The Annenberg Public Policy Center at Penn has some good news for people who appreciate accuracy in media: Last year, for the first time in four years, there was a decrease in the number of news stories that falsely associated holiday time with suicide. Annenberg’s analysis notes that the lowest suicide rate is between mid-November and January, yet for many years the majority of news outlets tended to perpetuate the holiday-suicide myth rather than contradict it. Read more »
When local writer JoAnna Loviglio described the Philadelphia accent for the Washington Post a couple years ago, she summed it up this way:
With apologies to comedian Jeff Foxworthy, you might be a Philadelphian if: you say beggle (bagel), wooder (water), tal (towel), beyoodeeful (beautiful), dennis (dentist) or Fit Shtreet (Fifth Street). Also, the name of your home town might sound like Philuffya, and you might call your football team the Iggles, you might pronounce “ferry” and “furry” the same way, and your rendering of “radiator” might rhyme with “gladiator.”
Native Philadelphians could surely add hundreds of examples to that list; personally, I was always dismayed by the way my relatives pronounced “egg” to rhyme with “plague.” And there are still words, like “hanger,” that trip me up on a regular basis because I can’t get the Philly out of them — those hoagie mouth remnants can be stubborn.
That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks.
— Stoya (@stoya) November 28, 2015
James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can't nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.
— Stoya (@stoya) November 28, 2015
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams released a statement today detailing the sensitivity training his staff underwent in the wake of the “Porngate” scandal — and probably none too soon. In recent weeks, a growing chorus of elected officials and activist groups have called on Williams to fire three of his prosecutors who’d been involved in the sending and receiving of pornographic, homophobic and racist emails while employed elsewhere. Williams said he wouldn’t fire the men–Frank Fina, Patrick Blessington and Marc Costanza–but he would implement training.
According to Williams, Paul Meshanko, president and CEO of Legacy Business Cultures, led the training. (According to his Facebook page, he’s the former CEO, but other sites describe him simply as CEO.) Legacy is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, but Meshanko lives just outside of D.C. He is the author of The Respect Effect: Using the Science of Neuroleadership to Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace. The “neuroleadership” part of Meshanko’s theory is based on the notion that respect primes our brains to do their best work, and that the brain responds more happily—with serotonin and oxytocin—to respectful behavior in the workplace. When we are disrespected, this triggers cortisol and adrenaline and other negative mojo that unpleasantly drugs the prefrontal cortex. Read more »
Everyone is looking for Jacob Marberger, but this is no ordinary missing persons case. Two campuses — that of his high school and college — have been on alert since November 16th, when Marberger allegedly took a gun from his parents’ home in Cheltenham and disappeared. His university, Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, has cancelled classes and shut the campus down until November 29th. Cheltenham High was locked out on Monday. A warrant is out for his arrest, and he is said to be “despondent.”
It’s unclear when trouble started for the 19-year-old but the difficulties certainly reached their peak last month, when he was suspended from college for allegedly getting drunk and brandishing an antique gun at his fraternity house. The action resulted in his being kicked out of Phi Delta Theta, and he resigned from his student government position. Though the suspension only lasted a week and a half, he still faced the possibility that he’d be expelled. Read more »
This is my third Chihuahua. That’s what I used to say about my dog, Birdie, until this summer, when I got her DNA tested. That’s right — I paid nearly a hundred dollars to ship some glorified Q-tips to a laboratory in Lincoln, Nebraska, so that Science could tell me who my dog really is, deep down in her soul. I wouldn’t have done it 10 years ago, but then, no one did. In 2015, though, this is where we are: Dog DNA testing is so common, its popularity was spoofed in a Funny or Die video in which a dog owner is peer-pressured into the test. Some people do the test for pragmatic reasons — pertaining to health or behavior — and some people do it for fun, as a novelty. Me? I did it for love. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me start at the beginning. Read more »
Yesterday the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women gathered at City Hall with several City Councilwomen to demand that District Attorney Seth Williams fire three of his employees: Frank Fina, Pat Blessington and Marc Constanzo. The three men, now prosecutors for the City of Philadelphia, were all involved in Porngate, the snappy name for the scandal that erupted after the discovery of a glut of pornographic, misogynistic, racist and homophobic emails written and distributed on state computers.
In reviewing the conduct of his employees, Williams has said that he will not fire them; rather, he’ll have them go through sensitivity training. The members of NOW and the five City Councilwomen feel this is not enough. The question, if you boil it down, is whether these men can perform their jobs responsibly, fairly and effectively — including prosecuting sex crimes — given the attitudes reflected in the emails. Williams says yes; NOW and the Councilwomen say no.
Yesterday one woman after another stood behind a podium to talk about the old boys network, the lack of judgment, and why women need to be respected. There was a lot of back-patting: I’d like to thank Cindy for this, I’d like to thank NOW for that, etc. Despite all the words, not much was said. One TV cameraman starting packing up to go even while one of the women was still talking. It was an earnest presentation, but it lacked impact. For a discussion of porn, it was really quite boring.
I don’t say that to be flip. I say that as a former hell-raising activist who spent many hours in meetings about the most effective tactics for making change. Standing behind a podium and talking in generalities was never on the list. Read more »
This morning, as promised, the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women held a press conference in City Council’s Caucus room in City Hall to release a statement (not a resolution, they were sure to clarify) demanding that the office of Philadelphia DA Seth Williams fire three of its prosectors who were part of the porngate email chain: Frank Fina, Marc Costanzo and Pat Blessington.
The statement, which was signed by all five female Council members, noted that “The emails which these men forwarded reportedly include women in compromising sexual situations with captions indicating advancing in the work place requires such acts, depiction of African American babies as violent from infancy, and stereotyping and ridiculing of gay men.” The statement takes specific aim at Fina, “whose involvement in prosecuting sex crimes makes this behavior all the more disgraceful.” Read more »
Until last week, there were no World Heritage Cities in the United States. Given that the U.S. is a relatively new country, that’s not surprising — cities like Jerusalem and Tunis do have a wee bit more heritage. Last week, however, at the 13th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, Philadelphia became the first U.S. city added to the list, in large part due to the presence of Independence Hall, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. That designation celebrates places “with outstanding value to humanity” that “belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.” Read more »