eagles go shopping

April 23rd and 24th, Javits Center, Manhattan. The Green Machine looks to add depth through the NFL Draft.

This is where Andy Reid and his team of assistants will begin their march back to the Super Bowl. With Philadelphia owning five of the first 94 picks in the NFL Draft, and potentially 13 overall, April will see the Eagles continue to grow into the NFC’s most unstoppable force.

Although the team has lost guard Jermane Mayberry to New Orleans, linebacker Ike Reese to Atlanta, and defensive end Derrick Burgess to Oakland, the team has no pressing needs and will be able to simply select the best players available. The Eagles will look to add depth across the board and here are the likely positions they will target:

Safety

Free safety Brian Dawkins and strong safety Michael Lewis are entrenched as the starters, but the team could use some depth here. Backup J.R. Reed, also the club’s main kick-off returner, injured his knee in a freak fence-climbing accident and his status for training camp is uncertain. Quentin Mikell is a special teams demon, but will be challenged to make the roster, and Reid will likely turn to the draft. Oklahoma’s Brodney Pool is fast and versatile, two qualities needed to play in coordinator Jim Johnson’s defense.

Tight End

Two things are certain about the Eagles’ tight end situation: L.J. Smith will enter camp as the starter and long snapper Mike Bartrum will be the third tight end. Who Philadelphia adds as a number two is anybody’s guess. While there is speculation that Cowboys’ castoff James Whalen will be picked up, look for Alex Smith of Stanford and Kevin Everett of Miami to be closely evaluated before draft time.

Running Back

Brian Westbrook is a restricted free agent in the last year of his deal. Correll Buckhalter was re-signed, but is surrounded by question marks after a second missed season, and Bruce Perry spent his rookie year on injured reserve. Potential injuries will force Philadelphia to add another running back. Minnesota’s Marion Barber III is big, fast, and a good receiver; he’d fit the West Coast offense well. Kansas State’s Darren Sproles is a smaller version of Westbrook, and will also be considered.

Wide Receiver

Terrell Owens and Todd Pinkston are the undisputed starters. Greg Lewis showed in the playoffs he’s a playmaker and worthy of the three slot. Freddie Mitchell may have played his last game in Eagle-green and Billy McMullen, a former third round pick, has had trouble cracking the active list. The Eagles will most likely draft a receiver by the third round. Fred Gibson of Georgia and J.R. Russell of Louisville are both big, fast receivers and will be looked at.

Linebacker

Since the Eagles have re-signed middle Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and weak-side Linebacker Keith Adams, this is not a major position of need anymore. Dhani Jones played well in his first year with the team and Mark Simoneau will compete with Adams on the weak side. Mike Labinjo, an undrafted rookie last year will replace Ike Reese on special teams. If another backup is needed, Cornelius Wortham of Alabama would be a nice fit.

Offensive Line

The starting five seems set for next season with left tackle Tra Thomas, left guard Artis Hicks, center Hank Fraley, right guard Shawn Andrews and right tackle Jon Runyan. Steve Scuillo proved to be an invaluable pickup last year and will end up as a 6th man. Backup Alonzo Ephraim also stepped up last season. Although the depth on the O-line appears solid, Andy Reid loves drafting versatile offensive lineman and Runyan is a free agent after this year. It’s not unfathomable to see the Eagles using their first pick on an offensive lineman, maybe Jammal Brown from Oklahoma.

Defensive Line

The Eagles currently have ten defensive lineman under contract: ends Jevon Kearse, N.D. Kalu, Jerome McDougle, Hugh Douglas, and Jamaal Green, and tackles Corey Simon, Darwin Walker, Hollis Thomas, Sam Rayburn, and Paul Grasmanis. No reason to worry here. But still, the Eagles believe you can never have enough linemen and will add one in the draft. Defensive end Justin Tuck of Notre Dame is a speedy edge-rusher type the Eagles prefer and Missouri’s C.J. Mosley’s stock is rising. If they’re around in the third or fourth round of the draft, look for Philadelphia to swoop.

struggles for community college

Gov. Ed Rendell wants to change how some state money is allotted to Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges and start devising performance measurements for them.

The moves are part of a set of initiatives called Job Ready Pennsylvania aimed at providing the state’s workers with the skills they need for the types of jobs most likely to be available for them.

Community college officials say they don’t have a problem with what the governor wants to do, but want to make sure he’s realistic about it.

We have said from the start we believe it’s important to structure an accountability system, but we want to make sure that it’s something that actually applies in the community college world, said Diane Bosak, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, which lobbies for the community colleges in Harrisburg.

Accountability is becoming a federal issue for community colleges, too.

In his budget, President Bush called for abolishing the $1.33 billion worth of programs set up under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Educational Act. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in February told a conference of two-year college presidents and trustees that it’s up to them to prove the value of the programs.

The senate recently passed a bill to continue the programs, but it will have to pass another to fund them.

Rendell’s proposed budget boosts funding for Pennsylvania’s community colleges by $22.8 million to $249 million. That makes the budget the first in three years to give the community colleges the full amount of money for operations, based on enrollment, they are supposed to receive from the state.

We’re pleased with the governor’s budget proposals on the operating side, said Karen Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College.

The budget proposal for capital spending is a different matter. The state is supposed to cover 50 percent of the community colleges’ debt service on approved construction projects. The budget calls for cutting funding for that to $3 million from $4.8 million.

We’re still trying to find a solution to getting these capital projects off the ground and funded, Bosak said.

Bosak’s organization also is trying to ensure that the state’s community colleges have a say in any changes that are made to their allotment system.

Currently, the state is supposed to provide community colleges with roughly $1,500 per full-time student. It also provides them with extra money, on a per-student basis, for more expensive programs, such as nursing programs, with the amount varying according to the demands of the program.

It’s a way of acknowledging that many of the career and technical programs that we offer at the associate degree level are more expensive than general liberal arts programs, said Stephen M. Curtis, the president of Community College of Philadelphia.

Under the Job Ready Pennsylvania program, the extra money would go to programs that provide training for high-paying, in-demand occupations. If that change can be worked out, it would take effect when the state’s next fiscal year begins on July 1.

Other changes Rendell wants to make aren’t likely to go into effect until later, largely because they are still being devised.

For example, the state wants to be able to evaluate community colleges on their performance in granting degrees. To do that, however, it has to come up with a system that accounts for the fact that many community college students transfer to four-year schools before they earn their associate’s degrees.

Down the road, the state also would like to make sure community colleges are holding enough evening and weekend classes, said Sandi Vito, the state’s deputy secretary for work force development.

While all this may make community college officials feel nervous, Vito said that’s not the state’s intention.

The community colleges are doing a wonderful job, she said. We’re looking at some limited areas of improvement.

spring break, cp style

Karrie Gavin, Editor in Chief

I partied like a rock star in Panama City Beach, Florida. I danced on bars at the clubs, hooked up with hot strangers, drank like it was my job, and stayed up all night. Oh wait-that happened in 1995. This year, I bought a house, bargained with mortgage lenders, did my taxes, and once again, stayed up all night. Only this time, I was drinking coffee and trying to finish overdue freelance assignments and a 20-page analysis of The Wall Street Journal. Ah, the good old days.

Gary Davidoff, A&E Editor

Unlike most of my coworkers, I did not go anywhere or do anything exciting for Spring Break. No Miami, no Europe, no Caribbean. Just my apartment in West Philly. I got to sleep late, though, which was kinda cool. I only made it to the gym once. So I’m a slug. I was also amazingly unproductive, not sending out a single resume, and spending every day in the office even though I did less work than usual. I think I got laid once or twice, and probably got drunk a couple times. That’s something, I guess. So, it was a pretty unremarkable week. But don’t worry, summer will be better. Oh man, let’s hope.

Ned Rauch-Mannino, Sports Editor

While in Paris, I wanted to check out a European club, and also checked out this incredibly beautiful French girl. I was determined to say something. So while dancing in her vicinity, I worked my brain to think of some clever French to introduce myself. All I could compose was tu es jolie,

the greening of south street

Amsterdam is a place of many a wonderful thing. And yes, we do mean the food. It’s a city where the greenery is appreciated, and yes, we are talking about the delightful vegetarian cuisine. Fortunately for us, some of that glorious greenery has recently made its way to Philadelphia. Maoz Vegetarian, an Amsterdam-born enterprise, has built its first American-based sector right here on South Street. Despite its modest size, the store’s modern design and neon green interior is hard to miss.

Maoz is heaven-sent for anyone who appreciates cheap food, healthy food, or just plain goodfood. The main dish is the Maoz sandwich, a whole wheat or white pita stuffed with falafel balls. Falafels are great not only because they’re fun to say out loud, but because they’re packed with Vitamin B. They’re made from chick peas mashed with garlic, parsley, and other herbs and spices, rolled into balls and fried. And there is no meat in these balls, making them an ideal vegetarian treat.

Even more enjoyable than the eating process is the stuffing process. The self-serve salad bar provides an array of toppings for sandwiches. And oh, the choices! There are four different sauces (spicy coriander, garlic, tomato with onions, and red chili), along with a collection of fresh vegetables, and more unique options including couscous, eggplant, and hummus.

The combo meal comes with a mean set of Belgian fries and surprisingly yummy drinks including carrot or lime juice (rest assured, they have soda, too), all packed into a pretty little $6 package. If you stay to eat, you have the option of stuffing and re-stuffing your sandwich, a bonus if you like to mix things up.

Unfortunately, the place has only four chairs, which doesn’t make it the ideal lounging spot. It is, however, a great place to grab a quick bite if you’re looking for something healthier than a cheese steak or pizza (sorry Lorenzo’s, we’ve still got much love for you). Even better, they’re open till 2am for those of you just leaving the TLA, hungry and worn-out from a late night show. So if you’re broke and looking to entertain your taste buds with something unexpected, Maoz comes highly recommended- for herbivores and carnivores alike.

248 South St, 215-625-3500, http://www.maoz.nl

drexel gives free ipods

The iPod has changed how people think about music.

Drexel University is betting it can change how people think about education, too.

This fall, each of the 30 to 50 freshmen entering Drexel’s School of Education will receive a 30-gigabyte iPod Photo and a microphone they can use to record on the device. The school is calling the give-away program the iPods in Education Initiative.

This is something that we believe will enhance the learning experience, said William Lynch, education school director.

Drexel has long prided itself in being on the technological cutting edge. In 1983, it became the first major university to require all incoming students to have a personal computer. And in 2000, it became the first major university to deploy a wireless network across its campus and to provide free voice-recognition software to students.

Drexel’s iPod initiative is neither the first nor largest of its kind. Duke University last fall gave iPods and microphones to all its 1,650 incoming freshmen.

IPods were used in at least 11 Duke courses in the fall semester. Most took advantage of the devices’ ability to record and play audio files. For example, students in a Spanish course used them to listen to Spanish songs and dramatic recordings of the novellas they read, as well as to check their pronunciation of vocabulary words. Students in a Duke engineering course, however, used their iPods to collect and analyze pulse-rate data, which they subsequently used to design and test a heart monitor.

Students in Drexel’s School of Education probably won’t be using their iPods for that. But Lynch thinks they — and their professors — will come up with innovative ways of using the devices in teaching, which ties in with the school’s mission.

One of our mission elements is the creative application of technology in the support of education, he said.

The 30-GB iPod Photo that Drexel’s students will get can hold up to 15,000 songs or 25,000 photos. Although it can only play audio files and display still image files, it can store all types of digital files.

[It’s] just a terrific portable storage device, Lynch said. It can carry massive files from one computer to another, and that makes it just generally useful.

The 30-GB iPod Photo retails for $349, but Drexel won’t pay that much for the ones it’s distributing. Apple Computer Inc., which makes iPods, offers all educational buyers discounts. Lynch said Apple is giving Drexel an additional discount, although he wouldn’t say how much.

Most important to us is that they’re very interested in the project, and they’re contributing technical support and advisory support, he said.

Apple wouldn’t provide someone to comment on its reasons for participating in the Drexel and Duke initiatives. But Lynch said the company hopes it can use feedback from the projects to make iPods more useful and popular.

In addition to giving iPods to its incoming students, the School of Education is giving iPods to about 10 professors, so they can work the devices into their courses.

The school also just launched a PodPage on its Web site. A collaboration among the School of Education and other Drexel schools and colleges, the page will contain files that can be downloaded to iPods.

The PodPage is meant to take advantage of the growing popularity of Podcasting, which is the practice of creating and disseminating audio files for use by iPod owners. Many Podcasts resemble amateur radio programs, but they come in all forms and on all types of subjects. The Web page www.podcast.net has almost 2,000 Podcasts available for downloading.

Drexel’s PodPage will have available for download course-related material for education students and other content for visitors to the page. The first file made available on it was an audio file announcing the iPods in Education Initiative. Future posts will include songs from Drexel’s MAD Dragon Records and recordings of lectures, seminars and guest speakers, among other things.

Drexel plans to create orientation files that iPod owners who are new to the university can use to find their way around campus.

We’re going to create a rich collection of information that you could get on the World Wide Web but can carry around with you, Lynch said.

Drexel hopes the microphones it will give out with the iPods will encourage the students who get the devices to create their own collections of information, ranging from lectures to study-group sessions and interviews.

Additionally, the university will require the students to use their iPods to create audio Web logs of their experiences during the semester they must spend working off campus. Those will be posted in a community of audio Web logs on a central server.

Using the devices in those ways, Lynch thinks, will change the traditional role of students, which is something he wants to do.

I would like to thoroughly involve them not only in the consumption of knowledge, but also in the production of knowledge, he said.

Critics of the Duke initiative, who included Duke faculty and students, said the students who got the iPods would only use them to listen to music.

That hasn’t been the case at Duke, and Lynch doesn’t expect it to be the case at Drexel.

Still, he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the students using their iPods to play some tunes now and then.

We hope they will use it as a music player, Lynch said. Then they’re more likely to use it as an educational device, as well.

chris webber on board

Just when 76ers fans were ready to throw in the towel after another lackluster year with little indication of future promise, Sixers president and general manager Billy King sent the city a blessing in the form of Chris Webber.

Prior to receiving the five-time All-Star forward Feb. 23, the Sixers were an average team struggling to have a .500 record. But with Webber in the lineup, the Sixers should have no problem winning the Atlantic Division.

The Sixers trail the division leading Boston Celtics by a few wins. But the Celtics’ roster, even after reacquiring three-time All-Star Antoine Walker, looks subpar in comparison to the Sixers’ lineup.

The Sixers have Temple alumnus Marc Jackson, who averages 12 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, rising rookie Andre Iguodala and three-point specialist Kyle Korver.

Then there are perennial All-Stars Chris Webber and Allen Iverson, the highest-scoring duo in the NBA with a combined scoring average slightly above 50 points per game.

The Sixers gave up Kenny Thomas, Corliss Williamson and Brian Skinner for Webber (and two other lower-caliber players). Nevertheless, the move was a no-brainer.

Dan Murphy, an avid Sixers fan who attended the same Philly high school as coach O’Brien (Roman Catholic), said the trade benefits the Sixers in several ways.

“It was worth it because they didn’t have to give up any of their young core of players,” Murphy said. “The new additions should also bring more people out to their games.”

If the Sixers win the division, they are at least guaranteed a third-seed ranking out of the eight conference teams that make the playoffs. A high seed will be significant because it presumably will shield them from playing against Shaquille O’Neal’s Miami Heat and the defending-champion Detroit Pistons in the first round of the postseason- both of which are likely to enter the playoffs as a number-one and two seed respectively.

If the playoffs started on March 1, the birthday of the newly acquired 6-foot-10 former Sacramento King, the Sixers would have missed the postseason for being a ninth seed.

The Sixers face a challenge ahead, but with the addition of 32-year-old Chris Webber, they are a worthy championship-contending team, which should last for several years to come.

let them eat crepes

Every time I walk into La Creperie Café, I am amazed by its emptiness. I am prepared to wait for a table, but when I open the door, most of them are unoccupied. Of course this thrills me; it means no waiting and no loud neighboring diners. It also means I can listen to the pretty French music in the background and have a comfortable conversation without leaving over the table. But although I’d love for this spot to be my little secret, I feel something is wrong. This place deserves a little credit.

La Creperie Café is an authentic, atmospheric French jewel. The décor is bright but simple with warm yellows and coconut browns. The servers almost always seem to be French, but not the patronizing kind who make you feel like a tactless American. They’re the friendly kind, who make you feel Philadelphia-chic (if that’s even possible). Enter the quiet yet cheerful ambiance and you’re ready to lounge.

And lounge you will, because when the menu arrives, you may have to take some time with it. It’s difficult to choose from among 30 different delicious-sounding crepes. And La Creperie Cafe goes beyond its name to serve salads, quiches and paella as well. With ingredients that include leek, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and roasted almonds, you know this place means business.

On my last visit, I ordered the “Bon Appétit! Merguez,” a crepe filled with sausage, brie, feta cheese, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and herb de province. My friend ordered the “Salade d’Ici,” a fresh salad topped with smoked salmon, walnuts, mushrooms and apples. The food tastes as fresh as it does rich, every bite melting in your mouth.

And with every great restaurant comes great dessert. One wintry day when the wind was biting our skin, my friend and I snuck into La Creperie for a self-indulgent treat. We split the Mélie Melo, a dessert crepe filled with Nutella, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream topped with rum. I could not have asked for anything better.

This may not be your typical meal destination. Entreés average $10, but with drinks, dessert, and tip, the bill can add up to $20 or $30. So while you may not decide to frequent the place, it’s a great option for a little indulgence. But this is a BYOB, so for those of you with the option, bring your own krunkage.

Le Creperie Café, 1722 Sansom St. 215-564-6460. lacreperie.biz

spring break to remember

On the massive 15-foot-long television screen in the Barcelona subway station, Spanish news broadcast rescue workers pulling mangled bodies from smoking train carcasses. Close-ups produced eight-foot-high torsos tending to nine-foot-long victims and four-foot-long legs dangled from under white sheets on battleship-sized gurneys. The news played silently, and my limited Spanish education had not prepared me for subtitles in the region’s native language of Catalan. But I had heard the day before, March 11, 2004, what had happened in Madrid, so I understood.

Two hundred dead and hundreds more injured in a terrorist attack. While I empathized for the victims and their families, I couldn’t help but feel detached from the incident. At 25 years old, in my first year of graduate school, I had just embarked on my first ever Spring Break trip, and the MTV beach house did not prepare me for this. Mobs of protesters, on their way to that night’s demonstration, massed the platform across the tracks. Meanwhile, I was numb, seeing this disaster on television, as if it were thousands of miles away. I was just a tourist, a hapless American who, by chance, was in the wrong country at the wrong time.

I followed the protesters, because I thought I was supposed to, and I emerged from the subway stop at Plaza Catalunya in the center of town amid hundreds of thousands of people. The crowd’s energy evoked images of soccer fans on their way to a playoff game, seemingly two beers away from starting the wave. I refrained from participating in what seemed to me more of a celebration than anything. What if I yelled too loudly or smiled too much even though they were doing that the whole time? I feared that I would be viewed as an impostor.

After dinner the following day, I walked down Gran Via toward my pension and grew increasingly aware of the cacophony that was consuming the streets. At first I attributed the horns honking to another lively Saturday night in Barcelona. But with each honk I heard, I noticed a group of people walking together and clapping in time. I looked up to see people gathering on the balconies that dot every window of every residential building. They banged pots and pans and waved banners. I saw others on the streets doing anything possible to make noise. One man rang the bell on his bike; another took off his shoe to pound it on a street sign. One woman rattled her keys while waiting for the bus, and culinary students dressed in white coats and chef hats smacked stew pots with ladles. Every demographic was represented, from mohawked, pseudo-punk teens thwacking pie pans to the couple with their drum set, sedately tapping the snare, cymbal, and tambourine.

This seeming insensitivity to and borderline glee concerning the death of fellow countrymen confused me. Their behavior ran contrary to everything I associated with mourning. I thought people were supposed to be quiet when dealing with death, or any other problem for that matter. I am a product of a culture that whispers the word “cancer,” and where a moment of silence is the best we can do. If they are supposed to care, if they are supposed to feel, how can they express sincere grief behaving like this?

We got back to the pension and climbed the six flights of stairs to get to the room. Peter, the pension owner, supplied us with our own pots and our own spoons to whack them with. We opened the French doors that lead to our balcony to contribute to the clamor. I banged because I had no idea how to console this city that I was falling in love with. I felt like we, the city and I, were a couple drawn closer together by a tragedy, so I banged because I wanted to show Barcelona that I felt her loss. For twenty minutes I banged in time with the citizens of Barcelona

enough? no

If you ask enough people around Temple’s campus, the consensus comes down to this: John Chaney is probably the most influential person Temple will see for a long time. His legacy will be known for decades and he will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches of all-time.

So when an icon such as him approaches you and orders you to do something, you’re going to do it.

What Coach Chaney did was absolutely erroneous. In a flash of anger and obvious poor judgment, Chaney used his power as a teacher and a coach and ordered his bench player to rough up John Bryant. Over and over again.

This isn’t the mafia in which you send your hit men to do your dirty work. This isn’t a war of who can get the last shot. This is basketball. This is a game meant to foster learning and enhance opportunities. And although it was a game in which fouls and illegal screens that should have been called were not, those questionable plays slipping by the referees do not give anyone an excuse to order an assault to send a message.

But let’s not be hasty. Coach Chaney eventually realized his actions were wrong. He suspended himself for a game. Then, he was suspended for the regular season

too much? yes

This may be the first time that someone has ever mentioned the name “John Chaney” and the phrase “should be fired” in the same sentence. And it sickens me to hear it.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what happened last week in the world of Temple basketball. I saw it first hand, and I am infuriated by the aftermath.

The Hall of Fame coach deserves suspension