Do They Still Make Republicans Like Tom Ridge?

Tom Ridge. Photograph by Shawn Thew

Tom Ridge. Photograph by Matt Stanley

On election night, as the foreign country around him lay sleeping, Tom Ridge stayed up all night, watching TV. “I wanted to know who my president was going to be,” he says.

Ridge was all alone in a hotel room in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, and he felt surprised but not shocked when the race was called in favor of Donald Trump. Ridge is a former military man and former governor of Pennsylvania — he viewed the crash site at Shanksville on 9/11 — and served as the nation’s first Secretary of Homeland Security. He’d been prepared for Trump’s victory by a trip he’d made back home, to Erie, prior to the election.

“I’d never seen that level of engagement and support,” he says, “for any presidential candidate.” Read more »

Philly Police and Protesters Show the World How It’s Done

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Any time thousands of protesters pour into the streets of a city, very bad things can happen, as history has shown us time and time again. But on Thursday, Philadelphians once again proved that we know how to do it right.

People love to argue about crowd sizes, it seems, but suffice it to say there were a lot of shouting, chanting, angry people in Center City to protest Donald Trump and the Republican leaders who were holed up at the Loews Hotel for much of the day. At least 5,000.

And there were a ton of police officers. Everywhere. There were uniformed cops lined up around the sea of protesters. There were bike cops. There were, I’m sure, plenty of undercover cops.

There were so many cops that one protester told me she found it unnerving. She told me that she only saw three uniformed police officers during the big women’s march in Washington, D.C. I found that to be a pretty suspicious claim, but … I got her point. Cops galore.

But one thing there wasn’t on Thursday: problems.

According to the Philadelphia Police Department, there were zero — yes, zero — protest-related arrests on Thursday. And only one — yes, one — written citation. That was for disorderly conduct. Big whoop. That person will probably pay a small fine and be done with it.

Oh, there were a handful of “clashes” between cops and protesters.

At 13th and Market, cops grabbed a young masked guy, all clad in black. As I held my camera probably too close to the action, a couple of the cops asked me very politely to step back a bit. (I hadn’t identified myself as a member of the press and wore no press credentials, by the way.) And they spoke to the man quietly and politely as well.

In the end, they told the guy to scram and that if he wanted them to return the can of spray paint they found in his bag, he was free to go to the police station to pick it up. The cop in charge also calmly told him to tell his buds to protest all they want but that they’re going to have a problem if they insist on tagging the city. Fair enough. One anti-Trump protester told the head cop that he’d be happy to go to court as a witness on behalf if the police if the kid tried to claim he was roughed up.

And in all my conversations with friends and colleagues and all my searches through the social media feeds of folks at the protest, I found only two other anecdotes of significance, and barely that. In one, shield-assisted cops were seen pushing back on a crowd. In the other:

“I saw one police officer come out of nowhere and use his shoulder to destroy this kid who had gone through a police line,” wrote one Philadelphia man who attended the protest. “No one noticed but I thought it was excessive. The office was … easily twice the kid’s size. I thought it was a bully move and almost escalated the situation, so I was disappointed …”

We’ve never heard of a person being destroyed by a shoulder, but cool.

In the end, no broken windows. No reports of tear gassing, macing, or stun-gunning. No arrests. No videos of cops or protesters behaving badly — well, assuming you’re not offended by protesters chanting “asshole” over and over again or vagina-emblazoned posters and posters declaring “FUCK TRUMP.”

All in all, a great day for Philadelphia. Well, apart from the whole Donald-Trump-is-still-in-the-White-House business.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter

PPA Refused to Ticket Republican Senator’s Illegally Parked Car

The driver for the Republican senator talks a PPA agent out of giving him a ticket for being parked illegally. (Note that the Counter Terrorism truck in the back had nothing to do with this exchange. It was just driving by.)

The driver for the Republican senator talks the PPA agent out of giving him a ticket for being parked illegally. (Note that the Counter Terrorism truck in the back had nothing to do with this exchange. It was just driving by.)

If your car is parked in a no-stopping zone in Center City, you will, no doubt, get a $51 ticket. Your car might even be towed. But if you’re a Republican senator of the United States, well, the rules are apparently just a little bit different.

On Wednesday evening, as I was in Center City to cover the protesters surrounding the Republican retreat at the Loews Hotel, I saw a Philadelphia Parking Authority agent working his way up the 1400 block of Sansom Street. (Yes, the same PPA that has long been a Republican patronage haven in Philadelphia.)

As he lumbered along, the agent encountered an illegally parked orange Jeep Wrangler JK. It was in a clearly marked no-stopping zone across the street from the side entrance of the Union League. (Yes, the same Union League that has been a Republican stiff-shirted haven for many years.) Read more »

What Will Peyton Manning Tell the GOP in Philly This Week?

Peyton Manning

Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning is coming to Philadelphia.

Unfortunately, he’s not here to tutor Carson Wentz. But according to Politico Playbook, the former Colts and Broncos quarterback will speak at the GOP retreat at the Loews Hotel in Center City.

The retreat starts tomorrow and continues through Friday morning. President Trump will be in attendance. As Trump has publicly weighed in on Joe Flacco being an elite quarterback in the past, he must think Peyton is the Greatest of All Time. Read more »

A Gay Guide to the Republican Presidential Debate

Via Shutterstock

Via Shutterstock

Fox News revealed their roster for the first Republican Presidential Debate this Thursday, and the crew includes Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich. So, what exactly have these candidates said about the LGBT community? We decided to do the homework for you and profile where the candidates stand on LGBT rights and gay folks in general (Hint: It’s not good).

Donald Trump: GLAAD had an entire campaign against the candidate, called “Tune Out Trump,” in regards to his anti-gay views and his former television show The Apprentice. Even when recently pressed during an interview on CNN about his personal lack of “traditional marriages,” Trump continued to state, “I am just…I’m for traditional marriage.”

Jeb Bush: Of all of the Republican candidates, Bush seems to be the “lesser of two evils” when it comes to LGBT rights. We reported several weeks ago that, during a rally in San Francisco, Bush told a gay audience member, “I don’t think you should be discriminated [against] because of your sexual orientation. Period. Over and out…I think this should be done state-by-state. I totally agree with that.” Read more »

Powerful GOP Machine Suffers a Major Blow in Delco’s Special Election

From left to right, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Paul Mullen and Lisa Esler.

From left to right, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Paul Mullen and Lisa Esler.

There was a lot going for Republican Paul Mullen in the special election in Delaware County’s 161st House District.

Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district. The GOP machine also rules supreme in Delaware County, where a Democrat has not won a County Council seat for decades. And yet, Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky won the election Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Read more »

Hope and Change at Last: Why a Republican Senate Will Be Good for America

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This is an article that I know full well most of you don’t give two dung heaps about — the midterm elections.

I know this because poll after poll shows that only half of the American public are interested in the upcoming election and about 10 percent of them are lying. In the last 10 midterm elections, voter turnout has been consistently around 40 percent.

The big national story in Tuesday’s voting will be the fate of the United States Senate. It is easy to lose interest in that narrative locally because our two local Senators up for re-election, Chris Coons (D-DE) and Corey Booker (D-NJ), are expected to coast to victory, as our area becomes bluer and bluer.

Of course, we have the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial election and there have been some signs that Republican Incumbent Tom Corbett is gaining ground. But President Obama’s campaign visit to Temple University on behalf of challenger Tom Wolfe is a sure sign that the Democrats believe they have the race in the bag. The President has only been campaigning for candidates who are far ahead in the polls. Candidates in competitive races don’t want the President anywhere near their campaigns, and some have even refused admitting to voting for the President in the last election.

Here’s why you should care more about the future of the Unite States Senate.

Read more »

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