Friday, July 31, 2009

Penn Delco Does It Again II

My print column on Penn Delco's takeover of Buggy Field is up.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cop Suspended for Racist Reference to Harvard Professor

A Boston Police officer who, in an e-mail, referred to Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. as a "jungle monkey" has been suspended.

Good. He deserves it.

Now, will Harvard University investigate the behavior of Professor Gates for conduct unbecoming a member of the Harvard faculty? And if it finds Dr. Gates has made false and defamatory public statements and allegations against Sgt. Jim Crowley will he too be disciplined?

For some reason, I think not.

UPDATE: After all, the house belongs to the university, not Gates.

The Caso Sentencing

Russ Caso, former chief of staff to former congressman Curt Weldon gets sentenced today in Washington.

He's getting probation, allegedly for providing such great cooperation to U.S. prosecutors.

Caso was charged with failing to report a total of $19,000 that his wife was paid by a non-profit. The government claims Mrs. Caso did little work for the money. Caso failed to report the income on his government ethics disclosure form. Pretty small beer when it comes to federal corruption cases.

Weldon associate, Ceci Grimes, was also ensnared in the probe when she foolishly ditched several items the feds demanded she turn over to them. She too got probation.

But Caso's sentencing suggests that the main target of the Weldon investigation, - an investigation that led them to execute FBI raids on homes and offices THREE WEEKS before Election Day, 2006. Weldon has never been charged with any criminal wrong doing.

It has been at least four years since the feds opened their investigation into Weldon and what do they have to show for it? Two guilty pleas to crimes unrelated to the probe. Pleas that have resulted in sentences of probation.

Federal prosecutors refuse to say what others in the legal world reasonably suspect - that they have no case against Weldon, otherwise they wouldn't be sentencing Caso.
The idea for prosecutors in such cases is that you squeeze the little fish to get the bigger one. That prosecutors are saying the Caso cooperated in extraordinary fashion and yet, they have not charged Weldon, the likelihood of Weldon ever being charged gets slimmer and slimmer.

Typically, cooperating witnesses are not sentenced until they have testified in open court against bigger (more powerful and high profile) defendants. That hasn't happened here.

Unless prosecutors have a really big surprise for everybody, the Weldon probe, the one that helped end his 20-year career in Congress, is wrapping up with a wimper.

Overheated Hogwash

Aussie geologist Ian Plimer dismisses global warming as a con game run by environmentalists and politicians who benefit from creating public alarm.

From the story:
Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth's daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.

There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Indian Givers and Getters

Phil grab former Cy Young Award Winner Cliff Lee from the Indians for a song. The Blue Jays wanted a whole opera for Doc Halladay.

Nice move! The Phils get serious pitching help and manage to keep almost all of their top minor league prospects in the bargain. Sweet!

Trivia Question: Who is the best major league pitcher never to win the Cy Young Award?

UPDATE: Answer in the comments section.

The Right to be Rude

Harvey Silverglate, a First Amendment absolutist (God bless him) argues that Americans have an absolute constitutional right to be rude to cops.

To which, many cops will shrug and reply, "You can beat the rap but not the ride."

The Prince and the Paupers

Dr. Dalrymple on the pauperization of British citizens when it comes to healthcare.
Not coincidentally, the U.K. is by far the most unpleasant country in which to be ill in the Western world. Even Greeks living in Britain return home for medical treatment if they are physically able to do so.

The government-run health-care system—which in the U.K. is believed to be the necessary institutional corollary to an inalienable right to health care—has pauperized the entire population. This is not to say that in every last case the treatment is bad: A pauper may be well or badly treated, according to the inclination, temperament and abilities of those providing the treatment. But a pauper must accept what he is given.
What was the president saying about blue pills and red pills and your neighbor getting the same car for $6,000? Turns out we're talking about very different cars.

Professor Gates and His Tired Old Race Card

My print column on the racial profiling of white cop Sgt. James Crowley is up.

Buying Friends in High Places

The sweetheart laywers deal forged between Gov. Ed Rendell and Ken Bailey's law firm has gotten the notice of the WSJ and, more importantly, the state Supreme Court.

$90,000 in campaign contributions wins Bailey the opportunity to glean tens of millions in a class action lawsuit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Should Joe Go?

Since Joe Sestak is not going to run for reelection to his house seat and instead focus on running for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate, shouldn't he just resign?

Doing so would allow Ed Rendell to appoint a Democratic successor to hold the seat and run as a semi-incumbent next year. And it would give the 7th District a representative focused more on doing his job than running for higher office.

Or is it more important to Joe to collect his congressional salary and benefits (plus his Navy pension) while campaigning for Arlen Specter's job?

Just askin'

UPDATE/Correction: Oops. The governor only appoints senators. If a congressman steps down there has to be a special election. I'm OK with that.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The 'I Rape Little Girls Because I'm Sick' Defense

The suspect in the rape of an 11-year-old girl has "mental health" issues.

Excuse me. But I know several people with mental health issues and none of them have ever committed a crime let alone, raped an 11 year-old girl.

This guy was beaten by a vigilante mob. He shouldn't have been and anyone involved in that beating should have been criminally charged. Any attempt of any of them to escape punishment by claiming to have "mental health" issues should be scoffed at as well.

Governors Go Splat!

Mike Barone writes about "stumbling" Democratic governors, including our own. At least ours isn't running for reelection.

The Deceptions of Obamacare

The exceedingly reasonable and moderate Robert Samuelson hammers Obamacare gently, but hammers it just the same.

The President's 'Sore Throat'

Almost lost in the dumb things President Obama said during his press conference last week was his assertion that the current healthcare system encourages doctors to look at a kid with recurring sore throats and decide to take out his tonsils because there's more money in it for them.

His comments that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in arresting his friend Skip Gates, he has since walked back from. So far, he has not walked back from suggesting America's doctors are greedy enough to take out a kids tonsils just because it helps their bottom line, which by the way, it doesn't.

A primary doctor, in this case a pediatrician, who sees a patient is given no incentive by the current system to send a child to an eyes ears nose and throat specialist for an operation the kid doesn't need. Some doctors are taking offense at the President's remark. The White House is going to have to stock up on Budweiser if Mr. Obama keeps sticking his foot in his mouth.

Truth Better Than Beer?

Law Prof Bill Jacobson on the Gates arrest: "We need the truth not beer and apologies."

Money Q:
"Driving while black" racial profiling certainly takes place. But less discussed is the related phenomenon of "policing while white," in which white police officers sometimes falsely are accused of racial profiling, either because they have been falsely profiled as inherently racist, or because accusations of racism are an effective defense tool. If we are to understand and condemn racial profiling, we should understand and condemn false accusations of racial profiling.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Modest Healthcare Proposal

I've got an idea on this healthcare reform thing.

Why can't those of us who disagree with the Obama/Democratic plan all be invited to the White House for a beer?

Man to Man in Black and White

My print column on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates and how it figures into a similar case closer to home is up.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Not About Moi?

BOSTON (AP) - Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. says he's ready to move on from his arrest by a white police officer, hoping to use the encounter to improve fairness in the criminal justice system and saying "in the end, this is not about me at all."

That sounds awfully familiar.

It's a little about him isn't it? And how he behaved kind of, you know, arrogantly and obnoxiously. Until he cops to that, he'll be hard to take very seriously about anything.

Swimming For Healthcare Reform

Iowahawk has guest commentary from healthcare reform enthusiast Ted Kennedy.

WARNING: Don't read it unless you have a very dark sense of humor.

It's a Boy! No, Wait...

We know abortions would be covered under Obamacare. Would these operations be covered too?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Great Moments in Presidential Speeches

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country - JFK

'What's in this for me?' - BHO

Bye Bye Obamacare

Krauthammer on Why Obamacare is stinking, I mean, sinking.

Aaron Michael: Baby Killer?

My print column on killer Aaron Michael and how he got away with murder for years is up.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

AMA in Disarray

Last night, the president bragged that the Democratic health care proposal had the support of groups like the American Medical Association. What he didn't mention is that many AMA doctors and chapters are in open revolt with the organization's leadership.
‘I was surprised, shocked, and saddened.”

That’s how Donald J. Palmisano, former president of the American Medical Association, described his reaction upon learning that the organization had endorsed the House Democrats’ health-care-reform plan. “I am a loyal member of the AMA, a lifetime member, but I believe the AMA made a serious mistake in endorsing this bill.”

Stumbling on Asness

Cliff Asness explodes a number of myths being promulgated in the health care debate.

It's long, but informative and funny too.

A sample:
There are large groups of people in this country who want socialized medicine and they sense that the stars are aligning, and now is their time to succeed. They rarely call it socialized medicine, but instead "single payer health care" or "universal coverage" or something that their public relations people have told them sounds better. Whatever they call it, they believe (or pretend to believe) a lot of wrong‑headed things, and they must be stopped. Step one is understanding how and why they are wrong. Step two is kicking their asses back to Cuba where they can get in line with Michael Moore for their free gastric bypasses.
They have free gastric bypasses in Cuba? No wonder we haven't seen the Surgeon General designate lately.

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb... Beijing?

George Will once again skewers the climate bureaucrats.

Money Q:
The (climate) fixers say: On to Copenhagen! There, in December, the moveable feast of climate confabulations will continue. By which time China, at its current pace, probably will have brought on line 14 more coal-fired generating plants, each of them capable of providing all the electricity needed for a city the size of San Diego. And last Sunday, India told visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that there is "no case" for U.S. pressure on India to reduce carbon emissions.
The heck with Iran's nuclear plants. We should be bombing those coal plants in China and India. Right? Al Gore? Right? I mean, isn't the future of the planet at stake?

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

The cop who arrested black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is refusing to apologize.

I don't blame him, given Gates' refusal to acknowledge he behaved badly himself and provoked his own arrest on his own front porch last week.

Instead of being grown-up and respectful of the job the cops were trying to do (protecting Gates' property from a suspected burglar) Gates' became irritated and belligerent.

Not that that justifies the cop arresting him. As I said in an earlier post it is not against the law to be rude to a police officer, especially when one is in one's own home. It may be dumb but it isn't against the law.

It would be nice is if both men acknowledged their mutual responsibility for the situation escalating to the point that it did. It has evolved into a rather silly national drama about "how far we have to go when it comes to race in this country."

Even the President of the United States has weighed in saying the Cambridge cops "acted stupidly." But Mr. Obama himself acted stupidly by misstating the events that led up to Gates' arrest on national TV (he made it sound like Gates was arrested on suspicion of being a burglar in his own house).

Also the president failed to acknowledge that his "friend" Gates may have acted badly and bears some responsibility for what happened.

The cop claims the arrest was "by the book" but that's a bit of baloney. The "book" gives cops plenty of discretion in these situations. The best ones would have defused the it or unable to do that would have told Gates to "Have a nice day" and left the scene.

But then you would think a Harvard professor would be smart enough to engage a lowly working-class cop without getting himself arrested. Unless and, of course, that became his goal. In which case, Gates is a genius. A "teaching moment," our elites like to call them. This one showing that no matter how high a black man rises in this society or how accomplished he becomes, he will always be a potential criminal in the eyes of white policemen and put behind bars for no reason.

America voted a black man President of the United States but that doesn't mean racism is a thing of the past in this country. The governor of Massachussetts and the mayor of Cambridge are black but that doesn't prevent one of the premier black scholars in America from getting arrested and thrown in jail for no good reason.

How can Henry Louis Gates Jr. admit he too was wrong that day? "Teachable moments" like this don't come along every day.

Joe's Greater Purpose

Rep. Joe Sestak justifies his taking time off from doing his job.
In response to recent criticism that he had missed more than 100 votes this session, Sestak said most of those were procedural and noted then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton likely missed many a vote during their campaigns last year, but did so with the belief that they were sacrificing those votes for a greater purpose.
Yes, his personal ambition to greater political power.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Read All About It

My print column on Sheriff's sales, Sestak vs. the Democratic Establishment and other stuff is up.

Heart Breaking News

Murder Tragedy in Ridley, Chester

What is one to make of the awful story about Aaron Michael, who recently killed his ex-girlfriend and then admitted to friends that he killed two of his own children several years ago just before being gunned down by Chester police?

That he was a mass murderer, who had gone undetected by police? How did that happen?

How do two kids die in the custody of a parent under very suspicious circumstances and how does that parent get away with not being charged in their deaths.

Apparently, Michael was pretty good at denying things. Police questioned him about the death of his first son in 2005, then his second in 2007. He told cops he hadn't harmed them and he skated.

No doubt people will ask if this could have had anything to do with the fact that Michael is the son of a cop himself?

And what's up with our county medical examiner? He listed both causes of death as "undetermined." If Frederic Hellman can't tell a murder from an accidental death maybe he should find another line of work.

Michael's vicious slaying of Andrea Arrington came very near the second anniversary of his second son's death. Is that just a concidence or something else? We'll probably never know.

The 23-year-old Arrington was by all accounts a terrific mother and delightful young woman. My brother-in-law worked with her at a nursing home in Media where she worked as a CNA (Certified Nurses Assistant) and he spoke the world of her.

Now she's dead.

After killing her, Michael announced to friends via phone his intention to kill himself. He didn't have the guts to put his father's gun to his own head. He committed suicide by cop instead.

What an terrible and ugly tragedy.

UPDATE: I'm just off the phone with Dr. Hellman who gave me a thorough and convincing explanation for why he ruled the way he ruled in the death of 4-month-old Alijah Townes. Having talked to him and two other pathologists about the case, I'd like to retract my earlier comment questioning his abilities. I'll be writing more about this case for Friday's paper.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fast Eddie Flips

It seems our governor, Ed Rendell, isn't nearly as popular as he used to be.

DUI Suspect Found Hiding in a Tree

This guy sounds a little squirrelly to me.

Barbarians at the Gates

Here we go again.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. a black scholar at Harvard is arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after police come to his home in Cambridge to investigate a suspected break-in.

According to police, a woman saw two men using their shoulders to push in the front door to the home and called the cops. Turned out the men were Gates and his "driver" and the door was just stuck.

When the cops arrived, Gates was inside the house on the phone. When the professor was asked for identification he allegedly said "Why? Because I am a black man in America?"

Actually, It was because a neighbor had called the police and the officers were attempting to prevent Gates' home from being burglarized.

Police alleged that after Gates' showed ID, he followed them out of his house yelling at them. They described his behavior as "loud and tumultuous."

Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree is acting as Gates' spokesman.

"He was shocked to find himself being questioned and shocked that the conversation continued after he showed his identification," Ogletree said.

There are several possible scenarios here and none of them reflect well on the police or Gates. If the police informed him that they were investigating a possible break-in, he should have been grateful that they showed up so quickly. If they didn't maybe he was justified in being shocked. Maybe he was offended at not being recognized being such a famous scholar and all. Maybe he was just tired after a long trip and didn't feel like being polite and cooperative.

Ogletree said Gates repeatedly asked one of the police officer's for his name and badge number and when he didn't give it, followed him out on the porch to demand it. That's where he was handcuffed and arrested. That was dumb. The cops knew he was not a burglar at this point. So what if he was acting like a jackass. It's not against the law to give a police officer a hard time in your own house or on your own porch. Not that I recommend it. Apparently, this particular cop had to get the last word in. He should have told the apparently outraged Prof. Gates to "Have a nice day," rolled his eyes at his partner and gone about his business.

Gates, according to a fellow professor who picked him up at the police station was humilated and "emotionally devasted." What he should be is embarassed. Instead of cooperating with the officers and appreciating their efforts on his behalf, it sounds like he immediately got confrontational and stayed that way.

Then again, it's not as if cops don't overreact in some such situations. And nothing about this arrest sounds justified. Simply being disrespectful to a police officer is not against the law.

This much is probably true, if a white professor had acted similarly to Gates he might have been unjustly arrested too but much less fanfare.

The Man in the Mirror

Healthcare battle 'isn't about me': Obama.

Oh yes it is. The White House has blown the chance at bipartisan reform by pushing a massive government takeover of the country's healthcare system. Democrats are balking and Republicans are in the process of defeating it.

Next the president will be saying: My presidency isn"t about me.

UPDATE: David Brooks calls it "The Liberal Suicide March." Republicans went on one. Now the Democrats are. Can't anybody here play this game?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blooper Biden

Frank J. notes a few of the other dumb things Joe Biden has said in the not too distant past.

Our favorite: “The only way to combat arson is to set everything we can on fire!”

Development, De-smchelopment!

Hillary Clinton apologizes to India for America's contributions to global warming, hoping to get India to pass stronger regulations against carbon emissions.

Yeah, this'll work.
"We acknowledge now with President Obama that we have made mistakes in the United States, and we along with other developed countries have contributed most significantly to the problem that we face with climate change," she said. "We are hoping a great country like India will not make the same mistakes."
Becoming a "developed country" isn't all it's cracked up to be.

The Great White Male Hunt

It appears Al Hunt sees the Sotomayor hearings through the prism of liberal white guilt.

What endures, however, is the spectacle of middle-aged, white Republicans instructing the first Latin female nominee about the irrelevance of race, gender and life experiences for a judge. Even Graham, one of the more enlightened lawmakers, a strong immigration advocate and a thoroughly modern Republican, didn’t get it.
Actually, what endures is Sotomayor backing off her own strange statements.

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Yes, how dare any white male ask her about that idiotic assertion. But they did. And Sotomayor was wise enough to retract it. Apparently, it's perfectly alright with Hunt for certain Hispanics and women to express racial and gender superiority.

Sotomayor disavowed her many past statements along these lines, explaining they were uttered to law students on college campuses and so, in effect, shouldn't count against her nomination. On college campuses, professors and invited speakers say such stupid things all the time.

Anyway, Sotomayor is certainly wiser than white male Al Hunt. She either lied her way past the controversy or has changed her mind and is now on her way to being confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Obama Loses Samuelson

Moderates like Robert Samuelson are onto Obama and the Democrats.
WASHINGTON -- It's not surprising that the much-ballyhooed "economic stimulus" hasn't done much stimulating. President Obama and his aides argue that it's too early to expect startling results. They have a point. A $14 trillion economy won't revive in a nanosecond. But the defects of the $787 billion package go deeper and won't be cured by time. The program crafted by Obama and the Democratic Congress wasn't engineered to maximize its economic impact. It was mostly a political exercise, designed to claim credit for any recovery, shower benefits on favored constituencies and signal support for fashionable causes.
No wonder the President is losing support among Independents.

Pickled Pink

For a politician, this is a cool idea

It's the best marketing ploy since Del Monte came up with State Fair pickles. Try Nita Schemmel's Bread and Butter pickles. They're AWESOME!

The Horror

NORRISTOWN – A former Ursinus College student who blew a $160,000 investment in his education by running a marijuana operation from his dorm room has become a poster child for “the horrors” of drug dealing.
Actually, the drug dealing doesn't sound as horrific as getting caught doing it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Young Tom Watchin'

I can't believe what I'm seeing. Tom Watson has a one shot lead on the 18th tee to win the British Open.

UPDATE: He just split the fairway.

UPDATE II: He just trickled it over the green. Uh oh.

UPDATE III: He just hit it six feet by.

UPDATE IV: Playoff. I can't stand it. I'm out of here. I'm going to a bar to watch it.

UPDATE V: That was the saddest finish to a sporting event since Barbaro.

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

"Obama to Congress: Don't squander chance to make meaningful changes to health care system now."

America to Obama: Don't squander trillions on a Rube Goldberg, government take-over of 17 percent of the U.S. economy.

Anybody Got a Van to Spare?

Meet Michael Myers and his mom Teresa Ward. They could use a little help. Today's print column is up.

America in a Ditch

Barack Obama has bitten off more than Americans will chew. An excellent piece in the Washington Post by libertarians Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie.

From a lousy cap-and-trade bill awaiting death in the Senate to a health-care reform agenda already weak in the knees to the failure of the stimulus to deliver promised jobs and economic activity, what once looked like a hope-tastic juggernaut is showing all the horsepower of a Chevy Cobalt. "Give it to me!" the president egged on a Michigan audience last week, pledging to "solve problems" and not "gripe" about the economic hand he was dealt.

Despite such bravura, Obama must be furtively reviewing the history of recent Democratic administrations for some kind of road map out of his post-100-days ditch.

... In the same way that Bush claimed to be cutting government even while increasing real spending by more than 70 percent, Obama seems to believe that saying one thing, while doing another, somehow makes it so. His first budget was titled "A New Era of Fiscal Responsibility," even as his own projections showed a decade's worth of historically high deficits. He vowed no new taxes on 95 percent of Americans, then jacked up cigarette taxes and indicated a willingness to consider new health-care taxes as part of his reform package. He said he didn't want to take over General Motors on the day that he took over General Motors...

... What are his options? First, stop doing harm. Throwing money all over the economy (and especially to sectors that match up with Democratic interests) is the shortest path to what Margaret Thatcher described as the inherent flaw in socialism: Eventually you run out of other people's money.
What's even more amazing about the piece is the Post published it.

Bipartisan Golf

59-year-old Tom Watson is leading the British Open by one shot. He tees off this morning at 9:20 a.m. our time.

If he wins, it will be one of the great sports stories in the last 100 years.

On his bag is Philadelphia's Neil Oxman, the political consultant who makes his living getting Democrats elected to public office. Watson is a Republican. Just goes to show what can be accomplished when Democrats and Republicans work together.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What Obamacare Requires

Betsy McCaughey informs Americans what they have to lose under Obamacare.

For staters:
Two main bills are being rushed through Congress with the goal of combining them into a finished product by August. Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these "qualified plans." If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year "grace period" to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you'll have less time.

And as soon as anything changes in your contract -- such as a change in copays or deductibles, which many insurers change every year -- you'll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill, p. 16-17).
Is this the sort of "change" you were hoping for?

Postponing the Inevitable?

The county is postponing sheriff's sales while working on a mortgage program that will supposedly help homeowners keep their homes.

But it will be interesting to see just how many of the people are actually able to keep their homes as opposed to simply postponing the inevitable.

A similar program supposedly worked in Philadelphia. It is said to have prevented the sale of 1400 homes. But how many of those people will still be in those houses come next summer?

The success of any program will have to be measured by the number of people it helps stay in their homes for more than just a short time.

Pros and Con of Terry McGirth

My print column on the Terry McGirth matter is up.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

McGirth Gets the Boot!

Yeadon councilman Terry McGirth has been ordered removed from office by Delaware County court judge George Pagano due to his felony theft conviction several years ago.

Did the judge do the right thing? Some people don't think so. That will be the subject of my print column tomorrow.

Wrong About Warming?

The evil bastards at Nature Geoscience are questioning the models that scientists are using to predict disastrous global warming.
Could the best climate models -- the ones used to predict global warming -- all be wrong?

Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.

Probably dinosaur flatulence, especially from that most dangerous of all creatures: the Bushosaurus!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Valley Club Mess II

My print column on the Valley Swim Club race controversy is up.

Given all the negative publicity the story has generated, I was surprised that club president John Duesler actually called me back.

A couple of things that didn't make the column.

Duesler told me that on the day the campers from Creative Steps arrived, he sat them all down told them there were three rules.

1. No running.
2. No one in the deep end without passing a swim test first.
3. Have fun.

The biggest problem that day, he said, had little to do with the negative reaction to the kids by any of the members but the fact that so few of the campers knew how to swim.

That left virtually 60 kids in the shallow end of the pool. That's dangerous. Kids can drown in the shallow end of a pool just as easily as in deeper water.

The same situation occured with another camp, with even fewer kids (25). That camp's director recognized the safety issue herself. She agreed with Duesler that Valley couldn't safely accommodate her kids. is reporting today that the costs of the lawsuits brought against the community club could easily bankrupt it. It only has a little over $200,000 in assets.

Duesler is willing to accept his responsibility for the terrible mess he helped to create.
He admits mistakes, big ones, from not properly informing club members what to expect when campers arrived to misjudging the number of kids (especially the non-swimmers) the facility could handle. His failure to find a solution to the problem that was agreeable to Creative Steps before unilaterally cancelling the agreement between the camp and the club was perhaps his biggest mistake.

What's obviously killing Duesler are the accusations that he, a big Obama supporter, community peace activist and stay-at-home dad, is a racist. Almost as bad, maybe worse, is by his clumsy handling of the matter his friends and neighbors at the club are also being publicly labeled "racists" and "bigots."

Duesler says he is perfectly willing to resign as president of the club if that will satisfy the club's critics. It won't. The smell of blood and money is in the air. There is also the self-righteous thrill to be had in lambasting the club for all its presumed racism. Not to mention the jerks who anonymously blame the children for not knowing how to behave at a public pool because they're black. There is no evidence these kids did anything wrong or behaved badly during their 90 minutes at the club.

It's a sorry situation and it is being exploited and made worse by self-serving lawyers, politicians and the media.

What a shame. But too few people are feeling any for their parts in all this. John Duesler does. Which makes him a better man than most.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Valley Swim Club Mess Gets Messier

It looks as if there will be no friendly or common sense solution to the Valley Swim Club controversy. Once lawyers got involved how could there be?

One parent is calling for every board member at the club to resign. Club president John Deusler Jr. said he would gladly do so if that will resolve the matter.

It won't.

"These children are permanently scarred," claims Creative Steps camp director Alethea Wright.

Really? Permanently scarred? Because at least one of them heard an alarmed club member ask "What are all these black kids doing here?" Well maybe. But if so, the kids were helped along by a media frenzy and a culture of victimization that was bent on twisting the story into one of racial hatred.

It has been written that the kids endured "racial slurs" at the swim club that day and yet I can not find a single reported reference to such an accusation.

Since when is "black kids" a racial slur?

That the campers were led to feel unwelcome at the pool is a tragedy and the stupid fault of a very few people.

Most at fault is Duesler, who admits his responsibility in inviting a number of camps, including Creative Steps to use the pool without adequately considering how crowded and overwhelmed the facility would be.

Another camp director who contracted to use the pool for her 25 kids said it was obvious to her that the facility was overwhelmed with her campers. She accepted Deusler's apology for misjudging things and the camp's money back.

Creative Steps took another approach. It was supremely stupid of the club to unilaterally cancel a legal agreement with the camp and leave the campers without a place to swim for the summer. Whosever idea that was should be bounced from the club and asked never to return.

Now the camp and some of its parents want more than their money back. They want a payday. And they will encourage in their kids a sense of racial vicitimization completely out of proportion with what happened here to get it.

So a handful knuckleheads at a private pool did a bad job masking their surprise and consternation at the sheer number of kids (65) who arrived at their club's pool that afternoon. Maybe a couple of them really don't like the idea of their own children swimming with "black kids," although in this day and age that number seems to getting smaller and smaller.

The vast majority of the club's members it can be safely assumed are anything but racists. And they are terribly embarassed to be accused as such. Certainly, John Duesler is anything but. It has become pretty well-known that he was and is a big Barack Obama supporter and peace activist. He was the chairman of a group called Peace-Action Philadelphia, which is to say his credentials as a well-meaning progressive are fairly impeccable.

Would he be president of a club that was or is full of black-kid hating racists?

Who cares. There's a payday in here somewhere for somebody, the feelings of kids to exploit and moral superiority to be felt.


"Congruence," "Proportionality" and Arlen

The AP's Jesse Holland has an interesting take on our junior senator from Pennsylvania and a question he asked in the Sotomajor confirmation hearings.

From the story:
"I would like to know what your standard will be, if confirmed: a rational basis, which had been the traditional standard, or congruence and proportionality?" the 79-year-old Specter asked Sotomayor. "And if you tell me congruence and proportionality, then I'll ask you what it means, because it slips and slides around so much, that it's impossible to tell what a constitutional standard is. And we senators would like to know what the standards are, so we know what to do when we undertake legislation."

In one fell swoop, by warning Sotomayor that he had some weighty legal issues on his mind, Specter reclaimed some of the gravitas he lost by changing parties from Republican to Democrat in order to have a better shot at winning a sixth term in the Senate.
It's a litte hard to believe that Democratic primary voters will be as impressed with Specter's "weighty" question as the AP reporter was.

Was that "gravitas" or just another blowhard senator spouting off while the cameras were clicking?

Revenge Not So Sweet

The reward in the Ollie Cloyd murder is up to $10,000. According to Darby Borough Police Chief Bobby Smythe that should loosen lips.

A 17-year-old is already in custody and authorities are trying to convince others not to take matters into their own hands.

One can understand the urge for revenge in a case like this. But one kid is dead and the young men responsible for his death have ruined the rest of their own lives. They will be caught. No sense for anyone else close to the Cloyd family to ruin their life playing the part of avenger.

Already too many personal scores are settled in the streets this way. It is the reason too many young black men never make it to their 21st birthdays and too many mothers cry themselves to sleep watching their sons march off to prison. There's no future or satisfaction in this sort of revenge. Only pain and sorrow for loved ones. The question is will street culture win out in this case or will law, order and justice prevail?

Only time will tell.

Monday, July 13, 2009

White (and Black) Flight

A new documentary has been made about first and second-ring cities and towns and the economic and cultural problems they face.

From the story:
The documentary, “A New Metropolis” by filmmaker Andrea Torrice, focuses on a number of problems, including white-flight, dwindling tax bases, crumbling infrastructure and population loss, that have affected many inner-ring suburbs.

(Yeadon Councilwoman Jacqueline) Puriefoy-Brinkley said many inner-ring suburbs were formed to create spaces for white people to live outside of cities. When blacks began moving in, many white people left and took the resources with them, she said.
This is an interesting formulation. After all, what the people who moved out took with them was themselves. They didn't take sidewalks and fire hydrants. What they took were their own earning power and lifestyles.

It isn't just white people who fled and continue to flee cities. Black families leave as well to make a better life for themselves and to protect their children from the negative influences of the inner-city culture and lousy schools. Left behind were people without the personal resources or interest to get up and go themselves.

A social truism is that bad culture chases out good culture. It hardly ever works the other way around.

An Arrest in Darby Borough

In the Ollie Cloyd case, one down, three to go.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chatwick Finally Takes a Walk

My print column on H. Beatty Chadwick's release from prison is up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Death in Darby

My print column on the recent violence in Darby Borough is up.

UPDATE: Borough Police Chief Bobby Smythe told me minutes ago that they still don't have any conclusive leads in the case. But that this morning a citizen who would prefer to remain anonymous read the column and has offered an additional $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Ollie Cloyd's killers.

That brings the total to $2,000.

"Let that (reward) number go up more another $1,000 or $2,000," Smythe said, "and that will be the end of everybody's closed mouth."

Two Incidents, Two Races, One Country

Two stories about that state of race relations in America: The first involves a local swim club supposedly discriminating against a camp for black kids. The second involves a white family that was allegedly attacked and beaten by a large group of black teenagers after a 4th of July celebration.

The two stories are cleverly played one over the other on the Drudge Report inviting comparison. Let's compare.

In the first, a camp for inner-city kids called Creative Steps Inc. made a deal with the Valley Swim Club of Huntington Valley, for their kids to use swim the club for 90 minutes, one day a week.

On the first day of camp's use, 65 kids were brought out to the pool. Soon after their arrival, one or two or more of the campers heard comments from one or two or more of the swim club members. One older, (white?) woman member allegedly said "What are all these black kids doing here?"

The kid, or kids, reported hearing the comment (or comments) to their counselors. The counselor reported the comments to the president of the club, who apologized. The kids stayed and swam without incident but a couple of days later, the club cancelled it's deal with the camp, citing overcrowding issues, and refunded the group's money.

The club was quickly denounced and is now being investigated for illegal racial discrimination. The story made front page news in the city papers. The state Human Relations Commission has announced it has opened a probe. Sen. Arlen Specter has even weighed in.

Several of the club's members said the club is being unfairly depicted at racist. The decision to revoke the camp's deal was based solely on complaints of overcrowding. Other club members said if the pool is going to be rented out to day camps with large numbers of kids using the pool, they want their own money back.

Is the club's defense believable? I think so.

The club has no recent history of preventing minorities families from joining it. And its invitation to the camp, knowing full well its racial make-up, suggests a level of innocence when it comes to politically incorrect racial attitudes. Add in the fact, that the sudden arrival of 65 youngsters to scene would be understandably disconcerting to the club members, especially those who didn't know they were coming.

The whole thing sounds poorly planned out by the club's president, who despite his good intentions to provide a place for inner city kids to swim this summer underestimated the affect of such a large number of kids at one time would have on the club's atmosphere. That many kids (white, black or green) are going noisy and disruptive. Kids are kids.

It seems it would be quite appropriate for the club's president to resign for his part in creating the whole mess in the first place.

The camp and some of the campers parents are threatening to sue. It seems to me they have a decent case that has nothing to do with race. They made a deal. They paid their money and the club renegged on the deal. Unless the camp misrepresented the number of kids they would be bringing or something like that, it's club's fault, specifically the leadership's fault, for this mess.

Now, for the second story.

A white family returning home from a 4th of July celebration, is attacked on the street of their neighborhood by large gang of black teenagers allegedly yelling things like "This is our world. This is a black world, now."

Members of a white family were knocked down and kicked in the ribs, arms and head.

From the story:
They said it started when one teen, without any words or warning, blindsided and assaulted Marshall's friend as he stood outside with the others.

When Marshall, 39, jumped in, he found himself being attacked by the growing group of teens.

His daughter, Rachel, 15, who weighs about 90 pounds, tried to come to his rescue. The teens pushed her to the ground.

His wife, Yvonne, pushed their son, Donald, 14, into bushes to keep him protected.

''My thing is,'' Marshall said, ''I didn't want this, but I was in fear for my wife, my kids and my friends. I felt I had to stay out there to protect them, because those guys were just jumping, swinging fists and everything.

''I'm lucky. They didn't break my ribs or bruise my ribs. I thank God, they concentrated on my thick head because I do have one. They were trying to take my head off my spine, basically.''
Question: Which incident is more appalling? Which incident is more worthy of investigation and concern by those worried about the state of race relations in America?

Of course, it is possible the Marshall family made the whole thing up. White people have blamed anonymous black people before for crimes they didn't commit. So all this should be investigated.

But if this attack really did take place, it's far more serious and worrisome than what appears to be a misunderstanding at a swim club.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The River is Red

Rove on Obama's deceptive use of numbers and what it means.
Mr. Obama has already created a river of red ink. His health-care plans will only force that river over its banks. We are at the cusp of a crucial political debate, and Mr. Obama's words on fiscal matters are untrustworthy. His promised savings are a mirage. His proposals to reshape the economy are alarming. And his unwillingness to be forthright with his numbers reveals that he knows his plans would terrify many Americans.

The Palin Resignation II

Cathy Young on the Palin resignation: "Victim conservatism" will not play.

Good, thoughtful stuff.

Funeral Freak Show

John Kass finds the diefication of Michael Jackson "as creepy as he was."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Man the Lifeboats!

Obama's healthcare plan is going down like the Titanic. Does the captain know?

H. Beatty and Al

My print column on alimony deadbeat H. Beatty Chadwick and dirty chatter Albert Silveri III is up.

Nancy Pants

Democrats protect Pelosi while making the CIA more risk averse, endangering the country.

The Palin Resignation

John Fund has what he thinks might be the real reasons Sarah Palin resigned.
"The Alaska ethics elves had painted such a target on Sarah's forehead that she had begun turning down pretty much every invitation she got -- even though they were pouring in every day by the dozens," a confidant of the governor's told me. "It is not throwing in the towel. It is deciding that she was ineffective in fighting for her principles and could do more in another role."


Of course, the reaction of the political left to whatever Palin does has been always been a weird form of hysteria. What is it about this woman that drives these people around the bend.

It is fair to say that her decision to resign was surprising and certainly unorthodox for a politician who is supposed to have designs on the presidency. But if that is her goal, this course of action makes some sense. It frees her up. It allows her to travel more freely and campaign and raise money.

Besides, what's so honorable about all the men (and a few women) who have campaigned for higher office while holding onto the gig they have and not giving it their full attention? Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, Hillary Clinton all ran for president as sitting U.S. Senators as did an assortment of others. In fact, Biden ran for senate and vice president at the same time!

Is it really so admirable that a politician would take taxpayers' money for doing one job while spending a lot of time and effort campaigning for another?

If Palin quit because of the lure of a book contract and millions in speaking engagements, well, lucky her. She's got a big family to help support. If she quit because she really thought, as she said, that she'd become a distraction to getting things done in Alaska, that's fair too.

At least, it appears, she didn't quit because she was caught having sex with a high priced prostitute or because she had a Latin lover "soul mate."

Who could blame anyone for taking a temporary (or even permanent) leave from the mean-spirited game that American politics has become?

Maybe, she quit because a big shoe was about to drop in one of those many ethics investigations. Who knows?

Here's one thing that we do know. All politicians lie, or (to put it a nicer way) they hardly ever tell us the whole unvarnished truth. And Palin is and has been a politician. She may have a future as a politician. She will certainly have a future as some other sort of celebrity big deal. She remains an interesting figure, especially as a lightning rod.

But the varied reactions to her leaving office, as usual, tells us more about the people who are reacting than about Palin herself.

UPDATE: Tony Blankley has a pretty thoughtful take on this.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Phillies Welcome World Champion Home

I come home and the Phils win 22 to 1.

Mrs. Spencerblog is flummoxed.

"Don't they have a 10-run rule?"

World Beaters

OK, I'm back and no sense beating around the bush. The team of USA Cincy (50 to 54) are the World Champions of Basketball.

Sunday, we came back from a terrible start and a 10-point deficit against a tough but injury-riddled team from Poland to win going away.

As we recieved our gold medals our hosts played "It's a Wonderful World" by Louie Armstrong and "We Are the Champions" by Queen.

Both are true.

I understand back here in the states small towns from Ohio to Florida to Pennsylvania virtually closed down so that they could watch the Fimba Internet broadcast Sunday morning at 8 a.m. We'd like to thank all our fans for their support. Too bad they had to miss the beginning of the Federer-Roddick Wimbledon final but it least they got to see the last three hours of it.

We're waiting to hear from the White House about our visit there and are looking forward to discussing the future of age-appropriate International basketball with our President. He is 47 and qualified for the Over 45s. I'm sure he could help some team with that jumper of his and maybe even a little stimulus package.

More later.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

"Shut Up!" the EPA Explains

Here in the Czech Republic, President Vaclav Klaus is a critic of doomsday theories on climate change. Back home in the new Obama Administration raising questions about the cost and efficacy about its climate change policies gets a muzzle slammed over your mouth. Even for people whose job it is to look into this stuff.

Remember Jim Hansen? No, not the muppet maker. That's Henson.

Hansen, a NASA scientist and anti-global warming zealot, (he recently got himself arrested protesting a coal plant). He claimed the Bush Administration tried to silence him and the Chicken Little community squawked their little head off.

Kim Strassel reveals the hypocrisy of those who claim scientific freedom must trump ideology. Not in the Obama Administration.


Not only did team USA Cincy (50 and Over) pull off an upset of Team Dominica, we went on to beat a very good German team and then held off the host Czech team that beat us in game two.

That puts us in the finals against Poland.

Out of 29 teams, we're in the final two. Surprising, to say the least. Our success has totally screwed up all our travel plans and plane reservations.

The final is Sunday at 2 p.m. (that's 8 a.m. EST), our flights were all for Sunday morning. Staying is costing hundreds, if not thousands. What are we gonna' do? Forfeit?

We are surviving on the talents of three former major college players, John Johnson from Michigan, Jim Sweeny from BC and Bob Bigelow from Penn. The rest of us are role players.

While other teams have been dressing 10, 12, and 14 players, we only have eight. The games are very physical and come down to a war of attrition.

Down one with 10 seconds left last night, Johnny got fouled taking a three pointer and then hit ALL THREE free throws to give us a 2-point win. NOBODY hits ALL three free throws in that situation but he did.

As for city of Prague, it is everything we were told before we came. Prague Castle is one of the most amazing things in the world. It took 500 years to build and you could take a couple of days checking out all its nooks and crannies. SpencerPrague saw what we could in an hour and then retreated to the beer garden nearby that overlooks the city.

Every one is tired and sore but the Thai Massage place around the corner from our hotel has worked magic.

One more game and then home. We hope.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Word From SpencerPrague

Just checking in from Praha, where team USA Cincy will be playing a 50 and Over team from the Dominican Republic in a couple of hours.

That is what Spencerblob is doing here, embarassing his country playing age-inappropriate basketball internationally.

Team Cincy has four players out of eight that could be playing in the 55 and over bracket. While Team Dominica has at least three players who can still dunk - one who can do so from a standing start under the basket. This may not be pretty.

But Prague is. It's a beautiful city with lovely churches, castles, cafes, women and beer. Casinos too.

We have two games under our belts. The first an easy win over a German team that may have been drunk before the game. They certainly were after. They cheerfully toasted us from a beer garden over the entrance to the gymnasium as we left.

Lost to the hosting Czech team by a point. The home fans were very proud of their old boys.

If Team Cincy loses by less than 20 tonight, it will be a miracle.