THE EAGLES ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL! CARSON WENTZ IS ELITE! DOUG PEDERSON WILL DO WHAT ANDY NEVER COULD, BABY! Stop yelling at me, people. It’s too early in the season and it’s too early in the morning. Wait until we hit week 10, or at the very least until I’ve had my third cup of coffee. Side note: The Panthers looked like blue freezer pops in those ridiculous “Color Rush” uniforms. May help explain why Cam Newton’s play was so cold. If you like what you’re reading, it’s free to sign up to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and feedback, so please email me, tweet me @tommyrowan, or reach our social team on Facebook.
— Tommy Rowan
The Eagles swooped into Charlotte Thursday and thrashed the Panthers en route to a big win against a formidable opponent on a nationally-televised game. Sitting at 5-1, the bird’s secured the top spot in their division, and positioned themselves for the first playoff birth of the Carson Wentz/Doug Pederson era.
David Murphy: Carson Wentz was the best quarterback on the field, and it wasn’t close.
Jeff McLane: Defensive star Fletcher Cox’s return wasn’t a minute too soon.
Marcus Hayes: Eagles make claim as top team in the NFC.
Remarkably, a York County woman, her husband and their three children were freed Thursday after four years in Taliban captivity. Aubrey Whelan walks us through the Coleman family’s strange saga, which included a chilling video released in December. On screen appears two of the couple’s children, both born in captivity, and their mother stated: “My children have seen their mother defiled.”
Trudy Rubin, our decorated Wordview columnist, cautioned: The Coleman family’s rescue doesn’t mean the United States and Pakistan are now on the same page.
Music Critic Dan DeLuca attended the final preview of the Springsteen on Broadway show Wednesday, one day before it officially opened to the public, and saw a 68-year-old storyteller, guitar in hand, at his best. “That, of course, is what Bruce Springsteen has been doing for over 40 years: singing songs of stubborn faith and harsh reality that resonate with a passionate fan base that’s grown up and old with him.”
But take note: The Walter Kerr Theatre holds fewer than a thousand people, and fewer will see the entire 18-week run than attended his two nights with the E Street Band at Citizens Bank Park in 2016. “Those that do get in, however, will witness an extraordinary two-hour evening,” Dan said.
What you need to know today
- All across the Philadelphia region, people are dying of drug overdoses at a faster pace than ever, an Inquirer and Daily News analysis of data from county coroners and medical examiners shows. How fast? Drug deaths increased by 50 percent across the eight-county Philadelphia region during the first half of 2017 compared with the same period a year earlier.
- The School District of Philadelphia closed John B. Kelly Elementary School in Germantown Wednesday after officials claimed “traces of mold” were found in classrooms. Well, building inspectors took a look, and found a lot more than just “traces:” Try more than 600 square feet in 10 classrooms. This report comes on the heels of the mold crisis in South Jersey’s Monroe Township School District, which closed six schools this week, giving some 6,000 students an unexpected vacation.
- Was Las Vegas the deadliest U.S. shooting? Not quite, and here’s why: Whether we call the attacks in Las Vegas or Orlando “mass murders” or “mass public shootings” is important because “words matter.”
- Trump administration to Mayor Kenney: Philly’s “sanctuary city” policies violate federal law, so you have two weeks to try and save at least $1.6 million in police funding.
- Timothy Ceaser, the 22-year-old Northeast Philly native whose mother reported him missing in Bucks County in June, walked into a New York City hospital early Thursday “a little confused, but alive and well.”
Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly
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We want to see what our community looks like through your eyes. Show us the park that your family walks through every weekend with the dog, the block party in your neighborhood or the historic stretch you see every morning on your commute to work.
- A long-empty parcel along the Schuylkill River could be getting a pair of elegant apartment towers. The bad news, Inga Saffron writes, is that they’ll be perched on top of a blank, 54-foot-tall garage.
- After lamenting news that Ben Waxman isn’t going to take another run at State Rep. Brian Sims, Philly Clout recounts an old war story hinged on this quote: “What is the cheapest bourbon you have?”
- Two rebuilt blocks of the Atlantic City boardwalk, which were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, officially opened Thursday. By spring, the most-ravaged portions of the boardwalk will also re-open, and a new link will connect the reborn blocks together, writes Amy Rosenberg.
- If you can rate your professors, and rate your favorite restaurants, surely those renting out pricey apartments should have the option to rate their landlords. And now they do.
- A Year in Philly Hoops: Tasheed Carr and Charles Jones have a unique basketball journey, creating their Born Leader Family hoop operation that includes on court instruction and mentoring and hopes to sell gear. Carr played at St. Joe’s; Jones at Widener.
“My takeaway? Live simply. Eat what you want. Have faith and believe in something larger than yourself. “ — says Metro Columnist Jenice Armstrong as she ponders the importance of longevity in the wake of the deaths of two centenarians she knew.
- Why did former Eagle Scout — and our current National Buzz reporter — Rob Tornoe mail his prized Eagle Scout badge back to Boy Scout headquarters in 2012? Hint: He didn’t agree with its exclusion of members from a certain community. And while letting girls into the Boy Scouts is good, he wonders why it’s still not OK to be both an atheist and a Scout. A must read.
- National Political Columnist Will Bunch, as usual, pulls no punches. When it comes to President Trump’s stand on fossil fuels, set against the deadliest week of wildfires in California history, he’s bullish: “The victims of global warming are getting a lump of coal from this White House as the death toll mounts.”
What we’re reading
- Senate Democrats, including Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, are worrying that Russian hackers could jeopardize their reelection bids. [Politico]
- Dive into this excerpt from Philadelphia-based author Jason Fagone’s critically-acclaimed new book, The Woman Who Smashed Codes, about an American woman and her husband who used their own code-breaking skills to decipher Nazi messages during World War II. [Longreads]
- The murder of a San Francisco woman at the hands of her boyfriend — and the local police department’s muddled response to her frequent domestic violence complaints — is explored in this wrenching tale. [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Brace yourself for a fascinating, disturbing story about an FBI hunt for two piglets — yes, you read that correctly — that animal rights activists rescued from a gruesome factory. [The Intercept]
- Jahlil Okafor continues to be in a weird place: He’s still on the 76ers’ roster, but no longer viewed as an integral part of the team. “Am I really a part of this culture?” he asks in this insightful profile. [SB Nation]
After 25 years, Denise’s Bakery in North Philadelphia still inspires fierce loyalty. Its recipe for success? Heart, soul, and its signature pound cake, of which the shop serves up anywhere from 400 to 600 pounds daily. Road trip?