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Archive for September, 2011

POLL: Tea Party Less Popular Than Jesus, Much Less

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Tea_Party_Hijack.jpgWASHINGTON POST: Negative views of tea party hit new high: A 53 percent majority of Americans now hold a negative view of the tea party in a CNN poll released Tuesday. The results are similar to 51 percent in August but up 13 points from one year ago, when 40 percent saw the movement in a negative light. Democrats are overwhelmingly negative (76 percent unfavorable, 8 percent favorable) while Republicans give positive ratings by 51 to 30 percent. Independents split much like the public overall, with 50 percent unfavorable and 29 percent favorable.MORE

RELATED: CNN’s polls aren’t the only ones to pick up a decline in support for the tea party. In a pair of Pew Research Center polls conducted in February 2010 and August 2011, disapproval of the tea party jumped from 18 percentage points; the percentage of those who said they liked the movement increased from 33 to 36 percent. Washington Post-ABC and Wall Street Journal-NBC polls also found declining support for the tea party from 2009 to 2010. MORE

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DEENEY: Crack Is In The House

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

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THE FIX: On this particular Monday morning the voice on the other end of the phone identified herself as a high-ranking official at the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Why was she calling me, I asked? I’m just a rank-and-file, trench-level social worker. She had a last-minute addition to my caseload: a four-year-old child belonging to a mentally ill, addicted mother, living in a public housing unit that had been converted to a crackhouse. It was my job to go find him. Now, 911, high risk, no time to waste. I’ve certainly heard crazier war stories from longtime vets in the profession; going into crackhouses after clients isn’t unheard of in the social work field. But doing so carries special considerations for me—I’m also a recovering drug addict, who used to buy drugs in the same neighborhood I was now speeding off to. I’ve been asked time and again: how can you do this work? How can you spend days on end—as I have over many years—working on corners where hand-to-hand drug buys are happening right under your nose? Don’t you ever get tempted, triggered? MORE

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WORTH REPEATING: How Stephanie Became Stephan

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

PW_Boy_Meets_World.jpgPHILADELPHIA WEEKLY: A few nights after the Tritone show, Hayes is hanging out where he’s been every Monday night all year: hosting open-mike night at the Grape Room in Manayunk. He’s off tonight, but decided to pop in to say goodbye to the staff and the regulars. If the show at Tritone was an introduction to the new Stephan, tonight is a goodbye, in a way, to the old Steph. In a few days, he’ll undergo a mastectomy and recovery will take a full month. “It’s a bilateral mastectomy, double incision,” he explains, fingers sweeping across the front of his rib cage. “It actually looks pretty brutal, but I’m having a male sculpting done, [in which] they trim the nipples, and re-place them up higher.” […] Over the last few years, as he started presenting a more masculine appearance to the world, his natural shyness gave way to anxiety as strangers reacted dramatically to his increasingly androgynous appearance. “Going on tour, going around the country, it was a real problem,” he says. “I was terrified of restrooms. Not only could it be uncomfortable, it could also be dangerous if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He felt perpetually embarrassed. Sometimes women screamed when they saw him in the bathroom. “This one time on tour this old lady freaked out, ‘There’s a man in the women’s room!’ I was standing there saying, ‘I’m a—I’m a’—I was trying to say, ‘But I’m a girl’ but I couldn’t say [it] … because I don’t feel like a girl.” MORE

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REVIEW: Phonte’s Charity Starts At Home

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

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Hengeveld.jpgBY MATTHEW HENGEVELD My boy Phonte, aka Tigallo of Little Brother fame, has finally gone solo and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Charity Starts at Home is the perfect reminder of why your favorite rapper (see Kanye) is simply a clone of my favorite rapper. Yes, Phonte Coleman is my favorite rapper, and I’m not afraid to say that he might be the best of all time. And it’s definitely safe to say that after a hiatus from the rap game, Tay stays winnin’.

A little background info for those sitting in the dark: Little Brother was a hip-hop trio that dished up two classic albums in the mid-‘00s: The Listening and The Minstrel Show. Born into the Native Tongues vein of underground hip-hop, the trio often garnered comparisons to ‘90s hip-hop all-stars, A Tribe Called Quest. The group consisted of Phonte, Big Pooh, and producer-extraordinaire 9th Wonder, a throwback boom-bap producer who embodied the true backbone of the trio. All was going swimmingly until the fine folks at BET banned Little Brother’s music video for “Lovin’ It,” the lead single for The Minstrel Show, from the station for being “too intelligent” for its audience. In short, Little Brother fell apart, Phonte joined an R&B group, yadda yadda yadda.

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WORTH REPEATING: Just Saying

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

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SHOCK DOCTRINE: Hoax Or Horrible Truth?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

DAILY MAIL: He astonished BBC viewers [Monday] by describing his hopes of profiting from a recession, adding: ‘The governments don’t rule the world – Goldman Sachs rules the world.’ MORE

DAILY SABOTAGE: Invited onto the BBC to discuss the Greek debt crisis Rastani (identified only as an ‘independent trader’) sat in a satellite studio with an image of Canary Wharf behind him and pretended that he was our friend. He told us that the financial crisis was going to get worse, that we should protect our assets and (worst of all) that if we knew how to play the markets there was money to be made from stock market crashes. Listen, Rastani – You’re not our friend, you’re not anyone’s friend. You spend your days making money from the misfortune of others, from the mismanagement of governments and from a system that benefits those prepared to live life as evil shits and punishes everyone else. You went on TV to crow about how you profit from misery and no doubt you skipped merrily back to your desk running a gauntlet of high fives from your colleagues. You are probably very pleased with yourself for being such a clever little boy. I’m here to tell you, laddy, that all you’ve done is make everyone on the planet want to punch you in your self-satisfied mush. MORE

WASHINGTON POST: Still others questioned if the whole thing was a masterful prank. Forbes contacted Rastani, who stood by his claim of being an independent trader, but writer Emily Lambert pointed to another BBC interview in 2007 in which a so-called representative from Dow Jones admitted to the Bhopal disaster in India. The representative, who went by the name Jude Finisterra, turned out to be a member of the Yes Men, a group of pranksters that target corporations. Finisterra bears a strong resemblance to Rastani. The Yes Men denied Rastani had any connection to their group, putting out a statement that he was, in fact, a trader. MORE

THE YES MEN: Despite widespread speculation, he isn’t a Yes Man. He’s a real trader who is, for one reason or another, being more honest than usual. Who in big banking doesn’t bet against the interests of the poor and find themselves massively recompensed—if not by the market, then by humongous taxpayer bailouts? Rastani’s approach has been completely mainstream for several years now; we must thank him for putting a human face on it yesterday. If you’d like to see the human face of the human perspective—the perspective of the 99% victimized by our demented and out-of-control financial system—come join the occupation of Wall Street. Michael Moore did so  last night, and pointed out that in America, it’s just 400 people who own as much as most of the rest of us put together—and that when we decide we really want to change the rules of the game, those 400 people won’t be able to do squat about it. MORE

RELATED: By Tuesday evening, his 3½-minute interview had clocked up almost half a million hits on YouTube and, such was the candour of his comments, there was widespread speculation that it was a hoax. Seasoned City hands thought otherwise, however, and marvelled that someone had at last revealed what we all know to be true – that traders are in business to make money. Only an independent trader would have been be foolish (or publicity-hungry) enough to speak as unguardedly as Rastani; anyone employed by one of the major investment banks would have been sacked before he left the studio. In fact, the only part of the interview that did not ring true was the bit where Rastani said he wanted to help people. That part surely was a hoax.” MORE

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THE COLONEL REMEMBERS: Nirvana At JC Dobbs

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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Twenty years ago, Colonel Tom Sheehy was the house publicist for JC Dobbs. He was there on the first day of October 1991, when a scruffy, little-known band from Seattle walked through the door on their way to the center of everything. He remembers it all and even has the guest list to prove it. Look for it tomorrow on a Phawker near you!

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RADIOHEAD: The National Anthem

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Exclusive – Radiohead – “The National Anthem”
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

From last night’s Colbert Report.

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LOOPY FIASCO: Or Why This Popped! Music Festival Review Is So F*cking Late & My Boss Wants To Kill Me

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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Pelle.jpgBY PELLE GUNTHER Firstly I’d like to apologize for being a total fuck up. My tales of this past weekend’s misadventures should have made their way to the Phawker days ago, but you see me and my incompetent self found ourselves stranded in Philly for a few days after the festival in a mess of drunk college pricks, without wheels, cash or even a cell phone to contact the world, let alone a computer to record my thoughts on Popped, or even a moment of silence to collect them. The self-defeating decision-making really started about two years ago when I decided I was above cell phones. Strike two came three weeks ago, when my poor black Nissan decided against life about 200 ft. down the road from where I had just received the kind of whopping speeding ticket no honest man can pay. Finally on Friday, at the very last minute, my pre-arranged ride to Popped! flaked, leaving me desperately searching for numbers for anyone to give me a ride. After a few hours of hapless searching, I was finally headed with a friend to the Liacouras Center at Temple, where Popped! Music Festival had been moved to avoid anyone being drizzled on. The venue change meant that all of the bands would be playing the same stage—which in turn spelled shorter sets, many just 25 minutes—and no sound checks for most of the bands.

Don’t you worry Mercer fans, the Shins got to sound check. Other bands weren’t so lucky. Reportedly, the tits in the Welsh rock band The Joy Formidable were so irked by this development and irritable as a result that they were eventually asked by the promoters to leave the fest without playing a note. But who gives a fuck about those Welsh dickheads anyways? The weekend was chock full of Budos_Band.JPGmuch better bands, sorrowfully mixed with some horribly painful musical interludes. Unfortunately, my first day started with Yuck and I was greeted upon my arrival at the Liacouras Center by what sounded like Sonic Youth making strange, punchy, drunken love to the riff-happy Brit rock of Blur. Aside from initial moment of intrigue, these London indie kids bored me to tears with their mercifully short set, which ended prematurely for me out of respect for a much more important and meaningful cigarette break.

After Yuck, Chicago’s much more mature and got-their-shit-together garage rockers Company Of Thieves took the stage and proceeded to play one of the best sets of the entire festival. When their spunky little spitfire of a bedazzled lead singer, Genevieve Schatz opened her mouth she unleashed she unleashed the band’s most powerful instrument — one with the potential to savagely rip through raw blues or float ethereally through airy waves of prettiness. Coupled with her energetic dancing, the pure, thoughtful riffs of guitarist Marc Walloc, and the occasional spot-on application of a megaphone, I found myself wishing they had more than 25 minutes as their last song built into a raucous anthem—with Genevieve screaming “I will not go quietly, I will not be silenced!”

Next came Brooklyn’s poetic everymen, The Hold Steady. Nerdy front man Craig Finn’s beautifully painted lyrics of drug abuse, self-doubt and the ever-elusive redemption were lost in a mess of bad mix exacerbated by the venue’s endlessly reverberating basketball court acoustics. With a better mix, I’m sure it would have been quite a different experience, but under the circumstances I found The Hold Steady to be lackluster, to put it charitably.

Slow, droning, bowel-shaking bass provided the foundation Elbow’s incredibly beautiful anthems for the everyday. Where Guy Garvey may be lacking in charisma or stage presence, he made up for it 100 times over with soaring, massive vocals, floating over towering strings and majestic synth and guitar. The highlight of their set was definitely the drinking man’s blues of “Grounds for Divorce”, with a thick, hearty bass tone, like auditory steak and potatoes, riding a riff that’s better than any meal I’ve had to date.

Cage_the_Elephant.jpgAnimal Collective’s Panda Bear, accompanied by what appeared to be a stern, gaunt, musical butler, was next on the menu. This was in no way my favorite course. In an interview with MÁ FAMA radio, Noah once admitted—“I get impatient writing songs, I can’t spend much more than a couple of hours before I get frustrated. So I kind of spit it out real fast.” This technique was definitely noticeable, after one meaningless, tribal psychedelic jam faded into the next—blurring into an unintelligible mess of indistinguishable ambient-dreamy bullshit. After suffering through Panda Bear, the crowd was waiting with bated breath for the righteous ruckus of the all-American, cigs and coca cola rock and roll  that is Cage the Elephant. Having seen them twice before, I found their set to be a little samey. Nothing different. Nothing new. The same old songs. The same old coked-up, jerky ragdoll dancing and crowd surfing antics of front man Matt Schultz. Fun to watch I suppose, but nothing they played was interesting enough to keep me away from another sweet cig break outdoors.

After a smoke, I returned to find nearly half the crowd had left after Cage the Elephant. To bad. America’s indie sweethearts The Shins played an almost perfect Best Of run through their extant catalog (minus their hit “Caring is Creepy”) and their dreamy, lullaby rock was made even better by their brand new line up. Mid-set they dropped a new song called “Double Bubble” that should appear on the next Shin’s album tentatively scheduled for release in mid-2012—barring some unforeseen tragedy.

On Saturday, I was once again without wheels, and without a way to contact the world, wondering where I went wrong after highschool. Was it quitting my job without any thought of getting another? Was it not going to college? Well whatever the fuck it was, it landed me back at Popped! Festival…late again. Missing the beachy electro-pop duo Cults by a half hour was one of my biggest sob stories from the whole festival, next only to missing the lighthearted folktronic pop songs of Nascar tribute Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Luckily I arrived in time to catch the last couple dreamy, synth-pop songs of Sun Airways. The swirling, watery synths and noisy washed out drum clatter of “Put the Days Away” filled the venue as the band’s somber ode to the joys of hiding from life marked the end of their set.

Saturday would turn out to be not much different than Friday: Good and bad, the bands just kept coming. The all instrumental, Company_of_Thieves.JPGnine-piece Budos Band fell into the category of bad. Very bad in fact. Repetitive, Ethiopian and Latin inspired instrumental jam band grooves for 25 minutes under the guise of “a psychedelic 70s vibe” is painful enough as a concept, and oh so much worse in reality. That musical joke wasn’t the punch line though, as Charles Bradley, the self proclaimed “Eagle of Soul” took the stage, backed by a portion of the Budos Band. If he hadn’t been dressed in skintight red leather and tried his best to emulate a very scripted James Brown impression, and if, for the love of god, he hadn’t flapped his arms like an eagle while singing, I might have been able to take him a little more seriously. His voice was admittedly one to rival Mr. Brown’s, raw, rasping — wild and full of pure emotional power — but this ancient soul singer who recently made it to the spotlight was nothing more than a fading echo of a time long passed. Though I got to give it to the gramps Bradley, I’ve seen very few 63 year olds who would be willing to grind on a mic stand so shamelessly.

This is right about where things started going wrong—though I didn’t realize at the time. My friend got a phone call, which turned out to be a family emergency. I assured her it was fine and that I’d just take the train back. Something that would have been possible if I hadn’t absentmindedly spent the last of my cash earlier in the day gorging myself on Qdoba. As the next band came on I found myself caught up in the mosh-happy punk show, courtesy of Titus Andronicus. Their particular brand of punky thoughtless rock got old pretty quick, until the female guitarist traded her axe for a violin and they showed a much softer, sweet and heartfelt underbelly. After the punk interlude, the MC’s took the stage. First Rakim, who was forced to wait for a good portion of his set for the sound technician to figure out how to turn on his bass. When he finally started up, Rakim showed promise, not that he was spitting anything incredibly meaningful, but in comparison with the next act, he was blissfully real.

If Ke$ha somehow managed to impregnate that booty-full bitch Nikki Minaj, their strange little alien child would surely be the skanky, no limits, horribly annoying Kreayshawn, who’s lyrics were easily more foul and ridiculous than anything I’ve read on the stalls of men’s restrooms. Complete with a Flavor Flav wannabe and her sister for hype men, she broke down a full set of talkin’ shit on crack whore bitches and threatening to chop off dicks, after which I was torn between laughing hysterically or improvising a Van Gogh-ear removal surgery. Thankfully that was the end of the shit storm, and the rest of my night was incredibly entertaining. Foster the People, arriving on stage to a quick barrage of undergarments, broke out their indie 80s synth-pop, which this summer fell so desperately in love with. The highlight of their set was undeniably the tasty segue from “Helena Beat” into their massively defining hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” at which point the entire crowd was on their feet and stayed there for most of the night.

Girl_Talk.JPGThen with a burst of flames, Girl Talk arrived and quickly proved that he is even better at partying than he is at mashing up songs. Which is no slight on his music, the highlight of which was a disgustingly pumping mash up of Ludacris’ “Move Bitch” plus Phoenix’s “1901” plus The Isley Brother’s “Shout” that had me singing along and dancing with the rest of his enthusiastic crowd. The stage was filled with dancers, toilet paper flying through the air, confetti launched over the crowd and bags of balloons thrown to the masses, but even with all of his theatrics, not even Girl Talk could predict the best part of his show. As he dropped a Kreayshawn sample, the nasty little diva stepped on stage to rock out to her song, but within moments was mercifully removed by security. So a big thank you to the gods of hilarious fate and to the security at Popped! You really made my night.

This evening ended with Colorado electronic act Pretty Lights, who sat perched on a massive podium of LED screens, surrounded by LED columns. As his music hit, they exploded into a mass of incredible psychedelic patterns, as I was swept into a whirlpool of quasi-dubstep and and incredibly mind-blowing light show — it felt like I’d dropped three tabs of acid. When he played his Etta James-sampled song “Finally Moving,” the pure animalistic nature of the crowd turned that cold concrete-and-steel sports center into a pagan orgy of dance.

As the last notes of his electronic textures died off, and the lights came on, we were ushered towards the exits by the security, eager to get back to their own beds. Ears ringing, and a stupid smile plastered on my face I happily left the center for the train station and as I passed the Qdoba it hit me. Oh. My. God. I don’t have a dime on me!

After several hours of desperately searching for some form of communication with the outside world, I found myself talking with some stumbling, drunk-as-shit, post-Popped Temple students. I explained my situation, and one seemed coherent enough to understand, which led me to a four in the morning, none-to-comfy blanket on a tile floor in an apartment that smelled of stale beer parties passed. The next day I spent hours cursing my luck and trying to get in contact with anyone. Finally, late Sunday night, realizing I badly need a phone, a car, and quite possibly a job, I somehow found my way back to this keyboard to scrawl down these convoluted thoughts.

[Photos by PELLE GUNTHER]

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CONTEST: Win Tix To The Felice Brothers Tonight

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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Impersonating The Band hasn’t been a decently-paying gig since Scorsese filmed The Last Waltz in 1976, but judging by the full-up crowd at the Trocadero Thursday night The Felice Brothers seem to be on their way. Actually, ‘impersonating’ sounds a little too dismissive and I like these guys, so let’s go with ‘evoking’ or ‘carrying on the old, weird Americana tradition’ of the Band instead. Besides, they have the pedigree (hail from upstate New York, sons of a carpenter) they’ve paid their dues (busked in the subways of New York; went acoustic at the Newport Folk Festival; woodshedd-ed at Levon Helm’s Barn Burner) and, more importantly, they are naturals, having just released Yonder Is The Clock, their fifth casually brilliant album of the aforementioned old, weird Americana.

Of the five Felice Brothers standing onstage at the Troc, only two were actual blood brothers named Felice: waifish singer/guitarist Ian Felice, who looked like Dylan ‘63 and sang like Dylan ‘68; and bear-like keyboard/accordionist James Felice, who looked like a young Hank Williams Jr. in his beard and Zorro hat. The third blood Felice Brother, drummer Simone, has elected not to tour this time out, and was replaced by Jeremy Backofen, who, in tandem with snake-fingered bass player Christmas Clapton, gave the band’s two-hour set the requisite chugging heft. Fiddler/washboard-picker Greg Farley seemed vested with the responsibility of maintaining the band’s rowdy live rep as he failed around the stage like a gorilla on roller skates and intermittently bashed the drummer’s cymbals with his washboard. A large part of the charm of the Felice Brothers live show is you get the distinct impression they would be having this much fun even if nobody showed up. There is something about the way they all smile when they play, like they share some wonderful private joke you want in on — kinda like The Basement Tapes.

Much like the albums, Thursday night’s show alternated between barn-burning hoedowns in the Pogues-ian tradition of everyone-grab-an-instrument-and-make-a-joyous-noise (a stomping “Chicken Wire” and a howl-at-the-moon “Memphis Flu”) and sweetly downered folkadelic intropsection (a Wilco-ian “The Big Surprise,” a stately “Cooperstown”). Especially noteworthy was a ripping spin through the subterranean homesick blues of “Penn Station” and a positively grand, otherly “The Greatest Show On Earth,” which is one of those unforgettable songs where you know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones? – JONATHAN VALANIA 9/18/09

We have a whole mess of tickets to see The Felice Brothers tonight at Union Transfer. First five readers to email us at FEED@PHAWKER.COM with the words YEAH, HEAVY AND A BOTTLE OF BEAD in the subject line will win a pair. Please include a cell number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

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ROSS ASSHAT: Troy Davis Would’ve Been Even More F*cked If Not For The Mercy Of The Death Penalty

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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New York Times’ token conservative apologist Ross Douhat is cut a lot of slack by people left of the Hard Right and often tagged as a ‘reasonable’ conservative and usually we are inclined to agree — hell, he’s a HUGE step up from the bloodthirsty jingoistic asshattery of Bill Kristol, whom he replaced. But it is times like this that we have our doubts about just how compatible the word ‘reasonable’ is with the word ‘conservative.’ In his Sunday column in the Times, Douthat twists logic to the breaking point with his head-scratching defense of the death penalty in the wake of the state-sanctioned murder of Troy Davis — a man even Douthat admits may well have been innocent and should have been given an opportunity to prove himself so. And yet, the takeaway from this column is that prisoners should actually be thankful for the death penalty because…well, we’ll let him explain why:

If capital punishment disappears in the United States, it won’t be because voters and politicians no longer want to execute the guilty. It will be because they’re afraid of executing the innocent. This is a healthy fear for a society to have. But there’s a danger here for advocates of criminal justice reform. After all, in a world without the death penalty, Davis probably wouldn’t have been retried or exonerated. His appeals would still have been denied, he would have spent the rest of his life douthat_douche.pngin prison, and far fewer people would have known or cared about his fate.

Instead, he received a level of legal assistance, media attention and activist support that few convicts can ever hope for. And his case became an example of how the very finality of the death penalty can focus the public’s attention on issues that many Americans prefer to ignore: the overzealousness of cops and prosecutors, the limits of the appeals process and the ugly conditions faced by many of the more than two million Americans currently behind bars.

Simply throwing up our hands and eliminating executions entirely, by contrast, could prove to be a form of moral evasion — a way to console ourselves with the knowledge that no innocents are ever executed, even as more pervasive abuses go unchecked. We should want a judicial system that we can trust with matters of life and death, and that can stand up to the kind of public scrutiny that Davis’s case received. MORE

By this line of reasoning, the Jews are better off because of The Holocaust, cancer patients should be thankful for the gift malignancy and the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis would have been REALLY screwed if we hadn’t used the sledgehammer of our military might to crack their country open like a walnut and scoop out all the oil. It’s glue-sniffing reasoning like this that gives priveleged white man wisdom a bad name.

RELATED: My inner Pat Buchanan reminds me that chunky Reese Witherspoon gal failed in her white race duties by not allowing me to tap her ass while fertile — though the neck-beard remains irresistible. MORE

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BEST OF: #Occupy Wall Street

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

WARNING: The soundtrack is HORRIBLE.

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

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The Silver Lining In The Cloud Over MLK High

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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INQUIRER: There is no shortage of awful, terrible Philadelphia stories to be told following last week’s release of the report by the city’s chief integrity officer, Joan Markman, on the Martin Luther King High School fiasco. You have the sordid details of backroom bullying, with an esteemed chair of the school board and a veteran legislator taking turns explaining to out-of-town charter-school operator Mosaica that things are different in Philadelphia and maybe he’d be better off leaving town. There’s the meteoric descent of Dwight Evans, a once-inspiring figure who has turned in a few short years into an all-too-common entitlement-addled pol. And of course you have City Council’s group shrug. The “What’s the big deal?” reaction to the affair arguably sheds more light on how things work in Philly than does Markman’s report itself. But these depressing plot lines do not tell the whole story. The very fact that the report exists – unstinting, tough, and available to the public – suggests that city government is, in the main, becoming more ethical, not less. MORE

PHAWKER: This is why Philadelphia schools suck so bad, this is why every hard-working couple of child-bearing age have plotted an escape to the suburbs by the third trimester, this is why a quarter of adults in Philly can’t read and almost half of all students don’t graduate, because before they even start kindergarten, before pencil ever touches paper, before chalk ever touches blackboard, every kid knows deep down on some sub-verbal level of intuition, the way dogs detect the approach of storms long before their masters do, that it ain’t about them. It’s not about reading and writing and arithmetic, it’s not about learning or enlightenment, it’s not about acquiring skills for survival in the modern adult world, it’s not about teachers or students, it’s about the money and the power, how it gets divided and who gets how much. And, on behalf of the children, fuck you all for that.

PREVIOUSLY: WEASELS IN THE HENHOUSE: Head Of School Reform Bringing Same Old Crony Capitalist Bullshit?

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Check out Ticket Liquidator's Live Toast blog, it's one of the coolest company blogs out there. Not just your usual candy-coated array of dead-end zzzzzzzzz inducing rubbish, Live Toast brings you all the funniest and wackiest original content that you won't see anywhere else on the web. Plus, Ticket Liquidator's team will bring you lots of other articles on concerts, sports and music, including news on ticket prices, plus articles about cool music from firsthand perspectives. All in all Ticket Liquidator is evolving, into a new kind of ticket company. And leaving the rest behind...

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