Yo, Philly, are you feeling left out? If not, you have no civic pride, you haven’t been watching the national political conventions, or both.Anybody who has ever lived in, worked in or visited the City of Brotherly Love has to be rather jealous of Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., the host cities of the Republican National Convention (last week) and Democratic National Convention (this week), where supporters have whooped it up for Willard Mitt Romney and Barack Hussein Obama.With the coveted title of host city comes a humongous dose of national attention — the kind that money just cannot buy. Indeed, the conventions themselves attract tens of thousands of politicians, delegates and their families, and journalists — in search of drama during events that have turned out to be largely free of suspense — who leave behind lots of money.Philly hosted both the Democratic and the Republican conventions in 1948, and it proved that it can be a terrific host city again in 2000, when newly installed Mayor John Street’s ultra-Democratic town did a fantastic job hosting the Republicans at the First Union Center.Philly has it all — tons of historical sites, hotels, restaurants, a great public transit system. It’s everything conventioneers could ever hope for. So, what do Tampa and Charlotte have that Philadelphia does not? Nothing, and a whole lot less.Note to Mayor Nutter, Gov. Corbett and Philadelphia’s hospitality industry: Get off your butts right now and start working to bring the Democratic or Republican National Convention to Philly in 2016. Philadelphia and democracy are a perfect match.Send letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We must protect our great protectorsWhen an officer or firefighter passes away, the city joins together in supporting these fallen heroes. We clasp hands and collectively grieve for these members.In our prayers and conversations we recognize the tremendous sacrifices they make, and commend them for their heroism. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring our thoughts to center stage.All firefighters in our city need our support now more than ever. Every day these men and women make our homes safer, yet whether it is because of waves of brown-outs or a never-ending contract dispute, they are under attack.It is imperative that we stand in solidarity with our firefighters. We are all quick to recognize their need for support in the face of tragedy, but frankly the current environment they must endure is also a grave tragedy. Our neighborhood protectors should not have to worry about the ability to make ends meet.Our entire neighborhood should be grieving at the loss of respect given to these brave souls. Every day they stand up ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, and as their friends, family, and neighbors, we need to stand up with them.I recently sent a letter to Mayor Nutter asking him to accept the terms of the binding arbitration process.It is my hope that you will join me in fervent support for our firefighters.State Rep. Kevin Boyle172nd Legislative DistrictGutless theft of a flagAfter returning from vacation, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we realized someone had stolen our American flag. It had been on our front lawn since Sept. 11, 2001.Hopefully the person or persons who had the guts to steal it, have the same kind of guts it takes to protect it, like our men and women are doing right now overseas. My guess is they probably don’t.Brian DealMayfairSame-sex marriages are anything but traditionalAh, the left! Always ready to put out rhetorical fiction to advance an agenda. That was my reaction upon reading the lengthy letter by Kimberly Kunda justifying her “marriage” to her same-sex partner (Same-sex wife appeals for mutual respect, Aug. 15 edition). Her piece is pure rhetoric, because it rests on the flimsiest reasoning I have seen in some time. First, she contradicts herself. She states that “free speech is a sacred, American right” then, later on, she writes that others don’t “have the right to have an opinion” on her marriage. Kim, isn’t that what freedom of speech is, the right to have and publicly state opinions? And that includes expressing opinions we may not like to hear, even ones that do not support certain so-called “lifestyles.” And, Kim, the fact that we debate marriage is not absurd, as you state, but is an exercise in free speech. The debate you decry came from YOUR side because your side made the redefinition of marriage an issue in the first place! And, in an era when children more than ever need both strong male and female role models as parents, the benefits provided by solid heterosexual marriages need to be aired thoroughly, publicly and completely. This is called responsible citizenship, and both citizens and public officials alike have the duty to protect and preserve fundamental human institutions.These are institutions (of which traditional marriage is but one) that have been devised by humanity via trial and error over the course of millennia because they are most likely to produce happiness for individuals and benefits for the wider scope of whole societies.These institutions are so vital that governments have no right to tamper with them, and they most definitely trump American values like “equal rights.” Preserving these institutions is called responsible stewardship, and it falls to all of us to rise above the narrowness of self-interest and half-baked ideological schemes and defend them. Even you, Kim. Meanwhile, I’ve got a challenge for you: how about applying your writing skills to genuine literary fiction and avoid ideologically driven screeds? As for the rest of us, to avoid falling for such folderol, we should definitely “eat mor chikin” and pray fervently for heaven to touch these misguided souls.George TomezskoFox Chase
Past tours have featured such stars as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Scotty McCreery and others. Now this year’s American Idol Live! Tour, set for Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Friday, features first-place winner Phillip Phillips and the season’s talented runners-up, including a Louisiana native who took the No. 3 spot, Joshua Ledet.Ledet, a preacher’s son, said this isn’t the first time he tried for a top spot on the popular TV show.“Actually, I auditioned for season ten as well and didn’t make it, doing the exact same thing and singing the exact same song,” he said. “This time, I think I was more like myself and not as shy as I was last year. That’s the only difference I can think of this time around.”Growing up in a large family where the focus was on “food and fun,” Ledet said that, when he was an 11-year-old, he watched another Southern soul singer, Fantasia Barrino, sing I Believe in the final show of American Idol’s third season and be declared the winner.“That really inspired me, and I hoped I could do the same thing one day,” said the 20-year-old.“But even though I grew up singing in my family’s church, I was painfully shy, embarrassed to sing in front of everybody. And although my mom was a great musical inspiration to me, she thought because of my shyness I’d never make it as a professional singer, let alone get anywhere on American Idol. But my dad encouraged me, telling me to believe in myself and do what I wanted to do.”Before entering and capturing a top spot in the competition, Ledet said he thought about becoming an actor, taking part in his high school’s theater program for all four years of school. But singing finally won out and he’s now touring the country with the other Idol winners.During his many performances on American Idol, Ledet received a number of standing ovations, including one for his rendition of Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by the Temptations, and the Bee Gees’ To Love Somebody. In fact, each week the Idol contestants were made to sing in a certain style mandated by the judges. And it wasn’t always an easy thing to do, said Ledet. “One of my hardest weeks was singing a Billy Joel song,” he recalled. “That was a very uncomfortable week for me because I really never listened to his music and I got stuck with the very last song up for grabs. I tried to sing to the best of my ability, but I don’t think the judges liked what I did too much.” Another difficult challenge Ledet faces today is all the traveling it takes to get through this tour.“It’s tough not being able to rest like you want to or the way you normally do,” he said. “And having to deal with going from a totally different lifestyle to becoming famous overnight with lots of people wanting to see you and touch you is strange. It becomes very tiring and very weird. But we all signed up for this, and for the most part, I do enjoy it. I just have to learn to get used to it.”With Michael Jackson and Beyonce two of his own idols, Ledet said he hopes to wind up in the recording studio making great music for everyone to hear.“Someone once told me that the way Michael and Beyonce, and even Carrie Underwood made it, was by never taking a break,” Ledet pointed out. “And so, if that’s what it takes, that’s exactly what I plan to do, too.” For times and ticket information, call 1-800-736-1420.