September 13th, 2010
12:30 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta

The only living member of the military to be decorated with the U.S. Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War received a phone call of thanks and congratulations last week from President Barack Obama. Rose Giunta, mother of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, told a Cedar Rapids news station that her son was profoundly touched by the honor bestowed on him. Yet the deadly ambush, in which he lost a friend, was having a deep effect on him.

Giunta, 25, was on patrol in Afghanistan during the attack when his body armor protected him from what could have been a fatal bullet wound to the chest. Recovering from the blow, he saved two colleagues, and then recovered a mortally wounded soldier from two insurgents. He remained with the soldier until help arrived.

Giunta’s mother, who will not see her son until he returns to Washington to accept the award, described the award as bittersweet.

“As much as we're here because of what Sal did,” she said, “there's parents out there that will not know, they'll never know what this feels like. And yet, their sons and daughters deserve this too."

KWWL: Iowa soldier honored by President

KWWL: Parents of Medal of Honor recipient proud and humbled

Pete Rose

Following a day when he was honored for breaking Ty Cobb’s all-time hitting record, former Cincinnati Reds manager and player Pete Rose shocked a private audience Saturday when he broke down and apologized to former teammates and fans for illegally betting on Major League Baseball.

Rose, who was banned from the sport for life for the offense in 1989, publicly denied doing it until 2004. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Erardi, an event that began as a roast for Rose ended up as a repentance.

"I disrespected the game of baseball," Rose said "When you do that, you disrespect your teammates, the game and your family."

Rose then apologized to former teammates who were present, including Ken Griffey Sr., Tony Perez, George Foster and Cesar Geronimo. He also apologized to other members of the 1970s era “Big Red Machine” who were not present, including catcher Johnny Bench and Davey Concepcion.

Enquirer: Sobbing Pete Rose repents for betting on baseball

Ali Ahmad Asseri

A Saudi Arabian diplomat has asked the U.S. for political asylum because he is gay. Ali Ahmad Asseri is the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. NBC reports Asseri notified the Department of Homeland Security saying that Saudi officials had revoked his diplomatic passport and ordered him home. He said that consulate employees had followed him to gay bars, and discovered that he also had formed a friendship with a Jewish woman from Israel.

Complicating matters further are reports that Asseri posted a letter on a website condemning his home country for its ‘backwardness. He also allegedly reported that he would expose other Saudi royalty who were employed by the U.S consulate, but were really living lives of leisure.

It’s the first time since 1994 that a Saudi diplomat is known to have sought asylum on human rights grounds. Asseri, who is said to be in hiding, told NBC in an email: “My life is in a great danger here and if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight.”

MSNBC: Saudi diplomat seeking asylum: 'My life is in danger'

Patti Davis

The staunchly liberal daughter of former President Ronald Reagan has written a scathing column in Newsweek saying that she and other supporters of Barack Obama are devastated by his performance as President, as well as his inability to empathize with the troubles of average Americans, particularly in light of the BP oil disaster.

“The no-drama, too-cool-for-school persona worked really well during the campaign, especially when he came up against a hothead like McCain,” Davis said. “But when you are leader of the free world and a man-made environmental disaster is wiping out an entire region of the country; when birds and turtles and marine mammals are dying excruciating deaths; when people are losing their entire way of life and their livelihoods; when millions of others are watching helplessly, weeping at the suffering and the devastation and trying to think of some way, no matter how small, to help ... being cool doesn’t cut it."

Newsweek: Patty Davis: Our disappointment with Obama

Mark Zuckerberg

The 26-year-old co-founder of Facebook has given an exclusive interview to the New Yorker, just one week after being placed at the top of Vanity Fair’s New Establishment List. The elusive Zuckerberg spoke to New Yorker contributor Juan Antonio Vargas, telling him that he handled the creation of Facebook poorly due to immaturity.

Zuckerberg is the subject of Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming film “The Social Network,” The biopic, which opens in November, is said to be a scathing portrait set during his days at Harvard University. In the New Yorker piece, Zuckerberg tells Vargas that much of what he has heard is in the film is wrong. “I know the real story,” he said.

New Yorker: Zuckerberg opens up

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. PCola Vet

    ALL MOH recipients have one thing in common, they put their brothers AHEAD of themselves without even thinking about it. That's the mark of a TRUE HERO, whether it's military or civilian. This Marine tips his hat to you SSG. Semper Fi....

    September 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MJ

    I went to elementary, middle, and high school with Sal. He can chug a Mt. Dew faster than anyone I know. Well deserved and congratulations Buddy!!!

    September 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
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