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April 20, 2008

Bill to allow Sunday liquor sales

A bill introduced last month by Re. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, seeks to legalize Sunday liquor sales, reported the Minnesota Daily.

Currently, Minnesota is one of 15 states that prohibit selling liquor on Sunday, according to the Alcohol Policy Information System.

According to Kahn, the bill is about “getting the government out of controlling things that get done on Sunday.?

While some students favor the bill, Kahn said some liquor store owners believe being open on Sundays would not greatly increase their sales.

Steve Wilk, general manager of Surdyk’s, said Sundays would not pay off.
“We wouldn't get that much traffic and it would probably be one of the slowest days of our week,? he said. He continued to say that the long-term benefits would not be seen.

The bill will not be passed this session due to budget priorities.

Party expectations

An e-mail sent to some 7th District GOP delegates said that they should not expect to play much of a role at the Republican National Convention later this year, reported MinnPost.com.

It is the belief of some Ron Paul delegates that the e-mail was most likely directed at them.

“According to the Seventh Congressional District, national delegates are meaningless,? Minnesota state coordinator for Ron Paul Marianne Stebbins said. “They're trying to talk our people out of running.?

Delegates are expected to contribute to the national party and campaign. Not only do they have to pay a registration fee and be responsible for their own hotel bills, but it is assumed that they will contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the party.

Potential delegates were also informed that their main objective is to “contribute to the ‘TV image’ of the Party by being present, applauding and cheering at the ‘right’ places, etc.?

Double dipping professors

Two University of Minnesota professors are in trouble with Georgia Tech for possible double-dipping of salaries and expense payments, reported the Star Tribune.

Professors Francois Sainfort and his wife Julie Jacko both signed contracts in October to move to the university in January. However, Georgia Tech officials said the school renewed both professors’ contracts.

The professors’ attorney said Saturday that the couple is ready to have the situation reviewed by the Atlanta school’s attorney general. University officials said they will cooperate with any investigation but that they hope it is just an employment dispute.
The couple was making just over $400,000 a year at Georgia Tech. Their salaries at the University will top $500,000 a year.

The races continues in Pennsylvania

As the Pennsylvania primary draws nearer, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have crossed the state to deliver their closing arguments, reported the New York Times.

Obama campaigned by train across the southeastern part of the state and waved to citizens who lined the tracks.
“Now it is our turn, Pennsylvania,? Obama said, speaking at his first stop in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood. “This is a defining moment in our history. All of you are here because you can feel it.?
Clinton, on the other hand, drove and flew to her five event locations. According to the New York Times, a tone of urgency rang in Clinton’s voice. She delivered her speech as a faster speed, as if she was getting ready to travel to her next assembly.

While a bit stressed for time, Clinton pushed Pennsylvania voters.
“We have got to realize that our future really depends on who the next president is,? she said. “This is not a throw-away election. This is one of the most important elections we’ve ever faced.?
Only 10 primaries remain for the Democratic nomination. This makes Pennsylvania’s a critically important one.

The Pope visits New York

Pope Benedict XVI visited Ground Zero in New York at the end of his six-day tour of the United States, reported the BBC.

There, he greeted survivors, victim relatives and fire and police officials. The pope also offered a prayer for the September 11, 2001 attack victims as well as “those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.?

Before flying back to the Vatican, the pope will celebrate Mass at New York's Yankees stadium.

April 13, 2008

Diversity

In a New York Times article about an Italian bakery in New York City, the writer does not focus on the Italian food served there. Instead, it moves past Italian stereotypes and focuses on the fact that the bakery sells a large quantity of Jewish bread. This is particularly timely with Passover just around the corner.

While demographer Joseph J. Salvo of the New York City Department of Planning said the bakery could thrive by catering to a solely Italian niche, it is becoming a trend for bakeries to become "melting pots" of different cultures. This was new to me since I had ever only seen French or Italian style bakeries.

There is not numerical data in the article however there are firsthand accounts (quotes) present in it.

Yahoo weighing options

Yahoo board members met Friday to discuss Microsoft’s takeover bid, reported the New York Times.

No formal decision has been made yet, Yahoo officials said. Yahoo will continue to meet and discuss possible merger deals with Microsoft and AOL owner Time Warner.

While Time Warner is in communication with Yahoo, popular public opinion is that Microsoft will be the winner.

“If you want the final chapter, Microsoft buys Yahoo,? Bob Davis, a venture capitalist and former chief executive of the Internet portal Lycos, said.

April 12, 2008

Local band Tapes 'n Tapes releases new album

Minneapolis local band Tapes ‘n Tapes released their sophomore album “Walk it Off,? reported MPR.org.

While the release has fans excited, band members say the album is “old news.?

“We've had it done since the middle of October, so the initial excitement isn't quite there any more,? frontman Josh Grier said. “I'm excited for people to finally hear it you know, but at the same time it's like ‘Man! I wish people could have heard it six months ago when we heard it.’?

Even though the band is not showing much enthusiasm, the album is currently getting more positive reviews than negative from music bloggers.

To celebrate the album’s release, the band is participating in an international tour. The tour begins Saturday at First Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis and ends June 10 in Cologne, Germany.

Excelsior Boulevard closed for April

Starting Monday, Excelsior Boulevard between Hwy. 100 and Louisiana Avenue will be closed for the remainder of April as a railroad crossing is reconstructed, reported the Star Tribune.

Detours will include north and south bound Hwy. 100 and Blake Road, and east and west bound Hwy. 7.

Access to Methodist Hospital via Louisiana and Alabama avenues will remain open.

Dropping G.E. earnings

General Electric shocked Wall Street on Friday when it reported disappointing first quarter results, reported the New York Times.

The report pushed the Dow Jones industrial average down about 2 percent. The company’s stock fell 13 percent, its biggest single-day lost in two decades.

The inability of General Electric to avoid current market forces emphasizes the global economic crisis. This is because the company has been viewed as a bellwether for the economy because of its varied operations.

The report has created concern for the outlook of other companies.

World peace promoter found murdered

An Italian woman who promoted world peace was found murdered in Turkey, reported the BBC.

The woman, Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, 33, known as Pippa Bacca, was found in a patch of bushes near the city of Gebze on Friday.

Pippa Bacca had been hitch-hiking from Milan to the Middle East with the artist group “Brides on Tour? to promote world peace.

In an earlier interview, Pippa Bacca said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people.

According to Turkish police, the man in connection with the killing has been detained.

April 6, 2008

Legendary film actor dies

Film star Charlton Heston, who won the 1959 Oscar for best actor for the movie "Ben-Hur," died Saturday, reported the Star Tribune. He was 84.

Heston died in his home in Beverly Hills, family spokesman Bill Powers said. Powers declinded to comment on the cause of death.

In 2002, Heston announced that he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.

April 5, 2008

WCCO staple is no longer in the forecast

WCCO forecaster Paul Douglas is no longer working at WCCO-TV, reported the Pioneer Press.

Douglas, channel 4’s chief meteorologist who joined the station in 1997, was laid off Monday. The announcement however came Friday.

According to WCCO director of communications, Kiki Rosatti, the decision to let Douglas go is tied to the restructuring of the station.

The restructuring began last week when management laid off four people, including weekend anchor John Reger.

Ken Stone, a University of Minnesota professor who teaches TV reporting and newscast producing, said the decision to lay off Douglas was stunning, short-sighted and stupid.

“Douglas is the weather franchise for the station,? he said. “He's a huge part of who the station is.?

“I think they're going to lose some viewers,? Stone said. “No one's irreplaceable, but it's the kind of thing that might look good on the books right now. But you just wonder if the audience erosion they've already seen will be hastened. That's the gamble.?

In an e-mail to friends, Douglas said he and his wife were "a bit dazed" by the decision but are committed to staying in Minnesota.

Bus crashes on I-94

Officials said one Minnesotan student died and dozens where injured in a bus crash Saturday on Interstate 94, reported the Star Tribune.

The crash happened about 5:45 a.m. Lt. Mark Peterson of the State Patrol said. The bus was carrying band members and chaperones from Pelican Rapids High School who were coming home from a trip to Chicago.

It was not clear what caused the bus to flip on its side Peterson said.

Mel Hage of Maple Grove, great-uncle to student band member Mikala Gray, said he talked to a witness who said the bus was traveling between 70 and 75 mph when the accident began.
The exact number of injured students is not yet known but there were four chaperones, 43 students, one charter bus tour director and the driver on the bus.
Peterson said one student was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and was reported to be in critical condition.
The name of the student who died has not yet been released.

Job losses cause new aid package

Government officials reported Friday that tens of thousands of jobs have been lost for the third month in a row which caused top Democrats to call for new measures to help American workers, reported the New York Times.

The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that 80,000 jobs had been eliminated in March. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said she would propose another economic stimulus package. This package would supplement the $150 billion in tax rebates which will be mailed to many Americans beginning next month.

Jobs and unemployment is a primary issue in the presidential election and candidates are already divided over ways to generate jobs and help the unemployed.

Both Democratic candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, support the additional stimulus package. Republican candidate John McCain opposes the package and said that lower taxes and less regulation would generate jobs.

This year’s job losses are about equal to those that were lost in the last recession, in 2001. Acknowledging the waning employment rate, Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Wednesday that “a recession is possible.?

April 1, 2008

Ukraine bid for NATO membership

According to the BBC, during President George W. Bush’s latest visit to Kiev, Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko told him that he would like Ukraine to become a NATO member.

Bush supports Ukraine’s bid for membership and has said he plans to press NATO allies to support Membership Action Plans for both Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia, however, does not support the membership bid of Ukraine or Georgia.

During a hearing of the lower house of the Russian parliament, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that Ukrainian membership would “entail a deep crisis in Russian-Ukrainian relations.? He added that membership would cause a crisis to pan-European security.