Why Doesn’t Bill Cosby Just Say He Didn’t Do It?

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Bill Cosby at a recent Philadelphia appearance (left); Janice Dickinson | Shutterstock.com (right)

Last week, when I asked Bill Cosby if he had anything to say about the persistent and multiple sexual assault allegations against him, he smiled at me and whispered “no” in my ear. Then on Saturday, NPR’s Weekend Edition ran a new interview with Cosby, during which he refused to talk about the allegations, giving interviewer Scott Simon the silent treatment. But a lot has changed since then.

First, 66-year-old Woodstock resident Joan Tarshis came forward to accuse Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her two times in 1969, when she was a 19-year-old aspiring actress and he had just launched the immensely popular Bill Cosby Show on television.

Then, on Tuesday, former supermodel Janice Dicksinon — by far the most prominent of Cosby’s accusers — told Entertainment Tonight point blank: “I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me.”

Dickinson’s statement was quickly followed by Netflix’s announcement that Cosby’s comedy special, which was scheduled for release the day after Thanksgiving, would be postponed indefinitely, this coming not long after scheduled appearances on David Letterman and Queen Latifah’s television shows didn’t happen. And it sounds like Cosby’s long-planned return to prime time, courtesy of NBC, may be in jeopardy.

All of which makes me wonder: Why doesn’t Cosby just come out and say he didn’t do it?

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5 Ways Businesses Will Profit From Philly’s Coming Energy Boom

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Did you hear? An economic boom is quietly and slowly happening in Philadelphia.

“With little fanfare,” this report from last weekend says, “Philadelphia is undergoing a revolution powered by the U.S. energy renaissance. Renewed investment and activity in the region’s sprawling railway network and aging infrastructure is turning the City of Brotherly Love into a potential energy hub that some believe can rival Houston.”

Just this past month daily crude oil output in the U.S. topped 9 million barrels for the first time since March of 1986, and as Patrick Kerkstra wrote in this must-read Philly Mag piece: “The spoils of the Marcellus Shale gas fields will gush into the core of the city and its suburbs through broad new pipelines. Gargantuan processing facilities, built with billions of dollars of global capital, will rise like steel stalagmites along the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers. New factories — lured by the abundant low-cost energy the pipelines provide — will hire thousands of working-class residents to make plastic, steel, cement and countless consumer goods. Air pollution will increase, but so will the local GDP, as energy traders and executives fill up downtown office buildings.”

Our city happens to be in the right spot with the right infrastructure. We’re a hop and a larger skip away from the shale oil fields of Western Pennsylvania and North Dakota, respectively, and located smack in the middle of the populous and energy-hungry East Coast. There are thousands of acres of industrial space along both rivers just waiting to be built and re-built. There are huge refineries already in operation near the airport and in Marcus Hook and other refineries and holding facilities in Trainer and Hunting Park. We’ve got the right rail connections and large ports. We’ve even got Patti Labelle, and she’s a national treasure.

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Are Philly Liberals Ready for the Pope?

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As Philly this week celebrated the long-awaited news that Pope Francis will indeed be visiting us for next year’s World Meeting of Families, this Tweet came across the transom:

Well, goodness. That’s not fun to think about, is it? But that means it’s probably a question worth confronting: How should those of us who are feminist gay-loving liberals react to the forthcoming (temporary) takeover of our city by a church that doesn’t share our values?

My suggestion: Treat the event like it’s family coming for Thanksgiving. Smile! Try to be a good host! Avoid unnecessary arguments! And if you can’t do those things, well, remember: The guests will only be here a few days — and then they’ll leave. This too shall pass.

Having given that advice, though, I can’t bring myself — as a feminist gay-loving liberal — to get too worked up about the the World Meeting of Families and accompanying papal visit. It doesn’t mean my own values don’t matter to me (they do) but because this seems to be a unique moment in the church, and I’m eager to see it up close.

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An Open Letter to Whoopi Goldberg

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Dear Whoopi,

On Monday, you expressed confusion on The View about Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman‘s actions after her alleged rape at age 17: “Perhaps the police might have believed it. Or the hospital. Don’t you do a kit when you say someone has raped you?”

You weren’t strident, you weren’t defensive, you seemed — oddly enough — sincere. “I’m going to reserve my judgment because I have a lot of questions,” you said. I believe that you’re genuinely confused.

It’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that a person can do both horrible things and worthwhile things and occupy the same body. I remember writing a college admission essay about the fact that Charles Dickens, my favorite author, was a terrible husband. Could I separate art from artist? Should I?

Obviously, this is harder. The investment in believing Bill Cosby to be the genial standup comedian, philanthropist, father figure … it’s profound. For that man to also potentially be a sexual predator? All of us slide in and out of selfishness and generosity, kindness and crank. But this is another level. It’s Roman Polanski. Or Oscar Pistorius. Or Lance Armstrong. We are large, wrote Whitman. We contain multitudes. Not all of the multitudes are pretty.

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Five Things Philly Needs to Fix Before Pope Francis Gets Here

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It’s not every day that the pope puts Philadelphia on his itinerary.

In what seems like an epic win for a city that treats newscasters as A-listers and almost imploded when Miley Cyrus stumbled around for a couple of weeks, Pope Francis has officially confirmed his September 2015 trip, a three-day visit that coincides with the World Meeting of Families (I’ll assume the Weymouths’ invitation is in the mail).

Mayor Nutter has stated the obvious, calling preparations for the visit a “massive undertaking” that will require a “tremendous amount of coordination.”

Officials are all over the usual: coordinating security, transportation and hotel accommodations for an influx of tourists that could momentarily double the city’s population. Which is great, but I can’t help but wonder who — in the words of my Catholic grandmother — will be responsible for “covering up our sins.”

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Why Hunt for Deer When They’re Lying All Over the Road?

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Sunday, on our way home from a trip to upstate New York, my husband and I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts. When we came back out with our coffee, there was a car parked a few spaces down from ours. It had one of those little flatbed trailers attached to the back. And lying on the trailer were two dead deer, gutted and trussed for travel. They were having their picture taken by a passing mom and her 14-year-old son, who were carefully framing the shots on their cellphones.

I’m not sure why they bothered. It’s not like there’s a dearth of dead deer around these parts. On our trip to New York and back, I must have seen several hundred dead deer — lying beside the road, lying on the road, lying a hundred yards back from the road, with their little deer limbs twisted and contorted in a gymnast’s baedeker of positioning. There were deer on their backs, on their sides, on their bellies. There were deer who seemed to be sitting up, human-like, by the roadside, watching the passing cars patiently, unblinkingly.

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Nobody Cares That Penn State Got Railroaded by the NCAA

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The world no longer cares whether Penn State University was wronged by the NCAA when, two years ago, the organization imposed crippling sanctions on the Nittany Lions football program.

So what’s come to light this week — that not only did the NCAA bluff Penn State into accepting the sanctions, but the chief “independent” investigator PSU hired to sort out the Jerry Sandusky scandal at the school was actually in bed with the NCAA all along — is almost irrelevant.

Nobody’s talking about it. ESPN.com had the latter item on its home page Wednesday for a little while. By night fall, the item had been moved to the NCAA football page, and buried down the list of items; even below the blockbuster scoop that the University of Michigan president apologized to his lousy football coach for making harsh statements about his team being loaded with lousy students.

Here’s what most people are comfortable in believing: Penn State was a pompous institution that deserved to be sawed off by the NCAA because its glorious football program was harboring and protecting a valuable assistant coach who just happened to be a predator, all for the sake of winning football games.

And what a load of astonishing malarkey.

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Tom Wolf’s Honeymoon is Over

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Photo | Jeff Fusco

We’re barely a week past the election, and already it looks — sorry to say — like the honeymoon is over for Governor-elect Tom Wolf.

The first clue, assuming you want to skip past the fact that he was already going to be dealing with a Republican-controlled legislature, was when the Pennsylvania Senate Republicans dumped good ol’ Dom Pileggi as their leader this week and replaced him with the fierier, more conservative Jake Corman.

That would be enough, on its own, to make the state’s Democrats a little sick to their stomachs — worse yet is that Comran probably owes his ascendancy, in part, to Wolf’s election. “We don’t want a moderate majority leader who’s going to allow Wolf to get things done that are contrary to the overwhelming majority of our caucus,” an unnamed caucus member told The Patriot News.

So: Goodbye to any easy solutions on the Philly education front. Goodbye, most likely, to a bipartisan fracking tax. And goodbye, really, to any era of good feelings that might get the Wolf Administration off to an auspicious beginning.

That was just the start.

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