Archive | Life in the Big City

Whirlpool program put washing machines in schools and made a huge difference in attendance


I’m not surprised. Lots of schools do this — if they can afford it:

When you think about kids in middle school who have attendance problems, it can be easy to blame the parents (or the kids themselves), shake your head, and throw up your hands at a problem that is too big to be fixable. But what if all some of these kids need are clean clothes to wear to school? Whirlpool has taken on what could be dismissed as a minor issue and seen tremendous results.

Last year the good people at Whirlpool created the Whirlpool Care Counts Program and donated seventeen pairs of washers and dryers to school districts in St. Louis and in Fairfield, California. The schools then invited kids with attendance problems to bring in their laundry to be cleaned while they were in class.

The results were astounding: over 90% of participating students increased their attendance that year, at-risk students attended almost two more weeks of school, and each student got approximately 50 loads of laundry done at school. This year, Whirlpool will expand the program to twenty more schools in five more districts.

When compared to factors like economic opportunity, unemployment, and institutional racism, laundry seems pretty inconsequential in the fight to keep kids in school. But while that might be the case for their parents, for a ten-year-old who already has the odds stacked against them, having nothing clean to wear to school could be the deciding factor in whether or not they want to face their classmates that day.

Compassion deficit

I went to the movies this weekend (Ghostbusters — I liked it, but not as much as I hoped I would). Anyway, I ordered a burger because I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, and stood off at a side counter to wait for it.

Meanwhile, a junkie who’s high as a kite is trying to decide what size popcorn to buy, and she’s got her kid with her — he’s maybe four or five years old. She’s speaking like a tape where they slowed it down, it sounded bizarre. Anyway, she finally gets her popcorn, pumps the bag chock full of the hot yellow grease that’s supposed to simulate butter, than grabs a big handful of the greasy mess and shoves it into the hands of the little kid. The kid looks baffled, and is trying to hold onto as much of the popcorn as he can.

Mother of the Year says, “Don’t lose any of that. You can’t be taking all of mine.” I don’t think she was kidding. I guess it’s a point in her favor that she was taking the kid to the movies.

I hate that I think of junkies as subhuman, but I kinda do. It makes me feel bad, but they’re like zombies who only approximate people. It’s why I hate drugs so much.

So sick of guns. Just sick of them.

I am so glad the Dems are going toe to toe with the NRA this year. When Erica Smegielski, daughter of the slain Sandy Hook principal, looked around the hall and said she wanted to be home watching the DNC on TV with her mother, that she would give up every day she had left for one more day with her mother — well, I about lost it. Because every damn day, someone in my city gets shot and killed, and it’s time we stopped it.

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.

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