« November 2008 | Main

December 11, 2008

Analysis on records/CAR

Two writers from USA Today have written a series of articles examining the air quality of schools that are in close proximity to industrial plants. IRE reported that to complete this story, they used government data and sought out the air quality in these particular areas. It was innovative because they state that the EPA doesn't even run models such as this, and does not record information on the air quality around U.S. schools.

To do so, they had to have skills in mining government databases of air quality. They had to compare these levels to what is considered an acceptable amount of pollution. Then, most likely by mapping the data out, they could see where the bad levels of pollution lie in relation to schools. Through this, they could see exactly what schools were at risk. Being able to sift through government databases and then map it out to seek information was required.

'Nanny' star Drescher interested in Clinton's Senate seat

The Star Tribune has reported that Fran Drescher, former star of 'The Nanny', 51, has reported interest in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's senate seat, should she join Obama's cabinet.

Among her qualities reported are her experience as an actress, an advocate for female health as well as public diplomat for the U.S. State Department.

The Huffington Post reported that Drescher said she is an "...authentic and honest person and I think Capitol Hill needs more of that."

Franken attempts to get rejected absentee ballots accepted

The Star Tribune has reported that U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken submitted 62 affidavits to accept absentee ballots that were allegedly wrongfully rejected.

This attempt followed a video released on YouTube by the campaign that highlighted seven Minnesotans who said their ballots were illegitimately rejected. Norm Coleman supporters said of the video that is was a, "shameless exploitation of individual Minnesotans in order to further their political agenda."

MinnPost reported
that as of today, 15,147 had viewed the YouTube video.

Hit-and-run driver ignored attempts to be stopped

The Star Tribune reported that a hit-and-run driver in Bloomington was pleaded with to stop, proceeding the death of the 62-year-old victim.

The 36-year-old man was arrested after hitting in the victim, who was walking into a Sam's Club. Alcohol is stated to have been a factor.

After hitting the victim, onlookers yelled for him to stop, but he instead sped away, running over the victim and dragging her 10 feet. KSTP reported that police has to use a taser to get the man, Anthony LaSalle, out of his vehicle.

43 states face financial issues with recession

CNN has reported that with the onset of the recession, 43 states are facing financial problems.

State budgets typically start on July 1, which means that most states are almost halfway through the fiscal year. Options the states have explored include cutting spending, using reserves, and raising revenues.

States not facing budget shortfalls include Texas, Hawaii, Montana, and Indiana. The Guardian has reported that despite these reports, still 50 states are asking for funding for things like healthcare and infrastructure.

Mice threaten huge albatross

CNN is reporting that an albatross on a South Atlantic island had its worst nesting season recorded due to mice.

The house mice are not native to Gough Island and are reportedly at risk to cause the extinction of the Tristan albatross. The threat comes from the mice eating the albatross chicks before they become fledglings. Additionally, albatross only lay eggs once every two years.

A study showed that out of 1,764 albatrosses incubating eggs, only 246 chicks made it to the fledgling stage. The BBC News has reported that these mice are "supersized" and have been attacking petrels and shearwaters, in addition to the albatrosses.

Regarding prevention of the mice, Biologist Dr. Richard Cuthbert said, "Successful eradications in the past have used poisons, particularly in New Zealand; that is one option."