July 18, 2016 |
For decades, millionaire Main Line businessmen Richard Ireland and Brian McElwee have plied politicians with campaign money while landing government contract after contract. None of it has provoked much attention. But now the two little-known partners are drawing scrutiny beyond political circles. In the latest probe into "pay to play" in Pennsylvania, federal prosecutors and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have subpoenaed a host of documents from the businessmen.
July 18, 2016 |
Charles Ramsey has law enforcement credentials that few can match. Only now, for the first time in more than 40 years, the former top cop for the District of Columbia and Philadelphia, and cochair of President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, finds himself advising from the sidelines. "I've been pretty busy," he told me, "but when things like this occur, of course I wish I was in the middle of it. But then there's another part of me that's probably glad I'm not in the middle of it. " Retirement hasn't diminished his willingness to address hot-button issues.
July 15, 2016
By Tabatha Abu El-Haj As Philadelphia prepares for the coming protests related to the Democratic National Convention - especially those that will proceed without authorization - it is worth remembering that the city has a long history with unpermitted, disruptive, and controversial marches. On Independence Day in 1795, to take just one example, citizens marched in silence through the city's major thoroughfares protesting the Washington administration's secret Jay Treaty with Great Britain.
July 13, 2016
By George Kohl The vision of our founders was of a government of, by, and for the people. And history tells the story of how our democracy has grown, from the days when only white, male property owners had rights to embracing African Americans and women as full voting participants. Today there's an extreme attack on our democracy, one that threatens to transform the government into one of, by, and for corporations and the 1 percent. Too many Americans believe the system is rigged, that politicians don't listen to the people.
July 8, 2016
IMAGINE THAT, 40 years ago, Coors brewed a beer called Down With Queers. Or that 60 years ago Falstaff had a beer named Whites Are Supreme. It never happened because, though both breweries held some strong political views, neither advertised them on beer cans. Which is why the widely publicized campaign against North Carolina's anti-transgender law by a group of Tar Heel breweries is a remarkable step down an uncertain path. For, while brewery operators - like any business owner - hold personal opinions, they typically don't wear their politics on their sleeve.
July 6, 2016
The progressive drive to broadly define and thoroughly eradicate political "corruption" has corrupted politics. But discord is not altogether pandemic in Washington, and last week, a unanimous Supreme Court, in this term's most important decision, limited the discretion prosecutors have to criminalize politics. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced to prison for unseemly behavior. He accepted from a Virginia businessman gifts and loans valued at more than $170,000. The businessman wanted McDonnell to help promote his dietary-supplement business, including by helping him persuade state universities to study its products.
July 5, 2016 |
In 2010, Kerri Kennedy was training women in Afghanistan to run for office when she noticed a stark statistic. That year, 28 percent of elected officials in Afghanistan were women, while in the United States, women held just 17 percent of such positions. A friend told her that while the work Kennedy did was commendable, she could have a bigger impact helping women in her own country get elected. "She said, 'You're not walking the talk,' " Kennedy recalled. Six years later, Kennedy is one of more than a dozen Philadelphia women who run Represent!
July 2, 2016
With prospective Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump looking for a running mate, Gov. Christie's stingy school funding plan could give him street cred with fiscal conservatives. But it ignores New Jersey's court-ordered commitment to spend more to aid the state's neediest schools. In announcing his school funding plan, Christie said it made no sense to continue giving extra money to mostly urban school districts where "failure is the rule, not the exception. " He instead wants to give every district a flat rate of $6,599 per student and use the resulting savings to help largely suburban districts reduce property taxes.
June 29, 2016 |
In a brilliant and riveting Julius Caesar , the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival presents Shakespeare's depiction of the fear of impending political chaos. In this play - written in 1599, when Queen Elizabeth was nearing her end - we meet Caesar, as well as his rivals, conspirators, and common citizens, a virtual tableau of everyone touched by the struggle for power. Actually, Caesar appears in only three scenes (though he hangs on as a ghost). Keith Hamilton Cobb captures his imperious hauteur.
June 28, 2016
ISSUE | IMMIGRATION A political mess The Supreme Court, in a 4-4 vote, has allowed to stand a lower-court ruling that voids President Obama's executive order on immigration (" Supreme Court defeat for Obama ," Friday). Instead of shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and making then eligible for work permits, the ruling ensures that the immigration situation remains in turmoil and limbo. Never has the hubris of the Republican Party's obstructionist agenda to block Obama's governance been more transparent.