February 17, 2015 |
La Salle University scholar Stuart Leibiger found his way to Washington - the president, not the state - through a series of excursions. As a boy, he immersed himself in Lincoln, visiting presidential sites during a family trip through Illinois. He detoured into Civil War history in high school, met up with Madison and Jefferson while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. Not until he was earning his doctorate at the University of North Carolina in the 1990s did he fully arrive at his destination, immersing himself in the public and private lives of the nation's first president.
May 8, 2013 |
What were our Founders thinking when they gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 for the Constitutional Convention? According to Peter Sagal, who hosts PBS's consistently lively four-part series, Constitution USA (premiering at 9 p.m. Tuesday on WHYY TV12), the distinguished delegates had both short- and long-term goals. "The Founders came to Philadelphia to fix the Articles of Confederation," Sagal says in the first segment, "A More Perfect Union. " "Also, to make sure that 200 years later, this city would enjoy a booming constitutionally themed tourist trade.
July 6, 2012 |
Kevin Bleyer has rewritten the Constitution of the United States. Bleyer, a writer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart who has contributed to speeches for President Obama, decided that the Constitution needed revision — and that current politics would never allow another Constitutional Convention. He has laid out his plan in a new book, Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America (Random House, $26). "We need a convention of one. We need Kevin Bleyer to make all the decisions, on behalf of America, because he knows best," the Emmy Award winner said by phone.
April 2, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - From the presidential race on down, making government smaller is on the lips of most every candidate for public office. Against that background, Pennsylvania lawmakers on Monday began a historic debate on reducing their own ranks. The state House's consideration of a bill to trim the 203-member chamber by 50 seats marks the first time in 45 years that lawmakers have taken up such a proposal. The 50-member state Senate would not be affected. Because the legislation would amend the state constitution, it would have to be passed in two consecutive two-year sessions of the General Assembly and then approved by voters in a statewide referendum.
October 9, 2011 |
James Madison, our fourth president, is better known as the Father of the Constitution, a title that should be especially familiar to Philadelphians. In Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center, a bronze Madison stands, all five feet of him, at the right hand of George Washington as he is about to sign the document. But Madison had another child that Americans know well, especially as the presidential election cycle swings toward the Iowa-New Hampshire madhouse: Madison was the Father of Politics.
June 30, 2011
A June 19 Currents essay, "Living up to the city's motto," misstated when a celebration of the centennial of the Constitutional Convention occurred. It was 1887. The Inquirer wants its news report to be fair and correct in every respect, and regrets when it is not. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, contact assistant managing editor David Sullivan (215-854-2357) at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101, or e-mail email@example.com .
February 26, 2011
A Washington councilman wants to take his city's fight for representation in Congress out on the Keystone State. Yo, buddy, bad idea. To draw attention to the cause of statehood for his city, Michael A. Brown wants to rename Pennsylvania Avenue. He suggests the catchy "Give DC Full Democracy & Statehood Way" or maybe just "51st State Way. " He's asking Washingtonians for other suggestions in an online poll. Aside from the slippery slope of renaming streets in the nation's capital to suit the special interests of the day, let's recall some reasons that Pennsylvania was given pride of place, a street linking the White House and the Capitol, when the city grid was designed in the 1800s.
November 7, 2010 |
I bring good news. Not just for Republicans feeling mighty happy these days, but also for Democrats who sense it's mourning in America. Likely incoming Pennsylvania House Speaker Republican Sam Smith says he wants to reduce the size of our bloated, obscenely expensive legislature. With this suggestion, Smith supplants Phil as my new favorite resident of Punxsutawney, which is American Indian for, I kid not, "land of sandflies. " Hours after Republicans conquered Harrisburg, Smith said, "There's nothing magical about 203 in the House or 50 in the Senate.
November 5, 2010 |
HARRISBURG - In recent years, many have pushed for cutting the size of the Pennsylvania legislature: reformers, think tanks, candidates for office. But now the call for shrinking the 203-member House of Representatives comes from an unlikely source: one of those 203 members. And not just any one - the representative who, come January, is expected to become House speaker. Fresh off his party's victories at the polls, House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R., Jefferson) on Wednesday said he would like to see the chamber's ranks trimmed - for the simple reason that he believed it would make it easier to get things done in the Capitol.
August 23, 2010
IF PENNSYLVANIA hopes to get the kind of fundamental political reform it so desperately needs, it needs young people like George Hicks. The 19-year-old college sophomore from the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia is an intern with the statewide nonpartisan grassroots/reform group Democracy Rising Pa. When I ask how long he intends to work there, he says: "Until we get government reform and integrity legislation passed. " I hope the kid has staying power. Between our Legislature's antics, highlighted by members indicted, jailed or under investigation; judicial scandals and messes at the Delaware River Port Authority, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the city's DROP program, reforms will take time - and might well rest with the young.