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Archive: January, 2012

POSTED: Monday, January 9, 2012, 2:59 PM

Three Philadelphia men pled guilty in federal court today to roles in a fraudulent check scheme that drained more than $400,000 from the city sheriff’s office, with alleged help from one of the sheriff’s internal auditors.

Robert Rogers, Jackiem Wright and Reginald Berry each pled guilty to one count of wire fraud for accepting and cashing some of the bogus checks, made out to three  individuals and three companies, according to a presentation by federal prosecutors Sarah L. Grieb and Christopher Diviny.

U. S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis scheduled sentencing hearings for the three men in April.

POSTED: Thursday, January 5, 2012, 4:13 PM

Just in time for the New Year, President Obama signed a law that allows for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The president, who signed the bill as part of an overall defense spending bill, also said he would not allow the new legislation, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, to be used that way.

The president's pledge did nothing to reassure members of Occupy Philly. About 15 of them gathered at 15th and Market streets to blast the act, saying it denied basic protections in the Bill of Rights. The act's backers, mostly Republicans in the Senate, argue that it will allow the government to move more easily against terrorists. The NDAA allows such detentions for suspected members of Al Qaeda or its allies, or those who substantially support them.

"We're here to remind you that the United states of America, formerly the land of the free, has been claimed as a battlefield in which citizens can be detained without trial, " one protester shouted - and the others repeated, using Occupy's well-known "human microphone" system.

POSTED: Thursday, January 5, 2012, 3:45 PM

Dan McCaffery made his bid for state Attorney General official today with a City Hall event that featured endorsements from a daunting rosters of political elites and power brokers.

The speakers included Congressman Bob Brady, the city's Democratic party boss, deep-pocketed labor leader John J. Dougherty and Rev. Terrence Griffith, president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia.

McCaffery, a trial lawyer and brother of Seamus McCaffery, the Eagles judge turned Supreme Court justice, ran unsuccessfully for District Attorney in 2009.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 6:46 PM

Stephanie Singer showed up in blue jeans Tuesday for her first day of work as a city commissioner, expecting a difficult day of cleaning up files and moving furniture as she moved into the City Hall offices vacated by Margaret Tartaglione after 36 years running the city election machinery.

Singer found the offices relatively clean, the bookshelves and filing drawers nearly empty.  There was virtually no evidence of Tartaglione’s reign beyond the glass nameplate outside her office and several dirty ashtrays.

A closer look produced a couple artifacts tucked behind  an open door: an old wooden sign reading “County Board of Elections,” and an aging baseball bat, a 34-inch Adirondack made of northern white ash, its handle wound with black tape. Singer declined to pose for photos with the bat.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 3:27 PM

One aspect of Mayor Nutter's second term that is better than the first: His performance of "Rapper's Delight" at his inaugural party. He had The Roots as a backing band this time around, giving the performance a slicker, more professional feel, when Hizzoner rapped:

"See i am wonder mike and i like to say hello to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow."

Four years ago, as this video shows, Nutter rapped with only a deejay as his backup. The deejay appears to be The Roots' ?uestlove.


Mayor Nutter Raps At His 2nd Term Inauguration Party With The Legendary Roots Band from Identity ink on Vimeo.

POSTED: Monday, January 2, 2012, 6:30 PM

Before today's inauguration ceremonies, a couple reporters cornered Darrell L. Clarke, the new Council president, and grilled him until he gave up the names of the chairpersons for each of the committees for the 2012 session.

Actually, Clarke gave up the names without a fight - but the information was hardly a state secret. Many had been known for some time, but a few were of interest, particularly the L & I committee chair, which went to Maria Quinones Sanchez. Rumor held that freshman Councilman Bobby Henon had his eye on that committee. In any case, he got public property.

Here's a quick run-down of the important committees and their new chairs: Finance, Bill Green (a position that places him third in line to the mayor, after Clarke); Appropriations, Wilson Goode; Rules, Bill Greenlee; Public Safety, Curtis Jones Jr.; Education, Jannie Blackwell.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Troy Graham and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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