Monday, October 31, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 31

The Daily Numbers: 13-0, Andy Reid’s record as Eagles coach in week after the bye.

30 rushes for 185 yards for LeSean McCoy in Eagles dominating win.

3-4 mark for the Eagles, tied for 2nd in NFC East with Redskins and Cowboys, trailing only the 5-2 Giants.

42:09 time of possession for Eagles, compared to 17:51 for Cowboys.

279 yards passing for Michael Vick.

24-0 lead for Eagles before halftime.

4 sacks of Tony Romo for the Birds.

250,000 PECO customers without power at the height of the storm on Saturday.

20,000 PECO customers still without power early Monday morning.

100,000 PPL customers still without power.

63,000 in Bucks County that lost power, followed by 57,000 in Chester County and 30,000 in Montco. In Delco only sporadic outages were reported, with 1,100 losing power.

1 woman killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in her Upper Darby home.

5 people killed in incidents related to snowstorm in Pa.

2-1 loss for the Union in their MLS playoff debut vs. Houston Dynamo.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.That’s the Eagles team we expected to see a couple of months ago. Nevertheless, they made a statement in a national TV game against the Cowboys.



I Don’t Get It: Snow before Halloween. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Lentz family of Tinicum, which for three decades has celebrated Halloween with one of the most intersting displays and intricate pumpkin carving in the county. Well done.


Quote Box: “This was our worst October storm in PECO history.”

- PECO spokesperson Martha Phan.


A very rough weekend

To say it was a rough weekend for all of us here at the Daily Times is an understatement.

Firs the region got rocked by a bizarre October snow. The wet snow brought down trees – including one in my front yard – and cut power to thousands.

One of the victims was our new printing facility in Exton, Chester County. Power went out Saturday afternoon and was not restored until Sunday afternoon. We had to make alternate plans to print six daily newspapers at the Inquirer’s printing facility in Conshohocken.

The result was a delivery nightmare for the Sunday paper.

We did not get papers to our loyal home-delivery customers until late Sunday morning. We also were very late in getting the paper to our normal sales outlets, including Wawas.

We apologize for the aggravation this caused our readers and customers.

One thing you should know is that this was not the fault of your carrier.

It was the fault of Mother Nature.

Someone please tell me this was not an inkling of what is to come this winter.

Eagles make statement vs. Cowboys

This is all you need to know about Andy Reid after the bye. He remains a perfect 13-0.

And the Eagles added an exclamation point Sunday night with a 34-7 thumping of their biggest rival, the hated Dallas Cowboys.

That’s called making a statement in front of a national TV audience.

The Birds have been desperately trying to shake the ‘Dream Team’ moniker slapped on them by backup QB Vince Young. Getting off to a stumbling 1-4 start did not help.

Last night they actually looked like the team that was promised last summer.

Give credit to Reid. While I am among his biggest critics, you have to give him this. He flat-out gets his team ready to play the week after the bye.

Last night’s rout was fueled in part by something Reid has been loathe to do during his stay reign atop the Eagles Nest. That would be feeding his running backs.

Reid just might have the best running back in the NFL. And Reid showcased LeSean McCoy last night, giving him the ball 30 times. McCoy responded with 185 yards.

This one was over quickly, with the Eagles racing to a 24-0 lead before halftime. The controlled the game – and the clock – stepping on the Cowboys’ throats once they got them down, featuring a healthy dose of McCoy.

It’s something they did not do in coughing up second-half leads in three straight games earlier this year.

The Eagles no doubt regret those three losses, which may yet keep them out of the playoffs.

But last night they made a statement. They will be heard from this year.

And LeSean McCoy will lead them.

Read our full coverage of the Eagles rout here.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

First things first:

1) The Phillies have now lost to the eventual World Series champions two straight years. Does that make me feel any better? Not one little bit.

The Cardinals don't even get into the postseason if the Phils don't go to Atlanta and take three straight. The Phillies, coming off eight straight losses, played the games for real and paid the price, getting the Cardinals in the NLDS and an early exit.

I guess it could be worse. The Rangers have now lost in the World Series two straight years.

2) Someone please tell me we are not going to get accumulating snow BEFORE HALLOWEEN! I've said it before and I will say it again. I hate winter.

Almost as much as I dislike the Dallas Cowboys. Which brings us to Sunday night's national TV game against those fellas with the stars on their helmets.

Here's what you need to know about this game: 12-0. Say what you will about Andy Reid, one thing he has excelled in is getting his team ready to play in the week after the bye. He hasn't lost one of these yet.

It says here he will make it 13 straight. It won't be easy, and the Eagles' chances likely will ride on the leg of a rookie kicker, but I think they get the W.

How? Two ways. First they must again feature a healthy dose of LeSean McCoy, who is quickly ascending to the pinnacle of NFL running backs. They need to use McCoy to keep the Cowboys' pass rush honest, and more importantly to keep Michael Vick upright - and healthy.

With McCoy slashing through the Dallas defense, Vick will be able to mix in the short passing attack the team featured against the Redskins.

On defense this one is pretty simple. The Eagles need to continue their move away from the 'Wide Nine' defensive formation. If they don't and the Cowboys start gashing them on the ground, this one could be over early.

If they can stuff the Cowboys ground game, I like the Eagles chances with the game in the hands of Tony Romo. With the return of Trent Cole, they can turn up the heat on Romo, who is a turnover looking for a place to happen in those instances.

With their 2-4 start, the Eagles have left themselves very little margin for error. A loss against the Cowboys would be disastrous. Yes, it sounds trite but just about every game from this point is a 'must' game for the Birds.

Make it Eagles 29, Cowboys 27.

Last Week: Before the bye, the Eagles managed to right the ship by putting up a big first half and then holding on against the Redskins. They were aided in no small way by Redskins' starting QB Rex Grossman, who managed to throw four interceptions. Grossman's effort earned him a spot on the bench.

Season Record: I finally managed to break into the win column, but remain a demoralizing 1-5. The Eagles aren't much better, limping along at 2-4. This team really should only have one loss, but I prefer to see things the way former Giants' coach Bill Parcells always described them: "You are what your record says you are."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This kind of violence is not kid stuff

Today’s editorial laments the increasing incidents of violence involving guns and young people.

We spoke too soon.

This morning authorities in Upper Chichester are investigating a shooting that left an innocent bystander wounded.

The girl is 15.

Reports are that four shots were fired into a crowd that had gathered in the 100 block of Washington Street.

The victim was treated and released from Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

Eventually, someone is not going to be that lucky.

Put down the guns before it’s too late.

The life you save may be your own.

Not exactly live from DCCC & council debate


Apologies for the technical problems that plagued us at last night’s one and only County Council debate.

Our plans to do our 'Live From the Newsroom' show before the debate, then a live-stream of the debate itself, along with live Tweeting by reporter Danielle Lynch, went down the drain when we could not get Internet access on the DCCC system.

We managed to get a few minutes of our Live From the Newsroom show on before we again crashed.

Many thanks anyhow to the League, in particular Katherine Miller, who joined Gil Spencer and myself, along with GOP boss Andy Reilly, and Democratic leader David Landau.

We did manage to try to offer a blow-by-blow of the debate via Twitter.

You can read our full coverage here.

Tonight’s scheduled mayoral debate in Chester between Republican incumbent Wendell Butler and Democrat John Linder should be a barnburner. That’s because the city has been buzzing ever since Democrats took umbrage at billboards popping up around the city that seem to indicate an endorsemnt of Butler from no less a spot than the White House and President Barack Obama.

The GOP says it just isn’t so; Democrats are saying the billboards are misleading.

We’ll have all the action from Chester. Hopefully reporter Danielle Lynch will have better luck live-tweeting from Widener.

Ruffled feathers for Birds, Samuel

This is exactly what the Eagles did not need.

Then again it is Asante Samuel, who has pretty much been much more about Asante than about the team.

Samuel took this week – as the Eagles prepare for a crucial game against the Cowboys – to get some things off his chest concerning Eagles management.

You can read about it here.

He says he’s on board with Coach Andy Reid, but is less than complimentary toward G.M. Howie Roseman and President Joe Banner. He believes they are playing a high-stakes game of “fantasy football.”

All of this is because Samuel is not even a little bit happy about the trade rumors swirling around his name.

Maybe the Eagles can use it as a rallying point. Two weeks ago they put the wagons in a circle around Reid when he was under fire for their miserable start.

Now maybe they can unite behind the irked cornerback. Samuel, who loves his camera time, was everywhere yesterday, first huddling with Reid and saying everything is “cool,” then unloading on the front office, and then again saying he’s ready to play.

He’d better be.

A loss Sunday, and a bad day by him, could mean the end of his stay here in Philly. And it could be the rock that breaks Reid’s back as the Eagles season goes down the drain.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 26

The Daily Numbers: 16, age of suspect now charged as an adult in a drug-related shooting in Darby Township.

5 or 6 months, how long after the Jan. 1 deadline it will be before the county is ready to open its new animal shelter.

199 days in jail, how long a homeless man served in the county prison for trying to hold up a bank in Darby. Yesterday he was arrested again after trying to hit the same bank.

2 locations in Drexel Hill that saw reports of a mountain lion wandering the streets yesterday. No such big cat was actually found.

1.6 billlion, how much a new study says the state could make by selling off the state liquor store system.

100,000 dollars and his home, how much authorities believe a Montgomery County man lost to a home helper who is now being sought for fleecing him.

2 cases of attempted child lurings being investigated in Chester County.

19 cities, including Chester, that could place red-light cameras under a bill passed by the Pa. Senate yesterday.

400 lewd prank phone calls made by a man in Carlisle, Pa.

4th person charged in Philly’s ‘House of Horrors’ basement case due in court today.

200,000 debt owed by former Sixer and NBA great Julius Dr. J Erving. It stems from a failed golf course investment. Erving is planning to auction off some personal memorabilia. It’s now known if is he is having serious money problems.

2-3 weeks, how long Pronger is expected to be out, and when he comes back he will have to wear a visor.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.For some reason, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of passion for the arrival of the most hated team in Philly sports. Yes, the Cowboys are due here for a national TV tilt Sunday night. Where’s the fire?



I Don’t Get It: Hard to believe Julius Dr. J Erving is auctioning off much of his memorabilia to pay off some debts.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Delco D.A. for laying down the law to stores that continue to sell dangerous synthetic drugs such as salvia and bath salts.


Quote Box: “President Obama is never going to endorse a Republican, but isn’t he in fact endorsing Butler’s leadership and management of the city?"

- Delco GOP boss Andy Reilly, on controversy surrounding billboards in Chester featuring the president and Mayor Wendell Butler.


The Daily Numbers - Oct. 26

The Daily Numbers: 16, age of suspect now charged as an adult in a drug-related shooting in Darby Township.

5 or 6 months, how long after the Jan. 1 deadline it will be before the county is ready to open its new animal shelter.

199 days in jail, how long a homeless man served in the county prison for trying to hold up a bank in Darby. Yesterday he was arrested again after trying to hit the same bank.

2 locations in Drexel Hill that saw reports of a mountain lion wandering the streets yesterday. No such big cat was actually found.

1.6 billlion, how much a new study says the state could make by selling off the state liquor store system.

100,000 dollars and his home, how much authorities believe a Montgomery County man lost to a home helper who is now being sought for fleecing him.

2 cases of attempted child lurings being investigated in Chester County.

19 cities, including Chester, that could place red-light cameras under a bill passed by the Pa. Senate yesterday.

400 lewd prank phone calls made by a man in Carlisle, Pa.

4th person charged in Philly’s ‘House of Horrors’ basement case due in court today.

200,000 debt owed by former Sixer and NBA great Julius Dr. J Erving. It stems from a failed golf course investment. Erving is planning to auction off some personal memorabilia. It’s now known if is he is having serious money problems.

2-3 weeks, how long Pronger is expected to be out, and when he comes back he will have to wear a visor.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.For some reason, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of passion for the arrival of the most hated team in Philly sports. Yes, the Cowboys are due here for a national TV tilt Sunday night. Where’s the fire?



I Don’t Get It: Hard to believe Julius Dr. J Erving is auctioning off much of his memorabilia to pay off some debts.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Delco D.A. for laying down the law to stores that continue to sell dangerous synthetic drugs such as salvia and bath salts.


Quote Box: “President Obama is never going to endorse a Republican, but isn’t he in fact endorsing Butler’s leadership and management of the city?"

- Delco GOP boss Andy Reilly, on controversy surrounding billboards in Chester featuring the president and Mayor Wendell Butler.


About that Butler-Obama billboard

One glance at the billboard popping up around Chester and you would get the impression that President Barack Obama is backing Chester Mayor Wendell Butler in his re-election big.

Uh, not exactly.

You see, there’s a slight problem with that. Last time we looked, the president was a Democrat. Butler is a Republican. He’s also an incumbent, part of the long-entrenched GOP machine that has dominated the city for decades.

The problem for Butler and Chester Republicans is that the city’s demographics are working against them. Registration now tilts toward the Democratic side. In the last city council election, Democrats captured two seats, something unheard of just a few years ago.

Butler is facing a strong challenge from John Linder.

So it’s not surprising that he’s looking for every angle for support, including the White House.

What’s not nearly as clear from the billboard is whether Obama is actually supporting Butler.

The message reads: “The Obama team picks Chester and Mayor Butler, and on Nov. 8th, so should you!”

That’s a reference to the city’s inclusion in a federal program called Strong Cities, Strong Communities. It is one of only six distressed cities in the country to snag that honor.

But to spin that into a billboard that gives the impression that Obama is supporting Butler is a bit of a reach.

First to complain about it was state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159. He railed about the billboards at a recent Democratic rally in the city. You can read that story here.

The item is getting some national attention due to Ben Smith's blog on the Politico website.

Now state Democrats are getting involved. They have sent a letter to the Butler campaign blasting the message and requesting they be taken down. Read the full story here.

Columnist Gil Spencer makes it pretty clear what he thinks of the ploy.

The Butler campaign has responded that “at no time did the campaign indicate President Obama was endorsing any candidate for any office in the upcoming election.”

Really? You look at the billboard and then tell me what you think.

Could have fooled me.

'Live From the Newsroom' goes live from the debate

We’re taking ‘Live From the Newsroom’ on the road again tonight.

Our live-stream Internet broadcast will serve as the pre-game show for the League of Women Voters’ County Council debate.

Gil Spencer and I will have several guests join us from 7-7:30 at Delaware County Community College.

CLICK HERE for the broadcast.

That will be followed by the debate among the six candidates for the three seats up for grabs on County Council. The debate will run from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

We'll also be offering live-stream coverage of the debate.

Danielle Lynch will be live-tweeting from the debate. You can follow her on Twitter via the hashtag #delcodebate.

Why not come out and join the fun. Or at least send us a question you’d like to see the candidates answer.

Bring on the Cowboys

Maybe it was the bye week.

Maybe it’s a 2-4 start.

But it seems to me that the usual heat – read passion – that accompanies the week the Dallas Cowboys come to town is missing this year.

One thing I know for sure. Despite all the talk about how the Eagles “saved” their season with that win in Washington, their miserable start has left them with very little room for error.

Every week is now a “must” win, especially against NFC East foes.

A loss against the hated ‘Boys would take all the luster off that win over the Redskins and once again put the Eagles season in jeopardy, as well as Andy Reid’s tenure as head coach.

It seems to me that kind of showdown calls for a bit more passion from the populace.

Maybe that’s a sign of just how disenchanted local Eagles fans are with this regime.

Or maybe it’s just taking awhile to shake off the Phillies’ hangover and bye week blues.

I’m ready to do my part.

Just envision those helmets with the star on them. Yeah, that’ll do it.

Where’s Buddy Ryan when you need him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 25

The Daily Numbers: 16, age of suspect in drug-related shooting yesterday in Darby Township. He surrendered with his dad at his side.

18, age of man shot in abdomen. Police believe the shooting stemmed from a drug deal gone sour.

14, age of victim in a shooting in Chester last night.

2 teens shot since the weekend in the city.

3 to 23 months in jail for a former teacher in Chester County who lived in Delco. He also will be forbidden to teach again.

2 motorists charged with DUI in 2 separate incidents on the Blue Route.

23, age of alumna from Villanova who was struck and killed Saturday night while crossing Route 30 Lancaster Avenue. She was back on the Main Line for homecoming weekend.

9 p.m. to sunrise, new curfew in place in Aston for anyone under age 18.

1 man killed while trying to cross I-95 in Port Richmond section of Philly last night.

4.5 percent dip in median home price in Philadelphia region.

4 pizza deliverymen recently held up in Delaware.

5 gunmen who burst into a pickup basketball game at the Christy Rec Center in West Philly and held up 5 people at gunpoint.

500,000 dollar scam in which a member of a well-known Chester County hearing oil family is believed to have ripped off his own family members.

2 suspects nabbed in 2 separate incidents in Philly involving guns pointed at police officers; 1 cop just missed being shot.

2 goals for Jaromir Jags, the first he’s scored since joining the Flyers.

4-2 win for the Flyers, but they lost captain Chris Pronger in the process after he took a stick in the eye.

2-3 weeks, how long Pronger is expected to be out, and when he comes back he will have to wear a visor.

2 million dollar buyout for Roy Oswalt, who was slated to make $16 million for the Phils next year.

1.5 million buyout for Brad Lidge, who was on tap to make $12.5 million.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.You can kiss the Fab Four goodbye. The Phils are buying out Roy Oswalt, who likely will test the free agency waters. Can you say Yankees?



I Don’t Get It: What ever happened duking it out to settle differences. Kids today are too quick to fire a gun.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those involved in Sunday’s dedication of the piece of the World Trade Center that is at the center of a monument to 9/11 in Lower Chichester.


Quote Box: “I can tell you it was a drug deal gone bad.”

- Darby Township Police Chief Leonard McDevitt on yesterday’s shooting.


Kids & guns & drugs

It’s been a rough couple of days for young people in Delaware County.

And guns have been right in the middle of it.

Teens and guns. Not a good connection.

First came reports of a big spike in violent incidents at Upper Darby High School. The issue came to a head when a fight that started at the high school spilled outside and involved a non-student. Shots were fired. A school had to be locked down. Police and school officials huddled to seek a solution to the issue.

Two teens have been shot in separate incidents in Chester since Saturday.

And this morning we are reporting on what police say was a drug deal gone bad in Darby Township that ended up with one teen shot and another under arrest. Charges are pending in that case.

If you see a common link in these stories, you’re not the only one.

The first is guns. There was a time when kids settled disputes with their fists. Not anymore. Guns seem to be the weapon of choice these days.

The second is drugs. The drug issue is intertwined in many of these cases.

It’s an issue that begs for a solution.

What do you think, Delaware County. What is the answer to kids, drugs and guns.

We already know it’s a toxic, violent combination.

Now what can we do about it?

The readers return fire on partnering on stories

It did not take long for the reaction to start rolling in yesterday to my print column.

In it I explained why we are now posting our daily story budget online, basically the stories we are working on each day, and our hope that the public can help us in terms of delivering more complete stories. In short, better journalism.

The first comment posted to the website was predictable. It echoed a sentiment that is fired back at us every time we indicate we are opening up the doors to our journalism and partnering with the public.

“Translation: Give us free labor,” was one reader’s response to my pitch.

He was not alone. He also was not correct.

First and foremost, he’s wrong about the free labor. In almost every instance, the truth is we have already committed time and manpower to look into a story. We aren’t asking the public to do our job. We are, however, always trying to fill the holes that appear in many stories. The truth is we don’t have all the answers, and we very often don’t have every detail that could prove crucial to every story.

We’re wondering if the public does. And that is why we’re asking them to contact the reporters working on a specific story if they have information pertinent to that story. Maybe they witnessed an event. Maybe they have a photo or a video clip.

In addition, there is always the possibility that people do have key information on something we’re working on, but have no idea we were working on a story  until they see it in print or online. At that point it’s too late. That story would have been more complete if we had been able to vet and include the information from the reader.

But thanks for offering the comment, and I urge other readers to do the same.

That’s a big part of the change that is shaking journalism to its roots.

For decades we talked at our readers. We wrote, they read.

Now we want to talk with them. We want them to partner with us on stories.

I believe the result will be better, more complete, more compelling journalism.

Not everyone agrees.

How about you? Why not join the conversation!

86 the Fab Four

You can kiss the Fab Four goodbye.

Unless, of course, you happen to think Vance Worley is ready to assume that lofty spot in the Phillies vaunted started pitching rotation next year.

To the surprise of no one, the team announced yesterday that it would not pick up the options on starter Roy Oswalt and reliever Brad Lidge.

Both suffered through injury-plagued seasons this year.

Both are for the most part money deals, although the team indicated they would be willing to listen to the players and their agents if they wanted to return, but only for a lot less money.

Oswalt was due to get $16 million next year. Instead the Phils will give him a $2 million buyout. Pretty much the same for Lidge, who was due to make $12.5 million next year. He gets a $1.5 million buyout.

Oswalt will likely be remembered for what he did for the Phils last year, as opposed to this year when back problems kept him off the mound for a couple of months. But in 2010, Oswalt was the team’s key trade deadline pickup and proved to be worth it, becoming one of the Phils’ best pitchers down the stretch.

When the Phils re-signed Cliff Lee last winter, it set up the much-ballyhooed starting four of Roy Halladay, Lee, Cole Hamels and Oswalt. But Oswalt’s balky back acted up. First he went home to be with his family when tornadoes raged through his Mississippi neighborhood. When he returned, his back issues flared up. Oswalt went 9-10 in 23 starts for the Phils, with an ERA of 3.69.

Lidge will forever be remembered as the hammer in the Phils’ glorious 2008 World Series winner, going a perfect 48 for 48 in save opportunities, including the post-season.

It is the shot of Lidge dropping to his knees and raising his arms to the sky that remains the single iconic image of that championship season.

It’s likely Lidge’s time with the team is over, while there is a shot Oswalt could return, depending on what kind of interest he garners out on the open market.

The Phillies won a team-record 102 games this year, fueled by their Fab Four starting rotation. But Oswalt’s year, much like the way the Phillies, whose season ended with a bitter exit, proved disappointing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 24

The Daily Numbers: 4 foot beam from World Trade Center formally placed in its new setting in Lower Chichester Sunday.

1,500 municipalities nationwide that were selected to get a piece of the structure.

3 new saints canonized at the Vatican on Sunday, including the Rev. Luigi Guanella. Prayers for the recovery of an Edgmont man were one of the miracles credited to Guanella.

19, age of teen shot to death in Chester early Sunday.

3 men, including 2 from Chester, charged in a string of car thefts in Claymont, Del.

15 Occupy Philadelphia protesters arrested Sunday after they blocked a street.

3 suspects in the ‘Basement of Horrors’ case in Philly who are due in court this morning.

3.50 a gallon, what we’re paying on average at the pump today. That’s up a penny from last week.

2.89, what we were paying last week.

3,500 slot machines at Parx Casino in Bucks County. They are getting ready to expand again.

7.2 earthquake that devastated Tunisia. The death toll is now at 138 and is expected to grow.

10 years since Apple rolled out the iPod.

253 yards rushing yesterday for Cowboys rookie DeMarco Murray against the Rams. Eagles defense better be ready for a huge test.

2-2 deadlock in the World Series pitting the Cardinals and Rangers.

3 home runs for Cards slugger Albert Pujols Saturday night.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Raise your hand if you hate the bye week. Thought so. Bring on the Cowboys!



I Don’t Get It: The Occupy Philly folks weren’t content with their tent city. They wanted to block the street. Police arrested 15 of them.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the miraculous recovery of William Glisson Jr. Prayers for his recovery were part of the miracle credited to the Rev. Luigi Guanella, who was canonized in Rome.


Quote Box: “Not only do a I get a miracle and get to be saved, now I get to meet the pope.”

- William Glisson Jr., on yesterday’s events at the Vatican in which he brought up the gifts to the altar.


The mayor and the president

Thaddeus Kirkland said something over the weekend that I am guessing a lot of people in Chester have been wondering about.

The Democratic state rep took umbrage at billboards popping up across the city touting Mayor Wendell Butler’s ties to President Barack Obama.

On the billboard there is a smiling Butler standing next to the president.

Butler is a Republican, running against Democrat John Linder. Obviously, Obama is a Democrat.

Kirkland believes the mayor, in a tough re-election fight, is trying to distance himself from the local GOP. Hard to blame him. Registration numbers in the city do not bode well for the Republican Party that has run city government and the Chester Upland School District for decades.

It has not gone unnoticed in the last city council race that two Democrats beat their Republican counterparts. Could the mayor's office be next?

For his part, Butler is defending the billboards, noting that the city recently was chosen for a federal Strong Cities, Strong Communities pilot program. He says the billboard is a reflection of the city being chosen for the program.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt Butler to be seen standing next to a very popular -–and very Democratic – president either.

You can read the full story here.

Oh deer!

It is the Russian roulette of driving in the fall around these parts.

Anyone who drives either early in the morning, before the sun comes up, or at dusk, knows what I mean.

I’m talking about deer.

And their unfortunate tendency to come in contact with your car.

Oh, deer!

I have been making my current drive to work for three decades now. And I have stopped counting the close calls I have had in the western end of the county, specifically driving Providence Road from Route 3 across to the Route 1 bypass, through Edgmont and Upper Providence.

Deer are everywhere this time of year. Here’s a tip for those not quite as well versed in this motor vehicle form of dodge ball. If you see one deer cross the road up ahead, slow down. Guaranteed there are a few more about to follow the leader, darting across the road and likely right in front of your car.

In the past week I have had several close calls with these four-legged creatures. And I’m not talking about little Bambis either. I’m talking about full-grown deer with a rack of antlers.

My guess is my car would not hold up especially well in a collision with one of them.

My tendency to exceed the speed limit on this early-morning commute – with little or no one else on the road – does not help me as I try to navigate this deer mine field.

So far I’ve been incredibly lucky. Many close calls. But no accidents of the deer kind.

I just don’t know how much longer my luck can hold out.

The deer seem to be everywhere.

Whatever is needed to thin this herd out should be done as quickly as possible. If that means more hunts, sign me up.

I don’t know how much longer my driving skills – or luck – can hold up.

Bye, bye Birds? Only if they lose to Cowboys

And now, another chapter in the confessions of an Eagles fan.

I usually hate the bye week. With no Eagles game on tap, there just seems like something is missing on a fall weekend.

Not this year.

I thoroughly enjoyed the bye week. I don’t know if I’m getting older, I’m becoming less of a fan-atic, or I’m just tired of the Andy Reid regime.

I did not miss Reid's horrific game-day coaching.

I did not miss Reid’s tiresome act after the game, including his pledge to “do a better job of putting players in position to make plays.”

Likewise I will not miss Reid’s monotone Monday press conference.

One of the things I always feel guilty about is sitting inside glued to the TV on a glorious fall Sunday. Yesterday – actually both Saturday and Sunday - I took full advantage of a sparkling weekend to spend some time with my wife (yes, I usually introduce myself to her on Friday night. “Hi, I’m Phil.”)

Now it’s back to business for the Birds. And that means a Sunday night prime time affair with the Cowboys next Sunday.

Yesterday’s 34-7 thumping of the Rams by the Cowboys probably opened a few eyes on Andy Reid’s coaching staff.

Here’s a tip, Andy. Yes, I know it’s complete unsolicited. But since it seemed to take you and Juan Castillo a lot longer than the rest of us to modify that Wide Nine defensive alignment, allow me to point out that the Cowboys ran the ball right down the Rams throat yesterday.

In fact, rookie DeMarco Murray shattered a team record set by our old nemesis Emmitt Smith by rushing for 253 yards. Of course 91 yards of that total came on one TD bolt.

The Eagles for the most part scrapped the Wide Nine and were successful in bottling up a pretty good ground game of the Washington Redskins.

Now they will have to step it up even more. The Wide Nine should be deep-sixed for at least another week.

A loss to the Cowboys will crush all that positives that were gained from the win over the Redskins. Their 1-4 start has left the Eagles with very little room for error as they face an uphill struggle to claw in the playoff hunt.

Fall to the hated Cowboys, and the rest of the season just might be one giant bye week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 21

The Daily Numbers: 2 9-year-old boys who were targets of attempted abduction try yesterday in Ridley Park.

56, age of staffer at Chester Community Charter School charged with soliciting a 14-year-old student to send nude pictures of herself to his cell phone.

126,500 dollars delivered to Lansdowne Theatre by County Council yesterday to fund the restoration of their iconic marquee.

28,000 dollars a month, the proposed deficit being predicted already for the county’s new animal shelter being proposed for a site in Darby Township.

7-0 vote by which the Chester Upland School Board voted to hire former Downingtown Superintendent Levi Wingard as their new interim super.

4 foot beam from the World Trade Center that will be formally dedicated during a ceremony Sunday in Lower Chichester.

8.3 percent unemployment rate in Pa. in September. That’s up from 8.2 percent in August.

15,800 fewer people working in the state last month.

82, age of man in motorized wheelchair who was struck and killed while he crossed Street Road in Bensalem yesterday.

400,000 dollars worth of heroin seized in home in Tacony section of Philadelphia.

1-0 loss in their regular season finale for the Union. They still qualify for the MLS playoffs.

2 goals for Alex Ovechkin as the Caps romped over the Flyers last night, 5-2.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Cardinals and Rangers are now deadlocked 1-1 in the World Series. And no, it does not make it any easier to watch.



I Don’t Get It: Investigators are probing the discovery of a pig’s head in a cemetery in Vineland, N.J. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Gotta love it that the magical story of those legendary Immaculata women’s basketball teams have finally made it to the big screen. ‘The Mighty Macs’ opens nationwide today.


Quote Box: “Reliving this has been great. I said to someone else that it makes me feel younger. The older I get, the better I was.”

- Former Immaculata hoops player Beth Ann Hoffman Quinn, on watching the movie based on their team.


TGID (Thank God It's Doomsday)

So much for another Doomsday prediction.

Another Doomsday, another dollar. Or something like that.

The people who brought us the end of the world back in the summer recalculated and decided they were wrong, the apocalypse is actually coming today.

So far it’s business as usual.

Hey, at least it’s Friday.

Thank God It’s Doomsday just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

A familiar date for Phillies fans

If watching the Cardinals and Rangers in that taut 2-1 thriller last night was not depressing enough for Phillies fans, there is this.

Does this date seem familiar? Suffering a case of déjà vu?

Yes, it was on Oct. 21, 1980, that Tug McGraw threw one of his patented screwballs past Willie Wilson in South Philly, setting off the party to end all parties as the Phils and their fans celebrated the first World Series title in franchise history.

There was something therapeutic about that swing. Wilson missed Tugger’s pitch, but he swatted away our reputation as “losers.”

It would take the Phils 28 years to capture another title, that one ending in similar fashion when Brad Lidge struck out the final Tampa Bay Rays batter then fell to his knees and lifted his arms skyward.

We could all use a lift right now. The Phillies put together the best pitching staff in team history. But it didn’t get them to the World Series.

Yes, it still hurts. And yes, I still hold a grudge.

Go Rangers!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 20

The Daily Numbers: 130 million dollar in tax-free loans given to both Sunoco and ConocoPhillips since 1990.

6 p.m., when Chester Upland will announce its new superintendent.

5,000 dollars worth of heroin seized after a traffic stop in Upper Darby.

2 years since the murder of Chester resident Veronica Benson. The case remains unsolved.

30 years of service to Darby Township that brought honors to longtime board President Larry Patterson.

2 more teens now in protective custody in connection with the “House of Horrors” dungeon case in Philly.

50 exotic animals shot and killed after they were set free from an Ohio animal farm by the owner, who then took his own life.

30 to 72 years in jail for a man who along with a female cohort held up a Philly jewelry store and took then left their 4-year-old son behind.

1 day, how long it took the swap of running backs between the Eagles and Lions to fall through. Ronnie Brown is back.

3-1 win for the Strath Haven girls as they capture a Central League crown.

3-2 win for the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series. Yes, another team that eliminated might just take the crown.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Hey, we can once again look forward to the run-pass option play at the goal line now that the trade of Ronnie Brown to the Lions has fallen through.



I Don’t Get It: Is it just me or does the story out of Philly from the ‘House of Horror’s get worse every 5 minutes.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to those now circulating an online petition in attempts to save two Delco refineries.


Quote Box: “We are currently making payments on these bonds in accordance with the loan agreements and we’ll continue to make payments on the interest and principal.”

- Sunoco spokesman Tom Golembeski on tax-free loans his firm got through the county Industrian Development Agency.


Jobs 1 in Delco

I had a chance to sit down with two of the three Republican candidates seeking seats on Delaware County Council last night.

You can watch the replay of ‘Live From the Newsroom’ here.

Incumbent Tom McGarrigle and John McBlain made one thing clear. The biggest issue facing the county is jobs, along with the economy and taxes.

They probably don’t have to remind the people in the lower end.

They are in a struggle for a way of life after being struck by lightning twice – announcements three weeks apart by Sunoco and then ConocoPhillips that would seek buyers for their refineries in Marcus Hook and Trainer. And the grim reality that if no buyer comes forward, both iconic plants will be shut down.

More than 1,000 jobs hang in the balance, and another 20,000 that likely depend on those two plants one way or another.

The Republicans did offer a hint of some good news. Both believe there is a very good chance a buyer can be found for at least one of the plans, most likely the Sunoco facility because of its intricate infrastructure and network of pipelines. The Republicans are interested in possibly tying into the Marcellus shale boom in the state, utilizing the Sunoco plant as gateway to that natural gas bonanza.

In the meantime, we have some news on a couple of other fronts today concerning the refineries.

Both Sunoco and ConocoPhillips got tax-free loans from the county Industrial Development Authority for work at the plant since 1990. The loans are not public funds, and are meant to stir economic activity. Should the plants be closed, the companies would still be on the hook for repaying the loans.

You can read Kathleen Carey's story here.

Workers continue to push an online petition urging elected officials to take a stand in the efforts to save the plants, or at least find new buyers. Our editorial on the petition drive can be found here.

McGarrigle and McBlain indicated they will be meeting with state officials soon concerning the future of the two plants.

Call it Job One, especially when it comes to the looming county elections.

Jobs, protecting them and creating more, are clearly on the front burner.

The capture of Moammar Gadhafi

There is breaking news from Libya: Strongman Moammar Gadhafi has been captured. And he’s apparently been wounded in the process.

You can read about it here.

Here’s my question for readers. Do you care?

This is an age-old question for editors of what for the most part are local newspapers and websites.

Except for the fact that with our online presence, we really are no longer just a local newspaper.

It’s just one of the many thoughts that clog my increasingly addled mind most days.

Post a comment and let me know your reaction to the Gadhafi story, if you care at all about it, and maybe some suggestions on how we might localize the story.

Mighty Macs: A female Rocky story

Interested in a feel-good story with a ton of Delco roots?

Check out a new movie this weekend. It’s called “The Mighty Macs,” and it chronicles the miracle of the Immaculata women’s basketball team.

Anyone who knows sports – especially Philly sports – knows the saga of the tiny Malvern school and their unlikely rise to become the first women’s powerhouse in the early '70s.

Maybe even more importantly, they also blazed the trail that led to Title IX and eventually equal treatment in terms of scholarships when it comes to women athletes.

The movie was made by Tim Chambers, who just happens to be a Cardinal O’Hara grad.

And the coach and several stars of the team, including Cathy Rush and Theresa Grentz, have Delco roots.

It’s a female Rocky story.

Read more about the team behind the move here.

And come back tomorrow for more coverage and a review of 'The Mighty Macs.'

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 19

The Daily Numbers: 37,000 dollars in the red for the lunch tab at Interboro schools because parents are not putting money into the accounts of their kids lunch cards.

1,179 students with a negative balance on their lunch cards.

202 students owe the bulk of the bill, with a tab coming to more than $25,000.

1 person shot in an officer-involved shooting in a home in Clifton Heights last night.

3 Marines honored by County Council yesterday, with their names and pictures added to the county Tribute Wall in the courthouse.

25,000 dollar reward posted for information on person who robbed bank in Haverford.

50-50 split envisioned by state Sen. Dominic Pileggi between city and state after putting red-light cameras in third-class cities, including Chester.

10 young victims now believed to be connected to the ‘house of horrors’ dungeon case in Philly. They range in age from 2 to 19.

2.5 million dollar bail for woman being held as ringleader in the case.

84, age of man jumped by 4 young men in Fairmount Park.

1 woman believed to be 1st in Pa. suffering from listeria linked to eating contaminated cantaloupe.

3.5 percent hike set this year for Social Security recipients.

760 dollars in scrap metal believed stolen from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station by a Marine from Jersey.

4 year deal for service workers in Philly, averting a strike by building cleaning teams.

17 to 21 years in jail, what federal prosecutors want for ex-Sen. Vince Fumo. That’s opposed to the 4 1/2 year sentence he’s doing now. And they want to slap a $4.2 million fine on him as well.

3 men who pleaded guilty in a beating that led to the death of a Phillies fan outside Citizens Bank Park.

239 yards rushing last year for Jerome Harrison. He rejoins the Birds in a trade for Ronnie Brown.

1.45 billion dollar, net worth of new Sixers owner Joshua Harris, who is 46 years old.

50 percent cut in prices on 9,000 tickets announced by new owners.

4 points for rookie Matt Read in leading the Flyers to 7-2 blowout win over the Senators last night.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Not sure the Eagles offense will be the same without that Ronnie Brown run-pass option down at the goal line.



I Don’t Get It: Now 10 children in various states of malnutrition are being linked to “House of Horrors” case in Philly. It’s certainly living up to its nickname.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to those now circulating an online petition in attempts to save two Delco refineries.


Quote Box: “This is the most important thing we’ve ever done in our lives.”

- Union boss Jim Savage, talking about petition drive to save two refineries.

Sign a petition to save Delco refineries

The fight to save two struggling refineries in the lower end of the county continues.

Kathleeen Carey reports today that an online petition is now being pushed to stress the importance of the refineries to the region’s economy.

You can CLICK HERE to sign the petition. You also sign a petition at the Milmont Inn, 300 Belmont Ave, Ridley Township.

How important are the Sunoco and ConocoPhillips facilities?

Union boss Jim Savage, who heads the United Steelworkers Local 10-1 representing refinery workers, maybe said it best.

“This is the most important thing we’ve ever done in our lives.”

Yes, it’s that important.

'Live From Newsroom:' We put GOP on hot seat tonight

‘Live From the Newsroom’ goes back on the politics beat tonight.

Last week we hosted the Democratic candidates for County Council. They are trying to do something that has not been done since the Home Rule Charter was changed back in the mid-‘70s. That would be get a Democrat elected to the ruling council.

Working to see that does not happen are the three Republicans, including incumbent Tom McGarrigle, John McBlain and Colleen Morrone.

I have some questions I plan to ask, but I’d also like to know what you’d like to ask the candidates. If you have something you’d like to put to the Republican ticket, email it to me at I'll ask them during tonight's show.

Then tune in tonight and take part in our live chat on

We’ll be ‘Live From the Newsrooom’ again tonight. See you at 7.

Fresh look for the Sixers

Will Smith is in,  Delco guy Ed Stefanski is out. 

The Sixers new owners made a bit of a splash on a couple of fronts yesterday. First they announced that Drexel Hill native and general manager Ed Stefanski would not be back with the team.

Not exactly replacing Stefanski but certainly giving a bit of Hollywood cachet is one member of the team’s new ownership group. That would be Philly native and Hollywood superstar Will Smith. Yep, the Fresh Prince of L.A. will now be chilling court-side at Sixers games. Or hopefully at least some of them.

But having a prince in ownership is not likely to put more paupers in the seats.

That’s why something else new majority owner Joshua Harris and his team announced yesterday is likely to win over a lot more fans.

The team is cutting ticket prices. And not by a little. Many of the seats in the Wells Fargo Center will be slashed by 50 percent.

Can’t argue with that. Of course, all of that is assuming that the marathon talks going on to break the lockout are successful and there actually is an NBA seson.

You can read Dennis Deitch’s coverage of yesterday’s Sixers press conference here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A real-life house of horrors

One of the worst things about this job is some of the stories you get exposed to every day.

As my wife always tells me when I get home and immediately start to review the papers, "How do you deal with this stuff all day?"

It's a good question, one I've thought about a lot. Most of the time it simply goes with the territory.

Then there are stories like this one.

Some days you just shake your head and wonder at man's ability to inflict pain and damage on other living beings.

In this instance, police say four mentally challenged adults were being kept in what amounted to a "dungeon" in the basement of an apartment house in the Tacony section of North Philly.

Three people have been charged in what appears to be a scam to collect the individuals' benefit checks. Nice, huh?

And get this, a woman who is charged in this case is not exactly a stranger to this kind of activity. Police say she has an extensive record, including a murder conviction in an eerily similar instance in Florida.

The basement is being likened to a 'house of horrors.'

That doesn't really do it justice. And I'm not sure what would, with the exception of making these three people live down there, perhaps chained to the boiler as one of the men was.

As I said, some days you just shake your head.

Meet the new Sixers owners

Meet the Sixers new owners

The Sixers' new owners are expected to meet the press this morning with a press conference at the Palestra.

I suppose that is a paean to one of the new owners, Joshua Harris, a financier who made his billions on Wall Street and who happens to be a graduate of Penn's Wharton School.

Which makes me wonder how Harris feels about the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Philly movements, where protesters have been protesting now for about a month on behalf of the 99 percent of the rest of the country in comparison to the 1 percent of the wealthy they hold responsible for much of the nation's ills.

It will also be interested to see if the protesters notice the arrival of Harris in Philly. He and a group of his finance pals bought the team for a reported $280 million.

That's something Harris probably does not need. There is, however, something he does need.

That would be a season. Remember, NBA players are locked out. The preseason has been scrapped and regular season games - including the classic Christmas Day matchups - and in danger.

Not sure that's the atmosphere I'd like to be walking into as the new owner.

Eagles say bye-bye to the blues

Anyone else notice how closely the Eagles win over the Redskins resembled their loss to the 49ers at the Linc a few weeks back?

The Eagles got off to a quick start and dominated the first half, heading to the locker room up 20-3. Of course, against the Niners they imploded in the 2nd half, coughing up the lead and the game, 24-23.

On Sunday in D.C., the Eagles again failed to score in the second half. But this time they were graced with the advantage of going against Redskins' QB Rex Grossman. He was in the process of throwing four interceptions - three to Kurt Coleman - before finding a seat on the bench.

The truth is the Eagles managed to post the win - and in the process likely save their season - because they stopped the run and were able to effectively run the ball themselves, using LeSean McCoy to squeeze the life out of the 'Skins in the second half. When is the last time you remember an Eagles team able to utilize the run to control the clock, force their opponent to use all their timeouts, and then run out the clock. That's what the Eagles did when they got ball back with a little more than two minutes left on the clock. The Redskins never got the ball back. That is classic execution - and something the Eagles, in particular under Andy Reid, have been unable to do.

The question now is whether the Eagles can maintain what they did on Sunday.

But for now, they get the week off as they head for the bye.

Amazing what a win will do.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 17

The Daily Numbers: 28 carries for 126 yards for LeSean McCoy as the Eagles managed to save their season with a win over the Redskins.

3 interceptions by Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.

4 interceptions thrown by Redskins QB Rex Grossman before he was pulled.

0 points for the Eagles in the second half. Need to work on that one.

1 more interception thrown by Michael Vick.

1966, last time an Eagles intercepted 3 passes in a game. That would be Joe Scarpati.

10 of  the last 12 meetings between the two teams in D.C. have gone the Eagles way.

3 alarm blaze that gutted several buildings at the Chester Heights Campmeeting Sunday.

23, age of Philly man who admitted to police he shot and killed an 18 year-old woman whose body was found in a car in the parking lot of an Upper Darby apartment building Friday.

120,000 dollars a week, how much it's costing Philly police to keep tabs on the Occupy Philly protesters.

1 month since the 'Occupiers' first took place on Wall Street in NYC.

3 charged after 4 disabled people were found in chains in the basement of a building in the Tacony section of North Philly.

89 fallen firefighters whose names were added to national memorial in Emmitsburg, Md..

3.50 a gallon, average price we're paying at pump in Philly region. That's up 2 cents from last week.

3.46, the national average.

1 person killed in a motorcycle crash on Route 1 in Bucks County Sunday.

5 firefighters injured battling blaze in Trenton.

50,000 dollars of coins stolen from truck in Northeast Philly.

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

Just remember where you heard it. The Eagles will win the NFC East.

I Don’t Get It: I have difficulty believing human beings could possibly treat another living being the way it is being alleged happened with the discovery of 4 disabled people in the basement of a North Phillty gome. I don't get it.

Today’s Upper: I know it won't be easy, but look at it this way: The team that eliminated the Phillies has a shot at playing in the World Series and winning another title. You're right, it doesn't feel a lot better.

Quote Box: “I've always said this about the Philly fans. When you stink, they're going to let you know you stink. And they had all kinds of right to do that.”

- Eagles Coach Andy Reid after big win over the Redskins Sunday in D.C.

How the Eagles saved their season

You read it here first.

Yes, I predicted the Eagles would beat the Redskins yesterday. Of course, the loyal readers of ‘The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick’ already know that.

Hey, you’ve got to get one right eventually. I had been perfect in picking the Eagles in the first five weeks of the NFL Season.

Perfectly abysmal.

That’s right, I was Oh-for-Five coming into this weekend. I picked the Eagles to lose in the opener against the Rams. Of course they rallied for a big win. I then believed they would win each of the next four weeks. They promptly went into the tank, blowing second half leads on the way to four straight losses.

They put the wagons in a circle last week, ralllying around their embattled coach and defensive coordinator, and at one point challenging some fans who put up an “Andy Must Go” banner across the street from the NovaCare Center in South Philly.

But I did not stop with a simple prediction of an Eagles win. I also stated that if the Eagles win – which they did – they would go on to win the division.

I stand by that bold prediction, even if the Giants decided to complicate matters a bit by beating the Buffalo Bills yesterday.

The Eagles are now 2-4, with the bye week this weekend and then another huge date with the Cowboys on Oct. 30 in a Sunday night game.

As for yesterday’s game, I see three keys.

One, it became apparent to me that the Eagles finally threw in the towel on that radical “Wide Nine” defensive alignment. And not a minute too soon. Yes, it allows rushers to rack up some gaudy sack numbers. See Jason Babin. But it leaves them vulnerable to huge gashes in the running game, especially when you don’t exactly have the horses at linebacker to fill those massive gaps.

The Eagles moved to a more traditional alignment and in the process managed to shut down the Redskins running game. That was their No. 1 defensive priority coming into the game. Mission accomplished. The shame of it is that it took the Eagles five weeks to realize what their fans knew back in Week 2, that the “Wide Nine” was killing them.

The second reason the Birds won is that they happen to have the best back in the NFL. That would be LeSean McCoy. Yesterday he added to his gaudy stats by rushing the ball 28 times for 126 yards. You read that right. McCoy got the ball nearly 30 times.

Once again Andy Reid seems to have discovered something the fans already knew. The Eagles offense should be predicated on a heavy dose of McCoy. He’s their best weapon. He’s also the best way to keep Michael Vick healthy – and upright.

McCoy’s 28-carry game comes one week after he carried just 11 times against the Bills.

And it was the battering of “Shady” in the second half that allowed the Eagles to control the clock, even though they did not score. The Birds put the game in McCoy’s hands and he ground out the clock on the ‘Skins after they had drawn to within one score. That should be the blueprint for Eagles’ victories. Get a lead, carry it into the second half, they slowly strangle the opposition with a heavy dose of McCoy. You might say they have it “Made in the Shade-y.” There would be no coughing up another lead. That's because McCoy forced the Redskins to use all their timeouts, then carved out another first down, allowing the Eagles to kneel down four straight times to run out the final two minutes. It's a new concept. Running the ball. Who would have thunk it.

Of course, there is one other reason the Eagles won yesterday. They were playing a team that trotted out Rex Grossman as their starting quarterback.

Grossman had a day he would like to forget. Unfortunately the fans in D.C. are not likely to let that happen. He was pulled after throwing four interceptions – three of them to Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.

In the process he probably managed to save Juan Castillo's job. And breathed life into a team that was teetering on the abyss.

Now, the Eagles have two weeks to get everyone healthy and prepare for another crucial NFC East game. Remember, even though the Birds are sporting a 2-4 record, they have lost only one game in the NFC East. That would be the game they gift-wrapped for the Giants.

It's a long season, especially in a thoroughly mediocre NFC East. That works to the Eagles advantage.

The dream is alive.

Just remember where you heard it. The Eagles will win the NFC East.

Not in the Cards for Phils

Yes, we now have to suffer through the indignity of watching the team that beat the Phils compete for a World Series title.

That’s because the St. Louis Cardinals eliminated the Milwaukee Brewers last night and will kick off the Fall Classic Wednesday night vs. the Texas Rangers.

I grudgingly have to admit that I secretly admire Tony LaRussa. He is an exceptional manager. And I suppose I will have to grit my teeth and hope the Cards uphold the honor of the National League.

But I continue to lament that fact that the Phillies are not still playing. And to think that if they had lost just one of those last three regulars season games in Atlanta, the Cardinals might be the ones sitting home right now, having missed the playoffs.

But I have one thing that buoys me. I know someone who took it harder than I did. He is a bit new to this baseball zealotry. But he shares his father’s passion. As well as his grandfather’s, a man he never met.

I explain it in my print column.

Today's edition of how low can you go


Every day I sit here and wonder just what people are capable of doing to other human beings.

Most days, by the time I get home at night, I feel like I need a long, hot shower.

And just when you think you’ve seen and read it all, you come across a story like this one.

Have I said it recently? The world is going to hell in a hand basket.

If there is any justice in the world, if convicted these people should not be put in jail. Instead they should be put in chains and stuffed in the squalid basement coal pit where they allegedly held several mentally disabled individuals.

And they should stay there for exactly how long those unfortunate souls were held there.

Then, and only then, should they be packed off to prison.

Attention Questers, about that Tuesday speaking engagement

I have a bit of an odd problem, and I am hoping the readers of the blog (yes, both of you) can help me out.

Here’s my dilemma, and I admit to a bit of embarrassment about this.

I very often agree to speak to groups. I am booked to do so again on Tuesday. I agreed to speak to another group of Questers, the women's groups who deal with historic preservation. I have spoken to several of them in the past couple of years. they are always interested in the newspaper and its role in the community, especially in terms of how we chronicle the history of the region.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to make this one. But here’s the twist. While I have the date logged on my calendar, I do not know which Questers group is involved. And I don’t have any contact information for the group to let them know I will not be able to make it.

All I have noted on my calendar is that I am supposed to speak to a Questers group at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Usually when I agree to speak to a group, I ask them to do two things. One would be to send me a letter or email with the information on their group, when and where I am supposed to meet with them. Then I ask them to call me a few days before the date to remind me.

Here’s the really bad part. I actually did get a call from a very nice woman who reminded me of the date a week or so ago. But I didn’t know then that, one, I did not have any contact info for the group, and two, that I would have some corporate training be set for the date that I need to attend.

Even if I could make the date, I don't know which group I am speaking to or where the meeting will be held.

So if you’re a Questers group that is expecting me to speak to your group on Tuesday, please give me a call or email today. I feel terrible about this because I always enjoy talking to local groups about the newspaper and the website. I promise I’ll make it up and speak at another meeting. I just can’t make it on Tuesday. And I have no way of contacting you.

You can reach me in the office at 610-622-8818, or email me at Again I apologize for any inconvenience this causes your group.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

It’s desperation time.

I am an embarrassing 0-5 picking Eagles games so far this year. The Birds aren’t much better, an anemic 1-4.

This team has a ton of problems. But now they seem to have something else. Anger.

It took them awhile, but the Eagles seem to have put the wagons in a circle this week. Jeremy Maclin went off on a reporter in the locker room. Andy Reid tried to walk out of a press conference. A couple of offensive linemen “urged” some fans across the street from the Nova Care Center to take down their anti-Andy Reid sign.

Maybe they can channel all that anger toward the Redskins Sunday in D.C. A win on Sunday and the Eagles just might be able to right this foundering ship. A loss, dropping them to 1-5, and it’s look out below. Someone would have to be tossed overboard during the bye week, most likely nascent offensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

The one thing the Eagles really did not need is a new crop of injury problems. But that’s what they got, with King Dunlap now very questionable for Sunday’s game. Another offensive line shuffle will not make Sunday’s task any easier. Michael Vick likely will be running for his life again. It would be too simple to just give the damn ball to LeSean McCoy and let him strut his stuff, but then Andy Reid couldn’t be seen as so much smarter than everyone else. So far Reid has “thought” the Eagles into a 1-4 record.

The Eagles picked the right year to get off to a 1-4 start. The NFC East is lousy. I’m not even a little bit sold on the Redskins.

I have nothing to lose at this point, so I’m going to go out on a limb here. Not only will the Eagles win on Sunday, but they will rally to win the division.

You heard it here first.

Make it Eagles 27, Redskins 19.

Last Week: Another embarrassing, gift-wrapped loss. Bills 31, Eagles 24. There was Juqua Parker jumping offsides when everyone (but him apparently) knew the Bills were going to try to lure them offsides. A lot more turnovers. All of these things need to be cleaned up.

Season Record: This is getting embarrassing. Pretty soon people are going to think I don’t know what I’m talking about. Never mind. Just like the Birds, I’m planning a huge rally. Yes, I have missed every game so far. That makes me 0-5. If I was in Vegas, I’d be wearing a barrel. But I’ve got my rally cap on, and it starts today. The Eagles get a win in D.C. And I say they win the division. Go ahead, mock me. You wouldn’t be the first. The Eagles aren’t much better at 1-4. Several teams have still made the playoffs after a 1-4 start. Since 1990, 0 have after starting 1-5. It’s not or never. For them and me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 14

The Daily Numbers: 4:25 a.m. when a man got his car stuck on railroad tracks in Haverford. He left the car there and it was slammed by a SEPTA train.

24 people on the train who suffered minor injuries.

40 milllion dollars, how much SEPTA says it has paid out for bogus injuries over the past 2 years. They are installing video camceras to cut down on fraud.

500 people who showed up at job fair at Springfield Country Club yesterday.

8.8 percent unemployment rate in the county.

34 vendors on hand to interview potential job candidates.

100 parents who showed up at a hearing last night to talk about education in Upper Darby.

19, age of Sharon Hill man who now faces a murder charge in connection with a killing in Phoenixville.

63, age of Vietnam veteran James Coghlan, whose body was found yesterday in the area of Darby Creek in Folcroft.

40 million dollars in unclaimed proceeds being turned over by the Sheriff’s Department in Philly to

9.71 inches of rain in September, making it the wettest September since they started keeping records.

1 year contract extension Okd by teachers in Philly.

30 million people who have ridden Amtrak in the last 12 months.

100 stores being closed by Gap.

5 teams that have started 1-5 and gone on to make the playoffs in NFL history. The Eagles are sitting at 1-4 with a key game vs. Redskins on Sunday.

15 turnovers for the Eagles, tops in the NFL.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Jason Kelce apologized to the fans on the WIP Morning Show for his actions in asking a fan to take down an anti-Andy Reid banner across the street from the Nova Care Complex. Good for him.



I Don’t Get It: Why do we allow people with such shallow thoughts as ripping Mitt Romey’s Mormon faith to dominate the political conversation? Who cares?


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Tim Chambers. The man behind the the making of the move “The Mighty Macs” did it. The story of the Immaculata women’s basketball team has its premiere tonight. Bravo!


Quote Box: “You had a board that was ill-informed about the law.”

- Democrat Chester Upland School Board candidate Charlie Warren on the latest controversy to hit the district, this one involving having to appoint a new interim superintendent.


Not oil over for Sunoco refinery?

During our interviews with Republican County Council candidates, an interesting development came up concerning possible uses for the oil refineries that are now on the block – and possibly scheduled for closing – down in the lower end.

Think Marcellus shale.

With the Sunoco plant’s existing infrastructure, and their vast network of pipelines already in place across the state, people are wondering if those lines could not be used to transport natural gas to the Marcus Hook site.

Keep you eyes on this one.

And on Sunday, keep your eyes on the Daily Times as reporter Kathleen Carey continues to profile the efforts of the business community to save the refineries – and their way of life.

You’ll read it only in the Sunday Times, and

Not oil over for Sunoco refinery?

During our interviews with Republican County Council candidates, an interesting development came up concerning possible uses for the oil refineries that are now on the block – and possibly scheduled for closing – down in the lower end.

Think Marcellus shale.

With the Sunoco plant’s existing infrastructure, and their vast network of pipelines already in place across the state, people are wondering if those lines could not be used to transport natural gas to the Marcus Hook site.

Keep you eyes on this one.

And on Sunday, keep your eyes on the Daily Times as reporter Kathleen Carey continues to profile the efforts of the business community to save the refineries – and their way of life.

You’ll read it only in the Sunday Times, and

Full bore ahead for new animal shelter?

They are apparently getting ready to stick the shovels in the ground down in Darby Township at the site of the county’s new animal shelter.

Reporter Paul Luce was at yesterday's Animal Protection Board meeting, where they announced they are hoping for an Oct. 27 groundbreaking.

The facility is being hastily constructed as the county races against a Jan. 1 deadline – that’s already been extended once – when the SPCA plans to get out of the animal control business.

The board is awaiting the final soil testing results from Montgomery County-based Earth Engineering Inc., Upper Darby Chief Administrative Officer and board President Thomas Judge Jr. said after a board meeting Thursday.

Some local Democrats will be very interested in hearing those results as well.

The news of the groundbreaking might come as a bit of a surprise to some of the Dems who visited with our editorial board this week.

Several of them indicated they believe the site first would need a fairly expensive soil remediation project.

How expensive? Maybe in the neighborhood of $500,000.

For now we'll have to wait for the result of the soil testing.

Rookie mistake for Eagles center

Call this one a rookie mistake.

Or maybe a sign of the times. At least when it comes to the Eagles.

As you might recall, a few fans earlier this week decided to make it abundantly clear to Eagles head coach Andy Reid exactly what they thought of the Birds’ stumbling 1-4 start.

So Monday, as Reid was getting to meet the media outside the Nova Care Center, they strung a banner across the street in a local park.

They even took a jab at Reid’s usual press conference annoucement of “Times’ yours.”

Their sign declared: “Andy the Times …. To Go.”


But Eagles rookie center Jason Kelce didn’t see it that way. He and his linemate Evan Mathis stopped and had a little conversation with the folks who had put up the sign. Just what was said is still being debated, but Kelce made it clear he didn’t much care for the sentiment being expressed on the sign. He apparently asked the fans to take it down. What else was said is a matter of conjecture.

Throw the flag on this minor infraction.

Kelce and the Eagles have their hands full on the field. They don’t really need to be creating problems off the field as well.

Now Kelce finds himself at the center of a media and talk radio firestorm.

He should have known better. Or someone with a little more experience maybe should have counseled him.

You don’t try to muzzle the fans. Not in this town. Expressing our feelings – either by booing or by rolling out a sign, or even flying a plane over the stadium -–is a long-held right.

I’m not going to get on a soapbox and talk about the First Amendment or freedom of speech. This is the kind of story with a short shelf life. It will pass. Kelce will count it as a lesson learned. His heart was in the right place, but his mouth was not.

This is easy enough to fix. Win a few games, starting Sunday in Washington. Reverse that shocking 1-4 record. Protect Michael Vick.

Fail to do that, and prepare yourself for the wrath of the fans.

Don’t believe me? Ask Santa.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 13

The Daily Numbers: 24 people who suffered injuries early this morning when a SEPTA trolley struck a car that had been abandoned on the tracks in Haverford.

78, age of woman allegedly abused by employees at the Quadrangle assisted living center in Haverford. Her children yesterday filed suit against the facility.

15 months, how long Interim Superintendent Dr. Joyce Wells served in Chester Upland. That violates state law, and now a new interim school boss must be put in place.

1 million dollars in Title 1 federal funding that has been on hold because of the snafu.

2,500 dollar reward offered for info on suspect who held up the Ride Aid in Upper Chichester on Sept. 18.

63, age of Vietnam veteran who remains missing in the area of Darby Creek in Folcroft.

14,000 dollars in donations handed out to various groups including the Marple Library as Wal-Mart opened the doors to its new store in Marple Crossroads Shopping Center.

13 people busted in a raid on the Mummers club house of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade in South Philly.

30 dollar cover charge to get into the club on Tuesday night, when it was rented out.

30 to 100 bucks, what patrons were paying women for sex acts inside.

458 million dollars in debt, where the city of Harrisburg finds itself. They filed for bankruptcy yesterday.

14 million dollars swindled by a Bucks County man in a hospice-care scam, according to the feds. 3-0 start for the red hot Flyers as they won their home opener over the Canucks last night, 5-4.

3 goals – 1 in each game – for budding star Claude Giroux.

5 to 6 months recovery, what Ryan Howard is looking at after surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles tendon. He’ll likely miss the start of the season.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Anybody for an early case of Flyers Fever. The Phillies are out, the Eagles are 1-4 and the Sixers are locked out. Meanwhile, the orange and black is off to a 3-0 start.



I Don’t Get It: Why would someone abandon a car on the heavily traveled High Speed line tracks in Havertown. 24 people who suffered injuries when a SEPTA trolley struck the car would like to know.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Wal-Mart. The store handed out a host of donations to various groups as they threw open the doors to their Marple store yesterday. Among them getting a financial boost was the Marple Library.


Quote Box: “Come on Flyers, you’re our only hope.”

- Flyers fan heard while tailgating before last night’s home opener.

Ruffled Feathers

There’s really no middle ground on the Mummers.

Either you love them and consider them one of our icons, one of those quintessential things that identify us as Philadelphians. Or you believe they are something that have outlived their time, that they have eroded into little more than a day of drunken revelry.

Consider me in the first group, but I hear all the time from those who consider the Mummers something akin to an embarrassment.

What happened Tuesday night won’t help.

Acting on a tip, police raided the clubhouse of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. 2 Street might never be the same.

Police arrested 10 women and charged them with solicitation. Authorities say the women were performing sex acts in plain view.

Talk about your ruffled feathers.

Two executive officers of the club also were busted and charged with state liquor law violations.

Here’s what it boils down to: Police say that every Tuesday the home of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade was being turned into a brothel.

A man was renting the hall from the club. Police say he brought in the hookers, who performed sex acts for a fee for partygoers who had already forked over a $30 cover charge.

Mummers officials were quick to point out that this was not a Mummers event, nor even a Downtowners Fancy Brigade event.

That’s not going to matter much.

The stain is there. And it’s going to take a long time for it to wear off.

Early case of Flyers Fever

Don’t look now, but there is another team in town.

Maybe you remember them. No, they don’t wear red pinstripes. You can kiss them goodbye until spring. And even longer than that for Ryan Howard, who went under the knife Wednesday to repair that ruptured Achilles. Don't look for him in Clearwater. He's likely on the shelf until at least April.

These guys don’t have wings on their helmets, either.

They wear orange and black. The Flyers have arrived just in time to help us get past our Phillies/Eagles hangover.

They ran their record to a sparkling 3-0 last night with a dynamite 5-4 win over the Canucks in their home opener.

Check out the coverage from Anthony SanFilippo and columnist Jack McCaffery.

In the meantime, the Eagles are putting the wagons in a circle. Michael Vick surfaced yesterday to point out the team’s lousy start is not Andy Reid’s fault. Vick is pointing the finger of blame – at himself. Check out Bob Grotz’s story.

And Charlie Manuel met the press yesterday and said he agreed with G.M. Ruben Amaro’s statement the day before that the Phils need to take a different approach at the plate. Ryan Lawrence has all the details, including an update on Howard.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Daily Numbers - OCt. 12

The Daily Numbers: 13 shell casings found at scene of ambush shooting in Ridley that claimed the life of 1 neighbor and left his stepdaughter in critical condition.

72, age of neighbor now charged with 1st-degree murder in the case.

2- day search that has yet to turn up any sign of missing Vietnam veteran in the area of Darby Creek in Folcroft.

26, age of woman now charged in armed robbery of Brookhaven in which another woman was originally charged.

2 women stabbed during an altercation that took place in a patient’s room at Crozer Chester Medical Center.

100 students who have been removed from classes in the Upper Darby School District as officials continue to push a strict residency crackdown.

300 employees at the county’s newest Wal-Mart, which opened this morning in Marple.

10 women busted on prostitution charges in a raid on a Mummer’s club in South Philly.

21, age of Chesco man charged in fatal crash in Newark, Del.

380 students at St. Martin de Porres School in North Philly, where a group of benefactors is taking over the struggling facility.

50-49 vote by which the Senate rejected President Obama’s jobs bill last night.

6 days of Occupation Philly at City Hall.

80,000 dollars a day, what it is costing the city in police manpower to keep tabs on the protest.

33, how old Jimmy Rollins will be next year.

5 years, how long a contract Rollins wants from the Phillies.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.What team has Phillies G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr. been watching the last couple of years. Yesterday, he met the media and said he wants his club to change their approach at the plate, taking more pitches, working the counts, hitting for average. How many people think that’s going to happen?



I Don’t Get It: OK, I know we’ve had a nice streak of weather. So why does it seem like it just got stopped raining and now it’s starting again.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the group of benefactors who are taking up the cause and running St. Martin de Porres School in North Philly. It could be a model to save other archdiocesan schools that are facing declining enrollment, including those here in Delco.


Quote Box: “No words were exchanged, there was no argument. Just gunfire. Repeated gunfire.”

- Ridley Township Police Lt. Scott Willoughby on pre-dawn shooting in the township that claimed one life.


Wal-Mart comes to Marple

As I write this I assume customers are pouring into the county’s newest Wal-Mart.

And I also assume there are not shortage of people still seething at the thought.

Wal-Mart opened its newest store in the Marple Crossroads Shopping Center at 7:30 a.m.

The doors opened over the objections of several neighbors’ groups who wanted no part of a Wal-Mart in their back yards.

This is not your usual massive big box store. It’s something called a ‘prototype size,’ with wider aisles. It actually sits in what used to be empty store space.

Oh, and one other thing. The store brings with it 300 employees, 55 percent of whom are working full-time. About 40 percent of those workers are from Delaware County.

None of which is going to make the people who opposed it any happier.

Nor will it likely quiet the protests of union members who chafe at the kind of employment – and pay – that Wal-Mart provides.

I will be interested to see just how bad traffic gets in what is already a fairly harrowing experience at a very busy intersection with Route 1.

None of that could stop the familiar rallying call for bargain hunters: Attention Wal-Mart shoppers. They’re up and running in Marple.

Jayne Young on the hot seat

‘Live From the Newsroom’ dives into the political arena tonight.

Join us at a special time, 6 p.m., when we’ll be joined by Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young. She’s part of a three-person Democratic ticket looking to do something that has not been done since the county’s Home Rule Charter was changed in the mid-‘70s. That would be elect a Democrat to County Council.

Our original plan was to have one Democrat and one Republican on each night for the next several weeks. Instead we’ll go with Young tonight, the Republicans next week, and then, hopefully, a very special show tied to the League of Women Voters debate on Oct. 26.

Do you have a question you’d like to put to Mayor Young? Email it to me at, or leave a comment on this blog. You also can log on to tonight at take part in the live chat part of the show.

It’s election season. Raise your voice. Get involved.

Join us tonight at 6.

Jimmy Rollins' swansong

Say goodbye to Jimmy Rollins.

I suppose the Phils’ longtime shortstop could have a change of heart. Or maybe there’s a team out there that will give him a new, big-money five-year deal. But I don’t think it will be the Phillies.

Just days after the Phils’ bitter exit from the post-season, J-Roll met the media. He didn’t mince words. He indicated that while he would like to finish his career here in Philly, he wants those five years. Rollins also indicated that money and winning will be a factor. In other words, he's not going the Jayson Werth route.

Money and winning have not been a problem around Citizens Bank Park. But not many people believe Rollins is going to get five years out of the only team he’s played for in major league baseball.

Rollins is going to be 33 next year. He wants one more big contract.

He’s also been increasingly injury-prone, with stints on the disabled list for a variety of leg ailments the last two years.

Rollins has never been what you would call a prototypical leadoff man, where he has spent the bulk of his Phillies career. He doesn’t take pitches. He doesn’t work counts. He has a tendency to swing for the fences. But he was one of the few offensive bright spots for the Phils in the NLDS against the Cardinals and remains a superior defensive shortstop.

Rollins said he is leaving his options open. So will the Phillies. There is a chance they could still reach a deal.

I wouldn’t bet on it.

You can read Ryan Lawrence’s coverage of the Rollins press conference here.

And make sure you check out Jack McCaffery’s take on G.M. Ruban Amaro’s view of the Phils’ offensive problems and what the team can do about them. It’s good stuff.