Saturday, August 1, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 9:15 AM
GOP hopeful Garry Cobb speaks at Kaighn Avenue Baptist Church in Camden. Photo by Kevin Riordan

African-American Republican Garry Cobb was in frenemy territory Wednesday night at Kaighn Avenue Baptist Church in Camden, campaigning in a city where blacks are the majority, Democrats have ruled for half a century, and the GOP electorate could probably fill a few pews.

So remote is the chance Cobb will win the 1st District Congressional seat – it’s been owned and operated for decades by the Camden County Democrats -- that he was asked whether a vote for him would be ‘wasted.’ Certainly not, he said: “I expect to win.”

A broadcaster and former Philadelphia Eagle, Cobb is a newcomer to politics, running a shoestring, shoe-leather campaign.  He talks like a human being, rather than a sound-bite dispenser, and did a decent job fielding a hodgepodge of questions, some from the panel, others submitted in writing from the audience.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 8:20 PM
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (Photo:The Daily Caller)

On the far right, reactions to America's march toward civil marriage equality for same-sex couples are often – there's no gentle way to say this – far out.

U.S. Senator and GOP presidential wannabe Ted Cruz this week accused the Supreme Court of 'judicial activism' for...choosing not to act.  Peter LaBarbera, who has turned his apparent inability to stop worrying about homosexuality into a career, commanded his followers in AFTAH – Americans for Truth About (guess) – to commit “civil disobedience on a massive scale.”

 But as same-sex marriage bans tumble from coast to coast, no histrionics can top those cited by the 9th Circuit Court ruling that invalidated the bans in Nevada and Idaho.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 8:39 AM
AP photo

My Sunday Inquirer column about Rick Short's crusade against New Jersey's red-light cameras seems to have galvanized other opponents of these problem-plagued devices -- which supposedly enhance safety but definitely enrich municipal coffers.

Emails, voicemails and online comments reveal a genuine fervor for allowing the state's pilot program to expire Dec. 16. Which will be the case if N.J. Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth has anything to say about it.

Via email, Scanlon assails what he calls "the misinformation campaign by local officials and the camera companies" about purported safety improvements. In reality, he writes, the devices "virtually entrap people into committing thousands of technical - but not hazardous - violations." He likens this arrangement to "government stealing from the people it is supposed to serve." 

POSTED: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 10:49 AM
Anti-gay attack suspect Kathryn Knott

If I were Kathryn Knott’s lawyer, I’d be getting ready to argue that a Twitter feed absolutely is not a window into the soul.

Knott, 24, of Southampton, Pa., is one of three suspects charged in connection with the brutal beating Sept. 11 of a young gay male couple in Center City. The 2013 LaSalle University nursing graduate reportedly has been suspended from her suburban hospital job due at least in part to the appalling Tweets she posted about, you know, those icky sick people.

Like the ER patient whose severed fingers were on display in a photo she Tweeted.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 8:53 AM
At the Collingswood PATCO station, an advertisement aimed at LGBT consumers. Photo by Kevin Riordan

Reader reactions to my column about a group attack on two young gay men in Center City Sept. 11 offered much food for thought.

Except for a handful of haters -- dispatched to oblivion by the peerless invention called the delete key --  most of the emails were supportive of that radical 'homosexual agenda' item that calls for LGBT people to be able to live openly and in peace.

Some readers did suggest that the column in particular and the media generally are violating the due process rights of potential suspects, three of whom -- all of them Bucks County residents -- were charged Tuesday. Others insist that citing the role a part-time Catholic high school coach may have played in the incident was tantamount to Church-bashing, or Church-blaming.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 8:42 AM
Valerie Frick. Photo: Facebook

Valerie Frick, who disappeared Sunday and returned home Tuesday, says she was stressed out and simply seeking a break. She needed time to collect her thoughts, sort things out, settle down.

Been there. Haven't we all?

Then again, not all of us are public figures. And Frick, 61 -- co-founder of the Camden Children's Garden and Camden City Garden Club  -- says she "had no idea an adult could not make [a] choice" to go off on her own without telling anyone.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 7:16 PM
Monnette Sudler. Photo provided.

OutBeat,  billed as 'America's First Queer Jazz Festival,' opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at various venues in Philadelphia. 

"LGBT people have had a huge impact on the history of jazz," notes Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Center, which is producing OutBeat  and hosting discussions, receptions and other events. The center was awarded a $220,000 Pew Center for Arts and Heritage grant to underwrite the festival (WRTI-FM's interview with Bartlett is here).

The OutBeat lineup includes pianist Fred Hersch; guitarist (and Philly native) Monnette Sudler; the Bill Stewart Quartet; and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and a diverse array of other performers. The Painted Bride, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and Union Transfer -- site of Sunday's finale, featuring a dozen artists -- are among the venues.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 8:13 AM
Masonry is falling from former RCA building in Camden, NJ. Photo provided.

In Camden City Hall, whatever needs to be done -- like securing a downtown building the city has declared a public safety hazard -- always takes much, much longer than expected.

That's because it takes the people who are supposedly in charge time to figure out that whatever needs to be done needs to be done by somebody else. And the somebody else who's really responsible is always...somewhere else!

It's a fabulous arrangement.

About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
Daniel Rubin Inquirer Columnist
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