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January 28, 2007

Clinton in Iowa

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton commented on President Bush's expectation that the next in office will inherit the current Iraq situation. Senator Clinton said the President should take care of the war in Iraq before he leaves office in 2009 and not leave the responsibility to the next president.

Clinton also defended her vote to send troops into Iraq in 2002. "I acted on the best judgment I had at the time," she said. "If we had known then what we know now, there never would have been a vote, and I never would have voted to give the president the authority." (As reported in the Pioneer Press and The New York Times)

Clinton's likely competition for the Democratic Nomination in 2008, former Senator John Edwards , has also been defending his vote supporting military action in Iraq.

Although Bush's plan for Iraq was a main talking point in Iowa, Clinton also dealt with questions concerning health care, standards for trade and labor, and the possibility of becoming the first female president.

Human Trafficking in Italy Exposed

Over 2,000 people throughout Italy were accused of human trafficking after investigations uncovered adults and children who were being forced into prostitution and working in sweatshops.

Most of the people being forced into these trafficking rings, and controlling them are foreigners from Eastern Europe, including Albania, Romania and elsewhere.

Those involved were accused of exploiting prostitution and favoring illegal immigration. Of the 2,000 plus accused, 784 have been detained and 1,311 were released pending legal proceedings. Police said young girls were being forced to work as prostitutes and many more adults and children were working in mainly textile sweatshops.

The widespread investigation led to arrests throughout the country. A total of 15 houses for prostitution, four nightclubs, and three sweatshops were seized.

Lead analysis: The New York Times and CNN.com both carried this Associated Press story, but CNN's coverage included more quotes and gave the story more of a human interest appeal. Both stories began with basically the same lead, playing off of the more than 2,000 that were accused and telling the reader exactly what happened.

Water Contamination in the Metro

The Minnesota Health Department is investigating the safety of drinking water in the metro area. Investigators are linking contaminations in area ground water supplies to chemical disposal done by 3M in the past.

Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) concentrations in the Prairie du Chien and Jordan aquifers, from which most of the east metro area draws its drinking water, were found to be over the one parts per billion limit set by the Health Department. Although there are no immediate effects of drinking the contaminated water, the long-term effects of PFBA exposure are still mostly unknown. Therefore, health officials suggest using bottled or filtered water for drinking and cooking until the problem can be resolved.

For the next two weeks ground water supplies in Inver Grove Heights and Rosemount will be tested to determine how extensive the contamination is in throughout the metro and surrounding area. Testing is not only going to be done on numerous private residential wells, but also on the water supplies of businesses.

Lead analysis: In The Star Tribune's coverage of this story, the writer chose to construct a lead that tells the reader what is happening in the story. Water contamination is the first thing mentioned, which obviously is a great way to draw a reader into the story. However, I thought the Pioneer Press did a better job of getting down to the bare bones of the story in their coverage. That article is more straight forward, explaining what the contaminants are earlier in the article than the Star Tribune.

Super Bowl Advertising the New Player of the Game

Super Bowl advertising spots, the most coveted commercial slots in the advertising business, are now costing $2.6 million to display a 30 second commercial.

Ninety million football fans tuning into the championship game have made the 60 commercial spots available during the Super Bowl prime real estate for companies promoting their products. The enormous market and limited slots have increased the price for ads at rates much higher than inflation. Minute-long commercial slots were a fraction of the cost at the first World Championship Game, costing a mere $75,000.

With continuing media fragmentation, the Super Bowl is now streamed live on the internet, making it available to even more people and making it more appealing to advertisers. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigated how this year's Super Bowl advertisers reached out to their consumers to help them create memorable commercials. For instance, Chevrolet held a student-designed ad contest and will be running the winning commercials during the game.

January 24, 2007

Xcel Energy Planning More Environmentally Friendly Generation

Xcel Energy, the nation's number one producer of wind-generated energy, is awaiting legislation that will regulate carbon emissions from their plants throughout Minnesota. Xcel CEO Dick Kelly was with other business executives when they said legislation should come sooner than later, so new policies can be adopted in the plants.

Xcel provides power to states throughout the Midwest, and officials said uniform national legislation would be preferred over rules differing state by state.

Xcel plans to increase its wind-generated energy consumption from 1,000 megawatts to 2,300 megawatts very soon. The company also has coal plant improvements and conversions, changing coal-burning plants to natural gas, that will reduce emissions in Minnesota. Any future legislation concerning carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions will need to be taken into account during facility improvements.

For more info check out these links to local newspapers covering the story:
Pioneer Press
Star Tribune