May 6, 2007

9 Dead in Kansas After Second Wave of Tornadoes

Not but a day after a tornado leveled the small town of Greensburg, a wave of tornadoes roared through the southwest Kansas, killing nine, as if adding injury to insult.

The Washington Post, drawing much of its reporting form Associated Press news releases, reported that the Kansas Adjutant General's Department confirmed reports of eight tornadoes touching down. National Weather Service meteorologist Larry Ruthi told the Associated Press that the path of damage was 1.4 miles wide, and estimated that the tornado would be classified as an "upper F4 or an F5," the strongest intensity by the Fujita scale.

The New York Times, in fact using the direct AP article, described how the city administrator, Steve Hewitt, estimated that 95 percent of the town of 1,500 was destroyed, with predicted rescue efforts taking days. Also reported was how, among the only structures that survived, was the Bar H Tavern, the town’s lone bar; it was briefly converted into a morgue.

April 29, 2007

Democrats' Debate Spurs Different Decisions as to Discussion

The first televised presidential debate produced eight candidates complete with differing opinions and differing responses to questions of potency.

The New York Times reported how following the debate, none of the eight appeared to have distinguished themselves in any "appreciable" way; that said, none appeared to have made any "campaign-altering mistakes." The article detailed various questions posed, and the varying candidates responses and reactions to the responses of their rivals. All said, the article was essentially broad and without any aim other than simple description.

However, the Washington Post, two days after the Times piece, addressed the Clinton campaign's recent efforts to force Senator Barack Obama's comment during the debate detailing his response to a major terrorist attack, seen as "soft" and lacking in necessary aggresion by many, including his rivals.

April 15, 2007

GOP Presidential Hopeful McCain Has Less Money, More Spending than Other Candidates

Senator John McCain's presidential campaign spent more than $8 million during the first three months of 2007, leaving the onetime Republican front-runner with only $5.2 million left in the bank,with the end result being that McCain has less than half of what his current GOP competitors have tucked away.

According to the New York Times, McCain may be struggling to keep up in the race to build a network of so-called "bundlers," who can collect donations from wealthy friends and business associates. The Times preliminary analysis of the donors to the top three Republicans indicated that, so far, McCain has collected checks from roughly the same number of major fund-raisers for President Bush as Mitt Romney, one-term governor of Massachusetts, who is far less well-known across the country.

According to the Washington Post, McCain's money was spent building one of the presidential field's "most sophisticated and complex organizations," featuring about 120 staffers in the Crystal City headquarters and in early-primary states, aides said. McCain has also hired several high-priced campaign consultants who once worked for President Bush. Other large debts include more than $66,000 for motor coach rentals, presumably for use of the "Straight Talk Express" McCain made famous in the 2000 campaign, $152,267 to a Minnesota company that handles fundraising calls, and $16,317 in catering costs for an event at the swank Beverly Hilton hotel.

April 8, 2007

Guiliani, Bush Administration Share Damaging Ties to Kerik

The situation evolving, involving Bernard B. Kerik and the decisions made regarding his career and criminal status by presidential-hopeful Rudolph Guiliani and the Bush Administration continues to cast a damaging light on all parties. Dependent on the paper and said publication's readership, the focus of the Kerik story adjusts.

According to the New York Times, Giuliani said that he should have looked more critically into the Kerik’s background and acknowledged that it may be cause for voters to doubt his judgment. “It’s my responsibility, and I’ve learned from it,? he said, adding, “I’ll make sure that I do a much better job of checking into people in the future.?

Meanwhile, the Washington Post, as would be natural considering their primary readership being Washington residents, chose to emphasize the Bush Administration's involvement, broadening the article in answer to that classical reader query "Why should I care?" The article describes how administration officials tried to address questions involving Kerik's record, but the normal investigation process was derailed when Bush's top lawyer, Alberto R. Gonzales, took charge of the inquiry process, grilling Kerik about the issues raised. In the end, despite the concerns, the White House moved forward with his nomination -- only to have it shatter but a week later.

April 1, 2007

Australian Detainee at Gitmo Receives 9 Months

David Hicks, the Australian high-school dropout whose detention became an international issue, will serve nine more months in custody, most of it in Australia, under the terms of a plea deal unsealed here Friday, according to the New York Times.

According to the Washington Post, the former outback cowboy "showed little emotion" when he admitted to the judge that he conducted surveillance on the former U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

According to the Times, the plea deal included a statement by Hicks that he “has never been illegally treated? while in captivity, despite the claims of beatings he had made in the past, along with a promise not to pursue any lawsuits over the treatment he received while in detention and “not to communicate in any way with the media? for a year.

March 25, 2007

Edwardses Reject Sympathy Vote in Wake of Cancer Announcement

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, announced in an on-air interview that her cancer had spread to her bone, while rejecting claims of possible exploitation of the sympathy vote.

According to the New York Times, the interview (on “60 Minutes? on CBS) appeared three days after Mr. Edwards announced that his wife’s cancer, first diagnosed late in his 2004 campaign for the White House, had come back, this time in an incurable form that had spread to her ribs. The Times reported that the interview included the revelation that the cancer had also spread to Mrs. Edwards' hip.

According to the Washington Post, the Edwardses together defended John Edwards' decision to continue pursuing the Democratic nomination, with Elizabeth saying that she could not live with denying her husband the chance to be president.

Though I more often than not side with the Times in terms of their choices of presentation and genuine relevance, here, I honestly believe the Post put forward the better article. The "revelation" of the cancer's spread to the hip was minor--in fact, it was even downplayed by Mrs. Edwards herself. Rather, the genuine news item here was the decision of the Edwardses to continue with the campaign and assuage the fears of the political populace that the disease would be exploited for personal gain. The Post focused on this angle with respect and thoroughness, and for that I salute them.

March 4, 2007

NAACP President Resigns After 19 Months

The president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People resigned from the position after only 19 months March 4. Bruce S. Gordon, 61, the resigning president, said he resigned because of differences with the NAACP board over issues such as the role of the president and the organization's direction (in terms of social justice versus social service).

According to the Washington Post, members said that friction between the president and the micromanaging board is a "fact of life" at the NAACP. The Post included considerable attributions from an interview with the Rev. Benjamin Hooks of Memphis, who served as the NAACP president for 15 years, in an effort to shed light on how a functioning president-board relationship looks like, and thus identify just how the most recent relationship went awry.

The New York Times article utilized attributions from statements released by both parties, the president and the chairman of the board, as well as assorted statements made by individuals ranging from political strategists to other board members.

February 25, 2007

John Edwards Addresses, Emphasizes Iraq War Decisions

Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards emphasized his position on the Iraq War in a speech Feb. 24. Though the topic of the presentation was to be a discussion on health care, Edwards was quick to bring the dialogue to the subject of Iraq.

The Associated Press emphasized Edwards' insistence on bringing the topic to Iraq, through direct attributions such as: "Honestly''Honestly, if you don't bring up Iraq, I'll bring it up,'' the former North Carolina senator told about 150 people gathered in a state senator's living room and kitchen."

The Reuters piece took an alternate tack to the speech, bringing in attributions by outside scholars and using the speech as an opportunity to conjecture that the aim of the speech was to attempt to separate Edwards from the front-runner Hilary Clinton, whom thus far has refused to completely repudiate her support for the initial war effort.

February 18, 2007

JetBlue Breakdown

A week-long breakdown in operations places JetBlue Airways in the tenuous position of both rectifying the problem and evaluating the company's future.

According to the Associated Press, JetBlue called off a quarter of its Monday flights, which, according to representatives, will hopefully be the last required to return all operations to order and finally complete the journeys of thousands of flights.

The New York Times detailed statements made by JetBlue founder and chief executive David G. Neeleman. According to Neeleman, JetBlue would provide reparations to stranded customers. He went on to explain how the problem arose as a result of weak management, a substandard communications system, and an undersize reservation system.

The Times piece addressed the opinions of legislators, as far as their opinions on the issue and the topic of a possible air customer's bill of rights. The Times piece addressed this topic also via Neeleman's words, who detailed his aims to enact just such a bill to ensure JetBlue would be penalized financially for future failings.

February 4, 2007

California Prison Crowding Crisis Sparks Transfers Out-of-State

Severe overcrowding in California prisons sparks efforts by the state government to alleviate the pressure.
The crisis came to the fore after a federal judge warned that he would start releasing convicts early or prohibit convict transfers from the state to county level if efforts were not made, as reported by the Associated Press. The ruling prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to authorize voluntary and involuntary transfers to out-of-state prisons.

The Los Angeles Times reported how early efforts by the state government after the governor's announcement included a marketing campaign, intended to persuade inmates to voluntarily transfer to other institutions throughout the country. Part of the campaign included the screening of a film "extolling the virtues of out-of-state prisons and reminding convicts of the violent, overcrowded, racially charged conditions they face in California."

The Times details in length the numerous legal implications facing the governor and the state as a direct result of the overcrowding crisis, such as the shaky legality of the governor's suspension of the law requiring an inmate's consent before a transfer, as well as the likeliness of challenges brought before the court by involuntary transfers.,0,559955.story?page=2&coll=la-home-headlines

January 28, 2007

Protesters Rally Against Iraq War

Tens of thousands of protesters were drawn together to the National Mall in Washington D.C. January 27 in protest of the Bush Administration and the Iraq War. The protest was principly organized by the group United for Peace and Justice coalition. According to the New York Times, the event aimed to draw forth one of the largest displays of anti-war sentiment for the Iraq War since its inception and initiation. Protest organizers said the crowd included people who came on 300 buses from 40 states, according to the Rapid City Journal.

The protest drew an impressive number of speakers, including, as the Wyoming News noted in their lead and headline, numerous celebrities, including Sean Penn, Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda, and Tim Robbins.

According to the New York Times, among the supporters and celebrities in the crowd were a large number of veterans, of the Iraq War and wars past, such as Vietnam. One such veteran was Seargent Tassi McKee, whom said, "I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it."

According to the Rapid City Journal, though the rally unfolded relatively peacefully, there was an incident in which 300 protesters charged the Capitol building, running up the grass in an attempt to reach the legislature, when they were halted by police motorcycles. Counterprotesters also made an appearance at the site of the rally, though minor altercations between members of the two groups resulted in efforts by capitol police to keep the groups separated, as reported by the New York Times. The New York Times questioned one counterprotester, Larry Stark, 71, a Vietnam veteran and former POW, whom said, "We never lost a battle in Vietnam but we lost the war, and the same is going to be true in Iraq if these protesters have their way."