March 31, 2006
It's official: The Senate believes it can fool all of the people all of the time. Senators on Wednesday approved, 90-8, an ethics bill that should fool nobody. It's a watered-down, toothless attempt to address the recent lobbying scandals that resulted in one ex-congressman being hauled off to prison for taking bribes, and a Justice Department probe into the influence peddling of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The measure would require lobbyists to file online reports about their activities more often.
September 9, 2005
IF THE BUSH administration and its allies had spent a tenth of the energy they are wasting on avoiding responsibility for the debacle in New Orleans and surrounding areas, more people would be alive today. Instead, the administration continues to spin all sorts of excuses and allegations, without benefit of the truth. And the GOP is now trying to sell to the American public an investigation into this mess that seems tailor-made to whitewash the fatal errors in judgment from the White House.
August 21, 2005
Some shots are so obvious, so easy, you wonder whether to even take them. But these clowns deserve it. Last July, as you may have heard, Pennsylvania lawmakers sneaked through pay raises of 16 percent to 34 percent for themselves - and concocted a shady gambit to collect the raises before the next election. Yet, before recessing, the lords of Harrisburg couldn't find time to act on another bill, one that would have subsidized life insurance premiums for Pennsylvania National Guard members summoned for active duty.
April 8, 2005 |
A prosecutor suggested yesterday that the man accused of fatally beating 3-year-old Porchia Bennett in 2003 is faking mental illness to avoid a death-penalty murder trial. In a court-ordered evaluation last week, 33-year-old Jerry Chambers called himself "Bob" and allegedly said: "I hear voices telling me to hurt people. " Chambers has also "claimed he heard the victim's voice at night and saw her at the foot of his bed," Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax told Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes.
October 29, 2004 |
If he wins reelection and the Republicans retain control of the U.S. Senate, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter will head the Senate Judiciary Committee and play a pivotal role in the composition of the Supreme Court and selection of federal judges. The recently disclosed illness of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and the potential retirement of at least two other Supreme Court justices have sharpened the focus on Specter's prospects for becoming committee chairman. Specter's impending chairmanship of this important panel is in play as an election issue, as challenger U.S. Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D., Pa.)
July 3, 2004
It's no documentary Michael Moore's new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, is described as a "documentary" - that is, based on factual documents. In fact, it is no more a documentary than the Marx Brothers' antiwar Duck Soup. Moore takes his documents and edits them to present a false history. For example, his scenes of happy children in Saddam Hussein's Iraq are transformed into corpses during America's occupation. The conclusion: America is worse than dictatorship. (There are, conveniently, no facts about Hussein's torture of such children to manipulate their parents.
July 2, 2004 |
After hearing a seven-count charge sheet that alleged he ordered the killing of thousands of Iraqis, the assassination of religious and political figures, and the deployment of chemical weapons on a small mountain town, Saddam Hussein scoffed at an investigative judge yesterday and dismissed the process. "You know that this is all theater by Bush, the criminal, to help him with his campaign," Hussein said. The ex-Iraqi dictator was belligerent and unapologetic in court. Asked at the beginning of the hearing what his name was, for the record, he replied: "I am Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq.
May 10, 2004 |
Two years and seven months after Sept. 11, 2001 - a day in which the U.S. Capitol and the House of Representatives narrowly dodged a disaster that could have left Congress without a working quorum for months at the worst possible time - the House debated how to provide a continuing constitutional system in the event of a catastrophic terrorist attack. Unfortunately, the resulting bill, which was hailed by its sponsors and Republican House leaders as the ultimate and only solution to the issue, has divided the House on partisan lines.
January 12, 2004 |
IMAGINE protecting your car from thieves by placing a decal in the window that warns of an on-board security system. There is no system, just a decal. While it may fool some people, real thieves will laugh as they drive away in your car. That's what the long-awaited CAN-SPAM law is like. Congress has slapped a decal on your computer monitor, warning spammers that there's a price to pay if they continue their onslaught of unwanted mail. But there is no price to pay, just the decal.
November 13, 2003
IF YOU BELIEVED the promises of advocates for the so-called campaign-finance reform law passed last year, you would expect to see a substantial reduction in the influence of big money in politics by now. But this newspaper never believed those promises. We doubted that politicians would miss many beats before finding ways to get the same money from the same donors that once went to the "soft money" contributions banned by the law. So we're not surprised that the big-money race in politics continues.