Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey applauds during a 2012 visit to the VA medical campus in Oakland. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey applauds during a 2012 visit to the VA medical campus in Oakland. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)

1) New poll results from Franklin and Marshall College indicate that the Democratic primary in the state should be a fun race to watch, because Katie McGinty has made headway quickly against Joe Sestak since entering the race a few weeks ago. Mr. Sestak, the former congressman, holds a 16 percent to 13 percent lead over Ms. McGinty, who served as secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection in the Rendell administration; the number to watch in that race, however, is the 66 percent of registered voters who said they are undecided. And here's where Mr. Sestak should pay attention: the poll found Incumbent Republican Pat Toomey would beat Mr. Sestak 12 percentage points, 41 to 29, while Mr. Toomey's lead over Ms. McGinty is just 7 points, 35 to 28.

2) The more the face of the Republican presidential race – that would be Donald Trump – talks about walls and deportation and anchor babies, the deeper the hole.

3) has an interesting analysis of the social media war going on among the Republican candidates and, to the surprise of no one, it's being driven by Mr. Trump.

4) Before President Obama visited New Orleans on Thursday, Louisiana governor and largely ignored presidential candidate Bobby Jindal published an open letter saying the president should avoid politics during his speech – and therefore not address the "divisive political agenda of liberal environmental activism," or climate change as the rest of us call it. Given the rate that Louisiana is being swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico, it's not especially surprising that Mr. Obama didn't heed the governor's request.

5) Welcome to the 21st Century, Pennsylvania voters. And thanks to Gov. Wolf for the nudge.


The old hidden-sister trick

Published by Mike Pound on .

No, the Kane in the red dress.No, the Kane in the red dress.

She said she'd talk when she was able to release the pornographic emails she said were behind her prosecution. Then she changed her mind.

She said she wanted to take down members of the email chain who were now conspiring to end her political career. Unless, of course, you're talking about someone who works for her.

So is it any surprise at all that Attorney General Kathleen Kane used her sister as a decoy when she arrived at the Montgomery County Courthouse for her preliminary hearing today?


Perry on Politics: From campaigns to cancer, Carter's grace still shows

Published by James M. Perry on .

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter takes questions from the media during a news conference about his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment plans, at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 20, 2015. (John Amis/Reuters)Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter takes questions from the media during a news conference about his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment plans, at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 20, 2015. (John Amis/Reuters)

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, told reporters the other day that cancer has spread to his brain. Speaking in that slow, sometimes mesmerizing Georgia drawl, he said, "I'm perfectly at ease with whatever comes."

The 90-year old Mr. Carter may not have been a huge success in the White House but his and the Carter Center's efforts to eradicate disease and despair around the world in the years since he left office have been dramatic and hugely successful. "I'd like the last Guinea worm to die before I do," he said. When he and the center began their battle to eradicate the disease, there were 3.5 million cases in Africa and Asia. In 2014, there were 126.

Mr. Carter, a deceptively simple man, has managed, without much fanfare, to save millions of lives.

He and his wife, Rosalynn, still live in Plains, Georgia, the village (population 776 in 2010) where he was born. He still attends the local Baptist church every Sunday and manages to find time to teach Sunday school. He said he would keep teaching the kids their Bible lessons so as long as he was able.

I spent a day in Plains with Mr. Carter in 1975, when he was running what almost everyone said was a futile campaign to win the Democratic nomination for president. Rosalynn was visiting friends in Florida and their daughter Amy was nowhere in evidence. Our first stop was what was left of a hamlet outside Plains called Archery where he and his family had lived when he was a child. He said he dimly remembered one night in particular when dozens of black tenant farmers gathered in a house nearby to listen to a radio broadcast of the second heavyweight fight between Joe Louis, a black American, and Max Schmeling, a German much admired by Adolf Hitler, in Yankee Stadium on June 22, 1938.

"They were very quiet at first," he said, But not for long. Mr. Louis knocked out Mr. Schmeling before the first round was over. "They went wild," Mr. Carter said. "You never heard such a celebration."

Mr. Carter and his wife have four children, Amy and three boys, Jack, Chip, and Jeff, Our next stop was the elementary school classroom where the wife of one of the three boys -- probably Chip's -- was the teacher. Everybody in the classroom spoke in what to me was almost an impenetrable southern accent. "I used to talk that way," Mr. Carter said, adding that he worked hard to moderate it to the drawl so familiar now to millions.

Our next stop was lunch at the home of Mr. Carter's formidable mother, Lillian Gordy Carter, known to everyone as "Miss Lillian." There wasn't much to eat in the house, a few aging slices of bread and some sliced cheese. Miss Lillian, though, was a delight. She was a nurse in Plains for a number of years and regularly tended to the needs of many of the town's African-Americans, often without being paid. From 1966 to 1968, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in India. Jimmy published a book about his mother in 2008, titled "A Remarkable Woman," and so she was.

Mr. Carter's younger brother, the rowdy Billy Carter, ran the family gas station. We stopped by to see him that afternoon. He told us a few jokes in his adopted role as the "good old boy" in the family (he actually had gone to college and was widely read) and showed us around. It was a few years later that his own beer brand, Billy Beer, appeared.

We drove by the family peanut warehouse, setting Mr. Carter off on a lengthy discourse about the nutritional benefits of peanut butter. "Peanut butter" he said, "could solve many of the world's hunger problems."

We somehow missed visiting Mr. Carter's first cousin, Hugh Carter Sr., who proudly boasted he operated the world's largest worm farm. He also ran an antique shop after his cousin became president, regularly flogging brass objects of art made weeks earlier in Pakistan. Another popular item, small bottles containing authentic dust from Plains, Georgia, went for one dollar.

We ended up back at Jimmy Carter's home, a comfortable, but unexciting, ranch house. He and Rosalynn still live there.

As I was driving away, I saw the future 39th president running down the driveway, signaling me to stop. Amy's cat, he told me, was perched on the roof of my rental car. We disengaged Amy's cat and I continued on my way.

James M. Perry, a prominent veteran political reporter, contributes regular observations to Mr. Perry was the chief political correspondent of The Wall Street Journal until his retirement. Prior to that, he covered national politics for the Dow Jones weekly, The National Observer.


Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .


1) City officials and their allies in Reading and Allentown. State Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Philly District Attorney Seth Williams. If you're a Pennsylvania politician and the FBI isn't investigating you, we're going to wonder if you're not trying hard enough.

2) Ms. Kane, of course, is dealing with investigations on multiple fronts – and that's to say nothing of the criminal charges she's facing. In one of those cases, the petitioner – Harrisburg activist Gene Stilp, who has asked the state Supreme Court to strip Ms. Kane of her law license – wants members of the state judicial disciplinary board with ties to Kane to recuse themselves.

3) A new Quinnipiac University Poll says Hillary Clinton is struggling in Pennsylvania – unless Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. Ms. Clinton trails both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in head-to-head matchups, but she'd beat Mr. Trump 48 percent to 40 percent. And here's the interesting thing: Vice President Joe Biden – you know, the guy who isn't even an official candidate – pulls nearly identical numbers. Even tougher for Ms. Clinton: just 38 percent said they had a favorable view of the once-presumptive Democratic nominee while 46 percent of those polled said they had a favorable view of Mr. Biden.

4) Further data about Mr. Trump from the Quinnipiac poll: He's the clear Republican leader in Pennsylvania at this point – 24 percent favor him, to 13 percent for Ben Carson and 10 percent for Mr. Rubio – but his other numbers are dismal. Favorability? Thirty-four percent. Those polled who feel he's not trustworthy? Fifty-three percent. And in head-to-head matchups, he'd not only lose to Ms. Clinton, but to Mr. Biden and to Bernie Sanders as well.

5) Have a tight weekend, boys and girls, courtesy of Bunny Radio.


The president we deserve

Published by Mike Pound on .

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question from the audience during a campaign town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire August 19, 2015. (Brian Snyder?Reuters)U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question from the audience during a campaign town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

It wouldn't have been realistic to expect him to flame out by now, but still -- it feels odd that we're still talking about Donald Trump.

Until we consider what politics in this country has become. Louder is better. Emotions top substance. Smart doesn't matter, but style does.

And that's why Mr. Trump is leading the Republican pack.

Earlier this week, The Atlantic posted a retrospective of the Trump presidency, and with it, this:

In the end, Trump is what America had earned. Trump is what America deserved.