April 26, 2009


This report by the Washington Post investigates a police killing of a young boy last year.
Records obtained by the Post included previously closed police records, and officer and witness statements. The writers analyzed these documents and used them to piece their own story and investigation together.
I am not sure how the reported obtained the records, or what skills she had to use to get them. However, it is obvious the reporter had to do a lot of synthesizing and piecing together of a lot of information in order to create her own timeline of events, which discovered many police oversights and wrong-doings in this highly controversial case.

Dinkytown Block Party Turned Riot

A Dinkytown block party got out of hand Saturday night, forcing police to rein in the riot according to the Star Tribune.
Six people were arrested as hundreds of unruly students started fires and tried to tip over cars.
Police used pepper spray and smoke grenades to disperse students on 7th Street between 13th and 14th Avenues SE in Dinkytown.
The party was part of the campus's Spring Jam activities.

US Journalist Goes on Hunger Strike

An American journalist imprisoned in Iran for allegedly spying is on her fifth day of a hunger strike on Saturday, according to the Star Tribune.
The journalist's father said the woman will not stop her strike until she is freed.
Roxana Saberi, who is a citizen of both Iran and the U.S. turned 32 on Sunday, was sentenced last week to eight years in prison after a one-day closed trial. She began her strike to protest her imprisonment, her father said.
The Tribune article reports this is a great cause of tension between Iran and the U.S. at a time when President Obama wants to discuss engagement.
Saberi's father also told the BBC that he was very worried about his daughter, and that while he tried to explain how dangerous that was, she wouldn't allow him to protest her decision.
Saberi's sentence will go in front of an appeals court, and could be commuted, according to the BBC.

No More Pontiac

In a rebranding and restructuring plan in order to avoid bankruptcy, GM will dissolve the Pontiac brand as well as close more factories and cut more jobs, according to the Star Tribune.
The automaker made the announcement before a planned offer to its bondholders to exchange bonds for stock in the company, in order to comply with SEC rules.
Two people associated with GM told the Star Tribune that more than the 5 already announced factory closings would take place, but did not announce which ones.
Both people also said the plan would included killing the Pontiac brand, famous for the Grand Am and GTO.
The Wall Street Journal also reported an announcement would be made Monday regarding the restructuring plan, and that the company must meet a June 1st deadline set by President Obama to either restructure or file for bankruptcy.

MN Watches for Swine Flu

Minnesota state officials say that while no cases of the swine flu have yet been reported, they are investigating people who may have symptoms and expect to find a few cases, according to the Star Tribune.
While the disease has killed more than 80 people in Mexico, it has only caused mild illness in the United States.
While officials don't want the public to panic, they are concerned that the disease could mutate into a more dangerous form.
Hospitals are being asked to report any possible incidents, which has very similar symptoms to the regular flu, the Tribune said.
An article on the flu in the Pioneer Press said the United States has declared "public health emergency" over the disease, but also mentions that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said it "sounds more serious than it is."

Man Dead in Mississippi River Incident

One man died Sunday morning when rainwater rushed into a tunnel south of the Marshall Avenue Bridge and swept two men into the Mississippi River, the Star Tribune reported.
The two men were exploring the bridge when the incident occurred, and the second man was rescued, the article said.
One man was able to make it on his own to shore, while the other was rescued but later died at Hennepin County Medical Center.
The Pioneer Press reported the two men were photographing the tunnel, and also mentioned two University of St. Thomas rowing club members helped in the rescue of the second man who later died.

April 19, 2009

Horse is Hero in Hungary

A race-horse has turned into a national hero for crisis-stricken Hungary, according to the New York Times.
Overdose extended his winning streak to 12-0 on Sunday, his jockey wearing the colors of the Hungarian flag.
All of this comes among the resignation of Hungary's Prime Minister and the nosedive of the Hungarian currency.
The New York Times compared the horse to Seabiscuit, a symbol of hope for Americans during the Great Depression.
Talk has changed from bailouts and politics to the horse and his jockey, Christophe Soumillon, a flashy Belgian rider who is married to a former Miss France.
No one expected anything from the horse, who was bought for just $3,500 at auction after the owner raised his hand "just for fun."
Since the horse's winning streak, the owner has been offered $6.5 million, but refuses to sell.
Overdose was called "the most famous person in Hungary...even though he is a horse."

Obama Doesn't Want Interrogator Charges

Obama does not intend to prosecute Bush officials that created policies which led to the harsh treatment of prisoners, according to the Star Tribune.
Last week, accompanying the release of memos, Obama gave a statement that said he did not intend to prosecute those that had acted in good faith in accordance with the policies.
White House Chief of Staff Rhan Emmanuel echoed that statement again on Meet the Press Sunday.
Senators have agreed, citing any prosecution as "bad precedent".
However, the decision not to prosecute has come under fire from the ACLU and the UN.

Man Pretending to Fall Actually Does

A man pretending to fall off of a bridge in Bloomington actually did, according to the Star Tribune.
Early on Sunday morning, police got a call saying a man had fallen from the Highway 77 bridge 30 feet into the marshy area below.
The man, who had been drinking, reportedly told his friend to pull over so he could urinate off the bridge. Then, after pretending to fall, he actually did fall.
The man is now being treated for serious injuries.

Woman and man dead in Maple Grove shooting

In what police are calling a domestic dispute, a woman was shot dead outside of a Maple Grove McDonald's Sunday, according to the Star Tribune.
A young woman's on and off boyfriend shot her to death outside the restaurant, and then committed suicide the Tribune reports.
After shooting the woman and causing her to fall on the sidewalk, the man shot her again at very close range, said police.
The man then fled in a white vehicle, while witnesses inside the restaurant screamed for the license plate numbers.
The woman died at the scene.
About 6 minutes after the initial 911 calls, a police officer pulled over the suspect on Interstate 694, and when he approached the car he found the man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Identities of the victims have not yet been released.

Workers Worry About Jobs

Workers at the St. Charles plant which was destroyed by fire are now worrying about their jobs.
According to the Star Tribune, the owners of the plant say the plant is a "total loss".
The fire, which started Friday, caused authorities to evacuate the entire town of St. Charles. The fire was not extinguished until Saturday morning.
According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, when residents and workers returned to the town on Saturday they were relieved but also worried.
Total damage estimates to the plant have not yet been released, and owners are unsure if they will rebuild the plant in St. Charles, or in another town.

April 12, 2009

Diversity Analysis

This story, on a Minneapolis gay couple being included in Easter ceremonies at the White House, deals with a cultural diversity issue of gay people becoming accepted into society. This was the first year that gay families have been included in the "Easter Egg Roll" on the South Lawn of the White House. The story does move beyond sterotypes, and explains the family just as it would any other (how they came together, why they are excited). The story explains that the Bush administration inadvertently invited the first gay and lesbian couples to the Egg Roll, something I did not know, through quotes from the two gay fathers. I was also unaware that gay couples had been excluded from the ceremony in the past, which is shown through quotes and general observations.

Obama Causes Controversy at Norte Dame

Despite Obama's pro-choice beliefs which offend many catholics, the school has decided to stand by its tradition of having Presidents come and speak, the Star Tribune reported.
Student expressed outrage at an invitation extended by Notre Dame to President Obama to speak at the commencement ceremony in May.
Alumni's have reported "throwing away their sweatshirts", while others boycott attending commencement and recently accepted high school seniors are now questioning their decision, according to the Tribune.
But for all of the disgust, there is also a lot of excitement among students on campus. One conservative student said it was an honor.
Some conservative groups have already expressed the wish to protest, while liberal students have expressed fear it will make Notre Dame look narrow minded, citing that no one will want to attend Notre Dame if that is the image they portray.

Captain Safe From Pirates

Navy snipers shot down three Somali pirates and rescued a captured American captain in a surprise assault Sunday, the Star Tribune reported. The killings ended a five-day standoff between the pirates and the U.S. military.
Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage Wednesday by pirates who tried to hijack the Maersk Alabama.
The assault was ok'ed by President Obama, and relieved fears the standoff could last for months. It also showed the strength of the U.S. military, who had been previously helpless to end the situation.
Negotiations between the pirates and the military had become heated, and Phillips was in "imminent danger of being killed" according the Tribune.
A fourth pirate had surrendered earlier and now faces life in U.S. prison.

Senate Race That Never Ends

The Minnesota Supreme Court may not have the last word in the still-contested Minnesota Senate Race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken, the Star Tribune reported.
As Coleman faces almost certain defeat in the election trial, he is preparing his appeal to the State Supreme Court.
However, Coleman could also appeal to the federal courts, an option he "has refused to rule out," according to the Tribune. A federal appeal could leave the seat open for another six months or more, depriving Senate Democrats of a crucial vote against Republican filibusters.
While courts have ruled that no Senator can be seated until all of the state judicial proceedings have finished, the question is if an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court would be included in those proceedings.
It is possible the U.S. Supreme Court could fast-track its review.