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Archive for the '215' Category


Friday, January 19th, 2007


Phawker headquarters itself in a secure undisclosed location on the mean cobblestoned streets of the O.C. and not a day goes by on the nearby stretch of North Third when we don’t find ourselves accosted, albeit pleasantly so, by a pack of suburban Jersey coeds, dressed to the nines in their best approximation of season four Sex In The City. Usually, they are being skippered by a hip mom in a furry bucket hat and she’s the one that usually asks, “excuse me can you tell me where…” and we always finish their sentences for them: “Let me guess, Third Street Habit. You’re actually standing right in front of it.” Then they apologize for the duh-ness of the question, thank you profusely and hurry on their merry way. We don’t mind, it’s better than having telling to tell rabid, brace-faced packs of babysitters where the Real World House is (“Your standing right in front of it”). Besides, we’re happy to help the cause of superior boutique retailing. It’s one of our many pet causes, along with saving the republic, re-inventing the media wheel and figuring out which alt-weekly has the sharpest cover this week. And many of the best-dressed ladies in Philadelphia tell us that Third Street Habit is their very favorite clothing store in the whole wide world. And then they tell us to leave them alone or they are gonna call the police. (more…)

Company Response To Guild Diversity Complaints: Seniority Rule Is Colorblind & Indestructible

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Melanie Burney, an Inquirer reporter who attended the meeting, said the group was upset that the recent layoffs involved a “disproportionate” number of minorities. While the Inquirer newsroom is just 18% minority, some 28% of those laid off were minority employees, she said. tierneyslist.jpg

During the meeting, Tierney agreed to form a diversity committee for the two papers to study the issue, but stopped short of making any changes to the layoffs list, Burney said. “I wanted to see something concrete happen today,” Burney told E&P. “An immediate solution, but we did not get any. I wanted too hear that there would be more of a commitment to bring people back quickly.”

Jay Devine, a Tierney spokesman, said the publisher considered the meeting to be “terrific” and “cordial.” He said Tierney reiterated his position that many of the layoff decisions were tied to seniority provisions in the newspaper guild contract that require most layoffs to be linked to seniority. “Our hands were tied by this rigid seniority system which does not allow for diversity,” Devine said. “In spite of that, he did talk about the fact that he intends to continue to make the company as diverse as he can.”

Devine also pointed to the fact that Philadelphia Media Holdings, Tierney’s company that bought both papers last summer, actually boasts a 28% minority workforce, with 20% black. Those percentages, he said, are higher than the minority workforce of the newspapers’ eight-county circulation area.

EDITOR & PUBLISHER: First Hired Is The First Fired OR Shit Rolls Downhill

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Why Do We Have To Go To England To Read Joe Queenan’s Definitive Critique Of the Rocky Franchise?

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Throughout the saga, Balboa has been lionized by the cowed American press as the champion of working stiffs everywhere, a lovable lummox with a particularly strong psychicmr-t.jpg connection to blue-collar Philadelphians. Philadelphia, in fact, is a city whose population is roughly 50 per cent African-American, the vast majority of whom are working-class. I cannot recall the last time any film critic went out and asked black residents of the City of Brotherly Love what psychic connection they felt with a fictional thug from a section of a city not widely known for its affection toward minorities.

It’s worth noting that 1976 was the year Frank Rizzo won his second term as mayor of the city. Rizzo, a native of South Philly, was famous for asking the federal government for tanks to combat criminals while he was still serving as police commissioner, and also garnered headlines for raiding Black Panther headquarters in the middle of the night, lining up the naked black men outside the building, and allowing newspaper photographers to take their pictures. He once said that he was so tough he would make Attila the Hun look like a “faggot”. This is the intensely polarised racial environment in which Rocky was filmed, marketed and released.
When I was in my teens, I worked in a clothing store owned by a tough ex-Marine who used to referee fights in North Philadelphia gyms. One day he told me that he had joined an organisation called Cloverlay, which would provide funding to a young man so that he could quit his job in a slaughterhouse and train for a career as a professional boxer. The young man knocked out Buster Mathis and became heavyweight champion of the world. Three years later, he would crown a majestic career by defeating Muhammad Ali in one of the most famous bouts in history.

The prize fighter in question, like Ali, was young, gifted, and black, not old, talentless and white like Rocky. His name was Joe Frazier. A real-life, flesh-and-blood heavyweight champion, Frazier was long vilified as the white man’s champion by fans of Ali and by Ali himself, and never, ever got the respect he deserved. If you go to Philadelphia today, you can see the statue of Sylvester Stallone at the foot of the Art Museum steps, where it has temporarily been relocated as a fundraising gimmick. But you will not see a statue of Joe Frazier, a working-class hero who fought his way to the top but who is now down on his luck financially, anywhere in the tri-state area. This is not just an insult; this is a disgrace.

THE GUARDIAN: ‘Ello Guv’ner!

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THE EARLY WORD: When Pink Met Floyd

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007


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SAME AS IT EVER WAS: Neil Stein Spotted Walking Towards Rittenhouse Square & Looking FABULOUS!

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

neilsteinpw.jpgStein, 65, said that he wanted to create a high-end, boutique hotel called Wow with computers and flat-screen televisions in every room, with a bistro, rooftop club, limo service, Philadelphia’s best spa, and – in place of a check-in desk – a concierge service to escort guests to their rooms. Or he’d try franchising Rouge, the bistro he created on Rittenhouse Square, perhaps opening versions in Miami Beach or the Georgetown section of Washington. Or develop a rehab center for alcohol and drug addicts in Center City; he’s a recovering addict. He said he had even given some thought to opening an employment agency for ex-inmates. “I’ve never felt this good in my entire life, believe it or not, physically or mentally,” he told reporters. Stein was let out of the Federal Correctional Institution in Schuylkill County Friday at noon, after serving 10 months and 10 days of a year-and-a-day sentence. His crime, to which he pleaded guilty in 2005, was failing to pay taxes on $500,000 he had skimmed from his restaurant empire, which once included Striped Bass, Avenue B and Fishmarket.

INQUIRER: Out Of The Big House And Back To His House
PW: The Last Temptation Of Neil Stein?

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HALLWATCH Launches Letter Campaign To Spur City Council To Sue Pants & Underpants Off Gaming Board

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chose the two worst sites for Casinos in Philadelphia.letter_ettiquite.gif Councilman DiCicco has offered to file a law suit to challenge the Gaming Board’s decisions, but law suits are expensive, very expensive. In order to proceed, he needs to convince City Council to fund the lawsuit. They will be voting on this budget before the end of January. Please write in to City Council ASAP. They need to hear from us that we need this funding.

Sample Letter:

Dear Council Member,

Please fund Councilman DiCicco’s effort to file a lawsuit with the PGCB.

Thank you,


HALLWATCH: Dear Mr. or Mrs. Councilperson, STOP THE MADNESS!

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GUNCRAZY: Suicide By Cop Done ‘By The Book,’ Say Experts

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Police say officers twice tried to tame the man in Center City with shots from a Taser electronic stun gun before he lunged at them with the knife, yelling, “Kill me! Kill me!”

The five officers shot him down in a fusillade. He was the second man killed by police gunfire this year.suicidebycop2.jpg

Police yesterday disclosed few new details about the 2 a.m. confrontation, which was captured by surveillance cameras outside the Robert N.C. Nix Federal Building on Market Street near Ninth. The assailant, said to be in his 30s, has not been identified.

Experts say police, in their account of what happened, appear to have complied with the law justifying deadly force. Officers are permitted to fire when they believe a suspect presents an “imminent” threat to themselves or bystanders.

“Frankly I’m surprised to hear the Philadelphia police have Tasers, and it’s good to know they have alternatives to deadly force,” said L. George Parry, a former federal and state prosecutor who helped draft the Philadelphia Police Department’s use-of-force guidelines in the 1970s.

“The Philadelphia department usually stays with old standbys.”

INQUIRER: Technically Speaking They Could Have Killed Him Twice And Still Been Within Their Rights

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THE EARLY WORD: Cock A Doodle Doo!

Monday, January 15th, 2007


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SMELLS LIKE JOURNALISM: Inky Editorial Board Descends From Ivory Tower To Hear Vox Populi

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Talking to Philadelphians about their city is like talking to a woman about the guy she’s been married to for 30 years. She has his quirks and habits down cold. If you ask nicely, she’ll recite them all for you, in rueful, sarcastic detail. But don’t you go criticizing him, or she’ll knock your block off as soon as she looks at you. She’ll never pretend he looks like Pierce Brosnan or George Clooney, but then again, she never cared that much about that kind of thing. Anyway, for a guy his age, who’s been through what he’s been through, she thinks he looks… not so bad.benfrank-absolutphiladelphia.jpg

For the last few weeks, we on the Editorial Board have been listening to Philadelphians talk about Philadelphia as part of a project called Great Expectations: Citizen Voices on Philadelphia’s Future, cosponsored by the University of Pennsylvania. City residents and suburbanites are gathering in church basements, schools and community centers from Point Breeze to Frankford to compare notes on what they love about the city and what they don’t; what works and what doesn’t; how to strengthen what works, how to fix what doesn’t.
Some themes are consistent: Most people find this city affordable and manageable. They savor its authentic neighborhood feel, its depth and variety of culture, history and things to do. They worry that its gap between haves and have-nots is widening, with no political will to address the trend. As a result, they’re split down the middle over tax cuts and tax abatements. They’re worried sick about the public schools, and aren’t much impressed with reforms done so far. They have a love-hate relationship with SEPTA. They want someone to take better care of Fairmount Park. They see clearly that the flip side of neighborhood spirit is insularity and segregation. Finally, they’re sick to death of how their City Hall behaves, both in failing to deliver value for the tax dollar, and in falling prey to corruption.

INQUIRER: Citizens Say The Darndest Things!
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Speak Your Mind, It’s How Consensus Is Built, And With A Consensus Everything Is Possible

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Friday, January 12th, 2007


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No Good Journalist Goes Unpunished

Friday, January 12th, 2007

TO: The Inquirer

In my high school yearbook, I stated two goals: Owning the New York Yankees and winning atierneyslist.jpg Pulitzer Prize.

This was the late 80s. And who was winning all the Pulitzers? The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Inquirer was my first journalism job: a correspondent in the two-year program. I left to work in New Orleans, then returned to Philadelphia six years later. I thought The Inquirer would be my last journalism job.

For four years, I had the opportunity to work with people I liked and respected. I was given the chance to travel and write stories from exotic datelines like Baghdad and Brewton (Alabama). I made many friends. We managed to laugh even when things seemed dire.

So thanks, everyone, for a good run. If that Yankees thing ever works out, you’re all invited to sit in the owner’s box.

Good luck. And be careful out there.

Natalie Pompilio

INQUIRER ARCHIVES: Natalie Pompilio Was The Inky’s Boots On The Ground In New Orleans, The Things She Reported Nobody Should Ever Have To See
INQUIRER: Loving Philadelphia But Pulling For ‘dem Saints’
Natalie Tells Marty How She’s Seen The End Of The World, And Does NOT Feel Fine

Listen to Thursday's show...

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GUNCRAZY: Vowing To End Blizzard Of Hot Lead, Dueling Mayoral Candidates Show Off Battle Scars From Back When They Were KEEPIN’ IT REAL, Yo

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Mayoral candidates U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and state Rep. Dwight Evans [NOT pictured, right] yesterday both claimed totupac3.jpg have been struck by gunfire during their teen years.

Fattah said he was struck in the legs by a shotgun blast in the mid-1970s while breaking up a gunfight and was treated at Mercy Hospital in West Philadelphia.

Evans said he was working in food services at Rolling Hill Hospital in Elkins Park in 1969 when a co-worker accidentally dropped a gun. It hit the floor, went off and sent a bullet ricocheting off his ear, Evans said.

Both mentioned their battle scars while describing their plans to fight crime, which is shaping up as the No. 1 issue in the race.

DAILY NEWS: Getting Shot Now A Mayoral Resume Builder In Tha 215

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GAYBO: Zane Insane For 2007! Sal’s On 12th Goes Way Gay! Dreamgirls Is Gay All Day! Hooray For Gay!

Monday, January 8th, 2007

gaybo.JPGBY TOMMY ZANE Weeks have just flown by and I’ve been oh, so silent. But that just means more chat to share with you, my pets! Ah, The Holidaze — finally over. Yeesh. No hospitalizations or friendships ended in a fury of expletives, thank Goddess. After listening to James Brown for nearly two hours, New Years Eve I was wasted on champagne and vodka — a deadly combination. Frolicking in a makeshift Stevie Nicks-style skirt, spinning in circles to the sounds of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” nearly made me barf. Other New Year’s hotspots: Robert Drake and company held court at Fluid, and there was the ever-popular Making Time. My sources tell me Sal’s on 12th was on fire. Ten dollar open bar guaranteed the crowd, which had that great mix of gay and straight scenesters, with a sprinkling of trannies. The bartender at Sal’s On 12th said that it’s basically a gay bar, with a mostly moderately-priced sandwich menu til 10 p.m . and a very mixed, gay/straight scene with DJs upstairs on weekends. Said bartender is going for a “Bob and Barbara’s feel”. Well, Tommy Zane is all down with that! Now get down with this! Swedish DJ Eric Prydz gets the first sanctioned remix/mashup with Pink Floyd! Check out the video for “Proper Education (The Wall)”:
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Via BuzzFeed

Cost of the War in Iraq
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