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April 23, 2007

Urban Education and New Urban Living

Currently in Minneapolis loft condos are selling and making big bucks for real estate agents. When these big expensive condos are built in poorer neighborhoods it pushes low-income people out of their neighborhood and into more affordable housing, which are in even poorer neighborhoods. These poorer neighborhoods have "poverty" schools. The schools cannot provide an education that can turn a disadvatage student into a successful student because of lack of funding. We can call this inequality access in education.

Sources:

Alice Seagren: She is commissioner of The Minnesota Department of Education, 651-582-8200.

Doug Dooher: Communication specialist and Schools First! Coordinator for a non-profit organization called Education Minnesota, 651-292-4820.

Thomas Fulton: He is president and board member of The Housing Preservation Project, 612-375-9644

April 17, 2007

Public Documents and My Experience

I found the LRT priority handbook on the Stpaul.gov website. The document
has 212 pages and provides thorough information on topics such as project planning, engineering approaches, project design, operation, maintenance, case study summaries, surveys that were done, equipment, etc.

Since the Central Corridor is a hot topic being discussed among St. Paul city council members the handbook was easy to access. The problems that I had was reading the jargon which is in the handbook. Most of the terminology was influenced by engineering and transit jargon, which I have to clue about. So overall I do not know how useful this handbook will be. It has a lot of information, but also a lot of jargon. I could sort out all the jargon, but this may be very time consuming.

On the other hand, for starting out I think this document will be more helpful than a city
council agenda meeting. The document is very cut and dry but also explains its agenda ( this will allow me find my own controversy on the LRT topic or catch something new).

April 9, 2007

2008 Presidental Election

Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are two democratic canadaties running for the 2008 presidental election. So far, Obama has raised $25 million for his campaign and Clinton $26 million, plus $10 millions from her senate reelection campaingn, making a total of $36 million.

My story idea is to get the University of Minnesota opionions on the election and why they would vote for the canadate. Then I would get the opinions of city officals about elections and the election process. Combine it all together so I'll have college student input, but also factual information on the elections


Sources:

John Sullivan: Political Science professor at the University of Minnesota, 612-624-4144
Amy Klobuchar: Minnesota U.S. Senator, 651-714-2006
Keith Ellison: Congressman and University of Minnesota graduate Law School, 612-522-1212

April 8, 2007

The Sopranos are done, my life is over.

David Chase "The Sopranos" creator said that the final nine episodes will be absolutely positvely be the last for the powerful epic, a masterwork for television that belongs in the same select league as "Roots", "Holocaust", "Lonesome Dove" and a few other TV turning points. Chase directing, is still being worked on--no one has blabbed about whether or not Tony will die in the ninth season or final episode.


The audience have invested time and stress, understandably wants to know: Will Tony live or die?

The sopranos is amazing. Not only are major newspapers writing about what could happen in the final season, but praising it as the best television series, which is clever and a brilliant masterpiece of our time. What the hell? Okay, so yeah the Sopranos is well crafted and entertaining. What happened to television series that showed more then just shooting and naked women in every episode.

I do think that the Sopranos do take on controversial topics. They talk about racism, sexism, relationships that deal with cheating. Everyday problems that Americans face. Infinelity, death, children growing, deception. But the most interesting part that I find in the Soporanos is that Tony Soprano himself is an everyday surban father, to a certain degree.
I find it hiliarious everytime he walks to the end of his driveway to pick up his daily newspaper. Scenes of such relate the American people to Tony Soprano, this is clever. I don't want to anaylize the telvevision series, but I need to to make my point. Chase should have made a televsion serious that was not only be clever, but Americans think about their own life and purpose in life. There is so much going on in the world and messages to get across, Chase has the attention of American and he wants to waste 5 min. of air time on naked women and a drive by. Yes entertainment purposes are great, we love seeing Tony Soporano kicking ass when a job needs to be done, but why not bring racism to a great level.

April 2, 2007

Higher Taxes for Education?

On Saturday, the State Senate passed a bill that would raise income taxes for the States wealthiest people. The proposed increase would raise the income tax from 7.85% to 9.7%. The increase in state income would be nearly $1 billion and has been earmarked for education spending. Pioneer Press reporter Rachel E. Stassen-Berger indicates that Governor Pawlenty will Veto the bill. Other than these few details the article had little to say. I would have liked to see more dialogue concerning such an important topic

The article in the Star Tribune by Patricia Lopez and Norman Draper was much more detailed and contained dialogue from both sides of the debate. The position of the dissenting voters is that raising taxes on the states most successful citizens would encourage the wealthy to leave Minnesota and discourage wealthy people from moving to Minnesota. If the bill is passed Minnesota will have the highest income tax rate in the United States. "The price tag seemed a little steep for my district," said Sen. Sandy Rummel, DFL-White Bear Lake. "I want to be more moderate. I think we might have to increase income taxes, but not that much."

Proponents argue that not only can the wealthy afford to pay higher taxes but that they have received unfair tax breaks in the past. This is what the author wrote, "That would bring the tax burden for the state's wealthiest 93,000 tax filers more into line with middle class earners, Senate DFLers said. A recent state Revenue Department report showed that top earners now pay about 9 percent of their income in taxes while middle-range filers tend to pay closer to 12 percent."
This seems greatly unfair to me. The people who make the most money should also be the people who pay the most money in taxes. If the middle-class parents who must save for years and take out loans to pay for their children's college tuition pay 12% of their income in taxes the wealthy who can easily pay for college tuition out of pocket should pay at least that same percentage.

Gun Robbery

On Friday, a 47-year-old bank robber was found dead after committing sucide. The incident began about 12:40 p.m. a the U.S. Bank at 4105 Lancaster Lane in Plymouth. David D. Dahlen was wearing a black mask and displayed a handgn during the robbery. He then ran on foor and tried to drive away in a nearby van, but the van was not functionable. He then went around a residental neighborhood, where he forced himself into a woman's house. He told her to leave and she did without being hurt. Police found Dahlen at 5:30 p.m. in the woman's bathroom dead.

The startribune wrote an elaborate story on this crime. Reporter Tom Ford even writes about how Dahlen previously had servered time in federal prison after he was conviced for an armed bank robbery in California. He even writes about how authorites did their job. He writes, "Authorities then set up a wide perimeter around the home, forcing many residents to be kept out of the neighborhood for the next several hours, and soma rea school to impose lockdown procedures."

The reader's do not need to know how the police handled the situation. It's almost placing heroism with the police. I don't think it's that important to write about how schools were shut down because it's already part of procedure. The reporter did not need to repeat something that the public could find out on their, own. If necessary the public could access that information, not to mention that writing the whole bite on the school lock down is otally irrelevant to the story.

Amazing, I have never read two articles of the same content that is inaccurate with the verifiable statements. The pioneer press says, "robbery suspect likely shot himself, and "startribune says,"died after shooting himself." Pioneer press says,"six hour polic standoff." Star tribune says, "five-hour standoff" Pioneer press says, "40s," and startribune says, "47" Star tribune says " the incident began around "12:40 p.m." Pioneer press says, "He robbed at gun point about 12:30 p.m." Pioneer press says, "At least one school in the area was locked down." Star Tribune says, "some area schools to impose lockdown procedures." There were even more inaccurate statements.

I find it disturbing that two different newspapers wrote about the same event, yet their stories almost are completly different. When this happens we can recognize the importance of getting the true facts and verify everything. It is not okay to assume. A reporter looks bad when they do not have the right information even worse when they don't take pride in their work.

This also brings up the issue of journalists having too much work load. It makes it impossible for a journalist to be successfully at fullfilling their duties as a reporter when the work load is overwhelming. Maybe this is an inaccurate representation of that issue.

Pop or No Pop?

The food and soda that are in vending machines are high calorie unhealthy food and drinks. These vending machines are placed in middle schools and high schools, which are accessable in many parts of the school. Local schools need to recongize the major problems these vending machines bring to their school. 1. The food is bad and does not help the child obesity problem many children have. 2. The vending machines do not offer healthier choices for children. 3. Hello! It's direct marketing to children, which I consider unethical because the children are there to learn not to buy. 4. The food is expensive.

The research would focus on why the schools are allowing vending machines into their school. After I have the answer I would question the ethical aspect of the situation. Vending machines can be a distraction for students who want to learn and do not provide other healthier options for children who have eating problems.

Eagan High School pricinpal Polly Reikowski 651-683-6902
Kenneth H. Brown M.D. professor Nutritionist in AES 530-752-1992 khbrown@ucdavis.edu
Dr. Zachary Hambrick psychology professor at Michigan State 517-353-6425 hambrick3@msu.edu

Somalia Attacked

On Thursday in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, an untold number of civilians were killed and wounded. The fighting was the Somali givernment forces and Ethiopian troops against Islamic insurgents. The fight has been the called the heavist fighting in Modgadishu since the early 1990s. On Friday, insurgents shot down an Ethiopian helicopter gunship and mortar shells slammed in to a hospital, leaving dead bodies piled in the streets and hundreds of people wounded.


The Washington Post headline: Somali Civilians Hit Hard In Fighting in Mogadishu. Reporter Salad Duhul wrote about the event and how it's affecting the civilans. He writes, "The victims are the civilans. Only the civilainas are dying and getting wounded in this fighting," said Khadiko Farah Warsome, 45, a mother of seven who lives in Modgadishu. The International Committee of the Red Cross said dozens of people have been killed since Thursday and more than 220 wounded, most of them civilians.

Duhul gave a quote from a civilian. This is an important perspective to place in a story because it shows the outcome of two fighting countries. It is not the leaders who are being hurt, but the people who are stuck and cannot defend themselves. I think Duhul made a wise choice in placing a quote from a civialian. Ethiopia says its troops have killed more than 200 Islamic insurgents since the assult.

Duhul goes on about how significant this fight is. He writes, "But the fighting is so severe and widespread that bodies were not being picked up or even tallied. Hospitals are overwhelmed, with patients sleeping on floors."

I think Duhul is really painting the picture for his audience. Simply using the phrase, "so severe" can place an image in the reader's mind. The event is so severe that patients are sleeping on floors and dead people are not even being counted or picked up. Duhul is using very powerful language. I think that it's so powerful that it almost sounds opinionated. But because of the circumstance I think that it can be allowed.

After giving insight into the fighting, Duhul gives possible anwers to all the fighting. He writes, "The insurgents are linked to an Islamic movement that was driven from power in Ethopian soldiers. The United States has accused the movement of having ties to al-Qaeda, an allegation the group denies. He adds, " The insurgents have long rejected any secular government and have vowed to fight until Somalis becomes an Islamic emirate.

Duhul does a fine job giving an explanation to the crisis. I am curious on why he felt the need to mention al-Qaeda. The insergents themselves say they have no ties with al-Qaeda, so why write about the accusations? I think that Americans can associate the seriousness of a crisis based on affliation. I think Duhul purposly placed al-Qaeda in the middle of the story to once again bring back memories of 9/11 and let Americans engage in imagination of what these civians feel, because Americans were in their situations in 2001.

The New York Times headline: Truce Fails to Stop Somali Fighting by the Associated Press
The story summarizes the truce that was broken between the government and Islamic insurgents. AP says that the only country contributing to peacekeeping is Uganda, which has about 1,400 troops and lost its first soldier on Sunday.

The story goes on about the fears of the conflict widening. AP also quotes the Foreign Ministry, "Egypt is following with great concern the military confrontation in Somalia." There is so much conflict happening that I would guess a journalist could find a better quote than that. The quote doesn't show any emotion or significant meaning. The quote is pointing out the obvious and fails to let the reader relate to the crisis.