While few people were looking, Philadelphia implemented a great new drug policy.

Last year, Philadelphia decided to start punishing the possession of under 30 grams of pot with a $25 ticket instead of an arrest.

Aw man! Come on, man. Aw man! Photo via iStock.


And there was much rejoicing.

This is how Philly celebrates. GIF from "Rocky"/United Artists.

But also, some questions. Particularly, would curbing arrests spur a rampant epidemic of victorious pot smokers flouting the law and taking their hobby onto the streets?

Would overburdened cops be unable to keep up with the incredible demand for tickets? Would the city descend into a drug-fueled chaos, its government buildings set ablaze, its streets patrolled by roving bands of weed-crazed cannibals?

Philadelphia, one possible outcome. GIF from "Mad Max: Fury Road"/Warner Bros.

Nope. So far, so good.

...according to Tricia L. Nadolny in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Not only are marijuana arrests way down, total run-ins between marijuana users and the law have dipped significantly.

"In the year since the law took effect, arrests have fallen nearly 75 percent.

But the police aren't making up for the drop by doling out tickets. Arrests and citations combined are still 42 percent below the total arrests made by the department in the same time last year, which some say signals a waning interest from the police in penalizing use of the drug."

Yup. Arrests are down. Tickets are down. The city is still standing. And all is well.

The Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, whose name is a bit of an over-promise, if you ask me. Photo by Tim Kiser/Wikimedia Commons.

Philadelphia appears to be another data point in a larger, growing trend of cities successfully lowering the temperature on the War on Drugs.

New York City began curbing arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana back in November 2014. Earlier this year, Gloucester, Massachusetts, launched a groundbreaking program that funnels addicted people into treatment, rather than prison — and the results are looking promising.

...which is good news, as the United States has the largest prison population in the world...

Photo by Dieter_G/Pixabay.

...and drug arrests have a lot to do with that. In 2012, drug crimes were the single highest arrest category in the United States, according to the FBI. Arresting fewer nonviolent drug users equals fewer people who really don't need to be in prison locked up.

It's also potentially good news for people of color, who routinely bear the burden of law enforcement's focus on petty crime.

In a study of traffic stops by 14 different police departments across four states, a blockbuster New York Times report from October 2015 found that black motorists were 1.5 to 5.2 times more likely to be searched for contraband during traffic stops — including drugs — than white motorists and were less likely to actually have it in all but one case.

Limiting marijuana arrests won't solve the problem, but turning police focus toward legit crime could help educe the number of such stops and prevent them from escalating.

There's still a long way to go, but Philadelphia deserves a lot of credit for taking a small, positive step forward.

...and my reaction to it can best be summed up in one word:

Photo by vic15/Flickr.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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