RIP Beau Biden

Delaware bade farewell to one of its own today.  Last weekend Beau Biden, son of VP Joe Biden and a two term Delaware Attorney General, died of brain cancer. The front runner for the Gubernatorial race next year he succumbed to this virulent cancer just short of two years after being diagnosed.  Being a former Delawarean I followed Beau’s career ascent with interest.  I’ve covered his father numerous times as Vice President and Joe was also my U.S. Senator for the 18 years I resided in Newark.  I’ve always had admiration for the Bidens and Beau looked to have an impressive future.  The fact this cancer robbed us all of him so soon, at age 46, is a loss to all of us.

I have to wonder if his service in Iraq caused his illness.  The use of depleted uranium is causing many illnesses in both American service people and Iraqis.  Biden spent 14 months serving in Iraq with the Delaware Air National Guard.  He signed up for service after 9/11.  He leaves a widow and two children.

President Obama eulogized him today at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington.  The famous Italian Festival begins this week and the sense of revelry will definitely be muted this year.

Delaware is a small family.  Originally the Lower Three Counties of Penns Woods the First State broke off in colonial times and has had its share of remarkable leaders.  Pennsylvania, with 67 counties has lagged behind IMHO.  In a state where everyone knows everyone I recall a time when I was driving north from Dover and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s state car (always identifiable by its license plate Delaware 1) was speeding.  We were going pretty much the same direction and when it pulled into the state Democratic headquarters in Stanton I pulled in behind and commented tot he Governor that her driver (a State Trooper) had been speeding and that it set a bad example.

There aren’t a lot of places where you can do something like that.  Gov. Minner was friendly and apologetic and she knew that in such a small state word of something like that could spread quickly and she reprimanded her driver before I departed.

I recall many times seeing Gov. Pete DuPont’s Lincoln Town Car on its way to Dover from Wilmington when I was frequently driving the same route down Route 13.  In a big state like ours it’s difficult to imagine how intimate politics can be in a place like Delaware.  Joe Biden served the state for 36 years as U.S. Senator and in that time many, many Delawareans were touched by him and his family.  He frequently eats at the Charcoal Chef which also a favorite haunt of my grandparents who lived in Wilmington.  He raised his family after losing his first wife and daughter in a car accident.  I never passed through that intersection (which I did frequently) without thinking about them.

Losing Beau before his time has affected everyone in Delaware and everyone who has lived there for any period of time.  He promised to be someone who might even surpass his father’s accomplishments and was well on his way on his own terms.  Not only will Delawareans miss Beau Biden but we all are at a loss for his passing.

My heart goes out to the Biden family.  May Beau rest in peace.

News & Notes May 25, 2010

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers for going to the Stanley Cup Finals.  I’m not a hockey fan but this makes two consecutive years a Pennsylvania team is in the finals.  The Pittsburgh Penguins won last year.  Pennsylvania is the sports capital of the country with the Phillies, Steelers, Eagles, Penguins and Flyers.

The Vice President was in Philadelphia last evening for a fundraiser for his son Beau who is recovering from a stroke.  VPOTUS was at the Water Works Restaurant and Lounge where he reported his son is doing so much better they hit some golf balls that morning.  We certainly wish Beau Biden well.  The VP also said his son opted out of running for his old Senate seat because he is focused on prosecuting a case where a pediatrician is accused of molesting 450 children.  Speaking of molestation he also joked to the Greek Orthodox audience that if his church (Roman Catholic) doesn’t get its house in order he may join them.  That’s a shot across the bow, said in jest or not.

Rick Santorum surfaced again in Harrisburg yesterday to speak at the Pennsylvania Press Club.  The Twitter traffic was interesting as news flacks have embraced the new technology.  Santorum was up to his old ways though criticizing President Obama, Joe Sestak and other Democrats as he said he has yet to decide whether to run for president in 2012.  God help us all.  If Rick wants to see a loose cannon, a “wild eyed Howard Dean” all he need do is look in a mirror.

The Inquirer finally chimed in on CorbettGate a week later and fell short of calling for the AG’s resignation.  The Harrisburg Patriot News did so after he attempted to violate citizen’s free speech rights with an unlawful subpoena of Twitter accounts.

As BP’s oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico more than a month later questions about the company’s poor safety record make me wonder if it is time to liquidate BP, take over its assets and use them to recompense every person harmed by their actions.  Corporate responsibility must be severe enough so no company would responsibly consider such reckless behavior in the future.  Think of it as the corporate death penalty.  If these companies want to be “persons” they must face the same consequences for their behavior.

The preliminary hearing for John Perzel and others in the latest BonusGate case resumed this morning in Harrisburg.  As usual the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is Tweeting the proceedings.

The NFL lost a case in the Supreme Court which held the league is composed of 32 separate teams and is not one business entity under anti-trust law.  This surprised me as the Republican Justices seem to bend over backwards (or is it forward?) to accommodate big business.  This is a victory for fans who may now be able to purchase gear for less.

Congratulations to Allentown City Councilman Mike Schlossberg, a certified good guy who wed his sweetheart Brenna O’Keefe Saturday.  One piece of advice Mike:  don’t play Mafia Wars on your honeymoon.  You should be having better things to do with your time.

Joe Sestak says he would fully cooperate with authorities should there be a federal probe into allegations the White House offered him a job to drop out of the U.S. Senate race.  This needs to be out to rest so let’s hope it is done.  Now will Pat Toomey come clean about his extensive Wall Street ties?