"What's black and white and read all over?"

Saturday, April 08, 2006
Posted 5:06 PM by

Time to re-regulate Cable TV and Telcos

This wasn't the first time my Internet cable modem went dead, but it is the first time I learned the company's threshold for responding to service complaints.If there's one thing the PSEG and Exelon electric company merger should teach us, it's that deregulation clearly doesn't work to promote competition, lower prices and better service here.

Consumers in Southeastern Pennsylvania learn that on a daily basis in dealing with cable TV giant, Comcast.

And while Congress dithers on a rewrite of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, I thought I'd spell it out.

Comcast serves as a utility for millions. The company got huge tax breaks to build its headquarters in Philly and eminent domain rights to run its lines down public streets. It not only provides TV service, but is the region's leading broadband Internet provider and is vying for a share of the phone company market.

But when it comes to actually responding to customers when they complain about poor service, Comcast acts very much like the unregulated privately-owned monopoly that it is.

For instance, did you know there's a "tipping point" before its top service technicians can be called in to fix a problem with its Internet network? It operates on a sliding scale in which as many 20-25 modems must be off line depending on where you live before any problem gets classified as an outtage.

Meanwhile, the company no longer posts any kinds of statements on its Web site describing the health of its Internet network or any planned outtages for maintenance. It had one in December, but buried it on a page deep within the site rather than put it on the homepage.

I discovered all this Friday when my cable modem was out at 7 a.m., which is problem because I work online. Of course, I called only to be told there was no outtage in my area but that they would be glad to send a lesser skilled outsourced technician to my home.

Since I made no changes in my set up between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m while I was asleep and the computer was off, I didn't see the point. Bitter experience has taught me that if you wait long enough, the company finally fixes its network problems.

I did, however, insist that I get a rebate on my daily charge for the $50 per month service.

Three hours went by, though, and in a free moment in my office I decided to use a live IM chat with a Comcast tech to see if the problem had been corrected. The tech told me that there was indeed an outtage in my area at 3 a.m., but that it had supposedly been corrected by 5 a.m.

I got home around 2 p.m. and still had no Internet access, so I called again. Still no reported outage but the person I spoke with told me only five modems in my area were out.

As it turned out, all five were at or near my large apartment complex, which has about 50 cable modem customers. A reasonable company would have immediately realized something was not right and got its butt in gear.

Not Comcast.

Frustrated at 5 p.m., I called again only be told the 3 a.m. probem had finally been declared an outtage at 4:21 p.m.

Sometime around 7 p.m. I finally got some service restored, but it seemed pretty slow. I made a post to this blog and went to sleep. Twelve hours later, I woke up this morning to find the modem was out again.

I called again, got a call center in Canada, demanded another rebate - for which the respondent had the gall to tell me I had to wait for the problem to be resolved until I demanded to speak to a manager - and told him to fix the now 24-hour-old problem.

The service was finally restored at 1 p.m.

Just think, if I had taken the company up on its offer for VoIP phone service I wouldn't have been able to call them to complain.


Friday, April 07, 2006
Posted 10:12 PM by

Valerie Plame, Lynn Swann and me

Valerie Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson, play 'I Spy' in front of the White House. Val won with 'I spy Dick Cheney's comeuppance.'Welcome to Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, political revenge edition.

Scooter Libby named Vice President Dick Cheney and his boss, President Bush, (or is it vice versa?) in court papers as the people who gave him permission to disclose Valerie Plame's employment as an undercover CIA agent to reporters, court papers filed this week say.

And somewhere in California, Richard Nixon did a 360 in his grave.

Libby had serious qualms about leaking such classified intelligence, but was pressured by Cheney, who told him the president wanted it done.

In his court filing, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald asserted that "the president was unaware of the role" that Libby "had in fact played in disclosing" Plame's status. The prosecutor gave no such assurance, though, regarding Cheney.

Bush and Cheney's motive is obvious - political revenge against Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who publicly questioned Bush's "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction for the Iraq war.

I see a lot more questions about my credibility and truthfulness on the horizon.Bush, who has the right as president to declassify information and leak it to whoever he wants to, gets a pass on any possible impeachment from the affair.

However, his public vow that he would find and punish the White House leaker now seems about as earnest as the oath O.J. Simpson took to find his ex-wife's real killer.

Something sort of similar happened at the state level last week, only in reverse.

John L. Micek, the Allentown Morning Call's Harrisburg reporter, questioned a state Department of Revenue spokeswoman on March 27 whether gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann should be collecting the 6 percent state sales tax on some of the memorabilia sold on the Hall of Famer's Web site, including autographed footballs.

Swann, a Republican, will face Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, in the fall.

That same day, the Revenue Department sent the former Steelers star a five-page questionnaire about the mission and activities of Swann Inc.

Four days later - even faster than the state's mail to him - Swann agreed to start paying sales taxes and Micek reported that the state would not be seeking back taxes nor face penalties.

Here's where it gets interesting folks.

Citing confidentiality restrictions last Friday, Revenue Department spokesman Steve Kniley said he could not say whether tax officials had received the questionnaire back from Swann. Nor could he say whether Swann Inc. had applied for a sales tax license.

Did Pennsylvania revenuers violate state law in order to publicly embarass Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann? It sure seems that way.But today, exactly one week later, the Revenue Department introduced a new weapon in its efforts to pressure delinquents to pay overdue sales taxes - public embarrassment - by posting their names on its Web site.

Oops. I guess somebody finally realized that what they did to Swann was unprecedented and tried to cover their tracks. I wonder if they would have been so accomodating if the reporter was seeking similar information about an incumbent Democrat?

Was Micek tipped to Swann's mistake in an effort to embarrass him? John's a pretty good reporter so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he just looked at Swann's Web site and saw no sales tax was being charged.

I'm a pretty good reporter too, or so I've been told.

That's why at least one Luzerne County official broke federal law by tapping a national crime computer to dig up dirt on me nearly a decade ago.

NCIC is the nation's most extensive computerized criminal justice information system, containing criminal history information, files on wanted persons, and information on stolen vehicles and missing persons. It is available for use by any cop in a police cruiser or in radio contact with a police dispatcher. Most 911 centers also have access to it.

Unfortunately, it's also easily accessible by politicians seeking to dig up dirt on anyone they want, even though there's supposed to be laws against such abuse. And that's just what happened.

I pulled a DUI in 1990. There was no accident and I was just over the legal limit. But at that time, I was the court reporter for the Press-Enterprise in Columbia County so you can imagine my embarrassment and that of the paper. The judge even woke up to sentence me. A first offender, I got probation and a suspended license.

Seven years went by and I started working for the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre covering the corrupt political machine run by the Luzerne County commissioners.

Two weeks on the job, I got a call from a friend in the Columbia County Prothonotary's office that Luzerne County's Clerk of Courts, who also doubles as a ward leader, was prying into my old case which I left on the public record rather than have expunged.

I didn't say anything publicly about it at the time - there was no reason to, but I let that politician privately know he had broken the law by misusing the computer system.

It's all just politics as usual my friends, or as Don Segretti called it while working to re-elect ol' Tricky Dick, "Rat fucking."


Thursday, April 06, 2006
Posted 10:04 PM by

Lies, more lies and statistics

Gov. Ed Rendell holds a 10 point lead over Republican Lynn Swann, according to a poll released this week.Two things caught my eye today. A poll found more blacks are likely to vote for Gov. Ed Rendell than Lynn Swann. The second is a bold prediction from state Sen. Vince Fumo that no incumbent legislators will be ousted due to anger over their pay raise.

First, the governor's race. Rendell continues to hold a 10 percentage point lead among registered voters, who favored him over the Pro Football Hall-of-Famer - 47 percent to 37 percent, according to results posted online by Quinnipiac University of Hamdem, CT.

Of the 1,354 voters polled, 451 were black - a statistically valid but far smaller sampling. Among them, 74 percent supported Rendell, 12 percent preferred Swann and 12 percent are undecided.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, unless Fast Eddie puts a giant foot in his mouth or does something really stupid, he's virtually a shoe-in to win reelection.

That's because this race will focus on three issues - race, football and the chasm between Philly and Pittsbugh.

Rendell, who is white, is Philadelphia's former two-term mayor, former chairman of the Democratic National Party and an Eagles TV commentator. He should win most of the black vote in Philly, and all but the most die-hard Republican white vote in the suburbs.

Those facts could change, however, if progressive liberal voters remember he signed the now-repealed legislative pay raise into law. See my earlier statement about doing something stupid.

Republican Lynn Swann's best chance at unseating Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell this fall is to split Philly's black population.Swann, a political novice, is black. He played for the World Champion Steelers, which means everything in Pittsburgh and almost nothing east of the Poconos.

So, the key to a Swann victory would be to split Philly's Democratic Party by swinging some black people to the polls on his behalf as the first black gubernatorial candidate from either party.

Blacks represent just 10 percent of Pennsylvania's 12.3 million population, but 43.2 percent of Philly's 1.5 million people compared to 27.1 percent of Pittsburgh's 325,000 people, according to Census figures.

The rest of the state is Alabama, as James Carville once put it. It will likely vote along predictable party lines. Again, see my earlier statement about Rendell doing something stupid.

Speaking of something stupid, the Vince of Darkness made quite the statement in front of the Pennsylvania Press Club last week by predicting, "I don't think we're going to lose anybody as a result of the pay raise.

"I think it's one thing to say you're mad at your current legislator or senator over the pay raise," Fumo said. "But when you get into the heat of the campaign and people are going to be reminded of everything else they've done for that district in the past ... I think in the end, [the incumbents] are going to be successful."

If it were politics as usual in Pa., I'd agree with him.

State Sen. Vince Fumo thinks no incumbent legislators will lose this year due to their now-repealed pay raise. I think he's severely misjudged voter anger over the issue.But I think Fumo is severely misjudging the simmering anger over the way the Legislature backdoored both the slots law and its own pay raise to get them passed.

The voters are in a throw-the-bums-out mood, Vince. No number of grip-and-grin check giveaways to local groups (Paid for with Walking Around Money) will buy lawmakers another term if they voted for the pay raise, illegally took their raises EARLY in unvouchered expenses and didn't pay it back.

That's assuming, of course, that the county parties put forth opponents who are even half-way competent. But even half-wits would seem like mensa candidates compared to the twits in Harrisburg we have now.

If we, the great unwashed electorate were willing to make history by throwing Supreme Court Justice Rusell Nigro to the curb last year, just wait until we get into the polls to vote for the legislators.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Posted 10:23 PM by

Pa.'s slot machines and pay raises tit for tat?

The fight against slot machines is officially dead - some say because it was quid-pro-quo for a judicial pay raise. The only question now is where will they go.Now I get it. Forgive me dear readers for being obtuse. I didn't make the connection between last year's legislative pay raise and the slots law of 2004 until early this morning.

The linchpin is Pennsylvania's chief supreme court justice, Ralph Cappy. Some believe he played tit-for-tat in secret meetings with legislative leaders by promising to overturn challenges to the slots law in exchange for judicial pay raises. Or so the rumor mill goes.

And now, given that public hearings on applicants for 14 slots parlors began today in Gettysburg, it's probably too late for that knowlege to do any good. At least until the legislative brain trust behind this travesty faces reelection and Cappy is forced to stand for retention.

Mea culpa. I was too busy in my day job as an online sports editor last summer tracking a one-man hurricane named Terrell Owens and the damage he did to the Eagles.

So I missed Pennsylvanians Against Gambling Expansion, CasinoFree Pa. and other anti-slots groups filing suit in the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the gambling law. They lost and now slot machines look like a done deal, even though the wheels of justice were rigged from day one.

"Given the political dynamics of it, that case couldn't be won," Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause, told me today when asked why his state-wide good government group opted instead to make a federal case out of the pay raise issue rather than slot machines.

"An awful lot of powerful people wanted (slots) enacted and enforced," he added. "My advice to the anti-slots folks is to do damage control. Let's make the system as clean as we can get it. ... That case is dead. Unless they have new information about a different aspect of the law, they've pretty much played their hand."


I won't go into length on the wheeler-dealers getting greased with PAC money. Even slot machine opponents like Sen. Bob Jubelier took contributions from pro-slots interests before the 145-page slots bill was inserted into a two-paragraph bill requiring background checks for harness racing employees and then passed in the dead of night before holiday adjournment on July 2, 2004, without any public comment.

Did Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph Cappy barter approval for slot machines and other legislation in exchange for a judicial pay raise.In a "unique" move, the law required that only the state Supreme Court had "exclusive jurisdiction to hear any challenge," Justice Cappy wrote in the Supreme Court's opinion ruling against the only lawsuit seeking to overturn the slots law.

He immediately added, "Since the Complaint is based on challenges to the constitutionality of the statute, we must begin by considering the standard by which we resolve constitutional challenges to legislative actions. First, our case law makes clear that there is a strong presumption in the law that legislative enactments do not violate our Constitution. ... This includes the manner by which legislation is enacted. All doubts are to be resolved in favor of finding that the legislative enactment passes constitutional muster. Thus, there is a very heavy burden of persuasion upon one who challenges the constitutionality of a statute."

If the same were true nationwide, Pennsylvania would have Jim Crow laws and separate but equal water fountains and schools today. So much for justice being blind.

The crux of the case boiled down to a specific section of the state Constitution which says, "No bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof."

That section "was designed to curb the practice of inserting into a single bill a number of distinct and independent subjects of legislation and purposefully hiding the real purpose of the bill," Cappy wrote.

Amazingly, though, Cappy and a majority of justices found "there is a single unifying subject - the regulation of gaming" between the background checks for harness racing employees and establishing "policies and procedures for gaming licenses for the installation and operation of slot machines, enacts provisions to assist Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry through other gaming, and provides for administration and enforcement of the gaming law, including measures to insure the integrity of the operation of slot machines."

Another portion of the state's Constitution says, "No law shall be passed except by bill, and no bill shall be so altered or amended, on its passage through either House, as to change its original purpose."

Yet, once again the justices defied common sense.

"Our Court recognized the practical realities of passing legislation and narrowly focused the inquiry," Cappy wrote, adding they ruled the slots law was constitutional "not by comparing the original purpose to the purpose at final passage, but by considering only the bill at final passage."

"Furthermore," Cappy later added, "our Court is loathe to substitute our judgment for that of the legislative branch under the pretense of determining whether an unconstitutional change in purpose of a piece of legislation has occurred during the course of its enactment."

Excuse me? Wasn't that the justices' jobs?

The only provision the high court did strike down was the notion that the newly established Gaming Board could ignore local zoning issues when deciding who gets a slots parlor license.


Common Cause alleges in its lawsuit that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Legislature have been covering each other to get what their leaders want.I'm probably the last person in the state to find out Cappy, long a proponent of higher pay for judges, had a prominent role in the now-repealed pay raise. But did he play quid-pro-quo, exchanging the slots law for a pay raise for judges?

Cappy met with legislative leaders in "a lot" of secret sessions, House Speaker John Perzel admitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Gov. Ed Rendell even thanked Cappy for suggesting that the pay for legislative, executive and judicial employees be tied to their federal counterparts.

Cappy, in turn, called the Legislature and the governor "courageous" for passing the pay hike and called the public outrage that followed, "knee jerk."

The state Judicial Conduct Board found Cappy did nothing wrong in February when it threw out a complaint filed in August by Harrisburg political activist Gene Stilp.

And there seems to be no smoking gun.

But that hasn't stopped Common Cause from pursuing the matter in a federal lawsuit. They're seeking to stop the state Supreme Court from ruling on two lawsuits before brought by judges who still want their higher pay.

The justices, sans Cappy who recused himself, held a hearing on the cases Monday even as a federal judges weighs Common Cause's request for an injuction barring the state court from ruling.

In its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Common Cause asserts based on several affidavits it already has, "plaintiffs believe discovery will establish a decade-long struggle by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to coerce state funding whereby one or more justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and leaders of the General Assembly negotiated legislation desired by the Court in exchange for rulings favorable to the legislative leadership on cases then pending before the Court challenging the constitutionality of the process by which important legislation was consistently enacted in secret in violation of Article III of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

"If it is true, as Plaintiffs now believe, that justices of the highest court of the state bartered their votes on cases important to the interpretation and jurisprudence of key state constitutional provisions - provisions which are at issue in this case, and designed to protect the political rights of all citizens of the Commonwealth to know of and participate at every stage of the legislative process through their elected representatives - in exchange for state funding desired by the Justices, it would, standing alone, constitute a current and ongoing violation of plaintiffs' due process and equal protection rights under both federal and state constitutions."

Judge Yvette Kane has set a hearing for May 19.

"We're seeking discovery now which may lead to a lot of interesting information," said Barry Kauffman, Common Cause's executive director. "There have been lots and lots and lots of rumors. We'll have to see how all this pans out."

That's assuming his group can raise enough money to afford the fight.

Although the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania has joined Common Cause in the suit, "I need to come up with $200,000 in the next couple of weeks" to pay the lawyers, Kauffman said.

They got $20 from me today when I signed up to be a Common Cause member, but Kauffman said none of that money will go toward this fight.

Anyone interested in contributing can send a check to:

CCEF (The Common Cause Education Fund)
300 N. Second St., Suite 600,
Harrisburg, Pa., 17101


Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Posted 10:04 AM by

DeLay-ing tactics don't work for bribery

Hobbled by a bribery conviction and a bum leg, Philly city councilman Rick Mariano gave up his taxpayer-funded car Monday but still clings to the back of his council chair and his $102,000 salary.Philadelphia city councilman Rick Mariano should take a few lessons from U.S. Rep. Tom Delay and resign.

DeLay, the former House Majority Leader, quit today even before he faces trial on bribery charges, instead of facing re-election with that sword of Damocles over his head.

Mariano is already convicted of bribery and turned in his taxpayer-funded car yesterday, but refuses to yield his council seat and its $102,000 salary.

What's it going to take, former state Rep. Tom Druce running over Rick in a taxpayer-funded Jeep to get him to give it up?

Sure, Pennsylvania law says Mariano can stay until his June 6 sentencing. But laws can be changed, what's right and what's proper is immutable. I know it may not make sense to somebody who sold his office to the highest bidder, but there is such a thing known as honor.

Of course, in DeLay's case, he's leaving with the knowlege that the gerrymeandering (sic) of Texas his bribes afforded virtually guarantees that a Republican will replace him.

Nothing like his former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, cutting a plea bargain last week to force his hand.

"I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative personal campaign," DeLay said.

And for that, John Boehner, R-Ohio, DeLay's successor as House GOP Leader, thanked him for taking one for the team. "He has served our nation with integrity and honor," Boehner effused.


Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is quitting with a smile, knowing his political chicanery paid for by bribes will enable another Republican to get elected to his seat.Replace the word "nation" with party and the words "integrity and honor" with "guile and deceit" and Boehner might be partly right.

Lesson number two for Mariano: If he had used his bribes for politics instead of paying down credit card debt, all might have been forgiven - just so long as he didn't use his staff to do campaign work like former state Rep. Jeff Habay.

Finally, Rick should have heeded his third lesson from Gettysburg's council, which voted 7-3 Monday night to support a proposed slot-machine gambling parlor near the historic Civil War battlefield in exchange for a $1 million-per-year revenue guarantee.

While opponents - among them historic preservationists - call the cash "a bribe," Council President Ted Streeter said it would help the borough improve its police capabilities and social services to deal with an influx of millions of gamblers and potentially reduce property taxes.

"If that's selling out, I gladly plead guilty," Streeter told a packed borough meeting hall during more than 90 minutes of debate and public comment.

So you see, if Rick had turned the bribes over to the city treasurer's office and called it a new funding stream, that would have been fine too.

Who knows, he might have even made enough to pay for the Ford Taurus he returned yesterday.


Monday, April 03, 2006
Posted 7:45 PM by

Have you seen these women?

Lady Liberty, left, and Lady Justice, right, have been missing many years now. If found, please have them report to both Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., where their absence has been keenly felt.They're not exactly Thelma and Louise, but both are desperately wanted and have gone missing.

One is a free-spirited woman of French-descent who reportedly carries a torch for illegal aliens and others currently deemed unsavory by authorities.

The other woman is blind, possibly armed, but supposedly fair-minded.

If found, please have them report to both Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., where their absence has been keenly felt for years.

Our horrid foreign policy turned Lady Liberty a sick green long ago. She is believed to have been angered by members of Congress calling for more "freedom fries" and is now missing when she is needed most.

The hard-right Republican-controlled Congress is pondering putting up an even bigger wall between America and Mexico and exporting an estimated 11 million people who crossed over looking for a better life.

How can trade be free in North America if the people producing the goods aren't?

Lady Justice disappeared right around the time O.J. was acquitted but has taken long sabatticals before.

You can bet she won't be anywhere near a Philly courtroom tomorrow when the state Supreme Court convenes in to hear two lawsuits connected to Pennsylvania's now-repealed Legislative pay raise. After all, the justices' salaries are on the line too.

The lack of justice is also apparent in courts where gay advocates have been fighting for the right to marry for years, even as the nation's heterosexual divorce rate approaches 50 percent.

What hurts the institution of marriage more: loving and committed couples vowing fidelity despite their sexual preference, or angry and spiteful married Bible belt couples who call it quits after only a few years?

Here's hoping both women come back home by election day so we may have liberty and justice for all.


Sunday, April 02, 2006
Posted 9:55 PM by

Pa. groups opposing slots see die as cast

Slots machines are the new NIMBYs, but few groups in opposition to slots parlors are questioning the legality of the law that legalized them or how it was passed.A bunch of groups plan to testify this week and over the next month against proposed slots parlors in their communities, but most seem resigned to the fact that 61,000 coin and soul sucking machines are on the way.

They just don't want any of them, or the social ills and blight that gambling is sure to bring, in their backyards.

My question is why not fight the whole idea?

Much like the unpopular and now-repealed pay raise, I believe the law legalizing slots in 14 parlors across the state was passed illegally.

The slots vote occurred in the early morning of July 2, 2004, before both the House and Senate adjourned for the July 4th holiday. The 146-page bill was slid into an unrelated two-paragraph measure about background checks for harness racing track employees, then brought to the floor for a vote without any public debate.

Article 3 of the state Constitution requires that any measure to be voted on must get three days airing in the house and the senate, which the slots law clearly did not.

Yet, no group challenged the law in court. So, the Legislative leaders felt they could get away with it again a year later to give themselves, the state's executive branch and the judiciary pay raises. They even began to take the extra cash within their term, in clear violation of the law.

The state-wide uproar the pay hike engendered forced lawmakers to repeal it and now many incumbents face challengers in the primary, some for the first time in years.

Yet, little outcry has been heard so far about the slot machines.

In 1995, good government group Common Cause sued when the Legislature similarly tried to slip a bill into another in order to take over the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The state Supreme Court eventually ruled in the group's favor, finding that in cases where an amendment eats a bill, the two must be related.

Common Cause isn't suing over slots law. Instead it's focusing energy on fighting a federal lawsuit it filed stemming from the already-repealed pay hike.

Another group, Casino Free Pa., is taking up the mantle, though, and has filed a petition with the state Supreme Court that makes the same argument Commmon Cause won with a decade ago.

(CORRECTION: 10 P.M., TUESDAY, APRIL 4 - I talked with Diane Berlin, CasinoFreePA's coordinator, tonight and she says the group initially filed a lawsuit but lost and did not appeal. She promised to e-mail me a copy of the decision. Her group's petition is just that, a petition, and may not carry any weight with the high court. So it appears no one is actually suing to overturn the slots law even as the second anniversary of its passage approaches on July 2. Berlin seemed surprised when I told her that under Pa. civil law, most injured parties have only two years to file a lawsuit or the case can be dismissed without being heard.)

My personal argument would be that the legislators violated the state's Sunshine Law by discussing the slot machine bill in secret caucuses before voting on it. The law says says all governing bodies in Pennsylvania must debate the public's business in full view of the public.

However, the Legislature, which enacted the Sunshine Law, is the only governing body in the state exempt from that law - a loophole that should be remedied immediately.


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