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Weekly News Wrap-Up: New Philly Bike Lanes Coming, Beer at WalMart, Palin Should Resign From Fox News

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The Local:

Oh happy day – if you’re a biker (or someone who hates bikers getting in the way of their SUV.)

Federal stimulus dollars have come our way in the form of a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant. In camden ghettofact, $17 million in stimulating federal green. So what’s that mean? The cash goes to – and only to – expanding and connecting bike paths in Philly and our neighboring murder city. (Camden got $6 million for the same type of project.)

David Byrne told City Paper  a couple weeks back that our city’s bicycle facilities suck (“It didn’t seem particularly bike-friendly to me, though I know it claims to be”), so hopefully this’ll get the former Head to give us a little more love next time he’s in town. Andrew Stober, who’s the director of strategic initiatives for Mayor Nutter’s  office hasn’t come up with a comprehensive plan for the bike money as of yet. Suggested plans are to complete the Schuylkill River trail and/or add Philadelphia to the East Coast Greenway, which would add Philadelphia to a 3,000 mile trail from Maine to Florida, according to Philebrity.com.

We’ve got the Bicycle Boalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to thank for the recent development. So, um, thanks!

The State:

Did you feel like when preparing for your Snowmageddon lock-in, you wanted to purchase your milk, bread, eggs and beer all in the same convenient store?

I know I did.

Luckily, we’ve got State Senator John Rafferty on our case. This Lager-loving Patriot has introduced legislation to allow six- and 12-packs for sale in grocery stores – though he’s admitted his legislation is far-reaching.

According to a Business Week  article, there’ve been attempts at changing the commonwealth’s six-pack laws “since at least the early 1980s.” As is, you can only buy alcohol at distributorships and taverns – as our ale-ing readers are well aware. Last time Rafferty put this bill up, conflicts between distributors, brewers and taverns turned legislation into Event Horizon.

Proprietors are legitimately concerned for their business if stores like Wal-Mart are able to compete in selling swill. Rafferty claims his bill would bring down prices for consumers and says it would treat “adults like adults and it protects the rights of beer drinkers.”

The National:

In her Weekly Whine, Fox News  Contributor Sarah Palin  took to her Facebook page to complain about a recent unfunny Family Guy  gag in which cartoon boy Chris Griffin  dates a girl with Down syndrome. At dinner, when Griffin asks his date about her family, she describes her mother as the “former governor of Alaska.” Yes, a cheap shot. Yes, stupid. No, not funny.

She called the gag “another kick in the gut.” Then she presumably quoted her daughter, Bristol, whose response was “much more restrained” than her own would have been. Bristol said: “If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks.”

Outside of Palin’s late crazy “going rogue” stance against use of the word “retard,” what’s most interesting about this recent development is who made the joke. It wasn’t Rahm Emmanuel (who she’s called on to resign from the White House), it wasn’t Barack Obama, it was an adult cartoon on the Fox Network, whose writers’ paychecks ultimately come from the same global media mogul as Palin’s – NewsCorps owner Rupert Murdoch.

Conveniently, Palin referred to the cartoon’s owner in her post as “Fox Hollywood.”

Palin’s complaining has inevitably helped the show gain in popularity over the week, given the episode more hits on NewsCorps-owned Hulu.com, and brought up NewsCorps’ stock price – all of which is good for her and her colleagues.

It’s obvious most of Palin’s social network McOutrage is as phony as the Republicans’ “version of the healthcare bill.” What isn’t clear is how far she’s willing to go to convince what she calls “real Americans” she’s sincere.

Like a good Republican, she’s already backed down to radioman Rush Limbaugh when he’s called people whose brains are fully-formed, “retards” on the air. After Limbaugh’s remarks, Palin said through a spokeswoman (not even on her Facebook page!): “Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.”

Way to take a stance, chief.

If Palin wants to get her point across, she’ll resign from Fox News and find a company in which to work that doesn’t mock her family. I say this facetiously, since there’s no chance. But just imagine how far that stance would take her credibility.

Contact Randy LoBasso at rlobasso@philly2philly.com