A Pats fan’s true confession

first_imgThe team used a cameraman to record opponents’ signals – a violation of NFL rules, to be sure, but differing only in degree from what all teams do all the time. Sending scouts to spy on opposing franchises, monitor hand signals, decode audibles – this is all part of the modern game. Still, cheating is cheating, and Patriot Nation is duly disgraced and disgusted. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick – a disagreeable genius who puts winning above all else – has always been a master at finding new ways to get an advantage over other teams. At last, his constant pushing of the envelope seems to have caught up with him. Say it ain’t so, Bill. How can we keep on rooting for you? Well, it’s not as though I pulled for the Patriots because I thought they were the most virtuous team in the world. Heck, it was abundantly clear they weren’t when they ruthlessly cut fan favorites to save money, drafted a guy who once stomped on an opponent’s head, traded for the NFL’s biggest prima donna, and got busted when one of their best defensive players was caught using a banned substance. No, I rooted for the Patriots because they were my hometown team; because I grew up rooting for them; because, despite living 3,000 miles away, cheering for the red, silver and blue helped me feel connected to a region I’ll always love. I first took interest in football back in 1985, when my hometown team, the New England Patriots, had a Cinderella season that landed them, against all odds, in the Super Bowl. All of Massachusetts went gaga watching that team’s rise to glory, and it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement. From that time on, I was a loyal Pats fan. For most of these 22 years, maintaining that loyalty hasn’t been easy. With the exception of tremendous success over the past few years, the Pats have traditionally been an NFL doormat. Early on, I learned that being one of their fans meant accepting humiliation. But I never expected humiliation like this. Over the past week, the team has been busted – and severely punished – for cheating. Patriots fans everywhere now find themselves humiliated once again. This is why, as a fan, it’s hard to be objective about such matters. Our emotional investment tends to preclude rational thought. I find that I must consciously resist the urge to downplay the charges against the team. Yet if it were, oh, the hated Indianapolis Colts that committed this infraction, I’d probably be calling for heads. Fans are like that. We really do think every referee’s call against our team is a miscarriage of justice. And a ball that lands outside the lines really does look like it’s in play when your team’s victory depends on it. So, I can admit my biases. Still, damning though the litany of the Patriots’ abuses – dating well before the videotape scandal – may sound, it’s hardly aberrational for today’s NFL. Which points to the bigger problem: Pro football itself. I love the action and the lore, but there’s much about the game not to love: Celebrity egos. Crippling injuries that result in decades of arthritis or worse. Severe head traumas and concussions that can lead some players, like ex-Patriot Ted Johnson, to get early Alzheimer’s. A win-at-all-costs mentality that turns coaches into workaholic, absentee husbands/dads. A billion-dollar industry that’s fueled by and fuels the worst kinds of consumerism and greed. Sleazy halftime shows and sleazier commercials on TV between plays. The games are great, but at what cost? More and more, I feel like the NFL – and the Patriots – are a guilty pleasure. I enjoy watching the games, but I increasingly wonder if I should. I delight in sharing the sport with my young children, and yet I find myself wondering if it’s really a healthy influence. Sports can teach a lot about some important virtues – discipline, sacrifice, sportsmanship, teamwork – but in pro sports today, the NFL in particular, those virtues seem to be increasingly clouded in vice. Still, my loyalty, though tested, endures, at least for the time being. I’ll watch the Patriots’ much-anticipated matchup against the San Diego Chargers tonight, and I’ll root for the red, silver and blue. Old habits and affections die hard. Besides, misery loves company, and now I can connect with millions of fellow Pats fans back East in our shared sense of shame. Plus, in the big scheme of life, it’s only a game, right? And did you see how good this year’s team looks? Chris Weinkopf is the Daily News’ editorial-page editor. He blogs at www.insidesocal.com/friendlyfire, and can be reached at chris.weinkopf@dailynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Six arrested for posing as Sales Tax officers, extorting money

first_imgThane, Apr 26 (PTI) Ulhasnagar police in Thane district have arrested six persons who allegedly posed as Sales Tax officers and extorted lakhs of rupees from shop owners. The arrested men were identified as Harish Chhajad (48), Ramkrishna Gunjal (42), Brijmohanlal Sarate (47), Sharadkant Nerkar (64), Prakash Gaikwad (50) and Sunil Kolekar (36). Chhajad was the mastermind of this racket, police said. The accused visited a wholesalers shop dealing in chikki, chocolates and biscuits near Vitthalwadi railway station in Ulhasnagar on April 24. The car in which they came sported the logo of Maharashtra Government. Introducing themselves as Sales Tax officers, they `inspected ledgers, documents, receipts, etc., and told the owner that he had breached some regulations and they would have to seal the shop. The owner requested them to talk with his chartered accountant. The accused told the CA that the owner would have to pay them Rs five lakh if he wanted to avoid action. In the meantime, owner of a nearby shop came there, and realised that these were the same men who had extorted Rs two lakh from him by fraudulently posing as Sales Tax officers. The shop owner engaged them in conversation while alerting the Ulhasnagar Central Police station. Police rushed to the spot and arrested them. Duplicate I-cards, fake Sales Tax forms and the car with Government logo was seized. During the interrogation the accused confessed to similar offences in Ulhasnagar and also in Nashik, police said. A local court has remanded the accused in police custody till May 2. Further probe is on. PTI Cor DC KRKadvertisementlast_img

Juventus win Coppa Italia to keep treble dream alive

first_imgJuventus beat Lazio to win a third successive Italian Cup final as goals from Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci kept them on course for a treble this season with a 2-0 victory in the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.The Turin side, who are on the verge of winning a sixth successive Serie A championship before facing Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff on June 3, won the domestic cup for a record 12th time.”Compliments to the lads for what they did in the first half and for coming through a defensive test in the second,” coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters.Allegri quickly turned his thoughts to the weekend when Juventus can clinch Serie A with a win over Crotone having missed their chance in a 3-1 defeat on Sunday away to AS Roma, who are four points behind with two fixtures remaining.”We’ve won the first title, now we want to clinch the second, Sunday against Crotone, who have taken 17 points from the last seven matches,” he said.”It’s going to be a difficult match. We’ll have to play a mean game like this evening’s.”Juventus, who beat Lazio in the final two years ago, settled the match in the opening 25 minutes with Alves putting them ahead in the 12th from a long, high cross by fellow Brazilian Alex Sandro.The right back’s volley was not as sweet as his goal in the Champions League semi-final second leg win over Monaco, but it proved just as effective, bouncing awkwardly on its way past goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha and inside the far post.advertisementLazio, who had hit the post in the sixth minute through striker Balde Keita, conceded a soft second goal 13 minutes later when Alex Sandro flicked on Paulo Dybala’s corner and Bonucci nipped into the six-yard box to knock the ball in.Lazio, who share the Olympic Stadium with AS Roma as a home ground in Serie A, made a better start to the second half and substitute Felipe Anderson’s low shot brought a good save from Gianluigi Buffon’s understudy Neto.Neto then clawed a Ciro Immobile header off the line after Gonzalo Higuain had been involved in two chances for Juventus that went begging.last_img read more

Needs Screw the Man Who Cares Campaigns Provide Revenue Jolt

first_imgIn addition to the subscription campaigns, Need attributes the revenue spike to a pair of sponsored meet-and-greet events with magazine staff and two topical speaking events featuring Need contributors and members of local organizations. Need also is planning Street Music for Street Kids concert later this month and a “Your Powers for Good” events series.“The idea behind the events was to not only promote Need but to accomplish it through furthering our end mission of assisting humanitarian organizations and those in need,”  founder and executive director Kelly Kinnunen said.Need launched the ScrewTheMan, SaveTheWorld intiative—which was inspired by Paste’s Save Paste campaign—in an effort to generate 25,000 new subscribers, which would more than double Need’s current circulation of 19,000. If successful, Need said it would eliminate all commercial advertisingfor one year and replace the allocated advertising pages with storiesof how readers are involved in saving the world.The Who Cares? campaign is intended to drive bulk subscription orders. “The average single order sale is up by $12 from last quarter, so each person is ordering more,” Stephanie Kinnunen said. Despite the revenue boost, though, she said the magazine has secured only “a fraction” of the new subscriptions needed to meet its ambitious goal. Minneapolis, Minnesota-based “humanitarian” magazine Need has seen some positive results from its ScrewTheMan, SaveTheWorld and Who Cares? subscription campaigns. So far—through the June, July and August period—the magazine has seen subscription revenue jump nearly 900 percent from the same period last year.“This has been amazing considering it is summer which is normally bad and we have not had a magazine out since early February,” editor-in-chief Stephanie Kinnunen told FOLIO:. Usually carrying a quarterly frequency, Need hopes to print its next edition by mid- to late-November.last_img read more

US needs an internet data privacy law GAO tells Congress

first_imgThe federal government’s chief auditor has recommended Congress consider developing legislation to beef up consumers’ internet data privacy protections. much like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The recommendation was included in a 56-page report (PDF) issued Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, the government agency that provides auditing, evaluation and investigative services for Congress. The report was prepared at the request two years ago by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has scheduled a hearing to discuss the subject for Feb. 26.”Since I requested this report, the need for comprehensive data privacy and security legislation at the federal level has only become more apparent,” Pallone said in a statement. “From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the unauthorized disclosures of real-time location data, consumers’ privacy is being violated online and offline in alarming and dangerous ways.” In making its recommendation, the GAO cited Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying the episode was just one of many recent internet privacy incidents in which users’ personal data may have been improperly disclosed. The GAO suggests giving the Federal Trade Commission more authority over internet privacy enforcement but also raised concerns about the commission’s enforcement abilities. Noting that the FTC is already the de facto authority over internet privacy in the US, the GAO found that the FTC filed 101 internet privacy enforcement actions in the past decade. Nearly all of those cases resulted in settlement agreements, and in most cases, no fines were issued because the FTC lacked the authority in those cases. “Recent developments regarding Internet privacy suggest that this is an appropriate time for Congress to consider comprehensive Internet privacy legislation,” the GAO report said. “Although FTC has been addressing Internet privacy through its unfair and deceptive practices authority, among other statutes, and other agencies have been addressing this issue using industry-specific statutes, there is no comprehensive federal privacy statute with specific standards.”The report was issued a day before news emerged that the FTC and Facebook were negotiating a multibillion-dollar fine to settle an investigation into the social network’s privacy practices. The exact amount hasn’t been determined, but it would be the largest fine ever imposed by the agency.The FTC began investigating Facebook last year after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy linked to the Trump presidential campaign, improperly accessed data from as many as 87 million Facebook users. The agency is looking into whether Facebook’s actions violated a 2011 agreement with the government in which it pledged to improve its privacy practices. Facebook has said it didn’t violate the consent decree. Creating a US internet privacy law like the GDPR has won some support from tech leaders. Apple CEO Tim Cook has praised the effective data privacy regulation and said he supports a “comprehensive federal data privacy law” in the US.”It is up to us, including my home country, to follow your lead,” he told the European Parliament in October. 3 Tags Tech Industry Security Comments Share your voice Privacylast_img read more