One of the lessons that should have been learned, at least locally with the “Kids for Cash” scandal, was that We, the People, cannot and should not exhibit blind confidence in what is happening in our courts. Yes, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) issued a review following the Kids for Cash scandal, offering 51 recommendations concerning the family court/guardian ad litem (GAL) system in a glowing 112-page document, letting Us, the People, know that the errors of the courts were on their way to being remedied. It is a review that praised the efforts of one Judge Chester Harhut as well as Attorney Danielle Ross, the former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem (GAL) who pleaded guilty to federal tax charges and is currently serving jail time.
Strong, determined, resilient, protective, and manifesting a longing for freedom. These are just some of the characteristics of the wild buffalo, characteristics we at Muckraker embrace. Our recent travelogue covering several Western national parks this past summer found us spending time in Yellowstone where we were able to observe these majestic animals. The beasts enamored us enough to adopt the wild buffalo as our official mascot. Marshaling a quote from Kathleen Stachowski, in her Lessons Learned From Wild Bison: “Yellowstone’s majestic bison are wild, in part, because they still follow their instinctual drive to migrate, unimpeded by fences. Observing them can teach us lessons that I can only wish more of our own species would embrace.”
Let’s now turn to the issue of independents and third parties. We’ve all heard of the disproportionate signatures needed for independent and third party candidates to obtain ballot access as compared to Republicans and Democrats. We’ve all heard of the insane petitions challenges and reasons to keep independents off the ballot. It’s nothing less than economic intimidation, as I have dubbed it, to be compelled to pay to defend against challenges to ballot inclusion. I can assure you the horror stories are true, but all that would not matter if only our elected officials took their oaths seriously. Might I refer back to Article 1, Section 5: Elections shall be free and equal. What is it about that statement that a two-year-old can understand but our entrenched politicians cannot?
Instead of worrying about how Libertarians are going to vote, maybe Ann Coulter’s time would be better spent exposing the phony 501(3)(C) corporation known as the Presidential Debate Commission, the same Presidential Debate Commission that is now being sued by Gary Johnson and his Our America Initiative organization.
Mrs. Mickman fears judicial and court retaliation for sharing her story with the Gazette, but feels she is simply out of options. While she and her children once lived a very comfortable upper-class lifestyle, she is now left financially devastated as a result of her decade-long legal horror story.
While muckraking articles began appearing in the late 1800s, the January 1903 issue of McClure’s Magazine is generally credited with the launch of muckraking journalism. The term “muckraker” actually appeared later, initially in comments by President Teddy Roosevelt in a 1906 speech about journalism, when Roosevelt referred to a character in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress as “the Man with the Muck-Rake.” Originally used as a pejorative, the public came to embrace the term, as well as the work provided by these intrepid writers.
Congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s Eleventh District, Andy Ostrowski, was the first to file against the courts, in the United States Middle District of the Third Circuit. The second to file is Ed Bogan, who submitted his case in the United States Eastern District Court. He also named the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel as defendants, among others.
Summertime. Kids are out of school and families take to the road. The Independent Gazette also took to the highway this past month as we began our documentary on our country’s national parks and treasures. As one shop owner in West Yellowstone, a small Montana community and the Western gateway to the granddaddy of all national parks, Yellowstone, said, “Where else can a family come these days and visit such beauty and experience nature in its natural state for so little?” And we agree.
In a phone interview that week, Browning clarified that the county intends to transfer all files to an electronic database; however, that program is “in its infancy,” he said. Browning further explained that while some files are shredded “in-house,” that decision depends on the size of the file and the amount of shredding required. According to Browning, all files are stored in a 1,000-square-foot room in the CYS office on the 4th floor of the Spruce Street Annex building. He also stated that nothing is to be shredded before it reaches the five-year storage mark.