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Thursday, May 31, 2012

SEPTA Employee Dies After Shooting In Southwest Philadelphia

SEPTA Employee Dies After Shooting In Southwest Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A SEPTA worker has died after being shot several times while on his way to work early Thursday morning.

The shooting happened at about 5:30 a.m. at 71st Street and Elmwood Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.

Investigators say 52-year-old Aaron Hayes was heading to work at the Elmwood and Island Station when he was shot three times, including once in the head, neck and arm.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Alongside Obama, George W. Bush steals the WH show

Alongside Obama, George W. Bush steals the WH show

AP Photo
From left, President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, former first lay Laura Bush and first lady Michelle Obama, pose in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012, during a ceremony to unveil the Bush portraits.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's Barack Obama's house now, but his predecessor and political foil, George W. Bush, stole the show at the White House on Thursday with his wisecracks and grin.

"Thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends to my hanging," the former president said, referring to members of his family and former staff, invited back to the executive mansion for the unveiling of his and Laura Bush's official portraits. "Behave yourselves," he jokingly admonished his crowd.

Bush told the current president he was pleased to know "that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, `What would George do?'"

Free from the stress of the presidency and after three years spent largely out of the spotlight, a relaxed and jovial Bush came back with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, for a rare gathering of three commanders in chief. Former first lady Barbara Bush was there, too, as were George W. and Laura's daughters, Jenna and Barbara.

While Bush, Obama and their wives spoke about the warmth between their families, there was little of that on display between the two presidents. They traded handshakes but no hugs. There was little casual small talk as they entered and exited the East Room or as they stood on stage together.

"We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences," Obama said.

That the relationship between Obama and Bush is cordial but not close is hardly a surprise.

Obama is still bad-mouthing Bush's time in office, blaming him for the economic crisis, the soaring federal debt and the unfinished wars the Democrat inherited from his Republican predecessor. And in the midst of an election season, Obama is trying to lump the economic policies of his current Republican rival, Mitt Romney, in with Bush's.

Standing side by side in the grand, chandeliered East Room, Obama was mostly formal and subdued while Bush was lighthearted and engaging, relishing in the warm greetings from veterans of his two terms in office.

Bush said he was pleased that the White House portrait collection now starts and ends with a "George W." Noting that George Washington's portrait was famously saved by first lady Dolley Madison when the British burned the White House in 1814, Bush pointed to his own portrait and told Michelle Obama that "if anything happens, there's your man."

With a smile, the first lady assured him in her own remarks, "I promise, I'm going straight for" it in case of emergency.

The former president turned emotional as he spoke of his own portrait hanging near his father's - "No. 41" as he called him. On the verge of tears, the younger Bush thanked his father, who attended the ceremony in a wheelchair, for "the greatest gift possible, unconditional love."

More than any other president in recent memory, Bush has not just intentionally faded from the public spotlight but all but disappeared from it. He wrote his own remarks for Thursday's event, as he no longer employs a speechwriter.

It was just one week ago that Obama, revving up campaign donors, turned Bush into a punch line. Obama depicted Romney as a peddler of bad economic ideas, helping the rich at the expense of the middle class. He then added: "That was tried, remember? The last guy did all this."

The president steered clear of the political jabs Thursday but didn't shy away from the economic crisis that began under Bush and has consumed Obama's term. Without laying blame for the recession, Obama said that after his election, Bush understood "that rescuing our economy was not just a Democratic or a Republican issue; it was an American priority."

Obama also recalled one of the most memorable moments of Bush's presidency from the days following the Sept. 11 attacks: "All of us will always remember the image of President Bush standing on that pile of rubble, bullhorn in hand, conveying extraordinary strength and resolve to the American people but also representing the strength and resolve of the American people."

Turning lighthearted himself, Obama also told Bush, "You left me a really good TV sports package. ... I use it."

Thursday's gathering of Bush-era aides had the feel of a college reunion. Before the presidents arrived, former staffers waved to each other and swapped stories. Even former White House reporters who covered the Bush administration came back for the event, crowding into the corners of the East Room.

While the few Democrats in attendance were far outnumbered by Republicans, the political tensions ran so low that even Vice President Joe Biden offered a hearty handshake and greeting to Karl Rove, Bush's longtime political adviser and a foe of countless Democrats.

"There he is!" Biden exclaimed as he turned over his shoulder to greet Rove who was seated a row behind.

Obama personally greeted the Bush family Thursday afternoon upon their arrival at the White House. The Obamas then hosted a private lunch for more than a dozen members of the Bush family in the Red Room.

Later Thursday, the Bushes visited former Vice President Dick Cheney at his home in nearby Virginia before they returned to Texas.

Current presidents hosting their predecessors for portrait unveilings is a long-standing political tradition at the White House. Bush held a similar ceremony for his predecessor Bill Clinton, who did the same for the elder Bush.

Artist John Howard Sanden painted the portraits of George and Laura Bush. The former president's portrait depicts him in the Oval Office in front of one of his favorite paintings, "A Charge to Keep." Laura Bush's portrait shows her in the Green Room wearing a long gown.

The former president's painting will hang prominently in the formal entrance hall to the White House, the Grand Foyer, a location Bush approved of.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hoopgurlz at Phila. Front Page News

Hoopgurlz at Phila. Front Page News

Maddison Blackwell

Progress Apparent

Maddison Blackwell, a four-star recruit out of Gahanna (Ohio), can't dunk -- yet -- like her mother Georgeann Wells, but Wells says that Title IX has afforded her daughter opportunities and skills she never had.

Maddison Blackwell can't dunk -- yet -- like her mother Georgeann Wells, but her mom says Title IX has given her daughter opportunities and skills she never had.

The first woman to dunk in an NCAA basketball game visited the college home of the world's most famous dunker last month.

But Georgeann Wells wasn't at the University of North Carolina to pay homage to Michael Jordan. Instead, she was traveling to another national AAU tournament with her daughter, Maddison Blackwell, an ESPN HoopGurlz four-star recruit.

Wells also played AAU basketball before becoming a star at West Virginia. But -- unlike Blackwell, a 6-foot-1 wing who recently played at the Deep South Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C., with the Capital City Comets -- she never left her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to do it.

"It's just crazy what they do in AAU now," the 6-7 Wells said. "They're all over the place. It seems like professional sports for high schoolers."

Not that Wells is complaining. She loves seeing how much progress has been made in girls' basketball, as players like her daughter can face off against top competition while putting added emphasis on strength training and conditioning.

"It's just a different caliber of basketball," Wells said. "This AAU stuff is just so jam-packed with excitement, and the girls are developing and creating stuff they didn't even think they could do."

Wells credits Title IX.

Maddison Blackwell and Georgeann Wells
After seeing the video of Georgeann Wells' historic dunk, Maddison Blackwell vowed that she would follow in her mother's footsteps.

"I think it's the best thing that ever happened to women's sports," Wells said. "Being able to play and compete at some of the levels that they're at now, it's just a great thing."

When Wells became the first female dunker in 1984, she accomplished the feat against two schools -- Charleston (W.Va.) and Xavier.

Ironically, Blackwell recently gave a verbal commitment to Xavier after also considering a handful of other schools, including Michigan and Akron.

"The coaching staff just made me feel welcomed," Blackwell said. "They were with me every step of the way."

The recruiting process was another change of pace for Wells. Though she received interest from all the major programs, Wells made just two visits, to West Virginia and to her hometown school, Ohio State. Wells' father chose West Virginia because the school also agreed to take Georgeann's older sister.

Blackwell, a rising senior at Lincoln (Gahanna, Ohio), was allowed to make her own decision.

"It's more relaxing going into my senior year knowing that I know where I'm going," Blackwell said.

The film of Wells' first dunk, at Charleston, was unveiled only recently. West Virginia didn't bring its bulky taping equipment on the road, and the Charleston coach was too embarrassed to hand over his own film to the victors.

But the Wells family finally saw the video three years ago, and it inspired Blackwell to publicly declare that she, too, would throw one down in a game.

Though she's six inches shorter than her mother, Blackwell hasn't backed down.

"It's not where I want it to be, but it's moving along," said Blackwell, who does specific leg exercises to work on her jumping ability. "I'm pretty close without the ball. One day I'm hoping I'll get the momentum to do it."

In the meantime, her strength training is coming in handy on the court. She's athletic enough to break the press as a point guard, but she's also powerful enough to play as a forward.

"I see it, even messing around while playing with her," Wells said. "The strength that they have now compared to when I played then, it's crazy. My daughter can hold me back and I'm thinking, 'For real?'

"The training and conditioning is so intense and the skill level is so advanced from when I played."

Wells hasn't given up hope that her daughter will eventually dunk for Xavier. She was impressed with how far up Blackwell got on the backboard during a recent layup drill.

"She has a lot further to go, but she's like, 'I got this,'" Wells said. "I'm like, 'Well, we better work on it because you told everyone you're going to do it.'"

Two Pa. Lawmakers Propose Diverting Some Gambling Taxes For Philadelphia Schools

Two Pa. Lawmakers Propose Diverting Some Gambling Taxes For Philadelphia Schools

(Pennsylvania state representatives Mike O'Brien and Rosita Youngblood.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)
Pennsylvania state representatives Mike O’Brien and Rosita Youngblood.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia School Reform Commission meets tonight to vote on next year’s budget, while the debate continues on how to provide more city cash for the district.

The school district budget assumes it is getting an additional $94 million from Mayor Nutter’s “AVI” (Actual Value Initiative) property reassessment. But AVI is far from a done deal, and Pennsylvania state representative Mike O’Brien (D-Phila., at left in photo) would like to see the city put the brakes on.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Hatfields and McCoys big draw for History

Hatfields and McCoys big draw for History

AP Photo
This undated image released by History shows Bill Paxton portraying Randall McCoy in a scene from the History network's miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys."

NEW YORK (AP) -- There's nothing like a backwoods blood feud to excite television viewers on Memorial Day.

The first part of the History network's miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys" was seen by 13.9 million viewers on Monday night, more than 17 million when the immediate repeat was added in, the Nielsen company said. The numbers held up for part two on Tuesday, which was watched by 13.1 million, Nielsen said.

Those are huge numbers in the cable television world. No scripted series on the broadcast networks last week came close. By contrast, Fox's series finale of "House" last week reached 8.7 million people.

"Hatfields & McCoys" had a couple of big-name stars in Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton and is airing over three nights in two-hour chunks. Broadcast television was dominated by competition shows again last week, led by the 21.5 million people who watched the "American Idol" finale on Fox. "Dancing With the Stars" and "America's Got Talent" also did well.

Perhaps crowded by the marketplace, ABC's "Duets" finished a modest No. 23 in the ratings, with 6.8 million viewers. Fox's summer series "So You Think You Can Dance" also came out of the gate slowly, with 6.3 million viewers.

Led by "Idol," Fox won the week with an average of 8.3 million viewers in prime time (4.9 rating, 9 share). ABC had 7.4 million (also 4.9, 9), CBS had 5.8 million (3.9, 7), NBC had 4.6 million (3.0, 5), ION Television had 1.1 million (0.7, 1) and the CW had 680,000 (0.5, 1). Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.7 million (2.0, 3), Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 510,000 (0.3, 0), Estrella had 210,000 and Azteca 110,000 (both 0.1, 0).

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.8 million viewers (5.3, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 7.2 million (4.9, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.4 million viewers (3.8, 8).

A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of May 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 21.49 million; "Dancing With the Stars Results," ABC, 17.75 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 16.84 million; "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 14.85 million; "Modern Family," ABC, 10.07 million; "America's Got Talent" (Monday), NBC, 9.66 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.44 million; "NCIS" (Tuesday, 10 p.m.), CBS, 9.34 million; "NCIS" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 9.17 million; "Dancing With the Stars" (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), ABC, 8.84 million.



Face-chewing victim face surgery, long recovery

Face-chewing victim face surgery, long recovery

AP Photo
This combo made with undated photos made available by the Miami-Dade Police Dept. shows Rudy Eugene, 31, left, who police shot and killed as he ate the face of Ronald Poppo, 65, right, during a horrific attack in the shadow of the Miami Herald's headquarters on Saturday, May 26, 2012. Poppo was in critical condition Tuesday, with only his goatee intact on his face, the newspaper reported.

MIAMI (AP) -- A homeless man whose face was mostly chewed off in a bizarre, vicious attack faces a bigger threat from infection than from the injuries themselves, according to experts on facial reconstruction. He will require months of treatment to rebuild his features and be permanently disfigured.

Though gruesome, such severe facial injuries are generally not life threatening. The most serious risk to Ronald Poppo as he remained hospitalized Wednesday were germs that may have been introduced by the bites of the naked man who attacked him. One of the 65-year-old's eyes was also gouged out.

"The human mouth is basically filthy," said Dr. Seth Thaller, the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.

It's not clear why Poppo was attacked Saturday afternoon by 31-year-old Rudy Eugene alongside a busy highway. Police have released few details about the attack, but surveillance video from a nearby building shows Eugene pulling Poppo from the shade, stripping and pummeling him before appearing to hunch over and then lie on top of him.

A witness described Eugene ripping at Poppo's face with his mouth and growling at a Miami police officer who ordered him to get off the homeless man. The officer shot and killed Eugene.

Eugene's younger brother said that he was a sweet person who didn't drink much or use hard drugs.

"I wish they didn't kill him so he could tell us exactly what happened. This is very uncharacteristic of him," said the brother, who asked for anonymity to protect his family from harassment.

Police union officials representing the officer said the scene on the MacArthur Causeway was one of the goriest they had ever seen.

"He had his face eaten down to his goatee. The forehead was just bone. No nose, no mouth," said Sgt. Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.

Poppo has been in critical condition in recent days, but police didn't give an update on his condition Wednesday.

Thaller, who is not treating Poppo, and other plastic surgeons said the rebuilding of Poppo's face would happen in stages after doctors try to keep his wounds clean, salvage viable tissue and determine a plan for skin grafts. Protecting his remaining eye and maintaining an airway are priorities.

To keep the wounds clean, doctors use grafts of the patient's skin, cadaver skin or synthetic skin to cover the exposed bone or cartilage, said Dr. Blane Shatkin, a plastic surgeon and director of the wound healing center at Memorial Hospital Pembroke in South Florida. The coverage would act like a dressing, protecting the wound as it heals.

Poppo's lifestyle and health before the attack could determine how doctors proceed and whether they eventually consider a facial transplant, plastic surgeons said. Poppo had been homeless for more than 30 years, previously survived a gunshot wound and faced multiple charges of public intoxication, among other arrests.

"You would not just take this guy to the OR for a face transplant - you really have to go in a staged fashion. You save what you can and use what you have available first, don't burn any bridges and move forward slowly," Shatkin said. "And you have to see what he wants."

Psychological care is important to the recovery, and patients need to participate in the decision-making process, said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He performed a facial transplant on a Connecticut woman who was mauled by a friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009.

"I think the patient has to be able to cope with the injury and the trauma and needs to figure out what has happened. It often takes them weeks to understand what has happened," Pomahac said.

The will to live is as important for Poppo's survival as medical technology, said Ara Chekmayan, spokesman for Pomahac's patient, Charla Nash. Nash lost her nose, lips eyelids and hands.

The chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, Ron Book, said the last time Poppo sought help from the agency finding someplace to sleep was in 2004. However, on Thursday the Jungle Island zoo on the MacArthur Causeway called for an outreach team to deal with Poppo, who had been living on the roof of the attraction's parking garage.

Poppo was belligerent and aggressive, but he was not arrested, Book said.

The nearly 18-minute attack Saturday in the shadow of The Miami Herald headquarters was captured by the building's security cameras.

The newspaper posted the uncensored video online late Tuesday.

In the Herald video (http://hrld.us/N9GlGB ), a naked Eugene walks west on the sidewalk alongside an off-ramp of the causeway. A bicyclist speeds past Eugene just as he turns to something in the shade, in an area obscured by the tops of palm trees.

After a couple minutes, Eugene rolls Poppo's body into the sun and begins stripping off his pants and pummeling him. Later, the footage shows Eugene pull Poppo farther up the sidewalk. Though the view is partially obstructed by the mass transit rail above, Eugene appears to hunch over and lie on top of Poppo.

The footage shows a bicyclist slowly pedaling past the men about halfway through the attack, followed by a car slowly driving on the shoulder of the ramp. Cars regularly pass by the scene from the beginning of the attack, but their view was likely obstructed by a waist-high concrete barrier.

Two more bicyclists cross the scene before a police car drives the wrong way up the ramp nearly 18 minutes into the attack.

An officer gets out of the car and appears to do a double-take at the scene before pulling out his gun. He fatally shot Eugene, apparently within a minute of arriving, but the shooting is obscured from view by the tracks.

Miami police have not released 911 calls. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner declined to discuss Eugene's autopsy. It could be weeks before the results of toxicology tests are available.

Eugene left his girlfriend in Fort Lauderdale around 5 a.m. Saturday, then stopped at a friend's in North Miami. He said he was on his way to Urban Beach Week, a series of outdoor concerts and parties on Miami Beach, according to his brother. No one knows what led to him walking naked on the causeway.

"Where's the car, where are his clothes? We don't know where his stuff is," the brother said. "How did he get there naked in the middle of the daytime and nobody saw him?"

Eugene had a job detailing cars at a dealership and had been arrested a handful of times on marijuana-related charges, his brother said.

"I don't understand any of this," the brother said. "I know my brother, and anybody else who knows him knows he was a genuinely sweet person."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Author's son seeks Malcolm X letter at Syracuse

Author's son seeks Malcolm X letter at Syracuse

AP Photo
FILE - This Feb. 9, 1965, file photo, shows Malcolm X at London Airport. The son of Malcolm X's biographer is asking Syracuse University to hand over a letter in which the slain activist writes about his shifting views on race relations, claiming his family is the rightful owner. His lawyer said Tuesday, May 29, 2012, he plans to make a legal demand this week for the letter, which he believes is worth at least $650,000.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The son of Malcolm X's biographer is asking Syracuse University to hand over a letter in which the slain activist writes about his shifting views on race relations, claiming his family is the rightful owner.

Malcolm X wrote to Alex Haley, his collaborator for "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," from Saudi Arabia in April 1964, about ten months before he was gunned down at a New York City hotel ballroom. The publisher of the autobiography later gave the letter to Syracuse University as part of a larger cache of papers to be used by researchers.

But Haley's son, William Haley, said the publisher never had legal title to the letter and could not give it away. His lawyer said Tuesday he plans to make a legal demand this week for the letter, which he believes is worth at least $650,000.

"The history is important for us as a family, the legacy," William Haley said. Haley said he was acting on behalf of himself and his two sisters. Haley said it's possible the family would decide to sell the letter, but that would be a group decision.

Alex Haley died in 1992.

"So much of African-American history gets lost and is sometimes not in the place where we prefer it to be," Haley said.

Malcolm X's letter, written after a pilgrimage to Mecca, addresses the recent time he spent with Muslims "whose skin was the whitest of white."

"In fact, what I have seen and experienced on this pilgrimage has forced me to `re arrange' much of my thought patterns, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions," he wrote.

The letter was sent to publisher Grove Press for inclusion in the autobiography, which was first published in 1965. Grove included the letter in files it gave to Syracuse University in 1969.

Sean M. Quimby, senior director of the university's Special Collections Research Center, said it has documentation from Grove that shows Syracuse owns the transferred archive. He said the school's ownership had never been challenged before in 43 years and he has not seen any evidence that the letter was lent, instead of given, to Grove.

"Our library and our special collections are publicly available to anyone, and there is a greater good served," Quimby added.

Haley's attorney, Gregory J. Reed of Detroit, said Haley passed along the letter to Grove only so it could be included in the autobiography and that Grove never had legal title.

Haley said he is acting now because he only found out about details of the letter recently after talking to Reed, who collects Malcolm X material.


Man convicted of NJ webcam gay spying apologizes

Man convicted of NJ webcam gay spying apologizes

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A former Rutgers University student openly apologized for the first time on Tuesday for using a webcam to spy on a romantic liaison between a man and a roommate who later killed himself, saying he regrets his "thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices."

Dharun Ravi, who had been criticized by a judge for not showing remorse and for refusing to say he was sorry, also said he will begin serving a 30-day jail term on Thursday even though he doesn't have to.

Through a lawyer, Ravi issued his most contrite public statement yet in a case that made him a symbol of what his family called an overzealous prosecution and that made his roommate, Tyler Clementi, a prime example of what gay rights advocates said were the consequences of bullying.

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on Sept. 19, 2010, and Sept. 21, 2010," Ravi said in his statement. "My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices."

After spending two days repeatedly looking at the Twitter feed on which Ravi announced "I saw him making out with a dude. Yay," Clementi, a shy, talented violinist, threw himself from New York City's George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010.

In March, a jury convicted Ravi of all 15 criminal counts with which he was charged, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. On two of the intimidation counts, he faced up to 10 years in state prison.

Last week, a judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail. Because the sentence is less than a year, it decreases the chances that federal immigration authorities will seek to have Ravi deported to India, where he was born and remains a citizen.

Prosecutors, finding the sentence too lenient, said they would appeal.

Ravi's lawyers have said they expect to appeal the convictions entirely. They say that he was not hateful and that authorities charged him with such serious crimes because of Clementi's suicide even though he was not charged with the 18-year-old's death.

Ravi, 20, could have remained free during the appeal but instead is volunteering to head to the Middlesex County Jail in New Brunswick.

"It's the only way I can go on with my life," he said in the statement.

The apology comes as a sharp reversal in course for Ravi, whose story inspired hundreds of people to rally at New Jersey's State House calling for no prison time and changes in the state's hate crime laws.

When Ravi was sentenced, Judge Glenn Berman chastised him for not apologizing for his actions.

"I heard this jury say `guilty' 288 times," the judge said, referring to all the sub-parts of the charges Ravi faced repeated 12 times, once for each juror. "And I haven't heard you apologize once."

During the court proceeding, Ravi, who had said in March in a newspaper interview that he was "very sorry about Tyler," chose not to address the judge, though he cried as his mother pleaded for mercy for him.

He told Newark's The Star-Ledger newspaper in an interview conducted before the sentencing but published afterward that he did not want to say he was sorry during the sentencing because he thought it would sound insincere.

During the sentencing, Clementi's brother James Clementi said that hearing an apology that late from Ravi would not be meaningful to him.

On Tuesday, the state's largest gay rights group, Garden State Equality, said it was happy Ravi had publicly apologized. But Chairman Steven Goldstein said the group was questioning the timing of the apology.

"We have mixed emotions, and so rather than take an organizational stance just yet, we have posited the question to our members on (the group's) Facebook page to ask what they think," Goldstein said.

Garden State Equality has said Ravi deserves more jail time than he received but "nowhere near" the maximum sentence he could have received.

"We have said that our hearts would be open to an apology had Ravi opened his heart up to us all," Goldstein said. "He could have apologized in a way that would not have compromised his legal position. But he came across to many of us as unremorseful both before the trial and in engineered media appearances after the verdict."

Greek experts find Roman wrecks nearly a mile deep

Greek experts find Roman wrecks nearly a mile deep

AP Photo
Broken ancient pottery from the wreck of a 3rd century AD Roman-era ship found 1.2 kilometers deep off the western coast of Greece is seen in this undated photo issued by Greek Culture Ministry on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Greece's culture ministry says an undersea survey ahead of the sinking of a Greek-Italian gas pipe has discovered the deepest-known shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. A ministry statement Tuesday said the two Roman-era wrecks found far offshore also disprove the generally accepted theory that ancient shipmasters stuck to coastal waters rather than risking open-sea routes.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Two Roman-era shipwrecks have been found in deep water off a western Greek island, challenging the conventional theory that ancient shipmasters stuck to coastal routes rather than risking the open sea, an official said Tuesday.

Greece's culture ministry said the two third-century wrecks were discovered earlier this month during a survey of an area where a Greek-Italian gas pipeline is to be sunk. They lay between 1.2 and 1.4 kilometers (0.7-0.9 miles) deep in the sea between Corfu and Italy.

That would place them among the deepest known ancient wrecks in the Mediterranean, apart from remains found in 1999 of an older vessel some 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) deep off Cyprus.

Angeliki Simossi, head of Greece's underwater antiquities department, said sunken ancient ships are generally found 30-40 meters (100-130 feet) deep.

Most scholars believe that ancient traders were unwilling to veer far offshore, unlike warships which were unburdened by ballast and cargo.

"There are many Roman shipwrecks, but these are in deep waters. They were not sailing close to the coast," Simossi said.

"The conventional theory was that, as these were small vessels up to 25 meters (80 feet) long, they did not have the capacity to navigate far from the coast, so that if there was a wreck they would be close enough to the coast to save the crew," she said.

U.S. archaeologist Brendan Foley, who was not involved in the project, said a series of ancient wrecks located far from land over the past 15 years has forced experts to reconsider the coast-hugging theory.

"The Ministry of Culture's latest discoveries are crucial hard data showing the actual patterns of ancient seafaring and commerce," said Foley, a deep water archaeology expert at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Jeffrey Royal, director of the Key West, Florida, based RPM Nautical Foundation, said that in many cases - as when winds threatened to push ships onto rocks - ancient mariners made a conscious effort to avoid coastal waters.

Royal, whose foundation has carried out a series of Mediterranean underwater projects, said the depth of such finds is immaterial from an archaeological standpoint.

"In antiquity ships didn't sail around with depth finders and keep track of how deep they were," he said. "It was more how far they were on the surface in relation to land. After 30 meters of depth the boat's safe, so if it's 30 meters (100 feet) or 3,000 meters it's a little irrelevant."

The remains were located during an investigation that covered 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) of seabed off the islands of Corfu and Paxoi.

A Greek oceanographic vessel using side-scan radar and robot submarines took footage of scattered cargo - storage jars, or amphorae, used to carry foodstuffs and wine - cooking utensils for the crew, anchors, ballast stones and what could be remains of the wooden ships.

The team also raised samples of pottery and a marble vase.

The one ship was carrying the kind of amphorae produced in north Africa, and Simossi said it might have sailed from there and headed for Greece after a stop in Italy.

Foley said deep wrecks are very important because they are almost always more intact than those found in shallow water.

"So they contain far more archaeological and historical information than other sites," he said in an email. "As a result, the deep sea floor of the Mediterranean is the world's greatest repository for information about the earliest civilizations."

The discovery comes amid Greece's acute financial crisis, which has also taken a toll on funding for archaeology.

Simossi said her department, which monitors a vast area rich in ancient wrecks and sunken settlements, had its staff reduced by half because of non-renewed contracts and retirees who were not replaced.

"There were 89 of us and there are 45 left," she said. "We are fighting tooth and claw to keep afloat."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pa. mother charged with killing her toddler twins

Pa. mother charged with killing her toddler twins

AP Photo
Neighbors in Northeast Philadelphia react as police remove the bodies of toddler twins on Thursday May 24, 2012, after they were found dead in their home. Police say the 18-month-old boy and girl appear to have died of suffocation and the mother is in custody. Police say their 41-year-old mother attempted to take her own life by slitting her wrists and they believe she gave some kind of prescription pills to her 4-year-old daughter. The 4-year-old girl is hospitalized. Information on her condition wasn't available.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A woman was charged Friday with killing her 18-month-old twins, named Adam and Eve, in the family home. Police said she also attempted suicide by cutting her wrists.

Stacey Smalls, 41, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, police said.

Investigators believe one twin was strangled and the other was drowned. Authorities are awaiting autopsy results for the official causes of death.

Police also allege Smalls gave her 4-year-old daughter some type of substance to drink in an attempt to poison her. The girl is listed in stable but guarded condition at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

A police spokesman said Smalls, who worked as a nurse at a nursing home, then tried to kill herself by cutting her wrists. Her husband, Ronald Smalls, discovered the scene when he came home Thursday afternoon from his job as a corrections officer and called 911.

Police have not officially commented on a possible motive for the killings.

"She had something that she felt was justification but there is no justification... it's a tragedy, two young babies dead and there is no excuse for that," Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

Ron Smalls told WPVI-TV on Friday that he and his wife had been having marital difficulties, but he did not elaborate.

"We've had some problems and I'd suggested therapy for both of us," he said. "She didn't think it was important."

Stacey Small changed her Facebook profile picture May 19 to a photograph of a car spray-painted along its side with the words, "Hope she was worth it." She also listed her relationship status as divorced.

A Facebook friend asked about the car image and Smalls replied that she found the photo online and "I liked her style. Friend Ronald Smalls and check out what I wrote on his page." The message may have been deleted, as Ronald Smalls' most recent post appears to be on May 13 when he wrote, "Happy MothersDay!"

Stacey Smalls' Facebook page also includes photos of her twins and 4-year-old daughter. She remained in police custody Friday and was on suicide watch, authorities said.

What's an American Indian? Warren case stirs query

What's an American Indian? Warren case stirs query

AP Photo
In this May 2, 2012 photo, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Warren, speaks to reporters during a news conference while campaigning at Liberty Bay Credit Union headquarters in Braintree, Mass. Warren addressed questions on her claim of Native American heritage. Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who is running in Massachusetts against Republican incumbent Scott Brown, was listed as Native American in several law school directories. Warren has said that her "family lore" described Indian ancestors, and the New England Genealogy Association said it found indications that Warren had a Cherokee great-great-great grandmother, which would make her 1/32 Indian.

What, exactly, makes someone American Indian? Even Indians themselves don't agree as they debate the case of Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, whose disputed claim of Native American identity is shining a rare spotlight on the malleable nature of Indian heritage and the long history of murky claims to such ancestry.

Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and Democrat who is running in Massachusetts against Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown, was listed as Native American in several law school directories. Warren has said that her "family lore" described Indian ancestors, and the New England Genealogy Association said it found indications - but not proof - that Warren had a Cherokee great-great-great grandmother, which would make her 1/32 Indian.

"I'm proud of my heritage," Warren said Thursday. Asked how she knew it included Native Americans, she replied, "Because my mother told me so."

Her opponents question whether Warren chose this heritage to gain advantages available to Indians and other underrepresented groups in academia.

"Warren has zero evidence that she is at all Native American," said Brown's campaign manager, Jim Barnett. The genealogy association acknowledges that it found only secondary references to Cherokee family members, not primary sources such as marriage, birth or census records.

Among Native Americans, the varying opinions demonstrate that Indian identity is subjective even among Indians themselves.

When David Eugene Wilkins first saw Warren interviewed during her nomination to a federal post, he was smitten by her intelligence and politics. But when he heard about her claims of Indian ancestry, "I shook my head and said, `Oh no.'"

"For us it was always about allegiance rather than biology or ancestry," said Wilkins, an enrolled member of the Lumbee tribe and professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota.

"It's where you place your political, cultural, emotional allegiance. She lived her entire life and never had any association whatsoever with any community. So something doesn't wash for me," Wilkins said.

But David Treuer, an award-winning writer and Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, said there is a difference between Indian identity and ancestry - you can have one without the other.

"An Indian identity is something someone claims for oneself; it is a matter of choice," Treuer wrote in a Washington Post essay titled, "Elizabeth Warren says she's Native American. So she is."

There are 566 federally recognized Native American tribes, each with its own rules for membership, according to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA. Some tribes require a "blood quantum" measurement of as much as one-half or one-quarter Indian ancestry; others require a certain place of birth or residence.

Wilkins, the professor, is married to a Navajo with many siblings. "I've asked them what defines a Navajo," he said. "One said you have to speak the language. Another said you have to live within our sacred mountains. Another said no, you have to take part in ceremonial life. All this in one family!"

According to census figures provided by the BIA, an estimated 4.5 million people identify themselves as American Indians or Alaska Natives, including those who say they are more than one race. But in a 2005 report, the most recent available, the BIA counted just 2 million enrolled tribal members - which means that fewer than half of all people claiming Indian heritage are recognized by a tribe.

"There's an old joke in this corner of Indian Country that if you meet someone who doesn't know anything about tribal affairs but claims they're Indian, they'll say they're Cherokee," Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, a spokesperson for the Cherokee Nation, said by e-mail.

Warren grew up in Oklahoma, home of the 310,000-member Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe. Warren does not claim official Cherokee membership, which is based on the "Dawes Rolls," a federal list of Cherokees in Oklahoma from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many people have legitimate Cherokee ancestry but are not eligible for membership because their ancestors were not among those counted, Krehbiel-Burton said.

But "some people falsely claim Native heritage simply out of ignorance," Krehbiel-Burton said. "They've been told for years that they had a great-grandmother (or something similar) who was a Cherokee princess and assume that it's true."

Warren spoke of a similar oral tradition when she mentioned an heirloom photo of her grandfather: "My Aunt Bea has walked by that picture at least a thousand times (and) remarked that he - her father, my papaw - had high cheekbones like all of the Indians do."

Even President Barack Obama has an Indian story, about his maternal grandmother, who was nicknamed "Toot."

"If asked, Toot would turn her head in profile to show off her beaked nose, which, along with a pair of jet-black eyes, was offered as proof of Cherokee blood," Obama wrote in his memoir, "Dreams from My Father."

But eyes, noses and cheekbones are not the issue for Rhonda LeValdo, president of the Native American Journalists Association and an enrolled member of the Acoma Pueblo tribe.

"If you're going to claim it, you have to help your people out," says LeValdo. She had seen no evidence of such involvement by Warren, but said she didn't know enough details to judge Warren's claim.

LeValdo said there are many fakers: "A lot of people find some sort of romanticism in being Native American. They think of the warrior type, or the Pocohontas stereotype. They're just taken with the idea of it."

"But to a lot of our people who live this life, it's tough," she continued. "We deal with a lot of things. A lot of us feel like if you're going to claim it, you have to do something. Don't just use it when you want to use it."

Warren has been adamant that she did not seek any advantage from Native American heritage. Records show that she declined to apply for admission to Rutgers Law School under a minority student program and identified her race as "white" on an employment record at the University of Texas, where she worked from 1983 to 1987.

She left Texas for the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where a report on minority faculty listed Warren's name. Her ethnicity became a campaign issue when the Boston Herald reported that Harvard Law, which hired Warren in 1995, listed her as a minority when the school was under pressure to diversify the faculty.

Besides potentially influencing hiring or promotion, Indian identity can have other economic advantages. Some tribes share millions in casino earnings; health care, scholarships and housing are available to some tribal members.

Native Americans have a high rate of intermarriage with other groups. Many are not identifiable by appearance, which has made it possible for almost anyone to assume a Native persona - for various purposes.

Some of the American colonists who boarded British ships during the Boston Tea Party wore Mohawk costumes. During New York anti-rent conflicts of the 1840s, white people assumed Indian garb and pidgin "Injinspeak" as they harassed patrician estates, according to the book "Playing Indian," by Philip J. Deloria.

The actor Iron Eyes Cody starred as an Indian in films from the 1930s to the `70s, and championed many Native causes. He claimed to be Cherokee, but near the end of his life was revealed to be the son of Italian immigrants. In 1976, former Ku Klux Klansman Asa Earl Carter published a fabricated and best-selling memoir, "The Education of Little Tree," under the name Forrest Carter.

"When that kind of fraud takes place it damages our people," said Wilkins, the professor.

"You have people on the outside claiming this and that to draw attention to themselves," he said, "and then people on the outside may wonder, do Native people really know who they are?"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Philadelphia Police Detective Arrested For Theft

Philadelphia Police Detective Arrested For Theft

(Credit: Philadelphia Police Dept)

BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) – A Philadelphia police detective has been arrested, accused of stealing from a local store.

Forty-three-year-old Deborah Gore, a 17-year veteran of the police force, was arrested on Thursday, allegedly for stealing from the Kohl’s store in Bensalem.\

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Tornado doesn't stop Kansas couple's wedding day

Tornado doesn't stop Kansas couple's wedding day

AP Photo
In this May 19, 2012, photo provided by Cate Eighmey, Caleb & Candra Pence pose for a wedding photo as a tornado swirls in the background after they were married in Harper County, Kan.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- In the plains of central Kansas, tornadoes are so unremarkable that guests barely flinched as a barrel-racing bride wed her bull-riding groom with a twister dropping from the sky just miles away.

But for people living outside Tornado Alley, Caleb and Candra Pence's wedding last Saturday is generating the kind of buzz usually reserved for celebrity nuptials. The video of the service has gone viral, garnering more than 20,000 views on YouTube and a flurry of media coverage.

"It is amazing how fast it has taken off," said the groom's uncle, Lee Pence, who shot the video.

After Saturday's outdoor service on the groom's family farm near the small south-central Kansas town of Harper, the couple posed for photos with the twister visible behind them. The pictures capture them smiling serenely - the 21-year-old bride in a white gown and the 22-year-old groom in a cowboy hat and jeans.

About eight to 10 miles away, the twister was damaging a farm and wind turbines. The National Weather Service has classified it as an EF-3 storm, packing winds of 138 to 167 miles per hour.

"I don't know how on earth I will ever top this," said wedding photographer Cate Eighmey, who said she posed the pair for dramatic shots of the newlyweds and the twister behind them. Eighmey's photo shows what appears to be a second funnel dropping down from the cloud.

The couple has spent their honeymoon in Wyoming fielding media calls. Reached on his cellphone by The Associated Press, Caleb Pence recalled seeing the wall cloud forming as the service was about to begin. But with tornadoes a routine occurrence, the storm was the least of his worries.

"I had my mind on marrying my now wife," said Caleb Pence.

His bride, a native of northeast Nebraska who had never seen a tornado before, was much less at ease. He said that when he told her what was happening, she responded, "I don't want to hear it right now.'"

Some of the guests who filled the 250 folding chairs checked weather reports on their cellphones. But otherwise, the 20-minute service - complete with a solo singing performance - wasn't altered.

Afterward, the couple, who met at a rodeo, made a dramatic horseback ride to the metal farm building that had been transformed into the reception site. They scarcely got inside when the skies opened up and poured down rain. The party didn't end until after midnight.

"I don't know how we did it," Caleb Pence said. "It boggles my mind how perfect it worked."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sixers Need A Win To Force A Game 7 With The Celtics

Sixers Need A Win To Force A Game 7 With The Celtics

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Before coach Doug Collins had his Philadelphia 76ers look ahead to Game 6, he had them rewind the tape to a dusty Game 7.

He slipped in a highlight video of Sixers vs. Celtics, Game 7, 1982 Eastern Conference finals. Julius Erving and Larry Bird. Andrew Toney and Maurice Cheeks. Robert Parish and Kevin McHale.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Packers WR Donald Driver Wins Dancing With The Stars

Packers WR Donald Driver Wins Dancing With The Stars


LOS ANGELES (AP) — He already has a Super Bowl ring, and now football star Donald Driver can add the “Dancing With the Stars” mirrorball trophy to his awards collection.

The Green Bay Packers receiver won the ABC dance show Tuesday after wowing audiences and judges with his kickin’ country-themed freestyle routine. He and partner Peta Murgatroyd hoisted the glittery prize above their heads after being named the new “Dancing” champs.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/



Allen Iverson Plans On Attending Sixers Game Tonight

Allen Iverson Plans On Attending Sixers Game Tonight


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A legendary rivalry, a hard fought series, and now a Sixers idol. Allen Iverson plans on attending tonight’s Eastern Conference Semi-Finals game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center between the Sixers and the Celtics, sources have confirmed.

Iverson played 10 full seasons for the Sixers, after they selected him first overall in the 1996 NBA Draft. He led the team to the NBA Finals in 2001, where they were defeated four games to one by the Lakers.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/


Nutter Defends Ayers as Firefighters’ Union Demands Commissioner’s Resignation

Nutter Defends Ayers as Firefighters’ Union Demands Commissioner’s Resignation

(Following an event today at City Hall involving Philadelphia's sports teams, above, Mayor Nutter commented on the firefighters' union call for fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers' resignation.  Credit: Steve Tawa)

Following an event today at City Hall involving Philadelphia’s sports teams, above, Mayor Nutter commented on the firefighters’ union call for fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers’ resignation.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter is calling Philadelphia fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers a “dedicated public servant” whom he supports, after the city firefighters’ union called for Ayers resignation in connection with last month’s fatal Kensington warehouse fire.

Firefighters’ Union Local 22 contends that Ayers and his two top deputies were guilty of incompetence and indifference, and should resign or be suspended.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Bail Raised For Man Charged With Upskirt Photography at King of Prussia Mall

Bail Raised For Man Charged With Upskirt Photography at King of Prussia Mall

(Kornwell Chan.  File photo)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) — A Montgomery County judge has increased the bail for an Upper Dublin man accused of lewd behavior in two crimes targeting women.

Prosecutors say Kornwell Chan was free on $100,000 cash bail for stalking a woman he met at the SEPTA Oreland train station and then breaking into her home and stealing her underwear when he was arrested again this month for using a video camera to look up women’s skirts at the King of Prussia Mall.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Philadelphia Priest Takes Stand In His Own Defense At Child Sex Abuse Trial

Philadelphia Priest Takes Stand In His Own Defense At Child Sex Abuse Trial


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was high drama in a Philadelphia court room today, as one of the defendants in the Philadelphia priest sex abuse case took the stand in his own defense.

Monsignor William Lynn is charged with endangering minors by allowing priests accused of sexually abusing children to remain in ministry. After nearly eight weeks, his appearance as a witness in his own defense is a stunning development in this landmark trial.

Lynn is the highest ranking cleric called to answer for years of moving predator priests without informing civil authorities, unsuspecting parishes or victims.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/


DC zoo hand-raising cubs after rare cheetah birth

DC zoo hand-raising cubs after rare cheetah birth

AP Photo
After a feeding, cheetah keeper Gil Myers cleans a one-month-old female cheetah cub, that was delivered via a rare caesarean section, Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at the National Zoo in Washington. The cub and her brother are expected to go on public display in the late summer.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two cheetah cubs have a new home at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and are being raised by human hands after a risky birth last month at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia.

The zoo offered a first look at the now healthy cubs Wednesday and hopes to place them on view to the public in the cheetah yard by the end of the summer.

Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land, but scientists said every surviving cub is critical to sustaining the species, which is threatened with extinction in the wild. These cubs are genetically valuable because their mother and father were first-time parents.

When the cubs' mother, 5-year-old Ally, gave birth to the first cub in late April, though, problems quickly developed. Ally abandoned her first cub and left him in the cold on a snowy day. Then her labor stopped, even though she had three more cubs waiting to be born.

Zoo veterinarians performed a "rare and risky" emergency cesarean section and saved one more cub, along with the cheetah mother. Two other cubs died.

"You're always sad that you couldn't save them all," said veterinarian Copper Aitken-Palmer. "But I'm thrilled that we have two, and I'm thrilled that the mom is doing well, too."

The month-old cubs don't have names yet, but their fuzzy hair already has spots identifying them as cheetahs.

There's one male and one female, and they're growing fast. At feeding time, they are eager to get their bottles, clawing and chirping to get milk from their handlers. The cubs are also beginning to transition to solid foods as their teeth come in, dining on moist grocery store cat food to start.

"Because they're cubs, everything is kind of exaggerated," Aitken-Palmer. "So they have really long legs, really poufy hair on their heads. But they're pretty cute."

Zoo veterinarians only knew of two other C-sections performed on a cheetah before they tried it to save this cheetah family. One had been successful, and the cubs died in another case.

"It's very rare and it's very risky," said cheetah biologist Adrienne Crosier. "We were certainly concerned about the welfare of the mother."

When the female cub was born, she had a heartbeat but didn't breathe on her own for several hours. Both cubs and mother were in intensive care for three days.

Because cheetahs are endangered, North American zoos are trying to build a self-sustaining population. It's been estimated there are only 8,000 to 12,000 cheetahs left in the wild, Crosier said.

"Every cub that is born into this population is critical," Crosier said, "and we're only producing a fraction of the cubs that we need every year to become sustainable."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sixers Lose To The Celtics, 101-85

Sixers Lose To The Celtics, 101-85


Sixers Lose To The Celtics, 101-85

BOSTON (AP) — Brandon Bass scored 18 of his postseason career-high 27 points in the third quarter on Monday night as the Boston Celtics pulled away from the Philadelphia 76ers to win 101-85 and take a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Kevin Garnett added 20 points and Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 14 assists for the Celtics, who can advance to the East finals with a victory in Philadelphia in Game 6 on Wednesday. The Sixers would need a win there to force the series back to Boston for a decisive seventh game on Saturday.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Catholics Gather In Philadelphia To Protest Vatican-Ordered Reforms

Catholics Gather In Philadelphia To Protest Vatican-Ordered Reforms

(Credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dozens of Catholics gathered in Sister Cities Park for a vigil to protest the Vatican’s crackdown on the women religious. The vigil is just one of dozens of protests nationwide.

Last month, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith directed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to reform its rules and programming to better conform to the doctrines of the Church, appointing Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to oversee the group. So, the Nun Justice Project decided to speak out.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

APNewsBreak: Franciscan files tell abuse story

APNewsBreak: Franciscan files tell abuse story

AP Photo
In this photo taken Monday May 21, 2012, Paul Palecek, who was molested as a Franciscan seminary student back in the 1960's is seen in his home in Folsom, Calif. Palecek is one of two dozen former students who have accused the Rev. Mario Cimmarrusti of molestation while they attended St. Anthony's, a seminary boarding school for young boys who hoped to join the close-knit Catholic order.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Robert Van Handel was a 15-year-old seminarian at St. Anthony's, a prestigious Franciscan boarding school, when, he said, a priest slipped into the infirmary where he was recovering from a fever and began to molest him. The priest told him it would help draw the fever out.

More than a decade later, Van Handel himself was molesting children while working as a Franciscan priest at the same Santa Barbara boarding school. Van Handel formed a boys' choir for local children and chose his victims from among its ranks for eight years.

The sexual abuse at St. Anthony's, including Van Handel's own account of his crimes, is included in more than 4,000 pages from the confidential files of nine Franciscan religious brothers who were accused of abuse. The internal files, coupled with an additional 4,000 pages of sworn testimony obtained by The Associated Press, are the largest release of a religious order's files to date and paint one of the fullest pictures yet of a pervasive culture of abuse that affected generations of students at the seminary dedicated to training future Franciscans.

The religious order settled for $28 million in 2006 with plaintiffs who alleged abuse by the nine Franciscans, but Van Handel and other defendants fought the release of their private files for six years in a legal battle that reached the California Supreme Court.

The files were obtained by The Associated Press from a plaintiff's attorney ahead of them being made public Wednesday.

The documents show how abuse in a religious order can be closely tied to the formation of children who grow up to become brothers and priests, said Terence McKiernan, founder and co-director of Bishop Accountability, which curates internal documents about sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

"One offender bringing kids in can set them up to be abused by another offender and those kids in turn grow up to become a member of the order and themselves begin abusing children," he said. "The generational phenomenon of abuse is really, really clear in these documents and it's a heartbreaking story."

Brian Bosnahan, an attorney representing the Franciscans, said the files do not show that the Franciscans knew of the abuse at the school or by other Franciscans included in the settlement. The religious order was quicker than most to address concerns about sexual abuse and launched an investigation into the abuse at St. Anthony's in 1992, years before other Roman Catholic institutions took up the issue, Bosnahan said.

No Franciscans have been accused of abuse since, he added.

"In general, if you look at it, you'll find the Franciscans were among the most aggressive," Bosnahan said.

The Franciscans played a pivotal role in bringing Christianity to California. Its members - known for wearing brown, hooded cloaks - emphasize the poverty and humility of their founder, St. Francis of Assisi.

The soft-spoken, bespectacled priest Van Handel, who is now 65 and living as a registered sex offender in Santa Cruz County, admitted his crimes and is the only priest of the nine Franciscans to be criminally convicted. He detailed his actions in a "sexual autobiography" and in court papers that are included in his confidential files.

He said his biggest concern was "the actual and potential damage I've caused to young men, the Friars and the Catholic Church," he told a probation officer in 1994, according to his file.

Messages left for Van Handel at his home address in Boulder Creek, Calif., and at his employer's office Tuesday weren't immediately returned.

Van Handel, who graduated from St. Anthony's in 1965 and later taught there for a decade, has been accused of molesting 19 people, many of them young boys he met while directing the community choir he founded while at the school. The choir drew young children from outside the seminary and toured Europe.

Van Handel would choose his victims from the choir - often preferring vulnerable and lost-looking children - and would photograph them nude, sometimes covered in oil, dressed in pauper's clothing or tied up with rope in the seminary's tower. He also would play tickling and touching games, according to his files.

He abused at least one victim at the seminary, where the child would spend the night with Van Handel because his mother worked odd hours as a chef.

One of his alleged victims, Bob Eckert, said he never thought at the time what Van Handel was doing was wrong. The priest helped the 10-year-old Eckert shower with other boys while the choir was touring Europe and then photographed him, Eckert said.

"I completely looked up to him. He was the one who determined who was going to be in and who was going to be out," said Eckert, who is now a 42-year-old general contractor living in Santa Barbara. "My mom had total faith in him, and I had no question that anything was wrong with being there."

Another priest, the Rev. Mario Cimmarrusti, has also been accused of abusing multiple students while he held the dual roles of head disciplinarian and head of the infirmary at St. Anthony's in the late 1960s. Cimmarrusti, who also attended the school as a teenager, took over as prefect of discipline the year Van Handel graduated.

His confidential files show that in an evaluation by a sex offender therapist, the priest estimated he had molested between 30 and 40 boys. On another occasion, Cimmarrusti said he may have molested as many as 250 boys, according to the evaluation included in his personnel file.

He is not the priest who Van Handel said molested him in the infirmary.

Cimmarrusti, who is now 82, could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Robert "Skip" Howie, said Cimmarrusti vehemently denies all the allegations against him.

"As an attorney, I can tell you that records can be deceptive and misleading," he said. "I'm really not here to argue the case, but all I can say is that he denies it."

The priest has been accused by 24 former students who alleged in lawsuits that Cimmarrusti performed hernia checks on the incoming freshman class as an excuse to fondle them; delivered violent, sexually charged beatings for minor disciplinary infractions; and molested students who were sick in the infirmary.

One student, Paul Palecek, quit the seminary because of the abuse, he said, and gave up on his dream of becoming a Franciscan priest. He remains active in the church and with missionary work overseas. Now 62, the semi-retired former contractor is studying to become a nurse.

Palecek testified that he told the school's rector about the abuse but nothing was done. In a deposition, the Rev. Xavier Harris said he didn't recall the conversation and there is no record of it in the priest's internal files. Bosnahan, the Franciscans' attorney, said he had no further information.

"I was really mad at God for a long time, but it wasn't God's fault. Mario chose to do evil," Palecek said. "Someone should have caught it. Someone should have caught it and done something about it."

The AP does not normally identify victims of sexual abuse. Palecek and Eckert gave permission to use their names in interviews with the AP.

Cimmarrusti went on to spend six years at St. Anthony's after Palecek's departure and then served as a missionary at a medical dispensary in Guayamas, Mexico, and in parishes in the Northern California towns of Stockton, Delano and San Miguel before being removed from the ministry in 1993 as his past closed in.

St. Anthony's closed in 1987, just a few years before the first of the former students began to come forward with their allegations. Now, with the disclosure of the documents, some of the former seminarians feel they can finally move on with their lives.

"This is like a wound and it's festering. In order to get this pus and this infection out, you have to open up the wound and let the air get to it and let it heal," Palecek said. "I can apply that to my life and to the Catholic Church. You have to open up these documents and let the air get to them so we can heal."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Philadelphia Police Officer Charged With Theft From Local Toy Store

Philadelphia Police Officer Charged With Theft From Local Toy Store

(Credit: Philadelphia Police)

Philadelphia Police

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia Police officer was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing from a toy store.

Forty-eight-year-old Bridgette Paris was arrested following an investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Authorities allege Paris engaged in an on-going conspiracy of theft from a local toy store.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/


Sunday, May 20, 2012

76ers Stun Celtics 92-83 In Game 4 To Even Series

76ers Stun Celtics 92-83 In Game 4 To Even Series

(credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andre Iguodala snapped a tie game with five straight points in the final 90 seconds to help the Philadelphia 76ers storm back from 15 points down and stun the Boston Celtics 92-83 on Friday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Sixers were a team reborn in the second half and played like a squad that refused to roll over for the championship-tested Celtics. They tied the series at 2-2 and guaranteed a return home for one more game.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Archdiocese Deems 2 Philadelphia Priests ‘Unsuitable’

Archdiocese Deems 2 Philadelphia Priests ‘Unsuitable’

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says two priests have been found unsuitable for ministry following allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

A statement from the archdiocese Sunday says the priests, 73-year-old Monsignor George J. Mazzotta and 77-year-old Monsignor Hugh P. Cambell, “have agreed to accept a supervised life of prayer and penance.”

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

'Avengers' sinks 'Battleship" to remain No. 1

'Avengers' sinks 'Battleship" to remain No. 1

AP Photo
FILE - This file photo of a film image released by Disney shows Iron Man, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., left, and Captain America, portrayed by Chris Evans, in a scene from "The Avengers." Disney/Marvel's "The Avengers" should top domestic box office for a third straight weekend, fending off wide-release newcomers with another $50 million in receipts.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "The Avengers" continues to muscle out everything else Hollywood throws at it, easily sinking naval rival "Battleship" and other new releases.

With $55.1 million domestically, Disney's superhero sensation remained No. 1 for a third-straight weekend and took in more than the three big newcomers combined. Overseas, "The Avengers" added an additional $56 million.

The film is approaching the $1.2 billion mark worldwide, totaling $457.1 million domestically and $723.3 million internationally.

"'The Avengers' is dominating the marketplace so profoundly that the newcomers are having a tough time breaking in now," said Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

Universal's "Battleship" opened a distant No. 2 with $25.4 million domestically, well below industry expectations.

But the board-game adaptation starring Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna already has grossed $226.8 million overseas since launching in April, giving it a worldwide total of $252.1 million.

"I would be glad to be No. 2 if we opened to a better number. But given the presence of an absolute juggernaut in the marketplace, there's nothing you can do," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal. "Not to have a shot at being No. 1 this weekend is disappointing. But it's a challenge with `Avengers' out there."

Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy "The Dictator," in which he plays a tyrannical third-world leader, debuted in third-place with $17.4 million for the weekend. Since opening Wednesday, the Paramount release has taken in $24.5 million.

"The Dictator" opened with $30.3 million in 29 overseas markets, giving it a worldwide haul of $54.8 million.

Paramount executives said they were happy with that start, but even a movie aiming for laughs had some trouble making in-roads against "The Avengers."

"This is a full-out comedy, very different than `Avengers.' But when you've got a movie that big, it just absolutely sucks up the marketplace," said Anthony Marcoly, head of international distribution for Paramount. "But it's also good for the entire business. Hopefully, those that see `Avengers' will go, `Hey, I want to see another movie,' and hopefully, they'll think of our movie as a next choice."

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton's vampire romp "Dark Shadows," which opened in second-place a week earlier, slipped to No. 4 with $12.8 million. The Warner Bros. release lifted its domestic total to $50.9 million, a weak result compared to the previous Depp-Burton blockbusters "Alice in Wonderland" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Lionsgate's pregnancy comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting," featuring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, premiered at No. 5 with $10.5 million.

"The Avengers" and the newcomers were unable to maintain Hollywood's sizzling start to the summer season. Overall domestic revenues totaled $144 million, down 14 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" opened with $90.2 million, according to Hollywood.com.

At $1.18 billion worldwide, "The Avengers" climbed to the No. 4 spot on the all-time charts, trailing only "Avatar" ($2.8 billion), "Titanic" ($2.2 billion) and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" ($1.3 billion).

Domestically, "The Avengers" at $457.1 million is No. 6 all-time but will quickly pass "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" ($474.5 million) and the original "Star Wars" ($460.9 million) to take the No. 4 spot.

"Avatar" is No. 1 domestically at $760.5 million, followed by "Titanic" at $658.5 million and "The Dark Knight" at $533.3 million.

Factoring in today's higher admission prices, many older movies sold more tickets than "The Avengers," which also has a price advantage because of the extra few dollars it costs to see the 3-D version.

But the Marvel Comics superhero ensemble has proved an overwhelming lure, drawing in all audience segments and packing in some fans who are seeing it over and over.

"It's a contagious thing that gets not just them back, but their friends back to see it again," said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. "I'm always happy to see a friendly competition among friends to see who can see the movie the most times."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Avengers," $55.1 million ($56 million international).

2. "Battleship," $25.4 million ($6.5 million international).

3. "The Dictator," $17.4 million ($30.3 million international).

4. "Dark Shadows," $12.8 million ($30.4 million international).

5. "What to Expect When You're Expecting," $10.5 million.

6. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," $3.3 million ($1.8 million international).

7. "The Hunger Games," $3 million ($1.5 million international).

8. "Think Like a Man," $2.7 million.

9. "The Lucky One," $1.8 million ($2.7 million international).

10. "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," $1.5 million.

---

Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:

1. "The Avengers," $56 million.

2. "Dark Shadows," $30.4 million.

3. "The Dictator," $30.3 million.

4. "American Reunion," $10.2 million.

5. "Battleship," $6.5 million.

6. "All About My Wife," $3.7 million.

7. "Do-nui Mat," $3.5 million.

8. "The Lucky One," $2.7 million.

9. "Rust and Bone," $2.2 million.

10. "The Vow," $2 million.

Millions look skyward as rare eclipse crosses Asia

Millions look skyward as rare eclipse crosses Asia

AP Photo
A business man watches an annular solar eclipse at a waterfront park in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, May 21, 2012. Millions of Asians watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies early Monday. The annular eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun leaving only a golden ring around its edges, was visible to wide areas across the continent.

TOKYO (AP) -- Millions of Asians watched as a rare "ring of fire" eclipse crossed their skies early Monday.

The annular eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun leaving only a golden ring around its edges, was visible to wide areas across the continent. It will move across the Pacific and also be seen in parts of the western United States.

In Japan, "eclipse tours" were arranged at schools and parks, on pleasure boats and even private airplanes. Similar events were held in China and Taiwan as well.

The eclipse was broadcast live on TV in Tokyo, where such an eclipse hasn't been visible since 1839. The Taipei Astronomical Museum opened its doors at dawn and Hong Kong's Space Museum set up solar-filtered telescopes outside its building on the Kowloon waterfront.

Japanese TV crews watched from the top of Mount Fuji and even staked out a zoo south of Tokyo to capture the reaction of the chimpanzees - who didn't seem to notice.

A light rain fell on Tokyo as the eclipse began, but the clouds thinned as it reached its peak, providing near perfect conditions.

"It was a very mysterious sight," said Kaori Sasaki, who joined a crowd in downtown Tokyo to watch event. "I've never seen anything like it."

Hong Kong skywatchers weren't so lucky.

Several hundred people gathered along the Kowloon waterfront on Hong Kong's famed Victoria Harbor, most of them students or commuters on their way to work. The eclipse was already underway as the sun began to rise, but heavy clouds obstructed the view.

The eclipse will follow a narrow 13,700-kilometer (8,500-mile) path for 3 1/2 hours. The ring phenomenon will last about five minutes, depending on location. People outside the narrow band for prime viewing will see a partial eclipse.

"Ring of Fire" eclipses are not as dramatic as a total eclipse, when the disk of the sun is entirely blocked by the moon. The moon is too far from Earth and appears too small in the sky to blot out the sun completely.

Doctors and education officials have warned of eye injuries from improper viewing. Before the event started, Japan's Education Minister Hirofumi Hirano demonstrated how to use eclipse glasses in a televised news conference.

Police also cautioned against traffic accidents - warning drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

Robin Gibb of Bee Gees dies at 62

Robin Gibb of Bee Gees dies at 62

AP Photo
In this Nov, 6, 1979, file photo, the Bee Gees from left, Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb sing close into the microphone at a Miami Beach concert in Miami. November 6, 1979. A representative said on Sunday, May 20, 2012, that Robin Gibb has died. He was 62.

LONDON (AP) -- Robin Gibb, one of the three Bee Gees whose falsetto harmonies powered such hits as "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" and defined the flashy disco era died Sunday, his representative said. He was 62.

Gibb's family announced in a statement that "Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," Gibb's representative Doug Wright said.

"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time," it said.

The band of Gibb brothers was famed for the influential 1977 "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack that became one of the fastest-selling albums of all time with its innovative fusion of harmony and pulsing dance floor rhythms.

The album remains a turning point in popular music history, ending the hard rock era and ushering in a time when dance music ruled supreme.

"Saturday Night Fever" - actually a compilation album featuring the Bee Gees but including songs by other performers - represented the pinnacle of Gibb's career, but he enjoyed more than 40 years of prominence as a Bee Gee, as a solo artist, and as a songwriter and producer for other artists.

Gibb was for decades a familiar figure on the pop stage, starting out in the 1960s when the Bee Gees were seen as talented Beatles copycats. They sounded so much like the Beatles at first that there were strong rumors that the Bee Gees' singles were really the Beatles performing under another name.

Many late-'60s bands were quickly forgotten, but the Bee Gees transformed themselves into an enduring A-List powerhouse with the almost unbelievable, and certainly unexpected, success of the song "Stayin' Alive" and others from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. The movie it accompanied also catapulted the young John Travolta to cinematic stardom.

The Bee Gees went on to sell more than 200 million records and had a long string of successful singles, clearing their way to induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There are more than 6,000 cover versions of their songs - a substantial testament to their continued popularity.

The name Bee Gees was short for Brothers Gibb. They consisted of Barry Gibb, the eldest, and twins Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, who died of intestinal and cardiac problems in 2003.

The brothers' three-part harmonies became their musical signature, particularly in the disco phase, when Barry's matchless falsetto often dominated, and they were renowned for their wide-ranging songwriting and producing skills.

The Gibbs were born in England on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea, but moved to Australia with their parents in 1958 when they were still young and began their musical career there. They had been born into a musical family, with a father who was a drummer and bandleader and a mother who liked to sing.

After several hits in Australia, their career started to really take off when they returned to England in 1967 and linked up with promoter Robert Stigwood.

After several hits and successful albums, Robin Gibb left the group in 1969 after a series of disagreements, some focusing on whether he or Barry should be lead vocalist. He released some successful solo material - most notably "Saved by the Bell" - before rejoining his brothers in 1970 and scoring a major hit with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart."

The Gibbs then suffered some slack years - searching for a style that could sustain them in the post-Beatles era - and Barry Gibb started experimenting with falsetto vocals, first on backup, and then in the lead position.

The brothers were at a low point when they went into a French studio to try to come up with some songs for the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack at the urging of Stigwood.

The success of those tunes - closely linked to the popularity of the movie, and the power of the disco movement - changed their lives forever, giving them a string of number one hits.

After several years of chart success, the Gibbs spent much of the 1980s writing songs and producing records for other artists, working closely with top talents such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. They also continued touring and releasing their own records.

Gibb also released more solo albums, including "Secret Agent," during this period.

The band continued in the 1990s, gaining recognition for their body of work with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Then came Maurice's sudden death in 2003. The surviving brothers announced that the name Bee Gees would be retired with Maurice Gibbs' death, although Robin and Barry did collaborate on projects and Robin Gibb continued his solo career and extensive touring despite mounting health problems.

Robin Gibb had to cancel several engagements in 2011, including one with Prime Minister David Cameron, and he showed an alarming weight loss on his rare public appearances. He was hospitalized briefly in 2011 with what doctors said was an inflamed colon, and had several intestinal surgeries to remove growths.

One of his final projects was a classical requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that he co-wrote with his son RJ to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Younger brother Andy Gibb, who also enjoyed considerable chart success as a solo artist, had died in 1988 just after turning 30. He suffered from an inflamed heart muscle attributed to a severe viral infection.

Robin Gibb remained emotionally attached to the Isle of Man, keeping a house there as well as homes in rural Oxfordshire, England, and Miami. He was a vegan who did not drink alcohol.

He also became involved with numerous charities and worked to establish a permanent memorial to the veterans of Britain's World War II Bomber Command and recorded songs honoring British veterans.

Gibb is survived by his second wife, Dwina, and four children, as well as his older brother, fellow Bee Gee Barry Gibb, and his sister Lesley Evans, who lives in Australia.

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