November 2010 Archives

Analysis: Diversity

The article is about a student at Benilde-St. Margaret's School who is trying to start a gay-straight alliance at the school. The article was in the Star Tribune, and is titled "Benilde student wants to start gay advocacy group."

Matt is a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, where he is a political science major. Matt has worked on a few political campaigns for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, and he identifies himself as a member of the gay community.

Matt said the article written by Kelly Smith provides balanced coverage of the conflict between a student starting a gay-straight alliance at a Catholic school.

He specifically noted the balance in the following statement:

Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said he doesn't know of any such group at the metro area's 13 Catholic high schools, and "that has to say something."

It presents the details of the conflict without the writer editorializing and interjecting her own opinions. Matt said that the gay community was not stereotyped in this article, but that she presented the details of the situation.

Smith allows the story to unfold with the use of many quotes throughout. Therefore, she is using the words of others, and not herself. Sean Simonson, the student at the Catholic school, and Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, are quoted. Therefore, both sides of the argument are presented.

Smith also uses facts about gay-straight alliances at other Catholic schools in the area, including Catholic universities, such as the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University.

This article could be more controversial because of the struggle between the gay community and the Catholic church, but Smith has objectively reported on the different groups represented in the article.

'Deathly Hallows' is Box-Office Best for Harry Potter

Witches and wizards flocked to the box office this weekend to make "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One" a box-office best for the Harry Potter franchise.

The latest film, which is the first of the two-part goodbye, has been estimated to have grossed around $125.1 million, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Many analyst had projected a high opening weekend, but the lastest film from the J.K. Rowling series beat out "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which grossed $103 million when it opened in 2005, according to the USA Today.

The "Deathly Hallows" opened late Thursday night with midnight showings on 3,700 theaters across the country, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The film grossed $61.2 million on Friday alone, which made it the fifth best opening day ever, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The year-long marketing campaign by Warner Brothers led to the film earning $330 million globally this weekend, according to the New York Times.

U Names New President

The Board of Regents named Eric Kaler as 16th president of the University of Minnesota Thursday.

The board unanimously voted for the Stony Book University provost and University of Minnesota graduate, according to the Star Tribune.

Kaler, 54, signed a four-year contract with a salary of $610,000 and retirement payments of $50,000 during years two through four, according to the Pioneer Press.

He will remain as provost in the State University of New York system until the current president, Robert Bruininks, steps down in July, according to the Star Tribune.

Kaler received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1982, according to the Star Tribune.

"The opportunity to come back to a place that was so meaningful to me, at such an important time for the university, and is such a wonderful place to start a presidency -- it's just a thrill beyond words," Kaler told the Star Tribune.

Wisconsin Man Allegedly Shoots TV After Palin Dance

A rural Wisconsin man allegedly shot his television after Bristol Palin's dance Monday on "Dancing With the Stars."

Steven Cowan, 67, became enraged after watching Palin dance, which resulted in an all-night standoff with a SWAT team, according to the Pioneer Press.

This Vermont, Wis. man was arrested Tuesday morning at his home, according to National Public Radio.

Cowan was charged Wednesday with second-degree reckless endangerment, according to the Pioneer Press.

After shooting his TV, Cowan then threatened his wife with the gun, according to NPR.

"Desperate Housewives" Star Splits From Husband

"Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria filed for divorce Wednesday from her husband, Tony Parker.

Longoria, who has been married to the NBA player for three years, filed for divorce in Los Angeles, and cited irreconcilable differences, according to USA Today.

Parker told People magazine that he and Longoria had been discussing their situation, and he knew Longoria would be filing for divorce.

Despite reports, Parker said that he did not file for divorce in Texas, and that they plan to keep there matters private, according to E! News.

The couple does not have any children together, according to USA Today.

A Royal Engagement Announced

Great Britain's Prince William announced his engagement Tuesday to Kate Middleton.

The prince asked Middleton's father for permission to wed his daughter, and proposed last month while they were on vacation in Kenya, according to The Guardian.

The prince said, "I had been planning it for a while. It really felt right in Africa. I had done some planning to show my romantic side," according to the USA Today.

The couple met in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews in 2001, and they have been dating for eight years, according to USA Today.

Prince William gave Middleton Princess Diana's blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring because his future wife is as important to him as the ring, according to USA Today.

Analysis: Numbers

The article that will be analyzed is titled "As Glaciers Melt, Scientists Seek New Data on Rising Seas" from the New York Times.

Justin Gillis, the writer, begins the story by describing the actions of scientists as they measure the water temperature in Greenland. Gillis said the temperature was around 40 degrees, which sets up the focus of the story.

Gillis includes quotes from the scientists about why the temperature is troubling. Then he includes how many inches scientists had expected the sea level to rise this century, and then it is compared to what happened in the 20th century.

The story unfolds with recent calculations that are different than the projections. Therefore, Gillis identifies the problem by showing the amount the sea level had risen, the projection and how the sea level is not consistent with predictions.

Next, he uses numbers by conveying how the coastline would be affected in the U.S., and how many people would be affected in Asia.

Gillis uses the average of coastal flooding that once or twice a century, and then said it would happen every few years. The numbers enhance the understanding of the numbers because of the difference between what is happening and what is projected.

Gillis also uses numbers when discussing the flow rate from the fjord in Greenland that is discussed in the first few paragraphs. According to the article, it has doubled or tripled within the past decade.

Also, quakes near this fjord have increased "severalfold from the level of the earl 1990s," according to the article. Therefore, more evidence conveys that current results are not consistent with past findings.

The numbers are not confusing in this story. Gillis makes it easy to understand, and conveys that there is a problem, which sets up the discussion of the debate of global warming. He uses them to tell the story, and show the bigger picture. This story could not be told without numbers. But it could have been boring if Gillis had used a lot of confusing numbers.

There are also interactive features with this article that show speed of melting ice, and the areas of the U.S. that are vulnerable to the rising seas.

Another Duggar Baby on the Way

The eldest son from The Learning Channel's "19 Kids and Counting" announced that he and his wife are expecting their second child.

This will be the second child for Josh Duggar and his wife Anna, who are both 22, according to People magazine.

The couple found out about the pregnancy on their daughter Mackynzie's first birthday on Oct. 8, according to the New York Daily News.

Anna said, "It was fun to announce it to everyone on that already happy day," according to People magazine.

This will be the second grandchild for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the parents of Josh, according the New York Daily News.

Fire Kills Animals at a German Zoo

A fire at a German zoo killed 26 animals Friday night.

The fire destroyed the petting zoo, which included many wooden buildings that housed Shetland ponies, sheep, goats and a llama, according to the BBC.

Zookeepers had to lead elephants, flamingos and a hippopotamuses to safety because the fire was blazing over the animals' heads, according to Deutsche Welle.

Gisela von Hegel, director of the zoo, said that there was no possibility of rescuing the petting-zoo animals because the roof had already collapsed, according to the BBC.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is being investigated, according to Deutsche Welle.

Suspect Held in St. Paul Church Fire

Police arrested a Maplewood man on suspicion of setting fire to a St. Paul church Friday.

Tou Chai Lee, 18, was arrested on suspicion of arson and criminal damage to property, according to the Pioneer Press.

The fire broke out around 8:30 p.m. at the Faith Alliance Church at 520 Howard St. N., while about 18 members of the youth group were in the basement, according to the Star Tribune.

The tires of four cars in the church parking lot were also slashed, according to the Pioneer Press.

None of the youth group members were injured, but the fire was blocking the entryway, according to the Pioneer Press. They exited the building through a side door.

Police said that witnesses had seen the suspect at the scene, according to the Star Tribune.

Roseville K-9 Stabbed but Survives Emergency Surgery

A Roseville K-9 was stabbed early Friday after sniffing out a theft suspect in a truck lot near Maplewood.

The dog named Major was stabbed four times in the head and neck, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police said that the 9-year-old dog was taken to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, where he had emergency surgery for his wounds, according to the Star Tribune. However, it is unclear if Major will regain the use of his back legs.

Dr. Lisa Powell at the veterinary center said that it is unknown if Major will be able to return to the K-9 unit, according to the Pioneer Press.

Carnival Cruise Ship Stranded, Pop Tarts for Everyone

The Carnival cruise ship Splendor was stranded Monday in the Mexican Riviera after a fire broke out in the engine room.

The fire started around 6 a.m. and left the 3,299 passengers stranded 55 miles off the coast of Baja California, Mexico without Internet, cell phone and ship-to-shore phone services, according to Time magazine.

The U.S. Navy delivered bread, canned Spam, canned fruit, canned milk and Pop Tart from the USS Ronald Reagan, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The cruise ship was pulled by six tug boats to port, and arrived in San Diego Thursday around 8:30 a.m., according to USA Today.

Carnival offered passengers a full refund, reimbursement for travel expenses and a free cruise of equal value, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Analysis: Obituary

The obituary I will be analyzing is "Andy Irons, Surf Champion, is Dead at 32" from the New York Times.

This obituary uses a standard obituary lead, because it states who the person is, Andy Irons, that he is a notable surf champion, and that he died Tuesday in Dallas. Therefore, it identifies him, why he is notable, and when and where he died. The next sentence gives his age, which is 32.

This lead does work, because it leads the reader to question why Irons died at a young age. This question is answered in the second paragraph with the cause. The cause is not known at this time, but the medical examiner did not find evidence to suspect foul play.

The sources include: Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office, Billab,ong, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iron's agent, Steve Astephen, Bernie Baker, an amateur contest director, and pro-surfer Kelly Slater.

The obituary shifts into the claim-to-fame section with a quote from his agent. Then it goes on to describe his life as a competitor while Irons was an amateur surfer, and then it shifts into his pro-surfer career. Each part contains quotes from people that knew him.

The obituary proceeds in chronological order of his achievements as a surfer. This section ends with recent struggles that Irons had. It provides many quotations from other people that describe how he was perceived by other people.

The second to last paragraph contains information about when he was born and his family. He was born on July 24, 1978. Irons is survived by his parents, brother and wife, who is expecting their first child in a few months.

The last paragraph is about the "paddle out" memorial service that was held in Puerto Rico by surfers and fans. Therefore, providing relevant details about the service.

This obituary does not list off all of the titles he won and competitions that Irons competed in, but it provides examples from different competitions so the reader can understand the person he was. If Irons' resume was listed you would not be able to understand the qualities he possessed, and what made him the person he was. Whereas, describing specific events shows his work ethic, drive and what mattered to him.

Brainerd Woman Owes $1.5 Million for Dowloading Music


A Brainerd woman was ordered Wednesday to pay $1.5 million for downloading music from the Internet after being sued by the recording industry.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $62,500 for each of the 24 songs she downloaded via an online file-sharing program, according to the Star Tribune.

Last year, Thomas-Rasset was ordered by a federal jury to pay $1.92 million, according to the Pioneer Press. However, the penalty was reduced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis to $54,000 per song, but the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) rejected the reduced penalty.

The RIAA offered to settle with Thomas-Rasset in September if she paid $25,000 to a music charity, according to the Star Tribune. Thomas-Rasset rejected the RIAA's offer.

Yemen Bomb was 17 Minutes From Exploding

One of two bombs intercepted from Yemen last week was disarmed 17 minutes before it was due to explode, the French interior minister said Thursday.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said to France-2 television that one of two bombs sent via air freight was 17 minutes away from detonation, according to the BBC.

However, Hortefeux did not reveal the source for the information, according to the BBC.

The White House said it could not confirm this information either, according to the Star Tribune. Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, said that the explosion time of the bombs is still under investigation.

A bomb was also found in Britain last week, but British officials could not confirm the detonation time of the bomb, according to the Star Tribune.

Investigators have focused on the al-Qaida group in the Arabian Peninsula that said it was behind the parcel bomb plot, according to the BBC.

Minnesota Will Face Gubernatorial Recount

Minnesotans will face a gubernatorial recount because of the narrow margin of votes between candidates Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer.

All precincts have reported, and the narrow lead of Democratic candidate Mark Dayton over the Republican candidate Tom Emmer is close enough to trigger a recount, according to the Pioneer Press.

Dayton leads Emmer by nearly 9,000 votes, according to the Star Tribune.

However, State Elections Director Gary Poser told the Associated Press Thursday that 3,012 were denied, according to the Star Tribune.

Republican officials plan to look "hard at the mechanics of the election to detect any wide-scale fraud that could change the result," according to the Star Tribune. However, experts said it will be difficult to flip the result.

Dayton has not claimed victory in this election, and Emmer has not made any public appearances since rallying supporters Wednesday morning, according to the Pioneer Press.

President Obama Takes Responsibility for His Party's Losses

President Obama said Wednesday that he is taking responsibility for the Democratic Party's losses on election night after Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives.

"Over the last two year, we've made progress but clearly too many Americans haven't felt that progress year," the president said. "As president, I take responsibility for that," according to ABC News.

However, the president did not suggest, while speaking in the East Room of the White House, that his policies were moving the country in the wrong direction, according to the New York Times.

Both parties agree that it is time to work together to turn the economy around for the people, according the New York Times.

"It's not just what the American people are demanding, it's what the expect for us," Obama said, according to ABC News.

Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" is Well Received From Fans

The latest album from Taylor Swift, "Speak Now," has sold over 1 million copies since it was released last week.

"Speak Now" was certified platinum after selling 1,047,000 copies since its worldwide release on Oct. 25, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Nielsen SoundScan said that the 20-year-old's album sales have made it the fastest-selling new record in five years, according to the New York Times.

Keith Caulfield, associate director of charts for Billboard, said, "Even if you put aside the depression of the music market, and look back over the 20 years, this has only happened 16 times, including this week," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Swift said in a Twitter message to her fans on Wednesday, "I... Can't... Believe... This... You guys have absolutely lit up my world. Thank you."

This is yet another major accomplishment for Swift after winning four Grammy Awards earlier this year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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