April 9, 2008

Kansas Tops Memphis and Wins National Championship

Kansas used a late burst to tie Memphis in the final seconds, before pulling away in overtime to secure the NCAA Championship Monday, reported the New York Times.

Junior guard Mario Chalmers' three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left tied the game at 63. Kansas then outscored a deflated Memphis team 12-5 in overtime to take the title game 75-68.

Chalmers' shot, with Memphis guard Derrick right in his face, will go down as one of the most clutch in tournament history.

“When it left my hand, it felt it was good and it went in,? said Chalmers, who scored 18 points. (New York Times)

Late in the second half in looked like Memphis had the game in hand, leading by nine points with just over two minutes remaining. But free throw shooting, Memphis' Achilles heal all season, derailed them as standout guards Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts missed four of five down the stretch to let Kansas back in the game, according to Chicago Tribune.

Kansas (37-3) won their third national title, but only their first in 20 years. Sophomore forward Darrell Arther Kansas with 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was a sweet victory for head coach Bill Self, who had never been able to even reach the Final Four before this year in four previous chances.

"Unbelievable game, unbelievable finish," Self said. "We had so many guys make plays, and then our best clutch player made a great clutch play at the end." (Chicago Tribune)

April 6, 2008

Record Number of Food Stamps Expected to Be Used This Coming Year

The Congressional Budget Office is predicting a record of $28 million Americans to be receiving food stamps in this coming fiscal year, reported the New York Times Monday.

That number would be the highest ever since the aid program began in the 1960s. Officials sight the economic slowdown as the one of the main reasons for the increase. Food prices also have risen about 5 percent this year, according to the Department of Agriculture. (New York Times) Compile those factors with decreasing jobs and high gas prices and food stamp use is at an all time high in many states.

One of those states is Ohio, in which a record one in 10 people now use food stamps. In Portage County, one in seven people now receive aid through food stamps, according to the Bedford Times Register. Anita Herington, director of the county Department of Job and Family Services, says there would be even more people using food stamps if everyone that was eligible took advantage of the program.

Some people simply don't feel they should be dependent on any type of aid from the government. But Harringtopn doesn't see it that way.

"It's not welfare," Herington said. "It's a nutrition program. It is to allow people, young families and senior citizens, get nutritious food," she said. (Bedford Times Register)

Eligibility eligibility is determined by a complex formula, but essentially recipients must have few assets and incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line, which equals out to be less than $27,560 for a family of four, reported the New York Times.

March 29, 2008

Famous Translator of the Classics Dies

Robert Fagles, a famous translator of Latin and Greek and an emeritus professor at Princeton University died Wednesday at his home in Princeton, N.J. of prostate cancer, according to the New York Times.

Fagles, 74 when he died, was one of very few people to tackle all three of the great classical epics. He published “The Iliad,? in 1990; “The Odyssey,? in 1996; and “The Aeneid,? which came out in 2006. Each one was published by Viking. His translations of these classic poems became bestsellers and fixtures in in classrooms across the country, each selling millions of copies.

The success of Fagles's translations over the countless other versions of the same work was due to his unique style as a writer. Instead of writing completely literally translations, he would reinterpret the works into a more contemporary translations that were "remarkable for their narrative energy and verve." (New York Times)

"No translator of major writers in the Western literary tradition has ever met with the kind of success that Robert Fagles has enjoyed. His 'trilogy,' both epics of Homer and that of Virgil, has brought these texts to life for over a million readers. It was a joy to share some of his joy in that success with him, just as it was sadness to watch his brave, slow battle with pain," said Robert Hollander, professor of European literature and French and Italian emeritus and a colleague for some 40 years at Princeton University. (News at Princeton)

March 10, 2008

Arizona Considering Allowing Guns On College Campuses

An lawmaker in Arizona is sponsoring a bill that would allow people on public colleges and universities to carry guns, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

State Senator Karen S. Johnson is sponsoring a bill that would allow students and professors with a concealed weapons permit to carry their guns around campus. Johnson believes that the shootings in the past year at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois may have been avoided if this law was in place.

The bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week by a 4-3 vote. Originally the bill was to allow guns at all public schools, but was amended to exclude K-12 institutions. The bill still has a couple more hurdles to face however, including opposition from the The Arizona Board of Regents.

The board unanimously passed a resolution opposing the new bill at their meeting in Tempe Friday, according to the Mohave Daily News. The resolution stats the the university campuses in Arizona should all be completely weapon free.

Arizona is not alone in this controversy. Currently 15 other states are considering laws that would make it easier to carry guns on public colleges and universities, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a Washington nonprofit organization. (New York Times)

March 3, 2008

Blackouts In Florida Affect One Million People

An enormous blackout came across Florida on Tuesday, affecting almost one million businesses and houses, reported the New York Times.

The blackout trapped many people in elevators and shut down many traffic lights, causing a huge spike in car accidents, though no injuries were reported. The blackout also knocked out two nuclear reactors.

The blackout began in a substation in western Miami-Dade County due to “some equipment failure?, according to Florida Power & Light. The blackout soon spread throughout nearly all of southern Florida. (New York Times)

But as of Wednesday the Florida Power & Light Company is still unsure of how a minor equipment failure triggered sure a far reaching blackout, according to the Star Tribune.

Initially there was some fear of an act of terrorism, but Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Alvarez said that was not the case.

“There is absolutely no evidence that there was any foul play involved in this power outage,? Alvarez said. (New York Times)

The outage could have been worse if power companies had not adopted measures following blackouts in August 2003 that crippled much of the state. According to power industry officials the system worked correctly after the initial blackout, and nearly everyone had there power back in a couple of hours.

February 25, 2008

Missile Strikes Disabled Spy Satellite

An interceptor missile struck a disabled American spy satellite over the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, said the Pentagon according to the New York Times.

The missile was suppose to destroy the fuel tank of the satellite to prevent its 1000 pounds of toxic hydrazine from striking a populated area. Although the satellite revolves the earth every 90 minutes, experts were able to pinpoint a spot were if struck the contents of the tank would fall into the water or less populated areas of the earth.

Though officials don't know immediately weather the tank was destroyed, they are hopeful the mission was completed because they were informed that the interceptor's "kill vehicle" hit the satellite.

The mission marked the first time that a interceptor designed for missile defense was used to strike a satellite, and Pentagon officials stressed that this is a one-time thing, said the Star Tribune.

Officials weren't sure if the missile would be able to hit the small fuel tank, but if it was successful there will be a large amount of research and data that can be studied to improve the nations missile defense technologies.

A Pentagon spokesman refuted the possibility that the mission was designed to test the nation's defense technologies in the first place saying, “This is about reducing the risk to human life on Earth, nothing more.? (New York Times)

February 18, 2008

Eight Killed At Illegal Street Race

A car killed eight people after running right into a crowd watching an illegal street race in Accokeek, Maryland early Saturday morning according to the Baltimore Sun.

Some spectators had stepped onto the road to get a better look at who had won the race, which took place between two cars on an unlighted intersection on Route 210, when a Ford Crown Victoria ran right into the crowd. Seven of the eight victims died at the scene of the accident, and five more people were injured in the crash, though the driver of the car was uninjured.

At the beginning of the race the two cars spun there tires, resulting in debris and smoke which police believe helped cause the crash. Police didn’t comment on if the driver had his BAC tested or had his headlights on.

Police said there were about 50 people gathered and the victims in the crash ranged from their 20’s to 60’s.

The stretch of highway has been the site of illegal street races for approximately 25 years, and despite many calls from nearby residents a permanent solution was never found, According to the New York Times.

"This is a tragedy, no matter how you look at it. It's a tragedy all the way around," said County Police spokesman Cpl. Clinton Copeland. "We're not trying to put blame on anybody. We're just trying to find out what happened and to avoid it from happening again." (Baltimore Sun)

February 10, 2008

Giants Top Patriots in Super Bowl 17-14

The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday, Feb. 4, reported the New York Daily News.
The Patriots were previously undefeated and heavily favored going into the game but suffered one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history
Giants quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning led his team on a game winning drive late in the fourth quarter capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds to go to receiver Plaxico Burress, reported the News Journal.
The final drive included one of the most spectacular plays in Super History. Facing 3rd-and-five on their own side of the field, Manning somehow managed to escape the hold of three Patriots defenders and completed a 32-yard pass to reliever David Tyree, who came down holding the ball with one hand against his helmet.
This improbable drive came just minutes after Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady led his team to the end-zone to put his team up 14-10, it what looked like another textbook fourth quarter rally for Brady.
But Manning stole the show and shut up his critics once and for all in what has been a tough season for the Manning and the Gaints, who started the season 0-2 and entered the playoffs as a number five seed.
"I don't even know what to say, man," said Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. "I mean this team, this season, where we started and where we ended was totally unexpected. Five weeks ago I couldn't have told you that we'd beat the Patriots." (New York Daily News)

February 4, 2008

15-year-old boy charged for murdering family.

A boy in Baltimore county in Maryland has confessed to shooting his parents and two brothers on Friday, according to Maryland Wire. 15-year old Nicholas Browning was charged with first degree murder of his family members John, 45; Tamara, 44; Gregory, 13, and Benjamin, 11.
According the Associated Press, Browning used his father's handgun to shoot all of his family in their at their house Friday and the tossed the handgun into some near by bushes. Browning hung out with friends then until 5 p.m the next day when he arrived home and stagged the discovery of the murders and told his friends to call 911.
Early the next morning Nicholas admitted to the murders and was charged as adult with four counts of first-degree murder. But even charged as an adult Browning is too young to face the death penalty according to state law. (Maryland Wire)
Nicholas was a sophomore at the prestigious Dulaney High School in Timonium, a suburb of Baltimore. He was an active member of the Boy Scouts and was on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Friends said he sometimes complained about his father but never included anything violent.
A group consisting of mainly teenagers gathered at Browning's home Sunday night for a candle vigil, mourning the tremendous loss for the community.