Friday, July 15, 2016

News Programs Need a Daycare Rule

Daycares and child care centers often have rules on potty training.  Some won't take kids that aren't potty trained.  I've heard the phrase "3 sh*ts and you're out" as a rule. As I watch what are supposed to be news shows that rule comes to mind. I think if a pundit or spokesperson publicly states something that is provably wrong more than three times their contract should be cancelled.  Surely it is possible to write something like that in, a truth clause, or make it part of a morals clause. It is so disheartening to watch people over and over again flat out lie or dissemble and then appear again the next night with no penalty.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The "Other" Talk

I have always referred to my children as the "little janes."  Some people have assumed this meant I had only daughters, but I was using "jane" as a last name in this context.  In fact, one of my children is male.  He is an adult now and, at least for the present, not living in my house.

I've had "the other talk" with all of my children but reinforced it more often with my son.  It goes something like this:

Unless asked for specific information, there are three acceptable answers when questioned by the police:  "Yes, Officer;" "No, Officer;" and "I don't know, Officer." If pulled over when driving, keep both hands on the wheel, visible at all times.  Don't make any sudden movements.  Do not try to make jokes. If any movement is required explain in advance what you will be doing and why, and move slowly. If the police stop you walking down the street, stop immediately, keep hands out of pockets, stand still, no sudden movements, no jokes. If a police office tells you to sit down or lay down, do it without asking questions or making comments, hands visible. An officer has to assume you are armed and dangerous or potentially under the influence or mentally unstable. Their lives depend on starting with an assumption of the worst possible scenario. Give them the time and space to decide you are not an immediate threat.

The boy is tall and hit a growth spurt right around the time Pennsylvania passed some form of "castle doctrine."  I told him if he went trick or treating that fall (or any fall thereafter) he couldn't wear a mask or anything that covered his face.  Hats were okay provided his face was still visible. I told him that while he might still think of himself as a kid, he was as tall as a grown man and people who didn't know him would react to him as such. Someone seeing him walking around a house on Halloween (or any other night) might assume he was a burglar.

He went with me to a couple of political events and on the way to one I was pulled over. It was a teachable moment. After it was all over I talked with him about why I thought I hadn't gotten a ticket. What I did and did not do when interacting with an officer.

I know several of the police officers in our local force; some are my neighbors. Their jobs are difficult and often provide no margin of error. There was a shootout one street over a few years ago and an officer was injured. It is a dangerous, thankless, poorly paid job.  I've also noticed that the drivers I see pulled over on our local streets are African American far more often than our demographics would suggest.

My family is on the very pale /translucent end of the pigmentation spectrum. We are very white. I cannot imagine the stress African American parents feel when that talk with their children. It is surely more involved than the one I had with mine. As we see all too often in the news, someone who follows all the rules of "the talk" can still be shot.

We need to find a way to help police officers do their job without injuring or killing people who are simply going about their business. We need to make sure racial prejudices don't factor into law enforcement decisions. In the meantime, parents all over country will be having the "other" talk with their kids, especially their sons.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Call for LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

from the inbox:

Pennsylvania remains the only state in the northeast that lacks laws that would protect citizens from being fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Senator Bob Casey and members of Governor Tom Wolf’s administration met in Pittston yesterday to address the need for non-discrimination laws at both the federal and state level.  LGBT Pennsylvanians deserve to live in a state that is inclusive and welcoming for everyone. Governor Wolf has already signed executive orders protecting commonwealth employees. It is now up to Congress and the state legislature to pass bills that will protect all Pennsylvanians.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

White House Summer Interns from PA

Last week the White House Internship Program announced  the participants for the Summer 2016 session. The mission of the program is to make the White House accessible to future leaders around the nation and to prepare those devoted to public service for future leadership opportunities.

Here are people on the list who are from or going to school in Pennsylvania:

Alarco Alarco, Claudia Hometown: Silver Spring, MD ; Villanova University, PA
Black, Cara Hometown: Bucks County , PA; Georgetown University, D.C.
Casey, Amy Hometown: Wayne, PA; College of the Holy Cross, MA
Cholli, Neil Hometown: Chelmsford, MA; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Gerstel, Dylan Hometown: Ridgewood, NJ; Swarthmore College, PA
Kiernan, Christopher Hometown: Chevy Chase, MD; Lehigh University, PA
Krulik, Sarah Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; University of Rochester, NY
Lee, Joshua Hometown: Wellesley, MA; University of Pennsylvania, PA

Maz, Rebecca Hometown: Radnor, PA ; American University, D.C.
Miller, Jordan Hometown: Chappaqua, NY; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Moreno-Rosa, Salomon Hometown: Amherst, MA; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Powell, Lindsay Hometown: Brooklyn , NY; Carnegie Mellon University, PA
Rooney, James Hometown: Pittsburg, PA; Georgetown University, D.C.
Serota, Jonathan Hometown: Brookville, NY; University of Pennsylvania, PA

Sheasley, Jamie Hometown: King of Prussia, PA ; American University, D.C.
Shulman, Sabrina Hometown: Washington, D.C.; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Smitham, Eleni Hometown: Bethesda, MD; Haverford College, PA

SEPTA Refunds and Credits

Our friends at SEPTA are doing their best to ensure we have a safe, comfortable, and timely ride to wherever we are going.  The altered schedules that started today are an inconvenience and SEPTA is offering refunds and credits to passholders:

– Due to the impact on customers from the Silverliner V portion of the rail fleet being taken out of service over a structural defect, SEPTA will provide refunds and credits for customers who have purchased Weekly and Monthly Regional Rail TrailPasses.

The refunds and credits are for customers who purchased Weekly Regional Rail TrailPasses for the week starting Monday, July 4, and those who bought Monthly Regional Rail TrailPasses valid July 1-31.

To receive refunds, customers will have to mail their passes to SEPTA no later than Thursday, July 7. Envelopes must be post-marked July 7 or earlier. A check will be sent to the address provided by the customer. Please note “Silverliner V Pass Refund” on the envelope, place the refund-eligible Regional Rail TrailPass inside and mail it to:

SEPTA P.O. Box 58609 Philadelphia, PA 19102-8849

For customers who want to continue using their TrailPass this week and for July, SEPTA will offer a credit on a future purchase. The credits can be redeemed on any pass purchase made through Monday, Oct. 10. These are the credits SEPTA is making available for TrailPass holders:

Weekly Regional Rail TrailPass Credits (passes valid the week that began Monday, July 4):

 Zone 1, 2 and Cross-County Weekly TrailPasses: $5 credit

 Zone 3 and Anywhere Weekly TrailPasses: $10 credit

Monthly Regional Rail TrailPass Credits (passes valid July 1-31):

 Zone 1 and Cross-County: $20  Zone 2: $25

 Zone 3: $30

 Anywhere: $35 For more information, visit

Monday, July 04, 2016

Regional Rail Changes Start TOMORROW!!!

If you take Regional Rail on a regular basis be forewarned that due to needed repair on about a third of the railcars there will be fewer trains and a reduced schedule, starting TOMORROW!

Monitor this page for schedule updates:

Also, a special shout out to the so far unknown SEPTA employee who noticed the structural issue before a disaster happened.  Thank you!