The global economy is receiving a lot of attention these days.  Something must be going on…

In addition to the articles and news story about the stimulus package and other more technical parts of the economy, there are articles and news stories focusing on the quirky personal stories, experiences, and trends in the economy.  For example, this week I saw a story that being frugal has actually become the trendy new thing to do.  In fact, some shoppers at the mall in King of Prussia are going so far as asking stores to place their goods in unmarked bags to conceal their luxurious spending.  Apparently, being comfortable during these dire financial times is turning into something to be ashamed of (I can’t find the link to that specific article, but I did find a similar article exploring the idea that frugal is cool).

With that in mind, here are a news stories I think we’ll soon be seeing with regards to the economic crisis:

1. Frugality will become more popular at weddings and bar mitzvahs. I used to cater and run a novelty photography business, so I am very familiar with the business of Bar Mitzvahs.  I also got married in August 2008 and have several friends who either recently were married or are about to get married, so I have had many discussions about the wedding planning and the costs.  These two industries are served by countless service providers and vendors with one primary focus: to convince you to spend as much money as possible for their service or product.  It isn’t too hard, either, since many parents and engaged couples view their event as the most significant day of their lives (or their child’s life) and therefore feel there is no price tag too big when it comes to planning their event

I can tell you from being on both sides of the event process (as a vendor and as a groom planning his wedding) that it is not necessary to overspend in order to plan a classy, memorable event.  For example, a recently married friend shared that his bride’s wedding gown cost more than my entire wedding did, and the reason they spent this much money on a gown was because it was their special day. While his bride looked beautiful, she did not look any more beautiful than my bride did in a more reasonably-priced dress, nor was their wedding any more fun than ours because of the loftier price tag.  Similary, another friend spent a lot of money on a DJ and said, “At that price, they must be fun!”   I can tell you from seeing many DJs at many parties that a DJ is not necessarily good or fun just because he charges a lot of money, just as a cheap price does not mean a DJ is boring or inferior.  In fact, It Takes 2 is a company that I have seen at many events (camp events, bar mitzvahs, and weddings).  Their prices are very affordable, and their events are some of the most fun that I have ever attended — either as a guest or as a vendor.

Since luxury is becoming loathsome and practical is becoming popular, it seems natural that this change in mentality will affect the wedding and bar mitzvah industries.  But, I don’t think we’ll see the economy’s impact on weddings and bar mitzvahs until the 2010 or 2011 season, since most of this year’s events were planned as long ago as 2006 and the economy was in better shape at that time.  Looking forward, will wedding and bar mitzvah planning become more practical because parents and engaged couples cut back on their spending, or will service providers and vendors lower their prices in an effort to still make the day special without being excessive?

2. How will the economy affect our commutes to and from work? I live in Philadelphia but work about 20 minutes outside of the city, and my commute to and from work requires about 10 miles spent on I-76 and I-476 each way.  Fortunately, I drive against the majority of traffic during both rush hours but my commute still has moments of a slow crawl, and these make the trip take twice as long as it does during non-peak hours.  Traffic in the other direction, however, is usually at a standstill during both the morning and evening rush hours.  That’s what happens when a lot of people are presumably heading to their 9 to 5 jobs in the big city.

One morning, however, I heard that almost 600,00 people lost their jobs in January 2009.  That’s a lot of people who are no longer commuting to work every day, and I am afraid to say that the number will probably be higher in February.  I wonder when a local news guy, looking for “The Lighter Side of the Economy” story, like Bruce in Bruce Almighty, will decide to report on this ‘advantage’ of our current economic crisis.  You know, kinda like how some media outlets were reporting that an advantage of the economic crisis is that fuel costs were dropping back to somewhat acceptable levels?  On one hand, I will enjoy a shorter commute to work every day and we won’t have to endure any more movies starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. On the other hand, it is terrifying to comprehend what empty roads during rush hour means.  Not to mention I will have less time to listen to Preston & Steve in the morning.  I kid, but the thought is really scary.

3. How will textbooks used in economics classes be rewritten? I have only taken ECON 101: Introduction to MacroEconomics (summary: Everything is dictated by Supply and Demand, just like the Wendy’s commercials ‘teach’ us), so I am not familiar with the curriculum employed by professors of economics.  At the same time, a big part of me truly hopes that the curriculum for every student majoring in economics since the 1930s includes a detailed, in-depth study of The Great Depression (TGD) (and yes, I am aware that TGD started in 1929 and did not end until the 1940s, but I hope our best minds were studying this event even before it was resolved).  Not just one week or one section, but one or several classes dedicated to studying the factors leading up to TGD, the pivotal cause of it, initial responses (or lacks thereof) and failures, and, finally, the responses and actions that worked.  Again, I don’t know if this is the case, but I hope it is considering how disastrous TGD was.  Looking forward, I wonder how our current economic crisis will be reviewed, analyzed, reported, and studied to educate future generations of economists, all of whom should help to prevent or respond to another economic crisis.

There are my three pressing questions about the economy.  What about you? What questions or observations do you have when it comes to the topic dominating our headlines?  What answers or responses can you provide to my questions?

A copy of my “25 Things” meme that’s been making the rounds through Facebook.

  • Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.
  • (To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1.    My birthday is July 12.  I have worked a 16-hour day on my birthday every year for the past 13 years.
2.    I hate when my soup and hot chocolate/tea is burning hot. I heat them up to “warm enough” before consuming.
3.    A character in many of my stories is an accomplished writer.  He has written the following books: “H2Whoa: 101 Fun Things to do with Water,” “Swallowcaust: Lack of Food in Concentration Camps,” “Fat Fatties and the Fat Fatties Who Love Them,” and “Nun of Your Business: Discrimination Among Entrepreneurial Clergy.”
4.    I hope to one day write the aforementioned books.
5.    I briefly considered joining the US Air Force in 2000.  Instead, I took a placement test for the US Census Bureau even though I had no intentions of working for them, and this single event launched me on a path that led to me having an M.Ed., wife, and job as Director of a Summer Camp. Seriously.
6.    When we were younger, the only time my brother and I were guaranteed to get along was when we were playing video games. Now, 22+ years later, we still play video games together thanks to XBox and the internet.
7.    I love driving to work every day so I can listen to Preston and Steve. When they go to commercial, I turn on the buffoons on 610 WIP and, when they annoy me too much, I turn to NPR.
8.    I still have every letter and Western Union I ever received during my 19 summers at Golden Slipper Camp.
9.    I love organizing information.   Give me Excel and some information and I am set for the evening.
10.    I love social media and the internet.  I write in two blogs, plus I manage 11 different websites!
11.    I think Scrubs is the greatest show in the history of television.  The writing is sharp, funny, and emotionally investing.
12.    I have participated in several fantasy football leagues, but the SFFL (Slipper Fantasy Football League) is my favorite.  I have been in this league with virtually the same people since 1996. I won one championship and lost two in my first five years in the league.  In the eight years since, I have not even qualified for the playoffs.
13.    My Arcadia roommate and I made a ton of short films that played constantly on the campus’ closed circuit TV.  From time to time, a stranger on campus would talk to me and make reference to a video I was in, or act like I was one of the characters.  I even had a stalker who asked me to be her date to the Spring Cotillion based on these videos.  I also had another roommate tell me that she hated our videos when she was sober, but there was nothing better to watch when drunk.
14.    Some of the best videos we created are not available.  Either the footage has been lost or the stories exist only in our heads or on paper.  One day, Clam Chowder and Harry Doobs…
15.    My brother and I always wanted a little sister.  I also wanted a twin brother.
16.    I described my earliest memory to my mother once.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  She later explained that I had described something that happened when I was 8 months old. I am not making this up.
17.    I often have realistic dreams of minor events that later come true.  I have not yet had a dream where I see the outcome of the Super Bowl or any other future event from which I could make a profit.
18.    I believe I have been reincarnated.  I can identify at least two of my former lives from memories and knowledge of events that I should not otherwise have.  The first time I was in Washington, D.C., I recognized a statue of a lesser-known individual from the mid-1770s.  My friend, Allison, crossed the street and was stunned when the nameplate on the statue confirmed the individual’s identity.
19.    I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease when I was 12 and did not walk for a while because of the pain.  I received physical therapy to help me relearn the natural motion of walking. For a while afterwards, walking required conscious effort and I still walk funny whenever I think about the action of walking itself.
20.    I have always been a pitcher in baseball, but in 1993 I started pitching submarine-style.  This is because I had severe tendonitis in my throwing elbow that kept me awake every night.  I did not want to give up my role as a pitcher, so I did not tell my coach.  One day, the pain was so severe while I was warming up that I started throwing submarine-style because it did not hurt.  I was deadly accurate with this delivery, and I had a lot of movement on the pitches.  The other team made fun of my pitching motion, but I was dominant and shut them down.  I have pitched submarine-style since that day, even though my elbow feels 100% fine.
21.    I love classic rock.  I also love cheesy pop songs, most of which are one-hit wonders.  Thank you, Led Zeppelin, The Police, Billy Joel, Baha Men, A-Teens, Hanson, and LFO.
22.    LFO is the greatest boy band ever. No contest.
23.    I am addicted to the Internet.
24.    I am an exceptional speller, and can recall almost any word I have ever seen or read. If I could go back in time and talk to myself at thirteen, I would encourage me to enter a spelling bee so I could destroy the competition.  I would also tell me to save a lot of money and bet on the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series.
25.    I used to have a bad habit where I calculated the syllables of every word I said by grinding my jaw.  It was probably borderline OCD because it started disrupting my sanity and sleep.  It took a lot of effort to break this habit.

Four questions regarding yesterday’s inaugural hoopla.  One is serious, and other three are a little lighter.

1. Much has been made of the idea that Obama is our “first African-American President,” and that America is finally not judging a leader by the color of his skin.  Isn’t calling Barack Obama “African-American” an act of clearly judging him based on the color of his skin?  I ask that question not because it uses the term “African-American;” instead, I ask it because he is not African-American.  Shouldn’t we be saying “Obama is our first Black President?”  And before anyone protests my use of the word “Black,” let me preemptively say that Black is the politically correct term for this particular race (the US Census Burea via the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designate the official ‘politically correct’ terminology at any given time).

“African-American” is a term used to designate a citizen of the United States who has ancestral origins in Africa, most likely because those ancestors were brought here for slavery.  Much attention has been give to the fact that Obama’s mother is white and his father is Kenyan, which means he was not brought to America for slavery.  Black people in Kenya, and almost every other country in the world, are refered to as “Black” because that is their skin color; they are not called “African-American.”  In fact, the US Census, which as I pointed about above, recognizes that your race can be “Black” or “African-American.”

Obama has a Caucasian mother and a Black father.  He is an American with an African father, but he is not African-American.  He is just as much Caucasian as he is Black, so calling him “African-American” means he is being judged entirely on the color of his skin.  That, my friends, is a true examply of irony!

2. Obama was attending inaugural balls and celebrating until 3am last night.  He then woke up early today to begin his first full day as President. He has a full schedule of meeting with aides, dignitaries, and visitors (citizens who won a contest through his website), signing proclamations and decrees, and doing the other things a president does on day 1.  As a result,  several news outlets made a big deal about the President starting Day One very early after a late night.

My question is this: how does the President wake up in the morning?  Does he use his own alarm clock that he bought for $20 at Target because it provides the option of waking up to buzzer, radio, or mp3?  Or does he have the world’s greatest alarm clock, engineered just for him by top scientists, and capable of triggering the exact right brain waves to wake him?  Or does an intern have the job of coming in each morning and gently nudging his presidential foot until he wakes up?

3. Finally, Barack and Michelle were out last night.  So who looked after daughters Malia and Sasha?  Did the Obamas look through Craigslist for an available babysitter?  Did some unlucky Secret Service agent get stuck playing tea party and watching High School Musical 3 with the girls?  Did the First Mother-in-Law spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom?  Did they ask George W. Bush if he had any recommendations?

[Update: I have since been informed that Mrs. Robinson, the First Mother-in-Law, lives in the White House and babysat Malia and Sasha on Tuesday night.  They did, in fact, watch “High School Musical 3” — which I suggested in jest!]

4. What do you think W did last night?  I bet he did the same thing I did: he turned on ABC at 9pm to watch Scrubs, only to find out it wasn’t on because ABC was broadcasting the Inaugural Ball all night.  I bet he screamed and cursed just as loud as me, too.  As The Todd would say: “Ex-President Five!”

I moved back to my hometown of Philly in May with my wife, who grew up in California with only a passing interest in professional sports.  I now can follow my favorite sports teams very closely, and I also am fortunate enough to have a wife who wants to become a fan of the local teams.  It is fun to watch Ali slowly falling in love with with the Philly sports scene.  It is even more fun watching her understanding of sports develop; before moving to Philly, “sports” meant watching a game and seeing who scored more goals, points, or runs.  Her definition of “sports” still involves watching the games, but has developed to include the joy of identifying with the players and learning each of their individual stories.

She knows all about the Jimmy Rollins’ yearly predictions; Pat Burrell’s rise, fall, and eventual rise again, before his departure and subsequent signing with the Tampa Bay Rays; that Jamie Moyer ditched school to watch the championship parade in 1980; Carlos Ruiz steady defensive play as a catcher after lying to accepting a challenge from a scout who said he’d only be interested in him if he was a catcher (he was a 2B at the time; he told the scout he would try catcher, despite never playing there in his life), and even that his nickname is “Chooch”; that Brian Dawkins responded to being criticized earlier this season for being too old and slow by taking it out on the Eagles’ opponents throughout the rest of the season and post-season; that the Flyers are a tough team and there is nothing more exciting than Game 7 in the NHL playoffs than overtime in Game 7 in the NHL playoffs — especially when your team wins, like the Flyers did in May; the agony of waiting 25 years to see a championship; and the joy we take in watching our rivals suffer.  Especially the Cowboys, Mets, and Giants.  Ali has truly become a Philadelphia sports fan.  Her development in this area probably received a boost by the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series and the Eagles recent, unexpected run in the 2009 Playoffs.  But I digress…

Ali’s education in Philadelphia sports included a whole section on the Curse of Billy Penn. I even updated the lesson to include the actions of workers building the Comcast Building, which is now the tallest building in Philadelphia. For those who don’t know, the workers wanted to break the curse so they placed a tiny statue of William Penn on the top beam in the building, restoring him to the tallest point in the city.  The Phillies then win the 2008 World Series, so some argue that it worked.

I would like to propose another reason for the Phillies victory in 2008, and it is one that can be confirmed in a few short weeks.  During the Phillies’ run, Ali noticed that Pat Burrell has very oddly shaped eyebrows.  Three weeks later, the Phillies won the World Series.  Then, during yesterday’s game, she noticed that Donovan McNabb also has oddly shaped eyebrows.  Not only are his eyebrows weird, but they are the exact same triangular shape as Pat Burrell’s eyebrows (see picture below)!!!  Even more amazing is that Ali noticed this about McNabb on January 11 — exactly three weeks before the Super Bowl!  That’s right, I am dubbing this phenomenon “Charm of the Eyebrows!”

Burrell and McNabb also share the fact they were first round picks by Phillies and Eagles in their respective sport’s drafts.  If the Eagles win the Super Bowl (I can’t believe I just typed that; 3 months ago I would be chastised for jinxing them by typing that!), you’d better believe that we will spend time in May checking the eyebrows of the Flyers players who were first round picks!!!

The Charm of the Eyebrows

The Charm of the Eyebrows

I have a Samson Zoom H4 – Handy Recorder, a little toy that I spent too much money on and use too little. With that being said, I am always looking for opportunities to use it so that I can both exercise my creativity as well as provide a little entertainment for friends, family, and anyone else who reads my blog or listens to my podcasts (Hello!). The 2008 World Series provided one of those opportunities.

My house became the unofficial World Series headquarters for my tight circle of friends — I’d like to think that my company is the reason, but the appeal is more likely that my wife likes to bake delicious Phillies-inspired cakes (see picture 1 below), cookies, and muffins for our guests. We had many friends and family members over for each of the 5 games, but it was Aaron, Adam, Ryan, and Jarad who joined Ali and me for both portions of Game 5. Eric was supposed to join us, but he was fortunate enough to be in the stadium for all three games in Philadelphia!

Ali's Phillies Cake

Ali’s Phillies cake — the true reason our friends came over

As the tension built in our house, we discussed the poor leadership of Bud Selig, the idea that we may finally witness one of our beloved teams win a championship, and the exciting possibility of a season ending without someone saying, “Well, maybe next year is our year.” I wanted to document the approaching historic moment as naturally as possible, so I turned on my little microphone during the 8th inning of Game 5b of the World Series. I placed it on a shelf in our living room and left it on to record our reactions and experience with a potential championship. We now know that the Phillies won the World Series and, two months later, I just listed to the captured audio for the first time.

I found a lot of interesting dialogue captured in the audio: we debate and discuss everything from the ideal time to listen to mute the TV and turn on 610WIP (to listen to the Phillies’ announcer, the legendary Harry Kalas), to the challenge of playing with mitochondria, to Scott Eyre warming up in the bullpen just so he can get some air time when the cameraman pans over to see what Brad Lidge is up to. Oh, and I also heard our reactions to the glorious moment itself! The attached audio may be dull at times, but it is a snapshot of pure, natural emotion and happiness.

I would ultimately like to edit the audio into something interesting, intermixed with interviews from each of those present (and Eric, who can provide his perspective of being in the ballpark) and with pictures laid over the top. For now, I have edited down the 1 hour of audio to the best 3 minutes*; essentially, the 3 minutes are the audio of Hinkse’s at-bat and our reaction for a minute or so afterward.

A guide to the recording below: the magic happens at 1:47 (WARNING: It gets VERY loud at this point of the audio!). Then, it’s about a minute of us reacting in absolute glee and exuberance. Finally, Jarad makes a very revealing declaration at 2:54 — be sure to listen =) The audio is below, so enjoy!

Just before the big moment

The gang, seconds before the big moment

Hinske just swung through strike 3!

Hinske just swung through strike 3!

No caption necessary

No caption necessary

*Note: I edited some of the dead time out of the Hinske at bat, just to make the file a little shorter. Just wanted to let you know in case you notice that some filler dialogue from Harry and Wheels is missing.

3 weeks ago, Eagles President Joe Banner complained about the disproportionate coverage that the Phillies, who were in the World Series en route to a world championship, were receiving from local media compared to the Eagles.

Well, I think it is safe to say that the Weak-les will be getting plenty of coverage now.  Among the possible topics:

  • Another failed season
  • 5 turnovers (so far)
  • With the season on the line, Reid decides to bench the franchise QB he has defended all season and play Kolb in the 2nd half
  • A blocked punt that hits the defender in the chest
  • 6 inches to the end zone on a 2nd down that turns into an NFL record 108 yard INT return by Ed Reed
  • Three defenders can’t tackle Le’Ron McClain, whom they have wrapped up, on a 1 yard TD run

Let’s hope Ed Snider or Paul Holmgren don’t complain about the Flyers or Sixers lack of coverage this week.

Thanks to sources like CNN we all know that Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, received almost 64.3 million popular votes (and counting) and 349 electoral votes (and counting).  And we know that he defeated John McCain, the Republican candidate, who received “only” 56.7 million popular votes (and counting) and 153 electoral votes (and counting).  As a result of these statistics, McCain delivered a concession speech on Tuesday night and Obama’s prefix is now “President-elect.”

If you check out the CNN site, though, you will notice that Obama received 53% of the vote, and that McCain received 46% of the vote.  This adds up to only 99% of the popular vote.  So what happened to the other 1% of the tabulated vote?  Fortunately, CNN also provides the full results of the Presidential election (well, “full” considering three states have not yet announced their vote tallies.  Here is the top tier of the results:



It now becomes obvious that, besides Obama and McCain, other candidates received votes.  Most notable is 3rd place candidate Ralph Nader, who received over 660,000 votes!  For the record, this would make the fictional Nader Nation the 48th most populous state, between Alaska (population: 683,000) and North Dakota (population: 639,000).

After Nader, though, the obscurity level increases.  I find it amazing that someone like Moore receives 6,547 votes from across the country.  Chances are that Moore was on the ballot of one or several states.  If not, that means 6,547 people wrote Moore in — and I’m assuming that nobody has that many friends or family members willing to write their name on a presidential ballot!  On the bright side, Moore did finish with 296 more votes than “None of these candidates,” the last of the candidates to beat the candidate with such a cumbersome last name =)

Even more impressive is the entity that received 509 votes:



It would be great if “Phillies” was the result of write-in votes from 509 citizens of Philadelphia, where we are still in a daze from last week’s World Series victory, which ended a 25-year championship drought (perhaps you heard something about this?).  But, alas, there is actually a candidate named George Phillies, who was running in New Hampshire on the Libertarian ticket.

Perhaps Mr. Phillies would have had more luck if he had registered for the Pennsylvania ballot; no doubt more than a few Philadelphians would have been so excited that they would have voted for Phillies out of sheer passion!  I think I have my running mate for my campaign in 2020; hopefully the Phillies’ dynasty is fresh off of winning its 13th straight World Series!

In other news, I am still waiting to see CNN’s coverage of the concession speech by Bradford Lyttle of the United States Pacifist Party, the 25th highest vote getter (103 votes).

“Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign”
Signs, by Five Man Electrical Band

Signs are everywhere, with production values ranging from professional to amateur. While my wife and I appreciate old fashioned communication, we also observe and take delight in the many signs and notices bursting with poor grammar.  Some of the grammar is so poor that your guess is as good as ours in determining the meaning of the sign.  We have decided that we cannot keep this joy to ourselves and will be sharing pictures of signs that contain poor grammar on this blog.

Almost everybody is guilty of an occasional grammatical error (and I imagine I am making a few in this post), so nitpicking a decent effort to communicate is not the purpose of the Signs of Poor Grammar feature of this blog.  Instead, this feature will highlight the absolutely atrocious errors, the ones that hurt your eyes and insult your intelligence when you read them.

Without further adieu, here is Signs of Poor Grammar #1, spotted outside of The Franklin Institute:

Phillies Champs next Obama

Phillies Champs next Obama

Hmm…perhaps this author meant, “Phillies: Champs. Obama’s next!”  Ok, so this one isn’t too terrible, but we have to start somewhere.

Feel free to share your own observations of signs with poor grammar (grammar AT
PS “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” is deactivated for this portion of the blog =)

I just left the poll, having cast my votes for the various officials hoping to be elected today.  I feel that I was well-informed regarding the different candidates for whom I could vote: President, state treasurer, attorney general, representative, etc.

I am quite bothered, however, by the referendums/items that appear on the ballot.  There were four in my district — one about the commonwealth borrowing $400 million for utilities, one about combining the Fairmount Park Commission and Department of Recreation, one about the city incurring a debt of $53 million for capital improvements, and one about giving preferential treatment for civil service jobs to people who have lived in Philly for at least one year prior to their civil service examination.

What bothers me is that the only item I had even heard of prior to just now is the item proposing the formation of a new Department of Parks and Recreation.  I am a pretty plugged in person who reads the newspaper every day and otherwise is able to get information promptly and accurately.  If I know nothing about these items, then I am going to assume that neither do the majority of voters in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania — and I’m sure there are similar items on the ballot today in cities and states throughout the US.

My decisions and vote about each item were based on reading the difficult language on the ballot and trying to figure out the Pros and Cons of each, doing so uninformed and while under pressure to expedite my turn in the voting booth.  Since I assume most of Philly and Pennsylvania is in a similar situation in terms of familiarity with these items, this means that $453 million dollars, employment decisions, and management of the largest park system in the world (as well as recreation sites) are being decided based on…nothing!

Individual candidates spend a lot of money on advertisements to make sure their messages are heard and their faces are seen.  It is understandable that a ballot item cannot raise money, but there has to be some other way to make sure voters are aware of the items and their issues.  I saw only the aforementioned Parks and Recreation item even mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, but no information about other than “Mayor Nutter says we should vote ‘yes’ on this question.”

Does this bother anyone else?

I finally found a resource with more information for those in Philly.  The Committee of Seventy, which describes itself as “Political watchdog group and nonpartisan research and election information source for the Philadelphia metropolitan area,” offers a resource on the different Philadelphia ballot questions.