SEPTA’s Biggest Union Could Strike On Monday

Photo | Ben Schumin.

Photo | Ben Schumin.

TWU Local 234, the largest of the transit unions representing SEPTA employees, has announced a strike authorization meeting for Sunday, October 26th at 3:00 p.m., meaning that the thousands of subway operators, bus drivers, mechanics and cashiers who are part of the union might not show up for work on Monday morning. Read more »

Tom Corbett Signs Anti-Mumia “Revictimizing” Bill

At the site where Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed in 1981, Gov. Tom Corbett today signed a bill today that would let crime victims sue convicts for seeking publicity or money. The bill is a direct response to Mumia Abu-Jamal, giving a graduation speech at Goddard College earlier this month.

Even people with only a cursory understanding of the legal system can guess this bill is on incredibly shaky footing — two lawyer friends of mine called it “laughably unconstitutional” — and will end up in the courts sooner rather than later. Last week Joel Mathis called the bill’s language “so broad as to be meaningless” and “a violation of the First Amendment.” Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, agreed.

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Another Violent Incident at Northeast Philly Pathmark

Earlier this month, a man was stabbed in a Northeast Philly Pathmark after an argument with another man. Now, the supermarket has been the site of a second attack.

Police say a woman ran into the Pathmark screaming after she was assaulted by a 19-year-old man on Monday. The man followed her into the store, where he was cornered by shoppers until police arrived.

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SRC’s Contract Move Isn’t About Shared Sacrifice — It’s Looting

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From left: Bill Green (Jeff Meade, via Wikimedia Commons) | School District headquarters (Jeff Fusco) | Helen Gym (Alex Hogan, Flickr)

Recently, I visited my brother-in-law at Radnor High School and was privileged to see him teach his ninth-grade English/civics class. When I walked in, his students were engaged in a debate about Plato and the notion of dissent versus rule of law in Athenian society. The students had finished reading John Stuart Mill and were getting their first papers back for revision. It was October 2nd.

A few days later, I attended a parent meeting at Central High School, one of the city’s premier institutions. Dozens of ninth graders had spent their school year with substitute teachers who changed every week. The substitutes were put in place to relieve teachers leading classrooms with 40, 50, or even more students. For these ninth graders, school didn’t really start until October 8th, when permanent teachers were finally assigned to them.

This is what a teacher’s contract was supposed to prevent.

And it’s why the School Reform Commission’s move last week to tear up that contract is about far more than the dishonest suggestion of “shared sacrifice” and health care contributions.

Federal Judge Rules Against Joey Merlino

JOEY MERLINO

Reputed Philadelphia mobster Joey Merlino has got to be sweating bullets right about now. The United States Attorney in Philadelphia wants to send “Skinny” Joey back behind bars, where he spent nearly a decade after being convicted on racketeering charges. And on Monday, Judge R. Barclay Surrick issued a ruling that puts Merlino perilously close to a return to federal prison. Read more »

Pocono Schools Closed After Reported Eric Frein Sighting

Schools in the Pocono Mountain school district are closed today after another possible sighting of Eric Frein, the man suspected of killing Byron Dickson and wounding trooper Alex Douglass in a random attack last month.

The schools were open yesterday, but closed after another reported sighting of Frein on Monday, near the Swiftwater Post Office.

Also on Monday, police said a suspected blood sample found on a porch in the area was not a DNA match for Frein’s blood. In fact, it wasn’t blood at all.

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ESPN: Kobe Bryant Has Destroyed the Lakers

The Sixers were awful last year, and they’re going to be awful again this season. But not all is lost for the Philadelphia basketball fan. Take last season: The hated Celtics won only six more games than the Sixers did and missed the playoffs.

And Sixers fans’ second most-hated enemy, the Los Angeles Lakers? They went 27-55 and finished last in their division. The Lakers! In last! If the Sixers are going to be bad, at least the teams Philly fans love to hate are doing poorly too.

And now, some even better news: The Lakers aren’t going to get much better anytime soon. ESPN reports Kobe Bryant — Lower Merion High School basketball legend, five-time NBA Champion, surefire future member of the Baskebtall Hall of Fame, et cetera — is sabotaging the Lakers from within.

He’s such a ball hog and bad teammate that literally no one wants to play with him. Allen Iverson hogged the ball, but at least he said nice things about his teammates in the press.

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When Ron Castille Called Seamus McCaffery a “Sociopath”

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Ron Castille and Seamus McCaffery don’t much like each other. Anybody who has paid attention to rivalries on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in recent years knows that.

But McCaffery’s Monday suspension from the court over the “Porngate” scandal was accompanied Monday by a jeremiad from Castille, the court’s chief justice, that displayed a level of enmity rarely seen in American public life anymore.

Here are five of the most dramatic statements from Castille’s Monday concurring statement, which mostly agrees with the order to suspend McCaffery from his duties while the Judicial Conduct Board investigates:
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Gayborhood Hotel Evacuated After Fire

A fire late Monday afternoon at the Parker Spruce Hotel in the Gayborhood forced the evacuation of at least 54 residents. The one-alarm fire was under control in 10 minutes, but still forced scores of residents to leave.

They were apparently taken away from the scene on SEPTA buses.

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