June 11, 2013
Calling in rules infractions during telecasts of golf tournaments has become part of the viewing experience. During the Masters in April, the phone lines were buzzing with viewers questioning Tiger Woods' drop on the 15th hole in the second round on Friday. The next morning, Woods was summoned to Augusta National and there were rumors that the 14-time major winner was going to be disqualified. Turned out that Woods was ruled to have committed an infraction and was assessed a two-stroke penalty.
December 1, 2011
The morning after his retirement announcement this week, Rep. Barney Frank scored an interview on NBC's Today show, and an opportunity to act as an elder statesman in front of a TV audience of millions. Instead, the Massachusetts Democrat chose to quarrel with the interviewer. "You said that your district has been redrawn in a way that would make it more difficult for you to win reelection," host Savannah Guthrie said. "I didn't say I wasn't running because I was afraid I couldn't win," Frank retorted.
August 25, 2011 |
THE HATCH ACT meant nothing to me. I'm employed in a private law firm, and seldom venture into the swamp of federal bureaucracy. But there's a local angle to the law's application that makes it of special interest around here. An assistant U.S. attorney in this very city, Laurie Magid, will soon serve a 100-day suspension for a minor violation of this draconian 1930s statute, originally designed to protect federal employees from elected bosses forcing them to engage in political activity against their will, and to prevent abuse of the officeholders themselves using their power for partisan reasons.
June 30, 2011 |
TO QUOTE Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Sometimes you're the windshield/Sometimes you're the bug. " Predator-catching Chris Hansen , of "Dateline NBC," made such a big name for himself luring unsuspecting kiddie pervs to suburban homes that "Saturday Night Live" turned him into a sketch character. Well, now there's a new punchline. The National Enquirer , gunning for another run at the Pulitzer, has turned the tables on the married Hansen and tracked him with hidden cameras, catching him in a sex scandal with a sexy Florida blonde who's a lot younger than Hansen . . . but not young enough to be a minor.
June 9, 2011
IF COMMENTATORS paused before making windy statements and got the facts, think how much more focused and informed the public debate might be. That was my impression after reading Phil Goldsmith's latest over-the-top offering in Monday's Daily News. Too often, commentators like Goldsmith assume their task is to find "gotcha" moments. That's a lot easier than trying to explain the complex world of government, finance and politics. He contends that Mayor Nutter promised no new taxes in March only to turn around, after the May primary, to propose new revenue for the school district.
January 28, 2011 |
STRATEGIES for staying warm in a frigid winter: 1. Turn up the heat. 2. Warm your hands over a fire in a barrel. 3. Go watch Jason Statham kill a couple of dozen people. A few years ago, Hollywood (with "Taken") found that mildly sadistic actioners function nicely as a midwinter box-office furnace for the American public. This season's version is "The Mechanic," a remake of one of Charles Bronson's no-frills '70s action flicks, with Statham in the lead as a hit man who takes on an unbalanced apprentice (Ben Foster)
March 10, 2010 |
An angry and frustrated City Council fired a warning shot at Philadelphia's Board of Ethics by tabling a vote to reconfirm Mayor Nutter's first appointee to the watchdog panel. Council delayed a decision on whether to reappoint Kenya Mann Faulkner, a former federal prosecutor who is a partner at Ballard Spahr, to the five-member board, which oversees Philadelphia's campaign-finance laws. She declined to comment after the hearing, while Mayor Nutter said he would continue to support her reappointment.
December 10, 2009
THE PHONE RANG around 3 a.m. Groggy and ill with flu, I rolled over and rasped, "Yeah?" "Bill, the Baron here," Phillies media relations director Larry Shenk said. "Come to the Pope's suite as soon as you can. We've got a trade to announce. " A trade? If it couldn't wait until daylight, it had to be a big one. "What kind of trade?" "A big one," Shenk said. "We got Sutter . . . That's all I can say. The Pope will fill you in. " This was 1979 and baseball's winter meetings were in Toronto.
May 24, 2009
The firing of Joseph A. Russo from the Philadelphia Board of Revision of Taxes is a good start toward fixing the agency, but it's only a start. The city's judges dismissed Russo after receiving a scathing report from Inspector General Amy Kurland. The report said Russo, a pal of recently convicted former state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, manipulated property assessments, abused his power, and committed perjury. Credit goes to Mayor Nutter for demanding the dismissal of Russo and the rest of the board.
May 21, 2009 |
The Inquirer finally published its "gotcha" series on Philadelphia's Board of Revision of Taxes this month. The newspaper was so dedicated to its theory of the case that it misinterpreted documents and virtually ignored hours of discussion and argument with board officials over the course of more than a year. Sadly, the stories reveal this unfair and unbalanced reporting. This is not an apology for the BRT. Let's be clear: The board does not condone and will not tolerate attempts to manipulate its decisions about the valuation of Philadelphia's nearly 578,000 commercial and residential properties.