Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 8:48 AM

The U.S. Senate, sometimes described as "the world's most exclusive club," has a bunch of silly benefits detailed in its own previously-unseen-by-the-public handbook.

USA Today got a copy. The Washington Post pulled out some details. Here are some of my favorites.

Pianos are available for office functions. I picture Pat Toomey tickling the ivories, crooning away.

POSTED: Monday, September 15, 2014, 8:50 AM

Running for high office in some states can include proving one knows his (or her) way around firearms, regardless of party.

Take the much-watched U.S. Senate race in Kentucky where Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is challengiing Senate GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Grimes, who most polls say trails the Senate veteran, just put up a tough 30-second TV ad featuring her shooting talents, seeking to distance herself from President Obama and poking fun at the 72-year old incumbent.

POSTED: Thursday, September 11, 2014, 9:08 AM
Miss America contestants parade down the runway in their swimsuits during the second day of preliminary competition for the 2015 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. on Wednesday Sept. 10, 2014. (Ed Hille/Staff)

There's been lots of news lately regarding the treatment of women in Congress, in relationships, on college campuses,in society in general.

None of it -- from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's new book, "Off the Sidelines," detailing boorish behavior towards her by fellow male members of Congress, to NFL running back Ray Rice's knockout punch, to sexual assaults on campus and in the military, to disparate pay, to under-representation of women in elective office -- reflects anything approaching gender equality.

The issue, like racial divides or wars in the Middle East, is a constant that keeps bubbling to the surface, never really resolved.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 8:30 AM

In the event you missed it, a couple of rulings -- one by the feds, one by the NCAA -- just might help soften some opposition to Gov. Corbett's reelection.

And in a year where voter turnout is expected to be low (and the Guv's approval ratings are low) any softening of anti-Corbett votes could prove beneficial to the embattled incumbent.

The first break came at the end of August. The Obama administration approved Corbett's alternate plan to Obamacare. Corbett, as state attorney general and governor, opposed the president's national health care reform but then successfully negotiated a variation to expand coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians.

POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2014, 8:39 AM

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a/k/a BE)

JB: Yo, chief, summer's officially over. Know how I can tell?

BE: Because schools are back in session?

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.

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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