What the Museum of the American Revolution Gets Wrong — and Right

revolution-museum-display-940x540

Some of the criticisms leveled at the city’s new Museum of the American Revolution have been architectural. The red-brick Georgian building at 3rd and Chestnut streets is architect Robert A.M. Stern’s modern spin on historic architecture, which some see as a retrograde design that betrays the museum’s progressive message. While it’s true that Stern’s work may be currently out of fashion, imagine the design disaster had a modernist like Frank Gehry signed off on the museum’s blueprints — Philadelphia might now be host to a building that resembled Marcel Duchamp’s (non-flush) Fountain. Read more »

Excited About Tax Reform? Don’t Be.

Photo by NoDerog/iStock

Photo by NoDerog/iStock

It’s tax deadline time, and regardless of whether we’re receiving a refund or we owe money, most of us usually take a moment to look at our returns and reflect and on just how much we’re paying to the government. Sure, we know that taxes are a necessity and we’re all willing to pay our fair share. In fact, a Gallup poll released last week found that 61 percent of us believe our federal income tax is fair. But that same poll also concluded that more than half of us still feel that our taxes are too high. So if we could pay a little less, that would be nice too.

That’s what the Republican party believes. Which is why tax reform is such a high priority on their agenda. The Trump administration and congressional leaders feel that making the system less complex and — most important — lowering tax rates for both individuals and businesses will spur economic growth and investment. That’s the reason behind their push for tax reform. Read more »

What I’ve Learned From Philly’s Homeless

Photo by Terryfic3D/iStock

Photo by Terryfic3D/iStock

When I tell people that I’m working on a book about the homeless, most are curious to know what I’ve discovered while tracking five homeless men and one woman in the Riverwards area of the city.

I’ve accompanied them during walks around the city and listened to their stories and complaints about store managers and the police. My book includes a number of homeless success stories: how Jesse, who used to walk in traffic with his “Anything Will Help” sign, later got off drugs and returned to school. In one chapter I tell the story of Karl and Amber. Karl once had a lucrative career as a young filmmaker in Los Angeles, got hooked on drugs, and wound up on the streets of Kensington, where Amber works as a prostitute. Read more »

This Organization Is Implanting Chips in Its Employees … and They Love It!

Photo by vetkit/iStock

Photo by vetkit/iStock

Imagine if your employer wanted to implant you with a microchip. What would you say? According to a CNBC report, workers at Epicenter, a Swedish startup hub that’s home to more than 100 companies and 2,000 workers, are saying “Yes, please!”

Epicenter employees are being given the option to have the implant, which is the size of a grain of rice, placed between the thumb and forefinger on one of their hands. It’s reportedly a painless and bloodless procedure. Read more »

OPINION: Black Lives Matter’s “Black Only” Meetings Aren’t Racist

Black Lives Matter Philly at a protest in April 2015.

Black Lives Matter Philly at a protest in April 2015.

I consider myself an intersectional feminist. Despite being a man, I personally stand as a proud ally for women’s rights and support their equal upward advancement in society. Within activist spaces in some of Philly’s feminist circles, there are moments in which male allies are encouraged to listen and not weigh in. Phrases such as “don’t occupy too much space” or “amplify marginalized voices” not only remind me of my privilege as the opposite sex in such arenas, but also set legitimate terms of agreement.

Sometimes, there are portions of the conversation during which men are asked to leave due to the sensitivity and privacy some women may request. As an ally, I have no other choice but to respect those requests given that I recognize that support to advance women within their movement should center them and not myself. Any impediment that I might personally pose to their demands for a safe space in which women can freely express themselves would be selfish and further destabilize their power within their own movement — which would be the absolute antithesis of being a feminist. Read more »

What’s Behind the DOJ’s Abdication on Checking Police Abuse

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Jeff Roberson/AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Jeff Roberson/AP

On Wednesday, a judge in Baltimore denied a Department of Justice request to delay a public hearing designed to let city residents share their views of a consent decree that was brokered between the Baltimore Police Department and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The decree, which mandated sweeping reforms designed to curb a range of civil-rights abuses by the police, was negotiated after the April 2015 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a Black man who died in police custody.

To her credit, Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh has said she’ll go forward with the reforms despite the pass the Justice Department wants to give her. But because the Police Brutality Batphone has been ripped out of the wall of the Department of Justice in Washington, it’s probably not the last time that the agency will go to court to prop up the Thin Blue Wall. Read more »

OPINION: That Time a Straight White Woman Wrote About Woody’s …

Woody's on 202 S. 13th St.

Woody’s.

The Philadelphia Inquirer just played itself, and it has no one else to blame.

On Wednesday, our “paper of record” published a piece headlined “Bar Code: Room for all at Woody’s, now a sprawling Gayborhood empire.” (It has since been changed.) In the review, the critic — Samantha Melamed, a straight white woman — says she decided to revisit the bar after a decade away on seeing news reports that tied Woody’s co-owner Michael Weiss to the recent indictment of District Attorney Seth Williams. Read more »

Why Trump’s Attack on Sanctuary Cities Is a Good Thing

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Mrs. Hernandez: “I saw that man steal a loaf of bread from the store and run down the street, and I can identify him in court.”

Police Officer: “Thank you for the information, Mrs. Hernandez. That is very helpful.”

Mrs. Hernandez: “You are welcome.”

Police Officer: “Now, before you go, just a few more questions. Do you think Vanessa deserved to win on The Bachelor? Should McDonald’s tinker with the Big Mac? Can dogs can understand us? Oh, and given that your name sounds Spanish … are you an illegal immigrant?”

First of all, everyone knows that Raven was a better choice for Nick, but I guess that’s irrelevant now. Aren’t the other questions irrelevant, too? The Trump administration doesn’t think so. Read more »

OPINION: The Painfully Obvious Lesson of the Latest London Terror Attack

Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British Parliament, in London. Photo by KovalenkovPetr/iStock

Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British Parliament, in London. Photo by KovalenkovPetr/iStock

Last week’s deadly attack in London by Islamic radical Khalid Masood — in which he drove into crowds of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer in an attempt to gain entrance into Parliament, before being shot and killed himself — did not happen in a vacuum.

For a number of years now the city of London has been boiling over with radical Muslims calling for Sharia Law in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods. The clash of immigrant Islamic cultures with western democratic values is getting worse not only in the U.K. but throughout Europe. It’s not surprising that this uneasy situation has proved to be the perfect breeding ground for terrorists. Read more »

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