News and views on current affairs, politics, sports and whatever else I feel like.


Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

Today is a day for celebrating all that is great about our country. It’s natural beauty. It’s freedoms, and those who put so much on the line to defend those freedoms. The opportunity it provides for success.

Whether you’re on a beach (as I am while writing this), hiking in mountains, attending a barbecue or watching fireworks, be grateful for what makes this country so wonderful and what has kept it going for 234 years.

Happy Birthday America!


A pleasant evening on the Piazza

Sorry for the long absence. It’s been a busy first half of 2010 for Philly Phoughts. I started a new job at the beginning of February. I also completed another two semesters of grad school, along with a summer session course that ended Monday. I finally have some down time, so I’m back at this, hopefully for good this time.

Tonight, I’m writing from The Piazza in Northern Liberties. This neighborhood just northeast of Center City has been the site of a great deal of urban renewal the last few years that has turned it into one of the city’s rising star neighborhoods. Among the construction projects is The Piazza, a set of new apartment buildings next to the old Schmidt’s Brewery with a courtyard in between. This courtyard includes restaurants, shops, picnic tables, a concert stage and a large video screen.

In other words, it’s a great place to spend a gorgeous summer evening such as this one.

The rest of this neighborhood is laden with a number of nice restaurants and small shops. Revitalized neighborhoods such as Northern Liberties will only help Philadelphia become a more popular city to live in.


Philly Phoughts Management wishes all of you a Merry Christmas!


Philly Phoughts Management wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re travelling anywhere today, have a safe trip!

Why Palin gets piled-on

I haven’t posted in a while. And with Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue coming out this week, there is certainly plenty for political pundits to analyze and discuss.

Via one of my fellow bloggers, I read a column by Andrew Malcolm in the Los Angeles Times that ponders the question of why Sarah Palin inspires so much hatred on the part of her opponents. Is it simply her beliefs themselves? Is it sheer snobishness? Do her opponents, especially her female opponents, somehow feel threatened by her?

Those probably have something to do with it. But I think most of the issue is not Sarah Palin’s beliefs themselves, but the way she conveys them. The Sarah Palin we’ve seen since John McCain tabbed her to be his running mate 15 months ago, the one some of whose fans have tabbed “the female Ronald Reagan,” has been very Un-Reagan-like in her style.

Simply put, she’s been a divider, not a uniter.

Much like Nancy Pelosi and (to an extent) Hillary Clinton on the left, Sarah Palin is very in-your-face with her beliefs and values, in many ways demonizing those who don’t march in lockstep with her. This attitude gets under her opponents’ skin, so when she has a moment of vulnerability (the Couric interview, etc.), they’re more than happy to exploit it.

Reagan espoused his values in a more genteel, welcoming way. Reagan understood that everybody wasn’t going to agree with him on every part of his ideology. But he based his message on a few key non-divisive issues that unified Americans of many persuasions. That’s how he won over the Reagan Democrats (of course, Jimmy Carter being the worst President of the last 60 years helped his cause).

Sarah Palin, however, went on the campaign trail last year talking about “Real Americans” and questioning people’s patriotism and belief in their country’s values. The implication was that anyone who didn’t believe in her brand of conservatism was somehow less of an American. Maybe that wasn’t her intent. But between her campaign style and some of the words that she said and some of the things that happened at her rallies, that’s how it came across. And while it fired up her party’s base, it equally galvanized her opponent’s base against her.

I don’t recall Reagan inspiring that kind of divisiveness. I don’t recall him questioning Jimmy Carter’s patriotism or accusing Walter Mondale of palling around with terrorists. The closest I can recall Reagan coming to that was his “Welfare Queen” remark during his failed 1976 primary campaign. Reagan unified.

If Sarah Palin or any other Republican wants to win next year or in 2012, they need to run the type of campaign that Reagan did, and that Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell did this year. Espouse conservative principles, but do so based on the issues of the day in your constituency. Present a clear alternative to your opponent, but don’t be a jerk about it. And don’t focus simply on pandering to your base with culture war rhetoric. Reagan, Christie and McDonnell didn’t win because of their stances on abortion, gay marriage and gun rights.

This is how Sarah Palin took down Frank Murkowski and the Republican establishment in Alaska to become Governor in 2006. It’s how she had approval ratings of close to 90% before McCain came calling. And it’s what she’ll have to get back to if she’s going to have any chance of overcoming her very sudden and clumsy resignation this past summer and having a political future.

Who needs sun? Come have some healthy fun!

Come out to the Mercy Eastwick Wellness Center (2821 Island Avenue in SW Philadelphia) between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday for the MPower Yourself Health and Wellness Expo, presented by Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania, NBC10, ESPN Radio 950 and Power99. Get free health screenings, attend free workshops on important health issues, meet some of your favorite media personalities and have a fun day with the whole family. Best of all, it’s all free, from the parking to the screenings to the workshops to the giveaways.

The event will take place under a tent, so it will happen rain or shine on Saturday.



It wouldn’t have been surprising even if the Minnesota Twins hadn’t had to play a 12-inning, winner-take-all tiebreaker game less than 24 hours before just to get there. Since they did, their 7-2 loss to the Yankees last night in Game 1 of the ALDS was expected, at least by me.

Derek Jeter hit a two-run home run. C.C. Sabathia wasn’t great, but he was good enough in allowing only two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Even A-Rod, not exactly known for being clutch, got a pair of RBI hits.

Obama invites cabinet, congressmen for some basketball

President Obama is apparently inviting his cabinet and congressmen over to play on his basketball court at the White House tomorrow night.

Per the linked story, the list of invitees includes Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Representative Mike Arcuri (D-NY), Representative John Boccieri (D-OH), Representative Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Representative Baron Hill (D-IN),
Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA), Representative Frank Kratovil (D-MD), Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA), Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) and Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC).

Do Eric Cantor, John Boehner and Joe “You Lie!” Wilson have any game?

Phils leave it to Lee

Getty Images Photo from Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

The bullpen is the Phillies’ biggest question entering the playoffs. But the bullpen is a moot point when your starting pitcher delivers the way Cliff Lee did today.

Lee pitched a complete-game six-hitter in the Phillies’ 5-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of their National League Division Series.  Lee came within one strike of a shutout in his first career playoff start. He also got a hit and stole a base.

Bar Ferdinand

Northern Liberties is one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods in Philadelphia. There are certainly still some ugly spots, but it is quickly becoming trendier. And there are some good restaurants.

I visited one of them tonight – Bar Ferdinand. The name of the game there is Tapas – small, appetizer-sized spanish dishes. They also serve paella, but tapas are their specialty. Makes for a great happy hour spot or for dinner, if you’re willing to make one out of tapas. A very good meal and, compared to some of the other nice restaurants in Philly, a fair price.