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Archive for “Bad Government” news
All hail Presidents Day, known for automobile sales and bearable traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway. It’s not really a day for thinking about politics. Yet here’s what I was mulling over on Monday on my day off from work:
300 people showed up to traffic court yesterday to find basically nobody available to hear their cases. (You'll remember that 9 judges were indicted yesterday for fixing tickets.) Two randos were pulled in form the burbs to judge, but the Inquirer reports that some ticketees had a hard time taking their authority figures seriously. Said one guy, "Do they fix tickets? Who do I talk to?" Courtroom personnel, meanwhile, weren't amused: "They challenged the right of a reporter to observe or take notes, and threw out one man for laughing." Someone's a little touchy. [Inquirer]
That is so generous of you. Since Jan. 1, 2007, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, using your money, has spent $407,496 unnecessarily buying new cars for its commissioners. Of the five state commissioners, only poor Barry Schoch, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Transportation, doesn't get a free car. These aren't jalopies either. William Lieberman just got a $40,000 2013 Grand Cherokee to replace his broken-down old $38,448 2012 Grand Cherokee. The rest got Dodge Magnums and Ford Explorers.The state argues that "assigned vehicles are appropriate and necessary for the job," but the practice would seem to violate a 2007 law that held that no
In this economy, it takes balls to have balls. Even if you only have two.Two official presidential balls took place last night in our nation’s capital, part of the festivities surrounding President Obama’s second inauguration. Granted, that’s eight fewer Obama balls than were held the first time around, but still.
One hears the term "underfunded pension" thrown around quite frequently. And if you read Patrick Kerkstra's May piece on Philly's pension problem, you know the city's got one, with 34,966 city workers still collecting (often hefty) paychecks. But how much, exactly, is unfunded? According to a report released yesterday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, only 62% of Philadelphia's pensions were paid for, as of 2009. Among major cities, only Philly and Chicago ranked near the bottom of the list in two crucial categories: How much money the city has saved up, and how much it's collecting each year. [Daily News]
Hellish Kafkaesque bureaucracy meets "Office Space" revenge fantasy in the latest news to come out of the increasingly contentious battle for City Controller. Already, no fewer than four candidates appear to be challenging incumbent Alan Butkovitz, who himself is eyeing the mayor's seat in 2015. And that's not including "Anybody But Butkovitz," the favored Controller of one disgruntled Rafael "Ralph" Kaplan. Kaplan, 34, landed a "dream job" as an auditor last year under Butkovitz, but was fired after delivering an expletive-laden review of an apparently substandard seminar put on by the office. Now that he's gone, he's created "therealalanbutkovtiz.com
If Tahrir Square isn't humming already, it will be soon. Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, sentenced to life in prison last June for authorizing the killing of protestors in early 2011, had his conviction thrown out by a judge yesterday. Though it seems like an obvious setback for pro-democracy Egypt (Mubarak was one of only two ex-regime officials not acquitted for the Arab Spring killings two years ago), the prosecution was also calling for the verdict to be thrown out, in favor of a stronger ruling. [New York Times]
6ABC's David Henry looks into the much-delayed Delaware Valley Intelligence Center, a $20 million Homeland Security facility that's supposed to allow local, state, and federal agencies to share terrorism information more effectively — after it finishes warning us about candy-colored detergent packs:
When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed the UN via a satellite video call from the Ecuadorian embassy in London last week, his usual steadfast, cocky demeanor was conspicuously absent. His body language communicated a nervous—even fearful—man who, at some 659 days into his detention without a charge, looked like a third-grader making an unsteady stand against the sixth-grade bully. Calling the U.S. government a “a national regime of obfuscation,” Assange demanded that the Obama administration cease its dogged persecution of his organization and its supporters. Strong words from a visibly shaken man, but then, who wouldn’t be visibly shaken after being named an enemy of the state by the U.S. government?