June 22, 2013
The Riddle of the Labyrinth The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code By Margalit Fox Ecco Press/HarperCollins. 384 pp. $27.99 Reviewed by Richard Di Dio If George Smith, the 19th-century Assyriologist, supposedly stripped and ran screaming with excitement through the British Museum upon finally translating the Epic of Gilgamesh , what might happen with a translation exponentially more difficult?...
June 14, 2013 |
ENOUGH HEARTACHE and confusion was lurking beneath the bricks and shattered slabs of concrete at the Market Street collapse zone to last this city a lifetime. And yet there's more now - more sadness, more pain, more questions that probably won't be answered any time soon. Ronald Wagenhoffer, the city inspector who previously examined the four-story Center City property that collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift shop June 5, killing six people and injuring 13, committed suicide in a secluded stretch of Roxborough Wednesday night, authorities said.
June 13, 2013 |
Running Philadelphia can look like a child's game. Rock, paper, scissors: After landlord Richard Basciano hired a bankrupt contractor recommended by a formerly bankrupt architect to hire a marijuana-smoking ex-offender to knock down a building on Center City's main street, a few knowledgeable and conscientious citizens - an architect, bricklayers, people capable of recognizing knuckleheads at work and dangerous structural elements threatening collapse...
June 9, 2013
Official failures behind collapse If my house were infested with rats, should I blame the rats or the exterminator who failed to control them? There are irresponsible real estate speculators and contractors who accept jobs they are not qualified to do. These people will always be in the environment, and we have to exercise some control to ensure that their actions do not result in a tragedy like last week's building collapse. Why did Licenses and Inspections issue this demolition permit?
June 9, 2013 |
Mayor Nutter looked down at the paper on the lectern Friday, caught his breath, and intoned a kind of somber civic rite intended to comfort the city after the senseless deaths of six people when a building under demolition collapsed on a Salvation Army thrift store. "Every life is precious and valued," Nutter said in the silence of the ceremonial Mayor's Reception Room. "As a citizen and as your mayor, I am deeply saddened and hurt by what happened in my city, our city. " Then he apologized to the dead and their families, and he apologized as well to the injured survivors pulled from the wreckage, and then he apologized to their families.
June 8, 2013 |
It was an ordinary moment of commerce transformed into random catastrophe, as workers and shoppers from different backgrounds and classes died together Wednesday in a Salvation Army thrift shop. They perished after a building being demolished next door collapsed onto the store, owned by a nonprofit whose normal function is to help victims such as these in disasters such as this. Among the dead were: Two best friends from the suburbs hunting fashion bargains on a rack of second-hand skirts - one the daughter of the city treasurer, the other the daughter of a doctor.
May 24, 2013
THERE ARE MANY kinds of desperation, as many as the stars above and the souls beneath them. The death of a child, the disintegration of a marriage, homes lost to floodwaters and whirlwinds, all of these things can drive you to - and beyond - the point of suicide. And yet, there are sources of strength as varied as the sorrow. For one man, that source was found in unwritten words, tapped out on prison walls and shared with his captured brothers in Vietnam. Major Gen. John Borling, a 6 1/2-year "guest" at the infamous Hanoi Hilton is, like Joyce Kilmer and Wilfred Own, a soldier-poet.
May 20, 2013 |
NEW YORK - The police officer who accidentally killed a Long Island college student along with an armed intruder faced the most harrowing decision of a law enforcement career: choosing the split-second moment when the risk is so high that you must act to save a life, says an expert in the field. "The big question is, how do you know, when someone's pointing a gun at you, whether you should keep talking to them, or shoot?" said Michele Galietta, a professor of psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who helps train police officers.
May 16, 2013 |
Adapted from a recent online discussion. Question: I had a good friend in college, "Lucy"; we were inseparable, in each other's weddings, etc. Over the last two years we've had somewhat of a falling-out, and I've kept my distance from her for a number of reasons. Well, I just found out Lucy's mother killed Lucy's father and then tried to kill herself, and is now facing murder charges. How do I even respond? I knew her parents fairly well but I haven't spoken to her in months, and the last time we spoke it was cold and unfriendly.
May 15, 2013
By Jennifer Rubin After Newtown, President Obama spoke to the nation and launched a campaign for gun control. He ultimately failed, but there was a tragic event, a political response, and a result. As for the Kermit Gosnell trial, there has been virtually no political response to the horrors described in the grand jury report and subsequent trial. Unlike with Tucson, Newtown, Colorado, and many other shooting incidents, the president didn't want to comment on the trial or even on the broader topic of late-term abortion.