DAILY GRINDER: Philly Smokers on the Decline

CigaretteWarnings-1The city’s rate of people who smoke has dropped 15 percent since 2008. About 40,000 adults have stopped. It’s said to be on the decline because of things like the indoor smoking law (a brainchild of the then-Councilman Nutter); a smoking ban at rec centers and playgrounds; and the “Get Healthy Philly” initiative, which promotes exercise and avoidance of smoke and sugar. And while the numbers seem positive overall (if you think smoking is bad), it’s also been found large areas of the city’s poor population remain addicted to tobacco.

The population of “Greater Center City Philadelphia”—which they’re calling river to river, Girard to Tasker—is now at about 180,000, making it the third largest downtown in the country behind New York and Chicago.

President Obama has nominated
U.S. Magistrate Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, Common Pleas Court Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro, and Berks President Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Now they need to be confirmed by the Senate. Both Sens. Casey and Toomey have immediately noted, in a joint statement, they support the nominations.

The president will be in Hatfield, Montgomery County on Friday to tour a manufacturing plant and make the case that Republicans should work with Democrats on a “fiscal cliff” deal. The cliff is a worst-case-scenario plan in which both large cuts and large tax hikes will go into place at the same time this coming January. President Obama wants a deal to stop it, in which taxes are raised only on the wealthy (who will then, in turn, warn that they’re firing their employees, since that seems to be a thing), tax credits are provided to small businesses and the cuts to services are minimal. Republicans do not want this, because they do not like to raise taxes. Pat Toomey said he will at least listen to what the president has to say.

Speaking of which, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, chairman of the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee, will hold a hearing on the fiscal cliff next week. “We need to cut more spending, but we need to do so in a smart way that keeps our economy growing,” he said.

It was reported yesterday that Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz tested positive for Adderall—a stimulant often taken by suburban kids to help with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder—which has been banned by Major League Baseball, and will, therefore, miss the first 25 games of the season. Chooch??

Some of Philadelphia’s firefighters were in City Council yesterday, complaining about a move that will transfer veteran about 300 firefighters to new firehouses.

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