Recently in National News Category

Runaway Cain Train

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This piece from CNN is more of a video essay on Herman Cain's candidacy for president than a normal broadcast story.
Solely voiceover and recycled b-roll clips, it follows some of his most controversial moments, as well as some of his triumphs.
Jim Acosta finally steps in to finish the story after showing a clip form Cain's suspension of campaign speech.
He ends with a hilarious kicker about Cain's 9-9-9 plan, saying, "it's arguably an issue without a godfather."


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Sunday morning KSTP aired a 5-minute piece on Jerry Sandusky's first on-camera interview since allegations came out about his purported sexual misadventures.
The lead-in sends us to T.J. Winick, who uses his eyebrows and emphatic delivery to present the nut of the story before seguing into the voiceover segment.
In the segment, there is a mix of New York Times footage as well as some original interviews with both the Times reporter and one of the alleged victim's lawyers.
After passing it back to Dan Harris, news consultant Dr. Michael Welner offers an analysis of Sandusky's cognitive distortion.
ABC's Harris makes a point, while Welner calls out Sandusky for being a pedophile, that nothing is proven, but alleged, thus protecting his organizations good name from lawsuits.

The penitent prisoner

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This story, from the LA Times, follows the trajectory of John Paul Madrona, a convicted murderer and devoted penitent at the California Medical facility, a prison near Sacramento, Calif.
The story weaves together bits of narrative about Madrona's life leading up his incarceration, his introduction into the hospice system of the prison where he has now worked for a couple of years and a recent inmate, 24-year-old Freddy Garcia.
The author, Kurt Streeter, paints Garcia for the reader: "The tattoos on his head glistened with sweat, but he puffed out his chest, trying to act tough," as well as describing, second hand, the account of the shooting that landed Madrona and a co-shooter in prison back in 1991: "Without pause, Madron and DeGuzman rasied handguns and fired rapidly. One bullet plowed into Takahashi's forehead."
Using bits of witnessed interaction, historical recreation and direct interview material allows Streeter to form a narrative arc sufficient to engage the reader to check back for the second part of the story, which will be printed Monday morning.
This is quality writing.

At the baby factory

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"Nearby were unpainted heads with staring eyeless sockets. And down on the desk beside them were their missing multicolored eyes."
This is how Edit International describes the workstation of Marco and Anna Valente, a Brazilian couple who live in South Florida producing what are known as reborn dolls-lifelike dolls for which a cult following exists.
The realistic qualities of the dolls draw couples that have lost or cannot have children, and even empty nesters. Many owners treat the dolls as if they were alive.
"'These dolls are a great substitute,'" Valente told Edit International.
The dolls are so lifelike, writes, that "they have resulted in passers-by breaking car windows on hot days amid fears they are real and could be in danger."

Romney, Gingrich gain ground

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Mitt Romney emerged as the frontrunner in the GOP primary races, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday.
Romney's rate rose from 27 percent to 32 percent, while Newt Gingrich also gained five points, moving from 17 percent to 22 percent, NY Daily News reports.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry's rate dropped from eight percent to four percent.
The Wall Street Journal reports that feelings for Perry from Republican interviewees shifted from 38 percent positive and 24 percent negative last week to 28 percent positive and 33 percent negative.
The results are derived from follow-up interviews with 102 of the 248 Republican voters surveyed last month by NBC/WSJ.

Bachman falling behind

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Michelle Bachman fell to 8 percent in the October Iowa Poll, USA Today reports, down from her 22 percent in the June survey. This means that she received 32 votes out of 400, as per the Des Moines Register's poll results.
This dramatic drop occurred as Herman Cain jumped up 13 percentage points from the June poll, putting him in the lead with 23 percent, or 92 of 400 votes.
Mitt Romney meanwhile maintained an even keel, dropping just one point since the June poll, from 23 to 22 percent.
Huffington Post reports the Register's results are consistent "with four other surveys of Iowa voters conducted in October."
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent, the Register reports.

Obituary: Andy Rooney

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Andy Rooney, long running commentator of CBS's "60 Minutes," died on Friday in New York City.
The New York Times cites a CBS News statement that said Rooney died from complications that followed a minor surgery. He was 92.
Rooney made his mark in television by opining on subjects from airlines to inaugurations, and earned three Emmys along the way, writes
In addition to his television work for CBS, reports the New York Times, he worked for PBS, wrote a syndicated newspaper column for 30 years and numerous books.
"Andy Rooney is among the finest storytellers of our generation," writes Gayle Lynn Falkenthal in the Washington Times.
He is survived by his four children; his wife, Marguerite, died in 2004.

Muffler cost 35 years, life

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A Maine man was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison for murdering his wife.
49-year-old Michael Littlefield pleaded guilty to killing his wife, Debbie Littlefield, because she had nagged him about buying a muffler for his truck.
There was no history of domestic violence, WBAI Maine reports, but they did have some financial issues.
Apologizing during his sentencing, Littlefield said he has no recollection of shooting his wife, reported the Bangor Daily News.
"[It's] something we'll suffer for the rest of our lives," said Littlefield.
They had been married for 30 years.

Horn honking "free speech," Supreme Court says

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Even if it is annoying, honking your horn is free speech, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
"I've been in tears all morning," Helen Immelt told the Seattle Times. "I'm very, very thankful for the decision."
In 2006, Immelt was arrested after she honked her car horn for nearly 10 minutes at a neighbor she believed had complained to their homeowners' association about her keeping chickens, which is prohibited in the community.
Her honking also violated a Snohomish County noise ordinance, which, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, led to her conviction in district court and a sentence of 10 days in jail.
With lawyer John Tollefsen, she brought the case all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled 6-3 in her favor that her right to free speech had been violated.
"Horn honking does constitute protected speech," the Seattle Times reported the Justices as writing, "regardless of whether it would constitute protected speech in Immelt's particular case.

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