September 19, 2016 |
It is one of the highest points in the New Jersey Pinelands. And the view from the 60-foot-tall Apple Pie Hill fire tower is so sweeping that at certain times on a clear day, you can see the sun refracted from the glistening Liberty Place tower in Philadelphia, some 30 miles to the west and the Borgata Casino about 50 miles to the southeast. With so little light pollution from electrical sources in the remote Burlington County spot, the site is said to have an almost magical vibe at night, with the stars above and a carpet of sparkling points of light for miles and miles below.
September 17, 2016 |
In a speech Thursday at the University of Notre Dame, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput called presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton "very bad news for our country. " Chaput said that since he first voted in 1966, "the major parties have never, at the same time, offered two such deeply flawed candidates. " He said he believes each candidate is detrimental to the nation in different ways. "One candidate, in the view of a lot of people, is a belligerent demagogue with an impulse-control problem.
September 16, 2016 |
WHEN GARY JOHNSON had his Aleppo moment a week ago, I was among those who could not believe his absolute incompetence. I understand that Libertarians generally take an isolationist position when it comes to foreign affairs (now, all the offended Libertarians are going to flood my inbox with insulting comments along the lines of "Aleppo this, you harridan"), but it was incredibly troubling to see someone who thought he was fit to lead this country show such a lack of interest, of inquisitiveness, of recognition that, as John Donne wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself.
September 4, 2016 |
Can we have too much of a good thing? Index funds are guided not by the wizardly stock-pickers of old but by number crunchers who buy lists of representative securities and hold them, rise or fall. They have cut costs and boosted profits for large and small investors. But U.S. and European professors scrutinizing the impact of the Big Three index-fund purveyors - BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group, and State Street Corp. - say they see, in the triumph of indexing, not just a cheap way for investors to squeeze profits but also threats to capitalism as we know it. Index funds and managers of index "strategies" now control 34 percent of global stocks by value, up from 25 percent just five years ago, writes Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, in a report last month for Sanford C. Bernstein, New York.
August 31, 2016
By Barry W. Lynn Imagine a candidate for public office who says he admires the teachings of Jesus Christ but writes a letter listing all of the doctrines of Christianity he doesn't accept. Among them are the resurrection, the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, the miracles described in the New Testament, original sin, and the virgin birth. Would you vote for such a candidate? If you said no, you've just rejected Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and our third president.
August 29, 2016
Thomas Hylton is the author of "Save Our Land, Save Our Towns" All year, Donald Trump has resisted calls to voluntarily release his income tax returns, which for decades has been standard practice for presidential candidates. But why does he even have a choice? For that matter, why does anyone have a choice? Shouldn't everyone's income tax return, or at least a summary of it, be a public document? Government at all levels requires money to operate, and every citizen is expected to pay his or her fair share.
August 20, 2016
By Patrick J. Morgan and Pedro A. Ramos There's great post-convention buzz in the city right now. But what did one important audience - the next generation of voters - see and experience? What were they thinking as they witnessed this unusual presidential election year? Providing young people with a voice is essential to building a strong democracy into the future. It is also important in creating a culture of civic engagement in Philadelphia and building a community of problem-solvers who are committed to shaping their city.
August 15, 2016 |
It's time to pick a new president, and review that familiar question: Are we better off than eight years ago? Democrats brag about low inflation, cheap energy, cheap loans (if you can get one), and low unemployment. Republicans say too many people don't work, investment isn't profitable enough, and the economy is growing too slowly. There's no more basic measure than jobs. So I asked the boss of one of the nation's biggest employers - Steve Jones, chief executive of the newly consolidated Conshohocken- and Santa Ana, Calif.-based AlliedUniversal - how hiring has changed since President Obama was elected amid the 2008 financial meltdown.
August 15, 2016 |
Life in America today is arguably more anxiety-inducing than it's been for any generation since those that fought off the Depression and fascism. Even during the superheated political conflicts of the 1960s, people could get mad at each other, smash a window or a face, and still wind up with a decent-paying job and employer-provided health care. Tom Hayden and his activist generation didn't have to worry about getting trapped in a 1099 economy with no real hope of retirement savings outside of Social Security.
August 15, 2016 |
It had been more than 19 years since I took a boat ride on the Schuylkill, and this time the accommodations were much better than they were in 1997. The view was different, as well, but I'll get to that in a minute. That May 1997 barge trip from the Market Street bridge to the now-closed Schuylkill Power Plant in Grays Ferry was brief, but the point was that both sides of the river were untapped resources that needed to be tapped. There wasn't much going on then. In fact, the east bank was, in the words of one longtime resident, "a wasteland.