Obama, Wolf Say Syrian Refugees Welcome

President Obama speaks during a press conference in Turkey. (WhiteHouse.gov)

President Obama speaks during a press conference in Turkey. (WhiteHouse.gov)

In the wake of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, President Obama and Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf said today that the nation — and state — will continue to accept refugees from war-torn Syria.

They promised, however, that the open-door policy would be accompanied with an eye on security.

“Even as we accept more refugees, including Syrians, we do so only after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security checks,” Obama said in a press conference in Turkey. “We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves, that’s what they’re fleeing. Slamming the doors in their faces would be a betrayal of our values.” Read more »

Insider: Tired of Philly Politics As Usual? Quit Complaining and Run For Office


From L to R: State Reps. Donna Bullock and Joanna McClinton. They ran for office. So should you. | Photos courtesy of Bullock’s and McClinton’s Facebook pages

(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from a Citified insider.) 

During the past few years, I’ve noticed a recurring theme in the months following municipal elections. There are two conversations that occur constantly among plugged-in Philadelphians, which creates two distinct political groups. The first is what I like to refer to as the “Inspired Camp.”

The Inspired Camp observes X, Y or Z Candidate run an upstart campaign against the odds and beat the machine/establishment/tradition. That, in turn, inspires them to do the same. Since the primary election took place in May, I’ve heard dozens of aspiring candidates say they were excited by the election process and have since thought to themselves, “Hey, why not me? Why not now?” Call it the Barack Obama effect. From the outside, it looks easy: A candidate puts together a magical campaign, everything comes together, and victory is earned.

There’s a bench of young, civic-minded leaders that are being built in Philly right now. They want change, and they see themselves as the best chance to make that change happen. Some are doing the work on their own. Some are part of traditional political camps. But make no mistake about it: There will be a solid next generation of leaders.

Sheila Armstrong is on the ballot in November as an Independent candidate for City Council. Omar Woodard is pursuing the State Senate in the 3rd District. Kellan White has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the House of Representatives in the 200th. The same has been said about Abu Edwards in the 198th, Darren Lipscomb in the 192nd, and Francis Nelms in the 179th. Read more »

NYT Profiles Philly-bred White House Social Planner

Deesha Dyer | WhiteHouse.gov

Deesha Dyer | WhiteHouse.gov

The New York Times has a profile of Philly-bred Deesha Dyer, the new White House social secretary, on the eve of a make-or-break week: She’s in charge of planning for President Obama to welcome both Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping in separate events this week.

Dyer grew up in West Philadelphia and went to Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa., the boarding school for underprivileged students. She was a hip-hop columnist for Philadelphia City Paper before moving to bigger and better things. (The Times says her “résumé is a big departure from those of previous White House social secretaries.”) This week might be the biggest, however: Read more »

Will Bob Casey Kill the Iran Nuclear Deal?

U.S. Senator Bob Casey,  January 2014. | AP Photo

U.S. Senator Bob Casey, January 2014. | AP Photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey may be one of the votes standing between the Obama Administration and a deal with Iran to put its nuclear program into deep-freeze.

Foreign Policy says Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is one of the likeliest “no” votes on the deal, and summarizes the case thusly:  Read more »

WATCH: Obama Weighs In On Cosby Allegations

At a White House press conference this afternoon, President Obama was asked by a reporter if he would revoke Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom over the comedian’s ongoing rape allegations. The President shared that there’s no precedent for revoking the honor, and he declined to address the Cosby situation specifically. But he did have this to say:

“If you give a woman — or a man for that matter — without his or her knowledge a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape. And I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape.” 

In other D.C.-related Cosby news, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art says it will “post a sign telling visitors that an exhibition featuring Bill Cosby’s art collection is about the artists, not a tribute to the comedian,” according to a report. The Smithsonian houses the Cosby collection which features dozens of artists “under appreciated” by other museums.

Obama, in Philly, Calls for Transformation of Criminal Justice System


President Obama speaks Tuesday to the NAACP.

President Obama speaks Tuesday to the NAACP. (From the live video feed.)

President Obama called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system Tuesday in Philadelphia, telling the national convention of the NAACP that the current system is skewed by race and wealth.

He said more Americans had come to understand the need for reform ““partly because of cameras, partly because of tragedy, partly because the statistics cannot be denied anymore.”

Obama took the stage in the main hall nearly two hours after his scheduled 3:05 p.m. appearance, and launched quickly into the meat of his speech, rattling off a list of numbers and statistics to illustrate his point that criminal justice system has grown oppressive and costly: Read more »

Obama in Philly Today for NAACP

Photo | Jeff Fusco

President Obama visited Philadelphia last fall to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf.Photo | Jeff Fusco

President Obama will be in town today to address the national convention of the NAACP, where he’s expected to outline criminal justice reform proposals. He’ll also travel to The Rittenhouse Hotel for a late-afternoon meeting with senior party officials.

The president arrives at Philadelphia International Airport shortly after 2 p.m., then address the convention shortly after 3 p.m.  He’ll go to the Rittenhouse for the closed-door party meeting at 4:10 p.m., then lift off from the airport at 5:50 p.m. Read more »

Obama to Address NAACP in Philadelphia

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The NAACP announced Wednesday President Barack Obama will address the group’s annual conference, which is being held in Philadelphia later this month.

“We are honored to welcome President Obama back to our NAACP national convention,” NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock said in a release. “Our members are looking forward to President Obama delivering a powerful message that reinforces our commitment to being champions for civil and human rights in the 21st century.”

Obama has addressed the NAACP once before, in 2009 in New York. Read more »

Nutter Helping Spearhead Obama Trade Campaign

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

There’s long been speculation that Michael Nutter would go to work for the Obama Administration after leaving office. But it looks like the mayor might have a head start.

Politico reports Nutter is helping spearhead the Obama Administration’s campaign for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact that opponents say would give corporations unprecedented powers and rights internationally.

Nutter is one of several big-city mayors pushing the trade agreement on behalf of the Obama Administration Read more »

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