Opinion

Commissioners bring sober budget view to local officials

Editorials

Some would call it distressing. We would call it realistic. The Lycoming County Commissioners laid out the short- and long-term fiscal outlook for the Lycoming/Sullivan Counties Boroughs Association last week. It was not a pretty picture – a $9 million budget deficit, looming expenses of ...

March for Science

Opinion

Do you have march fatigue yet? The left, apparently, does not, so we’re in for some street theater on Earth Day, April 22, with the so-called March for Science. It’s hard to think of a better way to undermine the public’s faith in science than to stage demonstrations in Washington, ...

Two very different Tax Days

Opinion

Leftist protesters around the country used the tax deadline on April 18 as an occasion to hold rallies demanding the release of President Trump’s tax returns. They could use large inflatable chickens and signs with hammers and sickles saying “Show us your rubles” and no journalist would ...

Repasz Band’s state historical marker designation overdue

Editorials

The Repasz Band, a Williamsport staple since 1831, is getting a state historical marker this year. The designation is one of only 18 in Pennsylvania this year and we can’t imagine any of them are more worthy. The band was one of this year’s survivors in an intense competition for the ...

Death penalty debate can get dishonest

Opinion

The debate over the death penalty can be infuriatingly dishonest. Consider the April 17 broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” (a show on which I am an occasional commentator). Casey Stegall reported on the legal battle in Arkansas, where officials want to ...

What next with North Korea?

Opinion

There was a moment at Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s White House briefing Monday that was significant. Asked by a reporter about North Korea’s missile launch last weekend, Spicer said the administration was aware of the launch and that “it failed.” End of story. Next question, ...

Reentry Services Center rebidding can pay dividends

Editorials

The Lycoming County Reentry Services Center, designed to rehabilitate people while reducing the county prison population, has had an interesting existence since opening in the summer of 2014. Backers believe the managers of the reentry center have been a key proponent to a successful prison ...

Reform the tax code now!

Opinion

Thanks to the beneficence of the federal government (and the calendar), we Americans had until midnight on April 18 to file our income taxes. It’s too bad filing taxes wasn’t an easier process. President Trump has pledged to reform our tax code, which, to most people, currently reads like ...

No, Trump is not a neocon

Opinion

With U.S. missiles flying in Syria, the “mother of all bombs” exploding in Afghanistan and an aircraft carrier strike group heading toward North Korea, has there been a revolution in President Donald Trump’s foreign policy? His most fervent supporters shouldn’t get overly exercised, ...

On health insurance reform, everything needs to be on the table

Editorials

With a new move to repeal and replace the Obamacare health insurance law gaining steam, President Donald Trump and members of Congress already are being urged to not go too far. Trump is being urged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and organizations representing the health care and health ...

One (restrained) cheer for Washington

Opinion

We’ve all heard the tiresome and discouraging refrain: Washington, our beautiful capital city, is broken. Dysfunctional D.C. does not work. Even with majorities in both the House and the Senate, congressional Republicans could not pass a resolution commending Mother’s Day. But wait. We do ...

We’ve all heard the tiresome and discouraging refrain: Washington, our beautiful capital city, is broken. Dysfunctional D.C. does not work. Even with majorities in both the House and the Senate, congressional Republicans could not pass a resolution commending Mother’s Day. But wait. We do have an actual example of the heeding of the people’s voice and the prevailing of their will in our national government. Here is the evidence: Cellphone calls will continue to be banned on airline flights. This is one small step for sanity and civility, but it deserves to be celebrated. You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to know that American air travel has become increasingly miserable for the public. For paying passengers, there is the discomfort of ever less legroom and ever smaller seats. The luggage space shrinks, while the cost of it climbs. If farm animals were this crammed, the PETA people would be picketing. The continuing mistreatment of passengers must somewhere have been outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. The flawed case for increasing the already high tension and stress of airline passengers — by encouraging your seatmate to invade your privacy by boasting interminably, in your ear, on his cellphone about the biggest deal east of Yorba Linda he’s just about to close or how irresistible he was to that sweet young thing from accounting last night — was that cellphone use in the air no longer poses any safety problem of interfering with pilots’ communications with ground control. Bipartisanship, so sadly lacking from our national conversation, was temporarily revived by the possibility of cellphone calls in the air. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee spoke for both sides of the airplane’s aisle: “Imagine 2 million passengers hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts. The Transportation Security Administration would have to hire three times as many air marshals to deal with the fistfights.’’ My libertarian friends may argue that this cellphone ban is just one more example of the federal government’s encroaching on individual freedom and imposing a burdensome regulation on citizens and business. OK, put me down on the side of regulation, just the way I was when the feds imposed the ban on smoking on flights and when the federal government decreed that airplane wings, before attempted takeoff in subfreezing temperatures, would first be de-iced. United Airlines — having ordered airport security guards in Chicago to forcibly remove a seated paying customer from a flight (because United had overbooked), which resulted in the passenger’s suffering a concussion, a broken nose and the loss of two teeth — inflicted a damaging body blow on the commercial air travel industry. As was noted, United put the “hospital’’ back into “hospitality.’’ One U.S. carrier that does treat its passengers with respect and professionalism and whose employees often seem even happy to see you is price-conscious Southwest Airlines. One customer went so far as to create a new slogan for Southwest in response to United’s stupidity and cruelty: “Southwest: We beat the competition. Not you.’’ Admittedly, it’s only a small victory in a big struggle. But the feds’ decision to continue the ban on cellphone calls in flight is a win for common sense, civility and American peace of mind.

Opinion

We’ve all heard the tiresome and discouraging refrain: Washington, our beautiful capital city, is broken. Dysfunctional D.C. does not work. Even with majorities in both the House and the Senate, congressional Republicans could not pass a resolution commending Mother’s Day. But wait. We do ...

Preventing children’s scraped knees

Opinion

WASHINGTON — When not furrowing their collective brows about creches and displays of the Ten Commandments here and there, courts often are pondering tangential contacts between the government and religious schools. Courts have held that public money can constitutionally fund the ...

An impossible task: Perfect downtown parking formula

Editorials

It's a delicate balance. The city of Williamsport wants to provide convenient parking downtown for people who want to shop or attend events. To do that means making it tougher to provide convenient parking for people who work downtown. For the past year the city has been allowing two-hour ...

Whose life matters more?

Opinion

Black Lives Matter. . . All Lives Matter. . . Blue Lives Matter. With all the arguing over which lives matter, we never really seem to address the real question… Does someone’s life matter more? Due to the nature of law enforcement work, there are always going to be scenarios ...

State Budget Wonderland

Opinion

In Lewis Carroll’s classic wonderland tale, Alice famously asks the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” the feline answers. The response was meant for Alice, but it could equally ...

The China relationship: Peace investment trumps currency issue

Editorials

President Donald Trump is being criticized for dropping complaints about currency manipulation by China, while he attempts to gain Beijing’s help against North Korea’s rogue regime. It is true that China’s currency manipulation has been harmful to some U.S. businesses and workers. At ...

The Great Reversal — for now

Other Commentaries

WASHINGTON — The world is agog at Donald Trump’s head-snapping foreign policy reversal. He runs on a platform of America First. He renounces the role of world policeman. He excoriates parasitic foreigners that (I paraphrase) suck dry our precious bodily fluids — and these are allies! ...

When Jared wins

Opinion

Can someone reacquaint President Donald Trump with Steve Bannon, his ideologist whom the president now professes barely to know? Trump’s jaw-dropping public distancing from Bannon is the latest twist in a struggle that is astonishing even by the standards of a White House that deserves its ...