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 »

Philly’s Biggest Losers of 2016

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Now that the last shreds of wrapping paper have been vacuumed up and the good dishes are finally put away, we revisit our time-honored tradition of taking a look back at the year and the losers, miscreants, and ne’er-do-wells it spawned. (For a more optimistic view of Philadelphia, consider Holly Otterbein‘s Biggest Winners of 2016.)

Ed Rendell

The once-lovable former champion of the everyman now spends his time being largely irrelevant and making facepalm-worthy comments in places like the Washington Post. But when you’re pulling in a cool $5,000 each month to do virtually nothing for a casino in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you probably don’t care. Read more »

Is This The End of Porngate?

Pennsylvania Attorney General Bruce Beemer discusses the findings of an independent report on millions of emails shared on office servers.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Bruce Beemer discusses the findings of an independent report on millions of emails shared on office servers.

So this is it, then?

After all of the name-calling, the ruined careers, the lawsuits, and the investigations of previous investigations, Porngate ended on something of an anticlimactic note today, like a long-running circus abruptly leaving town without a promised final performance.

Oh, the saga did reach some kind of a conclusion — outgoing state Attorney General Bruce Beemer released the long-gestating report on “Misuse Of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Government E-mail Communication Systems” compiled by former Maryland attorney general Douglas Gansler and his law firm, BuckleySandler. But the results might not have been what you were expecting.

Read more »

Pa. Paid Lawyer a Grand to Stand on Constitution Center Stage

Constitution Center press conference from December 2015

Benjamin Klubes, far left, stands on the Constitution Center stage as former Maryland AG Doug Gansler holds a press conference on December 1st, 2015 | Photo: Dan McQuade

Nice work if you can get it.

On December 1st of last year, then-Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane held a press conference. She showed a slideshow of pornography, racist image memes and other emails she said were sent on state computers. She announced an independent investigation into the emails led by former Maryland A.G. Doug Gansler.

Kane didn’t take questions, but Gansler — flanked by attorneys from his firm, BuckleySandler — held a press conference for the assembled media at the Constitution Center auditorium. And, thanks to a Right-to-Know request from PennLive’s Wallace McKelvey, we now know that one of those attorneys flanking Gansler made $6,160 to stand on the stage that day, as well as make a call and prep for the press conference. Read more »

Josh Shapiro Is Pennsylvania’s New Attorney General

Josh Shapiro | Photo by Matt Rourke

Josh Shapiro | Photo by Matt Rourke

The race for Pennsylvania attorney general was relatively quiet, as these things go.

The chief task for both candidates — Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican state Sen. John Rafferty — was to establish themselves as calm, rational figures who could chart an uneventful path for the A.G.’s Office without ever veering off into the manic theatrics that came to define the office under the last person elected attorney general: Kathleen Kane.

They passed that test easily — did you see this reasonable debate? — and the race was light on the relentless mudslinging that defined some other races (looking at you, Katie McGinty and Pat Toomey). In the end, Shapiro, the Montgomery County Commissioner who seems to legitimately deserve the “rising star” tag that people love to attach to young politicians, topped Rafferty 53 percent to 47 percent to become the state’s next attorney general. Rafferty called Shapiro to concede the race just before 11:40 p.m. Read more »

The No-Bullshit Guide to the 2016 Philadelphia Presidential Election

Election 2016 Presidential

Clockwise: Josh Shapiro, Hillary Clinton, Pat Toomey, John Rafferty, Donald Trump and Katie McGinty. | Photos by the AP, Donald Derosa under a Creative Commons license, Wikimedia Commons and via Rafferty.

Only two days left.

The most unbelievable election of our lifetimes is, mercifully, coming to an end. The vast majority of you know whether you’re voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. (To those of you who don’t, we have a simple message: ?!?!?!?!) But even political junkies have found it difficult to focus on anything outside of the Black Mirror episode we’re currently inhabiting, er, the presidential race. Worry not. We’ve studied the other elections in Philadelphia so that you don’t have to. They include a Senate race that could determine whether the ninth seat on the Supreme Court stays open, a battle to replace Kathleen Kane, and lots of legislative campaigns. You’ll also be asked a ballot question that’s pretty darn shady.

This is not your typical voter’s guide: It’s the straight-up honest truth about each of the candidates’ pros and cons. Here are your choices.

The offices:

Read more »

Don’t Blame Donald Trump for Donald Trump

Trump photo: Andrew Harnik/AP. Kane: Matt Rourke/AP. Christie: still from NJTV livestream; used under a Creative Commons license

Trump photo: Andrew Harnik/AP. Kane: Matt Rourke/AP. Christie: still from NJTV livestream; used under a Creative Commons license

My boss asked me the other day why I was writing fewer opinion pieces online than I used to. I told him the truth: that I was tired of getting dragged through commenter hell whenever I did. He thought about that for a minute, then nodded: “I can see that.”

Back when the Internet was a baby, I was writing books for a living. When one came out and was posted on Amazon, there would commence a flood of “reviews”: Read more »

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