Student Media Watchdog Association

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (March 25 – March 31)

In Economy, Hillary Clinton, International, Political, Top Ten, Uncategorized on April 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

2in china bird flueTwo in China are first-known deaths from H7N9 bird flu

USA Today – March 31, 2013

Two Chinese men are the first humans to die from a lesser-known strain of bird flu. A third person also has contracted the disease and is in critical condition. There is no sign the three contracted the disease from the same source and no sign of human-to-human transmission according to Chinese officials. The H7N9 strain is considered a low pathogenic strain that cannot be easily contracted. The majority of individuals who contract bird flu have the H1N1 strain.


south africa praysSouth Africa prays for Mandela’s recovery

AlJazeera – March 28, 2013

At age 94, Nelson Mandela, ­is reported as “responding well” to treatments for a recurring lung infection. The anti-apartheid icon, who also served as South Africa’s president for five years, has received much national and international support as he ages on various social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, where supporters have been wishing him well and to be discharged soon.


7000 warned7,000 warned of potential HIV, hepatitis exposure

CNN – March 28, 2013

After the discovery of multiple health violations at a local dentist’s office in the Owasso suburb of Oklahoma, some 7,000 patients are being notified that they could have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis over the past six years. Dentist W. Scott Harrington voluntarily stopped practicing after the onset of the investigation.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Feb 10 – Feb 17)

In Economy, Egyptian Islamists, International, Political, Top Ten, Uncategorized on February 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

egyptian court bans Egyptian Court bans YouTube for a month

Saturday an Egyptian court banned the use of YouTube in the country for one month citing that the site hosted an American made anti-Islam video and failed to remove it. This video is the same that sparked violent protests throughout the Middle East, criticizing the prophet Mohammed. The judge who presided over the case said that the ban may apply to other social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. It was not clear when the ban would come into effect and the court’s decision also can be appealed.


kerry doesnt commit Kerry doesn’t commit on Keystone Pipeline

The Keystone Pipeline was one of the main items on the agenda while new Secretary of State John Kerry hosted his Canadian equivalent in Washington. Although Kerry did not discuss the merits of the project, he said that the state department would have its review of the project completed in the “near term.” This review would include an environmental evaluation of the plan that would send oil from the Canadian tar sands from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of the U.S.


curiousity rover Curiosity rover completes 1st drill into Mars rock

The Curiosity rover, a recent and incredibly successful rover that has landed on Mars, has accomplished an impressive milestone as the first Mars rover to drill into the terrain and obtain a sample – one of the first steps for scientists in analyzing the building blocks of life. This powdery substance will be transferred to the onboard laboratory for research to determine its chemical makeup. Curiosity will be traveling to a mountain for the next nine months while on the planet.


panetta gets a send of Panetta gets a send-off but he’s not yet out the door

 CNN – Feb. 9, 2013

On Friday, February 7, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was given his ceremonial goodbye, even before his planned successor, former Senator Chuck Hagel, was announced. Various political and military leaders were in attendance. Panetta has faced a fair level of criticism concerning the Benghazi terror attack, the rise of Islamic extremists in Mali and the gas plant siege in Algeria, however his stepping down ceremony was graceful and respectful. Before Panetta stepped down, he warned that sequestration, $50 billion annual spending cuts within the next 10 years, should be the country’s main concern.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Jan. 27 – Feb. 3)

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm

france says maliFrance says Mali mission ‘succeeded’

Al Jazeera – Jan. 31, 2013

Jean-Yves le Drian, French defense minister, stated, “the French intervention has succeeded,” on Thursday January 31st, just as at least two Malian soldiers were killed by a landmine leftover from fleeing fighters. There have been various “acts of vengeance” occurring throughout the country by the Malian population. French politicians have been calling for peace talks to negotiate a north-south dialogue for the country and set up elections for July. France agrees to speak with the Secular Tuaregs of the National Movement for the liberation of Azawad (MNLA), however, refuses to meet with any representatives from the three al-Queda groups that previously seized northern Mali.


new york times hackingNew York Times, Wall Street Journal say Chinese hackers broke into computers

CNN – Jan. 31, 2013

The New York Times reports that Chinese hackers, stealing passwords from certain reporters and other employees of the paper, have carried out extensive attacks on their computer systems. The Times does not believe that these attacks are an attempt for commercial advantage, nor a method of stealing customer information. The efforts appear to target monitoring the newspaper’s coverage of China. In response, China has blocked the English- and Chinese-language websites in mainland China, in an effort to manage the flow of sensitive information about the country after a recent story The Times published investigating the wealth of the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao.


Hackers Targeted Twitter User Data

Wall Street Journal – Feb. 1, 2013

Twitter announced on Friday that it had detected unauthorized attempts to access information from the messaging service that is used by over 200 million people worldwide. In a company blog post, Twitter acknowledged that hackers may have gained access to Twitter user names, e-mail addresses and passwords for 250,000 users. The company said that it would notify users whose information had been compromised via e-mail.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Jan. 21 – Jan. 27)

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2013 at 9:16 pm

obama offers lib visionObama Lays Out Liberal Vision at Inauguration

NYTimes – Jan. 21, 2013

Obama’s inauguration on Martin Luther King Day opened with an assertive Inaugural address encouraging collective action to preserve individual freedoms with emphasis on expanding opportunity. The points he declared included advancing gay rights, overhauling immigration policy, sustaining the social welfare safety net, and taking steps to stop climate change. Obama urged progress and to not delay decisions. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in celebration, though far less than four years ago.


east quadEast Quad to offer inclusive living spaces upon opening 

The Michigan Daily – Jan. 16, 2013

It was recently announced that the University of Michigan is planning on integrating an inclusive living space at the newly renovated East Quad next year for gender non-conforming students. It is a huge step, not only because it creates a safe and supportive environment for students who do not identify with the gender binary, but for universities and colleges around the world. This Open Housing Initiative is a starting point for pursuing change at the university level and brings to light issues of comfort, support, and inclusion throughout the nation.


progun rallies heldPro-gun rallies held in US state capitals

Al Jazeera – Jan. 20, 2013

After the tragic shootings in Newton, Connecticut in mid-December, Obama has unleashed a string of new bans to make the purchase and ownership of guns much stricter. Firearm owners have been gathering in various cities throughout the country in support for their right to own a gun. However, with multiple shootings throughout the nation occurring in hindsight, as well as, many accidental injuries from firearms, Obama and gun advocates are beginning a strong push to ban assault weapons.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Nov. 26 – Dec. 2)

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2012 at 11:28 am

obama warns %22scrooge%22Obama warns of ‘Scrooge’ Christmas without tax-cut extension

CNN – Nov. 30, 2012

President Obama on a visit to a Pennsylvania toy factory warned of a “Scrooge”-like Christmas if Congress does not pass a bill to extend tax cuts for 98% of Americans and avoid the fiscal cliff. The visit and speech were a part of Obama’s campaign to develop public support for his efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff and the tax increases and spending cuts that are associated with it. If the cliff is not avoided, Americans can expect to pay upwards of $2,000 more to the government. As of early Friday night, no talks were planned between congressional leadership and the White House to avoid the situation and both sides seem to have reached a stalemate in debating the matter.


housing move in israelHousing move in Israel is seen as setback for a two-state plan

New York Times – Nov. 30, 2012

Israel has decided to move forward with the development of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem, defying the United States government with a program that is seen as very detrimental to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The announcement that the Israeli government would begin plans with the development and zoning of the project come after the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade the status of Palestine as a state. Senior White House officials said the actions were “unhelpful” and remains behind their stance that there should not be any development of housing in the East Jerusalem region.


cairo's tahrir squareCairo’s Tahrir Square fills with anti-Morsi protestors

BBC News – Nov. 30, 2012

Tens of thousands opposed the new broad powers given to Egypt’s new president, which were announced last week, gathered in Tahrir Square, hours after the new constitution was approved. The Muslim dominant constituent assembly finished voting on the draft on Friday. The draft will then be sent Mr. Morsi, who will potentially call a referendum. The Supreme Constitutional Court will rule on Sunday if the assembly should be dissolved. An emergency decree issued last week said any authority could not revoke Mr. Morsi’s decisions, including the judiciary, until the new constitution has been ratified and a fresh parliamentary election is held. It also was noted that the courts could not dissolve the constituent assembly. Mr. Morsi said that he would give up his extraordinary and controversial powers once the new constitution is approved by a referendum.


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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Nov. 12 – Nov. 18)

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Clinton arrives in Middle East as Egypt Says Truce in Gaza is Close

NY Times – Nov. 20, 2012

Diplomatic efforts have accelerated to attempt to end the conflict between Israel and Palestine militant groups as the US sends Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to the region. Egypt’s President along with his senior aides said that they are confident that a cease fire is very close. No announcements have been made, but Clinton said she will be working with both sides in the next few days to come to an agreement.

A guide to understanding what happened in Congo

The Washington Post – Nov. 20, 2012

While many have been focusing on the recent conflict in the Middle East, the Congo has been rocked by gunfire and militant activity from the M23. The M23 rebel group, believed to be backed by the Rwanda government, seized Goma, a capital city, and has access to highly specialized and advanced weapons. This renewed fighting has brought about the possibility of a regional war bringing more turmoil in the region that has experienced instability in the past few months.


Bernanke’s ‘cliff’ comments break two-day rally

Reuters – Nov. 20, 2012

Wall Street’s two day rally has been halted after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that central banks do not have “the tools to cushion the economy” from the fiscal cliff’s impact. He went on to say that the federal government does not have offset the damage if politicians do not come together to create a deal to prevent mandatory tax increases and and tax cuts that are scheduled to go into effect next year. Theses statements created a downdraft in the market, with most of the losses occurring at the end of the business day.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Oct. 29 – Nov. 11)

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

Syria opposition agrees to a united coalition

Al Jazeera – Nov. 11, 2012

Syrian opposition groups met in the Qatari capital to sign an agreement to form a group called the Syrian National Coalition. While some details are still being negotiated, the increasing pressure in the region to form a united resistance group opened dialogue and will lead to a more concrete agreement. Details were discussed at a meeting this weekend.


Barack Obama adds Florida to White House victory

BBC News – Nov. 10, 2012

President Barack Obama has furthered the electoral gap between him and Governor Mitt Romney by winning the presidential vote in Florida. The final vote count, according to the Florida state department gave Obama 50% and Romney 49.1% of the vote. These results leave Obama with 332 electoral college votes and the majority to secure his presidential election win.


Iraq cancels $4.2bn Russian arms deal over ‘corruption’

BBC News – Nov. 10, 2012

The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said that a recent deal to buy arms from Russia has fallen through due to concerns of corruption. The purchase included helicopters and missiles and would have been used to rebuild Iraq’s armed forces. If the deal would have gone through, Russia would have been the largest supplier of weapons to Iraq with the U.S. following in second.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Oct 21 – Oct 28)

In Campaign 2012, Economy, News, Obama, Political, Poll, Syria, Top Ten, Uncategorized on October 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm

ImageNortheast in crosshairs of ‘superstorm’ Sandy

CNN – October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit the northeastern United States after already claiming two dozen lives throughout its path in the Caribbean. The expected storm is being compared to the “Perfect Storm” of 1991. In the worst case scenario, the storm may collide with a strong cold front coming from the west and has the potential to create a “superstorm” hitting the Northeast with powerful winds, pelting rain, and days of power outages. Various cities along the eastern coast have taken precautions and upcoming political events have even been postponed or canceled.


ImagePurple Poll: Tiny lead for Obama in Colorado and Ohio; Virginia tied

Politico – October 26, 2012

According to the most recent Purple Poll, a survey conducted by the bipartisan consulting firm Purple Strategies, has shown President Barack Obama holding a small lead over Governor Mitt Romney in several of the swing-states. Overall, the presidential race has tightened by 2-3 points across the map as a whole, yet Obama still leads after a difficult month campaigning.


ImageChina’s Internet censors strike again

Washington Post – October 26, 2012

Chinese Internet censors have blocked a recent New York Times article detailing how Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his family have over $2.7 billion in investments and assets, some overseas. The story details how leading Chinese families, some descending from Mao himself, have used their immense power to become very wealthy when they claim to be similar to the ordinary Chinese citizen. Although Wen claims to be a reformer and promoting Chinese openness, after the release of the story Chinese Internet has censored both the English and Mandarin versions of the article suggesting the ruling class’ fear of the digital revolution.

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Times Are A-Changin’….

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm

And so are we, soon.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer (and the news coverage on the zombie apocalypse, court trials & complete lack of the 2012 campaign coverage)!

We’re working on a huge change – specifically a new, more dynamic website. We’ll keep you posted, but for now, continuing observing the news at your leisure and we’ll be back in September!

Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (April 9 – 15)

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Times of London Sued in Hacking Scandal

NY Times-April 13th, 2012

A highly regarded British lawyer, known for his pursuits into the recent Murdoch hacking scandal, is suing the previously prestigious Times of London for email hacking. The newspaper is part of Murdoch’s media empire, News International, which has already paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars as compensation to hacking victims. News International has already admitted to and apologized for the hacking.
Amid Mass Protests, Syrian Cease-Fire Is Tested by Reports of Clashes
NY Times-April 13th, 2012

Thousands of Syrian protesters flooded the streets throughout the country Friday, tentatively testing a United Nations implemented cease-fire. The demonstrations, called “A Revolution for All Syrians”,
resulted in reports of deaths, arrests, tear-gassing, and beatings. These developments only add to the long list of events that substantiate the claims that Mr. Annan’s United Nations approved
six-point peace plan is failing.

U.S. citizen or not, University of Michigan may charge in-state rate

Detroit Free Press- April 11th, 2012

Daniel Morales, a pre-law University of Michigan student and co-founder of the Coalition for Tuition Equality, has been fighting for in-state tuition rates for undocumented Michigan residents since last fall. The issue is a personal one for Morales, who while his mother and father were both legally in the United States, was accidentally born in Mexico when his mother returned to her country of birth to attend her grandmother’s funeral. Morales was admitted to the university two years ago, but, due to his undocumented status, was charged out-of-state tuition rates and could not afford to attend the university. Recently, his cause has gained the attention of the student body, local radio shows, and local newspapers, and the board of regents has asked Provost Phil Hanlon to prepare a report on the subject.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (April 2 – 8)

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Tuaregs Claim ‘Independence’ from Mali

Al Jazeera – April 6th, 2012

The Tuareg, a rebel group in northern Mali, have claimed sovereignty, stating through their website and a spokesperson in Paris that Azawad, a region in northern Mali, is now independent and completely under their control. The declaration comes at a time of turmoil, coups, and advancement of the Tuareg and other rebel groups in Mali. However, the move has not gone unquestioned internationally or locally.


Detroit backs off the ledge

CNN Money – April 5th, 2012

In response to a potential state takeover, Detroit City Council approved a deal that allows the city to void contracts and lower costs without the aid of state loans on Wednesday. Earlier this week Gov. Snyder threatened to a impose a Michigan Law which would allow him to appoint an “emergency manager” who could assume the powers of Detroit’s Mayor and City Council if the city could not improve its fiscal situation.  The deal appears to have stemmed that threat for the foreseeable future.


The Secret Torture Memo Cheney Didn’t Want You to See

Mother Jones – April 5, 2012

Philip Zekow, a former advisor to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, has released a formerly classified memo in which he warned the Bush administration that their “enhanced interrogation techniques” were likely illegal. Zekow has accused Cheney’s office of attempting to destroy the memo and its evidence; however, copies have been recovered and released by the State department on Tuesday.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (March 26 – April 1)

In Economy, International, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Political, Top Ten, Uncategorized on April 1, 2012 at 11:55 am

Supreme Court Health-care hearings conclude

The Washington Post – March 28, 2012

The Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments about whether the Obama health-care law, in particular the individual mandate which requires all Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, should be judged unconstitutional. Many believe that the constitutional issues surrounding the health-care law highlight the ideological issues, which currently divide the Supreme Court. But, it is not yet clear that the court will decide to strike the entire law even if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional. A decision is likely to come in June before this year’s session ends.

Hard Line on Iran Places White House in a Bind

The New York Times – March 29, 2012

The White House must make a difficult choice about whether or not to appear willing to take military action as American and European diplomats prepare for negotiations with Iran of its nuclear program. While the threat of military action may appease criticism from the Republican Party and pressures from Israel, it may also make war with Iran inevitable if other means fail to do so. The White House and Pentagon remain worried that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities either by Israel alone, or with US aid, may provoke a round of counterattacks drawing the US into another war after years of fighting in the Middle East.

Israel extends new border fence but critics say it is a sign of weakness

The Guardian – March 27, 2012

The border fence between Israel and Egypt is being erected at high speed, stretching along a 150-mile boundary. The construction was accelerated due to last summer’s attack in which eight Israelis were killed and to discourage the alarming amount of refugees crossing into the Jewish state. The Israeli government says the fences are necessary deterrents against terrorism and illegal infiltration. However, respected Israeli journalism Alex Fishman says that Israel is huddled terrified and hiding behind fences.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (March 5 – March 11)

In Economy, Human Rights, International, Middle East, News, Political, Syria, Top Ten, Uncategorized on March 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Brazil ‘overtakes UK’s economy’

BBC – March 6th, 2012

Brazil’s economy, 2.7% in the last year, has now grown to 6th in the world, overtaking the United Kingdom’s economy. The country has enjoyed an economic boom due to rising oil and food prices as well as a rise in domestic inflation. In 2011, the IMF found that the Brazilian economy was $2.52tn whereas the UK’s was $2.48tn.

Military resists calls to intervene in Syria

CNN- March 7th, 2012

Wary of military intervention, the United States hopes to remove al-Assad’s regime from Syria using diplomatic pressure. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said acting unilaterally would be a global mistake. The US interest includes stopping the killings in Syria, gaining the ability to sever Hezbollah’s ties to Iran, eliminating threats to Israel, and removing a longstanding government that sponsors terrorism. However, Syria’s chemical and biological stockpiles threaten US national security due and give more reason for the US’s need for international support.

8 Women Sue U.S. Military, Allege Rape, Harassment

NPR- March 6th, 2012

Eight members of the U.S. military filed a lawsuit alleging that they were raped, assaulted, harassed, and punished for reporting it while they were serving. The lawsuit also accuses the military of having a high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks and also of discouraging victims of sexual crimes to come forward.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Jan 30 – Feb 5)

In Economy, International, News, Political, Top Ten, Uncategorized on February 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Cuba Mulls Over Changes To Communist Party at Conference

Fox News Latino – January 28, 2012

In a two-day conference of Cuba’s Communist Party, Raul Castro has announced the possibility of requiring all officeholders’ terms two two, five-year terms. This is due in part to Castro’s distress at the lack of able-bodied politicians to take over offices after their predecessors leave or retire.

Militant group kicks aid group out of regions in Somalia

CNN-January 31, 2012

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is responsible for providing food relief for countries in need, has been banned in certain areas of Somalia. Al-Shabaab, the Somali militant group linked to al Qaeda, says the Red Cross has provided them with expired food on more than one occasion.

Pfizer Recalls Birth Control Pills

BBC – February 1, 2012

Pfizer recently recalled fourteen lots of Norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol and fourteen lots of Lo/Ovral-28 due to a packaging error. About one million packages have been recalled in the US because of this error. The error resulted in a number of packages containing pills with the incorrect dosage.This means that women with any of the affected prescription have been advised to visit their doctors and return their prescriptions immediately.

Romney wins Florida Primary and highlights GOP upcoming primaries before
Super Tuesday

CNN – February 1, 2012

Mitt Romney won Tuesday’s Florida primary with a significant 46% victory. He was followed by Newt Gingrich at 32%, Rick Santorum at 13%, and Ron Paul at 7%. Many consider Romney’s victory an important one because of the role it may play in the upcoming primaries, including Super Tuesday. Frontrunners Romney and Gingrich have been gaining momentum this election season, and victories in the upcoming caucuses could create a pattern heading into Super Tuesday.
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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Jan 23 – Jan 29)

In Economy, International, News, Political, Top Ten, Uncategorized on January 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Facebook sues ‘clickjacking’ firm

The Guardian – January 27, 2012

Facebook has brought a lawsuit against a firm in Delaware that makes a profit from Facebook users “liking” fake pages on the social network site. It has been found that the firm, Ascend Media, has made $1.2 million a month through this practice, which is known as “clickjacking” or “likejacking.”

North Korea threatens to punish mobile-phone users as ‘war criminals’

The Telegraph – January 26, 2012

North Korean citizens who attempt to cross the borders into China and South Korea in order to escape lives of poverty can now expect to be executed if they are repeat offenders, as can citizens who attempt to retrieve information about events in the outside world using cell phones. This comes at a time when the North Korean government, now under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, is fearful of any information concerning international politics instigating political unrest in the North.

Big Brother Concerns over Google Changes

Al Jazeera English – January 26, 2012

Google has recently announced that the company will make changes to its privacy policy to improve the experience of users. The company said in a statement that the new policy combined more than sixty different privacy policies for its various services; including Google search, Gmail, YouTube and Google+. These changes have caused an uproar in the community of Google users who claim that the new policy will violate their privacy rights. The new policy will allow the company to combine all personal information about users rather than keeping them on separate databases, allowing a clearer picture of individual users and more about what they do online.
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Happy Holidays from SMWA!

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

We know the news never sleeps, but after a long semester and finals week, SMWA is taking a break for some R&R time. Our hard-working members deserve a break. Enjoy the holiday season!


Occupying the Subconscious

In Editorial, Uncategorized on December 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm

By Lucy Perkins

Last week, media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests grew to unprecedented numbers as a result of police raids across the country. Protests in New York City, Oakland and many other locations were suppressed by police officers in efforts to eradicate protesters and their tents from their stake-out areas.

The police intended to disband these protests for many alleged reasons; some were health and safety risks, while others came as orders from mayors and other public officials who believed that Occupiers should take their ideas and camping equipment home and get back to work.

However, if these crackdowns were aimed at reducing the Occupy presence in the media and in the lives of the public, police action obtained the opposite result

In many statements in the media, OWS protesters reiterated time and time again that the point of the movement was not to evoke immediate change in Congress. Protesters hoped to raise awareness about economic disparities in the United States, which could then lead to economic reforms and let the people and government reconnect with one another.

These raids, though unnecessarily violent at times, could be one of the best things to happen to the Occupy Wall Street movement. As shown by last week’s police raids, the protest has gotten more coverage than ever, doing exactly what protesters wanted. Public officials’ attempts to move the group from public parks and campuses publicize and legitimize the movement in a way the protesters could never have achieved on their own.

For reasons specific to each individual, mayors and other authority figures wanted to get rid of these protesters perhaps because they were seen as a legitimate threat. The group had accumulated a large following and officials may have felt that this movement could evoke some sort of unwanted change.

Now, there is talk of Occupy Wall Street influencing political campaigns, as critics nationwide compare the movement to many other powerful civil struggles our country has seen. Perhaps the abundant attention OWS received from the media was a momentary fluke and the movement and protesters will eventually disappear, but a more probable theory would hypothesize that this is only the beginning for Occupy.

“The Fourth Biggest Overall Crime Story since 2007”

In Editorial, Uncategorized on December 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm

By Kyle Saukas

Few things capture the attention of the American populace more than sports and scandal. Because of this it is no small surprise that the allegations of child sex abuse against former Penn State University coach Jerry Sandusky have created the fourth biggest overall crime story since 2007, according to the PEW Research Center for Excellence in Journalism. This story has also maintained the second position in the most popular story for two weeks in a row starting from Nov. 7 till, Nov. 14 according to PEW researchers. So why are Americans so fascinated by this particular story and its continuing dominance of the news media? The answer may be the name of a man who, so far, has not been charged with any crime related to the case: Joe Paterno.

Jerry Sandusky started off his coaching career at Penn State in 1969 under his own former coach Joe Paterno. He retired after the 1999 season and had what most people in the sports world saw as a great an untarnished career. It wasn’t until Nov. 4 that his world, and the world of Penn State University came crashing down when victims broke their silence and accused Sandusky of sexually abusing them when they were children. Many of these victims were abused during Sandusky’s final years of coaching at Penn State or while taking part in Second Mile, which is a charity created by Sandusky for underprivileged youths.

With these revelations coming out investigations went under way. At this time it was learned that a graduate assistant of the Penn State football team had witnessed an act of abuse committed by Jerry Sandusky and reported it to head football coach Joe Paterno, who then reported it to Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior V.P. of Finance and Business Gary Schultz. The story never made it to legal officials.

When the news media caught onto this story it was completely new territory. Usually college sports scandals involved the twisting and turning of rules such as Ohio Sate and the scandal with Terrell Pryor and other players selling memorabilia that violate NCAA rules. This time however it was a major coach of a major university whose faculty had helped cover up the story and in the middle of it all is one of the most important coaches in all sports history, Joe Paterno. This is where the media storm begins.
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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Nov 6 – Nov 12)

In Economy, International, News, Political, Top Ten, Uncategorized on November 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Mississippi voters reject anti-abortion initiative


CNN-November 9, 2011

On Election Day, voters in Mississippi rejected an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting abortion. Amendment 26 created the “personhood” initiative, which defines life as starting at conception. This outlawed all instances of abortion, many forms of birth control, and certain forms of contraception including in vitro fertilization. According to those opposed to the amendment, voters opposed the overly broad amendment and showcased their views that the government should not be involved in such personal decisions.

U.S. Delays Decision on Pipeline Until After Election


The New York Times-November 10, 2011

The Obama administration has decided to review the route of the Keystone XL oil pipeline traveling from Alberta to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast, pushing back the decision about the pipeline until after the 2012 election. Recent environmental concerns have been raised due to the current routes interference with the sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska. The administration has recently been delaying such environmental decisions under intense pressure from conflicting environmental activists, business lobbies, and health advocates.

Panetta sounds warning on Iran attack November 11, 2011

U.S defense secretary, Leon Panetta, advised the Pentagon on Thursday that military action against Iran could lead to “unintended consequences.” This message follows reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that there is substantial evidence of Iran carrying out activities associated with the creation of a nuclear device. Panetta argues that it is important to apply strong economic and diplomatic pressures on Iran to change their behavior and the European Union is discussing the approval of further sanctions against Iran in the upcoming weeks. However the UN Security Council will not step in due to opposition by Russia and China. In addition, Iran has warned that any threat of attack will be “firmly responded to.” Panetta encourages that the nation’s response to this situation must be carefully considered.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Oct 31 – Nov 5)

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2011 at 11:25 am

Senate blocks $60 billion infrastructure plan, another part of Obama jobs bill

The Washington Post – November 3, 2011

On Thursday, the Senate rejected part of President Obama’s jobs bill. This part of the bill, which asked for $50 billion dollars to be spent on improving the country’s public transportation and another $10 billion for an infrastructure bank, was opposed by all of the Senate Republicans as well as one Democrat and one Independent.

Students Born To Illegal Immigrants Sue Over Tuition

NPR – October 31, 2011

Some Florida citizens are being forced to pay out-of-state tuition to attend state colleges and universities because they are children of illegal immigrants. In response to this, a class-action suit has been filed in Miami against the state. According to the students, the Florida regulations that stipulate that they must pay out-of-state tuition violate their constitutional rights.

US poverty data: 1 in 15 people among America’s poorest poor

The Guardian – November 3, 2011

The scope of poverty has officially reached into mainstream America as this data shows that 1 in 15 Americans are below the poverty line. May cities are seeing a thinning and spreading out of poverty rates, as most people are leaving the cities and heading to the suburbs where the poverty rate is increasing twice as fast. Concentrated poverty is spreading, and 40 states, including the District of Columbia have increased poverty rates since 2007 and none have seen any decreases. Robert Moffitt, a professor of economics at Johns-Hopkins puts it perfectly, “There now really is no unaffected group, except maybe the very top income earners.”

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When is Playing with Fire a Good Idea?

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm

By Marisa McKay

***The Guardian recently published a VERY similar editorial on October 31, 2011. Looks like Marisa’s on to something that others also believe!***, the website for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, has created an on-line petition against NPR’s move to cancel distribution of an opera program, simply because the host of the program participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement currently sweeping across the United States. The confusing part of this story? The host of this cultural radio show was not an employee of NPR.

Lisa Simeone is a freelance radio host of a documentary series on the radio channel “Soundprint.” The program cited NPR’s ethics guidelines in its press release on their website, stating, “Soundprint adheres to the highest standards of journalism which include maintaining appropriate distance from marches, demonstrations, and other political activity. These are standards held by many other journalism organizations, including National Public Radio” ( NPR is maintaining that they had nothing to do with the firing. When North Carolina station, WDAV, which produces “World of Opera,” said that they were going to keep Simeone as the host and not fire her, NPR announced it would cease distribution of the program.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Oct 24 – Oct 30)

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

China Reins In Entertainment and Blogging

New York Times – October 26, 2011

Communist leaders in China are proposing new limits on “media and Internet freedoms.” While leaders have allowed a “creeping liberalization in popular culture” noted by knockoffs of popular western television shows to the increasing popularity of microblogs, these limits would be some of the most restrictive measures in years. Measures include limiting the broadcast hours of 34 major satellite television stations and requiring the broadcast of two hours of “state-approved news” every evening. The Communist Party’s Central Committee also hopes to create an “Internet management system” monitor and censor “harmful information” posted on social network and instant-message systems.

Google: US law enforcement tried to get videos removed from YouTube

The Guardian – October 25, 2011

Google’s biannual transparency report revealed that the US government has the most requests for private information about Google users- equal to the requests of 25 other countries, including the UK and Russia. According to the report, the US government also requested the takedown of YouTube videos allegedly showing police brutality- a request Google denied.

UN Security Council votes to end Libya operations


BBC – October 27, 2011

In March, the council voted to conduct necessary actions to protect civilians after former leader Muammar Gaddafi launched assaults on protestors. Last week, NATO pledged to end the air strike campaign on October 31.  Despite Libya’s National Transitional Council wanting of continued military action to prevent immature security decisions, the resolution was still passed. Security Council diplomats responded that civilians had been protected, and that further assistance would be negotiated separately.

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Seeing is Believing: Explicit Images in the U.S. News Media

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm

By Kelsey Heckert

As one of the publishing editors on The Leash, it is my job to look for pictures that can sum up an article. Pictures are worth a thousand words, right? Oftentimes, I look directly at the online article and use the picture that the respective news organization published. Sometimes, the articles I look at that did not make it to the front page or the home page—whether you’re reading print or online—don’t have associated pictures. Granted, I know that news articles are essentially “objective” reports, not comic strips, yet I still find the need to put a picture with each article.

For example, one of the Top Ten articles (October 3-9) recently reported on the Mexican drug cartels and there wasn’t an embedded picture. I went to Google News and typed in “Mexican drug cartels.” Imagine my surprise when I saw many famous news organizations’ names attached to pictures of dead bodies.

My first reaction was utter surprise. I was not expecting to see blatant death waved in my face. My second reaction was, “Well, I suppose this is what happens in Mexico when drug deals turn for the worst.” As I continued to go through popular news websites that included the search term “Mexican Drug Cartels,” I saw both covert and overt images of lifeless bodies. Captions included words like “gunshot wound,” “murder,” and “victim,” yet there was little blood to be seen. Today, it seems like the U.S. news visually represents 40% of the aftermaths of murder, but I still remember the controversies of showing the “collateral damage” of war in Iraq, particularly involving American soldiers. Notice that the picture I ended up choosing for the article was a supposed Mexican cartel member, alive and kickin’.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Oct 17 – Oct 23)

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

AAU elects Coleman as chair for one-year term


The Michigan Daily – October 18, 2011

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman was elected chair of the Association of American Universities and will serve a one-year term. The AAU is a nonprofit organization which includes 61 American and Canadian research universities. She has previously served as vice-chair of the organization.

Mobile phone brain cancer link rejected

BBC News – October 20, 2011

New research suggests there is no link between mobile phone use and brain cancer, continuing the 20 year debate on the risk of cell phones since their increased use. The study conducted by the Institute of Cancer Epidemology in Denmark looked at more than 350,000 people over an 18-year period. Researchers found that cell phone users were at no greater risk to develop brain cancer. A series of studies have also come to similar conclusions. However, researchers till want to further study the effects of long term cell phone use and the effect of cell phone use on children.

Scientists See Promise in Vaccine for Malaria


The New York Times – October 18, 2011

A preliminary trial of a malaria vaccine showed encouraging results to protect against a disease that is estimated to kill around 780,000 people per year.  GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine, known as RTS or “Mosquirix”, protected 47 percent of the 6,000 children in their clinical trial. Although a 47 percent protection rate may seem low, these results are exciting since a vaccine against this parasite, is incredibly hard to create due to the fact that malaria is constantly changing in the host. Although there are many doubts of the vaccines success, it gives us hope for what is to come.
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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Oct 10 – Oct 16)

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2011 at 3:52 am

Yemen: Thousands of women demonstrate, dozens injured

CNN – October 10, 2011

What was supposed to be one of three celebrations in honor of a Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner ended as an attack on thousands of Yemeni women gathered in her honor. The female protestors were attacked by pro-Yemeni government gangs last Sunday in Taiz, a city in southern Yemen. At least 38 women were injured after having rocks and batons thrown at them.

Israeli president begins pardoning Palestinian prisoners to be released in swap for soldier

Washington Post – October 15, 2011

Israel has agreed to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006. Israeli President Shimon Peres has 48 hours to sign the papers that will release the first half of the 1,027 prisoners set for release.

Obama drops long-term health care program


CNN – October 14, 2011

President Obama has dropped the CLASS Act, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act. The program was part of the larger health care insurance law passed in 2010 aimed at providing health care more universally in the United States. Never very popular with the Republicans, the Obama administration has announced that it had halted the CLASS act due to cost concerns.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read – Oct 3rd-9th

In Uncategorized on October 9, 2011 at 10:36 am

Italy and Spain debt downgraded by Fitch

BBC – October 8th, 2011

Italy and Spain’s credit ratings were both downgraded Fitch and earlier this week, Moody. Fitch is concerned about the strength of Italy’s banks, and the ability of Spain to cut its debt levels during the volatile eurozone debt crisis. Both Italy and Spain have introduced austerity measures to cut their debt. However, this recent news has inspired more talks about how best to solve this eurozone debt crisis at a G20 meeting in Cannes this November.

Rick Snyder, recalling personal experience with identity theft, launches initiative to protect Michigan from web attacks – October 7th, 2011

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered new cybersecurity initiatives to be implemented in the state. According to the governor, the Michigan Cyber Initiative will protect the state government from cyber attacks. Snyder says he, like many others, has been a victim of financial cyber hacking and views cyber crime as “ ‘…the greatest threat to out national security.’”

Senate apologizes for discrimination against Chinese immigrants

Los Angeles Times – October 7th, 2011

After more than 100 years ignoring them, the United States Senate has acknowledged the discriminatory laws that it put in place to limit Chinese immigration. The resolution apologizing for these exclusionary laws was approved Thursday night. Another resolution is in the House waiting to be approved as well.
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In Uncategorized on June 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Yep. The dog days of summer are here. And that means: The Leash is going on summer vacation!

Hope your’s is going well.

We’ll be back in September to let the dogs out WOOF WOOF.

Women in the Newsroom

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

By Marisa McKay

The recent BBC article, “Women ‘under-represented’ in world newsrooms,” got me thinking, are women still not equal to men in this industry? Haven’t we been there done that with gender equality? Haven’t we as women been reassured that we are equals in the workplace? Apparently in newsrooms across America and Asia this is not the case. The article states that “nearly three-quarters of top management jobs in news media across the world are held by men, as are two-thirds of reporting jobs, a new study has found” (BBC, 2011). It goes on to give other grave statistics, discussing how women were best represented in Europe and worst in Asia, but that in the US, women account for 41% of the news workforce. This last stat doesn’t sit well with me. Are we supposed to be happy that less than half of the collective news-driven workforce in America are women? Personally, I am not. In an age where women have an equal chance of getting into college as men do, shouldn’t they have an equal shot in the newsroom? You would think yes, but this problem of under-representation has been vocalized for about two decades with little improvement.

In October of 1998, The New York Times ran an article about the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper editors that took place that April. The yearly goals of this group were discussed, two in particular focusing on the need to incorporate newspapers into the new age of technology and of increasing minority presence in America’s newsrooms. However, “the issue of women in the newsroom was nowhere in sight” (New York Times, 1998). Some argued that if women were counted in the census that would track minorities in newsrooms across America, then newspaper executives will be distracted from bringing in “actual” minorities. “Including women in this census would complicate matters” (New York Times, 1998) said one editor. Apparently, we will never be able to usurp that rumor that women complicate things.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Apr. 11 – Apr. 17)

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 at 1:03 am

Libyan rebels reject African Union proposal as fighting rages

CNN-April 11, 2011

The Libyan rebels have rejected the African Union’s proposal to end the fighting that is tearing the country apart. The main reason for their refusal? The failure of the proposal to order the removal of dictator Moammar Gadhafi from his position of power. Although Gadhafi has agreed “in principle” (CNN) to stop the hostile fighting, the AU plan doesn’t contain an actual solution for the Libyan people or even a cease-fire according to U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. There is also the issue of the AU’s alleged favoritism towards Gahafi considering he has channeled large amounts of money into the organization in the past. Hopefully the AU, with the help of other peace-seeking organizations, can come to an agreement in Libya.

Japanese Officials on Defensive as Nuclear Alert Level Rises

The New York Times- April 12, 2011

After having been badgered by the Japanese media, Japanese government officials have finally announced why they waited a month before publicly acknowledging the extent of the radioactive emissions. According to a commissioner with Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission, there was a month-long waiting period in an effort to avoid widespread panic about the severity of the accident at the nuclear power plant.

France Enforces Ban on Full-Face Veils in Public

The New York Times-April 11, 2011

France formally banned the wearing of full veils in public this past Monday. The ban, finally in place after months of preparation, makes France the first country in Europe to impose restrictions on an article of clothing considered by some Muslims to be a religious obligation. The law does not give police the authority to remove full veils, only to fine or require citizenship lessons.  Citizens are protesting the ban in several cities.
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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Apr. 4-Apr. 10)

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2011 at 4:41 am

Obama signs short-term funding – April 9, 2011

President Obama signed a short-term funding extension this Saturday again narrowly averting a partial shutdown of the federal government. The funding extension cuts spending by $2 billion and will last through April 15. A long-term funding bill which will cut spending by $35.8 billion is scheduled to be voted on by the House sometime this week.


Britain to reassert worries about WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning’s treatment

The Washington Post-April 5, 2011

Despite his lack of British citizenship, protests concerning the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning will be issued by the United States’ British Ambassadors to U.S. government officials. Britain’s Foreign Office is saying that because Manning’s mother is Welsh, he is of British descent, and therefore, eligible to receive aid from Britain.


Italy recognizes Libya’s rebel National Council

BBC-April 4, 2001

Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini announced that it is cutting it’s once close ties with Colonel Gaddafi and will only recognize Libya’s Anti-Gaddafi Transitional National Council in future talks. France and Qatar have already made formal recognitions of the TNC.

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How Interested Are We?

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

By: Kelsey Heckert

Chances are, if this is your first time at The Leash, you might have seen our first real marketing blast. Chances are, if you took the trouble to remember our website, you’re intrigued by the statistics that we showcased. Chances are, if you’re taking the time to read our latest posts, you’re ready to update yourself on what’s going on in the world.

A Newsweek article, “How Dumb Are We?”, showed its citizens that America continues to be civilly and internationally ignorant. For example, in March 2009, the European Journal of Communication asked citizens of Britain, Denmark, Finland, and the United States to answer questions on international affairs. “The Europeans clobbered us. 68% of Danes, 75% of Brits, and 76% of Finns identified the Taliban but only 58% of Americans managed to do the same—even though we’ve led the charge in Afghanistan.”

Regardless of this recent example, “Americans have been misunderstanding checks and balances and misidentifying their senators” for decades. Yes, we have a complicated political system—I can admit that anytime that there is an election I re-realize my own incompetence on current issues. Then again, I totally accept my incompetence: “Oh well, I vote in the presidential elections, that’s all that really matters anyways.” It’s that kind of brush off that gets us all into trouble.

As a side note, although I really appreciated this particular Newsweek article, I know few people who are actual subscribers, and no, it doesn’t include me. Of those subscribers I know, I would expect that they could pass the U.S. Citizenship, it’s the non-subscribers that I’m worried about. Those who don’t subscribe to Newsweek could subscribe to Time magazine or to a more national newspaper, but what about those who don’t really have a particular interest in current events? How can we reach out to that untapped segment of America? Well, we can acknowledge that SMWA isn’t going to change the world, but SMWA can at least add current events and public discussion to the public interest.

Although the Newsweek article is an interesting read, here are some other interesting points it makes (along with more statistics from the surveyed 1,000 participants on the U.S. Citizenship Test): Read the rest of this entry »

Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Mar. 28-Apr. 3)

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 at 1:13 am

Boehner’s decision: Compromise or force a shutdown

The Los Angeles Times-March 29, 2011

House Speaker John A. Boehner faces a fateful choice over whether to prioritizes GOP unity and forcing a shutdown, that many strategists believe could be costly to his party, or compromise with the Democrats, which has the potential to split the Republican Party. While $10 billion worth of cuts is already signed into law, Boehner appeared to be ready to propose an additional $26 billion dollars, a number that many conservative House Republicans are not happy with (they want deeper cuts).

Texas Republicans Take Harder Line On Immigration

NPR-March 29, 2011

After using an “insufficiently conservative” approach to illegal immigration, Texas’ Republican Party is deciding to be tougher on immigration. Instead of accepting the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants as citizens, it has been decided that children will have to prove their citizenship when enrolling for elementary school and that the state language will be English. According to Representative Leo Berman, Republican will not be alienating its Hispanic voters by making these changes because many of them vote Democrat.

Britain, France Open to Arming Libya’s Rebels

NPR-March 30, 2011

Britain, France, and the U.S. are currently considering whether or no they will supply weapons to support Libyan rebels. According to the parties involved, there is a U.N. arms embargo in place that might be able to be circumvented by a U.N. resolution, but there is no word on if or when this resolution will come to be. Despite this, there has already been reported contact between the CIA and the Libyan rebels in regards to airstrike assistance. There have also been reports saying that Obama has already authorize the CIA to arm the rebels.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Mar. 21-Mar. 27)

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Abortion Foes Target Family Planning Program

NPR-March 21, 2011

Although the Title X Family Planning program was established by President Nixon in 1970 has been largely noncontroversial, the plan that serves more than 5 million men and women annually is on House Republicans’ chopping block. It had been established in the premise that “no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” Although some of the funding goes towards clinics that do provide abortions, the funding is minimal so that places like Planned Parenthood can remain open. Some anti-abortion legislators admit that getting rid of Title X is going too far.

Google books agreement torpedoed by US court

BBC-March 22, 2011

Google negotiated the deal to settle a six-year-old class action suit claiming infringement of copyright, yet a New York court said that Google would have an unfair competitive advantage if the court allowed them to continue scanning millions of books. The publishers who had copyright concerns believed that ownership of works would be hard to establish, meaning many would be unable to claim the royalties that Google promised. The agreement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers allowed Google to continue digitizing books and sell access online.

Apple Pulls ‘Anti-Gay’ App After Pressure

ABC News-March 23, 2011

After an online petition with nearly 150,000 signatures was sent to Apple over the protest of an “anti-gay” app, Apple removed the controversial app from its store. The app was created by a Christian group called Exodus International that claimed that the app supported “those wanting to reconcile their faith with their sexual behavior,” adding that it believes that changing homosexuality is possible. was the group behind the petition, and Apple said they removed the app because it “violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (March 14-March 20)

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Missiles Strike Libya in First Wave of Allied Assault

MSNBC—March 20, 2011

American and European forces bombed Libyan military positions by air and by sea in an attempt to deter Moammar Gadhafi’s offensive against Libyan opposition forces. This is the first phase of an operation that will include enforcement of a no-fly zone. Gadhafi responded to the attack with a statement that he will arm civilians to defend Libya from “colonial, crusader” aggression.

RNC considers selling TV rights of presidential primary debates

CNN—March 15, 2011

In an effort to offset the debt that it accrued during the 2010 midterms, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is entertaining the idea of selling the TV rights of its presidential primary debates to broadcast outlets. The big question in this situation concerns the legality of the proposal.

Radiation fears spark run on West Coast pharmacies, health food stores

CNN—March 16, 2011

The recent earthquake and following tsunami from the Japan disaster are having major effects on the United States’ pharmaceutical markets. Specifically on the west coast, citizens wanted to purchase anti-radiation, potassium iodide, in response to the possible threat of radiation from across the ocean. However, the industry was not prepared for such a dramatic increase that many people came up empty handed and have placed orders to places like New Jersey, across the country. Some residents of the West Coast seemed unaffected, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was quoted saying “it does not expect to see harmful levels of radiation reaching the United States from Japan.”

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Aflockalypse Now?

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm

By Kelsey Heckert

Paying attention to the news more since we started The Leash a mere few months ago, I’ve been using a self-constructed filter to determine what exactly is newsworthy. Although the news has been particularly filled with recent current events like the multiple revolutions happening in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia, what happens when the world quiets down and Charlie Sheen finds work again? What kinds of news stories get the focus?

For example, back in the summer of 2001, shark attacks were one of the main focuses in the media. News organizations did not have a lot of options when it came to extensive coverage, so they picked shark attacks out of the hat. Although the media focused on the attacks, there had been no increase in mortality rates for that year. Guess they just needed something to cover.

Recently, I have a hunch that I have identified a similar trend—this topic is over-exploited and every media outlet covers a part of it. I am talking specifically about “Aflockalypse,” also known as the phenomenon of the recent mass animal deaths, particularly referring to the Arkansas blackbird incident.

Many of the major newspapers in the United States have jokingly suggested that 2012 really is the end of the world based on predictions made by the Mayans many years ago. Apparently I am going to be the fuddy-duddy and respond to their claims. There are records of other unusual mass animal deaths that have occurred outside the first couple months of 2011. Time magazine offers a list of the top ten strangest animal deaths, where there is only one Aflockalypse in 2011 listed, which can be seen as both a justification for the 2012 hype and an indication that the world really is coming to an end.

Regardless, Aflockalypse has convinced the United States that animals are dying left, right, and center. An anonymous user has even created a way to track the recent animal deaths since December 2010, making it seem like the world has never seen anything like it.  On a New York radio program, Scott Wright, the Branch Chief of Disease Investigations at the USGS Wildlife Health Center, notes that mass animal deaths are more common then one might think and that they happen pretty regularly. Whoever is in control of the Google Maps feature has also lost interest in the Aflockalypse craze: “Created January 5—Last Updated January 5.”

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Mar. 7-Mar. 13)

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Japanese PM: ‘Toughest’ crisis since World War II

CNN-March 13, 2011

Japanese Prime Minister Naota Kan stated that the earthquake/tsunami disaster is the most difficult crisis Japan has faced since World War II. Currently, there are about 2.5 million households without electricity, which is only 4% of the total in Japan. The death toll is at 1,600 people, with more than 1,900 injured and nearly 1,500 missing. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday, triggering massive waves that ravaged everything in their path. To add to the catastrophic results, there was also a widespread release of radiation from nuclear power plants damaged by the quake. Over the next three days, geologists suggest that due to tectonic activity, Japan could expect another earthquake that could reach magnitudes of 7.0.

NPR executive Vivian Schiller resigns under pressure from board and CPB

The Washington Post-March 10, 2011

Vivian Schiller, NPR’s top officer, was forced out of her job after two years due to pressure she received from a leaked video. In the video, the former head of NPR’s fundraising arm said that members of the tea party movement are xenophobic and racist and that NPR would prefer to do without subsidies provided by the federal government. NPR executive Ron Schiller went on to say that some of its followers are part of an “anti-intellectual” movement. He apologized for his remarks, even though others also privately believe him, and resigned immediately. The pressure that she received was most likely due to Congress’s decision over funding for public radio and TV stations.

Federal Debt Limit Hangs Over Budget Debate 12, 2011

Washington D.C. lawmakers are slated to approve a short-term federal spending plan this coming week, but conservative and freshman lawmakers refuse to do so. According to Mitch McConnell, conservative senators will refuse to vote in order to increase the federal debt limit until a cut in federal spending is made.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Feb 21-Feb 27)

In Uncategorized on March 3, 2011 at 12:51 am

What’s Happening in Wisconsin Explained

Mother Jones-February 26, 2011

Aside from the Libya Protests primer, Mother Jones has also released an overview of the union demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin. The article discusses what the anti-union proposals actually mean for unionized workers and how liberals, who oppose the proposals, and conservatices are reacting to the Republican governor’s proposals.

Unrest in the Middle East and Africa – country by country
CNN – February 24, 2011
Demonstrations have spread across the Middle East and Africa in the last month, and provides the latest developments and why the protests began in the first place. The focus is on 14 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

Hawaii’s governor signs civil unions into law

CBS News-February 23, 2011
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed same-sex civil unions into law, granting gay and lesbian couples the same state rights as married partners. This makes Hawaii the seventh state to permit civil unions or similar legal recognition for gay couples. The law comes after 20 years of protests, court fights, and public debates in a state that has long been a gay rights battleground.



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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Feb 14-Feb 20)

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 at 12:25 am

Congressional forecast worsening: gridlock with increased chance of shutdown

ABC News – February 16, 2011

With government funding due to run out on March 4, President Obama and the Republicans continue to quarrel over programs to cut, whether or not to extend the debt ceiling, and whether the government will be shut down next month. Even if the shutdown is avoided, at some point this year, the national debt is set to hit its current $14.3 trillion limit. Republicans want big cuts and Democrats less so. However, House Speaker John Boehner says, “We’re broke. Let’s be honest with ourselves.” In effect, Republicans are also attempting to eliminate $100 billion from this year’s budget, notably excluding cutting military spending.

Obama’s budget is more political guide than spending plan

The Los Angeles Times – February 15, 2011

President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal marks his pursuit of shifting the political center, which targets the independent voter’s interest; the Republican-dominated Congress is not expected to approve it. The budget calls for cuts in low-income energy assistance, environmental protection, higher education grants, and aid to cities and towns. On the spending side, he is looking for programs like elementary and secondary education and medical research. The criticism poured out of the Republicans: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell criticized Obama for “a status quo budget at a time when serious action is needed.”

Borders Group Files for Bankruptcy Reorganization

Los Angeles Times – February 17, 2011

Borders, the nation wide media mogul has officially filed for bankruptcy as of Wednesday citing over one billion dollars of debt. The books, music, and more sanctuary has said that they will let go of over 6,000 workers and close 35 stores, specifically in California. Although they claim that they are closing only super stores that are under performing, this is yet another example of how the present state of the economy is affecting even the most seemingly stable of businesses.
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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Feb. 7-Feb. 13)

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

In Congress, Bernanke Faces Questions About Inflation

New York Times-February 10, 2011

In a House Budget Committee meeting, Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the increasing prices of commodities in the United States and the rest of the world. Bernanke says that the inflation is not that excessive at the moment. His opponents say the inflation, which arises from printing more money despite not having enough gold in reserve to back it, will get worse unless the government seeks other measures, like cutting the administration’s spending to ameliorate the economic problem.

No Electronic Flaws In Toyotas, Government Says

NPR- February 8, 2011

After recalling Toyota vehicles based on complaints of “unintentional acceleration,” the Transportation Department and NASA joined forces to perform a 10-month study on Toyota cars to find the reason behind the recalls. The findings reflect that there were no electronic causes for the acceleration issues.

U.S. faces critical test of influence on Egypt

L.A. Times-February 11, 2011

With Hosni Mubarak’s recent departure, the United States now has to attempt to install a democrat government reforms via the Egyptian military rulers. However, the new military government also means that the US does not have a guarantee that Egypt will continue to honor its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, which was agreed upon under the Mubarak regime.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Jan. 31 – Feb. 6)

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Obama says Egypt’s transition ‘must begin now’

CNN-February 2, 2011

Following President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement on Tuesday that he would not run for re-election in September, President Barack Obama called for an immediate transition in Egypt’s government. It is the beginning of a transition in foreign policy- the US had long been seen as an ally of Mubarak, but is now hoping to better support the wants and needs of the Egyptian people.

How Will Supreme Court Rule On Health Care Law?

NPR- February 2, 2011

This week in Florida, Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson declared the entire health care law passed by Congress last year unconstitutional. This is not the first time this has happened. In December, a federal judge in Virginia struck down the part of the law that requires citizens to buy health care coverage. However, two federal judges have upheld the law. It is unknown how the Supreme Court would rule if the case is appealed.

The Daily launches on iPad for 99 cents a week

USA Today- February 3, 2011

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. launched its most ambitious effort to reinvent the way news is delivered. The Daily is the first national news publication designed specifically for Apple’s iPad. It is the first application of Apple’s App Store that directly handles subscriptions ($39.99 a year). Although some content will be available online and can be shared via social networking sites, users will only be able to take full advantage of all interactive features using the iPad.

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Top Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Jan. 24-Jan. 30)

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Criticism, finger pointing after Russia airport Attack

NPR – January 25, 2011

Russian authorities believe a suicide attacker detonated the bomb inside Domodedevo Airport on Monday, January 24. Witnesses said that it the blast erupted from someone who brought a suitcase into the international arrivals hall. The eruption wounded more than 100 people and killed 35. The suspicion is likely to fall on Islamist separatist insurgents who have been battling Russian authority for years. Questions are being raised about security in Russian airports—Domodedevo has metal detectors, but they are not used to screen every visitor. Then again, few airports in the world control the entrances to such areas. Fingers are being pointed at both the airport management and transport police, undermining confidence in Russia’s security.

The Note’s top 5 State of the Union takeaways

ABC News– January 26, 2011

On January 25, President Obama spoke for just over an hour during the State of the Union address. Obama made sure that his speech addressed every citizen and their views. He applauded the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and urged for colleges and universities to allow ROTC back on their campuses. He addressed the ongoing health care debate and its repeal in Congress. He indicated that unlike his first half of term, he was unwilling to spend the second half rehashing the same debates. Obama also tried his hand at humor to drive some of his points home that went fairly well in the chamber—“Now, I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law.” Republican Paul Ryan responded who acknowledged the president’s assuring words but said that the government needs a major course correction.

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Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Jan. 17-Jan. 23)

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2011 at 9:49 pm

House starts health care repeal debate

Huffington Post– January 21, 2011

House Republicans unanimously voted Wednesday to fully repeal Obama’s health care reform. However, the Senate is unlikely to pass the repeal.  Republicans fear the bill will destroy the “doctor-patient relationship”.  Democrats praise the bill for ultimately extending coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans by 2019 and claim that a repeal of the bill would add more than $200 billion to the federal deficit.

Comcast wins regulatory approval for NBC Deal

The Wall Street Journal – January 19, 2011

The FCC and Justice Department finally agreed to the merger between Comcast and NBC while imposing several conditions to prevent the cable giant to hinder competitors when it comes to regulating the upcoming online video market.  For example, Comcast will not be allowed to withhold NBC programming from its pay-TV and online competitors. Comcast must also set aside a number of channels for independent programmers and agreed to keep NBC network programming on free over-the-air TV stations. Many of the conditions were actually proposed by Comcast over the year-long discussion in hopes of getting the deal approved.

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Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Jan. 10-Jan. 16)

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2011 at 12:33 am

Brazilian flood and mudslide deaths rise as rescue goes on
BBC News–January 13, 2011
More than 400 people have now been killed by the flooding and landsides in Nova Friburgo, Teresopolis and Petropolis, Brazil. Thousands more have been left homeless. Rio de Janeiro Govener Sergio Cabral, blames local governments for failing to uphold construction standards and allowing people to build in areas prone to flooding.

Historic Vote on Whether to Split Sudan Ends
CNN-January 16, 2011
Polling stations closed this Saturday in a referendum which will decided whether or not Southern Sudan will declare independence from the north. Nearly 4 million people were registered to vote in the referendum. Officials in Southern Sudan speculate that at least 98% of voters will have voted for separation- an independence the regions has been fighting for for more than 50 years. This referendum is part of a 2005 peace agreement that helped end two decades of civil war between the two regions.

Women Should Be Allowed in Combat, Report Says
NPR – January 15, 2011
The Military Leadership Diversity Commission, military advisory panel established by Congress, has released a report saying that women should be allowed to serve in front-line combat units. The report finds that keeping women out of combat posts is a barrier to career advancement. Also, the front-line ban ignores the reality of current war-fighting doctrine in Afghanistan and Iraq where even those who serve on the sidelines face the same dangers and risks of attack.

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Ten Articles We Think You Should Read (Week of Jan. 3 – Jan. 11)

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Defense secretary Gates says North Korean ballistic missiles pose ‘direct threat’ to U.S.

The Washington Post-January 11, 2011

Robert Gates, the U.S. Defense Secretary, has issued statements to the North Korean government saying that the national security of the United States is in danger due to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. It is one of the United States’ goals to sway North Korea into ending their nuclear weapons program, but, so far, North Korea’s program has continued to grow.

Panel calls for drastic steps to stop future deepwater oil spills

CNN-January 11, 2011

It has been reported to President Obama that the BP oil in the Gulf of Mexico is something that could have been avoided. There is more American oil to be drilled deeper in the earth. If anything goes wrong during future drilling, the coastal states could suffer another-and potentially worse-oil spill.

Arizona lawmakers take up funeral protest legislation

CNN-January 11, 2011

The Arizona legislature has proposed legislation that will make it a misdemeanor to picket near funeral homes one hour before and one hour after a funeral. This legislation will be passed in response to a church group that has said that they plan to picket at the funerals of Tucson shooting victims. This same church group received press for protesting at Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral and at the funerals of other individuals. According to the group, the shooting was a response from God expressing his disapproval of America’s tolerance of homosexuality.

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Baba Wawa’s Most Fascinating Hit or Miss?

In Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm


By: Kelsey Heckert

Anybody catch Baba Wawa’s 10 Most Fascinating People this past Thursday? It was definitely interesting to say the least. To the powerful list of interviewees that Barbara Walter’s has had, including President Jimmy Carter, Fidel Castro, and Princess Diana, she can now add the likes of Justin Bieber and the entire Jersey Shore cast.

Sure, I understand that the Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People, started in 1993, is not subjected to the crème de le crème. However, this woman who claims to be semi-retired, comes into a studio to inhale massive amounts of hair spray and orange-colored muscles?  “They are something. I don’t know what, but they are something.”

For example, in 1993 the Most Fascinating People included 1 athlete, 1 chairman, 1 doctor, 1 poet, 1 actor, 1 production guy, 2 talk show hosts, 1 singer, and the first lady. Just looking at the breakdown, there is a pretty broad range of professions.

In 2010, the breakdown includes 3 singers, 1 group of drunk teens, 1 athlete, 1 website creator, 2 actors, 1 princess, and 1 general. Looking at this breakdown, it’s still broad but the reasons seem more…”fascinating?”

[fasuh-ney-ting] (adj)

of great interest or attraction; enchanting; charming; captivating

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234 Years of Freedom and We Just Can’t Let Go

In House of Windsor, Prince William, Princess of Wales, RAF, Uncategorized on December 8, 2010 at 7:36 pm


By Christina Lawson

Let’s just say that I understand the need for PR in media-saturated democracies and I know why politicians engage in photo opportunities. In fact, all you need to do is look no further than our most recent presidential administration to figure out why politicians feel the need serve up Thanksgiving dinner for troops in Baghdad.

Quite simply, it’s all for voter support.

But what motivation can foreign governments, namely the British monarchy, have for doing the same thing? And, more importantly, why do news organizations think that Americans should care?

Case in point: the news that first surfaced in early October about Prince William’s first mission as an RAF rescue pilot, which resulted in a rather convenient rescue of an oil worker. If the prince really did rescue this man, fine. That’s a good thing, but it’s also too good to be true. I’m sure there are a number of other new RAF Search and Rescue Force members who have saved people on their first rescue missions and who don’t receive press coverage in return. And why should they? They’re only doing their jobs.

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Wikileaks: A Background of a So-Called “Terrorist” Website

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm


Compiled by Kelsey Heckert

What exactly is Wikileaks? Well first off, contrary to my original assumptions, Wikileaks has absolutely no corporate ties withWikipedia; however, the two sites do share a common ideology—a network of public-generated/leaked information.

Wikileaks is an international non-profit media organization that publishes, or “leaks,” submitted documents from anonymous sources. Consequently, Wikileaks has been a major focus in the news for the past year due to content of some of these documents, primarily national security/defense operations records.  The following is a condensed timeline of Wikileaks’ short yet controversial history including some of the biggest leaks.

(Side-note: I was tempted to go to the website to see directly how Wikileaks wants to describe itself before I summarize.  Too bad the “website cannot be found.” On December 2, 2010, the U.S. domain-name provider EveryDNS had withdrawn service to the site, claiming that hacker attacks might destroy the other 500,000 websites on the network. Sounds to me like EveryDNS just wants to stay out of it, following the likes of Amazon and Paypal who also pulled services)

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You’ve Been Waiting…

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2010 at 1:08 am

Have you heard the Pope’s new stance on condoms?
Have you heard about North Korea’s military fire on South Korea?
Have you heard the Pentagon’s new announcement about the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy?

You will on Sunday!
First blog post will be this Sunday, December 5th!