April 2010 Archives

According to the Senate Democrats, they are getting closer to agreeing on a financial bill that will prevent a collapse like the one in 2008.

Part of the reason for expediting this regulatory bill is because other major bills like immigration and energy bills are going to need attention soon.

The New York Times said, "The proposed derivatives rules are an important part of the effort to strengthen regulation of the nation's financial system, and seem certain to infuriate some of Wall Street's biggest players."

One of the key problems in Wallstreet was the lack of regulations on large financial institutions which were able to go under the radar of the government.

Commenting on the Obama's speech of financial reform, The New Yorker wrote, "He focussed, appropriately, on the need to limit excessive risk-taking by systemically important and government-supported financial institutions, and the importance of changing the incentives that place a premium on short-term profits rather than long-term gain."

All this came as a timely reminder as Goldman Sachs was accused of fraud last week.

The New Yorker went on to explain the dangers of financial reform because the banks and bank employees are tied together though the CEOs and high level executives take home the lion's share.

Video Commentary: Iran tested new missiles over the weekend

Since we talked about broadcast this week I wanted to take a video portion and write about it in terms of what we learned.

I thought it would be good because I already wrote about Iran testing missiles in the World News category. Here is the link for the video on CNN.


The CNN story is about 1:25 minutes long and the actual footage of the training is only about 10-15 seconds.

The big difference in terms of broadcast is the video and how it's used. For this story the footage of missiles being fired was stunning.

The visual aspect of the story caused a distraction from what the reporter was saying.

The key information in the video was mostly the same in the written story but there were no extra details and no quotes.

The lack of quotes made this story a little shallow but the visuals made it compelling.

Six people killed in car collision near Cambridge

A head-on collision near Cambridge killed six people and the 16-year-old driver was hospitalized in serious condition.

According to the Star Tribune, the vehicle with the four victims in it smelled like alcohol.

The Star Tribune also reported, "While the patrol declined to release her name, citing her age, the car's driver was identified by a relative as Sabrina Schumacher."

The Pioneer Press obtained the girl's identity from a different source and said, "Jimmy Gordon, who owns Jimmy's Pizza in Isanti, visited the crash site today. He said the driver is Sabrina Schumacher, who worked at his shop making pizzas and answering phones."

According Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske, the accident was still under investigation.

Lt. Roeske also said it was illegal for the 16-year-old girl to be driving out past midnight noting that the crash happened at approximately 2:40 a.m.

The Star Tribune reported that 11 Minnesotans died this weekend in car-related accidents while the Pioneer Press reported that only 10 had died.

Obama gives the eulogy for miners in West Virginia

This is a followup post to the one I wrote earlier.

on Sunday Obama paid his respects by giving a eulogy to the 29 minors who died in West Virginia.

According to CNN, Obama and Biden met with the miners' families privately before the ceremony started.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin was also there to honor the miners and their families. He also vowed to find out all the answers to this tragedy in order to prevent another one and give peace to the miners' families.

According to USA Today, "Obama did not specifically discuss his proposals to improve mine safety, nor the safety record of the nearby Upper Big Branch mine where the April 5 accident occurred."

Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller was there too and also spoke during the ceremony.

CNN noted that a minor accident of this caliber hasn't happened since 1971 in Idaho.

Iran is testing new missles

On Sunday Iran's Revolutionary Guard tested five new missiles in a waterway that is critical for oil supplies and transportation.

They tested various types of missiles including coast-to-sea and sea-to-sea weapons.

According to the New York Times, "The Guards' exercises in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz coincided with rising tension between Iran and the West, which says Tehran's nuclear work is aimed at making bombs. Iran denies this."

CNN also mentioned that the war games also included an exercise that used high-speed boats attacking a larger warship.

According to CNN, there have been other Iranian military tests in the past but this one was notable because they announced it in advance.

According to the New York Times, "Iran, a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim state, has said it would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests in the region and Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz. "

This strait is the waterway that allows people to control oil traffic in the Middle East.

Essay on sexual abuse in the Catholic church

Hendrik Hertzberg wrote a short, inquisitive essay in The New Yorker about the Catholic Churches problem with priests sexually abusing children.

Even though the media can never seem to exhaust this topic, it can still be done tactfully.

Hertzberg started off by painting a familiar scene where Martin Luther is putting up the famous 95 Theses and how controversial it was.

Hertzberg compared the outrage then to a more relatable method of ranting. Blogging.

He wrote, "Dr. Martin Luther, put the finishing touches on a series of bullet points and, legend has it, nailed the result to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany--the equivalent, for the time and place, of uploading a particularly explosive blog post."

He then went on to use another engaging paragraph to pull in the reader, "The "Ninety-five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" touched off a high-stakes flame war that rapidly devolved into the real thing, with actual wars, actual flames, and actual stakes."

Hertzberg attempts to point out both sides of the issue, from the Church's perspective and the public's.

If it was unsure which side Hertzberg defended, he finally takes a stance.

"Our largely democratic, secularist, liberal, pluralist modern world, against which the Church has so often set its face, turns out to be its best teacher--and the savior, you might say, of its most vulnerable, most trusting communicants."

Overall this essay is a great glimpse into the pressing issues of the Catholic Church. It doesn't try to condemn the Church or ignore their problems.

Funeral and ceremony for Polish President and his wife

KRAKOW - About 150,000 Poles attended the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria on Sunday.

Along with the couple, 96 others were buried on Sunday too.

Unfortunately, because of the Icelandic ash cloud, not everyone was able to attend.

USA TODAY reported, "President Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among those who canceled at the last minute because of the expanding ash cloud, dangerous to airplane engines, that left nearly all of the continent's airports closed since late Thursday."

Not everyone was supportive of the president being buried in Wawel Cathedral.

USA TODAY reported, "The decision to bury Kaczynski at Wawel sparked protests in recent days, with some people saying that despite the national tragedy he still does not belong in the company of some of the nation's most august figures. The hue and cry over the decision even spilled over to Facebook where thousands said the decision was not right."

According to the New York Times, a well-known political scientist in Poland, Jaroslaw Flis, compared this tragedy emotinally to the J.F.K. assassination

Husband kills his wife and then himself in broad daylight

On Saturday a man shot and killed his wife and then himself in front of a Columbia Heights restaurant.

A relative said that his wife had made plans to leave him but neither of the victims have been identified at this point.

However the Pioneer Press reported, "But police were inspecting a vehicle at the scene registered to Josef Tomasovic."

The Pioneer Press reported that the murder-suicide happened right outside of Asian Chow Mien in Columbia Heights but there was no connection to the restaurant.

The Star Tribune got a quote from the Columbia Heights police chief saying, "It does appear at this time that this was a murder-suicide," and he added it was one of the deadly outcomes of domestic disputes that they've been trying to prevent.

The employees were getting ready to open the restaurant when they heard shots outside.

Although the police haven't confirmed that the victims names of Josef and Natalie Tomasovic, their house, a few blocks away from the crime scene, was being guarded by police.

Both papers reported that, "Neither of the two appeared to have a criminal record of any kind."

Investigative: The story of a crime lord

Frank Ma was considered to be the "last of the Asian godfathers," According to the New York times.

Ma was the classic Asain gangter who had dealings all over San Francisco, Toronto and Manhattan.

He loved to gamble, even on games which he didn't fully understand. Take basketball for example; Ma placed his bets based on the the color of the team jerseys.

The last components of this gangster story include a hitman known as "psycho," heroin, and graveyard murders.

Looking at this story brings a broader question of the level of prominence of Asian gangs in the United States.

The New York Times reported, "But in just two years, 1990 and 1991, at the height of the gangsters' power, federal agents in New York alone made 130 arrests, confiscated 200 pounds of heroin and seized $25 million in assets, including $15 million in cash, as well as homes, boats, apartment buildings, jewelry stores, even the Golden Palace restaurant, one of Chinatown's biggest, which was used to launder money."

Ma was eventually caught and pleaded guilty to murder and narcotics charges.

The New York Times reported, "'He'd killed the wrong guys, and it caused a conflict with his supplier back in Hong Kong,' Agent McMurray said in an interview."

The story concluded with Agent McMurray saying that it was very likely that Ma was the last of the Asian godfathers.

He said if there was another crime lord of the same caliber as Ma, they would probably already know of him.

Volcanic ash cloud delays thousands of flights in Europe

On Thursday the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull spewed an ash cloud that immediately grounded about 1,000 flights.

The ash cloud continued to spread across Europe and has now cancelled as many as 20,000 flights in and out of Europe.

According to CNN, "It's the worst disruption of air traffic since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. Following those attacks, the United States closed its air space for three days, forcing Europe to postpone all transatlantic flights."

Britain's National Air Traffic services continued the ban of flights as far as Monday and are looking at all other possibilities.

It's very apparent that everyone is frustrated. Not just passengers but also the airlines.

Some airlines have been able to proceed with take-offs while others claim to be misinformed.

On a conference call with Eurocontrol on airline representative scolded Eurocontrol by saying they were "being inconsistent in applying flight restrictions and stressed that the flight bans were creating 'a serious economic issue for us.'"

The economic damage for the airlines and Europe are only beginning to be assessed.

The New York Times reported, "The disaster is estimated to be costing airlines $200 million a day, but the economic damage will roll through to farms, retail establishments and nearly any other business that depends on air cargo shipments. Fresh produce will spoil, and supermarkets in Europe, used to year-round supplies, will begin to run out."

George Nissen is heralded as the inventor of the trampoline and has had quite an interesting story.

Nissen was born in Blairstown, Iowa and was inspired by circus aerialists bouncing off of the safety nets.

Wall Street Journal's Stephen Miller wrote, "I said, 'Jeez, if you wanted to, you could keep rebounding into other tricks,' " Mr. Nissen said in a 2006 interview with Acrobatic Sport magazine."

This was a poor choice for a money quote because it was taken from another magazine and because it doesn't support the story at all.

Nissen's very first trampoline prototype was actually made of nothing more than scrap metal, cut-up inner tubes and sheet canvas.

Interestingly enough, Nissen's invention didn't take off for customers initially. Instead, his most loyal customers turned out to the military, which used it for training pilots and soldiers.

Overall, this was a really good piece and did a nice job capturing the life and essence of the trampoline inventor.

Although, he wasn't called the "Trampoline King," Miller was able to give the reader a glimpse of Nissesn's mannerisms and imagination.

In a nice recap, Miller wrote, "Always active, Mr. Nissen performed handstands and trampoline back flips into his 80s. He attended the 2000 Sydney Olympics to watch trampoline become an official Olympic sport."

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote a very interesting piece on Joe Bastardi and global warming. Joe Bastardi is a self-proclaimed, "expert senior forecaster."

Apparently Bastardi thinks the earth is actually cooling instead of warming up.

Kolbert said, "Virtually every major scientific body in the world has concluded that the planet is warming, and that greenhouse-gas emissions are the main cause."

His theories as to why the earth is cooling are very complex and include Volcanism, sunspots and something called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

No surprisingly, Kolbert calls his theories "ridiculous" and goes on to take a pot-shot at FOX News for having him as a regular guest on their show.

What's more interesting is that it turns out that two-thirds of weathermen and forecasters agree that global warming is, well, a farce.

Because law makers have delayed action the public confidence in global warming actually existing has gone down.

Kolbert reported, "only fifty-two per cent of Americans believe that 'most scientists believe that global warming is occurring,' down from sixty-five per cent in 2008."

It's hard to come to any real conclusion because we are not that good at estimating or predicting the future so far in advance.

Despite the skeptics, this winter was was on the warmest winters in earth's history.

Hackers attack Eden Prairie high school web site

The school district shut down the Eden Prairie high school web site on Sunday after realizing it had been hacked to display a video of the Turkish flag and a handgun.

The Pioneer Press also noted that the video link had a 'vulgarity' posted on the site as well.

The Star Tribune reported, "According to a bulletin on the Eden Prairie school district's main website, which is still functioning, the viral hacking affected more than 100 websites around the world."

According to the Pioneer Press, "The hackers did not obtain access to data or affect the district's servers or systems, the district said."

The Pioneer Press had an extremely short piece overall. It was less than 300 words and the facts were very sparse.

At this point, there isn't much more information than that.

Because there were over 100 other web sites affected around the world, it's possible that the hackers weren't targeting the Eden Prairie high school. Instead, they could have just been collateral in a chain of hacked sites.

West Virginia mine explosion leaves no survivors

An explosion in a West Virginia mine left no survivors after a four-day search.

New York Times reported, "The news at the Upper Big Branch mine about 30 miles south of Charleston brought the death toll to 29 in the country's worst mine disaster in four decades."

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III said they didn't have a have a miracle but that the healing would start now.

A federal investigation began right after the explosion but couldn't be completed effectively until all the bodies were recovered and removed from the mine.

CNN reported, "Hours after rescue efforts at the mine turned into a recovery operation Saturday, President Obama urged a thorough investigation into the cause of the explosion."

President Obama also said that we must do whatever it takes to make sure that Americans are safe where they work. He went on to urge a very thorough investigation. to make sure this doesn't happen again.

CNN noted, "The mining disaster is the worst in the United States since 1972, when 91 miners died in a fire at the Sunshine Mine in Kellogg, Idaho."

Twenty-nine of the the deaths were Massey Energy employees and one was contracted worker.

The New York Times quoted, "None of the chambers had been deployed," said Governor Manchin during the somber press conference Saturday morning, referring to the underground rescue chambers where everyone hoped the four missing miners might be. "None of our miners suffered."

Poland mourns the loss of leadership and begins to rebuild

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was killed along with some 90 others on Saturday in a plane crash.

A ceremony was held on Sunday for him and he was buried.

CNN reported, "Tens of thousands of Poles across the country observed a two-minute-long moment of silence to remember their president and 95 others killed in the plane crash."

Officials have been feverishly investigating all possible reasons for the plane's failure to land. At this point it's still not entirely clear.

The New York Times reported, "Russian and Polish investigators began Sunday to analyze evidence from the flight recorders in the crash, and prosecutors, forensic pathologists and crash investigators were working with their Russian counterparts both in Smolensk and Moscow, Polish and Russian officials said."

Though it's an extremely difficult time, The country has take affirmative action to start rebuilding it's leadership and structure.

The New York Times reported, "Senior Polish officials sought to reassure the public that the government would continue to function normally despite the loss."

The plane was carrying the president and other officials on its way to a ceremony commemorate the 20,000 casualties of the Soviet massacre 70 years ago.

two pieces on Hulu CEO Jason Kilar

The New York Times recently did a piece exploring the struggles and success of online TV streaming service Hulu.

USA Today also did a piece on Hulu and Jason Kilar recently, and actually did video interview as well as a condensed write-up.

The New York Times story takes a look at Hulu's profitability and search to earn more money. They reported that Hulu as been profitable for two quarters in a row.

The USA Today piece was written in February and that point said, "Kilar won't say whether Hulu is profitable, but he notes that the list of advertising sponsors working with Hulu has grown to more than 400."

They also reported, "It is coming under increasing pressure from the companies that supply its content. They want Hulu to earn more advertising dollars and set up a subscription service, asking consumers to pay a monthly fee to watch at least some of the shows on the site."

Because of this, Hulu is in the process of exploring subscription models and alternate pricing that will likely take effect soon.

USA Today said, "For months there have been hints from Hulu's owners of a looming pay model, perhaps as early as this year."

Right now the big benefit of Hulu is the fact that it's free. There are other big-name competitors that have already jumped into the streaming service like Apple and Netflix.

At this point consumers usually flock to free video sites unless the offer is complelling enough. The New York Times notes, "If consumers embrace a subscription service and an iPad app, it could make the company's family gatherings a little less rancorous."

4 people killed in a restaurant shooting in California

On Saturday, four people were killed in a restaurant in San Fernando Valley.

Two other victims were taken to the hospital in critical condition to be treated.

The shooting happened at the Hot Spot Cafe at approximately 4:40 p.m.

CNN reported, "It was still unclear whether the victims knew the suspect."

By contrast FOX News reported, "We don't have a crazed gunman running around North Hollywood that presents an immediate threat to public safety, to anyone in their homes or businesses in the area," Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said. "However, this is also not a random act of violence."

FOX News also mentioned that the motive was still unknown.

It's interesting to note that neither CNN or FOX News have eye witness accounts. FOX News only has quotes from people who lived near by or heard the gunfire.

FOX News released the names of the victims but not the two people taken to the hospital.

CNN reported that it was unclear whether the shooting happened in the restaurant or outside of it.

However, FOX News reported that police said the shooting happened inside the restaurant.

Businesses and Twins fans excited to have a new home

Friday was the Twins first pre-season game in their new Target Field home.

For months there has been a lot of talk about whether the new stadium will help out businesses in a down economy.

According to the Star Tribune, "The new North Loop restaurant -- the owner swears it's about 150 steps from Target Field's third base -- is part of a flurry of restaurant and bar activity in the Minneapolis Warehouse District and beyond. "

Despite being rainy and windy afternoon, Twins fans made the trek to the new stadium where they would watch the their home team take on the Cardinals.

According to MinnPost.com, adding a retractable roof to Target Field would cost upwards of $200 million.

I personally didn't go to the game but I was at Cuzzy's at 4 p.m. and there was more foot traffic than I've ever seen.

Having worked in the Warehouse District for almost 2 years, it's easy to notice the many vacant buildings desperately in need of renovation and tenants.

The Star Tribune reports, ""The Warehouse District is going through a metamorphosis. It really is," said Andrea Christenson, a retail broker at Cassidy Turley."

It's hard to tell whether or not the Target Field will be a "game changer" but businesses nearby are sure hoping to take advantage of it.

Multiple earthquakes struck the Pacific Coast on Sunday one as powerful as a magnitude 7.2 was recorded.

According to CNN, "The quake struck at 3:40 p.m. (6:40 p.m. ET) about 175 kilometers (110 miles) east-southeast of Tijuana, Mexico, according to the U.S. Geological Survey."

CNN reported, "At least one person was killed in a building that collapsed in Mexicali, according to the assistant director of civil protection in Tijuana."

According to the LA Times, "At the Knott's Berry Farm theme park, rides were shut down for 20 minutes while they were inspected, said Willie Parker, a spokesman for the park. No one was stranded on any of the rides, Parker said."

Disneyland was also evacuated and apparently no injuries were reported, according to their Twitter feed.

People in the area posted pictures on Twitter and Facebook as it was happening and provided a glimpse into what was happening.

IPads are launched in the U.S.

On Saturday morning early adopters gathered at Apple Stores across the country to get one of the first iPads.

Announced in the Jan. 2010 and according to Steve Jobs, "The revolutionary product," the iPad takes aim at a number of industries as an all-in-one device. It's a device that is built on the same operating system as the iPhone.

It has already garnered attention from many publishers with it's new iBookstore and positioned to compete squarely with Amazon's kindle.

Perhaps the biggest threat is to the fast-growing netbook industry. According to Business Week, Netbook sales in the first quarter of 2009 were estimated at 3.6 million units but are expected slow down as the iPad becomes more popular.

For all it's hype the iPad isn't without it's flaws. The New York Times reports, "The iPad has been generally well reviewed, although there are features noticeably absent: the ability to run more than one application at a time, for instance, and lack of support for Adobe's Flash, which means video on many Web sites will not play."

According to Piper Jaffray analyst at Gene Munster, there were an estimated 600,000 - 700,000 iPads sold on the Saturday.

By contrast, it took Apple 74 days to sell one million of the first generation iPhones. It took 3 days to sell the one million of the latest version of the iPhone.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2010 is the previous archive.

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