There they were: the last Republican to serve as district attorney in Philadelphia having lunch with a candidate who could become the most liberal person to ever win the post. They met Thursday at the Palm, the newly renovated political haunt perhaps best known as being Clout's favorite font of old-fashioneds.
Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille, who won the post of district attorney in 1985, said Democratic nominee Larry Krasner asked for the meeting. Castille was elected as a Republican in 1985, resigned in 1991 for an unsuccessful bid for mayor, and oversaw the First Judicial District when he was on the state's high court.
"I want to see that office come back up to the stature it had before the drama with Seth Williams, before he disgraced it," Castille said.
Williams, a Democrat, dropped his bid for a third term in February, resigned from office, and pleaded guilty to a bribery charge in June, and is now in the Federal Detention Center awaiting sentencing in October.
Castille said he and Krasner avoided politics and spoke instead about how the office operates, including "who you can hire and who you can fire," the key positions of first deputy district attorney and chief of county detectives, bail reform, mandatory minimum sentencing, and how to emphasize treatment for people with drug addiction.
"I just sort of gave him the lay of the land," Castille said.
Krasner has spent 30 years as a defense attorney, drawing notice for high-profile civil rights cases. The Republican nominee, Beth Grossman, spent 21 years as an assistant district attorney and has been critical of Krasner's lack of prosecutorial experience.
Castille said he is "trying to stay nonpolitical" in the Nov. 7 general election and has offered Grossman advice, too.
Krasner called Castille "a highly intelligent man who has a lot of insight" and said they agreed "on the importance of restoring faith in the integrity of the office."
Grossman said Castille has been emailing her advice about the office since January.
"Good for Larry for asking for sage advice," she said.
We thought we'd seen it all here at Clout. Some days, it feels like we've seen too much.
And then a sitting judge on the campaign trail gets photobombed by a couple o' dildos and puts everything in perspective.
Allow us to explain.
Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., bless his heart, was attending Pride in the Park, the Lehigh Valley's annual LGBT festival. His campaign staff snapped some photos of him calling out bingo numbers to benefit FACT, an organization that fights AIDS and supports affected residents.
So far, so good.
Except – pay attention here, amateur photographers – no one noticed the upright dildos positioned directly in front of Moulton. No, that's not a gavel, your honor!
The photo was posted on Moulton's Facebook page for about 10 days until a supporter noticed the fake phalluses.
"They're pretty sizable," said a source who tipped us off to the dildos, which some HIV-prevention groups use to instruct on condom use.
The photo, obtained by Clout, has been deleted from Moulton's Facebook page. But we wanted answers. We're professional journalists.
"I'd usually burn down the internet to get rid of a photo like this, and we are going to replace it, but as a level-headed jurist, he didn't mind the 'props' at all," said Joe Corrigan, spokesman for Moulton's campaign.
Moulton, whom Gov. Wolf appointed to Superior Court in August 2016, is running for his first full term in November.
Turns out Moulton wrote the court opinion in April that the survivor of a same-sex common-law marriage had the same legal rights as any other widow or widower. The ruling overturned a denial issued by a Beaver County judge.
Corrigan shook off the dildo situation and quickly returned to campaign mode.
"In a state with no express statutory LGBT antidiscrimination protections, the courts are often the only place those issues are addressed," Corrigan said Thursday. "So it's important that we elect fair-minded judges who can empathize with anyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity."
Reasonable folks can agree to put aside their political and ideological differences in the face of horrific disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
It could take months, if not years, for the full impact of the storm to become clear. At the bare minimum, tens of thousands of Texas residents have lost their homes, at least 39 have died, and early estimates suggest the damage costs could climb to $75 billion.
But that hasn't stopped some people from sharing deeply idiotic hot takes on social media. Take conservative talking head Ann Coulter, who contributed this gem to Twitter on Monday:
Coulter was nearly outdone, though, by Stephen Cassidy, a Philadelphia Housing Authority police lieutenant, who took to Facebook the following day and wrote on a friend's thread: "Texas is a rotten state that has done some horrible things to black and brown people and this storm is probably gods way of punishment for their evil deeds and also for helping to elect trump."
Whew. That's a lot of ground for an angry God to cover in one storm — doling out punishments for the elections of a gay mayor and Donald Trump.
Cassidy did not respond to an email request for comment. But Nichole Tillman, a PHA spokeswoman, said, "PHA does not agree with the posted comment. Lt. Cassidy has removed the post from his page."
"This is going to be a community event, to support the police, but most importantly, it's going to be a checklist to see what politicians show up, who we can count on for support, and those we have to remember when it comes down the line at election time." — Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby, appearing on Dom Giordano's 1210-WPHT program Monday, explaining that his union will be watching to see which city politicians showed up for Thursday evening's "Back the Blue Rally" at the union's headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia