The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, July 13, 2004  

Items in the News, Or Not
July 13, 2004

Condolences are in order to Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla on the tragic murder of her South African friend, Yvonne Welman.

Stewart Sentencing
Kmart today is advertising a in-store sale on Martha Stewart Everyday bedding. Meanwhile, in case you haven’t been keeping track at home, or in the event you’ve forgotten all about it, publisher Martha Stewart’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Friday in federal court. Observers apparently expect Stewart to be sentenced to 16 months in prison.

By comparison, Ruthann Aron, a wealthy real estate speculator from Potomac, Md., and once considered a rising star in the Maryland Republican Party, in 1998 was sentenced to three years in county jail for hiring a hit man to kill two men: her husband and a political opponent, and that after putting the state of Maryland through two trials (the first a mistrial).

To me the comparison between Stewart and Aron is just another example of justice mumbling.

Things Move Slower Out There
Gee whiz, I thought things moved, or at least are completed, slowly here in Philadelphia, but it appears Chicago is giving us a run for our money. The New York Times today reports (“A Prized Project, a Mayor, and Persistent Criticism,” by Steven Kinzer):

Even in a city with a worldwide reputation for innovative urban design, the opening this month of a spectacular new park and performance center near Lake Michigan promises to be a huge event.

The site, Millennium Park, is opening four years late and at three times the original budget, but few here are complaining. The park boasts an outdoor music pavilion designed by Frank Gehry, complete with his signature swirls of shiny metal; an underground theater with 1,500 seats; elaborate gardens with 250 varieties of plants; and other attractions that include an ice skating rink and a shower room for bicyclists.

I blame Frank Gehry. But then again, I blame Gehry for many things.

Where in the World is Palau?
The Los Angeles Times Sunday Travel section reports on Palau:

Despite its popularity with divers -- Jacques Cousteau was among its boosters -- Palau is relatively undiscovered. It’s off the radar of most Americans, with fewer than 3,000 visiting last year. Only about 70,000 visitors arrived overall, the size of the weekend crowd at a U.S. theme park.

Actually, Palau I’ve heard of. Not from staring at maps or anything; only because “Palau” often appears just above “Pennsylvania” on drop-down menus across the web.

“Your Ad Here”
Here’s an idea, one by way of Germany, for churches facing financial crises, or even bankruptcy. The Christian Science Monitor reports today (“First the Church, Then the Steeple,” by Isabelle de Pommereau):

Throughout Germany, churches are renting their facades for commercial messages. Supporters hail the development as an ingenious fundraising tactic. But critics argue the move dilutes the sacredness of churches. . . . The first controversial case arose in Berlin when an oversized portrait of German model Claudia Schiffer, promoting lipstick and shampoo from the French cosmetics company L’Oréal, wrapped the scaffolding around the 167-ft. bell tower of Germany’s best-known church.

Perhaps the Archdiocese of Boston could have avoided mortgaging the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

[Note: Additional items may be posted to “PP&T” after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda. Such items, when posted, are designated by an asterisk.]

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