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Spider-Man arrest could spur Times Square performer rules

The latest in a string of incidents involving costumed performers harassing Times Square patrons could pave the way for new regulations against those performers. And a less-than-heroic act from Spider-Man is to blame. (Via Andreas Dantz / CC BY 2.0)

Seen in raw footage obtained by the New York Post, a man wearing a Spider-Man costume was arrested Saturday after he allegedly "punched a cop in the face" following a dispute over requesting money from Times Square patrons. 

According to WNBC, an unidentified woman offered a $1 tip to the man behind the mask, but 25-year-old Junior Bishop refused the dollar and allegedly insisted that he only accepted $5, $10 and $20 bills.

A nearby cop reportedly overheard the conversation, pulled Bishop aside and told the costumed web-slinger that he wasn't allowed to ask for money. And that's when things got ugly.

Police say Bishop shot back to the NYPD officer, “Mind your own (expletive) business," and continued to yell and swear. (Via New York Daily News)

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The officer then asked for his ID and, when Bishop didn't have one on him, police arrested him but he didn't go quietly, police said.

Bishop has been charged with assault, resisting arrest and criminal mischief and misconduct. (Via New York Post)

And The New York Times says Bishop has "aggressively demanded money from tourists" at least one other time, while performing as a different character.

Costumed character arrests have become a frequent free show for tourists wandering through Times Square — something the NYPD wants to crack down on.

A man dressed as Elmo from "Sesame Street" reportedly shouted anti-Semitic slurs in 2012. (Via Youtube / ciallkennett's channel)

In April 2013, a Cookie Monster performer was accused of pushing and endangering a young boy. (Via ABC)

Other incidents include recent sexual assault and groping charges for acts including Woody from "Toy Story" and Super Mario, respectively. There also was essentially a turf war brawl between two competing Statue-of-Liberty acts. (Via The Huffington PostWNYWGothamist)

President of Times Square Alliance Tim Tompkins told WCBS, "Quirky is fine. Creepy is not," and that most street performers "are honest folks who are out just trying to earn a living. But there's also some folks who are taking advantage of people."

The Manhattan City Council is currently drafting legislation that forces performers to obtain licenses and go through background checks, but the council has hit a few hangups because of copyright constraints. (Via The Wall Street Journal)

Additionally, The Wall Street Journal points out requiring licenses could infringe on the performers' First Amendment rights, and the policy could be difficult to enforce, as many who perform are illegal immigrants.

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  • SPUR, Texas - Three storm chasers were killed when their vehicles collided at a rural crossroads during severe West Texas storms on Tuesday. The storms spawned multiple funnel clouds and an occasional tornado in open areas of West Texas on Tuesday afternoon. No damage was reported. The crash happened at a remote intersection near the town of Spur, about 55 miles southeast of Lubbock. Tornadoes had been reported nearby at the time of the crash and heavy rain had been reported in the area, according to the National Weather Service. The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the three storm chasers killed as Kelley Gene Williamson, 57, and Randall Delane Yarnall, 55, both of Cassville, Missouri, and Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, of Peoria, Arizona. DPS Sgt. John Gonzalez said the Chevrolet Suburban driven by Williamson ran a stop sign and slammed into the Jeep driven by Yarnall with Jaeger as passenger. All three were killed instantly. In Oklahoma, video from KOKH-TV showed a semitrailer that overturned on Interstate 40 near El Reno due to high winds. On Wednesday, the threat shifts eastward, and forecasters say about 19 million people in Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana could see stormy weather, including the possibility of strong tornadoes.
  • Fake coupons for low-cost grocery store ALDI have been making the rounds again on Facebook and could give computers viruses. WSYR reported that Facebook user Melissa Sheriff noticed a post that claimed to offer a $100 off coupon at ALDI stores, and it seemed too good to be true. 'Next thing I know everyone is sharing it,' Sheriff said. 'People are sharing it on each other's pages and messaging the coupon to each other and tagging each other in posts saying, ‘Great deal, great deal, you have to print out this coupon.'' Aaron Sumida, vice president of ALDI’s Tully division, issued the following statement in response to the scam: We understand the confusion that some customers have experienced with digital coupon scams affecting ALDI and other retailers. On Friday, we shared a post on our Facebook page to let our customers know that ALDI doesn't issue electronic coupons or gift cards. These offers weren't authorized or distributed by ALDI and will not be honored at ALDI locations. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this situation may cause our customers. ALDI also addressed the scam in a Facebook post Friday. “There’s a fake ALDI coupon making its way around the internet…again. We don’t offer electronic coupons and they won’t be accepted at our stores. We’re working on fixing the situation, so if you’d like to help us out and spread the news, feel free to share this post. We’re sorry for the confusion,” the company said.
  • A bill that would require insurance carriers to consider the use of FORTIFIED construction techniques when determining premiums is moving forward in the Oklahoma legislature. The standards are set by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. House Bill 1720 does not mandate lower premiums - but Insurance Commissioner John Doak is confident the increased use of the stronger building techniques will drive down the cost of insurance for homeowners. Basically, FORTIFIED construction involves strongly connecting the roof to the walls and the walls to the foundation, greatly increasing the structure’s resistance to high winds. The bottom line, proponents say, is that Oklahomans will suffer storm damage every year, no matter what. But, “there’s going to be less damage for those consumers that embrace this program,” Doak told KRMG Tuesday. He hopes someday to possibly mandate lower premiums, but starting with a voluntary program is the best way to encourage wider use of FORTIFIED construction, he said. It’s not only for new homes, he added. “You can retrofit an older home,” Doak said, and the process doesn’t take very long. Habitat for Humanity has committed to building dozens of homes in Oklahoma using the new techniques. While such a home won’t withstand an EF-5 tornado, the great majority of damage in Oklahoma comes from straight-line winds and smaller tornadoes in the EF-1 to EF-2 range. HB 1720 passed unanimously in the Oklahoma House, by a vote of 93-0, and now goes to the Senate. Here is a video demonstrating the advantages of FORTIFIED construction:
  • At the request of four Democrats in the Congress, the Government Accountability Office has agreed to formally review how much money the feds spend, and what security precautions are taken, when President Donald Trump takes a weekend away at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida. The request for a GAO review came from three Democratic Senators and one House member – the GAO says it will “review security and site-related travel expenses related to the President’s stays outside the White House at Mar-a-Lago. The lawmakers who made the request were Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). On 2/16, @RepCummings @SenWarren @SenWhitehouse & I wrote @USGAO & asked they review Mar-a-Lago security procedures & taxpayer funded travel — Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) March 28, 2017 This is not new territory for the GAO, which from time to time is asked by one party or the other to review the costs of travel. When the White House was under the control of Democrats, Republicans a few years ago were the ones asking about costs – as they had the GAO look at a February 15-18, 2013 trip made by President Barack Obama. In that review, the GAO estimated that an official speech in Illinois, followed by a golf weekend in Florida, cost about $3.6 million. This GAO report will look at more than just the cost of the weekend trips to Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago, as it will also review security matters there. (CBSMiami/AP) — A government watchdog will investigate the taxpayer-funded travel costs of President Donald Trump’s trips to Mar-a-lago. — Liz Quirantes (@lizquirantes) March 28, 2017 Democrats raised those concerns during a trip that Mr. Trump took with the Japanese Prime Minister, when the two men were seen with aides in a public dining area, speaking about a developing national security issue with regards to North Korea. One question from the four Democrats centers on whether those who are at the Trump club have gone through normal security and clearance procedures, including any foreign nationals who might be there. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has downplayed the costs of the Mar-a-Lago visits, saying that’s ‘part of being President.’ “That is a vast reach,” Spicer told one reporter, who cast the question of the cost of the Mar-a-Lago visits, versus proposed cuts in the federal budget. Before he became President, Mr. Trump often criticized his predecessor for taking weekend golf trips to Florida and other parts of the country. While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2016 The GAO will now be in charge of determining how much Mr. Trump’s own weekend getaways are costing taxpayers.
  • J is not OK, as a name according to a Swiss court. The Zurich administrative court said in a ruling released Tuesday it had upheld a local registry's office decision to reject the letter as a given name in the best interests of the child, Switzerland's 20 Minuten news website reported. The court rejected the parents' argument they wanted to honor their daughter's great-grandparents Johanna and Josef with the initial as one of her middle names, saying they could have chosen the already-accepted Jo instead.  Though the parents wanted to pronounce the name 'Jay,' the court noted the letter is pronounced 'Yott' in German, creating confusion. The court also said people would be inclined to put a period after the J, though it wasn't an abbreviation.