Rittenhouse Chef Alex Capasso Arrested for Child Pornography

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Alex Capasso | Photo via an archived version of the Crow & the Pitcher website.

Alex Capasso has long been a part of the Philadelphia-area restaurant scene. He worked at Georges Perrier’s Brasserie Perrier before opening the acclaimed Blackbird Dining Establishment in Collingswood and, most recently, Crow & the Pitcher in Rittenhouse Square. But now Capasso is in jail facing child pornography allegations, as first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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SEPTA Reports Record for Regional Rail Ridership

Septa regional rail train

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

SEPTA this year has taken the express train to record Regional Rail ridership.

In the recently ended July 2014-June 2015 fiscal year, SEPTA regional trains saw 37.4 million annual trips, a more than two percent increase over 2014’s data, SEPTA said in a press release today. In the 2014 fiscal year, 36.7 million annual trips were recorded on Regional Rail, per a SEPTA Ridership and Revenue report.

With record Regional Rail ridership also reported in 2013, SEPTA has seen that division grow steadily over the past several years. Today’s report mentioned that for the 16th consecutive year, SEPTA has also operated with a balanced budget. Read more »

Is Stripper Registry Bill a Trojan Horse Meant to Shut Down Nudie Bars?

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Shutterstock.com

I don’t like strip clubs.

The first time I went to a nudie bar, I felt like I was watching pornography with a room full of people I would never even want to hug, let alone fire up RedTube.com next to. I decided pretty quickly that my first time would be my last time.

So I can understand why state Rep. Matt Baker might have the impulse to shut down strip clubs. The Tioga County Republican has introduced a bill that would require strippers to provide tons of information — their name, stage name, address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background information, trafficking status and photo ID — to a government registry. He says the legislation is singularly aimed at fighting the horrors of sex trafficking, but truth be told, it also appears to be designed to wreak havoc on the strip club industry.

And the thing is, you can’t just put a place out of business simply because you find it distasteful. I don’t personally like strip clubs (or casinos or pet boutiques) either, but I think they should be allowed to exist. Read more »

Why Pope Francis’ Visit Might Be Philly’s Biggest Challenge Ever

Pope Benedict celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium in 2008. He did it the easy way.| Shutterstock.com

Pope Benedict celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium in 2008. He did it the easy way.| Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

This week, it seems, Philly reached a tipping point.

We’ve known for a while now that Pope Francis will visit in September, that it’ll bring a lot of people to town, and that it’s going to make everything just a bit crazy. This week, though, is when it all seemed like it might be too much — like a backlash might be settling in.

It might’ve been talk of a perimeter fence. It might’ve been the proposal to shut down the Ben Franklin Bridge. Perhaps it was the notion of shutting down I-95. Whatever the trigger point, it’s all starting to seem a bit much.

The question is why?

Other cities have hosted the pope. Other cities have hosted the World Meeting of Families. And other cities have put on big events in a post-9/11 security environment. So why does it seem like we’re the ones being overwhelmed by the task?

Here’s the answer: What we’re doing is unprecedented.

Other cities have hosted the pope. But they’ve not invited the whole world into the heart of their city while trying to maintain War on Terror standards of security at the same time. Nobody has attempted this scale at this degree of difficulty. So maybe we need to give ourselves a collective break.

To get a sense, compare what’s happening in Philly to three other papal trips: Pope Benedict to New York in 2008, Pope John Paul II to Denver in 1993 and Pope Benedict to Milan in 2012.
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9 Things Derrick Pitts Says You Need to Know About Those Pluto Pics

Derrick Pitts | Franklin Institute. Pluto | NASA

Derrick Pitts | Franklin Institute. Pluto | NASA

Last week, when NASA’s New Horizons mission sent over the first high-resolution images of Pluto, the world got very interested in what they meant, and why it could matter to us on Earth. I’m not the most scientifically inclined person here at Philly Mag, so naturally I had some questions about these Pluto photos, for instance: “Why the heck should we care about a chunk of ice and rock billions of miles away?”

Derrick Pitts, Hon.D, the Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium over at the Franklin Institute, was kind enough to humor me. He tells us all we need to know about the ninth celestial body orbiting the Sun. (Stay tuned on that “orbiting” bit…) Read more »

Meisha Johnson Might Already Be Philly’s Favorite TV Personality

Meisha Johnson made an appearance Wednesday on the Phillies pregame show on SportsRadio 94WIP with Michael Barkann and Ray Didinger. Photo, courtesy of CBS3.

Meisha Johnson made an appearance Wednesday on the Phillies pregame show on SportsRadio 94WIP with Michael Barkann and Ray Didinger. Photo, courtesy of CBS3.

Even before she started her job this week as CBS3’s morning traffic reporter, Meisha Johnson was a hit in Philadelphia — at least judging by the some of the delirious Twitter reaction after the station announced her hiring. And then there was the delirious Twitter reaction to her debut. (A savvy social media user, Johnson cultivated her fandom by tweeting at and retweeting seemingly everybody who mentions her on the social media platform — all the Tweets in this post come from her feed.) That reaction has only gained momentum: Her morning appearances this week set off spikes in Philadelphia Google traffic for her name. It’s the reaction CBS3 execs must’ve hoped for when they hired her amidst a big shakeup that followed low ratings at the station.

The Minnesota native brings a trace of her accent to the job, as well as an intriguing history: Her dad was a boxer, her mother a ballerina, and Johnson herself was named after famed ballet dancer Mikhail “Misha” Baryshnikov.

Philly Mag talked with Johnson this week about her welcome to Philly, the differences between her new and old hometowns, and her favorite sports. Read more »

Police Respond to Viral Video of Officer Punching Suspect

On Thursday, Mediatakeout.com posted this video to its website and Facebook page:

DISTURBING VIDEO: Philly Police Officers PUNCH A Handcuffed Man TWICE In The Face . . . While Calling Him a P*SSY!! (They Don’t Even CARE . . . That They Are Being VIDEO’D)

Posted by Mediatakeout on Thursday, July 23, 2015

It appears to show a Philly police officer punching a cuffed suspect in the face while shouting a sexist slur at the man, then taunting the person taking the video. The video went viral — as of Friday morning, it had been shared 68,000 times from the Facebook page.

Only one problem? It’s old. A copy of the video was published on YouTube in 2010 — five years ago. Still, the quick spread of the video compelled Philly police to respond on Thursday evening: Read more »

Kaukab Siddique Keeps Saying Terrible, Anti-Semitic Stuff on Facebook

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Shutterstock.com

I wish I had never looked at Kaukab Siddique’s Facebook page.

But I couldn’t help myself—I got curious when I saw that the Lincoln University professor was making headlines across the country for remarks that included phrases like “dirty Jewish Zionist thugs.” “Well, that sounds intriguing,” I thought, not really taking it seriously. See, I often forget that people think horrible things about Jews. It’s 2015, for god’s sake, and I rarely encounter blatant anti-Semitism or discrimination due to my being Jewish. And unlike past generations of my family, my life is not significantly more difficult because I am a Jew. It is sometimes socially uncomfortable, and I do sometimes hide the fact that I’m Jewish, but I am not treated like a pariah.

So it’s easy for me to live in a bubble of denial, especially now that I no longer subscribe to publications from the Anti-Defamation League. Read more »

Uh-Oh! Cheating Online Isn’t Safe Anymore

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Shutterstock.com

“I mean isn’t that why we are here, to be as discreet as possible?”

Those enticing words probably sound a little different today to the Brockton, Massachusetts, man who posted them on the marital-cheating website Ashley Madison than they did when he typed them. He’s the first AM user publicly outed by hackers who this week compromised the adulterous secret identities of 37,000,000 current and former users of the site.

Intrigued? Want to know more? Of course you do; this is the Internet. Boston’s WBZ-TV reports: “Among the data released about the Brockton client of Ashley Madison: His user ID is ‘Heavy73’; he listed himself as ‘married/attached’; he joined the site the day after Valentine’s Day, 2014; he likes ‘cuddling & hugging’ and is into ‘discretion & secrecy.’” Read more »

Man With Plastic Bag on Head Robs Philly Dunkin Donuts

dd-plastic

Hours of police surveillance footage streams by every week, and so we have seen plenty of odd criminal disguises. Just today the police released footage of a man who they say robbed a Wawa in Tacony in June. He wore a bright orange Flyers sweatshirt for easy identification.

Also today the police released footage of a robbery of a Dunkin Donuts on Oregon Avenue near 4th Street.

The suspect wore a clear plastic bag over his head. Read more »

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