Brian Sims Owns Daryl Metcalfe For Silencing Him On The PA State House Floor Because Metcalfe Believes Marriage Equality Violates “God’s Law”

June 28, 2013
cc2011036 - Gays to Watch for G Philly

State Representative Brian Sims in GQ Magazine

This week it was reported that Downingtown’s own State Representative Brian Sims was going to introduce marriage equality laws here in Pennsylvania. Brian happens to be openly gay, and a really great guy from my hometown. As everyone is aware, last week the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and in doing so held:

The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.

In other words, the constitution forbids congress from passing laws based on discrimination. I thought we figured that out a long time ago, but whatever.

On Wednesday, Brian was going to address the Supreme Court’s historic ruling striking down DOMA. However, Representative Daryl Metcalfe didn’t want to hear Brian had to say about it.

Why? Because according to Metcalfe:

I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law

Now, I don’t know about you, but God has never explicitly told me that homosexuality is wrong. I know it kinda sorta says it in the Old Testament, but let’s be honest… the the Old Testament says a lot of things that we don’t follow in a civilized society. Things like not eating shellfish, selling your daughters into slavery, beating your wife, not trimming your beard, and not wearing polyester.

As a theology minor, no one has ever been able to convince me there is a valid theological basis for discriminating against our gay brothers and sisters. My interpretation of the Bible is that Jesus would be ashamed that Christians are using His name to promote their bigotry and political agendas.

Read the rest of this entry »


Occupy 14 Refuses to Accept Unjust Punishment Like the District Attorney Said They Should Have, Found Not Guilty by a Jury. #WFTrial

March 5, 2013
We-The-People-First-Amend-CLE1

The First Amendment proudly marches on in the City of Brotherly Love

My partner Leo Mulvihill, along with Larry Krasner, Jon Feinberg, Mike Lee, Paul Hetznecker, Michael Coard, and Marni Snyder defended 12 Wells Fargo protesters accused of “defiant trespass.” (Side note: Paul Hetznecker is one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Philadelphia but he doesn’t have a website. Take note, marketeers.)

For whatever reason, the District Attorney’s Office decided to waste our tax dollars protect us from crime by pursuing this case. Of course, this is not the first time the District Attorney’s office has decided to pursue stupid criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed when put before a jury.

Last year the protesters were found guilty by a municipal court judge for staging a demonstration in a Wells Fargo Bank. The protesters were accused of enteringthe bank, which is a public place, and then refusing to leave. The protesters appealed their conviction and asked for a jury trial.

This is a video of the demonstration:

Read the rest of this entry »


Justice Thomas Cracks a “Joke”; the Real Joke’s On Us.

January 15, 2013

Justice Thomas Cracks a “Joke”; the Real Joke’s On Us.

Reading the newspapers yesterday you’d think it was a slow news day. But was it really?

Hardly.

While “journalists” chuckled over Justice Thomas’ incoherent ramblings about Yale, did anyone think to discuss the underlying case that SCOTUS was hearing?

Gideon of A Public Defender did. You should read his post right now. Here’s an excerpt:

You know what’s missing in every single one of these articles? A mention of Boyer. Who’s Boyer, you ask? Boyer, of Boyer v. Louisiana [SCOTUSBlog preview; oral argument transcript here]. Boyer, who sat in jail for 5 years facing the death penalty because the State could afford to only pay one of his lawyers – one that wasn’t qualified to represent him in a death penalty case. Boyer, in whose case witnesses died while he was waiting for the political football of indigent defense funding to stop getting punted around from endzone to endzone like it was a Browns vs. Cardinals game. Boyer, whose egregious delay the state of Louisiana seeks to shrug off as not really important and certainly not their fault.

***

You want a story? I’ll give you a story: this is the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright. That the decision trumpeted the arrival of an era of equal justice for all, but that era has never materialized. That states still woefully underfund indigent defense; that access to justice isn’t equal and that people get screwed. Every. Single. Day. And it’s this Court – Thomas and others – who have the authority to change that, to alter that reality for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Today for all my clients; tomorrow, perhaps for you.

But no. Let’s continue to be cute and write funny stories about what an odd man that Justice Thomas is that he hasn’t asked a question in 6 years and well, was he making fun of Harvard or Yale? Because, really, who gives a fuck about Boyer, right? Stupid Constitution getting in the way, just like Thomas always said.

Priorities.

TL;DR: Thomas mumbles, internet creams itself, Boyer sits in jail, Gideon weeps.

Another step in the Honey Boo Boo-ification of our media. Anything for a joke, right?

Edit: Scott Greenfield beat me to it.


FOP President John McNesby Can’t Stop Saying Stupid Things.

December 7, 2012

FOP President John McNesby Can’t Stop Saying Stupid Things.

Yesterday, I posted about the officers whose testimony was so incredible that the DA didn’t want to call them as witnesses anymore. Veteran attorney Brad Bridge of the Defender Association remarked that the officers were “among the most troubled in the department.”

The officers,

  • Perry Betts;
  • Brian Reynolds;
  • Michael Spicer;
  • Thomas Liciardello;
  • Brian Speiser; and
  • Lt. Robert Otto

were named in several Internal Affairs investigations and civil rights lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force, false arrests, and filing false reports.

Unsurprisingly, the shit has now hit the fan. Yesterday, the District Attorney withdrew charges against two men who’d been charged with drug dealing — all because of the lying liars of the Narcotics Unit.

From today’s Inquirer:

Two men accused of drug dealing had charges against them dropped Thursday after their attorney told a judge that five Philadelphia antinarcotics officers involved in their case had “partnered with drug dealers” in crime.

According to the article, defense attorney Larry Krasner argued to Judge Charles Hayden that:

“There was a group of police officers who essentially partnered with certain drug dealers, and they partnered with those drug dealers to do things that were both illegal and outright crimes.”

The Assistant District Attorney Bret Furbur remarked:

 “[T]he [District Attorney's] office, my higher-ups, have informed me the case is going to be withdrawn.”

Naturally, it logically follows that the DA realized there was a substantial credibility issue with the narcotics unit officers. Further, it makes sense that when you’re trying get convictions (as ADAs are wont to do), it helps to call witnesses who are believable. Since these officers proved wholly unreliable, why would the DA want to call them as witnesses any longer?

But instead of noting that maybe, just maybe, FOP5 should raise the bar and suggest that their officers take that oath to tell the truth seriously, McNesby points the finger at District Attorney Seth Williams:

“[District Attorney Seth Williams] has no idea how to run the office. He doesn’t know the ramifications of what he’s done. He’s not just gotten these guys transferred, he’s tarnished their careers.”

He must have a variation on Tourette syndrome, where the afflicted impulsively says stupid things all the time. He just can’t help himself! Blaming the DA for FOP5 officer’s poor conduct that renders them incredible — now that’s really incredible.

After I shook my head in disbelief for a few minutes, I decided to put fingers to keyboard and pen this open letter.

Dear John:

I think you might find that the officers’ “tarnished careers” is the result that they’re 1) lying under oath; 2) the DA’s office realizes they’re lying under oath; 3) they’re constantly being sued under §1983 for civil rights violations; and 4) they’re all the subject of several IAB investigations.

Oh, John, reputations are important. When you have a reputation for being a dirty cop who does whatever he can to get a conviction, well, that kind of taint is difficult to remove. But these reputations don’t just appear out of thin air — they’re earned and well-deserved.

And when an officer’s reputation is such that even the DA doesn’t believe them anymore — well, that’s it’s not the DA’s fault. In fact, I’m pretty certain that DA Williams knows exactly what he’s doing by refusing to use them. He should be commended by refusing to rely on officers with combustible pants.

Maybe — just maybe — this will teach other officers out there a lesson. When you swear to tell the truth and the whole truth, you do it. When you swear an oath to preserve and uphold the law and our constitution, you do it.

Sure, I understand that you’re the president of FOP5, and since it’s an elected position you have a reputation to upkeep among the members. But your reputation with the citizenry, at this point, is nil. And you’re not helping the public perception of the PPD as working to protect their own first, the public second.

When you rush to defend even the worst of the police force, you tarnish the best of FOP5 as well.

So next time you point your finger at the DA for refusing to call dirty cops to the stand, think about where blame really lies.

Or just keep saying stupid things; you seem to excel at that.

In the meantime, Mr. Williams, keep doing the right thing.

[Ed. — Defense attorney Michael Coard, in his article "The 4 Most Annoying White People in Philadelphia" has the following to say about Mr. McNesby, which made me chuckle:

He wants all criminals jailed forever. So who’s gonna wear the blue uniforms, drive the white cars and beat the black people up when the good cops’ shifts end?]


Want to be Pulled Over? Sign up for Philadelphia’s S.A.V.E Program.

December 4, 2012
You have rights. These books say so.

You have rights. These books say so.
They are precious. Don’t sign them away.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

These wise words attributed to founder Benjamin Franklin are too often lost on many today who figure “Well, I’m not doing anything wrong, so why shouldn’t I just agree to let police do whatever they want?”

And I thought on Franklin’s words today, after I learned about this little program here in Philadelphia called S.A.V.E. — a too-cute acronym for Stolen Auto Verification Effort. Let me explain this program to you. No, better yet, I’ll let the police explain it to you:

All Districts in the city still do the S.A.V.E. (Stolen Auto Verification Effort) program….

The SAVE program is a decal you put on your automobile that basically states that you don’t normally drive your vehicle late at night (between 12am and 6am). By putting this decal on your vehicle you are stating that you would like that vehicle to be pulled over if it is seen operating during those hours to ensure that the vehicle isn’t stolen.

Yes, you’re reading that right. It is literally a sign to the police that says “Please pull me over”. Read the rest of this entry »


Brian Sims: Bringing Courage, Conviction, and Inspiration to the 182nd District

April 7, 2012

Brian Sims is running for State Representative in the 182nd District

Brian Sims is running for State Representative in the 182nd District against Babette Josephs. Babette has been entrenched in the 182nd District, pretty much forever. As my friend Chris Sawyer aptly put it, “Babette is where good legislation goes to die.”

But I’m not really interested in writing about Babette, at least right now. Authors far better than myself have already done that.

Let’s talk about Brian Sims, a former classmate of mine and a guy who will be getting my support this year.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Evolution of Crystal Cox: Anatomy of a Scammer

April 3, 2012

"Does anyone out there want me to write defamatory stuff about them and then buy my reputation management services to remove it? YOU CAN PAY ME IN STRAIGHT CASH HOMIE!"

Today I’m here to shine a little sunlight and tell you the entire story of Obsidian v. Cox, the matter touted as “bloggers aren’t journalists.”

Often, the truth is much stranger, and sicker, than fiction…

This is how Crystal Cox’s scam works generally: Cox calls herself an investigative blogger / journalist. She posts a bunch of negative stuff about you on the internet. Then she buys a bunch of domain names about you, your family, and your business to make sure all her posts are at the top of a Google search. But lucky for you, Cox also happens to be a “reputation management specialist.” Cox then offers to sell you “reputation management services” to clean it all up to the tune of $2500 a month.

As Carlos Miller aptly put it, Crystal Cox “is the cyber equivalent of the mob goons who firebomb your business, before demanding protection money.”

Not surprisingly, a court found this kind of behavior is not protected speech in Obsidian v. Cox.

You may remember that over the weekend I wrote a piece about Crystal Cox, when Cox went after Marc Randazza’s three year old daughter after offering to sell Randazza “reputation management” services which he declined.

Yes, you read that right – apparently Crystal Cox went after a three year old when Randazza wouldn’t buy reputation management services.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why We Should Eat Milkshake the Pig

March 23, 2012

This is where your bacon comes from. Sorry that makes you sad.

[WARNING: There is some graphic content in this post, the video in particular.]

Many of you know Milkshake, the adorable pig that lives on Greensgrow Farm in the neighborhood. Most of you love Milkshake, because he’s a very cute pig and generally pretty cool.

So I’m not surprised that many Fishtown residents are disturbed by the thought that Milkshake is allegedly going to be killed and eaten. People are calling out for a petition to stop this.

Apparently people don’t like knowing where their dinner comes from. That’s a little, shall we say, unpleasant… Read the rest of this entry »


Supreme Court says lawyers must do competent job handling plea bargains. “Isn’t that obvious?” asks every competent defense attorney.

March 21, 2012

These law books are no substitute for zealous advocacy.

Supreme Court says lawyers must do competent job handling plea bargains. “Isn’t that obvious?” asks every competent defense attorney.

I am at once astounded and disgusted that this issue even had to go to SCOTUS.

“The decisions laid out by Kennedy means that criminal defense lawyers are now required to inform their clients of plea bargain offers, regardless of whether they think the client should accept them, and must give their clients good advice on whether to accept a plea bargain at all stages of prosecution. If they don’t, Kennedy said, they will run afoul of the Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel during criminal proceedings. ‘The right to counsel is the right to effective assistance of counsel,’ Kennedy said.”

Read the rest of this entry »


An Open Letter to Villanova University

February 21, 2012

Veritas, Unitas, Caritas: It Means God Hates Gay People

Dear Villanova University:

I’ve always believed that we should “[s]peak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8

However, I am concerned that you are getting away from your Catholic roots, based on some recent current events.

For example, the university has consistently allowed those who advocate for the death penalty, foreign wars, for giving less aid to the needy (we call them Republicans where I’m from) to speak on campus — even though these views fly in the face of Catholic Social Teaching (what I minored in at Villanova). Shockingly, Villanova has even allowed people to speak on campus who are against providing universal healthcare and opposed to providing people with a living wage. In fact, Villanova even sponsors organizations that openly supports all of these very anti-Catholic beliefs, and even allows them to use campus money!

Now, I’ve always assumed that Villanova only allowed such hypocrites to remain on campus in the interest of freedom of speech. Sure, the Church teaches that Catholics should strive to help the poor, promote accessible healthcare, and to oppose the death penalty. And just because some misguided souls choose to defy these very clear Church teachings on important social justice issues, as an academic institution, we have to be tolerant of their misguided beliefs. As much as we know their views are wrong and downright mean spirited,  it’s important to allow them to hold these views and discuss them openly. Even though Jesus would probably find them appalling. I mean, the Bible was pretty clear that: “He who despises his neighbor is guilty of sin; but happy is he who has mercy on the poor!” (Proverbs 14:21)

That’s why I was a bit surprised that an openly gay artist, Tim Miller, was banned from performing on campus without a good explanation. Sure, homosexuality isn’t exactly endorsed (sometimes) by the Catholic Church, but the University has allowed organizations like the College Republicans to remain on campus despite ideals that are contrary to Catholic social justice.

I think it’s worth noting that the Bible spends a great deal more time discussing tolerance, charity, and love of your fellow man than it does condemning homosexuals. And plus, we all know that Leviticus said a lot of silly shit, most of which is now disregarded. So you’ll have to pardon my candor, but the whole anti-gay thing is kind of perplexing to me because I’ve always thought that “God does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.’ But I suppose the opinion of honorable men may differ.

In any case, this leaves me a few questions: why is it okay only for some organizations to have beliefs that the Church doesn’t agree with to remain on campus, while banning gay people like Mr. Miller? If you’re going to forbid gays from teaching classes at the University because their sexuality doesn’t jive with Catholic Social Teaching, shouldn’t you also ban anyone who supports the death penalty, opposes universal healthcare, or eats shellfish? I know that would also ban, well, about half the students and a good deal of the clergy. But it’s all good because God loves us and is forgiving.

But more importantly, wouldn’t you agree that who a person chooses to have sex with isn’t nearly as important as striving a world that is just for everyone…? And wasn’t it God himself who said: “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise, says the Lord, I will protect them from those who malign them.” Psalm 12:5

Given that’s the case, why does the University sponsor organizations openly opposed to social justice while banning artists who are openly gay? Why is who a person chooses to sleep with more offensive than those who are opposed to Catholic social teachings focused on helping the needy?

And really, shouldn’t we stand up for the weak, like our openly gay brothers and sisters? And all of our gay brothers and sisters forced to remain in the closet for fear of repercussion? Does it really matter who they choose to sleep with?

Lord knows the University is tolerating some downright anti-Catholic stuff. The important stuff.

So if we’re going to break the rules, let’s at least break the stupid ones.

I’d appreciate a response.

Sincerely,

-Jordan Rushie, Liberal Arts, Class of 2005

[Update] Father Peter has responded to all the negative criticism. (For the record, I like Father Peter a lot. He’s a good dude. That said…)

I read Father Peter’s response as: “Dude, we don’t care that you’re gay, it’s just that you’re acting like a fag.”

Don’t be gay, Sparky. Don’t be gay!

[Second Update] Bryn Mawr college did the right thing and decided to host Tim Miller. I guess Bryn Mawr’s administration feels that their students are mature enough to handle adult content…


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