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State pols flock to Big Apple - Joe Biden
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em></em></div>Joe Biden
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review - Ed Rendell
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review</em></div>Ed Rendell

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Let the Manhattan migration begin.

Pennsylvania's politically well connected will jaunt to New York City this weekend for the annual Pennsylvania Society festivities that will feature two nationally prominent politicos. Vice President Joe Biden will be feted at the society's Saturday-evening dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be the special guest at the state Republican Committee's annual Commonwealth Club luncheon on Friday.

Other highlights of the weekend include a Friday-night cocktail reception with Gov. Tom Corbett at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel and another Friday-evening soiree at the Trump World Tower with a Democrat gubernatorial candidate, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

As is customary in this space when mentioning The Pennsylvania Society, we will ask the question that has befuddled us for years: Why does this organization hold its signature annual event out of state?

RENDELL RIPS ACA WEBSITE GLITCHES.Ed Rendell once again is acting like a Republican.

The former Pennsylvania governor and onetime Democratic National Committee chairman offered a stinging rebuke of the Affordable Care Act rollout on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” show. He labeled the health-care fiasco an example of “terrible mismanagement.”

It's certainly not the first time Rendell has gone all John Boehner-esque on the Obama administration. During last year's presidential campaign, Rendell harshly criticized an Obama attack ad that targeted Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

NO RAVES. If the film critics are to be believed, Rick Santorum's movie-studio offerings will bear strong similarities to his political viewpoints.

The former U.S. senator of Pennsylvania now heads EchoLight Studios, whose recent first release, “The Christmas Candle,” bombed at the box office and was savaged by critics. Paul Carpenter, a columnist for The Morning Call of Allentown, pored over merciless reviews that labeled the movie “artless” and “muddled,” “a vaguely distasteful concoction,” a “Bible-banging hunk of whimsy” and “pablum, best served to babies and the undiscriminating.”

Funny, those movie descriptions describe almost perfectly the messages Santorum delivered during his ill-fated GOP presidential campaign last year.

NO FANFARE. Over Thanksgiving break, former state House Speaker Bill DeWeese lost his bid to overturn his 2012 conviction for public corruption.

The state Supreme Court posted a one-sentence order that said it would not hear the often verbose Greene County Democrat's appeal.

DeWeese, 63, will continue serving his two-and-a-half-to-five-year term at State Correctional Institution-Retreat in Luzerne County.

In August, state Superior Court upheld DeWeese's conviction by a Dauphin County jury on theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest charges related to illegally using state employees to work on his election campaigns at taxpayers' expense.

NO HESITATION. It took less than a month after the 2012 general election for former 12th District U.S. Rep. Mark Critz to start seeking campaign donations for his 2014 bid for lieutenant governor.

Now, the Johnstown Democrat is seeking any donation, however small — “$25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to give so we can build a strong campaign focused on job creation and providing adequate funding for our schools,” Critz said in an email pitch.

He opted to run for the Democrat nomination for lieutenant governor rather than challenge U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, who defeated Critz to win the seat representing the redrawn 12th District.

— compiled by Trib Total Media staff

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