September 2012 Archives

California bans "gay cure" therapy

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On Sunday the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, announced he signed a state legislative bill banning the controversial sexual orientation reversal therapy treatment for children, NBC News reports.

The bill will prevent those under 18 from undergoing therapy that's aimed at reversing homosexuality, and will go into effect Jan. 1.

Clarissa Filgioun, board president of Equality California, said Governor Brown has reaffirmed medical and mental health organizations outlook that these reversal therapies are not therapies but are prejudice practices that harm those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Human Rights Campaign President, Chad Griffin, urged other states to follow California's footsteps.

"LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being," said Griffin.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Ted Lieu, said the pyschiatrist who pioneered the therapy, Dr. Robert Spitzer, has since renounced the therapy and apologized to the LGBT community.

Osseo high school student starts anti-bullying twitter

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An Osseo High School senior started a twitter account in July that focuses on combating bullying, the idea has spread world-wide, USA Today Reports.

Kevin Curwick, 17, annoynomously started the @OsseoNiceThings twitter account in July hoping to decrease the bullying in his high school. He said he was sick of the cyber-bullying, and thought the best way to combat it would be to start a positive cyber.

"It took me a minute to set up the account, and it takes nothing to say something nice about someone." Curwick said

This positive twitter idea has spread throughout the nation and the world. High-schoolers all over the U.S. and in Germany have followed Curwick's example and started a NiceThings account for their high schools, Pioneer Press reports.

I would say this article by Milwaukee Journal Sentinal is similar to the shish-kabob structure in the way that it has a beginning idea, then multiple fact blocks, and then ends with the same idea it began with.

The reporter begins by hooking in readers by stating how bad the student debt is. Next the reporter recaps the results of the rankings and attributes the information to PayScale and the Princeton Review. These elements are important because they show clarity and credibility. After summarizing the entire study, the reporter focuses on University of Wisconsin-Madison's ratings. This is important because it brings the focus in locally. The Reporter then continues by discussing how other Wisconsin schools fell into the PayScale rankings. This is important because it discusses how Wisconsin's private schools are also ranking well. Next, it wraps up the article by using a quote about how one of the schools mentioned is happy with the results of the study because it shows that his students will feel a lesser blow when it comes to student debt. This comment brings the story around full circle.

The way this is structured seems effective. It shows how the rankings apply in general, and then becomes more and more specific. The story could have been done in a way that immediately talked about how Wisconsin school ranks, and then continued to discuss the generals of the study. That would've been more of a Wisconsin focused article, and would've been more applicable to the Journal Sentinel Readers.

Voting Registration Fraud in Florida

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Officials are suspicious about fradulent voter registration forms submitted in at least 10 Florida counties, Los Angeles Times reports.

The Republican party in Florida hired the firm Strategic Allied Consulting to register voters but after suspicion of fraud voter registration forms, Florida officials said they have now fired the company.

The problem was thought to be isolated in Palm Beach County, where a worker submitted at least 106 voter registration forms that appear to have false signatures, as well as other problems, but red flags on voter registration forms have appeared in at least ten Florida counties, Los Angeles Times reports.

The company said the suspected fraud forms were filed only by one employee, who has been fired.

In Florida, it is a third-degree felony to willingly submit fraud voter registration forms. The punishment for such a crime could be up to five years in prison.

A Strategic Allied Consulting attorney, Fred Petti, said, "Strategic has a zero-tolerance policy for breaking the law."


State Trooper Arrested

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Minnesota State Trooper arrested Wednesday on suspicion of DWI, Star Tribune reports.

Trooper Nick Morse was arrested on Wednesday after reporting to training at the State Patrol district office, SC Times reports. His supervisors noticed an alcohol odor and had Morse do a field sobriety test, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Morse was then taken to the St. Louis County jail where he registered a .08 blood alcohol level, the legal limit in Minnesota. Col. Kevin Daly, chief of the State Patrol, said the Patrol does not tolerate impaired driving, regardless of who is behind the wheel.

"State troopers are dedicated to taking impaired drivers off the road, which makes this incident even more egregious and unacceptable" said Daly.

Nepal avalanche kills at least 9, California man survives

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KATMANDU -- An avalanche on Mount Manaslu killed 9 people on Sunday, six more are missing, but California native survived, ABC News reports

Glen Plake, a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame inductee, survived the avalanche that killed 9 early Sunday morning. With six others missing, Plake's father said he and his family consider themselves very lucky.

"We won the lottery with this one," said Plake's father, who got a call from his son shortly after the avalanche saying,"whatever they say on the news I am alive and I'm OK."

The avalanche hit climbers while they were sleeping at 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Eight of the nine who died were identified and the search for the missing six continues, CBS News reports.

According to KTVN News, The identified victims include: Marti Gasull of Spain, Fabrice Priez, Catherine Marie Andree Ricard, and Philippe Lucien Bos (all from France), Christian Mittermeyer of Germany, Alberto Magliano of Italy and Dawa Dorji of Nepal.

Analysis: McCarthy expecting Jennings to be Ready

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In the Journal Sentinal''s update on the injury of the Green Bay Packers wide receiver, Greg Jennings, the sources appear to be a collection of some what contradictory quotes from coach Mike McCarthy and Jennings, as well as first hand reports from Saturday's practice and records from previous seasons.

The article begins with contradictory quotes from Jennings and McCarthy. Jennings is paraphrased saying he isn't 100%, and that he isn't sure if he will play in Monday's Game. Next, its stated that McCarthy disagrees. This shows the relationship between player and coach in an interesting way. Throughout the article, McCarthy seems optimistic about Jennings abilities, and appears certain that he will play in the game on Monday. McCarthy is quoted saying, "Greg looked good today. I thought he made a big jump from earlier in the week. Practiced well."

In contrast, the article shows how Jennings appears uncertain about his injury affecting his game, but hopeful that he will be off the sidelines. His uncertainty is affirmed by the article referring to his performance Tuesday compared to his performance at Saturday's practice. These references show Jennings is recovering from the injury, but is contradicted by the discussion of his past injuries. The sources show both sides of the issue, and appear credible because of the direct quotes and history references.

Newborn Giant Panda Cub Dies

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The National Zoo's newborn giant panda dies unexpecedly Friday, only a week after it's birth, USA Today report

The National Zoos giant panda Ling-Ling lost her newborn cub Friday due to a respiratory arrest caused by an abdominal infection. Zoo officials said everything appeared to be going well, when suddenly the cub stopped squealing. Twenty-five minutes later the cub died.

Ling-Ling lost a different cub just three years ago, and had a string of unsuccessful pregnancies in the past, New York Times reports. According to zoo officials, she appears to be handling this loss well and went back to her normal routine quickly.

According to the Chinese, pandas stop reproducing at age 20, says Devra Kleiman, the zoo's assistant director of research. Ling-Ling is now 18.

"Were looking forward to next year" said Kleiman.

Minneapolis to invest in electric car charging stations

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Minneapolis City Council discussed the addition of electric car charging stations in the city on Wednesday, Fox News reports

Upon council approval, charging stations would appear in downtown parking ramps. They would be funded in by the Ways and Means Committee and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Daily reports.

Electric cars have been on the market since 2010, but only 20,000 have been sold. The city's plan is to increase the number of electric cars by introducing the charging stations, Fran Crotty, of the MPCA, states.

"If we build the stations, that will build confidence for people that they will have a place to charge up their vehicle," says Crotty.

Shayne Berkowitz, of ReGo Plug-In Hybrid Conversions told Fox News that the city needs to make a commitment to sustainability and realize the economic impact it has.

"I think we're just a little behind the times on realizing we have to make a change away from gas vehicles," Berkowitz said.


Japan's nuclear debate

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Japan's Cabinet discussed the phase-out of nuclear power by 2040 on Wednesday, but the pro-nuclear businesses and groups prevent a commitment to the anti-nuclear plan, San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Before the tsunami in March of 2011 lead to the leaking of radioactive matter from the nuclear power plants in Japan, the country got 30 percent of their power from nuclear reactors. Prior to the tsunami tragedy, the country planned on increasing their dependence on nuclear power by 20 percent, reports the New York Times.

The Japans's view of nuclear power changed after the tsunami, and the country's officials wish to slowly decrease the nuclear power until its elimination in 2040. The country discussed changing to a greener power source and reducing the countries carbon dioxide emissions, said Japan's National Policy Minister Motohisa Furukawa.

Because much of the country relies on nuclear power economically, many nuclear buisnesses and groups are opposing the phase-out. Masahiro Yonekura, chairman of an influential business lobby Keidanren called the phase-out plan "totally unacceptable."

Japan hasn't fully committed to the plan, because of the heavy opposition, but the proposed phase-out plan s to limit the nuclear reactors' life-spans to 40 years, and to not build any new reactors.

Sports drinks aren't healthy

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A study by the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health revealed that, for most individuals, sports drinks aren't a healthy post-workout drink, the Minnesota Daily reports.

The report concluded that, with the exception pro-athletes or extreme workouts, sports drinks are unnecessary and just add calories to your daily diet. "The way these products are marketed is that they boost athletic performance. And that's not true at all," said Mary Story, a SPH senior associate dean.

For most workouts, water is enough to replenish the fluids lost in sweat. A healthier alternative to sports drinks for replacing nutrients are solid foods, like a banana or raisins, reported the Huffington Post.

Tyler Frank, a junior at UMN, stated he drinks protein shakes to recover from a workout. Barbara Lewin, a sports nutritionist, told the Huffington Post that easily digestible liquids are the best way thing to drink post-workout because blood flow to the stomach slows down while working out, making digestion more difficult.

Kaler suggest two-year tuition freeze

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University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler presented a two-year tuition freeze for undergraduates to the Board of Regents on Friday, the Minnesota Daily reports.

In these difficult times, UMN thinks outside the box to get extra funding from the state. In Kaler's plan, UMN would get $42.6 million from the state in response to the purposed tuition freeze.

"We believe stabilizing tuition is the best investment we can make in our future," said Kaler, "This biennial budgest request is about changing the conversation around funding higher education."

The state is exploring into a more performance based funding system, reports the Pioneer Press. One of the main goals being to get more students to graduate and have more students graduating on time.

"It's an offer the state can't or should not refuse because it could help thousands of students from the state of Minnesota." stated Minnesota Student Association President Taylor Williams.

The Board of Regents will vote on the proposal in October and forward it to the state later that month.

Analysis: Waukesha South, Brookfield Central win Angel Invite

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The lead of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal's story about a high school cross country race this Saturday was somewhat nontraditional in its composition.

The lead is specific in stating what race it was -- Racine St. Catherine's Angel Invite. This specification was extra information because the where in the news lead helped explain that the race took place in Racine. It was previously stated that it was in Kenosha, at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The who and when of the news lead was general. The who being the talented boys field and the when being Saturday.

This lead seems to be somewhat of a scene-setter lead instead of a straight-forward hard-news lead. It uses extra adjectives to describe the situation at hand. An example of this is stating the course was in excellent condition. The writer also states, " each runner in the talented boys field made sure he took advantage of the speedy track," which helps set the scene for the paragraphs to come. The reader is aware that the competition was fast due to a quick track, and reads further to find out just how quick the young athletes were.

Paparrazi Pictures of Britain's Kate Middleton Go Global

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Only days after William and Kate's "private" beach vacation, pictures of a topless Kate Middleton surface in tabloids worldwide on Saturday, reports Fox News.

The couple was vacationing at a private chateau of the Queens nephew, Lord Linley, when the photos were taken, invading the privacy of the royal pair. The first magazine to publish the photos was the french, Closer.

The royal offices reported that the couple "have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner," and the royal house started a lawsuit against the french publication on Friday.

The lawsuit did not stop other countries from publishing the topless photos. On Saturday, the photos were released in Italy and Ireland.

Editor Mike O'Kane of Ireland's Daily Star, a magazine who released the photos, explained, "She's not our future queen. The duchess would be no different to any other celeb pics we would get in, for example Rihanna or Lady Gaga."

Italian Chi's editor, Alfonso Signorini, said that he doesn't believe the photos are bad for Kate's image, the picture instead "shows in its total naturalness the daily life of a young, famous, modern couple in love."


Woop it Gangnam style!

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PSY, 34, takes over the Today Show Friday morning with his hit song, "Gangnam Style."

More than 150 million people have viewed Gangnam Style since its Youtube release two months ago.

One of those viewers was Scooter Braun, the talent manager of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen. Braun told ryansecrest.com that a friend sent him the video saying, "isn't this hilarious." To which Braun responded, "Find him."

Braun says his goal is to make PSY the first Korean artist to break records in America. PSY has been a star in South Korea for the past 12 years, but he told the Today Show that becoming famous in the U.S. wasn't something he ever expected to happen.

So, what is Gangnam Style? The Today Show reported that the song pokes fun at a posh neighborhood called Gangnam in South Korean's capitol city, Seoul.

PSY explains, "Gangnam is a certain territory in Korea, the spot is noble in daytime and going crazy at nighttime." The song is about a lady and gentleman who do just that.

Student protest against preacher

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University of Minnesota students protested the presence of evangelist street preacher in Northrop Mall on Wednesday, reported the Minnesota Daily.

Brother Jed Smock is spending the year traveling around the United States, preaching at universities about topics such as premarital sex, socialism and homosexuality. This Wednesday, he made a stop at the University of Minnesota.

UMN student groups including Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists, the Lutheran Campus Ministry, and the Queer Student Cultural Center lead a protest against Smock's preaching.

Smock stood in front of the protesters and other students present holding a sign reading, "You Deserve Hell" and yelled, "You have been brainwashed by the secular humanists."

The students protested by holding signs that read, "Free hugs from Atheists" and "Hate is not a family value." Students also attempted to prevent Smock from speaking to students passing through Northrop Mall.

Most students in the crowd were opposed Smock's opinion. Bryan Carver, a member of CASH, said Smock's message attacks "anyone who doesn't stand up to his incredibly strict standards of Evangelical Christianity."

The Lutheran Campus Ministry said they became involved because they view Smock's beliefs as much different from their own. Kaysta Schlitter, a student member of Lutheran Campus Ministry, said she feels Smock is "not what people should associate with Christianity."

According to Smock's website, he will visit more than 35 schools this fall and writes that he will schedule formal debates with anyone who does not agree with his message.

Too Hot for Minnesota?

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High temperatures, strong winds, low humidity, and dry vegetation caused a large forest fire Monday night, just east of Red Lake, Minnesota, reports the Star Tribune

Jean Goad, the spokeswoman for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, estimated the fire as being as large as 400-acres. Tuesday morning, the firefighters are still trying to tame the blaze.

Southern counties in Minnesota are under a "Red Flag Warning" until Tuesday night, as humidity levels drop under 30 percent, reports Kare 11. The severe conditions will come to a close as a cold front, and possible rain, enters southern Minnesota today, says Weather Service meteorologist Shawn DeVinny.

Until then, Bloomington Fire Chief Ulysses Seal states his department will take precaution and attempt to educate the public on the conditions. The Department of National Resources takes similar precautions as it asks the public to be frugal in their use of lawn care equipment, as even a spark from a lawn mower could start a fire.

Chicago's Teachers On Strike

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Monday morning an estimated 30,000 teachers went on strike over 11 month-long contract dispute, reported The Minnesota Daily.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the negotiators said progress has been made in the dispute, but many issues remain at a standstill, including wages and job security.

During the summer break, 90 percent of teachers agreed that this strike would be needed to finalize the contract dispute. Steve Parsons, who teaches advanced placement psychology said, "We're ready to stay out as long as it takes to get a fair contract and protect our schools," reported The New York Times.

The strike also gave 350,000 students a day off from studies, and left the 84 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced priced meals without their school lunches.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel moved to deescalate the situation quickly, assuring the strikers that the negotiation would shortly come to a close. Emanuel spoke at a church serving as a gathering spot for students saying, "Don't take it out on the kids of Chicago if you have a problem with me." and later, "We will make sure our kids are safe. We will see our way through these issues, and our kids will be back in the classroom where they belong."

In a report by The New York TImes Karen Trine, a chemistry teacher at Lane Tech, shares similar concerns as Emanuel saying, "They're just kids who want to do their jobs, which is to learn. The kids were ready. We were ready. Everything was rolling."

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