June 11, 2015 |
In its latest response to the deadly May 12 Amtrak wreck at Frankford Junction in Philadelphia, the Federal Railroad Administration urged passenger railroads to better control train speed approaching tight curves and bridges. The safety advisory on Tuesday recommended that railroads identify locations where the speed limit drops by more than 20 m.p.h. entering the curve or bridge. Railroads should install automatic-braking circuitry at those locations to slow trains if the engineer doesn't, the FRA said.
June 10, 2015 |
In this age of the ubiquitous cellphone camera, rarely a week passes without the release of yet another video showing police officers responding inappropriately to volatile situations. Currently making the rounds on the Internet and TV is footage showing a policeman, who had responded to a call about a fight at a pool party, throwing a teenage girl in a bikini to the ground and drawing his gun when witnesses threaten to intercede. The McKinney, Texas, officer was later placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
June 10, 2015 |
Wearing a blue-and-purple tie-dye crop top that exposes her hot-pink bra paired with rolled-up jeans shorts and massive platform work boots, Anhia Santana doesn't seem . . . well, even as young as she is, she doesn't like to reveal her age. "I feel like it ruins my brand," said Santana, better known as the visual artist Distortedd. Her "brand" is a collection of captivatingly grotesque illustrations and animations with psychedelic swirls, gross-out oozes, and bouncing body parts that she admits sometimes scare people away.
June 1, 2015 |
When it comes to nuclear negotiations with Iran, which are nearing a June 30 deadline, those who want a solid deal should be saying Vive la France! The French are taking the toughest stand of any of the six countries (known as the P5+1) that are negotiating with Tehran. Paris insists that any accord must permit continuing inspections of all Iranian nuclear installations, including military sites. This demand has been put forward by the entire P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany)
May 22, 2015 |
It was a Philadelphia underdog story: Irish American son of a firefighter from the old neighborhood, dismissed at first, captures Democratic nomination for mayor. To some Democrats, former City Councilman Jim Kenney's landslide win also echoes nationally as the latest example of a progressive big-city tide - on the order of the 2013 victories of Bill de Blasio in New York and union laborer Marty Walsh in Boston. These mayors and others were elected by broad, cross-racial coalitions, on promises to address the economic frustrations of workers and to end racial disparities in law enforcement.
May 20, 2015 |
A chubby, happy harbor seal has been spotted in the Rancocas Creek, apparently lured by herring, says a wildlife expert who assists stranded and displaced marine animals. "It's not unusual for the seals to follow the herring in the spring and to not know how far upstream they are going," said Bob Schoelkopf founder of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N.J. "As long as they find food, they're happy. When they run out of food, they go back down" into Delaware Bay and out into the ocean.
May 18, 2015 |
CLARKSDALE, Miss. - In the 1930s, a mediocre young guitar player stopped at a rural Mississippi crossroads at midnight to sell his soul to the devil. In return, Satan gifted him with wondrous skill. So goes the legend of the real-life Robert Johnson, seminal bluesman - "the master" in worshipper Eric Clapton's words. Today, Johnson's name beckons from roadside markers along a magical meander called the Mississippi Blues Trail. Wending through not only the Mississippi Delta and environs but down through the decades, back more than a century to the birth of the blues, the path was trod as well by Big Joe Williams, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, Johnny Young, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and so many other icons-to-be looking for a way out of the dim-lit, whisky-soaked juke joints and the destitution of the Deep South.
May 18, 2015 |
GREENWOOD, Miss. - The 2011 film version of Kathryn Stockett's bestseller, The Help , was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, which cheerfully prompted Greenwood to create a new tourist attraction: The Help Tour. This lovely little Mississippi Delta city (pop. 16,000) has long been wrapped in blues heritage and Civil Rights history. Markers for both the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Mississippi Freedom Trail dot the landscape. Now, Greenwood is drawing on its cinematic connections, as well, by pointing visitors on self-guided driving tours of the local sites where The Help was filmed.
May 14, 2015 |
IT'S ALWAYS NICE when somebody does your work for you, so a big shout-out to Travis Sawchik. At varying points over the last year, we've used a Phillies opponent as a prism through which to view their ongoing efforts to return the organization to a state of perennial competitiveness. Today, we turn our attention to the Pirates, for a variety of reasons. First, they are in town, which automatically makes them the most interesting baseball team in the city. Second, they are one of the ascendant franchises that has stepped up to fill the void left by the Phillies' self-implosion.
May 11, 2015 |
MURAL ARTIST Eurhi Jones has turned the north wall of Bodine High School into a gigantic ocean wave, created a spectacular jungle on the exterior of the Philadelphia Zoo parking garage and painted a wildlife-rich "Walk Through a Pennsylvania Forest" at the Please Touch Museum. Now, she has turned her eye-popping palette and her passion for nature into a 10-block, 50-artworks trail that winds through her own neighborhood, Manayunk, and leads people to the new Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center on the Schuylkill River.