Families earning $100,000 a year live in U.S. public housing

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011:

  • The median U.S. household income was $50,502.
  • The mean (or average) U.S. household income was $69,821.
  • 20.8% of U.S. households make $100,000 or more.

I think you’ll all agree that households with an annual six-figure income of $100,000 or more are well-off.

And yet, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 25,226 families in the U.S. live in taxpayer-subsidized public housing even though they are “over income,” i.e., they earn more income than they’re allowed to for public housing eligibility, including families earning six figures.

Mitch Blacher reports for NBC10 Philadelphia, Nov. 24, 2015, that New Jersey has 755 over income families living in public housing, while Pennsylvania has 750. In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, although the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) has a 10 year waiting list with roughly 100,000 people on it, 181 families were allowed to live in PHA properties while earning six figures. 

Kelvin Jeremiah

Incredibly, PHA president Kelvin Jeremiah sees nothing wrong with families earning $100,000+ income living in taxpayer-subsidized public housing. He said, “I believe that they’re serving an important purpose. I believe that the fact that they’ve achieved some level of success while being in PHA, I want to be able to encourage that.”

Jeremiah said the 181 over income families make up a small percent of the 80,000 people living in PHA housing, and the over income families help the housing authority pay its bills: “We want those families in public housing frankly because they pay more in rent.” Jeremiah said some over income families pay as much as $1,000 a month in rent, which, of course, is still way less than what the market charges.

According to PHA’s website, rent makes up $24 million of the agency’s $371 million dollar budget.  Most of PHA’s money comes from HUD, which gave PHA more than $100 million in 2015.

A HUD spokesperson told NBC10 that Jeremiah and other public housing directors across the country “have the discretion to evict families for being over income.” The spokesperson insists that HUD “encourages” public housing directors to use the taxpayer money for “those most in need of deeply affordable housing.”

Former City Councilman Jim Kenney smiles at a comment as he is introduced to supporters in Philadelphia's City Hall's Mayor's Reception Room February 4, 2015 where he announced his candidacy for mayor. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )

Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said, “I think if you’re making over the threshold to be eligible for public housing you should be gone. First we have to appoint a housing authority board that will deal with these issues and figure out how we remove people who are abusing the systems.” Kenney said he will take action once he is sworn in.

Lynette Brown-Sow

PHA board chair Lynette Brown-Sow, who is also a trustee of Cheney University of Pennsylvania, declined requests to speak to the NBC 10 for this story.


The Big Thank You

Thank you Lord Jesus…


for what you did for us 2000 years ago.

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees

About time some one wised up.

Too little, too late for Sweden to control the refugees?

Too little, too late for Sweden to control the refugees?

The Guardian reports that Sweden needs “respite” from the tens of thousands of refugees knocking at its door and has announced tough measures to deter asylum seekers in a sharp reversal of its open-door policy towards people fleeing war and persecution.

The country’s generous asylum regime would revert to the “EU minimum” meaning that most refugees would receive only temporary residence permits from April. Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Löfven said identity checks would be imposed on all modes of transport, and the right to bring families to Sweden would be severely restricted.

“We are adapting Swedish legislation temporarily so that more people choose to seek asylum in other countries. We need respite,” Löfven said. “It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today. We simply cannot do any more.

Refugees began arriving this autumn at a rate of 10,000 a week, until Sweden imposed border controls two weeks ago. Official estimates suggest up to 190,000 could come to the country of 10 million people this year.

The rise in refugee numbers has caused a frantic scramble to place roofs over their heads. At the weekend refugees arriving in the southern city of Malmö were forced to sleep on the streets because no beds could be found.

Åsa Romson

Åsa Romson

The changes were very difficult for the Social Democrats’ junior coalition partner, the Green party, seen as the most refugee-friendly of Sweden’s main political parties. The Greens’ deputy prime minister, Åsa Romson, broke into tears as she announced the measures. “This is a terrible decision,” she said later, admitting that the proposals would make life even more precarious for refugees. But quitting the government would have made a bad situation even worse, she added.

The leader of Sweden’s centre-right bloc, Anna Kinberg Batra, welcomed the measures but said they were not enough, and that asylum policy needed to be tightened even further. “Sweden needs to act now to bring order to an untenable situation,” she said.

Common sense finally prevailed over their emotions. The reversal in asylum policy was a reluctant decision, “more about practicalities than a new world view”, said Jonas Hinnfors, professor of politics at Gothenburg University. “The writing has been on the wall, the authorities cannot cope.”

Sweden’s new asylum regime will apply for three years. Temporary residence permits will be granted to all refugees apart from those relocated to Sweden under the EU’s quota scheme and families with children and unaccompanied children who have already arrived.  Sweden’s border police also announced a doubling of officers on Sweden’s southern coast, where most refugees arrive. Since the imposition of border controls on November 12th, the average number of asylum seekers has fallen from 1,507 per day to 1,222, according to immigration officials.


Aurora theater shooting: Is this a crisis actor?

On July 20, 2012, at a midnight showing of the Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, at a Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado, a lone gunman shot and killed 12 people and wounded 70.

On August 24, 2015, alleged sole shooter James Holmes was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Marcus Weaver

Marcus Weaver

Among the 70 who were wounded that night is Marcus Weaver, who sat in the 5th row of the Century theater with his friend . Weaver recounted what happened to 89.3 KPCC:

“Ten minutes into the movie, a smoke bomb went off … we were just perplexed. We thought it was just someone who lit off a smoke bomb … Once the gunman started opening fire on the crowd, it became really apparent it was not a Rocky Horror film show, or any of those pranks they do in theaters. It was a real event, and so something told me to get down on the ground.”

Weaver pulled Rebecca down with him. A few minutes later, he realized she was hit during the first wave of gunfire. When Holmes’ gun jammed, many moviegoers tried to flee. Weaver picked up his friend and started toward the exit. That’s when Holmes shot him in the arm.

“And so I tumbled over and she fell into the seat, and that was the last time I saw my friend Rebecca.”

Weaver didn’t notice he was hit until he made it out of the theater.

“A little girl came up to me and [said], ‘your arm is bleeding.’ And so I looked at my arm, and sure enough, I had two holes in my arm, and blood was just perfusing out of it.”

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, despite having been shot in his right shoulder and upper arm, and with his lower arm in a cast, Weaver manages to lift the arm up, waving it around.

Note also the bullet holes in his right upper arm. Do they look like bullet holes to you?

In asking questions, I mean no disrespect to Marcus Weaver.

Let’s hear from readers who are either medical professionals or have sustained injuries similar to Weaver’s.


Austrian jihadi bride beaten to death after trying to escape ISIS

We knew this would happen…

Selimovic (l) and text

Selimovic (l) and Kesinovic (r)

In October 2014, I reported on two Austrian teens who abandoned their homes and families to become “poster girls” for ISIS terrorists. In April they left a note for that parents that read: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah, and we will die for him.” They had a change of heart in October and desperately wanted to come home.

Samra Kesinovic (then 17) and her friend Sabina Selimovic (then 15) left Austria and were believed to be married, pregnant and living in the ISIS-controlled city of Raqqa in northern Syria.

Now comes word that Samra (now 18) has been beaten to death after trying to escape the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. A Tunisian woman who had been living with Samra says the young girl was killed by Islamic State extremists after she tried to flee recently, according to The Local Austria.

The gal pals had traveled to the war-torn nation with the hope of becoming “jihadi brides” — and they later married two of the ISIS militants upon their arrival. Photos posted to social media in the following months showed the pair wearing black burkas and wielding AK-47s. Officials said earlier this year they believed Selimovic had been killed during a skirmish in Syria.


Thanksgiving: Not just a holiday, but a command

A guest post from Steven Broiles, former high school teacher, now a voice-over artist and cab-driver in New York City.

Steven Broiles

THANKSGIVING: A Holiday and a Command

By Steven Broiles

I returned home from my freshman year at Boys Town in 1971. That Thanksgiving, CBS had a news report about a high school girl who won a prize for her Thanksgiving essay. (She read it on air). The question she asked was, “What do we have to be thankful for?” She went on to list the reasons against gratitude—a never-ending war in Viet Nam, political corruption, a high crime rate, inflation and all the rest.

Well, here we are, 44 years later, and we have TWO never-ending wars and more turmoil than it seems we can handle. And from the looks of it, we’re about to be drawn into a conflagration with Russia. Suffice it to say, things do not look good.

So what do we have to be grateful for? Most of us will stuff our faces, get drunk, go to bed and join the hordes of shoppers on Black Friday. Thanksgiving has devolved into a feast of gluttony and consumerism gone mad!

But I have stopped to think about my own situation and how thoughtless I have been. Every day is like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”: Wake up, go to work, come home and eat, drink a six-pack, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We have an obligation to be grateful. Gratitude is not merely a virtue; It is a command. As I have said before, I believe I have a spiritual condition known as acedia. I have been told I am intelligent and articulate. But I cannot seem to break out of my rut. Every day is the same. There is a certain sadness at the work required to improve my situation. Then there is the sadness at the opportunity to do that work! It’s “damned if I do and damned if I don’t!”

And from the news I’ve been watching, the talk shows I’ve been listening to and the customers I have in my Uber car, it seems to me that most people are suffering from the same condition of acedia, to a greater or lesser degree. People can tell what is wrong with the country, or the City of New York, or their own situations. They say great things or have good ideas, but they can’t seem to do anything about it. People, myself included, seem to be crippled by indecision.

It seems to me as if almost everyone, at least as a corporate whole, has been beaten down to a state of demoralization, not quite on the state of despair, but seemingly hopeless, nonetheless. Not to be grotesque, but it is like nausea! For all of my Catholic education and all the sermons I have heard for over 50 years, I’ve heard a lot of things. But I have never heard the word “acedia.” If I had, I would have remembered it. The closest thing I have ever heard similar to it is “sloth.”

But then I thought about it. WHO is the author of confusion? WHO is the author of indecision? WHO is the author of despair? Of the resulting spiritual dry rot and cynicism? Certainly it is NOT God who wills these things. It is NOT God who creates and nurtures this spiritual torpor, this feeling of being stuck in a straightjacket! Is it no wonder I have been stuck in this attitude, and go about it, day after day? Is it no wonder I cannot seem to get out of this rut and transcend my problems?

I thought of the Serenity Prayer, and how it is a call to ACTION. “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” My past unwillingness to do what this prayer says is the cause of the prolonging of my problems! It is an accountant’s prayer: I have to stop the chatter inside of my head. And I have to identify those things I cannot do anything about. (Fortunately, that list is rather short.) Then I have to identify those things I CAN do something about, or at least what I can do about my own situation. And I have to make my plan and stick to it, not being discouraged by the length of time it will take to achieve those things I have to achieve. Long story short: I make a T-account—a sheet of paper with a vertical line down the middle. The left column is the negative column, and the right column is the positive one.
And I have to bear in mind that my imagination can be my own worst enemy—of how easy it is for me to dwell on the negative and get carried away with it.

This is what I look for when I am listening to other people, whether they’re in my car or on the internet. Going negative is really easy. I think we’re all prone to it. God knows there is plenty going on right now to be negative about. And then I think about the logical conclusion to negativity gone mad: It ends in the insane asylum or in suicide!

I think that the daily exercise of the Serenity Prayer leads me to gratitude. We are COMMANDED by God to pray for our own affairs. So we stop everything and identify what we have to endure. Then we identify what we can do about it. We stop our wild imagination and its catastrophizing and get ahold of ourselves. And then we have gratitude for being able to do this much. We feel gratitude for the ability to endure another day, another problem, for the ability to think clearly. And that gratitude propels us into the next day.

My friend Eric was very kind in allowing me to keep my boxes of books in his house when I moved out of my apartment shortly after 9/11. I got those boxes out of his garage this past summer. I kept a few of those books—a very few. One of the philosophers I used to read was Gabriel Marcel, who wrote “Creative Fidelity.” (I gave the book away: I placed the boxes of books—one or two boxes a day—on the stoop to the house. People would come by and take what they wanted.) Marcel has said that there are problems and then there are mysteries, and that one of the problems he noticed in life is how we treat everything as if it is a problem. Then we treat each other as if the other person is a problem. Then we wind up treating ourselves as if we are a problem! The answer, he opined, is to look at life and our participation of it as a mystery, and to participate in that mystery.

This is what I think is our primary spiritual problem—a lack of gratitude. We have been and are very fortunate, despite what we must endure. And things do not look good. Let us practice gratitude and count on it to get us through things. Let us not wind up like a certain Presidential candidate (cough! cough!) who insists upon “being treated fairly”! Let us continue to be grateful for what we have—and what we have been spared—and participate in the Mysteries of our Catholic Faith.

Let me always remember that Our Lord told His Apostles, before He Ascended into Heaven, “Behold! I have overcome the World.” Let us always employ the Serenity Prayer as the Road to Sanity and Gratitude!

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday and in the days ahead.

Muslim “clock boy” wants $15M for “permanently scarring” his reputation

This is supremely outrageous.

On September 14, 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas for bringing an alleged hoax clock bomb to school. News of the arrest rapidly went viral, resulting in allegations of racial profiling and Islamophobia.

As recounted by Wikipedia, Mohamed had reconstructed an electronic clock in a pencil box and brought it to school to show his teachers. His English teacher thought the clock resembled a bomb, confiscated it and reported the boy to the school’s principal. Local law enforcement was called and Mohamed was questioned by police for an hour and a half. After being taken into custody, handcuffed, and transported to a juvenile detention facility, he was fingerprinted and his photograph was taken. He was then released to his parents. The case was not pursued further by juvenile justice authorities, but Mohamed was suspended from school for three days.

After Obama, other politicians, activists, technology company executives, and media personalities remarked on the incident, Mohamed was invited to the White House and a number of high-profile events related to encouraging youth interest in science and technology. After the incident, the family decided to move to Qatar, accepting a scholarship offered to Mohamed by the Qatar Foundation.

Ahmed Mohamed clock boy

But the media can’t be bothered to find out or report the truth about Ahmed and his clock bomb:

  • Ahmed is not a boy genius: He didn’t make the clock, but had merely taken out the innards of a Radio Shack digital clock and installed it in a cigar box.
  • Ahmed was deliberately looking for a confrontation: After the first teacher to whom he showed the clock told him to put it in his locker and not show it around, Ahmed continued to show it around until he found a teacher who reacted with the apparently desired response.
  • Ahmed was uncooperative with Irving police.

For more details, please see my post “The truth about Ahmed, the Muslim ‘clock boy’.

Now Muslim “clock boy” is demanding $15 million from the Texan city of Irving and its school district for “psychological trauma” and “permanently scarring” his non-existent “reputation in the global community”. 

All the way from the Gulf state of Qatar, Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, has retained attorney Kelly D. Hollingsworth of the Plainview, Texas law firm Laney & Bollinger. 

Kelly (l) and Troy Hollingsworth (photo from MyPlainview.com)

Kelly (l) and Troy Hollingsworth (photo from MyPlainview.com)

Ahmed wants $5 million from the Irving Independent School District (ISC)

In a letter to Irving ISD legal counsel Tina Patel, dated November 23, 2015, Hollingsworth demands the following for “the unlawful detention, interrogation, arrest, and public mistreatment of Ahmed Mohamed by administrators and teachers of the Irving ISD”:

  1. $5 million “as compensation for the damages Ahmed suffered at the hands of the Irving ISD and its employees.”
  2. A written apology from Irving ISD acknowledging that Ahmed Mohamed never intended to threaten anyone, and that his detention, interrogation, and arrest were wrongful and were made at a point in time when there was no reasonable suspicion to believe that Ahmed had committed a crime or was about to commit any crime.”

Hollingsworth threatens that failure to accede to the above two demands within 60 days from Nov. 23, 2015, will result in “a civil action,” i.e., a lawsuit.

Ahmed wants $10 million from City of Irving

In a letter to Irving city attorney Charles R. Anderson, dated November 23, 2015, Kelly Hollingsworth demands the following for “the detention, interrogation, arrest, and public mistreatment of Ahmed Mohamed by Mayor Beth Van Duyne, Chief of Police Larry Boyd, and numerous other City of Irving officials”:

  1. $10 million “as compensation for the damages Ahmed suffered at the hands of the City of Irving and its employees.”
  2. A written apology from Mayor Van Duyne.
  3. A written apology from Police Chief Larry Boyd acknowledging that Ahmed Mohamed never intended to threaten anyone, and that his detention, interrogation, and arrest were wrongful.”

Hollingsworth concludes the letter with this threat to the City of Irving: “If you fail to comply with the above demands within sixty days from the date of this letter, you should expect that we will file a civil action,” i.e., a lawsuit.

Here’s Kelly Hollingsworth’s LinkedIn page.

H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV