It was just the other day that we were celebrating the 24th anniversary of the unknown hero that the world knows simply as Tank Man. You know exactly what I'm talking about, the solitary protester in Beijing's Tienanmen Square, who refused to move in the face of four Chinese tanks involved in crushing a pro-democracy movement. The image "went viral" in 1989 before most people even had the Internet, because it spoke to both our fears and fantasies of the 20th Century -- a valiant stand for personal freedom in the face of a totalitarian government, a memorable battle in our long slow drive to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.
In 2013, the world is rallying behind...Standing Man. His name is Erdem Gunduz, a Turkish "performance artist" who yesterday strolled into the heart of Istanbul's Taksim Square, which had been cleared of protesters just the night before by Turkish police firing tear gas canisters and water cannons. At 6 p.m. local time, the Standing Man dropped his bag and stood completely still, staring straight at a giant portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the godfather of modern Turkish democracy, and the Turkish flag. For the next eight hours, Gunduz did not move -- an act of defiance so simple, so dignified, that it electrified the nation. Some rushed to the square, others took up a solitary stance in the capital city of Ankara and elsewhere, and a few even stood with him in other nations around the globe.
My fair and balanced look at everything you need to know about America's surveillance state.
Meanwhile, I'm a few days late on this, but Charles Pierce over at Esquire, who is fast become a national treasure, has published arguably the best piece on all of this, Here's an excerpt:
Guess what football team he roots for. This raises serious questions about his integrity -- and his suitability for the White House.
Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.
I'm guessing, based on their expressions,
People are starting to notice that it's apocalypse now for the Philadelphia School District...people like the New York Times:
PHILADELPHIA — When a second grader came to the Andrew Jackson School too agitated to eat breakfast on Friday, an aide alerted the school counselor, who engaged him in an art project in her office. When he was still overwrought at 11, a secretary called the boy’s family, and soon a monitor at the front door buzzed in an older brother to take him home.
There's an old axiom in journalism that sometimes the best articles aren't the ones that tell you something you didn't know, but the ones that confirm or prove what you long suspected. Here in Pennsylvania, you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Gov. Corbett sees his constituency as business owners -- especially large business owners -- and that to better serve that clientele and thus give to the rich, he metaphorically robs from the poor -- again and again and again.
It started right after he took office in 2011 when he killed the AdultBasic program and left many lower-income people without health insurance. There were massive cuts to public assistance, and now the governor's stance against Medicaid expansion under President Obama's health care reform will needlessly put thousands more at risk. All this while Corbett continues to push for lower corporate taxes and spurned a broader tax on the fracking industry -- something that's done in every other gas-producing state -- in favor of an "impact fee" that has much less, um, impact.
I'm a very lucky dad, and so are some of you reading this...Happy Father's Day. But not everyone is so fortunate. No father should have to experience the pain that Newtown's Gilles Rousseau has been through this year. Doesn't Washington owe them some sane gun laws?
Fast food workers are the coal miners of America's 21st Century. They want a raise -- and they deserve one. My front page article in today's Daily News (Promo code: Z42U if you're having any trouble reading it.) Here's an excerpt:
Over the past two decades, with the Industrial Revolution and its union wages all but a memory, fast-food jobs have skyrocketed - now employing roughly 3.5 million Americans and as many as 15,000 Philadelphians.
Al Gore doesn't tweet about many books (except maybe his own) but he really wants you to read this one: Toms River, by Dan Fagin -- probably the best thriller about toxic dumping since "A Civil Action" came to a theater near you. The Nobel Peace Prize winner for his environmental activism called Toms River "[a]n important read for all" -- and on top of all that, it's a yarn from our backyard, a.k.a.New Jersey.
Full disclosure: Dan is an old friend from back at Newsday a long time ago, back before anyone imagined that Newsday would become (sort of) the stuff of Broadway legend. I know first-hard that Dan is one of the best environmental reporters in America -- a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize who now teaches the craft at New York University when he's not writing books. Since my recommendation might be polluted (see what I did there?) by our friendship, check out what the objective New York Times said about Toms River: