I’m a fairly regular presence on Facebook. This is a bit surprising since I’m not a fan of technology and resisted the onslaught of the internet, Microsoft and anything that had a chip/gigabyte/portal. When my boss first announced that we were getting rid of our IBM Selectrics and moving to word processors, I protested mightily. Waving pieces of carbon paper in his face I recall saying something along the lines of “and what do you want me to do with the 20 boxes of this we have in the storage room?” Wisely, I did not give him much of an opportunity to tell me what to do with…or where to put…it.
Eventually I got used to the change, and even came to like a world without “White-Out.” But email was a tough sell for me since I missed the homespun charm of handwritten notes, so you can imagine my initial opposition to social media. It seemed very sterile to me, this attempt to make “virtual” friendships across the cyber miles.
It never occurred to me that Mark Zuckerberg had actually found a way to bring me a little closer to myself.
Even though we haven't yet dug into the turkey, stuffing and other 'fixins,' and despite the fact that the Jewish revelers of the Delaware Valley have yet to feast on those delicious latkes (which, ironically, they can put on the plate alongside of the gobbler since both the Pilgrims and the Maccabees are celebrating together this year) there's another feast you should all be thinking about hitting this holiday season. Dom Giordano, radio eminence extraordinaire, proud member of the Daily News opinion team and prouder product of Philadelphia (South Philly roots and all) will be hosting his annual "Feast of the Seven Fishes" on Monday, December 16th at Cescaphe. The event runs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm which, frankly, doesn't seem to be enough time given the menu, which can be accessed here: philadelphia.cbslocal.com/feast-of-the-seven-fishes. Do you like Hand Rolled Mozzarella Stuffed with Prosciutto, Basil and Roasted Peppers? Done. Fancy some Tri-Colored Tortellini with four cheeses? It's on there. How about Blue Cheese, Bacon and Rosemary Quiche? You got it (and yes, there is a lot of cheese and yes, this is an Italian meal...) In addition to the amazing fare, you will be helping out some very worthy causes, including Catholic Charities and the Archbishop's Christmas Benefit for Children. And the chance to spend an evening with the proudest example of a Philly boy who never forgot his (tasty) roots is the cherry on top of the cassata. Tickets are $85.00 per person. For more information, click on the link above. Divertitevi!
This Tuesday, September 17, is the 226th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution. It is also, by strange coincidence, the 26th anniversary of my swearing-in as an attorney. It's probably for this reason that I have a particular reverence for the blueprint of our democracy. That, and the fact that I got to toast both my law license and the Founders with some bubbly provided by my then-boss, the judge. Unfortunately, not every female attorney of a certain vintage (to remain with a theme) has the same sort of reverence for the Constitution. Yes, I'm referring to Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania's Attorney General. Kathleen and I actually have a good bit in common. We both have Irish blood flowing through the veins. We both have a tendency to annoy people who disagree with us. We both have Temple roots, she having attended the law school and I being the only one in my family of four lawyers who didn’t get a degree from Owls' Nest U. And at a slightly more superficial level, we apparently both watched a lot of sitcoms in our callow, 70s youth because both she and I sport hairdos right out of the Brady Bunch. But there is at least one important area in which Kathleen and I part company, and that is our view of what the Constitution demands. To me, that marginally important decision, Marbury v. Madison, drew a bright line in the sand between the duties of the judiciary, and everybody else (including attorneys general.) In other words, judges determine what the law is, and whether it is constitutional. Everybody else has to either “suckus it uppus” (legal Latin is so much fun) or petition the courts or legislatures for change. Kathleen decided that she disagreed, and refused to defend Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act because she, in her omniscience, feels that it is "unconstitutional." This is old news, of course, and I probably wouldn't have been thinking of the AG were it not for another brazen move that she made this past week. In response to public pressure, mostly from environmentalists who are very good at cutting away pounds of flesh from every functioning business in the country, Kathleen decided to file criminal charges against XTO, a Marcellus Shale natural gas driller. In July, the company settled federal civil charges in the wake of the illegal discharge of toxic wastewater by paying a fine and implementing an improved plan for waste management. But that wasn't enough for Kathleen, who saw this as an opportunity to tramp even more firmly upon the ever-more-inevitable grave of Governor Corbett, a big fracking booster. She announced this week that she was going to file criminal charges against the company even where there was no evidence of criminal activity, or the intent to commit a crime. Kathleen's office responded by saying that she didn't need to show "intent" in order to go after XTO. This should be news to the Founders, who devised a little thing called due process of law. And while there are some cases where strict liability subjects someone to criminal charges (for example, statutory rape) it's hard to see how this is one of them. Unless, of course, you think that trying to attract businesses to a state with an already depressed economy is a crime. Then again, Kathleen doesn't seem to worry too much about constitutional niceties.
Even though I've lived in Delaware County for most of my 51 years, I've spent a far greater portion of my life in Montgomery County. I attended what I like to call the Paoli Local Educational System, including a decade at Merion Mercy in Lower Merion, four years dancing around the maypole in Bryn Mawr and three years sweating it out at Villanova Law. I also taught at the Haverford School, spent Saturdays roaming around Ardmore's Suburban square and heading up to Norristown when legal circumstance required. In short, I know the place inside and out and think of it as much an extension of 'home' as Havertown or South Philly. And that's why I'm not too happy with one if the homeboys. Registrar of Wills D. Bruce Hanes woke up one morning this week and heard voices telling him that he's now a judge, and that he is more than qualified to assess the constitutionality of Pennsylvania laws. Either that or a burning bush appeared in his living room and ordered him to ignore the law against same sex marriage and to issue licenses to every Madam and Eve that came asking. Many have cheered his enlightened approach to anarchy. But I hope he's consistent. That's why I'm planning to head up to my old stomping grounds and seek a marriage license so I can get hitched with my beloved goldfish, Antonin Scale-ia. That's against the law, too. But hey, whatever.
Thirty some years ago, I woke up with the roosters (the kind that crop up on a regular basis in suburban Havertown) and watched as a radiant Diana married her noble prince. The fact that she was a full six months older than me added a certain magic to the affair, and even Charles looked unusually dashing that day. Of course, it could have been the fact that I was sleep-deprived. Actually, that could be the only reason he looked vaguely attractive. A few years later, the not-so-happy-but-we-didn’t-know-it-yet couple produced a sweet little thing named William, and the fairy tale seemed complete. And indeed it was a fairy tale, but not of the Disney variety. While Walt and crew sanitized the stories of the Little Mermaid and the Snow Queen and Cinderella, those who actually had read Grimm and Anderson knew that happily ever after only comes ‘after’ a lot of blood, strife and betrayal. It also counts death among the sordid details. And the saddest of all deaths was that of the Princess of Wales, who-because of her own bad judgment and the merciless demands of a public life-left the earth far too soon. Now we have another chapter being written, filed under “second chances.” Little Prince William grew into an admirable young man, and he found a lovely Cinderella to fit the pre-fabricated shoe. Together, they seem happy (although how anyone could be happy in the hats that poor girl has to wear is a mystery.) And they have written a lovely paragraph in the story that began on an April day several short years ago when Kate of Cambridge wore the dress that launched a thousand copies. A little baby, nameless as yet, was born on July 22nd. He will one day become King, and continue the story started centuries ago by his ancestors. Some think it’s chic to make fun of our obsession with this family. It makes them feel superior, I suppose. But as a woman who dragged herself out of bed in the darkness of a July morning many years ago to watch a commoner marry her prince, I have no problem wishing the newest addition to the fairy tale a warm and eager welcome. For his sake, I hope there’s a lot of “happily” in the “ever after.”
I like Marty Moss Coane and her legendary local broadcast, Radio Times. About a decade ago, before I became known as the Sarah Palin of Philly.com, I even had the pleasure of being interviewed by Marty about immigration reform (which we still don't have, thanks to our dysfunctional Congressional family.) Marty is a classy chick.
However. Radio Times recently bungled a segment on the Kermit Godnell verdict, acting more like a forum for Planned Parenthood than a legitimate source of unbiased information. Marty chose only one guest to interview, a writer by the name of Tara Murtha who writes about 'social justice' issues for Philadphia Weekly. Ms. Murtha's bias is clear to anyone who googles her name: she has disdain for the right to life movement which she sometimes refers to, too cutely by a mile 'anti-choice.' And guess what? That's fine for an oped columnist (Lord knows I've laid it on pretty thick from the other side of the barricade.
The thing is, I've never pretended to be a journalist. On 'Inside Story' they bill me as an 'attorney/columnist' which is exactly the right order. Ms Murtha, an award-winning writer, is not an unbiased observer of the abortion debate. Therefore, Marty would have displayed a bit more balance had she either gotten someone from the other side to supplement Tara's commentary, or had she simply chosen an unbiased journalist to give her 'just the facts, Ma'am.'
And so comes word that the Boy Scouts and the City of Philadelphia have reached a settlement. The Scouts will pocket the 800 or so thousand dollars due them as a result of the most abusive of abusive processes pursued by the LGBT lobby, and the City will be able to erase their presence from the municipal landscape. Both sides will be able to claim victory, with the Scouts leaving of their own accord in dignity and with a nice chunk of city change, while Mayor Nutter and the lynch mob of politically correct bullies that have persecuted the Scouts for years finally able to walk by that palace on the Parkway without holding their noses. It matters not that here, in this the birthplace of all that is noble in our civic identity a cabal of mean-spirited men and women, drunk on their own sense of entitlement and power coerced a lawful entity which was conducting a valuable activity to break camp after a century. The shame is their own, the loss is ours.