Friday, November 27, 2015

Archive: October, 2010

POSTED: Monday, October 25, 2010, 4:13 PM
Ryan Howard’s “Mighty Casey” strikeout to end the game, series, and 2010 season was a bitter, but fitting, end to the Phillies’ up and down year. The Phils came up short in their quest to become the first National League team since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals to win three consecutive pennants. The game-six loss to the San Francisco Giants seemed to hurt even more than dropping the World Series to the Yankees last year.
But the fact that a third trip to the World Series was even within reach testifies to the success of an entertaining Phillies season. Roy Halladay’s perfect game in May and no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds to start the playoffs were the bookend highlights. The mid-season trade for pitcher Roy Oswalt, followed by the team’s red hot 49-19 finish to win a fourth straight division title, had fans primed for another parade down Broad Street.
But inconsistent hitting from many of the Phillies’ top players finally caught up with the ball club. Ryan Howard had no home runs or RBIs in the playoffs. Add to that Chase Utley’s .212 batting average and Jimmy Rollins’ .206 hitting percentage, and you can see why there will be no more baseball in Philadelphia this year.
But each of those players, and others, deserve credit for battling through injuries during the season. As Howard put it: The Phillies “overcame” where other teams would have “folded.” That says a lot about the improved state of baseball in Philadelphia, and about why this team left fans wanting more.
Inquirer Editorial Board @ 4:13 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, October 25, 2010, 1:00 AM

The heated contest for an open congressional seat in Delaware County could turn on an ethical controversy over a Democratic nominee who condoned helping a third-party candidate regarded as a GOP spoiler.

Two-term Democratic state representative Bryan Lentz says he sees no harm in his volunteers gathering thousands of petition signatures for a scattershot third-party challenger, Jim Schneller, who isn’t ready to be in congress.
Lentz’ dismissive explanation — “politics is politics” — for helping to get Schneller on the ballot is a jarring admission and fatal character flaw by a former Philadelphia prosecutor.

If the matchup comes down to credibility and integrity, though, voters have an attractive alternative: Former U.S. Attorney PATRICK MEEHAN, who earns The Inquirer’s endorsement.

Inquirer editorial board @ 1:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, October 24, 2010, 11:00 AM

I recently bought Pat Meehan a beer in an Amtrak coach car on a late-night train from Washington to Philadelphia. Meehan, the former U.S. attorney, is locked in one of the hottest House races in the nation against State Rep. Brian Lentz in Pennsylvania’s Seventh District. I have known Meehan for years, but we hadn’t planned to take the same train.

We shared an observation about this election cycle: the lack of conversation about social issues. Meehan told me that out on the stump, it is all about the economy. I told him the next telephone call I receive on my radio program about social issues will be the first this fall.

Our assessment is compatible with an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week, wherein 61 percent of respondents predicted the economy would “get worse or stay the same in the next 12 months.”

Michael Smerconish @ 11:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, October 24, 2010, 9:00 AM

The centerpiece of Tom Corbett’s campaign for governor — the no-new-taxes pledge — has roused bipartisan doubt.

As the Republican candidate himself reminds voters in his TV ads, Gov. Rendell said Corbett “needs to have his head examined.” Senate GOP leader Dominic Pileggi said in June, “I don’t see how he can do it, frankly.”

Given next year’s estimated budget deficit of $5 billion and the looming pension crisis, there’s a concern that the attorney general isn’t facing up to fiscal realities.

Kevin Ferris @ 9:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, October 24, 2010, 12:10 AM
Joe Sestak campaigning for U.S. Senate earlier this year at 52nd and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)
From health care to Social Security to bank bailouts, the candidates for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat are polar opposites. The campaigns of Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak reflect the nationwide purge of moderates from both parties. But Toomey, who served in the House from 1999-2005, has played a more prominent role in this counterproductive trend.
As the former head of the antitax Club for Growth in Washington, Toomey helped to defeat fellow Republicans who cooperated with Democrats too often. One targeted lawmaker was Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania’s longest-serving senator who switched parties rather than face Toomey in the GOP primary. Specter was then beaten in the Democratic primary by Sestak, the candidate to his left. Toomey, having done his part for party purity, now asks independent voters to believe he can be bipartisan in Washington. The chances for that seem remote, at best.
Sestak, 58, the two-term congressman representing most of Delaware County, is a retired admiral. He believes government still has an important role to play in improving peoples’ lives. That’s one reason why he supported the health-care reform law. And it’s one reason why The Inquirer endorses JOE SESTAK. His 31 years of military experience give Sestak a unique perspective when fewer and fewer members of Congress are veterans. He also was director of defense policy in the Clinton White House. Widespread budget cuts will be needed in the years ahead. Sestak understands more than most lawmakers where to find waste in the Defense Department.
Like most of his Democratic colleagues, Sestak would raise income taxes only on families earning more than $250,000 per year and extend tax cuts for all others. Toomey, an ardent tax-cutter during his six years in the House, would make the tax cuts for permanent even for the super rich. That would add far more to deficits than the Democratic plan. Toomey, 48, was once a currency trader on Wall Street and later owned a restaurant in Allentown. He has a grasp of economic issues, and advocates less government across the board. But Toomey would unnecessarily repeal the health-care law in favor of solutions such as deducting the cost of health insurance premiums, something he acknowledges “won’t have much of an impact” on people who can’t afford health insurance.
In a Sestak campaign ad, Toomey says that his voting record in the House was “indistinguishable” from that of former conservative Sen. Rick Santorum. Actually, Toomey was being modest. His voting record was even more conservative than Santorum’s, whose far-right views were rejected by voters in a landslide in 2006. Toomey’s personality may not be as abrasive as Santorum’s, but his votes would rub a majority of Pennsylvanians the wrong way. Sestak has moderate, reasonable ideas for promoting clean energy and providing small businesses with incentives to create more jobs. In the Senate, Sestak’s views would be much more in touch with most Pennsylvanians.
Inquirer Editorial Page @ 12:10 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, October 24, 2010, 12:05 AM
Dan Onorato visits with Joan Zaccagnini and her 18-month-old granddaughter, Julia Maria DeLuca, on Broad Street in Philadelphia. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer)
In a year of colorful tea-party candidates and voter unrest, the Pennsylvania governor’s race has barely registered on the Richter scale — at least in this part of the state. That’s surprising, given the next governor faces daunting challenges that will greatly impact residents. Key issues include yawning budget deficits, a looming pension crisis, and developing coherent tax and environmental policies for the booming gas-drilling industry, which could reshape large swaths of the state.
To be sure, neither major-party candidate has the outsize personality to match outgoing Gov. Rendell. But one candidate does have the experience and track record needed to run a complex bureaucracy and tackle the tough issues facing Pennsylvania.  That person is DAN ONORATO, a Democrat, whom The Inquirer endorses for governor. As the government head of Allegheny County, which encompasses Pittsburgh, Onorato, 49, has confronted budget deficits and demonstrated an ability to reform and shrink a bloated bureaucracy.
Upon becoming the Allegheny County executive in 2004, Onorato eliminated more than 600 jobs, saving taxpayers more than $30 million a year. He abolished six elected row offices, and worked with the city of Pittsburgh to consolidate services. Onorato has not raised property taxes during his tenure as county executive. That’s a record of reform and fiscal restraint that is needed in Harrisburg, where the next governor will face a budget deficit of up to $5 billion next year.
Having spent his life in Pittsburgh, Onorato is an outsider who promises to take on the political establishment and Harrisburg’s culture. He wants to eliminate the legislative leaders’ slush fund, cut the size of the legislature, reform the Delaware River Port Authority, and cut business taxes. Onorato has tried to distance himself from Rendell, whose popularity has plummeted. But he wants to continue to boost funding for public education, which has been Rendell’s major initiative.
Onorato has not committed to holding the line on taxes, and supports a tax on Marcellus Shale gas drillers. That’s one of the key differences that separates him from Republican candidate Tom Corbett.Corbett, who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from gas companies, opposes the gas tax, arguing that a tax will undermine the new industry. But the state needs the revenue, and the drillers should pay for the resource it is taking from the ground. A large chunk of the tax revenue would go to mitigate the environmental impact of the drilling.
As attorney general, Corbett, 61, distinguished himself with the investigation and indictments of legislators who gave state employees illegal bonuses. He’s been an excellent prosecutor, but has failed to make a compelling case to be the next governor, other than it is a Republican’s turn.
Inquirer Editorial Board @ 12:05 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Saturday, October 23, 2010, 11:00 AM

Philadelphia should change its tax code.

The city’s taxes are so out of line with those in the rest of the region — and, for that matter, with the nation and the world — that they form a major barrier to economic success. The city’s economy has enormous potential, but it will never be realized without an overhaul of the tax system.

Consider: Under current law, a successful business located in the city could pay more than half its profits in taxes, including payments to the Internal Revenue Service, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the city. This is well above what businesses pay almost anywhere else. There are many reasons firms might want to locate in Philadelphia, but they have to be really good ones to overcome this tax hurdle.

Mark Zandi @ 11:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Saturday, October 23, 2010, 10:35 AM

In much the same way that Frenchmen are more likely than average Philadelphians to take to the streets in protest to free convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia voter-intimidation case surrounding a group called the New Black Panther Party continues to fascinate from afar.

That’s apparent from the Washington Post article posted Friday on distant ramifications from the case.

For locals who have forgotten the details, this is the Election Day 2008 incident in which a couple of guys in paramilitary get-ups, one slapping a nightstick in his hand, were videotaped at a North Philadelphia polling place. The incident generated more attention nationwide than here, largely due to a conservative web site that posted the video, which went viral.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 10:35 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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