John & Harriet Stanton

John Stanton died three years ago. John was a founder of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, but far more than that, he was a good man. I knew of him for years, and got to know him in his final years as a fellow Pro-Life Union board member. John and his wife Harriet helped create the…

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SS United States and incrementalism

A year ago I wrote about the news that the SS United States was apparently bound for New York. The historic but decomposing South Philadelphia landmark seemed about to have a future for the first time in decades as a Manhattan-anchored attraction. Unfortunately, what was announced with fanfare last year wasn’t anything more than news of a…

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Clarence Thomas on silence

Clarence Thomas abstained for something like a decade from asking any questions during oral arguments. At the University of Kentucky a while ago he explained why: “I don’t see where that advances anything,” he said of the justices’ questions, according to the Associated Press. “Maybe it’s the Southerner in me. Maybe it’s the introvert in me, I…

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Really good elevator music

Check out Yowei Shaw‘s Really Good Elevator Music project. The Atlantic a while back did a profile of Shaw and the project’s purpose, which tries to answer the question, “What if we could make elevator music that manipulates human behavior for a pro-social cause, audio that promotes community?” Context: In the 1930s and 1940s, the executives behind Muzak —…

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March for Life 2017

The 44th March for Life took place in Washington this morning. I stayed at the Mayflower Hotel last night, picked up my board packets for tomorrow from FedEx Office at 16th and K Street, and then Ubered to the Washington Monument where the stage was set for the Vice President Mike Pence’s noon appearance. It’s…

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Scattered thoughts

Theresa May is visiting with President Trump and congressional leaders in Philadelphia this morning, apparently planning to renew the US/UK special relationship and hoping for a Brexit-related preliminary promise of a bilateral trade agreement. I’m writing from Amtrak on my way to Washington for the March for Life tomorrow and meetings over the next few…

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Neighborliness in design

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has in its rotunda an enormous statue of Benjamin Franklin, the city’s patron. Notice the aesthetics in this photo: scale, proportion, and modesty. What struck me as I walked past this (for the first time in a long time) a few years ago was just how beautifully the classical aspects of the building…

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Pro-Life Union board retreat

The Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia is one of countless organizations across the country that came alive in the years prior to Roe v. Wade, and whose mission and scope can basically be summed up as “proclaiming the sanctity of all life.” While a lot of the Pro-Life Union’s activity centers on providing mothers and fathers…

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A day without yesterday

Commonweal published a great article on the history of the Big Bang theory a while back called ‘A Day Without Yesterday’: Georges Lemaitre & the Big Bang. I had a dozen years of Catholic schooling, and don’t ever remember learning about Georges Lemaitre. And if I don’t remember learning about the origins of the Big Bang theory…

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To keep Penn State great

I don’t know the author of the poem I’m sharing here, but I in light of the five year anniversary of Joe Paterno’s death I wanted to share it. I first received this in an email in July 2012, months after the coach had died and just as the (since repudiated) Freeh Report was making…

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