Archive: June, 2010
The National Constitution Center just announced that former President Bill Clinton will award former British Prime Minister Tony Blair with the 2010 Liberty Medal in a ceremony on Sept. 13. This comes on the heels of the May 29 premiere of the HBO drama, "The Special Relationship," that documented the sometimes shaky political alliance between Clinton and Blair.
After the jump, you can read the National Constitution Center's news release on the Liberty Medal.
TONY BLAIR TO RECEIVE 2010 LIBERTY MEDAL
The state budget is on track for passage today -- Gov. Rendell's last budget will be his first on time -- but John Baer notes that state Senate GOP leader Dominic Pileggi predicts serious deficits in the future and questions how the next governor will be able to deal with that without tax increases.
The murder trial is under way for two men in the 2008 killing of Philadelphia Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. And a Chester cop was shot in the arm yesterday during an exchange of gunfire that left at least one man dead.
The scene on South 23rd Street this afternoon provided a nice encapsulation of the race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania this year. Inside the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry Officers Quarters, a group of veterans were singing the praises of Republican former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, saying the country needs a strong economy to maintain a strong military. Outside, a group of veterans supporting Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak waved signs accusing Toomey of doing more to protect Wall Street insiders than the nation's military.
"That's a very creative and ridiculous reading of my record," Toomey bristled when PhillyClout told him the Sestak campaign had e-mailed its accusations to reporters as he spoke. Among the Sestak claims: Toomey voted in 2003 against a $1,500 bonus for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and against a measure to give reservists better access to medical and dental screenings. By contrast, Sestak noted that Toomey, a former Wall Street derivatives trader, advocated for less financial regulations while he headed the conservative Club For Growth.
Toomey said some military spending measures get embedded in larger legislation to score political points. "Now there are times when some of these measures are as an excuse to undermine the fiscal stability of our country," he told the veterans. "That's very bad policy. And we shouldn't hold military and veteran needs hostage to wasteful spending." Toomey said if elected he will push to have military spending stand alone in its own legislation.
As we predicted in today's story, many of the subpoenaed judges of election and other poll workers from the 7th Democratic Ward didn't show up this morning for a Philadelphia City Commission hearing on problems in the May 18 primary election for the 180th state House race. But a few described an election day filled with angry confrontations between state Rep. Angel Cruz, the 7th Ward leader, and challenger Jonathan Ramos.
Maxamina Martinez, a judge of elections in the 7th Ward's 18th Division, described a "big commotion" when Cruz supporters refused to allow Ramos to enter the polling place, even though he had a valid certificate as a poll watcher. Security guards from the public school where the polling place was located had to help quell the disturbance, she said. "He had a poll watchers certificate," Martinez said. "So I don't know what the big deal was. But they were physically not permitting him to come in."
Jessica Perez, a majority inspector in the 7th Ward's 13th division, said Cruz angrily confronted a poll worker who snapped a picture of the state representative accompanying a woman into a ballot booth as she voted.
State Rep. Angel Cruz complains that attention to voting in the May 18 Democratic primary election in the 180th state house district is based on his long-running feud with "Team Tartaglione."
Mayor Nutter and the First Judicial District prepare to chase down 200,000 people who owe a combined $1 billion in bail.
Mayor Nutter, along with elected and law enforcement officials, officially announced this morning that the city was putting $200,000 toward combating witness intimidation in court cases. Nutter put up the money on June 17 in response to legislation from City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., which would have created a fine for people who attempted to intimidate witnesses in criminal matters.
Nutter this morning cited the recent "catch-a-rep" case where three of four minors accused of attacking an elderly man went free in court after a young female witness recanted her statement and said she had faced death threats. "They need to know that when they come forward that we are there to support and protect them," Nutter said of witnesses.
District Attorney Seth Williams warned that the "very fabric of our criminal justice system" was at risk of witnesses continued to be intimidated. "The very nature of our criminal justice system will fall apart if we can't protect those who are willing to provide information to us," Williams said.
The Fraternal Order of Police was distributing post-card fliers at City Hall this morning, asking people to push back against a move to abolish the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office. Labeled "Extremely Important," the post cards said the legislation proposed by City Councilman Frank DiCicco "is a genuine threat and must be taken seriously."
The FOP, which represents deputy sheriffs, urges supporters to call DiCicco, Councilman Bill Green and Council President Anna Verna to argue against the legislation. "Express your concern of the elimination of the Sheriff's Office and all Deputy Sheriffs," the post card concludes. "This bill must die in committee. Also, please have your family and friends call."
Daily News columnist John Baer advises Gov. Rendell where to place the blame for recent stories about his friendship with a state employee. Is there a mirror in the Governor's Office?
As Congress considers repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the U.S. Military, we take a look at whether the move comes too soon or not soon enough.
A Delco man accused of murdering his lover's husband is arrested in Denver.