March 2011 Archives

Analysis: Obituary for Elizabeth Taylor

The New York Times obituary of Elizabeth Taylor by Mel Gussow is a very extensive portrait of the legendary hollywood icon.

It depicts her illustrious acting career that spanned over 70 years, using famous directors as sources, such as Mike Nichols and Joseph L. Mankiewicz to give the reader a better idea of how people in the business viewed her.

The lead is written in standard New York Times obituary format, giving her name, her iconic status, where and when she died and how old she was when she died. The lead works well, because it still does a good job of showing the reader how important she was in the Hollywood industry.

The obit differs from a resume, because it doesn't simply list every movie role she has ever been in and accolades she has received. It quite often mentions her most famous roles and awards, but it does so within the context of a story.

Gussow shows us many of the aspects that defined Taylor, such as her beauty, her personality, and her philanthropic work.

Though oftentimes an obituary does not mention how many times a person has remarried, but since Taylor was infamous for her eight marriages, so it was relavant to mention them in a tasteful manner.

The story also includes her history with alcohol and drugs, albeit briefly. This is normally not included in an obituary, but as with the marriages, Taylor was also famous for her battle with drugs, alcohol, and overeating.

It would be more noticeable if these unfortunate facts were not included about her, so Gussow was obligated to include them.

Overall, the story does a good job of showing us just how important Elizabeth Taylor was not only to Hollywood, but also the nation.

Spring breakers cause Burger King chaos after girl goes wild

A bikini-clad woman on spring break started a riot inside a Panama City, Fla. Burger King on Saturday.

Kimesia Smith, angry about waiting for her Whopper Jr. and fries, jumped up on the counter and started pulling an employee's hair, in a New York Daily News story.

Smith's outburst sparked others in the Burger King to partake in the food fight as one onlooker filmed the incident.

Smith was later arrested and charged with battery, according to NBC Miami.

According to the police report, Smith tried to pull away after being handcuffed and said, "Take your damn hands off me, you can't touch me."

Two Reuters journalists reported missing in Syria

Two Reuters television journalists have been missing in Syria since Saturday, when they were expected to return to Lebanon.

Beirut-based producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji were expected to arrive at Lebanon Saturday night to be picked up by a taxi, but they never arrived, Reuters reported.

They were last heard on Saturday night at 5:22 p.m. GMT, when Baltaji sent a phone message to a Beirut colleague saying, "We will leave now."

They traveled to Syria on Thursday to report on the country's unrest after the ongoing protestests, CNN said.

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said in a Reuters report, "Reuters is deeply concerned about our two Reuters television colleagues who went missing in Syria on Saturday. We have reached out to the relevant authorities in Syria and have asked for their help in securing our colleagues' safe return home."

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she will introduce a bill that will require the military to permanently preserve records of sexual assault cases.

This bill will assist victims of military sexual assault and trauma who might not immediately report the case, but need benefits and treatment afterwards, said the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota Democrat said that the military has reported over 3,000 sexual assaults in 2009, which was up 11 percent from 2008, in a WQOW News report.

Military Sexual Trauma has become a big issue within the military since more women have been joining the military. As much as 21 percent of women tested by the military in 2008 were found to have been victims of MST.

Klobuchar said the bill requires little funding since military documents are already kept digitally.

The bill has received strong bipartisan support and is only a small stepping stone in the effort to prevent MST.

Winners of $319 Million jackpot have yet to come forward

The Mega Millions lottery announced its winning numbers of the $319 million jackpot on Friday in Albany, N.Y., but the winners have yet to claim the prize.

Coulson's News Center in downtown Albany sold the only winning ticket of the lottery played in 41 states, including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, meaning the jackpot will not have to be shared, in a Times Union story.

According to CNN News, the winners were seven IT specialists from New York's Housing and Community Renewal, who will together share a lump sum of $202.9 million.

25 percent in federal taxes and 8.97 percent in state taxes is taken off the top of the jackpot, which amounts in $116.1 million taken from the $319 million jackpot.

The winning numbers were 22, 24, 31, 52, and 54. The Mega Ball number was 4.

The winners of the jackpot have up to one year after the winning numbers were announced to claim their prize.

The Minnesota chapter of Society of Professional Journalists has come to the defense of Minneapolis blogger John Hoff who is trying to overturn a jury's verdict that he pay damages for defaming a former community organizer.

Hoff, also known as "Johnny Northside," was sued for his blog post that defamed former community organizer Jerry Moore and was ordered to pay $60,000 in damages after Moore was fired after Hoff's defamatory statements, MPR News reported.

Hennepin County District Judge Denise Riley will consider whether to throw out the jury's verdict and the Society of Professional Journalists has asked to have its "friends of the court" brief considered in the decision, in a Star Tribune story.

Attorneys for the Minnesota SPJ have argued that the case is in their interest because the verdict implies that journalists and others can be held liable for making truthful statements online, which could lead to a chilling effect.

Some legal experts have said they doubt that the verdict will survive the appeal and Hoff showed his gratitude for the SPJ standing by his side in the appeal.

Timberwolves have new stadium plans

The Minnesota Timberwolves have announced a plan known as a "global solution" for Minnesota's Vikings and Timberwolves stadium issues.

The plan would include a new regional sports authority with costs that would amount to $1.73 billion to be paid for by bonds issued by the Metropolitan Council, The Associated Press reported.

This new sports authority would build a new Vikings stadium, renovate the Target Center, build a new St. Paul Saints ballpark, and acquire the debt of the Excel Center.

The primary funding would come from taxpayers that would result in $74 million annually, in a Star Tribune story.

Although members of the Minneapolis City Council are concerned over aspects of this new plan, such as keeping the Metrodome and have two football stadiums, many members are expected to be in favor of a regional sports authority.

Possible crime link in tour bus accident

14 people died when a tour bus overturned in the Bronx on Saturday.

Police are trying to find if there was a criminal connection to the bus that overturned when returning from an overnight casino trip, in a USA Today story.

The bus driver, Ophadel E. Williams, 40, told CNN was cut off by a truck driver which caused him to swerve into a guardrail, flipped the bus on its side and hit a pole that cut through two-thirds of the bus

Eight of the 31 passengers also suffered serious injuries and were hospitalized.

Police said it could take a long time before they might discover any possible criminal connections to the accident.

Japan Earthquake may cause nuclear meltdown

The crew of a nuclear power plant in Japan resorted to flooding the nuclear reactor with sea water to prevent a core meltdown on Saturday after Friday's earthquake.

The earthquake was the most powerful in Japan's recorded history has killed 686 people, though the government says it could likely reach over 1,000, the Associated Press said.

Saturday night, three patients at a hospital tested positive for radiation exposure, in a CNN report.

If the workers fail to cool the nuclear reactor fuel completely, the plant could see enormous damage and radiation could be released into the atmosphere, although experts are saying failure to cool the reactor would be unlikely.

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami and an explosion at the nuclear plant within a span of 36 hours.

Further rebellion in Libya, not likely to end easily

The opposition to Gadhafi's troops claimed a victory in Libya on Sunday, maintaining of Mistrata, eyewitnesses told CNN.

42 people were killed in the battle, 17 of them from the opposition and one as victim as young as 3 years old.

The death toll in Libya could range anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 deaths since the uprising that began on February 15.

The revolt has blocked about 60 percent of Libya's 1.6 million bdp oil output, the International Energy Agency told Reuters.

Almost 200,000 people have fled Libya, with most fleeing to Tunisia and Egypt.

Benjamin Barber, a fellow at the New York-based Demos think tanks, thinks that the violence is unlikely to end even after a Gadhafi ousting.

Analysis: Obama news release

A Wall Street Journal story was written about President Barack Obama's Weekly Adress .

The story focuses on Obama's request for compromise between Democrats and Republicans in Congress so that an agreement can be made on the 2011 budget and to keep the government funded for the whole year.

The story contained more factual information than Obama's weekly address, because Obama's address had more generalized information, such as when he said the unemployment rate was going down.

The Wall Street Journal story gave specific numbers, saying that the unemployment rate decreased from 9.8% to 8.9%.

The reason why the WSJ story had more specific factual information was because Obama's address was too generalized because it was written in the form of a speech than just the facts.

The reader needs more information than Obama gave, as well as an opposing opinion, which the Wall Street Journal had. This is to give the story a greater sense of neutrality on Obama's issues.

The Wall Street Journal also found the most important information of Obama's address, such as his willingness to make more spending cuts, so that the reader gets a clearer view of what Obama was trying to get across.

The Wall Street Journal story didn't use too many quotes from the address either, because it made for a better story to paraphrase and use quotes from Obama sparingly for emphasis.

Overall, the Wall Street Journal story was able to get Obama's point across, give more important factual information and show the point of view of his opponents. This makes for a better story than if they simply reiterated what Obama said in his weekly address.

Ohio DUI suspect drinks in front of police officer

An Ohio man took a swig from an open can of beer and replied, "yes," when he was asked if he was drinking on Wednesday, northern Ohio police said.

25-year-old Stephen Supers was pulled over by police fo speeding and failed a series of sobriety tests after drinking in front of the officer, MSNBC news reported.

After searching Supers' car, police found a glass pipe with white residue and a small bag of marijuana, to which Supers admitted to smoking crack cocaine, Fox 8 News found in the police report.

Police searched Supers driving record to find that Supers' license was suspended on Feb. 11, 2011.

Supers was charged with driving under the influence, driving under suspension, possession of marijuana and possession of a drug abuse instrument and is awaiting his court appearance.

Chanhassen residents left responsible for sewage mess

Members of a Chanhassen neighborhood are left with the bill after insurance companies would not pay for damages from the sewage that gushed up from basement toilets and floor drains a few weeks ago.

Insurance companies have stated that they will pay for nothing, leaving some of the affected 25 homeowners with bills exceeding $25,000, in a Star Tribune report.

Chanhassen city manager Todd Gerhardt announced that the city did everything they were supposed to in maintaining the water main and the sewer line, which caused the sewage problem in the first place, the Pioneer Press said.

Most members of the Chanhassen neighborhood did not have insurance that would protect them from a damaged water main, which would cost a few extra dollars a month, and were left without help from the insurance companies.

Now many people are trying to find ways to receive help with the damages and have upgraded their insurance to include sewage problems.

Two arrested after mom throws baby into snow

A mother threw her 18-day-old infant into a snow bank in south Minneapolis Saturday morning, witnesses said.

Witnesses retrieved the baby from the snow moments after 21-year-old Ashley Renee Couch threw the baby into the snow during a domestic dispute with Deontae Thurmond, the baby's father, the Pioneer Press reported.

Couch was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and Thurmond on suspicion of domestic assault.

The baby was taken to the hospital with a life-threatening core temperature of 95 degrees, which is known to be low enough to be life threatening, the Star Tribune said.

The baby girl handled treatment well but remained in the emergency room Saturday night.

Anti-gay protesters win Supreme Court case

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of an anti-gay church over a grieving father, whose Marine son's funeral was protested by the church, in an 8-1 ruling on Thursday.

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. had gained notoriety for protesting the funerals of the military by saying that God has punished them for fighting for a nation that is tolerant of homosexuality, the Star Tribune said.

The court decided that the peaceful protest of a funeral was protected by the First Amendment.

The Snyder family sued the church in 2007 for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy after protesting their Marine son's funeral, in a CNN report.

In his opinion of the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the First Amendment protects, "even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

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