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).
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
from the inbox:
Each year, the Philadelphia Flower Show (February 28 – March 8) attracts thousands of horticultural fans to the Pennsylvania Convention Center and SEPTA Regional Rail service. In anticipation of the increased ridership during the week of the Flower Show, SEPTA is asking its regular commuters to help welcome the new and infrequent riders.
“We want to remind our customers that there will be many new faces on regional rail trains,” Kim Heinle, SEPTA’s Assistant General Manager of Customer Service and Advocacy said. “Many of the show’s visitors are infrequent riders who may only take the train once a year or are taking it for the first time.”
Regular SEPTA commuters can welcome the new and infrequent riders by:
• Using overhead racks for large carry-on items
• Accommodating other customers that wish to use the middle seats
• Yielding priority seats to riders with disabilities and seniors
• Being courteous and patient with unfamiliar riders
The Quiet Ride Program will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the 2015 Flower Show beginning Saturday, February 28 and continuing through Sunday, March 8. Crews will be focused on safety, fare collection and announcements and will do their best to keep things from getting too noisy. SEPTA is asking regular riders to anticipate some conversation and commotion inside of the QuietRide Car during this heavy travel period.
SEPTA Ambassadors will also be out at Jefferson Station to greet and assist Flower Show visitors.
The 2015 ‘Celebrate the Movies –Lights, Camera, Bloom’ show will attract thousands of visitors. Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the annual Philadelphia Flower Show is the oldest and largest event of its kind. SEPTA’s Independence and Family Independence passes offer a convenient, economical way to travel into Center City for the show. Visitors can also purchase discounted admission tickets to the Flower Show at SEPTA sales offices, Regional Rail ticket offices and online at shop.septa.org.
A few days ago I got a phone call, one of those automated surveys. This one was odd because it was focused on my views of Wal-Mart's corporate citizenship. Did I think they were good corporate citizens? Did they pay their employees enough? And so on. Very strange. It could have been related to their recent announcement of salary increases but the announcement was just a few days after the call. They must have had the plan in place already.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
modified press release:
State Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., today announced the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted her H.R. 90, honoring the work and leadership of Frances P. Aulston of Philadelphia, during Black History Month.
Aulston is a former research librarian for the Free Library of Philadelphia who founded the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (WPCA) in 1984. Since its founding, the WPCA has worked with more than 80 organizations to promote the region’s cultural resources and support the professional development of local artists. Acosta also noted Aulston’s commitment to designating the home of civil rights scholar and activist Paul Leroy Robeson a historical place.
“I know one of Fran’s most proud accomplishments is helping to preserve Robeson’s last residence on Walnut Street for generations to come,” Acosta said. “Not only did the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission declare the Paul Robeson House a historical landmark, but the house has also been designated a National Historical Site in the National Register of Historic Places. None of this could have occurred without Fran’s tireless dedication to educating the public about this significant participant in the Civil Rights movement.”
From the inbox, a mass email note from Jared Solomon, who ran for the state house in the May primary:
I am treating my campaign as a pact with my community. We talked about improving the security in our region during my campaign. So we are partnering with a security firm that will work with local law enforcement to increase patrols in our neighborhood. In addition, we talked about increasing after school programming. So we are collaborating with a corporate sponsor and 'Legacy Tennis' to provide summer enrichment programs for kids. We talked about failing infrastructure. So we are creating a public-private partnership to revitalize our local recreation center. These are just some of the initiatives that I am working on.