Thirty Years Later, MOVE Still Hurts


Peter Morgan | AP

On May 13, 1985 — 30 years ago today — a city decided to selectively bomb its citizens. On Mother’s Day 1985, residents on a block at the edge of the city of Philadelphia were ushered out of their homes, assured that they would soon return to the quiet lives they’d previously known. Days earlier, 6200 Osage Avenue residents had demanded City Hall take action about the radical anarchist group — MOVE — that had relocated to the block. City officials were perplexed — the earlier 1978 bloody takeover of MOVE headquarters in West Philadelphia had left one policeman dead and nine jailed — and decided to evict the group from its house. The next day, then-police commissioner Gregore J. Sambor approached the barricaded neighborhood and bellowed through a bullhorn: “Attention, MOVE. This is America.” Read more »

MOVE 30: Inside the May 1985 Assault on Osage Avenue

In this May 1985 photo, scores of row houses burn in a fire in the west Philadelphia neighborhood. Police dropped a bomb on the militant group MOVE's home on May 13, 1985 in an attempt to arrest members, leading to the burning of scores of homes in the neighborhood.

In this May 1985 photo, scores of row houses burn in a fire in the west Philadelphia neighborhood. Police dropped a bomb on the militant group MOVE’s home on May 13, 1985 in an attempt to arrest members, leading to the burning of scores of homes in the neighborhood.

A version of this article was originally published in 2012.

On May 13, 1985 at 5:20 p.m., a blue and white Pennsylvania State Police helicopter took off from the command post’s flight pad at 63rd and Walnut, flew a few times over 6221 Osage Avenue, and then hovered 60 feet above the two-story house in the black, middle-class West Philadelphia neighborhood. Lt. Frank Powell, chief of Philadelphia’s bomb disposal unit, was holding a canvas bag containing a bomb consisting of two sticks of Tovex TR2 with C-4. After radioing firefighters on the ground and lighting the bomb’s 45-second fuse — and with the official approval of Mayor W. Wilson Goode and at the insistence of Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor — Powell tossed the bomb, at precisely 5:28 p.m., onto a bunker on the roof. Read more »

4 Biggest Mother’s Day Social Media Missteps

As far as holidays go, Mother’s Day is traditionally in the minor leagues.

It’s an important one, yes, but it barely takes up an entire aisle in CVS. No long weekend, no dead deity, no big deal.

Unless, of course, you’re going by social media standards. Because on Facebook and Twitter, Mother’s Day is apparently a High Holy Day of Sharing (and, possibly, caring).

Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. After months of stalking your bar selfies and whiny status updates, your mom was probably delighted to spot herself in your new profile picture. If your partner granted you a tiny human over the past year, it’s more than appropriate to send a shout-out. You gave life to those kids and got them dressed for a family photo shoot before noon? Go ahead, lady — blow up my feed with your tiny army of brunch terrorists. You earned this.

That said, there was also some pretty questionable Mother’s Day posting this year. Do mom a favor and remember the following next time around. Read more »

I Was in No Hurry to Open My New iPhone

About four years ago, my husband started telling me I could get a free iPhone whenever I wanted to. A couple of weeks ago, I finally did.

You can probably tell I’m no early adopter. It took me a really long time to get used to my flip phone. It’s partly because I didn’t use it much. I don’t like to talk on the phone, so I mostly used it for texting my kids and my husband. I did like to take photos of my garden and occasionally post them to Twitter, which is what made me finally break down and get the iPhone. The camera on my flip phone stopped working. I didn’t mind so much in winter. But when the full panoply of my tulips came out this spring and I couldn’t share it, I was bummed.

By then, I had an iPhone. When my son was home for spring break, he took the bull by the horns and, over my protests, ordered me one. He went back to school, and my iPhone arrived at the house a few days later. I didn’t bother to open the box. I knew that learning how to use it was going to be a huge pain in the ass, and except for the camera that didn’t work, my flip phone suited me fine. I didn’t need any apps to help me figure out what restaurant to eat at or what wine to pair with lamb chops or what dress would match my nice new apricot-colored sweater. Fifty-eight years of life experience was taking care of all that just fine.

So the phone just sat in its unopened box on the dining room table. Meantime, one day I was using the flip phone and noticed a piece of fuzz stuck in the camera lens. I extracted it with an X-acto knife, and suddenly the camera was working again. That made me even more unhappy that my son had ordered the iPhone, which I now didn’t need for anything. Read more »

Michael Nutter’s Top 9 Profane Moments

Photos | Top row, Jeff Fusco. Bottom row, from left, Matt Rourke/AP, Meet the Press, Matt Rourke/AP

Mayor Michael Nutter might not be swearing in these images — but the odds are decent. Photos | Top row, Jeff Fusco. Bottom row, from left, Matt Rourke/AP, Meet the Press, Matt Rourke/AP

When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter leaves office, we’ll miss his potty mouth.

Since he was sworn in seven years ago, he has called an assortment of criminals “real assholes,” “complete assholes” and “little assholes.” He’s dubbed a proposal by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre “a completely dumb-ass idea.” He’s said of negligent city workers, “I would kick their ass myself.”

Usually, Nutter swears in reaction to the city’s gun violence. It often comes across as genuine, like someone who is truly frustrated by the senselessness of it all. Just last week, he said a shooter was an “asshole” after wounding an 8-year-old. The downside is that Nutter’s name-calling sometimes undercuts the seriousness of a situation — is the person responsible for a child’s shooting really just an “asshole”?

Regardless, there is a political benefit to cussing: Nutter looks like a regular Joe when he lets a bad word slip. He also nearly always gets local media attention, and occasionally even wins national coverage. We’re not ashamed to add to that mountain of reports. For your profane pleasure, here are nine of Nutter’s most high-profile cusses in chronological order:

Read more »

Let’s Not Tax Airbnb for Pope’s Visit

pope city hall

Councilman Bill Greenlee has an idea: He wants to tax Philadelphians who rent out their rooms for the pope’s visit.

I have a different idea: How about we don’t?

Maybe I’d think differently if the 8.5 pecent tax on room rentals would go to city schools, a one-time windfall they surely wouldn’t refuse. But as the Inquirer notes: “Hotel tax revenue is split between the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Philadelphia, and the Convention Center.” Those are worthy organizations: They bring visitors and their money to town — and as the old trope goes, it takes money to make money, etc. etc.  Read more »

LeSean McCoy Is Wrong

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

LeSean McCoy is still very hurt about being traded from the Philadelphia Eagles.

That was the clearest conclusion anyone could reach about McCoy’s comments to an reporter after Shady pretty much labeled Chip Kelly — the man who traded him – a racist, in a nonsensical diatribe that only served to worsen relations between the races.

“He wants full control,” McCoy said to reporter Mike Rodak. “You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest, that’s the truth. There’s a reason…it’s hard to explain with him. But there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players – the good ones – like that.” Read more »

Tony Come Lately?

Hillary Clinton, left; Philly Jesus and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams.

Hillary Clinton, left; Philly Jesus and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams.

As a full supporter of the #BlackLivesMatterMovement, I wield a hefty amount of skepticism towards any candidate’s newfound interest or consciousness on this matter — whether in local elections or in the early going of the presidential campaign.

State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams wants to be your next mayor, Philadelphia. As the “Philly is Baltimore” solidarity movement took to the city streets last week, Williams could be seen out amongst the swaths of people. His campaign promise? Zero tolerance.

“I would have a character clause” in police contracts, Williams is reported as saying during a business forum held last month. “You don’t get to come back for arbitration.”

Eliminating the use of hate speech is an interesting idea, but language certainly does not always correlate to intent. There are a lot of bigots out there who’d be smart enough to mind their mouths, or who play the PC game well enough to not even consider themselves bigoted at all.

It’s a valiant effort, but hardly enough to create real change in communities and the laws that police them.  Read more »

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