Apple (Yawn) Launched a New iPhone and a Watch Yesterday

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I find it difficult to get excited about new consumer technology these days. It may be a sign that I’m getting older or cheaper, or perhaps a bit more jaded about how much easier things need to be. I already blame my iPhone for my waning ability to remember things, and I hold Netflix responsible for how much time I spend sitting in one place on weekends: Binge sessions of House of Cards have become a priority in my home.

I also find it difficult to get excited about big Apple releases (like yesterday’s) because I’m not quite sure that Apple is at the forefront anymore.

When I heard about the iPhone 6 release, I wasn’t all that excited. In truth, I haven’t really been excited about Apple since Steve Jobs died in 2011. I’ve had the 4s for as long as its been out and it suits me just fine. I watched the release announcement yesterday, not because I wanted the phone, but because everyone else was — I thought perhaps I missed something.

What was missed yesterday was an opportunity, at least from a branding perspective.

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I Just Can’t Even With Jezebel Anymore

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I remember back in the olden days when I first met Jezebel, the distaff online blog of the mighty Gawker empire. It was like stumbling into the best party ever. The women who wrote for it — Anna Holmes, Anna North, Tracie Egan Morrissey, Moe Tkacik (who worked with me at Philly Mag for a while) — were like the coolest girls ever, except they weren’t mean to other girls, only to the rest of the world. I loved their writing, and I loved what they wrote about (even, a couple of times, when they were writing angry stuff about me). Jezebel felt like home in a way no other website I knew of did.

That was then. This is now — last Saturday, to be specific, when I clicked on a story on the site that was headlined, “Indiana Man Raped and Tortured His Wife Under Forced ‘Slave Contract.’” Who reads stories like that on a lovely weekend afternoon? The sort of people who love Law & Order: SVU, which would be me. My excuse is that I’m interested in the human mind and criminal behavior and emotions and love and hate. Anyway, the write-up, by Isha Aran, was pretty much what the headline described — just your average Midwestern rape-and-torture-ordeal tale. What got to me — what made me send myself an email with a link and the all-caps subject line PLEASE WRITE ABOUT THIS — were the comments following the piece. Read more »

Men Are (Still) Pigs

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Oh, that’s right: Men are pigs.

Forgive a little bit of gender-based self-loathing. (And please, denizens of the Men’s Rights Twittersphere, please spare me your inevitable cries of “misandry!” Your whining undermines your claims to machismo.) But the news has been replete with examples lately of why feminism exists — and is needed — and why we men still need a few lessons in how to treat all people with a little more respect.

Just to pluck two examples from our local headlines:

• Monday, of course, brought us the TMZ video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancée unconscious last winter at the Revel Casino.

• And last week we heard about the good ol’ boys in then-Attorney General Tom Corbett’s office trading dirty emails and creating enough of a frat house atmosphere that the office had to pay out a $15,000 settlement to a female agent who felt discriminated against because she wouldn’t play along. Corbett has said he found out about the emails only after he became governor.

But jeepers, what is this, 1960?

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Atlantic City Is Not a Happy Place

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

I live outside of Philadelphia, less than 75 minutes away from Atlantic City. But I haven’t visited Atlantic City in more than a decade. Why is this?

It takes less time to go there than New York or DC and other shore towns. There are beautiful hotels. There is no shortage of great entertainment. There are beaches and a boardwalk. It’s the ocean. It’s a resort. Yet … I just don’t go there. Over the years, whenever my wife and I want to take our kids to the shore we always ignore Atlantic City, opting instead for a day at Margate or to rent a house for a week in Ocean City. We are not alone. Most, if not all of my friends, neighbors, even clients are the same way. My mother, who used to go there at least monthly to gamble hasn’t been there in years. Why should she? There are plenty of other gambling alternatives right here in and around the city.

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Will President Obama Put American Soldiers in Iraq and Syria in Time?

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

When President Obama addresses the nation Wednesday night, on the event of the 13th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, the country faces its greatest threat from a terrorist organization since that fateful day.

After a long, sleepy summer of inaction by the President as ISIS grew and seized land, arms and treasure, the President finally does have a strategy and is ready to share it with the country. The President will look for national support in the face of his lowest approval numbers since he was first sworn in to office in 2008.

We should give it to him.

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Wait, People Are Still Victim Blaming Janay Rice?

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. on May 23rd, 2014.

In case you missed it, Janay Rice has already apologized.

At a May news conference, she sat next to her husband and said she regretted “the role that she played in that night” – that night being the one during which she was attacked in an elevator by a professional football player, knocked unconscious, and dragged away.

It was awkward then, when the simple assault charges against her had already been dropped and we only strongly suspected what the first half of that Revel Casino surveillance tape showed. Now that we know – now that we have seen what happened before Ray Rice dragged his then-fiancée’s body out of an elevator – do we really want her to explain herself again?

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In Praise of Mayor Nutter

Michael Nutter

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Mayor Nutter did a good thing this week.

Really. His decision to come to an accommodation with Councilman Jim Kenney on pot decriminalization will have widespread benefits in Philadelphia. It will save thousands of otherwise-law-abiding young men and women from an arrest record in their future. It might save some dough at the police department. And it’s probably good for his legacy: In 10 years, almost nobody will remember that he fought Kenney to nearly the last possible moment; they’ll just remember that he was the Philadelphia mayor who signed the decriminalization bill.

He even tweaked the bill in a way that improves it: By adding a $100 fine for smoking pot in public, Nutter moved to ensure that pot use will be a closed-doors activity rather than one for the street corners.  Nobody has to worry about young men smoking weed out in front of a grandmother’s stoop anymore.

Good job, Mayor Nutter! You’re going to get kudos and you deserve them!

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Twitter Fury! Chuck Todd Debuts on Meet The Press

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The Chuck Todd era on Meet The Press has officially begun. How did he do in the debut show? It really depends on who you ask.

First a little background. Meet The Press, a perennial Sunday morning ratings powerhouse with the late Tim Russert as its host, has fallen to third place. Deborah Turness, from ITV news in Great Britain, was brought in as the new president of NBC News. She fired David Gregory, replaced him with Chuck Todd and announced that she wanted the show to be “edgier.”

Conservatives, who consider the network political chief a liberal hack, immediately attacked the ascension of Chuck Todd on Twitter before he even got to sit in the chair:
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Everybody Hates Dilworth Park [UPDATED]

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UPDATE 9/9/2014: OK, OK. So not everybody hates Dilworth Park.

ORIGINAL:

Well, the redesign of City Hall’s Dilworth Plaza debuted last week as the $55 million Dilworth Park, with all of the political blowhard speeches, self-back patting and pompous fanfare that you’d imagine with such an event in Philadelphia. But make no mistake about it: Everybody hates Dilworth Park. Read more »

Pennsylvania Woman Going to Jail Over Abortion Pills

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

In cheery news from the western part of our great state, a 36-year-old mom has been sentenced to a year to 18 months in prison for providing her 16-year-old daughter with abortion pills she obtained illegally from Europe in an attempt to end the daughter’s unwanted pregnancy. The mom, who’s single, works as a nursing aide, and told the court there was no local abortion clinic available to her daughter (thanks, Governor Corbett), who had no health insurance (thanks again, Governor Corbett) to pay for an in-hospital abortion. The daughter ended up in the hospital anyway after the abortion pills induced severe cramping and bleeding.

What a happy little tale. Read more »

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