Archive: June, 2010
Budget time in Harrisburg is never easy, but Republican lawmakers in Washington just made it more difficult.
The legislature and Gov. Rendell were making slow progress toward balancing Pennsylvania’s budget in another year of weak tax collections. Democrats lowered their spending proposal from $29 billion — an unrealistic 4.1 percent increase over last year — to $28.2 billion, nearer the Senate Republicans’ demand of $27.5 billion.
It was starting to look as if Harrisburg might meet the constitutional budget deadline of June 30 for the first time in Rendell’s eight-year tenure.
But on Thursday, Senate Republicans in Washington blocked a jobs bill that would have sent $850 million in extra Medicaid funds to Pennsylvania.
New rules that limit how long airline passengers can be stuck on a stranded plane should be extended to international flights.
The latest horror story of customer disservice on a transatlantic flight from London to Newark shows the need for tougher regulations to force carriers to treat passengers humanely.
About 300 passengers were trapped Tuesday on a Virgin Atlantic plane when it was forced to land in Hartford, Conn., because of bad weather. What they endured could only be described as abuse.
They were stuck on the tarmac for more than four hours in a dark, stuffy cabin without power or air-conditioning much of the time. They were given water, but no food.
Two years after Philadelphia officials took initial steps to thwart thieves who steal properties using fraudulent deeds, hundreds of homeowners are still being victimized.
So it’s good to hear that City Council members Bill Greenlee and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez are taking steps to provide better safeguards.
The scam artists who forge paperwork to acquire Philadelphia deeds — effectively stealing homes out from under their unsuspecting owners — are exacting a steep price from law-abiding citizens for living in the city. The home-theft scams are rare in proportion to the total number of properties sold legally, but they create ill will and signal a city bureaucracy that cannot perform a very basic service.
Until recently, it was rare that scam artists were prosecuted. One notable legal victory came in the spring, when a Philadelphia man, Carlos Quiles, was sentenced to eight to 20 years in jail for stealing dozens of houses in Kensington and North Philadelphia.
State Sen. Anthony Williams set a record by getting three individuals to each contribute more than $1 million to his failed bid in this year’s Democratic primary for governor.
The extraordinary largesse raised eyebrows, even for a state with no campaign giving limits and a governor who has raised millions over the years from firms and individuals who have profited off government contracts. The three Williams donors have refused to speak about their motives, but were said to support his stance on school choice, and in particular vouchers.
In the end, the three men — Joel Greenberg ($2.07 million), Jeffrey Yass ($1.86 million), and Arthur Dantchik ($1.45 million) from Susquehanna International Group in Bala Cynwyd — wasted a lot of money on a long shot.
But another troubling part of Williams’ campaign has received too little attention. That has to do with Williams’ failure to file his campaign-finance report on time.
Center City just became a bit more interesting and visitor-friendly, thanks to two initiatives that should showcase Philadelphia artists’ work as well as better guide tourists in their travels around the city.
Mayor Nutter’s push to promote the arts received a visible boost with last week’s opening of a ground-level arts office in City Hall that includes an 800-square-foot gallery.
The gallery in Room 116 will serve as the administrative roost for the city’s chief cultural officer and arts office director, Gary P. Steuer. But even more significant, the public space provides a glimpse of how more of City Hall’s ground floor might be transformed with amenities such as a cafe and other visitor services.
Declaring a state of emergency in Chester and imposing a curfew was a drastic but necessary move to try to stem the bloodshed.
What a shame that it took a string of violence — four homicides in eight days — and the opening of a soccer stadium to bring public attention to the impoverished city.
Mayor Wendell N. Butler Jr. said he was moved to act after the senseless murder of 2-year-old Terrence Webster. The toddler was shot in the head and his parents were wounded in an attack in a public-housing development.
Stanley McChrystal’s command has become a casualty of war. But the wounds were self-inflicted. No one is irreplaceable in battle, not even the general in charge. So it must be with McChrystal. His absence only means another soldier must step up to fill the breach.
President Obama had to accept McChrystal’s resignation Wednesday. By publicly airing his disdain for this country’s civilian leaders, McChrystal and his aides, in effect, endangered U.S. troops by giving the enemy another reason to fight harder in the belief that they will ultimately prevail.
Beyond that, their remarks expressing contempt for Vice President Biden, Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry, National Security Advisor Jim Jones, and Richard C. Holbrooke, special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, amounted to an indirect slap at the president that questions a key tenet of this nation — that the military is always subservient to its civilian commander in chief.
When Governor Chris Christie delayed reforms that would cut pensions and benefits to teachers, he created an atmosphere of uncertainty that may prove deleterious to New Jersey schools.