Some people read the newspaper for information about the city and world around them.
Some read it in order to know about what every sports team is doing (but please, no more impressive trades, Penguins -- I can't take any more) in order to sound like the most knowledgeable guy in their bar.
Some read it hoping they will stumble upon an obituary of someone they dislike.
The Morning File likes reading the newspaper, however, simply to be amused. It's not easy for us to find anything else to smile about first thing in the morning -- we look bad, we smell bad, the dog needs a walk in the cold, we have to get ready for work, we awake in a cold sweat night after night from the same nightmare in which we're watching the Pitt Panthers in the NCAA basketball tourney.
But the start of the day looks so much brighter when we stumble upon a headline like this one from Friday: "Strip club sues city over denied security." In this case, however, we were only amused until we read the details of this naked misjustice.
It seems the Blush club on Ninth Street, Downtown -- where immodest women disrobe in a convenient location for convention-goers, business executives and everyone associated with the grades 6-12 creative arts school -- is in the middle of a constitutional rights fight so monumental it makes all this Supreme Court discussion of gay marriage seem like a parking ticket dispute.
The owners of Blush believe they're getting the bum's rush from the city's police bureau, which has stopped permitting its officers to moonlight as security guards there. The longtime establishment has become collateral damage from the recent fuss over misuse of funds the city receives from the police bureau's secondary employment practices.
No one cared for years if officers made extra bucks helping prevent customers from getting out of line at what some call "gentlemen's clubs," but acting police Chief Regina McDonald apparently isn't buying that euphemism. Officers can still work off-duty for all kinds of other establishments where the people inside are known to keep their clothes on, no matter what else may take place, but not in places like Blush or Cheerleaders in the Strip District. (Note to Pittsburgh newcomers: The Strip District was named before Cheerleaders got there.)
You can imagine how this new policy would have knotted the knickers of the folks at Blush. Their lawsuit contends the city's violating not just one but two -- count 'em, two -- constitutional amendments guaranteeing free speech, due process and equal protection. (We also believe there's a good case to be made for violation of the 19th Amendment covering women's suffrage, which says attractive, scantily clad women have the right not just to vote, but to suffer in uncomfortable high heels.)
Aside from ever-pesky constitutional issues, there's the question of the city's obligation to respect a long-standing business -- one of the few in the city that still refuses to claim nonprofit status, mind you -- after it has served generations of this community's oglers in a decent way.
"[Blush] is a family-owned business," said its lawyer, Jonathan Kamin. "It's a pillar of the community."
Well, there you go -- everyone seems to like that the Rooney family has always run the Steelers, but you hardly ever hear anyone giving Blush's family (which for all we know is actually named Blush, which would be an awesome coincidence) the same credit. It's not like community pillars grow on trees. The last time the city treated a Downtown entrepreneur with such disdain, Candy-Rama had to close. So now we're going to risk losing our eye candy as well, by misguided, top-down (concerning tops off) decision-making?
It would be easy to accuse The Morning File of siding with Blush simply because, judging from the advertising in this newspaper's sports section each day, it and others of its ilk must provide some 40 percent of our ad revenue. But no -- no editor or publisher or advertising manager or anyone else focused on the bottom line has led us to take this position.
We simply feel the need to take a strong stand sometimes on issues of the day, and this morning, with amusement or not, we stand with, for, alongside and among the strippers.
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255.