The Dick Cheney-ization of America

Vice-President Dick Cheney is joined by his openly gay daughter Mary, at right, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, left, as they attend church services in Washington, Monday, September 11, 2006. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Vice-President Dick Cheney is joined by his openly gay daughter Mary, at right, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, left, as they attend church services in Washington, Monday, September 11, 2006. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Back in 2004, then-Vice President Dick Cheney horrified conservatives when, at a town-hall meeting in Iowa, he came out in favor of gay marriage, a stance at odds with then-President George Bush, who at the time was advocating a constitutional amendment to ban such banns. “Lynne and I have a gay daughter,” Cheney announced, “so it’s an issue that our family is very familiar with. … With respect to the question of relationships, my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People ought to be able to be free … ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.” Eleven years later, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed.

What happened in the interim? People like Cheney’s daughter Mary publicly came out and wrote and sang and talked about their lives, and the six degrees of separation Americans liked to pretend existed between them and homosexuality gradually vaporized, became five degrees, then four, then one. If you didn’t have a child or a parent or a friend who was gay, you knew someone who did—someone you were close to. The other nudged closer and closer until she was teaching your class and sitting at your Thanksgiving table and staying at your beach house. And even if you sort of didn’t get what those people did in their bedrooms, so what? They didn’t care what you did in yours. Read more »

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

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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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Charleston Shooting’s Unique Sorrow for Society Hill Congregation

Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia (Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons)

Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia (Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s a difficult day for Reverend Mark Kelly Tyler. Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, wanted for Wednesday’s murder of nine people inside Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, has just been captured, and Tyler, like most Americans, is grieving over the tragic shooting.

But for Tyler and his congregation at the Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Society Hill, it runs deeper.
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The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Loretta Lynch Took on FIFA

360b / Shutterstock.com

Sepp Blatter at a reception for members of the FIFA in the Chanclery in Berlin in 2007. 360b / Shutterstock.com

He sounds like the abbreviation for a painful urological condition. Most Americans think she’s a country singer. That’s only part of why it was so improbable that new U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch took on president Sepp Blatter’s FIFA this week, indicting nine current and former high-ranking officials of international soccer’s governing body for dirty dealing and bribery. Blatter, who’s been with FIFA since 1975, is known worldwide as the most powerful man in sports; he wasn’t named in Wednesday’s indictments, and he was actually reelected to a fifth term on Friday, giving him the opportunity to say in a speech, “I am the president of everybody.”

Except Loretta. Read more »

Trying to Make Sense of Senseless Sheridan and Germanwings Tragedies

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He was 72 years old, a collector of antiques, the well-respected Cooper University Health System CEO, the father of four sons, married 47 years to the same woman. He was “mild-mannered.” He “made a living with his head, not his hands.” He had “a really strong relationship” with his family. That John Sheridan would kill his wife and then himself in their suburban New Jersey bedroom was so unthinkable that those sons hired their own forensic pathologist and staved off a declaration of their father’s cause of death for six long months, sure there had to be another explanation. An antiques dealer who knew Sheridan called the notion that he’d killed himself “ridiculous.” “If you’re going to tell me John did it, it was murder-suicide, then tell me why,” the wife’s brother challenged the Inquirer, in a story published hours before the Somerset County prosecutor’s office finally ruled the tragedy just that.

He was 27 and lived in a middle-class third-floor apartment in Düsseldorf, Germany. A neighbor said he was “very shy.” People who saw him recently “said he didn’t appear to be burdened.” Those who knew him said he was “quiet, pleasant and responsible,” according to the Wall Street Journal — right up until Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit of the Germanwings plane they were flying and plowed it into a mountainside.

Last week was a helluva week for the meek and mild. Read more »

Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters: A Tribute

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Last weekend, a famous Philadelphian died. He was a dentist. But David Bresler — of Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters fame — was definitely famous locally. Those ads are everywhere. Even at the Phillies game, you run into ads for his pediatric dentistry chain. And look how cool it seems!

I guess this is the part of my article where I publicly shame my parents for not taking me to Doc Bresler’s. I went to some dentist with a Ms. Pac-Man machine in the waiting room, but that was about it. But Bresler’s place is bumpin’.

Bresler, 61, died of complications from surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center. (Per the Inquirer obit, he also “had an extensive collection of beer memorabilia, ‘which is ironic since he never had a beer in his life,’ his family said.”) And I knew Doc Bresler despite never seeing him, and that’s because of his infomercial. I don’t remember where it aired — Channel 48, probably — but his ad is up there in the great pantheon of awesome Philly infomercials along with TNT Amusements and Club Risqué. Read more »

Body Pulled from SUV That Plunged Into Schuylkill

The body of an unidentified woman has been pulled from an SUV that plunged into the Schuylkill around noon today.

Fox 29 reports: “Witnesses say they saw the SUV heading toward the river down Hunting Park Avenue at a high rate of speed. They said the vehicle crossed Kelly Drive and smashed through a wall before hitting the water and eventually submerging.”

It took rescue units an hour to recover the vehicle after it entered the river.

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