4.17.2015

Talking about the Economy

Yesterday I had the privilege and pleasure of talking about the local economy on Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane.  It was the fourth installment of Ballot Talks: (Unsolicited) Advice for the Next Mayor, and the other guests were Roz McPherson of the Urban League of Philadelphia, Josh Sevin from the Economy League of Philadelphia and Jennie Sparandara of the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN). 

Live radio is always a little nerve-wracking, especially on as prominent a platform as NPR. But the topic was engaging, the other speakers were stimulating, and Marty does a great job of keeping the conversation going.  Hopefully we gave some good advice to whoever will be our next mayor as to how to make Philadelphia vibrant, grow jobs, and deal with rising inequality.  Here's a link to the program, where you can listen to the podcast, if you're interested.


Radio Times

4.16.2015

Too Long for a Tweet, Too Short for a Blog Post XVI

http://blog.uvm.edu/vlbrenna-hcol086spring2013/files/2013/01/frederick_douglass.jpgHere's an excerpt from a book I just finished, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," by Frederick Douglass:

I find, since reading over the foregoing Narrative, that I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion. To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation. What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the slaveholding religion of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper; for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference - so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of "stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in." I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for purposes of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me. He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution. The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families, - sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers,- leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! All for the glory of God and the good of souls! The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other - devils dressed in angels' robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.

4.14.2015

Topical

https://rachelcoker.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/writers-block.jpg
FWIW here are some topics I would like to blog about but just haven't had the time:
* California's drought problem
* Public transportation and social justice
* Garissa University
* What's "wrong" with higher education
* Opting out of vaccinations
* Growing economic inequality in America's big cities
* RFRA

And...here are some topics I know nothing about so will not be blogging about any time soon:
* Anything on TV right now
* Apple Watch
* The 2015 baseball season
* The Middle East
* Hillary Clinton
* Elon Musk / Tesla
* Meerkat

And just to clarify...the first list is things that are definitely interesting to me and I have some opinions but just no time to express them.  The second list is things that may or may not be interesting to me but I have neither any information on them nor time to gather said information in order to form a decent opinion on them. 

4.10.2015

True Love Hates

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good." - The apostle Paul to the church in Rome (Romans 12:9)

 Hate is such a repulsive emotion.  Rightly do humans shun other humans when they exhibit hateful actions/words/thoughts.  Rightly do non-Christians condemn Christians for spewing hate, and rightly are Christians mocked for purporting to be about love while harboring hate in their hearts. 


However.  True love does have a component of hate in it.  The best analogy I can think of is that of what a parent feels who loves his child and desires the best for said child.  We hopefully never feel hatred for the child itself.  But nor is the feeling of hatred foreign to our emotional toolkit as parents.  We can and do hate negative influences upon them, destructive behavior they engage in, even evil people who harm them.  And we can do so with a righteous and pure anger.  It is not the opposite of love but is rather the fulfillment of love. 

We can disagree about what is negative and destructive and evil.  But we should not be opposed to the notion that true love can and does feel hate.  Love that does not allow for the existence of the abhorrent and that does not vehemently rage against it, for the sake of ourselves, our loved ones, and the most vulnerable among us; that is not love at all.


4.09.2015

Thinking Out Loud about Thinking Out Loud

Every Thursday I like to post an old-school song lyric to see if folks can figure out what the song is.  These "#TBT" posts often lead to fun conversation threads, as we reminisce about a good tune and how it takes us back to old times and fond memories.

A lot of these posts involve 80's power ballads.  I swear that when I was in junior high, there was a really high number and proportion of good slow songs.  I tell you, junior high dances were just the best, just good slow song after good slow song, increasing your chances that you'd get to share four minutes of closeness with that cute girl you'd been pining after for months.  (FWIW my favorite has to be REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling.")

Of course, memory has a way of playing tricks on us.  Is it that every era has good slow songs, but somehow I've remembered more from my childhood than I can think of among today's music?  It seems like there just aren't that many good slow songs today.   But this could just be me pooh-poohing the present and glorifying the past.

One thing's for sure: Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" is one legit slow song from today's era.  It has a sweet, goose-bump-inducing, and timeless sound to it.  Let's hope I can sneak in a slow dance to it with Amy today.




4.08.2015

Support Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians



http://globalphiladelphia.org/sites/globalphiladelphia.org/files/imagecache/250px_thumb/signature_images/WCFNP_logo_1605_539.jpgI’m hoping you will consider supporting Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, which I’m on the board of, by attending and/or sponsoring our upcoming Solas Awards event on April 29.  See links below for more info.  It’s a really great event and a really great cause.  Hope you’ll join me in being part of it!


Sponsorship [message me and I’ll send you the sponsorship levels]