The Mason Missile, July 22, 2019


Since this publication takes a good deal of work and time, I welcome any donations, and I am willing to discuss ad space. For $10.00 I will be happy to advertise your business on the Missile. Please contact me and we’ll talk about it.

Reminder-I will hold an author’s event at the new independent bookstore, A Novel Idea on Passyunk, 1726 E. Passyunk Avenue, on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. I hope to see your face in the place. (

Late in June I underwent a colonoscopy at Hahnemann Hospital. Two of the polyps they scraped out of me were called a “hyperplastic polyp,” a benign polyp that is not cancerous. The third polyp, however, was a “tubular adenoma,” a pre-cancerous polyp which is not cancer, but it places me at risk for developing these kinds of polyps in the future. I know the prepping for the procedure is a pain in the ass (sorry about the pun), but it was worth it, so I don’t develop colorectal cancer. I beseech all of you out there to go get your colonoscopies, you’ll be glad you did.

This leads me to the upcoming closing of Hahnemann Hospital early in September 6-a hospital geared closely to serving the medical needs of homeless, working-class, and low-income people, and people with no health insurance-no small thing. Such people will lose a valuable health asset, and 2500 employees there- doctors, nurses, medical technicians, custodial workers, and food service workers-will lose their jobs. Happily, people in the community, and some elected officials, are rising up against this. Health care is a right and a necessity, not a luxury.

The company owning Hahnemann, American Academic Health System-owned by Joel Friedman-are said to plan on turning the hospital into luxury condominiums; Hahnemann is on North Broad Street in Philadelphia, where, as part of the development of that area,  other historic buildings are being refurbished into high-end dwellings-the Divine Lorraine Hotel, and the old Inquirer building. Here is the “free market’ at work; public policy is geared towards satisfying the profit margins of real-estate developers (like the current inmate in the White House) and investors, almost entirely in the Center City area, while the needs of residents-hospitals, schools, fire and police services-are neglected because they’re not making a billionaire richer. The idea that you have to make someone else richer-someone who already has billions in their offshore accounts-to bring about needed services has to end. Again I call for a national health insurance program for all Americans-Medicare for All.    

Late in June, there was a fire at the refinery in South Philadelphia, along West Passyunk Avenue, owned by the firm Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES). I, along with other residents nearby, got the call to shey in our houses until the fire was contained sufficiently. The refinery, in its producing of gasoline, used hydrogen fluoride, which has been a danger to workers and people in the surrounding neighborhoods. The facility-a merger of the Point Breeze and Girard Point refineries-is at the point where the Schuykill and Delaware rivers meet, and is on top of an aquifer, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a water-bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand, or gravel.”  Thus, three sources of water in the region could have been contaminated, along with the air. Now, the refinery is closed, and 1,100 workers are out of work, due to the short-sightedness of the company, not upgrading or updating the infrastructure of the facility, simply taking the money out for their own fun and not reinvesting in the facility or its workers, their most important asset.

I heard the old story from the seventies, from the Ford administration to today-“Government regulation is hurting economic growth and preventing job creation! We must allow the corporations and their brilliant genius leaders to do whatever the hell they want, and we shall all prosper!” Both parties have played this tune for over forty years, and it’s incidents like this that remind us that regulation of corporations-be they energy companies, banks, or HMOs, what have you- is necessary, that we can’t count on them utilizing the “market” for their riches and thus we all will thrive.

Gouging for short-term quarterly profits, instead of upgrading equipment and infrastructure, has been the practice of our capitalist class, and eventually the downfall of the American economy. The needs of the community-for hospital care, safe working conditions, and a livable environment-and cast aside for the sake of profit margins for the already-billionaire class, and working and low-income people have no say in any of this. Plus, the plutocratic class’ handmaids in politics and the media tell us to not be so damned indignant over it all, as if fighting for our rights-and our well-being-is a crime; and sometimes it is. The solution is to get organized, educated, and informed about these situations and what we can do for our well-being as a community, and to get out OUR vote for OUR candidates and OUR needs.


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