Archive for the ‘Philly News’ Category

War and Taxes

I was surprised to see news coverage of protesters at the Marriott today while president Bush visited. Normally, I feel the press more or less ignores such gatherings but that may be on the larger scale. I’m happy our local television news and papers took the time to interview and relay an understanding of the passions the 150 people gathered to protest the war.

Bush, of course, went through a back entrance and may not have seen them. His comments today did acknowledge the issue, though: “I understand the angst among the American people. I know that people are weary of war.” Then he went on to tell the group of prominent legislators and business executives “…I plan to use my veto to keep your taxes low.” Great! Tax breaks for the rich. Just what we all need.

So it IS America.

Way back in March I posted here about Anthony Riley, now infamous for committing the horrendous atrocity of singing in Rittenhouse Square. Oh no! Not singing! One of the more disturbing bits was ______bag officer Wilkinson telling Riley “…this is Afghanistan.” The police department later backed him up saying this was “acting properly.”

Well, the judge didn’t seem to think so. Riley was acquitted on all charges and in a move so beautifully snarky, judge Karen Simmons said “This is America, not Afghanistan.”

Smoking Bans Galore

These smoking bans are confusing. This is an issue I follow very closely as I am a staunch anti-smoker. As of today the state passed a ban that would override the Philadelphia ban with a whole lot of exemptions. Some of them almost make sense, like cigar bars. There is one, however that is absolutely absurd. It allows smoking in small private day care centers! Smoker or no, I think everyone can agree that no one wants their children exposing children in an environment filled with smoke all day.

A few other places the state would like to allow smoking: nursing homes, mental hospitals and and adult care facilities. These are just about as bad as the day care center. The patients are sometimes just as helpless as children and deserve a clean, safe environment as well.

The world’s ugliest dog is a local

Back at the beginning of May I posted about the contest to name the World’s Ugliest Dog, because one of the contenders was from our area (back then the reports said that the dog was from Fishtown, now it appears that he actually lives in South Jersey). Well, on Friday Elwood, a 2-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, was named the world’s ugliest dog in Petaluma, CA. Congratulations Elwood, may you wear this dubious distinction in god health!

South Jersey Dog Crowned World’s Ugliest [6ABC]

Lucky Little Gator

People really need to stop and think before they get a pet. So many animals end up suffering due to moron owners who don’t do any research before buying or adopting a pet. Thank goodness this little gator was found fairly quickly. He or she was unceremoniously dumped in Pennypack Creek. Animal control made the capture yesterday, then the gator spent time in a bathtub and kiddie pool before finally landing at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown. There is now an open forum to name the gator, which is a bit of a challenge as they don’t know the sex yet. Personally, I agree with the zoo curator: Lucky.

Craig LaBan’s anonymity threatened

Most people think that the Philadelphia Weekly only covers the news on Wednesdays, but when there are goings on to be covered, the PW staff will often release special articles on their website. This morning a web exclusive article by Steve Volk appeared in my RSS reader, covering LaBan’s continuing ordeal.

LaBan stands to lose his anonymity, because he has been ordered to give a deposition in the lawsuit against him. He is being sued by Chops, a restaurant located in the Philly suburbs, because they claim he libeled them when he called their strip steak tough. They are saying that he did not have the strip steak and so misrepresented the restaurant’s offerings in the review.

That deposition, which was videotaped in early June, will become part of the public record if the case goes to trial, and LaBan’s identity will then be exposed. That would make it really hard for him to do his job effectively, as he wouldn’t be able to go to a restaurant without being given special treatment, and so he wouldn’t be able to review the experience that the average person would have at that establishment.

What do you out there in reader land think about this?

Craig LaBan Unmasked? [Philadelphia Weekly]

The Boy Scouts’ free ride may be coming to an end

You may remember this controversy from several years ago. In 2000, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts of America, as a private organization, to ban gays from membership under the protection of the First Amendment.

Here in Philadelphia, the Boy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty Council uses a building as their headquarters that was leased to them in perpetuity by the city in 1928. They pay an extremely nominal fee to use this space. Once the Supreme Court ruled that they were allowed to discriminate, some folks in Philly thought it was inappropriate to subsidize their operations if they were permitted to bar people based on their sexual orientation.

Yesterday, the City Council passed an ordinance that will make it possible for the city to end that perpetual lease if the Cradle of Liberty Council maintains a policy of discrimination. In the defense of our local Scouts, in 2003 they adopted a nondiscrimination policy (which you can find here), but were “ordered to revoke it by the National Council, which said local councils had no right to deviate from national rules that bar participation by anyone who is openly gay.”

The City Council and the Cradle of Liberty Council hope to be able to work things out so that they can remain the building, but if they continue to be forced into a position of discrimination by the National Council they will be forced to move.

City Council Votes To End Boy Scouts’ Lease

The Inky says, “Yo, Mike!”

The Inquirer is looking for short essays, around 150 words or so, that answer this question…

If the Democratic nominee for mayor materialized across your kitchen table, giving you his undivided attention for two minutes, how would you complete this sentence, “Yo, Mike! The one thing I really need you do is…”

You can send it either by e-mail or submit it via the project blog.

Michael Nutter will review all submissions, and respond to a sampling.

This is your opportunity to tell Michael Nutter what you think the most important thing he could do for the city is. Don’t miss out.

Another Gap on Chestnut Street?

I just heard, from a fairly reliable source (the front desk guy in my apartment building) that the folks who currently own the Boyd (aka the last surviving Center City movie palace) are turning the two smaller, modern theaters that were added onto the space in the 1980’s, into one very large Gap store. It is currently nothing more than a shell, but they are hard at work on the space right now, and the best guess is that the new store will be open in time for holiday shopping.

I hope this doesn’t mean that they’ve given up on renovating the theater, as that would be a great travesty. It is an amazingly beautiful space and deserves to be restored to its former grandeur. If you want to learn more about the history of the theater and the movement to save it, check out the Friends of the Boyd website.

Robin’s Books Bargain Store to Close

Walking by the Robin’s Books store on Chestnut Street a couple of days ago, I noticed a big, orange sign in the window, announcing that the space was for lease. I stopped in my tracks as I saw it, feeling the wrenching pain that comes to me when I learn that a life-long fixture is reaching the end of it’s own cycle. I asked about the for lease sign at their primary location on 13th Street and discovered that they actually own the building on Chestnut Street, but can make far more money leasing it to someone else than they can selling books from that location. They are currently repurposing space at the 13th Street store so that they will still have a bargain section, including those fantastic advance reader copies for the low, low price of $5.

I am sad to see the Chestnut Street store close, as I have many lovely memories of wandering through there with my mom and grandmother while I was growing up. I also recognize that things don’t stay the same and that my little stretch of Chestnut is has changed rapidly in the last five years and is continuing to alter drastically every day. I’m just sad that there isn’t room anymore for a funky, bargain bookstore among the new Starbucks and Steven Starr restaurants.

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