In Advance of Pope Visit, Philly Demonstrates “Mass Casualty” Response

"Victims" begin the decontamination process.

“Victims” begin the decontamination process.

What would happen if a terrorist detonated a chemical weapon in Philadelphia? It’s a terrifying thought but, with the pope’s visit just two months away, it’s a scenario that authorities are contemplating even more closely than before. And on Wednesday morning, scores of police, fire and other emergency personnel participated in a training exercise in South Philadelphia, demonstrating how they would respond in a “mass casualty” incident. Read more »

Toomey, Casey on Opposite Sides of Planned Parenthood Debate

Pat Toomey, left; Bob Casey Jr., right.

Pat Toomey, left; Bob Casey Jr., right.

In recent weeks, a pro-life group has released several videotapes purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price their organization will be paid for fetal tissue, from abortions, that it provides to researchers. The tapes have sparked a new battle over federal support for the organization, and Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey Jr. find themselves on opposite sides. Read more »

Reports: Cole Hamels Traded to Texas Rangers

Cole Hamels walks off the field after the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, July 25, 2015.

Cole Hamels walks off the field after the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, July 25, 2015.

One day after trading away high-priced closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies tonight have reportedly agreed to send Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers in a deal involving multiple prospects.

Reports of the imminent deal started making their way around Twitter tonight around 10 p.m. Read more »

How Will NBC10 News Report on the Fattahs?

It was 12:49 p.m. and the big headline on CBS Philly’s website was “PA US Rep Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case.” On the ABC 10 website the headline read: “Rep. Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case.” The headline on NBC10’s website at the same moment? “Pregnant Women Fear Transportation Trouble During Papal Visit.” Read more »

Haverford College’s “Unlikely Pipeline” to Major League Baseball

Tommy Bergjan, No. 15, pitches for Haverford. He is the only current baseball player to come out of Haverford, which has also given Major League Baseball many of its executives, scouts, and employees in other roles, per the New York Times. Photo| David Sinclair

Tommy Bergjans pitching for Haverford. He is the only current pro baseball player in the major league system to have come out of Haverford, which has also given Major League Baseball many of its executives, scouts, and employees in other roles, per the New York Times. Photo| David Sinclair

When you think baseball, you think … Haverford College, right? That tiny little Quaker liberal arts bastion out on the Main Line?

Well, it turns out you should, according to the New York Times. It has a story about the school serving as an “unlikely pipeline” to the Major Leagues despite the fact it’s an NCAA Division 3 school and can’t grant athletic scholarships.

What it does have is alums peppered throughout the baseball world, including the Dodgers’ senior vice president for baseball management, the COO of Major League Baseball, the assistant general manager of the Rangers, and “two of the most influential sports agents in history,” according to the Times. The paper estimates that in total, 15 to 20 Haverford grads have prominent jobs as “front-office executives, agents and talent evaluators.” Read more »

Gerry Lenfest Awards $1,000 Bonuses to Philly Newspaper Workers*

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speaks at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | Matt Rourke/AP

Here’s the good news: If you work for the Inquirer, Daily News, or Philly.com, Gerry Lenfest is going to give you $1,000.

The not-so-thrilling news? If you’re a member of the Newspaper Guild, you won’t see any of that money in cash. Instead, it’ll go to help pay for your health insurance costs.

“As negotiated by their leadership, in lieu of the $1,000 bonus being paid to the Guild’s individual members, a payment of $1,000 for each Guild member is being made to that union’s (health and welfare) plan,” Lenfest said in a Wednesday afternoon email announcing the bonus. Read more »

Chaka Fattah Indicted in Alleged Racketeering Conspiracy

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

[UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.]: Fattah has issued a statement on this morning’s indictment against him and four associates:

“This has been an eight-year effort by some in the Department of Justice to link my public service career to some form of wrongdoing. With today’s charges, this misguided campaign has now moved from speculation to specific allegations.

“As I have previously stated, I have never participated in any illegal activity or misappropriation of taxpayer dollars as an elected official. For the last 21 years, I have represented the people of Philadelphia in Congress with honor and dignity, helping millions of families through my efforts focused on education, employment, mortgage relief, and health care. I will proudly continue to serve my constituents and look forward to helping millions more.

“Per House rules and precedent, I have stepped aside from my role as Ranking Member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.

“This will not be a distraction from my service to the people that elected me, and I am confident that I will be cleared of these charges.”

[ORIGINAL, 11:30 a.m.]: On Wednesday morning, the United States Attorney in Philadelphia announced federal tax evasion charges against sitting Democratic U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, who has represented Pennsylvania’s 2nd District since assuming office in 1995.

Fattah and four associates were indicted on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in a racketeering conspiracy that involved misappropriating “hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds,” according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney. Also charged are Bonnie Bowser of Philadelphia, Karen Nicholas of Williamstown, N.J., Herbert Vederman of Palm Beach, Florida, and Robert Brand of Philadelphia. Charges include racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and bank fraud, among other offenses. (Read the full indictment, and a list of charges and defendants, below.) Read more »

Who Are Fattah’s Indicted Associates?

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

You can’t have a RICO prosecution without alleged co-conspirators. So who have the Feds targeted in addition to Chaka Fattah?

Herbert Vederman, 69, Palm Beach, Florida.

Biography: A politically potent lobbyist with strong ties to former Gov. Ed Rendell, Vederman is the other big fish in this indictment (below). Vederman was a former clothing executive who joined Mayor Ed Rendell’s administration as an unpaid deputy mayor. He headed up economic development for the city for a time, and played a role in a 1995 City Hall scandal called “boobgate,” which involved strippers and L&I, because this is Philadelphia. He’s contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to Rendell’s political campaigns. Later, Vederman was a lobbyist for hire in the government relations division of Stradley Ronon, the law firm. He also served as finance director for the Fattah for Congress Committee for more than three years. Read more »

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