June 2, 2016
By Grant Calder In 1917, Eugene Debs, the leader of the Socialist Party, spoke to a group of workers in Canton, Ohio. When we studied this speech, the students in my American history class were surprised by the parallels to the current presidential primaries. Debs had no patience for Republicans or Democrats, whom he saw as "the political twins of the master class. " Presidential contenders Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders seem to be tapping into a similar strain of antiestablishment anger.
April 29, 2016 |
'Tonight, we commune with the dead," declared the intermission lecturer, Philip Jones, a Babylonian specialist. Is that so different from many classical music concerts? This occasion was different. It was called "Ancient Echoes," a special concert at the Penn Museum's Chinese Rotunda on Tuesday, surrounded by Tang Dynasty sculptures. Egyptian sarcophagi lay in the next room. The event was special, indeed. The rotunda is a 90-foot-high dome: Acoustic spaces this diffuse and reverberant are so tough on preexisting repertoire that two new pieces were written for the space.
April 24, 2016
Face(book)ing the Music. The San Francisco Symphony says it will become the first major symphony orchestra to stream on Facebook Live on Wednesday, when it performs the world premiere of Mason Bates' Auditorium. Pablo Heras-Casado conducts, with Bates performing on electronica - the piece samples the sounds of baroque instruments - at Davies Symphony Hall on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. California (11:15 p.m. East Coast) time. Information: www.facebook.com/sfsymphony . And while you're Facebooking your way around the classics, search for Kanye and Beethoven to hear the mashup created with the Los Angeles Young Musicians Foundation that comingles Kanye with the traditional symphony orchestra in a strangely compelling way. - Peter Dobrin Ancient Echoes.
April 11, 2016
Speaking from across the Delaware River in Camden, Walt Whitman described baseball as "America's game," with "the snap, go, fling, of the American atmosphere. " As the 2016 season starts, consider Shibe Park, onetime home to Philadelphia's Athletics and Phillies, demolished 40 years ago this year. Named after Athletics majority owner Ben Shibe, the stadium was bounded by what are now West Lehigh Avenue and North 20th, West Somerset, and North 21st Streets. Unlike the then-popular wooden and brick "bowls," Shibe Park boasted a skeleton of steel and concrete - baseball's first.
April 9, 2016 |
Lutron Electronics, the Lehigh Valley-based global giant in home lighting controls, Thursday joined the growing ranks of companies whose consumer gear and services "hear" and respond to voice commands dished to Amazon Echo and Fire TV products. Users who pair Lutron's do-it-yourself Caseta wireless lighting control devices with Amazon's Echo smart speaker or Fire TV (streaming video receiver) will be able to orally cue Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa to switch " 'Bedroom lights full on' in the morning or 'Alexa, lower living room lights to 65 percent' for movie viewing at night," said Neil Orchowski, Lutron product development manager for strategic alliances.
March 23, 2016 |
Friday evening, March 11, inside the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion at South Racine Avenue and West Congress Parkway, a few dozen protesters waited uneasily amid supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, a crowd about 6,000 strong. The protesters, mostly African American, Latino, and white UIC students, planned to disrupt Trump's xenophobic stump speech by chanting and locking arms, age-old techniques of resistance. As the Trump campaign crowd began chanting "USA!
September 28, 2015 |
Pope Francis' address Saturday on Independence Mall was widely expected to focus on immigration and perhaps the plight of refugees, a topic dear to the pontiff. The speech did, but spoke more to the issue of protecting religious liberty - a topic dear to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. Francis began by noting that it was here in Philadelphia - and in the backdrop to his speech, Independence Hall - that the Founding Fathers codified the religious freedoms that most Americans assume as a birthright.
July 31, 2015
DID U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah out-Fumo Fumo? There are many differences between the 139-count indictment of State Sen. Vincent Fumo, in 2007, and yesterday's 29-count indictment of the Congressman and four others - with charges including racketeering conspiracy, bribery and money laundering. For one thing, Fumo was convicted and jailed, and we don't yet know Fattah's fate. But there are many echoes between the two: Abuse of nonprofit charitable organizations : Fumo used Citizens Alliance, his nonprofit, as a personal ATM, using funds to enrich himself with, among other things, an extensive inventory of vacuum cleaners and power tools.
July 17, 2015 |
Echoing the sentiments of Presidents Obama and Clinton, who had spoken before her, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch closed out the NAACP's national convention Wednesday with calls to reform America's justice system, proclaiming that "law enforcement can protect communities without breaking them. " In her 25-minute speech before hundreds at the Convention Center, Lynch praised the country's civil-rights accomplishments, citing among others her father's efforts in 1960s North Carolina, but described the need to press on and "root out the injustice that confines liberty.
April 16, 2015 |
Philadelphia finance director Rob Dubow was a bit more politic than his boss, but his message on Tuesday was the same: the plans offered by the Democratic mayoral candidates to fund city schools just don't add up. "It is not like these are all horrible ideas," Dubow told a room of reporters. "It is they just don't get the district what it needs. " That was a more measured assessment than one offered last week by Mayor Nutter, who called the candidates' solutions to the school funding crisis "bogus.