Unlike in the game of football -- where if someone drops the ball, the person who picks it up and runs with it is a hero -- a fumble recovery in politics just makes both sides look bad.


In January, I had the opportunity to meet all of Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial candidates except for Rob McCord. At that time there was a whole herd of them about to stampede to the primary election in May, and it was pretty easy to see that a few were definitely going to fall by the wayside. At that time McCord was considered the front runner, the one to beat.


Emotions and opinions have been running hot in the aftermath of the appearance of yet another viable candidate for RWNJ of the year. I speak, of course, of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who decided that, after losing every court battle over cattle grazing fees owed to the United States government, he would stage his next appeal with AK-47s.

There were people out there who actually managed to turn this into a constitutional issue, and elevated Mr. Bundy to the status of a national poster child for states' rights.


Any of you who have had any contact with me over the last six months knows that my Christmas present to me this year was a Great Dane puppy. Deacon is the new Citizen dog, and you all will be seeing a lot of him as the weather gets nicer.

He has some big paw prints to fill. Arthur was loved and welcomed by so many of you during his short life with me, and losing my constant companion last May was a life-changing experience.


In the political arena, the old saying about the duck seems appropriate far too often. You know the one...If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck...well, it’s probably a duck. We’ve used this to draw attention to political hypocrisy more than once, and unfortunately must do so again.

We’ve also written before about the state open meeting law, known as the Sunshine Act. This law is designed to make sure the public is informed of meetings held by elected officials so that citizens can attend these meetings or at least have some idea that one is taking place.


A couple weeks ago my blog "And they're off..." noted that both Ben Avon and Emsworth councils had started the new year by abandoning procedures designed to make sure that taxpayers get the most for their money. In Ben Avon, the new council hired a solicitor without obtaining rates or proposals from other law firms. In Emsworth, the new council switched its legal advertising to a daily paper, which threatened to add some $11,000 to the borough's budget this year.


Every two years, on the first Monday in January, we at The Citizen are challenged to be at four municipal reorganization meetings within an hour and a half. By now, we pretty much have this down to a science, as we start in Emsworth and move up river to Bellevue in half-hour increments.

Historically, we breeze through Emsworth, Ben Avon and Avalon to get to the fireworks in Bellevue, where an obviously tainted water supply has made officials testy at best, and downright nasty at other times.


Like many of you, I like to look at the new year as a time for a fresh start, throwing out the old and welcoming a new perspective on life. Unfortunately that works only if you're really able to replace the old with the new, and the new is actually better than the old.

And sometimes the decisions we make in the prior year come back to bite us on the butt as the new year begins.


I suppose it is entirely coincidental that we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving so soon after election day. Or perhaps not. Perhaps some politician weary from the wars of campaigning thought, "Enough. It's time to regain perspective."

Thanksgiving done right forces us to at least think about how much we have -- no matter how little that may be in some cases -- and to set aside for some period of time -- again, no matter how little that might be in some cases -- the rancor of political battles.