Archive: January, 2011
Tomorrow, Governor-Elect Tom Corbett will be inaugurated, and the long reign of Ed Rendell â eight years the mayor of Philadelphia, and eight years the governor of Pennsylvania â comes to an end.
Friends, the time has come to eulogize the guy and his impact, for better or worse, on PA and our beloved city. Love him or hate him, Rendell's remarkable stint deserves at least 140 characters' worth of contemplation, don't you think?
And yes â that does happen to be the maximum length of a Twitter post. So we hereby announce the Ed's Dead Twitter Obituary Contest.
Got it? #edsdead
We'll try to post submissions â at least the better ones â below.
Oh, and the winner(s) will get something. Like maybe their obits published in the paper, or a chance to read it for our next podcast, or maybe one of those "nut loaves" the casinos are always sending Meal Ticket's Drew Lazor ... or something.
Recent Submissions (after the jump):
CP roots music maven Mary Armstrong reports that she has confirmed with the West Philadelphia branch of the Salvation Army that they are "accepting everything but furniture" for the at least 100 people who've been left homeless in the wake of the massive, 5-alarm apartment fire at 48th and Walnut last night.
According to Armstrong, "I was burned out 30 years ago and I'm still crying for these people â it's an experience like no other."
The Salvation Army is at 5501 Market, is open 9-4, Monday through Friday (but will be closed this coming Monday) and can be reached at 215-474-1010. According to a person at the Salvation Army, the best way to bring stuff in is to use the building's Arch Street entrance at 55th.
So before you run out to buy eggs, milk and bread you probably won't really need, consider making a donation for people who've just lost everything.
A piece on 60 Minutes this weekend asked a question that the gambling industry â and the many politicians who've allowed the proliferation of local, so-called "convenience" casinos â aren't eager to address: do these casinos merely attract gamblers who would spend their money out-of-state anyway, or do they create new gamblers?
At one point in the film, Governor Rendell loses his temper at interviewer Lesley Stahl, calling her and her producers "simpletons," and "idiots," for not understanding his point that casino patrons are going to gamble anyway:
"The biggest downside is that some people lose their paychecks. But understand, Lesley, they're not losing their paychecks because Pennsylvania instituted gaming. These people were losing their paychecks in Atlantic City, in Delaware at the racetracks, or in West Virginia."
But there's evidence to the contrary.
A 1999 report by the federally-mandated National Gambling Impact Study Commission noted that survey data "found that the
presence of a gambling facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers."
It also cited a survey that found 7 or 9 communities reported a rise in problem and pathological gambling after a casino was introduced nearby.
In 2005, the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions found, according to an article in Science Daily, that:
A Casino within 10 miles of home has a significant effect on problem gambling and is associated with a 90 percent increase in the odds of being a pathological or problem gambler,
But some of the most compelling evidence this might be true is on display right now â just visit your local casino. During CP's 24-hour stay at Sugarhouse, for example, we found no shortage of people who had come from just miles away. One cab driver estimated that "I would say 90 percent of the people I take live less than eight blocks away."
Would all of those people have gone all the way Atlantic City instead â or would all of them have sought out illegal slots dens?
Here's a picture of former Flyer Sami Kapanen playing hockey alone in a post-Apocalyptic Philadelphia
|click on the pic to see it in full, zoomable glory.|
Here's the (Google Translated) explanation:
When Sami Kapanen (# 24) had announced the closure of his career as a player in May 2010, I approached him ideallani to make a unique portrait of respect for his long career. The idea was to make the traditional portrait of a different image, which reflects a Sam's colorful career stages, as well as statistics on cities and teams, where the Sami had played during his career. The original was my idea to do a little "Mad Max "-style picture of a tornado has torn through the urban scene. Jere Hietala image goalie Jani Hurmeesta haaksirikkoontuneiden ship in the middle was also a big source of ideas for the entire project. Sami's idea was inspired by him, and gave me carte blanche to go to the portrait. I asked the partner to the table frame makers frame makers Jari Salli, which did not have long to persuade this wonderful project that.
You get the gist. If you read Finnish, click here to learn about the many stages of brainstorming and computer imagsing it took to bring this thing into existence.
This Sunday, 60 Minutes will be airing a feature on gambling â slot machines, in particular â and whether the machines themselves might be ... addictive.
That this *shocking* possibility still evades nearly every mainstream news outlet in Pennsylvania is another story, consideringÂ the abundance of evidence readily available at your local casino.
In any case, The 60 Minutes piece, called "The Big Gamble," appears to contain something of a gem: In a preview (available online), Governor Ed Rendell appears to flip out on the reporters, calling them "simpletons," and "idiots" if they "dont get that," â althought what "that" is isn't clear from the clip.
It looks like it'll be an interesting watch, and there's a bonus: expect Ben Franklin flanked by sequin-bikini-clad women, from the opening of Sugarhouse in September.
Critics say a new ad by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), the part of state government that sells you wine and liquor, suggests that young women will be raped if they get drunk—and that it just might be their fault.
The high-end advertisement is shocking: it reads "Date Rape: See what could happen when your friends drink too much" over a woman's legs on the bathroom floor, underwear around her ankles.
“We have gotten lots of feedback, both positive and negative, on the campaign,” says PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec. “First and foremost our intention was never to offend anyone with the images but to bring about a greater conversation about the dangers of binge and problematic drinking. We did a lot of work with focus groups and a lot of research for this campaign, and heard from our target — individuals 21 through 29 — that these are scenarios they have faced and their friends have faced.”
PLCB has spent $600,000 on the campaign, produced by the Pittsburgh-based Neiman Group, which includes advertisements on the web and internet radio Pandora.
The ad links to the Control Tonight website, which includes a play by play of an evening gone wrong: “3:14am. Sexual Assault. That's what Anne's attorney will call it a month from now. She said no, but he kept going. And now, your friend is on his bathroom floor, bruised and victimized. See how you could have prevented this.”
Other pages tell the stories of a woman who gets alcohol poisoning and a guy who gets a DUI: “Arrested. Yup, that's your buddy Chris in the back of that cruiser. He'll be waking up tomorrow in a cell with a nasty hangover, and a brand new criminal record.”
As the feminist blog Jezebel put it, the ad “almost defies parody to make the case that if you drink too much, someone might rape your friend, and it will be your fault.”
“It's victim blaming,” says Siobhan Brooks, assistant professor of women's studies at Temple University. “It implies that it's ultimately the female's responsibility...instead of interrogating men and male culture around date rape.”
It is, she says, an extension of the “don't wear that” or "you're asking for it" argument: “if you do drink too much, the message normalized is that date rape will be a natural outcome. It reinforces the ideology that rape is natural for heterosexual men to do towards women.”
Witalec says “it was never intended to feel as if blame was placed anywhere but the perpetrator of the sexual assault. That specific ad is encouraging people to maintain control, and if you see one of your friends losing control, step in and help.”
They even, she said, did fieldwork. “We went into licensed establishments and engaged with the target group while they were engaging in consumption activities.”
A few weeks ago, we posed the question: What if there is no single "Kensington Strangler?"
... amid all the hype, it's not clear that the Kensington Strangler really exists â or, rather, that a single person has been responsible for certain recent crimes. In fact, it's not clear to what extent some of these crimes could happen fairly often.
To be sure, police have linked the same person (by DNA) to the two murders-by-strangulation that ignited the story. That Kensington Strangler does exist, and has yet to be identified.
But several more cases of murder and assault involving choking have not, despite appearing over and over again in articles about the Strangler, been linked to the same suspect.
And CP wondered: Kensington is, after all, a neighborhood ridden with both violent crime and prostitution â could it be that the sudden media spotlight was simply picking up incidents that happen more frequently than we'd like to believe?
The question might have seemed answered when a third victim was tied by DNA to the same murderer â but it wasn't: a few days ago, the Daily News acknowledged that police are still skeptical about connections between some of the different choking crimes against prostitutes.
"After latest assault, police say there could be two Kensington Stranglers," ran the headline.
Only the police didn't exactly say that. Jan Ransom reports that "Police have acknowledged that more than one person could be roaming Kensington and choking women."
As in two, yes â but also, perhaps, as in several.
Meanwhile, the news indicates that oft-seen police composite sketch, which resulted from the descriptions of women who survived the attacks, is very possibly not a depiction of the "Kensington Strangler" responsible for the three murders.
And whether it depicts the author of several other attacks is questionable, too. In early December, the Inquirer reported that "The surviving victims, meanwhile, have each described essentially the same man as their attacker."
Yet the Inquirer reported just over a week ago (emphasis added):
The first two victims, who were attacked in October, said he had a goatee and a mark on his cheek. A woman who was attacked weeks later told police there was no goatee or mark, and she said he had sideburns. Two women described him as soft-spoken; one said he had carried a white iPod and called himself Anthony.
In other words, it's possible that as many as six or seven cases are tied to the same man; but it's also possible that prostitutes are just getting choked with disturbing frequency all the time, and that the day-to-day risk they face has simply been thrust in the spotlight by the three apparently-connected killings.
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