Old Media Monopoly In Philly, Yawn

The hedge fund that owns a “significant stake” in Philadelphia Media Network Inc. which is the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, has acquired Journal Register Co. of Yardley, Pa. which owns just about all the other print publications in the Philadelphia area including most of the weeklies.

JRC banners include the Trentonian of Trenton, N.J., The Daily Times of Delaware County, The Daily Local of Chester County, The Mercury of Pottstown, and the Times Herald of Montgomery County.

The hedge fund is Alden Global Capital which has offices in New York, Dallas, Mumbai and Dubai.

Once, this type of monopoly would have been something to be concerned about but times change.

JRC and Philadelphia Newspapers LLC., which was the subsidiary of Brian Tierney’s Philadelphia Media Holdings, Inc.  that previously owned the Inquirer and Daily News,  filed for bankruptcy in the same week in February 2009.

There are decent people in both companies and I sincerely wish them all the best.

Old Media Monopoly In Philly, Yawn

Old Media Monopoly In Philly, Yawn


Some More Criticism Of The Daily Times

The Delaware County Daily Times, today, devoted almost four pages — including the front page — of its ever shrinking paper to the recent allegations of sex crimes by clergy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

They used the men’s names and extensively quoted a fellow with a blatant ax to grind who baldly convicted the accused.

The allegations stem from a Philadelphia grand jury report last month which resulted in charges being levied against three priests and a teacher, and said that 37 others remained in the ministry “even when there is very convincing evidence that the accusations are true.”   These 37 included the 21 whose names became public two days ago when the Archdiocese put them on administrative leave.

Still, in all this righteous rage and huffing, there was no solid explanation as to why the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office wasn’t prosecuting these men being as how “there is very convincing evidence” and such.

The next-to-last paragraph of the main story mentioned that charges were never filed against some mentioned in a 2005 grand jury report concerning sex abuse in the Archdiocese due to the statute of limitations having lapsed but then said the statute was expanded in 2006 to age 50 for the victims, and never explained why those mentioned as having “very convincing evidence” against them in the 2011 report were not being prosecuted.

You think there might be a large religious institution being set up for some money-grab lawsuits?

Anyway, back to the Daily Times. Contrast the way it handled the story involving these unarrested, uncharged and unconvicted Catholic men with the wire story it ran on page 21: TV exec gets 25 to life for beheading wife.

Granted, it wasn’t a local story but one would have at least  thought they would have mentioned the name of the network at which killer Muzzammil Hassan had been an executive, actually CEO. It was Bridges TV which he founded in 2004 to counter stereotypes that Muslims were violent people.

You think if it was a Catholic network it might have been noted?

Times Fails To Address Key Questions On Khawaja

The Delaware County Daily Times, today, published my letter regarding the March 12 banquet the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Philadelphia chapter is going to have at the Springfield Country Club.

It can be found here.

Thank you, Linda DeMeglio.

Outlaw Teacher Strikes

Outlaw Teacher Strikes — Today’s Delaware County Daily Times had a tough editorial calling for the abolition of teacher strikes.

The Times points out that teachers in Moon Area School District across the state in Allegheny County went on strike after being offered a 2.88 percent raise. The Times also notes that teachers in the Bethel Park School District, also in Allegheny County are striking. The Bethel Park teachers  get salaries of between $45,700 and $92,548. They are offended, however, by the district’s request that they pay 2 percent of their individual health plans and 4 percent of their family ones. They now pay 0.5 percent and  0.9 percent respectively.

Has it started to dawn on anyone that teachers union really isn’t “for the children”?

And to the Times I say welcome to the club.

In 1990, I won an award for the editorial “Scrap Act 195”.  This was the 1970 law that allowed teachers to strike. The law was scrapped in 1992 and replaced with Act 88 which put some limits on teacher strikes. Ultimately it was nowhere near enough. The appropriate thing to do is to give school districts the power to not rehire teachers when their contracts end. It would require ending the tenure protection as well, but unless you a teacher or married to one, does that  really bother you?

These reforms are not just about money. Considering the cruelty of requiring a widow surviving on Social Security to cough up an extra couple hundred dollars each year — and that’s cumulative remember — just to keep her home, money should be more than reason enough to support banning strikes and tenure.

These reforms, though, really are ultimately about the children.

The  website StopTeachersStrikes.org has excellent background on the issue.

During my own little crusade I published a list of teacher and administrator salaries of some of the districts covered by the newspapers that I edited. It was quite controversial and even got me an interview with the superb Vern Odom of WPVI-TV which is Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate

Well, the web has made things a lot easier for that sort of thing. The salary information for public school employees in Pennsylvania can be found here.

Outlaw Teacher Strikes

Toomey Polls Biggest Lead Says Ras

Republican Pat Toomey  holds a 10-point lead over Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey of likely voters. This has caused Rasmussen to move the race  from leans GOP to solid GOP in its  Balance of Power rankings.

The survey of 750 likely voters taken Oct. 12 shows Toomey preferred 49 percent to 39 percent. Two percent wanted another candidate while 10 percent were undecided. The margin of error was 4 percent.

This is Toomey’s largest lead since the nominations. Two weeks ago he led 49 percent to 40 percent. A month ago he led 49 percent to 41 percent.

Meanwhile, the Delaware County Daily Times, which is the daily for most of Sestak’s 7th District, reported their  favored candidate to be preferred over Toomey 44 percent to 42 percent with the headline “Sestak leads Toomey in recent poll “.  They cited the Garin-Hart-Yang poll conducted by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

What Christopher Coates Told Commission

Justice Department official Christopher Coates told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, yesterday, that prejudice and racial bias run rampant in the department from leadership to staff, and civil rights violations against white voters are routinely  and premeditatedly ignored.

Coates is a former ACLU lawyer and long-time Justice Department investigator who ran the Department’s Voting Section from 2008 until December 2009 when he was transferred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina.

Coates was subpoenaed by the Commission about the time of his transfer to testify regarding the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case but was directed not to comply by his superiors.

Coates told the commission he is finally testifying to correct information Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez had supplied the Commission, the final straw apparently being an Aug. 11 letter in which he again denied a request that he be allowed to testify.

Coates is claimed “the protections of all applicable federal whistleblower statutes” before testifying.

The New Black Panther Party case stems from an incident Election Day 2008 at a polling place at 1221 Fairmount St., PhiladelphiaSamirShabazz,  and Jerry Jackson made racially disparaging remarks to voters while dressed in military garb, with Shabazz carrying a nightstick.

The Justice Department filed suit and won a default judgment against them when they ignored the charges. This judgment, however, was dismissed in May 2009.

Coates said he believed the case was dismissed due to “deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against”.

Coates had earlier described his experiences prosecuting Ike Brown, a black  who chaired the Democratic Executive Committee of Noxubee County, Mississippi. White voters and candidates had complained to the Justice Department in 2003 that elections had been administered in a racially discriminatory manner and asked that federal observes be sent to the primary run-off elections.  Coates said that what he observed during the election was some of the most “outrageous and blatant racially discriminatory behavior at polls” in his 33-plus years as a voting rights litigator.

He wrote a preliminary memorandum summarizing the evidence and recommended an investigation under the Votes Right Act with a civil injunction against Brown and the local Democrat committee to stop the pattern of discrimination.

This was forwarded to Joe Rich, who was then chief of the Voting Section, who sent it on without the part in which an injunction was recommended. He said he later learned that the Rich had said he omitted the information because he didn’t believe an investigation should be made. Approval, however, was obtained albeit finding personnel willing to perform the investigation was not easy.

Coates said one social scientist responsible for researching a jurisdiction’s history flatly refused to participate. An attorney with whom Coates had previously worked told hm that he had not come to the Voting Section to sue African American defendants. Still another attorney told him that he was opposed to bringing voting rights cases against blacks until the socio-economic status of blacks in Mississippi was that same as whites there.

Still, with the help of one attorney and paralegal new to the Voting section, and the support of the Civil Rights Division front office a suit was filed and Ike Brown was removed from superintendent of the Democratic Executive Committee of Noxubee County.

Coates said, however, that a young black paralegal who volunteered to assist on the case was the subject of vicious harassment by co-workers including an attorney, as was  his mother who was also Civil Rights Division employee.

Coates said because of his experience in the Ike Brown case he began to ask new applicants for trial attorney positions if they would be willing to ignore color and prosecute claims of discrimination against white voters. Word got back to Loretta King who had been appointed Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights by President Obama. Coates said she called him to her office and specifically prohibited him from asking such questions. He said Ms. King had been highly critical of the filing of the Ike Brown case.

Coates also explained that the reasons cited by the Justice Department for dropping the New Black Panther Party case were unreasonable. He said, for instance, that citing the determination of a local police officer who ordered Shabazz to leave but allowed Jackson to stay because he was a certified Democrat Party poll watcher was something he had never seen in his 13 years with the Department of Justice. He said police officers are not trained in what constitutes a voting rights violations and that local police have on occasion had sympathy for the persons who were violating the voting rights act.

Coates also testified that Voting Rights section was willfully refusing to enforce the National Voter Registration Act, which includes a requirement that states ensure voter registration list remove the names of those no longer eligible to vote in a jurisdiction.

Coates said that Julie Fernandez who was appointed as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights by Obama said that “the Obama Administration was not interested in that type of issue.”

The Voting Section began filing cases under the list maintenance provision during the Bush Administration. Coates said that there were states that had reported that no voters had been removed from the list in the last two years.

“I do not believe that Voting Section has recently been involved in any list maintenance enforcement during the Obama administration,” Coates said.

According to Coates’ testimony, acts of intimidation are far more common that is popularly believed. Coates testified that during his tenure as chief of Voting Section a prolonged investigation concerning Wilkinson County, Mississippi, a majority-black county, reveled that the home of a white candidate for local office was burned. No one was ever prosecuted for the burning.

He said a bank that was being used to store absentee ballots in majority-black Hale County, Alabama was burned in attempt at election theft. Again, no one was ever prosecuted for the arson.

A pdf file of Coates testimony can be found here .

And despite, the strong Philadelphia angle there was nary a mention of what Coates said in either today’s Philadelphia Inquirer or Delaware County Daily Times.

Daily Times Blames Bush Again

About a month after blaming George W. Bush for Pennsylvania’s budget woes, The Delaware County Daily Times in suburban Philadelphia decided to go whole hog and fault the entire nation’s economic misery on the previous president.

“When George W. Bush completed his second term of office in 2009, he left the country with a one-year deficit of more than $1 trillion and projected deficits of more than $8 trillion,” the DT said which was what they also said a month ago.

The DT, however, decided it was not worth  mentioning that it was the Democrats that controlled the legislature for the final two years of Dubya — civics tip of the day: spending bills start in the House.

Nor did it feel obliged to point out that Duby’s last proposed budget initially called for a $408 billion deficit.

Nor  did it think it necessary to say that the deficit was increased by $300 billion by TARP bailout spending strongly supported by certain senator from Illinois with whom the DT still seems enamored which would put them behind even Obama Girl , when it comes to shaking off the chains of co-dependency.

Nor did it see fit to note that $113 billion of that last deficit could be laid solely at the feet of Obama.

Nor did it bother to report that Obama has accelerated the spending so much that the first budget the can be entirely credit to him calls for a $1.7 billion deficit.

I suspect that the staff of the DT fully accepts Al Gore’s claim that he invented the internet. Still as it sinks into the pit and the tar finally closes over its gasping nostrils, the final thought of that Journal Register product will be “Bush’s fault”.


Daily Times Blames Bush

Pa. Daily Blames State Budget Crisis On Bush

The Delaware County Daily Times in suburban Philadelphia, today, squarely placed the blame on Harrisburg’s inability to pass a budget on the shoulders of George W. Bush. It said:

Of course, it doesn’t help that the country was plunged into economic disaster by the previous administration. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, he inherited a budget surplus of more than $200 billion. In 2009, he left the country with a $1 trillion deficit and projected deficits of $8 trillion or more.

The Times‘ reasoning appears to be that if Washington didn’t have such fiscal headaches they’d be able to shovel more money to Pennsylvania and nobody would be upset about state political hacks making  300 Gs  even when they retire. Nor would people be expressing ire at the compensation of the members of the teachers union for whose pensions Harrisburg is largely on the hook .

Of course, one wonders why it might not have occurred to the editorial writers that places like California and New York and Michigan with even greater budget headaches might not get first dibs in the fed loot money which would obviously include a chunk taken from Pennsylvanians.

Now regarding the former president, while one is not inclined to defend the domestic spending that occurred under his watch, we can’t recall the Daily Times objecting to Dubya’s creating a Medicare drug entitlement that will cost an estimated $800 billion in its first decade, increasing federal education spending 58 percent faster than inflation or being the first President to spend 3 percent of GDP on federal antipoverty programs.

And we certainly don’t see the Times objecting to President Obama’s drastic acceleration of those programs.

Of course, a lot of conservatives did and do.

And with regard to that  $1 trillion deficit and the projected $8 trillion deficits, well, Bush’s final budget projected a $408 billion deficit for fiscal year Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009. The TARP fiasco, strongly supported by a certain young senator from Illinois, spent nearly $300 billion  more — hey Daily Times what reforms do you advocate for Freddie and Fannie?  Then, Obama tacked on another $113 billion in “stimulus” spending,  and the economic downturn caused a drastic shortfall from the tax revenue that had been projected.

Obama’s first all-by-his-lonesome budget, btw,  calls for a $1.17 trillion deficit.

The problem with the old media isn’t that it criticizes and scrutinizes Republicans but that it fails to do so with Democrats. Stop drinking the Flavor Aid and start thinking for yourselves. 

Stensland Fires Back At Spencer

Stensland Fires Back At Spencer — Former Fox29 anchor Dawn Stensland responded, today, to the Delaware County Daily Times’ Gil Spencer regarding this Dec. 11 column concerning rumors of a run for the  Pa7 congressional seat by Ms. Stensland.

Ms. Stensland said  it was unfair for Spencer to compare her to Elin Woods since her husband, former KYW-TV anchor Larry Mendte, was not a serial adulterer.  Which is a fair point by Ms. Stensland.

In fact, I don’t even think Mendte has ever been actually accused of, or admitted to, adultery with former KYW-TV-anchor Alycia Lane, and, anyway, being pals with her is not what got him in trouble.

Ms. Stensland is definitely not ruling out a primary run which would be as a Republican and against party-endorsed former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan.

“Mr. Spencer hammered another nail into the“Girls Not Allowed Sign” on the “Good Old Boy’s” political clubhouse,” Ms. Stensland said in her letter, which is the sort of thing that winds up as an issue when you get prurient with politics.

A more relevant thing to bring up regarding any candidacy by Ms. Stensland would be that it was the U.S. Attorney’s office led by Meehan that prosecuted her husband for hacking into Ms. Lane’s computer and leaking her emails.

Stensland Fires Back At Spencer

Why Won’t The Daily Times Use Her Name?

The Delaware County Daily Times won’t use the name of the woman who blind attorney John Peoples alleges took advantage of his handicap by overcharging his credit card when he used it to pay her for sex.

Why not? She’s Ginger Dayle. She’s right there in U.S. District Judge Edmund V. Ludwig’s decision dismissing People’s complaints against Discover Financial Services alleging the corporation didn’t live up to its agreement to protect him from fraud.

She’s on the the internet. All the world can see it.

Ms. Dayle, fyi,  says she is a fitness instructor and has counter-sued Peoples alleging him of making improper sexual advances.

Regardless, there doesn’t seem to be any dispute that Ms. Dayle in October and November of 2007 charged Peoples’ card 10 times for $1,100 and once for $1,600 which is pretty high for fitness instruction of whatever sort.

While Discover is off the hook, the suits between Peoples and Ms. Dayle were thrown out on a jurisdictional matter and can still proceed in state court.


Why Won't The Daily Times Use Her Name?

Why Won’t The Daily Times Use Her Name?