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November 26, 2007

Wildfire continues destruction in California

The Santa Ana winds push flames into Malibu, 14,000 residents forced to evacuate.

The long predicted fire sparked in the middle of the night and the harsh winds spread it quickly. 1,700 firefighters were used to combat the fire and six received minor injuries. Several special firefighting vehicles were also used against the flames. Fifteen helicopters and 15 planes were used. Helicopters used hoses and swimming pools and the Pacific Ocean to refill their water tanks and certain planes called the SuperScoopers did the same by flying low and dipping into the ocean.

Forty-nine homes were destroyed and another 27 were damaged in the fire. By Saturday close to half the evacuees were able to return to their homes and the fire had been close to half contained.

Related:

California wildfire sweeps down on Malibu, destroying 30 homes

California wildfire destroys 20 homes, keeps moving

November 19, 2007

NBC cleans SNL house

The Writer Guild of America saw its first casualties of their two-week strike as a majority of the "Saturday Night Live" staff was fired.

Reports say "SNL" laid off nearly its entire production staff until further notice. Rumors are also circulating that NBC is going to make more firings on the sets of the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Last Call With Carson Daly." NBC representatives refused to comment of the situation.

In related news the cast of NBC's "30 Rock" and "SNL" are showing their support for the writers by putting on two live performances in Manhattan.

Related:

SNL staff let go by NBC, reports say

Report: Writers Strike Prompts NBC to Fire Entire 'SNL' Staff

November 12, 2007

Stagehands strike

The entertainment industry suffered another blow as Broadway Stagehands went on strike Saturday in New York. The strike caused 27 shows, including such hits as "Wicked," to be shut down. Only eight shows were left running because they have a separate contract with the union.

The strike has left many fans disappointed and angry, and costing New York coveted revenue. While the strike is to young for financial estimates to be made, comparisons are being drawn to the 2003 musicians strike which lost the city millions of dollars.

The strike is over new work rules involving the cost of putting on a production that have been established by producers in the past three months of negotiations. Local One stagehands and the League of American Theaters and Producers have yet to schedule further negotiations, so an early end to this strike does not look probable.

Related:

Broadway dark as strike hits

Stagehand strike closes curtains

November 5, 2007

Writes put down their pens

The Writers Guild of America went on strike this morning after a final attempt at reaching an agreement with the Producers yielded no results.

The guild is demanding an increase in pay ranging from .5 to 2.5% in their share of profits from DVDs and other media that has developed since the internet has become so widespread. The producers are arguing that that the new revenue brought about from the rise in popularity of online videos and internet capable cellphones must be used to cover the rising cost of that media.

During the strike the production of television shows (minus reality and new programs) and new movies may eventually stop. In fact several shows, such as "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," will all being to air reruns effective today.

Related:

Writers seek bigger cut from new media

Hollywood writers strike as talks fail

October 29, 2007

MRSA bacteria more common in athletes

Athetes have always had to deal with rashes and skin infections. However, now a newer and deadlier one is becoming more popular. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a drug resistant bacteria that looks like a common rash. According to research MRSA is twice as common as previously believed.

MRSA has been a problem in hospitals for years, but recently has started showing up in more and more sports teams. In fact a football player in Virginia died just last week after being infected. In 2003 the St. Louis Rams took part in health research which found that 5 out of 58 players had developed MRSA after recieving scrapes from the Astroturf. The research team even found traces of the bug in the teams whirlpool, on athletic tape, and even almost half of the staffs' noses.

MRSA is usually a benign skin infection, however, it gets dangerous when it gets inside your body. There it begins to have effects on major organs and can eventually lead to death.

From high schoolers to professionals, teams are beginning to look more closely for MRSA. Rstrictions are being put in place that prevent athletes who contract the infection from playing until they are fully healed. Hopefully, higher awareness of this problem will help in treating it and save the lives of countless people in the future.

Related:

Do you have a weird rash? Athletes must get it checked

MRSA infection

October 22, 2007

Giuliani appeals to conservatives

Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani attended the Values Voter summit in hopes to sway the minds of many of the religious conservatives. His pitch was simple, trust.

He spoke on some of the groups most valued topics such as abortion and gay rights. Instead of telling the crowd the things they wanted to hear, Giuliani shared with them his true beliefs, stating that it is better if he tells them what he really believes instead of changing his views to fit their wants.

The speakers who followed Giuliani did their best to attack his religious values. However, Giuliani may have helped his cause a great deal and some say he derailed the conservatives effort to vote third party. It is unsure whether Giuliani truly took a step forward, but one thing is for sure, he is proving to be a major player in this upcoming election.

Related:

You can trust me, Giuliani tells conservatives

Giuliani asks Values Voters to trust him

October 15, 2007

Government may have began listening in before 9/11

Former chief executive for Qwest Communications, Joseph Nacchio, is claiming that the NSA attempted to retrieve phone records from the company more than six months before the September 11 attacks.

Nacchio revealed this information in the middle of his own trial. In April he was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading, when he sold shares of Qwest stock in 2001. Nacchio claims the government withdrew a $200 million contract once Qwest denied their request for phone records. He cited this as his reason for selling his stock, although he stated in court he was optimistic Qwest would overcome the loss.

Regardless of what happens to Nacchio, the claims of the government requesting these records before 9/11 reraises the question of personal privacy. September 11th was the main reason the government was given the power of warrantless surveillance and if it is proven they had been doing this before then it may tarnish the governments already blackened reputation.

Related:

Ex-exec at Qwest says government sought phone records before 9/11

Nacchio Guilty of Insider Trading

October 8, 2007

Atlantic City mayor MIA

A little more than a week ago the mayor of Atlantic City, N.J., Robert W. Levy, stopped coming to work. Since then his aides have said he has temporarily taking a break in order to deal with health issues, however, he has not been seen in public since.

His disappearance comes at an odd time because recently there have been rumors that Levy falsified his military record. By making false claims on his his military record, such as stating he was a member of the Green Berets, he was able to bump up his veterans pay by $25,000 a year.

Levy's lawyer has told the press that Levy has checked into a hospital to deal with his health issues, but he refused to comment on which hospital the mayor was staying at and how long he planned to be there.

Some councilmen wish to declare the mayors seat vacant in order to appoint a successor. There are also rumors the mayor may step down within the week.

Related:

Atlantic City Mayor to Resign After Disappearing From Sight

Fresh problem for Atlantic City: The mayor has gone missing, Star Tribune, Saturday, October 6, 2007
(When trying to find this article on StarTribune.com it said the page could not be found)

October 1, 2007

Presidents daughter releases first book

Jenna Bush's first book, "Ana's Story," was released this weekend. The book follows the life of an HIV positive 17-year-old single mother in Panama. The character is based off of a woman that Bush met while working in Panama with the international children's advocacy group, UNICEF. The book is aimed at teenagers and wants to try and get them involved. The book even contains a "How You Can Make a Difference" section in the back.

Bush is using her connections to market her book, even getting an interview with Diane Sawyer on "20/20" where she answered questions about her book, father, and dodged a few questions about the war in Iraq.

Whether the book sell millions of copies or only a few thousand, it seems that the President's daughter, who only a few years ago was heard of only in the context of partying and underage drinking, has moved on to bigger and better things.

Related:

Jenna Bush embarks on book 'Journey'

Jenna Bush, all grown up, takes her first book on a media blitz

September 24, 2007

Where does freedom end and patriotism begin?

Did you know that when you travel you are providing the U.S. Government with large quantities of information?

The Government has always monitored our travel habits in someways, but recently has stepped up their surveillance. According to many former Department of Homeland Security officials, the Government has been keeping an eye on travelers since the mid-1990's, but the data it collects has been greatly expanded since 2002.

The expanded data may even include details such as what book you carry with you or what kind of key chain you have. Activists learned of this after requesting copies of their own travel logs. They couldn't believe how in depth they were and are now taking action, claiming it violates the Privacy Act.

All this does is raise the question of just how much invasion of privacy the American public will tolerate on the grounds of defending our country from terrorism.

Related:

Is Big Brother reading over your shoulder on the plane?

September 17, 2007

Errors in paperwork keeping soldier from going home

Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon has spent nearly three years at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center after an AK-47 round shattered one eye and half of his skull. Now, fully healed Shannon is back at Walter Reed because of paperwork that was filed incorrectly.

Last week it was discovered the doctor's signature on two forms had been written too late and the forms had expired. Shannon was forced to be reexamined and his medical summaries had to be rewritten. Now no one can tell him when he will be able to return to his family.

This was only the most recent of many hurdles Shannon has had to overcome. While at Walter Reed, Shannon has had six different case managers. His latest disability case manager, Sgt. First Class Aleen Domingo, called Shannon in August to tell him one document was missing Shannon's signature and that he'd fax it to him. The fax never made it to Shannon and Domingo was unreachable having retired himself.

Shannon has said he would like to take over his case managers job to make sure all the other hospitalized soldiers get the treatment they deserve.

Related:

Apologies, Anger at Walter Reed Hearing

LEAD

"After nearly three years as an outpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical, Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon had begun the wrenching process of turning himself into a civilian"

This is a direct lead that does a pretty good job luring the reader into the story. It adequately covers four of the six questions. Who, Shannon; What, turning himself back into a civilian; When, after nearly three years; and Where, Walter Reed.

The lead gives the main story points while eliminating details that are given in the later parts of the story. The lead is also not too long as it is close to the 25 word norm, exceeding it by only a few.

September 10, 2007

Chrysler lures Press from Toyota

Jim Press, Toyota's first non-Japanese president and chief operating officer in North America, has announce he will resign on September 14. Press started at Toyota in 1970 and over 37 years worked his way up to becoming the companies top North American executive.

In a surprising move, Press will be taking a job at Chrysler, a U.S. automaker that has been struggling in recent years. In 2006 Chrysler reportedly lost $618 million and because of this is in the process of cutting 13,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada over the next three years.

Press will team with Robert Nardelli and Tom LaSorda as the top executives for Chrysler. LaSorda will be in charge of the companies manufacturing and purchasing operations, and Press will tackle the public relations and try to turn around the companies less than perfect image.

Related:

Chrysler hires Press to 'move the metal'