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Pennsylvania GOP congressmen who wanted to throw out their own state's votes still don't acknowledge Biden's win

PHILADELPHIA —The seven Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania who supported a lawsuit that would have thrown out their own state's votes in the presidential race had little to say about the final outcome after the U.S. Supreme Court flatly rejected their effort and the Electoral College certified President-elect Joe Biden as the winner this week. Three of the seven, Reps. Fred Keller, Dan Meuser and Scott Perry, issued statements saying the amicus brief they signed, which supported a Texas lawsuit targeting Pennsylvania's votes, was only trying to ensure the proper procedures were followed....

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Philadelphia may be on the way to a record for fatal drug overdoses in 2020 -- another COVID-19 consequence

PHILADELPHIA – Fatal overdoses in Philadelphia rose through the first six months of 2020, and health officials now fear that the city is on track to surpass the death toll from 2017, the worst year for fatal overdoses on record. In addition, the city’s overdose crisis is undergoing an alarming demographic shift. In the first quarter of the year, white residents — as they have been for some time — were most likely to die of overdoses in Philadelphia. But between April and June, Black Philadelphians’ share of the city’s fatal overdoses nearly doubled, surpassing that of white Philadelphians. The...

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Trump's Pennsylvania allies turn to Supreme Court in appeal to overturn the election

PHILADELPHIA — Even as the nation’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread voting fraud that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and his allies in Pennsylvania persisted with their unsupported claims of a stolen election and sought to revive rejected legal bids to overturn the results.Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, one of Trump’s top boosters in Congress, turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to issue an emergency order decertifying the state’s returns, which declared President-elect ...

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Ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier's conviction is reinstated by a federal appeals court

PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated the child-endangerment conviction of former Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier, ending a yearlong reprieve he received just hours before he was due to report to jail.In a 34-page opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit determined that a lower court had improperly dismissed the charges centered around Spanier’s mishandling of a 2001 claim that former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused a boy.It was not immediately clear when Spanier might...

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Mental health related visits to the ER increased for children during the pandemic: CDC

As lockdown restrictions return due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published new research that shows the negative impact of the pandemic on the mental health of children and adolescents.Researchers found that the proportion of emergency department visits related to mental-health were up 24% for children aged 5 to 11 and 31% for children aged 12 to 17 from April through October, compared with the same time period last year. The findings, published last week, add to existing research suggesting that COVID-19 has had a negati...

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Can a reality-TV-addled America deal with a 'delightfully boring' Biden administration?

It’s probably not surprising for a nation addicted to reality shows like “The Bachelorette” or “The Voice” (or season four of “House of Trump”), but a popular online sport — while Joe Biden built a lead in the 2020 White House polls — was speculating on which big-time Democratic political celebrities would take jobs in his Cabinet.Sen. Elizabeth Warren for Treasury! Sen. Bernie Sanders for Labor! Top Barack Obama aide Susan Rice for State! Oprah for Commerce! … OK, I made that last rumor up, but who wouldn’t want to wear the glitter of a new administration, undoing the stain of the Trump years...

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Comcast will charge customers more for heavy internet usage starting next year

Comcast Corp. will charge more for heavy users of home internet in Northeast states — including Pennsylvania and New Jersey — angering customers who work and study online due to the pandemic.The vast majority of Comcast’s Xfinity customers won’t be affected by the “data threshold” next year, company officials said this week. But the extra charges come as internet usage soars across the country, with consumers increasingly making video calls and bingeing shows while stuck at home. Average monthly data usage in the United States jumped 40% during the third quarter this year compared with the sam...

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Pennsylvania just certified its presidential election results, officially declaring Joe Biden the winner

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania’s top elections official certified the state’s presidential election results on Tuesday, officially declaring Joe Biden the winner and paving the way for him to receive the state’s 20 Electoral College votes next month. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar made the final vote counts official, three weeks after the Nov. 3 election: Biden received 3,458,229 votes, 80,555 more than President Donald Trump’s 3,377,674 votes. Gov. Tom Wolf then signed the Certificate of Ascertainment to name the 20 Biden electors who will meet in Harrisburg on Dec. 14.“Today’s cer...

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CDC advisory committee discusses who should get first vaccine doses

A key committee that will advise the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on who should get the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine agreed Monday on initial priorities and an ethical framework. But the hourslong meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) demonstrated just how complicated it will be to get the vaccine into the arms of millions of people.First off, the different vaccines in development have different attributes, such as how they work and can be distributed, and it isn’t yet known which products will be approved first by the Food and Drug Admi...

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Psychologists explain why people are still engaging in risky behavior -- despite rising COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus cases have spiked in Pennsylvania and New Jersey over the past month, surpassing the numbers of the pandemic’s first wave in April, and yet many people have continued to meet up with friends at indoor gatherings and make plans to see family at Thanksgiving.To curb the spread, Philadelphia officials announced restrictions last Monday that closed indoor dining, gyms and museums, and limited the capacity of outdoor gatherings. Gov. Phil Murphy also introduced new restrictions on gatherings in New Jersey.But before the new restrictions took affect, people attended Halloween parties, wo...

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Thanksgiving 1918 took place during a deadly pandemic. What can it teach us for Thanksgiving this year?

The month before, the so-called Spanish flu was blamed for killing 11,000 in Philadelphia.The epidemic that ultimately would claim an estimated 675,000 American lives — probably a tremendous underestimate since it didn’t include countless deaths involving preexisting conditions — was on fire in the fall of 1918.Yet on Nov. 28, 1918, the nation celebrated Thanksgiving. Exuberantly.“Best Thanksgiving in History of City,” proclaimed a headline in the New York Sun. Philadelphia, despite a daylong chilly drizzle, was the venue for parades, sporting events, and “flag raisings,” The Inquirer reported...

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No bail relief for Virginia QAnon follower who came to Philly to 'straighten out the vote'

PHILADELPHIA — The case of Joshua Macias and Antonio LaMotta, two armed Virginia men who drove to Philadelphia on Nov. 5 to “straighten out the vote,” should be treated as a “mass shooting that was narrowly averted,” District Attorney Larry Krasner wrote to the court in a letter filed Monday.Krasner was arguing against a reduction of bail, which has been set at $750,000 for Macias, who was arrested near the Pennsylvania Convention Center and charged with carrying an unlicensed gun, a third-degree felony.Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Crystal Bryant-Powell denied the bail reduction. A si...

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Philadelphia progressives fought to elect a candidate they didn't like - and they're already organizing to move Biden left

PHILADELPHIA — Dyresha Harris, an environmental activist from West Philly, spent the last month texting and calling Black, low-income and young Philadelphians, encouraging them to vote — all for Joe Biden, a candidate who was far from her first choice.Black women like her, she said, do a disproportionate amount of urban organizing that gets Democrats elected — with not enough in return.“There is a fatigue with going to battle for folks who it doesn’t feel like are going to battle for you,” said Harris, 39, a volunteer with Philly Thrive, a progressive environmental activist group. She wants to...

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Pro-Trump 'voter integrity' group that is calling voters in 6 states has ties to White House

PHILADELPHIA — Elections officials across the United States say they have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would affect the outcome of the presidential election, but a new group supporting President Donald Trump is cold-calling thousands of people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere and asking them if they voted in an apparent attempt to find instances of misconduct.The effort has ties directly to the White House — including a controversial senior adviser there — and is feeding information to the Trump campaign’s legal team.The “Voter Integrity Fund” is run by government employees an...

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Only 10,000 Pa. mail ballots arrived after Election Day — far too few to change the result if they're thrown out

PHILADELPHIA — The vote counting continues.Even after races are called, even after the world’s eyes turn from Pennsylvania, workers are continuing to count ballots.Many of the remaining ballots are the slowest or most difficult to count because they have various issues that require elections officials to review them more closely. Others, such as provisional ballots, require checking voters’ eligibility and manually checking whether they had already voted.While there are tens of thousands of remaining votes — including about 10,000 that arrived during a three-day post-Election Day grace period ...

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