August 20, 2014 |
The Democrats left, and the Carpenters union came back. With an inflated "fat cat" figure, a sound system, banners, and signs, about 50 carpenters protested outside the Convention Center on Friday afternoon, pressing the state authority that runs the venue to let them back in. The scene served as a noisy reminder of lingering labor issues in the city less than 24 hours after the team scouting Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention...
May 8, 2013
ALTHOUGH we at IBEW Local 98 appreciate Signe Wilkinson highlighting our newly created Rat-Mobile in a political cartoon, she missed a key point in the narrative. Rather than depicting unions as distributing political contributions - a tired old cliche - Signe should have depicted us doing the city's job: Collecting unpaid taxes, permit fees and license fees from unscrupulous developers and contractors. Exposing these cheats in order to help our cash-strapped city collect desperately needed revenue is our mission.
November 16, 2012 |
If you watch a lot of TV - and, hey, who doesn't? - you may have noticed that your life has suddenly improved. You're no longer facing a ceaseless barrage of political ads sponsored by groups with innocuous-sounding names like Restore Our Future, American Crossroads, and Priorities USA Action. They're blessedly gone, as are the fat cats who helped bankroll the priciest election season in history. There's more good news: Most of them wasted their money on losers. To update Winston Churchill, never have so many expended so much for so little.
November 16, 2011
The Occupy Philly protesters have worn out their welcome at their tent-city encampment on Dilworth Plaza in Center City. For the Occupy movement nationally, it's also time to reassess its strategy to bring about economic, governmental, and social change. Americans struggling to emerge from a devastating recession don't see how the Occupy camp-outs are making any difference. With their numbers in Philadelphia swelled by the homeless, reports of a weekend rape in a tent, the arrest Tuesday of two men who police say punched others at the site, and with what city officials view as a growing public-health threat from unsanitary conditions and fire hazards, it's clearly time for the Occupy Philly contingent to move on. Beyond the obvious fraying of conditions at the loosely organized protest, the local Occupy folks are standing in the way of a $50 million makeover of the plaza due to start this month.
September 19, 2011
EVERYBODY remembers where they were on 9/11, but it was the day after that I remember most. I worked the night shift on 9/11 after watching TV all day. On 9/12, there was no noise, nobody running for the bus, no children going to school, no airplane noise. People were walking around in a daze, some crying. It reminded me of the day JFK was killed when I was a kid. My father used to tell me about Pearl Harbor, and what Americans felt. I understand now, because on 9/12, I felt the same way. I wanted to go to war and make the people who did this pay. We all felt so helpless.
September 14, 2011 |
HICH Side Are You On?" is a song written in 1931 by Florence Reece, the wife of an organizer for the United Mine Workers. But the lyric "It seems like it's illegal to fight for the union anymore" feels very current as even the right to collective bargaining is under attack by many state governments. Unions are a very important part of our history, yet it's a topic rarely taught in schools. Given all that's going on these days with organized labor and jobs, especially public-sector unions, maybe it's time to reflect on who we are, and what we stand for. When "Which Side Are You On?
March 22, 2011 |
GOV. CORBETT has been criticized for not engaging the media early in his term. Well, if he acted like a silent movie star before announcing his first budget, then his actual budget address and his recent interview with me have been treated with the fanfare of a big- budget Hollywood blockbuster. In his budget address, Corbett struck the theme that the commonwealth is facing a $4 billion hole, and what he calls the "education industry" shouldn't be insulated from helping to fill it. This has led to proposed cutbacks in state funding for local school districts, but the most controversial cutbacks involve Pennsylvania colleges and universities that receive significant state funding.
March 17, 2011
MANY OF YOU are likely familiar with the provocative TLC reality show "Honey, We're Killing the Kids," a series that illustrates the consequences our children suffer when bad parenting and lifestyle habits get out of control. In short, the program highlights the serious toll obesity is taking not only on adults, but also the health and future of our most precious resource, our children. Sadly, our pets are suffering, too. "Honey, We're Killing our Dogs," cats and other pets could be the next reality show coming to your local cable station.
December 14, 2009
Illinois, infamous for political corruption, enacted its first-ever campaign contribution limits last week, on the one-year anniversary of the arrest of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Pennsylvania should be next. Only 11 states, including Pennsylvania, have yet to limit how much money individuals or political action committees can donate to candidates for public office. It's a failure that erodes public confidence in the legislature and allows special interests to dictate public policy coming out of Harrisburg.