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December 13, 2008

Illinois Governor Crisis

Gov. of Ill. Rod Blagojevich has been troublesome for his state. The Associated Press and WCCO.com have reported on different aspects of his resign. Illinois has billions of dollars in unpaid bills, including payments to Medicaid patients, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, and schools. Blagojevich's inability to pay these bills has had an extreme ripple effect on the state such as pharmacies having to close down, suppliers could stop delivering food to prisons and letting state troopers buy gasoline. Business could lay off workers or go bankrupt as another result of the Governor's inability to be financially responsible. The Associated Press said the attorney general asked the state's highest court to strip the governor of his powers and lawmakers are closer to impeaching him due to his scandals. The attorney general asked that he be declared unfit to serve and linked his scandal to illness and pressured him to resign. Impeachment could take weeks so resigning is a faster process.

WCCO.com told more about his courthouse appearance. He refused to talk to reporters and only responded with, "I'll have a lot to say at the appropriate time." Blagojevich has been accused of putting President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat up for sale, strong-arming the owners of the Chicago Cubs and threatening to withhold millions of dollars from a children hospital. This type of action is the first of its kind in state history. The motion says, "His ability to provide effective leadership has been eliminated, and the state government is paralyzed." The state has approved $1.4 billion in short-term loans to help pay off bills and keep cash flowing. The attorney general does not want to move forward in this loan until Blagojevich no longer has power.

December 7, 2008

Sunny von Bulow dies after 28 year coma

The Associated Press and CNN.com reported on death of heiress Martha "Sunny" von Bulow on Saturday. The Associated Press said she spent the last 28 years of her life in a coma and died at a nursing home in New York. Her husband disliked her offstage presence and Claus von Bulow was convicted of trying twice to kill her by injecting her with insulin. Their story was later made into a movie "Reversal of Fortune" in 1990 staring Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons. Claus' defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz said there was evidence that her coma was self-induced by a large ingestion of drugs.

CNN.com added she was 76 years old. Her children said she was "an extraordinarily loving and caring mother". She was born into a wealthy family and inherited a fortune of about $75 million. She became known as Princess von Auersperg when she married Prince Alfred von Auersperg of Austria and they had two children. She married von Bulows in 1966 and they had one daughter.

On the morning of December 22, 1980, she was found unconscious in the bathroom of their Newport, Rhode Island home and she never regained consciousness. Doctors had diagnosed her a year earlier with hypoglycemia. Claus von Bulow agreed to waive his claim to his wife's money and to a divorce in exchange for the suit being dropped.

November 28, 2008

Barbara Bush recovers after surgery

The Star Tribune and CNN.com reported on the recovery of former first lady Barbara Bush after surgery. The Star Tribune said she is in good condition after undergoing laparoscopic surgery for a perforated ulcer. She has been moved from the intensive care unit to a patient room. She was hospitalized Tuesday after feeling abdominal pain. Surgeons closed an almost 1.5 centimeter hole caused by the ulcer. The surgery went well and Bush was in high spirits during recovery, even telling the doctors jokes. She is expected to be in the hospital until next week.

CNN.com said she will not be allowed to have food by mouth for about a week to avoid stretching her abdomen area. Former president and husband George H.W. Bush stayed with her Thursday morning until he had to leave for a Thanksgiving dinner with his son. It is suggested that the ulcer might have been caused by anti-inflammatory medications but after a biopsy it is benign.

November 23, 2008

Pirates and Ransom

CNN and ABC News reported on the status of the recent pirate attacks. CNN.com says Somali pirates released a hijacked Greek-owned ship with all 19 crew members safe and cargo intact. A ransom was paid but the amount has not been released. The ship was seized Sept. 26 and released Friday about 500 miles off Somalia. Details could not be released out of safety concerns for the crews of other ships that are currently held by pirates.

ABC News focused mostly on how dangerous and risky negotiating with pirates can be. One pirate may grab another pirate's ransom making the ship still in hostile hands and pirates still demanding his ransom. There are 12,000 pirates in the water now. Sometimes ransoms cost up to $25 million.

Hilary Clinton Secretary of State?

The Star Tribune and ABC News had very different angles on the possibility of Hilary Clinton becoming the next Secretary of State. The Star Tribune used the angle of how American women felt about Hilary Clinton going from a powerful independent position as a New York senator to working for a more powerful man. They noted that Clinton has decided to accept the position as of Friday evening. It is considered to be a costly triumph. "Secretary of state is far superior to vice president because it's involved in continuously solving problems and making policy..." Gloria Steinem said. The overall consensus was that she was 1 in 100 as a senator but as secretary of state, she is more important. n It is good for women in America they say.

ABC news said Clinton told the Obama Team on Wednesday that she was going to reject the secretary of state offer because "she wanted to remain her own master". On Thursday Obama's team tried to convince her to take the job and she admitted she was interested by Thursday night. Although details are being worked out, but it looks like Clinton's nomination will be announced after Thanksgiving.

November 15, 2008

California Fire burns down homes

CNN.com and the Star Tribune reported on the brush fire that got out of control in Santa Barbara County on Friday. CNN said nearly 150 homes were damaged or destroyed, 1,500 acres were charred and at least one death has occurred as a result of the fire. The place of origin is said to be the Tea Garden Estate and it has now destroyed a monastery, multimillion-dollar mansions and more than 5,500 people were forced to evacuate. A 98-year-old man who was evacuated died, it is yet to be said if the evacuation caused his death. The cause has not been determined yet but investigators are looking into it. Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Michael Douglas, and Rob Lowe had homes in this area and were affected by the fire. More than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze. Between winds, high temperatures and low humidity make fighting the fire difficult.

The Star Tribune said at least 13 people were injured. They also add the fire started at about 6 p.m. Thursday.

November 8, 2008

Same-sex marriage banned after election results

The Los Angeles Times and CNN covered Tuesday's election, where California, Arizona, and Florida voters could decide if gay marriage should be legal or banned. Proposition 8 was passed meaning gay marriage is now banned in California, one of the only states that had it legal in the first place. The LA Times reported on how supporters of gay marriage are outraged. Co-chair of Proposition 8 Frank Schubert suggests that supports of gay marriage should get the public to support it more but they have not. There is still a large number of people who believe in traditional marriage only. One man says he dislikes that people are gay but likes the individuals themselves. One woman was interviewed by CNN who said she was thankful for living in Canada where she has all her rights and doesn't want to talk about them anymore. She also didn't understand how people could elect a black man as president and could outlaw gay marriage at the same time. Only 52% of the population supported Proposition 8 but apparently that was enough to enforce the ban.

November 2, 2008

California Same-Sex Marriage Ban?

California's highest court sanctioned same-sex marriage five months ago and Tuesday, depending on voting outcome, that could be removed. The Associated Press says there is a vote option for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Mayor Gavin Newsom said "As California goes, so goes the nation." It is predicted that this race will be close because some don't think we can survive with the redefinition of marriage. $69 million has been put into campaigns both for and against Proposition 8. This is the most intense and social issue fight ever seen in America probably because we rarely ever see existing rights on the ballot.

TwinCities.com told the story of Tom O'Hare who hadn't planned on getting married in October but when he heard about threats of removing the privilege, he decided to marry his partner of 30 years. Many gay couples are rushing into marriage out of fear that this would be their only chance. A poll shows 49 percent will likely oppose gay-marriage and 44 percent are in favor and 7 percent are undecided. Some people say gay marriage helps boost the economy because it increases the amount of money spend on weddings.

October 26, 2008

Jennifer Hudson's newphew missing

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother were killed on Friday and now her nephew is missing. The Associated Press said Chicago authorities are still searching for 7-year-old Julian King. The deaths of her mother and brother have been ruled as homicides. CBS.com says they were shot to death at their home in the Englewood neighborhood. Although some suspects have been found, no one has been charged as of Saturday. The main suspect is Julian's father who is now separated from his mother. CBS also goes into more detail on Jennifer's fame and the non-impact it has made on the family.

October 18, 2008

NJ outrage over flu shots

Foxnews.com and ABCnews.com reported on New Jersey being the first state to require flu shots for children before attending school. Both sources said parents were outraged that they didn't have a choice. FoxNews said parents are not against the flu shots but they are against not having a choice. Medical and religious reasons are allowed for exemption. New Jersey is especially vulnerable to diseases such as the flu due to a high population density and many recently arrived immigrants. Some New Jersey parents think this is just an act of over-protection because people need to be exposed in order to develop immunity.

ABCNews says parents formed a protest on Thursday outside the statehouse in Trenton regarding this issue. Parents say requests for exemptions, even for medical or religious, are rarely granted and New Jersey officials oppose any laws allowing parents to opt out of the vaccine.

October 11, 2008

Non-consistent Dow

Both CNNMoney.com and WCCO.com reported on the extreme changes on Wall Street's Dow Jones. CNN reported more on the constant fluctuation and WCCO focused more on how this is the worst week for the Dow in 112 years.

WCCO was more negative and continually mentioned how much the Dow dropped within the week. Both sources mentioned President Bush's involvement but WCCO focused much more on his statements. They also discuss the involvement of other countries and how we can work together to create a turn around. At the same time, critics worry this plan is going to really hurt taxpayers.

CNNMoney talked more about finding a bottom for how low the stock market can go. They compared today's status with past year's low points. Many major companies are continuing to suffer even though the recent bailout plan was approved by congress, which should buy bad debts from banks.

The topic of loans and oil prices were also discussed. Loans are much harder or impossible to get at the moment but oil prices hit a 13-month low Friday. This is due to the slowing economy having a smaller demand for oil.

October 5, 2008

Vice Presidential Debates

Both ABCnews.com and the Star Tribune reported on the Vice Presidential debates Thursday. The Star Tribune showed an article from the New York Times and it was very short. It simply covered the manner that both Palin and Biden conducted themselves during the debate and a few points each candidate made.

ABCnews.com was much more detailed on the stance of each candidate. Both sources said each candidate focused any harshness on the presidential candidates rather than each other. Biden said he has experience being the single parent living in middle class and McCain cannot relate.

Palin appeared more confident and composed than in recent interviews but based on a poll released Thursday, 6/10 Americans said Palin did not have the experience required for the job and were less likely to vote for McCain because of her. She did not always answer the questions from moderator Gwen Ifill of PBS.

The debate ended with each candidate providing very different definitions of their roles as Vice President.

September 24, 2008

Plans for economic bailout are difficult to sell

The New York Times and CNN.com have reported on the progress of a "bailout plan" for our economy. The New York Times said Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. proposed a plan to save our economy to Congress and it was rejected. It required 700 billion dollars and Paulson thinks putting this bill into action needs to be done urgently without provisions.

CNN said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake was behind Paulson in his plan. They also show an interview with Sen. Christopher Dodd on his views on the plan. He says he is angry about the current economic situation and agrees something needs to be done or it will get worse but he does have a lot of reservations.

The New York Times focused on Paulson's point of view. He said he was angry about the situation as well. Congress members say this plan will be costly and reckless and taxpayers should not have to "pick up the bill".

September 21, 2008

Candidates debate on economic responsibility

ABC News reported that due to Wall Streets sudden drop in the stock market, Obama and McCain are battling to show voters they would be best to improve the economic state. On the other hand, MSNBC says Obama and McCain are cautious to respond to "America's financial upheaval" but they debated over who was responsible.

MSNBC says Obama placed blame on President George W. Bush's administration while McCain placed blame on Obama. McCain argued that Obama's campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were responsible and he should "admit to his own poor judgment in contributing to these problems."

ABC News says Obama has taken the strategy of standing back for a little bit to devise an effective plan rather than taking instant and potentially less effective action. He does not want tax money being used to bail out bad decisions. McCain is taking the opposite approach by revealing a very intricate economic plan to revive he financial markets.

Both sources were slightly biased yet covered each candidate's side.

September 10, 2008

OJ Simpson trial is finding jury members

The Star Tribune reported that finding jury members for the O.J. Simpson robbery-kidnapping trial is proving to be easier than expected. People guessed it would take weeks to narrow down a final jury but all members should be selected by Friday or earlier. It is currently down to 40 potential jurors and will be reduced to a jury of 12 with six alternative members.

On the other hand, ABC news says 20 out of 248 prospective jurors were released from duty due to their influence on Simpson's previous trial. A prospective female juror said, "I think as far as the first trial, I felt he got away with murder." She claimed this opinion would not influence her ability as a jury member but when formally questioned she revealed ""I can't be 100 percent sure."

Both sources say Simpson is being charged for kidnapping and armed robbery after stealing products from two sports memorabilia dealers when confronted in a hotel room. He is said to be partnered with C.J. Stewart and both have pleaded "not guilty".

ABC News says: As of Monday, 65 prospective jury members are still waiting to be questioned. The names of the potential jury members are being kept confidential and can only be identified by numbers in court.


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