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Post-Gazette -- OPINION

Updated: 2017-11-19T22:00:24




At a time of political instability and unprecedented challenges to our political system, protecting the Constitution and its first 10 Amendments, the Bill of Rights, is more important than ever. These founding documents guarantee our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms and many of the other rights and liberties we take for granted. But a vote in Wisconsin this month put our nation dangerously close to the convening of a modern-day constitutional convention that could rewrite these seminal documents.



The greatest mystery about a human being is not his reaction to sex or praise, but the manner in which he contrives to put in twenty-four hours a day.

Something in the air: Violations cannot stand at local U.S. Steel plant 


Allegheny County and federal authorities have begun an enforcement action against U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Works for multiple violations of air pollution laws, a reminder that Pittsburgh still has one foot in the industrial age. That heritage should be held close for various reasons, and the mill jobs still here are highly valued. But today’s steelmakers must embrace Pittsburgh’s push for livability, sustainability and wellness. Polluters must clean up their acts, and regulators must hold their feet to the fire.

Facebook’s chutzpah: Intimate image collection is just another signal


Facebook wants you to upload nude pictures of yourself to the company’s Messenger service — for your safety.

One-party leadership perpetuated Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority woes


Regarding the Nov. 12 letter “Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Has Put Customers in a Terrible Situation”:



MEMO TO: Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon Inc.



Frank Stephens is a Quincy Jones Advocate for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. He wrote this for



Howard Gillman is chancellor and professor of law and political science at the University of California at Irvine. Erwin Chemerinsky is dean and professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Law. They wrote this for The Washington Post.



Consolidation of city and county governments has long been in vogue with good-government advocates. In Allegheny County, powerful civic leaders also have for decades urged mergers among the county’s 130 local governments. But while the cost/​benefit of many “big box” city-county mergers is questionable, smaller-scale jurisdictional unions make a lot of sense for struggling inner-ring suburbs and their adjacent central cities.



President Donald Trump campaigned as a law-and-order candidate who would crack down on terrorism. He is supposedly a friend of Israel. And the president is never for a lack of words, even when he should be. So it might surprise some that the Trump administration is choosing to remain silent in a court case as American victims seek to make financiers of terror pay for their gruesome crimes.

Helpers are out there


Jay Cost, a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, lives in Butler County (, Twitter @JayCostTWS).



Vince Pankoke could have stayed home. A police officer in the 1980s in his hometown of Richland Township in Cambria County, he liked his job and built a house with his wife, Mary Pat.

Are there dirty tricks ahead in Mike Turzai's bid for governor?


Lest people forget, when Mitt Romney was running for president in 2012, state House Speaker Mike Turzai, who was then House majority leader, pushed a bill through the Legislature that was later determined to be voter suppression. He had proudly announced that the voter ID law would deliver Pennsylvania for Mr. Romney.

We can have good jobs and a clean environment in this new energy era


The Nov. 12 Forum section had two excellent pieces: “Reality Check: Pittsburgh’s Air Is Still Highly Toxic” by Lisa Minetti and “Corporate ‘Speech’ Is Drowning Out Citizen Activists” by Lewis Braham. Ms. Minetti points out that our progress toward clean air has a long way to go before we can claim that it’s healthy to live here, and Mr. Lewis documents the increasingly frantic efforts by Big Oil and Gas to shout over the voices of citizens of our region who want both jobs and a clean environment.

Kneeling during the national anthem is a confrontational act


The Nov. 12 Forum essay of the Rev. Harold T. Lewis, “Genuflection as Protest,” attempts to legitimize NFL athletes’ kneeling in protest during the pregame national anthem. He uses the words “genuflect” and “kneel,” both of which describe actions taken by individuals in ceremonies of honor, respect, veneration, subservience, homage, allegiance and worship. 



The clash between new and old Pittsburgh has flared up on city Councilwoman Darlene Harris’ Facebook page.



The internet now resembles that chaotic state when our minds assemble dreams while we are asleep, mysteriously pulling dreams together from fear, desire and bits of experience. Someone recently claimed that Melania Trump is not the real Melania Trump. It went viral. No one knows why any more than anyone knows where last night’s dream came from.



Fayezeh Haji Hassan graduated from Duquesne University School of Law in June. Her parents still live in Afghanistan as refugees under the protection of the United Nations.

An island in distress: A local effort keeps Puerto Rico needs in mind


Hurricanes and other natural disasters have occurred with such frequency this year that many Americans may have become immune to the devastation and loss. Yet the recovery efforts in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico will require resources and attention for years.

Why soak grad students? One misguided feature of the GOP tax plan


Perhaps the most misguided part of the House Republican tax plan, which was passed on Thursday, is its raising of rates on graduate students — by 300 to 400 percent, according to economics Ph.D. students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who are thus affected.