Honoring and remembering history requires reflection and candor, not an officially-sanctioned nod to a vanquished rebellion.

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The statue of Robert E. Lee at the center of last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville stands in the city’s Emancipation Park. A man who betrayed his oath to the Union and led rebels in the field in defense of slavery is commemorated in a public park named for the freedom of the Confederacy’s slaves.

That astonishing contradiction is a sad yet telling illustration of a town, state, region, and nation forever shackled by the past, unable to completely shake the discord that killed more than 600,000 Americans a century and a half ago.

Those who “rallied” in protest of the…


Facing a make-or-break offseason, John Middleton is wavering on whether he’ll press the one advantage at his disposal.

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Phillies principal owner John Middleton (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer)

I’m intent on winning. We’re going to get that trophy back somehow, or I’m going to die trying… And if you’re not aiming to win, then you really don’t belong owning a sports team, in my opinion.

Those were John Middleton’s words in the spring of 2017. It was a simpler time for the Phillies, before Rhys Hoskins burst onto the scene, before Gabe Kapler, before the Great Free Agent Chase of 2019, before they went 33–53 (a 62-win pace) over the last three Septembers.

The Phillies, coming off a 71–91 campaign in 2016 that included promising years from Odubel…


“The comfortable, the entrenched, the privileged cannot continue to tremble at the prospect of change in the status quo.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

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Last month marked 10 years since the publication of The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book on the rise and normalization of mass incarceration in the United States.

Alexander is unyielding in her denunciation of American criminal “justice,” exposing both the false comfort of our colorblind mentality and the racial bias inherent in the disastrous, decades-long drug war.

Before Black Lives Matter, before Ferguson, before Eric Garner and Tamir Rice and Philando Castile, the book confronted everything from police militarization to a legal system that has largely backed the state in its systematic criminalization of minorities, particularly young black…


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The Saudi crown prince, the same man who’s credited with introducing modest social reforms and taking steps to diversify an economy long dominated by oil, had more than two weeks to come up with a plausible explanation for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi, the one-time Saudi insider turned dissident and Washington Post columnist, had walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and had not been seen since.

Okay, you figured, Saudi Arabia will produce at least a semi-coherent story befitting a regional power still dependent on other countries for its security. …


Finding the balance between third-party platforms and your own digital properties

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg | Credit: Alessio Jacona on Flickr

By Michael Stubel and Rachael Gresson

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg formally announced a seismic change to the platform’s News Feed that had long been anticipated (and feared) by media organizations and digital marketers alike.* In his statement, Zuckerberg cited community feedback in justifying the company’s decision to demote content, including posts and videos, from publishers, brands, and other businesses.

As marketers who have come to rely on social media platforms as vital channels, the thought of our content being downgraded on Facebook can be daunting. Businesses will likely see their reach, traffic, and engagement ratings decrease. …


Reading the words aloud at the pulpit did little to register them in my mind. It was a passage from Saint Paul to the Corinthians, but it was difficult to concentrate. I was elsewhere, occupied with the task of convincing myself that this was a mistake.

I wasn’t there, there in my dad’s childhood church, back home in Philadelphia on a weekday afternoon to remember a woman I loved. She was going to walk through that door. She’d tell us to take down the memory boards and save the old stories. There was simply a misunderstanding.

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We sat around the…


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Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (Reagan Library Archives)

In November 1988, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush trounced Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in the presidential election, commanding 426 electoral votes and more than 53 percent of the popular vote. In fact, Bush’s triumph remains the only open seat election since the end of World War II in which the nominee of the party holding the White House for eight years defeated the nominee of the challenging party. While it is entirely too early to dissect 2016 polls (remember Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani?), reviewing the past cases may allow us to draw important parallels.

Of the 17 presidential elections…


The dog I loved is gone. Our time together wasn’t nearly enough.

Regret. Always regret.

A day doesn’t pass without me wondering about the last goodbye. It was a Wednesday morning like any other Wednesday morning. I dressed and packed my bag. She would’ve been lounging in her spot on the kitchen rug or sprawled out on her bed by the window.

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Michael Stubel

Much has been made of the internet’s nefarious role in our politics, and for good reason. I want to promote the content worth sharing. Subscribe: thelasttab.com

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