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Thursday, March 8, 2018

You can now buy a bobblehead of Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on his bike

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 12:09 PM

  • Photo courtesy of National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster bike bobblehead
In October 2017, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster tweeted out a picture of his beloved bike and informed his followers that it had been stolen. Pittsburgh social media exploded with calls for the thief to return Smith-Schuster’s bike, with the hashtag #TeamFindJujusBike. Fellow Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown even offered free tickets to a Steelers home game in exchange for the bike.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Democratic Socialists look to highlight Pittsburgh anti-abortion health-care centers as ‘fake clinics’

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 3:39 PM

Members of Pittsburgh's Democratic Socialists of America Socialist Feminist Committee - PHOTO COURTESY PITTSBURGH DSA
  • Photo courtesy Pittsburgh DSA
  • Members of Pittsburgh's Democratic Socialists of America Socialist Feminist Committee
The Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America say faith-based "crisis-pregnancy centers" are using false advertising, deception and intimidation to trick women into using their services. These medical clinics don’t provide comprehensive reproductive health care, like performing abortions, but offer other medical services. However, the DSA, a progressive political group, says the centers market themselves as places to learn about pregnancy and offer consultation on abortion decisions.

For this reason, a DSA committee has labeled them as “fake clinics” and have started a campaign called “Expose Fake Clinics PGH” to teach people about the seven crisis-pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the region.

“Time is essential when pregnant and seeking health care,” says Crystal Grabowski, chair of the DSA Socialist Feminist Committee. “We hope to reach as many people as possible, so they know how to identify these fake clinics.”

There are more than 2,500 CPCs across the country according to the DSA project. Considered outreach programs, many states, including Pennsylvania, provide government funds to CPCs. Facilities can receive state funding through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Many CPCs offer pregnancy tests, sonograms and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases, but don't offer abortions or referrals to facilities that can perform abortions. In addition, many CPCs do not provide accurate information on abortions, according to the DSA project. Some of these clinics take names like “Pregnancy Resource Centers” and appear in Google searches for “Abortions near me,” which can become a barrier for women looking for immediate information needed for a informed decision.

According to the DSA project, seven CPC networks are housed in Pittsburgh, including Women’s Choice Network, Choices Pregnancy Center and Cura Women’s Care Clinic. Many of these networks have multiple locations throughout the Pittsburgh region.

Amy Scheuring, executive director of Women’s Choice Network, says that all four of the Women’s Choice Network facilities are medical clinics facilitated by medical professionals and nurses providing service and accurate information to thousands of men and women each year.

“The term ‘crisis-pregnancy center’ is a term from out of the '80s used to describe centers that are not medical clinics,” says Scheuring. “There are many medical clinics that do not provide abortions, and they are not considered fake.”

The “Expose Fake Clinics PGH” website, which launched Feb. 25, offers clues to spot if a clinic is a CPC, like when the establishment requires an ultrasound prior to scheduling an abortion, or when the facility doesn’t offer prenatal care. The DSA project also offers information on the three clinics in the area that provide abortions: Planned Parenthood, Allegheny Reproductive Health Center and Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC.

This year, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that centers around CPCs. The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), a pro-life nonprofit, is the plaintiff in that case and is seeking to overturn California's Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act, which requires CPCs to provide women with accurate information about birth control and abortion. NIFLA claims the California law goes against its First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Grabowski, of the Pittsburgh DSA, says the group’s campaign gives pregnant women in the Pittsburgh region another tool to safeguard themselves against places which may not provide all the available health-care information.

“As a socialist feminist, we think abortion is health care,” Grabowski said. “We deserve to know and have accurate resources available.”

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Pittsburgh-based Peepshow is the sex podcast for life in 2018

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 6:34 PM

  • Image courtesy of Peepshow
Over the past year or so, Americans have continued to evolve on how they view sex, consent and sexual identity. A new Pittsburgh-based podcast called Peepshow, from PJ and Jessie Sage, seeks to address how that conversation has changed in such a short period.

For example, Ron Jeremy used to be everywhere. The pudgy, hirsute adult-film star was a ubiquitous presence in B-comedies, low-budget music videos and porn parodies for decades. The laughs were easy. Jeremy's appearance — speaking role or not — conveyed a simple shorthand for cartoonish and unself-conscious sleaze.

And while the appearances kept coming into the 2010s, at a certain point, the sensibility behind the cameos began to feel very old-fashioned. Sure, he's an atypical porn star in both physique and fame, but the laughs from those appearances felt less about him than about the porn industry in general. He doesn't take himself too seriously; he doesn't mind coming off as seedy. As a result, he worked as a fitting proxy for an audience that viewed sex work as inherently unserious and seedy.

But now that perspective is beginning to feel stale and stuffy, especially at a time when cultural mores surrounding sexuality are undergoing such a transformation. There's a palpable cultural push to be more accepting of different forms of sexual expression and identity; taboos surrounding sex work and pornography are being torn down; and most prominently, standards of consent, assault, abuse and rape are being challenged and re-thought. It appears Jeremy and the adult-film industry at large are beginning to feel those changes, too.

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Gone Fishin': Swissvale Fire Dept.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 9:41 AM

Dining room in the firehall - CP PHOTOS BY CELINE ROBERTS
  • CP photos by Celine Roberts
  • Dining room in the firehall
Dispatch No. 2 from City Paper''s exploration of area fish frys. Last week, I went to Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Polish Hill, and was disappointed in the sandwich but delighted by the sides. This week at the Swissvale Fire Department, I was hoping for a better fish-sammy experience.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

University of Pittsburgh grad students want a public-health building on campus renamed

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 5:40 PM

Parran Hall on the University of Pittsburgh campus - PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA USER PIOTRUS
  • Photo courtesy of Wikipedia user Piotrus
  • Parran Hall on the University of Pittsburgh campus
Former U.S. Surgeon General Thomas Parran was the first dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. That distinction granted Parran the distinction of having a building named for him: Parran Hall, which houses part of Pitt’s School of Public Health.

But a group of Pitt grad students wants to remind students and other Pittsburghers of Parran’s other memorable distinction, one of the more nefarious nature. While serving as surgeon general, Parran oversaw the Tuskegee and Guatemala syphilis experiments. The Tuskegee experiment enrolled hundreds of poor blacks from the rural American South, many of whom had syphilis, and left them untreated for decades to monitor their symptoms. Many participants were never informed they had syphilis.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pittsburgh official Twitter account retweets a user with title "WHITE NATIONALIST"; city says it was in error

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 5:11 PM

  • Image courtesy of Twitter
Sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., Pittsburgh's official Twitter account, @CityPGH, retweeted a tweet from an account named "WHITE NATIONALIST" in all caps. The user's handle is @FIGHT_4UR_RIGHT and the profile states, in all capital letters, "GLOBALISTS DESTROY BORDERS, LANGUAGE & CULTURE OF SOVEREIGN NATIONS. THEY WANNA DUMP TRUMP, HELP MUSLIMS & RULE THRU SHARIA LAW!"

The retweet in question was a reply to a video of actress Jennifer Lawrence saying "Hey Trump, fuck you," referring to President Donald Trump. The tweet from "WHITE NATIONALIST" stated "THAT PERSON IS THE ACTRESS, Jennifer Lawrence. I'M SURE HER PARENTS ARE VERY PROUD. ... #PENNSYLVANIA #PITTSBURG @dailypenn @PittsburghPG." Pittsburgh's official Twitter account was also tagged in this tweet.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Pittsburgh black elected officials say black-business community needs entrepreneurial reform

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 3:26 PM

From left to right: Ed Gainey, Daniel Lavelle, DeWitt Walton, Ricky Burgess and Jake Wheatley - PHOTO COURTESY OF PITTSBURGH BLACK ELECTED OFFICIALS COALITION
  • Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition
  • From left to right: Ed Gainey, Daniel Lavelle, DeWitt Walton, Ricky Burgess and Jake Wheatley
According to a 2017 report from the National Urban League, Pittsburgh ranks 65th in black-white income inequality for large metro communities. Within the city, predominantly black neighborhoods lack thriving business districts and other basic services found in other neighborhoods.

The Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition (PBEOC) is hoping to change that. Since its establishment two years ago, the PBEOC has embarked on collecting recommendations from the community, and throughout the process, an overwhelming majority of constituents called for business and organizational development reform as a top priority.

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CMU, Pitt and Duquesne University issue commitments to support peaceful protesting among current and prospective students

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 2:53 PM

CAPA students march through Downtown Pittsburgh. - CP PHOTO BY SABRINA BODON
  • CP photo by Sabrina Bodon
  • CAPA students march through Downtown Pittsburgh.
Update: Point Park University issued the following statement on student protests on Wednesday:

“Point Park University respects the rights of students to express their opinion on important issues related to violence in our society. During the admissions process, students are asked to disclose any disciplinary issues related to their time in high school. As part of the University’s one-on-one approach, we work to understand each student’s unique situation.”

For the past two weeks, high school students across the country have been staging walkouts in protest for gun reform, following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. Last week, students at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School (CAPA) left class and marched to Market Square Downtown for an hour-long protest and memorial for the 17 students and faculty who lost their lives in the shooting. But the next day, CAPA administrators confirmed that the students who participated in the walkout would face disciplinary action in form of a one-hour detention after school. (The detention was rescinded on Friday, with Principal Melissa Pearlman opting instead to hold small-group discussions called "restorative circles" for the participating students.)

This week, a growing number of high-profile colleges and universities made statements assuring prospective students who are taking part in peaceful protests that those actions would not affect the admission process. Earlier this week, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh issued similar commitments; Duquesne University issued one today.

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American Craft Spirits Association's Distillers Convention comes to Pittsburgh

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 11:04 AM

Listen up, boozehounds! This year, Pittsburgh has the honor of hosting the Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade show for the American Craft Spirits Association. This three-day event features speakers discussing business, sales and marketing and the more technical track of distilling; there will also be vendors from all over the country. The conference itself offers a deep dive into the industry, which means it's unlikely laypeople would want to attend for the nitty-gritty details. However, there are two public events for those who love a stiff drink.

On March 5, head to the Heinz History Center to clink glasses with fellow enthusiasts at The Pennsylvania Toast. Sample spirits made by more than a dozen Pennsylvania distilleries while wandering through the museum's new exhibit, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. It will be tasty and educational!

5:30 p.m. Mon., March 5
Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St., Strip District

Threadbare Cider House and Meadery will host a talk by conference keynote-speaker Fawn Weaver about Uncle Nearest, the African-American man and former slave who is credited with teaching Jack Daniel how to distill whiskey.

6 p.m. Mon., March 5
Threadbare Cider House and Meadery
1291 Spring Garden Ave., Spring Garden

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Gone Fishin': Immaculate Heart of Mary

Posted By on Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 5:25 PM

Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Polish Hill - CP PHOTOS BY CELINE ROBERTS
  • CP photos by Celine Roberts
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Polish Hill
While I don't participate in the religious aspects of Lent, I'm always psyched to join worshipers in church basements citywide to enjoy a fried-fish dinner. This season, I'll be hitting up one a week and reporting back details to help other enthusiasts fuel their quest for the perfect golden crust.

Today, I'm headed to what I consider the crown jewel of Pittsburgh churches, Immaculate Heart of Mary, which sits high atop Polish Hill. The massive cathedral, built 1904-1906, is a Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation historic landmark. Also, and most importantly, their pierogi are homemade, and the volunteers are very friendly.

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