Why Trump’s Attack on Sanctuary Cities Is a Good Thing

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Mrs. Hernandez: “I saw that man steal a loaf of bread from the store and run down the street, and I can identify him in court.”

Police Officer: “Thank you for the information, Mrs. Hernandez. That is very helpful.”

Mrs. Hernandez: “You are welcome.”

Police Officer: “Now, before you go, just a few more questions. Do you think Vanessa deserved to win on The Bachelor? Should McDonald’s tinker with the Big Mac? Can dogs can understand us? Oh, and given that your name sounds Spanish … are you an illegal immigrant?”

First of all, everyone knows that Raven was a better choice for Nick, but I guess that’s irrelevant now. Aren’t the other questions irrelevant, too? The Trump administration doesn’t think so. Read more »

OPINION: The Painfully Obvious Lesson of the Latest London Terror Attack

Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British Parliament, in London. Photo by KovalenkovPetr/iStock

Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British Parliament, in London. Photo by KovalenkovPetr/iStock

Last week’s deadly attack in London by Islamic radical Khalid Masood — in which he drove into crowds of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer in an attempt to gain entrance into Parliament, before being shot and killed himself — did not happen in a vacuum.

For a number of years now the city of London has been boiling over with radical Muslims calling for Sharia Law in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods. The clash of immigrant Islamic cultures with western democratic values is getting worse not only in the U.K. but throughout Europe. It’s not surprising that this uneasy situation has proved to be the perfect breeding ground for terrorists. Read more »

OPINION: Philly’s Tolerance for Corruption Is Why Seth Williams Hasn’t Resigned

Seth Williams at a February 10, 2017, press conference. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Seth Williams at a February 10, 2017, press conference. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

The Philly reaction to political scandals usually rolls out like this:

1) Word of an investigation sparks chatter. Nobody really cares.

2) An indictment sparks concern. Some folks begin to actually care.

3) A conviction sparks outcry. Folks are absolutely done with the politician. Read more »

Jim Kenney Owes Seth Williams an Apology

Seth Williams (Matt Rourke/AP) and Jim Kenney (Jeff Fusco).

Seth Williams (Matt Rourke/AP) and Jim Kenney (Jeff Fusco).

Back in 2015, Alex Capasso — then the chef and a partner at The Crow and Pitcher, a little restaurant off Rittenhouse Square — was arrested and charged with one count of distribution of child pornography by the U.S. District Attorney. That’s some pretty bad stuff, right? His friends and co-workers were “shocked and disgusted.” His partners threw him out of the business, with a representative saying publicly that it would “be a blessing to the innocent partners and staff if his infamy did not take them all down in flames.” The restaurant changed its name and, at the time of this writing, Capasso sits in federal custody awaiting trial. The evidence against him looks pretty solid and, if guilty, he deserves, of course, to spend a long time in jail.

But here’s the thing: Capasso is not guilty. So far, he’s been accused of a crime. He hasn’t had his day in court. He has his side of the story to tell. Still, the guy’s life has been ruined. Which brings me to Seth Williams … and Jim Kenney. Read more »

OPINION: Black Politicians Are Going to Have to Earn My Vote From Now On

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The most open forum in which to hear the unfiltered thoughts of black men in Philly is arguably the barbershop. No matter what our wealth, age, religion, and/or sexual orientation, the need for a fine hair cut is the factor that unites us all. Heated conversations on social issues and personal anecdotes flow freely during long waits for shape-ups and fades. The barbershop has even become an obligatory stop for politicians to stump for undecided votes — during any election season, one can expect buttons and placards to be left on seats.

Such was the case last week with Tariq El-Shabazz, the only black candidate running for district attorney. Someone at my barbershop in West Philly wearing one of his campaign buttons prompted a conversation about the highly contested race. Now, per the barbershop code, what was said in the shop stays in the shop — but let’s just say the conversation was heated and divided. Read more »

OPINION: Single-Identity Social Justice Is No Justice at All

Photos | Dan McQuade

Photos | Dan McQuade

“There’s a gay Trump supporter in Philly,” a close friend of mine texted me on the last weekend in February. “Really? That doesn’t make sense,” I quickly responded. Minutes later, I was tagged on a viral post in a closed LGBTQ social media group I belong to. A scan of the outraged comments revealed that a senior adviser to Philly Pride Presents, Chuck Volz, a white gay man, is “an ardent Trump supporter.” I saw copies of provocative images and social media posts made by Volz that mocked people of color, women, and the Muslim ban. (All of this information was later reported on publicly.)

I quickly contacted Franny Price, the lead organizer of Philly Pride, to see if she had any clue what was going on. What I got back from her was that she’s always been aware that Volz was a conservative with “controversial views,” but that that didn’t necessarily keep him from being “a champion of LGBTQ rights in the community for a long time.” She later said that Volz wouldn’t step down from Philly Pride leadership because the organization felt that “his personal politics are separate from his commitment to the LGBTQ community.” Read more »

Can Baseball Be Saved?

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Wil Nieves calls for an intentional walk at Citi Field on Jul 30, 2014. Photo by Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Wil Nieves calls for an intentional walk at Citi Field on Jul 30, 2014. Photo by Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Just as the Phils kick off spring training comes the earth-shattering news that Major League Baseball is tinkering with the very foundations of America’s Pastime. That’s right: They’re killing the spectacle of the intentional walk. Read more »

OPINION: Crowded District Attorney Race Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

There is an adage that goes: “To speak without thinking is to shoot without aiming.”

Someone should have told that to former federal prosecutor Joe Khan during a event featuring district attorney candidates at Philly for Change on South Street earlier this month. I was there to get a personal glimpse at three-fifths of the field that was at that point running against Seth Williams for the role of top prosecutor. In attendance were former city managing director Richard Negrin, former Municipal Court judge Teresa Carr Deni, and Khan. (Not present were Democrat Michael Untermeyer and Republican Beth Grossman, and the event was held before civil rights attorney Larry Krasner threw his hat in.) Read more »

Car Commercials Have Swerved Right off the Road

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I’m glad the Sixers are almost respectable now, and I’m loving following Villanova’s men’s basketball team, except for one thing: the car commercials. I guess because the audiences for sporting events are largely male, auto manufacturers don’t seem to have me in their sights when they brainstorm creative concepts.

I can remember clearly when shopping for a car was just a matter of being able to withstand that simpering, simpleminded Toyotathon Jan. She’s still going strong, but she has competition now from Matthew McConaughey, who’s having deep, cryptic thoughts while sitting in the backseat of his Lincoln in a one-minute commercial directed by the cinematographer for The Dark Knight (oooh!) and filmed on a glacial plain in Iceland (ahhhh!). Oh, sure, he’s cool now, but remember when he was just a stoner playing naked bongos? Also, he says we should all “embrace” Donald Trump, which even some Republicans would balk at. Guess that’s what happens once you start driving really expensive cars. Read more »

OPINION: The Unbearable Privilege of Trump Protesters

Protesters on the Parkway, January 21, 2017.

Protesters on the Parkway, January 21, 2017.

Picture this: You just received a Facebook event invite to an epic Donald Trump protest in Philly (Women’s March, “Queer Rager,” Muslim travel ban airport demonstration, or V.P. Pence visit — pick one).

You either plan to take off work early or cancel your TV binge-watching — this is that much of a priority for you. You make sure you create a catchy sign that you believe will let people know precisely what issues you have with the president. Let’s just say you think he’s a bully who picks on marginalized people. Your sign reads: “Hey, Big Mean Orange Guy: Quit Bothering the Melting Pot on Aisle 1776.” (Witty, I know.) Read more »

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