ROME — Just in time for Christmas, an album of Neapolitan love songs written by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is about to warble its way onto the airwaves, ANSA news agency reported.
The CD entitled “Il Vero Amore” (The True Love), will be released November 22 featuring songs written by Berlusconi, a former cruise-ship singer, and performed by the singer Mariano Apicella.
Berlusconi has not had much to croon about lately, given that he resigned under pressure last Saturday to make way for a new government amid a national debt crisis.
ANSA reported there was speculation the album, originally scheduled for September release, had been deliberately delayed for political reasons.
But Apicella said that was “nonsense” and the delay was “purely for technical reasons.”
The new CD represents the fourth collaboration between Berlusconi and Apicella.
Out-of-touch professors + Debt-ridden students = Bad combination
Sacramento State professor George Parrott walked out of his Psychology 101 lab class Thursday morning because his students didn’t bring any snacks.
Instead, he says, he went to breakfast with his teaching assistant.
The professor said students are told of the requirement to bring snacks on the first day of class. A handout from the teacher is clear – “Not having a snack = no Dr. Parrott or TAs. Now you are responsible for your own lab assignment.”
He said the snack obligation is his way of encouraging students to work collectively. It connects students who might not otherwise interact on a commuter campus, said the professor.
“Having these goodies in the class breaks down some of the formality and some of the rigidity in the class, which is one of the most stressful for students,” Parrott said.
But students are crying foul, saying the teacher left before a review for a midterm to be given Monday. The test accounts for a good portion of their grade.
“Our education isn’t worth food, it’s for us,” said Francisco Chavez, a student in the class.
It’s also not clear why homemade baked goods would teach teamwork better than a box of Oreos. The handout offers suggestions and pictures of which snacks are preferred. It lists homemade or bakery items and vegetable or fruit platters under “Good Ideas” and Nabisco products or pre-packaged items under “Bad Ideas.”
It also suggests that two people take responsibility for each day’s snack – in case one forgets – and that they should avoid bringing the same thing every week.
The professor said he has required classes to bring snacks for at least 39 years.
His afternoon lab class brought pizza Friday, he said. But they haven’t always followed instructions either. “The afternoon lab had an externally similar failure to be collectively involved a month ago,” Parrott said, adding that he left that class, too. “They were taken aback. Their collective involvement has been more cooperative since.”
Parrott listed additional benefits of requiring “goodies” in an email to The Bee. He said the snacks maintain glucose levels that affect mental sharpness, keep students from leaving class to find food and alleviate stress in what he calls one of the most difficult courses in the department.
But the goodies aren’t just for the students. The teacher and his teaching assistants eat, but don’t contribute, according to students.
“I’m not always observing how much the TAs eat,” Parrott said Friday. “In the last month I’ve had one mini cupcake and maybe six or eight carrot sticks.”
Parrott said he doesn’t feel bad about asking college students to bring food to class. The cost, he says, is offset by savings – about $200 – which students realize by not having to buy a textbook for the course.
“This is also designed to relieve financially strained CSUS students from typical costs for texts and to provide each student the token resources to buy, bake, or otherwise access the snacks/goodies when their once per semester turn would occur,” he said in an email to The Bee.
The professor, who is 67 and retired in 2006, works part time at the university. His salary for 2010 was $44,000, according to state data.
Parrott doesn’t regret his decision to walk out Thursday. “I can understand the immediate frustration,” he said. “I’m sympathetic, but I’m absolutely comfortable with the conclusion. The ethos I’m trying to promote is incredibly important. It may not be appreciated, and that’s even more unfortunate. It speaks to their lack of understanding of higher education.”
University officials, contacted Thursday, said they take the allegations seriously and will investigate.
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Years before he was arrested for allegedly molesting children, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky said he loved being around children and having “a good time with them.”
“I enjoy being around children,” Sandusky said in a 1987 NBC interview made public today. “Their enthusiasm. I just have a good time with them.”
Of course, Sandusky’s comments now have a chilling connotation to them after he was recently arrested for molesting eight boys and charged with 40 counts in connection with a string of sex abuse claims dating back 13 years.
“Everybody needs people to care for them. … Kids are growing up awfully fast these days,” Sandusky said in that same interview when asked about his charity work with troubled kids.
In 1997, ten years after that NBC interview, Sandusky was first accused of showering with and fondling a boy at Penn State.
No charges were filed at the time and a year later Sandusky retired as an assistant coach to spend more time with his Second Mile charity.
This comes as the president of the charity linked to Sandusky resigned today, saying he hopes his departure after 28 years as the group’s CEO would help restore faith in its mission.
The Second Mile’s board of directors said in a statement it had accepted the resignation of Jack Raykovitz.
Raykovitz, a psychologist, had testified before the grand jury that indicted Sandusky. The grand jury said Sandusky found his victims through the charity’s programs.
The board also said that would conduct an internal investigation to assess policies and make recommendations regarding future operations.
Raykovitz said in a statement that he hopes his resignation would mark the beginning of a “restoration of faith in the community of volunteers and staff” at The Second Mile.
Sandusky founded The Second Mile in 1977. The group has said that its youth programs serve as many as 100,000 children a year.
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Thieves have nabbed a 3-foot-long copper sword atop Lincoln’s Tomb in what is believed to be the first theft at the site in more than a century.
An employee noticed last week that the sword was cut from a statue of a Civil War artillery officer, the (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported Saturday. Officials think the sword was stolen sometime between September and early November.
Nothing had been stolen from the Springfield site, which is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, since the sword on the same statue was taken more than 100 years ago, said Dave Blanchette, a spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Then, the sword was bronze.
“We just cannot imagine why someone would even think about doing it, let alone climb up the steps and actually do it,” Blanchette said.
The statue is on the tomb’s balcony, which is closed to visitors. Workers would likely have spotted a thief during the day, but no one guards the tomb at night, Blanchette said.
A security guard was posted overnight after a 1987 incident in which racist graffiti was spray-painted on the tomb. Five teenagers were arrested. But budget cuts ended that position within a few years of the incident, he said.
The rest of the statue was unharmed. Officials plan to fix the statue, Blanchette said.
Dedicated in 1874, Lincoln Tomb is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their four son, according to its website. The eldest son, Robert T. Lincoln, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
According to the website, “the 117-foot tomb, designed by sculptor Larkin Mead, is constructed of brick sheathed with Quincy granite. The base is 72-foot square with large semi-circular projections on the north and south sides. Double sets of north and south stairs lead to a terrace, above which rises the obelisk. At the corners of the shaft, large pedestals serve as bases for four bronze sculptures, each with a group of figures representing one of the four Civil War services—infantry, artillery, cavalry, and navy. A taller base on the obelisk’s south side holds a heroic bronze statue of Lincoln.”Comments »
One of the questions surrounding the sex-abuse case against Jerry Sandusky is why a former district attorney chose not to prosecute the then-Penn State assistant coach in 1998 after reports surfaced that he had inappropriate interactions with a boy.
Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times, via Associated Press
The answer is unknowable because of an unsolved mystery: What happened to Ray Gricar, the Centre County, Pa., district attorney?
Gricar went missing in April 2005. The murky circumstances surrounding his disappearance — an abandoned car, a laptop recovered months later in a river without a hard drive, his body was never found — have spawned Web sites, television programs and conspiracy theories. More than six years later, the police still receive tips and reports of sightings. The police in central Pennsylvania continue to investigate even though Gricar’s daughter, Lara, successfully petitioned in July to have her father declared legally dead so the family could find some closure and begin dividing his estate.
Yet as the Sandusky investigation moves forward, questions will be asked anew about why Gricar did not pursue charges against him 13 years ago. A small but strident minority believes Gricar did not want to tackle a case that involved a hometown icon. Others who knew and worked with Gricar say he was a meticulous, independent and tough-minded prosecutor who was unbowed by Penn State, its football program and political pressure in general.
“No one got a bye with Ray,” said Anthony De Boef, who worked as an assistant district attorney under Gricar for five years. “He didn’t care who you were; he had a job to do.”
De Boef said Gricar did not share any information with him about the case in 1998, which involved Sandusky allegedly showering with an 11-year-old boy. Gricar, he said, reviewed the police reports in private including, presumably, notes or recordings of two conversations that the police heard between Sandusky and the boy’s mother. But Gricar had a reputation for thoroughness, and if he thought he had enough to charge Sandusky, he would have, De Boef and other lawyers said.
Still, the circumstances surrounding Gricar’s disappearance prompt many questions.
On April 15, 2005, Gricar, then 59, took the day off. At about 11:30 a.m., he called his girlfriend, Patricia Fornicola, to say he was taking a drive on Route 192. About 12 hours later, she reported him missing.
The next day, Gricar’s Mini Cooper was found in a parking lot in Lewisburg, about 50 miles from his home in Bellefonte. Gricar’s cellphone was in the car, but not his laptop, wallet or keys, which were never recovered. Months later, the laptop was found in the Susquehanna River without its hard drive, which was discovered later. It was too damaged to yield any information. On the fourth anniversary of his disappearance, investigators revealed that a search of his home computer yielded a history of Internet searches for phrases like “how to wreck a hard drive,” according to a report at the time in The Centre Daily Times.
When Gricar disappeared helicopters, dive teams and patrol cars were deployed, and the F.B.I. was brought in. Reports of Gricar turning up in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and other states proved to be dead ends.
So what happened? Friends and colleagues say Gricar was not the type to walk away. His bank accounts were not touched after he disappeared, he had no other sources of income and he had no major debts, said Robert Buehner Jr., a friend and the district attorney in Montour County. Though divorced twice, he seemed happy with his girlfriend and close with his daughter. Gricar had already announced that he was retiring at the end of his term.
“He was absolutely looking forward to his future,” Buehner said.
If Gricar committed suicide, Buehner added, he would have wanted the body to be found. Foul play is the next possible conclusion. By the nature of their jobs prosecuting criminals, district attorneys end up having many enemies. But no credible suspects have emerged.
“I don’t think you’ll find too many district attorneys who disappear,” said Ken Mains, a detective who works on cold cases in Lycoming County. “D. B. Cooper, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, until a body is found, there are going to be conspiracy theories.”
[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buovLQ9qyWQ&feature=player_embedded#! 450 300]Comments »
In April, Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden wrote a story revealing Penn State for much of the cover-up ofJerry Sandusky‘s alleged child rape that has been exposed in the past week. While it didn’t raise many eyebrows back then, six months later it looks to be incredibly accurate.
On Thursday morning, just hours after legendary head coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were fired by the school’s board of trustees, Madden was asked on The Dennis and Callahan Show what he believes the next piece of news will be.
What he said was twice as shocking as anything that’s been released thus far.
“I can give you a rumor and I can give you something I think might happen,” Madden told John Dennis andGerry Callahan. “I hear there’s a rumor that there will be a more shocking development from the Second Mile Foundation — and hold on to your stomachs, boys, this is gross, I will use the only language I can — that Jerry Sandusky and Second Mile were pimping out young boys to rich donors. That was being investigated by two prominent columnists even as I speak.”
After the news spread, Madden later explained via Twitter why he went public with the rumors.
“I normally abhor giving RUMORS credence,” Madden wrote. “But whole Sandusky scandal started out as a RUMOR. It gets deeper and more disgusting all the time. One of state’s top columnists investigating. That adds credence. I am NOT rumor’s original source. [Why does] Sandusky deserve benefit of doubt?”
Madden also spoke more definitively on Dennis and Callahan to the cover-up efforts at the school and beyond that he expects will be made public soon.
“The other thing I think that may eventually become uncovered, and I talked about this in my original article back in April, is that I think they’ll find out that Jerry Sandusky was told that he had to retire in exchange for a cover-up,” Madden said. “If you look at the timeline, that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
“My opinion is when Sandusky quit, everybody knew — not just at Penn State,” Madden added. “I think it was a very poorly kept secret about college football in general, and that is why he never coached in college football again and retired at the relatively young age of 55. [That’s] young for a coach, certainly.”Comments »
Stocks spike on that news.Comments »
Jefferies Reduces Gross Holdings of Sovereign Debt of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain by 49.5% in Today’s Trading in Europe 9:18 am ET 11/07/2011 – Business Wire NEW YORK & LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 7, 2011– Jefferies announced today that its trading positions in the sovereign securities of the nations of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain have been reduced by an aggregate of approximately $1.1 billion long and $1.1 billion short. This represents a 49.5% reduction in Jefferies’ gross holdings of these securities since the close of business Friday and resulted in no meaningful profit or loss on today’s trading activity or our remaining positions, which continue to be substantially matched by country and maturity. Jefferies’ current net exposure to these sovereign securities is currently $59 million, or 1.7% of shareholder equity, with negligible market or credit risk. “We undertook this reduction in our holdings solely to demonstrate the liquid nature of this market-making trading book,” said Richard Handler, Chairman and CEO, and Brian Friedman, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Jefferies, in a joint statement. “We will now resume our normal market-making activities and serve our clients around the world.Comments »
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras have agreed on a new coalition government to approve a euro zone bailout deal before elections, the office of the country’s president said on Sunday.
The agreement came after the two leaders held talks with the president in an effort to break a political deadlock and thrash out a deal for a national unity government demanded by the country’s European partners.
A presidency statement said they will meet again on Monday to discuss who would head the coalition government, but that Papandreou would not lead the new administration.
“Tomorrow there will be new communication between the prime minister and the opposition leader on who will be the leader of the new government,” the statement said.
The statement made no mention of how long the interim government would last.
The European Union gave Greece 24 hours on Sunday to explain how it will form a unity government to enact a bailout agreement.
Papandreou and his opponents have been scrambling to hammer out a deal ahead of a meeting by finance ministers of euro countries on Monday, to show that Greece is serious about taking steps needed to stave off bankruptcy.Comments »