Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Friday, August 1, 2014, 8:38 AM
Pennsylvania's largest teachers union has endorsed state Sen. Daylin Leach in the Democratic primary for the 13th Congressional District. ( Charles Fox / Staff Photographer /File )

Democratic state Sen. Daylin Leach, of Montgomery County, charged taxpayers to travel along with three aides to Denver to check out Colorado's legalized marijuana industry -- and to get a taste of its product.

The trip cost taxpayers about $5,000. Not a ton of taxpayer dollars, granted. But about $5,000 more than it would have cost to read any of the ongoing, extensive accounts of Colorado's lawful doobie experience, which began six months ago.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports on the junket and quotes Leach saying, "No one paid for or charged the state for any smoke."

POSTED: Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 8:46 AM

The he's-still-everywhere-all-the-time former Philly mayor, national Democratic Party boss and PA guv Ed Rendell has his say in this week's New Yorker magazine profile of Veep Joe Biden.

In a lengthy, comprehensive piece by mag staffer Evan Osnos, "The Biden Agenda," Rendell holds forth on his friendship with Biden and Hillary Clinton.

Asked what sort of challenge Biden could make should he decide to run against Hillary (assuming she runs) for the Democratic nomination in 2016, Rendell says, "He (Biden) can't, because his political supporters and his financial supporters are all for Hillary."

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:26 AM

This could be a chicken-and-egg thing.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows there is no single public issue that a majority of Americans view as "extremely important."

This is the first time we're seeing such results since before the recession.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 8:50 AM

Not that those who follow politics need new reasons to rant, but the news these days just keeps feeding the fires of discontent.

Here are three new reasons to get riled up:

1) Former PA senator, presidential candidate, would-be movie mogul and new book author Rick Santorum tells the Harrisburg Patriot-News he's "definetly considering" another run at the White House in 2016.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 8:56 AM

A brand new study of voter turnout across America shows a continuing decline in electoral participation that suggests even though everybody hates Congress and (at least in this state) their Legislature they plan to get even by not voting and thereby keeping incumbents in office.

Moreover, it also looks like bad news for Democrats, good news for Republicans.

The Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University's School of Public Affairs says turnout in the 25 states that held statewide primaries so far this year is down nearly one-fifth from the last midterm elections in 2010. And the lowest Democratic turnout on record is what pulled it down.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 8:15 AM

Okay, let's agree that those ubiquitous emailed jokes and barbs about politicians generally aren't worth the time it takes to hit delete.

But there's one flying around the Internet now that might make you smile.

It's titled "Why did the chicken cross the road?" and it includes answers from the left and right, sort of like, you know, looking both ways.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 8:58 AM

Been watching the stuff bubbling up about Mitt Romney maybe running for president again in 2016?

Silly, right? I mean isn't two tries enough?

Still, the national polarizing forces of MSNBC and FOX are having fun with it.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 8:17 AM

Let's see what they left behind.

State lawmakers adjourned until mid-September after delivering a no-new-taxes budget to Gov. Corbett's desk and after leaving the Philly cigs tax issue unresolved in a way that threatens the opening of city schools this fall.

But they also left behind a litany of unfinished and, for those who care about government reforms, much-wished-for actions.

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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