Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9:48 PM
Workmen pick a cash register off the sidewalk in front of smashed store, wrecked during a wild night of looting and rioting in North Philadelphia . Rioting that ended in injuries to scores and widespread property damage (AP)

Thursday night at 9:45 p.m. will mark exactly 50 years since the worst urban riot in modern Philadelphia history. On the front page of today's Daily News, you can read my magazine-style "long read" on how the events of late August 1964 went down on Columbia Avenue (since re-named Cecil B.Moore Avenue) , why it happened...and whether it can happen again.

Here's a snippet:

Richard Watson still remembers the moment he woke up.

Will Bunch @ 9:48 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:52 PM
Many missed the point of Hillary Clinton's interview in the Atlantic: She was being critical of Bush, not Obama. (Associated Press)
Will Bunch @ 6:52 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 2:39 PM

1989:

2014:


Will Bunch @ 2:39 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, August 21, 2014, 2:45 PM

It turns out that getting health insurance is better than getting a bucket of cold ice dumped on your head. So much so that Sen. Mark Pryor -- a Democrat running to save his job in a deep red state that's gone mostly Republican in the last generation -- is running on it, albeit without the "O" word:

The ad is backed by a significant, six-figure statewide buy, I’m told. The spot tells the story of Pryor’s own battle with cancer, and features the Senator sitting alongside his father, David Pryor:

DAVID: When Mark was diagnosed with cancer, we thought we might lose him.

Will Bunch @ 2:45 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 3:24 PM
FILE - This file photo posted on the website freejamesfoley.org shows journalist James Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in July, 2012.In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP Photo/freejamesfoley.org, Nicole Tung, File) NO SALES

The humanity amid the heartbreak is staggering:

“There is no sense to be made of senselessness; you cannot find any kind of sanity in insanity,” the Rev. Paul Gausse told parishioners during his homily. “War begets war, the only answer is in prayer.

Gausse told the Roman Catholic congregation that he had joined Foley's parents, Diane and John Foley, at their home in Rochester on Tuesday night. As he was leaving, he said, Diane Foley turned to him: “She said, ‘Father pray for me that I don’t become bitter. I don’t want to hate.’ That’s a woman of deep faith.”

Will Bunch @ 3:24 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 5:22 PM
Men walk away from a cloud of tear gas during a protest Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. Brown's shooting has sparked more than a week of protests, riots and looting in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Remember "gassing his own people"? That's what George W. Bush said about Saddam Hussein, and it was part of his case for invading Iraq. But of course, there's gas and then there's gas: Even as a weapon, some gases are worse than others. What about tear gas, which the police in Ferguson, Mo., seem to be using (no pun intended) liberally? Is all tear gas the same? And when is it safe to use against protesters...or those breaking the law?

Philadelphia-based freelance journalist Joanne Stocker, along with Robin Jacks, are here to raise some very uncomfortable questions:

Social media reporting during the Arab Spring brought new evidence of expired tear gas sales, drawing criticism from human rights organizations. Amnesty International, in particular, criticized the United States for selling military leftovers to oppressive governments such as Egypt's and Bahrain's. Tear gas has not been used this wantonly in an American city in modern times; even its deployment against WTO protesters in 1999 and Occupy Oakland in 2011 was isolated and largely away from residential areas. Chemical munitions deployed in residential areas can be deadly: Physicians for Human Rights, an independent organization, recorded 34 tear gas related deaths in Bahrain from 2011 to 2012, many from inhalation in close or confined spaces.


Will Bunch @ 5:22 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, August 18, 2014, 8:38 PM
(Jim Lo Scalzo)

One of the underlying issues in...that place that I said I wasn't going to blog about tonight...is the lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution. Denying people their right to gather in the public square and air their grievances against the government, stifling speech and arresting journalists (as happened again tonight, in that place) and other observers violates the protections that we were supposedly granted in the Bill of Rights. But the truth is that fundamental disrespect for the rule of law runs deeper.

In Pennsylvania, we've been shredding our own state Constitution -- a historic and much revered document in its own right -- for years. In 2013, I noted that our current governor, Tom Corbett, has been so abusive to key provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution that you could even make a case -- morally, not politically -- for his impeachment. One of the worst offenses, I argued, was his fracking policies that violate the state's guarantee of clean water and clean air for all citizens.

As they like to say on the website Upworthy...you won't believe what happened next:

Will Bunch @ 8:38 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, August 18, 2014, 3:49 PM

OK, it's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, so maybe the more appropriate headline would have been "Sky hook." That said, the former NBA star and iconoclastic public intellectual has something to say about race -- and, more importantly, class -- relations in America, and it's worth a read. I don't agree with everything -- the headline, "The Coming Race War Won't Be About Race," seems aimed more at getting Web clicks than describing what the article actually says. But I agree with 95 percent of it -- here's a taste:

I’m not saying the protests in Ferguson aren’t justified—they are. In fact, we need more protests across the country. Where’s our Kent State? What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest? Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change. The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.

Otherwise, all we’re going to get is what we got out of Ferguson: a bunch of politicians and celebrities expressing sympathy and outrage. If we don’t have a specific agenda—a list of exactly what we want to change and how—we will be gathering over and over again beside the dead bodies of our murdered children, parents, and neighbors.

Will Bunch @ 3:49 PM  Permalink | 0
About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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