Archive: February, 2010
President Obama is right to forge ahead with a bipartisan commission that will try to reduce deficits, after too many senators bailed on the idea.
Obama plans to create a panel by executive order to suggest budget reforms that would slow the rise of the national debt.
This effort is needed because the government’s red ink tops $1 trillion annually, and long-term deficits of entitlement programs keep growing.
Amid all the usual Super Bowl hype this past week, an important, if sobering, public-health message about pro football was being delivered.
Time magazine devoted a cover story to what it called “the most dangerous game” and the punishing physical toll exacted in the National Football League, which has crippled retirees mentally and physically.
That’s a warning not only to the next generation of NFL players, but also to the millions of other young athletes who are unlikely to don shoulder pads after high school.
Philadelphia has miles to go before delivering on the promise of being a truly walkable city, as Inquirer architecture writer Inga Saffron reminds us once again today with her article on shielding pedestrians at construction sites.
Saffron writes about New York City's efforts to design aesthetically pleasing sidewalk sheds - an attempt to beautify construction sites now shrouded in typical scaffolding. It's ironic that a Philadelphia-trained architect, Young-Hwan Choi, has been chosen by Gotham officials to design their prototype for a fancier pedestrian shed. In Philly, pedestrians are lucky to find a construction site downtown that makes way for them. The rule too often is that the sidewalk is blocked off, as is the case alongside the Convention Center expansion (for years, now.)
On that issue, Philadelphia should mandate - as does New York - that sidewalk access be preserved during any construction or renovation project. Builders say it's not feasible on some of the city's streets, but that's a cop-out on safety. To do less than insist that all sites provide shielded pedestrian access simply is a slap in the face to anyone who walks in the city.
Developers have long complained about the Byzantine permitting process in Philadelphia that costs both time and money, and chases businesses away from the city.
A new study commissioned by Mayor Nutter underscores the problem. The study released last week describes the permit process as “incomprehensible.”
Despite slight improvements, the system remains essentially broken. For example, processing times in 2008 for such basics as a plumbing permit ranged from more than five months to 11/2 years.
Eight years after President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind law, the Obama administration seems poised to leave much of the law behind.
President Obama this week set the stage for a sweeping overhaul as part of his proposed $3.8 trillion fiscal 2011 budget.
But any changes would need approval in Congress. Given the partisan divide in Washington, that may be a tough sell.