It’s hard to put into words the feeling you get as you walk through Independence Mall in the heart of Philadelphia and reflect upon the fact that you’re not only walking past Ben Franklin’s grave, but also across the very ground that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and so many others once trod. All in the name of independence. It’s beyond breathtaking—no matter how many times you make the trek.
Right now, however, that hallowed ground holds even more meaning—particularly as 2012 marks the 225th anniversary of the US Constitution and celebratory exhibits fill the National Constitution Center, which sits just opposite Independence Hall where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were originally signed. Special exhibits in the Center currently include one with personal artifacts from The Boss, himself: “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land – The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen”. Independence Mall, however, is also where Occupy Philly is stationed. Still. And the significance is surely not lost on anyone.
Most people probably think Occupy Philly, along with all the other Occupiers, simply rolled up their sleeping bags and headed for working toilets at home. Sure, there’d be the die-hards whipping out their MSR Reactor Stove Systems for yet another ramen noodle-based dinner, but the rest of them? Gone, right?
Well, yes—but no.
Turns out the Occupiers don’t like freezing their tails off. Valley Forge this is not, after all. And so after moving to remote locales and continuing to stoke the fires of discontent, they’re back.
As with the pre-winter Occupy movement, it’s hard to find the bullseye issue—sure, it’s about corporate greed, corporate involvement in politics, the mortgage crisis and foreclosures, predatory lending, racial inequality, the economy, unemployment, disproportionate tax burdens—collectively summed up by the symbolic moniker of the masses: the 99%.
But any one of those issues could stand on its own as a cause celebre. And that’s been the challenge for the Occupy movement from the get-go—which issue is so central, so quintessential, that it could serve as the key rallying cry? It’s more or less the philosophical version of “jack of all trades, master of none”. And yet, in its ambiguity, there is indeed clarity—that something is very wrong in this country right now.
On the day that I visited Independence Mall (and Hall), there were only a few Occupiers out on the lawn—that’s them in the picture above (see more pics on our Facebook page). Their main focus: Wells-Fargo, the bank that’s surely seen its name in print a few times on LawyersandSettlements.com. Their primary beef: Wells-Fargo outpaces any other Philadelphia bank when it comes to foreclosures—this, after getting bailed out by the government to the tune of $25 billion.
The group, PHARE (Philadelphians Allied for a Responsible Economy) —from #OccupyPhilly—has flyers circulating that invite you to “Join us in taking Wells Fargo to Trial”: June 13, 2012 at 9:00 a.m., Municipal Court, 1301 Filbert Street” in Philly. If you’re in town, you might want to stop by.
So Occupy Philly is indeed back—along with the peonies and clematis. And much like those perennials, the movement appears ready to keep coming back. But after all, when freedom is calling, don’t we all come back to it?
Rhetorical question—but I’ve had enough of this media circus over the mishap fall-into-the-fountain moment of Cathy Cruz Marrero. So yes, I’m going to join right in.
From the video gone viral, Marrero is seen texting while exiting an anchor store in a Pennsylvania mall. She’s distracted, and falls into a fountain dead ahead of her. I didn’t count the seconds elapsed, but she gets out fairly quickly and walks away. It’s not like she was struggling too hard to get out—she even managed to snag her phone as she climbed out. No stooping over to rub her knees. No holding her head. No limping. Ok, maybe she was in shock and a tad bit embarrassed. But with the speed she was moving at, she kind of seemed…ok.
So she was caught on the security camera. And somehow the video clip got from mall security to the internet.
Should someone in security—assuming that’s how the video went public—be given a talking to? Yes. Should they even face possible termination (a report on wfmz.com says the security guard has already been canned)? Sure. For distributing the video. But a lawsuit? And one based on the fact that mall security did not come to Marrero’s aid? Seriously. And mind you, I count at least five or six other people on the video who were in striking distance of the fountain fall and could’ve taken notice or responded. They did not. Nice? No. Worthy of legal recourse? Uh, no.
Having said that, I’m predicting mall security will not come out of this one with a dismissal of charges.
Now, be that as it may,ABCnews reported earlier that Marrero had been charged in October, 2009 with allegedly using a co-worker’s credit cards to rack up charges to tune of $5,000 at such fine establishments as Zales and Target. Sentencing is expected at her next court appearance on April 21st (as reported in the Reading Eagle) and she’s looking at perhaps six months of house arrest and electronic monitoring.
It gets better. ABCnews goes on to share that, according to court documents, Marrero also has “Marrero has convictions for retail theft four times and one other theft in New York from 1997 to 1999 and retail theft in York County in 1999.”
“She also received 12 months of probation after being convicted of a hit-and-run charge in Berks County in 2009.”
Let me get this straight. She been charged most recently with five felony counts, including theft by deception and receiving stolen property. She’s been convicted four times for retail theft. She’s been convicted of another theft. And she’s been convicted of a hit-and-run.
Now, I know it’s innocent until proven guilty–but she’s been proven guilty of various charges several times already. And now she’s playing for public sympathy and some sort of revenge tactic against mall security? This is not some innocent middle-aged woman who’s had a terrible little mishap. And, note, I haven’t even touched on the fact that she, herself, was responsible for texting and walking simultaneously thereby reaping the wet rewards.
Please, this one is just another frivolous lawsuit in which no injury was truly done. What—Marrero’s reputation’s been wrecked? I think a pretty good rap sheet already achieved that, no? A bit of embarrassment? Hell yeah—that’s what happens when you do something stupid. In public.
And so now it’s another lawsuit that will clog up the media and clog up the courts—just as Marrero is about to pass through them again—as a defendant.
So everybody is up in arms over the Northwest Airlines flight that overshot Minneapolis airport last week because the pilots were busy with their laptops. Monday night Jay Leno had a field day, suggesting that when two guys are bored, what do they do for fun? Bring out the laptops and surf for…well, you know what comes next.
The pilots are suspended, as they should be. The public is outraged, as it should be. The outcome could have been far, far worse.
But let’s look at it another way. There were some things that went right. There was no alcohol abuse. And the pilots weren’t tired. There was a 17-hour break for the two men between flights, which means they were well rested.
Too many pilots because of fatigue, or illness have made too many deadly errors.
So let’s be thankful for that.
True, we should not allow the focus to be removed from two experienced pilots who should have known better. The New York Times reported October 27th that there were 31,000 hours of flying time between the two men. That kind of lapse in judgment, by two experienced pilots with the lives of 144 people (not to mention flight crew) in their control cannot be discounted. The New York Times quoted Robert Mann Jr., a veteran industry analyst, as saying the actions of Captain Timothy B. Cheney and First Officer Richard I. Cole, were “inexcusable.” Read the rest of this entry »
Important as it is for citizens to have legal recourse to sue in order to right a wrong, do you sometimes wonder if things are getting a bit out of hand?
Case in point: in 2002 a detective with the New York Police Department (NYPD) accidentally shot himself in the knees while sitting on a chair and trying to holster his revolver. The following year he retired on a three-quarters disability pension and is now employed as a court officer in South Carolina making $24,000 annually.
He also sued the City of New York and last November was awarded $4.5 million in damages by a jury.
For accidentally shooting himself in the knee. For that kind money maybe we should all do that.
Obviously, the former NYPD man found himself a talented lawyer who presumably argued that the revolver, issued by the department, was faulty. As the NYPD is an agent of the City, the Big Apple would be on the hook.
Keep in mind that if we are injured, or victimized in concert with a situation or event through no fault of our own, we should have the right to seek compensation.
Case in point: the scores of women who have unknowingly put themselves in harm’s way by simply subscribing to Yaz birth control. They believed Yaz (and Yasmin) to be a safe and effective oral contraceptive, only to find out the hard way about risks for life-threatening blood clots and thrombosis. Women—painfully young, healthy women—have died.
And then there are the thousands of California workers who are robbed of their right to claim, Read the rest of this entry »
Not long ago I had posted about the drug Reglan—the drug that has been associated with Tardive Dyskinesia—and the possibility of using marijuana for medicinal purposes to alleviate some of the symptoms of the disorder. There really isn’t much more than ancedotal evidence to support using marijuana for Tardive Dyskinesia–and regardless, as of late July there were only 13 states that have actually legalized the drug.
Just today, as a follow up, I thought I’d check out Urtak.com—a collaborative surveying site—to see what the pulse is on whether folks think marijuana should indeed be legalized.
The Court of Public Opinion has spoken. Well, at least 276 members of the public have answered the question on marijuana legalization over at Urtak. And if you’ve been following the issue in the media, you may not be totally surprised by the results—it is a fairly polarizing issue.
The results… Read the rest of this entry »