Center City Philadelphia at Christmas: how our city and yours can do it better

Photo by Ronald C. Saari. See more at

It’s Christmastime in the city.

U.S. center cities of all shapes and sizes can expect a wave of traffic, from the exurbs, the suburbs, the neighborhoods and outside the region. They come for shopping and sightseeing and, really, the setting that your city will create, with lights, decorations, atmosphere, a tree and cheer.

So, on Christmas Eve, why not figure out how we can do it better.

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Geronimo surrenders on this day, go jump in a pool

Two hundred twenty-two years ago today, famed Apache chief Geronimo surrendered to U.S. and Mexican forces after 25 years of fighting. Now in mainstream culture his legend is reduced to jumping into pools or otherwise inanely leaping.

Do you want to make up for the brutal repression of a people and hundreds of years of neglect by learning why Geronimo is such an important historical and revolutionary – albeit ultimately unsuccessful – figure? Of course you do.

Oh, I’m sorry, did you say quote Wikipedia at length? Alright:

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What is Labor Day?

Enjoying your day off and the end of summer but have no idea why?

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. [Source].

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Saddam Hussein: 29 years since coming to power

What a quick and tumultuous rise to power.

Twenty-nine years ago today in 1979, Saddam Hussein replaced the resigning president of Iraq and went on to further consolidate his power.

It was the beginning of nearly three decades of tickle fights with the international community. In April 2003 he was dislodged from power and on Dec. 30, 2006 he was hanged for charges of genocide.

July 4 Celebration in Philadelphia: I'm not there

I had plans that if a state budget deal was finished in time, I would go back to Philadelphia to see their July 4 celebration outside of the Art Museum.

Being the home of the Declaration, Cradle of Liberty and birthplace of Democracy, Philadelphia has to throw the best Independence Day celebration. It’s in the Constitution, I think.

This year, right about now, John Legend is performing, I am in the State Capitol in Harrisburg, not even enjoying what the state capital has to celebrate our nation’s independence. Lame!

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Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania cigarettes will be safer

Here working in the State Capitol on July Fourth…

HARRISBURG — Cigarettes in Pennsylvania are due to get safer, under legislation approved by the Legislature.

House Bill 1612, introduced by Rep. Timothy J. Solobay, D-Washington, would require all cigarettes sold in Pennsylvania to be “fire safe.”

Low-ignition strength cigarettes are less likely to cause a fire if they are left unattended by careless smokers, said state Fire Commissioner Edward A. Mann, who praised the legislation.

Mr. Mann said, “Fire-safe cigarettes are rolled with bands of less porous, slow-burning paper, so if the cigarette is left unattended, it will go out when it burns down to one of those bands. There have been too many tragedies caused by the careless use of cigarettes, and this standard is designed to reduce that risk.” The bill was passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate and will be signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell, said spokesman Chuck Ardo.

Read the rest on

I also contributed to this report on a stalled commercial dog kennel bill.

Photo courtesy of Germany Joys.

George Washington made president 219 years ago today

ON THIS DAY, April 30, in 1789, George Washington took the oath of office to become the first President of the young United States of America. On the matter, Washington wrote James Madison the following:

As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent. It is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.”

Peep how the inauguration was portrayed by the TV miniseries John Adams.

The April 22 Pennsylvania primary in Philadelphia

Oh, today is the much hyped Pennsylvania primary.

If you’re registered in Philadelphia and need to know where you’re voting, using the Committee of Seventy’s Citizen Access Center. Oh, and if you’re an Independent or Republican and feeling bummed out ’cause everyone is talking Obama/Hillary, fear not, in Philadelphia, there are also two ballot questions that mean a whole lot to some people. Want a real explanation of what to do?

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