Google begins rolling out free internet to public housing in Fiber cities
This is a big deal. I worked at the Philadelphia Housing Authority for years and talked to a lot of kids and adults about their desire to get online. Philly isn’t yet on Google’s Fiber expansion roadmap, but this is a great development.
Philly diner’s SCOTUS-inspired brunch menu following same-sex marriage ruling
Oh Philadelphia, how I miss you sometimes. Danya Henninger writes at Billy Penn:
Over the weekend, Sam’s Morning Glory Diner ran a pair of specials that sold out faster than any dish in the South Philly restaurant’s 17-year history. It wasn’t the ingredients that made them a hit — although they were reportedly delicious — it was their titles, which referenced the Supreme Court’s historic June 26 ruling that the right to same-sex marriage is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
I’m not going to tell you here, so go read Henninger’s article. The menu items are, appropriately, glorious. And the best part? The owner of the Morning Glory, who approved the names before they went on the menu, is a lawyer.
Philly will consider adding LGBTQ protections to hate crimes ordinance
Randy Lobasso, writing at Philly Weekly‘s PhillyNow blog:
Last week, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a proposal along with Councilman Jim Kenney to add disability, sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s ordinance. The proposal would add up to 90 days of jail time and a $2,000 fine if someone is convicted of hate crimes in addition to whatever other specific crime they’ve committed. It’s not much — but it’s something.
Lobasso’s piece is a great primer on the politics of bill passage, and he explains eloquently and with just the right amount of indignation why Pennsylvania has so far failed to address hate crimes, housing and other venues of discrimination with respect to the Commonwealth’s LGBTQ citizens. Go read it.
Philadelphia School District releases budget data
Public entities don’t often have the budget needed to attract top talent from the private sector. But exposing data to public manipulation and scrutiny, aside from fulfilling a duty of transparency too often ignored, allows anyone interested in displaying and improving their skills to bring their talents to bear on that data.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell: Philadelphia’s “Abortion” Monster
The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf quoting the grand jury report (PDF) on Philadelphia “abortion” monster Kermit Gosnell:
The Department of State, through its Board of Medicine, licenses and oversees individual physicians… Almost a decade ago, a former employee of Gosnell presented the Board of Medicine with a complaint that laid out the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedation; the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of tramadol pain pills with high resale value on the street. The department assigned an investigator, whose investigation consisted primarily of an offsite interview with Gosnell. The investigator never inspected the facility, questioned other employees, or reviewed any records. Department attorneys chose to accept this incomplete investigation, and dismissed the complaint as unconfirmed.
While it’s a loaded topic that deserves more space than I have time these days to give it, suffice it to say that I am against any outright ban on abortion. Note that I placed the word abortion in quotes because the late-term procedures Gosnell did were not what legally can be considered abotions under any current law or jurisprudence: they were murders.
Philadelphia councilman introduces bill aimed at improving health insurance prospects for life partners and transgendered people
This is an encouraging development. The bill introduced by Councilmen James Kenney and W. Wilson Goode would establish a:
6 percent tax credit for businesses that did not previously provide online pharmacy health care to transgendered employees or life partners[. This] is a key aspect of this bill and would be the first credit of its kind in America.
The ordinance would also require gender-neutral restrooms in city building and protect the right to dress as appropriate to one’s self-identified gender.
While the article also quotes law professor Kermit Roosevelt’s sense that the law may not survive if challenged in state court, it’s heartening to see my home city championing legislation to improve the resources available to LGBT employees. Even more heartening is the focus on transgender rights, which are often lost in the much louder debates about homosexuality.