Sixers Made the Best Possible Pick

Apr 6, 2015 Duke Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor (15) drives to the basket against Wisconsin on April 6, 2015 during the NCAA Men's Division I Championship game. | Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 6, 2015 Duke Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor (15) drives to the basket against Wisconsin on April 6, 2015 during the NCAA Men’s Division I Championship game. | Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers made the absolute best pick they could have made in taking center Jahlil Okafor with the third pick in the NBA draft.

Now, I could end this column right there, but my editors here at Phillymag.com require something like 500 words before they will actually consider giving me any payment. So the following is for the people whom I have heard bombard this selection with the zeal of a gunnery sergeant.

I hear the screams:

 What, another big man! They needed a guard! What in hell are they going to do with three big men now? Don’t they need someone to get those big men the ball? You’re telling me your starting point guard next season is Ish Smith? What was the purpose then of trading Michael Carter-Williams if you weren’t going to replace him in this year’s draft?

I ask this: As the draft evolved, what was general manager Sam Hinkie supposed to do?

Read more »

It’s Time for Philadelphia to Take Down Its Own Symbol of Hatred

On Monday, the right-thinking people of the Union let out a collective you go girl when South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol less than a week after a white man walked into a historic African Methodist Episcopal church and assassinated nine black people. Most Philadelphians shake their head at the notion of such a hateful symbol being so prominently displayed — those crazy rednecks! — but the truth is that we have our own monument to hatred. Read more »

Why Do I Find Taylor Swift So Annoying?

It was hard not to cheer for Taylor Swift over the past couple days.

Less than 24 hours after she penned a blog post criticizing Apple’s new music streaming service, the company backtracked and confirmed that it would, indeed, pay artists full royalties during the trial period. After a few polite, eloquent paragraphs outlining her argument and the importance of compensating both struggling artists and established talent, Swift signed off with this succinct little mic drop to let them know she meant business:

 “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

Seemingly all corners of the Internet came together in support and admiration of the 25-year-old Berks County native. As for myself, I decided it was finally time to figure out why I absolutely can’t stand the woman. Read more »

A Miracle in Charleston

When the arguments about guns and race subside after last week’s Charleston massacre — and, inevitably, they will — there is one moment from the whole ugly affair that I expect to remember for a long, long time.

That moment came after the alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, had been captured and brought before a judge to hear the charges and have bail set. In a moment unlike any I’ve experienced in court, the judge then allowed family members of the victims to speak to Roof.

And what happened was kind of extraordinary. Read more »

In Charleston Church Shooting, America’s Founding Racism Rears its Ugly Head — Again

AP-Dylann-storm-roof-bond-hearing-940x540

The media are notorious for name-calling.

Let me be even clearer. The racist white media and their racist white viewers, listeners and readers are notorious for their racist name-calling and racist approval of such.

Wednesday night’s attack by a white man against black churchgoers was textbook terrorism, but we’re currently engaged in a furious debate over whether to call it such. Meanwhile, the 21-year-old sadistic terrorist Dylann Storm Roof has been described in an ABC news broadcast as “just a quiet kid…,” in Reuters as “quiet and soft-spoken,” in the Washington Post as a “quiet, shy boy… (who) didn’t get into trouble… (and) a son, nephew, and brother… (who merely) slipped toward his alleged horrific… visit to the church, and in The Wall Street Journal as a “bright boy from a middle-class… family.”

Bullshit. Pure racist bullshit.

After all, this is the very same person who has reportedly confessed to methodically shooting to death nine defenseless bible-studying black women and men at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Therefore, he’s no nice kid who merely went astray through no fault of his own. To say otherwise is racist hypocrisy.
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These Are the 10 Worst Drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway

Illustration | Hawk Krall

Illustrations | Hawk Krall

This wasn’t the best day for my editor to ask if I wanted to write about driving on the Schuylkill Expressway. Today it took me an hour and 39 minutes to get from my front door to the parking garage across the street from our office building — a total distance of 37 of the most heavily traveled highway miles in the United States. That’s not bad. It’s about average, in fact, for my morning ride. Along the way, I encountered four pothole crews, three miscellaneous lane restrictions, two disabled vehicles, eight dead deer, countless rotting raccoons, and the same sweet company I have every single morning and night on this road.

Then again, this morning, for the first time in the 20-plus years I’ve made this commute, I found myself forming my hand into the shape of a gun and firing it at another driver. So yeah, maybe this is the right day to introduce you to my favorite traveling companions. In ascending order of assholedom, here are the 10 Worst Drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway. Read more »

Ocean City, New Jersey, the Most Magical Shore Town on Earth

Gilligan's Wonderland Pier Ferris Wheel | Edwin under a CC 2.0 license.

Gillian’s Wonderland Pier Ferris Wheel | Edwin under a CC 2.0 license.

My family has gone to Ocean City, New Jersey, every summer since I can remember.

When things were tight, we went for a long afternoon or a short weekend. Other times, we’d pack up that gigantic blue station wagon and put Fox Chase in the rearview for an entire week. Regardless, for a few hours or a few days, it was always and easily the best part of the year, the time when the Weymouths most felt like the families on TV.

It wasn’t until I was in college that we decided to take our first “real” vacation and booked a flight to Disney World. Read more »

Blackness Isn’t Transferable

Dylann Roof, left. Rachel Dolezal, right. (Dolezal photo: AP)

Dylann Roof, left. Rachel Dolezal, right. (Dolezal photo: AP)

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States — the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that slavery ended … some two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had legally, but not actually, freed slaves across the South.

On June 17, 2015, a terrorist named Dylann Roof walked into Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church, and opened fire, killing nine congregants he’d been praying with during the prior hour. Despite the end of the enslavement period and the current state of the Union, a Confederate flag still flies at full mast outside South Carolina’s state house, undisturbed.

All this, after two weeks of talking about an imposter. Read more »

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