The Sixers Are Good at Math. The Phillies Aren’t.

sixers phillies
We already know that the Sixers stink. We expect that the Phillies — barring a miracle — will do the same during their forthcoming season. But it turns out they stink in vastly different ways.

The Sixers stink in a very futuristic way, you see, while the Phillies stink in retro fashion.

ESPN did an analysis of all teams in the major professional sports — football, baseball, basketball and hockey — then ranked how committed each is to using advanced metrics (mathematical analysis of everything about a sport that can be quantified) to improve the team on the field.

The Sixers ranked first. The Phillies: Dead last.
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Robert Marshall, Blind Faith’s Murderous Husband, Has Died

In this Dec. 13, 2007 file photo, inmate Robert O. Marshall speaks to the Associated Press in a lawyers conference room at the maximum security New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, N.J.  New Jersey's Department of Corrections said Robert O. Marshall died Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, at South Woods State Prison in southern New Jersey. He was 75. Marshall, a New Jersey insurance salesman, was convicted of plotting to kill his wife in a crime that inspired the bestselling book "Blind Faith" and a TV movie. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

In this Dec. 13, 2007 file photo, inmate Robert O. Marshall speaks to the Associated Press in a lawyers conference room at the maximum security New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, N.J. New Jersey’s Department of Corrections said Robert O. Marshall died Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, at South Woods State Prison in southern New Jersey. He was 75. Marshall, a New Jersey insurance salesman, was convicted of plotting to kill his wife in a crime that inspired the bestselling book “Blind Faith” and a TV movie. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

Robert Marshall, the Toms River man who was convicted of killing his wife and became the subject of a book and TV movie about murder, has died in prison. He was 75.

Joe McGinnis wrote the book Blind Faith about the mystery surrounding Maria Marshall’s death. The book was turned into the 1990 NBC movie of the same name, with actor Robert Urich starring as Robert Marshall.

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Council Committee Approves Digital Ads

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

Center City is one step closer to looking like Times Square.

A City Council Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that will allow “urban experiential displays” — 3D digital billboards — to be built at a few select locations in Philadelphia’s downtown district.

KYW reports that the bill was supported by Thadeus Bartkowski, founder of Catalyst Outdoors, which wants to build three of the digital displays — 30 to 50 feet in height — at three locations in Center City.

Bartkowski says, “It’s about creating a multi-faceted communication platform, that’s able to add vibrancy in unique commercial corridors.”

Bartkowski proposes three locations — outside the Convention Center, across from the Reading Terminal Market, and on the facade of the Bellevue Hotel garage on South Broad Street.

He says 70-percent of the content displayed would be ads, the rest would be PSAs and other material — including promotions for local non-profits: “What’s trying to be created here is a pedestrian-viewer experience, not just a simple single form of technology.”

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4 Charts That Show Stop-and-Frisk Is a Terrible Crime-Fighting Tool

I’ve always wondered why supporters of the police tactic known as “stop and frisk” think so highly of it. I guess it’s easy enough for them to brush aside questions of racial fairness and constitutional permissibility — if you’re a law-and-order type, laws that restrain police are mere obstacles to enforcing the kinds of laws that restrain suspected criminals. It’s a bad-guy-versus-good-guy world, and the good guys should always get as much help as they need fighting the bad guys, right?

Maybe. Here’s the problem though: All too often “stop and frisk” turns out to be a lousy crime-fighting tool. The ACLU of Pennsylvania on Tuesday released a report showing just how lousy. According to the analysis, Philly Police initiated more than 200,000 stop-and-frisk encounters in 2014. These five charts from the ACLU report are based on a random sample of 2,974 pedestrian stops that occurred during the first half of that year.
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ACLU: Philly Police Still Stopping and Frisking

crime main

Updated with response from police.

Philadelphia Police continue to single out “racial minorities” for unfair and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk searches, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report released today. The ACLU said it was considering seeking “court intervention” in the matter.

“On the issue of whether stops and frisks are supported by reasonable suspicion, the data shows very high levels of impermissible stops,” the ACLU said in a court filing.

“And, on the issue of whether impermissible racial factors are causing high numbers of racial minorities to be stopped and frisked, consideration of the ‘benchmarks’ for assessing possible racial bias demonstrates that non-racial factors do not explain the racial disparities,” the filing said. “There is an urgent need for substantial improvements on both issues, and if that is not accomplished in the near future, we will seek court intervention.”

“The Department is aware of the recent filing by the ACLU and the law department will respond accordingly via the courts,” Philly Police said in a written statement released this afternoon. “The Department will not release any rebuttal prior to taking the appropriate legal action through the courts.”
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UPDATED: Huge Kensington Fire Disrupts SEPTA

[Updated: 11:10 a.m.] Fox 29 reports the fire has been brought under control:

The fire was placed under control just after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

No firefighters were injured.

The Fire Commissioner said Tuesday morning that no residents were affected by the fire, and power and gas was only shut off to the building involved. Gas was shut off for one neighboring building as well.

SEPTA Stations in that area will remain closed, pending an inspection of the rail lines for icing.

[Original] A three-alarm fire in West Kensington has disrupted SEPTA bus and rail service.

CBS Philly reports:
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PlanPhilly Moving to WHYY

plan:newsworks

PlanPhilly, the website that covers planning and development news in Philadelphia, is moving from its longtime home under the PennPraxis umbrella to become part of WHYY’s news operations.

A move of some sort had been expected since August, when Harris Steinberg, director of PennPraxis, left the university to become executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University. PlanPhilly  was “initiated and nurtured” at PennPraxis starting 2006. The site was originally funded by the William Penn Foundation, but currently operates on funding from the Wyncote Foundation.
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District Renews Effort to Impose Terms on Teachers

School District of Philadelphia

The School Reform Commission is appealing a court ruling that overturned its decision last fall to slash teacher benefits, saying state law clearly gives the SRC authority to take such action during times of fiscal distress.

“The Commonwealth Court decision misinterpreted and misapplied the law,” the District said in a statement announcing its appeal. “The issues presented in this case are of substantial public importance and go to the heart of the ability – and responsibility – of the SRC to place the interests of children first during funding emergencies.”
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Comcast Made $68 Billion in 2014

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It was another great year for Comcast.

The Philadelphia-based company earned $68.8 billion during 2014, officials said in a quarterly earnings report this morning. That’s a 6.4 percent increase over 2013’s take of $64.6 billion; excluding the Olympics, which brought the company $1.1 billion through its NBCUniversal division, revenue was still up 4.7 percent.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.28.25 AM

The result of all that success? The company is increasing its stock dividend by $1 per share — the seventh consecutive year of a dividend increase — and announcing it will buy back $4.25 billion in stock during 2015.

“2014 was a great year financially, operationally, and strategically for Comcast NBCUniversal,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a press release. “We enter 2015 with great momentum and significant opportunities ahead, and we look forward to receiving regulatory approval for the Time Warner Cable merger.”
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Philly Residents Asked to Open Homes During Papal Visit

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

When Pope Francis visits Philadelphia in September for the World Meeting of Families, a million or more people are expected to crowd the city for a glimpse of him. Not everybody’s going to be able to find a hotel room.

So Archbishop Charles Chaput is now asking Philadelphians to open their homes to visitors during the meeting, making the appeal in his weekly column at Catholic Philly.
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