March 2011 Archives

Analysis: Numbers

The reporter in the article from the Los Angeles Times uses a majority of percentages and some figures to illustrate the story.

I think the author could have told his story better if he had utilized other ways to show the numbers. For instance, he said 52 percent of the poll, while it probably would have been more effective if he had said "more than half." He also listed what what percentage the CEOs thought the economy would expand 2.9 percent, up from 2.5 percent, whereas it would be better to say "an increase of 0.4 percent."

The numbers are very overwhelming and I don't feel completely convey the significance of the story. And also, he uses the wrong AP Style format for percent!

Also, they list the names of the surveys, but not the methodologies, such as the number of people surveyed and who they are.

Exclusive college sites for casual sex expands

A new website targeted to "hookup" college students for casual sex expanded to include three universities, according to MSNBC.

The site, eduHookups, was created in February by a student at the University of Chicago, and has since grown to include Northwestern University and Columbia College Chicago, reported the Daily Northwestern.

Eligible students, who must register with their official school email address, can post anonymously in sections for "platonic" or "serious," in addition to listings for "casual" no-strings-attached hookups, said MSNBC.

The Daily Northwestern reported that with over 900 members, the site is looking to explore to Washington University in St. Louis, Yale and Brown Universities.

Meth conviction reversed due to unwarranted search

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed a methamphetamine possession charge resulting from a car search due to mismatched licenses Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.

In a 4-3 decision, the court said a search of Erika Diede's cigarette pack was unwarranted, especially because she initially refused to give permission, according to a Supreme Court opinion document.

Diede, who was convicted on fifth-degree drug possession in 2008, appealed the decision twice, the second time to the Supreme Court, reported the Star Tribune.

Officers pulled Diede over because her license plates were from another vehicle, which was later found to be legal, said the Star Tribune.

They arrested the passenger in her car, the Star Tribune said, on suspicions of previously selling drugs.

After a suspicious package discovered in a checked bag Wednesday afternoon shut down Rochester International Airport, it re-opened, according to the Associated Press.

The Star Tribune reported that the main terminal was evacuated at 4 p.m., but the bomb squad found nothing "dangerous."

The airport diverted incoming flights and delayed outgoing ones until shortly after 7 p.m., according to the Associated Press.

The Transportation Security Administration and local law enforcement is interviewing the passenger who checked the bag, said the Star Tribune.

President Barack Obama tasked the U.S. with reducing foreign oil imports by one-third within the next decade in a speech Wednesday, reported the New York Times.

In a speech at Georgetown University, Obama said the U.S. needs to develop other energy sources, such as electric cars, biofuels and domestic drilling, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Currently, the U.S. consumes one-fourth of the world's oil, but only contains 2 percent of global reserves, said the New York Times.

Obama said the U.S. "can't rush to propose action when prices are high, then push the snooze button when they go down again," like it has throughout history.

Despite Japan's ongoing crisis at its nuclear reactor complex, Obama said nuclear energy will continue to be an important electricity source, reported the Christian Science Monitor.

Libyan foreign minister resigns as rebels retreat

Col. Muammar el-Qadaffi's rebel gained ground Wednesday although Libya's foreign minister resigned from his post, according to the New York Times.

The British Government told the Wall Street Journal that Moussa Koussa, who is the highest-level official to quit since the uprising began, arrived in London Wednesday.
This is a significant blow for the regime, which looks as if it is crumbling from within," a British official told the Wall Street Journal.

Despite NATO airstrikes, rebels continued to retreat toward Benghazi, their stronghold, which was reached by Qadaffi's forces two weeks ago before the bombing began, reported the New York Times.

The New York Times said the Obama administration would continue to encourage confidants of Qaddafi to abandon their leadership positions.

Analysis: Obits

The obituary for Frank Neuhauser in the New York Times contains an attention-grabbing lead for what he was most known for.

The following paragraphs do not describe the cause of death. It is not until the 6th paragraph in fact, that his death is mentioned. His son confirmed the death and is the only source in the story.

The "claim-to-fame" section reads as a history of the Spelling Bee, not Neuhauser's life. It is not until far down in the story that we continue to follow the typical structure with when and where he was born.

Two paragraphs follow it. The first describes small details that Neuhauser told The Washington Post in 1977. The second reads like a resume.

There are semblances of the New York Times structure we talked about in class, but they are scattered between what appears to be a history of the National Spelling Bee. This would be a better feature than an obituary because it did not focus on Frank Neuhauser.

A 9-year-old Georgia girl almost died when she shoved her younger sister out of the way and took the hit from an oncoming pick-up truck last month, according to the Huffington Post.

Anaiah Tucker, of Madison, Ga., suffered a damaged spleen, lost a kidney, broke her neck and both legs, resulting in the amputation of her left one, when the truck hit, according to MSNBC.

Tucker pushed sister Camry, 5, aside when she saw the truck approaching as they crossed the street to catch the school bus, reported the Huffington Post.

The school bus driver, who arrived moments later, performed CPR on Anaiah, said MSNBC.

Their mother, Andrea Taylor, told MSNBC that the community has been helping pay for Anaiah's medical bills because she is unemployed.

The Huffington Post reported that the driver of the truck faced no charges.

U Professor complains, Apple's 'gay cure' app deleted

Apple eliminated a "gay-cure" application Wednesday after a University of Minnesota professor, among other complaints, said it misused his research, according to the Star Tribune.

The app, sponsored by Exodus International, a Christian group, linked to an article by Gary Remafedi, a University pediatrics professor, who did a 1992 study on demographics of adolescent sexual orientation in Minnesota, reported the Minnesota Daily.

The Guardian reported 140,000 people signed a petition to remove the application, which promises "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus."

Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesperson, told the Star Tribune that the application was removed "because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people."

S. D. law requires women to be counseled before abortions

South Dakota's Republican governor signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires pregnant women to submit to counseling at a "public health center" before getting an abortion and extends the waiting-period to three days, according to the New York Times.

The new law, which was passed in a Legislature where Democrats are outnumbered 3 to 1 by Republicans, is one of many bills to reduce abortions being proposed in states around the country this year, said Reuters.

"South Dakota women should not need to submit to an in-person lecture from an unqualified, noncertified, faith-based counselor or volunteer at an antichoice crisis pregnancy center," Peggy Gibson, a Democratic state representative who voted against the bill, told the New York Times.

Planned Parenthood, which owns the only health center in South Dakota that performs abortions promised a lawsuit, reported Reuters.

The center must fly in doctors from Minnesota because none of the local doctors will consent to perform abortions, according to the New York Times.

U.S. jet crashes in Libya, pilots safe

A U.S. fighter jet crashed Monday night in Libya in one of the first known mishap of international forces, but both pilots are safe, according to the New York Times.

The Associated Press reported that the F-15E Strike Eagle jet was on a mission against Col. Moammer Gadhaffi's forces when its equipment malfunctioned.

After both pilots were ejected from the aircraft, one was found by a coalition rescue team and the other by the Libyan people, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the U.S. tactical commander of the mission, told the New York Times.

"I hugged him and said don't be scared we are your friends," Younis Amruni, a 27-year-old Libyan who saw the pilot parachute into the field, told the Telegraph.

The U.S. and European forces, authorized by the United Nations Security Council, began a series of air strikes Saturday, said the New York Times.

Dayton calls GOP healthcare bill "fantasy"

Gov. Mark Dayton criticized a GOP health care budget bill in the House Tuesday that would slash aid to Medicaid spending, deeming it a "fantasy," according to the Associated Press.

Assuming the federal government will grant the waiver when it never had done so before and does not intend to is "not responsible," Dayton told the Star Tribune.

Republicans estimate the global waiver would save Minnesota $300 million, reported the Star Tribune, but have been unable to get a formal judgment.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Abeler, would abolish health care for 7,200 Minnesotans and cut aid to programs for seniors and disabled people, said the Associated Press.

"We should easily be able to save that must just by taking over the feds," Anoka told the Star Tribune Monday.

Audit: sex offenders generating unnecessary costs

Hundreds of sex offenders held in Minnesota are draining money from a state that could save resources by sending idle offenders to halfway houses, according to the Star Tribune.

An audit found Friday that the number of sex offenders in Minnesota's Sex Offender Program has nearly quadrupled to more than 575 in the last decade, said the Pioneer Press.

Legislative auditor Jim Nobles told the Pioneer Press that the state can only send sex offenders to a "high-security, high-cost facility from which they may never get out" or "free them after one prison term."

The annual cost is about $120,000 to house a sex offender, which is three times the cost of prison, said the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune said it's impossible to tell whether the program is effective because an offender has never been released from the program.

Two University of Minnesota professors indicted for fraud

Two University of Minnesota professors were indicted Tuesday in Georgia for an alleged scheme to receive paychecks from both the University and former employer Georgia Tech, said the Minnesota Daily.

Francois Sainfort and wife Julie Jacko face charges of conspiracy, theft and false statements, according to the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune reported that Sainfort could receive 165 years in prison and $1.04 million in fines, while Jacko could get 115 years in prison and $902,000 in fines.

The couple's attorney, Martin Goldberg, told the Minnesota Daily that they are "disappointed in Georgia Tech's decision to frame this as a criminal matter."

Earthquake, tsunami wreaks havoc on Japan

TOKYO -- One of the largest earthquakes in a century hit Japan Friday, creating a tsunami that put the entire Pacific on alert and killing hundreds, according to the Associated Press.

The quake carried away homes and cars and caused widespread fires and major damage to highways, buildings and farmland, said the New York Times.

The official death toll in Japan has been placed at 300, but is expected to rise due to the number of missing persons, reported the New York Times.

A geological survey scientist told the Associated Press that the energy of the quake is almost equal to one month's worth of energy consumption in the U.S.

President Obama promised U.S. assistance to Japan, said the Associated Press.

The University of Minnesota mascot was punched at a Saturday athletic event by a professor at a nearby college, resulting a citation for disorderly connect and a year-long ban from the premises according to the Minnesota Daily.

Douglas Dokken, 60, a math professor at St. Thomas, punched Goldy Gopher twice during a men's gymnastics meet in the Sports Pavilion, damaging the mask, reported the Star Tribune.

The University student behind Goldy, who was not injured, reported the incident to security personnel, reported the Star Tribune.

Witnesses told the Minnesota Daily Goldy was "messing" with Dokken by tapping him on the shoulder and ruffling his hair.

Dokken, who received his doctorate from the University, told the Star Tribune that he deeply regrets the incident.

CDC: Cancer survivor rate in US increases

The rate of cancers survivors increased to one in 12 adults in the United States due to better treatment and earlier detection, according to the Associated Press.

In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number of cancer survivors more than tripled since 1971, up to 11.7 million said Reuters.

Health officials told the Associated Press Thursday preventive steps, such as less smoking, as well as an increase in the number of the population that is 65 or older, who are more susceptible to cancer, could also have lead to the increase.

Women make up 54 percent of survivors, while those with breast cancer account for 22 percent of the increase reported Reuters.

The Associated Press said the survivor count includes anyone diagnosed with cancers, not including any skin types except for melanoma, who has been cured, is getting treatment or may be dying from the disease.

Analysis: Speech/Press Conference

The MinnPost story focused on the content of ARC's press conference that dealt with budget cuts, urging Gov. Dayton and Legislatures to protect disability services. It also included the phrase "political hockey puck" among quotes by the director of ARC's public relations.

The ARC press release revealed other details omitted in the article, including two speakers, one with a developmental disability and one a parent of a child with a disability, who gave testimonials of how the state programs through ARC have saved the state money whilst helping them immensely.

ARC also revealed a new logo and tagline at the conference, as well as promoted the non-profit organization. Both were not mentioned on MinnPost.

What was odd to me is the article did not mention the number of members, though it was provided at the bottom of the press release.

Northwestern class observed live sex toy demo

Students in a sexuality class at Northwestern University attended an optional demonstration Feb. 21 featuring a naked woman publicly penetrating herself with a sex toy, according to the Daily Northwestern.

Psychology Prof. John Michael Bailey invited the 622 students from his human sexuality class to the presentation, which included a question and answer period about fetishes, said MSNBC.

Bailey frequently holds educational panels, with guests ranging from swingers to convicted sexual predators, reported the Daily Northwestern.

The addendums do not appear on any exams, said the Daily Northwestern.

"Stick and stones may break your bones, but watching naked people on stage doing pleasurable things will never hurt you," Bailey told the crowd of more than 120 students, according to MSNBC.

Minnesota unemployment rate at two-year low

Unemployment rate in Minnesota fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, with 2,000 added jobs according to Business North.

Education and health services lead growth, adding 4,200 positions in January, while retail trade and government lost jobs said the Star Tribune.

"The figures indicate a slow but steady improvement in the Minnesota Labor Market," Mark Phillips, the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development told Business North.

Minnesota had a job growth rate of 0.6 percent over the past year, according to Business North.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7 percent in January, reported the Star Tribune.

Bachmann proposes $700 million bridge on St. Croix River

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann proposed a bill Tuesday that would build a four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River, according to MinnPost.

The National Park Service ruled that the bridge would violate the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act after it was proposed last October, said the Star Tribune.

Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum said she would "do everything in my power" to defeat the $700 million dollar bill, reported the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune said Bachmann introduced a similar bill the previous year but received no support.

American Rivers named the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway one of America's Most Endangered Rivers, according to MinnPost.

Danish hostages knew piracy dangers before sailing

Despite knowledge that they were sailing into waters frequented by pirates, a Danish family continued their round-the-world trip and was captured Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

A Somali pirate told the Associated Press that Jan and Birgit Johnasen, their teenage children and two deck hands would be killed if an attempt was made to rescue them.

The New York Daily News reported that on a blog written last week by the Johnasens from their 43-foot-long boat, they specified that they had a "piracy plan" if the boat were seized.

"They sailed right into the pirates' arms," Per Gullestrup, head of a Danish shipowner Clipper, told the Associated Press.

Last week Somali pirates shot and killed four American hostages, reported the New York Daily News.

Wis. Gov's budget slashes aid to education

Wis. Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget revealed Tuesday would cut $1.5 billion from public schools and local governments, according to the Associated Press.

The budget would reduce the aid given to school districts by 5.5 percent and cut $250 million from the University of Wisconsin system, said the Wisconsin State Journal.

Walker told Legislature that these cuts could be avoided by requiring government workers to pay more for their pensions and health care benefits, said the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported that Walker's budget, which would reduce the rights of public workers in collective bargaining, drew thousands of protesters to the Capitol over the past three weeks.

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