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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grammy Award Winner Brandy To Headline Philadelphia Music Festival

Grammy Award Winner Brandy To Headline Philadelphia Music Festival

(Credit: Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s Multicultural Affairs Congress is teaming up with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation for the Sixth Annual Global Fusion Festival to take place in July.

Grammy Award Winner Brandy is the headliner, crooners Kenny Latimore, Elle Varner and Luke James will also light of the stage. It’s all a part of a free celebration of Philadelphia’s cultural diversity, says MAC Executive Director Tanya Hall.

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NY school bus monitor 'fine' with bully punishment

NY school bus monitor 'fine' with bully punishment

AP Photo
FILE - In this June 28, 2012 file photo, bus monitor Karen Klein, of Greece, N.Y., holds flowers during an award ceremony in her honor at a radio station, in Boston. Klein, who was bullied on a bus by four seventh-graders, says she's satisfied that they're being suspended for a year.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The upstate New York school bus monitor who was bullied by four seventh-graders says she's satisfied that they're being suspended for a year.

Speaking one day after the boys' punishment was announced, Karen Klein told The Associated Press on Saturday that she wants to meet with the boys who tormented her.

"Oh yes, I would like to talk to them!" said the 68-year-old, speaking from her home in Rochester. "I want to ask them why they did it."

What the four boys did was captured on video, mercilessly taunting Klein as she sat on the bus, gradually breaking down in tears.

On Friday, the school system in the Rochester suburb of Greece suspended the four middle school students for a year, keeping them from regular bus transportation.

How does Klein feel about this punishment?

"It's fine with me," she told the AP.

Klein said they'll still be going to an alternative school - "they won't be just sitting at home doing nothing."

But the best part of her ordeal going public, and the resulting school action, "is that they have to do community service - for senior citizens," she said, her voice rising with emotion.

"I'm so glad everyone out there knows about this," she added, sounding upbeat as she spoke to the AP minutes after returning from Boston and a much needed, four-day vacation that followed the flurry of attention raining on her from across the country.

Klein, who is hard of hearing, spoke by telephone with the help of her adult son and daughter, who repeated questions that she then answered herself.

Another benefit of the video of the incident going viral, she said, "is that it's putting people into action, making them talk to their children, making them teach them what they should not do."

The cellphone video posted online by a fellow student drew millions of viewers. The video shows Klein trying her best to ignore a stream of profanity, insults and outright threats.

One student taunted: "You don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son killed himself 10 years ago.

Among the mounds of messages she received this week were letters of apology from three of the boys and their families.

She said earlier in the week that she didn't feel the youths were sincere.

But on Saturday, Klein said she accepts the newest letter she received several days ago - from the fourth boy.

His parents dropped it off with flowers.

"He said he was sorry, and that he didn't mean to do it," Klein said. "And I think he means it."

Sounding relieved, she said that none of the students will be showing up on her school bus in the fall - should she choose to return to work.

The support she's received wasn't only verbal.

A fund drive that began with a goal of $5,000 to help Klein take a nice vacation raised more than $667,000 as of Friday.

She hasn't decided yet whether to return to her job

"I don't know, I just don't know," she said, adding, "I'm going to invest and I don't need to work."

But Klein, a grandmother of eight, including one with Down syndrome, said she'll donate part of the money to support research.

And she wants to pay off all her bills.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Senior Member Of Controversial Delaware County Church Arrested On Child Molestation Charges

Senior Member Of Controversial Delaware County Church Arrested On Child Molestation Charges

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Richard Bellingham, once a trusted member of the Church of Our Saviour in Concord Township, is charged with molesting four girls from his church between 1981 and 1987. On Thursday, police arrested the 57-year-old from his Newark, Delaware home.

CBS 3 obtained a criminal complaint detailing several alleged spanking scenarios and sex assaults of girls between 4-15 years old. A woman, now 39, went to authorities in January. Since then, investigators have been building their case against Bellingham.

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SRC Selects New Superintendent Of Philadelphia School District

SRC Selects New Superintendent Of Philadelphia School District

(Credit: Philadelphia School District)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The School Reform Commission has selected its new superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, officials announced Friday.

Chairman Pedro A. Ramos said Dr. William Hite, Jr., who is the current superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, “is an eminent educator and a proven transformative leader.”

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Suicide by poison suspected in Ariz. court death

Suicide by poison suspected in Ariz. court death

AP Photo
In this undated photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, 53-year-old Michael Marin is shown. The former Wall Street trader and attorney is suspected of fatally poisoning himself as he was found guilty of arson of an occupied structure in a Phoenix courtroom on June 28, 2012.

PHOENIX (AP) -- As the word "guilty" filled the silence of a Phoenix courtroom, defendant Michael Marin closed his eyes, put his head in his hands and appeared to put something in his mouth. He then took a swig from a sports bottle.

Minutes later, the 53-year-old Marin was dead.

Now investigators are trying to confirm their suspicion that Marin popped a poison pill after the jury found him guilty of arson, a bizarre ending to a case that began in 2009 when he emerged from his burning mansion in scuba gear.

Prosecutors said he torched his home when he couldn't keep up with the payments. Marin, an attorney and father of four, faced seven to 21 years in prison.

"This is one of the strangest cases I've seen in a long time," said Jeff Sprong, a spokesman with the Maricopa County sheriff's office. "We're hoping to find out exactly what he was thinking and exactly what he took."

Detectives will get the liquid from the sports drink tested for poisons. An autopsy was being conducted Friday to determine if any poison was in Marin's system, but results weren't expected to be released for months.

Marin's four grown children, who live in Arizona, did not return requests for comment, nor did his attorney, Andrew Clemency, or prosecutor Chris Rapp.

Marin, a former Wall Street trader, had summited Everest and wrote on his Facebook page that he had scaled six of the world's seven tallest mountains. He also was an art collector who had original Picassos.

Prosecutors painted him as a desperate man who had $50 in his bank account in July 2009, down from $900,000 a year earlier. He also had a monthly mortgage payment on the mansion of $17,250 and an upcoming balloon payment of $2.3 million.

Marin also owed $2,500 a month on a different home and owed $34,000 in taxes, prosecutors said.

On July 5, 2009, Marin told investigators that he escaped a blaze in his 10,000-sqaure-foot mansion in a posh part of Phoenix using a rope ladder and wearing scuba gear to avoid inhaling smoke.

Fire investigators later determined that the blaze was intentionally set. As Marin was led off to jail, he told reporters that he was innocent and "utterly shocked" that he was being arrested.

On Thursday, a jury found Marin guilty of a felony count of arson of an occupied structure.

After the verdict, he appeared to put something in his mouth, according to video footage. Soon after, a bright-red Marin coughed, reached for a tissue, buried his face in his hands and appeared to sob, The Arizona Republic reported.

Marin then began making noises that sounded like snores and whoops as he began convulsing and fell on the floor face-first, according to the newspaper.

Sprong, the sheriff's spokesman, said an investigator in the courtroom tried to resuscitate Marin. He was pronounced dead soon after at a hospital. Sprong said the department planned to interview his family and search his home.

Records show that other defendants found guilty of arson of an occupied structure, on top of other serious charges and when other people's lives were at risk, have received more lenient sentences than the one Marin faced.

For instance, a Phoenix man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years' probation after being convicted on charges that included arson of an occupied structure. Prosecutors said he endangered 12 people, including six children.

Franklin Zimring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in criminal sanctions, said a sentence up to 21 years in prison seemed overly long in Marin's case.

"What makes the potential sentence both seem quite long and seem, in some sense, inappropriate is that the life that was put at risk was that of the offender," he said.

Zimring said Marin likely would have been eligible for a shorter sentence had he agreed to a plea deal.

Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County attorney's office, said talks about a plea deal had broken down and the case moved to trial. He could not say which side was more responsible for the breakdown.

Cobb said that after Marin was convicted, prosecutors would have sought a harsher sentence for him, anywhere between 10 1/2 and 21 years in prison.

Among Marin's last posts on Facebook, in November 2009, was a photo of his four children that said there was something more important to him than his Everest conquest.

"More than anything else I may have accomplished in this life, this is what really matters to me: the blessing of knowing the amazing individuals I am privileged to call my children," he wrote.

Teen charged in shooting Watts baby, father


A 15-year-old boy has been charged with killing a baby and wounding the baby's father in Watts.

Police say they've arrested Donald Dokins in connection with the June 4 shooting. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office says 14-month-old Angel Cortez was in his father's arms when a gunman rode up on a bike and fired several shots.

The baby died at a local hospital; his father was hit in the shoulder.

Dokins will be arraigned Friday and will be tried as an adult. If convicted, he could face several life sentences.

All material © 2012 KABC-TV, Inc. & 2004-2012 LSN, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Story posted 2012.06.29 at 12:54 AM PDT

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

House votes to hold attorney general in contempt

House votes to hold attorney general in contempt

AP Photo
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference in New Orleans, Thursday, June 28, 2012. The Obama administration and House Republicans refused to find a middle ground in a dispute over documents related to a botched gun-tracking operation, and the GOP plunged ahead with plans for precedent-setting votes Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in civil and criminal contempt o Congress.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday became the first Cabinet member held in contempt of Congress, a rebuke pushed by Republicans seeking to unearth the facts behind a bungled gun-tracking operation and dismissed by most Democrats as a political stunt.

The vote was 255-67, with more than 100 Democrats boycotting.

African-American lawmakers led the walkout as members filed up the aisle and out of the chamber to protest the action against Holder, who is the nation's first black attorney general. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California joined the boycott, saying Republicans had gone "over the edge" in their partisanship.

Seventeen Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of the contempt vote, while two Republicans - Reps. Scott Rigell of Virginia and Steven LaTourette of Ohio - joined other Democrats in voting against it.

The National Rifle Association pressed hard for the contempt resolution, leaning on members of both parties who want to stay in the NRA's good graces.

Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman, said all 17 Democrats who voted for criminal contempt had previously received an "A" grade from the organization.

Holder said afterward that the vote was merely a politically motivated act in an election year

"Today's vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is - at base - both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the American people. They expect - and they deserve - far better," Holder said in New Orleans.

The attorney general said the House vote would result in an unnecessary court fight. Republicans "were not interested in bringing an end to this dispute or even obtaining the information they say they wanted," he said. "Ultimately, their goal was the vote that - with the help of special interests - they now have engineered."

Republicans cited Holder's refusal to hand over - without any preconditions - documents that could explain why the Obama administration initially denied that a risky "gun-walking" investigative tactic was used in Operation Fast and Furious. The operation identified more than 2,000 illicitly purchased weapons. Some 1,400 of them have yet to be recovered in the failed strategy to track the weapons.

The vote on a criminal contempt resolution sent the matter to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who is under Holder. In previous contempt cases, federal prosecutors in the nation's capital have refused to act on congressional contempt citations against members of their own administration.

A separate vote on civil contempt passed 258-95, with 21 Democrats supporting it. It will allow the House to hire its own attorney to bring a civil lawsuit in an effort to force Holder to turn over the documents.

In past cases, courts have been reluctant to settle disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government.

During the debate before the vote, Republicans said they were seeking answers for the Michigan family of Brian Terry, a Border Patrol agent killed in December 2010 in a shootout with Mexican bandits. Two guns from Fast and Furious were found at the scene.

Democrats insisted that they, too, wanted the Terry family to have all the facts, but argued that only a more thorough, bipartisan investigation would accomplish that.

Terry's family issued a statement through the Brian Terry Foundation, saying: "The Terry family takes no pleasure in the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder. Such a vote should not have been necessary. The Justice Department should have released the documents related to Fast and Furious months ago."

The NRA contended the administration wanted to use Operation Fast and Furious to win gun control measures. Democrats who normally support the NRA but who vote against the contempt citations would lose any 100 percent ratings from the group.

That could affect whether they get endorsements from the powerful organization, particularly if Republican opponents surface who are strong NRA backers. But a former NRA board member and the longest-serving House member, Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, argued gun control was not at issue. He failed in attempt to head off the contempt votes.

The Congressional Black Caucus, explaining its boycott, said in a letter to the House that "Contempt power should be used sparingly, carefully and only in the most egregious situations" and the GOP leadership had "articulated no legislative purpose for pursuing this course of action."

The dispute is both legal and political. Republicans asserted their right to obtain documents needed for an investigation of Operation Fast and Furious - focusing on 10 months in 2011 after the Obama administration initially denied guns were allowed to "walk" from Arizona to Mexico. By year's end, the administration acknowledged the assertion was wrong.

President Barack Obama asserted a broad form of executive privilege, a legal position designed to keep executive branch documents from being disclosed. The assertion ensures that documents will not be turned over any time soon, unless a deal is reached between the administration and congressional Republicans.

In the debate, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said the contempt motions were "Fast and foolish, fast and fake."

Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Fla., took the opposite view, arguing, "A man died serving his country, and we have a right to know what the federal government's hand was in that."

For the past year and a half, some Republicans have promoted the idea that Holder and other top-level officials at the Justice Department knew federal agents in Operation Fast and Furious had engaged in gun-walking.

Two of Holder's emails and one from Deputy Attorney General James Cole in early 2011 appear to show that they hadn't known about gun-walking but were determined to find out whether the allegations were true.

"We need answers on this," Holder wrote. "Not defensive BS. Real answers."

The Justice Department showed the selected emails on Tuesday to Republican and Democratic staffers of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, in an effort to ward off the criminal contempt vote against the attorney general.

The full contents of the emails were described to The Associated Press by two people who have seen them. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about them publicly.

In Operation Fast and Furious, agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives abandoned the agency's usual practice of intercepting all weapons they believed to be illicitly purchased. Instead, the goal of "gun-walking" was to track such weapons to high-level arms traffickers who had eluded prosecution and to dismantle their networks.

Gun-walking long has been barred by Justice Department policy, but federal agents in Arizona experimented with it in three investigations during the George W. Bush administration before Operation Fast and Furious. The agents in Arizona lost track of several hundred weapons in that operation.

Roberts delivers for president who had opposed him

Roberts delivers for president who had opposed him

AP Photo
FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2010 file photo, Chief Justice John Roberts is seen during the group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. Breaking with the court's other conservative justices, Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Roberts explained at length the court's view of the mandate as a valid exercise of Congress' authority to "lay and collect taxes." The administration estimates that roughly 4 million people will pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As a junior senator, Barack Obama voted against John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court, fearing he would favor the powerful over the weak.

Now it is Roberts who has saved the signature achievement of Obama's presidency, the health care overhaul, in a ruling that challenges critics' assertions that the chief justice is nothing more than a conservative ideologue.

Roberts had pledged at his 2005 confirmation hearing to act as a judicial umpire, calling balls and strikes without taking sides. On Thursday, he threw conservatives a curveball.

In a 5-4 ruling upholding the health care law, Roberts wrote for the majority that it's not the court's job to decide whether Obama's plan "embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the nation's elected leaders."

After all the speculation that the Republican-leaning court would strike down the law, Roberts' opinion startled even Paul Clement, the lawyer who had made the case against the law in oral arguments before the high court in March.

"If you told people that there were four solid votes to strike down the whole thing, you know, I think most people ... would have been surprised to find that among the four were Justice (Anthony) Kennedy and not the chief justice," Clement said.

The 57-year-old chief justice hasn't gotten this much attention since he flubbed the oath of office that he administered to Obama on Inauguration Day in 2009. His mangled wording of the inaugural oath prompted a presidential do-over the next day.

Thursday's ruling induced an instant role reversal.

Liberals sang Roberts' praises. Conservatives suddenly were less enamored. Roberts had been their darling since President George W. Bush picked the federal judge to replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

For a second time in the court's final week of its term, Roberts had aligned himself with the liberal justices. In a decision Monday, he had voted to invalidate parts of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Roberts "saved the day - and perhaps the court," in the health care ruling, said Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, a constitutional scholar who once hired Obama as a research assistant and also had the chief justice as a student.

Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California chimed in: "Today I am proud to be a member of the Harvard Law School class of 1979, the class that included Chief Justice Roberts."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said Roberts had "acted as the umpire he promised to be."

Republican lawmakers largely focused on their dismay with the ruling, steering clear of its author, although Sen. David Vitter, R-La., accused Roberts of "amazingly rewriting the law in order to uphold it."

Other critics let loose.

A National Review Online editorial, under the title "Roberts's Folly," said the chief justice and his colleagues had "done violence" to the Constitution. Hackers briefly changed Roberts' title on Wikipedia to "Chief Traitor of the United States" and labeled him a "coward." T-shirts declaring "Impeach John Roberts" were soon on sale.

As Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke out strongly against the ruling, his website lagged behind, still promising, "As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts."

Once the shock at the ruling wore off, the questions about Roberts' motivations began.

Did he do it to salvage the court's image? Was he trying to preserve his legacy?

The court's reputation for impartiality took a major hit with the 5-4 ruling that awarded the presidency to Republican Bush over Democrat Al Gore in 2000. With the court's liberal and conservative justices often sharply divided in recent years, a CBS News-New York Times poll this month found that 76 percent of those surveyed thought the justices were at least sometimes influenced by their own political or personal opinions rather than the law.

The latest numbers from Gallup, which has tracked confidence in the court since 1973, are among the lowest the court has ever received.

William Galston, a former Clinton administration official, wrote that Roberts may have "had one eye focused on jurisprudence and another on the standing of the institution he heads."

But Richard Garnett, a University of Notre Dame law professor and former Supreme Court clerk to Rehnquist, rejected the idea that Roberts was out to please the public.

"Chief Justice Roberts is a guy who is trying hard to get the right answer even in hard cases that have political implications," Garnett said. Still, Garnett said the ruling might help to change public impressions, acknowledging that there was "a narrative that was being set up" painting the court in highly partisan terms.

Michael Dorf, a Cornell University law professor who clerked for Kennedy, said the ruling shouldn't be taken as evidence that Roberts has lost his conservative bent.

"There's no doubt that Roberts is a generally conservative justice," Dorf said. "What this case demonstrates is that he is not simply an ideologue and he was led where the arguments led him."

There was some speculation that Roberts had even thrown a bone to conservatives by going out of his way in the ruling to agree with their position that Congress lacked the power under the Constitution's commerce clause to put the mandate for health insurance in place.

In 2005, Obama, a former constitutional law professor, explained his vote against Roberts' confirmation by saying that the judge was qualified in temperament and scholarship for most of what comes before the high court, but not for those truly difficult cases where "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart."

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., predicted Roberts' stock with the president is a notch higher these days.

"I bet he gets an engraved Christmas card invitation to the White House," Cole said. "He's pretty popular right now, down there at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Campaign impact: Obama, Romney seize on ruling

Campaign impact: Obama, Romney seize on ruling

AP Photo
President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, after the Supreme Court ruled on his health care legislation.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Battling fiercely for the White House, President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney implored voters to see the Supreme Court's health care ruling in different ways Thursday, with Obama appealing for people to move on with him and his challenger promising to rip up the law.

"Today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure," Obama declared after a divided high court upheld the law, including a requirement that people carry health insurance. "It's time for us to move forward."

Romney did just the opposite, pinning the court's decision to the election and asking voters to render their own ruling.

"If we want to get rid of Obamacare," he said, "we're going to have replace President Obama."

Democrats and Republicans immediately launched fundraising appeals off the court's decision, underscoring the campaign ramifications of a judicial decision that is supposed to be devoid of politics. It was conservative Chief Justice John Roberts who cast the defining vote, upending the traditional lines of political attack and surprising many in the White House.

The outcome was a clear personal win for Obama, who has staked much of his presidency and legacy on the law. But Republicans were emboldened that it would cost him, given that the law as a whole remains unpopular and that the insurance mandate was deemed by the court to be a tax - a term never popular in an election year.

Neither Obama nor Romney knew what the ruling would be.

So what unfolded was a dramatic, unscripted moment in a campaign that has had few of them.

At first, Obama thought the worst.

Watching a bank of television monitors outside the Oval Office, Obama saw urgent but erroneous cable news reports that the individual mandate has been shot down.

But the White House counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, knew otherwise and flashed the president two thumbs up. After she explained the justices' bottom-line ruling, the president gave her a hug.

Across the White House, where anticipation had been intense, the mood was more relief and satisfaction than roaring celebration.

Obama sought to strike that tone as he spoke from a lectern in the East Room, trying to steer the conversation toward the ways he said the law is helping millions of Americans.

"I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this - about who won and who lost," he said. "That's how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point."

Obama barely alluded to Romney.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who had watched news of the ruling from his Washington hotel room, reacted first. He set himself up with a TV backdrop of the Capitol to underscore his political message.

"What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States," Romney said. "And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare."

His campaign said Thursday evening that it had raised $2.5 million from 24,000 donors during the day, crediting a response to the court decision. But based on the sheer average of Romney's fundraising - a rate of more than $2 million a day last month - it was unclear how much of Thursday's money was attributable to the health care opinion.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign emailed a fundraising appeal over the president's name, citing the court's decision and Romney's pledge to repeal it. "While the Supreme Court's decision should put to rest the debate over health care," the email said, "Mitt Romney and the Republicans in Congress just can't take yes for an answer."

For all the political furor over the decision, Romney and Obama ultimately turned their comments to the economy, where they know the election will be decided. Shortly after Romney insisted the president's law was a "job-killer," Obama called for the debate over the health care law to finally end so everyone can "focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work."

Supreme Court upholds entire health care law


The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the vast majority of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul, including the hotly debated core requirement that virtually all Americans have health insurance.


The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld virtually all of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul, including the hotly debated core requirement that nearly every American have health insurance.

The 5-4 decision meant the huge overhaul, still taking effect, could proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

The ruling hands Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in approving the plan. However, Republicans quickly indicated they will try to use the decision to rally their supporters against what they call "Obamacare," arguing that the ruling characterized the penalty against people who refuse to get insurance as a tax.

Obama declared, "Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country." GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney renewed his criticism of the overhaul, calling it "bad law" and promising to work to repeal it if elected in November.

Breaking with the court's other conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Roberts explained at length the court's view of the mandate as a valid exercise of Congress' authority to "lay and collect taxes." The administration estimates that roughly 4 million people will pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.

Even though Congress called it a penalty, not a tax, Roberts said, "The payment is collected solely by the IRS through the normal means of taxation."

Roberts also made plain the court's rejection of the administration's claim that Congress had the power under the Constitution's commerce clause to put the mandate in place. The power to regulate interstate commerce power, he said, "does not authorize the mandate. " Stocks of hospital companies rose after the decision was announced, while shares of insurers fell sharply. Shares of drugmakers and device makers fell slightly.

The justices rejected two of the administration's three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," Roberts said.

The court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states' entire Medicaid allotment if they don't take part in the law's extension.

The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Kennedy summarized the dissent in court. "In our view, the act before us is invalid in its entirety," he said.

The dissenters said in a joint statement that the law "exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding."

In all, the justices spelled out their views in six opinions totaling 187 pages. Roberts, Kennedy and Ginsburg spent 51 minutes summarizing their views in the packed courtroom.

The legislation passed Congress in early 2010 after a monumental struggle in which all Republicans voted against it. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Thursday the House will vote the week of July 9 on whether to repeal the law, though such efforts have virtually no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

After the ruling, Republican campaign strategists said Romney will use it to continue campaigning against "Obamacare" and attacking the president's signature health care program as a tax increase.

"Obama might have his law, but the GOP has a cause," said veteran campaign adviser Terry Holt. "This promises to galvanize Republican support around a repeal of what could well be called the largest tax increase in American history."

Democrats said Romney, who backed an individual health insurance mandate when he was Massachusetts governor, will have a hard time exploiting the ruling.

"Mitt Romney is the intellectual godfather of Obamacare," said Democratic consultant Jim Manley. "The bigger issue is the rising cost of health care, and this bill is designed to deal with it."

More than eight in 10 Americans already have health insurance. But for most of the 50 million who are uninsured, the ruling offers the promise of guaranteed coverage at affordable prices. Lower-income and many middle-class families will be eligible for subsidies to help pay premiums starting in 2014.

There's also an added safety net for all Americans, insured and uninsured. Starting in 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage for medical treatment, nor can they charge more to people with health problems. Those protections, now standard in most big employer plans, will be available to all, including people who get laid off, or leave a corporate job to launch their own small business.

Seniors also benefit from the law through better Medicare coverage for those with high prescription costs, and no copayments for preventive care. But hospitals, nursing homes, and many other service providers may struggle once the Medicare cuts used to finance the law really start to bite.

Illegal immigrants are not entitled to the new insurance coverage under the law, and will remain one of the biggest groups uninsured.

Obama's law is by no means the last word on health care. Experts expect costs to keep rising, meaning that lawmakers will have to revisit the issue perhaps as early as next year, when federal budget woes will force them to confront painful options for Medicare and Medicaid, the giant federal programs that cover seniors, the disabled, and low-income people.

The health care overhaul focus will now quickly shift from Washington to state capitals. Only 14 states, plus Washington, D.C., have adopted plans to set up the new health insurance markets called for under the law. Called exchanges, the new markets are supposed to be up and running on Jan. 1, 2014. People buying coverage individually, as well as small businesses, will be able to shop for private coverage from a range of competing insurers.

Most Republican-led states, including large ones such as Texas and Florida, have been counting on the law to be overturned and have failed to do the considerable spade work needed to set up exchanges. There's a real question about whether they can meet the deadline, and if they don't, Washington will step in and run their exchanges for them.

In contrast to the states, health insurance companies, major employers, and big hospital systems are among the best prepared. Many of the changes called for in the law were already being demanded by employers trying to get better value for their private health insurance dollars.

"The main driver here is financial," said Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, which has pioneered some of the changes. "The factors driving health care reform are not new, and they are not going to go away."

The Medicaid expansion would cover an estimated 17 million people who earn too much to qualify for assistance but not enough to afford insurance. The federal and state governments share the cost, and Washington regularly imposes conditions on the states in exchange for money.

Roberts said Congress' ability to impose those conditions has its limits. "In this case, the financial 'inducement' Congress has chosen is much more than 'relatively mild encouragement' - it is a gun to the head," he said.

The law says the Health and Human Services Department can withhold a state's entire Medicaid allotment if the state doesn't comply with the health care law's Medicaid provisions.

Even while ruling out that level of coercion, however, Roberts said nothing prevents the federal government from offering money to accomplish the expansion and withholding that money from states that don't meet certain conditions.

"What Congress is not free to do is to penalize states that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding," he said.

Ginsburg said the court should have upheld the entire law as written without forcing any changes in the Medicaid provision. She said Congress' constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce supports the individual mandate. She warned that the legal reasoning, even though the law was upheld, could cause trouble in future cases.

"So in the end, the Affordable Health Care Act survives largely unscathed. But the court's commerce clause and spending clause jurisprudence has been set awry. My expectation is that the setbacks will be temporary blips, not permanent obstructions," Ginsburg said in a statement she, too, read from the bench.

In the courtroom Thursday were retired Justice John Paul Stevens and the wives of Roberts, Alito, Breyer, Kennedy and Thomas.

Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Charles Babington, Jessica Gresko, Jesse J. Holland and David Espo contributed to this report.

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Story posted 2012.06.28 at 12:46 PM EDT

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Fire at 33rd and Euclid St.

Text and Photos By: G.Wilson ( The Newscenter)

A fire broke out this morning on the 3300 block of Euclid St. In the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia. The fire department was called to the scence at around 5:45 and arrived to smoke billowing out of a third floor window. The fire was under control by 6:15.
No injuries were reported and the cause is under investigation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Suspect Identified In Attack On SEPTA Bus Driver

Suspect Identified In Attack On SEPTA Bus Driver

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Scores of police officers swarmed a SEPTA bus this morning in Center City Philadelphia in response to the desperate pleas of a driver being choked by a passenger who was armed with a knife.

It was a hectic scene about 10 a.m. at the intersection of 4th and Market Streets. About a dozen police vehicles surrounded the Route 33 SEPTA bus as officers responded.

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Health care countdown: Who wins, loses _ pays?

Health care countdown: Who wins, loses _ pays?

AP Photo
A view of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Saving its biggest case for last, the Supreme Court is expected to announce its verdict Thursday on President Barack Obama's health care law. The outcome is likely to be a factor in the presidential campaign and help define John Roberts' legacy as chief justice. But the court's ruling almost certainly will not be the last word on America's tangled efforts to address health care woes.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It seems as if the entire nation is holding its breath for the Supreme Court's health care ruling - the presidential candidates, governors of virtually every state, insurers with billions at stake, companies large and small and countless millions of Americans concerned about their own medical care and how they'll pay for it.

Still, Thursday's expected ruling almost certainly will not be the last word on the nation's tangled efforts to address health care woes. The problems of high medical costs, widespread waste and tens of millions of people without insurance will require Congress and the president to keep looking for answers, whether or not President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act passes the test of constitutionality.

A look at potential outcomes:


Q: What if the Supreme Court, despite justices' blunt questions during public arguments, upholds the law and finds Congress was within its authority to require most people to have health insurance or pay a penalty?

A: That would settle the legal argument but not the political battle.

The clear winners if the law is upheld and allowed to take full effect would be uninsured people in the United States, estimated at more than 50 million.

Starting in 2014, most could get coverage through a mix of private insurance and Medicaid, a safety-net program. Republican-led states that have resisted creating health insurance markets under the law would have to scramble to comply, but the U.S. would get closer to other economically advanced countries that guarantee medical care for their citizens.

Republicans would keep trying to block the law. They hope to elect Mitt Romney as president, backed by a GOP House and Senate, and repeal the law, although their chances of outright repeal would seem to be diminished by the court's endorsement.

Obama would feel the glow of vindication for his hard-fought health overhaul, but it might not last long even if he's re-elected.

The nation still faces huge problems with health care costs, requiring major changes to Medicare that neither party has explained squarely to voters. Some backers of Obama's law acknowledge it was only a first installment: Get most people covered, then deal with the harder problem of costs.


Q: On the other hand, what if the court strikes down the entire law?

A: Many people would applaud, polls suggest.

Taking down the law would kill a costly new federal entitlement before it has a chance to take root and develop a clamoring constituency. But that still would leave the problems of high costs, waste and millions of uninsured people.

Some Republicans in Congress already are talking about passing anew the more popular pieces of the law if it's thrown out. But the major GOP alternatives to Obama's law would not cover nearly as many uninsured, and it's unclear how much of a dent they would make in costs. Some liberals say Medicare-for-all, or government-run health insurance, will emerge as the only viable answer if Obama's public-private approach fails.

People who already have health insurance could lose some ground as well. Employers and insurance companies would have no obligation to keep providing popular new benefits such as preventive care with no copayments and coverage for young adults until age 26 on a parent's plan. Medicare recipients with high prescription drug costs could lose discounts averaging about $600.


Q: What happens if the court strikes down the requirement that everyone must have insurance, but leaves the rest of the Affordable Care Act in place?

A: People would have no obligation to carry insurance, but insurers would remain bound by the law to accept applicants regardless of medical condition and limit what they charge their oldest and sickest customers.

Studies suggest premiums in the individual health insurance market would jump by 10 percent to 30 percent.

Experts debate whether or not that would trigger the collapse of the market for individuals and small businesses, or just make coverage even harder to afford than it is now. In any event, there would be risks to the health care system. Fewer people would sign up for coverage.

The insurance mandate was primarily a means to an end, a way to create a big pool of customers and allow premiums to remain affordable. Other forms of arm-twisting could be found, including limited enrollment periods and penalties for late sign-up, but such approaches probably would require congressional cooperation.

Unless there's a political deal to fix it, the complicated legislation would get more difficult to carry out. Congressional Republicans say they will keep pushing for repeal.

Without the mandate, millions of uninsured low-income people still would get coverage through the law's Medicaid expansion. The problem would be the 10 million to 15 million middle class people expected to gain private insurance under the law. They would be eligible for federal subsidies, but premiums would get more expensive.

Taxes, Medicare cuts and penalties on employers not offering coverage would stay in place.


Q: What if the court strikes down the mandate and also invalidates the parts of the law that require insurance companies to cover people regardless of medical problems and that limit what people can be charged.

A: Many fewer people would get covered, but the health insurance industry would avoid a dire financial hit.

Insurers could continue screening out people with a history of medical problems - diabetes patients or cancer survivors, for example.

That would prevent a sudden jump in premiums. But it would leave consumers with no assurance that they could get health insurance when they need it, which is a major problem the law was intended to fix.

Obama administration lawyers say the insurance requirement goes hand in hand with the coverage guarantee and cap on premiums, and they have asked the court to get rid of both if it finds the mandate to be unconstitutional.

One scenario sends shivers through the health care industry: The Supreme Court strikes down the mandate only, and delegates other courts to determine what else stays or goes.


Q: What happens if the court throws out only the expansion of the Medicaid program?

A: That would limit the law's impact severely because roughly half of the more than 30 million people expected to gain insurance under the law would get it through the expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people.

But a potentially sizable number of those low-income people still might be eligible for government-subsidized private insurance under other provisions. Private coverage is more expensive to subsidize than Medicaid.

States suing to overturn the federal law argue that the Medicaid expansion comes with so many strings attached it amounts to an unconstitutional power grab by Washington. The administration says the federal government will pay virtually all the cost and says the expansion is no different from ones that states have accepted in the past.


Q: What happens if the court simply punts, deciding it's too early for a constitutional challenge?

A: The wild card, and least conclusive outcome in the case, probably also is the least likely, based on what justices said during oral arguments.

No justice seemed inclined to take this path, which involves the court's consideration of a technical issue.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., held that the challenge to the insurance requirement has to wait until people start paying the penalty for not purchasing insurance. The appeals court said it was bound by the federal Anti-Injunction Act, which says federal courts may not hear challenges to taxes, or anything that looks like a tax, until after the taxes are paid.

So if the justices have trouble coming together on any of the other options they could simply put the whole thing off.

The administration says it doesn't want this result. Yet such a decision would allow it to continue putting the law in place, postponing any challenge until more of the benefits are being received. On the other hand, it might give Republicans more ammunition to press for repeal in the meantime.

Beam strikes 4 World Trade Center, breaking glass


A crane lifting a beam struck several floors at 4 World Trade causing windows to shatter, said FDNY officials.

Pedestrians below were sent running for cover late Wednesday morning.

Glass and debris rained down on the area near the 9/11 memorial park.  No injuries were reported.

The 9/11 Memorial posted a message on its website apologizing for the closure. It suggested that people who were scheduled to visit on Wednesday reschedule their visit.

The final steel beam at 4 World Trade Center was raised earlier this week.

On Tuesday, a worker was seriously hurt at the WTC construction site when he was impaled on some rebar, said FDNY officials.

The 37-year-old man fell about four to five feet.

The worker suffered a puncture wound on the left side of his torso by the two inch thick rebar.

Medics brought the worker to Bellevue Medical Center where he was listed in serious condition.

If you have photos from the scene you can email them to .

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Story posted 2012.06.27 at 02:50 PM EDT

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Man says refusal to sell cigarettes discriminatory


A man who tried to buy cigarettes using a state-issued public assistance card said Wednesday he felt discriminated against when a clerk refused to sell to him.

Clerk Jackie Whiton said she was fired from the Big Apple convenience store after refusing to sell cigarettes to the man, who was using an EBT card, an electronic benefit card used to distribute state benefits for low-income residents that functions like a debit card.

Her story has drawn national attention.

"People all over the country have been talking about it, and I have had calls as far away as Arizona," she said.

Whiton said she is glad her actions brought attention to the issue.

"When your states, towns and country are in debt, this is one good reason why," she said.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are no restrictions in New Hampshire or any other state on how the cash on an EBT card can be used. The man who tried to buy the cigarettes, and who asked that his identity not be revealed, said Whiton was in the wrong.

"When you work with the public, you need to put on a smile and curb your views, and the store accepted it, but I wasn't even given a chance to use it," he said.

The man said the refusal was embarrassing, but he didn't make a fuss in the store. Instead, he called Whiton's district manager and complained.

"Clearly, I was in the right, because she was fired," he said.

A person receiving benefits may get both food stamps and cash, both of which can be tracked on an EBT card. Food stamps must be used for food, but the cash can be used for anything. The man said he gets no more than $$34 per month.

"I barely qualify for it, and for me to use the few dollars I get on cigarettes, that's considered a treat," he said.

He called Whiton's actions discrimination, an accusation to which Whiton said she had no response.

"No I do not," she said. "I wouldn't waste my breath."

House Speaker Bill O'Brien said he doesn't agree with how EBT cards can be used and plans to file legislation next session to add restrictions. DHHS officials said attempting to implement controls on how the cash can be used would be expensive and complicated. They noted that the cash benefit can be withdrawn from the card as cash at an ATM, making restricting its use impossible.

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Story posted 2012.06.27 at 06:17 PM EDT

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Baltimore detective charged with perjury


A Baltimore City police homicide detective has been charged with perjury Wednesday regarding an incident in January 2011, according to court documents.

Detective Anthony N. Fata faces four criminal charges, including misconduct and lying to get workers' compensation benefits.

Fata claims he was attacked while getting something from his car. At the time, police reported Fata wrestled with the assailant, described only as a black man, and was shot and wounded before the assailant fled.

The shooting happened at a garage at Water and Frederick streets, just a few blocks from the Inner Harbor.

Prosecutors charged Fata with lying about the incident. Court documents show Fata is accused of falsifying the story in testimony he gave to the Workers' Compensation Commission as he apparently tried to use the shooting to get benefits.

Fata is also charged with two counts of misconduct.

Shortly after the shooting last year, WBAL-TV 11 News reported there were questions about what Fata had claimed.

Despite intense investigation, little in the way of physical evidence was found to substantiate the presence of another person.

Fata was in the news before 10 years ago when city police officers were caught on tape confronting rowdy Preakness fans. Fata was seen on video punching a fan in the face.

Fata's career survived that incident.

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Story posted 2012.06.27 at 12:17 PM EDT

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hoopgurlz at Phila. Front Page News

Hoopgurlz at Phila. Front Page News

Rebecca Greenwell

Irish Eye Greenwell

The No. 5 prospect in the 2013 class, Rebecca Greenwell of Owensboro, Ky., missed her junior high-school season with an ACL injury but this week was cleared for full contact.

Rebecca Greenwell of Owensboro, Ky. -- a 6-foot-1 wing and the No. 6 player in the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60 -- visited South Bend, Ind., to check out Notre Dame.

This past weekend, Rebecca Greenwell of Owensboro, Ky., made a trip to South Bend, Ind., to check out Notre Dame. The Irish staff offered Greenwell, a 6-foot-1 wing and the No. 6 ranked player in the ESPNHoopGurlz Super 60, a scholarship earlier in the spring. From a recruiting standpoint the last couple of months have been very kind to coach Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame, as they have accepted verbal commitments from No. 21 Lindsay Allen of Mitchellville, Md.; No. 33 Kristina Nelson of Buford, Ga.; and No. 4 Taya Reimer of Fishers, Ind., since the April evaluation period. Those additions give them four total players for the class of 2013, as they already had a commitment in hand from four-star post prospect Diamond Thompson of Lombard, Ill.

With Greenwell potentially in the mix, Notre Dame could add an additional top-10 prospect to what is already one of the country's best recruiting classes. McGraw and her staff seem to be preparing well for life once Skylar Diggins - their do-it-all, All-American point guard -- graduates next spring. Adding Greenwell and Reimer plus quality post depth in Thompson and Nelson, coupled with a point guard of the future in Allen, would give folks a lot to look forward to in South Bend. Throw in our No. 4 ranked 2012 recruiting class and life after Diggins would appear likely to go on without a hitch. -- Keil Moore

Horrocks Says "Boiler Up"

Briana Horrocks of Buford, Ga., is off the board to Purdue. The class of 2014 post player visited the school over Thanksgiving Break and again this past weekend for the Boilermakers Elite Camp. At 6-4, she'll give her future coach Sharon Versyp good size on the interior and a skill set package similar to Chelsea Jones, who graduated this year. Horrocks also had offers from Georgia and Southern Mississippi. -- Brandon Clay

Spoerl Stays Home

Early this week Liesl Spoerl of Tulsa, Okla., decided to spurn a couple of BCS schools that were recruiting her and stay home and play for coach Matilda Mossman and her staff. The addition of Spoerl for the class of 2013 gives the University of Tulsa a skilled post player who can play effectively around the basket on the offensive end as well as step out and make a play facing the basket. Spoerl's versatility should be a nice fit as she joins Tulsa's 2012 recruits on campus next year. Since being hired a year ago, Mossman and her staff have done an excellent job of keeping local talent home. Four of their five commitments and signees have been Oklahoma kids.

-- Keil Moore

Recruiting Weekly Wrap illustration

Recruiting Wrap

Brooks to Indiana: Larryn Brooks of Richmond, Kent., saw her stock take off after having as good of a spring as any point guard in the 2013 class. Her performance at the Midwest Showdown in Cincinnati solidified her standing as a potential NCAA Tournament guard. This week, the 5-6 speedster committed to Indiana after considering Miami and Xavier amongst others.

Brown to Florida State: Brittany Brown of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., pledged to the Seminoles last weekend after puts them in good shape going into July. The 5-8 point guard joins class of 2013 forward Gabby Bevillard of Watkinsville, Ga., in coach Sue Semrau's class so far. Brown's overall floor game and body build reminds me a lot of Jasmine Jenkins of Gainesville, Ga., an incoming Vanderbilt freshman. Like Jenkins was a year ago, Brown is a top-100 caliber guard.

Jensen to Iowa State: Iowa State was the dream school for Jordan Jensen of Phoenix, Ariz. Jensen had been to Elite Camp in years past but left without a scholarship offer. This time, coach Bill Fennelly offered Jensen before she left campus and she accepted as she got ready to leave to head home. She's a well-built 6-2 post who could be in the mix early in her career because of her physicality and willingness to work.

On tape, Sandusky's son Matt talks of sex abuse

On tape, Sandusky's son Matt talks of sex abuse

AP Photo
FILE - In this June 20, 2012 file photo, Matt Sandusky, right, adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., where his father was being tried on charges of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a period of 15 years. Matt Sandusky, who released a statement on June 22, 2012 that his father had sexually abused him as well, describes being abused as an 8-year-old boy by his father on a police interview tape obtained by NBC News.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Jerry Sandusky's son Matt recalled showering with his future adoptive father as a boy and pretending to be asleep to avoid being touched - memories that surfaced only recently, according to a police interview that details what are the earliest allegations yet of abuse by the former Penn State assistant football coach.

Matt Sandusky, now 33, said the abuse started at age 8, a decade before he was adopted by the once-heralded defensive coordinator, according to the interview, first reported Tuesday by NBC News.

"If you were pretending you were asleep and you were touched or rubbed in some way, you could just act like you were rolling over in your sleep, so that you could change positions," Matt Sandusky said in an excerpt played Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show. His attorneys confirmed the recording's authenticity to The Associated Press.

Jerry Sandusky was convicted last week of 45 counts of abusing 10 boys he met through the charity he founded - the same organization that introduced him to Matt Sandusky, who became his foster child. Jerry Sandusky's principal lawyer did not return messages Tuesday, and another lawyer said only that Matt Sandusky's allegations contradict testimony he gave to the grand jury whose charges put his father on trial.

Matt Sandusky did not reveal any abuse when he was initially questioned as a grand jury witness but did release a statement alleging past abuse as the jury was sequestered in deliberations last week.

The police interview tapes are the first time Matt Sandusky's allegations of sexual abuse have been publicly aired, and too much time has passed for criminal charges. Asked why he was now coming forward on abuse purported to have occurred as early as the late 1980s, Matt Sandusky told police there were several reasons - but singled out his family.

"So that they can really have closure and see what the truth actually is. And just to right the wrong, honestly, of going to the grand jury and lying," he said in the police interview.

The AP does not identify people alleging sexual assault without their consent. Matt Sandusky's lawyers named him in a statement released Tuesday to reporters that acknowledged the tapes' validity.

"Although the tape was released without Matt's knowledge or permission, it illustrates that he made the difficult decision to come forward and tell the painful truth to investigators despite extraordinary pressure to support his father," lawyers Justine Andronici and Andrew Shubin wrote.

Jerry Sandusky hasn't been charged with abusing Matt, one of six children adopted by the former coach and his wife, Dottie. Messages left for Sandusky's other children were not returned.

Matt Sandusky sat with Dottie Sandusky on the first day of the trial but left after hearing one of the accusers testify. His attorneys have said he reached out to them while the trial was under way, saying he wanted to talk to prosecutors.

Matt Sandusky said that he was undergoing therapy and that his memories of abuse were only now surfacing. He said on the tapes that he tried to flee Sandusky's house and also attempted suicide.

"I know that I really wanted to die at that point in time," he said.

On the recording, Matt Sandusky says he was sexually abused off and on between ages 8 and 15. While being questioned, he said Jerry Sandusky would blow raspberries on his stomach and touch his genitals. The acts described were similar to accounts relayed by eight accusers who offered graphic testimony on the witness stand.

Those eight accusers said they met Sandusky through The Second Mile, the charity Jerry Sandusky founded for at-risk youth. Matt Sandusky also met his adoptive father through the charity.

Asked whether he recalled engaging in oral sex or being raped by the former Penn State coach, he told police "at this point I don't recall that."

Unless he recovers memory of rape or deviate sexual intercourse, it doesn't appear Jerry Sandusky could still be charged in connection with the allegations by his son.

State Attorney General Linda Kelly said Friday after the verdict that the investigation was continuing. Matt Sandusky's abuse allegations date as far back as the late 1980s, about a decade before the allegations on which Jerry Sandusky was tried.

If the abuse ended by 1995, Matt Sandusky's deadline for pressing criminal charges appears to have expired in 2003 for rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and in 2000 for lesser sexual abuse, according to sex-crimes prosecutors.

Until 2002, Pennsylvania law allowed accusers to report the most serious charges of sexual abuse until age 23 and lesser charges until age 20. The law was then changed to give accusers up to age 30 to come forward for rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

The law was extended again in 2007 to age 50 for all sexual abuse claims. But the changes are not retroactive - meaning Matt Sandusky would not be able to press criminal charges at this point.

On the civil side, Matt Sandusky may have missed his window for seeking damages from Penn State or others.

In Pennsylvania, accusers must now file lawsuits by age 30 in most cases, though exceptions are theoretically possible in the event of concealment or fraud.

"On the face of it, he's too late ... unless there's an exception around it," said lawyer Jeff Anderson, who filed the first lawsuit against Penn State over other Sandusky allegations. His client is not part of the criminal case because he came forward after the charges were filed.

Jerry Sandusky, 68, is under observation at the Centre County jail, where he has been separated from other inmates pending a psychological review to help determine the next step toward his sentencing in about three months. He has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

The son was prepared to testify against his father, lawyers have said. Defense attorney Joe Amendola has said that prosecutors told the defense that if Jerry Sandusky took the stand, Matt Sandusky would have been called as a rebuttal witness.

Another defense attorney, Karl Rominger, told the AP he and Amendola heard the tape before deciding not to put Jerry Sandusky on the stand.

He said that Matt Sandusky, on the tape, makes "allegations that directly contradicts sworn testimony ... directly contradicts police statements he'd given previously, directly contradicts public statements and absolutely contradicts everything his family knows."

Sandusky's arrest in November triggered a scandal at Penn State that led to the ouster of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and the university's president.

The case has shone a national spotlight on the issue of sexual abuse against children. A spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, which describes itself as the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization said Tuesday there has been a 33 percent increase since the trial in the number of people who contacted the group's National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.

AP source: Talks fail to resolve contempt issue

AP source: Talks fail to resolve contempt issue

AP Photo
In this photo taken Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder speaks in Boston. With a vote looming to hold Holder in contempt of Congress, a House committee chairman is challenging President Barack Obama’s claim of executive privilege, invoked to maintain secrecy for some documents related to a failed gun-tracking operation.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Obama administration officials and House Republican staff members Tuesday failed to resolve a document dispute that could lead to a precedent-setting contempt of Congress vote Thursday against Attorney General Eric Holder.

A House Republican official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name, said White House and Justice Department representatives met and showed the GOP staff less than 30 pages of documents related to the aftermath of the botched gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious.

The GOP official said the administration also promised to provide hundreds of pages of documents, but only if House Republicans would stop the contempt effort and end their investigation. A House committee currently is looking into administration actions taken after the Justice Department provided inaccurate information to Congress on the gun-tracking operation.

The Justice Department has said the offer of more documents - originally made last week - was not an effort to shut down the investigation but rather an offer to resolve the outstanding subpoena issues and thereby avoid contempt.

The GOP official said the latest document offer was rejected and no further meetings were scheduled.

"The documents that were shown today did not shed any meaningful new light on the questions and interactions that took place at the Justice Department" after whistle-blowers told Congress that Fast and Furious allowed guns bought in Arizona to "walk" into Mexico, the GOP official said.

Those attending the meeting included White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, legislative director Rob Nabors, Justice Department official Steven Reich and representatives of House Speaker John Boehner and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

President Barack Obama has asserted a broad version of executive privilege to keep Justice Department documents secret. The GOP official said the House staff members asked for a log of documents that would be withheld, but the administration officials refused.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, "This was a good faith effort to resolve this while still protecting the institutional prerogatives of the executive branch, often championed by these same Republicans criticizing us right now. Unfortunately, Republicans have opted for political theater rather than conduct legitimate congressional oversight."

A senior administration official, who was not authorized to be quoted on details of the meeting, said the administration showed the Republicans a representative sample of the documents so they could see firsthand the types of communications in dispute. The official said the administration offered unprecedented access to documents showing how the Justice Department responded to the GOP inquiry.

Now that the politically potent National Rifle Association is keeping score, some Democrats are expected to join House Republicans in supporting the contempt of Congress vote against Holder.

One of those Democrats, Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, said, "Sadly, it seems that it will take holding the attorney general in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable. It is a vote I will support."

The gun owners association injected itself last week into the stalemate over Justice Department documents demanded by the House Oversight Committee. The NRA said it supports the contempt resolution and will keep a record of how members vote.

An NRA letter to House members contended that the Obama administration "actively sought information" from Operation Fast and Furious to support its program to require dealers to report multiple rifle sales.

The program, which began last August, imposed the requirement for sales of specifically identified long guns in four border states: Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico. A federal judge upheld the requirement.

Republicans want Holder to become the first attorney general to be cited by the House for contempt because he has refused to give the Oversight Committee all the documents it wants related to Operation Fast and Furious.

Unless a last-minute deal is worked out, always a possibility in Congress, the contempt vote Thursday would be the same day the Supreme Court is to announce its ruling on the legality of the nation's health care law.

A vote to hold Holder in contempt of Congress wouldn't send any documents to the Oversight Committee.

Obama invoked what is known as "deliberative process privilege," a claim designed to broadly cover executive branch documents. However Issa, in a letter to the president, said Obama was misusing the narrower "presidential communications privilege," which is reserved for documents to and from the president and his most senior advisers.

White House Spokesman Eric Schultz said Tuesday that Issa's analysis "has as much merit as his absurd contention that Operation Fast and Furious was created in order to promote gun control. Our position is consistent with executive branch legal precedent for the past three decades spanning administrations of both parties."

Ironically, the documents at the heart of the current argument are not directly related to the workings of Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed guns to "walk" from Arizona to Mexico in hopes they could be tracked. The department has given Issa 7,600 documents on the operation.

Rather, Issa wants internal communications from February 2011, when the administration denied knowledge of gun-walking, to the end of that year, when officials acknowledged the denial was erroneous. Those documents covered a period after Fast and Furious had been shut down.

In Fast and Furious, agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Arizona abandoned the agency's usual practice of intercepting all weapons they believed to be illicitly purchased. Instead, the goal of gun-walking was to track such weapons to high-level arms traffickers who long had eluded prosecution and to dismantle their networks.

Gun-walking long has been barred by Justice Department policy, but federal agents in Arizona experimented with it in at least two investigations during the George W. Bush administration before Fast and Furious.

The agents in Arizona lost track of several hundred weapons in Operation Fast and Furious. The low point of the operation came in Arizona in 2010, when U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a firefight with a group of armed Mexican bandits and two guns traced to the operation were found at the scene.

Monday, June 25, 2012

U.S. Attorney General Announces Funding For Law Enforcement Positions In 44 Cities, Including Philadelphia

U.S. Attorney General Announces Funding For Law Enforcement Positions In 44 Cities, Including Philadelphia

Philadelphia Police Department

Philadelphia Police Department

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is announcing more than $111 million in funding for more than 800 law enforcement positions across the country, including 44 in cities in Pennsylvania.

Holder announced the funding at Philadelphia City Hall on Monday. It comes through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

For full story go to:

Charges Filed Against State Trooper In Fatal Pa. Turnpike Crash

Charges Filed Against State Trooper In Fatal Pa. Turnpike Crash

(Robin Williams, 21, was killed when her car was rearended by the defendant's pickup truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Credit: Chopper 3)

(Robin Williams, 21, was killed when her car was rearended by the defendant’s pickup truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

UPPER DUBLIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — A Pennsylvania state trooper has now been charged with a drunk-driving homicide in connection with a deadly crash last month on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Upper Dublin (Montgomery County) that killed a young Philadelphia woman.

Prosecutors say Barry Searfoss spent May 18th, his day off, drinking beer at a golf outing in Bucks County — an outing that raised scholarship money in honor of a woman killed fifteen years ago by a drunk driver.

For full story go to:

5-time champion Venus Williams loses at Wimbledon

5-time champion Venus Williams loses at Wimbledon

AP Photo
Venus Williams of the United States waves to fans after being defeated by Elena Vesnina of Russia during a first round women's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Monday, June 25, 2012.

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Racket bag slung over her shoulder, resignation written across her face, Venus Williams weaved through fans milling about on the sidewalks that players must traverse to get from Court 2 to the Wimbledon locker rooms.

The 32-year-old Williams had just absorbed a lopsided first-round loss at the Grand Slam tournament she once ruled, a poor performance that raised questions about how much longer she will keep playing tennis while dealing with an energy-sapping illness.

She trudged by as her hitting partner, David Witt, was saying: "It's tough to watch sometimes. I think everybody sees it. I don't know what else to say."

Looking lethargic, and rarely showing off the power-based game that carried her to five Wimbledon titles and seven majors overall, Williams departed meekly Monday with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against 79th-ranked Elena Vesnina of Russia. Only once before - as a teenager making her Wimbledon debut in 1997 - had Williams exited so early at the All England Club.

She hadn't lost in the first round at any Grand Slam tournament in 6 1/2 years. Still, Williams said she'll be at the London Olympics next month and is "planning" to be back at Wimbledon next year.

"I feel like I'm a great player," Williams said, sounding a tad like someone trying to convince herself.

She repeated that affirmation as she continued: "I am a great player. Unfortunately, I had to deal with circumstances that people don't normally have to deal with in this sport. But I can't be discouraged by that. ... There's no way I'm just going to sit down and give up just because I have a hard time the first five or six freakin' tournaments back."

Later, as part of a slightly testy and awkward exchange with reporters, Williams said: "I'm tough, let me tell you. Tough as nails."

Her loss, in her first match since a second-round ouster at the French Open, was part of an odd Day 1, even if the true tournament favorites in action won easily: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova. Among those sent home were sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, the 2010 runner-up at Wimbledon; 11th-seeded John Isner; No. 16 Flavia Pennetta; and No. 18 Jelena Jankovic, who was rather easily beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Kim Clijsters, a four-time major champion who has been beset by injuries in her last season on tour and, like Williams, is unseeded.

Other seeded losers: No. 23 Andreas Seppi, No. 24 Marcel Granollers and No. 27 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who was upset by 100th-ranked Jamie Hampton of the United States 6-4, 7-6 (1).

Truth be told, the biggest surprise might very well have been the way Isner - the highest-ranked American man - blew a match point, wasted a two-sets-to-one lead, dropped a tiebreaker on grass, and bid a 6-4, 6-7 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 farewell to Wimbledon in the first round against 73rd-ranked Alejandro Falla of Colombia.

Then again, there's a pattern here.

It's the third consecutive major tournament that Isner leaves after a five-set loss, including 18-16 at the French Open against 261st-ranked Paul-Henri Mathieu. This from a guy who's best known for winning the longest match in tennis history, 70-68 in the fifth after more than 11 hours, against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010.

"I didn't put my opponent away. I had my chances, and I didn't do it. It's all on me. Was just not great on my part," said the 6-foot-9 Isner, who hit 31 aces to Falla's four. "I get out there sometimes, and lately it's happening quite a lot, and I get out there in the match and I'm just so clouded. I just can't seem to figure things out. I'm my own worst enemy out there. It's all mental for me, and it's pretty poor on my part."

Mental strength has long been viewed as Ernests Gulbis' weakness, because his strokes are as good as they come, but the 23-year-old from Latvia who is ranked 87th stood tall in a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) victory over Berdych.

"A lot of players mature later than others. Some mature at 15; some mature at 29. I hope it's somewhere in between; 23 is OK," Gulbis said. "If I hit the ball well, I hit stronger than everybody else. It is like this, you know. Maybe only couple guys hit the ball as strong as I do."

Used to be that Williams could say that when comparing herself to other top women. She and her younger sister Serena rewrote the way the game was played in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with 120 mph serves and ferocious forehands.

But Williams hasn't been that player for quite a while now. She announced in August that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.

Her match against Vesnina was at Court 2, which was built three years ago; Serena complained about having to play on it in 2011. For years prior, the name "Court 2" was assigned to a venue about half the size and a few minutes' walk away, a place known as the "Graveyard of Champions" because of a series of stunning losses by top players: Serena, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.

Care to guess where Serena is scheduled to play her first-round match Tuesday? Yep, that's right: Court 2.

The older Williams has played only 18 matches in 2012, going 12-6, and looked rather ordinary against Vesnina, who is more accomplished in doubles and never made it past the fourth round at a major tournament in singles.

"Of course I was scared. Not scared, but I was, like, aware of her serve. But I think she didn't serve that well today," said Vesnina, who recalled watching on TV when Williams beat Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Wimbledon final.

"Maybe for her, it was not one of her best days," Vesnina said about Monday. "But for me, it was one of the best days."

Williams fell behind 5-0, and needed 30 minutes to win a single game. She got broken the first four times she served. She rolled her eyes or shook her head after missed shots. Her father pulled out his camera late in the second set and snapped some photos from the stands, maybe wondering right along with some spectators whether this might be Williams' last singles match at Wimbledon.

At her news conference, Williams was asked what will drive her, given the way she's struggling.

"Am I struggling?" Williams replied. "Am I?"

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