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A farewell from President Obama: What a difference eight years makes

Heron's Nest - Tue, 2017-01-10 07:22
Eight years ago, I really thought America had turned a corner on race relations. The nation had elected its first African-American president, Barack Obama.

Eight years later, I'm not so sure.

Tonight the president will deliver what amounts to his farewell address, offering a review of his tumultuous two terms in office, a look at the future, and a healthy dose of advice for the man who will soon reside in the White House.

A year ago, many experts were still passing off Donald Trump as a joke, a billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV host who so liked the idea of being the center of attention that running for the presidency piqued his interest, despite his seeming complete lack of credentials to do the job.

Then, toppling one Republican foe for the GOP nomination at a time, he connected with a lot of Americans who saw him as the answer to their prayers. They felt marginalized, ignored, spoken down, disrespected, maybe even a bit reviled by the powers that be and elites who have ruled the country - sometimes in anonymity - for much of the last generation.

In other words, I think maybe they felt a bit like Barack Obama and many African-Americans felt eight years ago.

That commonality did not last long. Politics cured that.

Republicans made it clear that above all else, their objective after the election of Barack Obama was to insure the re-election of Barack Obama would never happen.

They set the tone that was picked up by right-wing talk radio, and soon crackled across the nation.

It too often bubbled to the surface, at least to my way of looking at it, in ugly ways.

I think a lot of what has happened over the past eight years is fairly easy to explain. I think there are a lot of Americans who simply were less than enamored at what many of us believed was going to be an historic change of course for the country - its first black president. Instead I'm not sure it simply did not reinforce how far we still have to go.

Make no mistake. I do not agree with everything President Obama did. He often spoke first, perhaps without fully digesting how his words would be interpreted, such as when he chimed in that police acted "stupidly" in stopping a Harvard professor.

Of course, as with just about everything that happened in his administration, those words and actions would be viewed in black and white - literally.

His signature program, the Affordable Care Act, almost routinely ridiculed as Obamacare, remains wildly popular with the country, if not with Republicans in Washington. It has offered health care to 20 million Americans who were not covered before. And yet it remains in the crosshairs, the first Obama relic scheduled to be dismantled when the new Republican Congress, replete with a veto-proof White House, takes control in a week.

I will listen intently tonight as Barack Obama signs off as 44th president of the United States.

I would be lying if I did not admit I am somewhat fearful of what lies ahead with the 45th president.

We have turned the keys to the county over to a man who seems incapable of responding via Twitter to every perceived slight, be it someone in his own party, a 'Saturday Night Live' skit, or Meryl Streep's speech at Sunday night's Golden Globe awards. In that Tweet, the Donald, with his characteristic, 140-character caustic blast, belittled Street as a "Hillary Clinton flunky" and the "one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood."

We can only hope that Trump is a better president than film critic.

I really hope Donald Trump is a terrific president.

I fear that will not be the case.

I fear the damage his unchecked trigger finger - on things much more important than a phone or tablet tapping out a Twitter response - may inflict on the country.

Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in Washington. And immediately surrounded himself with the same kind of insiders he spent the majority of his campaign ridiculing.

I hope that Mr. Trump is listening tonight. Most expect President Obama to offer a healthy dose of advice.

I doubt Trump and his GOP pals will be listening.

They stopped listening eight years ago.

Categories: Pennsylvania

Trying to explain the unexplainable

Heron's Nest - Tue, 2017-01-10 06:25
We used our editorial page today to try to explain what appears to actually be unexplainable.

That would be the story from Bucks County involving 14-year-old Grace Packer.

I've been doing this job for more than 35 years. Usually I don't let these kinds of stories get to me. Once thing I learned early in this business is that it helps to develop a fairly tough exterior.

Of course, that is mostly a defense mechanism, something we do to get through the day.

We joke and smile in the face of horrific details, to mask the fact that we are crying on the inside.

But this case, in which a mother, Sara Packer, and her boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, are now both charged in Grace's murder, described as some sort of rape-murder fantasy by prosecutors, almost defies explanation.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Eagles have found their receiving corps problem: Greg Lewis

Heron's Nest - Tue, 2017-01-10 06:04
We now know what was wrong with the Eagles this season.

Greg Lewis.

The team parted ways with its wide receivers coach yesterday after a season in which intense focus was placed on the lack of production from the team's wide receiver corps.

The lack of playmakers like DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, decisions made long before G-Lew joined Doug Pederson's staff, doomed the Birds.

The truth is Lewis did not have a lot to work with. He was saddled with a steady but not great slot receiver in Jordan Matthews, a No. 1 pick who has proved to be anything but in Nelson Agholor, and an at times seemingly disinterested Dorrial Green-Beckham, brought in mid-season.

There isn't an All-Pro in the group. Not even close. But none of them showed much in the way of improvement under Lewis' guiding hands.

Maybe that's what it's all about - hands.

Greg Lewis had them. In fact, he did something that none of the members of this desultory Eagles wide receiver corps is likely to do: He caught a TD pass in a Super Bowl for hte Eagles.

But something had to be done in light of the Eagles wide receiver problems this season. And as they say, it's a lot harder to fire the players.

Good luck to whoever gets the job of turning around this group.

Bob Grotz has all the details on move here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Homes Listed for Sale in and Near Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 20:09
Patch brings you newly listed homes on the market. Check out the latest homes for sale in and around Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood...
Categories: Lower Merion

Five High Schoolers to Graduate From Montco College Gateway Program

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 17:41
Five high schoolers will graduate Wednesday from the unique College Gateway Program at Montgomery County Community College.
Categories: Lower Merion

Free Community Paper Shredding in Lower Merion

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 16:56
Montgomery County will host a series of free community paper shredding events in 2017.
Categories: Lower Merion

Special Needs Scholarship Launched, Services Planned To Honor Murdered Teen, Grace Packer

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 15:56
"Everyone that knew Grace says that she was a sweet and kind young woman that had a heart for those with special needs​."
Categories: Lower Merion

Winning $1 Million Lottery Ticket Sold In Montgomery County

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 13:46
Breaking: A winning lottery ticket worth $1 million has been sold in Montgomery County, lottery officials announced.
Categories: Lower Merion

Missing Montco Man Found

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 11:08
A Montgomery County man with dementia who had gone missing has been found safe, authorities said.
Categories: Lower Merion

Code Blue Extended in Montgomery County

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 10:54
The cold front is not gone yet. The wind chill could be as low as 11 degrees in Montgomery County into Tuesday.
Categories: Lower Merion

Prevent Car Theft With These Tips From Lower Merion Township Police

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 10:51
LMPD Sgt. Matt Stinger offers advice to keep your automobiles safe and secure.
Categories: Lower Merion

hello pravda?

Chester County Ramblings - Mon, 2017-01-09 10:27

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~ Thomas Jefferson

You will note I have not said much politically as in national- elections-politically in a very long time. Except for mentioning that after the most recent US presidential primary I went from being a life long Republican to a registered Independent.

I haven’t mentioned anything because on both sides of the aisle the ranting and raving especially on social media has been upsetting.  We are officially a country of extremism politically at this point and I find that terrifying.

Our President Elect  seems incapable of getting out of his own way. He attained the highest office in the land, literally. So why is it at this point so close to the inauguration that he can’t behave in a more shall we say “Presidential” manner?

 He likes to criticize people like bloggers and the media and celebrities and basically anyone who disagrees with him in any way.   OK so it’s fine to be a cranky person who reacts to everything on Twitter, but this guy is going to be our president officially as in sworn in officially in a matter of days and the only thing he can do is attack Meryl Streep for exercising her right of free speech at the Golden Globes awards ceremony?

It’s not like it’s anything new is it? Award ceremonies are used by celebrities all the time to voice their political opinions and platforms.

  
Meryl Streep is eloquent and thoughtful. And once again our now President Elect has vilified yet another woman. Why does he have issues with women so often? 

Apparently no one else is allowed to say anything he might find upsetting, distressing, personally distasteful. But in that double standard world in which he lives, he can say whatever he wants it’s just everyone else who has to keep their mouths shut.

Newsflash Mr. President elect this isn’t Mother Russia. Pravda need not apply.  You don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion, but our forefathers fought for our freedom’s including freedom of speech.

I actually wonder in addition to trying to completely dismantle our healthcare system if he will try to well rollback freedom of speech a couple hundred years. I am waiting for laws that will hurt bloggers and reporters and anyone at all who has an opinion that differs from the party line that the incoming administration wants out there.

Washington Post: Meryl Streep called out Donald Trump at the Golden Globes. He responded by calling her ‘over-rated

By Elahe Izadi and Amy B Wang Arts and Entertainment. January  9 at 8:32 am

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. Okay. Go on with that thing.

You do not have to share Meryl Streep’s politics to know she speaks the truth. And this country was founded by people who fought so we could speak our truths and not live under the thumb of tyranny. They died for this.

As Americans are we going to allow the clock to be turned back to a more oppresive form of our country? you know a country where women were barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen, and didn’t open their mouths?

I could go on but I won’t. I just felt like I had to write about this. Every day I fear more and more that the next four years will be so ugly. We should not be ruled by political extremism and reactionary politics. We should not be ruled.


Categories: Pennsylvania

Ardmore's Benj Pasek Wins Golden Globe For 'La La Land' Song

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 10:22
Pasek's song "City of Stars" put stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone together in song and dance in the hit film.
Categories: Lower Merion

Montgomery Avenue Restricted To One Lane This Week In Ardmore

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 10:03
The road will reopen on Thursday.
Categories: Lower Merion

Animals Rescued After Fire at Montgomery County SPCA

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Mon, 2017-01-09 09:00
Animals were quickly evacuated after a fire broke out overnight at the Montgomery County SPCA.
Categories: Lower Merion

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Jan. 9

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-01-09 08:11
The Daily Numbers: 1, age of tot in car that was stolen from parking lot in Marple over the weekend.

1 suspect fled on foot after discovered baby in back seat of car that he jumped in while it was still running in parking lot.

250 Boy Scouts who picked a tough weekend to earn their Survival merit badge in Tinicum this weekend.

820,000 square foot town center called the Promenade at Granite Run rising where Granite Run Mall once stood.

400 apartments part of the center.

30,000 dollars raised by the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund for the Chester Salvation Army this year.

0 tax hike in the Trainer Borough budget.

2 state prisons that will be shuttered as the number of inmates in the state declines.

14, age of Grace Packer, who was brutally tortured, raped and killed in Bucks County.

41, age of her adoptive mom Sara Packer, who now faces charges in the case, which is being called some kind of rape-murder fantasy.

44, age of boyfriend Jacob Sullivan, who allegedly confessed after a suicide try failed.

90, age of Broomall man who still ice skates every day at a Main Line rink. Serious kudos to Art Tatios.

10 years in prison, how long former Penn prof Rafael Robb served for the murder of his wife.

124 million dollar judgment won by family of his widow. They believe he is hiding his assets, including his retirement money.

2 times that a synagogue in Tacony has been vandalized in recent weeks.

2 vehicles swallowed by massive sinkhole caused by water main break in Kensington.

10 wins for the Sixers. That equals total from last year.

105-95 win over the Nets yesterday.

10-25 mark on the season for the Sixers.

8 games out of 8th place, sparking some talk of playoff chances from Joel Embiid.

20 points for Embiid; 18 for Dario Saric.

2-1 road loss in OT for Flyers to Blue Jackets, top team in the NHL.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Raise your hand if you were not all that impressed by the NFL playoff games this weekend? Thought so.

I Don’t Get It: Still can’t quite get my hands around the gruesome details in the death of 14-year-old Grace Packer.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Sixers for matching last year’s win total with yesterday’s victory over the Nets.

Quote Box: “Thank God, we have a happy, smiling little girl at the end of this story.”

- Marple Lt. Brandon Graeff, on stolen car with tot in the back seat.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The unspeakable horror inflicted on Grace Packer

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-01-09 07:05
You'd think after doing this job for more than three decades, I would no longer be surprised by some of the stories we deal with every day.

Or horrified.

Look, I've built up a pretty tough exterior. It takes a lot to get under my skin.

But even I am shaking my head at the details involving the death of 14-year-old Grace Packer in Bucks County.

She went missing last summer.

Now her adoptive mother and her boyfriend are charged in her death. The details are almost beyond belief.

Bucks County authorities describe as some sort of rape-murder fantasy.

The teen was tortured, raped and strangled to death.

Then her corpse was stashed in kitty litter in the attic of the Quakertown farmhouse where her adoptive mom and her boyfriend lived.

As if that was not enough, after a few months, when the duo believed authorities were getting suspicious about their story concerning the teen's disappearance, they dismembered her body, cutting her up in a bathtub, then dumping the remains 75 miles away in the woods of Luzerne County.

Now the mom, Sara Packer, 41, and her boyfriend Jacob Sullivan, 44, both face murder charges in the case. The couple apparently had made a suicide pact as the investigation closed in on them, attempting to overdose on pills. While he was recovering in the hospital, Sullivan allegedly confessed to the crimes.

You can read all the details on this grisly story here.

What can make people act this way? What does it say about us as a society.

Some days you just have to shake your head.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A little slice of Springfield - in Swarthmore

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-01-09 06:44
I'm still looking for the answer to a question that popped up recently when I noted the arrival of our sign.

I talked about it last week in the blog and this morning in my Monday Letter From the Editor.I declared that it marked the official "arrival" of the Daily Times in Swarthmore.

Which is great except for one thing.

Our new home - 639 S. Chester Road - is not actually in Swarthmore. It's serviced by the Swarthmore Post Office, hence the Swarthmore address. But geographically, it's actually in Springfield Township.

There actually is a little island of Springfield located down here on South Chester Road that is not connected to the rest of the township at all.

My question is this: Does anyone know how this came about? It sort of reminds me of the situation with Darby Township, where that town actually is split into two distinct pieces.

One reader replied that he was once told a local historian that the reason there is this small island of Springfield Township adjacent to Swarthmore goes back to the decision by the residents of what is now Swarthmore to form a borough and separate from Springfield. However, he offered the opinion that those residents did not want to have the quarry adjacent to what is now the Blue Route (behind the Swiss Farms Store) as part of their new burg. So they drew the boundaries without the quarry, and, he could not resist pointing out, without the blue-collar workers who lived nearby.

Anyone else have an explanation for this little slice of Springfield?

I'd love to hear it.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A bitter way to start the week - but there is good news for winter haters as well

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-01-09 05:55
First things first.

We're down to single digits.

Yes, my car dashboard thermometer greeted me this morning with a lovely 7 degrees.

It capped off a brutal weekend that saw winter slam the door on the holidays with a combination of snow, very cold temperatures and biting wind.

Not helping matters all that much is that I've managed to catch a nasty head cold that has me walking around in a complete fog. So of course this would be the weekend when we decided to venture out to collect the Christmas decorations. Yes, I was cursing my decision to place those lovely balls on the tree at the corner of the house. Not sure I'll make that decision again next year.

If you're like me and detest winter just a little bit more each year, I have good news.

We're about to get a reprieve.

Yes, today is going to be bone-chilling.

But temperatures will gradually rise all week. And - believe it or not - we could see temperatures back in the 60s again by Thursday.

Maybe it's a sign of an early spring.

At least we can hope.

You can get the full forecast here.
Categories: Pennsylvania