Friday, October 31, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Oct. 31

The Daily Numbers: 48 days, how long Eric Frein eluded capture in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania after police say he fatally shot a state troooper and wounded another. He was captured Thursday.

1st degree murder charge filed against him in the ambush murder of Cpl. Bryon Dickson.

31, age of survivalist Frein.

750,000 grant that will be used to install hundreds of security cameras on Chester streets.

300,000 dollars being put up by Widener University for the project.

50,000 dollars from the city, bringing the total for the project to $1.1 million.

15 square blocks in the city that will be covered by the cameras.

234, union that could strike SEPTA as early as Monday, crippling mass transit in the city.

903,100 people who ride SEPTA buses every day.

71,700 who use SEPTA’s 2 suburban divisions, Victory and Frontier.

126,800 people who ride regional rails every day. They would not be affected by a strike.

1 billion dollar facility proposed at Delaware City being abandoned by PBF Energy, but they will consider a $100 milllion new unit to support cleaner fuel

2 men being sought for high-dollar thefts at CVS stores in 2 counties.

27, age of former AMC Theater employee who pleaded guilty in a robbery at the Marple complex.

2 a.m. Sunday, when we ‘fall back’ to standard time.

1 extra hour of sleep for us Saturday night.

6.2 billion dollars contributed to the Pa. economy by its casinos.

30,000 jobs tied to legalized gambling.

2.4 billion dollars in tax revenue.

12, age of Chester County girl charged with making threats against her school in Kennett.

2 anti-violence activists charged in a brutal attack on a colleague in which the man was beaten.

4 people killed when a small plane slammed into a building shortly after takeoff from an airport in Wichita, Kan.

221 point spike for the Dow Jones yesterday.

3 months on house arrest, 57 months on probation and $200,000 in restitution for state Sen. Leanna Washington. She will resign her seat today, but she gets to keep her pension.

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

Larry Brown vs. Scott O’Neill might be the most entertaining thing about this Sixers season.

I Don’t Get It: Still kind of amazed that it took 48 days to track down Eric Frein. I hope he enjoyed his freedom. It’s going to be a long time before he walks free again.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the move to bring surveillance cameras to the city of Chester. They’re desperately needed.

Quote Box: “He did not just give up because he was tired. He gave up because he was caught.”

- State Police boss Frank Noonan, on capture of Eric Frein.

Our choice in the 26th District state Senate race

We've made our choice in the hotly contested 26th District state Senate race.

I knew early on this was going to be one of the most bitter elections in recent Delco history. Control of the state Senate, which currently sits in the hands of the GOP due to a 27-23 margin, was in the balance as half its members sought re-election.

But what made the 26th District race distinct is that it amounted to an open seat, because of the retirement of longtime Sen. Ted Erickson.

Republican Tom McGarrigle and Democrat John Kane went negative early and have not relented.

To steal a line from one ad, the whole thing was just "ugly."

For our pick, CLICK HERE.

We'll offer our choice in the race for governor of Pennsylvania, pitting incumbent Republican Tom Corbett vs. Democrat challenger Tom Wolf, on Sunday.

Chester gets a little safer

Chester is about to get a little bit safer.

I can't think of a town that needs it more.

Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester yesterday announced a $750,000 grant for the city that will be used to install more than 100 security cameras to be mounted on Chester streets.

You can get all the details here.

I know this is something Mayor John Linder has long sought as the city battles to quell the persisten random gun violence that continues to stain too many city streets.

The move is being coordinated by the city, Widener University and the Institute for Economic Development in Chester. Widener is contributing $300,000 and the city will kick in another $50,000, bringing the total tab for the project to $1 million.

Linder stressed this is just one part of a multi-faceted program to make city streets safer. He said plans are underway already to expand the camera program into other parts of the city.

They can't do it quick enough.

Giving Halloween the cold shoulder

Somewhere along the line I fell out of love with Halloween.

I used to love Trick-or-Treating when I was a kid. I think it's different when you grow up in a small town. We used to hit just about every house, filling up a pillow case with candy, no doubt to the delight of the dentists in town.

The only thing that slowed us down was several neighbors who insisted on inviting us into their homes as they tried to figure out who we were.

Back then we almost never had store-bought costumes. With a little bit of burned cork, mom would magically turn us into 'hobos' and off we would go.

There's something else that was different back then. We never had adult accompaniment. As usual, mom figured we were in town somewhere, but in reality she had no idea where we were - or what we were up to, which is probably a good thing.

But now Halloween doesn't do a thing for me.

Oh, I will still man the door tonight and hand out candy. But the day has lost its magic for me.

Maybe it's because every kid is accompanied by an adult. Or maybe it's the high schoolers who insist on pushing the age limit.

Actually, I think I know what it is.

I can feel it in the air.

It's not so much tonight, it's what is coming.


Four long months of cold, dreary weather.

We "fall back" this weekend, gaining an hour of sleep Saturday night. The trade-off is that I now get the privilege of driving to work in the dark, and doing the same on the ride home.

Call me in April.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Oct. 30

The Daily Numbers: 25, age of West Chester man charged in hit-run after 75-year-old woman was struck on the Conchester in Upper Chichester.

75, age of man killed when the motorcycle he was driving crashed on the Blue Route in Marple.

50 bucks swiped from a woman who had just used the ATM at a Wawa in Upper Chichester.

829,000 dollars, what Wallingford-Swarthmore is looking to trim from its budget.

7-0 vote in Middletown to OK improvement plans on tap at the 650-acre Tyler Arboretum.

1,022 students enrolled at Cheyney University in Thornbury.

22 million deficit at the historically black university. Its backers are filing a racial bias suit against the state.

2 years since Hurricane Sandy battered the Jersey shore.

13,000 employees affected by proposed merger of Abington Health and Jefferson Health System.

300 students at Palmer Charter School in Philly now looking for a new school after Palmer closed its doors.

77 of those kids are seniors.

200 dollar a month cash stipend for the poor that Pa. Democrat gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf says he will restore if elected.

21 day quarantine for troops who do a stint in the Ebola-ravaged regions of Africa, according to ruling by Pentagon.

1 loss for the Sixers, who dropped their opener last night to the Pacers, 103-91.

22 points, 8 rebounds, 7 blocks for Roy Hibbert to lead the Pacers.

22 points for Tony Wroten to lead the Sixers.

6 points, 10 rebounds for Nerlins Noel in his Sixers debut after missing all of last season.

3-2 win for the Giants over the Royals in Game 7 of the World Series.

3 titles in 5 years now for the Giants.

60, age of Chester hoops legend Coach Fred Pickett, who died yesterday after a battle with cancer.

331-80 mark compiles by Pickett’s Chester Clipper teams.

3 state AAAA titles.

5 appearances in the AAAA state title game.

9 District One titles.

8 straight from 2001 to 2008.

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

It’s unlikely anyone will ever surpass the coaching records compiled by Fred Pickett at Chester High. It’s certain no one will do more for the kids of Chester off the court.

I Don’t Get It: Some people insist on taking shots at Chester even in the midst of the passing of an icon such as Fred Pickett. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those remembering the coach today for all the right reasons.

Quote Box: “Basketball was only a small part of who he was.”

- Chester assistant basketball coach Derrick Spence, on Fred Pickett.

Another odd claim in an increasingly bitter election season

Have you heard that the Delaware County Daily Times believes Republican state Senate candidate Tom McGarrigle is a 'hypocrite.'

Yeah, I was a little taken aback at that claim myself.

Let me try to explain.

Earlier this week Democrat John Kane rolled out a new ad bemoaning the nasty tone that has defined the race for the open state Senate seat in the 26th District. I was watching the ad when I was surprised to hear that claim attributed to the Daily Times.

First a voice in the background booms, "Ugly," with that adjective attributed to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Then it's our turn. "He's a hypocrite, slams the Delco Times," according to the narrator. At the same time a single word appears on the screen, in quotes.

"Hypocritical." It's attributed to the Delco Times, dated Oct. 10.

Since I couldn't remember us ever making such a claim, I went back and checked that days' newspaper.

They're right, there was a claim that McGarrigle was being hypocritical in that day's paper.

But it wasn't made by us.

It was part of our reporting on a press conference held in Philadelhpia by union leaders blasting McGarrigle for attacking Kane for accepting money from a union that was in hot water connected with some intimidation tactics.

It certainly did appear in the Daily Times. But it was not anything we said. It was us reporting what the union leaders said.

That suddenly becomes "Hypocritical, slams the Delco Times."

Yes, I think that's misleading.

Yes, I would like the Kane campaign to stop making that claim.

No, I don't expect them to pull the spot.

That's the way politics works these days.

They're not the only ones.

Earlier in this campaign I was taken aback by a TV ad that proclaimed "Vince Rongione is the right man for the job." That also was attributed to the Delaware Count Daily Times.

I didn't recall us offering such an endorsement, at least not yet. Rongione, a Democrat, is locked in a tight battle with Republican Jamie Santora. It also came as news to several county Republican leaders who called and asked if they had missed the endorsement.

They did not.

This also was taken from a story that appeared in the paper in which a group was offering its endorsement for Rongione. Yes, it appeared in the Daily Times. No, it was not us saying that, it was us reporting it.

During his recent interview with our editorial board, I told Rongione I thought the ad was misleading.

I would tell Kane the same thing.

If you are interested in our endorsements, we kick them off today with our picks in the state legislative races, along with our two Congressional races.

And an early confession. I made a glaring typo in the print edition. I said Jamie Santora, the Republican squaring off with Rongione in the 163rd District race to replace Rep. Nick Micozzie, had worked for Joe Sestak. Obviously I meant that reference for Rongione. I know that. Luckily I corrected the online version.

I can admit my mistake.

I wonder if candidates would do the same when they misrepresent what the paper has said?

Fred Pickett: A Chester legend on and off the court

Fred Pickett won a lot of basketball games.

But if he had not won any, he would still be an icon in Chester for the things he did off the court.

Pickett, the legendary hoops coach at perennial power Chester High, died Wednesday at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer.

But it is his battle off the court - as a mentor and molder of young lives - as a beacon for the children of Chester, for which he will be most remembered.

There are very few people who touched as many lives or did as much good in the city of Chester than Fred Pickett.

That certainly does not diminish what he and the Clippers accomplished on the court.

Pickett's teams won three PIAA AAAA state titles, in 2000, 2005 and 2008. After that final crowning achievement, Pickett retired. Some of the other numbers his teams put together likely will never again be matched. Under his tutelage, Pickett's teams won an astounding nine District One AAAA titles, including eight straight from 2001-2008.

In total his teams won 331 games in 13 years.

Yet those who knew him will tell you that was only a small part of who Fred Pickett was, and the legacy he leaves behind. Assistant Coach Derrick Spence knows that.

"Basketball was only a small part of who he was," Spence told our Terry Toohey. "People have no idea how many lives he touched."

Columnist Jack McCaffery points out that behind the frenzy that always accompanies Clippers basketball, there was the quiet dignity and calm of Fred Pickett.

In a city that demands excellence on the basketball court, Fred Pickett always delivered.

On and off the court.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Oct. 29

The Daily Numbers: 49, age of Richard Plotts, charged in the fatal shooting of a worker at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital 3 months ago. He was held for trial on 1st degree murder charges yesterday.

39 additional bullets, what police say Plotts had in his possession when he went to the hospital.

53, age of hospital worker Theresa Hunt, who was killed in the attack.

100 million dollar rebirth in the works at the Granite Run Mall.

319,000 square feet of bnew space in the proposed retail/residential plan to creat a ‘town center’ like atmosphere.

2 luxury apartment buildings in the plan.

225 one-bedroom units, 163 two-bedroom units in the buildings.

1,600 dollar average rentals for the units.

3 anchor stores will remain, but much of the rest of the existing mall will be razed.

17-9 vote by the Penn State Board of Trustees not to take a new look at the Freeh Report that was critical of the school’s role in the Jerry Sandusky saga.

13 point edge for Tom Wolf over Tom Corbett in the latest Franklin & Marshall poll out this morning. They have it at 53-40, with 5 percent saying they don’t know.

18 point lead (50-32, for Wolf among registered voters.

25 percent who say eduction remains the most important issue, with taxes up next at 16 percent.

61 percent of registered voters in Pa. who believe the state is on the wrong track.

30 percent of voters who believe Tom Corbett is doing an ‘excellent’ job.

6 seconds after launch, when an unmanned rocket exploded last night in Virginia.

0 injuries reported in the incident.

5,000 pounds of equipment and experiments lost in the blast that was headed for the manned International Space Station.

7 year high for consumer confidence, which sits at 94.5, not seen since October 2007.

2:36 into overtime, when Brayden Schenn lit the lamp to give Flyers 3-2 over the Kings last night.

38 saves for Flyers goalie Ray Emery.

9 interceptions and 3 lost fumbles so far this year for Eagles QB Nick Foles.

59.2 completion percentage.

80.7 passer rating.

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

The Sixers start their season tonight. They should make it free to get in and charge people to get out.

I Don’t Get It: It’s beginning to look more and more like a rush to judgment at Central Bucks West High School.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Mother Nature for a few final glorious days of beautiful weather. The cold is due to arrive in time for the weekend.

Quote Box: “It’s clear from looking at the evidence that he acted with specific intention to kill.”

- District Attorney Jack Whelan, on the case against suspected Mercy Fitzgerald shooter Richard Plotts.

The Delco GOP vs. Vince Rongione

The Delco GOP must really loathe the thought of losing Upper Darby's other seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

They already saw the 164th, manned for decades by Mario Civera, fall into Democrats' hands when Civera left the House to run for County Council. Margo Davidson captured that seat.

Now much the same scenario is playing out in the wake of the decision by longtime state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, to retire. He represented the 163rd for more than three decades.

Democrat Vince Rongione is facing off with Republican Upper Darby Councilman Jamie Santora for the seat.

Both are solid candidates.

But much of the talk in the race has veered away from the key issues facing the district, and instead have zoomed in on Rongione's residency. The county Republican Party has for months now blasted away at Rongione for moving into the district solely so he could run for this seat.

But this week they turned up the heat.

They hired private investigators who have turned up what the GOP claims is evidence that - before he actually moved into his current residence - Rongione actually registered to vote from a house where he didn't live.

They went so far as to accuse Rongione of engaging in voter fraud.

We'll let the courts figure that one out, if they in fact find there is reason to pursue the case.

But it does tell you that the Delco GOP, which was once nearly invincible in Delaware County, is starting to sweat. They've already seen overall Democratic registration numbers overtake their once insurmountable nearly 3-1 edge.

They've seen towns and school boards in what were once solidly Republican areas start voting for Dems.

And they have seen the county consistently going Democratic in statewide and national races.

The next thing you know a Democrat is going to be elected to County Council.

Uh, maybe not. Things probably haven't changed that much.

At least not yet.

A 'rush to judgment' at Central Bucks West

An overzealous, knee-jerk overreaction.

That's the way legendary Central Bucks West football coach Mike Pettine is now summarizing the actions of the school board there after they quickly scrapped the remainder of the football season in the wake of allegations of hazing of rookie team members that took place during summer practices.

I can't say I disagree with him.

I'm not alone.

Last night hundreds of people packed a school board meeting to show support for the football team, head football coach Brian Hensel and his staff, and slam the school board for what many are calling a rush to judgment.

It's been awhile since I've been in a locker room, but I am guessing things have not changed all that much.

What happened at CBW - guys grabbing other guys genitals over their pants; a towel being placed over a player's head and then putting him in the shower (by the way, I would hardly describe that as 'waterboarding'); and something called "sugar cookie," where fully clothed players were first soaked, then covered in powder.

The events occurred at a summer picnic for the team. It likely was something of a tradition where upperclassmen "welcome" new members of the team. It's part of the special bonding experience that comes with participation in high school sports.

When I first heard about this story, I have to say I was not surprised. In fact, it brought a smile to my face. It's kind of comforting to know - in a world that rarely resembles the one I grew up in - that some things don't change.

It's part of the bonding experience of being a member of a high school sports team.

I know a lot of people are not going to agree, that will believe this is a troubling event that has to be eradicated.

And I will tell you that it has been going on forever, and likely will continue to do so.

It does not appear there were any serious injuries suffered in this incident. The district attorney in Bucks County is asking anyone who believes they were the victim of a criminal act to come forward. I doubt anyone will.

In fact, I will tell you that I doubt that any freshman who went out for the team was surprised at some of the acts they were asked to perform. They probably knew it was part of the team's tradition, the bonding experience.

If you want to brand me a neanderthal, be my guest.

But I'm telling you first to ask any guy who participated in high school sports. I think they will tell you this kind of ritual has been going on forever.

And if they're like me, they will admit they do not see what all the fuss is about.

Instead, they will likely shake their head at the way we react to these kinds of incidents today. School boards now live in fear that someone will file some type of complaint - or even worse a lawsuit - over such conduct.

No doubt someone just might.

That's another thing that has changed.

Parents play a huge role in youth sports these days. That's not always a good thing.

Ask yourself this: When's the last time you saw a group of kids in a field playing sports. No adults, no uniforms, no trophies. Today everything has to be organized and regulated.

The result is the kind of saga that is now playing out at Central Bucks West.

The school board president at Central Bucks West told last night's crowd that he backed the quick decision by school Superintendent David Weitzel to pull the plug on the remainder of the season. He referred to the hazing rites as "intimidating and humiliating." Two other school board members agreed with him.

I'm not going to defend what the kids did. Was it stupid and immature? Sure. Do I think it was a tradition that has been going on forever? Absolutely.

So what makes this different?

I understand that bullying is a problem, in particular among high school kids.

I don't think this was bullying. This was part of the unique experience that goes into forming a football team. There is a bonding that goes on that is often forged in just this kind of hijinks.

Should these kids have been punished for what they did? Maybe.

I haven't heard a word from any of the so-called victims? Do any of them believe the season should have been cancelled?

It's the same problem I have with so much of youth sports today. It's not the kids. They can usually deal with these things just fine. It's when adults get involved that things usually get messy.

And it doesn't get much messier than what occurred at Central Bucks West.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Oct. 28

The Daily Numbers: 163rd District state House race, where Republicans continue to lob grenades at Democrat Vince Rongione’s claims to residency.

40-room hotel that will be part of a new development in Swarthmore that will require a roundabout on Route 320. A petition opposing the measure has been withdrawn.

18 age of Glenolden teen and former student at the Haverford School who has admitted his role in pot-selling ring based at the school.

32-2-54, that’s the district court in Springfield, where new Magisterial District Judge James Merkins now presides.

6 month search process under way in Springfield School District to find a new superintendent to replace outgoing boss James Capolupo.

2 handguns, 2 rifles and $100,000 in cash seized in drug raid in Drexel Hill over the weekend.

2 million dollar grant for SAP in Newtown Square. It will upgrade the firm’s data center and help retain 375 jobs.

4,700 SEPTA trolley, bus and subway operators who have authorized their union to call a strike. No work stoppage is planned this week.

1.86 billion dollar sale of Philadelphia Gas Works that has been nixed by City Council.

1,150 PGW workers who are members of Utility Workers Union of America Local 686 opposed the sale.

3.5 million dollars raked in by the city of Philadelphia from its red-light cameras.

6 vehicles operated by the new Uber ride-sharing service seized by the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

64, age of Pa. Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, who is retiring from the court in the wake of a porn email scandal.

66, age of actress Marcis Strassman, who starred as the wife in the TV sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter” with Gabe Kaplan. She died after battling breast cancer.

20-17 win for the Washington Redskins over the Dallas Cowboys in OT on Monday Night Football.

6-2 mark for the Cowboys, one game up on the 5-2 Eagles in the NFC East.

2 yards and 6 inches, the difference between the Eagles being 5-2 and 7-0. They failed to punch it in from inside the 2-yard-line against both the 49ers and Cardinals. They lost both games.

3-0 mark for Eagles with Jason Kelce at center. They’re 2-2 with David Molk filling in. The Eagles are hoping to get Kelce back in the lineup this week.

3-2 win for Carroll girls over Bonner-Prendergast in Catholic League field hockey playoff tilt. They will face O’Hara for the title.

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

If anyone can figure out what the Knicks and Sixers were doing with that trade yesterday, please let me know.

I Don’t Get It: That kid who opened fire on his classmates at a high school outside Seattle actually invited them to lunch, then sprayed the table with bullets. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to some good folks in Media who banded together to build a ramp for a handicapped neighbor. Well done.

Quote Box: “This is extremely important. This is the Constitution, something we are supposed to uphold and use to make laws.”

- Republican Jamie Santora, on questions about the residency of his opponent, Democrat Vince Rongione, in the 163rd House seat race.

They're all talk - but no debate - in the bitter 26th District state Senate race

Don't hold your breath waiting for a debate between the candidates in the bitterly contested race for the open 26th District state Senate seat.

It doesn't look like it is going to happen.

Republican Tom McGarrigle has been pushing Democrat John Kane for weeks to debate him. After an initial offer to appear before at a forum hosted and moderated by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce was rejected by the Dems because the group already had indicated they were endorsing McGarrigle, my name got floated out there as a possible moderator.

I made my role - if any - clear.

I would be happy to serve as moderator, but the ground rules and other parameters would be up to the candidates. To be honest, I had a somewhat selfish motive.

I wanted to have the two men sit down with me last Wednesday for our weekly live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom.' But the two sides could not agree on that date.

More emails ensued. (Anyone else wonder who we communicated before email?).

I actually enjoyed the back and forth between Caitlin Ganley, from the McGarrigle camp, and Dylan McGarry, representing Kane. They took turns accusing each other of ducking the debate.

But they still have not agreed to meet, and now it looks like it may not happen.

So in the interest of democracy - and of course of promoting my show - I will make one final offer.

Gentlemen, I am more than willing to host the two of you this Wednesday night for my 'Live From the Newsroom' show. We can do it here in our offices in Primos, or if you can agree on a potential site, just let me know where.

We'll go for a half-hour, or as long as the two of you think you need.

Aside from the governor's race, this is likely the most high-profile, hotly contested race in the state. The people casting their ballots in the 26th District deserve the chance to see the two of you debate the crucial issues, instead of lobbing negative ads at each other.

I await your reply.

How 'bout dem Cowboys!

Call this one the agony & the ecstasy.

Sort of.

Every year the Eagles have at least one - and sometimes more - games that they have no business losing. Sunday's gut-wrenching defeat in the Arizona desert qualifies as this year's contribution to Birds' fans endless misery.

The die-hards were still trying to digest some of the oddities in that brutal loss when they got a gift from a most odd source.

The Dallas Cowboys.

The lowly Redskins went into Jerry Jones' palace Monday night and knocked off the Cowboys in overtime, 2-0-17. And they did it with their third-string quarterback, Colt McCoy.

I think we can hold off on that stampede by the national media to crown the Cowboys. ESPN analyst Jon Gruden must have been torn last night as he talked glowingly of the Cowboys in the buildup to the game, even though they were facing a team coached by his brother.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo spent much of the second half in the locker room after taking a knee to his surgically repaired back. He returned late in the 4th quarter but still could not rally the Cowboys to victory.

The Cowboys are now 6-2, a game ahead of the Eagles at 5-2.

Almost makes that loss to the Cardinals bearable.


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Oct. 27 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 5-2 record for the Eagles after yesterday’s gut-wrenching loss to the Cardinals in the desert.

3 critical turnovers that paved the way for an Eagles loss vs. Arizona yesterday.

62 times Chip Kelly had Nick Foles throw the ball yesterday.

36 of 62 for 411 yards for the QB.

2 interceptions for Foles as well.

1 brutal fumble for rookie wide receiver Josh Hoff that cost the Eagles a TD.

9 interceptions through 7 games. He had 2 all of last year.

12 catches for 187 yards for wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

521 yards total offense for the Eagles, compared to 400 for the Cardinals.

0-for-3 for the Eagles offense in the red zone, including settling for field goal late in game.

75 and 80 yards TD passes surrendered by the Eagles secondary.

21 penalties call in the game.

7 consecutive games Larry Fitzgerald has scored a TD vs. Eagles.

1 great head-first dive by Maclin across the table loaded with Gatorade on the Cardinals’ sideline. We’ll be seeing that replay forever.

3 penalties for offensive tackle Jason Peters, 2 times for illegal use of hands.

54 yard field goal for Cody Parkey.

3 field goals over 50 yards for Parkey this year.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Somebody needs to tell that refereeing crew that nobody is paying to see them. They totally hijacked the game in the first half, yet still managed to miss a couple of obvious calls later on.

I Don’t Get It: I played safety in high school. There’s just no excuse for John Brown getting behind Nate Allen. Just a brutal blunder.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Jeremy Maclin, who continues to excel in his comeback and make people forget DeSean Jackson. Quote Box: “You can’t turn the ball over and be a successful team.”

- Chip Kelly after the loss.

The Eagles post-mortem: Another debacle in the desert

Weird things happen to the Eagles in the desert.

Things like Chip Kelly deciding to have Nick Foles throw the ball 62 times.

Things like Nate Allen for some unknown reason biting on a pass and allowing rookie John Brown slip behind him for a stunning 75-yard touchdown pass when it seemed like the Eagles were cruising toward a win.

Things like Kelly not challenging what looked to be a possible first down with the Eagles at the Cardinals' goal line, instead meekly opting for a field goal that allowed the Cardinals to win the game with a TD of their own.

Things like a crew of referees who insisted on hijacking the game in the first half, calling everything, then somehow missing a couple of key calls later in the game.

The Eagles have one of these games every season, their own special way of torturing die-hard Eagles fans. The Eagles should have won yesterday's game going away, but instead a couple of crucial turnovers took 14 points off the board for the Birds, foreshadowing the inevitable crushing loss.

Nick Foles threw for 411 yards. Normally, that would be a good thing. Not yesterday.

Foles continues to look shaky in the backfield, consistently drifting backward out of the shotgun and throwing balls off his back foot. That allowed him to make a couple of spectacular throws, but also to throw a killer interception when the Eagles looked like they were going to cash in for seven points.

It was the second time the Birds self-immolated near the Arizona goal line. Earlier it was rookie wide receiver Josh Hoff, who coughed up the ball after a good effort.

The Cardinals came into the game as the top-rated defense in the NFL against the run. Kelly obviously believed it. He decided to take the game out of the hands of Shady McCoy and put it in Foles. It didn't work out.

Kelly also will face scrutiny for failing to ask for a review of whether or not Chris Polk picked up a first down at the Cardinals' goal line late in the 4th quarter. Kelly never threw the flag, instead sending out his field goal team. He just hired a guy to do nothing but advise him on whether or not to challenge.

But without question the one image that will haunt Eagles' fans the most from this debacle in the desert is the sight of Nate Allen taking a couple of steps forward, biting on a play as Cards' wideout John Brown streaked by him. All of it combined to make the Eagles 5-2.

You could make the argument that they should have won both the games that they lost, and that Chip Kelly left more than a little to be desired in both of them.

Then again, they easily could have lost several of the games they won.

In other words, just another Eagles season.

And just another visit to the Arizona desert, where Eagles victories almost always turn out to be little more than a mirage.

The riddle of Tom Corbett

Gov. Tom Corbett continues to slog along in his uphill fight to fend off Democratic challenger Tom Wolf.

Corbett has been behind in the polls for months.

He might not have faced this monumental task if he'd shown the persona he's used successfully in the recent debates during his first term.

As I said after the very first debate, in which the governor clearly got the better of Wolf and finally put his opponent on the defensive, "Where has this guy been for the past three years."

Instead, Corbett has allowed others to frame him - and the debate.

It might cost him the governor's mansion.

I talk about it today in my Monday print column.

Delco GOP continues to target Rongione

The Delco GOP continues to have problems with Vince Rongione.

Maybe they're still sore about Joe Sestak. Rongione used to work for him. Now he's running against Upper Darby Councilman Jamie Santora for the 163rd District state House being vacated by the retiring Rep. Nick Micozzie.

Micozzie has kept the seat comfortably in Republican hands for more than three decades.

But it's in serious jeopardy of going over to the Democratic side.

Maybe that's why the county GOP continues to hammer away at what they are trying to paint Rongione as something of a 'carpetbagger' who only moved into the district so he could run for the Micozzie seat.

For his part, Rongione notes that he grew up in Havertown, but also has ties to the Upper Darby neighborhood where his father grew up. The county Republicans this morning are holding a press conference again questioning Rongione's residency and the filing of a couple of complaints. They plan to point out that Rongione registered to vote from his new home on Blanchard Road in Upper Darby in December 2013, while pointing out that the state Constitution requires an individual reside in the district they want to serve for a year prior to their election.

I get the feeling the GOP is complaining too much about this. They must be worried about losing a seat they've held forever.

This is the kind of thing that the public is tired of, that has little or nothing to do with the business that needs to get done in Harrisburg, and instead simply smells of local politics.

Everybody in this race has better things to talk about.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

I hate the bye week. Is it just me, or does it seem more like two months since the Eagles played as opposed to two weeks.

Actually, the break probably came at a good time for the banged-up Birds. Mychal Kendricks is expected to be back at linebacker. Darren Sproles, who tweaked a knee in the rout of the Giants, will not miss any time. Even offensive linemen Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce are feeling better, although neither will play on Sunday.

Eagles fans will have to wait until 4 o’clock Sunday as the Birds fly to the desert to meet the Cardinals in Phoenix. Both teams stand at 5-1.

This game likely will rest on the shoulders - or perhaps better stated the right arm - of quarterback Nick Foles. Under former Temple coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, himself a former Eagles coach, the Cardinals are the stingiest team in the league against the run.

That does not bode well for a big day from Shady McCoy. But the Cardinals are not nearly as efficient against the pass. That means Foles needs to deliver.

Let’s hope Chip Kelly can pull a little Andy Reid magic out of his bag of tricks in terms of this post-bye game. Reid was a master in the game after the week off.

Phoenix is never an easy place to play.

It’s in the hands of Nick Foles. Play well and he could dispel a lot of the doubters. If he struggles and the Birds fall, it’s going to be a long Monday on the phone lines.

I say he delivers.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 24, Cardinals 23. Don’t forget Cody Parkey. He’s been money so far, but this one might come with the game on the line.

Season Record: I certainly didn’t see the Eagles blowing out the Giants to go 5-1. I’m still not sure if the Eagles - especially on defense - are that good, on Tom Coughlin’s team is just lousy this year. That prediction dropped me to 4-2 on the season.

Game by Game: Eagles 27, Giants 0 (My Pick: Giants 31, Rams 26)

Eagles 34, Rams 28 (My Pick: Eagles 35, Rams 19)

49ers 26, Eagles 21 (My Pick: 49ers 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Eagles 37, Redskins 34 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Oct. 24

The Daily Numbers: 800 doses of Narcan ready to go into police cars in the county on Nov. 29 when new law goes into effect allowing first responders to deliver the drug to someone experiencing a heroin overdose.

19, age of Main Line teen facing charges in heroin overdose death of a friend.

1st degree murder conviction against a Chester man in the July 2010 shooting of a man outside a city business.

70th anniversary for Media Fellowship.

54, age of Community Service supervisor charged with groping two women assigned to his work detail. He will face trial.

36 years in Haverford schools coming to an end. Superintendent Dr. William Keilbaugh is retiring.

182 students at Upper Darby High School who will get a free ACT test after the first one they took got lost in the mail.

59 and 22, ages of men who now face charges in connection with an incident that led to a lockdown at Malvern Prep High School.

2,000 dollar Tiffany bracelet, what the former top judge in Philly Traffic Court is accused of taking from a businessman. She now faces bribery charges.

52, age of former Philly mob boss Joey Merlino, who has been summoned to court this morning for a hearing to see if he violated his parole agreement.

216 point boost for the stock market yesterday.

3.92 percent average rate for a 30-year mortgage.

33, age of doctor in New York City who has tested positive for Ebola virus.

50 percent hike in earnings reported by Comcast. That comes to a cool $16.8 billion.

2 final football games of the season that have been cancelled at Central Bucks West High School amid reports of hazing.

109-103 loss for the Sixers in their final exhibition game to the Pistons.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The Sixers played their final exhibition game last night. Why do I get the feeling their entire season is going to be an exhibition?

I Don’t Get It: Hazing among high school athletes has entered an entire new area.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who gathered last night in Upper Chi to remember those lost to heroin and opioid addiction.

Quote Box: “This is not a club we wanted to join.”

- Tricia Stouch, at last night’s vigil for to remember those who died of addiction.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks some serious politics

It looks like I might have to go down with the ship alone.

The Tom Corbett ship, that is.

I was one of the very few people in this state who has gone on the record as saying that Tom Corbett would be re-elected. I did that in part because Pennsylvania has never - never - voted out an incumbent governor.

Instead we usually flip-flop parties every eight years. In other words, eight years with a Democrat, followed by eight years of a Republican in the governor's mansion.

But judging by the conversation on last night's 'Live From the Newsroom' show, that may be about to change.

During our monthly visit to the sparkling new TV production facilities at Widener University, Corbett is in serious trouble.

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

I started out by noting that Corbett has been paring what once was an overwhelming lead in the polls for Democrat Tom Wolf. But neither of my guests, Widener political science professor Wes Leckrone, nor columnist Chris Freind believes Corbett is going to win.

We also discussed what is likely the second most high-profile race in the state. That would be the battle for the open state Senate seat in the 26th District, where Republican Tom McGarrigle and Democrat John Kane are doing battle. It's going to set a record for being maybe the most expensive state Senate race in Pennsylvania history. And it's gotten increasingly nasty.

This one looks like it could go down to the wire. Although Democrats are widening their newfound registration edge in the county, the GOP still has more voters in the 26th District. This one likely will go down to the wire.

Wake up the echoes: Hazing claims another high school football season

The football season is over at Central Bucks West High School.

In a stunning move Thursday, the school superintendent scrapped the final two games of the season, citing reports of hazing during pre-season rituals. Kids apparently were forced to go into the showers with a towel draped over their face. They are referring to this as something akin to waterboarding. Crotches were grabbed.

While the shock waves roll over the CBW community, they are no doubt also being felt across the region.

This is now the second incident of hazing that has stopped a high school football team in its tracks. The first was Sayreville in North Jersey, which also saw its season wind up on the ash heap after reports hazing. Five coaches were suspended and criminal charges are pending against seven players.

I imagine there are a lot of nervous players and coaches across the Delaware Valley today.

In other words, my guess is that things have not changed a lot in the more than 40 years since I last donned a football uniform.

Yes, we were knuckleheads. We did a lot of dumb things.

Before the season, we would go away for a week for "summer camp." Hell might have been a better description. We practiced four times a day.

I have no idea where we got the energy, but after dark we still managed to get in more than our share of hijinks. I would guess those would include something that today might be described as hazing, including invading the cabin of a group of younger players and generally raising hell.

In that week, a special bond was created among the young men who played on those teams.

I'd be willing to bet that has not changed in the decades since either.

I always tell people that I learned almost as much playing on a high school football team - even for someone who barely weighed 110 pounds soaking wet - as I did in many classrooms.

You learned about adversity, how to get along with people of different backgrounds, and maybe most importantly, how to bond, unite behind a common goal. The bonds that formed during those weeks at summer camp remain today.

We weren't very good. We went 0-10 my senior year. I was the quarterback. That sort of explains what kind of team we had. I got hurt in both my junior and senior years. In my junior year I blew out my shoulder and spent a night in the hospital in Coatesville. I returned my senior year only to break my collarbone in week four. So I'm only responsible for four of those 10 losses.

I feel today for the kids at Central Bucks West. As an adult, I don't condone what they did. But I can certainly imagine how it happened.

Should the coaches have intervened? If they knew, absolutely. But coaches aren't everywhere.

This kind of thing is not new. How we react to it is.

The football fields at Central Bucks West will be quiet today. Eerily quiet.

But the message sent could not be louder.

It's being heard in every locker room, and every practice field, across the Delaware Valley.

It's even heard in 40 year-old memories of another time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Oct. 23

The Daily Numbers: 15 years in jail for a Chester woman convicted of human trafficking in females for prostitution.

5,000 donated to Springfield Area Education System by Cole Hamels Foundation.

182 students in Upper Darby who have learned their ACT test scores are missing.

1,100 doctors in the Crozer-Keystone Health System who may soon have a new partner. The health system yesterday indicated it is exploring possible mergers.

25, age of man charged in a stabbing after an altercation on the El spilled outside.

46, age of man who pleaded guilty to indecent exposure for masturbating in his car while parked in a supermarket parking lot.

1 pedestrian victim of a hit-run in Norwood Sunday night.

69, age of former Tinicum police officer found guilty of stalking his wife.

23 rounds fired by a Sharon Hill officer at a suspect in a confrontation after a traffic stop. The officer testified yesterday at the man’s trial that he feared for his life after the suspect pointed a gun at him.

8 to 16 years in prison for a Chester man in the sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy.

70, as in Committee of 70, the civic watchdog group in Philly that has a new leader. Welcome David Thornburgh.

6 states, including Pa., that will be involved in new monitoring of travelers arriving from sections of Africa affected by Ebola virus outbreaks.

1 man nabbed after jumping the fence at the White House last night. It’s the 2nd such incident in the past few weeks. This guy didn’t make it inside.

153 point nosedive for the stock market yesterday.

2 dead - a soldier and the gunman - in an attack on Parliament in Ottawa, Canada, yesterday. It’s being tied to ISIS.

1-1 deadlock in the World Series after the Royals rolled to 7-2 win last night.

5-3 win for the Flyers over the Pens in Pittsburgh.

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

How can the Flyers look that bad in Chicago in getting spanked 4-0, then turn around the very next night and beat the Pens in Pittsburgh. Ah, the vagaries of the NHL.

I Don’t Get It: An incident on the El involving trash thrown at a baby stroller quickly escalates into a confrontation out on the platform. One man is charged, another is stabbed. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Cardinal O’Hara High School, which hosted an anti-bullying session at the school yesterday.

Quote Box: “No matter where you go, this problem is taking lives.”

- Dr. Claudio Cerullo, leader of Teach Anti-Bullying Inc., to students at O’Hara yesterday.

A live session with Tom Wolf

We’ll have Tom Wolf live this afternoon.

Last we week we put Gov. Tom Corbett on the hot seat.

This week it’s Democrat Tom Wolf’s turn.

We’ll have a live session with the Democrat who wants to turn out Corbett.

You can catch a live-stream of the interview with members of the Digital First Editorial Board at 1 p.m. at You calso can take part in a live chat via Scribble.

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

Then tune in as we put Tom Wolf on the spot in the governor’s race.

We’re live at 1!

The politics of debating

Tom McGarrigle is a different kind of Republican.

Just ask Gov. Tom Corbett.

McGarrigle, the Republican chairman of County Council who is running in the increasingly heated battle for the 26th District state Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Ted Erickson against Democrat John Kane, makes no bones about his differences with the governor.

And no apologies.

McGarrigle wants a 4 percent tax on gas drillers in the state's Marcellus Shale region, with all the money going to education. That puts him at odds with the guy at the top of the GOP ticket.

Don't look for McGarrigle and Corbett to appear together anytime soon.

And don't look for McGarrigle and Kane to go mano a mano in a debate either.

That's the other thing that separates McGarrigle from the norm here in Delco, long ruled for the most part by the Republican Party. From very early in the campaign, McGarrigle has been pushing Kane for a debate.

The first overture was rejected by Kane because McGarrigle suggested it be hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, which already has indicated they are backing the Republican.

Then someone suggested me as the moderator. I agreed, so long as the two sides agreed and set the grounds rules. I suggested the two appear on our 'Live From the Newsroom' show. I had hoped to do this last night, but Kane indicated he had a scheduling conflict.

McGarrigle offered to show up alone and talk about the issues. I declined, in part because I'm not sure it would have been fair to offer a completely one-sided debate.

But I also understand the frustration McGarrigle feels. My guess is he probably feels the way so many Democrats in the county have felt for years. They always asked their Republican foes for a debate, usually having that request fall on deaf ears. Instead the two sides would usually wind up on stage together for a League of Women Voters meet the candidates night.

The temperature in the 26th state Senate race has been building to a boiling point. A nearly non-stop barrage of TV ads from both sides is making this perhaps the most expensive state Senate race in history.

McGarrigle has been labeled a tax cheat and a "millionaire."

Kane has been ripped for taking money from another labor union that faces some serious issues, as well as his healthy salary as the business manager for Plumbers Union Local 690. Kane insists the $270,000 figure the GOP ad cites is misleading, that some of that salary is retirement fund dollars he borrowed to put his kids through school.

Yesterday the thermometer inched even higher when a woman who claims to be Kane's daughter from a previous relationship took issue with his commercials portraying himself as a family man.

I'm still hoping to see McGarrigle and Kane together talking about the issues. I'll let you know when it happens. I'm not holding my breath.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks Election 2014

Tom Corbett vs. Tom Wolf.

Tom McGarrigle vs. John Kane.

Vince Rongione vs. Jamie Santora.

We're just two weeks out from going to the polls to elect a governor, members of Congress, a state senator and state representatives.

We're taking our 'Live From the Newsroom' live-stream internet show back out on the road tonight to talk politics.

We'll back on the campus of Widener University in Chester to talk about the issues and maybe make a few predictions on the key races. It's our monthly visit to Freedom Hall, where we take advantage of the school's sparkling new TV studio. Students handle much of the production for the show.

Can Tom Corbett erase a huge deficit and win another four years in Harrisburg. Who will emerge victorious in what has been perhaps the most expensive state Senate race in history in the heated battle to replace Republican Sen. Ted Erickson. This one also is important because control of the state Senate is hanging in the balance.

And the 163rd state House race is important if only for the fact that someone not named Micozzie will represent those folks in Harrisburg for the first time in more than three decades.

I'll be joined by Widener political science professor Wes Leckrone, as well as my featured columnist Chris Freind.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask the panel? Email it to me at

Then tune into to tonight at 7.

Join the conversation!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Oct. 22

The Daily Numbers: 11 months, age of tot saved from drowning in a bathtub by 2 first responders in Ridley.

1 suspect shot by police after a holdup and chase that started in Clifton Heights and ended in Upper Darby last night.

5,000 dollar reward now being offered for information on the suspects who held up the Chickie’s and Pete’s in Upper Darby Sunday.

16,400 dollars, along with 283 bucks from the manager, along with her handbag and a wedding ring valued at $5,000.

15, age of student alleged to have engaged in sex with a Garnet Valley teacher. The teacher has now resigned his post while facing charges.

19, age of former lacrosse start at the Haverford School who yesterday admitted his role as a ringleader in a Maine Line pot ring.

2 possible sightings of Eric Frein, the man wanted in fatal ambush shooting of a state trooper. Schools in the Poconos were closed in the area of the search yesterday.

2 million dollars in new funding delivered to Fair Acres by Gov. Tom Corbett this week.

30,000 dollars raised for Navy SEAL Foundation by McKee Builders.

17, age of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was honored with the Liberty Medal last night in Philly.

1 million prize won by a Temple nurse in a contest to come up with a new flavor of potato chip. Her winner? Wasabi Ginger.

5 football coaches at Sayreville High in New Jersey suspended in a hazing flap.

19. age of Main Line teen charged in a fatal heroin overdose of a friend.

5 years in prison for former Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius in the shooting death of his girlfriend in South Africa.

1 American being held in North Korea freed; 2 others remain in captivity.

93, age of former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee who died yesterday.

31 states where unemployment fell last month.

7-1 win for the Giants in Game 1 over the Royals in K.C. last night.

2 run homer in 1st inning for former Phil Hunter Pence.

4-0 loss for the Flyers on the road in Chicago last night.

32 saves for Blackhawks’ goalie Antii Raanta filling in for starter Corey Crawford.

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

Yes, it stung last night for Phillies fans to watch as Hunter Pence homered in the 1st inning as the Giants smoked the Royals in Game 1 of the World Series.

I Don’t Get It: The NRA now can sue local municipalities over local gun control laws. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Woodly firefighters Cory McCans and Jamal Page. Their quick actions are being credited with saving the life of a 10-month old toddler who fell into a bathtub.

Quote Box: “I really can’t put it into words, just thank you so much.”

- John Carbonaro, father of the tot.

A salute to Ben Bradlee

Every day I get phone calls from irate readers who challenge some of the material that appears in the newspaper or our website.

They insist we've been unfair, that we have an ax to grind or hold some other bias against them, or that we just flat-out got our facts wrong.

I almost almost reply the same way: We stand by our story.

Those who feel victimized by our reporting vow to sue, inevitably adding their opinion of the newspaper. "Rag" is usually their word of choice. One aggrieved reader once told me the only reason he still got the newspaper was for hygiene facilities after he went to the bathroom, if you get my drift.

The people who work for me need to know that I stand behind their work.

The truth is I'm a pretty small fish in this business.

Ben Bradlee was not.

Bradlee was the iconic editor of the Washington Post who led their investigation of the Watergate break-in, which eventually brought down a president, and raised journalism to a new level.

A lot of people didn't believe the Post's reporting on the "third-rate burglary" that led to the office of President Richard Nixon.

Even people in this business had their doubts. It didn't really make any sense. Nixon was pretty much assured re-election. Why would he do it? But Bradlee and the Post persevered.

Ben Bradlee died yesterday at the age of 93. He was suffering from dementia.

Anyone who works in this business, or appreciates the role of a free press, is in his debt.

It is said that the Watergate story, in particular the way the Post covered it, spurred a lot of people to go into journalism. I was one of them.

I've never had the kind of pressure applied here that Bradlee faced as the powers that be put the squeeze on the Post to back off their Watergate coverage.

Bradlee never flinched.

Every time I get a nasty phone call, I think of Bradlee and the turmoil he faced in chasing that story. I know how easy it would have been for him - and the paper - to cave and pull the plug on Watergate.

This likely would not be the same country if they had.

And journalism - as troubled as it is these days - would have been forever diminished.

Thanks, Ben Bradlee.

You can put a -30- on that story now.

The answer to your Crossword questions

A long time ago, the man who hired me to work at this newspaper gave me a sage bit of advice.

"Never mess around with the comics or puzzles."

The truth is he didn't use the word 'mess.' I've sanitized it a bit, the word that is, not the message.

I think back at that bit of advice every time we tinker with the content of the print edition.

If you haven't noticed, we recently rolled out a fairly distinctive new redesign.

I have talked to scores of readers who wanted to weigh in on the change.

A couple of themes have developed. Many readers - especially young ones - like the design. They think it's better organized and a quicker read, something they need what with the manic pace we all live our lives in this technology turbo-charged world of information we swim in these days.

Our older, loyal, longtime readers have been pretty consistent in thinking that the type is too light and too difficult to read.

That is not, however, the item that has drawn the most scorn in our readers' reviews our our new look.

I took great care to note that we "saved" all of our regular features, including our popular comics and all our puzzles.

There are very few readers of the newspaper who are as devoted and loyal as those wordsmiths who every day - and Sunday - cross wits with our Crossword Puzzle.

For the last two Sundays, we have let them down.

Not because we didn't include the Sunday Crossword. It's been right there. But the answer to the previous week's puzzle has been nowhere to be found.

Readers let me know it - loud and often. They needed that answer like I need coffee in the morning.

I am happy to announce that we have retrieved the errant answer and it appears on P. 38 of today's print edition.

And we will anchor it starting this Sunday so that those readers who are so inclined are not left scratching their head wondering where the answers are.

What's a four-letter word for editor?

Uh, never mind.

A blast from the past for Phils' fans

It didn't take a long for a little salt to be poured into Phillies fans wounds as they hunkered down to watch the World Series.

Yes, that was our old pal Hunter Pence blasting a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to propel the San Francisco Giants to an early lead in Game One of the Fall Class against the upstart Kansas City Royals.

The Giants never looked back as they rolled to an easy 7-1 win.

Looking back is just about all Phillies fans do these days. In particular they have to wonder what the team was doing when they gave up on Pence so quickly.

He lasted just a year with the Phils.

They haven't had an answer in right field since.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Oct. 21

The Daily Numbers: 16,400 dollars ripped off by 2 armed men who held up Chickie’s and Pete’s in Drexel Hill early Sunday. Police believe it was an inside job.

1 dog shot by police and a 2nd that had to be put down during a vicious attack in Upper Darby.

17 of November, when Concord Planning Commission will vote on the controversial plan to develop part of the beloved Beaver Valley tract.

230 acres of the 318-acre tract that is targeted for development.

5,500 signatures on a petition that opposed the initial plan to develop the entire tract, including 314 single-family homes.

160 houses in the revised plans.

124 acres that would be retained as open space.

3.2 miles of the 8 miles of hiking and biking trails on the tract that would be preserved.

2 million dollars in state funding for the Fair Acres Center, delivered yesterday by Gov. Tom Corbett.

10 Plant Tower demolition last Saturday at the former Sunoco Refinery that did not go as planned and has Lower Chi commissioner fuming. The demolition created a large plume of dust.

1 body found along Bishop Drive in Chester Heights.

19 million dollar profit for Delta Airlines Monroe Refinery in Trainer.

9 gas stations in western Delco sporting prices under $3 a gallon.

5 Sears stores that will close in Pa. None of them are in Delco. The King of Prussia store will be converted into a Primark retail store.

7 percent, all that separates Tom Corbett from Tom Wolf these days.

234 emails either sent of received by Justice Seamus McCaffery that have earned him a suspension from the state high court.

140 dollars a month, how much Philadelphia teachers would have to pay for their health care after the School Reform Commission axed their contract. A judge has now halted the move, at least temporarily.

41, age of Monica Lewinsky, who spoke to the Forbes Under 30 confab in Philly yesterday about the pitfalls of ‘shame’ and cyberbullying.

25 dollar fine now in place in Philly for possession of small amounts of pot, as opposed to criminal charges. 7 women slain in Indiana, it’s believed to be the work of a serial killer.

30-23 win for the Steelers over the Texans in Monday Night Football.

10 point deficit near the end of 1st half that the Steelers turned into an 11 point lead in just 1 minute.

2 key offensive linemen, Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis, who are making progress as they look to return from injuries.

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

The Eagles should be getting Mychal Kendricks back at linebacker on Sunday when they resume the season in the desert vs. Arizona. That’s good news.

I Don’t Get It: Monica Lewinsky. She was speaking out against cyber-bullying at the Forbes Under 30 conference.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Shane Victorino. The former Phillie paid a visit to the parents of ‘Bucket List Baby’ Shane Haley over the weekend. Class act.

Quote Box: “It is a gift we will treasure forever.”

- The Haley family, on the Phillies jersey with Shane stenciled on the back delivered by Victorino.

Another reason to like Shane Victorino

I always liked Shane Victorino.

And that was before the Phillies won a World Series in 2008.

Victorino donated a ton of money to build a playground in Philly. He went out of his way to become part of the Philadelphia community.

He has not forgotten us, even after he was dispatched by the Phils and wound up with the Boston Red Sox.

Last weekend Victorino was back in the area, paying a visit to a local family and paying homage to another person named Shane. Shane Michael Haley was born On Oct. 9. He died a few hours later. His parents, Jenna Gassew and Daniel Haley Jr., of Upper Darby, had created a Facebook page called 'Prayers for Shane' after they learned their unborn son suffered from a rare illness that made left it little chance of surviving outside the womb. They created a 'bucket list' of their favorite places they wanted to visit while Shane was still developing in his mother's stomach.

Victorino visted the family during a luncheon they held at Casey's Restaurant & Saloon in Drexel Hill on Saturday. He gave them a Phillies jersey with 'Shane' stenciled on the back.

Victorino has always been a class act. His actions in thinking of Jenna and Dan in the wake of the death of their newborn only make that even more apparent.

It's enough to make Phillies fans mimic a fairly famous movie and make a pitch to the Phillies organization: Come back, Shane.

Judging the judges: It's ugly stuff

In my Daily Numbers column that I compile each day, I have an item I refer to as "I don't get it."

I guess at this point you could include the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in that category.

Last night the high court suspended Justice Seamus McCaffery for his role in the ugly porn email scandal that is roiling Harrisburg and much of state government.

McCaffery already has apologized for sending or receiving 234 emails with sexually explicit content. He called it a "lapse of judgment."

Ya think?

Maybe McCaffery thought he was still presiding over Eagles Court. Yes, this is the same Judge McCaffery who gained quite the local and national acclaim by lording over the court set up in the basement of Veterans Stadium to deal with drunken Eagles fans.

In the meantime, there is a virulent political overtone that hangs over this story.

First, a lot of people believe all of this is a political witch hunt being pushed aggressively by Attorney General Kathleen Kane. She uncovered the cache of racy emails during the course of her investigation of how then-Attorney General - now Governor - Tom Corbett handled the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

It already has cost several state officials their jobs.

McCaffery believes the case against him is just the latest in his high-profile disagreements with Chief Justice Ron Castille. Both are from Philadelphia. Both are former Marines. McCaffery is a Democrat, Castille a Republican.

McCaffery was quick to apologize for his conduct, but could not resist firing back at the person he believes is behind airing all this dirty laundry in public.

He made hsi feelings for Castille clear last week when he offered his apology. He was still at it last night, blasting Castille for a "vindictive pattern of attacks" against him.

His attorney, Dion Rassias, noted that "today's action should surprise no one, given Chief Justice Castille's relentless crusade to destroy his career and reputation."

A third justice, Michael Eakin, was drawn into this quagmire last week, accusing McCaffery of threatening him with another cache of emails tied to Eakin. Eakin says McCaffery wanted him to put pressure on Castille to back off his attacks, and alleged that McCaffery made it clear he would go public with the emails on Eakin if he did not help out. McCaffery vehemently denies making any such threat.

At this point, you almost have to stand back and remind yourself that these are the robed men who sit on the highest court in Pennsylvania.

What the hell are these guys thinking?

There are a couple of things that come to mind here. One, don't they understand the kind of perception this is going to deliver to the public. Dirty laundry has never been raunchier.

Second, there is the whole idea of doing this kind of stuff on state computers, and on the taxpayers' time. Sure, some of it was done on personal computers, but what does it say about these judges that they would even consider doing this at all.

And maybe most important, how are women who work in these offices and often appear before these judges supposed to feel knowing of their predilection for porn.

It's ugly stuff.

One more reason to proudly proclaim: Pennsylvania, Land of Giants.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Oct. 20

The Daily Numbers: 16,000 dollars believed ripped off from the Chickie’s & Pete’s in Drexel Hill yesterday morning.

2 armed, masked men being sought in the heist.

11-1 margin by which the Boeing union approved a new contract deal.

10,000 dollar ratification bonus included in the deal.

10 percent pay hike for union workers at the top of the pay scale.

9 percent Boeing contribution to a new 401K plan being instituted in 2017. That’s followed by 8, 7 and 4 percent in subsequent years.

12 percent kick-in for their health care for union members starting in 2016, up to 14 percent in 2019.

6 p.m. meeting tonight in Concord on proposed development of Beaver Valley tract.

23, age of suspect arrested in fatal stabbing in Upper Darby bar.

5 mile chase from the Wawa at 84th and Bartram near the airport to Lansdowne, where theft suspect crashed his car.

6 people killed in fire in home outside Pittsburgh.

48 health care workers cleared in Dallas after they were monitored for possible Ebola contamination.

6-1 mark for the Cowboys, 1 game better than idle Eagles.

7 straight games to start the season that DeMarco Murray has rushed for 100 yards. That’s new NFL record.

128 yards and 1 TD on 28 carries for Murray as the Cowboys beat the Giants, 31-21.

5-1 mark for the Cardinals, who are next for the Eagles.

24-13 win for Bruce Arians over the Raiders.

253 yards and 2 TDs passing for Carson Palmer.

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

A crisp, sunny Sunday afternoon and no Eagles game to worry about. Who else spent the day outside instead of camped in front of the TV?

I Don’t Get It: One of the suspects who held up the Chickie’s & Pete’s in Drexel Hill was wearing a sweatshirt with the eatery’s logo on it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Goodwill program in Upper Darby School District, which is providing a great opportunity to disadvantaged young people.

Quote Box: “Bar none, I think it’s the best.”

- Local 1069 United Aerospace Workers Union President Chris Owens.

Change comes to the 163rd state legislative district

Something almost beyond belief will happen next January.

Someone not named Micozzie will represent the people of the 163rd legislative district.

Nick Micozzie has served in Harrisburg for more than three decades. Before that he was an Upper Darby councilman.

I use my print column this week to salute this public servant, and remind people of what we will miss as Micozzie steps away to start a richly deserved retirement.

The absence of people like Micozzie, Sen. Ted Erickson and Mario Civera means a loss of clout for Delaware County. And that translates into money.

Don't believe it? Just ask the folks in Upper Darby. They were ready to storm the school board meeting and run them out of town on a rail because of staff cuts and curriculum changes that endangered their beloved art and music programs.

It was Micozzie, along with Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, who found the money to avert the cuts.

No one knew the system - how it worked and where the money was - better than Micozzie.

He will be impossible to replace.

A little frost on the pumpkin - and the windshield

Brace yourself.

Here's a word I haven't thought of in awhile. Actually, not quite long enough.


Yes, as in ice scraper.

That was a fairly substantial frost on my windshield that greeted me this morning. Instead of trying to figure out where I put the scraper. I just juiced the windshield. Of course, most of that froze on contact. But after a couple more squirts, I was good to go. But not before firing up the heater and the defrost.

My temperature gauge on my odometer was registering 31 degrees this morning when I left the house. Of course, that's early.

Right now just before 7 a.m. it's 41 degrees. We're only going to hit 61 today.

Frost on the pumpkin? Yeah, fall has arrived.

Which of course mans winter is right behind.


Call me in April.

Cowboys go a game up on Eagles

Don't look now but the Eagles are suddenly looking up at the Cowboys.

Courtesy of their bye week, the Birds did nothing but watch yesterday as they fell a game behind the surging Cowboys, who pounded the Giants behind the record-setting effort of running back DeMarco Murray.

All he did is become the first running back in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his team's first seven games.

Murray rumbled for 128 yards and a TD in the Cowboys' 31-21 win over the Giants. The win propels the 'Boys to 6-1, while the Eagles remained at 5-1.

The schedule now turns decidedly tougher for the Eagles. They get back in business with the late 4 o'clock game next Sunday in the desert against former Temple coach Bruce Arians' Arizona Cardinals. They now sport the same 5-1 mark as the Eagles after they beat the hapless Raiders 24-13 on Sunday.

This Cowboys team looks like they might be for real, in large part because they are banking on Murray, as opposed to putting the game in the hands of Tony Romo, who managed to create crucial turnovers in so many of those opportunities, including a game last year against the Eagles when an interception foiled what looked like a winning drive for the Cowboys.

Better make plans to have the Thanksgiving turkey a little early this year. Mark this one on the calendar. The Eagles will be in Dallas for the annual holiday treat on Nov. 27.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Oct. 17

The Daily Numbers: 0 tax hike in this year’s proposed Delco budget.

3 straight prior years in which taxes have gone up.

5.604 mill tax rate in the budget.

752.05 tax tab for average house assessed at $134,200.

1st degree murder conviction for Chester man in July 2013 shooting death of another man in the city.

2,000 passengers who travel through Philadelphia International from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, center of Ebola outbreak.

3.19 price per gallon for gas at Wawa this morning. Wonder if it will dip below $3.

100 people who showed up at a forum in Upper Darby last night to address cyberbullying.

2 million dollar Ponzi scheme fraud charged by the feds against a West Chester woman.

1.4 million dollar grant for Chester Boys and Girls Clubs as part of a federal job training program.

19 million profit for Monroe Energy refinery run by Delta Air lines in Trainer in 3rd quarter.

8 percent boost in revenue for Delta, due in large part to the refinery.

630 million dollars in impact fees and @2.2 billion in corporate income and franchise taxes being paid by natural gas drillers, according to GOP pols who held press conference yesterday at the courthouse.

234 pornographic emails linked to Pa. Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery. He apologized yesterday, and then attacked his boss Chief Justice Ron Castille.

3,000 people who turned out in Philly yesterday to protest School Reform Commission move to ax teachers’ contract.

111-91 loss for the Sixers.

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

So what are your plans for Sunday, since there is no Eagles game? Might be time to introduce myself to my wife, “Hi, I’m Phil.”

I Don’t Get It: The cable news outlets have sunk their teeth into the Ebola story and they’re not letting go. Keep this in mind. Ebola is not transmissible through the air. You have to have close contact with spit, feces, vomit, urine or some other infected material to be infected.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Delco Council for holding the line on taxes this year.

Quote Box: “You need money to govern sometimes. When you raise taxes, you get criticized for it.”

- County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, noting this year, as opposed to last 3 years, Delco will not raise taxes.

About that no-tax-hike budget

First the good news, then the interesting news. Or at least it is to me.

Delaware County residents this morning are being greeted by the front-page headline that there will not be an increase in county taxes this year.

The initial budget proposal will keep the levy at 5.604 mills. That means is you have the average home assessed at $134,200, you will once again pay $752.05 in taxes.

This year's county budget process reverses a trend that saw taxes increase in each of the last three years. Last year residents took a 2.8 percent hike, largely because of increases in costs tied to the funding cuts from the state for operation of the Fair Acres Geriatric Center, as well as increased costs at the county 911 Center.

Now the interesting part.

The announcement that the county was not raising taxes was made by council at a public meeting in Springfield. That just happens to be the home of Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, who is in a heated race for the vacant 26th District state Senate seat against Demcocrat union leader John Kane.

The county has to present their preliminary budget at least 60 days prior to the end of the year.

That always puts them precariously close to election day.

In years past - in particular when taxes are going up - council has not exactly gone out of its way to make the news public. We usually have to pester them about it and when the initial numbers are going to be available.

Not so this year.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, right?

At any rate, note that the news is plastered all over our front page.

That's what we did the past few years when taxes were going up. We couldn't very well bury the news inside when council is holding the line on taxes.

I wonder if next year, should the numbers go south and another tax hike is required, if council will be quite as forthcoming with the news.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Oct. 16

The Daily Numbers: 50 to 132 months in prison for former Collingdale Councilman James Bryan.

2.9 million dollars, how much he ripped off for the company he worked for Wescott Electric.

12 of November, date for public hearing on controversial plan to develop last open tract in Brookhaven.

5 burglaries in Upper Darby all believed to be the work of the same man.

10,000 to 14,000 drivers who use Route 320 in Swarthmore every day who will be looking at a new traffic plan.

3.7 acre parcel on Baltimore Pike in Middletown that was once home to the Crier in the Country that is set for development as a 4-story life-care facility for seniors.

6 public hearings starting tonight set by the Springfield School Board on options for replacing the high school.

13.4 million dollar treatment center now open at Coatesville VA.

2nd nurse now diagnosed with Ebola at Dallas Hospital.

234 pornographic emails shared by Pa. Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery in the ongoing email scandal roiling the state capital.

2 soccer coaches from Northampton High who have resigned their posts after players taunted an opposing player from Guinea about Ebola.

34,000 price tag for the negatives from the wedding of John Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

4-0 ALCS sweep for the Royals, putting them in the World Series.

3-1 lead in NLCS for the Giants over the Cardinals.

2 week leave being taken by Garnet Valley football coach Mike Ricci.

27 of their last 80 shootouts in which the Flyers have emerged victorious. That’s just 34 percent.

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

Let’s hear it for Raul Ibanez and Erik Kratz. Both former Phils are headed to the World Series with the Kansas City Royals.

I Don’t Get It: Things are getting crazy in Harrisburg. Two state reps were involved in a shootout after a holdup attempt as they walked home just a few blocks from the Capitol.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Kansas City Royals. Let’s hear it for small market teams.

Quote Box: “He was treated more like a son than an employee.” - James Wescott, owner of firm victimized by former Collingdale Councilman James Bryan.

Corbett on the hot seat: Join us for a live interview

Gov. Tom Corbett continues to face a decidedly uphill fight in his bid to win re-election.

Most polls have Democratic challenger Tom Wolf up, although the margin has been moving at least a little bit in the governor's favor.

A recent poll has Corbett within single digits of Wolf with three weeks left in the campaign.

Today we'll be putting Corbett on the hot seat - and you can take part. The governor, seeking to avoid being the first incumbent to fail to win a second term in the governor's mansion, will sit down for a live interview with members of the Digital First Media regional editorial board.

I'll be on the call.

You can watch a live-stream of the broadcast here. And there will be a live Scribble for you to take part in a live chat.

I've received several good questions for the governor from readers. If you have something you'd like him to answer, email me your question at

We'll be live with Gov. Corbett at 8:30 a.m.

Join us!

Bizzarro World? No, just Harrisburg

Interesting place, our state capital is these days.

I'm talking about Harrisburg.

The place where employees of the attorney general's office under Tom Corbett have become embroiled in a scandal involving pornographic emails.

It's already cost several people their jobs. Some of them are crying politics, saying this has been set up by the current A.G Kathleen Kane.

Yesterday we learned that one of those who shared porn was none other than Supreme Court Justice. He was outed by his boss, Chief Justice Ron Castille. You should know those two did not exactly get along either.

But all of this pales compared to what happened to a couple of state reps this week.

After a late session, they grabbed a late dinner and then headed to the place they rent a few blocks from the Capitol when they are in town with the Legislature in session.

That's when they were approached by a teen with a gun.

He picked the wrong guys.

State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, is a former prison guard. He also happens to be licensed to carry a handgun.

He was packing Tuesday night when they were accosted by a pistol-packing teen.

Flynn never blinked.

When the young tough pointed his gun at Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, Flynn took out his Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 pistol.

Several shots were exchanged. Nobody was hit.

Flynn said the experience only reinforced what he firmly believes is the value of packing heat.

He did not exactly offer a ringing endorsement of life in the state capital.

“This isn’t my neighborhood. I didn’t grow up here. I’m not comfortable in this environment,” said Flynn. “I don’t feel safe walking the streets of Harrisburg.”

Four teens now face charges.

Police believe they did the same thing on Monday night.

Too bad it was not Rep. Bizzarro who pulled out his gun.

The Bizzarro World headline would be too god to pass up.

2 familiar faces on Royals' roster

Looking for a team to root for in the baseball playoffs?

I'm going with the Kansas City Royals. Actually, I liked both the Royals and the Baltimore Orioles, who faced off in the ALCS.

Having grown up in southern Chester County, the Orioles were always my second favorite team, after the Phillies, of course. I saw several games as a kid in the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

Both these teams are from so-called "small markets." And both teams play very good fundamental baseball.

But there is an added attraction to the Royals.They feature several familiar faces.

Our old pals Raul Ibanez and Erik Kratz are both on the Royals' roster.

Ibanez was not active for the Royals playoff roster, but it's clear his class act is setting an example for the young Royals. Same goes for Kratz.

It's been a long time since the Royals appeared in the World Series. 1985 to be exact. That's almost back to those glory days of George Brett. You remember him. Pretty good hitter. Got flipped by Dickie Noles in the 1980 World Series, which broke a long championship drought here in Philly. K.C. fans had their fill of pent-up emotions and they exploded in exhiliration after the Royals completed a sweep of the O's at home yesterday. Here's what it looked like. Phillies fans can relate. Here's hoping K.C. gets 'crowned' in the World Series. Go Royals.