The far-right House Freedom Caucus will stop at almost nothing to short-circuit Independent Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in our elections (probably because said meddling generally benefits the GOP) and its relation, if any, to the Trump administration. Spearheaded by reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), its belligerent and ham-handed confrontation with officials from the Department of Justice, and particularly Asst Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein, has invited unflattering and well-deserved criticism.
The Scranton School Board should be commended for taking a proactive approach to its chronic budget problems. Its preliminary look-see at the upcoming 2019 budget reveals an $11.5 million deficit, which gives the district time to figure out how to plug the hole. But with the state threatening possible takeover of the beleaguered school district , and given that we’re talking about a lot of money here, the board has little time or wiggle room to make things right.
The last Lackawanna County property reassessment was completed during the so-called Summer of Love, which means that property taxes paid by the county’s landowners are based on sorely out-dated property valuations. County officials have paid lip service for years to undertake a new reassessment, but haven’t out of political cowardice (hello, Commissioner O’Malley) and/or an inability to understand the issue at hand (hi there, Commissioner Cummings). Regardless, a lawsuit filed this week by three Scranton taxpayers may well force the county to do the right thing.
Ohio’s blustery far-right Rep. Jim Jordan has made a name for himself with a shirt-sleeved, confrontational persona. His recent attack on Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein was a classic case of Jordan, along with his fellow Freedom Caucus travelers, ginning up largely baseless, conspiratorial controversy in order to sabotage Independent Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump administration.
That, of course, is how the congressional GOP rolls these days. But Jordan’s now got a bigger problem than running interference for Trump. Recent accusations by roughly a half-dozen former Ohio State University wrestlers that Jordan turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse by a team doctor while serving as an assistant coach have put him on the defensive. His response — that he’s the victim of a left-wing political smear campaign — is more or less predictable in light of his political style. Still, there need to be some answers.
Fearing damage to their reputations, unnamed current and retired Catholic clergy members are fighting state Attorney-General Josh Shapiro over the release of a report detailing a grand jury investigation into sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses. The state supreme court has granted the plaintiffs a stay while the constitutional details of their objections are sorted out. In the end though, simple justice dictates that the report be made public.
Saturday’s edition saw the final installment of a week-long examination by The Times-Tribune and other Pennsylvania newspapers of the state’s burgeoning opioid epidemic and the overdose victims left in its wake.
Scott Pruitt is only the lead-off batter (not counting departed HHS Secretary Tom Price) in Donald Trump’s very deep lineup of self-serving cabinet members. Having struck out due to an accumulation of ethical and possibly criminal lapses, Pruitt’s followed at the plate by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.