Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright has repeatedly assured city residents that the town is on the financial mend thanks to deals involving its parking and sewer authorities and sound tax policy. The problem, though, is that the expenses and disbursal of funds from the authorities apparently violates the state Municipal Authorities Act, and that its total rate of tax collection exceeds the limits set under Act 511.
So it would seem that monsters might well be creeping around under the city’s bed.
Rep. Tom Marino’s 10th District seat is so heavily gerrymandered, a drug mule could get elected if he or she had an “R” next to their name. Still, 2018 likely won’t be a cakewalk for the incumbent should he choose to run.
Our own Tom Marino had tongues wagging nationwide following a Washington Post and CBS 60 Minutes story over the weekend. It seems the 10th District representative (and Trump Administration “drug czar”-in-waiting) was a central character in a behind-the-scenes push to rein in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s power to police opioid manufacturers and their distribution systems. The Lycoming Co. Republican has received roughly $100,000 in campaign contributions from the pill-makers, and with the assistance of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch managed to push the blandly titled “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016” through with little fanfare or debate. The bill was consequently signed into law by then-President Obama. The results have exacerbated an already crushing epidemic of opioid addiction resulting death.
All this apparently was too much even for the ethics-bereft Trump team. Marino promptly withdrew his name from consideration for drug czar (the post is subject to congressional hearings, which would be very messy for him). True to form, he crawled into the nearest hidey-hole and refused all interview requests. An official statement citing his “lifelong devotion to law enforcement” and accusing the media, a former DEA official, “conspiracy theories” and so forth of having it in for him is all anyone outside his immediate circle as heard from him.
So, how about a town hall, Mr. Marino? You can hang your grievances out to dry there.
Trump warns the “political ingrates” in storm-torn Puerto Rico that the country can’t waste too much money or time rebuilding the territory. After all, he and congress need to get on the stick and deliver ungodly huge tax cuts for billionaires.
Congress’ failure to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (or CHIP) places the health of millions of poor kids at risk.
Freed from the prospect of running for re-election, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is finally telling the world what he (and allegedly many of his Republican colleagues) really think of the current White House occupant.
One might be tempted to pat the senator on the back for this act of political courage. But it’s worth remembering that he endorsed Trump in 2016 and therefore is at least partly responsible for the rolling fiasco at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And it was only after he no longer faced paying a price at the ballot box that he called out Trump.
This, and the fact that few Republicans in either chamber are willing to challenge an unstable chief executive, make this a profile in cowardice.
The state legislature is further proof that the GOP is basically incapable of good governance. The state House, headed by Speaker Mike Turzai (a probable gubernatorial candidate), has taken Pennsylvania to the brink of budgetary Armageddon by refusing to consider new and abundant revenue sources, the most-abundant of which is a severance tax on the state’s booming natural gas industry. The resulting stalemate has left the state no other option than to borrow heavily, and left higher-ed institutions like Penn State, Temple, Lincoln and Pitt facing millions in funding cuts.
Scranton’s mayor has issued a campaign flyer disguised as a newspaper. Turns out that things in the Electric City are pretty swell under his leadership!