1) WAS SHE?
Not since a reporter had what appeared to be a stroke at a Hollywood awards ceremony last winter has there been such a brouhaha over the "health" of a TV newsperson. This time it's one of ours.
Annie Stensrud, the Sunday night anchor on KEYC, disappeared halfway through her broadcast after an "uneven" performance.
The Mankato Free Press reports...
Dan Ruiter, KEYC news director, said viewers are jumping to conclusions if they assume Stensrud was intoxicated. There is no proof of that, he said.
In an official statement released Wednesday, KEYC Vice President and General Manager Dennis Wahlstrom declined to say whether Stensrud is still working for the station.
That usually means "no."
2) PEOPLE DOING GOOD: REDDIT
Lucas Gonzalez, 3, of Jacksonville, Fla., was born with a rare primary immune deficiency disorder called Hyper IGM Syndrome. He needs a bone marrow transplant in North Carolina and his folks have to quit work The trip would cost $50,000.
His aunt's boyfriend had an idea: Appeal to the good people on reddit:
It was a great idea. The good people on reddit raised more than $50,000. The young man gets his transplant next month.
3) THE GOOD SOLDIER, THE BAD SOLDIER
"I was starting to think about how lucky I am to have a warm place to come home to,"
Eric Jungels says about his Thanksgiving. He's a veteran of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He's not pleased that a lot of people don't have a home, so he's camping out in a tent in Sartell, the St. Cloud Times reports. He wants to raise $5,000 for a group that helps the homeless.
Veterans are 50-percent more likely to end up homeless than the general population, according to the Center for American Progress.
As a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan myself, it's disheartening to think that--among others--some of the men and women who have served our country are sleeping outside this December. So, I've decided to do what I can to help out. If nothing else, I'd like to raise some awareness of the challenge we're facing as a community and raise a few dollars that will be put to good use, in an effort to end homelessness.
He plans to stay outside until Christmas Day.
That's more consideration for the people who served than high-ranking Air Force officials have shown. The Washington Post reports today that the remains of more than 274 soldiers, killed in the wars, were dumped in a landfill.
The military doesn't want to look in the landfill for the remains now because it would take too much work, prompting an appropriate response from Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ.
"What the hell?" Holt said in a phone interview. "We spent millions, tens of millions, to find any trace of soldiers killed, and they're concerned about a 'massive' effort to go back and pull out the files and find out how many soldiers were disrespected this way?" He added: "They just don't want to ask questions or look very hard."
"They have known that they were doing something disgusting, and they were doing everything they could to keep it from us," a war widow told the paper.
4) US UNLEASHES MUPPET POWER
Nothing much has worked to prevent Pakistan from slipping toward an anti-American role in the region, so the U.S. is unleashing a big gun: Elmo.
The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, is spending $10 million to fund production of a Pakistani version of Sesame Street, the BBC says.
Elmo's new home is a Pakistani village, complete with tea-stall and shady Banyan tree. Big Bird has not made the journey, so he is surrounded by new friends. There is Baily the donkey - who wants to be a pop star - and a vain crocodile called Haseen O'Jameel, who dwells at the bottom of a well.
5) CHANGE FOR A DOLLAR
(h/t: Bernie Ockuly)
The Obama administration has announced that a focus of U.S. foreign policy will be to promote the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people abroad. Today's Question: Should support for gay rights around the world be part of U.S. foreign policy?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: The science of siblings.
Second hour: The value of failure. Author: Tim Harford (rebroadcast)
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Washington University political scientist Steven Smith on the presidential campaign one month before Iowa and NH.
Second hour: New York Times columnist David Brooks, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about his book, "The Social Animal."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Sovereignty and stability in the Eurozone. Plus, Kyra Sedgwick.
Second hour: How are these hard times affecting you? The NPR stories of economic struggles across the nation.(2 Comments)
Did a coronal mass ejection "uncloak" a Klingon bird of prey ship?
You have to love the YouTube guy who noticed the object saying "it's definitely some sort of manufactured object."
It could very well be a glitch on the sensor, a ghost image from the planet Mercury itself. If you pay close attention, you can see that the two lines follow the same direction that the planet does. But if it's a ghost image, why does it end so abruptly? How is it so well delimited? Why does it look like a spaceship?
The answer, according to Nathan Rich, lead ground system engineer at the United States Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, is in the way the images are post-processed.
A series of images shot from another satellite seems to show the same thing.
Definitely Klingons.(8 Comments)
The Angels of Anaheim have added Albert Pujols of the Cardinals to their roster, giving him the second-largest contract in the history of baseball. He'll make about $25 million a year.
Then the Angels turned around and signed Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson for another $15 million.
The Twins? They were drafting a player off the we-don't-want-him-anyway list of the Cleveland Indians, and declaring that they'd like to resign either Michael Cuddyer or Jason Kubel, but can't afford both. This after shedding the contracts of Joe Nathan and several others.
Quick quiz: Who can remember when building a ballpark for the Minnesota Twins was supposed to help them be competitive?
Target Field has been like printing money for the team. The prices are higher, the food costs more, the team is capturing luxury box and luxury seat revenue and the team is selling out. And the team still cannot draw a big-name free agent to play here.
In fact, they draw more fans in Minnesota, than the Angels draw in Anaheim.
The Twins drew 3,168,107 to Target Field last year, the fourth best attendance in all of Major League Baseball. The Angels were fifth at 3,166,321.
Last year the Angels ranked fourth in payroll ($139 million), the Twins ranked 12th at $112 million.
What's missing?(10 Comments)
An announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency could mortally wound the drilling practice known as 'fracking."
The EPA says it has proven that groundwater in Wyoming was polluted with chemicals injected into the ground to release oil and gas.
The draft report counters the claims by the mining industry that fracking does not pollute groundwater, the CBC reported today:
As part of the investigation, the EPA drilled two deep monitoring wells in the local aquifer and found synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids. It also found benzene concentrations well above Safe Drinking Water Act standards and high methane levels in the deep wells.
The EPA also sampled drinking water from area wells and found chemicals consistent with migrations from areas of gas production in the drinking water, but stll below established health and safety levels. Nevertheless, health officials advised residents not to drink their water or use it for cooking.
"Given the area's complex geology and the proximity of drinking water wells to ground water contamination, EPA is concerned about the movement of contaminants within the aquifer and the safety of drinking water wells over time," said the draft report on the investigation released on Thursday.
This, of course, will not surprise groups in North Dakota (and elsewhere), who have battled frac operations...
In Texas, some well owners e don't need the EPA to tell them what they already know. They say when a frac mining operation split into a gas deposit, their water became flammable.
But the process also has increased domestic oil production and provided thousands of jobs, especially in North Dakota. In Duluth last week, a local newspaper heralded the process as a boost to the shipping industry.
And there's the battle. In one corner: damage to water and the environment. In the other corner: jobs.(11 Comments)