Ramsey Comes Out Against Cop-Cloaking Bill in Harrisburg

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey poses with other police officers Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey poses with other police officers Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

Philadelphia’s top cop is pushing back against a bill that would cloak the identities of officers in “police-involved shootings.”

CBS Philly reports that outgoing Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told KYW Newsradio, “I’m against it. I think it’s a huge mistake.” (His comments came before a Pennsylvania state trooper was wounded during a shootout on I-676 late Tuesday morning.)

The union representing Philadelphia’s police officers has been pushing hard for House Bill 1538, which would generally keep confidential the identity of officers involved in shootings, unless they are charged with a crime after an investigation. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support, and the Senate is expected to take it up soon. Read more »

Millennials: They’re Doing Thanksgiving Better Than You

The first "Friendsgiving?"

The first “Friendsgiving?”

“There are lies, damn lies and statistics,” Mark Twain famously said, and it was the last of these that struck me in an article published the other day on Philly.com. Headlined “Millennials Are Celebrating Thanksgiving in Their Own Way—Culturally and Commercially,” the piece detailed the many ways in which the boomers’ children are improving on the holiday. The data analytics company Dunnhumby, based in Cinncinnati and, it would seem, a real entity and not a product of Lewis Carroll’s fevered imagination, performed a new survey showing that millennials are “straying away from tradition while using emerging technologies to shop and plan for the holiday.” This, Dunnhumby says, is “a stark contrast from older Americans.”

What exactly are these profound differences? Twenty percent of millennials, according to Dunnhumby, are planning to purchase their turkey and trimmings via a food delivery app; in the survey, nobody my age (i.e., 55 or older) intended to do so. Who the hell would? Are you going to trust the young idiots who keep bagging your groceries with the canned goods atop the bread and lettuce to choose your Thanksgiving turkey? The apples for your pie? Your green beans? You have to know how to cook to care about how to buy food, and millennials can’t cook their way out of a paper bag. They only know how to eat out and then talk about it all the time. Read more »

Philly Fans Finally See a Home Win as Rookie Scores in OT for Flyers


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we mentioned that a Philadelphia sports team hadn’t won a home game all month. There were only two more chances for a home victory in November, and last night it looked like the Flyers would win this one easily. They were up 2-0 seven minutes into the third period. A home win was just more than 10 minutes away.

Naturally, the Flyers gave up two goals in the third and the game went to overtime. The chance for a home win was in doubt, especially because the Flyers came into the game just 2-4 after being tied at the end of regulation. But Philly caught a break when the Carolina Hurricanes’ Victor Rask was called for holding just 11 seconds into the period. The Flyers would get a 4-on-3 advantage for two minutes. (NHL overtimes are now 3-on-3, with teams going to 4-on-3 when a penalty is called.

Then Shayne Gostisbehere, the Flyers rookie defenseman, flicked one into the net just 13 seconds later to give the Flyers the 3-2 overtime win. Finally, a win in Philadelphia! It was the most recent victory for a Philly team since the Flyers beat the Rangers in OT at the Wells Fargo Center on October 24th. (The last regulation home win for a Philly team was on October 19th, when the Eagles beat the Giants on Monday Night Football.) Read more »

Trooper Shooting, School Bus Fire Snarl 676

school bus


[Update Noon] We’re told that all ramps are reopening.

[Update 11:23 a.m.] Just a reminder: Don’t try to travel the Expressway right now:

Meanwhile, Jared Shelly reports:

Andy Ocasio saw the scene unfold from his 9th floor apartment that sits across the street from the expressway. A worker for Comcast, he was about to get on a business call when he heard “five or six shots” ring out.

He saw officers with their guns drawn chasing a man eastbound on 676.

“It looked like the guy was going to surrender but then went running down the road toward the underpass,” said Ocasio.

For Ocasio, it proved to be plenty of excitement for a Tuesday morning. “I moved here from New York a month ago and I’ve already gotten more action here than in Manhattan. It’s good to hear that there were no kids on the school bus at the time. That was a pretty scary thought.”

[Update 10:43 am] Gov. Wolf just released this statement, confirming the shooter is in custody:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Pennsylvania State Police Trooper shot on Interstate 676 in the line of duty today. I received an update from Acting Commissioner Blocker a short time ago and I am relieved to learn that the trooper is in stable condition at a hospital in Philadelphia. Our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line each day to protect us, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. The shooter was swiftly taken into custody by the Pennsylvania State Police. No further details are available at this time.”

According to police radio, four males are in custody from this morning’s shooting of the Pennsylvania State Trooper. One suspect is still reportedly on the loose and is described as black male in 20s, 6′ to 6’3″ medium build, baggy jeans, facial tattoo under left eye. Read more »

Sixers Mailbag #5: Who Has Exceeded Expectations?

The selection of Jahlil Okafor over Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was one of general manager Sam Hinkie's major decisions so far | Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The selection of Jahlil Okafor over Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was one of general manager Sam Hinkie’s major decisions so far | Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This Monday we continue our 76ers mailbag series, where we discuss some of the pressing topics around the team.

In this fifth edition of the Sixers mailbag we take a look at whether the Sixers should have drafted Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who has been the biggest disappointment so far, and how long the Sixers rebuilding process should be trusted.

Read more »

Why Is The Budget Deal Breaking Down? Philly, That’s Why.

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today.

Why is the state budget deal foundering? Because Pennsylvania legislators don’t want to cut Philly a break.

Harrisburg, it seems, is happy to give us extra taxes, but not extra tax relief, according to TribLive’s Brad Bumsted. Here’s how it works: The budget framework would raise Philly’s sales tax rate to 9.25 percent, one of the highest rates in the nation. That money is supposed to claw back property tax rates — but lawmakers are balking at a provision that would give Philly an extra share of property tax reduction. (Or so we’re told: No one’s publicly provided the precise numbers for the distribution of property tax rebates.) Read more »

Immediate Reaction: Okafor Dominates But 76ers Lose

Andrew Wiggins scored 32 points in Minnesota's 100-95 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers | Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins scored 32 points in Minnesota’s 100-95 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers | Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers started the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run, giving them a 5 point lead with just under 8 minutes remaining.

For the second game in a row, the Sixers appeared poised to take home their first win of the season. For the second game in a row, they couldn’t close it out.

Jahlil Okafor dominated his matchup with fellow rookie, and first overall pick, Karl-Anthony Towns. Okafor got Towns in foul trouble early, then dominated the Wolves bench, on his way to 25 points on 10-15 shooting from the field, 12 rebounds, and two blocked shots.

Okafor was particularly impressive in the first half, where he finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Towns spent most of the game in foul trouble and finished with just 6 points and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes of play.

It wasn’t enough, as Andrew Wiggins scored 17 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter Minnesota, helping the Timberwolves to their 6th win of the season.

Here are some quick thoughts from tonight’s game. More to come later.

Read more »

Williams Revamps Senior Leadership in D.A.’s Office

Seth Williams

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams created a new position in his office today: Chief of Staff, General Counsel and Chief Integrity Officer. He appointed Kathleen Martin to the new position, in addition to promoting George D. Mosee, Jr. to first assistant district attorney.

“Ms. Martin brings experience in Pennsylvania criminal law as well as a deep knowledge of the history and unique facets of Philadelphia courts and criminal practice,” Williams said in a release. “I am very proud of the work we have accomplished in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office so far and am excited about the opportunity to strengthen the office and to help the 600 men and women of the office make a difference in our city.”

The District Attorney’s office has been rocked in recent months by the Porngate scandal, with everyone from state senators to Senate candidates to City Council members calling for the firing of three city prosecutors who sent or received pornographic and/or offensive emails while working for the state. Read more »

Route 23 Split Goes Into Effect Sunday

Photo: Courtesy of SEPTA

Photo: Courtesy of SEPTA

Anyone who has used Route 23, the busiest of SEPTA’s surface bus routes, knows that the schedule is often an approximation. Heavy traffic, both in the form of riders and other vehicles in the buses’ path, causes frequent delays and bunching on the line.

SEPTA has had a fix for this problem on its To-Do list for several years now. This Sunday, the fix takes effect when new Route 45 officially begins service. (And no, the Nos. 23 and 45 do not reference Michael Jordan’s old numbers.Read more »

Porngate Prosecutors Get Their Sensitivity Training

Seth Williams, left. Paul Meshanko, right.

Seth Williams, left. Paul Meshanko, right.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams released a statement today detailing the sensitivity training his staff underwent in the wake of the “Porngate” scandal — and probably none too soon. In recent weeks, a growing chorus of elected officials and activist groups have called on Williams to fire three of his prosecutors who’d been involved in the sending and receiving of pornographic, homophobic and racist emails while employed elsewhere. Williams said he wouldn’t fire the men–Frank Fina, Patrick Blessington and Marc Costanza–but he would implement training.

According to Williams, Paul Meshanko, president and CEO of Legacy Business Cultures, led the training. (According to his Facebook page, he’s the former CEO, but other sites describe him simply as CEO.) Legacy is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, but Meshanko lives just outside of D.C. He is the author of The Respect Effect: Using the Science of Neuroleadership to Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace. The “neuroleadership” part of Meshanko’s theory is based on the notion that respect primes our brains to do their best work, and that the brain responds more happily—with serotonin and oxytocin—to respectful behavior in the workplace. When we are disrespected, this triggers cortisol and adrenaline and other negative mojo that unpleasantly drugs the prefrontal cortex. Read more »

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