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Monday, October 31, 2011

Crime, punishment, and the shame of being a Madoff

In their first interview about the crimes of Bernard Madoff, the son and the wife of the man who scammed billions of dollars provide the first inside account from the immediate family. Ruth Madoff and son Andrew tell Morley Safer how Madoff confessed his crimes to them, their reaction and the subsequent family strife of the past three years.

(CBS News)

When news broke that Bernard Madoff had swindled thousands of people out of billions of dollars, many assumed that his family must have known all along. But Madoff's wife Ruth and son Andrew tell Morley Safer they were blindsided when Madoff finally confessed that he'd been running a giant Ponzi scheme. In their first television interviews, they describe how their once-happy family was completely destroyed.

Bernard Madoff

The following script is from "Madoff" which aired on Oct. 30, 2011

Madoff...It is a name that will live in infamy...It's been nearly three years since Bernard Madoff confessed to running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme - the largest financial fraud in history. Thousands of trusting clients who felt safe investing with a financial genius were swindled. He hadn't invested a penny.

While Madoff is serving 150 years in prison, his family has had to deal with the consequences of his crimes. His wife Ruth, divested of most of her great wealth - and derided by a suspicious world. Their son Mark - dead. Driven to suicide by shame and accusations of guilt. Their other son Andrew isolated - trying to live with the disgrace.

Are they innocent or were they willing partners? For the first time since Bernie Madoff's arrest, his son Andrew and wife Ruth speak out about crime, punishment and the shame of being a Madoff.

Morley Safer: It's a tough name to live with.

Ruth Madoff: It sure is.

Ruth Madoff...

Safer: Do you feel the shame?

Ruth: Of course I feel the shame. I can barely walk down the street without worrying about people recognizing me.

And Andrew Madoff...

Andrew Madoff: From the very beginning of this whole episode-- I've had absolutely nothing to hide. And I've been eager, I would say almost desperate to speak out publicly and tell people that I'm absolutely not involved.

Andrew and Ruth Madoff speak out in the book "Truth and Consequences"- a more or less tell-all arranged by Andrew's fiancee Catherine Hooper. An attempt to separate the family from the father's crimes.

Safer: Is it dismaying for you that no matter what you say people aren't going to believe you?

Catherine Hooper: I think in many ways it is dismaying, but public opinion has to be something that doesn't matter to us. What matters to us is the truth.

Safer: It's really hard for people to believe that you didn't know, that you must have known.

Ruth: I can't explain it. I mean I trusted him. Why would it ever occur to me that it wasn't legal? The business was--his reputation was almost legendary. Why would I ever think that there was something sinister going on?

Madoff's Victims

It was 1954 when Ruth Alpern met Bernie Madoff in Queens, N.Y.

Ruth: I just saw him and I was sort of swept away, I think.

She married him at age 18. They had two sons - Mark, then Andrew. Bernie was building up his money management business - a typical middle class family living on Long Island.

Ruth: We were both solid parents and valued our family and so proud of our boys. It was a dream, really.

Andrew: My father was certainly present as a dad.

Safer: Did he emphasize moral values at all?

Andrew: I wouldn't say that we sort of explicitly discussed values. But we certainly lived what I felt was a moral life, where there was a clear sense of right and wrong.

Deirdre Naphin and Katy Textor are the producers.

The Future of Surface Technology?

Corning Incorporated, the “world leader in specialty glass and ceramics,” released a promotional video this month showing some interesting future uses of glass and surface technologies.
The video is titled, “A Day Made of Glass” and walks you through a family’s interactions with very cool surface technologies. Some examples are:

  • Photovoltaic Glass (as bedroom walls)
  • LCD Television Glass (current technology)

  • Architectural Display Glass (interactive bathroom mirror)

  • Architectural Surface Glass (kitchen countertop and stove)
  • Appliance Veneer Glass (refrigerator door)

  • Automotive Display Glass (replaces entire dashboard, looks distracting and dangerous?)
  • Automotive Design Glass (sunroof panel)
  • Large Format Display Glass (replacing road signs?)

  • All-Weather Surface Glass (placed throughout cities)

  • Wall-Format Display Glass (building walls)
  • Work-Surface Display Glass (interactive touchscreens like the Microsoft Surface)
  • Flexible Display Glass (tech we’ve been waiting to adopt)
See the video for yourself below. Which of these technologies do you think will be adopted widely?

School Closings Across Northeast U.S. After Snow Storm

Two men walk down a road as snow falls Oct. 29 in Putney, Vt. Freezing conditions prevailed along the East Coast on Sunday after a rare October snowstorm and icy rain reportedly killed at least three people, sparked long airport delays and caused massive (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Schools across the Northeast U.S. closed for a snow day after a record snowstorm hit the region over the Halloween weekend. The school closings were a result of what is reported to be one of the earliest and heaviest snowfalls for the month of October in at least 135 years. 
The snow after the storm, which reportedly went up to 30 inches in some areas, left millions without power and electricity and was reported to have caused the deaths of at least eight people. Emergency was declared in Massachusetts - which was worst hit by the snow - as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and some parts of New York state.

Several public schools in the Portland and East Hampton areas of Connecticut were reported to be closed for all of Monday. The Worchester Telegraph reported that several schools districts in the area of Worchester, Massachusetts, were closed for all of Monday as well. A large number of schools in northern New Jersey (particularly in the counties of Essex and Morris) and dozens of schools in New York city are closed today.

Over six million people were initially estimated to have been without power after the snowstorm, but the Associated Press reported that the number had dropped below three million by late Sunday as utility companies continued to work to restore power in most areas. Connecticut, which had its power hit by Hurricane Irene as well, was reported to be badly hit again this time.

The heavy snow caused trees to fall and branches to break in the middle of the street, shutting down roads and transportation in some areas. In other areas, electricity lines were grounded, resulting in some sidewalks being deemed unsafe for walking, particularly in Connecticut. One man was killed in Springfield, Massachusetts, after stepping on a live electricity wire that had been downed by the snowstorm.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Don't forget to turn your clock back: Pauline West won't... she has to do it 4,000 times

If you had trouble remembering to turn back your clocks today, spare a thought for Pauline West.

The 60-year-old housewife has more than 4,000 crammed into her flat. 

And while the rest of the country was making the most of an extra hour in bed, she was embarking on a three-day mission to reset them all.

The clock lady: Pauline West has more than 4,000 clocks, she said they make a 'hell of a racket' when they chime
The clock lady: Pauline West has more than 4,000 clocks, she said they make a 'hell of a racket' when they chime 

The collection, believed to be the biggest in the world, covers every wall in the two-bedroom flat and is worth £15,000. It began 24 years ago.
Pauline’s husband Roy, 67, has even had to put more than 60 clocks in the bathroom of their home in Eastleigh, Hampshire. 

The only room to escape is her 22-year-old son Kevin’s bedroom. He has a single alarm clock.

Roy, who is retired, is so in tune with the collection he can hear if one clock is not ticking.
Perfect timing: Pauline West knows if any one of her 4,000 clocks is out of time
Perfect timing: Pauline West knows if any one of her 4,000 clocks is out of time 

Don't forget one! Pauline West won't be enjoying the extra hour in bed but starting a three day chore of turning back all her clocks
Don't forget one! Pauline West won't be enjoying the extra hour in bed but starting a three day chore of turning back all her clocks 

Tea tock: Even Pauline West's tea pot is a clock
Tea tock: Even Pauline West's tea pot is a clock which will need turning back

He said: ‘Kevin really does hate them. He curses the clocks if they happen to chime when he’s trying to watch television.’

The couple also spend up to an hour every evening tending to the wind-up clocks. They buy batteries in bulk every month for the modern ones.

The most valuable piece is a £1,000 150-year-old grandmother clock. It cost £20 from a car boot sale.

Pauline said: 'Everyone knows me locally as the clock woman and they have been coming up to me all week reminding me to put them back an hour.

Wall to wall: The collection, believed to be the biggest in the world, covers every wall in the two-bedroom flat is worth £15,000
Wall to wall: The collection, believed to be the biggest in the world, covers every wall in the two-bedroom flat is worth £15,000

'They do make one hell of a racket when they chime - it's like someone is dropping pennies into a tin can. The rest of the time it's fine - we're all used to the ticking.
Pauline added: ‘I have a wristwatch but I don’t bother wearing it.’

Roy, a retired delivery driver, has become a dab hand at taking the clocks apart and mending them despite receiving no extra training.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

CL&P opens Emergency Operations Center

BERLIN, CT - As the October nor'easter makes its way through the state, Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) has opened its Emergency Operations Center in Berlin.

Over 200 CL&P line and tree crews are working to restore power to customers affected by outages and the company is in the process of securing additional help. "As was predicted, the heavy, wet snow is weighing down the trees and creating issues across the state," said Al Roy, CL&P's manager of Emergency Management. "Our crews and support staff continue to respond as the storm moves through and we are communicating with town and state officials to coordinate efforts."

CL&P will be assessing storm damage as soon as it is safe to do so. An estimate as to when power will be restored will be available once the assessment is complete. We appreciate our customers patience.

In the meantime, CL&P is reminding customers to:

- Stay away from all downed wires. Assume any downed, hanging or burning power lines are live and dangerous and call 9-1-1 immediately. If a power line falls on your vehicle while you’re inside, stay there. Don’t touch anything outside the vehicle and wait for emergency crews.

- Report your power outage by calling CL&P at 800-286-2000. Our automated phone system rapidly processes your report and helps us speed restoration efforts. It also provides restoration estimates as soon as they’re available.

- Before operating a generator, make sure it has been properly installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly installed generators can feed electricity back into power lines and pose a deadly situation for our line workers. Always operate generators outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide hazards.

- If you lose power, turn off your circuit breakers. This will help reduce the possibility of damage to sensitive electronic equipment once power is restored.

For helpful tips and news updates, go to our website at cl-p.com, follow us on Twitter @CTLightandPower and like us at Facebook.com/CTLightandPower. You can also get updates on outages in your town by texting “outage” and your zip code to 24612 (texting fees may apply).

World Series MVP David Freese and Devils' Cam Janssen are St. Louis friends

Devils winger Cam Janssen (25) is friends with World Series MVP David Freese.

DALLAS -- Devils right winger Cam Janssen has a close connection to the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

The St. Louis native is good friends with World Series MVP David Freese.

"I know David real well. He's a hometown boy, a good kid," said Janssen, a St. Louis native. "He deserves all this. He's going to take that team to another level in the future. He's very gifted. Couldn't happen to a better guy."

Janssen and Freese have done charity work together in St. Louis.

"He takes care of me and anytime he needed hockey tickets when I played in St. Louis I took care of him," Janssen said. "I just know him from the growing up. St. Louis is a small town. We did charity work and exchanged numbers.

"Lafayette high school is right near Eureka. Big rivalry. You just heard about him, just like he heard about me growing up doing my thing. That's got to be the coolest thing to happen for a kid like that. 

No matter happens from here on in, St. Louis will always remember for bringing a World Series win."

And the Cardinals?

"It was unbelievable. They never gave up," Janssen said. "But I'll tell you what. The city was kind of dogging on them at the end of the summer. They kept sticking with it and inched their way in."

Coach Pete DeBoer confirmed that Rod Pelley, Mark Fraser and Eric Boulton would be scratches.

Keith Kinkaid will dress as backup for Johan Hedberg as Martin Brodeur continues to recover from a right shoulder injury.

DeBoer would like to see the Devils end the road trip with a victory.

"For sure. We played one excellent game and one game which wasn't terrible, but we got away from some of the things that make us successful," he said. "This can be a real good road if we get a win today. Anyone would take two out of three on a swing through the west."

Zach Parise said: "We almost saw two different teams in L.A. and Phoenix."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Microsoft Productivity Future Vision (2011) - VIDEO

In what’s becoming a lovely trend from manufacturers all over the map, videos showing conceptual futures where technology has completely transformed the way we go about our daily lives have been emerging – this newest one comes from Microsoft who sees one magical gadget after another, after another. Earlier this month there was a video by the name of “Microsoft Office Labs Vision 2019,” now there’s one called “Productivity Future Vision (2011),” both of them fantastically edited and made to make devices impossible to make with today’s technology seem rather possible by sight.

It’s the very first invention that’s got my attention, for sure – as a woman walks up to a road in front of what must be an airport, she hears a language she does not understand coming over the intercom. At a tap of her glasses, she’s got instant translation into her own English. Sort of reminds you of a Babelfish, doesn’t it? From there’s it’s all displays, all the time. Each window to a car shows off everything the woman needs (or thinks she needs) to see such as an outline of a building that she’s passing by with a note about how she needs to go there tomorrow or she wont get the job she wants – she has a device in her hands that’s one big display connected to everything under the sun, including her kitchen fridge, and everything is full-screen.

Notice, if you will, the similarities between this “future device” and the current Windows Phone interface and it’s tiles. Sort of makes you think that, wow, Windows Phone is really advanced already, doesn’t it? Then there’s giant displays as large as a desk, made for touch interaction, and all sorts of 3D interaction that I’m not quite sure how to explain. Objects jump off the displays and can be moved around with a waft of the hand. Have a peek at this newest video here:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bernie Madoff Exclusive: Barbara Walters' Firsthand Account - VIDEO

Barbara Walters interviewed Bernie Madoff at Butner Federal Correctional Complex.  
(Virginia Sherwood/ABC)

It is a 90-minute flight from New York to Raleigh, N.C., and then it takes about 40 minutes by car to get to the Butner Federal Correction Complex. As you drive east from Raleigh all you can see for miles is farmland scattered with a few small buildings. Butner is a beautiful, rural community, despite being home to several prisons.

The Butner complex itself has four prisons: two medium security facilities, a hospital and a low-security prison as well. Bernard Madoff is in Medium I. All the buildings are white and low to the ground, and from a distance look like an attractive office complex. The area was quiet and extremely well-kept -- if I was expecting doom and gloom, it wasn't what I found. Only as you drive closer to the actual buildings can you see the barbed wire fence ringing each of the four prisons.

We drove right up to Medium I's entrance and were greeted by the head of security, who walked me into the lobby. It was immaculate, with just one guard at the main desk to check in visitors. My producer and I signed our names in the daily log, and walked through a metal detector similar to what you'd find at an airport -- but this time I was allowed to keep my shoes on.

I had what is called a "media interview" with Madoff, which is different than the regular visits prisoners get with family and friends. For our interview, I was permitted only to bring in pen and pad. I was also allowed to bring in $20 in quarters since there were vending machines near our meeting room, which prisoners and guests are permitted to use during the visit. As it turns out, Madoff didn't want anything, but I did mention it during the meeting in case we were hungry.

Bernie Madoff and Wife Attempted Suicide Watch Video
Stephanie Madoff Mack Tells Her Story Watch Video
'The End of Normal' for the Madoffs Watch Video
After we were checked in, we met the assistant warden and public information officer. I was struck that they were both women -- this at an all-male facility. The two women walked us to through the first locked gate. It was gray steel, and the first indication that we were walking into a prison. The gate swung closed behind us, and then a guard asked me for my left hand, and proceeded to stamp me with an infrared ink that couldn't be seen to the naked eye. The guards wanted to make sure that visitors who walk into the prison are the same individuals who walk out two hours later.

We went through two more gated rooms -- each time a door swung closed behind us, another door swung open in front of us. Finally we were led to a corridor with columns on one side that open to a courtyard in the middle of the complex. The courtyard had beautifully manicured gardens, which we learned were courtesy of the prisoners who maintain the grounds.

We were ushered into the private Assistant Warden's Conference Room. There were two long tables with about 10 chairs at each table. Walls are cinderblock painted white, with Inspirational "TEAM" posters on the wall and a computer in the corner. I was briefed about my visit and the prison rules, and then 10 minutes later Madoff was brought in by the assistant warden.

Madoff was wearing the standard prison uniform. Khaki pants, khaki short-sleeved shirt with white buttons, non-descript black sneakers with Velcro closures. He has gray hair and wears brownish wire-rimmed glasses, with bifocal lenses. He has an occasional tick (blinking of the eyes) which gets worse when he is discussing difficult matters. I was allowed to shake hands with him, then we sat down to talk.

Finally, I sat face to face with inmate #61727-054, the man many consider a monster.

American Fitness Broadens Commercial Fitness Equipment Line-up with Impact Fitness Equipment

American Fitness is expanding commercial fitness equipment solutions available for customers with high end fitness or athletic training requirements. Impact Fitness Equipment has been selected as an ideal solution for commercial fitness equipment customers requiring a high level of quality, durability, and performance. Many of the products will be available as part of fitness equipment packages designed to outfit a start-up gym or fitness center, or as replacement exercise equipment.

    American Fitness logo
    American Fitness logo
    Quote start“We are excited to add Impact Fitness Equipment products to our commercial fitness equipment line up,” said Ron Thompson, President of American Fitness.Quote end

    Portland, Oregon (PRWEB) October 26, 2011
    AmericanFitness.net, a premier supplier of fitness equipment serving the United States, as well as hotels, resorts, and military customers abroad, announces the addition of Impact Fitness Equipment products to its line-up of commercial fitness equipment solutions. American Fitness recognizes the unique needs of these customers, whether high-end athletes demanding quality and performance or a commercial fitness center focused on ensuring member satisfaction. Impact Fitness Equipment was identified as ideally suited for the rigors of the commercial fitness environment and an excellent complement to the products currently available from AmericanFitness.net. The full range of products also provides opportunities for the creation of fitness equipment packages containing multiple products from the same brand, which is often desired by commercial gyms.
    AmericanFitness.net will offer a broad range of products from Impact Fitness Equipment, including the Triumph, Elevation, Budget, and Meander Series of strength training products. All of these are full commercial fitness equipment designed for durability. The Triumph Series, also referred to as “Simply the Best” by Impact Fitness Equipment, is targeted at those seeking the ultimate in design, safety, and function. This exercise equipment features large steel tubing frames, converging and diverging axis planes, safety enclosed weight stacks, instructional placards, and a variety of comfort and safety features. The Triumph Series includes jungle gyms, cable systems, selectorized stations, and benches and other free weight equipment. The Elevation Series is similar to the Triumph Series in quality, but with a more traditional look. The Budget Series brings full commercial quality to the budget-conscious customer, making it ideal for start-up gyms or fitness centers. The Meander Series includes a selection of multi-station gyms.
    For cardiovascular workouts, AmericanFitness.net will offer Impact Fitness Equipment’s Premier Cardio Series. This full commercial line includes the most popular types of cardio exercise machines, such as treadmills, elliptical cross trainers, upright and recumbent exercise bikes, steppers, and rowers.
    “We are excited to add Impact Fitness Equipment products to our commercial fitness equipment line up,” said Ron Thompson, President of American Fitness. “Impact Fitness Equipment’s full commercial products combine advanced technology, quality, and durability, for a more effective high performance workout. We look forward to recommending Impact Fitness Equipment products for many of our military, firefighter, fitness center, and school athletic department customers.”
    Many of the Impact Fitness Equipment products will be combined to form fitness equipment packages. These packages are designed to get a new gym or fitness center up and running with a good assortment of equipment at affordable prices. They also work well as replacement product sets for gyms looking to upgrade or renovate facilities.

    AmericanFitness.net is a leading retailer of home and commercial fitness equipment. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, American Fitness is the chosen provider of fitness and exercise equipment for schools, hotels, public service agencies, and US military organizations across the United States and abroad. AmericanFitness.net specializes in custom gym and fitness center design using top brand equipment including home gyms, treadmills, elliptical trainers, weights, and other popular exercise equipment. With a focus on service and customer satisfaction, American Fitness seeks to support individuals and organizations in achieving fit and healthy lifestyles. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.americanfitness.net.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Andy Rooney Hospitalized Serious Complications After Surgery


    FILE - Aug. 9, 2009: "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney, center, leaves the Celebration of Life Memorial ceremony for Walter Cronkite at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. CBS announced Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011 that Rooney will make his final appearance on "60 Minutes" on Sunday's broadcast.

    NEW YORK –  Andy Rooney, who delivered his last essay on the CBS TV newsmagazine "60 Minutes" three weeks ago, was in the hospital Tuesday after developing serious complications following surgery.

    CBS said the 92-year-old writer's condition was stable and, at the request of his family, offered no other information about his medical problems or where he was hospitalized.

    The three-time Emmy-winner was a regular presence on television's most popular newsmagazine. Since 1978, "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" wrapped up the Sunday night program, often with a look at the absurdities of life and language.

    Rooney could talk about what was in the news or what was in his closet. One of his Emmy Awards was for an essay about whether there was a real Mrs. Smith behind Mrs. Smith's Pies.

    On Oct. 2, he delivered his 1,097th and final essay, saying it was a moment he dreaded.
    "I wish I could do this forever. I can't, though," he said.

    True to his often cantankerous nature, Rooney noted that he hated being recognized on the street. So if you see him in a restaurant, he said as he signed off, "please, just let me eat my dinner."

    He's had a long career as a writer, and that's how he saw himself. He worked for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes and wrote four books about World War II. He wrote for entertainment personalities Arthur Godfrey and Garry Moore and had a longtime partnership with newsman Harry Reasoner.

    With "60 Minutes" looking for something new at the end of its show, Rooney's first essay appeared on July 2, 1978: a complaint about people who kept track of how many people died in auto accidents over holiday weekends.