…these so called ‘failing schools’ have all had rich histories, some of them close to a hundred years in the making, which involve themes ranging from migration and immigration, to musical creativity, to changing economies and neighborhoods, which live in the experience of alumni as well as documents the schools themselves have preserved. Closing the schools not only shatters the possibility of drawing upon that rich cultural capital, it sends a message to students that nothing in the past is that important, including their own families and cultural traditions, treating them as clay to be molded by people who see the past—at least for people like them—only as failure.
Thirty-two…countries receive more direct aid from the U.S. government than the city of Detroit. This is not to say that Iraq and Nigeria and Mexico don’t need…assistance or are undeserving of help from the United States. But when you look at the raw numbers, you start to wonder if *some* of that cash could be better served in Oakland and Baltimore instead of Karachi and Kabul.
art: photo of abandoned building (February 24 2013) in Detroit by J.D. Pooley
[Martin] O’Malley, who is fifty and handsome in a Kennedy sort of way, has made a career out of all the politician stuff, chomping his way up the political food chain like a man hungry for more than a deli sandwich. After serving as a Baltimore city councilman in the 1990s, he was elected mayor of Baltimore in 1999 and then governor of Maryland seven years later, where he’ll remain until 2015. Because of term limits, he can’t run again. Every pundit in America has predicted he’s going to run for president in 2016, and O’Malley has done everything he can to encourage that speculation, short of outright admitting it’s true.
'A drug arrest does not require anything other than getting out of your radio car and jacking people up against the side of the liquor store. The problem is that that cop that made that cheap drug arrest, he's going to get paid. He's going to get the hours of overtime for taking the drugs down to…[the evidence control unit]. He's going to get paid for processing the prisoner down at central booking. He's going to get paid for sitting back at his desk and writing the paperwork for a couple hours. Then the case is going to get called to court and a prosecutor's going to sign his overtime slip for two, three hours to show up for a case that's probably going to be stetted [dropped] because it's unconstitutional. And he's going to do that 40, 50, 60 times a month. So his base pay might end up being half of what he's actually paid as a police officer. Meanwhile…In Baltimore, the clearance rates—our percentage of arrests for felonies—for rape, murder, robbery, auto theft, for the things that make a city unlivable—are half of what they once were. Our drug arrest stats are twice what they once were. That makes a city unlivable. It creates a criminal atmosphere that has no deterrent. It makes a police department where nobody can solve a fucking crime.'
more, from David Simon of The Wire regarding a new documentary.
The only time I ever considered suicide was when, unexpectedly, mom informed me and baby bro Carlos that we were moving from Harlem to Baltimore. It was the summer of ’78, and I had just turned 16. We were transported by Greyhound bus to the sinister city where, I had read, a drunken Edgar Allan Poe died in the gutter and hophead Billie Holiday flopped.
more, from “Memoir of a Black Punk,” here.