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May 3, 2007

LAPD under investigation for immigration march violence

Ten people, including seven reporters, were injured during a immigration march turned violent when LAPD officers tried to break it up late Tuesday, LA Times reported.

Eight officers were treated for injuries as well, but only after the officers began shooting rubber bullets and hitting participants and bystanders with batons. Organizers had a permit to stay in the area until 9 p.m., but police ordered to clear the area out. Officers formed a line and cleared the area, pushing over reporters and people in their way. But the biggest concern of Police Chief Bratton is that 240 rounds were fired, with no arrests. Others are concerned because they feel the LAPD officers targetted immigrants with rubber bullets.

Police Chief has requested that the FBI launch its own investigation of the incident.

CNN reported that Bratton said that part of the confusion or violence may have been caused because the order to disperse came from a helicopter in English, and most of the attendees were Spanish-speakers.

April 30, 2007

Google it: public records

The company that is a noun and used as a verb is working to make public records with certain states more available through the internet, AP reported.

The company is providing state government with free consulting and software to break the barrier the seach engine has had with searching public records dealing with real estate, education, etc. They are working with Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia, but the info will not be exclusive to Google alone, but all search engines.

This will sure help journalists' jobs easier. Soon you will be able to Google anything and find it. Google has really outdone themselves on this one.

April 29, 2007

Firefighters supress 70 percent of Georgia wildfire

A fire that began April 16, burning more than 100 square miles of forest and swampland in Georgia, was mostly contained by firefighters Sunday, Associated Press reported.

At least nine families were evacuated from their homes. Although officials say that 70 percent of the fire has been contained, the fire should continue to rage because of high winds and no rain in the forecast.

Apparently, the smoke got so bad that it was blowing over to Florida Sunday and several residents called authorities worried about brush fires, WFTV reported.

The fire has destroyed about $65 million in timber, and farmers are going to have a hard road to recovery, Florida Times-Union reported.But farmer can salvage some of the trees after they are burned and before they rot.

April 21, 2007

Infant death rates rise in south

The rates of death for infants are on the rise, some think a big part of it has to do with obese mothers, NY Times reported.

The data is defined by the number of deaths before the age of one, per thousand life births. In 2004, the rate was 9.7 and jumped to 11.4 in 2005 in Mississipi. The national average most recently compiled is 6.9 for 2003.

Some also think that it could be the result of a lack of resources and medical care.

The story was really interesting but it seemed like it didn't really talk about how this could be addressed. But still very interesting article.

April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre

A 23-year-old Virginia Tech student from South Korea killed 32 and died himself Monday, leaving the nation stunned and the campus mourning, AP reported.

Cho Seung-Hui, 23, has been identified as the killer. The police don't know his motive, but school spokesman said that he was a loner. There was two attacks that took place two hours apart. At first police didn't know whether the attacks were related. Cho used two pistols to kill 32 people, 31 of them were in one building. Twelve people are still in urgent care, and the doctor said each victim had at least three gun shot wounds.

The story is unbelieavable, and many people are wondering why there wasn't enough warning after the first shooting took place at 7 a.m. Police say that they thought the incidents were at first unrelated and this is why they didn't make a P.A. announcement, but sent out an e-mail.

April 10, 2007

Imus suspended for racial comments

MSNBC and CBS radio talk-show host Don Imus is being suspended for two weeks after calling the Rutgers women's basketball team a bunch of "nappy-headed hos," Associated Press reported.

Although Imus is known for making insults at various groups of people and politicians, this joke struck the wrong chord and went too far.

Al Sharpton, who hosted Imus on his show for an apology Monday, said the apology is not enough and that he wants him fired, CNN reported. Other leaders in the black community are asking for the same.

The Associated Press article said that his job all depends on whether advertisers will choose to shy away from him because of the incident, but I wonder if more will be drawn because of the controversy. A lot of times more people want to hear what the fuss is all about and will listen to a talk-show host after they are clouded by controversy. Both articles did a great job talking about the issue, though the CNN article seemed a little more biased towards the situation.

April 4, 2007

Correction: Eminem can criticize his ex-wife

In an article published in the Star Tribune, but reported by the Associated Press, the reporter incorrectly said that Eminem and his ex-wife Kim Mathers, agreed in a court dispute that prohibits them from criticizing one another. In actuality they can't criticize eachother in front of their daughter Hailie.

I thought this could have been avoided if the reporter would just have done a little more probing and clarifying the exact order of the settlement. If the story was about this, you would think that he would have that essential part of the story correct. But often times these things can be missed.

March 29, 2007

Parkinson's drug pulled off market

A drug used to treat Parkinson's disease is being pulled off the market after reports of heart valve damage were released, Associated Press reported.

The Food and Drug Administration announced pergolide, sold under the name Permax is being taken off the market because at least 14 patients have needed their heart valves replaced.

Robert Temple, head of FDA's Office of Drug Evaluation, said people shouldn't go off of the drug right away, but should phase themselves into alternative medicines, Reuters reported.

The drug has about 12,000 and 25,000 presriptions a year.

The Reuters article was very brief but a bit confusing. The AP article was concise.

March 23, 2007

Landslide of foreclosures

Foreclosures are taking a toll on towns across the country, NY Times and Associated Press report.

NY Times reported that in 1995 there were 2,500 foreclosed homes, last year there were 15,000.

Experts and oficials blame the rise to a poor housing market, weak economy, and subprime loans with high interest rates that people can't afford. In Ohio, there are more than 200 vacant homes in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland. Officials are trying to maintain the vacant homes while they are vacant to prevent the home values from going down, as well as the value's of other homes in the neighborhood.

In Washinton, politicians are taking a closer look to address the growing issue, '"What we're looking at is a tsunami of foreclosures that is on the horizon," Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., declared at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee," the Associated Press reported. The article also spoke about some of the presidential candidates, Clinton and Obama and their takes on how the issue needs to be addressed.

Here in the Minneapolis, foreclosure rates are on the rise as well. Recently, Mayor RT Rybak included 311 phone system to provide residents who may be struggling to pay their mortgages. The program is supposed to provide home owners with resources to help prevent their homes from foreclosing. Rybak said the sooner someone calls, the better the chances are that the operator would be able to get them help and to the right people.

March 11, 2007

I. Lewis Libby: who wins, who loses?

NY Times discussed in an article the result of what the I. Lewis Libby case will have on the government or sources and the journalists that work with them. Who is going to suffer more as a result? The article said that everyone is going to lose something, but mostly "the benefit of the doubt" and government officials are going to have to show their information to convince journalists more.

Journalists are worried that the result of the trial will give sources another reason to keep their silence and not give the input because now even anonymous sources can be called out by the courts, it seems like whenever they want. The Times said that both journalists and sources are going to have to show their work more. Most recently the U.S. armed forces finally revealed their evidence for the conclusion that Iran is aiding insurgents in the Iraq War. The officials showed the weapons and serial numbers that are supposed to point to where the weapons were built, Iran. Quickly Bush and others leaders clarified themselves saying that there is no way of knowing whether the leaders in Iran are tied to the weapons or are sending them, which they originally had announced.

The result creates much more skepticism of both journalists and government officials. Most notably the article was written by David E. Sanger, who testified in the Libby case under subpoena.

NCAA brackets announced

For the lighter side of things, the NCAA Men's Basketball tournamnet brackets were announced, along with the number one seeds, Associated Press reported.

The number one seeds went to Ohio State, Kansas, Florida and North Carolina. All four won their conference championships. Florida, the defending champs, are hoping for a repeat. Florida Football also won the championship this year.

Georgetown, which many thought were going to be a No. 1 seed, got a No. 2 seed.

March 3, 2007

Army Secretary is forced to resign

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey was forced to resign Friday because soldiers were being slowly treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, NY Times reported.

Robert M. Gates, the secretary of defense, announced Harvey's dismissal. Gates said Harvey's response to the poor conditions at the hospital was inadequate and slow. President George W. Bush ordered an investigation into the conditions of the way the soldiers were treated from when they entered the hospital and after they left the service into veterans care. The resignation is the latest of a scandal that the Washington Post exposed several weeks ago, citing unhealthy living conditions at Walter Reed, NPR reported.

February 28, 2007

Conservative group says Al Gore is hypocrite

According to a conservative group in Tennessee, Al Gore's own truth of global warming is inconvenient, AP reported.

Tennessee Center for Policy Research looked at Gore's electrical bill, concluding his mansion uses more than 20 times the energy use of an average home.

The policy center said Gore's home used more than 221,000 kilowatt hours last year, while the Associated Press, which reviewed his utility bill records said he used 191,000 kilowatt hours last year. The AP also reported that the conservative research group never got its records from the Nashville Electric Service, even though they had told the AP they did, implying the group's records are fabricated.

Daily News and Analysis reported that according to Nashville Electric Service spokesperson Laurie Parker, "Gore has been purchasing green power for $432 a month since November. Gore purchases 108 such blocks every month at $4 per block, covering 16,200 kilowatt-hours and helping subsidise renewable energy sources."

February 24, 2007

Snow storm hits plains

Snow storm finally showed up closing roads across the Midwest, many areas getting more than a foot of snow, Associated Press reported.

Some of the major interstate highways that stretch across the country were closed. A 125-mile stretch of I-80 was closed in both direction in western Nebraska.

The Star Tribune reported that some areas in southern Minnesota are reported to have gotten over 14 inches of snow already. The storm hit Minnesota hard, causing car accidents and the airport to temporarily close.

The Nation Weather Service in Chanhassen said some of the areas will double their year's total snowfall over this weekend.

The storm is expected to last until Sunday night and the worst is yet to come, Pioneer Press reported, saying, "The biggest storm to hit the Twin Cities in years is underway," in their lead.

February 14, 2007

Army opens doors to more criminals

The U.S. military is accepting more recruits with criminal records due to a low number of volunteer recruits, Associated Press reported.

Department of Defense records showed the Army and Marines needing more waivers for recruits with felonies and other offenses since the Iraq War began in 2003, Sky News reported.

The Army granted more than double waivers in 2006 in comparison to 2003 and more than half of the Marine recruits needed a waiver in 2006.

The Sky News article seemed to summarize the data, offering very few sources. The Associated Press story seemed to focus on the disapproval of the Iraq War.

February 7, 2007

Atstronaut charged with murder returns to work

Astronaut charged with attempted murder returned home to Houston after appearing in court in Orlando, Fla, AP reported.
Astronaut, Lisa Nowak, was charged with attempted murder of Colleen Shipman, 30, both of whom were involved in a relationship with a fellow astronaut pilot, CNN reported.

AP reported the police calling the incident as a "love triangle" dispute.

Much of what CNN reported was based on the AP report. AP article is strangely organized and the second and third graphs should have been lower. The news doesn't come until the forth graph, which should really be a higher. The article jumps around a little between sources, but still groups most sources and information together.

February 1, 2007

Senate passes $7.25 minimum wage

The Senate passed a $2.10 increase to the minimum wage, by a 94-3 vote, CNN reported Thursday.

With the minimum wage increase, the bill also gives $8 billion in tax breaks to small businesses and increased taxes for $1 million-plus executives, Star Tribune reported.

Both Democrats and Republicans claimed victory. It would have been interesting to hear how this increase in minimum wage will affect businesses who will be forced to pay employees more. McDonalds anyone?

January 31, 2007

Promo campaign causes Boston bomb scare

Electronic light boards with a cartoon character raising his middle finger were thought to be bombs, causing a scare in Boston Wednesday, CNN reported.

The light boards were actually representing part of a promotional ad campaign for a late-night cartoon series on Adult Swim, created by the Turner Broadcasting Co.

The incident threw people into a frenzy, creating blocked highways and panic, as part of what some politicians called a "publicity stunt."

It is interesting that although the campaign was in other cities, only Boston had such a scare with the devices.

January 26, 2007

Teen kills mom with sword

The Associated Press reported 16-year-old Josh Gilchrist was shot and killed by Huron, South Dakota police officers after he had already killed his mom and injured others.

A police officer was treated, along with several others at the hospital but were later released.

Police do not know a motive for the crime. The article said police killed the boy after he "started swinging the sword and struck one of the officers several times."

I thought the lead was odd, that it started out with "Police are trying to figure out why..." it explains a very crucial aspect of the story but is an odd way and clumpy way to start a lead.

January 24, 2007

Bush State of the Union talks war

President Bush's State of the Union address focused on his plan to add more troops in Iraq, a reduction in gas consumption, and a new healthcare plan, the Star Tribune reported today. Although Democrats applauded his gas-efficiency plan, few applauded his new Iraq plan to add more troops.

CNN reported that Bush's speech got a positive response from three-fourths of those who watched it, according to a poll taken.

While the Star Tribune mostly focused on his new policies, the CNN article had an additional subhead on "immigration reform". The Star Tribune article's lead was too wordy and a little bit hard to follow. While the CNN article presented the address in a clear way.