Why 409 Is the Most Controversial Number in Pennsylvania

A banner in the parking lot tailgating outside Beaver Stadium before football game between Penn State and Temple in State College on Saturday., November 15, 2014.

A banner in the parking lot tailgating outside Beaver Stadium before football game between Penn State and Temple in State College on Saturday., November 15, 2014.

When Penn State had its vacated football wins restored as part of a deal the NCAA made with Pennsylvania officials, one number was immediately on the minds of Penn State football faithful: 409. That’s the number of times the Nittany Lions won under Joe Paterno, the most of any major college football coach.

Ever since Paterno was fired in November 2011, the number has become famous, even fetishized. Those who defend Paterno say he was made a scapegoat. Defenders usually mention his generosity to the university and his well-liked status among former players. And 409 has become shorthand for that. There’s a car in my neighborhood with 409 bumper stickers. There’s a restaurant in State College called 409 Pizza and Wings. People once held vigil at the spot where a Paterno statue once stood. Hundreds of people rallied in celebration when the wins were restored.

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Highs and Lows of The Bachelor, Week 3


The Bachelor is confusing. Going into last night’s episode, there were still 18 contestants on the show—too many to actually learn much about any of the women. How are we supposed to develop rooting interests if we only know three or four contestants? This show only gets good when we get down to a manageable number of people. For now, we plow through it.

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Lyft Planning to Launch in Philadelphia

Lyft, the ride-hailing service that is the chief competitor to Uber, is planning to launch in Philadelphia.

Billy Penn reported on a Craigslist ad asking for drivers as well as Lyft signage at City Coho, a co-working space at 2401 Walnut Street.

After several controversies surrounding Uber, The New York Times Nick Bilton wrote the company is a “moral alternative.” Lyft costs about the same as UberX, the lower-cost alternative to Uber Black.

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What They’re Saying About the Penn State Deal

Earlier today, the NCAA and the state of Pennsylvania reached a deal that restores all 112 wins vacated in the of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The late Joe Paterno had 111 wins restored in the agreement, which once again makes him the all-time winningest coach in major college football history.

The Paterno family released a statement in the wake of the ruling. Here is a part of it:

Today is a great victory for everyone who has fought for the truth in the Sandusky tragedy. The repeal of the consent decree and the return of the wins to the University and Joe Paterno confirm that the NCAA and the Board of Trustees acted prematurely and irresponsibly in the unprecedented sanctions the NCAA imposed on the University, the players, coaches and the community.

This case should always have been about the pursuit of the truth, not the unjust vilification of the culture of a great institution and the scapegoating of coaches, players and administrators who were never given a chance to defend themselves.

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Deal Restores Penn State’s Vacated Football Wins

 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Joe Paterno is once again the winningest coach in major college football history.

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, the late Penn State coach had 111 wins vacated in 2012. But Pennsylvania officials and the NCAA reached a proposed settlement that will restore Paterno’s wins, bringing his record to 409-136-3 — and 24-12-1 in bowl games. (A 112th win, which was won under interim head coach Tom Bradley following Paterno’s firing in the wake of the scandal, was also restored.)

The deal was approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees this afternoon. Here is the NCAA announcement containing details of the settlement.

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Chris Christie Says He “Knew Nothing About” Jerry Jones Deal With Port Authority


The Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs last weekend, so we’re now officially done with stories about Jerry Jones and Chris Christie.

Ha ha, of course not! The story of the Cowboys owner and the team’s No. 1 fan will go on forever.

Here’s the latest: Christie says he “knew nothing about” a deal that gave a firm partially owned by Jones the contract to operate the observation deck at One World Trade Center.

“When Legends Hospitality got the contract [in March 2013], I knew nothing about it,” Christie said. “I didn’t know him. I had no relationship with him. Nor did I have any influence or knowledge of who was going to run the concessions at World Trade Center One, nor quite frankly, do I care. That was a New York issue. That’s a building in New York. I don’t deal with those issues.” The Port Authority awarded the contract to Legends Hospitality.

But, as David Sirota reports at the International Business Times, Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a joint press release praising the selection of Legends Hospitality to run the observation deck.

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Bill Cosby Accuser Seeking Criminal Charges

Model Chloe Goins is seeking criminal charges against Bill Cosby, alleging the comedian drugged and licked her “all over” in 2008 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. Goins, 24, was 18 at the time of the alleged assault. (She first made her accusations in an interview with the Daily Mail. )

Goins is the first accuser whose allegations may not fall outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges. Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, dating back decades. Philadelphia magazine’s Robert Huber wrote about Barbara Bowman’s accusations in 2006.

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Report: Lincoln Financial Field to Host Gold Cup Final

Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field will host the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final this year, according to a report from Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald. The Gold Cup is the biennial North American soccer championship. (CONCACAF stands for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, if you’re wondering.)

The Gold Cup Final will take place on July 26th, with the tournament’s third place game happening the day before at PPL Park in Chester, the home of the Union.

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Nevada Casino Expert: Caesars Bankruptcy Could Be Good News for A.C.

Bally's Atlantic City

How much is Atlantic City’s casino industry struggling? You only need to look at the numbers to find out.

No, not the four casinos that closed last year or the thousands of workers who lost their jobs — though those are signs, too. But it’s this: Since 2006, Atlantic City casino revenue has been cut in half.

And the signs point to another casino closing this year. While it may be the Trump Taj Mahal — which is open still because of a cash infusion to keep it operating late last year — Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian recently implied Bally’s would be the next casino to close. “While he would not name it,” the Associated Press’ Wayne Parry wrote, “his description of it sounded a lot like Bally’s Atlantic City.”

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Don Tollefson Trial on Hold Due to Health Scare

The fraud trial of former Philadelphia sportscaster Don Tollefson was halted today after Tollefson was taken to the hospital when his blood sugar spiked. Tollefson told the judge he has type 2 diabetes.

Tollefson told judge Rea Boylan of the issue during a recess, and offered to wait until lunch to go to the hospital. “Matt, Matt, I’m not making this up,” Tollefson said to Bucks County prosecutor Matt Weintraub.

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