Monday, August 3, 2015

POSTED: Monday, August 3, 2015, 8:45 AM

Well, yeah, taxes are bad, schools are bad, driving is bad but, hey, is Philly really as bad as all that?

A new national survey of 62 big cities ranks Philadelphia (gulp) 60th.

Only Memphis and Detroit rank lower.

POSTED: Thursday, July 30, 2015, 9:01 AM

It's hard not to notice -- as I note in a Thursday column -- the uptick in public corruption, especially in Philly and Pennsylvania.

The number of investigations, the nature of the charges and the ongoing outcomes of guilty pleas and convictions points to serious lapses leading to criminality among many serving in public life.

But it's also hard not to notice simultaneous declines in journalism which, when at its best, is THE public watchdog of those in public posts. And it's equally hard not to think there's a correlation between such declines and the rise of wrongdoing.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 8:36 AM

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

JB: Yo, chief, you see the cheesesteak struck again?

BE: You mean current Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker's Philly faux pas?

POSTED: Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 9:00 AM

The announcement this week that Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the 16th Republican candidate running for the presidential nomination ought to suggest something (that's already pretty obvious) to the powers that be in the GOP.

Let's assume when the Republican clown car filled with the hapless and the hopeless runs out of gas -- I mean, come on, you know most of these people are running to juice their brand to make money on books, speeches and TV gigs -- the GOP will start looking for a national ticket with a shot of actually winning the White House.

That means carrying critical swing states in the fall of 2016. And, yeah, I know lots can happen between now and then but it strikes me that safe, proven candidates from such states represent the best chance the party has.

POSTED: Monday, July 20, 2015, 8:53 AM

You know how in politics the obvious winners so often seem to win?

And you know how money raised and spent is usually THE top indicator of which candidates prevail?

Well, looking at the first six months of fundraising in the 2016 race for president suggests the predictable/obvious nominees are likely to be (shocker) Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 8:47 AM

The GOP's 2012 second-place finisher Rick Santorum, struggling for relevance in the current over-crowded presidential cycle, is at last getting some national notice.

Problem is it's not likely to improve his hanging-by-a-thread climb back toward the top of the pack.

Already polling at a national average of just 2 percent, which threatens exclude him from next month's first Republican debate scheduled to feature the top 10 GOP candidates, Santorum picked up a Washington Post headline Tuesday: "Rick Santorum's 2012 support abandons him."

POSTED: Thursday, July 9, 2015, 8:38 AM

Hey, kids, guess what?

State leaders in Harrisburg have reached agreement on a few things.

Not, of course, on liquor or pensions or a shale tax or any taxing or spending or education dollars or a new (now more than one week late) budget because, you know, in Harrisburg, a.k.a. the Island of Misfit Toys, there has to be lots of games during lots of recesses before ANYTHING approaching actual work or progress gets done.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 8:50 AM

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Legislature's infamous, greedy and obscene 2005 pay heist.

Lawmakers voted themselves pay increases ranging from 16 percent to 54 percent and did so -- since the state Constitution says you can't increase your salary during your term of office -- by calling the money "unvouchered expenses."

Gov. Rendell signed the legislation.

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

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

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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