Big Idea: Rename PHL for Ben Franklin

“No other town, burying its great man, ever buried more of itself than Philadelphia with Franklin.”

—Carl Van Doren, 1938

The United States has buried many a great leader throughout its storied history.  The funerals of Presidents Washington, Lincoln (150 years ago this month), Roosevelt, Kennedy and Reagan immediately come to mind.

Among American leaders who never occupied the presidency, the burial of the slain Martin Luther King Jr. 47 years ago, also this April, was another moment of immense national sadness.

And in Philadelphia, precisely 225 years ago on April 21st, the city’s most internationally renowned citizen, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, was laid to rest at Christ Church Cemetery in the presence of 20,000 mourners who had gathered at the State House (now Independence Hall) to pay final respects to their friend and neighbor — without whose unsurpassed contributions to the American Revolution the United States might have never been born. Read more »

Suit: Cops Broke Down Man’s Door, Beat Him While Looking for His Brother

A Philadelphia man has filed a federal lawsuit against the police department claiming that the Internal Affairs division routinely ignores allegations of wrongdoing by officers.

Luis Gelpi filed the suit this week. His complaint stems from a May 2013 incident in which he says a group of officers raided his home while looking for his brother, Juan. The family had endured and, according to the suit, cooperated during several days of inquiry from officers before the raid.

The officers came to his house on May 8th, Gelpi’s attorney, Brian Humble, writes in the complaint.

“On this occasion, Mr. Gelpi, demanded that the Police Officers named herein produce a warrant, or go away and stop harassing his family and disrupting his life. In response, one of the Defendant Officers ordered Mr. Gelpi to ‘open the fucking door,’” the complaint alleges. “Mr. Gelpi justifiably demanded that the individually named defendants produce a warrant. Rather than obtaining and/or showing a warrant, the Defendant Officers broke the front door and forcibly entered the Gelpi home.”

Gelpi, who according to the suit had his right arm in a full cast at the time, alleges he was thrown to the floor where one officer allegedly hit him in the head, face, and back and twisted his injured arm, while other officers searched his home. Eventually, the complaint alleges, one of the officers announced, “oh it’s not him.”

Read more »

Here’s What Went Down at Wawa’s Madhouse Birthday Party

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Mayor Michael Nutter and Wawa President/CEO Chris Gheysens pour the “first cup” of free coffee for Wawa Day. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

The Wawa at 17th and Arch often pulsates with activity. It’s the closest Wawa to many Philadelphia office buildings, including the Comcast Center across the street. But, on Thursday morning, this Wawa was even more mobbed than usual. Not only was Wawa offering free coffee — the chain’s first location opened on April 16th, 1964 — but Mayor Michael Nutter was making an appearance to officially declare today Wawa Day.

Wawa store No. 86 is the closest Wawa to the Philadelphia magazine offices, as well, so I stopped by to check out the dog-and-pony show. Read more »

Selfie Sex-Ed: Should High Schools Teach Sexting Risks?

Sexting

According to a long-term study by researchers at the University of Texas, sexting may actually be a normal part of sexual development among teens.

As provocative as that sounds, I think it’s probably true. And — as exaggerated and semi-Puritan as this sounds — it’s also true that sexting can completely ruin a teenager’s life.

A girl who shares an intimate photo with her boyfriend can be charged with a summary offense in Pennsylvania. He can face charges for having the images, too.  Read more »

Make a Shark Tank-style Pitch in an Uber on Friday

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Getting 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to pitch an idea to a venture capitalist has quite a bit of value. So does a free Uber ride. Put them together and you have UberPITCH.

If you request an Uber on Friday between noon and 4 p.m., your car might show up carrying the likes of Josh Kopelman (First Round Capital founder) or Philip Moyer (Safeguard Scientifics senior vice president). Read more »

About That Donovan McNabb Tweet

At first glance, this looks like it might be the most Donovan McNabb-ish tweet ever.

Hernandez, if you don’t know, is the former Patriots tight end who this week was convicted of killing a former friend and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. The questions of his future — not to mention NFL career — have been pretty definitively resolved.

Only: Take a second glance at the tweet.
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The Argument for “Free-Range Kids”

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

It’s been a couple of years now, but the shock still feels fresh: I took my young son to Fitler Square for some morning playtime, and there we found another young child.

Playing by herself.

No adults in sight.

Had she been abandoned? Had she wandered off on her own? Why wasn’t anybody around?

God help me, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I resolved to stay close, keep an eye on her — and if too much time passed, I’d call the police. Luckily, it never came to that: Her father rushed up a few minutes later — he’d brought his daughter to the park, then left her there for a few minutes to grab something from his house nearby. He’d never thought her in danger. I kind of thought he was a giant jerk.

But this probably has some bearing on the story: The father was European — for the sake of neighborly relations, I’ll not identify him more specifically than that — and, possibly, not wise to the panicky “stranger danger” alarmism we American parents are marinated in. Read more »

The Sixers Did Their Part and Lost Last Night. It Didn’t Matter.

Sixers

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer; Photo credits, from left: Nerlens Noel (Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports), Franklin (David Dow, NBA Photos ), Brett Brown (Jason Getz, USA Today Sports) and Joel Embiid (Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports).

The Philadelphia 76ers will likely have just one first-round draft pick this year.

That wouldn’t be an issue for many teams — after all, you originally just have one — but the Sixers were in line to have as many as four. And now they’ll probably have just their own pick, currently slotted as the No. 3 selection going into the draft lottery.  Read more »

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