Kaukab Siddique Keeps Saying Terrible, Anti-Semitic Stuff on Facebook

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Shutterstock.com

I wish I had never looked at Kaukab Siddique’s Facebook page.

But I couldn’t help myself—I got curious when I saw that the Lincoln University professor was making headlines across the country for remarks that included phrases like “dirty Jewish Zionist thugs.” “Well, that sounds intriguing,” I thought, not really taking it seriously. See, I often forget that people think horrible things about Jews. It’s 2015, for god’s sake, and I rarely encounter blatant anti-Semitism or discrimination due to my being Jewish. And unlike past generations of my family, my life is not significantly more difficult because I am a Jew. It is sometimes socially uncomfortable, and I do sometimes hide the fact that I’m Jewish, but I am not treated like a pariah.

So it’s easy for me to live in a bubble of denial, especially now that I no longer subscribe to publications from the Anti-Defamation League. Read more »

Uh-Oh! Cheating Online Isn’t Safe Anymore

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Shutterstock.com

“I mean isn’t that why we are here, to be as discreet as possible?”

Those enticing words probably sound a little different today to the Brockton, Massachusetts, man who posted them on the marital-cheating website Ashley Madison than they did when he typed them. He’s the first AM user publicly outed by hackers who this week compromised the adulterous secret identities of 37,000,000 current and former users of the site.

Intrigued? Want to know more? Of course you do; this is the Internet. Boston’s WBZ-TV reports: “Among the data released about the Brockton client of Ashley Madison: His user ID is ‘Heavy73’; he listed himself as ‘married/attached’; he joined the site the day after Valentine’s Day, 2014; he likes ‘cuddling & hugging’ and is into ‘discretion & secrecy.’” Read more »

The Homeless Have a Home: It’s Philadelphia

A homeless camp at 16th and Vine. Photo by Liz Spikol, 2014.

A homeless camp at 16th and Vine. Photo by Liz Spikol, 2014.

I know she didn’t mean it to be cruel, when she said it. She was just a sheltered kid from Roxborough doing a park cleanup to satisfy a school requirement on a pretty weekend morning. She told me she hardly ever went into “the city.” Her exposure to people in adverse circumstances, I’m guessing, was limited.

We’d paired off to pluck Philly’s flotsam and jetsam out of a woodsy area near a highway. It wasn’t necessary to pair off, but she seemed to feel safer with an adult. I thought about how funny it was that she saw me that way, as the grownup — was I going to feel like one too, at some point?

She was chatty, in a good mood, but at one point she caught a whiff of something foul, wrinkled her nose and said, “Ugh, it smells like the homeless.”

“The homeless.”

Read more »

Dear Philly: Let’s Embrace the Pope’s Visit

People pray and sing before Pope Francis arrives to a meeting with the young in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sunday, July 12, 2015. The Pope addressed tens of thousands of young people waiting for him at a venue along the banks of the Paraguay River. Up to 2 million people are expected in Philadelphia for the pope's September visit (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

People pray and sing before Pope Francis arrives to a meeting with the young in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sunday, July 12, 2015. The Pope addressed tens of thousands of young people waiting for him at a venue along the banks of the Paraguay River. Up to 2 million people are expected in Philadelphia for the pope’s September visit (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

When I saw the headline, “Papal Panic! Could the Pope’s Visit Be a Giant, Embarrassing Flop??” I almost didn’t scroll to read it.  I see my fair share of daily letters, emails and comments listing all of the ways in which the visit of Pope Francis isn’t a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Philadelphia to shine for the world. The perspective I sometimes hear is that Pope Francis’ visit is nothing more than a once-in-a generation aggravation – something Philadelphians would much prefer to do without.

Based on the headline, I assumed Sandy Hingston’s piece would add to the cacophony. But, I was wrong. And while I would have preferred Ms. Hingston’s final comments — “We’re a big city, Philadelphia. We can handle this” — to lead the piece, I agree with her sentiment.    Read more »

Is Archbishop Chaput Trolling Pope Francis?

Pope Francis, giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com | Archbishop Chaput | Jeff Fusco

Pope Francis, giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com | Archbishop Chaput | Jeff Fusco

“So,” a colleague asked me this week, “Is Archbishop Chaput trolling the pope?”

It was a funny notion — putting the leader of the city’s Catholics on par with a Philly.com commenter — but my colleague had a real reason for asking the question.

On Saturday, Pope Francis punctuated his trip to Latin America by meeting with Paraguayan activists — including Simón Cazal, an LGBT activist who has been married to his partner since 2012, and who had been specifically invited to the gathering by the church.

On Monday, Archbishop Charles Chaput put out a statement praising local Catholic school Waldron Mercy for firing a long-tenured, much-loved teacher … who happens to be gay.

“There are no people of first, of second or third class,” the pope said. “Dignity is for everyone.”

Maybe not everyone, the archbishop seemed to respond. “It’s a simple matter of honesty,” he said.

The disconnect was so abrupt, so dizzying, and so soon before the pontiff’s September visit to Philly that my colleague’s inquiry didn’t seem so crazy. Was the archbishop trolling the pope? Read more »

Papal Panic! Could the Pope’s Visit Be a Giant, Embarrassing Flop?

Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com. Frank Rizzo | AP

Pope Francis | giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com. Frank Rizzo | AP

I’m starting to get a little worried about this papal visit.

I think it was a story in the Inquirer about gunmen on the Parkway during the outdoor Mass that got to me. Here’s what it said: “The most critical monitoring will likely come from snipers on the many rooftops lining the Parkway. Their job, frankly, is to spot trouble, not necessarily to shoot it … they’re the ones who pick up someone who’s moving in the wrong direction in the crowd or moving a little faster than they need — anything out of the ordinary, they’ll report from above.”

The speaker there is Steven Bucci, director of the Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation. I find it kind of scary to think that becoming disoriented in the crowd or walking too fast could put a bead on my head. Then there was this, from Henry Willis of the nonprofit RAND Corporation, which according to the Inky also focuses on national security:

Events like a visit from the Pope can bring out all sorts of people, and you have to be concerned about security from everything from very purposeful malicious sophisticated threats to attackers who are upset or deranged individuals.

Welcome to Philadelphia, y’all! Read more »

Department of Duh: Of Course Margie Winters Got Fired

Archbishop Charles Chaput, Photo | Jeff Fusco. Waldron Mercy Academy via Google Maps

Archbishop Charles Chaput, Photo | Jeff Fusco. Waldron Mercy Academy via Google Maps

In some ways, I feel for Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

Yesterday, when he released a statement on the archdiocese’s position on the firing of Margie Winters, I honestly believe he wasn’t prepared for the collective “NOPE!” the Internet sent his way. It lacked a little finesse, sure, but my guess is that he pretty confidently hit “send” on the below: Read more »

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