's panel on priest sex-abuse is blasting the cardinal's response to the pedophilia crisis, and pulling back the curtain on the panel's long-secret operations. Cardinal Justin Rigali and his bishops "failed miserably at being open and transparent," review board chairwoman Ana Maria Catanzaro wrote this week in the lay Catholic magazine Commonweal . "What will it take for bishops to accept that their attitude of superiority and privilege only harms their image and the church's?"
October 15, 2010 |
This week's new DVD releases deal with dragons, comic-book heroes, and a secret organization. How to Train Your Dragon, Grade A-: An 11-year-old Viking must train a dragon in this animated adventure. Satisfying both children and adults isn't easy, but How to Train Your Dragon hits the mark with the right mix of silly and serious. Toss in dazzling computer-generated animation and a perfect score by composer John Powell, and this is the best work from DreamWorks animation since Shrek in 2001.
July 23, 2010 |
In at least one area of political life, the spirit of bipartisanship is strong, and the Obama administration has picked up pretty much where the Bush team left off. That's the realm of information control: treating the news media as a pestilence, using secrecy rules to stem inconvenient disclosures, ducking informed scrutiny in favor of staged encounters, punishing unauthorized leaks vigorously, and generally regarding publicly significant information...
December 26, 2009 |
One of state government's most secretive agencies is housed near the end of a hallway on the third floor of the Pennsylvania Judicial Center, just across Commonwealth Avenue from the Capitol. A piece of ordinary white bond paper, tucked into a protective plastic sleeve and taped to a window at the entrance, says "Judicial Conduct Board" in half-inch letters. There is a small waiting room in Suite 3500, but the door leading to the inner offices is marked with two signs: "Confidential Area.
October 1, 2009
In a dozen or more legal challenges dating from the Bush era, the U.S. government's defense against allegations of torture or spying on American citizens has been to claim that litigation would jeopardize national security by revealing state secrets. That has prohibited litigants from their day in court. Even worse, the tactic deprives the American people of the chance to judge for themselves the legality and morality of antiterror strategies employed by the government. So it's welcome news that President Obama has pledged to curb the use of such state secrets claims.