GOT GOOD GOVERNMENT?

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By Barbara Diamond Recent cases of corruption in Allentown and Philadelphia had some Bethlehem residents wondering if our city’s ethics code was sufficient to protect us. The answer, as we discovered, was NO. Bethlehem’s current code of ethics was passed by resolution in 1991. It is simply a one page document with bullet points recommending proper behavior such as avoiding conflicts of interest, the appearance of impropriety, and treating the public with respect. Cities large and small have moved beyond this simple code to embrace a much more robust “ethics program” passed by ordinance that includes requirements of conduct such as prohibiting gifts, hiring relatives, “the revolving door”, etc.; training and ongoing advising for officials, enhanced financial disclosures and oversight by an independent, volunteer, non-partisan board of ethics. These are the…
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Uncertainty in Climate Science Cuts Both Ways

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By Thomas H. Pritchett Recently, the argument is being made that the U.S. should take no action on climate change because of the uncertainty in the science.  Although, multiple lobbyists and politicians have been heard to make this argument, it was probably best articulated by Bret Stephens in his April 28 opinion in the New York Times.  .   I would like to address that argument here.   Yes, there is indeed still considerable uncertainty in science on climate change, particularly in terms of the prediction of ultimate impacts.  But here is what is not uncertain: 1) the Earth is absorbing more heat from the Sun than it radiating back into space; 2) the primary cause of this energy imbalance is the increased levels of greenhouse gasses with the primary source…
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Getting Real about Creating Decent Jobs

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By Kim Shively At his rally in Harrisburg on April 29, President Trump promised to restore manufacturing jobs and reinvigorate the coal industry—promises met with cheers and chants from his supporters. Many Pennsylvanians crave jobs that pay a livable wage and offer real benefits, jobs where a single wage-earner can support a family in reasonable comfort. But Trump’s promises are empty. The manufacturing and mining jobs that formed the backbone of employment in Pennsylvania decades ago are not coming back. The reason for this is not that “foreigners” stole the jobs or immigrants drove down wages, though Trump has made a career out of blaming poor, often brown, people for the loss of manufacturing jobs. The primary reason manufacturing jobs are not coming back to America is mechanization. That is,…
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Trump’s Executive Order to Establish Religious Bias, or Simply Breed Animosity?

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By Courtney Tobin This Thursday, the National Day of Prayer, Donald Trump is reportedly going to sign an executive order to protect so-called religious freedom, according to Politico. Because executive orders are at the sole discretion of the president (within certain constitutional boundaries), the administration need not report on the exact language of the order ahead of time, and we will not be able to read a definitive copy of what he signs until it is entered into the Federal Register, possibly early next week. And yet, news organization of varying levels of credibility have been writing about this all day, with headlines ranging from the detached (“Republicans in Congress push for religious liberty executive order,” – USA Today) to the terrifying (“Trump Reportedly Will Issue 'License to Discriminate' Order…
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