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Archive: July, 2013

POSTED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 8:30 AM

A couple of reports this week suggest that the Federal Election Commission is unsure whether former Congressman Joe Sestak, a/k/a "The Admiral," is really running for the U.S. Senate against Pat Toomey in 2016.

The FEC has written Sestak saying he either has to stop raising money or file a statement of candidacy with the regulatory agency and the secretary of the Senate.

You can read a report from my Inky colleague Tom Fitzgerald about the order here.

POSTED: Monday, July 29, 2013, 8:56 AM

There's so much I don't understand (and no wisecracks, please).

The range is pretty broad. Why, for example, if you leave a bit of cereal in a bowl for an hour does is adhere to the bowl as if super-glued? What's in that stuff?

And why, for another example, do the billions of tax dollars spent to alleviate urban poverty or improve urban schools never seem to make much of a difference? Where does the money go?

POSTED: Friday, July 26, 2013, 8:28 AM

When the pressures of high-powered, high-profile jobs set in it's not uncommon to seek some solace.

So Friday, President Obama, still struggling to restore the economy, espcially for the middle class, and still facing obstacles on every major issue from Republicans in Congress, is skipping town for a day at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains.

The "camp" has been used by every president since FDR, has had at least three different names and owes its current name to President Eisenhower who named it for his grandson and his father, both named David.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 8:06 AM

Okay, look, I know this can get old but it’s important.

The 2014 governor’s race features an incumbent whose reelection hopes hinge on not raising taxes and creating jobs.

As I’ve written before, job numbers come in different variations: net jobs, seasonally adjusted, private sector only, not seasonally adjusted, jobs reported by households, jobs reported by employers, and on and on.

POSTED: Monday, July 22, 2013, 9:00 AM
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, Friday, July 19, 2013, in Washington, about the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A close look at the latest data on unemployment, the national economy, the stock market and the general state of the nation shows an ongoing pattern of gains for some but the same old stuck in the status quo for millions.

The numbers, as tracked by FactCheck.org, a respected project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at Penn, are periodically compiled and cover the time since President Obama took office.

The newest numbers were just released and offer a mix of good news and bad news.

POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 8:52 AM

"The worst" of anything is really a relative term.

So when people, pundits, good-government groups and publications toss around valuations of officeholders and governing bodies, they should be viewed through all perspectives.

There are those, for example, suggesting Gov. Corbett is "the worst" governor in modern Pennsylvania history. And one could argue his failure to get any big agenda items passed, his ham-handed handling of, well, just about everything, and his failure to even keep top aides (three chiefs of staff in three years) suggest the title is apt.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 8:31 AM

Whether they are called earmarks or WAMs (walking around money), little sweeteners added to government budgets often to get votes from elected officials, long have been controversial.

There are those, myself included, who think political gridlock in Washington and Harrisburg, could be loosened if more of these so-called-banned goodies were part of the process.

I wrote a column about this back in April after the U.S. Senate fell six votes shy of expanding criminal-background checks for gun buyers. And I thought about it while watching the state Legislature narrowly fail to get liquor privatization as part its annual budget battle.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 8:34 AM
Gov. Corbett (right) and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey greeted Kathleen Kane before she took her oath of office as state attorney general this month. MATT ROURKE / Associated Press

It is yet another example of how Gov. Corbett still thinks like a prosecutor not a politician.

On Monday, he finally said something about Atty. Gen. Kathleen Kane's decision not to defend the state in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Pennsylvania law banning gay marriage.

Typically, Corbett's response came well after the fact, well after Kane made national news with her action.

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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