Jennifer D. Wade Journal

Welcome to my online diary, enjoy your stay!

Blog posts April 2010

Much Ado About Sexting

The infamous sexting case in Wyoming County ended today not with - if you'll pardon the pun - a bang, but with a whimper.

A federal judge issued a permanent injunction that prevents prosecutors in Wyoming County from filing charges against one of the Tunkhannock area teens involved in the 2008 case. The judge made the ruling based largely on the fact that the current district attorney (who was not the one who initially threatened the charges) said he had no intention of prosecuting the teen. (The previous DA had already said he would not prosecute two other teens involved in the case) The DA made that statement earlier this year after a federal appeals court issued a temporary restraining order that prevented the filing of any charges.

THIS article regarding that temporary restraining order does a pretty good job of explaining the issue. The key factors are 1) the judge said prosecutors could not prove that the girls knowingly sent the pictures to others; and 2) the judge's opinion that forcing the teens to attend a class about the alleged dangers of sexting violated the civil rights of parents to raise their children as they wish.

The issue that the ruling does not address is whether sexting would be considered protected free speech under the First Amendment.

So, long story short, after 18 months and numerous court rulings, everyone's older, the lawyers have more money, and we're pretty much back where we started.

Go Back

So Much for That

Remember my last entry where I bragged slightly about the Philadelphia Phillies' fine start to the season? Well, the gods of irony must have been listening because, fast forward a couple weeks, there's not much to brag about now.

21 games in, the Phils have a record of 12-9. That means they've gone 5-7 since I wrote about how well things were going. If I recall, the Philles lost the game they played the night I wrote the post. Tonight, they wrapped up a road trip with an improbable come-from-behind, extra-inning win against San Francisco. But, overall, the trip did not go very well. The team as a whole stopped hitting and even Roy Halladay suffered a loss.

The 12-9 record has the Phils in second place (a half game behind the hated Mets) and just one game ahead of the previously lowly Nationals. This is what happens when a team that relies on hitting stops hitting. Utley has been in a funk of late and Polanco has cooled off. But, they'll get it turned around and, hopefully, Rollins will be back soon.

Also expected back soon is closer Brad Lidge. The question is, will he be the Brad Lidge from 2008 or the one from 2009? If he's gonna be the one from 2009, the Phillies are gonna need another closer because Madson has shown that he's not up to the challenge.

Say what you want about the Phillies. They sure make things interesting.

Go Back

Good Start

I know it's early, but so far, so good for the Phightin' Phils. At 7-2, the team is off to its best start since 1993, when they went to the World Series. OK, so most of those 7 wins have come against the lowly Nationals (and the Phils let one slip away today) but, generally, it looks like this team will be able to hit its way to an NL East title at the very least.

The fact that they can hit (as they did last season) is a good sign because the pitching is slightly uncertain (as it was last season). So far, Roy Halladay is as advertised. He's gone deep into his two starts and given up few runs. The rest of the rotation, not so much. Cole Hamels seems to have picked up where he left off last year - throwing a lot of pitches early and giving up more runs than he should. He's won both of his starts so far, but that's only because, as I mentioned, this team can hit.

Kyle Kendrick and JA Happ have each had one good start and one not so good. Jamie Moyer's lone start went well for about four innings, bad for one, then OK for another inning or two. Again, with the exception of Halladay's starts, the bullpen has been worked hard in this early going and both losses have been tagged on relievers. The starters have to find a way to go deeper into games so the bullpen doesn't get burned out and the hitters don't stress themselves into a slump.

Go Back

This week, the federal government handed down its latest ruling on Pennsylvania's efforts to turn Interstate 80 into a toll road. To the surprise of pretty much no one - except maybe the governor and certain lawmakers - the feds said no. Again. They said no to the initial proposal, and now the revised proposal has also been rejected.

The feds' main rationale seems to be that putting tolls on I-80, at least in the way Pennsylvania wants to do it, would violate federal rules because the money from the tolls would be used to maintain roads around the state, not just I-80.

Most of the congressmen from NE and central PA (not sure about Holden, as I-80 doesn't go through his district) opposed tolls on 80. So did a good many of the state lawmakers. But, Rep. John Siptroth (D-189), who represents a section of the Poconos, issued THIS news release which contains dire warnings that the loss of toll revenue will jeopardize several projects and will likely necessitate increases in certain taxes and fees. Duh.

So, what's next? So far, I haven't heard any talk of putting together a third proposal in an effort to get the government to reconsider. Instead, the plan now seems to be calling a "special session" of the state legislature in order to come up with ways of filling a budget gap that was initially filled with fantasy money. As Siptroth pointed out in his news release, options are likely to include increases in the gas tax and in license and registration fees. I also imagine that Turnpike tolls will be increased faster than the current 3% annual rate. The idea of leasing the Turnpike could also end up back on the table.

So, here are my general thoughts. First of all, this whole thing just points up the overall irresponsibility of our state leaders. It's one thing to budget for money, such as tax revenue, that you can reasonably expect to have. It's quite another to budget for money that, by all indications, you have no chance in hell of ever getting. All the past couple years have done is kick the can down the road and delay increases in taxes and fees - which were probably going to happen whether there were tolls on 80 or not, but now they'll probably be more "shocking" because the increases will likely happen all at once rather than over a period of time.

Secondly, I'm slightly alarmed by some of the comments people made to OUR REPORTERS when asked about the rejection of tolls on 80. As expected, drivers who use the highway were pleased that they wouldn't have to pay tolls. They said the tolls would be a "hardship" and that the state could find "some other way." Well, what exactly do they think that other way is going to be? Will the state finally find a way to make money magically appear? No! One way or another, you and I are going to end up paying. We won't pay by stopping at a toll booth. Instead, we'll pay every time we fill up, every time we renew our driver's license, every time we ride the bus. Will paying in those other ways be any less of a hardship than tolls might have been?

Oh, we're going to pay, alright. It's just a question of how and how much.

Go Back

Donovan Flies to DC

Talk about an Easter surprise! The Philadelphia Eagles just traded long-time quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins. ESPN has the story HERE.

The rumors that McNabb would be traded have been swirling for a few months now, but I didn't start believing them until a couple weeks ago when Andy Reid admitted that the Eagles were entertaining offers for all three QBs - McNabb, Kolb and Vick. With the trade, it looks like Kolb moves into the starting slot and, you have to think, the Eagles will either use Vick as the backup or trade him for a proven #2.

On the face of it, I hate to see McNabb go, especially to an NFC East rival like the Redskins. He's a talented guy and I think he still has some good football left in him.

However, he's 33 now. Although that's not terribly old by modern QB standards, McNabb isn't likely to pull a Brett Farve and play into his late 30s. He's been banged up a lot over the past few seasons and his legs certainly aren't what they used to be. For his sake, I hope the Redskins O-line affords decent protection.

McNabb's age also worked against him in terms of the Eagles general trend toward youthfulness. The Eagles have a habit of trading aging fan favorites, i.e. Brian Dawkins, while they can still get something for them. From what I've seen, these players (the ones the Eaagles traded), while doing OK, generally have not had the same impact with their new team(s) as they had with the Eagles. In short, by the time the Eagles trade them, their best years are behind them.

The other thing that made McNabb expendable was the emergence of Kevin Kolb. The guy finally got some decent playing time last season (filling in for an injured McNabb), and he did all right. Surround him with talented players (which, I think, the Eagles have), give him more reps, and I think he'll do well.

At least, I hope so. We'll find out this summer.

Go Back

5 blog posts