February 13, 2013 |
THERE'S a very good chance that the next pope will hail from Africa. But there's an even better chance that he'll be the first pope to use an iPhone. The stunning news Monday that 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pontiff in nearly six centuries to resign gives the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church another crack at what it passed up on in 2005: The opportunity to elect a pope who truly reflects the complexities of the 21st century. "For the first time, the pope will be used to having a computer on his desk and a smartphone in his pocket," enthused Rocco Palmo, the Philadelphian who chronicles Vatican affairs on his popular blog Whispers in the Loggia.
February 12, 2013
THERE ARE SILVER linings in Gov. Corbett's playbook. Namely, he has a new/old player on his side, and Pennsylvania is Pennsylvania. Allow me to explain. Forget for a moment Corbett's 26 percent approval rating. Polls are snapshots. It's a long way to 2014. Incumbents not named Rick Santorum are hard to unseat. And, critically for Corbett, Pennsylvania is "The Land of Low Expectations. " It's a place where pols call the passing of an annual budget on time an "achievement.
February 8, 2013
WATCHING the parade of Philadelphia Traffic Court judges surrendering last week at the federal courthouse, we wondered if the latest ticket-fixing scandal and resulting criminal charges would change much of anything. Traffic Court scandals come and go in Philly. The names of the judges change, but the scam stays the same. Political pull is the currency that trumps everything. But this mess - nine current and retired judges, one former court official and two businessmen facing charges - may be Traffic Court's tipping point.
February 7, 2013
Frustrated Philadelphia voters should seize an opportunity today to tell investigators about problems they experienced at the polls during last fall's presidential election. A record 27,355 had to vote by provisional paper ballot on Election Day. An investigative team appointed by Mayor Nutter is one of three groups hoping to find out the facts behind the widespread missteps and make sure future elections are not similarly disrupted. Voters' testimony to the team at a City Hall hearing this afternoon may help explain why the birthplace of modern democracy had so much trouble running an election.
February 4, 2013 |
NEW ORLEANS - Of the seven men who were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, none was more emotional than Cris Carter, who took six years to get in despite putting up some of the best receiving numbers in NFL history. He broke down in tears but quickly pointed out "it's not because I'm sad. " Carter, who started his career with the Eagles, joined Bill Parcells, Warren Sapp, Jonathan Ogden, Larry Allen, Curly Culp, and Dave Robinson in the Hall's Class of 2013.
February 3, 2013 |
Sometimes 90 percent just isn't good enough. Ask Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the U.S. Senate, who, despite a lifetime approval rating of 90 percent from the American Conservative Union, is out of step with some GOP Kentuckians. A recent Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll of 609 registered voters found twice as many people promising to vote against McConnell as those committed to supporting him (34 percent of Republicans said they'd support him against all competitors)
January 29, 2013 |
HEY, PHILLY VOTERS. The Nutter administration wants to hear about your Election Day experience. After more than 27,000 voters were forced to use provisional ballots in the Nov. 6 presidential election, more than double the amount in 2008, Nutter established a "fact-finding team" last month to investigate what happened that day. City Controller Alan Butkovitz has also launched an investigation. Part of the Nutter administration's investigation includes hearing from voters. Public meetings are scheduled from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in City Hall room 202 and Feb. 28 at Bright Hope Baptist Church, 1601 N. 12th St. Voters can also share their stories or make recommendations by visiting phila.gov/election2012 or by calling or texting 267-209-FACT.
January 27, 2013 |
PRAGUE - Left-leaning former Prime Minister Milos Zeman staged a big return to power Saturday by winning the Czech Republic's first direct popular vote for president. With almost all the votes counted Saturday, the Czech Statistics Office reported that Zeman won 54.8 percent of the vote for the largely ceremonial post. His opponent, conservative Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, had 45.9 percent. "Long live Zeman!" his supporters chanted at his campaign headquarters in Prague.
January 26, 2013
The courtroom drama that began playing out this week in Pittsburgh provides the perfect, though troubling, backdrop for a renewed push to reform how Pennsylvania's top judges are chosen. If any case were a primer on the need to remove the state's appellate courts from the hurly-burly of partisan elections, the corruption trial of a suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice just tops the bill. Allegheny County prosecutors contend that Joan Orie Melvin, while serving as a lower appellate court judge, used her taxpayer-paid staff to campaign for her Supreme Court seat in both 2003 and 2009.
January 24, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - The unexpectedly strong showing by a new centrist party in Israel's parliamentary election has raised hopes of a revival of peace talks with Palestinians that have languished for four years under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Political newcomer Yair Lapid, the surprise kingmaker, is already being courted by a weakened Netanyahu, who needs his support to form a ruling coalition. Lapid has said he will not sit in the government unless the peace process is restarted. But following a campaign in which the Palestinian issue was largely ignored, it remains unclear how hard Lapid will push the issue in what could be weeks of coalition talks with Netanyahu.