Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
from the inbox:
Each year, the Philadelphia Flower Show (February 28 – March 8) attracts thousands of horticultural fans to the Pennsylvania Convention Center and SEPTA Regional Rail service. In anticipation of the increased ridership during the week of the Flower Show, SEPTA is asking its regular commuters to help welcome the new and infrequent riders.
“We want to remind our customers that there will be many new faces on regional rail trains,” Kim Heinle, SEPTA’s Assistant General Manager of Customer Service and Advocacy said. “Many of the show’s visitors are infrequent riders who may only take the train once a year or are taking it for the first time.”
Regular SEPTA commuters can welcome the new and infrequent riders by:
• Using overhead racks for large carry-on items
• Accommodating other customers that wish to use the middle seats
• Yielding priority seats to riders with disabilities and seniors
• Being courteous and patient with unfamiliar riders
The Quiet Ride Program will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the 2015 Flower Show beginning Saturday, February 28 and continuing through Sunday, March 8. Crews will be focused on safety, fare collection and announcements and will do their best to keep things from getting too noisy. SEPTA is asking regular riders to anticipate some conversation and commotion inside of the QuietRide Car during this heavy travel period.
SEPTA Ambassadors will also be out at Jefferson Station to greet and assist Flower Show visitors.
The 2015 ‘Celebrate the Movies –Lights, Camera, Bloom’ show will attract thousands of visitors. Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the annual Philadelphia Flower Show is the oldest and largest event of its kind. SEPTA’s Independence and Family Independence passes offer a convenient, economical way to travel into Center City for the show. Visitors can also purchase discounted admission tickets to the Flower Show at SEPTA sales offices, Regional Rail ticket offices and online at shop.septa.org.
A few days ago I got a phone call, one of those automated surveys. This one was odd because it was focused on my views of Wal-Mart's corporate citizenship. Did I think they were good corporate citizens? Did they pay their employees enough? And so on. Very strange. It could have been related to their recent announcement of salary increases but the announcement was just a few days after the call. They must have had the plan in place already.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
modified press release:
State Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., today announced the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted her H.R. 90, honoring the work and leadership of Frances P. Aulston of Philadelphia, during Black History Month.
Aulston is a former research librarian for the Free Library of Philadelphia who founded the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (WPCA) in 1984. Since its founding, the WPCA has worked with more than 80 organizations to promote the region’s cultural resources and support the professional development of local artists. Acosta also noted Aulston’s commitment to designating the home of civil rights scholar and activist Paul Leroy Robeson a historical place.
“I know one of Fran’s most proud accomplishments is helping to preserve Robeson’s last residence on Walnut Street for generations to come,” Acosta said. “Not only did the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission declare the Paul Robeson House a historical landmark, but the house has also been designated a National Historical Site in the National Register of Historic Places. None of this could have occurred without Fran’s tireless dedication to educating the public about this significant participant in the Civil Rights movement.”
From the inbox, a mass email note from Jared Solomon, who ran for the state house in the May primary:
I am treating my campaign as a pact with my community. We talked about improving the security in our region during my campaign. So we are partnering with a security firm that will work with local law enforcement to increase patrols in our neighborhood. In addition, we talked about increasing after school programming. So we are collaborating with a corporate sponsor and 'Legacy Tennis' to provide summer enrichment programs for kids. We talked about failing infrastructure. So we are creating a public-private partnership to revitalize our local recreation center. These are just some of the initiatives that I am working on.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
PennLive has a great article and charter on the connection between campaign donations and votes on charter school issues.
Take a look: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/02/following_the_money_that_has_a.html
Some things are just infuriating. For example, reading "Medtronic Avoids U.S. Taxes While Saddling Shareholders With a Hefty Tax Bill," by Rakesh Sharma on Philly.com on 1/28/15. The article starts with this:
$49.9 billion acquisition of Dublin-based Covidien -- the largest tax inversion deal ever -- will leave shareholders with a big tax bill, while allowing the Minnesota-based company to pay little or no U.S. taxes.
The Medtronic acquisition saddles shareholders with a gains tax accrued as part of the transaction. Under IRS rules, this is typical for inversion deals in which the acquiring company holds 50% or more of the shares of the acquired company. Medtronic reimbursed $63 million to senior executives last year to offset their tax liability as a result of the merger. However, individual shareholders did not receive the same courtesy.
Just truly annoying.
Monday, February 02, 2015
The Philadelphia College of Osteophathic Medicine has gone smoke free:
In Philadelphia, PCOM will be only the second college or university to implement such a policy. A tobacco-free policy is more comprehensive than a smoke-free policy in that it prohibits the use of all tobacco-related products. Those include cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, dip, snuff and electronic smoking devices.
Feb. 1 was chosen as the launch date for the policy as it coincides with the start of National Heart Month. Smoking significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease.I think this is an excellent idea. Should you need incentive to stop smoking, take a look at this photo of the father of the man who founded osteopathy. This is a scary looking guy. If he (or his son or a college based on a medical practice started by his son) tells you to do something you should probably do it or, coincidentally, something unfortunate might happen.
from the inbox:
The Jane household is an Angie's List household. We don't hire anyone for a home repair project without checking their recommendations on Angie's List and frequently use that website to find craftsmen to hire. The company sends out a short magazine to subscribers. This month's issue had an article on a predicted shortage of electricians. The same or a similar article was published on their website a few months ago. ("Shortage of electricians may cause homeowners to wait for service," by Paul F. P. Pogue). Home repair is something that can't be outsourced -- you can't mail your electrical system overseas to be fixed.
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Kristen A. Graham wrote an excellent article in today's Inquirer on school libraries and librarians (and the lack thereof) called Shelved. For a few years when my kids were in elementary school I would volunteer in the school library for an hour a week. The support staff person in the library didn't start work until an hour after school started. Most other days of the week a parent would come in and volunteer for that hour. I was impressed with the work the librarians did, not having given much thought about school libraries since I had been in school myself. They read to the younger kids, taught the older ones about plagiarism and copyright issues, research skills, evaluating sources, and things like Power Point. Students of all ages learned how to find books and how to evaluate them. I wasn't introduced to most of those items until college.
The parent volunteer worked the circulation desk, checking books in and out and shelving returned books. I got to know a lot of students that way. Once or twice a year a stack of bookmarks would appear and the kids would get very excited about them. I took a cue from this and would look for opportunities to make bookmarks for a kid's classroom. (One year one of the kids was in room 314 -- I made them special bookmarks for Pi Day). The teachers were always receptive to this.
School libraries can make a real difference in the life of the students. Look at any school or school system that is considered a "good school" and see if it has a school library with a certified librarian. I think any school you would want to send you child to is likely to have both.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The Pennsylvania State Senate introduced five new firearms bills in the past few days. I'm including just a few words on each, but this is my impression after skimming each bill. Interested readers are encouraged to review each bill for themselves to get a fuller understanding.
Senate Bill 98 focuses on penalties for carrying firearms on Philadelphia streets without a license. Introduced by FARNESE, HAYWOOD, TARTAGLIONE, HUGHES, LEACH AND KITCHEN,
Senate Bill 309 seems to be another pathway to thwarting straw purchases. Introduced by HUGHES, HAYWOOD AND FARNESE
Senate Bill 310 does something but I'm not sure what -- it refers to other sections of the law. Introduced by HUGHES, HAYWOOD AND FARNESE
Senate Bill 311 calls for people applying for a gun license to have completed a firearm safety course. Introduced by HUGHES, FARNESE, HAYWOOD AND WILLIAMS
Senate Bill 312 adds in several things. I couldn't follow all of them. Introduced by HUGHES, HAYWOOD, FONTANA AND FARNESE
Chris Cillizza, of the Washington Post's The Fix blog has issued his 2015 list of best state political reporters. Pennsylvania is well-represented. If you want to follow the state's political stories, the folks on that list and the ones to follow.
An assortment of media / literature notes:
Betsy Fisher Martin is joining More Magazine. I used to subscribe because there was usually at least one politically related article in each issue and then at some point it seemed to fall back into the standard fashion / makeup / relationship black hole that so many publications aimed at women inhabit. I let my subscription lapse. Martin, former "Meet the Press" executive producer is joining the magazine as the Washington editor. Her addition means More magazine is worth another look.
Patrick Murphy, who represented Pennsylvania's 8th district (primarily Bucks County) for two terms, has a regular show on veterans issues on MSNBC. On Sunday's show he had a strongly worded response to Michael Moore's comments on the "American Sniper" movie. (video via PoliticsPA)
Spider Robinson, one of my favorite science fiction writers, has been having a tough time lately. Every now and then I check his website for updates. He hasn't published a book in some years and has had health problems. His latest entry spells out some of the issues he's been dealing with later. Read this next time you think you are having a bad day.