November 2010 Archives

Vikings' Tumultous Season Grinds Onward with Blowout Loss

With chants of "Fire Childress" echoing through the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Vikings reached perhaps the lowest point in a season full of them.

With a 31-3 loss to the rival Green Bay Packers, the Vikings dropped their season record to 3-7 and essentially removed any remaining chance of making the playoffs.

ESPN reports that several verbal disputes broke out in the Vikings' locker room following the game as some players questioned the effort of others.

Sports Illustrated questions whether either quarterback Brett Favre or head coach Brad Childress will keep their jobs for the rest of the season.

Regardless of how the remainder of the season plays out, the result will be vastly different than last season, when the Vikings went 12-4 and lost the NFC Championship in overtime to the New Orleans Saints, who went on to win the Super Bowl.

Gopher Basketball Earns Marquee Victory

For the third consecutive season, the University of Minnesota men's basketball team has earned an early season non-conference victory over a highly-ranked opponent.

The Gophers upset eighth-ranked North Carolina 72-67 Friday in the semifinals of the Honda Puerto Rico Tip-Off, an early season tournament, and media outlets are starting to give the Gophers a lot of respect.

Following the win, ESPN called the Gophers a legitimate contender for the Big Ten conference title.

A surprising number of Minnesota fans turned out for the game in San Juan, and the Gophers fed off that energy to produce the upset victory.

The progress made by the Gophers over the past few years says a lot about Tubby Smith's ability as a coach. When he took over in 2007, the team was coming off a season with only 9 wins, but they have steadily improved and have participated in the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons.

Smith's successes also give hope to the struggling Gopher football program. If Joel Maturi, athletic director at the university, can recruit a big-name coach to take over the program, there is no reason that the Gopher football team cannot duplicate the basketball team's success in a few seasons.

With their victory over North Carolina, the Gophers have given hope struggling programs and to a region looking for a hot team to unite behind during the winter months.

Family Murdered in Florida

A mother and her three young children were found murdered in their Tallahassee, Florida home Saturday morning.

According to ABC News, the family was found dead by police after a concerned neighbor called the authorities. There appeared to be a violent struggle, according to the Tallahassee police department.

The victims, including 6-year-old twin girls and a 3-year-old boy, have not been identified, and their bodies are undergoing autopsies.

"This is a very shocking and unusual case for us," said Officer David McCranie of the Tallahassee police department.

Police are working on gathering information on potential suspects at this time.

Chinese Man Rescued from Underwater Shaft

After spending 80 hours trapped in an underwater shaft, a Chinese man was freed on Sunday, and officials were overjoyed at his rescue.

According to CNN, 43-year-old Fan Shengjia became trapped while he was working inside the narrow shaft on an offshore operation platform off China's east coast and it buckled under tidal pressure.

Officials were able to send food and water to Fan through a pipe, according to the CNN report.

After three days of clearing debris, officials were finally able to free Fan, prompting large cheers from the large group of workers on board the platform.

Fan was taken to a hospital in Pinghu City as a precaution, although he appeared to be uninjured.

Icy Roads Proving to Be Dangerous for Minnesotans

Cars stalled on roadsides and in ditches were a common sight on Minnesota roadways Saturday night after freezing rain coated roads with an icy glaze.

The Star Tribune reports that 438 crashes were documented in Minnesota since early Saturday evening, including approximately 75 involving injuries.

"Overnight was one for the ages as far as road conditions and number of calls for service," said State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske, who went on to state that the Twin Cities metro area dispatch received 900 calls for service over a four hour period.

One of the iciest stretches of road in Minnesota was at Highway 7 and County Road 44 in the west metro, where at least 40 cars went off the road at a large curve, according to the Star Tribune.

Over the course of the evening of accidents, the State Patrol reported one fatality near Litchfield, where a passenger was ejected from a car after being struck by another car.

A High Price to Pay for a College Football Star

The NCAA is currently investigating reports that the father of Cameron Newton, quarterback of second-ranked Auburn and a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, demanded money from schools during the recruiting process.

According to ESPN, Cecil Newton told Mississippi State University that it would take a payment of $100,000 to $180,000 for his son to sign with the program. The allegations, if true, would compromise Cameron Newton's eligibility and possibly invalidate Auburn's season.

Whether or not the Newtons solicited money from universities in exchange for Cameron's football ability has yet to be determined, but regardless of the outcome, the NCAA has a huge problem on its hands.

In September, 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush was forced to return his award after it was discovered that he and his family received large gifts from agents during his playing days at the University of Southern California, according to Fox Sports.

Sports Illustrated recently ran a cover story on an agent who paid dozens of college football players over his career.

While Cameron Newton is the most prominent player under allegations at this time, he is certainly not the first. If the NCAA does not step in to end this problem, the college football landscape will start to resemble the NFL.

2010 Minnesota Recount Shaping Up Differently from 2008

The state of Minnesota learned lessons in the prolonged senatorial recount of 2008 that it is using to make the 2010 governor's recount go more smoothly.

According to KSTP, election officials overseeing the 2010 recount, many of whom also handled matters in 2008, will have a much easier time now due to new election laws and the larger lead currently held by Democrat Mark Dayton over Republican Tom Emmer.

Dayton holds an 8,755-vote lead before the recount, which is scheduled to begin in earnest November 23.

Emmer, according to the Star Tribune, claims that the recount is not meant to delay a Democrat taking the highest office in Minnesota, a position that grants veto power to slow the agenda of new Republican majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate.

"Anybody who would talk now about just using the process for delay or some other, I think that's entirely improper, and I wouldn't be part of it," Emmer said.

Former Obama Chief of Staff Joins Chicago Mayoral Race

As widely expected, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel threw his hat into the race to replace Richard Daley as mayor of Chicago Saturday.

Emanuel, who stepped down as President Obama's chief of staff in October, formally announced his intentions in the packed gymnasium at Coonley Elementary School in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"The choices we make in the next few years will define Chicago for future generations," Emanuel said to estimated crowd of 250 supporters. "They will determine whether we remain a world class city, or fall back."

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel will attempt to emerge from a crowded field of contenders that includes U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

The candidates are vying to replace Daley, the mayor of Chicago since 1989, who announced in September that he would not be seeking re-election.

Snowy Weather Causing Havoc Across Twin Cities Area

The first significant snowfall event of the season in Minnesota has begun, and the snowy weather is causing major headaches on roadways and in houses across the state.

KSTP reports that many parts of the Twin Cities metro area have already seen nearly a foot of snow, and the precipitation is expected to continue throughout Saturday evening.

The State Patrol announced that there have been 401 crashes and 471 vehicle spinouts since midnight Saturday, although no injuries or fatalities have been reported.

In addition, 52,000 Xcel Energy customers in the metro area are without power due to the storm, according to KSTP.

The Star Tribune points out that the storm has dropped the biggest pre-Thanksgiving snowfall in the Twin Cities since the Halloween blizzard of 1991.

Officials have declared snow emergencies in Minneapolis, St. Paul and many surrounding cities.

Obama's Criticism of China Concludes G-20 Summit

President Obama blamed China for a lack of quick progress in economic fixes at the conclusion of the G-20 Summit of leading rich and developing nations in Seoul, South Korea Friday.

According to the New York Times, Obama accused the Chinese government of intentionally keeping the value of its currency low to promote exports.

"Precisely because of China's success, it's very important that it act in a responsible fashion internationally," said Obama, who went on to explain that China risks alienating its trade partners by continuing to keep the value of its currency so low.

Chinese policy was an extremely prevalent topic during the American election season, when numerous candidates broadcasted attack ads against candidates favoring increased trade with China, according to CNN.

Political analysts are concerned that China, as a growing economic power, will serve as a fierce competitor in the present with uncertain plans for the future, according to CNN.

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