Wednesday, April 1, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 8:22 AM
Tom Wolf extends his arms to the crowd as he walks to the podium after being sworn in as Pennsylvania's 47th governor in a noontime ceremony on the east side of the State Capitol Building on Jan 20, 2015. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Regular readers of this blog or my column know of my constant complaining about the lack of political participation in Pennsylvania, the cradle of democracy.

They know I argue that without greater citizen interest in the process, government and elected officials can do or not do what they please.

And so, while I'm grateful Tom Wolf mentioned this lack of interest in his inaugural address on Tuesday, I feel the need to quibble.

POSTED: Monday, January 19, 2015, 8:30 AM
FILE - In this June 10, 2014 file photo, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to supporters after winning the Republican primary, in Columbia, S.C. Graham, a leading Republican critic of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, is pushing new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, unswayed by a White House veto threat and lobbying by Britain's leader. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, File)

Fans of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" know that the late-night comic loves to needle politicians, usually using their own words.

Well, a favorite target just handed Stewart a gift.

I suspect when Stewart's show airs Monday night -- the scheduled guest is GOP presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee -- Stewart just might mention news out of Washington that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is considering a run for the White House.

POSTED: Thursday, January 15, 2015, 8:58 AM
Foster Friess. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Fans of former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum will be happy to know that the Republican conservative who finished second in the 2012 GOP primary race is ready to formally re-unite with a major donor of his last campaign.

The Washington Post reports Santorum heads to Arizona this weekend for a private meeting with biz execs hosted by Foster Stephen Friess, a 74-year old multimillionaire whose money kept Santorum running last time around.

Friess, a self-indentified born-again evangelical Christian, made his money in investments. He has long supported conservative Republicans. He tells The Post he was invited this year to the inaugurations of 20 GOP governors, including one or two who could run for president, but that, "I am clearly in the Santorum camp." 

POSTED: Monday, January 12, 2015, 8:42 AM
After the Cowboys lost in Green Bay, Gov. Christie took some ribbing from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the Dallas Cowboys loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday is that it likely ends the fun trash-talking twixt Chris Christie and Ed Rendell.

The two "big boys" of media fun -- I mean who over time has been more quotable in our market than Fast Eddie and Gov. Grande? -- traded barbs over Christie's crush on the Cowboys and, apparently, their owner Jerry Jones.

When the love affair was first getting widespread airing (you know, ugly sweater, awkward hug), Rendell said Christie was "pathetic" and Christie responded with, "You just tell Ed that I remember Ed Rendell when he used to be somebody."

POSTED: Friday, January 9, 2015, 8:41 AM

If it's cold, snowy and early January it's time for the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show.

This is the 99th year for what's become the largest indoor agricultural expo anywhere (6,000 animals, 10,000 exhibits), a reminder of just how rural, productive and diverse the Keystone State really is.

It's something our politicians and our people should experience to better understand the nature of our state.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 8:55 AM
LCB employee Larry Smith stocks shelves at the Franklin Mills outlet store. (File photo by Jonathan Wilson)

Finally, Pennsylvania's ranking in a national study shows we're not among the worst in something.

That's right, a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the Keystone State is among the lowest in the nation in alcohol-poisoning death rates. You can read about it here.

It's a good thing to rate low in things that are bad.

POSTED: Monday, January 5, 2015, 8:47 AM
In this photo taken Dec. 4, 2014, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in Boston. There's a whole year of campaigning, positioning and politicking to go before the next campaign for president kicks off with the Iowa Caucus in early 2016. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

New York Times columnist Gail Collins offers a fun fact while considering whether Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016.

(Does anyone think she doesn't?)

And Collins' musings are based largely on a presidential factoid with Pennsylvania roots.

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.'

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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