Updated with response
Maybe it was inevitable: maybe something as good, as fundamentally wholesome, as lamb-like and peaceful to all as the Philly Naked Bike Ride had to be infiltrated by wolves.
But according to PNBR volunteer organizer Clifford Greer, "What we think we know is that a camera crew came to the ride, posing as interviewers to get shots of people's genitals, chests, butts ... [and] They've got this sleazy website."
The website, www.waptvshow.com or "Wild About Philly Entertainment TV show," â hosts such web "TV" segments as "Wild About Philly" and "Philly's Model Showcase." On a page for merchandise promotes a DVD of the Philly Naked Bike Ride, boasting that "you'll enjoy this DVD from [sic] years to come."
Updated: Reg Williams, video editor for Wild About Philly TV responded this evening to an inquiry by City Paper. Williams says the DVD is not pornography, and that Wild About Philly films all kinds of events.
"We have a good reputation, an upstanding reputation as far as covering events in this city," Williams said over the phone, telling CP that all "close-ups" were filmed with full consent from participants and that "the cameraman was also naked."
As to what the DVD consists of: "Whatever you saw out there, that's what it's about."
According to Greer, meanwhile, a team of volunteer lawyers is working on potentially stopping the sale of such a DVD, cautioning that they don't know much about the owners of the site or their motives, "but everything points to sleaze."
"One of the things the Philly Naked Bike Ride does is successfully create an environment that is free, and positive, and respectful ... I don't know what inspires these people."
Stay tuned to The Clog for updates.
Le Show Harry Shearer has completed his documentary, "The Big Uneasy," on Katrina and why it flooded â language which, he says, was unacceptable to NPR in a spot he underwrote. Anyway, it airs tonight and tonight only. Showtimes are 7 PM and 9:30PM at the Ritz East.
On the day my Italian Market story came out, I caught Richard Rys's solid tale of what became of Old City in Philadelphia magazine. This quickly became a contrast of two homes for me where I live now and where I used to live. I wrote lengthily (and splendidly, I might add) about the
Yes, there were cheesy promoters and cheapo lounge managers looking to cash in. But that happens everywhere, always. It needed an influx of charming couture boutiques and late evening shopping spots from AKA Records to Matthew Izzo sooner. Now, solidly groovy hot spots like Sassafras (a holdover from its past), Cuba Libre and the entirety of the Serrano/Tin Angel complex are there. National Mechanics is there. The Arden Theater is there. City Paper is there. There's so much to put it at par with other busy neighborhoods. If you don't dig Lucy's Hat Shop after too many cheap vodkas, try the Mansion in Rittenhouse Square or one of several remaining everyday guy sports bars in Fishtown.
Look, there're always more guys in baseball caps and un-tucked striped shirts and women in Snooki boufants and low-designer jeans (them) than there are those of kinda-tasteful decorum (me I hope and us). That said, a great bustling neighborhood needs all sorts to sustain and survive. Rittenhouse gets it from the Irish Pub down to the Walnut Room. The Piazza will find this out soon; as much as they want to (and may actually) secede from the
So, our favorite frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter was on Fox News last night because, seriously, no one else gives a shit what he thinks to weigh in on this not-mosque at not-Ground Zero nontroversy we and everyone else have been following for a little while. And, as always seems to happen with Santorum, a guy delusional enough to think he might be president in a couple years, he opened his mouth and stupid popped out.
SANTORUM: My thinking was all along if he made the statements that he made, he probably had a lot more that are going to be found out. This man [Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the lead organizer of the planned Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan] is not a moderate Muslim. This is someone who believes the United States has blood on their hands, that the United States is responsible for this. He is a jihadist, he's just not a violent jihadist. That does not make him a moderate.
Thanks, Rick, for making that distinction. Of course, it's a little muddled, since jihad means "holy war" though it's most common use confers a religious struggle rather than actual military war but I'm pretty sure Rick meant it in the Al Qaida kind of way, in which case he means Rauf is a nonviolent warrior, which means, I suppose, that he has a differing view of American foreign policy, which is, I guess, bad. Anyway.
The fact of the matter is, it's pretty hard to argue with Rauf's point: Sure, Muslim radicals killed 3,000 of our people on 9/11 a horrific tragedy, it goes without saying and Muslim insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan killed thousands of our soldiers. Again, tragic and sad.
But. The Iraqi sanctions killed millions of Muslim civilians in the 1990s, including 500,000 children; the Iraq War led to thousands more civilian deaths. And that's not even mentioning the various dictators we've propped up over the years. Rauf is, by any factual definition, correct. Undeniably so.
In fact, someone please try to explain to me how this isn't a factually accurate statement. Oh, never mind: Never let inconvenient realities get in the way of cheap political points, eh Rick?
Also, right-wingers have plainly taking to making shit up about this guy and slandering him as a terrorist, even though, as Media Matters and others have ably illustrated, Glenn Beck and the Bush administration were all too happy to embrace him just a few years ago. Yes, Rick, he is a moderate. You moron. In fact, he's the vice chair of the Interfaith Center of New York. One of his primary funders, as The Daily Show hilariously pointed out last night, is Fox News' second-biggest financier. Oh yeah, and Rupert Murdoch published his freaking book.
About that book:
Actually, let's just watch TDS, because it lays bare the hypocrisy of the frothing right-wing mouthpieces better than anything I've seen to date.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Parent Company Trap|
So, this little story intern Valerie Rubinsky wrote about the city hitting up small-time bloggers for a $300 business privilege license has sort of exploded on the Interwebs, from the New York Daily News to Yahoo to Michelle Malkin to freaking nutball conspiracy site Infowars (!) to Fox 29 which did a piece on it without, you know, mentioning where their brilliant story idea came from. (What's that word for ripping off a story without attribution again?)
And since this story has now blown up, I wanted to clarify a couple of things that, based on the voluminous comments, might not have come through as clearly as we hoped:
1.) The price of a business license is not $300 a year; that's the cost of a lifetime license. You can get an annual license for $50 a year.
2.) The city does not tax all blogs; rather, just the ones make some money or, at least, have the potential to make some money. So, in that sense, it's not really an attack on speech, per se.
3.) I've seen in the comments a question as to how the city found these little bloggers. This is my bad. In the course of cutting the story to fit the page, I removed a line that had the answer: Basically, as I understand it, the city is sent letters to people who reported their earnings, no matter how meager, as income to the IRS, which the people mentioned in the story did. It works the same way for freelance writers: If another paper somewhere publishes a piece that I wrote, and that paper files a 1099, the city because I live within its limits will send me a letter demanding that I pay for a BPL because I am officially a business, or whatever. This is on top of my federal, state and city income taxes, of course.
Anyway, hope that helps. Now back to your regularly scheduled government bashing.
|Well played, Mayor's Press Office well played.|
You've won this round, Mayor's Press Office.
Today, the aforementioned office announced a new, giant pool of photographs a lot of really nice ones, actually taken by photography students Mitchell Leff and Kait Privitera of the mayor and members of his administration.
It's all very well and good, but in doing so, they have seriously hampered a two-year CP tradition born out of the relative paucity of official images of His Honor Mayor Michael Nutter on the city's website of simply posting, and reposting again, the same few inscrutable images we've come to love.
Like this one:
Or this one:
Thanks a lot, guys.
Anyone who's been to a music festival has had the misfortune of walking past Nitrous Row, where concertgoers huff a sorta-legal chemical that gives you a measly 30-second high. Sometimes the users faceplant after a hit, others just huff balloon after balloon, seemingly never getting to the uh show they ostensibly came for. It's all kind of a drag. And guess which two cities are largely responsible for the scene being the way it is? Boston and
The Philadelphia ring is larger and split up into several sub-crews who know each other but operate independently, says Sean. "The Philly guys are more reckless," he says, and more prone to violence and intimidation. "They operate without a code of honor. They were the first kids I saw bringing guns to the lots and putting fuckin' shit to people's heads." The Philadelphia don, who owns his own nitrous supply store and has several workers underneath him, is less apt to show up at festivals himself, says Sean. "He's a fucking nut job," he adds, noting that even Dmitri is deferential to him.
Read the rest of the Village Voice piece here.
|Courtesy of Committee of 70
Zack Stalberg, president and CEO of good government group Committee of Seventy, has become something of a mythical Philadelphia character recently especially after the abolishment of the Clerk of Quarter Sessions (CQS) office and the Board of Revision of Taxes, both of which the Committee has long said should be shut down. (CQS, it should be noted, isn't completely abolished yet; the First District has taken over most of its responsibilities, but City Council legislation to officially shut it down is still in committee.)
So, while we definitely take the Public Record with a grain of salt, their recent pieces criticizing Stalberg are interesting for their singularity, if nothing else. The first article takes aim at Stalberg's annual salary the Record reports it's $248, 733 and how he allegedly "caused a meltdown" in the CQS; the second attacks his relationship with the local real estate industry, since he advocates for the abolishment of the Sheriff's office. Sez the piece:
Nearly seven out of every 10 contributors who attended the last breakfast fundraiser in November have financial ties to the local real-estate market, or provide professional or consulting services to the public sector.
The Committee of 70 touts its independence from special interests on its website and takes great pride in the fact it does not seek government funds.
Yet its take from the real-estate sector raises questions, in a city where Sheriff sales have emerged as a major target for the local giants in that industry.
This has become evident with the forecast by commercial real-estate experts of a second huge wave of foreclosures and defaults which will now involve the commercial real-estate sector, including multifamily residential projects and signature buildings.
You can read the rest of the articles here, if you're so inclined. There's no dirt in the pieces, though the Record promises it, but they do leave us wondering: What does labor have against Stalberg? And does it have something to do with Johnny Doc?
Sure, the soccer stadium will revive Chester, just as soon as stadiums can magically clean toxic brownfields
The stadium hosted its first game this weekend, amid news that the city of Chester a largely poor, post-industrial city which famously lacks a single supermarket is under a state of emergency following a spate of homicides.
It seems the two newspapers just can't stop posing the question: Might the new stadium finally revive Chester?
The answer is: not likely and not just because stadiums almost never justify the large public subsidies they often wrangle from the hands of our elected officials, as Temple professor Kevin J. Delaney and Villanova professor and Rick Eckstein point out in their book, Public Dollars, Private Stadiums.
But also because the stadium's funding was secured largely by promises of further economic development a so-called "master plan development that would include commercial, business, and residential units that had little to no basis in reality, as I reported in my 2009 investigative piece, Steamrolled:
Though the vast majority of the benefits the Chester development is supposed to bring are associated with the mixed-use parcel, virtually all the public money allocated to the project is going straight to the construction of the stadium.
The state agencies awarding the millions appear, in some cases, to have failed or declined to ask basic questions about the economic benefits being promised.
Contamination on the site where the mixed-use development is to be built raises questions about whether delivering the promised amenities is even economically feasible.
And the very developers expected to build the mixed-use site the principals of the Wilmington-based Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) are part-owners of the soccer team, providing a potential disincentive for them to allocate any of the public money toward anything but the stadium, from which they hope to profit.Will The Team deliver on its promises? Or has the public the city of Chester, in particular been duped?
A year later, the answer appears to be: yes. Chester still has no supermarket. And, as this paper found likely a year ago, the stadium is complete without any work or any signs of it taking place on the "master plan," which was supposed to have provided the most jobs and economic benefits to Chester.
Dept of non-surprises: PA House Democrats to push again for slot machines in bars ... and lottery providers!
|Photo | Isaiah Thompson|
|It's "entertainment," babe: coming to a bar near you. (He sure looks happy).|
You know what natural gas and gamblers have in common?
Our elected officials will as dig deep, and at whatever cost to society, to exploit both as long as they can subsidize a tax here, or line a local slush fund there.
The difference? You can't can't make oil from scratch. Gamblers, on the other hand, can be created.
About a week ago (in a move that's received virtually no press, anywhere), Pennsylvania House Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fayette) announced that he will be introducing legislation to legalize "video poker" games in Pennsylvania, resurrecting a push last year to let every no, I need capital letters for this EVERY BAR IN THE STATE to host up to five "video poker" machines (slot machines, that is).
He is also calling and this hasn't been reported anywhere for slot machines to be allowed at places where lottery tickets are sold. Pro-gambling officials will deny that video poker machines are substantively different from slot machines. They are misinformed, as well as misleading the public, and I challenge any supporter of this legislation to prove otherwise.
The Fayette County lawmaker said clubs would be able to operate up to seven machines, licensed liquor establishment such as taverns and restaurants could operate up to five, and lottery sales agents could operate up to three machines. Machines operated by lottery sales agents would have to be located outside the general public's view and not accessible to people under age 21.
Mahoney said under his measure, the state could impose a maximum $1,000-per-year licensing fee per video poker machine. From that amount, $100 would go to the host municipality, $100 to the host school district and $50 to a nonprofit or community organization of the licensee's selection. Groups eligible for the $50-per-year funding would include fire and police departments, libraries and other nonprofit organizations.
The remainder of the licensing fee would be placed in the state's General Fund.
Think about it: slot machines in every bar in the state. That's as many as 60,000 or more new slot machines in Pennsylvania. The impact not just on gamblers, but on gamblers-to-be, on the down-and-out, and even on people who don't and will never gamble is hard to imagine. These slots won't even be at casinos. They'll be in our bars, right in our neighborhoods.
This isn't just some new law. It's a fundamental transformation of the nature of this state. It's Vegas, baby.
Mahoney, of course, is simply acting as the conduit of a plan long in the works. The casinos having won most of the favors they wanted, the state's powerful bar and tavern lobby (the PA Tavern Association) feels like it's their turn.
But this proposal to allow slots with lottery ticket sales? That's new.
Note the requirement that "Machines operated by lottery sales agents would have to be located outside the general public's view."
That's presumably supposed to be for the protection of the "general public" yet it also "protects" the gambler, doesn't it: from having to stop gambling, from being seen, from being interrupted by external stimuli (slot machines are designed to draw the player into a state of mind in which they will not stop playing until they're broke).
And it protects the gambling industry from being seen for what it is: predatory.
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