Hands Off the Please Touch

Illustration by Gluekit. (Museum sign and horse: M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia; building: Matt Rourke/Associated Press; bond: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Illustration by Gluekit. (Museum sign and horse: M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia; building: Matt Rourke/Associated Press; bond: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

The Please Touch Museum isn’t just another Philadelphia landmark on the mandatory class-trip agenda. For kids seven and under, it’s the exact opposite of a stuffy museum or snooze-worthy historic site. Put your hands all over everything? Yes, please. Meanwhile, parents love it because they can let their children roam free in a wonderland with fun, educational experiences at every turn. It’s the kind of place where even a clear-eyed financial guy — who offers very sobering statistics about the museum’s future — can’t wait to tell you his grandkids are big fans. Read more »

The Rise and Fall of Kathleen Kane

Kathleen Kane and Frank Fina.  (Kane: Matt Rourke/Associated Press; Fina: Jason Minick/Associated Press)

Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane, left, and former state prosecutor Frank Fina. (Kane: Matt Rourke/Associated Press; Fina: Jason Minick/Associated Press)

Ruth Lenahan remembers the feeling she had when she sat down with her friend Kathleen Kane in a political operative’s office in downtown Scranton back in 2011. Kane had been a prosecutor for Lackawanna County for a dozen years, but left in ’07 to raise her two young sons. Now she was restless, and thinking of running for some office. The year before, in 2010, she’d promised to take on a corrupt state senator, Bob Mellow, but was pressured not to by her husband’s family, which owns a large trucking company — taking on Mellow meant risking the loss of a huge state liquor-hauling contract. So she backed out. But now there was a new office to run for, one that seemed to fit her: state attorney general, which, after governor, is the most important elected position in Pennsylvania. And Ruth Lenahan’s feeling about her friend was profound: She was awestruck. Read more »

How Philly Doctors Are Saving the World

For our latest Top Doctors cover story, we went beyond the doctor’s office to the labs where Philadelphia-based researchers work to eradicate diseases that claim millions of lives each year. To read about their bold advances, scroll down or use these links to jump to a specific topic: Read more »

Richard DeCoatsworth: How a Hero Cop Fell

Photograph by Josh Ritchie

Photograph by Josh Ritchie

Richard DeCoatsworth anticipated another great day. The 21-year-old rookie cop was six months into a new job he loved, and the sun shone bright that morning in 2007, through a cloudless September sky. He left his partner off at the courthouse and drove his patrol car west on Market Street toward the wilds of his district, where street vendors and drug dealers work in the open air.

Around 51st Street, he passed a battered blue Buick going the opposite direction. Everyone inside seemed to stiffen. DeCoatsworth had seen experienced police make arrests — for drugs, illegal guns, stolen cars — by acting on such subtle cues. He pulled a U-turn. The driver accelerated and turned out of sight. DeCoatsworth hunted for maybe a minute till he saw the car, parked on Farson Street. Read more »

Pope Francis and Me

Illustration by Heather Landis

Illustration by Heather Landis

My love affair with Catholicism started at age nine, when my family moved from Center City to Fairmount. Those years on 23rd Street were momentous. I saw a man commit suicide by jumping off a balcony. I got held up at knifepoint. My toes were damaged in a skateboarding accident. I saw my first dead body in my friend’s house, which doubled as a funeral home. I became slowly terrorized by OCD.

If ever there was a time when I needed religion, this was it. But my parents were atheist Jews.

So I decided I wanted to be Catholic. All my neighborhood friends were Catholic, and when they went to school they wore beautiful lemon yellow shirts and emerald green jumpers. Their school’s name sounded like something out of Narnia: St. Francis Xavier. The spelling of “Xavier” almost did me in. Read more »

Comcast Knows How Much You Hate Them — and They Really Want to Fix It

How a lot of people feel about Comcast, left, and the man the company has put in charge of fixing it, head of user experience Charlie Herrin. Photographs by Clint Blowers (left) and Eric Prine

How a lot of people feel about Comcast, left, and the man the company has put in charge of fixing it, head of user experience Charlie Herrin. Photographs by Clint Blowers (left) and Eric Prine

It sounds like the title of a ’70s action flick starring Pam Grier, set to an Isaac Hayes soundtrack: Asshole Brown and SuperBitch. As it turns out, these are real people. One is a husband fallen on hard financial times; the other is a 63-year-old woman. Neither is related to Whore Julia, or to Dummy. But all four have one thing in common — they’re customers whose names were changed on their Comcast cable accounts, by Comcast employees. Read more »

Is New Philadelphia … a Fit Philadelphia?

Illustration by Tim Parker

Illustration by Tim Parker

It started out innocently enough. Most plans conceived on yoga mats do.

After a grueling sequence, the instructor paused to offer a gentler, modified pose for pregnant students. Now, I wasn’t technically pregnant, but on that particular Sunday I was experiencing considerable morning sickness and bloating. Hungover, with child — the symptoms are similar. And, whatever, yoga teaches compassion. Look it up. Read more »

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