Archive for February, 2012

(Thanks to Randy LoBasso at Philadelphia Weekly for the headline)


I understand it’s a hardscrabble life out there in Pennsyltucky (or Alabamania or PenRomania or whatever snarky name you want to give our backward state) and having more children probably insures you’ll always have plenty of employees to churn out crystal meth from the family lab.  But unwanted kids in the city can end up being our crime problem and some studies back this up.  Why should the rest of us have to revert to Victorian, sharia-law like conditions in our daily lives for some rube’s parochial worldview?  Oh, sorry, sharia law is actually much MORE progressive than Pennsylvania when it comes to women’s health!  It’s amazing that the party of NO BIG GOVERNMENT is the one that wants to invade our most personal spheres time and time again.

Despite evidence to the contrary, the Pennsylvania legislature is quite shrewd —  having a woman, Kathy Rapp, introduce this bill.  (She also has a resolution designating March 2012 as “Brain Injury Awareness Month” in PA, so maybe there is something amiss with her grey matter….)

Ultrasound is a normal part of a routine abortion, so why add another expense and lots of paperwork for a procedure that will be performed anyway?  Oh… maybe that’s the point.  Make it more expensive and inconvenient for busy doctors so they will stop performing the procedure.  Pennsylvania  already forces women to undergo “counseling” prior to abortion.  This legislation, a nice example of doublespeak, actually insults women’s intelligence while purporting to care about their right to essential healthcare information.

So here’s another example of Republicans’ schizophrenic policy making…



Once again we’re reminded of the inadequate supply of hotel rooms in Philadelphia, now that the convention center has expanded.  The mayor thinks it would be divine to have a nice, new, big anchor hotel in town, but the hotelier will need to foot the entire bill:

…The problem is money. McDonald says the city is not committing to offer financial incentives to lure another major hotel to town.

At the same time, the Occupy movement is possibly bringing a convention to the city.

Hmmm, a lack of hotel rooms and a convention for Occupy Wall Street….That gives us an idea!

1% better than no hotel at all...

In a slightly convoluted story (though, admittedly it IS convoluted), The Naked Philadelphian gives some justification for the recent snub of Bart Blatstein’s group in its attempt to purchase Philadelphia Media Network.  The scuttlebutt is that a dislike of Raymond Perelman and his bad business practices are at the heart of the strange dealings.  However, Naked’s Laura Goldman implies that Roger Altman has his eye on a cabinet position with the Obama administration and thinks Ed Rendell can get him some extra added traction.  (It may be a long shot for Altman, as Wall Street bankers are not that popular these days, Obama would have to let Timothy Geithner go, and there are still a number of other candidates to contend with before Altman had a shot at Treasury.)

Philadelphia Media Network has hired Altman’s firm, Evercore Partners, to broker the sale.  One of the current PMN owners, Angelo Gordon, is apparently eager to unload the entity he bought at auction in 2010.  Alden Global is another owner whose CEO ostensibly has a bad business beef with Raymond Perelman, who claims HE was prevented from bidding on the media group (Ray was part of Bart’s homegrown group and made an unsuccessful attempt to buy PMN last time around).

Ed Rendell still maintains that he is just doing good for the city and its economy.  He does not appear to be fronting any money in this venture, even though he is the frontman for his group.  He also says he had nothing to do with the recent censorship debacle at the Daily News.  Laura Goldman intimates that was also partly Evercore’s doing because they don’t believe Bart is a big enough player nationally so they froze him out.

There are more than a few local journalists who are suspect of Rendell’s claimed civic mindedness because his investor group includes people who are highly politically connected.  Ed emphasizes his desire to keep Philly journalism independent and even spoke of erecting a “fire wall” between management and the day-to-day reporting.

We suspect this story will continue to be front page news — provided the local media continues to cover it and they can still afford to print a front page…

Talk about a media circus....geez!


Yesterday’s Metro had a pretty interesting quote from the Honorable Mr. Nutter….

When you google “crazy ass,” you get 6,920,000 results!  That’s CRAZY!  At least the mayor should get props for using popular slang in analyzing our current crime conditions.  Hey, what about his crazy ass offer of $20,000 for witnesses to put their lives on the line?  I know we like gambling in this town, but the odds of surviving snitching are a little too long without true witness protection….

How about pointing the finger at some other crazy ass people – like the rube politicians in Harrisburg who won’t let us make our own gun laws?  I realize that does nothing about wackos who have a “right” to carry loaded firearms, but maybe we could control things just a little bit better with locally sensible gun laws.

What a brilliant measure our state legislature has come up with.  We can save money and save souls at the same time!

  • Class size reduction – all you Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and ESPECIALLY atheist kids can just stay home this year. 
  • We’ll need fewer teachers and fewer classroom aides. 
  • And we’ll need no new textbooks — just bring your bible from home!

For any non-Christian students who would like to attend school, we’ll have a special Home and School Conversion night just prior to the first day of school.  Students must bring a waiver if they want to participate in full immersion baptism.

There will be no American history requirement in the high schools this year.  This is a safety measure to decrease conflict in the upper grades and will eliminate any debate about constitutional issues.

Have a good year and GOD BLESS PENNSYLVANIA!  And while we’re at it, let’s all start praying that Corbett will be out of office soon…

What sort of shell game are folks playing with our local dailies?  Are Daily News stories being shuffled around so as to seem to disappear?  The hometown crowd of potential buyers seems to keep stepping right on up.  Now you see their story right on the printed page, oops, and now you don’t!

And how much would you pay for this lovely media group?  You might ask how much is it worth…?

 Is Ed Rendell buying the papers through the goodness of his heart?  Is Bart Blatstein trying to get the scoop on Fast Eddie’s group?

All things will be revealed in good time.  Then again, in a town with no transparency, the truth is like the Ace in a game of 3 Card Monte…

Some new legislation financially favors Pennsylvania country folk in the (potentially) lucrative Marcellus lottery, and Philly pols were caught between some shale and a hard place.  State Senator Joe Scarnati apparently wanted to give Marcellus gas drillers a break with no severance tax back when the Dems were in power in PA, and now that the GOP is top dog he’s championing well impact fees.  It was southeast PA pols who pushed for a severance tax that reportedly would raise much more revenue than impact fees.  62% of the state population DO NOT live on top of a gas shale deposit, but could benefit from the extra taxes.  Well impact fees will stay close to home and help out the other rural 38% minority.

If Philadelphia pols had not supported the legislation, Mr. Scarnati (a former restaurateur) “strongly suggested” that Philly would get no money when the fees were divvied up statewide.  It’s sort of a deal with the devil.  Republicans have enough power to push through the legislation, so even if our local reps oppose drilling they can’t vote their conscience because that would deprive Philly of needed cash coming from the provinces.  And since we send more money to the hinterlands then we get, it doesn’t make economic sense.

Ironic that some guy from the boondocks is acting like a mob boss from da big city…

So what's it gonna be punk-sutawney?

Perhaps in celebration of the 200th birthday of  Charles Dickens, the Water Department could cut it’s ratepayers a break…Say, maybe roll back prices to pre-war levels, if not pre-industrial?

Philadelphia is most bountifully provided with fresh water, which is showered and jerked about, and turned on, and poured off, everywhere. The Waterworks, which are on a height near the city, are no less ornamental than useful, being tastefully laid out as a public garden, and kept in the best and neatest order. The river is dammed at this point, and forced by its own power into certain high tanks or reservoirs, whence the whole city, to the top stories of the houses, is supplied at a very trifling expense.

From: American Notes for General Circulation By Charles Dickens

If water gets too expensive in this worst of economic  times, then we might actually revert to Dickensian conditions in our fair city, once renowned for its marvelous water system.


Sur, — May we beg and beseech your proteckshion and power. We are Sur, as it may be, livin in a Wilderniss, so far as the rest of London knows anything of us, or as the rich and great people care about. We live in muck and filth. We aint got no priviz, no dust bins, no drains, no water-splies, and no drain or suer in the hole place. The Suer Company, in Greek St., Soho Square, all great, rich and powerfool men, take no notice watsomdever of our complaints. The Stenche of a Gully-hole is disgustin. We all of us suffer, and numbers are ill, and if the Colera comes Lord help us.

Letter to The Times of London from 54 of its poorest citizens, published on July 5, 1849