November 2012 Archives

President Obama and Mitt Romney Have Lunch

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President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney held a private, low-key lunch Thursday at the White House, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.

This was the first meeting between the two since the final Presidential debate in October. Officials say the meeting is a step towards the two men working together.

The two men ate turkey chili and grilled chicken salad and traded ideas on how to preserve the nation's status as a whole leader, the White House said. It was Romney's first appearance in the public eye after a three week hiatus following the election.

His role within the Republican party is still unclear, the Wall Street Journal says.

Although the meeting did spark some curiosity among the media, it turned out to be more of a publicity stunt than anything substantive, says the Washington Post.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the two were swapping stories about the campaign trail and said the president previously had stated an interest in Romney's managerial knowledge.

President Obama also met former election challenger John McCain after the 2008 race.

According to stories by and Sun Thisweek, police have charged an Eagan couple with excessive punishment and neglect involving the care of their teenage son.

Gregory and Angela Danner are each charged with two gross misdemeanors, according to Kare 11.

According to the criminal complaint, Angela, 41, and her husband, Gregory, 44, removed the lights and bed from the 15-year-old boy's bedroom in the basement as punishment. They also blocked the window from the outside to prevent light from entering the room.

The boy also told authorities that the Danners often forced him to do between 1,500 and 2,000 pushups per day, wall-sits that last between 20 minutes and an hour, and also regularly made him run outside for several miles in frigid conditions, says Kare 11.

Prosecutors also allege that the Danners forced the boy to eat in his room, existing on a diet that consisted mainly of peanut butter sandwiches. They allegedly had a video camera in the room so they could monitor the teen's every move, allowed only to leave his room to use the bathroom.

These practices reportedly began when the boy was 12-years-old.

Ricky Rubio Cleared to Play for Timberwolves

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Stories from ESPN and the Pioneer Press report that Timberwolves star point guard Ricky Rubio has been cleared by doctors to return to practice, putting him one step closer to rejoining the team.

Rubio has been out since last March with a torn ACL he suffered in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Since then, he has been on the slow road to recovery.

Rubio started participating in walk-through portions of practice early last week and coach Rick Adelman said it was clear in those situations that "he has not lost his aptitude for the offense and what will be asked of him when he returns", says ESPN.

His return is much anticipated not only because of the bolt of energy he will inject to the Timberwolves, but also because Minnesota has had a myriad of injury problems this year.

All-star forward Kevin Love just returned from a hand injury last week. Guards Chase Budinger and Brandon Roy are out indefinitely.

The Timberwolves had high expectations heading into the season; the return of their start Spaniard may be enough to get them back on track.

Both reports say that is unclear which game will mark Rubio's offical return, but speculation is that he may return for the Dec. 4 game against Milwaukee.

Analysis: Culture

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In a Reuters story filed today about Catholics in France protesting same-sex marriage, three culture groups different from my own are profiled.

Since there are several different groups represented in the story, the writer makes a point to present sources and information from all sides, including the French government. The arguments from the Catholics are presented with the chants the protestors as well as a French newspaper Le Monde. The writer also included a quote from the Pope, obviously in support of the opposition to the marriage law.

A notable way in which the writer effectively attempts to stray from presenting the protesters as bigoted or prejudicial is the inclusion of the French couple's quotes. They understood the marriage law should pass, but wanted to show their personal disapproval. This at least demonstrates some understanding from that side of the argument.

In my opinion, the story does move beyond the given stereotypes and stresses the schism in social policy among French citizens. The story is used to look more at the moral battle between church and government and the strong Catholic contingent in France, and less at the severity or absurdity in their views.

Man Indicted in Plot to Bomb New York Federal Reserve

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According to stories by CNN and Reuters, a Bangladesh man has been indicted on charges of attempting to blow up the New York Federal Reserve.

The plot was meant to be put into place last month, Reuters said. He was allegedly going to use a 1,000 pound bomb, according to court papers made public Thursday.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, was arrested by federal authorities in a sting operation in October. He was accused of attempting to detonate the bomb with a cell phone. The bomb was inert, CNN said.

The non-working bomb was reportedly given to Nafis by an undercover federal agent as part of a sting.

Nafis was allegedly inspired by al Qaeda. He came to the United States in January on a student visa under the pretext of attending college at Southeast Missouri State University, prosecutors said in the CNN report.

Nafis told authorities the plan was all his own and his sole reason for coming to the United States.

Minnesota Non-profits Bring in Over $14 Million

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According to stories filed by the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, Minnesota non-profit organizations raised over $14 million during Thursday's fourth annual "Give to the Max Day."

Last year, 47,000 donators contributed with the philanthropic website, which ultimately raised upwards of $13.4 million, according to the Pioneer Press. This year's proceeds exceeded that number.

There was so much traffic on the website that many of the donators received error messages when they tried making their donations.

Among the biggest winners were Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, a suburban anti-poverty group which received more than $250,000 in 24 hours, and Cretin-Derham Hall of St. Paul, which saw more than $220,000 in donations, according to the Star Tribune.

The story said that for the first time, public schools were eligible to receive donations for this event.

The exact number of donations and the money raised won't be available until Friday. Last year, the event solidified Minnesota as the country's leader in day-long events like this, said the Star Tribune.

Texas A&M Football Player Missing

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According to reports by ESPN and the USA Today, Texas A&M football player Thomas Johnson is missing.

Both stories say that Johnson was last seen since he left his College Station residence at approximately 6 p.m. Monday, according to the university's police department.

A school spokesman said that no one in the football program has seen Johnson since late Saturday night, after the team's upset victory against Alabama. The football team was given Sunday off.

According to a statement from the Texas A&M Police Department, Johnson may have left the university to spend time in the Dallas area, where he attended high school, said the USA Today.

A statement made by Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin:

"All of us are obviously very concerned about the safety and well-being of Thomas Johnson, who has been missing since Monday evening. Authorities are working closely with his family, friends and law enforcement agencies to help locate him. Thomas is a tremendous student-athlete, greatly admired by his fellow teammates and all of us on the coaching staff. If anyone has any current information about him or knows of his whereabouts, please contact his family or law enforcement authorities immediately. We pray for his quick and safe return."

Work Begins to Exhume Yasser Arafat's Body

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According to reports from CNN and The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, workers have begun to remove the marble tombstone on former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's grave for exhumation of the body.

The exhumation is going to take about two weeks, with most of the delicate work being done by hand, says CNN.

A French investigative team is scheduled to arrive on Nov. 26 to take samples from his remains, which are buried in Ramallah in the West Bank. A Russian investigative team also will be there on the same day, reportedly at the request of the Palestinian Authority.

In August, French prosecutors opened up an inquiry of murder into the death of Arrafat

Palestinian officials approved the move over the summer, after investigators said they found high levels of a radioactive substance on some of Arafat's personal belongings.

Suha Arafat, the former leader's widow, told CNN that she wanted his body exhumed to find out whether he was poisoned.

Rare November Tornadoes Touch Down in Burnsville

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A rare Nov. thunderstorm Saturday night caused two tornadoes touched down briefly in Burnsville, Minn., according to reports from and

Although the level of the tornadoes were low on the EF Fujita scale, the damage was quite considerable, said WCCO. Patch said that the wind speeds reached 80 mph.

According to WCCO, only one tornado has been recorded in November since 1950. These tornadoes left two miles of damage in their path.

As reported by Patch, as the storm cell tracked northeast, the tornado blew down numerous trees and power lines and bent a stop sign all the way to the ground, the weather service said.

The first tornado spun up northeast of the intersection of County Road 5 and McAndrews Road in Burnsville around 10:58 p.m., according to weather service officials.

Seven minutes later, another tornado struck near Skyline Drive east of Hwy. 13. This tornado had maximum speeds of 75 and headed northeast to the Lost Spur Golf Course just south of Interstate 494.

The damage from the storm left thousands without power, said Patch.

Analysis: Numbers

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In an article by CNN about how women impacted the election last Tuesday, the writer uses several different numbers to make his point. The numbers he uses are pretty straightforward, including the number 20 -- the amount of women who will hold U.S. senate seats in 2013. This number shows the impact women currently have in politics and the progress women are making with holding public office. One of the new twenty women senate members is Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly gay member of the Senate.

Another set of numbers he uses are percentages, information from an exit poll conducted by CNN. The percentages demonstrate what portion of the male population voted for either Obama or Romney, and with whom women voted for as well.

The numbers used in this article are pretty effective in proving the point that women had a great impact in the election. Unless the reported played a significant part in conducting the exit polls, I doubt he had to do any math for this story. Since there wasn't an abnormal amount of numbers used in this story and they weren't presented in a complicated manner, there isn't much I would change to help with the clarity of this article.

ESPN and the Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the Los Angeles Lakers have fired their head coach Mike Brown after just five games.

The Laker front office made this decision based on what owner Jerry Buss said was "a mishandling of the offense, mainly." The Lakers have begun the season with a 1-4 record, their worst start since 1993.

Los Angeles named one of Brown's assistants, Bernie Bickerstaff, as the interim head coach. Bickerstaff has never been a head coach in the NBA before.

According to the LA Times, this is believed to be the earliest firing of a head coach in team history.

Mike Brown was previously the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-2010, where he and star player Lebron James led Cleveland to the NBA Finals in 2007. Brown also assisted for Rick Carlisle in Indiana and Gregg Popovich in San Antonio before his days as head coach in Cleveland. He most recently was an NBA analyst for ESPN.

ESPN says the Lakers are undergoing a search for a permanent replacement and the leading candidates are Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillan, Mark D'Antoni and former Lakers and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson. Jackson has won 11 championships in his career as a head coach.

Los Angeles had championship expectations this season with the arrivals of star center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash to go along with Laker stalwarts Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Bickerstaff will coach his first game tonight against the Golden State Warriors.

Thousands of Syrians flee the Country

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According to stories by The USA Today and Reuters, at least 11,000 Syrians have fled their own country today, pouring into Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Reuters called it "one of the biggest refugee exoduses in the 20-month civil war." The exodus took place after rebel forces seized a Syrian border town. The United Nations warned that million of Syrians still need aid.

The civil war in Syria has killed over 36,000 people since an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March 2011, said the USA Today.

Panos Moumtzis, the U.N. refugee agency's regional coordinator for the region, described the flood of people as "the highest that we have had in quite some time."

This most recent flood of refugees makes the grand total 120,000 in Turkey alone.

CIA Director Petraeus Resigns

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Reuters and NBC News reports that CIA Director David Petraeus announced his resignation Friday.

According to both reports, Petraeus cited an extramarital affair and "extremely poor judgment" in making his decison. NBC News first reported that the director informed the CIA workforce with a letter.

In the letter, Petraeus wrote: "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and a leader of an organization such as ours."

In a statement, President Barack Obama said that he accepted Petraeus' resignation and commended him on his work in the CIA and for leading U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Petraeus was appointed CIA director in April 2011, replacing Leon Panetta, who moved to the Pentagon to become defense secretary. Intelligence sources said that Michael Morell, the agency's long-time deputy director, would serve as acting CIA chief for the immediate future.

Democrats Take Control of Minn. Legislature

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According to reports from WCCO and the Houston Chronicle (via The Associated Press), Minnesota Democrats have taken control of the state's legislature for the first time since 1990.

After winning back the House and Senate on Tuesday, Democrats have complete control of Minnesota's legislature.

With a Democratic majority in both houses, Gov. Mark Dayton now has an opening to raise income taxes on Minnesota's wealthy class, says the Houston Chronicle.

Democrats won seats in Minnesota suburbs like Eagan and Edina as well as regional centers like Owatonna and Willmar, just two years after Republicans swept both houses. The Republican majority and Gov. Dayton butted heads over taxes, ultimately leading to a government shutdown.

According to WCCO, Republicans blame the losses on what they called well-funded, fear-driven, dirty campaigns ran by the Democrats. The report said that voters seemed to blame the GOP on the shutdown as well as the conservative-based amendment questions on this year's ballot about voter ID and gay marriage.

Voters rejected both amendments Tuesday.

Both reports stressed the fact that the Minnesota GOP's failure to work alongside Gov. Dayton to get any work done. Top Senate Democrat Tom Baak of Cook told the AP that "(The GOP's) priorities did not reflect Minnesota."

50 Wolves Killed in First Managed Hunt

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According to reports from and, hunters killed at least fifty wolves during the opening weekend of Minnesota's first managed wolf hunt, the Department of Natural Resources said.

The regions wolves were taken off the endangered list this past January. According to the reports, Minnesota has set a quota for 400 wolves to be killed for the season.

Before Saturday's opener, the DNR predicted hunters would take about 70 wolves in the early season, just a 2 percent success rate for the 3,600 hunters who had early-season licenses, according to

There has been some controversy with the decision to hunt the wolves, says Protesters were stationed in Duluth and on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation near Cloquet over the weekend.

DNR officials say there will be enough wolves in the state to hunt them safely without affecting the overall population.

Two other groups are planning to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in hopes of restoring wolves to the endangered list, says the Twincities,com report.

Analysis: Obituaries

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For this blog, I looked at the obituary of Booker T. Washington that was written in the New York Times on Nov. 15, 1915. Although I am sure that obtaining sources back then was a very different process for a writer, the author of Washington's obituary did something very practical that is still commonly used today to find information. His primary sources came from the correspondence of Washington himself; he quoted Washington's own personal letters as well as information from his biography.

The lead used was pretty standard; it informed the reader who died and how and where it happened, as well as why this person is important. As he is now, I am sure Booker T. Washington was a very notable figure during the time of his death, so it is certainly newsworthy. The news is valuable because of Washington's prominence, primarily in the black community but he also had a country-wide significance.

The obituary is different than a resume because it lists his accomplishments in chronological order as opposed to being in order of significance. It also explains what was known about his childhood at the time. It's similar to a resume too because of its reference to people who endorsed Washington, as well as where he worked and how long he was there. It finishes in the standard way of mentioning who he left behind in his death.

Hunger Strike in Turkey Prisons Enters 52nd Day

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According to Reuters and CNN, the Turkish government announced Friday that at least 682 inmates across 67 prisons were participating in a hunger strike, but insisted that no protesters are in critical condition.

Reuters reports that Turkey's "main medical association" warned on Thursday that the jailed protesters may begin to die in the next ten days.

CNN also reported information that directly contradicted the announcement given by the country's justice ministry. CNN gave information from Dr. Aytug Atici that the protesters could not stand-up on their own and that they were bleeding nasally and anally.

Atici reportedly met with several prisoners during a tour of detention facilities. He is a medical doctor and lawmaker from the country's secularist party.

The main demand of the protesters is improved prison conditions for PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned on an island in the Marmara Sea south of Istanbul.

The Turkish prime minister called the Kurdish political leaders that the demonstrators are protesting for "merchants of death" and accused them of ordering the militants to go on strike while they themselves "feasted on kebabs."

He also called the strike "a show."

Xcel Enery files for Minnesota rate increase

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According to reports from the Star Tribune and, Xcel Energy asked Minnesota regulators for a 10.7 percent increase in electric rates on Friday.

According to both articles, the company is asking for an extra $285 million in revenue to pay for investments in nuclear power plants and a stronger grid.

The Star Tribune said that for the typical residential customer, the increase would mean roughly an extra 9$ on monthly bills.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission heard the request from Xcel. The increase in rates would allow continuation of nuclear power plants in Monticello and Prairie Island.

Both reports say that Xcel is trying to give back to its customers as well by proposing ways to help encourage efficient business growth and jobs to benefit all customers over the long term.

Xcel Energy serves 1.2 million Minnesota residents for their electricity.

The Minnesota commission is expected to hold public hearings in spring, and a decision is expected in fall, with final rates effective in the first quarter of 2014, says Daily Finance.

Former Penn State President Charged in Sandusky Scandal

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ESPN and NBC News report that former Penn State president Graham Spanier was charged Thursday with perjury, obstruction of justice, and endangering the welfare of children by Pennsylvania state prosecutors.

The prosecutors cited Spanier for a "conspiracy of silence," as said in both reports.

During his time as president of the university, Spanier hushed complaints against former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who has been convicted for child molestation.

Prosecutors also brought charges against two other former Penn State officials, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. Each was already charged with lying to the federal grand jury that investigated Sandusky.

All three men have publicly insisted on their innocence, said each report.

According to both ESPN and NBC News, Spanier's lawyer pointed to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett for the new charges brought against the three men, saying that he is diverting attention from the three-year investigation that began under his watch as attorney general.

Corbett failed to bring charges against Sandusky in 2009.

These charges come nearly a year since Jerry Sandusky was arrested for repeatedly molesting young boys dating back to 1998.

Several injured at USC Halloween Shooting

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Police detained two men after shots were fired that wounded four people at a Halloween Party at the University of Southern California Wednesday night, according to CNN and the Los Angeles Times.

The shooting occurred during an argument between two men outside of the house party. Neither the victims nor the men detained are students at the university, according to Capt. David Carlisle of the university's department of public safety.

One of the men arguing was critically wounded but it is in stable condition after a three hour surgery to repair seven bullet wounds, according to the LA Times report. The other three wounded victims suffered non-life threatening injuries, said CNN.

The critically wounded victim is Geno Hall, the 2009 Los Angeles City Football Player of the Year, according to the LA Times.

According to both reports, it is still unknown as to why shots were fired.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2012 is the previous archive.

December 2012 is the next archive.

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