Friday, November 30, 2012

The Daily Times for Nov. 30

The Daily Numbers: 5 to 23 months in jail for the former athletic director at Archbishop Carroll High School for inappropriate contact with a teen boy.

3 million dollar-winning Powerball tickets sold in the Philly area, including one on Lancaster Avenue in Wynnewood.

41,000 dollars a minute, what Powerball tickets were selling Wednesday afternoon in Pa.

93 million dollars in sales total in Pa.

3 Republican school board members in Chester Upland who offered their version of why they rejected recovery plan for the district.

38, age of Tinicum mom, who had been missing for a week. She’s back home safe. She was in Orlando, Fla.

2.4 percent tax hike looming in Upper Providence.

56 dollars more on the tax tab for residents in Aston.

2.9 percent tax hike in preliminary budget for Springfield.

340,000 dollars believed ripped off from the welfare system by a Philly woman.

21 months in prison for the owner of a Darby market who was convicted of defrauding the federal food stamp program.

0 tax hike for Pa. as Gov. Tom Corbett vows he will not raise taxes again.

2 people killed in a fire in a home in the West Oak Lane section of Philly that is being blamed on use of a space heater.

8 to 10 underage girls in Upper Dublin whose Facebook photos have wound up on porn sites.

2.5 million dollars, how much Penn State will pay Graham Spanier to leave his post.

24 of 27 on field goal attempts this year for Eagles kicker Alex Henery. He’s probably the team MVP.

3 straight starts for Nick Foles; Michael Vick continues to be sidelined with concussion symptoms.

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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Anyone remember when Dallas week was a big thing around here?

 

*Police say a couple in Delaware locked their young son in a room for 3 months. I don’t get it.

I Don’t Get It:

*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Interboro Bucs as they look to advance in the PIAA football playoffs tonight vs. Archbishop Wood.

*

Quote Box: “I understand fully I violated the trust placed in me. I should have known better.”

- Former Archbishop Carroll Athletic Director Francis Murphy, as he was sentenced to jail time for inappropriate contact with a teen boy.

Recovery plan means school of hard knocks in Chester Upland

The Republicans on the Chester Upland School board have decided to draw a line in the sand.
They’re not happy with the draconian recovery plan drafted by Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins. They banded together Monday night and voted it down 5-4 on straight party lines.

That doesn’t mean the plan, which includes school closures and staff cuts, is not coming. It just means they just voted themselves out of any say in the process. The state now will go into court and petition to have the troubled district put back under state control and also appoint a receiver. A lot of people believe that receiver will be Joe Watkins.
So what did the GOP gain in voting it down?
The Republican members of the board talked about their decision yesterday. You can read John Kopp’s story here.
Board Vice President Baltazar Rubio said his group will fight “tooth and nail” against the plan.
That may be the case, but they will do so from outside, courtesy of the stand they took Monday night.
The GOP faction believes Watkins did not consider changes they urged him to make in the plan, in particular involving school closings and the strict timeline for meeting AYP markers.
School Board Solicitor Leo Hackett gave a hint at where all this is likely going to wind up. Surprise! Back in court.
The district had to go to court last spring to pry enough money out of the Corbett Administration to keep the doors open for the rest of the school year. And now it looks like they will have to go to court to seek changes in the plan.
The state has until Monday to file in court seeking a receiver for the district.
Hackett also points out this process is not automatic.
“The whole situation is not over yet,” he said. “It’s not the end of the issues.”
Democratis Board Member Anthony Johnson took another view of the GOP vote.
“To me, they’re crying over sour milk,” he said. “They voted no. They have to live with that. They just sold their community and their children out.”
Yep, see you in court.

We'll have live coverage of President Obama in Montco

Who knew the ‘fiscal cliff’ went through Montgomery County?

President Obama is coming to the K’Nex toy factory in Hatfield today to lay out his plan to avert the fiscal cliff and the current standoff with the Republican House over spending and tax cuts.

We’ll have live coverage of the president’s visit. Stick with DelcoTimes.com for the latest all day.

And you can follow along on Twitter with the #ObamaMC hash tag.

How far the Eagles have fallen

Anyone remember the Dallas Cowboys?

Anyone remember when Dallas week gripped the Philadelphia region in a very special kind of sports fever?

Anyone remember when a prime-time matchup with the hated America’s Team and those helmets with the Stars would send us into bouts of frothing passion.

Yeah, neither do I.

This week is really all Eagles owner Jeff Lurie needs to see to determine just how far off the radar the Eagles have fallen.

We’re talking about who should play centerfield for the Phillies. Not who will serve Tony Romo his lunch. Not the sight of Jerry Jones wincing as the Eagles pummel the ‘Boys. Not how much we hate his billion dollar playpen, that gaudy new stadium in Dallas.

Nobody cares. The Eagles are 3-8 and going nowhere. The quarterback of the future is just that, still somewhere in the future. The coach is playing out the string. So is his team.

The next meaningful thing this team does will happen when Lurie steps up to a bank of microphones and says the following words: “The Philadelphia Eagles have parted ways with Andy Reid after 14 seasons.”

Until then, nothing about this team really matters. I guess we can talk about who should be the next coach. Word now is that Monte Kiffin is going to leave his son’s program at USC. There are those who would like to see him run the Eagles defense under John Gruden. Or maybe the latest college hot shot, Chip Kelly of Oregon. Me? I’m still holding out for Bill O’Brien after the job he did this year at Penn State. Who knew they actually had kids in Happy Valley who could play quarterback?

The Eagles have two more home games this year, Dec. 13 vs. the Bengals (a Thursday night game) and Dec. 23 against the Redskins.

I’d like nothing more than to see Lincoln Financial Field look like a vast expanse of empty seats for those two games.

We aren’t fools, Mr. Lurie. We’re fans. We live and die with this team. This year we just died, mostly at the hands of Andy Reid and the series of decisions surrounding this team over the last couple of years.

Call us when someone else is running the show.

Hey, how ‘bout that Michael Bourn!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Daily Numbers for Nov. 29

The Daily Numbers: 2 winning ticket in last night’s $550 million dollar Powerball jackpot.

0 here in this area. The winners were sold in Arizona and Missouri.

1 million dollar winning tickets sold in Philly as well as in New Jersey.

7 break-ins in Nether Providence that have neighbors concerned.

1 suspect in the case, a man who led police in Philadelphia on a wild chase. No charges have been filed in the case.

23, age of Sean O’Neill Jr, who has now skipped town after being wanted for a probation violation. Authorities now believe he has fled to Ireland.

12.85 million dollar general obligation note approved by Chester Council as part of its budget process.

7.2 percent tax hike on the table in Marple.

4.52 percent tax hike in Haverford.

335 dollars that came into the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund yesterday.

21 lot subdivision that was shot down by Middletown Council.

15 homeowners who complained about the new stem center in DCCC.

2.5 million dollars, how much Penn State will pay Graham Spanier to leave his post.

37 billion dollars, how much New Jersey is seeking in damages incurred by Hurricane Sandy.

16 million dollars, the tab for damages in Pa.

1.3 million dollars, how much a Philadelphia municipal worker scammed the city out of in a printer toner and ink cartridge racket.

5.5 sacks this season for Jason Babin, who was released by the Eagles.

18 sacks for Babin last year.

*: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Good for the USGA and Royal & Ancient in their push to ban the long putter from golf.

Call me a Phanatic

 

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I Don’t Get It: Guess there are a lot of disappointed people trudging back to work today after failing to hit the Powerball.

*

Today’s Upper: At least someone hit it fairly big in the Powerball. A million dollar winner was sold in Philly.

*

Quote Box: “I was happy. I was really, really glad. We didn’t work for nothing.”

- Mariama Mansaray, on move that allows the ‘Read It’ parody video to be aired on YouTube.

Can Joe Watkins save Chester Upland?

Joe Watkins is a believer.

Some might call him a dreamer.

If, as expected, he is about to be named the receiver in charge of the Chester Upland School District, he likely will need to be both.

Watkins, the district’s chief recovery officer who crafted the recovery plan that was rejected by the elected Chester School Board Monday night, joined us for our live-stream broadcast ‘Live From the Newsroom’ last night.

If you missed it, you can catch the replay here.

We were joined by Anthony Johnson, one of the four Democrats on the board who voted in favor of the plan. It was shot down on a 5-4 vote, with all five Republicans voting against.

It doesn’t make much difference. As our editorial points out today, the state now almost certainly will petition the court to put the district back under state control, where it spent 16 of the last 18 years. The vote by the board was to determine if they will have any say in the recovery process as it moves forward.

The court also will appoint a receivery. The smart money says that person will be Watkins.

After spending a half hour with him last night, I can tell you Chester Upland would be lucky to have him.

I can admit when Watkins was first appointed chief recovery officer, I was one of those with a raised eyebrow. Watkins has close ties to the school choice and charter movement. It would be easy to see this as simply the next move in what many in Chester believe to be the Corbett Administration’s end game: Continue to strangle Chester Upland financially until they are forced to close the doors, then turn the whole thing over to the charter school operators who fill his campaign chest.

That was my initial suspicion about Watkins.

But he made clear that was not his goal. And he stood by it last night.

Watkins insists the recovery plan is a bid to save the Chester Upland School District, not destroy it.

More importantly, Watkins talks about what the district can - and should be. He talks about excellence, and making sure kids in Chester Upland have the same opportunities that every other Delaware County kid has. And he's the first to admit that everyone has a stake in that process, and that there must be accountability from parents, students, teachers and staff.

It’s a tall order. He’s the first to admit it.

I’d like to see him get the chance. Some mock the plan, say it has no chance of success, that the whole thing is rigged against the district. They may be right. Joe Watkins is ready to tilt at windmills.

Do miracles happen? In Chester Upland?

I have a feeling we’re about to find out.


A big win for kids at Lansdowne Library

 

‘Read It.’
‘Read It.’
Read all about it.

The kids at the Lansdowne Library have been victorious in their efforts to get their parody of the famous Michael Jackson video ‘Beat It,’ which they dubbed ‘Read It,’ back on YouTube.
It’s a long story, but a good one.
Make sure you read in here.


'Putt' those long clubs away, fellow golfers

Forget Jason Babin.

And Andrew Bynum.

Andy Reid? We’ll deal with him in January.

This morning there is big news in the sports world, at least to those of us who confess to be golf nuts. Yes, you can count me in that crowd, although I seem to watch a lot more golf on TV than I actually get to play.

I am one of those people who is convinced that the secret to the perfect golf swing is just around the corner, a click away on YouTube, tucked away in an instructional video, or book.

I tinker. I go to the range and pound balls. Usually I leave more confused than when I arrived.

But there is one thing I have never done - and will never do - in an attempt to lower my score.

Call me a golf snob if you will, but you will never catch me using one of those god-awful long putters. You know the ones. You press one end of the long handle against your chest or your stomach, then use the other to make the stroking motion. I am not what you would call a good putter. I have an incredible ability to three-putt from almost anywhere on the green. But you still won’t find me resorting to a long putter.

Now, if the golf gods have their way, I might have a lot of company. The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal And Ancient on Wednesday announced they would consider a new rule banning anchoring the club to the body. You can check it out here.

Good.

Nobody ever said golf was easy. I’ve played every sport there is. None of them has confounded me the way golf has. None of them lures me back to the course as much either. My football days are long gone. Basketball? Please, I'm never running that much again. Baseball? History. Softball? No more beer leagues for me. But golf? My hope is to retire on a golf course, and the way this industry is going, that may be next week.

You’ll likely find me on the range, banging balls, sure that the ‘secret’ is somewhere in that next bucket of balls.

And if you see me on the practice putting green, you can bet I won’t have one of those long putters in my hands.

I will never be able to hit balls the way Tiger Woods does. If you’ve ever stood on the range or followed a PGA pro on the course, you know what I mean. These guys play a game I’m not familiar with. On the range, when they hit a ball, it makes a completely different sound than when most hackers like me make contact. It’s like an explosion.

But the truth is there is no real reason that every duffer like me can’t be just as good a putter as a PGA pro. It just takes a whole lot more time and patience than I have.

But it should include a swing of a club, in this case a putter, that is similar to every other swing we take on the course. Not some contrived, gimmicky invention made to tame the bane of every golf - the yips or what other ailment keeps us from becoming an accomplished putter.

No one ever said golf was supposed to be easy.

A lot of people have told me it helps to be just a bit insane to take up this sport. I probably qualify on both those counts.

I understand as much as anyone the desire for a lower score, and doing just about anything to obtain it. No, mulligans don’t count.

But I also like to think when I walk down that fairway (OK, more often it’s in the rough), I am sharing something with Old Tom Morris and those shepherds who discovered the game in Scotland a century or so ago.

I don’t think any of them every thought to take that shepherd’s crook, clutch it to his chest, and then try to make a perfect pendulum motion to knock that feathery into a hole.

Neither have I.

To the USGA and Royal and Ancient, I say, ‘here, here’ for a ban that is long overdue.

‘Putt’ it away, fellas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Daily Numbers for Nov. 28

The Daily Numbers: 500 million dollar Powerball jackpot up for grabs tonight. Guess those machines will be humming pretty much all day.

175 million to 1, your odds of hitting the jackpot.

245 million, what the cash payout would be.

7 recent home break-ins that are causing concern in Nether Providence.

200 parents and students who turned out in force last night for Marple Newtown School Board to oppose potential education cuts.

3 new judges nominated for Eastern District of Pennslvania, including Felipe Restropo of Swarthmore.

5,375 in donations that have come into the Merry Christmas Fund.

422 families and 854 children in the Chester community who benefit from the holiday fundraiser.

30 percent increase in online shopping on Cyber Monday.

24 game suspension for Phillies Carlos Ruiz for amphetamine use.

2 less Eagles for fans to boo: Jason Babin was released and DeSean Jackson was placed on injured reserve with cracked ribs.

22 points for Evan Turner as the Sixers turned back the Mavs, 100-98.

*

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Jason Babin has been sacked. Don’t think he’ll be missed.

 

*

I Don’t Get It: Babin laughed when he was told he was released by the team. Yeah, he doesn’t get it. Never did.

*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids at the Lansdowne Library who have been victorious in their battle against Sony Music and the Michael Jackson estate in a dispute over a video parody of ‘Beat It’ they called ‘Read It.’

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Quote Box: “If I won, I’d really like to help my kids. Then I’d probably quit my job. I don’t need much. I just want to be comfortable.”

- Louise Avellino of Ridley after buying her Powerball tickets yedsterday.

Things go from bad to worse in Chester Upland; we'll dissect it on 'Live From the Newsroom'

The Chester Upland School District once again finds itself in a familiar position - distressed.

After the elected school board rejected the recovery plan put forth by Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins Monday night, it now appears the district once again will be placed into receivership by the state.

That’s where the district has spent the majority of the last two decades. And still the district festers, with lousy test scores, and more and more parents pulling their children out of district schools in favor of charters.

You can read the latest twists and turns involving Chester Upland in John Kopp's update today.

Tonight we will use our live-stream Internet show, ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ to dissect the situation in Chester Upland, including the reasons for the recovery plan in the first place, why the board rejected it, and where the district goes from here.

Joining us will be the man who put together the recovery plan, Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins. We’ll also have on hand Democratic school board member Anthony Johnson. It has not gone unnoticed that all four Democrats on the board voted in favor of the plan, while all five Republicans rejected it. The vote was 5-4 along party lines.

Making it even more interesting is that Watkins was put in place by the Republican Corbett Administration, yet the plan was rejected 5-4 with all the GOP members of the board voting against.

A lot of people in Chester believe the end game of the Corbett Administration is to starve the district financially, close the doors and then let the charters take over.

But if that’s the case, how do you explain the five Republicans voting against the Watkins’ recovery plan, while the four Democrats voted in favor?

Watkins could very well be appointed the receiver for the district. So it’s not like he’s going away.

We’ve asked for a representative of the Republican board members to join us. So far they have declined, instead pointing us to Acting Superintendent Tom Persing. We hope to have him join us tonight to talk about the state of affairs in Chester Upland.

I also want readers to be able to take part in the discussion.

Do you have a question for Watkins? Or for school board members, either Democratic or Republican? Email me your questions at editor@delcotimes.com and I will put them to our panel. Then come to DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7 and take part in a live chat along with the show.

It should be a very interesting half hour.

Winter of our discontent, sports fans

Can things get any worse for Philly sports fans?

Let’s recap what is quickly turning into the winter of our discontent.

There’s no Flyers. The NHL and its players continue to be in a standoff after the owners locked out the players.

The Eagles are a disasaster, sitting at 3-8 and losers of 7 straight games. Yesterday the bloodletting at the NovaCare Center continued. After canning a couple of front office types, Andy Reid pared one of the stars from his roster by releasing former All-Pro defensive end Jason Babin. No big loss there. Babin was a figment of the Wide 9 alignment brought in by line coach Jim Washburn. When he isn’t getting sacks, Babin does do a lot for the team. Yesterday the Eagles decided to sack Babin.

The team also announced wide receiver DeSean Jackson is out for the rest of the season with cracked ribs. Good thing Jackson decided to actually play this year, as opposed to last year when he admits he wasn’t really into because he didn’t like his contract. Hard to believe he’ll be missed in this sorry season.

The Sixers won again last night, but they continue to do so without much-heralded center Andrew Bynum. He now is out indefinitely with knee problems.

It makes a fan long for pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater.

Only one problem with that. While Carlos Ruiz will be in Clearwater for spring training, he won’t be in the lineup for opening day. Or the 24 games following that one. Ruiz yesterday got slapped with a 25-game suspension for his second violation for amphetamine use. Swell.

Long winter? you bet. And a lousy spring to follow.

Check out Dennis Deitch's take on the Eagles move to sack Babin yesterday. It's right on the money.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Daily Numbers for Nov. 27

The Daily Numbers: 8 losses for Eagles, meaning best they could do is 88-8, and only if they run off 5 straight wins. Remember what you said, Mr. Lurie.

7 straight losses for the Eagles, who now sit at a miserable 3-8.

178 yards rushing for Bryce Brown, setting an Eagles rookie record.

2 key fumbles also for Brown, which sealed the Eagles fate.

16 of 21 for 199 yards for Nick Foles. He’s probably not the answer either.

18 of 28 for 306 yards for Panthers QB Cam Newton.

69,144, paid attendance announced for the Linc. No chance there was that many people in the seats.

5-4 vote by the Chester Upland School Board to reject recovery plan for the district, meaning it likely will be placed in a state receivership.

9 to 23 months in jail along with 7 years of probation for a Ridley man and former college security guard who pleaded guilty to child porn charges.

10 days, how long Debra Miller has been missing in Tinicum.

23, age of Sean O’Neill Jr. who is in trouble with the law again after failing a drug test, in violation of his parole. He’s now being considered a fugitive.

14 thefts at local hospitals now being pinned on a woman from New Jersey.

425 million dollar Powerball up for grabs on Wednesday.

50 Concord homeowners irked by a plan for the old Pulsations nightclub site in the township.

1.5 billion in sales expected yesterday on Cyber Monday.

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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Seven straight losses for the Eagles. They sit at 3-8, meaning the best they can do now is 8-8, and that only if they can run off 5 straight wins. I think this your cue, Mr. Lurie.

 

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I Don’t Get It: As expected local TV news stations were in a froth this morning because it was raining. I’m serious.

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids at the Lansdowne Library who made a video only to run afoul of the folks at Sony Music and the Michael Jackson estate.

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Quote Box: “The plan I resent, but I welcome the opportunity to work to save our children. If I don’t support the plan, I’m not in the game, I have no voice.”

- Chester Upland School Board member Charlie Warren, on why he voted in favor of recovery plan, which was rejected by board on 5-4 vote.

'Live From the Newsroom' will tackle latest Chester Upland crisis

You’ve probably heard about this ‘fiscal cliff’ thing. Last night the Chester Upland School Board peered into an abyss of their own - and then decided to jump in.

The board rejected the recovery plan crafted by Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins. The result is that the district likely will be placed in a state receivership.

You can read all the details - including why several board members decided to vote against the plan, in John Kopp’s story here.

Then tomorrow night make sure you tune in for a very special ‘Live From the Newsroom.’

We’ll have Watkins here in our offices to talk about the plan and where Chester Upland goes from here. We also hope to be joined a some members of the school board to talk about their decision.

Do you have a question for Watkins? Or for school board members who obviously were torn by this very tough decision? A yes vote would have cost a lot of workers their jobs, and led to the closure of three schools. Email me your questions at editor@delcotimes.com and I will put them to our panel. Then come to DelcoTimes.com Wednesday night at 7 and take part in a live chat along with the show.

President Barack Obama announced this morning he will visit Hatfield in Montgomery County on Friday to talk about the ‘fiscal cliff.’ He should make a detour to Chester, where he could see another kind of cliff.

The long-troubled school district is facing another crisis. They stand at the edge of the abyss. And their school board just decided to jump off.

The weather outside is not exactly frightful

Someone save me from the weather (people).

When I got up this morning, I was not exactly surprised that the ‘wintry mix’ that I had heard about all day yesterday had yet to arrive. I was kind of banking on it.

I drove into the office with nary a flake in sight, and just a few drops of rain.

A quick check outside showed it started raining a little while after I arrived in beautiful downtown Primos, but still not a single snowflake in sight.

Of course when I got into the office I turned on the TV. That was a mistake.

Look, I get it. TV loves weather. But this morning there wasn’t any weather. And I had any number of folks telling me just that, “it’s not doing anything right now but people are getting ready.”

Later I was informed the roads are wet.

Eventually, in some northen and western locales, the snow apparently arrived. I almost felt good for the reporters out there in the elements that there actually were some elements - aside from rain - to report on.

Now we are going to be told all morning that the roads are wet and maybe slick.

It’s going to be a long winter.

All you need to know about the Eagles

Two things struck me concerning our beloved Philadelphia Eagles yesterday. Neither of them happened on the field, where the Eagles lost their seventh straight game in falling to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers before a national TV audience on Monday Night Football.

The first happened yesterday afternoon, when what clearly is some kind of purge in the Eagles’ front office claimed its latest victim. Tim McDermott, the team’s senior vice president of marketing, was canned. OK, the Eagles are having a miserable season. Changes are going to be made. Some people are going to lose their jobs.

But the McDermott firing tells you a lot about the way Jeff Lurie and this team go about their business these days.

You see, Tim McDermott is the brother of Sean McDermott, the former Eagles defensive coordinator who had the misfortune of trying to succeed the legendary Jim Johnson and was shown the door after just one season.

Sean McDermott now happens to be the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. Yes, the same Carolina Panthers who were in town last night.

The Eagles had to announce the firing of Tim McDermott on the afternoon his brother was in town for a Monday Night Football clash? What was the rush? Why couldn’t that announcement have come today, or tomorrow. The Eagles may have very valid reasons for making the move yesterday and insuring Tim McDermott was not in the stadium when his brother and the Panthers arrived. But if that's the case they're not talking about. The release they put out confirming the team had parted ways with another McDermott ended with a terse 'the team will have no further comment on this matter.'

A real class act, these Eagles are.

The second thing happened a few hours later. Or perhaps I should state that as something that did not happen.

A whole lot of Eagles fans decided to let their empty seats send a statement to the team. At the start of the game, it looked like maybe a third of the seats in the Linc were empty.

The loss dropped the Eagles to 3-8.

Before the season Lurie made clear another 8-8 season would not be acceptable. Right now that is the best the Birds can do, and to even reach that level of mediocrity they would have to run off five straight wins.

Anyone think this team is capable of doing that?

More likely they will continue to shed people in the front office.

Last night the team honored longtime ticket guru Leo Carlin for his six decades of work with the team, adding Carlin and Troy Vincent to the team’s Hall of Fame.

Carlin and Vincent reek of class, something that’s becoming a very rare commodity around the NovaCare center.

Carlin and the team may soon have something even rarer on their hands.

Lots of tickets to games no one wants to watch.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 26

The Daily Numbers: 17 of November, the last time Debra Miller of Tinicum was seen in public. She’s been missing ever since.

75 people who fanned out across the Tinicum wildlife preserve to search for Miller yesterday. They did not find anything.

100 pieces that make up the elaborate holiday display erected by Jack Starr in Springfield.

12 bucks, what some tickets for tonight’s Monday Night Football contest between the Eagles and Panthers are going for on StubHub.

31,000 dollar gap in the Middletown budget. The town is still hoping to contain expenses.

6 percent tax hike coming in Rose Valley.

3 Swarthmore college students who got attacked when a riot broke out among soccer maniacs in Italy.

1 as in Day 1 of the deer season in Pa today.

43.6 million Americans who traveled on the Thanksgiving holiday.

1.5 billion, how much shoppers are expected to drop online today on Cyber Monday.

20 percent increase from last year on the busy online shopping Monday after Thanksgiving.

425 million dollar Powerball up for grabs on Wednesday.

107, 300 dollars, how much you’d drop if for some reason you decided to buy all 12 items in the “12 Days of Christmas.’

6.1 percent increase over last year.

7,000 bucks for 7 swans-a-swimming, most expensive item on the list.

15 bucks for a partridge, cheapest item.

77-74 win for La Salle over Villanova, snapping a 10-game losing streak for the Explorers vs. the Wildcats.

33 points for Jrue Holiday as the 76ers took a 104-101 win over Phoenix.

4 year, 41 million dollar deal for Holiday recently. Looks like money well spent.

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

On the other hand, there is the Andrew Bynum debacle. The Sixers should be thanking their lucky stars the Eagles are still being talked about. This has all the makings of the second coming of Jeff Ruland, except Ruland actually managed to get on the court.

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I Don’t Get It: Winter is here. I have broken out the long underwear. And I’m still cold. I likely will be now until Memorial Day. Swell.

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to those folks who spent much of Friday and Saturday putting up all those ornate holiday displays at their houses. We’ll be featuring one of them every day on P. 2 again this year.

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Quote Box: “We didn’t find anything, which is a good thing.”

- Tinicum Police Chief Steve Edmiston, on the hunt Sunday for Debra Miller, who has been missing for a week.

Join us as we celebrate 'Homes for the Holidays'

The very first year I became editor of the Daily Times, the man who filled the seat I left behind out on the news desk came up with a great idea to tie into the holidays.

Bob Tennant, a name familiar to legions of Delco sports fans, had an idea for our P.2 feature photo spot. When I oversaw a major redesign of the newspaper a couple of years before, as part of a newly revamped P. 2 I created a spot where we could feature one of our staff photographers’ best shots each day. We called it ‘Focus on Delco.’

As we rolled into another holiday season, Bob came up with the idea of using that P. 2 position to provide a sliver of positive news among the often depresssing headlines we present every day.

Thus was born ‘Homes for the Holidays.’ It’s been one of our holiday staples every year since, in addition to our annual holiday fund, The Daily Times/Salvation Army Merry Christmas Fund.

Each day on P. 2 through this holiday season, we will feature a Delaware County house festooned in the spirit of the season.

There are only a couple of ground rules. One, we make no promises that any specific house will be featured. I know from experience that people have strong feelings when it comes to Christmas decorations, including the spots they believe we absolutely must feature on P. 2. Very often they just happen to be that person’s house. What a coincidence!

We will try to visit all areas of the county and make sure we don’t neglect any one town. The truth is we very likely will not be able to show a house from each town. There are 49 municipalities in Delaware County. ‘Homes for the Holidays’ will run through Sunday, Jan. 6.

But if your house is not featured on P. 2, that does not mean we don’t have a special place for you to show off your holiday extravaganza. Once again this year we are inviting readers to send us their best shots of homes they think capture the true spirit of the holidays. To some people that means thousands of lights.

Then there is always the annual debate between white lights and colored lights. That one no doubt will continue to be talked about.

We are asking our readers to join us again this year in capturing a little holiday spirit. Email us your photos to either editor@delcotimes.com, or vcarey@celcotimes.com and we will display them on DelcoTimes.com. That’s one of the things I love most about the online world I now toil in. There’s no end to it - at least none that I’ve been able to find. We’re limited only by how fast we can shovel the information out there.

We’ll display your holiday homes on DelcoTimes.com

It’s not a contest. There is no prize, other than sharing a little holiday cheer in a world that too often desperately needs it.

Jeff Wolfe visited a few folks who were busy constructing their holiday displays. Here’s what he found out about this beloved holiday tradition.

Our first house is featured on P. 2 today. I also have posted it with today’s blog.

Maybe your house will be in the paper or DelcoTimes.com tomorrow.

Why not join us? Joy to the World, or at least our little slice of it here in Delaware County.

My special link to BVM in Darby

I have a special link with Blessed Virgin Mary parish and school in Darby.

That’s why I was more than happy to accept an invitation from our old friend and pastor the Rev. Joe Corley to speak to a very special group of kids there.

It’s all in my print column today.

Welcome back to Philly, Mr. Gruden

You would think Andy Reid would be the guy in the hot seat as his bedraggled Eagles get ready to take on the equally miserable Carolina Panthers tonight on national TV as Monday Night Football comes to town.

I have another name for you to consider.

Jon Gruden.

The one-time Eagles assistant and Super Bowl-winning coach will be in the house tonight in his role as color man on the TV broadcast with play-by-play man Mike Tirico on ESPN.

How long until the chants of ‘We Want Gruden’ starting resounding across the Linc, especially if the Eagles once again play the way they have for most of this season, like guys who got introduced to each other yesterday?

It seems pretty much a foregone conclusion that Andy Reid is in the process of coaching the final six games of his 14-year stint as boss of the Birds. Gruden’s name has been mentioned by more than one expert, even though he recently got a new deal from the sports network. I don’t think it would take much to lure him out of the booth. But here’s the thing. Yes, Gruden has won a Super Bowl. But that Tampa Bay Bucs team was largely put together by Tony Dungy, who just could not get his team over that final hurdle. Oddly enough, much like Andy Reid. Remember when the Eagles used to make the playoffs every year.

Gruden’s teams in Tampa and Oakland had some down years to go along with that Super Bowl.

I think more importantly for the Eagles is who is going to be making the decisions concerning both the next coach, as well as the high pick the team will collect courtesy of this woeful season.

Do you want Howie Roseman making those decisions?

Can you say Danny Watkins?

Welcome home, Mr. Gruden. Should be an interesting night, likely more so for what is happening off the field than anything that occurs inside the white lines.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Remember the days when the Eagles playing on Monday night was something to look forward to? Now all Eagles fans have to look forward to is the end of this miserable season, and very likely a rebuilding process under a new coach. Maybe the only interesting thing about this less than ready for prime time affair against the equally lowly Carolina Panthers will be just how cranky Eagles fans will be, and how loudly they will make their feelings known.

Oddly enough, with the Monday night broadcast brings one of the men many fans would like to see leading this team next year. One-time Eagles assistant and Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden is the color analyst for the game. How long before the 'Andy Must Go' chants morph into 'We Want Gruden."

As far as the game goes, it appears likely that the Eagles will be without their two best weapons on offense, starting quarterback Michael Vick and star running back LeSean McCoy, both of whom continue to battle concussion symptoms.

Eagles fans know how they feel. They feel like they've been in the fog of a concussion for years now as we watch the slow demise of the Andy Reid Era.

Last week Foles, playing behind a patchwork (at best) offensive line, did not show anything to make me believe he's the answer. He failed to produce a single touchdown.  In these next six weeks, that is about the only thing this team has to play for, they need to make a determination on Foles and if he is their QB of the future. If not the hole just got a lot bigger.

I think Foles will make just enough plays for the Birds to prevail over the Panthers, but I don't think many fans will be awake for the end of it.

 

 

The Pick: Make it Eagles 23, Panthers 13. Foles is good, not great. The fans are in rare form as they vent their wrath on Reid, Lurie and everyone else associated with this overhyped, overpaid, under-achieving bunch. Can anyone explain to me how this team beat the Ravens and Giants. Does anyone else realize just how close this team is to being 0-10?

Last Week: For some reason I thought the Eagles would get a spark from Foles and handle RGIII and the Redskins. Instead the Eagles were never in it, getting blown out in the nation's capital, and losing McCoy in the process when Reid decided to run the ball (oh, sure NOW he runs the ball) with a minute left in a lopsided loss.

Season Record: The Eagles are wallowing in the morass of a 3-7 disaster. Though not technically eliminated, no team has ever made the playoffs after starting 3-7. Maybe the NFC East will implode and the Birds will rattle off six straight wins. I'm not going to hold my breath. Last week's miscue drops my season mark to 6-4.

Game by Game: Eagles 17, Browns 16 (My Pick: Eagles 27, Browns 13)

Eagles 24, Ravens 23 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Ravens 23 - On the Money!)

Cardinals 27, Eagles 6 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 13)

Eagles 19, Giants 17 (My Pick: Eagles 19, Giants 17 - On the Money!)

Steelers 16, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Steelers 24, Eagles 16.)

Lions 26, Eagles 23 (My pick: Eagles 19, Lions 17)

Falcons 30, Eagles 17 (My pick: Eagles 29, Falcons 17)

Saints 28, Eagles 13 (My pick: Saints 37, Eagles 19)

Cowboys 38, Eagles 23 (My pick: Cowboys 23, Eagles 17)

Redskins 31 Eagles 6 (My pick: Eagles 29, Redskins 24)

 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 21

The Daily Numbers: 2.2 percent cost of living salary increase for our state legislators.

83,802 annual salary, up from 82,026.

187,256 salary for Gov. Tom Corbett.

205,415 for Pa. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille.

15 participants who picked up awards at Delaware County Open Door to Education Program at DCCC.

38, age of Debra Miller, who has been reported missing in Tinicum since the weekend.

2 suspects from Montco who surrendered on charges they were using a house in Upper Darby as a pot-growing operation.

76, age of John Felder of Miami, Fla., who faces additional charges in connection with a bizarre kidnap plot on the Main Line.

6 DUI convictions for man in Folcroft who now faces another DUI rap in connection with a hit-run.

37.50, how much more taxpayers in Swarthmore will be paying under the proposed borough budget.

1.6 million Pennsylvanians expected to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving.

24 billion dollars in profits being pledged by a British firm that is looking to take over operations of the Pa. lottery.

60 million dollar film credit that that industry is pushing to have expanded in Harrisburg.

138 points scored by Grinnell’s Jack Taylor as they beat Faith Baptist Bible, 179-104, setting an NCAA scoring mark.

108 shots taken by Taylor.

52 of 108, what Taylor shot overall, including 27 of 71 on 3-pointers.

70 points, what David Larson scored in the losing effort by Faith Baptist.

23 points off the bench for Nick Young as the Sixers beat the Raptors, 106-98.

*

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

Reasons for thanks. I wonder what Andy Reid is thinking at this time of year. He’s had a very tough year.

*

I Don’t Get It: I am told tonight is the biggest night of the year for nightspots and watering holes. Yeah, I think I remember that. I’m old.

*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to kids from Cardinal O’Hara who collected items for the victims of Hurricane Sandy yesterday. There’s a reason for thanks.

*

Quote Box: “I will take my pay raise and I appreciate the opportunity to take that pay raise. When I get an increase in pay, the more I do for my community.”

- State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, Dk-159, of Chester, on COLA hike for lawmakers.

About those pols' COLA increases

A few months back, we featured a story as the lead in the Sunday newspaper pointing out the likelihood that our state legislators were in line for pay raises, as well as increases in their benefits packages.

A couple members of the Delco delegation in Harrisburg decided to pay me a visit to talk about the story. They were not happy. They called it the worst kind of “sensationalism.”

What had upset them is their belief that the story gave the impression that legislators had actually voted on these increases. That wasn’t the case, it was merely part of the budget process. They also complained that we ignored some other important aspects of the budget, such as spending cuts for the Legislature, holding the line on taxes, and expansion of the Educational Improvement Trax Credit program.

They wrote an op-ed piece that we ran blistering the newspaper and the story.

I’m not sure what they will call the story in today’s paper.

Lawmakers are getting a 2.2 percent pay hike. You can read all about it here.

No, they didn’t vote for this either. It’s the automatic cost of living increase.

As our story points out, not all our local lawmerks are going to take the increase.

The rank-and-file lawmaker will their salaries rise from $82,026 to $83,802.

I kind of like what state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, of Upper Darby is planning to do with his raise. You might remember that last year the Upper Darby School District was in an uproar over a proposal to cut music and their arts from many school curriculums. Micozzie and state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, rode to the rescue by securing $2.7 million in state funds.

Now Micozzie says he will donate his COLA raise to the Shoener Fund, named for beloved Upper Darby music teacher Brad Schoener. It’s one of the organizations raising money to help keep the programs afloat under the umbrella of the Upper Darby Arts and Education Funding.

Two Democrats, Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, and Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, both said they planned to keep the COLA hike. Leach pointed out he didn’t consider it a pay raise.

Could have fooled me.

Sounds like he consulted with his compatriots on the other side of the aisle. No, they didn't vote themselves a raise. But their salary is going up. They are members of one of the nation's largest and most expensive governing bodies.

Cost of living? It's going up, as is our legislators' salaries.

A very tough year for Andy Reid

At the time of year when we take stock of our lives and offer thanks for what we have, I can’t help but feel badly for Andy Reid.

That’s right, I’m saying something nice about the guy we’ve been griping about now for years.

It’s been a fairly horrendous year for the Eagles boss. His team tanked on him last year, and he was left hanging in the wind for a couple of weeks before Eagles owner Jeff Lurie came out of his shell to spend 15 minutes berating the job Reid did, before reversing course and indicating he would give Reid one more year to make amends.

But this summer Lurie added the corollary that another 8-8 year “would be unacceptable.” So Reid now sits at 3-7. Eagles nation is in revolt, demanding his head, either by his own choice or Lurie’s.

And yet as Reid marks this Thanksgiving, I don’t think that’s what’s on his mind.

We demand much of these men. Yes, they are paid handsomely for what they do, but it is easy to forget they are human, and face some of the same problems the rest of us do.

Reid has an added burden this year, one most of us should be supremely thankful we’ll never face.

There will be an empty place at the Reid family Thanksgiving table.

So quickly we forget what Reid lost that August day during training camp at Lehigh.

Maybe it’s because the coach so quickly returned to his job after burying his oldest son, we gloss over the tragedy that rocked his family.

I’d love to see the Eagles turn things around, run off seven straight wins and make the playoffs. I dont' think it's going to happen. We are all in untested territory here as Eagles fans, dealing with the reality of meaningless football games at Thanksgiving.

Reid is dealing with whole different reality. It's likely he is going to lose his job at the end of the season, if not before.

It's nothing compared to what he has already lost.

We forget that too easily.

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 20

The Daily Numbers: 32, age of former assistant district attorney Michael Donohue, convicted yesterday of fleeing scene of accident after striking 14-year-old skateboarder in Upper Darby.

4.5 house, how long it took the jury to come back with the guilty verdict on the misdemeanor counts. A judge on Friday acquitted Donohue of more serious charges.

1 week postponement for the Chester Upland School Board to consider the recovery plan put forth by Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins.

42 new laptop computers for a technology lab at Chester High, courtesy of a program with the General Services Administration.

1 Upper Darby couple facing drug habits after a drug raid; the police also deemed their home inhabitable

0.65 mill increase in taxes being eyed in Parkside.

10 increase in the trash fee as well. Residents will now pay $180 a year, up from $170.

18 months, how long the bickering parties have been trying to come to some kind of accord on the Third Street Bridge project in Media. They’ll give it another try.

30,000 gallon propane storage tank that will not be coming to Nether Providence. Wilson Oil and Propane is dropping the plan.

83, age of a one-time Mob hit man who took the stand at trial of several suspected Mafia leaders in Philly.

207 point gain for the Dow yesterday.

18,000 jobs at stake, let alone Twinkies, as Hostess heads to mediation with unions.

14 years, how long Andy Reid has been head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s not leaving yet.

2-8 record for the Carolina Panthers, who come to town to face the Eagles on Monday night.

0 touchdowns.

*

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

Paging Jeff Lurie, Paging Jeff Lurie. Has anyone seen the Eagles owner? He needs to step up and offer a statement on the team’s play and his coaching staff. The fans deserve at least that.

*

I Don’t Get It: The Chester Upland School Board decided to postpone a decision on the recovery plan offered by Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins. I’m not sure why. If they have another plan, I’d like to hear it.

*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the veterans groups who have been successful in saving the tradition of the USS America.

*

Quote Box: “I think that would be a cop-out.”

- Andy Reid on why he has no plans to step down as Eagles coach.

Donohue case brings up old argument about DUI cases

Former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney Michael Donohue has been convicted by a jury of misdemeanor charges in connection with a hit-run crash in which he fled the scene after striking a boy on a skateboard last November.

You can read all those details here.

A lot of people are not happy with that conviction. That’s because the jury never got to consider more serious charges of aggravated assault and DUI connected to the crash. A visiting judge on Friday acquitted Donohue on those charges.

Even though several people testified that Donohue and some friends were at a local bar, no one testified that he appeared impaired.

It brings up a debate that has been going on for some time in Pennsylvania. Basically, a lot of people believe that if you think you might be under the influence, you’re better off leaving the scene and turning yourself in later.

In this instance, no one really knows if Donohue was impaired. The prosecution couldn’t prove it and the judge tossed the charges.

It’s not the first time this quirk in Pennsylvania law has come up. It probably won't be the last.

Here’s our editorial on the issue.

 

The Andy Reid watch is on

The whispers swirling around Andy Reid are getting louder.

Apparently, he's the only one who does not hear them.

After his team looked like it could care less in losing their sixth straight game Sunday in Washington, Reid dutifully trudged to the microphones at the NovaCare Center on Monday for his normal press conference and acted as if his empire was not crumbling.

In this case, the emperor has no clothes.

Reid vowed he would stick it out and continue to work to turn this thing around. He rejected the idea that he should step down as a “cop-out.” “That’s not the way I’m wired,” the coach said.

With the coach steadfast, it will fall on Eagles owner Jeff Lurie to make the call. Lurie is not talking.

A lot of other people are. Columnist Jack McCaffery joins the growing legion of voices calling on Reid to step down. CLICK HERE to find out why Jack believes it’s time for Reid to go, and why this should be Reid’s call.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 19

The Daily Numbers: 2 men facing charged for using an Upper Darby house as a pot-growing operation.

8 p.m. Thanksgiving, when Walmart, Toys R Us and Sears are planning to open for their Black Friday sales.

9 p.m., when Target will open their doors.

10, age of boy struck by car while riding his bike on Sproul Road in Marple Sunday.

2 people killed on Route 41 in Chester County when an SUV pulled out from a restaurant and was struck by a tractor-trailer.

6,000 dollars and lots of food collected for local food pantries by United Steelworkers refinery workers.

3.63 a gallon, what we’re paying at the pump in Philly region.

3.42, the national average price for gallon of gas. That’s down 33 cents from a month ago.

3.45, what we were paying last year in Philly area.

6 straight losses for the Eagles and Andy Reid, first time in his 14 years that’s happened.

3-7 mark for the Birds. Anyone realize how close this team is to being 0-10?

31-6 loss to the Redskins.

2 Alex Henery field goals all the offense Nick Foles could manage.

0 touchdowns.

14 of 15 and 4 TDs for Redskins QB Robert Griffin III.

15 carries for 45 yards for LeSean McCoy, but it’s his last with 1:30 left in lost game that is causing all the talk. McCoy suffered concussion.

86-79 win for the 76ers over the Cavs last night.

*

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

Does Jeff Lurie really want Andy Reid to coach the Eagles at the Linc next Monday night. That could get very ugly.

*

I Don’t Get It: Andrew Bynum doesn’t have a problem bowling while he’s rehabbing from knee surgery. I don’t get it.

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to United Steelworkers for raising money and food for local food banks.

*

Quote Box: “We were trying to catch up and win the game, that’s why.”

- Andy Reid after the game on why LeSean McCoy was still carrying with a minute, 30 seconds left.

 

Rock bottom for Eagles fans

I believe this is what they call rock bottom, Eagles fans.

Andy Reid’s boys lost their sixth straight yesterday, and couldn’t possibly have looked any worse in the process.

But just when you think that, it gets a whole lot worse.

With the Eagles down 31-6 and a minute, thirty seconds left in the game, for some reason LeSean McCoy is still in the game and then - THEN when we’ve been crying for Andy Reid to run the ball with McCoy all season - that’s when the coach decides to run it.

Eagles radio color man Mike Quick actually commented on the play that he’s not sure how much longer he’d have McCoy out there in this lost cause. McCoy gets crushed in a helmet-to-helmet tackle, and is out cold on the D.C. turf. He suffered a concussion on the play.

After the game, Reid is asked why McCoy was still on the field. He tries to brush it off with his usual arrogance, ‘we’re trying to come back and win the game.’ This is with a minute and change left in the game. When pressed on the issue, Reid repeats his assertion. And asked if he now regretted the decision, he offers a terse, ‘no.’

There’s a part of me who is on Reid’s side on this one. Players get paid millions of dollars to play. But the standard coaching philosophy is to get your key guys off the field when you’re getting blown out.

I don’t know what Reid was thinking when he blew off the reporter’s question if he now regretted it. It sounds like he doesn’t care.

Which would give him something in common with a lot of Eagles fans this morning. We don’t really care anymore.

Not about this team. Not these players. Not these coaches. Not this ownership.

There undoubtedly will be calls for Reid to step down today.

I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Jeff Lurie has not been seen - or heard from - since offering his famous “8-8 will not be good enough this year” edict.

The Eagles are now 3-7. Here’s a scary thought. The Birds won those three games by about five points, and two of them with dramatic last-minute rallies.

Do you know how close this team is to 0-10?

Yes, it’s that bad.

Next week the Eagles will host the Carolina Panthers at the Linc on Monday Night Football.

How ugly do you think that’s going to be if Reid is still the coach?

 

Too old, too male, too white

Too old, too white and too male.

The GOP? Yeah, sure.

But something else as well.

Check out my print column today to find out what it is.

'It is what it is'

“It is what it is.”

Thank you, Andrew Bynum.

Not for anything you’ve done for suffering Philly fans. After all, you haven’t been able to get on the floor yet this year. No, we’re not even talking about games, we’re talking about, as Allen Iverson so eloquently said a few years ago, “practice.”

Bynum Sunday confirmed reports that he has now suffered an injury to his other knee, not the one that has kept him from even a single practice with the team.

And just to make matters worse, Bynum also admitted that in fact he suffered the latest injury while bowling.

There is a published report today that suggests the unfathomable, that Bynum may need surgery and could miss the entire season.

You can read Dennis Deitch's take on this latest sad Philly sports saga here.

Yeah, it is what it is.

Especially if you’re a Philly sports fans these days.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Say hello to the Nick Foles Era. The tall, gangly rookie from Arizona who looked so good in the preseason will get his first start as a pro Sunday in the nation’s capital. The Eagles are hoping he’s the rookie quarterback everyone is talking about after this game. But to do that they will have to contain the Redskins’ explosive rookie signal caller Robert Griffin III, better known as RGIII.

Foles looked rusty after entering last week’s game against the Cowboys. That’s to be expected. But after a full week of practice with the first team, he should be ready to fire on all cylinders.

For some reason, even while he made several horrendous throws against the Cowboys, the offense still seemed more cohesive under Foles than it has with Vick all season. Hopefully the coaches will help him out with a big dose of LeSean McCoy. But make no mistake, this game likely will be won or lost by the two rookie QBs. I’ll go out on a limb and say Foles outduels the superstar-in-the-making RGIII.

If Foles plays well, it’s likely Vick may have taken his last snap for the Eagles. If Foles struggles and the Eagles fall to 3-7, you can start counting the days until pitchers and catchers report.

I say Foles makes it a day to remember.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 29, Redskins 24. Foles and McCoy team to keep RGIII off the field, with a ball-control offense featuring a lot of short drops and quick throws, with a big dose of Shady toting the load. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg will figure that is what everyone is thinking, and since they’re so much smarter than the rest of us, they’ll have Foles throw the ball 50 times.

Last Week: I just didn’t see Vick and the Eagles beating the Cowboys. This Eagles team has been hugely overrated. The truth is they’re just not that good. We’ll find out in the next few weeks just how much they want to stick around. Vick will not be there to dump all their problems on (It’s the turnovers.) No one is going to blame the rookie Foles. Now it’s up to every man to stand up and be counted. Listening Trent Cole and Jason Babin?

Season Record: One more loss likely will seal the Eagles’ fate. No team has ever made the playoffs after starting 3-7. Of course the way the NFC East is going, 8-8 just might win this division. In a season of new lows, last week the Birds did something no Andy Reid team has ever accomplished – losing their fifth straight game. In the meantime, the loss goes into the win column for me. I’m now standing at a fairly gaudy 6-3.

Game by Game: Eagles 17, Browns 16 (My Pick: Eagles 27, Browns 13)

Eagles 24, Ravens 23 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Ravens 23 - On the Money!)

Cardinals 27, Eagles 6 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 13)

Eagles 19, Giants 17 (My Pick: Eagles 19, Giants 17 - On the Money!)

Steelers 16, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Steelers 24, Eagles 16.)

Lions 26, Eagles 23 (My pick: Eagles 19, Lions 17)

Falcons 30, Eagles 17 (My pick: Eagles 29, Falcons 17)

Saints 28, Eagles 13 (My pick: Saints 37, Eagles 19)

Cowboys 38, Eagles 23 (My pick: Cowboys 23, Eagles 17)

 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cell phones & Internet: A dangerous combination

Among the many things I am always telling myself, there is this: I am glad I grew up in a time without the Internet, and, of course, cell phones.

I am guessing there are a few kids - and adults - out in Radnor today who might feel the same way.

I did plenty of dumb things when I was young. That's what kids do. Most of mine, fortunately, are now only cloudy memories.

In the age of cell phones and the Internet, however, those things never go away. They take on a life of their own. And they remain in cyberspace forever.

Police in Radnor yesterday confirmed they were investigating the theft of a cell phone that may contain some very sensitive photos and/or video of a high school student. They also believe some of that sensitive information may have been shared or posted online.

The police aren't sure yet what is on the phone, which they now have in their possession. They need a court order to examine its contents.

But judging by the reaction of students and some parents, I unfortunately think I know what they are going to find when they open up that phone.

If the students are to be believed, they are going to see some very intimate moments.

There is part of me that wonders about this mania we all have today of recording things that at one time we would not even talk about.

I guess times change.

Kids don't. They still do dumb things. My guess is this whole scenario, the theft of a phone and potential posting of images found on it online, amounts to what the kids thought was a prank.

It's not funny anymore.

If there is one thing I stress with young people every time I speak to a class, either in high school or college, it is to be very careful with what they post online. It never goes away.

My hope today is that police open up that phone and find nothing, that this entire thing was a hoax. My fear is that is not what is going to happen.

We live in a different world, drenched in technology, with a craving to be plugged in 24 hours a day.

Much of what goes out on Twitter and Facebook is today's version of gossipping over the back yard fence. Only this back yard is the Internet. And it covers a lot more ground than just the back yard. It's bigger than your group of freinds, your school or your town.

The Internet is everywhere. It covers the globe. Post something there and you're not sharing it with your friends, you're sharing it with the universe.

I'm glad I grew up when I did.

Ding Dong! Another American icon bites the dust

I know that in this region we hold a very special place in our heart for Tastykakes. There's really nothing quite like a Butterscotch Krimpet.

Unless it's a Twinkie. Or Ding Dong.

Not anymore.

Hostess, the maker of those delectable delights in addition to that other American standard, Wonder Bread. has announced it is going out of business.

They've been locked in a strike with union workers. They gave the union a 5 p.m. Thursday deadline to accept more cuts. When that passed the company announced this morning they are pulling the plug. They will shut down operations, liquidate their inventory and cease operations.

American without Ding Dongs? It's another sign of the apocalypse.

It's now or never for Eagles

Here's something to think about as we await the start of the Nick Foles era on Sunday

Anyone care to guess exactly how many NFL teams have made the playoffs after starting they season 3-7?

Uh, that would be zero. Nada. Zilch.

Both the Eagles and Redskins are a miserable 3-6. One of them is likely going to be eliminated on Sunday. Nd even then it's a long shot. A couple of teams have reached the playoffs after such an inauspicious start, but I wouldn't put the house on it.

In other words, Eagles fans better hope Nick Foles is the real deal.

Or the season could be over before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 15

The Daily Numbers: 76, age of suspected arrested in a bizarre kidnap plot that targeted wealthy Main Liners.

1 victim that was Tasered during a home invasion in Villanova.

37 years, how long they have been celebrating the Great American Smokeout, which is today.

3.2 million dollars spent on the Knowles Avenue Pedestrian Tunnel in Glenolden.

15, age of teen skateboard who was struck by former assistant district attorney Michael Donohue. The incident wound up with hit-run and DUI charges being filed against Donohue.

16 age of Lansdowne skateboarder who died of injuries after he was struck by a car last month.

35 percent, current top tax rate. It would rise to the previous 39.6 percent if Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire.

6 year old Etan Patz. Pedro Hernandez, 51, yesterday was charged in his murder back in 1979.

0 wins, how many victories the Detroit Piston had coming into last night’s game against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center.

1, how many they left with after blowing out the 76ers, 94-76.

25 of 84, what the Sixers shot from the field. That’s 30 percent.

14 points for Lavoy Allen; 12 for Jrue Holiday.

11,879, attendance at Wells Fargo Center.

7 bucks, what Sixers tickets were going for on StubHub before the game.

*

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

Nick Foles better be good on Sunday. Otherwise we are looking at a very long stretch here on the winter sports scene.

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I Don’t Get It: Does every criminal now carry a Taser just for the heck of it?

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to Collingdale Fire Company for coming to the aid of some of their colleagues in New York who got rocked by Superstorm Sandy.

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Quote Box: “Things like this are disturbing regardless of where they occur, but in a town like Radnor Township, this is something that is not really unheard of but is something that will not be tolerated.”

- Police Chief William Colarulo, on bizarre kidnap attempt on Main Line.

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles the Delco vote

What did we learn from the 2012 election? Well, here in Delaware County, the times they are a-changin’.

Boosted by another spike in voter registration that has sliced the once all-powerful Delco GOP’s 3-1 edge to a much slimmer 1,300 votes, local Democrats continue to flex their muscles.

The county voted Democratic for the sixth straight time in the presidential race. Longtime state Rep. Nick Micozzie barely survived in the quicksand of the changing demographics of Upper Darby and eastern Delaware County, beating Democrat Sheamus Bonner by just 354 votes.

Yet incumbent U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, cruised to a convincing win over George Badey.

Last night we got Delco GOP chairman Andy Reilly and Dem boss David Landau to sit down with us on our live-stream Internet show, ‘Live From the Newsroom.’

Both Reilly and Landau offered their post-mortems on the election and what they make of those important demographics that are changing the landscape of Delco politics.

We also were joined by columnists Chris Friend and Gil Spencer.

Among the things we debated was the next big race on the political landscape, the 2014 gubernatorial race in Pennsylvania. Friend believes Gov. Tom Corbett could face some serious problems, including the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky investigation and the promised probe by newly elected Attorney General Democrat Kathleen Kane.

No less an authority than pollster Terry Madonna believes Corbett could face a challenge from within the GOP in a primary. And guess who makes his list of possible challengers? That would be none other than former Chester mayor and now Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9.

If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

On to the 2014 vote!

Delco stars in 'Silver Linings Playbook'

Get ready for your close-up, Delco.

This weekend marks the arrival of the new Bradley Cooper flick, ‘The Silver Linings Playbook.’

And while not listed in the credits, Delaware County plays a starring role. Movie buffs will see any number of familiar Delco sites in the flick, including the iconic Llanerch Diner in Upper Darby, near the intersection of West Chester Pike and Township Line Road.

Two Delco neighborhoods also play a big role in the flick. Cooper’s family, including father Robert DeNiro, camped at a home on South Madison Avenue in Upper Darby. His love interest in the film, Jennifer Lawrence, resides in a house on South Swarthmore Avenue in Ridley.

• We have a sneak preview of the film here.

And

click here for Tim Logue’s interview

with some of the Delco residents whose homes were used in the movie.

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is getting some serious Oscar buzz. And it makes Delco look great in the process.

 

No fun at the Wells Fargo Center

The Wells Fargo Center is a pretty depressing place these days.

The Flyers aren’t playing because of the NHL Lockout, with no end to that work stoppage in sight.

And you could make the argument the Sixers aren’t much better. Last night they got booed off the floor after getting hammered by the Pistons on their home court.

Exactly how many wins did the Pistons have before arriving in Philly? Uh, that would be zero.

Chris Vito has all the details here.

Don’t look for things to improve until Andrew Bynum gets on the floor - or maybe I should phrase that if Andrew Bynum gets on the floor. Right now the team continues to hope the star center they acquired while shedding Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala in the off-season will be back around Jan. 10.

For now, this team just is not very good.

Speaking of which, Nick Foles better be good on Sunday in Washington. If he’s not, it’s going to be a long, cold winter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 14

The Daily Numbers: 3 schools that will be closed under recovery plan for Chester Upland unveiled yesterday by Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins.

70 staff members that will be furloughed under the plan.

4.5 percent, how many students that have fled the district for charter schools that Watkins hopes the district can regain.

100 residents who showed up at a public hearing last night to discuss the recovery plan.

8 20-ounce Guiness beers consumed by former Delco assistant district attorney Michael Donohue before a hit-run crash, according to testimony in court yesterday.

10 percent of $25,000 bail for Donohue, who remains free while he is on trial.

1 percent salary hike for Marple Newtown schools Superintendent Merle Horowitz. She will make $194,299 next year.

90,920, how much Social Security Disability payments the feds say a Bryn Mawr man collected while he was working.

115 dollar tax hike staring at Upper Darby residents unless council can shave budget. The final public hearing is tonight.

15th and Edgmont in Chester, site where a developer is looking to put a supermarket.

17 archdiocese high schools that will be target of a new ad campaign in attempts to boost enrollment.

20 million, where the tab stands for Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

3rd round pick Nick Foles, who will likely line up vs. No. 1 pick RGIII Sunday when the Eagles tangle with the Cowboys.

*

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

I know nobody wants to think about it, but what happens if Nick Foles is terrible on Sunday?

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I Don’t Get It: Who would want to whack Jerry Blavat? That’s what was heard at mob trial in Philly yesterday. Turns out the Geator With the Heater might have needed a heater of his own.

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to Chester Upland Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins. He took his controversial plan for the ailing district to the public last night. It’s not going to be popular, but it might be the only chance the district has.

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Quote Box: “The most important thing is that we’re trying to save the school district.”

- Joe Watkins, on recovery plan for Chester Upland schools.

Last stand for Chester Upland

A lot of people in Chester are convinced that the grand plan for the Chester Upland School District is to drive it into the ground, then convert the whole thing into a series of charter schools.

They believe Gov. Tom Corbett, a big proponent of charter schools and whose campaign was boosted by money from charter school operators, would like nothing more than to simply blow up Chester Upland and start over.

Yesterday’s announcement from Joe Watkins, the man put in place by Corbett to craft a recovery plan for the district, probably won’t do much to change that.

Watkins yesterday unveiled a plan that calls for closing at least three schools, furloughing a big chunk of the staff, and hiring a new superintdendent.

You can read all the details here.

It is not going to be without pain. But it just might be Chester Upland’s last chance.

In addition to cuts, Watkins made clear one of the plan’s goals is to reclaim students who have deserted the district in droves. Half of Chester Upland’s students now attend charter schools, proving a huge financial drain on the district.

Chester Upland has been troubled for a long time. It is not going to recover overnight.

It has 10 days to review Watkins’ plan and decide whether to accept or reject it. If they give it a thumbs down, they face another complete state takeover.

The clock is ticking.

'Live From the Newsroom' reviews the Delco vote

One week after a historic vote, ‘Live From the Newsroom’ tonight will delve into the changes in Delco voting patterns.

Why is it that the vaunted Delco Republican Party seemingly can no longer deliver in the presidential race? We’ve become a county of ticket-splitters, evidence by the overwhelming re-election of U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan to another two-year term in Congress.

So why did the county turn its back on Mitt Romney, joining voters across the state in lining up behind Democrat President Barack Obama.

To help us analyze the vote, we’ll be joined by the heads of both parties in the county, Republican Chairman Andy Reilly, and Democratic top gun David Landau. Also on hand will be lead columnist Gil Spencer, and our special guest Chris Friend, who has offer his own keen take on what is going on in the suburbs and Pennsylvania.

Do you have a question for the men who run Delco’s two political parties? Why not join the conversation? Email your question to me, then tune in when we go on the air on DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7 and take part in our live chat.

I’ll put your questions to the guys in the election trenches.

Are we about to see Democrats do something once unthinkable in Delco? Stand on a level playing field with Republicans. The GOP’s once lopsided 3-1 edge in voter registration is now down to just 1,300 voters?

Can Democrats ever make a dent in that bastion of Republican power, the county courthouse? Tune in tonight to find out!

 

A lot on the line for Reid, Foles

All eyes will be on a rookie quarterback when the Eagles and Redskins do battle Sunday in the nation’s capital.

And for Eagles fans, that does not mean ‘Skins rookie Robert Griffin III.

It appears as if Andy Reid is going to make his last stand with Nick Foles.

With Michael Vick still trying to shake off the cobwebs from a concussion suffered Sunday against the Cowboys, the embattled Eagles coach will stand behind the less heralded rookie on the field.

It will be Nick Foles vs. RGIII.

If he plays well and the Eagles win, Foles will become a folk hero, having outdueled the top pick in the same draft where stayed on the board until the Eagles snapped him up in the third round.

If he struggles and he loses, with Vick still on the sidelines, all bets are off. You could go to veteran Trent Edwards for some stability, but the future would still be muddled.

Kind of like Reid’s. For a team that sits at 3-6 andf appears to be in a freefall, there’s a lot at stake for Reid on Sunday.

There’s a lot on the line for Foles, too.

It’s his chance to show the world that RGIII was not the only good quarterback to come out of the draft.

After all, he didn’t shatter all those passing marks at Arizona behind an all-freshman offensive line for nothing. He got beat up. But he hung in there.

Should be the perfect experience to play in front of the Eagles struggling offensive line.

It says here he’s up to the task.

Let the Nick Foles era begin.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Nov. 13

The Daily Numbers: 19, age of man gunned down on street in Chester.

2 previous attempts on his life that he survived.

24 homicides to date this year in Delco

19 of them in the city of Chester.

148 dollars, how much was at stake in investigation of a Chester councilwoman and missing money from account at the city pool. No charges will be filed in the case.

3.2 million dollar deficit staring at the Chester Upland School District. Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins will unveil his plan for the schools later today.

12 noon press conference in the city and 6 p.m. public hearing set to talk about the plan.

20 cats from overwhelmed shelter at the Jersey shore who are being cared for at the Delaware County SPCA.

2,673 dollars to be paid to county by the developers of a hotel at Springfield Country Club in the 1st year of their deal.

5,535 a year to be paid in the remainder of the 30 year tax abatement deal.

15,000 dollars will go to Springfield School District in 1st year of deal, followed by $30,000 a year after that.

3 percent hotel room tax also will generate income for the county from the deal.

5.6 million dollars in general obligation bonds in Upper Darby that could be affected by move to lower the district’s credit rating.

3.02 percent increase – and 2 dollar a month tax hike - that could hit budget in Upper Providence. Council is looking to trim the cut.

2 people killed in a crash in Philadelphia in which the driver of 1 car now is facing DUI charges.

33 people hurt when a school bus ran off the road and slammed into a tree in New Jersey yesterday.

3-6 record for Washington Redskins, who face 3-6 Eagles on Sunday.

25 points for Jrue Holiday as 76ers fall to Bucks last night.

10 Dec., date on which Andrew Bynum expects to be cleared to resume basketball workouts.

10 Jan. when Bynum might actually take the court for the Sixers. Emphasis on the might.

*

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

Can’t believe fans aren’t screaming about this Andew Bynum debacle yet. Maybe they’re all preoccupied by the Eagles implosion or the lack of an NHL season.

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I Don’t Get It: What is with generals and extramarital affairs? They don’t have enough on their plates?

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who took part in yesterday’s annual Veterans Parade in Media. Well done.

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Quote Box: “It’s not a setback. This really was the original plan.”

- Andrew Bynum talking about the latest timetable that will not see him able to join Sixers practice until Dec. 10 and maybe get on court a month after that.