Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Clarification Time

CLARIFICATION: In my print column today, I mentioned a David Landau political event a few months back at which he discussed the partisan way in which the county nursing home, Fair Acres, was run.

I have since spoken with Democrat Carol Cannon (and Penn Delco school boarder) who also attended the meeting and she told me she has a different recollection of what Landau said.

She believes that when Landau was speaking about getting into Fair Acres he meant as an employee, not as a patient.

Laura Goodrich, a Republican, has a different recollection of what Landau said.

For the record, I sought to talk to Cannon about this Tuesday but she was unavailable due to a death in the family. I called her again Wednesday to get her recollection of the event.

I had been told in response to what Landau asserted Cannon announced she had to speak to her State Rep, Steve Barrar, to get a relative into Fair Acres.

But this was not because she needed his approval or connections to get her in, only to find out the "process" of getting someone admitted.

Yesterday, Cannon agreed that party affiliation played no role in who gets admitted to the county nursing home.

On other hand, Cannon told me she thinks it helps a great deal to be an active Republican when it comes to getting a management position at the facility. I would be the last one to disagree with her on that.

I spoke with Fair Acres Administrator Joe Dougherty about the perception that you had to be Republican to be admitted there and he said that was a perception that he and his team has been fighting for a number of years.

What they want to do, he said, is fill beds and they don't hold them open for weeks waiting for a registered Republican to apply. (If they did that they wouldn't get paid for them, you see.)

On Tuesday, he said, they had five open beds that they were looking to fill as soon as possible -- presumably even with space aliens if Medicaid would cover them.

As it happens, Dougherty is Upper Darby GOP Chairman John McNichol's son-in-law. Despite that curse, he is by most accounts, an excellent administrator, even if he does have a hard time finding qualified Democrats to fill upper level management positions at the facility. I'm sure he could if he looked a little harder. But, for obvious reasons, I don't see that happening.

Oh, and here is another clarification: My son, Jake Spencer, who works on average five hours a week at Fair Acres, doesn't take home $51 and change a week.

He takes home $51 and change every TWO weeks.

The Global Poverty Gap

Sensible Robert Samuelson writes about The Global Poverty Gap discussed in a new book by Gregory Clark.

Money Q:

"By and large, nations have either lifted themselves up or have stayed down. Societies dominated by tribal, religious, ideological or political values that disparage the qualities needed for broad-based growth will not get growth. Economic success requires a tolerance for change and inequality, some minimum level of trust -- an essential for much commerce -- and risk-taking. There are many plausible combinations of government and market power; but without the proper cultural catalysts, all face long odds."

That elephant hiding over there in the corner is Iraq.

Monday, October 29, 2007

You Gotta Like Mike

There is a word that comes to mind when sitting and listening to Common Pleas court candidate Mike Farrell. The word is avuncular.

No candidate for local office this election cycle is easier going, articulate, smarter or seemingly better suited for the position for which they are running.

In the past Farrell, a Democrat and a fairly new comer to Delco politics. Last year he ran for state senate against the well-known and well-liked and well-respected Ted Erickson.

Back then Farrell made a point about having nothing bad to say about Erickson. And he didn't. But there was no reason for voters to toss Erickson out. And Farrell didn't give them one.

He might have made a decent state senator but it's much easier imagining him as a judge. His demeanor, his knowledge of the law, his resume (Penn, Cornell) and his attitude toward judging and the law, suggest a person perfect for the bench.

In our interview with him he mentioned a case that he was involved with as a young lawyer, a brief he filed working with the ACLU.

A mother, a Muslim, was denied seeing her son at Graterford because she refused to remove her headress and veil in front of male guards. Every weekend for months she was turned away.

After listening to some arguments on both sides, the judge involved in the case called the lawyers up and looked for a way to resolve matter, pointing out that while both sides had decent legal arguments what this all really came down to was a mother who was being denied the right to visit her son.

Why not find a way to work it out?

Good question and good judging. Judges have the power to bring some common sense into their courtrooms. And most do. But I hadn't heard such a folksy appeal to the spirit of the law," presented as nicely as Mike Farrell put it the other day.

He talked about judges who "get it." Knowing and learning the law helps. But "getting it," being fair and wise comes from someplace more important.

Don't mistake this for an endorsement. Farrell just struck me as someone I wouldn't mind facing if I or one of my kids ever got in trouble with the law.

He's a good guy and you don't have to know him well or long to get that.


Finally, something we can agree about with a French President

How Much Is That Drop-Out In the Window?

Drop Out Factories?

Fair enough.

Maybe one of the problems with a lot of Pennsylvania high schools is they don't teach much that many students find worthwhile or helpful.

What we need is less eco-propaganda and more Vo-Tech.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spencerblog Announcement

I have been out of town the last couple of days.

I see some readers have been very busy posting about John Green's resignation, especially a handful of anonymous Mark Sereni fans/Green haters. Some are a hoot.

I'll be responding to some of them, probably tomorrow.

I was pleased to see Democratic candidate for Common Pleas Court Mike Farrell post a comment under the "Meeting the Candidates" post. He and fellow Dem, Frank Daly, were in Thursday and I owe you a post on that meeting.

In haste, let me say this:

I like Mike.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meeting the Candidates

The Daily Times Editorial Board, on which I proudly serve, has been meeting with local candidates for County Council and Common Pleas court judgeships.

A couple of observations:

Democrats John Innelli and Ann O'Keefe surprisingly and individually volunteered that they took issue with the tone of the campaign being run by their running mate, David Landau.

They seem to think it is too accusatory when it comes to alleging GOP corruption in the county courthouse.

I think so too.

But at least Landau is making the serious effort to make the case for minority representation on council. He's running a much stronger campaign than either of the other two and working harder at it.

We had all the GOP candidates, Andy Lewis from Haverford, Christine Fizzano Cannon from Middletown and Tom McGarrigle from Springfield in Wednesday afternoon.

All three were impressive in my book, Lewis for his business credentials and general independence of the older-style county GOP machine politics, Cannon for her geniality and good grasp of the issues facing the county, and McGarrigle for his down-to-earth, common-man business sense.

My favorite moment came when I was badgering McGarrigle about a shot he took at Landau earlier in the campaign for his ACLU work 20 years ago. (He'd said it showed that Landau cared more about cop killers and criminals than the taxpayers of Delaware County.)

After trying to suggest that wasn't exactly what he said, he simply admitted he'd been wrong.

"I shouldn't have said that."

That impressed me.

When we caught the Landau campaign fudging the truth about its hand in revealing McGarrigle's tax problems in the early 1990s, Landau should have stepped up and said simply said "we screwed up." He didn't. At least, when I asked him about after it happened.

Like the good lawyer that he is, he tried to change the subject. Sometimes though, it's better to simply admit a mistake and move on. It shows integrity and confidence and its very disarming, especially with journalists.

For her part, Cannon said the county government web site was one of the worst she'd ever seen and that she would like to see it made more user friendly. Here here to that.

The Dems all made the same old arguments for a county health department.

The Repubs are said they had "open minds" about the issue but wanted to wait until a cost-benefit study was done to make a final decision on the matter. Sounds reasonable.

And EVERYBODY is against the FAA flight plan and for the county-funded lawsuit it.

Ridley DJ Greg Mallon, who is running for Common Pleas court judge was as affable and genial as could be. Over his 26 years as DJ he said he's heard over 100,000 cases and like anything else, the more you do something, the better you get at it.

When I told him he was gaining a reputation for being a little "cranky" on the bench he seemed so geniunely surprised that I told him I'd reject my sources. I haven't yet but I will.

Mary Alice Brennan was something of a surprise. She's also running for judge.
All she talked about how wonderful, hard-working, fair, compassionate, experienced, etc. she is. She's been a District Justice. A public defender and county council member. She has plenty of street cred. There's a way of conveying that without seeming to bragging on yourself about it.

At her last appearance at the Daily Times, when she was running for county council, as I recall, she seemed easier going and had less of an edge. This was more of a hard sell job, seemed a little out of character for her. I wasn't the only one who noticed it.

Later today, we'll meet with Democratic judicial candidates Frank Daly and Mike Farrell.

Daly responded (pretty well I think) to an earlier post of mine. Scroll down and you can find it. I'll post later on our meeting with them.

Green Resigns in Penn Delco

Facing criminal charges for failing to disclose a few hundred dollars in commission payments, Penn Delco school boarder John Green resigned Wednesday night.

I'm devoting tomorrow's print column to the subject.

It begins thusly:

"And another one bites the dust.

"Just a month after ridding itself of its lawsuit-threatening solicitor, the Penn Delco school board accepted the resignation of board member John Green, a man who knows when to quit."

You won't want to miss it.

UPDATE: As promised, Spencerblog has posted a rather lengthy response to some of the comments found below. Just click on comments and scroll down to find it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Money For Nothing

Monica Vitale, the alleged shoplifting granny who used her 4-year-old granddaughter to steal, thinks she has an excellent civil case against authorities for showing daughter's daughter on surveillance videotape.

"Money in my pocket," Vitale announced to the media.

Her mortified daughter might have a thing or two to say about that.

But you've gotta admit, Monica sure has a winning personality, doesn't she?

Just a Bunch of Noise!

Director Henry Bean has very sensitive ears and he's decided to make a movie about it.

I especially like his analysis of Democracy.

"For me, noise becomes a metaphor for power. The noise that I have to listen to, that I have no control over, that invades my house, my ears, my thoughts... in a way that's how our governments are," he said.
"We live in a world where the governments are extremely unresponsive to what the citizens want."

Yeah, that's the problem. The U.S. government isn't responsive enough to what PEOPLE want. That certainly explains all that taxpayer financed spending, transfer payments, medicaid coverage, farm subsidies and the like. Not to mention tax cuts!

By the way, there's a solution to having to put up with all that NOISE!


You Be The Judge

Democrat Frank Daly claims that Delaware County is at risk of having dozens of criminals freed to wreak havoc on their communities because he was never allowed to take the bench after being appointed by Gov. Ed Rendel.

The claim is laughable on its face. The judge that Daly would have replaced was Harry Bradley who worked civil cases not criminal.

Not too long ago it was Republicans who were trying to scare voters by alluding to County Council candidate David Landau's past with the ACLU.

Next thing you know Daly will be accusing our DA and judges with being too soft on crimes like DUI and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Let's hope not.

It's None Of Your Beswicks

Hey, it's not like he's Michael Vick.

Money Q:

“I really didn’t want the dog, but I didn’t purposely kick the dog out,” said Beswick, who has since replaced Daisy with a pit bull named Buddy. According to Beswick, he went to Home Depot and left Daisy asleep in his yard with the gate open.
“I was working in the yard and I left the gate open purposely,” he said. When he got back, Daisy was gone.

“If I wanted to be cruel to my dog, I would have taken it back to Southwest Philadelphia where I found it,” he said on his way to pay his fines.

Not the most responsible dog owner. Not the worst either.

Keeping Stereotypes Alive

In a standard refrain, State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland bad mouths a proposed $30 million soccer stadium for the city of Chester.

Instead he takes the opportunity to highlight the unfortunate shooting of a Chester girl.

Money Q:

“We have very little opportunities for young people in Chester, and when we do have something happening, they are put in the line of fire,” he said, referring to an incident last week when a young girl was shot in the foot while walking home from a dance hosted at the YWCA.
The gunshot victim hobbled up to the microphone Monday in a large boot next to Kirkland, who described her as a “symbol of hope.”
“Hope was almost destroyed. We’re looking for a way to keep hope alive.”

In this instance it was Kirkland who shot himself (and Chester) in the foot. But then he's always doing that.

UPDATE: In the meantime, county and Chester officials are doing their best to make the development deal, stadium and pro soccer team a reality.

Monday, October 22, 2007


As loses go, this one was pretty bad.

As wins go - pinned on their own 3-yard line with 2 minutes to go and no time outs - pretty impressive.

Give This Guy a Peace Prize

A global warming scientist urges the fearful and the fear-inducing to calm down and pay attention to the science.

Money Q:

"My concern is that we may be moving away from an irrational lack of concern about climate change to an equally irrational panic about it.

"Many of my colleagues ask, "What's the problem? Hasn't it been a good thing to raise public concern?" The problem is that in this panic we are going to spend our money unwisely, we will take actions that are counterproductive, and we will fail to do many of those things that will benefit the environment and ourselves."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

And the Winner Is...

Local boy and Hardball Host Chris Matthews wins a journalism award called The Churchill.

Ward Churchill?

Maybe he should send Sacheen Littlefeather to pick it up for him.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pelosi's Armenian Folly

Charles Krauthammer demolishes the Nancy Pelosi proposed resolution against Turkey for the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Money Q:

"Is the Armenian resolution her way of unconsciously sabotaging the U.S. war effort, after she had failed to stop it by more direct means? I leave that question to psychiatry. Instead, I fall back on Krauthammer's razor (with apologies to Occam): In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit."

Read the whole thing.

Going Once for $2.1 Million, Going Twice...

The latest bid for the famous Sen. Harry Reid letter to Rush Limbaugh is an incredible $2.1 million with all proceeds to benefit the Marines Corps Law Enforcement Foundation.

The now famous apology-demanding letter disingenously denounces Limbaugh for smearing U.S. troops. But Limbaugh is getting the last laugh. Just another example of political jujitsu, taking an offensive move by your opponents and deftly turning it against them.

Reid and his fellows Democratic senators are on the mat wondering how they got there.

I am not a huge Rush Limbaugh fan but you've got to give the guy credit. Pretty clever.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Great Sereni

Defrocked Penn Delco solicitor Mark Sereni continues to amaze and amuse.

After being fired from his position last month, he has continued to pop up at Penn Delco school board meetings. Odd that, since Sereni doesn't live in the district and owns no property there. It can't be that he considers the Penn Delco solicitorship his personal property can it?

I am told he was there again Wednesday night, the same day his old buddy Keith Crego was arrested and charged with multiple felonies (theft, bribery, forgery, drugs).

Crego committed many of his alleged crimes while his friend Sereni was apparently busy writing him glowing letters of recommendation and approving the legality of expensive (some would say, inappropriate) insurance plan giveaways to district employees.

Also charged Wednesday was former superintendent Leslye Abrutyn for her part in Crego's Quick Start scheme.

She claimed to investigators that Crego "coerced and intimidated" her into being a secret partner in Quick Buck by threatening to withhold a positive recommendation letter should she ever seek employment elsewhere.

That explanation just doesn't wash as I explain in tomorrow's print column.

With Crego facing upwards of 200 years in jail one wonders if he might consider sharing any information with authorities that might lighten a future prison sentence.

We shall see.

In the meantime, Mark Sereni continues to be deeply interested in the goings on at Penn Delco school board meetings even though the district is no longer paying him.

Is he a great guy or what?

UPDATE: Penn Delco Board President Dave Seitz tells me he has filed a formal complaint against Mark Sereni with the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for his threatening to sue district and the board if it chose to replace him.

I asked Seitz if he got any legal advice before he filed his complaint.
"I don't need an attorney to tell me that's (a lawyer threatening to sue his own clients) is not the right thing to do," he said.

Seitz said he is a little surprised that Sereni would continue to show up at Penn Delco meetings.

"I thought he would go about his business."

But, he said, Sereni's presence isn't going to bother him.

"I could care less," Seitz said. "Mr. Sereni is no issue to me."

Shooting the Messenger - Justifiable Homicide?

WSJ's Dan Henninger outlines Gen. Richard Sanchez's angry complaints with the Iraq war, the Bush Administration, the press, Congress and the ugly partisanship that is making the war tougher to win.

We in the press seem to get the worst of it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bubbaloo to his Quick Draw

Michael Ramirez is the best political cartoonist in America.

Go here and pick your favorite and I'll tell you mine.

Mr. Feel Good

NYT Columnist Bob Herbert, a knee-jerk liberal and reliable Republican hater, is hardly ever right about anything. But he gives Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint authors of "Come On, People: On the Path From Victims to Victors" their due here.

Money Q:

“Blaming white people,” they write, “can be a way for some black people to feel better about themselves, but it doesn’t pay the electric bills. There are more doors of opportunity open for black people today than ever before in the history of America.”

Herbert writes, "I couldn’t agree more. Racism disgusts me, and I think it should be fought with much greater ferocity than we see today. But that’s no reason to drop out of school, or take drugs, or refuse to care for one’s children, or shoot somebody."

Cosby and Poussaint aren't saying anything that wouldn't be said by Octavius Catto, 140 years ago (see today's print column), or Frederick Douglass or Shelby Steele today.

Bob Herbert claims to agree. But he gives away the game when he writes how disgusted he is by racism and how it needs to be fought with greater ferocity.

Well, whatever makes you "feel good," Bob.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the terrific Thomas Sowell, who is almost always dead on, as he is here.

UPDATE II: Columnist Cynthia Tucker joins the party.

Not Mugged by Reality or The Right Wing

Liberal Air America radio talk show host Randi Rhoads fell down and went boom.

An on-air colleague, Jon Elliot, reported she had been mugged but there was something fishy about the mugging. No money was taken, etc.

"Is this an attempt by the right-wing, hate machine to silence one of our own?" he asked on the air, according to Talking Radio, a blog. "Are we threatening them? Are they afraid that we’re winning? Are they trying to silence intimidate us?"

Silence you, Jon? No, by all means, keep talking.

Her Hypocrisy is Awesome

It has been well reported that Hillary Clinton listened to illegally recorded conversations of her political opponents back in 1992.

More importantly, it has not been denied by the Clinton camp.

A GOP official said, “Hillary Clinton’s campaign hypocrisy continues to know no bounds. It is rather unbelievable that Clinton would listen in to conversations being conducted by political opponents, but refuse to allow our intelligence agencies to listen in to conversations being conducted by terrorists as they plot and plan to kill us."

What does Barack Obama, John Edwards and the rest of the Democratic candidates for president have to say about this?

UPDATE: When I say "her opponents" I mean her and her husband's opponents.

UPDATE II: Remember, the hateful Karl Rove announced a few months ago that HRC was a "fatally flawed candidate." It seems to be taking many Democrats quite a while to catch on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

O.V. Catto: Hero

I was reading about civil rights pioneer Octavius Valentine Catto in today's paper thanks to Solomon Leach. The more I found out about him the more interesting he got. So I devoted tomorrow's print column to him.

Here you have a guy, a black Republican, who was pro-military (he was a major in the Pa National Guard), pro-handgun (when he needed one he went and bought one) pro-education (he read Greek and Latin and studied higher mathematics) was pro equal rights (not the affirmitive action sort) and was assassinated by a racist who was abetted (and not convicted) by Philadelphia's Democratic political machine.

The guy's life story would make a great movie. But don't hold your breath waiting for it. He was, after all, a Republican.

Putting Turkey on Double Secret Probation

If Nancy Pelosi and Tom Lantos are secretly trying to undermind the war effort this is an excellent way to do it.

But the cat's out of the bag and they need to be called on it.

Peacing Out to the Hits

The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize? Why Not?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rigoberta Gore?

The greatest Nobel hoax since Rigoberta Menchu. That's how Dr. William Gray sees it.

Money Q.:

"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous."

I wonder if Rigoberta Gore's hysterical predictions prove wrong by 2100, with Gore's great grandchildren return his Peace Prize like Rigoberta did?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Making A Silk Purse...

Rush Limbaugh is auctioning off Sen. Harry Reid's letter (which includes the signatures of dozens of other high profile Dems) accusing him of smearing the troops. The bid is up to $45,000. And the money will go to benefit the Marine Corp.

How delicious is that?

I wonder how much the original copy for the NYT General Betray Us ad would fetch? They could give all the money to the Jesse McBeth defense fund.

Here Comes the New Stupid Party

Prof. Ceaser explains the history of the Democratic Party and its devolution. America met the New Angry Left with's Gen. "Betray Us" ad. It didn't like what it saw.

Eyes on the Prize

Hey Al Gore has won a Nobel Peace Prize! Good for him. It puts him in such excellent company. As Iowahawk cleverly points out.

UPDATE: Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg has a less amusing but just as dismissive a take.

UPDATE II: The NYT weighs in with a big wet kiss on Mr. Gore's ever expanding hindquarters. However, the award given to Michael Murphy is too insignificant for the "newspaper of record" to notice.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Helping the Strivers

Republican presidential candidates will ignore David Brooks' advice at their peril.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NYPD to Jimmy Carter: Drop Dead

Scott Ott has the breaking news over at Scrappleface.

A New Solicitor in Penn Delco

It appears Michael Levin Esq. has been selected to be the interim solicitor for the Penn Delco School Board.

From everything I've heard about the guy, Penn Delco is lucky to have him even if it is only on a temporary basis.

He is General Counsel to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, and by all accounts, one of if not the top school board lawyers and education law experts in the state.

You can't do much better than that.

Please, Help the Children!

Dr. Mark Hemingway has identified a new and ugly threat to our nation's children.
It's called Manipulated Child Syndrome (MCS) and it's threatening to reach epidemic proportions.

There is, however, a cure.

No Apology No Peace

When prodded by Whoopi Goldberg on "The View" to apologize to the Duke Lacrosse players, Al Sharpton (who is currently threatening a boycott of the New York Knicks if Isiah Thomas doesn't apologize to a woman who won sexual harrassment suit against him) wrote her a letter saying he had nothing to apologize for since he never took a stance on their guilt.

But shortly after the charges were brought, Sharpton went on the O'Reilly show and said the following:

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, the authorities have charged there was a crime, so they are not saying that at all. Second of all, people on any side of an argument have the (right) to advocate on behalf of who they believe. Thirdly, I think that when the prosecutors went forward, they clearly have said this girl is the victim, so why would we be trying the victim and not the...

And later during the same interview...

SHARPTON: This case parallels Abner Louima, who was raped and sodomized in a bathroom like this girl has alleged she was. That's the case and just like in the Louima case, you have people here saying she fabricated it. They said he fabricated it — two guys in jail right now for that.

Read the whole interview.

To suggest he didn't take a position on the case is, of course, disingenuous. He compared it to one of the more horrible cases of sexual assault in recent American history.

Given that Sharpton has never apologized to Steve Pagones, the man he once publicly and falsely accused of raping Tawana Brawley it's not at all surprising that he declines to see any reason he should apologize here.

When offered the chance by Tim Russert to say I'm sorry to Pagones a few years back, Sharpton replied, "No apology for standing up for civil rights."

Apparently, the Rev thinks making false allegations of rape is a "civil right."

Durham Prosecutor Mike Nifong is learning the hard way that it isn't.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Penn Delco Update

Get this:

Even after the Penn Delco School Board voted 4 to 3 to relieve Super Lawyer Mark Sereni from his solicitorship duties, the very next day the ousted Sereni notified the board that he still considered himself the district's solicitor.

Why? Because in his excellent legal opinion the board should have allowed the newly appointed board members to vote on his dismissal.

Nevermind, that the two new boardmembers in question had just been appointed that night, hadn't been sworn in and had no legal right to vote on anything until they were.

You would expect a man who has been a school solicitor for a combined 42 years would know the law when it comes to this sort of thing. Then again maybe his own self interest clouded his legal judgement.

A legal opinion letter from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association made clear the Penn Delco board acted completely within their rights and responsibilities when they jettisoned the controversial Sereni.

The letter was forwarded to Sereni who, I am told, has not be heard from since.

That Sereni would so badly misinterpret the school code and to his own advantage is just one more reason why the district is probably very well rid of him.

His actions here kind of remind me of this.

UPDATE: Some "anonymous" posters have been questioning the existence of such a letter sent to Mr. Sereni. So let me be clear.

While the letter was written by the PSBA's general counsel, Mike Levin, it was not written in his capacity as PSBA's general counsel but as a consultant to the district.

However, in-house PSBA lawyers also gave verbal opinions to the district supporting it's removal of Solicitor Sereni in a 4 to 3 vote as perfectly legal.

Levin is considered to be the top legal experts on school law in Pennsylvania. Are Mr. Sereni's anonymous supporters saying his legal opinion is wrong?

One anonymous poster seems to be either questioning the existence of the opinion letter or seems to believe that because it wasn't written on PSBA stationary it should be considered as non-existent. That's sounds like a weirdly legalistic point of view.

If there are any lawyers familiar with the school code who would like to weigh in on this matter, their insights would be welcome. It would be nice if they identified themselves though, so readers can evaluate what axes they may have to grind.

That invitation, of course, includes Mr. Sereni himself, should he be so disposed.

Gore In The Dock

A British court has found Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" full of convenient untruths and says that if it is going to be shown in schools it should be appropriately labeled and corrected by teachers.

The First Amendment prevents American courts from involving themselves in these sorts of issues.

But common sense and good teaching practice should require educators in this country to educate themselves about the film's shortcomings before inflicting it on children.

Some Fries with That Berger?

Sandy Berger is an admitted felon and an apparent National Security risk. What is he doing advising Hillary Clinton? What next? Marc Rich as Treasury Secretary?

And what does his friend (and our congressman) Joe Sestak think about all this?

Some people think it's appalling.

Making A 4-year-old Do Your Dirty Work


You can go lower. But not much.

The Head Scarf Lawsuit

It seems a little strange that the Geo Group Inc., the private firm that runs our local prison, would invite a civil rights lawsuit by denying a female Muslim worker's right to a head scarf on the job.

But then it is a little strange to have a private firm running our county prison.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for it.

One of the good things about having a private company there is they're the one's who get sue when they make decisions like this one. If the woman collects, it's their insurance carrier who pays not the one paid for by us taxpayers.

Could Geo have made the decision to accommodate the employee's religious dress habits? Yeah. Is it required to by law. I'm not sure but I doubt it.

Today, it was reported that the Supreme Court turned down the appeal of woman in a similar case against the Alamo rental car company. But the facts were a little different. That head-scarf wearing woman was told she was going to be reassigned in her job and since she suffered no economic loss a jury award more than $250,000 was overturned by an appeals court.

If there had been a true economic loss the court might have ruled differently. Here the woman was given the choice of not wearing her head scarf or be fired.

Anyway, if Geo thinks enforcing its dress code is important enough to defend it in court, that's their decision to make. I'm sure there are decent security reasons to want uniformity in what their people wear.

They can tell their reasons to a judge and jury and pay their lawyers to do it.

UPDATE: Speaking of prison lawsuits, I just came across this old one. (Scroll down a little to find it.)

I'm glad they won it. And before you call me a religious bigot or hypocrite, I'd root for any Muslim worker forced to undergo the same sort of "diversity training."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Diversity At Its Merit-Based Best

Asian American John Yoo praises the work of African-American Clarence Thomas.

Money Q:

As his memoir shows, Justice Thomas's views were forged in the crucible of a truly authentic American story. This is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him. A man like this on the court is the very definition of the healthy diversity his detractors pretend to support.

In his dissent from the court's approval of the use of race in law-school admissions, he quoted Frederick Douglass: "If the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!" Justice Thomas observed: "Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators."

A Top Senate Porker Wants to Be President

Democrats who pushed earmark reform might have unwittingly caught a pig in a poke.

And her name is Hillary.

Surely, She Isn't Serious

Oh, yes she is.
And go ahead, call her Shirley.

How Al Qaeda Used the U.S. Media at Haditha

Very interesting piece about the so-called Haditha massacre that led to the charging of eight U.S Marines last year.

Anti-war U.S. Rep. John Murtha, among others, had claimed the Marines had killed 21 civilians "in cold blood" in retalitation for the death of a fellow soldier.

The media compared it to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

Turns out it was an al Qaeda planned operation from the get go.

So far, four of the Marines brought up on charges have been exonerated.

Apologies to the slandered Marines from Murtha, the New York Times et al. have yet to be forthcoming.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Carmen Ghia is No Joke

NYT columnist Paul Krugman explains that conservatives hate children and the poor so much, they make jokes about them.

Because Krugman is over the age of 21 and not poor, can I admit he reminds me of this guy?

Or is an attack on Krugman also an attack on the poor and children?

UPDATE: Wait a minute. Does this make comic Sarah Silverman a conservative?

A Less Than Shocking Display of Gullibility

At PuffHo, actor John Cusack plays useful idiot to conspiracy theorist Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine.

I've always liked Cusack as an actor. Sad to see him fall for such claptrap.

UPDATE: For a less enthusiastic, more analytical review of Klein's book click here.

Phils Swept

Sad to see the Phils go so flat and so quietly in their first playoff appearance in years.

Especially frustrating was to see All-Star second baseman Chase Utley play so miserably.

Will someone please explain batting Pat Burrell third against such a hard throwing right handed starter, let along starting him at all. His mediocre outfielding skills cost the team a big run in the 5th. Then there was his first-pitch pop out with two men on (both walked) and one out.

On a single nice note, pitcher Jamie Moyer was marvelous.

A Little Ditty Bout Crackers Down South

John Mellencamp has written a new song about racism.

It's called "Jena, Take Your Nooses Down."

The nooses in question were taken down months ago and immediately. It's hard to believe pouring gasoline on this fire will help put it out.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Angriest Justice?

In his autobiography Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas does not recall his Senate confirmation hearings with much fondness. Remember Anita Hill and her uncorraborated accusations against Thomas for boorish behavior?

At the time, Thomas called the attempt to derail his nomination a "high-tech lynching."

It was, at the very least, a well-documented conspiracy to commit character assassination.

The NYT's editorial page staff is alarmed that Thomas would recall his anger at being subjected to such a low and dirty campaign, one that was egged on by the Times itself.

It now says, Thomas should recuse himself from cases that involve the groups that sought to trash him personally to prevent his ascension to the court.

The NYT Editorial Page might want to think about recusing itself from weighing in on matters its writers feel so passionately about. Especially, when it comes to conservative black men about whom they have lost all sense of fairness or balance.

Those who know Thomas portray him to be a different sort of fellow from the one the Times editorialists and others seem to despise so much.

Phony Controversy

Dems fail in their effort to morph Rush Limbaugh into Jane Fonda.

I wonder why?

UPDATE: I'm just finishing Peter Collier's "FONDAS: A Hollywood Legacy," a pretty fair and not unsympathetic account of Fonda clan.

It does, however, include Jane's infamous trip to Hanoi during the war and her and her husband Tom Hayden's work to help the North Vietnamese communists win against our troops.

Moreover, when American POWs returned from Vietnam Jane Fonda attacked them as "liars, hypocrites and pawns." She challenged their claims at having been tortured at the hands of the North Vietnamese.

"Tortured men," she said, "do not march smartly off planes, salute the flag and kiss their wives. They are liars. I also want to say that these men are not heroes."

Ms. Fonda would fit in perfectly with today's crowd.

Look at it This Way...

The Phillies are 2 1/2 games out with three to play and playing the division leaders.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Phils Lose

Ryan takes called third strike.

On to Denver. Only one team in history has come back from losing first two games at home in a five game series. One out of 21.

Do you believe in miracles?

Burrell does the Same

Lines to Left too. Monkey see. Monkey do.

Chase prolongs the Inevitable

Line single to left.

Two Out...

Rollins grounds to second.

One out

Chris Coste lines out. Time to head for the exits.

Looks like Some Empty Seats

... behind home plate. Tough to blame the fans. The Phils blew their opportunity in the eighth. And a five-spot in the 9th is almost too much to hope for.

Spencerblog is Back

Just in time to see Ruiz ground out with the bases loaded. God, I'm good.

Bases jammed

Low blow that was not a strike in my opinion. Bases loaded! Let's go Phils!!!


Come on Phils. Red is not my color and I have been sporting this Utley t-shirt all day. Base hit for Howard. All my St. Louis pals are rooting for the Phils for Howard's sake. Jason Werth on deck.

J-Roll saves the inning

Matsui scares me. Somebody stop him! Alfonseca and Rollins get it done.

We're Going to the Bullpen

Bringing in a right-hander relief blogger. Spencerblog wife thinks she can do this.

I'm leaving to pick up Spencerblog daughter.

This ought to be good.


7th Inning Stretch

Quick story:

Giovanni Matarazzo, 7, of
Springfield isn't rooting for the Phillies.

"I hope the Rockies win," the little traitor said recently.

He was asked why.

"The Phillies need a better mascot," he chirped.

The G-man claims to have had a bad experience with the furry Phanatic.

"It kissed me once when I was in the park when I was with my dad and grandmom Rita and I don't even know what it is. Maybe if it was orange..."

Ground ball, double play

"Yes!" shouts Jake. "They got him. Huge. That's huge. Now, lets get some hits. Some homeruns."

Why not?

Now a Word from our Sponsors

Here's the Mr. Risk commercial from Travellers.

For some reason he reminds me of a Phillies fan.

Ryan Homers

But the rest of the Phils go quietly.

Ryan Howard Homers

Jake Spencer liked it.

"Ryan Howard is a beast. He's a VIP."


"That too," says Jake

The Half-Inning Mercifully Ends

If the Phillies don't score here, watch for the crowd at Citizens Bank to start thinning out.

The Horror continues...

Matsui triples in another one.

House, there's your 9. And it's about to get worse.

There Goes Mesa

Rockies have won 15 of their last 16. If the Phillies don't do something spectacular, this will be 17 of 18.


No Joy in Messaville

Walk. Walk. Double.

House: See that pitch? You coulda hit that pitch.

Mesa making a messa

House checks in.

They're letting this thing slip away. Mesa? You got to get out of this inning 6-3. Not 9-3 or whatever. Do you have any hope?

In a Fogg

Pat Burrell battles the Rockies reliever and then strikes out.


Chase gets a hit. A two-out hit, but a hit.

Munson RIP

The wife says Munson played for the Cincinnati Reds with Pete Rose, the Chickenwing guy and Johnny Bench.

I prove her wrong with google.

"At least he was a catcher," she says.

"You said he was shortstop."

She leaves the room in a huff.

TBS Baseball Quiz

Only two shortstops to score over 139 runs in a year.

The Spencerblog wife guesses Thurman Munson.

Somebody kill me.

Manager of the Year

Smart play by Rockies manager Clint Hurdle to pinch hit for Morales. Kept the inning alive for Matsui.

Would Manuel have done the same?

Nice 1-2 fastball

Did I forget to mention Matsui hit a grand slam?

Middle of the 4th - 6 to 3 Rockies

Those boos you hear are for Charlie Manuel and are well deserved.

Not that I really know anything about baseball. It's been berry berry bad to me.

Told You So

Told you I didn't like it.

Pitching Change

Bases loaded, two out. Manuel takes out Kendrick. Here comes Lohse to face Matsui.

Excuse Me, While I Yell at My Wife

She keep trying to look over my shoulder while I write. I'm very grumpy with two men on and two out.

Almost Out of It

Pop out to Howard.

Nice play by Pat

Good jump in Left.

Another lead off double

They keep coming at you these Rockies

Picked off

Burrell humps out. Howard takes one for the team and then is picked off. Rowan lines out.

Howard and Utley need to get their heads in the game or the Phils don't have a chance in the series.

Nice Job by Kyle

Matsui stranded at second after lead off double. That's big. It feels like the middle of 7th inning, doesn't it?


He did hit it hard though.

Walk Holliday

Pass him. He's too good

Big K

Kendrick is pitching like a 10 year vet.

No Walks Here

Holliday is no Holiday.

The Rockies are Back in Business

Lead off Double. Look for a 15-13 final.

As long as its a W for the Fightins, fine.

Top of the Third

I've been offered a beer. Declined. A hot dog though has been accepted.

A Good Sign

Chase makes contact. Phils lead after two. Who'd a thunk it?

Jake Spencer, that's who!


Jimmy bails them all out.

The chant continues.


My buddy House just checked in.

Helms could have walked home. That's how you lose games.

That's horrible

Worst baserunning I've every seen.


How about a squeeze

Go Go Go Go Go

Ruiz doubles.

Rowan would have had it.

Come on Kyle


TBS announces are repeating suggestions the Rockies pitchers are cheaters!

Speaking to Soon

Walking the 7 hitter wasn't very Carltonesque. And going to his mouth for a ball. When have you seen that lately. They wouldn't have called it on Lefty.

Cutting it Loose.

Franklin Morales looks like Steve Carlton without the slider. Tough to hit.

Why I'm Wild About Harry

Kendrick is settling down. I miss Harry Kalas' voice.

Back in the day when Harry Kalas used to spend significant time at the Towne House in Media he used to give Bobby, the bar's long-time blind piano player, the occasional ride home.

One night, long ago, on their way out, Harry conspicuously handed his car keys to his sightless companion and loudly announced:

"Bobby, I'm drunk. You drive."

And then leading his friend out the door he waved to the bartenders and signed off: "We are OUTTA HERE!"

What's not to like about Harry the K?

Not for Chase

For me... I don't believe what I'm seeing.


Chase throws it away. I want a drug test after this game.

Kendrick Walks the Lead Off Man

So far, so bad

Rowan ends the Inning

Nine strikes out in 10 at bats for Chase and Howard. Not good. But, it could be worse. If Jimmy Rollins isn't the league MVP there ought to be an investigaiton.


Come on, Ryan

Pat walks

Good eye by Burrell. That was a strike against Chase

Chase Looks Lost

Five in a row? He Chased.

Utleys UP

That was HIGH.


Heh. Homerun MVP MVP MVP.

Fast Start for the Rockies

2-0. If the Phils go down in order in the first, I'll eat my new hat.

There goes another one

Homerun. Kendrick better settle down in a hurry. Pop up. Good. Two outs.


3:11 p.m. That was quick. Geez.


Here We Go!

3:07 p.m. First pitch Uh oh

My digital TV is behind the radio broadcast. Goodbye Harry Kalas.

Spencerblog Announcement

Spencerblog will be watching today's game on TBS but listening to it on the Big Talker 1210.

Spencerblog finds our announcers more comforting and slightly less objective than TBS ones.

A Hard Team to Hate

Tragically, the old man is now a Met fan. He fell for them in the late 60s when were were living in Princeton and he was working in Trenton.

The excitement of the 1969 World Series certainly helped that relationship.

When he moved to back to Philly in the mid-70s, he became a born-again Philly fan. But then he went to New York and started cheating on the Phils with the Mets again.

From there he moved to Denver to become editor of the Denver Post and the expansion team Rockies lit up his life.

That flirtation didn't last. But it did for my stepmom, who still has great affection for the Rocks.

They're a hard team to hate. (Not like the Mets, thanks to their fans.) But we'll do our best the next few hours.

The Omen II

Back in 1980 when my old man was the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News he claims to have seen an omen concerning the Phils winning the World Series.

Having driven down a particular street for years without ever noticing its name, on the day of Game 6 against the Kansas City Royals, he looked up to see the name of the street was "Carlton."

That night Lefty, Steve Carlton, won 4 to 1, with a little help from Tug McGraw.

Today, my old man lives in New York City, and amazingly last Sunday something very similar happened.

He was walking home from a nearby convenience store and took a the back alley shortcut to his condo.

He looked up and saw the name of the street, a name he'd never noticed before.

The name of the street? Mets Blow 7-Game Lead With 17 to Play Avenue.

Is that a coincidence or what?

Welcome to Phillies Pre-Game

Just back from the Granite Run mall where several important items were purchased for today's game.

Jake Spencer is now sporting a blue Phillies T-shirt with Ryan Howard's name and number 6 on the back, and a red, non-adjustable (6 7/8ths) fitted Phillies cap.

Given the choice between the $14.95 T and the $79.95 Rollins game jersey, Jake went with the T -- bless his heart.

At Jake's urging, his father now has the same T, though an XL, and red Phillies (soft, adjustable) cap.

A red Chase Utley T was procured for Jake's stepmom. (Jamie Moyer's wife was reportedly giving them away outside the park after his 4-strikeout performance yesterday.)

At 22, Jake Spencer has never experienced a Philadelphia sports team winning a championship.

He was 8 years old the last time the Phillies were in a World Series (1993) but, having Down syndrome, he really didn't start getting the championship sports thing until he was a teenager.

He gets it now, and there is no bigger or more loyal Eagles, Phillies or Sixers fan.

He sticks up even for the most frustrating and obnoxious Philly sports pro, from Ricky Waters to Terrell Owens to Allen Iverson to Brett Myers.

In fact after buying his Phillies stuff, we shot across Route 1 to the Riddle Hospital Thrift Shop, where Jake picked up a Terrell Owens Eagles Jersey for $3. (How good would Owens look in an Eagles uniform today?)

If the Phillies don't win today or this weekend, there will be an blue XL Ryan Howard T for sale the Riddle Thrift Shop Monday afternoon.

No matter what, Jake (no fair weather fan he) will be hanging on to his.

Spencerblog Announcement

I will be live blogging the Phillies game today.

Those of you silly enough to be stuck at your desks in offices without access to a TV will be able to keep up with an inning by inning account of this all important playoff game right here.

That is, as long as you have access to a computer and the Internet.

Comments will be welcome.

UPDATE: Pre-game show will start at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Age of Sycophants?

Andrew Ferguson gives a not very flattering review to Alan Greenspan and his new book.

Being Mean to Hillary

Nicholas Van Hoffman is complaining about Hillary's Dirty Rotten Money over at The Nation. He's being mean to the future First Lady too.

Money Q:

"Both of the Clintons seem to have gone money-crazy. Bill is out loose on the world taking enormous amounts of money from anyone who pays him to appear anywhere and bragging about it. With a pension of $186,000 a year plus innumerable other perks, another ex-President might rein in the itchy palm urge, but Bill is not known as a self-control artist. Whether he is also acting as a bag man for his wife is something for future grand juries to investigate."

That's not very nice.

Carter's Crime Plan

Chester mayor Democratic hopeful Rosetta Carter unveiled a 7-point plan to combat crime in the city.

Money Q from Daily Times:

“I would like to have some members from the community — leaders such as organization leaders, church leaders, also members from the police department (and) from the parole department — talk about safety issues,” she said.
The remainder of Carter’s plan emphasizes improving the police department by hiring more diverse officers, adding police substations and purchasing new technology, such as surveillance cameras.

Let's see, hire "more diverse officers" and "talk about safety issues" with "community leaders."

Sounds pretty lame to me.

The idea of surveillance cameras in high crime areas strikes me as a good idea, which is why I proposed it in a column months ago. Mayor Wendell Butler jumped on the notion and has applied for the grants to get and pay for them.

As for a more diverse police force, isn't Chester's force pretty diverse as it is?

Hiring more Asian women as cops, no doubt, would bring more diversity to the table.

But is there any reasonable expectation this would improve the force's crime fighting abilities? I think not.

UPDATE: Here's how surveillance cameras work in Chi town. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tomorrow's News Today II

A preview of tomorrow's print column:

I do not know who the Penn Delco school district will hire to replace outgoing solicitor Mark Sereni but I have a suggestion:


After Sereni's expulsion last week, three of the seven board members voted not to advertise for a new solicitor.

Initially, some people thought this was nothing but a surly protest vote. But it has since occurred to me maybe they're on to something.