Archive: April, 2012
In these tough economic times, it’s easy to understand why seven United Way agencies serving the Philadelphia region have decided to merge.
The merger that takes effect July 1 will include the United Ways of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southeast Delaware County, and New Jersey’s Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, and Greater Cumberland County. They announced plans Monday to form a single organization to raise millions of dollars, mobilize volunteers, and set an agenda to address the region’s most pressing needs.
It sounds like an excellent idea. But as Jill Michal, president and CEO of the new United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, said, “There are a lot of details to be worked out.” It was unclear, for example, whether some services and offices would be consolidated, which might mean staff reductions.
Questions and comments made by several justices during last week’s oral arguments suggested the Supreme Court might validate that portion of a controversial Arizona law that would allow local police to question persons suspected of other crimes about their immigration status.
The court wouldn’t consider the likelihood that such questioning might violate the questioned person’s civil rights because that is the subject of separate litigation.
The justices are limited to ruling on the constitutionality of specific issues brought before the high court, so they also didn’t comment on the morality of the Arizona law and others like it either proposed or enacted in other states.
By Jan C. Ting
The Obama administration’s challenge to the Arizona immigration statute SB1070 is not about its popularity, or whether the statute is wise or unwise policy. Legislatures are permitted to enact unpopular or even unwise laws. And as Chief Justice Roberts observed, and the administration’s lawyer agreed, the challenge is also not in any way about civil rights or racial profiling.
The challenge to SB1070 before the Supreme Court is over the narrow question of whether that statute enacted by the Arizona legislature conflicts with federal immigration statutes enacted by the United States Congress. Since Wednesday’s oral argument at the Supreme Court, supporters of the Arizona statute are increasingly hopeful that the high court will uphold most if not all of SB1070, and its opponents correspondingly resigned to that result.
At 1 p.m. Monday, join Dick Polman for a live chat about running mate speculation and other things political.
Most people are careful when they withdraw money from ATMs because it’s their money.
But politicians draw on OPM — other people’s money — with casual abandon because the rules on candidate expenditures from campaign funds are so vague. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a campaign expense, which is legal, and a personal expense, which is not.
Cavalier use of his OPM machine is at the root of 2008 presidential contender John Edwards’ trial. Witnesses, including an aide who agreed to pretend Edwards’ love child was his, detailed how the candidate leaned on political donors to help hide his mistress.
The Philadelphia courts are plagued by one the nation’s lowest felony conviction rate, often due to witness intimidation. City officials have neither the funding nor the resources to create new identities for people too scared to testify for the prosecution.
But a proposal now gaining momentum to have the courts return to the use of secret, indicting grand juries in select criminal cases would provide witnesses with a much-needed measure of anonymity in the early stages of trial proceedings.
Safeguarding the identity of witnesses might, in turn, make all the difference in getting a conviction when there is a justifiable fear of retaliation.
Congress should extend the lower interest rates now set on federally subsidized student loans for millions of college students without raiding a health-care fund to pay for it.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that the interest rate should be frozen for at least another year, but disagree on how to best to pay the estimated $6 billion needed to keep the rate from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in July.
In an obvious slap at President Obama, the Republican-controlled House voted Friday to extend the lower rate by slashing $6 billion from a fund created by the health-care-reform law for breast and cervical cancer screenings, child immunizations, and prenatal tests for birth defects.
Shamelessly, a man and two teenagers haul bureaus out of the back of a white pickup truck and dump them on a Camden lot. They were caught on video adding their refuse to the car parts, wooden pallets, and sofas already there.
Some people have dumped dead pets at Camden’s trash mounds. Someone left a boat. But the most brazen is a Cherry Hill construction company that used two dump trucks to drop debris on the streets in broad daylight.
Camden police impounded the trucks and have made 20 arrests since February, when the cash-starved city finally turned its attention to a problem that cost it $322,000 last year to clean up. At the same time Camden was cleaning up after illegal dumpers, it was laying off police and firefighters.