Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Oct. 22

The Daily Numbers: 11 months, age of tot saved from drowning in a bathtub by 2 first responders in Ridley.

1 suspect shot by police after a holdup and chase that started in Clifton Heights and ended in Upper Darby last night.

5,000 dollar reward now being offered for information on the suspects who held up the Chickie’s and Pete’s in Upper Darby Sunday.

16,400 dollars, along with 283 bucks from the manager, along with her handbag and a wedding ring valued at $5,000.

15, age of student alleged to have engaged in sex with a Garnet Valley teacher. The teacher has now resigned his post while facing charges.

19, age of former lacrosse start at the Haverford School who yesterday admitted his role as a ringleader in a Maine Line pot ring.

2 possible sightings of Eric Frein, the man wanted in fatal ambush shooting of a state trooper. Schools in the Poconos were closed in the area of the search yesterday.

2 million dollars in new funding delivered to Fair Acres by Gov. Tom Corbett this week.

30,000 dollars raised for Navy SEAL Foundation by McKee Builders.

17, age of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was honored with the Liberty Medal last night in Philly.

1 million prize won by a Temple nurse in a contest to come up with a new flavor of potato chip. Her winner? Wasabi Ginger.

5 football coaches at Sayreville High in New Jersey suspended in a hazing flap.

19. age of Main Line teen charged in a fatal heroin overdose of a friend.

5 years in prison for former Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius in the shooting death of his girlfriend in South Africa.

1 American being held in North Korea freed; 2 others remain in captivity.

93, age of former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee who died yesterday.

31 states where unemployment fell last month.

7-1 win for the Giants in Game 1 over the Royals in K.C. last night.

2 run homer in 1st inning for former Phil Hunter Pence.

4-0 loss for the Flyers on the road in Chicago last night.

32 saves for Blackhawks’ goalie Antii Raanta filling in for starter Corey Crawford.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Yes, it stung last night for Phillies fans to watch as Hunter Pence homered in the 1st inning as the Giants smoked the Royals in Game 1 of the World Series.

I Don’t Get It: The NRA now can sue local municipalities over local gun control laws. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Woodly firefighters Cory McCans and Jamal Page. Their quick actions are being credited with saving the life of a 10-month old toddler who fell into a bathtub.

Quote Box: “I really can’t put it into words, just thank you so much.”

- John Carbonaro, father of the tot.

A salute to Ben Bradlee

Every day I get phone calls from irate readers who challenge some of the material that appears in the newspaper or our website.

They insist we've been unfair, that we have an ax to grind or hold some other bias against them, or that we just flat-out got our facts wrong.

I almost almost reply the same way: We stand by our story.

Those who feel victimized by our reporting vow to sue, inevitably adding their opinion of the newspaper. "Rag" is usually their word of choice. One aggrieved reader once told me the only reason he still got the newspaper was for hygiene facilities after he went to the bathroom, if you get my drift.

The people who work for me need to know that I stand behind their work.

The truth is I'm a pretty small fish in this business.

Ben Bradlee was not.

Bradlee was the iconic editor of the Washington Post who led their investigation of the Watergate break-in, which eventually brought down a president, and raised journalism to a new level.

A lot of people didn't believe the Post's reporting on the "third-rate burglary" that led to the office of President Richard Nixon.

Even people in this business had their doubts. It didn't really make any sense. Nixon was pretty much assured re-election. Why would he do it? But Bradlee and the Post persevered.

Ben Bradlee died yesterday at the age of 93. He was suffering from dementia.

Anyone who works in this business, or appreciates the role of a free press, is in his debt.

It is said that the Watergate story, in particular the way the Post covered it, spurred a lot of people to go into journalism. I was one of them.

I've never had the kind of pressure applied here that Bradlee faced as the powers that be put the squeeze on the Post to back off their Watergate coverage.

Bradlee never flinched.

Every time I get a nasty phone call, I think of Bradlee and the turmoil he faced in chasing that story. I know how easy it would have been for him - and the paper - to cave and pull the plug on Watergate.

This likely would not be the same country if they had.

And journalism - as troubled as it is these days - would have been forever diminished.

Thanks, Ben Bradlee.

You can put a -30- on that story now.

The answer to your Crossword questions

A long time ago, the man who hired me to work at this newspaper gave me a sage bit of advice.

"Never mess around with the comics or puzzles."

The truth is he didn't use the word 'mess.' I've sanitized it a bit, the word that is, not the message.

I think back at that bit of advice every time we tinker with the content of the print edition.

If you haven't noticed, we recently rolled out a fairly distinctive new redesign.

I have talked to scores of readers who wanted to weigh in on the change.

A couple of themes have developed. Many readers - especially young ones - like the design. They think it's better organized and a quicker read, something they need what with the manic pace we all live our lives in this technology turbo-charged world of information we swim in these days.

Our older, loyal, longtime readers have been pretty consistent in thinking that the type is too light and too difficult to read.

That is not, however, the item that has drawn the most scorn in our readers' reviews our our new look.

I took great care to note that we "saved" all of our regular features, including our popular comics and all our puzzles.

There are very few readers of the newspaper who are as devoted and loyal as those wordsmiths who every day - and Sunday - cross wits with our Crossword Puzzle.

For the last two Sundays, we have let them down.

Not because we didn't include the Sunday Crossword. It's been right there. But the answer to the previous week's puzzle has been nowhere to be found.

Readers let me know it - loud and often. They needed that answer like I need coffee in the morning.

I am happy to announce that we have retrieved the errant answer and it appears on P. 38 of today's print edition.

And we will anchor it starting this Sunday so that those readers who are so inclined are not left scratching their head wondering where the answers are.

What's a four-letter word for editor?

Uh, never mind.

A blast from the past for Phils' fans

It didn't take a long for a little salt to be poured into Phillies fans wounds as they hunkered down to watch the World Series.

Yes, that was our old pal Hunter Pence blasting a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to propel the San Francisco Giants to an early lead in Game One of the Fall Class against the upstart Kansas City Royals.

The Giants never looked back as they rolled to an easy 7-1 win.

Looking back is just about all Phillies fans do these days. In particular they have to wonder what the team was doing when they gave up on Pence so quickly.

He lasted just a year with the Phils.

They haven't had an answer in right field since.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Oct. 21

The Daily Numbers: 16,400 dollars ripped off by 2 armed men who held up Chickie’s and Pete’s in Drexel Hill early Sunday. Police believe it was an inside job.

1 dog shot by police and a 2nd that had to be put down during a vicious attack in Upper Darby.

17 of November, when Concord Planning Commission will vote on the controversial plan to develop part of the beloved Beaver Valley tract.

230 acres of the 318-acre tract that is targeted for development.

5,500 signatures on a petition that opposed the initial plan to develop the entire tract, including 314 single-family homes.

160 houses in the revised plans.

124 acres that would be retained as open space.

3.2 miles of the 8 miles of hiking and biking trails on the tract that would be preserved.

2 million dollars in state funding for the Fair Acres Center, delivered yesterday by Gov. Tom Corbett.

10 Plant Tower demolition last Saturday at the former Sunoco Refinery that did not go as planned and has Lower Chi commissioner fuming. The demolition created a large plume of dust.

1 body found along Bishop Drive in Chester Heights.

19 million dollar profit for Delta Airlines Monroe Refinery in Trainer.

9 gas stations in western Delco sporting prices under $3 a gallon.

5 Sears stores that will close in Pa. None of them are in Delco. The King of Prussia store will be converted into a Primark retail store.

7 percent, all that separates Tom Corbett from Tom Wolf these days.

234 emails either sent of received by Justice Seamus McCaffery that have earned him a suspension from the state high court.

140 dollars a month, how much Philadelphia teachers would have to pay for their health care after the School Reform Commission axed their contract. A judge has now halted the move, at least temporarily.

41, age of Monica Lewinsky, who spoke to the Forbes Under 30 confab in Philly yesterday about the pitfalls of ‘shame’ and cyberbullying.

25 dollar fine now in place in Philly for possession of small amounts of pot, as opposed to criminal charges. 7 women slain in Indiana, it’s believed to be the work of a serial killer.

30-23 win for the Steelers over the Texans in Monday Night Football.

10 point deficit near the end of 1st half that the Steelers turned into an 11 point lead in just 1 minute.

2 key offensive linemen, Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis, who are making progress as they look to return from injuries.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

The Eagles should be getting Mychal Kendricks back at linebacker on Sunday when they resume the season in the desert vs. Arizona. That’s good news.

I Don’t Get It: Monica Lewinsky. She was speaking out against cyber-bullying at the Forbes Under 30 conference.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Shane Victorino. The former Phillie paid a visit to the parents of ‘Bucket List Baby’ Shane Haley over the weekend. Class act.

Quote Box: “It is a gift we will treasure forever.”

- The Haley family, on the Phillies jersey with Shane stenciled on the back delivered by Victorino.

Another reason to like Shane Victorino

I always liked Shane Victorino.

And that was before the Phillies won a World Series in 2008.

Victorino donated a ton of money to build a playground in Philly. He went out of his way to become part of the Philadelphia community.

He has not forgotten us, even after he was dispatched by the Phils and wound up with the Boston Red Sox.

Last weekend Victorino was back in the area, paying a visit to a local family and paying homage to another person named Shane. Shane Michael Haley was born On Oct. 9. He died a few hours later. His parents, Jenna Gassew and Daniel Haley Jr., of Upper Darby, had created a Facebook page called 'Prayers for Shane' after they learned their unborn son suffered from a rare illness that made left it little chance of surviving outside the womb. They created a 'bucket list' of their favorite places they wanted to visit while Shane was still developing in his mother's stomach.

Victorino visted the family during a luncheon they held at Casey's Restaurant & Saloon in Drexel Hill on Saturday. He gave them a Phillies jersey with 'Shane' stenciled on the back.

Victorino has always been a class act. His actions in thinking of Jenna and Dan in the wake of the death of their newborn only make that even more apparent.

It's enough to make Phillies fans mimic a fairly famous movie and make a pitch to the Phillies organization: Come back, Shane.

Judging the judges: It's ugly stuff

In my Daily Numbers column that I compile each day, I have an item I refer to as "I don't get it."

I guess at this point you could include the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in that category.

Last night the high court suspended Justice Seamus McCaffery for his role in the ugly porn email scandal that is roiling Harrisburg and much of state government.

McCaffery already has apologized for sending or receiving 234 emails with sexually explicit content. He called it a "lapse of judgment."

Ya think?

Maybe McCaffery thought he was still presiding over Eagles Court. Yes, this is the same Judge McCaffery who gained quite the local and national acclaim by lording over the court set up in the basement of Veterans Stadium to deal with drunken Eagles fans.

In the meantime, there is a virulent political overtone that hangs over this story.

First, a lot of people believe all of this is a political witch hunt being pushed aggressively by Attorney General Kathleen Kane. She uncovered the cache of racy emails during the course of her investigation of how then-Attorney General - now Governor - Tom Corbett handled the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

It already has cost several state officials their jobs.

McCaffery believes the case against him is just the latest in his high-profile disagreements with Chief Justice Ron Castille. Both are from Philadelphia. Both are former Marines. McCaffery is a Democrat, Castille a Republican.

McCaffery was quick to apologize for his conduct, but could not resist firing back at the person he believes is behind airing all this dirty laundry in public.

He made hsi feelings for Castille clear last week when he offered his apology. He was still at it last night, blasting Castille for a "vindictive pattern of attacks" against him.

His attorney, Dion Rassias, noted that "today's action should surprise no one, given Chief Justice Castille's relentless crusade to destroy his career and reputation."

A third justice, Michael Eakin, was drawn into this quagmire last week, accusing McCaffery of threatening him with another cache of emails tied to Eakin. Eakin says McCaffery wanted him to put pressure on Castille to back off his attacks, and alleged that McCaffery made it clear he would go public with the emails on Eakin if he did not help out. McCaffery vehemently denies making any such threat.

At this point, you almost have to stand back and remind yourself that these are the robed men who sit on the highest court in Pennsylvania.

What the hell are these guys thinking?

There are a couple of things that come to mind here. One, don't they understand the kind of perception this is going to deliver to the public. Dirty laundry has never been raunchier.

Second, there is the whole idea of doing this kind of stuff on state computers, and on the taxpayers' time. Sure, some of it was done on personal computers, but what does it say about these judges that they would even consider doing this at all.

And maybe most important, how are women who work in these offices and often appear before these judges supposed to feel knowing of their predilection for porn.

It's ugly stuff.

One more reason to proudly proclaim: Pennsylvania, Land of Giants.