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Monday, October 31, 2011

Cowboys vs Eagles – Vick, McCoy and ‘Dream Team’ Signs

Cowboys vs Eagles – Vick, McCoy and ‘Dream Team’ Signs

LeSean McCoy Cowboys vs Eagles   Vick, McCoy and Dream Team Signs

For the Dallas Cowboys, Head Coach Jason Garrett and Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, it was a humbling, even humiliating experience. Michael Vick’s passing and LeSean McCoy’s running picked their team apart, with Andy Reid orchestrating the whole show. The Philadelphia Eagles DESTROYED the Dallas Cowboys 34-7, and it wasn’t even that close.

The game looked over in the first half, maybe even the first quarter. The Eagles oozed smoothness, the secondary was all it was hyped up to be as the team was built as some ‘Dream Team’ during the off-season. The Cowboys struggled with every play. Tony Romo couldn’t find anyone open, anyone. The defense was outgunned, outmatched and worst of all, couldn’t get a minute to rest as their offense kept getting thrown off the field.

Michael Vick was the personification of efficiency, of cool passing, of decision making. He reminded us of his Monday Night display a year ago. He wasn’t AS spectacular, but didn’t make a single mistake. He threw for 279 yards (21-27), two touchdown passes, finishing with a QB rating of 129.9. In comparison, Tony Romo, with that questionable offensive line and high snaps, with a coach that made him play the most conservative game-plan ever, finishing with 203 yards (18-35), one TD, one interception and a 66.7 QB rating.

The Pre-Game headlines talked about the best rushing attack against the best run defense in the league. Not even a contest. The Eagles ran for 239 yards in 38 carries. LeSean McCoy simply couldn’t be stopped, running for 185 yards and two touchdowns, the sixth highest total for an Eagles running back ever.

Vick kept picking the middle apart. One pass inside, mostly to Jason Avant (5 receptions, 74 yards) and Tight End Brent Celek (7 receptions, 94 yards, one touchdown). And then McCoy ran up the middle. And then another pass, and again, and again. DeMarcus Ware got four sacks, but as the TV crew put it, those were the quietest four sacks ever made. The Eagles and Vick could live with those four sacks.

Rob Ryan Cowboys vs Eagles   Vick, McCoy and Dream Team Signs

Rob Ryan, especially mouthy and especially proud, got an A** Kickin’. He admitted it. I got outcoached by Reid and their staff. It’s ridiculous. I never gave our guys a chance. The whole thing was on me. He wasn’t alone in coaching, and performance failure. The Cowboys just looked unprepared in every aspect of the game. Whoever came up with the horrible offensive plan…

You got DeMarco Murray, who managed to run for 74 yards in 8 carries, coming off his monster week. Why not try him a little more? Because the playbook says you pass when you’re behind? Romo couldn’t find Dez Bryant or Mario Austin until garbage time. The Eagles allowed him to get it on with Witten and Laurent Robinson, who just don’t do the same damage.The Eagles secondary, playing man to man but also looking much more comfortable with the new schemes, finally, lived up to the expectations.

With the Giants looking the way they do, and winning the way they are, It’s hard to tell if the Eagles can catch up in the NFC East. What is certain, without a doubt, that they are a much better team right now than the Dallas Cowboys and the falling apart Washington Redskins. All the potential is coming together, and it’s impressive to watch. Winter is coming, and Andy Reid and the Eagles love winter.

Philadelphia Hosts Thousands For National Safety Council Annual Expo

Philadelphia Hosts Thousands For National Safety Council Annual Expo

(Safety experts answer attendees' questions during a panel discussion today at the Convention Center.   Credit:  Steve Tawa)

(Safety experts answer attendees’ questions during a panel discussion today at the Convention Center. Credit: Steve Tawa)

More than 10,000 environmental, health, and safety professionals are in Philadelphia this week for group discussions and networking during a convention in center city.

The nonprofit National Safety Council, which works to prevent injuries and deaths at work, in homes, and on the road, is hosting the world’s largest gathering of safety and health professionals.

In between keynote speakers there were what the NSC describes as “executive edge” track forums and workshops for safety-minded professionals. In one of them, Wil Harkins, the deputy chief of safety mission assurance for NASA, described NASA’s journey of cultural transformation after the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

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Teens Waiting For School Bus Struck By Car In Radnor Township, Delaware County

Teens Waiting For School Bus Struck By Car In Radnor Township, Delaware County

RADNOR TWP., Pa. (CBS) — Police in Radnor Township are investigating an accident that sent two 15-year-old school children to area hospitals this morning.

According to Radnor Police Sergeant Andy Block, a Philadelphia woman, whom he did not identify, lost control of her SUV while traveling through the 600 block of Conestoga Road.

Block says the westbound vehicle crossed over the eastbound lanes and struck the two teenagers, a boy and girl who were waiting for their school bus, then came to rest against a house.

Two medical helicopters were dispatched to the scene and landed on the grounds of nearby Radnor High School so the teens could be transported to hospitals in Philadelphia.

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United Nations marks 7 billionth baby

United Nations marks 7 billionth baby

AP Photo
Nurses hold newborn babies in Sidon, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. As of Oct. 31, according to the U.N. Population Fund, there will be 7 billion people sharing Earth's land and resources.

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- One South African mother, just 19, named her newborn "Enough" and shrugged off a nurse who questioned whether she was old enough to know how many children she wanted.

In Nigeria, newborn twins have to share a bassinet in a crowded public hospital that doesn't have enough electricity.

"Where there is life, there is hope," their mother said. But as the world's population surpasses 7 billion, fears were stirred anew about how the planet will cope with the needs of so many humans.

The United Nations marked the milestone Monday, even though it is impossible to pinpoint the arrival of the globe's 7 billionth occupant because millions of people are born and die each day.

At Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, the strain of caring for a burgeoning population was evident. The droning roar of a generator could be heard throughout one hot ward, where it powered ceiling fans and incubators. While Nigeria is oil-rich, it does not produce nearly enough power for its more than 160 million people.

Seun Dupe, a 32-year-old hairdresser who gave birth to the twins on Oct. 23, remained an optimist despite the staggering burden facing Africa's most populous nation and other developing countries. Her babies spent Monday squirming beneath a bundled-up mosquito net. She has yet to decide on their names.

Dupe was confident that new lives will ensure Nigeria's future as "a great nation."

Nigeria's megacity of Lagos is expected someday to surpass Cairo as the continent's most populous.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the day was "not about one newborn or even one generation" but "about our entire human family."

At a news conference in New York, he noted "a world of contradictions" - famine in the Horn of Africa, fighting in Syria and elsewhere and widespread protests against economic inequality.

"Seven billion population is a challenge," he said, and "at the same time, an opportunity, depending upon how the international community prepares for that challenge."

In South Africa, Nozipho Goqo, an unemployed 19-year-old from Johannesburg, gave birth Monday to a boy, her first child. She gave him a Zulu name - Gwakwanele - that means "enough."

A nurse at Charlotte Maxeke, a sprawling teaching hospital that serves a large region in and around the city, teased Goqo that she was too young to know whether this would be her last baby. Goqo smiled and said she was sure.

Across the maternity ward, Dora Monnagaratoe cuddled her newborn son in a bed. The 40-year-old maid named her fourth baby Tebogo, or "we are thankful" in the Sotho language.

"It's three girls and one boy now," said Monnagaratoe, herself one of eight children. "It's fine."

Demographers say it took until 1804 for the world to reach its first billion people and a century more until it hit 2 billion in 1927. Soon the numbers began to cascade: 3 billion in 1959, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1987, 6 billion in 1998.

The U.N. estimates the world population will reach 8 billion by 2025 and 10 billion by 2083. But the numbers could vary widely, depending on life expectancy, access to birth control, infant mortality rates and other factors.

In Uttar Pradesh, India - the most populous state in the world's second-most populous country - officials said they would appoint seven girls born Monday to symbolize the 7 billion.

India, which struggles with a deeply held preference for sons and a skewed sex ratio because of millions of aborted female fetuses, is using the day to highlight that issue.

"It would be a fitting moment if the 7 billionth baby is a girl born in rural India," said Dr. Madhu Gupta, a gynecologist. "It would help in bringing the global focus back on girls, who are subject to inequality and bias."

According to U.S. government estimates, India has 893 girls for every 1,000 boys at birth, compared with 955 girls per 1,000 boys in the United States.

Meanwhile, China, which at 1.34 billion people is the world's most populous nation, said it would stand by its one-child policy, a set of restrictions launched three decades ago limiting most urban families to one child and most rural families to two.

"Overpopulation remains one of the major challenges to social and economic development," Li Bin, director of the State Population and Family Planning Commission, told the official Xinhua News Agency. He said the population of China would hit 1.45 billion in 2020.

While the Beijing government says its strict family planning policy has helped propel the country's rapidly growing economy, it has also brought many problems.

Soon, demographers say, there won't be enough young Chinese to support its enormous elderly population. China, like India, also has a highly skewed sex ratio, with aid groups saying sex-selective abortions have resulted in an estimated 43 million fewer girls than there should be, given the overall population.

India, with 1.2 billion people, is expected to overtake China around 2030, when the Indian population reaches an estimated 1.6 billion.

NATO ends victorious 7-month Libya campaign

NATO ends victorious 7-month Libya campaign

AP Photo
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to reporters in Tripoli, Libya, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. NATO's top official is praising the Libyans for their "courage, determination and sacrifice" to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and says they have transformed Libya and "helped change the region." Fogh Rasmussen is in Tripoli to mark the end of the alliance's 7-month campaign over Libya, which played a key role in ousting Gadhafi. The NATO mission ends at midnight Monday Libyan time (2200 GMT, 6 p.m. EDT).

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- NATO's triumphant, 7-month air campaign against Libya ended Monday, setting the country on the path to a democratic transition less than two weeks after the capture and killing of ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The alliance turned down a Libyan request to extend the protective umbrella for a few more weeks, apparently eager to exit on a high note and wrap up a costly mission at a time of financial austerity.

The relatively quick victory in Libya represented a major boost for a Cold War alliance bogged down in a 10-year war in Afghanistan, a 12-year mission in Kosovo and the seemingly never-ending anti-piracy operation off the Somali coastline.

The operation's critics - including Russia, China and the African Union - have argued that NATO misused the limited U.N. resolution imposing a no-fly zone and authorizing the protection of civilians as a pretext to promote regime change.

But with alliance airstrikes helping open the way on the battlefield following a lengthy stalemate, revolutionary forces eventually captured Tripoli in late August and brought an end to the war with the death of Gadhafi on Oct. 20.

"Together, we succeeded. Libya is finally free," NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a joint news conference in Tripoli with Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, Libya's interim leader.

Addressing the Libyans, he said: "You acted to change your history and your destiny. We acted to protect you."

In the past seven months, NATO warplanes flew 26,000 sorties, including more than 9,600 strike missions, destroying more than 1,000 tanks, vehicles, and guns.

U.S. planes flew a quarter of those missions, mostly in support roles such as air refueling and surveillance of the battlefields, while the European allies and four partner nations conducted the vast majority of ground attacks.

As NATO pulled out, Libya's leadership, the 51-member National Transitional Council, was taking another step toward a democratic system, to be operational within two years. The council chose a new prime minister, U.S.-educated electrical engineer Abdurrahim el-Keib, who is to appoint a new government that will pave the way for general elections.

El-Keib, an NTC member from Tripoli with a doctorate from North Carolina State University, said he would appoint the government within two weeks.

The new government will oversee the drafting of a constitution. The NTC started out as an impromptu group of anti-Gadhafi activists, but evolved into a more carefully chosen interim government after the fall of the Gadhafi regime, said Jalal el-Gallal, an NTC spokesman.

Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO chief, suggested the possibility of a future partnership with a democratic Libya, but made clear that NATO is ending its role. Asked about reports of unsecured weapons sites across Libya, Fogh Rasmussen said that "it is now primarily the responsibility of the new authorities in Libya to make sure that weapons are properly secured."

Abdul-Jalil confirmed the presence of chemical weapons sites, and said foreign inspectors were arriving later this week to deal with the issue.

Libyan leaders had requested an extension of NATO protection for a few more weeks, but Libyan officials said that was turned down. NATO leaders have repeatedly emphasized that although overall the campaign went very well, the conflict placed a significant burden on some alliance capabilities.

"I think the critical resource that was stretched in the course of this was intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance," Adm. James Stavridis, NATO's top military commander, told The Associated Press in Brussels.

Some senior officers in NATO suggested the alliance needed to extract itself quickly from at least one of those engagements at a time when defense budgets in Europe and the United States are being slashed as part of public spending cuts and other austerity measures designed to deal with the economic crisis.

"Within the alliance ... we're concurrently doing Afghanistan, Libya for the past seven months, the Balkans, piracy (and) a counter terrorism operation in the Mediterranean," said Stavridis, who as the Supreme Allied Commander has ultimate responsibility for the wars and all other operations.

He noted that Libya represented the first completion of a NATO operation.

Asked whether NATO would possibly be providing training for the new Libyan army, Stavridis said that the focus of international assistance to Libya should be on a bilateral basis with Arab and Western nations.

"At the moment there's no discussion with in NATO about a follow-on role," he said. "We're not planning on anything nor have we been tasked with anything at this point."

The ouster of Gadhafi would not have been possible without NATO.

In the early days of the armed rebellion, anti-Gadhafi fighters rapidly seized territory, particularly in Libya's east, but quickly lost ground again, and by late March, Gadhafi's troops were advancing toward the rebellion's stronghold, the eastern city of Benghazi.

NATO interceded, armed with a U.N. Security Council mandate to protect Libyan civilians, and flew its first bombing sorties at the end of March. However, the alliance often appeared to be doing much more than shielding civilians.

It worked closely with revolutionary forces, its airstrikes of regime targets paving the way for rebel advances in those areas. It also widened the range of targets, going not just after tanks and rocket launchers, but also symbols of the Gadhafi regime, including his sprawling residential and government complex, Bab al-Aziziyah, in downtown Tripoli.

At one point, NATO bombed Libyan naval vessels after the Libyan navy tried to mine the harbor of the besieged rebel-held port of Misrata and tried to carry out attacks on shipping there.

With the end of NATO's Libya mission, the alliance has faced some calls to intervene in Syria's uprising.

But Fogh Rasmussen said NATO has no intention to get involved in Syria.

"I can completely rule that out," he said. "Having said that, I strongly condemn the crackdowns on the civilian population in Syria. What has happened in Libya sends a clear signal to autocratic regimes all over the world - you cannot neglect the will of the people."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boondocks At Phila. Front Page News

Boondocks At Phila. Front Page News

16 hrs ago

Paterno Sets Record In 10-7 Win Over Illinois

Paterno Sets Record In 10-7 Win Over Illinois

(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Joe Paterno broke Eddie Robinson’s record for victories by a Division I coach with No. 409 in Penn State’s sloppy 10-7 win against Illinois on Saturday.

The 21st-ranked Nittany Lions (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) overcame six fumbles with Silas Redd’s 3-yard touchdown run with 1:08 to go.

Illinois (6-3, 2-3) drove from its 17 to the Penn State 25, but Derek Dimke’s 42-yard field goal attempt bounced off the right upright as time expired.

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Eagles Prepare For The Dallas Blitz

Eagles Prepare For The Dallas Blitz

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, as his last name suggests, is going to blitz the opposing offense.

Just as his father, Buddy, did for years as a coordinator and as a head coach, and just as his brother, Rex, did and does as a coordinator and head coach, Rob sends as many as five and six defenders at a time after the quarterback.

“Yeah, he will blitz,” Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “He’ll move people around. He’ll move people over in unusual ways which are sort of uncommon. You see some of it from other teams, but he does it a little bit more.”

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Positively Philadelphia: Local Musicians Making A Difference For Kids

Positively Philadelphia: Local Musicians Making A Difference For Kids

(Credit:  Ed Fischer)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Area residents Cris Valkyria and Lou Paglione are both music lovers, musicians, and parents, and together they have put together a CD for children.

“It all started with me trying to potty train my son,” Cris (at left in photo) says. “I realized I needed a theme song but I didn’t like any of the songs out there for potty training, so I decided to make my own.”

The songs on their “Cris & Lou” CD, which they wrote and sing, is designed to help children learn in a fun way.

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SRC Plan To Close Or Consolidate Underused Schools To Be Unveiled This Week

SRC Plan To Close Or Consolidate Underused Schools To Be Unveiled This Week

From left: SRC member Joesph Dworetzky, Acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery, Interim SRC Chair Wendell Pritchett, SRC member Denise McGregor-Armbrister (credit: Mike DeNardo)

From left: SRC member Joesph Dworetzky, Acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery, Interim SRC Chair Wendell Pritchett, SRC member Denise McGregor-Armbrister

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A long-awaited plan to close or consolidate under-used Philadelphia school buildings is being unveiled this week.

Even though some Philly schools are overcrowded, the district says too many are underutilized. The plan recommending which schools should be closed or consolidated is being presented at Wednesday’s School Reform Commission meeting. A draft of the plan has been circulated for months, so some parents, like James Wright of E.M. Stanton Elementary, fear the worst.

“As taxpayers, we appreciate the tough decisions the district has to make in the coming months. However, the decision to close the school goes beyond dollars and cents. It should be focused on what is best for students,” Wright says.

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Electricity Slowly Being Restored To The Region, Mass Transit Back On Track

Electricity Slowly Being Restored To The Region, Mass Transit Back On Track

As of Sunday Morning at 9:30 a.m.:

PECO Energy labeled Saturday’s storm the worst ever in terms of customer outages. PECO is reporting about 70,000 outages and the goal is to have most of the power restored by midnight.

PSE&G is reporting 271,000 outages throughout the garden state with the majority in North Jersey.

PPL is reporting over 197,000 power outages with 3,500 of those customers located in Northern Montgomery County.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rare October Snow Cuts Power To Thousands Across The Region

Rare October Snow Cuts Power To Thousands Across The Region

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Mother Nature’s October surprise snowfall has already caused tens of thousands of power outages as trees weighted down by heavy flakes topple onto power lines.

PPL spokeswoman Lissette Santana says 76,000 customers were without power by mid-afternoon Saturday, mostly in the Poconos and Lehigh Valley.

She says 200 crews are trying to restore electricity, and the company is bringing in 30 more crews from Kentucky and contractors are on standby if needed.

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Cards, Rangers give baseball quite a run in Series

Cards, Rangers give baseball quite a run in Series

AP Photo
St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese celebrates after Game 7 of baseball's World Series against the Texas Rangers Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 6-2 to win the series.

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- David Freese swooped in, expecting Elvis Andrus to bunt. He did, but the ball trickled wide of the line.

The St. Louis third baseman scooped up the foul, scanned the crowd and spotted his target sitting near the Texas dugout: a man in the front row wearing a Rangers jacket, with a glove.

Freese flipped him the souvenir, drawing a big smile and making yet another friend in his hometown.

Then again, why not? There was plenty to share in this World Series.

A Game 6 that ranked among baseball's greatest thrillers. A three-homer performance by Albert Pujols that's probably the best hitting show in postseason history. Ron Washington running in place, Tony La Russa reacting in dismay at a ball that got away. Everyone learning how to chant Nap-Oh-Lee!

Oh, and a Rally Squirrel on the scoreboard and a telephone mix-up in the bullpen.

"I told you it was going to be a great series - and it was," Texas slugger Josh Hamilton said.

Hamilton put Texas ahead with an RBI double in the first inning Friday night in Game 7. Freese and the Cardinals, however, would not be denied. A night after twice rallying when it was one strike from elimination, St. Louis came back to win the championship with a 6-2 victory.

"Now that we've won it, it makes yesterday greater," La Russa said.

Said Hamilton: "It was actually fun to watch and fun to see. You hate it, but it happened."

An October for fans cherish, for sure. As for how many saw these games nationwide, the numbers will tell. Going into the finale, TV ratings were up 11 percent over last year when San Francisco beat Texas.

Even before the opener, many observers predicted this Series would be a dud because it lacked big-market teams. Minus the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies, some said, it would attract little attention.

Inning by inning, it got more intriguing.

"I know there's been a lot of conversation about ratings," Commissioner Bud Selig said before Game 7. "Some of it, in my opinion ... was misinformed."

No mistaking that it was quite a run for baseball.

Exactly a month before the Cardinals won their 11th championship, they clinched a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. The night of Sept. 28 was riveting - St. Louis capped a comeback from 10 1/2 games down to overtake Atlanta for the NL wild card, Tampa Bay completed its late surge to beat out Boston for the AL wild card.

The playoffs produced their moments, too. The one that brought winning and losing into a tight focus: Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals celebrating their 1-0 win over Roy Halladay in Philadelphia while star slugger Ryan Howard writhed on the ground, having torn his Achilles tendon during a game-ending groundout.

Soon after, the first Game 7 in the World Series since 2002.

"Somebody said on television, baseball has had a coming-out party since Labor Day. I don't think so. I think it's always there," Selig said. "It's produced for this country really a remarkable chain of events."

In a year punctuated by historic comebacks and epic collapses, it'd be easy to say the biggest rally of all belonged to baseball. That's what many like to say whenever the game shows up well.

Is it true, will that be so?

Selig insists the sport already is more popular than ever. Major league attendance slightly increased this season, ending three seasons of drops. The Chicago Cubs have renewed hope for next year after hiring Theo Epstein to oversee the club, a new ballpark is waiting in Florida for the team that will soon officially become the Miami Marlins.

Certainly a back-and-forth World Series boosted interest, helped by the two most magical words in sports: Game 7.

"There isn't anybody on this team, the other team, too, that when you're a young kid you don't think about winning the World Series, and it's always in Game 7," La Russa said.

Freese delivered the key hit, a two-run double that tied it in the first inning. The MVP of the NL championship series wound up adding the World Series MVP trophy.

He saved the Cardinals' season in Game 6, lining a two-strike, two-out, two-run triple in the ninth and then hitting a winning home run in the 11th.

An inning before Freese connected, Hamilton homered to put Texas ahead. Had the Rangers held on, mostly likely Mike Napoli would've been picked the Series MVP. So, so close.

Freese estimated he got about 45 minutes of sleep as Thursday night turned into Friday. A lot to think about for a player who quit baseball out of high school because it wasn't fun anymore. From done to donating his bat and jersey to the Hall of Fame.

"I'm trying to soak this all in," he said. "I've tried to soak in this whole postseason as much as I can because you never know if it's your last attempt at a title."

GOP rivals focus on flat taxes, smaller government

GOP rivals focus on flat taxes, smaller government

AP Photo
FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters outside the State House in Concord, N.H. They�ve rolled the dice. The top Republican presidential rivals are locked in a game of one-upmanship, each trying to outdo the other in offering the boldest economic plan for the party�s efforts to unseat President Barack Obama next November.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- On jobs and taxes, the top Republican presidential rivals are locked in a fierce game of one-upmanship. They're all trying to outdo each other in offering the boldest economic plan for the campaign to unseat President Barack Obama next November.

Despite some notable differences in the blueprints, they all are built around the central theme that Obama's stimulus programs haven't worked and his job creation record is dismal. Example No. 1: Unemployment is holding at a painfully high 9.1 percent.

"We knew ultimately that the 2012 election was going to be a big referendum on the president," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office who was the chief economic adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "But Republicans also have to say what they would do. It's not enough to say we don't like what's going on."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry teased rival Herman Cain - "I'll bump plans with you, brother" - when both rolled out ambitious proposals for a single-rate flat tax. That's a concept hailed by numerous Republicans and some Democrats for its simplicity, yet it never has managed to attract much congressional support. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the lone major GOP contender not calling for a flat or flatter tax.

The 2012 contenders also are serving up a platter of familiar conservative fare: calls for deep spending cuts, reduced government regulation and an emphasis on private enterprise as the true engine of job growth and prosperity.

The plans underscore the party's attempt to respond to the biggest voter concerns of the day and capitalize on what they see it as Obama's chief vulnerability, the still shaky recovery. The candidates claim their various plans would help create millions of private sector jobs; just how is not always clear.

With polls showing that most people support increasing taxes on the wealthiest households, as Obama and Democrats are proposing, the GOP flat-tax plans would largely end up as a boon to the wealthiest, independent analyses suggest.

The tax debate coincides with spreading protests, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, against economic inequality. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported the top 1 percent of American earners doubled their share of national income over the past 30 years, to 20 percent.

Some of the GOP plans show depth, complexity and sophistication, Holtz-Eakin said. Not every economist is as charitable or sees the GOP offerings as workable.

"I don't think any of the plans can be taken too seriously as actual policy," said Bruce Bartlett, who held top economic posts in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations but now considers himself a political independent.

"The Republican goal is to nominate the person who is the most committed, most articulate in terms of the Republican philosophy. What they're competing for is who best represents that core philosophy and articulate it in a way that the base finds satisfying," Bartlett said.

No matter that some GOP dogma, such as an insistence that cuts in business taxes and government regulation will spur private-sector job growth, "is economic nonsense," Bartlett said.

All the GOP rivals would pare federal regulations.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., would kill the Environmental Protection Agency and repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial industry regulation law. Romney is proposing a 10 percent cut in the federal workforce. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum wants to repeal all regulations put in place by Obama. "The federal government kills jobs. We don't need more programs and bureaucrats telling business how to operate," he says.

Economists generally agree the shortage of jobs isn't caused by government overregulation but by a lack of consumer demand. A recent Labor Department survey showed that less than 1 percent of all layoffs in the past four years have been attributed by employers to government regulation.

With consumer spending driving two-thirds of the U.S. economy, those without jobs have little money to spend. Many with jobs fear losing them, or their houses are worth less than their mortgages, so they have little spare cash or borrowing ability.

Killing off Obama's health care overhaul is a common feature of the GOP plans. So, too, is a proposal to offer American companies a chance to bring money generated overseas back into the U.S. without being taxed. But studies have shown that a similar repatriation "holiday" in 2004-2005 had little effect on job growth.

Some Republicans go further than others. For instance, Bachmann says she would consider allowing oil and gas exploration in the Florida Everglades. None of her rivals has been that bold, perhaps given Florida's importance in presidential calculus.

Hoping to coax more U.S. export jobs, Romney threatens to trade penalties against China if it does not boost the value of its currency. "If you're not willing to stand up to China, you'll get rolled over by China," he says. But former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who recently served as U.S. ambassador to China, argues that such penalties probably would lead to a trade war that would hurt both economies.

On taxes, Romney would make incremental changes and move later to a simpler system. For now, he would extend Bush-era tax cuts, lower the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 25 percent and exempt investment income for those earning less than $200,000. He would extract more U.S. oil, coal and natural gas, expand trade pacts and cut federal spending.

Rep. Ron Paul's plan is the most radical. The Texas Republican, a libertarian, would scrap the income tax entirely. He contends the government didn't have the authority to impose it in the first place. He would make ends meet through excise taxes, tariffs, and a smaller government. In the process, he would abolish the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve.

Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO who has replaced Romney as the GOP front-runner in some recent polls, repeatedly pushes his "9-9-9" tax plan that would cut personal and corporate tax rates to 9 percent each and impose a new 9 percent federal sales tax.

Perry's plan would give taxpayers the choice of paying at a flat rate of 20 percent or adhering to the current tax structure. He would preserve deductions for mortgage interest, charitable donations and state and local tax taxes for households earning less than $500,000 a year and offer a $12,500 exemption for individuals and dependents.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has proposed a 15 percent optional flat tax. Huntsman would set up a three-tiered system with a top rate of 23 percent. Bachmann would replace the tax code with a yet-to-be specified flat tax. Santorum proposes a "simpler, flatter and fairer" tax without offering specifics. He would cut the corporate tax in half and eliminate it for manufacturers who keep jobs in the U.S.

In the past, flat tax schemes - pushed by Democrat Jerry Brown in 1992 and Republican publisher Steve Forbes in 1990 and 2000 - failed to generate much political traction, in part because most plans would put a disproportionate burden on lower-income families.

Quick studies of the current major GOP proposals by independent research groups have made similar findings

Friday, October 28, 2011

Feds Say Fumo Lying and Denying His Way Through Too-Short Prison Term

Feds Say Fumo Lying and Denying His Way Through Too-Short Prison Term

(Former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Fumo, following his 2009 conviction in federal court on 155 counts of corruption.)

(Former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Fumo, following his 2009 conviction in federal court on 155 counts of corruption.)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Less than two weeks before convicted former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Fumo is set to be resentenced on his corruption convictions, federal authorities have released a series of what they call “explosive e-mails” that they hope will convince the judge that Fumo is unchanged and unrepentant.

Fumo was sentenced to 55 months in prison, it was overturned on appeal by the prosecution, and authorities say this new evidence backs their argument that Fumo should spend more like 20 years in prison.

For full story go to:

Game 7: Carpenter starts, can Rangers recover?

Game 7: Carpenter starts, can Rangers recover?

AP Photo
The World Series trophy is seen before Game 6 of baseball's World Series, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals face the Texas Rangers in Game 7 on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.

Game 7 of the World Series. The most exciting night in baseball.

Except for last night, that is. What could possibly top that?

Following one of the most thrilling finishes in postseason history, the Rangers and Cardinals are back at it tonight, less than 20 hours after David Freese's 11th-inning homer for St. Louis pushed the Series to the limit.

Truly, a Fall Classic.

Winner takes all tonight. First pitch is 8:05 p.m. EDT at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals seem to have everything on their side - momentum, history and their No. 1 pitcher on the mound. After much debate about what manager Tony La Russa would do, Chris Carpenter is set to start on three days' rest for the second time in his career.

The first time was Game 2 of the NL division series in Philadelphia, and that one didn't go very well. But the 36-year-old right-hander says he learned a few things about how to handle pitching on short rest.

The home team has won eight straight Game 7s in the World Series, a streak started by the Cardinals in 1982 against Milwaukee. This is the first time the Series has gone the distance since 2002, when the Angels beat San Francisco.

Matt Harrison gets the ball for Texas. Let down by his defense, he was pulled in the fourth inning of a Game 3 defeat.

Twice, the Rangers were one strike away from their first World Series championship Thursday night. They couldn't nail it down.

Now, after such a painful defeat, can they possibly recover? The last team to win Game 7 of the World Series on the road was the Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore in 1979.

Almost lost in all the back-and-forth excitement Thursday night were injuries to several key players. Nelson Cruz strained his right groin and Mike Napoli twisted his left ankle, but both Rangers sluggers are in the Game 7 lineup.

Matt Holliday, however, was removed from the St. Louis roster with a bruised right wrist. Allen Craig starts in left field in place of Holliday.

La Russa also dropped slumping leadoff man Rafael Furcal to seventh in the lineup and Skip Schumaker to eighth. Second baseman Ryan Theriot is at the top of the order and Craig bats second in front of Albert Pujols.

Holliday's absence might not be such a terrible thing for the Cardinals.

Sure, it shortens their lineup. He's a dangerous hitter and a legitimate All-Star. But he really struggled with his swing during the World Series (.158), and he hurt the Cardinals with his glove and on the bases in Game 6, too.

With Holliday out, Freese moves up to fifth in the lineup, perhaps providing better protection for Pujols and Lance Berkman. Freese has been a clutch hitter throughout the postseason, never more so than Thursday night.

Speedy outfielder Adron Chambers, a rookie, replaced Holliday on the active roster.

Clear skies at Busch Stadium. The temperature is 51 degrees, with a little light wind.

All set to play ball.

Many cities leaving Wall Street protesters alone

Many cities leaving Wall Street protesters alone

AP Photo
Josh Funn confronts San Diego Police officer B.A. Jackson outside police headquarters following the arrest of 51 Occupy San Diego protesters Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 in San Diego. ��Dozens of police officers and San Diego County sheriff's deputies descended on the encampment around 2:30 a.m. Friday, declared an unlawful assembly and removed tents, canopies, tables and other furniture.

NEW YORK (AP) -- While more U.S. cities are resorting to force to break up the Wall Street protests, many others - Philadelphia, New York, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore., among them - are content to let the demonstrations go on for now.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for example, said Friday that the several hundred protesters sleeping in Zuccotti Park, the unofficial headquarters of the movement that began in mid-September, can stay as long as they obey the law.

"I can't talk about other cities," he said. "Our responsibilities are protect your rights and your safety. And I think we're trying to do that. We're trying to act responsibly and safely."

Still, the city made life a lot harder for the demonstrators: Fire inspectors seized a dozen cans of gasoline and six generators that powered lights, cooking equipment and laptops, saying they were safety hazards.

In the span of three days this week, police broke up protest encampments in Oakland, Calif., Atlanta and, early Friday, San Diego and Nashville, Tenn.

State troopers in Nashville cracked down after authorities imposed a curfew on the protest. Twenty-nine people were arrested and later released after a judge said the demonstrators were not given enough time to comply with the brand-new rule. They received citations for trespassing instead.

Fifty-one people were arrested in San Diego, where authorities descended on a three-week-old encampment at the Civic Center Plaza and Children's Park and removed tents, canopies, tables and other furniture.

Officials there cited numerous complaints about human and animal feces, urination, drug use and littering, as well as damage to city property - problems reported in many other cities as well. Police said the San Diego demonstrators can return without their tents and other belongings after the park is cleaned up.

Earlier this week, in the most serious clashes of the movement so far, more than 100 people were arrested and a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran suffered a skull fracture after Oakland police armed with tear gas and bean bag rounds broke up a 15-day encampment and repulsed an effort by demonstrators to retake the site.

But other cities have rejected aggressive tactics, at least so far, some of them because they want to avoid the violence seen in Oakland or, as some have speculated, because they are expecting the protests to wither anyway with the onset of cold weather.

Officials are watching the encampments for health and safety problems but say that protesters exercising their rights to free speech and assembly will be allowed to stay as long as they are peaceful and law-abiding.

"We're accommodating a free speech event as part of normal business and we're going to continue to enforce city rules," said Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for the mayor of Seattle, where about 40 protesters are camping at City Hall. "They have the right to peacefully assemble. Ultimately what the mayor is doing is strike a balance."

Authorities have similarly taken a largely hands-off approach in Portland, Ore., where about 300 demonstrators are occupying two parks downtown; Memphis, Tenn., where the number of protesters near City Hall has ranged from about a dozen to about 100; and in Salt Lake City, where activists actually held a vigil outside police headquarters this week to thank the department for not using force against them.

In the nation's capital, U.S. Park Police distributed fliers this week at an encampment of more than 100 tents near the White House. And while the fliers listed the park service regulations that protesters were violating, including a ban on camping, a park police spokesman said the notices should not be considered warnings.

In Providence, R.I., Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said the protesters will not be forcibly removed even after the Sunday afternoon deadline he set for them. He said he intends to seek their ouster by way of court action, something that could take several weeks.

"When you see police having to quell disturbances with tear gas or other means, it's not what the police want and it's not what we want to see in our society," Pare said.

Similarly, in London, church and local government authorities are going to court to evict protesters camped outside St. Paul's Cathedral - though officials acknowledged Friday it could take weeks or months to get an order to remove the tent city.

Several hundred protesters against economic inequality and corporate excesses have been camped outside the building since Oct. 15. On Oct. 21 cathedral officials shut the church, saying the campsite represented a health and safety hazard.

It was the first time the 300-year-old church, one of London's best-known buildings, had closed since German planes bombed the city during World War II.

In Minneapolis, where dozens have been sleeping overnight on a government plaza between a county building and City Hall, the three-week-old occupation has been far tamer than those in other cities, with only a few arrests.

Sheriff Rich Stanek has made it a practice to meet with protesters daily to talk about their issues and the day ahead, and he has refused to engage what he called "the 1 percent" who want to cause trouble.

"We decided that's not the tactic we want to take. Doing that sometimes requires biting your tongue," he said. He added: "Some people have said that's `Minnesota nice.' It's a balance."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tao Xu, A 6-11 Chinese National Basketball Player, Comes To Haverford School

Tao Xu, A 6-11 Chinese National Basketball Player, Comes To Haverford School

Tao Xu (credit: Joseph Santoliquito)

Tao Xu

The first glimpse of him in the Haverford School (Haverford, PA) gym stirred chants of “Tao, Tao, Tao.” Some among the group of boys tossing around a volleyball after school weren’t exactly that familiar with Tao Xu (pronounced Towel Zoo). So they gaped at him with wide eyes, while those who have seen him around the last few days in the halls of the prestigious all-boys’ high-academic prep school pointed and playfully continued chanting his name, “Tao, Tao, Tao.”

For full story go to:

2 Workers Plead Guilty To Murder In West Philadelphia Abortion Case

2 Workers Plead Guilty To Murder In West Philadelphia Abortion Case

Two workers at Kermit Gosnell's West Philadelphia abortion clinic are expected to plead guilty Thursday. (file photo)
Two workers at Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic are expected to plead guilty Thursday.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two workers inside the West Philadelphia abortion clinic run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell have pleaded guilty to third degree murder charges.

It’s a case that has attracted international attention, following a gory grand jury report earlier this year, detailing horrific crimes allegedly committed inside the center.

Sherry West and Adrienne Moton were unlicensed workers at the Women’s Medical Society, the now closed clinic at 38th and Lancaster in West Philadelphia.

For full story go to:

Despite Jeers, Philadelphia Lawmakers Approve Stricter Curfew Law

Despite Jeers, Philadelphia Lawmakers Approve Stricter Curfew Law

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(Protesters react at today's vote in City Council chambers.  Credit:  Mike Dunn)

Protesters react at today’s vote in City Council chambers.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Council has approved revisions to the city’s curfew law, changes requested by the mayor in the wake of last summer’s flash mob attacks.

Today’s vote came after nearly two dozen speeches from citizens opposed to the curfew.

Shouting “shame” at councilmembers, opponents blasted Mayor Nutter for a curfew that they believe does little to solve the problem of flash mobs and that will, in their view, only encourage police harassment of minorities.

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KYW’s Karin Phillips Receives First-Ever Legacy Award From Multicultural Affairs Congress

KYW’s Karin Phillips Receives First-Ever Legacy Award From Multicultural Affairs Congress

KYW's Vince Hill, left, accepts the Multicultural Affairs Congress' "Legacy" Award on behalf of late colleague Karin Phillips from city representative Melanie Johnson. (Credit: Mike Denardo)
KYW’s Vince Hill, left, accepts the Multicultural Affairs Congress’ “Legacy” Award on behalf of late colleague Karin Phillips from city representative Melanie Johnson.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - She is gone, but certainly not forgotten. Karin Phillips, the longtime community affairs reporter for KYW Newsradio who died last month, was honored posthumously this afternoon by the city Multicultural Affairs Congress.

This is the kind of story Karin would have covered: the Multicultural Affairs Congress’ 17th Annual Recognition Luncheon. Only this time, it was Phillips receiving the first-ever Legacy Award.

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3 On Your Side: A Warning About Solar Scams

3 On Your Side: A Warning About Solar Scams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Have you considered going green and adding solar panels to your home?

They’re supposed to help you save money on your energy bills while helping the environment. Well 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan has a warning about solar scams that you need to hear before you make the switch to solar energy.

Charles Bohmfalk spent more than $7,000 to have solar panels installed on his roof. A contractor promised him the system “would pay for itself,” saving Charles more than $1,000 a year on his electric bills.

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Bail Set At $2M For South Philadelphia Coach Accused Of Molesting Boys

Bail Set At $2M For South Philadelphia Coach Accused Of Molesting Boys

Spadaccini_Louis DL

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Bail has been set at $2 million dollars for 37-year-old Lou Spadaccini, a popular South Philadelphia baseball coach accused of molesting some of the boys who played for him.

Spadaccini waved a preliminary hearing, which means we won’t hear any testimony until the trial begins. However, in laying out the case for a high bail amount, Assistant D.A. Branwen McNabb gave a graphic description of the crimes Spadaccini is accused of committing against two boys.

“In a nutshell, the defendant is accused of providing minor children, ages 13 and 14, with alcohol, drugging them without their knowledge with Xanax and in some of the cases, performing sexual acts and forcing the child to perform sexual acts,” McNabb explained.

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After poor debates, Perry may skip some in future

After poor debates, Perry may skip some in future

AP Photo
FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speak during a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. Perry won't commit to upcoming GOP presidential debates after a couple of recent rocky performances pulled him down in national polls. Seeking to reintroduce himself to the nation on his own terms, he's returning to the play-it-safe strategy he successfully employed in running for governor of Texas. His decision could cause other Republicans to bow out of some of the dozen-plus forums and debates between now and the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Rick Perry may skip some upcoming GOP presidential debates, sidestepping a campaign staple that hasn't been kind to the Texas governor in his first two months on the national stage. It's a decision that ultimately could cause other Republicans to bow out of the more than half-dozen face-offs scheduled between now and the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.

Perry does plan to participate in a Nov. 9 debate at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. - his sixth - but he hasn't committed to any others beyond that as political advisers hunker down to determine how best to proceed. He's juggling fundraising and retail campaigning with only two months before the first votes in the Republican nomination fight are cast.

"We haven't said no, but we're looking at each debate," campaign spokesman Mark Miner said Thursday. "There are numerous - 15, 16, 17 - debates, and we're taking a look at each one and we're making the appropriate consideration."

He said that "while debates are part of the process, they're just one part."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, considered the Republican candidate to beat because of his leads in national polls, fundraising and organization, also has not committed to debating beyond Michigan. His campaign has made debate commitments on a case-by-case basis depending on how each fits his schedule and strategy. For instance, he skipped the leadoff debate in South Carolina in June when the GOP field was still gelling and few top-tier candidates participated.

For Perry, who is not nearly as well-known as Romney, there's more to it than time management.

As he reboots his fledgling campaign, Perry clearly also is trying to reintroduce himself to the nation on his own terms. After a couple of recent rocky debate performances hurt his poll standings, he's returning to the play-it-safe strategy he successfully employed in running three times for governor of Texas.

The state's longest-serving governor, he never has lost an election and has debated his rivals only when it couldn't be avoided. Perry has long conceded he's not a strong debater, and he contends that his up-close charisma and ability to take a more personalized message directly to voters is the key to his success. His closest advisers have built campaigns around that approach and their candidate's ferocious campaign-trail energy.

It's unclear whether this approach will work in a national campaign, where debates provide candidates new to the national stage with a huge dose of free media as they look to make themselves better known to primary voters. The stakes are high. Do well, and you could enjoy a burst of momentum as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann did over the summer. Do poorly, and you risk falling out of favor as Perry can attest.

This year, the Republican primary debates have drawn large audiences and have significantly shaped the contours of the race. Eight debates already have been held, and nearly a dozen more are scheduled before January's end.

Media companies and state Republican Party leaders schedule them without the campaigns' consent. It's up to the candidates to decide whether they participate.

Perry has made his disdain for the encounters clear.

"These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidate," he said Tuesday on The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel. "So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever doing one of the (debates) when all they're interested in is stirring up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people."

Rival campaigns jumped on Perry.

"You have to go to debates if you want to succeed in the new era," chided Steve Grubbs, chairman of Herman Cain's Iowa campaign.

But Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, a former aide to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, said Perry must play to his strength, not his weakness.

"During those debates, he looks like the Washington Generals while Mitt Romney is the Harlem Globetrotters scoring all around him," O'Connell said. "A lot of people have written him off as a bad debater already, so you might as well make up ground like you have during 10 years as Texas governor, and that's pressing the flesh, getting to know the people."

In the debates so far, Perry has flubbed ready-made attack lines and rambled through answers. He's looked unprepared, if not angry and confused at times. And, in one debate in which Perry's advisers thought he had shown improvement, observers tagged him as a bully.

None of that is much of a surprise to people in Texas, who know Perry as a reluctant debater.

He cruised to re-election last year without ever debating Democratic challenger Bill White. Perry refused to share a stage with White unless the former mayor of Houston released his tax return.

White actually released all but one part of his return, which contained information about a business partnership that he wasn't allowed to make public. Perry seized on that, though, and avoided a debate altogether.

"I was stunned that he was able to make it the whole way through the 2010 campaign without debating," said J.D. Gins, who served as field director for the White campaign. "I think most people saw through it, saw that he really didn't want to get up there and defend his record. As we're all seeing now, he's shaky when he is thinking on his feet."

Perry did debate during last year's Texas Republican primary race and also during his gubernatorial races in 2002 and 2006.

At his campaign's insistence, however, the 2006 debate was held in Dallas on the eve of the annual Cotton Bowl showdown between Texas and Oklahoma. It was a Friday night, too, meaning many would-be voters were distracted by high school football - something of a religion in much of Texas.

European debt deal lifts Dow by almost 340 points

European debt deal lifts Dow by almost 340 points

AP Photo
Specialist James Denaro, right, directs trading at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011.

NEW YORK (AP) -- An agreement to contain the European debt crisis electrified the stock market Thursday, driving the Dow Jones Industrial average up nearly 340 points and putting the Standard & Poor's 500 index on track for its best month since 1974.

Investors were relieved after European leaders crafted a deal to slash Greece's debt load and prevent the crisis there from engulfing larger countries like Italy. The package is aimed at preventing another financial disaster like the one that happened in September 2008 after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

But some analysts cautioned that Europe's problems remained unsolved.

"The market keeps on thinking that it's put Europe's problems to bed, but it's like putting a three-year old to bed: You might put it there but it won't stay there," said David Kelly, chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.

Kelly said Europe's debt problems will remain an issue until the economies of struggling nations like Greece and Portugal grow again.

Commodities and Treasury yields soared as investors took on more risk. The euro rose sharply against the dollar.

Stronger U.S. economic growth and corporate earnings also contributed to the surge. The government reported that the American economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate from July through September on stronger consumer spending and business investment. That was nearly double the 1.3 percent growth in the previous quarter.

Banks agreed to take 50 percent losses on the Greek bonds they hold. Europe will also strengthen a financial rescue fund to protect the region's banks and other struggling European countries such as Italy and Portugal.

"This seems to set aside the worries that there would be a massive contagion over there that would have brought everything down with it," said Mark Lamkin, head of Lamkin Wealth Management.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 339.51 points, or 2.9 percent, to 12,208.55. That was its largest jump since Aug. 11, when it rose 423.

All 30 stocks in the Dow rose, led by Bank of America Corp. with a 9.6 percent gain. It was the first time the Dow closed above 12,000 since Aug. 1.

Even with Thursday's gains, the Dow remains 4.7 percent below the high for the year it reached April 29. The Dow has fallen every month since then due to a combination of a slowdown in the U.S. economy, a worldwide parts shortage after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and concerns about the European debt crisis. The Dow is now at approximately the same level it traded at on July 28.

Stocks fell for much of August in the wake of a last-minute deal to prevent the U.S. government from defaulting on its debt.

But anticipations of a solution to Europe's debt problems and signs that the U.S. economy is not in another recession have lifted stocks higher throughout October.

The Dow is up 11.9 percent for the month so far. With only two full days of trading left in the month, the Dow could have its biggest monthly gain since January 1987.

The S&P 500 rose 42.59, or 3.7 percent, to 1,284.59. Those gains turned the S&P positive for the year for the first time since Aug. 3, just before the U.S. government's debt was downgraded. The index is up 13.5 percent for the month, its best performance since a 16.3 percent gain in October 1974.

The Nasdaq composite leaped up 87.96, or 3.3 percent, to 2,738.63.

Small-company stocks rose more than the broader market. That's a sign investors were more comfortable holding assets perceived as being risky but also more likely to appreciate in a strong economy. The Russell 2000 index jumped 5.3 percent.

Raw materials producers, banks and stocks in other industries that depend on a strong economy for profit growth led the way. Copper jumped 5.8 percent to $3.69 a pound and crude oil jumped 4.2 percent to $93.96 a barrel.

The euro rose sharply, to $1.42, as confidence in Europe's financial system grew. The euro was worth $1.39 late Wednesday and had been as low as $1.32 on Oct. 3. European stock indexes also soared. France's CAC-40 rose 6.3 percent and Germany's DAX jumped 6.1 percent.

Investors sold U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, an indication they were moving away from safer investments. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves in the opposite direction of its price, rose to 2.39 percent from 2.21 percent late Wednesday.

European leaders still have to finalize the details of their latest plan. French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke with Chinese President Hu Jintao amid hopes that countries with lots of cash like China can contribute to the European rescue.

Past attempts to contain Europe's two-year debt crisis have proved insufficient. Greece has been surviving on rescue loans since May 2010. In July, creditors agreed to take some losses on their Greek bonds, but that wasn't enough to fix the problem.

Worries about Europe's debt crisis and a weak U.S. economy dragged the S&P 500 down 19.4 percent between April 29 and Oct. 3. That put it on the cusp of what's called a bear market, which is a 20 percent decline.

Since then, there have been a number of more encouraging signs on the U.S. economy. Despite the jitters over Europe, many large American companies have been reporting strong profit growth in the third quarter.

Dow Chemical rose 8.2 percent after its profit last quarter rose 59 percent on strong sales growth from Latin America. Occidental Petroleum Corp. jumped 9.7 percent after reporting a 50 percent surge in income.

Citrix Systems Inc. rose 17.3 percent. The technology company's revenue rose 20 percent last quarter, and it forecast growth of up to 13 percent for 2012. Akamai Technologies Inc., whose products help speed the delivery of online content, jumped 15.4 percent after the company reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations.

Avon Products Inc. fell 18 percent, the most in the S&P 500, after the company said the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating its contacts with financial analysts and Avon's own probe into bribery in China and other countries.

Nine stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was heavy at 6.5 billion shares.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Delaware Police Searching For Suspect In Attempted Luring Of Teen Girls

Delaware Police Searching For Suspect In Attempted Luring Of Teen Girls

DOVER, Del. (CBS) – Police in Delaware are investigating the attempted luring of two teenage girls early Tuesday morning.

The incidents happened at about 7 a.m. at the Eagle Meadows Development in Dover.

According to investigators, a 13-year-old girl was walking to the bus stop when she was approached by a male driving a gray Honda Civic. The teen told police the suspect asked her if she wanted a ride and when she declined, he asked her if she wanted to be his girlfriend. The victim again declined at which time the suspect drove away.

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Seizing Teen Attacked By Pit Bull In Philadelphia

Seizing Teen Attacked By Pit Bull In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia teen was attacked by a pit bull while having a seizure in her home Wednesday.

The incident happened at about 11 a.m. in the 5200 block of Arlington Street in the city’s Wynnefield section.

Authorities say the 19-year-old, who has a history of seizures, was seizing on the floor when the family dog attacked her. The dog ripped off the teen’s ear.

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Police Search Northeast Philadelphia Home In Connection To ‘Basement Of Horror’ Case

Police Search Northeast Philadelphia Home In Connection To ‘Basement Of Horror’ Case

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – CBS 3 has learned Philadelphia detectives searched the basement and garage of a Northeast Philadelphia home this afternoon, looking for possible evidence that may link the 2005 death of a 59-year-old woman to alleged basement of horror suspects Linda Ann Weston and three others.

CBS 3 has confirmed police believe the woman, whose death was initially ruled natural, was in the care of, and possibly captivity of, Linda Ann Weston, Gregory Thomas, Eddie Wright and Jean McIntosh, Weston’s daughter.

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Coroner: Amy Winehouse died from too much alcohol

Coroner: Amy Winehouse died from too much alcohol

AP Photo
Amy Winehouse's father Mitch, center and his partner Jane, right, arrive at St Pancras Coroner's Court for a hearing into the singer's death in London, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. A British coroner will hear about the final hours of Amy Winehouse's life at the inquest into the soul diva's death. The singer, who had fought drug and alcohol problems for years, was found dead in bed at her London home on July 23 at age 27.

LONDON (AP) -- Amy Winehouse drank herself to death. That was the ruling of a coroner's inquest into the death of the Grammy-winning soul singer, who died with empty vodka bottles in her room and lethal amounts of alcohol in her blood - more than five times the British drunk driving limit.

Coroner Suzanne Greenaway gave a verdict of "death by misadventure," saying Wednesday the singer suffered accidental alcohol poisoning when she resumed drinking after weeks of abstinence.

"The unintended consequence of such potentially fatal levels (of alcohol) was her sudden and unexpected death," Greenaway said.

The 27-year-old Winehouse had fought a very public battle with drug and alcohol abuse for years, and there had been much speculation that she died from a drug overdose. But a pathologist said the small amount of a drug prescribed to help her cope with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal had nothing to do with her death.

Instead, a resumption of heavy drinking killed the singer, best-known for her tall beehive hairdos and Grammy-winning album "Back to Black." A security guard found Winehouse dead in bed at her London home on July 23.

"She's made tremendous efforts over the years," said Dr. Christina Romete, who had treated Winehouse. But "she had her own way and was very determined to do everything her way."

Winehouse gave up illicit drugs in 2008, but had swerved between heavy alcohol use and abstinence for a long time, Romete said. The singer had resumed drinking in the days before her death after staying away from alcohol for most of July, she said.

Romete said she warned Winehouse of the dangers of alcoholism. "The advice I had given to Amy over a long period of time was verbal and in written form about all the effects alcohol can have on the system, including respiratory depression and death, heart problems, fertility problems and liver problems," she said.

Winehouse joins a long list of celebrities who died after fighting alcohol problems, including jazz great Billie Holiday, AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott, film legend Richard Burton, writers Dylan Thomas and Jack Kerouac, and country music pioneer Hank Williams.

Witnesses testifying Wednesday said the singer showed no signs she wanted to kill herself and had spoken of her weekend plans as well as her upcoming birthday just hours before she was found dead.

"She was looking forward to the future," Romete said, describing Winehouse as "tipsy" but calm when they met the night before her death. That night, her live-in security guard said he heard her laughing, watching television and listening to music at home.

The guard, Andrew Morris, said he knew she had resumed drinking, but did not notice anything unusual until he found that she had stopped breathing in bed the next afternoon.

Police Detective Inspector Les Newman said three empty vodka bottles - two large and one small - were found in her bedroom.

Pathologist Suhail Baithun said blood and urine samples indicated Winehouse had consumed a "very large quantity of alcohol" prior to her death. The level of alcohol in her blood was 416 milligrams per 100 milliliters, he said - a blood alcohol level of 0.4 percent. The British and U.S. legal drunk-driving limit is 0.08 percent.

The singer's parents attended the hearing, but did not speak to reporters. In a statement, Winehouse family spokesman Chris Goodman said it was a relief to the family "to finally find out what happened to Amy."

"The court heard that Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time," he said.

Doctors say acute alcohol poisoning is usually the result of binge drinking - the human body can only process about one unit of alcohol, or about half a glass of wine, an hour. Having too much alcohol in the body can cause severe dehydration, hypothermia, seizures, breathing problems and a heart attack, among other difficulties.

There is no minimum dose for acute alcohol poisoning and the condition varies depending on a person's age, sex, weight, how fast the alcohol is drunk and other factors such as drug use.

In recent years, the 5-foot-3-inch Winehouse had appeared extremely thin and fragile.

Dr. Joseph Feldman, chief of emergency services at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey said Winehouse likely developed a tolerance for large quantities of alcohol after drinking heavily for years. He also said the sedative Winehouse was on, Librium, wouldn't have stopped someone from having seizures if they were in alcohol withdrawal.

"It's easier to withdraw from heroin than it is from alcohol ... Withdrawal (from alcohol) can cause anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, the sensation of things crawling all over you," he said.

He said those symptoms sometimes push people back to alcohol.

"It's possible she could have been saved if she had been found (or treated) earlier," he said. "A lot of treatment is supportive care, like IV fluids and making sure they don't inhale their own vomit."

Winehouse's breakthrough "Back to Black" album, released in 2006, was recently certified as the best-selling disc in Britain so far during the 21st century. The updated take on old-time soul also earned five Grammy Awards.

Although the singer was adored by fans worldwide for her unique voice and style, praise for her singing was often eclipsed by lurid headlines about her destructive relationships and erratic behavior. Winehouse herself turned to her tumultuous life and personal demons for music material, resulting in such songs as "Rehab."

In June, Winehouse abruptly canceled her European comeback tour after she swayed and slurred her way through barely recognizable songs in her first show in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. She was booed and jeered off stage and had to return to Britain to recover.

Her last public appearance came three days before her death, when she briefly joined her goddaughter, singer Dionne Bromfield, on stage at The Roundhouse in Camden, near her home.

NYPD keeps files on Muslims who change their names

NYPD keeps files on Muslims who change their names

AP Photo
FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2011, file photo, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly listens during his testimony about NYPD intelligence operations to the New York City Council public safety committee in New York. The Associated Press has learned that the New York Police Department maintains secret intelligence files on Muslims who change their names. That means Muslims who Americanize their names, like generations of immigrants have done, may come under police scrutiny along with Muslim converts who take Arabic names.

NEW YORK (AP) -- For generations, immigrants have shed their ancestral identities and taken new, Americanized names as they found their place in the melting pot. For Muslims in New York, that rite of assimilation is now seen by police as a possible red flag in the hunt for terrorists.

The New York Police Department monitors everyone in the city who changes his or her name, according to interviews and internal police documents obtained by The Associated Press. For those whose names sound Arabic or might be from Muslim countries, police run comprehensive background checks that include reviewing travel records, criminal histories, business licenses and immigration documents.

All this is recorded in police databases for supervisors, who review the names and select a handful of people for police to visit.

The program was conceived as a tripwire for police in the difficult hunt for homegrown terrorists, where there are no widely agreed upon warning signs. Like other NYPD intelligence programs created in the past decade, this one involved monitoring behavior protected by the First Amendment.

Since August, an Associated Press investigation has revealed a vast NYPD intelligence-collecting effort targeting Muslims following the terror attacks of September 2001. Police have conducted surveillance of entire Muslim neighborhoods, chronicling daily life including where people eat, pray and get their hair cut. Police infiltrated dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups and investigated hundreds more.

Monitoring name changes illustrates how the threat of terrorism now casts suspicion over what historically has been part of America's story. For centuries, foreigners have changed their names in New York, often to lose any stigma attached with their surname.

The Roosevelts were once the van Rosenvelts. Fashion designer Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz. Donald Trump's grandfather changed the family name from Drumpf.

David Cohen, the NYPD's intelligence chief, worried that would-be terrorists could use their new names to lie low in New York, current and former officials recalled. Reviewing name changes was intended to identify people who either Americanized their names or took Arabic names for the first time, said the officials, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not respond to messages left over two days asking about the legal justification for the program and whether it had identified any terrorists.

The goal was to find a way to spot terrorists like Daood Gilani and Carlos Bledsoe before they attacked.

Gilani, a Chicago man, changed his name to the unremarkable David Coleman Headley to avoid suspicion as he helped plan the 2008 terrorist shooting spree in Mumbai, India. Bledsoe, of Tennessee, changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad in 2007 and, two years later, killed one soldier and wounded another in a shooting at a recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark.

Sometime around 2008, state court officials began sending the NYPD information about new name changes, said Ron Younkins, the court's chief of operations. The court regularly sends updates to police, he said. The information is all public, and he said the court was not aware of how police used it.

The NYPD program began as a purely analytical exercise, according to documents and interviews. Police reviewed the names received from the court and selected some for background checks that included city, state and federal criminal databases as well as federal immigration and Treasury Department databases that identified foreign travel.

Early on, police added people with American names to the list so that if details of the program ever leaked out, the department would not be accused of profiling, according to one person briefed on the program.

On one police document from that period, two of every three people who were investigated had changed their names to or from something that could be read as Arabic-sounding.

All the names that were investigated, even those whose background checks came up empty, were cataloged so police could refer to them in the future.

The legal justification for the program is unclear from the documents obtained by the AP. Because of its history of spying on anti-war protesters and political activists, the NYPD has long been required to follow a federal court order when gathering intelligence. That order allows the department to conduct background checks only when police have information about possible criminal activity, and only as part of "prompt and extremely limited" checking of leads.

The NYPD's rules also prohibit opening investigations based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment. Federal courts have held that people have a right to change their names and, in the case of religious conversion, that right is protected by the First Amendment.

After the AP's investigation into the NYPD's activities, some U.S. lawmakers, including Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., and Rush Holt, D-N.J., have said the NYPD programs are blatant racial profiling and have asked the Justice Department to investigate. Two Democrats on congressional intelligence committees said they were troubled by the CIA's involvement in these programs. Additionally, seven New York Democratic state senators called for the state attorney general to investigate the NYPD's spying on Muslim neighborhoods. And last month, the CIA announced an inspector general investigation into the agency's partnership with the NYPD.

The NYPD is not alone in its monitoring of Muslim neighborhoods. The FBI has its own ethnic mapping program that singled out Muslim communities, and agents have been criticized for targeting mosques.

The name change program is an example of how, while the NYPD says it operates under the same rules as the FBI, police have at times gone beyond what is allowed by the federal government. The FBI would not be allowed to run a similar program because of First Amendment and privacy concerns and because the goal is too vague and the program too broad, according to FBI rules and interviews with federal officials.

Police expanded their efforts in late 2009, according to documents and interviews. After analysts ran background checks, police began selecting a handful of people to visit and interview.

Internally, some police groused about the program. Many people who were approached didn't want to talk and police couldn't force them to.

A Pakistani cab driver, for instance, told police he did not want to talk to them about why he took Sheikh as a new last name, documents show.

Police also knew that a would-be terrorist who Americanized his name in hopes of lying low was unlikely to confess as much to detectives. In fact, of those who agreed to talk at all, many said they Americanized their names because they were being harassed or were having problems getting a job and thought a new name would help.

But as with other intelligence programs at the NYPD, Cohen hoped it would send a message to would-be bombers that police were watching, current and former officials said.

As it expanded, the program began to target Muslims even more directly, drawing criticism from Stuart Parker, an in-house NYPD lawyer, who said there had to be standards for who was being interviewed, a person involved in the discussions recalled. In response, police interviewed people with Arabic-sounding names but only if their background checks matched specific criteria.

The names of those who were interviewed, even those who chose not to speak with police, were recorded in police reports stored in the department's database, according to documents and interviews, while names of those who received only background checks were kept in a separate file in the Intelligence Division.

Donna Gabaccia, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota, said that for many families, name changes are important aspects of the American story. Despite the stories that officials at Ellis Island Americanized the names of people arriving in the U.S., most immigrants changed their names themselves to avoid ridicule and discrimination or just to fit in, she said.

The NYPD program, she said, turned that story on its head.

"In the past, you changed your name in response to stigmatization," she said. "And now, you change your name and you are stigmatized. There's just something very sad about this."

As for converts to Islam, the religion does not require them to take Arabic names but many do as a way to publicly identify their faith, said Jonathan Brown, a Georgetown University professor of Islamic studies.

Taking an Arabic name might be a sign that someone is more religious, Brown said, but it doesn't necessarily suggest someone is more radical. He said law enforcement nationwide has often confused the two points in the fight against terrorism.

"It's just an example of the silly, conveyor-belt approach they have, where anyone who gets more religious is by definition more dangerous," Brown said.

Sarah Feinstein-Borenstein, a 75-year-old Jewish woman who lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was surprised to learn that she was among the Americans drawn into the NYPD program in its infancy. She hyphenated her last name in 2009. Police investigated and recorded her information in a police intelligence file because of it.

"It's rather shocking to me," she said. "I think they would have better things to do. It's is a waste of my tax money."

Feinstein-Borenstein was born in Egypt and lived there until the Suez Crisis in 1956. With a French mother and a Jewish religion, she and her family were labeled "undesirable" and were kicked out. She came to the U.S. in 1963.

"If you live long enough," she said, "you see everything."

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