Monday, November 30, 2015

Good stuff!

Good stuff!


Speaking of e-books, which seem to be all the rage these days, my co-friend and former Daily News co-worker Shaun Mullen, reports that his exquisitely told Delaware Water Gap murder mystery and '70s period piece, The Bottom of the Fox, is now available as a Kindle. Here's what I wrote about it in a review a couple of years ago:

The Bottom of the Fox is arguably the book that Shaun Mullen was born to write.  Ostensibly, it's an investigation into an unsolved 1981 murder near the Delaware Water Gap in upstate Pennsylvania.  But what Mullen really accomplishes (at a lightning pace) is both to capture a special place and a unique time, the 1970s, a time of hippies and squatters and rampant drugs and small towns with dark secrets.  This book takes a surprising turn near the end and really hits stride when Mullen turns his righteous wrath onto the powerful -- the callous cops and corrupt prosecutors -- who allowed a string of murders of everyday folks to stay on the books.

When you get your new Kindle Fire for Christmas, Shaun's book should be the second thing that you purchase! Meanwhile, I am constantly amazed at the quality of the work produced by some of my colleagues here at 400 North Broad Street (won't be able to say that in a few months!). It's clear on some days that the new Daily News remains a work in a progress, but I think what we're striving for is more smart and personal takes on big stories like Barbara Laker's riff on the two tragic deaths at the Philadelphia Marathon yesterday.

You may remember last week I was somewhat critical of the negative turn in the DN's coverage of Occupy Philadelphia movement; some clear-eyed coverage that I am really impressed with has come from the Inquirer's Monica Yant Kinney, especially on this piece on the homeless issues raised by what's going on at Dilworth Plaza. Also great myth-busting stuff from the always amazing Barlett and Steele on the human legacy of Steve Jobs, which turned out to be great for the late Apple guru himself, but not so great for the American workers whose jobs were outsourced nor the Chinese "iSlaves" who replaced them:

After a rash of suicides at the Foxconn plant in early 2010, the company took action: It strung nets around the dorms to catch any workers who might try to kill themselves by jumping. It also sealed balcony doors and barred access to roofs. Workers were reportedly urged to sign a statement promising not to kill themselves and to "treasure their lives." Apple said later in a report on Supplier Responsibility that it was "disturbed and deeply saddened to learn that factory workers were taking their own lives" and pledged to take steps "to help prevent further tragedies." The company launched a search "for the most knowledgeable suicide prevention specialists" and commissioned a study so as to better "support workers' mental health in the future." Apple also commended its contractor Foxconn for taking "quick action," including "attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides."

One question for the Inquirer, though. The Barlett and Steele piece is hard-hitting, old-fashioned investigative reporting, just like the award-(and-sometimes-Pulitzer)-winning Barlett and Steele series that were routinely published on the front-page of the Inquirer in the '70s, '80s and early '90s. Yet now it's labelled "opinion."


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Will Bunch
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