Monday, December 22, 2014

POSTED: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 9:07 AM
Pennsylvania is #6 and growing in breweries. (photo via iStock)

As a new governor gets set to take office, here's a quick look at how Pa. stacks up to other states in a few areas that might tell us something about how we're run.

You know that public pension costs are rising and underfunded, right. Well, the good news is we're not the nation's worst pension manager.

According to best/worst listings by Bloomberg, we rank 16th among the states in underfunded pensions. Worse-off states include Illinois, Kentucky, Connecticut and Alaska. So maybe lawmakers, rather than fixing pension problems, can simply chant `we're not the worst, we're not the worst.'

POSTED: Monday, December 8, 2014, 8:59 AM
Dan and Megan. (Christopher Brown)

Many Philadelphians already know this; others might be surprised.

A new ranking of American cities on the basis of hunger, poverty, unemployment, homelessness and more puts the city near the top in overall need.

The finance research group WalletHub, using data from the federal government and non-profit national aid groups, ranked the 150 largest cities from best to worst. Philly is ranked 130th.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 9:13 AM
Pa. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / File Photograph)

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane hasn't had the best couple months.

There was that accident that gave her a concussion. And that grand jury appearance on her alleged leak of sealed legal info, at which she showed up with personally-paid-for, high-powered New York and D.C. lawyers.

There were misstatements that had to be clarified. And there are overall questions about her fitness for high office, including a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial last Sunday calling her "Calamity Kane" and asking if she's "in over her head."

POSTED: Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 8:54 AM
(istock photo)

And so on #Giving Tuesday, a global effort encouraging charity, we get a new study on giving in all 50 states.

And Pennsylvania, birthplace of American democracy, cradle of the nation? As in oh so many things, we rank in the bottom third.

Wallet Hub, an Internet personal finance service, ranked states on the basis of volunteerism, median contributions to charity and more.

POSTED: Monday, December 1, 2014, 8:51 AM

The first Monday after Thanksgiving is something of an official state holiday in Pennsylvania.

It's the first day of hunting season.

That means lots of schools across the state are closed and lots of residents take to the woods in hopes of bagging a deer.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 8:49 AM
Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)

(A brief discussion twixt Baer and Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Yo, boss, recall that "Baer Growls" blog post last week about the Capitol Preservation Committee looking to remodel the ornate Office of the Governor?

BE: Yeah, sure, cuz it's the only place in the 600-plus room domed building that hasn't had a redo during an ongoing 17-year process.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 8:47 AM

Come on, you just knew it was going to happen.

You just knew when that porn-at-work thing in the Office of Attorney General broke in September there were other state employees taking deep breaths (and not from excitement) while trying to scrub their email in-boxes and sent items.

So now, of course, we've got another state agency where workers have been reprimanded and in some cases suspended for trading porn at work on government computers.

POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2014, 9:02 AM

Don't go to church? Ever? You're likely voting Democratic.

Woman voter angry at the GOP's "war on women?" You're numbers are anemic.

Those conclusions come from a trove of national exit polling data from this year's mid-term elections.

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

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

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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