Nominated for 10 Academy Awards this year is “American Hustle,” a movie loosely based on the 1980s Abscam scandal, in which an undercover FBI sting operation led to the corruption convictions of three Philadelphia City Council members, the mayor of Camden, six congressmen, and one U.S. senator.
Revised laws against entrapment would likely make it difficult for a federal informant to similarly pose as the representative of an Arab sheik and tempt public officials with kickbacks today. But recent news stories suggest the climate for such illegal activity might be just as ripe, which is sad when you think of the efforts made by Mayor Nutter and others to make this town less corrupt.
This past week saw the indictment of State Rep. J.P. Miranda for allegedly paying a “ghost employee,” whose job was to cash state payroll checks so part of the money could be funneled to Miranda’s sister. The Justice Department is investigating whether federal funds allocated to a gun-buyback program run by Raymond T. Jones were misspent. Jones, a former aide to Congressman Chaka Fattah, paid himself nearly $350,000. Meanwhile, a former Philadelphia Traffic Court worker pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to being part of a ticket-fixing scheme involving the judges who were his bosses, bringing to four the number of convictions in that case.
In “Historic instruction”, a letter writer states that there is a need for more black history education as opposed to learning about the holocaust.
There is already black history education in our schools, there is black history month, Martin Luther King day, to name a few.
I can’t think of any holiday or educational programs to remember the holocaust.
"Fighting Words,” Chris Mondics’ recent article on Josh Blackman, portrays him as a libertarian law professor who nonetheless “tells it like it is” to both liberal and conservative audiences. Blackman’s book on the Affordable Care Act is described as receiving praise from liberals and libertarians alike.
Yet the article ends with Blackman criticizing the ACA for having been passed with no Republican support in Congress.
This shibboleth belies any portrayal of Blackman as an objective scholar. It is well established in reliable media (such as a “Frontine” program) that before Barack Obama was even sworn in, Republican leaders in Congress elected a policy of “just say no” to whatever policy the President proposed. This stonewalling even extended to health care reform, even though the President used as his model a private-insurance-based Massachusetts plan championed by a Republican governor who would become the party’s 2012 presidential contender.
Lucky Raymond T. Jones!
This former staffer for Philadelphia Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah earned $346,394 a year. more money than his former boss, to run a questionable non-profit called Safety Net based in Roxborough.
The Safety Net, it appears, was mostly for Jones.
What a sad day for Temple University. The recent profile of Coach Fred Turoff in the Philadelphia Inquirer reveals a hard-working, long-suffering man who has devoted himself to Temple University, only to be shown the door, unceremoniously, after 38 years and despite amassing a hallway full of trophies and awards.
President Theobald is quoted as saying the decision was "excruciating," but nothing could be further from the truth. "Excruciating" would suggest that you knew the man, the program, and the dedicated athletes involved; that you had visited the gym during their practice, attended one of their home meets, watched them coach the Philadelphia Boys' Team. A decision can only be excruciating if you truly know what you are ending.
Sadly, we all know that Temple's leaders are bringing an end to a distinguished career and a high performing team that has successfully run on a shoe-string budget. They have disrespected the legacy of a loyal Temple coach who has done more to provide the city of Philadelphia with a positive view of the spirit of Temple University than all the other athletic programs combined.
It's interesting to hear that Philadelphia Streets Commissioner David Perri sees the hand of climate change in the wild weather swings we've been seeing in our region ("Winter season taxing road departments' budgets," Jan. 12).
He knows that agencies responsible for public safety had better get their budgets right, so I would guess his view would be relatively untainted by politics.
Yet Michael Smerconish's recent opinion piece ("The politicization of the weather") argues that it is precisely politics that shape some people's views on climate.
In order to prevent a feared terrorist attack at the Winter Olympics, Gov. Christie should be put in charge of bridge traffic in and out of Sochi.
This would surely frustrate and delay terrorists on their way to their destinations.
And speaking of those terrorists, they were recently described on news reports as suicide bombers who are responsible for previous attacks in Russia. Surviving suicide bombers? What terrorist training school did they attend?
I am dismayed by the growing tone of The Inquirer editorial page and our country in assuming that conservative values have gotten us to where we are.
Before the 20th century, we had vast natural resources wealth, but were still a second-rate economic power. Except for the rare few, the daily lives of most people were largely subject to tyranny and poverty. In the 20th century, led by progressives like the Roosevelts and Lyndon Johnson who supported unions, workers rights, minimum wages, and safety-net programs like Social Security, we created a society with the idea that everyone should thrive with no one left behind. Great progress made us the envy of the world.
In the mid and late 20th century we reaped the benefits, standing on the shoulders of these giants who fought for the good of all, but then we got complacent and greedy thinking it was a god given right. We are still rolling along thanks to the momentum of these giants; however, since Reagan we have taken these benefits for granted and are now starting to sink back. Our scholastic achievemnts are diminishing relative to the rest of the world and the daily lives of most people are once again being subjected to poverty and tyranny while the few at the top reap ever greater benefits.