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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: May, 2012

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 10:16 AM

And in the category of, hey, in politics ya can't do nuthin' without tickin' somebody off, Gov. Corbett is catching flak for nominating his chief of staff to be an Allegheny County judge.

First, fellow-Republican and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille says he had a deal with Corbett not to fill judicial vacancies because courts are in a fiscal pinch and judges cost money: in the case of county judges, $200,000 a-pop.

Castille told the Harrisburg Patriot-News he was surprised to hear of the nomination of Corbett's now-former chief of staff Bill Ward since Castille was recently with Corbett and Ward and nobody mentioned the plan.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 11:19 AM

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

BE: First of all, what's a Wolf Trump? Is it like Wolf Trap, the wonderful performance center near Vienna, Va., just outside Washington?

JB: Hardly. It's the deadly combination of CNN's Mr. Bluster, a.k.a. Wolf Blitzer, and America's Mr. Bluster, a.k.a. Donald Trump.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 10:36 AM

Long holiday weekends are times to get away from the problems of the world and just relax and, in my case, try not to growl too much.

I tried during this past Memorial Day Weekend, but to no avail.

Two stories got me growling in my normal workday mode: one in the New York Times; one from the Associated Press.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 11:08 AM

There's at least a chance that former Democratic House Speaker Bill DeWeese and former Republican House Speaker John Perzel could meet up behind bars this week.

DeWeese on Monday began serving time for public corruption with processing and paperwork at Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg. He might already be in (or on his way to) the nearby State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill where Perzel is being held for what's called "diagnostic evaluation and programming" before being sent off to his "home" institution.

Perzel reported April 24. Processing, according to state corrections officials, takes four to six weeks, so the two have a chance of bumping into each other. Both are sentenced to roughly two to five years in separate scams involving using tax dollars for political campaigns.

POSTED: Monday, May 14, 2012, 11:14 AM

Each year around this time we see reports of gifts given to our elected officials and each year it furthers the impression that public service in PA too often is more about perks than it is about serving the public.

This is such an easy thing to fix: ban gifts.

The Inky reported Saturday that Gov. Corbett got about $800 worth of tickets to NFL playoff games and a Pittsburgh Penguins game; $10,141 to attend conferences and meetings, mostly paid for by the Republican Governors Association; and $1,405 for use of a private plane, paid for by the head of a group of cosmetology schools, to attend an event in Pittsburgh.

POSTED: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 10:01 AM

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

JB: Yo, boss, the political pot is full these days; anything to your liking?

BE: Not really. Mostly stale, dried-out, over-cooked leftovers.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 12:47 PM

At a time when so many public problems go unaddressed, when so much of government seems ineffectual, it's nice to stumble across something government's done that actually seems to work.

The state Supreme Court, for example, just released the latest data on medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania that shows action taken years ago continues to produce results.

Such lawsuits, once a staple of big-money payouts -- especially in Philadelphia where courts were clogged with cases and lawyers hit Vegas-level jackpots -- impact health costs and  force doctors to over-test and spend more time in depositions than in patient care.

POSTED: Monday, May 7, 2012, 10:13 AM

If you're on a pension or wish you were, or if you put a chunk of every paycheck into a retirement plan, you probably shouldn't read this.

It could cause you a little tension.

It is just another example of how your isolated, greedy state legislature takes care of itself at the risk and ruination of others.

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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