White House Social Secretary Deesha Dyer to Speak at CCP Graduation

deesha-dyer-community-college-commencement-940x540

From West Philly to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; Deesha Dyer is our own hometown success story.

The Washington Post describes her as “a girl from a hard-knock neighborhood in West Philadelphia who dropped out of college, got a 9-to-5, developed a side-hustle writing about Philly’s hip-hop and soul scene, went to community college, and at age 31 became a White House intern.”

After working her way up the White House ladder from intern in the Office of Scheduling and Advance to associate director for scheduling correspondence to hotel program director to deputy to the social secretary, in 2015 she was named President Obama’s Social Secretary. The Washington Post reports that it’s a role that’s typically held by “upper-class white women with pedigree, connections and political networks.” Dyer is the second black woman to hold the position; she succeeded Jeremy Bernard, who was the first man and first openly gay person to have the post. Along the way she had gained the respect of First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama.

In a White House statement announcing her role as social secretary, Michelle Obama praised “her passion, creativity, public-mindedness and relentless competence” as well as her efforts to “truly make the White House the ‘People’s House.'”

Dyer attributes her career success to her alma matter, the Community College of Philadelphia.  Read more »

ACME Now Selling Overdose-Reversal Drug NARCAN at Pennsylvania Pharmacies

ACME - Lawrence Park Shopping Center - Delaware County

The ACME Sav-On Pharmacy in the Lawrence Park Shopping Center in Broomall. (Photo courtesy ACME)

The country is the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. The CDC estimates 89 people die every day from an opioid-related overdose in the United States. Pennsylvania officials say that, in 2014, 2,400 people were killed by drug overdoses. Heroin and opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the state.

Amazingly, there is a drug — Naloxone, commonly known by the brand name NARCAN — that can immediately reverse an overdose by reversing the depression opioids cause in the central nervous and respiratory systems. Research has shown that availability of naloxone does not encourage people to use opiates more.  Read more »

Sixers Mailbag #20: What To Do With the Miami And OKC Picks?

Saint Joseph's forward DeAndre Bembry could be an option for the Sixers with one of their two late first round draft picks | Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Saint Joseph’s forward DeAndre Bembry could be an option for the Sixers with one of their two late first round draft picks | Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

This week we continue our 76ers mailbag series, where we discuss some of the pressing topics around the team.

In the 20th edition of our Sixers mailbag we discuss what to do in June’s NBA draft, and specifically what to do with the Miami pick (24th) and the Oklahoma City pick (26th). We also get into the Kings trade, Sam Hinkie‘s legacy, Brett Brown‘s job security, and more.

Read more »

Attack Ads Already Flying in Hotly Contested Pennsylvania Senate Race

McGinty / Toomey attack ads

It’s been just a week since the Pennsylvania primary election, but the general election is ramping into high gear — at least in the race for the state’s junior senate seat. Per the Associated Press, “tens of millions of dollars” are expected to be spent by outside groups in the race for the Pennsylvania Senate seat.

Katie McGinty, the Democratic establishment-backed candidate, easily bested Joe Sestak and John Fetterman for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey was unopposed in the Republican primary; he beat Sestak, 51-49 percent, in the 2010 Senate election. This race is also expected to be close.

The general election began even on primary election night, when Friends of Pat Toomey paid for a Snapchat filter attacking Katie McGinty at McGinty’s election-night party. Meanwhile, several outside groups have already begun airing attack ads.

The Club for Growth, a conservative group that pushes tax cuts and reduced government spending, is airing ads attacking McGinty. This one has been airing during Phillies games in the area. Toomey, a U.S. Congressman for three terms in the late ’90s and early 2000s, was president of the Club for Growth between 2005 and 2009.

McGinty has never held elected office. The ad, which helpfully notes it is an “actor portrayal” of McGinty, accuses her of funneling grants to her husband. The website Blue Nation Review calls the ad “sexist.”

McGinty’s camp has released a detailed response to the ad. The campaign says much of the work going to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (where Karl Hausker works as a consultant on several projects) began under Republican administrations. The campaign also says McGinty has never been a lobbyist, and that several newspaper editorials called the “largest tax increase” claim “deceptive.”

“McGinty’s fight for the middle class is resonating across the state and it’s no wonder that Pat Toomey’s allies are up with a baseless attack to distract from Toomey’s hurtful record against Pennsylvanians,” Sabrina Singh, McGinty’s communications director, said. “It is hard to take an ad like this seriously but what is serious is Pat Toomey’s commitment to putting Wall Street and special interests ahead of Pennsylvanians.”

Ah, yes, Wall Street. That’s the subject of an ad launched by the AFSCME PEOPLE Independent Expenditure, an arm of the union, against Toomey. It notes his long record as an investment banker and his support of loosening government restrictions that caused the financial crisis.

The Toomey camp responded with a long press release responding to the claims in the ad. The campaign says Toomey opposed the Wall Street bailout and has introduced legislation to end “too big to fail” banks. Toomey has also worked with Democratic senators to sponsor legislation ending subsidies for the sugar and corn industries, his campaign says.

“Pat Toomey is widely known for his longtime efforts to fight corporate cronyism and stop government handouts to special interest groups,” Toomey for Senate spokesman Ted Kwong said. “Katie McGinty has built her entire career on doing just the opposite, using her posts in government to enrich herself on corporate boards and her friends with taxpayer dollars.”

It’s only May. Get ready for more of this all the way to November.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.

Police: Snapchat Turned Into Sex With Student in Upper Dublin

Rose Limuli in a photo provided by the Upper Dublin Police Department in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Rose Limuli in a photo provided by the Upper Dublin Police Department in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

A 39-year-old English teacher at Upper Dublin High School in Montgomery County faces accusations that she had sex and other inappropriate contact with a male student at the school.

Lansdale’s Rose Limuli has been charged with 12 counts of institutional sexual assault. The student, an 18-year-old senior, gave a statement to detectives on April 18th, two weeks after the Upper Dublin School District first reported the allegations to police.  Read more »

This Philly Paramedic Is 3-D Printing His Bright Idea to Save Lives

illuminated-ladder-940x540

Bill Finegan’s bright idea was born from the darkest of tragedies.

The Philly Paramedic Lieutenant was in his first few years on the job on September 19, 1994, working as a paramedic. That night there was no moon, Finegan recalls, and the air was still and choked with humidity. At around five in the morning, his unit got the call.

A fire was ravaging a row home on Catharine Street. Flames licked all three stories but what Finegan saw immediately when he pulled up was smoke. Pluming columns of it spilled out the windows and settled at the base of the house like a moat.

He would research it later. The smoke refused to rise because of a weather condition called “thermal inversion.” But at the time, all he knew knew about the situation was that he could barely see a thing.

Finegan and his team started treating the women and children who had escaped from the house. Kids had jumped out of windows. Mothers had thrown babies down to relatives with outstretched arms. A handful of people needed treatment for cardiac arrest and multiple fractures.

Once the fire was extinguished, the building cleared and the patients transported, the response team realized one person was unaccounted for, a toddler named Charmaine. They checked everywhere they could think of. With neighbors’ houses, cops, local ERs. They searched the building again and again and still no Charmaine.  Read more »

Philly Jesus Arrested at Apple Store

It may not be Holy Thursday, but Jesus got locked up today.

Michael Grant — aka Philly Jesus, the former heroin addict-turned-quasi-street preacher — frequently checks his email and Twitter at the Apple Store on Walnut Street.

Philly Jesus has been a constant presence in Center City for more than two years now. He shows up at city events, walks the streets during the workday — usually while carrying a cross. He brought that cross in with him at the Apple Store today, which may have been what caused all the trouble. Read more »

Philly Cyclist’s Petition Against Parking in Bike Lanes Racks Up Nearly 1,000 Signatures

Photo | Travis Arterburn's Change.org petition.

Photo | Travis Arterburn’s Change.org petition.

Can’t we all just get along? Can’t cars and bicycles maintain a symbiotic relationship on Philly’s streets? Apparently not.

About a month ago, Travis Arterburn — who works for food delivery service Caviar — started a Change.org petition lobbying the city of Philadelphia to enforce laws that prohibit cars from parking in clearly marked bike lanes. Here’s Arterburn’s beef: On Sundays, cars routinely park in the bike lanes on Spruce, Pine and 13th streets — the only such lanes that cut through Center City — and he says the PPA and PPD have ignored the violations.

How could this be allowed? Well, several religious institutions in Center City — like churches and synagogues — have an informal agreement with the city that allows cars to use the right travel lanes as parking during services, and the deal predates the installation of the bike lanes.  Read more »

Jerry Sandusky Appears in Pa. Court to Appeal Conviction

AP_JERRY-SANDUSKY-940X540

Update, 4 p.m.: Jerry Sandusky attended Monday’s hearing wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, according to ABC News. As he entered the courthouse, Sandusky reportedly told reporters to “read what has been written,” and offered no other commentary on his chances for a new trial.

The presiding judge, John Cleland, questioned Sandusky’s attorney Al Lindsay as to whether there really is a strong enough argument for him to grant an evidentiary hearing almost four years after his client’s conviction.  Read more »

« Older Posts