Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

12 May 2008

Philly Blunt: The Only Place Where Human Trafficking Meets The Hills

Wow, lotta people with a lotta spare time out there. Over the weekend, I had a chance to look at the hit counter for this here blog and realized that I was getting roughly 100 hits a day -- all while I was on campaign duty and off the blog train. So, allow me to apologize profusely. Wish I'd have had time to post occassionally. But I didn't. So I couldn't.
In any event, had a chance to catch up, as the title suggests, with some magazines and papers lately. Here's a selection of decent stories I encountered, presented in best-quote format.

On the finest film ever made, True Romance:
I hadn’t read the script, and knew nothing about it. Tony and I had tea at the Four Seasons and he said, “Look, I can’t really explain the plot. But Drexl’s a pimp who’s white but thinks he’s black.” That was all I needed to hear. I said, “I’ll do it.”

On the scourge of human trafficking:
Rotaru sometimes struggles to maintain her professional distance. “You can’t let these stories go through you,” she said. “You have to be practical, and do what you can.” As she was preparing to start this job, a couple of years ago, she read four hundred case reports. “I got so tired, I started laughing at things that aren’t funny. A girl runs away from her pimp, breaks her leg. The pimp makes her work with a broken leg. It’s not funny, but I pictured it and I laughed. That’s when I knew I had read too much.”

On the candidate who should be our next president, Barack Obama:
He’s an impermeable man now. He is smooth and clean, and there’s nothing jagged or dangling or out of place. He seems to have emerged into this campaign, and into this moment in history, fully formed.

On the candidate who should finally realize it's time to throw in the towel for her party's sake, Hillary Clinton:
In the course of the campaign, Clinton has tried out at least a dozen lines of attack against Obama, from ridiculing his message of hope—“The sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing”—to questioning his preparedness. “One of us is ready to be Commander-in-Chief,” she told a crowd in New York. “Let’s get real.” The attacks in themselves have not been especially effective and, as is so often the case, they have had a damaging effect on their instigator; according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, the proportion of Americans who view Clinton negatively has risen to a record high of fifty-four per cent.

On a unique approach to stopping urban violence:
The traditional response has been more focused policing and longer prison sentences, but law enforcement does little to disrupt a street code that allows, if not encourages, the settling of squabbles with deadly force. Zale Hoddenbach, who works for an organization called CeaseFire, is part of an unusual effort to apply the principles of public health to the brutality of the streets. CeaseFire tries to deal with these quarrels on the front end. Hoddenbach’s job is to suss out smoldering disputes and to intervene before matters get out of hand. His job title is violence interrupter, a term that while not artful seems bluntly self-explanatory. Newspaper accounts usually refer to the organization as a gang-intervention program, and Hoddenbach and most of his colleagues are indeed former gang leaders. But CeaseFire doesn’t necessarily aim to get people out of gangs — nor interrupt the drug trade. It’s almost blindly focused on one thing: preventing shootings.

On the second-most addicting show this side of (see photo for answer):
"I wish I got to see what you saw today," Spencer says.

And finally:
Mike Tyson as sympathetic hero? 'Bout time.
Arlen Specter, First Amendment champion? 'Bout time.


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