November 2012 Archives

President Obama's nomination of UN Ambassador Susan Rice has caused many key Republican leaders to speak out, according to the Baltimore Sun. Most of the objections to her nominations relate to her interviews after the September 11th attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Immediately following the attack, Rice was interviewed by a variety of news outlets, but had been assumed to be speaking according to a prescribed set of talking points. According to the Star Tribune, as more details came to light, it seemed that much of the additional information she had provided was false. According to NBC, many are also accusing Rice of being responsible for many security failures in Africa while she served in the State Department as head of the African region. A series of events, like the 1998 bombing of two other embassies.

Ruth Marcus, columnist for the Washington Post, believes there are subconscious gender-based objections coming into play as well for some of the primary objectors. She quotes Rice's colleague David Rothkopf called her "hard-headed and prickly," but added, "The nonsense that she is somehow not qualified for the job is indefensible. . . .As for her temperament, raising it is pure sexism. Why is she called abrasive, when clearly, similar toughness was hailed in our most powerful and respected secretaries of state -- from Henry Kissinger to George Shultz to James Baker?"

With the looming "fiscal cliff," the controversy around this nomination has even broader implications, according to the Baltimore Sun. Not even into his second term, the president is being forced to exercise the already limited "political capital" for a nomination that has never before been such a point of division between the parties.

Suspect in custody in near-campus sex assault case

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A police sketch released Tuesday has led to the arrest of a 48-year-old male who matches a sketch of the man who sexually assaulted a young woman in the early morning hours of Nov. 19th, according to the Star Tribune.

The man was arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant after he was reported for approaching women in the parking area outside of Regions Hospital in St. Paul, according to CityPages.

Once in custody, one of the officers recalled the sketch and proceeded to detain the man. He remains in custody in Ramsey County, according to the Star Tribune.

No charges have yet been filed against the man in relation to this case, but he does have a record of domestic abuse. If charged and found guilty, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to forty thousand dollars, according to City Pages.

In this Associated Press story, the reporter discusses how the US made a better show for itself during recent UN talks about the environment. In the past few presidential terms, the US has been accused of hampering and delaying the processes. This round, the Obama administration explained what measures were already being taken, which is a change from the past administrations.

Rather than extensively discuss the meeting, the AP decides to discuss the purposes and goals of the talks. That is the true significance of the gathering in the first place, so writing about that information makes what would have been dull documentation of an event into a story about the enormity of the need for the talks and the implications they may have on future policy.

The AP also goes a little bit into the history of the discourse, referencing similar but unsuccessful events in Copenhagen three years ago.

To add relevant but also more intensity to the story, the AP also discusses the relationship between the talks, the environment, and recent major natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy.

Because minutes from even a high profile meeting such as this one by the United Nation will likely always be dry and full of jargon, it was important for the AP to spend most of the story discussing the daily relevance of this issue, as well as possible results.

The best place to find articles overfull of numbers is the business section. In this story in the New York Times, there is a debate about the efficiency and efficacy of promising incredibly quick delivery times for packages.

The numbers do not overwhelm the reader, because most are separated into smaller digestible pieces, like flat rates or specific hours of delivery. It does get a little bit more complicated when explaining prices of service based upon how much it costs to outsource specific deliveries, and different minimum orders in an effort to just not lose money in the process.

The reporter does not list his sources, but it does not seem necessary as most of them are rates probably taken or a least factored directly from the different companies' order forms.

Overall, the reporter did a fairly good job of keeping the numbers manageable, because under the circumstances the numbers were the most important part of the story-telling.

Silent Inmate Baffles Authorities

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The female inmate has been in custody for months, but still refuses to respond to police questioning, including her own name. In court, she only responds to Jane Doe, according to the Star Tribune. Eventually authorities were able to identify her using fingerprints lifted from a glass.

According to the Pioneer Press, the woman is believed to be 37-year-old Tammy Antoinette Thomas, but she has refused to confirm this information.

"We don't know where she is from but her ... name came from a Texas arrest," said spokesman for the Anoka County sheriff's office, Lt. Paul Lenzmeier. The search for her identity also uncovered several arrest warrants out of Wisconsin, but Lenzmeier did not know details about the warrants.

The part that most confuses authorities is that if Thomas had cooperated, she would likely be finished with her sentence already. WIthout her help, the courts cannot rule her as competent to stand trial, and the entire case is delayed, according to the Star Tribune.

"If competency issues can't be resolved, some serious injustices could incur," Former Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said. "The system is flummoxed by this case, and I can understand why."

In Reuter's article about ethnic killings in Myanmar, the author chooses to open with avery human anecdote about the origin of the massacres: a dispute between a husband and wife. The story is about ethnic divisions, but beginning with a human element brings it onto a more relatable level.

In so many stories about ethnically-based massacres, there are many sweeping generalizations about the differences int eh cultures and general details of why each side feels motivated in their actions.

For this story, Reuters had several reporters on the ground reporting with great accuracy specific movements of each side. They were about to actually speak with individuals directly involved and affected by the conflict.

As far as the structure of the story, there are several sections, each about a somewhat different scenario, and each titled with a quote from the ground. For example, "We Had No Problems Before" tells about an attack on a Muslim village, but through the eyes of a Buddhist farmer who saw the villagers fleeing.

The story tells of bloodshed, but does not seem to objectify or stereotype the victims. The reporters sought to write this as a human drama rather than a political conflict.

As Senator, Warren is Loved and Feared

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Come inauguration Day in 2013, women will for the first time make up one-fifth of the senate, according to the Washington Post. While this is still a very low percentage compared to the female population they represent.

According to the New York Times, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will have a controversial role in the development of urban jobs. As a nation, our unemployment improving sidelines.

Prior to her campaign for senate, Warren became a national name for her work for Wall Street regulations and championing the middle class against big corporations, according to the New York Times. She became a hero, speaking the truth and not showing fear in the face of bigger political powers.

"Elizabeth Warren is a doer," said Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for oversight of the bank bailouts. "I think she would suffocate if she went down to the Senate and kept her head down and played nice and made compromises."

New Archbishop of Canterbury Seeks Reconcilliation

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The newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, a leader among Anglican Christians worldwide, is already causing a stir with his plans to allow women to become bishops and his willingness to discuss gay rights, according to the New York Times.

Justin Welby, a former oil executive, has been a reverend for less than a year, but his other experience put him ahead of competitors, according to CNN.

In his new role, he will be facing not only challenges of GLBT rights, female bishops, but a gigantic shift in the locations and ranges of community of 77 million he will be leading. While there are dramatic declines in the UK and the United States, there has been a large increase of support in places like South Asia.

"I am always averse to the language of exclusion," Welby said, according to the New York Times. "Above all, in the church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed in honesty and in love."

With his belief that homophobia has no place in the church, he will be one of the highest positions within any of the major religious communities to recognize the need to accept GLBT groups.

Woodbury Adapts to Solar Energy

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Woodbury's installation of solar panels on the roof of the town's Public Safety Building will prove to be a worthwhile investment, according to the Star Tribune. Similar systems were already installed in Oakdale, Maplewood and Little Canada.

On a sunny day, the panels can actually produce more power than the building itself will use, according to the Star Tribune. The city will then purchase the remaining power, and the city will save almost $6,000 in power bills, according to the Woodbury Bulletin.

Workers spent the Halloween weekend installing 185 panels at 3-by-4 feet each. The panels were even purchased from a Bloomington company, resulting in another $90,000 rebate, according to the Woodbury Bulletin.

According to the Woodbury Bulletin, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said that the city is paying over the six years will essentially be the same as what it would've paid for utilities over the same time period.

"Sleepout" Helps Raise Attention and Funds for Homeless

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Volunteers for the Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners' annual Sleep Out agree to spend a night outside in order to raise money to combat homelessness, according to the Star Tribune. Rob Shrewsbury and his 10-year-old daughter Emma have participated in the event for the past six years.

"It's cold, but it's only one night," Shrewsbury said, according to the Star Tribune. "A few times when I've been laying there with my daughter snuggled up in a box, I've thought, 'Wow, what would it be like to have to get up and go to work every day after spending the night out here?'"

The Sleep Out begins on Saturday and will continue until December 31st. According to Patch, the event began 17 years ago as a spontaneous effort to feed 100 families that regularly visit a local food shelf a Thanksgiving Dinner. The community rallied around the cause and actually raised $3,000 over the goal a week before Thanksgiving.

"It's not just guys with signs under overpasses," Shrewsbury said, according to the Star Tribune. "These are families whose kids may go to school with your kids. It really can happen to any of us."

Animal Hospital Fire -Spot Updating

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In all three locations that I read about this event, it was written in a brief, breaking-news format, with plenty of room for revisions and updates as more information is made available.

For the moment, all three were similarly written in a "margarita glass" format. All the vital summary information is at the top in the first paragraph, followed by what chronology officials had available at the time and small supporting details.

I believe for this sort of story, because it will undoubtedly be updated very soon, this formatting style was an ideal choice. There is no need for a great deal of trivial information at this point.

Several Animals Rescued from Animal Hospital Fire

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Five dogs and a cat were rescued from the North Branch Animal Hospital Sunday after the building was intentionally set on fire, according to the Star Tribune. The fire marshal has confirmed that the fire was a case of arson.

The fire began in the early hours on Sunday morning, and fire crews arrived just after 3 a.m. Damage to one corner of the building was extensive, and even a trash can across the street was ablaze, according to the Pioneer Press.

The dogs who were kept in the area with the most damage were all evacuated unharmed.

According to CBS Minnesota, there has been an escalating arson problem in the area, beginning with dumpsters and trash cans. Sunday's fire appears to have begun in the recycling bins outside of the hospital.

Officials have set up hotlines for anyone who may have information.

Minnesota is finally drawing in a few big names off of the campaign trail, like former president Bill Clinton and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. For the first time in many years, Minnesota is beginning to look like a swing state, according to the Star Tribune.

With several close races for other seats in national legislature, like Paul Ryan supporter Michelle Bachmann's diminishing lead over Democrat Jim Graves, the national Democratic party has begun to take notice and get trained in order to defeat a Republican legislature.

In years past, Minnesota has been torn in its voting, usually selecting a democratic many of the local races going republican but with this controversial election, some lines may be redrawn. According to the Pioneer Press, Paul Ryan's Sunday visit to Minnesota was to reassure "party faithful" that the GOP has a chance at winning Minnesota for the first time in over 40 years.

According to the Star Tribune, Pat Shortridge, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman, called Clinton's visit Sunday "a last-ditch effort to save a state they mistakenly took for granted. ... It's looking more and more likely that David Axelrod will be shaving his mustache on November 7."

WWII Carrier Pigeon Finally Delivers Its Message

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Codebreakers are working to break the secret code attached to the remains of a WWII carrier pigeon discovered in a Southeast England chimney. A Surrey man found the remains of a WWII carrier pigeon while renovating and has spent the past few years trying to garner enough support to get the message translated, according to ABC News

Historians at Britain's WWII-era code breaking headquarters say the bird was almost certainly returning from occupied France during the D-Day invasion in 1994. Near the chimney where the bird was discovered is Bletchley Park, a secret WWII code-breaking location, and it is suspected that was the birds destination, according to the New York Times.

According to CBS, more than 250,00 birds were employed during the war. Of the 64 animals with medals of honor, 32 are actually pigeons, making them the highest representation yet.

Tension Rise Between Wolf Activists and Hunters

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Both wolf conservationists and hunters join in a heated debate as wolf hunting is legalized in Minnesota and Wisconsin, following the wolf's removal from the endangered species list last year, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The legalization of the hunting was designed to control the population of the now growing species, but it has drawn a significant amount of opposition from animal rights groups in the area who feel the measure will undo four decades of building up the healthy population, according to the New York Times.

Since beng placed on the endangered species list in 1973, the wolf population has grown back up to round 4,000, but predictions are that more than 600 will be killed this hunting season, according to the New York Times.

The packs have been causing trouble with livestock famers in northern Wisconsin, and the government has actually been paying hundreds of thousands in livestock reimbursement.

More than 7,000 permits were given for Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in the first two weeks 42 wolves have already been brought it.

A nanny in an affluent Chicago suburb has been arrested for the fatal stabbing of two children, including her own son, according to the New York Times. After changing her story to police several times, Elzbieta Plackowska, 40, admitted she killed her son for revenge against her husband and the other child she was babysitting was a witness.

In both cases, according to the New York Times, the children were discovered when their mother returned home. In the Illinois case, the doors were locked and the mother went in search of the nanny and children before calling police. In the New York case, the nanny tried to kill herself as well, and was found bleeding out with the children in a bathroom of the house.

Both nannies had been with the family for at least a few months, and were regarded by friends, family, and neighbors to be unremarkable and incapable of committing such a crime.

According to CNN, the nanny responsible for the New York killings was treated as a member of he family, with her employers even going to meet her family in her native Dominican Republic.

Though the events are not related, the circumstances have forced many parents to reconsider their employment of nannies as constant caregivers for their children, according to CNN.

"It's a tough call," said Jasmarin Rothbarb, who lives nearby and often passes the building in New York where the murders occurred, according to CNN. "You trust these people with your most precious joys. I think I see more mothers out today than nannies. It's a horrible thing."

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2012 is the previous archive.

December 2012 is the next archive.

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