NEWS CLUES: ‘So Local It Hurts’ Edition

A WHITER SHADE OF TRASH: Judge Rules Family Not Safe On At Any Speed

the-mullet.jpgA judge in Camden County said yesterday that the 5-week-old baby abandoned last weekend in Cherry Hill could not be returned to her family. The baby’s mother, Felicia Mikels, 17, was beaten to death Friday night and dumped into Pennsauken Creek, authorities said. Prosecutors have charged two men in the teenager’s death — her uncle, Christopher Mikels, 26, and Douglas Mandichak, 25. Christopher Mikels told police he may also be the father of Felicia’s baby, Miciana Ramos. Both lived in Pennsauken, in a home shared by other relatives. Investigators believe that Christopher Mikels and Mandichak debated whether to throw the baby in the water along with her mother. Instead, they left the baby unharmed in the front yard of a home in Cherry Hill, strapped into a carseat. The state child welfare agency, DYFS, placed the child in emergency foster care, where she has remained. A closed-door hearing was held yesterday to determine whether the infant could be returned to the care of other family members. The family court judge said the baby could not. Felicia Mikels’ body has yet to be found, despite four days of searching the murky water. A police official warned yesterday that the search could continue for months. The baby’s stroller was found in the creek on Monday. [via the INQUIRER]


SUNDANCE SAM: CP’s Adams Puts Mumia Movie Maker On The Hot Seat For Inky

mumiagerman2sepia.jpgPARK CITY, UTAH — [The film’s director] said he was born on Dec. 9, 1981, the day that Abu-Jamal was arrested for Faulkner’s murder. In Prison uses that coincidence to underscore the length of time Abu-Jamal has spent behind bars, most of it on death row — a circumstance the movie condemns as inhumane and unjust. Francome appears as a cross between a crusading journalist, tracking down evidence to contradict the prosecution’s case, and a wide-eyed student avidly pursuing the history of American racism. The result is largely a recap of arguments for Abu-Jamal’s retrial or exoneration and a broad overview of the history of American dissent. Crisscrossing the country, Francome pounds the streets looking for the truth of what happened on the night he was born… Conspicuous by their absence are Faulkner’s supporters, or any evidence that might weaken the movie’s claims… “We’re making a film that starts from a particular point of view, with a particular interest,” Evans says. “To me, the proper way to proceed is to invite people to the table, and respond when people come to the table. Not to go, ‘The film I’m making is so responsible for the truth.’ It’s not a journalistic film in that sense.” The film contains a handful of factual errors which, while evidently below the radar of Amnesty’s fact-checkers, could damage its credibility with Philadelphia audiences. City Council president Anna Verna is referred to as “Ann,” and the neighborhood of Powelton Village is referred to as “a suburb of Philadelphia.” [via INQUIRER]


SMERCONISH: All Some Religions Are Stupider Than Others

tomcruise.jpgAccording to the just-out unauthorized biography of Cruise by Andrew Morton, one of filmdom’s biggest stars is now an enlightened leader of the sect whose members believe that deceased founder L. Ron Hubbard will soon re-emerge. Hubbard died in 1986, but Morton writes that Scientologists have detailed preparations for his return that include maintaining apartments around the world complete with some of his personal property. Morton reports that the motto of the Church of Scientology is “We Come Back,” and claims that Hubbard was expected to return 20 years after his death. Which is why when Tom Cruise’s wife, Katie Holmes, became pregnant, “True believers were convinced that Tom’s spawn would be the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard,” Morton writes. Scientology issued a statement calling the book a “bigoted, defamatory assault.” But, of course, these are the same people who believe that 75 million years ago an intergalactic warlord injected millions of alien souls into earth’s atmosphere, that those aliens, called Thetans, continue attaching to human bodies today, and that these Thetans harbor the “false ideas” of organized religion and are the root of all the world’s problems. [via DAILY NEWS]

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