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Archive for September, 2011

THE EARLY WORD: Expect Us

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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PW: Close to 400 people turned up at the United Methodist Church at Broad and Arch streets last night for the first meeting of Occupy Philly—a planned demonstration/camp-in and show of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests in Lower Manhattan over the past two weeks that’s been garnering increasing media attention and spawning similar groups in dozens of cities throughout the U.S. While the Occupy movement—a “leaderless” movement chiefly organized via Facebook and Twitter and inspired by the Arab Spring protests in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere—so far hasn’t presented an absolute, unified message or clear-cut demands, activists camping out and marching on Wall Street have been decrying the chasm between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the other 99 percent, and protesting corporate financing of elections, bank bailouts, Federal Reserve policies, high gas prices, the war, the execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis and more. About 150 local activists set out from the Wooden Shoe bookstore on South Street, where the inaugural Occupy Philly was initially slated to meet before the ranks of the interested outgrew that small space, and marched to the United Methodist Church (along with a police escort) where they met up with 200 more people waiting outside on the sidewalk at 6 p.m. MORE

RELATED: OccupyPhilly.org

UPDATE:  OccupyPhilly General Assembly Meeting Tuesday October 4th 6:30 PM Arch Street Methodist Church

RELATED: The city of New York has been abuzz with rumors that the band Radiohead will perform at the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in lower Manhattan this afternoon. As of this writing, Radiohead’s management has denied that the band will perform, while Occupy Wall Street representatives are insisting that Radiohead will show up at 4 p.m. Eastern. The latter have suggested that Radiohead’s management is seeking to keep the crowd from becoming overwhelming. MORE

UPDATE: Laura Eldeiry, a spokeswoman for Radiohead, said that the band would not be playing a show at Zuccotti Park on Friday that had been announced by Occupy Wall Street’s organizers. “It’s definitely not going to happen,” Ms. Eldeiry said. “It’s a false rumor.” She said that the band had nothing to do with the announcement and that a show “was never planned.” At 3:30 p.m., Occupy Wall Street’s spokesman, Patrick Bruner, sent out a rueful e-mail blast: “I got hoaxed. Radiohead was never confirmed. Completely our fault. Apologies. The band were victims in this hoax as well.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: POLICE BRUTALITY: The Ballad Of Tony Baloney

PREVIOUSLY: THE SOFT TYRANNY OF AMERICAN LIFE: Yahoo Censoring Emails Referring To #OccupyWallStreet

PREVIOUSLY: U SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION: Occupy Wall St.

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RELATED: Let Them Eat Cake

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MUST SEE TV: When Sports Writers Attack

Friday, September 30th, 2011

CBS: A flurry of Twitter jabs between two Philadelphia Eagles beat writers escalated into real-life fisticuffs Wednesday, with one writer allegedly punching his newspaper adversary in the head at the team’s practice facility. According to Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94WIP, the spat started when Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer called Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News an “old hack that hasn’t broken a story in years.” The two sent initial jabs in 140-character form on the social media site Tuesday over the injury status of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, CBS Philadelphia reports. McLane reported that Vick would definitely start this Sunday. Bowen started by saying: “@LesBowen: Oh, and BTW, nobody has any idea on Tuesday whether Michael Vick is starting this week. It was Obvious Monday Andy thinks/hopes he will.” To which McLane replied: “@Jeff_McLane: @LesBowen Right. I made it up. How about if Vick starts Sunday you have to say on Daily News Live, “I’m an old hack that hasn’t broken a story in years, needs my editor to keep my blog fresh, and missed Vick on Monday because I was cluelessly tapping away on my computer and had to steal quotes from hard-working reporters who have a clue.” If Vick doesn’t start I’ll eat my pencil. Sound good? And Les countered with: “@LesBowen: @MoorestownCup I will handle my business in person, not thru yapping on Twitter. But thanks for your concern.” Which he apparently did. The veteran reporter allegedly threw a punch that landed to McLane’s head before the two had to be separated. MORE

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CINEMA: The Young And The Restless

Friday, September 30th, 2011

restless.jpgRESTLESS (2011, directed by Gus Van Sant, 91 minutes, U.S.)

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this whimsical drama about teens whose lives are touched by death should be given the generic title Restless but it perfectly describes my anxiousness as I slowly accepted that this teen weepie wasn’t going to veer away from its simplistic, melodramatic course. It is only the name of director Gus Van Sant that stirred any optimism for a premise that sounds like a Lifetime Network weeper, but by the halfway mark it became obvious that the slumming Van Sant’s dreamy style is just the gift wrapping that producers Ron and Bryce Dallas Howard have chosen to dress up their cringe-inducing tale of fleeting romance. Not since his much-derided Finding Forrester (remembered for Sean Connery going gangsta and screaming “You The Man now, Dawg!”) has the formidable Van Sant delivered such an uninspired work-for-hire toss-off.

 

Drawing unflattering comparisons to Harold & Maude, Reckless introduces us to the disheveled teenaged Enoch (Henry Hopper, son of Dennis Hopper), a recent orphan who enjoys dressing up like Percy Shelley and attending funerals in his spare time. While being a fake mourner he meets the winsome Annabel Cotton (Mia Wasikowska from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland), who is as alive as springtime itself despite harboring an inoperable brain tumor. In the three months they have together, you would be right to suspect that Annabel is going to teach Henry about embracing life while Henry is going to give Annabel the experience of first love. But who could have guessed that the gifted Van Sant would deliver the expected goods in such deadeningly predictable manner?

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NEVERMORE: Anwar al-Awlaki, American Citizen/Al-Qaeda Megaphone, Whacked By POTUS

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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NEW YORKER: Anwar al-Awlaki is dead, according to Administration officials. Does everyone feel safer? There are benefits, of course, to not having someone on the streets or hills of Yemen who wants to kill his fellow Americans—and Awlaki was an American, born in New Mexico. He was killed in a drone strike to his convoy, in an operation run by the C.I.A. and the Joint Special Operations Command.  But there are a couple of points here that should make anyone wary: first, that the President of the United States could order the killing of an American citizen with no judicial proceedings, in a country (Yemen) with which we are not at war, simply because the President judges that person to be dangerous; and, second, the fuzziness used when discussing the exact nature of the danger Awlaki posed. [...] When one hears about Awlaki being linked to a dozen terror cases, the link in question is more often a sermon or an article or e-mails about jihad, rather than what might be called overt acts. (The Washington Post noted that he had been “been implicated in helping to motivate several attacks on U.S. soil.”) Would that have been enough? This is not to underplay the al_awlaki_0113.jpghatred present in Awlaki’s words. But a bad man can inspire not only bad acts on the part of his followers but the embrace of a bad precedent by his enemies. (That’s us.) Reading about Awlaki—even approving of his death—one shouldn’t shut out the truth that one gets in murky territory when talking about the danger of someone’s words. Can the same logic be extended to a novelist who pops up on the reading list in some mass shooter’s online manifesto? When can a writer or a preacher—including one who claims, however genuinely, to have never intended for anyone to get hurt—be blamed when someone is? There may be enough in the Awlaki case to answer that question adequately. But it must be asked, in more than a perfunctory way, because it is hard to see what, in the Administration’s rationale, would prevent shooting an American dead in London without bothering with a trial. (And if the answer is that Awlaki had a funny name and didn’t dress like most Americans do—well, that suggests other, dangerous questions about who we think we are as a country.) MORE

WASHINGTON POST:  U.S. officials also disclosed what they said were new details about Aulaqi’s operational role, saying that he personally had instructed a would-be suicide bomber who boarded a Detroit-bound plane in 2009 to detonate his device over American airspace to maximize casualties. When he first surfaced on U.S. counterterrorism radar, Aulaqi was mainly seen as a militant cleric, a native of New Mexico who was acquiring a disturbingly large audience for his English-language sermons online. More recently, he was portrayed as an increasingly operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen-based off-shoot is known. But on Friday, U.S. officials including National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor described Aulaqi as al_awlaki_0113.jpg“chief of external operations.” A U.S. intelligence official said that CIA analysts and others had been referring to Aulaqi by that designation for some time, saying that he was “intimately involved in the attacks that have come closest to hitting the United States.” Umar Farouk AbdulmutallabIn December 2009, Aulaqi “specifically instructed” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to wait until his Christmas Day flight had crossed into U.S. airspace before detonating the bomb he had hidden in his underwear, an Obama administration official said. MORE

WIKIPEDIA: Anwar al-Awlaki (also spelled Aulaqi; Arabic: أنور العولقيAnwar al-‘Awlaqī; April 22, 1971 – September 30, 2011)[4][10] was an Islamic lecturer and spiritual leader who was an engineer and educator by training.[11][12] Of Yemeni descent, he had dual United States and Yemeni citzenship.[13] According to U.S. officials, he was a senior talent recruiter and motivator who had become “operational” as a planner and trainer for the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda.[3][8][14][15][16][17] He was implicated in helping to motivate at least three attacks on U.S. soil,[18] and was the first U.S. citizen to be approved for targeted killing.[19][20][21] With a blog, a Facebook page, and many YouTube videos, he had been described as the “bin Laden of the Internet”.[22][23]

Al-Awlaki reportedly spoke with, trained, and preached to a number of al-Qaeda members and affiliates, including three of the 9/11 hijackers,[24] alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan,[25][26] and alleged “Christmas Day bomberUmar Farouk Abdulmutallab;[27][28][29] he was also reportedly involved in planning the latter’s attack.

According to U.S. officials, al-Awlaki was promoted to the rank of “regional commander” within al-Qaeda in 2009.[5][30] Like other members of the group, he repeatedly called upon Muslims to commit jihad against the United States.[31][32][33] In April 2010, U.S. al_awlaki_0113.jpgPresident Barack Obama approved Al-Awlaki’s targeted killing, a first for an American citizen,[19][20][21] and a move unsuccessfully challenged by al-Awlaki’s father and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).[34]

Al-Awlaki was believed to be in hiding in Southeast Yemen in the last years of his life.[35] The Yemenese government began trying him in absentia in November 2010, for plotting to kill foreigners and being a member of al-Qaeda, and a Yemeni judge ordered that he be captured “dead or alive”.[35][36] U.S. unmanned drones were deployed in Yemen to search for and kill him,[37] firing at and failing to kill him at least once,[38] before killing him in a drone attack in Yemen on September 30, 2011.[10] MORE

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SIDEWALKING: It’s Later Than You Think

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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The corner of Somewhere and Everywhere, right now, BY ANONYMOUS

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FAILING UP: Failed Execs Still Get Massive Payouts

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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NEW YORK TIMES: Just last week, Léo Apotheker was shown the door after a tumultuous 11-month run atop Hewlett-Packard. His reward? $13.2 million in cash and stock severance, in addition to a sign-on package worth about $10 million, according to a corporate filing on Thursday. At the end of August, Robert P. Kelly was handed severance worth $17.2 million in cash and stock when he was ousted as chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon after clashing with board members and senior managers. A few days later, Carol A. Bartz took home nearly $10 million from Yahoo after being fired from the troubled search giant. A hallmark of the gilded era of just a few short years ago, the eye-popping severance package continues to thrive in spite of the measures put in place in the wake of the financial crisis to crack down on excessive pay. Critics have long complained about outsize compensation packages that dwarf ordinary workers’ paychecks, but they voice particular ire over pay-for-failure. Much of Wall Street and corporate America has shifted a bigger portion of pay into longer-term stock awards and established policies to claw back bonuses. And while fuller disclosure of exit packages several years ago has helped ratchet down the size of the biggest severance deals, efforts by shareholders and regulators to further restrict payouts have had less success. MORE

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SPORTO: Are You Ready For Some Playoffs!?!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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sportsguycropped.thumbnail.jpgBY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY It was an ingenious move by MLB to switch the end of the regular season to midweek instead of Sunday. Who wants the last day of games to collide with a full day of NFL football? By making the move, baseball had the spotlight all to itself Wednesday night, and gave us what is being called “one of” the best regular season days in the sport’s history (simply by saying “one of”, sportscasters avoid having to step out on a limb or defend their statement). The Phils and Braves went extra innings, so did the Rays, while the Red Sox game had a rain-delay, so everything synched up to end about the same time, in ultra-dramatic fashion. It sure was a shame to see Atlanta and Boston draw the short straws (if “shame” were synonymous with “awesome”). I had one major problem with the scheduling…MLB made the move and had Wednesday night all to themselves, and then scheduled 4 day games. What if the Red Sox and Rays games had been during the day? People would have gotten home to hear about these amazing outcomes and thought, “Too bad I was at work”. Next year, all night games on the final day of the year, please. On to the playoff preview. Three years ago I covered myself in glory by nailing 6 of the 7 series winners before the playoffs began, correctly predicting the Phillies over the Rays in the World Series and missing only one opening-round matchup. Since then…let’s just say 2008 is starting to look like a fluke. Nevertheless, I’m back, looking for the perfect 7-for-7 (also known as a “Reverse Chipper Jones”). Here’s how I see it:

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RICK PERRY: Read My Lips

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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We Know It’s Only Rock N’ Roll But We Like It

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

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Stephen Malkmus, TLA 9:21 PM, last night by JONATHAN VALANIA

mecroppedsharp_1.jpgBY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE INQUIRER Generation X has always seemed the embodiment of Groucho Marx’s dictum about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have you. That goes double for Stephen Malkmus, Gen X’s aging slacker princeling. As leader of Pavement, Malkmus spent the better part of the ’90s zigging whenever his fan base zagged, and the better part of the last decade cranking out the kind of wanky, Aspergerian solo records that scare off women and try men’s souls. While the pretty, wryly observed pop songs of his latest, Mirror Traffic, mark a welcome return to effortless likability, his performance with the Jicks at the TLA Wednesday night was another matter altogether. MORE

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RIP: Sylvia Robinson, Godmother Of Rap, Dead At 76

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

NEW YORK TIMES: Sylvia Robinson, the singer, songwriter and record producer who formed the Sugar Hill Gang and made the first commercially successful rap recording, died early Thursday morning at a hospital in New Jersey. She was 75. Ms. Robinson had a notable career as a rhythm and blues singer long before she and her husband, Joe Robinson, formed Sugar Hill Records in 1979 and served as the midwives for a musical genre that came to dominate pop music. She sang with Mickey Baker as part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia in the 1950s and had several hits, including “Love Is Strange,” which was a No. 1 R&B song in 1956. She also had a solo hit, under the name Sylvia, in spring of 1973 with her own composition “Pillow Talk.” But Ms. Robinson was revered as “the mother of hip-hop” for her decision to record the nascent art form known as rapping, which had developed at clubs and dance parties in New York City in the 1970s. MORE

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COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: Cops Seize 223 Pounds Of (Relatively) Harmless Marijuana From Trucker, Meanwhile Tons & Tons Of Deadly Tobacco Free To Go

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

war_on_drugs.jpgINQUIRER: Officials in Montgomery County have announced the arrest of a Lansdale truck driver on drug charges, and the seizure of 223 pounds of marijuana from a rig they said he owns. Andre Lue, 40, was remanded to the Montgomery County prison when he could not post $500,000 cash bail, said District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Lansdale Borough Police Chief Robert McDyre. Lue is charged with possession and intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. McDyre gave this account of the drug bust: On Wednesday at about 1 a.m., Lansdale Borough Officer David Gori was patrolling at the Pavillion Shopping Center when he saw a tractor trailer parked along the fence near a child daycare center. The rear door of the rig was open and Gori saw someone loading objects into a pickup truck. As the officer was about to begin surveillance, the person fled in the pickup at a high rate of speed. The driver abandoned the truck at 611 S. Broad St. Backup units including K-9 Dex, a drug detection dog from Upper Moreland, were summoned. MORE

PHAWKER: Why is a major metropolitan newspaper like the Philadelphia Inquirer re-writing self-congratulatory D.A. drug bust porn press releases and passing it off as news in 2011? Oh right, because it’s easy. Sorry, but a real reporter would be asking why marijuana is illegal when it kills ZERO people per year, and tobacco, which kills 443,000 deaths annually, according to the CDC, is perfectly legal. Follow the money, Bonnie, follow the money.

PREVIOUSLY: Frisking The Inquirer’s Super-Weed Bust Story For The Straight Dope On ‘The War On Drugs’

PREVIOUSLY: Frisking The Inky’s NJ Medical Marijuana Story For The Straight Dope On The War On Drugs

RELATED: When Cops Get High

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POLICE BRUTALITY: The Ballad Of Tony Baloney

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The NYPD has launched an investigation into why a police official pepper-sprayed penned-in female Wall Street protesters as video of a second spraying incident also emerged. A now-infamous online video that went viral around the world shows Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna walking up to two women standing inside a corral of orange netting, shooting pepper spray at their faces and striding quickly away, leaving them on their knees, howling in pain. A patrolman standing next to the women can be seen in another video of the same moment wiping his eyes and yelling, “He just [expletive] maced us!” More and more jumpy videos taken at Saturday’s protest near Union Square have surfaced. A new one appeared Wednesday showing Bologna deploying his pepper spray at a videographer moments after the first incident. The two videos have sparked a growing furor. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Internal Affairs and the Civilian Complaint Review Board will investigate. He was skeptical the video snippets show the whole story. “In my experience, proponents of a certain position would show you just what they want to show you,” Kelly said. “Hopefully, [probers] will look at the totality of the information that they will gather.” Kelly was more angry that Bologna’s personal information was posted online.

PHAWKER:
Way to protect and serve…your officers, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER KELLY: “It’s a terrible practice, just horrendous,” Kelly said. “Try to intimidate, putting the names of children, where children go to school – it’s totally inappropriate, despicable.” MORE

PHAWKER: It’s not about intimidation, Commish, it’s about holding power accountable for its abuses. Where’s the outrage about a bully with a badge point blank pepper-spraying unarmed and detained females without cause or provocation? At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency? What if they were your daughters?

DAILY KOS: Gradually the exploits of Detective Inspector Anthony (Tony Baloney) Bologna have eeked their way even into the Tony_Baloney_In_Action.jpgmainstream media.  It has become well known that he engages, in violation of policy, in an O.C. (Pepper) Spray attack on four defenseless women without provocation.  His actions also catch several of the officers in blue off guard and impact them with the mist of the spray.  He then violates policy further by callously walking away leaving the women to lie on the ground in agony without the required medical assistance. What has not yet been told and can now be exposed is that Inspector Bologna engages not once but twice in such indiscriminate attacks.  Moments after the now infamous spraying of the four women Bologna works his way down 12th Street toward University and for no reason begins to spray a person with a video camera (the view of this video), simple bystanders, and others for no apparent reason.  Again his attacks deploy long continuous streams of spray directly affecting unsuspecting officers as well as the innocent victims.  And then, once again, this ranking officer slinks away into the background leaving his victims to fend for themselves. Below I post an excerpt from this second video of this second attack.  My impression is that both attacks were meant to keep people from witnessing and documenting several unexplainable arrests taking place in the middle of these two locations. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: The peaceful Occupy Wall Street protest march turned violent as the NYPD corralled and pepper sprayed the participants. Mass arrests were made and loaded onto a NYC bus further locking traffic. The protest march took a route from Zuccotti Park to Union Square on East 14th Street. The protesters were marching back to Zuccotti Park when the NYPD turned violent. Hitting, arresting and forcing protesters into a small area. At that point a NYPD supervisor yelled shut up to one of the protesters and shot pepper spray into her eyes point blank range and hitting a half dozen protesters (including 3 police officers) when they had nowhere to go. The same supervising officer was seen (photographed) laughing after the arrests while looking at his text messages. MORE

LESSON: This is what happens in the Land Of The Free when you stand up and ask why the richest 1% possess a far larger share of the wealth than the other 99% combined. Why it’s socialism for the banks, Wall St. and Corporate America, but hard-ass capitalism for everybody else. What other conclusion could a reasonable observer draw from this?

RELATED: Another video showing Tony Baloney approaching the girls just before pepper spraying them. Includes footage of cops pounding on protesters.

RELATED: Pix of Tony Baloney In Action

RELATED: BEST OF: #Occupy Wall Street

PREVIOUSLY: U SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION: Occupy Wall St.

RELATED: Think About It…

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CONTEST: Win Tix To See Ray LaMontagne’s Beard

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

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[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

Soulful, scruffy, silver-tongued singer-songwriter par excellance Brother Ray LaMontagne — think Nick Drak meets Joe Cocker — plays the Mann Music Center on Friday, thus bringing to a close another lovely summer concert season under the stars in Fairmount Park. And gone with it goes Alex Fine’s cool-as-shit line of commemorative baseball cards. Sigh. But fret not, dear reader, we have a pair of tickets to give away to the first person to email us at FEED@PHAWKER.COM with the correct answer to the following question: What is the title of the Ray LaMontagne tune nominated for the 2010 Grammy for Song Of The Year? Put BROTHER RAY in the subject line and please include a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

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