PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- The Philadelphia Citizens Crime Commission, with the help of a Philadelphia blogger, have launched a reward fund for information leading to Latoyia Figueroa, a 24-year-old pregnant mother of one who has been missing since July 18.
Figueroa went to a doctor's appointment with a male friend on that afternoon, police said, but did not show up to retrieve her 7-year-old daughter from day care later that day.
Stephanie Stephenson, a relative who raised Figueroa after her mother was killed when she was a toddler, told CNN that Figueroa, five months pregnant, left the friend's house in west Philadelphia "and disappeared."
Richard Blair of Philadelphia has launched a drive for the reward fund through his blog, allspinzone.com.
"The Citizens Crime Commission does not have a way to make a donation online so we've taken up that task," he said.
Blair said he has been covering this story on his site because he does not think it has gotten the publicity it deserves.
"I just didn't feel that this story had been given any publicity -- young, black woman out of the ghetto. ... I want them to know that there's people out there thinking about them," he said.
Blair said he hopes fellow bloggers will not see this as a political issue, but will come together to increase publicity and donate to the reward fund.
"In a situation like this where you have a network of blogs working together, there's not politics to this story. This could happen to anyone of us," he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Philadelphia Southwest detective division at 215-686-3183.
James "Scotty" Doohan died Wednesday at the age of 85 at his home in Los Angeles from pneumonia and Alzheimers. CNN reports that Doohan will be cremated and a small amount of his ashes will be sent into space by Space Services, Inc later this year.
Speaking from an entirely selfish point of view, this strikes me as fitting given his role on the Star Trek television series and movies. I know it's important to separate the actor playing the role from the character, but Scotty was always my favorite Star Trek character. When I was a little kid watching reruns, it was always Scotty who would save the day by slaving away in the background, hooking up the framistat or getting those warp engines on-line just in time to save the day. Anyone could swagger around and throw a few punches like Captain Kirk but Scotty was the guy with the know how. Scotty was the guy who knew how to pull a rabbit out of his hat and make it look like you had been sweating it out for no reason at all. As you go through life, those are the people you want around you; the folks who know where all the nuts and bolts go. They allow the rest of us to live just a little more at ease.
Our street during a thunderstorm on June 30th, 2005.
The owners of six homes in our neighborhood made it to the City Council meeting Tuesday the 5th to discuss the aforementioned flooding that occurs whenever we get a heavy downpour. The ring leader of our rag-tag group had spoken with our councilman before the meeting and they devised a plan for an engineering contractor to come out and put a camera into the sewers to see if there any blockages. We have seen the creek our rain water empties into and the pipe appears to be working very well. It just is not big enough to handle the volume of water we are putting into it.
Council was very polite and accomodating but they seemed irked by the time the fourth neighbor took the microphone and implored them not to resurface our road without fixing the problem. After all, if the solution requires digging up the street it doesn't make a lot of sense to lay down a few inches of fresh, new blacktop first.
Both The Vindicator and the Tribune-Chronicle had stories on the issue the next day in their papers. I would link to them but the Tribune doesn't seem to have and on-line archive and The Vindicator requires a paid subscription to view past materials, which means that even though I already subscribe to it for home delivery I can't see on-line content without paying again. This is the management mentality that has forced their staff to be on strike for the past 8 months.
Two councilmen made a visit to the area and examined the problem firsthand, which was nice. Our neighbors walked them through the problem and I provided photographs to council so they could see the problem as we do. There is another meeting next Tuesday so hopefully we will get some discussion toward a solution.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the news out of Washington D.C. lately probably needs a bottle of Rolaids to stomach it. Both parties are tripping over themselves to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day-O'Connor. This promises to be a dreary, tiresome debacle since the Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on what makes a good justice. On any given day members of the Senate complain about "activist judges" or proclaim the professionalism of the high court. It all depends on where those nine people come down on an issue.
In the meantime, people like the residents of New London, Connecticut will watch as local municipalities fall all over themselves grabbing land through the eminent domain ruling for big business under the guise of revitalization. After all, if you believe the special interest groups, there are only three or four really big issues we all care about so let's make an important decision like who gets nominated to the Supreme Court based on where they stand on abortion and forget about unimportant issues like property rights.
What the current government seems to have lost is any sense of what it's like to accomplish things that help people. Congress just voted themselves a $3100.00 pay raise but Tom DeLay (R) says it's not really a raise. He says "It's an adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power." No kidding, Tom. Remember when the minimum wage increase was killed earlier this year? Those Americans making the least amount of money allowed by law were going to use the increase as an adjustment so that they didn't lose their purchasing power. After all, minimum wage workers haven't seen an increase since September 1st, 1997. The price of gas and milk have gone up but apparently Tom DeLay and his cohorts think the purchasing power of $5.15 an hour is still sufficient to raise a family.
The Congressional pay raise and the upcoming fight over Supreme Court Justice nominees are just symbols of what is wrong with our legislative branch. At my company, we just get things done regardless of who we have to work with and what we have to do. You see, we understand that we do not have the luxury of drawing lines in the sand and stopping work until we get our way. We compromise, talk together and work to accomplish the goal of staying in business. Congress could learn a thing or two about work in the real world. Real leaders get the job done no matter what obstacles stand in their way.
Flooding in the Meadowland Dr. neighborhood in the City of Hubbard remains an issue two years after the heavy rains of July 2003. During that rainstorm dozens of homeowners in the Meadowland Dr./Falcon/Dorchester area saw several inches of water enter their basements through drains because of inadequate drainage capacity. The author of this blog watched as the street in front of his house became impassable (see photo) due to high water. Water levels at the inadequately drained Meadowland Dr./ Falcon intersection rose up our inclined driveway and into our garage to a level of three inches, requiring sandbagging at the entrance to our family room.
The picture accompanying this article was taken at the intersection of Meadowland and Falcon as someone attempted to drive through the rising water. After speaking with long time residents of the neighborhood, it is the opinion of this author that the flooding is being caused by the development of Creekside, a street three blocks south of Meadowland Drive. Development in this more elevated location has caused more rainwater runoff on paved roads in an area where water used to collect in wooded areas. This water runs downhill on Creekside to the intersection of Falcon which carries it to the intersection of Meadowland Dr. and Falcon. Once there the water enters two storm drains that were never improved when Creekside was developed. This extra runoff is beyond the capacity of the current sewer system to handle and flooding occurs.
After the flooding in July 2003 the City of Hubbard inspected the drains and removed debris in an effort to alleviate the problem. However, recent storms produced more flooding and the solution was found to be inadequate by the residents of the area. City Council has again been contacted and asked to bring the issue up for discussion at the city coucil meeting on Tuesday July 5th. I will post an update after the meeting.
Molly Ivins is one of the most insightful political writers you will ever have the opportunity to read. Everyone, on both the left and the right, should be reading her column. She takes complicated issues and shows you how they affect your life and usually what some snake of a politician is doing to help themselves instead of you.
In her column on June 28th, she tears into Karl Rove and other right wing hacks (like Rush Limbaugh) who so often play the dirty trick of telling you what "liberals" think and then spend the remainder of their air time telling you why their opinion is correct. Here is an excerpt:
"AUSTIN, Texas -- The first thing I ever learned about politics was never to let anyone else define what you believe, or what you are for or against. I think for myself.
I am not "you liberals" or "you people on the left who always ..." My name is Molly Ivins, and I can speak for myself, thank you. I don't need Rush Limbaugh or Karl Rove to tell me what I believe.
Setting up a straw man, calling it liberal and then knocking it down has become a favorite form of "argument" for those on the right. Make some ridiculous claim about what "liberals" think, and then demonstrate how silly it is. Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and many other right-wing ravers never seem to get tired of this old game. If I had a nickel for every idiotic thing I've ever heard those on the right claim "liberals" believe, I'd be richer than Bill Gates."
The link in the sidebar will take you to her most recent column at www.creators.com. I recommend that you give her five minutes of your time. You'll get much more back.
I don't understand what President Bush was talking about in his speech from Fort Bragg Tuesday. He was talking about the war in Iraq but he invoked the memory of September 11th 5 times and said the word "freedom" 21 times in 28 minutes. Ostensibly, the speech was supposed to shore up drooping public support for the war in Iraq but his argument had all the logic of "We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia". The main thrust of his speech seemed to be that we need to support the war in Iraq because it is another front in the war on terror. What was blatantly ignored was that Iraq had nothing to do with Islamic terrorism before we invaded it.
Iraq had no connection with al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden before Septemeber 11th. This fact was carefully researched and arrived at by the commission that investigated the attacks. Now President Bush states that "Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom." What I fail to grasp is why we allowed these terrorists to escape from Afghanistan and attack our forces in Iraq.
Al Qaeda, under the command of Osama bin Laden, was opertaing from Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban. The Taliban harbored foreign fighters as well as militant Islamisists from Pakistan. If we were truly interested in justice for those killed we would have invaded the country with the full force and might of the United States military and fought them there. We could have boxed them in and avenged those killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. At this point does anyone see the logic of allowing these hardcore fighters to escape Afghanistan just so we could fight them later in Iraq?
It is time for the President to be truthful about why we invaded Iraq. I am losing count of the reasons as time goes by. Was it the weapons of mass destruction we never found? Were we liberating the Iraqi people? Are we trying to spread democracy in the Middle East or are we trying to build a new government that will be an ally in the war on terror? Oh well. Maybe we'll get a better answer during the next speech.