Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 8:56 AM

It appears that some of our federal public servants continue to enjoy using your money for, well, whatever they enjoy.

Federal auditors this week told a congressional hearing that despite a 2012 law intended to battle personal spending abuse with government credit cards such abuse, shocker, still goes on.


POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 8:51 AM
An ad for Gov. Corbett's re-election touts the addition of 116,000 private-sector jobs. The state Department of Labor & Industry says it's more - but Democrats say the state lost jobs. Who's right? Well, actually . . . all of them.

I guess it's nice to be first in something.

I mean, usually Pennsylvania is far from first in just about any category you want to choose.

But The Washington Post reports that when it comes to campaign spending on TV ads reaching people who can't vote in the race the ads are about, the Keystone State is #1.

POSTED: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 8:52 AM
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. (AP Photo)

Perhaps it's pragmatism. Or pure politics. Or a personally-held belief.

Whatever it is, Democrat Tom Wolf, in the final debate with Republican Gov. Corbett Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, sided with the Legislature -- or, as it's known in some progressive circles, Pennsylvania's root of all evil.

When asked whether the nation's largest full-time Legislature should be reduced in size, Democrat Wolf said no.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 9:02 AM

For some time now I've been thinking that our political leaders' inability to lead and our legislative bodies' refusals to legislate are draining faith in democracy.

I hope I'm wrong.

But a new Pew Research Center poll this week suggests otherwise.

POSTED: Thursday, October 2, 2014, 8:28 AM

Harrisburg good government activists have set up a system for whistleblowers to report anyone using taxpayer-financed computers and emails to watch or share pornographic images, jokes or messages.

Gene Stilp and Eric Epstein, of Rock the Capital, a nine-year-old non-partisan voter education group, have established a P.O. box for government employees to submit info on any such abuse.

The address is Anonymous Tips, P.O. Box 60521, Harrisburg, PA 17106.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 8:41 AM
Portraying U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, James Getty (left), speaks to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett during a commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address at the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park on Nov. 19, 2013 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. (Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

It appears voters across the nation aren't only angry with a do-nothing Congress and/or President Obama.

And it appears Gov. Corbett isn't the only incumbent state executive facing voters' ire.

Politico reports that up to a dozen governors of both parties -- but mostly Republicans -- could be tossed from office in just five weeks.

POSTED: Monday, September 29, 2014, 8:27 AM

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a/k/a BE)

JB: Yo, chief, you watching this PA political porn thing?

BE: Who isn't?

POSTED: Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 8:54 AM
A screen shot from a TV ad for Gov. Tom Corbett.

It's perhaps fitting that on the birthday of the late, legendary puppeteer Jim Henson, creator of puppet icons such as Big Bird, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, comes a report that Pennsylvania leads the nation in spending on political TV ads.

Why? Well, because Pennsylvania has no limits on what can be raised and spent on state political races, and when so much is raised and spent through the largess of special interests it tends to leave the impression, fairly or not, that our politicians are puppets to their financial backers.

So Gov. Corbett, for example, gets tagged as manipulated by the energy industry and Tom Wolf is portrayed as dancing to the music of unions.

About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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