Philadelphia Metropolis

February 2011 Archives

Gov. Adversarial

They tried to corner New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie on Face the Nation on Sunday. When host Bob Schieffer asked him to give a yes-or-no answer to the question of whether he thought public employees in his state should have... (Comments)

Outsmarted by a Squirrel

By Ferida Wolff» I always knew that squirrels were smart but I didn't realize the extent of their problem-solving skills until my husband and I put up our first two bird feeders. Knowing that squirrels are great rooftop leapers, we put the feeders at each end of a freestanding T-pole about five-feet tall and set away from the house roof and any trees. Yet shortly after we loaded the feeders with seed, we noticed a squirrel perched on one of them, happily munching away. It had run up the pole that suspended the feeders. What didn't it understand about "bird" feeders? (Comments)

Simple Ideas That Work

Sometimes making effective public policy decisions is not complicated. This is a piece I did for the Fels Institute of Government at Penn about a decision made by Police Commissioner John Timoney when he was in Philadelphia that dramatically lowered incidents... (Comments)

A Winter's Tale

By O.K. Pham» There's nothing quite like waking up to a pure white world. After 27years of living in the Northeast, one would think I've grown inured to the reality of snowy winters. I should clarify that I emigrated from Vietnam to the U.S. at the age of nine. My father secretly fled our communist country in1980, risking his life as one of those ill-fated "boat people" to secure a future for his wife and children. Our family reunited in June 1984, and we quietly began to settle into our new home in Easton, Pennsylvania. The weather that first summer was pleasantly familiar-- the stifling heat and humidity were reminiscent of the tropical climate I had left behind. My siblings and I were lucky to have almost three months to (Comments)

Ten Questions About Philadelphia

As part of our series of stories on The Changing City, Metropolis offers an overview of the city of Philadelphia in the form of a 10-question quiz. Questions cover every major aspect of city life -- crime, jobs, education, the cost of city government, recent demographic trends. Get out your pencils and test your knowledge of Philadelphia 2011. (Comments)

What's With the Coat Thing?

By Phyllis Mass» Apart from the ridiculous "Do you need a bag with that? when buying multiple items (The answer always yes), the question that gnaws at me most is whether Philadelphians are cheap, clueless, or just enjoy being uncomfortable? What is it about checking one's coat at a free coat check for two hours that makes people want to sit on it, and/or fold it origami style and keep it on their laps with or without a giant trapper hat like a cherry on top? Are they really that cheap or are they doing penance for some inexplicable sin and making everyone suffer along with them? (Comments)

Potholes Are Forever

Add another problem to the list of financial woes faced by the state of Pennsylvania.  The Motor License Fund, the state pile of money dedicated to highway and bridge construction and repairs, is seriously under funded. We pay our gas... (Comments)

The Minister of Enthusiasm

It wasn't billed as such, but Mayor Nutter's speech before the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce last week should be marked down as the kickoff of his re-election campaign. The mayor gave a 4,500-word "State of the City" speech sounding themes and... (Comments)

Signs of Affection

By Kat Richter» At the age of 17, I prepared a handmade Valentine's Day card for the man that was my boyfriend at the time. Being 17 as well, however, he was more of a boy than a man and my calligraphic talents failed to elicit the desired response. A few years later, I found myself dating a man 12 years my senior; although he appreciated my hand painted, red and gold stationary, he reciprocated with a box of cheap drug store chocolates. Seeing as the majority of these were milk chocolate and not dark, I deemed them hardly worth the calories. (Comments)

The Cardinal Is Distressed

In response to the latest charges of sex abuse by priests, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has taken steps to make sure it won't happen again. Cardinal Justin Rigali has hired a psychologist to investigate any future allegations of sexual abuse... (Comments)

Confessions of a Bathroom Slut

By Traci Butterfield» For most of my life, I never really considered where toilet partitions come from when I go into a public restroom. I usually was more focused on the graffiti and whether or not there was toilet paper on the roll. But now I work for a subcontractor. We do "miscellaneous specialties," but primarily we do toilet partitions for businesses large and small in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. I never thought I'd know so much about public bathrooms...more than any sane person needs to know, that's for sure. (Comments)

Growing and Prosperous

The latest U.S. Census data confirms that anyone who has walked around Center City and environs has been observing for years. These areas are prosperous and growing. They are among the 10 neighborhoods Metropolis profiles in the second part of its Changing City series, which catalogues the state of the city during the first decade of the new century. (Comments)

Divorce Done Right

By Andrea Hansley Smith » A happy divorce? Is that an oxymoron? Perhaps. But only if you equate 'happily ever after' with matrimony. Marriage isn't always 'magic' and divorce isn't always 'tragic'. They both require a lot of hard work. Just because your marriage didn't work out doesn't mean your divorce can't. What my husband and I failed to find in marriage we've successfully managed to achieve in divorce. Harmony. We get along so much better now that we don't live under the same roof. When he visits the kids I'm always happy to see him come and that's mainly because I know he'll be going. That's the beauty of our present circumstances. I jokingly tell him: "Don't leave thinking you're not wanted and don't come back thinking that you are." (Comments)

The Fredo Defense

Let us Consider the case of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Pressed by protesters to step down immediately,  Murbarak went on television this week to say that he wanted to stay on until the fall so he could help oversee his... (Comments)

Neighborhoods Under Stress

By Tom Ferrick Jr.» Significant changes took place in a number of Philadelphia neighborhoods in the last decade, as they were hit by outside and internal forces -- loss of population, a rise in poverty, a decline in income for residents. As part of its Changing City series, Metropolis looks at two sets of neighborhoods: those that have propered and grown since 2000 and those that ended the decade under stress. In this first part, Senior Editor Tom Ferrick tells the story of these stressed areas of the city. (Comments)

One Hand Clapping

Let's hear one-and-a-half cheers for Michael Nutter. That's what most Philadelphia residents give the mayor in a new poll by Terry Madonna's Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. The poll of 400 city residents was taken the... (Comments)

Wired to Be a Single Mother

By Robin L. Jessie-Green» Maybe I went about this family life and motherhood business the wrong way? I only say this because quite honestly, I really enjoy the freedom of being recently separated. I know it's not what people would expect a financially challenged mother of five to say, but they're not the ones living this life. Sure, there are numerous responsibilities, and I'm the one who tackles them on my own. But I have a secret... I like it this way. (Comments)

Milton Street Is Back!

Excuse me, while I bow my head and say a prayer of thanksgiving to St. Contentius, the patron saint of columnists and bloggers. Just when 2011 was threatening to become a deadly dull political year, and it looked as if... (Comments)

The Pig Factor

Have you noticed the gender gap when it comes to the Super Bowl? Ask any woman outside a 25-mile radius of Pittsburgh what team she is rooting for and she will most likely to answer: the Green Bay Packers. In... (Comments)

Why I Don't Bag My Groceries

By Roz Warren» Bagging your own groceries didn't even used to be an option. The cashier did it. Or a bagger, whose entire job consisted of filling up grocery bags without breaking the eggs. That was fine with me. I was no more eager to do their work for them than the patrons at the library that employs me are itching to answer their own reference questions. But nowadays, I usually have the option to bag. In fact, I'm starting to feel a subtle pressure to do so. Don't just stand idly by while the cashier scans your yogurt and weighs your apples -- start bagging! (Comments)

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