Archive: January, 2010
President Obama was right to emphasize job creation in his State of the Union address. But he needs to make sure that funds already appropriated for that purpose are spent.
Last winter’s economic recovery act, which cost $787 billion, hasn’t met public expectations for putting people back to work because the pace of doling out the money has been too slow.
For example, the federal government has awarded more than $4.5 billion in stimulus funds so far in Pennsylvania, but less than a tenth of that has reached the recipients to date. About $3.8 billion has been awarded in New Jersey, but less than $1 billion of that has actually been spent.
Citing faulty data, the head of the city Board of Revision of Taxes has frozen assessments on most properties in Philadelphia for up to two years.
Interim BRT executive director Richard Negrin has been on the job only for little more than a month, but he did the right thing. Mayor Nutter agreed with him.
It tells you what a mess the city’s property tax system must be for Negrin to take such a drastic step. It confirms the compelling findings in The Inquirer series last year that detailed how the BRT is corrupt and broken.
Assessments are uneven, with some people paying more than they should and others paying less. Some properties have not been assessed for 20 years, while the well-connected gamed the system to get special deals.
The Obama administration made critical mistakes in its initial questioning of underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab that this nation can ill afford to repeat.
The administration can’t claim the system worked in the case of Abdulmutallab, because there is no system. There’s no defined procedure for dealing with terrorist suspects like him. Interrogators still aren’t sure how to treat a terrorist suspect once in custody — as a criminal defendant or an enemy combatant.
Abdulmutallab is the 23-year-old son of a wealthy Nigerian banker who burned his crotch when he unsuccessfully tried to set off an explosive on Christmas Day while aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest jetliner.
According to the Associated Press, Abdulmutallab started talking about the foiled attack immediately after his arrest at the Detroit Metro Airport on Dec. 25. He even told a doctor about trying to set off his bomb.
In a city that loves a parade but has serious fiscal problems, figuring out how to pay for annual celebrations and ethnic festivals hasn’t been easy.
Fortunately, Mayor Nutter and City Council made progress this week. They needed to find a way for the parades to march on without costing taxpayers thousands of dollars or risking the cancellation of traditional events.
The annual Dad Vail Regatta nearly left the Schuylkill for Rumson, N.J., and last year’s Columbus Day parade was called off, underscoring the need for a better system and uniform policies.
Parade organizers have been in an uproar ever since the city said last year that it could no longer afford to pick up the annual parade tab of about $3 million.
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
More high-school teens in the last half-century may have read that opening line from J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye than just about any other book.
The reclusive Salinger died Thursday at age 91. But his classic novel — exploring teen angst and rebellion as narrated by its main character, Holden Caulfield — lives on.
In reality, Salinger has been gone from public view for decades. The fame that followed Salinger after Catcher was published in 1951 prompted him to move from Manhattan to Cornish, N.H., where he zealously guarded his privacy.
If former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo wants to play jailhouse lawyer, he’ll have to do so without a law license now that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has disbarred him temporarily.
Only temporarily? What do you have to do in this state to get booted out of the bar for good – get convicted on more than 137 counts of corruption?
It seems that there’s no such thing as permanent disbarment under the rules governing lawyers, reports a spokeswoman for the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court.
Now that the Philadelphia School District has finally reached a new contract with its teachers, let the work begin to fix the failing schools.
Both the administration and teachers union described the pact as a “groundbreaking.” How groundbreaking the deal is for students remains to be seen.
This much is clear: the teachers got a very good financial deal and Superintendent Arlene Ackerman got the flexibility she wants to implement her reforms.
Going forward, there should be no excuses for boosting the quality of education for students, and in giving taxpayers a return on the increased investment.