EDITORIAL: Best, worst of our state on display
Thumbs up to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who has been tapped by President Joe Biden to join the administration as the nation’s assistant secretary of health.
“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic,” Biden said in a statement announcing the nomination. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
“Historic” because Dr. Levine would be the first openly transgender federal nominee to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and highest-ranking transgender official in the federal government. But the “deeply qualified” part is just as consequential.
Dr. Levine has been at the forefront of Pennsylvania’s battle against the now year-old coronavirus pandemic and has proven a steady and knowledgeable presence — often despite ugly and insulting public criticism. Her credentials are solid: She’s a graduate of Harvard and Tulane Medical School and serves as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
She will be a vital and forceful member of the Department of Health. The Biden administration is lucky to have her. Pennsylvania is sorry to lose her.
Thumbs down to another Pennsylvania resident, this one at the other end of the success spectrum. Riley June Williams of Harrisburg recently was arrested in connection with the egregious Capitol riots of Jan. 6.
While she was initially charged by the FBI with illegally entering the U.S. Capitol and disorderly conduct, authorities are also investigating allegations that she stole a laptop from the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the intention of somehow selling it to Russian intelligence agents.
Messages attributed to “Riley” on an online message board that read, “I STOLE S--- FROM NANCY POLESI” aren’t going to help her case. Nor are photos and security tape from inside the Capitol that allegedly show the 22-year-old entering, pilfering and exiting Pelosi’s office.
Authorities were confident enough to add more serious charges of theft of government property and obstruction to Williams’ case. If convicted, she faces as much as 20 years in prison.
Thumbs up, speaking of the deadly insurgency, to private interests who are hitting supporters of the “big lie” that helped instigate the attack where it hurts most — in the wallet.
Following the Jan. 6 riots and the subsequent votes by scores of Republican lawmakers to oppose certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory, corporate donors are closing he spigots on political donations.
According to the New York Times, the Coca-Cola Co., Blue Cross Blue Shield, Hallmark, AT&T, Dow, Morgan Stanley and Marriott are just some of the companies that have suspended political donations through their PACs or otherwise paused support of congressional members who opposed Biden’s certification. Others, like FedEx and Wells Fargo, are reviewing their contribution plans, as well.
And individual companies have moved quickly to cut ties with some of the loudest voices in the deluded chorus claiming election fraud. Book publisher Simon & Schuster shelved plans to bring out a publication by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (although the book has since been picked up by conservative publishing house Regnery Publishing — thumbs down to them!) and Bed Bath & Beyond discontinued its relationship with the MyPillow line, citing its CEO Mike Lindell’s continued, albeit unfounded, insistence that the election was “stolen.”
Good for them! Voters can do their part by supporting retailers and corporations that rightfully hold reckless and irresponsible public figures accountable.