The Best Thing That Happened This Week

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Tom Wolf at a Philadelphia campaign rally. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Last night the 116th annual dinner of the Pennsylvania Society — or, as the society’s website has it, The One Hundred Sixteenth Annual Dinner of The Pennsylvania Society — was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, and we weren’t among the muckety-mucks meeting in Manhattan for cocktails and comestibles.

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Is It Already Time to Plan for the Eagles’ Next QB?

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The Eagles season is far from over and already the provocateurs on Philadelphia sports talk radio are speculating about next year and the years after. The favorite topic of the speculation set is the future of the quarterback position, ripe with options.

  1. Start Nick Foles next year
  2. Re-sign Mark Sanchez and start him (less popular after the Seattle game where Sanchez was less than mediocre)
  3. Trade with the Washington Redskins for Robert Griffin III, also known as RG3, and start him.
  4. Draft the quarterback of the future and start him or let him play behind Foles for a year.

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5 Reasons to Fear Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys Game

Photos | USA Today Sports. Tim Heitman (left), Dennis Wierzbicki (right)

Photos | USA Today Sports. Tim Heitman (left), Dennis Wierzbicki (right)

The Eagles playoff chances dangle at the mercy of the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, and this mantra keeps echoing in my head: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Why should I feel this way? The Eagles dominated the Cowboys on one of the best Thanksgiving Days any Philadelphia fan could have. They proved they were the better team, even though the mercurial Mark Sanchez was the quarterback. The Cowboys’ vaunted offensive line crumbled like feta cheese that day — and that is supposedly the best element of their team. In addition to that, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is a notorious December choker, and he’s taking the field with cracked rib cartilage and a double fracture in his backbone.

I’m not a sky-is-falling guy. I consistently urge folks to move past that Philadelphia fan mentality of impending doom. And yet I have this nagging feeling that we could lose Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game, finish with an 11-5 record, and perhaps lose the final wildcard playoff spot via an NFL tiebreaker. (For the Birds to survive after this, the Cowboys would have to lose one more game this season).

To sort this out in my brain, I yield to a bullet point presentation:

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9 Reasons Business Owners Hate the Holidays

Run a small business? Then you’re keeping a big secret. C’mon … fess up. It’s about the holidays.

Sure, December is a festive, wonderful, joyous month. You’re not completely insensitive to the meaning of the season. You can party with the best, soak up the goodwill, and wipe away a tear when Will Ferrell gets everyone in New York to sing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

You love Christmas time! At least that’s what you tell everyone.

But deep down inside, behind that smile plastered on your face and your wishes of “peace on earth” and “happy holidays” there’s something else you’re feeling. It’s panic. For a business owner, the holidays churn up fears and bring out the worst of your financial anxieties. You know this is true. And you know the reasons why:

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In Policing Debate, Ferguson Is a Bad Example

National Guard stand in front of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri's governor ordered hundreds more state militia into Ferguson on Tuesday, after a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.

National Guard stand in front of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri’s governor ordered hundreds more state militia into Ferguson on Tuesday, after a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.

I like Mike Missanelli. I could listen to him talk sports and pop culture for hours on end, and have. Mike is the afternoon host on 97.5 The Fanatic radio station and a fellow contributor to PhillyMag.com. But he is wrong in continuing to use the police shooting in Ferguson as an example of a pervasive racial bias in police departments across America.

Missanelli made his case on this site last week when he chastised sports commentator and Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley because he “didn’t express outrage at the non-indictment of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the confrontational shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.” And because Barkley said “the grand jury was righteous in its weighing of the evidence, and defended police officers as deterrents to even worse things that can happen in the ’hood.”

All of that is true and based in fact. Barkley is right.

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I Hope “Die-In” Protests Made You Late Getting Home

Photo | Jack Cotter

Photo | Jack Cotter

The protests had barely begun when the griping about them started.

And in some ways, maybe the complaints were understandable. Philadelphia activists, enraged by a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict the cop who killed Eric Garner, held a “die in” at 30th Street station, then decided to march to City Hall.

Through traffic.

During rush hour.

Once there, they made a big scene during the lighting of the City Hall Christmas tree — an occasion that’s supposed to be festive. And then they followed it up with other disruptive events — most notably at Sunday’s Eagles game.

And in every case the complaint was the same: Why do the protesters have to interrupt my life? Why do they have to create an inconvenience at this event/game/drive home I’m trying to enjoy? Why did the protests have to disrupt normal life?
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Facebook and “Friends” in the Wake of Ferguson

protest-facebook-940x540

Scene from last Wednesday’s protest march (top); detail from a controversial post on the Facebook page of a Central Bucks West guidance counselor.

As a 29-year-old woman, this is how my Facebook feed tends to look: baby picture, wedding picture, baby-at-a-wedding picture, Supernatural spoiler (that last one might be my own contribution).

But over the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed an even less appealing trend: racist rant, thinly veiled racist rant, confusing meme that I suspect is a racist rant.

To clarify, I’m from the Northeast.

This is not, necessarily, to say that my hometown is any more backward than your own hometown. (Unless you’re from Amherst — you guys are pretty squeaky clean.) There’s an ugly, dumb contingent in every group of humans, and most of the time, I love that place. But post-Ferguson, I find myself rethinking my Internet relationship to the (Often, But Not Always) Great Northeast.

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MAP: This Is What Philly Would Look Like With Full 24-Hour SEPTA Service

Owl Service Map

We gave SEPTA some suggestions for all-night bus routes. They showed us what that might look like.

If you read my first commentary on all-night SEPTA subway service — in which I asked if SEPTA might better spend its money providing 24-hour bus service to all corners of the city — you may be surprised to hear that I was quite pleased when the agency decided to make its experiment with all-night rapid transit on weekends permanent.

And it’s not just because it means I can now take a train rather than a bus home on those occasional weekend nights that I stay out way late. Rather, it’s because it shows the agency responded to its riders. A bunch of them recommended this change, SEPTA tried it, and the riders responded enthusiastically.

And the agency is providing this service, which is carrying anywhere from 66 to 100 percent more riders than took the Nite Owl buses, for a mere $34,000 more per weekend than it spent on the buses.

That’s $1.768 million for a year’s worth of overnight subway-elevated service on the weekends.

But.

There’s still this nagging feeling in the back of my head that this $1.8 million or so would still be better spent providing overnight service to parts of the city that don’t have any — or are too far from the nearest — 24-hour bus line.

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