Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Monday, July 28, 2014, 8:25 AM

John Baer suggests using corruption, Pennsylvania's most common political commodity, to fight the pension crisis.

Jason Nark writes that Occupy Philly activist Nate Kleinman is now working to save rare plants on a farm in Salem County, N.J.

William Bender shares the harrowing tale of a mother who is recovering from a gun shot wound and doesn't know that her son has died. 

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 11:43 AM
(AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)

Speaking in Fargo, N.D., Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput gave the strongest indication yet that Pope Francis will be coming to the City of Brotherly Love next year - not that further confirmation was needed.

"Pope Francis has told me that he is coming," Chaput reportedly said.

The Vatican still has not confirmed the trip and isn't expected to do so for months. But Francis' attendance at the triennial World Meeting of Families, which comes to Philly in September 2015, was considered by many to be a done deal even before Mayor Nutter, Gov. Corbett and Chaput went to Rome earlier this year to formally invite him.

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 9:14 AM

In this week's Clout column, lawyers at the firm Stradley Ronon will hold a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. Nothing unusual about that - except that Stradley's chairman is Bill Sasso, a bigtime supporter of Republican Gov. Corbett and the chairman of his transition team.

Mayor Nutter and his wife are in France for a six-day jaunt. 

Carpenters and Teamsters have been protesting outside the Convention Center for weeks. But inside, a six-man crew of carpenters is working and getting paid on the other side of their own picket line.

POSTED: Thursday, July 24, 2014, 9:12 AM

Love and war: Hundreds rally for Israel in Love Park; pro-Palestine group counters as turmoil continues in Israel, by Dylan Segelbaum. 

Judges not guilty of fraud. But jury convicts four of lying to feds, by yours truly. 

Nazi guard dies before extradition. Philly man was at Auschwitz, writes Julie Shaw. 

POSTED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 7:38 AM

In memoriam: Jason Nark takes us into the lives of a family of Frankford teenager murdered in 1968 who finally gets a funeral, and the family, some closure. 

Baer Growls: Pension 'crisis' getting really, really annoying. 

L&I gun-permit map goof costs city $1.4 million, reforms license-to-carry, by William Bender and Sean Collins Walsh. 

POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 2:32 PM

John Baer says there are more than $4 billion in reserve schools money hiding in plain sight. 

Hele Ubinas writes that training police in how to treat people is a good idea.

Cartoonist Signe Wilkinson documents Philly's butt-flicking cigarette litterati.

POSTED: Monday, July 21, 2014, 4:10 PM
Gov. Corbett gave his John Hancock to the state budget on July 10. BRADLEY C. BOWER / ASSOCIATED PRESS
Gov. Corbett, still pushing for the state General Assembly to return from recess to take up legislation to change the state pension plans, today issued a new release about Moody’s Investors Service downgrading of Pennsylvania’s bond rating.

Corbett’s news release said: Today, Moody's Investors Service cited the commonwealth’s current pension crisis as a key reason for downgrading Pennsylvania’s general obligation rating to Aa3 from Aa2. While the commonwealth benefits from a strong economy and low unemployment, Moody’s stated that unfunded pension liabilities, projected to grow to $65 billion from the current $41 billion, will continue to be a major cost driver on the commonwealth.

What it didn’t say: Actually Moody’s was much more pessimistic about the state’s “strong economy,” citing the new budget signed into law by Corbett and “modest economic growth” in Pennsylvania as some of the reasons for the downgrade.

Moody’s said: The downgrade of the general obligation rating to Aa3 reflects the commonwealth's growing structural imbalance, exacerbated by the fiscal 2015 enacted budget that depends on non-recurring resources; a weak GAAP [generally accepted accounting principles] balance position that will further deteriorate based on the budget's one-time measures; and the expectation that large and growing pension liabilities coupled with modest economic growth will limit Pennsylvania's ability to regain structural balance in the near term.

POSTED: Monday, July 21, 2014, 9:13 AM

Philadelphians behind bars work to keep others from joining them.

The Rev. Kevin R. Johnson, the embattled pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church who briefly toyed with running for mayor, announced he is stepping down on Oct. 31.

Some tea party politicians want to get rid of the Export-Import Bank, which helps businesses like Bassets Ice Cream.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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