Wednesday’s City Reads

Albuquerque | Shutterstock

Albuquerque | Shutterstock

National Reads: “In Albuquerque, protests against police shootings and charges against officers”

The national debate around police-involved shootings has largely centered on two places: Ferguson, Mo. and New York. But cities and towns across the country, including Philadelphia, are grappling with the issue.

The Washington Post takes a look one such place: Albuquerque, where “police shot and killed 27 people between 2010 and 2014.”

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What Is Tom Corbett’s Legacy?

What? Me worry?

After four years, time to weigh Tom Corbett’s accomplishments.

With the year winding down, and Gov. Tom Corbett due to leave office shortly after 2015 begins, news organizations are taking stock of his legacy, weighing the good and the bad. The Associated Press has one such appraisal out now.

Weighing in Corbett’s favor:

Corbett championed the business community. He cut business taxes every year, reducing payments by hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and signed various top-priority bills for business groups. The natural gas industry applauded Corbett for blocking a severance tax sought by many lawmakers, and Corbett often credited his stances as the kernel for Pennsylvaynia’s economic recovery and its growing energy sector.

On the other hand, there were the school budget cuts — which probably doomed him politically — and all the other cuts:

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Pennsylvania Sued Over Health Care Changes

Earlier this week, Community Legal Services filed suit against the state of Pennsylvania over changes to health care beginning next year.

Under the changes coming next year, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program is being renamed from HealthChoices to Healthy Pennsylvania. Instead of expanding traditional Medicaid coverage as recommended in Obama’s health care law, Pennsylvania instead decided to expand on its own — accepting only some money from Medicaid.

All Pennsylvanians in Healthy PA are being moved into three tiers of coverage. In the suit — Mendez v. Mackereth — against the state’s Department of Public Welfare, CLS argues two of the three new health care options under Healthy PA “contain very significant, potentially health-altering cuts.”

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AG Kane Won’t Defend Pa. Gun Law That Allows NRA Suits

Attorney General Kathleen Kane gestures to Gov. Tom Corbett while speaking at a news conference in Harrisburg in June.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane gestures to Gov. Tom Corbett while speaking at a June news conference about healthcare.

Kathleen Kane has decided not to defend a recently passed gun law that allows lawsuits against municipalities that enact gun laws harsher than state laws.

“The attorney general determined it would be more efficient and in the best interest of the commonwealth for the Office of General Counsel to handle this matter,” Kane spokeswoman Renee Martin said. She is leaving it up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s staff. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is sworn in as governor on January 20th.

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Does Gov. Corbett Have One Big Bill Left in Him?

Pennsylvania Republicans continue to hold out the possibility of a “lame duck” session to pass GOP-favored legislation before Democrat Tom Wolf becomes governor in January. That’s two weeks after the newly elected members of the Legislature — and their larger GOP majorities in both chambers — take office, giving the GOP a chance to pass legislation relatively unimpeded.

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Corbett’s Self-Inflicted Loss Is Lesson For Wolf, Republicans

The GOP tidal wave was massive, with Republicans winning from coast-to-coast. Preeminent among them was a man who, after achieving a stunning 10-point victory in America’s sixth-largest state, instantly became a leading contender for vice-president — and perhaps one day something even higher.

It was 2010, and Tom Corbett had just become governor of the critically important swing state of Pennsylvania. With near-record Republican majorities in the legislature, he had it all, poised to usher in a new era of prosperity and help the Keystone State regain its former glory.

Four short years later, Corbett was humiliated by being the only Republican incumbent in the country to fall, and the first governor in modern Pennsylvania history to lose re-election. Even more unfathomable, he lost in the biggest GOP landslide since Herbert Hoover was President.

Now, two words say it all: “Tom who?”

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Five Predictions for Tomorrow’s Election

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Predicting this year’s election results isn’t that hard. But perhaps more important than the returns are the reasons behind the vote, since understanding the electorate’s mindset provides insight into what direction the country will take.

The American people have always accepted their government not being efficient. After all, democracy — free people governing themselves — is not a particularly efficient system. Just the best.

But for whatever reason, things have become exponentially worse. Now, there is a pervasive feeling that we have returned to the Jimmy Carter years, where nothing seems to work because the system is utterly broken.

Examples abound: the Obamacare website failure was a multibillion dollar fiasco; the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s website repeatedly crashed after the recent airbag recall; the CDC’s response to Ebola was fraught with amateur mistakes; NASA cancelled the shuttle program without a replacement, and its latest rocket exploded in spectacular fashion; the immigration crisis continues unimpeded; and the Secret Service’s multiple failures, including its inability to literally lock the front door to the White House, makes them look like the Keystone Kops. And the list goes on.

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Tom Corbett Is About to Make History

What? Me worry?

One way or another, Gov. Tom Corbett is about to make history.

Win, and he’ll have secured an improbable come-from-behind victory of a magnitude almost never seen in American politics. He spent much of the campaign around 20 points behind challenger Tom Wolf in the polls; those numbers have tightened lately — could Corbett pull off a political miracle?

Lose, and he’ll be the first Pennsylvania governor to fail to win re-election since the state started permitting two terms in 1968.
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