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Abridged Daily News Columnists

Jhn Baer: Pennsylvania’s legislature has more staffers than anywhere else in country. Woo-hoo, we’re number one!

Jill Porter: “But my math is simple: The more guns in circulation, the more that find their way to the dregs of society who casually assassinate cops.” You going to look that up, Ms. Porter, or maybe cite something, or… no, you’re just going to go with your gut and not bother to find out if it’s true or not? Okay, fine, but it might be nice to have some facts to back up your opinion and… oh, nevermind.

More importantly: How the hell is that math?!

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Stu Bykofsky: Stu, who I believe covers the “cute ‘n’ cuddly” beat for the paper, writes about the local SPCA chief, who resigned Wednesday. He also notes the SPCA, which just recently got the animal control contract from the city, hired a spokesman from the “high-profile Bellevue Communications Group” to answer questions about the resignation. Good use of money there, fellas!

Elmer Smith: I am always up for a column making fun of the number of commissions the mayor puts together to pretend to address problems. (Street was a big fan of commissions, too.) I particularly liked this part of Smith’s column today, “We created a whole category that could be called ‘commissions to appease the often overlooked.’ You had your Mayor’s Commission on Native Americans, the Mayor’s Commission on Latino Affairs and the Mayor’s Commission on Women, not to be confused with the Mayor’s Commission on Sexual Minorities.” Do you think there’s a Mayor’s Commission on Native Americans in Cleveland, and do you think they spend all their time on Chief Wahoo?

Jill Porter: On the witness stand yesterday, Vince Fumo did not look all-powerful, since he’s facing a (de facto) life sentence if he’s convicted. Porter also writes, “I like Fumo and respect the government.” The former? Certainly defensible, I suppose. The latter? No way, especially in Pennsylvania.

Christine Flowers: This is a column comparing different Italian operas to Vince Fumo’s life. But wait, Flowers writes! “Ironically, though, the opera that most closely tracks the destiny of South Philly Vince isn’t even Italian.” Move over, Alanis. Somebody has used ironic in a way worse than you did.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Jill Porter: Aw, cute, a couple had their wedding photos taken at the Broad Street Subway’s Walnut-Locust stop. Here’s the gallery. Dude has got to lose that mustache, though.

Elmer Smith: Still no arsonist caught in Coatesville.

Christine Flowers: Yes! It’s Christine Flowers on Women’s Studies programs! Turns out it’s pretty boring, actually, as she drops the topic immediately to complain about something else. It ends with a nice strawman, though.

A tough Roe to hoe

Some unhinged woman gets a bunch of docs to implant her with eight embryos so she can impersonate Mother Goose. Critics are in an uproar because no one stopped her from making her own reproductive choices.

Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

Ha, ha, get it? Because people in favor of abortion rights occasionally make this argument, and other people are making this argument in this different case! And maybe they’re on opposite sides of the argument! We don’t know, of course, because Flowers doesn’t give any examples of pro-choicers saying the state should have forcibly aborted those babies or stopped the embryos from being implanted or whatever wacky solutions people have come up with. It might be an argument if Flowers wanted to call an individual person on his or her hypocrisy, but instead it’s just a pointless attack of “critics.”

Oh, yeah, and there’s also this hilariously bad/awesome letter to the editor in today’s Daily News about a recent Flowers column. And it’s headlined “A trip into the dark soul of Christine Flowers.”

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Jill Porter: Last year, Jill Porter helped get Hershey’s to pull candy stamped “ICEBREAKERS” from the market because it sort of looked like crack (but not really). (It’s okay, Wired’s website agreed.) Anyway, Porter wrote about Michael Phelps and why marijuana should be legal. Color me surprised and proud.

Ronnie Polaneczky: Hey, here’s the story of the cantor at police funerals at the Basilica.

John Baer: Now that Ed Rendell wants to legalize video poker to help get some money for the state (more on this later), some lawmakers have shot back with calls for legalized prostitution and marijuana. Yes, yes a million times yes! Oh, apparently they’re saying it as a joke. Sadness.

Michael Smerconish: Before the Internet nobody attempted to make money off a celebrity doing something stupid in public. Smerconish is all about narcing when he sees a drug deal, though, which is something that actually has real consequences (as opposed to selling a tape of Christian Bale being angry or whatever).

Stu Bykofsky: Oh, man, Stu Bykofsky has responded to the Phillymag article about newspapers with his own plan for how to save newspapers! The idea: Sue Google for sending the websites free traffic!

Publishers sowed the seeds of their own destruction - pre-Tierney - by stampeding to the Internet and giving away their content for free, overturning a business model that had sustained them for centuries.

We must stop the insanity - now! It’s time for some brave publisher - Hello, Brian - to stand up and howl: “No more free content!”

This company should charge online visitors a small fee, maybe $5 a month, for our content - which is copyrighted, then sue the pants off anyone stealing it.

Should Google “pick up” (steal) our stuff, if we successfully sued them for $1 billion, two good things happen: 1) Our money problems are solved; 2) everyone else will stop stealing our content.

Apparently indexing a site and sending readers its way is highly illegal. Or, rather, it would be if the site was behind a pay-wall. Which is why ESPN Insider is currently suing Google for giving away its content for free. Oh wait!

Bloggers can’t replace newspapers.

No one says they should, are or will. You sure stuck it to those non-existent people! This column was written in 2003. Maybe earlier. Bykofsky just decided to run it now.

The million bloggers comment mostly on what was revealed by resource-rich newspapers. No matter how many eyeballs they attract, blogs rarely “break through” because they are so many and so scattered. They lack newspapers’ broad-based public square, where the masses assemble. They also lack the public megaphone and spotlight, which may be the print press’ most important weapons.

Blogs are also not news-gathering organizations. This is like saying, “No way can one actor make a movie. It takes a lot of people! YouTube should be ashamed of itself!” This article is a giant strawman made of smaller strawmen, then lit on fire at Burning Man.

And, on a side note, how dare Burning Man think it can replace all other forms of recreation!

Was it a blogger who turned a spotlight, and publicly shamed, the Postal Service for dumping mail? No, that was the Daily News. Did a blogger have the resources in time, talent and staff to drag DHS onto the front pages and into the grand-jury room? No, that was the Inquirer. Every day newspapers run stories that would not otherwise be told.

Yes, and the other way around, too. Blogs cover stories newspapers can’t, won’t or don’t cover.

Do all (any?) bloggers have the training or the inclination to post only what is verifiable? Working for a newspaper means you have been vetted by virtue of education or experience, and you hew to ethical norms of accuracy, honesty and objectivity. Do we always succeed? No. But almost all of us make an honest effort, and we have angels on our shoulders (called editors) to ensure that we do.

Fun fact: The Daily News runs more corrections than most blogs — and not because the blogs write something stupid! Of course, that comparison is dumb, but I’m working with what I’m stealing from the newspaper here.

That’s why I’ll trust the Associated Press’ reporting of President Obama’s recovery plan over anything I’ll read at or

Good job, cherrypicking two random sites, one where anyone can post, and another that’s a cesspool of nonsense. That’s why I trust’s reporting on BatBoy’s wedding more than anything I read in the Weekly World News!

As Volk writes from his smug platform, doesn’t he realize that maybe half the stories in each issue of his magazine had their genesis in earlier newspaper reporting? We also provide the material for WIP and other talk radio to gab about all day, not to mention providing leads for TV-news-assignment desks. I’m not bragging or complaining. It’s just true.

There’s a rule in advertising — I know a lot about advertising, I’ve seen both Trust Me and Mad Men — that if you’re the big fish, you don’t attack the smaller ones. It’s why you usually don’t see ExxonMobil doing attack ads against BP. So, yes, newspapers have been the most trusted and dominant news medium for a long, long time now. Everyone knows that. You don’t get a bonus for pointing it out.

But what makes it even funnier is Stu’s most recent column on Monday was about something he heard on the radio. How dare he take information from someone he heard on a radio broadcast! They ought to charge for radio, and if Stu writes about it, radio can sue.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Christine Flowers: Christine Flowers is sad that the Eagles didn’t make the Super Bowl. Hey, we agree on something!

Jill Porter: The best (worst) part of this story is how school administrators never contacted the family of the kid beat up at his high school. Good job, guys!

Elmer Smith: Oh, no, the analog TV switchover wasn’t pushed back! But now it’s going to be pushed back anyway, probably next week!

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Jill Porter: Somebody made dolls of the Obama kids! But what we really need now, Porter says, is a corrupt politician doll! Umm, whatever you say.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Stu Bykofsky: Ha! This column is amazing. Apparently people are still giving the group that had the, um, hilarious skit with Joe Vento, Mexicans storming across the border and Barack Obama handing out green cards. And apparently the Daily News wrote an editorial talking about how drunk and racist everyone is at the parade. (Stu makes a good point that the things people find “bad” or whatever about the Mummers is usually just things about the comics, not any of the other groups.)

Anyway, I can’t believe people are still writing about the Mummers on Jan. 14. Do you think the Pasadena Star-News is still doing stories about the Tournament of Roses Parade?

Jill Porter: You know, the Daily News has been writing about problems with house theft in Philadelphia for (guessing) over a decade now. And, really, it seems no matter what changes are made, it’s still relatively easy to steal a house and still incredibly annoying to get it back after it’s stolen. Sigh.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Jill Porter: Running a “carriage house” with no heat and all? Not really the best thing for a landlord to do.

Dave Davies: If everyone just goes to the FBI every time there’s a corrupt politician in town, how many politicians are we going to have left in Philadelphia? None, people. Actually, hey, perfect idea.

Carol Towarnicky: Hey, this issue I’m going to write about? It’s all about the kids, that’s what I care about. First time anybody’s done something for the children, I know.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Christine Flowers: How many times will the Daily News allow Christine Flowers to write that the Boy Scouts do not have a policy of no gays when they do, indeed, have a policy of no gays? I dunno. Whatever.

Jill Porter: What’s awesome is in a column criticizing people for praising the guy who shot another person at the Riverview Movie Theater, Jill Porter doesn’t criticize him, only the gun he used.

Stu Bykofsky: The Mummers parade was shorter this year!

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Jill Porter: Someone sure did something nice for the subject of this column.

Elmer Smith: Hmm, I dunno, maybe the Fort Dix Five should get a fair trial, but I’m not really sure. (That’s really a thought in this column.)

Christine flowers: Yes, Christine Flowers on Caroline Kennedy! Let’s take a look:

ABOUT A YEAR AGO, Neil Diamond finally revealed the inspiration for his song “Sweet Caroline.” He of the impressive sideburns said that it was while looking at a picture of Caroline Kennedy in the ’60s that he was moved to write his signature song.

Aside from the slightly creepy aspect of a grown man taking a prepubescent teen as his muse

Get that, Caroline Kennedy? You can’t be a senator because Neil Diamond is a pervert, maybe!

There’s also some stuff about how Caroline Kennedy doesn’t even use her law degree, OMG, and man, we don’t even really know what she does and we surely can’t look it up or anything.

It doesn’t matter, though, I’m pretty sure Caroline Kennedy is already a shoo-in for the senate seat.