Joe Queenan Defends Philly from HitchBOT Haters


The evil that Philly does lives on and on. The good is oft interred with its ‘bots.

Yes, it appears some goons assaulted America’s new favorite robot, the Canadian-born HitchBOT.

But writer, a Philly native,  Joe Queenan argues in the Wall Street Journal that we should restrain from blaming Philadelphians, and Philadelphia, for the bad things that happen here.

“Are people responsible for bad things that happen in the cities where they grew up?” he asks, in light of this past week’s HitchBOT  controversy. “Whenever things like this happen, everyone goes out of their way to give me a hard time about the “so-called” City of Brotherly Love.”

Queenan asserts later in the piece that Philadelphia doesn’t get the credit it deserves for some of the truly amazing things it’s institutions and citizens achieve. He writes:

Read more »

Feds: Pair Sold Counterfeit SEPTA Passes to City Hall Workers


A duo counterfeited fake SEPTA TransPasses and sold more than 2,000 of them in and around City Hall, federal prosecutors said. The fake passes — which allowed unlimited travel on the bus, trolley or subway — were primarily sold to City of Philadelphia employees.

According to charges unsealed today, a pair of 35-year-old Philadelphians — Mark Cooper and Kimberly Adams — conspired to sell the thousands of fake SEPTA passes between August 2013 and June of this year. Cooper allegedly made the TransPasses and gave them to Adams, who the government says sold them inside and outside City Hall for about $50. The passes normally cost $91.

The city says an internal investigation continues. “We’re not going to let city employees siphon money away from one of the region’s public agencies — especially not in City Hall of all places,” Philadelphia inspector general Amy Kurland said in a statement. “Our administrative investigation into other employees who were involved in this conspiracy is ongoing.” Read more »

Attack Outside South Philly Strip Club Leaves One Victim Unconscious

The suspect in the aggravated assault outside Club Risque in South Philadelphia (Photo via Philadelphia Police Department)

The suspect in the aggravated assault outside Club Risque in South Philadelphia (Photo via Philadelphia Police Department)

Things got a little rowdy outside of Club Risque in South Philadelphia not long ago, and now the Philadelphia Police Department is asking for the public’s help to find the suspect in an aggravated assault that left one victim on the ground unconscious. Read more »

You’re Welcome, America: We Killed hitchBOT

HitchBOT via Facebook

hitchBOT via Facebook

Most weekends I don’t leave South Philly, let alone the East Coast. But I spent the past couple days in Los Angeles, and I have to admit that by Saturday evening I started to entertain the idea of extending my stay.

Because really, California doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. It never snows and it barely rains. There’s a beach to the left and mountains to the right. If you forget your laptop in a coffee shop, it will be waiting for you behind the counter with a glowing barista who smells like sunshine and rainbows. What, I wondered, do I have against happiness? Why do I insist, year after year, on proving that I can survive Philadelphia?

And then you beautiful assholes killed hitchBOT. Read more »

Can Philly Save the HitchBOT?

HitchBOT in happier times. | via Facebook.

HitchBOT in happier times. | via Facebook.

You probably heard over the weekend about HitchBOT — a hitchhiking robot that had made it successfully across Europe and Canada without incident, but which was vandalized when it got to Philly. It kind of got to be a big deal, making national and international news:

But that may not be the end of the story: Philly techies at The Hacktory are now trying to save HitchBOT. Hacktory members posted their intentions Sunday night:

“We were saddened (but maybe not very surprised) to hear that the beloved #HitchBot, which had done trips across Europe and Canada, was destroyed during it’s stay in Philly,” they wrote. “We at The Hacktory are trying to figure out what to do to help. We’ve reached out to the creators and the people who traveled with the HitchBot recently to get details on where the parts are. We know a lot of people out there don’t want this to be the end of the US tour for HitchBot.”

They added: “We’ll say that at this moment, if we get the ok from the creators to repair or replace the needed parts for HitchBot, we’ll be happy to do so. If not, we understand… and we may just build ourselves a HitchBot2 to send along on it’s journey. We feel it’s the least we can do to let everyone, especially the Robot community, know that Philly isn’t so bad, it’s got some really great stuff going on, and great people. But seriously, we would recommend avoiding the scene in Old City on the weekend evenings… not a good one for bots or anyone who’s not looking for a drunken brawl.”

Gentlemen: We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better…stronger…faster.

And if not, well: HitchBOT’s demise provoked a fair amount of social media commentary.

Former Ironworkers Boss Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison

Joseph Dougherty, the former Ironworkers boss convicted earlier this year of leading a union campaign of intimidation against non-unionized workplaces, was sentenced Monday to 19 years in prison.

NewsWorks reports Dougherty was also ordered to pay $558,000 in restitution.

Dougherty was convicted in January of racketeering conspiracy, using fire to commit a felony, and other charges. Of the 12 defendants in the racketeering case, Dougherty was the only one who did not plead guilty before trial. Read more »

Donovan McNabb Suspended by Fox After DUI Charge


Donvan McNabb, everyone’s favorite and/or least-favorite former Eagles quarterback, has been suspended from his TV duties as a football commentator in the aftermath of a DUI charge.

“Donovan McNabb has been suspended indefinitely,” Fox Sports said in a statement to “It is important that Donovan use this time as best he can to resolve his personal situation.” Read more »

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