May 4, 2008

Analysis on CAR

The story I picked for this analysis is titled, "Joel Grover Investigation: 'Contaminated Water?'," and was done by KNBC in Las Angeles.

The story investigates possible contaminated water in public schools. After testing different water, they analyzed it to see how contaminated it was, and where the worst water was going. They also looked at old water test records for the city and public schools. In a separate investigation they checked logs and watched workers at public schools to see if they were doing their jobs correctly by cleaning water fountains properly, like documents stated they were.

With all of this information put together, they were able to determine which schools were worse than others as far as contaminates in water, such as lead. They also were able to prove certain people lied to them about proper water care.

The reporter would need to know how to put all of this information together easily, so a spreadsheet program would be helpful. Some information he'd put in a spreadsheet is school names, location, and lead levels. Working with 30 schools, and water coming from multiple sources, a mapping program of some type was probably used to analyze which schools may be having a problem. It would also help determine if a certain district or area was more problematic than another.

May 1, 2008

Michelle Obama wants to move past Wright

Michelle Obama said that although it was painful for her husband to move away from his minister, Jeremiah Wright, it's now time to move on, according to CNN. In a CNN interview on Wednesday, Obama said she was pleased with how her husband handled the situation and now could get back to the issues.

On Tuesday, Barack Obama said he was "outraged" at his former minister's statements, and that didn't seem like the person met 20 years ago.

The controversy began earlier this year when sermons by Wright spread on the Internet. The statements included portions which seemed to imply the United States brought the September 11th attacks upon itself. He also said Obama was only separating himself from Wright as a political move.

Michelle Obama said she now hopes that since her husband has confronted these issues in several speeches, the country will be able to move on to more important things. "With all due respect, we're moving forward," she said. "Barack was so clear, and he's been so open about this issue, and he speaks for me as well."

She also said that the recent controversy could help bring the country to a better place, by unifying the nation.

April 30, 2008

DNA evidence proves inmate's innocence

A Dallas resident was released from prison after more than 27 years, for a crime he didn't commit. James Lee Woodard was cleared of conviction after DNA evidence proved his innocence of a murder he was charged with, according to CNN.

Woodard, who was wrongfully convicted in 1980 for the murder of his girlfriend, is the 18th person in Dallas to be cleared of his crime through DNA evidence, and one of 31 total in Texas. That is a national high.

His original conviction was based on testimony from two eyewitnesses, who said they saw Woodard dump the body in a nearby river. Since then, one of those witnesses has recanted, and the other is believed to be inaccurate, according to Natalie Roetzel, the executive director of the Innocence Project of Texas.

Woodard was cleared primarily because the original charges claimed the victim was raped and murdered. That means the prosecutor had to prove Woodard committed both crimes. DNA now shows Woodard did not rape the victim.

Innocence Project, a non-profit organization, works with defendants who can clearly prove their innocence through DNA testing. "I thank God for the existence of the Innocence Project," Woodard, 55, told the court. "Without that, I wouldn't be here today. I would be wasting away in prison."

April 29, 2008

Man charged with killing sex partner

Shaunell Johnson, 29, was charged Tuesday with the death of 15-year-old Joquese Loyd, according to the Star Tribune. Johnson apparently shot Loyd during an argument, and got upset over Loyd yelling.

According to case documents, police interviewed a woman at the house who was also in sexual relations with Johnson. She told police that she, Loyd, and another female took a bus to visit Johnson, also known as "Lunatic." The woman said she didn't know Johnson's real name and the word Lunatic was tatood on Johnson's neck.

When they arrived at Johnson's home, by the Near North neighborhood in Minneapolis, Loyd and Johnson began to fight, but soon made up. Later, Loyd confronted Johnson with a knife because he wouldn’t talk to her, yelling that she wasn't afraid of Johnson. Johnson then pulled out a gun and shot Loyd.

When police arrived, Johnson said he was planning on taking Loyd to the hospital. A .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun was found in a trash can nearby.

Loyd was also known as Jacques Brown, which she told police was her name in a previous arrest. She also said she was 19.

April 28, 2008

Iran in pipeline talks with India, Pakistan

Talks are set to conclude this week between Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the countries of Pakistan and India. The deal, if confirmed, will set in the motion plans to build a pipeline supplying Iranian gas to the two other nations, according to CNN.

The pipeline would be about 1,600 miles long, and would cost around $7 billion to build. Initial costs put the line at around $4.5 billion, but were recently revised. The current plan would have 682 miles of pipe in Iran, 620 in Pakistan, and 372 in India.

The United States has been pressuring Pakistan and India, both allies of the U.S., to not sign any agreements with Iran. Some have instead called the pipeline a "peace pipeline," believing it will reduce tensions between the three nations.

In efforts to try and convince India to back out, the U.S. offered India advanced nuclear technology, to make up for the gas, but India has already claimed it's ready to enter final discussions with Iran.

The line would be capable of delivering 150 million cubic meters of gas to India and Pakistan a day. A top Iranian advisor spoke about the importance of oil and gas when putting Western powers "in their place," according to Iran's semi-official news agency, Fars.

"Oil and gas are two elements of power at the disposal of the Muslims," Gen. Yahya Safavi said Sunday, according to Fars.

April 17, 2008

Pope asks Catholics to help sexual abuse victims

Pope Benedict XVI expressed his concern for sexual abuse victims, Thursday, and asked that all Catholics to help heal any wounds, according to CNN.

The pope celebrated mass at Washington's ball park Thursday, and during a 20 minute homily focused on repentance, unity and reconciliation among the 70 million Catholics in the United States. The statements come after Benedict spoke about abuse victims on his first day in the U.S. No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse. It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention," he said.

Before mass began, he drove around Nationals Stadium in the "popemobile" giving the crowd a chance to see him up close. Aside from the popemobile, there were several other security measures taken. Every person in the park had to go through metal detectors before entering. Nearby bridges and roads were closed, and there were multiple security services working, including the secret service, normally reserved for presidents.

The gathering was one of the largest for a pope visiting, including fourteen Roman Catholic cardinals, 250 bishops, 1,300 priests, four choirs totaling 570 singers, and as many as 46,000 worshippers.

Benedict has a couple more days scheduled in the United States, and will travel to New York on Friday and address the U.N. General Assembly. He's celebrating Mass on Sunday morning at Yankee Stadium, before heading back to Vatican City.

April 16, 2008

Teen found guilty of beheading

A jury in Detroit found a teenager guilty of murdering a Michigan man and then beheading and burning the victim’s body, according to CNN. They rejected his claim of self-defense.

The jury deliberated for 10 hours over two days before they found Jean Pierre Orlewicz guilty of first-degree murder, felony murder and mutilation.

Prosecutors called Orlewicz's murder a "thrill killing," saying he was excited by the idea of killing someone and not being caught. Orlewicz, of Canton, Michigan, admitted that he killed Sorenson, 26, but insisted that it was in self-defense. He admitted stabbing Sorenson 13 times after an extortion plan went awry and Sorenson threatened his life. "There was not a murder," Orlewicz said.

Orlewicz claimed that Sorenson took out a gun and threatened him with it. Orlewicz said he then grabbed a knife and stabbed Sorenson first. During his testimony Orlewicz also admitted that after Sorenson died, he used a hacksaw to decapitate him. Orlewicz said he threw Sorenson's torso into a field and set it on fire. The defendant said he took a blowtorch to Sorenson's hands to cover up fingerprints.

Several witnesses told the jury that everything Orlewicz said was just a story, and that Orlewicz actually planned on killing Sorenson. Alex Mullins, 17, told police he was supposed to be the lookout when Orlewicz planned to kill Sorenson, but backed out. Mullins also said that Orlewicz had been talking about killing Sorenson for weeks. "He wanted to stab Dan (Sorenson)," Mullins said. "He wanted to bag him up in a tarp, hang him upside down from a tree, burning. He said he wanted to cut his head off."

April 15, 2008

Xcel energy wants to extend power plant life

Xcel Energy asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Tuesday, for permission to boost the power generation of the Prairie Island nuclear power plant, and extend its operating life, according to the Pioneer Press. Xcel hopes to boost the plant's power by 20 percent and extend the plant's life by 20 years.

By boosting the power, the plant would need 35 more dry cask containers to store the extra nuclear waste being produced. Xcel will need to file an application later this spring for The Nuclear Regulatory Commission to consider.

The plant will also apply to extend its operating life by 20 years. They currently have a 40-year federal operating license, which will expire in 2013. The 20-year extension would permit the plant to continue running until 2033. Nuclear power plants must have regular inspections by the federal government, and many plants do receive continuance grants.

The Prairie Island plant's two generators produce about 20 percent of the electricity used by Xcel's Upper Midwest customers. The majority of Xcel power is still provided by coal and natural gas plants, and they are also looking into building wind farms.

April 13, 2008

President Bush to greet pope

Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit the White House during his United States trip, marking only the second time a pope has been there, according to CNN. President Bush is planning to meet the pope at the airport and hosting a fancy East Room dinner, both which are firsts for a president.

The leader of the Roman Catholics is set to visit the White House Wednesday morning, where a crowd of 12,000 is expected to show up. That will be the largest crowd during Bush's presidency, beating out Queen Elizabeth II which was around 7,000. The crowd isn't the only first, as Bush is planning to celebrate Benedict’s 81'st birthday also. Bush explained the special treatment, saying that Benedict was coming as a man of faith, and not a politician.

The first white house visit by a pope was by Pope John Paul II, when President Carter had 10,000 guests show up. Ever since Woodrow Wilson was a guest at Vatican City, each president has visited with the current pope at least once. Bush will break the record this week at five meetings, with two separate popes.

Bush and Benedict politically agree on many issues, like Bush did with the former pope John Paul. Social issues like abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research are a few examples. However, they disagree on the war in Iraq, and as a cardinal Benedict said that a preventive strike against Iraq could not be justified under Catholic doctrine.

Even with the special attention from the Bush administration, the most remembered and influential moments of Benedict's trip is likely to be when he addresses the United Nations on Friday, said George Weigel, a Catholic theologian and biographer of Pope John Paul II.

April 12, 2008

Analysis on diversity.

The article I found was in the Star Tribune titled, "Questions remain after fatal police chase in Minneapolis." The lead for the story is "As Hanna Abukar was laid to rest Monday, members of the Somali community were questioning the police chase that preceded her death a day earlier in south Minneapolis."

The story is about the Somali community's reaction to a police chase that ended in the death of Hanna Abukar. A 15-year-old boy who had been fleeing police in a stolen car, and crashed into a car Abukar was in. There is an investigation going on as to whether or not the high speed chase was necessary.

The report doesn't rely on stereotypes of the Somali community to give his report, and instead actually talked to many Somali's on their beliefs and what they thought of the incident. His good reporting helps him stay away from assumptions and instead allows him to genuinely say what the two sides are.

The story goes in depth about the Muslim burying rituals so that the reader will understand exactly what is going on. For example, he found out the husband of Abukar wouldn't speak about his wife in honor of a 3 day mourning ritual.

I learned a lot about Muslim funerals and rituals I didn't know anything about before. I also found that Somali's really believed that such a chase was unnecessary and this never would have happened if police had done their job differently. I think that whites tend to think differently and believe police should do whatever is required to catch criminals.

April 10, 2008

FCC approves emergency text-messaging

The FCC approved a new nationwide emergency text messaging system Wednesday, according to CNN. Cell phone users will get text messages of certain emergencies said FCC spokesman Robert Kenny.

The plan calls for the FCC to create a federal agency that will both create the messages and pass them on to cell phone companies. Participating cell phone companies will then relay those messages onto its users. After the agency is created, participating cell phone companies will have 10 months to comply with the new requirements.

The new system will alert participators in the event of three types of emergencies.

1. A disaster that could jeopardize the health and safety of Americans, such as a terrorist attack. In these types of disasters the president would usual put the country on national alert.

2. Imminent threats, like a hurricane or tornado.

3. Child abductions or amber alerts.

So far, four major cell phone carriers have opted to join the plan. Mobile, Verizon, Sprint Nextel and AT&T all said they would join the program. Individual users of those companies will most likely have an option to unsubscribe from the service as well.

April 9, 2008

American Airlines cancels 850 flights

America Airlines canceled 850 flights Wednesday as it spent a second straight day inspecting wiring on some of its jets, according to CNN. Wire inspections were the same issue that caused America Airlines to cancel hundreds of flights two weeks ago.

On Tuesday, American canceled 500 flights which stranded thousands of passengers in airports around the nation. Federal inspectors had found problems with the wiring job done two weeks ago. An American Airlines spokesman said that cancellations could continue past Wednesday as inspectors continue their search.

The MD-80 jets are the ones under inspection and are used primarily for mid-range flights. American schedules about 2,300 flights daily with more than a third of those using MD-80 jets.

Because American said the issues within their control and not issues such as weather, they were offering free meals and ground transportation to some travelers. They offered juice and doughnuts to passengers waiting at the LaGuardia Airport, but there were few takers, according to an AP reporter.

April 8, 2008

Witness in Jones trial to take stand again

Former Gopher football player, Robert McField, is anticipated to take the stand again for further questioning in the case of an alleged rape by Dominic Jones, another former University of Minnesota football player, according to the Star Tribune.

Defense lawyer Earl Gray has been persistently asking Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum to allow him to recall McField and ask questions about his armed robbery conviction, for which he is currently in jail for. Before today, Gray was only allowed one question on the subject, whether or not McField had an unspecified conviction, to which he said yes.

McField is serving a 12 year sentence in Missouri for armed robberies, but that information has been hidden from the jury. Both times he appeared in court he was wearing a suit instead of an orange jumpsuit, and the jury was removed from the room while guards escorted McField in.

McField is a key witness for the prosecutors, since he is the only person to testify he saw Jones on top of the victim performing sexual acts. By bringing McField's criminal past to light the jury may have a harder time believing him.

April 6, 2008

Bush and Putin still disagree on missiles

President Bush and Russian President Putin failed to resolve their differences after a meeting today, according to CNN. Bush did say they had laid out a strategic framework to help guide any future U.S.-Russian relations.

The two presidents spoke at a joint press conference Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin expressed his countries concern that the U.S. wanted to build missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin did say he was hopeful that the two sides would come to some sort of agreement in the near future, and called his eight-year professional relationship with Bush "mostly positive."

President Bush said that it would take some more time to convince Moscow that the missile sites were purely defensive in nature, and not offensive. He also said that people need to accept that "the Cold War is over."

Bush was also able to meet Russia's future president, Dmitry Medvedev, who will take over next month. Bush called Medvedev a straightforward fellow, and told reporters, "You can write down, I was impressed and look forward to working with him."

In the text of the US-Russia Strategic Framework Declaration, which was released after the talks, Russia and the U.S. agreed that the time when they considered each other a "strategic threat or enemy" was over. "Where we have differences, we will work to resolve them in a spirit of mutual respect."

April 5, 2008

Analysis on numbers

"Most Americans say U.S. on wrong track, poll says," is a story on CNN about a poll done by CBS and New York Times. The story is almost completely about the results of this poll, but concentrates specifically on the news that Americans believe the United States is on the wrong track.

The story uses numbers to express exactly how many people in the poll feel on a certain topic. For example, "The CBS News-New York Times poll released Thursday showed 81 percent of respondents said they believed 'things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.'" That line helps prove the writers earlier point that the U.S. is headed the wrong way.

The numbers are not completely overwhelming though. The writer goes back and forth using percentages, fractions, or straight numbers to describe the poll so it doesn't feel like too much. Also, there is only a few stats per paragraph.

I can't say for sure if the writer used math to crunch any numbers or if he only used numbers from the poll, but I would guess he used math to get some of his own findings.

The story credits the poll for all of the numbers and also gives crucial information about the poll, such as the margin of error and sample size.