Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts July 2009

I have a lot of questions rolling around in my mind these days, not the least of which is whether the Phillies will trade for Roy Halladay. So, now that you know where my priorities lie, let's take some of those questions one by one.

1. We might as well start with the Halladay question as it may actually be the first one to be answered with any certainty. Will the Phillies make a deal with the Blue Jays to get ace starting pitcher Roy Halladay? I certainly don't know, but as the July 31 trade deadline nears, it appears that more teams are getting involved in the mix. I haven't ready anything about the possibility of a three-way deal, but the Blue Jays are reportedly talking to other teams, including Boston and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

My view is this: Halladay is a proven commodity who, barring injury, should be a solid acquisition. However, because he's thought of so highly, the asking price is high. Toronto is demanding a lot of young talent in return, and my fear is that the Phillies will give it to them. Specifically, the Jays want pitchers JA Happ and Kyle Drabek plus another prospect or two in exchange. So far, the Phillies seem to be willing to give up Happ OR Drabek, but not both. I think that's about right. The organization finally has some talent in the farm system and I'd hate to see them give too much away. So, will the Phillies trade for Roy Halladay? I think it all depends on which side blinks first.

2. Where is all that stimulus money going? Well, if you've seen the signs along the highway, you know where some of it is going - to put up signs along the highway. PennDOT is spending $60,000 to put up 30 signs (you do the math) at sites where road construction is being funded with stimulus money. HERE'S an article about it. There's one sign along Interstate 81 south between Moosic and Wilkes-Barre. I believe the signs were part of the stimulus deal. It only adds up to a fraction of the $1 billion or so in stimuls money that Pennsylvania received but, still, I can't help wondering if that $60,000 could have been put to better use - like maybe repairing or replacing other road signs.

3. When will Pennsylvania's full-time legislature manage to pass a budget? God only knows. The budget is already almost four weeks late, and unless lawmakers came up with some sort of agreement this weekend, it's likely to go at least another week or two. This past Friday, state workers received the last partial paycheck they'll get. Until a budget is passed, they'll get nothing. And what should they do in the meantime? One piece of advice from state officials is, "Go to the food bank." What? Seriously?

Because 252 people can't do their job and pass a balanced budget by June 30 - tens of thousands of families now need to rely on food banks, low-interest loans, etc. to carry them through. I understand that the workers will eventually get what they're owed, but still. This is ridiculous. I understand that it's a tough economy, tax revenues are down. I get that. But, these lawmakers are elected to make these decisions. The governor submitted a proposed budget in early February. Are you telling me that in the four or five months that followed, our full-time lawmakers were unable to come up with a compromise plan? Did the $3 billion deficit come as a surprise? They had to know cuts and/or tax hikes would be necessary. What are they waiting for? This will most certainly factor into my decisions on Election Day.

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The Fourth Plinth

What the hell is a plinth? I didn't know either, until I came across THIS article in the Guardian newspaper in Britain. It defines a plinth as "an architectural setting for sculpture that distinguishes it from the surrounding world, defines it as 'art,' ennobles and elevates it."

I found that article after reading THIS article in another British newspaper, The Independent. In said article, a critic blasts the latest artwork to appear on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth as "catastrophically boring."

Let's backtrack a little. Set in the NW corner of London's Trafalgar Square, the FOURTH PLINTH was originally intended as the base for some sort of equestrian statue that I'm not sure ever materialized. It is currently reserved for a statue of Queen Elizabeth II to be commissioned after she dies. For a long time, the Fourth Plinth stood empty. But, in the not too distant past, someone came up with the idea of using the plinth to showcase a series of public artworks. HERE you can see a couple of the more recent plinth-fillers.

Anyway, a few days ago, the latest plinth project got underway. It's called ONE & OTHER and is the brainchild of a sculptor named Antony Gormley. It's quite brilliant, really, because Gormely didn't actually have to sculpt anything. He just came up with the idea to let ordinary people get up on the plinth and do whatever they want. So, for a 100 day period that ends sometime in October, 2400 people will each have the Fourth Plinth to themselves for one hour at a time. For 24 hours a day, there will always be someone on the plinth, doing whatever the hell he or she wants. As I write this, there's a guy in business clothes standing up there with his bicycle.

If you'd like to see what's going on on the Fourth Plinth right now, click HERE.

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