December 28, 1999
Four Chinese citizens showed little remorse Sunday as a Beijing court gave them prison sentences of up to 18 years. Why should they? All they did "wrong" was to promote a spiritual movement that links meditative exercise with Buddhist and Taoist philosophy. It's not their fault that this movement, called Falun Gong, so terrifies the communist clique that runs China. President Jiang Zemin and his associates have overestimated Falun Gong's potential threat to one-party rule. So Chinese leaders have been trying to crush the movement, instead of permitting it and other fresh outlets for free expression.
March 13, 1990 |
I just want to say that if I'm elected mayor I will be only too happy to live in the proposed mayor's mansion and in fact I could go so far as to say that my willingness to do so might be viewed as the principal plank in my platform. Not that I am not committed to other things. For example, I promise never to carry my own raincoat or valet bag, or, if I ever do, I promise that it will not be done as part of a strategy of self-preservation. People who criticize this platform as trivial are blind to its inner boldness.
September 18, 1993
Panic!!!??? Some faint-of-heart Phillies fans - the summer supporters and the sunshine followers - appear inclined to do exactly that right now, perhaps hoping to avoid the rush later on. But not us. We believe. We demonstrated our faith in this Phillies team late in August last year, when they seemed as bad as many Phillies fans said they were. Here's what we said then. (You could look it up.): "Sure, we see the buzzards hovering over the home-town favorites, who are snugly ensconced in the cellar.
August 10, 2003 |
The City of Brotherly Love got its first glimpse of Father Divine in 1939 when the celebrity preacher, famed for the free feasts he provided his followers in Harlem, thundered into town on a 16-car train dubbed the "Divine Special. " He was barely 5 feet tall and getting on in years, but on those three days in September, at the tail end of the Great Depression, the man who claimed to be God took the city by storm. Throngs lined South Broad Street as he paraded through the city in a convertible, and flocked to the Phillies' old ballpark at Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue to hear his message of peace, clean living and racial harmony.
April 4, 1986 |
It appears that sudden success is going to be the ruin of Lyndon LaRouche. Until the recent Illinois primary, LaRouche was leading an almost perfect life for a fringe character on the American political scene. Most people knew nothing about him, other than the fact that he liked to run for president and, if you happened to see one of his TV commercials, looked like a prosperous accountant. Those who bothered to listen to him were hard-pressed to tell exactly, or even vaguely, what he was talking about.
February 1, 1989 |
A crowd of protesters had gathered on the sidewalk outside the building where I work. They chanted and yelled and sang songs. This isn't an uncommon occurrence. Various groups occasionally come downtown to demonstrate their support of or opposition to one cause or another. Because such expressions of free speech are legal, I respect their right to do so, even though listening to them can be a pain in the ear. While this particular group set up its din, a co-worker, who had just come into the building, stopped by to talk.
November 4, 1998 |
Simultaneously looking back and moving forward, a new Catholic association is trying to bring in followers through the use of centuries-old Latin rituals in a decrepit former monastery it is renovating for new use. Led by the Rev. William Ashley, its founder, Opus Mariae Mediatricis is moving its international headquarters into an old monastery complex on Cross Keys Road. Founded two years ago, Opus Mariae is one of a handful of Catholic associations dedicated to performing all the religious rituals in Latin, according to ages-old traditions, instead of following guidelines that have sprung up in the last 30 years.
April 21, 1988 |
When Gloria Ahern went to visit her daughter one day last week, she found a strange couple walking out the front door of the familiar red brick house in Drexel Hill. "Who are you?" Ahern asked. The strangers replied that they had just bought the house - from a couple who seemed in an unusual hurry to leave town. Looking around, Ahern said, she realized the house was empty, and almost all traces of her daughter were gone. The only items left were a few family photographs, tossed in the trash.
September 25, 2001
YO! Mr. President, sir: Respectfully speaking, sir, we guys here in Philadelphia would like to suggest you take out this bin Laden guy in the usual Philadelphian way. When a guy can't pay us back money he owes us, we break a finger, right? So we're thinking, what if this guy can't pay up? What do you think his followers are going to do to him? You follow? So I'm thinking: Talk to the Swiss honchos, and the friends you have in the Philippines, and prevent Saudi transfers of money to the creep - and whadaya have?
February 23, 2001 |
The Bush administration hoped to downplay human rights when crafting policy toward China, in favor of realpolitik issues like trade and proliferation. But the Chinese government's furious crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement is likely to disturb that calculation. Especially since China is charging that Western forces are colluding with Falun Gong to subvert their state. This sect, founded by a former grain company clerk now based in America, attracts millions of followers and drives Beijing's rulers crazy.