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Power Rankings

Baltimore City Power Rankings

Photo: Illustrations by Alex Fine, License: N/A

Illustrations by Alex Fine


 

1 David Simon

Without a series currently on the air, The Wire creator seems to be doing his best work on his fantastically angry, pessimistic blog, the Audacity of Despair (davidsimon.com). Last week, he posted a typically long, brilliant post, “We are shocked, shocked. . .,” about the “faux-scandal” of NSA wiretapping (which, we should add, largely shared the views of Edward Ericson Jr., who posted his own thoughts, “The NSA and silly outrage about ‘phone data,’” at citypaper.com around the same time). Even more impressive than Simon’s essay, which was rooted in his work as a Sun reporter covering police wiretaps, were his thoughtful responses to almost all of the hundreds of comments on the piece. Don’t be surprised if his next series is about carpal tunnel syndrome.

2 Pride

A week before Baltimore Gay Pride festivities, Baltimore’s promosexual alternative weekly is (obviously) stoked for the proceedings, but a feud between the owners of Hippo and Grand Central on one side and City Cafe on the other threaten to dampen the spirits of our most deliciously debauched event. After City Cafe apparently complained about underage drinking and public urination to the neighborhood association, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore voluntarily curbed the Gay Pride Block Party—ending it an hour early and keeping it away from the front of City Cafe. Come on, just because gay people can get married is not an excuse to start acting like straight fuddy-duddy married couples bickering and going to bed early.

3 Edward Snowden

BCPR isn’t sure what to make of the ex-CIA employee and Maryland resident who leaked details of U.S. surveillance programs that, as Simon and Ericson (see number one) point out, every sentient American should already have known existed in the first place. On one hand, he did it knowing that it would change his life forever and he fled to Hong Kong. On the other hand, for what? His motives are not entirely clear—he was awful quick to claim credit in a Guardian interview—and it’s even less clear what ultimate benefit will come from his actions. Then again, a federal effort to imprison this naif forever for revealing “secrets” that should never have been secret would confirm every paranoiacs fever dream.

4 Baltimore Police Department

The ACLU issued a report last week that placed Baltimore fifth among large jurisdictions for marijuana possession arrests—and over 90 percent of those arrested were African-American. The report showed that while arrests of white stoners had decreased by 20 percent, the arrest rates for blacks had increased by an equivalent amount. The Sun rightly calls it “Maryland’s New Jim Crow,” which makes the failure of the legislature to vote on a bill to decriminalize pot, well, almost criminal. BCPR wonders how many of the white legislators spent their youths holed up in basements passing the bong.

Ticketmaster

The City Council has proposed capping fees charged by the ticketing behemoth and others like it to 15 percent for most tickets, ending the egregious “Ticketmaster exemption” to the existing law, which dates back to 1948 and says you can’t sell tickets for more than 50 cents over the value printed on the ticket. Let’s hope we’ve taken the first step toward the precedent set by Arkansas, where Ticketmaster initiated “all-in-one” pricing after the state supreme court banned fees altogether, leading to less gouging and more truth in advertising.

 

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