Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Campaign limits remain in Philadelphia

Looks like Super PACs won't be a part of Philadelphia's next mayoral race, as WHYY's Dave Davies reported that a judge upheld campaign contribution limits.

It was a back-door type of effort, as U.S Rep. Bob Brady wanted to circumvent the limits, not to run an active campaign, but instead to retire a debt he ran up during the 2007 Democratic primary race.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More alleged corruption in Philadelphia

Federal prosecutors say a former court worker more than $400,000 in 11 years according to a story in the Daily News. The story says that a 47-year-old Levittown man was fired in 2010, but not before "buying TVs, parking passes and other big-ticket items with court-issued credit cards and reselling them to friends."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Waiting for the dust to settle in (Not-So-) Happy Valley

The NCAA has handed down its version of justice to the Penn State football program before the controversy of the removal of a statue honoring Joe Paterno was removed from the stadium grounds.

The Twittersphere is buzzing with all sorts of pro and anti NCAA statements, but it's all too soon. Knee-jerk reactions aren't helpful in most situations, least of all this one. The smart move is to absorb everything that's happened in the past 48-hours and let it sink in. There are a lot of ramifications to be considered, many that most of us haven't even thought of quite yet.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nation watching two House races here

The National Journal ranked the 75 House races worth watching across the nation and two congressmen in Philadelphia's Pennsylvania suburbs are on the radar.

Bucks County's Mike Fitzpatrick's race came in at #39 and Jim Gerlach's race came in at #68.

WHYY's Newsworks caught up with Scott Bland, the editor of National Journal's House Race Hotline:

"He has a challenger -- Kathy Boockvar -- who's been tapped by the Democratic Campaign Committee in Washington as one of its premiere candidates," [National Journal editor Scott] Bland said. "Fitzpatrick has done a fairly good job voting his district in Congress -- he's split off from the Republican majority more often than most."
In the National Journal article, Mr. Bland writes: "Republican state legislators successfully closed off nearly every possible Democratic pickup opportunity with the Keystone State's new congressional map, but they couldn’t offer Fitzpatrick much protection."

As for Mr. Gerlach, Mr. Bland seems to think that redistricting will help. Take a look at Gerlach's district and it is clear that a lot of work went in to crafting this one.

Maybe we didn't really avert another Great Depression

A rain Friday isn't the only reason for a gloomy mood. Buried beneath the shocking and horrific news about the movie theater shooting in Colorado are pieces of economic news that point to another coming economic meltdown.

First, citing a series of numbers including retail sales and jobless claims, analysts at Comstock Partners said, essentially, we're clearly headed for another recession. The evidence is pretty strong.

Amazingly, they present a strong case without even touching on the implications of excessive drought that is withering crops across the nation's breadbasket. Sure, a poor crop will drive up food prices, but don't forget our nation's rush to embrace ethanol. That makes the drought a very sharp double-edged sword.

The Euro Zone continues to falter with Greece, Spain and Italy leading its descent to the bottom and the seemingly one bright economic spot in the world, China, has some real estate market problems that could result in a hard landing for the once-seemingly invincible economy.

All in all, it appears 2012 is going to close with a rather sad whimper rather than a bang.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hospital merger called off

The people have spoken and the businesses listened. reported that the merger between Holy Redeemer and Abington Hospital is off. Apparently, the public outcry was too loud for the institutions.

The partnership was sought, spokespersons said, to put both hospitals in a better position to handle the federal healthcare overhaul. So this may not be the end of the story. It's probably a safe bet that discussions about a partnership or merger or alliance will begin once the impact of the legislation becomes clearer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Some things don't mix, but politics and business certainly do

Of course politics and business mix. They both revolve around money and influence, so they have a lot in common.

But that intersection, that place where they blur to the point where one becomes indiscernable from the other, that's a place where a lot of interesting stories exist. And that's why I'm excited about Region's Business in Philadelphia.

There are plenty of print outlets and Web sites that plow over basic business news in the Delaware Valley or serve up platters of Philly area politics. But we're aiming higher. We want to dig into politics so that you can see what's coming, what the impact is before it you feel it. We want to get past the mundane business numbers so you can see behind the scenes while having a better understanding of the bigger picture.

It's a tall order, for sure, but there's a need for that type of information, context and analysis. When faced with a large task, a former boss once said, "How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time." So pass the tartar sauce and let's get to it.