Occupy Philly started their occupation of city hall yesterday. Anyone that’s bringing attention to the huge inequity in wealth distribution needs to be listened to.
I thought it amusing and ironic that right after I took that picture, I see a guy riding around in a rare Ford GT ($200k new) so close to where I see people sleeping in doorways.
10 years ago I decided I needed to go into work early; something seemed important. On 9/11, I was scheduled to fly to San Francisco in the afternoon, but went into the office to try and catch up on a couple of things (in those days you could get to the airport at the very last minute).
I was one of two people in the office at the time. I remember Annie, our office manager coming in and telling me about the first plane (some stupid recreational pilot I thought); and then listening to KYW News radio when the second plane hit (oh shit.)
The rest of the day is a blur to me. I remember not wanting to fly that day, as if that were going to be an option. I remember that the Internet was useless, and that our only visual line to the world was little black and white 13″ TV which didn’t have cable.
We stayed at work that day – not that much work was done. I specifically remember spending a lot of time with my co-workers in that conference room.
I kind of wished I had just walked out and planted myself in front of a TV all day. Even without doing that, the images are seared in my mind to this day.
And while that day feels like it was just yesterday, so much has passed, so many lives have been lost, and so many questions still remain, that it also feels like another lifetime.
What are your memories of that day?
I don’t like to write about the TSA controversy two weeks in a row, but the furor isn’t dying down. If anything, it’s only gotten greater as there have been stories of breast cancer survivors being asked to show their breast prosthetics, scans being leaked, and the TSA’s refusal to modify their screening procedures.
I have already come to terms with the fact that when I fly next, the agents will have to grope me. As a man, I guess it doesn’t have the same stigma. I have never been sexually assaulted; I don’t know the feeling of being leered at; I don’t have a disfiguring disease that makes me self-conscious – so I will give away the right that bars unreasonable search and seizure, not because I want to, but because it’s the best of two evils.
But let’s be clear – what the TSA is attempting to do is substitute technology for a lack of intelligence (in all senses of the word). Their agents are overworked, underpaid, and trained to follow written rules to find terrorists (as opposed to teaching them how to spot a terrorist). How about spending some of the hundreds of millions that we are spending on these machines, towards better pay and better training?
But all of this will make some people feel better about travelling, and I think that’s the real point, because the appearance of doing something is often better than doing something.
As the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) moves to more invasive forms of screening, they’re getting some push back from pilots, attendants, civil rights activists, and citizens. Some people are saying enough is enough, but once you’ve given away freedom for the promise of security, it’s hard to know where to stop.
I read a novel that described how a prostitute was “turned out”. A woman meets a great guy, until one day he gets into trouble and owes someone a great deal of money. In exchange for the money, that person is willing to accept sex. The great guy tells his girlfriend his predicament and she bails him out – just that one time. Once she has slept with one guy for money, she’s damaged goods, and she does it over and over again.
We’re that prostitute; the first time a traveller took off their Nikes so that they could be checked for a bomb, we proved that we were willing to sell ourselves for safety – and the government, like a pimp, keeps coming back to us for more. The day that a terrorist smuggles a bomb aboard by hiding it in his anus, we’ll be grabbing our ankles and they’ll be grabbing the lube. All in the name of safety.
There’s a great quote from Benjamin Franklin (actually there are a lot of great quotes from Benjamin Franklin):
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
So how far are you willing to go?
Tomorrow we get our chance to voice our displeasure with bad leadership. The expectation is that we will “run the bums out” it record numbers; it’s deserved. The performance of our leaders has been abysmal. But it’s not enough to just run the bastards out. We need to be careful about who we run in.
I cannot believe the candidates that have been run out there as serious candidates. And people are so anxious for change, they don’t even seem to care what the change to.
On the way home today I saw a Jon Runyan around the corner from my house. I live in Pennsylvania. Runyan is running in New Jersey. People aren’t even paying attention.
For all of the reasons there are to bring in some fresh blood, there are just as many reasons to be careful. There are some dangerous candidates out there. This Congress is the worse that we’ve ever seen – only to be surpassed by the next Congress.
Don’t run out the bums, only to replace them with newer bums.
Don’t vote based on your affinity for witches, football players, or attack ads, because you’re bound to be disappointed. Do your research; get out and vote on Tuesday, and only vote for the other guy if he’s in fact better.
This is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long time. How does a city allow something like this happen? 7 years of complaints, 87 dogs (including two dead), two cats, and a stench that caused even the most experienced PSPCA officers to leave the house for a break. How does this happen? One word: bureaucracy.
The story about 739 Earp St. on Philadelphia Weekly is pretty amazing. This one article convinced me that I should stay in the suburbs. The fact that these taxpayers complained to the city government, city council, the PSPCA, Licensing and Inspections – and were unable to get any of them to act until a false tip was called in, tells me all I need to know about my hometown.
One thing about living in my small town, just outside of Philly – if something is happening that I want to ask about, I can call or email my councilperson and expect a response. I don’t know how these people dealt with it for as long as they did. I would have gotten in trouble.
So for all of that, I’ll stay in the suburbs. Close enough to enjoy, but far enough away to comfortably ignore and remain blissful.
A few days ago I wrote about a historic building here in Conshohocken that a developer wants to tear down to make way for a bank. To follow-up there will be a zoning board hearing in a couple of weeks regarding the building at 528 Fayette St. The following is from Councilman Jason Salus’ website:
The Conshohocken Zoning Hearing Board will consider the applicant’s zoning requests at their meeting on Monday, February 15 at 7:00 PM at Conshohocken Borough Hall (720 Fayette Street). This is a continuation of a prior hearing and the record for the hearing is closed. The Chair of the Zoning Board will have the discretion to take public comment. I encourage all interested residents to attend.
I encourage you to attend and to forward this post to any Conshohocken resident or business owner.