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 www.twitter.com/brianhickey Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/brianhickey/. Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court: divorcecourting.blogspot.com.

19 July 2009

Weekend Reading Roundup (The Good, the Bad and the Smugly edition)

THE GOOD

Former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan swan dives into the anti-Buckwalter movement...
[W]hen Judge Buckwalter not only departed downward from federal sentencing guidelines but tunneled underneath them, he told every state legislator and citizen of Pennsylvania that no matter how corrupt you are, you'll get a break if you are able to somehow balance the scales by securing enough contracts or brokering enough budgets.
... and small-Maine-town's-folk threaten to chain themselves to their lone mailbox if the United States Postal Service follows through with plans to remove it.
"It's the town of Otisfield's post office," said Marianne Izzo-Morin, the town's administrative assistant. "We can't buy stamps there, but we can put mail in there and know it'll be delivered."


THE BAD

The NY Times enables weed-bashing...
Many public health officials worry that this stronger marijuana has increased addiction rates and is potentially more dangerous to teenagers, whose brains are still developing. And officials say the movement to legalize marijuana — now available by prescription in 13 states — plays down the dangers of habitual use.
“We need to be very mindful of what we are unleashing out of a Pandora’s Box here,” said Dr. Richard N. Rosenthal, chairman of psychiatry at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. “The people who become chronic users don’t have the same lives and the same achievements as people who don’t use chronically.”
The NY Times also enables a Swiss dude to parlay Arturo Gatti's death into his Call to Blame Everything on Boxing...
Develop a well-financed pension system so former fighters have resources should illness or worse lurk in their final rounds.

Ah, so a pension would have stopped Gatti's wife from (allegedly) strangling him while he slept, Mr. Morton Roodman? You're serious about this? It's not just because your from pansy-ass Switzerland? Wow. (If that's what really happened, of course. If it was suicide, well, the Swiss are still pansy-ass, but I no longer question the merits of Mr. Morton Roodman's letter.)
But the New York Times' third sign of enabling was a good one: A reporter digging deeper into a police-involved shooting that seemed clear-cut but wasn't.
In the hours after Shem Walker, 49, was killed in an encounter with the police outside his mother’s home in Brooklyn last week, many details made public had the durability of soap bubbles.
One has lasted: when he died, Mr. Walker was on parole after a drug sale conviction in Pennsylvania. That is fact. But it is not nearly enough truth.


THE SMUGLY
Full disclosure: I developed a healthy distaste for a certain Inquirer columnist during my two-month stay in the political world. Something about my perceptions of an agenda-driven and ignoring-of-facts-that-don't-fit-the-pre-chosen-angle M.O. Don't really recall, because I quickly remembered that I stopped questioning columnists the minute I became one in Flo-town, Palmetto State. To each their own opinion pieces.
But, I couldn't let Sunday's B1 piece about police parking slide without pointing out that if it was intellectually honest, it'd have come correct with the fact that the media, just like the cops, gets a pretty-damn-good excemption to parking laws. And without pointing out what everybody in the parking-know knows -- that there are press only spots for easily-obtainable press stickers for the back window of a vehicle -- this argument ...
To be fair, police aren't the only public servants ignoring rules the rest of us suffer under. Eagle-eyed readers e-mailed photos of firefighters' SUVs on the median at the Fire Administration Building at Third and Spring Garden Streets.
Amateur sleuths found a fleet of motorcycles at 13th and Arch Streets. Nearby, SEPTA cars hog a "Ride the Ducks Only" zone.
Crimes against humanity, they're not. But for drivers who pay big bucks to park in garages or get ticketed seconds after a meter expires, the special treatment burns.
... falls flat on its proverbial face. So, too, does the snarky edge of noting that your home address getting put on a racist law-enforcement bulletin board. Which, otherwise, would have landed this piece in the "good" category.

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