Columns

A Q&A with Tom and Tom – Part 1

Q: Growing fiscal pressure has forced many Pennsylvania local governments to raise municipal property taxes, reduce staff and cut services. Twenty-one municipalities are designated distressed under Act 47 or the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act. What action would you take to help local ...

Corbett attacks Wolf tax plan as election looms

By PETER JACKSONAssociated PressHARRISBURG- Three months ago, Gov. Tom Corbett pushed the state's $50 billion-plus public pension debt to center stage in his re-election campaign, calling it "the driver" that has pushed up local property taxes and siphoned away money badly needed by public ...

Police brutality on the rise

By SAMUEL A. ZUBACK JR.The use of force in law enforcement is defined as any physical action taken apart from the act of handcuffing. Police officers in today's world have a wide variety of threats that need to be taken seriously, and careful consideration has to be involved when applying ...

Pa. justices: Behaving badly

By ANDREW STAUBwww.PAIndependent.comChecking in on the state of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court isn't for the weak of constitution these days.That's thanks to the stunning development from earlier this week, when the state Supreme Court suspended Justice Seamus McCaffery from his ...

Lower oil prices are unambiguously good

By LAWRENCE KUDLOWSteep stock market corrections often create shrouds of pessimism that do bad things to people's brainpower.And one of the absolutely stupidest things I have heard in recent weeks is that the recent drop in oil prices is bad.You heard me right.Serious people on financial ...

Tug of war over charities’ tax status deserves attention

By MIKE HANNAPerhaps you've seen the legal advertising in newspapers for proposed amendments to Pennsylvania's constitution.Among them is a proposal to change how public charities' tax-exempt status is determined.The proposed change won't be on the Nov. 4 ballot.It still faces another round of ...

‘Puppies’ can’t get job done in Harrisburg

When campaigning for state legislative offices, candidates promise to go to Harrisburg to make a difference - to lead the way in successfully tackling important issues.Trouble is, when they arrive at the state Capitol, much the same occurs as what happened with many of their predecessors. They ...

The U.S. is No. 1 – But in what?

By LAWRENCE S. WITTNERAmerican politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world.Is there any evidence for this claim?Well, yes.When it comes to violence and preparations for violence, the United States is, indeed, No. 1.In 2013, ...

Two parts of your electric bill

You can't control every monthly household bill. But you can take control of your electric bill.There are two basic parts of your electric bill:"Distribution - what you pay for PPL Electric Utilities to deliver electricity to your home and maintain the equipment and wires that carry it."Supply ...

Wall Street too easy to panic

Wall Street does not like October.Neither do many citizen investors.For financial markets - particular for the millions and millions of Americans with their pensions invested on Wall Street - October might better be called "Scaretober."Or how about, "Feartober" or "Panictober."Whatever, it ...

Record share of Americans have never married

By WENDY WANG and KIM PARKERPew Research CenterAfter decades of declining marriage rates and changes in family structure, the share of American adults who have never been married is at an historic high.In 2012, one-in-five adults ages 25 and older (about 42 million people) had never been ...

Bible digest

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 AKJV)If you don't think you need God you might want to read the verse above again.

The way a life ends

BOSTON - There is no way to hear Brittany Maynard's voice without being deeply touched. Tragically blindsided by brain cancer and a terminal diagnosis, Brittany has bravely decided to live large, to turn her terrible personal fate into a public story.She has grabbed hold of the narrative ...

Bible digest

"And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35 AKJV)Jesus is who we need. He can meet the needs of the human heart."And they served their idols: which were a snare to them." (Psalms 106:36 ...

Prevent falls this autumn

Did you know that:r 30 percent of people over the age of 65 will fall each year?r 60 percent of falls occur at home?What causes falls?As a person ages it is normal for eyesight, hearing, muscle strength and balance to become poor. Poor health or health problems will increase the chances of a ...

The disappearing lake of Centre County

How many of you are in or near Centre County, reading this? Show of hands? Okay, good. Now, how many of you have just taken a look around, and realized that you're underwater?I ask only because I have this article in front of me: "Lake Is Mysterious: One Day You See It, and The Next You Don't. ...

Increased home sales very encouraging

It's a great sign all the way around that home sales in the area have increased over last year.What do we make of it?Obviously, there are more people in the market for homes.A key statistic gleaned from The Express story by freelance writer Shelly Ackley as reported in this past Tuesday's ...

Musings from Italy: Bike logic

I was riding my bike this afternoon. I often ride my bike here in Bologna, Italy, despite the fact that Bologna, and Italy in general, are not very bike-friendly.I don't mean that people don't frequently travel by bicycle, but the bike traffic here is much different than in the United ...

How ‘Big Brother’ watches you with metadata

Why did Bradley Cooper and Jessica Alba fail to record a tip when they paid their cabbies during New York City taxi rides back in 2013?Why was Cooper near a Mediterranean restaurant in Greenwich Village?Why was Alba at a ritzy hotel in Soho?We don't know the answers, but we do know exactly when ...

Many insured struggle with medical bills

The Associated PressThey have health insurance, but still no peace of mind. Overall, 1 in 4 privately insured adults say they doubt they could pay for a major unexpected illness or injury.A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research may help explain why President ...