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November 15, 2008

Fire Destroyes California Homes

A fire spread across 2,600 acres Friday and destroyed dozens of California homes, USA Today reported.
The fire broke out on the edge of the Angeles National Forest and spread quickly with help from the Santa Ana wind gusting as high as 76 mph, USA Today reported.
Officials ordered huge evacuations in the Sylmar, Knollwood and Porter Ranch communities as the fire jumped two freeways, closing the highways and forcing evacuees to take surface streets, USA Today reported.
The fire could hit transmission lines that bring electrical power to Los Angeles and threatens at least 1,000 buildings, fire spokeswoman Melissa Kelley said, MSNBC reported
According to USA Today, dozens of homes have been destroyed and fire fighters had to abandon a mobile home park because the fire was not containable.
"We have almost total devastation here in the mobile park," Los Angeles Fire Capt. Steve Ruda said of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park. "I can't even read the street names because the street signs are melting," USA Today reported.

November 5, 2008

Barack Obama Elected President

Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president of the United States Tuesday, reported MSNBC.
A crowd of nearly a quarter-million jammed Grant Park and the surrounding area in Chicago, where Obama addressed the nation for the first time as its president-elect at midnight ET. Hundreds of thousands more — Mayor Richard Daley said he would not be surprised if a million Chicagoans jammed the streets — watched on a large television screen outside the park, reported MSNBC.
When historians analyze the 2008 campaign, they're going to remember that the two-term Republican President had 20% approval ratings, that the economy was in meltdown, and that Americans didn't want another Republican President. They'll also remember that Obama was a change candidate in a change election. And of course they'll remember that America elected a biracial leader less than a half-century after Jim Crow, reported TIME.
“Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of red states and blue states,? he said. “We have been and always will be the United States of America,? said TIME.
The pundits are already warning that Obama could overreach, that Democratic congressional leaders are still unpopular, that this is still a center-right country, reported MSNBC.

October 30, 2008

McCain Strategizes to Win Election

As election-day approaches and Obama is gaining momentum, the McCain campaign is now looking at what magic tricks it will have to perform to win the presidential election.
If McCain wins all the states that President George W. Bush won four years ago, he'll have the 270-plus electoral votes necessary to take the White House. However, he has also lost at least six states which went red during the 2004 election – Colorado, Ohio, New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Virginia, CBS News reported.
McCain now is gambling on a long-shot strategy based on flipping the blue state Pennsylvania, whose electoral voters could help offset losses in some states that President Bush won four years ago, including Colorado, reported the Arizona Republic.
"If you can't win all the Bush states, you can make up a lot of ground in Pennsylvania," said former Bush strategist and CBS News consultant Dan Bartlett. "Instead of trying to play really close matches in a bunch of states, you play one match in a really big state,? reported CBS news.

October 10, 2008

Connecticut Becomes Third State to Overrule Ban on Same Sex Marriage

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Friday to overturn the ban on same sex marriage, reversing a lower court decision that had concluded that the civil unions legalized in the state three years ago offered the same rights and benefits as marriage, MSNBC reported.
With the 4-to-3 ruling, Connecticut becomes the third state to legalize same sex marriage. California legalized gay marriage in May 2008, and Massachusetts in 2004. Supreme courts in Massachusetts and California also have ruled in favor of gay and lesbian couples, concluding the domestic partnerships were unequal to the rights given in heterosexual marriage, the New York Times reported.
“Today is really a great day for equality in Connecticut,? said Bennett Klein, senior lawyer at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, which argued the case before the Supreme Court. “Today’s decision really fulfills the hopes and dreams of gay and lesbian couples in Connecticut to live as full and equal citizens,? the New York Times reported.
The lawsuit was brought in 2004 after eight same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses and sued, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated, MSNBC reported.
As reported by MSNBC, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the ruling goes into effect Oct. 28. There will be no appeal, he said.

October 2, 2008

Senator Obama Ahead in Polls for the First Time

Election Day is less than five weeks away and with the first debate behind finished and the Wall Street fiasco, Senator Barack Obama is beginning to gain a significant lead over opponent Senator John McCain, MSNBC reported.
A CBS News poll released Wednesday cited Obama’s favorability rating at 48 percent, the highest it has ever been. And McCain’s unfavorability rating was at 42 percent, the highest it has been since McCain ran for president the first time in 1999, MSNBC repprted.
It is the first time Obama has held a significant lead over McCain in polls taken this year and it is estimated by polls from other organization that Obama is building leads in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, MSNBC reported.
However, with the popularity on Obama’s side, there are still 12 percent of Democrats who say they will vote for McCain, CBS News reported. That number is higher than the eight percent of Democrats who voted for President Bush in 2004. And moreover, a quarter of Clinton supporters said they will vote for McCain instead of Obama in the general election.

September 23, 2008

Increase in Texting Despite Price Increases

The use of cell phones for texting instead of making phone calls has increased drastically, according to a Nielsen Mobile survey released Monday reported CBS News.
The text messages sent and received each month was averaged at 357 for the second quarter in 2008. This is a radical difference from the average of 204 phone calls made and received each month, CBS News reported.
The hefty average of texts sent and received is in large contrast to the statistics from the first quarter of 2006 which estimated an average of 65 sent and received text messages per month. This is a 450 percent increase reported CTIA Reviews.
This increase is surprising because it comes at the same time phone companies has been increasing their prices for text messages. According to CTIA Reviews, Sprint and Nextel were the first to introduce 20 cents per text messages last year and were closely followed by other major carriers, like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA.

September 17, 2008

No Predictions for the Future of the Fallen Stock Market

After DOW Jones closed down 504 points Tuesday, many try to predict the future of the financial market.
“Strains in financial markets have increased significantly and labor markets have weakened further. Economic growth appears to have slowed recently, partly reflecting a softening of household spending," the Federal Reserve said the Washington Post reported.
A study done of voters showed the majority said the economy was their number one concern this election season, according to MSNBC.
“When you have jobs being lost, industrial production down, personal incomes down and so forth, the economy’s not in good shape," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at Global Insight, a Lexington, Mass., forecasting firm, reported MSNBC.
As the stock market rebuilds, it will only be time which will show what the future holds.

September 10, 2008

Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll at the Interior Department

Officials in charge of thousands of dollars have been found to be part of a ring of illicit sexual relations, illegal drug use, and accepting bribes.
According to CBSNews, 13 employees of the Interior Department in Denver and Washington were allegedly involved in between 2002 and 2006, nearly one-third of the 55 person staff at the Denver office accepted bribes. And now, 13 people from the Interior Department in Denver and Washington have been accused of rigging contracts and accepting gifts and sexual favors from oil company employees.
One employee named in the investigation has already pled guilty in the U.S. District Court in Washington to violation of conflict-of-interest, reported CNN.
Minerals Management Service Director, Randall Luthi, said the agency was taking the report "extremely seriously" and would review the allegations and weigh taking appropriate action. However,the Inspector General is recommending that current employees implicated be fired and never allowed to work within the royalty program again.