Trans Fats 101: What They Are (and Why You Should Steer Clear of Them)

Photo by Flickr user Ezra Wolfe

Photo by Flickr user Ezra Wolfe

Earlier this month, the FDA announced it was banning artificial trans fats from food products. It set a 2018 deadline to remove all partially hydrogenated oils from food products.

Obviously, this has major implications for one staple of Philadelphian diets: Tastykakes. A 2013 study from the Harvard School of Public Health said that the Tasty Baking Company had made some of the biggest strides in removing trans fats from its products already.

So how’d they do it? We don’t know, because the company declined several requests for an interview. A quick scan through the convenience store, though, shows that trans fats are still present in Tastykakes: Donuts listed as an ingredient partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening, a trans fat. But it’s not all bad: A package of cupcakes listed hydrogenated cottonseed oil; fully hydrogenated oils do not contain trans fats.

This is silly, in a way: Hydrogenated cottonseed oil isn’t great for you either. And they’re Tastykakes! They’re going to be unhealthy. But it does make us ask, why are trans fats so dangerous, anyway? I got Dr. Daniel Edmundowicz, chief of cardiology at Temple University Hospital, to answer a few basic questions. Read more »

Phillies Name Andy MacPhail New Team President

Andy MacPhail, new leader of the Phillies' front office, is seen during spring training baseball practice, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

Andy MacPhail, new leader of the Phillies’ front office, is seen during spring training baseball practice, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

The Phillies have a message for their fans: We care about sabermetrics. They used the word a bunch. John Middleton, the most prominent member of the Phillies’ silent partnership, said it. Interim president Pat Gillick, who put together the Phillies’ 2008 championship team, said it. Andy MacPhail, who will be the new Phillies president at the end of the season, said it many, many times.

Sabermetrics, a term coined from the acronym for the Society for American Baseball Research, is at its core the empirical analysis of baseball (as Wikipedia puts it). But it’s also code for a way of thinking that values statistics over scouting when putting together a baseball club. The Phillies have been chastised for doing the opposite, such as relying on 7-year-old scouting reports when signing outfielder Delmon Young in 2012.

“I don’t care about walks,” General Manager Ruben Amaro said in January 2013. “I care about production. To be frank with you, I’ve said this all along. All of the sabermatricians and all of the people who think they know exactly what makes a good club… to me, it’s more about run production and being able to score runs and drive in runs.”

The Phillies clearly attempted to make introduction of MacPhail as president a new start for the franchise. The Phillies say they plan to be more forward-thinking. Middleton said the Phillies were creating a “custom-made system” for evaluating players, and said the team would hire new analysts sometime this season if they needed to. MacPhail didn’t say what that meant for general manager Ruben Amaro, but said he was looking to use statistics.

“In Chicago, I was the president and CEO,” MacPhail said. “I had a GM who I loved that was not very saber-friendly, but I made him hire two kids to help him with that. We used to use it in Minnesota, for God’s sake. We don’t really advertise it, why would we? … Nobody’s got all the tools. You have to hire people around you.” All three brought this up before being asked about it. Read more »

Report: Sixers to Pay Pelicans $3 Million for Breaking NBA Rules

sixers-logoThe Sixers hired Sam Hinkie in May 2013, but The Process really didn’t start until the NBA Draft the next month. That night, Hinkie traded Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans. At the time, it came as a shock: Holiday was expected to be the team’s point guard for years.

The haul, it turned out, was pretty good: The Sixers got the sixth pick that season (Nerlens Noel) and another first rounder in 2014. The Sixers turned that first-rounder into Dario Saric, two second-round picks and also got the Orlando Magic to waive the pick the Sixers owed them sometime in the future. Jrue Holiday has played just 74 games over two seasons in New Orleans, missing time in both seasons due to stress fractures in his legs. He had surgery in 2014.

The Inquirer reports Holiday first suffered stress fractures in his last season in Philadelphia, and that the Sixers have to pay $3 million to New Orleans for failing to disclose the injury. A Sixers team source disputed the report. The paper’s Keith Pompey also said the Sixers were looking to get compensation from the Lakers over the Andrew Bynum trade. Read more »

There Are Still Confederate Flag Shirts for Sale in Wildwood

Confederate Flags in Wildwood

Confederate flags for sale on the boardwalk in Wildwood (Photo: Dan McQuade)

For four years now, I’ve been chronicling Wildwood boardwalk t-shirts in a silly column on this website. Last year, I wrote about a constant presence on the Wildwood boardwalk for as long as I can remember: Confederate battle flag t-shirts.

This is particularly odd, since New Jersey was a Union state (it was the last state in the north to abolish slavery). White people wearing the Confederate battle flag can’t go with a lame “southern pride” defense when they’re in New Jersey. I checked out a sampling of 15 t-shirt stores while in Wildwood this weekend; I was able to find Confederate flag merchandise in 13 of them. Read more »

Trump Plaza Could Be Closed for 10 Years

Trump Plaza in November 2014

Trump Plaza in November 2014, after it had closed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Trump Plaza was the last casino to close in Atlantic City’s tumultuous 2014, shutting down on September 16th after 30 years in business. Now, it may not re-open for another decade.

As reported by the Associated Press, Trump Entertainment Resorts is seeking a deed restriction on the property that would prohibit it from being used as a casino for a decade.

Trump Entertainment Resorts made the move due to a bill that just passed the New Jersey Senate last week. The bill, which has already passed the assembly, would replace property taxes them with a payment-in-lieu of taxes of $120 million for all A.C. casinos. Casinos would not be able to appeal. It applies to any building that operated as a casino for at least part of 2014, which includes Trump Plaza. “The Plaza could be required to make mandatory payments under the PILOT program notwithstanding the fact that it generates no revenue and its hotel rooms are closed,” Trump Entertainment Resorts wrote in a bankruptcy court filing.

The filing, per the AP, says that Showboat was kept out of the PILOT program with a similar deed restriction. (Yes, the same Showboat casino that also has a legal covenant with Trump Entertainment Resorts restricting it for use as a casino. Atlantic City is confusing.) Read more »

Phillies Expected to Name New Head of Baseball Operations

Andy MacPhail | Keith Allison (cropped). Phillies player | Jeff  Fusco

Andy MacPhail | Keith Allison (cropped). Phillies player | Jeff Fusco

Several sites have reported that the Phillies are expected to announce next week that Andy MacPhail has taken a job in the team’s front office. CBS Sports said MacPhail will “lead their operations.” CSN Philly first reported the Phillies had begun honing in on MacPhail earlier this month.

MacPhail is the kind of person the Phillies have generally liked for their front office positions: A baseball lifer. He won two World Series titles as general manager of the Minnesota Twins, then spent 12 years as CEO and president of the Chicago Cubs. After that, he was president of the Baltimore Orioles for four years. He is such a baseball lifer that he is literally the descendant of two Hall of Famers: former baseball executive Larry MacPhail (his grandfather) and American League President Lee MacPhail (his dad).

He’d replace interim president Pat Gillick — architect of the 2008 World Series championship team — who has been in the role since last year. David Montgomery took a leave of absence after cancer surgery in August; he returned to the team as chairman in January. Read more »

Flyers Fan Asks Jon Stewart If a Hot Dog Is a Sandwich

Last night, FOX News legal correspondent (and former New Jersey Superior Court Judge) Andrew Napolitano showed up on The Daily Show for what is likely to be his final appearance. (He’s a decent guest. Jon has had him on a lot.)

Halfway through the interview (at the 4:35 mark of the video above), Stewart interrupts Napolitano to ask him if he was wondering whether a hot dog is a sandwich. As you know, we here at Philadelphia magazine — okay, okay, just me — are very in tune with the “is a hot dog a sandwich” question, having previously written about Tom Wolf’s declaration of a hot dog as a “sandwich … and a good one” (a bold position to take, first term). Read more »

Beyoncé to Headline Made in America Festival

Beyoncé will headline one night of the fourth-annual Made in America Festival. R&B artist The Weeknd will headline the other. It is Beyoncé’s second time headlining a night at the festival; she previously closed out the first night in 2013.

Other artists on the bill include De La Soul, Axwell & Ingrosso, J. Cole, Bassnectar, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Banks, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Future, Santigold, Nick Jonas, Matric, A-Trak and DJ Mustard. Philly’s own Creepoid is also playing the show. Read more »

Boutique Casinos Closer to Reality in Atlantic City

Atlantic City at dusk, November 2014

Photo | Dan McQuade

It was more than four years ago that Chris Christie signed legislation approving new boutique casinos in Atlantic City. Despite interest from a few groups and one submitted proposal, no boutique casinos ever opened. Then, four large casinos closed in 2014.

But the interest in boutique casinos remains, and this week an assembly panel advanced a bill that would ease some of the requirements for smaller casinos.

The old bill required one of two boutique casinos to eventually expand to a casino with 500 rooms, and mandated both boutique casinos in the pilot program be new construction. The new bill would eliminate both requirements; the new casinos would still need to have at least 200 rooms to also operate gambling. Read more »

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