Bernie Delegates Claim They Made $5,000 Selling DNC Credentials

Room 224 at the Philadelphia Airport Econo Lodge.

Room 224 at the Philadelphia Airport Econo Lodge.

I would have thought that I was walking into a swingers party. A cheap motel near the Philadelphia airport. A bunch of people crammed into two rooms smoking copious amounts of weed and drinking beer and shots of tequila. But it wasn’t a swingers party that I was invited to. It was a party for Democratic National Convention delegates, some of whom were selling their prized credentials — the security passes that allowed them past the DNC fence and into the main hall at the Wells Fargo Center. Read more »

Meet the Pa. Bernie Delegate Who Almost Fought Sean Hannity at Wawa

Jonathan Paul Fox greets inmate at a Lancaster County Prison event with Have a Heart Lancaster. | Photo courtesy Jonathan Paul Fox.

Jonathan Paul Fox greets inmates at a Lancaster County Prison event with Have a Heart of Lancaster. | Photo courtesy Jonathan Paul Fox.

I spent some time this past week sporadically trying to talk to delegates to the Democratic National Convention, just to get a sense of how they were getting along with each other and how they were enjoying the city. I found one guy on Twitter who was a Bernie Sanders delegate from Lancaster and sent him a message. His name is Jonathan Paul Fox. He grew up in Boston, and has been involved in Democratic politics in Pennsylvania for the last 12 years. He calls himself a democratic socialist, like Sanders.

On Thursday I met him at the Double Tree Hotel, where the Pa. delegation was staying, and we talked at the bar for 15 minutes.

Only after I’d stopped recording did he mention that he’d almost gotten into a fight with Fox News host Sean Hannity at Wawa on Broad Street a few nights before. Fox said he saw Hannity in there and tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he could have his good name back, joking that Hannity’s employer had sullied it. It was all in good fun, he said, but Hannity didn’t like it.

Then he pulled up a story about the incident from Lancaster Online on his iPad, handed it to me, and said, “Read on, brother.”

It’s possible to imagine that Fox had a little buzz going when the incident occurred, as Hannity implies. But it’s pretty difficult to imagine he was being confrontational. He seems like an easygoing guy. Here’s what we talked about. It’s been edited for length and clarity.  Read more »

Here’s What Philly Cops Thought of the DNC Protests

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., march alongside Philadelphia police during a protest on Sunday, July 24.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., march alongside Philadelphia police during a protest on Sunday, July 24.

We’ll do better this time. Promise. 

City officials did everything but tattoo that message across their foreheads when the Democratic National Convention rolled into town earlier this week, knowing full well that just about every news story that was going to be written about protest marches would reference the hundreds of controversial arrests that Philadelphia police made during the 2000 Republican National Convention.

So nuisance crimes like disorderly conduct and blocking a highway were decriminalized, meaning cops could just hand out fines to unruly demonstrators instead of having to lock them up. The Police Department vowed to keep its officers in their regular uniforms, not Storm Trooper-esque riot gear. The goal, Mayor Jim Kenney said more than a few times, was to get through the week without having to make any arrests.

Read more »

Here Are Some Good Out-of-Town Reporter Tweets About Philly

Democratic National Convention at Wells Fargo Center - end

The scene at the DNC about an hour after Hillary Clinton’s speech ended | Photo: Dan McQuade

I’ve had some fun this week writing about journalists complaining about being stuck in the car line, and other journalists getting mocked on Twitter by angry Philadelphians. But not every out-of-town reporter had angry things to say about Philadelphia.

Take Gawker editor Alex Pareene. In a piece that’s mainly complaining about covering the convention in Philadelphia, he comes off as funny instead of whiny. Read more »

Hillary Clinton Just Gave the Biggest Speech of Her Life. And She Nailed It.

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I’m going to say something radical: Hillary Clinton just delivered a powerful speech.

As she broke one of America’s highest glass ceilings Thursday night, the energy in the Wells Fargo Center was complicated. And didn’t we always know it would be? In America? In 2016? In a time in which the basic democracy so many of us took for granted is at risk?

You could feel the soaring hearts of grandmothers, single women and little girls witnessing history being made. You could feel the clenched shoulders of thousands of people terrified of a Donald Trump presidency. You could feel the left, still stung by Bernie Sanders’ loss and alarmed that a four-star general had earlier in the night said, while vouching for Clinton, that America “will have the finest weapons!” if she wins. (“This is the strangest RNC I’ve ever been to,” said someone next to me.) You could feel the out-of-place conservatives who had just awkwardly, if earnestly, stumped for her. You could feel Boomers waxing nostalgic for the 1990s Clintons, and/or trying to shake off their baggage. You could feel the potent words spoken moments prior by a Muslim American whose son had died serving the country — to Trump, he said into the camera, “You’ve sacrificed nothing” — reverberating in so many heads.  Read more »

Chelsea Clinton Humanizes Hillary at DNC

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The role Chelsea Clinton needed to play on the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia was decided — oddly enough — in Cleveland.

When Ivanka Trump wowed the Republican National Convention with a speech that made her father, Donald Trump, sound like a normal guy who just happened to own casinos and skyscrapers, and not the over-the-top cartoon character that the country has watched with a mixture of fascination and horror over the last year, Chelsea Clinton’s task was clear. She had to offer voters a glimpse of her mother that went beyond the public facade that people have known, and cheered — or jeered — during the last quarter century, when Hillary Clinton was a First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State.

Read more »

Tom Wolf Bored the Hell Out of People at the DNC

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It can’t be easy to speak at a big political convention, right?

I ask because Governor Tom Wolf was tasked with spending a couple of minutes behind the mic at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, knowing full well that the energized crowd of 20,000 people inside the Wells Fargo Center was silently counting down the minutes and hours until they got to see Hillary Clinton make history as the first female presidential nominee in American history. Read more »

Mother of Slain Philly Police Officer Gets Standing Ovation at DNC

Wayne Walker - mother of slain Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker Jr.

Wayne Walker, mother of slain Philadelphia Police Officer, speaks at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night.

The mother of slain Philadelphia police officer Moses Walker Jr., received a standing ovation before speaking at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night.

“For 19 years, my son Moses Walker protected us as a Philadelphia police officer,” Wayne Walker said as she began her speech. “Every morning, for 19 years, Moses put on his uniform. One morning on the way home from the third shift, he was shot and killed. In his living room, I found a pile of wrapped Christmas presents. It was August.

“He always thought ahead. He bought gifts for relatives, single parents, strangers down on their luck. One of those presents did not have a name on it. I still have it.” Read more »

Why Did SEPTA Kick Protesters Off the Subway During the DNC?

Demonstrators protest outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016, during the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

Demonstrators protest outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016, during the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

A curious thing happened Tuesday afternoon.

I was on my way to the Democratic National Convention at Wells Fargo Center, traveling southbound on the Broad Street Line, when a cop boarded the subway at the Oregon station. He promptly told passengers that if they didn’t have credentials for the DNC, they had to get off — otherwise they wouldn’t be allowed out at AT&T Station. Several protesters, mostly Bernie Sanders supporters, politely exited.

I thought it was weird. For one thing, it made it harder for activists to get to FDR Park, the city’s designated location for demonstrations outside the DNC. It was also an inconvenience for any Philadelphian who needed to exit at AT&T Station to get home or to work. So I asked officials why they decided to boot un-credentialed riders from the subway.  Read more »

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