Monday, August 3, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 8:50 AM

Outside the cavernous Utz Arena, part of the sprawling York Fairgrounds, a "Union First" AFL-CIO sound truck blared Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" as friends, supporters and wannabe better friends of Tom Wolf filed inside for an election night party.

They were not disappointed. Not only did their guy, a first-time candidate and Democratic newcomer to statewide politics, easily unseat incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, he also showed he can toss off a self-congratulatory gala.

There were the obligatory huge Wolf signs and giant American flag.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 8:47 AM

A new national ranking of states based on competitiveness in business taxes is out -- and Pennsylvania is down.

The annual rankings are offered by the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, a respected think-tank founded in 1937.

They include state-to-state comparisons in areas such as corporate taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and income taxes to measure how each state's tax system appeals to, attracts or deters business growth.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 8:49 AM
Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley (left) and Democratic State Sen. Mike Stack

It's always heartening to find a public official with a sense of humor.

So allow me share an example of same offered by incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.

The former Bucks County Commissioner seeking reelection next week as Gov. Corbett's running mate shared a sample of his wit in an email about my Monday column on his Democratic opponent Philly state Sen. Mike Stack.

POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2014, 8:36 AM
Pennsylvania governor, Republican Tom Corbett talks to a group of women business owners at Beth's Barricades during a campaign stop on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 in Gibsonia, Pa. The business provides barricades and signage used in road construction. Corbett faces Democrat Tom Wolf in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

We all know candidates trailing in polls try to rally supporters and undecided voters, usually with the some variety of the old political cliche, "The only poll that counts is the one on Election Day."

And, like many cliches, that one's certainly true.

But Gov. Corbett, trailing in polls, also has been using another line -- one that's certainly not true.

POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 9:07 AM
Wine cellar of lawyer Arthur Goldman.

Okay, look, it's not a crime against democracy or a violation of constitutional rights but it is a great example of Pennsylvania's old and silly liquor laws.

Bloomberg News reports that the case of a Philly area lawyer and wine-lover who got caught (the horror!) of buying and selling fine wine from his Malvern home will likely result in destruction of 2,400-plus bottles of wine with an estimated worth of at least $125,000.

The lawyer, Arthur Goldman, was charged earlier this year with reselling primo vino (and thank the Lord our state law enforcement resources are focused on such threats to society) because Pennsylvania is one of only two states (Utah being the other) that thinks Prohibition never was lifted.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 8:54 AM

Hey, all those guys caught up in Pennsylvania's "Porngate" might want to look north to Connecticut for a possible legal path to protection.

Unless you've been in Ebola-related isolation you know that so far six state public officials, including just-suspended Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, are suffering at least some level of employment punishment for getting caught sending, receiving or otherwise enjoying pornography on the job.

The list to date includes past employees of the Office of Attorney General under Tom Corbett: former state Environmental Secretary Chris Abruzzo; his former deputy chief counsel Glenn Parno; Randy Feathers, who resigned from the state Board of Probation and Parole; Richard Sheetz, who resigned from the Lancaster County DA's office; Chris Carusone, gone from the Harrisburg office of Philly law firm Conrad O'Brien.

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.

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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