Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 8:40 AM
(istock photo)

As you may know the nation's largest full-time legislature, recently returned to session following a two-months-plus summer break, has only a few days left in Harrisburg before taking time off to campaign for re-election.

In the event any of these fine public servants knock on your door, send you a mailer or hold a local meet-and-greet that you decide to attend, there's a good question you should considering asking.

Why in the world is it perfectly legal in Pennsylvania for lawmakers to accept gifts of any value, including cash gifts, from anyone seeking to influence votes or policy-making so long as it's reported?

POSTED: Monday, September 22, 2014, 8:08 AM

A new analysis of income and poverty rates across Pennsylvania shows a mix of gain and loss but a statewide dip in median household income and a rise in poverty between 2007 and 2013.

The analysis is by the Keystone Research Center and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

It shows that statewide median income fell from $54,574 (in 2013 dollars) to $52,007 -- a drop of $2,567.

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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