Friday, May 28, 2010

The Daily Numbers - May 28

The Daily Numbers: 2 words that formed President Obama’s response when asked about the controversy of a potential job offer to Joe Sestak:
Nothing Improper.
380,000 people in the Philly region who say they will travel 50 miles or more this weekend.
2.86 a gallon, what we’re paying on average in the region for gas this Memorial Day Weekend.
2.48, what we were paying last year.
12, age of Chester youth charged with stabbing a 20-year-old woman who hit him with a rope.
6 percent fare hike on SEPTA, as the price of tokens and transfers goes up July 1. The $2 base fare is not changing.
1.55 for a subway token, that’s up from $1.45.
1 dollar for a transfer, up from the current 75 cents.
22 dollars for a weekly transit pass, up from $20.75.
535 million dollars in renovations slated for Philadelphia International Airport.
2 percent cut in state sales tax, from 6 to 4 percent, while expanding items it applies to idea from Gov. Rendell that he is dropping.
1, as in No. 1, ranking for the Wildwoods in annual contest for best beach in New Jersey.
3 children killed when fire roared through a home in Reading.
200,000 dollars ripped off from Jenkintown and police have charged the town’s former tax collector.
3 straight shutout losses now for the Phillies.
1 more day until the Flyers drop the puck vs. the Blackhawks.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.So here’s the question of the day: Who do you think will score first, the Phillies or the Flyers?
*
I Don’t Get It: A New Jersey teen has admitted he defectated in a friend’s soda as a prank. He’s been ordered to write an essay on why eating feces is not good for you.
*
Today’s Upper: Don’t forget the real reason for this weekend. Take time to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
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Quote Box: “I can assure the public that nothing improper took place.”
- President Barack Obama, on question about controversy surrounding possible job offer to Joe Sestak if he would get out of the race vs.
Arlen Specter.

Obama on Sestak

The president finally spoke yesterday on the nagging issue that is nibbling around the edges of his administration.

After spending more than an hour yesterday being grilled over his administration’s response to the oil spill in the Gulf, Barack Obama called for one final question.

That’s when he was quizzed on “offer-gate.”

For those who have not been paying attention, that is the controversy surrounding Delco Congressman Joe Sestak’s claim that someone in the White House offered him a job to get out of the Democratic Senate primary race against Sen. Arlen Specter.

The White House has been tight-lipped on the issue. Some people might call it stone-walling. When Sestak, D-7, of Edgmont, first made the claim to veteran journalist Larry Kane, the White House responded that it did not happen.

But Sestak never changed his story, repeating his affirmative answer to the question about the offer every time it was brought up.

After his stunning win over Specter, the upstart Dem was on the Sunday talk shows and again stuck to his story. The match had been lit. Even the White House seemed to be softening its stance, indicating that the matter had been reviewed and nothing inappropriate happened.

In the meantime, there were increasing calls from both sides of the aisle for both Sestak and White House to lay their cards on the table and tell what happened. Even Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell, who was a big Specter booster and openly questioned Sestak’s candidacy, thinks this whole thing has gone on too long and both sides need to provide more information.

So what did Obama have to say? Two words. “Nothing Improper.”

The president said there will be a formal response from the White House “shortly,” while assuring he did not mean a matter of weeks or months.

“I can assure the public that nothing improper took place,” the president said.

In the meantime, Sestak has been silent on the issue, unusual for a guy’s whose staff peppers the newspaper with releases and events almost every day.

For now the wait for the White House response goes on.

I don’t doubt for a minute that some kind of offer was made. That’s part and parcel of politics. It’s happened before. It will happen again. In fact it happens all the time.

What made this instance so different is Sestak being so public in admitting that it took place.

Did anything illegal take place? I don’t know, but I do know it has created a splotch on both the White House and Sestak when neither need it. Obama is being hammered for his response on the oil spill. Sestak is about to embark on a tough campaign against Republican Pat Toomey.

We’ll see if the White House delivers that report today. If not, the buzz will continue.

This issue is not going away until the White House and Sestak make it go away. And they can do that by telling what they know about who offered what to whom.

We await their answer.

Table games come to Delaware (not the county)

The race to table games nirvana is over. Delaware has won.

In the never-ending hunt for more revenue, most states have been rolling the dice – literally – with increased gambling.

Of course Atlantic City started all this years ago. Then Delaware got in on the act, allowing slots casinos in three racetracks in the state.

Tired of seeing potential revenue leak from every border, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell led the push the join the party a few years ago.

The result was slot machine meccas such as Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack in Chester.

But when the economy tanked, do did the state’s finances. Harrisburg was swimming in red ink? The solution? No problem. Table games.

But Delaware had the same idea. And this afternoon they will usher in poker, blackjack, roulette and craps at noon at Harrington Raceway.

Don’t fret, Pennsylvanians. You won’t have to drive down I-95 South much longer for your table games fix.

The Pennsylvania Legislature signed off on table games last year. Harrah’s has already been given the green light to expand their gambling offerings. They are expected to be in operation in Chester sometime around July 4.

There was some good news for Chester out of Delaware yesterday in terms of gambling competition. The Delaware Legislature indicated it will not vote on an expansion of casinos in the state, currently limited to three racetracks.

One proposal called for a casino to be built on the Wilmington waterfront, which would pose a serious threat to Harrah’s.

The only question is when the next expansion in gambling will be coming down the pike.

You might say you can bet on it.

Phils continue to flail

So who do you think will score next, the Flyers or the Phillies?

That’s right sports fans, your two-time defending National League champions got blanked again last night.

If you’re counting that’s three shutout losses in a row. They have failed to score in four or their last five games, in the process dropping five straight. Yes, that old axiom is true: it’s tough to win if you don’t score.

There are some staggering numbers surround the suddenly Phutile Phils:

5 straight starting pitchers have now allowed the Phils to score a run.
3 runs, what the Phils have scored in their 5-game skid.
.147, what the Phils are hitting in that stretch.
3 hits, what the Phils managed last night off starter Mike Pelfrey.

After Wednesday night’s affair, manager Charlie Manuel closed the locker room after the game to talk to his struggling troops.

Yesterday the team held a players-only meeting in the afternoon.

Didn’t help. First they sat through a 1-hour, 55-minute delay, but their bats remained under the weather.

The Phillies got out of New York and are now headed to Florida for a weekend series with the Marlins.

They should be in about the fourth or fifth inning when they drop the puck in Chicago for Game 1 between the Flyers and Blackhawks.

Hopefully the Phillies will have scored by then. Maybe they’ll snap out of it tonight.

Then again, this problem seems to have coincided almost precisely when Jimmy Rollins again was forced out of the lineup with a calf problem.

In the meantime, the Phils continue to flail. Incredibly, they’re still sitting on a two-game lead in the NL East.

That won’t last if they don’t score.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Daily Numbers - May 27

The Daily Numbers: 4 bullets in the back for Upper Darby Officer Ray Blohm, courtesy of a confrontation with a suspect. He displayed his gruesome wounds yesterday.
7 GOP members of Senate Judiciary Committee who are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Joe Sestak’s “Job Gate” issue with the White House.
50,000 dollars bail for celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman. He was held for trial yesterday on a slew of charges, including new felony charges of fraud and bribery.
325 dollars to $10,000, what you can expect to shell out if you want tickets to a Flyers Stanley Cup Finals game.
54 million dollar renovation project at Strath Haven Middle School that is now approaching conclusion.
28.67 students in the fifth grade class sections at Haverford School District. That’s up from 25.75 students after recent cutbacks.
60 to 70 percent, chances that the latest attempt to plug the oil spill in the Gulf via a process called a “top kill” will work.
1 of two casinos set for the city of Philadelphia that could leave the city if a Senate panel revokes its gaming license.
25, age of illegal immigrant now charged in a fatal DUI crash in Delaware.
137 marijuana plants seized in a raid at a martial arts facility in Philadelphia.
220 million dollar Powerball jackpot now up for grabs Saturday night after no one hit all the numbers last night.
88 degrees, the expected high today. It will drop 20 degrees when storms roll through late this afternoon.
2 more days until the Flyers and Blackhawks tee it up in the Stanley Cup Finals. Puck drops 8 p.m. Saturday in Chicago.
37 of the last 38 innings the Phils have failed to score a run. They got shut out again last night by the Mets, 5-0.
4 straight losses for the Phils. They mustered only 7 hits last night.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Here’s today’s mantra for the Phillies: Let’s go, Flyers. The Phils are now on the backburner. And that’s a good thing. They’re in one of their offensive funks.
*
I Don’t Get It: Not a bright idea by a group of guys to stage what appeared to be an abduction at Penn’s Landing last night. It turned out to be a prank tied to a bachelor party. Nice.
*
Today’s Upper: Our kudos to Upper Darby Officer Ray Blohm, who displayed the gruesome wounds he received in a gun battle last week.
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Quote Box: “I thought, I can’t believe this guy would pull a gun on me and try to kill me.”
- Upper Darby Officer Ray Blohm, on the street shooting that left him with four bullet wounds.

A message for Officer Blohm

The image is hard to look at, but almost impossible to look away from at the same time.

Upper Darby Officer Raymond Blohm Wednesday gave us a all a gruesome reminder of just how tough things are out there on the mean streets of Delaware County.

Blohm met the media for the first time since he was shot four times by a suspect after a street confrontation last week. He really didn’t have to say a word to deliver his message.

All he had to do was lift his shirt.

Blohm did just that, revealing the scars of his encounter, including the bullet that remains in his back.

Blohm considers himself lucky. He’s right about that. Most people believe that the bullet that was stopped by his bulletproof vest likely would have taken his life. He also was shot in the shoulder, calf and forearm in addition to the bullet that penetrated his lower back.

Blohm offered thanks for the huge outpouring of support from the community.

Actually it’s us who should be thanking him. Being a police officer has never been more dangerous. Blohm likely will carry proof of that with him every day for the rest of his life in the form of a slug lodged in his back.

The least we can do is offer two words police officers don’t hear nearly
enough:

Thank you.

More trouble for Damon Feldman

Celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman was in trouble when he showed up at district court yesterday.


He was in a lot more when he left.


That’s because Attorney General Tom Corbett seriously upped the ante on the Broomall entrepreneur, filing new felony charges of theft and bribery against him. Check out Cindy Scharr’s story here.


There’s an ugly underpinning to the charges filed yesterday by the A.G. What the state is claiming is that Feldman used the names of dead police officers and soldiers “to fill seats at his events and put money in his own pocket.”


Feldman’s attorney argued the evidence didn’t substantiate the charges. He was held for trial anyhow.


Among those testifying at yesterday’s preliminary hearing was radio D.J. Danny Bonaduce, who has taken part in several of the bouts promoted by Feldman. He said Feldman never asked him to rig a fight. That’s one of the original charges filed against Feldman by the state, that most of his shows were fixed and that he was operating without a proper license.


They must have been among the few that weren’t if the testimony of a state agent is to be believed. He testified that Feldman admitted to state investigators that 95 percent of the “fights” were not exactly on the up and up.


But that now seems to be the least of Feldman’s worries. It’s one thing to put on fixed matches. A lot of people make a great living doing just that. It’s called pro wrestling.


But it’s another thing altogether to use the names of fallen officers and soldiers to line your own pockets.


If that’s the case, as the state claims, several words come to mind.


Shameful would be right at the top of the list.



Phils in a funk

The Phillies should get down on their knees and thank God for the Flyers.

The guys in red pinstripes are taking a back seat these days to their pals in orange and black.

They probably don’t mind all that much. That’s because they’re in the midst of one of those offensive funks that seems to grip them each year.

Unfortunately, they’ve picked a trip to the Big Apple to go impotent this year.

The Phillies got shut out again last night, 5-0, by the Mets. It was the same story. They would get runners on base, then fail to get a key hit.

The Phillies did not get a runner to third base until the sixth. With runners at the corners and one out, the Phils had Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth lined up to do some damage. Not exactly. Howard flailed helplessly at a breaking ball. Werth flied out weakly.

The Phils have now failed to score in 37 of the last 38 innings. Last night they stranded another six runners and were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

It was enough to push skipper Charlie Manuel over the edge. He closed the door to the Phils’ locker room after the game to talk to his struggling team.

Apparently, Manuel did not go on a rant. Several players indicated he did not rip into the team.

But he did want to give them a reminder that it is now late May.

“I wanted to say something,” Manuel told the media after opening the room. “I felt it was time.”

Tonight Cole Hamels goes to the hill. He will be opposed by Mike Pelfrey. He’s 6-1 on the year.

Like I said, the Phillies just might be the Flyers’ biggest cheerleaders these days. It’s taken them out of the spotlight at a time whey they are clearly struggling.

They eventually will snap out of it. They almost always do.

Tonight would be a good time to start.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Daily Numbers - May 26

The Daily Numbers: 3 more days before the Flyers kick off their Stanley Cup finals series with the Chicago Blackhawks. Plenty of time to get Flyer-ed up.
92, expected high temperature today. Welcome to summer. The record high for the day is 96, set back in 1880.
1 year since “Biker Mike” lost his life on the Conchester Highway.
Family and friends gathered yesterday to honor his life.
10 years in the making for the new Boothwyn Elementary School, which was showed off to the public last night.
2.9 percent tax hike on tap for residents in the Garnet Valley School District.
21, age of New Jersey man charged with vomiting on a family at a Phillies game in April. He pleaded guilty yesterday.
13 point lead for Repubican Tom Corbett over Democrat Dan Onorato in one of first polls on Pa. gubernatorial race after the primary.
25 dollar limit on bets at table games, which are set to make their debut in Delaware casinos this week.
1,200 National Guard troops being sent to the Mexico border to crack down on immigration violators.
3 hours, how long a sleeping passenger was left on a United Airways Express flight from Washington, D.C., after it landed in Philly.
360, as in U2’s summer blockbuster 360 degree tour. It’s been canceled because of lead singer Bono’s back surgery. That includes the July 12 show at Lincoln Financial Field.
380,000 Philadelphia residents who tell AAA they will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend.
1, age of tot killed when fire swept through a Bucks County home. Two others were injured.
44-3 vote in the Pa. Senate for a bill to bar teens with junior driver’s license from using cell phones of sending text messages while driving.
2 replicas of Christopher Columbus’ famous ships, the Nina and Pinta, that are open for tours at Penn’s Landing.
2 straight losses for the Phils, both to knuckleballers. They fell 8-0 to the Mets last night.
28 of last 29 innings the Phils have gone without scoring.
13 runners left on base by the Phils.
39 degrees, record low for a Super Bowl played outside, back in 1972 in New Orleans. That likely will fall in 2014 when the game is played outdoors in the new stadium in the Meadowlands in North Jersey.

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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.So do you think the layoff hurts the red-hot Flyers? And did Captain Mike Richards make a mistake in handling the Easter Conference Champion trophy? Those are the questions you get when there is 5 days between games.
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I Don’t Get It: I still find it hard to believe that regardless how inebriated you are, you could consciously make yourself throw up, and then do just that on a family sitting in front of you. Nice.
*
Today’s Upper: Welcome to summer. It’s expected to hit the low 90s today. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
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Quote Box: “I do think it would be helpful if Joe would be more forthcoming and clear the air, but I’m not going to dwell on this.”
- Republican Pat Toomey, on questions surrounding Democrat Joe Sestak’s claim he was offered a job by the White House in exchange for getting out of the race against Arlen Specter.

Philly fan Hall of Shame

It is becoming more and more the bane of Philadelphia sports.

The thrill of victory, and the agony of enduring the louts that too often ruin the experience in person.

Meet Matthrew Clemmens. He’s the 21-year-old New Jersey man who was charged with a sickening – literally – act during a Phillies game back in April at Citizens Bank Parl.

Clemmens was in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.

He barely opened his mouth in admitting his guilt, which given his previous actions might not be a bad thing. His attorney spoke for him afterward in saying his client “completely accepted responsibility for his behavior.”

Really? I would have liked to have heard that from Clemmens’ lips.

Because the last thing I heard about something coming from his lips was almost beyond belief. But then again, I spent a lot of time in the 700 level of Veterans Stadium during Eagles games, so I can’t say I’m especially surprised.

Clemmens and some of his buddies were at a Phillies game causing a ruckus. They’ve got plenty of company these days. Citizens Bank Park has suddenly become the place to be these days. It’s now hip, drawing a young crowd.

Clemmens, a male friend, and their two female accomplices were apparently spilling beer, spouting profanities and making a general nuisance of themselves.

A man with a family in front of them asked Clemmens to knock it off. Big mistake. Suddenly they were targets.

Police allege that Clemmens stuck his finger down his throat to purposely make himself sick. That pretty much describes his behavior.
The resultant spew hit the family in front of them, which included a police officer from Easton there with his daughters, ages 11 and 15.

Nice, huh?

Clemmens is not the first Philly fan to engage in such loutish behavior.
He won’t be the last.

Yes, I also know that these acts make up a small percentage of fans.

But that misses the point. What is it exactly that fuels people to act this way?

That one’s easy. Very often it’s beer. Fans often party long and hard before ever entering the stadium. And they don’t stop there. Team officials don’t seem to keep very close tabs on alcohol consumption either. Then again, they have an economic interest in selling beer.

It’s a toxic combination.

I like a beer as much as anyone, especially when I’m watching a game.
But for the most part now I restrict that to the couch of my living room.

When I gave up my Eagles tickets, I thought I’d really miss it. I do.
Except for one thing: The behavior of too many fans.

Matthew Clemmens can now rightly take his place in the Philly fan’s Hall of Shame.

15 minutes of fame

Add two more people to the list of folks you would think have used up their 15 minutes of fame.

Kendra Wilkinson is married to Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett. But that’s not her claim to fame.

She was once one of Playboy magazine’s “Girls Next Door.” She’s also posed nude in the pages of the skin mag.

Athletes like Baskett are always talking about taking it to the next level. They have nothing on Kendra.

She will star in her very own sex tape that comes out today. After at first feigning outrage, it was revealed that she now stands to make millions in a deal with Vivid Entertainment. Is this a great country or what?

Then there’s Jesse James. He’s the guy who was married to Sandra Bullock. You know, the current holder of the Academy Award for best performance by an actress. She has nothing on her ex.

He’s on TV this week trying to explain how he threw his marriage away for the tattooed lovely “Bombshell” McGee.

At one point James interrupted the interview while he choked up.

He said that at the time he was cheating on Bullock, “I knew it was horrible, it made me feel horrible. I knew I would eventually get caught, and I think I wanted to get caught.”

He did. And he left his marriage in smoldering ruins.

I can only think of one question, and it is for Bullock, not James.

What were you thinking?

Phils knuckle under; NFL gives fans cold shoulder

Here’s everything you need to know about last night’s Phillies-Mets game.

How ’bout those Flyers?

Yeah, the less said about the Phils’ jaunt to Gotham the better. They faced a knuckleballer for the second night in a row.

With pretty much the same results.

The Phillies bats went dead – especially with runners on base – as they flailed at the offerings of someone named R.A. Dickey. They left 13 runners on base en route to getting blanked, 8-0.

Maybe the National League has finally found the Kryptonite to shut down the most potent lineup in the league.

Knuckleballs.

In the meantime, we’re still three days away from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs pitting the Flyers vs. the Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City.

Here’s a thought to cool you off on a late spring day in which Flyers fever continues to crest and the temperatures are supposed to shoot into the low 90s for the first time since last August.

Super Bowl.

Those fun-loving folks at the NFL have decided to play the 2014 game in another one of their brand new palaces.

Just one problem. It’s in North Jersey.

The NFL tried this once before, taking the Super Bowl to Detroit. But at least that one was indoors. A snowstorm made the city a mess and traffic even worse.

Now the NFL will throw their biggest shindig at the new Meadowlands. It almost certainly will break the previous cold weather record for the Super Bowl, which was 39 degrees at Tulane Stadium back in 1972.

Why is the NFL doing this? Because it’s New York, of course.

Does this mean Philadelphia might be in line for a future Super Bowl? Don’t hold your breath, gold standard or no gold standard.

Seeing your breath is more likely. Note to fans heading to that 2014 Super Bowl. Don’t forget the parka and mittens.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Daily Numbers - May 25

The Daily Numbers: 4-1 margin by which the Flyers did away with the Canadiens and move on to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
3 shutouts in those 4 wins for goaltender Michael Leighton.
4 hours, how long residents in Eddystone grilled the execs at Camden Iron & Metals about their plan to relocated in the borough.
16 to 84 months in prison for an Upper Darby man for stealing from a local church.
1,253 homes, 798,000 square feet of commercial space, 235,200 square feet of office space and 225-room hotel, all part of walkable community being proposed for the old Franklin Mint site in Middletown.
29, age of man charged with stealing a police cruiser and then leading officials on a high-speed chase in Delaware.
15 bags for $100, what heroin is going for on the streets of Ridley Park, according to police.
277,392 a year, salary for school superintendent in Cherry Hill, N.J., where they’re cutting 45 teachers, as well as sports and the music programs.
600 million dollars in federal stimulus funds spent on Pa. roads and bridges, yet they’re in worse shape than ever, according to a new study.
9 percent jobless rate in Pa. in April, despite fact that state added jobs.
21, age of New Jersey man who is due in court today for vomiting on a family at a Phillies game earlier this year.
5.5 percent decline in violent crime in 2009, according to the FBI.
11, age of boy who was electrocuted on SEPTA tracks in North Philly.
SEPTA says it will review access to the yards.
41 years later, a 74-year-old man was found not guilty of all charges linked to death of Philly officer. He had already served 16 years in jail for his shooting, but was found not guilty for his eventual death.
2.90, what we’re paying on average at the pump for gasoline as we head for the Memorial Day holiday. That’s actually going down. Last year we were paying $2.45 a gallon on Memorial Day.

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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.If you’re not Flyer-ed up now, you’re not really a Philly fan. What a great run. On to Chicago.
*
I Don’t Get It: Is it just me, or am I the only one who is dumbfounded that this situation in the Gulf with the oil spill simply drags on day after day. Fix that thing already!
*
Today’s Upper:
Welcome back to Doug Collins, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Sixers, who Monday was introduced as the team’s new head coach.
Too bad he wasn’t the choice last year.
*
Quote Box: “It is clear that Joe Sestak is not an independent voice for Pennsylvania, but an echo.”
- Nachama Soloveichik, communications director for Pat Toomey, in criticizing Sestak over job offer from White House.

A nagging question for Sestak

Joe Sestak is quickly talking himself into a corner.


Just days after knocking off Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic nomination, the retired admiral found himself on the talk show circuit Sunday morning.


As you might guess, he was asked about a nagging issue from the campaign. That would be his admission that someone in the White House offered him a job to get out of the race, thus clearing the path to renomination for the longtime incumbent Specter, who had switched parties at the urging of no less than President Obama, Vice President Joe Bidenand Gov. Ed Rendell.


Once again, Sestak did not take evasive action. He simply answered, Yes.” But aside from that, he continues to brush off inquiries as to who exactly it was that made the offer as “politics.”


Sestak was on NBC’s Meet the Press and was pressed on the issue by David Gregory. Aside from confirming the offer, Sestak clammed up, saying “anything that goes beyond that is for others to talk about.”


I’m not sure it’s going to be that easy. Nor do I think it’s going to go away.


Staff writer Alex Rose updates the situation today. You can read his story by clicking here.


I don’t doubt that the offer was made. My guess is that kind of thing happens all the time in the “wink, wink, nod, nod” world of power politics.


Sestak’s mistake, if you could call it that, was confirming it.


He was not exactly the favorite in White House circles for his campaign against their new pal Specter. It’s likely his handling of the job-offer brouhaha is not going over all that well either.


For now the White House continues to use evasive actions, in essence dodging the question.


Don’t look for this one to go away anytime soon.


And don’t look for Sestak or the White House to change their position either.



A tough call in Ridley

School superintendents make a pretty good living. Six figures is pretty much the minimum wage for these folks. Don’t think for a moment they don’t earn it.

Take the case of Dr. Nick Ignatuk. He is actually stepping down at the end of the school year, retiring after a long-distinguished career with the Ridley School District.

But not before he had to work his way around one more landmine.

This started last Friday morning, when I got a phone call from a father with a very compelling story. Christopher Dillon wanted to tell me about his son, also named Christopher, who had died of a heart problem the week before.

The younger Dillon was a senior at Ridley High and was due to graduate in a couple of weeks.

His grief-stricken family – in particular his mother – wanted to honor his hard work in getting his diploma. So they asked if the mother could take his place and walk in the commencement and accept his diploma.

Ignatuk turned them down, instead offering a moment of silence for Dillon and of course having his name read along with the rest or the graduates.

The family was crest-fallen. They also were angry. They did not understand what the problem was, what precedent was being shattered.

For his part, Ignatuk indicated that he did not want to take the attention away from the graduating students.

That was on Friday. After we started asking questions, several local TV stations also made their way to the Dillon house to tell their story.

We ran an initial story on Saturday, then planned to follow with a lenghthier piece on Sunday.

Saturday morning, Ignatuk and the district had a change of heart.

They believe it was something of a misunderstanding. Ignatuk did not think it would be proper for Mrs. Dillon to march with the graduates and then sit with them. He realized as he watched coverage of the story that was not the case.

Mrs. Dillon indeed will be there on commencement night. She will be able to sit in an area near the grads and when her son’s name is called, the high school principal will present her with her son’s diploma.

Good solution. I was never really sure why Ignatuk was setting himself up for the kind of abuse that his initial decision was bound to spark.
At the same time, I was not exactly sure he was completely wrong. It was a tough call.

I’m glad it’s been resolved. I’m glad the newspaper was able to play a role in it. And I’m glad a guy like Nick Ignatuk has been the boss at Ridley for a long time.

Enjoy your retirement, Nick.

A tough call in Ridley

School superintendents make a pretty good living. Six figures is pretty much the minimum wage for these folks. Don’t think for a moment they don’t earn it.

Take the case of Dr. Nick Ignatuk. He is actually stepping down at the end of the school year, retiring after a long-distinguished career with the Ridley School District.

But not before he had to work his way around one more landmine.

This started last Friday morning, when I got a phone call from a father with a very compelling story. Christopher Dillon wanted to tell me about his son, also named Christopher, who had died of a heart problem the week before.

The younger Dillon was a senior at Ridley High and was due to graduate in a couple of weeks.

His grief-stricken family – in particular his mother – wanted to honor his hard work in getting his diploma. So they asked if the mother could take his place and walk in the commencement and accept his diploma.

Ignatuk turned them down, instead offering a moment of silence for Dillon and of course having his name read along with the rest or the graduates.

The family was crest-fallen. They also were angry. They did not understand what the problem was, what precedent was being shattered.

For his part, Ignatuk indicated that he did not want to take the attention away from the graduating students.

That was on Friday. After we started asking questions, several local TV stations also made their way to the Dillon house to tell their story.

We ran an initial story on Saturday, then planned to follow with a lenghthier piece on Sunday.

Saturday morning, Ignatuk and the district had a change of heart.

They believe it was something of a misunderstanding. Ignatuk did not think it would be proper for Mrs. Dillon to march with the graduates and then sit with them. He realized as he watched coverage of the story that was not the case.

Mrs. Dillon indeed will be there on commencement night. She will be able to sit in an area near the grads and when her son’s name is called, the high school principal will present her with her son’s diploma.

Good solution. I was never really sure why Ignatuk was setting himself up for the kind of abuse that his initial decision was bound to spark.
At the same time, I was not exactly sure he was completely wrong. It was a tough call.

I’m glad it’s been resolved. I’m glad the newspaper was able to play a role in it. And I’m glad a guy like Nick Ignatuk has been the boss at Ridley for a long time.

Enjoy your retirement, Nick.

Orange and Blackhawks

Now that we are awash in orange and black (or should that be, as we suggested on our front page in print today, orange and Blackhawks), it’s little hard to believe just where the Flyers came from to reach hockey’s pinnacle.

Monday night they stuck a dagger in the Montreal Canadiens. They fell behind 1-0 before storming back to post a 4-2 win and win the Easter Conference Finals, 4-1.

But I keep going back to the final day of the regular season. Remember?
The Rangers were in town for the second half of a home-and-home to polish off the season. The Rangers had won Game 1 in New York on Friday night. The Flyers’ season would swing on the outcome of Sunday afternoon’s finale. Win and they would get into the playoffs. Lose and they could start making tee times, another huge step backward for a team that some predicted before the season to be the favorite for the Stanley Cup.

Naturally, 60 minutes was not enough to decide. Nor was overtime.
Instead, the game went to a shootout. The Flyers’ season would depend on one shot. Brian Boucher made the save, and the Flyers made it into the playoffs by their fingernails.

Once they got in, they decided to do a little damage. First, they dispatched the New Jersey Devils. That must have been too easy, especially since their M.O. now clearly was doing things the hard way.

They promptly spotted the Boston Bruins a 3-0 lead in their semifinal series. And even that was not enough for this bunch. After storming back to tie the series at 3, the Flyers promptly spotted them a 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 7 in Boston.

No problem. The Flyers stormed back to win.

Then they dominated the Canadiens, shutting them out three times in their 4-1 demolition.

Now it’s on to Chicago. Nothing has stopped this team. Not losing their starting goalie, three different times during the season. Not seeing Brian Boucher catch fire in the playoffs, only to have him go down with a knee injury. Michael Leighton arrived back just in time to take on the starring role. They lost both Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter during the playoffs. Their heart and soul, Ian Laperriere, took a puck in the face, suffering a bruised brain in the process, but still returned to face the Canadiens.

Now it’s on to Chicago, starting Saturday night. The Blackhawks are the heavy favorite.

In other words, the Flyers have them just where they want them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Meehan's resonse: 10 debates

Earlier today I blogged about a challenge from Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz to his GOP foe in the 7th District Congressional race Pat Meehan for a series of debates.

This afternoon Meehan responded, agreeing to at least 10 debates.

Here's my earlier post, as well as the update with the information from Meehan:

By the time dust settled around the great petition debate in the 7th District Congressional race, there wasn’t much of a primary fight left.

No one really expected that the problems with Republican Pat Meehan’s petitions would result in him getting booted off the ballot. They didn’t.

Democrat state Rep. Bryan Lentz had more success in Koing the hopes of a couple of challengers from within his own party.

So now it’s on to November. Lentz vs. Meehan.

Lentz threw the first punch yesterday, offering a challenge to the former U.S. attorney and Delco D.A. to be good to his word and schedule “a vigorous series of debates.”

Lentz believes Meehan has been ducking him. But this week Meehan indicated to supporters in an e-mail that he was looking forward to a series of debates.

Lentz jumped on the offer.

“I will debate Pat Meehan any time, any place, anywhere,” the state rep said. To Lentz’s way of thinking, that means eight to 10 debates, with at least one or two held in the fringe areas of the district in Montgomery and Chester counties. The bulk of the district is in Delco, although it does not cover the entire county. A slide of the riverfront sits in the district of Rep. Bob Brady, D-1.

The ball’s in your court, Mr. Meehan.

This just in: Pat Meehan has responded, saying he'd like to have a series of 10 debates with Lentz.

Let me be the first to say it: This race is going to be a barn-burner.

Here's Meehan's press release:

DREXEL HILL, PA - Former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan followed up on his call Wednesday for a "vigorous series of debates" with his opponent, challenging state legislator Bryan Lentz to accept a series of 10 debates and forums he is working to schedule.

"Voters deserve to hear more about Bryan Lentz's record in the Legislature of voting to increase government spending and raise taxes," said Meehan. "State legislator Lentz has been part of the problem in Harrisburg and he will be part of the problem in Washington. Through open debates, it will become evident that Lentz will be just another rubber stamp for big government spending and Nancy Pelosi's liberal agenda in Washington."

Meehan released a list of 10 organizations and news outlets that his campaign is in the process of reaching out to in order to set up debates. Meehan hopes to kick off the first debate in June with the debates spread throughout different areas of Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery counties. The list also includes three electronic media debates to provide voters who are unable to attend in person the opportunity to listen or watch the debates.

Organizations Meehan is in the process of reaching out to are:


Pennsylvanians for Effective Government (PEG) and the Southeastern Political Action Committee of Chambers of Commerce (SEPAC)


Medical Societies of Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties
League of Women Voters (Riddle Village)


Ukrainian Federation of America


Main Line Reform Temple


Senior Retirement Community


Delaware County Patriots


Larry Kane, "Voice of Reason" on the Comcast Network

Dom Giordano - 1210 AM, The Big Talker


Steve Highsmith - Live @ Issue

"In the past, Bryan Lentz has claimed he would debate me anytime and anywhere and I am happy to hold him to that commitment," said Meehan.

The Daily Numbers - May 21

The Daily Numbers: 4 gunshot wounds suffered by Upper Darby officer during street confrontation early this morning.
83, age of victim fatally beaten during home invasion in Upper Chi. The D.A.’s office now says the 39-year-old suspect in the case has turned up dead.
1,100 members of the Class of 2010 who picked up their degrees last night at commencement ceremonies for Delaware County Community College.
6 drug dealers busted by cops in Upper Darby after 2 raids and an undercover buy in a parking lot next to an elementary school.
46-42 percent edge for Joe Sestak over Pat Toomey in a new post-primary Rasmussen Poll.
1 ad already being aired by Toomey on TV, setting out what he calls a “clear choice” between him and Sestak.
8 to 10 debates, what Democrat Bryan Lentz wants to have with his 7th District congressional foe, Pat Meehan.
32.1 million people expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend.
That compares to 305 million last year.
809 bucks, what most families will spend on travel this year, compared to $1,052 last year.
25.2 percent dip in gross operating profits at Atlantic City casinos in the first quarter of 2010.
4 hours, how long the Liberty Bell Pavilion and Independence Mall were shut down yesterday due to a suspicious white powder that turned out to be flour.
700,000 dollars, how much abduction hoax mom Bonnie Sweeten of Bucks County is now charged with ripping off from the law firm where she worked.
339 jobs Mayor Michael Nutter now says he will cut in Philly after his soda tax plan was tabled by City Council.
376.36 point decline for the Dow yesterday. That’s a 3.60 percent tanking for Wall Street.
8 percent hike in some fares by SEPTA, down from the original estimate of 9 percent.
5-1 loss for the Flyers last night at the hands of the Canadiens.
2-1 lead for the Flyers in the series. They play again Saturday afternoon.
172:05 in minutes and seconds, scoreless streak put up by Flyers goalie Michael Leighton. That went up in smoke last night.
33 shots stopped by Leighton; while the Flyers managed only 13.
2 homers for Phils by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, but it was single by Raul Ibanez that lifted them to 5-4 win.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.What? You thought Michael Leighton was never going to surrender another goal. Don’t panic. If the Flyers lose again Saturday, then you can panic.
*
I Don’t Get It: Floyd Landis now admits he was doping when he won the Tour de France. And just for good measure he says Lance Armstrong also uses performance enhancers. Armstrong denies it. Nice.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who are giving the environment a break by biking to work today.
*
Quote Box: “I want to take the opportunity to reassure the citizens of Upper Chichester and Delaware County in general, that only one person was involved in the assault and killing of George Shrom.”
- D.A. Michael Green, announcing death of prime suspect in fatal home invasion.

Wake-up call for the Flyers

Well, I didn’t really expect the Flyers to sweep the Canadiens.

You knew the Habs were going to score at some point.

But last night’s 5-1 beatdown at the hands in Montreal had the feel of a series-changer.

Remember, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was not particularly happy with the way the team played Tuesday night. And that was a a game the Flyers won, 3-0.

The Flyers’ spotty play continued last night, and with the crowed roaring at the Bell Center, the Habs buried the hatchet – right in the backs of the orange and black.

Saturday’s game now becomes crucial. A win by the Flyers will still give them a stranglehold on the series, up 3-1. But another loss will tie the series at 2, turning it into a best of 3 affair. The Flyers still would have home-ice advantage, but it’s not really a position they want to put themselves in.

That means they had better show up Saturday ready to play, something it did not appear as if they were ready to do last night.

Lentz issues challenge to Meehan

By the time dust settled around the great petition debate in the 7th District Congressional race, there wasn’t much of a primary fight left.

No one really expected that the problems with Republican Pat Meehan’s petitions would result in him getting booted off the ballot. They didn’t.

Democrat state Rep. Bryan Lentz had more success in Koing the hopes of a couple of challengers from within his own party.

So now it’s on to November. Lentz vs. Meehan.

Lentz threw the first punch yesterday, offering a challenge to the former U.S. attorney and Delco D.A. to be good to his word and schedule “a vigorous series of debates.”

Lentz believes Meehan has been ducking him. But this week Meehan indicated to supporters in an e-mail that he was looking forward to a series of debates.

Lentz jumped on the offer.

“I will debate Pat Meehan any time, any place, anywhere,” the state rep said. To Lentz’s way of thinking, that means eight to 10 debates, with at least one or two held in the fringe areas of the district in Montgomery and Chester counties. The bulk of the district is in Delco, although it does not cover the entire county. A slide of the riverfront sits in the district of Rep. Bob Brady, D-1.

The ball’s in your court, Mr. Meehan.

Nagging issue dogs Sestak

Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey barely took a couple of hours to celebrate their primary wins when it was right back on the campaign trail yesterday.

Toomey wasted no time airing the first of what undoubtedly will be an endless series of TV ads. The spot that aired yesterday referred to the Democrat Sestak as a good man, then went on to point out there is a “clear difference” between the two.

The ad goes down a checklist of key differences between the two, on the economic stimulus plan, bailouts, health care reform.

It looks like this campaign is going to be about issues. While there was little difference in terms of their stances between Sestak and Specter, which led the two to exchange personal attacks, that won’t be the case in the fall vs. Toomey.

But Sestak has yet to put to rest one nagging issue from the primary.
And it popped up again in Washington.

White House aides were quizzed once again about Sestak’s statements that he was offered a job by the White House to get out of the Democratic primary against Specter. Sestak, while confirming that he simply answered a question honestly, has been trying to put the matter behind him. He dismisses the ensuing flap as “politics.”

He better get used to being asked about it.

Yesterday the White House again refused to say if Sestak was offered a job in exchange for dropping his challenge to Specter.

Despite trying to move on, Sestak again stood by his statement in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

Reporters brought up the issue during the daily briefing by the White House. The response from White House press secretary Robert Gibbs? “I don’t have anything to add.”

Yesterday Republican National Committee boss Michael Steele joined the conversation, saying the American public is still looking for a straight answer from the White House on the issue.

This one’s not going to go away.

What exactly Sestak and the White House plan to do about it remains to be seen.

Officer cheats death on mean streets of U.D.

It was just a few weeks ago that the men and women in blue gathered in Rose Tree Park to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Early this morning, the list almost grew.

In the increasingly Wild, Wild West atmosphere of Upper Darby, a highly decorated 10-year veteran of the force came face to face with a police officer’s worse nightmare.

It’s something that was once rare, but is becoming an increasingly worrisome situation, a suspect with a gun, and who is not a bit concerned about using it.

Last night Upper Darby Officer Ray Blohm, 31, attempted to stop a suspect who he spotted with an open container of alcohol and what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette. The man was outside a bar at Ludlow Street and Copley Road in the township about 12:30 a.m.

Blohm confronted the suspect. A confrontation ensued. The officer tried to use his Taser on the suspect. That’s when the unthinkable happened.
Police say the man pulled a gun and opened fire on the officer.

Blohm tried to take cover. He was struck four times, twice in his lower back, once in the back in his bullet-proof vest, and once in the thumb.
He returned fire, hitting the suspect four times.

He then chased down the fleeing suspect.

Both the officer and suspect were transported to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.

Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood called Blohm’s actions “heroic.”

We have other words for the actions of the suspect, but we can’t print them here.

The value of a life – even the life of a police officer – has never been less.

Those are mean streets out there. A few weeks ago we paused to take stock of just how dangerous a job these men and women in blue perform every day. Then we went about our busy lives.

This morning we were reminded just how fragile life is – and how mean those street are.

Luckily, Bluhm is expected to make a full recover, although he does have two reminders in his back of what happened.

Mike Chitwood has gone a long way in trying to restore law and order on the streets of Upper Darby. It’s pretty clear he still has a long way to go.

Maybe it’s time for citizens to rise up and take a stand beside the officers. Before another incident like the one last night occurs. With more deadly results.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Daily Numbers - May 20

The Daily Numbers: 3 recent luring attempts, including one at Northley Middle School, that have Aston on edge.
2.9 million dollar settlement by the firm that used to run Delco’s prison in a lawsuit over strip searches at the facility.
24 percent turnout across the state in Tuesday’s Primary election.
100 Eddystone residents who showed up for another community meeting in opposition to the plan for a metal-shredding plant in the borough.
4 billion dollar shortfall faced by school districts across the state, according to new acting state Education Secretary Thomas Gluck 100 years old and going strong for Garrettford Elementary School, which held a celebration yesterday.
99 years being marked by the county SPCA.
26,000 dollar necklace swiped by a man posing as a customer at a Center City jewelry store. He was captured on videotape, but is still on the loose.
9.9 percent property tax hike at center of showdown today in Philly City Council. In addition a plan to slap a tax on soda and sweet drinks is still being debated.
128 million dollar project over 4 years that will result in lane closures on the Walt Whitman Bridge.
5 electronics stores being opened today by the hhgregg chain. The closest to Delco are on Route 202 in Delaware, and in Downingtown.
36 million visitors to the Philadelphia region last year. They spent
$8.2 billion.
8 years in prison for a Chester County man prosecuted for child porn “morphing” – or putting images into porn via photo software.
1 woman worker at the Social Security Administration building downtown who has been diagnosed with Legionnaires disease.
3 American being held in Iran who were reunited with their mothers this morning.
170 million dollars up for grabs in the Powerball jackpot Saturday night after nobody hit on Wednesday.
3 million dollars being paid by the Hershey School in a sexual abuse case
2 straight losses for the Phils, who struggled at the plate again last night in losing to the Cubs, 4-1.
5 hits for the Phils, after getting just 6 the night before. The night before that they scored 12 runs.
3, as in pivotal Game 3 between the Flyers and Canadiens tonight north of the border.
12,000 season tickets sold by the Philadelphia Union for the new stadium in Chester. They’re now capped. Single game tix go on sale Jun 7.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.You’re not really a Philly fan if you don’t get goosebumps every time you hear Kate Smith belt out “God Bless America.”
*
I Don’t Get It: A former Philly officer is now facing trial in a fatal shooting that started as a water fight. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Garrettford Elementary School, which celebrated its 100th birthday yesterday.
*
Quote Box: “Frankly, I just think Arlen Specter was an idea whose time had gone.”
- Cliff Wilson, Delco Dem chairman, talking about the primary win by Joe Sestak.

Luring attempt sparks concern in Aston

 It is one of those concerns that always gets raised when a school is used as a polling place.


Especially when it involves younger kids.


Usually nothing comes of it.


Not anymore.


Police in Aston are investigating an incident that occurred on election day at Northley Middle School when a 14-year-old female student was approached by a man in his 50s on school grounds. After chatting with the girl before he cast his vote, he apparently approached her again after exercising his rights. This time he asked her if she wanted him to give her a ride home.


It was one of three incidents involving students and possible luring attempts in the past month.


Township Police Chief Dan Ruggieri is calling the probe his “top priority” and seeking to reassure residents that children are his top prority and that his officers are aggressively working the cases to identify the suspects.


You can read the full story, a description of the suspects, and view composite sketches here.


It’s ironic that someone using his constitutional rights would be involved in something like this immediately after doing so.


It also no doubt will reignite concerns over using schools as polling places.


Penn-Delco Superintendent Dr. George Steinhoff said the district will review the decision to have Northley Middle School used as a polling place.


Anyone with any information on any of the cases is urged to contact police at 610-497-2633.

Ad wars

For those of you who thought that, with the Primary Election finally in the rear-view mirror we’d be getting a break from that avalanche of TV ads, I have bad news.

Think again.

Former Republican Congressman Pat Toomey is already on the air in the Philly market with his first TV ad in his battle for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Joe Sestak.

In the spot Toomey runs down a checklist offering his views against those of the Democrat, painting Sestak as being out of touch with Pennsylvania and far too liberal.

Toomey lays out for voters what he maintains is “a clear choice.”

Either candidate, however, will be hard-pressed to repeat the devastating ad that the former admiral and Democratic underdog used to torpedo the longtime incumbent Specter.

The ad, which depicts Specter in his own words mouthing that he made the party switch to get re-e-LEC-ted, with a strange twang emphasizing the word, very possibly was the key to the race.

No less an authority than Terry Madonna, the longtime pollster from Franklin & Marshall College, calls the piece “the single most devastating ad in Pennsylvania history.”

The spot, created by the Campaign Group in Philly under the auspices of one of the masters of the craft, Neil Oxman, did what no amount of hand-shaking and talking heads could do. It used Specter’s own words to project exactly the image Sestak was trying to deliver. Ironically, the Campaign Group has done work for Gov. Ed Rendell, who was one of the biggest boosters of Specter.

Aside from the ad, there were some interesting numbers to come out of the Tuesday vote.

Sestak, who seemingly was an unknown just a few months before the election, took 64 of the 67 counties in the state.

Specter took a huge win in the city of Philadelphia, enough to give him the Philly region, despite losing the four suburban counties, but it was not enough to hold back the Sestak surge across the state.

While Specter took the city but lost the suburbs, that edge was basically offset by the vote in some far reaches of the Philly region, where he lost to Sestak in Lancaster, Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Now it’s on to November. The first Sestak ad can’t be far behind.

Stamp of approval for Kate Smith

It still gives me chills every time I hear it.

Thirty-five years ago, Kate Smith, once an iconic American singer, was all but forgotten.

Then she enjoyed something of a second career, thanks in part to Philadelphia.

Her stirring rendition of “God Bless America” became the unofficial Flyers theme song.

She made a connection with the Broad Street Bullies – and their legions of orange and black-clad fans.

The Flyers used to show a video of Smith doing her version of “God Bless America” before games as a substitute for the National Anthem. And a funny thing happened. Each time they played the song, the Flyers won.

The team took their novelty act to a whole new level on May 19, 1974.
Facing a crucial Game 6 in their Stanley Cup Finals series against the Boston Bruins, the Flyers decided to bring out their newly found good-luck charm in person.

If you listen closely, you can still hear the echoes reverberating around the Spectrum. The place simply went nuts.

The Bruins tried to defuse the situation by offering her a bouquet of flowers, but the look in their eyes told you everything you needed to know. It was the Flyers’ day. Kate Smith told you so. The rest is history. The Flyers, on the shoulders of Bernie Parent, held off the Bruins, 1-0, to win the Stanley Cup.

In the process, a city of losers shredded that image and exulted in something foreign to the city – a championship.

The Flyers have rolled out Kate Smith 111 times, usually in must-win or crucial games. Over that span they have complied a record of 85-22-4.

Today the Flyers splice video of Kate into a live version of the song performed by Lauren Hart, daughter of the legendary broadcaster Gene Hart.

Wednesday, 36 years to the day that Kate first appeared in the Spectrum in person to lead the Flyers to victory over the Bruins, the team joined U.S. Postal officials in unveiling a commemorative stamp to honor Smith.

They only got one thing wrong. It should be orange and black.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sestak keeps rolling this morning

Not even a stunning upset of a longtime state power – as well as just about every bigwig in his own party – can slow Joe Sestak down.

After pulling the curtain on Sen. Arlen Specter’s reign, you’d think the upstart Delaware County Congressman might want to catch his breath.

Not this man in a hurry.

Sestak was back out in the public first thing this morning. The surprise winner of the Democratic Primary was greeting commuters at Market Street East in Philadelphia at 5:45 a.m.

In addition, Sestak indicated he had a chance to talk to both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden last night after his 54-46 percent victory over Specter in the race for the U.S. Senate nomination.

That’s key because it was Obama and Biden who were at the head of the welcome wagon when Specter made his now-infamous party switch last spring. They welcomed the longtime Republican, who had cast a crucial vote for Obama’s economic stimulus plan, and in the process made himself a Republican pariah in the process.

This morning Sestak said he made his decision to stay in the race because he did not think the people in Washington, D.C., were helping families.

But he made clear he is not bucking his commander-in-chief.

"This has nothing to do with President Obama," Sestak said. "This has to do with Pennsylvania and the economy."

Sestak said he told the president last night "he would be honored to work with him."

Then he sounded a familiar refrain. Sestak said he would push for help for small business, as well as education to train people for those jobs.

"This is about a change in the U.S. Senate, which is broken," Sestak said.

Speaking of broken, that might also sum up Sestak's belief of the deal that led Democratic leaders to embrace Specter.

In rolling out the red carpet for the turncoat Republican, the party leaders cast aside one of their own, Sestak. That didn’t sit especially well with the retired admiral.


He challenged Specter, and his own party.

Last night it turned it was Sestak still standing.

The only other thing needed was a song playing in the background.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

The lights went out on Arlen Specter Tuesday. And they also went out on the Democratic Party brass.

Job one for both Sestak and the party, including Gov. Ed Rendell, is to unite the faithful for the fall race against Republican and former congressman Pat Toomey.

Maybe that’s why Sestak was back out there this morning.

He’s the energizer candidate. He just keeps going.

Don’t believe it? Ask Arlen Specter. Or maybe President Obama. If you can’t get him, try Vice President Joe Biden. Or maybe Rendell.

See Joe run. And run. And run.

His party's leaders underestimated Sestak, and their own rank-and-file.

Now it’s time to unite and move on to the next battle. Specter indicated he would support Sestak in the fall campaign.

It will be all hands on deck.

Even if they so misplayed their hand in this primary vote.

The Daily Numbers (Election Division) May 19

The Daily Numbers (Election Divison): 54-46 edge for Joe Sestak in beating longtime Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic nomination.
562,195 votes for Sestak across the state, to just 480,078 for Specter.
14,400 vote margin for Sestak here in Delaware County, his biggest margin in any county in the state.
45,370 margin for Specter in the city of Philadelphia, his biggest edge.
64 counties won by Sestak, to just 3 for Specter.
179,483 votes for Specter in the 5-county Philly region for Specter, to
160,554 for Sestak.
4 of 5 of the counties that went for Sestak, while Specter rolled up big numbers in Philadelphia.
30 years in the Senate coming to an end for Specter; 28 of them on the Republican side of the aisle.
664,435 votes for Republican Pat Toomey, who swamped Peg Luksik’s total of 151,278 and will face Sestak in November.
10 percent of voters, and even less in some places, that made their way to the polls.
454,781 votes for Dan Onorato, who won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
181,110 for Anthony Williams, who came in third, behind Jack Wagner but ahead of Joe Hoeffel.
573,751 votes for Republican Tom Corbett, who will face Onorato in the fall.
2 straight shutouts for Michael Leighton in carrying the Flyers to a 3-0 win over the Canadiens and a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Finals series.
165:50, that's minutes and seconds, how long it’s been since Leighton surrendered a goal.
13 straight goals now scored by the Flyers, going back to when they were down 3-0 to the Bruins in the first period of their Game 7 series.
2 losses now for Roy Halladay, who went the distance but lost 2-1 to the Pirates. He has 6 wins.
6 hits for the Phils as they struggled off Bucs’ starter Zach Duke.
3 errors that proved costly in the Phils’ loss.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Somebody get a hose and put out Michael Leighton. He’s on fire.
*
I Don’t Get It: So much for my future as a political strategist. I firmly believed Joe Sestak had no shot against Arlen Specter. Shows what I know.
*
Today’s Upper: Delaware County will be getting plenty of time in the national spotlight, first with the win by Sestak, and then with a fall campaign against Pat Toomey that will be watched by the nation.
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Quote Box: “This election is about you. It’s about you and everyone in this great commonwealth who stood up and wanted their voices heard. This is what democracy looks like.”
- Joe Sestak, in claiming victory over Arlen Specter Tuesday night.

Bernie and Leighton

Back when the Flyers were lovingly known in these parts as The Broad Street Bullies, there was a saying about their legendary goalie: “Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent.”

They might need to update it.

Of course, most of the guys on today’s Flyers roster were not born when the Flyers won those back-to-back Cups on the broad shoulders of their standout French Canadian netminder.

That would include the current goalie, Michael Leighton.

All Leighton did this week is something that has not been accomplished since the days of Parent and his Bullies buddies.

Leighton Tuesday night again proved impenetrable, shutting out the vaunted Montreal Canadiens’ offense, 2-0. That’s two straight shutouts.
That has not been done by a Flyers goaltender since Parent did it on the way to winning the Cup.

Leighton made 30 saves, many of the them in the first period when the Flyers were clearly being outplayed by a Canadiens team that had been stung by Sunday night’s 6-0 blowout loss.

He never blinked.

He now has not given up a goal since the Flyers fell behind the Bruins in Game 7 of their series. He’s been perfect for eight and half periods.

In the meantime, the Flyers have outscored their foes 13-0.

Maybe it’s time for a new saying.

“Good Lord, only Bernie Parent saved more than Michael Leighton.”

Sestak still rolling this morning

Not even a stunning upset of a longtime state power – as well as just about every bigwig in his own party – can slow Joe Sestak down.

After pulling the curtain on Sen. Arlen Specter’s reign, you’d think the upstart Delaware County Congressman might want to catch his breath.

Not this man in a hurry.

Sestak was back out in the public first thing this morning. The surprise winner of the Democratic Primary was greeting commuters at Market Street East in Philadelphia at 5:45 a.m.

In addition, Sestak indicated he had a chance to talk to both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden last night after his 54-46 percent victory over Specter in the race for the U.S. Senate nomination.

That’s key because it was Obama and Biden who were at the head of the welcome wagon when Specter made his now-infamous party switch last spring. They welcomed the longtime Republican, who had cast a crucial vote for Obama’s economic stimulus plan, and in the process made himself a Republican pariah in the process.

This morning Sestak said he made his decision to stay in the race because he did not think the people in Washington, D.C., were helping families.

But he made clear he is not bucking his commander-in-chief.

"This has nothing to do with President Obama," Sestak said. "This has to do with Pennsylvania and the economy."

Sestak said he told the president last night "he would be honored to work with him."

Then he sounded a familiar refrain. Sestak said he would push for help for small business, as well as education to train people for those jobs.

"This is about a change in the U.S. Senate, which is broken," Sestak said.

Speaking of broken, that might also sum up Sestak's belief of the deal that led Democratic leaders to embrace Specter.

In rolling out the red carpet for the turncoat Republican, the party leaders cast aside one of their own, Sestak. That didn’t sit especially well with the retired admiral.


He challenged Specter, and his own party.

Last night it turned it was Sestak still standing.

The only other thing needed was a song playing in the background.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

The lights went out on Arlen Specter Tuesday. And they also went out on the Democratic Party brass.

Job one for both Sestak and the party, including Gov. Ed Rendell, is to unite the faithful for the fall race against Republican and former congressman Pat Toomey.

Maybe that’s why Sestak was back out there this morning.

He’s the energizer candidate. He just keeps going.

Don’t believe it? Ask Arlen Specter. Or maybe President Obama. If you can’t get him, try Vice President Joe Biden. Or maybe Rendell.

See Joe run. And run. And run.

His party's leaders underestimated Sestak, and their own rank-and-file.

Now it’s time to unite and move on to the next battle. Specter indicated he would support Sestak in the fall campaign.

It will be all hands on deck.

Even if they so misplayed their hand in this primary vote.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

East vs. West, news & sports

6:10 p.m.: Interesting sports backdrop to Primary Election Day. Phils play the Pirates tonight at Citizens Bank Park. In other words, east vs. west in Pa. Very similar to Dem gubernatorial race, where two guys from the east, state Sen. Anthony Williams and Montco commissioner Joe Hoeffel, are squaring off against Dan Onorato and state Auditor General Jack Wagner, both from Pittsburgh.

One thing seems certain. With state Attorney General Tom Corbett expected to fend off state Rep. Sam Rohrer, it's a pretty good bet that the next governor of Pennsylvania will come from the west. I guess we owe tham that after eight years of Ed Rendell.

'Hardball' host weighs in

6:05 p.m.: 'Hardball' host and Philly native Chris Matthews is in town to do commentary on the Specter-Sestak race. He says the Senate vote is about two key things - anti-incumbency and party-switching. Doesn't sound like either one of those is especially good news for Arlen Specter.

One thing I've been hearing now for weeks and it's only being confirmed today. A lot of people are voting against Arlen Specter. I don't hear nearly as many people who are voting for Joe Sestak.

6 p.m. and still raining

6 p.m.: Two hours before the polls close, and it is still raining. No, not nearly as hard as it was earlier in the day, but very likely enough to keep people inside - and away from the polls. What does that mean in terms of turnout? It likely will be low. Will that be enough to keep Arlen Specter's totals down and open the door to an upset win by Joe Sestak. Your guess is as good as mine.

The turnout in Ridley

4:35 p.m.: This update just in from a reader in Ridley. Jessica Rosado says she voted at the Vauclain Fire Company in Crum Lynne around 3 p.m. Any guesses on her number? She checked in at No. 57. And she added this: Go Sestak!

Al Jazeera checks out the race

4:25 p.m.: It's official. The Specter-Sestak war has gone global. Reports filtered into the office today that a film crew from the Quatar-based TV network Al-Jazeera was in the county.

They took some film at a couple of polling places in Aldan. Reporter Marlene DiGiacomo got this account of their visit:

Derek Woodward, a judge of elections at the Aldan West polling place in the Aldan Elementary School, at Providence and Woodlawn Avenues, Aldan, said a reporter/producer and photographer identifying themselves from Al-Jazeera tried to film inside the polling place around 10 a.m. but were denied.

"They weren’t allowed because they were deceptive,’’ he said. ``Ultimately it’s my decision whether to allow cameras in. They said they had prior permission and when I asked `from whom’ they gave me several different people (including the county election solicitor).’’
Woodward said he checked and they didn’t obtain that permission so he asked them to step outside which they did.
County Solicitor Frank Catania said arrangements should be made by the news media prior to an election, which is the usual rule, if reporters want to be allowed inside a polling site.

About that write-in campaign

4:15 p.m.: Update on the earlier post on the write-in battle being waged in the 168th state Legislative District now held by Republican Tom Killion. Democrat Gail Conner is apparently trying to win a write-in campaign for the Dem nomination. Thanks to a reader who e-mailed me the information.

Word for Turnout in Philly: Terrible

3:40: One word is being repeated again and again in describing the turnout in Philadelphia. Terrible. That is not good news for Arlen Specter, who needs a big turnout in the city. Blame the rain, as misery 'reign's for the longtime Senate stalwart. At the same time, the word is that turnout in Delaware County, in particular the city of Chester, is running better than expected. That vote is expected to go for Sestak.

Specter begs to differ on vigor

2:45 p.m.: One thing you might not want to challenge about Sen. Arlen Specter is just how vigorous he is, and whether he trails challenger Joe Sestak in that department.


As MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, herself a former Philly TV media member who knows Specter well, found out while quizzing the senator after he voted in the city.


Check it out.

Possible write-in campaign

2:00 p.m.: Getting reports of possible write-in activity in Tom Killion's 168th state legislative district. Both Rep. Killion and a Dem foe are apparently getting some attention as write-in candidates on the Dem ballot.

Possible polling problem in Nether Prov

1:40 p.m.: Possible polling problem reported in Nether Providence. A longtime voter indicates the polling place in the 2nd Ward, 1st and 2nd Precincts, has changed, sort of, without any notification to voters.

He said for years voters have always entered the polling place at the rear of Strath Haven High School. But this year they made a change. He says he was told by a judge of elections that the last-minute change was made this week. Voters now were supposed to enter from the front of the school and vote in the gym.

He complained that maybe as many as 1,000 voters would be "disenfranchised" by the move, in part because it was a long hike from the back to the front, and you couldn't go through the school. Making matters worse, he says, was fact that there were no parking places in the front of the school. He said all the spots were taken by school personnel.

Voters were left scrambling in the rain.

Contrasting reports on turnout in Chester

1:05 p.m.: We're getting contrasting reports of turnout in the city of Chester. One voter indicated turnout was "light." He cast his ballot in Ward 1, 4th precinct at 11 a.m. and indicated he was the 38th voter to do so.

But he also said he was touring the city with a committeeman and said turnout was heavier at the fire house on 13th Street.

More low turnout numbers

12:20: More turnout results, and more very low numbers. At Edgmont, home base of Joe Sestak, only 125 people had voted as of noon.

Things were even slimmer in Marcus Hook, where they had only 16 people cast ballots by noon.

Rendell frets about rain hurting turnout, Specter

12:00 p.m.: Voter turnout in Philadelphia said to be low, with most blaming it on the rain. One poll worker in Wynnefield now on Channel 6 noon news, saying just 79 voters have made it to the polls.

That low turnout in the city does not bode well for Specter.

Gov. Ed Rendell admitted as much, saying that if it rains consistently it would hold down city vote and that would not be good for his guy in the race, Specter.

Committee of Seventy indicating no problems being reported so far in the city.

City vs. Suburbs

11:50 a.m.: Over at Politico, they framing the Specter-Sestak race as a fight between the city of Philadelphia vs. the burbs. That would be the longtime muscle of Specter and Gov. Ed Rendell in the city, vs. Sestak's popularity in the surrounding burbs.

Split decision on Specter from a Philly voter

10:50 a.m.: At least one voter in Philly admits having mixed emotions about the longtime senator. Marc Coleman said he was "kind of torn about Specter."

"I like that he has experience," said Coleman, 41, but then added that he didn't like "the fact that he switched parties because the Republicans were tanking."

White House cold shoulder for Specter?

10:45 a.m.: Ouch! AP reports White House distancing Obama from Specter. Check it out here.

Not getting the picture in Gradyville

9:50: a.m.: A bit of a problem with Sestak voting in Gradyville, at least for those of us in the media. No video or still cameras were allowed into the polling place by poll workers. Not exactly a warm welcome to Delco for the national media. Poll workers explained that they have never allowed cameras in the voting rooms. Of course, they've never had the eyes of the nation on them either. That did not seem to be any problem when Specter voted just after 9 a.m. at the Alden Park Manor polling place in West School House Lane in Philly.

Very light turnout in Brookhaven

9:40 a.m.: Early report from Brookhaven. Voters are staying away in droves. Maybe it's the rain. Co-worker voted at Brookhaven Municipal Building and saw one other woman voting. Looking like a very light turnout, at least in the early going. It was the same thing where Joe Sestak cast his vote in Gradyville.

Specter casts his vote in Philly

9:15 a.m.: Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter has arrived at the Alden Park Manor polling place in West School House Lane in Philly to cast his vote. He's accompanied by his wife, Joan.

Specter addressed the media before casting his vote and talked about the wave of anti-incumbency fever gripping nation:

"The path I had was clear cut," Specter said, indicating he would have an easy path to the GOP nomination if he had just voted against the president's stimulus plan. But that's not what he did.

"I voted against the stimulus, I decided not to stay with the Republican caucus," Specter said. That's been my most important vote. I have no regrets."

Specter again took his foe Sestak to task for what he claims is taking a statement out of context in the ad that has gripped the campaign, with Specter indicating he switched parties so he could get re-elected.

"It tis odd that Sestak has taken my statement out of context, about wanting to be re-elected," Specter said. "My job is to get thousands of jobs for Pennsylvanians. I'll stand by it."

He then was asked by President Obama did not come to Pennsylvania personally to campaign for him.

Specter responded the president was all over TV embracing him in ads.

"He (Obama) was in Philly every few minutes on TV stations," Specter said.

Pat Meehan presses flesh

8:55 a.m.: Patt Meehan, the former Delco D.A. and U.S. attorney who will face off with Dem state Rep. Bryan Lentz for the 7th District Congressional seat in November, is out pressing the flesh this election today. Check it out.

Competition for Specter-Sestak

8:45 a.m.: And now for a sports commentary. OK, so the NHL bigwigs probably weren't locked into the Specter-Sestak primary. But about the last thing we needed tonight was a Flyers playoff game.

Yet that's exactly what we got. Rain won't have any effect on Flyers fans. I hope they all hit the polls before they head for South Philly. The Flyers game is scheduled to start about 55 minutes before the polls close.

And that's not all. The South Philly sports complex will be jumping. Across the street at Citizens Bank Park, Roy Halladay will be taking the mound for the Phils as they go for their fifth straight win. Last night they crushed the hapless Pirates, 12-2. Of course, the Phils might get rained out. But this is only a two-game series, so they likely will sit around for awhile trying to get it in.

And if all that was not enough, the Sixers will make a little news tonight. No, they're still not ready to name their new coach. Tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery. The Sixers have the No. 6 spot in the lottery. The odds of the Sixers winding up with the No. 1 pick weigh in at a dismal 6 percent. Getting into the top three? About 21 percent. Getting exactly where they are sitting, with the No. 6 or 7 selection? 70 percent.

Maybe Specter should head to the Phils game again tonight. He was there last night and the Phils rolled to a huge win.

So what do you think is the biggest contest of the night, Flyers-Canadiens or Specter-Sestak?

National TV time for Sestak

8:15 a.m.: Get used to seeing Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter on TV today. Sestak was up early and at the polling place in Gradyville the second it opened. Specter is not expected to vote until 9.

Sestak has already showed up on national TV. In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," he called Specter a "career politician" whose party switch amounted to political opportunism. Sestak says polls indicate he'd be a stronger candidate in November against former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, the presumptive Republican nominee.

The national media will be crawling all over Delco today as the eyes of the nation zero in on the Specter-Sestak battle.

A prediction from a longtime Delco pol and powerbroker

7:15 a.m.: Here's an exclusive from a longtime Delco political powerbroker: Here is my opinion, I think if the weather stays this way all day it should favor Sestak, I always have found the Rasmussen Poll to be the most accurate, they favor Joe, if I were a betting man my money would be on him. Remember what he did for a living for 31 years, he knows how to plan, prepare and attack, take it from one who felt his wrath in 2006!

7 a.m..: Joe Sestak arrived at polling place in Gradyville and headed right for the TV cameras. He was just live on Fox-29 talking about the need for change in Washington.

He also said he had soup, chili and a beer last night for dinner to brace himself for the day ahead.

How Sestak, Specter will spend the day

SESTAK

Tuesday’s schedule follows for U.S. Rep. Joseph A. Sestak Jr., challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic nomination to run for Specter’s seat.
6:30 a.m. GRADYVILLE — Sestak arrives at polling place. Edgmont Township Municipal Building, 1000 Gradyville Road, Gradyville.
7 a.m. GRADYVILLE — Sestak casts ballot. Edgmont Township Municipal Building, 1000 Gradyville Road, Gradyville.
8 p.m. WAYNE — Sestak and supporters monitor primary returns. Mellon Hall, Valley Forge Military Academy & College, 1001 Eagle Road, Wayne.

SPECTER

Tuesday’s schedule follows for U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, campaigning for the Democratic nomination to seek re-election.
9 a.m. PHILADELPHIA — Specter casts ballot. Alden Park Manor, 2967 W.
School House Lane, Philadelphia.
11 - 11:30 a.m. PHILADELPHIA — Specter visits polling place. Simon Recreation Center, Walnut Lane and Woolston Street, Philadelphia.
11:45 a.m. PHILADELPHIA — Specter visits polling place. Finley Playground, 1000 East Hortter St., Philadelphia.
Noon - 1:30 p.m. PHILADELPHIA — Specter attends lunch rally. Famous 4th Street Deli, 700 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia.
8 p.m. PHILADELPHIA — Specter joins supporters to monitor primary returns; Independence Ballroom, Sheraton Philadelphia City Center, 17th and Race streets, Philadelphia.

Obama's love for Specter

6:25 a.m.: Interesting piece on Politico this morning. Obama professes his love for Sen. Arlen Specter in one of the senator's TV ads. But apparently not enough to pay a visit to Pennsylvania on the final weekend of the crucial campaign. Instead, he flew over the state on his way to Youngstown to talk about the economy.

Rain a 4-letter word for Specter

The usual Heron's Nest format today will give way for live coverage throughout the day on the crucial Primary Day election coverage. See something interesting? Let me know at editor@delcotimes.com.

6:00 a.m.: One hour before the polls open, and Arlen Specter already has a problem.

For the longtime incumbent senator from Pennsylvania, rain is a four-letter word.

The common belief among most experts is that Specter needs a big showing from Philadelphia to hold off the surprisingly strong challenge from Delco U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak. Rain will put a damper on that effort.

The election is basically a tossup. The final poll of the campaign, from Quinnipiac, basically has the race has a dead heat. Sestak holds a 1-point lead, 42-41 percent.

But the really intersting thing is that, one day before the primary, there was still a huge cache of undecided voters. That block comes in at a healthy 16 percent. In addition, the poll indicates that another 25 percent of those contacted are reserving the right to change their mind.

The rain is expected to continue throughout the day. That will make things even tougher for Specter. The undecideds are moving with the momentun in the last days of the campaign to the Sestak camp. To counter that, Specter, who switched parties last spring after his crucial vote in favor of President Obama's economic stimulus program, needs a big vote in the city. Rain isn't going to help that effort.

Last night the rhetoric remained sharp - although Specter managed to find a little humor in the forecast.

He commented on the weather at one of his last campaign stops in Philadelphia.

"As soon as I got out of the car, the rain stopped," the senator quipped. "I'm a lucky guy. I don't predict the weather. I predict victory."

Sestak took on a tad sharper tone.

"His (Specter's) time has come, and gone," the retired admiral and two-terms congressman stated.

The polls open in 45 minutes. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Daily Times - May 17

The Daily Numbers: 1 more day before Pennsylvania goes to polls on Primary Day.
25 percent, what most experts believe turnout will be.
2 Dems seeking the nomination for U.S. Senate, Sen. Arlen Specter and U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak. That could push turnout higher in the Philly region, home to Specter, and Delaware County, home turn for Sestak.
5 years since Edna Barnshaw’s body was found in her Upper Chichester home. No one has been charged in her murder.
0 tax increase in the budget for Chester Upland School District.
118 dollar tax hike staring at residents under the plan given preliminary OK in Upper Darby School District.
72 percent of the district’s revenue that comes from state sources.
1,782 graduates who picked up their diplomas under glorious sunshine yesterday at Villanova University.
409 graduates at Cabrini College.
300 grads at Haverford College.
6 shootings that resulted in 3 deaths in Philly over the weekend.
10 years since the pier at Club Heat collapsed into the Delaware River on the Philly waterfront, killing three women dead.
0, what it will cost to get into the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Tuesday. It’s part of the celebration of International Museum Day.
2 hours, how long a naked man was stuck in a trash chute in a Philadelphia public housing high-rise Sunday. He was finally rescued and taken to the hospital.
17, age of teen struck by car in Frankford section of Philly Sunday night.
3 men being sought in Delaware after a 37-year-old man was shot and killed inside his home.
2,000 members of a Northeast Philly synagogue who will now use a controversial swim club after it was purchased at auction. Congregation Beth Solomon bought the Valley Club, which had been accused of racial discrimination.
3 recent hangings involving kids that are drawing concern in Philadelphia. All 3 hung themselves.
145 million jackpot in the Powerball drawing Wednesday night.
2.95 a gallon, average price of gas in the Philly region.
2.34 a gallon, what we were paying this time last year.
6 goals for the Flyers as they routed the Canadiens in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference finals Stanley Cup series.
.933 save percentage, what Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak came into the game with, along with a 2.42 goals-against average in the playoffs. He gave up 4 goals on 13 shots and was pulled in the 2nd period.
10 games over .500, where the Phillies sit after a weekend sweep of the Brewers in Milwaukee.
4-14 record for the Brewers now at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
1 save on the season for J.C. Romoro, who shut the door in the 9th.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Add a new game to the Philly Sports Hall of Fame. The Flyers win Friday night, when they came back from 3 goals down in the first period to win the series, which they also trailed 3 games to none, is one for the all-time vault.
*
I Don’t Get It: All of a sudden everyone is a Flyers fan. I’ve never seen so much orange as I did this weekend. Welcome back to the bandwagon, folks. Let’s get Flyer-ed up!
*
Today’s Upper: One more day of non-stop ads before we go to the polls on Primary Day.
*
Quote Box: “I'm 94 years old and I’ve been a Republican all my life. But I wanted to vote for Joe.”
- Betsy Fachet, 94, at Sunday’s rally for Joe Sestak at the Media Courthouse.

Crunch time for Specter vs. Sestak

After months of bluster, we are on the cusp of a crucial Primary Election in Pennsylvania.


Amazingly, the Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate, once thought to be a “given” for Republican-turned-Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter, is a tossup.


I confess that I’m one of those who believed Congressman Joe Sestak was doing his best Don Quixote act, tilting at windmills in a political battle that – at the time – seemed to ignore political reality.


Not anymore.


I wrote about Sestak’s mission in my print column this week.


Now, it seems the race very well could be decided by turnout. Specter needs big numbers out of the city of Philadelphia to turn back the late surge of support for Sestak.


The similar surge by Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen.


Anthony Williams could help drive city residents to the polls. That would also benefit Specter.


There is one other factor that has become a bit more clear in the last week of the campaign. It was always the belief of most insiders that Specter would offer Democrats their best chance against the likely Republican standard-bearer, former congressman Pat Toomey.


Again, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.


One of the key findings of a recent Franklin & Marshall poll indicates that Sestak now actually has a better shot of turning back Toomey.


The time for talk – and polls – is almost over.


Joe Sestak has done something I once thought unimaginable. He is dead-even with Sen. Arlen Specter one day before the election.


Can he get over the top?


We’re about to find out.

Misery rains in Pa. politics

There is a very ugly word looming over Tuesday’s Primary election in Pennsylvania.

It is not another attack ad. It is not another misleading claim. This one is much more serious than that.

It is rain.

The forecast calls for showers on Tuesday. That could have a big effect on the vote.

Voters routinely stay away from the polls in droves on Primary Day, but it was believed that this election might have a little more sizzle, due in part to the heated Democratic primary between Sen. Arlen Specter and his challenger, U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.

Just how big a factor was the Specter-Sestak race? It was enough to make new County Councilman Mario Civera hold onto his state rep post long enough to keep the special election to fill the seat off the Primary Day ballot. The thinking among Republicans was clear, and politically savvy.
They were expecting a big Democratic turnout because of the Senate race, and that would have put them at a decided disadvantage. Instead of losing a House seat, Civera simply held his ground until it was too late to have the 164th race held on Primary Day.

But while Democratic turnout, especially here in Delaware County, was expected to run high, you were still probably looking at a turnout somewhere in the vicinity of 25-30 percent.

Factor in rain, and you can shave those numbers down.

It’s sad, but true. Rain keeps people away from the polls.

Get out and vote. There are important decisions to be made. If you’re a Democrat, the Specter-Sestak question might be at the top of your ballot.

But both parties also will nominate candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

Don’t waste an opportunity.

Don’t let a little rain drown out your voice. That’s why they make umbrellas.

All hail Peter the Great

The Flyers wasted little time in dismantling the Canadiens Sunday night, and putting a huge dent in the armor of the man who had been their best player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That would be goalie Jaroloslav Halak. He entered the Eastern Conference finals with a .933 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average in leading Montreal over the top two teams in the East, the Capitals and Penguins. But he exited in the second period Sunday night at the Wachovia Center after giving up four goals on 13 shots.

It says here that the Flyers were actually hurt by the long layoff they had before the Bruins series. Before they awoke from their mid-playoff slumber, they were down 3 games to none. We all know what happened next.
Just for good measure, they fell behind 3-0 in the first period Friday night against the Bruins. And then promptly stormed back to win, 4-3, in the process doing something that had been done only twice before in NHL history, winning a series after being down 3-0.

They didn’t have that problem heading into the series with the Canadiens. They flew home to Philly and were back on the ice two nights later.

There is someone I believe could be this team’s MVP who likely is never mentioned. That’s because he never steps on the ice, except to walk to and from the bench.

It says here this team’s MVP is its coach, Peter Laviolette. It was Laviolette who called a crucial timeout when they fell behind Boston 3-0 Friday night. He told them to look at the clock, to realize how much time was left in the game, that they needed to get just one goal before the end of the period to scratch their way back into the game. So, of course, that’s precisely what they did.

But to really appreciate Laviolette, you needed to listen to his post-game press conference. It was an eye-opener, especially for Philly fans who have become so numbed by the meaningless blather we too often get from Andy Reid, and the down-home colloquialisms of Charlie Manuel.

Instead, Laviolette actually offered an eloquent analysis of what the Flyers had just accomplished, topped by their Game 7 come-from-behind conquest.

“Game 7’s are for men,” the coach explained, offering homage to his players.

Sunday night’s win over Montreal likely was something of a mirage. Halak is not likely to be that bad again. Remember the Canadiens also dropped Game 1 to the Penguins.

But when the Habs come storming back, the Flyers will have a secret weapon on their side.

He’s the guy standing behind the bench.

Peter the Great.