Get This: The Mob Is Involved in the Waste Business in Jersey

SCI dump

Image via the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The mob is involved in the waste business in New Jersey.

The mob and the garbage industry are a common trope in film and TV depictions, and with good reason: The mafia really has historically been involved in the waste business since the mid-20th century.

In some ways the reason is rather simple, as Michelle Tsai explained in Slate a few years ago: “Find a business that’s easy to enter and lucrative to control.” Garbage-haulers get big public contracts that aren’t going away, and compared to other ways of earning money it’s much easier. Organized crime has been in the garbage biz ever since cities started bidding trash collection out to private companies about 70 years ago.

The business has been corporatized in recent years, especially as governments have passed regulations for handling solid waste, but the mob still has its hands in the garbage business. And a report from the New jersey State Commission of Investigation says that New Jersey’s recycling business remains vulnerable to corruption because it’s relatively unregulated compared to the garbage business. Read more »

Wharton Prof: Trumpcare Could Mean Aromatherapy-Only Insurance

Huntsman Hall - Wharton School

Huntsman Hall, the main building of the Wharton School at 38th and Walnut Streets in West Philadelphia

A Wharton School health and management professor says that insurance plans that cover only aromatherapy could be the result of one of the proposed healthcare revamps currently under consideration by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Mark Pauly tells the New York Times that the proposals to strip Obamacare provisions that force insurance companies to cover certain essential health situations in their plans, combined with a tax credit to pay for insurance, could lead to a bunch of plans that don’t really cover much.

“If they’re going to offer a tax credit for people who are buying insurance, well, what is insurance?” he said. “You have to specify what’s included.” He told the paper insurance that covered only aromatherapy and not hospital care. Read more »

Remembering Dallas Green, First Phillies Manager to Win World Series

Dallas Green

AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy

Dallas Green — the brash, iconic manager of the 1980 Phillies team that won the World Series — has died. He was 82.

The Phillies announced the news on Wednesday night. They did not announce a cause of death, but the Inquirer reports he had been suffering from kidney disease.

Green was born in Newport, Del., and went to the University of Delaware. He debuted as a pitcher for the Phillies in 1960, and spent eight seasons in the majors as starter and reliever — most of them with the Phillies.

He took over for Danny Ozark near the end of the 1979 season. He was known as a screamer. Some of his players didn’t get along with him all the time. He told the press his primary goal was to become a general manager, but he accepted a reappointment as manager for the 1980 season.

“We hated him,” catcher Bob Boone said. “He was driving us crazy. I don’t know if it was a unique approach, but it was a relationship that worked.” Read more »

Casey: I’m Voting Against Gorsuch for Supreme Court

Sen. Bob Casey will not be voting for Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court, he announced today.

“I don’t believe that Judge Gorsuch, and his judicial approach, would ensure fairness for families in Pennsylvania, and I won’t support his nomination,” Casey told reporters on a conference call today.

The Senator also announced he will vote no on cloture — which means Gorsuch will need to meet a 60-vote threshold to be confirmed for the Supreme Court. Read more »

Who Paid to Get Us on National Geographic’s List of Best Spring Trips?

Great Barrier Reef / Fish Tank Guy

Photos: Great Barrier Reef by Richard Ling (license); Fish Tank Guy image via Google Street View

What do the Coral Sea, home of the Great Barrier Reef, and Philadelphia, home of the Fish Tank Guy on 5th Street, have in common? They’re both on this National Geographic list of Best Spring Trips for 2017.

Yes, Philadelphia and the Great Barrier Reef, together at last! National Geographic has a list of “some destinations that will help you welcome the season’s nicer weather,” and Philly is on there. Read more »

Gold Star Father Khizr Khan Endorses Joe Khan in D.A. Race

District Attorney Race, Philly D.A. race

L: Khizr Khan (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo) | R: Joe Khan courtesy of Khan’s campaign

You remember Khizr Khan – the Muslim American Gold Star father who was thrown into the national spotlight after his passionate anti-Donald Trump speech during the Democratic National Convention? The man who U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Tom Keefe nominated to run for the Virginia General Assembly?

Well, Khizr Khan just weighed in on the crowded race for Philly district attorney, and he’s throwing his support behind candidate Joe Khan (who happens to have the same last name as him).  Read more »

Republicans Push to Challenge Write-In Win in 197th

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

A special election to fill a seat in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday took a surprising turn: voters in the 197th District in North Philadelphia chose not to elect the sole candidate on the ballot – a Republican – in favor of a write-in candidate who is likely from the Democratic or Green Party.  Read more »

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