Thin of skin in Philadelphia

The Baltimore Sun

Philly didn't mind when Baltimore beat back the Brits in 1814, but we defend our most famous author and -- sheesh!

I reported the other day on the Philadelphia City Paper's claim that Edgar Allan Poe was more Philadelphian than Baltimorean and that his remains should be moved to the City of Brotherly Love. I quoted a couple of Baltimoreans who, with a few colorful but completely justified anti-cheesesteak and anti-Eagles slurs, demurred.

"[C]rabcake-stuffed cranks," declared Philadelphia's Daily Examiner blog, which also quoted City Paper managing editor Brian Hickey: "I'd expect nothing less from the syphilis capital of the universe."

Hey, Atlanta holds that distinction today, thank you very much. Baltimore ranks waaay down the list at, um, fourth.

One of my Sun colleagues, H.L. Mencken, called Philadelphia "the most pecksniffian of American cities." And the Pecksniffs were particularly ticked by this comment from Baltimore Ravens spokesman Patrick Gleason: "I'd like to know where, exactly, are their eagles? I've seen pigeons but never eagles in the city."

"Gleason obviously doesn't know that this is a sore spot," the blog says, "especially since Philadelphia's skies were once filled with thousands of buoyant eagles -- until Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and his thug entourage came to town in 2004 and stabbed them all to death."

Youse guys can boo players and Santa all you want. Baltimore is proud of its steadfast (if warped) support for the justice-obstructing linebacker, who, by the way, beat the double-murder rap. Even if he'd gone down, we'd let Lewis vote, just like any other felon.

Stuff that in your Cradle of Liberty and rock it.

Just a bunch of lawyers (pardon the asterisks)

That law office where Bob Ehrlich is either plotting his comeback or engaged in honest work announced its move to Baltimore in an e-mail with a list of staff and lots of asterisks.

Henry Fawell, Greg Massoni and Paul Schurick all have single, teensy stars by their names. Ed Miller gets two. Only Ehrlich, David Hamilton and J.P. Scholtes escape un-asterisked. A key at the bottom explains. "*Not admitted to the bar." And "**Licensed only in New York."

We knew Ehrlich's State House communications gang didn't go to law school. ("Attended Dundalk Community College," Massoni's Womble Carlyle bio reads.) But what's with Miller's only-in-New-York caveat? Wasn't he with Piper Rudnick in Baltimore before he became Ehrlich's deputy chief of staff?

Miller told me he was with the firm "very briefly," so briefly that he didn't have time to take the Maryland bar. He had other professional interests, like Grassroots Interactive. He founded the company that federal investigators called central to lobbyist Jack Abramoff's schemes.

Miller's Womble bio makes no mention of his Grassroots experience. It does point to all the legal work he did -- without a license, apparently -- in Baltimore.

That ship has sailed

The probationer threw himself on the mercy of the court. May he please, please, please travel out of state? Not an unusual request, except the guy was a convicted sex offender and the trip in question was a Carnival Cruise. The prosecution was not on board.

"These are, you know, 'The Fun Ships,' party atmosphere, with young kinds running around, oftentimes without supervision," said Mark Floersheimer, an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore. "So we were concerned for public safety."

The probationer was convicted in November 2004 of having consensual sex with a 15-year-old. (He was 23.) In a letter to the judge, he argued that his three years' probation was nearly up, that he'd held down a steady job, and that all he wanted was "some real family time" with his parents and brother.

Circuit Judge Kaye Allison was persuaded -- provided the guy register as a sex offender with the cruise ship and only sleep onboard, not in any ports of call.

Floersheimer phoned Carnival to find out just how sex offenders register with the cruise line. Response: They don't. Carnival would sooner welcome the Norwalk virus aboard.

Carnival reserves the right to refuse passage to anyone who might pose a risk to other passengers, said Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer -- I am not making this up -- de la Cruz.

"[U]nder the terms of this individual's probation, he could not be in close proximity to minors," she said. "We obviously could not guarantee that would be followed once he boarded our ship."

The ship set sail a week ago without him.

Connect the dots

Martin O'Malley isn't going to make a habit of Star Trek analogies, spokesman Rick Abbruzzese assures us. "As we get closer to the special session, he'll start to discuss old episodes of Gilligan's Island." ... Attack of the Trekkies, Episode One. A recent photo illustration in this space put O'Malley's head atop a Star Trek torso. A Trekkie called to complain that O'Malley had made an Original Series reference, but the paper put him in Next Generation attire. Actually, the token Trekkie on staff here insists it was a Voyager get-up. In any case, The Sun would regret the error, except we're glad we're not geeky enough to get that right.

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