from the inbox:
Thursday, April 16, 2015
from the inbox:
Politico's new KGB File column by Kate Glassman Bennett highlights the woman who will be the next White House Social Secretary, Deesha Dyer. She is a native of Philadelphia and used to work for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.
Another contender for the job, Samantha Tubman, also has Philly roots, as a graduate of Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania.
You can read more in "Entertainer-in-Chief." The article starts with Tubman, who was considered a frontrunner, and is updated with the announcement on Dyer.
The April issue of More magazine includes a profile of Malika Saada Saar, a human rights attorney. One of her areas of specialty is fighting human trafficking. She led the effort to shut down the adult services section of Craigslist in 2010. In 2011 she co-founded a human rights organization called Rights4Girls that helps raise the awareness of child sex trafficking in the US. The article, by Sharon Cotliar, mentions that Saar grew up in Philadelphia. I can't find the article online but the print issue is still on newsstands.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
A few articles in the Wall Street Journal from the past week or so:
"Pro Stadiums, Public Money," by Eliot Brown 3/09/15 (behind paywall)
The president's proposed budget would bar the "use of tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports facilities." The Treasury Department noted that such bonds "shifted more of the costs and risks from the private owners to local residents and taxpayers in general." Yeah, let's stop doing this.
"Executive Pensions Swell at Top Firms," by Theo Frances and Andrew Ackerman (3/25/15)
One of the examples discussed is that of Jeff Imhelt of GE. Compare these two quotes: "In all, Mr. Immelt’s pension is valued at about $4.8 million a year for life. The company puts its current value at about $70 million, up from around $52 million a year ago." and this "In 2011, GE stopped offering new employees traditional defined-benefit pensions and replaced them with 401(k) plans. At the time, Mr. Immelt cited recent market downturns and lower interest rates as being among the reasons for the shift." Somehow that just doesn't seem fair.
from the inbox:
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Before we get too angry about the new "religious freedom" law in Indiana, let's remember that in Pennsylvania gays and lesbians are not protected groups under Pennsylvania's discrimination laws. Gays and lesbians can now legally marry in Pennsylvania but it is still legal to fire someone just for being gay or lesbian. Given that, we can't feel very superior to our neighbors to the west (not directly to the west but in a westerly direction).
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Senator Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, the first declared presidential candidate in the 2016 election. Cruz was born in Canada and I've seen a lot of blog posts and online comments regarding his citizenship. Cruz's birth certificate lists his mother's birthplace as Delaware. People seem to be questioning this. They should stop.
Anyone with an Ancestry.com membership can check on this. There is a girl in the 1940 Delaware census (the most recent federal census available to the public), with the right name and the right approximate age to be Cruz's mother. She is listed as having been born in Delaware, as are her parents. Names tend to run in families and I see some evidence of that here. It is possible that this is another person entirely but the simplest answer is often the correct one. This is most likely Ted's mom.
This information is not terribly difficult to find. People are just being willfully ignorant.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
from the inbox:
A federal court judge presiding over a dispute between SEPTA and a group seeking to purchase advertising space on SEPTA vehicles has ruled that SEPTA must accept the ads, even if they contain messages that may be disparaging to riders and SEPTA employees. After careful consideration, SEPTA has decided not to appeal this ruling. Our policy was revised in October 2014 to allow the Authority to reject these types of ads without violating the First Amendment. However, this policy change was made after the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s (AFDI) initial request to purchase advertising space and is not applicable in the matter.
Consequently, AFDI has executed a contact with SEPTA’s advertising management agency, Titan, to purchase advertising space on the side panel of 84 SEPTA buses. The ads will contain what some may view as anti-Muslim messages. These vehicles will be placed in normal inventory rotation throughout the SEPTA service area. The ads will begin appearing on vehicles during the first week of April for a four-week period. “We understand that our decision to not file an appeal will be disappointing to those who will be forced to view the disparaging ads,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey.
“We are aware that the presence of the ads could anger the public, but caution that attempts to vandalize the ads or deface SEPTA vehicles will not be tolerated.”
Abby Stamelman Hocky, Executive Director of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia said, “Ads like these violate our values, even if the judge ruled they do not violate the law. We applaud SEPTA for its efforts to restrict the placement of the controversial ads." The Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia has chosen SEPTA as a co-recipient of its annual "Dare to Understand" award, to be presented April 29, at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
SEPTA regrets any discomfort that may be caused from viewing these controversial messages during the weeks they will be displayed. Those who wish to comment or voice their concerns may do so by completing a SEPTA Customer Service comment form at www3.septa.org/customerservice/.
A broad coalition of organizations are organizing a public forum for state Supreme Court candidates from both parties. It will be held on Wednesday, April 8th from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at the Philadelphia Free Library, 1901 Vine St.
Reggie Shuford, executive directory of the Pennsylvania ACRL and Holly Otterbein, associate editor of Philadelphia Magazine will be the moderators.
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/311524612390758/
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Slate ran an article on which states have a higher multiple marriage rate ("The states where second (and third and fourth marriages) are most common," by Jordan Weissman 3/13/2015). According to the map accompanying the article 20% of Pennsylvanians over the age of 15 have been married more than once. That is below the national average.
The article is based on a US Census Bureau report, which also provides statistics on marriage rates by educational level, age, and income ("Remarriage in the United States," by Jamie M. Lewis and Rose M. Kreider, March 2015). It supports articles I've read showing that marriage, and long lasting marriage, is becoming a perk / privilege of the wealthy and well-educated. This should be of serious concern.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, is International Operator Appreciation Day, and our friends at SEPTA would like us to thank our favorite SEPTA driver or operator. In addition feel free to post notes about your favorite drivers or operators in social media. On Twitter please copy @septa_social
Play nice, now, this is not a time to rant about a few bad apples. There are some wonderful SEPTA employees out there. Let's give them a shout out.