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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Justice for Sandra Bland!

Please join me in signing this!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Paying It Forward on Chelsea Manning's Birthday

The other weekend Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia, kindly lent me $15 so I could attend the program portion of their celebration, with the Freethought Society, of the tenth anniversary of the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision upholding evidence-based science education. He told me I should pay it forward by giving to a worthy cause when I could afford to. Today is payday, and an email yesterday informed me that whistle-blower Pvt. Chelsea Manning's birthday is today, mentioning a contribution to her defense fund as a present she would like. So, I just donated $15 to it through www.chelseamanning.org. Happy birthday, Chelsea!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Calling Out Gender Bias in the Philadelphia Public Record

I sent the message copied below yesterday in response to this column on page 11 of last week's issue: 


Monday, December 07, 2015

Katie Scrivner should prepare to run for Attorney General.

This morning I put a letter in the mail to Katie Scrivner, in care of her law offices, encouraging her to consider running for Pennsylvania Attorney General in the event the current AG, Kathleen Kane, who is working under a legal and ethical cloud with a suspended law license, is removed from office or resigns.

Scrivner practices family law, and previously was an assistant DA specializing in prosecuting crimes against children. In 2013 she ran for local judicial office, and I heard her address the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club. I was first of all impressed by her sincerity: she seemed to be speaking from the heart, not giving a canned speech like the other candidates. Then, during Q&A, someone asked what assurances she might give that, as a former prosecutor, she wouldn't be biased against defendants. She responded by relating how, when she was an ADA, she'd been assigned to a statutory rape case involving an adult male and a minor female. After investigating it, she became convinced that the relationship had been consensual, and urged her superiors to drop the case. This impressed me with her fair-mindedness. I was subsequently disappointed to learn she'd dropped out of the race, as I'd been eager to volunteer for her.

Although Kane is still in office, in my letter I urged Scrivner to start exploring a possible candidacy now, so that she'll be prepared when the time comes to launch it.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Rosemary's Baby

This morning I did my fourth volunteer shift as a patient escort at Planned Parenthood downtown. Like last time, no protesters showed up, so we volunteers hung out in the little courtyard between the gate and the door. But since today had been billed as a National Solidarity Day in response to the recent shootings, a group showed up with a sign of support and homemade cookies for the volunteers. The chocolate chip cookies tasted unusual and I was told they were made with rosemary.

This group had come on a few previous occasions, women dressed up like '50s housewives and calling themselves the Baby Parts Bake Sale. One of them had been seen giving cupcakes shaped like baby parts to one of the protest leaders.