What is it about Palin?

Lisa Belkin is able to make her opinion clear with her feature on the public's, or more specifically, on women's obsession with Sarah Palin in the latest issue of The New York Times.  Belkin explains why women strongly dislike Palin.

Palin was selected to boost McCain's support among women, but in reality it did just the opposite. Dissimilar to what one would think, women are the least supportive of Palin's political career.  

According to Belkin, her looks are about all she has going for herself. There was a moment that women were intrigued by Palin but now, embarrassed, women across America feel that supporting her was in fact a step backward in the feminist movement.

I would consider this feature to be a trend story. Rather than writing specifically about Palin like a profile would, Belkin writes about the women who surround her and the trend of feelings they all share.

I think that Belkin does a good job with this feature. She approached this story in a different angle than other writers have, revealing how women have been affected by her decisions.

Belkin uses an excellent metaphor that associates the situation with life in high school. Today, there are the educated and ambitious women.  In high school these would be the members of the debate team. Then there are others like Palin, who are the head cheerleader, pretty and popular, but have no interest in studying and just assume they could 'breeze in' to anything.

What I did not like about this article actually has nothing to do with the writer or content. I am rather disappointed that the New York Times did not offer a blog or space to make comments about this feature. I would be interested in others opinions.

Meryl Streep More Popular Than Ever

In Vanity Fair's upcoming January issue there is an interesting feature by Leslie Bennett. The story is about Meryl Streep, a 60-year-old woman who has become the industry's "new box-office queen."


After reading the cover story preview from the website, I think the big question this feature asks is how, at the age of 60, has Streep's career unexpectedly shattered many long-standing Hollywood myths.


Bennett says, whoever said there is no life after 40 for women in Hollywood is wrong.


The evidence is indisputable in the case of Streep, who stared in the screen musical Mamma Mia! and played a demanding fashion-magazine editrix in The Devil Wears Parada.


"It's incredible--I'm 60, and I'm playing the romantic lead in romantic comedies!" Streep said, to Bennett. "Bette Davis is rolling over in her grave."


According to Bennett, producers hope for a huge success from Streep's newest movie, It's Complicated, a Christmas release.


I don't think the feature does a very good job in completely its goal of myth busting. Bennett steers away from the topic quickly and focuses on Brigitte Lacombe's 30 years' worth of portrait.


But I think Bennett concludes her profile feature well. By the end, she is able to draw a picture of who Meryl Streep really is to the reader in a rather comical way. Bennett even notes how Streep hates to have her picture taken.


You can see a slide show of Brigitte Lacombe's portraits of Streep onVanity Fair's website.


Overall, I would recommend buying the January issue of Vanity Fair in order to read the feature cover story about Meryl Streep. 

Safe Santas

The Star Tribune's health section offered an important yet entertaining feature by Bill Ward in their last Sunday paper. The story is about how mall Santas are taking matters into their own hands and doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the flu this holiday season.


The problem is 'Santas' are not worthy of early H1N1 vaccinations, therefore they are counting on other methods to keep them and children safe.


According to Ward, "Santas are counting on hand sanitizers and the kindness of strangers to keep their sick children at home." 


Kris Kingles across the United States have been communicating for months about dealing with this pandemic, Ward noted.


"I'm bringing multiple gloves and a quart jar of hand sanitizer to every event," said Santa Tom to Ward. "Whenever I handle a baby, I take the gloves off and Purell my hands."


I think this feature is an informative story because Ward is reminding people to be safe during the holiday season and telling them what they can do to say sick free. He even informs us of who is eligible for the vaccination.


I think Ward does a really good job writing this feature. The topic remains serious but by taking a new approach on it with Santa, it makes for an enjoyable read.

New Catastrophic Fire Alert urges Australians to Flee

     Residents in parts of South Australia have been asked to evacuate their homes as a heat wave forced authorities to issue its first 'catastrophic' fire warning on Tuesday, CNN reported.

            Residents living in the Eastern Eyre Peninsula and West Coast districts were asked to evacuate and people living in Flinders, North West Pastoral and the Lower Eyre Peninsula are under 'extreme' watch according to CNN.

            BBC news reported that this new level of warning was created in order to better alert residents after wild fires killed 173 people, and destroyed 2,000 homes in the State of Victoria earlier this year.

            "In the next couple of days we are going to see high temperatures, very low humidity and very strong winds," said fire service chief Euan Ferguson.

            With the severe drought in the southern region and temperatures rising to an intense 104 F this weekend, conditions will be perfect for fires to ignite, according to CNN.

            This first 'catastrophic' fire warning can only urge people to leave, they cannot be forced to evacuate, BBC reported.

Miami Man Charged for Sears Tower Plot

           A Miami man is being sentenced six years in prison after being convicted for plotting to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower, CBS reported.

     24-year- old Burson Augustin is one of five men who are being convicted for plotting to blow up the Sears Tower. The four other men are scheduled to be sentenced over the next three days, according to BBC News.

      Originally prosecutors were sentencing Augustin to 30 years in prison but Joan Lenard, a U.S. district judge, give him a lighter sentence, BBC News reported.

CBS reported, Augustin had also been convicted for being a supporter of al-Qaeda.

           "Islamic terrorism is one of the most tremendous problems that this country now confronts... and this defendant took an oath to al-Qaeda," the judge said.

            CBS reported, the ringleader of this plot, Narseal Bariste, could face up to 70 years in prison an others involved between 30 and 50 years.

            The Sears Tower has since been re-named to Willis Tower, BBC reported.

Local Italian Restaurant is Growing

The family operated Italian restaurant, Vescio's, located in Dinkytown is expanding into Downtown after opening more than 50 years ago, The Minnesota Daily reported.

With University of Minnesota memorabilia's covering the walls of the restaurant, it has become a tradition for alumni, and people come back to eat at Vescio's long after they graduate, Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association, said.

            The new location, Vescio's Trattoria, will open in the skyway of the Six Quebec building in a couple of weeks. Here, it will compete alongside other 'on-the-go" fast food places such as Taco John's for the fast-paced professional crowd.

            Vescio's menu will differ slightly in order to keep lunch quick for the professional crowd. They will offer cheaper lunch portions such as cold salads and sandwiches that will be prepared ahead of time, giving people the choice to eat in or take their meal back to their offices, according to the Minnesota Daily.

            The restaurant's popular pastas and hot sandwiches will still be available. "Everything will still be homemade, handmade, just like at our other restaurants," manager Fred Vescio said.

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