So many places to start on the wrong side of the ledger this week: undocumented immigrants; transgender students; recreational marijuana users.

But, really, it’s a Friday afternoon, which means it must be time for President Trump to show a little love to the Fourth Estate. And he and his comrades didn’t disappoint – in fact, they provided double the pleasure and double the fun.

First was the president himself, tossing some Trump-quality red meat media-bashing to the CPAC crowd, including the selectively amnesiac demand that reporters “shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name” – a sound bite inconveniently at odds with his previously tweeted positions on the subject.

That was just a prelude to the unprecedented barring of news organizations, including the New York Times, CNN and Politico, among others, from a briefing with Press Secretary Sean Spicer. (No word on whether or not Gateway Pundit got in, but we’re guessing yes.)

If you’re wondering how Spicer feels about impeding the free press from doing its job, you’re in luck: the Washington Post’s Philip Bump noted that way, way back in December, Spicer “insisted that open access for the media is ‘what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.’”

Glad we got that cleared up!

Now, before you head over to Fox News, Breitbart, One America or any of the other non-enemy of the people outlets that were allowed to be part of the gaggle, why not check out this week’s Winners & Losers?



Jim Kenney: Although some estimates have sugary drink sales in Philly tanking by some 40 percent, Mayor Kenney’s signature soda tax wound up bringing in $5.7 million in Januarysubstantially higher than the $2.3 million the city forecast for the month, and welcome news for the organizations and programs reliant on that revenue.

H.R. McMaster Jr.: Given the chaos prevalent in the White House and the fate of his predecessor, Army Lt. Gen. McMaster, named national security adviser this week by President Trump, could very well wind up in the upside down here at some point in the near future, but the Philadelphia native and Valley Forge Military Academy Class of 1980 graduate has been universally lauded as an excellent choice. Fingers crossed.

Cheri Honkala: Up until yesterday, Honkala, the Green Party candidate for the special election to replace convicted former PA Rep. Leslie Acosta in the 197th District, seemed a lock for the L. A judge removed her from the ballot after her campaign failed to get paperwork in on time, and she was planning to run as a write-in candidate a la PA Sen. Scott Wagner. But then …



Freddie Ramirez: Then Ramirez, Acosta’s hand-picked replacement (seriously; no, seriously – the Dems actually let that happen), got kicked off the ballot himself, the victim of one or five too many residences, none of them where they should be for him to be a legal candidate. With the special election slated for March 21, it remains to be seen if the Dems can – or, let’s be serious, should even be allowed to – field another candidate.

John Eichelberger: You know it’s a crazy week when the state senator, who ignited a firestorm with his thinly veiled paean to the soft bigotry of low expectations, is forced into the second slot. Eichelberger’s comments advocating relegation of inner city students to vocational school over college drew just the kind of disbelief and condemnation that should be directed toward the chair of the Senate Education Committee. In a Trumpian bonus double-down, he blamed the imbroglio on … wait for it … “fake news.” Not that he disputed what was reported, nor did he make himself available to explain his true intent or his issue with the reporting; he left the explaining to his press secretary. I guess he’s taking his role seriously, by teaching us the importance of not owning up to your actions?

Desiree Peterkin-Bell: The former City Representative in the Nutter administration lost her defamation lawsuit against Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz. After the judge failed to find that Butkovitz had defamed Peterkin-Bell in a controller’s report slamming her for treating her time at the Mayor’s Fund, the city’s nonprofit fundraising entity, as unfettered access to a personal slush fund, Peterkin-Bell said she was exploring an appeal of the dismissal.