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Archive: July, 2011

POSTED: Friday, July 29, 2011, 12:40 PM

As we head into the weekend with the debt ceiling crisis threatening to worsen an already bad economy, a couple things stick in my craw.

First and most obvious is the ongoing ineptitude of those bozos in the bubble of Washington-world -- the high-end members of the Obama administration and our sorry excuse for a Congress -- who live under the protection we provide, including top pay, pensions, perks and primo health-care, and yet consistently flub any chance to make our lives easier.

Not only are they scaring seniors with threats of curtailed, late or non-payment of Social Security checks, they rattle the rotten economy by failing to pass a simple extension of our debt to pay for the things that THEY approved.

POSTED: Thursday, July 28, 2011, 10:14 AM

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

JB: Ya know how folks get all riled up over the paydays of "public servants," Arlene Ackerman's all-star salary being perhaps the most exteme example?

BE: I do.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 10:16 AM

Two weeks ago, state Rep. Mike McGeehan urged state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis to create a whistleblower hotline for Philly school teachers with info about potential cheating on standardized tests that reflect marked improvement in pupil performance.

McGeehan said that after a recent "hair-raising" meeting with a number of teachers who told him about "rampant cheating" he's convinced the district isn't acting on such info and that teachers aren't coming forward for fear of retribution.

A state audit report of `09 test scores suggests irregularties in test results at 29 city schools. The district is reviewing that report. The state is also looking at other recent years.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 10:21 AM

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

JB: Yo, boss, did you contact your congressperson last night like the President asked?

BE: Huh?

POSTED: Monday, July 25, 2011, 10:43 AM

My regular column today features Mayor Nutter's 33-year-old director of communications, Desiree Peterkin Bell.

She's an interesting, low-profile Nutter aide whose resume includes four years working for Mayor Bloomberg in New York and four more working for Mayor Cory Booker in Newark.

Struck me as an impressive resume for one so young. I'm not alone in this thought.

POSTED: Friday, July 22, 2011, 10:15 AM

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

BE: Hey, JB, did Corbett run over Scarnati's dog?

JB: An excellent question, boss. You're talking about the fact Republican Senate President Joe Scarnati, a key player in moving any legislation, yesterday seemed to trash the idea of selling off the state stores anytime soon, a plan backed by House Republican leaders and Republican Gov. Corbett.

POSTED: Thursday, July 21, 2011, 9:47 AM

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

JB: Boss, ya know how new open-records attitudes and new reform-minded electeds were gonna change the way Harrisburg does business?

BE: Yeah, I vaguely remember something about that, why?

POSTED: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 10:19 AM

My regular column today questions why state lawmakers pushing for new booze laws such as selling off the state stores and turning liquor and wine over to the private sector aren't also pushing to relax state restrictions on the sale of beer.

Seemed like a good question given the hot weather we're having.

But I know from past experience that any Harrisburg effort to ease the access to any kind of hooch is always met with resistance from socially conservative rural lawmakers and state and national groups fighting drunk-driving and underage drinking; not to mention unions and licensed beer distributors.

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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