November 9, 2012 |
If you listened for it Tuesday morning, you could hear the stirrings of Elkins Park's long-suffering heart. It was the rustling sound of Karen Irgang bagging a 29-cent dinner roll from Liscio's Bakery. And of Janice Hayes-Cha, plopping Stayman-Winesap apples from Frecon Farms into her shopping cart. It was the squawk of Ralph Kirk's squeegee on the sliding glass doors as Creekside Co-op, which, after a gestation that lasted five long years, had finally opened for business. "A wonderful thing," pronounced Aliza Green, the local cookbook author, savoring the sparkling market, painted spring green and autumn orange.
November 6, 2012 |
A YEAR AGO, if I'd said I was worried about "sequestration," most folks would have figured I needed a doctor and wondered if it was something they could catch. But by now, just about everyone knows it means a trillion dollars in automatic budget cuts that start in January 2013. It's part of the so-called "fiscal cliff" that was put in motion when the congressional "supercommittee" collapsed last fall - a devastating package of tax hikes and spending cuts that experts say will blow up our fragile economic recovery and drag us back into recession next year.
November 5, 2012
IN PHILADELPHIA, a single political appointee decides how much citizens pay for water. This Tuesday, I urge voters to choose a more open and transparent rate-setting process and vote "yes" on Ballot Question No. 1. Philadelphia's water commissioner has sole authority to approve water-rate hikes proposed by the very Water Department he or she heads. That glaring conflict of interest ought to disturb customers, who've seen increases in their water bills well above the rate of inflation throughout the recession.
November 2, 2012 |
YOUNG AMERICANS have a lot at stake in Tuesday's presidential election, but nothing is more important than ensuring enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Mentioned repeatedly during the first two presidential debates, "Obamacare" is now the subject of intense, and annoying, campaign advertisements. But lost amid all this ominous talk of mandates, fines and government takeovers is a clear understanding of the ACA's many benefits to those of us under 40. I hope the possibility of a potential Romney administration repealing the ACA elicits serious concern, because the ACA is vital to the health of our country.
October 24, 2012
THANKFULLY, state senators left Harrisburg to campaign without repeating the House's mistake of passing House Bill 2224, which would allow local-level officials to sell parks by majority vote. The measure deserves to die with the end of the legislative session and should not be reintroduced. The House passed this so-called "cash for parks" bill, 197-0. Given its likely negative ramifications, just what could those 197 House members possibly have been thinking? HB 2224 would short-circuit the existing process for government land sales, which requires approval by county-level Orphan's Courts.
October 19, 2012 |
MARK TWAIN observed that "it's not what you don't know that kills you, it's what you know for sure that ain't true. " After 15 years doing fieldwork in more than 100 public schools and interviewing more than 1,000 students, parents, and educators, we're convinced that no area is more fraught with myths and misconceptions than education policy, especially during election seasons like this one. Indeed our friend Jay Greene wrote a whole book, "Education Myths,"...
October 17, 2012 |
I AM A VETERAN Philadelphia public-school teacher who is on sabbatical, and short of burying my head in the dirt the last two weeks there was no avoiding the brouhaha regarding a student wearing a "Romney-Ryan" T-shirt on dress-down day and comments her teacher admittedly made to her at a Philadelphia public high school. I would like to chime in with some additional perspective pertaining to the teaching profession. Like George W. Bush has said on numerous occasions about the presidency, "This is a hard job. " The craft of teaching is science with research-based curriculum, lesson plans and best practices, but it is also art with an intuitive sense for putting the science successfully into practice and making it work.
October 10, 2012 |
THE BAD-CHILDHOOD defense that so many pieces of scum use in our court system today as a scapegoat for their crimes has no effect on my sympathies or heart. After you committed some of the most heinous and stupid acts of violence on society, I don't want to hear that Daddy or Mommy hit you a bit too hard and you're acting out because that's all you know. A few weeks ago I saw an image posted on Facebook of a blue-and-white rubber flip-flop, a wooden cooking spoon and a coiled-up belt with a question: Do these remind you of your childhood?
September 17, 2012 |
THE NATIONAL Conference on Citizenship and National Constitution Center last week celebrated the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is exploring how citizenship has changed in the 21st century. Rapid technological advancements, economic globalization and political forces around the world have had a profound impact on our democracy and on what it means to be a productive member of society.
September 13, 2012 |
Weavers Way Co-op, the beloved and almost comically dilapidated Mount Airy institution, the floor a Jackson Pollock of organic food spillage, reopened its doors Sunday after eight weeks of renovation, the first in 20 years and easily a decade overdue. Only problem? The store is too nice, astonishingly nice. It's like Extreme Makeover: Co-op Edition . "I'm not good enough for this place," announced one member in the handsome downstairs with new wood floors and ambient lighting that replaced the old interrogation-room fixtures.