April 29, 2007

Vikings on Draft Day

The Star Tribune is reporting that the Vikings day began earlier than expected: They made a deal with Tampa Bay and took Texas defensive end Brian Robison (6-3, 259 pounds). He was a three-year starter in college. The deal was the Vikings and Bucs swapped fourth rounders — Tampa Bay now gets No. 106 overall — and Tampa also gets the Vikings’ sixth rounder (No. 182 overall). Robison had injury problems last season but still started 10 of 12 games at right end. He finished with a career-low 37 tackles and 5.5 sacks Robison had a much better 2005, recording a career-high 58 tackles. He led the team with seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss. Also had 10 quarterback pressures. The piece ends with a sly comment on the excitement of getting Petersen yesterday mentioning that he has chosen his jersey number 28 and that the vikings will be "able to sell a few of those".

Sapphire's sale leaves Minnesotans in shock

The Star Tribune is reporting that James J Hill's sapphire was sold at auction in New York City: The gem's sale for a record high bid of $3.064 million at a New York City auction earlier this week, however, indisputably left officials of the Minnesota Historical Society in a pleasant state of shock at their unexpected windfall. The piece interviews members from the historical society and expressed their shock as they were expecting a sale of around 80,000$. Every gem dealer in the world knew about this stone, adding that there aren't more than five in the world of that kind in size, clarity and color. After commissions and fees, the Historical Society's take will be about $2.6 million, which will be placed in an endowment to maintain the James J. Hill House on Summit Avenue.

Bush Asks Florida Graduates to Back Immigration Change

The NYT is reporting that: President Bush spoke to mostly Hispanic graduates of Miami Dade College on Saturday to press for an overhaul of immigration law, calling for changes that “resolve the status of those who are already here without amnesty, and without animosity.? The piece extends coverage to the broader immigration issue by implanting numbers and statistics relative to the issue while explaining the symbolic importance of Bush speaking to the Miami Dade College and giving voice to those who attended the speech. The author then sneaks a quick political commentary of his own by excerpting from Bush's speech his comments on Fidel Castro, ending the piece with Bush's own words provocatively: “The reign of every tyrant comes to an end."

Uneasy Alliance Is Taming One Insurgent Bastion

The NYT is reporting that in Iraq: Many Sunni tribal leaders, once openly hostile to the American presence, have formed a united front with American and Iraqi government forces against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. With the tribal leaders’ encouragement, thousands of local residents have joined the police force. About 10,000 police officers are now in Anbar, up from several thousand a year ago. During the same period, the police force here in Ramadi, the provincial capital, has grown from fewer than 200 to about 4,500. The story uses sources from the military on the ground. An analyst a colonel and a private all express the uneasy movement towards stability, with former enemies joining the ranks of police. Other sheiks and leaders of tribes from Anbar also express there new willingness to work with Americans as they view the help of the military now essential to their own survival.

Rebuilt Iraq Projects Found Crumbling

The NYT is reporting that : in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle. The story rotates primarily around one inspector general and his representation of his respective oversight agency. Through this inspector various examples of crumbling funded infrastucture is given in detail. While the author mentions an opposing viewpoint, that these several 100$ million projects are small failures when compared to the $30 billion spent, the author maintains the view that this is another part of the government's failure.

April 22, 2007

U student dies; driver faces homicide charges

The Star Tribune is reporting that: A 23-year-old University of Minnesota student who was critically injured Easter Sunday near the Metrodome when a suspected drunken driver ran a red light and crashed into her car died Friday. In light of Melissa A. Speich's death, charges filed last week against Geoffrey A. Baker, 33, of Hudson, Wis., were upgraded to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. He also had been charged with first-degree drunken driving.

Teen shot, killed on bus in St. Pau

The Star Tribune is reporting: that 16-year-old was shot in the chest and killed on a Metro Transit bus in St. Paul early this morning. Police say an argument involving 15 to 20 people preceded the shooting, which was reported at 12:24 a.m. on Fifth Street between Cedar and Sibley streets, KARE11-TV is reporting. No one has been arrested, and the name of the victim has not been released.
St. Paul police and Metro Transit officers are investigating.

3 Suspects Talk After Iraqi Soldiers Do Dirty Work

The NYT's report that the Iraqi police and army are very successful when it comes to getting information from captured insurgents. The problem is, the use of beatings and torture are their main weapons. The piece gives away to narrative coming from one of the lead sergeants in the American military who gets information from these Iraqi police. The US must be quick to denounce the methods but are high in their praise over the information gathered. A conundrum. The article has very good quotes from the US military officers and the narration style really helps present the seeming paradox of the situation.

Students Recount Desperate Minutes Inside Norris Hall

The NYT put out an interesting piece on the recent Virginia Tech tragedy. Reporters gathered narrations from surviving victims in each of the classrooms the gunmen entered. The stories are assembled to form a chronology of the carnage and give voice to the heroes of the day while simultaneously expressing an unimaginable horror. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/us/22norris.html?pagewanted=2&hp

In Turnabout, Infant Deaths Climb in South

The NYT is reporting that states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady were making progress in reducing infant death. But progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states. The setbacks have raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors, and, many doctors say, the growing epidemics of obesity, diabetes and hypertension among potential mothers, some of whom tip the scales at 300 pounds. The article uses many doctors for sources and follows two poor families where infant deaths have affected their lives. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/health/22infant.html?pagewanted=3&_r=1&hp&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1177257877-oX6eDj/jFNYb7G2mw+WORA

April 15, 2007

Hunter: A few 42s too many

The Strib had a nice little interview piece with Twins' outfielder Torri Hunter about the MLB honoring Jackie Robinson. Every April 15, Jackie Robinson Day offers a chance to honor one of history's greatest Americans. It's also a chance to recognize one of baseball's most perplexing issues: the disappearance of black players. The Strib reporter that the disapearance is traceable. In 1975, 27 percent of major league players were black. By 2006, that number was just 8.4 percent, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The piece also supplants quotes from other all-star black baseball players like Ken Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter.

Eye on Iran, Rivals Pursuing Nuclear Power

This piece in the NYT is about a possible nuclear arms race in the middle east. The reporter's sources are primarily anonymous "private analysts" and government officials. The piece is very alluring with a picture of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin alongside King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The analysts think that the regional powers are clandestinely pursuing nuclear power to get to nuclear weapons in order to offset the balance with Iran's own nuclear ambition. The piece is very informative.

Lenders Sought Edge Against U.S. in Student Loans

The NYT is reporting that: In a fierce contest to control the student loan market, the nation’s banks and lenders have for years waged a successful campaign to limit a federal program that was intended to make borrowing less costly by having the government provide loans directly to students.
The companies have offered money to universities to pull out of the federal direct loan program, which was championed by the Clinton administration. They went to court to keep the direct program from becoming more competitive. And they benefited from oversight so lax that the Education Department’s assistant inspector general in 2003 called for tightened regulation of lender dealings with universities. The reporters use several government officials and lawyers to get a good round picture of the conflict. This piece is another part of the NYT's ongoing coverage of the affair.

McCain Sees ‘No Plan B’ for Iraq War

The NYT is reporting that Senator John McCain said that the buildup of American forces in Iraq represented the only viable option to avoid failure in Iraq and that he had yet to identify an effective fallback if the current strategy failed. The piece is relatively straightforward. The report that in a discussion of how he would handle Iraq if elected president, Mr. McCain said that the success of the Bush administration’s strategy, which seeks to protect Baghdad residents so Iraqi political leaders have an opportunity to pursue a program of political reconciliation, was essentially a precondition for a more limited American role that could follow.

April 1, 2007

Jobs at Risk After Scandal at Juvenile Facility

The New York Times is reporting that Mayor David Cutbirth of Monahans said the job loss would damage the area’s economic diversity, which is tied to oil and gas production.
“Drilling jobs can pay up to $28 per hour, but they’re mostly for men,? he said. West Texas State offers jobs for clerical workers, teachers, counselors and men “with special training.?
Pyote now houses 238 offenders ages 12 to 20, with most ages 15 to 17, said a Texas Youth Commission spokesman, Jim Hurley.
When a reporter visited the facility, groups of young men clad in orange or blue marched in drill formation from the cafeteria to classrooms. The youngsters wear uniforms to signify their phase of “resocialization,? Mr. Hurley said. He said the youngsters’ days were structured: “They go to school, to therapy groups, behavior groups, meals, exercise and recreation, physical training, and a hour of free time in the evenings. They are up at 5 a.m. and in bed at 9 p.m.?