November 12, 2012
By David M. Kennedy Barack Obama made history in 2008. It may now be his fate merely to mark time. Obama's election as the first black president closed a chapter - though surely not the book - in America's long, vexed racial history, just as John F. Kennedy's election amounted to a major cadence in the nation's turbulent religious history. Kennedy proved to be both the first and last Catholic president, in the sense that Catholicism has never since defined political identity as it did for most of the republic's first two centuries.
June 22, 2012 |
A major change in how the Philadelphia Housing Authority is governed advanced a step Thursday night after the state House voted, 163-28, to approve a bill that would empower the Mayor's Office to select all of the agency's commissioners. The Senate must vote again on the House version before it is sent to Gov. Corbett. Mayor Nutter, who lobbied for the legislation, was hopeful the bill would pass, given that the Senate had approved an earlier version by a 49-0 vote in December, said his spokesman, Mark McDonald.
November 24, 2011
British theologian Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, "We write our blessings in the sand, and we engrave our complaints in the marble. " That comment, made more than a century ago, seems so appropriate to America today, where those who profess to be the most red, white, and blue of patriots, who crow that this nation is truly exceptional, otherwise act as if they no longer have faith in its ability to overcome its problems. Maybe as they gather this day with family and friends to reflect on those things for which they are truly thankful, such critics will include not just a blanket endorsement of America's symbols, but an acknowledgment that, warts and all, our government is preferable to any other on Earth.
November 16, 2010
During this past election, voters ousted members of the judiciary who did nothing more than render controversial decisions ("Targeting judges," Nov. 9). One of the most important safeguards to our liberties is the separation of powers. Since the founding of this country, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches have had different functions and have served as checks and balances on each other. Targeting judges, who decide controversial cases, undermines this most basic aspect of separation of powers.
September 26, 2010 |
From almost the moment he arrived in 1998, Carl R. Greene began dismantling the checks and balances at the Philadelphia Housing Authority. As his success as executive director grew, so did his control, records and interviews show. For years the agency was left without a permanent inspector general - a watchdog post now empty. PHA's internal legal staff was gutted, the lawyers replaced with outside firms selected by Greene. The human-resources staff was downsized. And although PHA for decades had regularly provided the city with the authority's audits, Greene stopped that, too. He also refused to testify before City Council, saying PHA was a state agency and Council had no authority over it. After firing Greene last week for allegedly covering up four sexual-harassment claims filed against him by female employees, the PHA board must now rebuild the system of checks and balances Greene so deftly, and completely, disassembled.
March 3, 2010 |
A bipartisan committee trying to make New Jersey a friendlier place for business heard a long list of suggestions yesterday. Give judges the final say on permit appeals. Create a process to flag conflicting state laws. And allow regulators to issue waivers to environmental regulations and other rules when appropriate. At a public meeting of the Red Tape Review Committee at Rowan University, several speakers targeted the Department of Environmental Protection, calling its mandates unwieldy and its enforcement inconsistent.
August 25, 2009 |
AS INTERIM chief executive officer of the Philadelphia schools in 2000-2001, there were many days I wished I'd a magic wand to make board members disappear. I had a job to do, so how could I answer all their questions, from the mundane to the important to the inappropriate? So I can understand how School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman might've been frustrated by inquisitive SRC member Heidi Ramirez, who recently announced her resignation, citing her frustration at being ignored.
July 5, 2009 |
In 1688, King James II rid himself of the laws of Parliament and was swiftly replaced by William III in a coup, which gave birth to England's modern parliamentary democracy and bill of rights. Military force was used to replace the lawful king, yet nobody would deny the legitimacy of England's "Glorious Revolution. " The removal of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya last Sunday by the military under civilian orders is being called a coup all over the world, and it certainly bears its signs.
October 24, 2008
Iraq conundrum We bombed and invaded Iraq so it could become a democracy. Now that it is, we warn the Iraqis that if they do not accept a security agreement on our terms, there will be "real consequences" ("Washington warns Iraq to say yes to security deal," yesterday). What are we going to do, invade them again? I. Milton Karabell Philadelphia Not Penn's jinx Forget this jinx nonsense ("Will higher power lift Penn's curse?" Wednesday). If anything would upset William Penn about his statue atop City Hall, it would be that the sculpture had been created at all. He was a modest fellow who objected to King Charles I's insistence that the colony be named after Penn's father for fear it "would be looked upon as a vanity in me. " A man who disdained superstition, Penn probably would be disappointed that, in his enlightened Pennsylvania, some believe gluing a tiny statue atop a tall building could affect a sporting championship.
October 5, 2008 |
To: Staff, National Constitution Center From: Board of Trustees Re: Change We Can Believe In January 2009 brings a change in leadership to our beloved Constitution Center, as former President Bill Clinton becomes trustee chairman. As our director said, "This is a real coup for us. " Amid the excitement, we feel it's time to make other changes, enhancements that are only now possible thanks to the wealth of contacts and knowledge our new chairman brings to the table.