Philadelphia Metropolis

April 2012 Archives

Empty Tables

When it comes to economic development, Philadelphia is like a restaurant that has undergone a major re-do. New top-flight chef, classy new menu, a million spent on redecoration. What's missing from this happy tableau?  Customers.  They still aren't flocking to... (Comments)

My Birthday from Hell

By Jamila Harris» I never truly appreciated life until the day I turned 32 and one day old at the same time. My 32nd birthday became the end of one person as I knew her and the birth of another. I woke up as Jamila Harris, as I had grown to know and love her. When I closed by eyes that night I had become a different woman. It was the beginning of a year-long nightmare. The day started off normal even though it was my birthday. My husband had not been home for a couple of days and I was going to treat myself to something good to sooth my emotions of not having him by my side. We had been married for three years but there was never a doubt in my mind that he was being unfaithful (Comments)

Ex-Cons: End of the Line

They did the crime, they have served their time, but what happens to the thousands of ex-cons who are released each year back into the streets of Philadelphia? It should come as no surprise they have a tough time, finding jobs and getting back on their feet. Reporter Frank Rubino went searching for ex-cons and offers this two-part Cover Story on life at the end of the line. (Comments)

Ex-Cons: Making It Outside

In Part One, we told you how, for many ex-cons, finding work and a stable life outside of prison is a difficult, tenuous, sometimes unreachable goal. But, not everyone with a criminal past is shunned by society's gatekeepers upon going straight. Some ex-offenders catch breaks and land jobs they adore. Others, like Karriem Muhammad, make their own breaks. (Comments)

The Customer is Aways a Pain

By Alaina Mabaso» As Easter approached and visions of bringing the perfect split pea soup to dinner danced in my head, I went to a small meat market in the Philly suburbs for a ham shank. The cashier there was accompanied by a trainee. If you're going to start working at a meat market, I'm sure you're in at the deep end in the week before Easter. "Thank you, ladies, I'll see you again," said the elderly gentleman in front of me in line at the register. "Yeah, I'm sure you will," the cashier muttered, rolling her eyes at her companion before the man was even past the counter. "You'll find that some customers, you love," the cashier announced to the new girl as soon as I had paid for the shank and wished them a happy weekend. "And some, you just can't stand." I was unseasonably irked. (Comments)

The New Philadelphia

The face of the New Philadelphia is brown with dark, almond-shaped eyes. It is the Mexicans who have settled in South Philadelphia; the Dominicans who are moving into the Lower Northeast; the Chinese who are settling all over the city.... (Comments)

Life in the Rearview Mirror

By Margaret E. Guthrie» There are some pretty wonderful things about reaching old age that are little discussed; the disadvantages are far too well advertised to warrant further attention. I am officially old, I will be 75 in August of this year and learned recently that the "elderly" designation attaches when you reach age 72. So I think I have reached an age to be a reasonably good judge of the advantages of being old. One of the advantages I like best is the ditching or overboard tossing. By that I mean certain things in your life that once seemed mighty important and now are not. Raising your children is one of these. By now, your children are middle-aged, have married or partnered well or not, are established in their career or profession or not, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about any of it. You have survived their adolescent (Comments)

Election Special: No Contest

This year in Pennsylvania, all 203 state House seats are up for election as are 25 of the 50 state Senate seats. On paper, that is. In reality, 43 percent of all state House seats are uncontested -- the incumbents have neither primary nor general election opposition. For the Senate, the figure is 44 percent -- 11 of the 25 senators up for re-election have, in effect, already been re-elected because they have no contests.Metropolis looks at the trend of fewer competitive races, explains what is happening and asks: Is this the kind of democracy we want? Read our Election Special Report (Comments)

Election Special: The ID Dilemma

Pennsylvania's new photo ID law divides the state's voters into the haves and the have nots. Those who have a valid and current Pennsylvania drivers license will find it easy to comply with the new law, which requires voters to show a photo ID. They will just have to remember to bring their license with them to their polling place and produce it for election workers before they vote. Those who do not have a drivers license are in for a tougher time. They will have to jump though a number of hoops before they can get the kind of photo ID the state is requiring. (Comments)

Where Do I Belong?

By Shannon Lee» Born in Canada, raised in Singapore, and now living in the USA. Three different countries in two decades. In today's globalized world, where traveling thousands of miles can be done in a few hours, stories like this are common. I have a friend who has lived in five different countries in 20 years, shifting each time his dad was posted somewhere. "Where do you call home?" I asked him. "Well, I kind of see myself as a global citizen now..." and then as a careless afterthought, "So, where do you call home?" That careless afterthought made me wonder. Is home Canada, where I was born? I was there for the first few years of my life, and while I return every year, the place feels foreign to me. Yet I know it will always have a special place in my heart, simply because I was born there. I often wonder (Comments)

Men Seldom Make Passes...

By Kiersten Ball» I had glasses by the time I was three. Thanks for that genetics. So my 25-year-old self looks back at my six-year-old bottle glasses wearing self and wonders how I managed to attract all the little boys in kindergarten, but now can't find a guy to save my life. Okay, I'll admit, even with the humongous glasses, I was still a pretty cute six year old. I had my first roller skating party that year, and I ended up skating with four boys at once. I'm serious; they were fighting over who was skating closest to me. I'm not sure how no one ended up falling down and busting up a knee. (Comments)

Never Compromise

One of the most toxic elements of modern politics is its extreme partisanship, personified these days by Congressional Republicans.  Their "Never Compromise" rule on everything pursued by the Obama administration has left Washington, D.C. in a permanent stalemate.  At times,... (Comments)

Rick Being Rick

Rick Santorum set aside his passion for a moment, looked at the math, and bowed out of the race for the Republican nomination for President on Tuesday [April 10]. He made his announcement in Gettysburg.  There's symbolism somewhere in... (Comments)

  By Elise Vider The winds of reform may be blowing, but it will take some mighty big gusts to budge the city's most intractable problems. Here is my report card for the big issues that still bedevil Philadelphia's ability... (Comments)

The New Urban Revival

With the recession receding, Philadelphia is poised for another era of growth. But, as Elise Vider reports, this time it will be different. In the last five years, the city has made great strides in the components that make for smart development. It offers hope that this time Philadelphia will get development done right. Read the details on the new urban revival... (Comments)

The Last House on the Block

By Kathryn Jones» Whenever I am in the supermarket, I am besieged by magazines at the checkout line. Invariably there will be at least three with cover stories about people who have lost massive amounts of weight. Talk shows parade people out as well, and while showing their before and after pictures. They praise them for doing it "the old fashioned way," without surgery. The message is clear; unless you've existed on tree bark and pine nuts, and jogged until you dropped somehow your weight loss doesn't count. When I heard it again on "Good Morning America" recently, I decided it was time to set the record straight. I had weight-loss surgery and it worked for me. (Comments)

Urban Revival: Report Card

By Elise Vider» What are some of the obstacles to renewal in Philadelphia? In Part two of our series, reporter Elise Vider offers a report card on what is working and what is not when it comes to luring more real estate development. (Comments)

Occupied by Uncle Dave

By Erin Cheever» I met Dave at Dilworth Plaza at City Hall. For years , Dilworth was a home to the homeless. And then Occupy Philadelphia began. Tents sprouted up so quickly that the Plaza transformed first to a village and then a crowded slum within a few weeks. What all the Occupiers had in common was either anger at government corruption or difficulty paying rent. Many of the arrivals were homeless, Dave included. Dave and I had our first encounter in the media tent, where our website and Facebook page were produced. I came to catch the free internet on my tiny netbook. Dave came to make and drink pot after pot of coffee. He was definitely a weirdo. He was fiftyish, with one of those goatees that's way too long and a belly revealed by the skintight camo shirt he wore day after day. The remainders of his previous life--computers and clothes--were collected in a car he kept parked in South Philly. The only reason he left our tent city was to check on his vehicle. Dave had no other place to go. (Comments)

Don't Think

The Rev. Thomas Reese, the Jesuit priest who edited the Catholic weekly America, once quoted a Vatican consultant who gave this advice on how to survive in the world's oldest bureaucracy.  It went like this: Don't think. If you think,... (Comments)

The Tea Drinkers Manifesto

By Regina McHugh Forrence» Popular culture is against us. Few in charge understand us. There's no strength in our numbers. Equal treatment is an elusive dream. The person behind the counter opens a faux mahogany chest and, pointing to its contents, says, "Pick one of these and I'll get you some water that was hot 20 minutes ago." He doesn't really say that, but that's what he means. "That'll be $3.29," he says. He really does say that, and he means it. Sigh. I am a tea drinker. You coffee drinkers have your baristas. They learn the art of the brew, develop a flair for adding that rush of steaming milk to a cup of cappuccino, and regularly deliver to you a product that's hot and ready to be enjoyed. Those same baristas give me a cup of possibly hot water and a wrapped package of old, crumbled leaves and charge me the same price. (Comments)

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