Archive | Life in the Big City

A ride on the subway with Bernie or Bust supporters



So the L.A. Times wrote what is, to me, basically an infomercial for junkies. Move to Philadelphia! The heroin is purer! Cheaper!

They left out the part about how many of the women end up giving blowjobs in trash-littered vacant lots in order to pay for their drugs, and are periodically targeted by serial killers. (We have another one right now.)

Occasionally, you even get to be famous when people post exciting videos:

So please, consider the glamorous life of being a Philly street addict. Even better, be one of the many addicts from Jersey who drive over and keep our local dealers in business, making the city a better place for us all!



I just love this story.

NBC10 reports a 28-year-old woman and a 46-year-man heard an unlocked sliding door open went to investigate. The couple found two men, who had broken into the apartment.

The woman attacked one of the suspects with a bag full of canned goods, while the man pushed the other suspect out of the house, according to Metro Philly.

The suspects fled the area.

Do expensive fines really stop speeding?

DC Metropolitan Police speeding ticket - 2014-09-14

We can’t realistically address this without talking about the fact that most municipalities ignore laws that forbid them from using traffic fines as a revenue stream. It has nothing to do with effectiveness:

Recently, the D.C. Department of Transportation proposed new fines for 20 traffic offenses, among them a fine of $1,000, up from $300, for speeding 25mph over the limit.

The proposed fines have generated a great amount of outrage among Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. residents who see the fines as an unfair way for the city to tax residents and commuters in order to raise revenue. Some residents also voiced their concerns about the difficulties the new fines would impose on lower income residents, for many of whom this could mean either paying the fine or paying for food and rent. The fines double after 30 days and could lead to the loss of a driver’s license.

According to the Department of Transportation, there is no evidence to show that fines reduce either speeding or accidents and deaths caused by speeding. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, whose authority has come into question over the issue, is proposing the higher fines as a part of her Vision Zero plan, which aims to bring the number of traffic fatalities and injuries down to zero by 2024.

Besides the $1,000 fine for driving 25mph over the limit, proposed new fines include $200 for rolling through a right turn on red, $100 for speeding near a senior or recreation center, and $500 for failure to yield to a bus re-entering traffic, among others.

Supporters of the proposed fines, including pedestrians, cyclists and city transportation officials, stand by the proposal as well as the controversial $1,000 fine, saying that driving 25mph over the limit is “unacceptable” and life-threatening, especially on neighborhood streets.

According to Maryland Criminal Attorney Koria Stanton, “It is important that drivers keep themselves informed about local laws, regulations, and fines. Being aware in such a way could help protect someone from an unpleasant situation with even more unpleasant consequences.”

Because of the amount of public outcry, city transportation officials have said that the proposal is likely to change, but is also likely to keep higher penalties included in order to discourage dangerous driving and speeding. The city will continue to works towards taking a more aggressive stance on speeding offenses.


TEDxPhiladelphia 2014: Chris Rabb

This is someone I know, a former co-worker I greatly respect, who’s running for state rep here in Philadelphia. Just out there asking for votes, talking to a potential voter and this happens:

An investigation is reportedly underway into the shooting death of a man who was speaking to a candidate running for the Pennsylvania State House in the Cedarbrook section of Philadelphia.

According to 6ABC, a 21-year-old man was shot and killed when he was talking to Christopher Rabb, who is a candidate on the ballot in the 200th District.

The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Sunday on the 1400 block of Vernon Road.

Just another Sunday afternoon here in Gun World.

Clinton and education reform

Teacher Ken at Daily Kos with a critical look at Clinton’s education positions:

Let me clear. I know Hillary Clinton is a very caring person. I believe her intentions about education are good, but more than a little misguided.

But that has been far too true of too many in the political world, who really do not understand education, and too often listen to people from business rather than to people who actually deal with education.

One of the people who is a strong supporter of Mrs. Clinton is Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who is also a close personal friend of mine. As Governor of Iowa he made sure there were NO graduation tests in Iowa public high schools. He was influenced in part by his wife, who before she became the state’s first lady was herself a teacher.

In the very first face to face conversation I had with Tom, I reminded him that a then-recent National Governors Association Meeting on education, each governor had brought a business man. He acknowledged that. I asked why each had not brought a teacher, or even a principal. He was surprised, but admitted he had never considered that.

I hope that when she becomes President, as I believe she will, Hillary Clinton will make sure that she includes the voices of teachers in (a) who she picks for Secretary of Education, (b) how her administration shapes it educational policy.

I know from others how good a listener Hillary Clinton can be.

I hope very much that she will apply that skill set and listen to different voices on education, because what I read in this interview with the editorial board was disappointing.

Not surprised

Love Park

Through the years, I’ve met and spoken to many people involved in working with the homeless. One of the things I was surprised to learn in those conversations is that there is a large cohort of hard-core homeless people who, while not necessarily mentally ill, simply want to stay on the streets. So it’s not always as simple as giving someone a place to live and assistance in getting on their feet. (The more recent influx of those lost to the recent Depression of ’08 are much more likely to take whatever help they can get.)

One of the reasons so many cities have tried to prevent feeding the homeless is because it’s a basic tenet of social work: Don’t make it easier to stay on the streets. It’s one of the ways they try to get people into shelters.

So this story does not surprise me. It’s all too common.

Another day in Chicago

Or almost any big city. Because it’s so extremely rare for cops to suffer consequences for their actions:

Chicago police accidentally killed a 55-year-old mother of five early Saturday when responding to a domestic disturbance, according to a police statement late Saturday.

“The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed,” the statement said. “The department extends it’s [sic] deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends.”

Bettie Jones was one of two victims killed by police in the incident. The other victim was Quintonio Legrier, 19, whose father lived in another unit in the building and reportedly called the police.

The shooting occurred at about 4.25am on Saturday when police were responding to a domestic disturbance call in the building where they live, according to police and family members.

“Upon arrival, officers were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals,” the Chicago police department said in a release.

The police dispatcher told officers that a “male caller said someone is threatening his life”.

“It’s also coming in as a domestic,” the dispatcher continued. “The 19-year-old son is banging on his bedroom door with a baseball bat.”

The police did not say whether any weapons had been recovered at the scene. They also did not specify how many officers were involved in the shooting.

“The officer(s) involved will be place on routine administrative duties for a period of 30 days,” police said.

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