Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 30

The Daily Numbers: 52,766 dollars owed to Police Chief Bob Smythe by Darby Borough. It will be paid next year.

250 dollar per animal contract being sought by the new county Animal Protection Board from each of the county’s 49 municipalities.

40, how many of those 49 need to sign on to make the proposed new county animal shelter financially feasible.

4,000 stray animals each year in the county.

9 years, how long Republican Dominic Pileggi has spent in the Pa. Senate. He’s mulling a shot at challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey.

32, age of man found wandering around Harrah’s Casino in an attempt to steal cash.

0 tax hike in proposed budgets in East Lansdowne, Ridley and Eddystone municipal budgets.

18, age of suspect being sought for breaking into a home in Upland and holding a knife to the throat of a woman as 3 small children slept nearby.

11, age of child struck by an SUV while crossing Manoa Road in Haverford yesterday.

50 people arrested as Occupy Philly protesters were evicted from area around City Hall and then held protests in several spots.

100 dollars and a stun gun, how much a student at Upper Darby High sold a gun to another student for, according to police.

3 Philly 4th graders charged with sexually assaulting a classmate in West Philly.

460 cars that were damaged by gooey driveway sealant that leaked onto the Pa. Turnpike in the western part of the state.

74 foot Norway spruce from Pa. town of Mifflinville that will grace Rockefeller Center in New York City.

905,000 dollar in severance pay awarded former Philly Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who is now seeking unemployment.

4 day short week for Eagles, who now have to fly across the country to face Seattle Thursday night.

2 Eagles coaches who exchanged angry words during Sunday’s blowout loss to the Patriots. Maybe the players should have showed as much spirit.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Looks like the 3rd straight week with no Michael Vick for Eagles. Shouldn’t come as a surprise. Vick’s style of play means he’s going to get hurt and you better have a good backup.



I Don’t Get It: The county is very possibly looking at a crisis in animal control if most of its towns don’t sign off on contracts tied to a proposed new shelter. This one could get ugly.


Today’s Upper: There are 3 more towns that have managed to construct budgets that do not call for tax hikes. Put Ridley, Eddystone and East Lansdowne into that side of the ledger.


Quote Box: “I have deep concerns about the direction our nation is taking in many areas.”

- Pa. Sen. Dominic Pileggi in saying he’s been approached about a possible challenge to U.S. Sen. Robert Casey.

Live from the Newsroom tackles violence in Chester

Live from the Newsroom focuses on violence in Chester

With the city once again battling a rash of street shootings, our Wednesday night live-stream Internet broadcast 'Live From the Newsroom' will focus on violence in the city.

And we have a full roundtable of people who want to talk about it.

Here's who will be joining me and columnist Gil Spencer tonight:

* Mayor-elect John Linder.

* George Benson, uncle of a murder victim

* Nicole Cogdell, from Mothers in Charge.

* Rev. Rocky Brown, Chester police chaplain.

* Brothers of Concern, a Chester-based, antiviolence grassroots organization.

* We'll also have a statement from Mothers of Strength.

It should be noted that we also have put out invitations for Mayor Wendell Butler and Police Chief Darren Alston to join us. So far it does not appear that they will be part of the discussion. We'd love to have them if they have a change of heart.

Chester is a city on the move. But it continues to be plagued by a rash of street violence and an image that tells people it is still not safe to go there.

Tonight we hope to get some answers to the problem.

Join us for a look at violence in Chester 7-7:30 Wednesday night on

Dominic Pileggi, the thinking man's politician

Dominic Pileggi does something no other politician I’ve talked to does.

Every time I’ve asked the Chester Republican a question, he pauses, appears to be thinking intently, and then offers his observations.

Pileggi, the former mayor of Chester and now leader of the state Senate, is a bright, articulate thoughtful guy.

Every time I’ve ever talked to him, I’ve come away impressed. This is a guy with actual ideas, who thinks about what he is doing, and how he can put it into action.

Is he also a politician. Absolutely. You might call him the ultimate politician.

It was that was when he gave me a driving tour of Chester back when he was mayor and wanted to show me evidence of the city’s turnaround.

It was that way when we talked about his newly expanded district, and how he was now representing the people in my old home town of Oxford, which could not possibly be more different than Chester.

It was that way every time he came in to meet with our editorial board.

Now it appears Pileggi may have his sights set on higher office. He indicated yesterday that he has been approached by several groups about mounting a challenge to incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr.

You can read the full story here.

It would not be an easy race. But Pileggi would immediately become the front-runner in a very crowded Republican field.

It also would not be easy for him to run for statewide office at the same time he is trying to lead the state Senate through the normal minefield of Harrisburg politics.

Pileggi’s rise has been meteoric, from Chester mayor to replacing the legendary Sen. Clarence Bell, to becoming majority leader in the Senate.

The guess here is that, as with everything else, Pileggi has carefully thought this thing out. He says he has not yet made up his mind. It says here he runs.

You’ve been warned, Sen. Casey.

Confessions of an Eagles fan

Here’s a confession of a die-hard Eagles fan.

The Birds will be back on national TV Thursday night, after flying across the country to face Seattle on an NFL Network contest (it will be broadcast locally PHL-17). It will mark the fifth time the Eagles’ will appear on national TV.

I have not seen a single play of any of them.

There was a time when that would be unthinkable. I would think nothing of staying up until midnight or even later to watch every second of the game.

Not anymore.

I don’t think it has all that much to do with the lousy “dream” season the Eagles are mired in. It has more to do with the fact that I find myself increasingly tired – not of football, but just plain tired. But the Birds' miserable season - and even more miserable coach - has made it a lot easier to fade away into dreamland instead of hanging on every play.

I posted an item on our website yesterday that explained that there actually is a way the Eagles could still make the playoffs. It’s a reach, a premise based initially on the idea that the Eagles win their remaining five games, starting Thursday night in Seattle.

Anyone else think that’s not going to happen?

Yeah, I thought so.

The guess here is that I won’t see any of tomorrow night’s game either.

Will I miss it? Not really. It’s been that kind of year. Sure, I hope they win. Is there the chance that a late-season rally could mean one more year of Andy Reid? Yes.

But I don’t think so. And here’s why.

I think there are a lot more people out there like me. A lot of fans who simply no longer care – don’t live and die – with the Eagles.

That’s what Andy Reid has done to the fan base. That's what his pompous, arrogant attitude has done to the best fans in sports.

And that’s why I think Jeff Lurie will replace him when the season is over.

I could be wrong. It won’t be the first time.

Jeffrey, the time’s yours.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 29

The Daily Numbers: 2 Upper Darby High students facing gun charges after having a loaded weapon in school.

2 other people, a student and teacher, who did the right thing and turned them in.

2 handguns, a Taser, 6 bullets and 1 knife seized from the 2 15-yaer-old students.

2,600 jobs directly related to 3 local refineries that are in danger of closing if a buyer can’t be found. Gov. Tom Corbett confirmed yesterday he is working behind the scenes to find buyers.

5,000 ancillary jobs believed tied to the refinery operations.

5,000 dollar reward for information on the death of a Parkside man whose burned body was found in Chester on Oct. 31.

86,000 prescription drug scam in Montgomery County that resulted in 2 years probation and 500 hours of community service for a pharmacist from Springfield.

10,000 dollars and holding for the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund. We could use some holiday help for the Salvation Army.

3 hours, how long Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua testified behind closed doors yesterday in depositions for the trial of several current and former priests tied to the Philadelphia Archdiocese sex abuse investigation.

10 people killed in car crashes over the holiday weekend. 326 others injured.800-550-7575, hotline set up by Penn State to report sex abuse on any of the school’s campuses.

4th graders charges with sex abuse of a classmate in West Philly.

15 percent chance that someone who survives cancer will face a 2nd cancer down the road.

18 percent increase in online sales reported on Cyber Monday.

7 percent increase in store sales on Black Friday.

1 win for the Eagles at the Linc since Dec. 3, 2010

1-7 record for Birds in their last 8 games at the Linc.

104-42 loss for Swarthmore to Columbia last night.

*: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Call me a Phanatic

Jack DelRio is out of a job in Jacksonville. But Andy Reid is still gainfully employed.


I Don’t Get It: A South Philly mom is begging for thieves to return the special motorized wheelchair used by her son. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the student and teacher who blew the whistle on two students who had a handgun in Upper Darby High yesterday.


Quote Box: “The student who saw the Taser, the teacher who took immediate action and school security did everything 100 percent right to avoid any type of tragedy.”

- Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood, after 2 students were busted with guns.


About that Upper Darby story

No doubt a lot of people will be talking about Upper Darby High School again today.

They’re in the news again because a couple of kids got caught with a loaded gun in school. Police indicate one student had swapped a gun with another. They’re both now under arrest.

You can read the full story here.

Some no doubt will believe we are again unfairly targeting the school for negative coverage.

Others will again save their outrage for Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood, who has already gone a couple of rounds with students about some comments he made about the school.

I’d actually like to talk about something else. I’d like to note the actions of both a student and teacher in reporting the incident.

Both did exactly the right thing.

There are a lot of good people at Upper Darby High. They don’t often make the newspaper.

These two did, although I am sure they would rather it not be for the circumstances surrounding this story.

That doesn’t change what they did. It probably won’t change the image a lot of people have of the high school either. And that’s a shame.

Upper Darby is as close as you can come to a true melting pot in this area. On a visit to the school last year, I learned that more than 70 languages are spoken by students there.

What happens every day there is a little bit of an educational miracle.

That’s easy to lose track of when stories like today’s hit the news.

That’s not especially fair. It’s also not especially new. It’s always the few doing something wrong that get the coverage. That is what makes it “news.” Kids, teachers and staff doing what they are supposed to do every is by definition not exactly “news.”

That doesn’t mean they should not be noticed. Especially in cases like this one when their actions prevent a possible tragedy.

Just thought I’d point that out.

'Homes for Holidays' shares spirit of the season

With Thanksgiving now in the rear-view mirror (another reason for thanks!), that can only mean one thing.

It’s full speed ahead in a mad dash to Christmas and the holiday season.

And we here at the Daily Times and want to do our part.

Look, we realize a lot of what we deliver to your homes, laptops and smartphones every day can be fairly depressing.

And we realize there are a lot of other stories out there we could focus on.

That’s one of the reasons every year we roll out a special feature during the holiday season.

We call it “Homes for the Holidays.” Every day on P. 2 of the print edition, as well as on our home page on the web, we will feature a house here in Delco all dressed up for the holidays.

By now we hope you know the ground rules. We don’t make guarantees. We will not “promise” to feature your house. We only pledge to make sure every area of the county is represented.

We want to share the spirit of the season. If you see a house you think should be featured, feel free to send along a photo or two and we will add it to our gallery.

You can email the images to, or

We’ll add them online, and feature one house in print every day between now and Jan. 2.

Joy to the World! Or at least our little corner of it.

The DeSean dilemma

The future of Andy Reid is not the only big question facing the Eagles front office.

Once they decide if Reid will be back, and at this point it hard to envision that he will, they must come to grips with their wide receiver.

You could make an argument that the Birds are late to the table for dealing with DeSean Jackson. You would think that, having survived the Terrell Owens ordeal, the Eagles would not have let it happen again. Yet here they are, struggling to come to grips with their game-breaker of a wide receiver.

It’s clear Jackson was underpaid this year. The deal he signed in his rookie season calls for him to make a paltry (remember, this is the fantasyland of pro sports we’re talking about here) $600,000. Instead of sitting down with Jackson and getting something done, the Eagles instead let this thing fester to where it is now.

Jackson has now been benched twice in three weeks. He was told not to bother showing up for the Cardinals game after missing a Saturday morning meeting. Sunday he got a seat on the pine for the fourth quarter and dropping several balls, including two that could have been touchdowns.

It’s clear Jackson is a very talented wide receiver, a game-breaker that the Eagles have not featured in years. It’s just as clear that Jackson, who has suffered two serious concussions, is now leery of contact, and not a big fan of going over the middle.

On one of those potential touchdowns he failed to come up with in the end zone, he pretty obviously shied away from the ball – and the safety who was zeroing in on him.

Maybe all this will fall back in Andy Reid’s lap, should be somehow return as Eagles coach.

Maybe that will be part of the bill of goods we’re sold – that the lockout, the lack of OTAs, the new coaching staff, the Jackson issue – all conspired to blow up the Eagles’ “dream season.”

The Eagles can try to sell that if they want. I’m just not sure if the fans – in particular all those who registered their disgust with this season with their feet when they walked out of the Linc half way through the third quarter on Sunday – will buy it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Time's no longer yours, Andy

I believed the Eagles win last week over the Giants bought Andy Reid another year as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. I was wrong.

Reid has to go.

Not because the Eagles got blown out yesterday by the Patriots, 38-20. The Birds actually went out to a 10-0 lead before the Pats flipped the switch and crushed the Eagles.

Not because Reid continues to ignore the fact that he has the best running back in the NFL. LeSean McCoy carried the ball all of 10 times in the game.

Not because Reid was forced to bench an uninspired wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who dropped two touchdown passes and looks about as disinterested as the Eagles are in redoing his contract.

Not because two assistant coaches appeared to get into it on the sidelines at the start of the second half in some kind of dispute and had to be separated.

Not because the distinct sound of "Fire Andy" could be heard cascading down from the stands in the second half.

But because of something else.

I was once a proud resident of the 700 Level at Veterans Stadium. The place was a dump. But it was the best home-field advantage in the NFL. Nobody knew that more than opposing players. They hated coming to Philly, playing on that rock-hard surface, and dealing with those surly fans.

Yesterday, Reid and his minions once again turned palatial Lincoln Financial Field into a swank tomb. There's no life in the place. Part of that is because the Eagles have now lost six of seven home games this year.

Yesterday, the only reason the 'Fire Andy' chant died off is because most of the fans headed home midway through the third quarter.

By the end of the game, the views of the stands were embarrassing on a nationally televised game.

Surely Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner saw what everyone else saw. The Linc was converted into a Missing Linc. And what was missing was the fans. Their much-ballyhooed "gold standard" was more like tin.

Forget losing the game. Andy Reid has lost the fans.

That cannot continue.

Time's no longer yours, coach.

Calling all bloggers!

You may have noticed in recent months how many opportunities we have for readers to take part in our news-gathering business.

We've always allowed readers to offer letters to the editor, and we even have our popular Sound Off column in the print edition.

Online we are now posting our daily story budget and asking readers for their suggestions and comments.

But there is another very important area in which we are teaming with citizens journalists to deliver more news and viewpoints every day via our website,

We currently have a roster of 70 bloggers who write on everything from municipal government, sports to our very popular daily Top 10 list.

Now we want to add your voice to those being heard on

Ever though you'd like to write a blog? This is your chance. We are holding a meeting Thursday night here are the Daily Times Community Media Lab. You can meet some of our established bloggers as well as me. We'll talk about the whole idea of blogging and getting news from more sources and putting in front of our readers eyes.

One of my goals for 2012 is to increase the number of bloggers focusing on a specific municipality or school board. What I envision is a blogger literally becoming the face of their town. Right now we have dueling blogs that cover the town of Media, while the Chester City Blog focuses on things in Chester.

Why not add your voice to the mix? If you'd like to give it a shot, join us this Thursday night here at the Daily Times. We're going to convene our bloggers meeting at 6 p.m. at our Primos office at 500 Mildred Ave.

If you have a specific question, you can always email me at, or call at 610-622-8818.

Hope to see you Thursday night.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

I can’t get a break with this team. But at least I’m smiling about it.

How ‘bout that Vince Young?

OK, so Young, the one-time Pro Bowler with the Titans and all-everything from the University of Texas, was pretty pedestrian for three quarters last Sunday night against the Giants.

Give him this: He managed to do something Michael Vick has not done. Young engineered an epic fourth-quarter drive to stick a dagger in the Giants’ hearts after they had fought back to tie the game. Given the same circumstance time after time as the Eagles blew a series of fourth-quarter leads, Vick has come up empty. In fact, too often he has thrown a killer interception.

Vick has not practiced again this week, while continuing to nurse those sore ribs. Andy Reid, as usual, is playing it coy, saying he will take it a day at a time with Vick.

If Vick is ready, I think he plays. But I don’t think he’s going to be ready. That means another week of the Young (and the restless home fans, who have not had much to cheer about this year.)

Young will need another big game from LeSean McCoy to control the clock and keep the ball out of the hands of Pats’ QB Tom Brady.

On defense, the Eagles will need to control Brady and his new favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski.

For some reason, I think the Eagles take a page from the Giants and Steelers, both of whom found a way to keep a lid on the Patriots’ vaunted offense.

Make it an upset special: Eagles 26, Patriots 23. Alive for another week.

Last Week: The Eagles went up the Jersey Turnpike and gutted out a huge win against the Giants, 17-10. It wasn’t pretty. Not a lot of NFC East games are this time of year. That win very likely means another year of Andy Reid. For Reid’s besieged backers, that’s a reason for thanks.

Season Record: Of course the Eagles win simply flew in the face of my picking against them. I thought they would get blown out and the team would come apart at the seams, with fingers pointing in every direction in the locker room. Didn’t happen. So I sit at a fairly horrific 2-8 after 10 games. The Birds are 4-6 and offering a reason for thanks. They live for another week. I happen to think they can do it again on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 23

The Daily Numbers: 5 shootings in 5 days that have scarred the city of Chester.

2 animal cruelty charges lodged against the former owner of the emaciated pit bull known as Curious George.

35 pounds, what George weighed when he was found on streets of Lower Chi back on Oct. 31.

61.2 pounds, what he weighs today after being nursed back to health by the SPCA.

64, age of woman struck and killed as she crossed Chester Pike last night.

34, age of woman who now faces charges in connection with accident that left 2 kids in Radnor injured after they were hit while waiting for the school bus.

36 states where the unemployment rate dropped last month.

13 million dollars, what those Occupy protesters have cost cities across the nation so far.

500,000 dollar tab in Philly, mostly for police overtime.

7 million dollar bill in New York City.

5 year labor deal between Major League Baseball and the players. Maybe they should let these guys negotiate a new deal for the NBA.

10 teams, including 2 Wild Card teams, that will qualify for the playoffs under the new deal.

480,00 dollars, minimum Major League Baseball salary under the deal.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.I’ll miss Hip-Hop about as much as I’ve missed the Sixers and NBA so far. The cute press release from the Sixers was a nice touch, though.



I Don’t Get It: Still hard to believe someone could simply ignore the conditions that led to charges being filed in the case of Curious George.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those working today to make sure we get to our holiday destinations. Let’s all be careful out there.


Quote Box: “I tried to give the dog away and was unsuccessful at all attempts.”

- Owner of Curious George in his report to police.


Justice for Curious George

There is justice today for Curious George.

The owner of the emaciated pit bull that was found wandering the streets of Lower Chichester in deplorable condition back on Oct. 31, turned himself in to police.

Lamont Alexander, of Morton, faces two counts of animal cruelty.

Alexander told police that he simply could no longer care for the dog once known as Floyd and that he decided to simply let him go.

CLICK HERE for the story.

When he was scooped up off the streets, George weighed only 35 pounds. Today he is well on the way to recovery at 61.2 pounds.

Alexander faces two summary offenses, not much more than traffic citations. He likely will pay a fine and have to reimburse the SPCA for care of George.

Doesn’t exactly seem in line with the public outpouring of support that was unleashed when pictures of the emaciated George first hit the paper and our website.

But there is a good ending to this story, in addition to the fact that George, who joined us last week for our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ show, continues to improve.

George has already created a legacy of caring.

In part because of the onslaught of publicity surrounding his case, the SPCA has established a Curious George Fund to help other animals found in similar condition.

Yes, as hard as it is to believe, it happens all the time.

For more information on the fund, visit

Now that’s a reason for Thanksgiving, by George!

Another day of violence in Chester

There’s no end – and seemingly no solutions – to the violence in Chester.

Today’s front page pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

There have been five shootings in five days in the city.

Yesterday was punctuated by a shooting in the middle of the afternoon on West 21st Street.

You can get all the details of what one veteran cop is referring to ‘all-out warfare’ among battling groups of young people in the city by CLICKING HERE.

Coming Thursday: Special preview of Ridley vs. Interboro

A reason for thanks? Well, if we can get through this miserable, wet morning, we just might have every reason to be thankful, at least for the weather.

If you have to work today, your morning commute is going to be a mess. All this rain has made the roads, rails, and every other form of transit a mess.

But it is supposed to clear later this afternoon, and then we are in store for a gorgeous Thanksgiving weekend. By Saturday and Sunday, we are actually supposed to be back in the 60s. It can stay that way all winter so far as I’m concerned.

At any rate, it should be perfect weather for all those traditional Thanksgiving Day football games. Don’t miss tomorrow’s Daily Times for a special preview of one of the oldest rivalries in the county, Ridley vs. Interboro.

It will be all clear on Friday for all you shoppers who insist on taking part in the madness known as Black Friday.

Altogether now, it’s off to grandmother’s house we go.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 22

The Daily Numbers: 48 years ago today that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

7 people injured in 4 separate shooting incidents in the city of Chester.

45-caliber casings, dozens of them, that littered one of the shooting scenes.

5 weekend shootings in Atlantic City.

0, what you will pay for parking in the business district in Yeadon through the holiday season.

29, age of Upper Chichester native who is recovering after being shot in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia.

1 person shot in Rose Tree Park Monday night.

3 people busted on prostitution charges in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

11 Wawa stores in Del. and Pa. that have had scanners ripped off.

4 execs at a Chester County health care firm that got jail time for fatal bone cement tests.

59 million winning dollar Powerball lottery ticket sold in Exeter, Pa.

50 million dollar renovation project for Dilworth Plaza that is being delayed because of the Occupy Philly protest.

2 TD passes for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as New England drubbed the Chiefs, 34-3, in Monday Night Football. The Pats are at the Linc Sunday.

4-2 loss for the Flyers to the Hurricanes.

3.5 million dollars raised by Dr. J by auctioning 140 items of memorabilia from his collection.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Vince Young over Mike Vick. Not hardly. If Vick is healthy, he’s the starter.



I Don’t Get It: Hard to believe it’s been 48 years since that fateful moment in Dallas, Texas.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Penn State for taking strong steps to thoroughly inestigate the child-sex abuse scandal that is engulfing the school. Yesterday they announced former FBI boss Louis Freeh would head the probe.


Quote Box: “Everything is affected by this scandal, not just the football program. It’s a nightmare.”

- Jeff Jubelirer, Penn State alum and PR expert.


Gun violence haunts Chester

Gun violence continues to be a scourge in the city of Chester.

Suffice to say it was not a good weekend in the city. Things did not improve on Monday.

Two people were shot on Sunday. Monday morning, two more people were shot. Monday afternoon a person was shot in the face at 14th and Kerlin streets. Seven people shot in four incidents.

One police officer likened the situation on city streets to “all-out warfare.”

You can read about it here.

48 years ago today, remembering Dealey Plaza

When it comes to bucket lists, that being that group of things you hope to do before you depart this lovely Earth, one thing has always been at the top of my list.

Some time before I expire I want to stand in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, look around, look up at that window in the Texas Book Store Depository, and ponder how the world changed 48 years ago today.

They say people will always remember where they were when they got the word when that President Kennedy was shot.

They aren’t lying.

I was sitting in my fourth-grade class at Assumption BVM School in West Grove. Mother Superior came in. You knew right away that something was not right. She had tears in her eyes. Usually only the guys who ran afoul of Mother Superior had tears in their eyes.

She asked us to pray for the president.

As you can imagine, in 1963 the idea of the first Catholic president was pretty big news in the very Catholic Heron house. It was a big deal for the parochial school I attended as well.

After JFK was elected, putting on those same clothes every morning, blue slacks, white shirt, blue clip-on ABVM tie - that outfit that screamed to every kid in town that you were somehow "different"- held a bit more distinction than it did before. Back then all it did was promote stares and questions from all your public school friends who did not understand why you had to wear a tie to school every day.

That weekend pretty much went by in a blur.

Remember, this was long before the Internet. There was no Twitter. No Facebook. No email. Not a cell phone in sight.

People huddled around radios and TVs. Finally, we got the news from the same place we got almost all the big national stories.

From Walter Cronkite. It’s the only time I saw Cronkite struggle with his emotions as he told the nation that it was “apparently official, the flash from Dallas, Texas, President John F. Kennedy died” just after 1 o’clock Central Standard Time.

I have been obsessed with the Kennedy Assassination every since. Every year I watch the specials. I’ve read all the books on the case, checked out every conspiracy theory.

Today, when I concoct a new conspiracy theory, I actually refer to it as a “Grassy Knoll” moment.

That, of course, is a reference to the area in Dealey Plaza where many believed a second gunman fired on the president.

For something that happened 48 years ago, the memories remain vivid.

In particular I remember the effect it had on my mother. “Love” wouldn’t quite explain her feelings for JFK.

Everything about him validated her life, her political beliefs, her upbringing, her staunch Irish Catholic background.

A little bit of her died that day.

I think a little bit of all of us did. We’re not the same country today. We lost some of our innocence.

And one day I want to stand in Dealey Plaza and take it all in, let the memories flood back, and maybe put to rest a story that has stayed with me for almost five decades.

Vick still the man for Birds

There are actually people out there debating who should be the Eagles starting quarterback, once Michael Vick recovers from those banged-up ribs.


This one’s not really close, and I find myself in agreement with Andy Reid.

If Vick can play, he’s the starter.

Yes, Vince Young did will the Birds to a big win against the Giants on a national stage Sunday night. He did something Vick has yet to do this year, drive the team down the field for a winning score late in the game.

Doesn’t matter. For three and a half quarters, he was pedestrian.

This is Vick’s team. The only chance they have of making the playoffs, and doing something once they get there, is if Vick can somehow recapture the magic he showed for six weeks when he took over the team last year.

I’m not the only one who feels that way. Another noted Andy Reid basher, our lead sports columnist Jack McCaffery, feels the same way.

You can check it out there.

In the meantime, the Eagles might be wise to check the highlights of last night’s Monday night thrashing their next foe put on the Chiefs by New England.

Tom Brady, who will lead the Pats into the Linc for a 4:15 game Sunday, connected with his tight end Rob Gronkowski for two TD passes.

Covering tight ends is something of an Achilles heel for the Eagles. Gronkowski is now just three short of the single-season record of 13. He’s grabbed 20 touchdowns in just 26 games over the past two years, the fastest any tight end in NFL history has put up those kinds of numbers.

If the Eagles have a chance of beating the Patriots Sunday, disconnecting the Brady-Gronkowski duo should be at the top of their list.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 21

The Daily Numbers: 1,115 games won over 15 seasons by Danny Murtaugh as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s been honored with a plaque at the Mickey Vernon Sports History Museum.

2.8 percent increase project this year for holiday sales.

25 to 40 percent of annual sales for many retailers in the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

7 a.m. Thanksgiving, when Wal-Mart stores will open their doors to holiday shoppers.

9 p.m. for Toys R Us

12:00 midnight for Macy’s, Target and Kohl’s.

5 a.m. Friday for Springfield and Granite Run malls.

5.5 percent increase in spending in the Parkside Borough budget. That will translate into a tax hike.

4 dollars a month, what it will cost many residents, along with a $10 hike in the trash fee. That goes to $170 a household.

2 people shot, 1 person stabbed to death in Chester on Sunday.

5 dollar a month increase being sought by Aqua Pa. for local water bills.

2 runners who collapsed and died during the Philadelphia Marathon.

300,000 dollars stolen from a parishioner by a priest in Wilmington, Del. He pleaded guilty.

2 DUIs in a day, the second involving fatally striking a bicyclist, for a 22-year-old man in Philly.

100 dollars a barrel, price of crude oil, even as prices decline at the pump.

3.43 a gallon, average price in Philly region. That’s down from $3.47 a week ago. Last year we were paying $2.92 a gallon.

4-6 mark for the Eagles after they beat the Giants last night, 17-10.

3 interceptions for starting QB Vince Young, but he still drove them down the field for the win.

23 of 36 for 258 yards for Young.

23 rushes for 113 yards for LeSean McCoy.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Some major kudos to Vince Young, who did something last night that Michael Vick has not been able to do. That would be lead the Eagles down the field for a game-winning score in the 4th quarter.



I Don’t Get It: Hard to believe 2 people lost their lives after collapsing during yesterday’s Philadelphia Marathon.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Mickey Vernon Sports Museum for the new plaque honoring another Delco legend, longtime Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh.


Quote Box: “He was the kind of guy who didn’t really have to raise his voice or say the same thing twice to get his point across because he was so well respected.”

- Tim Murtaugh, talking about his father, Danny.

Running for their lives

There was a time in my life – seemingly another lifetime ago – when I fancied myself as something of a runner.

It was back when I was still going to school in Colorado. Everybody out there ran, so I figured I would join the crowd.

One thing I quickly learned is that running in Colorado is not the same as running other places. Remember, you are a mile high. You start gasping for air fairly quickly.

In the three and a half years I spent in Colorado, there is only one sport I simply could not play. That is basketball. How the Nuggeta are not undefeated at home every year I have no idea. One trip up and down the court and your tongue would be hanging out.

Eventually I became a pretty decent runner. At least I thought I was. Until one day when I was out for my normal run on a trail at the base of the Flatirons, which form the front edge of the Rockies and loom over the town of picturesque town Boulder.

I was going along at what I thought was a pretty good clip when a guy blew by me at what appeared to be a sprint. I thought he was showing me up. I tried to catch up to him but could not. Then I realized something else. He wasn’t sprinting. He disappeared into the horizon at the same amazing clip.

I stopped, put my hands on my knees and sucked for air. I must have looked depressed. A guy coming the other way stopped and asked if I was OK. I said I was until I got showed up by that guy who went past me like I was standing still. The guy smiled. Swell, I thought. Another wiseguy.

“Don’t you know who that guy was?” he informed me. I admitted I did not.

I do now.

It was Frank Shorter. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Olympic Games and is one of the legends of American track and field.

Eventually I gave up on running. Right now my wife and I are big walkers.

A few years ago, in some burst of angst over getting older, I decided to give running another shot.

I headed out on a trail through some woods behind the house. I did not get far when my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. It was all I could do to slowly walk home.

I was thinking of that yesterday when I heard that two people died during yesterday’s Philadelphia Marathon. Such a tragedy. More than 25,000 people took part in the run.

It’s something I’ve always wondered if I could do. That’s 26.2 miles.

I know how much training it would take for me to even consider doing that.

In addition to the two people who lost their lives, there were also some other medical emergencies.

More than enough to make me decide I should stick to walking.

It is not known as yet what caused the medical problems at yesterday's race. From early reports both men, a 21-year-old and a 40-year-old, had trained for the event. It's not something you do on a whim.

I learned that the hard way. Two times in my life.

Reid it & weep, Andy haters

Why do I get the feeling we just bought ourselves another year of Andy Reid.

For those of you who, like me, were long gone by the time the Vince Young found Riley Cooper in the back of the end zone to lift the Birds to a 17-10 win, brace yourself.

I will never root against the Eagles. It’s not in my makeup. But I also believe it is time for the Andy Reid era to come to a close.

But last night’s win in the Meadowlands just might have bought Reid another year.

The Eagles managed to beat the NFC East-leading Giants without Michael Vick. Yes, that was Vince Young who engineered that winning drive, something Vick has been unable to do as the Eagles managed to blow a series of fourth-quarter leads this year. Sure, Young also threw three interceptions. But when he had to deliver, he did. And the Eagles got a big win.

There is part of me that, for all their other problems this year, believes that if if Vick simply doesn’t turn the ball over this team is leading the division.

Right now the Eagles are two games back of the Giants.

If they had lost last night, the season would have been over. But they didn’t. Weirder things have happened. Remember last year? The Eagles face a big test Sunday against the Patriots (who play tonight and will be operating on a short week, although they don’t have to travel).

Win that game and anything is possible.

And yes, that includes the return of Andy Reid.

Time’s apparently still yours, coach.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

It's last stand time for the Eagles.

And I don't like their chances.

After an embarrassing come-from-ahead loss to the Cardinals, the Eagles are now staring into the edge of the abyss. They likely have to run the table for a slim shot at the playoffs. Anyone think this team is capable of rattling off seven straight wins from their current ignominious 3-6 status?

The Cardinals debacle marked the fifth time this season they have blown fourth quarter leads. Once again, Andy Reid decided to throw the ball instead of working the clock and feeding the best back in the league.

Now the Birds face the prospect of a prime-time date in the Meadowlands without the services of their starting QB - and Giants killer - Michael Vick. He's still nursing bruised ribs. He will be in uniform Sunday night but Vince Young is probably going to get the start.

Young has been underwhelming in his chances so far, although indications are he's had a good week of practice.

You would think the game plan would call for a huge dose of LeSean McCoy, but can Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg resist showing us that they really are smater than everyone else by having Young throw the ball all over the lot?

Not helping matters is the ugly memory the Giants are carrying of the two teams' last meeting in the North Jersey swamp, when Vick led a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback. Now Vick has banged-up ribs, and the exclamation point on that victory, DeSean Jackson, is coming off a benching for missing a meeting.

This time the Giants likely will not let their foot off the Eagles' necks.

Make it Giants 29, Eagles 13. Season over.

Last Week: Eagles looked about as bad as they have all season in letting the Cardinals come back and steal a win before a deathly silent, stunned crowd at Lincoln Financial Field. This week the Giants faithful likely will give the Birds an earful all night.

Season Record: My season can't get much worse. I have no inkling which way this team is going to go. They certainly have the talent to pull off a big winning streak, but I don't know if they have the makeup. There are way too many individuals and not enough team on this team. Plus the Eagles just don't seem able to keep Vick healthy enough to win seven straight. Right now I'm sitting at 2-7. I haven't been right often this year, so mamaybe Vince Young and the boys will pull off a surprise on national TV and kickstart another magical comeback. Then again, it's just as easy that the 3-6 Birds go meekly in becoming 3-7 and start talking about next year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The story behind Curious George

Yesterday I wrote about the visit of the one and only Curious George to our 'Live From the Newsroom' set.

It's clear George is a star. It prompted one of the biggest audiences we've ever had on the show.

But there's an important lesson that George is delivering to Delaware County. There's a lot of Georges out there.

George was found in emaciated condition on the streets of Lower Chichester. It's something of a miracle that he has survived. He's been carefully nursed back to health by the good folks at the Delco SPCA.

Both Justina Calgiano, from the SPCA, and noted local animal control activist Dave Schlott, indicated that this county continues to have a big problem with stray and unwanted animals. Calgiano said the SPCA routinely is bursting at the seams with unwanted animals.

All of which makes me wonder again just what is going to happen on Jan. 1, when the SPCA gets out of the animal control business. The county is moving forward with construction of a new shelter in Darby Township. But they admit it likely will not be ready before late spring or summer.

In the meantime, Delaware County is going to have a problem. And maybe a new appreciation for the services the SPCA has provided for years.

Something tells me we're going to be seeing a lot of stories just like Curious George.

Delco student covers the Paterno story

There's another Delco connection to the Penn State child sex abuse controversy.

No one from here is involved, but a Delco student journalist is in the forefront of the coverage of this national story.

Kevin Cirilli, a senior journalism student, has written pieces for The Daily Beast and Newsweek.

You can read his latest story here. It's a moving piece about his dad, and what the Paterno story has taught him about heroes.

In his spare time, Kevin also was former campus editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Collegian.

Talk about being in the middle of a huge story. Look for an op-ed piece from Kevin in the Daily Times and soon.

And you can bet I'm going to be adding him to our growing Community Media Lab and blog team as well.

You can visit his website here.

Yeah, times have changed. A lifetime ago I was worried about building up some 'clips,' as we call them. Or at least that's what we used to call them.

Today students run their own websites.

Ain't technology great?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 17

The Daily Numbers: 4 shots fired from an SUV at a man standing outside a Main Line.

1 graze wound suffered by the victim; 1 window of the tavern shattered; 0 people injured inside.

155 Chinooks in proposal submitted by Boeing to the Army as part of the multi-year helicopter program.

419 workers at ConocoPhillips that stand to lose their jobs in January, according to filing by the firm with the state Labor Department.

1.25 percent pay raise for administrative staff at Marple Newtown School District. That matches what teachers recently got.

3 million grant for The Second Mile, charity once headed by Jerry Sandusky, now put on hold by the state.

800,000 dollars in restitution to be paid by Ruth Arnao, the former aide to Sen. Vince Fumo who was convicted along with him.

0 more jail time for her after her resentencing. She did a year in prison in the corruption case.

1.6 million in consulting fees paid to GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich by the mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

100 dollars a barrel for oil yesterday. You can expect prices at the pump to start going up.

3.05 million dollar deal signed by DeSean Jackson when he came into league.

1.25 million of that was guaranteed.

550,000 dollars, Jackson’s base salary for this year. The man is underpaid.

19 Eagles who are making more than Jackson.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Don’t be against Michael Vick being behind center for the Eagles Sunday night in the Meadowlands. I’ll be shocked if he does not play.



I Don’t Get It: How could anyone purposely try to starve a dog as fun and playful as Curious George. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Cabrini College for their decision to cut tuition by 12.5 percent.


Quote Box: “It’s safe to say he’s a miracle.”

- Justina Calgiano, of the Delco SPCA, on the recovery so far of Curious George.


George does Primos


Every dog has its day.

Last night Curious George had his.

The most famous pit bull puppy in Delco joined us for our “Live From the Newsroom” weekly Internet broadcast.

George, who was found in emaciated condition wandering the streets of Lower Chi back on Oct. 29, arrived with SPCA spokesman Justina Calgiano and well-known animal control specialist Dave Schlott.

I’ll talk more about their visit tomorrow. You can see the entire show here.

Here’s what I can tell you. George was a delight, easily the star of the show.

He immediately charmed everyone in the newsroom, and I can tell you that’s not an easy task. Maybe I should ask him what the trick is.

But there was an important lesson behind his visit. More on that tomorrow.

For now, just a big thank you to George and all the folks at the SPCA for a very special visit.

Bravo, Cabrini


Little Cabrini College out in Radnor did something unheard of this week.

They’re cutting prices. Not on books. Not on caps or sweatshirts in the campus bookstore. Not on lunch at the campus grille.

They’re cutting tuition. And not just by a little. The Catholic institution on the Main Line said they would slice tuition for the fall 2012 semester by 12.5 percent. And the cuts would remain in effect until 2015.

You can read all the details here.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s still not cheap. Tuition in the fall at Cabrini will still set families back $29,000. But that’s down from the current $33,176.

As the parent of one college grad who is in law school and another college senior, I can tell you that does not happen very often.

Tuition for the most part is a one-way street. Up.

Here’s hoping other institutions will follow Cabrini’s lead.

Bravo, Cabrini, Bravo!

Occupy this

I think I can safely put this one in my “I Don’t Get It” file.

One of the backbones of the “Occupy” movement is supposed to be jobs, correct?

Well the city of Philadelphia is now asking the Occupy Philly folks to leave Dilworth Plaza around City Hall so that a $50 million restoration project can commence.

That project translates to about 800 jobs that pay $25 an hour. I get the feeling most of the 99 percent would like a shot at one of those jobs.

The city is not evicting the protesters. They are simply being asked to relocate.

Union officials, who have been vocal in backing the Occupy movement, are now asking protesters to comply with the city’s wishes so the project can move forward.

The Occupy movement seems to have splintered over the issue, with one group ready to pack up and move their camp across the street, and another apparently ready to dig in and hold their ground.

What is it they are waiting for? They need to relocate now, before they force the city’s hand and this thing gets ugly when a solution seems so logical.

Last stand for Eagles

Anyone else getting the distinct feeling that the Eagles season is headed toward an Armageddon in the Meadowlands?

Michael Vick’s ribs are still hurting. He did not practice yesterday, although the team hopes he still will be available on Sunday night. Sounds like Vince Young took most of the snaps with the first team in practice yesterday.

Andy Reid and DeSean Jackson are still not on the same page.

Reid doesn’t want to talk about it. This is not a recording. All he’s willing to say is that he has to do a better job, and he’s only concerned with the Giants.

Joe Banner and Jeff Lurie might be looking a bit more down the road. But then again we would never know because they’re not talking.

Reid is the only one talking, and he’s still trying to figure out how to do a better job.

Even as a longshot, it seems likely the Eagles will have to run the table to make the playoffs. That includes back-to-back games against the Giants Sunday night on the road, and then back home vs. the Pats.

Anyone feeling good about these games? Reid has managed to pull off this kind of Houdini escape before.

But if the Eagles get thumped on national TV Sunday night, look for the wheels to come off the wagon.

This one could get ugly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 16

The Daily Numbers: 1 person shot in a drive-by shooting last night outside a Main Line tavern.

2,600 jobs at stake amid the possible closure of 3 local refineries, 2 in Delaware County. A group of local Congressmen and women are seeking a federal report on the economic and energy fallout of a possible closing.

4,000 dollar cut in tuition being adopted by Cabrini College for the fall 2012 semester. That’s a 12.5 percent cut.

28,090, instead of $32,266, what it will cost to attend Cabrini. The cuts will remain in effect until 2015.

17, age of Paige Daluisio, sworn in this week as a junior member of the Interboro School Board.

20, age of college student from Delco who now faces charges that he posted a sex video of him and his girlfriend on the Internet because he was upset that they had broken up.

1 million dollar grant for Philabundance from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The money will be used toward establishing the non-profit’s supermarket in the city.

10.6 percent cut in electric rates for PECO customers on Jan. 1.

500,000 dollar annual pension that is due to fired Penn State coach Joe Paterno when he finally retires.

2 people wounded when bullets shattered windshield of car in Wilmington last night.

2-0 start for Villanova men’s hoops after they beat La Salle in OT last night.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Andy Reid and DeSean Jackson not on the same page. I’m shocked, just shocked I tell you.



I Don’t Get It: You break up with your girlfriend so to get back at her you post a sex tape on the Internet. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their $1 million grant to Philabundance, which will be used to set up the non-profit’s plan for a supermarket in Chester.


Quote Box: “I can tell you when you cut through the numbers they do very much realize that there are real families and real people behind these numbers.”

- U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, talking about possible closure of three local refineries.


Curious George gets ready for his closeup

Are you curious about George?

I refer of course to the most famous pit bull puppy in Delaware County.

Curious George was found in absolutely horrific condition wandering the streets of Lower Chi several weeks ago. He weighed just 35 pounds and his ribs were visibly sticking out of his skeletal frame.

There’s some good news about George, however. In the caring hands of the SPCA, George is on the mend. He’s put on 10 pounds, while eating every four hours and also getting vitamin supplements.

George is representative of a very serious problem in Delaware County, a literal explosion of stray animals.

Join us tonight as officials from the SPCA – and Curious George – join us for a very special Live From the Newsroom show focusing on stray animals in the county.

If you have a question for the SPCA, email it to me at

You can also log onto tonight and take part in our live chat.

They say every dog has its day. We’ll give Curious George his tonight. See you at 7!

Another victim in the Penn State mess


Anyone who was expecting the Penn State case to go away because Joe Paterno was fired and the Nittany Lions got back on the field clearly isn’t paying attention.

This case is going to linger for months. And every time it pops up, the cloud surrounding Penn State grows a little larger.

A few people have managed to do an incredible amount of damage to a revered – and by the way very important - institution in Pennsylvnia.

One day after we heard from suspected child molester Jerry Sandusky in an ill-advised TV interview in which he denied being a pedophile, but pretty much admitted a bunch of other inappropriate activities with young boys, the lead accuser in the case is being heard from.

Sort of.

Penn State Assistant Coach Mike McQueary told the investigative grand jury that brought charges in the case that he witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in a shower back in 2002.

McQueary did not indicate that he did anything to stop the attack, nor did he say that he reported it to police. What he testified is that he went home and told his father, and the next day he reported what he saw to Coach Joe Paterno.

Now an email has surfaced in which McQueary tells a slightly different story, that he did intervene to stop the attack and that he also notified police. You can read the full story here.

This case has all the makings of a “he said, he said” standoff.

In the meantime, a great institution is being bruised and battered.

That is not to diminish the victims in this case, nor what is alleged to have been done to them.

It is only to point out that the school is also a victim in this sordid affair.

The Eagles D-Jax dilemma

It’s becoming increasingly clear that star wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Eagles head coach Andy Reid are not on the same page.

Beat writer Bob Grotz has the details on his blog of an interview Jackson gave to the NFL Network in which Jackson said he could not remember any other player ever being benched for missing a meeting.

Of course Jackson was told to stay home after missing a special teams meeting Saturday morning.

That development turned the Eagles offensive game plan upside down in a game they had to win to save their season.

All of this is rooted in Jackson’s desire for a new contract.

Let’s be honest. Jackson is seriously underpaid, making just $600,000 this year in the final year of the rookie deal he signed as a second-round pick.

He clearly has out-performed that deal. He stayed out of camp for a week back in the summer, but declared he would put the matter out of his mind once he came back in. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

The key now seems to be just how much Jackson should make and whether the Eagles are willing to pony up. More than that, there remains questions as to exactly where Jackson ranks among NFL wide receivers.

He is one of the fastest players in the league, but he’s also small. He has already suffered two concusssions, and he has a nagging tendency to disappear in some big games.

Jackson’s numbers are down this year, although there are those who say defenses paying increased attention to Jackson translate to big numbers for fellow wideout Jeremy Maclin.

One other thing is clear. The Eagles offense was dead in the water without Jackson in the lineup on Sunday. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that the team game-planned all week under the assumption that Jackson was playing, and the fact that starting QB Michael Vick suffered two broken ribs on the second play of the game.

This one does not look like it is going to end well, pretty much like the Eagles season.

Then again, the Birds return to the scene of their latest Miracle in the Meadowlands Sunday night for a prime-time match vs. the Giants.

Last year it was Jackson’s last-minute punt return that catapulted the Eagles to a wild comeback win.

Then again, the Giants just might be looking for revenge.

When it comes to that, they may need to get in line behind Reid and Jackson.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 15

The Daily Numbers: 31, age of assistant district attorney now facing charges in a hit-run case in Upper Darby.

5 year veteran prosecutor Michael Donohue now faces charges himself.

14, age of skateboard badly injured in the incident.

72, age of suspect in Ridley ambush murder. James Dellavecchia waived his preliminary hearing in the case yesterday.

35,000 dollars that Haverford man admitted scamming from his friends by telling them he was suffering from cancer.

0 tax hike being planned in Brookhaven Borough.

1 man stabbed during incident with his girlfriend in Chester, according to police.

600 images of child porn, what a Chesco teacher from Delco admitted to possessing in fed court yesterday.

40 charges of sex abuse filed against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. He went on national TV last night to deny the charges.

3 percent fee on gas drilling operations under bill passed by state Senate committee yesterday.

10, age of boy shot in Philadelphia.

2 goals for Flyers Claude Giroux as the orange and blacked rolled over the Hurricanes, 5-3.

14 carries for Eagles star running back LeSean McCoy in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. That doesn’t cut it.

50 million dollar, 4-year deal for closer Jonathan Papelbon with the Phillies.

88.3 percent of his save opportunities converted by Papelbon.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Anybody have a guess as to which week Andy Reid is actually going to start doing a better job?



I Don’t Get It: I’m not buying Jerry Sandusky’s claim of innocence. Once maybe, but now more kids are coming forward. Are all of them making it up?


Today’s Upper: Kudos to all the Penn State players and students whose actions were admirable on what was a very difficult weekend.


Quote Box: “I am innocent of those charges.”

- Jerry Sandusky, in interview with NBC’s Bob Costas last night.


Sandusky breaks his silence


Jerry Sandusky says he didn’t do it.

At least the sex part.

The man at the center of the child-sex abuse conflagration that has consumed Penn State gave his version of event last night on national TV.

The Nittany Lions former defensive coordinator was on offense in an interview with Bob Costas for NBC News’ “Rock Center.”

Read about it here.

Sandusky said he was just involved in “horseplay” with children. He faces 40 counts of child sexual abuse.

Costas asked him plainly if he was a pedophile and if he was innocent of all the charges.

Sandusky seemed to waffle. He said he was not guilty of doing anything of a sexual intent.

At the same time, he admitted he probably should not have showered with the children after workouts.

Yeah, I would think most grown men would agree with him. And most adults would be highly doubtful of his story.

“I have horsed around with kids,” Sandusky said. “I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have tourched their legs without intent of sexual contact.”

This flies in the face of grand jury testimony, including the account given by then-Penn State grad assistant Mike McQueary that he witnessed Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the shower.

The fallout, including allegations of a cover-up by Penn State officials, has cost legendary football coach Joe Paterno his job and criminal charges being brought against two university officials.

McQueary also was back in the news yesterday. An email surfaced indicating McQueary did intervene to stop the attack, something he has been villified for not doing.

And the New York Times is reporting that more victims are coming forward against Sandusky.

The whole thing is ugly. And it reminds us that while there are many players in this story, the focus should remain on Sandusky.

I’m not buying his story for a minute.

Another hit-run whodunit


Every time there is a hit-and-run case in the county, it sets off something of a whodunit.

That was the case a couple of weeks back when a teen on a skateboard was run down on an Upper Darby street and the driver fled the scene.

But witnesses indicated that in this case the driver did stop – he just did so a couple of blocks away. Police say witnesses told them the man checked for damage on his vehicle, then got back in and took off – going down a one-way street in the process.

Then the mystery started. Who was behind the wheel?

No one could have imagined the answer.

Police Monday indicated they were filing charges against an assistant district attorney in the hit-run case.

You can read all about in here.

As you might expect, Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood had something to say about the incident, which occurred on his turf and which his officers investigated.

Chitwood called it “an ultimate cowardly act. He checked his vehicle but he never checked on the 14-year-old in the streeet. In my opinion, he knew he hit somebody.”

Michael Donohue was a member of the D.A.’s prosecuting team at the time of the accident. He isn’t any longer. Donohue resigned his position a few days after the accident.

Yesterday he turned himself in to face charges.

Time to 'run' Reid out of town?

Andy Reid says that in retrospect, the Eagles probably should have given the ball to LeSean McCoy more than 14 times in the thoroughly depressing loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.

Ya think?

On his radio show last night, Reid made the point that the Birds were facing the 28th ranked pass defense against the Cardinals and that they should have been able to take advantage of that.

Reid still doesn’t get it.

Maybe that’s why every week, after still another incredulous loss, Reid is left to say “he has to do a better job.”

Here’s a hint, coach. Your team has now coughed up five fourth-quarter leads. Part of the reason is because you don’t run the ball. Once you have the lead in the second half, your opponent increasingly becomes the clock, not the Cardinals, or whoever else is lined up against you.

But you continue to throw pass after pass, and with this year’s scattershot version of Michael Vick throwing incomplete after incomplete, you fail to take time off the clock, allowing your opponent that much more opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Sunday’s act was inexcusable. You go into the game without DeSean Jackson. See your other featured wideout, Jeremy Maclin, get banged up early, and see Vick taking hit after hit.

In the meantime, the best running back in the league is largely ignored.

There’s something else that was impossible to ignore on Sunday. Anyone else notice how quiet the Linc was in the second half? The place was like a tomb.

That is unacceptable.

It’s clear Reid simply isn’t willing – or capable – of doing a better job, as he promises us every week.

All those fans sitting on their hands are testament to what the Reid regime has wrought.

Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner talk about the “gold standard.”

But the message is falling on tin ears.

The ones belonging to their head coach.

Reid will experiment every once in awhile, but he's never going to commit to running the ball, even when he has the best back in the league.

It might be what eventually gets him run out of town.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles pick

Anyone remember the Eagles?

There is little if anything to be happy about in picking through the rubble of a week dominated by the conflagration that consumed Penn State legend Joe Paterno and his coaching staff.

But it certainly deflected what undoubtedly would have been a red-hot microscope placed on Andy Reid and the Eagles.

That's because a week after showing a prime-time audience what they could be in drubbing the Cowboys, the Birds returned to national TV Monday night and gave a thoroughly uninspired effort in falling to the Bears.

Once again Juan Castillo's defense coughed up a fourth quarter lead. Once again the offense was plagued by mistakes and turnovers. Michael Vick continues to look ordinary. LeSean McCoy did not get enough touches.

All the normal Andy Reid flourishes were there, including the mandatory gadget play that blew up in his face, this time a fake punt that seemed destined to work except for one small thing - their punter can't throw the ball. His shot put-style effort fell far short - as did the Eagles.

Luckily for them, the Cardinals are coming to town. And yes, that is Kevin Kolb leading them. Unfortunately, it appears a case of turf toe will keep Kolb on the sidelines.

The Eagles' high-wire act when it comes to their playoff hopes is now more like a razor wire. They have no margin for error. It would appear they need to run the table from here out.

With a huge game vs. the Giants looming next week, this has trap game written all over it. Reid can't let that happen. The Eagles need to get off early and bury the Cards.

I think they will. I don't, however, think they make the playoffs. But that's for another week.

Make it Eagles 35, Cardinals 17.

Last Week: Eagles looked exactly the opposite of the team that showed up the week before in dominating the Cowboys. They laid an egg and fell to the Bears.

Season Record: So much for my two-game winning streak. I can't figure this team out. I did not see any way they would lose to Chicago. I certainly didn't see them playing as poorly as they did. I'm now sitting at a thoroughly miserable 2-6, pretty much a lost season, just as the Eagles' will be if they don't win this game. They sit at 3-5 and fading fast.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 11

The Daily Numbers: 11/11/11, yes it’s a very special day.

84, age of Penn State legend Joe Paterno, who will not be on the sideline on Saturday when the team takes on Nebraska.

2 Penn State execs charged in the burgeoning child-sex abuse scandal.

1 former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of children.

1 assistant coach, Mike McQueary, who will not be on sidelines because of threats being made against him. It was his testimony that he saw Sandusky abusing a 10-year-old boy that is the basis of the case.

120,000 dollar grant to the Chester Education Foundation from the Caesars Foundation, which is linked to Harrah’s Chester.

13, age of boy missing in Darby Borough.

6 more months in prison for former powerful Pa. Sen. Vince Fumo.

250 dollar fee per stray animal that the county’s new Animal Protection Board is asking the 49 municipalities to sign off on to make the new county animal shelter viable.

1 person killed and 2 hurt in an early morning fire in Philadelphia.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Who ever thought that Penn State would play Nebraska, and the game would be the last thing on anyone’s mind.



I Don’t Get It: There’s just too many questions concerning the Penn State case. It’s a mystery that we’ll be hearing about for months.


Today’s Upper: Our special salute to all veterans on this Veterans Day.


Quote Box: “It’s just really, really cool.”

- Sadie Smagala of Marcus Hook, who is turning 11 today on 11/11/11.


The case against Mike McQueary

Joe Paterno is not the only person who will not be on the sidelines Saturday when Penn State meets Nebraska Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary also will be among the missing. He won’t be up in the box either. That’s probably a good thing. But the reason he will not be there is not.

McQueary is the key figure in the child sexual abuse case that has torn Happy Valley asunder. In 2002, he says he witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the shower.

McQueary did not intervene. He called his dad. The next day he informed Paterno. Exactly how he described the incident to Paterno is now the central issue in the case.

Two school officials have been charged with perjury and failing to report a crime. Paterno, the legendary head coach who has won more games than any other coach in Division I history, has been unceremoniously bounced out on his ear.

A public uproar proclaimed that the coach simply did not do enough when informed of the incident, instead merely passing it along up the chain of command to his athletic director.

If outrage is what developed around Paterno’s inaction, what can only be described as “scorn” has been reserved for McQueary.

This one is pretty simple. How can a grown man witness what McQueary says he saw and not intervene to help that child?

Forget going to the police. How about going into that shower, punching Sandusky’s lights out and getting that child out of there.

Late last night Penn State announced McQueary would not be with the team on Saturday.

And the reason is just as troubling as much of the rest of this sordid case.

The school says McQueary has been the target of multiple “threats.”

Enough is enough. Regardless of your opinion of what McQueary did or did not do, he does not deserve to be threatened.

He faces a very long, rough road in the coming possible trials of of those two Penn State execs as well as Sandusky.

He very well could be eviscerated on cross-examination.

More than that, I would wonder how he can go to sleep each night without seeing that little boy’s face.

But he does not deserve threats. That crosses into the same kind of illegal actions that we’ve seen all too much of in this case.

By once respected coaches. By misguided students upset that their beloved JoePa was kicked to the curb so unceremoniously.

Gov. Tom Corbett chided students that they should knock off the violence, reminding them that the eyes of the nation are now on Penn State, and the actions of a few are giving a distorted view of the campus.

Veiled threats against someone whose judgment and character you question isn’t much better.

The good, the bad and Penn State

There are a lot of things about the Internet that I like.

For people who do what I do for a living, it has solved two age-old problems.

One is that we print the newspaper exactly once a day and then deliver it to homes and stores across the county. Think news stops just because we have shut down our press? Uh, not exactly.

Our website now allows us to deliver news 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We deliver breaking news, sometimes with as little as a single sentence, then develop the story from there. With each new morsel of information, we are able to update our story online.

The web also gives us a place to put all those things that don’t fit into the print edition every day. People always ask me what the tough decisions I have to make every day are. The tough call is not what is going into the newspaper, those decisions pretty much make themselves. The really tough decisions are what to do with all the stories that I would love to get into print every day, but which I know are not going to make it. Now I have a place to put them.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has found an end to the Internet. At least not yet. We are limited only by how fast we can shovel the information out there.

But I am here to tell you that there are some things about the Internet that bother me.

One in particular. The lines between what had always been considered “journalism” and some of what occurs online gets a little more blurry every day.

Our history tells us that we properly check out stories, source the information we use, and attribute it whenever we can.

Anyone who has worked more than a few hours in this racket knows we are bombarded every day with what can best be described as “rumors.” There was a time when we would listen, check it out and then drop it when the information didn’t pan out.

Now, through the wonders of the Internet, there appears to be a growing move toward simply throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Labeling something as “rumor” doesn’t seem to be stop anyone from “publishing” it on the Internet. On blogs. Via Twitter. On Facebook. And also talking about it on TV and radio.

The issue has popped up again in the maelstrom surrounding the Penn State child sex case and the firing of Joe Paterno.

In particular there is another wild story circulating around the main suspect in the saga, former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky.

It is being clearly labeled as “rumor,” but that hasn’t stopped it from showing up online and people talking about it.

There was a time when that never would have happened.

Sometimes I still long for those days.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paterno has only himself to blame

It didn’t have to end this way.

And it shouldn’t have ended this way.

And Joe Paterno has no one to blame but himself.

The story has been everywhere this week. It literally consumed Pennsylvania, if not the nation.

Paterno was the face of the state’s largest educational institution. He had given Penn State millions, and in the process provided a shining light of what a football program should look like, and so often does not in the often seedy world of big-time college athletics.

All that is gone now. As is Paterno.

I feel horrible for the way this ended. But I feel worse for the kids police say were victimized by Paterno’s former right-hand man, defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

It amazes me that in the past few days, the emphasis has veered away from Sandusky and the horrendous things he is charged with doing, onto Paterno and what he did not do.

And I think I know why.

As a society we have unfortunately become accustomed to the ugly truth that there are monsters such as the way Sandusky is being portrayed in the criminal charges against him that wander among us.

We hope the cops catch them and put them away, where they can no longer hurt anyone, let alone our most precious –and vulnerable – resource, our children.

We abhor Sandusky and what he is charged with doing. But we know that this kind of horror exists.

Paterno is a different story.

I think a big part of the problem is that we simply expected so more of him. We can’t get our arms around the fact that, given what he was told, Paterno didn’t do more to see that Sandusky was brought to justice, and children were protected.

How could he not do more?

We expected so much more.

There remains so many unanswered questions about this entire story, many of which may never be answered.

Who knew what and when did they know it? And will anyone else join me in raising an eyebrow on the fact that these charges somehow were not brought until after Paterno broke the record for most wins for a Division I coach, and why they were announced on a Saturday, ironically when Penn State had a bye.

Paterno apparently could not resist one final flourish. With his program in flames, the coach announced he would step down – but only after the season. This was the Paterno we all know – the irascible, arrogant patriarch of all things Penn State.

On Wednesday I was convinced of only one thing. There was no way Penn State could allow Paterno to run out on that field Saturday.

The board of trustees apparently agreed, firing both Paterno and school President Graham Spanier late last night.

The announcement set off a violent protest by some foolish students mistaken in thinking they were remaining loyal to Paterno and their university. All they did was add to the horrific damage already inflicted on the school in the eyes of the nation.

After half a century of being the face of Penn State, Paterno’s face now stands next to headlines declaring ‘Shame.’

Joe Paterno is 84 years old.

Time for him to go. Time to wonder why, in his own words, he did not do more when these allegations first came to light.

It’s real simple. We expected so much more of Joe Paterno.

And it will be a long time before we can understand why and how it came to this.

Rep. Meehan breaks some Paterno news on Live From Newsroom

The sparks were flying last night as we tackled the incendiary issue of Joe Paterno and the Penn State football on our weekly 'Live From the Newsroom' show.

I was joined by lead sports columnist Jack McCaffery, lead news columnist Gil Spencer, and we were lucky to be joined by U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7.

And once again we were able to break news on the show with Meehan, who had just the day before asked the Education Department to look into whether the situation at Penn State would qualify as a violation of the Clery Act.

The Clery Act is a federal law mandating schools that get federal aid keep records on campus crime and mandates reporting of all such incidents.

Meehan started the show with word that in fact the Education Department was opening an investigation of the situation.

You can see a copy of the letter sent to Penn State here.

To watch a replay of the show, CLICK HERE.

Gil and Jack get paid for their opinions, and they didn't hold back. Jack made clear his feelings about Paterno's statement earlier in the day that he would resign - but at the end of the year.

Jack ripped the legendary coach for this gambit - saying he should have stepped down 'the day before.'

You can read Jack's column here.

The panel split evenly on whether Paterno should  - and would - be the coach on Saturday.

A couple hours later, that became a moot point. Paterno and school President Graham Spanier were shown the door - effective immediately.

It's a sad end to a horrible story.

I"m still conflicted. But it does not change my opinion that Paterno should not have been allowed to coach another game for Penn State.

With a federal investigation now in place by the Education Department, this story is not going away any time soon.

The same can't be said for Joe Paterno.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Daily Numbers (Election Edititon)

The Daily Numbers (Election Edition): 3 seats on Delaware County Council swept by the Delco GOP.

5 seats on county Court of Common Pleas that also went Republican.

4 Democrats who posted big wins in Chester, including newly elected Mayor John Linder, who ousted incumbent Wendell Butler Jr.

4 seats on the Chester Upland School Board that also went to Democrats.

32 percent of those eligible who actually showed up to vote in the county.

140 years of GOP dominance in Montgomery County ends with wins by 2 Dems for county commissioner.

4 more years for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

4 Democrats who won races for Folcroft Borough Council, sending it over to Democratic control.

3 wins for Democrats in Media Borough Council races.

3 Dems who posted wins in Lansdowne Borough Council races.

5 Republicans who rolled to wins in Brookhaven.

1 seat on Upper Darby Council won by a Democrat; Republicans won 4 others and Tom Micozzie won another term as mayor.

56,225 votes for Republican Jack Whelan for D.A., making him top vote getter in the county.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Sounds like the Phillies are closing in on a deal with closer Ryan Madson. Question now will be if they have enough money to re-sign Jimmy Rollins.



I Don’t Get It: Lots of key races on ballot yesterday, all of them decided by about a third of the eligible voters. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who actually made their way to the polls and took part in the process.


Quote Box: “We believe that this will be the team that will take us through the 21st Century.”

- Democrat John Linder, winner of Chester mayor’s race.


Where Delco stands

Some things don't change.

Other things do.

Delaware County government continues to be an all-Republican affair.

The GOP team of incumbent Tom McGarrigle, Colleen Morrone and John McBlain swamped their Democratic counterparts Jayne Young, Lin Axamethy Floyd and Keith Collins.

No Democrat has been elected to Delaware County Council since the Home Rule Charter was adopted in the mid-1970s. That does not look like it is going to change any time soon.

In fact the Media Courthouse remains something of a GOP fortress. Jack Whelan crushed Kendall Brown in the D.A.’s race, and Republicans swept the five new seats on the county Court of Common Pleas.

There was, however, a shift elsewhere.

There is a new mayor in Chester after Democrat John Linder rolled to an impressive win over incumbent Republican Mayor John Linder.

Call it Election 2011. And in Delaware County, you’d have to call it a split decision, with Republicans clinging to control at the county level, while Democrats continue to make gains in municipal government.

Talk Penn State, Paterno tonight

The conflagration that was once the proud tradition of Penn State football continues to burn this morning.

The board of trustees at Penn State now says it will start its own investigation of the allegations against former defensive coordinator and the way school officials handled the explosive issue.

In the meantime, calls continue for the ouster of legendary coach Joe Paterno as well as school president Graham Spanier. We added ours as well, saying it is time for both of them to go.

 You can read our editorial here.

We’ll be discussing the issue surrounding this story tonight on our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ live-stream Internet show. Columnist Gil Spencer and myself will be joined by members of our sports department as we discuss the Penn State saga and what will happen to one of the state’s icons, Paterno.

Join us at 7 on If you have a comment, post it with this blog item and we will bring it up and talk about it on the show. Also you can log on to and take part in a live chat.

See you tonight at 7.

Live with Dems and GOP

After a day of blogging on the elections, we took our show on the road again last night, doing a live-stream from both the Democratic and Republican headquarters last night.

If you missed it, you can see it here.

Democratic boss David Landau was beaming, flush with success in the Chester Mayoral race, where John Linder ousted incumbent Republican Wendell Butler Jr. Landau also was chortling about a commissioner candidate on his home turf in Nether Providence, and got word during the show that Democrat seized control of Folcroft Borough Council.

He probably wasn’t as happy with the countywide results. That was left for GOP boss Andy Reilly to celebrate as he announced live on that the GOP had swept the three open County Council seats. Incumbent Tom McGarrigle, Colleen Morrone, and John McBlain rolled to easy wins. Jack Whelan crushed Democrat Kendall Brown in the D.A.’s race, and the GOP dominated the judicial races.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Join us for our live-stream election coverage at 9

8:02: Don't forget to join Gil Spencer and me as we do a live-stream from both the Democratic and Republican HQ. We'll start with the Dems in Media at 9 and then move over to the GOP party at Springfield CC. Join us for live-streaming election results.

Shut 'em down!

8:00: Shut 'em down. Polls close. And the winners are.... I'll go out on a limb here and say Republican Jack Whelan is going to win the D.A.'s race over Democrat Kendall Brown. No word on whether she her license to practice law has been reinstated yet.

Look at turnout in county

7:55: Reporter Patti Mengers notes substantial turnout in Chester pushed by hot mayor's race. Looks like 30-35 percent in other parts of the county.

Half hour to go - still time to vote!

7:30: We're down to the final half hour. The suspense is killing me. Will a Democrat take one of three seats up for grabs on Delaware County Council. As they say down at Harrah's, Don't put the house on it.

More likely would be a win by Democrat John Linder in the Chester mayoral race.

Nutter vs. Brown not exactly a big draw

6:15: Here's a stunner. Turnout in the city of Philadelphia is being reported as very light. You mean the people aren't showing up in droves to decide that epic Michael Nutter vs. Karen Brown mayral battle. Go ahead, admit it. You didn't know Nutter was even running, did you?

Heron's Nest: Pileggi weighs in on Penn State mess

4:45: Sen. Dominic Pileggi is now weighing in on the Penn State saga, saying President Graham Spanier has a lot of things he needs to answer. CLICK HERE for story.

Heron's Nest: Bears-Fan-In-Chief zings our Birds

3:50: Just what we needed: President Obama the Bears fan was chortling at the start of his comments in Yeadon tonight about their win over the Eagles on Monday Night Football. Swell!

CLICK HERE for a glimpse at what The Bears Fan IN Chief had to say. It's several items down.

Big turnout in Montco

3:40: Thumb's up for Montgomery County, where the nasty battle for county commissioner seats and the possibility of Dems taking control is apparently spurring a big turnout. Initial indications appear as high as a 40 percent turnout.

No meeting for oil workers with Obama, Biden

2:55: Interesting comment from blog reader: Have we forgotten about the oil workers?

" Phil, what about the oil workers.

Obama will be in Yeadon.

Biden will be in Media.

Don't they have time for the union oil workers who will be losing their jobs?

Aren't there at least meetings planned with the workers(or at their union heads) and the President and Vice President?

What about a bail out plan?

You mean to say that the United Auto Workers are more important than our Steam Fitters and Steel Workers?

Say it isn't so, Phil! "

Here's an update, and you're not going to like it. We have word that the vice president is unable to meet with refinery workers on Friday. Apparently his schedule is too tight. He's going to be in the county for the annual Veterans Day Parade in Media.