Privacy's weak link, decency dies in Superior, Minnesota at high speed, a lake logo a day, and the last day of Minnesota baseball.
We got another on-the-street glimpse of what a dying economy looks like today.
In Louisville, General Electric's Appliances & Lighting unit had 480 openings and planned to begin taking applications today, calculating that it would probably have enough online applications by Friday to find 480 people to hire for a planned expansion in February.
It shut down the application process today after 1 hour when it amassed 6,000 applications.
The jobs will pay about $13 an hour.(1 Comments)
Despite our tendency to avoid all coverage of celebrity-related trials in Los Angeles, there's no way any fan of pop culture can ignore the tape that was played in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor yesterday.
The brain can process complex things. But it will certainly struggle with the notion that this person...
... is also this person...
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Walgren blamed Dr. Conrad Murray for Jackson's death, saying he abandoned "all principles of medical care" when he used the surgical anesthetic propofol to put Jackson to sleep every night for more than two months.
Let's reopen an old wound. Why don't news organizations report suicides and when they do report suicides, how do they decide which ones are worthy?
The question resurfaces after last week's coverage (including on NewsCut) of the suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodermeyer, who took his own life, apparently after being bullied in his first weeks of high school.
Suicide, as I've written here plenty of times, is an epidemic, yet we don't connect the dots with only occasional coverage of a suicide here or there -- the slumber party that ended in a suicide pact in Marshall, the suicide in New London that got coverage because a father spoke out about it and because it was the second one in town, or the suicide that is news because of the murder that preceded it.
In Minnesota, the latest statistics say, suicide dropped by 17 from 2008 to 2009. Someone took their own life every 38 hours in the state instead of every 39 hours.
While 15-24 year olds accounted for the most suicides by age group (82), it was only one more than the 50-54 year old age group. But suicides of people in their 50s accounted for 1 of every four suicides.
Today, columnist Tina Dupuy says it's time for a different approach to covering this:
I don't know how to eradicate bullying. I don't know if we need more people in jail in this country, especially teenagers like those who bullied Jamey. I don't know how to make kids nicer to each other. I don't know how to make being a teenager less painful.
I do know that suicide needs to be taken out of the closet. The idea that if we talk about suicide - if we read about it in the paper - it'll be so tempting more people will kill themselves is ridiculous. It reeks of superstition. Censoring stories doesn't save lives.
Eighteen U.S. military veterans a day kill themselves. It's a kind of Don't Ask, Don't Tell that's still being implemented. Over 6,500 vets a year die this way. That's more soldiers dying at home in one year than in 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And among those currently serving, in 2010 suicide took more lives of our military personnel than battle. The problem is so prevalent Obama is the first President in history to send letters of condolences to military families of troops who committed suicide.
Suicides for Native American males ages 10-24 are almost three times the national average. Also, Alaska has the most suicides per capita. In case you think it's from lack of sunlight, New Mexico ranks number two. The vast majority of suicides are gun deaths.
Dupuy figures the suicide rate in America is probably rising. She speculates that as mental health services are cut, the number will rise. We'll see. It may not be an important issue outside of the circle of people and families who needed mental health services and the occasional police officer who has to live with killing one who didn't get them.(11 Comments)
When Katherine "Cassie" Gordon was killed on I-394 in Golden Valley last week, it wasn't the first time she saw the business end of a police officer's gun, according to her brother.
That information has gotten her brother, David Stollbrack, wondering what else was in his sister's head and when it all started to go wrong for her? He says he hadn't seen her for some time, but knew she had been troubled. Today, he says, he's been thinking about an incident following the 1972 killing of Minneapolis police officer Inno Suek, that he says his sister occasionally talked about.
"My family went on vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday. While we were away, (brothers)Michael, Johnny, and Cassie were home and a guy named Frank Gavenda committed a liquor store robbery, and killed an off-duty cop. As the search went on, they came over to my family home because he was associated with my brother, Johnny. They came to the door and knocked on the door. Cassiee came to the door and they said, 'Open the door! We're looking for Frank.'"
"She said, 'Do you have a warrant?'"
"The cop drew his pistol, banging on the glass, pointed it at her and said, 'Open the door, bitch, or I'm going to blow you away.' And you know what? I don't think that ever went away. Was that the voices in her head that wouldn't go away? The demons? She was only 18 then," he recalled.
"All I know is she was successful. Very smart, and very beautiful and when she wanted to do something, she got it done," he said.
Mr. Stollbrack says his sister had been driving back and forth between Minnesota and California. "She raised a good family," he said, noting a son is a music producer in California.(1 Comments)
A Massachusetts man has been indicted today for conspiring to blow up the Capitol and Pentagon with a radio-controlled (RC) airplane.
This should spawn a series of TV reports on the dangers of the suspiciously innocuous toy.
Someone should ask, "is this even possible?" In its indictment, the Justice Department said, "Remote controlled aircraft are capable of carrying a variety of payloads (including a lethal payload of explosives), can use a wide range of takeoff and landing environments, and fly different flight patterns than commercial airlines, thus reducing detection."
It's not a new concern, perhaps. Check out this 2004 thread on an RC forum in which a person asks what RC model of airplane could hoist the most amount of weight. By the middle of the thread, at least one participant was starting to get suspicious of why someone was asking about the payload capacity of RCs.
Prosecutors said the suspect "ordered a remote controlled aircraft. He also received from undercover agents on Tuesday C-4 explosives (or at least he thought) , six fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifles (machine guns) and grenades."
According to the indictment, the man ordered a miniature F-4 Phantom jet, and an F-86 Sabre jet, capable of carrying 25 pounds of explosives. Anyone could order one, although this particular company reports the $179 model is sold out:
But the manufacturer says the flying weight of the model is 13 pounds, thanks primarily to its very large motor.
Stuffing it full of 25 pounds of explosives? It's unlikely an aircraft whose flying weight is 13 pounds could perform well in the air at 38 pounds, if it could get off the ground at all, but maybe.
The amount of fuel it would require -- unless it was going to be launched from the front steps of the Capitol -- would need to be considerable.
Certainly, 25 pounds of C4 is a considerable blast. This is what 20 pounds would look like:
That's if the explosive were inside blowing out. Ferdaus, who majored in physics, must also have been aware that if you fly something as light as a balsa-wood RC airplane into a granite dome, it's (a) going to be bounce off and (b) if it does explode, the impact of the blast would be away from the structure in question. On 9/11, the jetliners had the mass and speed to penetrate inside the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and then explode.
In his planned attack on the Pentagon, the man allegedly intended to use only 5 pounds of C4 per plane.
In any event, there's no indication from the indictment, which is quite detailed, that Ferdaus ever did a flight test with his toy to see whether it could carry the payload he wanted to deliver. That would be a great story for an enterprising reporter who wouldn't mind getting a visit fro the FBI.
Far more serious, perhaps, than the threat posed by the RC, is what Ferdaus allegedly intended to do after the Capitol dome collapsed: storm the Capitol and shoot everyone still alive.