AP PA Headlines: Governor Wolf and Sen. Casey diss GOP tax “cuts”

AP PA Headlines

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A woman who was elected four times to statewide office in Pennsylvania was sentenced Tuesday to three years on probation for lying to the FBI about accepting $675,000 from an investment adviser who had reaped tens of millions in fees through Treasury Department business.  Barbara Hafer, a Republican when she was twice elected as Pennsylvania’s auditor general and then twice as treasurer, avoided jail time but was fined $50,000 and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service.


“I did it, that was wrong, and I’m sorry for it,” Hafer told U.S. District Judge John Jones, sobbing as she asked him to consider her entire career. “I’m ashamed, I’m heartsick over the situation.”  The 74-year-old pleaded guilty in June to deceiving federal investigators about whether the adviser, Richard Ireland, had funneled the money to her to help her start a consulting firm after she’d left office.  Jones said he considers her offense to be an isolated aberration and “a fit of bad judgment.”  “It doesn’t take a large leap to figure out what went wrong,” Jones said. “I believe that you feared that disclosing your relationship with Mr. Ireland after you left office might demonstrate something that at the worst was illegal and at best was unseemly.”


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is criticizing a Republican tax-cutting package in Congress that he says would amount to a tax increase on middle-class Pennsylvanians by ending a state and local tax deduction.  Wolf said Tuesday that getting rid of the deduction amounts to the federal government rolling its problems downhill onto state taxpayers.


Wolf joined Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in criticizing the provision in a wider $6 trillion plan under construction by Republicans. Trump administration officials have contended the deduction forces the rest of the country to subsidize homeowners in high-tax, big-spending states.  The plan’s House Republican architects now say they’ll keep the deduction for local property taxes. But Wolf says he still sees it as a shift in costs that will force Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay more.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Activists disrupted a poverty lesson at Philadelphia City Hall and got the councilman who organized the event to instead go on a tour of one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.  Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. had asked his colleagues to join him at a meeting room Tuesday for what he called a “poverty simulation.” The idea was to get them to experience what it’s like dealing with social services agencies.


But as the event begun, a Black Lives Matter activist took the microphone and told attendees that they should go out into the city if they really wanted to see what it’s like to be poor.  Jones joined them on a visit to a neighborhood known for heroin, crime and deep poverty. Residents told them of street corner drug use, shootings and alleged police harassment.


PENNDEL, Pa. (AP) — A war kept Wayne Wood’s brother from attending his first wedding, and a hurricane briefly derailed the secret plans for his second, but the 84-year-old has finally said “I do” again — this time with his unsuspecting brother serving as best man.  Wood and his new wife, Joyce Wood, live in Lake Placid, Florida, but devised a ruse to marry in Pennsylvania while visiting Wood’s brother, Gordon Wood.


The Bucks County Courier Times reports the ceremony was scheduled for September but was put on hold after Hurricane Irma.  The couple arrived last week. On Monday, Joyce Wood said she needed to pick something up at a Bucks County courthouse. Instead, she and Wayne Wood were married on the spot.  Gordon Wood says he’d never seen his brother happier. He was serving in the Korean War during his brother’s first wedding.


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A tree from Pennsylvania has been selected as Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree.  Rockefeller Center officials on Monday announced on their Twitter feed that they selected a Norway spruce from State College to be the 86th tree to adorn the plaza. Information on the tree’s height and owner has not been released.  It will be cut down on Nov. 9 and arrive two days later in New York City, where it will be decorated with more than 50,000 lights and topped with a Swarovski star.  The tree will be illuminated on Nov. 29 and remain on display until Jan. 7.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved




NEW YORK (AP) — Political commentator Tomi Lahren is getting some backlash for posting a photo of herself wearing a U.S flag-themed Halloween costume. The Instagram photo shows Lahren wearing a star spangled cape-like garment as part of an outfit that includes a red tutu, a flag-themed bum bag and a top bearing President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan. Some accused the Fox News contributor of being disrespectful of the flag, including Trump administration critic Keith Olbermann, who claimed her costume was in violation of the U.S. flag code.


FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) —  There is a big police presence at a California college where conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos is scheduled to address students but the number of protesters out so far is relatively small.

Appearances by Yiannopoulos at other events in California have led to violence.  About 100 people are at a “Unity Block Party” being held in opposition to the speech Tuesday night at California State University, Fullerton.


Some wore Halloween costumes and some danced. Signs posted on trees read things like “Students fight for civil rights” and “Different individuals valuing each other.”  A large area surrounding the speech venue was cordoned off by a fence with “no trespassing” signs.  Other signs posted on fences listed about a dozen rules for attendees, warning them that they would be screened and searched, and that no backpacks, bags, or masks were allowed inside the venue.  Dozens of police officers were seen throughout campus ahead of the event.


NEW YORK (AP) — After the summer of Rachel Maddow, Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity ascended to the top of the cable news mountain.  Hannity’s move to the 9 p.m. timeslot paid immediate dividends for the network. President Donald Trump’s biggest cable news backer averaged 3.2 million viewers in October, topping Maddow’s 2.5 million, the Nielsen company said. Fox’s Tucker Carlson, in an earlier time slot, had 2.8 million viewers.


When Bill O’Reilly was working at Fox, there was no question for years who was the top person in cable television talk. His ouster in April following the revelation of sexual harassment settlements put that distinction up for grabs, and MSNBC’s Maddow took the title in July, August and September.  Fox’s Laura Ingraham made a strong debut Monday, reaching 3.27 million viewers at 10 p.m. and beating CNN and MSNBC in the time slot, Nielsen said.


NEW YORK (AP) — The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has revoked an award it was going to give Kevin Spacey, a decision made after allegations that he made sexual advances on a teen boy. The group says “”it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award.” The award is to honor “an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch humanity.” Spacey was to get it at a gala on Nov. 20 in New York City. Past recipients include Steven Spielberg, Shonda Rhimes and J.J. Abrams.


NEW YORK (AP) — Cut loose! New York City lawmakers have voted to legalize dancing in bars.  The City Council voted Tuesday to repeal a 91-year-old law that banned dancing at most nightspots. The anti-dancing law prohibits dancing in bars and restaurants that don’t have a cabaret license.  Critics say the law originated as a racist attempt to police Harlem’s 1920s jazz clubs and has continued to be enforced unfairly.

Nightlife advocates hailed the repeal.  John Barclay, a bar manager and founder of the Dance Liberation Network, said the law “has decimated New York City culture for the past century.”  The repeal of the anti-dancing law will go to Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has said he supports it. The repeal would go into effect 30 days after it’s signed.




Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved


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