Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 8:21 AM

Hey, it's "Women's Equality Day!"

The White House says so with a proclamation. And a whole bunch of women candidates were scheduled to say so at the state Capitol this afternoon.

But here in Pennsylvania, birthplace of the nation, keystone of the colonies, home of the Declaration of Independence, well, the numbers really don't say so.

POSTED: Thursday, August 21, 2014, 8:45 AM

A poll released this week of Pennsylvania likely voters 50 years of age and older shows some interesting, though not surprising results.

First, it appears older voters share the same sorts of anxieties -- though perhaps not in the same order -- about personal income that the broader population does.

The poll, conducted by AARP, shows age 50-plus voters worry most about paying more in taxes (61%), costs rising faster than incomes (55%), health expenses (47%) and not having financial security in retirement (45%).

POSTED: Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 8:50 AM

With President Obama scheduled to return to his Martha's Vineyard vacation later today there are growing signs his levels of domestic interest are very much on the wane.

The New York Times reports that Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid told Senate colleagues and staffers he was astonished how disengaged the President seemed during a White House meeting at which Reid complained about Republicans blocking Obama's nominees for ambassadorships.

This issue came up as Reid and his Senate counterpart, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, sat a few feet apart.

POSTED: Thursday, August 14, 2014, 8:32 AM

The campaigns of Republican Gov. Corbett and Democrat Tom Wolf have agreed to three debates at sites spanning the state to be held September 22, October 1 and October 8.

The first debate, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry is set for Monday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Hershey as part the chamber's 30th annual dinner. It is to focus on jobs, the economy, business taxes, etc. It's to be moderated by Harrisburg TV anchor Dennis Owens of ABC27 and carried live statewide on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

The second debate is set for Philly on Wednesday, October 1 at 8 a.m. in the studios of KWY Newsradio to be moderated by veteran Philly broadcaster Larry Kane.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 8:22 AM

And so, here in the state that still practices a form of prohibition, comes news that the Liquor Control Board, a.k.a. the booze police, is considering hiking prices 5 percent.

This, I feel certain, will cause steam to shoot out of the ears of state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania's point man for privatization.

The Associated Press reports it obtained an internal board memo saying that due to increased operating costs the board should consider boosting its mark up on liquor and wine from 30% to 35% to make up for the agency's shrinking income.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 8:55 AM

Perhaps you caught some of the news coming from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington and the White House dinner for hundreds Tuesday night.

I'm not going to run my usual rant on the entertainment (Lionel Richie), invited movie stars (Robert DeNiro) or the menu and the wines -- the latter you can read about it here.

What caught my eye was a series of one-paragraph "news" releases from the White House press office about various meetings between VP Joe Biden (he who may or may not run for president in 2016) and African-nation presidents.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 8:38 AM
Former president Bill Clinton greets Trib Total Media employees after speaking at Penguin Court in Ligonier in honor of Trib Total Media publisher Richard Mellon Scaife on Saturday, August 2, 2014. (Stephanie Strasburg | TRIB TOTAL, Staff)

Not sure if you saw this. Seems to me it wasn't widely reported. It's an example of how odd politics can be.

Former President Bill Clinton last Saturday attended and spoke at a memorial service for one-time enemy billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.

The service was held for employees of Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review at the site of Scaife's boyhood home in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania.

POSTED: Monday, August 4, 2014, 8:49 AM

Hope you caught some or all of the smack-down over the weekend in the tick-tight Kentucky U.S. Senate race.

It was Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes v. GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic, an event held in the small village of Fancy Farm in Western Kentucky since 1880.

It wasn't exactly a traditional debate. Both candidates rolled out a series of one-liners to a crowd estimated at 5,000 packed with sign-waving, booing and cheering supporters of each.

About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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