HIT: There’s not much common ground shared between Democrats and Republicans nowadays, but here in Pennsylvania they can at least agree on one thing: Robocalls are a pain in the you-know-where. Who wants to get ripped away from dinner or any other daily task to hear a recorded message about life insurance, burial insurance, your car’s extended warranty, taking part in a survey or any of a thousand other come-ons? The good news, however, is Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation last week that ends the requirement that telephone customers renew their listing on the do-not-call registry every five years. Now, it is locked in. The legislation also allows businesses to sign up for the do-not-call list, prohibits phone solicitation on legal holidays and mandates that calls must start with a clear way for customers to opt out. We can thank Wolf and both Republicans and Democrats for helping to make our days just a little bit more peaceful.
HIT: Since the Trump administration has apparently decided that protecting the environment and combating climate change is a task best left to some other generation, it’s been up to states to try to do some heavy lifting on this front. If Gov. Tom Wolf has his way, Pennsylvania will be joining New York, Massachusetts and other states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program designed to reduce carbon emissions. Wolf signed an executive order last week asking the Department of Environmental Protection to come up with rules by the end of next July that would bring down emissions from power plants in the commonwealth that burn coal or natural gas. DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said, “As a major electricity producer, Pennsylvania has a significant opportunity to reduce emissions and demonstrate its commitment to addressing climate change through a program with a proven track record.” Since Pennsylvania is responsible for 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it needs to do its part to bring them down, and joining the cap-and-trade program is the right way to do it.
HIT: Jimmy Carter turned 95 on Oct. 1, and is the oldest living former U.S. president. After hip surgery and a cancer scare a couple of years ago, Carter would be more than entitled to enjoy some rest at his Plains, Ga., home. But rather than sitting on his front porch, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, were helping build front porches this week in Nashville, Tenn., as part of the Habitat for Humanity program. On Sunday, Carter addressed a crowd at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium about the program that builds houses for people with low incomes just hours after getting 14 stitches in his forehead after falling at his home while getting ready to go to church. “We’ll be doing the best we can,” Carter said. Carter’s presidency had its share of trials and tribulations, but he has been an undeniably great former president, and we would all do well to learn from his grit and determination.
MISS: In the battle to crush the Islamic State, the United States relied on Kurdish fighters on the ground while offering air support and advisers. The Kurds were our allies in that crucial fight, but now President Trump is betraying them. Apparently, after a phone call with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump agreed to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, leaving the Kurds vulnerable to attack by Turkish troops who would take our place. This move, which was condemned by both Republicans and Democrats this week, could also lead to the release of 10,000 Islamic State combatants that are being held by the Kurds. Trump apparently likes to make decisions by instinct, but he would have been better consulting with seasoned advisers before reaching this conclusion. It’s a profoundly bad move and a betrayal of a friend. Other allies will take note.