Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • PARTING SHOTS: Google CEO’s modest proposal, NJ considers new anti-bullying laws

    Here is our roster of stories that managed to evade full-on blog treatment:

    • Home sales jumped 10 percent in September. (Washington Post)

    • Google's CEO suggests that those who don't like his company photographing their houses for the Street View feature should just move. (MarketWatch)

    • New Jersey is considering a new anti-bullying law following the high-profile suicide of a Rutgers student. (AP)

    • A former child soldier detained in Guantanamo pleaded guilty to killing an American soldier. His plea agreement reportedly means he will serve eight years at most (on top of the eight years he's already been in custody). (New York Times)

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  • Is there really a gay voter backlash?


    The Associated Press rounds up some anecdotal evidence of an angry and disenchanted gay voter base that might stay home instead of voting for Democrats next week. "This year's election is a stark contrast to 2008, when the gay community turned out in droves to elect Obama and help Democrats regain control of Congress," the AP says.

    The story provides no data on the subject. It quotes a few activists in the gay community who say they see signs of "lethargy" and "disgust" among voters who were energized for Democrats just two years ago, but who are disappointed with the administration's lack of action on gay marriage and the military's ban on gay service.

    Speculation like AP's highlights the overall lack of data on gay voters in America, who often have specific wishes as a political bloc but aren't polled in the same way that other demographic groups are. Most public opinion polls don't ask respondents about their sexual orientation.

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  • Sony Walkman cassette player, RIP

    AP09070103377Another iconic technological device has been banished to the dustbin of history: Sony will no longer produce its Walkman cassette player due to dismal sales. The final batch of the portable tape players was shipped from Japan in April, according to PC Magazine.

    A Chinese company will continue to produce a few models for the Walkman faithful, according to the New York Post. Sony has sold about 220 million Walkman devices since the gadget's explosive 1979 debut, but the portable cassette player has steadily yielded market share to portable CD players and then eventually MP3 players, symbolized by Apple's no-less-iconic iPod. (Sony will continue to make portable CD players.)

    Apple founder Steve Jobs, who helped introduce the iPod, was evidently very impressed with the Walkman when he first saw one 25 years ago.

    "I remember Akio Morita gave Steve and me each one of the first Sony Walkmans," former Apple CEO John Sculley told Businessweek. "None of us had ever seen anything like that before because there had never been a product like that. This is 25 years ago and Steve was fascinated by it. The first thing he did with his was take it apart and he looked at every single part. How the fit and finish was done, how it was built."

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  • New Hampshire newspaper rejects gay wedding announcement

    200191042-001Gay marriage is legal in New Hampshire, but that didn't stop the executives of the state's largest newspaper from rejecting a wedding announcement from a same-sex couple.

    Manchester Union Ledger Publisher Joe McQuaid told CNN in a statement that the conservative newspaper has never published a gay wedding announcement but is not "anti-gay."

    "It would be hypocritical of us to do so, given our belief that marriage is and needs to remain a social and civil structure between men and women and our opposition to the recent state law legalizing gay marriage," he said.

    New Hampshire residents Greg Gould and Aurelio Tine wanted the paper to print the announcement for their upcoming wedding in Portsmouth.

    "I was really disappointed, because the Union Leader is a big voice in the state of New Hampshire, and they seem to be so out of touch," Gould told WMUR-TV.

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  • Tennessee newspaper says ‘anti-Muslim crusaders’ make millions

    AP100911131215The Tennessean newspaper, which has been chronicling the controversy over the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn.,  has published an investigation into the tax practices of anti-Islamist pundit Steven Emerson, who founded the influential Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation. The nonprofit rakes in millions every year as it works to uncover terrorist ties to American organizations.

    The paper found that Emerson's nonprofit organization funneled everything it earned to a separate group, SAE Productions, that does not have tax-exempt status. In 2008, the nonprofit cut a $3.4 million check to the for-profit, even though Emerson told the IRS in 2006 that there would be no financial ties between the organizations.

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  • WikiLeaks’ ‘War Logs’ on Iraq storm major media outlets


    The embargo was lifted on whistleblower WikiLeaks' release of nearly 400,000 secret documents on the Iraq war this afternoon, and immediately at least half a dozen major news outlets published the controversial reports. The leaked documents "contain details of more than 100,000 people killed in Iraq following the US-led invasion, including more than 15,000 deaths that were previously unrecorded," the Guardian reports. They also allege that American officials ignored Iraqi abuses.

    Military officials said earlier today that the leaked documents could put troops at risk.

    Here's a roundup of the reporting done by major news outlets that got an early look at the so-called Iraq War Logs:

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  • Average college student debt now a record $24,000


    The average debt load of a college graduate is at an all-time high — and not coincidentally, the unemployment rate among recent college grads has skyrocketed to 8.7 percent, according to a new report. The average college student had $24,000 to pay off in 2009, up 6 percent from the year before.

    The Project on Student Debt also broke down average debt loads by state, which you can access here. For-profit colleges like DeVry University, which have been accused of burdening their students with outsize debt obligations, are not included in the data.

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  • Virtual border fence a $1 billion failure


    The Department of Homeland Security is backing off what was to have been a multibillion-dollar effort to build an "invisible fence" that was meant to catch drug and human traffickers with cameras, vibration sensors and other high-tech devices.

    Of the projected 2,000-mile impenetrable wall of technology that the project was supposed to supply, only about 53 miles of unreliable monitoring systems were built. And the price tag for that work, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, was in excess of a cool $1 billion.

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  • Gillibrand addresses Reid’s ‘hot’ comment with a sigh

    AP101021127150New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand addressed a spate of comments about her looks over the past few weeks, telling the Albany Times Union that she wishes her colleagues would focus on her legislative achievements instead.

    The freshman senator was ranked by The Hill newspaper as one of the "most beautiful" people on Capitol Hill, which led Sen. Harry Reid to introduce her last month at a Democratic fundraiser as "the hottest member" of the Senate. Sam Bennett, the head of the nonpartisan Women's Campaign Forum, told The Upshot last week that the remark was sexist, even though Reid "is good on women's issues and he's very supportive of Gillibrand." New research shows that women lose voter support if they do not call out even mildly sexist remarks.

    Since then, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said she is "stunning." And New York Gov. David Paterson, who is blind, chimed in that he understood she was a "very pretty woman" but  her "real influence on people has been in the areas of agriculture and in the areas of national security and in the areas of finance, where she is real hot."

    Gillibrand told the paper she doesn't think she's being over-sexualized, but she wishes everyone would change the subject:

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  • Obama tells gay teens ‘It Gets Better’

    AP0802240120560President Barack Obama has joined the viral "It Gets Better" campaign, filming another in the series of high-profile videos urging troubled gay teens not to take their own lives. The title of the series is a reassurance that bullying over their sexuality will eventually stop.

    "I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay.  But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong.  It's tough," Obama says in the video. He said he was "shocked and saddened" to hear of bullied young people who recently took their own lives.

    "The other thing you need to know is, things will get better," he says. " And more than that, with time you're going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You'll look back on the struggles you've faced with compassion and wisdom. And that's not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place."

    You can watch his comments below:

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