February 2011 Archives

Multimedia comparison analysis

by Maddy Hughes
The models for the multimedia sections of The New York Times and The Washington Post don't have any immediately discernible differences, in fact they seem to be pretty similar.

Both include photos as slideshows one can click through, with one line above the photos giving the theme or event that the photos are based on. On the side are tiny descriptions (cutlines) of each photo.

Both have more photos than anything else, and the videos and audio slideshows are listed to the right of the photo albums. The Washington Post also has an interactive feature just like the one in The Times, with a map that can be clicked on and moved listing events and their dates, on their places on the map. Information is given underneath the photos or videos.

The Post also includes an interactive feature advising on how to buy better groceries, with buttons for all the nutritional information of commonly bought items, a place where you can add food to your cart, and then a list that you can print for yourself to bring to the real grocery store.

The Times has some variants of the click-on map as well. There are features, which are videos that give thorough run-downs of events in the news, shorts, which are videos looking into the matter with more intimate and isolated situations affected by the event, and "moments" that are slideshows. There are numerous topics listed above the area where the media shows, and each topic has information from all of this media. Both of the sites' interactive media are not as obvious as the videos and photos.

Youtube video of Qadaffi parody becomes a hit in Arab world

by Maddy Hughes
JERUSALEM-- A man from Tel Aviv, Israel has created a YouTube video making fun of Qaddafi's dictatorial ways, gaining attention all across the Arab world in support of rebels in Libya.

The New York Times and The Washington Times both covered the popularity of the video, which is fueled by the movement written about here

Noy Alooshe, a 31-year-old journalist, made the video out of inspiration taken from watching the leader give an angry and threatening speech Tuesday. Alooshe said that the combination of the leader's rhythmic speech, funny clothing, and strange gestures gave him the idea to create a spoof that would surely grab the attention of all those in opposition to Qaddafi.

He used a song made by Pitbull and featuring T. Pain, both American rappers, to take place of the speech on Tuesday, with a repetition of the word "Zenga" (giving the video its title "Zenga Zenga"), which was actually Qaddafi saying "zanqa," "alleyway" in Arabic.

Mr. Alooshe finished the video early Wednesday morning and used Facebook and Twitter to spread the link for it. By Sunday night it was viral, having gotten 500,000 hits. A majority of the feedback was positive.

Mr. Alooshe received a message from a Libyan rebel saying that if and when Qaddafi falls from power, "We will dance to 'Zenga-Zenga' in the square."

In Libya, protests give way to violence from opposition

by Maddy Hughes
LIBYA--Voice of America and The New York Times reported on the potential for violence against those trying to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi (who Voice of America calls Moammar Gadhaf).

It turns out that there are supporters of the leader who are willing to be equipped in order to stamp out the large efforts to bring Qaddafi down from power.

But these efforts from Qaddafi to mobilize residents fighting for his cause are proving to be futile. Last Thursday in the city of Zawiyah when his forces tried to launch an assault in order to regain control, members of Qaddafi's army joined the group of rebels, just as 2,000 police officers had done the week before.

The rebels showed their determination to oust their leader Sunday when they brought out tanks, Kalashnikovs, and anti-aircraft guns. They also threatened to make profits off the country's oil supply, 80 percent of which is now in their possession.

The opposition is beginning to gain momentum for their cause, with support from around the world (Hilary Clinton, the United Nations, and Italy's foreign minister who cut a nonaggression treaty with Libya because it's no longer considered a state).

The difference between the movement in Libya and the insurrections going on in the rest of the Arab world is the violence that the rebel forces are apparently ready to use if they can't have their wishes granted through peaceful protest. This trend also carries over to the side of leader Qaddafi, who apparently has no problem ordering his army to kill the opposition.

MnSCU asks Legislature for a limit on tuition

by Maddy Hughes
Students of The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) have petitioned the Legislature to put a cap on tuition increases, The Star Tribune and MPR News reported.

On Feb. 16, the group of students was at the Capitol chanting about their want for a price limit at their two- and four-year colleges. This agenda is new for the group, who in the past has lobbied only for greater educational funding.

They still want that funding, but are asking for a tuition cap-- not a freeze, which is what Republican state senators have proposed. The students say a freeze could diminish education, but they still cheered when Republican Sen. John Carlson announced that the Legislature would pressure the MnSCU for a tuition freeze.

MnSCU is not going to give in right away, as the 15-member Board of Trustees sets the tuition with the quality of education as a top priority.

Andrew Spaeth, the state chair of the Minnesota State University Student Association, spoke for the group when he said that they didn't want any cuts for state funding, because they could lead to higher tuition, which takes the blow to make up for the money lost in funding.

When considering the bill to freeze tuition, legislators weighed the options of MnSCU cutting spending and the state raising its funding in order to cut back tuition.

Bill passes Assembly, protests continue in Wisconsin

By Maddy Hughes
Madison, Wis.-- The bill that has caused thousands of Wisconsinites to gather around the capitol in protests against it passed the Assembly Saturday after a debate that started in the early morning Wednesday.

The Assembly was debating amendments to the bill, and displayed a great deal of conflict between the sides of the Democrats and Republicans, according to this article in the Associated Students of Madison.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday on a prank call done on Walker by a blogger from Buffalo, N.Y., who was posing as David Koch, a conservative and very wealthy contributor to Walker.

Governor Walker essentially said that he has no plans to let go of the idea for the bill, and used phrases that revealed his strongly bipartisan ideology such as "not one of us" (when referring to a Democratic senator). He had no clue that the caller was posing and revealed a plan to stop the protests by planting "trouble makers" among them, eventually rejecting it because it could cause people to say he had to dismiss the bill in order to resolve the mayhem.

The Assembly had been debating over 100 amendments the Democrats proposed and the Republicans tried to vote on the bill, stopping the debates and causing Democrats to protest collectively.

The Assembly Speaker abruptly called for a vote despite the Democrats' shouting protests. The bill passed 51-17, with 28 Representatives absent. The bill still needs to be sent to the Senate in order to be enacted.

Anti-government protests in Libya

by Maddy Hughes
LIBYA--Protests against the government in the Libyan capital Tripoli and other areas beginning Feb. 14 have resulted in the deaths of 200.

According to The New York Times, the State Department released a statement saying that it was "gravely concerned" about the use of lethal force on demonstrators.

Days before, President Obama condemned the government in Bahrain for withdrawing security forces from protesters in the main square of Manama, the capital of Bahrain.

State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said that officials in Libya had vowed to respect the rights of peaceful protest in their country.

The situations in Libya and Bahrain have been preceded by those in Iran and Egypt, and American ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice said that the U.S. has criticized violence in all those places, but they are not "pushing people out or dictating that they stay."

According to The Washington Post, other countries like Singapore and England with trade relations to Libya have responded to the unrest by raising oil prices, in fear that the protests could interfere with the distribution of oil.

Texas considers bill to legalize gun possession on campus

by Maddy Hughes
AUSTIN, Texas--A plurality in members of the Texas House have signed on to legislation that would allow teachers and students to carry guns on campus, as reported by The Houston Chronicle and The Huffington Post.

Texas is the third state to consider such legislation, and if passed, it would become the second state to have it. Utah allows guns on campus and Colorado allows individual colleges to decide whether they want to give permission.

But guns would also be allowed if concealed inside classrooms, which has gotten the attention of victims during the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.

Colin Goddard and John Wood, both victims at Virginia Tech, were at the capitol Thursday urging lawmakers not to pass the bill.

Those in favor of the law say that it's about self-defense and in favor of safety, while opponents say it would just make campuses more dangerous.

The bill awaits a verdict.

Workers in Wisconsin protest Budget Repair Bill

by Maddy Hughes
MADISON, Wis.--Thousands of protesters have gathered and remained at the state capitol since Feb. 12 in an effort to block a new plan from Governor Scott Walker to break apart unions and cut rights for public workers.

The New York Times and The Associated Students of Madison both reported on the riots, giving thorough rundowns of all that has happened thus far.

Class has been out for the past week, as students are permitted to join the protests, since the teachers themselves would be affected by the legislation if it passed. The students and many others have lodged inside the capitol building, staying overnight in sleeping bags and making music with chants against the Republican governor.

Jesse Jackson appeared in the capitol building Friday night to talk to a crowd of 40,000 about vigilance in their fight for workers' rights. He called the revolt a "Martin Luther King moment."

Tea partiers showed up Saturday, in order to demonstrate support of the much contested bill and their governor, causing police to worry about fights between the two sides and prepare for mayhem with snipers, barricades, and temporary fences. But their precautions were proved unnecessary as the tea partiers and opponents of the bill were peaceful in their demonstrations.

Senate Democrats left the state last week, making it impossible for the bill to be passed (or voted on) because they lacked quorum. The Senate voted Friday to allow Governor Walker another week to release his state budget plan.

Governer plans to cut funding for higher education

by Maddy Hughes
Governor Mark Dayton released a budget plan Tuesday that would decrease higher education funding in the 2012-2013 school year by six percent, both Minnesota Public Radio and The Minnesota Daily have reported.

While The Minnesota Daily says that Dayton wants to cut $171 million in funding, and MPR says that he only wants to cut $153 million, both say that the cut would represent a six percent decrease in expected funding for next year.

This cut would be seen in public colleges, including the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

University officials are okay with this proposal: University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said that the cut was "welcome news," and University President Bob Bruininks said in a press release that tuition increases would be modest due to the amount of funding.

The cut may mean a decrease in offered services at the university, according to Pfutzenreuter and Bruininks; however, director of the state's Office of Higher Education Sheila Wright says that there will be no cuts in the Minnesota State Grant Program.

This draft of the budget has been criticized by Republicans partly because of the tax increase it would place on the wealthy, but also because in order to reduce the state deficit, they think the higher ed cuts need to go deeper.

But Dayton and Republicans both recognize that they have to come to an agreement before May 23 in order to steer clear of a government shutdown.

$200 million to go to light rail project

by Maddy Hughes
President Obama proposed a budget that would give the Central Corridor light-rail project $200 million Monday.

This bill's approval would make for a four-fold increase from the $45 million that Obama proposed in his last budget plan, which Congress has not yet approved.

According to The Star Tribune and The Minnesota Daily, this development represents an important change in the federal government's consideration of the project.

However, Republicans in Congress have said that they want to get rid of the program that funds such transit projects, including the Central Corridor light-rail project.

The light-rail is intended to bring together, and provide easy transition between, St. Paul and Minneapolis. The project will cost $957 million, and is expected to be finished by 2014.

Proponents of the project cite the federal government's help as a vital part of its completion.

Structure in article on uprisings in Arab world

by Maddy Hughes
This article in The New York Times addressing the numerous uprisings among Arab states as of late delivers the story through a narrative-like structure, beginning with a mini-anecdote about the exchanges between Tunisia and Egypt amid the Tahrir Square protests.

After the first paragraph the author puts the introduction into context, explaining the larger picture to which it related: youth from Arab states are joining together to fight for democracy in places where they haven't usually gotten it from their governments.

The mention of the position of Hosni Mubarak's son in relation to his father's removal from the presidency comes at the right point because it paints a picture of the results of these countries' collaborative efforts.

For the most part, the rest of the article is chronological in its recounting of historical events that focus around the theme of unity in revolt. The article reads smoothly because of the concise background information given in the beginning, which is just enough to set the background but also dive into the phenomenon as it came about over time.

Obama to cut domestic spending

by Maddy Hughes
President Obama will present his budget plan for fiscal 2012 Monday, and sources report he plans to cut domestic spending by $1.1 trillion by 2021.

This will be the third annual budget proposal for Obama, this time presenting to a primarily Republican House of Representatives. Two briefings are scheduled for the coming week--one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday--for the head of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan, Market Watch reported.

The proposal includes a plan to take away tax cuts for families with an income of $250,000 per year, who were covered in the Bush presidency. Obama said that the cut will reflect the need in the U.S. to cut back on spending for things we don't need, so that we will be able to continue the services of things we do need.

The New York Times
reported that the cut would consist of two-thirds reduction in spending, including the spending on domestic programs of which he approves. The alternative budget cut from House Republicans is not yet available, so the two plans are difficult to be compared, although the GOP said that they would propose a reduction of $100 billion in spending.

Among the cuts in domestic spending, if the plan passed, would be $78 billion in military expenditures, cuts on health care programs (not including Medicare), and more.

As the outcomes of budget cut proposals are always hard to predict, Obama's plan will serve more as a message of his philosophy regarding national spending than an exact layout of how much spending to cut, and where to cut it.

Minnesota Legislature considers Sunday liquor bill

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by Maddy Hughes
A bipartisan group in the state senate is reviewing proposed legislation that liquor stores in Minnesota be permitted to stay open for business on Sundays. However, some business owners are concerned it would complicate matters for them. The Minnesota Daily and The Star Tribune have equally thorough articles about concerns surrounding the chance of the bill's passing.

Minnesota is unique in its regulations on liquor businesses; all bordering states keeping business open every day of the week. Minnesotans have to make the 40-minute drive to Hudson, Wis. to get their alcohol on Sundays, and proponents of the bill say that this is a remnant of the days when drinking was a social taboo circa the 1890s.

Lawmakers say that this law is outdated, and that there is no reason to keep a law that creates a hassle for customers and takes business away from store owners. The sponsor for the bill, Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, said, "All our neighbors allow it. Why not us?"

But the opposition to the bill comes from Minnesota's liquor lobby itself. They say that the extra day of business will not bring in enough revenue to justify the stores' remaining open. Some business owners just want to keep their only day off a reality.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, who pushed similar legislation in 2009, said that she will introduce a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

Bill proposal for English as official language of Minnesota

by Maddy Hughes
The state senate is considering a bill proposed last week that would make English the official language of the state, The Minnesota Daily and The Minnesota Independent have reported.

Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature support the bill. However, there is significant opposition from many, including members of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

Steve Drazkowski, who is responsible for introducing the bill, has proposed similar laws since 2008. If the bill passed, it would be among more than 20 other U.S. states who have similar legislation.

The bill would make it illegal to conduct government business using any language besides English. It would pose challenges to foreigners who don't yet speak English when trying to obtain a driver's license, when placed in an education system where they can't speak the mandated language, and not to mention in the voting process where instructions would no longer include translations.

Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said that his impression is that the bill is designed to make certain people feel unwelcome in Minnesota. Speaking to The Minnesota Independent, Allison Lebow, spokesperson for the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, said that it would deny specific groups of people the opportunity to integrate into their community.

The argument for the bill's approval says that it would cut back on wasted expenses to service for illegal immigrants or people who don't learn to speak English.

The counterpoint is that these people would still be required to pay taxes for services that they would not then receive.

The Minnesota business community has not yet made a response about the bill's possibility.

by Maddy Hughes
ISLAMABAD--A court issued former president Pervez Musharraf with an order of arrest Saturday for suspected involvement in the murder of 2007 prime minister Benazir Bhutto, The Huffington Post and USA Today have both reported.

This is not the first of public legal issues for the president, who was forced out of his presidency in 2008 for having reached his position through a military coup in 1999.

The case is an obstacle for Musharraf, as he was planning a comeback in the Pakistan government from abroad. He has defended himself by saying that the allegations are false and simply a part of an attempt by political rivals, who now run the government, to keep him out of power.

He also used the governmental role of Bhuttan's bereaved husband to source the accusations.

Bhuttan's assassination came after her campaign in elections that Musharraf only permitted after the public, both in Pakistan and abroad, pressured him to do so for months. She died from a gun and suicide bomb attack, which Musharraf attributed to the Taliban in Pakistan.

The Taliban denied the truth of Musharraf's statement, and it has since been said by critics, including the U.N. (though they are not involved in the search for the person responsible for the killing) that his government did not do enough to ensure Bhutto's safety. This opposition will cause for a difficult attempt at a comeback for Musharraf, who fled to Great Britain in 2008 after threats of impeachment by Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

Gay rights activist murdered in Uganda

by Maddy Hughes
NAIROBI, Kenya-- Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was murdered Jan. 26 in what is suspected to be a hate crime brought on by his actions to banish homophobia, which is very prevalent in Uganda.

Witnesses said they saw the man responsible fleeing the scene, but he has not yet been detained. Kato was beaten to death with a hammer.

The background of the incident, as reported by The New York Times and The Guardian, is that Kato had recently won a court case that resulted in an injunction on the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone, which had placed a picture of Kato on the cover of one of their issues from late 2011, with a headline that read "Hang Them." This was just one of many issues published by the paper, whose pages identified gay people in Uganda in order to stir the public and eventually have them murdered.

In the months following the court ruling, which was made on Jan. 3, Kato told his friend and fellow gay rights activist Julia Pepe Onziema that he had been harassed and threatened.

The Human Rights Watch in Uganda said that it was too early to know the reason for the murder, but highlighted the danger of living in Uganda for gays and lesbians. This danger has arised since U.S. evangelicals and politicians visited Uganda in 2009 and reportedly held talks outlining ways to turn gays straight.

Shortly after those workshops, a bill was proposed by the Ugandan government that would have ordered life imprisonment of all publicly gay individuals. After a few European countries who provide their government with monetary aid threatened to pull their assistance, however, president Yoweri Museveni said they would forget the bill, although since that claim they have not dropped the legislation.

Linked to the news about Kato's murder is the story of a lesbian from Uganda who was discovered in Britain and ordered to be deported when she said that if she returned home, she would be tortured or killed. She told The Guardian, "Most of my friends have disappeared."

Looting at Egyptian National Museum

by Maddy Hughes
Close to the ongoing anti-government protests in Cairo, Egypt have been attempts of theft at the Egyptian National Museum. The Daily Star and the Wall Street Journal gave very similar accounts of this event Monday.

50 men tried to break into the museum but were detained by soldiers who were on guard in anticipation of something happening to the museum during some of the most intense protests right next to it.

Two cases were smashed nearby a piece featuring King Tut's golden funerary mask, which attracts much tourism. A head of a small clay statue was found on the stairs, and the museum's gift shop was littered with broken glass, postcards, and souvenirs.

The looters are believed to have been aiming for the gold in the museum.

Minneapolis woman tries to mail puppy

by Maddy Hughes
A Minneapolis woman tried to send her puppy in an air-sealed box to be sent to Georgia Feb. 28, City Pages and The Star Tribune reported.
Now she wants the puppy back in her possession.

When postal employees realized it was her puppy being sent in the mail, they impounded the puppy known as "Guess" and alerted authorities who charged the woman, Stacy Champion, with animal cruelty.

People hearing of the story all over the U.S. called in to city officials asking to adopt the puppy, but Champion objected saying that she wanted the puppy in her possession.

This case will be managed Monday at an administrative hearing in which Champion will plead for the return of her dog, although she must resolve her criminal case of animal cruelty, and still may not be successful in obtaining her pet once again.

Attribution in a piece on the Wojnarowicz controversy

by Maddy Hughes
This story from the Wall Street Journal, which focuses on the misunderstandings of the David Wojnarowicz film "A Fire in My Belly" that was taken down from the National Portrait Gallery in November (and later restored) attributes many sources, probably a necessity considering its goal of clearing up confusions and providing a clearer picture of the piece's background.

The sources are not clustered together, but mentioned as they come up in different points made about the film's story. This is a better method because the names are not confusing, and clearly relate to different ideas.

The first source is introduced with a short graph preceding his quote. It reads, "The people closest to the artist's estate say..." Shortly thereafter, the article attributes another source clarifying the context for "A Fire in My Belly." The author notes that this source was Wojnarowicz's partner at a time.

One source, "Messrs," is mentioned without any introduction, which is confusing. But the two sources attributed in the beginning are quoted time and again for the rest of the article, each time with a "Taylor/ Rauffenbart said" following.

The article consists of many quotes, and at the end it is noted that a new source replied via email. This source's words are not in quotes.

GLBT conference in Minneapolis expects success

by Maddy Hughes
The largest gathering of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender activists in the U.S. will take place in Minneapolis Wednesday for an annual conference addressing their mission for the coming year. This event is called "Creating Change," created by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and will be held at the Hilton Hotel.

This gathering will be the largest yet in the 23-year history of the task force. The estimated crowd is somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 people.

The group has a few accomplishments to celebrate, along with plenty of issues to discuss. For one, since their last convention held in Minneapolis in 1990, Minnesota has passed the human rights bill, as reported by MinnPost. But there is potential for a bill to be passed in Minnesota that would ban same-sex marriage. In addition to this local concern, activists plan to focus on equal treatment of GLBT church members across the country, and general problems of discrimination everywhere.

The Star Tribune in its article about the event emphasizes the part that faith plays in the ambition of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Religious leaders will attend the event, and 25 people are registered for a conference advocating a welcoming setting for the GLBT members across all religious communities.

Another important element is the inclusion of transgender people, with the release of a study on discrimination specific to this group planned for the conference. Barbara Satin, a former local public relations executive, attested to the emergence of this group on the activism scene, saying that in the past their community was "pretty hidden."

The Task Force is holding the conference in the wake of the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy, making for an optimistic atmosphere.

Ohio fraternity shootings

by Maddy Hughes
Two men from Youngstown, Ohio have been charged with aggravated murder, shooting into a house, and 11 counts of felonious assault after they killed a Youngstown University student and critically injured seven others Sunday, officials reported. Coverage of the event in The Los Angeles Times and USA Today is nearly identical.

The two men had left the party and returned with weapons when the Youngstown student tried to break up a fight between two groups.

Youngstown police Chief Jimmy Hughes was quoted explaining that the two men had been around the area for awhile and must have had some "altercation" that brought on the shootings. Both men are in their early 20s.

Jamail E. Johnson, the 25-year-old student left dead, was shot in his head, hips, and legs. He was described as an "excellent young man" by a legal officer for Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Johnson had recently returned from a trip to North Carolina that focused on manhood and scholarship.

Six of the people injured were students at Youngstown University. Eight were treated at St. Elizabeth Health Center and released by the afternoon, the information about the three left in the hospital kept confidential.

YSU president Cynthia Anderson said she was told by the police that there was no threat to the urban campus in Northeast Ohio.

Australia hit by cyclone

by Maddy Hughes
A cyclone hit the coast of northeastern Australia in Queensland state late Wednesday and early Thursday, inflicting serious damage in an area that was just recovering from the effects of severe floods last month.

Towns hit hardest were Mission Beach, Tully, and Cardwell, all of which are popular tourist towns. No deaths have been reported as of yet, but the damage was extensive, ruining 90% of the buildings in Tully, both The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal reported.

The storm, known as Cyclone Yasi, was named a Category 5 by the Bureau of Meteorology but later downgraded to a Category 2. Still, it was described as one of the biggest storms to hit Australia in a century.

Officials began to advise Queenland residents to flee the area on Monday and Tuesday, and managed to evacuate 30,000 people from Cairns, a town that was narrowly missed by the worst of the storm. The electricity in the town's largest evacuation center, housing 10,000 people overnight, was knocked out by the storm.

Australia, a continent that has endured similar hardships brought by Cyclone Tracy and Cyclone Larry, faces challenges to the previously strong sugar and banana industry.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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