Philadelphia: America’s Gomorrah

 

This Once-Great City Continues Its Slouch into an Abyss of Racism, Crime, & Anti-Semitism

Until the New Year, my family and I lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for some 18 years. We still have great friends and memories, and we continue to make almost monthly forays to our former home community (but not center city Philadelphia). Our memories of trips to downtown Philadelphia (rarely at night) are mostly positive (my youngest son and I being jostled by Flyers fans while donning Capitals jerseys during an NHL game is an exception, but I knew what I was in for. We all know Philly sports fans and their history – just ask Santa).

There is obviously great history and some terrific restaurants (Porcini is America’s best Italian restaurant, and it’s BYOB). But I still give a better tour of Congress Hall, next to Independence Hall, than the US Park Service Rangers, as good as they are. God bless ’em.

So it caught my eye today when I saw that a popular “Taste of Home” food festival, featuring all kinds of ethnic foods, was canceled in the increasingly popular, trendy, but crime-infested Kensington section of the city. Why? Because they had invited an Israeli-owned food truck featuring foods from, well, Israel, to participate. The threats that followed forced the organizers to cancel.

Thus are things in a once-but-no-longer great city whose inexorable decline can be traced best to December 9, 1981, when Mumia Abu Jamal murdered a Philly police officer, Daniel Faulkner, at point-blank range after a routine traffic stop. Jamal, a gifted communicator, turned himself into a celebrity, branding himself a victim of white supremacy and racism. He gave commencement speeches from jail and become a cause celebre in Hollywood. There’s even a street named after him in Paris, France.

Officer Faulker is unavailable for comment.

Jamal had been sentenced to death by a jury but got off on a bizarre and dubious technicality. He continues his celebrity-hood from prison today. Perhaps you’ve seen the same ignorant youth who wear Che Guevara shirts adorned with this “Free Mumia” classic.

If the current prosecutor, Soros-backed Larry Krasner, were the prosecutor in 1982, there’s little doubt Jamal would have long been released from prison, if ever convicted. And don’t me started on the city’s horrific Mayor, Jim Kenney. My former acquaintance, Michael Smerconish along with Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, authored a terrific if painful book, “Murdered by Mumia,” about Jamal that is still a great read. One of my sons helped Smerconish with the book during an internship more than a decade ago.

Have you checked the crime rates in Philly lately? Perhaps you were around for the George Floyd-related riots that injured dozens and shuttered or destroyed businesses? A vendor friend of mine was attacked on his bicycle and permanently closed his repair shop for a safer suburban location.

So, congratulations, Philly, your growing violence and antisemitism just confirms your slow but inexorable slouch to Gomorrah. Enjoy the descent. You’re almost there.

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  1. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    We support the Curtis Institute of Music, on Locust Street.  I wonder how their students, staff, and faculty are doing these days.  We have not heard of any bad things happening to them, but they may just be keeping it quiet.  The pandemic may have been a blessing in that regard, as all performances have been online for the past year.  They do tend to be big leftists, but again they are mostly white.

    • #1
  2. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    We support the Curtis Institute of Music, on Locust Street. I wonder how their students, staff, and faculty are doing these days. We have not heard of any bad things happening to them, but they may just be keeping it quiet. The pandemic may have been a blessing in that regard, as all performances have been online for the past year. They do tend to be big leftists, but again they are mostly white.

    I wish them well. Things are tough in Philly. 

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Kelly D Johnston:

     

     

                 No problem here, I certainly rue him.  And I’m sure many others do too.

    • #3
  4. Functionary Thatcher
    Functionary
    @Functionary

    Porcini is America’s best Italian restaurant. Endorsed!

    I haven’t been there to visit for a couple of years, but by many reports, the city’s descent (not Porcini’s) into gross decadence is apocalyptic. I pray the good will be preserved.

    • #4
  5. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    When our children were small we used to go to Philly all the time.  The Philadelphia Zoo and the Natural History Museum were both great yet small enough that the kids didn’t get overwhelmed.  ( Sometimes a trip to the Bronx Zoo or the Natural History Museum in NYC – great as they are – with small kids can feel like a death march instead of a day out ). There was the Franklin Institute, the Art Museum and a great interactive children’s museum called the “Please Touch Museum“.   All in the same neighborhood.   Best of all, the Four Seasons hotel would ( on slow weekends ) be amenable to negotiating the price of a room.   It was very much a business person’s hotel: packed during the week but a ghost town on many weekends.   I could often negotiate very steep discounts.    So my family got spoiled by great hotel experience on the cheap.    It was great!!!

    My favorite 4 Seasons story.   At the time I had a giant Ford Expedition.  Whenever we went I’d valet park it.  No muss no fuss.    One time, we wanted to go on a busy weekend and the 4 Seasons wouldn’t budge on the price.   So we stayed around the corner at a place we could afford.    I asked them to valet the truck and they said “No.  It’s too tall.  All the parking  facilities in the area have very low ceilings and your Expedition won’t fit.”   I had a Devil of a time finding a place to park it.   Which raised the question of just where had the 4-Seasons valet guys been parking my truck every time we went?    It must have been just as big a problem for them… no?   But that’s the thing about great service.  It was transparent to me.  I’m sure it was a headache … for them.   Not for me. I never heard a peep about it.   “Valet park the truck?”    “Yes sir.    No problem.   Call us if you need it.“

    So I have a real fondness for Philly and I’m very sad to hear it’s on the skids.    But I guess I’m not surprised.   Progressives ruin everything.

    I’m also sad we missed out on the KJ tour of Independence Hall.

    • #5
  6. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Philly is a great museum city, a great eating city, and a great history city. I’m rooting for it.

    • #6
  7. Allie Hahn Coolidge
    Allie Hahn
    @AllieHahn

    That is sad to hear, and I didn’t know this story. I would like to visit Philadelphia (I love American history – and Rocky, of course). However, going to major cities these days does tend to make me nervous. I will say that I went to Chicago for the first time a few months ago and felt very safe most of the trip – but then, I also stayed mostly in touristy areas, so maybe that had something to do with it? 

    • #7
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Do you have any details on these alleged anti-Semitic threats?  The linked article provided no details whatsoever.

    Many of these hate-crime claims are hoaxes.  Not anti-Semitic claims specifically, but hate-crime claims in general.  Wilfred Reilly documented this in his book Hate Crime Hoax.  

    • #8
  9. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Philly is still a great city. I know it pretty well. Like anywhere, if you highlight a few bad things it sounds terrible but when you go there you see nothing of the sort. Of course the politics is pathetic, and crime – in certain areas is bad. But the same is true for Paris, New York, London…

    As to Philly sports fans, I dunno. They are passionate but not deserving of the bad rap they get from the national media. Philadelphia suffers from being in the shadow of NYC. It’s only 90 miles away and it was for a long time the 4th largest city in the USA. Fans have an inferiority complex and it’s a working class city like Boston ( has a similar situation).

    The throwing snowballs at Santa has a very interesting back story that’s not as compelling as the way it’s spun. I think it’s hilarious myself as iand a shortcut that “says it all” but much like many things like that, the truth isn’t as simple.

    This will enlighten you about how a narrative gets crystallized and continues forever:

    But I think there’s a certain pride in Philly that ‘we’ are capable of booing Santa Clause.

    The way the media portrayed the celebrations after the 2017 Super Bowl win was atrocious. It was no different than any other city and was probably better. People everywhere came together. It was a real show of “Brotherly Love” between Philly fans of all races and backgrounds, but the media chose to highlight a few overzealous actors instead.

    • #9
  10. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Do you have any details on these alleged anti-Semitic threats? The linked article provided no details whatsoever.

    Many of these hate-crime claims are hoaxes. Not anti-Semitic claims specifically, but hate-crime claims in general. Wilfred Reilly documented this in his book Hate Crime Hoax.

    Jerry, this is silly and beneath you.

    Hate Crime hoaxes are typically plays for sympathy or attempts to provoke politic discourse. 

    Look at the timeline – the organizer invites the Israeli group, and receives threats of violence and a protest.  If the organizer was the hoaxer, why not just not invite them to begin with?  The Israeli group is a business, they are not going to wreck their chance at a festival.    Sympathy money won’t make up the loss.  A hoax makes no sense  

    • #10
  11. navyjag Lincoln
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    When did the Democrats become the party of Hamas? Surely the Squad could not have done this in less than two years.  

    • #11
  12. Cosmik Phred Member
    Cosmik Phred
    @CosmikPhred

    Even in the 80s I was not brave enough to stay on campus at Temple University after dark. I made sure I was back on the train to Bucks County. I will always consider Philadelphia my first city. I remember it fondly and it still has so much to offer. But it suffers from the all too familiar damage of decades of single party rule.  Many of my neighbors represented the white flight of the 70s.  Something I’ve now repeated myself from Oakland, CA. History rhymes.

    • #12
  13. navyjag Lincoln
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Cosmik, you still on Oakland? Lived there briefly. But in San Fran now. Which is scary enough. Can’t wait to bail out. 

    • #13
  14. Cosmik Phred Member
    Cosmik Phred
    @CosmikPhred

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Cosmik, you still on Oakland? Lived there briefly. But in San Fran now. Which is scary enough. Can’t wait to bail out.

     

    We lived in Oakland for 25+ years and bailed out last October. Over the years we saw it gradually improve, enjoyed walking to our local shopping district, loved our neighborhood Chronicle 100 restaurants, the fantastic weather, etc.  The deep structural issues with city governance became too much for even private citizens to overcome through their own ingenuity.  Crime, homelessness, disrepair increased.  I got tired of feeling like a chump by paying my taxes and getting…what?  Having a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood isn’t enough. The children are in charge now. The infant wokesters can follow their good intentions to ruin.

    COVID provided an opportunity to fast track our retirement relocation to Calaveras County (Arnold).

    • #14
  15. JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery Thatcher
    JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery
    @JosePluma

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Do you have any details on these alleged anti-Semitic threats? The linked article provided no details whatsoever.

    Many of these hate-crime claims are hoaxes. Not anti-Semitic claims specifically, but hate-crime claims in general. Wilfred Reilly documented this in his book Hate Crime Hoax.

    Jerry, this is silly and beneath you.

    Hate Crime hoaxes are typically plays for sympathy or attempts to provoke politic discourse.

    Look at the timeline – the organizer invites the Israeli group, and receives threats of violence and a protest. If the organizer was the hoaxer, why not just not invite them to begin with? The Israeli group is a business, they are not going to wreck their chance at a festival. Sympathy money won’t make up the loss. A hoax makes no sense

    It is not silly.  He is just being rationally skeptical and asking for further evidence.  You should always do that, especially if the narrative supports your own side.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Cosmik Phred (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Cosmik, you still on Oakland? Lived there briefly. But in San Fran now. Which is scary enough. Can’t wait to bail out.

     

    We lived in Oakland for 25+ years and bailed out last October. Over the years we saw it gradually improve, enjoyed walking to our local shopping district, loved our neighborhood Chronicle 100 restaurants, the fantastic weather, etc. The deep structural issues with city governance became too much for even private citizens to overcome through their own ingenuity. Crime, homelessness, disrepair increased. I got tired of feeling like a chump by paying my taxes and getting…what? Having a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood isn’t enough. The children are in charge now. The infant wokesters can follow their good intentions to ruin.

    COVID provided an opportunity to fast track our retirement relocation to Calaveras County (Arnold).

    I hope you didn’t insist on having a Trader Joe’s in your new location, because that can be an early sign of the same rot you had to get away from.

    • #16
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Do you have any details on these alleged anti-Semitic threats? The linked article provided no details whatsoever.

    Many of these hate-crime claims are hoaxes. Not anti-Semitic claims specifically, but hate-crime claims in general. Wilfred Reilly documented this in his book Hate Crime Hoax.

    Jerry, this is silly and beneath you.

    Hate Crime hoaxes are typically plays for sympathy or attempts to provoke politic discourse.

    Look at the timeline – the organizer invites the Israeli group, and receives threats of violence and a protest. If the organizer was the hoaxer, why not just not invite them to begin with? The Israeli group is a business, they are not going to wreck their chance at a festival. Sympathy money won’t make up the loss. A hoax makes no sense

    It is not silly. He is just being rationally skeptical and asking for further evidence. You should always do that, especially if the narrative supports your own side.

    Thanks, Jose.

    I recommend Wilfred Reilly’s book.  It is both informative and entertaining.  He details hate crime hoaxes in many circumstances, involving many groups, ranging from the humorous to the tragic.  The motivations are often quite strange.

    I have no idea whether this particular incident in Philly is a hoax.  There are no details provided, and it fits the pattern.

    Here’s a quote from Reilly’s book, at the beginning of Chapter 6 (“Fake Religious, Anti-LGBT, and Gender Bias Incidents”).  Sorry that I can’t give a link to the book — I’m actually transcribing this from my audiobook version:

    On the other hand, I may be the first writer to comprehensively document the astonishing case in which virtually the entire epidemic of threatening calls to Jewish community centers reported after the 2016 election turned out to be a hoax orchestrated by two men: black American Juan Thompson, and a nameless Israeli hacker now in custody.

    Reilly proceeds to discuss this particular hoax in significant detail.  Reilly reported that the black guy, Thompson, was a liberal black man who pretended to be a conservative white woman in order to threaten Jewish children.  Thompson used a gender voice disguiser, and called the national headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League, claiming that a C-4 explosion would take place inside a building within an hour.  Similar threats were made thereafter, including a threat of wanting to make a “Jewish Newtown.”  Thompson used the name of his ex-girlfriend, and she was investigated before being cleared.  It looks like part of Thompson’s motivation was a desire to frame his ex, who he seems to have hated by that point.

    My recommendation is to be skeptical, not only of claims of anti-Semitism, but of all identity-politics-type claims.

    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Do you have any details on these alleged anti-Semitic threats? The linked article provided no details whatsoever.

    Many of these hate-crime claims are hoaxes. Not anti-Semitic claims specifically, but hate-crime claims in general. Wilfred Reilly documented this in his book Hate Crime Hoax.

    Jerry, this is silly and beneath you.

    Hate Crime hoaxes are typically plays for sympathy or attempts to provoke politic discourse.

    Look at the timeline – the organizer invites the Israeli group, and receives threats of violence and a protest. If the organizer was the hoaxer, why not just not invite them to begin with? The Israeli group is a business, they are not going to wreck their chance at a festival. Sympathy money won’t make up the loss. A hoax makes no sense

    I want to address this in a bit more detail.

    Hate crimes, and hate crime hoaxes, are extremely rare.  They often seem to involve weird circumstances.

    I do not have any difficulty in imagining a strongly pro-Israel Jewish businessman orchestrating such a hoax, which would involve a relatively small amount of money, in order to generate sympathy for Israel and demonize the political opposition.  People do very, very strange things sometimes.  Think of Jussie Smollett.  Will Reilly documented another horrifying case in which a woman perpetrated a hate crime hoax by burning her own face with acid.

    But I’m not claiming that it was the Jewish food truck folks who did this.  It is possible.  It’s also possible that there was a third-party hoaxer, as in the Jewish community center bomb threat hoax discussed in my prior comment. 

    It’s also possible that it was a genuine threat.  If so, it was one of a small number of isolated incidents, which are extremely rare — close to dying-from-a-beesting rare — as I documented in a prior post.

    This smacks of identity politics.  I’d say that the pro-Jewish folks seem to be taking a page out of the BLM handbook, except that I’ve come to see that it may be Jewish groups like the ADL that actually pioneered this technique, decades ago.

    There are two strange things about the identity-politics claim of anti-Semitism.  One strange thing is that the argument often seems to be made by non-Jews.  (Including the current one, I think, though I don’t know for sure whether or not Kelly is Jewish.  The name isn’t, but then, Susan Quinn’s name doesn’t sound Jewish either.)  This may not be too strange, as white Leftists do seem to make BLM arguments.

    The other strange thing about the anti-Semitism argument is that it is made by both political sides.  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another identity-politics argument that is commonly made on the political right.  There are many, of course, on the political left.

    • #18
  19. Cosmik Phred Member
    Cosmik Phred
    @CosmikPhred

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Cosmik Phred (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Cosmik, you still on Oakland? Lived there briefly. But in San Fran now. Which is scary enough. Can’t wait to bail out.

     

    We lived in Oakland for 25+ years and bailed out last October. Over the years we saw it gradually improve, enjoyed walking to our local shopping district, loved our neighborhood Chronicle 100 restaurants, the fantastic weather, etc. The deep structural issues with city governance became too much for even private citizens to overcome through their own ingenuity. Crime, homelessness, disrepair increased. I got tired of feeling like a chump by paying my taxes and getting…what? Having a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood isn’t enough. The children are in charge now. The infant wokesters can follow their good intentions to ruin.

    COVID provided an opportunity to fast track our retirement relocation to Calaveras County (Arnold).

    I hope you didn’t insist on having a Trader Joe’s in your new location, because that can be an early sign of the same rot you had to get away from.

    No, I’m content to travel “off the hill” for those amenities. It’s spandex-clad, cyclists that live here full time that concern me. 

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Cosmik Phred (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Cosmik Phred (View Comment):

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Cosmik, you still on Oakland? Lived there briefly. But in San Fran now. Which is scary enough. Can’t wait to bail out.

     

    We lived in Oakland for 25+ years and bailed out last October. Over the years we saw it gradually improve, enjoyed walking to our local shopping district, loved our neighborhood Chronicle 100 restaurants, the fantastic weather, etc. The deep structural issues with city governance became too much for even private citizens to overcome through their own ingenuity. Crime, homelessness, disrepair increased. I got tired of feeling like a chump by paying my taxes and getting…what? Having a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood isn’t enough. The children are in charge now. The infant wokesters can follow their good intentions to ruin.

    COVID provided an opportunity to fast track our retirement relocation to Calaveras County (Arnold).

    I hope you didn’t insist on having a Trader Joe’s in your new location, because that can be an early sign of the same rot you had to get away from.

    No, I’m content to travel “off the hill” for those amenities. It’s spandex-clad, cyclists that live here full time that concern me.

    They don’t seem likely to be conservative, that’s for sure.

     

    • #20