Women Come Forward in Facebook Frat Scandal

AP-penn-st-frat-protest-marq

Women who say they were pictured on the secret Facebook page maintained by a Penn State fraternity have come forward to talk to investigators, officials say.

“Some female Penn State students have been interviewed by State College police, and a few were able to identify themselves from screen shots taken from the Kappa Delta Rho Facebook page, Lt. Keith Robb said,” the Centre Daily Times reports. “Members of the fraternity have also stepped forward and are assisting with the investigation, he said.” Read more »

SRC Aims for $2.86 Billion Budget in 2016

The School Reform Commission on Thursday adopted a $2.86 billion “lump sum” budget for the 2015-16 school year, providing the fiscal outlines for leaders as they begin to work on the details of that budget.

The outline — approved unanimously by the commission — assumes that the state and city will step forward with a combined $264 million in new revenues for the year, officials said — subtract an $80 million deficit now expected during the school year and the city’s public schools would still be left $180 million with which to make new investments. But individual schools are being told for now to create a “status quo” budget in case those funds don’t materialize. Read more »

Why Pennsylvania is Replacing Nearly Half a Million Licenses — Including Mine

Pennsylvania drivers license - correct security feature

The blue keystone “PA” pattern is visible under blacklight. Letters near the top are transposed to “AP” in faulty licenses. (Image via PennDOT)

I got a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation late last week. “What did I do?” I thought. I panicked, even though I probably shouldn’t have. I have a license to drive, but I don’t own a car — so it wasn’t a red-light ticket. I had renewed my license in January. I had my new one already.

I opened the envelope with a little trepidation. Inside was what appeared to be an identical copy of my driver’s license. “PennDOT’s Bureau of Driver Licensing recently discovered one of our vendors supplied a security feature for the production of driver’s license and identification cards that was defective,” the letter from PennDOT began. “As a result, your recently issued driver’s license or identification card may have been produced with the defective security feature.” Read more »

Pennsylvania Women Won’t Get Equal Pay Until 2072

pennsylvania coins

Shutterstock.com

Yes, it’s true, Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Act passed in 1963. So why is it that, in its recent “Status of Women in the States” report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, our state earned a C+ in the category of Employment and Earnings? Why is it that the median annual earnings of men in 2013 were $12,000 higher than those of women? Why do women in Pennsylvania earn only 76 cents for every dollar a man earns? Why is it that I have to wait till I’m 103 before I live in a state where men and women get equal pay?

The problem, of course, is that most women don’t know they’re being paid less, and no one can sue for an affront they don’t know exists. If they do find out, their colleagues can get into trouble for violating corporate policies around wage secrecy, and they can be threatened with retaliation. And wage discrepancies can be justified by any number of criteria because the current Equal Pay Act’s standards are vague.
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The Best Five Parts of Frank Keel’s Amazing Lawsuit Against David Axelrod

John Street, David Axelrod,gle at Bochetto's  and Frank Keel.

John Street (Jeff Fusco), David Axelrod (Twitter) and Frank Keel (Facebook).

Whatever else you think of Frank Keel’s lawsuit against David Axelrod over who came up with the idea to blame Republicans in then-Philly Mayor John Street’s FBI bugging scandal, we want you to know this: It’s one heck of an entertaining read.

Keel’s attorney — George Bochetto — has a flair for the written word, and a kind of noir sensibility. If you’re tempted to giggle at Bochetto’s slightly over-the-top description of Keel as a man’s man, getting things done with brashness and style in the dirty world of Philadelphia politics, well, the overall description of behind-the-scenes power struggles during 2003 feels just a bit cinematic. Who is going to make this into a movie?

You can read the whole lawsuit. Or you can let us do the hard very fun work for you — here are our five favorite passages: Read more »

5 Charts That Show Just How Screwed Atlantic City Is

Atlantic City winter beach

Atlantic City in February 2015 (Photo | Dan McQuade)

On Tuesday, Atlantic City’s Chris Christie-appointed emergency management team released its first report. The results were grim.

“The acute financial distress facing the City is imminent and the causes of such distress are not transitory,” emergency manager Kevin Lavin wrote in the report. “Absent an urgent, material realignment of revenues and expenses, this crisis will rapidly deepen and will threaten the City’s ability to deliver and maintain essential government services impacting the health, safety and welfare of its residents.” Christie’s executive order required Lavin and consultant Kevyn Orr, who handled Detroit’s bankruptcy, to issue a report within 60 days.

“It’s actually a lot more severe than we thought when we started 60 days ago,” Lavin said, though he and Orr said bankruptcy was not being considered. Atlantic City has a $101 million city budget shortfall and a $47 million deficit in the school district. The managers recommended $10 million in city cuts, including hundreds of layoffs, and appointing mediators to work with casinos and unions.

New Jersey State Senate president Steve Sweeney lambasted the report: “This report does nothing more than dramatize the fiscal crisis in Atlantic City … Today’s report was 60 days in the making and it reached the same conclusions that we did in November: that decisive action is needed to stabilize Atlantic City’s finances, reduce expenses, protect local taxpayers and reposition the casino industry for future growth.” Sweeney has proposed his own plan that includes a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program for the casinos.

Sweeney is right: The report does dramatize Atlantic City’s fiscal crisis. You can read it at the end of this post. But since it’s essentially just a stop-gap report — another one is due in 90 days — let’s take a look at some of its charts that illustrate the bad shape A.C. is in. Read more »

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