May 6, 2014
BACKSTAGE before an education forum at the Free Library last week, Tom Wolf told me he was "still enjoying" his first run for public office. Because I've witnessed many such runs and own what I consider a healthy cynicism (others think it's not so healthy), I simply responded: "You'll learn. " Minutes later, Wolf got a sense of what I meant. That's when Rob McCord used his opening statement to head-butt Wolf, accusing the wealthy York County businessman of tolerating racism.
May 4, 2014 |
Readers' communications come in a mixed mailbag. Most ask questions. Others offer opinions. Some of the letters are complimentary, others not so much. I took a particular pounding for this opening paragraph of a recent column: "There was a time when the full-size pickup truck was largely blue-collar transit with a blue-collar price tag. As it turns out, that nostalgic note has gone the way of whitewalls, wire wheel hubcaps, and moderate Republicans. " I thought the reference to "moderate Republicans" was at once innocuous and factual, since the rise of the tea parties has left a number of moderate Republican lawmakers by the wayside.
April 30, 2014 |
When Paul E. Sigmund and his brother Peter returned to the United States from Germany in 1933, the then-preschoolers could not speak English. "He and I both spent our first years in Germany," where their father worked as a civil engineer, Peter Sigmund said. Their American parents "considered it better to stick with one language. " So they were the only German-speaking children on their block of Hewitt Road in Wyncote, making them "an object of wonder," he said. On Monday, April 28, Paul Sigmund, 85, who retired in 2005 as a politics professor at Princeton University, died of complications from pneumonia at University Medical Center of Princeton.
April 26, 2014 |
Richard J. Sestak, 54, of Springfield, Delaware County, brother of and campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, died of complications from cancer Wednesday, April 23, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Sestak grew up in Springfield, and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School, Villanova University, and Villanova University School of Law. He started his law career in New York City, in the capital markets group of Price Waterhouse and went on to practice as a commercial litigator at Kittredge Donley in Philadelphia, and Baker & McKenzie, Brown & Winfield, and Ropes & Majeski in Los Angeles.
April 25, 2014
MICHAEL R. Bloomberg recently announced that he would be writing a $50 million check to support a grass-roots effort to counteract the National Rifle Association. We live in an age of dueling oligarchs (take that, Koch brothers), made all the more pronounced by rising income inequality and Supreme Court rulings that have unfastened political spending by the rich from its modest legal tethers. It's hard to see all that as good for democracy. Nonetheless, we can't help but admire this foray from Bloomberg as a rare instance in which the big money is on the side of the public in a fight against a special interest, rather than the other way around.
April 15, 2014 |
Nasmeir spends many happy hours watching buses pass by his foster home and dreams of driving one some day. The highlight of a recent trip to the Please Touch Museum was the SEPTA exhibit, where he pretended to be at the wheel of a bus, explaining the rules for riders. For now, though, the 14-year-old with the brilliant smile keeps busy with such activities as riding his bike and scooter and playing basketball and soccer. Nasmeir will talk to anyone about anything, but he particularly loves to joke around.
April 15, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said he recently stopped the sale of two vacant city-owned lots in Point Breeze to a developer because the parcels were a good fit for a new affordable-housing strategy. But the developer poised to buy the parcels at 1316 and 1318 S. Cleveland St. happened to be Ori Feibush, the budding real estate titan who has announced plans to challenge the first-term councilman in next year's Democratic primary. Johnson said the potential buyer of the lots did not influence his action.
April 14, 2014 |
Among the revelations in Betty Medsger's powerful new book, The Burglary , is the story of how local antiwar activists shrewdly selected March 8, 1971, for their historic break-in at an FBI office in Media. That was the night of the "Fight of the Century," the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier meeting, and the burglars understood that, to paraphrase a popular protest refrain from the turbulent era, the whole world would be watching. Even though Americans who wanted to watch live had to pay to do so at closed-circuit venues, Ali-Frazier still attracted 300 million viewers worldwide, the largest TV audience ever at the time, more than had watched the 1969 moon landing.
April 7, 2014 |
Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has declared war on "the man in Pennsylvania. " This bizarre battle pits Erdogan against an elderly Turkish scholar of Islam named Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, on a 26-acre compound called the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center. The distance between Istanbul and the Poconos makes it hard to conceptualize this battle. Yet it will affect the future of democracy in a country viewed as a model of moderate political Islam.
April 5, 2014 |
An elaborate plan by Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. to transport Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids by pipeline across Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook is running into resistance. The company's subsidiary, Sunoco Pipeline L.P., last month filed an application with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to sidestep local zoning restrictions to build pump and valve control stations in 31 municipalities crossed by the pipeline. Sunoco Pipeline argues that it is a "public utility corporation," and that the PUC can exempt the construction of the above-ground structure from local zoning if it determines the buildings are "reasonably necessary for the convenience or welfare of the public.