Here’s the Problem With That Popular Planned Parenthood Defense

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

When attacked, it’s a natural instinct to defend oneself as quickly and succinctly as possible, to shoot down bold lies with hard facts before they hang around and poison the air any longer.

And so when Republican lawmakers attempt to defund Planned Parenthood and presidential candidates paint the women’s health nonprofit as a sadistic baby-killing machine, I can understand why we whip out the numbers. They’re good numbers to have on hand when Jeb Bush says things like “they’re not actually doing women’s health issues” and that Planned Parenthood is “involved in something way different than that.” Or when Rep. Diane Black, sponsor of the House defunding bill, claims: “If there is reason to investigate, then there is reason to withhold taxpayer dollars during that period of time. The American taxpayer has been clear for a very long time that they do not want federal funds spent on abortion.”

Plenty of people have broken it down, but it’s worth repeating: Only 3 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood last year were abortion-related. Out of the 10.6 million services provided, 42 percent treated or prevented STDs. Another 34 percent provided contraception. Cancer screening and prevention accounted for 9 percent. (The annual report is available here.) Read more »

Syracuse U. Drops “Kiss Cam” for Promoting Sexual Assault

After a letter-writer complained to Syracuse.com that Syracuse University’s “kiss cam” promoted sexual assault and male entitlement, the Carrier Dome has announced it will no longer feature Jumbotron videos of couples kissing during football-game delays. “We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor,” according to the executive senior associate athletics director for communications, Sue Edson. Read more »

Mural Arts Salon Dinner

Samantha Styles, Ed Rendell and Caryn Kunkle
On Friday, September 11th the Mural Arts Advisory Council hosted its second Salon this year at at local artist Caryn Kunkle’s Philadelphia studio. The event attracted more than 100 guests including Ed Rendell, Jane Golden and Mural Arts Advisory Council Co-chairs Teresa C. Nino and Rachel Luber-Cevera.

Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by Zavino’s as well as local artist curator Frederick Calalang ,who makes a delicious mac and cheese and empanadas. Cocktails were provided by Yards Brewery. There was live painting from Gabe Tiburino, screen printing by Hope Rovelto, and live music performed by Chelsea Reed & The Fairweather Five. Guests also had an opportunity to take home a piece of original artwork and other gifts, donated by local businesses.

Photos after the jump »

Is This M. Night Shyamalan’s Comeback?

M. Night Shyamalan on the set of The Visit. Photograph by John Baer/Universal Pictures

M. Night Shyamalan on the set of The Visit. Photograph by John Baer/Universal Pictures

Philly director M. Night Shyamalan appears to have found his first success in awhile, taking second place at the box office this weekend with his newest flick, The Visit. Read more »

Philly Performer Saw British Airways Plane Burst Into Flames in Las Vegas

In this photo taken from the view of a plane window, smoke billows out from a plane that caught fire at McCarren International Airport, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Las Vegas. An engine on the British Airways plane caught fire before takeoff, forcing passengers to escape on emergency slides.

In this photo taken from the view of a plane window, smoke billows out from a plane that caught fire at McCarren International Airport, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Las Vegas. An engine on the British Airways plane caught fire before takeoff, forcing passengers to escape on emergency slides.

Reggie Bügmüncher is a sideshow artist (yes, those still exist) from the Whitman section of South Philadelphia whose act includes scary things like angle grinders, fire eating and breathing, and feats of pain endurance using barbed wire. But even she was scared on Tuesday when a British Airways plane caught fire on a Las Vegas runway, injuring more than a dozen people.

Philly performer "Reggie Bügmüncher" gets up close and personal with an angle grinder.

Philly performer “Reggie Bügmüncher” gets up close and personal with an angle grinder.

Read more »

Stu Bykofsky Doesn’t Think I Should Have Had an Abortion

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

In an odious “story” in today’s Daily News, Stu Bykofsky, a man whom I have never met, makes the huge (and hugely male) presumption that he knows why I had an abortion 40 years ago, how I felt about it then, and how I feel about it now. “There are women more casual about their abortions than their hair color,” he writes, and recalls feminist rallies he attended back in the day at which women wore t-shirts that read, “I had an abortion!” “I had 2 abortions!” “I had 3 abortions!”

It’s possible, since Stu is so old, that his memory is faulty. I don’t remember any such jolly carnivals of fetus-killing. The women I know celebrate the fact that abortion is an option that is legally available to them and their daughters. They would never, ever celebrate having one. What a despicable assumption for Stu to make. Read more »

There’s Good Cheating and Bad Cheating — Here’s How to Tell the Difference

ashley-madison-940x540

There’s been a lot of gleeful moralizing surrounding the Ashley Madison hack. I assume those who are gloating have never cheated on a lover, never struggled with temptations. If so, good for them. I suppose they’re entitled to a little schadenfreude. But given the puritanical, absolutist thinking (people who are on the website = bad. People who aren’t = good), I’m not sure they understand how websites like Ashley Madison are used. They may not, in fact, understand subtleties around sexual desire and romantic love. Relationships are complex. Monogamy is hard. There are many reasons people choose to have sex outside of their primary relationship, and they’re not all bad. In fact, I’d venture to say there’s good cheating and bad cheating, and it’s fairly easy to tell the difference. How do I know? Well, I’ve done both. So let me break it down. Read more »

Department of Secret Shore Awesomeness: The Brigantine Day Trip

Brigantine Beach | Chris Potako via a Creative Commons license.

Sunset over Brigantine  | Chris Potako via a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

I’ll admit that I never quite saw the allure of the day trip.

For as much as I love the Jersey shore (as in, so, so much) it has rarely been enough to justify driving down for the afternoon. To me, the quickie shore trip has always felt like quickie sex: Perfectly fine until I take a look around and realize there’s no shower, no change of clothes, and all kinds of chafing. Not necessarily bad, but not quite worth the trouble or the messy hair, either.

That is, until I discovered Brigantine. Read more »

Minions Have Taken Over the Wildwood Boardwalk

Every kind of minion imaginable is on the Wildwood boardwalk. Even naked minions.

Every kind of minion imaginable is on the Wildwood boardwalk. Even naked minions.

When you’re the guy who writes an annual column about t-shirts on the Wildwood boardwalk, your friends send you a lot of texts about the latest t-shirt trends when they go down the shore. (I get a lot of weird texts from my friends.)

The past month, I’ve been getting the same texts from friends: Minions. There are minions all over the boardwalk.

I recently went down to Wildwood to investigate, and my friends’ texts were right: Every type of minion imaginable is on the Wildwood boardwalk. Regular minions. Minions with pithy inspirational sayings next to them. Ninja Turtle minions. Batman minions. Heath Ledger Joker minions. Superman minions. Spider-man minions. Even Green Lantern minions. Who likes Green Lantern? And, yes, there are naked minions.

Earlier this summer, I wrote about how minions are making Comcast millions. (The company owns Universal.) The spin-off movie in the Despicable Me franchise, Minions, has made more than $962 million worldwide since its release on July 10th. That’s almost a billion dollars in a little over a month! No wonder minions are all over the boardwalk. Too bad for t-shirt vendors another Universal/Comcast hit, Jurassic Park, isn’t so easily meme-able.

Let’s check out a few more late bloomers on the boardwalk this summer. Read more »

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