2016 DNC, Day 3: We’re Halfway Through!

2016 DNC

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Congrats, Philly! We’re halfway through the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Here’s what happened yesterday: 

In the biggest news of the night, Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman nominated for president by a major party, much to the frustration of a group of delegates who held a protest in the media tent outside the Wells Fargo Center shortly after. Bill Clinton called his wife “the best darn change-maker I have ever known” and bashed the Republican National Convention in his speech. Read more »

Michelle Obama Saved the DNC Last Night

Michelle Obama speaking last night at the DNC. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Michelle Obama speaking last night at the DNC. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP

After a day of mild unruliness, First Lady Michelle Obama swooped in to save the Democratic National Convention last night.

Around 10 p.m., she strolled onto the big blue stage and graced the audience with a speech that delivered a confident, no-nonsense, proud and inspiring vision. The crowd went wild. The internet exploded. And really, did we expect anything less?

Obama pointed toward the future – one with Hillary Clinton – and nodded to the achievements of the nation’s past.

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters, two beautiful and intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn,” Obama said to a teary-eyed crowd. Read more »

Here Are the Really Big Names Speaking at the DNC

Hillary Clinton accompanied by Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, smiles while speaking as Sanders endorses Clinton at a rally at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

Hillary Clinton accompanied by Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, smiles while speaking as Sanders endorses Clinton at a rally at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

The speaker lineup for the DNC is starting to take shape, and it’s already stacked.

The Clinton campaign just announced the headlining speakers for this month’s convention. The speakers are organized around different themes for each day. Read more »

SCOTUS Deadlock on Obama’s Immigration Plan: Shameful and Wrong

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On November 20, 2014, Philadelphians at Taquitos de Puebla watched President Obama announce his plan to provide deportation relief to undocumented immigrants. | Photos by Sabrina Vourvoulias

One of my most vivid memories in recent years is of the evening of November 20th, 2014, when I was in an overcrowded South Philly eatery watching television. President Barack Obama was on the air, announcing that he was taking executive action to offer temporary deportation relief to an estimated 4 million undocumented people via programs that helped undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (known was “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans,” or DAPA) as well as undocumented people who arrived in the country before age 16 (extended “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA+).

Inside Taquitos de Puebla on 9th Street, the atmosphere was electric with hope. Those who qualified would be able to get out of a shadow economy that relies on their labor without according them any protections, and conduct their daily lives without the soul-crushing fear that at any moment agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could swoop down to deport them.

Almost immediately, the president’s executive actions were challenged legally, and for two years those people with whom I had celebrated that November night carefully banked their hopes and waited as the legal case wound its way through the lower courts to the Supreme Court.

This Thursday, those hopes were dashed after the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on the issue, a non-decision that effectively lets the lower court’s injunction stand. Read more »

Philly Latino Activists: Obama Is “Deporter-in-Chief”

People assemble for a press conference at Juntos in response to today's Supreme Court ruling on immigration

Members of the Latino immigrant community appear at a press conference decrying today’s Supreme Court ruling on Obama’s immigration program.

According to Philadelphia’s Latino immigrant activists, Barack Obama’s primary legacy from his eight years in office can be summed up in three words: Deporter in chief.

Activists and organizers today gathered at Juntos in South Philly to comment on today’s split ruling from the Supreme Court on President Obama’s immigration policy.

The court actually ruled on a program Obama and immigration activists support today. In a one-sentence decision — “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court” — the court announced it had split, 4-all, which means the Obama administration will not be able to implement its immigration plans before the end of his term. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: President Obama Predicts That AIDS Can Be Ended By 2030

World AIDS Day

President Obama reflects on 35 years of HIV/AIDS in America.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama issued a public statement acknowledging the 35th anniversary of The Center for Disease Control’s first report on HIV/AIDS in America. “The past 35 years tell a story that bends from uncertainty, fear, and loss toward resilience, innovation, and hope,” Obama said. “Over these 35 years, American ingenuity and leadership has shaped the world’s response to this crisis.” The President also mentioned his implementation of the nation’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy with updates extended through 2020. And while growing numbers have impacted sections of the community, he also acknowledged that “the global community is committed to ending this epidemic by 2030.” “While there is more work to do — the economically disadvantaged; gay and bisexual men, especially those who are young and Black; women of color; and transgender women all continue to face huge disparities,” Obama added. “I’m confident that if we build upon the steps we’ve taken, we can finish the job.” Read more »

Fallen Philly Cop Robert Wilson Honored with Medal of Valor

President Barack Obama presents Constance Wilson, grandmother of fallen Philadelphia Police Department Sgt, Robert Wilson III with his Medal of Valor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2016. Photo | Carolyn Kaster, AP

President Barack Obama presents Constance Wilson, grandmother of fallen Philadelphia Police Department Sgt, Robert Wilson III with his Medal of Valor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2016. Photo | Carolyn Kaster, AP

The White House ceremony was nice, but oh, how Sgt. Robert Wilson‘s family wishes they hadn’t needed to be there for it.

President Barack Obama bestowed Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor awards today on 13 police officers for having displayed selfless bravery in the face of danger. Wilson was the first member of the Philadelphia Police Department to be tapped for the honor; he was the only honoree to receive the award posthumously.

Wilson, 30, was killed in a gun battle with two armed robbers that erupted inside a North Philly GameStop on March 5, 2015. Wilson had stopped at the store, Obama noted, to buy a present for his then-8-year-old son, who had done well at school. Brothers Ramon Williams and Carlton Hipps were charged with Wilson’s murder, but have yet to go to trial.

Read more »

The Philly Area Schools That Rejected Barack Obama’s and Tom Hanks’ College Applications

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

I was reading something the other day — I can’t remember what, because the Internet has made reading 80,000 things a day way too easy — in which the author commented snidely on adults who remember their SAT scores. I flushed with embarrassment, because, naturally, I remember my SAT scores. (They were pretty good.) In my experience, most people remember their SAT scores, just like they remember the colleges that rejected their applications (okay for you, Princeton; who’d want to go to Ted Cruz’s college, anyway?) for the rest of their lives.

That may be why I, um, clicked through recently to a slideshow that revealed what colleges rejected some Very Famous People, and thereby learned that I’m in great company. Tina Fey was also rejected by Princeton. (OMG, she and Lyin’ Ted would have been in the same class!John Kerry, Tom Brokow, Matt Groening and Meredith Vieira were rejected by Harvard. (Vieira reports she was “devastated.”) Katie Couric was turned down by Smith. (Who gets turned down by Smith?) Read more »

Only One Philly Ward Liked Both Obama and Bernie

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Here’s a strange nugget from yesterday’s primary results: 6 out of the 7 wards* where a majority of voters cast ballots for Bernie Sanders … went for Hillary Clinton back in 2008.  In some cases, the change between elections was staggering.

Take the three most-decidedly pro-Sanders wards: 31, 18 — which are neighboring wards covering the Fishtown/Port Richmond area — and 1, which connects Pennsport and East Passyunk (ed note: It’s where I voted). Look at the disparity in Clinton votes during the past two contested Democratic primaries within each of those blocs: Read more »

Sen. Toomey to Meet with Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee

Pat Toomey; Merrick Garland

Pat Toomey (left) says he’ll meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but he won’t vote to confirm him.

Pat Toomey has taken a beating in the wake of Merrick Garland‘s nomination to the Supreme Court. His Twitter mentions are a series of jabs from Democrats tweeting #DoYourJob. He’s taken almost a month of attacks from the three primary Democrats vying for his senate seat.

That’s because Toomey has been steadfast in his decision for the last month: He’s not going to vote for Garland, saying it should be up to the next president. After Garland was nominated, Toomey said he wouldn’t even meet with him. But, today, Toomey released a statement changing his mind: He would meet with Garland.

But don’t get too excited, Democrats. Toomey still isn’t voting for Garland’s confirmation. He said in a statement: Read more »

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