All You Guys Shut Up About Tom Brady’s Balls Already

NFL: Divisional Round-Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

So, have you noticed that in the past week or so, there’s been a whole lot of talk about balls? (Well, a few people might have been talking snow bombs.) Everywhere you turn, some man is bringing up balls. The Atlantic wants to tell you how the New England Patriots treat their balls. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn’t want anybody rubbing his balls. Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he’s handled dozens of balls. That’s too much information, man! Read more »

Docs: Grand Jury Recommended Charges Against Kane

Documents released today by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court confirm that a grand jury has recommended charges be brought against Attorney General Kathleen Kane for the leak of information from an earlier grand jury.

The documents were unsealed as part of a broader court battle involving Kane, who is challenging the authority of the special prosecutor who led the grand jury, as well as the judge who appointed the prosecutor.

“Kane’s defense team argued a Montgomery County judge had no authority to appoint a special prosecutor to run a grand jury under state law and the state constitution’s separation of powers clause prohibits the court from investigating a member of the executive branch, Kane,” The Morning Call reports. “The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied the motion to quash the grand jury and unsealed the records as requested by Kane’s defense lawyers.”
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Six Burning Questions About Grand Jury Leaks

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Republicans who control both the Senate and House picked up additional seats in the November election. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 119 to 84 and in the Senate, 30 to 20. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Republicans who control both the Senate and House picked up additional seats in the November election. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 119 to 84 and in the Senate, 30 to 20. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The scepter still hangs over Kathleen Kane’s head.

It’s been a couple of weeks now since the Inquirer reported that a grand jury recommended the Pennsylvania attorney general be indicted for leaking the secrets of a previous grand jury. And it’s been nearly as long since the Inquirer revealed that two of its reporters had been subpoenaed for the apparent leak of information from Kane’s grand jury.

We’re still waiting to find out if the Montgomery County District Attorney will accept or reject the grand jury’s recommendation. But there’s an obvious absurdity in this scandal, now that we’ve reached the point that a leak about a leak is being investigated.

How did we get to this point, anyway? The answer may be easier to find if we understand Pennsylvania’s grand jury process. We talked with several experts who were unconnected to the Kane case, and would not comment specifically on it — choosing instead to describe the grand jury process in general terms. (We also relied on the Pennsylvania code concerning grand juries.)

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The Real Epidemic on College Campuses: Academic Dishonesty

While mattress-toting Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz will be attending the State of the Union address tomorrow as the guest of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to protest the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses that’s been pretty thoroughly debunked, there’s another college trend that seems to be flying beneath the nation’s radar. It may not have the cachet of the aforementioned rape crisis, and nobody’s holding hearings or talking about it, but it does appear to be real, according to the latest statistics released by Penn.

Sexual assaults are up at Penn — from three incidents in the 2009-’10 school year among the 10,000-plus undergraduate body to eight in 2012-’13 and seven in 2013-’14, as you can see from this handy chart printed in the school’s Daily Pennsylvanian newspaper. In other words, the number of sexual assaults about doubled, though the numbers were very low. But read down a little further on the chart to the section labeled “Academic Integrity.” That number went from 44 incidents in 2009-’10 to 96 in 2012-’13 and 127 in 2013-’14. That’s right: The number of cheaters nearly tripled in the same time frame.

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Another Philly Educator Charged in Cheating Scandal

2015_01_07_PSSA-DavisORourke-400x400The former principal at Alain Locke Elementary School has been charged with “creating an environment ripe for cheating” on state assessments — the eighth Philly educator to face court in the long-running scandal.

Lolamarie Davis-O’Rourke, who was principal at the school from 2009 to 2012, faces one count each of tampering with public records or information; forgery; tampering with records; and criminal conspiracy.

The press release from Attorney General Kathleen Kane reports:

The Criminal Prosecutions Section presented evidence of criminal activity before a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the charges being filed today against Lolamarie Davis-O’Rourke, 43, 716 Saddlebrook Drive, Williamstown, New Jersey.

The grand jury found that while principal at Alain Locke Elementary School from the 2009-’10 to 2011-’12 school years, Davis-O’Rourke allegedly created an environment ripe for cheating on the annual PSSA by: proctoring students to change answers from wrong-to-right, directing teachers to help students switch answers and rewrite written responses; and changing the locks to a storage room so that only she and the building engineer could access stored test booklets.

Davis-O’Rourke also changed answers and instructed some of her staff to correct wrong answers, according to the presentment.

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Ironworkers’ Dougherty Goes on Trial

Joseph Dougherty, former head of the Philadelphia chapter of the Ironworkers union, went on trial in federal court Monday on racketeering charges alleging the union used violence and intimidation to pressure non-union work projects into using union labor.

Dougherty is the only one of a dozen union members indicted last year to face trial on the charges; the other 11 pleaded guilty in recent weeks and months.

Newsworks reports on opening statements by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Livermore, who promised to provide wiretaps from up to 50 calls as part of the government’s case. He said Dougherty ruled the union with an “iron fist”:
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Sex Video with Minors Being Passed Around at Bristol Middle School

A sex video involving minors is being passed around at FDR Middle School in Bristol Township. The clip, of two juveniles engaged in a sex act, has been circulated among students.

Police are investigating, and confiscated several students’ cell phones. (A commenter on the Bristol Township Police Facebook page is furious about that: “Why were their phones confiscated and why were they forced to write statements without contacting their parents first?! What in the world were you officers thinking?! You can’t do that shit!”

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