Friday, January 30, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 30

The Daily Numbers: 26 vehicle break-ins reported in Aston Township since Jan. 23.
50 car break-ins in nearby Thornbury now believed to be the work of 3 Wilmington men.
10 percent of $50,000 bail posted for former Haverford High teacher Curtis Key, who is charged with corruption of minors in an alleged sexual affair with a student.
2 times in a month an Upper Darby woman has failed to show up in court in Montgomery County to be sentenced on charges she beat an elderly Alzheimer’s patient.
2 Delco schools that are getting in on the fun today by holding Wing Bowls of their own.
37, age of police officer in Middletown Township, Bucks County, who was struck and killed by a car while writing a ticket on the side of the road. Officer Chris Jones was a 10-year veteran and father of 3.
1,500 people who packed a Barnes & Noble store in Willow Grove for an appearance by comedian Steve Harvey.
3,600 dollars in unpaid bridge tolls for a New Castle, Del., woman who had apparently violated the toll 132 times. Police have now booted her car.
268 million dollars in unspent money in the state budget that Republicans are calling on Gov. Ed Rendell to use to balance the books.
0 dollars, what it will cost to get into the Brandywine River Museum Saturday to see a special exhibit of works by late Chadds Ford icon Andrew Wyeth.
1 million Pennsylvanians who do not have health care coverage, according to a new study.
230,000 dollar settlement between the state and Peoples Benefit Services Inc. of Chester County over claims connected to a discount prescription card.
6,000 positions being cut by AstraZeneca, the drug giant with a HQ in Wilmington. There are 4,500 workers at the Wilmington office. It’s not know how many cuts will hit there.
2.5 billion dollar loss reported by Wells Fargo.
18 billion dollars in bonuses doled out by Wall Street execs last year even as they were seeking federal bailout funds.
400 jobs being cut by Walt Disney Co.’s TV division. Nothing Goofy about that.
45.2 billion dollars in profits reported last year by oil giant Exxon-Mobil.
82 percent dip in earnings for SEI Investments, based in Oaks, Pa.
6 children back at home for the California mom who delivered octuplets. That makes a brood of 14.
12 minutes, how long Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are expected to play at Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show.
27, age of Havertown native and Olympic swimmer Brendan Hansen, who says he will take a break from the sport.
4 Olympic medals and 13 more from World Championships for Hansen.
67, age of Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who announced yesterday he is battling a recurrence of melanoma and a tumor on his spine.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Who needs the Super Bowl. We have Wing Bowl. We’ll take our wing-ding any day.
*
I Don’t Get It: Police say 2 kids in Downingtown, Chester County, are in custody for setting car fires. They say the teens, 15 and 17, wanted “the attention and excitement” surrounding the series of arson fires that is plaguing nearby Coatesville. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Do yourself a favor on Saturday. Head to the Brandywine River Museum and check out the special exhibit featuring the work of the late renowned Chadds Ford artist Andrew Wyeth. On display will be one of his most famous works, “Christina’s World,” on loan from Museum of Modern Art in New York. Here’s the best part. It’s free all day on Saturday.
*
Quote Box: “He was the core of our family.”
-- Kyle Shephard, talking about his murdered son Jason. William Smithson will be sentenced for the murder today.

A wing and no prayer

There are some things that simply scream Philadelphia.

First and foremost, of course, are the Mummers. Nothing quite says Philly like men in sequins and feathers.

Not everyone is a fan, but no one doubts that the annual strut up Broad Street is one of the city’s icons. Just look at the fallout when the city cut funding for the parade.

New Year’s without Mummers? It would be like a cheesesteak without fried onions.

Today is the Friday before Super Bowl. Which in this area can mean only one thing.

Yes, it’s time for Wing Bowl.

Trying to explain to people outside this region the appeal of obese men wolfing down chicken wings, all the while being cheered on by 20,000 beer-guzzling fans, has its challenges.

It’s a good thing we’ve had 17 years to work on our story.

Started almost two decades ago by WIP Morning Show hosts Al Morganti and Angelo Cataldi, this gluttonous gala now routinely attracts national attention.

The idea was that since our beloved Eagles almost never graced us with a Super Bowl appearance, maybe the city could provide another calling card to usher in what has become one of the biggest party weekends of the year.

Enter Wing Bowl. It’s not for the prudish. The chicken wings are not the only flesh on full display. Each competitor is usually accompanied by a band of Wingettes, scantily clad women. Many of the female fans in attendance have been known to join in the spirit of the occasion, if you catch my drift. The breasts usually give the wings a run for their money.

It is raucous. It is passionate. It is politically incorrect. It is unhealthy. It is often R-rated.

In other words, it is pure Philly.

Count me as a fan.

Shameful? Yeah, that's one word for it

President Barack Obama is mad. That gives him something in common with the rest of us.

He’s been in office for only about a week, but Obama already is showing he’s not above showing a little emotion.

Yesterday the new president was clearly aggravated as he unleashed his anger on Wall Street after learning that executives handed out $18 billion in bonuses with one hand while holding the out the other, seeking billions more in federal bailout money.

Obama called it “shameful” and “the height of irresponibility.”

This in a week when upwards of 80,000 Americans learned they were losing their jobs.

The economy is in meltdown mode. And yet these barons of Wall Street continue to line their pockets.

Shameful? These guys are beyond shame.

Obama called on them to show some discipline and responsibility.

I hope he’s not holding his breath.

A Super halftime show

Most fans use halftime of a football game to make a quick bathroom pit stop, grab another beverage and restock the snacks.

Not this Sunday.

This, of course, is Super Sunday, the day when the nation – fans and non-fans alike – gathers around the TV to watch the culmination of the NFL season. They call it the Super Bowl. Yeah, kind of pretentious, especially when you consider the fact that most of the previous 42 games have been anything but Super.

At times the telecast has gotten as much attention for the ads as for the action on the field.

Then a few years back, something happened at halftime that caused an uproar, and added a whole new element of intrigue to intermission. A new term was introduced into the lexicon.

Wardrobe malfunction.

Thank you, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Nice nipple ring, by the way.

Jackson’s momentary over-exposure caused shock waves across the nation. And it brought the Super Bowl halftime show to a new level. Or some would say a new low.

Some big acts have taken the stage for that compressed show. The Rolling Stones, U2, Prince have all performed. Last year it was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

But this year they are rolling out the big guns. At least for me.

Let’s just say it will be a “Boss” show. Yes, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform.

A confession here. I am an unabashed Springsteen fan. I know a lot of people have issues with his politics. I don’t care. I love him for the music. I grew up in a small town, where we sat around on the hood of cars, drinking warm beer on summer nights. Yes, I get Springsteen.

That’s why I’ll be glued to the tube at halftime Sunday night. I know there is a lot of marketing schtick involved in this. Springsteen’s new CD, “Working on a Dream,” hit stores this week. What a coincidence, huh? He also announced a new tour this week. He will be at the Spectrum April 28 and 29. Tickets for the shows go on sale Monday morning.

I can’t imagine how Springsteen will pack the “Magic” of one his legendary shows into a 12-minute halftime set. Some of his songs have lasted longer during live appearances.

I am guessing we’ll hear a couple of songs from the new CD. Maybe one from “The Rising.” That probably leaves one or two slots for his hallmark songs. So long as it’s not “Hungry Heart” or “Dancing in the Dark” I’ll be OK with it. I never actually much cared for the songs that gave Bruce commercial success.

I’d take “Incident on 57th Street” or “Rosalita,” but I doubt they’d fit into that tight window.

Maybe it will be “Born to Run.”

Or how about this, as a paean to all those deflated Eagles fans, maybe Bruce could do “Streets of Philadelphia.”

The game may or may not be Super. But I’m betting the halftime show will be all that and more.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 29

The Daily Numbers: 5,500 jobs being eliminated at Boeing. That’s in addition to 4,500 already announced. It is not yet known if the cuts will affect the Ridley plant.
5,000 workers at Boeing’s Ridley facility, making it one of the county’s biggest employers.
3,000 jobs being cut by German software maker SAP. Some of them will hit at its North American HQ in Newtown Square.
2,000 state workers who could be laid off as the state wrestles with a widening budget deficit. That’s out of 78,000 workers.
400 people laid off at the new Atlantic City casino being built by Revel Entertainment Group, which also halted construction.
95 percent decline in net profits reported by Sony.
400 people who packed a town meeting in Coatesville last night to discuss how to attack the wave of arsons that has many in the Chester County city living in fear.
38, age of former Haverford High teacher now facing corruption of minors charges after he admitted having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student.
8, age of boy hit by an SUV after he rode his sled down a ramp in his driveway while playing in the snow yesterday in Gloucester Township, N.J. He tumbled off the sled, out into the road and into the path of the SUV.
40 arrests on the rap sheet of a Philly man now facing charges in connection with a theft from a convent in Northeast Philly. He was picked up on a DUI charge in Tinicum.
3 nights in Phoenix or Pittsburgh, what’s at stake in a Super Bowl between Gov. Ed Rendell and Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer.
5 days of mail delivery instead of 6, being considered by the U.S. Postal Service to fight a funding crisis.
0 House Republicans who backed the $819 billion stimulus package pushed by President Barack Obama. Only 11 Democrats voted against the plan, which passed 244-188.
50,000 dollars being donated to Youth Service Inc., a Philly-based non-profit that helps troubled kids, by Wal-Mart.
2-1 odds that say Damaging Doug Canavin will win tomorrow’s Wing Bowl. “Gentleman Jerry” Coughlan of Clifton Heights is at 3-1.
1 year of free chicken, what lured more than 100 people to camp out all night in the cold outside a new Chick-fil-A in Camden County.
1.2 million dollar gift to the Widener Law School by an anonymous alum.
700 shiny new cars on display from 40 manufacturers at the Philly International Auto Show.
1.2 million homes across the Midwest and Northeast without power after yesterday’s nasty winter storm packing snow and ice.
11 libraries targeted for closure in Philly that now appear as if they will get a reprieve.
18 points for Reggie Redding as No. 21 Villanova provided a fitting swansong for college hoops at the Spectrum by knocking off No. 3 Pitt.
14 point deficit overcome by the Sixers last night as they rallied to beat Houston, 95-93.
4 straight wins for the Sixers over the Rockets.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.
Donovan McNabb is talking again. He’s not playing in the Super Bowl; he’s analyzing it for ESPN. He also has scheduled a media availability tonight with the Philly media. Stay tuned.
*
I Don’t Get It: A 93-year-old World War II veteran in Michigan died inside his freezing home after his heat was cut off because of more than $1,000 in unpaid bills. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Congratulations, you survived the first big storm of the winter. That’s enough. Spring can show up any day now.
*
Quote Box: “I always thought of Joe as being a very honest individual.”
-- Ralph Lawrence, owner of Arch Associates Corp., a Lansdowne firm where accused Ponzi scammer Joseph Forte once worked.

Year of the Ax

The drumbeat continues. Has there ever been a week like this in terms of job losses? The number of workers being slashed by major corporations is pushing 80,000 this week alone.

We heard from Sony, Home Depot, Caterpillar, DuPont and others earlier this week.

Yesterday a couple of very familiar names in Delaware County were among those added to the roll call.

Both Boeing and SAP indicated they are looking at some very big cuts. Nationally, Boeing indicated it will drop an additional 5,000 jobs, bringing their total to 10,000. Boeing is one of the county’s biggest employers and has 5,000 workers at its Ridley plant. It’s still too early to tell if cuts will affect Delco workers.

At SAP, it was the same story. The German-based software maker said it would lay off 3,000 workers. Some of those cuts will hit their North American headquarters, which is on West Chester Pike in Newtown.

It’s the state of the state as well. Gov. Ed Rendell alerted state unions that Pennsylvania workers will be subject to furloughs. Rendell has indicated as many as 2,000 workers may be laid off, or the state could implement rolling furloughs, shutting down different departments on different days.

Just how bad are things?

Remember the old yard about neither rain, nor snow nor sleet keeping the mailman from his or here appointed rounds? That apparently did not take into account an economic meltdown.

The Postal Service yesterday floated the idea of cutting one day of delivery, going from service on six days to five.

And then there’s Starbucks. The ailing Seattle coffee icon announced it would close more under-performing stores. It also is telling stores not to brew decaf coffee after noon. You’ll still be able to get it, but it will done by the serving, not as part of the routine.

Who needs decaf in these harrowing times? It’s going the same was as the $4 latte.

The Chinese this week are ushering in their new year, the Year of the Ox.

For the rest of us, it just might be the Year of the Ax.

Stimulating the same old politics

Barack Obama captured the White House on a message of hope and change.

Not sure if we have hope. But it looks like little has changed.

The House yesterday passed that $891 billion stimulus bill he’s been pushing. Obama wanted widespread, bi-partisan support. He didn’t get it.

Not one Republican crossed party lines to support the package.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats like Joe Sestak and Bob Brady lined up behind the president; Republicans like Jim Gerlach took up the opposition. Across the state, the breakdown was the same as it was nationally, although one Democrat, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-11, of Luzerne County, also opposed the plan. In total 11 Democrats in the House voted thumbs down.

Like just about everything else in Washington, this package was loaded with pork. I guess they just can’t help themselves. There’s a billion dollars thrown in there to help fund the next census. Not sure how that’s going to create jobs or provide much stimulus now.

Sestak, D-7, of Edgmont, indicated he voted for it because he feared we could lose another 2.7 million jobs in the next five months without it.

The measure now goes to the Senate.

Don’t expect much to change there either. This is strictly politics as usual.

Donovan at the Super Bowl

Donovan McNabb is going to the Super Bowl.

No, he didn’t buy a ticket. But he’s not playing, either. He’s talking.

McNabb was a guest analyst on ESPN last night. He will pop up tonight and Friday night as well. Tonight he also is planning to sit down with the Philly media. It’s expected that he could shed some light on what he wants in terms of a contract.

He’s also making it clear that he would not be opposed to a few more weapons in his arsenal. He didn’t come right out and say it – he never does – but it sounds like he’s again making a pitch for a true No. 1 stud wide receiver.

Hope he’s not holding his breath. I don’t think that’s real high on the “to-do” list of Joe Banner and Andy Reid.

In the meantime, as we shiver through bitter cold, snow, sleet, freezing rain and slush, it’s certainly encouraging to see our quarterback enjoying the sun in beautiful Tampa.

Of couse we’d be enjoying it even more if Donovan was in Eagles green, and not that blue suit he had on last night.

Maybe next year. That’s right, Donovan made it clear he expects to be back for another shot at that elusive “gold standard” gold ring.

Of course, I suppose that is subject to change once he has his infamous sit-down with the Eagles brass.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 28

The Daily Numbers: 80 clients who lost as much as $50 million to Broomall investment manager Joseph Forte, who the feds say was running a classic Ponzi scheme.
0 dollars, how much money Forte says he has left. He says the bulk of the money went back to investors; the feds say he used $15 to $20 million to pay other investors; and paid himself as much as $12 million.
4, age of daughter Angel Reyes was convicted of throwing off a bridge into the murky waters of Ridley Creek. He faces the death penalty after his latest appeal was turned down.
15, age of teen shot in back in Chester Monday night.
27 local eaters who will compete in the 17th Wing Bowl at the Wachovia Center Friday morning. Among them are two from Delaware County.
1-3 inches of snow that covered the region overnight. That is now being followed by sleet and freezing rain. Anything that was shoveled or plowed is now freezing over into a solid sheet of ice.
2,000 jobs that could be cut as Gov. Ed Rendell struggles with a slumping state economy.
5.6 billion dollar budget shortfall now staring at Pa. officials, according to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Phila.
13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits now available for Pa. residents. As many as 50,000 out-of-work residents could be in line for more help.
17,000 dollar reward now being offered for information on who is setting arson fires in Coatesville.
15 arson fires in the Chester County city so far this month, including another one last night when someone set a trash can on fire on the front porch of a home. It was quickly extinguished.
9, age of youth, one of two people struck by stray bullets in South Philadelphia Tuesday night.
629 million dollar loss announced by DuPont Tuesday, including a 20 percent drop in demand for its products.
9 percent of its work force being laid off by Ashland, which bought Hercules in Delaware. It lost $119 million in the first quarter and is looking at cost cuts.
22, age of man charged with raping a 13-year-old girl and assaulting three other teen girls in Philadelphia.
1 Philadelphia police officer injured in Grays Ferry when a driver put his car in reverse and deliberately slammed into his police cruiser.
9 people treated for minor injuries after a work train collided with a commuter train in the Fern Rock SEPTA yard. Officials cited human error as the cause.
70 cats, plus geese, chickens, ferrets and other animals found in house without food, water or heat in Pine Grove, Pa.
1 goal, 2 assists for Michael Frolik in leading the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 win over the Flyers last night.
1 goal for the Flyers Claude Giroux, the first of his NHL career.
3, as in No. 3 Pitt vs No. 21 Villanova tonight in the last college hoops game every to be played in the legendary Spectrum.
26 points for Tyree Johnson to lead Penn Wood over Chester last night, 53-52.
0, how many times Chester had lost a Del Val game in the last four years, until last night.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Is there a better high school rivalry than Chester vs. Penn Wood in boys hoops? Penn Wood did something last night that no Del-Val team had been able to do the past four years. That would be hang a loss on the powerful Clippers. Penn Wood won a 53-52 classic on its home floor.
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I Don’t Get It: The driver who is believed to have caused a fatal crash that claimed three lives on I-95 in Delaware Saturday had a previous conviction for aggressive driving. I don’t get it.
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Today’s Upper: It will be another momentous night in the final victory lap of the legendary Spectrum in South Philly tonight. The old sports palace is holding a serious of special events to mark its final year. Bruce Springsteen will play two final shows there in April. Tonight will mark the final college basketball game to be played on the Spectrum hardwood when No. 21 Villanova tangles with No. 3 Pitt.
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Quote Box: “I made a mistake years ago and I thought I could just get out of it. I didn’t set out to do this.”
-- Marple investment manager Joseph Forte outside court yesterday, where he was answering charges that he ran a $50 million Ponzi scheme that fleeced as many as 80 investors.

Glory Days

I don’t really need any more reasons to feel old, but I got another one Wednesday. If you’re like me, a Bruce Springsteen fan in his early 50s, allow me to remind you just how old we are.

Monday afternoon I posted a story on our Web site with the announcement that “The Boss” was bringing the E Street Band back to one of his favorite local haunts, the Spectrum. The two shows on April 28-29 are part of something of a Farewell Tour for the legendary South Philly sports palace. It is due to be torn down sometime after the Phantoms finish their season to make way for a new entertainment and retail complex called “Philly Live.”

Springsteen, who kicked off sales of his new CD, “Working on a Dream,” yesterday, will appear at halftime of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Tickets for the two Philly shows go on sale Monday morning.

Wednesday morning I got an e-mail from a serious Bruce fan saying I had mistated the date Springsteen first appeared at the Spectrum. He was right. The Boss first headlined at the Spectrum in 1976. But his first appearance there was the infamous night in 1973 when he opened for Chicago and was actually booed by the crowd.

I know because I had a ticket for the show that night, but couldn't make it. I certainly would not have been booing. One of my buddies who was at the show told me about it. I was incredulous.

I have since become a serious Springsteen-file. But in his e-mail the guy indicated that show was in early June. For some reason, I had it in my mind it was more like late winter, maybe February or March.

My online reader promptly e-mailed me back. He was right. The date was Wednesday June.

Here’s the killer. He included a snapshot of the ad that ran for the show.

There was that familiar script that announced Chicago. Underneath it: Special Guest, Bruce Springsteen.
Then it listed the prices: $4.50, $5.50, $6.50.

Can you believe it? At the time it seemed like a lot of money.

What a great time to grow up, or at least be a high school senior who was a regular at Spectrum concerts. Glory Days, I guess you could call them. If you’ll pardon me for bringing up one of the worst songs Bruce ever recorded.

Exactly why is it that some of his most popular songs, like “Glory Days” and “Hungry Heart,” are among the very few I dislike.

Give me “Incident on 57th Street” or “New York City Serenade” anytime.

But $6.50? I’m not sure what tickets for the two April shows are going to go for, but my guess is you can’t buy a beer for $6.50 in the Spectrum these days.

Say it ain’t snow

Snow, sleet, freezing rain, followed by rain.

Are we having fun yet?

Maybe it’s me, because I have come to have a thorough dislike for all things winter, but I gritted my teeth even more than usual this morning as I made my way into the office.

The source of my angst was not the sloppy going. Yes, the roads were a mess. As usual, the biggest challenge was just getting out of the driveway, followed by an adventurous trip out of the development to the main roads. Once there, while the roads were messy, they were certainly driveable.

That’s not what was bothering me. Like I said, maybe it’s just me, but I could almost detect a sense of glee in the woman’s voice on the radio as she informed me how bad it was going to be.

It’s always a bit deceiving when I look out the window of my house. That’s because it usually looks like the end of the world in my development. As usual, once I cleared off the car and slogged my way out to the main roads, the driving was not horrible. It wasn’t great, but it was certainly doable. About the biggest delay, other than the normal reduced speed, was encountering a plow train on West Chester Pike that had traffic backed up behind it.

A confession here. In this kind of weather I always head into the office early, so I don’t have to deal with a lot of the rush-hour drivers who have no clue how to drive in snow. I know this is going to sound like heresy, but there is such a thing as driving too slow in the snow, especially when heading up hills.

By the time I hit the roads before 5 a.m., the snow had stopped and it was actually raining. A wintry mix, as we’ve heard about a milion times since yesterday.

Of course, any kind of “winter weather event” means the radio and TV folks roll out the heavy artillery. I almost feel bad for them. They haven’t had a real winter storm yet this year to get worked up about, so I pretty much knew what to expect this morning.

Most schools are closed. Delays are being reported at the airport. The TV and radio folks are approaching something close to nirvana. At any second now I expect to see someone sticking a ruler into the snow.

Spring can’t come fast enough.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 27

The Daily Numbers: 34 years, how long Tom Judge Sr. has been the head of the county Republican Party. He has indicated he will step down later this year.
23 of February, date set for the trial of Lemuel Payne in the hit-run accident that took the life of Faith Sinclair last August in Sharon Hill.
10, age of girl whom clinical psychologist Dr. Jerry Lazaroff admitted to “inadvertently inappropriately” touching. He now faces charges.
12,000 dollars, amount of reward now being offered for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect in the wave of arsons that has terrorized Coatesville, in Chester County.
14 arson fires so far this year in Coatesville, after 15 were reported all of last year.
1-3 inches of snow, followed by sleet, freezing rain and then just rain. It’s supposed to start after rush hour tonight, and should make for an adventurous drive to work tomorrow morning.
4 SEPTA workers who suffered minor injuries this morning when a worker train bumped a commuter train at Fern Rock Station.
30 minute delays on most of the regional rail lines in the wake of the accident.
12, age of student struck and killed by a school bus near Allentown. The death has been ruled a homicide. Officials believe the boy may have been pushed before the accident.
200 dead birds found in one yard in Griggstown, N.J. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to cull the bird flock in the area.
6.8 percent dip in median selling price for homes in the Philadelphia area. That knocked prices from $220,000 to $205,000.
21.4 percent decline in number of homes sold in 12-country region in December 2008, as opposed to December 2007. They went from 4,606 to 3,621.
540 jobs being cut by Lincoln Financial Corp. of Radnor. The firm says it’s lost money the last 5 quarters. Yes, they are the people with the naming rights to Lincoln Financial Field.
7 foot tall man among the suspects being sought in a home invasion in Laurel, Del. Shouldn’t be too hard to spot.
2 judges in northeastern Pa. charged with public corruption tied to $2.6 million in kickbacks for placing juvenile offenders into certain facilities.
1, as in No. 1, that would be where Pa. ranks in terms of black homicides. That’s 37 murders per every 100,000 black residents.
4 month delay OK’d by the Senate in that mandatory switch to digital broadcasting. It now goes to the House.
7,000 jobs being slashed by Home Depot.
68,000 jobs axed by firms across the nation yesterday, as Pfizer, Caterpillar and Sprint Nextel joined the list of firms cutting back.
27 points for Chris Paul in leading the New Orleans Hornets over the Sixers last night, 101-86.
15 assists and 10 rebounds for the triple-double for Paul. And 7 steals just for good measure.
18 minutes and 0 points for the Sixers Elton Brand.
22 points for Thaddeus Young to lead the Sixers.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.
Blame it on that old Tampa karma. Or in this case the Tampa curse. Or maybe just flat-out payback. Remember Joe Maddon? He’s the guy who managed the Tampa Bay Rays, who the Phils beat to end our curse and win the World Series championship. He’s a longtime Cardinals fan, first in St. Louis, then in Arizona. Now he’s seeing them play in the Super Bowl right there in Tampa. And of course they eliminated the Eagles along the way.
*
I Don’t Get It: People in Coatesville are living in terror under a rash of arson fires. One resident said he is “too scared to sleep.”
*
Today’s Upper: After yesterday about the only way the economy can go is up. Is there anyone else still working? It seems like everyone is getting laid off. It has to get better. We hope.
*
Quote Box: “He was a better man than me.”
-- John Williamson Sr., on the death of his son and another Drexel University student in a car crash in Lycoming County.

Tom Judge Sr., the gentleman pol

I have met Tom Judge Sr. on any number of occasions.

Very often they would be at some type of public function. And yes, many times they would have political overtones. Maybe a debate, or a special dinner.

I will always remember two things about Judge. They were invariably the very first things he would do when our paths crossed.

He would extend his hand. And he would smile.

I think the single word that best described Tom Judge Sr. is gentleman.

I imagine we were not always his favorite newspaper. After all, Judge has spent the last three decades as the leader of the county Republican Party.

In some county political circles, there is a belief that this newspaper is anti-Republican, that we will do anything to knock local Republicans from their longtime perch of power in the county.

I never heard that from Judge. Instead, what I invariably got was the calm demeanor of what can only be described as a decent man.

I think it is telling that in the story we wrote last Saturday describing the fact that Judge has decided to step down as the leader of the party, some of the most glowing comments came from what might be considered an odd source.

That would be Cliff Wilson, Judge’s counterpart with the county Democrats.

“Big shoes to fill for anyone who fills them,” Wilson commented. “I admire him very much. He comes from … an ‘old school’ of politics that is sorely going to be missed.”

Politics can be a tough, bruising and sometimes dirty racket.

Tom Judge never gave me that impression.

Cliff Wilson is right. He’s going to be missed. Count me among those who will miss him.

For Eagles fans, some things don't change

Joe Banner and Jeff Lurie are making their annual postseason appearance.

No, not in Tampa. That’s where the Cardinals and Steelers arrived yesterday to start the week of hype and hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl. The Eagles aren’t making the trip again this year.

Instead the Birds’ brain trust is doing a little damage control, giving interviews, showing up on TV and radio. They’re saying all the right things. They’re pushing the idea that while many NFL franchises would consider the Eagles’ season a success, with an appearance in the NFC Championship Game, they do not.

That gives them something in common with their legions of fans. The much-heralded “gold standard” has yet to deliver a Super Bowl title to Philly.

But both Lurie and Banner seem to be solidly in the camp of head coach Andy Reid and starting quarterback Donovan McNabb. It’s been the one constant of the last 10 years. The Eagles dynamic duo as it were.

So here’s a question. If Reid is your guy, and you’re buying into his pass-first philosophy, wouldn’t wide receiver be fairly high up on your list of things to address?

The Eagles have played in one Super Bowl during Reid’s reign. You might remember that charmed season of 2004. The Eagles had a guy playing wide receiver that year named Terrell Owens. It all went south the following season.

In the wake of the Eagles’ incredibly frustrating loss to the Cardinals, you could almost hear McNabb begging for some weapons, although he didn’t actually come out and say it.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Reid to say it. Remember, it’s all about the system. You can pretty much plug in any wide receivers and the system will still function flawlessly.

How’s that been working for the past decade?

Oh, one other thing. That guy who torched your secondary and almost single-handedly led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl? His name is Larry Fitzgerald. He’s a No. 1 draft pick. A big, physical, sure-handed receiver.

Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson are good wide receivers. But I don’t think either one of them is a threat to put this team on their back and carry it to a Super Bowl.

And I don’t think that’s going to change one bit next year, so long as that axis of Lurie-Banner-Reid is running the show.’

In fact, I’ll tell you my prediction right now. It’s the same one I make every year. 10-6. A playoff appearance. And another crushing loss.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 26

The Daily Numbers: 6 people who escaped injury when flames engulfed a home in Nether Providence late Saturday.
2 Drexel University students – including one from Haverford – killed and 4 others injured in a car crash in north-central Pennsylvania.
3 people killed on I-95 just over the border in Delaware Saturday. Police now say the crash was caused by speeding and aggressive driving.
15 homes in Coatesville, Chester County, destroyed in the latest suspicious fire to hit the city late Saturday.
30 arson fires reported in the city since the start of 2008.
15 people facing charges in connection with what police are calling a cockfighting ring in Philadelphia.
58 birds seized in a police raid of a home in the Juniata Park section of the city in connection with the operation.
9, age of boy recovering after being attacked by pitbulls while walking down a street in Wilmington, Del.
4 hours, how long some Claymont residents were without power Friday night after power lines were knocked down.
75, age of woman in Montgomery County suffering from dementia who has had charges against her reduced in connection with the stabbing of her sleeping housemate, 81. Police in Audubon say the woman has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
1.86 a gallon, what AAA says we’re paying on the average at the pumps in the Philadelphia region. They also say that despite the cheaper gas, the numbers indicate we are still driving substantially less than we did last year.
8,700 season tickets sold for the Philadelphia Soul. The Arena Football League has cancelled the season, and now the team’s former director of sales is suing for the commissions he believes he earned on those sales. The team is refunding money to fans who bought tickets.
17, age of youth gunned down in North Philadelphia as he was walking to pick up dinner for his family.
100 to zip. That was the score of a high school girls basketball game in Texas. The winning school has now apologized for the score. But the coach has refused to apologize and has been fired by the team.
0 points for Jeff Carter, the sole member of the Flyers to play in last night’s NHL All-Star Game.
12-11 win for the Eastern Stars. The goaltenders must just love these games.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Yeah, we herald the arrival of Super Bowl week. Both teams will arrive in Tampa Bay today. Not among them will be the Philadelphia Eagles. You didn’t hear? They lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the game everyone said was a lock.
*
I Don’t Get It: A new study is urging teens to hang up their cell phones before they cross the street, noting a spike in problems involving kids crossing the street while talking or texting on their cell phones. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Thumb’s up for Shane Victorino. The Phillies outfielder granted the “wish” for young cancer patient Brandon Crosby during a recent visit to Citizens Bank Park. Victorino talked with Crosby, gave him a special Phils jersey and even tossed some pitches to the youth as he dug into the batting cage. Nice.
*
Quote Box: “It made us see the good work, hard and professional work of our policemen, who are standing before us today. Through their tireless work in the murder case of Mr. Pham, through their concern about our worry and anxiety, they brought to justice the man who allegedly committed the crime.”
-- Commendation read yesterday to Upper Darby police from the Vietnamese community.

A visit to my past

I took a ride back to my past yesterday.

After seeing our daughter off as she heads back to college (someone please tell me this is not her final semester; where does the time go?), my wife and I decided to go out for a ride.

Actually, she was just Jones-ing for her Dunkin Donuts fix.

I don’t think either one of us wanted to go back to an empty house and look at each other, so we decided to ride around.

I’m not sure why, but I found myself driving into my past.

A long time ago, I used to work in Coatesville. A lot of things have changed since then.

For one, the newspaper I toiled at, the Record, has something in common with another paper many of you might have read at one time, The Evening Bulletin. Neither of them is still being published.

So it was that I found myself dealing with a lot of memories as I drove over the Carlson Bridge and into what is usually referred to as the East End.

Coatesville has been in the news recently. In fact, I was stunned to tune into CNN yesterday and see “The Ville” being featured. Of course, it was not exactly being painted in a good light. The graphic on the screen screamed, “City Under Siege.”

Coatesville, a city of about 11,000 in Chester County, has been battling what can best be described as a wave of domestic terrorism.

Someone, or some group of people, has been setting fires in the city.

Since the start of the year new, there have been 13 unsolved arsons. In 2008 there were 15, including one that killed an 83-year-old woman who had survived the atrocities of Nazi concentration camps. There were three people charged in the fires. The hope was that would end the wave of terror. The hope was wrong.

Saturday night a fire being labeled as “suspicious” roared through a series of row homes in the city. Fifteen homes went up in flames. Luckily there were no serious injuries. If you can possibly refer to what is going on in the city as “lucky.”

A state of emergency now exists in Coatesville, which gives city officials new authority to battle the problem. More than 100 people jammed City Hall for a special meeting of city council.

As I drove west on Lincoln Highway into the city, I was overcome with a sense of sadness.

I took a left on Pennsylvania Avenue, then climbed the long hill that has forever been one of the marks of the city.

At the top, I took a left, and headed back out of town. What’s happening in Coatesville is unbelievably sad. People simply trying to live their lives are now cowering in their homes, unable to sleep, wondering when the next fire will break out.

I hope they find the person or persons responsible for this before anyone else is forced to huddle outside and watch much of their life go up in flames.

A life has already been lost. Damage is in the millions. People are on edge. And they’re getting angry.

They say you can’t go home again. That’s not always a bad thing.

A ‘winter weather event’

Just what we need. Have you heard the forecast? Yes, there is a chance of snow coming Tuesday.

Of course, we can’t simply refer to it as snow. That would be too mundane. The TV forecasters now have labeled it as a “winter weather event.”

Yes, folks it is the last week of January. That means it is cold out. And there is a chance of snow.

Stop the presses!

A weekend without football

I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of the rest of your life.

Or as Eagles fans have come to glumly acknowledge, the first football-less weekend since August.

Of course, there is one more game to be played this season. That will be next Sunday in Tampa Bay. Maybe you’ve heard of it. They call it the Super Bowl.

The two teams will arrive in Tampa today for a week of hype and hoopla. We were assured that the Eagles would be one of the two teams in the Florida sunshine, meaning a week of unbridled passion, stories about fans selling their souls for tickets to the game, green-faced fans invading Florida in planes, trains and automobiles.

Instead, we sit and shiver, with snow in the forecast, and count the days until spring training arrives.

That’s right. The Eagles are not playing in the Super Bowl. Instead of punching their ticket by throttling the Arizona Cardinals, they got their punched out in the desert. No Super Bowl this year, Philly fans.

Hey, at least we have Wing Bowl. Yes, that annual pre-Super Bowl bash of beer, wings and breasts will once again be held Friday morning at the Wachovia Center.

Eagles fans also can be comforted with this thought. Jeff Lurie feels our pain. The Eagles owner gave an interview Sunday and told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he needs an Ambien to get to sleep as he replays the nightmare of the Arizona game over and over in his mind.

That gives him something in common with the rest of us. Now if only we felt that his players cared nearly as much as the rest of us do.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 23

The Daily Numbers: 45 days in jail for Mia Sardella of Drexel Hill in the death of her newborn son.
22 weekends on which she’ll be allowed to serve her sentence.
9 months to 2 years in jail, Sardella’s full sentence. She’ll be allowed to serve the remainder of the 9 months on house arrest, followed by 15 months probation. She also will do 2 years of community service.
5,000 dollars stolen from an ATM machine in Upper Darby by a woman using the card of a 75-year-old man. It is believed the card was stolen.
4,000 dollars given to the Salvation Army by Kimberly-Clark Corp. to make up for a shortfall in the group’s annual Red Kettle Campaign. The fund drive raised $63,000; the goal was $73,000.
69,382 dollars raised this year for the Salvation Army by our annual Merry Christmas Fund.
5 million dollar obligation note that has been delayed in Haverford. The money would be used for new township facilities.
1743, when the Darby Free Library was established. It is believed to be the oldest in the U.S., but it might be closed if more funding is not found to keep it open.
2.3 billion dollar budget deficit now facing Pennsylvnia. Gov. Ed Rendell has indicated layoffs are coming for state workers, but is vowing to avoid any tax hikes.
76,000 jobs that were lost in Pennsylvania in 1008, 1 percent of the state’s workforce.
5,000 dollar reward now being offered for information into the rash of 28 arsons in the past year that have plagued Coatesville, in Chester County.
63, age of man, a financial analyst in Philadelphia, charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl in South Jersey.
50 degrees, today’s expected high temperature. Don’t get used to it. It will turn colder tomorrow and we’re expected to be back in the mid 20s for our high on Sunday.
22,000 applications for the Class of 2013 received at Princeton. That’s up 2 percent from last year.
37, age of man charged in Bridgeville, Del., with taking a video while a 14-year-old girl was in the shower without her knowledge.
350 people losing their jobs when fashion designer Liz Claiborne closes a distribution center in Mount Pocono.
2 people charged in Allentown with marketing pierced kittens as “gothic.” They’re charged with cruelty to animals.
1 cent hike in the price of gas overnight. Our average at the pump has now risen to $1.85, 67 centers higher than a week ago.
10 million dollars for two years in the new deal for Jayson Werth and the Phillies.
9 games played this year for the Flyers by star winger Danny Briere.
4 more weeks the Flyers likely will be without Briere, who underwent surgery yesterday.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Bad news for the Phillies. Just pay Ryan Howard the money. The guy is doing things and putting up numbers in his first three years that are just unheard of. Does he strike out a lot? Yes. Does he have issues in the field? Obviously. Is he an undeniable force in the middle of that lineup? Oh, yeah.
*
I Don’t Get It: Two people showed up for court out in New Holland to pay a fine for public drunkenness. They were observed to be under the influence. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: A thumb’s up to Kimberly-Clark Corp., which is helping close a gap in the annual Red Kettle Fund Drive by the Chester Salvation Army with a $4,000 check.
*
Quote Box: “I will never get over the loss of my child. There are no words to express how deeply sorry I am and I realize there is no apology great enough to change what happened.”
-- Mia Sardella, at her sentencing yesterday in connection with the death of her newborn son.

Justice and Mia Sardella

Justice was meted out in a Delaware County courtroom yesterday to Mia Sardella.

Judge Patricia Jenkins sentenced the 20-year-old Drexel Hill woman to 45 days in jail, to be served on weekends, in connection with the death of her newborn son. Sardella had entered a no contest plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Actually, the full sentence was a bit more complicated than that. Jenkins sentenced Sardella to nine months to two years in jail, less one day on the felony count. What it boils down to is that starting next weekend Sardella will report to Delaware County Prison for the next 22 consecutive weekends. She’ll do 45 days, less the two days she has already served. The remainder of the nine months will be served on house arrest, followed by the 15 months of probation. Sardella has been on electronic home monitoring for the bulk of the two years since she was initially charged, ironically the exact date of yesterday’s sentencing.

Jenkins also has one unusual ingredient as part of the sentence. She ordered Sardella to do two years of community service, specifically with a California agency called Project Cuddle, which works with young mothers to reduce cases of baby abandonment.

I’m sure it struck Judge Jenkins as a perfectly just sentence. It seems that way to me, too. And to Mike Galantino, who prosecuted the case. The assistant district attorney indicated after the sentence that it appeared Sardella’s actions were “more reckless than malicious.” Defense attorney Art Donato concurred.

The sentence was announced late yesterday morning. We posted our first story on our Web site around noon.

And I knew what was coming.

I will call it “The Bonfire of the Inanities.”

There are many things about the technology that we are dealing with in the newspaper business that I like. First and foremost, it allows us to deliver news 24 hours a day to our readers. There was a time not all that long ago when we would have been forced to sit here with what has been a very controversial story in this county and listen to TV and radio stations deliver news of the Sardella sentencing. We would not hit the streets with our next print edition until the next morning.

Those days are over. We posted a quick bulletin with the details of the arrest. Then we updated with information on the other aspects of the sentence. And we udpated the story again with a full report from our courthouse reporter.

Our Web site also does something else. It allows us to be much more of an interactive venue. We have always solicited readers’ opinions in print, asking them to write letters to the editor and even phone in their beliefs to Sound Off.

Now readers can post comments to the stories that appear online.

On this story, there have been no shortage of opinions. And people have turned to the Web site to make their feelings known in some very strong, plain language.

Shortly after we posted our first story yesterday, the comments section of the site exploded.

From the beginning of this case, there have been those who have complained that it was treated differently than other cases. They believe the delay in bringing charges offered evidence that there was two different sets of justice dispensed in Delaware County, one for people of means, and one for everyone else.

I don’t think that argument holds water. I still don’t. Mia Sardella initially was charged with first-degree murder in this case. Eventually that charge was dropped. Then a third-degree murder charge was slapped on her. Her plea agreement also saw that charge disappear. Eventually she pleaded no-contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter, which happens to be a felony, abuse of a corpse, and concealing the death of a child.

I have received more phone calls and e-mails connected to this case than just about any story I can remember. As usual, I’m the guy in the middle. Those in Sardella’s corner insist we’ve been unfair in our coverage; those against her believe we also are cowering because of the status of her family.

I am not going to convince those who believe that Mia Sardella got preferential treatment otherwise. They will continue to bombard the Web site with their comments. We will review them and remove those that we feel cross the line. And lots of them do.

Mia Sardella’s sentence strikes me as just about exactly what I expected, very similar to the sentence handed out a few years back to a young woman in Ridley in similar circumstances.

Had this case gone to trial, it likely would have boiled down to a battle of legal experts as to whether or not the baby was alive at the time of birth, or as the prosecution was ready to argue, “that this child was born alive and that he died as a result of asphyxiation.”

It strikes me that Sardella would have had a very good chance of beating these charges if she had gone to trial. But she did not go that route. She entered a plea. In effect, she was admitting that her actions were wrong.

That argument is now moot.

A contrite Sardella appeared before Judge Jenkins and sobbed.

“I will never get over the loss of my child, nor will I ever forgive myself for what I did,” she said.

Clearly there are a lot of people in the county who agree with her.

Pa. singing budget blues

This is not going to come as shocking news to anyone, but just in case you still had any doubt, Gov. Ed Rendell yesterday issued this economic update to Pennsylvania residents:

We’re in trouble.

The state’s economic outlook continues to get worse. That budget deficit, which started out at about a billion dollars, is growing.

The red ink in Harrisburg is now flowing to the tune of $2.3 billion. That’s up from the $2 billion figure the governor announced last week.

Let me put this bluntly: This is an economic train wreck. The state is now rivaling the city of Philadelphia in terms of economic unease.

Rendell yesterday had glum news for state employees. The economic nosedive likely will cost some of them their jobs. Not sure if that will include the former state rep that landed a $95,000 new post despite a hiring freeze.

The governor talked plainly about what is coming, and he had a warning for workers.

“There will be some layoffs and there will be universal pain,” he said at a press conference in Harrisburg. “I don’t want to hear whining. I think everyone has to tighten the belts.”

I guess the governor hears enough whining from Eagles fans on his duties as a guest analyst on the post-game shows on Comcast SportsNet.

Rendell did offer one bit of good news for state residents.

He is vowing to avoid hiking the state’s sales or personal income taxes. At least for now.

Of course no one is really sure where the bottom is in this economic morass. The budget deficit grew by $700 million in just the last month.

Rendell will present a budget to the Legislature the first week in February. Here’s a prediction: It won’t be pretty. And here’s another one. State law requires that the budget be approved by June 30 at midnight.

Better stock up on midnight oil, legislators. And don’t make any plans for the Fourth of July, either.

Byte-ing the bullet

OK, now I know the economy is in the tank.

Microsoft is cutting jobs. I guess you can call this byte-ing the bullet.

The high-tech giant announced its profits fell 11 percent in the second quarter. They responded by saying they would ax 5,000 jobs.

The markets responded by immediately going into the tank.

Something to note here. Microsoft is still making huge amounts of money, just not as much as they once did. The company whose software runs so many of our PCs said profits dipped to $4.17 billion, down from $4.71 billion for the same quarter last year.

And they don’t like what they see down the road. So they’re tightening their belt.

Isn’t everybody?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 22

The Daily Numbers: 30 years, that’s how long Ralph Garzia served as mayor of Brookhaven.
60 reprieve against a teachers strike in Springfield after the teachers union and school board agreed to non-binding arbitration in the matter.
9,400 dollars in lingerie police was stolen by a former worker at the Victoria’s Secret store in Concord Mall. Looks like that worker had a secret, too.
100 mph, what police say a driver was doing on Main Street in Upland before striking several cars and then crashing his car.
100,000 to 300,000 people who will gather in Washington, D.C., today for the annual March for Life on the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Several busloads from Delco also are making the trip.
2.4 billion kilowatt hours delivered in December by PECO. That’s 1 percent lower than December 2007. PECO noted use of natural gas also was down by 1.4 percent in the suburbs.
20 suspicious fires that have terrorized the town of Coatesville, in Chester County. Many have been labeled arson. The latest occurred just after midnight this morning.
8 dogs seized as authorities raided a suspected dog-fighting operation in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city.
45, age of South Jersey teacher charged with having sexual contact with a female student.
25,000 dollar donation from TD Bank to the food bank Philabundance.
43, age of woman in New Castle, Del., charged with deliberately veering her car into another vehicle in what police are calling a case of road rage.
17, age of youth gunned down in North Philadelphia as he was walking to pick up dinner for his family.
2,500 jobs in North America being slashed by Tyco Electronics Ltd.
19 cases of salmonella in New Jersey that are being linked to the national outbreaks tied to tainted peanut butter.
18 straight years that the Labrador retriever has been king of the dog world, ranked as the most popular breed of pooch, according to the American Kennel Club.
1.8 million people, the official body count for the crowd that jammed the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Obama inauguration.
38 million people who are believed to have watched the festivities on TV.
10 million dollar, two-year deal for outfielder Jayson Werth with the Phillies.
1.635 million dollar contract for Phillies reliever Chad Durbin.
12 wins and 0 defeats for Flyers goaltender Antero Niitymaki against the Thrashers. The Flyers beat them again last night, 5-3.
2 more weeks the Flyers likely will be without Danny Briere, who will undergo exploratory surgery for the cause of his groin and stomach pain.
3, as in No. 3 UConn, which topped Villanova last night, 89-83.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.
I never should have hung up my old baseball glove. Is it just me, or does every ballplayer now sign a contract for several million dollars?
*
I Don’t Get It: A man out in Bloomsburg, Pa., who says a bank’s error was a “gift from God” is now sitting in a county prison. Randy Pratt and his wife deposited $1,772.50 in their account. The bank credited them with $177,250. He says it was God’s work. Yeah, right.
*
Today’s Upper: Good news out of Springfield, where teachers and the school board have averted a strike, at least for now, by agreeing to submit their offers to non-binding arbitration.
*
Quote Box: “He was Mr. Brookhaven. Ralph attended everything and he was a huge support to the fire company and every other organization in town. He will be missed beyond words.”
-- Brookhaven Fire Chief Rob Montella, on the passing of longtime Mayor Ralph Garzia.

Sentencing day for Mia Sardella

There is a certain irony that the long, drawn-out, sad saga of Mia Sardella will conclude today in a Media courtroom.

Sardella is due in Media to be sentenced after entering a no-contest plea to charges of involuntary manslaughter, as well as abuse of a corpse and concealing the death of a child.

It was exactly two years ago today, Jan. 22, that Sardella’s mother discovered the remains of a baby in a duffel bag in the trunk of her car in Drexel Hill.

It took four months before charges were filed against her by the district attorney’s office. But when they came, they rumbled across the county.

Based on the findings of county medical examiner Dr. Fred Hellman, D.A. Mike Green charged Sardella, then 19, with first-degree murder.

The case has sparked controversy from the outset, with some questioning how long it took for charges to be filed, and many insisting it showed the stark differences in our judicial system. They argued that Sardella was being treated differently because she came from a family of means.

I’m not really sure that’s true. Yes, there is no doubt that Sardella’s family was able to afford a good defense. That is her right.

But she will still be standing in front of a judge this morning as a felon. She very likely will be looking at some jail time.

The original first-degree murder charges were withdrawn, replaced with a third-degree charge. That was dropped as part of her plea agreement.

Sardella has been free on electronic home monitoring for the past two years. That could change this morning.

I might make the argument that Sardella has been in another kind of jail for much of that time. That likely won’t satisfy the critics who think she continues to get off easy.

I don’t think what happens this morning will end the debate over the Sardella case and how it has been handled.

And it certainly won’t end one other thing. It won’t end the incredible sadness that has been at the root of this case for more than two years.

Brookhaven loses an icon

I have been to several events that were held in the Brookhaven Municipal Building.

And I have spoken to several senior citizen organizations in the borough.

There was always one constant: Ralph Garzia.

He was always there. To many, Garzia was the face of Brookhaven.

That’s why I was not surprised at the throng that showed up last night for his service.

Hundreds waited patiently in bitter cold conditions to pay their respects to the beloved longtime mayor.

Garzia died last week at 87. He had been the mayor for 30 years. He also was a former state representative.

If there was an event in Brookhaven, Garzia would be there. Every time I spoke to a group, he made a point of coming up to me afterward and talking about the newspaper.

Very simply, it is hard to think of Brookhaven without him.

But if it is difficult to envision a Brookhaven without Ralph Garzia, it is impossible to estimate the loss to the community. It is rare today to find people with the kind of civic involvement and public dedication that Garzia offered so easily to the town he loved. We all lead busy lives. Our time is precious. Less and less of it is available to offer in civic involvement.

Brookhaven has lost an icon. I will miss his familiar face. And I mourn for a loss to the community that will be impossible to replace.

Rest well, Mayor Garzia.

The price of a World Championship

In our continuing attempt to erase the bitter memory of still another crushing loss by the Eagles in an NFC Championship game, we offer this reminder. The Phillies are World Champions. I repeat, the Phillies are still World Champions. Or, as Chase Utley might say, World Bleeping Champions.

And the team is learning that winning championships comes with a price. Literally.

The Phils yesterday reached a deal with still another of their free agents. Outfielder Jayson Werth, who blossomed into the regular right-fielder last year while belting 24 home runs and hitting .273, is getting a two-year deal. So how much is Jayson Werth worth? About $10 million.

He’s the latest in what has been a parade of players cashing in this week. Reliever Chad Durbin has signed on for $1.6 million.

Earlier it was Ryan Madson getting a $12 million deal, Shane Victorino getting $3.125 million and pitcher Joe Blanton ringing the cash register for $5.475 million.

The Phils had eight players who were either restricted or unrestricted free agents file for salary arbitration. They have now settled with seven of them.

Only slugger Ryan Howard remains. It appears likely that, as they did last year, the slugger and the team will go to arbitration. Howard wants $18 million; the team is offering $14 million. He made $10 million last year.

Winning world championships is expensive. That’s the great thing about being a fan. It’s not our money. We urge the team to go ahead and do what it takes to sign the best players. Of course, eventually some of that cost will trickle down to the prices of tickets, concessions, T-shirts and everything else.

But remember that feeling as we watched that avalanche of red move down Broad Street last October.

Millions for free agents. Higher prices for tickets. More ads in the stadium and on broadcasts.

A world championship? Priceless.

Isn’t that right, Eagles fans?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Daily Numbers - january 21

The Daily Numbers: 2 million people who are believed to have been on the mall in Washington, D.C., to witness Barack Obama take the oath of office as president.
44, as in the 44th president of the United States.
1, as in the number of African Americans ever to hold the office.
18 minutes, how long Obama spoke in his inaugural address.
10 inaugural gala balls the new first couple visited during a night of partying in D.C.
200 people jammed into a room at Cheyney University to watch the historic event.
0, how many tickets are available for Amtrak trains returning to Philly today from D.C. Every seat is sold.
20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine facing Broomall investment manager Joseph Forte after the feds filed a complaint against him accusing him of defrauding as many as 80 investors out of as much as $50 million.
12 people chased out of their home in Chester after a fire that authorities believe may have been started by a child playing with a lighter.
19 reports of car break-ins and thefts reported to police in the Brandywine Hundred area just over the border in Delaware.
1 billion dollars that Verizon says it will sink into a fiber-optic network if they are allowed to bring their service into Philadelphia.
200,000 dollars in counterfeit checks believed cashed by a car dealer in Erie who also faked military honors. He’s now looking at 2 years in jail.
18 million dollars, what slugger Ryan Howard wants to be paid by the Phillies next year.
14 million, what the Phillies are offering him.
10 million, what Howard made this year. Even if he loses at arbitration, Howard still stands to be a winner, getting a $4 million raise.
3,125,000 dollar, one-year deal for outfielder Shane Victorino.
5,475,000 dollar, one-year deal for pitcher Joe Blanton.
2 men charged in Arizona with burning messages into the lawn of the home owned by Donovan McNabb in Chandler, Az. They say they are Cardinals fans. Figures.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.How can Ryan Howard lose? Even if an arbitrator rules against him, he’s still in line to get a $4 million raise. He wants $18 million; the team is offering $14 million. He made $10 million this year. Nice racket, huh?
*
I Don’t Get It: Some knuckleheads have already responded to our Web site with a bunch of racial invective about the world coming to an end because Barack Obama has been sworn in as president. We take it down as soon as they post it. I get it, but I really don’t get it.
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Today’s Upper: Good news. The Girls Scouts say none of their cookies is affected by the scare involving some peanut butter products and cases of salmonella. Calories, on the other hand, may be a different matter.
*
Quote Box: “There was so much joy, tears of joy, and not only joy, but those tears represented hope.
-- Bernice Warren, director of Eastside Ministries in Chester, who was on hand in Washington, D.C., to witness the historic inauguration of Barack Obama.

At last

Some days stay with you longer than others.

Sept. 11, 2001 had that kind of effect on a lot of people. We now refer to it simply as 9/11. It took its place beside Dec. 7, 1941, and Nov. 22, 1963. Those who lived through them will always remember where they were and what they were doing when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and again when word was received that shots had been fired at the presidential motorcade in Dallas.

I don’t know if Jan. 20, 2009, will have that kind of staying power. But it was something to behold.

I sit in an office all day, usually with KYW-1060 playing on the radio in one ear and the TV on tuned to local news or CNN in the other.

Yesterday I was joined by a phalanx of Web sites, including our own, providing live streaming video and audio of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

It is hard to minimize the seismic shift that the nation underwent yesterday. You could see it in people’s eyes, all two million of them who made their way to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to witness history.

You could see it in the eyes of students and faculty at the nation’s oldest historically black college. The room at Cheyney University was jammed to witness the first African American take the oath of office as president.

I found I could not take my eyes off the TV and the video yesterday.

There were any number of moments that will stay with me for a long time. Just the scene of all those people who gathered peacefully in the mall was mesmerizing.

There was the image of President-Elect Barack Obama, and his wife, Michelle, arm in arm with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush as they arrived at the White House.

There were the sparkling words delivered by Obama in his inaugural address, reminding the nation of the steep challenge that lies ahead and urging everyone to take up their share of the burden.

There is a single classic photo of Obama’s 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, giving him a thumb’s up after he was sworn in.

And there was the moving scene of the Obamas getting out of their limo to walk part of the route and greet the crowds during the Inaugural Parade.

But there is one moment that will stay with me more than any of the others. It happened last night, after I got home, and of course immediately flipped on the TV to check out the latest coverage.

The new president and his bride had arrived at the first of the many balls they would grace during the evening.

After a few remarks, the Obamas, the nation’s new first couple, he looking dazzling in his tux, white shirt and white bow tie, she looking elegant in an off-the-shoulder gown.

It was a scene the nation has viewed many times. But we’ve never seen it this way. The eyes of the nation were fixed on a black couple, the new face of the nation.

As the Obamas stood on the dance floor, Beyonce delivered their song. The familiar Etta James tune rolled over the room – and the nation.

“At Last.”

Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

Ryan's Hope

When’s the last time this happened to you?

You and your boss disagree on raising your salary. You have one number in mind. He has another one, a lot less than what you think you’re worth.

You wind up getting the lower number. You lose, right? Not if you’re Ryan Howard.

If you’re the Phillies slugger, it means you’re getting a $4 million raise.

The Phils and Howard appear headed to an instant replay of last spring’s arbitration. If you remember, Howard emerged the winner in that stare-down, getting a $10 million deal for his services for the year.

This year Howard wants $18 million. The Phillies have offered $14 million. There is no middle ground here. The arbitrator picks either one number or the other.

Either way, Howard is looking at either a $4 million or $8 million a year raise.

Happens to me all the time.

Barack to Andy: Lots of work to do

Barack Obama wasn’t talking to Andy Reid, but he could have been.

In his inauguration address Tuesday, Obama warned the nation that there is a lot of work to do.

Eagles Nation believes the same thing. But is Andy Reid listening?

Reid has a slew of problems on his plate, from a long list of veteran free agents, including both of his starting offensive tackles and the spiritual leader of his defense, to a looming sit-down with Donovan McNabb. At that meeting McNabb is expected to ask for some clarification about his infamous benching in Baltimore, as well as his desire for a new contract.

Today the party is over for Obama. He gets down to the nitty-gritty of leading a nation in crisis.

Andy Reid could say the same thing. And he did not even get to the big party.

Now that’s being a fan

I have been thinking about three particular Eagles fans since the end of Sunday’s deflating loss to Arizona.

I was running errands on Saturday, listening to sports radio as I usually do, when I heard a call from three guys who decided at the last minute to go to Phoenix for the game.

They called the WIP show from their car. But they weren’t driving their rental from the airport. They were calling from the road. Actually, they were in Oklahoma City. They were driving to Phoenix.

Amazingly, early Sunday afternoon they called in again. They were in the parking lot of the stadium, noting how there didn’t appear to be very many Cardinals fans tailgating. Maybe they don’t party in 75-degree weather, under a brilliant blue sky, in Arizona.

None of this is the real kicker to the story, however. The guys made their snap decision late in the week. They hopped in their car and pointed it west, destination the Valley of the Sun.

Here’s the kicker: All three guys indicated they worked at Circuit City. Late in the week the electronics giant indicated it was closing all 567 of its stores, liquidating its inventory and laying off 30,000 workers.

Think you had it bad on Monday? At least you didn’t have to drive all the way back from Phoenix, with no job waiting for you when you got there.

That could only happen to Eagles fans.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 20

The Daily Numbers: 0, number of African Americans to take the oath of office as president of the United States. That changes today.
2,000,000 people expected to be on hand in the nation’s capital for today’s inaugural festivities.
44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.
140 miles from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Every bus, car and train will be jam-packed in an effort to get to witness history today.
1929, when they opened to door to Our Lady of Peace School in Milmont Park. The school will close its doors forever at the end of the current school year because of declining enrollment.
100 students per class, what jammed the archdiocesan school during its heyday. It had 121 students total this year.
3,700 dollars a year, how much it cost to send a child to Our Lady of Peace this year.
3 police-involved shootings of suspects recorded in Philadelphia in just the past two weeks.
5 suspects being sought in a fatal home invasion in the Belmont section of West Philadelphia.
23 vehicles involved in a crash after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on I-78 near Hamburg, Pa., yesterday. The interstate was closed for 6 hours yesterday afternoon.
1 of 2 controversial slots casinos planned for downtown Philadelphia. The Foxwoods resort said it is moving ahead with a plan to put the facility in the Gallery at Market East shopping center. It is being opposed by Chinatown residents.
37, age of woman suing Jet Blue Airways, claiming a male employee denied her a work-related flight because she wasn’t dressed provocatively enough.
95,000 a year, state salary for former state rep in job set up by Gov. Rendell at a time of a state hiring freeze.
2 key members of the Eagles staff that Joe Banner says will be back next year. Those would be Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb.
12 million dollar, 3-year deal for key Phillies relief setup man Ryan Madson.
7 game winning streak of the Sixers snapped with yesterday’s buzzer-beater by Mavericks’ star Dirk Nowitzki.
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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.
They are the two words that lurk in the head of every Eagles fan crying in their beers over still another loss in an NFC Championship Game. Now what?
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I Don’t Get It: Philly fans get a bad rap. Consider this story from Phoenix. Donovan McNabb’s front yard at his home in Chandler, Az., last week had a message burned into it that said, “Go Cards.” That probably won’t make the national news. Can you imagine the hue and cry if that had happened here?
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Today’s Upper: There really is only one word for what is going to happen today: History. Enjoy it.
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Quote Box: “His dream is coming true. This is our opportunity to give back in appreciation of that.”
-- Penn Wood High School senior Dominque Grasty, taking part in day of service activities yesterday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

United we stand - witnesses to history

January 20, 2009.

There are very few days when we can say we will see something that literally has never happened before.

Today will be one of them.

Right around noon, in front of a crowd estimated to be in excess of 2 million people, Barack Obama will place his hand on a Bible and be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

It is a familiar routine, something we have gotten used to. There is the image of John F. Kennedy urging the nation to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

It is a day of pomp and history, an unbroken chain from Washington, Lincoln, to FDR and Eisenhower. In recent years we’ve seen Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and two members of the Bush family.

Of varied backgrounds, they all share one thing. They were all white men.

That changes today.

Barack Obama will literally change the face of the nation when he assumes the office as commander-in-chief.

He becomes the first African American to be elected president.

It is hard to imagine the importance of today’s event. As a person who looks in the mirror every morning and sees a white face staring back at him, the truth is that I probably don’t come close to understanding what this means.

But I know this. Yesterday we celebrated the dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. It was, as he said, “a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream.”

But the truth is that dream was unfulfilled for all too many Americans, simply because of the color of their skin.

King called on the nation to rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.

That starts today.

In the sometimes bitter, divisive debate over race relations in this country, many likely thought this day would never come.

It says something very special about this grand experiment, this United States of America, that we mark this occasion today.

It was a country founded on a simple belief, that all men are created equal.

Never more so than today.

There is much to do, both in fixing the daunting problems the nation faces, and continuing to address the issue of race in America.

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United State won’t change that.

But it damn sure will go a long way toward changing not only our image of ourselves – but the world’s image of us as well.

We remain a beacon, a destination for many, believing it is a country where you can accomplish anything you want.

It is a day to feel good about being an American. Not a white American, not a black American, not any other ethnic denominations that have settled into this melting pot we call the United States of America.

Note that name. United. Never more so than today.

The Eagles post-mortem

They are the two words pounding inside the throbbing heads of Eagles fans still recovering from the hangover of another agonizing loss in an NFC Championship Game.

Now what?

Part of that murky picture started to emerge seconds after the game, and even more so during the painful “morning after” on Monday. Or I suppose you could call that the “mourning after.”

Eagles exec Joe Banner, looking to put out a brush fire started by some of his comments after the game about the definition of insanity and thinking that you are doomed to keep doing the same things if you don’t make any changes, issued a formal statement Monday morning.

The bottom line? Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb are coming back. At least that’s the team’s plan. Of course, things could happen to change that. Maybe Reid decides to move on, or at least shift some of his duties. Or it’s entirely possible the team may not be able to reach a contract agreement with McNabb.

With all of that, here are a few unsolicited suggestions for the Eagles brain trust.

No. 1: What happened to you Sunday was not a mirage in the desert. It was Larry Fitzgerald. He is a game-changer at wide receiver. He’s someone you have to account for on every play. He is, by any definition of the word, a No. 1 receiver. That is something the Eagles still lack. The Birds’ receiving corps was much-improved this year, especially with the selection of rookie Desean Jackson. He is a good receiver now and could possibly become great. But his diminutive status will never allow him to take over a game the way Fitzgerald does. The Eagles need that kind of presence.

If there was one thing that stood out from McNabb’s comments after the game, it was almost an unsaid belief that he is tired of everyone expecting him to win games by himself. There is some truth to that and it’s something the Eagles need to address.

No. 2: Going into the season without an established fullback was a disaster. Let’s not go that route again. And realize that, as good as Brian Westbrook is, using him as your every-down back will mean he gets beat up during the regular season. Westbrook’s effectiveness diminished greatly during the playoffs due to the toll injuries took on him during the year, plus having teams deciding to make sure he does not beat them. A big, bruising running back should be a must for the team to take some of the load off Westbrook.

No. 3: The Eagles will face some very delicate decisions with key players, including both of their longtime starting offensive tackles, Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. Then there is safety Brian Dawkins, the emotional backbone of the team. Reid and the Eagles would do best not to let these issues linger.

The pain of still another loss in an NFC title game will not ease for some time. It’s the fourth time they’ve done so in five appearances. But the Eagles could help themselves – and their long-suffering fans – by taking a close look at the issues that consistently cropped up this season and vowing they won’t happen again.

Then again, maybe Joe Banner was right. Maybe we really are all insane. Why else would this keep happening to Gang Green year after year?

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Daily Numbers - January 19

The Daily Numbers: 2:53, how much time was left in the NFC Championship game when the Eagles got the ball back, down by seven. You know what happened next. Nothing.
14 kids from Chester who are in Washington, D.C., to observe the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.
11 students from Springfield High also in the nation’s capital as part of a school project to cover the historic event.
121 students enrolled this year at Our Lady of Peace School in Milmont Park. The archdiocese announced the school will close at the end of the year.
1 suspect shot by police in Philadelphia who were responding to a domestic incident.
50-foot fall survived by an ice climber in Bucks County.
30, age of resident who was killed during a home invasion in West Philadelphia.
1 resident dead and 1 firefighter injured in a blaze in a South Philadelphia row home.
19, age of suspect charged with killing a 15-year-old girl with a fatal gunshot wound to the head inside a home in New Castle, Del.
60 years, how long Circuit City has been in business. The electronics giant announced it would close all 567 of its stores, liquidate its inventory and lay off 30,000 workers.
13 Circuit City stores in the Philadelphia region that will be closed, including one in the Marple Crossroads Shopping Center.
1,500 people who showed up to mourn the 7 victims of a fire that swept through a house in Southwest Philly on Dec. 26. The crowd included many members of the Liberian community.
3 more fires in Coatesville, which has been under siege while investigating a series of arson fires.
225 jobs being eliminted by Charming Shoppes. The clothing chain has its HQ in Bensalem.
3 year, $20.5 million dollar deal for Cole Hamels, the ace of the Phillies staff.
5 NFC Championship games for the tandem of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. They have now lost 4 of them.
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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Raise your hand if you thought Donovan McNabb was going to march the Eagles down the field when he got the ball back with 2:53 left in the game, down by 7. Thought so. Sure, McNabb rallied the team in the third quarter to erase a 25-6 deficit and take the lead. But with the money on the table, he again didn’t get it done.
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I Don’t Get It: I still think the Obama campaign could have somehow managed to acknowledge the crowd that gathered in Chester during Saturday’s Whistle Stop Tour. Instead, they slowed in Claymont before stopping in Wilmington to pick up Vice-president Elect Joe Biden. But nothing for Chester.
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Today’s Upper: Hey, it could be worse. There was a call to the local sports radio station on Saturday from a group of guys who were driving to Phoenix. On Saturday they called from Oklahoma City. On Sunday they checked in after they arrived in Phoenix. It gets better. These guys all worked at Circuit City, meaning they are also out of jobs. That should be a great ride home.
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Quote Box: “It falls on the defense. We didn’t get it done when we had to. At the end of the game we couldn’t get off the field.”
-- Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley, after the Eagles blew a 1-point lead and lost to the Cardinals in Sunday’s NFC title game.

Eagles fans have seen this act before

The Eagles were not content to stab us in the heart once. They decided to rip out our guts three different times during Sunday’s excruciating loss to the Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.

First, they forgot to show up for the first half. Maybe they thought game time was 5 p.m., instead of 3. They certainly played like it.

The Eagles sleep-walked through the first half on both sides of the ball. As they trudged into the locker room, they were down 24-6. The hissing sound was the air going out of the balloon at all those playoff parties around the Delaware Valley.

We had seen this act before, but certainly they wouldn’t do it again, not against the Arizona Cardinals. The oddsmakers installed the Birds as 4-point favorites.

The offense sputtered, managing just two David Akers field goals. It had all the earmarks of classic Eagles. Donovan McNabb missing wide open receivers, throwing balls into the ground, or behind receivers who if hit in stride were looking at nothing but wide open spaces. The run game again appeared to be non-existent.

All that we’ve seen before, and have become accustomed to. What no one was expecting was for Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals to thoroughly filet the Eagles’ vaunted defense.

The defense has been the team’s backbone, spurring this remarkable playoff run. But it was nowhere in sight in the first half. It was believed the Eagles had to put pressure on Warner and contain dangerous wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. They did neither.

The Eagles walked off the field at halftime with their tails between their legs. I don’t know who it was that came out for the third quarter, but it bore no resemblance to the team that fumbled through that first half.

The Eagles reeled off three consecutive touchdown drives while throttling the Cards’ offense. Incredibly, just a few minutes into the fourth quarter, the Eagles were sitting on a one-point lead, 26-25. There were a few ominous signs along the way, most of them supplied by kicker David Akers. He missed a field goal, and an extra point, then managed to dunk a kickoff out of bounds, setting up the Cardinals at the 35-yard line.

Time for heartbreak Number Two. After looking thoroughly befuddled and almost overmatched by the Eagles suddenly fired-up defense, Warner gets the ball back with about 9 minutes left in the game. Slowly, torturously, he starts moving the Cardinals down the field. The Eagles defense folds its tent, unable to protect the Eagles tenuous 2-point lead. The drive consumes 7:46. The successful two-point conversion means the Cards now lead by seven, 32-25.

Then came the coup de grace.

The Eagles get the ball back with 2:53 left to play, ball on their own 20. Eighty yards to go, almost three minutes to do it.

Raise your hand if you thought the Donovan McNabb was going to do something he has never done before, drive the Eagles the length of the field as the clock expired to win a game in which they were trailing.

Thought so. Another bitter defeat.

Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb have now played in five NFC Championship games. They have won one of them.

They have been favored in all but their first visit, when they fell to the same Kurt Warner who bedeviled them yesterday.

Sadly, we’ve seen it before.

There will be no all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. The Steelers did their part, winning a slugfest against the Ravens.

The Eagles? They merely managed to stab their loyal fans in the heart.

And this time they did it three times in the same game.

The dream becomes reality

I pointed out today in my print column that today’s marking of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday could not be more appropriate.

King spoke of a dream, of a United States where people would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Tomorrow the dream becomes reality.

One of the things I always think about today is King’s mesmerizing speech that he delivered on a sweltering Aug. 28, 1963, on the mall in Washington, D.C.

We didn’t have space to run it in its entirety this year, but that’s the great thing about the Internet, space is not an issue.

Here is the full text of King’s speech. Close your eyes and you can almost seen and hear him standing before that bank of microphones in the nation's capital:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the
greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand
today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a
great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared
in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end
the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years
later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of
segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the
Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of
material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing
in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own
land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

Martin Luther King, Jr., delivering his 'I Have a Dream' speech from the
steps of Lincoln Memorial. (photo: National Park Service)In a sense we have
come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our
republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration
of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American
was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as
well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note
insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this
sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check
which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe
that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are
insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we
have come to cash this check - a check that will give us upon demand the
riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this
hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no
time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing
drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.
Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to
the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from
the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is
the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This
sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until
there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen
sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro
needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening
if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor
tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our
nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm
threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining
our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek
to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and
hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and
discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into
physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of
meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which
has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white
people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here
today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.
They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our
freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We
cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil
rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as
the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We
can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of
travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of
the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is
from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as
our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by
signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro
in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing
for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be
satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a
mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and
tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of
you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by
the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the
faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go
back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of
our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be
changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of
today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the
American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men
are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former
slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together
at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state
sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with
its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and
nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black
girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as
sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and
mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the
crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With
this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of
hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of
our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will
be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to
jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be
free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a
new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I
sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every
mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom
ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from
the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening
Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every
mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring
from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we
will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and
white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to
join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last!
free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"