State Approves Plan to Place Cameras in Philly Taxis

A state review body on Thursday approved a city plan to install cameras in every single taxi cab operating in Philadelphia.

The plan, proposed by the Philadelphia Parking Authority, would affect 5,000 workers, medallion owners, and dispatchers. The system would let drivers hit a “panic” button to transmit live video to dispatchers and the PPA — a safety measure intended to deter a wave of violence against drivers.

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Interview: Why Philly Students Can’t Win on Standardized Tests

Broussard-Medrez0002Meredith Broussard, an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University’s school of media and communication, examines the performance of Philadelphia public school students in a new piece at TheAtlantic.com, “Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing.

The answer, it turns out, is somewhat simple: The same companies make textbooks and the standardized tests. But Philadelphia students largely don’t have access to the textbooks that form the basis of their tests. Shockingly, she reports, the district’s textbook budget for the recent school year was … zero dollars per student.

“I think that this project can help give us a way forward,” Broussard told Philly Mag this week.  “It can help us figure out exactly what kind of funding do we need, in order to achieve the goals of the system we put in place. And, if we can’t afford this system, then, well, we need to rethink how we’re implementing education.”

Some excerpts from the conversation:

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Christine O’Donnell Not a Witch, Nor a Fact-Checker

You remember Christine O’Donnell don’t you? She was the Tea Party candidate in Delaware, endorsed by Sarah Palin as she ran for Senate in 2010, but whose odd past forced her to start a campaign ad with the immortal words: “I’m not a witch. I’m you.”

She’s still around and kicking — most prominently, it seems, with a column in the conservative Washington Times newspaper. This week’s entry is fantastic — she opens it by disagreeing with Albert Einstein — then moves on to a familiar litany of complaints about the president. She includes this gem:

“We even let it go when our president held a campaign fundraiser in France on the Fourth of July. It’s an insignificant holiday for the international community. So wouldn’t it be more prudent to skip the ceremonies in order to strengthen his presidential campaign’s European outreach? (It physically hurts me to say that even sarcastically!)”

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Ryan Howard’s Run With the Phillies Might Soon Be Over

USATSI_Ryan-Howard-Eric-Hartline-USA-Today-Sports-Images-940x540

2008, when the Phillies won the World Series, now feels like a long time ago. 2006, when Ryan Howard won an MVP award, feels even longer. Certainly, Howard no longer seems to be the player he was then. He sat out Wednesday’s game, and team officials are now apparently considering eating his hefty contract and releasing the once-feared slugger. Read more »

Philly Nazi Suspect Is Dead

Nazi Investigation

A Philadelphia man accused of being an SS guard at Auschwitz in World War II has died, just as he was on the verge of being extradited on charges of “aiding and abetting murder in Germany.”

AP reports: “Johann Breyer died Tuesday night at a Philadelphia hospital, attorney Dennis Boyle said Wednesday, the same day that U.S. Magistrate Timothy Rice approved the extradition request.”

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