obligatory obscure reference

self-deprecating yet still self-promotional witty comment


“Broken Windows” theory of crime has merit

Filed under: , The Future Of,Pittsburgh,Politics — jet @ 17:18

Perhaps folks in local government can learn something from the success in Boston?


Researchers, working with police, identified 34 crime hot spots. In half of them, authorities set to work – clearing trash from the sidewalks, fixing street lights, and sending loiterers scurrying. Abandoned buildings were secured, businesses forced to meet code, and more arrests made for misdemeanors. Mental health services and homeless aid referrals expanded.

In the remaining hot spots, normal policing and services continued.

Then researchers from Harvard and Suffolk University sat back and watched, meticulously recording criminal incidents in each of the hot spots.

The results, just now circulating in law enforcement circles, are striking: A 20 percent plunge in calls to police from the parts of town that received extra attention. It is seen as strong scientific evidence that the long-debated “bro ken windows” theory really works – that disorderly conditions breed bad behavior, and that fixing them can help prevent crime.


[tags]crime, pittsburgh[/tags]


Attention Pittsburgh Broadcast Media!

Filed under: Pittsburgh,Politics,Rants — jet @ 12:44

Given the number of negative attack ads running on the TV and radio, I find myself unable to watch your channel or listen to your station. Between now and the day after the election, I will only be watching national news that I’ve recorded on my TiVo DVR, and even those shows I will not be watching those in real-time.

This is something you, the local media, have a say in. You are able to refuse ads, so why not set some civil standards? Only accept ads paid for by the candidates and only those ads that spend at least 3/4 of their time talking about the candidate and not the opponent. Or only accept ads aren’t currently debunked by factcheck.org.

But you, the local media, have decided to take every dollar and any ad that comes along. I find myself regularly turning off KQV as soon as an attack ad starts and listening to NPR or a CD. Soon, I’ll stop turning in to KQV all-together and spend a few minutes looking at the traffic online before I leave the house rather than waiting for a traffic report on the radio.

Same goes for local TV stations — why should I wade through repeated attack ads that insult my intelligence and damage the democratic process on local TV when I can tune to an international news channel or go to my computer and get the news and weather there?

You need to have viewers and listeners to justify your ad rates, and to get us, you need to broadcast content we want. I don’t mind ads for things I might want, but ads that make me angry also make me change to another station, CDs, or the Internet.

[tags]media, pittsburgh, politics,[/tags]


Google’s Street View and Paranoid Movie Plots

Filed under: Hacking,Pittsburgh,Politics — jet @ 10:02

I wish this were in The Onion and not the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A national children’s advocacy group is pushing to get Pittsburgh removed from the Street View of Google’s map search until the technology is refined so pedophiles can’t use it to pinpoint children’s homes, schools and playgrounds.

Street View, an addition to Google Maps that uses vehicle cameras to take 360-degree, street-level views of neighborhoods, allows users to virtually cruise down a street and across a city. In the process, the tool shows pictures of children, toys and family cars that could tip a would-be predator to an area where children could be found and potentially victimized, according to the group, Stop Internet Predators.

OMFG! I bet you could use Street View to find cars to steal! Or burglars could find houses with plate glass front windows surrounded by bushes that are easy to break into! Rapists could find bushes to hide in!

I mean, it’s not like people can drive around neighborhoods and find those things in real time, is it?

Sadly, this ignorance about crime is nothing new.

Quintilian, INSTITUTIO ORATORIA, II, xvi (first century AD):

“Doctors have been caught using poisons, and those who falsely assume the
name of philosopher have occasionally been detected in the gravest crimes.
Let us give up eating, it often makes us ill; let us never go inside
houses, for sometimes they collapse on their occupants; let never a sword
be forged for a soldier, since it might be used by a robber.”

[tags]google, idiocy, privacy[/tags]


Attention PA Amateur Radio Operators

Filed under: Amateur Radio,Pittsburgh,Politics — jet @ 12:51

I don’t follow PA state politics closely to understand why this is a partisan issue, but the claim is that Democrats in the house are trying to kill a bill that reflects current federal law regarding antenna regulation by sending it off to a subcommittee.

This from the Atlantic Division Director, Bill Edgar, N3LLR:

Please see the attached document from Joe, N3TTE. They’re sample letters to be sent to your local rep as well as Rep Dwight Evans, the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. After speaking to my local representative his office suggested that all interested parties contact Representative Evans urging him to bring the bill out of Committee and up to the house for a full vote. AB3ER also called Rep. Evans office and the staffer there commented that the Appropriations Committed was being “used” to kill the bill. We need to look like an 800Lb Gorilla who votes coming at these representatives to keep the special interest (PA State Association of Township Supervisors) from killing this legislation.

The full email, along with sample letters is here. Take a minute and write/fax/call your local Representative and ask that this bill be brought out of committee.

[tags]amateur radio, antenna, pennsylvania[/tags]


Am I the Only Person Embarrassed by This?

Filed under: , The Future Of,Pittsburgh,Politics,Rants — jet @ 14:56

So, yet another day where the single-party government’s fight over how many people should get free cars and how high the reimbursement cap for private use vehicles is front page news.

This is completely embarrassing.

Imagine, if you will, that a rich pal of mine is visiting from the San Francisco Bay Area this week scouting out potential business locations or startups to fund. They pick up the paper a few times while they’re here and they see the continual “battle” played out on the front page between the Mayor’s office and Council over use of city vehicles and high reimbursement caps and they ask me for some background.

What do I tell my pal? That things are so f-ing great here, that our roads are in such good shape, we have such good public transportation, the schools are so well run, and that the crime rate is so low that the only thing council has on their agenda is finishing off a few minor budget items? Or that years of single-party rule have created a government so inefficient and unconcerned with the City of Pittsburgh that feel the best use of their time is a long, public debate about how many city employees get free cars and how many hundreds of dollars a month they can be reimbursed for private use of vehicles?

No number of boards or committees or projects or events designed to convince business to move here can make up for our elected officials acting like petty children in public. Between this, the no-bids process for putting up signs, and giving the poor, penniless Steelers a few million to build new facilities while they pay Big Ben over a hundred million I’m beginning to see why Pittsburgh might have a problem attracting new businesses.

[tags]pittsburgh, rants[/tags]

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