Old City Makes Philly A New City

Old City Makes Philly A New City

By John W. Gilmore

As children living outside of Philadelphia in the ’60s and ’70s we thought of it as a large, dirty old useless city.  As far as we knew there was violence everywhere; every street had a gang associated with it; the Mafia would often fight it out on the streets of South Philly; and the prostitutes, drug dealers and organized crime was known to reside at 13th and Locust streets — the Red Light District, right in Center City.  The main train station (30th Street Station) was filled with empty holes and caverns where businesses used to be some time in the distant past.  The most viable station we often saw in transit was the 69th Street Terminal, which had many dirty, shabby shops and restaurants and slimy, slippery floors.  Philadelphia was a place to be avoided at all costs.

Even so, I remember visiting every so often on hot summer’s nights later as a young adult.  I remember taking the Elevated line from 69th Street, getting off on Market Street, and walking down to Penn’s Landing for free concerts.  Penn’s Landing was always extraordinarily hot.  There were bleachers, more like stair steps made of stone and concrete, and not a tree or piece of shade in sight.  Now, on the waterfront, there are free summer concerts at Spruce Harbor Park.  

Multi-colored lights hang from the trees, and people swing in the breeze in hammocks in the shaded areas underneath.  Picnic benches surround the stage where the band plays.  The music can be heard from everywhere, even the lounge chairs looking out over the ice-cream parlors, snack bars, and restaurants on the long boardwalk that runs along the river.  From the boardwalk you look out on the water and see small boats, large ships, and even naval vessels harbored there.  Someone goes by on a goose shaped paddle boat straight out of a Snow White Disney Cartoon, as people are walking, eating, or sitting and talking.

Several docks are set together in a square configuration that resembles a manmade lake or very deep pool enclosing floating gardens.  Large stores and museums are at one end of the Harbor Park portion of the boardwalk and a Hilton Hotel is nearby, while giant ships turned into high class restaurants are moored at the other end.  You can enjoy walking on the boardwalk or through the shady park, maybe even stop for lunch in one of the luxury restaurants.  Whatever is your choice. 

The band plays.  This time a Cuban Band, maybe something else next time.  Cuban Jazz and Salsa music fills the space as we sit trying to eat our ice cream before it melts in the 90 degree heat.  It is good to be in the shade listening to music and watching a few people dance, moving to the Latin beat.  

We walk out of the park and go a few blocks down Columbus Avenue.  We climb the stairs to the bridge leading over this six lane road to find a cross-over with a stone and brick slab designs on the floor and not a scrap of paper in sight.  Large, red-brick flower-box gardens line the sides full of echinacea, daisies, sunflowers and gardenias creating an elevated urban garden.

Descending from this garden, we make our way down the cobblestone streets.  We walk down Dock Street, make a hook around many large, stone buildings and monuments to find a Chinese restaurant where we have an early dinner.  We are in no hurry.  Spot Hero, an internet parking app,  gives us more than 20 hours of nearby parking for $14 in a lot that usually costs $16 per hour.  But we will not stay that long.  

We end the day on a pleasant note. The day has been good.  I begin to reimagine Philadelphia.  The whole riverfront has been redeveloped.  The little broken down, dirty city that I remembered doesn’t exist any more.  I want to explore the new, lively version of the city more fully.  Old City seems to have come back to life, near the riverfront anyway, and the stations.  I would like to see the rest.

Old City Makes Philly A New City

Ambler Tranquility Off The Beaten Path

Ambler Tranquility Off The Beaten Path

By John W. Gilmore

Since the invention of the internet and better technology, small towns with a lot of activities are the places that offer the best of both worlds — the excitement of the city and the warmth of a small community.  Many of the small towns in Montgomery county and other areas, like some of the sections of Philadelphia, are beginning to blossom and offer the type of community people want.  The borough of Ambler in Montgomery County, Pa. offers the tranquility of a small town with a lot of activity.  It is easy to walk the streets instead of driving, while taking full advantage of the many amenities.  There is a building boom taking place.  Houses and condos are being built rapidly, or renovated, in this town that has been recognized as the best small town in PA by Thrillist Travel in 2017.  The infrastructure that suits the millennial population’s need has developed. 

Ambler Tranquility Off The Beaten Path

There is no need to drive all the way to the next city or even downtown.  You can easily walk or bike.  Even so, if you want to drive or are a visitor you can.  There are meters in the downtown section.  During lunchtime hours, after six, and Sundays they are all free.  If you cannot find parking on the street there is a large municipal parking lot right at the center of all of the activity.  You can also find parking in the nearby residential areas on the street.  No need to drive all the way to the city anymore.  You can find the activities right there and not bring the car.  You can walk if you’re a resident, or bike, if you would like, to get to the exciting, hot spots.

Just down Main Street you see two coffee shops plus other places that sell coffee,  ice cream parlors, Gelato bars, Indian Mexican food restaurants, and even large Yoga studios, dance classes, hardware stores, and pizza shops.  On week nights the trees are lit up in a girdle of bright, white lights, along the main street that gives adds to the festive atmosphere.  Crowds of people mill around traveling to various places.  The crowds are not overwhelming and hard to navigate.  There is a feeling of excitement in the air.  One can get around easily looking at the various shops.  Music is pouring out of some of the restaurants. People are talking — some are eating water ice and others are going in and out of Limon’s Mexican Restaurant.   Everything is alive and buzzing.

You hear a band playing at the Lucky Well, right across the street from the Ambler Theater, a Non-Profit 501c3 membership theater that plays both first run and alternative movies.  Want live theater?  In the same block Act ll theater offers live performances of plays and musical performances.  Just at the end of the Main Street you walk into the Sweet Briar Cafe, famous for its many flavors of ice cream and deserts.  It serves you a variety of meals.  Breakfast lunch and dinner served in a warm setting with friendly waitstaff.  Several booths located close together permit the unplanned conversation between residents of the community while dining and relaxing.   It is a small town where people know each other.  

If you want more you can explore the many other shops and stores off the beaten path, but close to Main Street.  You can enjoy many festivals during the summer including a Restaurant Week Festival, The Annual Ambler Bike Race, and just south of the town a trail that is an extension of Wissahickon Park Trail. Very close by in the town of Gwyned, celebrate the coming of autumn by sampling many types of beer at the Oktoberfest. These are just a few things happening that you can take advantage of  in this small, but growing, exciting town.    

Ambler Tranquility Off The Beaten Path

John Gilmore, Peaceful Warrior Reflections

John Gilmore Peaceful Warrior ReflectionsDr. John Gilmore, who has written for us at times and is one of our favorite people, has his own internet radio show, Peaceful Warrior Reflections that can be found at this link.

While we suspect many of our readers may not be necessarily find it their cup of tea, we say you can never have too many peaceful warriors.

John Gilmore, Peaceful Warrior Reflections

Hostage Taking Postponed to ML King Day

The government is open for business again.  How nice.  Too bad it wasn’t open before we, as a nation, made fools of ourselves in front of every other nation in the world.  Or before several people lost money because of not being able to pay for student loans, which kicked their payment percentage all the way up ton 19%, or before billions of dollars of other costs incurred from loses due to programming and research that had to be done time, but was cut short, or ended, because of no funding for the scientists involved.  I even read that some people mortgages were foreclosed on during that short period of time.

I’m sure those farmers who had thousands of cattle freeze to death during the ice storm in South Dakota and who couldn’t call anyone to help with their costs through their federal insurance when their whole economic futures crashed are happy.  They would have been more happy if the Republicans in the House had done their jobs. No one knows what is happening with them now.

We at least know that there will be money until Martin Luther King Day.  On that day they will begin to hold us all hostage again.  Perhaps they will try to get us to stop celebrating Martin Luther King Day.  That would be something that is important.  Think of all of the money spent allowing us a weekend off where we can spend time with our families and loved ones.
We will see what our government will do then, but I have lost total confidence in them.  Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Conservative, or Liberal, or Libertarian, or a Socialist, I am sure you know a nut when you see one.  It seems, unfortunately, that we have many, many nuts running the government now and woe are we.  The congress is full of people who are more incapable than the least among us.  When that happens in a country it is on the way to the bottom like a sinking ship.

Anything To Stop Healthcare

According to Democracy Now,
Republicans in the House are quite upset because the Senate Leader
refuses to call a session to vote on the idea put forward by
Republicans, that threatens to shut down the government if
Obama-care, a health care system that would give the opportunity to
those who were cut out because of pre-existing conditions, the poor,
the lower middle class and working class and millions of working
poor, to purchase insurance, and would make it almost impossible for
bankruptcy to result from large hospital bills.

I must say, during my lifetime, I have
never before seen one part of the government resort to extortion and
holding the citizens hostage, or using them as human shields, to
overturn an initiative voted for and passed by the House and Senate
and signed into law by the President of the United States. This
great turn around, in fact, is after most of the Republican
Representatives and Senators signed onto the bill on the condition
that it would slowly fade in beginning 2014.

Now the U.S. has become the laughing
stock of most of the world. Everything that we stood for in the past
has been turned upside down. We work to export democracy and the
democratic process throughout the world as those who tout democracy,
and who claim to be Christians, do whatever they want to against the
will of the people to keep people poor and destitute without the type
of healthcare that almost every industrial nation (I can’t think of
any that doesn’t), has.

We are being pushed backward and the
heritage of the United States…the True Heritage, is being stolen by
the ones who have pledged to preserve it. This heritage can be seen
in the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United
States, the Gettysburg Address, and on the plaque on the Statue of
Liberty. The belief and application of these values are the only
thing that ever made us exceptional. They are the only things that
differentiated us from most of the western world. They will soon be

I just pray for our children and their
children as this country erodes into Neo-feudalism and all of those
who wasted their time and energy fighting against true exceptionalism
by trying to push us back to a time of Pre-civil War mentality and
block others from partaking of the opportunities afforded us by this
great nation. For this is what will ultimately bring about the
destruction of this nation and will garner curses and hatred from our
descendents because we didn’t stand up when it was the time and
protect the heritage of our own. Who are our own. Every citizen is
our own.

The Politic of Black Mail

By Dr. John Gilmore

What do you do when the government begins to hate their opposition so much they begin to black mail them by holding the citizens hostage? This is something that has been happening regularly nowadays with the GOP and the debt ceiling. I find it amazing that such a thing would ever happen in the United States. Some people say that this comes as a result of the type of greed that destroyed the Athenian Empire and the Roman Empire. Both of those empires were powerful. They fell because of the corruption inside, not because of outside forces.

We find our system beginning to get
more corrupt as tons of money is being poured in by large
international corporations with no real allegiance to the United
States or any other country, just to themselves. The question is
“What do we do about it?” Cutting the food stamp program doesn’t
seem to help. Union busting, which ultimately lowers everyone’s
wages and causes less money to go back into the economy doesn’t seem
to be helping. Fighting about abortion and marriage equality doesn’t
seem to help. What do we do during these trying times?

I think we need to create jobs with a
living wage. The idea of Green Energy Jobs was a good one. Building
wind turbines and solar panels is working for Germany. They have
reduced their dependency on Nuclear Power-plants in less than two
years by converting to 1/3 solar energy, just by giving the citizens
incentives to put solar panels on their homes and then feeding the
energy back into the grid. Only 1/3 of their energy needs are
petroleum based, while the other 1/3 is bio-diesel. These are the
types of policies we need, instead of grid lock. On top of it all,
they have had national healthcare for years and are one of the
strongest economies in the world.

I think it is time for our government
to stop playing politics, stop trying to turn one religion against
the other, one race against the other, one gender against the other,
the old against the young…to create any type of division they can
so they can become more progressive and really govern in line with
the ideals put forward by Abraham Lincoln when he spoke of this
country of the people, by the people, and for the people. Instead we
have a country for 1% of the people and division among others.
Officials are being paid to make decisions based on the health and
welfare of the highest bidders. It is time to unite and work to
rebuild this American Dream for all of the people and stop the
divisiveness. I hope that U.S. Citizens can do this, or there just
may not be a country that is worth having very soon. .

Let’s Not Get Too Political As They Divide and Conquer

It is summer again. A struggle is taking place between those who want so support the downtrodden and help uplift the whole society, and those who want to grab everything for themselves and people who are like them while destroying all others. I think that this has been the primary battle on Earth since the beginning of the age of the human being. There have been forces that wanted to bless people and make those who were blessed be a blessing to everyone in which they came in contact vs. those who thought they were blessed because of their own superiority and who learned to despise those who God was said to love and want blessed, the downtrodden and the pure of heart.

The same old battle is fought again and again at the end of each
age and the beginning of the new. Humanity strives to jump to a new
state of creativity and awareness while other forces filled with
fear, greed, and lack of insight and vision, continually try to push
back toward the dark ages full of fear, discrimination, and created
scarcity so they may maintain their seats of power.


The main difference today is that we can see how scarcity is
created right before our eyes. We see how a few people working
behind the scenes can buy the rights of the many through bribery and
media manipulation. We couldn’t see that a long time ago. Because
of more information we can look at the major religions and see how
they played a part in perpetuating the myths that led to fear of the
other and constant wars in the name of God and country. It is as if
the sheet has been pulled back and we see all of the ugly people
conspiring behind the scenes to build empires for themselves
regardless what happens to the majority of the people in their
communities, countries, or even in the world.

This is a good thing. Now is the time for us to look at the place
from whence evil comes. It is time for us to sketch it into our
minds with hot irons, or chisel it into our psyches like truth
written in stone so that we can heal all of the separation that has
been created by these people and their spiritual ancestors, and begin
to rebuild the world the way most of us prefer. The racism, the
sexism, the religious bigotry, and homophobia has to go. These are
the tools they use to conquer us. It is time to realize that we
are part of an interdependent system. We are part of one world. We
are not separate. Poverty and oppression in one part of the world
translate to the same things in the other parts.


This is something we are recognizing today through this so called
war on terror. The major chance that we have to make this world
better is to get rid of the hate, nullify the effects of the haters
and Empire builders so that we can have life. When we can do this,
live in a multicultural world where we can enjoy others cultures and
share our own freely, we will create the Rule of Love, The Kingdom of
Heaven, Satchitananda, or even, as the far right conservatives say, all boats rise on the economic tide, on this Earth.


We will be what we were born as, a wonderful creative beings who are kind, loving, and capable of creating the world that most of us dream. A world of peace, a world of joy, a world of mutual sharing, in other words, a world of love.
It just takes letting go of the false identity that has been force
fed to us since the day we were born, and remembering who we really are. We are beings connected in an interdependent web of existence.
More than that, we are the guardians of that independent web. This is only if we decide to be that, though.  We have just forgotten who, and what, we really are and it is time to remember before global warming and WWIII..


Om Prakash is a Writer, Life-Coach, and Leader of Spirituality
Workshops. He is available for lectures and workshops on various
areas of practical spirituality. He is also the host of the talk show The Spiritual Warrior: Reclaiming your power at:
For more info. visit www.nextstepcoaching.4t.com



Let’s Not Get Too Political As They Divide and Conquer

LePage’s Cure for High Unemployment: Get a Job

I read a story in the Huffington Post. It said that at the Maine
GOP convention, Gov. Paul LePage (R) received an enthusiastic
standing ovation from his fellow Republicans for saying that all
able-bodied out-of-work Americans need to “get off the couch”
and go find employment.

He wanted the state legislature to pass structural changes to
welfare, saying, “Maine’s welfare program is cannibalizing the
rest of state government. To all you able-bodied people out there:
Get off the couch and get yourself a Job.”

“I understand welfare because I lived it,” he added. “I
understand the difference between a want and a need. The Republican
Party promised to bring welfare change. We must deliver on this

LePage has been pushing for these reforms for months, which the
Democrats have argued, define Welfare Reform to broadly. They
include things like disability, Maine Care, which is Medicaid, as

Mike Tipping, communications director for the Maine People’s
Alliance, said LePage’s comments were “downright offensive to
Maine people searching for work in a difficult economy, especially
considering his embarrassing record of failing to invest in programs
that create jobs and cutting assistance for the unemployed while at
the same time giving massive new tax breaks to the wealthy.”

I have been getting Telemarketing Calls from the Sheriffs Office,
From Firefighters, and from Veterans, and I donate what I can. I’m
struggling to find work myself. Why am I paying taxes with this not
being taken care of? What is wrong with a country when it can’t take
care of firefighters, Veterans, and Law Enforcement agencies, or the
people, but can continually give tax cuts to millionaires who take
the money out of the country, invest in overseas companies paying
slave wages, and then pretend like they are competing with someone
else by constantly raising prices when they are competing with

Some people feel good about people like LePage working is way up,
or whatever he may have done. But that was a different world.
Before, if one had a dream and was willing to do the work, one could
start making money by even selling rags and end up as buying houses,
renting apartments, or whatever was possible. If one worked hard
enough in a factory one could move to a supervisory position. One
could work their way through school and come out of the other side
without debt.

When I was young a person could work for the summer and save
enough to pay tuition for the college year. Nowadays this is
impossible. Costs have been going up and real wages have been frozen
and going down since 1968. Jobs have been exported overseas.  The more profits the companies make the more they can afford to invest in jobs overseas with slave wages or low paying jobs here that are worthless.  There is a major problem here. Saying
“Go out and get a job,” when he is the one in charge of creating
jobs, but thwarting the creation of them at the same time, is not

There is a lot of unnecessary struggling going on now, when it
comes to the economy. The one thing that I can see contributing to
it all is that companies and corporations want people to do the work without paying them.
Now it has gotten so bad that LePage even wants people to work not
only with no pay, but with no job! What a world we live in!

Dr. John Gilmore, D. Min.

Life-Coach, Writer, Workshop Leader


A Quiet Push To Reform Pa.’s Prevailing Wage Law

Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage law passed in 1961 requires all local governments and state agencies to pay workers a rate  determined by the state’s Secretary of Labor for any “construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration and/or repair work.”

This law has been shown to hike labor costs for school additions and such by as much as 44 percent.

Seven bills, some which would radically reform how prevailing wage is handled in Pennsylvania, were voted out of the Labor and Industry Committee of the State House chaired by Rep. Ron Miller (R- 93) on Oct. 3.

The most significant would be HB 1191 sponsored by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-105) which exempts local governments (school districts, municipalities and counties) from prevailing wage requirements — unless they really, really want them.

That raises the question as to what local government could possible want them. Go to Upper Darby, stand on the west bank of Cobbs Creek and look east. See that big, steaming pit of greed, corruption and incompetence? That one.

Also voted out of committee were:

HB 709 sponsored by Warren Kampf (R-157) which simply exempts school districts from the requirements.

HB 1271 sponsored by Rep. Marsico which would clarify, and expand, the maintenance exemptions for road work from prevailing wage requirements.

HB 1329 sponsored by Fred Keller (R-85) which would raise  to $185,000 the point at which which projects become subject to prevailing wage requirements. The mark is now  set at $25,000 as it has been since 1961. That amount in 1961 dollars roughly equals $185,000 today. Keller’s bill would require the limit to be adjusted annually for inflation or deflation.

HB 1367 sponsored by Rep. Miller which would require the Secretary of Labor to use data from the Labor Department’s Center for Workforce and Analysis in determining the prevailing wage.

HB 1541 sponsored by Scott Perry (R-92) which would require a project to be at least 51-percent publicly funded to be subject to prevailing wage restrictions.

HB 1685  sponsored by John Bear (R-97) which would standardize and require the public listings of worker classifications.

All the bills would help the taxpayer. With HB 1191, however, the taxpayer might actually notice it.

State Owned Bank Supporting Capitalistic Ventures

an article in The New York Times on August 19th titled “The North
Dakota Miracle,” Catherine Rampell writes:


to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today, North
Dakota had an unemployment rate of just 3.3 percent in July—that’s
just over a third of the national rate (9.1 percent), and about a
quarter of the rate of the state with the highest joblessness
(Nevada, at 12.9 percent). North Dakota has had the lowest
unemployment in the country (or was tied for the lowest unemployment
rate in the country) every single month since July 2008. Its healthy
job market is also reflected in its payroll growth numbers. . . .
year after year its payrolls grew by 5.2 percent. Texas came in
second, with an increase of 2.6 percent. Why is North Dakota doing
so well? For one of the same reasons that Texas has been doing well:

could explain it, but it doesn’t, because many of the states with oil
have suffered the same downturns as the rest of the country.
Alaska, which has about the same population as North Dakota and twice
as much oil has an unemployment rate of 7.7%. Other states with oil
have suffered as well. The difference is that North Dakota has a
State Owned Bank. Yes, I have written what is a dirty word in the US
for people who like to say that everything that supports the people
is communism– a state owned bank that does not compete with other
banks, but works with other banks to help them. The bank works as a
Mini Fed that gives loans to small businesses, farmers, and for
special green projects, and technological programs within the state.


Dakota’s money and banking reserves are being kept within the state
and invested there. The Banks of North Dakota (BND’s) loan
portfolio shows a steady uninterrupted increase in North Dakota
lending programs since 2006. It is a smart program that works within
the capitalist society in order to help local communities continue to
be creative, competitive, and productive. For this reason the state
has not suffered from the downturn that the rest of the country and a
large part of the world suffers.


are often so locked in this false dichotomy of communism vs.
capitalism when no economy has ever been completely communist or
capitalist. When countries have tried to create such extreme
economic systems, Capitalism in the US and Communism in the Soviet
Union, disaster has always followed. Now unregulated capitalism has
brought us and much of Western Europe to the brink. South American
countries who have opted out on IMF loans and World Bank strategies
are the ones who have turned their economies around. 


It is time for
this nation to become wiser and think more clearly so we can do what
is necessary, taking the best course of action, so that everyone can
prosper. Every so often a light shines on a certain nation or state
that is engaged in creating financial security for it citizenry.
They all have one thing in common: financial promotion of the general
welfare through loans and incentives in preference to small business,
small loans, and individuals