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Richard Bensam

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The story in this article about the 18 year old on crutches made me feel sick to my stomach just now, and it happened twenty years ago.

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5 things I wish people understood about bias in American police departments.
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Richard Bensam

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"Travelers arriving at New York City’s airports in June 1975 were greeted with possibly the strangest object ever handed out at the portal to a great city: pamphlets with a hooded death’s head on the cover, warning them, 'Until things change, stay away from New York City if you possibly can.'"

The pamphlets were created by the New York City Police Benevolent Association, and tourists were being handed them by police officers.  This article explains how that happened.
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I lived it!  Well, you know, some of it.  I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the blackout happened, but I wasn't hanging out with Chris Stein and Debbie Harry or anything.

Richard Bensam

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In 1967 I stared at this page of the FAO Schwarz catalog until my eyes burned holes in it. See if you can guess why. 
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In retrospect, I'm kicking myself for not giving the Supersonic Gun more attention.  That Bird of Paradise is pretty sweet, too.

Richard Bensam

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Pretty much no one had seen a skateboard in Afghanistanso no one could tell young girls they weren't allowed to do it.
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Based on this leaked set photo, the next Superman film might be more interesting than I previously expected.
Explore bigbuddy1988's photos on Flickr. bigbuddy1988 has uploaded 1581 photos to Flickr.
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I'm sorry, I can't resist.

"Admiral, there be whales here!"
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This one goes out to +Dave Slusher.  He knows why.
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Brothers in ureter!

Richard Bensam

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As a public service, we present this reminder that the Benjamin Franklin quote “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” doesn't mean what people think it means.
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Spoiler: Franklin was basically writing in defense of government's right to tax the wealthy.

Richard Bensam

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"Some Republicans have countered that speed, not funding, might have been the primary factor in the deadly event."

And some Republicans also say "It's not guns or bullets that kill people, it's the hole left in the body by a projectile passing through it at high speed, so why don't those Spendocrats want to outlaw holes?  Also, we should cut public funding to hospitals because the market should decide who gets medical treatment.  Maybe the poor will finally learn to take responsibility for dodging bullets instead of being hit by them when they realize there's no government safety net waiting to remove the bullet and patch up the bullet holes in their bodies!  Hey wait, here's an idea: let's cut health spending AND privatize Amtrak!"
Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. said Amtrak shouldn't have to choose between safety equipment and bridges.
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Yes, in both cases the government has placed financial burdens on the service that are placed on no other government-subsidized program, and in both cases this was done deliberately to extinguish the service.  And as it happens my grandfather was a mailman, so I take that one every bit as personally.

Unfortunately for the Post Office, there are private companies already competing in the market.  Amtrak was created due to the collapse of privately-operated passenger rail companies, and if it died a new private rail operator would have to be created from scratch.  There are bright boys out there right now who have already incorporated with the plan of swooping in as a "white knight" to scoop up Amtrak's assets at fire sale prices -- or just have it handed to them for free, if the GOP had their druthers -- but history shows this is not a profitable business anywhere.  They would have a tough road to hoe and would still fail in the end.  And some southern Republican lawmakers would be the first to complain they were being screwed out of their railroads again...

Richard Bensam

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I drove a hundred rides for UberX to fact-check whether a middle-of-the-pack driver can make $90,000 a year. This is what I...
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Wow! I made more delivering pizzas 30 years ago.

Richard Bensam

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It was kind of a stressful weekend. After a week of watching our first and eldest cat get skinnier and more lethargic, Jen took him to the vet to find out he had advanced kidney failure. After spending a couple nights in emergency care, things are looking positive but also, unfortunately, expensive.

To help with some piling medical costs I'm going to be placing some older, original art on eBay this week starting with this Supergirl watercolor I unearthed from last year. More on the way as I find stuff!
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Amtrak was set up to fail from the start by none other than Richard Nixon, but instead somehow it's managed to hang on all this time. Even so, for an Amtrak fan, this is an incredibly depressing article.  
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As someone who's ridden the Shinkansen in Japan, our rail system is abysmal.  I'd love to use it but the one time I even considered it, the ticket seemed an absurdly high price.  It'd be great if our government could give it the tender, loving care it deserves, I would love to see it improve.
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Steve Jobs: a personal remembrance
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Military veterans: The real 1 percent?
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