Warren Harding was elected president of the United States 100 years ago this November, and he is widely regarded now by historians and scholars as one of the United States’ worst leaders. One of the more noteworthy aspects of Harding’s life is that he apparently fathered his only child with a mistress the year before he ascended to the presidency, and that caused a scandal when it was revealed a few years after Harding’s fatal 1923 heart attack. Harding’s paternity has long been acknowledged by his family, but James Blaesing, an apparent grandson of Harding’s “love child,” is seeking to have the late president’s remains exhumed in order to prove conclusively through DNA that Harding is, in fact, his grandfather. But a DNA test has already shown that he is related to two Harding descendants. How much more proof does he need? Besides, exhuming the dead to satisfy curiosity is not a habit anyone should be getting into.
The proverb that the enemy of my enemy is my friend appears to be at the heart of the deal brokered by the Trump administration that normalizes relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Both have a mutual enemy in Iran, so both parties have decided it’s in their best interests to be friends. This is the first time Israel has normalized relations with a Gulf Arab state, and it has agreed to suspend the annexation of West Bank territory that could serve as a homeland for Palestinians living in the region. There’s still a long road to travel to bring peace and stability to the region, but any step in that direction is welcome.
The rich history of Southwestern Pennsylvania has long been one of its calling cards, and that fact has been reaffirmed in a decision that adds the city of Washington’s central business district to the National Register of Historic Places. The Washington Business District Authority will receive a $12,000 state grant to develop preservation guidelines for the business district. At the same time, the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop in the Greene County community of Rices Landing has received a $73,000 grant for the State Historical and Museum Commission to preserve its windows and wooden siding, and the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village near Avella is getting a $75,000 Keystone Historic Preservation grant to repair some of the stairs leading to the rockshelter. Grants like these will help protect these sites for future generations.
Older adults can be vulnerable to financial exploitation, and a report released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging outlined just how devastating it can be. It found that seniors who end up being hoodwinked end up losing, on average, $40,000, and sometimes have to receive benefits like Medicaid as a result of these crimes. Even more disturbing is the fact that the perpetrators are most often family or friends, not shadowy figures who call on the phone. The Wolf administration is hoping that state laws are updated that would help extend protections for seniors, so that fewer of them become victims of financial exploitation. The Pennsylvania Senate has already approved a measure that would accomplish these goals, but a similar bill is languishing in the House. Our representatives need to get on the stick and approve this before the legislative session ends in December.