The Supreme Court’s recent ruling blocking President Obama‘s executive actions on immigration. A terrible hate crime against a club full of mostly Latino gays in Orlando. Foreigners blamed for violence and murder. Donald Trump‘s calls for a wall with Mexico. It’s hard to believe America has ever been more divided over whom to let into the country and whom to keep out — or deport. But there’s nothing new about cries of “America First.” On June 2, 1919, within 90 minutes of each another, eight bombs of what the FBI called “extraordinary capacity” exploded in seven U.S. cities: New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Patterson, N.J., Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The bombs, each constructed of as much as 25 pounds of dynamite and salted with heavy metal slugs meant to act as shrapnel, were the work of anarchists, according to fliers printed on pink paper. The frantic search for the bombers, centered in Philadelphia, would jump-start the career of future FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and lead to mass deportations of undocumented immigrants — with some unexpected consequences. Here, 10 things you might not know about those dangerous days. Read more »
Let us now mourn the turn signal.
I couldn’t assign an exact date to its demise, but there’s no question it’s dead. Drive on I-95 or the Atlantic City Expressway or 422, as I do every day, and you’ll see maybe one or two in 20 drivers still bothering to alert those around them to their intentions before they change lanes or pass someone or move toward an exit. And it’s not just on highways; drivers in my rinky-dink hometown are just as cavalier, jolting to a stop to parallel-park with no notice whatsoever, making lefts at four-way stop signs without warning, maneuvering through Walmart and Giant and Best Buy parking lots like they’re alone on the road. Read more »
Today is Flag Day, commemorating the date in 1777 on which the Continental Congress passed a resolution that read: “Resolved. That the flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars white in a field of blue representing a new constellation.” It wasn’t much to go on — which came first, a white stripe or a red one? What shape was that “new constellation”? — and it isn’t really clear whether the legislators intended this new flag to be the flag, or simply a flag. (The resolution came from the Marine Committee.) But this is America, and hey, we never let a little uncertainty stand in the way of a great myth, which is how we come to Betsy Ross. Did she make that flag, or didn’t she? Here are 11 things you might not know about our famous First Seamstress. Read more »
Beer is big in Philly right now, but it’s not as big as it once was. “I drink no cider,” John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail back in Boston during the run-up to the Revolution, “but feast on Philadelphia beer.” Rich Wagner’s 2012 book Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty overflows with tales of the city’s brewers, breweries and drinkers. Beer Week kicks off this week. Here, in celebration, are a few of the facts Wagner’s book contains.
Beer is big in Philly right now, but it’s not as big as it once was. “I drink no cider,” John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail back in Boston during the run-up to the Revolution, “but feast on Philadelphia beer.” Rich Wagner’s 2012 book Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty overflows with tales of the city’s brewers, breweries and drinkers. Beer Week kicks off this week. Here, in celebration, are a few of the facts Wagner’s book contains. Read more »