How Do I Cure My Online Rage?

What would I like for Christmas? How about some small bit of my lost humanity?

It was a reader (of course) who accidentally let me understand I’d misplaced some of my soul. I’d co-written a column about last week’s Senate Torture Report — for publication elsewhere — in which I suggested that torture is evil and that the United States has a moral duty to be better than it was in the first frenzied, terrifying days after 9/11.

My reader disagreed.

“Hope the next flight you or your family take is not forced into a building,” she wrote, “but if it is well what goes around comes around.”

Friends, I’ve been insulted so many times through the years, as both a straight reporter and as an opinion writer, that my skin is usually nice and thick. When somebody sends me hate mail, I pick the juiciest quotes and post it to my Facebook page for the amusement of my friends.

This time, I snapped.

“You are a horrible person to wish death on my family,” I wrote. “Kindly go to hell.”

I pressed send. I felt good for about a half-second. Then: Enormous regret.

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Lynne Abraham Declares for Mayor, and the Mummers Played Rocky

Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham just declared her candidacy for mayor. Philly Mag’s Patrick Kerkstra was there and live-tweeted the announcement:

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Why Hunt for Deer When They’re Lying All Over the Road?


Sunday, on our way home from a trip to upstate New York, my husband and I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts. When we came back out with our coffee, there was a car parked a few spaces down from ours. It had one of those little flatbed trailers attached to the back. And lying on the trailer were two dead deer, gutted and trussed for travel. They were having their picture taken by a passing mom and her 14-year-old son, who were carefully framing the shots on their cellphones.

I’m not sure why they bothered. It’s not like there’s a dearth of dead deer around these parts. On our trip to New York and back, I must have seen several hundred dead deer — lying beside the road, lying on the road, lying a hundred yards back from the road, with their little deer limbs twisted and contorted in a gymnast’s baedeker of positioning. There were deer on their backs, on their sides, on their bellies. There were deer who seemed to be sitting up, human-like, by the roadside, watching the passing cars patiently, unblinkingly.

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Philly Voice Poaches Kempski, Tevis From IGM

Jimmy Kempski,’s popular Eagles blogger, is joining the staff of, George Norcross’s forthcoming startup online news source.

Kempski is not the only new hire poached from Interstate General Media, where Norcross was a part-owner before losing an auction for the company earlier this year. Jonathan Tevis, who previously served as IGM’s spokesman — representing the Inquirer, Daily News, and to the press and public — is joining as director of external relations.

Both moves were announced Monday afternoon in a press release.
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Almost Nobody Believes Comcast on Net Neutrality. Why?

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Comcast wants you to know it really, really believes in net neutrality*. But almost nobody on the Internet believes them. Why is that?

*For a quick overview of net neutrality, our friends at Vox have an explainer.

“We have publicly supported the FCC adopting new, strong Open Internet rules,” the company said in a sarcastically headlined blog post Tuesday signed by Executive Vice President David Cohen. “We have stated on numerous occasions that we believe legally enforceable rules should continue to include strong transparency, no blocking, and anti-discrimination provisions.  We don’t prioritize Internet traffic or have paid fast lanes, and have no plans to do so.”

There is one small caveat: Comcast does not support reclassifying the Internet as a telecommunications utility — a move that observers say would make it easier for the feds to enforce net neutrality, and a stance that was backed by President Obama this week. “Doing so would harm future innovation and investment in broadband and is not necessary to put in place strong and enforceable Open Internet protections,” Cohen said in the blog post.

Here’s the bigger problem: Almost nobody on the Internet seems to believe Comcast when it says it supports net neutrality. Why?

Three big reasons, aside from the general — and possibly unfair — love of having Comcast as a villain:

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(Updated) Over Comcast’s Objections, Obama Urges FCC to Reclassify Internet

[Update 12:20 p.m.] Comcast has issued a response to the president’s announcement, from Executive Vice President David Cohen:

“Comcast fully embraces the open Internet principles that the President and the Chairman of the FCC have espoused — transparency, no blocking, non-discrimination rules, and no “fast lanes”, which is the way we operate our network today. We continue to believe, however, that section 706 provides more than ample authority to impose those rules, as the DC Circuit made clear.”

Comcast and cable companies (along with the telcos) have led the broadband revolution, being the first to roll out America’s fastest broadband speeds across the country. As the White House itself acknowledged in its broadband report in 2013, this only happened because we were not subject to the intrusive regulatory regime designed for a different era.

To attempt to impose a full-blown Title II regime now, when the classification of cable broadband has always been as an information service, would reverse nearly a decade of precedent, including findings by the Supreme Court that this classification was proper. This would be a radical reversal that would harm investment and innovation, as today’s immediate stock market reaction demonstrates. And such a radical reversal of consistent contrary precedent should be taken up by the Congress.

The internet has not just appeared by accident or gift — it has been built by companies like ours investing and building networks and infrastructure. The policy the White House is encouraging would jeopardize this engine for job creation and investment as well as the innovation cycle that the Internet has generated.”

[Original 10:30 a.m.] Here’s some federal news with big local implications: President Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission to classify Internet service as a utility — a move that would give the agency power to enforce “net neutrality” principles.

Philly-based Comcast has long said it supports an “open Internet,” but has opposed the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband service as Obama proposes — saying utility-style rules for Internet service might stifle innovation. (Read the President’s full statement here.)

Obama doesn’t have the final word. The FCC, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, is expected to make its final decision on the matter next year. Still: We wonder if Comcast’s David Cohen will be hosting any more fund-raising dinners for the president.
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Interview: Jim MacMillan of


Photo: announced this week it is “curtailing” its operations due to funding shortfall. While the curtailed site will still offer the occasional reports and analysis, the announcement marks the end of an era in which the site tried to document every shooting — and every murder — that occurred in Philadelphia.

Jim MacMillan, a former Daily News photographer, was one of the site’s founders. He talked with Philly Mag about the decision to pull back. Some excerpts:
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